*cracks knuckles*

So after, gosh, how long of a hiatus do I pick this story back up and shake off the dust? Too long! What surprises me is that to this day, I STILL get new readers, new favorites, and new comments. Believe it or not, I have not once forgotten this story, but life comes at you fast, and updates get pushed aside.

I can't help but smile at how devoted yall are. It fills my heart with rainbows :D I promise that one day, I really will complete this story. I will. It may take another fifty years, but I'll get it done.

To the poor, poor people whom I told I would update it at the end of the week (4 months , 5 months ago? More?) Yes, I lied. Sorry, I really thought I would update, but as you can tell, it didn't quite happen as I thought it would. SO SORRY! Very special shout out to those people who reached out to me, was told I would update, and effectively saw no results. *gives super yummy chocolate cake*

Also, another shout out to my fans who so graciously defended my writing last chapter! Again, I know that not everyone will like what I write, but negative feedback is not at all what I'm used to, be it accurate feedback or not, so seeing so many people's strong responses against the nay-sayers was really nice. (And greatly entertaining) I cannot tell you how much I love yall – many of my real life friends have heard me talk about my readers :D You guys make me smile and keep me writing!

Apologies and such aside, glad to be back!

She had yet to say a single word in two hours.

She would stare at the floor, fidget, grab out her phone and sigh, and then look at the floor again.

It was absolutely maddening.

"Gaz," I began once again, hoping to stop this insanity, "Maybe if-"

"Don't." she cut me off, shaking her head and checking her phone for the hundredth time, "I just need to concentrate right now and think things through."

I closed my mouth, holding back an exasperated sigh. What was there to think through?

That stupid Dib managed to get himself in a car wreck, and now Gaz was in a mental daze trying to figure out how to go see him, which the weather would not permit. The planes had all been grounded until the storm let up so she didn't bother trying to book a flight. She couldn't safely drive in these conditions either, though I had to point that out to her. At first she was so adamant that she didn't care about the hazardous conditions - no car dared provoke her wrath and she would drive regardless the rain. I quickly reminded her that the car would inevitably flood, and she would be further away from the airport, so attempting to drive would only make things worse. She accepted my words with a scowl, continuing to glare at me for a while after that.

Each time I tried to add my thoughts in; she would cut me off with some excuse as to why they were invalid. She claimed that because I hated Dib, she didn't want to hear it, and wanted to work things out by herself. While it was true I found it slightly amusing that he was harmed due to his crazy studies, I couldn't quite feel pleased about this turn of events either. To her point, my mixed emotions had nothing much to do with that Dib-stink. I knew how selfish it was, but I couldn't help but feel aggravated that her attention went solely towards Dib and his well being, and not on me.

Just yesterday I had finally been able to crack the wall that Gaz kept around her, and I wanted to see where that development would lead. How long had I been watching over Gaz, jealous for her attention? Just when it seemed things would finally go the way I planned, this happened. The human was solely focused on the status of her brother, and barely noticed I was there at all. While I knew it maybe didn't change things between us, it did put a damper on what I was hoping to be a more progressive start to things.

After all this time, miles apart, Dib still found a way to put a stop to my plans. How typical.

As the hours passed by, Gaz became further exhausted and worn out, yet still she sat wordlessly on the couch. At this point it was well into the night, and though she wouldn't admit it, I could tell she was exhausted.

I frowned again as I shifted on the couch, wondering how much more of the insanity I could take. Gaz was just too stubborn to admit that her hands were tied, yet she fought so hard to keep the illusion of control in the situation. As often as she liked to keep updated and check her phone, call her father, check the weather updates, in the end, she wasn't doing anyone good at all by sacrificing her sleep.

Another twenty minutes went by, each moment only furthering to agitate the both of us.

I shook my head, deciding that enough was enough.

"Alright. That's it." I said firmly, grabbing her phone out of her hands as I stood up, "You are done with this useless sulking. You are going to bed, Gaz thing."

Gaz stood up, quickly trying to grab the phone back, though her fatigue made her movements sluggish and easy to predict. I continued to bat away her movements, finding it all too easy to keep her phone away from her. In any other circumstances, I would have smiled.

