(NOTE: You need to read my "Irktionary" to understand the many antennae gestures in this fic from now on. And you must read "IZ: What Will Be, Will Be" to at least chapter 18 to understand these mini fics)
Zim flipped through the pages of the news ad Dib gave him as they walked down the sidewalk. "I still do not get this 'd-ay care' thing, Dib." He squinted his eyes at the photographs of the two caretakers. "People voluntarily take in others' smeets? It just does not make sense to Zim..."
Dib passed a hand over his face in annoyance; he'd lost track just how many times he'd explained daycare to Zim. The boy grabbed Zim by his shirt collar and yanked him forward, pressing his face up against the print on the pages. "This is Alice and Arthur Haywood, Zim. These people are foster parents to a young girl about the same age as Talia, and – in addition to fostering the little girl – they run a daycare to take care of other children while the parents are out working." Zim still looked confused, so Dib added something that may completely get his attention, "-so you don't have to look after GIR and Talia." He smirked as the irken brightened.
"Ah, excellent!" Zim exclaimed gleefully. "Zim still does not get the full mechanics of this 'daycare', but if it means I do not have to take care of the smeets, I like it!"
Dib grinned, enjoying the fact he was about to totally shoot down Zim's good mood. "Yes, instead, you are going to be getting a whole ton of groceries with me!"
"Wha-? Oh, shelnit.." The irken sighed, walking in silence with the trio for the next few minutes. "...Do you think the smeet will be alright without us?" he whispered worriedly to Dib. "She has become so dependent and trusting with us; putting her with someone else might frighten her."
Dib glanced up from the newspaper and over to Talia, who was happily skipping alongside GIR. "Hmm...I'm not sure.." Honestly, he was worried too. It took a lot to gain Talia's trust after the abuse she suffered through, and he didn't want to force her somewhere she wasn't uncomfortable. "GIR is with her, so maybe he can help make her feel better. Besides, she'll be with other kids, and she was fine at the park."
"Ah, yes, both smeets seemed to love the park." He recalled how happy GIR and Talia had been that day, and how many friends they had made. "I-I suppose that they should be fine then."
The entire journey towards "Light Heart Foster Care" had been like the name of the destination: light and cheery. The sun seemed to shine happily in front of fluffy clouds and beam down on the sidewalk – illuminating the path to a nice old fashioned little building. …..That was the only thing nice about it. A cool and eerie chill seemed to fill the air. The sun hid behind the clouds and averted its gaze from the 'happy' looking home.
Zim's antennae twitched in negativity under his wig. "Dib, um...are you sure we're at the right place?"
"Light Heart Foster Care, yes, this is it." The boy chuckled. "What a cute little bungalow."
"...I don't like it," Zim mumbled, his grip tightening on GIR's leash.
Dib only rolled his eyes in irritation. "Oh, Zim, you don't like anything that isn't our Condo!"
"I don't like the Condo either!"
"URAGH!" Dib yanked at his black hair and sighed, kneeling down in front of Talia. "Now, Tal, I want you to be a good girl today, alright? Play nicely with the other kids, and with GIR."
Zim pulled GIR aside and whispered so only he could hear. "GIR, it is your job to take care of the smeet today. I want you to look after her and protect her if anything happens. ...You understand?"
The SIR unit nodded happily, grinning as he received a light pat on the head. "I'll take care'a her!"
"And please no eating the other smeets..."
Receiving a warm hug from her caretaker, Talia eagerly took GIR by the paw and led him into the building without a moment's hesitation.
Dib grinned, admittedly relieved. "Look at that, Zim! Talia seems so excited! I guess we worried for nothing, huh?"
"...I do not trust this place, Dib." He yelped as his former enemy flicked him where his nose would be if he had one. "Ow!"
"Zim, would you come off it?" Dib snapped, retracting his hand. "You're becoming annoyingly overprotective of them."
The irken hissed, jabbing a sharp irken claw between the boy's eyes. "Zim is NOT overprotective, Dib! Even if I was, I have a right to be! Don't you remember what happened the last time one of the smeets were outside...our field of vision?" He shuddered, remembering how the SIR had become so terribly mutilated by the SEN.
For the umpteenth time that day, Dib rolled his eyes. "What are the odds of GIR and Talia getting injured while at such a loving facility? Even if they were, Alice and Arthur will take care of it! It's a daycare, so I'm sure they have plenty of band-aids and medicine. We have nothing to-" He was cut off by the sound of loud yelling, and a little girl wailing. He caught the alert and suspicious expression on the irken's face. "Well, I heard that Alice and Arthur are really old fashioned and the corporal punishment kind. They must be giving their little girl the same kind of punishment you give the kids sometimes."
