I'm Right Here by Rose Haze

Disclaimer I do not own The Suite Life of Zack and Cody

Author's Note: ... Two and a half years later… There's not much I can say to excuse that kind of absence, now is there? (= For those of you who are reading my other story, Blood in the Bathroom, I would like to extend my apology for not replying to any of the wonderful reviews that my previous chapter received. I appreciate them all, and they kept me motivated during my little sabbatical but I just feel that many of the reviewers will not find a reply relevant at this time. If any of you guys had any questions regarding the story, don't hesitate to ask. I plan on replying to all future reviews and personal messages. I really hope that some of my old readers return, because I really enjoyed being a part of this fan community. I also hope that this new chapter attracts some new readers. Feel free to drop a PM, I definitely plan on being available for awhile! Now here's the story…

Chapter 29

In My Dreams

"There is bound to be rough waters, and I know I'll take some falls; with the good lord as my captain, I can make it through them all." –Garth Brooks

By the time Zack stopped crying he did not feel any better. Instead he just felt more exhausted than ever. He stared at Cody, watching his chest rise and fall on its own accord. After a few seconds Cody grimaced. A tiny, quiet moan escaped from his lips before his features evened out. Zack put his hand on Cody's arm.

"It's okay," he murmured gently, "You're fine, Code."

But it's not okay, a small voice in his head argued, he's in pain.

Zack leaned forward and whispered into Cody's ear, "I don't want you to hurt anymore, Cody. But I don't want you to leave me, either."

Carey, who had been hovering in the background stepped forward and rubbed Zack's shoulder, "It's only something to think about right now, Sweetheart," she said soothingly, "Nobody is going to do anything with the organ donation program until the doctors are absolutely certain that there is no chance for Cody to wake up."

Zack ran his fingers through Cody's golden blonde hair. It felt a little oily, as if it had not been washed in a few days. With his other hand he picked up Cody's and held on tight.

"I don't want to be selfish," he whispered, squeezing Cody's hand, "I want to do whatever's best for Cody."

"That's what we all want, Baby," Carey said.

Zack kissed Cody's forehead and gave his hand a final squeeze, "I'm going to lay down now."

He turned to face his mother, "Wake me up if anything happens, okay?"

Carey nodded, "Of course I will."

Zack stood up and Carey took his place in the chair. He made his way over to the cot. After casting one final glance at his brother he lay down and closed his eyes.

The hospital room faded away and Zack found himself in his bedroom at the Tipton. He glanced up and saw Cody sitting in his bed.

"Cody!" he cried, running over to him, "You're awake!"

Cody held up an empty jar, "Zack, what happened to my ants?"

Zack frowned, and then smiled when he remembered, "Sorry, that seems like it happened years ago! I accidently lost them in this mean old lady's hotel room. But trust me, Cody, it was totally worth it!"

Cody slammed the jar on his bedside table and stood up.

"Don't you ever think of anyone besides yourself?!"Cody exploded, "I needed those ants for a project!"

"I'm sorry," Zack said quickly, "Cody, I'm sorry. Please don't be mad at me right now."

"Why shouldn't I be?" Cody asked. He began pacing back and forth in front of the bed, "You ruin everything."

"I know," Zack said. He stood up and stopped Cody by putting his hands on his shoulders, "I know I ruin everything. And I'm sorry, I'll do better, I promise. But please don't be mad at me right now," Zack swallowed his tears, "I missed you so much."

Cody pushed Zack back, "How can you miss me? I've been right here this whole time."

Zack shook his head, "Physically maybe," he admitted, "but you've been in a coma for three days. I thought you weren't going to wake up.

Cody stared at him with his baby blue eyes and his expression remained impassive, "So?"

Zack frowned, "What do you mean 'so?' Cody, I've been really worried."

"That doesn't mean you missed me. You can't miss someone who is right in front of you."

"Yes you can," Zack argued, "Just because you were there doesn't mean you were there. You weren't conscious. It was just your body the whole time."

Cody snorted and sat down on the bed, "So it was business as usual."

"What?"

"How is me being in a coma any different from me being awake?"

Zack furrowed his brow, "Is that a trick question?"

"Zack," Cody said exasperatedly, "You hardly ever talk to me when I'm awake—unless you need something that is."

"That's not true," Zack said, "I know I don't always treat you right, but I don't ignore you. We hang out together every day."

"Yeah," Cody said with a laugh, "if by 'hang out' you mean that I go along with whatever it is that you want to do and then we both get in trouble for it."

"I'm sorry," Zack whispered, "I'm so, so sorry. Now that you're awake I'm going to change, I swear. I'll be the best brother ever."

"It's too late for that," Cody whispered back, "It's just too late."

He looked at the ground and closed his eyes, "too late."