After a few minutes, she gave me a hard glare, moving directly in front of me, "Zim. I will only say this once before I slaughter you: Give. Me. Back. My. Phone."

Her threats did little to scare me, and my facial reaction must have showed it. Gaz quickly rolled her eyes, balling her fists, "Zim! This isn't a joke! There's nothing you can do to help me so the least you can do is not get in the way!" She threw her arm forward, punching into my shoulder, continuing to rant, "My brother is in the hospital and-"

"I can wake you up if anything happens!" I talked over her, grabbing her other fist preparing to launch itself into my abdomen. Forcing her to unclench her hands, I held onto her wrists tightly, "You aren't doing that worm any good by staying up like a zombie, so you might as well take care of yourself in the mean time. I have ability to monitor the weather and your phone and do all the things you are doing now. If you know you'll be traveling soon, you should sleep while you can."

Her eyes became conflicted and she looked down at the ground, visibly shaking, "But, Dib's hurt and-"


My voice was still firm as I was growing impatient with her stubbornness. I released her wrists, crossing my arms over my chest and staring down at her, "Don't be difficult. Humans require sleep to function and if you plan to be any help to your brother you'll do so only when you are rested."

Gaz stayed silent for another long minute, then slowly nodded her head, "Okay. But you'll wake me up if-"

I nodded, my voice tone relaxing slightly once I was certain she would be getting rest, "Yes. If anything changes you'll know. I promise."

She gave a frown, nodding her head in response. She turned around in silence, robotically moving out of the living room and to my room slowly, exhaustion clear in her every step.

"Thank you." She whispered as she came to the door, looking up at me.

"Sleep," I responded simply with a wave, putting her phone in my pocket with my other hand. After watching her disappear into my room, I nodded in accomplishment and moved towards the lower parts of my base.

My eyes narrowed as I began thinking things over, feeling tense from the added stress of the evening. Nothing I could do to help her, she had said. Well, I would have to see about that. If it was just her needing to get to her brother in the hospital, then I could solve the problem entirely given enough time. My ship was close to being completed, so if I worked through the night, getting only a few thousand miles away wouldn't be so difficult. Besides, I would need to test drive it sooner or later, so this was the perfect opportunity.

Only after I was safe in the confines of my base did I take a look at my throbbing shoulder, already bruising from her landed hit. Rubbing the sore tissue, I shook my head with a ghost of smile. Even in such a state, that girl packed quite a punch.

Moving towards the ship, I sat down on the ground, setting to work on the wiring systems that supported the main control center. The design was still rather simple, but effective, and I was confident that I could at least get it functioning well enough for Gaz to get back to her hometown. Moving towards the wires that had caused the short, I frowned as I reviewed the damage. I knew there would be some issues with the wiring, though I didn't like the fact that I hadn't caught such a problem like this before hand.

As I began rewiring the system and stripping out the ruined units, I started thinking over my return to Irk. Everything was progressing as it needed to. Even with the added distraction of Gaz, I was relatively on schedule. My ship was in its beginning stages of completion, and with the small adjustments I was doing now; I knew that I would be finished entirely by the end of the week. I would test fly it tomorrow with Gaz, and upon return, finish it completely.

I gave a content sigh as a small feeling of accomplishment drifted over me. Once the ship was done, it meant I was that much closer to getting back to Irk. It had been so long since I had been home. I had been on this planet for years trying to doom it, and thus far all of my efforts had been rather pointless thanks to Dib. With the help and attention from the Tallest, I was certain that I would be done with this planet in due time. Soon this planet would be devoid of life, and I would return to Irk as a proud, successful Invader.

As I thought this over, the fame that Invaders received upon return, the honor, the medals and recognition, I found my mind soon switching onto a certain purple haired human just a floor above me. My hands stilled from their work as the dilemma hit me.

What was I going to do with Gaz when everything was over?

I had known from the beginning that I shouldn't have pursued her –I should have left her alone and continued my job, but I didn't care. I found her fascinating, and I saw no reason I couldn't at least be around her more. I was an Irken Invader, elite among the already elite, so if I wanted to seek the attentions of a lesser species, it was within my right to do so. That's at least what I had told myself.

