"Ritual"

'One-Shot'

By: Emo Fox

The high-school Valentine's dance left something to be desired.

It was hosted in the usual auditorium, the lighting was dim to set the mood, and the music was so loud it was nearly deafening. The decorations were basic pink, red, and white – lots of paper hearts and expressions of 'love' plastered on every wall.

Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves despite the cramped, horribly decorated gym; everyone of course, except Dib and Gaz. Dib came in an attempt to thwart his enemy; where as Gaz was forced to come since Dib didn't have a 'date' to speak of, and their father thought this school dance would be a nice bonding moment for the both of them.

Dib was currently leaning against the far all, a wall flower in every sense of the word as he sipped his punch, his amber eyes narrowed as he surveyed the flocks of teens in front of them. He felt sort of stupid in his formal wear; though he was able to sneak out of the house with his trench coat and having that around him did give him a little bit of comfort.

"So," Gaz started, not turning her eyes away from her hand-held game; though she was dressed the part of the dance, wearing a skin-tight black mini-dress with purple stockings, she didn't seem to care about the scene around her, "Is your boyfriend here yet?"

"He's not my boyfriend!" Dib flushed, clearly outraged since he had nearly spilled his cup in his haste to react to his sister's comment, "He's an alien bent on destroying the world, you of all people should know that by now, and me being here is only because Zim said he was going."

"Right." She rolled her eyes.

Dib ignored her sarcastic remark, "He said he was coming to the dance to observe human mating rituals or something, he thinks this dance is a show to find a mate," Dib's eyes turned away from the purple-haired female and instead fell back on the batch of gyrating people in front of him, "So, I have to make sure he doesn't do anything stupid and kidnap someone to perform hideous experiments on them." His tone gained his usual crazed pitch before he took another sip of his punch.

Gaz glanced to her brother, having always feared for his sanity, but these recent years seemed to take her concern to a new level. However, she didn't care enough to voice any of her inward thoughts so instead she focused back on her game, "You think Zim will find a mate?" Her tone held a grin though her expression remained unchanged; finding joy in riling up her insane sibling.

"What—?" Dib faltered, flicking a confused look to his sister as if that prospect had never crossed his mind – and in all honesty, it really hadn't, "Of course not," He murmured, "He has no interest in humans, he just wants to rule the world and everything for his Tallest or whatever." Dib turned his eyes away again, intent to take a sip of his drink to calm his nerves only to find it empty. He lowered his cup, staring at the vacant confines of the plastic cylinder with a little more morose than intended.

Gaz glanced to his somber expression, "Did he reject you or something?"

"No." He said flatly, though added nothing more on the subject; which was odd in itself, since Dib was usually prone to insane outbursts, especially if baited by a question he didn't like.

Though, with the look he was wearing, Gaz would have to be stupid to not understand that something more must have happened sometime, somewhere, in their idiotic enemy verse enemy timeline. She made her own guesses that Dib must have figured out the tension between them and had attempted to act on his impulse and had been met with obvious rejection. Perhaps that was why they didn't fight as often, maybe that was why Dib stood more in the shadows now than he used to in his pursuits of his alien interest.

But again, Gaz's sisterly compassion only stretched so far, and her patience for the two morons wore thin despite the tell tale quivering in her dead, dank heart that she should do something about Dib's kicked-puppy-look.

"He's stupid," Gaz offered to the tense silence between them; which was only really felt, since the sound of chatter and music still drowned out most everything, "So are you." She added, though the second insult didn't hold as much weight, her attempt at being nice.

Dib appreciated his sister's effort, knowing she knew something but what it was he didn't care to venture. He finally threw his empty cup in the trash and stared ahead of the crowd, towards the double doors on the other side of the gym.

The dance had been going on for at least an hour now, Dib was starting to wonder if Zim would even put his plot in motion; almost wanting to go home, but he didn't want to walk out on his fellow students if they were indeed in danger of Zim and his crazy experiments.

Zim wasn't normally the type to just abandon his idea; no matter how dumb it was, so Dib was sure he was probably off preparing or something.

Hopefully he'd show up soon.

Though, every time Dib's eyes darted around the room and fell on a couple his chest would feel tight. Whenever he noticed a stolen kiss, or the way a couple would dance so close in such an intimate way, their eyes locking – he felt a horrid longing.

Such intensity, such passion, he was observing it all, everywhere – and it made him feel so much more empty.

Dib took in a shaky breath, running his hand through his hair, trying to pull himself back to the present; the thumping music causing a headache to form and he was having trouble focusing.

