Strange, to see it.

Hatred – obsession.

Obsession becomes fixation; fixation becomes all that encompasses him. He is consumed by his obsession. That terror that one day an ominous, incomprehensibly powerful threat would swoop down and strangle the Earth within its gnarled and merciless clutches.

And now a face has been given to the belief that has ruled Dib's very existence – a face that has validated all that he is.

xxx

He stares into the screen, transfixed. He doesn't want to look, but he can't look away.

This… this creature is utterly fascinating.

The taut, emerald skin stretched over six painfully sharp-looking ribs. The slender waist, the almost graceful arches of his hips.

His eyes are glowing, always glowing. Inhumanly beautiful, like two oval rubies but with the clear depth of mile-deep water. And unlike other eyes, his seem almost sentient in themselves- Dib would swear he can see the thoughts swirling in the claret depths.

God, I'm insane, he thinks, when an unwelcome warmth fills his stomach and his chest tightens until his lungs feel like they're going to burst. He leans closer to the screen, unable to help himself. He isn't even thinking about the fact that he's the only person in the world who seemingly cares there's an invader among them. Now it's just him, alone with his fascination.

And how fascinating this is.

Everything about Zim is strange. The odd, jerky grace with which he moves, the throaty distorted way his voice leaves his throat. His language skills are simultaneously limited and advanced, and his teeth are almost like two sides of a zipper's track when they're clamped together. How any of this is relevant to stopping the alien doesn't really cross Dib's mind, because it's information gathering. What could be uncalled-for about that?

He doesn't stop to think about his future- that Zim is his future. Zim is his ticket to acceptance – finally – by somebody, even if it's just a bunch of crazed conspiracy theorists like himself. It's his chance to be validated, to be needed. And Dib craves that more than anything.

But Zim's walking through his kitchen, looking in the bizarre neon-orange refrigerator for something. Not because he's hungry, because Irkens don't have to eat, of course. Just to have a flavor on his tongue to make his patient scheming a bit more enjoyable. He does this every night at around 11:30. Dib writes it down.

The light spills out onto him, turning the dusky green to a blinding, foggy, pea-soup color. The invader squints, grunting in irritation. He isn't in his usual attire, which Dib is very aware of. He's wearing long men's pajama pants. (And even though he's grown in the past years, they still pool at his feet like some bizarre couture experiment.)

He tries to tell himself that the frantic excitement he feels is because Zim is beginning to act more human and not because the alien is walking around shirtless. Because that would be weird. Because that would make him gay. Wouldn't it?

Dib likes girls- that he's pretty sure of. He likes the shape and the long eyelashes, and there are a few regular guests on his father's shows- during the "Women of Science" segment –that he has substantially massive crushes on. This is something different, right?

Well, of course it is.

This is for science. For Earth!

So why is his heart fluttering when Zim reaches down and readjusts the uncomfortable pinch of elastic over his ultrasensitive alien skin, allotting him a millimeter more of green than before?

If he did like Zim- that's preposterous, by the way, since he doesn't –wouldn't it be even more of a concern that he had feelings for an individual of another species than what gender that species was? This was unprecedented, unless you counted Star Trek, and even then, Spock never returned Uhura's flirting.

Dib repeats his new catchphrase in his head. I'm insane. I'm insane. I'm insane. I'm-

What the heck does this make him? Bisexual?

Xenophilic?

Alien-homo… homo-alien-sexual?

Dib? Just Dib being weird as usual?

Probably.

Notes are scrawled relentlessly on five different pads of paper scattered around his desk, categorized by time of day each behavior is performed. He thinks he'll change it back to being sorted by the level of danger each type of activity represents … that was a better system. The most recent page in the notebook currently warping minutely from his body heat as he clutches it in his lap is nearly illegible. Some of the phrases are so far-gone that they don't even make sense.

Some

other day

was put more thought into

Wednesday – Thursday

Antennae are less perked th n

docile

His grades are starting to slip and his headaches are getting worse, too. He really is going to go to bed at ten tomorrow night - start studying for tests instead of staring at his monitor.

