The pacing was beginning to grow monotonous at best. The room was only so big. Thus, the pacing was really only walking in one straight line, then repeating the action in the opposite direction. The room itself, of course, was incredibly large. There was space to house a massive bed that spanned almost the entire length of the place, two plush reading chairs in front of a huge telecommunication screen, a semi circular eating table complete with matching chairs, and a variety of random end tables stacked with books on every subject known to the Irken race. There was even space left over for a shelving unit to the right of the bed that held mini statues of every planet that currently belonged to the Empire. The room left to be walked in, however, was just the single strip from the double sliding doors to the right to the entrance of the closet on the left. That was all he could pace, continuously, as he had been doing since they had woken up to the sound of someone's engine backfiring. He walked back and forth, back and forth, his antennae bouncing as he rubbed his slender fingers over his arms. His footsteps were distracting in the worse sort of way. His counterpart merely laid on the overly large bed, his deeply red eyes moving from side to side as the other paced. On and on this went for nearly an hour until the display began to wear on the older one's patience. He really couldn't handle this any longer.

Letting out a loud sigh, Tallest Red pressed his knuckles into his forehead. The sound was the first one either of the two Irken leaders had uttered since they had woken up and muttered hellos in groggy half dead voices. As the silence was therefore broken, Tallest Purple turned his head just a fraction of an inch. There was curiosity written on his normally amused face. At long last, he slowed to a stop so that he was standing in front of the oval shaped bed big enough for twelve Tallest. A hand was waved in his direction, Red mumbling under his breath in their native tongue. The words went unnoticed as Purple knelt on the edge of their plush mattress.

" What?" Purple asked of his other half, tilting his head to the side. Whether he meant the question as something kind or agitated, neither of them were entirely sure. His voice came out quieter then usual. He hadn't meant that. Still, he didn't bother clearing his throat to attempt again. Instead, he let the question hang in the air as he turned his violet orbs to the frustrated face of the other. Two garnet eyes gazed up at him from behind that clenched fist before Red flopped back over one of their various pillows. He jabbed a finger off in a random direction into the vast space of their personal quarters.

" Enough is enough, Purple. . . if you want to talk to him, then talk to him," he groaned out in a stressed tone that was accented on every syllable. A visible shiver ran down Purple's back as he quickly averted his stare to anything but the other Irken in the room. As he went about searching for something interesting to look at, Red heaved himself off the soft pink array of pillows. He grabbed Purple's chin and jerked his head back in his direction. The moment their eyes were back on one another's, the touch eased down until his fingertips were idly resting on the smooth skin of his companion's face, " Pur, it's been two days. What could happen in two days?"

" Well, it's Zim, so. . . . he could be dead,"

" Oh, would you knock it off?" Red snapped, pushing his palm into Purple's face to shove him off the bed. There was a soft thud as the Tallest disappeared from view, followed by a snicker in two forms. A couple of whines were admitted as two hands thrashed in the air as if Purple were still in the process of falling. Ignoring his pleas for help, the other just laid back down amongst the mountain of pillows and various sheets of silk that lined their regal bed, " Nothing can kill, Zim. Everyone in the Empire knows that. That's why they all want to kill him,"

" Which is part of the problem, don't you think, Red?" he asked as he sat up, folding his arms on the end of the bed. He looked up and over at the other, but he received no other answer aside from a bored shrug. A moment passed between the two that was tense silence, one that disappeared only when Purple nodded his head in agreement to something unsaid. It remained as such as the Tallest ignored each other while looking directly at one another. The question asked never received a different answer.

For a long moment, Purple merely gazed at Red, observing the way that tall, slender body was reclined over pillows. His counterpart was dressed in only the under shift of their official outfit, much like he was himself. As neither emerged from their personal quarters until well pass noon, they hadn't bothered to get dressed to look the part of their position. As it were, the time did not exceed ten in the morning. With no actual drones to call their own private servants, they had no fear of being seen without their protective armor on at their alleged heights. Rather, they lounged in their most comfortable outfits, which was frequently nothing but often just the bottom skirt. Since they had not been between the sheets the evening beforehand, they were both dressed in their nightwear. During this silence, then, Purple observed the way that soft fabric folded over Red's long legs. Unlike him, Red was mostly leg, with shapely hips and full thighs that were commonly hidden. Right then, however, he was laid out in exhaustion from a fitful bout of insomnia and he did not care to hide his luscious curves.

