A/N: Okay, I'll just get straight to the point. People really responded to my character of Zack, so I decided to write a fic with him. XD I'm kinda excited about getting to write about Arnold and Helga's family life. It's super fun! I may start a series of One-Shots based around my version of their family. :D If people react well to this, I mean. ;)
Disclaimer: You can't own "Hey Arnold!" and not have a mustache! Everyone knows that! I do not have a mustache, man! I don't! Really!
Zack peeked around the corner, seeing that the coast was clear, he let out an inaudible sigh before tip-toeing his way into the hallway. It was pretty late at night, but he had to get to that concert! Sophie was going to be there! Like he was really going to miss that. He didn't care if he was grounded or not. Besides, he shouldn't have even been grounded in the first place. All he did was use some of Dad's old jazz records for plates. There weren't any clean ones, and he didn't even KNOW that those things played music. It was large, round, and looked like a plate. How was he supposed to know? Heck, Dad should have labeled them or something: 'Old Crappy Music From 1968'. Maybe then he wouldn't have had to see his dad actually look ANGRY (Something rare, and very scary, he might add) when he served everyone dinner on them. He'd been frozen in shock for a few moments, before Mom noticed what they were eating off of also and tried to comfort him. That was when the dam burst. Zack had no idea HOW someone could get so angry over a couple of giant, dusty disks. He sure hoped he never found out about the frisbee incident when he was eight. He was sure that THAT record was still in the tree. And really? Grounded for three weeks? That was so unreasonable. Wasn't he supposed to be the fair one? Mom was the one who gave the unreasonably cruel punishments. Like when she grounded him for a month, took away all his electronics, and forced him to listen to nothing but yodeling music when he commented on how horribly mushy and mind-numbing some of the poems in that old pink book he found in Dad's old chest were. He probably shouldn't have come downstairs and told her how Dad apparently wrote horrible poetry... and in a PINK book no less! Apparently she didn't like it when people made fun of her man because he still couldn't get his ears to stop ringing from all that yodeling. That was just evil...
He tip-toed down the hall, closer and closer to the door, his hand reaching out as he was just about to touch the handle...
"Zachary, where are you going?"
He froze, his eyes wide as he didn't dare to turn around.
Oh, how he hated when his dad called him that. It was never a good thing. He gulped before smoothly turning around and flashing his dad a calm smile. "Oh, hey there, Dad. I was just going out to get some-"
"Don't even try that. Where were you really going?" Arnold asked, his arms crossed over his chest authoritatively.
Zack gave him an amused smile, and shook his head with each beat of his name. "Arnold, Arnold, Arnold..." He smiled at him, taking a step forward. "Now you know," He gestured to him. "and I know," He put a hand to his chest. "that if I did that, that this wouldn't be nearly as fun as it should be."
Arnold sighed through his nose, still with a firm gaze on his son. "Zack, I'd prefer you just called me Dad. Arnold makes me feel entirely too nostalgic."
"Whatever ya want, Dadster." He grinned.
"You're not getting out of this-"
"I wasn't trying to."
"Do you want me to get your mother?"
"Heck no. I don't have a death wish."
"Then I suggest you get up to your room." He pointed up the stairs then, his firm gaze still on him.
Zack looked between him and the stairs before groaning. "Come on, DAD! It's the concert of the century! And Sophie is going to be there too!"
Arnold narrowed his eyes, the arm pointing up the stairs stiffening. "Yes, well, perhaps you should have thought about that before you went and served meat loaf on a one of a kind a Dino Spumoni record. They don't make those anymore. And it was autographed by Dino himself."
"I couldn't have thought about it. I didn't know about it until yesterday." Zack smirked. "Besides, you're always talking about how you were friends with Dino Spaghetti. Why don't you just call him up and get him to sign ya a new one?"
Arnold's gaze softened a little in remorse. "I can't. He's dead."
A moment of silence passed.
Zack hesitated. "Sorry, Dad."
Arnold sighed, shaking his head. "It's okay. It was a long time ago." He inhaled a deep breath, before his gaze became firm once again and he pointed up the stairs more firmly. "Now up to your room."
Zack's eyes widened, and he gave his dad an anxious look. "But Dad! I-"
"Zack." He spoke his name hard, tensing each letter in his name. "Get up to your-"
"How was I supposed to know they weren't plates?"
Arnold's eyes flared up a little, feeling incredulous and angry. "They were in a lock box in your mother and I's bedroom!"
Zack's eyes shifted from side to side, looking for something more to say. "Yeah, I just kinda figured they were... fancy or something." He glanced back at his dad boldly. "Besides, I had to look for some plates. All the other ones were dirty."