I shook my head, continuing in my work. I was confident that I could still keep the two things in balance, however…

Things were becoming more complicated with each passing day. The more time I spent with her, the more protective I felt. Each day she spent in my presence, at my base and in my bed, I felt more and more strongly that she belonged to me. She was my human toy I could observe and enjoy and keep for as long as I desired. I had never allowed laws and regulations to keep me from my goals and desires, and I wouldn't stop now.

What if I couldn't keep her though? Irk had always been an elitist society that wasn't welcoming to other races, especially races that were being involved in conquest. If it came down to choosing exile in order to keep Gaz, after trying so hard this entire time to prove my worth as an Invader-

I felt my antennae pull back against my head as I continued to think the situation over. I didn't feel regret, I wanted Gaz. I wanted her to be mine. Everything about her pulled me back to her. She was becoming an obsession. Now that I had a glimpse of what things could be like, any ideas of cutting things off seemed utterly ridiculous.

I smirked slightly, remembering how wonderful it had felt to have her lips on mine just yesterday. While kissing wasn't an Irken tradition, it was a thing that humans associated with attraction, and after having experienced it first hand, I could admit it was a tradition I found to be rather tolerable.

At first, I was simply hoping that I was doing it correctly. It seemed easy enough to do – press my lips to hers and hold them there – though soon Gaz further complicated things. At first I was caught up in attempts to figure out just what she was doing, though I soon found that with her so close, focusing all her physical attention onto me, it didn't matter. I loved it. Her hands would move to my shoulders, up my neck, always moving, and always searching. As I held her gently, pulling her closer, she would sigh lightly and relax against me. She would smile against my lips, and just once, made a small sound that made me crazy. It wasn't quite a moan, more of a whine, and her face had the most beautiful expression on it. She opened her eyes, blinking once, looking disoriented for a small moment, then kissed me again. While not much else happened besides our kissing that night, I found some of her reactions to be so intriguing, I couldn't help but fantasize over other things I could do that might gain a similar response from her.

Now that I could see a glimpse of the effect I could have on her, I couldn't help myself. So often before, it didn't matter what I tried or told her, she was never impressed. She never baited me with a notable reaction, and it was maddening. It seemed that there was nothing I could ever do to hold her attention, until now. When she was distracted, she was quicker to let her guard down. For that small moment on the couch of my living room, I was her world. I was the only thing that mattered, and the only thing she was searching out for attention.

I smiled in memory, hoping that soon things would return to normal so I could start this experimentation with the human again. In a few hours Gaz would wake up, and I hoped to have everything prepared by then. The sooner she could go see that wretched Dib-beast, the better things would be, perhaps for the both of us.

Adding a new fervor to my work, I began reviewing the wiring and ensured that everything was corrected and ready to go. With a few more adjustments, I was confident that it would be ready for departure once the human woke up.

Pulling out her phone as I stood up off the ground, I checked for updates on her brother's situation. I read through her father's various texts, confirming that not much had changed, though the professor had sent a few messages confirming that Dib would be going into surgery to repair a punctured lung soon. Though there was a small amount of risk involved, I wasn't worried in the least. I had never been that lucky. I knew that Gaz would want to be woke up for the possibility of Dib going into surgery, however I was certain it would only cause trouble. She would be worried sick, and I wouldn't be able to get any work done, as I'd have to watch her fret and worry until the weather cleared up.

Putting the phone back in my pocket, I stretched slightly, "Computer!"

"What Zim?" the voice responded quickly, a monitor coming down from the ceiling toward me.

Typing in the location of Gaz's hometown, I continued, "Program this address into the navigation system of the ship's database. With the corrections I just made, your systems should be compatible are they not?"

"Transferring data now. Transmission complete."

"Excellent!" I nodded, moving away from the keyboard and back towards the ship. With the processors now fixed, it made the rest of the corrections so much easier, "Computer, run a diagnostics scan on the ship, see what areas still need adjustment."

