Zim's Mate

By Sam

They say there's someone out there for everyone in the universe…

Is there someone out there for Zim?

Prologue

Fate decided they should be together, so why would it separate them?

It was late afternoon on planet Irk. It was a day like any other during the reign of Tallest Blu, just like any day for the past 225 years. But Blu's health was failing as he aged, and when the pressures of state got to put to much strain on his Squeegily Spooch, he found ways to calm himself. His favorite method was a visit to the Nest, and that's where he was heading this particular evening.

He glided through the Palace entrance as he always did, and he moves so silently that no one even noticed he was there. For some reason, it did him good to be their, surround by youth. It seemed to breathe life back into him. He drifted idly into the Infant's Nursery, strolling down the aisles of cribs, taking time to look at each hatchling individually.

As he drifted along, he came to the end of an aisle where the Head Nurse, Pon was standing over a small glass dome that appeared to be covering a small crib. Blu came up behind her quietly and asked, "What's going on?"

Pon was so startled, she jumped, putting a hand on her chest and looking quickly behind her. "Oh, my Tallest," she said, "We weren't expecting you, today."

Blu put a hand up, trying to calm her. "No need to be nervous, Pon. What's that you've got there?" He gestured to the domed crib behind her.

"Oh," Pon's expression saddened, "Well, look…"

She stepped aside and Blu peered down into the crib. Sleeping on the mattress was the tiniest Irken baby he'd ever seen – barely even six inches long. The tiny creature had tubes attached to its head and chest with suction cups and a vast array of monitors were posted above the crib. The monitors showed that everything was working properly, but slowly, and on a much smaller scale than usual. Blu's face fell as he watched the tiny baby, and he turned the Pon for an explanation.

"He wasn't supposed to be born yet," Pon said sadly, "He had another two months to incubate, but something went wrong and the Cold Unfeeling Robot Arm activated him yesterday night. His Squeegily Spooch is underdeveloped…we don't know how much longer he's going to last…" She turned her eyes to the floor, antennae drooping.

Blu pressed a hand to the warm glass dome, his heart aching. He'd never really liked children in his younger days, but this one just touched him. "Have you named him?"

Pon shook her head. "No," she said, "We didn't think it would be worth it to name him and then lose him."

Blu stood up straight, still looking down at the tiny baby. "Well, there's your problem," he said, "If you don't think he'll live, then he won't. You're almost sentencing him to death by not naming him."

Pon looked surprised. "Do you really think that matters?"

Blu nodded. "You bet I do. When you've lived as long as I have, you see enough things that make you believe that there really is a god out there somewhere." He smiled down at the baby, "And I'm gonna name this one – just so God knows he can't take him away from us yet."

Pon looked up at her Tallest admirably. "What will you call him?"

Blu considered for a moment. "Zim," he said at last. As soon as the word was spoken, the name appeared in typing on the side panel of the baby's crib, with a blue dot next to it, to show who he had been named by. Blu smiled, satisfied with is work.

Then a small voice cried out behind them and they turned. In the crib next to Zim's, a baby Irken female was standing up, holding the bars of her crib, smiling at the baby in the dome. "Zim…" she said, cocking her head at him.

Blu smiled and leaned down to look at the little girl with dark green eyes and curled antennae. "And who's this little lady?" he asked. He held out a hand and she grabbed it in both of hers, smiling up at him.

Pon looked at the scene warmly. "This is Zia. She's almost a year old now."

"Zia, eh?" Blu said, watching the girl hold his hand tightly, "Cute little thing, isn't she?"

Pon nodded. "Yes, sir. Very smart, too. We think she's destined to be a Diplomat."

"Well, we can always use more of them. Seems all the kids are being sent to the army these days," Blu said.

"Well, we are in the middle of a war, sir," Pon reminded him.

Blu groaned, "Don't remind me," he said, "I came here to forget about all that for a while."

