And now for part two!
...Because fanfics are the only source of ArnoldxHelga love of what SHOULD have happened. DX
Well, here we go!
Well, here they were.
Inside the treehouse. Alone. With nothing but their thoughts. They barely even looked at each other as they sat there, waiting for the other to say something.
Arnold looked at Helga, seeing her sitting there, staring at her lap, her hands were clasped together. She was obviously nervous, and understandably so. This was heavy stuff.
But, they needed to talk to each other about all this. They really did.
Come ON, football head! Say something! Arnold thought to himself, in a bit of a Helga-ish way.
Come on Helga, just say something. Helga thought to herself, in an ironically Arnold-ish way.
But what? What could they say?
Arnold looked around for something to distract him, something he could casually mention. His eyes fell on the pretty silver wristwatch Helga was wearing.
"Um...that's a...nice watch you have there."
Helga looked up at him strangely, and gave a faint smile. "Um...thanks, I guess."
"Is it new?"
"No, I've had it for a while."
Awkward silence then followed, the two of them once again looking away from each other. In the background, they could hear the sounds of cars driving, kids yelling and laughing, people chatting, birds singing, and bicycle horns and bells honking and ringing.
In the distance, they could also hear the distinct ringing of church bells. A wedding? Afternoon mass?
Finally, Arnold looked over at Helga, deciding to just come out with it.
"Helga...we need to talk."
Helga just gave him a look.
"Doi, I know that, football head. You said that over the phone."
Arnold sighed, shaking his head. This was going to take a bit longer than he would have expected. And yet, this WAS Helga, after all.
But he kept trying.
"Listen, I can understand you're not very comfortable with this. And believe me, I'm not exactly comfortable either. But, I really think we should just get everything out on the table and just be honest with each other. And don't worry, it's just you and me here, no one's going to hear us unless of course you shout. So you won't have to worry about us being interrupted. All I want is for you, and I will as well, to tell the truth. I won't laugh at you or mock you Helga, I promise. I would never make you feel stupid for how you feel. I'll admit that my response to your...um... confession was a little bit rude, and I do apologize for that. But to be fair, I was trying to save the neighbourhood and you can kind of...came on to me with that. I don't blame you for it, I deserve what I had coming. So let's talk, Helga. Let's get this all out."
Helga gave him a hard stare, and sighed, leaning up against the wall she was sitting up against.
"Fine. But you first, football head. I won't budge until you do first."
"All right, fine." Arnold muttered, and straightened up, facing her.
Clearing his throat, he then proceeded to talk.
"So, like I said, your confession to me on the FTI rooftop really surprised me. I honestly didn't think the one person who's acted like she hated me all this time was actually in love with me. I...I'll admit, I am flattered, though. It's kind of nice to know someone does like me...but the point is, it freaked me out a bit. I wasn't expecting it and I wasn't ready to deal with it yet. I wanted to give you an answer, but I didn't want to under all the uncertainty I was feeling. I couldn't just tell you that I didn't like you in that way, because that wasn't exactly an honest answer. I also couldn't just say I liked you too because you liked me, that would not have been fair. So, I wanted to think about it before being able to give you an answer. It was a lot to take in, especially from someone who tortured me all this time."
He paused, taking in her expression. She was listening to him, her expression was a bit of a scowl, and her eyes were unreadable. He gulped, hoping he hadn't hurt her feelings.
"But, I don't condemn you for it, either." Arnold went on. "I can understand why you put up all this hostility. You want to get people before they get you. It's not the best method in protecting yourself-" He gulped at getting the evil eye. "I-I mean! I mean that...never mind. What I'm trying to say is that I understand why you do that."
"I have no idea what you're talking about. This is who I am, football head." Helga finally said.
Arnold gave a bit of an irritated look. "That's not going to work, Helga. I know fully well that's not true. If you're going to continue playing those head games with me, then fine. Maybe I'll just stop wasting my time."
He of course, was actually testing her. So he stood up, watching her reaction. And immediately, she stood too and went to him, grabbing his shoulders.
"Oh no you don't. You dragged me into this, and we're not gonna leave until you get that dumb talk you want so bad. I'll play your game, football head, and you're darn lucky that I'm even bothering. So don't make me regret it!"
He sighed, but glad she was conceding. "Okay, good to know. Sit down, let's keep talking."
Helga wordlessly let go and sat down next to him, while he sank back down to the floor.
