Disclaimer: None of the characters in the story are mine. I've just borrowed them to take them out for a spin. This is purely for entertainment purposes and no profit has been made.
Adult rating: There is sex and violence. No one under 18 permitted.
General Note: This is a blend of TV, Batman movie franchise and a wee bit of comics. This is how it could have been with just a few changes of fate. Or at least, my interpretation of what could have been. So, yes this is my first actual fan fiction. To be honest the reason I wrote it was because I couldn't stand Barbara Gordon being in a wheelchair.
Questions or Comments: Feel free. firstname.lastname@example.org
Jack Napier clawed at the out stretched hand of Batman. He knew that, although the fall wasn't far, the tank holding the chemical below him would definitely kill him. He could feel his grip slipping, panic shot through him as he made a grab for the rail with his other hand. When his hand slipped out of Batman's everything seemed to freeze before gravity reasserted itself. Before he could voice his terror he felt himself being jerked up by the back of his coat. A strong hand gripped his arm pulling him up. He mentally cursed the gratefulness he felt while held by Batman's firm grip. It was amazing, the strength the vigilante exposed as he lifted Napier over the railing of the catwalk. Napier knew he didn't have a chance in hell of escaping. Not that he could even think of escaping right now, his legs would barely hold him up after the adrenaline fled his body.
"I guess I should thank you," Jack Napier said while still trying to catch his breath.
"No thanks necessary, I'm happy to put you behind bars," Batman responded as he slapped cuffs onto Napier.
Jack wasn't afraid of prison. It was just a box, one that he would eventually escape. He smiled thinking it all terribly funny, though the smile never reached his eyes. "The thing about a Jack in the box is, we always pop up," he said, laughing at his own joke. He'd be back; it was only a matter of time.
"Not without someone turning the crank," Batman replied before giving him a shove at the waiting police officers.
Two years later
"Selena!" Batman's voice rang out in the underground cavern. He knew he had to stop her. Killing the bastard may have been something both of them wanted, but if she killed him there would be no future for them. She would always be a criminal. He would always have to stop her.
"He deserves this! You know he deserves this!" Catwoman yelled back. Her voice shook with anger, yet under the anger he could hear the pain.
He took a step closer to them. "It's not worth it. He's not worth it," he implored. He took another step closer meeting Selena's angry gaze. Bruce Wayne reached up tearing the mask that hid him from the world. "It's not worth losing us," Bruce said, holding out his hand in supplication.
Selena Kyle stared at him, marveling at the man behind the mask. He was such a contradiction of controlled anger and naïve trust, always believing that good would conquer evil. She knew he truly believed that they could be together. He believed that they could be happy together. Catwoman tightened her grip on Max unconsciously as the need to destroy him ran through her. She pushed the impulse down. Maybe they could be happy or maybe they were fooling themselves. How could they both drop their masks? They were the masked vigilante and criminal more than they were Bruce and Selena.
She wanted him anyway. She wanted the happy ending, the kids, the dog and the love. She did love him. She loved him that first awkward date they had. She loved him when they had danced at the ball. She loved him on the rooftop when they'd fought and kissed. She thought she may have loved him the moment she saw him, both of them, Batman and Bruce.
"Is there an 'us' Bruce? Can there ever really be an 'us'?"
He moved within arms reach of her. "Let him go. Let him go; be with me," he pleaded, making himself truly vulnerable for the first time since his parents were killed.
She released her captive before she could change her mind. Even through their gloves she could feel the warmth of his hand. It was strong and comforting. She let him pull her into him. This was what she wanted, more than revenge, more than the thrill that came with Catwoman, she wanted him. She wanted the life they could have together.
"Thank you," Bruce whispered. He didn't know if he was thanking Selena or God or both.
"Well isn't this nice, Bruce Wayne and Selena Kyle in love," Max Shreck wheezed sarcastically. "Or is it Batman and Catwoman in love?" He was going to kill them. He was going to enjoy killing them. After all, it was good business. Bruce Wayne was a thorn in his side, in his business and Batman was a thorn in his side in everything. Selena, killing Selena again would make sure that this business was complete. They both had to die. He grabbed the umbrella he was sure was actually a gun.
Bruce felt Max move more than he heard him. His reaction was complete instinct. He turned with Selena in his arms protecting her with his body. His booted foot smashed into Shreck's face before the white haired miscreant could pull the trigger. He watched as Max staggered backwards from the blow, throwing his hands out to keep himself from falling back into the water he knew was behind him. The painful jolt of electricity that arced through him refused to release him.
Five years later
"Bruce," Selena said making her husband look at her sheepishly. "We agreed that we wouldn't try to influence Helena."
Bruce smiled at Selena before turning back to Helena. "She just looks so cute in her little Gi," he said, pointing at their daughter. She was so adorably serious going through the forms he'd been teaching her.
Selena shook her head refusing to agree with him even though she could tell he already knew she did. "I don't think she should learn to fight," she said yet again. The former cat burglar doubted he would listen, he never had before.
Bruce stood up from where he'd been watching and coaching Helena. He crossed over to Selena taking her into his arms. "She needs to learn self defense," he said reasonably. "It's never too young to start, in fact, it's better to start early."
She leaned in giving him a soft kiss. "I'm afraid if we teach her to fight, she'll think it's okay to fight," she said giving Helena a fond but worried look.
He chuckled softly. "I'm not worried, she already understands more about right and wrong that we do." He turned back towards their daughter. He couldn't help the pride he felt when he watched her. She was only four, she seemed so small but her agility and strength were phenomenal. He was constantly surprised at how strong she was for a small child. Her focus was sporadic but that was expected. One day she would be very formidable.
"If she gets into trouble you're going to be the one that has to go straighten it out," Selena warned before giving his jaw a playful nip. She knew he was right, but she wasn't going to admit that out loud. She really couldn't resist either one of them. She loved them too much.
"She's four, what trouble could she get into?" Bruce said as he swooped down catching Helena as she came barreling towards him.
Selena smiled as she watched them. Bruce started to dangle the girl upside down by her ankles while Helena shrieked with happiness. She shook her head marveling at the little ball of energy. She really was her parents' daughter.
"Okay, come on you two," she said. She didn't want to interrupt their fun but Alfred had a way of making his disapproval felt if they were late to meals. "It's time for lunch. Alfred's waiting for us."
Bruce and Helena both stopped moving then looked at each other. The butler was the only person they both were truly afraid of. She watched as Helena shook her legs trying to escape from her father's grip. He set her down on her hands prepared to gently lower her onto the floor. Her impatient kicking finally caused him to let go before he wanted to. Helena balanced effortlessly on her hands for a moment before she dropped her legs to the floor easily landing then immediately ran towards the kitchen where they took most of their meals. "Race ya!" Was all they heard from the little girl as she streaked away. Neither even bothered to try to catch her. She was also unusually fast for a child.
9 years later
"Is she ready yet?" Helena asked impatiently.
"She'll be down soon Hellion," Bruce told his daughter for the tenth time in five minutes. The girl was one of the most impatient people he'd ever known, which was saying something since he was married to Selena. He watched her pace in front of the stair case, only stopping every few seconds to glare in the direction of the master bedroom.
"We're gonna be late," she grumbled to her Dad.
Bruce looked at his watch. They still had over an hour before it would start. "Hel, it only takes forty minutes to get there," he said, completely amused by the child's irritation. She was so much like her mother.
"We won't get a good seat if we get there too late," she groused while glaring up the stairs again. Maybe if she yelled 'fire' that would hurry up her mother. It was a circus! How much time did it take to get ready for a circus?
"It's a charity event Hellion, our seating is reserved," he reminded her patiently.
She sighed softly wondering if everybody's parents were as slow as hers were. "What exactly is she doing that takes so long?" Helena asked. She plopped down on the loveseat next to her father, laying her head on his strong shoulder.
"She's making herself beautiful," he said as he shifted to put his arm around her, pulling her closer.
"She's already beautiful," Helena replied gruffly, always the staunch defender of her mother.
"Thank you," Selena said from the entrance to the sitting room.
"Something bothering you Hellion?" Selena asked innocently, hiding her amusement from her daughter. She'd spent the last ten minutes listening to the girl pace and grumble. It was probably wrong, but she enjoyed driving Helena crazy when she could. Turn about was fair play, after all.
"No," Helena replied. Her impatience and irritation were long gone now that things were starting to move along. Her father was already holding a coat for Selena to slip into. He turned offering the same service to Helena.
"You look very smart," Selena said, eyeing the child's outfit. Helena had a unique sense of fashion that made her stand out from most children her age. Bruce often thought Helena's clothes were too sophisticated for someone her age. Personally, Selena loved her daughter's uniqueness. It didn't bother her at all that Helena's style reflected it. The girl reminded her of herself at that age.
"Yeah, I do look good," Helena said, casually checking herself out in the mirror across the hall.
"So modest too," Bruce said indulgently as he herded them towards the door.
"Wow, they're amazing," Helena said reverently as she watched the acrobats flying through the air. She wanted to do that. She was good at gymnastics; she didn't think it would be much of a stretch to learn this.
"They are very good," Selena agreed with her daughter. The Catwoman in her thought it would have been more impressive without the safety net. Of course, not everyone was perfect.
"We could do that, don't you think?" Helena asked.
"Don't get any ideas about running off to join the circus," Bruce warned her. He wouldn't be at all surprised if Helena actually tried to do just that.
She shook her head as she watched the Flying Grayson's perform. "There's no way, do you see what they have to wear?" Helena sounded horrified at the affront to her fashion sense.
Her parents shared an amused smile. Before either of them could tease her, shouts and gun fire ripped through the arena. Two Face. Bruce edged closer to Helena in an attempt to shield her from any threat. Helena just leaned to the side to get a better look at the super villain. She'd heard her parents talking about Two Face for months. He apparently was a tricky operator. On more than one occasion her father had returned to the Batcave battered and bloody from fights with the weird looking guy.
He didn't look like much to her. Sure the different colors splitting his face were creepy but other than that he was kind of a disappointment. Super villains, in her opinion, should be huge and terrifying, like the Swamp Thing. That guy was scary. Not an old guy who was barely six feet tall. Her Dad was way bigger than this guy.
The sound of more gun fire made her jump in her seat. She watched feeling completely numb, as the acrobats fell towards the net. She knew that they were dead. She knew because of the reaction of everyone in the arena, because their faces didn't show fear, they didn't show anything. She'd never seen dead people before. He'd killed them. He just killed them. Why would he do that? Helena remembered overhearing her parents say he was a ruthless murderer. It didn't mean much at the time. Now she understood. Now she was angry. She knew the difference between right and wrong. She knew you didn't kill, no matter what. She wanted to rip the freak limb from limb. She would have tried just that if her parents didn't have such a tight hold on her. Why weren't they doing anything? How could they just watch this?
"Do something!" Helena yelled as she struggled to get out of their grasp. Someone had to do something.
"Helena," Bruce said, clamping down on his daughter's shoulder to keep her in her seat. "We can't do anything. We have to let the police handle it. We're in no position to be of any help."
"We can too help! We need to help him," she said desperately as she pointed at the one remaining Flying Grayson who was working to release the bomb from the arena. She didn't know how he must feel, but she could imagine it. Every night her parents went out she worried they wouldn't come back. Every mission that took them far away she waited, unable to sleep. Helena was amazed that he would try so hard to save everyone when his family was gone.
Even as she was railing at her parents the police flooded the arena scattering Two Face's men. Most of them managed to escape with Two Face. She felt angry. Why would someone just kill innocent people? What kind of monster did that?
The crowd began to stream from the building. The stampede left people trampled when they went down or didn't move fast enough. "Let's go," Bruce said. He put Helena between himself and Selena while they slowly made their way out of the terrified crowd.
"We should have done something," Helena said, trying to suppress tears. She was beyond angry, beyond frustrated, beyond disappointed. They could have stopped it.
Selena stopped her daughter turning the girl to face her. "We couldn't help them," she told her. She met Helena's angry gaze. "We weren't prepared. We would have made the situation worse, maybe gotten hurt or killed," she continued, imparting one of the hardest lessons a crime fighter had to learn. "You can't save everyone."
"I would have tried," Helena said quietly.
Selena looked at Bruce. They both knew she would have tried. She was an impetuous mass of uncontrolled emotion. It terrified them.
Helena watched from the shadows at the top of the stairs as Dick Grayson entered the mansion. He was angry. She couldn't blame him, she was still angry herself, angry and confused. She was disappointed in her parents. She was disillusioned about everything she'd ever been taught. A hero was a hero all the time, not just when they were in costume. What really made her angry was the reason they didn't step in, the real reason. It was because of her. She knew as soon as they tried to shove her behind them. They were scared because she was there. They didn't do anything because they wanted to protect her.
She listened to them talk. Her father felt guilty, she could see that plainly. They both felt guilty, that was one of the reasons Richard Grayson was here. He was seventeen, his parents were dead; he was alone. Her parents had arranged to take guardianship of the performer.
She studied Dick from the dark corner she was standing in. He was just standing there staring angrily ahead of him. Her father had left him alone. Helena wondered if he would leave. She stepped out of the shadow.
Dick looked up at the girl who seemed to just suddenly appear at the top of the stairs. She looked like Bruce Wayne. The intensity of her blue eyes was the same as his. He watched as she walked down the stairs to stand in front of him. She couldn't be more than thirteen, he thought.
"I'm sorry," Helena said quietly.
He looked down at the girl, easily able to see the sadness in her remarkable eyes, sadness for him.
"What's your name?" Dick asked the girl.
"Wayne?" He asked unnecessarily. He could see the resemblance between Bruce Wayne and this girl even more up close.
"Yes," Helena replied. She waited for him to say something else but he just watched her. She wondered what he was thinking. "Are you staying?" She broke the silence.
"No," Dick said bitterly. He didn't want handouts. He wanted his family.
"Why not?" Helena asked. She didn't want him to go. Even as young as she was, she knew he needed them. She wanted to help him. She may not have been able to do anything before, but she could now.
"I don't need a handout. I'll be fine on my own."
"You shouldn't go."
"Why?" Dick asked. He turned away from her. She was looking at him with eyes that were far older than they should be, eyes filled with too much sadness and understanding for a child.
"We want you here," Helena told him as she walked away. Her voice sounded strange. It was lower. It was the same tone as her father's when he was Batman.
3 years later
"How do I look?" Selena asked as she looked at her reflection in the mirror. She could see Helena's reflection as the teen lay on her parent's bed watching her mother get ready for the ball.
"It's sexy," Helena said. She gave her mother a sly grin. "Dad's gonna flip."
Selena quirked an eyebrow at her daughter. "I think he's probably going to flip more when he remembers that you were the one who picked out the dress." She paused looking at herself critically. "Are you sure Maid Marion was the right choice?"
Helena gave a gratified sigh at her good taste before lying down to stare at the ceiling. "Of course I'm sure, I have great taste," Helena said, knowing that her mother was right. Yes, she'd picked out the sexiest version of the dress she could find, but everything else looked so dowdy. Her mother was too beautiful to wear something dowdy. Privately Helena thought her Dad should thank her. She really did have great taste and the dress was really sexy.
"When will you guys get back?" Helena asked casually. She had big plans once her parents left for the night. Or rather, once her parents left and she convinced Alfred that she was too tired to watch Jeopardy.
"Pretty late, probably around two or three," Selena replied absently as she smoothed the front of her dress. Finally satisfied with her reflection she turned around giving Helena the patented parent look. "Don't forget to do your homework. In bed by eleven," she said, trying for a stern tone. Really, she didn't do stern. She didn't really do discipline very well either.
Helena rolled her eyes before she rolled her head to look at her Mom. It was only Friday night and her mother was worried about homework? "I did my homework already, it's almost as if I'm responsible," she said smiling innocently.
"You're seventeen, you should start being more responsible," Selena chastised. She really couldn't be upset with the child. She was an excellent student and athlete. She was very popular, which didn't surprise either of her parents at all. Helena was a mixture of charm, mischief and thoughtfulness that everyone seemed to respond to. Even her teachers were susceptible to the child's personality. Certainly, she could work a little harder at her school work but privately Selena knew that she'd rather see Helena live her childhood to its fullest rather than obsess about school work. She was happy to see Helena have a happy childhood. It was all she'd ever wanted for her.
"Dad says good judgment and responsibility are learned over time," Helena informed her mother. "He says I have plenty of time to learn."
"He's right," Selena said smiling at Bruce who was suddenly standing in the door way of their bedroom.
"Of course I'm right," Bruce said, grinning affectionately at the two most important women in his life. "What am I right about?" He asked as an afterthought.
"You think Mom looks beyond se…beautiful," Helena hastily amended her words. She loved her Dad but he really was terribly old fashioned about certain things.
"Oh, I'm absolutely right about that," Bruce agreed before taking Selena into his arms. "It's almost a shame we have to go out tonight," he murmured into her ear softly, attempting to keep Helena from hearing him.
"What on earth could you possibly do if you didn't go out tonight?" Helena asked innocently.
Or at least she tried for innocence.
"Helena," his tone gave a very clear warning.
"What?" She questioned with fake confusion.
"It's not polite to listen to other people's conversations," he reminded her for the hundredth time.
"I can't really help it," the teen said with a shrug. She really couldn't help it. It irritated and confused her that she couldn't control so many things about herself. It was hard to hide most of the differences between herself and everybody else. It was especially hard to hide it from her parents.
Bruce watched Helena for a few moments wondering at the sincere unhappiness in her voice. He walked over to her then leaned down pulling her into a firm hug. "I'm sorry," he rumbled into her ear. "You know I think everything about you is perfect, even you're big ears."
"My ears aren't big," Helena grumbled while holding back a smile. She touched her ears just to be sure.
Bruce smiled at her. He pulled on her ear lightly before he stood up. "Don't stay up too late," he told her as he straightened out his jerkin. At least he didn't have to wear green tights with his costume. God, Robin Hood, next year he was definitely picking the costumes.
"I know, in bed by eleven," Helena repeated dutifully.
"Try not to drive Alfred crazy tonight," Selena added. She took the arm Bruce offered after she kissed Helena goodbye.
"Would I do that?"
"Yes," they both answered as they left the room.
"I'm kind of tired Alfred. I think I'm gonna head up to bed," Helena said while pretending to yawn. She had to be careful with Alfred. Sometimes it seemed like he had a sixth sense when it came to certain things, such as Helena sneaking out.
"It is rather early Miss Helena, are you feeling well?" Alfred asked solicitously.
"Yeah, it's just been a long week," she replied.
"Very well, good night Miss Helen."
"Night Alfred," she said, giving him a small wave as she trudged up the stairs, the very picture of exhaustion.
At the top of the stairs she paused. She listed as Alfred turned off the television then started picking up the soda cans and popcorn that was littered all over the sofa and table. She waited as he made his way into the kitchen. Only when she was certain that the coast was clear did she quietly descend back down the stairs. She'd learned long ago that she could easily slip through a room full of people unnoticed if she didn't want them to see her. It was quite handy.
She opened one of the many secret entrances to the Bat cave. Stepping inside the sarcophagus she pulled the lid shut behind her giddily waiting for the moment when the floor would open into a slide. It was her absolute favorite way to enter the cave. She only wished her father would make another slide on one of the higher floors in the mansion.
Completely unconcerned with making noise now that she was safely in the cave she moved to the bat shrine, as she liked to call it. Inside were several Batman costumes as well as her Mom's Catwoman outfit. She ran her hand over the lightly armored suit. How could either one of them stand to be in something so stiff? She pushed past the suit to get the mask and comm. piece she normally used. Once she had those she closed the shrine then went into a small alcove where she'd been stashing her super hero outfit. It wasn't armored or full of gadgets like her parents' stuff but she really didn't need the other stuff. Leather was fine for the warriors of old so it was good enough for her. Besides, injuries that took other people weeks to heal only took a day or less for her to heal.
She changed quickly then hid her clothes before she finally fit the not quite full face mask on. It wasn't quite as cool as Superman changing in a phone booth, but heck no one could move that fast. She turned on the comm. unit to make sure everything was working. The first time she'd gone out, she left the comm. behind. That had been a big mistake. She'd almost been spotted twice. It was difficult to avoid Batman, Robin and Catwoman with the comm. It was nearly impossible without it. Giving herself the thumbs up, Helena made her way to the garage. It was almost too easy. She'd moved her motorcycle's out earlier. Now it was simply a matter of pushing it far enough away so that when she started it Alfred wouldn't hear.
Helena wondered if this was what her parents' felt when they were flying through the night. Dad used the Bat mobile, something that she couldn't understand. A motorcycle made you feel like you were free. Mom liked to run across the rooftops rather than use a car to get around. Helena had always been in awe of her mother's fluid grace when she practically flew through the air from building to building. It was amazing and something that she found they had in common. She could leap across the chasm between buildings with hardly any effort.
She pulled the bike into an alley. One of the cardinal rules of leaving your transportation unattended was to secure it so that when you needed it, it would still be there. Helena pulled out a black tarp like cloth throwing it over the motorcycle. She stepped back looking at the area to make sure that the camouflage was working properly. It made the bike blend into the shadows as if it weren't there. Batman had some really nifty stuff in his arsenal. Satisfied that her bike was safe she leapt halfway up the building, wedging her fingers around the bricks, she began to climb up until she reached the roof. The rest of the trip to the New Gotham Royal Hotel was just a hop, skip and jump over the roofs.
Normally one of her parents' functions wouldn't have interested her, but a costume ball was too cool. Adults dressing up in goofy costumes had to provide some laughs. Besides, she really loved seeing her parents having fun. Not to mention the fact that she was close by if anything were to happen. Since she'd been running around at night she'd taken care of the odd mugger or burglar, nothing too difficult or dangerous in her opinion. She'd only had to help out her family once in all that time. Some baddie had pulled a gun aiming for her Dad's back while he was fighting three other crooks. She hadn't even stopped to think before she'd slammed into the guy, shoving him so hard he flew through the store front window then slid twenty feet across the floor. She hadn't wasted any time getting gone afterwards. She hid on the roof of another building until he'd cuffed everyone and was on his way. Ever since then she would follow either of them if they went out at night, most especially on nights when they weren't Batman and Catwoman. They couldn't do anything in public without the possibility of their cover being blown, so Helena considered it her job to look after them. The fact that it was a costume ball tonight was just an added bonus.
Helena watched as one couple after another entered the main hotel entrance dressed in silly costumes. Some of them looked great, while others looked as if they'd checked their dignity at the door. Who would dress up as Baby New Year? She was contemplating the wrongness of a grown man in a diaper when a flash of red caught her attention. She watched as a lithe figure stepped completely out of the car with a man the teen recognized as Commissioner Gordon, even though he was dressed as a pirate. She likely wouldn't have really noticed the woman if she hadn't been wearing a Batsuit! More specifically, she was wearing what was obviously meant to be a Batgirl suit! Helena bristled at the woman's nerve. Batgirl was her alter ego! Well, as soon as she could convince her parents that she should join in the family vocation. She had the sudden impulse to go down there to stomp the woman. The thought that it was likely she could literally stomp the woman made her feel slightly better.
Once the steady stream of guests stopped arriving, Helena made her way into the hotel to find a good vantage point. It was easy to spot her parents. They were the focal point of the room. Then red hair caught her attention again as Batgirl walked by. She narrowed her eyes at the imposter. It would be so easy to snatch the woman from the room to show her a thing or two. She sighed softly, she wouldn't do it. It wasn't right. If she thought about it, something she really didn't want to do but couldn't help doing, it was flattering. It was a tribute to her father's legend. Though, it still irritated her.
She moved to the roof of the ballroom after she'd noticed the skylight. It was easier to keep an eye on everything, both inside and outside from her new hiding spot. Just when she thought she might fall asleep from the boredom, pandemonium broke out in the ball room.
Helena looked around for her parents, finally spotting them off to the side of the dance floor talking to Commissioner Gordon. Her parents were watching the group of armed men spread out around the room. She counted six goons wearing the ugliest masks she'd ever seen. They looked like flies but…worse. Then something large entered the room. What the hell is that thing? It looked like a giant bug. Its eyes bulged and it seemed to be oozing some kind of slime from its mouth, if you could call that gaping maw a mouth. It walked into the room with sure strides as if it belonged there. It was heading straight for her parents. She heard the calm voice over the comm. alerting Robin. Helena knew that it would take Robin at least twenty minutes to get here. He was sweeping the East side, which was always pretty busy from a crime fighter's standpoint.
The giant bug thing slammed its leg into her Dad, sending him careening into a wall. Helena didn't stop to think, she plunged through the skylight directing her free fall towards the bug. She used her downward momentum to kick the disgusting thing backwards across the room. Helena was fully prepared to square off against the thugs as well as the bug thing. Before she could move towards the thugs, the woman dressed as Batgirl took out two of the guys with moves so precise and powerful they didn't have a chance to stop her. She never stopped for a moment, quickly charging for the next criminal. The bug, as Helena now thought of him, started stalking towards her. Its claws made slashing motions as it came at her. Her Dad always told her that the best defense was a good offense. Since she didn't think to bring any Raid she decided to just kick buggy ass the old fashioned way. Helena charged it much faster than bug man was expecting from the look on his face. She landed several kicks to its malformed head and broke one of his arms. Well, maybe broke one of its arms, it was so crooked already it was hard to tell. Still the creature wouldn't give up. It sounded like the thing was saying something, but she couldn't make out what it might be. Not that she would have stopped to ask or even cared to ask.
She took a blow to the head from the arm she thought she'd broken. While she was trying to get her ears to stop ringing it kicked her in the side, hard. Helena was pretty sure she'd be sore as hell later.
The young vigilante spared another quick glance for her parents as she backed away to regroup. She was glad that her Dad seemed to be alright. She was slightly uncomfortable to note that both her Mom and Dad were watching her intently. She could almost feel them stripping away her mask and leather to find their daughter underneath. She knew it was just paranoia. If they suspected it was Helena neither of them would have stayed out of the fight no matter the risk to their identities.
The Batgirl imposter seemed to just appear by her side. She glared at the interloper, fighting the urge to throw her to the bug as an appetizer. The woman's low voice interrupted her mental murder. "You go for the head, I'll take out its legs," she ordered as if she were in charge. Helena grunted at her, knowing that she could use the help. Not that she couldn't take the bug man herself, but it would go quicker with two people. She'd pound on Batgirl later.
Deciding to really show off, Helena launched herself feet first at the bug. She angled her boots towards his eyes intent on popping them like a grape. She saw Batgirl knock its legs out from under it. The bugs' downward momentum caused it to impact with the masked teen's oncoming boots. She could feel his flesh give way under the boots. The bug emitted a pained screeching wail from its mouth as it changed directions, flying backwards from the sudden impact. When Helena landed on her feet some distance away from the downed monster, she stood face to face with Batgirl. She glowered at her as they stood toe to toe. She heard Batgirl's surprised gasp when she noticed the glowing eyes behind the mask. They were burning a bright gold with slit pupils. Helena had seen them in the mirror many times. Even to her the sight of them staring back was unnerving. There was nothing human about them when they were like this.
"Who are you?" Batgirl asked when she recovered from her surprise.
"I'm the person that saved your ass," Helena said. It sounded closer to a growl. That's new, she thought.
Batgirl tilted her head in a curious manner considering the masked vigilante in front of her. "It seems to me that I actually saved your ass," she responded with cocky assurance.
"It probably did appear that way to you," Helena returned sarcastically, "since it's obvious that you can barely see out of that mask. You should find a better tailor." She looked over at the bug, making sure it wasn't going to suddenly get up to attack. She'd seen that happen more than once in movies. She couldn't believe people were stupid enough not to check to make sure the bad guy was really dead. "I'll see you around Batgirl," she sneered at the name. She jumped up to the top of the staircase then through the skylight. Sure, she was showing off again, but it felt good to show that imposter that she couldn't really compete with the real thing.
Helena didn't wait around for her parents to leave. The ball was likely going to be cut short for obvious reasons. They'd probably go home soon. She had no intention of being caught by them. The trouble she'd be in would make tonight look like a picnic. She sped through the New Gotham night straight for home.
"Hey," Helena said as she jumped over the back of the couch, landing with her head in her mother's lap. Last nights injuries barely registered.
Selena put her book on the arm of the couch as soon as she heard her daughter. "You slept late," her mother commented as she ran her hand through the girl's silky hair. She knew that normally Helena needed very little sleep, so the late hour was curious.
"Yep," Helena replied ignoring her mother's implied question. "So, how was the ball?" She asked. She had to keep up pretenses.
"It turned out to be quite exciting," Selena remarked casually. She didn't want to alarm Helena. The girl worried about all of them enough as it was.
"What happened?" Helena was very interested to get her mother's take on her performance last night.
"Apparently Killer Moth thought it would be a good opportunity to try to take some hostages," Selena told her absently, though her attention was fully focused on her daughter.
"Killer Moth? What kind of name is that?" Then she winced knowing she probably should have acted more upset than curious. Damn.
"Actually, it was some kind of mutant bug," Selena said slowly, surprised by Helena's non reaction.
As descriptions went, she considered that one totally inept when she remembered what that thing looked like. "Mutant bug," Helena repeated softly. "What happened? I mean, I know nothing happened because you guys are here. But, what happened?"
"A couple of newcomers showed up. Your Dad is doing some research," her Mother replied.
"So the new guys took this bug out?" Helena asked, fishing for more.
"Women actually," Selena corrected. "They were quite impressive," she admitted.
"Huh, that's kind of cool." Helena paused for a beat as she tried to decide if she should ask the question. Everything seemed to be okay. Her Mom didn't seem to suspect Helena. So, she plowed ahead. "Any idea who they are?"
"One of them, yes. The other one is proving more difficult to find anything on."
"Who's the one you know about?" Helena asked curiously. She'd been thinking about this very thing most of the night.
"The teacher? Commissioner Gordon's daughter? She's a freakin' egg head!" Helena ranted disbelievingly. A damn egg head was trying to horn in on her soon to be secret identity.
"I know, it's hard to believe," Selena agreed. "But, I suppose it's just as unusual as a billionaire being Batman and his wife, Catwoman."
No way, this was definitely weirder. She'd seen Ms. Gordon around school since last year. It was only this year that Helena was actually in her class. As far as teachers went she was cool but the woman was a hard ass about assignments or missing tests. Not to mention she was like the president of the National Honors Society of Geek Genius Brainiacs.
"So you thought she was good?"
"Very," Selena answered. "In fact, we're going to invi…"
Helena's name being bellowed from somewhere in the mansion interrupted them. She sat up looking out the door of her mother's reading room. "What?" She yelled back, much to her mother's displeasure.
"Let's go, Hellion! Time for your whoopin'!"
Helena grinned as she hopped off the couch. "You and what army," she shouted as she tore through the mansion heading straight for the training room. She saw Dick drop his bag on the floor before she took a running leap onto his back. "It's about time you got here," she said as she locked her legs around his waist, and then wound her arms around his neck. The first time she'd jumped on him for a piggy back ride they'd both ended up in a heap on the floor. Now he only staggered a little bit under her weight.
"Kind of eager for your next butt whooping' aren't ya Hellion?" Dick teased as he spun in circles as fast as he could; it always left them both staggering around for a minute or two but it was fun to horse around with Helena.
When the ride stopped Helena dropped off Dick's back. She tried to keep her balance while the room spun crazily around her. When she could finally see Dick without it looking like she was on a merry-go-round she taunted, "I was just taking it easy on you last time. No more free rides!"
"I'll give you a free ride," Dick shot back. He stalked towards the teen, more than willing to play for a little while longer. He was unprepared when Helena decided to run. He chased her around the training room, never able to catch up to her. The girl was extremely fast. He almost ran right into her when she came to a screeching halt in front of the person who just stepped into the training room.
"What's she doing here?" Helena asked without taking her eyes off the redhead. It sounded rude even to her. Apparently it was rude to Dick too since he lightly whacked the back of her head.
"You know her?" Dick asked as he stepped forward to greet the woman.
"Teacher," she grunted. She listened with barely controlled anger as Dick welcomed her to the team and shook her hand. Helena stepped back, ignoring the hand that was held out towards her. She and Ms. Gordon had already met. She certainly didn't need or want to shake her hand and she definitely wasn't going to welcome her to the team. "What's she doing here?" She asked just to make sure she'd heard him correctly before. She was preoccupied glaring so she might be mistaken.
Dick looked at Helena as if she were a pod person. He'd never seen the girl act so unfriendly towards anyone before. "Barbara's joining the team," Dick explained. He could see the tension in her body as she stared at the redhead.
"We're recruiting now?" Helena asked scornfully, her tone indicating just how unimpressed she was with Barbara Gordon. "I didn't know we were that desperate for help."
"Hel, what's the matter," Dick asked, wrapping his arm around her.
Helena tore her eyes away from Barbara, realizing that her behavior was going to get her caught. "Sorry, I was just surprised," she replied as she pulled away from Dick.
"Sorry," Helena apologized to Barbara after a slight hesitation. As an afterthought she held out her hand to the other woman, trying to act like she didn't mind touching her. Then an evil thought popped into her head. Touching could be good if done right.
"No problem," Barbara replied, seemingly unconcerned with the young woman's attitude. She didn't even bat an eyelash when Helena squeezed her hand in a vice like grip. She just returned the gesture, although not quite as hard. The redhead really thought it would have been the men that gave her a hard time. So far both Bruce and Dick had been pretty welcoming. Even Selena hadn't seemed to mind her presence. But, by the look in her eyes, this girl obviously couldn't stand her. It was surprising because although she didn't know her very well, Helena had always been pleasant.
"Barbara's going to be training with us," Dick told Helena, slapping the older woman on the back. He hadn't seen Barbara Gordon fight but he'd listened to Bruce and Selena talk about it. If she was anything like they described she was going to be a tough match. He would have liked to meet the other one from last night too. From what he'd heard she was even more impressive than Barbara Gordon. No doubt they would meet soon. Bruce always got his man…woman.
Dick gave himself a little shake bringing him back to the two women in front of him. He was supposed to give Barbara the once over, which he'd done already. She was seriously hot. He wasn't at all upset to have her joining the team. He looked away from the redhead tying not to stare. Instead he concentrated on Helena. The kid being here was just what they needed. He was actually pretty eager to see her go up against Helena. He knew Hellion hadn't been joking when she said she'd gone easy on him. He'd seen her beat her Dad a few times when they sparred. He also knew the only reason Bruce won most of the time was because of his experience. When the kid actually got some experience under her belt she'd be unbeatable. But, today he'd have to make sure he took Helena down. He had a girl to impress.
"You ready kid?" Dick harassed the teen. He began stretching, throwing out a constant stream of trash talk, which Helena returned word for word.
The way they were taunting each other, Barbara thought that it was going to be a knock down drag out fight. She couldn't wrap her mind around the idea that Helena's parents would let their daughter fight anyone, adopted brother or not.
After a considerable amount of innuendo, insults and name calling they began to circle each other cautiously. Privately Barbara thought it unfair to pit a girl who couldn't weigh more than a hundred pounds soaking wet against a man of Dick's stature. One good blow from the man and the girl could be in the hospital for God's sake. Was she the only one who saw a problem with this picture?
