I officially hate myself for writing this.

However, I'm overall pleased with this rendition of "Say No to This."

Dib could have said no.

Give me your thoughts, guys! Thank you!

Chapter 17- Say No to This

After that night, husband and wife barely spoke to one another. Gretchen had retired to their upstairs guest room, Zim was still downstairs with Amelia. It appeared the children had fallen asleep, Zinovia's head on Joshua's shoulder, and his head atop of hers, while Diana's head rested on her brother's lap. It was a sight to see the children that way, and it would be a shame to wake them. Dib looked at Amelia wearily as Zim stood, the men refusing to speak to one another as Zim crossed past him to retrieve his daughter and take her home.

"You two were talking this entire time?"

Her eyes were red, swollen, appearing just as exhausted as his. His attitude was taking a toll on her attempting to be brave and lively for the children. He leaned against the kitchen wall, inches away from the table as she didn't make motion to move. She held the handle of her coffee mug, her wedding band glinting against it as another wave of tears hit her. Her left hand covered her mouth as the choked sounds of sorrow were muffled, as intended. Her head bent down to release. Dib simply stood there, knowing well she would reject him if he tried.

Zinovia's head was on her father's shoulder, the Irken turned. Dib's hands in his pockets, while Amelia relieved herself of whatever was stirring inside of her. Irkens barely showed emotion. They felt it, expressed little of it aside from the glee of wining a battle, the depths of victory resonated well with the Irkens. Zim had felt many things in his duration here, admitting to himself that it was beneficial to learn from them first, as opposed to the immediate attack. He found he disliked the sound of a woman's cry, the smell of her tears as they fell. Gaz rarely cried, but when she did, Zim cringed.

And now here was the second influential woman to him, crying over her sad excuse for a husband that walked out on her, as opposed to making sure his mate was satisfied. If there was one thing Irkens prided themselves on was that they were loyal. And if Dib wasn't willing to be loyal to his wife in her time of need, then who would be?

"Get out of here, Zim," Dib said lowly. "This is not your place to be here."

"You're right, it's not," he said, finally. His eyes bore down at Amelia. "It's yours, Dib. And you're neglecting her."

The couple heard the steps of the Irken as he made his way towards the door, closing the door behind him. Amelia picked her head up, registering Zim's words in her head. She considered that to be the first time someone had ever stuck up for her before.

Dib and Amelia considered it best if she and Gretchen took the children upstate to visit her parents. The children deserved to see their grandparents, who often wrote and asked for them. Dib hailed a carriage for his family, the children hurried out with their aunt. The driver helped them apply the bags into their proper compartments before Dib glanced at Amelia. She had been silent throughout the morning, with the exception of telling the children to get ready. However, after a time, Gretchen took over.

Dib reached out and tucked two fingers beneath her chin, turning her head to face him. "As much as I hate him, Zim was right. And, I'm sorry."

She placed her hand over his, looking up at him. She removed his hand from her chin, kissing the palm of it before settling it back down.

"It'll be different when you come back, alright? I'll have everything figured out."

"I…look forward to having my husband back," she finally replied before stepping away from him. Gretchen held her arm out for her sister as she shot Dib a look and closed the door behind them.

A day or so after they had left, he wrote for Tak to come by to begin their work. The downstairs office was littered with papers, ink stains, which his shirt had also adopted. When her knock came at the door, he looked down at himself and headed to answer it.

"You look like shit."

"Thanks for noticing," he replied and moved so she could enter the house. "There's not much to eat, I'm afraid."

"I've brought something." She held up a basket. "I've heard it's customary to bring a gift when going to someone's home."

Dib blinked and accepted the basket. Crusty bread, some cheeses, and wine. It certainly would do, as he hadn't eaten decently since his wife had left. She filled in the blanks, when he forgot to eat, she reminded him. Now, he didn't have that.

"Thank you," he replied.

"Perhaps you should take a bath," she suggested next. "I'll keep myself busy down here."

In normal circumstances, Dib would never have invited a woman he barely met into his home, let alone allow her to order him around. Normally, he'd have his wife present. However, as exhausted as he was, he headed for the back where their bathroom was, already beginning to heat up water.

