Rap rap rap.
The knocking at the door grew more urgent. Dib looked up from his laptop. "Who could that be?"
He was talking to himself. Gaz had gone to bed and he was alone in the room.
"Open the door or I'll laser it open!" a kind-of-muffled-but-still-irritatingly-loud voice shouted from outside. Dib sighed. Well, that answered that question. He closed his laptop (hoping that wouldn't affect the email he'd been typing to his dad), set it down, and made his way over to the front door.
"What do you want, Zim?" he asked wearily when he opened the door to find the alien standing there. He blinked. "And how'd you make it past Dad's security system?"
"What security system?" Zim demanded. He was wearing his toupee and contact lenses again. As far as Dib knew, Zim's disguise had been left up in the space station, so these must be new. The Irken was looking considerably better than he had a few hours earlier, when they had finally made it off the space station.
Zim didn't wait for an invitation, instead shoving past Dib and entering the house. "I have been completely cured of that poison, in case you were wondering, Dib-thing. You can no longer use it against me."
"That's great, Zim," Dib said. He didn't close the door in the vague hope that Zim would turn around and leave. "Look, I'm exhausted and I still need to finish an email and write an account of this whole… alternate dimension-thing. Can't we talk tomorrow?"
"Exhausted? You mean you're weak!" Zim whirled around with a stupid smirk on his face, his hands balled into fists. "Hah, frail Earth bodies. With you out of commission there will be no one to stop me from—"
Dib folded his arms. "Is this what you came over here for?"
"Eh…" Zim trailed off and his arms fell to his sides. Then he stood up ramrod straight with his hands behind his back. "During my poison-induced state of… eh…"
"Obliviousness? Uselessness?" Dib supplied.
Zim narrowed his eyes. "I had plenty of time to think, and I came to the conclusion that the events of last night may have been a little bit… my own fault."
"Excuse me?" Dib raised his eyebrows in disbelief. Zim was blaming… himself? Had that ever happened before?
"Yes, as impossible as it may seem," Zim said, closing his eyes and pressing the fingers of one hand to his chest, "There are rare times when an Invader makes a mistake, although we do learn from them. And in hindsight, perhaps I may have slightly miscalculated—"
"You're the one who built the portal!" Dib shouted.
"I didn't mean for it to go to another dimension with other versions of… us!" Zim snapped, gesticulating wildly. "It was supposed to lead to a dimension filled with cooties!"
"Anyway," Zim said, regaining his composure, "I received a message about an hour ago. Considering we were both subjected to HORRIBLE ordeals in that HORRIBLE universe where everyone had a horrifying twin, I believed I had a duty to share it with you."
Suddenly curious, Dib stepped forward. "A message? From who?"
The Irken flicked his hand a little and looked entirely disinterested. "From those… people. In the other universe."
A screen extended out of his PAK on a metal arm (how did that even fit in there?) and hung suspended in front of Zim's face. The screen crackled with static for a moment before focusing on a close-up of… Zim's reddish-pink alien eye. Dib recoiled.
The Zim onscreen backed away, smiling hugely, and Dib saw that he was wearing a white tunic from the other dimension rather than Zim's normal pink uniform. It was Alternate-Zim.
"I think it's working!" the alternate dimension Irken exclaimed.
"Really?" Alternate-Gaz stepped into view, also beaming. She waved vigorously. "Hi! I can't see you, but hi!" The two of them looked like they were standing in front of the field where the giant Irken ship, the Massive, had stood. Actually the field didn't look any different, since before the Massive had exploded it had been invisible anyway.
Dib shook his head. He was getting off-track.
"Greetings from another dimension!" Alt.-Zim was saying. "Alternate-dimension me, Gaz," he took Alt.-Gaz's hand, "Dib, and that… that weird little robot of yours, I guess, him too, I just wanted to say that… whatever you did, the entire world is back to normal!"