"No," Zack argued, "It's not too late. I'm going to fix everything."

When Cody did not answer Zack grabbed his arm, "I promise," he said.

Cody still did not say anything. He did not even move. Zack moved closer to him, squeezing his arm, "Cody?"

Cody pitched forward, falling against Zack.

"Cody!" Zack exclaimed as he lowered him to the floor. He held Cody's lolling head in his lap and gently tapped his cheeks, "Cody, wake up!" he said as panic spread throughout his body, "Cody, please open your eyes." Zack cupped Cody's soft cheek in his hand and rubbed his thumb against it.

"Come on, Code, don't do this to me again," Zack pleaded, "I just got you back, and I can't lose you again."

Cody remained motionless in Zack's arms. Zack stared at his brother's unconscious face. The tan skin faded to a color that was just barely darker than white. And then his cheek split down the side, as if it were being sliced by a sharp and invisible knife. It was quickly sealed together with some stitches.

"What the hell?" Zack murmured in awe; too shocked to be properly freaked out. Cody's other laceration appeared on his forehead and the skin under his eyes darkened. Zack had his hand underneath Cody's head, supporting it. He felt the longish locks fade away and they were replaced with the stubby hairs that were growing back after being shaved off. His head was warm with Cody's blood. Then the white t-shirt that Cody was wearing darkened with rich red blood, spreading from his chest and blossoming around.
"Oh God," Zack muttered frantically, pulling Cody closer to him, "Oh my God, what do I do?" He pulled Cody up against his chest and tucked his head against his shoulder. He could feel the warm, sticky blood against his skin as he rocked his unresponsive brother back and forth. He pressed his face against Cody's and began to cry, letting his hot tears wet both of their cheeks. He did not know what to do. There was nothing he could do that could help Cody now.
"I'm so sorry, Cody" he sobbed, "You were right and I am so,
so sorry."

He kissed Cody's cheek and did not know if the moisture on his lips was from the blood or from the tears. He did not even care.

He knew Cody was right. It was too late. Zack could not save him. He could not make up for all of the times he was mean to him.

He pulled back so that he could look at his brother's face one last time.
"I'm sorry I was too late, Code," he whispered as he looked down. Cody's stitches had torn and there was crimson blood smeared all over his cheeks. His lips were parted slightly. Zack reached down and pushed back Cody's bangs, revealing the bloody injury on his forehead.

Zack sighed sadly. He wanted to apologize again and again, but it was no use. Cody would not be able to hear what he had to say. And when he died, Zack would never get a chance to prove himself to him. So he simply leaned down towards Cody's ear and whispered, "I love you, Cody."

He kissed Cody's forehead and held him until his room began to fade away and his world went dark.

Zack blinked. The room around him was dark, but not as black as it had been a few minutes ago. His arms felt empty. He was no longer holding his dying and bleeding brother in his lap. He rubbed his tired eyes and looked around. He was not in the bedroom that he shared with Cody. Instead, he was in the hospital room that had held Cody prisoner for the past few days. It was much darker than it had been when he went to lie down. He surveyed the room. His mom had fallen asleep in the chair beside Cody's bed. Zack pulled up another chair on the other side of Cody's bed and picked up Cody's hand. He felt a soft pressure in Cody's grasp. With wide eyes, Zack let his gaze travel up to Cody's face. His eyes were open. Cody's eyes were open and looking up at Zack.

"Cody," Zack whispered manically, "It's not too late. You're awake!"

Zack's heartbeat began to speed up. He dropped Cody's hand and placed his own hands on either side of Cody's face.

"Say something!" Zack demanded in that same low, quiet voice.

Cody's blank face scrunched up, his lower lip sticking out, almost like a pout.

"Cody?" Zack asked gently.

Tears slid out of Cody's squinting eyes. His lips twitched. He opened his mouth. He looked like he was trying to say something, but nothing came out.

The tears came out faster and Zack softly wiped them away with his thumbs.

"It's okay, buddy," Zack consoled him, "Cody, it's okay. Don't be scared, I'm right here. He brushed Cody's bangs off of his forehead. The stitches there tickled the palm of his hand.

"You were hit by a car, but everything is okay now," Zack paused, "Do you understand?"

Cody did not answer. His forehead creased in confusion.

"Cody?" Zack asked. His voice wavered.

Cody's lips parted again. His eyes darted back and forth before landing on Zack, "…Ack?"

Zack breathed out a sigh of relief that was accompanied by a sound that was half laugh, half sob.

"Oh my God, Cody," he said as tears filled his eyes, "You scared me to death, man."

Cody's face continued to express fear, confusion, and a little pain.

"It's okay," Zack said to him, "it's okay," he looked across the bed, "Mom, wake up," he said in a louder tone.

