Dib’s eyes widened in shock at the split second where Zim’s old self had just flashed across his face. His jaw gaped as those words rung mercilessly through his head, and he could honestly admit to himself that those words were sincere. It was then that he had the sudden desire to help the suffering Irken rather than fight him and try to rid himself of him for good. A moment later, the boy grabbed hold of the Irken’s arms and pulled him towards his chest before standing. “I’ll… try, Zim..” He whispered before running downstairs and screaming at the computer. “Help me fix him!! There has to be some way to stop this!”
"Are you crazy??" The computer questioned. "That thing is vicious!!" It cautioned him, as if the boy wasn’t already aware. Zim was already screeching and gurgling again from being restrained, thrashing back and forth in his arms.
Dib bit his lip, clutching the alien tighter as if trying to keep hold of the old Zim that had just shown himself moments before. He looked towards the wire-covered ceiling as if the computer’s face were hidden within them. “Please!! There just has to be something you can do!”
"What are you talking about?? He went crazy!!! The only thing I might be able to do is completely restore his PAK back to it's original form, like wiping a computer, and the shock could kill him!" The computer replied frantically as Zim screamed and thrashed.
Dib closed his eyes as the alien thrashed and continued to hold him close, though it was probably making the situation worse. “Is there… really nothing else you can do?”
"Don't you think I would have done it by now??" The computer replied sharply, patience wearing thin. "He's irreversible!!"
With that, the boy leaned down and let Zim fall gently out of his arms and onto the dirty floor. He took a couple steps back and looked down at him, crossing his arms over his chest and trembling as he watched him attentively. “There just has to be another way..” He muttered to himself.
Zim growled as he looked back to him, holding one arm out to him. "IB....answer..." He sputtered, one lekku flat to his head as if damaged.
Dib shook his head and shuddered at those words. He backed himself against the wall now, sliding down slowly until he hit the floor. He brought his knees to his chest and shook his head again, looking back into the blank eyes of the Irken. “I.. I don’t know what you want…”
Zim still looked distressed though, as if trying to fight at the same time. "ANSWER IB!!" He hissed, not breaking like he normally would. "KILL!!"
“I don’t know what you fucking want!!” Dib screamed back, his hands reaching towards his head to grab a fistful of hair in each.
Zim suddenly fell to his knees, panting heavily as he seemed unable to go on anymore. "IB...." He spoke in a hushed voice. "Kills... Zim..."
Dib’s eyes shot open now at Zim’s words. His hands slowly released the hair in them as his head slowly rose to look back at the alien. “Ib.. Kills Zim?” He whispered quietly to himself as he tried to put them together. “Kill you?” He questioned in confusion.
Zim looked up at him at his question, looking frustrated as he wanted to communicate. "YES....NO...." He spoke forcefully. "ANSWER."
Of course, Dib was still unsure of what exactly Zim wanted, so he attempted to get a straight answer now. “You still want me killed?” he questioned, hoping to reach some kind of understanding.
"NO!!" Zim screamed, seeming angered by his confusion. He looked around shakily, scraping something off the table and letting it clatter onto the floor. He clawed it hard, making it skid across the floor to Dib. It was a gun, obviously too complicated for the Irken to figure out how to use himself. "IB...kills.."
From this, Dib assumed that Zim still had intentions of killing him, but this time with the gun that he had been fumbling around with. He began to panic slightly now, eyeing the door as he planned a quick escape if things got any worse. He froze for now, looking back towards Zim in complete silence.
Zim suddenly held the gun out to him, but not so the barrel was pointing to him. His arm shook terribly as he seemed to be trying to give it to him. "IB...kills..." He spoke weakly, shaking more to try and make him take it.
Finally, the boy understood. Zim actually wanted him to end his life…
His jaw gaped slightly in disbelief as he eyed the gun. He then looked up towards the Irken who was in obvious pain. He knew Zim was suffering and he wanted it to end as much as the Irken did. Any other day, Dib would have loved to take this chance; finally end Zim and save his planet from the green invader. But now… now it seemed almost impossible to go through with such a request.
