A/N: My four favorite characters have to be Eugene, Brainy, Helga, and Iggy; don't be surprised if my Hey Arnold fics revolve around them a lot. This is an AU, taking place in the class's years at high school. It's a big leap, yes, and there will be lots of references to junior high that you'll have to take my word for. I've made slight changes to names, nothing drastic, and I've given every kid a last name. (even Robert!)

The Big City where the series takes place is a fictional Seattle.

The difficult thing about my Hey Arnold fics is that two of them will be running pretty much concurrent: "Still Human" and "Intolerance, Acceptance."
This is the big fic. It's a third-person story about how the little fourth-grade class from PS 118 that we all know has changed as they enter their tenth-grade year at PS 275.
"Intolerance, Acceptance"
a hey arnold fic by SchizoAuthoress

The newest batch of tenth-graders milled about the hallyways in abject confusion, each individual fighting a desperate battle against time and the crowds to get to homeroom before the tardy bell rang. Mr. Ogata, in room B21, kept his door open until two girls, a tall blonde with green eyes and a slender asian-looking girl, stumbled in at the last moment. Then the bell rang and he shut the door.

"Thank goodness you noticed the sign to the B-hall, Helga." the smaller girl murmured as they checked the seating chart on the overhead.

"Yeah, we're just lucky that your dad could drive us when we missed the bus, Feebs." Helga Pataki replied with a slight smile. They knew everyone in this class, talk about deja vu and synchronity.

Helga took her seat in the back row, fifth column, and observed her classmates, all of whom had changed since grade school.

There was Harold Bermahn, Pig-Boy who was no longer a fat little crybaby. He'd been sent to a fat camp when he tipped the scales at 300+ pounds and came out in much better shape. He played football and baseball and basketball and bullied the other kids, the stereotypical jock. Seated diagonally from him were Stinky Peterson and Sid Carlson. Stinky was still a tall, gangly kid with a crewcut and an Arkansas drawl, but he seemed to have found a niche as a skater--although setting a record for most times grinding on the rails at the Science Center without getting caught had not earned him much popularity. Sid had drifted off into obscurity for a while, ending up in a stoner group and, briefly, a juvenile corrections facility for petty theft. He had the hollow, baggy-eyed look of an addict searching for his next hit, and his thick black hair was more often unwashed than anything. His clothes were usually in the same rumpled, careless condition. And yet he still wore spotless white go-go boots.

Rhonda Wellington-Lloyd, rich girl who never, ever wore the same outfit twice in the whole school year was and always would be the stuck up and popular girl she was at PS 118, but now she offered free 'style counseling' to anybody who needed it. According to her, everyone needed it. Her best friend Nadine Hartsfield was still the nature expert, but had graduated from bugs to reptiles, and had once gotten a two-day suspension for bringing a cobra to biology class in junior high. (Her defense: "He had his fangs removed! Lucius wouldn't have hurt anyone!"[1]) Nadine had been Rhonda's first victim, but she had suffered no harm and even had the occasional boyfriend.

And then there was Phoebe, currently making sweet eyes at her longtime boyfriend, Gerald Johannson. Phoebe was still the quiet-voiced intellectual, but not nearly as timid. Somehow, she could pull off a combination of argyle and plaid in a way that not even Rhonda could complain. Not that Rhonda would have, knowing that Helga's Five Avengers and Old Betsy[2] were waiting to pound anyone who insulted Phoebe Hyerdahl.

Gerald Johannson was a nice kid, good for Phoebe. He was into hippie books and music, as well as rap and (oddly enough) calculus. He no longer had his hair in the fashion which earned him the appelation of "Tall Hair Boy," instead it was in long dreadlocks that Phoebe had declared 'very sexy and urban.' And all roads to Gerald lead to...

