Holy crap! I'm not dead!

Sorry about the hiatus, everyone. All sorts of things started happening all at the same time and I'm afraid I got a bit distracted. But, neither rain nor hail nor sleet nor snow can stop me from writing bad fanfiction, so here is my latest offering.

Because at some point in every fanficcer's career, a Mary-Sue bashing is necessary.

Parallel universes, as you know, are the result of two or more different outcomes of a situation happening at the same time. Reality splits, forming a sort of 'frayed-thread' pattern, in which all the infinite possibilities of every single situation that has ever occurred lie unnoticed side by side. Depending on the location of the split between them, the differences between two such universes can be anywhere from trivial to so mind-bendingly dissimilar that they are barely recognizable as having a common origin.

It is a curious fact that, on extremely rare occasion, the boundaries between two such parallel universes will blur for a single moment. Such occurrences are far and few between; even when they do happen, they usually go unnoticed by both planes and result in nothing more than a strange but minor weather pattern.

However, at a probability of approximately fifteen trillion, seven hundred billion, ninety-two million, four hundred and seventy-three thousand, five hundred and two (raised to the eight thousandth, nine hundred and twenty-seventh power) to one, such a blur can result in the switch of two separate individuals' minds.

Needless to say, the results can be disastrous.

Dib woke up with a monstrous headache. It felt like a large and rusty vice had been clamped tightly around his head, and some invisible person was standing just next to him tightening it mercilessly. Even worse, he felt slightly off-balance somehow- like the earth beneath his feet had moved without informing him.

But, he was a paranormal investigator and these things happened from time to time. Quite likely he just had a minor fiend preying off his life force; if so, it wasn't anything three iron nails and a half-dead goat couldn't fix.

Wearily, he swung his legs sideways out of bed and rolled to his feet. Yawning and scratching his ribs, he wandered towards the door, noting that it seemed shinier somehow. He put out a hand and yipped a little as his fingers hit cold metal. Huh, he thought. Dad must have reinforced it last night after the walking dead incident. Shame, I liked that door…

He walked on, still in a sleepy haze, down the hallway. It seemed to be longer this morning, and a lot colder. One of the ceiling lights must have been dying too, because the walls glowed with a flickering green light. That's pretty sweet, I guess. I hope this isn't radioactive like last time.

He shuffled on, past Gaz's door and Dad's door and a couple other ones that he didn't seem to remember seeing before. But a human that has just awoken is by no means the most alert creature in the universe, so didn't give such details much thought.

Something was cooking in the kitchen, he noted dreamily, apparently uncaring as to the fact that the flight of stairs that usually separated his room and the kitchen had ceased to exist. There was a faint smell of burning, though, so it might just be Gaz messing with the Super Toaster again. It was only when he turned into the room that he began to notice that something was awry.

Huge green tubes lined the walls on either side, stretching up, up until their tips were lost in the shadowy ceiling. Some contained twisted bits of flesh that may or may not have been alive at some point. Between them was a wide walkway paved with a patchwork metal floor, with three tables lying in a row just ahead, thick straps positioned on them at roughly neck, wrist, and ankle height. Beyond that was only the murk of darkness. Even as Dib stared, something far off in the shadows gave an unearthly screech and skittered against an unseen surface.

He had just enough time to blearily comprehend that this was not the kitchen when a pair of what he dearly hoped were arms wrapped around his waist and someone breathed in his ear, "Good morning, beautiful."

Dib nearly jumped out of his skin as he leapt away from whoever was behind him. Thankfully, they let go easily, with only a slight snagging of something sharp against his shirt. He dashed to one of the tubes, desperate to get something solid behind his back, before wheeling around to face-


The Irken tilted his head at him and smiled like it was perfectly normal that he should be here. "Of course," he said, in a curiously deep voice. "Were you expecting someone else?" Then suddenly his crimson eyes darkened and he frowned, as if he had realized some grave error. "I didn't scare you, did I? I know how jumpy you are some mornings."

Dib just stared. So many thoughts were rushing through his mind at that moment that he was amazed he wasn't babbling like an sugarhigh four-year-old. Zim? Here? How? Why? Who? Where am I? Why is he hugging me? Why isn't there any toast? Where's Gaz? Where's Dad? Where am I? Why do I feel so stupid? What is the meaning of life? How did I end up here? And for the love of Bigfoot, what am I wearing? For Dib had just noticed that he was not, in fact, clad in his usual nightshirt, but what seemed to be a modified Irken tunic, complete with strategically placed holes and an unrealistically long train. It was very similar to Tak's, actually, except for the fact that it was blue and hers was purple.

Zim must have noticed the dumbstruck look on Dib's face, because he said, "Are you feeling all right? You look awfully pale."