"When was the last time you got some decent rest?"

"I honestly can't remember," he replied.

"We can't work together if you don't rest up, Dib. I've told you that. I need you of sound mind in order for this to work."

"I can still talk while I'm in here," Dib replied. She could hear the shuffle of cloth as he removed them. He sniffed them and was prepared to burn them. They smelled like he had been living in them for weeks. The splash of water came next as he began the cleansing process.

Tak began to look around the house, the number of trinkets on their mantle, how homely and cozy they had designed their residence. It felt like no time at all when Dib returned with a fresh pair of black pants on, having to retrieve a shirt. In the meantime, he ran the towel over his hair as it stood on all ends when he was through, eliciting a laugh from the woman in his peripheral.

He blushed, almost forgetting she was present as she eyed him, one leg crossed over the other, holding a rather pleased smirk on her face. Instinctively, he looked to cover himself with the towel, which caused her to laugh harder and sent him up the stairs to retrieve his shirt before she could laugh any harder at him.

"So, tell me about your contact," Dib said from the upstairs bedroom.

"Remember when I said for you to keep an open mind?" She raised her tone. "Now is that time. My contact is of another alien race. We both know who and what Zim is, I've been at him for a while now trying to bring him down." She heard the footsteps as Dib descended the stairs two by two after he heard the words: another alien race.

"Which one!? There's more than one!? Tell me more!" His eyes were wide, his chest beginning to heave against his blue shirt that he finally found. He reached her and grasped her by her shoulders.

She eyed his hands upon her shoulders before slipping into a comfortable smile. "Dib, there are tons of alien races out there, if you believe it so. We have Zim and his people, the Irken race. And then there's my contact, The Meekrob. The Meekrob are not terribly fond of the Irken empire, and so long as we establish a peace treaty of sorts, I'm certain they'll leave Earth alone."

"How do you know of this?" Dib asked, breathless. His eyes were dewy with bliss at hearing that there truly was life out there.

"There's proof all over. Doctor Smite seems to be an expert, his accounts of reaching contact tell me that he's encountered several with his flashing light method."

"I know his work," Dib said with a grin. "People thought we were crazy. They locked Dr. Smite up!"

"Sometimes this world just isn't fair, Dib," she said. She felt his hands tighten on her before loosening, releasing her as he approached the basket, now having found his appetite as he tore off a piece of bread and took a large bite from it. She quirked a brow, before settling into a smile. She found his quirkiness charming, at the very least of what she could consider it.

"Tak, I don't think you realize how happy this makes me. I haven't felt like this in a long time. They all thought I was absolutely crazy. I was starting to think even my own wife thinks I'm crazy. She enjoys fraternizing with the enemy. She has Zim at our table like it's nothing."

The more he began to prattle on, she absorbed certain clues. "It sounds like Zim is trying to gain her trust."

"It does, doesn't it? She says it's to keep the peace."


"Zim's daughter is my niece."

"I didn't know Zim had offspring. Not that I care. But that would mean…" She paused. "I didn't think it was possible."

"Neither did I, but now she's here. And Amelia claims she's doing it so that the children have their cousin, which I won't deny them and she's a pleasant enough little girl. But, I don't like that he lingers here, and she allows it." The bread began to crumble in his hand as his hand balled into a fist.

"Your wife should be more supportive to your cause," Tak replied. "After all, isn't she on your side?"

"When we first met, she was."

Tak didn't like how it shifted from business to Dib complaining about his marriage. She would have to get this back on track if she wanted this to go right. Tak approached him and set her hands upon his shoulders, guiding him to the sofa. There was only one way to solve this issue, it was to let him vent until she found wiggle room.

"You need to sit and tell me everything. I'm a third party, I have no one to tell. Sometimes it helps to confide in a stranger."

"I don't feel I have much of a partnership with her anymore," Dib whispered as he was sat down. "God, is that terrible to say? I thought I'd be satisfied. I thought that this would help make my life more meaningful, worth living. I'm right back to feeling empty."

