GOD FORBID

By Spike, Chi-Li, Bex, Flare, Flame, and Seth

The Creative Team

---

Flame: Oh, you angsty, angsty teen.

Flare: Can't you be happy?

Duo: She IS happy.

Heero: She just has dark thoughts that need to be expressed through literature.

Bex: Stop trying to sound smart, Heero.

Heero: Omae o korosu.

Bex: Feh.

Vegeta: Will you people shut up so Spike can do the disclaimer?

Spike: Thanks, Veggie. OK, I don't own Jhonen Vasquez or any of his brilliant creations. If I did, all hell would break loose, and IZ, JTHM and IFS would become piles of useless shit.

Inu-Yasha: Hn. Can we get on with the story?!

Spike: Shut up, I'm making this up as I go along. Jeez, readers, imagine our staff meetings.

---

You know, all those years they called me crazy, I never once paused to think that they might in fact be right.

And now, so many years since I've seen Zim or any of Skool's students, or anyone other than Gaz, I have come to the startling conclusion that they really may have been correct. Maybe I AM crazy.

Oh, God forbid I'm insane.

God forbid they were right.

God forbid ZIM was right.

If he was right about me, that I was crazy, than I would kill myself.

No, no I wouldn't. I don't have the courage to. I never have before. I don't think I'll ever have the courage to swallow poison or launch a bullet into myself.

When I was growing up, you know, I was so sure of myself. I was so sure that aliens existed. And now I'm not so sure. Because all my ninteen years, I was taunted about it.

Not even my dad believed it. He'd say, "Dib, when will you learn the difference between real science and fake science?" and shake his head and ruffle my hair and say I'd grow out of it. Then, without another word, he'd retreat down to his basement lab and invent a new vacuum cleaner.

After all the taunting, I guess their words really started to grow on me, hurt me.

When I was fourteen, I was surfing the net, and I noticed that the alien websites were dying. People were--how had Dad put it?--growing out of it. Like I should have.

But why should I grow out of something that was as plain as the nose in my face? Why should I dismiss something that seemed so real?

"Dib," Gaz would say, "Stop being a freak and get it through you're big head. Aliens don't exist."

I'd argue with her for hours that aliens DID in fact exist and that Zim was one of those aliens.

Ah, Zim. Damn him.

When I was fifteen, I figured something out about myself that I would never admit to anyone in a billion years.

I...liked Zim.

I...LOVED him.

And I hated myself for loving him. And he hated me for everything I did. I loved him, and he hated me. Or so I thought.

---

Fagot.

That was what was written on my locker the day I found out Zim loved me back. I remember it because Torque Smacky had written it there. It had been my sixteenth birthday.

He had been standing there, big and burly, with his girlfriend Zita on his arm, laughing at me as I stared at the barely-ledgible writing.

"What, Dib?" Torque laughed, pointing at me. "Are yah gonna cry, faggot? Are your alien friends gonna come down and take you back to the mothership?"

His girlfriend screeched with laughter. "Mothership!" she cackled. "You and Zim can go up together, fairy!"

And in that moment, Zim walked past me, looking straight into my eyes, and I stared at him for what seemed a long time. It was like it was in slow motion. I remember he was wearing a black sweatshirt, and his Pak made it look like he had a lump on his back.

And when he passed me, not saying a thing but staring into my eyes, Torque Smacky drove me to snap.

"God, Dib, Zim seems like a pretty shitty boyfriend," he had said. "You know, not talking to you and all. What, do you guys only talk in bed?"

Something triggered a gun in my brain and I felt more rage than I ever had before. I looked at Torque over my shoulder with the most dangerous look in my eyes. His smirk teetered a bit and his girlfriend released his arm.

I lunged for him, tackling him to the ground. This was stupid, because I was tall and skinny and looked plenty malnourished. I slammed my knee into his chest when he was down and sent a barrage of punches to his face, blinded by hate. Before I knew it, a crowd was around us, and Zita was shrieking at me.

"Get off him, you freak!" she screamed. "Get off!"

I didn't hear her. All I could hear was the slam of my fist against Torque's face. All I cared about was hurting him as bad as humanly possible.

I Wanted to kill him.

Suddenly, a hand grabbed my wrist and yanked me back. "Stop it, Dib!" Zim roared, pulling me back, off of Torque. I still kicked at him as Zim dragged me away, clawing and screaming, trying to get back to him so I could kill him.

Zim finally managed to get me off and started dragging me away, his hands clamped firmly on my shoulders. Torque got up as we were getting out of there and wiped his bloody nose, pointing at me.

"You're dead, freak," he said, grimacing. "You and your little boyfriend are DEAD."

I spat at him and five of his friends had to hold him back as Zim tightened his grip on my shoulders.

"Come ON, Dib," he grumbled, taking me through the doors into the High Skool. He finally let me go when we were in a secluded hallway. And he started to walk away from me, as if nothing had happened.

I stared after him. "W...wait," I said softly. He didn't turn, but stopped. I felt a sob rack my body and bit my tongue to keep from crying, collapsing to the floor, leaning against a locker. Zim just stood there for a very, very long time. Then he turned around, looking at me with sad eyes. I had never noticed that he looked sad all the time. Finally, Zim walked over and sat next to me.

"That was stupid, Dib-monkey," he said quietly, scratching his wig.

I blinked, and couldn't help but stare at him. "He provoked me," I defended.

"You provoke me, I don't lodge a fist into your nose," Zim pointed out.

I wiped my eyes. "Why?" I whispered.

He looked back at me, cocking his head slightly. "Why what?" he said.

