Hello, hello. This fic is written by 0x0xLOVE and WARx0x0 and myself. It's full of angst, drama, and suspense. Please please review.

Disclaimer: We do not own the Suite Life or it's characters

CHAPTER 1:

"Zack…Zack?"

Zack Martin groaned and rolled away from his mother's voice, ringing gently in his ear.

"Zack, honey, you need to get up."

Zack shook his head sleepily and yanked the blanket covering him higher under his chin.

"Zack, now," Carey ordered firmly as she left the room, shutting the bedroom door behind her.

Zack grumbled to himself as he got out of bed and proceeded to the bathroom.

Zack was scheduled to undergo a major operation that evening at six. Two months earlier he had been plagued by severe stomach aches. Carey took him to the hospital after two days of Zack lying in bed miserable. The doctors determined that Zack had developed a stomach ulcer which had grown into an infection of the intestines. Part of Zack's intestines had to be removed. It was an intense operation that would take eight to ten hours.

"Eight to ten hours when you'll be asleep." Zack reminded himself, staring hard into the mirror, "You won't even know what's happening until it's all over. And then you'll get to see Mom and Cody and then…way after that you'll get to go home. And then everything will be normal again."

Zack paused to cough into his hand, frowning disgustedly at the amount of spit in his hand.

"Gross…" He mumbled, wiping it on his pajamas, even though he knew he should be used to this by now.

"Just have to stay calm," Zack continued, leaving the bathroom, "'Cause if you get scared then it'll just make it worse. And it's already bad enough."

Zack tried not to yell out as he got dressed, trying his hardest to ignore the redness of his stomach.

"That'll be all gone too. It won't hurt anymore…"

"ZACK!"

Zack cringed as his mother called him. He seriously considered crawling back into bed and pretending he'd never been up at all. But she and Cody'd seen him walk to the bathroom and back, so that wouldn't work.

Zack sighed and grabbed his book bag off his bed, carefully positioning it on his back.

"ZACK!"

"I'M COMING!" Zack yelled as he pulled the bedroom door open. Zack walked slowly, tensely to the table. Cody was sitting at the table reading and eating. Carey stood at the counter.

Zack pulled out a chair and seated himself, in the same stiff, tense manner. But as soon as he had, Carey'd grabbed his head and was holding it in place as Cody shoved Zack's rancid medication into his mouth. Zack fought the strong urge to spit it out all over his brother and swallowed, his face scrunching up in disgust.

Carey smiled satisfactorily as she released his head and Cody seated himself again.

"Worst five seconds of every day…" Zack muttered, trying to rid his mouth of the awful taste, without actually spitting it out. Cody laughed.

"What?! You should try that stuff sometime. It's…" Zack shuddered, "It's nasty."

"Sorry. You should really see your face though…" Cody said, handing the remains of his pancakes to his mother. Zack reached for one. Carey slapped his hand away.

"No eating."

Zack pouted miserably.

"I'm hungry," He whined.

"No."

"I'll sue you for child starvation," Zack argued.

Carey laughed.

"Oh yeah," Cody put in, "You'll sue her when you have surgery in eleven hours and you're not supposed to be eating."

"It's not fair," Zack complained.

Carey smiled gently and tilted his head so he could see her face, "When all this is over I'll make you as many pancakes as you want."

Zack grinned, "Cool."

"Hey! Whatta 'bout me?"

Carey laughed, "I already made you as many pancakes as you could eat."

"Now c'mon, let's go," She said as she opened the suite door and Cody and Zack rushed to grab their things.

"Hey, Cody!"

Cody whirled around to find his girlfriend, Kelsee running up to him, smiling brightly.

"Hi."

"How's Zack?" She asked breathlessly.

"Fine. I mean…I think he's fine."

"Really? 'Cause If I were him I'd be freaking out right about now..."

Cody shrugged, "Yeah. I think he's just trying not to think about it right now, though I could be wrong."

"Danni said he seemed okay in History," Kelsee said, referring to Zack's girlfriend – Danelley.

"Yeah. He seemed okay in English."

Kelsee nodded, "I would add that he seemed okay to me…but I haven't had any classes with him yet…"

Cody laughed, "Its Zack. If he seemed okay then he probably is. But you're right; it's an eight hour surgery- he should be freaking out."

Kelsee shrugged, "Oh well. Maybe it's just his way of dealing with it. I have science with him next; I'll see him then and let you know.

"Okay. See you at lunch then?"

Kelsee nodded.

"Yeah," She said as she opened the door to the science lab and walked through, leaving Cody to continue to History alone.

---------------------------------------------------

"So, Zack, are you ready to have your stomach sliced open and your guts taken out?" Bob asked. They'd been through fifteen minutes of lunch and no one had mentioned Zack's surgery, no one that is, until then. Zack's face paled a shade.

