This is a little Christmas gift for my buddy BrokenRose24, she requested this little one-shot with this very story in mind. Arnold becomes Santa's Helper, and then actually becomes a Mall Santa! XD Oh my!

So beware, there is FLUFF to be had up ahead! :D

I named Olga's daughter Angela as a reference to Angela Orosco from Silent Hill 2. But that's actually because Broken Rose once cosplayed Angela and thought her to be an awesome character, so there you have it! ...And I am never one to skip out on a good opportunity for an SH reference. ;)

I do not own any of the characters.

XXX

"You are gonna love this, man." Gerald grinned at his best friend. "I got you a pretty good gig."

"Really?" Arnold looked hopeful and relieved. "That's great Gerald, I'm out of money and I don't want to ask my parents or grandparents, since they have enough to buy and worry about, but I still have to get a few more things. You got me a good job?"

"You bet I did! Spoke to my man Fuzzy Slippers, and he tells me that they're in need of someone to be the Mall Santa's little helper! You know, one of the elves that hangs around and helps out and takes the photos and stuff. So I called 'em up and said you could take the job! The pay is pretty good, for that kinda job, especially since Christmas is pretty close now!"

Arnold's face fell. "What? I have to be an elf to the mall Santa?"

"Well yeah!" Gerald nodded, and laughed. "You're great with kids, you love helpin' out, it's right up your ally!"

"But Gerald, I..." He sighed heavily, shaking his head. "It's embarrassing!"

"Come on man, you need this little gig, the pay's pretty good, and it's only until Christmas!"

"Which is in two weeks." Arnold added. He looked at the elf costume that Gerald was holding, and sighed as he took it. As much as he enjoyed being around children and helping out other people, he wasn't much into the idea of looking very silly while doing it. No sixteen-year-old boy wanted to be caught dead wearing an elf costume, Christmas season or not. It was going to be so humiliating since he knew his classmates would see him at the mall. Inevitable embarrassment was going to be had.

Arnold groaned, knowing he pretty much had no choice. He needed this job, and it was pretty much all he had as an option right now if it meant he would make enough money to buy the remaining Christmas gifts he wanted to get.

This was going to be a LONG two weeks.

XXX

"So Arnold, it's going to be pretty straightforward." Said Devin Smith, a man in his thirties who was the mall Santa this year. He was a college professor, teaching Humanities and Philosophy, and knew Arnold through Miles since they both worked at Hillwood University. "Help the kids if they need it, make sure everyone stays in line, take the photos, and give them the candy canes before they leave." He smiled warmly at the young man as he suited up for his next shift as Santa Claus. "Do you have any questions?"

Arnold shook his head. "No, Mr. Smith. I've got it now." He put on the elf hat with jingle bells on the end of the pointed ends of it, looking forlorn. The costume consisted of a red tunic, a green long-sleeved shirt, green tights, red felt curly-toed slippers, and the green and red hat.

Devin noticed and patted his shoulder. "Hey, I know it's not easy, and I'm sure your classmates will laugh at you, but don't worry about it, okay? I felt as nervous as you did when I was actually appointed as an elf years ago when I was younger, and then again when I was Santa for the first time two years ago. Now, I'm used to it and don't care what people think. You're going to do fine, Arnold. I trust you, and you've helped me before, I know you can do it again."

It was true. Devin and his daughter Laura were on pretty bad terms with one another after her mother died. Laura was a couple of years younger than Arnold and a freshman in the same school, and he had been the one to tutor her in Math since Phoebe was unavailable to do so at the time. She had ended up confiding in him that she missed her mother and that she and her father were just not getting along, mostly on her part. He had given her, and him, a little advice on reconnecting and it wasn't long before Devin and Laura had a far better relationship.

The older man's words reassured Arnold a bit and he nodded. "You're right. I'll do my best, Mr. Smith."

"Glad to hear it, Arnold." Devin smiled and put on his fake beard and adjusted his hat to hide his black hair some more. "How do I look?"

Arnold chuckled as he took in the fat suit and nodded. "You look like Santa, Mr. Smith."

"Ho ho ho!" Devin said and laughed. "Good to hear. So, you ready for your first day?"

