He let the warm water wash away these last few days of hurt and anger, blood and grime. Dib sighed and smiled softly. The danger was gone and all that was left to do was heal.

Zim stopped the Voot over the dark asylum building, letting it hover there before turning to Dib."Alright, so someone will have to admit her, correct?"

The boy shrugged. "I assume so. I've had doctors and counselors and even our teacher submit me. So...I'm not sure. We could probably keep her tied up, and leave a note on her forehead about her being insane and thinking aliens are real. They'd probably lock her up in a heart beat." Dib said bitterly. It was dark outside now and the only light came from the Asylum windows, the faint shine of the control panel and Zim's eyes which always seemed to glow ethereally.

Dib glanced down at the irken's lips and leaned forward, till they were only millimeters away. He looked into those giant ruby orbs that always seemed to draw him in, burning into his soul. "I love you." He whispered, brows furrowed.

"And like I said before...I don't need you to say it back, Zim. So, you don't ever need to. Just...don't push me away again. You were so cold. And it felt- it felt like the old days again." He shook his head, feeling his throat closing up and the pain in his head increasing because he was stupid for shaking his head after having it slammed into the ground. "I don't want that. Ever."

Zim cupped his human's face in his hands, gently, as he spoke; wanting to make sure he had Dib's full, undivided attention. "Zim loves you, Dib." He assured, his brow furrowing as he stared into those strange amber eyes. They seemed so vulnerable without the glare of his lenses to hide behind.

"Zim has always loved you." He gently pressed their lips together, gingerly working around Dib's crooked nose. He cringed away a bit, Dib's blood being something he never wanted to taste. Maybe once upon a time, before all this happened-but no longer.

"This is not the time, however." He sighed and turned back to the control panel. The Voot hummed softly as it was eased into the alley next to the asylum, And Zim popped out with a determined look on his face, making sure nobody could see them. He motioned for Dib to get out so he could fetch the doctor.

Dib obeyed, hoping out of the Cruiser and wobbling a bit. He caught himself against the vessel before he could fall over. Closing his eyes, he fought off the dizziness and thought of the kiss. It had felt like the first one in forever. It had only been three days since the last one and yet, Dib's entire being yearned to continue. And Zim had said he still loved him. Unbidden, a whole rush of giddiness rose up. The first pleasant thing he'd felt these last couple days. It felt too good to be true. And Dib wanted to bounce up and down with joy.

But, Zim was right. They had to get this problem out of the way before anything else could go down. He pushed himself away from the cruiser, minding his shoulder and opened his eyes to see the cool darkness. "Do you need any help?" Knowing Zim, the little irken had probably already done most of the work. But, Dib wanted to help out in any way possible. To show he wasn't weak despite his injuries.

Zim shook his head a bit as he dragged the female out of the Cruiser, grunting as her legs slid out of the cockpit and hit the concrete with a solid THUNK. He looked up at the human, whose expression was tinged with joy despite the situation. Zim couldn't help but smirk, wondering if the human enjoyed this a little bit, or if he really was just happy for Zim's affection. Either way, Zim had to suppress his grin as he laid the doctor across the cold ground.

A piece of paper was easy enough to find in the disgusting alley way; a crumpled, grease stained burger wrapper had jammed itself between the lid of a nearby dumpster. Zim had to keep his mind off of the fact that he was handling the germ riddled piece of garbage with his bare hands as he snatched it up. He rummaged around the alley for a writing utensil, even going so far as to search Evette's body.

But when he turned up short, he turned to Dib. He gave the human an apologetic glance before gently wiping some of the fresh blood from under the human's nose with his finger. After a few moments of scribbling, the Irken managed to smear his make-shift ink into the word "crazy" across the wrapper.

"That should do it." He nodded in approval at his handiwork before tucking it lightly into the female's shirt pocket. "Now, let's end this." He nodded to Dib before grabbing Evette's hands and dragging her around the front of the building. "Let's be fast; the last thing we need is for another human seeing me." The plopped her down near the doorway.

"Agreed." Dib had the sudden urge to lift Zim up and carry him into the cruiser, over his shoulder and make the little moron yell and-but, alas he knew he would probably injure himself horribly so instead settled for grabbing Zim's hand with his non-numb one and dragging him towards the ship. He hopped up inside of it and pulled the irken down on his lap.

A rush of relief and excitement rushed over the small alien as they made their way off in the Voot; it was over, finally. The wretched woman was out of their lives-forever, presumably. A rage still built up in his gut whenever he thought about her, and still wished desperately that Dib had let him carry out his original this way worked too, and it seemed to sit well with his human; which in the end was what mattered most.

"Away!" Dib cried stupidly once they were up in the air again, flying fast away from the Asylum. There was a low rumbling noise which after a second Dib realized was his stomach. "Oh. I should probably...eat. And shower and other human stuff." Though he loathed actually being apart from Zim he figured the irken wouldn't want to be around his gross human food or the toxic water of doom. "You can drop me off at my house if you want."

