titled "cool" on AO3. originally written 8/16/2020.

It's an odd night to be himself.
Dib rolled around on his mattress in discomfort, not being able to find the perfect spot. It’s like the whole bed is made of dirt and rocks. Finally resigning himself to sitting upright, he stared out the window that overlooked his bed. Without his glasses, everything blurred into different hues of murky blue, only broken up by what stars he could see from this angle.
He's had quite some time to think about himself tonight, pouring over every section of what he is. But-truly- what is he, outside of his interests and his goal to stop Zim? Nobody out there knows he exists and- if they do- they hate him for what he is, or rather, what he likes. Nobody knew 'Dib'. They only knew 'Membrane's Son.' He's not exactly quiet- or normal- about his goals or interests, but he shouldn't have to take up as least possible space in this world just to be accepted. People were going to hate him no matter what he did; why even try to hold yourself back? And on the same line of thought, is there anything wrong with your goals being who you are as a whole, or is everyone else wrong? Once the goal is completed, what is left of what is known as Dib? It doesn’t really matter. [ Carefully, he avoids thinking about the problems he causes himself. ]
Exhaling softly, he slid off his bed so that he could properly lean his upper body on the windowsill and look out. The cool summer air is a welcome reprieve from the stifling heat of the day, a gentle breeze slightly ruffling his greasy, unkempt hair. He hadn't even bothered to change out of his normal clothes, still wearing the same t-shirt and pants. Glancing down, he caught sight of the scars that mottled his arm; Mostly from his endless squabbles with Zim, of course.
Dib has known for several years now that he's a complete genetic clone of his father. On a technical level, everything about the two should be physically identical.
No matter what you do, however, you cannot recreate ‘someone’. Each individual goes through a different array of experiences, each leaving completely different marks on them both physically and mentally. If he had somehow been put through the exact same childhood his father had, he would've still ended up different, because Dib isn't, and can never be, him. A person is not the body they inhabit, but how they act and perceive the world around them.
It's impossible; so why is it expected from him by the person who should know better than that? It’s beyond infuriating; it’s not like he treats Gaz that way. He wonders about that though, how he didn’t really know where Gaz came from, and how that might affect how he treats her. It’s likely something he’ll never know; Membrane is secretive and she herself would’ve been too young to remember it, of course. ...implying that she didn’t somehow magically know, because Gaz defies logic almost constantly. He really needed to look into that more, but messing with her could cost his life, not really sure if the risk was worth the reward.
Brought back to reality by a fly that decided to go up his nose, Dib snorted loudly and swatted at the air until the situation fixed itself.
“ Stupid bug. “
He turned back around to collapse back onto his bed. He had a long day tomorrow of thwarting Zim and he’s already exhausted.