"The universe was crumbling…" Alt.-Gaz said, wide-eyed. "After you left we were still standing by Skoodge's house, with the portal, and it almost fell on us…"
"But you did something, and fixed everything!" Alt.-Zim said. "We can't thank you enough!" He peered at them. Or the camera, rather, and said, "Hey, wait… is this thing even on? I can't tell if it's recording or not."
Alt-Gaz went up really close to the camera and tapped it. "We're getting a really bad reception," she said. Then she raised her voice and shouted to it. "If you can hear us, thank you! I think this thing might break up at any ti—"
The transmission dissolved into static once more. Zim sucked the screen back into his PAK. "That's where it ends," he said.
"So they ended up all right!" Dib said, unable to keep from grinning. "I was hoping that they would be… when Tak's plan failed…"
Zim squinted at him. "I don't have any other business here, Dib-filth. I have to—" He looked around suddenly and winced. "Hey, it reeks in here. Human houses always smell! How do you stand it?"
Dib rolled his eyes slightly. "Our inferior noses don't notice it," he said flatly.
Zim nodded, accepting this answer without comment. "I have to get back to the base and make sure GIR hasn't wrecked it," he said, and pushed past Dib again to get out the door. Without any other jibing taunts. Without any threats.
"Wait, Zim," Dib said, putting out his hand. "So… truce? For today?"
The alien stopped on the doormat, body tense. Then he turned his head and glared over his shoulder. "For today, Dib. We'll have a truce for today."
He marched off, slamming the door behind him.
It's crazy how much can happen in one night and how much can change. Or maybe nothing really changed at all? All I know is that I saved Gaz's life, and in return she saved mine… and Zim put the blame on himself for once. Well, sort of. I'd say that counts as at least something really unusual for Zim, since he always blames everyone EXCEPT himself. I was trapped in an alternate dimension (which is why I haven't been writing, by the way). I won't be able to take down a full account in this journal because I've already been hard at work on one ever since I got back home… my hand feels like it might fall off any minute. That… probably won't actually happen… but, you know. It doesn't feel like I'm exaggerating. Maybe I should stop rambling to myself in this thing.
Gaz and I didn't go to Skool today. Too much happened last night, you know? Dad's still not home. Apparently he came back last night before Gaz went into the other dimension, but he left again. I guess he'll never know about this. Zim came by earlier, with a message from the
alternate dimension. They survived after all—I'm glad. The Alternates weren't all that bad, really. Maybe just a little annoying. They weren't
"Gaz," Dib sighed, exasperated.
Gaz glanced up from her game at him. Around noon, she had come back downstairs without saying a word and just started playing her Game Slave. Now, she raised an eyebrow and said, "Writing again?"
"Well, I was trying to."
"Fine, knock yourself out." Gaz closed her game and put it on the table, picking up a book instead and flipping to a bookmarked page. The room was quiet once more—not even the TV was on.
Dib scribbled down a few more thoughts in his notebook. Then he paused. "Hey… Gaz? …Thanks."
He wasn't just talking about her stopping her video game so he could write. He was talking about everything… including everything that had happened last night in the alternate dimension. Especially that.
Gaz turned the page of her book. "You too, Dib." She stood up and closed the book. "Thanks."
She went around the couch and started towards the kitchen, then turned and looked back. "Just don't ever mention this again. Got it?"
"Got it," Dib replied. He watched his sister pull out a soda from the fridge and gulp down half of it.
There wasn't much he could say about the alternate dimension to anyone, after all, he mused. No one would ever believe him, anyway. Certainly not his dad.
He finished off the entry in his notebook, closed it, and tucked it into his trenchcoat pocket. Then he leaned back and just… relaxed.
The universe was saved from the Irkens, Gaz wasn't growling at him, he didn't have to worry about Zim for the rest of the day…
…It was… nice.
It was nice.
A/N: It's over! Thank you so much for reading, everyone! This was my first Invader Zim fanfiction and I think it's the first multi-chaptered thing I've ever finished. I can't believe it! Again, thank you, I could never have done this without you!