By Raven
Rating: M
Warnings: romance and a wee bit of violence
Pairing: ZADR
Disclaimer: Invader Zim is owned by Jhonen Vasquez, but this lovely ZADR belongs to me
Summary: Hi Skool is hell, but not everyone sees it that way. Can two long time enemies become the closest of comapnions? Only one way to find out. -ZADR-


It was a quiet day. The biology class was working on a project on the parts of flowers. They were working quietly; the teacher was sitting at his desk, grading papers; his assistant was roaming between the tables, looking over their work. His long scythe-like devil lock bounced as he moved around. It was kind of entrancing. At least one boy in particular was enthralled by his hair.

This boy was sitting in the back, quieter than the rest who were talking in low voices. He was staring with grey eyes at him, tapping his pencil as he looked on.

The assistant turned around and glared at the one staring at him. He made his way toward the other, pausing at each desk and glancing over each person's work before moving onward.

The other noticed and started to draw a flower on the sheet of paper in front of him. He made himself look busy, sticking his tongue out the side of his mouth to look like he was concentrating.

The assistant was now standing at his desk, looking over his shoulder. "You suck at drawing flowers, Zim," he commented.

The green-skinned boy humphed at that. "If you're so high-and-mighty, why don't you do it?" Zim grumbled, dropping his pencil and leaning back.

The other reached across him, brushing lightly against his shoulder. He commenced drawing a simple flower. The close proximity didn't seem to bother the TA ask much as it did the student.

Zim had a light blush on his face which darkened the skin over his cheek bones a few shades. He didn't like the way his spooch was feeling.

Finally the other was finished and leaned back. "See, not so hard." He smiled at him and moved away to where a purple-haired girl was flailing her arms in the air trying to get his attention.

Zim stared after him. The blush had not gone away yet and he still felt that feeling in his spooch. He scowled. How dare he do that to him? He picked up his pencil and looked back at the flower the other had drawn. He hadn't looked at it until that point and now he noticed how pretty it was. He had drawn a delicate lily for him showing each and every part of the flower down to the minutest detail. He looked at it for a long time, appreciating its beauty – something he did not regularly do. The TA hadn't drawn for any one else, so he felt rather special. Pulling his text book forward, he sought out the labeled diagram. He started to label his flower, but he couldn't bring himself to mar its beauty. He took out another sheet of paper and drew the diagram, refraining from looking at the other drawing until the bell rang when he packed up. He slung his bag over his shoulder and left the room. He saw the Assistant in front of him, scythe-lock bobbing in front of him. Zim tried to catch up, longing, for some reason, to be by his side. That feeling in his spooch wasn't going away and it wasn't making him feel any more comfortable.

Suddenly he was out in front of the other and he hadn't realized it until he felt a hand on his shoulder. He looked and found the other there. "Dib…" he mumbled. His face hardened. "What do you want?" His voice had gone sharp suddenly.

The other's eye twitched and his smile became sarcastic. "I was just wondering how your project was going."

"Perfectly well," Zim responded, brushing Dib's hand off of his shoulder. "I've had everything under perfect control."

"Except you can't draw," Dib chuckled.

"You didn't do much better." The saying was like a hard uppercut to the jaw. And Zim had meant it to be so mean.

Dib looked a little hurt. He humphed and didn't say anything. He turned at the next corner in the hall, leaving Zim alone in the crowd. But Zim continued on without another thought, although his spooch had worsened. It was really annoying him now. He sat down in his next class, English.

The teacher was standing at his lectern, his old face sagging as he sighed. The bell rang again and he started class. Dib wasn't there. The hour and a half passed, the old teacher droning on about Macbeth.

Zim wasn't interested. This was a subject Dib would like. He had a thing for the natural sciences and arts where Zim preferred the physical sciences and mathematics. Dib had talked about this Shakespeare guy before and started quoting a sonnet at him. Zim shuddered, remembering it. It had been just ever-so-creepy.

Finally the bell rang and Zim got up, stretching. What a long day! It had taken a lot out of him, but he had one class left after lunch. He headed down to the cafeteria and stood in line with the rest of the hi skoolers, waiting his turn to get the slop they called 'lunch'. At least it was free.

