"They...they need your help, it has spread again. Please, you are their only hope, you two are of their demi-Gods...You are the only ones of whom they trust." Pleaded Margarita Velasquez, who was actually the daughter of Eduardo, a young woman in her late twenties.
History was repeating itself.
Arnold hesitated, feeling the stab of guilt, anxiety, and not to mention the pain of the familiarity of this. Standing next to him was Helga, holding their two-year-old son Phil. She too, had that air of anxiety and hesitation, which caused her to hold their son to her chest a little tighter.
The family had been, ironically, enjoying a day at the park altogether. On top of that, Arnold had even given Phil his hat from his childhood, given to him by his own parents. It was soon after they were just getting ready to leave that their friend from college, Margarita, who was, as mentioned before, Eduardo's daughter. She was their Eduardo, much like Eduardo himself had been to Miles and Stella way back then.
"Margarita, I... We do want to help them, we really do...but we don't do this kind of thing anymore. We have a baby now, we... We can't just leave him behind. I don't want this to turn into what happened with my parents."
Helga nodded in agreement. "There has to be another way to help the Green Eyes, there just has to be. We can't leave our son behind. We just can't."
Like his parents, and shortly before they'd gotten married, and after they had graduated from college, Arnold and Helga did some travelling of the world of their own, including having gone to San Lorenzo to see the Green-Eyed people, who had long ago perceived them both as demi-Gods, Arnold for the fact that he was the son of Miles and Stella, as well his own green eyes, and most of all, for the fact that his head was shaped very much like their symbol. Helga, for her ferocity and determination, making for an excellent leader, and not to mention, the one who won Arnold's heart. Since then, they were known to the Green-Eyed people as their God and Goddess, in a matter of speaking.
Two years ago, they'd given birth to their first son, named Philip, or just plain Phil, after his great-grandfather. Philip Robert Shortman, their pride and joy. After they'd had Philip, they had stopped travelling and settled down together in an apartment in Hillwood so that they could decide what to do next.
It was now only about a week since Phil's birthday, and Margarita had dropped the bomb on them; the sleeping sickness epidemic had spread amongst the Green-Eyed people yet again. Stella had taught them some time ago how to make the serum...even with having to obtain the ingredients. But she made sure to keep enough on hand for the future in case.
"I know...and I understand." Margarita said softly. "But please, just this one last time. We will see to it that you two make it home safely soon after. This will only take a few days. Please...you are their only hope."
Biting his lip, Arnold looked toward his wife with uncertainty, unsure of what to do. Helga exhaled, looking down at Phil for a moment before meeting Margarita's pleading eyes.
"Give us twenty-four hours. We need to discuss this before we make any hasty decisions." Helga said firmly.
Margarita nodded. "I understand. I will be standing by for your decision...but please consider this."
Later that night, at their apartment, just soon after putting Phil to sleep, it was coming closer and closer, to make their decision. But nothing had come to them at all. It was all one big bowl of uncertainty and anxiety.
"What if something happens to us...what if we end up going lost or missing, and Phil will have to live his life without us?" Arnold wondered in worry, running his hand through his still stuck-up hair.
"Arnold...there is a chance we won't have to worry about that, La Sombra has been in prison since we were ten." Helga said, biting her lip, frowning a bit. "We can't just sit here and let the Green-Eyes suffer, they've...they've done so much for us, and your parents."
"I don't want to turn my back on them, either." Arnold agreed, sighing. "But we can't leave Phil behind like this. I...I'm scared we'll end up breaking our promise to him."
"Arnold my love..." Helga brought her arms around him and lay her head against his chest. His arms came around her in return, and she exhaled softly at the feeling of being in her beloved's warm embrace. "I'm scared too, everything about this is just one big scare after another. I don't want to turn my back on the Green-Eyed people when they're in desperate need, with their lives in our hands... But leaving Phil behind like this, with possible repeated history, as you said...I don't know what to do. And I don't say that often."
