"I.....brought the pizza." was all I could get out. Zim’s alarm system was off, but I don’t know why I just walked inside. Why didn’t I knock? Why didn’t I knock?! Now I was stuck in what felt like time, worse than when Zim actually got me stuck in that time vortex. The skin I couldn’t stop thinking of was in front of me, bare. I couldn’t stop staring. I must have zoned out because I didn’t notice he had moved until he was in my face.
"Dib! Are you alright?" his gloveless hands were on my shoulders, shaking me back and forth slightly, probably trying to bring me back to Earth. "Your huge face is so white! What's wrong?" why was he half naked? Why did he take off his hoodie and his gloves in the livingroom?! No, it was my fault I should have knocked. "Dib-worm!" Zim called out once more.
"I couldn’t find chocolate pizza so I bought chocolate bars too." It was the only thing I could think of saying. It’s what I had prepared to say after hello. I guess my mind fell on plan B. I wanted my eyes to leave his chest and collar bone, but there was no way I could look him in the eye. I felt him pull me to the couch.
"Just sit there, I’ll be right back." Zim took his hoodie and some other things and left the room. I looked around. It looked like I caught him in the middle of cleaning. I face palmed and tried to calm down. I kept the boxes of pizza on my lap until my stiffy went away. I didn’t even realize I had one until I sat down. What the FUCK was wrong with me? I wonder if Zim noticed. Oh my god... Oh my god... I’m getting a hard on for ZIM! WHY ZIM?! What the hell is wrong with me? I felt panic raise in the form of my blood pressure again. A small depression started to seep into my throat causing me to have to hold back a sob. I was becoming gradually worried about my mental state. That's when Zim came back.
"Why are you so early, Dib-thing?" he didn’t sound mad, just confused. He had a new nicely pressed slenderman hoodie on now with the hood up, but he didnt put his gloves back on. He still rolled up his sleeves though. I made a mental note not to stare at his degloved hands. It was so strange to see him up close, without fighting him. It was like seeing a rare jungle cat sleep on your couch. I failed and found my eyes following his every movement.
"I got off early." Oh my god my voice cracked. Shame took over and my face fell into my hands. Why was I acting like I was on a first date or something? Wait.... Oh my god, that's exactly what this was. Well not in reality, but that’s how it felt in my head! He had invited me over and it’s just like- NO! I mentally slapped myself! He needs you for something, don’t be stupid! This isn’t a play date, no matter how casual Zim was being about it. I put my denial back on like a favorite shirt and felt the tension that we had left all those years ago. As Earth’s last hope and it’s biggest threat.
“Oh, I see. I’m sorry you had to get that garbage. Just throw it in his box.” Zim turned and pointed to the cinderblock in the corner. When I approached it with the pizza I could see the little robot thing inside. He just looked up and smiled at me like a child. I felt myself grin back as I gave him the food. I made sure that Zim didn’t see my reaction to him. I wanted to keep the tension. When I turned back, he was already in the kitchen. I walked in to smell something delicious. He was sitting at the table almost looking bored, waiting for me to join. “I made dinner.” He said almost matter-of-factly after I sat down.
“I thought you didn’t like Earth food.” I sat across from him without bothering to check the food out. I didn’t care how hungry I was, I wasn’t going to get distracted. Hell, he could have poisoned it for all I knew. Zim smiled kind of slow. “I still don’t. It’s for you.” He looked at me like I should have figured that out on my own. He made me dinner…? ………(my brain shut down for a good second)
“Are you sick or something? You keep getting paler. Maybe the smell of the food is making you ill? I probably didn’t make it right; I have no sense of taste for this planet’s food.” Zim got up and started putting the food up. “No!” I called out a little too loudly, my hand out reached in his direction. “I-I’d like a bowl. I’m actually starving.” This was so strange. All the walls that we had against one another for all these years were turning into waves. Just washing over me with force, but subsiding to a relaxing current. Zim looked back at me with a surprisingly coy smile. “Oh, okay. I’m glad you changed your mind. I would have been pissed if I had wasted my time worrying about the needs of your insides for nothing.”
I just rolled my eyes. There was no way of hiding his jackass self. He had gotten taller definitely. He even talked better now, less screaming and ridiculous banter, but he was still himself. I felt kind of relieved, but at the same time troubled. What had he been doing this whole time? And what could he possibly need me for? My curiosity proved too powerful.
