Disclaimer: IZ is property of Nick and he with the ill-prone belly.
Chapter One: PLEASE, PLEASE BE MY DANCE PARTNER!
Zim glared at the hateful building. It was his first year of high school. He had been on this miserable ball of filth for almost three years and nothing to show for it. Well, no, that wasn't entirely true. He had grown taller. Uniform not even fitting anymore, and until his order from Callnowia came through, Zim was forced to wear hideous human garments.
The Irken soldier had learned long ago that tall, skinny males (such as himself and the Dib-beast) were seen as weak, a threat to the concept of 'manliness', and therefore made appropriate punching bags. So Zim had taken to wearing large baggy clothes to hide his form and had managed to avoid detection thus far. The Dib, however, was not so insightful. He still wore his long open trench coat -even in the middle of summer-, blue t-shirt with the grey smiley face that was not so smiley, black pants and boots.
Zim re-adjusted his Tripp jeans and walked up the steps.
Waiting for him just inside the double doors, smiling arrogantly, and leaning on the wall with his hands in his pockets, was Dib. He, too, had grown. Over the years his scythe had started to droop, and now hung as a bang over his enormous forehead.
"You better get to class, Dib." Zim replied, smiling back at him, "You wouldn't want to be late and have to stay after school again would you? Not after what happened last time."
Dib winced at the memory of his 'I believe in aliens' boxers flapping in the wind from atop the school flagpole, while he hid, shivering, in the bushes nearby.
But the smirk returned quickly.
"You should be more worried about yourself, Zim. I've just sent off a whole stack of photos of you without your disguise to Mysterious Mysteries! Soon they'll broadcast them nationwide for the entire world to see and you'll either have to leave or end up on an autopsy table!"
Zim rolled his eyes. How many times had they had this conversation before? How many dozens of photos, data disks, and video clips had the Dib sent off to that stupid television channel, with the same predictions? Surely any normal person would have gotten the hint by now. Then again, no one had ever accused the Dib monster of being normal.
Zim walked on past him, "Whatever, stink-beast."
Dib opened his mouth to say something else, but shrugged instead and strutted behind Zim to their shared first period (yes, they have the same classes again here too.)
Class was business as usual. Zim and Dib shot their customary glares at each other, threw balled up insults on little pieces of paper at each other, Dib made his accusatory rant and Zim his counter-rant. Now it was lunch time, and they took up their respective stations in opposite ends of the chow hall. Dib sat alone, since Gaz was still in middle school, and thus had become more vulnerable to attacks from those who would've hesitated to do so before in her presence. Zim sat alone too, but then again he always had. He looked at his questionably edible meal, decided he wasn't that hungry after all, and shoved it away. He then remembered GIR had given him a piece of cake the robot slave had made itself earlier, and he still had it in his PAK. Zim took it out and eyed it warily. You never knew exactly what the little android put into these things, but it at least looked better than what was on his plate.
Zim shrugged and was about to shove it into his mouth, when his teeth closed down on his claws instead.
He turned and scanned the area behind him with accusing eyes looking for the culprit.
"WHO DARES?! WHO DARES STEAL ZIM'S DELICIOUS PASTRY?!" He turned again and pointed at Dib. "IT WAS YOU WASN'T IT? PATHETIC THIEVING DIRT CHILD! GIVE IT BACK!''
Dib gave Zim a look, "What are you talking about, Zim? I'm nowhere near you! How could I have taken your cake from way over here?"
Zim considered this. "Hmm... you'd have to have been sneaky. VERY sneaky, to be able to slip beside me unnoticed and then slip back across the hall so quickly! Impressive! But that won't save you! ZIM SHALL-"
Cute giggling was heard from his left. Zim promptly turned to find a tall, slim, blond girl with an incredibly short mini-skirt and top, holding his beloved cake in her hand, a small entourage of about 5 equally scantily clad females behind her.
"Oh, I'm sooo sorry." She cooed, "Were you going to eat this?"
"AH!" Said Zim, pointing an indignant claw, "That belongs to ZIM! Return my property AT ONCE, filthy human female!"
The girl pouted, "Oh, pleeease let me have it?" she batted her eyelashes flirtatiously, "I'd be really grateful..."
At this point, a dozen eager males had rushed to form a circle around her, each holding out a tasty looking treat.
"Oh, my!" The girl placed a modest hand against her cheek, "You're all so sweet! But I couldn't possibly finish these all by myself." she snapped her fingers "Girls!"
