Dear Reader (or Readers, depending on how many people are reading along or listening, or your state of mind),
I wrote this story for a number of reasons, the main one being that I wanted to write my own interpretation about how everyone favorite assumed, fictional couple, Zim and Dib, might get together. I felt that since the show Invader ZIM focuses mostly on (shocker!) Zim that it would be nice to write something in Dib's POV. You may notice a lot of (these) and —these!— and this is done on purpose, not to annoy you, but to make sure that anything that can be added is, as would be in Dib's nature, no?
I named the fic after a line in a song by Ludo, entitled "Goodbye, Bear / Love Me Dead." It's a really good song, I advise you to look it up. And from what I hear, it's been featured in an ad for the TV show House. I think that's good thing… I dunno, I don't really watch TV.
I was thinking about continuing with this sort of theme, Ludo lyric titles and all, with other JV works, and that I'll entitle the collection of works "The Love Me Dead Series" so now's your chance to stop me if you decide that you hate this fic.
Just kidding; I'll probably write them anyway. Sorry Jhonen.
disclaimer: I do not, have never, and probably will never own Invader ZIM, unless I pull a whatever-the-hell-Michael-Jackson-did-to-own-the-Beatles-songs. Then it would be mine.
summary: A little reflection piece in Dib's POV that explains how he and Zim got together. Obvious caution: ZADR love-goo.
word count: 3104
Now, on with making Jhonen Vasquez ill to his ill-prone belly!
"You're Awful, I Love You"
by Stepho, a.k.a. cherrys0da
What's there to say about Zim that one wouldn't understand upon first meeting with him? Well for starters, that ain't no skin condition. Zim is an alien, believe it or not (although, you're probably more prone to not believing). He comes from a place called Irk and is on Earth with the only one objective: take it over. A long time ago, I was intent on ceasing his mission. A long time ago, we were sworn enemies. But beneath all of the hatred we projected, there was something that burned a little more passionately; of course, as young kids (well, I was a young kid anyway. I'm not really sure about Zim's age, but he had the stubbornness of a child at the time) it was hardly recognizable. I mean, one normally doesn't have feelings like that until they hit puberty and all those hormones go raging and racing around, so that passion we felt lied dormant in our systems. As it did so, we constantly chased each other around with our homemade inventions (his a little more high-tech than mine), desperately trying to catch one another before either of us could foil our plans.
The first day we met, I remember how I spazzed because I was so excited that proof—actual proof!—of life foreign to Earth existed and was right in front of our classroom, trying to pass himself off as one of us. Of course, my efforts to expose him blew up in my face, since the other kids in our class accused me of hating on the new kid. I glared at him for the rest of the day, watching his every move, waiting for him to do something so out of the norm that the other kids would have to believe me when I said that Zim was not from our world. When it was time for us to go home, I confronted the alien on the school's stoop and threatened to out him, whilst whipping out a pair of handcuffs specially designed for alien catching. A chase ensued all the way to his house. I banged on his door, telling him that he couldn't hide forever… until he turned his evil lawn gnomes on me, and they vaporized my handcuffs. I left, feeling disappointed that I had not fully utilized the opportunity to prove to everyone that I wasn't crazy.
I told myself that tomorrow was another day and that my chance to be a hero would come soon enough. I watched him carefully at school, but aside from his crazy speech patterns and constant talk of one day ruling the world—an occurrence that could easily have been attributed to insanity—he really didn't do anything that would allow me to expose him. And countless times after that, Earth was so close to invasion from other extraterrestrial species that it was so difficult to comprehend why no one could possibly see that aliens were real! Well, other than my sister Gaz, my fellow Mysterious Mysteries enthusiasts, and comrades at the Swollen Eyeball Network, no one understood, and even then Gaz really didn't care, Mysterious Mysteries was full of disclaimers, and the Network needed hardcore evidence to be able to exploit any findings. Thus, I appointed myself Savior of the Earth.
But time passed, and I eventually realized that no matter how hard I tried, for some reason, people found me an unreliable source for scientific fact, even though it was right under their noses. As after years of pursuit and persistence, I woke up one day and I gave up. I told myself that I didn't want to do it anymore. It was a completely out of character decision for me to make, but I did. It wasn't really worth all of the glares I received from day to day, the accusations that I had lost my mind a long time ago. It wasn't worth further ruining my reputation as an investigator. It wasn't worth my father's embarrassment, embarassment that I could feel whenever he would look at me, no doubt wondering why I couldn't be interested in "real" science. And it definitely wasn't worth truly losing my sanity—I was at a breaking point, and that was inevitable. So what if the world was in danger? It would find a way to protect itself.
I decided that I finally wanted to experience life. I didn't want to end up like one of those forty-year-olds you see on TV movies, explaining to their shrinks how old and run-down they feel. Hell, I was only seventeen and I was starting to feel that way! In completely focusing on my absolute goal to expose Zim and save the world all in one turn, I ignored everything that was going on around me. Life passed by and I didn't take one look around; I was always just looking forward. And finally, I had had enough. 'Course, I was too stubborn to admit any of this to Zim. He was still my enemy after all, even if whenever I looked at the alien my stomach felt like it was going to implode and create a white hole. So, I took the most simplistic action: I ignored him.
