A/N: 'Ello all. Tea and crumpets and all that. XD
Ignoring my sudden descent to England - Here's part two! :D
Disclaimer: Do we really need to go through this again? *Rolls eyes* Okay, fine. Supr-Singr no own show... There we go. On with the show!
Love Remains the Same
Helga's expression had remained neutral for some time now, and Arnold was starting to become a bit self-conscious. But nonetheless, he maintained his smile, though actually seeing her in person after all this time was still seeming to mess with his mind a little.
Over the years of Arnold's move, he'd never had time to really do anything. He was rushed all over the world by his parents, surroundings always changing and always meeting new people, only to leave them a few months later and never see them again.
Though without Arnold's presence, Helga's world had slowly stopped revolving around him, without the presence of anyone but his parents for so many years, Arnold's world had very quickly started centering on Helga. Though everything in his life came and went with time, he'd quickly figured that Helga was always a constant, even if she wasn't actually there with him. It seemed that no matter how much time passed or how many new people he met or new places he'd go, his old love for Helga never seemed to diminish in even the slightest. In fact, all it really did was grow.
Since Arnold had no one to really rely on anymore in his and his parent's travels, he'd started leaning on the old, familiar love he held for his ex-girlfriend, and did so religiously. He'd always talk about her, and his thoughts were very often focused on her, and not a day went by that he didn't dream about her and wonder what she was up to...
Puberty came and went for Arnold without much fuss, and in the night Arnold became a young man. He had had a very significant growth spurt around his fourteenth birthday that brought him up to a good five feet. Since that one growth spurt, Arnold's growth patterns had fluctuated up and down to the point that he reached nearly six feet.
He'd had a very brief case of the acne bug for about a year, but luckily his family had never had too many big, dramatic changes in their history when it came to puberty, other than height and smell. He was a true Shortman in the fact that puberty hadn't presented him with all that many changes that weren't overall pleasant in the end.
But despite him becoming a handsome young man, Arnold had still been quite dense when it came to the advances of any of the girls he had managed to meet on his travels. Not really interested in bothering with relationships when he still held a torch for his old girlfriend, Arnold hadn't paid any mind to any of the few girls that had shown interest in him, often not even by intention, though if he had known he would have turned them down gently anyway.
His tufts of cornflower hair still stuck up oddly, and his body grew more into his football head (Or was it his football head grew into his body?). His wardrobe varied from plaid shirts to pale green t-shirts and modestly ripped jeans, and he very rarely ever wore his old little blue hat from his youth, though he did still cling to it a bit obsessively out of habit. His chest became broader, and his legs longer and leaner, and his light green eyes stayed kind and true, though they did hold a new craving for the city and all the wonders that it held since he'd been away from his home for so long. Absence truly did make the heart grow fonder, and in more ways than one, too.
After a long time of watching their son scribble away at letters to his ex-girlfriend that would inevitably never be responded to, Miles and Stella had agreed that a serious change needed to occur. His homesickness had become increasingly more apparent, along with how Arnold was almost always staring into the face of a picture he'd taken of his ex-girlfriend right before they'd broken up. The locket had been a parting gift from Helga herself when they'd left, and Arnold had clung to that thing as if it were the safety bar of a roller coaster ever since. He was never seen without it, in fact. The golden locket was placed in his pocket at all times, and he patted his pockets nearly every five minutes to make sure it was still there, safe and sound. Miles and Stella had noticed all this more than anyone and had truly felt guilty for breaking him up from his girlfriend at the peak of their relationship. Arnold's sanity had been paying for it ever since it seemed.
So the decision to go home had been made, and within a few months the small family had packed up their things and headed back home.
Which was what brought Arnold to where he was now, staring into the face that had haunted him ever since he'd left. Though the face that he'd remembered had certainly changed... Her straight, shiny, blonde hair was hanging down over her shoulders, her messy bangs brushed to the side. Her old pink bow was currently being worn as a bracelet, which only seemed to increase his smile even more. The bow meant that she hadn't given up on him, which was definitely a relief to his currently throbbing heart. Her body was long and curvaceous, which his hormones of course picked up on right away, and her long, pale neck was screaming for him to come give attention to. Although, so were her full lips and cute nose and... pretty much every part of her body, actually. But especially her lips. He was amazed at how well he'd been able to hold himself back from doing something completely crazy, considering how much his emotions were overflowing at the moment. It had been years since he'd seen that face, only lightly dusted with make up and her sparkling blue eyes as wide as he'd ever seen them.
