Hey guys, just letting you know now that I'm not to happy with this one, it feels like a filler chapter, a lead up to Chap 3 which I'm REALLY looking forward to starting! Don't think I got ANY of the characters right and I'm pretty sure its going to be a kinda flat *le sigh*
ThankyouThankyouThankyou so much for your comments and favourites! It makes the cockles of my wrinkled little heart all glowy and warm :D
Gazlene dropped the spoon back into her bowl of cereal, splashing milk onto the table top and chewing on her sugary mouthful. Absently she scratched at her arm, an annoyed scowl shadowing her dour features for a moment.
"Good morning, daughter," Dr Membrane patted Gazlene on the head as he swept passed her into the small family kitchen with his usual aplomb, eyes sharp behind his goggles he quickly spotted the milky mess surrounding her bowl as the grumpy teenager demolished its contents. Gazlene always did have a more voracious appetite than his dear son, Dib.
His only daughter was so like her late mother.
Gaz mumbled something unintelligible that he liked to assume was a greeting, and jammed another heaped spoonful into her mouth, chewing with gusto and otherwise ignoring him as he started preparing breakfast for himself.
Leaning against the counter by the coffee machine Dr Membrane waited for the java to percolate, absently watching Gazlene in the meantime.
She had grown into a lovely looking young woman overnight, it seemed to the older Doctor, and he had barely been there to witness it. Though Gazlene was gloomy and cranky and rather lonely looking too, he thought, he also knew that his daughter could be quite charming when she wanted something, with a sharp whit that had often surprised him when she was still a child and a cruel tongue that had gotten her into plenty of trouble.
When Gazlene had been born he had imagined tea-party's and dolls and sleep over's with other little girls. But she made no friends that he knew of and had always appeared to be unworried by this. She had sat with her older brother during lunchtimes at scool, playing those video games she treasured so much, and closed herself off from the real world around her.
As Dib was his fathers' son, Gaz was the spitting image of the children's late mother. Dr Membrane had never been bothered by the striking resemblance. It hadn't surprised him that his daughter had gotten her mother's incredible capabilities either, while his son had adopted his father's astonishing genius.
He was concerned, however, and as many good father's should be, that his daughter had disassociated herself from the world around her entirely, with her games and prickly manner, she was unaffected and distant, difficult to read and hard to approach. Gazlene seemed disconnected and it troubled him, he almost hoped that it was a phase she would grow out of. Her mother had been the quiet type as well, but Jetta had just been shy, he discovered that she was quite friendly when you had gotten to know her, much to his delight.
Dr Membrane wondered soberly if Gazlene would ever have a boyfriend. It would be nice to worry about something fathers of other teenage daughters would typically fret over. Like what the young man's attentions were towards his sweet, little girl. Brows puckering around the rims of his goggles Dr Membrane realised that if any young man tried anything untoward Gaz would probably beat him into next week.
Gazlene dropped the spoon abruptly while on its doomed venture halfway to her mouth, startling him out of his thoughts, more milk spitting over the side of the bowl added to the mess already there, her eyebrow ticked, a habit she had picked up when she was younger and a tell tale sign that she was starting to get annoyed, and itched feverishly at her arm, which Dr Membrane noticed, was a little lumpy under the long sleeves of her black top.
"Daughter, what have you done to your arm?"
Immediately she prickled at the trace of concern in his voice and a flash of irritated gold glared up at him, "It's nothing. Just a scratch. Already healing."
Another thing about Gazlene was that she was not a morning person. She wasn't a day person or a night person, or a people person, for that matter. He counted himself lucky she had allowed that much so early in the day and not yet even filled with her quota of sugary sustenance, still, fatherly worry tugged and Dr Membrane pressed his luck, "You were hurt? Somebody hurt you?"
It was somewhat of a surprise that something had actually caused Gazlene any kind of physical harm, not that it had never happened, but Dr Membrane thought it prudent to question it when it did occur as it hadn't since before his daughter had grown into her full strength some years back when she had hit puberty. That had been a difficult couple of years, raging hormones, hair-trigger temper and super human strength.
Gazlene had terrorised her older brother with it for most of their young lives, before he left, of course, to pursue a career with the paranormal. An insanity his son had never grown out of, unfortunately.
Grumbling Gazlene turned her fiery glare back to her meal, halfway to finished, and reached for the industrial sized box of Tartar Sweeties, upending it into her bowl, "I said it's nothing."
"But daughter – Oh, my coffee appears to be ready." Behind him the coffee machine had started beeping, the noise shrill and demanding, interrupting him as he attempted to push for information. By the time the older man filled his cup with the steaming dark brew and turned back to face his daughter Gazlene had already disappeared from the kitchen table, the few short minutes his attention was elsewhere enough for to inhale her breakfast and ditch, leaving her empty bowl and milky mess behind her.
