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  1. This story has been on hiatus for but while I deal with ... life. But I'm picking it up again and getting back to more regular updates, so I figured I may as well start sharing it here as well. I've been a part of the Invader Zim fandom for a while, and there's barely any ABDL content there, so I had to fix that. Chapter 1: Once is an Accident ... i. “GAHHH!! FUCK YOU, GIR!!!!” The shout from the kitchen had Dib launching himself off the couch and sliding to a halt on the tile in his socks in no time flat. He was greeted with the sight of pink milkshake over every conceivable surface; the ceiling, the counter, the walls, the table, and all over both a thoroughly amused GIR and a very angry Zim. “Shit, Zim,” Dib groaned. “I told you messing with your PAK in the kitchen was a bad idea.” Zim’s PAK sat open on the kitchen table, half dismantled from Zim’s attempt at installing an upgrade. Zim’s body seemed to have shielded it slightly, but it was still spattered with sticky pink liquid. “I didn’t think he was gonna start the blender with the top off!! ” Zim shouted, aggravated, as he rushed to mop up the mess with his shirt before it seeped too far into his PAK. “I can’t put it back on like this!!” Dib checked his watch. He’d been keeping a countdown to make sure Zim’s PAK wasn’t off for longer than the ten minute maximum. “We’ve got eight minutes before it becomes a problem. GIR —” He looked over at the robot, who was currently trying to lick milkshake out of the blender, “— start cleaning up the kitchen.” GIR saluted and gave a shrill, “Okie dokie!!!” before dashing off to grab some towels. “My life is starting to flash before my eyes, Dib!!!” Zim whined as Dib grabbed a handful of napkins and briefly ran them under the faucet. “We’ve still got time, you fucking drama queen,” Dib admonished, shoving a the napkins at Zim. “Start cleaning up with those, and I’ll follow with some rubbing alcohol to make sure everything’s dry before you plug it back in.” Zim nodded and they quickly got to work. It wasn’t long before the tight space made their tag team effort more difficult than Dib had planned, however, especially as Zim’s coordination rapidly spiraled downwards. After watching him smear strawberry chunks around for an agonizing thirty seconds, Dib finally pushed his hands aside. “We’ve got five minutes,” Dib warned. “Let me finish this and you just try to stay conscious.” Zim’s skin was an ashy shade of green and his eyes were glassy and unfocused. Even when all he had to do was sit still, he was visibly trembling. “I don’t feel so good, Dib,” he whispered hoarsely. “I know, bug, but just hang in there.” Despite the tension in the air, Dib tried harder than ever to maintain a calm demeanor, reassuring Zim in dulcet tones while scrubbing away at the sticky goo spattered all over. Behind him, he could hear GIR mostly pushing the rest of the disaster around, and he was positive he was going to need to clean that up later, as well. As the minutes ticked down, Dib’s anxiety rose like a tsunami, threatening to crash down on him every time Zim moaned in discomfort. He was down to his last minute before he knew it, and there was still a cluster of wires he had yet to clean. It was just out of reach and if he had more than sixty seconds left, he would have grabbed a cotton swab to finish cleaning them off. As it was, he twisted a napkin to give it a bit of rigidity, and blindly stuffed it in while checking his watch. “Shit.” Thirty seconds left. He shook his head and pulled his makeshift cleaning device back out. “This’ll have to do, Zim.” He leaned over and hauled Zim up onto his lap. The poor little Irken was barely even responding at this point. With seconds to spare, Dib lifted the PAK to Zim’s back and the cables shot out to reconnect with the ports on Zim’s back. Zim’s eyelids fluttered and he groaned incomprehensibly, but as he squinted and rubbed his eyes, the color was beginning to return to his cheeks. “You feeling alright?” Dib asked nervously. That last spill had been worryingly close to an awful lot of connections. Zim nodded, sliding off Dib’s lap and onto the floor. He did a couple toe touches, stretched his arms, and bounced up and down on the balls of his feet. “Yep. Everything seems to be in or—” A sudden zap of electricity made his body convulse and PAK spark. Dib watched in silent horror as Zim suddenly went limp and fell to the floor, antennae twitching twice before falling still. Before a