Author: Maiden of the Moon PM
I am strong enough to stand alone . . . but there is strength in numbers. [ZADR, rated for language and implied slash.]Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Drama/Romance - Zim & Dib - Words: 2,443 - Reviews: 23 - Favs: 49 - Follows: 3 - Published: 01-04-06 - Status: Complete - id: 2737332
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: Nothing belongs to me.
Author's Note: This one was inspired by school and quite a few of my "friends."
Warnings: Implied slash, mild fluff, switching POVs. And before anyone asks, the desk arrangements in Ms. Bitter's class does NOT APPLY here—I imagine that they were rearranged for detention purposes. This fic relies on the hidden ZADR messages in episodes like "Mopiness of Doom," "The Trial," and "Room With a Moose." (Please note that MoD is an UNAIRED episode; only the audio exists. You can get it by buying the Zim House Set with extras disk. As for TT, it was only outlined—its outline can be found on roomwithamoose(dot)com.)
PS. The quote at the end. . . it's sort of more a foreshadow of what, I believe, is to come. XD
"I may be little now, but
I WILL GROW
And this is something you should know:
The child you pick on when you play
Will be the one on top someday.
'Cuz I'm too cunning, strong-willed, and wise
TO BE HELD DOWN
By tormentor's ties.
Sneers and jeers throughout the years have only made me stronger,
To keep both feet on solid ground, to stand up one day longer.
So tease me 'cuz I'm poor or strange,
Poke fun of the clothes I'm made to wear.
And all the while, I smile, I smile
On through my day and on my way. . .
Without the slightest care."
— "King of the Mountain;" Jaki Grier
I watch the skool children through the detention room window; they're smiling and laughing, talking animatedly to one another. A girl waits by the jungle gym for another female earthenoid. Males of all sizes joke and snicker and lift stuff.
It's quite sickening. I feel my lip curl in disgust.
Filthy humans, stinking humans. Always together—as if joined by unseen forces. They're like one gigantic beast. . . one disgusting mass. Friends and families, lovers and babies; they cuddle and hold and support and cherish.
How pathetic. Do they truly think they'll evolve this way? With all of these flaws clinging to their primitive brains? Excess; damaged programming. . .
The Irken Invaders would never let this happen— we are so much more advanced. We see with open eyes, not gazes clouded with worry and ideals, affection and needs. We are not so veiled. If there is a weak link, we cut them from the chain—!
—. . .
. . . they cut them from the chain.
I imagine that makes me weak, yes? Susceptible to all of the human's grime; their luuuv, fears, revolting desires, and such? Unworthy to be an Irken, much less an Invader. . . ?
Ironic; I wanted so badly to prove myself this time, to show the Tallest that I could be a good Invader— a great Invader— if only I was given the chance. So what if I wasn't tall, or that my record spoke against me. I destroyed more than the others during Operation Impending Doom 1! I'd exceeded during training; I always found a way to win.
Except this time.
I suppose I just never wanted to hear the truth, even if it was staring me in the face. Maybe I was. . . afraid. As astonishing a concept as it is to grasp. . .
Perhaps I am susceptible. To all of it. All of it. . .
Not that it matters anymore. The Tallest have spoken. They told me that they don't ever want to see me again—and block all of my transmissions to prove it. That is their way: break the news, rub it in, let the wound fester. . . until it drives the recipient insane. They crush lives for fun, my Tallest do.
But I didn't let them have their fun with me; I never cried. (Even then I won!) See, I am superior to humans even in grief! Instead, I fought and screamed and tried to hack into the Massive; regardless, my attempts were fruitless. It has been a year since then. . . I still live on this ball of dirt.
And I still plan to rule it.
For I am not one to give up, not Zim! I have been through all of this before—over and over, since the day I was activated. Tossed from planet to planet, organization to organization, as soon as my peers tired of me. I grew watching my fellows make bonds and connections; find mates and—the lucky ones—become taller.