Dr Membrane harrumphed, but he would let it go for now. Surely Gazlene would have reigned terror and doom in a most extraordinarily creative and, no doubt, painful way on anything that had the audacity to scratch her up, sitting at the table and worrying some marks that were already healing, unworried as she usually was, whatever had happened Gazlene would have already dealt with.
So he had nothing to worry about. If nothing else at least Dr Membrane knew that his daughter would always be safe.
Gaz loved her dad; really she did, just not at butt-crack o'clock in the morning before the sugary cereal she imbibed in quantities that would have given a sloth the zipping energy of a humming bird had had time to kick in and take the edge off of her still sleep fuddled brain.
She rolled up her sleeve and started unwinding the messily wrapped bandages wound around her forearm, irregularly stained by small spots of dry, rust coloured blood. The tiny blooms had darkened while she slept; the small scratches clotting and scabbed overnight.
Now they itched and tingled like a bitch.
Gaz glared at the small wounds furiously, the crusty scabs marring the pale flesh of her arm, and wondered impatiently how something so small could be so utterly annoying, for the life of her she could not ignore the tickling itch as the scratches healed up and squashed the urge to scritch at them like she had been at breakfast.
The young woman hadn't noticed until she had been undressing to shower, peeling herself out of her t-shirt and dumping it in the corner of the bathroom on the floor tiles when streaks of bright red had caught her eye. The metal plating that armoured Zim's mech must have been tougher than Gaz thought, eyeing the oozing little scratches, if it had actually cut through her skin; probably happened when she had punched through the machine's fist. Meh. If she focussed she could actually feel the small pain they caused, a mild discomfort, and she brushed it off unworriedly and finished undressing.
Without a second thought Gaz stuffed the dirty bandages into her shoulder bag and fished around for her GS Three Thousand.
It was a cloudy day, the overcast sky throwing a pal mantle of dark that flattening the bright colour of the world around her, and chilly though it was mid spring, the breezes carrying a thickness that promised rain and a bite that hinted of the snowy winter months passed.
As long as the rain held until Gaz got to school, it was the perfect day to play her GS, without the sun to cast an annoying glare over the reflective screens of the device.
Pain bloomed, electric and hot, along the side of her jaw. Gaz wasn't given time to wonder at the sweetly metallic tang that she could suddenly taste on her tongue, as the force of the surprise blow whipped her head around and sent her body stumbling gracelessly to her hands and knees.
Caught completely unawares her mind was abuzz, blank and humming she pushed herself up onto her knees and brushed the grit from her sharply stinging hands, realising with a start that the alien taste in her mouth was blood, her blood, the smell of which she was quite familiar with, though never from her own body.
Gaz swallowed the thick liquid down her throat, warm and sharp as it went down, her tongue finding where her tooth had cut into the inside of her cheek and then the small, bloody split on the corner of her mouth. The small pains, already fading as her body healed itself quickly, quicker as adrenaline had already begun to shoot through her veins, seemed to help clear her head, the humming in her brain had stopped and her faculties began to kick in and she knew that she was being attacked.
She stood and turned smoothly and with a smart flick of her head whipped her long, violet hair out of her face and confronted her attacker, Zim, the green alien grinning a wide, razor toothed smile at her, his eyes beaming with malevolent glee.
He wore gauntlets made of some metal, probably not an alloy you would find on any of earths elemental charts, that favoured the same hot shades of pinks and purples as his mech - Gaz was starting to see a theme here - matching boots that went all the way up to the knee and plating protecting his chest and shoulders, made of the same. The metal shimmered even without the light of the sun, highly polished and unused, yet Gaz spotted the smear of deep red along the knuckles of the right gauntlet, collected from when her lip busted open upon first contact.
"Hello, stinky dirt-monkey, how unpleasant it is that we meet again. Unpleasant for YOU! It is I, Zim! Most glorious invader for the Irken Armada!" He gestured grandly, fists in the air and legs akimbo, throwing his whole body into his impassioned speech, "No doubt you remember me and the gloriously sweet terror I reigned down upon your pitiful, disgusting dirt-monkey inhabitation!"
Gaz listened to him carefully and remained quiet, taking no notice of his baiting her so much as the way his moods seemed to shift so irregularly, reflected in the tone of his voice and his large, emotive eyes. She had already gathered that much about him. She thought, maybe, especially watching him now, that he might be slightly... unhinged... The shine in his eyes that blinked very little was almost unnerving, had she not been so stalwart a person.
Her shoulder bag had already fallen to the sidewalk, slipping off of her shoulder as she was pitched to the ground so Gaz left it where it landed, and started toward him, a slow stalk that ate up the few metres separating them. He was taller than her, Gaz noticed absently, by a couple of inches, it could be the metal boots he was wearing, huge and chunky and sleek, giving him a bit of a height boost, still, it meant that he would have a slightly longer reach.
Immediately Zim was on the defence as Gaz approached, his sharply featured face drawing tensely and eyes glittering with anticipation, fists tightly clenched, he braced himself, feet shoulder width apart with one slightly in front of the other, feeling like a coiled spring waiting for release, muscles zinging, ready for that explosion into movement.
