it had been many years since Dib had last seen Zim. he was 21 now, and was in college. over time he'd forgotten about the invader, as just like the irken himself, his memory faded into nothing but an old blur of his childhood sometimes stirred up by certain smells or sounds. a feeling from long ago that awoke in his subconscious when he smelled rain or heard the blast of a laser on TV.
Dib was on his way home, driving his new car down the short-cut he'd discovered yesterday. by driving along the road that sliced through the woods, he could get home faster than if he'd taken the one that twirled around around the city. trees whooshed past him as he drove by, blending into a single blurry mass. there was no one else on this road, and it was rarely patrolled, so he figured he could do a little fast driving.
he was enjoying the feeling of the speed when something green launched itself in front of his car. Dib flinched and gave out a startled shout, slamming his foot unto the breaks. the shiny black car skidded to a halt, just as the green thing disappeared into the trees on the other side as fast as it had came. his panting quickly dying down, dib let his mind start asking questions. what was that? was the very first in the mental onslaught. then another, deeper one pushed it's way up and rose from the bowels of his memories, stirred by the familiar shade of green. that couldn't have been Zim, could it?
"no, i haven't seen Zim in ages." Dib said, his old habit of talking to himself still unbroken. "last i remember i sent him wherever they took captured aliens. area 51 if i'm correct." even though the government men who had taken Zim away so long ago had never disclosed the location to him, Dib had already decided they'd be taking him to the secret base.
deciding that he didn't have anything better to do, Dib parked him car in a clearing of gravel that was surprisingly reminiscent of a driveway, and hopped out of his car. he began to head into the woods, his college backpack still on him from earlier. he was always to lazy to take it off, and by now he'd completely forgotten about it being there.
dead leaves crackled under his heavy, untrained boots as he walked. around him birds chirped, but gradually they fell silent as the already bleak cloudy sky darkened. soon it started to drizzle. not much longer than the rainy weather had started, it began to pour violently, the pitter-patter of raindrops creating a roar where they collided with anything solid. just as Dib was about to whine about getting soaked, he saw something dash across a large clearing. surprised, Dib traced it with eyes. the green thing ran through the opened door of what looked like an abandoned house. just as it got in, lightning flashed. just seconds later, thunder rolled, bellowing like a huge beast from a fairy tale.
Dib's curiosity quickly got the better of him, and he forgot about the rain entirely. he ran off into the clearing, heading for the house where the green thing had gone. when he got there he found that, though stretching very weakly across the forest, was a trail of gravel. it was the same kind that he had parked his car on, only much thinner here. whoever's house this might have been, it had been disused for a very long time.
the house loomed up in front of him, now looking much bigger than before. it's paint had long since peeled away, leaving it bare and drab. it's few windows were all cracked and broken, and the doorway had no cover. the door itself lay rotting on the the ground beside the house. it looked just like the classic haunted house you'd see in movies. only it was real...
taking a deep breathe, Dib stepped inside. it was equally gloomy indoor as were it's exterior. then he saw the green thing again. it dashed across the room and slammed into a wall with a squeal and crumpled to the floor. now that it was still, Dib could finally see it clearly.
it was a pale green, with lots of little black stripes. a soggy old rag of a shirt and pants hung loosely off it. they were a dulled hue of magenta and pink, and full of holes. though the shirt's thin stripes were barely visible, they were quite similar to those worn by certain little invader. the green skinned creature shuddered violently, and then lifted it's head up to look at dib. it had glossy red eyes that appeared to lack any form of a pupil. hanging sorrowfully from the back of it's skull were two black antenna with crooked tips.
"Zim... is, is that you?" Dib asked it. without the stripes, holy shizz, this thing looked exactly like him. ok, maybe a little scrawnier and battered up, but still!
what appeared to be Zim squeaked at the sound of his voice and pressed into the wall. man, it looked frightened. scared of it's wits even. could this really be Zim? sure, it looked like him, but it acted nothing like the loud irken with an over sized ego Dib knew him as. it was cringing in a corner for crying out loud. this couldn't possible be the Zim he knew! anyways, he'd sent him off to area 51 like eight years ago! though, Zim was a difficult creature to contain. he could have escaped and then came here. right? it seemed plausible.
this time Dib crouched down and spoke softer. "hey... is your name Zim?" he said in a quiet whisper. the creature looked twice as frightened now, it's breath getting rapid and shallow. sighing, Dib decided if he was going to get an answer he'd have to try something different. obviously whatever it was, even if it was Zim, was afraid of people talking to it. Dib took his backpack off and reached inside. he pulled his hand out, now with a cookie in it. if this was Zim, it'd do anything for sugary food.
