a drabbly challenge-fic
by J. Random Lurker

Dib was dreaming.

He was a member of a lost tribe in a heavy coat. Arctic frosts bit at his nose, the cold winds banging the tine of his heavy jacket's zipper against his chest. He moved step by painful step over the powdered-sugar snow, his feet crunching sharply, grinding the snow down, down, until it to conformed to the shape of the bottom of his boot. He pondered the narcissism of his footprints as he narrowed his eyes.

He was here on a pilgrimage, seeking medicine, hunting for a magical plant that only grew in the middle of the frost in a secret glen shielded by faeries. A wicker basket swayed above the crook of his arm, empty and rimmed in white.

It was almost impossible to see through the billowing snows. He was slowly freezing to death, but he could not relent. Even if it destroyed him, he had to find the sacred flower, get it back to his people. This was his task, his quest, his coming of age. After this, if he lived long enough to succeed, he would receive glory and his true name. None who tried had so far succeeded. The survivors of the quest- all failed- had returned exhausted, half-frozen: voiceless and reeking of peppermint.

He trudged on. His breath was hard, ice particles searing his lungs. Only determination kept him upright, on his feet.

Abruptly a snowball struck him sharply at the side of his head, a cold stunning impact that jarred his glasses.

Dib brushed the snow from his face and looked to the source of the attack. Zim stood, arrogant and untouched by the storm. He sneered and readied another volley; Dib thought it only slightly curious that the snow- frozen water, and lethal to Zim- did not burn the Irken. Steam rose around the alien's black booted feet; the snow was melting where he stood. Blades of green grass, green as his skin, peeked out of the hard earth: trampled on, but unbroken. An green apple rested against his ankle.

Dib shook his head. "You're not what I'm looking for," said he, turning his back, turning back into the unrelenting storm.

The smell of peppermint dogged Dib's footsteps for the rest of his life.

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Just a wee bit of drabble written for the LJ community "wormbabies" fanfiction challenge.