Disclaimer: I don't own The Suite Life of Zack and Cody or The Suite Life on Deck. In fact, I don't even know who owns it...

Chapter 8: Tape 4-Reactions

He just wanted Zack and Cody- the annoying twins who caused havoc in his pristine hotel- back.

There was silence in the room for a few minutes after Marcus had spoken. Mr. Moseby continued absentmindedly thinking about Zack and Cody until Emma snapped him out of his thoughts.

"Marion?" she said, concerned. Startled, he snapped back to the present and found himself blushing involuntarily as his eyes locked onto the blonde teacher. She kept his gaze shyly, blushing as well.

He didn't know how long the two of them stared at each other for, but it must've been awhile, because, eventually, Maya spoke up from her armchair.

"Um, I hate to interrupt this… whatever it is… but weren't you going to show us the fourth video, Mr. Moseby?" she questioned, slightly disturbed and more than slightly bewildered.

Mr. Moseby kept staring at the teacher, until his brain registered what Maya had said. He returned to the present, quickly looking away.

"Yes, of course," he said.

He could feel the others' eyes on him as he walked towards the shelf where the box was and grabbed the case containing the fourth video in his hands. He looked into the reflective surface of the disk, and imagined that his reflection had vanished. Instead, he was seeing scenes from the tape playing out in front of his eyes. He clenched his fists until his knuckles turned white, trying to rid the images from his mind.

He could feel the others' concern growing, so he turned away before Maya or Emma could say anything.

Slowly, Mr. Moseby walked over to the TV and placed the tape into the DVD player. He then sat down in his chair, mentally preparing himself for the horror that was to come.

Like in the first video, the screen faded from black into the lobby of the Tipton. The angle of the camera was the same, so it was clear that this video was also from the hotel's security cameras.

At first, everything seemed normal. Guests talked to each other or read on the couches, and Mr. Moseby spotted his younger image talking to Maddie and London over near the candy counter.

He watched painfully as his younger self lead Maddie and London across the lobby into his office. He remembered that he had wanted to talk to them about a fax from Mr. Tipton, who had wanted Maddie to continue to tutor London. Now, he was glad that his choice to show them the fax right then had enabled him to miss part of what was about to happen, but he also wished that he could've been there to prevent some of it.

As soon as the door closed behind himself and the two teens, Mr. Moseby saw Carey, Kurt, and Zack walk through the front door.

All of them looked awful. Their clothes were wrinkled and worn, and their eyes were red from crying. As soon as he stepped through the doors, Zack resumed crying, letting out a loud sob that drew the attention of some of the guests, and crumpling against his mother. She pulled his body towards hers, stroking his hair soothingly as he cried.

"M-mom," he whimpered. "C-Cody."

Mr. Moseby looked away from the screen to escape the sadness of it all. To give himself something to do, he looked to see how the others were doing so far.

Woody and Marcus both looked only minorly upset, which Mr. Moseby had expected. They were boys, and the video hadn't really begun yet.

Maya and Bailey were worse, though. The two of them looked small in their chairs, like they were trying to shrink smaller to minimize the hurt. Both of them looked pained at Zack's crying, but they wore brave faces, so that it would seem like they could handle it. Emma looked similar to the teens, except less small and scared.

His throat closing up, Mr. Moseby turned back to the video.

Zack's crying had subsided a bit, and he, Carey and Kurt were walking down the ramp into the main area of the lobby. When they reached the bottom, Kurt and Carey continued on, towards the elevators, but Zack froze in place at the base of the ramp. He was staring at the little table with the vase on it. His hand was clamped onto the railing and tears started to once again well up in his eyes as he stared unblinkingly.

Carey and Kurt were halfway up the two steps that lead to the elevators when they realized Zack wasn't behind them. They turned and saw him staring at the vase and rushed over.

"Zack?" Carey said when she reached him. "C'mon, baby, let's go upstairs."

Zack didn't move, nor did he give any indication that he had heard her.

"Zack?" Kurt then asked. "Zack, buddy? Are you okay?"

This seemed to snap the blonde boy out of his trance. He clapped his hands over his ears and looked towards the ground.

"D-don't call me that!" he said in a voice that was halfway between yelling and crying. "T-that's what I call h-him."

Carey and Kurt exchanged looks, and Zack fell to the ground. He curled up on his side in the fetal position. His head was turned towards the camera, so Mr. Moseby could see the tear tracks glint in the light of the lobby. He turned away from the screen towards the others, but before he was able to see them, there was a quiet whimper. He quickly sat up and paused the video.

The manager then turned towards the teens, and discovered that the source of the cry was Bailey, who had tucked her head into her knees, which were drawn to her chest; her and Maya's now-default video-watching position. At this thought, he snuck a glance at Maya to see her reaction. Her hands were clenched on the armrests, and she was avoiding looking at Bailey, possibly to keep herself from mirroring the blonde's actions.

