DISCLAIMER ZADR. If ya don't like it, don't read it. Characters © Jhonen Vasquez.

Dib grabbed his head and his body tensed as a wave of excruciating pain washed over him. 'Head-ache' didn't even begin to compare. His body convulsed, limbs twitching on the floor. Cold sweat ran down his forehead. He whispered a plea to God to stop the pain, his face set in a grimace. Zim kneeled by him, hands reaching out to try and quell Dib's thrashing. One hand pushed down on the human's chest, the other ran through Dib's hair. The alien spoke softly, continuously in Irken, desperately trying to calm the boy and distract him. He sighed, semi-relieved, when, inch by inch, Dib's body relaxed. "Zim?"
Concerned ruby eyes stared into amber ones glazed over from pain.
"Yes, Dib."
The human whimpered pathetically. "It hurts…"
"I know..." Zim broke off as Dib's body tensed again, switching back to Irken. Why they, humans, would do this to their own confounded the alien. To think Dib's father did this.
Experimented on his own damn child.

Four Days Earlier

The doorbell rang, causing a disgruntled Zim to stare at the monitor for the door's security camera. The vile Dib human was there. Waiting. One of Zim's antennae lifted, the Irken version of a raised eyebrow. Why the hell didn't the human just walk in like always? Seven or so earth years had made Dib very used to the security system. Grumbling, Zim exited the toilet and opened the door a crack.
"What do you want, Dib?" He spit out the humans name but instead of answering, the boy shoved his way past Zim and collapsed face first on the couch. He buried his face into one of the horrid purple pillows that clashed miserably with the lime green furniture. Zim stood there tapping his foot, patience quickly wearing thin. His ULTIMATE plan was almost done and he really wanted to get back to its glorious DOOM.

"I repeat, Earth filth, what do you want?"

Dib mumbled into the pillow. Zim kicked him and was greeted by his own reflection when the boy turned to look at him. Damn mirrored sunglasses. He ripped them off Dib's face. Amber eyes glared at him but it was the discolouration around and beneath his left eye that caught Zim's attention. He poked the bruise hard making Dib recoil in pain.

"Sonofabitch Zim! Don't do that!"

"Why are you here, human? Go home." Dib's eyes narrowed into slits.

"This happened at home, idiot, so there's really no point in going back there now is there?"

"Your father?" Zim inquired, strangely interested.

"Yes, my dad." Dib snorted in disgust. "I'm apparently just not good enough to be the son of The Professor Membrane." His voice changed to become a mockery of his fathers. "When are you going to study REAL SCIENCE and forget all of this paranormal nonsense?" He let out a hollow laugh. "Suffice it to say, Zim, I'm crashing here." Dib buried his face in the pillow again, curling into a ball. The alien glared at him with menacing DOOM. Then he sighed, aggravated, smacking his hand against his forehead and dragging it over his antennae. The filthy human seemed to have passed out.


"Whaaat…?" A bored voice replied.

"Run a scan on the Dib monkey and repair his injuries." Zim then retreated to his base, taking the glasses he still held with him.

Dib's eyes opened groggily, then widened. He let out a startled yell and sat up. Waking to find large robot eyes mere centimeters from his was slightly disconcerting.

"Well well, Dib. Finally decide to join the conscious world did we?"

A green blob walked into his line of sight.

"Come on, Zim. You know I can't see you." He felt around for his glasses but came across nothing. Zim laughed, watching the pathetic creature's search. He placed the sunglasses on Dib's face, jumping when the boy shrieked.

"What the FUCK did you do to them? The lenses are clear!"

"I got rid of those damn reflectors…at least while your indoors."

Dib looked thoughtful. "Transition lenses?"

Zim cocked his head to the side in confusion. "Eh?"

"Nevermind. You've ruined my outfit you stupid alien scum! My air of mystique is gone now! Why would you do something like this?"

"Easy. They annoyed me. Plus, it's not good battle tactics if you can't see your opponent's eyes." Zim's voice was methodical and calm, surprising Dib. Who knew the irken actually possessed a smidgeon of tactical knowledge? The alien snapped out of it though, and leaned over, pressing on the bridge of Dib's glasses. They instantly darkened and mirrored.

"Oh…thanks. Hey wha-" Zim snatched the sunglasses and put them on then slid on the rest of his human disguise.

"What the hell are you doing?" Dib managed to sputter.

"The contacts itch. These work better, even with your horrible prescription." He handed over a spare pair to Dib. "Let's go, that pit you humans call High Skool awaits."

Lunch rolled around, a perfect example of how little life changed for those involved. Dib still sat with Gaz and Zim still sat alone. Sucking down an Irken beverage, he began to daydream. Earth was under his control, the Dib beaten, useless, as he, ZIM, reigned supreme! He was being named best of the Irken Elite and rewarded by the Tallest.

He sighed as the daydream shattered. Seven years. Seven miserable years he'd been stuck on this horrid little dirt ball of a planet. Zim never told Dib, but he had long ago given up any hope of the Armada coming. Oh, he knew the Tallest hated him. He had sat there for hours staring blankly at the fuzzy screen after they had finally forced it into his brain that he had been sent to Earth to die. He still had the scars as a reminder of the breakdown he'd experienced after. He managed to snap out of his reverie when Dib's fist slammed down on the table. Zim looked up, startled, into Dibs eyes. The boy's sunglasses had slipped down his nose. After chucking a cow juice carton at the human, Zim followed him wordlessly to class, unconsciously rubbing his wrists.

