A/N: Okay... how to explain this. Zim will not think to himself in sentences or words. He doesn't have the capability to. His knowledge has been erased. So he can only think in images, feeling, and what is relative to him. So when I use things, like blood, keep in mind that he don't know what its there for, he just knows that it exist. And the only reason why he knows that it exist is because he has it too. Even with this obstacle, I tried keeping Zim: Zim-like.


Zim twitched an antenna. Maybe there was something if the air to help clue him in on this strange phenomenon. He could smell oil and blood and feel the vibrations of the creature's erratic breathing pattern. He could also sense a fast pace beating coming from its torso. But none of it could explain why it knew his most cherished word.

The sink-beast before him was a monstrous looking specimen. It was much taller and lengthier than anything else he'd see outside, and its generous height made Zim uneasy, even on its knees. Its head was large and stupid looking with an unknown material on top. Its garments were ripped and tattered, thanks to the Irken, and was absorbing the crimson substance that he assumed to be the creatures lifeblood.

Zim hesitantly took his eyes off the creature and lifted his hand to examine the blood that still coated his fingers. It was thinner than his own, more of a liquid than a goo. And the fact that the color rivaled his eyes disturbed him.

"Zim?..."

His antennas perked up in curiosity and he lifted his head, woken from his daze, to stare back at the sink-beast's creepy multi-colored eyes. The idea to remove them from their sockets briefly flashed through his mind. But that would have to wait. Right now, he had to focus on what this thing wanted and why it said his word. The ability for it to maneuver its awkward lips and slap its malformed tongue around well enough to pronounce something non-gibberish was a wonder.

Maybe this creature could be reasoned with.

"Zim!" he repeated in a show of solidarity.

Unsurprisingly, the creature didn't do anything back, just gaped at him like an idiot, obviously not intelligent enough to understand the seriousness of the situation. Just where he deemed his attempt to be a failure, it stood up, snatched up its ocular instrument from the floor, and headed for the door.

The action left Zim baffled. He didn't expect it to leave that easily. He didn't expect it to leave at all. Zim intended to kill it before it could cause him any trouble. As his mistake dawned on him, he turned to watch the creature through the open door. He didn't recognize the metal contraption on the street that the thing was walking toward.

Zim scrunched his face in confusion, not understanding what was going on.

XXX

Dib sat in his car, feeling apprehensive about everything. He sat there in silence, staring forward at nothing, unsure on how to deal with his current conundrum. He always assumed that Zim packed up and left the planet. But no, he was still here, on earth, watching him from the house...

He blinked a couple times before turning his head and glared at the little abomination; gloveless, bootless, and still covered in his blood. If not his appearance, Zim's profound shift in personality was disturbing; the way he acted, the way he attacked, the way he said his name, and the way didn't recognize the only person that ever paid him any attention.

'Maybe Zim went feral?'

The thought jolted Dib out of his daze and he leaned over to the passenger side to open the glove department and rummaged through the clutter. He felt his hand brush against a familiar object and wretched it from its prison.

Dib held the taser up for inspection and applied pressure to the buttons on its sides to test that it was still in working condition. The tip sparked with life, blue current running across the tip. The harsh crackling sound put a sick feeling in his stomach.

He paused momentarily to take a deep breath before he opened the car door, and slipped out. Wasting no time, he opened the side door and plucked out the carrier. It was bigger than a normal cat carrier, double the size, probably meant for caring more than one cat. It would be a tight fit for Zim, but will have to do.

Dib took slow hesitant steps back toward the house, trying to approach Zim as if he were a wild animal that would flee if frightened. He could see the Irken watching him with a mix of confusion and curiosity, oblivious of Dib's intentions. It wasn't until he stepped inside that Zim jarred into action, but Dib was ready for him.

Zim made a lunge at his lower half, claws at the reed, teeth bared. But before he could make contact, Dib took advantage of his length and aimed it at the alien's neck. There was a bright blue flash and a loud sickening sound, and Zim's eyes widened from shock and pain.

Dib was fixated by the sight of Zim's paralyzed body being electrocuted before hitting the floor. He waited a few secants and nudged him with his toe. Nothing. He couldn't help the feeling of disappointment that crept into his system. This should have been more of a challenge. Dib sighed.

The great battle that would have been, now a sad display.

XXX

Little by little, Zim's senses were coming back to him. He could feel himself in motion, but unable to move his body. The smell of plastic and chemicals surrounded him and agitated his antennas. His eyelids fluttered open, but he was only met with darkness. Anxiety flooded into him and his breathing became quick and uneven. His fingers curled and scratched at the walls with desperation, unable to move his arms well enough to do any real damage. When the world stopped moving, he held his breath, unsure what to expect.

He heard the creak of sliding metal behind him and something wrapped around his ankle. Zim tried to kick it off, unsuccessfully, and was pulled backwards out of the cage. He landed on a cold, hard metal surface, with the creature looming over him. The white walls were blinding and made him dizzy. Fear consumed him.

Zim flipped over on his stomach in an attempt to gain some traction under his feet, but before he could get up to run, the creature held him down. His PAK extensions erupted from his back, but the fiend latched on to the metal appendages with its barbaric hands and used some sort of primitive tool to cut them off at the joints, where they're most vulnerable. A pathetic plea escaped him as he continued to flail, but the thing held on too tight, pushing him down with all its strength. The defeat was humiliating.