"No." Arnold murmured, but managed to put on a brave, determined face. He could get through this. Helping others and tending to children was something he did best. "But I'll do my best."

As it turned out, Arnold found himself really liking the job. He got to interact with the kids a little bit, take some nice photos of brightly smiling kids sitting on Santa's lap, and give them their candy canes. He couldn't help but revel in their excited, smiling faces as they felt as if they were talking to the real Santa. Oh, he could remember being a child on Christmas... Even now at the tender age of sixteen he could still feel the Holiday joy. It was adorably sweet to see a child's smile this time of year. So far, no one he knew saw him, which was a good thing. Maybe this wouldn't be so bad after all.

XXX

It was December 17th, the mall was bustling with customers, Christmas music playing on the speakers situated along the venue and stores, and loud chatter, laughter, occasional angry yells were to be had. The holiday season was sure hectic, but at least it still worked to bring families and loved ones together for the special time of the year.

Today, Arnold was in the back room preparing for his shift. But something was amiss, since Devin hadn't shown up. He was usually the first one here and already setting up. But where was he? He could have been late or stuck in traffic, which was probably what was so amiss in the air today.

Moments later, someone entered the room, and Arnold turned around to meet with Laura, who looked a little worried and a bit frazzled.

"Laura? What are you doing here? Where's your father? ...Is everything okay?" Arnold asked in confusion and concern.

"Actually Arnold...dad sprained his ankle yesterday. He slipped on ice and fell in the driveway when he came home last night. He sent me here to take your place today, because...you need to be Santa for him until Grandpa gets into town tomorrow and can take over."

Arnold gaped. "What? But...I...I don't know if I could do it, I mean I'm not exactly that big."

"Neither is dad!" Laura said. "It's a fat suit, remember? No one will know! Just keep the beard and the hat on, you'll be fine. I'll be your elf today, so you won't have to worry about that. Please? Dad really needs you to replace him. Just for today."

Well, he wasn't about to turn her down or Devin for that matter, he knew what was at stake and that if he walked away, it would only lead to guilt and failure. He couldn't let that happen. It was the Christmas season, pretty much one of the big times of year he'd offer his help.

"All right." He said finally, hoping against all hope that no one would see him. BIG TIME. "I'll do it."

Breathing a sigh of relief, Laura smiled and patted his shoulder. "Thanks, Arnold! You're a huge help and we really appreciate it. Don't worry, Dad will pay you compensation for this, I promise."

"Um..." Arnold opened his mouth to politely decline, but Laura had already disappeared in the changing room to get into her costume.

Looking to the Santa suit hanging on a hook, along with the hat, beard, pants and gloves sitting on a table next to it. It was time to be Santa.

XXX

How Devin was able to do this, he would never know.

The suit was hot. VERY hot. Arnold was surprised he hadn't passed out from heat stroke. Of course that had to do with the fact that Laura handed him a bottle of ice water every now and then so he'd be kept hydrated. But man was it hot! He felt bad for Devin, and other people around the world who had to be mall Santas. Especially in places of hot climates.

On a lighter note, Arnold did like interacting with the kids, making them think he was Santa Claus. Having them sit on his lap, telling him what they wanted for Christmas, with their big happy eyes was so cute. Yes, he'd had to deal with a couple of crying kids or the occasional angry kid, but overall it was going well. Making a kid smile with a simple act of pretend was always a fun thing to do.

"Santa!" A little child around three years old came up to him, holding a lollipop to him. He had blonde spiky hair, and green eyes that mirrored his own, smiling brightly at him. "Take a lolly! Mommy said I should give something back to someone who gives me something. My name is Alex."

Arnold chuckled and brought the young boy onto his lap. "Well, your mother is right, little boy. So Alex, what would you like for Christmas?"

"Um...model trains." The little boy said softly. "They're so cool."

"Model trains, huh? That's pretty cool!" Arnold nearly went on to tell him about the model trains his grandfather had gotten into collecting lately, but held it back. He had to keep professional. "Have you been a good boy this year?"

"Yes, Santa. I-I do my best to be, even if sometimes I don't." Alex said in a small voice.

"You seem like a nice boy, I'm sure you do your best." Arnold smiled and patted his head. "Can you be a good boy until then?"

