I was terrified for a moment when I stepped into the tube. Zim could have been easily tricking me to destroy myself, but it’s been so long. Why would he try to kill me now? He tapped some codes into the touch screen thingy. It was all in irken so I had no idea what any of it said. Afterwards, he walked towards the other tube. He looked so worried. With his antenna whimpered to the back of his head, he was the very image of vulnerable. This was crazy. Why did he even want to be able to be human? Maybe it was for a better disguise. I honestly didn’t care much. I wanted to see if it would work. I wondered for a second on why he didn’t just steal a human if that’s all he needed. He hated asking for someone’s help so why not take someone against their will?
Just as all these question jumbled through my spinning head I glanced over at Zim. He was so pinned up in the tube. His shoulders were tightly pressed near his head in a clinch, almost as if he wasn’t sure what was going to happen to him. I placed my hand against the glass, wanting to touch him. I could never be able to explain what it was, but something inside made me want to protect him. He peeked open an eye and saw me, but I didn’t falter my glance. I could have sworn I saw him smile back at me, before he closed both eyes again. Then the light started to blind me.
There was a bright beam of light glowing at the bottom of the tube. Starting at my feet, the scan, like a wave of light started to rise up my body. I looked over to Zim, hoping for some condolence that this was the way things were supposed to work. As I tried to make out Zim’s shape in the bright lights, I was given so much more than condolence that the process was working. I was given proof. Where the cute little alien once stood, a slightly taller, pink skinned shape took his place. Pressing my hands against the glass to look closer, I watched as Zim’s antenna slit and twirled into a head full of chocolaty brown hair that framed a sweetly small heart shaped face. His magnificent magenta orbs slowly turned white than just as faintly, two just as red pupils faded to the center of them. The inside of the scan was like a whirlwind and my hair kind of got into my face too much to really see the rest of his transmutation. As the light dimmed and the scan finished a loud beep emitted and my pod opened. Without a second to spare, I ran out to Zim. He was leaning weakly against the back of the inside of the tube. His face was down and he held it with both hands. His tube still tightly sealed, I beat on the door to get his attention.
“Zim! What’s wrong?!” I begged for a sign from him that he was okay. He shook his head back and forth. I panicked, his tube refusing to let me inside. I looked around quickly, my peripheral vision catching the pile of building pipe near the south wall. My heart felt like it was in my throat and I could feel every beat in my fingertips. Zim, already as far back into the tube with his face covered, I gave a swipe like a baseball player, swinging the pipe into the front of the pod. Zim flinched, but no glass reached him. Squeezing in, I grabbed him and picked him up, carrying him over the broken pieces of the tube. When we reached an unscattered area of the floor, I sat down and slipped his much smaller form, into my lap. He was shaking.
“Zim, talk to me? What is it?!” He looked at me with wide eyes and terror on his face. He beat down on his chest with one hand and gripped his throat with the other, trying to tell me. Then I saw. He wasn’t breathing! Zim had lungs now, but his body didn’t know how to breathe! “Fuck! You can’t breathe!” I exclaimed out loud more than to him. Laying him down, he looked at me in absolute horror and confusion. I did the only thing I knew what to do in that kind of situation. Only thinking of Zim’s life in the balance, I slammed my mouth onto his, blowing as hard as I could into his new lungs. He face grimaced in pain. I leaned up and pushed hard on his chest with flat palms, forcing the air back out, manually moving his lungs for him. I put my mouth on his again, repeating myself and praying that this worked. Finally, after a third hard push, Zim coughed and inhaled on his own, gasping.
“Oh thank God.” I exhaled, releasing the rest of my panic and letting myself fall on to the ground as well in relief. Zim layed there for a few moments, almost as if he was testing his lungs on his own. I sat up and looked at him from the side. “Way to scare the shit out of me, Zim. Damn.” I almost laughed. He smiled at me with his new lips and snickered as well. He touched his face as he smiled and felt his lips and his new teeth. “Ew…my teeth are flat- oh wait these ones aren’t; why are the ones in the back sharp and flat?” He asked so confused. I’ve never seen him make a face like this. His fingers stuck in his mouth made him look even funnier. I laughed so hard I snorted.
“Stop laughing at me, human!” He demanded, his new cheeks blushing in embarrassment of his own wonder. “Okay, okay, I’m sorry. Haha..” I sighed from the good big laugh. He looked at him in amazement. I twisted one of my fingers into his new almost wavy short brown hair. “Wow…I can’t believe it worked.” I couldn’t help, but want to touch him. This was crazy, we just changed his SPECIES. I couldn’t just sit there and not be amazed. Zim blushed as I touched him. I didn’t think of it much until I saw his face all red. It made my face lit up as well and kind of tucked myself in. Hiding my face behind my knees, I pulled them to my chest as we sat there next to one another.
“Well…anyway, it’s definitely a success.” I stood up and reached my hand out for him. I looked down at him for a moment, but he finally took it gladly even though he didn’t need it. When I stood next to him, he was only half a foot taller than before. I tried not to let what I was thinking show through my smile. He looked at me grumpily. “I had hoped it would make me at least almost as tall as you.” He mumbled unhappily. I smiled bigger at him, but then looked down to see I was still holding his hand. I snatched it back, surprising him, obviously forgetting they were as well. Then he looked passed me and yelled out loud. “AAA!!!” He pointed angrily to his broken glass pod. “What have you done!?”
