This is my first fanfic of any kind. The title of the story is taken from the Led Zeppelin song of the same name. My inspiration for the story's general structure and organization comes from all the great fanfics I've read so far. For the rest, my inspiration comes from Craig Bartlett. Thank you, Craig, for one of the greatest creative works of our time. Here's to Party Wagon, and the hope of the Jungle Movie being made.
Some introductory notes:
Although I'd like the story to stand on its own without a lengthy setup of this sort, it would be best to piece things together and fill in the plot holes before I begin. This story takes place with Arnold and the gang at P.S. 118 in the fifth grade, so needless to say the entire run of the TV show and both movies have already taken place.
I'm taking some liberties and assuming a couple of the major events of the Jungle Movie to suit my story. First, I'm going to assume that Arnold does not find his parents, because if he did, popular opinion seems to be that he would then move away from his neighborhood, thus killing my story. I'll leave it up to the reader to decide if his parents died or if they simply couldn't be found. Either way, Arnold still lives in the boarding house with his grandparents as before.
Also, I'm assuming that Arnold has not in any way answered Helga's confession from the first movie. This is something else everyone is expecting in the Jungle Movie, but as with his parents, if Arnold confessed his feelings for Helga already, I've got nothing to work with! Seriously, in any long-running story where some sort of crush or other huge secret is involved, why does the writer never resolve it until the very end?
Okay, that's all you need. If any other plot holes surface, oh well. There are plenty of plot holes in the series itself; if the writing staff can gloss over them, so can I!
Disclaimer: I do not own Hey Arnold! But if I did, I'd be putting it to better use than its current owners…
"Hey Arnold! Hey Arnold! Hey—"
Arnold slammed his hand down on the alarm clock. Wow, he thought, first day already. After what seemed like the longest school year ever, the summer had passed by in a blink of an eye. Arnold sat up and glanced across the room. The clock on his desk read 7:30. Didn't I set my alarm for 7:00? He looked at his potato clock, which read 7:00. Looks like I need to change that potato.
He got up and headed down the stairs from his room. A line for the shower had formed outside the bathroom. He didn't leave the house the day before, on account of some heavy rain, so he figured he didn't smell bad enough for a shower. He walked past the line of boarders on his way to the kitchen.
"Look, Kokashka, I'm next! You never leave the building all day! Why do you need to take a shower?"
"Because Susie doesn't let me back into the room without one. But how come you need the shower, you're just going to get dirty again at work while you're knocking down buildings!"
"Look, Oskar, at least I have a job; you don't! That means I've got dibs!"
"What am I supposed to do, just stand around in the hall until you get done with your pointless shower?"
"This is crazy! You two can argue out here, but I need to get cleaned up and down to the restaurant!"
"Hey, you stay out of this, Hyunh! The locked-out loser and I were both ahead of you!"
Arnold remembered seeing a place on 37th St. where they sold those "now serving" signs with the numbered tickets, like the one in Mr. Green's shop. Grandpa should go get one of those, he thought. He walked into the kitchen, where Grandma was in her rancher outfit.
"Howdy, Tex! What can I get for ya?"
"Just some cereal, Grandma. I need to get going." Grandpa walked in and sat down at the table.
"Where ya off to today, Short Man?"
"School? Already? But I thought you got out for the summer yesterday!"
"Grandpa, that was three months ago."
"Three months! That must mean I've been living the same day over and over again for the last three months! It's just like that Bill Murray movie!"
"Could be, although come to think of it, I don't remember seeing it."
"It was on TV earlier in the summer—"
"You're right, it was! So then today isn't June 15?"
"No, Grandpa, it's almost the end of August."
"Great Scott, the rent! Listen, Arnold, I gotta go collect three month's worth of rent from the boarders before today ends and another three months pass. You have fun at school, Short Man."
On the other side of the neighborhood, a front door opened and a young girl in a pink dress stepped out. She yelled back into the house, "I'm going to school now!"
"What? Oh, honey, do you need me to make your lunch for you?"
"I'm way ahead of you, Miriam!"
"Oh, okay then, just…"
With that, Miriam fell back asleep on the couch. Helga shut the door and stomped down the steps to the curb to wait for the bus. "Criminy, I thought I'd never get out of there! Three months with Miriam and the Beeper King, plus a month of the perfect daughter and her perfect boyfriend! Sheesh, I never thought I'd actually be glad to go back to school!"
