Happy First Day of School everyone! Here's a reminder that I miss you!


As Gaz stormed out of the room, a thoroughly soda-soaked Zim began to consider the possibility that Dib had lied to him, and affection was not confessed by standing on one's kitchen table and screaming lymrics of his "undying devotion" at the top of his lungs.


Gaz wasn't sure if Zim was just stupid, or genuinely thought he was being seductive, but she seriously doubted anyone-least of all her-would be charmed by a little green idiot holding out an uprooted rose bush with the thorns still twinkling with morning dew.


"It was our dog's name. We don't really remember what happened to him," Dib explained as the three ate in the cafeteria. Zim couldn't help but notice the tension that flooded Gaz's muscles as she quietly put her headphones back in her ear and ignored them for the rest of lunch.


If here brother was a headache, Zim was a migraine: this theory was quickly turned into a fact as said alien marched along beside her as though he'd been invited and screamed at anyone who tried to cross the street onto their side of sidewalk.


"Nonsense! Zim will never allow his love-pet to expire! Age will cease to be a problem when she reached her preferable age. My ingenious and the power of Irken technology will take care of the rest!"

"Call Gaz a love-pet to her face. I dare you."


Zim agreed that there was something very private about the darkness. He thought about this unlikely tenderness as Gaz struck a match and happened to catch him looking at her, as he always did; ruby orbs watching the striking contrast between her pale skin and the pitch black.

She held the box out to him, "What? You want to light one?"


"That's what you get when for screwing around in here," she hissed as she carefully dabbed a paper towel in his watering eyelids, pointedly ignoring how uncomfortable his pained noises made her. "New rule: nobody in the kitchen when Gaz is cooking, okay?"


She couldn't deny how unbelievably terrifying Zim was as he snarled and gnashed his teeth at the now wounded werewolf, crouching protectively in front of where she sat nursing an ankle. Unsurprisingly it howled, licking a badly bleeding flank as it burnt a path into the night.


"It is not thievery! You are my love-pig. As you are mine, everything you own is also mine, and vise-versa. So you see why it was perfectly alright for Zim to take your video game without first asking, yes! . . . Eh . . . You are going to hit me, aren't you?"


"So, if Zim can preserve a flower by squishing it," he gestured vaguely between them, looking slowly up at her, "is it possible to preserve your affections by giving the flat dead plant to you?"


"Of course Zim would give his life for his future bride! There isn't an Irken alive who wouldn't hand over his PAK in exchange for the safety of their beloved . . . . What?"


. . . How was one supposed to respond when one's boyfriend very publicly and very loudly announced that they had every intention of one day proposing to you?


"It's an umbrella," she explained, shaking both umbrella and large yellow raincoat in his direction. "They are specifically designed to protect you from the rain so that you don't get burnt, and I don't get glue all over me whenever the weather is bad."


She realized as Zim towered over her, eyes aglow with primal dominance as he tasted the remaining smell of HER in the air, that she was going to have to figure out a way to change the sheets without Dib noticing any stains.


"The tank had MEAT in it," Dib insisted, as though he was the only sane person in the room of disapproving glares and sniffles. "I was just trying to clean it! How was I supposed to know that it wasn't real water?"


There really was no sight more perplexing or amazing, Dib decided, than Zim holding Gir on his hip, muttering words of comfort to his sobbing robot while Gaz let him hold her hand.


"It's a gauntlet with a button on it," Gaz pointed out slowly, as though he hadn't quite realized that.

"Yes," Zim said, "And quite literally the key to my destruction."


Dib was forced to woefully accept the fact his camera was destroyed, and there was no longer any way to retrieve the picture of Zim disguised as a fat woman.


Zim couldn't help but think, as his mate came undone beneath him . . . like a successful chemical compound, they mixed together perfectly.


Dib looked at Gaz, who remained completely impassive, arms folded. He looked at the floor and the massacre of innocent inanimate objects that had once been decorations in his living room. He looked at Zim, who breathed raggedly with his teeth out, shoulders hunched and dominant as he tried to stare down his sister. An eternity of panting and tension later, Gaz quirked her brow.

"Are you done now?"


It wasn't like any material she'd ever felt; it was light like tissue paper and fell over her head, conforming to her body easily. No zippers or button, just wonderful material and plenty of breathing room. She didn't even tense when she spotted him watching her in the mirror, leaning leisurely against her doorframe with a strangely serious, hooded look in her eyes.

"Why are you wearing Zim's tunic?"


Zim was well aware his mate was not an especially cheerful sort. But he was quickly learning to treasure the moments when she smirked at him, and he realized that all along, that had been her true smile.


If Zim wanted to break every mirror in his home, shatter every reflective surface within the tri-state area so he wouldn't have to ever again see the difference between himself and his life-partner, he'd do it, silly human superstitions be damned.


Later, Zim would remember that Gaz wasn't as invincible as she appeared to be, and that maybe traveling at the speed of sound for the first time without warning wasn't the best of ideas.


"Look kid, I'll just make this as clear as I can," Red said as his people gawked at the Earthanoid on the screen who'd dared to invoke an audience with their Tallest. "You want Zim off of the table? Fine. But you'll be asking him to give up his life, his meaning as a soldier. He won't be our problem anymore. You'll be his new Tallest. As a Bonded Mate, you will literally mean EVERYTHING to him, and you will forever be responsible for the wild force you have tamed."


Humans generally thought of gain revolving around monetary values. Zim liked to think winning was less about how much green paper he had, and more on the fact of all of the pig-smellies in the universe, Gaz still chose him.


It seemed impossible that even now, after everything she had given up, there was still more she had left to give.


"To the world, you may be just one person. But to one person, you are the world."