It's me again. I know I said yesterday I wouldn't be starting on this until next week, but I had some time while waiting for stuff to load, & this thing just wrote itself.
For future reference, based on information in Grandpa's Sister I deduced that most of the kids were born around 1989, which means they're in 4th grade by 1998, kind of. I'd say the '98-'99 school year; just my opinion, of course. And it takes off from this coming spring. According to my version of things Arnold will turn 13 the first Saturday of summer vacation; Helga will turn 13 the week after. This story will unfold over the course of events I see happening this coming summer, & subsequent stories will be a bit farther into the future. I hope I didn't just overexplain; I have a tendency to do that.
Anyway, I hope y'all enjoy this; please r & r whether you do or not. Thank you.

Oh yeah, Hey Arnold! is created & / or owned by Craig Bartlett, Snee- Oosh, & / or Nickelodeon, which in turn is owned by Viacom. I'm not sure who or what has the rights to the poem "A Visit From St. Nicholas", but I do know it was first published in the Troy Sentinel in 1823, & that it was included in the anthology The New York Book of Poems in 1837, which is when Clement Clarke Moore finally admitted authorship. shrugs

And so begins my Hey Arnold! epic.

It had started midway through the previous year, just before Winter Break (although some of us still call it Christmas Break). On this particular day a familiar face --- very familiar to one student --- once again passed through PS118, Mr. Simmons' class to be specific. And that student was nervous but hiding it, both of which were old hat to said student.
"Class, please, listening ears? Okkay, as you can see our school psychologist (making quote marks with his fingers again) Dr. Bliss has once again decided to visit our class to observe us. Please, just go on with what you were doing as if she wasn't here."
This time Helga had no sotto voce reply. She was worried about what Dr. Bliss would say or do, despite reassuring smiles from the good doctor.
And this time, although Arnold noticed that Helga wasn't picking on him as much, he decided not to look a gift horse in the mouth, as it were. He just silently counted his blessings.

The last class before lunch was Literature. At the time the class was studying 19th Century American poetry. Whitman, Poe, Longfellow, Dickinson (Helga's favorite) --- all well represented.
As it was the last week before break things were a bit loose, & Simmons asked the class if anyone had any specific works from the period that they would like read. A hand went up from the front of the class. As in in front of the students.
"Dr. Bliss?"
"Yes, Mr. Simmons. I realize it is highly irregular for the school psychologist to contribute to the class in this way, but I have a specific work in mind. I find it appropriate that this class is studying American literature from the 1800s, & at this time of the year I have in mind a poem written in 1822 by a literature professor at Columbia University..."
"I think I know what you have in mind, Dr. Bliss. A certain seasonal poem from Clement Clarke Moore?"
Dr. Bliss nodded. After scanning the books for a minute, Mr. Simmons selected one, & turned it to the appropriate page. Then he re-seated himself & read A Visit From St. Nicholas.

"'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house..."

The class settled into the comfort of the familiar poem, with one exception.
What does she have in mind? thought Helga. I know she won't try to reveal anything, but what if she slips up? She's only human. Why did she suggest that mushy Christmas poem anyway? And so on.
After a few minutes Dr. Bliss coughed. A small cough, but it was enough to focus Helga's attention on her. Then Mr. Simmons read:

"A wink of his eye & a twist of his head soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread."

Which Dr. Bliss acted out to the letter, silently. Helga took note & relaxed for the first time that day, message received.
Not two minutes later, Arnold received his 'first spitball of the day', a few hours late. It soon had company. Arnold sighed, his respite from being picked on having passed. Helga sighed too, in a different way.

After class, the halls were in their typical chaotic state; students hurrying from one place or to another; in this case, everyone was hurrying to lunch.
A certain scene transpired which would have been familiar to those who notice such things, which for some reason that escapes all reason turned out to be a fraction of one percent of the student population.
Helga bumping into Arnold. Helga chewing out Arnold. Arnold going on his way. Helga muttering numerous unflattering things about Arnold. "And yet...", along with what ensued, said to a locket. Then, the heavy breathing behind her which always accompanied Brainy in such situations.
Watching all of this, although well out of sight of Helga, was Dr. Bliss. This was the reason she had met this remarkable young lady in the first place. It was time to find out once & for all if she had done Helga any good. She would not be disappointed.
"Brainy, why do you do this? I mean, every time I want to be alone, there you are, with your heavy breathing & your weird way of saying nothing that means anything, what's your deal?!?" He said nothing, just looked a bit sheepish – for him – and waited for what he apparently knew what was going to happen. But she surprised him.
"Look, I'm not going to hit you; just leave me alone, okkay? Please?"
And with that Helga resumed her course toward the cafeteria.
Dr. Bliss smiled, but that expression soon faded as she watched what happened next.
During her scolding of Brainy, Helga had been careful not to touch him. Now that she had left him, with no human contact, he looked uncertain, even uncomfortable. He started to sweat, then to hyperventilate. Before he could go into spasms, he hit himself in the face! Hard enough to break his glasses. Then he fell, rendered unconscious by his own hand.
"Oh, my!" was heard from Dr. Bliss' mouth by those who were passing her at the time.
Parts of what happened afterward remain privileged information, but if anyone had bothered to pay attention they would have noticed that for some time afterward, at certain times of the week, when the students of P.S. 118 gathered, Brainy was not among them.
This is what happened one & a half years ago. Brainy has been keeping his weekly appointments faithfully ever since, & everything that happened from here on could be traced directly to the events of that day in December. Because of that, everything was about to change.

For reviewing my fic When Patty Met Cupcake, I'd like to thank Jess, Hobbit at Heart (the former Sparrow Patil), Cheryl, & especially one of my favorite ff.n authors, Starry Nights. If this keeps up I might have to stop listing the reviewers individually.
Guys & gals, I might need help. I'm working on the next part as we speak & am finding myself severely deficient in some areas which I deem critical to the telling of a good HA! fic. Describing what they're wearing for instance, or making up poetry like Helga does, I just dunno. But I am going to continue this, regardless.
Anyway, it goes without saying that I want y'all to read & review; maybe beta read, I dunno. Anyone wants to contact me by e-mail, I'm On IM I'm also Nftnat. Pretty much everywhere I go on the net I'm Nftnat. Thanks; hope to hear from y'all via reviews or other ways. And with that I say good night.