Disclaimer: If I owned Hey Arnold, I would be making this into an episode and selling it to you on a shiny disc for $19.99, but I don't and so I'm not. You understand?
Relevant Info: Set after FTI and after April Fools, no Jungle Movie, they are 5th Graders (10 years old).
UPDATE: I am re-doing this story (and finally finishing it!) as of 22/3/13 ... yay! :)
OH, and if anybody would like to do me any art of maybe future Helga & Gerald with the younger Helga, Arnold and Gerald, or future Helga & Arnold with Eleanor, then let me know 'cause I'd love to use it as the picture for the story :)
Arnold looked out over Gerald Field with an exasperated sigh, it had now officially been five days since the sixth-graders had successfully taken control of what was rightfully the fifth graders vacant lot and Wolfgang didn't look like relinquishing control anytime soon. Gerald, his best friend, sat beside him flipping through a Pop Daddy comic for what was possibly the eighth or ninth time that day and Arnold was amazed he could still even stand to look at the same pictures so many times over. Not that Arnold could really say much about 'looking at the same thing over and over', except, at least the thing Arnold was watching was actually moving, actually doing something different with each glance. Currently, she was alternating between scowling mercilessly at the sixth-graders, jumping rope and half-watching Harold in his quest to eat another fifty Mr Fudgies before dinnertime.
Prior to this current situation, they had been playing their baseball game on the streets, an old measure they had sadly had to resort to once again. Unfortunately, the closer it came to dinnertime, the more traffic increased and eventually any hopes of finishing their game had been thoroughly dismissed. Helga had stayed determined the longest, typically, but after barely being able to step a foot off the sidewalk for ten minutes straight, she too had admitted that their day of playing ball was certainly over.
Glumly, Arnold and his classmates had sat moping on the Boarding House steps, engaged in various boring and pointless time-passing activities, waiting for something to happen, or at least for dinnertime to finally arrive so they could go home and eat.
"Oh boy, you kids look bored outta ya minds!" Grandpa's voice chuckled from directly behind Arnold, looking out over the forlorn ten-year old faces sitting on the stoop.
Arnold sighed, and motioned forward toward the busy street, "Streets busy, we've got nowhere to play." he explained flatly.
Grandpa settled himself down on the top step, and placed his hand determinedly on his leg, leaning forward to capture the attention of the bored children. "Say, did I ever tell you kids the story of the Hillwood Time Portal?" he asked, with an expectant face, clearly aware that he hadn't and would certainly now be asked to do so.
"No!" Sid cried out impatiently, "What is it?"
Settling back a little bit, Grandpa furrowed his brow as though he were locked in deep thought, and began slowly, "Legend has it that deep beneath the fern trees, where all the ducks gather in Tina Park, lies a powerful time portal!"
"Where does it go?" Gerald asked, now placing his comic down in his lap and paying full attention, after all, there was nothing he liked more than a good urban legend.
"Hillwood Time Portal only ever takes you one place." Grandpa revealed, leaving a slight pause to build the suspense, "Never more, and never less, than fifteen years into the future."
Phoebe blinked a little, and stated quite confidently, "Making us precisely twenty-five years old."
"Exactly, and I'd be ninety seven..." Grandpa said, before stroking his chin and muttering a little, "or dead."
Excitable chatters broke out amongst the group, aside from Helga who was simply rolling her eyes. Arnold wondered briefly why she was always so cynical, not that it was necessarily a bad thing, he simply wondered, just like he wondered a lot of things about Helga G. Pataki.
Grandpa looked to his watch now, and cleared his throat effectively ending the mindless chatter, "Looks like it's almost dinnertime kids, better run along home now."
Initially, there was a sense of hesitation amongst the group, some possibly hoping there was a little more to the story, but eventually everybody agreed that their rumbling stomachs were eager for dinner. Muttering their goodbyes to each other, and then to Arnold, they disappeared in the respective directions of their own homes and Gerald was left sitting on the stoop next to Arnold.
Gerald, who seemed far more excited than Arnold had been expecting, now turned to face him with a look that could only mean one thing, "Arnold, we have got to go check out the time portal man!" he insisted, only serving to confirm Arnold's suspicion that he was about to be roped into another crazy 'urban legend adventure'.
"Hah!" sneered a familiar voice from behind them, causing Arnold to jump a little, her voice just seemed to have that affect, "Those stories are never true." she finished sourly.
"You're just saying that because you're scared, Pataki!" Gerald predictably responded to her cynicism.
Helga rolled her eyes, as though his suggestion was one of the most ludicrous to have ever crossed her ears, "No, Geraldo, I just know that all the old man ever tells is fictional stories." she said, crossing her arms, "Remember the Haunted Train, for example?"
Gerald stood now, and Arnold realised that there was definitely no way he was avoiding being dragged along, "Well, then I guess you won't be scared of stepping into the portal, since you think it's all a fictional story." the tall haired boy challenged the scowling girl with the pigtails.
"Fine, Hair Boy." Helga said coolly, not missing a beat, "I'll go right up to that fern tree... and nothing will happen."
And, with the blink of an eye the two of them were halfway down the street and quickly on their way toward Tina Park, only for both of them to stop suddenly and look back toward the Boarding House expectantly.
"Arnold, aren't you coming man?" Gerald frowned, clearly unsure why Arnold hadn't followed them in the first place.
Helga placed her hands on her hips, "Yeah, Football Head, are you scared or something?"
Arnold considered, briefly, responding to Helga's little insult but decided better of it, it would only serve to cause one of those weird arguments that made him feel all funny. So instead, he just shrugged his shoulders and hurried along after them.
Surprisingly, Helga and Gerald were fairly silent on the short journey toward the park. Or at least that was until they reached the gates and apparently Gerald couldn't hold out any longer on a little jab.
"I hope you do get sucked into the future." Gerald said, gazing over in Helga's direction as they walked through the large green gates, "And can't find your way back."
Helga growled a little at him, shooting him that familiar menacing look, "Not if I don't push you into it first." she warned.
Arnold sighed, "Can you two please stop fighting?" he asked, and he really wasn't just talking about today, "The fern is over there." and he pointed toward the large, sickly looking, fern tree directly ahead of them.
Immediately forgetting their verbal battle, Helga rushed over toward the tree, moving to stand beneath it and Gerald followed her carefully, ensuring to stay on the outside and watch what happened. Helga walked around, did a very fake little twirl underneath the tree, and smirked at Gerald in apparent victory.
"Look Geraldo, nothing is happening." she informed him confidently, in her very best 'I told you so' voice.
Gerald frowned, searching the underside of the fern with his eyes, as though he was looking for a big red 'X' or some kind of sign from above. "Maybe you're in the wrong spot." he suggested.
Helga scoffed at him, "Well, I don't see you under here looking for it!" she aptly noted.
Not willing to be outdone, or have anybody find out that he didn't actually stand underneath the tree but Helga did, Gerald shimmied his way through the leaves and walked around underneath the foliage with her. Arnold, figuring he had nothing to lose and nothing more productive to do, followed him in and also began to pace around the tree trunk.
Arnold hadn't been exactly sure how much time had passed, possibly a good five minutes of so, when they all let out a collective sigh and seemed to wordlessly agree that this was, in fact, definitely not a magical time portal when a big fat looking duck waddled toward them, followed by a blinding white flash and light. And then, everything felt numb.