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Cody didn't know he was shaking. It was only when Zack put his hand on his shoulder that Cody realized that his entire body was moving. Zack hugged Cody from behind, encircling his waist with his arms. Cody sank back into his brother, listening to the strong heartbeat. "What are we doing, Zack?" he muttered.
Zack started tickling Cody, causing him to first laugh with delight, then scream in pain. His lungs still couldn't take too much pressure. "You know why we're doing it, Little Buddy. First off, we're helping Joe. Second, we need to go to school." Zack released his brother, grinning at him lopsidedly.
Cody pushed Zack away and hit the button for the elevator. "Since when have you cared about school?"
Zack stepped into the elevator and pulled Cody in after him, whacking the LOBBY button. "For your information, I've liked school ever since we got locked up in that hospital."
"Really?" Both brothers exited the elevator, waving at Maddie who was already manning the candy counter. She gave them a thumbs up and watched them leave through the revolving door.
Not a block away from the Tipton, the brothers met up with Joe, who was wearing a blue shirt. His crutches were gone, but his limp was still obvious. He nodded at Zack and Cody, and the three of them started walking.
In the blocks to the school, they were joined by Max and Tapeworm. Bob, forgoing his usual route had met up with the twins' early on. The group smiled at each other, but said nothing.
About a block from the school, Max stepped in front of the boys, blocking their path. "Zack, Cody, and Joe. There's something you should know." She glanced at Bob and Tapeworm before continuing. "In the front of the building, they put this block ―"
"An obelisk." Bob whispered, and Max nodded.
"Yeah, and on this "obelisk" is the names of all the kids who got killed." Joe gulped but didn't say anything. "All the kids who got hurt," Zack and Cody looked at each other. "And Jasper and James."
Zack, Cody, and Joe all jumped. "Why? Why put their names on the same thing as my brother's?"
Max nodded understandingly, "Yeah, I know. It's just that the principal said that they got hurt during the shooting too."
"I can't believe that!" Zack looked almost as angry as Joe when he said that. Cody put his arm around Zack's waist, hurt when his brother tore away.
"Let's go." Tapeworm pulled Zack forward gently. Max took Joe, who still was ranting about Jake.
And together, they all rounded the corner, going through the school doors. And this time, no gunshots went off. Just as the door closed behind Zack and Cody, the sun came out for the first time in weeks.