Zim shook his head very slowly. Those anguished screams could not simply be from a simple temporary sting on the child's bottom, but before he could protest, Dib grabbed Zim's hand and began dragging him backwards. The resonating child screams echoed through Zim's antennae, and the irken kept his eyes tightly glued to a discarded old bottle of liquor on the front lawn – the entire time they walked away.
The child uttered a loud wail as an even harder slap cracked across her cheek. She sobbed and clung to the wall, desperately trying to escape the horrible torment. A ball of mucus landed at her feet from where her foster mother spat on the ground.
"Yer nuffin', Ellie, an' you'll never be more than' nuffin."
"Wow," Talia breathed, her hand clutching tightly to GIR's. "Guh, look'at all da toys!" She happily scampered over to where many different types of little trinkets were scattered over a torn rug. "Lots'a t'ings ta' pway wif!" The child jumped happily in the air, her purple curls bounced happily.
GIR forced a smile on his face, trying to get more comfortable with this strange place like she was. Master, come back soon... "It does look real fun, Tal," he said softly, trying to keep a light tone an not sound as unhappy as he was. "Ah'm sure we'll have lots'a fun here..."
Ellie's entire body trembled and screamed in response to the third beating she had received that morning. Three beatin's since I got up. That's a new record. One she was not happy about breaking. Her bruises and cuts stung as she continued walking into the playroom. Maybe Arthur won't drink any of the bad stuff today, an' he won't beat me as bad as Alice did. If only...
Ellie perked up slightly to the sound of her name. "...Talia?"
"Ellie!" A different voice this time, but still a familiar one.
"GIR!" Fighting back tears, the six year old ran towards her two friends and threw her arms around both their necks, hugging them tight. "Oh, wow, GIR, Talia..." She pulled back after a few moments, wiping her jade eyes. "What're ya both doin' here?"
GIR smiled. "We're here fer the daycare thing." He and Talia had met Ellie during one of their trips to the park. All three children had a lot of fun playing together, before an empty bottle of liquor had been chucked in Ellie's direction, and she had harshly been demanded home. "You here for the day care too?"
Ellie giggled a little, shrugging up her shoulders. "Well, kinda.." Her expression darkened and her eyes lowered to the floor. "I-I live here with my parents," she mumbled.
Talia's amethyst eyes sparkled happily. "Wow! Yer so luck', ya get ta' l've here!"
The child kept her eyes on the floor. "Uh-huh..."
Noting her sad expression, GIR quickly changed the subject. "Um, Ellie, wanna play with us? We was just going to do a puzzle togeth..." He stopped when he saw a very odd scar running up her leg, and another violet bruise coursing from her other ankle.
Ashamed, Ellie quickly crossed her legs to hide the visible damage on her body. "Um – um, hey! Let's...get to that puzzle!" With a fake and cheery tone, Ellie took both children by the hand and led them over to a few shelves in the back. "We gotta dog puzzle up here." She rolled up on the balls of her feet and stretched out towards the cardboard box – fingers just grazing the bottom. "We need somethin' to help us reach it."
Talia tilted her head a little. "Why don't we just get your mom-"
"NO!" Ellie's shout startled both Talia and GIR, and made them back up a little. "I-I mean," she attempted to gently correct herself. "Let's just...not bother 'er. Talia, get a chair, please!"
The four year old scampered over towards a red plastic chair, pushing it up to the shelf. The moment Ellie tried to climb up the chair, Talia shielded it with her arm. "No!" Clearly in the 'me do it' stage, she climbed the ruby chair herself and reached up to the jigsaw puzzle.
Crash! In an instant, the jigsaw puzzle was on the floor, hundreds of pieces scattered, and Talia was on top of GIR.
Ellie's entire body began to tremble with fear. "Oh no," she moaned, tears coming to her eyes. "Talia, quick, clean it up! Hurry!" Growing more frantic by the moment, her tearful ramble was abruptly interrupted:
The child jumped nearly a mile in the air, nearly losing control of her bladder in fear.
"Ellie, ya get'n here right now, ya hear me?"
Whimpering a squall of frightened tears, Ellie – not wanting to anger her foster mother any more – walked slowly towards the kitchen.
GIR and Talia exchanged worried glances when they heard awkward slurred yells, and then crying - Ellie crying...loud.
"Oh no!" Talia gasped, tears coming to her purple eyes. "'llie mus'be getting' sp'nked! Tha's not fair; she didn' do nothin' wrong!" Before GIR could stop her, Talia had ran into the kitchen. Suddenly, there were more than just Ellie's screams and cries.
"TALIA!" GIR yelled, barging into the kitchen. Suddenly, he felt a very sharp pain on his head, and watched with blurred eyes as glass shards from an empty beer bottle showered down to the ground. His master's previous order ran through his mind, GIR, it is your job to take care of the smeet today. I want you to look after her and protect her if anything happens. ...You understand? The SIR unit forced himself up off the floor and charged towards Alice, dealing her a swift kick in the shin.