Pon bowed her head. "Sorry, sir."

Blu straightened up, putting a hand on his back, the other hand still held by Zia. "It's all right. But I'd better be going. The doctors will worry if I'm missing for too long," he grinned at Pon, "They think I'm going senile, or something."

She grinned back, "I can't imagine that ever happening, sir."

"Good," Blu said, then turned to Zia, "I have to go now, Zia. You watch out for Zim now, won't you?"

The baby girl nodded and released her leader's hand. "Bye bye," she said, waving at him.

Blu patted her head gently and floated out of the room. Once he had entered the Palace again, he put a hand on the wall and began to cough violently. When he stopped, he took a ragged breath and closed his eyes, brows furrowed in concentration. Finally, his breathing became normal again and he continued on his way back to his quarters.

Back in the Nursery, Pon heard Blu's coughing fit and frowned worriedly. Behind her, Zia was trying to crawl out of her crib and reach Zim. She grunted from the effort and Pon turned around. "Zia!" She grabbed the little Irken around the waist and tried to set her back in her crib, but she would have none of it. She flailed and cried out, wondering why she was being stopped from following her Tallest's orders.

Suddenly, the monitors above Zim began to pick up speed, almost reaching normal levels. Pon turned to see, stunned, as Zim's eyes opened and he sat up, looking around him. He turned towards Pon and Zia and waved a tiny hand at them.

"I don't believe it…" Pon mused.

"Zim!" Zia cried out happily, clapping her hands.

The two babies locked gazes for a short moment while Pon called to the other Nurses to come and see.

* * *

Years had passed and both Zim and Zia were in the third level of the Nursery, with all the other children of their age, including Lark, Spleen, Scooge, and Tenn, to name a few.

Zim had grown a good deal, but he was still smaller than all the other children, and he was constantly teased about it. Today a small group of Irkens who were a few years his senior had decided to play "Keep Away" with one of his favorite toys. They were laughing as he grew more and more frustrated with them.

An Irken boy named Scud snickered, "Look! The little baby' gonna cry!"

Zim bit his tongue angrily, trying as best he could to hold back tears, while the others laughed again.

Then an angry female voice was heard from behind where the group had circled around Zim. "Hey! Cut it out!" The bullies looked around and found Zia standing behind them, fists clenched, growling at them. Lark, Spleen, Scooge and Tenn stood behind her, looking nervous.

Scud chuckled, "Heh heh…what're you gonna do about it? Lecture me?"

The jerk had barely gotten to laugh at his own joke when Zia's fist made contact with his jaw, sending him reeling backwards. He glared at her, furious, and lunged towards her. He hit her full force and they went rolling across the floor of the play room, fists flying. Before long, Zia was on top of Scud, yanking hard on his antennae. He pounded the ground, crying out in pain.

Just then, Rul, the Level 3 Nurse burst into the room. "Children!!" she cried, rushing towards the fight. As she got their, Zia let go of Scud's antennae and stood up. He scampered across the floor, putting a few feet's distance between them.

"He started it," Zia said.

"I-I did not!" Scud said, "She attacked me!"

Rul looked from one group of children to the other, not sure who to pin the blame on. Scooge took a timid step forward. "It wasn't really Zia's fault, ma'am," he said, "Scud was picking on Zim again and -"

Rul put a hand up and he silenced. She glared at Scud and the other older children. "Why are you in here, anyway?" she asked, "Shouldn't you be in Level four?"

The kids all looked at each other, and nodded guiltily. Rul sighed and grabbed up Scud by the collar of his tunic and carried him off, with the other Level 4 kids following reluctantly after her.

Tenn turned to Zia, "Are you ok?"

Lark shook his head, "Boy, are you gonna get it."

"Yeah," Spleen said, "That's what you get for trying to help people."

"Especially when it's Zim," Tenn said.

"Why'd you do it?" Scooge asked, "He didn't even stick up for you when Rul came in."

