Edit Feb. 2008: I have fixed some grammatical and punctuation errors, and also edited a couple awkward lines. The story/ plot itself is unchanged though. This is one of my oldest stories, and not a good sample of my writing. I'm leaving it up because of its popularity.
The Friday the 13th Before Valentine's Day
"I hate Valentine's Day….." grumbled Dib as the date popped into his head. He sat on the couch, waiting for his favorite show, Mysterious Mysteries, to hustle up and air. With V-day only the day after tomorrow, he had only two days to think up a good excuse not to go to skool. He wasn't sure why, but had never attended skool on Valentine's Day. Perhaps he was afraid, due to the fact that he was always alone. Or maybe he just didn't like a day with so much 'love' in it. Either way, there was no way he would go. He vowed to himself that he would remain home that particular day.
Gaz slammed the door angrily and stormed inside. "Zim is out there again! He followed me home!"
"What?! Did Zim hurt you?!" asked Dib anxiously, worried about his sibling. Gaz and him may fight, but he did care for her, after all. And there was no way Dib would let Zim even think about harming Gaz.
"No. He just followed me and asked me where you were."
"What did you tell him?"
"I told him to get away from me. And I'm telling you that, too." She walked behind the couch and almost seemed to disappear. After a few minutes of silence, Dib looked over the back of the couch to see if she was nearby. But he saw nothing but darkness.
"Gaz?" he called. "Gaz?" He waited a few moments before coming to the conclusion she was gone. Either that, or she was just ignoring him.
He might of gotten up and searched for her, but his program begin. He fixed his eyes on the screen. He seemed to be in a trance, blocking out the rest of the world. He didn't want to think about it. The only thing that mattered now was his show. Watching it was like coming to a refuge.
As he sat, wide-eyed, his father approached. Professor Membrane was a busy man. And if he came to you, then you listened. End of story.
"Son?" he asked Dib.
"Yeah, Dad?" he replied, still staring blankly into the television screen, not really paying attention.
"Look at me when I'm talking to you."
Dib reluctantly turned around and faced his father. He looked up at his dad with glazed eyes and asked, "What do you want?"
"Well, son, I was in my lab thinking about your little dilemma…"
"Dilemma? What are you talking about?" Dib rarely said anything to his dad. Much less talked about his problems. How would he know anything of Dib's many troubles?
"Your Valentine's Day predicament. Don't think I don't know how you always skip it."
"Skip? Me? No…." he replied innocently.
"Yes. And I know why, too. But don't you worry. I know how to solve it!" he shouted, being inspirational again.
"Yes! I just completed THIS!" Professor Membrane held out a small bottle of a peculiar liquid. It was pink, yet transparent. "I call it 'Soul Drink'!"
"Okay, how does pink soda help me on Valentine's Day?" asked Dib.
"Simple. When you drink this amazing liquid, it temporarily numbs your cerebrum, making it vulnerable. Then, special advanced microorganisms enter it, and begin to take control." Membrane stopped himself when he realized Dib wasn't paying attention. He immediately assumed that Dib just was too ignorant to understand. However, he was really just trying to watch his show. Membrane humored his son and said to him sweetly, "It's too scientific for your little, child-brain to comprehend, but in short, it makes people fall in love."
"Fall in love?" Those words caught Dib's attention. "What are you talking about?"
"Easy. All you gotta do is make whoever you like drink it. The first person they see they will fall in love with."
"And I'd want this why…….?"
"Give it to some person you like, son."
"Why do you keep saying stuff like 'person' and 'they'? I'm not gay, ya know!"
Professor Membrane glanced around nervously. He leaned down and put his hand on Dib's shoulder. "Okay, whatever you say." He stood back up and walked back down to his lab.
Dib held the little container in his hand. "I don't need this! I'm eleven!" He shoved the bottle into his pocket and went back to his show.
"And that's why 'Romeo and Juliet' is such a sad story," finished Ms. Bitters.
"That's not why!" exclaimed Sara. "It's because they died and—"
"Hush!" shouted Ms. Bitters. "It's sad because Romeo was a great warrior and he gave all that up for a girl. He could have had anything he wanted, like world domination, but instead he chose her!"
"No, no, no! That's all wrong!" complained Sara once more.
"No, it isn't! You see, people will give up anything for the one they truly love. ANYTHING."
That sentence sent a small surge through Dib's body. He reached inside his pocket and fingered the bottle, which still remained from yesterday. He quickly raised his hand.
