A/N:

Hey guys :) So, long story short since I have a million things to do today—it's my birthday and I've been meaning to do a tenth birthday short fic about Helga, so…here's what I came up with (so far) this morning! It's going to have one more chapter that I'll write either tonight or tomorrow, but I just thought this was a cute idea and I wanted to try writing it out and see where it went. Also, it's letting me procrastinate from working on Dinner and a Show, and my DP fic and something else special I might be preparing…

Anyway, please enjoy the first half of this special birthday fic!

Disclaimer:

Okay, let's all get one thing straight: Nick and Viacom own a bunch of the rights to this show, but HA! is only truly the artistic property of the lovely Craig Bartlett and everyone else who contributed to its production :) Sadly none of those people are me--darn me being 22 today instead of 42!

A PERFECT TEN

Part 1:

The Morning After….


"Uh, pretty crazy day, huh?"

"Uh…" 'Oh boy…' "Uh, yeah, we, uh, WHOO, we said some really nutty things back there…" 'Oh smooth cover, Helga—VERY smooth. I am dead.'

"Yeah…"

"Yeah…"

The awkward silence seemed to last a lifetime for Helga. Arnold wasn't doing so hot right now either.

"Well…listen, about all that stuff I said, Arnold… I mean, it was crazy back there and…" 'And I was crazy back there but I'm sure you already more than think that. I CONFESSED—what was I THINKING?!?!'

"…Yeah…in all the excitement we probably just…"

"…Got carried away?" 'Way to say that like it's a question, Helga—like you're asking permission to be let off the hook, or something.'

Another epic awkward silence.

"You didn't…mean all that stuff you said…I mean, you don't really love me, right?"

"Uh…" 'Wait…seriously?' "Right…"

"You were just…caught up in the heat of the moment…"

"Right!" 'I could kiss him again for this…That would defeat the whole purpose of it all but, still, I really just could'

"You actually hate me, don't you?"

'Oh…oh, yes, oh yes, oh YES!!!' "Of course I hate you, you stupid Football Head! And don't you ever forget it! EVER!"

"Okay."

'My luck…is…incredible.'


Five hours later...

"Congratulations, everyone! We did it!!! Let Blockapalooza 2—The Celebration about Kicking Sheck's butt, commence!!!" The crowd of people from 33rd to 39th street cheered at this announcement from Phil, who was currently standing in the middle of Vine Street as he made this announcement. Then the partygoers commenced to chowing-down on a hastily prepared but delicious potluck breakfast/lunch while sitting at an assortment of card tables and picnic tables and coffee tables that people had managed to pull together and set up all along the block over the morning.

Phil sat down with a smile at his table at the center of the street around which also sat all of the Boarders…as well as the two heroes of the hour…

Phil smiled at the young boys in question, picking up a glass of orange juice. "And a very special thanks to the two men who made this morning all possible—Shortman and Gerald!"

The other occupants of the table lifted their assorted glasses in a toast and drank.

"Thanks, Grandpa." Arnold smiled at his grandfather.

"Yeah, thanks, Phil!" Gerald chugged some juice.

Phil sighed. "Will you stop calling me Ph—" He suddenly sighed, though, in mid-exclamation and instead just smiled at the two boys again. "Oh, what the heck—it's a party! Now, come on, boys—let's eat up while we still have a few hours before the clean up crews roll through to fix all the mess Sheck made with his constructing and the billboard…"

"Don't forget about the overpass blowing up…" Gerald added in a low voice with a small, smug smile.

Phil, Mr. Potts, Mr. Huynh and Oskar all did spit takes on their drinks at the comment and looked at each other nervously.

"Heh, heh, heh—uh, yes…" Oskar began, "That was a…very strange coincidence…"

"Uh, yeah…" Ernie added, blushing slightly. "Wonder where all that dynamite came from." He glanced around nervously and added in a louder voice. "Yes siree, all that dynamite that could be purchased from ANY ONLINE SUPPLIER OR LOCAL CONSTRUCITON COMPANY BY ANYONE WITH A CREDIT CARD!"

Mr. Huynh cleared his throat, smiling at Ernie. "Very good point, Ernie… I guess it will always just be a mystery how that happened. Heh, heh…"

Phil rolled his eyes. "Okay you three—very smooth cover. If we ever have to testify I'm sure you'll all just be star witnesses…"

Arnold just turned to Gerald, raising an eyebrow at him and smiling.

