The hours passed but to Dib it felt as if the bus trip went on forever. He'd fallen asleep listening to his mp3 (set to a lower volume) but a myoclonic jerk had just woken him. It had gotten significantly darker outside, and the lights of passing buildings stung his eyes uncomfortably. Rubbing at his eyes a little, he sat up to look around the bus. He couldn't see the heads of the other students as the bus they were on was one of those coach buses, but the lights above had been dimmed and the bus was fairly quiet.
A lone television monitor had appeared up the front of the bus and was displaying some movie, which appeared to be about giant intestines swallowing whole cows. Revolted, Dib looked down to his lap when he realized that his mp3 had been turned off. He tried to turn it back on, but it was dead. Dib let out a small grunt and took off his headphones, which had left an uncomfortable indent on one side of his head from leaning on them. He folded them up and put them back into his trench coat, along with his mp3, before looking to the alien beside him. Zim was still. He wasn't leaning against he window anymore, but was resting back, eyes closed. Dib stared.
Since when did Zim sleep? He was pretty sure Irken's didn't need to. But then again, there was a lot about the alien Dib didn't know. A devious thought entered his mind and he reached out to gently pull up the fake mop of black hair, but yanked his hand back in fright as a voice boomed.
"We'll be reaching the campsite in approximately fourty minutes. Once there, collect your bags from the back of the bus and then wait at the reception of the campsite where there will be somebody to meet you and assign you cabins."
Dib groaned. Of course they'd be assigned cabins. Dib just hoped he wouldn't end up stuck with Torque, or even worse, Willy. He shuddered. But then again, what if he got stuck wither neither of them anyway? Dib smiled, but then scowled as he remembered there was also a chance of getting stuck with Zim. He put his hand to his forehead. Well, it wouldn't be so bad (apart from all of Zim's screaming and bizarre accusations). At least he'd be able to keep a close eye on Zim then. Dib highly doubted Zim would let a week long vacation stop him from coming up with new evil schemes. If he did, Dib vowed to be there to foil them. He was earth's protector after all, and that was pretty much a 24 hour job in itself.
He heard a small groan beside him and turned to see Zim waking up, the stray antenna Dib had noticed before now poking upright and distinctively obvious. Dib drew in a breath, about to shriek out, but then thought against it, not really in the mood to deal with grumpy classmates who already had a problem with him. Everybody was asleep and the bus was quiet. Dib gritted his teeth, another opportunity to expose the beast thwarted. He went to go for his camera instead but realized it was in his duffel bag. He let out a sigh, defeated, and slunk into the seat, stretching his cramped limbs slightly. They'd just say it was his hair anyway and that Dib was crazy, so what was the point? Zim rubbed at his lenses, and looked towards Dib to see what he was doing. Dib turned to look at him from his slouched position.
The arch rivals glared deeply at each other, for a moment or so, before Zim broke his stare to look out of the window.
"Where are we?"
"About thirty minutes from the camp."
"Thirty?" Zim exclaimed. "After sitting on this silly contraption for almost ten hours, there is STILL half an hour until we get there?"
"Yeah Zim." Dib responded dejectedly.
"You hyoomans and your pitiful primitive technology! With Irken technology you could have been at the stupid campsite in mere seconds. Seconds!"
Dib rolled his eyes. "Well, this is earth Zim and we're kind of not ahead by thousands of years in technological advancement."
"Whose the superior species now Dib?"
"You in all your 'mighty Irken glory' I suppose," the child muttered, sounding bored more so than annoyed. "Yeah, I don't care."
Zim smirked. "Victory for Zim!" he hissed, that bizarre snake-like tongue flicking through his zipper teeth.
Dib stared at it, an involuntary shudder rising deep within. Zim picked up on Dib's tension.
"So eh… I suppose you went into one of those rest cycles, mm? You seemed dead before."
"You were asleep too Zim." Dib replied, raising an eyebrow.
"LIAR! Irken's don't sleep!"
Dib had to snort at that. "Then why did I see you with your eyes closed? Answer me that, Zim!"
"I was resting," he responded in an almost self-righteous tone. "There is a difference between resting and sleeping, Dib-hyooman!"
Dib rolled his eyes again. "I know the difference between resting and sleeping and YOU – Dib poked Zim in the belly, causing him to shriek – were definitely sleeping Zim! You even had some of your disgusting alien drool coming out of your mouth!"
"YOU LIE!" Zim hissed.
"Then why were you rubbing at your eyes before, huh? Huh? Huh?" Dib poked his belly again and Zim squirmed away from him, backing as far into the window as possible.
"Because my eyes were itchy, stupid!"
"Oh, you mean your horrible red bug eyes? The ones BEHIND your contacts?"
Zim snarled at him. "Shut your noise tube. I am normal."
