A/N: Hey guys! Time for another story by me!

This story is special though, because it was actually a request from Invader Pinn. She had this idea that Zim goes to earth when he is still a smeet, but arrives when Dib is older. Now being Me, I took this many ways. This is the idea we finally decided on.

Please forgive me because this story is completely OOCness. Not my usual style but I think after this chapter you won't have too many gripes about it, I hope...

Because she wishes to work on it with me, this story is likely to continue. However may I remind those that follow me as an author and alter all newcomers to the fact that I continue my stories on a Reviews per Chapter basis.
That means I look at how many reviews a story gets per chapter and then decided which story to do the most work on. If you wish for a lot of work to get done on this then you Must leave a review.
Anything more than 'please continue' is appreciated.

Without further to-do! Enjoy!


Chapter 1 – Bullies

"Give it up Zim! You're a weakling that will never amount to anything!" the Irken smeet named Red leaned back against the wall in an attempt to look cool as he stared at Zim. His best friend/crony Purple laughed beside him.

Zim felt his emotions creeping up on him. As hard as he tried, he always ended up feeling something. Feeling emotions was a very Un-Irken thing to do, and it was considered extremely disgraceful to show those emotions. Zim remained in his seat at the lunch table. He kept his eyes on his books but he couldn't keep Red's voice from reaching the audio receptors in his antennae.

"Hey Pur, I think he's ignoring us."

Purple folded his arms pretending to look insulted, "How rude! Doesn't he know that he's supposed to respect his tallers?"

Zim mumbled under his breath and ended up with a strong arm pressing down on his head. Red was there, using him as an arm rest, sneering down at him. Zim just continued staring at his books. Making eye contact only encourages them, he reminded himself.

Red snickered and pressed down harder, moving his arm so that it rubbed painfully over Zim's antenna. "Speak up Serazime! It's rude to mumble."

"Come on now Red," Purple said, resting his arm on the other side of Zim's skull. "Poor Zimmy is defective. You gotta go easy on him." Purple lifted his arm then reached out and grabbed Zim's antenna. He pulled it down painfully, forcing Zim's head back until he was unwillingly staring straight up at them. Zim let out a grunt of pain. "See! Now that there are no books in front of his face, we can hear him much better."

Red laughed. "You're completely right Pur!" he said in mock surprise. His eyes bore into Zim. "So Zim, wanna run that by us again?"

Zim tried to pull his head away but that only made Purple laugh and pull down harder. Someone's knee dug into his back so that he couldn't slide back to lessen the pain. In the end Zim realized his only choice was to say something. He mumbled his words, earning him another hard yank on his antenna. Zim tried desperately to keep his large pink eyes from watering. Last thing he needed was for them to think he was crying.

"Louder, Zim!" Red all but yelled at him.

The emotion that Zim had tried to keep hidden bubbled to the surface, "I SAID YOU'RE ONLY AN INCH TALLER!" He yelled at them. The downward pressure on his antenna weakened somewhat, but the grip on it only increased till Zim was sure Purple meant to break it.

Neither Red's nor Purple's expressions changed with the outburst; but it was obvious that they wouldn't get mad. They were true Irkens; their emotions, if they had any, would be disrupted by their ID PAKs. All that Zim's small loss of control had done was to increase their amusement in torturing him.

"Hey Red," Purple snickered, glaring at Zim and swinging his hand side to side with Zim's antenna, "I think Zim was being rude to us again. It sounded like he doesn't think being tall is important."

"You know Purple… I think you might be right!"

Red stuck out his foot and pushed the leg of Zim's chair right out from underneath him. Zim toppled to the floor, while Red and Purple laughed. Zim turned himself over trying to quickly stand up before what he knew was coming, but didn't make it in time. Red's foot caught him right in the middle of his Squeedlyspooch. Zim's tormentors walked off still laughing.

"See ya round Zim!" Red called back over his shoulder.

Zim held his torso, coughing. Red had kicked hard this time; not that any of his kicks were ever light, but something must have really pissed him off today. Zim freed one arm to push himself into a sitting position. The pain from his sensitive antennae left him feeling dizzy and nauseous. It was a few minutes before he felt confident enough to stand.

As Zim was gathering up his books, another smeet named Skoodge walked up to him. Skoodge picked up a book that had spilled onto the floor and held it out to Zim. Zim snatched the book out of his hand without even acknowledging him. Skoodge was also picked on, not because he was 'defective', but rather because he was short. He was a whole 2 inches shorter than Zim, who was average height in their class.

