These characters are from the sweat-beetled brow of Craig Bartlett... lucky stiff.
Rated PG-13 cause I felt like it.
I am lying amongst the scattered wreckage of what once was the pride of the Aeroflot line in a field just outside of the Helsinki airport, and from the looks of it, I've been bisected by a errant bit of fuselage. This is pure supposition on my part, but I'm lying on my stomach and right before face are a pair of legs wearing my good Italian loafers, so I'm hesitant to look back for confirmation. A rescue worker scurries up and asked if I'm alright, and grinning, I reply,"Never better old boy. Why don't you have a look at how the other passengers are doing?"...
I am lying in a hospital bed somewhere in the inner city of Hillwood, unable to move and sprouting more tubes and wires than a science fair project. Every nerve ending is an individual star in my cosmos of shear agony to the point that even my eyebrows hurt. I catch my reflection in the polished metal surface of a medical service cart and am surprised to see just how little of 'me' is left of me, as I seem to have set a new world record for burn survival. Well, I suppose everyone should excel in something. The very picture of gravity, an ancient physician looks down at me and asked,"How do you feel, Mr. Tatum?" Grinning, I retort,"Tip top, my good man. I'm fighting fit!".
I am lying in one of the innumerable miles of trenches on the frontier during the First World War, mustard gas blistering every square inch of exposed flesh, which thanks to an Austro Hungarian aerial bomb, is considerable. About a hundred Tommy's and myself idly while away the time in staggering degrees of suffering, as medical corpsmen scuttle down over the ridge of the trench, and finding me asks,"Corporal Tatum, are you alright?" to which I reply,"Can't complain. Rather like holiday, actually." and give him a wink.
I am standing in the guest bedroom of Rhonda's townhouse with the sweetest of god's creations in my arms, and hoarsely whisper,"N-Nadine,... c-could you... repeat that? I'm not sure I caught it all?" Hugging me close, she pulls back to look me in the eye, "I said, I'm not moving anywhere. Brainy's family is relocating down to Tampa. Who told you I was going anywhere?"
That question went unanswered as I just let the latest version of the real world finish rebooting.
She was staying.
She wasn't moving.
I looked concerned, "Hold on a moment, I demand some manner of explanation. What in god's name was this evening all about? What is going on with Brainy and Helga? And for that matter, what is the situation between you and I?"
She slowly strolled over to the bed and I temporarily put all conscious thought on hold as I waited to see just what exactly she had in mind. Evidently, great minds think alike as she sat and beguilingly patted the bed beside her.
Sadly, scruples and good breeding won out as I said, "Um, Nadine my sweet... aren't we rushing things a tad? Not that this isn't ever so tempting, it's just that I thought we might take this time to... talk."
Scowling, she stretched out on the mattress and said, "Ronson Edward Tatum! I have been on my feet all evening guiding this event through some very choppy emotional waters and I'm in no mood for chivalry! Now take off your shoes and get your ass on this bed this instant!" Grinning, I doffed my jacket and loafers and joined her saying, "Well, I can see that long term proximity to Helga seems to have a few dilatorious side effects..."
Laying beside her, head on my chest as I slowly stroked her hair, I was all but lost in her again, but fought to remain alert to her explanations. It would seem that over time, the relationship between Nadine and Brainy began to change, or more accurately, clarify. Their mutual feelings were strong, almost unbreakable, but each independently began to realize what they felt for each other was many things... just not love. Fighting this unwelcome truth for a time, eventually they relented to it's reality just about the time Brainy's father accepted a executive position in Tampa, Florida.
Both were happy with the turn of events, being ready to part company feeling their friendship could easily overcome several thousand miles of terrain. But while Brainy's feelings for Nadine had mellowed with age, his lingering feelings for Helga had not. She continued to haunt him, and this was a wound that Nadine felt it might be better to treat now, rather than let fester.
