Author's Note: I was watching "What it feels like to be a ghost" today, and I was thinking that Ellie and Craig both seem to go through the 7 stages of grief in that ep, while dealing with his drug problem. So I've decided to write a oneshot that might turn into a twoshot describing the stages, and Ellie's feelings during each one. Please review.


Denial:

They're at the table. And she's like, something out of a bad cliché. Overly hyper, silly, and just plain ridiculous. Manny Santos, cheerleader and actress extraordinaire. I regret inviting her into my house, into my home, because I know she's on something. Even if I can't say it out loud, the signs are there. Yes, she might be a dumb bitch, but she's never been this dumb before.

And there a moment, however brief, where I notice Craig is behaving just as badly. Just as out of control. But I won't think about that. I can't think about that.

Pain:

She walks down the stairs, it hurts to see her here again. After she brought coke into my home.

"Ellie." She says, a cold smile plastered to her face. "Just the girl I wanted to see." Her cheerfulness is fake, so I offer her a fake smile of my own. Two can play at that game. "I have a present for you. Me and Craig, just broke up."

Emotions rush in like water behind a broken dam. "What?"

"Yeah." She spits, the smile gone, her pretty face contorted angrily. "He has a little bit of a drug problem if you haven't noticed…"

I laugh, the sarcasm I throw at her is cold and biting. "I think you have that the wrong way around. I found your loot bag, and I know the coke was yours." My hands fly to my hips, eyes staring into her soul. "Craig told me."

Her face is incredulous. I can't tell what she's thinking. Is she surprised I know? And then she spits back at me, a response I'm not prepared for.

"Craig lied." She rolls her eyes. "That's what drug addicts do, Ellie. So, good luck with him."

She's gone, the door slams behind her back. The full weight of what she's told me begins to sink in. And it hurts.

Anger:

Not knowing what else to do, I storm upstairs. He's just laying there, guitar in hand, dark curls frame his face. I start yelling before I have a chance to change my mind.

"Question of the evening. Who's more pathetic? You for lying to me about the drugs? Or me, for believing you?"

He smiles, ever so slightly, not really moving from his perch. "Is that a trick question?" he asks softly.

"You think this is funny?!" I push my hands through my hair, blow out a breath. I don't know what to do.

Depression:

I asked him to come. Group therapy. It helped once, it could help again. Maybe he doesn't want help. Maybe he doesn't want to be saved.

But how can I just let him drown?

The Upward Turn:

He's there, and he sees me when I walk in. But I have a mission here, I don't talk, I only act.

I fish through his bag, through his jacket, through his things. He's talking, but I can't hear a word. I find the bag. The loot. The stash. The whatever.

Finally, I find the words. "Either you stop now, or I call Joey and tell him about this. And this?" I gesture around his dressing room, around his dream, his rockstar lifestyle. "This will all end. The touring, the music career? Finished."

"Why… why would you do that to me?" he shifts his weight, foot to foot, unable to stand still, the drugs are ruling him. I'm determined to help. "Just… leave me alone, alright?"

"I can't." comes my simple reply.

"Why not?"

"Because." I know why not. I can't say it. I won't say it.

"because why?" he's frustrated, and I'm not helping much.

"You know why." I finally spit out. It's enough. It has to be enough. "Craig. You know. So… don't make me say it." I whisper, helplessly.

And he kisses me. His lips are warm, tender. We connect, and there's a spark, a fizzle, and a moment. Perfection. My hands cup his face, gently, loving caresses. I've missed him. Beyond what I was even able to fathom. We come apart, and he says what I've been dreaming about, what I need to hear.

"I love you, Ellie."

I smile back, able to return his words, and mean them, like I never have before.

"I love you too."

And we melt together again, flesh to flesh, heart to heart. It's enough, it has to be. I can help.

"So don't… don't make me stop. Please. I need it. Don't call Joey."

The emotions flood again, confusion, pain, anger. I push him back. "You bastard. How could… how could you play with me like that?"

"Ellie… I'm sorry. What do you want me to say?"

The tears are coming, I can't stop them. "Nothing!" I cry out. "It's all gunna be lies! You'll say whatever it takes to get your hands on this," I hold up his coke, a trophy for all to see. "Won't you?" I toss it down. "God!"

And I walk away. There's nothing left for me to do.

Release and Resolution:

He makes his way towards the stage, announces his song. One I get one I feel, especially now.

Drowning.

It's not just a song title, it's become his way of life. The blood begins to drip from his nose. He has a problem. One beyond me. So I do the only thing I can. Offer the only help I have.

From my cell, I dial Joey.

Acceptance:

He's just sitting there. And I know he's mad I'm making him go. I don't care. I can't care.

"You're on the eleven o'clock to Calgary. Joey's waiting for you at the airport." The words hurt as I choke them out.

"I guess you're here to make sure I get on the plane."

Yes. No. I want to be. So much.

"No." I finally manage. "Mr. Simpson is. I'm leaving."

He looks up. Helpless and sad. I feel my heart breaking inside of me.

"Ellie." He grabs for my arm, and I turn. The tears already falling hot and fast. I didn't want him to see this. I didn't want anyone to see this. "I know I messed up." He whispers "badly. But I am glad for one thing. I was finally able to be honest with you."

I shake my head no. I don't want to hear this.

"I meant what I said." He continues. "And I've felt that way for a long-"

He moves, to cup my face in his hand. I push him away.

"No, just don't. Just… it's beside the point. You need help."

He blinks and looks away, swallowing hard. "I know. I know. I'm going into rehab or … whatever, but when I get out… maybe we could…"

I shake my head again, a fresh wave of tears falling. "Goodbye, Craig."

I brush the droplets off my cheeks.

Sometimes, walking away is the hardest part. But it's the right thing to do. I snap the elastic band on my wrist. Once. Twice. Again.

The only way to move on, and for everyone involved to turn out okay.