"Bailey?" Emma asked suddenly, breaking the silence. "Are you alright? Do you want us to stop?"

Bailey clearly wasn't alright, but she said "No! Don't stop! I-I'm okay. Please. Let's keep watching." She then proceeded to lift her head and unfold her legs, placing her feet back on the ground.

Mr. Moseby hesitated for a minute, but then turned to the screen and pressed the "play" button.

Zack was still curled up in a ball. His parents stood still for a minute, then rushed over to him and engulfed him in a comforting hug. But, despite all this, Mr. Moseby noticed that Carey was crying as well, and Kurt wasn't far behind.

For a few minutes, Zack crying and his parents consoling him were all that was to be seen. Mr. Moseby looked over to the door that his younger self, Maddie, and London were still standing behind. Right then would've been the perfect time to come out…

Almost as if on cue, one of the guests- a middle-aged lady- stood up and approached the three Martins.

"Excuse me!" she yelled. Carey and Kurt looked up with as much politeness as they could muster, but Zack continued to cry.

"Can you get your brat of a son to shut up?!" the woman shouted. "This is a five star hotel, not a nursery! I haven't had a vacation in months, and I'm not going to let some spoiled little kid ruin it! If he keeps crying, I'm going to tell the manager to throw you out!" By the time she finished her rant, the woman's face was flushed and her squinty eyes were narrowed even further. Mr. Moseby looked away to keep himself from yelling back at the woman's five-year-old image, but Maya and Bailey had no such restraint.

"What?!" Maya shrieked first, springing out of her chair. Mr. Moseby jumped a bit, even though he was expecting it, then paused the video and turned to face the group.

Like she had when she saw Drew whip Cody in the second video, Maya was standing in front of her chair, looking like a bull about to charge. Unlike in the second video, however, Bailey looked only a step behind, her hands clenching the chair and her entire body tense.

"What is wrong with that woman?!" Maya yelled. "Zack's brother just died! And she doesn't even care!"

He was angry as well, but Mr. Moseby had to restrain himself from pointing out that the woman probably couldn't have known about what happened to Cody.

"That's sick!" This time it was Bailey who spoke. "I mean, she could've asked what happened, but instead she just starts yelling at them! She should've used reason and figured that there was a reason Zack was crying! He's not a little kid who can't control himself!"

Although he agreed with everything they were saying, Mr. Moseby spoke up.

"Girls, please," he said in a calming tone. "I understand why you're upset, but we need to continue if we want to finish soon."

Maya and Bailey nodded, and Maya slowly sat back down. After making sure they were settled, Mr. Moseby picked up the remote and resumed the tape.

For a second after the woman spoke, there was silence. They, Carey recovered enough to stand up with a murderous look on her face.

"Ma'am," she said in a voice that suggested that she was using all her energy to stay calm. "I'm sorry for my son, but-"

The woman seemed oblivious to Carey's rage, because she cut her off. "Darn right you're sorry!" she said. "I will not stand for this child throwing a fit in the lobby! Where's the manager?"

From his side, Mr. Moseby heard Maya emit a low growl, like she wanted to pounce on the woman. He agreed, but continued to let the tape play.

Carey looked close to biting the woman's head off, but followed her as she stomped over to the check-in desk.

As the two of them climbed the steps, Mr. Moseby, London, and Maddie finally exited his office.

Upon seeing the pair, younger Mr. Moseby said "How may I help you? Hello, Carey."

Carey gave a slight nod, but the woman started yelling.

"Excuse me, sir. Are you the manager of this hotel?" Mr. Moseby nodded.

The woman took a deep breath and started giving her side of the story. "Well," she said. "I was sitting here, minding my own business, when her son"- she pointed at Carey like a schoolchild- "comes in and starts throwing a fit! I paid a lot to stay in this hotel, and I want my money's worth! I demand that you make them leave at once!"

While he was still mad, Mr. Moseby took a moment to acknowledge the woman's stupidity. Did she really think ordering him to do what she wanted would be effective?

On the screen, younger Mr. Moseby looked at Carey in a confused way. "Carey?" he asked. "What's wrong?"

Mr. Moseby silently applauded his younger self when he saw the woman's mouth drop open in shock.

The mood turned solemn, though, when Carey took in a sharp breath. "Mr. Moseby?" she said. "Y-you'd better follow me."

Carey led the woman, Mr. Moseby, Maddie, and London over towards where Zack and Kurt were still on the ground. A fair few of the other guests had also turned to see what was going on.

When she saw Zack on the ground, Maddie asked "Carey? Zack? What happened? I-is Cody…?"

Upon hearing the name "Cody", Zack started crying again. Carey turned to the others.

"Cody is…" she trailed off, then took a deep breath. "Cody is dead."

Younger Mr. Moseby, Maddie, and London all gasped at precisely the same moment.

"W-what?" Maddie asked. "What happened?"

