The Five Stages of Grief

.stage one.

"Hope is the DENIAL of reality." - Margaret Weis

Wanda couldn't make sense of it. There Kyle was standing, ocean blue eyes empty, lips pressed together in a thin, unreadable line. His hair was matted with something sticky that she couldn't identify from so far away. But, the part she truly couldn't comprehend was why his hands and arms were caked in blood. That disgustingly beautiful crimson coated his arms in such quantity it was impossible the person he'd been holding had survived that amount of blood loss.

Hesitantly, the Soul advanced towards him. Her eyes searched his, seeking answers and understanding in such madness. However, as soon as their gazes locked, something within him seemed to shatter. Kyle looked so broken and haggard, as if all the life had been drained from his body. "Wanda," he croaked desperately, voice raw from abuse. "Wanda, I—I'm—shit!" he cursed, slamming his fist into the nearest wall.

She cringed in fright, stopping a few paces in front of him. "Yes?" she asked tentatively, fear lurching in her gut. Why did Kyle sound so lost, so tortured? He'd always had a temper, but this anger … this anger was filled with self-loathing. "I—I'm sorry," he choked on his own words, balling his hands into fists so tight, he drew blood. "I couldn't—I couldn't save him."

Wanda's silver gaze darted to the blood that coated Kyle's front and then back to his face, desperate not to believe what he was insinuating. "What are you talking about?"

Kyle clenched his teeth. "Ian," he grounded out harshly, hating himself as he said it. "He's dead."

"What?" she whispered, mind going blank. She couldn't think. Couldn't comprehend. Why would Kyle say such a thing? "Ian isn't dead," she said firmly and resolutely, as if she wasn't just trying to convince Kyle, but herself as well. "I talked to him this morning. He was fine this morning." Tears began to prickle at her eyes, threatening to spill down her face. "How could you say such a thing?" she asked harshly, the first tear streaming down her pale cheek. She quickly wiped the tear from her face and glared at Kyle. "If this is some sort of human prank, you know I do not understand them, and Ian will be angry with you for joking so!"

Kyle's shoulders slumped. "This isn't a joke Wanda," he whispered, his voice too broken for what he said to be some cruel, sick and twisted prank.

The Soul's silver eyes widened in horror as she stepped back in disbelief. "He can't be dead," she murmured, wrapping her own arms around her torso, shaking her head in denial. "He can't!" she shouted. "HE CAN'T!"

"Wanda," Kyle took a step towards her.

"No," she mumbled incoherently as she cried. "No, no…"

Kyle could only stand there and watch the Soul weep. Nothing he could say would help her. And, really, what could he say? It's going to be okay. The hurt will pass. It's not the end of the world. Ian was only mortal. Everyone dies eventually. Those words were empty. They would mean nothing to her, just as they meant nothing to him.

Sobs wrecked her body. "He's not dead… he's not dead," she chanted desperately to herself. Denial was her friend, her comfort; her alternate reality. The place she turned to when the real world turned its back on her, taking from her the one thing for which she'd given up everything.

Tentatively, Kyle reached out to lay a comforting hand on her shoulder; too late, he realized his hands were still coated in his brother's blood. Wanda's eyes fell to where Kyle touched her shoulder. She didn't immediately jerk away, but after a moment she wretched herself from his grip, eyes wide and horrified. She stared in horror at the bloody hand print smudged on her flawless porcelain skin.

Her scream shook the very foundation of the caves.

ENDING NOTE: Aaah, yes, I'm baaaaack! :) Summer has been so busy, but I finally had time to sit down and get the first part of this five-part fic written! The next installment will be up soon, hopefully! At the earliest, monday! latest, next friday! Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed. As always, constructive criticism is welcome and reviews loved!