Once Lydia had completed the chant, we were evaporated from the Neitherworld and suddenly appeared in the dark, shadowed bedroom of Lydia. Dib and Zim stopped battling for a moment to take in their new surroundings.
"Are we safe?" Dib asked cautiously.
"Safe? It's always safe when I'm around!" BJ grinned.
We all looked at him with what could only be described as un-amusement. He shrugged and looked down at me sheepishly.
"You sure you want to turn back?" he asked.
I folded my arms, "Yes, thank you."
"Right, gotta think of a good joke. Whoo, the pressures really on here! Let's see…"
"BJ!" we all groaned.
"Alright, alright, sheesh, grow up will ya!"
I suddenly realised that I was still standing on GIR's head as the strange, crawling feeling scuttled beneath my skin. My eyes clenched shut as the sensation made me want to do a mixture of laughing and vomiting. As soon as the ground wasn't so far away, I chose to step off of GIR and onto the carpet. Suddenly, it stopped and everything was silent. I peeked one eye open and found that I was at eye lever with everyone. I grinned and lifted my arms into the air.
"Thank god for that!"
Lydia pulled me into a welcoming hug, "Glad to have you back."
"Awe, look at ya, seeing things eye to eye!"
Out of an involuntary reflex, me Dib and Zim clasped our hands over our eyes to protect them from whatever was going to happen next. However, it turns out that it was just BJ's eyes that popped out and glanced at one another before slotting back into their sockets. Zim huffed, glaring at me and folded his arms.
"What's up Zim?" I asked, nudging his shoulder, "Not happy with me being taller than you again?"
"You wait, female-beast, one day the amazing Zim shall out-height you all!"
"I'm looking forward to it." I grinned, pulling him into a reluctant hug on his part, he retched and tried to shove me away.
"DIB!" a seriously irritated voice cried from outside.
Dib flinched and opened the bedroom door to reveal his little sister. Gaz stormed into the room and grabbed her brother by the collar of his shirt.
"I've been waiting for hours for you to come home. It's family night tonight and if you aren't home by six o'clock, you will enter a realm of which there is no escape from suffering!"
"Gaz, I'm sorry, okay? But we got pulled into the Neitherworld and -"
"Really?" she gasped, almost looking interested, but it turned out to be false as she rolled her eyes, "Oh wait, I actually don't care…"
Zim laughed, "Excellent use of threat Gaz-worm! I may steal that at some point!"
Gaz turned on him, her eyes focusing on his stature with curiosity. I smirked to myself. I loved watching those two interact, it was fascinating and you could feel this tension in the air.
"I suppose it's your fault that he's always missing family night!" she spat, closing in on him.
He took a step back, eyes widening, "The trouble that the Dib-stink gets into is nothing to do with me! He causes his own problems, I just gain entertainment in watching is all."
She clenched her fists, "Your voice is irritating me."
Zim leaned in so that he was eye level with her, his eyes alight, "You irritate Zim!"
Dib rolled his eyes, he knew where this was going. Every time these two argued, Gaz always ended up punching Zim in the gut or nearly ripping our an antenna. He knew his sister well enough, she could handle herself. Lydia chewed her lip nervously at the pair of them. They were the perfect distance from one another that a fist was soon going to fly. But I had an idea.
"Hey, BJ," I whispered, "Pillow fight."
He looked at me questioningly, but smiled as he transformed into a black and white striped pillow. I took aim at Zim and threw it as hard as I could. The pillow hit Zim square at the back of his head. The force of the collision made him stumble forward and loose his balance. In his surprise his mouth opened to cry out in anger. However, any sound was blocked, for as he was knocked forward, the small distance between him and Gaz closed. His mouth landing perfectly on her lips.
BJ changed back and gave me a high five. Everyone else in the room was frozen. Dib let out a strangled grunt as his jaw hit the ground and his eyes bulged larger than his glasses. Gaz narrowed her eyes down on the green face that was pressed against hers threateningly, Zim widened his eyes in fear, but he couldn't bring himself to move just yet. GIR started hopping on the spot and giggling, pointing at the couple.
