Hey everyone! I know it's been a few months since I've posted anything (I'm sorry!) but this little ditty is something I've been working on recently. They're college age (21 to be exact) so expect A LOT more... suggestive lingo/situations. And NO, I don't mean it earns an M rating! haha. Anywho, I hope you enjoy!

Disclaimer: I don't own Hey Arnold!

Helga's POV:

It was almost next to impossible to breathe in the thick cloud of smoke that enveloped the small enclosed space in which we were inhabiting. The smell of tobacco and day old beer were the only smells tangible, wafting heavily into my nose. I chose to ignore the irritation, too involved with the scene playing out in front of me. I glanced across the table at Gerald, a cigar being held firmly between his lips. I laughed internally, knowing he detested cigars. But in this world it's all 'monkey see, monkey do.' he shifted in his chair, a thoughtful expression suddenly etched on his face. He definitely thought had something good, he was terrible at hiding it. I casually set my elbows on the table, inconspicuously craning my neck to get a better look at Arnold. His face showed little to no emotion as he tossed one of his chips into the pot, ignoring my gaze knowing full on that I was watching.

"Well Pataki... What's your call?" Gerald's voice snapped me from my stare down.

Several sets of eyes fell on me, waiting for me to either run away with my tail between my legs or massacre them. I smirked and reached for my chips which caused several of them to groan. "I see your bet, and raise you 20." I challenged.

"Oh come on Pataki! Really? Again?"


"No way! Not again!"

They all began their little tirades at my move, frustrated that I refuse to back down. Arnold simply leaned back in his chair and chuckled. "Are you guys really surprised?" he glanced over at Gerald "She does this at least once a month!"

"Damn it Pataki!" he hissed, tossing another chip into the pot. "There's no way in hell I'm letting you win again!" he took the cigar from his mouth and snuffed it in his ashtray. "You're going down."

I really did get a kick out of these shenanigans. It was like I was in a C.M. Coolidge painting. Hanging out with Arnold and Gerald, and Gerald's frat brethren came natural to me. In all my 21 years, I had never belonged anywhere. But when I hung out with these guys, I felt accepted. Being 'one of the boys' didn't really bother me anymore. I always thought I wanted people to see me as feminine and delicate, but obtaining a feminine status was far too nauseating for me. I'd much rather spit when I please and punch people. The plus side to hanging around frat boys is they make me look well mannered. I've been to several of their parties over the years and they never cease to amaze me at how wild and stupid they can be. Gerald isn't as wild as some of them, but he's definitely embraced the frat boy lifestyle. As for Arnold… Well, Arnold still acts like the same boy I remember meeting in preschool. He's grown up, sure. But he never actually joined the frat with Gerald, most of the time he lives vicariously through him. I know Arnold has had some wild times on occasion, but he never shares with me. Every time I hang out with the frat boys, Arnold seems to clam up. I blame it on the fact that I don't have testicles. It makes me wonder what on earth he's done that can't be said in front of me..

"Well? Show us what you got." Gerald gestured towards me. He and I were the only ones left in our group of 6.

I set my cards down, grinning victoriously. "Full house. Read um' and weep boys!"

Gerald tossed his cards angrily across the table. "Son of a bi-"

"Gerald!" Arnold warned. "It's just a card game, calm down! And congrats Helga. Looks like you win again." he tipped his beer mug in my direction before taking a sip.

"Why do we even let you play?" Louis joked, gathering the cards and shuffling them. He was one of the few guys in the frat house who didn't act like a dink all the time.

"Because I'm just ever so pleasant to be around!" I began piling my chips up into impressive sized stacks. I couldn't remove the evil grin from my face. I enjoyed Gerald's loss way too much to stop gloating.

"Yeah, you're a real ray of sunshine." Gerald grumbled, still pouting because I whooped him again.

"Oh get over it tall hair boy! Be a man and accept defeat." Gerald hated losing, especially to me. He always had to throw a tantrum for 15 minutes while the others looked on in amusement.

"Let's play again." Arnold suggested. "It's only ten! The night is young."

"Only if Pataki doesn't up the ante like an asshole!" Gerald relit his cigar and took a long drag, turning slightly green as he exhaled. I took great pleasure in his pain.

"No bitching at the poker table! Put up, or shut up." Louis flicked a peanut in his direction. "You in or not ya big baby?"

"In." he spoke to Louis but glared directly at me.

"I'm shaking in my boots Johanssen." I grabbed my mug and took a swig, burping loudly after.

"Okay Helga, that's enough." Arnold took on his mothering voice, giving me a hard stare. He knew it worked on me pretty much every time.

