How dare him' Zim thought.'How dare he ignore Zim!' Rage boiled up inside the tiny invader as he stormed after his nemesis. He felt a sense of déjà vu, as he recalled Dib refusing to fight with him before—but he had at least WARNED Zim!

Xxx

It was hot outside. One of those days that made the threat of Global warming that much more plausible. The sky was a disheartening burgundy color, the sun beaming down with pinpoint precision on anyone who was unlucky enough to be outside at the current moment.

Fortunately, for nearly everyone else in the crappy little town, they were indoors, watching television and drinking cold beverages. Not so fortunately, Dib was the person the sun was beaming down on.

It didn't do much to increase his good mood. Not that there had been much of a good one in the first place. He irritatedly whipped away a droplet of sweat that was rolling its way down his forehead. Why was his house so far away? Why was it so freaking hot outside?
A curious fly buzzed by the teen's face, only to be swatted at by a nail bitten hand.

Everything was annoying today. And normally, he would've brushed it off and gotten back to his positive-go-lucky-attitude. Today however...dark brows furrowed in heavy concentration, his mind continuing to chew on the new information he'd gleaned this afternoon. Therapy was new to him. Dib had seen tons of counselors, a few doctors and several specialists at the local Crazy House for Boys...a therapist was new to him though.

Booted feet drug themselves along the cracking sidewalk as he grew closer and closer to his house. Why on Earth was he walking when it was so hot outside? Well, that question was answered simply enough; He'd missed the last bus when his father had forgotten to show up. And Dib couldn't drive. He'd kind of skipped over that particular 'grown up' achievement in favor of chasing a certain green alien.

Dib shook his head angrily. ''Don't think about him." That had been the therapist's advice. Ignore him. And while Dib was reluctant to believe anything that he didn't discover for himself, he was aware that the woman was a trained professional and therefore had some knowledge on the subject of crazy boy brains….not that he was crazy or anything.

Zim didn't know what he hated most about Earth, and while the list was a very long one, the sun was—without shadow of a doubt—far up on it. It wouldn't have been so bad if he could just let his antennae out from under this infernal wig.

The heat that built up against his scalp was almost unbearable, and he would have done anything to just be able to let his feelers free; he felt close to suffocating.

But he wasn't so desperate as to let his cover be jeopardized; he always put himself behind the mission, of course. He was an invader! He wasn't going to let a lowly star beat him before he could conquer this useless planet.

The shade from the bushes helped beat the sun's merciless glare as he bent over on his hands and knees in the garden of an unsuspecting yard. He would have loved to make GIR do this for him, but his new plan required a more delicate touch, one that he knew (by learning the hard way) GIR was lacking.

But even though he was feeling sluggish in the heat, and only wanted to be indoors, he couldn't help but smile broadly at the sheer shrewdness of his own plan. How surprised the Earth-scum will be when their own foliage revolts against them! Images of their ugly, horrified faces made Zim cackle in delight.

He pushed the loose soil over his insidious creation and backed out of the bushes, onto the hot concrete of the sidewalk. He brushed himself off and adjusted his wig, a satisfied smile on his face. A smile that quickly faded when he noticed a silhouette approaching him. He had to squint against the heat waves that rose from the sidewalk before he could make out any distinguishing traits.

"Dib!" He hissed, pointing an accusing finger at the approaching figure. "How did you find me?" He yelled, not taking into account that he was in Dib's neighborhood. "No matter! My latest and most amazing plan is already in motion! You won't be able to stop me, and soon you will be able to do nothing more than stand in awe at the mightiness that is ZIIM!" He cackled into the hot, heavy air—readying himself against any Attack that Dib would employ.

A familiar voice nearly brought Dib to a halt, pupils dilating with the instinctive need to fight his enemy. He was even opening his mouth to questions the alien's suspicious motives; why was Zim behind a bush? What new plan was the little menace planning?

Something evil and stupid no doubt. But, at the last second he slammed his jaw closed, gritted his teeth and deliberately brushed past his irken nemesis.

His feet took him further and further away from the impending conflict, second by second, step by step and it was painful. Why was it so painful? It was because Zim was doing something heinous and Dib was doing nothing to stop him.