From the corner of his eye Zim could see that same look of pity that he always got from Skoodge.

"Zim… You need to stand up to them. You…"

"Thanks for the help." Zim grabbed his last book and turned in a hurry, heading out of the cafeteria. The last thing he needed was advice from the only other smeet that Red and Purple picked on; and even if they did call him names, Skoodge had never gotten the kind of physical torment that Zim was always dealing with. Skoodge was short, but he was also smart, and the teachers loved him; that alone was enough protection from any bullying.

Skoodge called after him as he left, but Zim ignored him.

Zim sat through his classes the rest of his day as he always would; copious note taking, trying to pay attention and not look confused, and of course hurrying into the hall so he was never left in a classroom alone.

By the time he got back to his room for the night, Zim was exhausted. His last class had been completely focused on the inner workings of the Irken PAK, something that he could never understand. It was hard enough just maintaining the mental concentration needed to control the PAK's complex equipment. Understanding how the PAK translated his thoughts into actions was far beyond him.

Zim was crashed on his bed when his roommate Larb walked in. Larb didn't even react to him; just went straight to his desk in the corner and started working on something. He worked for a few hours then climbed into bed and turned off the light.

Zim was still awake.
He hadn't moved a muscle since he had first lain down. Twice he considered switching to hibernation mode but rejected the idea each time. Stupid broken PAK… he sighed heavily into his pillow. He felt completely worn out and wanted to just spend some time where he didn't have to think, but he knew that sleeping meant nightmares. As much as he tried to fight it, exhaustion caught up to him and dragged him in unconsciousness.

In the morning Zim awoke when a pillow was thrown at his face. He sat bolt upright, his body shaking as the last remnants of a nightmare clung to his half-asleep mind.

"You were doing it again…" Larb said as he got up to recover his pillow. Zim muttered a small apology. Larb sighed. "Jeeze… Why do I have to be the one stuck rooming with you? Damn it Zim! It's the same thing every night! I don't care if you're failing in class but don't go dragging me down with you!" Larb got up and stomped out the door for his morning cleansing.

Zim sat up slowly, hugging his arms close to him. The one tonight had been worse than normal; he couldn't stop the shaking. With deep breaths, he forced his goo-pump rate down. If he was still upset when Larb came back he'd be sure to get yelled at again. Larb might even follow through with his threats to report Zim as damaged; if he did that, Zim would almost definitely get decommissioned.

When Larb finally came back, Zim had stopped shaking and was preparing to go to cleansing himself.

XXX

"Okay Smeets." Their instructor Varshlez stood up in front of the class; his bright amber eyes scanned the classroom with their normal chipper gaze. "Today we're taking a small fieldtrip up to the new battleship, The Massive. Our Almighty Tallest Miyuki is currently visiting Center City and has allowed a few classes to take a quick tour of the new vessel.

The Smeets around him cheered at the thought of not having homework. Zim sat quietly at his desk in the far back corner. It made no difference to him where class was held. Field trips just meant that the Instructors were paying less attention than usual as to what their class was doing.

"Alright now everyone needs to get into pairs. If there's one left over then we can have a group of three."

Zim gulped. Pairing up? That's not good. He turned to quickly look for Skoodge as his only chance for a partner, but he saw Skoodge had already been claimed by Pinn who everyone knew had a crush on him. In a panic Zim searched the room hoping there was just one other smeet that wasn't paired up. He was out of luck.

"Excuse me, Instructor Varshlez." Red stood and raised his hand.

Zim ducked his head knowing what was coming next.

Red confirmed his fears as he continued, "I think Zim doesn't have a partner." Instructor Varshlez looked around the room asking if anyone else was partnerless. Red cleared his throat loudly. "He could pair up with me and Purple," he offered. Varshlez didn't notice, but Zim saw Red's wicked smile very clearly.

Purple raised his hand and helpfully added that he didn't mind that arrangement. So, without anyone asking Zim his opinion, it was decided.

XXX

Aboard the Massive, Soldiers, Pilots, and Technicians alike were having trouble avoiding the tiny smeets that ran excitedly around the ship. The Instructors had lost all control of the situation after Red and Purple had hijacked the ship's loudspeakers and announced that fresh doughnuts were being made in the cafeteria.

