It was dark by now, the stars just beginning to peep out in the sky while the sickle-moon shone faintly through the smog of the city. Zim walked down the sidewalk with his fists clenched angrily at his sides. Hours of walking looking for GIR and the little SIR Unit had been back at the base the entire time! That horrible robot! Next time Zim would make sure GIR would tell him when he was going out and exactly where he was going.
Suddenly Zim stopped mid-stride, looking back over his shoulder. For the past block and a half a suspicious looking bush had been shadowing him and sure enough it was still there, only five feet from him now. Zim narrowed his eyes. "Dib, this is your most pitiful spying attempt yet." He said. The bush rustled and the unmistakably big head of Dib popped out of the top. "Took you long enough to notice." Dib sneered. "Did you only just now realize I was here?"
"Of course I new you were here! Yes! It was… uh… all part of my plan. Yes! You have walked right into my trap!" Zim immediately thought of a reason for why he had done nothing about the bush stalking him for all this time. He was so clever.
Dib, however, did not look convinced. "Oh really? Exactly what trap have I walked into then?" He asked. Zim glanced from side to side, wracking his brain to think of some sort of horrible "trap" for Dib to have walked into. He could not afford to let Dib get away so easily. "My trap…well… I've got you all alone now, so there'll be no one to hear you scream!" Zim said, meaning to sound intimidating. "Uh-huh." Dib mumbled, climbing out of the bush and brushing stray leaves off his coat before facing Zim. He was in no way, shape, or form intimidated by Zim. In fact, he had something planned of his own that would surely give this Irken Invader a run for his money.
"You won't get away this time, Zim! This time I've got something that will stop you!" Dib said, beginning to get excited as he stood facing the alien. Zim rolled his eyes and folded his arms across his chest, leaning to one side in a pose that clearly spoke that he in turn wasn't afraid of anything this dirt-child could come up with. "What is it then? Another of your "para-normey" failures?" Zim said with a condescending chuckle. Dib smiled nastily, an expression he had noticed his self making more often since Zim came to Earth, some of the Invader's quirks subtly rubbing off on him.
Dib then reached into his pocket and took something small out, holding it so that Zim could see it clearly. "Ooh! Neat! What is it?" Zim asked, looking eagerly at whatever "it" was. It was small and appeared be made of polished wood, ornately carved with odd looking designs that spread out from the center, which appeared to be in the shape of some sort of large cat.
"This is ancient African talisman. I got it at the mall!" Dib pronounced proudly, holding aloft the talisman in the light of one of the street lamps they were standing under. "What's it supposed to do? I bet it probably doesn't work at all." Zim replied with a confirming nod. Dib shot him a dirty look. "It does so work! And it… does something!" Dib said, beginning to advance slowly with the talisman held out in front of him. "And we're going to find out what it does right now!" Dib continued.
Zim feigned a yawn and looked bored. This was going to end as it usually did; with Dib looking like an idiot and Zim being proven as the superior being he so was. "Get it over with, then." Zim waved his hand dismissively.
All of a sudden Dib began to chant in some odd language, words that to Zim sounded garbled and nonsensical, Dib his self didn't even know exactly what they meant but had looked up the right incantation on Weknowspellsgood.com. When the spell reached its utmost point the talisman began to glow a faint orange color and just as the incantation came to an end Dib abruptly threw the talisman at Zim who flinched a little out of pure reaction at the unexpected motion.
The talisman bounced harmlessly off of Zim's head and fell to the ground with a tiny thunk sound, no longer glowing. There was a moment of silence, unbroken as the two foes stared down at the talisman. "Eh… that was anticlimactic." Zim said with a snort of laughter. Dib only looked sorrowfully at the talisman. "That was supposed to work. The guy at the mall told me it would work." He said with a loud disappointed sigh. Zim laughed at him. "Foolish, Dib! Your powers of corn are no match for a mighty Irken Elite! Ha! I AM ZIM! And I-"
Zim was forced to cut his little victory speech short as a sudden sharp pain made him double over and gasp. "Dib! What did you- ahhg!" Zim cried, falling to his knees. His squeedily spooch felt as if it was tying itself in knots and his head was spinning so much that he had to close his eyes before he became sick. All the while he felt as if he was on fire as the pain began to consume his entire body and he writhed against it. He let out a scream, but his voice didn't sound right, it sounded raspy and growly, not at all how he was supposed to sound.
All the while Dib stood back and watched wide eyed as Zim began to transform; green fur taking the place of skin while bones crunched and bent into a new quadrepedal shape. Whatever was going on, Dib's talisman had worked and he couldn't help but feel a sense of satisfaction at that.
