Disclaimer / A/N : All characters belong to Craig Bartlett / Viacom / etc. Teen for language & situations. Any pop-culture references have been cross-checked with Wikipedia and marked with an asterisk (*).
Well that was a long hiatus. Thanks for keeping up all this time, please remember to review! That's what fueled me, honestly.
The pixie-cut blond walked closer to the door, and it opened on its own accord, a blinding white light engulfing her vision.
She squinted, attempting to get a grip of her surroundings. Crossing the threshold, the door closed softly. She instinctively looked down at her feet as they accidentally stepped on something, and found the fair prizes laying haphazardly about. This caused her to start panicking.
"Uh...?" Her eyes darted frantically, adjusting to the white everything. Arnold's once blurry silhouette came into view along with a large oak desk and the back of a leather chair. "Arnold...?"
He quickly strode to her side, pulling her by the wrist toward the desk. Helga furrowed her eyebrows at the situation.
"Helga." A stranger's voice pierced the relative silence.
Helga wriggled her hand out of her love's grasp, choosing instead to wave her arms about toward the direction of the chair. "What in God's name is happening?"
The voice answered, "Your mission to aid your respective parents has been compromised. It is in your best interest to go back home immediately."
The blond girl had enough of this. She was sent back to the past against her will, and now she'll be sent forward the same way?
She drew her lips into a thin line. "We're going to complete our missions, sir. With or without your help. Just tell us what happened. I don't think we've done anything 'wrong' with the cards we were dealt with. Also, it isn't like we know how to get home in the first place!"
By this time, Arnold was looking nervously between the girl and the chair, picking up his own resolve. "Frankly, I don't agree with being kept so much in the dark about something we're supposed to handle, either."
Helga's eyes flickered toward his, making sure of his solidarity. The man spoke once more.
He sighed tiredly, "We prepared for this. Very well." Mr. Smith stood up, grey suit and fedora fully visible, though still capable of concealing his own features. The tall man, though not overtly muscular, walked toward the seemingly endless corridor behind the desk and chair he sat at.
Arnold's face crinkled in confusion, unable to fit the room into the boarding-house's blueprint he thought he knew so well.
A remote emerged from the man's pocket, an inevitable click following afterward. The surrounding light dimmed, leaving the back wall visible with a projection emerging at the middle.
A man stands against a fence, obviously reading the words he is saying.
Greetings. I am an ordinary citizen, just pulled from the street; paid ten bucks to read this aloud. (Man holds up folded bill, looking back and forth from the lens and possibly the cue-card person, who is out of view.) If you are viewing this now, your mission has been compromised. Either due an outside source, or perhaps, even yourselves. (Man looks nervously at the same person.) Smith has been instructed to show you this video if you have chosen to stay, despite the circumstances. This film will self-distruct …? after one viewing.
(The video changes over to another man; an older man with grey hair, dressed similarly to Smith, standing inside an office space.) You have found yourself in a foreign time. Though unwittingly sent here, you now have a certain goal or goals in mind before attempting to leave. This organization is in indirect contact with the group or civilization of which you've obtained the ability to travel in time from. We, the Organization, do not have the 'power'; we simply protect those who do. We heavily monitor those who are listed to have appeared or will appear; and notify them when a mishap has occurred that may jeopardize the timeline. We will do anything in our ability; from physical protection, to memory-erasing; in order to 'cover your tracks' so to speak. You can imagine that although there have only been a handful of people in history to use our service; we will never go out of business.
You have our guarantee that no hair will be out of place, regardless of whether your mission has been completed or not– our only objective is to return you safely. We are at your disposal, but you will never know who we are.
The footage cuts off while a small explosion is heard between the walls, lights regaining their intensity. The two teenagers look a little overwhelmed as Mr. Smith finally speaks again.
"Arnold, because of the amulet around your neck, it is completely in your control whether or not you and Helga leave. We cannot force you."
The boy in question immediately clutched his chest, causing the girl beside him to swivel her head at his direction.
Smith continued, "That being said, I reiterate our organization merely aids the travelers of this ancient magic; nothing else. As you have probably ascertained, you were sent back in time, specifically by the Green-Eyed people, for both your own benefit and for the greater good. Now, as for active measures in 'covering your tracks', we can only do what is ordered while you are here. That is, the people whose memories you choose to have keep, or memories of people you weren't aware have been affected will stay intact. Once you leave, if something hasn't been implicitly stated, we will not hesitate to go to the extreme. Is that clear to you both?"
The two nodded numbly, letting the information sink in. Helga's voice piped up.
"How... how closely have we been monitored?"
