The silence of the control room lingered, only eased when the two tall figures breathed in as their PAKs whirled to life. The purple one set a hand on the red one's chest to help him up. He grunted and brought a hand to his head, looking at the warm, pink blood that stained his fingers when he brought it back.

It had been a long time since his own blood had been spilled, but it in no way brought the rush of adrenaline that it would have in normal conditions; on the battle field fighting for his planet and for his empire. This time it only brought forth a rush of hatred, one of which he hadn't felt since the battle for planet Vort.

"How dare they." The purple one spat.

"Easy," Reassured the other, tearing his eyes away from his blood covered fingers and to the large window. Earth still lay in the ship's sights, pathetic and small, just like the life inhabiting it. "They've won this round, yes. But this is far from over."

Their landing was masked behind a thick plume of dirt and debris, followed by the chaotic boom that gave away their rather ungraceful return. The two emerged as heroes, or rather, ione/i did. Zim watched said hero scramble out of what used to be a ship and into the open air.

The wind was as unwelcoming as it had been the first time Zim landed on this wretched planet, only now there was a different taste that accompanied its usual smog; a bitter-sweet taste of freedom. Dirt and dust clung to Zim's proud uniform as he clambered over warm metal and he fought to breathe over the mess they had created.

The cloud was being blown away, revealing the two forms to the rest of the world, and Zim watched as it all came into view; the world he had risked everything for. But that wasn't exactly true, was it? The world he sacrificed everything for was standing next to him, trying as hard as Zim was to make any sense of the temporary chaos they created. This was what he wanted—or at least this was what he had been fighting for. So, why didn't feel overjoyed?

Zim sighed and stood at his full length, and as the wind revealed the sky to him, he could only frown. Pink still monopolized the sky, looming over him like a demon. A demon he once called home, and was now peering down at him with distaste. He felt his shoulders sag as he watched the monster recede, slowly, slowly, back into space.

His proud Irken insignia on his chest was a fire burning through him, leaving a perfect shapely hole through his body. A missing chunk of his very being, a hollow spot in the very soul of him. As the distance grew between Earth and the Armada, so did the hole grow in his chest, until he felt he might topple over with nothing left to support him but his brilliant ivy skin and his tired bones. He had no idea what was going to happen now, but he was certain they'd figure it out.

They always did.

Dib found it hard to say anything over the din of people yelling. There were reporters, with microphones and lenses shoved in his face. A huge crowd of panicked people who were trying to understand what was happening. And he could see the vehicles from Membrane Laboratories coming closer, all from the huge crater the ship's crash had caused.

Here he was, known to the whole world now. It was something he'd once dreamed of, long ago. Of being known for doing something great. In fact, when he'd first started this mission, saving earth had been in the forefront of his mind. But, always, there'd been the idea of glory. Being the hero of mankind.

Now, all he felt was the urge to climb back into that ship and get the hell out of here. All the faces were a blur and he knew that this was only the beginning. Yes, he'd done what he had to do. He'd saved his people and that was wonderful. But, what else had been done? There was a chain reaction being set off here.

Dib blearily looked beside him, at the ivy skinned alien who was staring up at the retreating armada. To anyone else he appeared to be impassive. But, Dib could see the buried pain, the new emptiness that was just now setting in. His decision to take the side of his mate, a human was officially taking its toll. Zim was now cut off from the hive, from the only home he'd ever known.

Dib would be eternally grateful to Zim. But, he would also end up lying awake at night for years to come, torturing himself about that burned look on the irken's face, wondering if there was anything he could've done to make sure it had never been put there in the first place.

At that current moment, Dib tuned out the desperate humans, who were looking for answers, tuned out the large form of his father making his way through the crowd and just reached over, grabbing Zim's gloved hand. He hoped to convey that he was sorry for what Zim would have to go through now, he wanted to show that he was here for him, that he wasn't without a home or a family, because Dib would do his best to make up for the loss in any way he could.

The roar of the crowd was a buzz in the back of Zim's head as he watched the clouds envelope what used to be his home. He was pulled back down to reality, suddenly, by a soft pressure on his hand. As he whipped his head around, the sound of excited yells hit him hard, causing his head to spin. He called out for Dib and pulled himself closer, holding onto his human in fear of being swept away in the masses. He had to shout to the person in front of him, who looked remarkably like a man instead of the smeet he had first encountered.

"Dib! What do we do now?" His antennae pressed themselves flat against his head, trying to seem invisible as he grew more and more aware of the throng of eyes that were glued to him.

The human held the irken as close as he could, wincing at the barrage of people surrounding him. He could hear his father, yelling at people to get back. The shouts of body guards and police. Dib looked down into Zim's nebular eyes and searched for an answer in them. He swallowed because there was none there.

"We'll figure it out…" Dib yelled into the alien's antenna, realizing that people would want to hurt Zim or worship him, there would be no easy way of getting off this planet, of getting back into space, and that there was the small matter of the irken armada and what they had invoked by defeating them.

"We always do."

The End.


And there you have it folks. It's been a wild ride. Me and Banshee are ever so grateful for all the comments and support you all have given us. And I loved writing it with her because she is a beautiful person with a knack for writing and arting and being great so p much she's good at everything.

I asked her if she wanted to say anything and here it is, word for word:I don't know hahah I gonna miss it and I love this story and loved working on it bluhblhublhubl I'm gonna cry

She's eloquent as fuck.

Anyway, before this gets longer than the actual epilogue, let me say thanks. And also, that we're thinking of writing a sequel so... yeah.

For the last time, Lil-Banshee plays Zim and the Tallest and I, play Dib.