XXX

Dib debated whether he should use the taser again. He was losing his grip on the alien. He was planning to sedate Zim before using the bolt cutters, but Zim was being difficult. Now, without the fear of being stabbed to death, Dib looked to the tableside for the pre-prepped syringe, and grabbed it. He pointed the needle tip upwards and pushed on the base lightly, to rid it of air bubbles, and applied the needle with force between Zim's neck and shoulder. Slowly, the alien's struggles came to a halt. He breathed out a sigh of relief and rolled in captive over, happy with the opportunity to inspect the subject without getting mauled again.

It was hard to believe that this was Zim. He was smaller than he remember, and weaker. Then again, Dib was still a child when they were last face-to-face. And seeing him without a complete outfit was weird on its own.

Dib ran his figures over Zim's ungloved hand, grazing over flaky dried blood. He winced and snatched up the rubbing alcohol and cotton swab on the sterile tray next to him and proceeded to clean the mess. Luckily, there was no unpleasant reaction when the swab ran across the hand. When he cleaned the feet, he noted that there were only two toes on each foot. He touched a toe with the tip of his finger, it was just as sharp as the claws on the hands.

'Lovely...' Dib thought with unease.

He fumbled around for the scalpel, which resulted in a cut finger. He hissed and yanked his hand away from the offending object. His face and arms were already cleaned and patched up, but he did not care to sport another bandage. It felt like he was slowly becoming a mummy.

Quickly, he treated his wound, and paid more attention when picking up the blade. He used it to slice off the alien's shirt. The fabric was surprisingly durable, built to last, and hard to cut through. He would be impressed, if he wasn't already irritated by its refusal to cooperate.

After removing the scrapped material, Dib couldn't help but stare. He'd never seen so much skin on Zim before. It looked so pristine, no bumps or dents to be seen. It was a palette of green pigments that looked like one color from afar, but up close the assortment of color was distinguishable. The dominant green was completed with a variety of dark and light shades. He even spotted some teals.

Dib wanted to touch it, but held back the urge. Instead he positioned the scalpel over Zim's crest. As he was about to carve through, he found that his hand refused him, unable to move it.

'Typical!' He thought as his lips bent downward.

With a loud groan, Dib moved the scalpel lower and begun to slice off the pants. Again, the fabric proved to be troublesome, irritating him further.

Dib ceased his actions to contemplate his discovery, or lack thereof. There wasn't anything there that could distinguish gender. He was half disappointed and half fascinated by the Irken's biology. Maybe he was wrong to assume Zim was a male. Or maybe he was giving up too easily. Irken's could have another way to identify gender, if they have it at all.

The door behind his swung open, startling Dib in the process.

"Son! Is that you?" came the booming voice of the great Professor Membrane.

Dib calmed himself before replying.

"Yeah, Dad, its me."

The Professor made broad strides, closing in on Dib.

" What are you doing here so late?" He looked over Dib's shoulder. "And what is that you're working on?" He said, pointing at Zim.

"Oh um..." Dib shifted from foot to foot, failing to keep composed. "I was staying late to work on a new project. It's..." Dib noticed the empty cage of him escaped experiment in the back. "It's a new hybrid that I've created."

"Oh!" The professor exclaimed. He held his hand to his chin and made an audible hmm.

Dib cleared his throat and looked away.

"Obviously, some sort of insect" the professor claimed.

"Obviously," Dib repeated with a light chuckle.

'If by 'insect', you mean 'alien', then yes, obviously.'

The professor looked back at his son.

"And what is the purpose of this hybrid?"

Dib could see the pet carrier in the corner of his eye.

"I'm making super pets. Pets that are super durable. Pets that can survive being hit by cars and stuff."

He cringed when his sentence ended with 'stuff'. It was an unprofessional thing for him to do.

Membrane seemed content with the answer and rewarded Dib with a hand on the shoulder. Dib's knees almost buckled from the added weight that caught him by surprise.

"That's fantastic, son!" He looked back at the 'insect' unconscious on the table, "Though, I'm not sure if anyone would want a giant indestructible bug as a pet."

Dib almost laughed.

"It um.. It's a prototype!" Dib was getting good at this lying thing. "This one is mine!"

"Now son!" Membrane was now holding on to both his shoulders. "A pet is a big responsibility!"

'Oh shit!' Dib didn't realize the conversation would head this way. 'Well...no turning back now'

"I know dad. I'm a responsible adult now. I can handle a pet."

"Weeeell, okay." He removed his hands from Dib's shoulders and gave him a pat on the head, like he was addressing a child, and made his way back out of the room.

"But remember, son." His deep imperium-like voice was heard outside of the doorway, "SCIENCE FIRST!"

Dib just stood there, staring at the spot where his dad once stood, trying to restore his brain. He didn't intend to lie his father. It even surprised him. But he did not want to risk being called insane by his own dad again. It took so long to rid himself of that title.

He squinted his eyes at Zim, as if it was all his fault. And as far as Dib was concerned, it was.

His shoulders slacked in defeat, and decided to retire for the night.


A/N: There were a few parts that I had trouble writing. When I planned for this story, I already knew what their life together would be like, but had no idea how to get Zim back to Dib's place. However! I started playing some classical music while writing, and it helps a lot with writers block.

I'm also working on another story right now called 'Pay to Play', so look out for that. Unlike this story, PtP will be a solid 'M' filled with sex, drugs, violence, and so much more. Yeah, it should be fun.

Chapter beta-read by Katherine Jasper.