"I can be good!" Alex brightened. "I gotta go, mommy is waiting for me."

"All right kiddo, I think you'll find some fun surprises in your stocking this year." Arnold then positioned the boy so he could be facing the camera.

"Smile, you guys!" Laura said, taking the photo of the two. The photo slid out of the camera's slot, which she took in her hand and fanned it a few times. Checking it to make sure the photo came out clearly, she then handed it to the mother standing nearby as she waited for her son to be done. "Here you go, Mrs. Grady, thank you for coming!" She handed Alex a candy cane then. "And you too, Alex!"

"Thank you, Laura!" Alex said brightly, getting down onto the floor and rejoining his mother. "Thank you, Santa!"

"Bye now! Merry Christmas!" Arnold waved to them, and turned to Laura curiously. Since there wasn't a lineup at the moment, they took a moment to breathe, and he took a sip of his water bottle. "You know them, Laura?"

"Uh-huh, Mrs. Grady is my dad's boss, and sometimes I babysit for Alex." Laura nodded.

"Wow, that's great, Laura." Arnold smiled and sipped his water again. "Do your boss and your dad get along, then?"

"Oh yes!" Laura nodded. "They're pretty good friends, they have been for a long time, she's like an aunt to me. It's not romantic or anything, but it's nice that my dad has some female friends in his life, it really helps. And plus they keep their work ethics well, they discuss business and work at school, but outside of school they're just like a pair of siblings going through life. Sometimes we all get together during December and have a little celebration of our own, it's a lot fun."

Arnold smiled more and gave a nod. "I see, that's pretty nice. So I guess that-"

He was then cut off when he heard the gleeful cry of a young girl nearby, accompanied by an all-too familiar voice.

"Auntie Helga! I wanna go on Santa's lap!"

"Okay, okay, Angie, we'll go see Santa."

XXX

Helga was in charge of taking her niece, Angela Shepherd (taking her father's surname) shopping for a while so that Olga and Mark could buy some last minute gifts for her without her seeing. Plus now Helga could help Angela find little gifts to get for her parents and grandparents.

Little Angela was four years old, with dark brown hair, inherited from her father, and warm brown eyes. She looked a lot more like her mother, but with her father's colours. Like her mother, she had a bright, fun, sweet, and bubbling and very outgoing personality. Not to mention big toothy smiles that seemed light up the entire room. Thankfully, she wasn't pressured to do her best at every single thing she lay her hands on, Olga and Mark were very proud of her no matter what. At the moment, Angela liked to play the piano for the fun of it and dabble in doodling with crayons and markers.

This had come into play when Bob and Miriam, despite no longer favouring just Olga, had tried to talk their daughter and son-in-law to get Angela going into being an overachiever and making everyone proud. Olga had actually, thanks to advice she'd taken from Helga, put her own foot down and said she refused to do such a thing, that she would let Angela decide what she enjoyed doing, whatever it was, and that she and Mark would be proud and support her in it. There was not going to be a repeat of her own childhood, or of Helga's, if they decided to have another baby one day. While they wanted the stellar granddaughter, Bob and Miriam backed off and offered their support none the less.

It was interesting how life turned out sometimes, all right.

Now at the moment, Helga gently set down Angela to give her arms a break, taking her hand. "All right, let's go see Santa. But we'll have to hurry."

"Okay, Auntie Helga, come on!" The little girl practically dragged the young woman after her as she made a beeline toward "Santa".

Arnold, meanwhile, was surprised to see Helga here, and with her niece no less. She seemed a little annoyed and a bit tired, but was none the less not at all angry or scowling, and even smiled a bit at her niece. Angela walked up, holding her arms out to him.

"Hi, Santa! I'm Angela, and I'm four!"

"Hello, Angela." Arnold picked her up and sat her in his lap, disguising his voice for once so that Helga wouldn't recognize him. Given the expression her face, she didn't seem to recognize him. If she did, he'd be hearing about it A LOT right now. But nothing. He was thankful for that, but then again, it would've made for a good ice breaker. "How are you today?"

"I'm good!" Angela smiled brightly, bouncing a bit.

"Ho ho ho, that's great! So, what do you want for Christmas?"