Zim had been running low on money for a while now. The funds he had been sucking out of the banks via a cleverly placed virus were dwindling, like the people that possessed the accounts were either dead, unemployed, or attempting to put themselves in financial ruin.

He figured he needed a job, but where to work? All the jobs usually given to teens were tedious and utterly pointless. He wanted to do something fun.

He let out a sigh as he sat down. Looking around as he poked at his food, he still saw no Dib. Maybe the human had gone home ill. The thought of the boy being sick made his spooch cramp. He grabbed his side until the discomfort passed. He swore under his breath and attempted to eat his mystery-gruel, but that didn't make him feel better at all.

Throwing down his spork, he pushed his tray away, grumbling about how it wasn't fair. What it was that wasn't fair, he wasn't sure, but that was okay with him; all that mattered was that there was something that wasn't fair in the world. He leaned heavily on the table, starting to get nauseated by the sight of all those teenagers eating that slop.

He got up and wandered to the nurse's office. Maybe she would recommend that he go home or something. Yeah, that sounded good.

The nurse wasn't there and Zim banged an angry fist on the door. "Back in 5 minutes my ass…" he grumbled. He was about to turn away when the door opened.

"Oh, it's you…" a hateful voice said from the doorway.

Zim looked back and scowled at the figure as his spooch did a back flip. "What are you doing here?" he asked, glaring at the other.

"I could ask you the same," Dib responded.

"My stomach hurts. Move." He pushed past Dib and went over to the medicine cabinet.

Dib closed the door with a sigh. He shuffled back over to the one cot in the room and sat down, silent as a mouse.

"You didn't answer my question," Zim prompted after a few minutes. His search for an anti-nausea pill was turning up fruitless.

"And that was?" Dib asked back, not looking at him.

Zim growled and repeated himself. He was in no mood for games. Not with his spooch knotting and unknotting like it was.

"Wasn't feeling well. Nurse says I've got a fever. She called my dad and everything," Dib informed him. "Says it's too much stress from school."

"Well, you are taking 6 classes, plus you're a teacher's assistant and you've got a Saturday class at the community college. No wonder she came to that conclusion." He was being completely serious too, which unnerved him a little. "You shouldn't be pushing yourself so hard. AH HA! FOUND JOO!" He pulled out a bottle of sea-sickness pills and popped it open. "Seriously, Dib, you'll kill yourself if you keep working so hard." He fixed himself a cup of soda from his pak and took it and the two pills over to the lone chair next to the cot. He sat down and faced his nemesis. "Why are you trying so hard anyway? What's the point?" He popped the pills and drank some soda. He leveled his eyes on him when he was done. "So, tell me, why are you killing yourself slowly?"

Dib shrugged his shoulders. "The same reason any other teen does it: college."

Zim snorted. "Why the hell would you want to go –"

Dib cut him off with a deadly glare. "I want to go to college so that I can become the paranormal investigator I'm meant to be!" he hissed, jabbing a skinny finger in Zim's direction.

Zim pulled back, pressing into the chair with considerable force. He looked scared. "S-Sorry… I didn't mean to… To make you angry…" he mumbled, averting his eyes, trying to relax.

Dib watched all this, more than a little shocked. "Hey, hey…" He reached out and put his hand on the other's shoulder comfortingly.

Zim's gaze shot back to him and he froze.

"It's okay. I'm sorry for jumping all over you about it," he said with a warm smile.

Spooch crunched and he knew he was going to throw up. Dashing to the sink with his hand over his mouth, Zim hoped he'd make it.

"Zim?" Dib got up, beginning to follow before he heard the sound of retching. "Zim!" He jumped over the cot and over to the sink. He turned on the water so everything would go down and made sure the Irken stayed away from it. "Oh, Zim, what happened? Are you okay?"

Zim wiped his mouth on his sleeve when he was done. "Yeah, I'm okay now. I guess lunch just didn't agree with me."

"Do you want me to take you home? I was going to leave soon anyway…" Dib asked, patting him on the shoulder. Dib could drive and had a parking space at school now – lucky him.

Zim nodded. "Yeah, the anti-nausea pills obviously aren't working so I'll have to try something stronger back at the base. It'd take too long for GIR to get here – that is if I even got a hold of him. Could you take me home, please?"

Dib nodded, ruffling the Irken's wig a little. "Yeah, sure."