"What, Dib?" asked Bitters' harsh voice.
"So they'd even give up the thing their whole life is meant for? Their whole meaning and purpose in life? Their greatest dream?"
"Yes, if they're truly in love."
Dib quickly glanced at Zim across the room. Zim was half-asleep, and hadn't been listening. His head rested in his hands. He slouched down in his desk. His eyelids hung limply and lazily until he noticed Dib casting him strange stares from across the room. Zim hastily straightened his position, and tried to appear more alert. He glared back at Dib evilly. But he noticed something in Dib's eyes that he couldn't quite place. Dib, for unexplained reasons, was grinning. Grinning evilly. As if he was seeing something Zim wasn't.
The rest of the day was full of harsh stares from Dib to Zim. Zim didn't want to glare back, for reasons even he didn't know. Something told him to gaze ahead and not move. The only time he even glimpsed at Dib was when Dib began to scribble something on a piece of paper. Zim tried to make out what it was, but Dib covered it up. The little bit he did see appeared to be well thought out plans of some sort. Zim cocked an eye in curiosity.
"This has got to be my greatest plan ever!" said Dib. "And definitely my most creative!"
"You say that about all your plans," said Gaz.
"No, this one's different." Dib was gathering his materials. "I know it's going to work."
He very quickly grabbed his layouts, a brick, his notepad, his camera, and a water gun just to be sure. "You see, first I'm gonna….." Dib trailed off when he realized Gaz wasn't in the same room anymore. "Oh, well. I've gotta get going to skool soon anyway.
Dib scurried down the dark sidewalk to skool. It was fairly early for skool; the sun hadn't even risen yet. But Dib wanted to make sure he had plenty of time to set up his perfect little arrangement.
It was almost time for skool to begin. Dib surveyed the area for any random object to be the focus of the whole scheme. Then he realized that in his hurry to get here early he had accidentally grabbed Gaz's Game Slave with the other objects. Dib shrugged. He'd give it back to her later. He picked up a rock. 'Good enough,' he thought.
The kids' voices carried down the street. They were approaching, fast. Dib hastily prepped for his great moment.
Zim walked by that same tree in front of the skool everyday without giving it a second thought. He would after today, though. He would never forget this particular day. Friday the 13th, naturally.
To make sure the rock was the first thing Zim saw, Dib decided to knock Zim out. That way, he controlled what Zim first looked upon when he came to. Zim strolled by, not giving any thought to such a 'normal' earth day. Suddenly, Dib thrust a huge brick over Zim's skull. Thwap! Zim fell to the ground, unconscious. Dib smiled demonically, and dragged him behind the tree.
Dib sat Zim upright against the trunk of the tree. Dib placed the rock where Zim could see it when he awoke. He took the bottle out of his jacket pocket and poured every last drop down Zim's throat, taking pride in the fact that he now had complete control of Zim.
Dib stood back and began to laugh uncontrollably. "Pretty soon Zim will awake, fall in love with a rock, and be so distracted with his obsession with it that he won't even worry about Earth! It's both effective and funny! I can't wait to see him swooning over a rock!"
"Dib!" yelled a shrill voice. "Where's my Game Slave?!" Gaz angrily marched up to Dib.
"Gaz! Oh, it's here…..hold on……" Dib frantically searched around for her precious handheld system.
The sound of Zim groaning behind him caused Dib to freeze. A chill ran his back as he turned around, hoping Zim was still fast asleep. To Dib's horror, he wasn't. Instead, he stood up and stared blankly, as in a trance.
'Oh, crap! Crap crap crap crap crap!' thought Dib. 'If Zim falls in love with me, I don't know what I'd do!'
"Heh heh," chuckled Gaz. "Zim looks like you when you watch TV." She stopped suddenly when she noticed something peculiar. "Zim, why are you staring at me like that?"
"Gaz….." he said as if it wasn't really him. "I never noticed how beautiful you were….."
Gaz's eyes grew large and she grew a few shades paler. "Cut it out, Zim!" she said, more to herself as a way to convince herself that he was just joking.
"I'm not joking…" It was Zim's voice, but different. Something you couldn't put your finger on.
Dib stood, horrified. "Zim, stop it! You can't like Gaz!"
"I don't," said Zim. "I love her."
Gaz began to tremble. "Are you nuts?! You're an alien!"
"Boundaries do not matter and will crumble before true love."
"Gaz, don't listen to him. He doesn't know what he's saying. I put some kind of love potion on him. He doesn't really mean it," said Dib.
