Wow...it's been a while but I haven't given up on my story. See? Another chapter and it's long. School has been a killer, so this may be the last chapter until I get out for break (5 more weeks!!) So enjoy kids!!
I don't really like this chapter, but you guys tell me.
Don't own any of it; never mine, never was...
Now, on with the story!!
Gaz woke up to the sound of her alarm clock at 7 the following morning.
"Make it stop," she grumbled groggily, smacking the snooze button on her clock.
She pulled the thick covers off her head, just to be blinded by the sunlight streaming through her window.
"Ugh," she uttered, cursing herself for forgetting to lower her shade last night, but she had had too much on her mind then. The whole thing with Zim...just when things were beginning to get better, it got worse.
"Like every part of my miserable life."
Gaz sat up and swung her legs to the edge of the bed, feeling the softness of the rug beneath her bare feet. She remembered that it was Friday...so close to the end of this insufferable week, she realized.
"Might as well get this day over with," she muttered, rising and heading to the bathroom. Gaz kept stumbling as she walked, rubbing the sleep out of her eyes.
Dib wasn't around to beat her there like he always did. Either he came home real late, she thought, or he's real wasted. But she didn't bother to check. Gaz walked into the bathroom, turned on the sink faucet and washed her face. It wasn't something she did regularly, just whenever it occurred to her. Gaz splashed her face with the cool water, becoming fully awake in the process. She pulled a towel off the rack.
As she dried her face, Gaz tried hard not to remember how she felt last night coming home from Zim's, and even harder to forget how she had gotten her release from them.
"I was stupid for even thinking this would work."
She sighed, but was brought back to the present. Gaz realized that she hadn't seen Dib yet and decided to check if he was still breathing. Leaving the bathroom, she suddenly stopped, as if she had forgotten something, and went back in.
She pulled out the first aid kit and went through it, sifting through it's contents, and finally finding what she needed.
Just in case, she thought, wrapping her wrist with the bandage she brought out.
Dib heard shuffling outside his door and opened one eye.
"It can't be morning already..."
He rolled on his back and tried to sit up, but everything started to spin. He immediately laid back down. Dib felt his head throbbing and his stomach churning wildly. That's the last time I drink that much while I'm pissed off, he vowed mentally, getting angry at Zim is not worth feeling this crappy. Debating whether or not he should try getting up again, he heard knocking at his door, which made his headache feel worse.
"Dib! You better be alive in there!"
It was Gaz.
"I'm up," he called weakly, but he wanted to just stay in his bed and sleep off his hangover.
He and his friends had been at Cal's last night, just bumming around and watching TV. Everybody was getting bored, so Cal brought out the beers. Dib was the only one who didn't accept one, which prompted some taunting from the others.
"Can't hold your liquor, Dib," Res said, in between chugs. "Or are you still licking your wounds over getting punked by that green freak?"
"Aww, stop that," Cal said in a baby voice, putting his arm around Dib. "Can't you see wittle Dibby is getting gwumpy?"
Everyone laughed at this, and Dib became angry, not at these people who teased him, but at himself for taking this crap from everyone and at Zim for being the cause of it all. He pushed Cal's arm away.
"I think we hit a nerve!" Cal laughed, sounding pretty buzzed.
Dib angrily reached for a beer. If I'm gonna be listening to this, he thought, I might as well be too drunk to care.
This morning, he was regretting that choice.
Dib slowly got up from bed and managed to get all the way into the bathroom, grasping onto anything that would keep him from falling on his face. How many did I drink, he wondered, but went back on concentrating towards his goal. When he finally made it inside, he sat by the toilet. I have to go to school, he thought. I have to get my revenge against Zim. He heard his stomach rumble, and he immediately bent to the toilet and retched. Dib wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. Steadying himself, he got up to brush his teeth.
"I'm not gonna let a hangover get in the way. He will pay...as soon as I figure out how."
Gaz had walked into the kitchen to grab her usual sugary cereal, but there, making breakfast, was her father, still in his lab coat and goggles. She hadn't seen him for, what felt like, days.
"Hello, Gaz. Thought I'd make you kids a special breakfast before I left for work."