"Like I was saying, I can understand why you feel that you have to be a bully in order for people to take you seriously and not laugh at you. How's that working for you?"
"Peachy, Dr. Phil." Helga said condescendingly. "Care to ask me about my family next?"
"I won't make you talk about things you don't want to, Helga." Arnold said as patiently as he could. "I just want to know the truth about how you feel, and why. I won't tell anyone what you said, either. I promise."
Helga looked at him at the corner of her eye, and sighed. "...So, hypothetically, let's say I like you...how would you feel about that?" She asked bravely.
Arnold was a little puzzled by her method, but decided to humour her. "I wouldn't laugh or mock you or make you feel bad. I'd accept it. After all, I don't have any say in who you like. If you like me, that's okay. I won't make you feel stupid for it, because that's not who I am. I'll understand perfectly. And like I said, I'm honestly flattered. A little confused, but flattered. Go on Helga, just tell the truth about how you feel."
Though his words gave her confidence, since she knew he wouldn't make fun of her about them, not that she ever expected him to. He was Arnold, wasn't he? Even to the worst people, he still showed compassion. It was the rejection she feared.
But the cat was already out of the bag. He knew how she felt, and she had to confirm it.
So, in a tiny voice below a whisper, she finally said, "I like you."
"What's that?" Arnold asked, not hearing her.
"I like you." She said in a tone above a whisper.
"Can you repeat that?"
"I can't hear you, Helga."
"I like you."
"I didn't catch that."
"I LIKE YOU!!!" Helga shouted, now grabbing his shoulders. "I like you, Arnold! I've always loved you! I'm head over heels, over the moon, in LOVE with you! I love you! I don't just like you, I love you! Love you!"
Arnold blinked lightly at her sudden outburst, full of passion and desperation. But he expected that this was how she felt, he'd been right all along. Then once a moment of silence passed, he smiled and placed his hands on her arms.
"Okay, Helga. I understand. You like me, that's fine. But you didn't need to shout."
Helga just sighed, let go of him, and sat back in her original spot. "Well there. Now you know, football head."
"Yeah...I guess." Arnold blushed a little bit. It still felt so strange to know that there was someone who was so in love with him like this. "Still, I'm confused of it all."
"What's there to be confused about? I love you, simple as that."
"No no, that's not that I meant. I mean, why? Why me? With the way you act and go about life, I would have expected you to be more...well, demanding. You know, you wouldn't settle for less than what you deserved."
Helga snorted. "Just what are you getting at?"
"I'm nothing special, Helga. I'm just Arnold. I'm a boy who doesn't even know his parents are alive, I'm pretty much the voice of reason in my own household, I don't always have time to just be a kid, I helped to crash your slumber party, I purposely missed out on the play you organized, when I learned karate I let it all get to my head and I became a bit of an ugly person because of it. I don't get it. I've liked my share of girls over my life, but they either never noticed me or just didn't want to be more than friends. I tried all I could, spending time with them and trying to get them to like me like me...I'm sure you know that with Lila and all. Face it, I'm just a guy that no girl wants. Except you. The one person I least expected to actually like me like me. ...Or, well, in your case, love me. I mean sure, the boys in our class aren't exactly boyfriend material...except maybe for Eugene, since Sheena seems to like him, and Gerald since I can definitely see that Phoebe likes him." Arnold leaned back and sighed a little. "So why me? I figured you would be a little more demanding than just an average football-headed geek that no girl ever seems to want to give a chance."
Needless to say, Helga was surprised at his little piece. She knew Arnold was very modest and didn't see himself as anything special. She understood, many people were like that, even when they accomplished pretty good things. But also, because she knew Arnold was way more than that.
"Wow, football head, you are more dense than I imagined!" Helga declared.
"Huh?" Arnold looked at her, confused.
"Arnold, you ARE special! Don't you realize that? You're...you're the perfect boy! Those girls who don't give you a chance? Come on, they're idiots! They don't know what they're missing! Ruth McDougal...who cares about her? She's just a snobby sixth-grader. Miss Felter? Oh please, you can't honestly have expected THAT to work! Don't you know that a grown adult woman dating a child would make her a pedophile? Yeah that's right, you would be jailbait and she would have gotten in trouble! Summer? She was just a bimbo who took advantage of you! And now Little Miss Perfect...oh come on. She was just an idiot, who could have turned down a perfect boy like you?" Helga ranted on, and then sighed, holding her head in her hands. "Arnold, quit downsizing yourself! Any girl...would be so lucky to have you as a boyfriend." She looked away as she said this.