"BOB!" The others screamed.

"WHAT?! It was an honest question."

Kelsee rolled her eyes. Danni dropped her head into her hands.

"God, you're dumb."

"No," Zack spoke up, playing with Cody's unused plastic fork, "That's basically what they're gunna do anyway. Don't worry about it, I'm fine."

"Are you sure?" Kelsee asked, and then added devilishly, "We could always kick Bob out and make him sit over there…"

She pointed with her fork at the most repulsive group of kids in the cafeteria.

"Or worse…" Danni added, pointing to the 'geek' table.

"Hey!" Cody but in, "They aren't that bad."

Zack laughed, "No, its okay. Bob can stay."

"You sure?" Danni asked, "We really wouldn't mind."

Zack nodded, "Yeah. I'm fine."

"I am," He thought as the others resumed eating, "Just have to stay calm."

"Bye!" Kelsee squealed, throwing her arms around Zack, "And good luck!"

"And you!" She exclaimed, turning on Cody, "Call me…like…every second you can."

"I'll try."

Kelsee smiled at the two of them and bounded down the front steps after Bob and his sister.

"Good luck, Zack!" Bob yelled as he stepped onto the bright, yellow school bus.

Zack waved as the bus pulled away, leaving a trail of exhaust behind.

Danni reached out and hugged her boyfriend.

"My mom'll be here any second, so I better say good bye now," She told him.

Zack nodded, "Yeah."

"Well…err…bye," Danni muttered, breaking their hug.

"Bye."

"Good luck. I'll be at Kelsee's later so…"

Zack nodded.

"I'll call," Cody assured her.

Danni nodded.

A horn honked somewhere beyond them.

"Th-that's my mom,"

Zack nodded again, "Yeah."

"I'll miss you. And I'll call every day. I swear."

"Danni…I'm not moving. I'm having surgery."

"Yeah. I know. But I'll still call every day…OH and I'll visit too. Promise."

Zack laughed, "Okay okay."

Danni hugged him one last time, "Bye."

"Bye," Zack called after her as she ran down the steps towards her mother's car.

Cody turned to his brother, "You ready?"

Zack gave him a look, "Am I supposed to be?"

Cody shrugged and the two descended the concrete steps together.

The automatic doors whizzed open as the Martins entered St. Sophie's Mercy Hospital. Zack's heartbeat sped up just at the sites inside the waiting room. Carey pointed out a few chairs for the twins to sit in while Carey checked Zack in.

Zack's hands shook as he sat next to his brother.

Another hand, identical to his, rested on top of them and Zack glanced up.

"You'll be fine, Zack."

"Promise?"

"I promise. You'll be fine."

Zack let his head fall to his brother's shoulder as the two waited.

Zack sat nervously in his hospital room. His surgery was in one hour and fifteen minutes. Cody was sitting in a chair next to the bed, scribbling math homework on a sheet of paper. Carey sat in a chair on the opposite side, trying to talk to Zack, who wasn't listening.

"What time is it?" He asked his brother, the hundredth time since they'd gotten there.

Cody sighed and glanced at his watch, "Four forty-seven."

Zack nodded.

Cody punched in some numbers onto his calculator; Carey asked Zack a question he didn't hear.

"What time is it now?"

"Four forty-nine."

Cody flipped the page over and wrote some more.

"What about now?"

Cody stopped abruptly and yanked off his watch.

"Here," He said handing it to his mother, "You watch it."

Carey smiled at her youngest son as he went back to his homework, grumbling slightly.

"So…"

Carey looked over at Zack.

"What time is it?"

"Four fifty-two."

Zack nodded.

A nurse entered the room.

"Hi Zack," She said with a smile.

"Hi…" He said nervously, watching her walk around the room.

Cody packed up his book bag, grabbing loose pieces of paper and random books and shoving them inside.

"What time is it?" Zack asked his mother again.

"Four fifty-eight."

Carey smiled gently and stroked his hair.

The nurse smiled too.

"Okay, Zack."

Zack looked up, eyes almost terrified, "Y-yeah."

"I'm going to give you a shot now okay?"

"Oh-okay."

"It's going to hurt, but I need you to be brave for me okay?"

Zack nodded, "Uh. Oh-okay."

"Great," She said with a smile.

"I'm uhhh…gonna go wait…in the hall," Cody put in and walked as fast as his feet would carry him without running into the hall.

The nurse helped Zack lie down and pulled up his hospital gown.

Zack shut his eyes and tried not to listen to the clanking of equipment.

Zack winced as the nurse prepped his belly button for the injection.

He clenched his mother's hand tightly. Carey kissed his forehead gently as a few lone tears rolled down his cheeks.

