Torn

*

The characters Zim, Dib, and Gaz are in eighth grade. This is - with credit to Advanced Gir for coming up with the term - a ZAGR songfic. (Z[im] A[nd] G[az] R[omance])

"Torn" belongs to Natalie Imbruglia. I dislike this song intensely, but I used it for this fic - I'm not sure why.

*

She had the inexplicable urge to smack Dib a good one, right across his smug, knowing little face. But then again, it was probably just her sibling rivalry symptoms. Stupid Dib, she thought darkly, scowling at her brother, who was (unfortunately) sitting beside her on the school bus departing for home.

Gaz wasn't for sure why that strange boy - Zim, she believed was his name - had decided to ride the bus for a change, but judging by the occasional obscenity-filled mutter, he had been dared to by Dib. Personally, she thought both of the two were nuts, hands down.

"PUNY HUMAN WORM-BOY!!"

That would be Zim.

"ALIEN SCUM!!"

And that would be Dib.

"SHUT-UP, YOU BRATS, AND SIT YOUR ARSES BACK IN THOSE SEATS!!"

And _that_ would be the bus driver.

Gaz sighed, dug through her backpack, purposely slapped Dib with the buckle of her backpack, and pulled out her CD player, slipping the headphones on and thumbing the CD within into play.

//I thought I saw a man brought to life
he was warm he came around like he was dignified
he showed me what it is to cry//

She hadn't realized she'd had Natalie's CD in her case.

With a resigned sigh, Gaz cranked the volume up, trying to block out the sounds of Zim and Dib attempting to legally murder each other while the bus inched slowly along.

Why couldn't they pretend to get along?

//well you couldn't be that man I adored
you don't seem to know, seem to care what your heart is for
well I don't know him anymore//

She cast Zim a passing glance, somehow moved by the curious emotions evoked by the lyrics. He'd always been cute, in an odd way, although rather stunted in growth. Yet now he was tall, though still almost unhealthily slender and fragile appearing. He was actually rather attractive, eerily enough.

If Dib ever found out she thought his arch-nemesis was adorable in appearance, she'd never hear the end of it.

But then again, who said Dib needed to know?

And, anyway, even if she did have a crush on Zim - Zim, of all people! - it wasn't likely that he'd ever reciprocate the feelings. He was so cold, so aloof and haughty…

//there's nothing where he used to lie
the conversation has run dry
that's what's going on//

"You are a disgusting parasite on the hindquarters of the universe," Zim was sneering, "and I shall grant mercy to the denizens of this planet by annihilating you!"

Wrinkling her nose, she turned the volume up again, wishing the music would drown out everything. How could she like him? He was weird and different and…

Why should she care? She was the same.

//nothing's fine I'm torn
I'm all out of faith
this is how I feel
I'm cold and I am shamed
lying naked on the floor
illusion never changed
into something real
I'm wide-awake and I can see
the perfect sky is torn
you're a little late
I'm already torn//

The lyrics drove home, painful and true.

How many times, Gaz wondered, had she felt ashamed of herself? Ashamed of her growing, once insignificant crush on strange Zim?

Heck if she knew.

"Will you two shut-up?" she finally snapped, irritated, and Dib gave her a dirty look and Zim paid her no mind.

She refused to have a crush on him.

//so I guess the fortune teller's right
I should have seen just what was there and not some holy light
but you crawled beneath my veins and now
I don't care - I have no luck - I don't miss it all that much
there's just so many things//

Stupid unreachable Zim, with his green skin and unusual blue eyes that bore into your flesh and delved into your mind, and his crazy black hair that shone and was perfectly combed, and his striped pink outfit and black boots and gloves…he never had a change of outfit. Always the same, predictable thing.

"He's an alien," Dib would try to tell her, "and he's come to take over Earth."

Gaz snorted. Yeah, right. And if Zim was an alien, she was going to marry him and be his queen when he controlled the Earth - NOT.

She had learned when she was very little that she never should expect the out-of-the-ordinary, or even the plain ordinary. Her father was too busy…her mother was gone…her brother was a jerk.

Maybe Zim really was an alien. Maybe she was, too…because when it came down to it, she never felt accepted.

"Adolescent hormonal shifts," her father would say sagely, and then he'd be off creating the better nuclear warhead.

If she heard the 'adolescent' excuse just _one_ more time, she'd scream.

//that I can't touch I'm torn
I'm all out of faith
this is how I feel
I'm cold and I am shamed
lying naked on the floor
illusion never changed
into something real
I'm wide-awake and I can see
the perfect sky is torn
you're a little late
I'm already torn//

The bus driver swerved suddenly, accelerating, and Zim - he was leaning over so as to get a better strangle grip on Dib's throat - was thrown over the seat, landing with limbs akimbo, sprawled half on the floor, half on Dib and Gaz's seat. A very loud, very profane word exploded from Zim's lips and he struggled to get back up, boot shoving into Dib's nose.

Gaz rolled her eyes, shifting the headphones so they hung around her neck, music pounding clearly and loudly enough for the two of them to hear.

//torn//

"Idiot," she grunted, grasping his upper arm, right above the jutting elbow and tugging him up. Startled and launched off-balance again, he landed with his face pressed into the crook of her shoulder and neck.

Dib was thrust off the seat into the aisle.

The bus driver paid no mind.

//oooooh, oooooh, oooooh, ooooh//

"Stupid human female," he muttered and she shoved him into Dib's previous seat, crossing her arms angrily over her chest.

The lyrics made their way into Zim's head, throbbing and singing.

Dib slumped into Zim's unexpectedly vacated seat, resisting the urge to flip his middle finger up. God, he hated that alien.

//there's nothing where he used to lie
my inspiration has run dry
that's what's goin' on//

The city passed away outside the windows, dismal and grey.

Zim realized that, just for a moment, he was at ease sitting beside Gaz with the bobbed violet hair and black eyes and the prettily tough Asian looks. The city didn't seem so disgusting and revolting, just for a moment. And just for a moment, he was content to be sitting next to the tomboy girl.

The music was still beating; the notes and words were so reminiscent of himself…the Almighty Tallest would be ashamed of his weakening behavior. He wasn't feeling weakling human emotions, and _especially_ not for that human male's skeptical sister.

To heck with the Almighty Tallest, Zim thought suddenly, he didn't _care_ about what they thought anymore. Sure, he still wanted control and domination over the Earth, but that was in his Irken blood - nothing in his genes said he couldn't…fall in love…with a human. But Gaz? _Gaz_?

//nothing's right I'm torn
I'm all out of faith
this is how I feel
I'm cold and I am shamed
lying naked on the floor
illusion never changed
into something real
I'm wide-awake and I can see
the perfect sky is torn
I'm all out of faith
this is how I feel
I'm cold and I'm shamed
bound and broken on the floor
you're a little late I'm already torn//

The bus came to a screeching stop before the tidy front of Dib and Gaz's home and she stood up as Zim moved out of the way.

His hand caught her wrist, supple black leather of his glove brushing her bare skin.

"Gaz…sorry." He smiled, weakly.

He was apologizing. To her. To Gaz.

Startled, she stared at him, eyes wide, reluctantly being pushed off the bus by a smoldering Dib.

Somewhat dazed, Gaz stumbled down the walk, a smile spreading across her lips. That did it. She, Gaz, was officially going to have a Crush on Zim.

The headphones were still around her neck, the song's final chords echoing softly before it clicked off.

//torn//

He smiled out the bus window and he rolled it down.

The air smelled sweet.

*
owari
*

Review, please?