Finally, the pair broke apart, Zim grunting in an effort to wipe away any trace of the contact while Gaz casually rubbed the back of her hand against her mouth and the slowly, turned on me. A fire burning in her eyes. I gulped as Zim joined in the glare.
"Uh, Amy?" Lydia whispered, treating the couples reaction like an attacking animal.
"Run." Dib finished for her.
Needless to say that after my little stunt at matchmaking, I didn't get off very easily. Zim had pinned me to the floor with his PAK legs while Gaz had… I can't really say what Gaz did because I'm pretty sure my brain has turned it into a repressed memory. But Dib and Lydia managed to pull the two away from me and calm them down. Thankfully, the damage wasn't too great, and it was so worth it.
There was a time when Dib was walking me home when he mentioned his mother again, how he never got the chance to look for her. I caught him by surprise by grabbing his hand comfortingly. I promised him that I would help him find out about her, but I seriously doubted that she was in the Neitherworld. He agreed with me, but with a hint of reluctance. He grinned at me, I returned the gesture and we said out goodbyes at my door. I felt so sorry for him, but at the same time admired him too. He was so much stronger than he gave himself credit for…
In the next few days, things pretty much went back to normal… I'm sorry I couldn't even say that with a straight face! Well things went back to how they were before, as normal as they were going to get. Although, in a strange little turn, Gaz and Zim took extra care to avoid each other more than normal. Weird… However, one day while we were sitting in the cafeteria, Lydia appeared off her food and really quiet. Even BJ seemed to be more dead-looking than normal. Zim was the first to snap.
"Zim demands to know what makes the gloomy-looking human more… gloomy!" he pouted.
"Zim!" I warned, "Lyds, is everything okay?"
"Is it the Neitherworld again?" Dib asked, his eyes brightening.
She sighed and shook her head, "Well, you know that I said we moved here from the countryside?" she paused for us to nod, "Well, what I didn't say was that… it was only for a business trip for my dad. We're moving back home Saturday, tomorrow."
Dib coughed on his lunch, "Why didn't you say so?"
"Because I never planned on making friends so quickly! Plus, I didn't want to ruin the fun…"
BJ rolled his eyes, "It's not the end of the world babes, we can come and visit the BJ way!" he grinned.
I nodded, "And we could come and visit you in Zims ship if you like!"
Zim jarred, "Excuse me?"
"You're excused." Dib mumbled, receiving a sharp jab in the ribs from the invader.
Lydia regained part of a smile. It for the rest of the day, we tried to cheer her up as much as possible, even Zim became more laid back, which in the long run didn't help, his placid behaviour was just disturbing. After skool, we walked behind the building with her so that we could say goodbye before she poofed back home with BJ. Gaz, having to wait for Dib, joined us. Much to her and Zims obvious discomfort. I gave Lydia a friendly embrace.
"We'll come and wave you off tomorrow morning, okay?" I said, giving a hug to BJ too.
"Awe guys, you're gonna bring on the water-works!" he moaned, two faucets producing from his eyes and water running from them.
Dib gulped at the sighed and gave him a handshake instead, "Okay… Well, see you tomorrow."
We stood back as Lydia chanted, causing the pair to vanish from out sight. I looked at the group and shrugged.
"I can't believe they're going!"
"Yeah… wow, its gone quick…" Dib pointed out, shaking his head.
"Zim, you're not going to burn anything down again to stop them leaving are you?" I asked, remembering what had happened when we thought that I was going to be moving back to Wales.
He folded his arms, "Zim knows not what you are talking about! Anyway, the further the Halloweenies are from Zim, the better…" he shuddered.
Gaz started rummaging around in her back, glaring at me in particular. From a reflex, I took a step backwards. She pulled out a small box wrapped in a black ribbon.
"Do you mind telling me why you put this in my locker?" she asked poisonously.
"You're trying to set up that space-monster and my sister?" Dib looked horrified.
"I honestly haven't seen that before, I don't even know how to get in your locker." I answered honestly, however I didn't deny or confirm that I was trying to push the two together.
