Blood in the Bathroom by Rose Haze

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

Author's Note: And now for the ultimate test. Is Crims0nHaze a master storyteller? Is she a one-hit-wonder? Is she somewhere in between? Read and find out.

Summary: For the most part, Zack and Cody have lived a sweet life. But now everything is changing, and Zack doesn't like it. Nobody can see it, but he quickly falls into a spiral of depression and despair. He feels like he is trapped in an ocean, trying to keep his head above the water—until he realizes that life is much easier when you don't have to breathe.

This chapter is dedicated to xfilesguy123 and strawberryfinn because they are crazy enough to co-write with me.

Chapter One

All-Nighter

"Life is a terrible thing to sleep through"- What's Eating Gilbert Grape tagline

Darkness reigned in the dark bedroom. It was a cold February evening and night had already fallen. The room was clean, which was unusual from its normal state. Zack Martin lay in his bed which was still made. He blinked a few times and then glanced at his watch. It was already seven o'clock. He had gone to sleep as soon as he got home from school that afternoon. He stared at the creamy white ceiling. He could hear the clanging sounds of spoons hitting the edges of porcelain bowls, and the smell of vegetable soup wafted in through the closed door.

'Thanks for waking me up for dinner, Mom,' Zack thought bitterly. Tears of frustration stung his eyes. He wasn't sure why he was upset. He wasn't hungry at all, and he didn't like vegetable soup anyways.

He turned over in bed and squeezed his eyes shut.

'I'll get up in a minute,' he thought to himself. He was still tired but he knew that he had to get up soon or he'd be up all night… again.

He had been sleeping during the day a lot lately. Then he would wake up in the evening and not be able to get back to sleep at night.

'I'm really getting up in one more minute,' Zack told himself as he buried his face in his pillow, 'just one more minute…'

He fell back to sleep before he could complete that thought.

"Zack? Zack, wake up."

Zack heard his brother's voice and felt him shaking him awake, "Is it time for school?" he mumbled without opening his eyes.

"No…" Cody said, confused, "Not until tomorrow morning."

Zack did not say anything. He just curled up tighter against his comforter. He felt the mattress sink slightly. Cody was sitting behind him. He rested his head on Zack's forehead.

"Do you feel alright?"

Zack opened his eyes, "Yeah, I'm just tired."

"You've been sleeping a lot lately," Cody said gently, "Are you sure everything's okay?"

He sat up and looked around the dark room, "Everything's fine," he whispered, not making eye contact.

Cody clapped him on the shoulder, "Good. Do you want to start working on our history project?"

"Yeah," Zack said. He buried his face in his hands. He completely forgot about the project. He had been forgetting a lot of his homework over the past few weeks. He'd never been a good student, but lately his grades were dropping lower and lower.

"Okay," Cody said as he climbed out of the bed, "Mom made soup for dinner before she went down to sing. Do you want me to heat some up for you?"

"It's okay," Zack replied. He followed Cody out of their room, "I'm not hungry."

The phone rang as soon as they walked into the living room. Cody went to answer it and Zack went to the table to start their project. He watched Cody as he talked into the receiver.

"Hello? Oh, hey Hannah, what's up? No, I'm just doing my homework—nothing important."

Zack bit his lip. He hated to admit it, even to himself, but the comment stung. He never told anyone that Cody wasn't important.

He shook his head and opened his history notebook, so he could find out what the project was supposed to be about. But when he opened it he saw something, written in his own handwriting, which caused his stomach to drop.

"TEST! Chapters 10-13 Friday! DON'T FORGET!"

Zack sank back in his chair, breathing heavily. He did forget. He completely forgot. He didn't even remember what chapters ten through thirteen were about.

'If I fail this test I'll fail the entire quarter,' he thought frantically. Even if he passed there was still a chance that he would fail the quarter. He failed every other quiz they took for those chapters.

Cody twirled the telephone wire around his finger and listened to Hannah as she talked about her idea for a fundraiser for the science club. Out of the corner of his eye he glanced at Zack to see if he was getting started on the project. He wasn't. He was sitting slumped over in the chair, staring at a notebook in disbelief.

"Hannah, can I talk to you tomorrow?" Cody interrupted, "I have some homework I need to finish."

"Sure," she replied, "I'll meet you in the library before school starts."

"Okay, I'll talk to you then."

He said goodbye than hung up.

"Zack?" he asked as he walked to the table, "What's wrong?"

"Nothing," he answered, still staring at his notebook.

Cody sat next to him, "Are you sure?"

Zack looked up to him, his eyes glistened with tears. He turned the notebook to face Cody.

"Yeah, we have that big test tomorrow," Cody said, trying to figure out what was wrong, "We've been reviewing for it for weeks now."

"I haven't!" Zack cried, "I'm gonna fail!"

Cody's eyes widened as he watched a tear trail down Zack's cheek. He hadn't seen Zack cry for a very long time. And he usually didn't get upset over school work.

"It won't be that hard," he said.

"Yeah, not for you!" Zack exclaimed. He stood up, "I don't get this stuff. I never have!" He turned around so that Cody couldn't see the tears streaming down his face."

"I'll help you study for it."

"There's not enough time. We have to do the project. That's worth just as much as the test. I have to pass both of them."

Cody began to put his supplies in his backpack, "The project's not due for another week. We have plenty of time to finish it."

He stood up and walked over to Zack, "Is there something you haven't been telling me? You're acting weird."

"No I'm not."

He let out a defeated sigh, "Fine, don't tell me," he paused, "Do you want me to help you study or not?"

Zack dried his tears and nodded.

"Okay," Cody said. He took Zack's hand and led him to the table and they opened their history books.

Cody went over everything that was going to be on the test and explained everything that Zack didn't understand.

They were still studying when Carey came back.

Zack was catching on quickly enough. He felt embarrassed for crying in front of Cody. He tried to pretend that it didn't happen.

"How's the project coming along?" Carey asked when she walked into the suite.

"It's on hold," Cody replied, "We're studying for a test instead."

After a little while, Carey went to bed. Zack and Cody continued studying in their room. They sat on Cody's bed, side by side, looking over his textbook.

"Okay," Cody said, "Where was the atomic bomb dropped?"

"Hiroshima"

"Right, when was the date?"

"August 6th nineteen forty-five"

Cody closed the book and smiled at Zack, "I think you're ready."

Zack looked at him hopefully, "really?"

"Yes, really," Cody replied lying back against his pillows. It was almost one o'clock in the morning. He was exhausted from all of the studying—and he already knew everything."

"Thanks for helping me, Cody," he said quietly.

Cody played with the fringe of his quilt, "Zack, you'd tell me if something was wrong, wouldn't you?"

"What do you mean?"

He sat up, "You've been acting different lately. You're always sleeping and you've been really quiet. And I think this is the first time I've ever seen you worry about school in your entire life."

"Nothing's wrong," Zack whispered.

"Okay," Cody replied, even though he sounded like he didn't believe him, "If you decide you want to talk you know where to find me."

"Thanks, Dr. Cody," he muttered sarcastically.

Cody turned the lights off and climbed under his covers, "Night, Zack." He said as his brother walked to his own bed, "Good luck tomorrow."

"Night," Zack replied. He got into his bed and pulled the covers up to his neck.

As he slowly drifted to sleep, he wondered if Cody was right. He had been feeling sort of weird in the recent weeks.

'There's nothing wrong with me,' Zack thought emphatically, 'I'm fine.'

To Be Continued

Up Next: Chapter Two Results

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