Writer's Notes: The following Hey Arnold! Fanfic is a short story and deals with the subject of true loves and "first times." Both Arnold & Helga are seventeen and eighteen respectively in this story and takes place roughly a couple of years after the proposed "Patakis" spinoff arc.

Before I go on I would like to add that it I am, in no way, condoning, nor condemning premarital sex, that is a matter of personal choice between consenting and mature people.

Rated PG-13 for mature/adult situation and light fluff.

I first wrote the outline of this story on Nov. 28, 1999 during a particularly boring night shift working as a security guard, using only a notebook and a No. 2 pencil. I was largely inspired by the Thanksgiving episode of the series and the way Arnold and Helga interacted as they hung out together. While not exactly romantic behavior, it does show how I think they might behave as an actual couple given their dueling personalities.

I considered what would happen if – or when – they take the step (whenever Helga would confess her feelings to Arnold) to be a couple. I could see them grow closer together as they grew into adolescence as a pair. Eventually, they would do what most teenagers would get around to, though I always felt that, hormones aside, the two would at least wait until about 17 or so (whatever the legal age of consent in Hillwood is) and probably because Arnold would insist on doing the right thing. That was also why I include the practice of safe sex in the story, even though I choose to gloss over the specifics of the act itself.

The story itself came to existence around August 2002 when I was inspired by a fanfiction challenge of sorts from a writer who, like me, cares little for R-rated fics describing sexual encounters in rather too explicit detail. I also felt that "less is more" and some things are better left to one's imagination.

So being prompted by that challenge, I found the notes I'd written and then wrote the first draft of this story which….was pretty lousy. The story lacked something fundamentally important, like some sort of romantic setting, or mood.

Then I remembered my own first time – which actually took place a few days prior to my 17th birthday – just after a thunderstorm. More than anything else – well almost – I remember the sound of the rain hitting the roof and pouring down the side of the house, and lighting flashes through the curtained windows. I remembered that Arnold's room has a big skylight and though about rain shadows and lighting flashes….and thus my mood-setting was established.

I rewrote it and shared it with a girlfriend I was talking to online at the time, who absolutely adored it and prompted me to post it at .

The results are the story you are about to read. I hope y'all enjoy it and please write a review. Thank You! ~DarthRoden76 (aka Carl)

Disclaimer: I do not own Hey Arnold! Craig Bartlett created the characters and Nickelodeon owns them.

This story is dedicated to the fond memory of Ashlee R. (1973-1998) who shared herself with me on a stormy summer night in 1993 – and a few other summer nights after that one. Rest in Peace my Strawberry Moon Girl.

On A Stormy Summer Night

By DarthRoden (a.k.a. Carl)

It was just after midnight and raining heavily outside, with the occasional flashes of lightning.

Arnold was laying on his bed, looking up at the skylight, listening to the soothing sound of the raindrops hitting the roof, as well as the occasional quiet rumbles of distant thunder from the early summer thunderstorm. The dim lighting outside from the city lights made the room just barely lit in an almost grayish quality from the skylight overhead. The rain splatters hitting the glass and running in small streams were shadowed in this lighting. The occasional flashes of lightning made the whole room brighten for a split second, and then return to the soothing grayish nighttime look.

The teenager was laying above his covers, dressed in his sleeping shorts and blue sleeveless T-shirt, his hands behind his head, bathed in the same gray, rain-flowing shadows that filled his room. A small window near his bed was open, letting in a small, slightly cool breeze that kept the summer heat at bay. Arnold was wide awake and staring through the skylight, his eyes wore a familiar, far away, half-lidded gaze that his best friend Gerald would have known all too well.

Arnold was deep in thought, his oblong brain replaying the recent events of the day.

Helga came over and was staying at the boarding house for the week. This was news that had made Arnold very happy.

Ever since the end of fifth grade, when Helga finally revealed her secret love for him, both of them had been dating.

At first, everyone who knew them had been shocked by this news.

