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7 Years Later

Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.

Zack yawned as he sat up, tapping his alarm clock and shutting it off. He looked around his suite room for many moments before he sighed, standing up.

Only wearing plaid boxers, Zack grabbed a large, fuzzy brown blanket and wrapped it around him, admitting himself to warmth.

Though his heart still felt ice cold.

Zack stumbled out of his suite room into his large living room that happened to be connected to the kitchen.

Zack no longer stayed at the Tipton—actually, he moved around to much to have a home. This room was just another apartment room he would move out of in the next few months.

It had a full view of Boston; there were floor to ceiling windows and a plasma screen television with HD and HBO. There was a large curving black leather couch facing the t.v that Zack had, of course, forgot to turn off.

Zack sighed, walking over to the kitchen. He ran his fingers against the marble counter tops before he walked over to his refrigerator.

It was stocked with vitamin water and allot of healthy foods. It was rare for Zack to eat fattening foods nowadays. It just...didn't seem right

Zack pulled out a orange vitamin water and then a granola bar which he had no clue why was in the refrigeration system.

Sighing once more, Zack flopped onto his couch, staring at his windows. The sun was just starting to come up, birds were starting to fly.

Zack didn't know why he actually came here, but he did. Actually, he knew why, but he saw no point of it. Cody was gone. All there was is his grave.

Cody's not here fo Zack to say "Happy Birthday!"

And since it was Cody's birthday, then it was Zack's birthday too. But Zack was not in the least in his birthday spirit. He was never in a positive spirit, though.

Even though Zack had reached his dream of becoming someone famous, it was just dull now. He didn't care at all.

Zack was a world renowned skateboarder, but it meant nothing to him. It was just...nothing. He didn't care about the yellow, blue, red carpet. He didn't care about the crazy fans. He didn't care about the interviews or the movies he was starting to become apparent in(apparently he could act too). He didn't care about the riches he was now embedded in. It was all just a black hole.

Cody was everything to Zack, but he was gone. He wanted to die; to join his brother in heaven.

Zack breathed heavily before he turned on the news channel.

Of course, he was the front story. They were talking about the movie he would recently star in, and then rumors about Zack modeling.

Zack wasn't modeling, so yes, these were just crazy rumors.

Zack breathed heavily and then took a shower, cleaning himself thoroughly, though the deepest cuts were never cleaned. He still felt Cody's sweat on his hands; Cody's salty tears. And the blood.

It seemed like a curse now, but Zack never wanted the curse to go away.

Zack had seen a therapist after Cody's death, but then Carrie, the one who forced him to go, died two years later of lung disease.

Zack stopped going, so now he lived in a fake life. Fake grins. Fake emotions. Fake faces.

All fake.

Zack cleaned the dirt and dust off his body and then shaved and trimmed all the important places.

He dressed in dark jeans and a brown turtle neck. Then, he put on a very thick, yet comfortable coat.

Having growing all the way to 6'2, all this looked extremely well on Zack. But Zack didn't care.

Zack decided he would skip his stylist today—he really didn't care about his hat at the current moment.

Zack tied a scarf around his neck and pushed on his shoes, biting into the granola bar he had forgotten about. He let the barely eaten snack on the counter and then grabbed his vitamin water.

Over the years, it had become much colder in the northern areas. Snow was more frequent during the winter.

During their birthday. (A/N: I feel as though their spring babies, but i like snow!)

Zack pulled a hat to cover his features.

Then, he walked out of his apartment, letting the door close and lock behind him automatically.

Zack pulled out his phone from his jacket pocket and flipped it open.

A black and white picture of Cody and Zack as teens was planted on the screen, making Zack remember how much of an utter failure he was.

Zack stared at the picture for a while before he flipped his phone shut and pushed it back into his pocket.

He walked out onto the white streets of boston. He was immediately hit with a chilling wind, making his face glow bright pink from the coldness.

Zack wished he had put on his gloves, but he had forgotten them, like usual. Zack opened the vitamin water and took a sip.

The watery substance slicked down his throat, and Zack sighed heavily when he stopped gulping it down.

He threw the empty bottle away when he reached the subway. He bought a ticket and then went onto the long car-ish thing.

He took a seat in the back, knowing he would be sitting there for a few minutes. Luckily, no one was really out right now, which was slightly surprising due to the fact that it was almost Christmas time. Maybe the god that wasn't real was shining it's fake light upon him.

Zack didn't believe in anybody but himself and Cody now.

When the subway reached his stop, Zack got off.

After he got off the subway area he walked through the streets till he reached his wished area.

He walked into the flower shop which was ice cold.

Zack shuddered and walked up to the cash register.

"I ordered a black rose," he said.

The male nodded, and he smiled at Zack, flashing his white teeth.

Zack didn't pay attention.

He paid and left with the black rose, leaving the registeree pissed.

Zack was relieved no one had noticed him; he wasn't bothered.

Zack walked his way to the next place he would be staying at for a few hours.

Cody wasn't cremated. Cody was buried in a church even though he didn't believe in god.

Zack walked into the church, ignoring the priest. He walked through to the gate, and the priest didn't follow him.

That's when Zack saw it.

Cody's grave.

It was black marble, and it was sitting above the ground, unlike the others.

Zack's heart tugged at his chest painfully, sending ripples of emotions through Zack.

Zack walked over to Cody's grave. It was alone; no one beside it. Int the front of the casket was a large, long rectangular white marble piece that went five feet up in the air.

Names of places were on the marble;

Australia. China. Japan. England. Belgium. Germany. Croatia. Fiji. Egypt. Jordan. South Korea.

The list went on and on. It was all places that Zack had been too. Because Cody loved traveling. He loved learning and seeing different things and going to places.