Though he felt that he could just stand there and admire every possible aspect of her beauty for years to come, her continued silence really was starting to unnerve him. His heart was beating harder than it had in a long time and his hands were starting to seriously sweat. He wasn't sure how much more waiting he could take. She was just standing there in all her loveliness, not saying a word after years of him obsessing over her and every memory they'd ever made together. He felt like he'd just pretty much laid his heart on the line with that simple "Hey Helga" and just standing in front of her like a doofus, and there she was, completely silent! How long had it been now anyway? How long had he been standing there in front of her? For the love of all humanity, if she didn't say SOMETHING in the next few seconds Arnold could almost swear he was going to just end up melting into a big, goopy pile of nerves and heart ache!
"Wow." Was the word to finally slip from Helga's sweet, pink lips.
Wow? Was that all she had to say?
"It's been a while, hasn't it, Football Head?" She continued with a pleasant, friendly lilt, a fond smile finally blossoming across her lips as she readjusted the books she was currently holding against her chest so she could go forward and give him a one-armed hug.
Mayday! Mayday! He hadn't planned for actual physical contact THIS soon and-Oh geez, she still smelled exactly the same. Pure vanilla with a hint of strawberries. He'd made a bet with himself that she probably smelled the same, or at least he'd hoped she did. And oh, she did. He held in his contented sigh and instead opted to simply hugging her back.
The embrace ended all too soon when Helga pulled back and looked at him with that continued companionable smile, and readjusted her books back across her chest with both arms to reassure that they wouldn't fall. "So," She began pleasantly, leaning back against the lockers behind her and crossing one ankle over the other, "what brings you all the way back to our lovely little corner of crap central?"
Arnold blinked at her, taken aback by just how friendly she was actually being to him. He knew that his leaving had been extremely hard on her, based off of some of the letters he'd received from some of his other classmates that had bothered to keep up with his constantly changing address. But the young lady in front of him now looked very put together and assured of herself; Her smile was pleasant, her eyes still holding some of that old sarcastic glow to them, the paper that was poking out of her text books had a clearly marked A+ on it, and her posture was lazy but comfortable, all the same. She looked like she was just talking to an old friend, as opposed to the guy that broke her heart back in grade six... along with his own.
Bringing his thoughts away from the past, Arnold smiled back with his own friendly, casual (Or hopefully casual) smile while bringing his hands behind his back as he informed her, "Well, my mom and dad just decided it was time to come back home, and so we did. Simple as that. So how've you been, Helga? I haven't heard from you in a while." He raised an accusing but overall playful eyebrow at her, leaning into her personal space slightly.
A lovely rosey hue came to her cheeks, and Helga smiled in a guilty manner at him. "Yeah, I'm sorry about that. I guess it was just..." Her words stopped there, and she looked down as a slightly regretful look flashed across her face for a moment.
"...too much for you at the time?" Arnold offered in an understanding way, smiling kindly. Though he would never actually admit to her that her lack of response to his letters had hurt him, he'd forgiven her a long time ago, and was especially not planning on holding any sort of grudge against her now that he had her back. Life was simply too short for those kinds of things.
Helga's heart skipped a beat at how understanding he was being with her, but she ignored the feeling and smiled at him more sincerely, though still in a slightly ashamed manner. "Exactly. You can read me like a book even now, Paste for Brains." She playfully hit him in the arm, trying to move on from the awkward subject of her not writing back, and laughing at the old nine-year-old name she used to call him on a regular basis.
Arnold laughed along with her, a hand instinctively going to the spot on his arm that she'd hit, even if it didn't actually hurt him like it did back when they were younger. It felt so much like old times, back when they could just joke around with each other when they were still together. He still remembered what all of their joking around and tom-foolery inevitably resulted in at the end - A kiss.