Their best friends, Gerald and Phoebe, were the first they told, had been surprised to say the least. Phoebe had been surprised, but pleased about the whole thing. Gerald, on the other hand, was suspicious of Helga and worried that Arnold was being used, which almost resulted in Arnold not talking to Gerald, till Helga made them sit down and be friends again (at the threat of her fists). But after seeing them together for a few days, then a week, and seeing how they looked after each other, Gerald was finally convinced that Arnold was neither losing his mind, nor the victim of another practical joke by Helga. Besides, he realized that he could spend more time with Phoebe if Arnold and Helga stayed together. Gerald and Phoebe also became a couple, no surprise there, and all four of them became a social circle of close friends and hung out together from that time on.

Arnold and Helga's relationship had been the hottest gossip for a while at PS 118, started mainly by Rhonda and some Sixth grade girls and some other people who made bets on how long their relationship would last until it came falling through, as nearly everyone expected it would. But after six months, during which there were a couple of arguments and a few squabbles, but no break up, it became apparent to everyone that the "pigtailed bully" and the "football-head" were going to stay together. Everyone who had been skeptical at first began to see how much the two of them really liked each other, even Rhonda conceding at the end of the six months (the longest to hold out on a break up) that the two of them did make a decent, even cute couple together.

The thing that really confused people about Arnold and Helga's relationship was the fact that, despite the fact they were now a couple, neither of them had changed very much on the outside. Arnold was still the kind, sensitive boy he'd always been and Helga the short-tempered, scowling girl she'd always been . . . that is to someone who didn't really take a closer look at the two of them together.

Helga's angry scowls and sarcastic tongue-lashings were less severe and her insults became more like playful jokes . . . even her favorite insult for Arnold "football-head" was now little more than an amusing, even affectionate nickname that Arnold even smiled about now. Arnold, for his part, didn't get angry or ticked-off any more at Helga's behavior, and when he did reprimand her for going too far occasionally, usually there was a lot more caring and understanding to it. A lot more love could have been heard in his voice.

This brings us to tonight.

Helga's parents were going out of town to visit Olga, who was in London doing something else to win her even more awards and trophies. They were going to be gone a week and didn't have enough money to spend on three, and Helga, who wasn't too enthusiastic to visit her older sister (despite the little progress Arnold had managed on Olga's past visits to get them together and bury the hatchet) decided to stay behind. Of course, her parents insisted she couldn't stay home alone, so they made arrangements with Arnold's grandpa Phil for Helga to stay at the Sunset Arms Boarding House till they got back.

Both Arnold and Helga had been ecstatic about this, spending the whole week of the first month of summer vacation together.

The boarders had been teasing them all day, about living together, even temporarily, like they were already married, making the two of them blush whenever they heard such a comment. Arnold thought she looked cute when she blushed, and even when she threatened, almost playfully, to punch Mr. Kokoshka in the nose if he didn't let up. Helga had loved being there with Arnold and the boarders at supper that evening. Arnold's grandparents loved Helga as much as he did, and the feeling was mutual from Helga too.

Until two hours ago, both of them had been in the living room downstairs, sitting next to each other on the couch closely, watching a horror movie. Helga curled up into a ball next to him and Arnold had his arms around her, both of them cringing at the really scary parts of the movie, mainly as an excuse to hold each other more. When the movie was over it was ten P.M. and Arnold walked Helga to her room and they kissed goodnight for a really long time. Helga wasn't known for giving short kisses. Only a lack of oxygen from both of them had made them stop reluctantly.

Now Arnold just laid there on his bed looking up at the raindrops hitting the windows of the skylight and running down in streams to the sides, actually seeing the girl he loved in the shapes the water drops formed. He smiled to himself, remembering the taste of her lips and her tongue against his. He let out a deep, lovesick sigh.

The lightning flashed, lighting up the whole room and there was a soft, almost quiet knock on Arnold's door, that almost made Arnold jump, as his mind was quickly filled, for a split second, with the tales of ghosts in the boarding house that his grandpa told him.

He sat up and walked over to the door, his barefoot steps muffled by the soft, plush carpet on his floor. Slowly, he opened the door.