A few minutes later, they were walking out of skool and heading to Dib's car. Dib had explained to the attendance lady that Zim was ill and had no way of getting home – which he didn't – and that he, Dib, had an early dismissal any way and would be taking the alien home. She hadn't held them up too long with questions when she heard Zim moan from behind Dib. She had signed both boys out instantly.

Now Zim was stumbling to Dib's Camry supported by the human boy and feeling worse than ever.

Once they were in the car and had pulled away from skool, Dib spoke. "Zim, I didn't know Irkens got sick," he said quietly.

Zim shrugged his shoulders. "Occasionally," was all he said. The blur of objects going by was making his nausea that much worse. He closed his eyes and leaned back. He had to figure out what was wrong with him and why.

Dib glanced over at him, looking worried, several times during the trip. Zim didn't look so good…

When they pulled into the cul-de-sac and in front of the eerie green house, Zim started to get out of the car. Dib grabbed his arm, stopping him.

"Hey, you want me to come in with you? You aren't looking so great," he pointed out, concern written all over his face.

The Irken thought about it for a moment. "Maybe," he mumbled, looking away. "But you are ill as well, huumun."

Dib waved it all off. "This is nothing compared to whatever you've got. Besides, it's just a fever. Not like I'm puking like you."

Zim humphed. "I should make you go home just for that, human!" he growled, crossing his arms. "But I'll make you suffer by staying." In truth, he was afraid to be alone. He'd never been this sick before and he'd never been alone when he was sick either. "Come on, Dib-huumun."

They both got out of the car; Dib once again supporting the staggering alien to his house.

Zim flopped down on the couch and refused to scoot over so Dib could sit with him. As a result, Dib just sat down on the floor, leaning against the furniture. He looked back at Zim who had buried his face in the cushion. "Do you want something? Maybe some milk?" he asked.

The Irken turned his head so only one still-contact-covered eye looked at the human. "Milk sounds good," he mumbled, his voice muffled by the fabric.

Dib nodded and got up, leaving the room to go into the kitchen.

Zim attempted to sit up. It was difficult, seeing as he felt better laying down. His head ached now as well as his spooch. He ripped the wig off, letting his lekku roam free and popped out his contacts throwing the objects away with no intention of ever picking them up again. He laid back down on his side, waiting for Dib to return. This was horrible. He just felt horrible. He'd have to find a way to keep GIR quiet. His head probably wouldn't be able to handle the annoying robot's squealing.

A few seconds later, Dib returned with a glass of milk and a bag of crackers. He sat back down on the floor and handed the Irken the milk and put the crackers on the arm of the couch. "When you feel better, you can eat the crackers. Now just drink the milk." He laid down himself as Zim sipped at the creamy liquid. "If you feel like puking, aim that way." He threw a lethargic arm in the opposite direction. "Just don't throw up on me, 'kay?"

Zim nodded. "Are you okay?" he asked, looking at him with his richly colored eyes. "You don't look so good." The boy had indeed blanched and he was sweating a little. "Maybe you should've gone home."

"Too late now," he sighed. He rubbed his eyes. "I'm stuck here until the dizziness goes away."

Zim's lekku perked. Dib really was sick. He should be in bed or at least on the couch. "Here, get up. Come sit on the couch." Zim got up and pulled Dib up next to him. "Sit, puny earth-thing."

Dib scowled as he sank into the cushion. His eyes were squeezed shut and he wasn't moving well. "I hate being sick."

Zim sat back down and kept wary and worried eyes on Dib. "Maybe you should be in bed." He reached over and put a fingerless-gloved hand on the boy's forehead. It was very warm. He pulled his hand back. "You definitely have a fever. You need to be in bed."

Dib smiled stupidly at the Irken. "I'm happy you're worried about me, but I don' think you've got a bed I can sleep on, and I can't exactly go home, Zim." Oh, he was right. Zim bit his lip. Maybe he should sacrifice his sleeping quarters for the human. After all, he had driving him home. The alien felt anxious now.

"Well, I could provide the bed for a time…" he finally mumbled. He was blushing again. "It would be repayment for taking me home and staying with me." He looked over at the human. Dib gave him a soft smile.

"If you could, I'd be grateful," Dib whispered. His face was red from the heat his body was producing.