The entourage stepped forward and proceeded to collect the offerings, retreated behind their leader and waited.
"That's enough for now. Don't forget to vote for me as queen at the dance contest!" And with that she strutted out, the other girls following close behind.
Zim stared at their retreating backs.
"What... just happened here? Who was that girl? How does she hold such power over the other stink monkeys? And what is this "dance contest" of which she speaks? Hmm... YOU!"
The girl from a nearby table that he was currently pointing at almost choked on her mystery meat, "...Mmph?"
"Yes, you!" Zim confirmed. "Explain!"
The girl looked around for someone to help her, but found she was alone, her table-mates deserting her after she'd been addressed by the school weirdo. Looking back at the bug-eyed green kid staring so intensely at her, she realized things would only get worse for her if she stayed quiet.
"Um... S-She's Shirley Sunshine. She just transfered here but is already the most popular girl in school. She's rich and pretty and everybody just does what she says. You can pick up her fanclub booklet in the student center if you want to know more..."
Zim rubbed his chin, "Hmm. Interesting. So this... human quality of being popular... it bestows power? The power of a queen?"
"Err... I guess you could say that. When you're popular, everyone listens to you, and wants to be your friend. You set the standard of what's cool and what's not. The way you dress, the music you like, the places you go, they all become the standard."
"I see... BUT!" Zim's eyes lit up "If there is a dance queen, then there must also be a dance king to rule over her, yes?"
"S-Sorta," the girl stuttered. "There is a dance king, but he's not worth much unless he stays with the Queen. If she dumps him or something, he's not popular anymore. Not unless he has some kind of reputation to fall back on."
"So it is the queen who reigns supreme, is it?" said Zim, the plotting wheels churning in his head, "And the queen can only be female?"
She gave him an incredulous look.
Zim shook his head, "Never mind. Silly question."
Then another thought occurred to him "What exactly are the requirements to win this contest?"
"Well," she went on. "I guess you gotta be a good dancer - both you and your partner. And you have to be attractive. Nobody's gonna vote you if you're ugly."
"Excellent!" Zim cried, rubbing his hands conspiratorially over each other, "This is perfect! To rule the world, I must first rule the school! To do that, I must be popular. To achieve this, I must win this dance thingy event... thing! MUAHAHAHAHA!"
The girl, who we'll now call 'Rhonda', shrunk away in terror.
Zim stopped laughing for a moment, as yet another thought popped into his mighty skull. "But first, I must find a suitable partner..." he stared despairingly at the stumbling, drooling morons that filled the chow hall.
Turning back to Rhonda in slight revulsion, he asked, "Does it have to be someone from this school?"
Zim sighed, "Great..."
Across the cafeteria, Dib was – of course - watching Zim.
"What are he and that girl talking about? I'll bet it's another one of Zim's evil schemes! Maybe he's trying to recruit her? Or maybe he's just fishing information out of her? Why am I still talking out loud to myself? I'll bet he thinks that-"
Dib was cut off by Zim's triumphant laughter. As he continued to watch, Zim managed to contain himself, scan the room with a disgusted look and asked the girl something. She nodded in reply and Zim sighed. Then he looked up again and his gaze fell on Dib, a curious glint in his eyes. Dib flinched. "Why is he looking at me like that?"
As Dib was pondered on this, a group of kids behind him were snickering and pointing in his direction. One of them got up, with a cup of something in his hand. He snuck up on Dib and suddenly pulled his shirt collar, emptying the cup's contents inside.
Dib started shaking himself violently, arcing his back, kicking his pants legs, and spinning on the ground. Much laughing and pointing was had! At least at first... but then as Dib's thrusts and flails became more complicated, a few jeers turned into cheers!
He grabbed his neck with one hand and jumped high, flipping his body over while pushing his neck down with his hands, slide-landing on his back. He pushed himself up with his legs spread apart, lifted one arm and reached for his ankle, changed his mind and moved his other leg forward and under the other knee. He supported his weight on alternating hands while at the same time, arcing his left leg counter-clockwise, sweeping it over the other.
The cheers went wild, even the culprits who had pulled the prank were getting into it. Dib was on all fours now, with his stomach facing the ceiling. He lifted his left hand and kicked up with his left foot, bringing his body into the air, and again with his right. He did this a few more times before finally dislodging the ice-cubes responsible. He lay there on the floor now, exhausted and panting.
Then the mob of females moved in.
"Oh wow, Dib that was so awesome!"
