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     Dib was grabbed by the collar of his coat and slammed into a locker.

    It was Harry Biggins, a brick of a child both in heft and mind; he was a whole grade above Dib although Dib was a few inches taller. 

   “Hey dweeb,” the slow, heavy voice leered. “Tell us agin how youse’d gonna prove Angellia is a Siren, huh? C’mon, I wanna know,” he slammed Dib against the locker again for emphasis.

   Dib winced; Angellia was a very pretty tenth grader who seemed to bewitch every boy in the halls. Dib thought it was suspicious how she lured them around, and seemed to spend a lot of time in the school pool or the bathrooms, the sink forever running. . .

    When some of the other boys called him out for his squinting (thinking he was staring), he felt forced to express his personal concerns.

   Well, more like rave and yell while the other kids laughed and called him names behind his back.

    He should have known one of her admirers would come after him.

    “Look, Harry; I just wanna go home-“

   He got slammed again for his trouble.

    “And I wanna hear your liddle story, freak,” he snickered. 

    Dib mentally sighed, knowing he would probably go home with bruises. It’s not that he couldn’t fight back, it just wasn’t. . .worth it.

    “Hey!”

    Dib was shocked to find that meaty grip gone from him; heard the sharp clicking mutter of an alien curse mingling with that of a human one.

   “What the-?! Let go of me you-!”

    Zim let go of the bully who fell sprawled; though Zim himself was still not much taller than a twelve-year old, he was still incredibly strong.

    Dib was astounded to see Zim come to his rescue; the little Irkin’s mouth was curled in disgust.

   “Pray, explain to me, the great Zim, why the Dib-thing  has decided to let such an. . .inferior creature push him around.” 

   Dib blinked. “What?”

    Harry got to his feet. “This doesn’t concern you, green freak! Geddout!”

   Zim pinched the bridge between his eyes in exasperation. 

   If asked, Zim would admit that Dib had two things going for him; his intelligence, which was far above the average Earth-worm in this stinking dump, and his ever-increasing lanky height. Though his height didn’t affect Zim enough besides irritating him (as Irkins were above Humans in terms of biological hierarchy). It still irked him as his own inherited views still pointed out to him that height was power and authority.

    He couldn’t ignore such an instinct, and honestly? Dib was his person to mess with. And vice versa. They were both far above anyone else in the local High Skool, and therefore only worthy of being one another’s opponent.

    “Zim, what are you doing here?” Dib gestured in incredulous confusion. It wasn’t the weirdest thing the little alien had done. Ever since learning that Zim had been abandoned, exiled to Earth, the little alien had done even more extreme feats in desperation and anguish. He’d only calmed down this last year as they both entered ninth grade, straying into a territory that might be described as frenemies. But definitely still leaning towards enemies.

   “Dib-stink,” he addressed contemptuously. “Why are you letting trash push you around?” He said it slowly, clearly, like talking to a child.

    “Hey!” Harry but in. “Back off! I told you-!”

   Zim’s contact lenses were emotionless, but there was that slight tensing of the shoulders that Dib recognized. The Irkin backhanded the bully roughly, enough to leave him on the floor groaning and dazed.

    Dib was caught between a huffed laugh of disbelief and one of humor.

    Zim shook his head - an earth gesture he undoubtedly picked up as his antennae were smothered beneath the wig - and walked over Harry, passing Dib on his way out.

    “Stupid humans,” Dib heard him mutter as he passed, trying to understand what ever the hell Zim meant and what exactly had happened.