"Yeah you tell um' mama Arnold." Louis snickered, earning laughs from the others. He finished shuffling the deck of cards and skillfully dealt them out again. "Okay, so get this.." he began with his trademark conversation starter. "I was at the bookstore today and I saw Jenny there. You know… that Jenny." Everyone except me and Arnold did a little hoot and 'ohhhh yeah!' Jenny was a well known 'knockout' around campus, and class A bimbo hoe bag. This story already made me want to blow chunks. "So yeah, she came up to me and asked me to reach one of the sociology books on the top shelf. And I was like 'sure thing'." he paused a moment while he rearranged his cards. "The second I turned away, she was scoping me out! Totally checking out my ass."

"HA! Right!" Gerald snorted with laughter. "The last time chicks paid attention to your ass was when it was on FIRE." everyone burst into laughter at the memory. Louis had one too many beers during a frat house bonfire and sat too close to the flames. It was definitely a night to remember. Louis spent over 24 hours in the emergency room getting his ass examined. His fellow boneheads still have the pictures for their own enjoyment.

"She was looking! I don't care what you think." he scoffed.

"So did you actually talk to her?" Arnold came down from his laughter and wiped a stray tear from his eye.

"She said 'thank you.' and I nodded." he groaned. "I nodded! I couldn't get the balls to talk to her. She's just so… hot!"

"Look Louis" I fanned my cards, waving the cigar smoke from my face. "To get a girl like Jenny, all you needed to do was compliment her ratty hair extensions. She would have been on her knees in a heartbeat." Arnold's jaw practically fell to the floor at my comment. I ignored his shock and focused back on Louis "She has no brains.." I continued. "It doesn't take much to get her libido pumping. Just talk about her and you're in."

"Why can't all girls be like Jenny? Damn." Danny shook his head. "I had to kiss Liz's ass for nine months before she agreed to go out with me."

"Maybe because Liz has a brain." I rolled my eyes. "Calling a girl pretty doesn't mean she'll hop in the sack with you."

"I get you Danny." Gerald nodded towards him. "Girls require a lot more than we do to be satisfied."

"You shouldn't be satisfied, bonehead! You should be happy!" the one thing about boys I'll never understand is their perspective on relationships. Once they hit high school, sex becomes their number one priority. It's sickening.

"Well I'm happy… when I'm getting some!" Louis and Danny high fived.

"That's seriously the only part of a relationship you like?" I kept my rage in check, not allowing myself to show my girly sensitivity to this subject.

"Who actually likes all that snuggling and calling each other every hour on the hour?" Danny scoffed. "Might as well put a leash on us and call us 'Fido' for craps sake!"

I slapped my forehead with my palm and sighed. "Neanderthals."

"Not all of us are that way.." Arnold muttered just loud enough for all of us to hear.

Gerald took a swig of his beer and shook his head incredulously. "Aw HELL NO! Don't go playing the good boy card Arnold. Don't try and act like you've never-"

"Okay! Enough of this. Let's move on." he sunk deep into his chair and held his cards in front of his face.

"Oh no, I gotta hear this!" I chuckled. "What did football head do Gerald?"

"We're not here to talk about me!" he chimed in suddenly, panic washed over his face. "Lets just play cards! please!"

"Chill out man!" Danny smirked. "Pataki would get a kick out of it!"

"Hell yeah I'd get a kick!" I cackled. "The football head is about as smooth as sandpaper when it comes to the ladies. Lindsay threw a beer bottle at him last fall when he wrapped his arm around her! She thought he was trying to attack her."

"Lindsay was extremely drunk!" he defended. "And it doesn't matter anyway. We're not delving into my past."

"Hey, if it'll make you feel better we'll all share an embarrassing hook up story!" Gerald smirked. "So, during my freshman year when I was rushing for the frat. All the guys who were rushing got invited to the formal that winter. I brought Kai as my date." a few of the guys did a collective 'ohhhh', making his smirk grow into a full on grin. "After a few hours I was totally wasted. And that's when Kai decided she wanted to fool around. We went back to her dorm and started getting into the groove of things, ya know. But when she went to take my pants off.." he paused, shaking his head at the memory. "I was dead as a doornail downstairs-"

"That's enough!" Arnold grimaced. "In case you guys forgot, there's a lady present!" our eyes met for a brief moment before looking away.

"Where?" Danny glanced over his shoulder in search of this 'mystery lady'.

"I think that'd be me." I raised my hand.

"What? Dude, Helga Pataki is no lady. She spits further than I can!" Danny waved his hand at me dismissively. "Finish your story Gerald! You were getting to the good part."

Being 'one of the boys' wasn't so terrible… but being flat out denied as a member of the female species was sort of eye opening. I didn't feel bad about it, but I didn't exactly feel very good either. I always assumed the boys noticed I was a girl, I just figured they didn't feel like treating me like one. I was fine with that.. But what Danny said made me see things in a whole new light. I was literally one of the boys to them. I could feel myself sinking into my chair, ignoring Gerald's story completely. There were too many thoughts in my head at the moment to care about his boner troubles. From the corner of my eye, I saw Arnold looking at me with pity etched all over his face. The last thing I'd ever want is pity. I glanced over at him and smiled weakly, after a few moments of eye contact Gerald was already finishing up his stupid story.