Dick, finally getting tired of the slow dance they were engaged in, surged forward with a strong combination of kicks and punches designed to overwhelm his opponent. The result was him flat on his back. "You got lucky that time," Dick wheezed painfully. He stood up slowly. There was no way was he going to let Helena kick his ass in front of Barbara. It would seriously put a dent in his plans to ask the woman out if a girl could kick his ass. He'd seem so pathetic that even he would expect her to say no. He eyed Helena severely. She had the same 'take no prisoners and give no quarter' look that Bruce got when he was fighting. He was going to have to go all out today.
"Should I go easy on you again?" Helena asked amused. She could see that Dick was going to bring his 'A' game this time. She'd noticed the way his eyes had slid in Barbara's direction. She'd seen that look directed at herself enough to know that he was trying to impress the woman. It was such a shame that she was so angry about Gordon's presence that she wasn't in any mood to give an inch.
"I think we should both stop holding back," Dick said, his tone bordered on dangerous.
Barbara almost interfered when the strength of their blows clearly showed that neither of them was pulling their punches. She was amazed by Helena's ability to absorb a blow that would easily have floored Barbara herself. It went on for, what seemed like forever but was only about fifteen or twenty minutes. For a few seconds it seemed as if her eyes blurred when she watched the girl, she never saw the blow that sent Dick Grayson, a feared vigilante, flying back several feet to land on the floor with a loud thump. Barbara looked between them horrified to see blood trickling down the side of Helena's face and swelling along her jaw. Not to mention all the red blotches on her body that Barbara knew would eventually turn into some terrible bruises. Even worse was that Dick was just as beat up and was holding his chest and ribs as if something might be broken. She hurried to Dick's side intent on checking him over.
"I'm fine," Dick rumbled gruffly. Actually he wasn't fine. That last hit had broken at least one rib. He'd have to get Alfred to tape him up, which would lead Alfred, Selena and Bruce to ask what happened. How was he going to tell them that he and Helena had just had an all out bitch slap fest for no other reason than Dick wanting to impress a girl? Well, maybe he could just hobble off and do it himself.
Both Dick and Barbara looked over at the teen to see her bouncing lightly on her toes like a boxer. "I think we're done Hel," Dick answered tightly. It kind of hurt to talk too loud. God, he'd gotten his ass handed to him by a girl. From now on he was just going to let her go easy on him.
"Actually, we're not done yet," Helena disagreed as she pointed at Barbara. The cold look in her eyes gave Dick pause.
"Helena," he began, only to be cut off by Barbara.
"She's right. I need to get in some practice too. After all, this is why I was invited here today, to let you see what I've got," Barbara said as she stood to her full height. She knew if she refused to fight, Helena would think she was scared. Barbara wasn't scared of anything and the notion that this child would think it drove her to agree to this match. She easily had two inches on the girl, plus a longer arm span and muscle. That should provide some advantage, coupled with the dark haired girl's unfamiliarity with her fighting style. She'd need the advantage after what she'd just seen.
Helena smiled at her. It was a purely predatory smile that made Barbara wary. The teen didn't seem like a child anymore, she seemed like a wild animal that had just smelled blood. Refusing to doubt herself, Barbara pushed those thoughts to the back of her mind, while she formulated a plan. She knew this sparring match was going to define all their interactions in the future. She'd either have to beat the dark haired teen or at the very least, fight her to a standstill. Considering what she'd seen over the last little while, it was going to be extremely difficult.
Helena followed Barbara's every move, waiting for the redhead to attack. She had no intention of ending this fight quickly. She wanted to draw it out. She wanted to enjoy this moment. She'd show Barbara exactly who should be Batgirl.
The kick was so badly telegraphed that Helena had no trouble blocking it. Instead of following it up with a counter attack she danced away from the woman. Really, if this was all the other woman had to offer, this fight was going to be over much sooner than she'd planned. She wondered if last night's performance was a fluke, just the woman getting lucky. Another telegraphed combo was easily swept aside by the younger woman. "Maybe I should tie one hand behind my back," Helena wondered aloud, deliberately needling her opponent.
"That might be fair," Barbara allowed. She attacked the girl again, purposely telegraphing another punch. Barbara knew she had her. When the girl brought her arms up for the block early, Barbara shifted her weight and direction, landing a hard blow to Helena's side. Without a second thought she gripped the girl across her shoulders to flip her onto her back. Instead, Helena twisted slightly, breaking her hold then hooked Barbara's arm throwing the grown woman over her hip a significant distance.
"You're kind of sneaky," Helena mocked in a sing song voice. "I can get behind that."
"Guess I'll have to try something else," Barbara replied lazily as she rolled to her feet.
Helena laughed. Barbara certainly did seem confident. Her approach to fighting was also vastly different from Dick's. Were Dick used muscle and strength, Barbara was about control, precision and planning. It was an entirely different ball game with her. "Let's see how you handle this," Helena said. It was the only warning before she launched punch after punch at the redhead, only to have them blocked.
Every strike was getting progressively faster and more powerful, which was beginning to worry Barbara. She didn't know how long she could keep the girl at bay at this rate. Deciding that defense was getting her nowhere fast, Barbara dropped down suddenly sweeping Helena off her feet. Taking the advantage, she pinned Helena with a knee in her back. She honestly thought the fight was over. She had her knee in Helena's back and one arm pinned flat. So it was frightening to find herself being flipped then slammed against the floor with enough of an impact to force the air from her lungs. It was even more startling to find the same golden eyes of the masked woman from last night boring into her from inches above. "I was wondering who you were," Barbara panted, trying to get air back into her lungs.
Barbara saw confusion cloud the girl's eyes for a moment before she realized what the redhead was talking about. Something resembling a deep rumbling snarl crawled out of Helena, vibrating through Barbara's chest. Whatever Helena was, Barbara knew she wasn't completely human. "Do they know what you've been doing?" She asked when she could actually breathe a little easier.
The teen lowered her head letting her bangs cover her abnormal eyes as she shook her head. "I guess you're going to tell them," Helena's tone was flat. All the anger drained out her body at the realization of just how much trouble she was going to be in soon.
Barbara thought about that for a minute. If it were her child, she would want to know if they were putting themselves in danger. "Do they know about that?" Barbara looked pointedly into Helena's eyes when she was able to capture the girls gaze. She waited seeing the hesitation, already knowing the answer before a quiet 'no' was muttered.
Helena lifted herself off Barbara moving back into a crouch just out of the redhead's reach. She was angry with herself. Angry that she'd lost control. She was angry that her secret was out, and most especially angry about who now knew her secret.
Barbara was fascinated by those eyes as they contracted then seemed to blink out. It was just the change of color that made it seem that way but the effect was startling. She wondered how Helena could have kept something like this from her family. How the obvious differences about the girl could be so completely over looked. Her strength, speed and how she jumped out of that skylight was simply amazing. Barbara made her decision. "I guess we'll just have to keep it between us then. I'm sure when you're ready you'll tell them."
Relief flooded through Helena when her scared brain deciphered Barbara's words. Considering that Helena had been exceedingly rude and violent towards the woman she was surprised at the response. She cocked her head to the side curiously. "Why?"
"It's not my secret to tell,' Barbara shrugged as she stood up. She held her hand out offering Helena help up. This time when the teen took her hand there was no attempt to grind the bones together.
"Okay," Helena nodded, accepting the offer for what it was. A truce.
The teen sighed when she heard her name being called…again. She turned around just as Barbara Gordon caught up with her. Helena was beginning to regret their fragile truce. The teacher had decided to take a special interest in her, both in and out of school. This was the fifth time this week that Ms. Gordon had stopped her to chat. Her friends were going to start ragging on her if this didn't stop. "Hi, Ms. Gordon," Helena greeted with fake pleasantness. "What's up?"
Barbara regarded the girl warily. She could easily detect the irritation in Helena's voice. The redhead knew her interference in the teen's life wasn't appreciated, but as the only adult who knew what Helena was up to, it was her responsibility to watch over the girl. "I thought we decided that you were going to cut back on your nightly…excursions."
"Actually," Helena drawled mockingly. "You suggested I cut back. I decided to ignore your suggestion."
"I overheard a couple of the teachers saying that you've been falling asleep in class more often," Barbara informed her. "I won't sit idly by while you flush your future down the drain."
Helena smiled condescendingly at the woman. "Somehow I doubt falling asleep during an extremely boring class is going to 'flush my future down the drain'." Helena leaned closer so her next words couldn't be heard by anyone but the redhead. "I wouldn't fall asleep in class if I wasn't concerned about Dick's safety." Helena watched the angry flush creep up Barbara's neck. Dick had been assigned to do sweeps with Batgirl until the new member of the team was deemed ready to fly solo. As far as Helena was concerned this left Dick with too much to worry about. The distraction could easily get him hurt or killed. The teen didn't trust Barbara's skills enough to leave her alone to watch his back.
Barbara took a few deep breaths to center her. Every time she spoke to the girl her temper flared. She'd never experienced such a loss of control with anyone else. Somehow Helena knew how to push her buttons. In fact, she seemed to take delight in pushing her buttons. "I don't think its something you'll need to be concerned with in the future," Barbara said once she was sure she was calm enough. "I'll be on my own from now on. So, you can get some sleep and start paying attention in class." Barbara gave Helena a serious look before she went on, "That is not a suggestion."
Bite me, Helena thought as she smiled sweetly at the teacher. "You bet, Ms. Gordon," she chirped brightly. She wouldn't do it. In fact, she knew it was likely that she'd be on the rooftops even more now. The thought of saving Batgirl's ass was appealing. Actually, it was the thought of throwing that into Barbara's face that was really appealing. "Well, gotta go," Helena said as the bell sounded. "Don't want anyone to think I'm trying to 'flush my future down the drain'."
"Barbara's really good. Barbara's really pretty," Helena mimicked angrily under her breath. They were having one of the few 'family' night's they'd been able to have since her parents started being more active in the JLA. Instead of talking about interesting stuff, they were talking about Barbara, again.
She glared at Dick. He was so in lust with the redhead it was pathetic to watch. Helena would swear that he had drool running down his chin when she was in the room with him. Not to mention her parents! They thought she was the best thing since sliced cheese. They practically treated her like a daughter. Sure Barbara was really good looking and she did okay in a fight and she was a freak of nature when it came to brains but besides all that what was the big friggin' deal?
"…since we'll be gone for a few weeks and you and Alfred will be in Bludhaven."
Her Dad's words snapped her out of her head and into the conversation. "You'll be gone?" Helena asked. They were leaving again! They just got home!
"We have another assignment," Selena replied. She ran her hand through Helena's hair lovingly. "We'll only be gone for a few weeks."
"Alfred's going too?" Okay, her voice was whiny, but everyone was deserting her.
"Just for a while," Dick promised, seeing Helena's expression. "I just need some help getting things set up.
Helena leaned back in her chair letting out a big sigh. She knew Dick needed help. She'd been to what would soon be his base of operation. It needed a lot of work. But, these days she felt kind of like an orphan. Now, even Alfred wouldn't be there with her. She frowned at the thought. What kind of parents trusted their seventeen year old daughter this much anyway?
"So, it's just me? Can I have the keys to the Bat mobile?" She joked, trying to hide how upset she was.
"Sure," Bruce replied smiling at Helena.
"Really?" Helena asked. Sure her parents were leaving but if she could cruise around in the Bat mobile that would make up for it a little. Okay, it would make up for it a lot.
"You're so not funny," Helena grumbled with disappointment.
He laughed giving Helena a fond look. "It was very funny," he disagreed, still chuckling slightly. "And, you won't be alone. Barbara's going to look after you."
"What?' Helena nearly shouted. No way! There was no way she was going to have Barbara breathing down her neck for weeks! "I'm old enough to be by myself for a few weeks," she said indignantly, despite what she'd been thinking a few minutes ago.
"Take it easy, Hellion," Bruce soothed her. "She's just going to check up on you, not stay with you."
"Oh." That wasn't too bad.
"If you need anything, we expect you to call her," Selena told her.
"Of course," Helena agreed. "When are you leaving?"
"Okay." Helena glanced at Dick. "What about you Dick?" Maybe he'd be around for a few more days.
"I have to get back tonight. Some of us have to work in the morning," he reminded her.
"I have school tomorrow," she retorted. "I think I'm the only one who should be able to complain, it's not like I choose to go to school."
"True," Dick agreed. School sucked, he was glad he didn't have to do that anymore. "Sorry, Hellion, I wouldn't trade places with you for all the money in the world."
Helena grinned at him for the first time all night. "Are you sure, because I have access to it," she said, pointing to her parents. Having billionaire parents seemed handy all of a sudden.
"They don't have it all. Just most of it," he replied lightly, ignoring twin glares from the billionaire couple in question.
"Okay, how about a trust fund?" She bargained.
"You won't have access to that until you're twenty-five," Dick pointed out.
"Cash only," he said, shaking his head.
"Damn," Helena sighed, resigned.
"Helena." Bruce's voice carried a clear warning. He didn't like it when she cursed.
"Sorry," she said dutifully. She glanced sideways at her mother. She never said anything when Helena cursed. Sometimes she wished her Dad wasn't such a Dudley Do Right.
She started eating again when all their attention shifted from her to Dick, who was asking another question about Barbara. All of a sudden her lighter mood reverted back to its former self. Maybe Dick being gone wouldn't be so bad. All the talk about the redhead would probably stop when he left. She stabbed a green bean vengefully. Now Barbara was making her think her family leaving was a good thing. She sucked almost as much as school.
The black clad vigilante watched from a neighboring rooftop as Batgirl fought with her perp. Since Barbara had been given the approval to patrol the city alone Helena had been following her. Really it was inevitable since there was no one at home; she didn't really have much else to do. So, she followed Batgirl at night. As a result, she'd been really bored over the last couple of months. Batgirl had no verve! No clever quips or puns. No sarcastic wit to taunt the bad guys with. In a word; boring. It was all, subdue the baddie then cuff em' and stuff em'. There had yet to be one instance where Helena's help was needed. She was almost beginning to think Barbara Gordon was impressive. That thought irritated her.
Helena perked up when Batgirl seemed to fall right through the burglar. That was different, Helena thought as she continued to watch them. Punch, kick, block… blah blah blah. She wanted to see if she'd been hallucinating before about Barbara passing through the guy. She got her answer. She sure as hell had gone through him! One minute he was solid, the next he wasn't. That was so cool! What wasn't really cool was Batgirl going right over the edge of the building. Helena was leaping over the distance before the sight could fully register. The distinct 'chink' of metal being imbedded into brick brought a wave of relief. Batgirl had caught herself. That just left Helena to deal with 'see through guy'.
"Hi," Helena greeted the guy when she was standing right behind him. She nearly laughed when he shrieked like a girl, whirling around in a panic. "Does that little shriek ever scare anyone?" Helena asked innocently. "Is that your idea of a battle cry or something? You might want to rethink it. It's not very intimidating," she mocked as she shook her head sadly. She casually leaned over the edge of the building to make sure Batgirl was okay.
"Who the hell are you?" The burglar demanded. "First her," he gestured angrily towards the edge of the building. "And now you! Can't a guy catch a damn break!"
"Well, it's like this," she drawled lazily as she watched him with intense but hooded eyes. "You're committing a crime. We," Helena indicated herself and the dangling Batgirl. "We are what are commonly referred to as 'Crime Fighters'. You see where this is going, don't you?"
"Screw you freak," the guy said as he backed cautiously away. He was getting the hell out of here. There were way too many people running around at night these days.
Helena clucked her tongue at him. "Not nice," she said reprovingly. "Besides, takes one to know one."
While he was puzzling that out, Helena moved so fast he barely had time to take a breath before she knocked him out cold. She didn't bother to cuff the guy. What was the point? Helena figured he would just go all see through and get loose.
She strolled over to the edge of the building to look down at Batgirl. She was slowly but steadily climbing up to the roof. Helena sat on the edge, lazily swinging her legs while she watched Batgirl's progress.
"So, just hangin' out tonight, huh?" Helena asked the dangling Batgirl playfully. See that was quippy.
Batgirl jerked slightly. She glared up at Helena. She wasn't at all happy to see the girl considering her current position. Having Helena see her being thrown off a roof by some Meta was not something she wanted. Ever. The girl had already implied she thought Barbara wasn't up for the job, not that she was bothered by Helena's opinion. What did a kid know about it? "What are you doing here," she snapped. Batgirl continued her way up the wall a little faster, determined to get out of this position as quickly as possible. "You're supposed to be at home."
"Thought you might need a hand," Helena said giving a small shrug. She hitched her thumb over her shoulder at the unconscious guy when Batgirl glared at her again for the comment. "I took care of your burglar."
"Thanks," Barbara grunted. She was only a few feet from the ledge, thank god. Then she'd be on equal footing with the teen.
"You didn't cuff him," Batgirl scolded when she was finally on the roof top. "Did you at least call the police?"
"What for?" Helena asked.
"Criminal," Batgirl enunciated slowly as if talking to a small child. "Criminals go to jail, hence the need for restraints and law enforcement."
"Won't do any good," Helena pointed out, her tone clearly saying that Barbara was an idiot. "We don't have anything that'll hold him right now."
Damn! Barbara could have smacked herself. She knew that. Of course, she knew that. She'd been thinking the same thing only a few minutes ago, but the smug look on Helena's face irritated her, so she said the first thing that came to mind. "Right," Batgirl replied after a slight hesitation.
"Stop by the cave, Dad has something for every occasion." With that Helena stood up, ready to leave.
"Where are you going?"
Helena considered Barbara for a moment wondering why she would ask such a stupid question. "Leaving."
"Home?" She was supposed to be keeping an eye on Helena. She really couldn't let the girl just run around all night unsupervised. "Or are you going to follow me some more?"
"Nope, wasn't following you before," Helena fibbed. "I was just out for a stroll. Just happened by."
"Right," Barbara responded, clearly not buying what the kid was selling. "Worried?"
"No," Helena replied quickly. That was just ridiculous. Of course she wasn't worried. Well, maybe for just a second when Barbara went over the side of the building but only because she didn't want her parents to be upset by a Batgirl splat in the alley.
"Sure you weren't," Barbara said in a patronizing tone. "But, as long as you're going to follow me around every night you might as well help me with something."
The way she emphasized 'every night' made Helena realize that Barbara knew she'd been following her. The idea irritated her. Everything about the redhead irritated her. Her stupid big egg-head brain, her stupid flaming red hair, her stupid sparkling green eyes, her stupid brother drooling all over her. It all irritated her. The admission that Barbara could use her help wasn't so irritating though. In fact, it was kind of nice to be needed.
"What?" Helena asked suspiciously. She didn't want to seem too eager.
"Last week I busted up a robbery at a pharmacy," she started. Helena already knew what she was talking about. The robber's had gotten away. It wasn't because of anything the redhead had done. It was just a lucky break on the thieves part that there was a car accident at the intersection and that Batgirl was more concerned with saving lives than apprehending criminals. "They got away but I saw two of them clearly. I found out who they are and where they hang out."
"Who are they?" Helena was intrigued.
Batgirl let out a short, disgusted laugh. "They're kids. Well, they're legally adults but they're still a bunch of teenagers," she replied. She couldn't believe what the world was coming to when parents didn't notice that their kids were involved a small drug ring.
"Okay, so?" Helena prodded.
"They're part of a drug ring. Distributing in schools, parks and in the teen clubs."
"Oh," Helena said finally understanding the situation. "You want me to try to buy from them?"
Batgirl shook her head in the negative. "That won't really give us the entire ring. I know there's someone else running the show. We need to apprehend the mastermind too. So, I was thinking more along the lines of you making some new friends."
"Oh," Helena said again. "Exactly how am I supposed to do that?" She asked after a few seconds. If they were considered adults they probably wouldn't be in school with her.
"Like I said, I know where they hang out," Barbara repeated patiently.
"Oh." Why all of a sudden, Helena wondered, was she so enamored with the word 'oh'? Ah, who cares! She was going undercover! How cool is that!
"Helena," Barbara said, trying to get the girl's attention. "Helena," she said again, this time a bit louder. "Helena!" she nearly yelled while snapping her fingers in front of the teen's face.
"Are you paying attention to anything I'm saying?" Barbara asked annoyed.
"Yes," Helena said as she rolled her eyes. "Keep in radio contact, keep the video feed on, don't take anything they might offer, don't go anywhere with anyone alone," she recited dutifully.
"You need to take this seriously, Helena."
"You can't do that," she told Batgirl as she looked at her outfit. Barbara had been adamant that vigilante chic wasn't appropriate to wear to a teen club. So, Helena had compromised. The result was 'keen fashion sense, with kick ass vigilante flair'.
"Do what?" Barbara asked, confused by the sudden change of topic.
"You can't keep 'Helena-ing' me all night."
"What?" Barbara was deeply puzzled by the teen's reply.
"You can't keep saying my name. You need to come up with something else," Helena told her.
"You mean a code name?"
"Wow, you do catch on quick." Helena's voice was dripping with sarcasm.
"Like what?" Barbara asked, deliberately ignoring the smart remark.
"It sure as hell won't be Batgirl," Helena mumbled under her breath. "I don't know," she said after a few seconds. "Can't really think of anything cool."
"How about Hellion?" Barbara offered. After all, everyone seemed to think it was an appropriate nick name already.
"Yeah, that's covert," Helena said dryly. "If the rest of the Bat gang heard you, we'd be so busted."
Barbara looked affronted. "I changed the frequency on the comm. units," she replied testily. As if she wouldn't have already considered that possibility. Not that they needed to worry about that right now, but Bruce and Selena would be home eventually. Her next suggestion was out of spite. "Mighty Mouse?" She offered innocently while trying to keep from laughing at Helena's expression.
"I'm going to pretend you didn't just say that," Helena replied with fake calm. "Never mind," she said impatiently when she couldn't think of anything better than Mighty Mouse. "Just don't call me anything."
"Are you ready, then?" Barbara asked as she adjusted her comm. for the fifth time in two minutes.
"Yeah," Helena breathed out. She left the Bat mobile and Batgirl sitting in the alley as she headed into the club.
"Hey, what did you say to get Dad to leave you the keys to the buggy?" Helena asked when she got past the bouncer.
"The car, BG," Helena clarified. How could someone know as much as Barbara did yet not be able to master a little slang?
"I told him it was supposed to rain while they were gone. And don't call me BG."
"I can't believe he bought that," Helena said disbelievingly. She gave a mental shrug before moving on. "What's wrong with BG? It's better than Mighty Mouse, plus it works on two levels." She stopped talking once she was busy scanning the crowd looking for her targets. Barbara had shown her several pictures of the group. She'd kept shoving those pictures under her nose so much over the last week she felt like she could draw them in her sleep.
"Do you see them yet?" Batgirl asked impatiently.
"I only just got here," Helena said exasperated. "Give me like two minutes to work the room. God, impatient much?" She muttered. She didn't know why Barbara was bothering her. She could see through the video feed that Helena hadn't located them yet.
"I thought you were supposed to have heightened senses? Besides it's a really small space, how long could it take to find them?" Barbara shot back.
"Shhhh," Helena stage whispered, ignoring Batgirl's peak. "I'm hunting wabbits," she finished, channeling Elmer Fudd.
"Right. You're a big bad hunter. Or should I say huntress?"
"Finally you admit it," Helena responded sounding extremely pleased. "I'm big and bad." Nothing but silence followed her statement.
"You know that could be a cool name," she told Barbara a minute later. So far she hadn't been able to find anyone she was looking for.
"Huntress." Helena replied impatiently. "Aren't you paying attention?"
"Bingo! Found em' B," Helena said excitedly, cutting off whatever response Batgirl might have been preparing. She leaned against the railing on the other side of the dance floor watching the group. Helena could tell they were a pretty close knit group just from their body language. Friends that close usually didn't welcome outsiders with open arms. God knew her friends didn't.
"Good Huntress. Go ahead and approach them but be careful. And don't call me B either!"
Helena smiled. She'd hit a nerve. "I'm not trying to sell them something. I can't just barge over there, introduce myself and plop down. I need to be subtle," Helena told her. "I'm gonna watch for a little while until I get a feel for them."
"Oh for heaven's sake! Fine…."
Helena tried to catch the rest of what Barbara was mumbling but could only make out something about working and kids. She casually surveyed the club, making certain to keep an eye on her quarry the entire time. She moved to the side a little avoiding the couples that were dancing together. She snorted softly. "When would guys get the guts to actually ask a girl to dance," she wondered as she eyed the women dancing together. Guess that was it then, she'd have to show em' how. Obviously there was really only one way to get into the group without gaining suspicion. She'd have to use her feminine wiles. She was just about to go lay the sexy on one of the guys when her intended target kissed his friend. That, Helena thought, could put a kink in the plan.
"Yo BG, got a problem," Helena said softly.
She smiled at the use of the code name. "Yeah, my only real plan for approach was just torpedoed."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, I was going to put the moves on one of the guys but he just had a lip lock with his buddy, so I don't think it's going to work out for me," Helena replied.
There was a long pause on the other end of the comm. making Helena wonder if Barbara was going to just storm into the club. "What about the other two?"
"I don't think my chances are any better with them," Helena said patiently. "You do realize we're the same sex, don't you?"
"Or I could be wrong," Helena offered slowly as she watched one of the girls make an obvious pass at the waitress, that resulted in a sultry look and a subtle flirtation. "What sort of club is this BG?" She had the sneaking suspicion she already knew.
"Uh, I was going to mention that to you."
"Now." Barbara responded with no inflection.
"What would you like me to do?" Helena asked after a significant pause.
"What you were going to do before would probably work."
"Uh, seriously?" Helena asked completely shocked. She'd never danced with a girl. She'd never even thought of it. What if she had to kiss her? What if this little undercover assignment lasted a while? What then? Holy crap!
"Just do what comes naturally." Barbara told her unhelpfully.
"Well, fearless leader, this isn't very natural for me."
"How do you know?"
Huh? How do I know? "Uh, well…I'm just taking a guess here but I'd probably know if it was natural for me." Helena ran an agitated hand through her hair. How do I know? "I mean, I've never eaten squash but I'm pretty sure I don't like it just from how it looks."
"If you can't do it, I'll figure out something else."
It sounded like a way out but Helena could detect a little challenge underneath the words. She was not going to let Barbara think she couldn't handle this. It was just a case. Just something she'd have to do to pursue justice. No big deal. She still didn't move toward the group.
"Huntress?" Batgirl's voice came over the comm. sounding questioning and impatient.
"Just give me a second here!" She just needed a minute to think! Was that too much to ask? She could do this. She could do this. She could do this. She shook her head, that wasn't getting her anywhere. She would do this. She would do this. She would do this!
"I'm going in," Helena muttered determined.
"Keep me posted."
"Do you want a play by play?" Helena asked as she made her way around to the group.
Before Barbara could respond Helena reached the drug dealers. She casually leaned down until her lips were almost touching the other woman's ear. "Hi, feel like dancing?" She asked the cute blonde. She'd decided that if she was going to put the moves on a girl, she'd at least pick the sexier criminal. She waited patiently while the group gave her the once over. The blonde gave her the twice over.
"Nice pick-up, remind me to work on that with you later," Barbara said a bit snarkily.
"Sure," the blonde said giving Helena a rather pleased smile.
"Bite me," Helena mumbled under her breath. "It worked didn't it?"
The only response was a snort over the comm.
The brunette led the way to the dance floor while hoping the blonde wouldn't notice her nervousness. That's all it was, just nervousness. She wasn't scared. There was nothing to be scared of. This was perfectly normal, she saw it every day. Or just today.
Before they could find a clear spot on the dance floor the pounding techno dance music gave way to a slow ballad. Obviously, the world was conspiring against her. She turned hesitantly towards the blonde trying to act natural when she tugged Helena into her arms. Helena automatically linked her hands together behind the other woman's neck. Then she was pulled in even closer. A battalion of butterflies started flying around in her stomach. It felt…different, kind of strange. The blonde was soft in comparison to the guys she'd danced with in the past. It was…nice. She even smelled nice. That was definitely a huge improvement over most of the guys she'd dated. Barbara was right, this does come naturally. This little assignment wasn't going to be so bad after all.
"I'm Sarah," the blonde girl's breath whispered along Helena's skin causing her flesh to tighten.
"Helena," she responded keeping her breathing even.
"Don't tell her your real name."
"Helena Wayne," she said just to annoy the voice on the other end of the comm.
"I haven't seen you here before," Sarah observed.
"My first time," Helena admitted truthfully.
"A virgin, huh?"
Uh... "I…umm…kind of," she trailed off. She had to pull it together! This was just like any other…date? She could do this! Flirting was her thing. Flirting and quipping.
"Just to the club or…" Sarah let the sentence hang meaningfully.
"Yes to the club, but I haven't been sacrificial material for a while now," Helena said. Flirting was definitely her thing.
When the music switched back to the pulsing dance music they separated just enough to be able to slip a piece of paper between them. After two hours Sarah suggested a water break. She led the brunette over to her friends then pulled Helena down beside her at the table. Sarah pointed at everybody while she yelled their name but Helena couldn't quite make out what she was saying over the music. Not that it mattered. Barbara had drilled their names into her head already.
Rather than try to make conversation, which was nearly impossible anyway, Helena volunteered to go get the water for the two of them. First she decided to take a little side trip to the bathroom to check in.
"Hey, BG? You still awake out there?" Helena said after she locked herself into the bathroom. Jesus, one bathroom for all these women? That was just wrong.
"I told you to keep in contact!" Batgirl practically yelled.
"I've been a little busy," Helena reminded her. "Besides, I figured you knew what was going on what with all the heavy breathing and the bouncing video."
"That doesn't matter. You should have tried to check in earlier. You're supposed to be getting information not gyrating against her," Barbara reprimanded.
"Chill a little!" She wiped some sweat off her face with a paper towel bringing her temper back under control. "I'm fine," Helena said evenly. "It's going much better than I thought it would."
"As long as you ask so nice," Helena drawled. "She's pretty into me," she continued smugly.
"Try to make a date with her. We need to establish trust between you."
"Really," she said with a valley girl ditz voice. "I hadn't thought of that."
"Just do it." Barbara ordered impatiently. She was tired of sitting in the damn car. She didn't like just sitting around while Helena did all the work. If you could call what she was doing work.
"Keep your rubber pants on," Helena replied. "It's getting late anyway, I'll ask her out then head your way."
"Make sure you're not followed."
Helena pushed her way towards the bar. Why would they call it a bar if there's no alcohol served. Wouldn't it be a concession? She signaled for two waters when the guy asked her what she wanted. She leaned her forearms against the bar while she waited. It had definitely been a strange night. Helena was surprised at how utterly easy it was to dance that close to Sarah. Hell, Sarah had rubbed against some parts of her that no guy had ever been near.
"Long line for water?" Sarah asked.
Sarah's lips briefly brushed against the top of Helena's ear. She jerked away before she could stop herself. Well, that didn't look good. She took a deep breath then turned to lean her back against the bar so she could face the blonde. "Yeah, there're a lot of people," she replied smiling.
Sarah nodded her agreement. Helena was surprised that Sarah seemed to display a sudden shyness. It certainly wasn't something she expected after hours of flirting and dancing. Helena thought it was sweet. For some reason she was pleased that Sarah wasn't as smooth as she had seemed. Deciding that she was going to have to make the next move, in light of the blonde's shyness, she caught Sarah's hand. She tugged the blonde towards her until their bodies were barely touching.
Helena noticed Sarah's eyes were focused on her lips. She waffled between kissing Sarah and running like hell into the night, yelling to Barbara that she was really just a big chicken in kick ass clothes. The mental image of Barbara's smirking face clinched it. She leaned forward softly brushing her lips against Sarah's. It wasn't nearly as uncomfortable as she thought it would be. It was nice. It reminded Helena of the first time she'd kissed Kevin Parnell when she was thirteen. That kiss had been just as soft, just as hesitant but nice. The same tingling feeling that she'd had with Kevin was running through her now. Then Sarah kissed her again. Only this kiss was way more intense. Helena stiffened but kept herself from jerking away. She didn't really participate in this kiss, just going along with the flow. After a full minute the kiss wound down. Helena felt like she was going to jump out of her skin.
"Are you doing anything Saturday night?" Helena asked when she knew her voice wouldn't crack.
"I am now," Sarah replied breathless.
Helena crinkled her nose. "That was kind of cheesy," she teased, moving back into her comfort zone.
Sarah ducked her head trying to hide the blush creeping up her face. "Yeah, sorry about that," she said giving a little laugh. "Sometimes I accidentally spew cheesy one liners. It's a nervous habit."
"Don't worry, I have a few nervous habits too," Helena admitted with amusement. "So, Saturday night?" She asked again.
Helena nodded slowly, considering her sudden and brilliant idea. "Or we could go do something else," she said being purposefully vague. She knew her plan would get her on the inside really fast.
"Something else sounds pretty good," Sarah replied.
The blonde managed to twist the words suggestively, bringing a blush rushing to Helena's cheeks. "Do you know the Starbucks on Fifth?" At Sarah's nod she continued, "I'll meet you there about ten?" She asked the blonde. She didn't want to push things. Offering to pick her up at home might do just that. She decided to stick with neutral ground.
"Are you leaving already?" Sarah asked without responding to Helena's question.
The vigilante glanced at the clock above the bar before she replied, "It's getting late. You know how parents can be."
"Yeah, I'm eighteen and they still expect me to be home before three," Sarah replied with irritation.
Helena nodded in commiseration. If her parents knew she was out they'd want her home by then too. Probably before three. "Saturday? Ten?" Helena prodded again.
"Yeah, that'd be good."
Helena glanced at the door then back at Sarah. She needed to go. Actually, she wanted to go. The only problem was that she Sarah likely expected a kiss goodbye. Telling herself she had to make things believable, she leaned in brushing her lips lightly against the blonde's. "I'll see you Saturday," Helena murmured. She tossed money onto the bar next to the waters that had finally been delivered. She grabbed one for herself then handed the other to Sarah, giving her a smile before she took off.
Helena practically skipped to the Bat mobile. There was nothing like a job well done. She slid into the seat next to Barbara giving her a big grin.
"I think Saturday we should…" Barbara began before Helena could draw a breath to say hi.
"No way!" Helena stopped Barbara's words mid-sentence. "This is my date, we're doing what I want to do," she said firmly.
"This isn't a date at all Helena," Batgirl reminded her. "This is an undercover operation. We're busting a drug ring. We're not trying to get you a date for the Prom."
"Like I'd take her to the Prom," Helena scoffed.
"You're completely missing the point," the redhead accused.
"Look, I've got a plan. It's perfect. They'll see I'm not afraid of taking risks," she promised.
"What do you mean by 'taking risks'?" Barbara asked as she headed the Bat mobile back to base.
The teen bit her bottom lip uneasily. There was no good way to explain what she'd been doing for the last couple of years. She wasn't even allowed to ride a bike legally until a year ago. Oh well, kind of late to back out now. "I've been street racing."
Barbara's look could have pinned her to a wall. "You've been doing what?" the older woman asked with deceptive calm.
"You…you…You are so lucky I can't ground you!" Barbara said angrily. "Are you insane? Do you have any idea how dangerous that is?"
Helena would have answered her if she thought Barbara was actually asking a question. But, she was pretty sure the redhead was just yelling.
"You could be killed!" Barbara glared at her. "It stops now! If I even hear the word racing anywhere near your name I'm going to kick your ass!"
Helena narrowed her eyes at the redhead. She was getting really pissed. "You're not my mother," Helena spat contemptuously. "You can keep your threats too! You couldn't kick my ass if both my hands were tied behind my back and I had the flu."
"That's it! You're off this case," Barbara replied heatedly. "I was an idiot to even get you involved."