But, what if the alien wasn't even...real? He had to find that out. He had another appointment on Thursday and until then Dib was going to refrain from having anything to do with Zim. A whole week without stepping in to stop vile plans or even to glare or-Dib took a steadying breath.

Zim was prepared for any harsh words he expected from the Dib human. He was ever prepared for a full out physical assault; and while fighting had become a little harder for Zim since the human had outgrown him over the years, he was still optimistic enough to take him on.

What Zim didn't expect, however, was for Dib to ignore him.

'How dare him' Zim thought. 'How dare he ignore Zim!' Rage boiled up inside the tiny invader as he stormed after his nemesis. He felt a sense of déjà vu, as he recalled Dib refusing to fight with him before—but he had at least WARNED Zim!

What was his angle now? What kind of trap was this? Zim bore his lavender eyes into the back of Dib's head, trying desperately to read him. Frustration bubbled up inside of him, finally bursting out as he ran in front of Dib, cutting him off abruptly and standing before him.

"Dib-stink!" He shook his clenched fist at the human. "You dare ignore me? Zim! I am an Irken Invader, I demand you show me proper respect! Grovel for your pathetic ball of dirt as I unleash my plan on the world!" He clenched his teeth, staring Dib in the eyes, trying to spot just the slightest bit of recognition in those amber irises.

Surely Dib was curious; how could he NOT be? They have been through this so many times before, and Dib had never faltered. Only once had he pretended not to care, but he had come back with his determination increased ten-fold! Why was this happening again? Zim had no intentions of reliving those days of lying listless on the couch.

The fact that this seemed to be occurring again made Zim feel sick in his gut. He should be glad that the Dib-thing doesn't seem to want to interfere with Zim's plan, but for some reason it was difficult to imagine his daily routine without Dib in it, even if it was just so he could fight with him.

Perhaps for a millisecond there was a flash of curiosity in the human's amber eyes; he couldn't help it. Curiosity has always been his weakness. It was why he asked so many questions and was sticking his nose into things. That's why the Paranormal interested him so much. No one had really gone deep into it before. It was up to him.

But, the second was gone as soon as it had happened, leaving the Dib's eyes blank, looking through the Irken's slight frame. He ducked his head and went around Zim, keeping his gaze on his dusty shoes as he crossed the street to his house which was surrounded by buzzing force fields.

Before the alien could catch Dib and force a fight on him, he rushed up the lawn and threw open the door before slamming it closed and leaning up against it, breathing way too hard; 'From the Heat', he told himself. Immediately, cool conditioned air rushed over him, initiating a headache caused by the rushed temperature change.

Definitely not because Zim's voice sounded…worried. No. Zim wasn't worried. The irken didn't get worried unless it was about germs or the Tallest. He was an alien or hey, maybe he wasn't even that. Maybe he was just a very stupid illusion with a talent for annoying everything within a mile's radius. He shoved himself away from the doorframe and threw a glance into the living room where Gaz was on the couch, head bent over her latest game.

When he reached the kitchen, Dib drank several glasses of water before finally reaching into his left pocket and yanking out a small bottle that had banged against his leg obnoxiously the whole way home, about as easy to ignore as Zim's screaming. It was light orange with tiny print around the label. Supposedly it was going to help him.

Dib scoffed and set it on the kitchen counter, before grabbing a bunch of food from the pantry and taking the stairs two at a time till he reached his room which of course was cluttered with broken electronics, old drawings, rubber piggies, dirty clothes, and old food wrappers from other nights.

He dumped his burden on his rumpled bed, popping the tab of a Poop Cola and sitting at the only remotely clean area in his whole room; his computer. Time to check up on all his paranormal sources. Even if he couldn't hunt Zim this week, didn't mean he couldn't make use of his time on other things…

Not that they would be as meaningful or...dare he say fun? But, it was something to distract him and Dib badly needed that.

Zim could only watch as Dib rushed past him and into his house. Zim stood silently for a few moments, his thoughts racing. He could feel the electric hum of his PAK vibrate against his back softly, trying to process what just happened.