Glancing at Helga, Angela took on a soft, serious look all of a sudden, serving as stark contrast to her brightness just a moment ago. Placing her little hand on his arm, she said in a small voice, yet still loud enough for them both to hear, "Santa... I want my Aunt to be happy."

Arnold's eyes widened at this as he glanced at Helga for a fraction of a second. She blushed and made a face, looking as if she wanted to run for it. The young girl's words struck his heart, following a wave of sympathy. Angela seemed to be very perceptive for a girl her age...had she really noticed that Helga was unhappy at times? If she did, he was amazed. Not to mention, he could relate. No matter what the torment she threw at him, he would never wish for her to be unhappy. In fact, he liked it when she smiled.

"Angie...um, listen, really, this is about YOU, not me. Tell Santa what YOU want." Helga said sternly, but sounded embarrassed.

"But you're not happy, Auntie Helga..." Angela looked sad. She looked back at Arnold with sad eyes. "Santa, please make my auntie happy."

"Angela Maria Shepherd..." Helga's eyes narrowed warningly. "I said what you want."

"A Deluxe Barbie Play Set." Angela said, smiling again. "Oh! I know! Santa, can Auntie Helga sit on your lap and tell you what she wants? Please?"

"Uh, no no no. I'm too old for that. I haven't done that since I was six." Helga shook her head.

For some reason, the idea of Helga sitting on his lap made Arnold blush, and he wondered if a closer look would confirm that it was him.

"Please, Auntie Helga? Tell Santa what you want for Christmas! So you can be happy!" Angela said, hopping down onto the floor and grabbing her aunt's hand.

"Angela, no! I can't do that, I'm a teenager! Teenagers don't sit on Santa's lap." Helga protested.

"Please?" Angela pleaded, giving her doe eyes.

Clearing his throat, Arnold said, "I don't mind, if you'd like to. You can sit here on my lap and tell me what you want." He was curious as to why she was so sad, and wondered what she really wanted. Maybe it would help her feel better to talk about it to an unbiased third party. ...Or rather, not-so unbiased third party. But she didn't know that.

Helga looked from Angela to Arnold, still having no idea it was him, and sighed heavily. She figured to just get it over with and humour her niece. "All right, fine. But just for a minute."

"YAY!" Angela was instantly happy again, and went to go stand by Laura so that her aunt could get by.

Embarrassed and flustered, Helga begrudgingly went over to "Santa", and right then promptly sat on his lap. Arnold meanwhile blushed heavily, hoping she wouldn't notice. He'd never had a girl sit on his lap before, much less Helga, and it was beginning to get to him a bit. None the less, he maintained his professional front and kept at it, hoping against all hope she wouldn't recognize him.

"No funny business, bucko." Helga said indignantly. "I'm only doing this to humour my niece."

Arnold exhaled and chuckled. "I understand. So...tell me, what do you want for Christmas? What will make you happy?"

A thought occurred to Helga as she thought about it. Sure, she did want some basic things, like new boots or that hat she saw in a store she wanted, the latest release in one of her favourite video game franchises... but there was one thing she wanted more than anything. It was obvious to her right now, and even to this day she still wanted nothing more than Arnold himself. After time and time again of trying to move on, to get over him, even dating other guys that didn't come to working out, she never stopped loving him. And now, more than ever, that was all she wanted. It was the one thing she couldn't have, and it saddened her. She hadn't realized how much she showed it, especially if a four-year-old girl could actually notice it.

Before Helga could stop herself, she came out with it, staring straight ahead from where she sat.

"Well...there is one thing. ...Actually, someone. ...There's this boy, who goes to my school, he's in some of my classes." Helga said softly, a small blush marring her cheeks. "His name's Arnold. And...well, I've been in love with him since I was three years old. Sure, I do want some things, like a new hat or something, but Arnold...he's...really the only thing I want." She couldn't believe she was saying this, and so calmly no less, and yet, it just felt liberating. She didn't feel so embarrassed as she thought she would.

Arnold processed the information, and was very much shocked. He knew right away she meant him, since he was the only Arnold in their junior year, and because of a certain situation that had occurred years ago, when they saved the neighbourhood...the passionate confession atop the FTi building. She really loved him then, and still loved him. Now she really didn't know it was him, otherwise she would never have said that.

