Reposted with grammar edits on 1/1/2010


Uh, hi again guys :) Okay, first let me say that I am very sorry that the next update to "Tutoring Arnold" has been taking so long. I didn't get to finish it over my Thanksgiving Break, and then I've had major papers due and finals for the past three weeks, so I kind of had to put the story on the 'back burner' if you know what I mean. I have been working on it here and there though, and I've gotten past a serious amount of writer's block (FINALLY), so I'm going to try and get the next chapter up before Christmas ;) Now, as for this story; I was procrastinating from studying by listening to some music a couple of days ago, and (long story short) I decided to try my hand at a song fic. This story is to "Closing Time" by Semi-Sonic, and takes place right after the events of the episode "April Fool's Day." I put a key below that explains how I designated between text that's just spoken, text that's sung, etc. I hope you guys enjoy this, and as always please R & R! A X H Forever!!!

Basically, all of the text that's underlined is the song lyrics. Text that's underlined and in italics is the song playing and text that's underlined and in double quotes is a character singing along with the song. Turn the music on when it says [TURN MUSIC ON], stop the music when it says [STOP MUSIC FOR NOW] and the song should be over when it says [SONG ENDS].

Disclaimer: As always, "Hey Arnold!" belongs to Viacom (Azure129 glares angrily at Viacom), Nickelodeon, and of course CB (though the rights to the show would make an awesome Christmas gift Mr. Bartlett [winks.) And the song "Closing Time" belongs to the band Semi-Sonic.

Closing Time (a song fic)

In the middle of an abandoned dance floor, still wearing her damp grey dress and bow, stood a scowling Helga G. Pataki mopping up yet another puddle of chlorine water. Grumbling, she dipped the mop head back into a nearby bucket of cleaning solution, wrung it out, and then attacked the next area of pool spillage.

Helga sighed to herself. 'Crimeny aren't there child labor laws against things like this?! I mean I'm only nine years old for Pete's sake! Stupid Wartz—ending the dance early at 10 instead of 12 and making me and Arnold and Gerald stay and clean up until our parents got here—and then ordering us to come in early tomorrow to 'finish up'…'

Helga began to scrub harder, becoming angrier and angrier as her thoughts began to build. 'And stupid Bob and Miriam for going to that beeper convention tonight—and even stupider OLGA for not coming to get me even though she was supposed to be home today from college. Pfft…probably decided to stay an extra week in Alaska or something even though she's on vacation just to prove how 'self-sacrificing' she is—idiot. And stupid Gerald for going home with his mom and stupid Phoebe for getting a ride with him, and most of all stupid Arnold for going home with his Grandpa and leaving me behind just like everybody else. It figures I'm the one who gets stuck doing all the work—and I didn't even have anything to DO with opening up the pool in the middle of the dance (I'll get tall-hair boy for that). Just 'cause I kind of went overboard with the pranks today and provoked him and Arnold doesn't mean I should have to take all the blame. I mean, what did I get out of tonight?! NOTHING—NOT A THING!!!'

Helga sighed to herself. After a moment though, her face began to relax as a response to this assertion came involuntarily to her mind. 'Well…maybe not 'nothing'…' Instantly, Helga's thoughts went back to the events of the night, and her very first dance with Arnold…

Helga couldn't help but feel a surge of warmth in her heart that soon coursed throughout her entire body as she recalled how close he had held her…the way he had spun her…how close his face had gotten to hers before he'd dropped her into the pool…close enough even to kiss

Lost in her thoughts, Helga almost slipped on the area she was mopping, only to snap back to reality as she regained her balance. With a small smile she couldn't help but say to herself, "Well…maybe it hasn't been 'such' a bad night," her eyes glanced up at the intercom. [TURN MUSIC ON] "At least they left the music on for me; though some of this stuff is kind of boring. " Helga sighed at the clock. 'Almost midnight—this should be the last track, and then I can finally clean in peace…' she scanned the still-destroyed gym around her and groaned, "UGH, FORTHE REST OF THE NIGHT!"

Closing time. Open all the doors and let you out into the world. Closing time. Turn all of the lights on over every boy and every girl. Closing time. One last call for alcohol so finish your whiskey or beer.

'Wow, who put that on the playlist?' Helga smirked.

Closing time.

"You don't have to go home but you can't stay here…" Helga sang along.

I know who I want to take me home. I know who I want to take me home.

"I know who I want to take me home. Take me home…" Helga thought of Arnold and smiled.

Closing time. Time for you to go out to the places you will be from.

Helga tossed some trash aside.