Carey opened her eyes immediately, "Zack?"

Zack grinned at her, and then glanced down at Cody. She followed his gaze.

"Cody?" She looked up at Zack again, as if to see if it were really true and not just a dream.

Zack nodded, his smile growing wider and wider.

Carey leaned forward and pressed her lips to Cody's forehead. Her hand found his and she held on tighter. She pulled back.

"Do you remember what happened, baby?"

Cody frowned at her and looked back over at Zack with tears pooling in his eyes. Zack took a step closer to the edge so that Cody could see him a little bit better.

"He's a little mixed up, I think," Zack told their mother, "But he's awake and he said my name," he smiled again, "He's okay."

Carey pressed the call button and then returned her focus to Cody who was starting to cry again. "Of course he's going to be okay," she said, "Baby, I know everything is confusing for you right now, but don't worry. I'm here and Zack is here and we both love you. We're so happy that you're awake."

As soon as those words left Cody's mouth two nurses and a doctor that Zack had never met entered the room. The doctor was a woman in her early forties. She had light brown hair that was pulled back in a bun. She moved in front of Zack, blocking him from Cody's view. As soon as he was pushed away Zack heard a strangled moan escape from Cody's lips.

"Cody, I'm Dr. Clark," she said, "Can you tell me why you're here?"

One of the nurses rounded the bed, standing close to where Carey was standing. She put two fingers against the inside of Cody's wrist.

Dr. Clark looked at Carey, "we're going to take him downstairs to do some tests, and see his stats. You can come with us if you want," she glanced at Zack then returned her gaze to Carey, "But we can only have a parent or a legal guardian down there."

"Okay," Carey said. She turned to Zack, "Go to the waiting room, Zack. Call your dad and Grandma and Grandpa. Let them know that Cody woke up and the doctors are running some tests."

Zack nodded. He did not want to leave Cody, but he knew that he should not put up a fight. He walked back up to Cody's bed and rubbed his arm with his hand, "I'll see you again soon, Cody," he told him.
Cody looked at him desperately. Once again his lips moved but nothing came out.
"Shhh," Zack murmured. He leaned down and kissed Cody's eyebrow, "You're going with Mom, now, and then when you come back up I'll be here waiting for you."

A tear slid down Cody's face, so Carey picked up his hand.

"Don't cry, Cody," she said gently, even though she was crying too.

As Dr. Clark, his mom, the two nurses, and a pair of orderlies ushered Cody out of the room, Zack collapsed into the chair that was next to his bed. He leaned back and ran his hand through his hair.

"Aw, man," he whispered, closing his eyes. He had not stopped smiling, but the initial excitement over Cody's awakening had begun to settle in, he was starting to find that the three days worth of fear had not completely disappeared. His stomach started to hurt as he replayed the previous ten minutes over in his head. After the elation of seeing Cody awake had begun to wear off, it was harder to ignore the fact that

Cody did not exactly seem like Cody. He seemed completely confused, he hadn't been able to answer any questions, and other than the attempt at Zack's name, he did not say a single word. Zack drew in a deep breath. Was Cody's behavior a result of his head injury? Was his brother brain damaged?

Don't think about that now, Zack told himself, all that matters is that he is awake and alive.

He pushed himself up from the chair and walked out of the room. The hospital hallways were really bright compared to Cody's room. He had to squint as he made his way down to the waiting room. The waiting room was completely empty for once. He called his grandparents first, but he had to leave a message because they did not pick up the phone.

Zack bit his lip before dialing his dad's cell phone. He had not said a word to his father since their fight, and he did not want to start talking to him now. What was he even supposed to say? Hey, Dad, I know that Cody and I are not worth anything to you, but guess what—Cody just woke up! Do you think seeing him might be worth you dragging yourself out of bed to come to the hospital and see him?

Zack shook his head. He knew that it would probably feel really good to deliver that speech, but this was not about him. No, this was all about Cody.

He punched the numbers into the phone and waited to hear his father's voice. He picked up after the first ring.

"Hello?" Kurt said sleepily.

"It's Zack."

"Zack," Kurt's voice perked up right away, "What's going on, buddy? Did something happen?"

"Cody woke up," he answered simply.

"Cody woke up," Kurt repeated, as if hadn't really heard, "We'll be right there."

He hung up without saying goodbye, which was just fine with Zack. The fewer words they shared the better. He hung up the phone and then he went to sit in one of the hard plastic chairs in the waiting room. It was cold. Zack hugged his thin sweatshirt to himself and leaned back. And then he continued to do the same things that he had been doing for three days.

He thought about Cody. And he waited.

To Be Continued…

A/N Please review!

Up next: Chapter Thirty: Is That All There Is?