She looked at her father with an incredulous look, before sitting down at the kitchen table.
"What time did you get in?"
Prof. Membrane set two plates on the table, one for her and the other apparently for Dib. Eggs and toast. Real special, Dad, she thought, poking at her meal with a fork.
"About an hour ago. Thought I spend some quality time with you and your brother."
He looked at the vacant seat next to Gaz.
"Where is your brother?"
"In the bathroom, probably with his massive head in the toliet," she responded. "Aren't you going to stay and eat with us?"
"No time. I got to get back to the lab and study those cultures of the common cold. I may be close to a breakthrough!!!"
Prof. Membrane turned back to his daughter and patted her head.
"Tell your brother to study hard, keep flossing and don't get into trouble. Same goes for you."
He promptly left, leaving Gaz to continue poking at her eggs, with a downcast expression on her face.
Dib was still in the bathroom, sitting on the edge of the bathtub. He was starting to feel somewhat better.
"I can do this. All I need to do is change real quick, walk to school and survive the next 7 hours. It's not impossible."
He heard the door open and looked up.
Gaz poked her head in, and then opened the door wide open. She crossed her arms and stared at him.
"Dad made some breakfast before he left for work."
Dib was flabbergasted by this bit of news, forgetting for a moment that he was still suffering from his hangover.
"Dad? Here?" He paused a beat. "What did he make?"
A devilish grin appeared on her face.
"See for yourself," she replied, walking out. She then made a quick turn and said, "I hope you like your eggs soft boiled and extra runny!"
Gaz ran off and Dib turned a sickly green.
"Maybe I'll stay home," he decided, rushing over to the toilet.
Gaz grabbed her book bag and saw her brother making his way down the stairs, still in his rumpled clothes from the previous evening. She raised an eyebrow.
"Guess you had too many beers last night, huh?"
Dib didn't say anything. Gaz continued to speak.
"There's some toast on the table. You should eat that."
"I'm not going to school today."
Gaz looked at him.
"So, I want you to do me a big favor and keep in eye on..."
Gaz rolled her eyes and headed out the door.
The door slammed shut behind her. Dib sighed.
"I guess I'll have to find some other way to keep track of Zim."
He felt pangs of hunger hit him all of a sudden, but he wasn't about to go eat anything that would make him rush back to the bathroom.
Dib went into the kitchen and saw the toast on the table. He picked up a piece and stuffed it in his mouth. He started to cough and gag.
He went through the refrigerator, looking for something to drink and found a can of ginger ale.
"Not what I wanted, but better than nothing."
Dib grabbed a glass from the cabinent and poured out the drink into it.
He found his mind drifting...
"Here, Dibby. Drink this and you'll feel better."
The little boy griped the glass and drank the cool liquid. He looked up at his mother with his large, brown eyes.
"Mommy...can you tell me a story?"
The young woman smiled down at her son, and felt his forehead. His fever was going down.
"Well," she started, pulling him on her lap, "which one do you want to hear today?"
"The Loch Ness Monster!"
He's mother laughed, not surprised at his request. Her laugh had always sounded like the tinkling of bells to him.
"You got it, sweetie."
As she started the story, Dib snuggled close to his mother, enjoying just being with her. He sighed contently.
Dib looked back at the counter and saw his glass was overflowing.
"Damn..." he muttered, grabbing some paper towels to soak up the liquid, making sure none of it spilled on the floor.
It was the first time he had let himself think about his mother in a long time and it was still painfully hard. He waded up the wet towels and tossed them in the trash. Dib then picked up the glass and took a sip.
"I don't want to forget," he said, ignoring the tears he felt threatening to fall. "But it's hard to remember you, Mom, and then act like everything is okay."
He took his glasses off, rubbed his sleeve across his eyes and sniffled. This is why it's better to not remember, he chastised himself.
After composing himself, Dib took another piece of toast and his ginger ale, and walked out to the living room. There had to be something good on TV this early in the morning...
Gaz fumbled with her locker, wary of the possibility of running into Zim. He was the last being she wanted to see right then. She couldn't shake off last night.