It was then that the auditorium doors opened to reveal Zim, and Dib was struck by his image.

Zim's expression was pinched in a usual scowl; but what caught Dib's attention was Zim's new attire. He was wearing a black button-down shirt, and black slacks; the only point of color was the bright pink tie. Dib had never seen Zim in human clothes before; having assumed the invader would have probably just came to the dance dressed in his usual space outfit.

"You're drooling."

Dib flushed, shooting Gaz a look before he turned his eyes back to Zim who finally locked gazes with him; Dib felt uncertain all of a sudden.

Maybe it was the fact that Zim looked beyond normal(if you ignored the fact he had green skin, no nose, and no ears), or maybe it was the way Zim was grinning at him; it was different from his usual arrogant look, something else was behind his eyes and it made Dib nervous.

As Zim strode through the crowd Dib felt a little light-headed, unable to focus on anything else aside from the invader as he cut easily through the crowd despite his small stature.

Zim paused a foot from Dib, his false eyes flicking to Gaz before he turned his eyes back up to the brunette. Without a word he lifted his hand, his grin turning into a more arrogant smirk, "Come Dib-thing, I will amaze you with my knowledge of your hideous mating dances."

Dib stared numbly at the alien, glancing to his outstretched hand; noticing that Zim looked more than a little impatient.

Mating dances?

The realization hit Dib hard and his blush returned ten fold, "Zim it's not—"

"Go dance." Gaz cut off her brother, smacking him in the back and sending him stumbling forward into Zim who caught the lanky teenager a bit awkwardly.

As Dib attempted to gain his bearings Zim had grabbed at one of his hands while his other rested on Dib's hip. He couldn't find his voice as the Irken led him out into the mess of students before them; the music a lost back-drop since all Dib could focus on was Zim.

The music toned down and in response Zim held Dib a bit closer, a few wandering student eyes catching Dib's attention and making him feel even more aware of the entire situation.

"Zim," Dib said in a hushed tone, glancing around himself before he looked back to the determined invader that continued to sway him in a rhythm that wasn't quite matching with the music, "What are you doing? Are you insane? What kind of plan is this?" Dib said in a rush.

They looked no more ridiculous than usual, as far as the student body was concerned. Dib towered over his eager partner; Zim continuing to take the lead and almost purposely stepping on Dib's feet as they continued around the gym.

"Plan," Zim stated more than questioned, his false eyes remaining on the human, "What are you babbling about Dib-thing?"

"Don't play dumb, you know exactly what plan I'm talking about," Dib faltered, "You said you were coming to the dance to observe humans and use what knowledge you found for…eh…something."

"I conducted research at my base, observing wasn't necessary," He said easily, noticing as the music slowed to a halt before the next, quicker song started playing. Without another word Zim let go of Dib, though his clawed fingers had entwined with the human's hand as he led him across the floor.

"Wait—" Dib attempted to protest, stumbling after the smaller male as they pushed through the mass of students.

They breached the double doors and stepped out into the night, the cool air stung Dib's face and he was still painfully aware of the fact their hands were still laced together. His heart was still racing, his mind unable to catch up with everything that had just went on.

Zim turned towards the human, dropping his hand as he grinned at his nemesis, "Were you not amazed?"

"Amazed?" Dib faltered, "By what? You're confusing the hell out of me Zim, tell me what's—"

"I flawlessly executed your hideous human mating dance," Zim waved his hand, gesturing widely towards the gym as if Dib was crazy to not understand what had just happened, "You should be in awe of Zim's abilities." The invader groused, his expression pinching into its usual irritation.

"You stepped on my feet the whole time!"

"LIES!"

Dib frowned at the alien, folding his arms crossly over his chest; feeling used and a little too exposed. Zim knew of his feelings prior, Zim had shot him down before, so what was his angle now? Was he trying to use Dib's feelings against him? It had to be it. Maybe trying to push him out of the way by sending him all these false signals.

Dib glared off towards the side of them, nibbling the inside of his lip as he attempted to process his thoughts as well as the entire situation.

He had been fooled, that was all it was. Zim didn't care, he was just doing this for some other reason, he just found a new tactic to use against him.

"So what," Dib started, "You used me as your guinea pig so you can march in there and court someone else back to your base for experimentation?"

"What?" Zim spat, glaring hotly at Dib who continued to avoid looking at him.

Dib raised his eyes back to the invader, "You just wanted to see how a dance works, right? So now that you know, you can go in there and—"

"Are your ears full of pudding?" Zim yelled in his usual over-the-top tone, "Zim's dance was flawless even before I came here!"