Zack pulled out an instrument that could carve into the marble. Carefully, he started to list thirteen places which he had toured in.

Iraq. Iran. Moldova. Qatar. Syria. Wales. Yemen. Zaire. Uganda. Turkey. Samoa. Peru. Slovakia.

Zack stopped carving and clicked the instrument shut, returning it to his pocket.

Carefully, he placed the black rose on the grave before he found himself unable to walk, collapsing to his knees.

Zack didn't know how long he stayed there with his head bowed, tears swimming out of his eyes. It could've been minutes. Hours. Days. Months. Years.

He didn't know. His heart hurt to much. He wished he could've died. He should've been in Cody's place. He was the older brother. He should have taken it all.

It was all his fault.

"You know," A voice suddenly said, causing Zack's head to snap up.

A male with long black hair with green eyes stood in front of him. He was wearing normal winter clothing, and his cheeks were bright pink from the coldness. He looked about Zack's age.

He had a black rose in his hand too.

"It's not your fault."

Zack stared at him. The male suddenly smiled wide, and he placed the rose on Cody's grave.

The man kneeled down to Zack, looking him strait in the eyes. "You couldn't have prevented it."

"Who are you?," Zack asks.

"One of Cody's friends."

"I've never seen you before."

"That's the point," The man said, winking.

Zack had now clue how this guy could be so cheerful while he was so depressed.

The man suddenly grabbed Zack's hand, pulling him up.

"My name is Caden," the man said. "I've been watching you sit there for five hours."

He was watching me for that long?

"Are you a stalker?," Zack asks.

"No. Just a friend."

"I can't be a friend with someone I've never met."

"Your depressed."

Zack doesn't reply, and a depressing silence goes between them.

Zack stares at the floor, feeling depressed again.

Caden, who has already let go, sighs and tilts his head back, looking at the sky.

Snow flakes fall onto his face, and he blinks any away that reach his eyes.

"I was a transfer student at your school. No one liked me. Cody came up to me and said hi. It was the only time i talked to him"

"Then how were you guys friends?," Zack asks, generally curious.

Caden shrugs. "I consider people who are nice to me are friends. So...I was very sad when he died. And i learned that you had 'dropped' him. But i don't believe that."

"You don't?"

Caden shook his head. "Nope, Cody let go."

Zack was shocked. He was rendered speechless, so Caden continued.

"I knew stuff was happening to him, but i didn't do anything. I should've, but i didn't. And now he's dead. Kinda sad."

Anger boiled inside Zack, and he fisted the front of Caden's shirt. "How can you say 'kinda sad'. How can you act so carefree and happy about this all? He's dead!"

All humor was gone from Caden's face. He looked straitly into Zack's. "He's. Dead."

Zack's eyes widened. He's dead.

It's like the whole world came crashing down on him. All these walls that Zack had no clue where built. Zack had secluded himself from the truth. He'd been lying to himself all these years.

"He's not coming back," Caden continued. "No matter what you think, do, or say, he's not coming back to life."

Zack's fingers had loosened, so Caden took a step back. Zack was staring at him, but actually, he wasn't even in this world. His mind was being opened to this whole other universe of understanding.

Caden sighed heavily and placed his hand on Zack's shoulder, looking past him. "Let it go."

Then, Caden let go of Zack, walking away.

He was at the gates when he heard a thump. He paused.

Zack fell to his knees as all these emotions flooded through them.

His teeth chattered, but not from the coldness. He was trying to hold everything back, but he couldn't.

He was being smothered with all these feelings and he couldn't hold it inside. The bottle was spilling.

It was becoming to unbearable.

Tears rolled onto his cheeks, and his clenched the ground.

He screamed.

Zack sat at the bar of a coffee shop, shivering with the coldness from outside.

It was Christmas eve; no one was really out.

Zack was wrapped in his coat and scarf, and he was waiting.

A steaming cappuccino was in front of his, just recently put there.

Zack finally sighed and pulled out the card that had somehow been put in his pocket.

It said to meet here at seven thirty, but Caden wasn't here....

Had Zack just been punked?

Zack groaned as he found himself slipping into depression again. He buried his head in his arms, thinking how much of a fuck up he is.

Then, a gloved hand was placed on his shoulder, causing his head to snap up.

Caden was there, smiling widely.

"Hey," he greeted, sitting down.

"Hi," Zack replied.

Caden ordered a drink, and then rested his cheek on his palm, staring at Zack.

"It's not easy for you being out in public," he concluded, noticing the glasses Zack was wearing.

Zack shook his head. "Not really."

Caden grabbed the drink that was being held out to him and sipped it before he yelped, setting it down quickly and reached for an ice cube.

Zack watched in...amusement? Caden slipped the cube into his mouth, breathing heavily.

"Oooooooooooouuuuuuuuuuuuch!," he whined a few seconds later.

Zack found his lips twitching upward into a smile, but that was quickly gone when Caden looked at him again.

"So," he said. "How's it going?"

"Fine," Zack replied. This whole thing was completely awkward. He had no clue what to say.

A silence split between him. Zack grabbed his drink and sipping it carefully, not wanting to burn his tongue. He set it down with a clink, and then folded his hands together, feeling weird.

Finally, Caden sighed. "I don't expect you to immediately fall in love with me."

Zack grimaced, and Caden continued.

"But....I would like it if you could give me a chance."

Zack didn't reply. His whole mind was buzzing with thoughts and feelings. What about Cody? I said i would love only Cody but does Cody really want me to waste my life like that? I cant just....but Cody....

"You don't have to reply," Caden said finally, and all conversation was lost.

Zack sipped at his drink, and he listened to the crackling fire beside him. And for the first time in seven years, he actually felt......nice.

-The End Of Epilogue-

-Submitted 6:00 pm August 6th 09-