single coherent thought could pass through Dib’s head, he jumped up and grabbed the silicone pot holders from the counter and used them to turn Zim onto his side. The Irken didn’t seem to be breathing, but it was difficult to tell for sure. Dib retrieved his phone from his pocket and held it under Zim’s mouth, waiting for it to fog up. When it didn’t, a sick knot of realization began to form in Dib’s belly. He had no idea how to give an alien CPR. He had a vague idea of Zim’s internal structure, but the question of how to restart things had simply never come up. And when even successful human CPR led to a few broken ribs, he was leery of injuring Zim further. “Stand clear.” The robotic, monotone voice sent Dib scurrying backwards in a panic. Had Zim’s PAK really just spoken ??? Was it allowed to do that on its own?? That question certainly hadn’t ever cropped up before in all the years they’d known each other. Another jolt of electricity arced between Zim’s antennae, making his muscles twitch and jerk for a few painfully slow seconds before he was still once more. Dib leaned forward, heart hammering in his chest and breath stuck in his throat. “Zim?” he whispered, reaching out with a shaking hand. Zim’s face screwed up and he let out a low groan before opening his bleary eyes. “S-sugar …” he mumbled. Dib fell forwards and hugged him tightly. “Oh thank fuck!! I thought you died!!” “Ow … I did ,” Zim grumbled. Dib sat up so fast he saw stars. “ What‽‽ ” Zim laboriously pushed himself up into a sitting position and rubbed his temples. “Well, I’m not dead now, idiot. My systems reset themselves,” he said thickly. “Death is rarely a permanent state, Dibby.” “God forbid there be a normal day in this household,” Dib sighed as GIR scooted by on a towel, oblivious and smearing pink stickiness across everything in his wake. Zim groaned and rubbed his head. “Getting reset depletes sugar reserves, so I’m going to need you to get me off this floor and grab me a snack before I keel over again.” Zim still seemed too weak to properly hold on to anything, so Dib lifted him in a bridal carry and carefully walked him to the couch. He set Zim down, propped up against the pillows, and gently touched a hand to Zim’s cheek. His skin was clammy and slightly pale, but at least he was obviously alive. “Are you gonna be alright?” Dib asked worriedly. “Yeah, I’ll be fine. Just grab me a glass of Tang and a couple sugar cookies,” Zim replied in much more subdued tones. Dib gave his shoulder a reassuring squeeze. “You got it.” He strode into the kitchen, but stopped dead at the edge of the tile. GIR was sprawled out on the floor, attempting to make milkshake angels. Dib sighed, edged around the kitchen, and opened one of the cupboards to fish around for a bucket. Once he’d located one — and dumped out all the junk it contained — he filled it with soap, water, and a bit of rubbing alcohol. GIR did better when the list of steps to complete a task was as small as humanly possible, so mixing the cleaning solution before handing the task off reduced the opportunity for errors. “Alright, you’ve had enough fun,” Dib said irritably, shoving the bucket at a thoroughly unphased GIR. “I don’t care if you strap sponges to your feet or make yourself a towel taco, I just need this mess gone.” “Caaaan dooooo,” GIR yelled, snatching the bucket from him and dashing towards the sponges as soapy water sloshed onto the floor. Dib skirted out of his way and busied himself with grabbing Zim’s requested snack. He returned to the living room with a plate of sugar cookies and Tang in one of GIR’s sippy cups. Zim gave the cup a slightly hard stare, but ultimately shook his head and didn’t question the choice. “So I was thinking,” Dib said as he carefully sat down beside Zim, “we should take it easy for the rest of the day, considering you died for around forty-five seconds. We can just hole up and watch some horror movies, get some soda and kettle corn into you, that sort of thing.” Zim snuggled against Dib, head on his chest. “Works for me. I still feel … Ugh , it’s hard to put into words,” he grumbled, taking a long sip of his drink. “Something feels off, but I can’t explain it.” Dib frowned, numerous worries occupying the back of his brain. “We could take your PAK off again and try to do a more thorough job of cleaning it out?” he offered. “Not right now,” Zim said, squeezing his eyes shut. “If you take too long, it’s going to be that much harder on my body. I’m really not in any shape for that right now.” He