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In My Sweater

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It startles me when he bursts through the door, I'm not gonna lie.

I’ve been hanging out with Zim more and more as time goes on, and I guess you could say we’re pretty close. We’re close enough where he feels comfortable without his disguise on around me, and some days, there might even be – gasp! Physical contact!

But uh, I can't really complain. He's been friendlier than he's ever been lately -- ever since Gir had asked to over to make him some pumpkin seeds, that is. Sometimes I wonder if he only keeps me around for my baking skills, which really stings on the days my crush on him is particularly bad.

But enough sarcasm from my salty, touch-starved ass.

My attitude melts away when I see a dark stain around the center of his tunic...dress...thing. His pak’s legs carried him in the door, the card game Gir and I had been playing quickly forgotten.

“What the hell happened?” I ask as calmly as I can as I watch the legs retract as he reaches the sofa.

He replies in Irken, and I haven’t learned enough to understand him. All I got was “i” and “Wound”.His hands are holding his left side as his face contorts in pain. He pants, meeting my eye.

“Dib-beast’s latest atte-” A ragged breath as he moves- “Attempt to defeat the mighty Zim was far more violent than I anticipated.”

“Yeah, no shit...” Despite the words that left me, my tone was soft as I got up to grab my bag, which was a pak replica that Gir had so lovingly made for me. I grab some gauze and disinfectant hurriedly, as well as something to stitch him up, if it was that bad.

“How bad is it, Zim?”

He merely shakes his head.

I huff in worry. I don’t have time for him to be stubborn. If he was bleeding out, I needed to do something NOW.

“Gir, baby.” I call over my shoulder as I gently take Zim’s hands in mine, prying them away from his wound slowly. He doesn’t protest, which scares me even more.

“G-go into the kitchen and whip something up, okay? Like I showed you.” And, knowing he wouldn’t remember, the recipe for what I wanted him to make was on the fridge. It was written in English, Irken, and has little doodles to show him what to do – colored in with crayon.

“Oooh!” He hops down from his position nearby, running into the kitchen quickly.

Okay, good. I don’t want Gir to see this. And I'm sure Zim’s larger wound is in his pride, and he wants as little witnesses as possible.

If only I could see the wound. But his stupid blood-soaked clothes are in my damn way.

“I’m pulling this up.”

I don’t give Zim a choice in the matter as I lift his uniform, pushing it carefully up and past his wound. It’s only when I pull the hem of his black pants down slightly that he squeals. And under almost any other circumstance, that noise would sound funny coming from him.

“How dare you-!”

“Can it.”

I know I'm probably going to have to tell him a few times, but hey, might as well hope the first time’s the charm, right?

The wound isn’t too terribly bad. He doesn’t need stitches, but it looks like it hurts quite a bit. I take the disinfectant, hesitating only for a moment.

“This is gonna hurt, alright?”

I don’t give him a chance to reply before applying it carefully, his eyes screwing shut and his jaw locking. He must think I don’t notice.

“Zim is...dying....!” His panicked conclusion comes through gritted teeth as he continues to squeeze his eyes shut.

“No, you’re not.”

My voice is soft, which comes to me easily now that I know he isn’t dying. I absentmindedly run my hand up and down his arm soothingly as the other continues disinfecting his wound. I wish I could have done more to clean up the thing, though. But water would do so much more harm than good.

Wordlessly, I finish, my fingers snaking under his uniform to slowly pull it up and over his head.

Once it’s off – along with the wig, which was now on the floor, forgotten for now -- I notice how flushed his face really is.

He catches me staring, and glares off to the side, refusing to look me in the eye.

I place the uniform on the side of the couch, carefully taking the gauze and beginning to wrap it around his waist.

His green skin is flawless and cool under my touch, and I try to work as quickly as possible. If I move him around too much, he may keep bleeding. And an Irken blood transfusion would be impossible to acquire.

“You okay?”

My question catches him off-guard, his still-disguised violet eyes widening for a moment before narrowing in suspicion.

As if I could read his overactive, suspicious mind, I just tell him: “Just answer the question, spaceman.”

A beat of silence.

“I am perfectly fine.”

I raise a brow as I finish up wrapping him in gauze.

He gives an annoyed hum, blushing harder, squirming as I finish and pull my hands away from him.

“I am perfectly fine now,” He clarifies, peering at the gauze wrapped around him. “you are useful. But this is no surprise to Zim, of course.”

Translation: 'thank you.'

“You’re welcome, Zim.”