"But I do!" exclaimed Zim. But the skool bell interrupted their situation. All the kids were coerced to file into the dreadful learning facility, leaving the situation hanging.
Gaz was quick to dash off, but Zim and Dib took their time. Before too many kids separated them in the rush, Dib could hear Zim utter the words, "Tallest, I love her!"
He wasn't sure what 'Tallest' meant, but he understood the rest……..and it wasn't something he wanted to hear.
All through class, Zim acted very strange. Dib kept staring at him trying to figure out what he was doing. At one point, he was writing something. Zim rarely wrote much, so Dib was automatically suspicious. The entire time Zim had a dopey look on his face. He would sigh and look up, dazed and mumble something. Dib was positive he heard "Gaz" every time.
Dib couldn't stand the thought of Zim and Gaz as a couple. It made him want to vomit. Gaz, a little girl, his own sister even! And some disgusting space monster?! It was so wrong, he didn't know where to begin explaining the faults. Dib glared at Zim, full of hatred. Not his normal kind of hatred, but an evil glare. The death glare. He had a mental picture of him slicing Zim. A demonic grin stretched across face. His daydream was interrupted by the horrible mental picture of Gaz and Zim, together. He winced and shook his head, trying to erase such a terrible image.
The skool bell rang. The children rushed out of the classroom, but once again Dib and Zim took their time. Dib walked up to Zim, seething with rage. "ZIM!" he called.
Zim turned around, and searched for Dib. When he saw him approaching fast, he stopped walking and waited.
"You leave my sister alone, do you understand?!"
"I am sorry. But I cannot do that." Zim spoke in a monotone, similar to a robot. Even GIR's voice had more feeling then Zim's.
"You've got to, or I'll kick your green butt! I mean it, Zim! You better back off! I'm not kidding, Zim!"
"I know. But nothing, not even you, can stop true love."
"It's not true love! It's the result of my dad's dumb experiment. You don't really love her, it's the potion stuff!"
"Nonsense. What I feel is real."
"YOU BETTER LEAVE GAZ ALONE! DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?!" Dib was now screaming at the top of his lungs.
"I'm afraid not. And if you'll excuse me, I have obligations to attend to." Zim walked off casually, leaving Dib defeated.
Dib stood for a moment, but then ran to catch up. "I'M SERIOUS!" he screeched. "LEAVE GAZ ALONE! DON'T YOU DARE TRY ANYTHING!" Zim was gone, though. Dib had never been so mad in his life. But the worst part was that it was entirely his fault. He made Zim drink the potion, he took Gaz's Game Slave, he set the whole thing up!
He sat on his couch once more, wallowing in self-pity. He was contemplating the mess he had gotten himself into. Him and Zim always fought, but this was different. He had never dealt with anything like this. He could only hope Gaz didn't fall in love with him. What? Gaz like Zim? Impossible! Even with the potion! Dib sighed a blissful sigh. Thank goodness for that. It's one thing to have Zim like Gaz; it's another to have them like each other.
"Quit breathing," said Gaz. "You're disturbing my concentration." She pounded furiously at the buttons on her Game Slave. You could see the tension in her eyes.
"Doesn't it bother you that Zim has a crush on you?" he asked as if the answer was obvious.
"Dib, I'm busy. Shut up about Zim. That's all you talk about. I'm suspecting you like him."
"WHAT?! ME AND ZIM?! ARE YOU NUTS?!"
"I dunno. It's you I'm wondering about."
Dib would have lost it again, but the doorbell rang. "You're saved by the bell, Gaz," he mumbled as he got up to answer it. He stumbled over to the door, and turned the knob. Once he opened the door, he saw the last individual he wanted to see right now.
"Zim?! What are you doing at my house?!" he cried. A chuckle from Gaz was heard back from the other room. Dib knew what it was about…
"I'm not here for you this time, Dib," said Zim.
"Darn…." said Gaz sarcastically from the background.
"I'm here for Gaz. Now, step aside." Zim tried to enter back Dib obstructed his path. "I said move!"
"No," replied Dib sternly.
"Yes! Now get!" Zim slammed Dib up against the door with his hand. Dib sat on the floor and groaned as he rubbed his head. "Now, Gaz…" Zim began as he walked up to her, not even acknowledging Dib's pain.
Gaz gazed up from her Game Slave with a look of scorn. "What do you want, Zim?"
"I want to ask you something. Something important."
Gaz looked back down to game and began playing again. "What?"