Closing time. This room won't be open 'til your brothers or your sisters come…

"I'd be nice if my 'sister' had actually 'come'…"

So gather up your jackets. Move it to the exits. I hope you have found a friend….

"Yeah, a friend who ditched me for tall-hair boy…"

Closing time

"Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end…yeah RIGHT!"

I know who I want to take me home.

Helga dropped the mop.

I know who I want to take me home.

She sat down.

I know who I want to take me home.

"Take me home…" Helga sighed and rested her head on her hand, exhausted and alone. Suddenly though a small object across the table caught her eye. "What's that…"?


Meanwhile, Arnold closed the door to his still running Packard and called back to the driver as he reentered P.S. 118 for the second time that night. "I'll be right back Grandpa, I'm pretty sure I left my hat on one of the tables to dry…"

"Okay, Shortman," Phil called back to his Grandson, "Just don't fall into any more booby-traps—Remember, it's still April Fool's Day!" He chuckled to himself, still amused by the prank that had caused his Grandson and the entire fourth grade to end up floating in a pool at their big dance.

Arnold didn't respond, too intent on racing to the gymnasium in hopes of finding his hat just in case some random late night custodian accidently threw away his most prized possession. 'I can't lose my hat again…last time that happened it felt like a part of me was…gone! If it hadn't been for Helga…' The thought of his arch-nemesis and most recent prank-war victim stopped Arnold in his tracks. He now stood at the far end of a hallway, facing the closed doors of the gym.

Instantly, he felt a very strange feeling come over him—at first the football headed fourth grader thought it was a pang of guilt, but then he realized that it was slightly different from the sensation he had experienced that morning when he'd thought that he had permanently blinded Helga. What he felt now was more like a small, light twist in his stomach—a strange but somehow not-so-bad spark of warmth attempting to radiate throughout the rest of his body…He thought back to earlier that night as he began to walk down the hallway, and couldn't help but smile to himself at just how out of hand his and Helga's prank-war had gotten.

'I hope Helga's not too upset—I wasn't trying to hurt her or anything…actually, I thought that Tango was kind of fun…' Arnold thought back to the dramatic dance he had done with Helga only a couple of hours ago and began blushing as he realized how intense it had gotten. He remembered how his blood had raced in anticipation of finally getting one up on her with the pool…how completely thrown and nervous she'd seemed as he held her close and spun her around…he was just surprised that she actually cared enough about him to really react that way.

Helga G. Pataki had only confessed her love to Arnold about a week ago, and although she'd tried to convince him that it had all been in the 'heat of the moment', he hadn't been able to help thinking about what it might mean if she actually DID care about him like that…and how much more sense things in his life seemed to make if her confession was true. The way she treated him around others, the occasional, random, nice things she did for him….and now tonight? Of course she must (he swallowed hard)…'love'…him—why else would she react as flustered as she did to his (admittedly somewhat 'flirtatious') efforts to distract her? Arnold sighed as he finally reached the gym doors, his feeling of unusual warmth changing over to undeniable guilt as he thought about how he had used her feelings—her deepest secret—to his advantage, just to pull a stupid prank.

"Maybe I should go to her house tomorrow morning—before we come here and finish cleaning up. I know she started this whole thing, but I should have learned from the first time I tried to get back at her and nearly blinded her that I shouldn't stoop to her level. She deserves an apology…"

Settled on this course of action, Arnold focused his thoughts back on the task at hand (finding his hat) and pushed open the gym door, the music inside finally meeting his ears. [TURN MUSIC ON] 'Hmm…I guess they forgot to turn the music off. Hey, I know this song…'

He glanced around. 'I think I put it on the table near the stage.' Arnold jogged into the room and toward his new destination, glancing at the other now-empty tables to make sure that somehow his hat wasn't on one of them instead.

Suddenly, he stopped short, his eyes widening as they focused on the table he had been trying to reach…and the lone, familiar girl now sitting there next to an idle mop.


She didn't move—Helga G. Pataki, her back to her beloved, thought for a moment that she had heard her name, but figured that it was just the sound of the music coupled with how much she missed being with her sweet, wonderful…

Closing Time. Time for you to go out to the places you will be from…

"Helga?" He touched her shoulder.

Helga jumped, "Arnold?!"

I know who I want to take me home.

Arnold sat down.

I know who I want to take me home.

Helga scowled.

I know who I want to take me home. Take me home…

"What Football Head?"

I know who I want to take me home.

"What are you doing here?"

I know who I want to take me home.

"Mopping, Sherlock—DOI!"