Looking at her then, she seemed calm and soft, but there was a sad, wistful look in her eyes. Angela, from where she stood, seemed to feel the sadness radiating off her aunt, and Laura looked on with sympathy, and mild surprise, hiding her smile behind her hand.

He blushed heavily yet again, realizing now that the girl who loved him was currently in his lap right now. It was so hard to believe, and yet, it made sense. All she wanted was one simple thing. That he return her affections. Was that too much to ask? Of course it wasn't. But it did still beg the question if he was willing to offer them. How did he even feel about her in the first place? He knew for certain he liked her a lot, even if at times she annoyed him, but...love? That was a whole new story.

Deciding not to think about it for now, Arnold cleared his throat. "Really, huh?"

"Yeah, I know. Weird thing to ask for." Helga rolled her eyes. "But he's all I want. I wouldn't ask for anything else if I could have him. I love him so much. I just wish I could show it, but, well, I treat him like dirt. What a way to show someone you love them. Frankly, I don't blame him for being dense as all heck. I don't give him enough material to work with. And yet..." She sighed. "Well, that's really all I want. But I know it's impossible."

Poor girl. He wanted to hug the distraught young woman in his lap and assure her that it was going to be okay. He didn't like seeing her sad at all. But of course, he kept his professional front for now, his mind ablaze. "I wouldn't say that now, Helga. Don't worry, there's a chance you could really be happy on Christmas. Just have faith."

"Hmm, whatever. I guess." Helga muttered, looking away again.

Laura offered her and Angela a candy cane each, which she took, and stood up, so that Angela could have her picture taken.

"Bye bye, Santa! Thank you!" Angela hugged his leg happily.

"You're welcome, girls. Merry Christmas!" Arnold said, and waved to them as they walked off.

Laura watched them go, and turned back to Arnold, with an amused smirk on her face. "Well well welley welley well well! Someone's got an admirer...heh heh, and Helga Pataki no less! And that long? Wow. She really has it bad for you, Arnold."

Once again Arnold blushed. "W-Well...um..."

"You know, you should do something nice for her." Laura said, serious now. "You're a caring person, and she loves you...I think it'd be nice if you just gave her a little something to show you care about her. Even if...well, how DO you feel about her?"

"...I don't know, Laura." Arnold murmured, looking down for a moment. "And yet...I think you might be right."

XXX

After the mall closed that day, Arnold headed home to the boarding house in the dark, with the snow falling all around him. He couldn't stop thinking about what had happened, with Helga unknowingly confessing to him that she loved him and wanted nothing more but him for Christmas. Admittedly he was very flattered and quite humbled that someone could actually want him of all people that badly. At the same time he was very confused and unsure of how to go about it. It was a pretty big deal, and he knew he had to go about it carefully.

This was the FTi incident all over again. Except now it just completely proved how much she truly meant it, and how true her feelings were. Of course, he'd had indication back then, despite his shock, and now, he knew it for sure. Helga Pataki was in love with him. If she could have one thing for the holidays, it would be him.

But what could he do about it? Laura had a good point. Would that work? Could he really go to show how much he did care about her?

XXX

Arnold soon made it home, and decided to think a little bit in his room before dinnertime, to think properly about this. Thinking what he could do about it all.

He sat on his bed in his room, staring up his skylight occasionally, when something on his shelf caught his eye. Something pink. As he reached up to take it down, he realized it was the little pink book, from fourth grade. The little pink book he had found, filled with lovely little poems all about him, written by someone he and Gerald had tried to figure out, but never came close to knowing at all.

As he read through the poems, each written beautifully in purple-pen cursive, he wondered...had Helga written them? Did she write them?

It would make sense, wouldn't it? Arnold thought to himself, flipping the pages a bit. She must be the one who wrote these. No wonder she tore out the last page, something must've depicted evidence that it was hers. Why else would she randomly do that? ...Wow, so if Helga did write these...

Staring at the little pink book in his hands, studying the handwriting, the purple pen...it was then that he got an idea.

Laura, you're a genius.

XXX

On Christmas Day, later in the morning around 10:30, Arnold went over the Pataki household, with a wrapped gift and a card tucked under his arm. It was a beautiful winter day, and it was snowing on top of that. A perfect Christmas. He resisted the urge to stick out his tongue and catch a snowflake, because he was on a mission.

