A/N: I just wanted to do something that seemed..it's actually rather difficult for me to explain why I felt that I should write this. I'm not a huge fan of this pairing, but it just struck me as appropriate for my mood. I originally intended for this to be a one-shot, but I don't think it's going to turn out that way. Be nice, first IZ fic.
Title: Cherry Cola
Pairings: Just read the thing and find out. It's good, I swear.
Rating: T for romance. I might lower the rating later, when I'm sure that there is absolutely no reason that it should be a T.
Summary: Just ordinary children, an ordinary school yard romance, and the not so ordinary obsession they share.
It was a cool August, not cold exactly, but cooler than it should have been. A light wind was blowing outside, and you could almost imagine that the world was right. If you ignored the pollution and choking smog in the air, the day was absolutely perfect. Skool had started a week before, and although the children had wished for one more month of play, they were all milling into the building at eight in the morning once again. A few of the older children ran along the steps to the front doors, screaming back and forth like wild animals, while the younger children either crouched in fear of skool-yard bullies or banded together to make their way indoors.
"There's only one good thing about being back at this place." Aki mused to the crowd around her. She ran one hand through her hair and shook it out, glancing flirtatiously at the nearest group of older boys. No one had to ask what her idea of a good thing was, and all of the girls giggled hysterically. Zita didn't find it particularly charming or funny, in fact she thought it was a rather stupid thing to say.
"Of course there is more than one good thing about being back at skool." The girls simultanously reached for their lockers, raising their voices to be heard over the slamming doors and loud chatter around them.
Alex was smiling broadly as she waited for the girl who had taken the focus of the group currently to speak. There was a long period of silence and she realized that the girl with the pale purple hair did not intend to elaborate, she spoke. "Well..what exactly is good about it?"
Zita did not say the first thing that popped into her head, instead she continued to slam things into her locker, carefully removing her math book before looking back at her friend. "Being one more year closer to high skool is good enough for me." The girls exchanged glanced before Aki lightly thumped her closest friend on the back of the head.
"You're such a geek, Zi." A small smile crossed her face, but inwardly she was groaning at her own stupidity for thinking that they would agree. "But there is one more thing besides skool boys.." Another silence as they waited for elaboration. "Super cute teachers." It was true, their math teacher was a babe this year. They had all been busily discussing that from the first moment they'd stepped into the classroom and discovered what was so wonderful about the class. They all exchanged smiles and started toward the mentioned teacher's class room.
Coming into the classroom was no different than being in the hallway. Students still wandered aimlessly through the aisles, screamed at each other from across the room, tossed paper airplanes, and made just as much noise as was humanly possible. By the time the bell rang, which did not discourage any of her obnoxious classmates, Zita had a headache. Her seat was, luckily, as far away from any of her rather talkative friends as she could get; and now she sat with her chin resting in her hand, tuning out the noise. It's not the same. She found herself repeating over and over in her head. She knew what she was talking about and did her best to forget about it, but was unable to.
For three years it had all been the same, but this year it would not be. She had been trapped exactly one seat behind the same student since fifth grade. She had looked at the back of the same head, long enough to be able to count the exact number of hairs out of place in his stupid wig. She had been forced to look at him long enough to see, in perfect detail, the green skin on the nape of his neck, his stupid outfit..everything. She could hear his ridiculous voice, those megalomaniac bursts that had made her call him crazy. I'm still expecting him to come through the door. She bit her lip as she realized this to push back the unavoidable wave of emotion that always came with such ridiculous thoughts.
"The candy zombies!!" She could still see Zim leaping onto his desk and howling. It had almost three Halloween's ago now, but she could still see him crouching between his desk and her own like it was happening before her very eyes. She turned her head a little and pressed her mouth into her palm to stiffle the urge to laugh. He had been extremely amusing, maybe not purposely, but still amusing. She had worn a costume to get his attention, a space invader. She'd thought for sure that would alert him to the fact that she had realized that he wasn't human, that she was accepting it. He hadn't even glanced her way, when she thought about it. She'd painted her skin, striving for the exact color that would match his, redoing it again and again until it was as close as she could make it. Stop it, Zita! Stop it! But it wouldn't stop.