nestled in closer, as if proximity to Dib would fix things. “I just …” He looked up at Dib, concern scrawled across his face. “Hold me?” he asked, voice barely a whisper. Dib’s expression softened to one that was very nearly pity. Zim had a habit of being a pain in the ass and prickly more often than not, but he regularly demanded physical comfort whenever he was feeling less than stellar for any reason. “Yeah,” Dib replied gently. “But let me grab you some kettle corn and cocoa, first.” Zim shook his sippy cup and raised his eyebrows. “In a mug?” “In a thermos ,” Dib corrected. “I don’t need you spilling all over the couch when the kitchen is already a disaster.” An hour or so later, as morning spilled into golden autumn afternoon, the kitchen was finally clean and they were midway through one of Dib’s favorite horror movies. Zim sat snuggled under multiple blankets on Dib’s lap with a belly pleasantly full of warm drinks and sugary snacks. His color has finally returned to normal and he was no longer shivering. By all accounts, he was back to normal. Still, though, he couldn’t shake the feeling something was different . As he struggled to pin down exactly what or why , a sudden crescendo of music crashed through the speakers in a cheap jump scare, startling Zim back to the present with a horribly unwelcome jolt. He was suddenly glad that Dib had insisted on giving him all his drinks in containers with a top. He grumbled under his breath, ruffled, before settling back down against Dib, vaguely aware that the space between them felt a bit warmer than it had a minute ago. Beneath him, Dib shifted slightly, froze, then freed his arm from around Zim to blindly feel around under the blankets for a moment before coming to a rest. “Er … Zim?” “What?” Zim asked gruffly, still miffed that the movie had managed to startle him as badly as it did. “Did you lose your phone again? Because I’m not getting up this time.” Dib opened his mouth, let out a sort of strangled sigh, then bit the inside of his cheek, brow furrowed. “Did you … uh. Jesus, there is no easy way to ask this …” He pressed his palm to his forehead before spitting out in a single breath, “ Please tell me you just spilled your cocoa. ” Zim turned and raised an eyebrow, holding up his thermos. “No? Why are you—” As he shifted, he finally felt what Dib was talking about, and his eyes went wider than flying saucers. “ Oh my god , Zim,” Dib groaned, taking him under the arms and lifting him away like a badly behaved cat. As he stood up and the blankets fell away, there was no question what had happened. Both their pants were soaked, along with a sizeable portion of the cushion beneath them. Zim stood in a small puddle, dripping and purple-faced with embarrassment. “How did you not feel that??” Dib asked, more baffled than upset. “Everything was already really warm!” Zim insisted frantically. Dib gave him a look that was equal parts worry and horror. “You didn’t even feel like you had to go??” Zim tossed his arms up in frustration. “Do I look like I’m five?” “I’m not trying to be an ass here, Zim,” Dib insisted, trying to tone down his intensity to something Zim would find less offensive. “I just need to know if you had any idea this was gonna happen, before it happened.” “Of course I—!” Zim stopped mid sentence, suddenly realizing that he hadn’t gotten any of the usual signals. Not so much as a twinge. “I mean, I think … fuck.” He stared down at the puddle around his feet. “I … didn’t feel anything,” he finally admitted in hushed tones. Dib pushed his glasses up to rub the bridge of his nose. “Shit. Alright. Well, first of all, you’re banned from screwing with your PAK anymore until we sort this out.” Zim shot him a snide expression. “You can’t ban me from fixing my own brain, Dib!” “Until we figure out exactly what went wrong? Yes, I can.” Dib glanced down at his soaked pants with a frown before seeming to give up and start unbuttoning things. “Just take all your clothes off here,” he instructed as he peeled away his wet clothes. “You take everything up to the wash. I’m gonna shower off and run out to the store real quick.” Zim paused in the middle of attempting to pull his socks off, balancing on one foot. “Why are you going to the store?” he asked, suspicious. Dib’s face contorted into something that was somewhere north of innocence and south of pity. Zim scowled back. “Why are you going to the store, Dib ?” he asked, enunciating each word with palpable malice. Dib held up his hands. “It’s just as an ‘in