"Oh yeah, hot shot? What's your big plan to nail them?"
Barbara was silent while her mind went through idea after idea. None of them would work. "I'll figure something out," she replied coldly.
"You go ahead. I'll do it my way and we'll see who wins," Helena replied. She was furious! No way was this wanna be going to tell her what to do!
"If I catch you anywhere near them Helena, I swear I'll…"
"You'll what? Kick my ass," Helena said scornfully. "Tell my parents? Do it! Go tell. It won't make any difference," she went on, her anger causing her to expose more than she would ever want to expose to Barbara or anyone. "They're never around! They're busy saving the world. I'll just keep doing whatever I want anyway. So, please, tell."
"They want to be around Helena," Barbara said after a few charged moments. Her fear and anger at the girl's recklessness evaporated instantly when the teen ranted about her parents. She could clearly hear the hurt in Helena's voice underneath all the anger. Barbara knew they were away quite a bit these days but it was always necessary. Of course, understanding and accepting were two different things.
"What do you know about it?" Helena glowered at her.
The older woman sighed. "My Dad was gone a lot too," she told her. "Maybe not half way across the country or anything, but he still wasn't around."
"We should form a support group," Helena grumbled.
"Too late, I already have one."
Helena had to suppress a smile. She didn't want to smile at Barbara Gordon. She didn't want to understand her and she certainly didn't want Barbara to understand her.
"Helena, I'm worried," she said sincerely, all the humor gone from her voice. "You could be killed. I can't let that happen now that I know about it."
"What would your Dad say if he knew you were running around at night chasing criminals in a bat costume? Do you think he'd tell you its dangerous? That you could be killed?" Helena asked.
"That's not the same thing," she protested. "I'm an adult. Believe it or not I have been trained for this sort of thing."
"So have I," Helena pointed out. "I've been training since I was four."
"You're still a child," Barbara persisted.
"I'll be eighteen in a year. Are you really telling me that one year makes all the difference? So, the day before my birthday I can't do these things but the next day its okay? Are you listening to yourself?" Helena asked incredulously.
She had a point. It galled her that the girl had a point. It wasn't as if Barbara wouldn't have pulled the same stunts if she'd been in Helena's position. She was right about the age thing too. One day wouldn't make any more of a difference than one year. She was either ready or she wasn't. Barbara had to admit, Helena was ready.
"Okay?" Helena repeated.
"We'll go with your plan. If it gets too dangerous though, I'm pulling the plug," she warned.
Helena studied Barbara silently. She'd listened to Helena. She'd listened and treated her like an adult. She respected her abilities enough to trust her. She had never had that kind of trust. Not even from her parents. "Okay." Helena agreed, feeling like part of the team for the first time.
"So, what do you think I should wear?"
Barbara reached for the vibrating pager attached to her utility belt. She frowned slightly as she read the message sent from Delphi. "I thought you said that Sarah was free this evening," Batgirl said after she activated her comm.
"She is," Helena replied. She was annoyed. It seemed like every time she was enjoying the feeling of flying, or as close as she could get to flying, she was interrupted by Batgirl's voice in her ear.
"I have an alarm at a pharmacy six blocks from here on Kingston Street."
"On it," Helena replied turning in that direction then turning on the speed.
"She can't be free if she's out committing a crime."
Helena could hear the sound of air rushing by through the comm. Batgirl was on the move too. From the sound of it she was moving pretty fast. Helena figured she must be on her motorcycle. "You don't know it's her. You don't even know if she's really involved," Helena replied trying to hide how invested she was in that theory.
"How? Because you're little computer tells you so?" Helena asked sarcastically.
"Huntress, there were four of them at that job." Batgirl's voice was dispassionate. She was clearly in cyber geek information gatherer mode. "Two of them were identifiable. It doesn't take a genius to extrapolate who the other two are."
"It could have been anybody," Helena insisted stubbornly.
"We'll see," Batgirl said under her breath as she brought the motorcycle to a halt in the alley just around the corner from the pharmacy.
"I'm here." She jumped down into the alley landing easily.
"Jealous?" Huntress asked as they silently approached the pharmacy door. They had no plans to arrest the group, merely to stop them from taking the drugs. They still needed them free to track down whoever was calling the shots.
Batgirl just ignored the teen. Maybe she was just the tiniest bit envious but certainly not jealous. "Would you like to go first?" She offered.
"Oh sure, make me the target," Helena said even as she reached for the door to enter. She did heal faster than Barbara after all. Besides, she didn't want the redhead to get hurt.
She was through the door and deep into the interior darkness of the store before Batgirl could blink. If not for the night vision feature of her mask she would never have been able to locate Helena when she entered after the brunette. "They're in the back," Batgirl said softly while moving in that direction. The burglars weren't making much of an effort to be quiet. The derisive 'duh' barely breathed over the comm. made her roll her eyes. Helena never appreciated being told the obvious. Regardless of that, Batgirl knew that Huntress was the one person who didn't need to be told where someone was at any time. She always seemed to know.
Helena counted three of them. She drew in a breath, looking for Sarah's familiar scent. The woman wasn't there. Barbara had been wrong. Sarah obviously wasn't involved. Though, Helena was willing to admit she likely knew what was happening with her friends. Knowledge of criminal activity and failing to report it was bad but it wasn't the same as being a part of a drug ring.
"Will that be cash or credit?" Batgirl asked as she stepped into the small circle of light made by the flashlights.
Huntress laughed softly. Batgirl was learning to quip a bit. She must be rubbing off on the woman. She stayed in the shadows waiting to join the game. The plan was to let them escape through the back door and chase them for a few minutes so it would seem like the crime fighters tried to apprehend them.
The startled shout and the sudden appearance of a gun pretty much blew that plan out of the water. Huntress was on the gunman before he could level the barrel on Batgirl. The guy was Jordan. Helena knew who he was even under the stocking her wore. But that didn't stop her from pounding on him. He'd drawn a gun on them, well technically on Batgirl since they obviously had no idea she was there. As far as she was concerned that was reason enough to hurt him.
She knew from the commotion going on around her that Batgirl was sticking to the plan as best she could. The other two had deserted their comrade. Huntress shrugged it off. This was probably better. Getting at least one of them was more likely than all of them escaping unscathed. She flipped Jordan over easily since the man was now unconscious. By the time Batgirl returned she had him secured and the police were on their way.
"Let's go," Batgirl said tersely.
"Is there a problem?" Helena asked lazily from her reclined position on Barbara's couch.
"You beat that guy unconscious," Barbara accused, glaring at the teen as she continued to pace.
"I didn't beat him," Helena defended herself. "I only hit him four times."
"Hard enough to knock him out."
"That was just a happy side effect of subduing him," she replied, giving Barbara a smirk. "Did you also happen to notice who was missing?" She asked, changing the subject from her arrest technique.
"It doesn't mean anything."
"Sure it does," Helena disagreed finally interested in the conversation.
"Helena, just because she wasn't there this time doesn't mean that she's not involved."
Helena held up her hands in a conciliatory manner. "I'm not saying she doesn't know something. I'm just saying she might not be as involved as you think. She's not a criminal. Nothing about her is criminal like."
Barbara shook her head. "There were four that night, she might not have been with them tonight but that doesn't mean that she wasn't before."
"You only got a look at two of them," Helena pointed out again.
Barbara hid her angry sigh. Helena had said that at least a dozen times. She was worried that the teen was getting too involved with Sarah. But, whenever Helena was with her, Barbara monitored their interaction. Nothing the teen had said or done supported that worry.
"It doesn't matter," Barbara replied, letting the argument go. "We're still sticking to the plan."
"Fine," Helena responded. She knew she was right. She also knew that Barbara would never admit she was wrong, but the redhead might admit she could be mistaken, once Helena proved Sarah wasn't involved.
"Spending the night?" Barbara asked unnecessarily, Helena had been staying over quite a bit since they'd started patrolling together. Though that wasn't the reason everyone thought she was staying with her so often. Bruce and Selena were away on another mission and Alfred was still giving Dick some assistance off and on in Bludhaven setting up operation there. They thought she was just keeping an eye on Helena, taking care of the teen while everyone else was away on important business.
"Where else would I go?" Helena asked, trying not to sound as bitter as she felt about being left behind by her family. She could go back to the manor but she was lonely there. Everyone was gone working on something. Maybe Barbara hadn't been in her life very long but she was almost beginning to seem like family, or at least a tremendously good friend.
"Hang up your towel after your shower," Barbara told her. She didn't like finding a wet towel on the guest bathroom floor. More than once a towel had sat for a few days and she had to scrub mold away.
Helena glanced over at Barbara for the hundredth time in two minutes. The redhead was playing with her super computer again. When Helena had first seen it she'd practically fallen all over herself in her haste to get to it. Visions of interactive Halo ran through her brain. It was seriously one freakin' huge computer. There were more screens and buttons than something NASA might have. She even had a holographic display! It was so cool! Before she could press a button Barbara, displaying an amazing amount of strength, picked her up then tossed her out of the chair in front of the monster. She finished the indignity by telling her that she didn't develop Deli, Dopey or whatever, so it could be used as a toy or glorified game system. Who named their computer anyway? Anal much?
So with no computer to play with or TV to watch she was bored. Who doesn't have a TV, she thought for the hundredth time? What kind of sick psycho can entertain themselves without cable? She glanced over at Barbara again. Oh yeah, that kind of psycho. All the quiet left her with too much time to think. Thinking was something she'd been avoiding for some time now. Because when she started thinking her mind wandered to Sarah.
Sarah. It was getting progressively harder and harder to think about her as a mission. The more she got to know her, the more Helena liked her. She didn't believe what Barbara said about her was true. In all the time they'd been 'seeing' each other Sarah never once said she was busy. Every night was free. How could every night be free when she was supposed to be out robbing pharmacies and selling drugs? Not to mention, they hadn't seen her at any of the robberies they'd managed to break-up over the last couple of months. It was obvious that Sarah was just hanging out with a bad crowd. She had poor taste in friends, that wasn't a crime.
The street race had gone really well. She'd barely won but everything still went well. Helena probably would have easily won by a bigger lead if Barbara hadn't insisted on competing in order to keep an eye on her. Privately she though Barbara was really competitive and wanted to go up against her. The redhead gave her a run for her money. In the end it was the two of them. It was clear to the teen that she'd been underestimating Barbara Gordon, underestimating her in almost every way. The group had been impressed with the display but it hadn't gotten her inside yet. They were still plodding away at that.
She shifted on the couch restlessly. She was irritated that she had to wait to talk to Barbara. It probably wouldn't have been so bad if she had something to do but that wasn't the case, so she was irritated. Actually what was most irritating was the real reason she was here, it was because she was alone at the manor, again. She had spent more time with Barbara in the last several months than she'd spent with her family since she'd turned seventeen!
The first time they'd spent 'quality time' together, as Helena called it, she'd been absolutely shocked that a teacher could afford the place. Then she found out that Barbara was also an employee of Wayne Corp. How nice for her! She wondered if they actually posted 'Vigilante' in the career section of the company website.
When her parents had finally come back from that big mission, Helena had been sullen to the point of hostility. Why wouldn't she be? She'd been left behind, again. They'd asked Barbara to draw her out. It was completely unnecessary; Barbara knew exactly what was bothering her. But, it wasn't Barbara's place to tell them. She'd told Barbara that if she wanted to talk to her parents about things she'd do it in her own time and her own way. So Barbara had come up with a somewhat plausible story. Barbara reported back to the couple that all was well on the teenage front. She told her parents that Helena was simply dating someone. She made up some malarkey about the teen being confused about the relationship without specifying why. Helena had quite convincingly told her concerned family that she wasn't ready to talk about things. She let them think she would talk to Barbara though. They gave every appearance of growing closer. Her mother had even teased her about her best friend being a teacher. Helena hadn't minded the description of Barbara as her best friend so much. Mostly because the more she thought about it, the more she realized that essentially it was true. She talked to Barbara more than anyone else in her life, except maybe Sarah but that didn't count since she was lying to her. The redhead knew all her secrets and kept them. She was supportive. She would even admit, only to herself, that she loved Barbara. Hell, Barbara even helped her with her math homework. Good thing too, she was beginning to be afraid she was going to fail miserably in the class.
Since she did consider Barbara to be her best friend she flirted with the idea of talking to the woman about how confused she was about…everything. But, that would mean admitting that she was thinking about Sarah as more than an assignment. Helena knew that their investigation would be finished if she told. Then the last several months would be a complete waste. She also figured she'd be told to stay away from Sarah. Helena wasn't sure she wanted to do that. This is what confused her. She wanted Sarah. It didn't matter that she had never quite gotten that far in a relationship before despite what she'd suggested to Sarah that first night. It didn't matter that Sarah was a woman. She wanted Sarah in a way she'd wanted very few of the guys she'd dated. When they kissed, Helena could barely stop herself from ripping the clothes off her. She wanted to do more than just kiss Sarah. In fact, she very nearly did just that. She was also seeing her without telling Barbara which was another problem. In fact, that very night she was supposed to see the woman. She knew that Sarah was planning something.
Honestly Helena had never looked at another girl that way. She'd never considered it. Sure there were gay kids at school. A few were even in her circle of friends. But really, wouldn't she have thought about it if she was into it? Wouldn't just being friends with them make her consider it? It wasn't as if it wasn't talked about. She'd sat with her friend Christine when she'd rate the girls as they walked by. It never interested her before. So, where was this coming from all of a sudden? Why was she looking at the women around her in an entirely different light? Even Barbara! It was baffling. She glanced at Barbara again wondering if she had any intention of leaving the computer in the next century.
Helena thought the loud dramatic sighs and shifting should have gotten Barbara's attention an hour ago. For someone who was supposed to be aware of her surroundings at all times the redhead could be totally oblivious to things around her when she was at that stupid computer.
She ran an irritated hand through her hair, tugging on the short locks. Her parents were coming home tomorrow; another thing to worry about. It was also another thing she wanted to talk to Barbara about. Her mother had all but told Helena that they expected to meet this person she was dating. From the brief phone call she had with them two nights ago she knew that if she didn't introduce them to somebody in the next couple of days they would likely start investigating who it could be. They'd been extremely patient. Her mother wasn't known for patience so she was shocked that they hadn't demanded to meet Sarah long ago. She didn't know what was worse, introducing them to Sarah then waiting for the bombs to drop or to have them find out on their own. Really there wasn't any option at all. She wasn't going to just drop Sarah in their laps. She couldn't just wrangle some guy from school to bring home either. That was just too cowardly for her tastes. She supposed she could just tell the truth. But, that would get her and Barbara grounded. Well, they probably wouldn't ground Barbara, but certainly make her very miserable. Maybe lock her out of the Bat cave for a week. The problem was that if she were really to tell the truth then she would have to introduce Sarah as her girlfriend. That was how she thought of her, so it was the truth. No, she would have to talk to them. Well, she'd talk to her mother. No way was she going to talk to her Dad about it. No way!
She glanced at the clock again. It was almost ten. She had told Sarah that she would meet her at ten-thirty at a coffee shop a few blocks from the Clock Tower. That meant that she'd have to tell Barbara that she was leaving, so the redhead could question her incessantly about why she was leaving early. Usually, on nights she wasn't seeing Sarah, Helena went on patrol with Batgirl. Now that they were a team, sort of, it was fun. They joked around a lot. Even their sparring had become something of a team thing rather than an all out war. Barbara was teaching her more control, while she was helping Barbara hone her reflexes. So, the teen knew that the third degree was coming when she stepped up to the computer to lean against Barbara's desk.
"Think I'm gonna head out B," Helena said with forced casualness.
Barbara glared at the girl. She'd told Helena a thousand times not to call her 'B', 'BG', 'Babs' or any number of nicknames the brunette had come up with. She glanced at the time on the computer screen with a frown. It was early still. Helena never left early. If they weren't working on their undercover project they patrolled together. So, this change in behavior worried her. It didn't have anything to do with the fact that Barbara enjoyed the time they spent on the rooftops together. "It's still early," she replied after the few seconds that those thoughts took to run through her mind.
"Yeah, the parents are coming home tomorrow." Helena shrugged apologetically. "If they come home early I don't want to be out running around, you know? " She was finally glad that her parents rarely stuck to an itinerary. It was a valid excuse.
Barbara sighed, doing her best to hide her slight disappointment. She really did enjoy going on patrol with Helena to back her up. But, she figured this was probably a good thing since she was supposed to meet Dick afterwards. Since he'd been in Bludhaven they'd had very little time together. Their relationship wasn't serious but they both anticipated the time they spent together. It was very satisfying. "That sounds like a good idea," Barbara agreed. "No need to make them suspicious."
Helena knew she really needed to mention that other thing to Barbara. She didn't want to surprise the redhead nor have her parents ask the woman about it without any forewarning. "Umm, there's one other small thing," Helena said hesitantly holding her thumb and forefinger apart just a smidge. She really didn't want to do this. "They, umm, they kind of expect to meet Sarah."
"Excuse me?" Barbara's eyebrow marched up her forehead as her eyes pinned the teen in place.
"Look," Helena replied defensively. "You're the one that told them I was seeing someone. Now they expect to meet this person. It's been over two months Barbara. What did you expect?"
A defensive Helena wasn't going to get them anywhere except in an argument. "I know," Barbara's voice was placating. "Common wisdom is to stick as close to the truth as possible. I guess I made a small error in judgment when I told them you were dating someone." She leaned away from the computer tilting back in her chair slightly. "When?"
"I can put them off for a couple of days, tops," Helena said worriedly. This really wasn't good. Barbara admitting to an error was bad, very bad.
Barbara stared at Helena not really seeing the teen at all. Her mind was running through the problems as she saw them. They had to keep their investigation secret, they had to keep Helena's secrets and they had to handle telling Helena's parents that she was dating a woman. The first two things didn't concern her too much. They'd been keeping those secrets for a while. She wasn't certain of how Helena's parents would react to their daughter in a lesbian relationship. She knew that both Selena and Bruce were very supportive of the gay community. But, when it came to their own kids even the most liberal parent could be…unsupportive.
"I'll go with you," Barbara said firmly. She'd be there to help the teen any way she could. After all, Helena wouldn't even need to do this if she hadn't encouraged her to approach Sarah. It seemed so natural to have her do it. She'd never given it a second thought. It was so common place that it didn't occur to Barbara that the teen would be reluctant. Well, that wasn't necessarily true. She had known Helena was a bit disinclined to go that route. She just couldn't help pushing the girl towards it.
"You don't have to," Helena offered. "I'm going to talk to my Mom as soon as I can get her alone. If I tell her about Sarah then they should be fine. You know, have a couple of days to process it before they meet her."
Barbara nodded her support of the plan. "I'm still going with you." She almost smiled at the relief that washed over Helena's face. It wasn't so long ago that the girl would rather have walked on broken glass than have her around.
"Oh, yeah, if you want," Helena said trying to sound cool. Just the thought of the older woman there to back her up made the whole thing seem better. She should have interrupted Barbara sooner. She wouldn't have worried for the last two hours if she had. At least not about that.
"You're going straight home?" Barbara asked as she looked back at the computer screen.
"What?" Helena was so caught up in their previous conversation and all the anxiety it provoked she almost slipped. "Oh, yeah! I'm headed straight home."
"Goodnight Hel," Barbara said as she smiled at the teen. Helena was amusing when she was flustered. Normally the teen was completely confident in any situation, almost to the point of being cocky. Occasionally she would suddenly seem her age, like now.
"Night," Helena yelled back as she took a leap from the balcony. It was the only way to travel.
"I want you to meet someone later," Sarah's low tones washed down Helena's spine leaving behind pleasant tingles.
Helena nearly moaned in frustration. Sarah was running her hands under her shirt while she nibbled on her neck and shoulders. But, just when she started to think things were going to heat up, Sarah would say something to her. "Okay," Helena breathed as she shifted her position to drape herself over half of Sarah's body. Obviously she was going to have to escalate things to a point where Sarah would quit wanting to talk. Up until this point she'd been more of a passive participant. She'd been hesitant, not sure what to do or where to touch Sarah. She didn't want to seem inept to the other woman. She was afraid that Sarah would change her mind if she knew just how inexperienced she was at this. She started to unbutton Sarah's shirt slowly. She had to restrain herself from just ripping the shirt apart. Very deliberately she worked on each button, rewarded by the sight of soft skin that seemed to glow in the moonlight shinning into the room.
When Sarah first brought her to this apartment she wasn't sure what was going on. She knew where Sarah lived and this place was not it. In fact, Helena's parents kept the penthouse in this very building. It was an extremely affluent building, not one remotely affordable for an eighteen year old with no job. She'd accepted the explanation of the apartment belonging to a friend too easily. She had been too focused on being alone with Sarah to truly care where they were.
She finally managed to work all the buttons loose, displaying patience that Helena didn't know she possessed. Seeing herself in the mirror wasn't quite the same as seeing Sarah's bra clad breasts. She ran a finger over the curve of Sarah's cleavage amazed at the softness of her skin. Her eyes flew up to Sarah's when she heard the woman gasp. Reassured by the look in her eyes, Helena continued her exploration. Her fingers finally came to rest on the front snap of the laced garment. She fiddled with it for a minute trying to figure out how to get it open. Patience finally at an end, she broke the plastic clasp with a quick flick of her wrists then pulled the ends apart. Even as she tentatively rasped her tongue over Sarah's skin, she acknowledged that a long wondered question was finally being answered. Women definitely tasted different that men. Not that she had a ton of experience with guys, but she'd had an opportunity to taste the odd boyfriend's skin now and then. Sarah's skin was by far, better than theirs. She took a pink nipple into her mouth sucking gently. The moaned 'harder' from Sarah prompted her to increase the suction. She used her teeth gently not wanting to hurt her. The hiss of pleasure that move caused spurred her on. She bit down a little harder then ran her tongue over the abused nipple. Her efforts were rewarded by a slight rocking of Sarah's hips. Helena trailed her hands down her torso lightly, learning the shape of her body. She paused to caress the little dips and curves she discovered in her explorations. Sarah was trembling under her. Helena couldn't be sure but she thought she might be trembling too.
She paused at the top of Sarah's jeans. She wasn't sure what to do at this point. She wanted to take them off but then again, she didn't want to take them off. All of a sudden it seemed like a really big step, too big for her to take when she had no idea what to do once she got them off. Luckily Sarah seemed to decide that it was her turn to do some exploring again.
Helena helped Sarah remove her barely there blouse. She'd worn it on purpose remembering that her Mother had told her that the boys wouldn't be able to keep their hands off Helena when she wore it. She hoped the same held true for Sarah. Selena had been right. Helena was so caught up in her thoughts she missed the removal of her bra. It was only when she felt the warm mouth enveloping her breast that she came rushing back to the moment. She arched her back helplessly. She'd never felt anything like that before. One hand worked its way to the back of Sarah's neck holding her in place. Helena had no intention of letting this sensation stop any time soon. The feel of the buttons of her pants being popped made her breath hitch in her throat. It was really going to happen. Sarah's hand was pushing down until she was cupping Helena's mound. Her hips jerked as she pressed into the hand. Everything felt hot and heavy. Her stomach was clenching and her body was sort of tingling making it impossible not to move. When a finger pressed against her clit she surged up then she pushed Sarah flat onto the bed. She had her pants off after a few moments of awkward struggle. She even managed to help Sarah remove her jeans. Finally completely naked she stopped. The desperation she felt earlier was gone now that Sarah wasn't touching her so intimately, now she felt completely out of her depth.
Sarah pulled Helena down so that she covered her body. Helena shuddered at her first full body skin to skin contact with Sarah, hell with anyone. Then Sarah started touching her, driving the teen's anxiety away completely. The only thing she felt was arousal. The blonde spread her legs letting Helena settle intimately against her. Unable to help herself the brunette ground her hips against Sarah's. She wanted something. She wanted the touch of the blonde's hand against her again. Not completely aware of what she was doing she took Sarah's hand pulling it down between them to her center. She closed her eyes as she arched up at the first touch of fingers sliding against her. It was practically over before it started. Her entire body clenched before she started to spasm. It ended in just a couple of seconds but left Helena breathless and still extremely aroused. There weren't any fireworks or anything. It wasn't at all like they described in books. But, it had been very good. Very, very good. She wanted to do it again…and again…and again.
But first she wanted to feel Sarah. She wanted to touch the slippery softness she'd felt against her stomach moments ago. Helena placed one knee on the bed while she propped herself up on her right arm. She stroked her hand down Sarah's body, exploring but with a definite destination in mind. She brushed her hand over the soft skin. She liked the feeling of soft skin as opposed to the wiry hair like her own. She decided from now on she was going to follow the blonde's example. Helena ran a finger down the crease of Sarah's mound. She slowly slid back and forth until she pushed her finger into the wetness. She moaned at the feel of the satiny skin. The smell of Sarah's arousal was almost overwhelming. She ran her entire hand through the moisture escaping from the other woman's body. Helena strummed her fingers over the bundle of nerves that were so engorged. She couldn't believe that it could get that swollen. She'd never been able to do that to herself.
Helena ran her fingers around Sarah's clit, amazed as it grew even more distended. Sarah's constant moaning pushed Helena on. She tried to pinch it between her fingers only to have it slip out again and again. Sarah's next panted command made Helena's heart tip hammer.
"Inside," Sarah panted heavily. Sarah seemed like she was going out of her mind. Helena was experiencing everything for the first time, she wanted to savor this. She didn't want to rush but she didn't want to make Sarah wait either.
Very slowly Helena did as she was asked. She slid a single finger inside Sarah experimentally; unsure of what she was doing. The breathily moaned 'more' encouraged her to add a second finger then a third. The feel of her fingers being surrounded by soft warmth was amazing. The sounds coming out of Sarah as she moved in and out of the woman were even more amazing. She watched her hand move between Sarah's legs. Then she looked at her face. Sarah was flushed. Her body was moving under Helena as she tried to get the teen to move faster. Helena sped up, doing what she thought would make Sarah feel good. She rubbed against Sarah's clit while pushing into her faster and faster. She tried to temper the strength of her thrusts but the blonde seemed to want her to do it harder. Then the body under her tensed. Helena watched amazed as she came. Wow. She'd done that to her. Helena Wayne had done that to her. For the first time in her life Helena felt what it was like to have sexual power.
Three exhausting hours later Helena lay in a boneless heap against Sarah's back. She felt as if the itch she'd been trying to scratch for months but couldn't reach was finally gone. It felt wonderful, all four times. The sound of someone in the outer rooms brought Helena out of her blissful thoughts
"Who's that?" Helena asked softly. Were they about to have the police called on them?
Sarah rolled over towards Helena then leaned in giving her a very long arousing kiss. "I told you I wanted you to meet someone," she replied after pulling away.
Helena really didn't think kissing her like that was the way to get her out of bed to meet someone. "Who?" She asked feeling disappointed when Sarah rolled out of bed to look for her clothes.
It hadn't taken long for Helena to dress but it did take Sarah a little while since she tried to fix her bra. It was a lost cause, but the brunette couldn't find it in herself to feel bad about it. She was actually feeling kind of smug at the moment.
"Come on," Sarah said as she grasped Helena's hand to pull her out of the bedroom. Apparently she'd finally given up on her bra.
Before she knew it Helena was standing in front of a woman whom Sarah introduced as Harley Quinn. As conversations went Helena was kind of confused. The woman jumped from one thing to the next like a schizophrenic auctioneer on speed. Then she said something that made the teen's stomach drop to the floor. "I'd like to offer you a position in my…organization. Sarah has been telling me wonderful things about you. I've been very impressed by the information."
"What organization?" Helena asked trying to keep the sinking feeling from engulfing her. She also attempted to seem interested but wary. This is what Barbara had been waiting for. She didn't want to screw it up no matter how uneasy she was feeling at the dawning realization that Sarah could truly be involved.
"I have a small business procuring much needed pharmaceuticals to provide to the more unfortunate citizens of New Gotham who are unable to easily obtain them," she replied as if she were actually a philanthropist instead of the insane criminal that Helena knew her to be.
She'd come to that uncomfortable realization after twenty minutes in the woman's company. There was something creepy about the woman's eyes. She seemed to stare at Helena as if she were trying to see something or maybe do something to her. Whatever it was Quinn was trying to accomplish it wasn't working. That seemed to impress her, which was probably good for the investigation. What was really bothering Helena though was that Barbara had been right. Sarah was involved; deeply involved from what she'd heard so far. Sarah was involved in a criminal organization that Helena knew she had to bring down. She tried to keep from throwing up.
"I'd," Helena hesitated working to get the words out in a normal voice. "I'd like to think it over," she finally managed to get out in her normal tone.
Quinn nodded. "I can understand your desire to consider employment," she said brightly. "I can assure you this offer is too good to turn down."
Helena smiled weakly. "It does seem too good to be true," she agreed flatly. The offer probably would have been good if she'd been other than who she was. She might have accepted if she were in Sarah's shoes. Though truthfully, she couldn't really imagine ever doing anything that this woman suggested.
"You'll think about it and get back to me." Quinn stated, her eyes seemed to become a black hole but with blinking stars.
"Of course," Helena agreed breaking eye contact. She knew that Quinn was about to go down hard. She glanced at Sarah giving her a smile. The last smile she would give her as her girlfriend.
Helena made her way to where she'd left her motorcycle. She had to be in shock. What she was feeling must be shock. She felt numb, almost as if she weren't even inside her body, which was why she had no reaction at all when someone stepped out of the shadows next to her bike.
"Where were you?" Batgirl asked angrily. When Alfred had called her on the comm. over an hour after she started her patrol asking if Miss Helena had gone back to the Clock Tower she had experienced an immediate overwhelming sense of dread. She had called the manor after Helena left, letting Alfred know that the girl was on her way home but that was at least an hour and a half before Alfred had contacted her when the teen didn't show up. She was sure the girl had finally crashed her motorcycle from hot dogging. She was in a ditch somewhere dead, Barbara knew it. But, her search of all the possible routes Helena could take home turned up nothing. So she'd started searching her neighborhood block by block. She'd almost missed the motorcycle since it was covered in the camouflage cloth. She had looked around the immediate area for the girl. When that came up empty she decided to wait with the motorcycle for two hours before she would call her father to get extra help to look for Helena. Just as she was going to activate her comm. she heard foot falls on the side walk then saw Helena as she turned down the alley towards her.
"I asked you a question," the masked vigilante snapped when Helena just stared at her.
"I was with Sarah," Helena replied woodenly. Even the fact that Batgirl had busted her didn't penetrate the wall around her emotions.
"Alone!" She barked at the girl. "Have you lost your mind? Do you realize what could have happened? I told you that it was more than just a drug ring, there was more going on. You could have gotten into serious trouble without back up!"
Batgirl's voice hammered at her. There were cracks in her wall now, cracks that were fracturing and spreading like veins making the wall fragile.
"Do you have any idea how worried I've been?" The redhead railed on without noticing Helena's demeanor. "Or how worried Alfred's been? How could you be so irresponsible?"
Then the wall crumbled.
Batgirl knew the only thing that kept her from a broken nose or worse was that she'd been sparring so often with Helena. The work on improving her reflexes kept her from a prolonged convalescence, she was sure. She managed to block Helena then twist around to wrap the girl up in a tight hug, pressing her against the wall of the building so she couldn't move. She expected anger. She expected more fighting. She didn't expect to suddenly be holding an emotionally distraught teenager as she cried.
"What happened?" Barbara whispered as she shifted her hold on Helena. Instead of holding her in a bear hug to keep her calm she was pulling the girl into her body to give comfort.
"You were right," Helena said sadly when she finally was able to control the sobs. There were still tears but they were silent. "I found you're master mind tonight. Harley Quinn."
The redhead was elated. They finally knew who was behind everything. She had begun to suspect as much. She had interrogated a suspect not long ago who had mentioned someone named Quinn had hired him for the job. Barbara had begun to realize, through extensive research, that Quinn's business was more extensive than a simple drug ring. Luckily, with all the evidence they'd managed to collect all they needed was a name they could tie it too. Now they had one. What she was having trouble understanding was why Helena was so upset and why she went off alone. "What's going on Hel?"
"I," Helena stopped. The words were getting stuck in her throat, the lump keeping them from escaping. "I trusted her."
Helena's whispered admission made a sliver of dread shoot through Barbara. The teen's next words horrified her.
"I slept with her. I...it…it was my first..." Helena trailed off when she felt Barbara arms convulse around her. "I'm sorry," she said faintly.
This was her fault! Barbara couldn't believe how blind she'd been. The signs had been there. Now that she knew she could easily see the signs. She should have recognized what was going on. How could she have such a high IQ and be too stupid to live at the same time? Now she had a traumatized young woman in her arms that she had no idea how to help. She'd failed Helena. She refused to fail her again. She'd let all this go too far for too long.
"I'm taking you home," Batgirl said as she led Helena over to her motorcycle. She looked at the teen realizing she was in no shape to ride as the driver or passenger. She removed her cape and cowl then retrieved the long coat she kept in the storage compartment on the motorcycle. She couldn't stroll down the sidewalk as Batgirl without drawing attention. She decided the only recourse was to walk back to the Clock Tower before she called the manor. Alfred had mentioned that Bruce and Selena were on their way back when he'd contacted her. She secretly hoped that they weren't home yet. She had a lot of explaining to do and didn't want to do it. Barbara could only hope that if they were there, Bruce and Selena wouldn't kill her.
When they got back Barbara sent Helena to her room to lie down. She paced the length of the Clock Tower for almost half an hour before she worked up the nerve to call the manor. It was almost four in the morning but she knew Alfred wouldn't have gone to bed without knowing if Helena was alright. When the phone was answered it wasn't Alfred, it was Selena, a very worried and anxious Selena from the sound of her voice.
"She's here," Barbara said by way of greeting.
"Thank god," she sighed with relief. Then the angry mother voice came out. "What was she doing? She better have a really good explanation," Selena said angrily. The worry she'd felt since she walked through the door to find Alfred pacing in front of the phone came racing back. Helena knew better than to stay out all night. She had no business on the streets this late. Too many things could happen.
"I need to talk to you about that," Barbara replied wearily. "Both of you."
"Does this have something to do with that boy she's been seeing?" Selena asked. If that boy did anything to Helena, so help her God she'd kill him herself. "We're coming over," Selena's tone brooked no argument.
"Of course," Barbara said to the dial tone. She had hung up.
She waited for their reaction. Bruce was looking out into the darkness through the balcony doors while Selena prowled around the room. Every so often she would look at Barbara, making the redhead think of a tiger who was about to attack. So far, neither of them had said anything. They didn't say anything when she told them about Helena's Meta abilities, not when she told them about Helena's night time excursions, not when she told them she'd been patrolling with Helena and had involved her in a dangerous operation. They didn't say anything when she told them about Sarah or about what Helena had told her tonight. She couldn't blame them, faced with that amount of overwhelming information all at once she wouldn't be able to say anything either.
No one noticed the glittering golden eyes watching them from the shadowy hallway. No one noticed the audible rumble coming from the tightly coiled body that housed those disturbing eyes. It wasn't until her father finally reacted to what Barbara had told them that Helena moved. He had Barbara pinned against the wall. The anger rolling off him was frightening. While Helena was pissed with Barbara for telling them everything, she wasn't going to let them hurt her. Barbara hadn't hurt them. She'd hurt Helena, so she was the one who would deal with Barbara. Her sudden appearance caught everyone's attention, though her father didn't release his hold on Barbara. She walked calmly up to them then gripped her father's wrist. She squeezed until he had to release the redhead then stepped in between them.
