Okay, so I'm sure that anyone who may have me pinned for an author alert is thinking 'Is this girl on crack? How does she jump to so many random fandoms all the time?' And I am sorry about that.

But about this story...

This has been the most fun I have had in writing in a looong time. The fic is complete with six chapters. I am going to post a new chapter every day if I can, but it is already finished so there is no worries about whether or not it ever will be. Yes. You will read the whole fic...if you want.

More...

I have read several HA fics now and I can't get through any that are about them as nine year olds. Granted, I don't know how most nine year olds are nowadays, but I was totally naive and unaware. Holding hands with a boy was epic back then, so I made a fic that tried to relate a time of innocence. And I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Also, these chapters are fairly short because I originally intended to write a one-shot. That did not end up happening.

Note: I do not own these characters, I just love them.

Also, it has been a while since I have written anything.

This is a slow building Helga/Arnold fic with implied Phoebe/Gerald.

Chapter 1 Scared

"Just like a man to not wanna ask directions," Helga fumed as she and Arnold turned yet another corner to find themselves on yet another unfamiliar street. The two children had accidently met in the park while on their way to an afternoon baseball game at Gerald Field when a group of sixth graders had cornered them, demanding their ball, bat, and both of their gloves.

Helga had been ready to fight. No one was going to take her stuff, not even five burly sixth graders against two measly fourth graders. Nope, not this girl. But Arnold had stepped in and talked their way out of an immediate beating which had turned into a forty block chase, the sixth graders finally giving up when the two kids had crossed the bridge that led out of town.

The nine year old blonde girl raged silently as she watched the football headed boy in front of her begin walking down unfamiliar road number twenty-three, seemingly choosing a direction at random. He let his baseball bat pivot in his hand casually, letting it drop to the ground at every pass, creating the effect of a cane or walking stick. When he started whistling Helga was sure she would explode.

"Not to ruin your evening stroll, football head," she growled, "but it's getting dark and we still don't know where we are. Go into that store and ask for directions." Helga finished her demand by pointing her finger witheringly at the only open looking store on the street.

Arnold stopped and seemed to gaze at the shop for a moment, letting his bat rest by his side. "Helga, that's a liquor store. Nine year olds can't go in liquor stores," he stated simply, before moving on.

Two more streets later the sun had sunken completely behind the horizon, leaving only an early autumn chill to set in, and still there was no open stores. In fact, there were no stores at all anymore. Helga looked warily at the houses as they passed. The neighborhood looked a little seedier than it had when the sun had been up. She instinctively moved closer to the boy ahead of her, until she was within arm's length.

A window opened above them and liquid dropped from it, causing Helga to jump. "Crimany, what is this, the dark ages?" she muttered darkly, but she came to Arnold's side anyway. Better to be away from the windows.

Finally the street lights came on, announcing the total departure of the sun…and the arrival of the riff-raff. All of Helga's anger dissipated into fear when a homeless man cursed at them from across the street. "Ar…Arnold…" she whispered to the boy at her side, "You recognize anything yet?"

Beside her, Arnold sighed and switched the bat into his other hand, furthest away from her. "Well, I'm not sure. I think Frankie once took me to that building over there…but I'm not sure. It could have been one a couple blocks down…" he told her, pointing with his free hand.

Helga curled her hand into a fist, ready to sock his football brains when a crash came from the alley next to them. The girl screamed, sending echoes off of the buildings in the street, and jumped towards Arnold. In a flash the boy drew her behind him and held his bat, ready to swing. "Who...whoever you are, I have a weapon," he called nervously.

Helga swooned. Oh my love! How brave you are to face mortal peril with such valiant determination! How chivalrous to attempt to protect me from harm's way! Oh that I could offer you a token of my affection to prove how worthy a gentleman you are, how pure of heart, how...

In the alley a trashcan slammed to the ground and Helga clung to Arnold as a cat sprang from the darkness and into the street.

A moment ticked by as Helga calmed her nerves and forced herself to peel herself away from her love. "Nice going there, hair-boy. You sure showed that cat who's boss," she muttered.

Arnold glared at her, pursing his lips into a thin, unhappy line before setting off again in the direction they were currently heading. "Just come on Helga...and I'm pretty sure you were scared too."

Helga scoffed as she caught up to him again, "Me? Helga G. Pataki has nerves of steel, the heart of a lion, the resolve of a..." Laughing came from a cracked door somewhere behind them and Arnold grabbed Helga's hand, hurrying her on and forcing her to fall silent.

The two children walked urgently on for a couple more blocks in silence, hands firmly grasped together. Helga could feel Arnold's grasp tighten whenever a foreign sound came from an unknown source. She thought fleetingly of how this was one of the most wonderful evenings of her life, then about how pathetic that was for her.

Finally, Arnold turned one more corner, Helga had lost count after the cat incident, and let go. "The movie theater! I knew grandpa's tracking would get us home!" Arnold cheered in the dim lights of the street.

Helga felt the starkness of her barren hand as soon as he released his grasp, but was relieved to be somewhere familiar at last. "You mean you dragged me all over creation following tracking tips for the forest?" she cried, "Doi, we could have been lost forever football head! And don't you ever think about holding my hand again! Jeez, now it feels all sweaty and disgusting!" She huffed as they both walked idly in the direction of her street.

The boy next to her rolled his eyes. "Whatever you say, Helga," he sighed in defeat. They finished their short trek to her house in silence, Helga berating herself mentally for once again being mean to her beloved. She vowed to apologize.

They stopped at her stoop and stood awkwardly for a moment, Arnold looking at his shoes, Helga rubbing her neck. "So look football head..." she began. His attention was pulled and she gulped. It's okay old girl, you can do this. "I just wanted to say...to say...thanks..." she stuttered.

Arnold's face brightened immediately and he smiled in acceptance. "You're welcome, Helga...and well, I'm sorry I got us into that mess..." He blushed lightly before turning towards the dark street towards his own house.

The world stopped turning for a moment before Helga slapped herself hard and screamed into the street, "Darn tootin' it was all your fault, hair-boy!" She grabbed hold of the doorknob and let herself in, smiling wickedly.

"Oh Helga...is that you...? I thought you were at school..." she heard her mother say from the kitchen.

Helga rolled her eyes in disgust. "It's ten thirty at night Miriam! I've been lost for hours in a seedy part of town because a gang of older boys tried to rob me blind!" she called from the stairs.

"Uh-huh, that's nice dear..."

The nine year old girl didn't bother with a withering retort or sarcastic remark, she just trudged up to her room. Besides, she had other things to think about. Arnold had held her hand tonight. She would have to make the appropriate ceremonial speech of thanks to her shrine before bed.

So there it is. Obviously not the first canonical time, but the first time umm...after the movie. How about that? And I love writing Helga's home life. It just sucks so bad.