“I… I can’t do that, Zim..” He replied quietly, knowing this wasn’t what Zim wanted to hear.
Zim seemed to be tearing up himself as his arm shook more. "IB!!" He shouted, continuing to stretch his arm out to try and desperately make him take it. "KILLS!!" He screamed, as if suffering just to plead with him. All along, he had been trying to communicate to Dib between fits of psychotic attacks and rage. He had been wanting Dib to kill him, and he only trusted the one person he knew to take his own life.
Dib stood quietly, slowly grabbing the gun from Zim as he did. Once he was standing, he looked down at the gun and rubbed his thumb across the trigger as if almost considering it now. He looked back towards Zim, shaking his head twice as his own eyes began to tear up. “I’m sorry, Zim…” He croaked, “I can’t kill you.. I just can’t..”
Zim began to cry as well, though it just sounded like terrible screams of pain. "IB!!! IB!!! KILLS!!! KILL!!" He spoke rapidly, hoping it would somehow change his mind. It was obvious he could not function properly enough to take his own life.
Zim’s distressed screams made the boy shudder as he tried his hardest to keep his own tears back. He wanted to desperately to end Zim’s pain, but he just couldn’t do it this way. “I can’t do it, ZIm!! Don’t you understand that?!” He shouted in a cracked voice. He took a deep breath before looking down at the smaller Irken, lowering the gun and walking a step closer. “I’m sorry…”
Zim looked up at him with sad, but blank eyes, a hand weakly reaching out to him; He really wanted Dib's help. “IB...Plea..s..” He choked on his words, trying desperately to make him understand how much he needed this.
Dib tenderly grabbed Zim’s outstretched arm and drew him close, dropping the gun and daringly pulling him into an embrace, almost as if trying to truly illustrate how sorry he really was. He slowly began to clutch him tighter with the hopes that this would reassure the Irken rather than infuriate him.
Zim was immediately limp in his arms at the tight hold, his tiny frame racking with sobs as he cried. He was in such pain and misery, and he couldn't reach out to anyone to get help no matter how much he screamed and lashed out.
The sobs from the small alien made the moment even more painful to the point where the boy could hardly hold back his own tears any longer. He sobbed quietly into Zim’s shoulder for a moment before forcing himself to speak. “Zim… I don’t want to lose you… I can’t lose you… Please.. don’t stop fighting..”
Zim gasped weakly as he clutched onto him tightly, leaving small indentions of his claws in the others arms. "IB..." He whimpered as he only clung to him harder. "IB...IB...IB! IB!!" He screeched, seeming to be crying out for him.
Dib gave the Irken one last squeeze before breaking from the hug so he was looking deep into the blank eyes now. It seemed he was numb to them now as they didn’t seem to bother him in this moment. “Please.. Don’t stop fighting now...” he whispered.
Zim stared up at him, looking at him pitifully with those blank eyes rimmed with moisture the tears had left behind. "IB..." He cried, those tears burning his cheeks as they slowly leaked down his face. "P...Plea…” He choked once more, jerking his body once in a spastic locking of his muscles from the stress he was going through.
Dib could sense that soon Zim would spiral into another fit just from the emotional stress he was undergoing now. His hands reached up to wipe the tears from the green cheeks as he continued to stare into the hollow eyes. “Do you really want this?” He questioned, quivering sharply.
Zim rolled his head on the others arm to stare up at him, his expression tired and worn. “IB...my..IB..” He muttered softly with a slight gurgle, managing a weak nod of his head through his trembles and choking.
Dib gave a very slow nod and unhurriedly brought them both to floor so they were both on their knees. He ran his hands down Zim’s face before looking down towards the gun and hesitantly reaching towards it. Once he grabbed a hold of the handle, his body began to tremble in utter terror of the situation before slowly bringing it upwards.
Zim stared up at him, tears falling down his face as he watched him. He was going to kill him, at least, and that seemed to soothe his damaged mind a bit. He was willing to stare down the barrel of his own gun that his enemy now possessed, not making a single movement to protest his intentions. It would be so easy to kill him now, simply end his suffering and life.