Bruce stared at his daughter, amazed. He rubbed his wrist, it would bruise for sure. He barely believed it when Barbara had told them. He readily believed that she'd been following them at night. He believed that Barbara had stupidly allowed Helena to patrol with her. He could even see Helena enthusiastically helping Barbara with her plan to bring down Harley Quinn. What he couldn't believe was that Helena had hidden part of herself from them. That she was too scared to tell them.
He stepped back a pace giving Helena some room. Obviously she'd chosen to protect Barbara. He couldn't feel the same way. Barbara had lied to them. She'd placed Helena in danger and in the process had let the girl be devastated from what she'd told them.
"Helena," Selena said drawing her daughter's attention over to her. She walked closer holding the girls gaze. Her eyes were beautiful, mesmerizing. But, they also gave the girl an inhuman quality that was disconcerting. She partially recognized those eyes. While her eyes didn't glow golden they did contract into cat eyes. They had thought Helena hadn't inherited that particular characteristic from Selena. Sure they noticed the child's speed and strength but they hadn't thought it was as pronounced as it obviously was. It was apparent that Helena had been very successfully hiding it for a while.
"It's alright Helena," Selena said gently. She gave Bruce a look that clearly said to back off. It wouldn't do any good to antagonize the situation even more by maintaining his proximity to Barbara when they could all tell he was still seething.
"Nothing is going to happen to Barbara," she promised. "We just want to take you home."
Helena nodded her head slowly. She wasn't sure what was going to happen but she knew it was best to leave the Clock Tower. She didn't want her parents acting rashly towards Barbara because Helena had hurt them with her lies. "I need to talk to Barbara," Helena said not recognizing the rumble of her own voice. It apparently startled everyone else in the room too.
Selena looked between the two, studying them critically. She didn't know what was going on between them but she knew that Barbara had become an important part of Helena's life. She didn't like anything that the redhead had done but she was grateful that Barbara had been there for Helena. She felt guilty for not noticing everything her child had been going through. She could barely stand the thought that Helena had felt abandoned by them since they started accepting missions from the Justice League again. They'd refused any missions that would take them away from Helena for more than a day until she'd turned seventeen. Then thinking that she was mature enough to be left alone and that Helena had her own life and friends they had thought she would barely miss them when they were gone. "We'll wait outside," Selena offered. She waited for Bruce by the elevator. She could clearly see he didn't want to leave his child in Barbara's care again for even a second. He'd always been overprotective.
Helena watched them until the doors of the elevator shut leaving her and Barbara alone. She turned around aware that mere inches separated them. She stepped back slowly keeping her eyes trained on Barbara.
"I had to tell them," Barbara said finally breaking the charged silence.
"I know." Helena did know. If she had been in Barbara's position she would have done the same thing. Helena probably wouldn't have been so calm about all this if she didn't still feel the numbness that had enveloped her earlier when she'd left Sarah. But, being calm didn't change the fact that the redhead should have told her what she was going to do. It was Helena's life. She should have been a part of the decision. That was what pissed her off. Barbara had treated her like a child instead of an equal. They had formed a partnership and Barbara had cut her from the decision making. She realized she'd done the same thing with the redhead. By not telling her about seeing Sarah she was keeping things from her. She was making all the decisions. But, Helena hadn't hurt Barbara emotionally.
"Are you okay?" Barbara asked tentatively. Helena was too calm. The teen was a lot of things but she was rarely calm. Normally she was a tornado, fast, furious and full of power.
Okay? Helena was far from okay. She wanted to laugh at such a stupid question. "I trusted you," Helena said instead of laughing.
"I had to tell them," she repeated her earlier statement. She was sorry she hurt the teen but not because she'd told them. Helena needed help. She needed her parents.
"I'm pissed at you," the brunette replied. She felt tears forming in her eyes but she refused to let them fall.
"I know," Barbara said. She could tell the moment Helena stepped into the room she was angry. It had surprised her tremendously when Helena had forced her father to let her go.
"You're the closest friend I've ever had," Helena whispered as she looked away from Barbara. She turned back to the redhead, landing a solid punch against the older woman's jaw.
Barbara lay sprawled on the floor holding her aching jaw as Helena stared down at her. The teen nodded her head as if answering a question only she could hear. Then she walked out of the Clock Tower. Barbara closed her eyes against the hurt. It wasn't only her jaw that hurt. It was the instantaneous and horrifying knowledge that she probably had just broken their friendship beyond repair.
Five years later
Helena stood on the balcony at Wayne Tower. It was so different from Cambridge. It was different from Paris too. She was happy to finally be home after so many years; after they had raided Quinn's apartment and rounded up her 'organization' the Wayne family, without an explanation to anyone, had moved to Paris. Bruce and Selena decided that Helena needed a new start. She needed to get away from New Gotham. At first Helena had been angry. They were running her life, taking her away from everything and everyone she knew. But after the confrontation with Quinn and seeing Sarah being cuffed she started to agree with them.
Quinn wasn't as easy to bring down as Barbara had thought it would be. Not that they didn't have enough evidence, she just didn't go down easily. Harley Quinn was a psycho with access to a lot of guns and a lot of muscle. That wasn't all, as they all discovered she was a meta-human too. It took all of them to do what Helena originally thought she and Barbara could handle alone. Quinn had a hold over the people in her organization that no one could have predicted. They were willing to kill for her. Even more disturbing was that they were willing to die for her.
When the dust finally settled most of the muscle bound goons were unconscious while others were cuffed. Quinn was ranting at the top of her lungs about revenge and retribution. Helena couldn't help looking at Sarah and her group of friends, which turned out to be more than just the four of them, with pity. They hadn't been a real threat. They'd been in more danger of shooting themselves with the guns they were wielding than actually hitting the vigilantes. Helena had taken care of them easily, trying to do a minimum amount of damage; when she had moved to disarm Sarah the idea of possibly hurting her made Helena freeze. She wasn't surprised when Batgirl came out of nowhere to handle Sarah. Helena even noted that she was as gentle as was possible considering the situation. When Barbara turned around the teen had to look away from the compassion in those intense green eyes. She just threw herself back into the fray, unwilling to think about Barbara or what she'd lost anymore.
That night had cinched it for her. She'd packed her bags more than ready to put distance between her and New Gotham. She'd spent the last year of high school with a private tutor since she didn't really speak the language. When she was accepted into Cambridge the family moved again. They spent the next four years building the trust between them again. The last year of college Helena even moved into her own apartment. She also started prowling the streets at night again, only this time with her parent's knowledge and help. During that first year she'd shown them everything she was capable of doing. It seemed to upset them at first then she realized it was the fact that they hadn't noticed what was so obvious now rather than her abilities themselves.
After her disastrous relationship with Sarah, Helena purposely stuck to strictly casual dating until she met Megan her third year at Cambridge. It wasn't as intense as it had been with Sarah but her relationship with Megan made it clear that she didn't want to limit herself anymore.
After Helena graduated Bruce and Selena decided to move to Metropolis. New Gotham had been fine without their presence. Batgirl and Nightwing, Dick's new identity, were effectively keeping the criminal element under control, so much so that they had both been invited to join the Justice League. Helena had thought that was the coolest thing in the world. She'd called Dick as soon as she heard. She'd listened with rapt attention as he described one exciting encounter after another. She always asked about Barbara when they talked, though not in a way that she was asking directly. Every time they spoke she subtly led Dick to talk about the redhead.
When Selena and Bruce suggested that Helena come with them to Metropolis, Helena knew she wouldn't go. Her father had tried to cajole, bribe and pressure Helena into going with them. In the end, faced with his own stubbornness, he gave in. He offered her some choices, though she knew there was only one choice she would make. Bruce hadn't found a replacement for the Vice President position of Wayne Corp in Paris or New Gotham since he'd left five years ago. Dick hadn't wanted the job, he was happy with the police department. The job had remained empty with Bruce making infrequent trips to New Gotham to take care of business that couldn't be done over the phone or internet.
Helena sighed as she leaned against the giant gargoyle that decorated the pent house balcony. She was the new Vice President of Wayne Corp. in New Gotham. Since she'd only been working for two weeks, the shine was still on her job. Being somewhat settled in, she was now prepared to resume the mantle of Huntress. She smiled thinking about the night Barbara had come up with the name. Time had dulled the pain of those memories. Now she could look back fondly on that adventure with only a small pang of sadness.
Helena turned at the sound of quiet footsteps in the pent house. Alfred was busy getting everything ready for her dinner guests. She'd been encouraged to stay at the manor but she decided that she would very likely feel like a child if she lived there. Instead, Helena had moved into Wayne Tower. The pent house turned into a graduation gift from her parents.
"Thank you, Alfred," Helena said giving him an appreciative smile. She had told Alfred that she could take care of herself but he wouldn't hear of it. In all honesty, she was grateful. She could take care of herself but her skills in the kitchen and laundry room left something to be desired. The idea of eating microwave dinners in pink socks and underwear was very inappropriate for a woman who had just been made a vice president in a major corporation.
"Of course, Miss Helena," he replied formally, though the twinkle in his eye gave away his happiness at having at least one member of the Wayne family home. She shook her head as she entered her bedroom. She changed quickly into something a bit less informal than track pants and a tank top. She wanted to look more grown up, but why it should matter when it was just Dick and Barbara coming for dinner she wasn't sure.
"Master Dick has arrived," Alfred said as Helena came back into the living room. He was just hanging up the phone that was specifically used by the security guard in the lobby.
"Alfred, you've changed my diapers. You've taken care of Dick and Barbara's injuries for years. I think you can just call us by our names. In fact," Helena continued with amused exasperation. "I think you should join us for dinner."
The horrified look Alfred directed her way for the suggested breach of protocol made her stifle laughter. He'd never change. "I think not," Alfred replied stiffly.
"Take it easy big guy," Helena said as she backed towards the door with her hands up in a conciliatory gesture. "It was just a suggestion." She turned away letting the huge smile spread across her face as she pulled open the door to wait impatiently for Dick. For two weeks she'd been dying to see them both again. Unfortunately, Dick had been incredibly busy with some hush, hush thing and it was necessary for her to establish herself at her day job before she could get on with the fun stuff. How long did it take the elevator to get up here? She'd only used it once so far. Most of the time she preferred to use the back door, so to speak.
She turned to look at Alfred when he asked her a question. She barely noticed the sound of the elevator arriving while she answered the butler but the weight of a grown man on her back definitely registered. Helena was finally able to appreciate how hard it was for Dick to stay upright when she would jump on his back with no warning. Even though she could easily bear his weight he still sent her stumbling a little. It was definitely different being on this end of the ride, she decided as she spun in circles as fast as she could. She only stopped when she felt herself teetering dangerously. She released her grip on Dick's legs letting him drop to the floor so they could both stagger around unfettered.
"Don't you two ever get tired of doing that?"
Helena's heart jumped when she heard Barbara's voice from the doorway. It had been five years. She'd missed her but she hadn't been able to talk to the redhead. Helena knew some of it stemmed from her embarrassment and regret for having punched her. But, she was ready to do whatever it took to get over the past. When Helena had invited Barbara to this dinner she'd been worried that the woman wouldn't come. She was still amazed at the warmth and happiness in Barbara's voice when she'd said yes.
"Not like I got to do it that often these last few years," Dick responded as the room swirled around him at an alarming rate. Good lord Helena could move fast!
"Yeah, besides, it's fun," Helena told Barbara as the redhead spun around her crazily. "You should try it."
"Looks like you're in no shape to give me a ride," Barbara noted with amusement heavy in her voice.
Helena smirked inwardly then replied quite seductively, "Just give me a few seconds and you can ride me all you want." It was quite a statement considering she was still trying to keep herself from falling in a heap on the ground while the room continued to spin, albeit slower.
When the room seemed to have calmed down Helena arched a playful eyebrow at the redhead as she looked at her over her shoulder. "Well," Helena prompted when Barbara just stared at her. "Are you getting on?"
Barbara raked her eyes over the body in front of her. Helena looked very grown up. "I think I'll save that ride for another time."
"That's too bad. I was really looking forward to having your legs wrapped around me." Helena wasn't quite sure who or what had taken over her mouth. She had to admit that she liked how it felt though.
"Good God Hellion, you grew up good," Dick interrupted them, giving Helena a salacious grin when he finally recovered enough to get a good look at her.
Helena scrunched up her face. "That is so wrong," she said slowly. The ick factor of that observation was off the scale.
"Hey, it's not like we're blood relatives," Dick defended himself.
"I'm going to pretend you didn't say any of that," Helena told him seriously.
She ignored him completely as she walked over to Barbara. She didn't know how she should greet the other woman. She didn't know how receptive the redhead would be. Yes, she'd made suggestive comments while Barbara stared at her but that didn't necessarily mean that all was forgiven. Giving a mental shrug she took the first step. If she wanted her relationship with Barbara back she'd have to make an effort. She stepped closer to her then pulled her into a hug. The first hug they'd shared since that night in the alley. Everything felt almost right again. She brushed her lips across the redhead's cheek before stepping back. "It's really good to see you again," Helena said with quiet sincerity. Had Barbara always been this beautiful, Helena wondered as her eyes roved over the other woman?
Barbara smiled crookedly. "I missed you too." The redhead leaned back further to take in all of Helena. "He's right, you know," Barbara said softly. "You really did grow up good."
"Do you two need a room or are we gonna eat soon? I'm starving," Dick said bringing their attention back to him. He felt like they didn't even know he was in the room anymore.
Helena gave him the 'annoyed sister' look that she hadn't used in years. "When did you get so whiny?"
"And witty," Helena added sarcastically.
Barbara smiled as she followed the two of them into the dining room as they bickered with each other. It was really good to have Helena home again. She hadn't seen Dick this happy in months. She wasn't feeling so bad herself. Helena had hugged and kissed her. She was beginning to think they could somehow build their friendship again. After all this time she realized more than anything, she wanted Helena's friendship. She wanted Helena in her life. For some reason, after the teen had left with her parents, Barbara felt like things were wrong somehow. More wrong that just Helena leaving. It was like everything that happened wasn't how things should have been.
"So where's the new boy toy tonight, B?" Dick teased the redhead when they'd finally stopped talking about the years they'd been away from each other.
"Don't call me that," Barbara's tone was surly. It was bad enough when Helena had called her that, then Dick had started to do it too. After Helena left it only served as a reminder of how she'd hurt the teen, which made her even more snappish when he did it. Now it was only mildly annoying but she still didn't like it. "He's not my boy toy," Barbara continued feeling harassed. "We're just dating."
"When did you guys break up?" Helena asked curiously, gesturing between them. When she'd talked to Dick he'd never mentioned they weren't seeing each other anymore.
"We were never really dating," Dick said with a dismissive wave. "Just kind of seeing each other occasionally."
"Better friends than lovers," Barbara added.
"Booty call." Helena nodded her head. She'd been there. "You dating anyone Dick?" She asked before Barbara could yell at her. Helena had recognized Barbara's look instantly though it had been years since she'd seen it. The woman definitely wanted to yell at her. The redhead had to settle for glowering instead. Helena just smiled sweetly then winked at her.
"Uh, not really," Dick said casually. Usually when he was asked that by a woman she either wanted to date him or set him up with her ugly sister. Helena didn't have an ugly sister and no matter what his earlier comment might have insinuated, he really didn't even like to think about Helena that way.
"Still playing the busy bachelor," Helena said nodding with approval. She used to be rather fond of that herself.
"No more than you, or so I've heard."
Helena just smiled at him
"Okay, enough of the teasing and catching up," Helena said as she sat forward in her chair. "You guys need a third?" She didn't bother to elaborate. Everyone at the table knew what she was asking.
"Actually, I'm glad you brought that up," Dick said, relieved that he didn't have to start the conversation. He wasn't sure how either woman would feel about his plan. "Now that you're back I was planning to go back to Bludhaven. We don't really need all three of us and there's been a lot of trouble there."
Both women looked at him with identical expressions of surprise. "What you expected me to stay? I only agreed to come here until Helena came back," Dick rushed to explain.
"What?" Helena asked frowning. "What would make you think I was coming back?"
Dick looked at his sister as if she were from another planet. "Selena told me you were."
"What? When?" She'd only just told her parents she was going home.
"Just after you left," Dick shrugged. "She said she didn't think you would want anyone else doing your job. She also thought you'd want someone you could trust to watch her back," he finished jerking his thumb at Barbara.
Well this was awkward. Helena had told her mother those things when she'd heard her father talking about getting someone from the league to cover Batgirl. It wasn't that she didn't think they were incapable. It's just that she trusted Dick more. She knew he was good and that he cared about Barbara. She just wanted to make sure that both Barbara and Dick had someone they could trust with them. It wasn't so strange really, Dick knew the city and he knew Barbara. Barbara knew the city and she knew Dick. It was common sense.
Helena was saved from coming up with something to say when Dick spoke again. "Yeah, well I thought I'd let you take over. I need to start moving. I also need to tie up some loose ends here before I leave," he said breaking the silence that had descended over the group.
"What do you want?" Helena asked Barbara, aware that she couldn't just force herself onto the redhead. She wanted a real partnership not a forced one.
"Do you need help moving?" Barbara asked Dick, answering Helena's question and giving her blessing to Dick.
Helena smiled, feeling yet again like things were finally starting to be as they should be.
"How about I just hire someone to move him," she offered. "I really don't want to know what he might have in his apartment."
"As if it would be anything you haven't seen before," Dick shot back.
Barbara rolled her eyes. She wondered if these two ever did anything but talk trash and bicker. Not that she minded listening to them. She'd always thought their interaction was kind of sweet in an antagonistic way. Plus, now that she knew that Helena wanted to work with her, she could just enjoy watching them verbally punch and poke at each other. Helena wanted to work with her. They'd have a chance to fix things between them. It was more than she hoped for when she had left the Clock Tower earlier this evening.
Two weeks later
Helena cut her eyes towards Dick, who was standing next to her. They were all waiting for Barbara's boyfriend to arrive. Somehow this little get together had just come about; she wasn't really sure who suggested it, maybe Dick, evil bastard. This was Dick's last night in New Gotham, he was leaving for Bludhaven in the morning, and she supposed he wanted to spend it with them. But, how had a going away dinner at the Clock Tower translated into an introduction to Barbara's boyfriend?
"That's him," Dick whispered when a man stepped off the elevator.
"No?" Helena replied sarcastically. Like she couldn't figure that out on her own. He was fairly attractive in a plain suburban yuppie kind of way. But, he wasn't what she thought Barbara would go for.
"Shut up," he grumbled back.
"What's his name again?" Helena asked as the couple walked towards them.
"Wade," Dick greeted, smiling pleasantly.
"Dick, good to see you again," Wade responded amicably. "I was sorry to hear you're leaving. I know Barbara will miss you a lot." He wasn't at all sorry to hear it. Something about Dick always made him feel threatened. Maybe it was because he and Barbara spent so much time together. It was just strange for his girlfriend to spend more time with another man that she did with him.
"Yeah, I'll miss her too but this is a good move for me," he replied.
"Wade," Barbara cut in, drawing attention away from Dick and his pending departure. "This is Helena Wayne. Helena, Wade Brixton."
"Barbara's told me a lot about you," Helena said smiling at Wade as she shook his hand.
"Oh, really," he said, pleased that Barbara had talked about him. He never really knew where he stood with her. She was a hard woman to read.
"No," Helena replied, trying not to laugh at the stunned expression on Wade's face or the poorly stifled snort of laughter from Dick.
"Helena." Barbara sounded extremely annoyed.
"Sorry," she offered Wade. "My sense of humor is a bit off sometimes. She's said nothing but good things about you." If you considered 'he's not my boy toy' good things.
"That's alright. No harm done," he said. "Barbara tells me you've just moved back to New Gotham," he went on trying to get a conversation going. He was starting to feel uncomfortable.
"Yes," Helena replied without elaborating.
"What brings you here?" He asked, not realizing that Helena deliberately didn't catch the conversation ball.
"My car," Helena said. Then she looked at Barbara meaningfully for just a second. "But technically it was Barbara."
"Excuse me?" Wade stammered. He wasn't sure if Helena had misunderstood or was mocking him.
She looked at him like he was a particularly slow child. "Barbara invited me," she said patiently.
"I actually meant what brings you to New Gotham," Wade clarified.
"She knows what you meant," Barbara stepped in again. She should have known Helena would be just as difficult as Dick when it came to Wade. Why that was so was a mystery to her. Helena didn't even know Wade. "Just ignore her. She's too much like her brother," she told him.
"Who's her brother?" He asked, looking at Barbara first then over to Helena.
Helena pointed at Dick.
He glanced at Dick then back at Helena. He could believe they were related. They were very much alike in their obviously mutual fondness for mockery. Mostly aimed at him.
"Wade, could you give me a hand in the kitchen?" Barbara asked. She needed to separate them.
"The kitchen? You don't cook," Helena accused, completely horrified at the thought of Barbara preparing something she was expected to eat.
"It's catered," Barbara replied, not trying to hide her annoyance at the implication she couldn't cook and shouldn't be allowed anywhere near an oven. "I've cooked for you before," she reminded Helena.
"Putting a pop tart into the toaster isn't really cooking, despite what I told you at the time." Helena shook her head sadly at Barbara.
"Please remind me why I invited you again?" Barbara asked.
"Oh, I think we both know why," she purred, giving Barbara a smile that was pure sex.
Helena and Dick watched Barbara lead Wade away without another word. "Nice," Dick laughed.
"What?" Helena asked innocently.
"Nothing," he said, shaking his head as he tried to keep from laughing. It was so good to have Helena back. "It usually takes almost an hour before she drags him away from me. I have much to learn," he said in a Yoda like voice. This dinner might actually turn out to be one of the best idea's he'd ever had.
Dick smiled at his plate. Dinner so far had consisted of flirtation, sarcasm and some very tasty Italian food. It was one of the best dinner's he'd ever had with Barbara and Wade. Helena had been in rare form this evening. Dick had never considered flirting with Barbara in front of Wade; much less to the extent Helena had been flirting. Hell, she was even flirting with Wade.
Wade could feel the heat lingering on his face. He was trying to hold up his end of the conversation, despite the fact that he was obviously woefully out of his depth with this level of innuendo.
"So you didn't leave anyone behind when you came back?" He asked.
"No," Helena replied smirking at Wade's discomfiture. "I was more of a serial dater."
"I guess you were into bad boys?" Wade guessed. She looked like she would go for that type. She looked like she would chew that type up and spit them out in little quivering pieces.
"Bad boys, bad girls, either one." Helena gave Barbara and Wade a smoldering look. "Or both," she said lowering her voice provocatively.
"Are you taking anyone to the Gala tomorrow night?" Barbara asked, trying unobtrusively to steer the conversation away from where it was headed.
"I made other arrangements since you were otherwise occupied," Helena replied silkily, sliding her eyes over to Wade briefly before she brought her eyes back to Barbara.
"Gala?" Wade's voice attracted three sets of eyes.
"Helena has to make an appearance," Dick explained. He almost felt sorry for Wade. Almost.
"Date?" Barbara prodded once Dick finished.
"Of course," Helena said as if were a silly question. When no one said anything she looked at Dick then at Barbara. "What? You think I can't get a date?"
"When did you find the time?" Dick asked curiously. As far as he knew all she'd been doing was working, patrolling and getting caught up on what was going on in New Gotham.
"The break-in last week."
"Oh, really," Dick drew out the word.
"Who?" Barbara asked at the same time.
"One of New Gotham's finest." Helena smiled to herself. He was sexy, very sexy.
"Who?" Dick asked, echoing Barbara's earlier question.
"Detective Reese," Helena replied, looking at Dick to see if he knew him.
Dick nodded his approval. Reese was a good man and a good, honest cop. "Have fun," he said, giving his okay.
Helena smirked at Dick's protectiveness. "I plan to." Everyone at the table knew what she meant by that.
Three days later
A little to the left."
"Is this your first time? Right here," Helena said as she guided Barbara's hand.
Helena groaned as she squeezed her eyes closed tightly. "Yeah, right there."
"Try to hold still for a minute," Barbara replied.
"Christ it hurts!"
"You'll be okay, just give it a minute."
"Are you sure you've done this before?"
"I'm sure I've had a lot more experience than you have," Barbara said indignantly. "Now just relax, I'm going to push."
"Damn it, Barbara! You didn't wait long enough for the anesthetic to take effect!" Helena nearly shouted when Barbara pushed the suture needle through the flesh of her side.
"It starts working immediately," the redhead informed her. "You're just being a baby."
"It's not working! How would you like me to shove a needle through you with no pain killer?" She asked through gritted teeth.
Barbara gave Helena an annoyed look that quickly turned into concern. Sweat was beading on Helena's forehead. She really looked like she was in pain. "I'm sorry, maybe I should've given you more," Barbara replied. She realized she hadn't taken into account that Helena's system might burn off the anesthetic so quickly.
"Hold on," Barbara said, ignoring Helena's fit of temper. She grabbed another prepared needle then injected the brunette again.
"Any better?" Barbara asked a few seconds later.
"Yes," Helena said with a sigh of relief. "Sorry B.," she continued when the redhead started stitching. She really did feel bad about snapping at her. This was her damn fault anyway. If she hadn't been so distracted by the…improvements made to Batgirl's costume this never would have happened. But before this evening she hadn't been out with Batgirl so she had no idea of the…upgrades to the costume. How could she have possibly ignored such anatomical correctness? My god, it looked like they were as hard as rocks. Everything was molded to Barbara's body like a second skin. It was…distracting.
"It's okay," Barbara said. "I know it hurts. Just a little while longer." It was a lie of course. She'd only done a few stitches so far. It was a very long, deep cut. She was just glad she was able to stop the guy before he could do any more to the brunette. Otherwise it could have easily been more than just stitches that were needed.
"Want to tell me what had you so distracted out there?" Barbara's voice was completely neutral.
Helena tried not to shift uncomfortably at the question. She sure wasn't going to tell the truth. God, how embarrassing would that be? "Don't know," she mumbled turning her head away.
"If something's wrong, you can talk to me about it."
"I…I'm fine," she replied looking over at Barbara again. She tried not to let her gaze stray below her neck. At least not until she got out of the Batgirl gear.
The suturing went on for ten minutes before Barbara spoke. "You should wear your armored suit," Barbara said. If Helena had been wearing it this cut wouldn't have been more than a scratch if anything at all.
Helena looked at her in surprise. "I have one of those?" She asked, taking a quick glance down at Batgirl's armor.
"Yes, I thought you knew."
"How would I know? I didn't have one before," Helena said reasonably. The most protection she'd had before was the leather duster she'd started wearing. It kept her warm and added a little extra protection. Though not so much tonight.
"Is it just like yours?" She asked curiously when Barbara didn't answer.
Barbara shook her head as she tied off the final stitch. "It doesn't have the bat design on the front but it's the same armor." Wayne Corp. had developed a light weight polymer that was virtually impenetrable. It turned out to be extremely effective. Bruce had quickly realized that it would aid them all considerably. Now they were all very well protected when they went out at night.
"Does it have…I mean…is it as…realistic as yours?" Helena gestured vaguely at Barbara's body.
"What?" She asked looking down at herself. "Oh, that," she laughed. "That was Dick's doing. Kind of a joke I guess. It's actually very useful. I find it distracts the opposition." That thought made her pause for a moment. She looked at Helena speculatively until she noticed the flush that was working its way up her neck and face. Ah, the distraction.
Helena blushed even harder when she realized Barbara had caught onto what had distracted her earlier. She wanted to groan. It was just as embarrassing as she thought it would be.
She finished taping the bandage on Helena's side before she finally answered the question. "Yours is pretty similar in that regard. But," she said quickly, seeing the protest on Helena's face. "You still need to wear it." Barbara looked at her significantly. "Especially if you're feeling distracted."
Yes she was feeling a little distracted, even now as a matter of fact. Of their own accord, her eyes had begun to alternate between the redheads face and her bat emblem, which was conveniently located right above her…
"Helena? Helena!" Barbara snapped her fingers in front of the woman's face. "Helena!" She nearly yelled.
"What?" The tone was a mixture of embarrassment and irritation.
"Were you listening to me?"
"Of course I was," she replied testily. She didn't like being caught staring. The staring wasn't bad, but the being caught sucked. "I need to wear my armor. I heard you."
"You do," Barbara insisted. Helena had only said she'd heard the redhead not that she'd do it. Barbara knew, after dealing with Helena when she was younger, she actually had to hear the brunette agree to do it.
"Great," Helena said. She let her gaze drop again. She couldn't help picturing Barbara naked with the outline of her body so clearly displayed. Now, with her own body armor, she was going to imagine them both naked. Together. Not an unpleasant thought.
"You should stay here tonight," Barbara said as she put the first aid kit back in order.
Helena made a sour face. "I don't like sleeping on couches, they're too small and uncomfortable," she complained. "I'll just go home. I'll be fine." Barbara had two spare rooms but both of them were full of computer parts, boxes of teaching materials and any equipment they might need for their night time activities. If she wanted someone to stay the night she should have cleaned one out.
"I wasn't going to put you on the couch." She wasn't that poor a hostess.
A seductive smile slid onto Helena's face with those words. Barbara only had one bed, if she wasn't going to be on the couch…"Up close personal attention? Are we going to play nurse?" She purred suddenly over her embarrassment. "I think I might like how you treat your patients."
"Nurse?" Barbara questioned bemusedly. "I thought it was supposed to be 'play doctor'."
She smirked at Barbara, shaking her head emphatically. "We just played doctor and you sucked at it. We'll give 'nurse' a try."
Barbara shook her head at the brunette. Honestly, from the first moment she'd seen Helena the woman had been throwing suggestive comments and innuendo at her. It was almost as if she were interested in her, though she knew better. Even so, she didn't mind it at all. In fact, it was exciting. But, when she thought of how exciting and fun it was to be with Helena on patrol or any other time, she couldn't stop herself from thinking how utterly bored she was when she spent time with Wade. She knew she was doing extremely different activities with each of them but she still compared the time she spent with them. Simply flirting with Helena was more exciting than intimacy with Wade. Barbara considered that it was probably time to break it off with the other teacher. "I was planning to take the couch," Barbara said once her internal dialogue came to an end.
"Well, there's an offer I can refuse," Helena said lazily, feeling mildly disappointed.
"Hoping for something different?" Barbara asked deciding that flirtation would probably get her what she wanted better than logic or fighting.
Helena smiled. "Actually I was. Though, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that you'd rather have the couch," Helena said with disappointment. "You do seem to like the boring, staid types," she finished clearly referring to Wade.
"That's not true." Barbara was irritated by the characterization.
"What's not true? That you prefer boring or I shouldn't be surprised you prefer boring?" Helena asked innocently.
"Neither," she replied, now completely offended. She didn't like boring at all. She really wasn't sure why she'd even agreed to go out with Wade in the first place. Maybe because she hadn't met anyone that really sparked an interest in quite a while. None of that really mattered. She'd already decided to break up with Wade anyway.
"Great! Front or back?" Helena asked as she gingerly got to her feet.
Helena smiled at Barbara. The redhead was quite cute when she had that puzzled look on her face. "Never mind, it'll have to be back. I can't lie on this side," she said gesturing at her injury.
"What?' Barbara asked, still not understanding. The rapid shift in conversation had thrown her off.
"I'll have to spoon you," Helena said patiently as if Barbara were simple. "It'll hurt too much for you to spoon me. Unless you're one of those people that don't claim one side of the bed as their own, kind of an ambidextrous sleeper?"
"You think you need that much personal attention? I suppose it is a very serious injury. I should stay close," Barbara mused aloud.
Helena's heart started to pick up speed. The look on the redhead's face made parts of her absolutely throb. "Really?"
Barbara didn't miss the interested look directed towards her. She would bet from that look that the brunette didn't think she preferred boring anymore. "No," she replied as she grabbed Helena's hand to lead her to the bedroom. "I think we can both comfortably sleep on the bed without spooning. It's a king not a twin."
"True," Helena replied. When they entered the bedroom, she watched Barbara pull off the upper half of her armor as she headed for the bathroom. "You know," she said, causing the redhead to stop and turn towards her. "Maybe I should look you over for injuries too, just to be safe." It was just harmless flirting. It didn't matter that she couldn't take her eyes off of Barbara at the moment. It didn't mean anything that her hands were itching to feel all that delectable skin that was right in front of her.
"Maybe you're right," Barbara said, giving a small wince when she rubbed her rib.
"Really?" Suddenly her side didn't hurt at all.
Helena couldn't help laughing as the bathroom door shut behind the redhead. Sure she could probably use a cold shower but Barbara's playfulness was extremely fun.
Two months later
"What the hell are you supposed to be?"
Huntress smirked at the police detective holding a gun on her. "Well, let's see, I'm wearing a costume, a mask and chasing a criminal. What does that make me?"
"I don't know who or what you think you are but as far as I'm concerned you could be working with that guy." He'd followed the bank robber for a couple of blocks but lost him a little bit ago. Finding this masked woman in an alley where the guy went couldn't be just a coincidence.
"Do I look like I'm working with him?" Huntress asked, holding out her arms. "No money, no weapon, no criminal."
"I think the mask pretty much says it all," Detective Reese replied as he reached for his cuffs.
"Yes, it says 'super-hero', a super-hero who's trying to catch your criminal." She'd arrived on scene to find a bunch of cops and no suspect. She'd managed to follow his distinctive scent to this alley. He wasn't here anymore but she knew she'd catch up to him soon.
"You're going to catch him?" Reese asked sarcastically. "Like that?"
"What?" Huntress replied, looking down at herself. "Does it make me look fat?"
"Turn around," Reese ordered the woman as he stepped closer. He kept his weapon trained on her.
One eyebrow quirked. "Hand cuffs on the first date? I'm shocked," she drawled acting completely scandalized.
"You're under arrest," he said.
"My being under arrest would imply that you could effectively stop someone. And, since your bank robber is getting away…" She let the sentence hang meaningfully. It wasn't her fault that practically the entire police force wasn't able to stop one guy. Personally, she thought things might be getting a little slack in the NGPD. They might have been helping too much. Maybe she'd talk to Barbara about it.
"Don't move," Reese ordered when the masked woman started to leave.
"You're kind of bossy," Huntress noted, as she started walking away. "I like that," she tossed over her shoulder. He sure hadn't been this bossy or confident when they went out. If he had they might have gone on another date.
"I said freeze!" He pulled the hammer back on his weapon.
Huntress turned to face the detective again. "Actually, you said 'don't move'," she corrected genially. "Still, I'm afraid I can't do either. See ya around." With that, she took a leap up to the roof. She had a suspect to catch.
"Fuck!" Huntress shook her hand hoping that she hadn't broken it.
"Huntress! Status?" Batgirl's voice was worried.
Huntress glared at the man in front of her, if he could even be considered a man. She knew he was a meta-human. She had figured that out the moment he became some type of metal just before her fist connected with his jaw. That had hurt like hell! Now she wasn't sure what to do but figured even a guy made of metal could be hurt eventually. She lashed out, kicking the guy in the head. He didn't even move. But, her entire leg vibrated with pain for a few seconds. She was beginning to figure out why all those cops couldn't stop this guy when he walked out of the bank vault.
