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[personal profile] rainbowhipster
Title: The Grand Scheme of Things
Summary: And maybe, Gaz thought, they were all Broken. He couldn't even die correctly.
Rating: T
Fandom: Invader Zim
Pairings: n/a
Comments: n/a
What are you doing, Dib? This is going to fail. You always fail. Stupid.

"How long as it been?" he asks, voice loud in the cold, still silence.

The sky is dark and riddled with pinpricks of light, and the road they are walking down is bathed red from the light of the moon.

She stops, pauses, and turns to look at him. He's about ten feet behind her, and is still walking at his normal pace. He isn't trying to catch up. He doesn't stop. He doesn't catch her eye. In fact, he avoids it.

Dib and Gaz Membrane are siblings, they just got into high school, and they are utterly alone in the world.

Gaz stands there, staring, as he comes up to her. His footsteps echo in the quiet night, and he's still avoiding her eyes. He passes her.

She turns and stares after him as he continues to walk, trenchcoat wrapped tightly around him. Dib's about twenty feet ahead when she finally speaks.

"A while."

She's not sure if he heard her, and he doesn't reply. She continues to watch as he continues to their house.

"It's going to be fine!" she yells after him, but is the message to him or to her, she doesn't know.

Click. Reset.

"Did you do your homework?" Professor Membrane asks, goggles flashing. Dib presses the YES button. "Good job, son! I knew you could do it!"

He rewinds.

"What are you doing?" Gaz asks from the doorway. Her arms are loaded with empty bags.

"I'm talking to Dad." Dib replies, listening as the questions started again. "I miss him, sometimes."

"He thought you were crazy."

His eyes didn't stray from the screen, and their dads face is reflected in his cracked glasses. "So did you."

She laughs, a harsh bark that comes deep from her chest. "I still do."

"We all are." he says without hesitation. She stands there, arms still loaded with plastic bags, before storming up the stairs. He rewinds.

"Did you do your homework?"

Click. Reset.

They haven't turned the lights on since It happened. Dib wonders idly if the neighbors wonder were they are and what happened, and if they would check on them. Gaz points out that they're probably dead. He doesn't reply.

"Do you think the television still works?" Gaz asks after a while of bearing the offended silence. He shrugs. "Do you want to watch Mysterious Mysteries?"

Dib stares at her. The crack in his glasses make his left eye look strange.

"What happened to you?"

"What are you talking about?"

He motions to the television. "This." He juts his finger at himself. "This. You used to hate this."

Her face remains emotionless. "I still do."

"So what are you doing," he asks, "wanting me to watch a show you hate, fixing dinner, everything? If you still hate me, how come you haven't hit me yet?"

She stretches and leans over to grab his hand. "You're all I have left. I still hate you, I still think you're crazy and stupid and the worst brother ever, but you're all I have left. It's all in the grand scheme of things."

He doesn't reply or look at her, but he doesn't let go of her hand.

Dib wonders, for the first time in years, if he's actually crazy.

Click. Reset.

"We've lost weight." Dib points out, running a finger over the ribs protruding from Gaz's stomach. She bats his hand away, scowling.

"We haven't eaten, either." She passes him his shirt and pulls on her shoes. "Get dressed, we're going to be late."

The school is falling apart already, not built to last without care every day. They make their way up the cracked steps, and when Gaz almost trips over a loose brick, Dib grabs her hand and doesn't let go till they separate into their separate classrooms. Gaz pushes open the door and sits at her front row desk, staring at the blackboard.

The date from the first day is still written up there, along with the math facts meant to be copied down onto unwilling students paper. She diligently pulls her binder out and starts to copy them down, ignoring the past papers, crinkled and fading.

Gaz takes time writing each letter, each number. She prides herself in her penmanship, and wants this to look good. Better than the past one. Better than all of them, all of the past papers combined.

An amount of time passes, and Dib bursts into the door. It falls off its hinges, but neither notice. He kisses her, and doesn't close his eyes.

"What was that for?" she asks, almost unheard, when they part.

"I just wanted to make sure you were real," he said, not parting their gaze.

They fuck, and the only witness is the cracked and fading chalkboard.

Click. Reset.

Dib traces alien symbols into the palm of Gaz's hand. She stopped going to school, and he followed soon after. Her eyes follow his every move, shaded under the dark eyeliner she has yet to wash off. It's been there since the Beginning, and it's all she has to hold onto. That, and Dib, but he's been Broken and isn't The Same.

"Like a doll." he murmurs, and she tunes back into what he was saying.


Dib smiles slightly, brown eyes dull. He's stopped wearing his glasses, and it makes her sad. He doesn't look The Same, and only proves that he's Broken beyond repair. "Like a doll, I said. Doll's don't ever question what's done to them, they stand there and take it and pretend to care. You've never paid attention. Not since I've known you, at least. I could screw you into the ground right now and you wouldn't even notice."

"I would," Gaz says it slowly, after a moments thought. The words are spaced out. "I would notice, and I would scream. I'm not a doll, I never was and never will be."

"You're so filled with rage you don't know what to do with yourself, so you don't. All this tension..." His finger stops, pressing into her palm enough so that it hurts. She doesn't move. "Doll's can break, you know. I could break you here and now and you couldn't do a thing."

"I would scream," she says, glaring at his hand. His fingernails are cracked and dirty.

"Who would hear you?" He presses harder.

"Someone would. I'd get help."



Dib cocks his head, blink up at her, before grinning that fake grin he has and turning back to her hand, moving his finger again.

"He's starting to rot, you know." Gaz says.

"Dad will come through," is all Dib says, "He always comes through."

Maybe, Gaz thinks, we're all Broken.



Gaz stares down at Dib's body, taking in every detail. The tattered coat, the glasses-less face, and the messy cowlick he was never without. His ribs show through the shirt, and only then does she realize neither had eaten since It happened.

"Maybe we could have eaten each other." Gaz says, voice sounding somehow hollow in the empty house. "We could have survived, then."

"We're Broken," Dib replies. "You Broke, too, not too long ago. Dolls, all of us."

"Shut up," Gaz hisses, fists clenching. "You're dead."

Dib doesn't say anything back, and doesn't even move.

"You're dead," she repeats, "You can't talk. Stupid, didn't you know that?"

She thinks maybe he moves, so she kicks him. "Idiot, you don't even know how to be dead. You can't even die correctly."

"You couldn't live correctly, so you're even." her dad calls from the next room.

"Shut up, Dad." she almost smiles. "Dead people can't talk."

Gaz sits down on her bed and curls up under the sheets. She stares up at the ceiling and waits to die.

Everything stops.

It isn't supposed to make sense, Gaz. Nothing is supposed to. Just let it be.


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