Disclaimer: I don't own Hey Arnold

Summary: A 26 year old Helga has a near death experience with a drug addiction that sends her into rehab. While there, Gerald begins to dig into the past and brings out a skeleton in her closet that has haunted the both of them. And what exactly does all of this have to do with Arnold anyway?

A/N: Hello all! This is my second fic. It's a plot I've been thinking about for awhile. I'm going to be exploring a heavier, more mature and realistic direction in this one. If you like angsty and dramatic Hey Arnold stories, then look no further!

CAUTION: This is a slow burn of a story, and what I mean by that is that it is going to take a little while for the plot to develop because there is a lot going on. I you're looking for something that just hits you the face, then this probably isn't for you, however if you're into something a little more in depth, look no further!

HOUSE KEEPING: So this story is going to be rated 'T' as far as I can see, however, if you're queasy about drug use or drinking or are in anyway offended by some foul language, than this probably isn't for you. If there is anything that I should put into the story in the future that is mature content, the beginning of the chapter will be clearly marked as such.

Weapon of Choice

"I'll move to Paris, shoot some heroin,

And fuck with the stars,

You man the island, and the cocaine,

And the elegant cars,

This is our decision to live fast and die young,

We've got the vision, now lets have some fun." -MGMT (Time To Pretend)

"I'd have to say my whole life I've been causing other people pain. My problems started as a child with my deep insecurities about myself and only got worse as I got older. My life became such a roller coaster ride that I felt like I was too far gone to be pulled back by anybody, and you want to know the pathetic thing about it? I was loving every bit of my train wreck. How many of you are feeling that way right now?"

The young blonde woman finished her short monolog, leaning over and propping her elbows on the back of a chair she'd been standing behind. She was in a very plain white room, with dirty square tile flooring. A dozen brown metal fold up chairs were scattered out into a circle. Sitting in the chairs were youth delinquents wearing bright orange jump suits and scowls. Some sat bored, looking towards the floor; a few faced the blonde giving the speech to them. It wasn't their choice to be there, they were forced.

Her question echoed around the silent room. She looked around the circle at the shy but un-enthused teens. She wouldn't force anything out of them; she knew exactly how they were feeling. She was their age once. Surprisingly to her though, slowly but surely a few of them did limply pull their arms up into the air.

She straightened up, pulling her elbows off the chair and slowly walking around and sitting down in it.

She sighed "Even though you love it, you can't help but want to die at the same time right?"

A few of the teenagers that raised their hands stiffly nodded, most staring at the floor, avoiding eye contact.

"It's not too late to stop it all, and get a fresh start to life," She replied to the nods.

"What makes you so sure of that?" She was cut off by a member of the group speaking out. He was a tan skinned boy, rather small for his age. He sat leaning his elbows on his knees, his eyes as troubled as they come and his hands fidgety.

"I've been there and back," The blonde woman answered him, raising her eye brows.

The young boy sighed and rolled his eyes, obviously not buying a word of what this woman in front of him had to say.

He finally laughed a little, curling his thin lips into a quick grin. "You're full of shit."

"All right, whatever you choose to believe is okay," She shrugged, nodding to him sympathetically.

A second rough laugh escaped his throat, a smokers laugh. "Okay, lets here it then. Lets here what makes you think you can come in here and tell me that it's not too late," He pointed his index finger to her. A challenge.

The blonde woman sighed and leaned forward, propping her elbows on her knees. She looked around the circle at the faces and then to the particular boy she'd been conversing with, smirking before a tiny chuckle fluttered from her mouth.

"Okay then…"

(3Years Earlier)

Helga Pataki had never been one that was told what to do. She'd never been one to follow orders or abide by most rules, especially ones she considered ridiculous conforms of society. You only lived one life, might as well make the most out of it, her personal motto and the way she lived from day to day. She smoked and drank hard to chase away her demons; however her tyranny of self-conscious destruction had taken a particularly cruel turn.

She loved the drugs

She wouldn't lie. They felt good. She craved the weekend binges of ecstasy, cocaine, and various pills, which led to the suicide Tuesday feeling of death warmed over. She'd wake up wanting to die as her body craved more and more, and her mind fought to ignore the constant scream from the reality of what her life really amounted to.

Today was her suicide Tuesday.

Her body was pathetically sore, stiff and her mouth cotton dry from dehydration. The golden rays of light poking through the white blinds of her bedroom window burnt the lids of her eyes, causing her to crinkle her face and turn away with a dejected groan. She felt like puking, her head pounding made things even worse. Out of the room and down the hall way she could hear the slight muffled noise of the TV on. She laid there continually breathing in and out, listening to her own tired ragged breaths enter and exit her body as she felt the cool air that circulated the room hit her face. It caused her to shiver.