A few days before, he had bought Helga a couple of pink notebooks very much like the one he had of her poetry, and a packet of purple pens made by a great brand. If she still wrote poems, or did any kind of writing at all, this would be a great gift for her. He just hoped she would accept it.

Well, it was Christmas, maybe she could make an exception. Despite that he knew deep down she would be thrilled.

Nervousness and anticipation ate at his guts as he rang the doorbell of the house, waiting patiently for someone (hopefully Helga) to open the door.

Some seconds later, the door opened, revealing Helga. She looked at him with surprise, clearly caught off guard. She had on a red sweater with a snowfall and snowman pattern in white, green pants, and her hair was down in loose waves, with her pink bow tied on top of her head. "Arnold?"

"H-Hey, Helga..." Arnold blushed a bit, but kept his composure. "I um...have a present for you. You know, for Christmas."

"...Seriously? What are you playing at?" Helga raised one side of her eyebrow, but he caught the unmistakable gleam of happiness in her eyes.

"Nothing. I just want to give you something." He handed her the gift, and smiled. "Just don't open it until I leave, okay?"

"Um...sure, okay." Helga took it, a soft blush on her cheeks, which she tried to hide. "...Thanks, Football Head."

Arnold smiled brightly. "You're welcome, Helga." He paused, hearing the cheerful laughter and chatter of her family inside, despite that he couldn't make out what they were saying. He knew that Olga, Mark and Angela were there, and he could guess all three sets of grandparents were there too, maybe a few other relatives, since he could hear some other kids laughing in the living room. "Must be quite a party in there, huh?"

"Er...yeah, you know. Our turn to host." Helga admitted. "It's crazy."

Chuckling, he gave a nod in agreement, and then looked upward for a moment. He wasn't sure why he did that, but you could imagine his surprise when he saw that there was a piece of mistletoe hanging in the doorway right above their heads. For a moment he was fixated on it, and felt an odd feeling wash over him. He was only snapped out of it when he heard a small sound from Helga as she too looked up and followed his gaze, seeing the mistletoe.

The two now looked back at each other, both blushing a bit, their eyes wandering around nervously. Helga even placed her gift on the side table next to the doorway against the wall, and rubbed her arm nervously. Finally she looked at him, any sort of anger or scowl had melted away from her features. Now she was curious, pretty nervous, and also, a little bit hopeful. Arnold couldn't help but allow himself to get lost in her cobalt eyes, realizing just how pretty they were.

Not a word was spoken between them, neither of them could say anything. Helga of course wanted to break the tension and just kiss him already, but she didn't dare, she didn't want to scare him off. He didn't seem opposed of the idea, which was a good sign. She just hoped they could go through with it without either of them chickening out.

Within half a second, Arnold now stepped closer to Helga and leaned toward her, which seemed to encourage her to do the same. It almost felt weird doing this, but then again, what would be the harm? They'd kissed before...despite all were initiated by her at the time, and he knew it would make her happy. Why not? It would even help to come closer to determining his feelings for her.

Finally their lips brushed, unmoving for a moment, before they met properly, or as properly as can be, in a soft little kiss. It was gentle, shy, a bit awkward, mostly on his part, but for the most part it succeeded in filling his stomach with butterflies. Her lips were warm, tasting like hot chocolate and pancakes, and she responded tenderly, though she let him do what he did as well. His kiss was shy, but true, and his skin tingled as her hand came up to the back of his neck, holding him there. Arnold felt his cheeks grow hot, and his body go numb, which was overwhelming, and yet, he liked it.

This was definitely not like their previous kisses. For starters, it was mutual. Second, it wasn't crazy passionate. Third, it wasn't scripted (though the third was not, either). But they did share one thing in common, the fact that Helga was not about to let it be a short kiss.

Eventually they pulled away, and Arnold felt his heart leap as he took in the sweet, lovesick smile on Helga's face. He'd been right, it did make her happy. And her love was exposed, though in a subtle way this time around.

Helga opened her mouth to say something else, obviously regaining her much-needed composure, but was shocked by what happened next.