"You have not been bugged as of late. Though some of our clients are from the future, we keep ourselves within the present with our technology for the most part, and your privacy has been respected."
Arnold raised his hand a bit, drawing attention toward him. "How were we compromised?"
"The over-seas student in your class has developed a fascination with the amulet which he can somehow see. We have yet to figure out what he plans to do or how this could be."
A moment of silence passed before Mr. Smith spoke once more.
"If that is all, you two should head to sleep. If you have any further questions or change your mind in staying, do not hesitate to stand at the doorway. Do, however, refrain from knocking or making yourself conspicuous when you aren't holding food and/or packages."
Slowly, the blonds stepped out of Mr. Smith's office, into the welcomed coziness of the boarding house hallway, and shuffled into their room.
Sharing a bed once more, the pair found no sleep. Arnold was laying on his back, one arm arched over his eyes, while Helga was curled up away from him, in hopes of avoiding another awkward morning. She had enough of his restless energy though, and huffed as she straightened out beside him.
Her eyes trailed the light that slid across the ceiling by a passing car. She smirked into the dark. "We could just have him ...killed."
Arnold took the bait immediately, sitting up in shock "What do you mean? That's horrible! Not just because it's a life we're dealing with, but what happens with all of space-time continuum when that happens?"
His arms were flailing about his head now, hair crazier than ever, causing Helga to lose control of her laughter which sputtered out by the barrel-full. Regaining some composure, she dried her eyes and rested a palm on his confused shoulder. "Geez, cool it football-head, I was only joking! Lighten up. I'm pretty sure all we have to do now is give Miriam the tickets, find out more about your parents –maybe through Jimmy; and slip out of here like nothing happened. See? Easy as pie."
"I don't know, Helga... What about everyone's memories?"
"Well, we'll list the people we've come in contact with and hand it in before leaving, alright? We just gotta be strategic."
"Right." A few moments passed before he spoke again. "Speaking of strategy, I think the best time for us to leave would be during the Cheese Festival. Everyone will be out of the boarding house for quite a while, and no one would know."
The teenagers flopped back onto their pillows with a renewed sense of purpose. Arnold took this as his chance to take a sidelong glance at his companion, realizing that putting his mind at ease seemed to come so naturally to her, and wondered if he ever could do the same.
Friday's morning came and went quickly without any particular occurrence (except for maybe Helga almost not being able to contain herself when Arnold ended up brushing his teeth at her side after finding themselves late for school).
Was this going to happen every morning to her when they'd be married? She hoped so.
Out of breath by the time they got to the institution, Helga met eyes with an exasperated Miri. "Took you guys long enough! The bell is about to ri—" Just as the shrill sound of the bell ringing reverberated down the halls.
"Good morning students it's October 22; hope you all enjoyed inservice day with your families, we have a few announcements before we proceed with this half-day and alternate schedule..." the crackling speaker-voice went on, Arnold deciding not to waste time paying attention to it.
He was sitting next to Helga and leaning toward her to get her attention, then whispered, "We only have a half day?"
Her eyes shifted toward him, slightly annoyed at the fact he had to ask. "Doi, they just said that," voice in a harsh whisper.
"Yeah well what I meant by the question was what should we do with the time out of school?"
"...You still need a new shirt or something for the Cheese Festival..."
"Actually when you were gone, Grandpa let me—"
The two blonds' heads snapped up toward Wartz, who was tapping his foot at their interruption. Apparently the announcements finished half a minute ago. He continued, "Is there anything you two would like to share with the class that is so important? Perhaps the secret to alleviating tensions between the axis powers*? The cultural significance that comes with the discovery of alternative fuel sources? Anything? No?"
The teens shook their heads, averting the man's gaze. "That's what I thought. Now, I only have a limited time to teach today so let's get right into it.."
When class ended, Helga slumped against the hallway wall, hugging her notebook and folders close to her. Arnold leaned a shoulder against the wall, facing her. His eyes shown he was in deep thought.
Helga huffed,"The discovery of alternative fuel sources would easily mean a whole range of things when it comes to 'cultural significance,' he could have asked that a lot better. Like honestly, who wouldn't be affected by such a drastic change? Hell, even pop culture would be jumping at the chance to make fun of the fact that we hadn't done it sooner. It'll be one step toward self-sufficient communities; countries even. It'll change how we cook, how we get from point A to point B, hell— it could open up an entire world of innovation begging to be recognized through alternative fuels."
Helga blurted that all in one breath, seeming to be paying more attention to the skid mark her sneaker was trying to get rid of on the tiled floor. Midway through her first sentence, Arnold shook himself out of his reverie, a small smirk tugging at the corner of his mouth while she spoke.
