So, whats a great idea?

Doing that Ipod shuffle-challenge thingy when you've got writers block for your other, continuous stories.

This shall be updated . . . whenever it is I get a new idea. But it'll remain marked as 'Complete' cause there's always a chance I won't add anymore stories.

This will be mainly ZAGR, but who knows; I might add some Tak/Dib or other shit in here somewhere. We'll see.

Enjoy.

Song: Next Contestant
Arist: Nickelback
Pairing: Zim/Gaz
Category: Romance


Chapter 1
"Hopelessly Defensive"

It was Friday.

He loathed Fridays.

Arguably, it was no worse than any other day. Every night was pretty bad but Fridays, hands down, took the cake. Mondays and Sundays were the easiest, the days he'd use to consider just maybe not coming to watch. But sometimes on Mondays, the hogs on their sleek bikes came in, randomly, so he never took that chance anymore.

A few times, the owner had gotten into arguments with him. Insisted if he kept getting into fights with his customers he'd get thrown out and wouldn't be allowed back in. That was, until she threatened to quit if he kicked him out. She argued that he was keeping them safe, since the bouncers certainly weren't able to watch them 24/7. He even walked all the girls out to their cars, so no one else would have to, lest someone get hurt and another someone be fired for slacking off in their duties. So he got to stay, sitting in his own booth, sometimes at that bar itself, depending on the crowd population. The owner even hired him on, officially as a bouncer, but more of a guard than anything else.

And besides, every (drunken) partier liked to watch or participate in a good fight every now and then, so it wasn't exactly driving anyone away. And no one even remembered the identity of the person who'd gifted them with that nice shiner of a black eye because everyone had been too drunk or too hungover to even think about it.

The offenders quickly got a gruff, blunt warning before anything frightening happened. If they did it again, he motioned for security and they were escorted out. Mainly it was the other girls who were harassed because one had to be impressively hammered to even think about approaching her.

She was the pearl of the bar. The diamon serving boos in the rough part of town probably because it paid well. Though, strangely enough, she was the only one who didn't need it. She was the only one who really didn't have to put up with this crap. So why she did, no one knew. Then again no one really knew anything about the hot chick at the bar who could (and wouldn't hesitate to) give you a glare that would sober most up in a heartbeat and send you running with your tail between your legs.

It was the unfortunately hammer that got the treatment that gave the bar a reputation for its fights. The ones that got escorted out personally. Only the girls at the bar and ocassionaly the workers really remembered. And if any police came poking around, no one happened to have been watching "just another dumb bar-fight with men too liquored up to even land their punchest."

It might not have been as bad, if it weren't for their clothing choices.

There wasn't really a uniform. Blue shirt of a cerain color on top, something black on the bottom. As the bar prided itself on its attractive workers, the tighter (or thinner, for that matter) the better. It was a win-win situation really, for the most part. The workers didn't get hot in the stuffy bar or worry about taking care of a uniform, and the males (and females) of the club got something nice to look at.

Tonight, the place was packed.

So he just sort of knew there was going to be trouble.

Gaz glanced over at him without emotion. She might as well have been looking at a wall or another empty glass she was going to clean up. Normally she'd gaze at her boyfriend with at least a small about of fondness, but he need to remain inconspicuous to be able to do his job. Especially on a night like tonight. As if feeling her gaze on him he glanced up, smirking at her. A gaze that clearly said, "You just can't keep your eyes off me, can you?"

She smirked at him, casually making her way over to his side of the bar, bussing the area two people, now heading towards the dance floor, had just been. It was Zita's table but seeing Gaz, she simply went to fill the girl's space, on the other side of the bar.

"Wipe that smirk off your face before I do it for you," she muttered, never looking at him and quiet enough for only his sensitive 'ears' to hear over the noise.

He chuckled, doing nothing of the sort as he kept his head dow, stirring the colorful liquid placed before him. Had anyone taken the time to notice, they would realize he never actually drank any of it. In fact, he was careful not to even get the condensation on him.

"I cannot help but be smug when you are surrounded by people and yet your eyes instinctively single me out," he replied, still smirking.

A moment later he let out a small hiss, his hand shooting off the table and into the clutches of his other one. Gaz smirked, the wet washcloth still in her hand, where moments ago she had 'accidentally' rested it on his.

