Take my slash warning SERIOUSLY for this one. I've tried to maintain things at a tasteful level, but this is still probably the most openly sexual thing I've written that I've allowed into mainstream viewing. This story does and will contain unsettling imagery and several characters, especially Dib, displaying VERY VERY questionable behavior. So, if slash squicks you DON'T READ THIS. Period. Hit back button NOW. Still here? Great! Welcome! The title is for the time period that this storyline covers- three days, 72 hours.

Of course, everything is Viacom's. I just like to -pretend- it's mine.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

a meditation on the cost of love, Invader Zim style
by J. Random Lurker

Prelude: Hour Zero (Dreams)

I stare at the sheet of paper that my English teacher drops on the desk in front of me with dread.

Write about your dreams.

Heh, like anyone HERE cares about our dreams. Probably just an excuse to collect more data for a psychological profile so they can figure out which of us are going to move on to be serial killers after college and adjust the dosage of flouride in the drinking water accordingly.

Write about your dreams.

I don't like to -think- about the dreams I have.

The dreams where I'm struggling and he's got me wrapped up tight, his glove stuffed in my mouth and sticky tape wound over my face and my hands secured behind my back with hard plastic cables. Where bound and naked I'm put on cold scanners, probed and injected and tagged with alien devices fused to my skin and I can't do anything, ANYTHING to stop it and I'm so hard I could cut diamonds.

God, why do I think about this stuff?

Why does it turn me on?

Why is it still HIM, ten years after he left?

I used to dream about exposing Zim to the world. Now I dream about him peeling away more and more of me until I'm the one being exposed; an exhibit on permanent display to an audience of one in a glass case in a dark, humming underground laboratory. In my dreams, there's an alien in my class, sitting across the aisle, sneering at me with a special little sneer reserved only for me. In my dreams, I'm not utterly alone again, trapped on a planet of the stupid and homicidally insane.

... He clamps his hands over my mouth and nose, pulling me against him, and I struggle for air; his hips grind against my ass and his legs push mine open wider. As I start to black out the last thing I feel is hot hardness pushing slow slow into me... as I go under he slides in...

I'd always been a little bit obsessed about Zim. Sure, I admit that. It was hard not to be when he was SITTING there every day and I could SEE him and I knew what was under that stupid disguise of his: my future! My victory, my PROOF... everything I ever wanted wrapped in one shiny green package, red and green, just like Christmas. The kind of present that sits at the back of the closet waiting to be brought out last because what's inside is so much better and cooler than all the other presents that it HAS to be saved for the end.

Why, yes, I WAS the kind of kid who went looking for the hidden present the night before Christmas morning, why do you ask?

... he takes me to class with him, I'm handcuffed and wear a padlocked leather gag, a collar with a chain on a long leash he holds, and I sit kneeling quietly on the floor next to his desk...

I know that these stupid dreams, ironically, are ones that Zim would have appreciated. Him wanting to enslave mankind and all that, and me being his greatest enemy. (Heh, I say that now like it -meant- something...) And that makes it all even MORE horrible! As if it could possibly BE any more horrible.

It's all just dreams now.

I still don't know why he left. Maybe he just got bored with the whole thing. It just happened one day. He was gone and I searched and searched but I never found him again and I never recovered. Not entirely. There was a hole in me, and I did everything I could to stitch it closed but the hole ached, and kept on aching, because nothing could fill it properly except him. That's a cheesy metaphor and a worse innuendo but it's still the truth.

Don't think I haven't tried to replace him. I have. Boys, girls, science, drugs, videogames, TV- nothing. My body and what's left of my soul are crying one name and only one name over and over, a low unending hungry greedy moan. Zim. In the dark, in the shower, in the daylight, in the middle of lectures, in my sleep, in my bed while I'm trying to make myself come.


At least while he was here, even though we hated each other, we weren't apart. We were a little clique of hate, the presidents of spite.

... he appears in the hallway just past the cafeteria with a laser of some kind. I run at him, tackle him with my shoulder and knock the gun out of his hand. We struggle, cursing at each other, rolling around the hall, bruising fast. He tries to reach the fallen weapon and I pull his hand back. He curses me. I pin his arm to his side, then shift my legs around to get the other as well, my thighs squeezing tight to either side of his chest. His twisting and straining under me are delicious. I lean down and, washed in waves of his defiant bellowing, put my hand over his false eyes and crush my mouth over his. He starts to give in as I force myself on him. The resistance sinks away, his struggles becoming slow, sinuous writhing. He groans below me...

I leave my windows open all the time to make it easy for him to attack me if he ever comes back. I want to be slapped awake suddenly in the middle of the night with a gun pressed to my head, a knife touching my throat, gleaming red eyes shining in the dark and a wicked smile and a tongue licking my lips: hating me, daring me, demanding me.

I want to be an enemy again. I want obsession to meet obsession head on and leave us both shaking and hungry and paranoid, never willing to relax for a second, never daring to take our eyes off each other for even a moment. We, two wild things caged only by each other's constant vigilance.

I want to feel like my life is worth something again; worth fighting for, worth losing, worth LIVING.

The blank sheet of paper with that stupid phrase is still sitting on my desk. Waiting for me to fill it. Empty like all of me. This paper and I are the same. Blank and meaningless unless used.

Write about your dreams.

So I pick up my pen and write.

"I don't believe in dreams."

I pass the paper forward, sit back and close my eyes.

And I slip away from the world, quietly, to be with Zim inside my head.