case’ measure, alright?” Zim sucked in a breath and puffed out his chest, blustering and fuming in what Dib could only imagine was very angry Irken. “It was ONE TIME !!!” he finally spat out, incensed. Dib nervously ran a hand through his hair. “Okay … and if it isn’t just one time?” Zim growled something under his breath, fists at his sides. “It might not be related to the issue with your PAK, but if it is, I’d rather be prepared,” Dib said simply. “You’re not putting me in diapers!” Zim snapped. “Fine. No diapers. But I am gonna grab a pack of pull-ups or something, just in case ,” Dib said as he tossed his underwear onto the pile, trying to remain blasé about the whole thing. Which was a difficult thing to pull off while naked and covered in piss. Zim spied Dib’s cock poking out of a thicket of hair and abruptly looked away before he could get distracted. Not to mention, he was vaguely concerned that getting turned on in wet pants might rewire him in an even worse way. He merely crossed his arms and faced away. “I’ll get you some snacks as a consolation,” Dib said as he turned to walk upstairs. “We’re almost out of Fun Dip, right? I’ll get you more of that.” Zim gathered the clothes and blankets and damp cushion with the help of his PAK legs to steady everything. He’d stupidly put his clothes-cleaning contraption upstairs, but at least he’d had the foresight to put it right outside the lift. The stairs were really just for Dib’s benefit. It was the only way the kid got any exercise, some days. Zim pulled aside one of the large speakers beside the TV to reveal the interior of an elevator, and climbed inside with his bundle. He reached the top just as Dib finished hosing himself off in the shower, and got to work loading the machine with all of the damp clothes and blankets. Dib dressed himself in a flash, hurriedly striding towards the stairs before Zim was even finished. “I’ll be back before you know it!” Dib called on his way down. Zim gave only a non-committal grunt. “Text me if you think of anything you want!” “Hmph.” Zim rolled his eyes and slammed the door to the washer shut, irritably poking at the controls until it chimed happily and began chugging away. Zim waited, one antenna perked, until he heard the front door close and lock behind Dib. His human would be gone for at least ten minutes, and ten minutes was all Zim needed to get back inside his PAK and fix this irritating little hiccup once and for all. ii. Dib’s truck rumbled along the road back home, the breeze from the windows making the bags beside him billow and snap. He caught a glimpse of the package contained inside and felt himself blush slightly. Although the situation was embarrassing and slightly worrying when it came to Zim’s overall health, Dib found that he was strangely un-squicked by recent events. Even though Zim had pissed right in his lap, he hadn’t really found the situation all that revolting. If he hadn’t been so shocked at the time, it might have even been a little hot. Zim, caught in an embarrassing situation, dependent on Dib to make things better … Dib shook his head to clear it as he pulled up to the base. He doubted he could get Zim on board with that sort of roleplay. But he could dream, at least. He killed the engine, grabbed his bags, and hopped out of the truck. Scattered leaves blew across his path, catching on the tacky lawn gnomes Zim still insisted stand guard outside. Dib would have been lying if he said he didn’t find Zim’s sense of decor at least a little amusing. He opened the door and stepped inside. “I’m back!” he shouted cheerily, kicking his shoes off. He started towards the stairs, then stopped dead. The whole base was eerily quiet, except for what he’d initially written off as the wind whistling over the roof. But as he stood there, barely breathing, it had begun to sound an awful lot more like sobbing. “ Zim ??” When there was no answer, Dib dropped his bags and raced up the spiraling steps. He came to a screeching halt at the doorway to their bedroom, where Zim was crumped on the floor, sobbing and sitting in a puddle of something that Dib would have bet money wasn’t tears. Nevertheless, Dib rushed over and scooped Zim up, hugging him close. “What’s wrong??” he asked, rubbing the small of Zim’s back in an attempt to soothe him. “I tried to fix it!!” Zim wailed, breath hitching in his throat. “The wires … they were all — hic!! — fused in the wrong spots. I tried to separate them, but … but once I put my PAK back on, it … it shorted out again. And … and when I woke up I — hic!! — I was on the floor and I know I just made it worse!!” Anger swelled in Dib’s chest for a moment, but it was quickly snuffed out by Zim’s obvious upset. There was nothing to be gained by cussing him out for his actions. He was already suffering the consequences. Plus, the sounds he was making were causing Dib heartache like he’d never felt before. All he wanted was to put things right. “It’s gonna be okay,” Dib murmured, hugging him tightly. Zim shook his head, face buried in Dib’s shoulder. “No, it isn’t !! I don’t know what’s wrong but something just isn’t right!!! ” It was hard for Dib to argue. He’d never seen Zim so worked up before. He’d seen him get a little teary over things or sometimes even cry out of frustration, but he’d never dissolved into such a thoroughly inconsolable state before. “Let’s get you cleaned up, and then we can go back to taking it easy, okay?” Dib said softly. Zim took a few shaky breaths in an attempt to get ahold of himself. “Bath,” he finally mumbled, wiping his eyes. Dib was slightly taken aback. Zim usually avoided anything deeper than a puddle like the plague. “I was just gonna let you shower off, but yeah, we can do a bath, if that’s what you want.” He stood up and carried Zim to the bathroom, watching with growing concern as Zim buried his face in the front of his hoodie. He lowered himself onto the edge of the bathtub and turned on the taps, putting his wrist in the stream to gauge the temperature before plugging the drain and gently setting Zim down. “Get settled. I’ll be right back.” Dib made it to the stairs in a few long strides, descending the steps to retrieve two of the bags he’d dropped by the door. On his way back through the bedroom, he tossed one bag onto the bed, then carried the other with him back into the bathroom. He made it back up in time to see Zim adding a hefty amount of bubble bath to the water. “You’re really going all-in on this, huh?” Dib remarked as he put his back against the wall and slid to a sitting position next to the tub. Zim ducked his head nervously. “It smells nice.” Dib leaned on the edge of the tub and reached out to cup Zim’s cheek, stroking it with his thumb. “Yeah, it does. And that means you’ll smell nice when we’re cuddled up together on the couch, later.” Zim pressed against his hand with a soft purr, eyes closed, a contented smile on his face. Dib’s own sad smile slowly faded as the full weight of the interaction started to hit him. He felt like he was talking to a slightly younger Zim. At the very least, a Zim with all the usual sass and salt stripped out. And that had him worried, sure, but the worst part was, he knew full well that some part of him was enjoying the shift. Taking care of a soft, sweet Zim fulfilled some basic need he didn’t even know he had. Zim slowly opened his eyes, and the pink packaging inside the bag suddenly caught his attention. “Do I even need to ask what that is?” he said wearily. Dib gave a weak smile and finally pulled the package out of the bag. The front graphic showed an earth child in a t-shirt and what appeared at first to be purple underwear. It didn't take Zim’s earth-shattering IQ to be able to guess they weren’t that, at all. “I was a bedwetter for way longer than I care to say,” Dib admitted, cheeks going pink. “So I can personally vouch for this brand. Pluuuus ,” he added in a sing-song tone, “they’re purple and pink! Your favorite colors.” Zim stared blankly for a second, then puffed out his cheeks. “Wow, Dib. I didn’t think I could feel any more self conscious about this, but congratulations.” Dib deflated a bit and ran his fingers through his hair. “Yeah, sorry. Just try to remember that it’s not for forever, alright?” Zim opened his mouth, then closed it and shook his head, thinking better of whatever he was about to say. Instead, he grabbed a washcloth and thrust it at Dib. “There’s still some milkshake on my back,” he said quietly. “I can’t reach it myself. Can you …? Dib took the washcloth from him, dipped it into the bath water, and gently began cleaning him up. There were strawberries caked along the outline of his PAK, along with the general stickiness coating everything. Zim held uncharacteristically still as Dib worked, merely swirling his fingers in the water and watching the bubble trails. “Are you alright?” Dib finally asked after several minutes of silence. “Yeah, Dib. I’ve always wanted to start pissing myself at random. So, you know. Never better,” Zim replied dryly without looking