The air was crisp, enveloping the city in that icy grip it always seemed to have during this time of the year. Everything was white save for the red and green decorations clinging to nearly every house and building in the city it seemed. The month was December which meant Christmas was approaching fast. It was a time of cheer and good will towards all mankind...well...most of mankind at least. For a certain 17 year old hi-skool student, it was a time of gloom and bad memories. While the rest of the world celebrated this joyous time of the year, he spent most of his time indoors, locked in his room, just praying that the holidays would pass quickly so he could get on with his life. He hated this time of the year, especially when he had to leave his house for reasons beyond his control. Today was no exception.
Skool still hadn't let out for winter break which meant two more weeks of abuse, mental and physical, from the other students. Dib Membrane was the most tormented soul attending that poor excuse for a skool establishment. Even his worst enemy had things better than he, himself, had it, and Zim hated everything about that place. He hated the teachers, he hated the students, but most of all, he hated Dib. And yet, here stood Dib, still the most miserable student in the city.
Zim hadn't changed much over the years. After 6 years on Earth, he was still the same self-centered and bloodthirsty maniac he had been when he first landed on Earth. Still out to destroy the planet, Dib rarely got any breaks from the green menace. If he wasn't plotting some scheme to take over the world, he was busy doing everything in his power to humiliate Dib. Much to Dib's disappointment, the Irken had managed to grow a few feet taller which just boosted his determination; however, he was nowhere near Dib's height. That was one victory Dib would hold over the Irken as long as he lived, and he loved reminding Zim that he was still taller than him. Anything he could use to piss off the Irken, he considered a victory for Earth. But at this time of the year, he could care less about the Earth.
Trudging through the snow at a slow pace, he shivered as the snowflakes continued to float down from the sky, covering everything in a soft, powdery blanket of white. Everybody he passed seemed happy and carefree. He couldn't stand it. Sighing to himself, his breath came out as a plume of white mist, clouding up his glasses once more. He was cold despite the layers and layers of clothes he was wearing underneath his trademark trench coat. Fixing his scarf to better fit around his neck and pulling his trench coat tighter around him, he huddled in on himself more to keep warm. He had to walk a little faster or else he'd be late for skool AGAIN. No doubt his sister, Gaz, would beat the shit out him if he made her late again too.
Back at Zim's lair, Gir was sitting on the couch in his disguise and watching some horrible commercials. It was morning, and Zim was down in his lab working on something. He thought it was still night, so he worked until he looked up the clock and jumped with a yell. "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! GIR!"
He quickly threw all his work away and rushed to the elevator, pressing the elevator calling button. He was so nervous and he was pushing the button so many times so quickly, the elevator got stuck, causing a shocked expression to come to Zim's face. "WHAT THE HECK?! COMPUTER! FIX THE ELEVATOR!"
"Elevator repairing....It will take three hours to repair."
Zim almost fell over. "THREE HOURS?!"
Zim quickly looked around to find a quick way to get up to the house level of the base. He found the chute he sometimes used to get rid of the garbage he found in Gir's head and rushed over to it to get a quick lift. It only took a moment before he was exiting through the trashcan. He ran towards Gir."GIR! I TOLD YOU TO KEEP AN EYE ON THE CLOCK SO I WOULDN'T BE LATE FOR SCHOOL! The children...WHAT IF THEY SUSPECT SOMETHING?!" Zim yelled, putting his disguise on.
Gir merely responded with a,"Ooooooooooooooooh yeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaa....I forgot. A muffin man scared me!"
Zim gave Gir a confused look before quickly running out of his base. "Watch the base, Gir! Don't disappoint me!"
Gir responded by waving a hand.
Running out of his base as quickly as possible, he didn't even bother paying attention to where he was going. Before he could get too far, however, he ran smack into the Dib, knocking him over in the process. Being a total jerk, he just yelled, obviously not realizing it was his own fault. "WATCH WHERE YOURE GOING, STUPID EARTH CHILD!"