That more then anything was what drew the younger ruler's eyes. He puckered his lips, his antennae perking up at the intriguing sight. Those garnet eyes closed slowly, his chest rising slower and slower as the sleep got the better of him. Years spent rising to the top, of conquering planets, of pretending he cared about this career had left Red weary and sickly. The truth of his condition had never been revealed. Then, Purple withdrew his gaze from those soft signs of breakdown to the pull of that uniform at those hips. Drawing closer, he pressed his slender fingers into the sheets near where his companion was attempting to rest. For everything, Red maintained the succulent curves he had worn when he had been in the Academy decades and decades ago. Biting his lower lip, then, Purple pulled the pillows back a ways to examine the body he knew better then his own.

His lover for more then seventy years, Purple knew all there was to know about Red's physique. With his uniform on, Red stood an impressive height nearly three heads taller then any other Irken other then his partner in crime. His legs were long, curved, and melted into delicate feet that ached and throbbed from reasons they didn't speak about. He had a slender waist that molded into a shapely upper torso, leading to a semi serious face drawn together with bored gemlike eyes and a snarling mouth of sharp wit. There was one scar, one imperfection on his glorious green canvas. From where Purple was kneeling, that slash could not be seen. For what it was and what it meant, he chose not to search for it. Instead, he raised his hand up a couple of inches in slow motion. He hesitantly placed a finger on the other's waist, where his stomach met his hips. He heard a soft moan, saw a flicker of antennae, but he just somberly smiled. A twist of hand and his finger pushed into the softest bit of belly, the smallest amount of weight located at Red's waistline near the edge of his skirt.

A finger was pressed into Purple's forehead just above his eyes, preventing him from doing whatever might have crossed his mind. Two deep red eyes looked over at him from the shadows of their magnificent excess. There was warning in that gaze that was threatening in one way, cautious in another. Red did not retract his outstretched hand until the other Tallest had done the same. While Purple let his hand drop into his lap as if suffering a punishment, Red curled his arm beneath him as he draped his body over one of the oversized pillows. He buried his face in the fabrics offered, his antennae falling forward until they rested on the sheets stretched before them. His curved bottom pulled at the skirt, his stomach pressed firmly into the pillow he was using as a perch. Red wiggled his bare toes, flexed his fingers, then just relaxed his tense muscles. His eyes opened and closed a few times as the other ruler sat in idle stiffness, his shapely legs tucked underneath him, skirt hiked up to ride around his less rounded hips. There was a click of tongue against teeth, then those knuckles pushed into Red's forehead.

" I don't know what you're waiting for, Purple," he muttered, resting his cheek against his arm. He kicked his legs back and forth in the air, giving Purple a heavy and hard stare that was impossible to avoid. The younger Tallest swallowed hard before clearing his throat in his fist. He didn't say anything, though. He merely turned to look at their bolted and sealed door with the giant Irken seal pressed into the pink and purple metal. He tried to pretend that he was interested in the welding, but his attempt fell flat. Nothing could shake that penetrating stare, not even his own desires.

Nonverbally admitting defeat, Purple twisted his skinny frame back to the more curved one of the other Tallest. He tried to avert his gaze the moment he was facing him. Alas, his attempt was again in vain. In the end, he was staring at those drowning blood red orbs that washed over him in ways he would never be ready to confess. He could hide no longer behind a mask of frustration, of worry. His fears were broadcasted as loudly as the sound of a canon ending a civilization's freedom. Such was how he felt as his most protected emotions were showcased without his ever needing to voice them. Thus was the power of that gaze, the gaze of someone his age who still had thousands of years of experience on him. He was stripped to the bone instantly, everything displayed for those garnet eyes to eat up and analyze as was this Irken's specialty.

Revealing the truth was difficult for Purple to handle. He wasn't easily swayed from a stance of resolute defiance. To allow his fears to be shown made his stomach churn, his eyes dart to the lightly colored walls, as his back went stiff with tension. He wasn't ready for this, but, as before, when he attempted to hide away, he was dragged into the light. He hadn't been able to keep his desires for a smeet a secret. Likewise, he couldn't do so with his newfound fears concerning that very topic. His worries, his obsessive thoughts, were scrutinized without his control, without his permission. As before, he just sat back and watched as everything went through the unspoken void of confession between the Tallest.