"It sounds like you're stressed. You love your wife, don't you?"

The reply was automatic, "Of course I love my wife." Even he heard it. It sounded mechanical. Tak gave him a look of disbelief as he bent his head down. This was down spiraling and fast. What made men happy? She rounded the corner and cautiously slid herself onto his lap, straddling his hips. Dib shot his head up, his initial bodily reaction to buck her off, but at the same time, wanted to buck inside of her.

His eyes trailed from their hips together, which seemed to fit nicely; there was something about that which he liked and continued to trail upward, the curve of her waist to her shapely heaving breasts through her gown. Slowly, he placed his hands to her hips, gently dragging her closer before he leaned forward. His mind struggled between pulling away and just going for it.

She was here. Tak believed in him, truly believed in him. There was no doubts to cross his mind it tried to rearrange his priorities. Two heads thought simultaneously and only one was going to win. Her youthful, hard body was refreshing, he painfully admitted. He wasn't going to begin comparing women, but he couldn't help what aroused him. Before he could stop himself, he was already motioning to kiss her. His lips made contact with hers.

Her eyes widened, never truly having been properly kissed in her life. And as much as she was an invader, here was this man invading her mouth with his own and he was conquering her. He was a challenge, and one that she liked. Truly, embedded with so much untapped potential. She leaned forward and returned his kiss, her hand resting to his cheek and drawing him further in.

He rose from the couch, now committing to this movement as he transported them from the living room towards the bedroom. His mind thought of nothing else right now. He was tired, and he was hungry. This was the missing factor that he needed and right now, that only she could provide. He looked at her hungrily from the moment he saw her back at City Hall and suppressed the urge with his responsibilities.

The only responsibility he desired at that moment was making her squeal.

When the two finished, Tak had felt things she one, didn't think she was allowed to feel and two, began streaming thoughts that were potentially dangerous. As much as she reasoned with herself to do this one time, she wanted more. Glancing to see the position of the moon, she determined when she should leave. It was high in the evening sky, as she should see from the wide bedroom window. She felt Dib's eyes on her before she shifted to leave the bed. His hand reached out to clutch her wrist softly.

"Stay the night?"

Tak, however, shook her head and continued to remove herself from the bed. She couldn't get attached. She shrugged her dress on, Dib threw his pants on to see her out the door. This would be a one-time thing, right?

She left in the dead of night, picking her pace up once she was out of view from Dib and gasped as she caught a figure that met her at the corner if Dib's block.

"Is the deed done?"

Tak crossed her arms over her chest. "If you truly must know? Yes, it's done."

The male stuffed his hands in his pockets, withdrawing a packet within a coin purse: herbs to prevent pregnancy. "Good. Then phase one is complete."

Dib wrote frequently to Amelia, perhaps out of guilt and maybe, also, to judge when she was to return home. Tak came over frequently where Dib decided to play house with this other woman. He washed the sheets every time she stopped by, so he could cleanly indulge in this sin in his marital bed. After several weeks, he stopped making it a daily ritual to cleanse the sheets. After Amelia informed him that she would remain until the summer's end.

Tak began to spend evenings over. One evening, after she had fallen asleep, he looked over his shoulder and to Tak. He knew what he was doing was wrong. His elbows dug into his thighs, thinking how this wronged Amelia on so many levels, however, he began to grow attached to Tak. He indulged in the newness she brought about, her demeanor was the adverse of Amelia's. Was it possible to love two women at the same time? She blanketed the complex feelings he had towards his wife. One of the relationships would have to end, though, for how much longer could he keep it up?

After a month and a half into his affair, Dib received a letter that dropped in his mail slot. He quirked a brow, as this envelope looking nothing like his wife's stationary. It didn't look like Zim's, either. He took precaution to study and see if he familiarized it with anyone he knew. Picking up the letter opener, he withdrew the paper from its casing and read the contents inside:

"Dear Sir,

I hope this letter finds you in good health. I feel the need to reach out to you because it appears that you are under intimate acquaintance with my wife, a one, Tak Reynolds. Now that I have your undivided attention, let's discuss retribution for this wrong that has been so committed on behalf of myself and your Mrs. Membrane. I desire a monetary compensation. If you do so comply, then you may continue to see my whore wife. Otherwise, I tell Mrs. Membrane. And because I know you well, I don't see that being a desirable option. And no, Zim knows nothing about this.

