Grimmy: Two fics in one day! Ain't I damn good? Anyways, this is the fic that I've currently been mentioning in my one shots. It's the one that has me going crazy, and it's the one that I will be paying the most attention to. I already have the first four chapters plotted out and the ending in my head. I don't expect this to be too long, maybe ten chapters at least. I do hope you all like it just as much as I do. I think it might just have you all shedding tears towards the end of it.
I don't own Hey Arnold. This chapter has been betaed as of 8/20
Chapter 1 - Honor
Bob Pataki sighed angrily as he looked up at the bright white driftway ceiling tiles. He'd stop counting them some time ago in favor of daydreaming about the sexy Latino girl he'd seen moments ago on a beer commercial. How nice it would have been to be the man on the commercial. Laying on the beach, beer in hand, and babes all around. He sighed. That life would have been much easier than this one.
He looked at his youngest daughter again, wondering just when she would wake up so he could head off to work. They seldom got along, especially lately but even he had to admit it to himself. It was unsettling to see her normally grumpy self look so frail and weak. She stirred a bit and he flinched, eyes instantly focusing on the needle that was taped to her wrist. They'd always made him a bit squeamish.
"Hey, girl, you woke?" he said in his typical gruff baritone. It was more of a statement than a question.
Helga groaned and her eyes fluttered open for a moment before closing tightly. "Would it kill ya to close the window?" She huffed and turned away from him. And while it normally would have angered Bob, he felt oddly guilty.
He pulled the thin white string next to him, nearly jumping when the blinds crashed against the windowsill. A sigh passed through his lips when she didn't turn back to face him, an obvious sign that she was still upset. He figured she had good reason to be, and while it wasn't the first time that he realized he wasn't exactly the best father, it sure felt like it. "Look, Olga-"
"It's Helga dad."
"Right Helga. I know I'm not the best father." He paused when she muttered something that probably went along the lines of an agreement. "But we're gonna be stuck with each other for a long time. And I just wanted you to know that I didn't really mean what I said back there." He rubbed the back of his neck, waiting for her response anxiously. For a while she didn't say anything, and he had to wonder if she'd fallen back asleep.
"In case you haven't noticed Bob my time is limited. I'm d-"
The door opened and in stepped a man wearing the standard doctor's attire. Bob was thankful for the interruption even though he knew exactly what his daughter was going to say. It stung his heart to know that he may be losing his daughter forever. And the only one he had left was burying herself in work somewhere far north to distract her from the reality of home life. Things were going south, that much he was certain of. He didn't need anyone to tell him so. He ran a hand through his grey hair, tuning in to just what the doctor was saying.
"You're stressing yourself out Miss Pataki. Your visits are becoming entirely too frequent and I'm sorry to say it but if you keep this behavior up, you won't make it long enough for us to find a donor. This, of course, is excluding the fact that you haven't been taking your medicine. You should know by now just what you're doing to your body."
Bob stood on his feet and watched as a spark reappeared in his daughter's dull blue eyes. Her body stiffened and her eyebrow scrunched downwards to signify her anger. And while he didn't want her to upset herself anymore than she had to, he was secretly glad that she wasn't acting like some vegetable. She was acting alive.
"Look Doc, addiction is a family thing." Her eyes rolled towards Bob, silently noting his workaholic tendencies. "I'm not gonna become drugged up on those things okay." She took a few deep breaths before deadpanning, "I'm going to die anyways. So what if it's sooner than later. It's still going to happen Doc because I'll never find a donor." She shook her head as if to dismiss him, and turned over in her bed, wincing when her IV needle poked her a little too hard."
Bob's heart sank. That had been something she would yell only when they got into arguments. But now she said it because she'd really given up. He wasn't religious but when he got home that night he knew he would pray as hard as he could. He couldn't lose his baby girl. She was the only one he really had left.
The doctor frowned and looked at Bob, who in turn got the feeling that the man was somehow blaming him. "Well I'm sorry to hear you feel that way. Just remember that your family hasn't given up and neither should you." The doctor nodded to Bob and turned to walk out the door.