Dib sat up with a groan, his cheek stinging from how hard he had hit the icy pavement. He just knew it was going to be a bad day, and this was proof. Of all the people he could have run into, it just had to be HIM. Running a hand up and down his sore and swelling cheek, he snapped back at the other when he heard those words leaving his mouth. "Why don't YOU watch where YOU'RE going, you jerk?! You ran into me!" he said as he got back up off the ground onto his feet once more to brush some of the snow off of his trench coat.
He stood in silence and gave Dib a curious look, a cricket in the background making a "chirp" noise before screaming out that old, familiar phrase. "...YOU'RE LYING!"
Dib merely rolled his eyes before turning to leave. He didn't have time for Zim's stoopidness. He was sure they would be late for skool now thanks to Zim. "Whatever." he threw back at the disguised alien as he started picking up his walking pace a bit more to try and catch up with his sister, who had just continued on her way, determined not to let Dib make her late for skool again this week.
The alien felt a little insulted at the way Dib DARED to just walk away. Then he was surprised that Dib hadn't said anything about Zim being an alien or about related stuff like dissecting him. So he just stood up before yelling back at the retreating human. "Why aren't you saying something today?!" he asked, giving the back of Dib's head a confused look. "Are you SCARED in your PANTS?! Making your big head look...em...bigger?!" he questioned with an evil, little smirk.
Dib stopped in his tracks, shooting a glare back over his shoulder at the disguised Irken. "My head's not big! And I'm not scared of YOU! I'm just tired of having to fight with you every single day! I've got enough crap to deal with in my life without you, so why don't you just leave me alone for once?!" he retorted, his bad mood growing to a point where he could hardly stand it anymore. The day had barely started and already he wanted it to be over. It was normal for him to get this way around the holidays, but very few people knew the cause of his anger around this time of the year. Only his father and sister knew the reason for his sudden bursts of anger and frustration, though they never mentioned it, either to him or anyone else.
Before Zim could respond again with some smartass comment, Dib turned back around to storm away once more to skool, leaving one very confused and speechless Zim staring after him. He reached skool as late as he figured he'd be which didn't help his mood in the least. After being yelled at by his biology teacher for being late, he decided to take a seat as far in the back of the room as he possibly could. He already had some of the best grades in the class, so the teacher wouldn't care where he sat. Taking a seat near one of the windows, he pulled out a beat up old notebook with various notes and doodles in it. Finding a page that was still fairly blank, he began to draw more pictures of things like aliens, werewolves, and vampires on it, letting his mind wander every couple of minutes as he stared out the window at the falling snow. After about ten minutes of waiting, he looked up at the clock, wondering whether Zim was actually coming to class or not. It seemed as though he had been ready to head to skool when he had ran into Dib.
Zim was walking to skool slowly, forgetting that he was REALLY REALLY late. He had a confused and even slightly sad look on his face as he stared down at his feet. He was thinking about the large-headed boy, who had just yelled at him. He was never spoken to like that, so he didn't know how to react. And here he was, thinking about Dib. 'What's wrong with the stink boy? He's NEVER told me to leave him alone. He's always trying to track me down every day, taking stoopid photos, and yelling something like, I know who you are, Zim!"'
The alien stopped and looked forward with a little surprise on his face. '....He's not trying to stop me anymore.'
He remembered times when Dib was himself. Then his eyes widened, and he shook his head quickly. 'UGH! WHY DO I EVEN CARE?! SO he's not trying to dissect me today! BIG DEAL! Perhaps this is even better than I thought!'
An evil smirk grew on his face. 'Maybe I can even do something REALLY evil! AND HE WON'T BE ABLE TO STOP ME UNTIL THE TASTE OF DOOM COMES TO THE HUMANS! MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAA!!!.....Hahaha...hahaha...hah...'