Dib just stared some more. Since when had Zim cared about anything that wasn't himself? Particularly Dib, his archenemy? And- when had he gotten so tall? The previously three-foot-something Irken was now at least six foot three, and appeared to wearing shredded jeans and a Maroon Five t-shirt instead of his usual tunic.

"What- what happened to you?" Dib croaked, surprising himself.

Zim looked about half as confused as Dib felt. Maybe less. "Nothing happened, sweetie. Are you sure you're feeling all right, Clev? You're a bit less green than normal today."

"'Less green'? What does that- what did you call me? Sweetie? Who's Cleve?" Every second that passed just seemed to add to the weirdness, Dib noted. Surely this was all breaking some obscure law of physics that dictated exactly how much bizarreness one minute could contain.

"No, silly," giggled Zim in an extremely creepy way. "Clev. You know, your nickname? Short for Clever Female Variation of Zim. And of course you're green. You're Irken, after all."

Nickname? Clever Female Variation? Green? Irken? What in-

And then it hit him, with the full force of a Greyhound bus doing eighty on the freeway.

Dib wheeled around to stare at the reflective surface of the tube, a cold, hard weight settling in his stomach. Oh please no, oh God let me be wrong-

Staring back at him was the horrified reflection of a female Irken, quite lovely even by human standards. Her eyes and Pak spots were delicate swirls of gold and pink, her skin a peridot green, and her antennae were slender and gracefully curled with each tip bearing a small gold ring. She wore the custom tunic Dib had noticed on himself earlier, all graceful rips and punkish stripes. Even her boots were unusual; she wore knee-length Converse sneaker-boots with unnecessarily large steel buckles on them.

"Oh no," Dib whispered. "I'm- I'm-" He put a hand dramatically on his chest and gasped, "I'm a Mary-Sue!"

Completely unable to understand why his girlfriend had sunk to the floor sobbing uncontrollably, Zim made a few cautious steps forward. "Of course you are, Clev. You have been ever since you came from Irk on a mission to assassinate me but instead fell madly in love." He wondered if perhaps Clev was having a memory block, due to some made-up problem that had never appeared in any canon source but the author had made up to give her a proper weakness. "See, FiFi's here to prove it."

"FiFi?" Dib moaned. "Let me guess, that's my SIR unit, isn't-"

"HI CLEV!!1!" Screamed a voice that sounded exactly like GIR's, only more obnoxious and slightly feminine, as a small and shiny SIR unit plummeted from the ceiling to land on Dib's- Clev's?- head. "AH MISSED YOU!!1!!1! WHERES YOU'S BEEN?!1?!1??1??"

"Oh god, get it off me!" Dib/Clev screamed, frantically pawing at his/her head, finally grabbing hold of the screaming robot and examining it at arm's length. "Why are its eyes pink?" she/he asked cautiously.

"So we can tell her apart from GIR because otherwise they're exactly the same." Zim said badly, apparently completely comfortable with stating the obvious over and over again. "Besides, pink is your signature color. Everything down to the upholstery on your ship that looks and acts exactly like Tak's except for the fact that it's pink is pink."

"Oh," Clev said with faint disgust, barely even recognizing that she had stopped thinking of herself as Dib. She dropped FiFi to the floor, where it began to suck on its toes.

Suddenly, it struck her that if she was no longer Dib- who was? "So, uh, that…Dub kid," she said in what she hoped was a casual manner. "Whatever happened to me- I mean him? Yeah."

"Oh, he died when we used him as a host for our eggs," Zim said cheerfully. "Quite painfully, too; they hatched out of his stomach and ate his brain. You picked him as the host because you don't like competition for my affection. Actually it was faintly strange, because our smeets' development didn't follow anything close to canon, but we loved them all the same."

They killed me? With smeets?! How long has this been going on for?! Clev slowly backed away in horror, towards what she somehow knew was the exit. "That's- that's just great, uh, dear," she said through gritted teeth. "And where are our smeets now?"

"Taking over the earth for us," Zim said, still disturbingly perky. "They're so good at it."

For the part of Clev that used to be Dib, this was too much. She turned tail and fled into the darkness, screaming like a maniac.

"Come back, Clev!" yelled Zim, running after her. "We have to meet with the Vortian embassy at twelve!"

"What?!" came the faint echo of Clev's voice.

"Yeah, we rule the Irken Empire now and stuff!" Zim hollered back. "Ever since you killed both Tallest using only your bare hands and a garden trowel!"

His only answer was the slowly dying sound of Clev's horrified screaming.

So there you are. I'll update Mechanical Mind sometime this week, I promise. Until then, review like you have never reviewed before and I will love you forever blah blah blah.