Wow. Bet you didn't think I would ever update, hm? And now that it's been four years and I have a degree in English, this should finish up pretty well, and will hopefully be a good way for me to get back into the habit of writing. Special thanks to Sjonna for the review that got this chapter going. Thanks for reminding me about this story!

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The hardest part at first had been trying to decide whether or not to take Dib back to his base. After he had passed out, Zim began by restoring a portion of the boy's dignity and gently dressing him, wincing each time Dib moaned in pain. This did nothing to cover up the fact that the floor was slick with blood and still more seeped from Dib's unconscious form.

Zim paused, examining his enemy's injuries. Dib's right eye was nothing but a purple bruise, swollen and distorted. His bottom lip was split and oozing blood over his distorted jaw, mixing with the blood from his broken nose. Bruises on both wrists, peeking out from under Dib's perpetual trench coat, showed where the Professor had restrained Dib. Zim guessed some of his internal organs had probably sustained damage, and he likely had broken bones as well.

As Dib released another groan, Zim nearly lifted him from the floor and ran back to his base with him. But at the last moment, Zim stopped and jumped away from Dib's body in horror.

This is my enemy, Zim thought to himself, ENEMY. He is vile, and sneaky, and he does. . . stuff. And things. And other stuff that makes my mission difficult and hard. And not easy.

Another part of Zim seemed to disagree. I saw what his father did. If I leave the two of them here like this, Dib will get beat up again.

Not my problem, Zim rethought. In fact, it will probably get Dib out of my way enough to destroy the humans.

But another look at Dib, lying beaten and violated in his own home, made Zim kneel next to his former enemy, lift him carefully into his arms, and begin the trek back to his base.

After all, Zim thought, it's hardly a fair fight between us if other forces are interfering. Zim alone shall destroy the Dib, and none other.

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Back at his base, Zim quickly researched how to care for human injuries. Carefully pasting his hands, Zim applied ice to Dib's jaw and disinfectant to his various wounds. After discovering at least three broken ribs, Zim bound his torso as well. He found it odd to be in such close proximity with the Dib after three intense years of avoidance and disgust, but after spending several hours so near him, the awkward feeling gradually dulled to an occasional nudge of conscience. His unconscious body just wasn't threatening at all.

So much blood, Zim thought to himself, sitting next to the sleeping figure once his wounds had been cleaned. The bucket by his feet once held clean, soapy water, now tinted an odd, dark red from all the blood. Blood that Dib's own father had ripped from his son's body.

This brought deeper thoughts to Zim's mind. How could a father do such a thing to his own son? The yelling was one thing; from what Zim had gathered, all Earth parents yelled at their children to a certain degree. The physical abuse had startled Zim, who had never thought he would encounter such an atrocity. But the extent to which the professor had gone was much, much further than Zim ever thought he would sink.

Sexual abuse rarely occurred on Irk; if it did, offenders were swiftly punished, and none too gently, either. The mere thought of such things existing within a family unit boggled Zim's mind. On Earth, family held much more value, seeing as families on Irk had been replaced by calculated reproduction and training. The alien had presumed for some time that Dib's family was not very close, but never would have suspected something this drastic.

How long could this have been going on? Since high skool started, since Zim came to Earth, even longer? Question upon question built up in his mind until he could no longer stand it. He rose from his seat beside Dib and began pacing the small room.

"Computer, how long until the human is well?"

"Um... I don't know."

Zim sighed and stopped his agitated march. "Could you at least make an educated guess?"

"Approximately four days to one Earth week before the human is fully recuperated."

Zim cursed under his breath. Even using his knowledge of advanced Irken medicine, Dib was still taking too long to recover. Though he supposed, given the extent of his injuries, it made sense. "Very well," Zim responded. He needed to escape these morbid thoughts for a while. "Alert me when he regains consciousness."

"Affirmative."

His weary steps carried him out to the living room, where Gir sat staring, transfixed by some strange show on the tele-vishy thing. The echo of false sound was occasionally broken by Gir's maniacal giggling, which Zim supposed was also false in nature. But the robot's glee still made him feel better somehow. Unfortunately, a giggly, screaming, should-have-been-committed-last-decade robot was the last thing a recovering human needed.

"Hey Gir, do you want to go get tacos?"

The little robot turned toward Zim, eyes fixated on his master. For a few moments, Zim thought Gir had spontaneously shut down again, like after the peanut butter and arsenic incident. But Gir suddenly leapt from the couch and squeezed him with all his robot strength. "YAY! You love me!"

"Can't... breathe..." Zim gasped. Gir squealed and released him. He leapt toward the front door, donning his doggy suit as he opened it. Once Zim could breathe again, he handed Gir some of the strange trading paper humans used. "Here are some moneys. Get a... I don't know. Get your tacos and then do stuff and things. And keep your doggy suit on this time! We don't need more people complaining about naked dogs, or finding out that you are really a brilliant robot crafted specifically for an even more brilliant master!"

Gir just blinked and then disappeared in a puff of dust. Zim could hear him screeching down the street.

Zim considered both the crazed robot loose on human streets and the enemy human healing in his own base. "I hope I don't regret this," Zim sighed as he shut the door.

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I'm already working on the next chapter! YAAAY!!