She stood there barefoot on his steps, wearing her bed clothes and looking at him, her large blue eyes were widened and nervous.

"Helga?" Arnold asked, blinking at her.

The last time Arnold had ever seen Helga in her bed clothes was when he discovered her and Phoebe on his fire escape several years ago "taking a walk." Of course, then she still had a plain, nine-year-old girls' body and the bedclothes did little to highlight her soft, feminine features.

What she was wearing now was a whole lot more flattering to the feminine curves of her thin, sleek body that time had developed and she'd grown into.

Helga was wearing a large, medium pink T-shirt that hugged the curves of her medium breasts and round hips, stopping just below the bottom of her panties. Below that her bare, pale white skinned legs looked slim and beautiful in the golden light of the single light bulb in the hall directly behind her. The T-shirt was thin enough for Arnold to see through the patches where the light highlighted her sleek and graceful body. Her long, blonde hair was loose from the pigtails she still stubbornly kept from childhood, as well as the pink ribbon she kept always on top of her head.

Arnold blinked again to take his thoughts back to the worried and nervous look on her plain, but beautiful face.

"Helga, are you okay? What is it?" He asked, stepping forward on the first step and putting an arm out to her, the concern clear in his voice.

"Arnold," Helga said, in a nervous, quiet voice. "I'm sorry if I woke you up, but I don't like being in a strange room by myself during a thunderstorm. It makes me really nervous. Well, maybe that scary movie we saw didn't help either," she added, smiling slightly, trying to liven the mood. "Um, do you mind if I stay with you, tonight, Arnold?" There was a plea in her large eyes.

Arnold blinked again. In the numerous times he'd had Helga over to his house since they began dating for the last six years, he'd never had her in his room alone past dark, let alone had her sleep over with him. A number of times, his adolescent mind would often have fantasies about what he would do in just such a situation, Helga, in her bed clothes wanting to stay the night in his room. In all of his fantasies, Arnold always wondered what he'd say if he found himself in a situation like this one, what the perfect line, or icebreaker would be, and how smooth he would make it come out.

In a voice an octave higher than his normal cool tone, he stuttered, "S-sure Helga." He turned to the door, his foot tripping over the top step and falling face-first into his door and on his floor. He rolled on his back and let out a nervous grin.

That was defiantly not it.

Helga looked down at him and chuckled slightly, still a bit nervous, but that little episode helped some. "Thanks, Arnold." But she couldn't help adding, with a slight girlish chuckle in her voice as she walked in and offered him a hand up, "Oh and you should really watch where you're walking, 'football-head.' What a klutz"

"Um, yeah," Arnold said, rubbing the back of his neck nervously. Then he shut the door to his room, hoping he didn't do anything else to possibly wake up the whole boarding house.

Helga stood there next to him in front of his door, looking down at him, rubbing her right forearm nervously. Even at fifteen, and the normal growth spurts, Helga was still a head taller than Arnold. He guessed he would always be a "Shortman" as his Grandpa still called him. There was an instant flash of lightning that made the whole room light up brightly for a moment and made Helga visibly nervous.

Arnold, looking at Helga in her bedclothes in his own room suddenly felt nervous butterflies deep down in his stomach. "Um, w-why don't you take my bed tonight, Helga. It's already warm." he felt his own cheeks redden at that statement, suddenly very glad the lighting in the room was as it was so Helga wouldn't see. "I'll just . . . um, I'll take the couch, Gerald always says that . . ."

He then felt Helga take his hand and he stopped talking abruptly, before he could say what Gerald always says about how comfortable Arnold's couch was on his sleepovers.

Helga looked at him, her large eyes seemed very nervous and she was visibly shaking. She gulped a moment, before she said, in a really quiet voice, "Arnold . . . I-I'd rather share your bed with you tonight." Her hand, which felt so warm and soft to Arnold, tightened around his gently. In the same quiet voice, she said to him, "I want to spend this night with you, football-head."

Arnold blinked, his eyes widening at that. Looking at her, he could actually see, despite the dim lighting from outside the windows, Helga turning bright red at what she'd said. He suddenly felt his heart beat faster at the thought of spending the night in bed with this girl before him.