"Zim must retrieve his gloves." Zim reminded him, holding up a hand and wiggling his claws in the thick, blood-stained air. He was thankful for this, however, as he would have not have had another excuse to stay with Dib longer. Even if it meant that he had almost died, surely, in the over-exposure to the Earth's ghastly elements.

Leaves flurried about in the Membrane household's backyard as Zim eased the Voot into the fenced-off space. "I'll make it quick so you can do what you need to..." Zim said, with some hesitance.

Running a hand down the back of his neck, Dib shrugged with his good shoulder. "Well, it could take a while. I mean, you can come in if you really WANT to. I think your gloves are somewhere in my messy room."

"If they are in your room, I might be stuck in there for a while. Hours, even." Zim grumbled, but he couldn't hide the grin that was forming across his face.

Dib bit his bottom lip, to stop the smile. "Yeah. So maybe you should just stay the night. We can look for them together after I'm clean and stuff." He didn't know why he needed an excuse to keep the irken around. It didn't seem necessary anymore. And now he could tell that Zim was just looking for one. But, it was fun to play along.

Zim pretended to think about it before giving a small nod, grinning as he popped open the cockpit and Jumping out onto the cool grass. The Membrane house was a sight for sore eyes, after the events that had just transpired. "I guess Zim could spend the night-to find my gloves, of course." He turned and held out a hand to help Dib out.

"Yeah. Of course." He hoped out and led them to his backdoor, digging for the keys in his pocket and typing in the passcode all at once. With a small beep, the door opened for them and they slipped inside the dim kitchen. The soft glow from the light above his sink, allowed them to see without flipping any switches.

Dib shuffled to his fridge and pulled out two cokes, sliding one to Zim. Then he grabbed a microwave meal and popped it in. "Let me see..." Sometimes dad kept vitamins and other nifty things in the drawers that could help him heal faster. He rustled through them and pulled out a few bottles; pain killers, vitamins and his dad's invention that knocked healing time in two with only minor side effects.

Popping the tab on his soda and the lids to the pills he downed them all and washed the taste away with the fizzy drink. By that time the microwave beeped and he took out the meal of mac and cheese, grabbed a fork and shuffled back to the table. "After I finish eating, will you come with me to look at my nose?...I'm kind of afraid of what I'll see. I might be horribly deformed. Then I'll be ugly and have to wear a paper bag over my head." Not that Dib actually gave a crap.

Zim sat across from Dib, watching him with curious, wide eyes. He hadn't been sure if he should have given him any sort of medicine, due to now knowing what would affect him in which way. Watching Dib now, he felt a bit ashamed for not giving him anything; he must have been in a great deal of pain this whole time and Zim hadn't known. Of course he should have assumed, but Dib didn't even say anything. He sipped at his drink eagerly, not knowing how thirsty he had been until finally having something to quench his parched throat.

"Look worse than you already do? Is that possible?" He teased the human, giving him a wink before sipping at his soda again.

"Did you just wink at me?" Dib asked, fork stopping halfway to his mouth. He giggled before eating the warm, gooey stuff. It was microwaveable and that stuff normally sucked. But this...well he was so hungry it tasted divine. It disappeared quickly and he licked the fork before putting it in the sink, and throwing the box in the trash. He grabbed his soda and motioned for Zim to follow him up to his room.

Gaz was sitting on the cough , as per usual, head bent over her game and the tv glowing softly. "Hey Gaz." Whoa. His voice sounded funny. It was nasal because of his broken nose. Dib winced. She actually paused her game and turned around to lean against the cushions.
Squinting, she surveyed her brother's bloody clothes, the gauze on his shoulder, and his face which was bruised and broken. "You look horrible."

Dib smirked slightly. "Thanks. I try."

"What happened?" Gaz's gaze flickered towards Zim. "Did you guys get in a fight again? Or is there someone else who I have to go scare into submission?"

Zim opened his mouth to say something about how he could take care of his human, and Gaz didn't need to worry, but he shut it before doing so. He figured after all the crap that they had been through tonight, the last thing he wanted to do was anger the sister-beast.

"No. it's just...nothing. It's taken care of. No need." Her brother replied, already climbing the stairs. She shrugged and turned back to her game, ignoring them followed Dib up the stairs quietly, getting a rush of déjà vu as they reached the top of the case.

He half expected Dib to slide across the floor, but wasn't surprise when he didn't. He carried his soda along into the bathroom, where the light was best, ushering Dib in with him. "Come here and let Zim look at your face." He commanded, setting his drink on the counter.

