A/N: Whoa. When was the last time I updated something here? Hard to tell considering my In the Dark story with ZimPLUSDib got deleted due to sexual content. For anybody who was reading that story here, you can still read it on Deviantart or Adultfanfiction. But enough about that. Let me get to posting this new story that I started with Paranormal-phenomena on DA. It's ZADR again so hopefully we'll get as many loyal ZADR fans reading this as my other partner and I got for our In the Dark story when it was still alive on this website.

Zim: Paranormal-phenomena

Dib: Me

Beta: Notgonnadie

Disclaimer: We don't own anything or anyone in this chapter.

Rating: Chances are it will have a pretty high rating eventually. But we only just started the story so it's hard to tell where it will go from here. If it does have any sexual content in it later, however, I will probably have you all go look at those scenes on or DA for fear of having another one of my stories deleted.

The lock on his door had been broken again. No big surprise once you got a look at the culprit inside. It wasn't like it hasn't happened before. In fact, it's occurred on numerous occasions, and this was only the first semester.

Zim snooped through a pile of papers messily laid out on Dib's desk, pajama pants barely hanging on his semi-petite frame. They weren't actually PJ's you'd buy at a store on Earth, although you wouldn't be able to tell the difference. If not for the hole ripped out of the purple fabric in the back you wouldn't say they were different at all; but there was supposed to be an Irken logo there.

You see, a lot has happened over the years Zim was forced to endure time on Earth. You wouldn't exactly say things had changed between him and Dib although the alien often became more comfortable getting into his business (or stealing homework from his dorm room when he wasn't home).

His crazy, egotistical self hadn't changed either; the only thing that did, visibly, was the fact he had miraculously grown (5'0, give or take an inch). There was a reason, however, for his torn pajama pants.

It happened two summers ago, a truth revealed to him that completely altered his 'invader' status. From that point, he had been putting more effort into fitting in here, not that he was openly sharing this information. He actually tried to enjoy himself though considering it would be a permanent stay. It was either that, or endure another emotional break down. He was tired of those.

Zim was fortunate to get a room close to Dib's. It made his company and bugging him so much more convenient. Dib's roommate didn't seem to care whenever he'd barge in anyway (not that he was home right now); especially since it was only Dib's side of the room he was always looking through. Zim himself had gotten a dorm all to himself. He feared getting too annoyed at another and blowing them up so he currently lived alone.

Meanwhile while he was going to the university, he trusted Minimoose to babysit Gir back at the base. Without him, he wasn't sure what he would have done. The android would have obviously destroyed everything if left to itself.

Now what would Zim even consider majoring in? Seeing as his new purpose in life was to bother Dib, it also became the same major as his; so that the two even had the same classes this semester.

As the Irken continued to shift through papers and papers of random homework assignments on Dib's desk, he was none the wiser of the approaching human making his way down the hallway at that very moment. One towel draped over his head and another wrapped around him, Dib worked to dry off his wet hair as he had just come from a shower in the bathroom that was a few doors down from his room. Unlike Zim's room, which came with a bathroom attached to it, Dib and his roommate just shared a bathroom with a few of the other boys on their floor. He didn't mind it too much, though he wished the others would stop using up all the hot water each and every time they took a shower.

Finally reaching the threshold to what had become his new 'home' for the next couple of months until he could return to his real home, he sighed and brought the key up to unlock the door to his room. He stopped however when he realized the door was unlocked already. But how could that be? He was sure he had locked it before leaving to take his shower. He knew better than to leave his door unlocked with Zim lurking the hallways at random hours of the day and night, and his roommate took night classes so there was no way he could be back already. So taking care to make as little noise as possible, Dib turned the doorknob and peaked in to see the Irken making a mess of his already messy work area.

Glaring at the other's turned back, he just knew the Irken must be trying to steal his homework again. The alien had already done that on a few other occasions and the end result each time had been disastrous. Because of Zim getting him in trouble with some of their teachers, he was already failing one class and just barely passing another. Of course, English and Oral Communication weren't exactly his strong points but that was besides the point. They were General Education classes that he had to pass before he could even graduate, which he figured wouldn't take him too long to do after he had completed his required classes. His major was in science, a subject he found to be far too easy for him and boring. But if it got his father off of his back, he couldn't say it wasn't worth it in the long run.

Watching the Irken in complete silence as he continued to throw papers he didn't need onto the ground, Dib felt his temper rising. There was no way in hell he was going to allow Zim to get away with trashing his side of the room and stealing his homework again. Without even giving it another thought, Dib threw the door open and stormed up behind the oblivious Irken to grab his papers out of the other's hands. "Goddammit, Zim! How many times do I have to tell you to keep your hands off of my homework?!" he scowled at the disguised alien when he turned suddenly to face Dib.