"Okay, Zack, I'm going to give you the shot now. Are you ready?"

Zack barely nodded and hissed out a 'yes.'

Zack yelled out as the nurse injected the shot into the very center of his belly button. A few more tears fell.

Carey gently stroked his forehead as the nurse finished her job.

Zack refused to open his eyes.

He heard Carey thank the nurse as she left.

"I'm so proud of you," He heard his mother whisper in his ear.

"Wha-what time is it?" Zack asked, his voice shaking with tears.

"Five fifty."

Zack nodded.

Carey held him tightly in her arms, as he leaned against her. Cody sat on the other side of their mother, watching his brother.

Zack's shoulders shook with a sob, "T-time?"

"Five fifty-two."

Zack nodded again.

"You-you'll be right here when it's over, ri-right?"

Carey smiled and nodded, pulling him closer, "We'll be right here baby."

Cody shuffled his feet on the linoleum, messing with the hem of his shirt.

"Wha-what t-time?" Zack stuttered.

"Five fifty-six."

"K-kay."

At that moment, three orderlies wheeled a stretcher in. Zack's grip tightened slightly on his mother.

Carey kissed his forehead, "It'll be over before you know it. And we'll be right here when you wake up."

Cody nodded beside her, "Yeah. We might only be half-awake but we'll be here."

Carey hugged her son one last time and then moved to let Cody do the same.

"Be brave, bro," Cody whispered.

"I'll try," Zack whispered.

The orderlies helped Zack onto the stretcher and wheeled him silently down the hall.

Carey and Cody stood and watched him go. Cody hugged his mother,

"He is going to be okay, right?"

"Of course," She assured him, "He's going to be fine."

Zack sighed as the nurses pushed him towards the operating room. He felt like it took hours to get to the OR. He smiled when he saw his surgeon, Dr. Sandra Morgan. Morgan was a woman in her mid-fifties and a highly skilled surgeon. Zack trusted her one-hundred percent.

"Hey, buddy. You ready?" asked Morgan, smiling.

"As ready as I'll ever be," replied Zack, as he was rolled into the operating table. There was a large team of doctors and nurses getting things ready. Zack squinted from the harsh light as he was moved onto the operating table. He looked around at all the people who would be operating on him. Zack sighed as the nurse pulled his gown down to his waist. Zack winced as an IV was put in his hand and arm. Morgan walked up to him. She put a comforting hand on his forehead. Zack smiled.

"It will be OK. You won't even know it's happening," comforted Morgan. Zack nodded.

"I know. I trust you completely," said Zack, yawning as the anesthesia dripped through his body. The minutes ticked by slowly as Zack got sleepier and sleepier. He felt his lips go numb and his stomach seemed to settle. Since the surgery was so intense, Zack was being given a large amount of anesthesia. Zack's vision started to fade in and out.

"Take care of me," whispered Zack to Morgan.

"I'll take very good care of you, Zack," assured Morgan. A gas mask was held over Zack's face. Two seconds later, Zack descended into a deep sleep. The anesthesiologist got to work. Within minutes Zack was fully under with a tube in his mouth. The anesthesiologist finished his work by putting a large plastic support between Zack's lips to keep the tube in place. Zack was covered with a plastic sheet, which was then covered with a blue sheet. A section was cut out of each sheet to expose Zack's stomach. Morgan covered Zack's stomach with a strong disinfecting solution. She then sighed and started to cut into her thirteen-year-old patient.

…………..

Dr. Jack Connors yawned as he came strolling into the hospital. He glanced at his watch. 10:30. He had to stop going to conventions that lasted all day long. The nurse at the front desk smiled at Jack as he walked by.

"Jack, just so you know, your patient, Zack Martin, went into surgery today," exclaimed the nurse. Jack sighed.

"Damn. I knew there was something going on today. I was so nervous about the lecture I had to give at that conference," moaned Jack. "How's he doing?"

"Last I heard he's doing just fine," explained the nurse.

"Good. Who's his surgeon again? I had so many patients going into surgery this week I don't know who's who," said Jack. The nurse smiled.

"Morgan. One of the best," answered the nurse.

"That's right. I requested her. Thanks, Polly," said Jack, as he headed towards the elevator. He nodded at a few doctors going home for the night. The night staff was coming. Jack pitied the poor surgeons who were operating on Zack at the moment. They would be there for awhile. Jack sighed as he rode the elevator up to the third floor where his office was. Jack was a pediatric specialist and worked exclusively with critically ill children, like Zack. He currently had six patients in the hospital. Four still recovering from surgeries. Jack paused in the hall as he walked by the room where Carey and Cody were both sleeping. Cody woke for a second and caught Jacks' eye. Jack waved. Cody nodded hello and then went back to sleep. Jack chuckled and then headed towards his office.