The facet dripped a bit, making Zim feel uneasy, but was able to push it to the back of his mind upon seeing Dib's nose. It was obviously broken-bent uncomfortably in the bridge, swollen and bruised. Zim grimaced a bit at the sight. "It isn't...THAT bad." He tried to reassure.

Raising an eyebrow, Dib turned and looked at himself in the mirror. He stared blankly for a second before grimacing. "Not that bad. Pfft." Dark circles were forming under his eyes. Cautiously, he reached up and touched it, hissing and yanking his hand back almost instantly. It was fractured. The bleeding had stopped long ago and it wasn't totally horrible. He'd seen worse before. There was nothing to do but, rest and heal.

There would probably be a permanent bump on the bridge of his nose. Stupid bitch.

Sighing, Dib grabbed a washcloth that hung from the towel rack and ran it under hot water before reaching back up and lightly dabbing at the area. It stung but, eventually he got most of the blood off. Down the towel went into the little shoot under his cabinet which led to the laundry room down stairs. He grabbed his soda with his left hand and frowned. He was able to move it and little shards of pain echoed but, other than that no feeling came to his finger tips. Dib knew the soda was cold. But, he couldn't feel it.

"Eh. Hey Zim...did you give me any anesthesia for my arm?"

Zim watched Dib with curious eyes, trying to take in as much as he could in case this sort of thing ever happened again-though he was going to make sure it never did. "No, there was not enough time." He answered, a worried expression on his face. "Zim had to work fast to fight infection. You humans are prone to things like that, and your whole arm could have fallen off!"

Zim waved his hands a bit frantically, reciting what he had learned from various medical sources. He took Dib's hand into his own, tracing the pattern along the palm with his claws, softly. "How does it feel?"

Panic welled up in his chest. "Um." Oh god. Then that meant that..."I can't feel it at all." There was nerve damage. He could still move it, though. So that was definitely a plus. But, not being able to feel...Dib's breath caught in his throat.

Zim could see the panic in Dib's face as it the color drained away from his cheeks. He ushered the human to sit on the toilet, stroking his hair softly."It's alright; give it time." He urged Dib. He didn't know what else to do but to tell him that it would be alright, and to try his best to comfort him.

"Don't worry too much; you've been through enough already." He had already seen a demonstration of how fragile the human mind was; the last thing he needed was for Dib to end up like the doctor.

Dib shook his head and breathed. "Yeah. I'm fine. It's just...weird." He moved his fingers experimentally and winced when he still felt nothing. Oh well. Either it would come back, or it wouldn't. He would just have to get used to it.

Straightening his shoulder and nodding to himself, the detective stood and tugged the irken along to his room. Which was of course, a mess. He laughed softly. "Okay. They're in here somewhere if you want to look. I'm going to take a shower."

Zim gave Dib a double take, his face incredulous at the sight of the teen's room. He had remembered it being bad, but it seemed to have gotten worse in the short time it had been since he had last stepped foot here.

"You honestly expect me to find anything in this?" He asked, throwing his hands up in exasperation. The papers on the ground crumpled underneath each other, among clothes and old food wrappers. The sight made Zim cringe. He had recalled Dib rushing to get things picked up before Zim came in; what had happened to that? Was there a way to get that back? He guessed by the human's wry grin that it wasn't going to happen.

Zim waved a hand at Dib, smacking his chest lightly. "Go, then." He huffed before beginning his search. He rooted around the floor, tossing papers into the air in frustration. He paused a bit upon discovering the portrait of Dib he had drawn and smiled at it fondly. He took a moment to pin it up on Dib's wall before resigning back to his search.

The human giggled as he shut himself in his bathroom, carefully stripping. He dug under the sink and pulled out a plastic bag that he'd used when he'd broken his arm a few years ago. He slipped it over his shoulder and climbed into the shower. It was a bit hard to do everything with only one hand, as moving the other one hurt horribly, but he managed.

As he stood under the spray, several things began to sink in; he'd been shot today. The doctor was finally gone, out of their lives. And perhaps most importantly, that Zim was back in his room, everything normal again. Or at least, normal for them.

He let the warm water wash away these last few days of hurt and anger, blood and grime. Dib sighed and smiled softly. The danger was gone and all that was left to do was heal. He shut the water off and carefully climbed out, drying off and then remembering that he hadn't brought clothes in with him.

Mentally Dib face palmed before wrapping the towel around his waist and peeking his head out of the door to see Zim wading around his room, searching with a vaguely disgusted look on his face. "Hey, uh, Zim?"

Zim perked up, throwing his arms in the air with gloves in hand. "Aha!" He shouted gleefully into the cluttered loped across the room while tugging them on, feeling ecstatic to finally have them back. The familiar feel of the fabric against his hands was a welcome one. He vowed to never take them off, ever held his hands up excitedly for Dib to see. "Found 'em!" He gleamed, wiggling his fingers.