"Yes, you did, and you even had the nerve to sign it from Zim." She snapped, throwing it at me.
I caught it and read the label, "Gaz I swear, it wasn't me. Dib I've been with you all day, I can't get into anyone's locker!"
Dib nodded in agreement, "It's true… but, who put it there then?"
We all turned to face Zim, but he had vanished too. I smirked to myself at the tiny victory. I felt Gaz snatch the box from my hand and she began to hastily rush back in the direction of home. Dib and I exchanged a glance. Mine happy and knowing, his disgusted and fearful.
The next morning, I made my way over to Zims house and we walked to Lydia's together, GIR in his dog disguise at the end of a lead. I didn't mention the gift to him, which I'm sure he was silently grateful for, but how I wished he would admit to it, or at least say what was in it. Nevertheless, I held my tongue.
Lydia was already outside talking to Dib and Gaz by the time we got there. She grinned, and then I noticed that her spider badge was also grinning at us. The black and white stripes gave him away. BJ waved one of his long arms at us, much to Zims horror.
"We thought you weren't going to make it." Lydia smiled, throwing one of her bags into the car.
"Nah, they always keep in good time, right?" BJ winked, transforming into a pocket watch.
Gaz huffed at the lame visual gag.
"It's been great knowing you all, don't forget to come and visit, and we'll drop in from time to time if that's okay?" Lydia asked.
"Sure it is," Dib answered, "Finally, another one of my theories have turned out true! Watch out Big-Foot, I'm coming for you!" he turned to point in the direction of the woods that were way out of sight.
We all rolled out eyes. Behind her, Lydia's Dad and Step-mother called to her. They were ready to leave. I hugged her and BJ goodbye while the boys gave their awkward goodbyes. Gaz gave her a nod of acknowledgment and returned to her game. GIR jumped up and started nuzzling her, making little mumbled of affection. She placed him back down and started getting into the car.
"Remember, three times the charm!" BJ called.
"How could we forget?" Zim grumbled, folding his arms.
The door closed and the car drove off down the street, I remained waving even after they were out of sight. That night, I felt a little lonely. It was like a member of our messed up little group, dare I call it a family, was missing. I lay awake for ages, fighting the temptation to say the name. I wasn't sure how long it took me to get to sleep, but I was more than grateful when it came.
The next day, Sunday morning, was dragging by. There was some sort of commotion coming from outside, I wished they would shut up, I wasn't in the mood for arguing neighbours. But my ears pricked up at the sound of name calling, but not just any name calling. Only one person I knew would use the name 'space-boy' and only one person would reply with the term 'worm-baby'. I jumped out of my seat and ran out to the front garden. Over on Zims side of the fence, two figures were pointing at one another and narrowing their eyes in a death glare.
"Jeez I leave you two alone for one night!" I cried, "What's up this time?"
"I caught this large-headed Earth-pest sneaking into my base!"
"It's not sneaking, it's investigating, it's what I do!"
"You do a good job of infuriating Zim!"
"Oh wow, grow up!" I snapped.
The two looked at me surprised. Normally I would have just watched their arguments with amusement or tried to break it up by separating them, I'd never snapped at them like that before. But I really wasn't in the mood.
"Uh, are you okay?" Dib asked me, cautiously.
Zim laughed and folded his arms, "HA! The Amy-worm misses the other worm-female and her Halloweenie accomplice!"
"Clearly you do too if you came to the same assumption." I returned.
Dib smirked, "Awe, do you miss you're paranormal buddy, Zim?"
"Pfft, Don't be ridiculous, fool-Dib! Why would I miss that human or Beetlejuice?"
He gasped and clamped his gloved hands over his mouth, eyes darting in a panic. He said it, he said the name. A rush of adrenaline pulsed through me. I looked at Dib with excitement. He nodded and we said in unison.
Just one more time.
"No, Zim begs you NO!"
Suddenly GIR jumped out from the house and clamped himself to the back of Zims head. He took a breath and cried at the top of his little robotic voice.