AN: My first HA fic, and my first fic in two years, wow. :) This was originally a concept I was trying to make work with my What Our Parents Don't Know collection of Harry Potter one-shots, but for some reason, Hey Arnold keeps popping back up in my life, so I thought I'd give this ago. Helga/Arnold one-shot.
The Tooth Fairy
"I can't believe you," Arnold mumbled. His mouth barely opened as he spoke, but he scowled at the girl sitting on the edge of his bed. He couldn't believe she was sitting there, smiling, pink bow askew in her hair, almost laughing, as if she were mocking his pain.
"Come off it, Football Head," Helga Pataki said, "It's not that big of a deal. Worse things have happened to better people."
"You knocked a tooth out, Helga! That's kind of a big deal!" He tried to shout, but as he opened his mouth, pain radiated outwards from his gums, causing him to throw a hand to his mouth. He lay back in his bed, glaring at Helga. "I don't think I've ever been this mad at you."
"Really? Really? 'Cause I'm pretty sure I've done worse things than this. This was an accident."
"An accident? You called me a 'Stupid Football Head,' turned around and punched me in the face. I don't think that counts as an accident."
"Well, look at it this way! At least you'll get a visit from the Tooth Fairy tonight! Free money!"
"The Tooth Fairy, Helga? Be serious." Arnold said, rolling his eyes.
Helga frowned and looked away from Arnold. "I said I was sorry." Really, what more did he want her to say?
"Sorry doesn't cut it anymore, Helga," Arnold said, looking away from her too. "I thought we were past this. I thought we were friends now. But you're still tormenting me, still calling me names, still bullying me, like you have all our lives."
Helga turned her gaze to look out the skylight. She could feel tears welling up in her eyes, but she was determined not to let Arnold see. What was she supposed to tell him? That she had only ever tormented him because she had been in love with him ever since the day they met? That she had honestly tried to be nicer and to be friends, but she found it even harder to suppress her love when they were being kind to one another? That when he snuck up behind her that day in the hallway, she had been declaring her love for him to her old, ancient locket and that the 'Stupid Football Head' he thought had been an insult to him, was really an exclamation of adoration? That when she felt someone behind her in the middle of her soliloquy, she immediately assumed it was Brainy?
Oh, that one might work.
"I thought you were Brainy," she said, lamely.
"You called me Football Head, Helga! Last time I checked, I was the only one unfortunate to get that nickname." He folded his arms, and looked over to her, still glaring. "And even if I was Brainy, what gives you the right to be punching anyone? I thought you had changed."
She brought her eyes to his trying really hard not to let them overflow with the tears she was struggling desperately to hold back. A small smile lingered on her lips, one that tried to say "I'm sorry," but was quickly giving way to a sad pout. She was sorry, so sorry. She always hated whenever she caused any sort of pain or discomfort to Arnold. It used to be the only way she knew how to interact with him, but she thought she had it all under control since they had become friends. Now that she had relapsed like this, the guilt was just overwhelming. She tried to tell herself that it had truly been an accident, that she really had thought it was Brainy, but if Arnold was having none of it, she couldn't even convince her conscience of it.
The truth was that she hadn't changed. She was still the shy, insecure little girl that had fallen in love with Arnold and who had no idea how to express it.
And here she was, staring at the boy she loved. And all he could do was glare at her. Glare at her with a sort of anger she had rarely seen him direct to anyone. And it was all directed at her.
"Well Helga?" Arnold said, "What do you have to say for yourself."
Helga stood up, turning her face away. "I'm sorry Arnold."
With that, she walked out of the room.
Late that night, Arnold lay sleeping not-so-soundly in his bed. His grandparents had forced a strange combination of sleeping pills, aspirin and herbal remedies down his throat, and he finally found himself able to drift off into sleep despite the pain, albeit fitfully and with peculiar drug-induced dreams.
He was in the midst of an especially interesting one, riding dinosaurs through the halls of P.S. 118 with Gerald and his grandfather, when he heard the light clattering of a window opening and closing.
"Mrrrgghhhaaaa?" He mumbled, prying his eyes open a crack. Everything was blurry and hazy; he wondered if he was still dreaming.
Something was descending from the ceiling. He desperately tried to focus his eyes on it, but couldn't make out the exact shape. Was it a person? Yeah…yeah, it was definitely a person – a girl! He could make out the shape of her dress now. A girl coming from the sky? It must be an angel…or…or…
"Who…are you?" He croaked.
The angel threw her arms up in the air. "I'm the freaking Tooth Fairy, Arnoldo, who do you think it is?"
"The…Tooth Fairy?" Arnold said, confused. He tried to sit up and reach out to her, but only managed to be able to lift one of his arms and flop over to his side.
"Woah…you're a little messed up there, Football Head. I didn't think I hit you THAT hard." The Tooth Fairy walked – or, as it seemed to Arnold, glided – over, and perched on the edge of his bed, lightly lifting his arm and helping him to sit up in bed.
"'Sokay," Arnold slurred, "You're gonna…you're gonna give me money."
The Tooth Fairy frowned and lifted an eyebrow. "You're suing me now? Listen, Arnold, buddy, it's really not—"
"No! Helga said…Helga said…FREE MONEY!" He drooled a little as he tried to shout the ending of his sentence.
The Tooth Fairy sighed, pulled out a handkerchief from her pocket, and leaned over to wipe his face. "You're a mess, Football Head. I'm guessing your kooky grandma's got you on all kinds of drugs right now. Well, okay, if you think I'm the Tooth Fairy, I'll be your Tooth Fairy...but hey, I just came here to apologize again."
"Pa…pa…palagize?" Arnold stuttered, as the fairy patted his face clean of drool.
"Yeah, you know, for hitting you." She leaned back and sighed. "You know, I could probably just sit here and confess my love for you and you wouldn't even notice." She turned to look at Arnold, who was already nodding back to sleep, sitting up. "Ha, you know, you're even cute when you're drooling all over yourself."
"Mahngafoolapat," Arnold replied, matter-of-factly.
The fairy laughed. "Maybe I'll just come back when you're more coherent and more likely to remember my heart-felt apology."
She paused for a second, looking Arnold up and down. "But hey, while I'm here…"
Slowly, she inched closer and closer to him, pulling herself over his body until their faces were centimeters apart. Arnold's eyes drifted wearily back open.
"I love you, Football Head," Helga whispered. Slowly, she brought her lips to his.
What a dream, Arnold thought, closing his eyes again.
Suddenly, Helga was jumping away from him, and Arnold watched dreamily as his Tooth Fairy ascended back into the Heavens, leaving only the clattering of the skylight window closing behind her.
What a nice dream, Arnold thought to himself again, before he drifted back off to sleep.