His eyes widened and Dib smiled, seeing how glad Zim was. It was pretty cute. And that was when he knew that he really was in deep. "That's great, Zim. Now could you do me a uh, favor and grab me some clothes? There should be some clean ones in that basket." He pointed towards the bed.

Zim narrowed his eyes at the human, wondering what he was doing behind the door that was stopping him from getting his own clothes. He crossed his arms are he sauntered over to the basket and grabbed a handful of material, not really sure what the human had in mind.

Still, it was nice to know that not everything in this room was covered in trash; the clothes had a lingering soap scent that was a nice change of pace for all the various scents Zim had been exposed to today. He gave them a small whiff as he walked back to the human and sighed a bit. They smelled like Dib.

"Here," He grunted, shoving the clothes in through the door. "Hurry up and get out here."

Rolling his eyes, Dib grabbed the clothes shoved at him. "Yes, your majesty." Closing the door, he looked down at the items he'd been given and sighed. At least one of them was boxers.

So, he put those on and decided that he didn't need to put on one sock and his ninja outfit. After that he changed his gauze with some difficulty. Stepping out into his room he, dropped the clothes back into his basket and turned towards Zim who stood in the center of his room. A few weeks ago he might've seemed terribly out of place. Now however...he fit. Dib bit his bottom lip and sat on his bed, yawning.

Zim looked up at Dib as he emerged from the steam filled bathroom, his gloved claws cupping his face as he savored the feel of the material for the first time in a long time. His eyes narrowed once more; he was sure he had given the human more clothes than that. But, of course, he didn't leaned forward and examined the wrapping on Dib's arm a bit; he seemed to have done a well-enough job of dressing the wound.

"Does it still hurt?" He asked, running a gentle finger along the edge of the dressing.

"Just the actual wound. I'm sure with the help of dad's pills I'll be better in no time." Smiling, he lay back on the bed and looked up at the irken who'd done so much for him. Who seemed to care despite everything and whose eyes glowed faintly, reminding him of pictures he'd seen of nebulas. "Hey. I'm...exhausted. You can stay if you want...or go. I don't mind either way."

Zim felt a bit ashamed that the human would even need to ask at this point. He thought he had made his intentions clear. He sighed a bit and gave his friend a soft smile, his magenta eyes lighting up as the smile touched them."Zim wants to stay." He admitted as he lay down, resting his head on Dib's bare chest.

"After everything that happened, do you honestly believe I would leave you alone?" He closed his eyes and felt the steady beat of the human's heart from within his breast. He let the day's course reply in his mind; this morning he had woken up with bogged down emotions, and now he was lying next to his friend after being shot at with overwhelming feelings of adoration."Nope, if you think I'm leaving, you're sorely mistaken." He stated, defiantly.

Would these strange bursts of joy ever go away? They made his chest hurt and yet, they made Dib smile. "No...I was just giving you an out, you know. Just in case." Now that Zim was lying next to him, well everything seemed okay. Everything was complete. He...he was complete. After everything they'd gone through...everything from stupid arguments to facing death, they did it. They survived and it was because they worked together and nothing could ever defeat them.

He closed his eyes. "Thanks, Zim."

Zim gave a soft hum in reply, nestling his head against Dib's warm skin. He breathed in his scent, taking everything in as the day sunk in, physically. His gut churned uncomfortably as he thought about it, and he just wanted to lay with his human and forget it had ever happened.

"That's what friends are for, right?" He asked in a sleepy tone. He thought about it and he realized-he didn't care if that's what friends did. Because that's what THEY did. They always found their way back to each other, somehow, whether they were enemies or friends. Even if Zim didn't know what they were, exactly, or what that meant; they were together. And to Zim, that was all he wanted, and all that mattered.

"Heh. Yeah. " Dib chuckled softly, sighing as he felt himself drift more and more into sleep. He knew he wouldn't have a nightmare tonight. Not after being so exhausted, not when Zim slept so close and was so warm.

Dib knew that there were so many things to think about. So many questions to ask. Things to worry about and wonder; could this thing between them last, would that evil bitch really stay put, what exactly had happened with Zim's PAK, was this an 'official' truce between them? Dib wanted to know everything about Zim and spend time with him, learn him. Learn them.

But, there was tomorrow for that. Hell. There was the rest of their lives for that.

"G'night, Zim."

"Goodnight, Dib-thing." The content Irken purred, already half asleep. He let his mind wander too far off places before finally giving in to the sleep that tugged at his conscious mind. He wasn't entirely sure why, but as his last coherent thought before surrendering to sleep left him craving ice cream.

He snored softly, his lips parted and curled slightly upwards at the corners as he slept.


A.N.: Ta-daaaaah~ All done. I hope you all enjoyed reading it just as much as Lil-Banshee and I had writing it. Thanks for all the lovely comments and favorites. It means the world to us.
We don't own IZ.