She slammed her boot heel into his face, trying to knock him down. Nothing, he didn't even acknowledge the blow. She put her arm up to block the punch for what little good it did her. It was like a sledge hammer against her face.
"Damn it!" She cursed, spitting the blood out of her mouth. That was going to bruise for sure.
"Huntress! What's your status?" Batgirl yelled into the comm. It was just like Huntress to ignore her. It sounded like it wasn't going very well, it worried her. Barbara had a little more trouble than Helena getting away from her day job. It wasn't like she could just run off when she had a class full of kids. She had to wait for the Vice Principle to come then she'd gone to the Clock Tower to change, which is where she was at that moment. Helena, however, was only minutes away from the bank and had easy access to spare armor in the hidden room in her office that Bruce had built long ago. Helena even had a convenient and secret access point to the roof.
"I'm getting my ass handed to me! That's my status!" Helena snarled. She attacked metal man with a series of kicks with such force that they would have killed anyone else.
"By what?" Batgirl's voice was genuinely shocked. She truly doubted anyone could beat Huntress.
"Guy's metal." Helena was breathing a little heavier now.
"Metal?" Batgirl asked perplexed. She hadn't discovered any new meta-human's in the city. She kept close watch for any who entered New Gotham. Barbara had Delphi monitoring for any information about them. She had informants in the Meta community as well. "Are you sure?"
"I'm going to pretend you didn't ask me that," Helena said angrily. Her legs were beginning to get numb from kicking something with no give at all. "Any suggestions?" She asked as she danced away from Metal Guy when he tried to hit her.
"I think I may have something," Batgirl said. "ETA twenty minutes."
"Twenty minutes," Huntress huffed. "Where are you, Metropolis?"
"Don't be snippy," Batgirl responded.
"Well?" Huntress prompted Batgirl impatiently when she finally joined her. She was really pissed. This guy was making her look really bad. It was all she could do to stop him from getting away. As it was, they were a few blocks from where she'd originally caught up to him.
"Watch and learn," Batgirl said softly. She brought the small white gun up making both Helena and Metal Guy smirk. They'd already tried guns. Helena wasn't even sure she'd classify what Batgirl was holding as a real gun. It looked more like a flare gun. What came out surprised both Huntress and Metal Guy. A few seconds after the trigger was squeezed Metal Guy became frozen Metal Guy, frozen Metal Guy who was completely immobilized.
Huntress walked up to him, giving him a poke. Yep, frozen. "If I kick him, he'll break right?" She asked. She thought she remembered something about this on TV, maybe the show with that science guy.
"Yes," Batgirl responded. She maneuvered between a very angry Huntress and the immobile meta-human.
Huntress gave Batgirl a hurt look. "Just because I asked doesn't mean I'll do it."
Batgirl gave her a look.
"Fine! I was thinking about it." Huntress stepped back a few more steps. No sense being in temptations way. "We need to get this guy to Arkham."
"Transport will be here shortly," Batgirl informed her. She'd connected with the Delphi long enough to have an automated voice tell the police their location and that a criminal had been apprehended.
"Okay." She looked at the little gun that Barbara was holding. "Where'd you get that?"
"It's a smaller version of the weapon that Freeze used."
"No kidding?" Helena moved closer to get a good look. She'd heard about Freeze but had never seen him. She took the gun when Batgirl held it out to her. It didn't seem like much. "Where'd you have it on you?" She asked, eyeing the skin tight bat suit.
"It's called a utility belt," Barbara explained as if Helena were a little slow. "If you used yours you could have stuff like this too."
"It doesn't go with the coat," Helena said dismissively. She'd gone with the armor but the duster had stayed. It was too cool to leave behind. "If I shoot him again will it hurt him?" She asked.
"No, but why would you shoot him again?"
"I can't kick him," Huntress replied. She wanted to do something to him. Shooting him with the freeze gun again would have to do. She didn't wait for a reply.
She smiled a little. It did kind of make her feel better. She shot him again.
Huntress considered metal man for a moment. She turned to Batgirl. "Maybe we should go over what you have stored on Dippy about meta-humans."
"Delphi," Batgirl enunciated clearly.
"Yeah, that one too."
"How is it," Helena inquired as she sank into the tub of hot water. "That I end up bruised and battered while you manage to come away without a scratch?"
Barbara smiled as she turned away so Helena wouldn't be able to see her face when she replied, "You have to admit your approach to crime fighting is somewhat…zealous."
"Zealous? Zealous," Helena repeated. "Fanatical, rabid, raging, is that what you're trying to say?" She asked.
"No," the redhead replied as she leaned against the wall. "More like passionate, enthusiastic or maybe fervent. Those others seem to imply a negative connotation. Negative was the furthest thing from my mind."
"Right," Helena decided to accept the answer. "Passionate huh?" She gave Barbara a long look. "I can be a lot more passionate, would you care to join me?" She splashed some water playfully. "I could show you."
"I would," Barbara replied as if she were giving the invitation serious thought. "But, I don't think you'd be able to live up to the hype right now. I don't really like boring despite what you might have heard."
"I'm hurt," the brunette said despondently. "Does that mean Wilbur is out of the picture?" Helena asked, perking up at the thought.
"Yes, I broke up with Wade a while ago," she replied stressing his name. "Honestly Helena, why is it so hard for you to get names correct?" In her opinion it was one of Helena's less than endearing idiosyncrasies.
"I remember names just fine. I just like irritating you." Helena was too busy appreciating her own humor to pay attention to the other woman, until she poked her bruised jaw. "Ow, shit! Why the hell did you do that?"
"I like irritating you," Barbara responded easily.
Helena pouted for a moment. "Now you have to kiss it and make it better. In fact, I have a few injuries that could use that treatment," she pretended to wince as she shifted in the tub. "There's one place in particular that's needs attention immediately."
"I suppose I should try to make you feel better," Barbara agreed as she walked over to kneel beside the tub. She leaned over kissing Helena's jaw softly then ran her tongue lightly up the brunettes jaw line until she reached her ear. She nipped at the ear lobe before she sat back on her heels. "The other parts?" She asked, arching her eyebrow at the stupefied woman.
"Really," Helena breathed out as she started to lift herself up. All of a sudden she was really hot.
"I hate you."
Barbara just laughed then went back to lounging against the wall.
"At least it'll be gone by Friday," Helena said as she rubbed her jaw. She'd really liked the feel of the redhead's lips and tongue. She sighed; feeling mildly disappointed there wasn't going to be more of them.
"My official welcome cocktail party," Helena reminded her. "Pretty much every key member of Wayne corp. will be there. Even my parents are attending." Of course, since it was her welcome party and everyone wanted to attend they had to schedule it well into the future when they first decided to have it. She looked at Barbara curiously, surely she should have remembered about the party. "I thought you were supposed to remember everything?"
"It's difficult to remember something you're not told about it," Barbara pointed out.
"You weren't invited?"
She looked at Helena as if she was mentally deficient. "Obviously."
Barbara realized it wasn't really a question when she kept going.
"You're an upper level employee in Wayne Corporation, or at least a key consultant. You should have been invited. This is exactly the type of thing I pointed out to them at the last staff meeting. The division managers have no idea who works where or what they do," Helena ranted.
Barbara was somewhat surprised. She'd never seen Helena like she was now. Normally she was Huntress around her. She was playful and flirtatious with her, while menacing with criminals. She bantered, she quipped, even taunted people. This was the first time she'd seen the business woman. Helena was right too. She's been a consultant for the technology division for years yet had never met the division head.
"Well, you're definitely going," Helena said, dragging Barbara's attention back to the conversation.
"I'm afraid I really can't go. I have too much grading to catch up on. It's been rather busy these last few weeks out there; I haven't had much time for my day job," Barbara said apologetically.
"Yeah, I wanted to talk to you about that too," Helena replied giving the redhead a calculating look. "Why are you still teaching?"
Barbara frowned at her. "It's my job."
"You're wrong," Helena replied. "This is your job," she gestured to Barbara who was still in her Batgirl suit. "That is just your cover, an inconvenient cover at that."
"I enjoy teaching."
"I know you do," she agreed. "You're a wonderful teacher too. But, look what happened today. We had an emergency and you were stuck there. What if I'd really been in trouble? What if I needed back up immediately instead of whenever you could get someone to cover your class?"
"We rarely have emergencies during the day," Barbara protested.
"Maybe not, but it would only take one."
"It would be the same with any job."
Helena shook her head. "No it wouldn't. I need a division manager for Technical. I was going to work on you slowly to take the position but today changed my mind about my approach."
"What happened to Jennings?" she asked, referring to the man who had run Technology for almost seven years.
"He couldn't handle the change in management."
"I can't just leave in the middle of the school year," Barbara said, still reluctant even in the face of Helena's sudden logic.
"That's just an excuse and you know it," Helena said impatiently. "You know I'm right."
Barbara stared at Helena without really seeing her. The brunette was right. She had thought the same thing several times. But, until today no one had hammered home the realization that her responsibility to the school and her students could get someone killed. It could get Helena killed. Something Barbara found totally unacceptable.
"Yes, you are," Barbara said finally. "Okay."
"So you'll do it? You'll take the job?" Helena wanted clarification. Barbara could wiggle out of things pretty good if you didn't pin her down.
"Yes, I'll do it. I accept your kind job offer." She almost laughed at the satisfied look that crossed Helena's face.
Helena smiled. That was way easier than she thought it would be. "Great! I'll pick you up at seven on Friday for the cocktail party," she said, already mentally making plans. "I'll make the announcement at the staff meeting tomorrow. You'll start on Monday." Helena nearly jumped out of the tub, she was so excited at the prospect of not only having Barbara run her problem division but to also have the redhead close by. "You're going to have a lot of work to do at first. Those egg heads haven't had anyone to rein them in for a while. Did you know they've been working on things without having any practical application in mind?"
Barbara opened her mouth to reply but Helena kept talking.
"I realize that research is important and they need the opportunity to explore different avenues but there's a certain point that the research shouldn't be continued. Getting them to abandon their work when it's been determined a failure has been almost impossible," she said as she toweled off. She saw Barbara staring at her or more specifically her body. She looked down at herself. There were several bruises on her torso but most of them where on her legs and arms from trying to block the punches and kicks that metal man had landed.
"It's a good thing you were wearing the armor," Barbara said, pulling her eyes away from the brunette's body. She really hadn't even registered the bruises. She was actually admiring her. Helena had a very nice body. It was amazing that it housed so much strength. The vision of small femininity was deceptive.
"Yeah, you were right," Helena admitted. "It saved me some major damage."
"You do know I need to give a bit more notice than two days to the principle," Barbara said, changing the subject from Helena's body. This was a much safer subject.
"No you don't. They have substitute teachers for just this purpose," she said dismissing Barbara's concern. She'd make sure it wasn't a problem. Maybe the school needed a new gym or something? That should make the loss less painful for the principle and the school.
"I'm staying if they need me," the redhead warned.
"Of course," Helena agreed, deciding to call the principle at home tonight.
"I still don't think I'll have time to go to the cocktail party." She had to get things done even more now. She couldn't leave a mess for whoever they would get to replace her.
"Sorry, I need a date and you're it," Helena told her. "Besides, I look hot in my little black dress. You really don't want to miss it."
"You're not seeing anyone? There's no one else you can take?" Barbara asked.
"Why would I want to be with anyone but you?" Helena drawled, giving Barbara a sexy smile.
"What about that cop you're going out with?"
"What?" Helena scrunched her brow in confusion. Then it dawned on her who the redhead was referring to. "Oh, him," she said smirking. "Been there, done that," she replied, shrugging with indifference. She'd liked Reese just fine but he was kind of tame. Besides, given the choice she'd take Barbara.
"You don't think it would make a bad impression to show up with your newest division manager as your date?" Barbara asked, rolling her eyes as she followed Helena out of the bathroom. She leaned against the door jamb to brunette's bedroom watching as Helena threw the clothes she was going to wear onto the bed.
"Actually, one of the great things about being the heir is that I don't have to give a rat's ass about what other people think," Helena replied. She pulled the t-shirt on then tossed her head in Barbara's direction. "You should get changed too. You can't run around like that, it's a little conspicuous. I can just see some industrious reporter peeing himself if he had the opportunity to follow Batgirl to her lair. Not to mention how happy it would make a criminal."
"I don't have any clothes here." She hadn't expected to come out this afternoon and she hadn't considered the possibility that she would need to make sure Helena got home okay. She'd just wait until night fall then head home.
"Alfred has some stuff in the spare bedroom for you." She shrugged at Barbara's questioning look. "He's Alfred."
"It might not look good for me to come as your date to the cocktail party," Barbara said getting back to their earlier conversation before Helena side tracked them. She didn't want anyone to think she was in the position because she was dating the boss.
"Might not look good to whom? I'm the only one that you need to be concerned about making a good impression on," Helena said giving the redhead a thorough once over. "I doubt it's something you'll need to worry about."
"You know what I mean," she said, glaring at the brunette.
"Relax B, you worry too much. It'll only take two seconds in your presence for anyone to see why you got the job." Barbara was a genius. It was glaringly obvious to anyone who had ever met her.
"Fine, but you're buying me dinner first," Barbara said gruffly to hide her embarrassment at the compliment. "I can't stand the pretentious, yet inedible appetizers they call food."
"Happy to," Helena said, completely agreeing with her. "You know that me buying dinner means you'll have to put out." Helena decided to go back to flirting to make Barbara more comfortable.
"I guess I'll buy."
Helena winked at her. "You don't have to buy me dinner to get me to put out." She patted the bed. "This is a new mattress, you know," she said giving Barbara a come hither look.
"I'm going to get changed," she said ignoring Helena's comments.
Three days later…Friday night
Could a person actually die from all the moisture in their body rushing to one place? Maybe it was something she should ask the new manager of the Technology Division. Of course, it probably wasn't considered good taste to ask the person who made the event happen about whether it was possible. So instead she went with open appreciation. "Good God B, you look stunning."
"Thank you," Barbara replied, not bothered by the compliment at all since all her attention was concentrated on Helena. She really had grown up good. Barbara had never seen her in a dress before, at least not a dress like this.
"Shall we?" Helena asked, holding open the door to the limo as she waved off the driver who was hurrying to perform the task.
Barbara slipped across the seat while Helena glided in behind her. "You look wonderful," she said when Helena settled beside her. The brunette's sexy smile made her laugh. She was such a flirt.
"Where are we going for dinner?" Barbara asked as New Gotham passed by her window. She was rarely able to appreciate the beauty of the city when so much of her time was spent on roof tops after nightfall.
"Voltaire," Helena supplied their destination. It had only taken one phone call to make a reservation for this evening despite the fact that reservations normally had to be made weeks in advance. Sometimes being a Wayne had its benefits.
Barbara raised a surprised eyebrow. When Helena had agreed to dinner she hadn't expected Voltaire. Not that she wasn't pleased by the choice, the food was superb. The restaurant coupled with her charming company would make for a memorable night. Charming was an understatement. It was easy to see Selena's unique influence on her daughter. Selena had the ability to enthrall anyone with her wit, charm and sexuality. Helena had inherited that same quality.
Helena had abandoned her playful overt flirting that she normally displayed with Barbara. Since their arrival at Voltaire she had simply been herself. For this one evening she wanted to let Barbara see who she really was behind her mask. It wasn't easy but the important things rarely were.
"Do you have any preferences?" Helena asked, waving her hand to indicate the wine list.
"I thought I'd give you the privilege," she said giving Helena a warm smile. She was amazed at the divergent personalities of this person sitting across from her. She watched as Helena motioned the waiter discreetly. It was done so effortlessly that Barbara realized that Helena was quite comfortable in this setting.
"Cazel De Roques," Helena requested when the waiter appeared by her side.
"An excellent choice," he said as he bowed slightly before he retreated.
"You haven't looked at the menu," Barbara noted curiously after the waiter departed.
"No," she responded admiring her companions hair. It seemed to glow. It was the affect of the lighting but it was beautiful just the same. "I'm sure they'll be able to prepare what I want."
"What is it you want?" Barbara asked before she realized how suggestive it sounded.
Helena smiled acknowledging the unintended flirtation. "Terre et Mer de queue de homard et filet de boeuf."
Barbara nodded thinking that sounded pretty good to her too. "One of my favorites as well."
"I promise to share a bite or two," Helena offered.
"And if you were ordering for me?" Barbara asked, wondering what she might suggest.
"Tournedo de Saumon au Vin rouge."
"That doesn't appear to be on the menu this evening," Barbara responded not bothering to look at the menu again. She remembered it perfectly.
"Do you honestly think that matters?"
She laughed softly. "Of course not," she admitted. Barbara imagined that any request Helena might make would be immediately granted. Not just because of her name but because she was Helena.
The waiter returned to present the bottle for before he poured a glass for both women. Helena ordered for the pair then quirked a small smile at Barbara when the waiter assured her that the chef would have no trouble at all accommodating their choices.
"You're enjoying yourself," Barbara observed when they were alone again.
"Of course I am," she agreed. "I have entrancing company, wonderful atmosphere, and delicious wine and will soon enjoy a fantastic meal. What's not to enjoy?"
"It's difficult to reconcile the girl I knew with the woman in front of me," Barbara told her honestly.
"As you said, I grew up."
"True, but this is the first time since you've been home that I feel like I'm with a stranger."
"Is that a good thing or a bad thing?" Helena asked as she lifted her glass to take a sip.
"I don't know," she replied evasively. It was disconcerting to see Helena this way. She couldn't see any of the girl she had known. All she could see was the woman that Helena was now. She doubted she could ever go back to viewing her as she had before this evening.
"Perhaps you'll make a decision as the night goes on," Helena offered.
"Jeffery," Helena said as she casually placed her hand in the small of Barbara's back. "This is Barbara Gordon, the new Manager for the Technology Division." The introduction was unnecessary since everyone in the room obviously knew who the redhead was. After the staff meeting earlier in the week everyone in the room had gathered every bit of information about Barbara they could find. Barbara was the first person Helena had placed into a prominent position. They all knew that Barbara Gordon was also a trusted friend of the Wayne family. This meant that Barbara would be Helena's right hand. Corporate politics were alive and well for everyone except the two women, who really didn't give a damn.
"Ms. Gordon, a pleasure to meet you. Helena speaks highly of you," he gushed.
"Thank you," Barbara replied for the thousandth time that evening. Helena owed her for this night. The wonderful dinner was long forgotten in the misery of this evening. She tried to appear attentive as Jeffery showered Helena with compliments. So far the brunette had been propositioned at least six times this evening. Of course, Barbara acknowledged she'd had more than a few directed her way too. Out of self preservation she had decided to act as if they were indeed on a date. Helena hadn't seemed to mind. In fact, she became even more engaging as the evening wore on. Their flirtation had reached a new level even without Helena's normal over the top suggestive comments.
"Excuse us, please Jeffery," Barbara said giving the man a fake smile. "Our drinks are getting dangerously low." She knew this was probably the one excuse in this group that would be readily accepted. Most of them were already four sheets to the wind.
"Please tell me we can leave soon," Barbara pleaded when they escaped to the garden after getting fresh drinks to sip from occasionally.
"In the fairy tale Cinderella doesn't want the ball to end," Helena laughed as she took in Barbara's harassed expression.
"Cinderella wasn't surrounded by vultures," she replied sourly.
"I disagree. Everyone at the ball was clearly envious of Cinderella," she said, gesturing to the envious guests inside. "She was swept off her feet by her prince. Well her princess in this case," she continued as she took Barbara's hand to whisper a kiss across the redhead's fingers. "And she escaped before the clock could strike twelve," she finished.
"We're still here," Barbara pointed out though she was completely taken with Helena's comparison.
"Technically, we've escaped," Helena said, looking around the empty garden. "However, I realize you've had enough so I had the limo brought around. Thomas will take you back to the Clock Tower."
"You're staying?" The surprise was evident in Barbara's voice.
"I'm the guest of honor. I have to be here until the end," she replied. Just the thought of it made her feel tired. Even her parents had left already.
"I thought you said you didn't care what they thought?" She couldn't believe Helena would make herself miserable for appearances sake.
Helena took a step closer to Barbara bringing them mere inches from one another. "I like that you want me to leave with you," she said softly.
The redhead easily recognized the seductive smile that Helena was giving her. It was the same smile that she'd been giving her since their reunion. Apparently the evening had truly come to an end. Helena had turned into Huntress again. It wasn't as if she didn't find Huntress just as witty, sexy and alluring as the Helena she'd seen tonight but she admitted that she was disappointed to see this Helena go.
"But, I really would rather our first date not end tomorrow morning. There are usually far too many regrets when that happens," Helena said, deciding to keep the mask off a little longer. She'd seen the look in Barbara's eyes when she'd made the comment. She also knew that she didn't want to disappoint the redhead.
"First date?" Barbara repeated. "Really?"
"No," Helena teased.
"Oh." She mumbled not sure how she felt about it being only teasing. She had to admit this evening had been a wonderful 'date' despite the atrocious cocktail party.
"I'll walk you to the car," Helena said, offering her arm to the redhead.
They remained silent until they were by the limo. Helena politely opened the door for her date. "I had a wonderful time," she said.
"I did too."
"Good night," Helena said softly. She leaned in brushing her lips against Barbara's.
The kiss wasn't expected. Barbara couldn't say she was uncomfortable with it though. It was such a chaste kiss. It was actually perfect, just what she would want from a first date. It really was a shame it hadn't been. "Good night," Barbara murmured.
Three months later
"I like this, it brings so many people together," Batgirl said as she stared down at the scene below.
Huntress looked up to peer at her partner who was on the roof top across the street. "That's just wrong," she replied, trying to keep from laughing. Barbara's sense of humor had taken on a disturbing twist in recent months. She liked that about her. Maybe she was rubbing off on her. After all, they worked together, fought crime together, spent a considerable amount of their free time together, she was bound to rub off on Barbara eventually. She looked back down at the group moving around in a purposeful manner.
They'd arrived at the crime scene to find it swarming with police, EMT's and crime scene investigators. Now they needed to find out what was going on down there.
"We need to see that body."
"No kidding?" Helena mocked good naturedly. "You go ahead; you're wearing the bat emblem."
"We're both going. I'm tired of handling all the diplomacy."
"I don't think that's a good idea. Look what happened the last time. Besides, do you see who's down there?" Huntress had seen Reese the moment he'd arrived. She kept watching as he walked further down the alley, almost directly under her position. "He doesn't really care for Huntress," she told Batgirl, as if the other woman didn't know already.
Her head shot up when she heard clucking over the comm. "You did not just cluck at me," Huntress hissed, completely insulted. She clenched her jaw when the clucking came again. "Fine! I'm going to wring your neck later, though," she promised. She took a leap off the roof, landing easily right in front of the detective in question.
She wanted to laugh when Detective Reese jerked back and reached for his gun when she landed in front of him. It was a pointless gesture, if she wanted to hurt him, she would already have done it.
"Hold it right there," Reese ordered, training his gun on the masked woman. He didn't know what was going on or who she was, but he was going to find out. He'd seen her at several crime scenes now, he didn't believe in coincidence. Why was she always around when a crime had taken place? No, it definitely wasn't a coincidence.
"Okay," Huntress replied patiently. "Let's go over it again. Super-hero," she said indicating herself. "Defender of the weak, downtrodden and such." She pointed at him, speaking slowly, "Police officer, also a defender of the weak, downtrodden and such." She gestured between them. "Good guys," she enunciated, as if to a child.
"You're not earning yourself any points with the sarcasm,' he replied angrily.
"Is this criminal bothering you?" Batgirl asked, stepping up beside the detective.
This time Helena did laugh when Reese jumped away from Batgirl.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to startle you." Her voice was low and calm, with almost no inflection.
If Helena hadn't known it was Barbara underneath the mask already, she would have never figured it out from her voice.
Huntress pointed at the bat emblem on Batgirls costume. "See Batgirl, we're the good guys."
"Her, I know about," he admitted. He glanced at Batgirl as if to confirm she was really there. He'd heard of Batman and the others. He remembered hearing stories about them from Commissioner Gordon himself, but that didn't mean this woman was okay. "How do I know you're with her? Batgirl just called you a criminal." He raked his eyes up and down her body. "You don't have the bat logo." Hostility dripped from his voice.
"I'm a rebel. But, you can call me Huntress."
He didn't like the smirk she was giving him and he definitely didn't like her attitude, like she was better than he was at the job. He stepped closer and took hold of the woman's arm, ready to put a cuff on her when a hand around his wrist stopped the motion.
"I really wouldn't do it, if I were you." She was willing to let him question Huntress. She was even willing to let him yell at her, considering how condescending she'd been. But, he was not allowed to touch her.
Batgirl held him in a tight grip, putting pressure on the joint until he released his hold on Huntress, then she let go as well. Acting as if nothing had occurred between them, she asked, "What happened here?"
He thought briefly about not telling them a thing. In fact, he thought about calling for back-up to arrest them, or at least arresting Huntress. He really didn't like her. Unfortunately he couldn't do that, he needed help with this case. It was the third murder like this and he was out of ideas or theories. Besides all that, there was no way the brass would hold onto anyone associated with Batman.
"It looks like he was mauled by something," He explained, after a significant pause. "This is the third victim."
"Mauled by what?" Batgirl asked, glancing back at the opening of the alley where she knew the body was located.
"It looks like an animal did it."
"Animal?" Huntress questioned. There was more than one type of animal, but from his expression she was betting it wasn't the human variety. That alone gave her the right to mock him. "You mean the kind that goes, 'grrrr'?" Huntress asked, holding up her arms and forming claws with her hands.
He glared at Huntress again. He really didn't like her. "Like a tiger or lion or something similar," Reese admitted reluctantly.
"Lions and tigers and bears, oh my," Huntress sang under her breath.
"You haven't been able to isolate what species yet?" Batgirl asked her voice nonjudgmental as she glared at Huntress. It was maddening, she could easily subdue a criminal but she couldn't get Helena to be quiet.
"No," Reese admitted, running his hand over his face, trying to rub out his exhaustion. "There's something strange about it. The lab insists that there are three types of DNA present, none of which is fully identifiable." Privately he thought the lab was making excuses for their obvious incompetence. He'd recommended an outside lab on the second murder, they should have listened. There was absolutely no way for an animal to run around loose without someone spotting it.
"I need a sample of whatever you have for DNA evidence."
"You have a lab?" Reese asked suspiciously.
The two masked women just stared at the detective.
He wanted to kick his own ass right now. God puts the answer to his problem on his door step and he questions their ability. "Right, I suppose you have access to something," he replied lamely. That hadn't been his best moment.
"The sample," Huntress prodded when he just stood there looking like an idiot. Here was the guy she decided not to see anymore.
"I'll get it for you," he promised Batgirl, ignoring Huntress completely.
"We would appreciate any crime scene photos as well as any other evidence you've gathered on all the murders."
"I don't know if I can get you all the evidence," he said slowly. He actually had some doubts that he could get the DNA.
"Reports would be fine," she assured him.
He glanced over his shoulder at all the people milling around the scene. "I'll have to get it to you later. Is there some way I can contact you?"
Batgirl pulled out something from her utility belt that looked to Helena like a pager.
"When you have it, push this button," she explained, handing him the homing beacon. "We'll be able to find you."
"How long will it take you to get some results? We need to catch whoever it is that's doing this. Knowing what exactly who or what it is would help a lot."
"We'll contact you when we know something," Batgirl affirmed.
He glanced over his shoulder again to make sure they were still unobserved. "Give me two days," he said, turning back to the women, only to find the place where they'd been standing empty. He looked around quickly, trying to figure out where they'd disappeared to.
Helena chuckled softly from where she was crouched on a window ledge hidden in shadows.
"What's so funny?" Batgirl questioned. She was moving away from the scene on a neighboring rooftop.
"He's just looking around like a lost kid," Huntress related, amused.
"We need to get back to work," she scolded mildly. She could hardly blame Huntress, for some reason she didn't care for the detective either but she couldn't exactly admit it. She didn't want to examine why she didn't like him too closely.
"Back to work?" Huntress repeated. "I didn't know we were working. I thought this was a date."
"Well, in that case, you really know how to show a girl a good time," Batgirl replied dryly.
"I always show a girl a good time," she replied, pitching her voice into a sexy timbre.
"Oh, I'm sure you do. How about right now?" Batgirl purred.
"What did you have in mind?" Helena had been having full on, techno-color fantasies about Batgirl and a dark alley.
"A mugging in the park, Delphi caught the call from an officer in pursuit."
"Almost the next best thing," Huntress mumbled, already moving in that direction.
Later that evening
"So, you were just telling him that to get him to give us what we needed, right?"
"What?" Barbara asked, absently. She was searching the CCTV network in the areas of the murders for any sign of something or someone out of the ordinary.
"Reese," Helena clarified. "We're not going to tell him what we know, are we? I mean, I know he's doing his job but he'll get in the way."
"Of course we're going to tell him. They have more man power; we need them. The chances of finding this person increases considerably with their assistance," Barbara replied. "We can't be everywhere."
"You think it's a person?" Helena thought it was a person but Barbara usually liked to keep an open mind. After all, they'd seen crazier things than a wild animal mauling people.
Barbara sighed, sitting back in her chair. "I find it hard to believe that an animal could manage to run around the city without being seen at least once."
"Maybe it's a meta," Helena offered, shrugging slightly.
"Maybe," Barbara echoed, tapping her finger against her lip.
The brunette hopped over the back of the couch, landing comfortably on the cushions. "When you figure it out, let me know," she called out as she reached for the remote to the TV.
"You could help."
"I am helping," Helena replied, raising her head up enough so Barbara could see her. "I'm staying out of your way."
Barbara nodded at her. "You're right, that is helping. But, I was thinking you could go sniff around the scene. Everyone should be gone by now."
"You want me to look around? Should I be looking for anything in particular?" Helena asked.
"I do want you to look around," Barbara hesitated for a moment before she continued. "But, I also want you to sniff around."
"You have a heightened sense of smell; you might notice something that everyone else didn't."
Helena stared at the redhead, unsure if she were joking. She was a bloodhound now? "The only thing I'm likely to smell is a dumpster or maybe urine."
"Or maybe an animal scent," Barbara added.
"I thought we just decided that it wasn't an animal."
"It's unlikely, but it won't hurt to try." Barbara noticed Helena's affronted expression. "Is something wrong?"
"No, I don't mind being treated like a bloodhound," she replied archly.
"If you do a good job, you can have a treat."
"What type of treat?" Helena asked, interested. "I can think of a treat I wouldn't mind nibbling." She raked her gaze over Barbara's body.
"I love that cartoon," Helena shot back on her way to the elevator.
"Stay on comm.," Barbara called out before the door could slide closed.
Huntress rolled her eyes at Barbara's impatient question. "I just got here. Give me like two minutes to look around. God, impatient much?"
"You know, that's almost exactly what you said to me the first time we did this," Barbara told her, smiling at the memory.
"Really?" Huntress asked. "You would think you would've learned some patience after such a long time."
"You're ruining my moment," Barbara replied sourly.
"Sorry," she said, trying to keep the laughter out of her voice.
Huntress took an exaggerated inhalation so it could easily be heard over the comm. "Hmm."
"You found something?" Barbara's voice sounded surprised and excited.
"Yes, I can't believe it, B. I just can't believe it," she said, sounding amazed.
"What is it?"
"Puke," Huntress replied, all the wonder gone from her voice, replaced by revulsion.
"You're not amusing," Barbara snapped.
"Oh my God, it's urine. I think I might be on to something," Huntress exclaimed with feigned excitement. "Trash! B, there's trash. I'll collect some for evidence," she finished, looking around, disgusted.
"Thank you for that comedic intermission. Getting back to the mission for a moment, is there anything relevant?" Barbara asked, holding in the urge to bang her head against the table. She should have realized when she sent Helena out that the woman would be like this.
"That wasn't what you were looking for?" Huntress asked innocently as she moved up and down the alley, looking for anything the cops might have missed. She smiled when Barbara was silent on the other end of the comm.
"Nothing," she reported after a thorough inspection of the alley, street and the sides of the buildings.
For a moment Huntress thought Barbara was going to ignore her. Then a muffled 'thank you' came through. Maybe she'd taken it too far? She looked around the alley again, grimacing. No, she didn't, in fact, she didn't take it far enough.
"Are you coming back in?" Barbara asked, when Huntress didn't reply.
"Nah, I think I'm gonna head home."
"Oh, okay. Have a good night," the redhead offered, hiding her disappointment.
"Night B," Huntress said quietly before she shut off her comm.
She took another deep breath as she looked around at the surrounding rooftops. She felt like she was being watched, but she couldn't detect anyone. With two quick steps and a leap she was on the roof of one of the buildings looking for what her senses told her was there but she couldn't see.
Huntress took off in the direction of home, listening intently for any pursuit. After several minutes she thought she heard something clicking against brick. She concentrated on the sound, it was steady now. It was definitely behind her, keeping its distance. She sped up as she approached the building she was waiting for. She dodged behind a corner then leapt up to the highest ledge, next to a gargoyle that decorated the building. There were many of them around this particular building, she'd spent many nights admiring them when she was a child, and she still came here occasionally.
She waited patiently for any sign of whatever might have been following her. Maybe it was just her imagination. After all, nothing could really hide from her. Still, she waited. She was truly surprised when something rounded the corner then leapt across to the adjacent building, continuing its chase.
What the hell? She followed it as best she could, keeping to the higher buildings. She lost it a few times, but managed to find it again. She shrank back into the dark, watching it look around. It knew she was there. She was certain it knew she was there. But, much like when she was in the alley, he couldn't see her. What the hell was it? It certainly wasn't an animal, at least, not any kind of animal she'd ever seen. It looked like a mix between a dog, cat and something she really couldn't put her finger on. The combination was disturbing.
While she was watching, it disappeared. She looked around trying to see where it went. It was gone. She tilted her head curiously, trying to figure out what happened. One second it was there, the next it was gone. Maybe it was some kind of Meta? A Meta that was a cat-dog that could become invisible. She snorted at herself. Right. But, if that wasn't the answer then what was? She remained where she was for almost an hour, barely breathing, waiting to see if it was playing cat and mouse. Finally, she was tired of waiting. She'd never been particularly patient. She moved quietly checking the surrounding buildings, finding absolutely nothing. Not even a scent of the thing. Giving the area one last look, she finally headed for home. She'd have to tell Barbara about this in the morning. Maybe she would have some ideas or suggestions.
"I was thinking we could go to dinner tonight," Helena started talking before she even stepped off the elevator. "Maybe that Italian place down the street? A girl needs carbs to fight crime," she finished as she came to a stop beside Barbara, who was at the computer, again.
"I just need a few more minutes," Barbara replied absently.
"What are you doing?" Helena asked curiously as she leaned over Barbara's shoulder to look at the monitor. "Is this a home movie? Porn?" Her voice was a little more interested at that last question.
"What? No! What?"
"Well, aren't we articulate," Helena said, smirking at the miffed look on Barbara's face.
"It's not a home movie or porn." Barbara glared at her. She turned back to the monitor to peer at it intently. "This is recorded footage I found from the night of the murder. See this?" She asked as she tapped the monitor. "This is the view of the alley from across the street. Look here," she pointed at an area of the building wall. "I think I saw something disappear. I'm not really sure; it could just be a glitch with the video feed. I've gone over it a few times it looks like whatever it is just vanished."
"The same thing happened to me last night," Helena told her as she leaned closer. "Go back again?"
"Last night?" Barbara asked, ignoring Helena's request to rewind the footage.
