Reposted with grammar updates on 1/3/2010.


A/N:

Hello everyone, my name is Azure129! I used to do some HA! fanfic writing way back when under a couple of different pen names. Anyway, I figured I'd try my hand at doing fanfiction again :) This is just a small story set right at the end of the episode 'Arnold and Lila' (for anyone who hasn't seen it in a while, I'm putting a small recap below this.) I was watching it and thought it might be interesting to see what happened on Arnold and Helga's walk home together at the end. Definite ArnoldXHelga! K, that's about it--please R&R and give suggestions!! (First chapter will be the first half of the walk through Helga's perspective, and the second chapter will be the second half of the walk through Arnold's perspective.)

Arnold & Lila recap:

Helga writes 'Arnold loves Helga' on a wall after seeing all the guys in class fawning over Lila. She then panics and changes her name on the wall to 'Lila', then looks on in misery as Arnold comes to actually 'like like' Lila who rejects him in the end. Helga, hiding in a tree, sees Lila dump Arnold in the park. She approaches Arnold and starts to taunt him a bit, but then really comforts him when she sees how hurt he is. As the sun sets, Arnold asks Helga if he can walk her home.

Disclaimer: Trust me, if I owned HA! The Jungle Movie would have come out two years ago, The Pataki's would be in at least its third season, and I probably would have asked CB to make a 6th season of the original HA! (because frankly, if Helga's antics were crazy before Arnold knew, we can only imagine what she might have done post-movie, lol).

A Walk to…Imagine?

Chapter 1:

Helga


"You going home?"

"Yeah, I guess so."

"Could I maybe walk with you?"

Could he maybe walk with me? Okay, Helga old girl, just stay calm and above all else don't reveal your secret. He already almost got to you when he started talking about 'like liking' Lila and asked if you had ever felt 'that way' about anyone. Sheesh, could I have possibly stuttered more when I answered? It's a good thing old Football Head is so dense. All right, no one else is around—you can do this, you can do this!

"We'll…uh…sure Arnold." I feel myself smiling a little too much and decide to close with a more 'Helga G. Pataki, school bully' comment. "I mean…whatever floats your boat, Football Head."

That sad face of his seems to soften for a moment and I wonder if I've given away too much. After all, first comforting him and then agreeing to let him walk me home so easily probably seem a little out of character for me: I need to keep my guard up if I'm going to do this.

We head along the dirt path leading to the park exit. I want to say something to make him feel better, something meaningful and moral like he would say to a friend in the same situation. Most of all, though, I want to tell him that it doesn't matter that Lila doesn't love him because there's someone right here who's absolutely crazy about him—someone who would do anything for him and who cannot feel any happiness while he feels so destroyed inside. Oh, why did I erase my name from that wall—why can't I just say it! I turn my head to the right for a moment to get a better view of him, and notice that the frown has returned to his sweet face. Even though I'm happy Lila didn't return his feelings I don't think I'll ever be able to forgive her for bringing such sadness to my sweet little Football Head. Oh, Arnold—idol of my nine year old heart, inspiration of my soul, muse of my existence…

"Helga, Helga, did you hear me?"

"Huh?! What?"

"I just wanted to know if you were okay from falling out of the tree back there?"

"No, Arnold, I have a broken leg and two fractured ribs. Crimeny, do you think I'd be walking with you if I wasn't 'okay'?! Sheesh, Football Head!" I scowl, and watch his eyes become downcast and his frown deepen as he's shut down by yet another girl today.

Fabulous, Helga, just great! He'll definitely open up to you now! I've gotta stop being so defensive. Oh, my sweet, Arnold; so hurt, yet still so concerned for the welfare of others, even me! Oh, my love—No, stop it, Helga, FOCUS! That's it; no more monologues, internal or otherwise, until I'm at home safely in front of my shrine. I can't risk having to give any more sarcastic outbursts to cover them up.

We finally exit the park and make a left onto the empty sidewalk. The sun is setting and I smile at our two long shadows so close together upon the gray cement. Nervously, I swallow hard, relax my face, and add before I can stop myself, "But, um, thanks for asking."