After hearing the list the computer found, I nodded again, pleased to hear that none of them were vital components that posed immediate danger. While they would certainly become an issue with extended use, a simple flight over a few thousand miles wouldn't be detrimental for a ship meant to travel across light-years of space.

Wanting to ensure there would be no elements of extreme danger, I climbed into the vessel, powering it up and watching as my work came to life. As the computer system booted up, I typed in the password, setting the flight controls to manual. I planned on running a small test flight now, perhaps just going a few hundred miles or so to be certain it would work before telling Gaz about my plans to fly her out of state myself. For now, I wouldn't go top speed. There was no need to move so fast through the atmosphere, and considering my ship wasn't fully completed yet, I didn't want to push the limits of its capabilities just yet.

Holding the controls, I reviewed the emergency systems, ensuring that if anything should go wrong, the escape pod would be prepared and accessible. I issued a command for the house to prepare for launch, and continued to hover the ship slowly until I ascended into the sky.

The second I was out of the house, I had to hold tighter onto the controls as the wind and rain beat against the ship fiercely. I scowled as I pulled at the steering wheel firmly – this storm was no joke. Ascending further into the sky and increasing altitude, I continued fighting against the weather, surprised at how much difficulty the storm was adding to this supposed to be simple test flight. Though I attempted to avoid the clouds as best possible, I still had to endure a miserably bumpy ride until I finally cleared the atmosphere, leaving the thick layer of black clouds below.

Engaging autopilot, I sat back in my chair, letting out a small exhale as I refocused my attention on the navigation system. Considering in space, directions were far more complicated then the mere north, south, east, west that Earth humans used, it was important to have a full detailed map installed within the ships own database. For the time being I only had an immediate and local map that detailed most of Earth's galaxy, as well as the actual planet Earth itself. Once I had a bit more free time, I would insure a healthy update would be installed before departing for Irk.

Satisfied with the navigation, I returned back to manual pilot, testing the response time to manual commands. With my most recent updates, I found the controls to be just as they should without hesitation and or misrouted commands.

Proud of my work thus far, I gave a small laugh and tested out a few more things before once again pulling my ship back towards Earth's surface and returning back into my base. I had gained quite a bit of feedback from that test flight, and would ensure I put the data to good use before making any serious trips with the vessel. Perhaps the largest area of concern was in fact the ship's defensive capacity. Considering I had built the ship in mind of speed, it didn't come as a surprise to me, however if something as simple as an Earth storm could cause the flight to be difficult, it meant the defense of the ship itself needed serious work.

Landing back at the base, I powered everything down and reset the bases security unit. I moved towards a nearby desk, starting to write down a list of things the computer had mentioned, as well as things I had noticed in the flight that needed some further corrections. Some of these things were simple fixes that the computer could install or correct electronically, while others required manual adjustments, which I wasn't too worried about. Preparing to tell the computer what would need to be done, I paused, hearing the elevator ding from across the lab.

Ah, Gaz was finally awake.

Moving to meet her (I didn't want her to fall and hit her head again) I moved across my labs, laughing at the image that greeted me. Gaz was still waking up so it seemed, and on her head was a still asleep Gir.

"Morning." I stated, noting she appeared rather tired regardless the night's sleep, "Did you sleep okay?"

She shook her head, rubbing her eyes and shrugging, "Not really, I'll feel better once the storm lets up. Do you have any coffee here?"

I nodded, turning her back toward the elevator and moving up to the kitchen, "Gir went through a phase where he liked all things coffee just a few months ago." I shuddered at the memory of a caffeinated Gir, willing the dark memories back in the recesses of my mind, "Let's just say that I learned to keep the coffee under lock and key, but I do have some left I think."

Gaz nodded, grabbing said robot off of her head and setting him on the couch before following me into the kitchen. I moved to the cabinet above the fridge, and only after I was certain Gir was still in sleep mode, I unlocked the cabinet and pushed away the various objects until I found the coffee canister.

Handing her the coffee grounds, I shrugged, "I don't know how to actually make the coffee though, sorry."

Grabbing it, she shook her head, "That's fine I can manage." She moved across the kitchen, searching through the cupboards until she found the coffee maker, "What happened while I was out? Any updates?"

