Chapter 10

They all sat quietly in the now-larger vessel, watching the stars pass by, assessing the ship's dimensions, or playing card games.

"Zim, why don't you join us?" Medea asked, looking at her pitiful hand of cards, exasperated. "I doubt you could be any worse than I am."

Zim turned to eye the players of the card game contemplatively. Medea picked another card off the deck, frowning. She looked at him with pleading eyes, mouthing "be on my team, please". Gir was sitting beside her, munching thoughtfully on the corner of one of his cards. He showed his hand to Medea in the hopes that he might have gotten a pair in the ten seconds since he had asked before. She looked over, giving him another negative sign, but smiling hopefully. Gaz , who was sitting across from her mother, beside Dib, wasn't giving away what her hand was, expression blank. She looked up to smile at Zim encouragingly, though. Dib picked up a card, and beaming brightly, pulled the match from his hand and placed them on the floor. He flicked his gaze up to Zim.

"Yeah, Zim. Unless you're afraid of losing..."

"Zim does not lose!" He set the ship to auto-pilot, striding over to the players and sitting down beside Medea. She dealt him seven cards from the deck and explained the rules quickly. Zim nodded, noting that between Dib and Gaz there were eight pairs, whereas Medea and Gir possessed only three. He grinned darkly.

"This will be a humiliating defeat, Dib!"

Dib just smirked back.


Three hours later the game was over and Zim was fuming. He glared at the excessive grin plastered on Dib's face. "Ha! Take that, space boy!"

"Whatever, Dib. We all know the reason you won was merely because of the competence of your sister, not you."

"What? Your delusional!"

Gaz snickered, watching the two amusedly as her mother braided another strand of her hair. Medea smiled, gathering this meaningless bickering was common between the two.

Barry and Jack looked up from their current arm-wrestling match to watch the show.

"I know you are but what am I?" Zim retorted.

Dib paused to eye the alien oddly. "That was extrememly lame, Zim. Even coming from your demented alien mouth."


"What's so funny?!"

"You say that was lame, but it is the same line you used on me two days ago, insolent pig-child!" Zim snapped, eyeing Dib superiorly. He smirked as he heard the others' laughter.

Even Medea chuckled lighty, twisting another of her daughter's purple locks.

Dib glowered darkly. "So? At least I don't use other people's lines..."

Zim's smile wavered. "As if ZIM needs to copy a pathetic dirt-child's lines!"

Dib grinned, pointing a finger in Zim's face. "You just did, oh mighty Irken slug!"

Zim was about to flick the human's arm away before spitting out some completely degrading comment, when he heard the computer speak.

"Approaching Earth's atmosphere."

They all looked up at the sound of the computerized voice. They could see the Earth looming ahead, ghastly beautiful against the jet-black, back- drop, outer space sky.


Prof. Membrane sat at the kitchen table drinking a cup of coffee and eyeing the month-old note that was in his hands. He read it aloud to himself again.

We left for that summer camp you signed us up for in February. Be back
in a few weeks. Love, Dib and Gaz."

He didn't remember anything about a summer camp. But it didn't appear to be a protest of any sort, so he set the note down and stood up to make another adjustment to the toaster. He fiddled with it for a couple of hours, experimenting on how long, precisely, a perfectly-browned piece of bread took to cook. He began jotting down 'one minute and forty-three seconds' with a satisfied grin.

He jumped slightly at the sound of the door being slammed open. He was utterly confused when his children came running up to him, grabbing each of his arms.

"Dad! You have to come outside!"

"We have a surprise for you!"

Marveling at his children's sudden collaboration, he let himself be dragged outside, and into the front porch light.


Medea stood on the dew-drop lawn, arms crossed, smiling at the stars. A single tear dripped off a long, dark eyelash, slipping down a rosy cheek. She turned at the sound of approaching footsteps from inside the house. Grinning, she skipped to the side of the porch, ducking behind the cement, heart racing.

Dib and Gaz released their father's arms, looking for their mother. Dib saw her and winked, backing away. He gave Gaz a nod, and she too stepped back, smiling up at her father's confused face.

"Ok. What did you two want to show me?" he asked, peering down at them expectantly.

His answer came from behind, almost knocking him off his feet. He swiveled quickly, coming face to face with his assailant. She grinned mischievously before grabbing his arms and pulling them over her shoulders.

He took a step back out of sheer amazement, eyes quickly moistened.

"Medea..." He lifted his hands, running them through the violet-velvet cascade of tresses. She looped her arms behind his neck, eyes also glistening. Her lips curved into a blissful smile, and he felt the corners of his own mouth lifting in response. He pulled her close.

Dib and Gaz stood on the damply silky lawn-grass, vision blurred by the contentment of the moment. They found each other's hands in the dark, locking palms fondly. Smiling, they turned their attention back to their parents' embracing forms.

They kissed on the porch, basking in artificial light, silhouettes against the dark, vastly gleaming loveliness of the moonlit, dew-drop glitter, star- shine night.


The End. : )

Of this particular story. But not to my fanfic tendencies. :P

I'll be back with another one in a while (or probably some short one-shots) Hope you liked it!!!