"Me neither. But...we have to do something. Like you said, their lives are in our hands." He hugged her tighter, his fingers weaving through her soft, golden hair. "I don't want Phil to live his childhood without us...but I don't want the Green-Eyes to suffer any more than they already are."
"If only it were easier, Football Head. But we'll have to choose, it's all we can do right now."
"I know, Helga...I know. We'll have to decide eventually."
The two of them embraced for some time, listening to the rain pattering on the windows, the only sound in the room. Wordlessly, they went to their son's room, looking down at him in his crib, as the mobile above him was spinning slowly, emitting soft yet melancholic piano music. Phil was fast asleep, completely oblivious to what was going on at all. Little baby Phil...their most precious treasure on earth aside from each other. Their pride and joy. Their first child.
Was history really going to repeat itself?
Helga fought back tears, leaning against Arnold, who brought his arm around her waist, his eyes never leaving their son.
"...We have to go to them. They need us." Helga finally said.
"You're right." Arnold murmured. "We'll go there, make the serum, give it to the Green-Eyes, make sure they're all right, and then come right back home."
She nodded. "Right. We're going to do everything we can to come home safely. Our son won't be left behind nor neglected. ...We promised him we would give him what our childhoods lacked."
"And we'll keep that promise, no matter what."
Tucking Phil back into his little blankets, they both kissed him goodnight once more before leaving the nursery. Even with heavy hearts, and worry coursing through them, they were determined to do whatever it took to be able to both help the Green-Eyed people, and come home to Phil safely.
They got dressed for bed, brushed their teeth, and got into bed together. But all of the nervousness, anxiety, and uncertainty in the air lingered over them like a dark storm cloud. As determined as they were, they knew this wouldn't be easy. Having to leave Phil behind like this, much like what Miles and Stella had gone through, was the hardest thing they'd ever had to do. Especially since there was the possible outcome that they would not come back for whatever reason, and Phil would be left without his parents. Sure, that was always a possibility, but the fact that it had happened before, the fear of hit reoccurring was evident. What if history would repeat itself? What if they would get hopelessly lost, kidnapped, trapped, or even worse...died?
Helga choked back a sob, and snuggled closer to her beloved, trembling lightly. Arnold held her closer and kissed her forehead, whispering soothingly to her to comfort her, despite that he was feeling just as nervous and uncertain as she was.
"We'll do our best, Helga...that's all we can do. We can't predict the future, but we can do what we can to make sure it ends well."
A soft sniffle came from Helga. "I'm praying your optimism will carry us through, Arnold. It had better."
"I hope so too. We're in this together, Helga. We're going to do our best to make it through." He held her closer. "I love you."
"I love you too." She looked up at him and met his lips in a soft kiss. "We're in this together. Always."
They soon fell into a deep, yet uneasy slumber, with tomorrow coming all too soon for them.
The next day, history felt repeated once again when they arrived at the Sunset Arms boarding house, on their way to the new air plane Miles and Stella had managed to buy a few years after returning home from San Lorenzo all those years ago.
Miles had sometime ago thrown out his back and needed a brace for a while, and Stella stayed with him to take care of him. Phil and Gertie, despite now being over ninety, were still spring chickens, especially Gertie. The household was always full of warmth and happiness whenever they visited, but today was not one of those days, and Miles and Stella could clearly see what was going on.
It was repeated history.
Phil and Gertie watched in the background sadly as Helga handed Phil over to Stella, telling him softly and soothingly that they would be back just as soon as they could, to be a good boy for Grandma and Grandpa. The two were already geared up in their adventure clothing, ready to go for this one last mission...though not quite so deep in their hearts.
"Don't worry honey, we won't be gone long. You be a good boy, Grandma and Grandpa will take care of you, and you'll have fun. We'll be home before you know it. Mommy loves you, sweet little football head. Be good." Helga fought back tears, trying to stay as strong as she could. But this was harder to handle than she could have imagined, even for a Pataki. She kissed Phil's cheek and ruffled his unruly blonde hair lovingly.
