A/N- (I'm just going to apologise now. I drank way too much coffee before I wrote this.) Hello friends and neighbours. This is quite the interesting occurrence, Worm babies. I have graced you all with my presence on this…fan…website…thing. Anyone who doesn't care for the severally angsty, emo-goth teenage Dib has my permission to flee. Now. Also, slight ZaDR, if you squint. (In other words, not much at all.)
And dear Jhonen Vasquez, whose organs I would like to take out and put in a bowl and whose spine I would sincerely love to rip out through his throat, hack up and use as candle holders despite my love of his work. I do love to make him cringe. Ha, ha, it brings me great joy! (Really, I've nothing at all against the man. I just wanted to say that because it made me laugh.)
Now read! READ OR SUFFER THE WRATH OF ZIM!
It was too bright outside. Dib shut his eyes in an effort to ease the splitting headache he'd developed in his history class earlier that day. He leaned back against the brick wall behind him with a soft sigh. It was all just so boring. High school was really no different than anywhere else he'd ever been, save for the beatings being about ten times worse. He was taller now, about 5'8", and just slightly underweight. He still never saw his father and Gaz still tormented him every chance she got. Yeah. Life was wonderful. The only consolation was the fact that his long-time enemy, Zim, had mellowed a bit and the two had developed a sort of uneasy friendship.
"Hey, freak!" It was the middle of the day, but Dib had been almost asleep when the all-too-familiar voice jolted him awake. A cold rush of fear flooded his system as he looked up at Torque Smacky. The boy had grown considerably in the years since Dib had met him and now resembled a small tank. That wasn't a good thing.
"T-torque…" Dib stuttered a bit and mentally kicked himself for it. "I-my father didn't give me my lunch money today. I really don't-"
The other boy seized him roughly by the arm, dragging him to his feet. The sudden, violent movement combined with the pain caused by the bandages being pressed into his skin made him yelp. He instantly regretted it.
Torque slammed him into the ground, the hard-pact earth jarring him enough to make his heart skip. Torque walked over and casually picked up the money than had fallen out of Dib's pocket. He scoffed as he walked past the younger boy, kicking him hard in the ribs with a laugh and saying, "Serves you right. Freak." Dib thought it was over and started to pick himself up. It hadn't been nearly as bad as he'd expected. Then, out of the corner of his eye, he saw Torque reach down for something several feet away from where he'd landed. Dib's breath caught in his chest when he realised what it was.
"What the hell is this?" the older boy asked, turning the book over in his thick hands. Dib didn't have to look to know that his book bag had fallen open. He'd recognize that book anywhere. "Inside a Cutter's Mind," Torque read with a condescending laugh. He looked back at Dib, still half-lying on the ground, and smirked. "Huh, guess Gretchen was right."
"Told you." The woman herself had appeared from around the corner, arms crossed over her considerable chest and starring daggers at Dib. Out of all of them, she'd changed the most. Her hair was longer and she often wore it down, without the trademark pigtails she'd had in fourth grade. Her face had cleared and she'd gotten her braces taken off years ago. She was a different person. They all were, really, but Gretchen still held onto her grudges like there was no tomorrow. Ever since Dib had refused to acknowledge her when they were children, she'd made it a project of hers to humiliate him whenever she could. But this was different. This crossed a line. If his father found out…Dib sat up, visibly shuddering at the thought.
Gretchen moved to stand beside Torque, continuing, "Told you he liked to..." she paused for effect, "slice and dice." Dib cringed at the crude and almost childish way she put it. It made it sound…horrible. Like he did it for fun.
Dib swallowed hard, clenching his jaw and curling his long fingers around his book bag. He might have cracked his teeth if Torque hadn't chosen that moment to hit him in the head with his book, which Dib scrambled to shove back into his bag. Gretchen was howling with laughter at him, but she sounded far off, like she was at the other end of a tunnel. Torque spat something that Dib could only guess was another insult. To be honest, he didn't really care. He didn't care about anything right now.
Dib stood, dragging his jacket sleeve across his eyes to stop the tears that fell down his cheeks. He shoved his glasses back on and started to walk. Pushing past the two of them, he broke into a run. Somewhere behind him he heard Gretchen laugh, "There he goes! Get the bandages!"
He didn't acknowledge her. He didn't think; he just ran. The tears caused his vision to blur, making him trip several times. Finally, he wound up sitting behind the building with his arms wrapped tightly around himself and making no effort to stop the heart wrenching sobs that wracked his frail body. He was suddenly freezing.
After five, ten, twenty, thirty, forty minutes of this, he'd had enough. He couldn't sit out here, it was too dangerous. Everyone in the school probably already knew by now but somehow actually getting caught was so much worse. He snatched up his bag again and started to walk, completely unaware of time or any feeling beyond the familiar stabbing pain in his chest.
He found himself in the bathroom, leaning over the sink. His body trembled and the hot tears that where starting to fall again where almost searing. That was it. He couldn't stand this anymore.
He dug in his jacket pocket for his father's razor blade, tugging his left sleeve back with his teeth as soon as he felt the clod metal brush his fingertips.
Because no one ever understands me.
Because Father never tries.
Because I can't feel anything anymore.
Because Gaz is the perfect one, the one he loves, not me.
Because everyone ignores me.
Because I'm just tired of it all.
Because I don't want to be here.
He stopped there, breathless and shaking, watching the fresh blood running in delicate lines down his arm, tracing beautiful patterns across his pale skin. He was suddenly so tried, as if the life was draining out of him. Holding the blade as steady as he could manage, he laid it gently against the inside of his wrist.
Dib laughed. It sounded dry, hollow. A horror movie laugh. "Dying at school seems fitting, I guess. But it's not like it really matters anymore." He whispered and drug the blade across his wrist.