"I don't—"

"YOU!" Zim pointed dramatically at Dib, "I preformed this ritual for you! Do you not understand your own species courtship?"

"Courtship?" Dib felt blind sided, having thought this was all some sort of sick ploy—but now, he was starting to doubt it, that little seed of hope burying right back into his heart.

Zim stared at Dib a long hard moment before he finally righted his posture, looking a little less threatening than before, "You accept," Zim stated, though without an immediate response from Dib he continued in a softer tone, "Don't you?"

"I don't—" Dib noticed the expectant look on Zim's face and he wanted so badly to just throw all caution to the wind, but he just didn't understand.

Why now?

Why didn't Zim accept him before?

Zim sounded sincere, but Dib knew he couldn't trust Zim at face value, there was always some ulterior motive to his actions.

"You decline?" Zim said, his tone holding an edge though his posture remained rather relaxed.

Dib let out a sigh, wanting so badly to just accept, but that paranoid piece of him just wouldn't let himself. "Why?" He finally asked, "I told you about my feelings before and then you just started to ignore me," He murmured, "I don't understand why you want me now and not then."

"Humans are not adults until they are eighteen," Zim said easily, "The things you said before, you were a child, and by law of your planet you cannot make such choices until you are an adult. I would have thought you'd know that, throwing out such words," Zim shook his head, "You thought you'd make me do the wrong thing, you thought of Zim as a fool!" He said, his tone gaining in pitch, "But I have researched, and I didn't fall for your trap. I learned of dances and dates and other foolish methods of courtship." Zim said sourly, not having enjoyed all the hoops he forced himself to jump through, "So now, Dib-thing, you are an adult and are able to accept or decline my offer."

Dib was floored by Zim's explanation, having thought Zim just cast him aside before because he didn't care for him. But now, everything had been put under a new light and Dib began to understand the distance that had spawned between them and how it had all been his fault.

He would have never thought Zim would go to such lengths to learn about human society; but then again, as an Invader he was obligated to know about the species he was supposed to conquer, though him putting so much effort into Dib in particular should amount for something, shouldn't it?

"Dib?" Zim questioned, feeling more and more uncertain from the silence though he had attempted to hide his unease.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean," Dib paused, having wanted to explain things further, wanted to tell Zim his mind – as well as clear up confusion about culture, but then he just stopped himself. All those things didn't matter now. Zim was standing there so expectantly, and Dib now knew that Zim held feelings for him, and that was good enough. "I accept." He finally said, smiling sheepishly to the alien.

Zim's lips twisted into a grin, "Of course you do, who could resist Zim?"

Dib rolled his eyes playfully, "Yeah, sure."

Zim stepped towards Dib, reaching up and grabbing his tie; twining his fingers around the slick red silk and pulling the human down to his level, "You are mine." He purred in a possessive tone before he leaned up and pressed their lips together in an awkward embrace.

Dib gave himself over to desire and instinct; setting his hands on the Irken's hips and pulling Zim flush against him as he deepened the kiss. He groaned at the feeling of the alien's segmented tongue twirling around his own, savoring the unusual taste. His hands began to wander on their own, fingers diving under the loose fabric of Zim's cotton shirt; running greedily over the soft expanse of green skin, relishing in the Irken's moan—

"Get a room." Gaz groused, the auditorium doors slamming shut behind her as she stood a good five feet from her brother and his alien boyfriend.

"Gaz!" Immediately Dib sprang apart from Zim, his hands once against finding home on the alien's lithe hips. Zim frowned as contact was broken, more irritated at Dib than his sister for ruining the moment.

However, a thought found its way into Zim's brain and immediately that usual sly smirk fell on his lips, "Hm," Zim still had his hold on Dib's tie and easily pulled the human back to his level, his lips and teeth grazing up the side of Dib's neck, "Yes, we will get a room, a glorious room with a nice bed." He said in a low sensual tone, nipping roughly at Dib's jugular.

Dib had wanted to protest, but those persuasive suckling kisses on his neck forced all thought to leave his mind, "Y-yeah, we could…go to your base."

"Yes," Zim agreed, finally parting from the human as he started to march in the direction of his home. "Come Dib-thing."

Dib glanced over his shoulder at his sister who merely waved him off, "Uh—"

"Just go." Gaz said in her usual irritated tone, though Dib could have sworn he saw a ghost of a smile on her face.

"Okay," He grinned, "See you later!" He laced his fingers with Zim, who didn't complain as they disappeared into the night.

A/N:

Been sitting on my computer forever. Finally sat down and finished it. I don't know how I feel about it, but hopefully it was enjoyable?