December 31, 2001

"It's no doubt been a horrible year for the Americans."

"Look at them. They're all so happy. It's a chance that they can all just take their mind off of what happened earlier this year." ZIM and Red watched from high above the streets of Times Square at the half million people below from their hotel room, 30 stories up. The noise was barrier breaking. The crowd was screaming, yelling, crying tears of joy. The Americans could finally say good riddance to 2001 and welcome the hopeful 2002. "Happy birthday, by the way, Red." Red chuckled.

"Only on Irk is when my birthday falls on New Years Eve. Nice try though, but I'm gonna stay at the young age of 33 for a couple months more until the Gregorian calendar says it's my birthday." He put a hand on ZIM's head. "On that day, ZIM. When this nation was attacked, I think we all turned into Americans. I realize how traumatizing for you it must've been to be here in New York as all that hell went on. It was a terrifying time. And it still is. America- No, the world is at war with someone. We don't know who yet, but whoever planned the devastation to New York, justice will be served. And it will be sweet."

"You mess with the U.S., you're messing with Australia too." ZIM jumped a bit at a voice coming from behind.

"And England." ZIM smiled as Tak stepped out onto the terrace.

"And Canada." Purple joined them.

"And even Irk, herself, is right here by these New Yorkers sides." Tenn added. The whole family stood on the balcony. Waiting for the brightly lit ball to drop. Each couple embraced their lover, waiting for that New Years kiss. Waiting for the nightmare to end.

"2002 will be different. Change for the better. I just know it. There's no way we can go lower than rock bottom that we hit this year." Red sighed. "ZIM, you and the things you've been through this year and how you managed to pull through, is admirable." ZIM smiled.

"Thanks, Red. But 2001 wasn't all bad." ZIM motioned towards his niece in Leslie's arms. "Our little Sapphira joined the family." Red nodded, he kept a warm look on his sleeping daughter. He put his arm behind his wife's back and pulled her closer to him.

"You're . . . absolutely right." Red kissed Leslie's temple.

"One minute till midnight." Purple said. "ZIM, new year resolution: Go!"

"Wha-? Oh! Uh . . . Practice inner peacefulness." ZIM said, thoughtfully. Purple's features were serious as he bobbed his head in agreement with ZIM's resolution.

"Yeah. Inner peace . . . What a chunk of sap you just spewed out of your mouth!"

"Fine! Get better at baseball, learn how to tango, get a yacht, grow in my faith, teach Sapphira how to kick inconsiderate jerks like you where it hurts." The company laughed. "But seriously. My main goal this up coming year, and I don't give a rip whether this is sappy spew, Peder. I want to change myself. This year sucked. I was in a rut and you guys helped me out. Now that I'm outta the trench, I can finally start building myself up again."

"So profound!"

"Isn't it?" ZIM grinned at his brother-in-law.

"And we're here to help you, kiddo. With whatever you need." Zee said. The family watched the big screen flash, vividly as the countdown began from ten. They stood silently, just enjoying the sound of happiness and excitement emitting from the proud Americans. Waving their nation's flag as if they were marching into a war called the Year 2002. Raising their banners as well as their voices, the cry of overwhelming joy erupted as they said these numbers, . . . Five . . . Four . . . Three . . . Two . . . One!

January 1, 2002

ZIM turned to Tak. She had tears in her eyes. "These people, Zeiden. They're so strong."

"Cuz they know they're not alone in this fight." ZIM held her hands, facing her. He closed his eyes and met her lips with his. The two closed the gap between their faces with open mouths, ready to receive the passionate kiss from the other. The couples around them did the same. Sharing a blissful moment with their sweethearts. Confetti and sirens and horns and screaming and streamers, fireworks, dancing, hugging, kissing. It was a roar. The city that never sleeps will be up all night celebrating their overcoming of 9/11. Tak and ZIM pulled away from one another. A all too familiar song blared across the city. ZIM sang with the beautiful, meaningful tune. "Should auld acquaintance be forgot, And never brought to mind? Should auld acquaintance be forgot, And auld lang syne." Red joined the boy for the chorus. Both sang quietly as if to sing it personally for their family and their family only.

"For auld lang syne, my dear, For auld lang syne. We'll take a cup o' kindness yet, For auld lang syne." Red kissed Leslie once more before both took a sip of champagne. Purple and Tenn, Zee and Grapa partook in the tradition as well. ZIM left the champagne be. He was just too much infatuated on how he survived the year.

"This feeling of a new start just makes me so . . . hopeful." ZIM said.

"I can never get enough of that feeling." Tak agreed.

"Well, Zimmy." Red looked at his watch. "The studio is holding their party yet, they're three hours behind after all. We can still catch the L.A. countdown." ZIM smirked.

"Sure! Why not! We can beam ourselves back here after the party for bed." ZIM said. He pulled out his transporter to zap them across the country to Los Angeles. The boy pressed the button that sent their physical bodies to the other city on the opposite coast.

This elated ZIM. He gets the feeling of new hope twice in the same night. Oh how good it felt to look forward to a new year, new possibilities, and new hope.