"Nothing too notable" I stated easily, not quite ready to inform her of her brother's surgery just yet, "and the weather is just as bad. Doesn't look like it will be letting up for awhile still, however-"

Gaz slammed her fist on the counter, slightly startling me as the sound echoed against the walls, "Typical! That stupid Dib just had to get in a car wreck during a monsoon just to spite me. How he will pay."

I was about to explain the adjustments to my ship, but Gaz continued ranting, her voice lowering slightly as she became further frustrated, "He's such an idiot! Who goes chasing after crop circles and big foot and... He's just such an idiot!"

I tried to contain my chuckle, though I couldn't help but be amused. Gaz was usually calm and collected, albeit a little dark, but every once in a while, her emotions would get the best of her and I'd see a more animated side of her that reminded me so much of Dib. Not wanting to provoke her further however, I carefully controlled my reaction, preferring instead to watch her mumble to herself and finish making the coffee.

As the coffee began brewing, Gaz jumped up on the counter, focusing out the window and watching the rain pour to the ground. Moving across the room, I stood beside her, also observing the current weather status. Though it was difficult to see far past a few feet, I could see the roads were flooded beyond use and the wind ripped through the trees with notable force. With the rain beating down on the house, it caused a constant amount of background noise that set a form of stillness into the air.

For a long while, neither of us said anything.

"Does it ever rain on your planet?" Gaz asked, not breaking her attention away from the window.

I shook my head, pausing a long moment before responding, "No. There isn't a lot of what you humans call 'weather' on my home planet." It wasn't often that I was asked about Irk as no one knew that I wasn't a human, and the only one who had cared to ask before was Dib.

I knew better than to answer his questions.

"Weather is too sporadic and unpredictable." I continued, listening to the hum of rainfall, "As our technology became more advanced, we found a way to change the molecular structure of our atmosphere that makes the weather more constant and better suited for living conditions."

"Sounds nice." Gaz mumbled, seemingly more to herself as her eyes narrowed, "Not having to worry about the weather would be useful right now."

I smiled slightly, moving my focus from the window onto her. Her brows were pulled downward in thought, and there was a slight pout on her lips. Yes, in her own subtle way, her and her brother were very much alike.

"Gaz, last night I was working on my ship." I paused, listening to the rain for a moment longer before continuing, "I can fly you out to your brother."

My voice grew quiet at the end, and I watched Gaz turn towards me, her expression of pure surprise.

"You … what?"

"Your brother. My ship isn't perfect yet, but it's safe enough. I ran a test flight before you woke up and everything. If you want, I can take you to him."

A small smile pulled across her face as she looked down at the counter, then back at me, "Yeah. I'd like that. A lot actually."

I smiled back, surprised at how much better I felt to see a genuine smile on her face for the first time since she had heard about the accident. It put me at ease as well it seemed.

I nodded in affirmation, still grinning widely at the golden eyed human, "Well whenever you're ready to go, we should be there in under an hour."

She blinked in surprise at the time, though smiled even brighter and hoped down from the counter, moving toward the living room. Instead of continuing, she paused midstep, turning on her heel and back around again. Stepping up on her toes, she stopped in front of me, placing a hand on my chest and pressing her lips to my cheek, "Thank you." She mumbled lightly, her lips tracing along my skin as she spoke.

Grabbing her arm, I pulled her closer, looping my arms around her back and locking eye contact with her, enjoying the surprise in her eyes. "You are welcome, Gaz human." I responded simply.

Not caring enough if this was the right sort of moment or not, I pressed my lips to hers, moving my hands to her hips and pulling her against me. To my delight, she kissed back, her hands moving against my face as she pulled me gently lower towards her, her lips moving against mine with precision. Like before, she smiled against my lips, her hands moving down to my shoulders, while her thumb looped under the edge of my shirt, running against my collar bone. That action alone caused my insides to twist and a chill to run down my spine. She continued to press her lips firmly against mine, sometimes languidly slow, or other times quick pecks, increasing the intensity. She ran her hands down lower, the contact feather light before finally coming to a rest at my waist. I felt muscles across my body tighten and twitch at the contact, a shudder pulling across my body when she pulled my lower lip through her teeth. Without much further thought, I pulled her hair back, running my lips down her newly exposed neckline. As my teeth grazed down her skin, the human swallowed thickly, a small noise, not quite a protest, escaped from her lips.