No words were necessary to express that he was concerned about the safety of his developing smeet. They weren't unwarranted fears, however. They didn't necessarily revolve around Invader Zim's penchant for danger either. That certainly did nothing to quench the uneasy nervousness that had descended on Purple since his arrival back at the Massive only a few days ago. Yet, the fears had begun long before Red had lied and told all their operatives that they had decided to go for a mini vacation. He had done everything not to showcase them while still at the Invader's home base. There was no doubting that's when and where they had begun to manifest, though. Just seeing that Irken with that loud and touchy human creature had been enough to awaken the more maternal side within the Tallest. Red had struck the child to the ground and he had been able to protect Zim and their smeet. They had established their concern and put that rough thing in his place. Still, he worried about the wellbeing of that unborn babe. He knew what the much younger Irken was capable of. The incidence concerning Impending Doom One may have been staged, but it's basis had not been. Rather, Zim had an impressive record of abusive behavior, rash decision making, and everyday insanity. Since his return from Foodcourtia, there was no denying the dislodged mindset he possessed was crippling at points, especially in the departments of judgment and caution. Couple that with a physically violent alien species, and they had a true recipe for disaster. Considering the time of the pregnancy that the Invader was currently experiencing, there was nothing unwarranted about Purple's feelings in the slightest.

After all, this was the first week of his pregnancy. Zim would be rendered utterly defenseless during this crucial time in their smeet's existence. Exhaustion would wear him down until he was sleeping nearly twenty four hours a day. His body would ache for the bed, his mind clouded by the delirium that this stage was renown for. With his mind a complete haze, his memory would disappear steadily over the days. Towards the end, he would be a complete mess, unable to get up or think of why it was he needed to move in the first place. As an Invader, Zim had secured himself a place on the hit list of many a rival planet's army. Although his existence as a Conceiver was a highly guarded secret, the sheer fact that his base could be left unguarded put him in grave danger. Seeing how the Irken had a bad enough memory and damaged hearing, this state could leave him open to countless attacks and the like.

Far worse then the potential for a hostile takeover, however, was the threat the Dib human posed to Zim and his smeet. The first week of Irken conception was an incredibly delicate time, even at the birthing facilities. Internal temperatures and conditions had to be maintained in order for a healthy fetus to grow. As an Irken's body temperature rose and fell depending on their stress level, it was crucial for a Conceiver to be at peace during the initial stage of their gestation. The Dib had an innate ability to get Zim's blood boiling, which could undoubtedly do harm to the smeet. The Invader was dangerously mercurial in his mood patterns. If given the ammunition, he could become enraged at the drop of a hat and remain as such for an extended amount of time. Although he had carried smeets before, this would be the first time he would be around someone who seemed so talented at infuriating him.

Beyond all fears concerning Zim's personality and home situation, though, was one that was rooted solely in the Irken's anatomy itself. There was a single serious flaw within their species' reproductive organs that had created the need to further the Empire with birthing facilities. Aside from the rampant birth defects that had manifested itself in the bloodline, there had been a terrible issue with miscarriages. The role of the Conceiver had reached such imperial status only because they could bare healthy smeets. One of the key points of that was the ability to simply complete a pregnancy without complications. For the majority of Irkens, if they could conceive, they couldn't get pass the first week. The fault was not within the females themselves, but rather their organs. The problem persisted even within male Conceivers of recent years, which included Zim.

The problem was the tube that connected the womb with the cavity. This tube allowed the fertilized seed to travel from cavity to womb where it would be incubated for several weeks. The tube closed in order for the womb to do it's part in this, then reopened at the time of labor. The issue was that the tube was not closed during the first week. Of course, there was a scientific explanation in that should the seed terminate itself due to complications, the seed could exit the womb. On the other hand, the sensitivity of the womb led to serious issues with the tube still opened. The most common problem was miscarriage, most of which were brought about by rough mishandling of a Conceiver or temperature irregularities. Both of those were perceived as complications where the seed would terminate itself. In ancient times, females miscarried regularly for even the slightest infraction to their bodies during the first week. The Conceiver was the only female capable of making it through this turbulent time. Recently, newborn Conceivers rarely miscarried unless their master disregarded their safety. Considering Zim's past experiences, there was minimal chance that he would miscarry for any reason short of being slammed into something repeatedly.