He waved that thought away with a hand, his facial expression becoming sarcastic. 'Oh, forget it. The evil laugh is so much more fun when I know that Dib is actually trying to stop me.'
Still, Zim was sad that Dib wasn't acting like himself, and he wanted to know exactly WHY his Dib was like that...Wait a minute! DID HE JUST SAY "HIS DIB?!" He wanted to make the human's problems go away, so he decided to just ask him what was wrong when he got to class...Wait a minute... "AAAAAAAAAAAAAH! THE SCHOOOOOOOOOOOOOL!" He began to run...again. He had an ingenious plan thought out earlier for today, but it seemed to have gotten censored in his brain as he remembered how late he was for skool.
The entire class, including Dib, snapped their heads up at the loud "BANG!" that came with Zim's entrance. He seemed to be out of breath as he threw the classroom door open. Panting heavily, he tried to regain his composure. The biology teacher lecturing at the front of the classroom stopped his teaching almost the second Zim came barging into the room and turned to glare at the disguised alien. "Zim! You're late!" Zim brought up a finger, ready to explain his tardiness but was cut off by the teacher before he could even get a word in. "I want none of your excuses, Zim! Just take your seat and see me after class. Same goes for you, Dib!" he sent Dib a pointed look before turning back to continue his lecture. Hopefully there would be no more interruptions during his last 15 minutes of class time.
Dib cursed under his breath. He had really hoped the teacher had forgotten about him. Most likely, he'd give them both detention or pile them up with loads of extra homework. Either way, it would just be more crap he'd have to deal with in his life. He watched Zim scramble past the teacher to take a seat near the middle back of the classroom before returning back to his doodle.
Zim sat at his table, looking at Dib a little suspiciously and sometimes sadly, knowing that throwing a note to him would be too risky as the teacher was already angry. So he just sat there looking back and forth between Dib and the classroom clock. He looked at Dib sadly, then at the clock curiously, then back at Dib sadly, then at the clock curiously again and...You get the point, right?
The class dragged on for what felt like hours before the bell finally rang, signaling a ten minute break for students to get a drink, use the bathroom, and get whatever books they needed for their second period classes. As the rest of the students flooded out into the hallway, Dib and Zim remained behind to receive whatever punishment their biology teacher had planned for them. Standing in front of the teacher's desk, they both fidgeted nervously as they waited to hear what they'd have to do this time. As the teacher finished answering some last minute questions, he turned to face the two boys before him. Taking a seat at his desk and folding his hands neatly in front of him, his fingers intertwined, he breathed out a calming breath of air, settling his eyes on the two boys in front of him, glaring. "Before I punish you, would either of you care to tell me why you're always late to my class?"
Dib was the first to speak up, shooting a glare at Zim. "Well, I wouldn't have been late if it weren't for Zim."
The teacher sighed at that answer. "You use that excuse every week, Dib. It's getting old. And I'm tired of you both interrupting my class. It distracts the other students. But nothing ever seems to work. No matter what I do, it's always the same story with you two. 'Zim this!' 'Dib that!' I can't take it anymore! Perhaps what you two need is a lesson on working together. We'll be beginning a section on sexual reproduction after Winter Break. I'd like you two to work on a 10 page presentation on that...together. You're going to present it in front of the class after the holidays since you don't seem to care that much about my own teaching. I'd like to see how well you do teaching a class. I'll look over it, of course, to make sure all your facts are straight. You can either turn it in before or after Winter Break, but I expect the both of you to work on it. And because it's such a huge section in our biology books, I'm making it worth 50% of your final grade. Now, how does that sound?" he smirked evilly at them.
Time seemed to stand still as all the life just completely drained out of Dib's face. "W..What....? You want us to...NO! We can't! Please! Anything but that!" he pleaded, the room seeming to spin as all the blood rushed back to his face in a deep, red blush. He didn't dare look over at Zim as he kept his eyes glued to the ground.