This thought brought Arnold's chuckles to a stop, and he looked at Helga seriously. The look he was giving her was so serious that it even made Helga stop laughing. Arnold was slightly regretful of this for only a moment, before his thoughts looped back around to what he had been thinking of before. Arnold looked around a moment, realizing that everyone had already gone to class. They were going to be late, but Arnold really didn't care at the moment. What he had on his mind was well worth the detention slip he was almost completely sure he was going to get for himself and Helga.
He looked back at her then and took a deep, quiet breath before taking a small step towards her and asking, "Helga, what happened to us?"
Helga blinked, almost dropping her books she was so caught off guard by the question. After a few moments, though, Helga responded with a small hint of bitterness that she was trying desperately to conceal, "You had a choice between me or your parents, and you chose your parents. That's what happened, Football Head."
Arnold shook his head, pursing his lips together slightly as he looked at her, "No, Helga. It was more than that, and you know it."
Helga kept her eyes trained on the books in her arms, though she wasn't really looking at them, as she said quietly, "It may not have been the only problem, but it was the one that started it all."
Arnold looked down at that too, and a silence fell over the two. Arnold would open his mouth now and then, as if he were about to say something, but he'd close it quick before whatever it was that he was about to say could escape his lips.
Suddenly, Helga's voice rang out, "Do you regret it?"
Arnold's eyes lifted up to see Helga's wide blue ones much closer than he'd remembered they were. The sight nearly made him lose his breath, but he managed to catch it before it left him completely, and he asked with a swallow, "Our break up, you mean?"
Helga nodded without any words, the tops of her teeth clinging to the flesh of the back of her bottom lip as she stared at him.
"Um..." He scratched the back of his neck awkwardly, almost regretting bringing any of this up. Maybe he just wasn't ready to open up this can of worms just yet... But no, he pressed on and told her, "Well, I don't know. The reason we broke up was because my family was moving, and when I told you that we were you... flipped out and we got into that big fight about how you didn't want me to go... and then we broke up in a huff, and then I moved... and..." It was almost too painful for Arnold to continue, the memories of just how venomous and deeply hurt Helga looked when he told her he was moving away with his mom and dad washing over him and almost making him want to cry just as hard as he had that night. They'd both screamed that they were 'over and through' at each other, and some stuff that they both hadn't really meant had come out in that one big fight. Helga had avoided him since, and right before he stepped onto that old RV to drive away, Helga had showed up in tears just to throw one last item at him before running away. It had been the locket that she'd gotten him, the one that was currently burning a hole in his pocket at that very second. He hadn't seen or heard from her since then, and ever since that point had their entire relationship been dead. The entire event had been ugly, and though Arnold had coped with it all by clinging to the love he still held for her to this day, Helga had apparently tried to forget anything between them had ever happened. And from the looks of things, it would seem that her strategy worked out just dandy, which only managed to wedge another small dagger through his heart.
The memories and sorrows finally finishing going through his mind after all these years, Arnold finally said, "If you're asking me if I regret the entire fight and our messy break up..." He paused. "...then absolutely yes. But no matter how badly it ruined things between us, I just can't regret my decision to go with my parents. I regret what it did to us, but I don't think I ever would have made a different decision anyway, Helga, even after all this time."
Helga looked at him with a tight expression, her features rigid and her posture unmoving. Finally, she let out a breath and told him, "I-I understand why you did it, Arnold. It just hurt at the time, is all." She looked away, once again readjusting the books in her arms since they kept trying to slide down and out of her arms, and her expression blank.
"Do you still have feelings for me, Helga?" Arnold asked, fearful of the answer.
"I thought I'd never see you again." Helga said flatly, still looking away at the same spot with the same expression.
"But do you still love me, Helga?" Arnold asked again, hating how she seemed to be avoiding the question like she was.
Helga looked him straight in the eye then, and told him in possibly the most serious voice she'd ever used in her life, "I'll never need you again like I used to, I'll never worship you like I did before, I'll never sleep walk to your house in the night, I'll never cry your name when I go to sleep, I'll never stalk you when your back is turned, and I'll never live for you and you only ever again..."
With every word that came out of her mouth an aching pain shot through Arnold's heart, to the point that he was near just collapsing on the floor. He didn't even bother with trying to hide his utterly crushed and heartbroken expression. "O-Oh..." His voice broke, much like his soul.