The first day had been worse than this, she had almost burst into tears in the middle of class, only running to the bathroom and getting sick had saved her. But the days following it had been suprisingly easier, she had been so busy that she hadn't given herself time to think of the little foreign boy she had once tried her hardest to ignore. The year before, the last day before the Christmas holiday, while the class was filing out, she had boldly reached foreward and tapped her index finger against his shoulder. He'd lurched around and sputtered out a long hiss before twitching his eye and starting to turn again. "Zim..I know this is a little strange, but I got you a present."
Zim had started long and hard at her, and finally had murmured that he wanted no part of her present-giving nonsense. She'd frowned, feeling more hurt than she'd let herself show. Instead she'd taken a deep breath, and said, "You shouldn't be so inhuman." He'd widened his eyes, horrorfied at what she had said to him, and she had know that she had him. She'd hated to stoop to such a low level, but she'd gotten what she desired. "Zim will accept your pitiful...present." She reached into her desk and removed a small, rectangular box decorated in purple and red ribbon. He'd taken it from her fingers, being careful not to touch her at all. Had his fingers been shaking or had that been her imagination? Now, she couldn't be sure. She had been trembling with delight as he pulled the ribbons away, looking disgusted and somehow excited at the same time.
When he had removed the lid to the box, he'd taken out the carefully wrapped cargo within, and stared blankly at it. Zita had been disappointed by the look on his face, which was instant terror and anger, and she'd stuttered out an explaination. "I got it for you a few weeks ago when my dad took me to see the lights..supposedly aliens, you know? I just thought of you because Dib is always claiming your an alien..like an inside joke, you know? A very human thing to do." Feeling sick to her stomach, she had pressed her fingers together and looked through eyes burning with tears, waiting for him to awnser. His expression had changed slowly to one of acceptance, and very nearly of delight. The green and black pen twirled between his fingers for a moment before disappearing into his pocket. She could barely make out the alien figurine on the end poking out and blinking brightly.
''Thank you, Zita." A small smile brushed over the line of mouth, and she felt her face turn red. It wasn't a big deal, in fact it was a childish and stupid present, but he seemed appreciative. She had skipped home that day, falling on her bed and covering her face to brace herself against the insane fits of giggles that kept erupting from her. She had been the happiest girl on earth and for absolutely no reason.
She hadn't brought the pen with her today, she usually did, tucked in her pocket or in her purse, or in her shirt. Somewhere that she could feel it whenever she needed it. But she had left it sitting on her desk today, in her room. Now she regretted thinking that it was time to let it go, but she took a deep breath and tried to force herself to focus on Mr. Hartz. She had a front row seat now, that was lucky. No more being distracted by the person in front of her, she could see quite clearly to the blackboard. The more she tried to focus, the less appealing the lesson seemed. The teacher, with his dark chocolate hair, and his vibrant blue eyes was hardly a substitute for the distraction that she had suffered since the fifth grade. Alex was waving to her from across the room, trying to point out something that the teacher was doing or saying undoubtably, but Zita was lost in her own little world. A world that consisted only of smoldering ruin and blinking alien pens.
Beside her, Dib was making notes in a small black book, almost frantically scrawling them in his usual messy handwriting. She had slapped him last year, for accidentally breaking the present she'd given Zim, and recieved two weeks detention for it. When Zim had handed the pen to her, with the clear alien figurine hanging forlornly from the top, he'd asked, "I do not know how to fix it..Zita? The Dib-stink and I had a fight and.." He held it up, waiting for her to explode or cry, like irrational human girls often do. However, she had taken it in her hand, brushing her fingertips along his glove and whispered, "Some glue should do the trick. I'll fix it for you." And she had fixed it, after that it had sat in his desk, and he used it regularly. Glancing at her on occassion when he did so, making sure that she saw. But the last two weeks of skool, he hadn't come at all. The pen had sat waiting for it's master to make use of it, looking lonely. And she had been worried...
Stop it, Zita! She had been worried but she hadn't went to check on him and... I said stop it- "Zita?" She glanced up quickly, into the eyes of Mr. Hartz. He had made his way over to her desk sometime after she had become lost in thoughts. "Are you alright?" One hand was gripping the side of the desk so tightly that her knuckles were white, and the other was pressed to forehead, hiding her eyes that were blind with tears that she would not let fall. "Do you need to see the nurse?"