Suddenly, as though a switch had been flipped somewhere deep inside of him, Zim burst out in a fit of rage; grunting and kicking at the unbearable heat around him. He turned and punched a nearby fence, causing one of the boards to fold in on itself. Zim stood there, panting, ignoring the deep pain that ebbed in his fist and up his arm.

"That…that…!" He grunted and growled incomprehensively before finally settling on an appropriate adjective and spitting it out. "Infuriating creature! How dare he do this to me; ZIM!" He paced on the sidewalk for a while, trying to figure out how to best handle the situation. "What is his angle? What does he hope to accomplish from this?" He shouted out in frustration. "He's toying with me! He WANTS me to get angry!" He stopped pacing and took in a deep breath, then felt nauseous from the intolerably hot air.

"Well, I won't let the Dib-worm best me! He won't be able to ignore my greatest plan yet. Once I unleash it, he'll have no choice but to confront me." He nodded to himself, feeling a bit better at his own reassurance.

But then, without warning, another internal switch seemed to flip inside the small alien. A wave of uncertainty crashed over him, causing his expression to falter. "But if he doesn't…"

He shook his head quickly. "No, it WILL work. The Dib-thing won't be able to resist. I saw it, in his eyes; just a fleeting moment of weakness." Zim turned and began his trek home through the unforgiving sun. He didn't even want to acknowledge the fact that he had doubted himself. What did he have to doubt? He was the amazing Zim, after all! He cradled his gloved hand as he finally made it home; finally registering that he had injured it when he punched the fence.

The second that Zim strode into the house, Gir was on him, squealing rather manically.

"Maaaastah! Massstah! Youse home at last!" The little robot's turquoise eyes contracted with each word, of which were filled with adoration and honest worry.

However, the moment didn't last long, as Gir's memory was that of a gold fish. Soon he was down again, curious eyes focused in on Zim's arm. "Oh noes~ Does master have a booboo?" He asked full of sympathy.

Zim had grown used to Gir's wild and outlandish greetings whenever he entered his base, and stood silently waiting for him to finish. He had, in a way, grown somewhat fond of the dysfunctional robot, and took his random fits with a surprisingly large amount of patience (as long as he wasn't destroying anything, at least).

When Gir finally settled down, Zim walked past him and into the living room. "Gir, I seem to have broken my hand, we'll need to go to the base to get it fixed. And while we're down there, I can check on my latest plan to destroy this infernal planet and all of its inhabitants once and for all."

He shed his wig with a breath of relief as they entered the kitchen, wiggling his grateful antennae in the refreshing cool air. Peeling off his contact, he stepped into the trash bin and waited for Gir to follow him before descending into the base.

"The seeds are in place, I just need to wait for the perfect conditions to deploy them, which shouldn't be long, as the weather on this blasted planet is more temperamental than a mother Blorch Hound around her young."

He tenderly peeled off his glove as the lift stopped at the main floor of his base. "Then we'll see how well Dib can keep up his façade." A quick flickering replay of earlier today reeled through Zim mind, sending him into another sudden fit of rage. He couldn't even manage words as he stormed around, flipping over and tossing about various objects around the base. "Arrg!" He yelled before collapsing onto the ground, breathing heavily.

He felt a bit foolish for letting the human upset him so much, but for some reason he couldn't help himself…
"I need to get a grip if I am going to be able to thwart the Dib-thing in his attempts to best me."

He picked up a tray he had knocked to the floor and the tools it had held. "First, we'll need to fix my hand. GIR! Come hold the x-ray monitor while I do this!"

While Zim whirled around, destroying things, Gir squealed and clapped his hands gleefully. Shards of glass were delicious chips and metal tools new toys. Once the screaming and irken cursing was over, Gir obeyed, eyes turning crimson for about a millisecond."YES SIR!"

Then his eyes were turquoise again. Gir giggled. He toddled over, hefting up the x-ray for his master.

A.N. : A new co-written fic. Lil-Banshee on Tumblr and dA writes as Zim and I am Dib. Updates every Wednesday. And we don't own Invader Zim.