Dib scoffed. "Oh please. I can see your antenna, for crying out loud!"
Zim hissed at him, and raised a hand to his head almost instantly, flattening down his stray antenna. Dib smirked as he watched.
"Normal humans don't have eyes that change colour, Zim!"
Zim scowled. "I've seen your smelly kind in contacts!"
"So you admit to having contacts?"
"NO! I said I've SEEN your smelly kind in contacts, silly!"
"Because they actually need them Zim! You however, have them to hide your horrible, buggy alien eyes!"
Zim glared at him. "My eyes are not horrible, stink-meat!"
"You're right..." Dib started, and Zim looked almost hopeful.
"Of course I'm right, I'm alw-"
"-They're revolting." Dib finished, smiling with an eyebrow raised.
"…" Zim just stared at him, and Dib, not expecting that reaction, raised both eyebrows.
"Whatever Dib." Zim muttered, looking back out of the window. Dib was a little confused at the response, but shrugged it off.
Zim just gave a slight growl. "Shut up."
"You're not worth it."
Dib scowled, but just crossed his arms and stared into the back of the seat in front of him. The sooner he was away from this moron, the better. Zim remained quiet as well, until it was time to get off the bus. Dib cast a glimpse towards the window, but it was too dark to see anything outside. Zim pushed past him, making his way out with the other students as the doors opened to get off. Dib growled, but followed as well, instantly shivering at the temperature drop. It felt good to stretch after being cramped in that seat for ten whole hours.
The students gathered around the back of the bus, collecting their belongings as the driver opened up the storage bay, tossing bags and luggage out one by one. Dib collected his bag, slinging it over his shoulder as he made his way towards the reception with the other students. He noticed Zim claiming his bag, still wondering what the Irken could have possibly brought, shaking his head. Zim slung his bag over his shoulder in a similar fashion to Dib, and the two of them were the only students walking alone.
Everybody else walked in friendship groups. Even Keef and Willy had people to tag along with. Dib just sighed, but felt a little better as they got to reception to find a warm fire heating up the room, and free cocoa being served. Dib took one, sipping it and delighted to find marshmellows inside. He smirked at Zim, knowing he wouldn't be able to drink it, but then nearly choked when Zim casually picked up a cup and drank it the way he did. Dib managed to stop coughing after a moment or so, but smiled when he noticed Zim poking at the marshmellow with a disgusted look on his face. Dib hoped he'd eat it and burn his mouth, but instead he just picked it up and tossed it aside, causing Dib to scowl. The students stood around talking for a while, Dib sitting on a chair in the corner of the room while Zim stood by the front desk. Finally, a camp instructor greeted them.
"Hi children! Welcome to Camp Cramp (of Doom). My name is Chelsea. Now, don't give me that look! The 'cramp' really doesn't mean anything bad. Well, maybe the Doom part sounds scary but anyway! I know you're all probably really tired from the trip, and now that you're all nice and warm from your hot drinks I'm sure you just want to head to your cabins and rest!"
Dib rested his head onto his hands. That voice… he wanted to bang his head into the wall. She reminded him of Mr. Elliot back at skool. They were twelve, not two.
"I'll assign you all to your cabins, and then you can run along for the night once you've collected your key – which, might I add, will be given to ONE person. That person will be in charge of the cabin and must keep their key at all times. I expect you to be responsible about this. I also expect everybody to be here at the desk by 9am tomorrow morning so we can have breakfast, and then start the days activities."
The students groaned.
"Now, let's get this sorted, shall we? In Cabin A will be Gretchen, Mary, Zita and Sarah. In Cabin B will be Torque, Michael, Spork and Paul."
Dib's heart pounded slightly, but he was relieved he wasn't with Torque so far. She continued on. Zim hadn't been assigned yet and neither had he. Finally the instructor got to Cabin F and there were only a few more students to go. The students that had already been assigned were standing on the other side of the room, getting their keys and leaving. Now it was just Dib, Zim, Keef, Number One, Melvin and Poonchy.
"Keef, Number One, and – Dib's heart pounded and he crossed his fingers hoping it would be him – Poonchy. You're all in Cabin F. So that leaves Zim, Dib and Melvin in Cabin G. And that's it! See you tomorrow everybody!"
"But… but… he… I-" Dib stammered, pointing at Zim. But it was too late, she had gone.
Dib sighed, heaving on his duffel. He managed to snatch the key before Zim could. If one thing, Zim was NOT going to be responsible for their cabin. By the time it was time to go, there would most likely be a pile of ash where their cabin once stood. Dib shuddered at the thought.