"So even after we used the whipped cream and chocolate sauce she STILL dumped me! Can you believe that?"

"Oh man, that is golden! Did you two ever talk again?" Danny continued to laugh uncontrollably.

"We hooked up last year!" he smirked. "She didn't even remember what happened before-"

"You know what?" I interrupted. "It's getting late and I really need to get back to my dorm. I have to read four chapters for my English class by tomorrow." I pushed myself away from the table and stood up, slightly wobbly from the several beers I had consumed.

"We haven't even finished the game yet!" Louis pointed at the pile of chips in the middle of the table.

"We'll play next week, alright?" I straightened my shirt out and grabbed my jacket from the back of the chair. "Good night guys.."

As I made my way out the front door, a hand halted me in the doorway. I turned around to find a pair of green eyes staring intently at me. "Let me walk you back to your dorm Helga, it's getting late.."

"No thanks football head. You don't have to… I can handle myself." I shook my arm from his grasp.

He grabbed his coat off the rack and slipped it on, following me down the cobblestone pathway. "I know I don't have to… I want to." he finally caught up to me, brushing his shoulder against mine.

"How cavalier of you." I walked a few paces faster, intentionally leaving him a few feet behind.

"Helga.." he sighed. "I'm sorry about the guys. You know how dumb they can be!"

I stopped abruptly and turned around causing Arnold to run directly into me. I pushed him away and glared at him "I don't care what they think about me." I seethed, turning back around and walking even faster back towards my dorm.

"I'm not blind!" he called out from a few feet away, his footsteps intensified until he was practically jogging next to me. He reached out and grabbed me by my shoulders until I slowed down to a normal pace. "It's obvious I'm not a girl, but.. I know what Danny said must have hurt, even if it was just a little.."

"I'm tough Arnold, I can handle a frat boys criticism. Besides…" I glanced at him from the corner of my eye. "I don't expect anyone to call me feminine or girly… because I'm not." I looked down and my worn out sneakers as we continued walking silently.

When we finally got to Brennan Hall we both stood awkwardly at the steps by the front door. Neither of us spoke for a good minute and a half. Our gazes finally met, his face still maintained its sweet smile. "Um… Thanks for walking me I guess.." I rocked back and forth on my heels, still slightly uncomfortable with being alone together.

"No problem.." he cleared his throat and looked away. "I hope you come back for poker night again Helga, we really do like having you there."

"Of course I'll be back!" I chuckled, bumping my fist into his shoulder. "Someone has to keep you animals in line."

His hand suddenly reached out and grabbed mine. "I really am sorry about the way they addressed your… femininity."

"Or lack thereof" I noted.

His hand squeezed mine briefly before he leaned in and pressed his lips against my cheek. The smell of cigar smoke wafted through my nose again as a breeze rolled by us, I never realized how good it could smell until the very moment it came from his golden locks. He leaned out slowly until our eyes met. The faintest hint of a blush remained on his cheeks as he gave my hand a final squeeze then released it entirely. "Don't listen to what anyone else thinks." he took a step closer until I could feel his body heat. "You're awesome the way you are... Scowling and all." he added for good measure.

I reached out and gently touched his shoulder, leaving my hand lingering a few seconds too long. "Thank you." When he glanced at my hand I promptly removed it. "good night football head." I went up the last few steps and opened one of the double doors. Before I stepped inside I had one final thought. "Hey Arnold?"

"Yeah?" he leaned against the railing, stuffing his fists into his pockets.

I bit my lip to suppress a giggle before speaking "…. what did you do with that girl Gerald was talking about?"

His eyes widened in surprise and his blush turned three shades darker. After several moments of stuttering he found his voice again "Trust me Helga.. nobody needs to know about that one."

I leaned against the doorframe and studied him. "Oh, you'll tell me eventually football head." I closed the door and walked back over to him, standing only inches from his face. "Don't forget.." I leaned in a little bit more. "I'm one of the boys.."

He stared at me incredulously as I backed away. "Helga?" he gave me an awkward look.

"Later!" I took off like a bolt of lightning and ran. Once I was safely inside I let out a devious cackle of contentment. "I'm one of the boys!" I imitated myself. "Oh man, that was a classic!" I peeked out the door to find Arnold still staring blankly at nothing in particular. Crimeny! Had I actually gotten to him? There was no way that could ever happen… Not in a billion years!

…Could it?

So... here's the deal. As of right now, this is just a oneshot. BUT, if you guys honestly want me to continue this into something more... I will. I have SOME ideas where this could go, but as of right now I'm a little baffled for a storyline. I like to call this "writing myself into a corner". So for right now it'll be an open ended oneshot. UNLESS you truly and honestly want me to continue. (and no, that isnt me fishing for comments) haha. But I WOULD like opinions... (no haters, please)