Class. Again another example of existence's pointlessness. Their class was still, essentially, the same. Zim and Dib still sat on opposite sides of the class; Ms. Bitters still screeched about DOOM. New building, same old crap. Zim stared at the clock. 2:34 pm. One minute to go. Come on…The bell rang. The alien shot up, desperate to be on his way. His plan was at a delicate stage. Ever pathetically 'hopeful', maybe this attempt would impress his Tallest.

Dib watched from his side of the room as Zim was brutally shoved out of the way of their fellow classmates rushing to the door like the lemmings they were. He and the alien were left alone in the room.


The invader spun around to look at his nemesis.

"What Dib monkey?"

Dib looked at the ground, scuffing his toes on the floor. He cleared his throat.

"Uh…yeah. Thanks for fixing my face."

"I fixed more than just your face, Dib. You seem to have a lot of these 'bruises' as you humans call them."

Dib's head hung, ashamed. For what, the irken really couldn't say.

"Anyways, thanks. I'll try not to burden you again." He sounded almost hurt as he shoved his way past Zim. He was halfway to the door when he heard it. So soft, Dib wasn't sure if heard it at all.

"It's never a burden human."

Dib trudged his way up to his house and then to his room, closing the door behind him. He looked around. His walls, his desk, everything, was littered with evidence of his obsession in Zim and the paranormal. Plans to stop Zim, not that the alien didn't seem to be sabotaging his own plans lately. Dib sighed. He just didn't feel like obsessing today. The black haired teenager shrugged off his black and silver trenchcoat, his boots, and removed the modified sunglasses, collapsing on his bed when he had finished. He stared into space for god knows how long, not really thinking about anything. Life wasn't as painful that way. Dib shot up, surprised, as his door was kicked open. His little bitch of a sister, Gaz, glared at him from the doorway.

"Just making sure you were still alive." With that she turned and stomped into her room, slamming the door closed. Dib wandered downstairs, the doorbell ringing as he passed it. He opened it, taken aback to see Zim standing there. The alien entered without invitation. Dib closed the door behind him.

"Hello Zim. You can get out now."

"Oh shut up. I'm returning your human eyewear."

"Good." Dib glanced at the clock. His dad would be home soon. "Put them there", he gestured at a table, "and leave." He remembered the last time he had brought a friend home. His father had flipped out and it ended rather unpleasantly for Dib. He looked at the clock again, only this time Zim noticed.

"You in a hurry, stinkbeast?"

"Yes…no…you don't get it Zim. You have to leave. Now."

The alien studied the boy. Why was he so agitated? The doorknob turned. Panicking, Dib grabbed Zim's slim wrist and dragged him to a coat closet, shoving him inside. He whispered through the door.

"Stay in here. Please."

Zim watched through the slots in the door as Professor Membrane came into view. He looked on, curiously, as Dib seemed to back up a step. Membrane looked around the slightly disorganized living room.

"I thought I told you to clean up this mess today."

"I was busy, I forgot." The boy backed up again.

"After all I do for you and that sister of yours and you can't even clean!" His hand shot out and struck Dib across the face. Zim's eyes widened. Dib straightened, mumbling.

"What do you do for us, Dad?" Membrane grabbed him by the shirt and pulled Dib to him.

"What…did you say?" Each word lowered in volume. Dib grimaced, preparing for a blow, and answered.

"What do you do for us? You're never here; you don't pay attention to us, except for lately when I get in your way…"

He was stopped as he received a blow to the stomach. His dad let go of his shirt and Dib crumpled to the ground, gasping for air. Membrane crouched down, striking his son in the face again.

"I do EVERYTHING for you ungrateful brats! I work on things that you wouldn't even be able to comprehend! Not with all your fantasizing about Bigfoot and aliens! Don't you EVER question me!" He straightened and kicked the prone Dib in the ribs. The boy curled into a ball, enduring the pain until the kicks stopped. When he uncurled, he was immediately yanked to his feet by his father's fierce grip on his arm. Dib whimpered a little and tried to squint thought the bruise reforming around his eye was making it painfully difficult. His glasses lay on the floor and he couldn't see where the blows were coming from until it was too late. In an attempt not to cry out, he bit down hard on his lip until it bled. Membranes grip on his arm tightened to the point just short of breaking it. Dib squirmed, trying desperately to pull his arm free. His father twisted it more and increased his grip. Zim watched in horror from the closet, seeing his enemy pummeled on was not as enjoyable as he envisioned. He watched as pitiful tears slid down Dib's face, mingling with the blood seeping from his mouth. The boy was breathing raggedly. Zim winced when he heard the sickening snap of Dib's arm finally giving way. The human screamed in pain. Professor Membrane collapsed unconscious when Zim burst from the closet and lobbed the closest thing he could grab at him. It was a lamp. Zim then moved to the barely conscious Dib on the floor. His face was a mess of blood and tears and his right arm hung at a painful angle. Using the communicator in his Pak, Zim called for Gir's assistance. Seconds later, the little robot burst in. The alien picked up Dib's surprisingly light form and carried him to the door. When he turned to shut the door he saw Gaz standing there, staring. He sighed.

"I wouldn't stay here if I were you." Was all he said before he turned around, dumped Dib into the Voot cruiser Gir brought, and flew back to his base.

Once inside, he set the human down on an exam table in the medical part of his base. The repair system he had created for the days kids decided it would be fun to pick on the green kid, sprang into life, scanning the human for injuries. It's a good thing it's a weekend, thought Zim. This is going to take a while.