Zim sighed and got up. It was his turn to play nurse. He punched the wall just above the couch, getting a small jolt out of Dib, who looked over, wide-eyed with fear. Zim smirked at him as a control panel flipped out of the wall. The Irken turned his attention back to the control panel. He pushed a few buttons and hopped back on the couch as it began to lower. "Elevator," he mumbled, glancing over at the boy.

Dib had closed his eyes once he realized Zim wasn't threatening him. Now he nodded, sensing the movement. "Thank you…" he mumbled, exhaling slowly.

Zim blushed lightly and looked away. He put his hands over his mouth, leaning his elbows on his knees. He grunted in reply and refused to answer him any other way. His spooch churned a little, but he ignored it, staring firmly at the elevator shaft. His lekku lay limply against his head.

The elevator stopped and Zim crawled off the couch. As he extended his hand to the boy, the doors opened, revealing Zim's bedroom.

It was a pink-tinged room, containing a round bed, squishy in nature, and very comfortable for a pak-wearer. There wasn't much else in the room, but it was brightly lit and ready for use. A few fluffy blankets were strewn in one corner as well as some comfy pillows the other. "Come on, Diblet."

Dib opened his eyes and the flush on his face deepened a little. He reached out with one hand and took the Irken's.

Zim gave a tug and then another, but the boy wasn't helping.

As a result, Zim gave up on the effort and chose to drag him to his feet and hurry him over to the bed instead.

Dib sank down in the mattress and moved around a bit, trying to get comfortable.

Zim had to admit, the human looked cute, curled up like that on the expansive Irken bed.

The lights dimmed so only the pink rope light that was strung along the wall was glowing.

Zim sat down next to him and ran a hand over the boy's hair. Dib shivered. "Are you cold?" Zim asked. "I can get you a blanket."

Dib nodded, squeezing her eyes shut.

The Irken got up and wandered over to the far corner and grabbed a few blankets. Each was decorated in a different way. One was tie-dyed, another covered in pink kittens, and a third decorated with an animal print of some kind. He laid one over the boy and tucked him in until he was satisfied. "Warm now?" he asked.

Dib nodded again, smiling softly as he snuggled into the fuzzy fabric. "Thanks…" he mumbled.

Just seeing Dib look so cute made his spooch squirm. He felt sick, but he sat down again.

He watched Dib sleep for a long time, thinking things over and wondering why his spooch was acting like it was. Maybe it had something to do with the Dib. Maybe he was allergic to the human. But somehow he could not bear to think about separating himself from the other. Maybe… Maybe it was that feeling that had only been detailed to him in Irken story books. A feeling he had never felt before. He shook his head. It can't be that! No, never, nuh-uh. Dib was his worst enemy, right? He couldn't possibly feel that because of him! Well, maybe he could… He got up. He had to run a scan just to make sure…

But Dib stopped him.

The ill boy had reached out and grabbed his wrist, pulling him back.

Zim looked back at the innocent-looking boy first with contempt, but then he melted into an "awe" sort of look. He felt weak in the knees just looking at him.

"Where are you going?" Dib asked meekly. His voice was quiet and there was a hint of anxiety in it that intrigued the Irken boy.

"I was going to go give myself a medical scan," Zim responded. "Did you not want me to go?"

Dib shook his head, blinking. "I'm still cold…" he mumbled, looking down for a moment before looking up at Zim again.

Zim sat down again and pulled up another blanket with his free hand, but Dib's grip tightened on his wrist. He looked back.

Dib's face had turned an even darker shade of red. He tugged gently on Zim's arm and pulled it under the blanket with him after a final, severe tug which pulled the alien over. Zim got the message.

Dib didn't want another blanket, he wanted Zim's body heat.

Reluctantly, Zim crawled under the blanket, taking his arm back as Dib curled closer to him, putting both hands against his chest. Blushing, the Irken put his arms around Dib, pulling him closer. His spooch clenched a little, but nothing came of it. In fact, that time felt nice, and the Dib was very warm. He nestled his face in Dib's soft yet spiky hair. It felt good against his skin. His headache was starting to lessen. Now if only he could make the Dib well again. With hopes of making him feel better, Zim drifted off to sleep, holding the human boy tightly against him.