Spleen gave Zim a disgusted glare, "You got anything to say for yourself there, Zim?"

The kids all turned to look where Zim was seated on the floor, facing away from them, much too embarrassed to say anything.

While the other kids all rolled their eyes at him, Zia walked over to Zim. She paused half way over to pick the toy up off the floor. "Um…are you ok?" she asked gently.

"I'm fine," Zim said, not making eye contact with her.

"Listen," she said, kneeling down next to him, "Don't listen to those guys. They're jerks."

"No, they're right," Zim said, "I'm too small to even stick up for myself." He made a disgusted face and threw one of his toys across the room. "I hate being small! I'd rather be dead."

Just then, they heard voices out side the playroom door. It was Rul talking with one of the security guards.

"Did you hear?" The guard was saying, "The Tallest's Grace was destroyed in the last air battle with the Planet Jackers!"

"No!" Rul gasped, "But that was one of the Armada's biggest ships! There's no way!"

"It's true. I just heard it over the radio signal," the guard said, "All the troops that weren't killed are in intensive care."

"That's horrible!" Rul said, "If things keep going on like this, Tallest Blu may have to start drafting soldiers!"

"Yeah. Could you imagine if he had to ask the Universal Congress for help?"

"Well, at least we know they'd give it to him. I mean, everyone their fancies him."

Zia turned to Zim. "You wanna be dead like those soldiers?" she asked him.

Zim shook his head. "No, I changed my mind," he said, "I wanna get big so I can join the army and kick the Planet Jacker's butts!" He stood up and threw a couple of punches in the air. One punch was thrown too hard and he spun around and landed on the floor on his back. He shook off his dizziness and looked up at her, "What're you gonna be?"

"Um…a Diplomat, I think," Zia said.

"Oh," Zim said, sitting back up, "I know! Once I'm done kicking their butts, you can force them to sign a treaty that will completely benefit Irk and leave them with nothing!" He grinned evilly.

Zia raised a would-be eyebrow. "Um…I don't think that's exactly who it works, but sure, ok." She grinned at him. Their eyes met again as Rul entered the room to get them all ready for the evening meal.

* * *

More years had passed and Zim's generation had reached the end of the final level of the Nursery. The war with the Planet Jackers had just ended and Tallest Blu (after a week of successful negotiations) had been hospitalized.

And on his request, the children in the Level 10 were to visit him that evening, before they were sent off to their predestined assignments. The group of them was standing outside Blu's room in the Medical Ward, each waiting their turn to see their Leader. They went in pairs, with Zim and Zia last (you all know why – think 'alphabetical order'). They went in cautiously, and approached Blu's bed.

He opened his eyes and smiled when he saw them. "Well, nice to see you two again. How're you holding up?"

"Fine, sir," Zia said.

"A lot better than you, it looks like," Zim said, then clamped a hand over his mouth, realizing he was being disrespectful, "I'm sorry, sir, that came out wrong."

Blu laughed slightly, then coughed. "It's all right, Zim." He coughed again. "Now…I'm not going to be around for much longer, kids…"

"But…you can't mean that!" Zia said.

Blu put a hand up. "Oh I do. I think that war just about drained all the life out of me…" he sighed, and continued, "I want you two…to look out for each other…ok?"

They both nodded respectfully. "Yes, My Tallest."

"Good," Blu said, and shut his eyes. Then one of the doctors ushered them out of the room. When they stepped outside, they were instantly separated by a pair of Soldiers and a pair of Scholars. The Soldiers dragged Zim in one direction down the hallway while the Scholars dragged Zia down the opposite way.

"Wait!" Zim cried, "What are you doing!"

"You're going to the Academy, just like any trainee," one of the Soldiers said gruffly.

"But…but…" Zim said, but there was nothing he could do, except watch Zia disappear farther and farther down the corridor away from him.

And so Fate tore them apart…but would it ever bring them back together again??