As soon as he opened it a tiny half Asian girl rushed in to Helga's side, tears visible behind her magnified eyes. Her glasses must have been thicker than he remembered. With one final look at his daughter, Bob too walked out the room. He left the door cracked while he waited for the girl to help Helga gather all her things so they could go. While he waited, he tried to remember the girl's name.
"Oh, Helga, if only I could help... I would gladly..." He could hear soft sobs before his own daughter spoke up.
"Relax Pheebs. I could never ask that of you anyways." He had to lean in closer to the door to hear the next few words. "You're my best friend." Pride, for a reason he didn't fully understand, swelled in his chest.
And for a moment he listened to 'Pheebs' cry. He could have sworn he'd heard Helga crying as well but that was impossible. She didn't cry anymore.
Helga stomped down the wide sidewalk leading to her house. Bob had to drop her off on the corner because some important business had popped up but she thought it was just some floozy who'd paged him. She was certain that he was off with another woman whenever he left suddenly. And while she would never admit it, the thought sickened and hurt her.
She blinked back tears as she glared at the ground, purposely stepping on every crack and hoping the superstition worked for fathers too. That is until she crashed hard into someone. She blinked rapidly and realized from the jolt of pain up her spine that she had, in fact, landed on her butt. "Watch where you're going football head!"
Her eyes widened as she realized just who it was sitting, or rather climbing to his feet, in front of her. He reached out to take her hand and after a few moments of staring, wide eyed, she took it and was pulled to her feet. Her brain blanched and her voice box failed her. After waiting for five years, hoping and wishing, he'd returned. She told her body to move and hug him tight and never get go but it was unresponsive.
"Helga," he said again, this time breathlessly as he eyed her warily. "You sure got tall."
And it was then that she noticed that she was still taller than him. Not boy a whole head like when they were younger but by a few measly inches, if that. She swallowed and opened her mouth to say something but the only thing that came out was a dumb sounding, "Arnold?"
He tilted his head but smiled at her anyways before pulling her into a loose hug. "I missed you too."
She had to be dreaming. Her mind was teasing her again because there was no way that Arnold Shortman had returned to Hillwood City. He was off living with his parents, a mission that she'd helped with personally. He couldn't be here hugging her. But he was. And he was hugging her in a way that only Arnold could. A way that made her feel not only safe and secure but oddly giddy as well.
She pushed him. "Look, I don't know what you're talking about football head." And with a nasty scowl she ran the rest of the way home.
"So they're the ones huh Ellie."
"I thought I told you to call me boss." The girl frowned up at her older companion who only grinned sheepishly at her. She dusted off her long frilly dress and tugged at one of her tightly curled ringlets. "But yeah, they're the ones."
He grinned mischievously at her. "This looks like it's gonna be a toughie." The boy leaned over the edge of the building, as far as he could without falling. His wet and wavy hair swayed a bit in the breeze before before landing back against his face with a soft smack. He watched as the boy with the odd shaped head sighed in defeat and started back towards home.
Ellie yanked him back, making sure to wipe her now wet hand on his shirt. "Don't you dare get us caught." She wrinkled her nose and wiped her hand again. "And do you have to wear your hair like that?"
Another sheepish grin. "Ell, we're dead. Who can see us? And I'll never get rid of my Jheri curls!"
Ellie tsked and rolled her eyes. She was going to have her work cut out for her.
Grimmy: Lol, I'm practically begging you guys for feedback on this. When I say I love this story idea, I really mean love. So, I ask you to review.
Other notes include pointing out Ellie and her friend. It may be confusing now but I promise you that their job will be all cleared up by chapter three. They just so happen to be extremely relevant to this fic so you might want to pay close attention to just when they happen to pop up. And because I'm feeling nice, I'll give you all a spoiler for the next chapter.
Helga frowned when something tapped her on the ear and landed next to her desk. Looking down, she saw that it was a neatly folded piece of paper. She reached down and picked it up, pausing to look around behind her to see just who had passed it. The friendly smile tipped her off and she tried her hardest not to smile back. She opened it.
Why didn't you ever write me?