Rather, Purple's fears laid within a less common issue arising from the tube being open. Whereas Conceivers rarely, if ever, miscarried, they were at risk for early labor. During the initial stage of gestation, the tube would gradually close until shut entirely until the hormone levels within the womb and body signaled the time to reopen. However, should the Conceiver be mishandled, suffer from any illness, or even be kept awake, they could experience two side effects. One of which could be the adjustment of their womb, thus preventing the tube from closing entirely. With the tube remaining open, the body could perceive that the time for birth had already arrived. Regardless of the state of the smeet, the tube would fully open and the body would induce labor. Aside from that, the starting hormone levels could be affected by disease or failure to accumulate the correct amount of rest. If the levels were not correct, the tube could fail to close, in some cases, not at all. Once the smeet began to develop, the changing hormone levels would induce labor.

Either way, the body would force itself into labor. The result never failed to yield a lifeless smeet and often times critically injured the Conceiver. Many times, the womb was torn out by the force of the body initiating an early birth without the hormones that regulated convulsions, none of which were produced before week six of the gestation. As the womb was ripped out, the blood loss would drain the Conceiver of the ability to push. Unable to expel the organ, the Irken would wither in throbbing, unimaginable agony as their bodies swelled on blood, pus, infection, and even the smeet still within. Surgery would have to be performed, done in the form of an incision that went from the edge of the slit to the end of the ribcage. The womb would be removed, usually along with part of the cavity, the tube, and occasionally other organs that were damaged. The Conceiver rarely survived the surgery. They perished of a mixture of blood loss and shock, their bodies simply shutting down as they faded away in pain and sorrow. Although they rarely lived through this operation, should a Conceiver experience the pangs of early labor, they would demand it. Any decent Master, any self respecting male, would do everything in their power to ensure that their Conceiver received the murderous thing. The alternative was something no Irken could think of without feeling sick, without cringing, without closing their eyes in desperate prayer for those who had gone through it.

Considered the worse death imaginable, the death of the Conceiver was the taint of the Empire. One of the sole reasons behind the Tallests' decision to do whatever was possible to protect these creatures, it was incomprehensible to any other being who had not seen the torment. The fate of the Conceiver, the fate of becoming a sex slave, paled in comparison of the awful way in which these sacred beings most often met their end. Unless helped to the other side by method of murder or disease, Conceivers met their end by way of early labor brought about by some mistreatment in their first week. Unfortunately, their ability to overcome most often lead to the worse form of early labor: third stage 'miscarriage'. Upon entering the forth week, they began their third stage, up until the sixth week. Should the tube not have closed, usually of violent treatment that shifted the womb, this was the most common time the body assumed it was ready for labor. Inducing labor, the Conceiver would be launched into a severe threshold of agony as their body convulsed and their womb was ripped from their body. The blood would build up in their cavity, their slit unable to dilate to force the detached womb from their swollen and heavy bodies. Without surgery, the blood would swell them as their body spasmed, crushing their spines. Desperation would create hysteria, often leading to Conceivers tearing open their slits to push the mass from their twisting bodies. Organs would rupture as their womb, several dozen pounds in weight, shifted as it pushed through the tube. Their cavity would be destroyed. Should they be male, their platform would be crushed like their spines as their body forced itself to convulse in backbreaking shakes that went unchecked. Pressure would eventually tear their slits open, often at the time the blood loss rendered them unable to aid in their own labor. Lifeless, the Conceiver would collapse, screaming and crying while their body attempted to force their smeet, womb, and other organs from their body. During the process, many of them died by choking on their own blood or sick rather then blood loss. Those that didn't often had the pleasure of surviving the disfiguring labor in which something half their size was unwillingly forced through their undilated, inflexible slit. Those that survived the labor died within minutes from complications arising from organ damage, blood loss, and infection. None had ever survived.

The death of the Conceiver was most often caused by some cruel and vile treasoner master who injured the Irken during their first week of gestation. The womb could be shifted if enough pressure was applied to the stomach or if the body was jerked without concern. Any severe disruption of the stability of that particular location could create the necessary conditions required to induce such a vicious end. The smeet grew within the Conceiver's middle for a reason. The womb was located in the lower half of the waist, above the slit, below the navel. The area was supported by the spine, hips, and legs, as well as within the reach of hands to steady the curve as it grew. The location was as stable as any, resting on bone and protected by weight that would be added throughout the pregnancy. Should the Conceiver been mishandled, however, that location could prove fatal, as it was at the mercy of the Irken's flexibility.