His right arm was wrenched back just before the metal bit into his skin. The familiar pressure of just three fingers clamped firmly around his wrist made him gasp.
"Zim!" Dib yelped, dropping the blade and stepping away from the sink but leaving his arm in the Irken's grasp. He saw Zim's lens-covered eyes follow the length of his left arm, slowly as though he where trying to comprehend why someone would do something like that to themselves. Dib was suddenly uneasy. He could almost feel Zim tracing the countless scars that littered his arm. He wasn't quite sure what he was expecting. An explosion of anger, a quiet acceptance? I mean, it wasn't like Zim cared about him at all, right?
"Da'mehrn?" Dib jumped slightly at hearing Irken. Zim only rarely used his first language anymore. His voice was strained and barely audible. He swallowed and tried again in English. "Why?"
"Why do you think?" Dib hadn't meant to snap. Not really. It was just that he was sure that his father would ask the same thing after probably receiving a falsely-concerned phone call from the guidance counselor. That and the clear concern in the alien's voice was so out of character that it had caught him completely off guard.
Zim didn't respond. He kept his expression carefully neutral. He'd changed a lot too. Maybe even more than Gretchen. He'd stopped yelling every other word and referring to himself in the third person years ago. He'd grown a lot under Earth's weaker gravity and was nearly Dib's height now, able to easily look him in the eyes whenever they spoke. Though, right now, his artificially blue eyes were locked firmly on the razor blade Dib had dropped in the sink.
"This isn't a big deal, Zim." Dib said simply, hoping he still didn't know enough about how humans thought to buy it.
Zim watched him for a moment and then slowly released his wrist. He didn't move as Dib quickly gathered his bag from the floor. When he reached for the razor blade, Zim said firmly, "Leave it."
Dib froze. It didn't sound like Zim at all. At least, not the Zim he used to know. "It's my father's." he said, unsure for a moment of what would happen if he moved too quickly. "He'll wonder where it is."
"I'm sure he will." Normally, Dib would've picked up the razor blade anyway, but something told him that the situation bothered Zim more than he was letting on and provoking him wouldn't be the smartest thing he'd ever done. What the hell was going on? Zim was so...calm. He was never calm. That was what made Zim...Zim.
"Fine." Dib said, acting casual and turning to leave, pulling his sleeve down to hide the dried blood that covered his arms.
ne shlift Ik fon Krast dafel
Schfor shilfk Jn fon Kaen
Niftel drn Aksoon klifk fortrel
Dib stopped mid-stride, listening. Irken really was a fascinating language. There where soft, almost inaudible clicks and rounded vowels. It must be hell to learn, he mused, with all the heavy, Germanic influences he heard.
"That poem…It's your favourite, right, Dib-worm?" Zim asked, slightly snarky in the hopes of lightening the mood a bit. It was instantly clear that that wasn't going to work and he switched back to being uncharacteristically serious. "I think I know why now."
Dib laughed, the sound once again harsh and bitter. He hid how uncomfortable he was with the sudden shift in mood and looked back at the alien over his shoulder. "You know nothing."
The rest of the day was worse than Dib had thought it'd be, but so far he'd gotten no indication that any of the teachers knew. That was a blessing, at least. But Zim knew.
Zim knew. Dib just couldn't get his head around it. Heh. Had he been in a better mood, he might have found that funny. Why had it seemed like Zim wanted to talk? Zim never wanted to talk. Maybe he was just delirious from blood loss. Or lack of food. Or both.
He stayed in the library long after the school was technically closed, thinking. It was all so stupid. Why did he continue to waste his time trying to save people that didn't seem to care at all if they got destroyed?
Maybe he was on the wrong side.
Dib sat up straight at the small table. Maybe he was on the wrong side. With his brains and Zim's Irken technology, taking over this awful planet would be no challenge at all. A slow grin spread across his face at the thought. Join Zim. That was a wonderful idea.
He stayed in the library for a little while longer, planning out what he would say to Zim. What could he say to Zim? 'I'm tired of this, so now I wanna help you kill everyone I know'? Hopefully he'd be a little more eloquent when the time came. He also planned out what he'd say to his father if he was asked where he was. The only thing he couldn't plan for was what he'd do if Membrane asked where his razor blade was. Despite what he liked to think of himself, he wasn't a good liar around family.
It was after dark when Dib finally left the school. Getting past the security system was painfully simple and it allowed him to come and go whenever he wanted. Not like he ever really wanted to be here if he didn't have to, but it was nice to know the option was there.
It was well past his 'bedtime' as his father still said, so he decided it would be easier in the long run to just take a shortcut and get home as soon as possible. If he was late, that meant that Gaz would once again be the favourite. 'The one I never have to worry about.'
Dib shook his head, brushed his hair out of his face and started to run even though, right then, the very thought of his family made him sick.
Oh, well. That would all change soon enough.
A/N- Told ya. Extremely angsty, emo-goth 'I'm tired of trying to save the world' Dib. He's kinda hot like this for some reason, which is creepy or not depending on which gender you think I am. (By the way, I am kind of curious to see if people guess correctly or if I'm even more ingenious than I think I am.)
Oh, by the way, Zim's Irken is an actual language that my friend and I came up with. (Yes, I'm that obsessed, right now. Praise me. PRAISE ME! Just don't sue me.) If you can tell me what he said, when I'm ruler of the Earth, your death will be quick and painless. Zim does get more in character in later chapters. Even Dib thought it was weird, how he was acting. There is a reason for it, but I won't just tell you because life isn't nice.
Wow. I'm boring. Do I always explain things like this?
As is always the case, reviews are welcome. Although obnoxious ones will be laughed at, printed out and eaten.