………..

"Moommmm…Mommm…"

"WHA-?! Wha-what's going on?" Carey woke with a start. Cody smiled guiltily,

"Sorry."

Carey shrugged and collected herself, "What time is it?"

Cody glanced at his watch, "Eleven oh-four."

Carey nodded. Cody knew she was calculating the amount of time Zack still had in surgery.

"Mom…"

"Yeah?"

"I'm uhhh…I'm gunna go walk around a little…okay?"

"Alright…I'll be here…"

Cody nodded and pulled himself up from his chair and left the dull waiting room.

The halls were crowded; Cody had to dodge several rushing nurses and doctors.

Zack had been in surgery for five hours already. Carey and Cody'd eaten dinner in the hospital cafeteria after Zack had been taken and then they'd retreated to the waiting room.

Cody'd tried to work on his homework, but he couldn't stop thinking about Zack and then he'd fallen asleep.

And now, as he walked the dismal hospital corridors, he still couldn't seem to stop thinking about his brother. He wanted to call Kelsee, but she'd be asleep. And, though he'd always been the more open twin, he couldn't seem to be able to talk to his mother. So he was left to talk to himself, walking down hallways.

He'd just run into a very frustrated doctor, and was half wondering where he was going in such a hurry, when he noticed an open door a few feet away. Curiosity urged him towards it.

A kid, a boy, maybe a few years younger than he was, was sitting up in a hospital bed, flipping through a magazine. The boy had light brown hair that was cut short and a small nose and big lips. Cody wasn't sure what talked him into knocking on the door, but he did.

The kid looked up, obviously surprised. Cody entered the room cautiously.

"Uh, hi." Cody said, suddenly realizing how very awkward this situation was.

"Hi…" The kid said, setting the magazine onto the nightstand.

"C-can I talk to you?" Cody asked- his brain wasn't doing the work anymore.

"Sure."

Cody sat down in a chair beside the bed.

"So…?" The kid started.

"Oh. Right. My name's Cody Martin, you?"

"Connor McCallan."

"Connor…what're you in for, if you don't mind me asking?"

"Got part of my intestines out."

"Oh…my brother's in surgery for that…right now…" Cody said softly.

Connor nodded slightly, "Oh…"

"He's my twin, ya know? And I…I'm worried about him," Cody felt tears well in his eyes, "And he's already been in there for five hours…and…I'm sorry if I'm kind of dumping all this on you…I just…really need somebody to talk to right now…"

"It's okay," Connor said with a small smile, "Been there- felt that…course I was on the other side of things..."

Cody nodded, "I'm…I'm just…scared I guess…scared for him…and worried and-"

"I'm sure he'll be fine."

"How? How can you be that sure?"

"I had the exact same surgery, and… I just know."

Cody looked skeptical, "You're two different people, you can't just 'know'"

"Cody. He'll be fine. I'm sure he will be, have a little faith."

"I-"

Cody was cut off as a nurse entered the room, "What's going on in here?"

Both Cody and Connor near jumped out of their skins.

"Uhhh…" Connor began, "We were just talking."

"It's 11:30! Visiting hours have been over for two and a half hours!" The nurse yelled.

Cody winced, "S-sorry. I'll go then…th-thanks Connor."

Connor nodded as Cody sidled out of the room, and near ran back to the waiting room.

…………

Jack looked up from some paperwork as a robust nurse from down the hall came into his office. Nurse Gwen Jonas was a veteran nurse of thirty-seven years. She was a firm believer of the rules and a major ball breaker. Jack didn't like her. Especially when she started hassling his patients.

"Yes, Gwen?" asked Jack.

"Some boy was visiting with Connor McCallan just now," exclaimed Jonas in a very angry and accusing tone.

"What'd he look like?" asked Jack.

"Blonde hair. Kind of short. I would guess maybe twelve or thirteen," replied Jonas.

"That's Cody Martin. His brother Zack is having the exact same operation Connor had as we speak. He probably was asking Connor about it," exclaimed Jack, getting a little aggravated.

"Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't know. But it is almost midnight. Connor should be resting," argued Gwen. Jack sighed.

"It's over with. Just try to be a little more understanding. Cody was probably just wandering. His brother still has a long way to go in surgery," explained Jack. Gwen nodded and left, muttering under her breath the whole way.

………..

In the OR the surgery was coming along very well. A foot and a half of Zack's intestines had already been removed and Morgan expected to remove another half foot before moving on to fix any other problems. Zack's condition had been stable throughout the entire operation so far. His heart rate was normal and his lungs were functioning perfectly. Morgan expected to be done in five or six more hours and she expected that Zack would be out of the hospital in two to three weeks. Little did she or anyone else know that Zack's condition would soon take a nosedive and that he would be barely hanging onto life.