Finally the pain ebbed and Zim shook his head dizzily, still reeling so that he could only see faint blurry shapes. Something was definitely wrong. Zim looked up at Dib once his vision cleared; since when had Dib gotten so tall? "What is this? What have you done to me?" Zim demanded, but the only sound that came out of his mouth was a yowl fallowed by a few grunt-like growls. That stopped Zim talking immediately. That was not normal in the least!
"A lion cub? Why a lion?" Dib said, leaning down to get a better look at Zim. Indeed he had been turned into a lion cub. Green fur covered his entire body while his legs and paws were black, indicating where his gloves and boots had been. His wig had become a black mane.
Dib snorted a laugh. "You know, you actually look better this way, Zim!" He said, rocking back on his heels as he shook with laughter.
Zim raised one black paw, looking at down at it with an expression of pure horror (or at least what can be considered horror from a feline's face). His large rounded ears flattened against his head and his eyes grew wide as he turned in a circle trying to get a better view of his self. The fact that he now had a tail particularly unnerved him. He looked so comical that Dib nearly choked laughing.
"Dib!" Zim snarled, rounding on Dib with sharp retractable claws sliding out and scoring the sidewalk. Dib suddenly stopped laughing and realized that perhaps a lion wasn't such a good thing after all, as now Zim was more than capable of really causing him some physical harm. He backed away as the fur on Zim's neck rose and his tail lashed angrily. "Change me back!" He yowled, leaping for Dib.
However, Zim was not yet used to his new body and only ended up tripping over his own paws and landing face forward on the hard concrete, giving Dib the chance to snatch up the talisman by the twine that held it bound, and turn and head home at a fairly quick enough pace so that Zim wouldn't be able to chase after him.
"Good luck, Zim!" He laughed as he got away. "Hope you don't cough up any fur balls!"
Zim got up off the sidewalk growling irritably. "That filthy human! He will pay for this!" Zim vowed, awkwardly testing the movement in his paws and the balance of his tail. He looked ruefully at his torn clothes lying on the ground. That really irritated him. No worries. I'll just get back to the base and fix this little problem. Then I'll exact my revenge on the Dib! Zim thought, starting to amble back the way towards his base once he was certain he wouldn't trip.
It took him a little longer than it normally would, but he finally made it back to his own house, stopping at the door when he realized that there really wasn't a way for him to turn the doorknob. He scratched at the door like a dog (a dog with abnormally sharp nails that left deep slashes). "GIR! GIR, let me in!!" He said as loudly as he could (which was pretty loud).
Before too long the door was opened by GIR who looked down at him with unbridled joy. "Awww! It's a kitty!" He said with an excited little giggle. Zim pushed ignominiously past him and into the house. "We don't have time for this, GIR. I need to get back to my amazing self." He said, unaware that all GIR could hear was grunts and little rrr-owls. "I gonna call you Fluffy! And we gonna be beeeessst friends!" GIR said, wrapping his arms around Zim in a breath crushing hug. "Hehe! Don't tell Master! He don't like kitties."
"GIR! I am your master! I AM ZIM!!!" Zim snarled, struggling out of GIR's grip with astounding flexibility he would never have been able to accomplish before. "You're hopeless." He grumbled, beginning to pad into the kitchen where he would then head down to his labs and get this mess straitened out.
A flashing red light and an alarm made him jump. "Security alert! Foreign organism detected!" The computer's voice said loudly. "Foreign organism?! I am Zim!" Zim protested. Mechanical arms and claws suddenly appeared from everywhere all at once, electricity crackling at the ends of some. Zim took a few wary steps back, and then whirled and ran as the arms advanced, chasing him out of his own base. "See you next time, Fluffy!" GIR called as Zim shot past him and darted out the door which closed with a slam. But Zim was not out of harm's way yet, now the gnomes came to life, their eyes glowing dangerously. Zim was only able to barely dodge a laser fired by the gnomes, the heat of the blast singing the fur on his back as he skittered wildly away, stopping as soon as the gnomes succeeded in chasing him off of his property.
Of course the security system would work this time. This time when he needed the base more than ever. Of course.
Well now there was no choice, the only other option was Dib. He had to know some way to take the spell off. Reluctantly Zim turned his paws in the direction of Dib's house, although not without a growl and angry lash of his tail.
He didn't get far when a box-shaped truck drove up close to him. The human text on the side reading "Animal Control." A man got out of the truck carrying a long metal stick with a loop at the end. He looked very bored and didn't seem too thrilled to have to be working this late anyway; but they had recently received a call about a predatory animal in the area. He looked at Zim with apparent disgust. "Keeping wild animals as pets. What is wrong with these people?" He muttered, advancing towards Zim with the stick. "Now don't worry, little guy. This will only hurt if you struggle." He said.
