Extra Disclaimer - I haven't watched Invader Zim in a loooong time. Which means, I hardly remember how the characters are supposed to act. So I'm sure there's bound to be moments of OOC-ness for at least three of the characters in here, but... I had fun writing it anyway. I hope you have fun reading it.

One – Dib's POV

You never realize how much you miss something once it's gone from your life. Since we first met, what, six years ago now, we'd been at each other's throats, always trying to one-up the other, to prove who was better, smarter, faster. As we got older, the fights became less about competition and more about fun. To see if we could. I wondered when our enemy status had become friend status. Wondered when the end of a battle would culminate with us sitting together on someone's roof, sharing a case of soda and watching the oblivious city. I never thought our lives would become so routine that when something momentous happened, it would be emotionally shattering.

"So you're really going." Zim said in a monotone.

"Yeah." I replied lamely. "…It isn't so bad. I can come home on breaks, on weekends." I sounded lame even to my own ears. Zim's red eyes closed slightly and I knew he'd heard the lameness too. "I can't stay here forever, Zim. The real world is fucked up, sure, but it's still the real world."

"You're a genius. You don't need college."

"Did you just compliment me?" I asked, smirking.

He bared his teeth. "You're not smarter than me."

I couldn't help but laugh. "Look," I said, "I can't keep putting this off like I have been. My dad isn't as oblivious as he was when we were kids. Gaz got an internship testing video games, so I'm the only one home. If I don't go to college, Dad's gonna get suspicious. And if he finds out about out about you, we're both dead."

I could tell from Zim's expression he wasn't buying it. I had started applying to colleges the moment I got my SATs back. I didn't know if it was because deep down I just wanted to get away from this stupid city and Zim, or if it was really what I wanted to do. Maybe both. A degree in engineering, physics, aeronautics, and astronomy would definitely give me an advantage over my Irken enemy, but now it all seemed so pointless. We both knew the Irken invasion wasn't coming. We both knew Zim wasn't leaving Earth. We both knew our battles to save and/or end the oblivious planet were simply because we had nothing better to do. After all, our school didn't care about grades or the crazy shit that happened that should've put a normal school on lockdown. I wondered if Zim even understood the concept of 'normal'.

"Well, what am I supposed to do while you're gone?" he asked me. I studied him out of the corner of my eye. It hadn't taken Zim long to figure out that humans matured over the years. I mean, he watched me go from four feet tall to six feet seven inches, never mind the fact puberty reared its ugly head both in me and Gaz. Besides that, people actually started to question why there was an eleven year old kid starting ninth grade. It didn't take Zim long to figure out a way to go from three feet tall to five nine. He was lanky, skinny, but he could still bend a steel rebar clear in half. I kept my hair short as a rule; Zim acquired a black wig from somewhere that was made of long, soft, synthetic hair so it could hide his antennae better. He even upgraded his ocular implants, which made my eyes hurt when I thought about it. I like my glasses, thanks.

"I don't know." I replied finally. "What is it you normally do when I'm not around?"

There was the sound of crunching metal and the shingles beneath him became dark with soda. He glowered at me a second later. "What can I do?" he snapped. "There's nothing for me to do!"

I stared at him for a while. "Are you seriously that upset about it?" I asked, incredulous.

Zim sputtered. "You're the only filthy human I feel like dealing with."

"You could always go exploring the universe."

"Dib, shut up." Zim growled. Then he straightened a moment later. "I could go with you!" he said excitedly.

I felt my jaw drop open in surprise. "And what would you do, Zim?" I asked, unsure of how to feel at his declaration. "It's not like I'd have as much free time as I do now. Besides, there's no way you could get away with everything you've been getting away so far."

"So you're saying I can't hack the system at this college of yours?"

"No." I sighed, rubbing my temples. "Zim, the school isn't like those here. I've been to it. People actually ask questions there." It had been bad enough with my father there. His big name and accomplishments hadn't made the dean bat an eye. I'd been accepted on my merits and grades, not because of my bloodline. "No, Zim, you can't go with me."

He stood abruptly and glared down at me. "So you're just abandoning me to this filthy human cesspool?"

I gaped. My god, Gaz had been right. When I'd told her what I'd intended to do she'd given me one of those superior looks and said, "You know, Zim's gonna blow a gasket. You and him, you're like attached at the hip. Is he why you've never had a girlfriend?" I'd hit her hard for that one. She'd punched me so hard I had a black eye for nearly a month. I watched Zim fume for a minute longer.

"I'm not abandoning you to anything. I'm just saying I'm going and you can't go with me."

"Bullshit, Dib. You're just running away!"

I stood and towered over Zim, and I saw the loathing in his eyes at that. He could never stand the fact he was short. "Look," I snapped, "I'm not abandoning you. If I were to do that, I wouldn't have even told you I was leaving! It's not like I'll be gone forever. I'll be coming back. You can survive a semester without me. Play with GIR or something." He glared at me, red eyes smoldering. I was sure he wanted to murder me at this point. "Zim, we're friends, aren't we?" I asked. "I don't abandon my friends."

He stiffened and his pale skin turned paler. "We aren't friends." He snapped. "We were never friends."

I stood there, unsure of how to respond. He folded his arms over his chest and gave me a look of superiority. He always managed to look that way, and it irritated me.

"So run away, Dib. Run away like a little girl. I'll just bide my time and destroy you when you least expect it."

"Zim, you're a complete, fucked up, bastard." I growled. I started for the side of the roof where it would be easier for me to jump down.

"Don't you walk away from me, Dib!" Zim yelled behind me.

"Well, you're certainly not making me want to stay and argue with you!" I snapped. I'd made it to the edge of the roof and was reaching for the ladder when something hard struck me right between the shoulders. I yelled as I lost my balance and started over the roof's edge. My fingers caught the gutter edge and a sharp, searing pain lanced through them, up my arm, and into my brain. For one instant I was weightless and then I crashed onto the front lawn on my back, all the breath forced out of me. I lay there stunned, my fingers numb, staring up at Zim, Zim's roof, and the distant sky above them.

"Dib?" I heard Zim calling. "Dib? Are you alive?"

Who the hell dies in our stupid town, anyway? I wanted to scream at him, but I decided trying to breathe again was a better option than venting my anger at a xenophobic freak with height insecurities. I pushed myself up after a few moments and looked at my left hand. Blood, white bone, and lacerated flesh, sinew, and muscle were all that was left of my four fingers. There was no pain anymore, just numbness. If I'd never met Zim I'd probably be freaking out at an injury like this, but since I had met Zim, it didn't faze me at all. I used my right hand as leverage to push myself up. My dad had machines that would make my hand as good as new. Food and sleep would help with the blood loss.

"Dib?" I heard Zim call. "Dib? Dib?!"

I started walking, ignoring him because I knew that would irritate him more than if I dignified him with a response. I heard him scrambling down off the roof to follow me, so I turned and flipped him the finger, still walking toward my house. He froze on his lawn, just staring at me. I couldn't bring myself to care. Tomorrow, I'd be starting a new chapter in my life, hopefully one without Zim. Still, I knew that was impossible, but a guy can dream, can't he?