It frustrated him to no end that he could read nothing from her. Zim thought he had seen surprise in golden eyes wide open just after he had connected with her cheek, before the mass of her hair had fallen in front of her strange looking face and cut off his view.
On thing he did know was that at this moment the female human monkey oozed restrained violence.
Gazlene lashed out suddenly, moving quicker than Zim had thought she could, a high sound of surprise blurting from his mouth as he deflected the blur of motion he could barely parry in time from connecting with his face, yet the human was undeterred by her miss, and though he had designed his armour to absorb mind-boggling amounts of forceful impact, he still felt the knee that she drove into his chest plating pushing the breathe from his body in a feeble wheeze.
Too close, she had gotten under his guard and Zim hadn't even been able to throw a punch yet! For the love of Irk, the fight had barely begun!
Sweating, Zim tried frantically to wrench himself free from such an uncomfortable proximity with the dirt-worm, but she had driven her fingers through the metal of his gauntlet and wrapped her fist firmly around his gloved wrist, pulling him close and holding on tight with his arm over his head, leaving him a limb short and in an awkward position, his body pressed flush against hers.
Breathing rapidly the smell of her filled his mouth, swamping the scent glands in his cheeks with her sweet, sharp odour, it was suffocating and his head started to swim.
With his free fist he tried to crack her skull and put some distance between them, mustering all of his strength and driving it downwards, and was met with Gaz's free hand punching upwards, easily cleaving through the gauntlet he had so carefully created and rendering it utterly useless in moments.
Prickly panic began to twist Zim's squeedlyspooch into sick knots. She had him at her mercy. The human could do whatever she wanted with him and he was close to utterly helpless to stop her. Zim felt nauseous as the reality of his predicament settled in, like a cold, leaden weight on his brain, realising that he had severely underestimated this humans incredibly inhuman capabilities. She had disarmed him in no time at all, using an accuracy and easy ruthlessness he had only ever seen displayed by the machines of war he himself had created, and he realised that she could all too easily put an end to Zim's long lived life here and now.
He found himself staring into heavily lidded golden eyes that burned with excitement, the only obvious emotion on her pale face.
"I'm going to let you live – just this once – 'cause I think you can do better than this." This close her low, flat voice sounded surprisingly sweet to Zim's aural-nodes, maybe it was the mercy he heard, the fact that apparently it pleased her to let him live, "I hope you can do better than this," Gaz grumbled as an afterthought, a warning Zim knew.
And then she simply stepped away, releasing his aching wrists and turning her back on him just like she had yesterday as he sat in his ruined mechaniod, unworried that he would attack her and unaffected by the mechanical prowess he wielded.
A white hot rage broiled up inside of him so suddenly the Irken nearly swooned, slip-sliding along his veins like acid and burning his mind clear of fear and sick shame. He had never – Never – been regarded as an Irken whom you could turn your back on. Not even his dear Tallest had treated Zim with such a disregard as this pathetic little stink-pig! He had heard them talking once, the other Irken, about his instability, his unpredictability. His insanity. Zim didn't see it. Only his incredible, unfailing brilliance. He could learn from this loss, bitter as it was, and call it a tactical retreat. Though she had ruined his gauntlets his boots remained intact and untouched and Zim had no illusions as to why the dirt-monkey had done this. So Zim could run away, escape. She was letting him go and had no thought that he would attack her with them while her back was turned.
And she was right, Zim wouldn't. He would withdraw, for now, lick his wounds and pick up the pieces of his tattered pride and fly back to his base of operations.
"I will be back, little earth-worm." He hissed.
Gaz nearly shuddered.
She was opening a pandora's box and the teen had the sense to recognise it. Sense. If she had any of that Gaz should have just put an end to him then and there while she had the chance too, but something in her quailed at the thought of ending a life. She had never done so, at least not outside the realm of her video-games, anyway.
Zim was not going to give her that chance again. He had seen some of what Gaz was capable of; she had demonstrated her speed and effortless skill for that purpose. His defeat had been easy and disappointing, yet she could see it in him, something that made her want to let him live. Gaz knew he would be back and whatever he brought with him, it would be stronger, faster and superior hopefully enough to be a challenge.
For the first time in a long time Gazlene felt excitement stir within her, a bright, eager emotion she was rarely acquainted with, and let herself wallow in it for just a moment, before squashing it down and slipping comfortably back into her apathy.
She needed to get to Hi Skool. Shuffling through her shoulder bag she found her GS, safe and undamaged, and flicked the power switch, firmly closing out the world around her.
And there it is. More character building stuff next chapter. Certainly more interaction aswell, I know there wasn't a whole lot of banter between our zany Zim and gloomy Gaz which annoyed me, but I think Zim needed to fail here.
Oh yeah, I may have to up the rating later on, the violence is probably going to get a little more intense...
Plse, constructive criticism would be fantastic! You guys, being the readers, would have an outside opinion that would be most helpful :) R&R's always welcome;) and till next we meet!