I know who I want to take me home. Take me home…

Arnold looked concerned. "The dance is over. Aren't you're parents coming t—"

"NO!" Helga crossed her arms defensively, then added, "They're…away…and so is Olga."

Silence—then Arnold spoke up. "You…can come home with me if you want to Helga."

Helga's heart stopped.

Closing time. Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.


She looked at her beloved, not believing what she was hearing. 'He wants me to come to his house—He's INVITING me to come to his house! Oh my Darling of Dance, my King of Courtship, my Troubadour of Tango—Okay Helga old girl, play it cool. I mean, what if this is all some clever last minute trick to get you back for pulling him into the pool with you: I say 'yes', he leads me outside, then every guy in our grade ambushes me with shaving cream and silly string.

She eyed him suspiciously. "Why do you care, Arnold-o? Maybe I'm perfectly fine right where I am—Maybe I'll just stay here all night! Hmpf!" She leaned back in her seat, challenging him to come up with a reason that would convince her of his sincerity.

Arnold sat down beside her. He couldn't help but smile and shake his head. "Helga, I just thought you might like to spend the night at a friend's house. If you want though I guess I could have my Grandpa drop you off at your place instead—I mean if you don't mind being alone for the rest of the evening."

Helga flashed him a glare. "I'm not scared or anything if that's what you're thinking Football Head."

Arnold averted his gaze downward, still grinning. "I just meant that it's kind of lonely to sleep somewhere all by yourself. I know that I've gotten so used to sleeping in a place with lots of people like the Boarding House that I don't think I could ever spend a night all alone."

Arnold waited a second or two, not wanting to push Helga. He added one more thing though as he saw that her scowl wasn't budging. "You could have your own room, of course." Arnold couldn't help but blush as he was speaking. "I mean, whenever Gerald or any of the guys stay over they usually just sleep on my couch bed. But if you want, we have a lot of vacant rooms. I'm sure Grandpa could open one up and we could put some fresh bedding in…"

Helga cut him off, trying to sound casual. "No, no…uh…a couch bed in your room sounds fine. Uh…"

Helga searched for something to say that would make her desire to spend time alone with Arnold in his room a little less obvious. "…Just so long as none of tall hair boy's cooties are there!"

Arnold raised an eyebrow at his former date of the evening. "I thought girls were the ones who were supposed to have cooties…"

Helga cut him off, not liking being corrected. "Oh, whatever, Arnold-o!"

Arnold stood up, smiling. "So, what do you say, Helga?"

He held out his hand to help her stand up, which Helga found very tempting. However, she had to ask one last question. She cocked an eye at him. "And how do I know that this isn't some kind of retaliation prank? That you don't have five guys outside waiting to ambush me or something—Throw me in the city lake? String me from the flag pole? Drive me out to Hawk Mountain blindfolded, spin me around three times, and leave me to find my way back home?"

Arnold was almost ready to get angry at Helga upon hearing her initial accusation that his offer was part of some kind of last minute April Fool's prank. But as she continued to spout her fantasies about what his trick to top her might be, he couldn't help but become more and more amused. And as she finished her rant, rather than getting upset, Arnold simply looked at her and started laughing warmly (though he tried to cover his mouth with his hand so as not to seem too rude.)

Helga growled and shot up out of her seat. "What's so funny Football Head?!"

After a few more chuckles Arnold managed to control his laughter. "Helga…where did you come up with those things?"

"Hey," she put a hand on one of her hips, "it could happen!"

"Helga," Arnold shook his head and placed a hand on her shoulder, "To start, you're still soaking wet from the pool I threw you in today, so tossing you in a lake seems kind of pointless…"

"So!" Helga continued scowling, refusing to look him in the eye.

" Second," Arnold continued, "the only people I know who are strong enough to string a nine year old up on a flag pole are Wolfgang and Edmond, and if I went to either of them they'd string me up right along with you…"

"True…" Helga's face was softening a bit. She was starting to realize just how ridiculous she had sounded.

"And third—Helga we're TEN YEARS OLD! None of us can drive! Well," Arnold put his other hand to his chin and glanced upward in thought as he recalled his recent harrowing experience of saving his neighborhood, "except maybe Gerald—but I wouldn't get on another bus with him at the wheel for anything!"

Helga couldn't help it, she gave a laugh and smiled at the memory of Gerald Johansson driving a city bus clear across town at full speed with her and Arnold aboard it. "I guess I can't argue with you there, Arnold-o."