up. “We could keep trying to fix it, you know,” Dib offered as he poured water down Zim’s back to clean under his PAK. “No,” Zim replied sorrowfully, “it’s not just the wires. Some of the chips are damaged, and they’re not like your computer chips. They’re grown, like crystals. So you can’t just slap a new one in there any more than you can take a slice of your brain and replace it.” He leaned his head against the cool tile, eyes closed. “There are tools to regrow broken chips, but I don’t have them. There’s a chance I could pick up what I need on Vort, but that’s not possible right now because of the political situation.” Dib silently wrung out the washcloth and set it on the edge of the tub. “So you’re …” “Stuck like this for the foreseeable future, yeah,” Zim confirmed, swirling the bubbles around with his finger. “And I don’t even know the full extent of what ‘like this’ is .” “You haven’t been losing any of your other faculties, have you?” Dib asked with a concerned frown. Zim shook his head. “No, I just feel weird. Different.” He pushed the water from side to side, watching the frothy waves bounce around the tub as he struggled to find the words. “Smaller, almost,” he finally whispered. “I just want physical comfort and … simple things. I don’t know …” Dib reached out and put a finger under Zim’s chin, making him look up. “You want me to take care of you?” he asked gently. As he looked into Zim’s eyes, there was no denying that something had permanently shifted. The Zim that sat in front of him seemed to be trying to take up as little space as possible. Everything about him seemed to cry out for affection, and Dib wanted nothing more than to give it to him. Zim bit his lip nervously before giving a small nod. “Y-yeah. Being taken care of sounds nice.” Dib leaned forwards and kissed him on his forehead, then sat back on his heels. “Good, because that’s what I was planning to spend the rest of the day doing, anyways.” Dib pulled the stopper out of the drain and shook out a fuzzy purple towel as Zim stood up out of the water with a shiver. In one fluid motion, Dib wrapped Zim up in the towel and whisked him up before the alien could protest. Much to his surprise, this got a genuine laugh out of Zim instead of the usual cussing-out. “Man, you are in some rare moods today,” Dib said as he kissed Zim’s cheek. Zim shrugged self-consciously. “I guess …” His blush made his freckles stand out like stars in a dusty desert twilight, and for a moment, all Dib could do was smile and take it all in. “You’re still going to make me put one of those things on, aren’t you?” Zim asked quietly, face falling as Dib set him down on his feet. “Sorry,” Dib murmured, in lieu of saying ‘yes’. “If it had just been the one accident, I wouldn’t push, but, well.” He shrugged apologetically. “Twice is kind of a pattern.” Zim dried himself off slowly, looking over the packaging that claimed the product enclosed “ looks and feels like real underwear! ” It was a bold claim that Zim wasn’t positive would be able to hold up under scrutiny. It also hammered home the fact that Zim was departing the realm of whatever “real” underwear happened to be, and he had no idea if -- or when -- he’d be returning. The uncertainty left a knot in his guts. As Zim finished drying off his legs, Dib ripped one end of the package open and pulled out something that certainly looked more like a diaper than any sort of adult undergarment Zim had ever seen. Dib handed it over and Zim, still skeptical, took it and examined it closer. At least Dib had done his best to get the good colors. But that was really the only bright spot. Zim pulled the stretchy sides wide enough to step into it, then shimmied it up until the padding was flush with his crotch. He wiggled it around a bit, noting the muted crinkle the thing made as he shifted. He looked up to meet Dib’s eyes. “This is a diaper,” he said with a wry look. “It’s just a pull-up,” Dib corrected. “Call it whatever you want, Dib,” Zim said with a sigh as he walked towards the bedroom closet. “Doesn’t really change what it is. You know. I know.” He gestured half-heartedly towards the packaging. “Even those lying marketing executives probably know.” There wasn’t much Dib could say to that, so he gave Zim a sort of well-meaning pat on the head, and went to dig through the dresser for a change of clothes. After changing into some ridiculously fluffy pajamas, they settled in for an afternoon of sugar and scary movies with the hope of taking Zim’s mind of what a