When all his classmates had run off, leaving him alone, Zim followed after them; somewhere along the way though, he found himself lost in the giant ship. He had somehow gotten into a completely deserted hallway. Zim felt the panic threatening to creep up on him. No Irkens meant no Witnesses if he ran into Red and Purple. Zim ran down the hall as fast as his tiny legs would carry him.

Up ahead he saw the back of one of his classmates who was bending down as if fixing his boot. Relief flooded Zim as he hurried over to the other smeet.

"Hey! Do you know where we are? I'm totally los…" His eyes opened wide in terror as the smeet stood up; the top of the smeets head reaching 1inch over his own.

Red turned around, a malicious smirk crossing his face. "Hey there Zim. You lost?"

Zim took a step back. Red matched it. Zim retreated another step. Again Red matched it, keeping the distance between them small enough that if Zim turned to run, Red would catch him easily. Zim took one more step and his back ran into something.

Zim dived forward just as Purple's arms closed around the space he had just been standing. He pushed himself to his knees only to see Red and Purple closing in on him. Zim concentrated all his energy into everything he had practiced, and when they dove for him, Zim extended his PAK legs and leapt over Red's head.

The goo rushed in his hearing as fear propelled him down the hall. The only things he was conscious of were the ground in front of him, and the angry shouts from behind as Red and Purple used their own PAK legs to chase him.

They chased him down two hallways, through a storage room (knocking over a Technician carrying a large box of delicate computer components in the process), and back out into the hall; all the time, Red and Purple slowly closed the gap between them.

At one point Zim heard Purple laugh from less than a foot behind him. Zim closed his eyes as he dropped to the floor and swung up all the sharp tips of his PAK legs. Purple yelled out in pain. Zim didn't stop to look at what he'd done, just got back up and ran.

A few minutes later he sat in a small dark room, trying to control his heavy breathing. He could hear Red and Purple's swears echoing up and down the hallway. His goo-pump beat against his chest. Slowly the voices of Red and Purple died down.

Zim hugged his body into the small corner in the room. His faulty PAK did nothing to stop the tears that streamed down his face. I can't do this anymore… I wish I were dead.

Zim lost track of the hours he spent hidden in that small room. He had nearly fallen asleep when a voice called out into the darkness.

"Zim? You in here?" It was Skoodge. Zim didn't move or speak; he was only aware enough use one of his PAK legs to lightly tap the metal floor. Skoodge heard the soft scratching and found Zim huddled up in the corner. "Oh Zim…" It was that same look of pity.

Normally Zim would have felt angry, but this time all he could do was ask, in a rough voice caused by hours of silent sobbing, "Is this my fault?" Skoodge said nothing, just sat down with him.

Skoodge sat with Zim for an hour before he could finally coax Zim onto his feet. Zim had said nothing since that first question. He was lost in his own thoughts, unaware of where Skoodge was leading him. Skoodge took him a ways away then directed him into another room, this one just as dark as the last. Zim stood by the door, his eyes glassed over, not really seeing anything.

"Zim!"

Zim looked up when Skoodge yelled his name. He recognized that look of pity again. It made him want to hide; instead he forced a smile. "I'm okay. Sorry about that…"

"You're not okay. Nothing is okay. The way Red and Purple pick on you, and the way you let them. With you around Red and Purple act like they rule the planet. Why can't you ever just stand up to them!?"

Zim flinched at Skoodge's harsh words.

"See! This is what I'm talking about. You never say anything… They'll never leave you alone Zim. Not as long as you're on Irk."

Zim looked around for the first time since he'd first fled from Red and Purple. He saw Skoodge standing in the middle of a fairly large room. Bubbled out of the walls were doors leading to the attached Escape Pods of the Massive. His eyes moved down back to Skoodge, but the smeet wasn't in the middle of the room anymore.

Zim felt something slam against his back. His tiny body flew ten feet through the air and into the open panel; his face smashed into one of the cushioned seats. Zim jumped to his feet, panicking for the second time in only a few hours. He ran towards the hatch but the door slammed shut in his face.

Skoodge's voice was muffled as it came through the wall. "Sorry Zim. But this is the only way to stop them."

Zim pounded on the door with his tiny fists, his voice had completely deserted him. His antennae became acutely aware of every sound, every mechanical whirring, every electrical pulse, as Skoodge sent his tiny escape pod hurtling out into space.