A/N: The difficult thing about reading any of my Hey Arnold fics is that two of them will be running pretty much concurrent: "Still Human" and "Intolerance, Acceptance." You've got to remember that. Also, "Still Human" is more of a limited sketch of the way things will go in "Intolerance, Acceptance" than anything else.

MDT-Much thanks for reviewing my Hey Arnold fics. All of them. At once. Probably in quick succession. It's kinda like eating too much ice cream very quickly, if you do that, you'll get very confused. I know that "Still Human" has a lot of shortcomings, and I'm only saying here this because I'm not going to update that until "Intolerance, Acceptance" catches up with that one. You gotta think of it as one diary in a series of ten or so, ever since Eugene could write and express his feelings. I think that I got too much into his head...

"Thinking with the Heart," though, will be updated soon.
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"Intolerance, Acceptance"
a hey arnold fic by SchizoAuthoress

Iggy Lasorda briefly lifted his sunglasses--a rare move at any time, especially in class--and rubbed his eyes. After a couple hours of late-hour, hardcore partying (at which drinking and 12th-graders figured a large part), he had to be seeing things. Otherwise, it really was true that the new kid was standing in front of class wearing a pair of plaid pants, a light blue shirt that read (in rainbow letters) "My Closet is for Clothes," and a set of fushia-pink fairy wings.

-I really gotta get back into the school schedule,- Iggy thought dimly as his head dropped to his folded arms. Iggy's school schedule consisted of: go to school, get the homework, go home, have a beer, do homework, eat dinner, maybe have some form of hard liquor later on, fall asleep. His mom didn't keep track of all the beer and other assorted varieties of malt liquor that she bought every few weeks. But of course, he wasn't an alcoholic. His lousy father had been a stinking drunk who left Iggy and his mom when Iggy was little. Iggy wasn't like that. He could stop whenever he wanted to. He just didn't want to.

"My name is Edward Morrow," the new kid was saying, "I used to live in New York City, but that was a few years back. I went to Saint Pat's in Tacoma for a year, and Bellermine for ninth grade [1] before moving to Seattle with my dad and my aunt. My parents are divorced."

Mr. Ogata nodded. He seemed to be taking the odd apparral in stride as he said, "Thank you, Edward. Please take the empty seat next to Arnold," and indicated the desk by pointing.

The whispers started once Edward sat down. Arnold turned and gave the new boy a welcoming smile. Sure, he was a little weird, but it wasn't like this class was all that normal. Edward smiled back shyly, and then became all business as Mr. Ogata started the lecture.[2]
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Harold Bermahn sneered at Edward's back as the class filed out when the bell rang. He was flanked by his cronies, Sid Carlson and Stinky Peterson, as usual. He muttered to them, "I say we kick his ass."

"Who? Fairy boy?" Sid asked. Most of the time, Sid wasn't all there, either stoned or thinking about getting stoned as soon as possible. Right now, he was off the cocaine jitters and in a lurch of sluggishness.

"Yeah," Harold answered gruffly, his tiny, hate-filled brown eyes trailing the new kid down the hall.

"I don't know if we should do that," Stinky said in his trademark Arkansas drawl, "we might get in trouble, an' Sid can't get in trouble, on account of he's gonna be expelled if he does."

"Huh." Harold thought for a moment. "Well, let's just spread the word that he's the target at lunchtime. That'll show him how welcome fags are around here."

"Yeah, how many guys walk around with purple eyeshadow and all that black eye liner?" Sid mused. Then, totally out of the blue, he commented, "I think he does a better job with his make-up than Rhonda."

Harold and Stinky looked at each other in disbelief, then looked at Sid. They shrugged, and parted ways in the main hall.
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Edward was expecting it. He knew that, when he decided to come out of the closet, there would be people who hated him and even feared him a little. Open homosexuality can make even the most generally tolerant of people uncomfortable.

They had the courtesy, or perhaps the organizational skills, to wait until lunchtime. He'd been sent to the Principal's office in third period, and she'd given him a copy of the dress code rules, one of which was: "No student shall wear a costume at any time while going about their daily business. This includes masks, capes, and wings of any kind." She also told him that he might want to reconsider the make-up, but he assured her that he could handle himself and apologized for the dress code violation.

He never saw who was trying to trip him, but in the milling crush of students, it seemed that someone's leg was always sticking out in front of him. They succeeded five times, and the last one he had fallen against a garbage can, scattering the can's contents all over the floor. He helped the janitor clean it up, since he was the one who caused the mess, washed his hands in the bathroom, and walked into the cafeteria.