disaster the day had been so far. Zim had been concerned that Dib would want to keep a bit of distance between the two of them, but instead Dib seemed to want him as close as possible. Dib tended to be fairly affectionate as it was, but tonight he was all but smothering Zim with his love, cuddling him and preening his antennae. “Normally I’d never say this, because I’m worried you’d rip my face off and wear it as a hat, but you’re really cute,” Dib murmured between cheek kisses. “I wouldn’t kick your ass for that,” Zim said dismissively. “You always assume I want to be referred to in hard, masculine terms, but I’ve never said that.” Dib raised his eyebrows in surprise. “For real?” “Yeah,” Zim said as he snuggled against Dib’s chest. “I’d like it if you called me cute more often.” Dib smiled and hugged him close. “How about adorable?” “Mm-Hmm. That one, too.” “Sweet?” “Literally and figuratively, yes.” “My little bug?” Zim stopped with a Fun Dip stick halfway to his mouth. Those words made all eight ventricles of his heart suddenly flutter so badly, he was momentarily convinced he was experiencing a cardiac event. Dib laughed nervously, “Alright, not that one. Message received.” Zim hunched his shoulders reflexively. “Um. Actually … say that one again?” Dib looked down, trying and failing to read his expression. “What? My little bug?” he repeated cautiously. Zim closed his eyes, a stupid smile spreading across his face. The words were warm and soft, like a blanket fresh from the dryer on a chilly fall evening. “Oh, you actually like that one!” Dib remarked, more than a little surprised. “I thought the silence was because you were too nice to tell me it was stupid.” “I’m never too nice to call you stupid , Dib,” Zim pointed out with a sidelong glance and a barely concealed smirk. “But yes, when you say that, it gives me the warm-and-fuzzies.” “Sure that’s not because you’ve peed yourself again?” Dib said under his breath. Zim gave him a swift elbow to the ribs for his trouble. “Be nice to Zim!” he groused with a scowl as Dib coughed and grabbed his side. “I’ve had a rough day. Asshole.” “ Fuck , I think you broke something,” Dib wheezed as tears sprung to his eyes. “ Good . Think of that next time you decide that making me feel like filthy garbage over something I can’t help is a fantastic idea.” Zim crossed his arms and leaned his way out of Dib’s lap, flopping against the arm of the couch. Well. There he was. That was the Zim that Dib knew and (mostly) loved. Dib rubbed his ribs gingerly, a sinking feeling in his guts. “Hey, I’m sorry, alright?” he offered gently. “I didn’t mean to ruin a nice moment. I … guess I was just trying to be funny.” Zim covered his head with his arms. “It’s not funny, Dib,” he said, muffled. “It’s one of the least funny things to ever happen to me!” His shoulders shook for a moment as he sucked in a deep breath. “… especially because it is wet …” he added, so softly that Dib almost missed it. “Fuck, I’m so sorry,” Dib said frantically, standing up and giving Zim’s sleeve a little tug. “C’mere. Let’s go take care of it.” Zim looked up miserably, wiping the corner of his eye on his sleeve. “I can do it myself, Dib.” “I know you can, but I said I was going to take care of you, so come here and let me handle things.” Dib reached down and made a little “up!!” gesture with his fingers. Zim gave an aggravated little snort, but eventually stood up and allowed Dib to pick him up. He wrapped his legs and arms around Dib’s body, clinging like a toddler, face buried in Dib’s shoulder to hide how badly he was blushing. “You’ve got to tell me when you need it swapped out,” Dib admonished gently as they ascended the stairs. “I was comfy,” Zim mumbled. “If that’s seriously the lie you’re going with, I’m gonna start checking,” Dib said with a warning glance. “Do you want that?” “Of course not!!” Zim sputtered. “It’s embarrassing, okay?? I don't want to draw attention to it.” “You know what’s more embarrassing?” Dib asked as he set Zim down on the floor. “Leaking all over me and the couch. Now, do me a favor and hold your shirt out of the way.” Zim sighed and lifted up his shirt as Dib deftly pulled his pants down and ripped the sides on his pull-up to take it off. He set it on the ground and pulled out a pack of wipes from the bag on the bed, then set to work wiping Zim down. It wasn’t as if Dib wasn’t already intimately familiar with all of Zim’s bits. They had a very healthy love life, and one of Dib’s favorite things to do was put his face between