The teacher simply shook his head. "You should have thought of that before you came late to my class."
Zim stood there, his body shaking all over. He was so surprised that his eye was twitching. His face turned pink. He slowly pointed a shaking finger to the teacher. "...You're...you're mad..."he whispered and covered his face with two hands. What the Irk...?" He suddenly got into one of his typical Zim poses. "HAVE YOU GOT BRAIN MAGGOTS?!" he screamed, not even knowing what a maggot was but using it anyways. "I DON'T EVEN WANT TO! And what if I don't accept this?" he asked, blushing and crossing his arms angrily, his eyes closed.
The teacher didn't seem at all phased by Zim's stubbornness. "Well, if one of you refuses to do it, then you both fail and get to take my class all over again next year. You may not care all that much about your grade in this class seeing as how you're already not doing well in it, but I'm fairly sure Dib is more concerned about his grades." he shifted his eyes from Zim to Dib.
Dib's eyes had snapped open at that last part as he whipped his head up to look at his teacher in disbelief. "WHAT?! You mean if Zim doesn't help me with this then I fail too?! That's not fair!" Dib protested. He just couldn't fail this class! Not only would he be held back and have to take the class again, but his father would surely kill him if he failed a class that fell into the science category. And to make matters worse, he'd be taking the class with his sister. He shuddered at that thought. As much as he loved her, she scared the living hell out of him half the time. He didn't think he could handle it.
The teacher simply shrugged. "Remember, this is a teamwork assignment. Either the both of you work together on this and pass the class, or you fail and join me again next year. It's up to you."
A hesitant moment of silence passed before Dib spoke up in a quiet voice. "We'll do it..." He wasn't going to let Zim's unwillingness to work ruin his grade. He looked back down at the ground just knowing Zim had to be giving him one of those "You're crazy!" looks.
The teacher smiled and nodded in response. "Very well, then. The both of you are free to go."
Dib just kept his head bowed, watching his feet as he proceeded to leave the classroom. He couldn't believe he was caught in this situation. But he wouldn't fail this class, even if he had to write up the entire presentation himself.
Zim watched Dib with a slightly angry and blushing face. "I..."he threw a finger up in the air with his eyes closed, still blushing. "...hate you." he pointed at Dib with a slightly annoyed look. "Now that I'm stuck with your filthy filthiness...Um..." he closed his eyes as hard as he could. "When and where shall we do it?" he asked through his teeth, his fists shaking. The alien hated that teacher...but he thought he could at least find out what was upsetting Dib so much that he wasn't being...well...Dib.
Dib stopped at his locker to drop his books off and grab the ones he'd need for his next class, Zim still following behind him. The question caught him off guard for a moment. Zim was actually going to help him with this? Turning back to face the alien, he gave Zim a truly curious look. "Do you even know anything about...you know...human reproduction...I mean...have you done any research on it in all the time you've been here?" he asked, feeling his face warm up considerably at what he was asking the other. The situation was already awkward enough as it was, but this! This was the last thing Dib thought he'd ever be asking his worst enemy!
He vaguely wondered whether Irken's reproduce in a way similar to humans but quickly shook that thought from his head. From what he had learned throughout the years about Irkens, nearly everything was different and "superior" as Zim put it. He highly doubted it would be anything like how a human reproduced.
At the moment, he was more concerned about how they were going to come up with 10 pages of information on this topic. Dib knew for a fact that he, himself, would just barely be able to come up with enough information to cover 5 pages, and he doubted Zim, even if he did know some things, would be able to come up with the other half, with or without Dib's help. It would be even worse if Zim didn't know anything. That would mean Dib would have to actually teach him this stuff just to pull this assignment off! Ew!
Dib's face paled completely except for his cheeks which were still a bright red. He felt sick to his stomach suddenly, just wishing he could go home and hide in his room. His thoughts taking over, he completely zoned out on the alien for a few moments.