"When I signed off I had this weird feeling I was being watched," she told her distractedly. She canted her head to the side looking for the rewind button on the key board. "I let it follow me for a while until I was sure it was actually there then I lost it long enough to find a position to wait for it. I followed it for a while but it disappeared on me." She found the button she was looking for and pressed it until the footage went back far enough for her to see what Barbara was talking about. "Yeah, that's it. I got a pretty good look at it. It looks like a mix between a dog and a cat. Kind of creepy," she finished, only just noticing that Barbara was looking at her as if she wanted to strangle her.
She stepped back from the computer holding up her hands. "Sorry, I won't touch it again." Barbara was extremely territorial about her computer. Helena was surprised she hadn't lost her hand as soon as she touched the button.
"You knew it was out there and you went off comm.?" Barbara barked. She was angry; completely, totally, thoroughly angry. "Do you know what could have happened?"
"A game of fetch?" Helena joked, answering what was obviously a rhetorical question.
"This isn't a joke!"
"I know that," Helena replied defensively. She was wrong and she knew it. She shouldn't have cut herself off from Barbara. If the redhead had done the same thing Helena knew she would have raked her over the coals then taken away her batarang for a week.
"What were you thinking? Barbara demanded.
"I wasn't sure if anything was there," she explained as she left the Delphi platform to sit on the couch. She looked up at the redhead who was towering over her, having followed her into the room. "I didn't want to bother you with it. You have a lot of work to do and I know you've been working really late to do it."
"You didn't want to bother me?" She repeated incredulously.
"You've been looking a little tired lately," Helena admitted cautiously. By the look Barbara threw her she knew she'd piqued her vanity in a bad way. "Not that you don't look great," she back peddled furiously. "You look great, fabulous, gorgeous, and good enough to eat. In fact…" Helena stopped the less than subtle proposition she planned when Barbara held up a hand.
"I don't care if I stay up all night for the next month and look like a zombie. When you're out there without back up you will stay on comm. If you think there's something or someone following you, you will tell me immediately. You will not go off on your own, risking your life so I can do some paperwork," Barbara told her emphatically.
"Well, aren't we just the tiniest bit dictatorial," Helena drawled. She understood Barbara's concern but her attitude had to go.
"I mean it."
"You mean it," Helena mocked in the same authoritative tone. "Who died and left you in charge?"
"This is my team, my operation," she yelled, her fury over-riding her good sense. Even as the words left her mouth she wanted to reel them back in.
"Yours?" Helena repeated. "Is that what this is?" She asked as she stood up. That hurt quite a bit even though she knew Barbara didn't believe that. The redhead was scared for her and like most people, when scared they get angry. Helena knew all about that reaction. Even now she could see that Barbara was regretting her words.
Barbara pinched the bridge of her nose then rubbed her eyes. She really was tired, exhausted actually. It was letting her mouth run unchecked like a leaky faucet. "No, I didn't mean that," she replied wearily.
"What did you mean?" She may understand but that didn't mean she couldn't give Barbara a hard time about it.
"I'm sorry, you're right, I'm tired. I don't think that at all," Barbara said as she gestured at Delphi and the rest of the Clock Tower. "It's ours."
"Everything is ours?" Helena asked, contemplating the room then Barbara.
"Of course it is," the redhead assured her. "You're my partner, Helena."
"Partner?" Helena repeated.
Helena took three steps forward bringing her so close to Barbara they were breathing the same air. She took the redhead's hand gently, holding it against her heart as she gazed into confused green eyes. "I had no idea you felt that way about me," Helena breathed. "I swear I'll do everything I can to make sure you never regret a moment of our life together." She looked away shyly when Barbara continued to look bewildered. "So, even though it goes against my up-bringing, I'm prepared to consummate our relationship," she finished in a sultry purr.
"You're such an ass," Barbara muttered trying to contain the smile she could feel turning up the corners of her mouth.
"I thought it would take longer for you to come to that realization," Helena sighed sadly. "I suppose I should have asked for a pre-nup."
Barbara smiled crookedly at her friend. She truly didn't deserve a friend like Helena. But, she didn't really care. She wasn't going to lose her. "I am sorry," she said, still holding Helena's hand.
She smiled at Barbara, more than willing to let it go. "I know how you can make it up to me." She moved impossibly closer to her.
"I think I know what you want," Barbara replied huskily. Her eyes dropped to Helena's lips as her tongue slipped out wetting her own. "Are you sure?"
Helena only nodded, not taking her eyes off of Barbara's lips. God, the sight of her tongue running along her bottom lip was too sexy for words.
Barbara leaned in, her lips parted in anticipation. "I'll call ahead and make sure they have a table for us," she said after pulling back at the last possible second.
"You are so wrong, Gordon." Helena couldn't stop the smile that spread across her face even though she was somewhat uncomfortable. Being fully aroused with no outlet in sight will do that to a girl. "I want a divorce."
"Annulment," Barbara corrected.
Two weeks later
Helena tried not to cringe at the severely off key singing. She could only be thankful that 'Happy Birthday' was a relatively short song. She smiled as the cake was deposited in front of her with way too many flickering candles for her mere twenty-five years on the planet. How many candles had they used? The entire thing was covered! She frowned at that thought. The cake would get wax on it. She didn't like that idea at all. She liked cake.
"Make a wish," Selena prodded when Helena just frowned at the cake.
A wish? She closed her eyes wishing with all her might that she would never have to do this again. She'd wished for the same thing for the last two years. This wish crap was obviously thought up by the candle industry. She took a deep breath then dutifully blew out as many candles as she could.
Almost before everyone could be fully amazed at all the candles being extinguished, Alfred swooped in, beginning to cut the cake. Barbara pulled away from the group gathered around Helena and took the opportunity to get away from the crowd. She went to stand beside Dick to watch everyone.
"Helena was right, you know?" Dick said, admiring the redhead.
"You look better than the cake," he reminded her. "You probably taste better too."
"You were listening? That's the problem with people who lurk in dark places; they hear things they aren't supposed to hear."
"You're blushing," Dick pointed out.
Barbara glared at him. "Tact, it's not just for strangers anymore."
"If your friends can't tease you then who can?"
"I think I get enough of that from Helena," Barbara replied peevishly.
"She does lay it on pretty thick," he admitted. If anyone but Helena said some of the things she had said to Barbara they'd be black and blue. "If you sleep with her the chances are pretty good she'll stop."
"I said, if you sleep with her the chances are pretty good she'll stop. 'sleep' being a euphemism for sex," Dick explained in his best scholarly voice.
"I heard what you said. I just can't believe you said it," Barbara snapped.
"What? She's hot." He might consider Helena a sister but he wasn't blind. "What could it hurt?" Dick backed away from Barbara slowly. If the glare he was getting was any indication he was about to meet an untimely death. "Take it easy there B, it was just a joke." Of course, he hadn't been joking but he really liked living.
"It wasn't funny," she replied flatly. She turned away from him to stare broodingly out into the room. Her eyes automatically located Helena. The thought had crossed her mind a time or two. How could it not? Every conversation they had was a flirtation, whether it was overt or subtle. But, she'd had the opportunity to see how Helena operated since she came home. Helena flirted with people. Sure, not as heavily as she flirted with Barbara but that was only because they spent so much time together.
Dick studied Barbara wondering what that was all about. He'd said more shocking things to her before. He couldn't understand what had pissed her off so badly. He noticed the redhead staring at someone and followed her gaze until he landed right on Helena. Ah, so that was it. It was an 'I want to but I can't let myself thing'. That was all Barbara, always doing what she thought was the right thing even when it was the wrong thing. She always did the same thing. Dick knew from the way Barbara acted that Helena meant more to her than she was willing to admit. She meant more to her than the redhead probably knew. He'd come to that realization after Helena left with her parents to Paris. And, if Barbara couldn't see how bad Helena had it for her then she must be blind and stupid. "I guess I should go wish the birthday girl a happy birthday," he said, not surprised when Barbara just nodded at him. She obviously needed a little alone time right now.
He started across the room heading straight for Helena. From the looks of things, Helena needed to be rescued in the worst way. He'd never seen such a pained expression on her face before.
"Hey," he greeted the brunette and the gentleman she'd been conversing with. Well, not conversing so much as nodding and glancing around for an escape route. "Do you mind if I borrow the birthday girl for a minute or two?" He asked, giving the guy a small smile. It was all he could do to keep it toned down to a polite smile since he heard Helena's sigh of relief the moment he joined them.
The guy looked annoyed but tactfully withdrew to give them a modicum of privacy, if you could have privacy in a crowded room.
"You are by far my favorite brother," Helena told him gratefully.
"Well, isn't that quite a compliment since I'm your only brother."
"That doesn't mean you're not my favorite."
"Thanks," Dick replied rolling his eyes. "So, how does it feel to be a year older?" He asked when Helena didn't shoot back a smart mouth reply.
"A lot like I felt yesterday, only today I get cake," she replied.
"It's an impressive cake," Dick mused as he looked at the giant confection. "An impressive crowd too," he continued. He scanned the crowd as he wondered who they all were. He recognized many of them as company executives. But, there were a number of people he'd never met. "Who's that?" He asked, gesturing discreetly at an attractive woman who was chatting with Selena.
"Samantha," Helena answered.
"And we know Samantha, how?" Dick inquired patiently.
"Ah, a friend," Dick said, smiling knowingly. "I didn't think you were seeing anyone?" He commented a few seconds later. This could be one of the reasons Barbara wasn't hopping on the Helena express.
"I'm not." She shrugged at his raised eyebrow. "It was casual."
"Was? Over then?" That thought kind of pleased him. He was considering taking a run at her himself.
"Aren't you talkative this evening," he noted dryly.
"Sorry," she said, smiling wryly. "Alfred was kind enough to invite all my 'friends' to this get together." She sighed at Dick's confused expression. "He went through my social planner."
"So they are all…" he trailed off looking around the room. He was kind of impressed. Helena hadn't been in town long, apparently she'd been very busy though.
"Not all of them," Helena replied defensively. Only three or so, she thought to herself. "I have friends too you know. I did grow up here."
"Sorry, I just remember hearing about your randy college days."
"Forget it," she sighed, waving the entire conversation away with a flip of her hand.
"So, you're not dating anyone?" He asked cautiously. He didn't want to upset her but he was very interested in the reply.
"Not for a while, no." She looked away from Dick then allowed her eyes to roam the room until she found Barbara.
"Oh, why not?" He was pushing her.
She glanced at him suspiciously. Dick didn't ask questions like this because he didn't want the attention turned onto him later on. She had a feeling she knew what he was trying to build up to and she had no intention of talking to him about it. She had no intention of talking to anyone about it. "How about some cake?" She suggested as she headed for the table full of cake slices. "I think I need a sugar high right about now."
"Happy birthday," Barbara whispered into Helena's ear. She was warmed by the genuine smile Helena gave her. For most of the night the brunette had looked like she ate something particularly unappealing when she was talking to people.
"It is now. Where have you been all night?" Every time Helena thought she'd get a chance to talk to Barbara the other woman seemed to disappear.
"Let's just say that there's an open bar and leave it at that."
Helena nodded in understanding. "I know what you mean." An open bar was an invitation for drunken groping and less than appealing propositions. For some reason alcohol increased the bravery quotient of the average male while ironically, it lowered the ability factor.
"You're not having fun?" Barbara asked.
"I wouldn't say that. I liked seeing my family," she replied, trying to look on the bright side of things.
Barbara scanned the crowd looking for Bruce and Selena. "Speaking of your family, where are they?"
"They decided to make the rounds for old time's sake." She frowned slightly before she related the second reason. "They also wanted me to enjoy my birthday party without worrying about…business."
Helena nodded her head towards the balcony where he was chatting up Samantha. She wished him well but knew for a fact he was going to strike out. Samantha was strictly girls only.
Barbara chuckled softly. "He's not going to have much luck there," she said, amused that he would try.
"You know her?" Helena questioned, somewhat alarmed by the thought.
"Mmmm," Barbara hummed her response as she nodded.
"How?" Helena managed to ask. She didn't like the tone of that hum.
"I met her two years ago," Barbara answered slowly, noticing the look on Helena's face.
"Really? Were you close?"
"Not particularly," she admitted. Samantha had been an impetuous encounter after a particularly dangerous patrol. She'd needed to burn off energy and she'd found the opportunity when she met Samantha in a club. That was before she stopped going to night clubs. Dancing and alcohol had always gotten her into trouble. "It wasn't serious."
"You slept with her?" Helena blurted before she could clamp down on her tongue. First, she never knew Barbara went that way. Or at least she didn't think Barbara had experienced sapphic love but knew she was amiable to it. Second, she didn't know how she felt about having slept with the same woman. Because if you've had sex with everyone your partner slept with for the last ten years then technically she'd had sex with Barbara and she didn't really get to enjoy it.
Barbara studied Helena for a moment. She'd never heard that tone from the brunette before and she couldn't imagine what caused it. She couldn't imagine until she could imagine. Because, from the look she was getting she realized that they apparently had Samantha in common. She blanched a bit at that thought. She'd seen Samantha talking to Selena and just assumed they were friends or at least knew each other and that was why she was here. She'd never considered Helena might be dating her, sleeping with her. "It was years ago," she hastened to explain. She looked away uncomfortably. "I didn't know you were dating anyone."
"I'm not," Helena answered absently. How weird was her life that this was the closest she'd gotten to being with Barbara. Even weirder was she was beyond jealous. Why was she jealous? She wasn't jealous of Dick. "We should get out of here," she suggested after a couple of seconds. She wanted to get Barbara as far away from Samantha as she could.
"That sounds like a very good idea," Barbara agreed. The idea of the three of them interacting together made her shudder. She realized that she didn't like the thought of Helena flirting with Samantha now. She didn't like the thought that Helena had slept with her.
"What should we do now?" Helena asked when they stopped next to her motorcycle.
"It's your birthday so it's your choice," the redhead offered as she leaned against the building across from Helena.
Helena looked down the street thinking about what she wanted to do. They could go out but she didn't want to share Barbara with anyone. She wanted to spend the rest of her birthday alone with the redhead. Honestly, that was all she wanted to begin with. "I was thinking it would be nice if we could watch a movie," Helena told her.
"What's playing?" Barbara asked. It was a little late but they should be able to catch something.
"At the Clock Tower," Helena clarified.
"Oh," Barbara murmured. "That sounds good."
"We can watch my favorite movie," Helena enthused as she slipped her leg over the bike.
"Oh God." Barbara couldn't help the groan that escaped.
"It's a good movie!" Helena defended her favorite movie. Barbara wouldn't know quality if it bit her in the ass. "Bullet Proof Monk is a classic," she insisted.
"Only in your mind," Barbara shot back as she headed for her own ride.
Three days later
Huntress crouched down slowly as she scanned the area. She felt something watching them. She had a feeling she knew what it was. She opened her mouth scenting the air. Normally it wasn't something she would do in front of anyone, Batgirl included but sometimes a situation came about that made these things unavoidable.
"What is it?" Batgirl asked softly. She'd been partially paying to attention to Huntress and the data she was downloading to her PDA from Delphi to see if anything was happening in New Gotham that required their talents. Huntress' atypical action pulled her full attention to her partner.
"There's something out here," Huntress breathed out. "I'm going to see if I can draw it out. Don't get too close," she warned Batgirl. "I have a feeling it'll know if you do."
"Maybe I should try to get it to follow me. I don't think I'll be able to reach you as fast as you could reach me if there's a problem."
Huntress shook her head before she realized that Batgirl didn't have her kind of night vision to see the action. "I have a feeling it's waiting for me," she said, feeling the anticipation of the chase ahead. "We have some unfinished business."
"That doesn't make me feel better about this," Batgirl replied, not trying to hide her annoyance. Still she didn't say anymore about it when Huntress leapt across the chasm between buildings and took off.
"Is it following?" She asked a few minutes later.
"Yeah. Are you following yet?"
"On my way." She shot a bolt across to another building then swung down to the street, breaking into a run without missing a single step. She was on her motorcycle and following seconds later. Batgirl kept watch on the directional finder she carried that had a lock on Huntress' GPS signal.
"You're traveling faster than normal," Batgirl noted. She had no idea that Huntress had that kind of speed.
"I'm trying to keep pretty far ahead of it," she replied, breathing heavier than usual. It was far from a comfortable pace. She wondered how long she would have to keep it up.
"Did you have a plan or are you just going to run around all night until you drop?"
"I thought you would have a plan by now," Huntress returned, sounding put out that Batgirl hadn't understood what was expected of her. "I'm supposed to come up with a plan to trap it and lead him to said trap?" She asked. "What did you plan on doing while I was taking care of everything?"
"Oh sarcasm," Batgirl drawled, amused despite the situation. "How atypical of you."
"A plan," Huntress prompted impatiently. She was beginning to get winded. It was bad for her reputation.
Batgirl calculated Huntress' current position then estimated the time it would take her to get set up and how much time it would take for Helena to lead it to her intended destination. The only likely place for an ambush would be the fertilizer packaging factory. The ammonia would cover her scent sufficiently so she wouldn't be detected. "Ag-trans," Barbara directed as she accelerated towards the destination.
"Damn it! I'd like to be able to breathe when we stop," Huntress complained. The smell could suck the air right from her lungs. She hated that part of the city and avoided it whenever possible.
"Get over it. It's the best spot." Batgirl smiled, hearing Huntress grumble in between labored breaths.
Batgirl watched the net land over the animal, satisfied when the ends secured themselves to the ground. She was startled when the thing began to effectively work its way free. She shot another net, reinforcing the first. Then she had to shoot two more.
"How many of those things do you have?" Huntress asked, pointing to the nets.
"Wow, what would you have done if four wasn't enough?" She wondered as she circled the thing.
"Run like hell," Batgirl responded.
"What are we going to do now?" Huntress asked. "I could try to knock it out," she said thoughtfully, as she considered the situation. She really didn't want to get too close. It had really sharp teeth and was pretty pissed. "Do you have an escrima stick?"
"No." She pulled a small white pellet out of her utility belt then decided to get some pay back on Huntress. "You could try talking to it," she suggested. "You're part house cat."
"House cat?" Huntress asked incredulously. "Did you just say I was part house cat? Cause, if you did I'm gonna have to feed you to that thing," she threatened. "I don't speak cat," she finished indignantly.
Barbara studied the animal for a few moments. "It looks as if it's probably part Lynx. So, you're right; you probably couldn't communicate with it."
"Lynx, coyote, it doesn't matter. I'm not Dr. Dolittle," she snapped.
"Coyote is a canine," Batgirl corrected.
"You know what? Just for that you get to be the one to knock it out." She shot Batgirl a challenging look. "Good luck with that," she said, smiling evilly. The batsuit would probably protect the redhead but Huntress hoped it would get in a good swipe or two. Then she would be able to stitch Batgirl up. That thought made her smirk. Paybacks.
"No problem," Batgirl said confidently as she returned Huntress' smirk with a superior look.
Huntress glanced at the animal, ready to take odds on it rather than Batgirl when she did a double take. It was gone. "What the hell!" She shouted looking round for where it might have gone. She crouched a bit preparing for an attack.
"What?" Batgirl asked, automatically assuming a fighting position, preparing for trouble. She looked over at their captive, gasping when she saw it wasn't there. She frowned slightly, looking at the nets and the way they were still shaped as if they were still holding the thing. "It's invisible," she said, awed at the ability.
"Look," Batgirl said, gesturing at the bulging netting.
"It can really do that? I thought it was just really fast," Huntress replied, completely amazed. That was so cool! She needed a trick like that. She continued to circle it then stopped to stare at it. She tilted her head from side to side trying to get a better angle on what she thought she was seeing. Yes! There it was. "It's camouflage," she said slowly, not sure if what she was seeing was real or not.
"It is?" Batgirl walked around looking at it from all angles. "That is impressive," she admitted. "Several reptiles have the ability to blend into their surroundings. It's a defense mechanism."
"So this is part dog, cat and reptile? I thought my parents were a little mismatched," Huntress mumbled under her breath. "How are we going to know if we manage to knock it out?" She asked.
"I'm not sure. But, we'll figure it out eventually."
"Ha, good luck then. Try not to get eviscerated," Huntress suggested helpfully.
Batgirl held up the sleep pellet smirking. Then she threw it near the animal. They waited patiently as the gas dispersed then watched the netting twitch and stretch.
"Well, at least we know it doesn't like it," Huntress noted sourly. She didn't like that it seemed to be working. Batgirl was a little too smug right now. She let out a defeated sigh when the net fell quickly as if whatever was under it just collapsed.
"I think it's safe to say its out," Batgirl noted smugly. Its gradual reappearance more than confirmed her theory.
"I'm not lugging that thing all the way back to the Clock Tower," Helena said firmly.
Batgirl stared at her silently.
"I'm not!" Huntress insisted, trying not to fidget.
"I'm not a dog catcher," she snapped, still refusing to budge.
"There's nowhere to keep it at the Clock Tower," she pointed out. She frowned when the only answer was Batgirl's continued stare. "You expect me to drag it back to the batcave?" She asked, realizing that was the only place they had that could hold it.
"Absolutely not!" That was even further away than the Clock Tower. "Stop looking at me like that. It's not going to work." She folded her arms over her chest then stared right back. Her eye twitched after a minute. Batgirl wasn't going to win this! She wasn't a delivery service. Let miss all knowing crime fighter find someone else to take it! Her shoulders were getting tense. She eyed Batgirl looking for a break in her armor. She looked relaxed.
"I don't see why I should have to do all the lifting and toting just because I'm stronger," Huntress complained as she walked over to pick up the unconscious animal.
"You're the brawn," Batgirl replied.
"Oh so that makes you the brain?"
Huntress considered this for a moment. "Damn," she sighed, agreeing.
"So?" Huntress questioned when she stepped into the batcave. She'd gone directly to the shower after she carried the thing several miles until Alfred arrived to give her a ride. She'd glared at the redhead for not telling her Alfred was coming. She could have just waited for him instead of carrying the thing so far. She was pretty sure it had fleas. At least she'd started scratching after she put it down for the last time in the cage that Alfred had set up.
"DNA testing takes a while Helena," Barbara replied. Sure the equipment in the batcave was much faster than what was being presently used but it still took time.
"We're just going to wait?"
"We don't have much choice in the matter," Barbara told her patiently. "You could try communicating with it." She suppressed the smile that was threatening to come out at the death rays Helena was shooting at her.
They both turned when the elevator opened again and Alfred stepped off holding a covered platter. Helena smiled at the butler. She could always count on him. "You read my mind Alfred, I'm starving," Helena said, practically salivating at the aroma of steak she could detect under the dome.
"This is for our guest," Alfred informed her. "Miss Barbara asked that I prepare dinner for the poor creature."
"You made it steak?" Helena asked, considerably miffed that the steak wasn't for her.
"It is a carnivore."
"Would you mind preparing a couple more?" Helena requested.
"I'm afraid this was the last one," Alfred replied. "I was not expecting visitors this evening."
She closed her eyes counting to twenty. This night had pretty much sucked rocks. She opened her eyes watching as Alfred went about feeding their captive and Barbara played on the computer. Things could be worse. She left the cave, taking the elevator until she was in the mansion. At least she knew there would be pop-tarts.
Ten days later
Helena hadn't been exaggerating when she said the Tech Division was going to need a lot of work. So far she'd spent months putting things in order. She'd never met a group of people who were so sure that the research they were pursuing would change the world. Needless to say, in most cases that was far from the truth. Even the software designers thought their work would be the catalyst for extreme change in the way people thought. Barbara couldn't see how a video game could accomplish that goal.
After weeks of reviewing projects she began adjusting her resources. Simply put, she permanently shelved lines of research or projects that were going nowhere. She reallocated funds and personnel to the projects she felt were promising. There had been a few researchers who were less than willing to give up their work, two in particular. She planned to keep a close eye on them. She'd seen the type before, willing to do anything to further their research no matter the cost. Four others had filed formal complaints to Helena. The result was a memo supporting any and all changes Ms. Gordon was implementing.
That memo was the most significant contact Barbara had with Helena aside from staff meetings the last two weeks. Helena was patrolling New Gotham while Barbara monitored Delphi and worked on identifying exactly how their captive animal was created or born. She'd spent a considerable amount of time perusing one line of research that she shelved. It could very well be a possible method for creating their guest. Or the research could be just the jumping off point she needed to figure all this out. She was even considering consulting the scientists that were working on the project. She wouldn't tell them the exact reason for her questions but she could certainly use their input.
To top it all off, she also had the daunting task of improving her division at the same time. She was looking forward to when things would run smoothly. She missed being out there with Helena, so far she'd only been out occasionally with the brunette. She missed Helena.
"BG it's kind of dead out here tonight. I'm gonna knock off for the night." Helena's voice brought her out of her day dreaming. She was never going to get back to patrolling if her mind kept wandering.
"Are you coming by?"
"Can't, busy day tomorrow," Helena replied as she leapt across an alley. She'd be home in ten minutes. She could already hear her bed calling her name. "You should knock off for the night too. I need you fresh tomorrow."
"Is something wrong?" Barbara asked. No one had mentioned any problems to her.
"Nope, I have tickets to the opera. I have to make a public appearance and I need a date," Helena said. She'd been trying to decide how to ask Barbara to go. Finally she'd decided to do the same thing she had with the cocktail party.
"I really don't have time…" Barbara started to say only to be cut off.
"You have time. No one expects you to work yourself to death." She knew Barbara had been pouring everything she had into their current mystery as well as work. While she appreciated the dedication she wanted to spend some time with the redhead. Something she hadn't been able to do because of their respective work schedules. Helena had thought she'd be able to spend more time with Barbara with this change not less.
"I'll pick you up at five. Dinner then the opera," Helena informed her.
"Don't you have anyone else you can take? I find it hard to believe you're not dating someone."
Helena snorted indelicately. "Who has time to date? All I do is work."
"Then this would be the perfect opportunity for you to go out on a date," Barbara replied reasonably.
"That's what I'm doing. Be ready to go at five," Helena ordered before she turned off the comm. link.
Barbara smiled but it quickly turned into a frown. She'd have to leave early tomorrow in order to be ready. She sighed as she put Delphi on standby. All this would keep for another day.
The next evening
"I wish I had some pop-tarts or mild duds," Helena said to her companion. "Maybe both," she amended.
Barbara looked at her with horror. "You just consumed more food than a small army. How could you possibly want anything else?"
"There's always room for junk food," Helena said sagely. Maybe she could send Thomas to get some?
"I don't think it would complement the champagne," she said.
Helena made a noise of agreement. She should probably have Thomas pick up a Pepsi for her too. She flipped open her cell phone and punched in the chauffeur's number. "Thomas, would you be willing to do me a favor?" Helena asked, keeping her voice low so the other box holders wouldn't hear her conversation. "Wonderful, would you find a convenient store and pick up some Pop tarts, Milk Duds and a Pepsi? Oh wait, if they have Slurpee's get me a coke flavored one. Hang on a sec Thomas," Helena said, covering the phone. "Do you want anything?"
"I don't think one drinks a Slurpee at the opera, Helena."
"One does now," she said, not one iota concerned about what anyone might think. "Do you want anything?"
Barbara bit her bottom lip for a moment. "Snow Caps and a diet Coke."
Helena smiled. "Some Snow Caps and a diet Coke too, please. Thanks T." She flipped the phone closed feeling very satisfied.
"I didn't know you liked opera," Barbara said while idly running her finger around the rim of her glass.
One red eyebrow arched in question.
"But, you do," Helena answered the unspoken question.
Barbara just blinked at that statement. It was true but she could barely believe Helena would subject herself to opera just because she liked it. "Won't you be bored?" She remembered what Helena was like when she got bored. It never ended well for those around her.
"I'm sure I'll find something to hold my attention," she said, looking at Barbara's profile while the redhead began to peruse the program.
Barbara turned to give Helena a doubtful look. "What might that be?" She asked. Helena's steady gaze answered that question. She turned back to the program willing the butterflies she felt in her stomach to go away.
"Helena this is an all female cast," Barbara told her as she ran her finger down the list.
"Yes," she confirmed Barbara's statement. "A friend of mine saw it some time ago during the ENO season. She found out it was going to make a limited tour here and let me know."
Helena knew this production of 'The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant' was a lesbian opera.
"What friend?" She was curious. Helena never mentioned anyone from her time abroad.
"Megan," Helena said, smiling at her thoughts of her friend and one time lover.
"Where you close?" Barbara asked noticing Helena's smile.
Helena turned towards Barbara. "As close as I was with anyone," she replied. "She only knew the parts of me that I was comfortable showing her." She'd long ago realized that she had some intimacy issues. Of course, considering her first disastrous affair and everything that followed it wasn't a surprise.
Barbara's eyes clouded. She knew that it was mostly her actions that made Helena cautious with people. She hated it. She even hated herself a little because of it. "I'm sorry."
"There's nothing to be sorry for Barbara," Helena told her, determined to make her believe it. This had been hovering just below the surface during all their time together since she returned to New Gotham.
The redhead laughed humorlessly. "I disagree."
"Doesn't matter," Helena replied dismissively. "I'm making the decisions tonight and I say its fine."
"You're bossy." She didn't agree but since Helena wanted her to let it go so she was going to try.
"You like it."
"In certain situations," Barbara teased.
"Barbara Gordon, you're naughty," Helena said scandalized.
"It must be the company I keep."
"Do not throw that," Barbara hissed, clamping down on Helena's arm before she could hurl the candy at the stage. Obviously Huntress was back and she'd brought along adolescent Helena for the ride.
"Oh come on," Helena groaned. "This is almost too ridiculous. Who falls in love that fast? Plus she's being used!"
"Love is blind," Barbara said quietly.
"Love can be blind, just not stupid." She really wanted to throw the Milk Dud.
"Where's your sense of romance? Where's your sense of humor?" Barbara chuckled. It certainly was over the top in her opinion. She wasn't surprised that Helena was getting irritated.
Helena rested her hand on the redhead's arm to get her complete attention. "It's in the car heading far away from here, just like we should be doing."
"Are you saying you want to leave?"
"Are you saying you want to stay?"
Barbara looked at the stage then back at Helena. It was bordering on inane. "It'll be over soon," she assured the other woman. It wouldn't do to have Helena leave the performance early.
"Not soon enough," Helena replied petulantly. Why couldn't Delphi page with an emergency? Surely there was some go-getter criminal out there that wanted to get a jump on the weekend job?
"Fine, we'll leave." Barbara gave up willingly. She didn't want to stay either. Helena being bored and cranky was a good enough excuse to her.
"I love you," Helena declared after Barbara uttered those beautiful words.
"Come on," she whispered. Barbara did her best to not attract attention to their departure. Not that it did any good when Helena finished her Slurpee, reminding her exactly why they were called a Slurpee.
"Do you want to go dancing?" Helena asked when they were safely in the limo.
The redhead looked at her friend wondering where that had come from. "We're not exactly dressed for it," Barbara replied, giving Helena an appraising look. She looked good in the gown.
"You're right, well go change," she replied taking Barbara's comment as a yes.
"We have to patrol tonight. Plus I still have work."
"When you look back on your life do you want to think about all the boring work you did or would you rather think about how much fun you had dancing with me?" Helena asked. She was tired of working, she needed some fun. The opera had turned out to be a huge mistake but she wasn't ready to call the entire evening a bust. It could still be salvaged.
"I'll have plenty of time to dance when I've got things under control," Barbara replied exasperated.
"You'll have plenty of time to get things under control after you go dancing," Helena shot back stubbornly.
"Fine," Barbara said throwing up her hands. Honestly, she was tired of trying to fight Helena.
Helena just smiled.
"Where," Barbara stopped to clear her throat. "Where did you get those?" She asked staring at the skin that the low riding leather pants left in view.
Helena sounded as if it were a silly question. Looking at the pants she supposed it was a silly question. Where else would Helena have found them? What was even more inexplicable was that she had a pair for Barbara.
"You didn't change." Helena gestured at the clothes she'd provided for Barbara. "Hurry up! I don't want to sit here all night."
"You honestly expect me to wear those?"
She was pointing at them as if they were a poisonous snake. Actually, Helena thought that she would be more inclined to touch a snake than the pants. "What's wrong with them?" She looked down at her own, they seemed just fine.
"I can't wear those. They're fine for you but you're," Barbara waved her at Helena. "You're you. I'm me, they aren't me." She finished lamely.
"Oh please, I've seen you in far more revealing clothes. Besides they aren't like mine. Yours don't flare at the bottom. I figured you more as a straight leg girl," Helena replied. She held up the pants for Barbara's inspection. "See?"
"And this?" The redhead asked holding up the lacy top. "Is this supposed to cover me? You can see right through it!"
"Exactly, it's sexy." Helena was pleased with the combination. When she'd decided weeks ago to get Barbara to go dancing she'd ordered the outfit. She knew what was in the redhead's closet and she didn't think any of it showed her off enough.
"Helena everyone will be able to see everything! My bra included!"
"I got you a black one to wear under the top," Helena reminded her. "Besides there's also the coat."
She had to admit the coat was great, but the rest of it wasn't. She fingered the duster. The collar was trimmed in the same color as the bat design on her bat suit. It was almost the exact same style as Helena's. It was a wonderful gift since the brunette had caught her admiring the duster more than once.
"Look, you'll fit in if you wear those," Helena said.
"Where are we going?"
"The Dark Horse," Helena responded, rubbing her hands together in anticipation. It was pretty much an 'anything goes' sort of place. She could barely wait.
"And these," Barbara said holding up the garments in question. "Will be appropriate?"
"Think of it as an undercover operation and you're in disguise," she suggested.
"If I hear even one snicker out of you I will make your life miserable," Barbara vowed as she took the clothes into the spare bedroom she used occasionally.
Helena sat down to wait. She didn't think snickering or anything close to it would be on her mind when Barbara came back out.
"That was pretty hot."
Helena reluctantly pulled her gaze away from Barbara who was on the dance floor with some guy to look at the person who was trying to talk to her. "I know." If anyone knew it was her. Hell, she was still recovering. Get Barbara out of work mode and ply her with a few drinks; she turned into an animal, a very sensual animal. She could still feel the redhead's hands stroking her body even after she'd been sitting here for twenty minutes.
"Are you two together?"
She wanted to roll her eyes. Same shit, different asshole. She ignored him.
Not really one to take a subtle hint the guy put a hand on Helena's arm then said, "How about we dance."
His grip was firm, too firm in Helena's opinion. He was obviously a stupid asshole. "You want to dance?" She asked, her voice promised a good time. They could dance.
"Definitely," he said pressing his erection against her leg.
She gripped his hand then twisted it before bending it backwards. "Is this what you had in mind?" Helena asked sweetly.
"Fuck! Let go!"
She pushed him backwards by his bent hand then smirked at him. "Let that be a lesson to you, if a woman ignores you, chances are she doesn't want your hands or your dick on her."
"Fucking dykes," he spat but still walked away.
"You say that like it's a bad thing," she responded before he was out of earshot. Really, she had no idea how she always managed to attract the assholes. It must be her perfume.
"That was entertaining."
Helena sighed inaudibly. Why were people determined to keep bothering her? "The next show is in two minutes," she replied without taking her eyes off the dance floor. She could barely believe the Barbara she was watching was her Barbara
"I haven't seen you here before," the woman said.
"Do those cheesy lines ever really work?" Helena asked as she turned to give the woman the brush off.