Or tried to. The doors slammed in his face. He waited for a minute or two before pushing the doors open and going in, for caution's sake. Then it was raining spitballs, most of which missed him and hit this poor redheaded kid who later slipped on a fallen slice of pizza and crashed to the floor. The kid called out resignedly, "I'm okay!" and was helped up by a tall blonde girl with what seemed to be a permanent scowl. [3]

And once he'd gotten his lunch, some skinny little kid with a big nose spilled chocolate milk all over it. The lunch ladies gave him a new one, and the same kid shoved him forward and snarled, "C'mon, some of us are hungry here!"

"Quit it, Sid, it's your fault he had to get another lunch tray," scolded the football-headed boy who'd smiled at him in class.

-Arnold,- Edward remembered, -Mr. Ogata said his name was Arnold.-

He was tripped again on his way to the table, spilling his fries all over the floor. But he nochalantly picked up his plastic-wrapped burger and carton of milk and set them on the table. He stared around, noticing how lots of people avoided his gaze. Quietly, he asked, "Do you treat all the new kids like this?"

That ought give them something to think about.
****
Rhonda, Nadine, and Lila met up at the park after school. Rhonda was in full fashion-mode, and she was off on her own rant, which went something like,

"My God, can you believe that we not only got stuck with a flaming gay kid, he also has no dress sense? How is this going to reflect on me? How can I be associated with a homeroom that contains so many unfashionable people?"

"Um, Rhonda?" Lila piped up, twisting the hem of her knee-length jeans-skirt in her hands, "Maybe you're judging him only on the surface. And I don't think that anyone cares whether you're in a class with Sid and Edward."

"That *reminds* me!" Rhonda shouted, scaring away the grass snake which Nadine had been trying to coax into a box, "Does anybody know the last time Sid even saw a bar of soap? I swear, that boy is disgusting."

Nadine cursed softly at the loss of a new addition to her collection. Then she stood up and brushed loose grass from her khaki capri pants. She also wore what her dad termed a "handkercheif," a white halter-top with flower embroidery tied back with thin white ribbon around her neck. Her hair (she loved to experiment with new colors) was an odd mix of gold-yellow, auburn, and a deep brown, straight as Rhonda's now, with that stiff, processed look of chemically relaxed hair. She looked at her best friend and muttered, "Yeah, I feel kinda sorry for Joey, Sheena, and Eugene."

Lila laughed, "Don't forget me! I sit in front of him!"

Rhonda nodded descisively. "That's it. I'm going to have to talk to Phillip[4] about getting some of his friends to do *something* with Sid. And Edward. Come on, ugly brown, green, and red plaid pants with everything else he was wearing today? Ick."

Lila shrugged. "I guess he was trying to get everyone's attention."

"He got it," Nadine replied, "Remember that awful lunchroom scene today? Stupid bullies."

Rhonda sighed. "Girls, I'm going to need all the help you can give me once we start on this project to make our homeroom the most fashionable."

Lila and Nadine looked at each other with small smiles. It was well known that Rhonda was obsessed with fashion and being the best, but they knew it was because she wanted to go to the renowned design college, the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in California, FIDM.[5] Sometimes, she acted like FIDM representatives were following her, seeing if she was fashionable enough to go. That was why she always tried to have a good-looking homeroom class.

Lila's watch went off with an annoyingly monotone 'beep-beep-beep, beep-beep-beep'. She glanced at it and said, "Sorry, I have band practice. Call me tonight, we'll have a phone conference."

The other two girls agreed, and Lila walked to the bus stop thinking, -I sure do hope that Edward doesn't take Rhonda's intentions the wrong way, especially after all those things Sid and the others did to him.-

to be continued...
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[1] Saint Patrick's is a parochial school run by a Catholic church of the same name. It really exists. Bellermine is a prep school (I mean prepratory, not the other kind, although lots do go there) that has a reputation for looking really, really good on a college application.
[2] No, he does not like Arnold. They are just both trying to be friendly to each other.
[3] C'mon, would I forget my favorite characters?
[4] Rhonda's boyfriend who goes to an uber-expensive private school, and of course he's extremely wealthy.
[5] It's real, too. Check out http://www.fidm.com if you're interested.


A/N: I'm going to tackle this pretty much day by day...the first chapter takes place Sept. 1, this one Sept. 2. Sorry, I should have clarified. No big leaps like with the entries of "Still Human," I promise.