All the best,

Madge Reynolds."

Dib froze as he read with whom the letter was written by. Madge? She was "married" to Madge? Was she aware that Madge was an alien? Then it dawned on him like a ray of like breaking through the clouds. Although, he swore to himself. How did he not see this coming? His suspicions arose of her being one of them.

Just as Dib was torn in his thoughts, he heard Tak's familiar knock. "It's open," he said, voice cracked and disturbed.

She opened the door and entered to find Dib with the letter in his hands. "What's wrong? Who is that from?"

"Don't act innocent. I can't believe I didn't see this," he whispered. "You're…one of them?" He asked as he turned his head towards her. Her face dropped. That confirmed all he suspected. "Your "husband"? Madge is your husband? Mate? Whatever!"

"Dib, there's no need to shout," she said, holding her hands up in defense. "Just allow me to explain!"

"How could you extort me like this?"

She saw the pain in his eyes, having an inkling that he was more upset at the extortion than her being Irken. She needed to know.

"What are you more upset about right now?"

"About being betrayed," he said. "I should have known you were Irken. No human woman acts like that in bed and lasts that long." He walked into the kitchen to get himself a drink, pouring the whiskey from the decanter and into a glass. He took a heavy swig, glancing back in the hallway where Tak still stood. She appeared so helpless, uncertain of what to do or how to react. If this was solely about extortion, she would have done something clever as she had in the beginning.

He returned with his drink and did the unthinkable. He offered her some. "I want to see," Dib said softly. "Show me your Irken form."

Her head snapped up in shock. "Wh-what?"

"I think I deserve that much," he said flatly. When she refused the drink, he returned it back to his range and took another swig.

Tak hesitated. She wrapped her arms around herself and looked away. Exposing herself as a naked and pretend human woman was one thing. She was quite proud of the body she had created. It was a whole other to expose herself as an Irken female. The slap of his feet against the hardwood floor caused her to slowly look up to meet his gaze as he gestured to upstairs, closing the front door and locking it.

She followed him, feeling her heart pound against her chest with rising anxiety. Was this simply out of hurt? Did Dib have intention of hurting her? Either way, she was preparing to defend herself. If Dib hadn't realized it by now, she could easily kill him if she wanted two with simply two fingers. Entering the bedroom, Dib again closed the door behind the two of them. He sat down at the edge of the bed, extending an arm for her to present herself.

She hadn't realized that her arms were still wrapped around her. She complied because she trusted Dib on some level, their physical connection had grown on her and that was a danger in itself; she knew that all too well. She reached down into the slit of her dress, where she clicked a device similar to the one Madge had used to give he, Zim, and Skoodge their human covers. Her skin was a softer green than Zim's. Her eyes were a deep hue of purple and violet, with antennae that curled as thickly as her lashes. She didn't notice, but she was slightly trembling.

Dib stared at her intently, letting her shake for a moment before he stood up. He thought seeing her in her natural skin would have repulsed him enough to end this adventure he had embarked on with her. He set his drink on the floor before approaching her. However, seeing her this way only made him want her more. And it occurred to Dib that it wasn't the Irken race he despised, but Zim.

Tak didn't threaten Earth, she threatened wanting to exact her revenge on Zim. He personally had no problems with that. He curled his arm around her waist, drawing her to him. Her antennae bounced with the movements as her eyes never left his. Every ounce of him said he should have ended the affair when it began.

"Do you want this to end?" Dib asked, finding that he wanted her input.

Tak hesitated again. She should have been repulsed by humans. She found them ridiculous, horrendously ignorant and not worth her time. But Dib had a brain, he had ideas. He was less obnoxious than her counterparts home. If this ended, that's what she had to look forward to. She treaded dangerous ground, especially when she shook her head and replied,


"Then, no one has to know," Dib said against her lips before devouring them once more.