Helga concluded, "Idiot."
The boy chuckled at his companion, realizing he will never get tired of her little surprises.
The two blonds looked up at Miri, who was jogging slightly toward them, smiling brightly. "What are you two planning to do with the rest of today?"
Helga opted to answer. Joining her mother to their next shared class, she sent a small parting nod to Arnold, her voice trailing down the hall, "We've a couple chores to catch up on at the boarding house, not really sure we'd be free."
Miri's eyes widened. "Jimmy Shortman's boarding house?"
Helga raised a brow, "...Yes?"
A noise, somewhat reminiscent of a mouse's squeak, escaped the other girl's mouth. She eagerly sat down at the desk in front of Helga, spinning quickly around to face her. Suddenly a barrage of words pelted the time-traveler. "I had no idea that's where you were staying! Have you met him yet? Is he back from his trip? He is soooooo dreamy! He used to take his little brother to the park where the girls and I would purposefully hang out just to catch sight of him!" Miri sighed pushing up a finger to the bridge of her glasses and facing forward again before Helga could even utter a word, "You're so lucky."
Helga was left to stare at the back of her mom's head, completely confused as to what just happened. I have a boyfriend, I hardly gave the dude a thought. Come to think of it, you have a boyfriend! My dad! And also on second thought; I actually don't have a boyfriend...criminy. I'm getting things all mixed up. Arnold and I gotta leave soon before either of us slips...
It took another minute to realize they were in their Advanced Lit class without having had lunch first..she searched her mind for what the announcements earlier could have said, 'alternate schedule'. She rolled her eyes dramatically, annoyed at Arnold for making them miss out on the class sequence for today.
"Helga, is it?" The girl snapped her head up at the sound of her name. She immediately assumed she was being called out again this morning. The teacher continued, eyebrows crinkling at a slip in hand, "The office needs to see you."
A hush fell over the rest of the class as she shrugged at Miri, took her stuff, and left. Before exiting the room though, Helga made sure to scan the faces. Honduras isn't here...
With the parting nod from Helga, Arnold caught up with Simmons and Roland. The trio didn't say much when they walked to class until Simmons inevitably piped up. "Arnold, don't you know the schedule's different today?"
"Yeah, since it's shorter, you should go to whatever class you've got after lunch. And then it's your last period, and then we're outta here."
"Oh, thanks!" Arnold meekly held a hand up as he started to jog the opposite direction.
Roland and Simmons looked to eachother and shook their heads. Roland smirked, "That kid is kinda ...airheaded, isn't he."
Robert shrugged, vouching for the blond, "Maybe he's preoccupied... all the time."
Arnold was out of breath (again) when he got to Geometry, but when he regained his composure by the door, he felt someone was watching. With only a couple seconds left before the bell rang, he darted into the classroom, shaking the feeling off.
"Nice of you to join us... Arnold, is that correct?"
The boy nodded in response. Flipping his journal to the Geometry section, he then proceeded to zone off again, trying to put things in order.
Okay. So, we traveled back in time because of the amulet as part of a 'mission'. Instinctively, he reached for the necklace that lay underneath his clothing, we are in the 70's. My father is just a kid, my grandparents are in their forties or fifties. Helga's parents are teenagers, part of our 'mission' has to do with Helga's parents, part of it has to do with mine. So far, we've made strides with Helga's parents; at least we have something for them to bond over. But... but what the heck am I supposed to do? I just keep being creeped on by this kid and then I learn I have an older uncle who also studied the Green-eyed People? Pieces are here and there, but I really don't understand where I fit in! Especially since we have to make an early departure...
"Arnold, the office is requesting you."
He blinked a couple of times, focusing on the teacher and nodding in response.
Helga caught up to Arnold, going in her same direction. "Honduras wasn't in class today."
"I feel like we're being watched," the boy replied, barely opening his mouth to form the words.
Helga's eyes widened, spinning slowly around as they walked, just to get a bearing of their surroundings.
"I don't see nothin."
"It might just be in my head, what do you think they're calling us for?"
The boy grunted, "Just another needless thing for us to be spending our time on."
"I know, I know. But it's all part of us laying low..."
The pair arrived at the office, seated once again at the counselor's desk. Exchanging pleasantries, they rummaged through their papers for the forms.
"Ah, thank you. We'll be getting these confirmed by next week or so. We're still going through the usual roster, so if there's any inconvenience we apologize for that."
"No problem." Helga shrugged.
"Yeah, none at all!" Arnold reassured cheerfully.