"Be good, Phil...we'll be back as soon as we can. We love you, very much." Arnold kissed his son's forehead, also fighting back tears. He faced his parents, who stood side by side, holding Phil, and felt yet another sense of deja-vu. "Take care of him, Mom and Dad...we'll be back as soon as we can. We'll do everything we can."
"Good luck, honey." Stella said softly. "We'll all be here together when you two get back."
"We have faith in you both, son." Miles nodded in agreement. "We'll look after little Phil. He'll be fine."
"Thanks, Miles, Stella. We're gonna get through this, like Arnold here always says, gotta have faith."
They all managed faint smiles at this, and then it was time to leave. Arnold and Helga kissed and hugged Phil once more before going to the door, looking toward them all one last time.
"Bye mommy, bye daddy..." Phil said sadly, waving his little hand.
A stab of sadness, guilt and deja-vu struck Arnold once more, and he looked at Helga, knowing she felt it too. With one last wave in return, the door closed, and they were gone.
But would it be for the last time?
Boarding Miles and Stella's plane, they were ready for take off. Helga nodded, giving a thumbs-up to Arnold, who gave one back, and the engine started. Rolling along the runway, and then lifting up into the air, bound south, to Central America. San Lorenzo. The home of the Green-Eyed people.
Helga pulled out a little photo of Phil, staring at it with sad eyes, letting out a choked breath before tucking the photo away.
"Let's do this Arnold, we're going to make it!"
Nodding, Arnold looked back toward her over his shoulder for a moment. "We will Helga, we'll make it back."
The plane flew along the sky, towering over the landscapes below, as it went straight for its destination...
"Are you sure, Eduardo? Really?" Stella spoke into the telephone. "...I see, okay. Well, let us know if you find out anything else. Thank you, Eduardo." She hung it up, looking anxious.
"What's the news?" Miles asked as she sat back down on the table.
"...It's just as we feared." Stella murmured, and looked at him sadly. "...Their plane went missing, and they're nowhere to be found. The Green-Eyes did get their medicine, and Eduardo said that they had seen them...but after they left, no one saw them again." She trembled, and Miles brought an arm around her.
"...So they're missing..." Miles concluded, and Stella nodded. "...Just like we were. They have no leads?"
"None. None at all."
Phil and Gertie entered the kitchen then, with baby Phil in their arms, who was laughing and giggling, having himself a good time. Sensing the tension and sadness in the room, Phil and Gertie exchanged looks before looking back at Miles and Stella. It was then that they knew.
History had repeated itself. Phil was now without his own parents...while they were lost, kidnapped, trapped or dead somewhere in Central America.
Almost immediately, Arnold shot up awake, sitting up in bed. Lightning flashed, and thunder rumbled in the distance, with the rain pattering on the windows. He panted, having awoken in cold sweat, and looked around frantically. He was in his shared bedroom with Helga in their apartment. What had happened? Had that whole thing been a dream? Were they really going to have to go to San Lorenzo to help the Green-Eyed people?
Or had that been a dream too?
Taking a breath, he turned to his left, seeing Helga sleeping next to him, on her side, facing toward him, breathing softly. He couldn't help but smile as he watched his beloved's sleeping form for some time, and kissed her lightly on the cheek. She stirred, but didn't wake. Looking at the time, it was 3:27 A.M.
Quietly, so as not to disturb her, Arnold got out of bed, and slowly exited the master bedroom, making his way to the nursery where their son slept.
In his crib, Phil lay softly asleep, cradling his favourite teddy bear. He was wearing a different pair of onesies, indicating that just maybe that whole thing had just been a dream. Feeling a soft sigh of relief, he reached down and ruffled his son's hair, and then leaned down to kiss his forehead.