I stop for a second, still too nervous to look up at him. Arnold goes a few steps ahead of me and then pauses once what I've said finally processes. He turns around and gives me a half smile, and I feel my eyes go wide and my heart pound wildly against the small gold locket in the front pocket of my jumper. His face right now looks exactly the same as the picture of him I have in that locket; the one I've stared adoringly at for so much of my young girlhood. Why does he keep looking at me like that?! Quick Helga, say something, anything to make him stop staring at you! I'll melt if he doesn't stop!

Immediately, I return to my more familiar scowl. "Hey, take a picture, buddy, it'll last longer!" All right, Helga, that was good—nothing biting, just a little nudge to remind him who's in charge here.

Arnold shakes his head like he's just been interrupted from some kind of daydream and his face finally loses that adorable half-lidded gaze, though I'm happy to see a frown doesn't return to take its place. "Sorry, Helga."

"I mean, sheesh, Arnoldo, I said you could walk home with me, I didn't say you could get all mushy!" I cross my arms in front of my chest, casually making sure to brush one of my forearms against the locket to confirm that it's still safely hidden away. Great, Helga, you just had to open your big mouth and get the last word in, didn't you!

I start walking again and he follows. "Whatever you say, Helga." He sighs, and I decide to make another effort at being a little less abrasive. After all, he needs someone right now. Oh, my beloved; always there for others and now fate has seen fit to allow me to be here for you in your time of need. And, even though your thoughts are consumed by that undeserving princess 'Lila', perhaps (of course without revealing my deepest darkest secret) I can at least give you a shoulder to cry on and in the process show a softer, gentler side of myself.

"So…um, are you sure you're going to be okay, Arnold…I mean, from back there?" I ask, again allowing my face to soften.

He looks downward again, and hesitates before speaking. "You know, I just can't believe it's really over. I mean, if I'd figured out how I felt about her a day earlier we'd probably we sitting in Slausen's right now sharing an ice cream soda and I'd be laughing at one of those funny short stories of hers and she'd be twirling one of her red pig tails in her delicate white fingers, and—OW!!! HEY!"

Arnold rubs the back of his head where I've just slapped him and looks at me accusingly. "Sorry, uh, you had a mosquito on your neck." Hey, if I'm not allowed to monologue then neither is Arnold, and frankly I didn't decide to walk with him just so I could hear about how great Lila is. Besides, I had to shut him up somehow; dwelling on her isn't going to make accepting the fact that she only likes him instead of 'likes him likes him' any easier.

He seems to buy my excuse and prepares to continue. "Well, like I was saying, she'd be—"

"Oh, what's so great about Lila, anyway?!" I snap. Oh Crimeny, tell me I didn't just say that out loud. I did, didn't I? I sigh mentally, realizing that instead of getting his mind off of Lila I've just given him an open invitation to go on and on about everything that makes Ms. Perfect so freakin' perfect. At least Arnold's far too dense to see that the topic of Lila bothers me a little too much considering the fact that I'm supposed to 'hate' him and everything.

"Well…" (here we go; that thoughtful look in his eyes as he begins the laundry list of all her qualities), "she's nice, and funny, and we have a great time together, and I feel like I could talk to her about anything. We would go to the movies with each other, and for walks…" He sighs and that poor little frown returns. I realize I need to stop this again, and not with a sarcastic outburst or a stiff smack back to reality but rather with a genuinely comforting observation. Here it goes…

"Yeah, yeah, 'fascinating,' Football Head. So, basically your point is that you can stand to spend time with her?" Eh, close enough.

"Well, I guess—"

"And of course you've never spent a weekend hanging out and having a good time with any of our other 'brilliant' classmates…?" I raise an eyebrow, cross my arms in front of my chest and even give him a half smile knowing that I've got him now; no one out-argues Helga G. Pataki.

He thinks for a moment before answering. "Well, maybe with Gerald or Stinky or the other guys in our class…" (Perfect! Perhaps he's starting to see Lila as more of a casual acquaintance than an object of love, a friend rather than a girlfriend! Ah, I knew my beloved would see past that pathetically cheery veneer of hers if only pushed in the right direction), "but I've never had such a good time alone with a girl."