And so, unbeknownst to him, she approached Arnold and Helga and conspired with them to give him a send off worthy of such a good man, and more importantly, quiet time that he and Helga might work out his feelings for her. For one night, Helga would be there for him, so that they both might clear the air once and for all.
Fine, but what of my part in all this?
Rising on one arm, she brushed her fingertips gently across my cheek, "You, my sweet pea pod kid, were the only wildcard in this evening. I wanted nothing so much as to continue our relationship where we left off, but... I... I couldn't be sure where your heart REALLY lay after all this time. I was afraid you'd... not be able to trust me any more. So I convinced Brainy that this whole thing was an effort to reunite us." My look of shock must have been noteworthy, as it illicited a giggle from the angel beside me. This was all a little much to take in, "So... so, while Brainy believed himself to be working for OUR happiness..." I stammered.
"He was actually helping us set up an evening that was all for him and Helga. And he did a bang up job of it too!" she grinned. The notion made me smile, not just at how clever this scheme was, but that the man who's trust I was so intent on keeping was working so hard for my... OUR happiness.
"Um, Nadine... where exactly are... WE in all this. How would you describe the two of us?" My heart was racing, for however much I felt we were meant for each other, she still had the power to crush it. Smiling slyly, she moved to climb on top of me, spreading her long graceful legs to straddle my midriff, and gently placed her hands over my wrists, playfully pinning me to the mattress.
Looking down into my eyes, her face hovered mere inches above mine as she graced me with another one of her patented spine melting kisses.
"My darling, darling pea pod kid... I wasn't too sure about that myself til' we hit this room. I had a million, jillion ideas of how tonight would end and where we'd be at the end of it. I was ready to do almost anything to win back your love and trust. But here you go, all ready to give up everything that I knew meant so much to you, just because you thought it would make Brainy happy... well mister, you just reminded me why I fell in love with you in the first place."
Another kiss and another and another...
Gasping, I manage to say my piece, "Nadine..." Her very name is magic, as it's utterance banishes all pain and sadness.
"Nadine, my darling, I... I can't imagine a day that I don't love you, and you are everything to me... but..."
Her face froze as she perhaps thought that I would be the one to kill the night. Silly girl...
"...but I could not stand to lose you a second time. I want this union to be stronger than the mightiest oak, and so... I don't wish to rush this. I'll tolerate no regrets in the future or misteps forever albatrosing our happiness. We are together again and I want nothing more than your happiness, but I want to be absolutely sure that all we do is what's best for the both of us..."
"So then, whatever wanton excesses you may have considered for within these four walls... I'm... I'm asking for your patience. One day, you and I will recreate the Kama Sutra page for page... just not tonight. As we grew apart, I really think we need a bit of time to grow back together." She looks stunned for a moment, then grins and hugs me for all she's worth.
Basking in this moment, I whisper, "Come along my love, we've friends to enjoy."
Though it occurs to me then that a peek inside her tube top might not be out of bounds, but that moment had passed.
Composed, we return downstairs and straight into the knowing leer of Helga G. Pataki, she and Brainy's private talk evidently having concluded. Think what you like, hellion. I stand beside a creature of purity for whom angels weep with envy. Though it suddenly occurs to me that Helga's presence is a symptom of Brainy being in the vicinity. A reluctant parting kiss and I leave Nadine to find her other half, and the search is not a long one.
A brief exchange of knowing looks and we find ourselves out on the stoop and into the cool solitude of the evening air. For the longest time neither of us speaks, as so common were our experiences, that descriptions would be redundant. He had found his peace finally in Helga and was ready to strike out in new directions, while I'd regained my other half and was whole again.
"Er... Brainy, ole boy... thank you for all you've done... this whole evening, and all that. I mean that, really. It'd take me a dozen lifetimes to repay you for all this..." He waves me off with a dismissive smile, "Update your organ donor card to give me first dibs and we'll call it square." and we share another laugh.
"I can't think of a better steward to give her care to. Make her life the best you can, Ron."
Done and done, my friend.