"I had no idea you could dance!"
"Show us that move you did on your head again!"
"Where did you learn to bend like that?"
Then all in unison they yelped: "PLEASE, PLEASE BE MY DANCE PARTNER!"
A red headed girl in the front took the initiative and latched onto his coat sleeve, while another one with freckles snatched the other. Soon Dib was caught in the middle of a tug of war, in which he was getting pulled in all directions at once. Dib was nearing the verge of panic as a brunette grabbed hold of his hair scythe...
When she was suddenly knocked unconscious by a slam over the head with a food tray.
One by one he could see various girls in the group go down as one voice screamed to be heard above the others.
"BACK! BACK YOU MALODEROUS WORM-BEASTS! ZIM LAYS CLAIM ON THE DIB! DON'T MAKE ME USE THIS!"
The hands pulling at Dib suddenly disappeared and he fell to the floor. Grateful to still be in one piece, but still too shaky to have proper control of his limbs, he looked up at his deranged saviour. Zim was standing possessively over him, brandishing a bloody looking spork (or was it ketchup?), and making growly noises from deep within his throat. Behind them, a blue haired girl with pig-tails made a dive for Dib. Zim spun and jammed the back end of the spork up her nose. She screamed and fell, twitching on the floor. The rest of the circle just stared, keeping wary of the crazy green kid, but shooting hungry glances at the prize beneath his feet.
Without warning, Zim picked Dib up over his head and charged into where the circle thinned out. Most moved out of the way, but a bold few went for a tackle. Zim leaped and dodged like a professional football receiver, Dib's weight seemingly irrelevant. Having exited the dining facility, Zim turned and ran down the hall, the sounds of pursuit on his heels.
An unfortunate teacher stepped out of a class in front of them.
"What's going on? What's with all the noise? My students are taking a test here! Hey! You two! No running in the halls!"
Zim flung Dib over the teacher's head and slid out from between her legs, catching the boy on the other side without slowing down. The confused woman bent over to watch them flee from between her thighs, when the stampeding of the herd filled her ears. Too late to reach safety, the lady was trampled under dozens of pairs of tennis shoes, high heels, and flats, without even having the chance to scream. More classroom doors opened, but their teachers merely poked their heads out, and were smart enough to jerk them back in when they saw what was coming.
Having finally reached the outside, Zim did a quick sweep of the grounds to make sure no one saw them and deployed his spider legs, using them to propel him and Dib to the roof of the school. From there, Zim watched the wave of females flood out the doors and spread out. They started turning over rocks, uprooting trees and basically leaving paths of destruction in their wake.
"Where did that green weirdo take that dancing weirdo?!"
"No way! Anyone other than me that finds him better hand him over!"
"Says who? He's going with ME!"
And so, various cat-fights ensued, with much pulling of the hair, scratching of the eyes and caterwalling with the flinging of stray cats.
Zim, meanwhile, revelled in his victory.
"HA! Pathetic fools! You cannot win against me! But you'll find out soon enough, when I win that dancing dance contest, and I become crowned king... eh, QUEEN! Yes! That's what I meant. I will rule you all with a well manicured fist! BWAHAHAHAHA!"
Dib had been unceremoniously dumped on the floor facing away from the cackling egomaniac. Said maniac turned now towards the poor boy, who had just now recovered enough so that his vision had stopped spinning.
"Now all I have to do is convince the Dib-human to go with my plan - should be simple enough."
He started kicking him, "Hey! Hey! Get up, Dib! It's your lucky day! For I, ZIM! Have chosen YOU to have the honor of being my partner for the school dance! You will accept my amazingly generous offer, yes?"
Dib sat up and turned to face little invader.
"What are you talking about, Zim? The dance is for boy-girl couples only, and in case you didn't notice, we're both boys." He stood up then, "And even if it wasn't, what makes you think I'd go with you?"
"HA!" cried Zim, having already concocted an ingenious lie in his mighty brain, "Once again, you have been fooled by my BRILLIANT disguise, in which I have given myself the appearance of a male, when I am in fact, a female!"
Dib gave him a look, "Yeah, right, Zim. I may not know too much about alien anatomy, but you've always come off as male to me."
"All part of my brilliant plan to trick you!" Zim nodded. "And now that this whole dance thing has revealed to me that it is the females who hold the true power, I need not play this trick anymore!"
'Yeah right' thought Dib, "Well, whatever. I'm outta here. Seeya, space boy."
