A/N: Alright, so this is my first Suite Life Of Zack and Cody story. Please go easy on me. Hopefully you all like this plot. It's a bit different and the characters are a bit out of character. Anyway Review away!
The story takes place out in the country far from the Tipton Hotel. Carey had inherited a small plum orchard from her Aunt Bertha. She decided to turn in her microphone and move out to the country. Of course she brought her reluctant pre-teen boys with her, Zack and Cody. She had also decided to become Madeline Fitzpatrick's legal guardian. Why? You ask. Maddie's parents had divorced and she didn't have the heart to choose which parent to live with, so Maddie's parents entrusted Carey with their daughter. They really didn't care about her anyway and the daughter felt likewise.
Let us begin the story at the end of summer, the sun set on the horizon as a blonde haired sixteen year old girl sat on a branch of a plum tree staring at the colors of orange and yellow combine in the sky.
"Maddie, Where are you?" she heard throughout the orchard.
The young girl jumped down from the tree, her hair up in a loose ponytail, she was wearing blue jeans, a white tank top and black converse sneakers. She suddenly heard some rustling behind her, she turned and saw a thirteen year old boy with blonde hair, he wore baggy jeans and a t-shirt.
"What're you doing out here, Zack?" she asked him firmly.
"I should ask you the same question," he crossed his arms and circled her. The boy was a few inches shorter than her. "My mom got worried so she sent me to look for you," he said answering her question.
"Where's Cody?" she asked curiously.
"You know him, always studying," Zack then added, "You know, sometimes I wonder how we're related."
She smiled and placed her arm around his shoulder as they began their walk back to the small home in the distance.
The young boy then asked, "How do you feel about going to college next year?"
"I don't like the idea of being away from you guys for so long," she replied.
"It's only five years," he said half jokingly.
She grinned. "I won't be here when you and your brother's voice changes, I won't be here when you two graduate." She could feel the tears welling up in her eyes.
"Hey, it's not like we won't ever see each other again. My mom and brother will write and…" he paused for a moment. "I guess for you I'll write also."
She smiled softly, "I'm sure you will kiddo." She rustled his hair playfully, then as they approached the steps of the porch Maddie couldn't help but express a worried look upon her lovely countenance.
"Don't worry, my mom will take care of us when you're gone and you know we'll help her out with the work around the orchard," Zack said assuringly.
Maddie studied the young boy and grinned. "I'm not worried; I know you guys will take care of each other."
As the two made their way into the house, Maddie thought about how thankful and blessed she was to have Carey and the boys in her life. It was because of them that she's going to college and a good one at that.
Soon it came time for Maddie to leave, she was both excited and scared and sad. She had no idea what to expect from the college life. She knew one thing was for sure, she would have a lot more homework. There she stood in the airport lobby with Carey and the boys, nearly in tears. She had lived with them for over a year and now she had to leave.
"I'll miss you, Maddie," Cody, Zack's twin, hugged the taller young girl. He was wearing a long sleeved button up shirt, jeans and sneakers.
"I'll miss you too, Cody," she embraced the boy tightly.
Zack then walked up to her and opened his arms to her, "Come here, beautiful," he said giving her a mischievous smirk.
She smiled faintly and embraced him. She knew the young boy had a crush on her ever since he saw her when they had first moved to the Tipton. Surprisingly, Maddie and Zack had become the best of friends. She was actually closer to Zack than she was to Cody. She and Zack shared something special alright.
"Take care of yourself," Carey said as she hugged the youth, cherishing the moment.
"You too and I can't thank you enough for taking me into your home," Maddie said not letting go of Carey. "Thank you all for everything," she added.
"Hey, you're part of this family now," Carey said finally releasing her.
Just then Maddie's flight was called.
The teenage girl wiped the tears from her cheeks and said, "Well, that's me." And before she walked into the gate, she took one last look at the only real family she's ever had. "I'll see you in five."
They all waved at her obstinently sad to see her leave.
First two years of college were the hardest for Maddie, once she had passed the two year mark it was smooth sailing from there. God… All the homework was ridiculous; she barely had any time to have friends or a boyfriend for that matter. All through her college career she managed to write Carey, Zack and Cody, but as the years passed the letters became fewer and fewer. Then the time had finally come, she was officially a college graduate. She felt so accomplished and so… Clueless… She had no idea what to do next. After a few days of intense contemplation, and I mean her sitting in front of the TV eating ice cream, she came to a conclusion. She was going to fly back to (insert city/town here) and surprise the Martins.
Wow… Five years and she was finally going back. She was a bit nervous, though. She didn't quite know what to expect when she got home. Had things changed? Had Carey changed? Had Cody changed? Had Zack changed?
Hours later she finally arrived in front of the Martin home, she exited the cab and studied the place for a bit. Everything sure did look the same. It was the same porch she used to drink hot chocolate on cold winter nights. The same yard she used to chase Zack and Cody around when they played tag on cool summer evenings. She walked up the steps of the porch and knocked on the door, but there was no answer. Maybe, I should've called, Maddie thought in regret.
"Hello," she suddenly heard. She turned and saw a young man.
Oh good, Carey took my advice and hired help, Maddie thought. "Does Carey Martin still live here?" she asked the young man politely.
"Yeah, she does, but she's out doing some errands," the teenager stated in a friendly manner. "Maybe I can help you; I'm her son, Zack."
Completely shocked, Maddie's jaw dropped a bit as she thought, No… That can't be Zack.