Author's Note: This is a story written by CRIMS0N HAZE and StrawberryFinn. Neither of us own The Suite Life or the characters, except for the ones we make up on the way. This story will involve some violence and angst and dramatic pain, so you have been warned. We hope you enjoy. Finn wrote this chapter.

Prologue:

"Zack! Stop it! Zack? What are you doing?"

Zack flinched. His mother was yelling, but somehow her voice seemed to be magnified. He just wanted her to shut up and stop talking.

"ZACK!"

He cowered away. God, his mother talked loud sometimes.

"Zack!"

He looked up at her, his head throbbing with dizziness. Why was she talking so loud? Why was she screaming? What did she want?

"STOP IT!" he yelled back, wishing that his mother would stop yelling and making his headache even worse than it already was.

He stared at his mother; she was crying. Why was she crying? Her eyes were all red, her eyelids swollen as her makeup ran down her face in black streaks—tears trickled in steady trails down her face… why was she crying? What was going on? She was bawling, sobbing… sobbing…

What's happening? Zack asked himself, his heart pounding. He'd never seen his mom cry like this in his life besides the time when she had had to explain the divorce. What is going on?

"Don't hurt Cody," Carey said. "Don't hurt Cody, please Zack, don't hurt Cody." Her voice was falling to a pathetic whisper. "Please don't hurt Cody, please don't Zack."

Hurt Cody? What was she talking about? Why would he hurt Cody?

Zack glanced around the room—everything seemed to blend together like a blurry photograph. His mom's face became strangely distorted, and he looked wildly around—across the suite, at the table, at his mom's teary eyes, down to the knife in his hand… what?

He looked harder at the knife, which became fuzzy at the edges. Oh God, what was going on? He tried to focus on the knife and the knife only, following the blade down to the tip—which was pressed against Cody's throat.

What am I doing?

Zack knew more than anything in the world that he should pull the blade far away from Cody's neck and drop it. Drop it, Zack. Drop it, you dork! DROP IT! His brother's eyes were glazed with shock as he glanced up at his older twin, silent tears seeping from his eyelids as he tried not to move.

Zack wanted to drop it. Drop the knife and hold Cody tight and tell him he was never ever going to hurt him. But wanting to do it and doing it were two different things.

No matter how hard he tried, Zack couldn't pull the knife away. He didn't know why, and it scared him more than anything had ever before. He just knew that standing there, holding the knife against his brother's jugular vein, was something he had to do. Nothing made sense anymore, but something told him he needed to hurt Cody, gut his throat out—kill his little brother.

Why do I want to do this? Zack asked himself, but all he could hear was a buzzing, throbbing sound in his ears. He couldn't remember anything; he couldn't hear anything. He couldn't even make out what his mother was saying anymore, her mouth just seemed to move, and the words were unintelligible.

Cody let out a choked, muffled sob as Zack stood up and backed towards a wall, still holding the knife firmly at his twin's throat. Silvery tears matted his eyelashes together, and he let out a small shuddery breath.

"Please Zack, please, stop," he whispered, wanting to believe that this was not his brother, that this was anyone but Zack and thatZack wouldn't do this to him.

"Zack, please don't hurt Cody," Carey was begging now, and out of the corner of his eye, Zack saw his mother reach for the phone and start to dial 9-1-1. Zack let his instincts take over, and spat out, "Drop that phone or else I'll kill him."

Cody felt panic rise in his throat as Zack pushed the blade even harder against his Adam's apple. Carey hurriedly dropped the phone as she heard Cody let out a strangled yelp of pain. The knife made a small cut, and Cody could feel the blood trickling slowly down his neck.

Please Zack, stop it, what are you doing? Cody prayed silently to himself, wanting Zack to put the knife down and come back to him. For the real Zack to come back, and not this intoxicated, drug-addicted teen who had taken his brother's place.

Zack felt his brother's blood running over his fingers, and he finally got control of what he was doing. Oh my God. He pulled the blade away from Cody's throat, but something told him that he couldn't just leave it like that—he had to hurt Cody somehow… he had to hurt Cody somehow…

With a snarl, he grabbed his brother and slashed at what he first hit with the knife—and Cody grabbed the knife to stop it from connecting with his throat. The blade split through Cody's hand, and blood spattered to the floor. Cody yelped in pain as Zack continued the cut with a steady line down the middle of the back of Cody's hand, causing more blood to drip out onto the already bloody ground.

Carey caught Cody before he fell to the ground. Cody was left staring at his brother in pain and horror. Zack somehow looked even more shocked than Cody did, and as Cody moaned softly, Zack turned and fled the suite, leaving his mother's horrified sobs and Cody's whimpers of pain.

How did it all come to this? Cody asked he entered darkness, hearing his mother's hysterical cries.

Outside, Zack was staggering and asking himself the same thing. How did it all come to this? Life had been fine, the boys had always been best friends. He'd been a straight edge, a pure and untouched person until those drugs and alcohol. Why did it have to be this way? How did it get this way?

As Zack crumpled to his knees in regret and pain, he realized the answer. It had all been fine, life had been perfect.

Until they had entered high school.

A bit of a foreshadowing thing, I guess. Review? Miss Haze's chapter is next.