Zim planted himself squarely in front of Dib, making it clear he wasn't going anywhere. "Ungrateful fool boy! I just saved you from being torn apart out there! Those females would have ripped you to shreds and worse had I not intervened! You OWE me, Dib-monkey!"
Dib winced and looked over Zim's shoulder at the mayhem taking place on the ground below.
"...I guess... maybe."
Damn his sense of honor! Now that it was pointed out to him, Dib's integrity would torment him with guilt if he walked away now. But should he really humor the alien?
"Okay, look... supposing you're telling the truth and you really are a girl," Dib rolled his eyes, "I really don't know how to dance, Zim. What happened in the cafeteria was just a fluke. I doubt I could do it again on purpose."
Zim smiled, "No matter. The point is that you did do it! Meaning you are capable of such. All I have to do is program your body to do so."
Dib blinked, "Program my... Nuh-uh! No way, Zim! There's no way I'm letting you plug me up to your machinery! You'll probably fry my brains or something!"
"IDIOT!" Zim spat. "I need your brain in working order to carry out the tasks I send it! It's perfectly safe. I even plan to use it on myself, actually."
Dib scratched the back of his head, "I don't know... did you build it yourself?"
"In that case, I definitely don't wanna do it. No offence, Zim, but your inventions have a tendency to self-destruct or go haywire."
Zim growled, "You don't have a choice, Dib! And besides, think about the benefits you'll receive if... I mean WHEN we win the contest! You'll be popular! At least for a while, but it'll give you a fresh start in the eyes of your classmates! You'll have redeemed yourself of your past geeky-ness, and get a chance to be acknowledged as a hero! Isn't that what you've always wanted?"
Dib's wanted to dismiss the idea out of hand. Him, popular? He wished!
His eyes went dreamy while he fantasized the impossible possibility. "I could... be a hero?"
Zim nodded, then crossed his arms as he pondered an alternative outcome. "Although, even if it doesn't work, everyone already thinks you're crazy... so they won't notice if you happen to lose a few extra brain cells anyway."
Dib crash landed back into reality, and grimaced. "Gee, thanks. That's real reassuring, Zim"
"You're welcome. So, does that mean you'll do it?"
"I thought you said I didn't have a choice?"
"That's right, you don't. It'd just be easier for the both of us if you were to cooperate. I do have my means of persuasion, after all. Tossing you back into the female frenzy behind me for instance..."
Dib felt every hair on his body stand up. The horror! He closed his eyes and managed to calm himself back down. He realized that while he was at Zim's mercy, he was also under his protection.
'Until he doesn't need me anymore.' Dib thought grimly, 'But I'll make sure I've got a back up plan before that happens!'
He opened his eyes and focused them on what he resignedly accepted was his new business partner, "Fine. I'll help you."
"Excellent!" Zim walked over and grabbed his hand "Then let us be off! We'll begin our research immediately!"
Dib pulled his hand free, "BUT!" he continued, "You have to promise not to lock me up, take away my free will, or endanger my life in any way!"
"Fine, fine." Zim grabbed his hand again, "As long as you prove yourself trustworthy and those tactics don't prove necessary." He flipped out his communicator. "GIR! Come pick me up! I'm on the roof of the human school building!"
The screen GIR was eating what appeared to be a sloppy joe. Looking at his master, he spotted Dib and waved frantically "Hi, Mr. Big Head!"
GIR saluted, "Sir!" and the screen flicked off.
"My head isn't big..." Dib mumbled.
10 seconds later a flying green dog with laser jets crash-landed in front of them. The puppy rolled over and righted itself, giggling all the while.
"Hi, master!" he said, "Guess where I found this!"
He pulled the disturbingly real looking chicken leg from out of his head, and ate it whole. "Mmmm!"
Zim and Dib winced.
"That's disgusting, GIR," said Zim "Nevermind your inanities! Just get us out of here!"
"Ooookay!" GIR juiced up his jets again and scooped the pair up on his back. Zim ended up landing in Dib's lap.
With Zim seizing GIR's dog ears and Dib clutching Zim's mid-section, they made their screamy way back to Zim's base.
End of chapter one! This is my first fan-fic ever! Been reading other people's stuff on here and ideas just started hatching. I'm trying to keep everybody as much IC as possible, and I think I did that pretty well in this chapter. Future chapters (like all IZ romances) might start veering off course. Many thankies to pinky-pseudonym for helping me proff-read, and to ShikamaruNoMiko for beta-reading!