I thought it was the most simplistic action, anyway. I should have known better that ignoring Zim, of all creatures, would not be and easy feat. For a couple of days, he seemed to see my backing down as a victory (which is pretty much what it was) but soon, he grew restless. See, I was really the only person who paid him any mind, and really, he did the same for me. For most of our lives, we had busied ourselves in taking each other down and out-casted everyone else… well, except for this one kid, Keef, but that's another story. Needless to say, Zim didn't like it very much. He even confronted me on the matter at lunch, about a week and a half after I stopped pursuing him.
"Dib-human," he snarled, "if you are prepared to admit defeat to the Almighty ZIM, then you must say so, unless you wish for me to continue to crush you!"
I raised an eyebrow at him and walked away, leaving Zim to sputter and curse, fists raised toward the ceiling. I paused to smile at the sight, and then exited the cafeteria.
He continued to pursue me for days, and each day that I looked over my shoulder to find him staring holes into my back, I could not help but smiles at the irony at it all—had I not been doing that same thing to him not too long ago? The idea of the role reversal thrilled me, for I had never received that kind of attention before and I could easily understand why Zim would be so put out over its loss. It seems that all creatures, human, alien, or whatever, thrive for attention. They feed off of it because being noticed feels so good, and to have something so focused on you all of the time is simply wonderful. When it's taken away, well, that's the one of the worst feelings you could possibly imagine. It's like a betrayal to the ever-vulnerable ego, and I certainly did not want to deflate Zim's ego because if Zim were not an egomaniac, then who would he be? I couldn't quite answer that, but the idea of Zim not being himself because of something I was doing just made me very… well, sad.
So, I started to chase him around again.
But Zim, despite what one may think, is pretty smart. Somehow, he was able to tell that things were different than before, that I was not trying to really expose him, and what I was doing was simply a façade to return some kind of normalcy to our lives. He caught on not too long after. Of course, when he confronted me on the matter, I told him that he was merely fear speaking for him. fear of my ingenious new plan save the planet. He accused me of "LYING." Sometimes I wonder if he can actually tell if a person is lying, or if he's just suspicious of everyone. It honestly wouldn't surprise me if it were the former or the latter. Anyway, he tolerated me and his speculative conscious for a couple of weeks after that. Perhaps he was just glad that things were somewhat back to normal, despite the fact that his instincts constantly betrayed his sense of security. How I know this? Same way he knew I was lying. It's just something you feel; in my case, something I felt whenever he looked over his shoulder at me, conflict written all over his face.
One day, I guess he just snapped at my introversion and coyness, because I found myself barely conscious, locked in a cage in his lab.
"Wha-what are you doing?" I squeaked when I spotted is looming figure, cast in the shadows, eyeing me from a distance (again, something I could feel).
He took a couple of steps closer to my barrier, and stood under a fluorescent light. "Simple, Dib-stink," he responded. "I'm testing your brain for abnormal growths or whatever else you worm babies get on your cerebrals that cause a disturbance in your normal thought patterns."
"My brain's functioning just fine, thank you, now let me out of here!" I exclaimed.
"SILENCE!" Zim demanded. I shut up immediately because, sometimes, Zim can get very scary. I'm not a coward, but I'm not a moron either. If the circumstances where different, I definitely would have continued arguing with the alien, but he had me caged… and who knows what that cage could have been bugged with! He could have me killed instantly! And I had stopped carrying around my own inventions some time ago, so I was seriously unprepared for such a capture. That was something I could have kicked myself for—maybe my intentions had changed, but his certainly had not!
When Zim noticed my obedience and started, "Now, if you can provide a reasonable explanation for why you've been acting so… so… weird," he paused to shudder, "then I will consider not scrambling your brains into… brain-goo!"
What could I do? Lie? Zim could see right through me! …Or, Zim would accuse me of lying without any background knowledge to the fact, and because I actually was, I would feel guilty about doing so, whether he actually knew-knew I was lying or just accused me of lying because he was suspicious of everyone. Damn my incoherent thoughts!
But I figured I might as well tell him the truth so I could project every ounce of genuineness my body had into what I was saying to prevent my brain from being dysfunctional… well, more so than it was already.
So I told him, "I'm tired."
"Eh?" was his response.
"I'm just tired, Zim," I explained. "I'm tired of devoting my entire life to proving that your kind exists. I'm tired of trying to save the world when nobody seems to want to see that it's in danger to start with. I'm tired of being told I'm crazy. I'm tired of my family always being disappointed in me and thinking I'm an embarrassment. I'm just tired."
Zim studied me for a moment and said, "Then why have you continued to follow me like a lost Earth-puppy?"
"I dunno," I told him.
"You're lying," he commented, shockingly without raising his voice at the last word.
