Note: A question was posed by Microwaved Noodles that I am obliged to answer. "So the SIRs were sent to kill Zim, eh? But weren't they sent before Zim arrived on Earth? Because with Mikko and Tiana's ages, wouldn't their parents have died about four years ago? And Zim's been on Earth three years, you said, right?"

The truth of the matter is, the way I wrote this story, there are several things that are not feasible in terms of the time it took for them to happen. The SIRs were the ones from the IZ episode Megadoomer, but that would cause major problems with the time frames I set. I admit, I have a lot of trouble writing in time frames correctly, therefore I use the convenient explanation that the worm-holes and stuff really really REALLY messed things up time-wise because I'm not quite sure how to untangle such a mess and still keep certain aspects of the story the way I want them.

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"Dad, I'm telling you, it's Mom! She was kidnapped by aliens and I went and brought her back!"

Professor Membrane sighed, allowing himself to be dragged toward the house by his son. He'd long since given up trying to reason with Dib. True, he had discovered an actual alien, but his judgment was still impaired. He'd probably found some strange woman on the streets who'd dyed her hair, and clamped onto her. He bit his cheek, focusing on the pain. It was better than the ache in his chest that swallowed him every time he thought about her, and her purple hair, and her chocolate brown eyes, and her... No! Stop thinking about it. She ran off with some bum, she wasn't abducted. That's absurd!

"She's blind," Dib babbled on, "Cause they took out her eyes, and she had all sorts of horrible experiments done to her, but we rescued her, and she's here!"

As Dib laid a hand on the doorknob, Membrane jerked his hand away. "Stop this insanity, son, your Mother left us when you were a child with a massively disproportionate head. She is not here, she will never come back. Stop making up these fantasies and let that poor woman you dragged in off the streets rest!"

Dib's jaw dropped. "You... you still don't believe me, do you?" He pointed an accusing finger. "Even after all you've seen, after Zim being an alien and everything, you don't believe me!" His jaw clenched. "You--"

The handle turned, and Dib pulled away from it, trying to hold back his anger. As the door opened, a cautious, pale face emerged, framed by flowing purple hair. The Professor sucked in a breath, struck dumb by the impossibility staring straight at him.

"Ivan?"

He trembled. He hadn't been called by his first name in years, and that voice... the voice that had encouraged his work, comforted him when his ideas were rejected, and greeted him as he came home. He vaguely recalled a time when he came home from work every day, no matter what was on his schedule, because she was there.

And there, she reached out a hand to him, her eyes fixed on his. It IS her! In a moment, he swept her into his arms, holding her close and breathing in her smell. She melted into his arms, weeping over and over, "Ivan, Ivan."

"Gloria... my Gloria."

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Dib stared dumbly at his mother. She opened her eyes... and she had eyes. How? They were totally gone, what... how... she has eyes! EYES! Like, real eyes!

He ran his hands through his sickle hair in confusion. Something was off. What... his eyes snagged on a track in the grass. Footprints... no, bootprints, very small bootprints, next to human footprints. Leading away from the house... then back to it. Dib's brows shot up his forehead.

Zim?!

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Greetings my former guardians,

I regret to inform you I will not be able to accept accommodations in your dwelling further. I have much gratitude for the time you have allotted to caring for Zim. Much has been learned in this time, and much gained. However, by now you will have seen the hyuman news information. I have been deemed a threat to hyumanity due to the destruction of the Swollen Eyeball headquarters. Yes, I damaged the building. Yes, I caused explosions. But I, Zim, swear on honor that I did not harm any hyuman being. I entered to retrieve my SIR, that is all.

All news places now say that the courts have ordered the apprehending of Zim, as well as my immediate transfer into the "care" of the Swollen Eyeball agency. I cannot stay any longer, I know what they want, and I refuse to die in such a humiliating state.

Enclosed is a brief summary of findings you may find of interest. It concerns Mikko and Tiana, and the destruction of their village. The SIRs were sent for my destruction, not theirs. And it is not beneath the Tallests to attempt such things again. This is another reason why I must leave.

Do not think I will not remember you, or the smeets. On the contrary, it is impossible to remove you four hyumans from my mind. So do not forget Zim, after all, this isn't the last time you will see me.