Really.

Zim shuffles his feet, glaring purposefully at an indeterminate point between the top shelf and the little buzzing light bulb at the top of the fridge.

Dib thinks he's deciding between the snickerdoodles Gir made yesterday (at 4:37 PM) and a pudding cup.

The parascientist doesn't acknowledge the fact that his stomach always tightens minutely when the alien makes a decision; the minutiae that if analyzed would turn out to be excitement that the Irken likes the same things he does – the same food, the same magazines, the same space and investigation channels on TV.

He doesn't acknowledge that, if questioned, there would be no conceivable way to liken this ritual of stalking to research.

To rationality.

Dib tells himself that it's not unreasonable to feel a swell of affection when the creature slams the door of the fridge and nibbles absentmindedly at a cookie, because it's not affection at all – it's not – it's excitement that Zim's digestive system can tolerate something as strong as cinnamon

(I'm insane I'm insane I'm insane)

and Dib tells himself that as his high-quality cameras capture the crumbs falling from Zim's mouth and his eyes follow them down and then remain hopelessly on the alien's slender stomach and his lithe hips that it's normal to be fascinated by another species' build, that it's fascinating because it's different, because it's noteworthy and scientific, and not because that little body is beautiful and because the skin looks so smooth and needs to be touched because who knows if the heat-censors are accurate and he needs to collect more data to make sure, to conduct field research-

Field research?

-IminsaneIminsaneIminsane-

Dib digs his nails into the edge of his desk, his heart racing and his head spinning as he grits his teeth and closes his eyes.

What does it mean?

Is it all some obtuse cry for help because nobody believes him or even listens to him?

Is it all just a farce like his father always said? Parascience?

Is it an absurd, insane obsession? As simple as that?

Probably.

Dib is straight. He knows he's straight. He thinks the girls in school are pretty. Really. He likes hips and pretty eyes.

He looks up, and Zim is standing there, eating his cookie.

His hips are so slender and fragile … Dib could crush them with his own.

His bored eyes … mockingly beautiful in all their carelessness; infinitely more beautiful than anything else on Earth.

Oh, God.

He can't want what he wants. He can't.

He can't acknowledge that his stated intent is futile – that he can never kill Zim, because destroying him would nullify Dib's very existence and any chance of reconciling himself to the world.

He can never acknowledge that this is all hopeless and sick and becoming something else.

That would kill him.

He can never accept that the only thing in this world that fears him … that notices his existence … is on the other side of the camera, astoundingly beautiful and stupid and flawless and strange.

He can never accept how much Zim means to him.

So Dib stares into the screen, transfixed. He couldn't look away if he wanted to.

Because that little thing – his everything – stands before him, unaware that to one individual, he is as powerful as he believes himself to be to all.

Dib clutches his notebook once more with shaking hands, his eyes threatening to spill the tears he refuses to even accept are blurring his vision. He has to do this.

He has to.

Because he can operate in this state of denial, teetering on the cusp of the ugly, bizarre truth for as long as it will be necessary.

(He has been for months; what's another minute more?)

He quells the affection that rises in his stomach as he watches those intoxicating ruby eyes stare absently into the distance and tells himself that it's his duty to persist - to go on.

For science! For Earth!

Dib forces himself to remember that the truths and the monsters and the mocking sneer he feels the very joke that is his existence making at him are nothing but fantasy - that tomorrow when he wakes up, all of this nonsense will be gone.

That the world will stop making this sinister amount of sense and go back to normal - mundane, filthy meaninglessness.

His life will resume its constant struggle - the battle between invader and protector, between monster and hero.

Between what he wants and what he is able to deny.

He will continue to live the lie that keeps him sane, protecting himself from the fascination that drives him to persist.

And oh, how fascinating it is.


This started almost a year ago and was just now completed. I honestly don't know who to feel about it - I think it had promise, but I have no idea if I executed it well.

Poor Dib. We've all been there, haven't we? -snicker-

Let me know what you think. ;)