Arnold went to her, and kissed her again. No hesitation, no shyness, nothing. He just met her lips with his own in a very thorough, passionate, but tender kiss. Helga stiffened against him in surprise, and for a moment he was afraid she would either not respond or pull away, but she kissed him back, bringing both her hands to his shoulders.

Needless to say, she was shocked by his sudden bold move, but very much loving him for it! Not only had it been their first mutual kiss, but now it was the first HE had initiated. She practically drowned in him then. His kiss was passionate, but still sweet and gentle, which made her melt and feel as if she about to burst with so much emotion at the same time.

This was the greatest Christmas gift ever. Any of the gifts laying under that tree or the one he'd given her just now paled greatly in comparison to this. Her beloved was far more precious than any wrapped up gift, always. This time she moaned very softly at the back of her throat, especially when his hand came to her shoulder, to establish means of physical contact with her.

Thankfully, neither of her family members came to see what was going on, which she was glad about since she wasn't ready to explain why she was suddenly kissing a boy that more than half of them never met before.

A moment later they parted, and looked into each other's eyes, before the moment overtook them once more. Arnold encircled his arms around Helga, and she brought her arms around his neck and they kissed again. Neither of them knew who started it, but it didn't matter. They just kissed.

And kissed.

The door fell closed as they stepped outside for some privacy, not even caring about the cold around them, and didn't once break their lip lock. Helga was in absolute Heaven, and had been sure she was dreaming, but it was no dream. She was lost in the heavenly kisses of her beloved Football Head, that's what was going on.

Arnold meanwhile couldn't even come close to defining this moment with her as they made out. It was wonderful. Kissing Helga was an experience he just could never get out of his mind, even when he'd kissed other girls in the past. They just weren't the same. Mostly he figured it was because Helga always kissed with so much passion and life, like it meant so much to her and she wanted to give it her all. Just like right now. Even her most tender kiss still had that wanton passion. The other girls he'd kissed had been nice in their own rights, but to put it simply, it just wasn't like kissing Helga at all.

Now her tongue was tracing his lips, begging entrance. As nervous as he was, since he'd never Frenched a girl before, he slowly parted his lips to grant her entrance. She explored his mouth with need and hunger, but was gentle and patient so she wouldn't overwhelm him too much. He could taste so much more of the hot chocolate, pancakes, and other things she had eaten or drank this morning, and it was something very unique. What a way to tell what someone ate or drank!

Her tongue gently prodded his, and he shyly responded, their tongues meeting and dancing a little, and then he explored her own mouth, slowly and with curiosity, working on instinct alone since he had no idea what he was doing. Whatever he did, it seemed to be right since Helga moaned and and pressed herself closer to him, as if afraid to let go.

Neither of them knew how long they made out on her front stoop, but they were well out of breath when they finally parted.

That was when Arnold knew.

As he looked into the sweet, blissful, and loving gaze of Helga G. Pataki, completely betraying her rougher exterior, he knew it felt right. It felt right to kiss her. So right. He couldn't explain it, but he just knew how right it really was. That was the best way to describe it.

He didn't even realize he too took on a lovesick gaze on his features.

Helga noticed though, and beamed happily. Maybe now they could actually move forward, and she didn't have to be so afraid anymore. Oh, she hoped they could! There was a nagging voice at the back of her mind, but for once, she just didn't care. Just didn't care. Nothing could beat this Heavenly moment EVER.

"Merry Christmas, Helga." Arnold murmured in a lovesick tone.

"M-Merry Christmas, Arnold." Helga finally said, just as lovesick.

With a smile, he kissed her on the cheek and descended the steps, waving to her as he headed off down the street, with the snow falling ceaselessly around them. Helga watched him go for a good two minutes until his form disappeared over the street, and she slowly let herself back into the house.

Picking up her gift, she hurried upstairs to investigate it herself so that no one would see what he got her. Or even that he gave her something in the first place. Once safe in her room, she sat down on the bed, and carefully removed the wrapping paper from the box, placing it aside to save, and opened it to reveal the notebooks and the pens, much to her surprise.

Wait, did this mean...?

Helga saw the card, and removed it from the envelope, reading what he wrote inside.

Merry Christmas!

I told you that you would be happy on Christmas.

Love, Santa