Alice paid no heed to the annoying little android, and only continued hitting and punching Ellie in the face, the arms, the chest...
With a fierce snarl, the robot lunged at Alice's chest. "LEAVE 'EM ALONE!" GIR screamed, tearing at Alice's hair. It seemed nothing was working, and she had now begun beating Talia – who was futilely trying to shield Ellie – as well. The SIR unit leaped off Alice's head and jumped in front of Ellie and Talia, holding his arms out. He cried out in pain as yet another bottle smashed against the side of his head – a fist following shortly after. GIR's wails began ten times louder than Talia's and Ellie's as he took most of the beatings. Over both the girl's screams, and Alice's roars, his volume surpassed theirs in one heart wrenching wail:
Crash! A jar of mayonnaise fell from Zim's hands and shattered on the floor; thick white goo pooling into a puddle at Dib's feet.
Stunned, Dib stared over at the irken, who stood with an unreadable expression on his face. "Zim, what's-" Before he could finish his sentence – in a single green blur – Zim was out of the store and flying down the street at quite an amazing speed.
"Z-Zim!" Dib gasped, trying to keep up with the alien. "Zim, slow down!"
Not even hearing the human, Zim continued racing down the hill until he reached the foster home. The irken slammed his elbow against the front door so hard that it flew off its hinges. He stood there, cemented on the spot, taking in the scene in bewilderment.
Alice also stood there, numb with sudden fear at the bizarre creature that had suddenly burst into her house. It seemed that, while running so fast, Zim had lost both his wig and contacts, and now stood over her, just as shocked as she was.
Zim could still only stare, even when he saw both Ellie and Talia's hair caked with blood – Ellie more than Talia, and oil leaking from a few very deep penetrating wounds in GIR's metal skull. However, the moment Zim caught sight of a broken beer bottle and fingered it slowly, everything changed.
Dib came just in time to watch Zim savagely leap at Alice; the same fire in his eyes he had only seen when the irken had briefly gone insane with suppressed grief, and viciously attacked him. He gasped when he saw the condition the children were in. Every one of them were bleeding – even if it was gray oil – but Ellie was in critical condition.
Still screaming irken profanity, Zim had already knocked Alice out, and was now beating her with the plastic red chair.
"Zim, Zim!" Dib yelled, grabbing at the irken's arms to try and restrain him. "YOU'RE GOING TO KILL HER!"
"I HOPE I DO THAT, AND MUCH MORE!" Zim screamed shrilly, continuing to beat Alice with the now bloodied chair, until Dib finally managed to pull him away.
"Zim. Zim!" Dib felt himself choking back a sob. "N-never mind her right now, we need to get Talia and GIR fixed up, and Ellie to the hospital."
The fire fading slightly, Zim crawled towards GIR, who was huddled in the corner and sobbing loudly, mumbling incoherent words. "G-GIR.." Zim whispered thickly, swallowing hard as he touched the android's shoulder. "GIR, it's Zim..." A burning liquid stung at his eyes as his SIR unit looked up at him.
The moment GIR realized he was in the safety and security of his master, he burst into further tears, clinging to the irken and wailing. In the incoherent rambles, all Zim was able to get out was "tried...so hard...protect...couldn't do...Talia...Ellie...couldn't protect..sorry!"
"Sh-shhh," Zim attempted to soothe, picking the injured android up. "I-I'm so proud of you, GIR.."
Dib sobbed quietly into Talia's hair, caressing her and the near unconscious Ellie softly. "You-you w-were right, Zim...I-I'm so sorry – I-I didn't listen.."
Ellie peered up at Zim, her body shaking from the intense beating and stress of the ordeal. "I-is...M...Mom...dead?"
Zim's grip tightened on GIR, his entire voice shaking with emotion. "S-smeet, do not call that v-vile, horrible, cruel.." his English insults gave off to irken, " - excuse for a l-living being your MOTHER!"
"I-I have to call 'em Mom an' Dad," Ellie whispered, "'e-else they said they'd b-beat me dead."
Zim only closed his eyes, moving the mangled door out of the way from the exit. "H-hurry, Dib... We n-need to get G-GIR and Talia treated...a-and take the other smeet to yo-your earth hospital."
With a nod, Dib carefully stood and picked Talia and Ellie up, making his way through the broken glass and small puddles of liquor.
Before leaving the property, Zim went over to the first bottle of liquor, kicking it so hard the entire bottle exploded into a million shards – before even hitting the sidewalk.
(PLEASE don't kill me...or think I'm insane.
I watched a movie that touched me to my very soul. It was called the "Ron Clark Story", and immediately, I thought of making a mini bonus fic in addition to "What Will Be, Will Be". I wanted to put it in my actual story, nt my story will be long enough, and this is just a little too gorey to go into it.
Anyways, people. I encourage you to watch that amazing movie, and I hope you like this bonus mini fic)