The girl who confessed her love to him on that balcony six years ago . . . the girl who fell in love with him six years before that . . . the girl who had always been there for him, even when he didn't know she had been . . . the girl he had always loved deep down in his heart, even when he himself hadn't thought he had.

His childhood friend, his girlfriend, his soul mate . . . and soon, his lover.

His hand tightened gently around hers too and he asked her, quietly, "Are you sure, Helga? Do you really want this?"

Their eyes meet as their faces drew closer together and unwavering Helga said, in the same quiet voice, "Yes, I do, Arnold. I love you, and I want to be with you." Her large blue eyes watered slightly at the words she'd said from her heart, from the place of her deepest desires and feelings.

Arnold felt his own eyes go moist as he looked back with his own green, half-lidded orbs. Their faces were now only inches apart, practically nose to nose. "I want you too Helga," he whispered quietly, "and I love you too."

They kissed gently, their lips meeting warmly, their tongues gently mixing as they had numerous times before, but tonight this kiss was special. The first part of something that would change their lives forever, the end of their childhood innocence and the beginning of the future they would share together. When they pulled apart, Arnold put his other hand to Helga's face and gently wiped the lone tear on her face away with his thumb. She smiled at him lovingly.

Then they looked over at Arnold's still made bed and walked over to it, still holding hands gently. They both stopped and looked down, both of them suddenly very nervous. Not only was this the "first time" for both of them, as far as sex went, but they suddenly realized that neither of them had ever even been completely undressed in front of the other before.

"Um, how do you want to do this?" Helga asked him, still looking down.

"I don't know, this was your idea," Arnold answered, smiling slightly, and still looking at the bed.

Helga looked over and blushed as she smiled warmly at him. "Well, we could turn away and take our clothes off, then turn and . . ." she said, blushing.

Arnold turned to her and nodded, "Okay."

He turned away from her and began to slowly take his clothes off. He tossed them, one at a time, on a pile next to him. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Helga's clothes join his. Her pink nightshirt, her white, lace bra and a pair of white panties with small pink hearts on them. Arnold now stood there, completely nude, the small gently breeze from the storm blowing cool, inviting air on his warm body . . . and probably hers too, he thought briefly.

"I-I'm ready now," Arnold stuttered quietly, looking ahead of him at the wall. Behind him, he heard Helga mutter, quietly, "Me too." He took a deep breath and gulped nervously. Then he turned to look at the girl . . . no, the young woman before him.

Helga looked remarkably beautiful before him, her soft, light-toned bare skin shadowed by the raindrop shadows that played across everything. She was looking at him with a sort-of frightened and fascinated look on her face as her eyes darted, unblinking, over his body. Arnold knew he would remember this sight of her standing in front of him, wearing nothing but the pink bow in her soft, blonde hair, for the rest of his life and beyond.

"So, this is what an angel looks like," Arnold heard himself say quietly.

Helga's face broke out into a huge grin, her eyes narrowing slightly in that love struck look Arnold was now all too familiar with. "You look pretty heavenly yourself, football-head."

Arnold smiled as he took a step forward, focusing on both her beautiful eyes, and the pink bow on top of her head. Helga noticed his gaze and realized that she'd forgotten about her bow. She reached up to remove it and Arnold took her hands quickly and gently. "No, I . . . I want you to keep it on, please," he said remembering that it was that same pink bow that he first noticed about her fourteen years ago during another stormy day.

Helga smiled and nodded, and then she reached up and readjusted his ever-present blue cap to fit at the right angle of his head. Then they both lowered their arms and took each other's hands again.

"Now, under the covers?" Helga asked, again in that quiet, nervous voice.

Arnold nodded and turned to his bed and pulled back the comfortable blanket. He turned to Helga and said, smiling and gesturing, "Ladies first." Helga smiled and climbed into the bed slowly.

He looked at her as Helga lay there made herself comfortable, the covers just below her bare shoulders. Somehow, she looked even better covered up and smiling at him than she had standing in the pale light completely nude. Arnold smiled and then he turned to his desk.