"Oops," she said, feigning innocence. It soon dissolved upon seeing his irritated expression and she smirked, turning away to take over her spot again. Zita and her switched seamlessly, and the girl couldn't help but chuckle upon seeing his cross appearance.

"Testy tonight?" She asked, casually, like he was just another customer and she was just the pretty girl at the bar who everyone spilled their secrets to.

He snorted. "You know she doesn't like crowds."

"Oh, no," Zita said, with a laugh. "I think she likes the opportunities. The fights. Watching people get beat up."

"Ahhhh," he replied, drawing out the word with a knowing, superior air to his voice. "More theories as to why she works here?"

"I think I'm pretty close," Zita insisted, taking down a bottle from a shelf. "If not already right?"

He laughed, shaking his head. "No, not quite."

"But close?" She pressed.

He looked up and smirked, wickedly. "Close."

So satisfied, she went off to serve the seven men who'd just sat down and were pounding on the tables, demanding drinks in slurred, invigorated tones. She made quick work of it, pulling a pen from behind her ear and opening flipping her book open with a simple flick of her wrist.

"What can I get for you boys?" She asked, with a friendly enough smile, even a small batting of her long lashes.

Aside from the obvious good money, Zita's reason for being here was very clear to Zim; attention. She liked being ogled by men, no matter how intoxicated. A few times she'd even let them pick her up and take her home.

Their mantra of 'Drinks!' switched then to 'Beer!', and Zita, being the most patient of the girls, simply smiled and put her book away, bending down to get the jugs. He saw it coming, was waiting for it, and with a bored sigh in his tone, he lifted his hand and inconspicuously motioned someone forward.

SMACK!

He sighed, watching as Zita spun around, fury rippling across her features. They were all laughing as she rubbed her no doubt stinging backside. However when she shot him a look he simply nodded his acknowledgement, glancing sideways before picking at his drink again. Several seconds later, all seven of them were outside, thrown on the pavement, and stamped to ensure they would not be allowed re-entry. Gretchen asked Zita if she was alright and when the girl assured her she was fine, they went back to work, Zita cleaning up the small amount of beer she'd spilled when she'd been struck.

Sometimes these people were just too predictable.

"Zim? Zim from High Skool, is that you?"

Suddenly, Zim found himself in a hug that was more of a headlock then an affectionate hold. The disgusting, pungent smell of alchohol filtered from every pore on his body, mixing with the sweat and creating a smell that rivaled a skunk's spray.

"Ugh, release Zim at once!" He growled, ducking out from the grip, glaring at him warily. He hated being touched and anyone who invaded his personal space was subject to high suspicious. "Who are you?"

The sweaty, drunk, suspiciously touchy male grinned at him with a lop-sided smile. Zim's lip curled in disgust. He could only do so much to resist his gag-reflex, and if this creature of filth hugged him again, he wasn't so sure that he'd be able to resist his urge to vomit.

"Aw come on, Zim, you don't remember me?" The man questioned, red veins spidering across his big bug-eyes. He was hammered, that much was clear. How he was still able to form sentences without a slur was beyond Zim's knowledge. "Well, I guess not. S'not like we were friends or anything, but, I mean, you just don't forget the green kid. I mean, how many of you guys can there be, right?"

Zim's eyes narrowed, a small amount of recognition filtering into his brain. Bulky, large, caucasian . . .

"OH!" He shouted, waving off the initial surprise. "You are that Smacky-boy, correct?" He smirked, wickedly. "You beat up the Dib-monkey a few times."

The man laughed, nodding, slapping a hand on Zim's shoulder as he sat down, uninvited, next to Zim. However, he allowed it, all things considering. So long as he didn't hug him again (ugh!) he'd be fine. "Yeah, there you go. Tork's my first name, actually. Man, those were the days. Still talk like you used to, I see. Never got rid of the accent, eh?"

"Accent?" Zim questioned, a brow rising.

Once again, Tork laughed. "Don't sweat it."

Oh, no, Zim thought, gaze flicking over Tork's disgusting, smelly figure with distaste. You're the only one doing the sweating here.