"It's a nervous habit."
"Sarah." Helena breathed the name. She recognized her instantly. She hadn't seen her since Harley Quinn's take down. She looked older. She still looked like the person Helena knew but there was a look in her eyes that wasn't present before. Helena knew that look. She'd seen it in the mirror. It was the look of someone who didn't trust people.
"I wondered if I'd ever see you again," Sarah said. She moved closer to the brunette. "What happened to you?"
"We moved." She glanced at Barbara to make sure she was still occupied. "I read about what happened," Helena told her.
She laughed bitterly. "Yeah, they splashed the bust all over the news but never bothered to mention the fact that we were being drugged and hypnotized."
It was true. She hadn't learned that until she had talked to Dick almost five months after they left New Gotham. "You're out now," Helena said stating the obvious.
"For a while now, actually, they managed to 'de-program' us," she said using air quotes. "Kind of like they do people who've been brainwashed by cults. Loads of fun."
"I'm sorry," Helena replied for lack of anything better to say. She hadn't even thought of Sarah except in a vague way for years.
"Don't worry about it," she said smiling. "It's in the past. Ancient history."
She opened her mouth to say she was glad but stopped at the prickle of awareness that she felt. Helena knew Barbara was watching her. She could practically feel the redhead's eyes boring into her. She didn't even have to turn to know that she was walking over.
"I know you didn't want to dance with that guy a minute ago but maybe you'd like to dance with me?" Sarah asked.
Wasn't this a pickle? Sarah in front of her and an overprotective Barbara behind her. Barbara who knows who Sarah is and what happened between them. Barbara who knows that she was devastated by what happened. Barbara who wasn't likely to be happy that she was talking to Sarah at all. But, Helena didn't want to be rude. After all, she had cared about Sarah. She felt bad for what she'd been through with Quinn. The idea of being manipulated by someone in the manner that Sarah and her friends were manipulated was horrifying. Regardless she was still relieved when Barbara slipped her arm around her shoulders.
"Ready for round two," Barbara asked.
Barbara gave Sarah a look that clearly said back off. She knew exactly who Sarah was. There was no way she was going to leave Helena alone anywhere near her.
Helena stood up happy to have an excuse to get away from Sarah. "It was nice seeing you again," Helena said, giving the blonde a small wave as she followed Barbara back onto the dance floor.
"Are you okay?" Barbara asked.
Helena fought back a shiver when the redhead's lips brushed against her ear. She smiled, nodding at her concern. She didn't want to think about Sarah. She wanted to think about dancing. She wanted to think about dancing with Barbara. She wanted to concentrate on the seductive press of Barbara's breasts in her back and the warmth of her against her butt. It was enough to make her moan. For the next hour she didn't think of anything else.
What was it about dancing that made her want to touch her partner? What was it that made her want to feel the press of lips against hers when their bodies were moving against each other? It was no wonder that dancing was considered a mating ritual in some cultures. The act of dancing was tantamount to sex. Barbara wanted that too.
Helena tried to figure out why Barbara had stopped all of a sudden. She quirked an eyebrow at her dance partner. Barbara's eyes were intent on her, no more like intense. Was it possible to have your heart pound out of your chest? It felt like her heart was breaking through her rib cage. She was sure Barbara was going to kiss her.
"We need to go." The tone was strained.
Helena's body responded to Barbara's gaze and tone, involuntarily causing her eyes to change to their golden hue. Helena closed her eyes for a moment. That hadn't happened for years, she'd learned to control that reaction a long, long time ago.
"Now," Barbara husked when she saw the brief glimpse of gold that had suffused Helena's eyes before she closed them.
She had to avoid looking at Thomas. Much to her chagrin her eyes seemed to morph back and forth without her permission. Barbara hadn't made it any easier. She could smell the other woman's arousal. It ratcheted up Helena's arousal significantly.
Helena slid into the limo trying to get her body under control. It was ridiculous, she felt like she was going through puberty again. "Barbara, are you okay?" Helena asked without looking at her. If she saw Barbara looking at her like she was looking at her in the club she'd do something impulsive. She couldn't be impulsive with Barbara. It was one thing to be suggestive but in this situation Barbara would have to make the move. She knew it was something the redhead would need to feel comfortable.
"Yes." She was so turned on it hurt. If she hadn't gotten out
of that club and stopped dancing with Helena she probably would
have gone home with the first person she could lay her hands on.
More than likely Helena. She needed to get home, maybe take a cold
shower. She really shouldn't go out dancing. She always got a
little out of control when she did.
"What's that noise?" Helena asked, looking over at Barbara. It sounded like the comm. but the tone was different.
"Damn it!" There was absolutely no way that there could be a problem right now. Barbara tapped the comm. unit she'd developed so she would have instant access to Delphi and Helena at any time. Right now though, she wanted to smash it to bits. She was too keyed up for this.
"Is something wrong?"
"No," Barbara's voice was distracted.
"What is it?" Helena was instantly worried. It would have to be something big for Barbara to get a call over the comm.
Barbara made a shushing motion at Helena before she sat up. "What's the problem?"
Helena frowned. The only people who knew about the comm. system that Barbara had set up were the JLA members. Was there an emergency? Did something happen to her parents or Dick? Her heart was starting to pound again for an entirely different reason.
"Steven, I left explicit instructions that the project was to be secured in the vault!"
Steven? Steven Polk? Steven Polk, senior scientist and head of genetics? She had her comm. hooked up to work!
"I'll be right there. Don't let anyone leave and don't touch anything," Barbara instructed. She was worried. She had downgraded the priority of the project. There were other companies working on similar lines of research and while she knew it would be beneficial to humanity someday, it wasn't beneficial to the company to pursue the research. Apparently the news hadn't been taken very well. Now the lab was a mess and the work had been escalated. The results didn't sound good. Also, she now had the sneaking suspicion about who could have created their furry friend.
"Tell me you do not have your comm. unit set up as some revved up blue tooth! Are you taking calls when we're patrolling?" Helena demanded.
When Barbara didn't answer she went on. "You've been working while we've been patrolling, haven't you?" Helena was outraged. "Is that why you shushed me the other night?" She asked sitting up straighter so her glare would have more of an impact. "That's why, isn't it? I was killing myself subduing a gang war and you were taking phone calls from work!"
"The world doesn't stop just because we have to fight for justice," Barbara told the brunette as she pushed the button to roll down the window between them and Thomas. "Thomas, would you please take us to the office."
"Well, this certainly puts a crimp in the evening," Helena grumbled. She'd been pretty sure Barbara was going to attack her few moments ago. At least she was kind of hoping she would. She hated being aroused and not being able to do anything about it. Now Barbara looked all serious and worried. While she just felt all horny and hot. She sighed inaudibly.
"What's going on?" Barbara demanded as she strode into the lab with Helena a few steps behind her.
"Ms. Wayne, Ms. Gordon," Steven greeted before he started explaining the situation to Barbara.
Helena listened as Polk jabbered away in science geek speak. Barbara had told her that the scientists working on a mutagen project had taken it upon themselves to continue their research after hours. They also decided the testing phase should be moved up, which was the current problem. The most disturbing thing was that one of her employees could have created something that killed three people. She could barely stand the thought. Helena glanced around the room seeing the animal for the first time. From the looks of things in the lab she had to agree that this was definitely a problem.
"What the hell happened?" Helena demanded when she saw the unconscious cat. "How did it get like that?" Its entire body was convulsing.
"It was injected with this," Steven answered, pointing to a syringe filed with some kind of liquid.
"And now?" Barbara asked, staring at the animal in question. She knew it couldn't be a coincidence. This project was responsible for the death of three people. She could only imagine what this cat was going to turn into.
She wasn't surprised to see Helena kneel beside the cat to stroke it. Barbara doubted it would do anything but she could understand the sentiment.
"Now, I believe it is being mutated by the compound," Steven offered unhelpfully.
"I ascertained that Steven," Barbara replied impatiently. "I would like to know what it was injected with."
"It is a chemical compound used to promote DNA disruption. It also contains foreign DNA that will then, theoretically, attach to the disrupted DNA strand. This animal was given Jaguar DNA." Steven related disapprovingly.
"Oh my god," Barbara breathed softly. She glanced at Helena, giving her a significant look. This was likely what happened to their guest. "Where are they?" She asked angrily a minute later. She should have realized the connection between the research and the animal immediately. To be fair, she realized she had thought about the connection but she couldn't imagine that Wayne Corp. research could be responsible. She rubbed her eyes tiredly; she should have fired them when they originally refused to give up on their research.
"Dr. Cliveler and Dr. Foeler are in the outer lab," he said, turning then motioning at the door the two scientists were behind.
Barbara's face was inscrutable as she stared at the animal that Helena was gently picking up to place on the table. While Barbara was talking with Steven the brunette had made the cat a bed out of lab coats. What they'd done was unconscionable. This sort of animal testing had been illegal for years. The compound itself was obviously unstable. She couldn't imagine that this cat was going to live. She wondered if the animal they had was just a fluke. She stared at the syringe angrily. This research was potentially dangerous if it were even successful. She had no idea if this cat would live or if the one they captured would survive much longer. There was just no way to know. If this were to fall into the wrong hands the consequences could be devastating. They had already caused the death of three people. "Call security," Barbara ordered.
When security arrived a few minutes later Steven ordered them to take the two scientists into custody. They couldn't report them to the authorities, something she wanted to do with every fiber in her being. Unfortunately if she turned them in, the research and their compound would become public knowledge, which couldn't happen. She planned to hold them long enough to have people search their homes and investigate the doctor's to make sure they didn't have a hidden lab anywhere. She needed to secure all of their research.
"Ms. Wayne!" Dr. Foeler said, trying to pull away from the security guards who had his arms in a tight grip. "Surely you see what a staggering break through this is? Who knows what we could accomplish with this research!"
"I've already considered that Dr. Foeler. The only accomplishment this sort of experimentation will do is create an unforeseeable and possibly harmful mutation," she said harshly. An image of the one they captured flashed in her mind. "That's the best case, worst case it dies."
"You can't do this!" He said angrily. He glared at the security guards who were holding him.
Helena took another look at the cat. "Yes, we can," she replied, unable to take her eyes off the animal. It hadn't stopped convulsing. She was afraid it might be in pain. The very thought made her angry. She wanted to do major damage to the scientists. "By the way," she said, feeling a minor satisfaction at the words she was about to say. "You're fired."
"No!" Dr. Foeler shouted. He stomped on one guard's foot then elbowed the other one with all his strength. It wasn't much but it was enough to surprise the two guards so he was able to get loose. He grabbed the syringe holding it against his chest protectively. "I won't let you do this! It's my research, my discovery. I won't let you take it away."
Barbara narrowed her eyes in annoyance as she waved the security back. She didn't want to risk him stabbing one of the security guards with it when they tried to grab him again. Nor could she just rush him since he could easily inject himself or her if she weren't careful. She sighed, he was obviously crazy. This was just what she needed. She started walking towards him slowly noticing Helena doing the same thing out of the corner of her eye. When she was close enough she held out her hand then spoke in a low comforting voice, "Dr. Foeler, please give me the syringe."
The doctor took a step backward shaking his head.
"There's nowhere for you to go," she told him logically. "We just want to keep everyone from getting hurt." She wasn't referring to just the people in the lab.
"Stay back," Foeler's voice was scared.
"I can't do that," Barbara said getting even closer to the scientist. The sudden movement from his colleague distracted her for a moment. Much to her horrified embarrassment Dr. Foeler took advantage of her distraction to wrap his arm around Barbara pushing the needle partially into the redhead's neck. "I won't let you do this," he yelled.
Barbara decided right then that she would never drink again. She figured that had to be a contributing factor to her being caught off guard. She watched Helena waiting for some idea of what she had planned.
Helena took a menacing step forward then stopped abruptly when Dr. Foeler tightened his grip on Barbara and pushed the needle in further. "Don't," he warned.
Barbara was biding her time. If Helena was able to distract him enough she planned to bring this little stand off to an abrupt end. She was even considering doling out some greatly deserved ass kicking. Even Dr. Cliveler was staring at his colleague with horror.
"There's nowhere for you to go," Helena told him reasonably even while she was feeling anything but reasonable. Now wasn't the time to give into her anger.
"Maybe not," Dr. Foeler agreed, suddenly calm.
His eyes were radiating insanity. Helena wanted to snort at the cliché of a mad scientist. She was going to require psychological testing for all employees on Monday. Even knowing he was pretty crazy she didn't think Barbara was in any real danger. She didn't believe he would do it. She was wrong.
"But, really there's only one more stage in testing left," he finished as he pushed the needle fully into Barbara, pressing the plunger down. "Human trial."
Barbara raised her arm up smashing her elbow into the scientists face, feeling the satisfaction of hearing the crunch of his nose breaking. She stared down at the bleeding howling man feeling suddenly dizzy. She was going to die, she couldn't think of any other outcome from being injected. She could hardly believe the irony of being killed by someone she worked with rather than on the streets. She had accepted the possibility she could be killed out on the fighting crime, but this? This was just silly. It was the last thought she had before the blackness consumed her.
Helena caught her before she could hit the floor. It only took a moment before she began convulsing. She took a moment to give a chilling look to the scientist being secured by the guards before she turned back to Barbara. She'd deal with the man later. She doubted he would survive it when she did.
Over a week later
She opened her eyes slowly. Her body felt heavy, as if she'd been fifteen rounds with the metal man they had faced not long ago. So, this is what Helena must have felt after that fight. She should have done like the brunette asked and kissed her injuries. She was entitled to that at the very least if this was even half of what she must have felt like. The noise of someone shifting in a chair made her turn her head to see who it was. She smiled. "Hi Dad," she whispered, getting the man's attention.
"You're awake," he said, stating the obvious. "How do you feel?" He asked worriedly as he stood to look at her. He stroked the hair off her forehead in a tender gesture that he rarely offered anymore.
"Okay, just sore and tired," she reassured him. It was something of an understatement but she didn't want him to worry anymore than he already was.
"We've been very worried." He had her hand now. He was reluctant to let her go. It had been scary for a while.
"Me, Helena, Dick and Alfred," Commissioner Gordon replied. "You also got a lot of flowers," he gestured to the surrounding garden of flowers.
"How long have I been here?" She asked.
"Three days." Three long days.
"What happened?" She asked cautiously. She wasn't certain how much her father might know.
"Helena brought you here after you collapsed," he began. "She said you were fine one moment then the next you were sinking to the floor. They did tests but couldn't find anything." He'd been frustrated at the lack of explanation.
She rubbed her forehead then pinched the bridge of her nose trying to think. That wasn't what happened. Obviously Helena was keeping things quiet. She sighed in relief. She also wondered how long she had really been out. She remembered the convulsing cat and couldn't imagine that she'd been spared the experience. "Where is she?"
"She went for coffee. She's been here the entire time," he explained. "I thought she could use a small break. The best I could convince her to do was to get some coffee." He glanced at the door as if expecting her to be back already. "She'll be back soon."
Barbara's eyes closed of their own accord. "Make sure you wake me up when she gets here," she told her father, realizing that she was going to fall back asleep whether she wanted to or not.
"I will," he promised. She was already asleep.
"Is everything okay?"
Jim turned at the sound of Helena's worried voice. He hadn't even heard her come in. "She's fine," he replied, relief heavy in his tone and demeanor. "She just woke up. She told me to tell you to wake her up when you got back."
"I was only gone five minutes," she said frowning. She should have been here when Barbara woke up. She never should have left.
"It was a pretty quick conversation," he joked now that he wasn't so concerned that Barbara wouldn't wake up.
"I guess," she replied sitting in the chair she'd been sitting in since she brought Barbara into the hospital.
"You should wake her up," he told her. "She'll be angry if you don't. She'll probably think I didn't tell you."
"Don't worry, I'll tell her you told me," she assured him, not taking her eyes off the redhead.
"I need to get back to work." He leaned down kissing Barbara's forehead. "Keep an eye on her," he ordered.
"Both of them," she promised. She had no intention of moving again until Barbara woke up.
He nodded before he turned to leave. He had no doubt that Helena would do exactly as she promised. The woman was loyal beyond all reason. The way she looked at Barbara was nothing short of worshiping.
The first thing Barbara saw when she opened her eyes and looked over to where her father should have been was Helena's eyes staring at her. "You were supposed to wake me up," she reprimanded lightly.
"You looked too peaceful to disturb." Helena was watching the redhead carefully for any signs that what every geneticist she had consulted with wasn't true. All of them said Barbara was fine. They could find no abnormalities. She couldn't be reassured until she saw it for herself. She leaned against the railing of the hospital bed and took the redhead's hand.
"How long have I been out?" She asked the same question she asked her father expecting a very different answer.
"And?" She didn't have to explain what she was asking.
"They say you're normal. They can't find anything wrong."
Barbara nodded. She doubted anyone would. They couldn't always identify meta-humans. She couldn't imagine they would be able to find anything wrong with her. She'd find out if there were any side effects soon enough. "When can I get out of here?" She asked, not telling Helena any of her thoughts.
"I think they want to keep you for a couple more days," Helena replied. "They came in and gave you the once over when your Dad told them you woke up. I know the doctor wants to take a look at you while you're awake too."
She shook her head at that thought. She hated hospitals. "I'm leaving," she said firmly, already sitting up to lower the rails of the bed so she could get out of it. She had a little trouble with the rails. She felt extremely weak but she still wasn't staying here.
"I'm not sure that's a good idea," Helena said even as she helped her.
"I'm not staying here. There's nothing they can do if there's something wrong," she said standing up slowly. She saw the look on Helena's face then added quickly, "Not that anything's wrong with me."
"Are you sure you should be up?" She held Barbara's arm helping the woman as she took shaky steps to the closet where she knew her clothes would be.
"I'm sure," she replied, her tone clearly saying the matter was closed.
"Fine," Helena agreed reluctantly. "But you're staying with me."
"I appreciate that," Barbara said giving her a smile. "But, I'll be more comfortable at home."
Helena nodded. "You're right, I'll stay with you."
"You don't have to do that, Hel. I'll be fine. I am fine," she said as she slowly got dressed.
"I don't care."
Barbara sighed at Helena's stubbornness. She knew nothing she said would change Helena's mind. "Front of back?" She asked, trying to lighten the mood.
The question made the brunette smirk. She knew this game. "Either," she replied giving Barbara a sexy smile. "I'm an ambidextrous sleeper."
"My type of girl," Barbara replied, brushing her hand down Helena's arm before she took her hand. "Ready?"
Helena shook her head. "You still have paperwork to fill out and you're not walking out. Carried in, wheeled out," she repeated what she'd heard a nurse say to another patient a few days ago.
"What? You think they'll arrest me? Take away my birthday?" She waited for Helena to say something. "Thought so, let's go."
They made it down the hall then past the nurse's station before Barbara had to rest. "Still feeling okay?" Helena asked sarcastically.
Barbara glared at her. "Aren't you supposed to be really strong? How about a lift?"
Helena smiled as she took Barbara into her arms. "You know, they're going to notice you leaving with me carrying you like this. It might not look good for me."
Barbara leaned her head against Helena's shoulder. "You don't care what people think about you," she reminded her.
"True," Helena replied, elbowing the down button for the elevator.
"What happened to the good doctors?" Barbara asked once they were in the elevator.
Helena glanced at Barbara briefly then turned away to stare straight ahead. "They've been dealt with." She certainly did deal with them. Dr. Foeler wouldn't be able to hurt anyone ever again. Dr. Cliveler got off much easier. She only had his work seized. Now he was under Wayne Corp. security surveillance. If he started his research again Helena would know about it immediately.
"What does that mean?" Barbara asked.
Helena's features hardened. "It means they won't be a threat to anyone. I've set up surveillance. If he so much as burps we'll know about it," Helena said, not specifying which he, knowing Barbara would think it was Foeler.
The redhead nodded her approval. Keeping an eye on them was a good idea. "What about the cat?"
"I'm not sure," Helena responded slowly. "I've been a little preoccupied. I didn't even think to check on her."
"Don't worry about it. I'll call when we get home."
"What should we do if it survived?" Helena wondered aloud.
"I was planning to adopt it." She closed her eyes feeling extremely tired all of a sudden. "How's the other one?"
"I gave him to my parents. They said they'll find somewhere to put him."
"They couldn't find a cure?"
"No, they're going to work on the problem but the JLA just doesn't have the technology to reverse it."
Neither of them said anything else. Helena was just grateful that Barbara was okay.
Nine days post hospital
"Helena told me you needed to take it easy. Are you sure you're supposed to be doing this?" Dick asked as he stretched his calves. They were about to spar, something he was reluctant to do. But, Barbara's hostile response when he first asked that question had sent him straight to her training room to stretch. He was having second thoughts now though.
"Yes," Barbara ground out her reply through gritted teeth. She was tired of being coddled. Sure she had been weak the first few days out of the hospital but that was a week ago. She needed to release some tension. She felt like if she didn't use some energy soon she'd explode.
He really wished Helena would get back. She was the only one that was able to deal with Barbara without the redhead practically going postal. "You don't know where Hellion went, do you?" Dick asked.
"Date." Barbara's tone was curt.
Dick nodded his head. He remembered Helena mentioning that now that he'd been reminded. She was meeting some guy she'd met a while ago. It didn't seem right that she was out having fun and he was stuck here to deal with Barbara's foul temper. Maybe he should go patrol? He sighed knowing he couldn't go. He promised to keep an eye on Barbara.
"Reese?" Dick wondered aloud. He seemed to remember Helena telling him that she was going out with him. He wondered if it was getting serious.
"No," Barbara responded, this time her tone was considerably more hostile than before. Ever since Helena had told her about the 'date' she'd been in an increasingly bad mood. She didn't like all the time Helena was taking away from their work.
He sighed with resignation. That question had just made Barbara more agitated. He wasn't going to get out of this. "Are you going to take off those glasses?" Dick asked. Barbara had been wearing new transition lens glasses lately. Most of the time they were so dark you couldn't see her eyes.
She brought her hand up, fingering the glasses. Well, she'd forgotten about those. She needed them though. Four days ago she'd noticed her eyes were…different. She'd seen them before; her pet, Jagger had those eyes. They were disturbingly similar. She wasn't ready to tell anyone yet. Helena would insist she go see a specialist or contact the JLA. She'd also blame herself for Barbara's new circumstances. She didn't want the brunette to do that so she couldn't let anyone know what was happening. So, she immediately dug out an old pair of frames to fit them with lenses that were dark enough to hide her eyes but light enough not to be recognized as sunglass lenses. That same day she'd started working on special contacts that would hide her…condition. Luckily she finished them yesterday but she hadn't tried them out yet.
"Of course," she replied, turning towards the door to head to her bathroom. "I just need to…" she waved her hand vaguely at the door. "Before we start." She raised her hand holding the glasses up to show she'd removed them. "I'll be right back."
Once in her bathroom she fiddled with the contact lenses making certain they were going on correctly. Carefully balancing the contact on her finger she ever so hesitantly brought it to her eye. She blinked rapidly trying to make it more comfortable. Finally she peered at herself in the mirror. A satisfied smile graced her lips then she quickly put in the other one. She leaned in closer than stepped back, all the while keeping her eyes glued to the eyes in the mirror. She looked almost normal. The only way anyone would be able to detect anything strange would be for them to be really, really close. Even then, they would probably have to be looking for it. She had no intention of allowing anyone to be that close anyway. She had no idea it would be so hard to hide the larger than normal iris. Her eyes took up nearly the entire space where once you could see sclera. They had also turned a yellowish green. Still it wasn't terrible. She decided she'd work on them more later, who knew how long she'd have to wear them, possibly for the rest of her life. On the bright side her eyesight was better than normal. She didn't even require night vision anymore.
She walked back into the training room looking around for her opponent. "I'm ready," she called out.
"You're not going to stretch?" Dick asked still trying to find a way out of this. Helena would kill him if Barbara over did it.
She didn't bother to respond. It was a ploy, she knew it was a ploy, he knew that she knew it was a ploy. Instead she attacked. It was good to feel her muscles strain again, to feel the adrenalin pumping through her. Dick was usually a great sparring partner. He was fast and strong. Usually she had to work hard to keep him at bay. Not today though. He was taking it easy on her, she was sure of it. She glared at him. Ducking under his guard she landed a sharp blow to his stomach then followed it up with a knee to his face when he bent over.
"You're not trying! Stop taking it easy on me," she demanded. She paced back and forth in front of him attempting to shake off her agitation.
"I wasn't taking it easy on you," Dick responded. He wiped his nose then looked at his hand to make sure he wasn't bleeding. He'd been fighting Barbara as hard as he normally would.
"Yeah, right," Barbara replied scornfully. She didn't believe him for a minute. "Let's go," she said as she started circling him.
Dick matched her movements. He watched her body language for any sign of what she might do. Barbara would sometimes telegraph her moves. It was why he could usually win their sparring matches. This time was apparently not one of those times. The redhead was relaxed yet ready to strike. She'd obviously been working with Helena a lot lately. This was similar to her fighting style. He tried a blitz attack using a sudden burst of speed hoping to overwhelm Barbara with sheer strength. He was annoyed when he couldn't land a solid punch. He dropped low to sweep her legs out from under her only to have her jump over his attempt. The low round house to his jaw put him on the floor.
"Fuck!" He touched his jaw lightly then moved it around experimentally. At least it wasn't broken. "Want to lighten up a little? I don't think we need to go all out," he told her.
"I barely hit you," Barbara scoffed.
"Just take it easy." He knew Barbara was pissed, that all by itself usually made a person hit harder than normal. Hopefully now that he pointed it out she'd ease up.
Barbara merely grunted before she started to circle him again. This wasn't nearly enough for her. Dick was obviously still holding back. She needed more than he was giving. She'd have to push him.
Finally after what seemed like forever to Barbara, Dick started his assault. She dodged and ducked the first few then decided to let one connect. It was a hard punch. Dick had obviously started to step up his game. She shook her head minutely. That had been a good one. Now that he wasn't holding back she decided she didn't need to hold back as much either. She blocked an incoming blow then turned her body into him bringing around her elbow. She connected with his face then hooked his arm to toss him over her hip. He landed with a thump. He wasn't down for long. She had to move quickly to avoid the kick aimed to take off her head. That allowed him to follow up with a second kick that connected solidly nearly knocking the wind out of her.
They traded punches, neither one of them getting the upper hand. She decided to just let loose. It only took three combinations then Dick was down, this time there was blood. Apparently she shouldn't have done that.
He looked at the blood on his hand. Okay, it was hard ball time. He stood up, then without a word he charged the redhead tackling her. It turned into a WWF Raw kind of fight. In this kind of fight Dick knew he had the upper hand. They grappled with each other, flinging a few elbows mostly from instinct. Dick was surprised when Barbara was on top of him holding him down. Then she was kissing him. Hot opened mouth kisses that were barely kisses at all. It was fast, raw and brutal. He'd never done anything like it before. He'd never thought of doing anything like it.
"What was that?" Dick asked still breathing heavily some time later. He pulled up his underwear and pants trying to get his breathing under control.
Barbara didn't respond. She was staring at the ceiling thinking a very similar question. What the fuck was that? She'd just lost control, completely lost control.
"Are you going to say anything?" He looked over at his silent companion. For all the attention she was paying to him, he might as well not be there.
"I'm not sure what I should say," Barbara responded after a prolonged silence. "It was what it was."
"What does that mean?"
Barbara sighed, feeling an irrational anger towards him. She wanted him to leave. No, she wanted to leave. "It means that we did it, it's done, let's move on," she said rolling to her feet. She pushed her other leg through her pants. They hadn't even gotten them off completely. "I'm going out," she told him over her shoulder as she straightened her shirt. She exited the training room not stopping until she was in the garage and on her motorcycle.
Two weeks later
"You're hovering," Barbara said without opening her eyes. She'd been aware of Helena ever since she walked into the Clock Tower. Now she could feel the brunette's eyes on her.
"Why are you up there?" Helena asked, giving the redhead a worried look. Barbara had been acting different lately. It wasn't really something she could pin down but she just knew something was off.
Barbara sighed as she sat up to look down from her perch. "I'm enjoying the afternoon sun before it goes down and we have to go to work." She leaned forward a bit to stroke Jagger's fur. She and the cat were two of a kind.
"Yeah," Helena said. "I suppose you are." The redhead was lying in the sun that was shining through the clock face. "Why are you enjoying it from up there?"
"I like it up here," Barbara said as if that explained it all. As far as she was concerned it did.
Helena leapt up to the adjacent beam running along the upper edge of the clock. It was a high vantage point and one of the only areas this high up that the sun could reach. It was some place she might like to sit. "How did you get up here?" She asked curiously. It would have been a difficult climb. Not impossible obviously but difficult.
"Much like you did I suppose," Barbara replied vaguely.
"Oh? Just jumped right up here, huh? Maybe the cat carried you up?"
"Maybe," she replied smiling secretively.
"Right," Helena said indulgently. She knew that Barbara had probably used one of her jump cables.
"So, how are you feeling?" She asked swinging her legs as she looked at the redhead. She tried not to stare. There was something about Barbara that drew her to the redhead, more so now than usual. Her scent was more enticing for some reason. Even Dick had noticed it. But, they didn't get the chance to discuss it or Barbara very much before he said he needed to leave. It was disappointing; he had originally intended to stay for a couple more weeks until Barbara was at one hundred percent.
"I feel fine," Barbara told her for the hundredth time. "I was fine yesterday. I was fine the day before that, and the day before that, and the day before that. I'll be fine all week, hell all year."
"Oh, so you're feeling fine?"
"Shit!" Helena yelped as she and Barbara went flying backwards over the beam she was sitting on. Helena wrapped her arms around the redhead as she twisted to land on her feet holding the other woman.
"Yep, I'm fine," Barbara said. She felt giddy. It was the adrenalin, she loved it.
"Are you insane too?" Helena snapped. She couldn't believe Barbara had just done that. Jesus they could have been killed! Well, okay, maybe not killed but certainly they could have sprained something.
"Lighten up, I knew you could handle it," Barbara said breezily, waving a hand at her.
"Are you sure you're alright?" Helena asked again, not quite willing to let it go after that little stunt.
"If you ask me that one more time I'm going to push you off the balcony," Barbra promised.
Helena thought she looked serious. It didn't do anything to reassure her. But if Barbara said she was fine she couldn't do anything but trust her. "Okay," she drew the word out slowly. "I've got to go by the cave tonight before we patrol. Alfred said the new motorcycle arrived." Helena licked her lips in anticipation. She'd ordered the new Ducati Monster 696 but with an extra that Alfred was hesitant to arrange. Dual NOS had been added. That monster was going to kick major ass!
"Oh, so you're going to be on the bike tonight?" Barbara asked.
Helena nodded her head. "For a while," she grinned when her brilliant brain came up with an equally brilliant idea. "Interested in a little race tonight?"
Barbara tilted her head contemplating her friend. She had been feeling bored lately. Not much was going on, she could use the fun. Plus, the thought of competing with Helena made her whole body tingle. "What terms?" She asked leaning back against the wall.
"If I win we go dancing again," Helena replied immediately. She hadn't been able to get that night out of her mind.
"What about you?" She asked cockily. This race was in the bag.
Barbara considered it for a moment. "I think I'd like an IOU. You know, save it for later."
Huh? "I'm not sure that's a good idea," she replied slowly. "I mean, what if you want something that's totally going to suck?"
"Are you scared?" Barbara laughed.
"Of course not." Helena frowned a little despite her statement. Something wasn't right. Then Helena remembered that Barbara had been talking about cleaning out her spare bedrooms lately. Being forced into slave labor didn't have any appeal. Then she remembered the new motorcycle, her worry vanished as if it never was. "Deal."
"Same place? I get to set up the obstacles?" Barbara asked. There was a long, rather dangerous road leading out to Wayne Manor that was rarely used, mostly because no one ever went out there anymore. It was the perfect stretch for a race. Plus she had some interesting ideas about how to make things more challenging.
"Yep," Helena said as she headed for the elevator. "You should dig out that outfit I gave you. I expect you to wear it when we go out."
"A little sure of yourself?"
"Yep." Was all Barbara heard before the elevator doors closed.
Barbara was patient. She sat across from the jewelry store watching the men through the window. She could have easily gone inside to stop them but she didn't see the point. They'd already done too much damage to the store. There was little to save now. No, the best she could do was stop the two thieves before they could get away.
She didn't want to just stop them though, she wanted much more than that. She wanted to see and feel their fear. But first she wanted them to feel safe. She wanted them to think they were going to get away. It would be better that way, more satisfying. She shifted further into the shadows waiting. Barbara knew with all certainty that no one could or would see her until she was ready. Her eyes flicked to movement two buildings over. Huntress. Her eyes narrowed at the approaching woman. This could spoil the fun.
"Stop," she said softly, knowing Huntress would hear her clearly through the comm.
Huntress stopped, crouching down as she looked around. She could feel Batgirl's eyes on her but couldn't see her. "Status?"
"Standing by," Batgirl answered, alternating her gaze between the burglars and Huntress.
"Are they still inside?"
"Feeling talkative tonight, huh? Were you planning to, you know, stop them or anything?" Huntress asked with light sarcasm.
"Soon," Batgirl replied. Her body was tight with anticipation now. They were moving towards the door.
"I need to get into a better position," Huntress told her as she took a running leap to the next building. One more leap and she'd be ready.
"Stop," Batgirl hissed.
"B?" Huntress questioned.
"I'll handle it." Batgirl edged further away from the ledge still hidden in shadows. She needed room.
"Well, it's nice to feel wanted," Huntress muttered. She stayed where she was though.
They were still alert when they exited the store. As they neared the car feeling confident they would escape they got less cautious. There were no sirens, no one on the street. It must seem too easy. It seemed that way to her as well. She needed to wait until she was almost on them before she shot the cable. She didn't want to give herself away, not until she could make the greatest impact.
She hurled herself toward the ledge with more speed than she was accustomed. She wondered if this was what it felt like to Huntress; the exhilaration of jumping without a line, knowing that she would land on her feet, unharmed. Just seconds from the roof of the car she fired the bolt into the building. The line pulled taut but she didn't need it to slow her descent, it was just for show. She landed feet first onto the roof of the car, directly above the drivers head. The feel of the roof collapsing and the shouts of fear made her smile. She jumped onto the hood kicking the partially shattered windshield in. The driver was completely out of it from the roof collapsing on him. She reached into the car grabbing the passenger jerking him out of the seat and over the hood. God! She felt alive. Her entire body seemed to fairly sing with adrenalin, with awareness, with strength.
She heard the one on the ground moving. She pivoted towards him as she rose to her full height. She stared down at him waiting. He looked up at her with terrified eyes. It made her want to laugh.
"What are you?" The criminal asked. He tried to keep his voice from shaking.
She tilted her head at him curiously. She was very well known around New Gotham, especially among the criminal element of the city. "I'm Batgirl."
"You're eyes," he barely whispered.
"Are the last thing you're going to see that don't have bars in front of them for a while," Batgirl replied cutting him off from whatever else he might say. She jumped down from the hood pulling out riot cuffs. She sighed with disappointment. She'd hoped he would put up a fight.
She looked at the driver when she was done securing his partner to the bumper. He was still out. It was too damn easy. She opened the driver's door cuffing him to the steering wheel.