"....Wow, I guess you're right." Arnold sighed, and then looked at her. "...You really think that?"
"Arnold, I'm in love with you! Of course I do! ...But I guess even if I wasn't, well, I'm not blind, football head. You're compassionate, patient, nice, sweet, tactful, you're a good listener, romantic, you always look on the bright side of things even when bad times strike because you strive on achieving what makes you happy and let nothing stand in your way. You never hesitate to help people, you give advice left and right, you never hesitate to do the right thing, you look out for the people you care about, you're sweet, you're caring...and sure, you have your own set of flaws, but that just makes you who you are. Even with those flaws, you're still way too nice and sweet to be considered anything less than garbage. So quit making yourself out to be less than you are!"
Helga looked up at the ceiling of the treehouse, still lost in her thoughts as she kept on talking.
"I've been in love with you since I was three. You've shown me kindness like I've never seen before, and you still do so even today. Even after everything I've done to you. My love for you never went away. And you...you notice me in a way that no one else does. Combine that with all your good qualities...well, come on, you can't blame me for falling in love with you, can you?"
Although she wanted to slap herself for opening up like this to him, and being so vulnerable and desperate, her nicer voice inside was telling her that she was doing the right thing. Plus, the sliver of hope that he would feel the same way was also what drove her. Sure, she figured the chances were slim, but she hoped. Hoped for a miracle.
And hey, this was Arnold. He would listen to her, not make her feel stupid, and even offer some advice.
"Well," Arnold finally said, catching her attention. "If you do put it that way, I guess I can't. You're a human being, nothing should stop you from loving someone. I guess I'm just a little surprised it's me, coming from you. But, I think I understand more now. Still, you like me because I was nice to you? I guess I understand...but still, I have to say it's a bit scary. I'm nothing special, and yet you put me on a pedestal. No one ever wanted to give me a chance, except Lila for a brief while, but you did all this time. Me, just Arnold. Sure I know I'm a nice kid and all, but I'm not special. You sure have a romantic view of me...in more ways than one. I can't believe you're not more demanding, going for a guy that no one else wants."
"Please, Arnold. I wouldn't be surprised if you were able to stop a volcano from erupting, or heck, to silence all nature the moment you were born. You ARE that special. There will always be someone who wants you."
"But I...never mind."
Silence befell them, unsure of how to go about all this.
He looked at her then, seeing that she was looking away, her shoulders shaking slightly. Oh no, was she crying?
"Helga...? Are you okay?" Arnold reached over and took her hand. She didn't object.
"...No one cares, Arnold."
"What do you mean?"
"Me. I'm just an empty shell of a girl who hides behind hostility! My own parents barely even notice me, the boy I love could never possibly love me back...and sure I don't do much to help myself in that situation, but still! No one cares, Arnold. If I left and ran away tomorrow, no one...would care. No one cares."
Seeing her like this tugged at his heartstrings, so much so, that he felt tears come to his own eyes. From all this thoughts from the day before, and how open and vulnerable she was right now, admitting she loved him and why, everything, it all struck him like a bolt of lightning. The urge to hold her came over him then, and knew that she needed it, more than she was willing to admit.
It had probably been a long time since she'd been hugged.
"Helga...I..." Arnold began, and in a rush of emotions, he went around to face her and gave her a hug.
Helga stiffened and gasped a little, but after a moment, she had no strength or will to push him away.
"I care. I care about you, Helga. I always have." Arnold said softly, his hold on her tightening. "If you ran away, I'd call the police, file a missing person's report, put up posters around the city, ask everyone we know if they've seen you, and I'd even go out there and try to find you myself."
"Y-You're just saying that..." Helga trembled.
"No, I'm not." Arnold said. "Look at me, Helga."
Shakily, she raised her head to look at him, tears rolling down her face.
"I do care about you. Don't ever doubt that. ...Maybe we haven't had the best relationship and I know nothing can exactly erase all the torture you put me through, it may be hard to overlook to most people, but, I know you're not like that deep down. You're a good, sweet and caring person with a great talent for poetry and creativity in general. All those times you were nice, I really liked you. Helga, when you can be yourself, you can really achieve a lot of things. And I really enjoyed you. ...But then the next minute you're blowing spitballs at me and calling me yutz. That's beside the point, though. What am I'm trying to say is, being nice doesn't mean you have to be a throw pillow. You can still be a nice girl, and not take lip from anyone. That's what I like about you, you stand up for yourself and don't let people get to you. You can do that, if you just would have more esteem, confidence. I care about you Helga, and I want you to be happy."