"Come on guys…" he muttered, leading Melvin and Zim out of the reception and towards where the cabins were. It was a ten minute walk, and by the time they finally found their cabin, even Zim was shivering. Their cabin was the furthest back. Dib put the key in the lock and after a small stand-off with the door, finally got it open. The light was already on inside and thankfully the heater had been left on for their arrival. Melvin and Zim entered the cabin and Dib shut the door behind them, locking it.
"Where are the beds?" Melvin asked.
"Probably in there." Dib replied, pointing to a doorway.
Melvin scooted ahead and went inside, Dib following behind. There was a single bed and a bunk bed. Zim had already claimed the bottom bunk, while Melvin had set his luggage on the single bed. Dib sighed, but didn't complain, already used to climbing a ladder back home to get up onto his own bed. He set his duffel down, before sitting down on Zim's bed.
"OFF!" Zim screeched. "GET OFF!"
"GEEZE Zim!" Dib moaned. "Save it till morning, would ya?"
Melvin just watched in interest, already well aware of the boy's squabbling and resentment of each other in the past. He figured he'd just stay in the cabin to sleep and if it got too much, he'd go down to the other cabin and stay with Poonchy, Number One and Keef. At least they didn't scream.
A little while later, Melvin had gotten into his pajamas and was eating some lollies in the kitchen. Dib was sitting on his bunk with his laptop in front of him, while Zim sat below him. When Dib heard what sounded like a zip being pulled open, he peered down to see what was going on.
His eyes widened. Zim was opening his duffel bag.
Eager to catch a glimpse of possible alien technology inside, Dib peered intently, but was even more surprised to see Zim pull out what appeared to be clothes.
Dib felt his excitement level lower significantly, but was still curious. Dib hoped Zim would take off his shirt, but realized that would be kind of creepy in a way. Still, he'd never seen Zim out of uniform before and couldn't help but wonder what he looked like beneath that tunic. To his disappointment, Zim headed into the bathroom, which was in the same area. Dib instantly leaped from the bunk, landing on Melvin's bed, and peered around the doorframe hoping to catch a glimpse of-
Scowling, Dib got off Melvin's bed and climbed back up to his bunk, taking out his notebook and scribbling down more notes. The bathroom door opened shortly after and Dib perked up, gazing towards the door, waiting for Zim to come out. Dib's eyes widened as the door opened and out came the alien, dressed in what appeared to be a… baby suit? Dib's cheeks blew up as he tried not to laugh. Zim was in an all-in-one piece. It was maroon, like his duffel, but covered his entire body from neck to toe. There was even a hood on the back. The suit had an Irken insignia on the front and back. Dib squeaked and Zim looked up at him.
"IF YOU DARE SAY ONE WORD ABOUT ZIM'S SLEEPING GARMENTS I WILL PUNCH YOUR BELLY SO HARD YOU'LL BE HURTY FOR HOURS!"
The noise brought Melvin in, who also stared at Zim's unusual pajamas. He sniggered.
"BE QUIET!" Zim snapped at him.
"Zim, honestly," Dib leaped down from the bunk again. "Why are you in a baby suit?"
"Baby suit?" Zim questioned. "This suit is certainly no baby! You speak nonsense."
"No!" Dib slapped his palm to his forehead. "Your pajamas! Look at Melvin's. Mine are the same."
"Because GIR packed them, fool!"
Well, that explained pretty much everything right there and then to Dib. He just smirked, and claimed his own pajamas, before looking at Zim and pulling off his shirt. Zim's jaw dropped before he screamed and covered his eyes, rolling about on the floor.
"MY EYES! MY SUPERIOR EYES! I'M BLIND!"
"Oh, for CRYING out loud Zim!" Dib snapped, pulling on his pajama shirt. "You're not blind, just stupid."
"Am not! Disgusting hyoomans! You make me sick!"
Dib just stepped over the disgruntled alien, kicking him slightly before going to change into his pajama pants and brushing his teeth in the bathroom. By the time he came back out, Melvin had gotten into his bed and Zim was sitting on his own bunk. Dib approached him and looked down at him.
"Afraid to sleep, space-boy? I mean, it must be quite uncomfortable wearing that disguise all day. I'm sure you'd like to take it out at some point." Dib grinned.
"You speak craziness, earth-dirt. Zim wears no disguise!"
"Oh, if you say so." Dib replied, looking across to Melvin and seeing the boy watching them again.
"Got to be pretty hard for you, with another human in the room," Dib whispered, leaning close to Zim's hair. "Can't be your, true-self. If you know what I mean."
Zim scowled up at him and slapped him away, before settling under his covers.
"I'll get you Zim. You just wait! I'll expose you for the horrible alien menace you are."
"Leave me alone!" he replied, turning his back to the boy and facing the wall.
"You just wait, Zim." Dib replied, climbing up to his bunk and grabbing his laptop to put it away, before turning off the lights and climbing up to his own bunk, settling under the covers as well.