She lay there in her bed for some time, continuing to listen to the muffled noise and her own breathing before she made the highly dreaded decision to actually get up. She sat up, tossing her legs over the side of the bed, the jack hammer in her head chiseling away. Leaning over, she put her head in her hands, in pathetic attempt to relieve the pain.

Helga finally did get up out of the bed a short time later and stiffly, walked to her dresser, opened the top drawer, and rooted through un-folded and un-organized bits of clothing, grabbed a small plastic bag and ripped it out. She dumped the fine powdery substance on her dresser, just the little bit she had and made a line with it, quickly snorting it up, graciously welcoming the warm burning relief it brought her. With a wipe of her nose and a few blinks to compose herself, she headed off down the hall way into the her living room.

In the room, a small girl, the age of 6 sat in an old green chair watching cartoons on the TV. Her small hands wrapped around the large remote, trying her best to change the channels. Her little eyes brightened immensely seeing her mother slug into the room.

"Hey, sweetheart," Helga acknowledged her before continuing into the kitchen for a much needed drink. "How are you this morning?" She yawned, staring into the fridge's abyss. Plenty to drink, nothing she wanted.

"Good," Her little girl replied.

Helga finally settled for can of soda, and popped the top. "Did you have fun last night?" She asked before drinking about half of the can in one gulp.

"Yeah, me and Scott and Aunt Olga played board games and then watched Shrek," The girl put down the remote, and turned around in the chair.

"Well that's good, I'm glad you had fun," A slight smile graced her tired face. She paused, drinking the last bit of her beverage. "So what do you want to do today?"

"Don't you have to work?" The girls eye brow knitted, confusion written clearly upon her little face, but the traces of excitement over her mother's question were unmistakable.

"No, not today," Helga smiled, walking back out of the kitchen.

"Can we go to the park?" She sunk back into the chair, smiling as Helga bent down to her level.

"Whatever you want Sender," She smiled.

While Sender ran off to dress herself for the park, Helga headed back to her own bedroom, feeling the urge to collapse out of tiredness and immediately flopping back into her bed with a decapitated sigh. She grabbed her cell off of the bedside and flipped it open seeing several missed calls from a friend. Hitting, the redial button, she put the device to her ear anticipating an answer. Nobody picked up, and it really didn't surprise her.

She tossed the phone onto the bed before she got up to dress herself for the park. She figured it was probably decently cold outside, it was September. She rooted through her entire dresser pulling out random articles of clothing for a decision, finally deciding to just throw on a pair of jeans, a random tee shirt, and an old fleece she'd had for awhile. Who was she impressing? She put her straight blonde hair up in a messy bun, said 'good enough' to the mirror before brushing her teeth.

Sender was more than ready to go by the time Helga finished her morning prep. As most children do, she had been ready and itching to go way before her mom. They grabbed everything they would need for the day, and headed out. Helga was less that enthusiastic about venturing out to the park as tired and drained as she was, but she was feeling more energized from her morning powder. At times, she really hated being a parent, for which she was very ashamed about and would never admit it to anyone. As soon as they were out of the apartment building she reached into her fleece pocket and grabbed a cigarette out of its box and a lighter, lit it up and took a quick drag off of it.

Smoking, another one of her many bad habits asserted in her unintentional quest of physical destruction.

The park was only a couple of blocks down from her apartment building, very much a walk able distance for her and her daughter. The walk was rather quiet between the pair, whilst the small city around them bustled quietly in the weekend morning. About midway through their short journey Helga's phone began to vibrate in her back pocket. Recognizing the number she flipped it open to answer it.

"Hello," She greeted.

"Hey Helga," A young woman's voice greeted her back, "How ya feeling today?"

"Like crap you?"

"I guess you could say the same," The girl laughed.

"So what are you doing?" She took one last drag off of her cigarette and flicked the butt away.

"I'm just waking up, probably just going to lounge until tonight. You?"

"Taking Sender to the park for a couple of hours," Helga grabbed her daughters hand as they began walking across the street.

"Well isn't that cute. So you are going to that thing tonight with me right?"

"What is it?" The blonde asked distractedly. They walked into the park gates and Sender ran off to play as Helga sat down at a pick-nick table that's glory days were obviously 50 years ago.

The girl sighed, "That party at that dude Jason's house."

"Oh yeah!" Helga laughed, "Is it going to be like just a party or what?"