Zim remained oblivious to Dib's arrival until he heard the door open so violently. It made his muscles tense as he whirled around, not too surprised to see the unhappy face before him. The homework papers he had looked so hard to find were taken from his fingers, his chances of copying again no doubt in jeopardy.

"Apparently not enough." He so readily replied but was willing to back up his smart mouth with a sheepish smile. As fun as it was crawling under Dib's skin, he wanted to at least get possession of the materials first. Otherwise he knew he'd have no chance of getting them.

"Come on, Dib-stink," He tried to reason, the habitual nickname slipping off his tongue, without malice this time. His green eyes acted out a dishonest plea as hidden antennae lowered more firmly beneath his spiky black hairdo.

"Just let me make a couple of copies. That stuff is do tomorrow and I don't want to do it myself." Considering how late it was getting, he wouldn't have time to do it anyway. Plus, it was boring.

Dib's glare worsened as he was less than amused by the Irken's explanation. "Too bad. You should have thought of that before you decided to take the same classes as me. Besides, the last time you wanted to "just make a couple of copies", without my permission, you ended up just switching my name for yours on the homework and turning it in. And the time before that, our teacher accused ME of copying YOU! So no. No, you can't make a couple of copies. I'm already failing one class because of you and on the verge of failing another." he said as he stooped down low to begin picking up all the papers Zim had thrown onto the ground.

Straightening out the pile of papers in his hands, Dib stood back up after a few moments just to see that the Irken was still standing there, staring at him. "What?You heard me. If you're really so goddamn desperate, then why don't you go find somebody else in our class to steal homework from? Because there's no way in hell I'm letting you take mine again. Or here's an even better idea. Do the homework yourself. Copying my homework won't help you when the midterm comes around, not that I care how you do on that." he said before finally pointing out the door for the Irken to leave.

A blank look sort of shifted on the Irken's face as he tried to think of what to do. All he heard from Dib was negativity but he didn't allow himself to pay enough attention to his reasoning other than that.

Obviously what Zim was doing wasn't fair but he wasn't going to go admitting to that. If he had to, he'd say it wasn't fair Dib was making such a big deal out of this.

When Dib tried to point Zim towards the door, the alien was still reluctant to leave. He folded his arms over his thin chest and narrowed his eyes, finally reacting, and with an offensive look on his face. "Just what are you trying to say?"

Don't get Zim wrong, he had a feeling what Dib had so boringly rambled at him for was something along the lines of no, and get out, but now he was just trying to delay the inevitable.

"Dib, I don't have time to do it now. Let me do it this once and I promise I won't copy anymore," He coughed, "Maybe."

Eyes half lidded in an annoyed fashion, Dib just shook his head a bit. "You weren't listening to a word I was saying, were you?" he sighed in a bit of defeat. Realizing that the Irken had no intentions of leaving until he had gotten what he wanted, Dib couldn't help but give in a little. "Fine! You can copy my homework this one time, but after tonight you have to do it on your own or fail!" he said right before the Irken reached out to try and grab it from him.

Pulling the papers back a bit, out of Zim's reach, Dib slapped his hand away. "No way. If you're going to make copies then I'm coming with you to make sure you don't steal my homework again." he said, sending Zim a completely serious look. He didn't trust the alien at all. If he was going to make copies, then they were going to do it Dib's way or not at all. "You can make some copies down in the library just as soon as I get dressed." he said, placing the papers up high on a shelf that he was sure Zim couldn't reach. Then, turning back to face the Irken, he blushed a bit as he pointed to where he wanted Zim to face. "Now t...turn around while I get dressed." he said as he tightened his hold on the towel he was using to keep himself covered up.

Zim looked quite pleased with Dib's defeat. He was eager to snatch away the homework before he changed his mind but instead was thwarted when Dib insisted he'd accompany him.

The Irken swiftly grew annoyed that Dib chose then to use their height differences against him as he looked up to where the papers resided on top of the shelf. He supposed he couldn't complain though. He did at least get what he wanted.

Zim arched a brow line and snorted at the following, last, demand; barely getting a word in edge wise when it came to his enforced company. He put a hand on his lithe hip, eying Dib incredulously. "Like you have anything under there I would want to see." He joked, a knowing grin twitching at the corner of his lips. Nonetheless, he humored him and turned his back to Dib, anyway.