GIR sends greetings as well, and hopes you never suffer a moosey fate.

Farewell,

Ex-Invader Zim.

Tom leaned against the wall, contemplating this find. The note had been weighted down by the severed tracking ring Zim had last worn around his neck. In a few minutes, Della would wake and he would have to tell her what Zim left.

Sighing, he shook his head. Zim knew what he was talking about. The news channels buzzed with the camera feeds and aerial photographs of the explosions pluming from SE HQ, and every SE representative had a heart-wrenching, tear-jerking story to tell about how the alien nearly eviscerated them, or about its grisly fight with an old security guard who, of course, never was named. Nothing would keep the courts from turning over the "aggressor" to these vigilantes.

He sighed again, cracking his neck. "Well Zim," He muttered, "You'll have open doors here, whatever happens." He grinned. "Della would have my head if it weren't so."

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"C'mon, one more step... one more... one more... keep moving..." Panting, Dib staggered down the street, desperately pushing himself as fast as he could. "Gotta... get... to... base..." A distinct thrum filled the air, confirming his suspicions. Lifting his head, he spotted the Voot overhead. "Hey! Hey Zim! Hey!" His voice was ragged, but carried well. "Hey! Space scum, down here!"

The Voot banked sharply and zoomed down. The bubble on top lifted, revealing a narrowed set of eyes. "What do you want, earth-stink?"

Dib blinked, catching his breath. "Did you do it?"

"I did many things, ignorant fool, what 'it' do you speak of?"

"Did you fix Mom's eyes?" He growled in annoyance.

Zim relaxed slightly. "No, I did not fix her eyes, they were beyond repair. I cleaned the sockets and implanted mechanical eyes. She will be unable to view colors vividly, but she can see. Even better, she can see at night as well." He grinned. "Irken technology is billions of years beyond you, Dib. Get used to the fact that you'll never catch up."

Swallowing a retort, Dib allowed a smirk. "So, you're leaving? You don't want a tour of the Headquarters?"

Zim made a face. "What is the expression... I think I will do well enough in the class not to repeat."

Dib screwed up his face in confusion, then threw back his head and laughed. "Pass, Zim. You think you'll pass." Sobering, he mused, "So, you're leaving?"

Zim's face fell. "Yes."

Dib cocked his head to the side. "Think you'll ever go back and kick their butts?"

"Kick whose butts?"

"Your leaders."

Zim's antennae flicked. "I hadn't considered it."

"Well," Dib said slyly, "If you ever need a hand, give me a call. I'd be more than happy to go back and wring that Red guy's scrawny neck."

Zim's antennae crossed as he attempted to sort out all the expressions Dib had shoved into one sentence. Realizing his mistake, Dib sighed. "If you ever need help fighting them, find me. I want to make Red pay for what he did."

The grin returned to the alien's face. "We shall see, frolicking dirt-child."

Dib waved, and Zim saluted from the cockpit. As the bubble closed once again, GIR latched onto Zim's head and yelled, "BYE BIG-HEADED KID!!!"

With that, the Voot zoomed upward, vanishing through the clouds. Chuckling, Dib shoved his hands in his trench coat pockets and began the long walk home. He knew Zim, and he knew for sure that this wasn't the last time he'd see the Irken Invader.

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Ivan Membrane stared at his reflection in the bathroom mirror. Reflected was a man who had aged decades in the last few hours. He could doubt his son's sanity, but he couldn't doubt his wife's story. Especially when it was backed up by physical evidence. Scars covered her entire torso and chest, and bruises spotted her body like a morbid version of connect-the-dots. Having had some medical training, he'd given his wife a thorough physical examination, and had come to other disturbing conclusions.

She had been raped. The signs were everywhere. Multiple, violent sexual assaults had been performed on her, and her uterus was in poor condition. She'd have to go in for surgery soon so it could be removed.

He slammed his fist into the mirror, shattering it. His beautiful, gentle Gloria--an alien's plaything for a decade... his fist clenched slowly.

"This... is unforgivable." He watched the shards fall to the ground, each one turning, twisting, reflecting back a part of his face.

"Someone is going to pay."

THE END

Note: Don't lynch me, just look for the sequel: Mekrelmar.