Half a second later, Arnold was slightly startled for a moment as two arms came around his torso from behind, and a head rest against his back, but he quickly relaxed and felt himself smile more.
"Arnold my love, come back to bed..." Helga murmured in a mock whine. "Is something wrong with Phil?"
He shook his head. "No, nothing's wrong. Just checking on him."
But she didn't buy it. She knew him way too well. This was the same boy, no, man who'd had nightmares of her and Phil dying during childbirth, and she had a pretty good feeling he'd had another nightmare concerning their son.
"Arnold... You had another bad nightmare, didn't you?" It was more of a statement than a question.
Arnold exhaled, knowing that there was no use lying to her. She knew him far too well, probably even better than he knew himself.
"I'll tell you in our room." He whispered to her.
Nodding, Helga let go and went to Phil's crib, kissing his cheek and checking him to make sure he didn't need to be changed. Satisfied, they then left the nursery, and went back to their bedroom.
Once there, Arnold explained his nightmare to her, recounting what had happened, which was still fresh in his mind. Margarita coming to them in the park and telling them that the sleeping sickness epidemic had returned to the Green-Eyed people and that they were the only ones who could help them, leaving a repeated history of what happened in HIS childhood. Then had left Phil with his grandparents and great-grandparents, and flew off to San Lorenzo...and never came back. What happened, Arnold didn't even know.
Listening to his dream, Helga could then understand why he felt so nervous. In fact, she even felt the same way, wondering of one day something like that would happen. It didn't stop them from living their lives, of course, but it was that little stab of fear you just couldn't ignore.
"No need to worry about it, Football Head. It was all a dream." Helga assured him.
Arnold exhaled, nodding in agreement. "Yeah...a pretty bad nightmare, but it was just a dream. I guess I can't help but have scary nightmares of the worst that could happen."
"That's just your subconscious brewing up how nervous you feel about something. Hey, it happened back in fourth grade, when you were sure us getting married would be a disaster. Then you had one again about Phil and I dying during childbirth...and now this. ...Well Arnold, look how all that turned out."
That was true. He'd had a nightmare, but then turned out to be okay, about them getting married. And now in real life, they'd been happily married for three years now, and had been dating since they were ten (aside from when they broke up). When she was pregnant with Phil, he'd had a couple of nightmares about them both dying during childbirth. That had also set him back a few notches, and was worried pretty much all the time, but she'd come out and assured that everything would be just fine. Now in real life, they had a wonderful, healthy two-year-old boy, having no problems whatsoever during the delivery. ...Aside from the extreme pain poor Helga had to go through.
So, maybe it really was just his subconscious relaying the worrisome outcomes of the situation. Life was real, dreams weren't.
"You're right, Helga." Arnold said softly. "I just have to remember that life is real, and dreams aren't."
"That's my Football Head." Helga smirked lightly, and scooted closer to him, bringing her arms around him. "Mm, but you seem a little stressed. Maybe you need a little pick-me-up."
Her smirk became seductive and she pushed him down onto the bed and climbed on top of him, the hem of her nightgown rising up her legs.
"Something long overdue, darling."
While Phil peacefully slept on the rest of the night, Arnold and Helga lost themselves in hours of endless passion and love, into high oblivion. The storm lasted through the night, and only later the rain continued on, in the wee hours of the morning, when the two happily married lovers finally fell asleep.
It had been a long night, a long night with the fear of repeated history. But the assurance that it had only been a dream.
Hey, everyone. X3 You actually thought I was going to make history repeat itself, didn't you? Well I HAVE thought about it, which was where this idea stemmed from. But, I'm not that cruel, I knew it would be sad to do that. But I did want to get it out somehow. So then this came to mind, to make it all a dream! :D
Did I fool you? ;)
Well, thank you for reading and have a good day. X3
Special thanks goes to my friend Moira (HaFanForever), for some of the ideas and inspiration for this story, most of which being about how Arnold would have nightmares about Helga and Phil dying during childbirth. :D