She couldn't awnser for a few moments. She could only glance around, noticing that everyone in the classroom was waiting for awnser, watching. Aki's eyes held her own for a few moments, and everything seemed to spin for a moment. "Yes, I'm fine. I'm sorry, I just didn't get much sleep last night. I'm sorry." She whispered out the last part biting her lip and waiting to see if her lie had been believed. Yes, Mr. Hartz was not going to press it, but she saw his electric eyes waver with uncertainty. She fixed him with a smile and looked down at her hands with a mimicked skool girl blush. He turned now and began his lecture again, and the attention slowly passed from Zita to the teacher.
Lunch could not come soon enough for Zita. She watched the hours tick away, counting down the minutes until she would be able to run from class, and sink against the steps in the back of the skool. Somewhere that she could gather her thoughts and take a few deep breaths of fresh air, or as fresh as it got around her city. And as soon as the desired bell rang, she stuttered some excuse about going to the nurse's office to lay down, and took off as fast as she could to deposit herself on the cold concrete.
It felt wonderful against her suddenly feverish skin, and she found herself sitting on the bottom step, with her head resting on one a few above her. She had been trying to build a wall between Zim and the rest of her mind for a month and a half now, and every attempt had failed miserably. What had started as a crush, had developed into a sort of obsession, and while she admitted that it was not as bad as Dib's..had been for partially the same reason. She had admitted to herself from the first day that he entered the classroom that there was just something that was not quite right about him. And as time passed, she found herself agreeing with Dib when he screamed about his friend being an alien. Yes, she had been quite aware that he was not from earth for a while, and she hadn't cared. Perhaps that was what made her so angry with Dib, had made her so anxious to get him out of the classroom every chance she got, to make him look like a fool. No one else cared where Zim was from, and no one else had any right to know. He should have just left him alone, stopped with all of the autopsy nonsense.
She had liked him for his strangeness, that little alien boy that had sat in front of her. She had found him intriguing rather than repelling, fascinating rather than dangerous. She wanted nothing else than for him to admit to her what he was, to hold a secret like that would have given her a purpose in life perhaps, at least that was the way it had felt. She wanted to know what he wanted on earth, what he needed that had brought him to such an awful planet. Maybe secretly she had held a dream of going with him to the stars and beyond.
''A study date?" Zim had seemed slightly confused when she had suggested it to him in a breathless whisper before lunch. It had been January then, right after New Year's. He hadn't known what to say as she asked if he wanted her to come over to his house. "You?! Come to the base?!" She'd raised one eyebrow but made nothing of the strange comment. After a moment, he had seemed to back up over his words and said in the same dramatic tone, "You?! At my house?!" She'd leaned back in her desk, ignoring the teacher's glances their way, and reminders that the bell had rang.
"So my house then? Thursday at four. How's that?" And just as agreed, he was on her doorstep at exactly four in the afternoon, not one second late or early. Although neither had really succeeded in studying very much, Zim seemed to think that he knew what he was doing much too well to need any help, and Zita was much too distracted by him to be of any help. She had, instead of paying any attention, sat staring at him, eyes lowering whenever he would glance up at her. It hadn't been particularly exciting, but being on the couch, with a book propped open on the table between them, seperated by a hand's width..had been the best moment of her life..she had been..
"You're thinking about him again." Zita closed her eyes and raised the hand that was not supporting her, up to her cheek. She didn't say anything because there was no need to say anything. She hadn't known that anyone was going to interrupt her thoughts, and she had no time to disguise the warm rivelets of water that were flowing down her cheeks. "Zim." He left her with no reason to ask any questions, instead she glanced up, as the doors to the skool shut quietly.
"And you're thinking about him too, you always are." He didn't give her a reply, instead he leaned his back against the wall that served as a handrailing. "Why, Dib?"
He didn't awnser for a few minutes, instead he shook his head and ran a hand through his hair, which hadn't changed at all. "Why? Isn't that what we've both been asking for months?"