I wiped my eyes furiously and ran a hand through my unkempt black hair. "Why don't you go after me?" I said, barely audible.

Zim blinked at me for a moment, then looked straight ahead and chuckled. "I suppose I do not hurt you becuase I have developed a liking towards you, Earth-Baby," he said, smiling.

I felt my face grow hot. "Really?"

He shrugged. "It is my theory." He looked back at me. "Why are you crying, Dib?"

I wiped my eyes again, blushing harder. Ah, shit, I had let him see me cry. "Zim..." I whispered. He smiled at me so sadly it made me want to cry again, and I buried my face into his chest, sobbing. One of his hands stroked my messy black hair. And with his other gloved hand...

He held my hand in his, letting me squeeze it when a new sob racked my body. He flinched whenever my tears touched his skin, but he still let me cry into him.

God, I loved him so much.

"Zim..." I whispered again. I squeezed his hand and snuggled into his embrace as he rhythmically stroked my hair.

"Yes, Dib?" he answered.

Say it.

Say it.

SAY IT, DIB.

"I think..." I paused, taking time to look up at him. "Zim...I think I might...love..." I trailed off, my face growing hot. I started to cry again and he kissed my forehead gently.

"I know, Dib," he had said softly. "I know."

---

The night Zim and I shared our first and only kiss, I felt like I was floating on air. His taste still lingered on my lips, like the sweetest candy, and I licked my lips every now and then, wanting more of his tenderness.

Gaz had stared at me as I hopped out of the shower with my towel around my waist, singing. She looked at me like she wanted to throw up.

"You get laid or something?" she snorted, pushing me out of the way to use the bathroom.

Even as she slammed the door in my face, I said, "I love you, Gaz!"

"You make me sick," she shouted through the door.

I didn't care. Nothing could get me down. I remember thinking those exact thoughts. That nothing could get me down as long as I had his taste on my lips.

I was so wrong, so wrong.

That night when I went to bed, lying on top of the futon in boxers and a sweatshirt, I was so excited I couldn't get to sleep. I tossed and turned and played soft techno music, and couldn't get to bed.

I finally fell asleep immagining his face.

I woke up to a shoe in my side. I rolled off the futon covered with alien plushies and hit the ground, groaning. I opened my eyes, squinting. There was a figure in my room. I couldn't see it's features clearly without my glasses. It looked like a giant fuzzy blob in my room.

"Gaz?" I said hoarsely, fumbling for my glasses. I finally found them and yawned as I placed them on my nose.

When I saw him, I wanted to die.

"Long time no see, Membrane," Torque said, grinning maliciously and throwing a punch at my face. It landed square on the left side of my jaw, sending my spinning and colliding with my wall. Science equipment fell to the ground, bonking on my head.

I backed up, fumbling around for something to throw at him. "How the hell did you get in here?" I whispered.

Torque barked out a laugh. "You shouldn't leave your window open, Faggot," he snarled.

I grabbed my microscope and threw it at him quickly. It hit him on the right side of his face and he yelped as the microscope left a new gash. He glared at me, walking over and fastening his fingers around my throat and lifting me off the ground. I gasped for air as the world started to appear a collage of different colored dots.

"I'm gonna kill yah, Membrane," he said, grinning insanely. "Just like I killed your sick boyfriend."

I gasped for air. "T...Torque...St...op...Oh, God..."

"God had nothing to do with it, buddy," Torque said. Suddenly, as my world was starting to fade, I heard something smash. Torque's eyes rolled up into his head and his grip released as he fell, pinning me against the wall.

The last thing I remember before I blacked out was Gaz, crying and telling me not to die.

---

Three years, five months and three days ago, Torque Smacky came through my window and tried to kill me. He didn't succeed in doing so, because of Gaz.

But Zim didn't have a Gaz at his house.

When Gaz told me that Zim was dead, that day I woke up in the hospital, I started to scream. I screamed and cried and she held me and cried with me and stroked my hair as Zim had and told me it would be OK. I screamed for hours and hours, and she held me close, showing me affection she never had before.

When I had reduced to mere sniffles, she told me what had happened. That Torque had broken into Zim's house and beaten him until there was nothing left to beat. Torque had killed the guy I loved.

Gaz had stroked my face, trying to force a smile. "I always knew you were in love with him," she sniffled, putting her forhead against mine so our breath mixed. "I knew you were a queer all along."

I managed to say something. "How?"

She smiled for real then. "When he looked at you, and you looked at him--you had so many chances to hurt each other, but you didn't. You didn't, and I knew you loved him."

I burst into a fresh set of tears and she wrapped her arms around me and let me cry into her for as long as I needed, as long as I wanted--as long as I missed him.

---

I could have cried for hours, I'm sure now. I still cry sometimes, but not for the same reasons.

It's been three years since Torque was given the death penalty. His menacing face still haunts my dreams. But what haunts me more is my dreams of Zim.

I really was crazy, you know.

When they recovered Zim's body, I went to the autopsy. And guess what? Zim had all the right organs. He really DID have a skin condition.

He was...human. He was really human.

But it was impossible, I protested. I had seen his eyes. His crimson eyes, his antennae, his base--I had seen it all.

Hadn't I?

The doctors tell me now I saw only what I wanted to see, not what was really there. They come in every few hours, injecting me with medications in my little white room. Sometimes they let me talk about Zim. Sometimes they take me for walks. Sometimes they even let Gaz visit.

But she doesn't come as often as she used to. But would you?

God forbid I'm crazy.

But, fuck it, I am.

---

END