WHY THAT LITTLE—?! I stop dead, stare right into his eyes and scowl darkly. "Well, I'm glad to know that you're having such an awful time with me in comparison. "

He stops too and looks at me wide eyed, with a slight blush to his cheeks. "Oh, I didn't mea—Helga I'm sorry—"

"Or maybe you just meant that you don't really consider me a 'girl'? Well, which is it head-boy? I'd like to know exactly why I'm pounding you before I strike the first blow!?" I clench my fists. Okay, maybe I'm going a little overboard here but, true love or not, he's really starting to tick me off!

Arnold clears his throat. "I just meant," he rubs his right arm with his left in embarrassment, and his cheeks have now turned completely red, "time alone with a girl 'romantically'."

Oh yeah, that makes me feel so much better. First he spends the last two days practically glued to little miss sunshine, then he pledges his heart to her right in front of me, then he more or less tells me that I'm either horrible to be with or the most unfeminine girl he's ever met, and now to top it all off he subtly confirms that he has never had a romantic thought about me in his entire life. That's right Arnold, just twist the knife a little more.

Still, I realize with a mental sigh, I guess there's no way that he could know that his affections for another would hurt me so much, so I back down a little. "Hmph, yeah, whatever, Football Head."

I start walking again and he quickly follows. I keep scowling and there's an awkward silence for a few moments. Out of the corner of my eye I glance at him to see what he's doing and my heart almost stops as our eyes meet. Why is he looking at me again? And why does he seem so…so …sad? Is he thinking about her again? I quickly turn my face back so that I'm staring straight ahead, now wide-eyed as I try to handle the fact that my true love is watching me, looking to me for comfort, at this very moment. Maybe I should lead the conversation back to making him feel better about this whole Lila thing…

"I am sorry Helga." I tense up but keep walking as he continues on in that quiet and sincere voice of his. "I really am having a good time talking with you. It's nice to have someone give me advice for a change. I mean, besides 'never eat raspberries.'"

I know he's talking about his Grandpa, but I also remember that I'm probably not supposed to know that he's talking about his Grandpa (oh, Arnold, if only you knew how many times I've been in the midst of your crazy yet lovable household), and I raise an eyebrow questioningly. I can't help also letting a small half smile come to my face. He cares about how I feel! He really, truly, honestly cares! I just want to hug him for being such a sweet, wonderful, kind little love god!

Arnold shakes his head and smiles back at me. "Don't ask."

We walk in a content silence for a few more minutes as the sunset deepens, and I continue smiling slightly at the knowledge that the hardest part of this whole experience is finally over. We've confronted the topic of Lila, I've cheered Arnold up a bit, and, what's best, I've managed to act like a decent person to him (for the most part) without blowing my secret. Yup, nothing can go wrong now!

"Helga, are you sure you've never 'liked' anybody before?"

"WHAT?!" I twirl around and directly face him with my eyes wide. Maybe not the most inconspicuous reaction but, in all fairness, he's really caught me off guard!

Now he stops too and I recognize a new look on his face; it's confusion—like he's searching for something… or like he's just figured something out!? Crimeny, Helga old girl, don't blow your cover! Oh, great, he's smiling again…oh be still my throbbing young heart!

"It just seems like you know a lot about these things…" That half lidded gaze is back; oh, for Pete's sake! We start walking again and he faces forward. "You know, Helga, you don't have to tell me if you don't want to but, well, I just wanted to let you know that if you ever want to talk to anyone about anything you can always come to me."

Great, now it's my turn to speak. Okay, Helga, steady now. Choose your next words very carefully. You've obviously already given away too much, but that doesn't mean you can pull back completely now either. After all, you're only half way home and he still needs you. Whatever you do just DON'T BLOW YOUR SECRET!

"Well, I…um…I…" I love you, Arnold. Oh yeah, like I'm going to say that!


A/N:

All right, that's all for Chapter 1! Again, please R&R (and give suggestions for Chapter 2), and happy reading to all of my fellow HA! fans :)