"Well then that'll be all, you're free to go back to class. Here are some hall passes for the way back."
"Thank you," the blonds said in unison.
Honduras was standing out in the hall, stock-still and waiting for them.
The two tensed up at his presence.
Helga scoffed, "What do you want? Y'know, I can tell teach that you're just skipping class today." She sized the kid up, realizing she could probably pulverize the poor boy. Maybe the five avengers* need to be assembled out of retirement today.
The dark haired kid's eyes widened, hands up as a sign of helplessness. "I just want to know how you have the amulet. Ours has been missing. You are in grave danger if you don't know what that is."
Arnold stepped forward, tilting his head slightly. "Grave... danger?"
The shorter boy nodded, hopeful that Arnold might possibly give him back the artifact. Arnold continued, "Helga and I gotta get to class before someone catches us out. Meet us tomorrow at the Cheese Festival and we'll talk."
Honduras nodded again, but this time at his own misfortune. As the two walked away, Helga elbowed Arnold at the ribs and whispering harshly, "He's the one to compromise our mission! What are you thinking, football head?"
"I'm thinking that he knows more about this thing than us and The Organization is willing to explain. Besides, it's not like he can physically take on either of us. Not that I'd resort to hurting him, but–"
"–Uhhh, I'd totally resort to hurting the kid." She swung a free arm up, mimicking an uppercut, "I haven't administered a good beating since middle school."
Arnold shook his head, chuckling. "No, Helga."
"Fine. But I'll be saying I told you so."
Arnold dropped the girl off to her class before making his way back to his. The rest of the half day went on uneventfully, Miri trying to insist on having the two hang out with her and Rob, even going to the extent of stopping the convertible at the pair's side.
"You sure?" Miri called out.
"Yeah, it's the least we can do for them to put us up like this!" Helga replied.
"Right on,* we'll see you at the festival tomorrow!"
The girl turned toward Arnold, "So you were telling me earlier that Gramps got you a shirt to borrow?"
"Well then let's spend this evening making that list of people we've come in contact with, hatch up a plan to how we're gonna get outta here."
"Yeah but as to how we'd leave, I think that other kid can help us better with that."
"That's assuming he really knows what he's talking about. Otherwise we have to think of back up plans. And if we don't leave by tomorrow, the longer we wait, the easier we screw things up..."
Spending the afternoon in the room consisted of stealing the house radio for their own purposes, finding (and refinding) comfortable positions to sit or lay, one of them writing and the other aimlessly playing with one of their carnival prizes.
"Okay, future Patakis, Shortmans, your friends.. Simmons and?"
"Roland. Oh yeah, even like Principal Wartz and the counselor… do you know the names of your other teachers?"
"Way ahead of you. Here, write yours."
Arnold chose the station, settling on some crazy jazz lineup that made Helga side eye him when a sick saxophone riff went off. He's so weird. Just the way I like him. What teenager listens to jazz like this? She shook her head, Doi. One that was raised by old people. The girl sighed slightly, watching him chew at his bottom lip in thought and rereading the list.
Oh, sweet Adonis. Nay, my simple Achilles... I only wish to be your Patroclus.* To run through the sands of time with you has been such a gift. Have you no idea how the golden light pours through the windows and into the gold of your hair? The slow dance of dust in the setting sun's rays, orbiting your every little movement as I wish I could –as my own fluttering feelings seem to do every time I'm around you?
The door suddenly slammed open, cutting Helga's monologue short. In came running Miles, who full-body launched himself into the bed with the thoroughly surprised teenagers, laughing manically and scrambled to undo the covers and crawl inside; followed by a very red, very out of breath Jimmy, apologetically smiling at the couple.
"Hey, what're y'all up to?"
A/N: smh I'm not sure Arnold should trust Honduras boy... ALSO what is this hubub about a new Hey Arnold movie in the works? They better not have ripped me off.
*Axis Powers: During the 70's the US and other political entities were engaged in the Cold War following the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. It was a hot-button topic because at the time, as the US had just withdrawn from the much debated Vietnam War.
**Five Avengers: Also known as Marvel's Avengers. Helga prefers Earth's Mightiest Heroes (Ant-man, Hulk, Iron Man, Thor & Wasp), as opposed to the movie franchise.
***Right On: Slang for 'alright'
****Adonis, Achilles & Patroclus: Greek god, known for attractiveness. Greek half-god, fated for war & his faithful servant, rumored to also be his love.
(Read The Song of Achilles when you get the chance!)
As always please leave a review. If this chapter is any indication, I'm definitely planning on finishing this; just bear with me.