Arnold. Arnold Shawn Mackintosh-Kyl, whose name had been revealed to Helga after she went searching the Internet for his birth certificate. [3] The blond boy had actually grown into the odd shape of his head, so that it didn't appear so large and...footballish. His habit of slicking back his hair might also have something to do with it. He hung out most with Gerald, although he was on the school baseball team, while Gerald only played recreational basketball (and tennis with Phoebe, at which she could whip his sorry ass on a regular basis.) But thinking of her secret love was very painful.

Because he was going out with Lila. Lila Susanne Goldbloom, whom Helga had confessed her secret obsession to, had stolen Arnold's heart the summer that the Patakis went to Alaska to visit Olga. Helga had been furious and miserable, until she realized how happy that Lila made Arnold. And she had only wanted Arnold to be happy. Thankfully, Lila was not the artificial-as-fake-sweetener goody-goody as before. The pretty redhead sang lead for a country band, "Farm Transplants," of which Stinky's little sister Squeaky was the guitarist. Lila was much more outspoken, and she had dropped the childish 'ever so much' and 'like-you, like-you' that characterized her speech before.[4]

But enough about them. There was still a couple other people to study as Mr. Ogata passed out the usual paperwork and classroom rules. Like Sheena Silverman, the health-food pusher and flower child of flower children. Sheena was the only girl taller than Helga, and she had hair down to her ankles, usually redolent of flowers woven into tiny braids. And Sheena's friend-in-health-food, Eugene Horowitz, the clumsy redhead. Eugene had suffered a growth spurt that turned him into a gangly kid, nearly as tall as Stinky, with big feet that tripped over everything and slim, artist hands on bony-looking wrists. He had piercing light blue eyes that were sometimes hidden by the wild red curls of his long hair.[5]

Iggy Lasorda, the cool kid who had fallen from the limelight because of an alcohol problem. Helga was fairly certain that he wore those black, reflective sunglasses to hide his bloodshot eyes. He was always chewing Icebreakers gum, and talking to him was like walking into a vapor cloud of peppermint schnapps.

Curly, the relentless woman-chaser who still pursued everything that looked good in a skirt or a low-cut blouse. He now had fashionable contacts that made his eyes appear an intriguing shade of indigo. However, he was always scaring off the girls with his tactless and eager compliments and attempts to get them in his bed. Helga was amused by his outlandish dress sense. Curly always wore a checkerboard shirt and a belt with a rodeo-sized buckle reading 'Pimp Daddy' in fake diamonds and silver.

She didn't know a lot about Robert Pruitt, except that he played for the boys' tennis team. Or Joey Siciliano, who had gotten that missing tooth replaced with a gold one. Or Park Nguyen, the unfortuantely named Vietnamese boy who collected Magic: The Gathering cards. Or Ian Case, the boy who had ever since her "Four Food Groups: The Musical" play been known as Peapod Kid.

Helga had changed, but only superficially, since grade school. She had gotten rid of her bow, and wore her highlighted-black-and-red hair loose to her shoulders or in a ponytail. She developed a liking for peasant blouses and black jeans, and always wore boots. She still wrote poetry, of the depressed and lyrical variety, but now for publication in school papers and magazine contests.
They got out of homeroom and all compared schedules. When Helga realized that she was in the same math class as Arnold, she gasped and hid in the janitor's closet to spout poetic declarations of love.

"Oh, Arnold! That only the mathematics of the heart[6] would subract Lila from your thoughts and add us together in the wonderful bliss of togetherness!"

Someone was hyperventilating in the closet, and it wasn't Helga. She threw the Five Avengers in a backhanded punch and heard a *thwack* as they connected with Brainy's nose. He was in homeroom too, the creepy little asthmatic twerp.

To be continued...

[1] Yes, the snake is named for Lucius Malfoy. Shut up, I'm an obsessed fangirl.
[2] The Five Avengers are the five fingers on Helga's right fist, Old Betsy is her left fist.
[3] Hey, we all know that she's a stalker.
[4] Which has really been the only thing I dislike about Lila.
[5] I love Eugene. I really do. Ain't he cute?
[6] Reference to "The Hero from Otherwhere," a really great book that you should all take a look at.