Gerald shrugged innocently. "What? Just bringing the overpass up like any other person who doesn't understand how in the world that could have happened…" He winked, causing Arnold to laugh. Gerald turned to Phil and the rest of the boarders smiling, and then they all breathed sighs of relief and joined Arnold in laughing.

"Hey, listen up, people!!!"

The attention of the entire crowd suddenly turned to the booming voice of Big Bob Pataki, who had just exited his house, drying his hair a bit with a towel and now in a fresh set of clothes from the ones he'd been wearing for the last twenty four hours. "I just…" he actually looked sheepish for a second, which caused some serious eyebrow raises among the crowd, "I just wanted to say I'm sorry again for going along with this whole Sheck thing for so long…So, to make up for it…after breakfast…" he looked the crowd in the eye again, actually smiling (which got even more raised eyebrows), "You're all invited to free ice cream at Slausen's courtesy of Big Bob's Beepers!"

The crowd was silent for a second, looking at each other, and then suddenly burst into grateful cheers and claps!

"Alright, man—free ice cream!" Gerald smiled at his best friend, finishing off the eggs on his plate and helping himself to another serving from a big platter in the center of the table. "Is there anything about the last few hours that hasn't been completely incredibly awesome?"

The question was obviously rhetorical and obviously intended to make Arnold smile as well…which was why Gerald raised an eyebrow as he saw Arnold clear his throat and almost…blush for a second? 'What the heck—I haven't seen Arnold actually blush ever since the whole Iggy/Bunny Pajamas fiasco.' What really got his attention though was that for a second Arnold actually opened his mouth like he was going to reply to the question, but then quickly closed it and took a very deliberate bite of a pancake before him…a very small, almost imperceptible smile on his face.

Before Gerald could ask his friend what was up though, a special visitor interrupted them…

"Good morning, Arnold, Gerald." Phoebe Heyerdahl, to the surprise of both boys, suddenly came up between them. Arnold couldn't help but notice a small blue and pink package in one of her hands.

Gerald felt himself swallow hard at the sight of her smiling face. "Oh, uh…hey, Phoebe. How's it going?" He did his best to smile smoothly and lean casually on the table, but the action caused his hair (which was starting to grow a little limp from all of the craziness and no sleeping or showering over almost the last two days) to actually slump down a bit and into his face. The action made him recall that, considering the FTi stuff and the fact that he had spent the better part of the morning setting up tables, he must look horrible. He quickly straightened his hair and grabbed a napkin, trying to blot some of the smoke and dirt stains from his white shirt, and blushing slightly as he did so.

Arnold couldn't help but grin a bit at the sight.

As for Phoebe, she couldn't help but just giggle and smile. "I'm quite well, Gerald. How are the both of you?"

"Oh, uh…" Gerald finished getting himself as put together as possible under the circumstance. "You know: we're cool…very cool…"

"We're fine, Phoebe. Thanks." Arnold replied with a smile. He couldn't help but glance down that the item she was holding once more. He raised an eyebrow. "What's the present for?"

Phoebe blinked, recalling the item she was carrying. "Oh, well…that's precisely why I came over, Arnold. Besides of course to congratulate you and Gerald on your efforts again and to thank you both once more for saving the neighborhood…" She smiled at Gerald again and he smiled back. She then blinked, remembering her major intended purpose for starting the conversation. She turned back to Arnold, clearing her throat and blushing slightly at her brief distraction. "Anyway…I also wanted to know if you happened to know where Helga is, Arnold."

Arnold blinked and there was no mistaking it this time, in Gerald's opinion: he blushed, just slightly. "Um…" he did his best to smile at Phoebe, though he was glancing away very unusually. "I'm…not sure…" He managed to look up her. "…Why?"

Phoebe frowned slightly and sighed. "Oh…I suppose it's not very important just this moment...But, are you sure she didn't say anything about where she might be?" She raised an eyebrow at Arnold. "The last time I saw her, the two of you were talking after Sheck had been taken away, but I didn't want to interrupt her…" She glanced away and hesitated for a second, like she suddenly felt like she'd said something she shouldn't have.

Arnold glanced away again as well.

Gerald looked with a raised eyebrow from one to the other.

"Anyway…" Phoebe continued, clearing her throat. "I haven't seen her since then, and, now that everything's taken care of with the neighborhood, I just wanted to wish her a happy birthday and to give her her present." She smiled at Arnold, slightly lifting up the item in her hands.

Arnold blinked. "It's her birthday? Today?"