"SHUT UP!" Dib yelled, his blush growing even brighter at the other's words. "I don't care if there's nothing under here that you would want to see! I still don't want you watching me while I'm getting dressed! So just turn around and don't look until after I've gotten some clothes on!" his voice came out in a frustrated tone.

Waiting until the alien had turned completely around, Dib finally moved over towards the edge of his bed after a few moments to pick up the pajamas he had left laying out on his bed before going to take his shower. Pulling on a pair of clean boxers, he then proceeded to change into his dark blue pajama pants and top before finally turning back to face Zim. "There. You can turn around now." he said as he slowly began pulling on his black trench coat too to keep warm. Being the middle of October, the days were slowly beginning to become shorter and colder with each passing day.

Zim snickered at the reaction, amused by the other boy's frustration. He didn't say anything though. He kept dutifully turned away, waiting impatiently for the human to finish clothing himself before he said he could turn around.

The Irken smiled charmingly, strutting over towards the door in that stiff-legged prance of his. He waited there in order for Dib to lead the way out, but couldn't sit still after his next response.

"Oh, I stole a couple of glances, and I'm bigger." An inappropriate remark to make as his cheesy smile grew and he quickly stepped out of the doorway. Obviously he didn't but it wasn't like Dib would know. And there was nothing like riling up that paranoia, something that entertained him immensely.

"You WHAT?!" Dib exclaimed as he tensed considerably at the Irken's words, all the color draining from his face in that moment as he stood stone still, his mouth hanging wide open in an absolutely mortified way. Lower eyelid twitching, he felt as though he couldn't move for several seconds afterwards. All he wanted to do in that moment was die as his entire body was on fire now. If the Irken didn't kill him then surely the amount of embarrassment he felt in that moment would. Knees shaking a bit, he finally took a few wobbly steps towards the door to his room after he had grabbed the papers off the high shelf, his entire body soon turning to continuous shivers as he couldn't control the thoughts going through his head. The alien certainly had painted a colorful picture for him to think about. Not that he hadn't wondered in the past whether an Irken's anatomy was anything like a human's, but the way in which Zim had so bluntly stated the facts to him had thrown him completely off guard.

Zim did all he could not to laugh hysterically. Seeing Dib's face as he wandered out of the room was quite amusing to the devious little alien. Without the human, he was certain he would have died of boredom on this planet.

Zim tried to look assuring, an acting ability he failed at as they started to walk away from the dorm room. "Aw, it's alright. At least you have one head that's big!" He poked Dib in the side of his cranium for emphasis and indication, using his tip-toes in order to accomplish such a feat.

Pulling away from the Irken at the sudden poking of his head, Dib glared hard at the alien. "My head's not big! And I mean the one on my shoulders!" he looked away to his side with a deep red blush. Then, in a low whisper, he mumbled to himself. "Jerk..." he said as he could no longer bring himself to look at Zim.

Waiting for the elevator doors to open so they could head on down to the library which was in the building right next to their dorm rooms' building, Dib stood with his arms crossed, glaring down at the ground in an agitated fashion. The Irken really was getting on his last nerve.

Zim snickered to himself but decided not to push Dib any further than he had. No more until he got the copies of his homework anyway.

The Irken followed Dib into the elevator once the doors opened with an annoying 'ding.' Seeing Dib look so tense and angry, it was hard to keep his own word, and give the human a break. He was so easy to rile up, after all. He doubted he could have stayed quiet the entire way there and back anyway.

"Aw, ease up, Dib-human." Zim slapped him on the back in a friendly gesture. "Can't you take a joke?" He smiled innocently, a smile that rarely ever crawled on his face -- and always meant the opposite of its intent.

Dib glared at the Irken when the other had slapped him hard on the back, just knowing by the look on Zim's face that he had meant to hit him that hard. Then, taking his narrow eyed glare off of Zim, he spoke through grit teeth. "Not when the joke is coming from you." the words came out in a low growl. It was at that point that the alien seemed to back off just a little, sensing that Dib was at the end of his straw. He was so close to turning back right then and there that Zim wouldn't dare risk the homework he had gotten Dib to agree to let him copy.

He managed to keep quiet this time as he followed Dib out of the elevator. When they got outside to head for the library, he wished he would have grabbed a coat in his dorm room first. He didn't even have appropriate shoes on, he was wearing, more or less house slippers, with thin soles underneath.

What concerned him the most though was the chilly air, immediately making him press against the human for warmth. An awkward moment that (fortunately for Dib) didn't last too long.