Seeing just how broken he suddenly seemed proved to Helga right away that he still loved her, and so she let out a loud breath and finished her thought, dropping her books to the ground without a second thought or care in the world, "But criminy if I'll ever stop loving you, Football Head!" And with that, she strode forward and wrapped her arms around his neck in a flash, pressing her whole self into him from head to toe and kissing him with even more intensity and passion than she had on the FTi building so many years ago.
Arnold felt like he'd had the wind knocked out of him, and his heart beat went from zero to sixty in less than a second. He stumbled backward a few steps even, the intensity of her kiss caught him so off guard. His body seemed to catch up faster than his brain, though, and his arms grabbed her to him and he started kissing her back with an intensity that rivaled even her own. The sudden heat and intensity of Arnold's kiss even managed to have Helga's eyes shoot open in surprise for a moment, and to stare widely into Arnold's own. Seeing her surprised blue gaze only managed to shock Arnold's stupefied mind into a haze, and he finally managed to close his eyes and lean her back slightly in his arms as they kissed. Helga blinked a moment in her surprise at this new development, before a grin quickly made itself known on her lips as they kissed, and she closed her eyes again and squealed in delight at having him here with her like this again after all this time. She'd forgotten how good it felt to kiss him like this. Heck, they'd never kissed like this before. Part of Arnold always seemed to be elsewhere when they kissed, like he was holding something back. But not in this kiss... this was ALL Arnold, and Helga was going to abuse it thoroughly.
After a few more minutes of kissing, their lungs finally got the better of them and they both parted lips so they could both inhale a large and much needed gulp of air. After several seconds of panting, Helga said breathlessly, still in his arms, "'Kay... maybe I do need you a little bit..." Unwilling to wait any longer, she pressed her lips to his again eagerly and managed to unwound her arms around his neck enough that she could grab him by his collar and force his lips into even more contact with her own, all the while bustling her way to the direction of the closet she remembered seeing not too far away, and dragging Arnold and his wonderful lips with her. Arnold followed her without protest, completely at her will.
Needless to say, they missed first period, along with a good portion of second.
A/N: Okay, so I've always believed that before Arnold and Helga could REALLY be together, Helga would have to do a lot of growing up. Yes, she is much more mature than most kids her age, but she's still only a kid, and a kid with a lot of problems too. And I've always thought that Helga really needed to start to realize that there really ARE other fish in the sea, and she's not going to die if Arnold ever decides it's time to move on. I mean, really, throughout the show, Arnold was like her crutch. She clung to him like glue to paper. That's not good. So here, Helga's little speech was basically her saying that she'll never be the obsessive, stalking, shrine-building, Arnold-worshipping girl she was before ever again. She's really grown up and matured fully and has figured out that there's more to life than just kissing the ground Arnold walks on. It seemed like loving Arnold was all Helga really KNEW about herself, it was all she had to live for and was the only way she knew how to live. So it stands to reason that Helga would need to find herself, and finding herself would require some time apart from Arnold, which is what took place here.
But on Arnold's side, I've always believed that he'd need to figure some things out about what he really wants before he and Helga could really be together. If anyone's curious, that's what Helga could always feel Arnold holding back when they kissed - Doubt. I mean, really, the transition between Arnold falling for soft, feminine, giggly, seemingly perfect, motherly-type girls to hard, tough, independent, devilishly-sarcastic, kiss-my-butt Helga is HUGE. I mean, come on. So I've always thought that Arnold might need some time to really realize exactly what it is that he NEEDS in a woman, as opposed to what he WANTS. So in his time away from Helga, Arnold's mind finally clicked with the fact that Helga is what he wants and needs completely and he started obsessing over this fact and seriously aching over it. You never know what ya got until ya lose it. ;)
So bottom line, I had Helga grow up and stop obsessing over Arnold, and I had Arnold grow up and fully and completely commit himself to Helga. Kiss, kiss - happily ever after - case closed.
Also, before any of your perverted little minds have their way with this, all they did was make out. XD
Hope you enjoyed my rendition of "Love Remains the Same!" 'Cause no matter how much time goes by or what ever happens, Arnold and Helga's love will remain the same. ^_^
And so, if you liked it, please let me know in your...
And thank you to anyone who reviewed the last chapter! I really do appreciate it! I love you guys! :D