"So what brings you to these parts, Zim?" Tork asked, raising a fist and slamming it down on the table. "Hey, waitress, get me a beer! Budweiner!"

Zim glanced up, more than ready to call security if Zita wasn't in the mood to deal with another one of these people immediately after getting smacked in the ass. However he was immediately surprised to see none other than Gaz, shooting him an entirely justified questioning gaze. Zim never drank with anyone. So who the hell was this?

"Sorry it took so long," She said, politely, but without any real sympathy. "Place is packed tonight."

Tork nodded, sliding his credit card across the table without a glance at her. He took the bottle in his hand, jerking a chin at Zim. "You want something? Drinks on me."

Zim shook his head, gesturing to his own colorful drink that he didn't know the name of. It was just something Gaz had made a habit of putting in front of him, more for appearance than anything else, to keep anyone from bothering him. "No, I am fine."

Tork once again gave a jerk of his head for affirmation, finally glancing at Gaz, who was swiping his credit card through the cash register. He gave her an approving once-over, making Zim's skin prick with irritation. Gaz was his. However he was by now well aware of the amount of attention she recieved due to her looks and while he was certainly not yet used to it, he at least knew how to control and compose himself.

"Love this place," Tork stated, taking a swig of his drink. "Best place in town to get a little action."

Zim resisted the urge to snort. If he thought Gaz was going to be the giver of action, he would certainly find himself disappointed. "I suppose."

"So, like I said before, Zim," Tork continued, swivelling his chair towards him. "What brings you to this side of town? Figured someone with your head would be up in the better part of town, like Dib is."

It was true. Dib was now running the Swollen Eyeball, which he'd partnered up with his Dad's industry. How he'd managed to pull that off, no one had quite figured out yet, but the boy, barely twenty three, was now extremely well off in his business. In fact, if his stocks kept up like they were, it was predicted he could retire by thirty. Very impressive, but no less was expected of the Membrane boy.

The girl, on the other hand-.

Zim shrugged. "I have matters to attend to that keep me here."

"Really?" The burly man questioned, seeming genuinely intrigued. "Like what?"

"More of a who than a what," Zim muttered, before he could stop himself, his eyes widening a moment later.

It seemed the fumes were getting to him.

Tork let out a laugh, his head throwing back, nearly toppling him from the chair. Zim rolled his eyes, waiting for him to finish, expecting the slap on his shoulder that followed.

"Man, Zim, didn't know you had it in you!" He said, still laughing, taking another sip of his drink and nearly coughing it back up. He gave a firm thump to his chest, clearing his throat before continuing. "So, whose the lucky girl?" He looked around, still grinning smugly, like he knew some sort of secret that he could hold above everyone else. "She somewhere around here?"

Zim ignored his question, pressing the glass to his lips to make it look like he was drinking before setting it back down.

"Are you here with anyone, Smacky?" He asked, evading answering.

Tork shook his head, too drung to notice the lack of reply. "Nope. I'm stag. I'm not really into the long-term kind of relationships anyways. I like em Q.E.G., you know?"

Zim shot him a glance, a brow rising again. "Q.E.G.? What is the meaning of this acronym?"

"Three words," Tork replied, counting each of them off with a finger. "Quick. Easy. And Gone."

This recieved another laugh, accompanied by a few surrounding people, who happened to be listening in on the conversation. Zim scowled in disgust at the creatures, wishing that he could just throw them out for no reason besides he thought them gross. But the last time he had done this, he'd gotten caught and then gotten in trouble, so he'd have to put up with them. For now, anyways.

It was this moment Gaz chose to slap down Tork's credit card, sliding it back across the table. Clearly she'd heard the conversation and recognized the name 'Tork Smacky'. Dib had complained about him a few times and she never forget a name that held a grudge. She too would've loved nothing more than to kick Tork out, but no luck. She'd say nothing and have security 'follow him out' if she got the chance.

"You're good," She stated plainly, eying his glass. "Your numbers are in the computer. You want another one?"

Zim glanced down, surprised to find that Tork somehow had downed his whole bottle in their short conversation.

No wonder he was so drunk.

Tork shrugged, "Sure, toots. Why not?"