Making their way off the elevator as soon as it had reached the bottom floor, the two of them headed on out the front doors to the building and began walking towards the building across from them. The library wasn't particularly big but it did serve them well enough. Locating the first xerox machine they could find, Dib shoved the homework papers into Zim's hands before crossing his arms. "Here. Make your damn copies already so we can get going." he said grumpily as he waited for Zim to finish 'borrowing' his homework. "And this time remember to go through it and change a few things so the teacher doesn't suspect me of cheating again!" he said, tapping his foot impatiently.

Despite the fact he got the human to share, Zim huffed when Dib told him -he- had to change a few things. "Why don't you do it?"

Dib sent him an incredulous look at that question. "Are you kidding me?! I actually did the work so you should have to make the changes you need to it! There's no way in hell I'm going over all of my work again just to make changes!" he sent the other a warning glare. The Irken seemed just about to protest when a loud crash outside had both of them jumping.

Turning around to face one of the windows, Dib could see that it had started to rain outside. The crash must have been thunder. Sighing lightly to himself, he cursed under his breath a bit. "Damn. Looks like we'll have to head back out there if we're going to make it back to our dorm rooms." he said before turning back to face Zim. It was at that point that he realized the Irken was as stiff as a board, staring wide eyed out the same window Dib had been staring out. "Zim?" he asked as he snapped his fingers in front of the alien's face to try and get Zim's attention again. "Hello. Earth to Zim. Snap out of it already." he tried shaking the Irken a bit. But it didn't seem anything was working to break the alien out of his daze.

Zim had indeed tensed up at the loud boom of thunder outside, sure to bring about a down pour of polluted rain. His instincts told his body to move, all within a split second, that almost had him latching his thin arms around Dib's waist.

However, his body didn't obey his mind, so instead he stiffened and froze up. It took him almost another minute to realize Dib was trying to get his attention.

He blinked, seemingly snapping out of it and looked sheepishly at the Earth-worm. "Silence, Dib-jerk, I'm copying." Zim huffed, puffing out his chest to regain some sort of dignity after the little episode he had.

He turned towards the copying machine and lifted the lid to begin laying down one sheet of paper at a time. Fortunately he only had a couple to do but he wasn't sure he was in a hurry to finish up. He was very distracted as he pushed the button that read 'start.' He doubted the paste he bathed in yesterday would be enough to shield him from the rain outside today. He hadn't thought about the weather this morning even though ordinarily he had made it a habit to wear protection, every day, regardless.

What luck he had, he grumbled under his breath, and prepared the copier for another page of homework.

Dib just stood back watching Zim in idle silence as the Irken slowly worked to make the copies he needed. When lightning flashed outside, Dib noticed Zim jump a bit, a small shiver running through his tiny frame. The Irken really did seem freaked out by the sudden storm, not that Dib could blame him seeing as how rain water hurt him. Even Dib couldn't say he was all too happy about having to go back out there.

Looking outside again, Dib could see that the wind was picking up again which just had the rain water lashing out against the building rather violently. Judging by how heavy the downpour was, no doubt they'd be soaked by the time they reached the dorm building. Turning back to watch Zim again, Dib considered whether he should run back to his room to grab them an umbrella or not. Sure, the Irken had dragged him out of his room late at night to copy his homework but it wasn't like the alien had physically attacked or hurt him. Giving it a few more moments of consideration, he finally came to a decision.

Taking his trench coat off and draping it over Zim for protection, Dib turned his back to the Irken to wait. He could see the Irken sending him a confused look out of the corner of his eye as he finished up making his copies.

Zim paused as he finished up the last sheet, feeling Dib's heavy coat settle over his small shoulders. He was confused until the human offered him an explanation, one he took without question.

"You don't want those homework papers getting wet because there's absolutely no way I'm coming back down here with you to make more copies if they do."he said before looking away with a small blush. He was really just trying to hide the fact that despite his bad mood he was somewhat of a softy at times.

Even though the rain was most frightening for Zim, he also got a little paranoia when it came to the lightening. The thunder was just startling in its self but all three components combined made him a pretty jumpy little guy.

Looking out the window now that he had the copies and the original work (the original work he passed off to Dib) he doubted the coat was going to be able to shield him too much. At least it was better than him running outside like he was and maybe, hopefully, whatever thin coat of invisible paste that stuck to his frame would be willing to armor him from the water that might manage to get on his skin in spite of the trench coat.

A/N: Well, I hope you all enjoyed this first chapter of Missing Something Crucial and will continue reading. Thanks for reading! 8D