But that is fine. Excellent, even. It's easier to control an empire without the advice and pestering of others. It's simpler to only worry about yourself. It's more. . . peaceful when no one else is around.
So perhaps the others' aren't, not even the most elite Invaders. . .
But I will show them all. I am strong enough to stand alone.
Damn, I hate them— all of them! Those idiots I can see playing and yelling on the playground. The morons I've been surrounded by all of my life; the peers I've been forced to spend nearly 9 hours a day with. There they are, relaxing, having a good time, while I sit in here and suffer with spaceboy for trying to save them from their upcoming destruction! Why don't they ever listen? Why don't they ever open their eyes? Why don't they ever. . . ?
Why don't they ever give me a chance?
Why didn't they ever give me a chance? I remember, as a little kid, sharing my plush Bigfoot with a neighbor, only to have it stuffed in my mouth and then kicked to the ground. The same with my plastic aliens, and my picture book on Nostradamas.
Repeatedly. Endlessly. Teasing and bullying and bruises and scrapes.
The rest of my childhood wasn't much better; though I suppose it's not over with yet, is it? I still have a few years to go before I'm, officially, no longer a kid. Not that I think things will improve once I reach that point. People will always be stupid and cruel, no matter how old they are.
I've decided that's the one thing I can count on when it comes to humanity. Their thoughtlessness, their blindness. Always so oblivious to the hurt they cause; or, if they do realize the damage their words wreak, too cold to care.
At least, in my case.
But that's fine. I've gotten used to it—the snickers in class, the hissed words in the hall, the wedgies in the bathrooms. It hurt at first, I guess, but in the end it's like cleaning a bathroom: not pleasant, but you tolerate it until the job is done. Or, in this case, 'til skool is over.
And, in the end, though I hate my life, that won't prevent me from living it. If not for my cause, then to prove to everyone I meet afterwards that I'm not crazy. That I'm not full of lies.
And that I'm strong enough to stand alone.
Seconds crawled, minutes slugged, an hour came and went. Only one more to go. . . the boys stared out the dirty window for a long time, oblivious to the others' stares. Eternity was oozing along, leaving them behi—
The rustle of paper and the cold brush of a glove suddenly jolted Dib from his state of half-slumber, startled to glance down and find a note on his desk. (No one ever passed him notes, so the find in and of itself left him flabbergast, but the fact that it obviously came from Zim—?) As Ms. Bitters was no where to be seen (not that either was complaining about that), he curiously glanced down and read the messy scrawl. (Better than counting clouds, anyway.)
You realize that you will suffer greatly for this horrible waste of time, yes? Your trick with the pencil during class will cost you dearly, human Dib. Tell me—was it worth it?
The child glanced up to make a face at Zim—some sort of victorious smirk, perhaps—but stopped short. Why bother? That would just end the argument before it had begun. . . and God, he was bored enough to do just about anything. Even exchange notes with Zim. So instead he quickly wrote:
Was it worth WHAT?
He lobbed the little piece of paper foreword, to the desk in front of him. As he had nothing else to do, he watched Zim scan the answer, then jot a reply. The ball bounced off of his glasses a second later.
Was it worth it to save your doomed companions, pig smelly. The companions who taunt and tease you, call you names and insult your every movement.
". . ." Despite himself, Dib smiled weakly—at both the question and the expression on the alien's face when he sent back his answer. Probably not.
Probably not. Earth can be a rotten place, Zim. I never denied that. Most people are as horrible as you claim they are.
Zim read the scrap and frowned, eyes narrowing. He seemed slightly surprised by the response, but mostly irritated. And yet you still won't let me destroy it?
It's the principle of the thing. Besides, you're horrible, too.
Perhaps. But I'm superior.
The boy snorted, fully aware of what had happened to the short invader nearly 12 months previous. (It was hard not to remember an incident that included Gir leaping through his bathroom window and begging him to go give his master 'happy candy' (Whatever the hell that meant.).) No, you're a cosmic joke, he scribbled, before nonchalantly passing the note back.