Gaz's brow rose at the nickname, but otherwise she said nothing and just went to retrieve another drink, snagging Tork's bottle from him to toss in the recycling bin below the counter. She quickly handed him a new one, popping the cap, and sliding it into his eagerly waiting hand.

Zim eyed Gaz's form speculatively, feeling a possessive desire run through him went she purposefully stretched upwards, grabbing a new pen from the top shelf and sliding it behind her ear. He hated what she was wearing. How exposed her shoulders were, one strap on her top falling off her shoulder and her black leather pants hugging every curve of her backside. Those curves were for him to admire, not others to ogle and drool over.

"Got your eye on the icy one, eh?" Tork whispered, nudging Zim with a conspiritorial look on his face.

Zim found it incredibly odd that the Smacky-creature recognized him, but not Gaz, the girl with the natural, stunning magenta hair. Than again there was a trend of girls dying their hair obsurd colors lately. No one had quite captured Gaz's hair color, but it could be understandable that Tork, in his drunken stupor, was under the impression she was probably just another punk trying to stand out. But his Gaz didn't need to change herself to stand out; she did that without trying.

"Don't deny it, I see that look in your eyes," Tork insisted, winking at him. "She is something, isn't she?"

You have no idea, Zim thought to himself, a smirk tugging at the corner of his lips. However he controlled himself, shaking his head. "I wouldn't recommend it. This place is very strict on harassing the employees. Unwelcome harassment, of course. That one over there," he jerked his chin casually towards where Zita was conveniently flirting with a particularly handsome dirt-monkey, leaning over the counter and pressing her breasts up with her arms, making quite the impression on the male before her. "Tends to flirt with anything that's worth-while."

This surprised Tork. "You come here often?"

Zim shrugged, once again avoiding the question.

"Well what about that one?" Tork asked, jerking his chin back towards where Gaz was serving someone else, with little interest on her face as she wrote down several women's orders, one of them eying Gaz like she was up for a little (as these people so crudely put it) 'experimenting' tonight. It certainly wouldn't be the first time she got hit on by female's, and probably not the last.

Zim laughed. "She barely gives these people their drinks, let alone the time of day."

He smirked wrly, leering at Gaz as she turned away, ignoring a few whistles some men at a passing table gave her. "I happen to be quite the ladies man, Zim. Just you watch, by the end of the night, I'll have that puppy in my bed begging for more."

Zim stood automatically, startling Tork, who gave him a look.

"Something up?" He asked, a brow rising.

Zim, itching to punch something, shook his head and excused himself to the bathroom, intending to calm himself down.

Gaz noticed his leave and her brow rose. She glanced at the woman who had been eying her, who was now leaning towards her with her heavily painted mouth inching towards hers. Gaz simply turned and walked off, leaving the woman to fall off the chair and on her face.

"Hey, sugar!" Tork shouted, motioning for Gaz with a finger to come. "I got an order for you!"

She gave him an incredulous look, giving the women their drinks before going over to where he was. Tork licked his hand when he thought she wasn't looking, slicking his hair back and sniffing himself. She scoffed when he dubbed himself 'good'. How Tork could consider a stench like that acceptable was beyond her.

"What can I get for you?" She asked Tork monotonously after she approached. "Another beer?"

"How about I get you something?" Tork asked, wiggling his eyebrows suggestively. "Want to sit down for a drink?"

Gaz's eyes narrowed, shooting him her signature glare that normally sobered the inhabitants of the bar.

It seemed to have no effect.

Oh, this is is going to be good . . .

Zim deeply inhaled the crisp, outside air, feeling refreshed and calmer with every breath he took. He stretched, rolling his shoulders a little. It was always nice to go outside when he became severely irritated and he'd asked one of the bouncer's to keep an eye on the bar for him while he stepped outside for a minute.

Something twitched inside Zim, very close to his spooch.

Before Zim realized why he was back inside the building, shooting past someone, who had no doubt been running to get him, and was met with a sight that made his blood freeze.

Tork was kneeling on the bar counter and everyone around them was watching, the girls shouting for someone to do something. Gaz's wrist and hand were consumed in one of Tork's meaty ones. His other hand was around her waist, forcing her closer to him as he puckered his lips for a kiss. She had her face turned away, seething with rage that was forced down by her immediate surprise.