Carey looked down at the ground for a moment before she started explaining the story of what happened to Cody at the hospital.

"When they brought Cody in, he had lost a lot of blood, and his brain was swelling as a result of the damage to his head. He went immediately into surgery. They were able to give him more blood and reduce the swelling, but after he got out of surgery, he fell into- into a coma." This time, both the people onscreen and off of it gasped. Mr. Moseby paused the video and turned to the others.

"C-Cody was in a coma, Mr. Moseby?" Bailey asked in a small voice. The manager nodded. Bailey gasped again, and started shaking her head. Mr. Moseby could see that Maya looked confused, but before he could explain, Marcus spoke up.

"Wait," he said. "What's so bad about being in a coma?"

Mr. Moseby cast a glance at Bailey, who was huddled up on her chair, before answering.

"When someone falls into a coma," he explained. "It is often because of severe damage to the brain, like in the case of Cody. Since the brain is responsible for the function of everything in the body, damage to it could cause serious problems. If a person survives, they could become mentally disabled, or paralyzed. Often, though, if someone falls into a coma, they won't come out of it. They'll stay unresponsive for the rest of their life, or they'll die."

The whole room was silent for a few minutes.

Eventually, Maya spoke up. "P-play the video, Mr. Moseby."

Slowly, he pressed down on the button, and Carey continued to explain what happened to Cody.

"The doctors said that Cody's brainstem had been damaged when he was attacked. The brainstem controls involuntary reflexes. Because of the damage, Cody first stopped breathing on his own, and had to be put on a ventilator. Eventually his- his heart failed."

When Carey finished her speech, Mr. Moseby, London, and Maddie were silent for a while. The woman, however, was not.

"Listen," she said. "I don't care that some kid died. It happens all the time! I don't see how that has anything to do with this little boy crying in the lobby! Now make him leave!"

Carey, Maddie, and London all looked ready to yell, but Mr. Moseby forced his voice to remain calm.

"Ma'am," he said. "If you don't want to listen to a boy cry because he lost his brother, you may go back to your room or check out of this hotel."

The woman's mouth dropped open, like she couldn't believe that Mr. Moseby would dare not take her side, and stomped off towards the elevators.

Once she was gone, Carey, Maddie, London, and Mr. Moseby all rushed over to Zack, who was still on the floor crying. The five of them all tried to console him, until eventually his crying calmed down enough so that his parents were able to help him stand. They half-led, half-carried him over to the elevator, where the three Martins all ascended to the 23rd floor.

Maddie, London, and Mr. Moseby remained in the lobby. For a while, they just gave each other stunned looks, until younger Mr. Moseby spoke up.

"London, Madeline, both of you go up to London's room. Neither of you are in a good position to be walking around doing things."

Maddie and London slowly nodded and ascended the elevator in silence.

Mr. Moseby watched himself stand there in shock for a few minutes before walking numbly towards his office. He heard the door click shut before the screen faded out, consumed by blackness, providing a perfect mirror of his empty heart.

Having the others turn and watch him turn off the TV after watching one of the videos was now routine to Mr. Moseby. For this, he was glad, because if it wasn't, he knew that he wouldn't be able to do it after the end of the fourth video.

When he turned back to his companions, he found them all pale and upset. He understood completely, flashing back to the first time he watched the videos.

For a while, no one spoke as they all gathered their own thoughts. As to be expected, it was Maya who spoke up first. But unlike normal, she did not start with a sarcastic remark.

Instead, she said "That… that was awful. How could someone be so mean? Zack just lost Cody."

Mr. Moseby assumed that she didn't expect an answer, so the room once again fell silent.

Eventually, Emma spoke up. "Marion? Did you say something about there being two other videos?"

Mr. Moseby nodded, making sure not to look at her so he wouldn't end up staring. "Yes," he said. "One more unpleasant one, than one that is more enjoyable. The second one is a bit irrelevant, but it will give you an idea of how Zack and Cody behaved around each other. I'll show you the first one now, but we'll have to watch the second one later."

The others nodded in approval at his proposal.

"Okay," Bailey spoke for the group. "Let's- let's watch the next one. Is- is it worse than this one?"

Slowly, hesitantly, Mr. Moseby nodded. Bailey inhaled. "H-how?"

This time, he shook his head. "I don't want to say anything about it before you see it. But, I will tell you that it'll make you wonder."

"Wonder what?" Bailey asked slowly.

"It'll make you wonder how Zack is still able to get up every morning."

Hi, everyone! Welcome to Chapter 8! I know it's been a while since I updated, and I'm sorry, but I've been busy with finals and such. Like, I had to pospone my English project, which is due in four days, to work on this. But, school ends soon, so hopefully I'll have more time to write until I go to my grandparents' house. I'll try to get in another chapter, or one of some of my other stories.

I feel like I'm forgeting something important... oh well, I guess.

Thanks to everybody who reviewed Chapter 7!





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