She stared him, mesmerized by what he was saying, but said nothing.
"I can see too, although I think I have for a long time, that you have a great need to be loved. And I an understand, I think we all go through that."
Arnold paused, thinking then once more about the question of whether or not he loved her back. Did he?
It was still unclear how he felt.
Still, he looked at her again, her blue eyes meeting his own green ones. Looking at her then, his heart sank. He wasn't looking at the tough girl persona Helga. He was looking at a shattered, broken, fragile, crying Helga. Anything of her bullying persona was wiped away by her emotions. She was just a lonely girl begging to be loved. Was that too much to ask?
Since the beginning, despite everything she did, he hated seeing her unhappy. It just broke his heart in a way he never felt before. And now he understood. It was because of her rotten home life, the fact she felt she couldn't be herself, which robbed her of great things and her wonderful personality deep down inside. She couldn't live to her full potential because of it all. She was a plain girl being robbed of living a good life.
Being loved was all she wanted. Being loved by HIM was all she wanted.
The poor girl.
Arnold almost wanted to cry then. Everything came crashing down on his heart; how sorry he felt for her, how much he liked seeing her happy, how her sorrow made him feel sad too, how great her life could be if she just gave it a chance, how much she wanted to be loved, everything. It all came to him.
His eyes never left hers, he could see in there now, a little girl crying out to him and begging to see her. Begging him to see past the mask that Helga G. Pataki wore. To see past her reputation as a scowling, tomboyish bully. To see the real girl inside.
A rush of emotions washed over him, a rush of adrenaline. His eyes fell down to her mouth, and although a crazy idea, he knew what he wanted to do for her then.
"...Helga..." He murmured softly, and brought his hands to cup her cheeks, wiping her tears.
Before he could think, his eyelids lowered, leaned upward a bit, and kissed her gently on the lips.
A choked noise came from her then, and he felt her stiffen with surprise. But he kissed her, sweetly and gently, musing at how soft her lips were, and that they tasted like candy. She then shifted closer to him, bringing her arms around his neck and head, kissing him back with longing, need, desperation. Frankly, he had no trouble fulfilling her wish. He wanted to show her he cared, that he cared about her feelings, he wanted to make her happy.
She deserves a chance... Arnold thought then. I think I love her... I want to give her a chance.
Pulling away from her, their eyes met again, and both were blushing.
"Helga, there's something I want to do for you. But, I need you to do something, too. Not just for me, but for you."
"...What?" Helga finally spoke.
"I want you to know that you can be yourself, Helga. It'll take some adjusting for you I'm sure, but that shouldn't be too bad, right? We all go through changes that we have to adjust to in life. Heck, this could take time for me to adjust, too. But, I'm willing to go through with it if you are. ...I want to give you a chance."
"A chance?" Helga's eyes widened.
Smiling, Arnold nodded and placed his hands on her shoulders. "I want to give you a chance, Helga. I've realized now, after thinking this over, well...I think I love you."
"I think I love you."
"Say it again...please."
"I think I-...no, wait. I'm falling in love with you. And I know I want to be with you more than just as a friend."
Her response was the biggest, sweetest smile he'd ever seen from her, and she threw her arms around him, knocking him to the floor, and kissing him just as if not more passionately and hungrily than her kiss on the FTI building.
Although taken aback, Arnold couldn't help but laugh inwardly at how expected that was.
And frankly, he wasn't complaining.
The following week at P.S. 118, Gerald and Phoebe were walking out of school together, since Gerald had offered to walk Phoebe home, to which she had happily agreed to.
"Hey Gerald, look!" Phoebe suddenly pointed.
"What's up?" Gerald looked in the direction she was pointing, and found a bit of a surprise.
Arnold was walking with Helga, carrying two sets of books, and once they were out of sight of the other students, he smiled at her fondly and then took her hand with his free hand. She smiled back at him and squeezed his hand back as they walked off down the street together. Back the other day, they had talked and talked immensely about everything regarding their feelings and what they could do about their days at school. Frankly, it all seemed to fall into place. They'd been spending the day tete-a-tete with each other.
"Well I'll be." Gerald remarked, and smiled. "Never thought I'd see the day."
Phoebe giggled. "I'm glad it finally happened."
The two of them exchanged glances and then grinned, heading off toward Phoebe's house.