The alien blushed and scratched the back of his head. "Well...ummmm...uh....hmmmmm...." He nervously smiled and shrugged.
Dib blinked his eyes a few time, everything coming back into focus just in time to catch the alien's response to his question. His eyes grew wide and his body began to shake as he brought both of his shaking hands up to cover his face. He couldn't believe this was happening to him. He closed his eyes tightly and shook his head in disbelief. "Oh, God...P...Please tell me you're joking." This was too much. A moment of silence passed, the alien staring blankly at him. Dib peaked out between his fingers at the Irken standing in front of him. Slowly, he pulled his hands away to give Zim a rather pathetic look before looking away shyly. "O...okay..." he finally spoke in a silent voice. Ummm...I...I guess we can meet sometime tomorrow since it's Saturday. J...just bring your book tomorrow morning. We c...can work on it at my house." he stuttered out. "And, Zim. Do me a favor and read through the section tonight. I can explain anything you don't understand later." he just knew his blush had to be ten times worse by now.
The bell rang, signaling their second class was about to begin. While the rest of the students left in the hallway hurried to their next classes, Dib just stood there with his back to his locker, holding his books. As much as he wanted to leave, he felt frozen in place.
Zim was rushing to class, a little confused, but when he saw Dib not going to class, he yelled at him that the school bell had rang and rushed away to the class still confused.
Dib looked up as the Irken called out to him, his eyes tired. He didn't respond but just watched until the alien was out of sight. He felt worn out now that Zim had left, all the color draining from his features, leaving him a very sickly, pale color. In fact, he felt sick.
When the last of the students had left the hallways, he pushed away from his locker so he could make his way to one of the skool bathrooms. He wasn't quite ready to go to class yet where he'd have to face not only Zim but his teacher as well. Once he had reached the bathroom, he pushed the door open and dropped his backpack by the door so he could grip one of the sinks tightly. Looking up into the mirror right in front of him, he could see dark circles forming under his eyes. He hadn't been sleeping well the past couple of nights, which wasn't helping his current state at all. Filling the sink up with water, he splashed his face a few times in an attempt to regain at least some of his composure before he went to his next class.
When he felt he had calmed down at least somewhat, he turned off the water and dried his face with a paper towel. Taking one last deep breath, he picked up his things and headed to class. Upon entering his history class, everybody including Zim looked up. As expected, he got a stern scolding from his history teacher for being late, but he didn't care. He merely sank into his seat and closed his eyes in a tired fashion until class was over.
Zim was looking over at Dib the entire time. He still wanted to ask him what was wrong with him but felt like he shouldn't. He couldn't WAIT to find out what these human...um...thingies were and why the Dib's face turned red every time he said anything about those things. He knew that it had something to do with the love-thingy, but he wasn't sure. He only knew the human non-tongue kisses but had no idea about the "advanced, fun love." So he felt like he should do some research. Then Dib would explain these things if he couldn't understand them. But now he was watching Dib with still slightly confused eyes.
The bell rang. Thankfully class hadn't dragged on for what felt like hours this time. They only had one more class to go before lunch time: advanced math class. It was a fairly easy class...for Zim and Dib at least. Dib's strongest subjects had always been in math and science, though he found both boring as hell. At least they had a nice math teacher. She was one of the only nice teachers the skool had to offer, and she was young. Dib liked her. She always seemed to be smiling and was the only teacher that didn't yell at him, even when he came in late. It was a nice change for him.
He entered her class, this time on time, and took his seat. She seemed to notice that he looked ill because she mentioned him going home to get some rest, but he declined. It wouldn't help at the moment. If anything, it would just make things worse for him. He didn't want to have to make up skool work. So he stayed, waiting for class to end so he could go to lunch, not that he felt much like eating at the moment. If anything, he just wanted to sit somewhere quiet for a while to get his thoughts together. They only had two more classes left after lunch: gym and English. If he could just get through those then he'd be home free. That was easier said than done.