Phoebe smiled. "Certainly, Arnold. I almost forgot, myself, with everything that's been happening over the last week, but it is indeed today. Didn't you know?"

Arnold, a pensive look on his face and a distant look in his eyes, just shook his head in response to the question.

Phoebe's eyes fell a bit at this information. She knew Helga wasn't very open about herself with people, but if Arnold didn't even realize that it was her birthday then certainly none of the other kids did either. She thought for a second and then did her best to smile and look back up at Arnold. "Well…I'm certain that after the party is over I'll be able to find her and do something to celebrate the day. I don't want her to feel that her birthday has somehow been overlooked by the good fortune of the neighborhood being saved." She sighed. "I know she'll act like it doesn't matter when I bring it up but…" She smiled at Arnold. "No one should feel unloved on their birthday…"

Arnold blinked and really looked at Phoebe for a second, like he was trying to figure something out…like whether or not she had figured something out, for example…

Phoebe just cleared her throat, though and turned an even bigger smile to Gerald. "I'll see you both later, then. And thank you once more for all of your hard work."

Gerald blushed slightly and cleared his throat. "Yeah, well…" he winked smoothly, "Anything for you, babe."

Phoebe giggled and began to return to her family and her table. She stopped though, mid-step, and turned back to Arnold once more. "And Arnold?"

Arnold blinked at being addressed again, nearly spazzing as he bumped into the table with a nervous jerk, trying to turn back around to the first person to talk to him about Helga since a certain incident a little under five and a half hours ago. "Uh…yeah?"

Phoebe observed his behavior with a curious smile once more, then continued, "If you happen to see Helga…will you tell her Happy Birthday from me?"

Arnold blinked and did his best to fight a bit of warmth threatening to come to his cheeks. "Oh…sure, Phoebe."

Phoebe nodded at both boys once more and then finally left their table, returning to her own.

Arnold closed his eyes for a second and gave a small sigh. He then opened them and straightened his tie, and resumed eating his food.

Gerald, meanwhile, just eyed him, waiting for an explanation. Getting none, he finally initiated the conversation himself. "Okay, Arnold, spill—what's up with you and Helga?"

The chocolate milk Arnold was drinking actually came out of his nose at the question. He coughed several times and grabbed a napkin, trying to clean himself and his plate up as best he could. Finally done stalling, he turned back to Gerald, blinking several times. "Gerald! What…" he coughed a couple more times to finish clearing his throat, and then grabbed a fresh plate from the table, "What are you…I mean…" He took a breath. "I don't know what you're talking about."

Gerald rolled his eyes, reclining back in his chair. The food could wait a minute: this was a question he'd had for about five hours now, now that he thought about it. "Well, Phoebe said you were talking to her after everything was done with Sheck…and then you guys never did spill about how she ended up on the bus with us…and, also, you were acting a little weird just now when Phoebe brought her up…"

Arnold took a breath, managing to maintain some calmness now. "Gerald…I just…" He sighed and seemed to consider for a moment, and then continued a bit slowly… "Well…I guess I just feel a little bad for Helga…I mean," glancing away, he swallowed hard, and the action wasn't lost on Gerald, "She helped us out a lot…at the end there, I mean." He added the last part of the sentence a bit forcefully, causing Gerald to raise an eyebrow. "And…well…I just feel kind of bad that it's her birthday and everyone's so caught up in celebrating saving the neighborhood that they might be forgetting about it. That's all."

Gerald continued to eye him suspiciously for another second or two, but then just sighed and rolled his eyes, picking up his fork again (much to Arnold's relief.) "Man, that conscience of yours is epic, you know that? Even after saving the homes of hundreds of people and taking down an evil corporate giant, you still manage to feel guilty about the chance of hurting the one person on the planet who hates your guts… Mmm, mmm, mmm…" He smiled to himself at the irony.

He expected a good-natured laugh from Arnold but was only met with a sigh from his best friend, which caused Gerald to drop his fork once more and eye Arnold just a bit suspiciously yet again. Then another thought occurred to him courtesy of the events of the day coupled with Arnold's strange behavior. "And speaking of her hating you, why did she help us again, exactly? And what was she doing at FTi in the first place?"

Arnold's eyes went just a little wide and his fork fell out of his hand, landing on his plate with a clatter. After a second, a sheepish smile came to his face, and he turned to his best friend, his mouth open as though about to try and respond when suddenly…

"Hey, Arnold, hey, Gerald! All us kids are gonna head to Slausen's early and get the good ice cream flavors before the adults get at 'em! Reckon you wanna come?"