God, he was good at making me squirm. Of course I knew my motives for stalking him, but the motives behind the motives? I knew what those were, too, though I tried so hard to hide it from myself. It wasn't so easy coming to terms with the fact that the teasing I had endured for the past few years as bullies advanced in their cruelty was, indeed, correct. It wasn't that I had a problem with actually being homosexual, per se, but the way that they said it made it seem bad or dirty and I really didn't want any more beef with them. Plus, there was that whole being a xenophile thing that came along with liking Zim, though that was more of a problem that I could deal with in secret because no one on this stinking planet—save, again, for the aforementioned—knew that Zim was an alien.
Zim. How would he react if I told him that I might-maybe love him? Would he freak out like he used to when I would spray him with water? Would he accept it, but ignore it, leaving my love unrequited? Would he convey similar feelings towards me? Oh, god… what if he was confused but my confession? To explain my innermost thoughts to him would be so difficult because half the time my thoughts are always racing, fleeting, and flying. They flee all over the inside of my cranium, bouncing off my cerebral walls, going all over the place, like the thoughts of a person with bipolar mania, and the OCD part of me absolutely cannot stand it, being the one that craves organization and attention to every and all detail, so it always feels like those two parts of my brain are constantly at war.
There was only one way to find out was his reaction would be and, frankly, I didn't not want to perform it. I was afraid of my emotions for the very first time in my life. But I decided to suck it up and be a man.
"I like you," I blurted. That sure was graceful.
Zim antennae perked up in confusion, "You what?"
"Like… you…?" I said, turning my statement into a question for some reason.
"The Dib Human wishes to be allies?" he questioned, still unsure of what I was trying to tell him.
"No… well, yes, in a way. Zim, how do the beings on your planet view affection?"
"Same as on this planet, foolish boy. Infections are treated the same as well, with medication to prevent Irken's skin from melting off and turning into—"
"Not infection, Zim! Ah-ffection. You know, like…" I hesitated at the word, not really knowing if it meant anything to him, "…love."
"Oh," he said, simply. He scratched at his cheek as he thought of a proper answer to give me. "Often I have been intrigued by the chemical components of the thing you Earth creatures call 'love'. Irkens don't have these kinds of feelings toward each other, not even the kind a child, such as yourself, feels towards a parent, for we are born of eggs and do not have any sort of attachment to a figure that supposedly brought us into being. As I have observed, though, the feelings of love are much like the feelings of possession, a thing we Irkens do know of." He paused once again, putting together the pieces of the puzzle of words I had said to him. "Does… Dib wish to possess Zim?"
He didn't look like he was about to convulse, so I answered, "Yes."
I was taken aback for a moment. "What?"
"Dib cannot possess Zim."
He didn't want me; I didn't know what to say to him. One part of me mocked me, saying that I should have known that this was going to happen and that I should have been smarter about it. It was a genius after all, aren't I supposed to know better? Another part of me wasn't much help either—it told me to get violent, start thrashing around in my cage, be a barbarian for once, how dare that green, little space goblin blow me off! I sided with the final part of me that said that I could sulk all I want, the only thing I have ever felt affection for just rejected me. I did agree with the half that told me I was stupid, though. I truly should have seen this coming, for there was no way any normal person would suddenly feel romantically towards another being they had claimed to despise for so long. It was strange that Zim, an alien, was emotionally more of a human than I was at this moment.
And then he said, "Zim, however, wishes to possess Dib."
"Err… what?" was my brilliant response.
"I do not wish to be a possession of Dib, but I wish to possess him myself. I am not a being that can be possessed, Dib. It's not in my nature as an invader. But for me to possess you…" he trailed off, undoubtedly confused by his own emotions.
I, however, was feeling pure elation. After all of this time, all of my emotional anguish, all I had to do is tell Zim that I wanted him and he would have told me that he wanted me as well. And, finally, my mind was focused on only one thing. I hadn't been able to concentrate on just one thought in so long that that, in itself, felt so very good. The fact that the thought was about Zim's returned adoration was an added bonus. An awkward silence had passed between us, and it took me a while to even identify it. But it was amazing to see that I had finally shut Zim up… I didn't think that I, nor anyone in the entire universe, had that sort of power. That was amazing too. It meant that I affected him in a way similar to the effect he had on me!
I decided it was best to shatter the silence, though. I could gloat and beam about it later. "So… could you let me out of this cage? I feel like an animal at the zoo."
"But humans are animals," Zim stated in a matter-of-fact manor.
"Yes," I replied, "but we like to think that we aren't." I added a half smile at the end of the sentence.
Zim pretended to be serious, but I could see a smile hiding in his eyes. After he commanded for the base to release me, we stood there looking at each other for a moment. Every single memory I had of Zim passed through my mind at that moment, much like the sensation you hear about when you die and your entire life flashes before your eyes. I wouldn't have cared if I died just then, because I was so happy at that moment that I didn't believe a person could be any happier.
And then he kissed me, proving me wrong once again.
THE END !!
Anyone ever notice of Zim speaks in third person towards Dib, his enemy, but how he never does towards GIR, who I suppose you can consider his friend? I'm guessing it's because he's more intimate with GIR, what with living with him and all, and with Dib, he considers himself too important to refer to himself directly. I could be reading too far into it, but that's why I made the transition from Zim speaking in third-person to Zim speaking in first person.
Thanks for reading!