She finally opened her locker and stuck in her hand to reach for her gym uniform. Gaz envied her brother. He might be suffering a hangover, but at least he didn't have to run laps today. Gaz pulled out her uniform out and saw a familiar piece of fabric tumble out of her locker and into her hands.
It was the bandana she had used on Zim yesterday when he hurt his head.
She was dumbfounded, and couldn't for the life of her figure out how Zim had gotten it in there. It was not like he could have pushed it in through one of the vents. Slowly turning the blue and purple cloth in her hands, she noticed that it wasn't stained. It looked clean and freshly washed. Maybe he had Gir wash it, she deduced. Gaz put the cloth near her face and a smile spread across her face.
It smelled like Downy.
"Just like Mommy used."
The scent brought back memories of hot cocoa after school and silly bedtime stories only her mom could tell. Gaz stood there, with a happy dazed look on her face. Then, as quickly as the smile appeared, it changed to a dark expression. She slammed her locker door shut and stalked off towards Zim's locker.
Zim had been by his locker, waiting for Gaz to open her locker and find the surprise inside. He had to get to school earlier than normal to get into her locker and leave the bandana where she could see it. He couldn't believe his good fortune when he saw her smile; he couldn't help but smile himself. Now she was coming in his direction. I, Zim, have fixed everything, he thought, these human relationships are not so difficult to master. But before he could gloat out loud about his success...
"How dare you?!'
"How dare you go into my locker?"
For a moment, Zim stood speechless. This was not the reaction he had expected. Where was the smile? The appreciation? The never-ending admiration?! Gaz was fuming, to say the least.
"Aren't you going to give me an answer?"
Now Zim was getting angry. He did something nice for this human that stood before him, and this is how she thanked him?
"You should be showering me with praises!!!"
"Stupid human," he started angrily, "can't you see I was trying to be nice?"
Gaz's eyes got wide.
"By breaking into my locker?"
Gaz put her face dangerously close to his and clenched her fists.
"No one goes into my stuff. I like MY PRIVACY!!!"
As angry as he was at that moment, Zim was deeply confused. How could doing a kind gesture get him into this situation? Was she really that mad about her stupid locker? He heard himself utter, "I'm sorry," to Gaz, words he had never heard himself say.
She stopped her yelling and looked at him closely, making him feel uncomfortable.
"Do you know why you are sorry?"
Zim gulped. He wasn't even sure anymore.
"Because I left that cloth thing in your locker without you knowing?"
He looked at her expectedly.
"Right," she muttered and walked away. Zim trudged off to his class more lost than ever.
"What's the point in doing something nice for these filthy creatures?"
Gaz sat on the floor in the Music and Art section of the school library, with a book of oil paintings opened on her lap. But she was barely reading it, stuck on the same page for the last 10 minutes. It was hard to concentrate; all she thought about was how angry she had been with Zim that morning, wondering if he had really deserved that outburst from her. After all, he had done something really sweet, something he didn't need to do. But this is the same guy who kicked me out off his house after I had helped him, she reminded herself. He had it coming to him.
"But I at least could've told him why I was really pissed."
Frustrated, Gaz stuck her hand in her coat pocket, brushing the bandana. She pulled her hand back out quickly and tried focusing on her book, but it was no use.
"Damn," she sighed.
Zim walked towards the lunchroom after art class, not really paying any attention to his surroundings. Dib wasn't in school today and that should have put him in the best possible mood. But all he could think about was Gaz and how he had possibly screwed things up even further between them.
Nothing was going right. Maybe, he pondered, I just should have gone through with killing myself.
He punched a fist into his hand.
"These filthy humans and their emotions are getting the best of me!!"
He didn't notice the weird looks he was getting as he was walking into the cafeteria. Zim was disgusted with himself at letting Gaz put this strange hold over him, but it was something he couldn't help. Whenever he was around her, he didn't get that horrible pain. The only other person who had that affect on him was Penelope, but she wasn't real.
He didn't want to admit it, but Gaz was growing on him.
Zim dropped the lunch tray that he had just picked up, and walked quickly out the lunchroom. He made a beeline for the stairs and went up to the second floor, not having a clue what was going to happen next.
