Zim tried not to feel anxious as he continued to wash himself.
"Oh, shut up, Zim! You know very well I asked you to keep a shower running for me before you left the gym! How was I supposed to know you were still using it?! Besides, I thought you hated water! So why haven't you gone home yet?!" Dib snapped right back at the other, peeking out from behind the curtain of his shower to have a look around, contemplating ducking behind various shower curtains until he could reach the towels on the other end of the room.
Chancing a quick glance over at the shower Zim was still standing behind, he took a deep breath before darting out to make a quick dash for the shower curtain closest to his own. He then did the same with the next one and then the next one, drawing ever closer to his prize. When he was about two showers away from where he could see the folded up towels however, he felt his foot slipping against the wet tile floor as he made another mad dash for one of the curtains.
Letting out a startled sound as he felt himself falling backwards, almost as if in slow motion, he couldn't stop the choked cry that escaped his lips when his head came into direct contact with the ground, causing his world to spin momentarily as he brought a hand up to feel where he had hit, making sure it wasn't bleeding.
"What's all that racket you are making out there! Can't you just shower like a normal person does, or something?" Zim called out, hearing the sudden crash. He frowned, wondering what Dib could possibly be doing out there. Did he have a towel and that's why he was out there? Zim could have sworn he'd only just gotten into the shower. So why would he leave it so soon?
Eventually, the Irken's curiosity got the better of him and he poked his head around the shower curtain he was behind, frowning, when his eyes widened from a sight he had least expected to see.
Dib was sprawled out on the ground, holding his head. There was a tiny amount of blood pooling beneath where his head had hit the concrete tiles below him. Zim stood, almost frozen in position, eyes prefixed on the scene before him.
After a moment or so of staring, Zim started to wonder what he should do. He felt no remorse for his enemy and never had, but now he felt a deep pang of guilt, something that was rare for him to experience. Seeing Dib helpless on the floor in front of him, he felt something almost similar to pity for the boy.
Swallowing, Zim slowly pushed back the shower curtain, forgetting their situation momentarily to walk over to Dib and peer down at him, slowly reaching an arm down behind the boy's back and letting out a strangled noise as their skin made contact. He ignored the looming feeling of embarrassment in the pit of his stomach, trying to avert his gaze from Dib's pale body before him and focus on what really mattered.
"Dib? Are you okay?"
Holding his head with one hand as the other sat him up slowly, it took Dib a moment to register at first what had happened, his only current thoughts on the searing pain in his head and not the fact that he was completely exposed now to his worst enemy. "O-Oooowwww... th-that hurt." he groaned out in a slightly strained voice as he tried to suck in some air through his teeth before exhaling slowly in a small hiss.
Looking back at Zim who was currently kneeling behind him and holding him up in a sitting position, he then suddenly remembered why it was he had been running across the wet floor of the boys' locker room and blushed a light pink as he quickly squeezed his knees together and brought them to his chest, trying to reserve what little dignity he had left in that moment as he looked away from the other, more embarrassed in that moment than he had ever been in his entire life.
"I-I'm fine." he finally said after a delayed response to Zim's earlier question, wincing as he tried to push himself up some so he could stand but failing in the long run to get up on his feet again.
Zim resorted once more to a crouching position, bringing his knees to his chest and wrapping his arms around his legs, leveling his head with his knees. He held himself so tight that he nearly turned himself into a ball beside Dib on the wet floor. He continued to watch as the boy tried to get himself to his feet but struggled to do so.
He knew he would be stuck that way unless Dib turned around or left the area. Zim wondered what was going to happen now considering he had no towel for himself and the only way to get one was to pass by the Dib. He really didn't want to do that so he just remained in the position he was in, doing his best to hide himself.
"Now what?" he asked quietly, more so to himself than to the Dib. Regardless, he peered at Dib's head, wondering if he was okay or not. At least he hadn't been knocked unconscious, otherwise that would have led to a whole new situation. The shower was still running behind him, but Zim didn't care about it for the time being, instead keeping his attention focused on Dib. His antennae perked up as he listened to Dib stumble about and his undisguised magenta eyes stared up at him.
Finally on his feet again after a good five minutes of attempting to get up, Dib swayed a bit as he took a few steps forward, away from the crouching Zim behind him. There was really no point in him trying to hide himself any more than he had already attempted to now that they were both out in the open. So rather, he continued making his way the rest of the way across the room, stopping once he had reached the towels and picking up one to wrap around his body. Then, taking up a second towel, he hesitantly inched his way back towards Zim, keeping his back turned to the Irken so the other wouldn't feel too much more uncomfortable.
