Author's Note: Hello, again. It's been a little over a year since my last Hey Arnold fic (The Sound of Your Voice), which is a little hard to believe. It just doesn't feel like it's been that long, you know? But anyway, here is a new one! Enjoy.
Disclaimer: I'm sure you all already know that I do not own Hey Arnold, so. . .yeah.
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"I'm With You"
(Song by Avril Lavigne)
Helga kicked a pebble off the bridge and watched it as it fell into the water with a plop.
She sighed as she leaned forward, placing her left arm on the bridge. She let her right arm dangle over the edge and rested her head on her left arm and watched as the ripples moved out, expanding and then gradually fading.
The wind blew through the trees and she heard the rustle of the leaves.
Helga shivered when she felt the cold, cruel wind on her face. She wrapped her arms around her body, regretting this outing a little bit. She was alone and cold and in the dark.
Its not a complete loss, she reminded herself. Olga was home and Bob and Miriam were doing what they do best: lavishing their eldest daughter with all the love they had in their "big" hearts, leaving Helga to her own devices. . .again. Apparently, their hearts just were not big enough for her. Just once Helga wished they gave her half the affection they gave Olga.
For a moment she wondered if they were even looking for her.
There was a short pause in her thoughts and then she snorted. "Fat chance," she said as though she were talking to someone other than herself.
She stared out into the water, enjoying how the portrait of the moon softly glistened on the water's surface and how the gentle glow seemed to tenderly illuminate everything it touched.
Helga could feel her eyes getting heavy and then the listlessness of sleep over came her senses. Her eyes finally closed as sleep gently tugged her into a sweet dream.
In seconds she could see Arnold. He smiled as he held out his hand.
Helga, he said as she slipped her hand through his.
And then suddenly she could feel her body sway as though she were a flower in the cool spring breeze.
Helga, he called again. Come with me, he said as he led her away.
All she managed was a soft "Hmm."
And then she could feel her feet lift up off the ground as though she was suddenly whisked off into the air and then she was on a cloud. She found it strange that she felt warm all over. She would have thought that the cloud would have been cold and wet, but it was soft and it gave off a warmth that Helga never even knew existed.
She rested her head on the soft, pillowy fluff and continued to sleep. She could feel the cloud's light movements and then suddenly they stopped.
Helga? Arnold said again, but she did not see him.
"Arnold?" she said, her voice soft, but heavy with sleep.
Helga? He called again.
"Mmm. . ." she took a deep breath and let it out slowly. This is nice, she thought and then she let herself slip away.
When Helga finally awoke, she took a deep breath and slowly let it out. She lifted her head and stretched, but immediately froze when she felt the body sitting beside her. Her eyes flashed open as her heart began to race with panic. Slowly she straightened herself up and cautiously pulled herself away. She moved slowly to see the stranger beside her.
Her heart skipped a beat when she saw Arnold stirring on the bench. He yawned as he stretched and then looked at her.
"Oh, hey," he said as he rubbed the sleep from his eyes, "you're awake."
Helga could not find any words. Arnold must have carried her to this bench and let her rest her head on his shoulder while she slept.
"Um," Arnold began, a little embarrassed, "I'm sorry that I didn't carry you home or back to the boarding house."
"It's okay," she wanted to say, but she could not open her mouth. She was still too stunned for words.
"But," he continued, "I didn't think I could make it that far while I was carrying you." A blush spread on his cheeks.
Helga's heart skipped again and then it swelled. So he really did carry her here. She felt the threat of tears in the corners of her eyes, but she would not give in.
"And I wanted to give you my jacket," he admitted, "but when I set you down beside me on the bench, your head just rested on my shoulder and I didn't think I could take it off without waking you up."
"It's okay," Helga wanted to say again, but she still could not open her mouth.
He is unreal, she thought. Always so kind and thoughtful.
Helga was honestly moved. Her eyes began to tear and this time she could not hold them back.
"Helga?" Arnold asked as he leaned toward her. "What's the matter?" He placed a hand on her back and Helga shivered.
She tore away from him. "Nothing, football head!" she shouted.
"Okay," Arnold said as he moved away.
No, she thought. That's not what I wanted to say!
"Thank you, Arnold," that's what she wanted to say. Thank you.
Arnold stood and Helga flinched. She had pushed him away. She did this. He was leaving because of her. She felt a tug on her heart.
You're a coward, Helga Pataki, she said to herself. A big coward.
She felt the sting of tears as her heart squeezed, but then a hand appeared before her. She wiped away her tears and looked up. Arnold had his arm stretched out, waiting for her to take his offered hand.
Relief washed over her and she could feel her heart expand. She smiled at him before she even realized what she was doing.
For a moment Arnold was surprised, but then he smiled in return. "Come on," he said. "I'll walk you home."
Helga nodded and slipped his hand through his. "Okay."
She knew this was not going to change their relationship. Not right away, anyway, but at least now she could honestly say that some day things could be different. She was not always going to hide behind her anger. Now all she had to do was wait for that day.