She sat down on the bus stop bench and glanced at her watch. 7:40. Great, twenty minutes till the next bus gets here. At least I'm not back there in the nuthouse. Helga slouched down on the bench. She adjusted her bow. She stared across the street for a minute. A car went by. She adjusted her bow again. She glanced down at her watch again. 7:42. "I am so bored."
A moment later, something crossed her mind. She looked around and, with the coast clear, reached in her dress and pulled out a heart-shaped locket. "Oh, my love, three months of only viewing you from afar, only speaking to you for a brief moment here and there. My heart is aflutter at the thought of spending each day with you once again, being close enough to smell that wonderfully sweet hair, to stare at that perfectly shaped football head. Oh, Arnold, how many years will go by with us being apart, not together as destiny says it should be?
"This year, I must tell him, again. Only this time, I have to make sure he knows that I mean it, that I truly and deeply love him with every ounce of my young heart. And then, I'll listen as he reveals his true feelings for me. Yes, I will! It doesn't matter what the other kids might think of him or me, I will tell him! That is my solemn vow! That is my solemn vow, if I do nothing else this year, I'll…"
A raspy sound approached behind her. Air passed in and out the lungs with a loud wheeze, and the warm breath passed across the back of her neck. Helga slowly put her locket back in her dress, clenched her fists together, tried to ignore the sound for a moment, then spun around and grabbed the kid by the shirt.
"Brainy! Seriously, how long are you going to keep this up?"
"Uh…" he wheezed. "I don't know…"
She spun back around. Maybe yelling at him will work, she thought. He let out a breath. Guess not. With that, Ol' Betsy connected with her target, square in the nose as the bus rounded the corner.
"Man, Arnold, fifth grade! To tell you the truth, I didn't think we were gonna make it."
"I know what you mean, Gerald. It seemed like we were in fourth grade forever."
"Well, you know, we did a lot of stuff while we were in that class. I guess with all our adventures, it just seemed like we were there for years."
"'Our adventures?' You make it sound like we're living in some kind of fantasy world."
The bus pulled to a stop. The driver opened the door and greeted the boarding passenger. "Well, if it isn't Helga Pataki."
"Hey, Murray. How's life been treatin' ya?"
"I can't complain. Mona and I've been goin' out again for four months now, I think we might get reengaged here soon."
"You don't say? That sounds great, but if you'll excuse me, I've got some bullying to catch up on."
"Yeah? Well just try and keep it down, will ya? I don't want to have to throw you kids off the bus on the first day."
Helga began the walk down the bus aisle toward the back, passing her classmates as she went.
"Helga, how do you like my new shoes? I know, they were only the second most expensive shoes in the store, but I was feeling a bit thrifty."
"Nice of you to save yourself a few bucks, Princess Lloyd."
"Hey, Hel-ga! You're still wearing that stupid pink bow? She thinks she's still in preschool, ah hah hah!"
"At your age, Pink Boy, shouldn't you be in like, high school? And that's a real nice zit on your forehead, Harold."
"Hey! It's bad enough I'm fat and four years behind!"
She arrived at the back of the bus and sat down next to Phoebe. "Hello, Helga. How was your summer? Helga?"
"Huh? Oh, long and tiring, can't wait to get back, you?"
Phoebe began talking about her summer, but Helga was completely zoned out of the conversation. Her eyes were locked on the oblong-shaped head in front of her. How does he keep the length of his hair the same all the time? It never looks too long or too short. He must get it trimmed every week. And how does that hat stay right there all day, never once needing adjusting? Oh, my love, how I'd love to bury my face in your beautiful hair, to wander along with my nose enjoying the medley of fragrances…
She popped out of her daydream. Arnold was facing her from his seat.
"Hey, what's the big idea, Arnoldo?"
"We're at school, Helga. Everyone's off the bus already."
She glanced past Arnold at the empty seats and Murray watching them in his mirror. "Let's go kids! I'm taking Mona out for breakfast!"
They both stood to leave the bus, Helga shoving Arnold aside as she marched up the aisle. They stepped off the bus and walked up the steps of the school.
"So, Helga, how was your summer?"
"Not that it's any of your business, geek bait, but I spent the summer with the ever-so perfect threesome of Big Bob, Miriam and Mary Sunshine."
"That sounds nice."
"Yeah, one big, happy family." She trailed her words off as she walked through the doors. Arnold stopped inside the door as she walked away, staring at her. He couldn't help but feel sorry for her.
It feels good to get an idea rolling. OK, I'm ready to hear what everyone thinks. Constructive criticism is very appreciated. I'm going to try to be consistent and update the same time every week; expect a new chapter every Tuesday. Thanks for reading.