"It's supposed to be a big trip fest. Lots of powder, ETC, H, and stuff. Ya know."

"Count me there."

"7:30, be at my apartment. His house isn't far from me so we can walk."

"Mom! Hurry up!" The young girl shouted to her mother from the swing she was perched in. "I want you to push me!"

"All right Aubrey, sounds good. Anyway I've got to go, motherhood calls," She sped up her words realizing how long she'd taken on the phone.

"All right, see ya tonight. Bye!"

"Bye," Helga shut the phone and jogged over to Sender.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry," She smiled warmly down at her daughter, who made no attempt to hide the annoyance that etched her face. It was incredibly cute. "I promise, no more interruptions today."

Helga stood on a stone stoop shivering a bit from the chill that the night had brought with it. She'd knocked on the door atop the porch and was waiting for its occupant to answer. She didn't stand there too much long before her friend opened the door. She was a small girl, with brown hair and fair skin. She looked like she could add a few pounds and use a good nights rest. But she was Aubrey. No cares Aubrey.

"What's up?" Aubrey asked. Helga walked into the horribly messy apartment observing that it looked worse than normal. The girl was the poster child for un-organization. They walked into the living room where the TV was blaring some one-hit-wonder's music video from the 80's on MTV.

"I'm almost ready," Aubrey assured, grabbing the remote and turning down the noise from the TV.

Helga shrugged and her friend shuffled off into her bedroom.

"So you found somebody to watch Sender for you?"

"Yeah," Helga concurred, "My parents, I told them I had to go into work tonight."

"Nothing like a little white lie in the name of fun, eh?"Aubrey came back out of the bedroom empty handed but began rooting through the stuff piled in her living room. She found the beanie hat she was looking for and pulled it over her head snugly.

"Sheesh, don't make me feel guilty-That's what you were looking for?" Helga gawked, "That ugly ass hat?" She laughed

"Um, yeah! And its not ugly it's a great beanie," She patted the garment, squinting her face into a smart-ass smile.

"Whatever, lets go."

Music blared loudly around the tiny house, filled with more people than was surely deemed safe. It's occupants chatted, drank and smoked everywhere, abusing the abode for less than legal means. Helga and Aubrey sat on a puke green couch with a few other guys cutting white lines of cocaine on a glass coffee table. Helga was already feeling pretty good about the world around her. She sat, lazily on the couch twitching slightly from the pills she'd ingested a few minutes before. Feeling her muscles begin to relax and that feeling of being light and falling crept into her atmosphere.

It felt good. So, so good. And her night was getting ready to draw to a glorious conclusion. She'd feel it tomorrow but the after effects were petite compared to the goodness she felt at that moment.

Before she knew it, she was being nudged and instructed to 'do her line.' With a quick sniff, her portion hit her brain with a pop, and that ever familiar bitter taste licked at the back of her throat. She fell back on the couch her lips curling into a phased out smile despite the fact that her heart was racing at a million miles an hour and making her feel so hot that she just wanted nothing more than to rip her clothes off. Her lids fell, shielding her blurry eyes, welcoming the realms of her unconscious mind claim her.

Outside a small squadron of police officers gathered up to swarm the small house after being tipped off that it was a drug hut. Several officers scurried around to the back and sides while the remaining members readied their fire arms for the raid on the front. A very muscular chocolate man stood at the front door with several men behind him, weapons raised. He cocked his leg back and slammed it into the door, sending the door flying back on its hinges and wood splintering through the air.

"This is the police, everybody freeze!" His voice boomed through the small house. There was a mayhem of frenzy as the officers began swarming the house, arresting everybody in it. The man that kicked in the door headed into the living room area yelling for everybody to freeze. The fleet of people put their hands above their heads and then laid flat on the floor as they were told.

All but one.

He noticed a small blonde figure lying on the couch who hadn't moved during the shuffle. "Ma'am!" He shouted, gun still raised. She didn't move. He walked to her and gave her a tap on the check with his left hand, stalling for a moment as his eyes grew large at who it was.

"We need an ambulance in here now!" He shouted.

A fellow officer rounded the corner "What's the matter Johanssen?"

"She's not breathing!" Gerald holstered his gun and grabbed her head, jostling it a bit between his hands. He then laid her flat on the couch and began trying to administer CPR on her as the other cop radioed for an ambulance.

A/N: Whoo! First chapter is always the hardest. Let me know how you like it. Reviews are always good. Love those. Okay, I know this chapter is probably...quite heavy and depressing for some but this story will actually go into quite a different direction than what appears. I just don't want to give too much away too soon. Also, it will get a lot better! I promise!