Such were Purple's fears concerning his smeet's condition. He hadn't wanted to admit that his worries were rooted in primitive protection, although they most certainly were. He had bore witness to the Dib human's almost gross mishandling of Zim. He had been overcome with worry for the Invader's safety on that foreign planet. For the past two days, he had been distraught with those relentless pangs of maternal anxiety. Knowing Zim's erratic behavior quite well, he wasn't sure how he felt about having his babe within that womb. He knew the record the Irken had for child rearing, how he had flawlessly given birth to several smeets, and still he was bereted by flurries of worry. He had been stressing so badly, he knew he had been affecting the sleeping habits of Red. The thought that something unforeseen could happen that could lead to that awful death had consumed him. Yet, he hadn't wanted to confess this to his lover. He had been trying to quench the burning fears that had engulfed him. Somehow, in a matter of minutes, all his fears were splashed before him. His secrets were exposed as if put under a spotlight, right there for the other Tallest to examine and explore.

Silence settled over their elegant quarters as Red did just that. His deeply garnet eyes moved over those violet gemstones, reading everything without even bothering to try. There was a wisdom there that was unmatched by any in the Empire. Purple sat in that tension, his back tight enough to crack his body in half for all the stress of this. At long last, he turned his eyes to the side, furious at having been discovered. There was no time to be angry, though. The moment he removed his stare, that curvy frame uncurled itself from about that plush pillow. His counterpart lazily sat up as if unaffected by all that he saw in the mind of his co-ruler. He perched himself on the pillow, tucking his ankles over one another before leaning back so his palms were laying on another pillow. The position was authoritative, as he was looking down at Purple.

" I'll calling Zim. You need to see for yourself that he isn't doing anything stupid," Red firmly stated, pointing to their massive telecommunications screen. Purple attempted to protest with a less then subtle pout. He was shut down before he could really get going, thus ruining the effect entirely, " No. I've had enough of this. I'm not going through this the entire pregnancy. Now, look, Purple, I know Zim's an idiot, but he's done this before. He's probably sound asleep right now. I mean, c'mon, the kid's partially deaf. I'm sure he can sleep through a galactic takeover, let alone some alien jabbering on and on,"

" Yeah. . . yeah. You're probably right. . ." he mumbled, rubbing a hand over the back of his neck. Red rolled his eyes, reaching over to turn on the controls needed to send out the transmission. One of the younger Tallest's eyes narrowed, his antennae popping up, " You mean he's really deaf?"

" Of course, he is. You really think he repeats himself three, four, six times because he isn't paying attention? Zim may be a useless Invader nowadays, but he did at one time earn that title. If he hadn't been paying attention, he wouldn't have obtained Elite status," he answered with a hearty laugh at the other's expense. He received a smack to the arm for his gall. The action went unnoticed as he typed in the coordinates for the transmission. Pressing a smilie face button, he sent out the waves towards the distant planet of Earth. A dial tone symbol appeared on their screen.

" Oh. Right," he said in a slightly dejected voice. For so long, Purple had assumed that Zim had hearing issues, but nothing as serious as being partially deaf. He had always taken it as the Invader being hard of hearing, most likely an adverse side effect of being around such loud machinery. Knowing otherwise now, though, he motioned to his own antennae, " Which one?"

" Both,"

Nothing else was said after that, though, for the dial tone image had changed to an Irken smilie face. The symbol blinked a few times as a monotone voice informed them that they were experiencing some tracking issues. Purple exhaled loudly while Red patiently waited by giving the screen a cross look. A second later, the voice of the often sickly computer at the Invader's base came on over the voice of the usual transmitter. It informed the two rulers that he was connecting them to the screen nearest his master and to bare with him. A couple of seconds later, however, their screen turned on to a scene that made both their jaws drop as their eyes opened to their full oval sizes and shapes.

Irken Invader Zim was slamming his foot into the Dib human's head with enough force to crack the alien's skull into the floor where he was sprawled underneath the soldier.

Suddenly, Purple's fears didn't seem unwarranted at all.