Without warning, we notice Nadine standing at the head of the stairs, smiling down on us. This moment being a fitting cap on the evening, as so much energy is expended inside as the three people for whom it meant the most are on it's outer edge. Fitting somehow, that the three of us always seem to end up together in one combination or another.
She walks down and gives Brainy a loving kiss on the cheek, then sitting beside me, she takes my hand as we silently sit and enjoy both the cool night air and the warm company of each other...
...And there you have it. I really hope you've enjoyed the story.
If there's enough interest, Nadine and Pea pod Kid just might return in "BUG-A-LOO", in which they go on a summer road trip to Roswell,
New Mexico. Thanks again for reading!
King Cheetah Extra
Shipping and Handling - Phoebe Heyerdahl
Oft when putting pen to parchment in the noble endevour of fanfic, one can tire after tale upon tale of the perfect Arnold and Helga romance and be tempted to tales of a few of the lesser stars of the show, and who better that Helga's best friend and accomplice to numerous count of breaking and entering, Phoebe Heyerdahl. Only daughter to Kiyo and Rheba Heyerdahl, she is a bright, studious, but socially awkward nine year old who until the introduction of Lila Sawyer, was the smartest forth grader of PS 118. For stories set contemporainiously with the show, Phoebe will no doubt be found aiding Helga in her latest scheme or prank. But if one were to spin the clock forward and set your stories in middle or high school, how might Phoebe turn out?
1) "Wonder Bras only work SO well..."
Phoebe, meet puberty. Being a slim, petite young thing, it's easy to imagine her staying that way into her teens... or her thirties. This has lots of story potential both tragic and comic, from ugly duckling stories to Rhonda's nitwit attrempts to "fix" her. The show as is shows Phoebe as somewhat insecure and that would go along way to explain her friendship with Helga. Meek, mousey Phoebe, secure in the personal safty zone of Helga, whom no other forth grader will cross. To add insult to injury, Helga would probably be drop dead gorgeous in high school. Poor Phoebe...
2) "I was a genius... in fifth grade."
I myself was a straight "A" student until sixth grade, when I hit the wall and began my academic carreer as a straight "C" student until graduation. And I wasn't the only one. So what if brilliant Phoebe finds that sometime around sixth or seventh grade that she's no longer having such an easy time of it, and adding to her compusive need to excell, a tougher course load in high school could tip her over the edge. Goth Phoebe, anyone? Suddenly her world is SO unfair and no one understands what she's going through. Or you could have her trying to compensate through social connections (Rhonda's righthand girl) or other outlets likje sports(girljock). Lots of pathos potential.
3) "You're my best friend... just not in public."
Relationship going into high school are a tricky thing even in the best of times, but for Phoebe I can see it being especially choppy. First off, I see NO future for Phoebe and Gerald, and evidently the shows writers agree. The fifth season of Hey Arnold show few instances of Phoebe and Gerald together (in contrast to the previous seasons), and Gerald is noticably absent from a few episodes. Phoebe's Little Problem was rather startling in this regard in that not only was Gerald not making any effort to help Phoebe deal with her social stigma, Arnold WAS (Hmmmm, romance in the air?). And Helga will probably go from protecter to buddy, or maybe not even that. So then, what new friendships and/or romances might she have in her future?
Outside of introducing new characters, it's fairly easy to see her hooking up with any of the current female cast; She'd share Nadine's inquisitive, natural scientific curiosity, Sheena's social sensibilities, Rhonda's popularity, or oddly enough Lila's good natured company (who is alledgedly as good a student as Phoebe, so she might just have someone on her level). As for the guys, Park, Robert, and Joey are almost blank slates onto which you could create any sort of boyfriend for her that you like. Sid might clean up pretty good, and Phoebe might just be the thing in his life to calm him down a bit. Curly might just be less of a loon in high school, but would definately prove that opposites attract. And then there's Arnold...
So there you have it; a lot of good possibilities if you'd like to try something outside of the usual Arnold/Helga stories. Anyone have any other thoughts on this?