I smile, getting back up and walking back over to my pak, where I put away the medical junk and grabbed my backup sweater. Adventures get messy, and I am about a hundred percent sure Zim doesn’t have a backup uniform ready.

I grab the blue sweater, strolling back over and handing it to him. He stares in confusion.

“It’s uh- it'll fit, I'm sure.” I’m taller than him, but he um, doesn’t like to talk about it. It doesn’t matter if it’s by a lot or a little, because at the end of the day, I'm the tallest in the house.

The next ten minutes are spent in his makeshift laundry room trying to figure out how the hell he washes his damn clothes. Thankfully, the computer steps in after a while and takes the blood-soaked uniform out of my hands, urging me to head back into the living room.

When i do, Gir has returned, but he’s passed out on one end of the couch, some Halloween special playing quietly on the tv. There’s a little bit of chocolate all around his mouth, and an empty mug on the floor below him.

Zim, however, is holding two mugs of hot cocoa, with whipped cream and sprinkles shaped like pumpkins and ghosts on top. He holds one out for me as I approach, which surprises me. Normally, he’d drink them both.

I take it, sitting next to him, our shoulders barely touching. I note that he’s taken off his contacts.

I’m really trying not to think about how cute he looks in the sweater I gave him.

I sip my cocoa, which is thankfully still hot, eyes on the T.v, trying to ignore the fact that I can feel him staring at me.

I’m halfway through my mug when he addresses me.

“Human.”

I turn, facing him. He’s scooted closer, but I can’t recall hearing him shuffle to get there.

“Irken.” I smile, taking a sip of my drink, watching a slightly amused expression take over his face before he represses it.

“Close your eyes.”

I narrow my eyes in suspicion. “Why-”

“Do not question Zim!” He glares as he gives out another order, blushing furiously. “Do as I command – before I change my mind!”

I roll my eyes before closing them, sitting patiently for whatever he was planning. Maybe he wanted to switch out our mugs so he had more coco-

Oh.

I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it wasn’t his lips on mine.

The kiss is soft- no, uncertain. He timidly moves his lips against mine, leaning against me as I move my lips in time with his before we pull apart slowly, my eyes opening to meet his.

“You do not disgust me.”

Oh, lord above.

His eyes are shining in the low light as he holds eye contact, his dark antennae down and slicked back behind him. He’s blushing furiously, the lingering taste of the cocoa from his lips remaining on mine.

I set my mug of cocoa carelessly aside, cupping his face in my hands, which he seems to lean into – probably because my hands are extra warm due to the mug.

“I like you, too.”

I pull him back in for another kiss, this one a bit more sure as I allow him to take the lead, our kiss quickly becoming heated. His tongue slowly makes its way into my mouth, cool to the touch, and much, much longer than I expected.

His hands travel, lingering, yet shy. I wouldn’t have expected this from Zim, and If I had, I would expect him to be a lot more...dominant. Maybe it was due to his injury. I’m pulled from my concerns for him when his hand guides me to move closer. I hum into his mouth before-

“Ooooohhh~!”

Gir was watching with an amused look on his face, his wide eyes sparkling.

And as soon as the kiss began, it was over.

“GIR!” Zim shouts, pushing me back and away from him, nearly spilling his hot cocoa in the process.

Gir ran, giggling like a schoolgirl, from the room and quickly out of sight as he heads down to the lab to hide out and watch his accursed monkey show. Probably.

That leaves the both of us here, cheeks warm, and eyes shy.

“...C’mon, you should get some rest.”

I lean back over so we’re sitting close again, which he settles into. Though he still feels stiff.

“Relax, okay? You need your strength.”

He’s silent, antennae straight up in the air and alert, even when his head comes to rest on my shoulder.

We sit like this in silence, eventually finishing our cocoa, but neither of us wanted to move. The evening’s atmosphere was serene while being surreal.

His soft breathing is accompanied by a very, very, soft purr that filled the air and rumbled beside me with every one of his exhales.

He’s asleep, I note, wearing my sweater, leaning on my shoulder, his claws holding my arm close.

He – this potentially deadly alien invader – is asleep beside me after a kiss and confession, and Is now purring as his wound heals.

In this moment, I'm sure of two things.

One: he's adorable.

And two: I’m going to seriously make Dib regret hurting him.

Zim makes the quietest noise, and for a moment, I think he’s speaking in his native language in his sleep.

Tomorrow.

I’ll make him pay tomorrow.

For tonight, I'm sticking with Zim.

And it’s not long until I wrap a careful arm around him, and I fall asleep too.