Dib put the cookie down in front of it and then took several steps back. the green creature glanced at the cookie, then back at Dib. realizing that staring at it was making it nervous, he turned around and stared out the window. the rain was coming down in torrential sheets now. every here and there lightning flashed, and was followed by viscous thunder. he could just barely see the other side of the clearing. the ground was getting flooded, too.
then he heard a small nibbling noise. ever so slowly, he turned his head to look at it's source. there, he had his answer. Zim was warily eating the cookie. the little irken cautiously looked up at him, almost dropping the baked sweet. he shivered, glanced from the cookie and then Dib a few times, and took another bite. his previously lifted antenna slowly lowered into a more relaxed position, and he fully resumed eating.
now that Zim's back wasn't pressed to a wall, Dib could see his PAK. yup. this was definitely Zim. that back-mounted super-computer was best piece of evidence that it was the crazy invader he could possibly have. after Zim finished the cookie, he looked up at Dib. he seemed not to know what to do. slowly, ever so slowly, Dib reached out a hand to him. the Irken cringed and lowered his antenna against his skull, but did not run away. gently Dib rested his hand on Zim's head. at first the irken was a bit skittish about it, but once he got used to Dib stroking him he started purring. that was new. Dib had never heard Zim purr before.
carefully, Dib decided to go one step further, and scooped Zim up in his arms. the irken squealed and squirmed around in his grasp. he kicked and flailed, digging his claws into Dib's arms. "gah!" Dib loosed his grip on Zim, and the would-have-been invader calmed down. now relaxed, he curled up on Dib's lap. Dib let his arms hang at his sides.
suddenly, there was a flash of light outside, and Zim snapped up, looking like a frightened cat. his eyes were opened wider than one would think possible, and his antenna straight up. he was shaking horrendously, and letting out a long, flat, soft screeching noise.
"Zim? ZIM! what the hell is wrong?!" Dib shouted over the thunder. Zim twitched once, and then flung himself off of Dib and into the wall for the second time that day. when he'd leaped, Dib could have sworn he'd felt a zap on his legs. shuddering and twitching, Zim shakily pulled himself up. his eyes appeared to be fizzing inside, like a dead TV. outside, lightning struck again, followed by thunder immediately afterwards. the storm was right above them. Zim screamed his green head off, flailed and slammed against the wall, and crumpled into a twitching, spazzing heap.
"Z-Zim...? are, you ok?" Dib whispered. Zim just whined and shook more. so Dib just waited it out. he had no idea how this started or why, but he figured it was best to simply wait. letting his thoughts wander, he realized that Zim's strange fit had been started by, and intensified, by the lightning. could those two events be linked? it seemed likely.
after some time(Zim continuing to shriek and flail in tune with the lightning), the storm faded. the rain stopped, the thunder came later after the lightning, and the sun peeked out from behind the clouds. as if on command, Zim fell to ground, sprawled out calmly. he let out a sighing huff, and then looked up at Dib. or at least, that's what it looked like. it seemed that the darker area of Zim's eye was an iris, perhaps ringed around a tiny pupil. though, Dib could only guess this because it moved often.
slowly Dib reached out and laid his hand on Zim's head, causing him to cringe at first, but then purr and press his head against Dib's hand. something on Zim's nape caught his eye... it was a dial, just big enough to be turned between two fingers. "hey, what's this?" Dib said in reaction to the strange object. out of curiosity, Dib decided to turn it. not long after the little arrow was far from it's original position, Zim screamed his head off. he started shaking like a leaf, and there was a strange glow coming from his eyes.
"whoa, holy shit!" Dib shouted, and fumbled at the dial as he tried to turn it back. once it was put back to normal, Zim stopped shaking. he panted for a while, and then sat upright on Dib's lap. the little irken whimpered like a lost puppy, gave Dib some serious sad eyes, and then pressed his head into his chest. Dib simply stroked his head comfortingly, lost in thought. that dial must have something to do with those spaz fits. but so does the lightning... and, those weird black stripes all seem to lead into it. maybe... they have something to do with shielding him from static electricity?
"Zim, i need you to talk to me, ok?" Dib started off his question in soft, caring voice. Zim looked up at him, paused for a rather long moment, and then nodded slowly. "Zim, what are these stripes for?" Dib tried to keep it simple. there were so many things and details he wanted to know, but Zim seemed to be in a rather delicate state right now. speaking of whom was taking quite a while to answer. after what seemed like five minutes, he managed to come up with a reply.
"they... make me move. ... zaps make it hurt... make it hard..." Zim whimpered and pressed his head harder into Dib's chest. Dib kept stroking him. "what do you mean? how?" he asked. Zim paused again, searching for answers once more. suddenly a major fact hit Dib hard in the face. Zim was not talking in third person. Zim always spoke in third person. always. something had to be wrong with him!
finally Zim spoke again. "wires. make zaps to move." wires? Zim had tiny wires beneath his skin that looked like faint black stripes? that's totally not freaky. not at all. after a minute or two of petting Zim to calm him down, Dib remembered something. "uhm, thanks Zim. for answering." Zim cuddled into him more.
Dib glanced out the window. "shoot! it's pitch dark out there! i gotta get home!" Dib gently lifted Zim off his lap and placed him on the ground. standing up, he put his backpack back on. "i'm sorry little guy, i gotta go home." he patted Zim on the head like he was a dog. "i want you to stay here until i get back. ok?" Zim nodded, but he followed Dib and pawed at his legs on the way out. it was sad leaving him here, but he needed to get some sleep. hopefully the little irken would still be there tomorrow.