WARNING – Character death.

Disclaimer – I don't own Invader Zim. It would be pointless suing me anyway since I barely have a penny to my name.

Author's Note – Angst-fest! This is what happens when I watch six episodes back to back in the morning and then depress myself doing coursework for the rest of the weekend. It's my very first IZ fic and also my very first one-shot so it may be a bit crap. Please review! I'm guessing they're OOC but down to the situation I figure it passes. It's SUPPOSED to be evil, so please don't flame me.

The Final Cut

By

Ayla Curtis

It had finally happened. All of his threatening and boasting had finally forced their way into reality, exploding into vivid life before his very eyes.

Dib had felt a rush of joy washing through him as the serious men in serious suits with serious guns had unveiled and seized Zim, and he had felt nothing short of bloated pride when they had invited him to be present, to actually be there in the room, as they performed the autopsy.

It had been a dream come true…but when did dreams ever live up to expectations?

The sweeping odour of disinfectant stung in his nostrils and the bright lighting glared on his glasses as he stood quietly at the edge of the operating theatre in his borrowed white lab coat and mask. Two men and a woman were there working in silent curiosity on the small figure on the table that was naked but for the strange rounded backpack they seemed unable, as yet, to remove. But that would soon change.

Dib had always though that seeing Zim finally under a butchering scalpel blade would be the greatest thrill and accomplishment of his life…but now he was there…now that he could see for himself the Irken's soft vulnerable flesh parting under the sharpened sliver of cold steel, all he felt was sick.

Zim wasn't dead…he was very much alive and only partially sedated, they wanted him that way for research…he felt everything…he screamed…but try as he might his body would not comply with his wishes to protect himself.

As the surgeons tools sliced through him and brought blazing pain to every nerve within him as he cried out again and again for his SIR unit to help him until his throat was raw with the screeching…but GIR could not hear him and was not capable of aiding even if he had. GIR had been dismantled and now lay in pieces on a simple metal table, much like his master soon would be.

Tears began to flood freely from his crimson eyes as hands began to push their way into his body and wrap around his organs, ready to cut them from him. Those same hands curled their fingers around bones, splitting them apart with buzzing saws…the sickening sound of cracking and popping echoed nauseatingly around the room.

As alien blood spilled from wounds and dripped thickly into expanding pools on the previously pristine floor Zim knew he could do nothing but resign himself to his doom…how hollow that word was now…that word he had used to liberally in his time on this world and others. Now he knew its true meaning. His sobs never ceased, even as blood began to spill from his mouth as he coughed and hacked from his growing mutilations. The skin of his chest now resembled little more than tattered and bloody green rags while the muscle and tendons beneath were held back with clamps and wires to expose that which they had hidden; those things deemed by nature to never see the light of day while alive.

Death would have been a gift…but the monstrous humans were keeping him alive, prolonging his agony and humiliation.

He, Zim, a great Irken soldier and Invader was being reduced to notes in a file and, at best, a pale stain on the floor…or maybe a shrivelled husk in a tank of formaldehyde.

It was finally over.

Out of luck and hope his head rolled to one side and his fading gaze was briefly able to focus on the beast that had brought this upon him…the worm that had laughed as he had been locked away in the armoured vehicle…and saw sorrow etched across the blanching features of the heartless demon's face.

It was too late for Dib to be sorry now…far too late. He was torn…in a way he had done the good thing; he had saved the earth from the alien menace that Zim represented even if his attempts failed miserably half of the time. But what right did he have to condemn a sentient creature with thoughts and feelings to a horrific fate such as this? The initial elation was long gone.

As the scientists began to tear into the alien's lower body and even more of his vital life fluid flooded out in torrents Dib watched Zim's trembling lips mouth a few simple words around blood stained teeth. At first he though they were an insult or curse that he so rightly deserved…but after a seconds pause for thought he knew exactly what his nemesis was trying, but failing, to say.

Dib took cautious steps towards the table, feeling physically ill as he padded through the darkening puddles spreading endlessly on the floor.

The female scientist stopped and turned to him with her gloved hands, shamelessly slick with Irken blood and gore, gripping a slim knife in one and a bundle of viscera on the other. He though he saw her eyes smile.

"I want to help." He said as calmly and evenly as his shot nerves would allow. She seemed to consider this and then simply nodded her agreement. With two simple gestures she had her colleagues ceased their work on the specimen. All three seemed happy with the young paranormal investigator's desire to aid in the proceedings that he had instigated by finally revealing Zim to the authorities.

A stool had to be brought in for him to stand on, a clean scalpel that blazed with the harsh glare of the rooms artificial light was handed in an almost ritualistic manner to him once he had donned a pair of latex gloves and he was given directions on where he should and shouldn't cut.

He looked down at Zim who now seemed even smaller than before…not just short, but actually small, which was something that Zim had never been before. Though his stature was that of an imp, the alien's presence seemed to reach far beyond the boundaries of his physical body. But not any more…now he was just a lost and lonely little creature, abandoned by those he thought had faith in him, wracked with pain that would not stop…drawing ragged breaths into a frail, broken body…weeping stinging hot tears…coughing blood…screaming in a silent voice…feeling fingers of ice cold numbness crossing him…

Dib locked eyes with him, laid an almost comforting hand on his bare shoulder, clammy with fear and agony induced sweat, and was ready to grant his greatest adversary his wish.

"I never thought it would be this way." Dib whimpered apologetically, mouth hardly moving and voice barely audible.

Zim was the only one that heard and he was the only one that mattered.

Oh why couldn't the green skinned egotistical maniac have just gone home? Why had it finally come to this? He couldn't answer that. Life was life and you had to play the cards you were dealt. When you make a grave error the best you could hope to do is right the wrong. With a surprisingly steady hand Dib made his act of atonement, bringing the scalpel down on the arteries he had been told to avoid.

Blood sprayed over him like a fountain while the scientists panicked.

It was over in seconds.

Zim's eyes closed. He breathed no more. No thoughts passed through his usually overactive brain. His hands that had before been twitching in an effort to move them lay still. His lizard-like tongue lolled lifelessly out of his partially closed mouth that had finally ceased its voiceless pleas and his antennae were as limp and lifeless as his limbs. Blood still dripped from the table to the floor along with the blood that now trickled from Dib's glasses and clothes.

The experiment might not have been over, but at least the suffering was. It was a small offering.

One solitary human tear joined the Irken blood.

Dib was oblivious to what was being yelled at him by the scientists. Their words fell on deaf ears.

Inside, he was saying a prayer.