I rolled my eyes. “Look, I broke it to save you. Calm down.” And just like that things were back to normal. Well, as normal as we got. He stomped over to the machine and turning around, putting his back to it and glaring at me. He lifted a strongly pointed finger to his right and pressed a button. What was left of the glass door released and slid open. Zim twitched in anger when more pieces of the door broke off as it moved. He continued to stare at me. I guess he was angry I wasn’t psychic and didn’t know there was a button to open the door.
“Why the fuck didn’t you say something?!” I yelled back, not wanting to admit I felt like an ass. He snapped back as soon as I replied.
“Excuse me for being too busy with suffocating to answer you!” He stepped towards me with a hand clinched into a fist. In the same motion, he stepped on a shard of glass with his new soft feet. Jumping up on one foot he cried out. “Damn your species squishy weak skin.” He reached an arm out to me and a kinder face. “Get me upstairs, Dib.” He was pouting, probably from trying to hide how much it really hurt from me. A little worried, I did what I was told without another pissy comment.
Back upstairs, I carried him to the couch and sat him down. Without his permission, I lifted his foot up to my view. “It was a clean cut so there’s no glass in it. You’re lucky, getting glass out of your foot does not a good day make.” He just pouted. “Spare me your planet’s “word of wisdom”.” I chuckled, but said nothing. I guess he thought I was trying to teach him something. I walked into the kitchen and got a cloth, wetting it a little. When I walked back into the living room, I wished I had brought my HD camera. Zim was sitting upright on the couch and was still propping his hurt foot on top of his other knee, but instead of looking at his injury…he was looking at his toes. He was so into looking at his own foot, Zim didn’t even see me staring. He had his littlest toe in between his pointer finger and his thumb. “It’s just…so tiny…” He mumbled to himself with an amused grin. I slowly pulled my phone out of my pocket and opened the camera app. Praying that it would load before Zim noticed me, I waited quietly. Just as it opened, Zim put on an even more adorable smile, like he was proud of himself. I took the picture, but forgot it would make the camera noise. Luckily, before Zim even looked up at me, I had the phone back in my pocket. He still blushed and snapped his hands back to his sides.
“Uh- yes, clean my wound. Make yourself useful.” He crossed his arms and pouted again. I felt ashamed, but I admitted in my mind that I thought he was cute. In fact, he was adorable. I favored his true form, but he could have been the most popular kid in school if he had looked like this. Any girl would have swooned over him, even if he was as short as he was. The thought pissed me off so much it cautiously made me uncomfortable. Suddenly, I didn’t want to let him outside like this.
“Sure…” I muttered and bowed in front of him to clean the blood off his foot. Zim looked down at the messed cloth. “Our…our blood is the same now…” He mumbled in wonder as he studied the color. I shrugged, not that amazed by it. “I wonder….” He felt towards his back. “My pak was supposed to still be there….but humans have their own process for energy…so…where..?” He didn’t seem to be able to find anything.
“Let me look.” I told him, without thinking. “Okay, tell me what you see, ‘fellow’ earthling.” He giggled to himself sarcastically as he turned around on the couch. I was about to feel through his jacket, but he took both his hoodie and his shirt off for me to see his bare back. My hand hesitated over his newly warmed skin. I found what I was looking for. “Well…?” Zim asked, waiting in suspense.
“WELL…”I repeated him to start. “There are…small rounded areas under the first layer of skin. They’re in a triangle pattern just like on your pak, and they’re….they’re actually UNDER your skin.” I explained. He was quiet. “I wonder…” He started again. I had placed my palm flat on his back, right on top of one of the bulbs. When it suddenly moved, it started me. “Aaah-!” Zim hissed in pain. “It hurts when I try to use it. I’ll work on that in the programming next time.” He mumbled to himself, obviously making mental notes.
“That’s crazy…It’s like you grew over and around it. Does anything else hurt? I can’t believe that’s in you and it’s not messing with any of your organs or skeletal structure…” My mind couldn’t really wrap around how it was working, but I guess it was no different than when people are born with a certain mutation. Like someone with an extra toe or hump. I could never understand how it physically feels, but it never really seems to bother them all too much. This could just be seen as a small mutation.
“I’m suppose I’m going to have to get used to not using my pak for a while.” Zim looked a little sad at that. I thought hard about what was really differing him from me now. He had pink flesh, hair, the same bones, eyes, and organs. Zim was human now. Was there even a fight to be had anymore? Zim slipped back into his clothes as I thought things over to myself. Then he glared at me. “At least until my TUBE’S fixed! You know, Dib? Since you BROKE IT!” His voice varied in different loudness levels as always. I rolled my eyes, cleaning the little bit of the blood left on his foot.
After the blood kind of stopped, I pulled out my wallet and slipped out on of the extra band aid I carried with me. Zim looked strangely upon me. His gaze grew even stranger when I placed the little sticky tape over his cut. “So it’s a medical device? Do you always carry things like this around?” I felt myself smile sadly as he asked me this. “My uh…mother used to always carry them when I was young. Carrying them around now just kind of keep her with me.” I just softly gazed at Zim’s new tiny foot and gingerly put it down before I looked back up at him. His countenance killed the soft moment. “Zim didn’t really understand any of that.” Sighing, I sat on the other side of the couch. “Yeah, I figured. You are still an alien, after all.”