Zim let out a yell and leaped as the man lunged forward with the stick. Now his only choice was to run as the man persued him. Turned into some horrible fur-monster, kicked out of my base, and now chased by this pathetic, smelly human! Can tonight get any worse? Zim thought darkly as reached Dib's house, crashed through a hedge, and flung his self at a tree, digging his claws into the rough bark and hauling his body up until he balanced on a branched obscured by dark green leaves.
The stick-human seemed confused at Zim's sudden disappearance and doubled back, looking under cars and shrubs to find his quarry. "Pitiful human!" Zim spat.
He then spotted Dib's window and made his way across the branch, his heart hammering with fear when the branch swayed and creaked beneath him. He had to jump onto the window sill, which gave him quite a start as he jumped short and dangled momentarily with his back legs churning the empty air until he could pull his self up and squeeze through the partially open window.
Dib was just below him. Sleeping with a smile on his stupid human face. Zim's tail twitched and he crouched low on the window sill. "Change me back, stink beast!" He yowled, leaping with claws unsheathed down on Dib. Dib woke with a start and a cry as the Irken-lion cub crashed into him, throwing them both onto the floor. As Dib fell his hand flailed wildly for something, anything for him to hold onto, knocking against his desk where the talisman now went sailing into the air, landing on the back of his neck as they landed in a thrashing heap on the floor.
Zim got off hurriedly, scrambling backwards and tripping over his tail as he felt Dib writhe and twist under him, his muscles sliding and rearranging. Now it was Zim's turn to watch as the hideous transformation took over Dib, joints popping and grinding until a pale tan lion cub lay on the floor where Dib the human once had been.
Dib blinked and reached for his glasses with a paw, not realizing what had happened until he could see well enough to see the grey paw instead of a hand that had pushed his glasses back onto his face. "Zim! Look what you did now! You always mess everything up!" He exclaimed, looking up at Zim who was pressed to the floor with his ears flat and his eyes wide. He wore an expression of a mix between horror and fury. And perhaps revulsion. "Just change us back already! This little prank has gone on far enough!" Zim demanded, relieved that they could at least understand what the other was saying now.
The talisman slid off of Dib's neck onto the floor. Dib hooked it with one claw and looked at it, his expression unreadable.
"Well?" Zim asked impatiently as Dib said nothing. Dib swallowed "I don't know how to change us back." He said slowly and seriously. Zim dug his claws into the carpeted floor. "Are you saying we're stuck like this?!" He exclaimed. Dib let the talisman fall to the floor and shuffled his paws. "There's got to be some way to change us back. What about your labs?" He asked, looking hopefully at Zim. Zim only glared at him from narrowed violet eyes. "My base doesn't recognize me in this filthy form. There might be a way to disarm the base's defenses from outside, but I'm not sure I want to help you." Zim replied. Dib bared his sharp teeth in a snarl. "You rotten space monster!" He growled, ready to spring at Zim.
But before either of them could make any move the door was flung open, revealing Gaz in her pajamas. She did not look pleased to be woken up in the middle of the night. "Stupid cats." She grumbled, picking up one of Dib's shoes from the floor and preparing to throw it at the two of them. "You'd better get out of here or you're gonna pay." She warned. Dib looked scared but Zim wasn't afraid of a pathetic shoe. "You don't scare me, little Gaz. Just go back to bed or else-"
Gaz didn't allow Zim to finish his growlings and threw the shoe forcefully at him, striking him painfully in the head and forcing him backwards with the impact. She grabbed the other shoe and threw it at Dib; then began reaching for more objects to throw. Zim and Dib knew they were outmatched and promptly fled out of Dib's room, down the stairs, and out the door, all the while letting out yowls of fear.
"And stay out!" Gaz yelled, slamming the front door behind her. Zim and Dib panted out on the porch. They had escaped Gaz's wrath, but they were still no closer to returning to normal.
"We'll try your base then." Dib said to Zim, getting up and beginning to head down the sidewalk. He didn't get very far when there was a very loud popping sort of noise and Dib jumped with a squeak of pain. A brightly colored dart sticking out of his shoulder. Zim turned to see that the shooter of the dart was the man in the Animal Control truck who had a long-barreled gun pointing at the two of them.
Dib swayed and then collapsed unconscious in a pitiful heap. The man aimed the gun at Zim before he could gather his wits and run away. Another loud pop and Zim yowled as a second dart buried itself into his side. He staggered, fighting the effects of the drug. "Zim cannot be conquered by pathetic human tranquilizing devices!" He snarled defiantly. His legs suddenly shook and collapsed under him, his head felt very heavy. "It… won't… work…" He mumbled, his eyes beginning to close despite his best efforts to stay awake. "I…am…Zim…"
Then his head fell forward on his paws and he remembered no more.