Arnold gaped at the boy. "It was your turn to wash them!"
Zack smiled a little, chuckling. "Yeah, but I paid Phil to wash them FOR me. It's not my fault he didn't follow through. Go yell at him."
Arnold gritted his teeth, before taking a deep breath, and pointing back up the stairs one more time. "Bed. You. Now."
"What? But it's only 9:30!" Zack exclaimed, staring at his dad with wide eyes.
Arnold finally walked up to Zack, and stared at him hard, his arms crossed over his chest, as Zack suddenly felt small under his dad's gaze. "Zack..." Arnold spoke calmly. "I'm not joking. I will get your mother."
Zack stood there a moment, his face blank before he gave his dad a big sloppy kiss on the cheek and ran up the stairs. "G'night, Dad!"
As Arnold heard the door to Zack's room close, his firm stance and gaze instantly melted away and he sighed in exasperation, rubbing his eyes. "You just had to marry Helga Pataki, didn't you? You just HAD to fall in love with her, and propose, even though you KNEW that it meant she'd be having your kids, and they would inevitably have Pataki blood in them." He groaned, before suddenly feeling strong, but small arms wrap themselves around his waist from behind, and the smell of vanilla invaded his senses. Before he could react to this, though, he soon felt lips come in contact with his neck and he felt suddenly paralyzed to the spot. After a few moments of this, the lips left his neck and she sat her chin on his shoulder, raising an eyebrow at him with that familiar smirk. "Ya don't regret it, do you? Because if you do, I'll have to remind you why you married me." She kissed his neck again.
He smirked, turning around and placing his hands on her hips. "In that case, maybe I do regret it."
She rolled her eyes, playfully smacking him in the shoulder. "Please. You don't marry Helga Pataki and get out of it."
He pulled her a little closer, nuzzling her shoulder. "Like anyone would ever want to..." He mumbled against her neck.
The doorbell rang suddenly, and the two blondes groaned in unison.
"Criminy, we just can't get a break, can we?" Helga mumbled, composing herself as Arnold pulled away reluctantly.
Before either one could blink, though, Phil was suddenly down the stairs and racing for the door. "I'll get it!" He flung the door open, but his wide grin soon became nothing more but a blank, disappointed stare. "Awww, I thought you were a camp fire lass."
The tall teen in the doorway gave the young boy an amused look. "I haven't been a camp fire lass since I was nine." She patted the boy on the head then, smiling pleasantly. "But they're chocolate turtles really are to die for."
"Yeah whatever..." He mumbled, dragging himself back up the stairs.
Arnold came forward then, smiling politely. "Hello Sophie. Was there anything you needed?"
She smiled at him. "Well, Mr. Shortman, I just came over to see if Zack wanted to come to the Save the Whales charity concert with me."
Arnold almost chuckled, remembering his boy's words of the 'concert of the century'. He sighed, offering her a sympathetic smile. "I'm sorry, Sophie, but Zack is grounded."
"Save me, Soph!" Zack yelled dramatically from the top of the stairs. "They're holding me captive! I'm starving up here!"
Arnold glanced behind him at Zack before shaking his head and looking back at Sophie. "He really can't go."
"And the dragon won't give me a break!" He yelled down to them, glaring at the back of his father's oblong head.
Sophie giggled, shaking her head. "It's okay, Zack. I understand what it feels like to be grounded..." She blinked then, scratching her head. "Um, actually, now that I think about it, I guess I don't." She blushed, rubbing the back of her neck before giving the blonde at the top of the stairs a comforting smile. "But I'm sure it's not that bad. We can hang out later." She waved to him, twirling her car keys around her finger as she walked back down the sidewalk to her car.
Arnold closed the door then, walking up the stairs to his and Helga's room with her trailing closely behind. As he passed Zack, he glanced at him and sighed as he walked past him. "Never let go of that girl, Zack."
"I wasn't planning on it." Zack smirked, as Helga passed him by and ruffled his hair, purposely to annoy him. "Listen to Daddy, Zacky."
"Mom!" He groaned, as Helga just snickered and walked down the hallway to get to her and Arnold's room.
And as the the door clicked shut behind his parents, he wandered back into his room calmly with a sly smirk. He shut his door, making sure to lock it, as he headed over towards his bed, and over to the window, where some bed sheets were all tied together and hanging out of it. And as he lifted the first leg up and out of the window, he snickered with a smug smirk. "I am too good..."
He suddenly heard someone knock on his door, and he froze at the sound of his mom's voice. "Zack, you close that window right now."