“Hey Zim, what were you gonna ask me? What kind of favor does someone like you need?” I put my hands in my jacket pockets to hide my fidgetiness. I was so nervous to ask. Zim looked into the pot on the stove, then to me.
“What do you mean someone like me?” Zim seemed almost offended when I had meant it in the best way possible. He was so much more able then I was. It was a miracle and luck that I had been able to stop him all those times so many years ago. My mind began to skip and then my words stuttered.
“T-that’s not what I meant! I just meant if you can’t do whatever it is, what makes you think I can?” I tried to fully explain, but after the first sentence I bit my tongue and decided that was enough. Zim’s became a little softer. He stayed silent as he finished making the bowl of food for Dib. As he joined Dib at the table he seemed to have a darker air to him than before. “I really didn’t mean it like that, Zim.” He looked down at his bowl that looked surprisingly good.
“Zim doesn’t want to hear it. Just eat your earth slop.” Zim hissed as he fiddled with the end of his jacket sleeves. I did what I was told. Above all else…I was nervous to say the least. Between bites of the surprisingly tasty earth treat, I looked up at Zim. He was looking away from me like something interesting was on the wall parallel to us. His smooth skin stretched softly over his petite jawline. From the way it was moving, I was pretty sure he was chewing in the inside of his lip. I finished my meal in silence. When I was done I slid the bowl to the middle of the table. Zim attention finally returned to me.
“Follow me, human.” He looked down at the bowl as he picked it up, avoiding my gaze on him. After he surprisingly threw the dishes into the trash can, I got up and was once again uncomfortable by how much taller I was than him. It made me want to sit back down. True, he was a little taller than before, but I was tall for my own race. I was rooting over a good 6’1 maybe 2 now. As I looked down at him I guessed…he couldn’t have been taller than 4’1…MAYBE. I pretended there wasn’t much of a difference. At least I tried to before he led me to his elevator. He stood tall in it, barely reaching the ceiling, but there was no way I was going to be able to stand in it.
“Uh…” I started, but he just looked at me impatiently. I crouched down and eased my way into the elevator next to him. My knees bent and pressed to my chest I angled my face towards Zim, which for the first time ever was up not down.
“So…what have you been up to?” I asked uncomfortably, trying to make the conversation sound like it was with normal people.
“You’ll see soon, Dib-thing.” He was sounding colder than before. He was probably just feeling the old tension like I was. After a while of us waiting to arrive on the certain floor, Zim must have gotten bored. Hid arms crossed still, he put all his weight on one leg and pressed his hip against my shoulder and upper arm to lean on. I couldn’t breathe. Maybe it was the small space, but with that dream playing vividly in my head every time he got too close; I was ready to lose my mind.
The elevator finally opened, but Zim took his time. He stepped slowly out of the elevator and walked towards a strange set of matching man sized tubes. I followed, but took a moment to stretch and pop my back before joining him next to what looked like the control system for the mechanism. “What is this thing, Zim?” Even though I had to hide the twinge of fear in my voice, I stared up at the device with envy. He was so amazing. The crystal clear tubing was most likely hand cut my no one other than himself. The intricate layering of every cord and wire traced the lab area with such extreme design. Under all the evil possibilities of this place it was truly beautiful; just like Zim. “A multi-chamber molecule simulator.” d
“Wow….So what’s it do?” I asked in wonder as I walked up to one of the open tubes. I pressed my hand against the cold glass. When Zim didn’t immediately answer, I looked back at him to see his six sharp talons clicking away at different parts of a touch screen. He finally looked up at me and sighed. “As of right now, nothing. It’s why I need your…assistance.” Imagine that, he still doesn’t like the word help.
“Okay…well, what does it do once it works…?” I wasn’t going to just help blindly. Knowing Zim, I had to make sure I wasn’t going to comment treason if I helped fix this machine.
“It’ll….It’ll make Zim more like you.” His expression did not explain his statement at ALL. My brows furrow and my eyes widened. “UUUUUhhmmmm.” So many questions flooded my skull. ‘Organize your thoughts. Organize your thoughts. Organize your thoughts.’ “What do you mean more like me?” I asked as calmly as I could.
Zim smoothed his palm over his forehead and slicked an antenna down. “What I mean is…. It will make me able…to morph into a real human.”
“A real person. An Earthling?” I asked immediately with no control in my solid no-bull-shit tone.
“Legit Earth Trash.” He answered blankly, slightly amused with my reaction no doubt. I looked at the machine…and back to Zim who now looked at me…almost hopefully. “Will you help?”
“…..What do you need me to do?”