Releasing her hair as I wasn't sure if I was hurting her or not, I was about to ask if she was okay, though the second she was free from my grasp, she crashed her lips to mine, an obvious shift in her demeanor as her tongue danced across my bottom lip. I inhaled slightly, not certain how much control I could exert before I simply gave up and backed her into a wall, doing what I pleased with her, barely able to keep up with the suddenly passionate Gaz.

She placed open mouth kisses down my jaw line, her hands framing down my arms and up once more, her hot breath sending chills across my body while it seemed pure lava ran through my veins. Joining her for an opened mouthed kiss, I let my tongue explore into her mouth, tracing along her teeth, noting the distinct differences between my own tongue, and hers. I felt Gaz shudder in my hold, a small whimper coming from the back of her throat as she gasped lightly. I pulled my hand from around her back, pulling her hair back and nibbling down on the base of her neck, being driven boldly by her responses, wanting to taste, explore, and claim.

The coffee pot chimed with a loud beep, and while it didn't bother me in the slightest, I felt Gaz tense slightly.

Her hand fisted in my shirt tightly, and she pulled back, lowering her head downward and breathing irregularly. For a long moment she just stood there, not moving, continuing to breathe as though she had been out of breath entirely.

"The coffee's done…" she mumbled, finally daring to make eye contact for a small moment, before looking across the room again.

I couldn't help but wonder if I had done something wrong that made her stop. Just as I was about to ask, she looked back up, her face flushed and though she was smiling, she looked uncertain and was avoiding all possible eye contact. I moved my head downward, trying to figure out what she was doing, though she looked further across the room and her face turned an even darker shade of red.

Was… was she shy?

Watching her for a few moments longer for confirmation, I smiled at my new found discovery, dropping my hands down to her hips gently as the previous passionate moment melted away.

Pulling her chin up lightly, I smiled, laughing slightly and kissing her gently before speaking, "Well then you pack what you need, and I'll be in my base whenever you're ready."

With that, I left the mortal in the kitchen, moving towards the elevator. I shook my head fondly, feeling quite content and not nearly disappointed as I thought I would be, should some event like the beep of a coffee maker stop my more recent activities with Gaz. The girl was so addictive it was dangerous. It seemed as though I was often placing my life on hold just to gain some form of acknowledgement from her, but I couldn't help it. Whatever it was about her, something I couldn't place my finger on, something pulled me back to Gaz. And that something was incredibly strong.

Besides, if I got to see her smile like that again, it would all be worth it.

"Dad!" Gaz exclaimed, seeing her father and moving quickly towards him. I quickened my pace to keep up with her, a general feeling of unease washing over me. I wasn't quite certain what I had been expecting after bringing Gaz to the hospital; however staying here with her and her father was not what I had envisioned in the least. I had assumed that I would drop Gaz off so she could be with her father, and she would either fly back, or call me and I could pick her up again.

Not once did I picture her wanting me to stay at the hospital with her.

It should have been painfully obvious to everyone that I didn't belong here. I should have been one of the last people to be sitting in a chair, waiting for the doctors to come out and give updates on his health, yet apparently Gaz believed it necessary, and after telling her that I didn't want to stay, she demanded I give a single reason as to why not. After I was unable to provide an answer she deemed acceptable, she nodded, stating that it was final, and I would be staying with her at the hospital. It was infuriating. Had Gaz forgotten that just a short year ago, Dib and I were sworn enemies, always trying to foil the other's schemes?

Honestly, if things hadn't changed between myself and Gaz, had I heard about Dib getting in a fatal car wreck, I would have counted the news as a joy, a blessing even. How many times had I tried and failed to get that cursed Dib out of my life for good with no results? Far too many. And now, I was supposed to sit here and wait, in hopes that he would make a full recovery?

I frowned in distaste.