Before Tork could even think to jerk her towards him, his right cheek exploded in pain and he was hurled across the counter, slammed down, skidding across it and knocking various drinks off before he reached the edge. He groaned, gingerly touching his swollen face and coming back with blood on the tips of his fingers.

"Are you alright, Gaz?" Zim questioned darkly, never removing his eyes from Tork's form as people smartly began moving away from him, anticipating a fight.

Gaz eyed his livid form curiously as she wiped her formerly captive hand off on a wet towel. The girls around the bar were getting the customers away, calling the employees to call attention to the dance floor and off of Zim.

"I'm fine," she insisted.

Zim nodded, saying nothing as Tork sat up.

"Ow, thit, man!" He shouted, his swollen cheek giving him a lisp. "Wha wath that for?"

Zim stormed over, gripping him by the color and holding the ginormous man a good four inches off the ground before bringing him very close to his face.

"You." He growled, viciously. "Do not. Touch. My. Mate."

"Your . . . wha?" Tork replied, the alchohol finally kicking in, it seemed. Too bad. That meant he wouldn't feel this till morning, when it bruised. "That girls your-?"

"Mine." Zim finished simply. "And I don't appreciate people touching what's mine so aggressively."

And at that, he hurled him onto the floor, lunging on him to finish what he started.

Meanwhile, Gaz was simply observing, a barely visible smirk on her face, her hand gently touching her chin thoughtfully.

This was the true reason Gaz worked on this side of town. She lived at Zim's house (his base, whatever you wanted to call it), in-between the filthy rich and the well-off. With her connections, she could have any job she wanted. She could murder someone and she would get away with it when Zim came and destroyed every bit of evidence. And even if he didn't, for some absurd reason and the evidence went back to her, Dib would fabricate an alien-based story on how his sister was framed and abducted (with or without Zim's help) and her father would pay off any authority figure who said otherwise. She could literally do anything in the world, the universe, that she wanted and no one could stop her. Yet she was here, in a dump of a bar, watching her lover beat the hell out of a man who'd been intoxicated enough to make advances on her.

And she loved it.

The dirty, griminess of the city was not what she loved. Gaz preferred sanitation over muck any day. Nor did she particularly like the club scenes or the heavy smell of alchohol. Not even the attention, like Zita did. In fact, she detested attention. She'd much rather be locked in Zim's house with Gir, away from prying eyes, with the freedom of solitude surrounding her. No, what she loved was this, Zim, fighting. Protective. Furious. She loved it. Was almost addicted to it. Outside of here, before she'd found a job that suited her needs, it was a rare thing for anyone to ever try to make a move on 'his mate' and so a rare time he was filled with this much obscene rage and her this much sadistic amusement.

And the best part was, he knew she loved it.

Oh, it hadn't happened immediately. It never even occurred to him. Not even when she took the strange job. Or when he happened to tag along on her first day, for curiosities sake, and saw her get hit on so blatantly. Almost forcefully. It was only afterwards, when she defended his actions with an impressive amount of manuevering and negotiating, did he begin to suspect it.

When she had her way with him upon reaching his base, his suspicions were confirmed.

It took several employees to rip Zim from Tork, whose face was covered in blood. People were laughing and hollering drunk words that could hardly be understood, but the effect was clear; nobody blamed Zim for beating the hell out of a creep hitting on the bar-maids. Someone had the sense (amazingly) to call an ambulance. Which was Zim and Gaz's clue to take off.

Gaz already had her jacket on and was waiting with the keys when Zim was successfully restrained. He took several shuddering breaths through his teeth before he happened to catch her eye. Her lust-filled, impatient eye.

"You good, man?" Durge, one of the bouncer's, questioned him when he stopped struggling.

Zim nodded, tearing his eyes away from Gaz to look at the man. "I'm fine."

He was released immediately.

"You two better get going," Gretchen urged, nervously, her eyes darting around their uproarious customers. "We'll cover for you."

Zim muttered his appreciation and Gaz simply took his hand, leading him quickly and quietly out of view. Ten minutes later, the bar was still laughing, though no one could quite remebmer what was so funny anymore. And twenty minutes later, when the cops came to investigate, due to a call from the emergency room, no one had seen a thing.

Just another Friday night, it seemed.