Happy that he had finally changed Helga's mood, Arnold's face took on a half-lidded gaze and he removed his hand from her shoulder.

Helga looked at him sheepishly, rubbing the back of her neck. "Uh, sorry for all of the 'wild accusations' Arnold…I think being here alone is starting to get to me. I guess it would be better if I went to your house tonight…"

She glanced away from him, her cheeks pinkening slightly, as she awaited Arnold's response to the suggestion to see if the offer was still good.

Arnold's face brightened. "That's great, Helga. Come on, let's go—my Grandpa's got the car running out front!"

Arnold began to head toward the door, when Helga called to him from the table. "Hey, Arnold!"

He turned back to her, an eyebrow raised.

"Why did you come back here anyway?"

Arnold's eyes suddenly widened as he remembered his purpose behind returning to the gym in the first place. "Oh, that's right! I think I left my hat at that table to dry while we were cleaning up, and I forgot to take it with me when my Grandpa came." Arnold walked over to the table, moving aside used cups and plates in search of his small blue cap, "Did you see it anywhere Helga?" He turned to her.

Helga blushed darkly, swallowed hard, and reluctantly pulled something out of the pocket of her dress. "Um...I found it while I was sitting there and I was just um…just keeping it…I MEAN keeping it warm… I MEAN, keeping it for you…yeah, for you until tomorrow…" She put it on the table and cast her eyes downward, rubbing her left arm with her right in discomfort.

Arnold felt himself blush at the awkward moment; 'I guess this whole 'Helga loving me' thing is going to take some getting used to. I don't think I should push her on it though—if she wants to talk about anything with me she will, otherwise it's probably better if I act like nothing's different.'

Arnold gave her a sincere, warm, smile. "Thanks Helga." He reached for his cap, but hesitated before picking it up. He turned his gaze back to her and asked in a casual voice, "Actually, is there anyway you could keep it in your pocket for me for a little while…I mean, until I get a chance to really wash it at my house. I don't want to lose it again…and my hair's still too wet to wear it…"

Helga blinked twice. "Um…su—sure, Arnold…" She smiled almost gratefully, and put the cap back in her dress.

Arnold couldn't help gazing at her during this whole episode—it was just so cute the way she'd fumbled for an excuse about why she had his hat…how she'd blushed as she gave it back to him…how truly happy she seemed to be about being allowed to hold on to it for just a little longer… 'Well, maybe it isn't so bad to have 'some' things be different…'

"Uh, Arnold? Arnold?"

Suddenly, Arnold realized that he had been staring at Helga, and instantly came back to reality. He shook his head to clear it and swallowed hard, unsure of what had just come over him…

"Are you okay?" Helga got close to him and looked into his face as though checking for signs actual illness.

Arnold blushed. "Oh, sorry Helga. I think I'm just tired." He cleared his throat, "Well, come on, let's go."

As they approached the gym door, Helga paused for a moment. "Hey…the music stopped."

Arnold suddenly realized as well that the song in the air was gone. "Hmm…that must have been the last dance. I guess we were talking so much, we didn't notice…"

"Yeah…I guess so…" Helga looked downward and began to smile happily to herself, as though lost in a dream. Rather than interrupt whatever thought she was having though, Arnold merely waited a moment for her to come back to reality.

After a second, she looked up at Arnold and her eyes suddenly widened. "Oh um…well, uh…let's go Football Head. Time's a' wasting and I'm beat! Thanks to Wartz and his crazy demands—'clean up the gym', sheesh we're only TEN YEARS OLD!" Instantly, good old take-charge Helga was back in action again.

Arnold smiled and held the door open for her (despite her insistence that he didn't have to) as they finally exited the gym. Before they continued down the hall though, Helga stopped him one last time "Oh, and um, Arnold…?"

"Yes Helga?"


Dramatically, Arnold bowed and said in a dapper voice. "My pleasure m'lady. May I escort you to your carriage now?"

Helga tried to sound annoyed but couldn't control the grin spreading across her face. "Oh, just shut up and walk me outside already, Football Head, before I dunk you in the pool again while there's still a few minutes left in April Fool's day."

Arnold chuckled and stood up, leading the way.

And with that both fourth graders headed to the warm, running Packard, parked outside under the starry spring night.


Well, that's all! I hope you guys had as much fun reading it as I did writing it, and that I got the timing right and everything. If everyone thinks it came out well, I think I'll start a series of these—it's fun doing one shots:) Anyway, Happy Holidays to everyone (Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanza, Winter Solstice, and anything else I forgot), and as always Happy Reading!

AXH Forever!!!