"Well, I was wondering if you'd go out with me. What do you say, human?"
"Oh, no!" yelled Dib from the door. "I will have none of that!" He came running after he heard those terrible words.
"I wasn't asking you. I was talking to Gaz," said Zim. The Irken turned back to Gaz. "Well?"
Gaz paused her game and carefully placed it beside her. She looked at Dib, then to Zim. Then back to Dib, and Zim again. She didn't appear nervous. In fact, she seemed to be doing that sarcastically, trying to insult them both. Finally, after glancing back and forth several times, she stared straight ahead, between them. She opened her mouth to speak, and both Dib's and Zim's muscles tightened. "No."
"Yes!" exclaimed Dib happily. "Take that, alien scum!"
Zim wasn't mad; just sad. His face was like nothing Dib had ever seen. Usually Zim was evil looking, perhaps with an evil smile. But nothing now. Instead, he had a look of pure depression. Shut down. Rejected. "I understand…" he finally managed to choke. "You deserve someone better." Zim closed his eyes, lowered his head, and sullenly walk out. Gaz watched with pity, which soon turned to empathy for the guy. It pained her to watch him walk away. The look in her eyes…it was as deep as Zim's.
"I guess I'm just not good enough," said Zim as he sat down. He was musing over tonight's horrible failure. "GIR?" he called. GIR came skipping over, eating little candy hearts.
"Yes, Master?" he asked.
"What's wrong with me? Am I ugly? Dumb? Or am I just too mean?"
"Sweetheart," replied GIR, reading his candy heart.
"Well, if I'm a sweetheart why doesn't she love me? I just don't get it! What should I say to her?"
"Be mine," continued to read GIR.
"That might work. But then again, it might sound a little oppressive. Any other ideas?"
"I love you." GIR was still reading his little candies.
"I tried that already. I guess it's just me. I don't know what to do…….." Zim lowered his head again and sighed. He didn't want to cry, especially not in front of GIR, but it was uncontrollable. The tears streamed down his face, he curled into a little ball.
GIR finally sensed Zim's sadness. "Awww, Master don't be sad. I have something for you." GIR held out his last little candy heart.
Zim didn't like Earth food, but took it anyway. He noticed the little message printed on it. "Hug me," he read, confused.
"Really? Okay!" GIR jumped up and give his master a big, comforting hug. He squeezed as hard as he could.
Normally, Zim would have been furious. But now he hugged back. He needed all the support he could get.
"No way am I going to take this anymore! I gotta end it now!" said Dib, trying to inspire himself.
"Well, why did you call me? I'm very busy, son. Is this gonna take long?" asked Professor Membrane.
"I hope not. I need you to make an antidote for the love potion you gave me. It's really messed everything up!"
"Sure, son. But I'll need your help; like I said, I'm busy."
"By the way, who did you give it to?"
Professor Membrane suddenly became nervous. "Let's get going, son."
They walked downstairs to the lab. On the way, Dib heard his dad mumble something to himself like, "Not gay, huh?"
Gaz sat in a gazebo down in the park. She wasn't sure why she chose there to think, but it may have been because of the tranquility of the park. So peaceful. And right now, it was empty. It was nighttime, about 8:00, and raining. It was the most horrible Valentine's Day she had ever had. The whole day Zim kept bothering her. He wouldn't stop. She eventually told him off, only to fill herself with pain again. Seeing Zim so saddened had an unusual effect on her.
Right now, she was trying to figure out what to do. Was Dib right? Was this not really Zim talking, and instead just some mine-controlling potion? Or was Zim right? Would true love conquer all? She didn't know. She sighed and held out one of her hands. She watched the water run down it. For some reason, it seemed to relax her. She loved the rain. It always seemed to match her mood. When she was mad, there was a storm of some kind. When she was happy, or at least not really mad, the sun would shine. And right now, as she was sad, it rained.
But there was someone who did not like the rain. And he came running, seeking refuge. Seeing that the gazebo was the only choice, he fled to it.
Zim sat down next to Gaz. Her muscles tensed. What was he here for? She scooted a bit away from him, and looked out into the sky.
"Sorry, I didn't plan this," he said sadly. "It just sorta happened. I can't stand the rain, you know. I'd burn if I didn't sit under here."
"I understand," replied Gaz. "What were you doing out this late anyway?"
"Just walking, I guess. I needed some time to clear my head."
"Me, too. That's what I was doing."
"Oh, sorry. I didn't mean to disturb you."
"Listen, I know I've said it before, but I love you."