Gaz started to flip through the book, trying to keep her mind off Zim, when she had the strange feeling that she was being watched. She looked up. There weren't too many people in the library. The day being unusually warm, everyone was outside enjoying the weather. Then, she saw him.
He was cautiously peeking behind a large world atlas, from a nearby table. Gaz quickly looked back at her book, not wanting him to realize that she knew he was there. She had keep from cracking a smile or laughing, which was hard since it looked so obvious that he was spying on her.
Zim stared at the violet-haired girl sitting on the floor. He contemplated what he should. Should he apologize again? Come clean about his secret? He couldn't do that, not when he'd been conditioned for as long as he could remember to work out his problems himself, and he was very careful to not depend on someone for help. It was suppose to be something beneath him.
But maybe, he thought, this is not one of those times....
He drummed his hand on the table, pondering like mad.
Gaz looked back up at Zim, and gave a little sigh. Looking at him, she couldn't believe this was the same egotistical maniac who was always coming up with some crazed idea to gain control of the planet. In just a matter of days, it seems like he has fallen off his pedestal. He looked so forlorn now...like he was in need of someone to take him by the hand and just be there. Maybe this someone was her.
She closed her eyes.
"It can't be," she said harshly. "Not when I need someone to hold my hand."
Gaz went back to her book, trying to focus on it, but felt someone coming into the section. Whoever it was, sat next to her. Of course, she didn't need to look up to see who it was. But she was a little surprised by what came next.
"I was tricked into coming to this planet," Zim began quietly.
Gaz looked at him, but didn't respond.
"I was a nuisance to the leaders in my planet, so they shipped me to a planet that was as far from Irk as possible. There was no invasion planned for Earth...they just wanted to be rid of me and I've also been banished from my home planet."
Zim watched as Gaz slowly closed her book, with no real expression on her face.
"Why are you telling me this?"
"You asked me yesterday," he said matter-of-factly, "so it was only right that I answered."
"Okay...," was all she replied.
"And I am sorry about going into your locker; I like my privacy too."
Gaz just nodded as he finished, or so she thought. Zim had one more thing to say.
"And I'm sorry how I acted yesterday," Zim said, catching Gaz's attention. "If I would've known worm babies like you got offended so easily..."
"Offended so easily," she caught, peeved by this sorry attempt of an apology. "You acted like a jerk! How was I supposed to react?! You didn't even thank me!"
"Thank you?! You stayed there of your own free well! I didn't beg you to stay!"
"You didn't need to!!"
Zim eyes widened a little.
"What do you mean?"
Gaz bit her lip. He was so clueless.
"I was worried about you. It was funny when you fell, but I got scared when you didn't get up. I couldn't have left you there, bleeding all over the place, even if you think that you don't need anyone."
Both didn't say anything for a long time.
Finally, Gaz broke the silence.
"Thanks for giving me back my bandana."
"Uh, thanks for staying with me yesterday," he said lamely, not looking at her.
Gaz took hold of Zim's left hand and pulled out her bandana. She deftly wrapped it around his wrist, securing it with one of the safety pins that decorated her book bag. He gave her a questioning look.
"I want you to hold on to this for now," she said. "Think of it as a sign that we're friends now."
"But I have nothing to give you."
Gaz whacked him on his shoulder.
"You don't have to. Friends don't owe each other."
Zim couldn't grasp that concept.
"No. I owe you, not only for this cloth, but for yesterday as well."
She knew he would keep insisting regardless of what she said, and came up with an idea.
"What do you know about chemistry?"
"I know more than that pitiful Earth creature that I had as a teacher," he announced for all to hear.
Gaz whacked him again.
"Shut up," she warned, noticing the librarian was staring at them angrily. Gaz turned back to Zim. "You can repay me by tutoring me in chem. I just failed my last test and need to do well on the make-up exam and the next test after that, if I want to get a decent grade. Will you help me?"
Zim crossed his arms in front of him.
"Fine, human. I accept this challenge!"
Gaz wondered if this was good idea all of a sudden, but the possibilty of a higher grade pushed her doubts away.
"Okay. After school. Your base."