He lay awake for a long time, staring up at the ceiling, before closing his eyes and trying to sleep. Time passed and Dib listened intently to the wind and crickets outside. He sat up after what seemed like hours, slowly leaning over the side of the bed leaning down to look at the boy below. The darkness made it hard to see, but his eyes adjusted after a moment or so of putting back on his glasses, and he could make out Zim's sleeping form. He still had his wig on and Dib assumed despairingly that he wasn't gullible enough to take of his disguise while he slept.
Dib sighed, and lay back down when he heard movement below him and went still. Out the corner of his eye he made out a shadow head into the kitchen. Debating with himself for a few moments, Dib finally pushed himself out of the covers and climbed down from his bunk, creeping as quietly as he could to the doorway to the kitchen and peeking around the doorframe as slowly as he could. He looked around but couldn't see anything Zim like, but then let in a shocked gasp as his eyes came across two red slits and screamed, not expecting to see two red glowing eyes, when he felt a hand over his mouth, muffling his screams.
He was pulled back into the kitchen and the door separating the kitchen from the sleep quarters was shut. The light flickered on, and Dib came face to face with an agitated Zim, contacts out and two red pupiless eyes staring deep into his. They narrowed dangerously.
"ZIM!" Dib hissed. "What are you doing?"
"What does it LOOK like, Dib-stink!" he hissed back, rubbing at his eyes.
"ALIEN! See, I knew it! You're an alien, Zim! An alien!"
"Enough Dib!" Zim snapped. "For once, could you PLEASE just SHUT UP ABOUT IT!"
Dib went quiet at how serious that had actually sounded, and this was coming from someone as obnoxious and oblivious as Zim.
"I'll feel better if you just admit it." He said quietly, realizing how stupid that must have sounded.
"That you're an alien."
"Isn't it obvious or are you just blind like the rest of your pitiful race?"
"Admit it Zim!"
"Why? It should be obvious!"
"I don't know why Zim! I just want you to admit it!"
"Why should I admit something that is obvious?"
"Because… UGH. It's just that it wouldn't be the same. I know you're one and now, I need you to admit it!"
Zim stared hard at him, trying to work out his logic, but was obviously failing. Finally, he let out a forced sigh, clearly irritated. He reached up and jerked off the wig. His two antennae poked up.
"There, see Dib-annoyance? Antennae! Buggy eyes! Green skin!" he spat, pointing to himself. "Happy now? I am alien. Zim is alien. Not hyooman. Alien. Alllieeeee-"
"Okay, okay! I get it! Yes, alien. You are an alien."
Zim just muttered something incomprehensible to him, rubbing at his eyes again. He pulled out a chair and sat down, and a moment or so later, Dib did the same.
"So… why did you come in here anyway?"
Zim shrugged irritably. "Thirsty. And my eyes hurt."
"Thirsty? You actually drink, Zim?"
Zim shot him a glare. "What is it to you?"
Dib rolled his eyes. "Just asking…"
"Of course I drink, Dib. I eat too."
"I thought human food and drinks burned you."
"Not everything does, fool."
Dib sneered. "Whatever."
"Please go away." Dib raised an eyebrow at that.
"It's a free country Zim. I'll go away when I feel like it."
Dib noticed the light source on Zim's eyes change position, and he assumed he had rolled them, although it was next to impossible to tell.
"You look kind of freaky with your wig on and contacts off."
"You look freaky all the time."
"At least I'm not a horrible green putrid savage alien monster." Dib snapped.
Zim stared at him, going quiet again, similar to how he did so on the bus. This was the second time and Dib was starting to wonder if he was possibly hurting the Irken when he insulted him that way. He highly doubted it though, knowing Zim and how he was, but when he thought about it, Zim had never acted like this before, ever, in all the time Dib had known him. And it had been almost a year since he'd arrived. Zim was here to take over his planet and enslave him, and as far as Dib knew, that's how it would always be. He could never let Zim win. So if Zim was playing some kind of weird little game with him to make him feel sorry for him, it wasn't going to work. That was it, Zim was playing him the fool.
Zim still stared at him, an angry look adorned on his features.
"Well?" Dib tilted his head, waiting for a response. He got one, but it wasn't what he'd been hoping to hear.
"Just go to bed Dib."
"Huh?" Dib asked, watching Zim as he stood up and grabbed his wig, setting it back into place before grabbing his contacts and leaving the area. Dib watched him open up the door and disappear into the darkness of the sleeping quarters.
He wasn't sure how long he stared after the Irken, before he finally got up, got himself a glass of water
and switched off the light, heading back to bed.
Dib lay awake for most of the night, in wonder, before finally drifting into a troubled sleep.