Zim’s thighs and absolutely go to town eating him out until Zim’s legs shook and he couldn’t see straight. But there was something altogether different about having Dib clean him up with all the gentle care in the world, absolutely devoid of sexual subtext. Or at least, that’s how it looked . “I’m starting to think you like this more than you’ve let on,” Zim said suspiciously. It was a stab in the dark, but it was also the only thing that explained why Dib seemed so completely unbothered by the whole thing. Dib shrugged. “I guess? Taking care of you kinda hits a special part of my heart just right,” he said with a genuine smile. “I don’t like that you’re in this situation, but as long as you are, I’d love to get to pamper the absolute hell out of you.” “I said no diapers, Dib,” Zim insisted nervously. “I mean I want to dote on you, dummy,” Dib said as he rolled everything up and brought it to the bin on the other side of the room. “Although diapers would make this whole thing easier. You wouldn’t need to take everything off in order for me to change you.” Zim whined as he stepped out of his pajama bottoms. “Not yet,” he said, a pleading tone to his words. Dib came back with a fresh pull-up, sprinkled with what smelled like lavender baby powder. “Suit yourself,” he said, holding the disposable underwear out in front of Zim. “Step into this, and then we’re done.” Zim put a hand on Dib’s shoulder for balance and did as he was told. “So that’s really it?” he asked as he straightened the leg bands on his hips. “You just like coddling me? You don’t have a piss fetish or anything?” Dib didn’t immediately answer, and when Zim looked up, his face was an indescribable shade of red. “ Oh my Tallest ,” Zim said, face falling. “I trusted you!” Dib fiddled with his glasses. “I’m not getting off on this!!” he insisted. A little too intently, Zim thought. “It’s more like … it’s cute??” he attempted desperately. “It’s weirdly emotionally intimate and it just makes me want to cuddle you, okay??” “So none of it is sexual?” Zim asked dryly as he pulled up his pajama bottoms. Dib tilted his head back towards the ceiling and gave a frustrated moan. “Ohhhh my gawd, alright . Look. Let me put it this way,” he said, face still on the red side of pink. “If we were fucking and you … um … you know …” Zim raised his eyebrows. Having a laugh at Dib’s expense was simply too easy. “ No . I don’t know.” Dib ran his fingers through his hair once, and then a few extra times for good measure. “Okay. Okay okay okay . If you … if you were inside of me, and you pissed …” Dib tossed his hands up on either side of him in a greatly exaggerated shrug. “I wouldn’t hate it , alright??” Zim thought for a moment, foot tapping as he watched Dib squirm out of the corner of his eye. “But would you like it ?” he asked, trying not to grin when Dib’s eyes nearly popped out of his head. “Gah!!! Yes, Zim! Is that what you want to hear??” he yelled. “That I fucking fantasize about having the balls to ask you to piss inside me and then fuck me in it?? ” A smile tugged at the corner of Zim’s face. He’d never seen Dib snap like this before and it was highly amusing. “Holy shit …” he whispered to himself. Dib continued on with his rant, unaware. “Because I do , alright?? I think that would be hot as hell , especially if you told me what a disgusting, perverted freak I am while you do it!!” He stopped gesticulating wildly and dropped his arms, panting. His glasses had nearly slid off his face and his hair was wild. “Are you happy now??? ” Dib demanded as Zim desperately stifled a giggle with his sleeve. “You have no idea,” he replied with a grin. “I’m not taking advantage of this situation, I swear ,” Dib said, still visibly flustered as he fixed his glasses. “You’re cute and I want to take care of you. I just also haven’t stopped seeing you as my partner so, if you want to still have sex…” He trailed off with a hopeful look. “That option is still on the table.” Zim stepped forwards and hugged Dib around the waist. “Good. Because I haven’t stopped enjoying the thought of being inside you.” Dib ruffled his antennae. “Perpetually on the same page. That’s why I love you.” Zim stepped back and made an “up!!” motion with his arms, an expectant look on his face. Dib rolled his eyes, but ultimately reached down to pick him up. “Alright, alright. One more movie, because I can’t say no to that look. But then we’re going to bed for real. It really has been a long day.”
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