I don't own Invader Zim.
This one's for you, saichanlovestoad! I hope you like it as much as I hope you will.
Before note: Dib is 15. Zim is taller, using modified Irken technology mixed with science. If you want the entire detailed explanation, checking saichanlovestoad's story All Your Fault.
Dib let out a heavy sigh, leaning against the counter. He rested his elbow on the top, his chin rested on his hand. He stared out into the store blankly, wishing he could go home already. He drummed his fingers against the counter.
A teenaged girl in the horror section was reading the back on every single movie she touched. She had gone through at least a hundred different movies. She would read them, then pause as though she were considering it, then she'd shake her head, sending the ponytail into a frenzy, and put the movie back. And then she'd move on to another one. And then repeat the process.
An older couple had been in the family movies section for over an hour. They were looking at every movie, talking about it among each other as though this were some huge decision. They'd fight or agree on something and put it back randomly on the self. So Dib knew he'd have to reorganize the entire shelf again.
Four or five boys were in the 'Mature Audiences' section. None of them were 'Mature Audiences', but no one walking by even said anything. They were shouting and masturbating over the girls on each of the covers. Since they were clearly underage, they probably wouldn't even be renting anything. They stay just long enough to jack off, then they'd stroll on out, acting as though nothing had happened.
Then there were the random people who came all the way into the store to ask where they could drop off the movies they were returning. This was, of course, despite the fact that there was a drop off box right outside. It was so obvious, but still they came in.
Dib slammed his fist against the counter impatiently, looking up at the clock. Almost ten o'clock. Almost time for the Video Outhouse to be closing. Why it was closing at ten o'clock on a Friday night, Dib would never know. But, frankly, he didn't really care either.
Yes! Hurry! Change! Just a few more minutes and I'll be free! Hurry up people! I don't wanna stay late tonight! I have stuff to do!
Which was true. Dib still had to watch his taped episode of Mysterious Mysteries of Strange Mystery, eat dinner, and check to make sure his package had been sent so it would arrive on time. He didn't have time to waste waiting for the 'valuable' customers to leave so he could leave before he was told he had to close up.
Another minute passed. Dib let out a choked sound, dragging his nails along the counter. The four or five boys all looked at their fancy watches, making sure they weren't going to get caught by someone who was going to care. One of them said something. They tossed the movies back on the 'Mature Audiences' shelf. Each one filed by and out the door, muttering things under their breath.
The girl nodded at long last. Dib twitched, knowing she'd come asking him to check her out since the only other employee was sleeping behind the counter, drool leaking out the side of his mouth. Dib glanced back at the clock.
One minute! Just one minute!
"Hello, sir. I'd like t—" the girl started, but was cut off as Dib ripped the movies out of her hand quickly, staring at the clock impatiently.
"WelcometotheVideoOuthouse.DidyoufindeverythingalrightGood.That'stenfifty.They'reduebackinaweek.Enjoy.Thankyouandcomeagain!" Dib declared in one breath, grabbing a ten and a one from her as she went to place it on the counter. He threw the extra fifty cents at her and threw the movies at her.
"Jerk," she muttered, walking away as Dib happily waved at her as she left. She flicked him off, walking out the door.
The older couple finally settled on a movie. Dib treated them the exact same way, jerking the movie away from the man, talking too fast for them to understand him. He threw the change at them and gestured to the door. The woman laughed as they left. The man, however, told her Dib had been nothing but rude. He shouted as the door shut that he'd never be renting movies from the Video Outhouse again. Dib actually laughed.
Where are you going to go? The Video Outhouse is the only video rental store in the entire city.
Dib looked at the clock. Ten o'clock. He cheered, grabbing his bag from under the counter. He was about to jump over the counter so he could ditch so he wouldn't have to close up when he heard it.
Dib sighed, lowering himself back onto the floor. He swore under his breath, turning angrily to his shift manager, Gary. Gary walked over, checking his clipboard. Technically, it wasn't even Dib's night to close up, but Gary had never cared. He'd hated Dib ever since he'd accidently gotten his car blown up in a fight with Zim.
Gary grinned over the clipboard, that bloated face just lighting up. Dib felt his dreams dying away. No chance of getting home in time for Gaz to save him any sort of dinner. He'd have to eat cereal again, for the fifth week in a row.
"Close up," Gary instructed, jerking his thumb to the video rack messed up by the older couple. "And put everything back into order."
Fucking asshole! I should kill him! I should quit! He can't treat me like that! It's not fair! I'm the only good employee at this damn store!
"Fine," Dib muttered, his hands clenching his bag tight. Upon hearing that word, the other employee seemed to come back to life. He looked around, stunned to find out it was already ten o'clock. He cocked a grin, wiped the drool off his mouth.
Both Gary and the other employee left the store before Dib even moved. The bell stopped ringing. Dib twitched violently, throwing his bag hard against the ground. He heard something crack and he swore. He glared at the clock. Ten-o-five o'clock. He twitched again.
I hate this job.
He heard the bell jingle, but it didn't really register to Dib that no one should be coming in this late. He glanced at the door, but no one was standing there, looking to see if the store was, in fact, open. Dib narrowed his eyes. He turned to look back at the clock.
A video was thrust right into his face. Dib screamed out, attempting to step back. But it was too late. The video slammed right into his face. He moaned, stepping back and holding his nose. The video was shaken.
"I have defeated your policy yet again!" shouted an all too familiar voice, followed by a laugh that was also too familiar. Dib let out a heavy sigh, snatching the video away.
Zim grinned that evil grin of his, quite pleased with himself about having 'defeated' the store policy on late movies. Which, technically, he hadn't, since the store was technically already closed. But Dib wasn't going to argue with him since he hadn't actually changed the sign yet.