"Yeah, come on, guys! I'm starving!"

"Yes, you two, and then you can tell me where you came across those darling designer suits of yours in your adventure! I simply have to know!"

"Yes, Arnold and Gerald, I'm ever so certain we'd all love to hear everything about how you and Gerald managed to save the neighborhood!"

"YEAH!" Came an eager affirmation of this assumption from the other kids.

Stinky, Harold, Rhonda, Lila and all of the other forth graders had suddenly approached Arnold and Gerald's table, and their familiar friends were looking at them with happy smiles.

Free ice cream coupled with the idea of an afternoon pigging out on it with his closest friends had the effect of pushing the thought of Helga from Gerald's head for the moment. He smiled and stood up, looking at them all. "You got it, guys! One bonafide brand new Urban Legend coming up, courtesy of the Keeper of the Tales!" He turned back to Arnold. "Come on, man! Free ice cream on Big Bob Pataki and a chance to be a part of our own urban legend! Who can beat that?!"

Free ice cream and time with his other friends, though tempting, was not enough to push the thought of Helga from Arnold's head, though. "Uh…" he smiled at Gerald and then at the gang, "You guys go on ahead, okay? I just…think I could use a shower and a nap after everything that's happened. I'll be there in an hour…I promise."

Gerald just looked at Arnold with a blank, disbelieving stare for a second. He opened his mouth like he was about to say something, but then finally (and to Arnold's relief) just shrugged and smiled. "Hey, more ice cream for me, then, man. I'll save you some cookie dough though!" He winked and then turned back to the other kids. "Come on guys, let's party! And, as hero of the neighborhood, I call first dibs on the triple chocolate fudge ripple and the first tub of marshmallow topping I see!"

The other kids cheered and began to head in the direction of the familiar ice cream parlor with Gerald leading the way.

Arnold watched them go with a smile…though that smile quickly fell into a pensive look as he considered some things in his head for a few moments. Suddenly, though, out of the corner of his eye, he noticed a familiar blue sweater join the crowd of fourth graders, coming from the direction of a certain family's table. Arnold blinked at seeing the girl, paused for just another second, and then suddenly smiled as an idea occurred to him. He ran forward to catch up with the girl in question, and tapped her on the shoulder, causing her to turn around and linger back from the greater crowd for a second. Phoebe Heyerdahl turned to him, first with an eyebrow raised at whom was addressing her but then with a smile as she saw that it was indeed Arnold. Arnold caught his breath for a second, and then asked her a question, to which Phoebe shook her head with a slight frown. She smiled, though, and then pointed over to another table where two familiar figures were seated…now keeping their eyes on a very familiar pink and blue present to give to their still-absent daughter later. Arnold glanced over in their direction and nodded slightly like he was considering something, but then shook his head to clear it and turned back to Phoebe. Suddenly, to Phoebe's surprise, a smile came to his face and he got a little closer to her and whispered something in her ear, and then pulled back smiling. Phoebe just blinked at what he'd said to her…and then, to Arnold's surprise, really looked at him for a second… like the bit of wonder in her smile was due just a little less to the brilliant idea that had just been suggested to her than to the particular person who had just suggested it. Under her look Arnold couldn't help but glance down and mumble something. Phoebe suddenly smiled warmly at him and gave a quick reply and a nod, to which Arnold finally looked up with a smile, nodding as well.

Finally, glancing over her shoulder and seeing the other kids already all the way up the street, Phoebe gave Arnold a quick wave goodbye and ran to rejoin the other kids…making sure to run up to where Gerald was, specifically. Smiling and greeting him, she responded to his smooth smile and return of her salutation by quickly whispering something in his ear, which caused Gerald, Arnold noticed as he looked on, to pull away from her, hesitance and shock obvious on his face. A worried Arnold breathed a sigh of relief, though, as (luckily) a few well chosen words and well placed smiles from the girl beside his best friend quickly seemed to gain his acceptance of the plan she had just proposed to him…however truly random and strange it might seem to take part in considering who it was about…


A/N:

I hope you guys like this so far! What's Arnold planning, and where's Helga exactly…and what random shenanigan have I already started writing out for part 2? ;) Find out tonight or tomorrow!!! R&R! Thanks guys :)

Happy Reading!

~(The officially 22 years old) Azure129 aka Jenna!

AXH FOREVER!!!