"H-Here." he held out the towel to Zim once he was close enough to drape it over the other's body, his cheeks burning as he kept his eyes averted.
Zim was quick to respond, clutching the fabric and drawing it down over his body in one swift movement. He gave a breathless sigh of relief, feeling the fabric around his slender waist and maintaining his privacy. He did hope that his enemy hadn't been able to see that particular section of his body. The Irken knew he had nothing to show, but still, he didn't want questions from the Dib, especially ones about his sexuality. Zim growled.
He garnered up the courage to push himself up a few moments later, shakily getting back onto his two skinny legs, feeling like he was going to collapse. He swallowed lodged spit in the back of his throat.
No matter how many times the Irken would try to deny himself otherwise, he knew that this blow to his self-esteem would no doubt last for a good while. He didn't know if he'd ever be able to forget it. But when he thought about it, he figured that perhaps Dib felt the same way. After all, both of them were as nude as the day they were born. Or in Zim's case, created.
Zim hadn't realized how pale Dib was, let alone himself. The lighting from the room made his skin seem paler than usual, although that could just have been from the fact that Zim felt a little light-headed and dizzy about the situation. The thought of how his arch rival was taking the situation crossed his mind. Dib seemed to be okay for the time being, but the Irken knew better. Using his enhanced vision he stared at Dib and inspected his vitals closely.
Bringing a hand up to hold his head again, Dib tightened his grip on the towel currently hugging his body. He felt ill, the throbbing in his head only growing worse the longer he stood there in the middle of locker room's showers. He wanted to go home.
"Umm... sorry... about earlier..." he apologized, keeping his back turned to Zim so the other wouldn't be able to see how red his face had become. He was more embarrassed than he'd ever been in his life before. And it didn't help that his worst enemy wasn't saying anything to make this situation any less awkward. He half hoped the other would begin yelling at him, giving him a reason to leave other than the obvious.
"I-I think I'll get dressed now." he then said in a whisper after a minute or so more of silence had passed between the two of them.
"Stay where you are!" the other barked suddenly.
The Irken travelled forward slowly, taking each step with precaution. Dib had his back turned still and Zim was happy about that. He approached the taller boy from behind before using his claws to rip the fabric from his towel in half and scrunch it up slightly before pressing it up to the back of his rival's head.
"Your foolish act has given you a laceration to your ginormous skull. You're rather lucky your head is so big, Dib-smell. It gave you extra protection."
The Irken pressed the fabric against the wound tightly before reaching a pale-jade green hand around to Dib's front. He hesitated a little, swallowing, before grabbing the boy's arm.
Tensing up when he felt the Irken grab hold of his arm, Dib couldn't help but hiss out a small pained noise when the other pressed part of his towel to the very back of his head.
"M-My head's not... not big." he said through gritted teeth before he panted out heavily, bringing his free hand up to place over his eyes, the sudden contact making his head ache ten times more. A part of him thought he would fall over at one point as he stumbled slightly against Zim just to be held up by the other's hand that had taken hold of his arm. "A-And I already told you, I'm fine." he said, just wanting to get dressed already so he could head on home and go to bed.
"Besides... what does it matter to you whether I have a laceration in my head or not? It's not like you haven't done worse to me in the past. I-I can handle this without your help." he said as he saw the room beginning to spin.
Zim just scoffed.
"You think you're in good condition? Well, look at you!" he sneered.
"You're ready to collapse. I've already assessed your vitals. Such a weak, inferior species you are. I've been in war, Dib-pest. The strong ones were the ones that swallowed everything they had and let their enemies help them to safety. The ones that preferred their pride were the ones that were executed."
The Irken let go of his arm, his intention having been to bring Dib over to the still running shower and cleanse the back of his head properly, with aid from the medical files his PAK stored on human anatomy. Now he stood back.
"I don't care. But I care about you staying alive. Who else am I going to use as my slave when I take over your planet?" Zim spat. "But if you'd rather stay here on your own, that's also fine by me, filthy hyooman!"
Stumbling back away from the other when the Irken let go of his arm, Dib shot Zim as cold a glare as he could muster before turning again to head for the changing room. "If you don't care then don't even bother trying to help me. I don't need you. In fact, I don't need anyone." he said, not caring that he could hardly keep himself steady on his feet. "Besides, anything would be better than becoming YOUR slave. So you can just keep dreaming, space boy. Help from you is absolutely the last thing I need right now. I've dealt with far worse ON MY OWN. And I can deal with this ON. MY. OWN." he put an emphasis on his last three words.