. . . then waiting.
. . . a rather long time.
. . . ten minutes, actually. And, for a brief moment during that span, Dib began to regret being so crude. After all, wasn't it just a few minutes ago that he was cursing humans for being insensitive? Though he wasn't anything close to a person, it made sense that Zim, too, had feelings (not that he usually cared).
But then, surprisingly, a fresh orb of loose leaf connected with the 'investigator's nose. And left a paper cut. Ow.
(Scribblescribbleblackedoutscribblescribble) I'm still more superior then you, Earth boy. Besides, what does it matter? This planet is a cosmic joke. Did you know that the Irken Armada didn't even bother marking it on the intergalactic map? That's how worthless your puny little Earth is. What do you have to say about that, Dib-monster?
Dib considered saying 'well, that shows how 'competent' they think you are as an Invader,' but decided against it. The prospect of having nothing else to do but stare at the playground for another 45 minutes was a horrible one. Ergo, he chose his next words very carefully. (Rather, as carefully as he could during a spur-of-the-moment conversation.)
I say that it must have really sucked to have been so looked down upon by your community that you were sent on a joke mission for their amusement.
He lobed the note at Zim, and then, before the Irken could reply, passed him another. Without even realizing what he was saying, truth be told.
We're really not all that different, you know. Just on opposite sides of the metaphorical fence, what with you wanted to kill all humans and me wanting to sa—(scribblescribble) not let you kill them.
". . ."
There was a brief pause. . . then the Invader's pen began to move furiously, snake-like tongue bit lightly between his teeth. A response was smacked upon Dib's desk a beat later; the Irken remained twisted in his seat—watching the addressee intently. (The child couldn't help but flush a bit, flustered by this, as he read the note.)
Fine, the short letter said bluntly. How about I don't kill them, then, and use them as slaves, instead? Either will do, really. Would that be acceptable?
The boy, upon comprehending this, did a small double take—having to look over the thing twice, than three more times. Did Zim just. . . just try to make a compromise with him? A compromise? Barely able to swallow his shock, Dib forced down a brief, skeptical reply.
Why does it matter what I say? It's not like you really plan on changing your schemes, right?
He pushed the note forward an inch or so; Zim chuckled, jotting a lengthy response near the top of the page. A little Irken flag doodle followed the paragraph. And as he set down his writing utensil, he smirked, casting Dib an oddly sly look.
Perhaps. . . perhaps not. But you, despite your low-grade upbringing, have a few brains in that gargantuan head of yours. And just because I'm able to take over the world by myself, doesn't mean I wouldn't say no to a little company. Things would be admittedly less interesting with you around; I'd hate to have to kill you.
'A few brains. . . wouldn't say no. . . admittedly less interesting? Is this Zim's idea of complementing me—of making a proposition?' The small child stared flatly at the paper in his hands for what felt like days, mind whirling. Work WITH Zim? To overtake the world? To enslave all of its people? To turn his back on—?
On. . .
Dib grinned; albeit a bit shyly, but widely nonetheless.
I suppose I could use a change of pace.
I have always had the strength to stand alone; it comes naturally to those living the sort of life I've led. So don't interpret my actions as weak, or as a cry of loneliness. It was really more a whim. . . an experiment. To see if, perhaps, the strength I always thought I had wasn't actually there. . . If it was just in my head.
After all, it's not as if I've ever had the chance to lean on someone else when things got bad. I've never had anyone there to help me, or motivate me. I've been alone. Does that truly make me strong, or just weak in another way?
Maybe there really is strength in numbers.
I guess we'll see.
"'Cause you're everywhere to me
And when I close my eyes, it's you I see
You're everything I know that makes me believe
I'm not alone. . .
I'm not alone."
— "Everywhere"; Michelle Branch
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