Simply being here made me uncomfortable. The air was stale, the halls were painfully dull, and everyone walked around with either a sense of duty, or the complete opposite of a death march. It was just another thing to add to the list of why I hated the humans. Their medical facilities were disgraceful at best. It was no wonder the average life span of a human was so short.

The professor greeted his daughter in a hug, seemingly pleased to see her. "Gazlyn, it's great you arrived so quickly. Does the school know yet?"

Pulling away from her father, she nodded, "Yeah, we made sure to call them on the way here. Oh, speaking of which, this is Zim. You've met him a few times before."

Pulling my attention to the Professor, I was surprised to see him exert a hand. Shaking it slowly, I watched the professor warily.

"Ah yes, you are that foreign exchange student. It's great that you are here to support Dib, I'm sure he would appreciate the thought."

"Well I-" My thoughts were cut off as a nurse came toward the area, carrying a clipboard and moving towards the professor quickly.

"Professor Membrane?"

"Yes, that's me. This is my daughter Gazlyn, and a friend of the family – eh..."

"Zim." I stated simply, mentally grimacing at the term 'friend of the family'. It was painfully ironic. If only the professor knew what his son did, I was certain this meeting would have turned out differently.

"Welcome welcome," the nurse responded with a nod, "though I'm sorry you are here on such circumstances. You'll be pleased to know that Dib is out of surgery."

I could hear Gaz gasp in surprise and I could feel her eyes narrow as her attention turned towards me, though I pretended not to notice and continued looking at the nurse.

"Everything went well, though he is still very weak. We have him sedated for the time being until a doctor gives a further detailed plan now that the surgery is completed. As for the time being, he can take guests. His room is on the ninth floor but considering we still don't feel he's perfectly stabilized yet, only one at a time, and only immediate family."

Her eyes fell on me and she frowned apologetically, "I'm sorry."

I responded indifferently, though was inwardly relieved I wouldn't be forced to confront Dib, "That's fine."

The nurse nodded, giving one last look towards the Professor, and moving hurriedly back up the hallway before disappearing into an elevator.

"How about you go Gazlyn?" the Professor stated after a moment, moving towards a bench near the bland white hospital wall, "After flying all this way here I'm sure you want to see him."

Gaz nodded mutely, looking at the floor nervously before seemingly gathering her surroundings and looking back up with determination.

"Right. Well, I'll be back soon I guess."

I watched Gaz walk away, wondering how she would take to seeing her brother. Not that I wanted to be around Dib myself, but I saw what she was like last night, and the idea of her having to face her brother alone made me worry.

"So Zim, tell me about yourself. It's been a while since I last saw you, what country did you say you were from?"

I grimaced slightly as I turned toward the Professor, the term 'awkward' not even beginning to cover the current situation at hand.

Gaz owed me big.

I gave a sad smile as I walked into Dib's room, surprised to see just how much medical equipment that he needed to in order to survive right now. As horrifying as it was to see him like this, simply being able to see him made it so I could release a breath I hadn't known I'd even been holding onto. Dib was alive.

"You're such an idiot, you know that?" I mumbled, sitting in the chair beside his hospital bed.

There were so many monitors and IV drips surrounding him. He had a neck brace, and arm splinted across his body, and various gauze pads and bruises as well. He looked just as bad as they said he would, yet seeing him in person was vastly different. He was so pale. He was in terrible condition, but finally stable.

"A complete idiot." I summarized, shaking my head.

I sat the next few minutes in silence, simply listening to the heart monitor sound. It was amazing how much hope that simple little monitor gave me. Each beep was a reminder, proof even, that my brother was still alive, and still fighting. Each new spike on the radar showed that my brother was still here with me, and still had a chance to recover.

I shook my head, exhaling slightly as I allowed a feeling of relief to wash over me. I had never been one to care much about family or such, but as odd as Dib was, he always tried to watch out for me. Granted I had never needed it, but his efforts didn't go unnoticed. When I had heard that Dib had gotten in a serious car wreck, I didn't know what to think. Dib had always been there to annoy and pester me. It scared me to think that he could just be gone one day.