But nothing could be as simple as that.
At first, the boy thought it would be simple. Aim the gun at Zim’s head, pull the trigger, then the nightmare would be over. But, once Dib had actually aimed the gun towards Zim’s head, his hands would constantly tremble until he would lose his grip on the gun. He had actually dropped it a few times, then had to take a deep breath before picking it up and aiming again. Finally, Dib had calmed himself to the point where he had stopped trembling, where he had the perfect aim on Zim’s forehead. He hesitantly rest his finger on the trigger, tears flowing from his eyes in a continuous stream. All that was left was to actually pull the trigger and end it all.
Zim’s expression suddenly changed, eyes looking up to him with a more lost and confused look now. He didn’t seem quite as defeated or lifeless anymore, staring up past the barrel of the gun to Dib’s face with the expression similar to a frightened child. “D-D...IB…” He gasped out weakly, as if recognizing him for the first time.
Dib’s eyes widened at the sudden change, taken by surprise at the sound of his actual name now. He blinked a couple times almost in disbelief, a faint smile on his face now as a small hint of hope struck him. “Zim!” He gasped, hoping the other would say his name again.
Zim’s shaking hand extended forward toward the barrel of the gun now. He gripped onto it roughly, effectively crushing the metal as if it were made of paper and pinching the barrel close. He gasped weakly as he trembled harder, his head bowed. “R..R-run..D..b..”
Dib’s small smile quickly disappeared in that moment. The tears continued to fall once more as the small amount of hope he had was wiped away now. Of course, the boy knew that now he had to escape before his own bones were crushed liked the gun had been. He dropped the gun and slowly backed away, glancing over his shoulder at the door feet behind him before jumping up and sprinting towards the door. Though, he couldn’t just leave now… He felt like he needed to stay there. He looked back at the Irken as if pondering if he should flee or stay in an attempt to calm him down once more.
The damaged Irken began to raise himself up onto shaky legs, only to fall back down on one knee roughly. He cringed and hunched his body, appearing to be fighting a mental battle with himself and this raging insanity. “RUN!! NOW!!” He shouted firmly, body jolting frown the effort he exerted in getting the demand out. He seemed to be attempting to get the boy away before he broke down again.
Dib let out a cry before making the decision to listen to Zim’s demand and dashed out of the house and down the street as quickly as he could. Of course, this drew attention towards him as the insane child ran sobbing down the road in another one of his mental breakdowns. People practically leaped out of his way, staring at the boy as he ran off. They all truly believed that he was really losing his mind, and still looked terrified of the boy. No one was on his side at this point, absolutely no one. All he had in this world now was a young dog waiting loyally at his home.
Dib burst through his front door, slamming it behind him as he yelled and wandered aimlessly in search for his dog. He wobbled into the living room and made his way towards the couch where his little Einstein sat. He paused a moment before outstretching his arms and kneeling down next to him. “Come here…” He choked out in a pained voice.
Einstein perked up immediately at the sound of his master and panted excitedly, bounding down from the couch to greet him. He paused his stride though and whined, hunching down and tucking his tail in between his legs. He could feel the fear radiating from his master, and it only made him feel frightened.
Dib paused a moment as well and looked down at his dog almost in disappointment. He could sense the puppy’s uncertainty though and he slowly leaned down towards Einstein, reaching out to pet him behind his ear with a trembling hand. “Please.. Come here.. I need you..” he whispered.
Einstein whimpered more before he began to move again, body still lowered closer to the ground and tail between his legs. He crawled into the boy’s lap and whined at him sadly to show he shared his despair. He licked at his cheek lightly, wanting to make his master feel better.
Dib’s arms quickly wrapped around the small dog as he began to sob violently into his soft pelt. His thumbs carressed Einstein as he slowly rocked back and forth, attempting to regain himself and return back to the little sanity he still possessed.
The two remained that way for quite some time until Dib had cried himself into exhaustion, leaving them fast asleep on the floor. The night would prove to be peaceful and undisrupted, which would seem odd considering all the events that had unfolded. What remained uncertain, however, is what the morning may bring with it.