"You don't have to come in every time, you know," Dib muttered out, dropping the video in the drop off box already filled with returned videos. Zim gave him a look, one eye narrowed and the other wide. Dib sighed again.
"You do not wish to see Zim?" Zim answered, his voice both confused and angry at the same time. He gestured to the air, then pointed at Dib. "Why?"
Oh, great. . . Now is the day he decides to analyze our relationship. . .
"I didn't mean it like that," he answered, giving Zim a bored look. Zim twitched violently, both eyes narrowing. He pointed wildly at Dib.
"YOU'RE LYING!!!!" he screamed, his voice hitting a high that gave Dib a slight headache. He pushed his fingers against his temples. Zim clenched his hand into a fist and Dib was afraid Zim was going to punch him.
"I'm not lying, Zim. I just assumed that you wouldn't want to see me," Dib replied, if only to calm him down. The last thing he needed right now was to get Zim mad enough to start destroying the store. Zim gave him his usual one eye narrowed and the other eye wide look. He seemed to be considering Dib's answer. Then he sharply nodded.
"Do not presume to think you can understand the mind of ZIM!" he hissed out, his hand gripping at the air as though he meant for it to be around Dib's throat or something. Then he calmed down a little bit.
Whatever you say, you crazy moron.
Both of Zim's eyes narrowed. Then they both widened. He glanced around the store, looking for any sign of any other humans. Dib climbed over the counter and dropped down. Zim gave him a once over, as though making sure he was unarmed.
"No one's here, Zim. It's time for me to close up the store," Dib sighed out, waving off whatever 'worries' Zim might be having. Zim narrowed his eyes again, thinking it might be a trap.
"If you're lying, Dib-human, I will kill you," he spat out, pointing an accusing finger at Dib as he walked by. He nodded, bored with the never ending accusations.
Not that he could really blame Zim, since he'd tried for years to capture him so he could turn him into the authorities.
But, things had changed. Dib had no interest in turning Zim in. In fact, he was now hoping no one would ever figure out that Zim was a poorly disguised alien. He wanted him to stay on Earth. With him. After all, Dib had been the one to confess his feeling first, telling Zim that he was in love with him. And after a few hours of declaring that he wasn't lying, Zim released him from the dissection table and 'decided' Dib was 'worth' his time.
Dib flipped the sign so it said closed. He stared out into the already locked up mall. The Video Outhouse was always the last store to close, since the employees were forbidden to even start closing up before ten. And, of course, every few days Zim would show up right at closing time to drop off a movie and Dib would get caught up talking to him instead of actually working.
I have to learn to multitask or I'll never eat a real meal again.
When Dib turned around, Zim was still standing where he'd left him. His hands were on his hips and he was giving Dib his usual look. Dib glanced at the clock, then back at Zim. The alien blinked.
Why is he still here? Zim never stays this long.
"Is there something on your mind, Zim?" Dib asked, careful not to sound like he was trying to pry. If Zim thought he was up to something, he'd never tell him and he'd probably just start a fight.
Zim stared at him blankly for a moment. Then he blinked those false eyes. Dib arched an eyebrow, wondering if Zim was going to kill him. Zim glanced over at the clock. He narrowed one eye, looking back at Dib. He opened his mouth as though he were going to say something, then stopped.
"No, Dib-human. ZIM leaves you to your filthy human job," he replied, waving Dib's suspicions away. Of course, the fact that Zim had hesitated only made his suspicions grow larger.
Zim marched his proud Irken march by him. He paused, sighed, then turned around. Dib arched an eyebrow again, staring at him. Zim muttered something under his breath, thrusting forward a bag Dib hadn't noticed him holding before. He took it cautiously, giving Zim a strange look. Zim just stood there, hands at his sides, waiting for Dib to open it.
It better not blow up or rip my eyes out.
Dib opened the bag. Inside was a couple tacos, all wrapped up in their little packages with the Crazy Taco label stamped on each one. A huge smile took over Dib's face as he looked back up at Zim. Zim just stared at him as though he didn't know whether he was happy or not.
"You brought me dinner? That's so sweet, Zim. I didn't even know you were listening to me," Dib declared, gently hugging the bag. He would've hugged Zim himself, but the Irken had already made it clear that touching him would result in severe pain, torture and the like.
"Yes, well, I heard you mention something about it last night in your annoying ranting. And Gir made me take him to the Crazy Taco. Do not assume that I will continue to be sweet. ZIM is sweet to no one!!!" he declared, gesturing the air dramatically the way he always did, both eyes narrowing sharply.
Without another word, Zim turned away from Dib sharply. Dib looked down at the tacos, then glanced back up at Zim. He was marching away in his proud Irken march.
No way am I just gonna let him leave! Come on, stupid! Say something! Come on Dib! He's leaving! He's almost at the door!
"Wait!" Dib shouted, reaching forward even though he knew Zim couldn't see him. The Irken stopped in mid march, freezing up instantly. Dib was actually surprised Zim's reactions were that sharp. He glanced back at the tacos.
"Yes, Dib-human?" Zim asked, his voice holding no sort of arrogance or spite. Dib got the feeling Zim wanted to be asked to stay, he was just too proud to say so himself.
"It won't take long, so you can wait. Then we can go back to my place," Dib quickly said, the heat rushing to his face almost immediately. He clutched the bag, wondering what Zim was going to say.
He stood still for a moment, his back still facing Dib. Then he turned around sharply. His eyes were in their usual stare. Dib blinked this time, staring at those fake eyes.
"Okay, Dib-human. ZIM shall wait," Zim answered, marching his way back over to where Dib was standing. He didn't smile, but Dib smiled wide enough for the two of them, hugging his bag as tightly as he could without crushing the tacos.
Alright! Tonight's looking better already!