I would have to thank Zim. I knew that he was the only reason that I was sitting here by my brother, and as much as I didn't like to admit this sort of thing, it meant a lot to me.

Thinking of my more recent changes with the alien, it brought a smile to my face. It felt so good to smile. I had only found about Dib's car wreck less than forty-eight hours ago, yet it felt as though things hadn't been right for years.

"You know Dib," I began, grinning to myself, "sooner or later you'll find out about Zim, and you'll have an absolute heart attack – which will serve you right you know, putting me through all this."

I crossed my arms and sat back in the chair, trying to become more comfortable in the hospital's old furniture, "And when you do find out, you can't hurt him. He's the only reason I'm here right now, so if anything you need to thank him. I know, I know, I can already hear you're annoying voice in my head. He's an evil space alien, blah blah blah," I gave a small laugh, "but there's so much more to it than that Dib. You're so bull headed."

I sighed, furrowing my eyebrows as I thought over the proper words to use, the beep of the heart monitor sounding against the pale walls. Why I was even being so careful about it, I don't know – Dib was unconscious and couldn't hear a word I was saying, yet still, something compelled me to explain myself further. There was something about the honesty of this entire situation, the fact that Dib could die, that made it so I wanted to be just as honest with him. In this one small, still moment, I didn't want to pretend.

"At this point, I would have to say he's my closest friend. I really care about him."

I let my words sink in, continuing shortly after, "Sure he's a little unorthodox at times but, I think he's a good guy. He just can't seem to catch a break is all. No one seems to ever listen to him. No one wants to take him seriously; he's just sort of the guy that society in general seemed to forget. Honestly, it's a shame you guys can't see eye to eye. You have a lot common, more than you know."

I paused again, sitting in silence for a long moment. "He's the guy that kissed me Dib. He's the one I told you about on the phone, I didn't want to tell you then. I went back to see him, and we talked, and then we kissed again. I don't think we're exclusive or anything, and with everything going on now that you're in the hospital, it's not really a major concern of mine. It's just odd because now that I think about it, it seems like I'm there more and more often."

I gave a light pause, smiling slightly, "The other day I had to go through the fridge and throw out a lot of old food that had gone bad. I've been at Zim's off and on so much that I eat whatever's at his place, so my own food spoils. Crazy isn't it?"

I frowned, "But then there's the issue of him wanting to take over the world." I shook my head, a small feeling of hurt clouding my previously chipper demeanor, "He can do it you know. I really think he can. Maybe you were right all along to have feared him back in school. I know, you weren't 'afraid' or whatever, I know that's what you'd be saying right now if you could, but I can see through it. You always were afraid that he would one day destroy the earth. Maybe it's silly, but I can't help but hope that-"

A knock on the door interrupted my train of thought. I turned around, seeing a nurse entering the room. "Hi Ms. Membrane, I'm Dib's nurse, Melinda. If it's alright with you, I'll need you to exit the room so I can administer his treatment please."

I allowed her words to sink in, finding a small bit of disappointment run through me. It seemed as though I had just gotten there, had my allotted time expired so quickly? Not wanting to prohibit the nurse's work, I stood up quickly, nodding, "Of course. I'll just head out then."

I moved towards the door, grabbing the handle and turning around, "He is going to be ok, right?"

The nurse looked up from her paperwork, smiling, "Though there is a small chance that the treatment could fail, you have a strong brother who seems to be fighting to the best of his ability. I'm very optimistic about his recovery."

I smiled slightly, exiting the room.

Yes. Dib was a complete, and total idiot.

And there you have it. Alright, so yall know how much I love my paid advertisements here - but hey it's my own writing right? For everyone who is wanting to read something (maybe?) new to them and stick to Invader Zim, I wrote a one shot a while back, My Metamorphosis? It's written from the perspective of Gaz, and it's kinda a dark angsty sorta piece. I'd love to see some more traffic on that story cause I love how it turned out. So if yall are bored... *baits with chocolate*

Anyhow, thanks for sticking around guys, and I hope you enjoyed this chapter. Read and review, and I'll see yall around at the next update!

~ Midnight