"I know. You've told me many times, Zim."
"I know you don't love me back. But what I don't know is why. Look, it's true we're not the same species, but who cares? If you're worried about what others think, don't. It doesn't matter. All that matters is that you're happy. Don't let other people control you. And if it's because of Dib, well, he shouldn't matter either. I could go keep going down my list of why you should not not-love me, but I'm not. Because all I'm trying to say is that I love you. And no long speech can say it better than those simple three words. You've got to believe me when I say, 'I love you'."
Gaz sat staring up at the moon. It was full, of course. Perhaps it was yet another reason so much weird stuff had been happening. She wondered what to say. Not being able to think of anything, she just continued to gaze at the moon.
"I see you're not answering me. I'm going to ask you one more time, and never again, I promise. Do you love me?"
Gaz winced. How could she answer? She honestly didn't know. There was no way to tell if this was the real Zim talking, or the potion. "I'm sorry, Zim. But my answer is still no."
Zim looked at the ground. "I guess I already knew that answer. Oh, well…"
That look--something about it made Gaz rethink her decision. She wanted to just make everything all right again. "Don't look at the ground, Zim. Look at the moon. Isn't it beautiful?"
"Not compared to you."
"Stop, I already made my choice."
"I know. But I felt I should tell you."
"Okay. It's just that there's something magical about the moon. I mean, it's like it casts some temporary spell on you."
"Yeah. It's great," he said sarcastically
"I know you're joking, but I mean it. I love the moon. I feel special when I stare into it. Like there's a meaning to life after all. All the pain will mean something someday." Gaz turned and looked at Zim. He wasn't humoring her anymore. He was seriously looking at the moon.
He turned and faced her. "I see it now. The moonlight, it is special. That's why you're so amazing. You see things others cannot. You're so—"
Zim was cut off by the feel of Gaz's lips on his. They sat, suspended in time on that gazebo. It may have been a few seconds, or maybe even a few minutes, who knows. But it was something magical. Neither of them could quite place it.
"EEEEEEW!!" screeched Dib, who had just walked up. He doubled over and grew a shade or two paler. "I think I'm gonna be sick." He looked up, facing Zim and Gaz. "HOW COULD YOU, GAZ?!"
"Why were you eavesdropping?"
"I wasn't! You think I wanted to see this?!"
Zim was very nervous. He fidgeted and tried not to look at Dib.
Dib was now glaring at Zim. The death glare, once more. "That's it, Zim! I gave you plenty of warning! Now I'm gonna kick your butt!"
Zim shrieked as he saw Dib lunge at him. They struggled on the floor of the gazebo, with Dib winning. They rolled to the other side, and crashed up against the wall, then rolled entirely out of the gazebo. Dib sat on top. "This is for everything, Zim! Not just for kissing my sister, but also for everything you've ever done to me! You've filled my entire life with pain and misery. And now I'm getting you back." Dib held his clenched fist above Zim's head, ready to strike. Zim tried to escape, but Dib was holding him down firmly.
Gaz watched in shock. "Stop it, Dib! Leave him alone!"
"Too late for that, Gaz. He must learn." Dib glanced at Gaz. Her facial expression was like none he had ever seen on her face. She was truly distressed, her eyes full of sadness. Dib couldn't do it. He couldn't put his sister in so much stress. There was no way he could kill Zim now. Instead he reached into his pocket and pulled out a small black bottle.
Gaz gasped. "What's that? Poison?!"
"No, don't be so paranoid. It's the antidote to the love potion."
This scared Gaz even more. Does that mean Zim won't love her anymore? After all, it was just the potion controlling his mind. There was no way Zim would kiss Gaz if he knew what he was doing. She wanted to stop Dib, but something held her back Instead she just stood and watched as Dib forced the black liquid down Zim's throat. Zim choked, but after drinking most of it he stopped, and passed out. Dib got off Zim and started to walk away. He turned back to Gaz for a second.
It was hard to tell what he said because it was now pouring and the rain blocked out the sound. But it was something like, "When he wakes up, he won't remember any of this. In fact, the last thing he remembers is walking past that tree. Don't say anything to him about it, and he'll never know. It will just be our little secret." And with that, he marched off, back home.
Gaz stood there, in the pouring rain. She looked down at Zim. She grabbed his feet and dragged him back inside the gazebo, so that he wouldn't get any wetter. She laid him there, on the bench to dry. Before she walked away to retreat home, she gave him one last kiss beneath the moonlight.