First entry in the series “Helga’s Sessions” and only one not to depict a session, instead taking place shortly after the first session (from “Helga On The Couch”) and two days before the second session. Helga goes home, talks to Phoebe, and thinks about her first therapy session and what therapy with Doctor Bliss might mean for her in the future.
Unnecessarily Long And Precise Legal Disclaimer: I don’t own the rights to Hey Arnold or any of its characters. I’m using these characters without permission, but I’m writing this purely for my own pleasure – not for the sake of copyright infringement – and therefore I wouldn’t try to make money off this story even if someone were willing to pay for it, nor would I attempt to use it infringe on the profits of Nickelodeon or Viacom Incorporated.
Author’s Note: In the episode “Helga On The Couch” – which inspired this fan fic – Doctor Bliss tells Helga that they’ll be meeting Tuesdays and Thursdays after school. For the purposes of this series, I’m assuming that the episodes of “Hey Arnold” take place mostly in the order in which they’re listed on the episode guide on Wikipedia, meaning for example that the next episode listed there after HOTC is the earliest one to take place after it in chronological terms (the episode in question is “Dino Checks Out”). I’m also assuming that HOTC takes place over a Monday (the day Bliss recommended Helga for treatment) and a Tuesday (the day the session actually happens).
My plan is for each fan fic in this series – aside from this first one – to cover one session, so I’ll always put a note at the beginning of each entry mentioning which episode the session takes place before or during, as well as which one it takes place after and how long after. This entry takes place immediately after the events of “Helga On The Couch”.
a story based on a television series and set of characters that are all the creation of Craig Bartlet and intellectual property of Nickelodeon and Viacom
Helga Pataki turned away from the oranges she’d just hallucinated were copies of Arnold’s head and walked home with a spring in her step. For once, she was too happy to think about the unhappy life waiting for her at home. All she could think about was how good it felt to finally have confessed her deepest secret out loud. “Nothing could spoil my mood right now!” she proclaimed enthusiastically to no one in particular, “nothing!”
She stopped as she reached the Sunset Arms boarding house and stared at it in wonder. “I wonder what he’s doing in there” she sighed longingly, then made her guesses in the melodramatic voice she always used when performing her monologues about loving Arnold. “Maybe plotting a way to help another unfortunate soul in need, or enjoying some strange but brilliant pastime he invented with those strange but lovable grandparents and boarders he lives with. Or perhaps his football-shaped brain is lost in some deep, naïve but profound thoughts about life.” Actually, Arnold was just staring at his homework, wishing he could be doing something else instead that wasn’t so painfully tedious, but of course, Helga didn’t know that.
Helga continued spinning, skipping and dancing until she reached home, then sighed, knowing what was probably waiting for her inside. Still, she reminded herself, in two days she wouldn’t have to go home as soon, since she’d be seeing Doctor Bliss again and then staying over at Phoebe’s house. She could endure the rest of today and the periods before and after school tomorrow, right? I’ve endured Bob and Miriam for my whole life she thought bitterly, less than two days should be a piece of cake. She tried not to think about the chunks of Friday, Monday and Tuesday or entire weekend she’d have to spend with them between her second and third sessions, much as most children looking forward to the weekend try not to think of the Monday coming after it.
Just as expected, she came in to find no one in the living room. Checking the kitchen, she found Miriam sleeping with her head on the table, arms curled around her blender. A cup lay near the chair with a puddle of smoothie leaking out. Helga scowled, went up to her room, and slammed the door. Then she dropped down on the bed, picked up the phone on the table next to the bed, and dialed Phoebe’s phone number.
Phoebe was in the middle of homework when her mother informed her that Helga was on the phone for her. She put the receiver up to her ear, not sure what to expect. Did she need to cancel their plans tomorrow? That would be disappointing. Perhaps she needed to talk about “Ice Cream”, or her family, or some other personal matter? That sort of conversation was rare between them, but it had been known to happen.
“Hey, Pheebs, you will not believe what happened!” she chattered excitedly. It was a surprise to hear Helga so happy, Phoebe thought, but a pleasant surprise. She opened her mouth to ask what happened, but Helga kept going.
“Therapy was great!”
“I’m glad, Helga” Phoebe said cheerfully. She’d privately worried that Helga might refuse to let therapy work despite for her the fact that she could really use it. It seemed as though those fears had proved unnecessary. “Would you like to tell me more, or would you rather keep in confidence?”
“Weeeeeellllll” said Helga, drawing out the work “well” in a cheery and goofy way that was strikingly out of character for her. “We jumped rope, and I talked about my family and…y’know, ice cream.” Helga had wondered if her newfound burst of confidence after her therapy session would enable her to mention Arnold by name when talking about her feelings for him without being forced to. Apparently not, but it didn’t detract from Helga’s rare good mood for very long. “Oh, and she said I shouldn’t sock Brainy anymore”.
There was a hint of dissatisfaction in Helga’s voice when she added that last part. She felt completely within her rights in punching someone who literally breathed down her neck and wouldn’t leave her alone. Perhaps, Helga thought, she should try to stop anyway if it was really so important to Doctor Bliss – who Helga was already quite fond of – but she couldn’t think how she was going to do that. Her good mood and excited tone returned quickly, however. “But I can’t even begin to describe how free I felt, Pheebs! It was like this huge, terrible weight that’s been bearing down on my soul my whole life was finally lifted off me!”
“I’m very happy for you, Helga” Phoebe reiterated. Helga continued to chatter excitedly about her session for almost as long as the session itself had lasted. Phoebe seldom got a word in other than telling Helga for the umpteenth time how happy she was for her, but Phoebe didn’t mind. She wished her best friend had the kind of life that allowed her to be even 12% this happy on a typical day. Eventually, Helga reluctantly said goodbye, hung up, and lay down on her bed trying to get her homework done. Her extreme joy made it difficult to concentrate, but she managed to make significant progress before getting hungry.
As per usual in the Pataki household, there was no official dinner. Everyone just ate whatever they found lying around the fridge and cabinets, and they ate at different times. Bob ate first, and then spent most of the night watching TV, followed by chattering excitedly on the phone about new successes within his business or the excitement of Olga coming home in a couple weeks, followed by watching more TV. Miriam alternately slept, than drank more smoothies, than sat around, then slept some more for most of the afternoon and evening. Helga spent most of the afternoon and evening on her homework, then the rest of the evening writing poems about Arnold.
After another melodramatic speech to her shrine, Helga went to bed with a big smile on her face. In her dreams, she became lighter and floated off the ground slightly as she visited Doctor Bliss office, and the kind women helped her push away the rainclouds that looked like Lila, Harold, her family, or her own face telling her she was a “sick basket case” for stalking Arnold and building shrines to him. She was transformed into a happy, confidant person who swept Arnold off his feet and won more trophies than Olga by entering her shrines and poetry in contests. It was quite disheartening to wake up the next morning and be reminded of the reality, and the old, angry Helga was back for most of Wednesday.