"Hey, where are you going?" He heard Helga ask nervously.

Arnold went to his desk, where his computer and a picture of him and Helga sat, and opened one of the draws and pulled out a small brown paper bag. Opening it, he found a box of condoms that his grandpa bought him a few months ago. At the time, he'd been really embarrassed about it, but now he secretly thanked his grandpa for his foresight. In the morning, he would thank his grandpa personally. The old man had always been really sharp about certain things that Arnold himself had been too naive or dense about at first.

Helga saw what Arnold had and smiled to herself, despite her nervousness. That was her Arnold for her, always thoughtful of doing the right thing, especially for her.

He climbed into bed next to Helga, feeling for the first time her completely soft, nude body against his own. Arnold couldn't help but notice how warm her skin felt against his own. She curled up and stretched her entire thin form against him. They both put their arms around each other and lay next to each other, just holding each other and trembling nervously despite the warmth.

"Well . . . I guess this is it, huh?" Arnold said, the apprehension and nervousness clear in his voice.

"Um yeah, I-I guess so," Helga answered, looking back at him with the same emotions clear on her face.

"Are you afraid, Helga?" Arnold asked her seriously, rubbing her shoulder, feeling her cooling skin where the breeze from outside touched it

"Yeah, a little," she admitted, looking away a moment, up through the skylight at the raindrops, listening to the gentle sound of the distant thunder and drops hitting the glass.

"Um, Helga," Arnold said, also looking up at the skylight at the raindrops and listening to their melody. "If you decided to change your mind, or anything, I want you to know that I would never force you to do anything you were worried or nervous about. I never want to hurt you, Helga. I love you." He leaned over and kissed her cheek softly.

Helga looked back over at him and snuggling up against his embrace, answered, "I know Arnold. I trust you with all of my heart. And I'll always love you, too, football-head." She rolled over slowly on top of him and kissed him softly. He returned her kiss, his arms went around her waist.

Arnold looked up at her and said, smiling, "We've stopped shaking."

Helga blinked and smiled too, this time with a wicked gleam in her eyes. "You ready, football-head?"

He smiled widely and sat up, their arms wrapped tightly around each other (Arnold's around Helga's waist and Helga's around his neck), and then they lost themselves in the pleasure of their last deep kiss as virgins, the sound of the raindrops that continued to fall created a perfect melody for this defining moment.

Hundreds of small thoughts and memories went through Arnold's mind as he lost himself in making love for the first time with his only true partner . . . his soul mate and one true love. He could see their whole lives mapped out in Helga's lovely blue eyes, both of them meeting, their childhood together, their confessions of love, the first of what would be numerous times of lovemaking in their lives, the two of them married, raising children, many grandchildren afterwards, and finally, in a future too far away for him to imagine, the two of them, really old, holding hands on a porch together in a porch swing, watching the distant sunset, looking at each other with a look of love that needed no words to say . . . a love that had never diminished over time, but grown only stronger. Even after that, in the next life beyond this world, together forever throughout eternity in a place that love exists forever for soul mates.

Two hours later, it was still raining outside, the sound of the raindrops still as soothing as it had been the whole time, between the soft moans, and whispered words, and now during the after glow.

Arnold lay on his back, smiling a small, love-struck smile. Helga laying next to him on his right side, her thin body stretched against his like a cat, asleep in his embrace, her head against his right shoulder, a beautiful smile on her face, as if lost in a really beautiful dream. Arnold looked over at his sleeping lover smiling more and kissed her ever-so gently on the forehead. "Goodnight, Angel." She stirred softly and whispered in her sleep, "Oh, Arnold." He rubbed her back gently as he looked back up through the skylight at the storm clouds and the raindrops, listening to the gentle music of the early summer thunderstorm, his eyes again held that far away thoughtful gaze of a boy lost in his thought and deeply in love.

The End

Written and completed twenty-third of May, 2003, on a sunny spring afternoon in loving memory of a similar stormy summer night. -DarthRoden (a.k.a. Carl)