"The police are on their way," Huntress told the redhead when she landed a few feet from her. She looked at the car then to Batgirl. She'd been terrified when the woman had made the leap with no jump line. She hadn't been close enough to help her. When she heard the chink of metal against brick she almost cried with relief. Then she just watched. The manner she handled the guys was more like something she would do than something Batgirl would do. If she hadn't seen it with her own eyes she wouldn't have believed it. Barbara was taking more chances lately, Helena didn't like it. Some of her actions had bordered on insane. "Are you done?"
Batgirl turned to look at her partner but was careful to keep distance between them. The street light was too close. Even the burglar could see her eyes. Helena wouldn't have any trouble at all. "You mean for the night?"
"With them," Huntress clarified.
Barbara gave the two men a contemptuous look then nodded her head. Maybe next time there would be more of a fight. "Yes."
"I'm gonna check out the rest of the west side," Helena said, walking backwards so she could taunt Batgirl to her face. "Be ready to get your ass kicked when I'm done."
"Where did you get that?" Helena's voice was accusing. Barbara was draped across a sleek looking red version of her motorcycle!
"What? You think Alfred only gets things for you?" She was leaning comfortably against the handlebars with one leg on the seat and one leg dangling down the side of the bike.
"That's cheating," Helena protested.
"It's a level playing field. Now you'll have to take me with your…skill," Barbara replied silkily.
Helena smirked at her. "Don't worry, I've got mad skills."
"You'll get a chance to show them off." Barbara's voice was positively seductive. "I made the race a little more interesting."
"Nice," Helena responded in appreciation. She loved a challenge.
"Well, lets get this started," Barbara responded. She sat up, turning on the bike in one seamless motion. In the next second the beast roared to life. She smiled over at Helena then raised an eyebrow at her.
Helena straddled her cycle, revving the throttle in challenge. It was sort of ironic. Here she was about to street race with Barbara when years ago the redhead had practically ripped her a new one for doing this very thing. Of course, they'd technically raced before but that was for the mission. Barbara had only raced to keep an eye on her.
Helena pulled in her front brake then revved the throttle letting the back tire squeal. She looked over at Barbara, giving her a brief nod and then released the brake letting the motorcycle shoot forward. She leaned low over the handle bars to cut down on wind drag. She could feel and hear Barbara coming up next to her. It was definitely going to be a race about skill.
They both had to practically lay the bikes down going around the first curve. Helena felt her knee just barely graze the pavement. Knee, meet pavement, she thought. She brought the bike back up then glanced over to see where Barbara was.
She was keeping pace with Helena for now. When they got to the obstacles the contest would really begin. She saw the first ramp approaching fast. It wasn't a large ramp, she didn't want to kill them or trash the motorcycles but she did want to feel airborne. The more difficult aspect was the curve that they would have to take when they landed.
Her heart started pounding as her body tingled with excitement. She'd barely held it together after that jump and curve. Helena glanced to the side. Barbara was still there. She leaned forward a little more putting her feet on the back pegs before she brought the motorcycle up onto its back wheel. She throttled more dividing her attention between the road in front of her, Barbara and the speedometer that was well over one hundred at this point.
The redhead smiled at Helena's display. They still had about a half mile before the next surprise. The path wasn't bad but they would have to slow down in order to make the closely spaced curves. It was an old service road off the main road that used to lead out to the manor. Dick had showed it to her, telling her it had been rerouted back to the main road. They'd raced along it several times. It was difficult to do even at a reasonable speed. It would doubly difficult since she knew that neither she nor Helena was likely to let up on the speed very much.
The barricades ahead let Helena know that the course was going to veer off very soon. She'd only been on the road a few times but she knew it had a series of very tight curves. It was on now.
Barbara laughed at the thrill of excitement that went through her when her bike almost slid out from under her on the second curve. Her heart was beating so hard she could actually feel it through her entire body. It was getting close. She'd put on a little more speed hoping to put a bit of distance between her and Helena. It had worked a little, though she knew the lead wouldn't last for long. Helena was already creeping up on her right. She glanced at the brunette when she came up alongside her. Her first inclination was to strike out. The sheer horror at the impulse almost made her let up on the throttle. She shook off her hesitation. She didn't want to lose. She hated to lose.
She took the last curve faster than the last to make up for those few seconds of hesitation. Helena had taken the lead. The straight away to the finish was after the last curve. It would be a matter of who got control of their machine first that would decide the winner. She was going to hit the nos as soon as she could. She was certain that Helena had the same intention. She decided she couldn't wait for control. Helena was already bringing her motorcycle upright. She pressed the nos as she threw her body weight to the side to get as close to stable as she could. The sudden jump forward almost made her lose her grip. She hadn't expected it to be quite so jarring. Regardless, she was upright and she was ahead. The rush of excitement that flowed through her was overwhelming. It was better than a fight. It was electrifying and dangerous. It was everything she needed.
Her heart was still pounding furiously when she finally brought the bike to a halt. She was just outside the gate of Wayne Manor. Once the nos had been hit, it had to be ridden out until it was gone. That easily brought her to the gate. She vaulted off the motorcycle trembling from the adrenalin. God, she was so aroused now that she could feel the throb between her legs. It was impossible to stand still. She watched with barely controlled impatience as Helena threw her leg over her bike.
"Okay," Helena said smirking slightly as she approached her friend. "You won. Don't even think about rubbing it in." It was the only part of a quickly thought up, yet gracious congratulations she planned to extend to the redhead. Before she could utter the rest Barbara pushed her against the gate then started kissing her. Not just kissing, she was consuming her.
Helena's entire body flushed with intense need. She wasn't immune to the effects of the race. She'd been keyed up but determined to control it. She had plenty of practice with control where Barbara was concerned. She was the very embodiment of control. But, now that she didn't need control she let her more carnal instincts take over.
She had to feel skin. She needed to feel the heat of skin under her hands. Barbara undid the catches of Helena's armor pulling the top part from her body to drop to the ground. She pushed her hands under the tight tank that was now plastered to the brunette's body with sweat. Her skin was slick and hot, so very hot. Barbara impatiently ran her hands down Helena's sides to the lower part of her costume. She released the hidden fastenings then pushed down while Helena struggled to get it off or at least lower as she pried at Barbara's own armor.
Helena's grabbed the side of Barbara's suit that was thwarting her efforts to remove it, giving it a hard yank she ripped it apart. This batsuit would be utterly useless after tonight but Helena couldn't make herself care. She wanted to get to Barbara's body as fast as possible. She started to release the fastenings of the bottom of Barbara's armor until she felt teeth on her neck. The last of her control slipped away. She tore the part of the pants away from the redhead's body then pushed her hand down it until she was finally inside her. God, Barbara was so warm and wet. So very, very wet.
She wanted to go slow. In the back of her mind she knew that this wasn't really the way she wanted to be with Barbara. She just couldn't seem to control the lust anymore. It felt like she'd been controlling her desire for the redhead forever. Who knows, maybe she had been. Barbara wasn't helping. She was wild, aggressive and so damn hot. Helena didn't stand a chance at going slow. She could feel the tremors running through Barbara's body, she was close. Helena was pretty damn close herself. She couldn't stop rocking herself against Barbara's hip.
Helena grazed her teeth back up to Barbara's jaw, nipping at the skin before she took her mouth in a heated kiss. Before she was ready she felt Barbara's entire body stiffen as her head snapped back. A guttural, almost animal cry ripped from her throat right before the orgasm tore through her. Her grip on Helena's shoulders was beyond painful. The pain ratcheted up her desire even more.
Barbara's pulse was erratic. She was panting, struggling to pull more air into her lungs. The scent of Helena's want was permeating the air she was taking in. This wasn't her. She knew this wasn't her. She didn't act like this. Barbara Gordon was not the woman who was pushing Helena back towards her motorcycle. Barbara Gordon wasn't the woman who was barely managing to restrain her hands and mouth from causing bruises and pain.
Rationally she knew that this feeling, this desire was no different from what she'd felt with Dick after they sparred. Only it felt different. She felt like if she didn't feel Helena underneath her body, underneath her hands she might go mad. She was changing. This was all from the changing. Even as that thought flowed through her mind she'd turned Helena around bending the brunette over the seat of the motorcycle. None of that mattered in that moment. Nothing mattered except the taste of skin and sweat. Nothing mattered except the felling of slick walls gripping her tightly. Nothing mattered except the sound of Helena's throaty moans when she came.
Barbara ran her tongue up the center of Helena's back. They'd just managed to take the edge off. She was still hungry for more of Helena. She started to run her hands over Helena's ass then around her hips until her fingers lightly grazed sensitive flesh. She smiled into the brunette's skin as she kissed her way across Helena's back.
"We should go," Helena said. She was already beginning to feel her body twitch in anticipation. Every inch of her skin was prickling with awareness. "Inside the Manor," she clarified feeling Barbara's fingers stray down further.
Barbara hummed her agreement. She wanted to go inside with Helena. She wanted to go inside Helena. Either way it needed to happen soon. She did the best she could gathering up the ripped and discarded pieces of both their costumes. Even in her state she realized that finding ripped vigilante costumes outside the gate would be bad. She barely took her eyes off Helena the entire time she collected everything. Just the sight of the other woman's body was keeping her at a slow burn. She straddled her motorcycle then tugged at Helena until she climbed on behind her. She gave the remnants of their armor to Helena then pressed the code for the gate on the key pad. A few minutes later they were up the stairs and in Helena's bedroom.
"I've never had a girl in my room before," Helena said aloud when she closed the door behind them. It was the only thought, besides thoughts of Barbara naked and writhing underneath her that had run through her mind when they stumbled up the stairs without taking their hands off each other.
"It's lovely," Barbara replied, not taking her eyes off Helena. How could she when the brunette was stripping off her remaining outer wear.
"You haven't even looked around."
"What I've seen so far is lovely," Barbara amended as she reached for Helena to pull her towards the bed.
"The door?" Helena asked. She tugged at Barbara's suit until she managed to get it off. Her eyes raked over the redhead's naked body. She was absolutely yummy.
"You were in front of it," Barbara offered.
Helena smiled slightly. The line was sort of trite. But, when someone as sexy as Barbara was pulling you towards a bed with the promise of very naughty things it didn't really matter. She had better ideas of how the redhead could use her mouth anyway.
She pushed Barbara down onto the bed then crawled up her body until she was comfortably straddling her hips. She wanted the lights on. She wanted to see Barbara. Of course, she could see Barbara pretty clearly despite the darkness in the room but she wanted to make out every nuance of the redhead as they explored each other.
Making an impatient sound in the back of her throat Barbara sat up then wrapped her arms around the warm body in front of her pulling Helena closer.
"Light," Helena muttered against Barbara's lips. The feel of breasts against hers had distracted her from her earlier mission but it wasn't forgotten.
The redhead shook her head a little unwilling to tear herself away from the warm haven of Helena's mouth. God, she tasted good. She could only imagine how she would taste in other places.
"I want to see you," she told Barbara as she pushed her back down. She wanted to feel her entire body pressed against the other woman. She groaned at the feel of warm skin against her own.
"We don't need the light, you've seen me before," Barbara responded as she ran her hands up and down Helena's back. She didn't have her contacts in right now. The light had to stay off.
"It'll only take a second," Helena whispered against a particularly sensitive spot on Barbara's neck. "Just clap your hands."
"What?" Why would she clap her hands?
"Clappers," she breathed out. Barbara fingers had just grazed her nipples causing the most delicious sensation. "I thought they were cool." Sure it was embarrassing to admit but at the time she had thought they were cool. Secretly she still did.
She clapped her hands quickly as she started to bring her lips back to Barbara's. The light flicked on then promptly went back out with a pop. She stopped in mid motion staring at Barbara. More accurately, she was staring at Barbara's eyes. The light was only on for a second but she could have sworn that the other woman's eyes were odd. Then the sensation of lips against her neck and hands on her body distracted her from those thoughts.
Helena opened her eyes slowly. Her entire body felt sore. She hadn't felt this sore in years. Then she smiled remembering what had gotten her so sore. She turned over reaching out for the body that she knew was in the bed with her, encountering nothing but cold sheets. She sat up slowly looking around the room. She couldn't see Barbara anywhere but that didn't mean she wasn't in here. She could have been in the bathroom. She got out of bed padding out into the small sitting room just off her bedroom. All her old furniture was there but no Barbara. She checked the bathroom too still finding no sign of her. She left her room heading towards the kitchen thinking Barbara would be there. She knew it was where she would have been if it had been her.
"Alfred?" Helena said surprised.
"Miss Helena," he greeted. "Would you care for breakfast?"
"Uh, no thanks," she responded. "Have you seen Barbara?"
"Miss Barbara left some time ago. She was kind enough to bring your motorcycle to the garage before she departed," he said.
She smirked at the subtle reprimand. Alfred liked things in their proper place. Then she frowned. "She left? Did she leave a note?"
"Not that I'm aware," he responded, moving around the kitchen deftly.
"Oh." Barbara had left without saying anything? She left? Why would she just leave? Helena ran a hand through her hair as she started to pace the kitchen. Barbara left, like she was a one night stand. The bottom felt like it dropped out of her stomach; she thought she might be sick. Then the anger flushed through her pushing the sick feeling aside.
"It seems a bit drafty this morning," Alfred noted idly at the stove. He had the bacon sizzling already. Helena may have said no but she was always hungry. Besides he needed something to keep him occupied until she realized she wasn't properly attired.
"Huh, oh, maybe a little," Helena agreed being pulled away from her thoughts.
"Perhaps some clothes might be in order?" Alfred suggested without turning around.
Clothes? Helena looked down at herself confirming that she did indeed have no clothes on. "Yeah," she replied before she made her way back to her bedroom. She shrugged to herself. Alfred had changed her diapers.
In two minutes she was dressed and heading for the door. "I'll see you later Alfred!" Helena shouted. She was going to see Barbara. They had things to talk about.
There was no sign of Barbara in the immediate area. She cocked her head listening intently. She heard the shower running. At least Barbara would be trapped. The bathroom only had one exit. Helena planned to be standing in front of it.
"Do you always do the 'wham bam thank you ma'am' routine?" Helena asked. Her voice was loud enough to easily be heard over the shower.
Barbara closed her eyes then leaned forward letting her head thump against the shower stall wall. Helena was here already. She thought she would have more time before the other woman showed up. She'd planned to be dressed, disguised and apologetic. Now she was naked, fully exposed and angry. Why couldn't she be like other women? Why did Helena have to be so bold? This is what came from being too confident. A person didn't react like a regular person when they thought they were better than everyone else. That sense of entitlement that Helena displayed irritated the redhead.
"Well!" Helena demanded when Barbara didn't say anything.
"I'm in the shower," Barbara replied after a few seconds. "Will you wait outside?" She was as polite as she could be in the situation, especially considering how she was feeling.
"I will not wait outside!" Barbara's calm response just made her even more pissed off. It was like the whole thing meant nothing. "I've seen you naked already," Helena reminded her. She'd done more than just see her naked last night.
Barbara could feel it rising up inside of her. That feeling she had last night, the feeling she'd been having so often lately. She thought it was anger but most of the time it felt like something was trying to break through her skin. Sometimes she wanted to let it happen, she wanted to let go. She wanted to let whatever it was that wanted out to get out. She wanted to do it right now. Barbara threw the curtain aside then stepped out of the shower. Her eyes were blazing unnaturally at Helena. Her body was hot, too hot. She was burning up. Her skin was tightening; it felt like it was splitting. It hurt but it also felt so good. She surrendered to it.
Holy shit! Helena took an involuntary step backwards. She thought about that brief flash she'd seen of Barbara's eyes last night when the lights flickered on then off. She'd convinced herself that it was just a trick of the light. It definitely wasn't a trick of the light. She was going to fire every geneticist on the payroll. Then she was going to have their diploma's revoked. How could they have missed this?
"Barbara," Helena's voice was soft now. "I think we need to talk." She barely gave a thought to talking about last night anymore. Not that it wasn't important; they just had more pressing matters to attend to right now. She needed to know what exactly was going on and how to help her. Realistically she knew there was nothing they could do to help her. They didn't really know how to combine DNA anymore than they knew how to separate it. Theoretically, she supposed they knew how to combine DNA but they had no control over it so it didn't do anyone any good. Really, from what she'd been told by all the scientists Barbara should be dead. She was beyond grateful that it hadn't but she wasn't happy that the redhead was going through this. She wasn't happy that she was going through it alone. Barbara could have told her. She would have helped her any way she could. Helena knew what it was like to be different. She wouldn't have judged Barbara.
She didn't step back when Barbara took another step towards her. Was she getting darker? Helena studied her friend. Yes, she was getting darker. She also seemed to be…changing? Holy fucking shit! Helena couldn't take her eyes off Barbara. It looked painful. It reminded her of some of those werewolf movies but the special effects had never been this good. One moment Barbara was staring at her like she wanted to attack her then a freakin' huge Jaguar took her place.
She started to back away now. Jaguar Barbara looked like she was ready to pounce. That was alarming considering what she knew about this particular animal. Its jaws could crush a person's skull like a nut. She could only imagine what would happen if she got a hold of any other body part. That could hurt.
"Nice kitty, nice Barbara," Helena crooned lightly to her very agitated friend. This was going to put a kink in her vague idea of developing a permanent romantic relationship with the woman. She was pretty open to differences in others. Gay, straight, meta or any variety of colors. But, she couldn't really see this happening. Perhaps a trip to the JLA was in order after all.
She saw Barbara shift her weight to her back legs getting ready to leap at her. It was time to retreat. She took off like a shot with Barbara on her heels. One good leap had her on the second floor. She glanced behind her only to see a black blur of fur hurdling towards her through the air. Okay, Barbara could leap just as far. Helena glanced around looking for something to subdue the animal. She would head outside but she couldn't risk Barbara being seen by anyone. She could end up in the pound or something.
She made her way towards the training room. There was really only one place to trap her. In the secret room that Barbara stored anything they might need to patrol. She shouted her access code coming to a halt inside. Now that she wasn't running away Barbara wasn't running either. She was stalking Helena though. The plan was simple; she was going to let Barbara attack. When she did, Helena was going to do a 'shake and bake' then hit the exit, trapping Barbara inside.
She didn't have to wait long. Barbara leapt at her letting out a very intimidating growl. Helena dove under the big cat, wincing when she felt claws scrape down her back. As plans went it was an effective one. She yelled her codes again barely squeezing through the closing doors. The thump of a body against the doors made her jerk slightly, which made her back sting. Damn! She looked over her shoulder at her back. Her shirt was shredded down the middle. She'd really liked this shirt. There were long deep groves running down the length of her back. Next time she needed to stay closer to the floor. She snorted. Next time, great.
She touched the key pad making the doors go from opaque to clear. She had a great view of Barbara throwing herself repeatedly against the reinforced plexi-glass. There was no way she was going to get out but Helena didn't think that Barbara was really thinking normally right now. She sank to the floor leaning against the wall only to hiss in pain. She scooted away from the wall crossing her legs Indian style to wait. Sooner or later Barbara would run out of steam. Then she could figure out what to do to help.
She must have fallen asleep. The thumping had been rather rhythmic. Helena looked at Barbara's sleeping form on the other side of the glass. She let out a sigh of relief. Barbara was Barbara again. That was heartening. Whatever had happened hadn't completely changed Barbara.
She keyed in the access codes this time. The doors opened not disturbing the sleeping woman at all. Helena knelt down then touched Barbara gently as she called the redhead's name. She watched as Barbara opened her eyes a bit then blinked groggily. The eyes were the same, they hadn't changed back.
"Hey," Helena greeted when Barbara's eyes finally focused on her. "How are you feeling?"
"What are we doing in here?" She was confused. She couldn't really remember how she got here or why she was lying on the floor naked. Or why Helena was kneeling over her looking a little ashen.
"We had a small misunderstanding," Helena replied holding her finger and thumb apart just a touch. "Do you remember anything at all?"
"You came in the bathroom," Barbara started slowly. Then she remembered why Helena had come into the bathroom. She buried her face in her hands. Helena thought she was an asshole! "God Hel, I'm so sorry."
"It's no big deal," Helena told her. Hell, she'd had worse injuries. A few scratches were nothing.
"How can you say that? I just left. You have to know I had a good reason," she said sitting up. She didn't want Helena to know. Not yet anyway. She blinked rapidly then rubbed her eyes to get the crust out of them. Her entire body stiffened and she stopped breathing. She wasn't wearing her contacts.
Helena drew Barbara's hand away from her face to hold it gently. "I wasn't talking about that."
"You know." It wasn't a question. Of course she knew. How could she not know? Barbara took a deep breath prepared to take what came next. Helena was probably horrified by her now.
"Yeah," Helena confirmed Barbara's statement. "It's okay. We'll figure it out."
Barbara shook her head negating the reassurance. "There's nothing anyone can do," she admitted.
"The JLA might have made some progress." Barbara seemed pretty upset by this so it certainly couldn't hurt to ask.
"I've already looked through their database. They still don't have the technology to do anything." She'd checked when her eyes had changed. She wasn't even sure she wanted to change back. She liked having super powers. She liked being Helena's equal.
"What about the mad scientist?" She asked, thinking of Cliveler.
"Do you really think it's a good idea to let anyone know about this? I could end up a lab experiment if this got out." Barbara pointed out reasonably.
"I wouldn't let that happen." She didn't add the 'again' that was hovering on her lips.
Barbara stood up stretching her muscles. She was kind of sore. She turned to ask Helena what exactly happened but stopped short at the blank mask that had settled on her face. She felt a rush of sadness that made her entire body feel cold. Helena thought she was a monster now. "I know it's hard to take in all at once," she said haltingly. "I'll understand if you need some time. I can leave, take a sabbatical."
Helena whipped her gaze to Barbara's face. Over her dead body! "You're not going anywhere!" Her voice was as hard as titanium.
"You think I'm an aberration. I can't blame you," Barbara said. She sighed tiredly.
"What?" Helena asked. "I can't believe you would think I would be that way. I would never…I couldn't…you're the most important person in my life," she finished. She was completely stunned that Barbara would think that. It was the furthest thing from her mind. She cared about Barbara more than she could easily express, if this was how things were she didn't give a damn. She would help Barbara learn to use this. She could probably stand to learn to control it too. That wouldn't hurt. Those furrows on her back really hurt.
"You can't say you're happy about this," Barbara argued.
Helena rubbed the back of her neck trying to massage some of the tension away. "I admit that you turning into a Jaguar was a bit…unexpected but it was also kind of cool." Sure her first reaction was 'holy shit' but that was more of an exclamation of amazement. Barbara as a Jaguar was just as beautiful as she was now. She liked cats.
"What?" Barbara asked. She couldn't have heard her correctly. There was no way.
Helena had forgotten she hadn't mentioned that part to Barbara yet. "I don't want you to freak out," Helena said cautiously. "You kind of changed…into a Jaguar. Earlier," she clarified unnecessarily. Obviously it would have been earlier. Duh.
Barbara sank to the floor slowly. She changed into an animal? She couldn't wrap her mind around it. She didn't remember anything like that happening. What the hell had she done? Why was Helena moving so awkwardly? She watched as Helena slowly lowered herself to the floor beside her. Usually Helena would just fling herself down onto any surface. She never did anything slowly unless she was injured. What exactly had she done?
"What happened?" Barbara asked. She needed to think about something else for a moment. Concentrating on Helena made that possible.
"Nothing really," Helena hedged.
"I don't believe you."
"Stop looking at me like that," she grumbled. "Nothing really happened. You got a little rambunctious and I trapped you in the equipment room."
"Why are you moving so gingerly?" Barbara asked not willing to let it go. She heard Helena mumble something but even with her new better than average hearing she couldn't make it out.
"What?" She asked, leaning closer to the brunette. That's when she smelled it. It was unmistakable. It was blood. She turned towards Helena scooting closer and closer until she practically had her legs around the other woman. She gently pushed Helena forward and separated the shredded shirt so she could completely see her back and the claw marks running almost to her butt. She hissed at the sight.
"I'm so sorry Helena," she breathed. She reached out to touch the torn flesh but stopped before she could do it. She didn't want to hurt her again.
"I told you it's nothing," Helena said. She could feel the heat from Barbara's hand hovering near her skin. She leaned back until she felt Barbara's fingers on her. She wanted the other woman to touch her. She wanted Barbara to know it was okay to touch her.
We need to get you bandaged up," Barbara said ignoring Helena's protests that it was nothing. She rolled to her feet then held her hands out to assist Helena. She looked down noticing again that she was naked. "And I need some clothes."
"I don't mind." She may be a little hurt. She may be surprised by the turn of events. She might even be a little alarmed that she'd told Barbara how important she was to her. But she still wanted her. Plus, flirting came naturally to her.
"No?" Barbara asked, smiling despite the situation. Helena had that effect on her.
"Nope, I had plans for you after I got through clobbering you for leaving after last night. I still have plans for you," she finished, leering at the redhead.
"Easy there girl, you're in no shape to plan anything." She shook her head. She really didn't deserve a friend like Helena.
"My recuperative powers are amazing," she reminded Barbara.
"Mine aren't." She didn't think she'd get over any of this easily.
"Yes they are. I'll be here to make sure they are," Helena responded seriously.
"We'll see," she said, smiling slightly to reassure Helena.
Helena should have been paying attention. She was too busy watching Barbara to listen to what the different division managers were reporting. The redhead was much more interesting than these people. Hell Barbara was more interesting than anyone else that Helena had ever met.
She sighed, resting her cheek against her hand. She wished she could see Barbara's eyes. It was easier to figure out how the other woman was feeling if she could see her eyes. Hell, even the contacts alone would have been alright, but Barbara had decided that she should wear the glasses as well when she went out in public.
Barbara looked pretty calm. The redhead was getting much better at controlling her aggression. Personally, Helena thought that a certain type of aggression Barbara displayed was really hot. Of course, that type of aggression hadn't been present in the last six weeks. They never talked about it after that morning. It was almost like it never happened. They went back to their friendship. Helena was being patient though. Patience, she'd been told over and over, was a virtue. Well, she hadn't been virtuous for a while but she was trying to fake it.
If she could just get the redhead to relax, maybe go to a movie or something. Anything, just as long as they did it outside the Clock Tower. Helena was beginning to really hate that clock. She'd never noticed how loud the ticking was until she started practically living there. The stupid thing clicked and ticked constantly. One night she decided that it was her or the clock and since she loved herself far too much to hurt herself, it had to be the clock. Unfortunately, Barbara was awake. She caught Helena red handed with a crowbar. It wasn't the easiest thing to explain. Despite her other numerous sabotage attempts the clock was still ticking. If she didn't get away from it soon she might just throw herself in the gears. All they did was patrol, train and go to work. All work and no fun made for a very grumpy Helena/Huntress.
Helena shifted uncomfortably. She glared down at her chair. How could a billion dollar company not have more comfortable chairs? After almost an hour her ass was beginning to hurt. The sound of Barbara's voice snapped her attention back to the meeting. Finally! She could watch the woman without trying to look like she wasn't watching her. Barbara could have been speaking Japanese for all Helena cared. She just wanted to listen to the sound of her voice. She had a great voice. She had a great mouth too. Helena knew for a fact that it could do and say the most wonderfully naughty things. She rubbed her forehead to remove some of the moisture that had appeared as she shifted again. Now her ass hurt and she was turned on.
"Were you even paying attention in the meeting?" Barbara asked.
"Of course I was. Why would you even ask?"
"You were staring at me."
"I was not staring at you. I'll have you know I take my position very seriously. I was paying close attention to the meeting," Helena finished indignantly.
"What were the projected costs associated with the delayed release of the new MS drug?" Barbara quizzed.
"We have a pharmaceutical division?" Helena asked guilelessly.
Barbara frowned at her. "One day you're going to miss something important," she warned.
Helena smirked. "That's why I have you. You never miss a thing and I can count on you to have my back."
Barbara made a disdainful sound. "I haven't been doing such a good job of that lately."
Helena sat forward, her demeanor becoming instantly serious. "You're getting much better B. It won't happen all at once."
She was being impatient with herself, she knew that. But, how could it take so long to learn to handle her increased abilities along with her increased ferocity? Too many times when they'd been out on patrol she'd had to sit out on an arrest to get a grip. It was taking too long. She never had this much trouble with anything she set her mind to accomplish. Maybe she belonged in a cage.
"Barbara?" Helena called when the redhead just glared out the window. "Barbara?"
She turned around doing her best to keep her temper in check. Even with Helena it happened, though with Helena she usually wanted to do something other than fight. That was a problem, especially since the brunette was living at the Clock Tower. She didn't want to have another hormone induced tumble. She could barely think about the last two she had. It was mortifying. Sometimes she could barely look at Helena. She never knew when it would strike. It was like a tidal wave washed over her causing her to imagine Helena naked and wanting underneath her. She took several deep breaths.
"You're right," she admitted after a few more seconds. "I'm getting better."
"Hey," Helena said softly, going over to Barbara. "You really are doing better. Soon you'll be the epitome of control just like me," she finished cheekily.
"So its never gonna happen?"
Barbara's look was so comically disappointed that Helena had to laugh. "Go to work," Helena told her, waving her hand dismissively. "I'll have something special planned for you later."
One red brow quirked in question.
"You'll see this afternoon," Helena answered the unspoken question.
"What is that?" Barbara asked when she saw Helena carrying in a large object.
"This is Kenny," Helena responded, slapping the completely wood mannequin on the back.
"Why is Kenny in our Clock Tower?"
"He's your sparring partner," she informed Barbara. One day when they were sparring and Barbara was pounding away at her trying to figure out how hard to hit someone without killing them she'd had an idea. A dummy. When she looked around she decided the plastic one's wouldn't last two seconds so she'd had one made out of oak. And so Kenny was born.
"He won't be much competition," Barbara said, clearly unimpressed.
Helena smiled at the lack of enthusiasm. "Maybe not, but you can use him to figure out how much force to use rather than using me. I don't look good in bruise."
"You expect me to hit solid oak?" Barbara's voice was heavy with disbelief. She may be pretty strong now but she wasn't invincible. She needed her arms and legs intact.
"Stop whining," Helena ordered. "You need something that can take some abuse."
"Fine," she huffed. She wasn't whining, just making an observation.
Helena smiled. She wasn't going to get beat on again tonight. She set Kenny up on the training room wall. He had to be secured to something so he wouldn't just fall down when Barbara hit him. Hopefully the wall wouldn't get too damaged. Between the two of them the bills to repair various surfaces in the Clock Tower were starting to mount up.
Helena was using the rhythmic thwacking of padding hitting wood to pace her weight lifting. After a couple of kicks and lots of cursing they'd decided that Barbara should probably wear pads to spar with Kenny. Finally, with the pads on, the redhead had settled into a steady flow of punches and kicks. All in all, this was working out nicely for both of them. Then she heard the splintering of wood.
"What did you do?" Helena asked, coming alongside the redhead to stare at what used to be Kenny's head.
"That last one was too hard."
"Ya think?" Helena asked sounding disgruntled. She looked at his head sadly. "You killed Kenny," she said mournfully. Then she blew the effect by snickering.
"You should watch less television." She should have seen this coming. Helena never did anything without some reason. She'd heard, 'You killed Kenny' coming from the plasma TV enough times that she really should have realized where this would go.
"You should watch more TV. Why did you buy a fifty-five inch plasma if you were never going to watch it?" Helena wondered.
Barbara just ignored her. She wasn't about to tell her that she bought the TV so Helena would want to be at the Clock Tower. Most of the additions that had been bought were for that very reason. She didn't need every game system known to mankind. She really didn't need the huge surround sound system either. But, it was a good investment. Helena was here after all.
"Do you have another one?" Barbara asked as she gestured towards the headless Kenny.
"No." Helena frowned at the redhead. She had expected Kenny to last much longer. She'd had an engineer on staff calculate the thickness of the wood so it could take blows that Helena herself could throw. "Kenny was an only child."
"I guess you'll have to fill in."
"Actually, I think you've had enough tonight," Helena told her.
"You mean you've had enough," Barbara teased. Helena hadn't gotten a single bruise as far as she could tell. In fact, she spent more time blocking attacks than anything else. Helena always had been a bit of a drama queen.
"We need to go out. We need fun," Helena replied, deflecting attention from her wussiness.
"We still need to patrol," Barbara disagreed.
"There's this thing called 'a day off'. Ever heard of it?" They'd been living and breathing work and patrol for over a month.
"You know, that's a good idea," she agreed. "I have a lot of work and research to finish. That's a terrific idea."
"That's not what I meant and you know it," Helena accused.
"I know. I'm sorry. I just…"
"Let's go to dinner. We have to eat and eating is a perfectly normal, non-hazardous activity with no potential for danger. Well, you may be able to poke yourself with a knife, but I have complete confidence is your dexterity." Her mouth had taken up babbling in its spare time. She needed to put something in it. Food would be good. "What do you say?"
"You're never going to be comfortable if you don't get out there," Helena said as she turned to leave. "I'm going to hit the shower."
"Helena," Barbara called after her.
"I'll be ready to patrol in a few," Helena said over her shoulder.
The following week
"What are you doing?" Barbara asked. She'd stepped off the elevator to see Helena lying on her stomach staring at Jagger.
"I'm watching her." Her tone indicated that she thought Barbara should have been able to figure that out without asking.
She sighed heavily. Helena had been increasingly abrupt with her lately. She knew her hesitance to move out of herself imposed isolation bothered Helena but she wasn't ready. She really didn't know how to make the brunette understand. Helena had dealt with her differences her entire life. She'd only just begun to adjust, she just needed time. "I gathered that," Barbara replied. "Why are you watching her?"
"She was stuck with the same mojo juice you were. I'm waiting to see if she does anything different."
"You mean if she does anything besides making you act like a weirdo?"
"I'm not acting like a weirdo," Helena defended herself. "It's a perfectly legitimate line of research."
"Research? Since when do you do research?" Research was her thing. Helena was more of a doer than a researcher.
"Someone has to. Besides I want to see," she replied.
"I want to see if she can change," Helena told her.
"Why?" Her tone was sharp. What Helena was doing made her defensive and slightly angry.
"Because you won't even try and I want to see it again." Helena had tried to get Barbara to explore this facet of her life but the redhead had adamantly refused.
"Leave her alone," Barbara ordered after Helena finished. She pulled off her glasses throwing them onto a nearby table then glared at the brunette.
"I'm not hurting her," Helena snapped. Who did Barbara think she was ordering her to do anything?
"She's just a house cat. She's not going to turn into anything else," Barbara replied angrily.
"Yeah, like you're just a person."
"I am a person," Barbara ground out.
"You're more than a person and you need to face that fact," Helena argued.
"I am facing it!"
"Then let's see it," Helena taunted.
Helena tilted her head watching Barbara like she was an exotic animal, which in reality, she was. Barbara didn't use profanity. She didn't even like it. But, this wasn't only the old Barbara which is what Helena was trying to make her face. "You already did."
Barbara's eyes sparked with rage. "You want to see me," her voice was deceptively soft as she stalked towards Helena.
She probably was playing with fire getting Barbara pissed like this but nothing else had worked so far. She held her ground when the redhead walked right into her personal space. She could actually feel the heat from her body.
"You want to see the real thing, little house cat?" Barbara sneered.
House cat? Oh no she didn't! "I'll show you house cat." Helena's voice was menacing. That was all the warning she gave. It wasn't the most controlled or even the prettiest punch she'd ever thrown but it was a hard one. Barbara flew back several feet before she landed on her ass.
Barbara could feel blood trickling out of her nose. She snaked her tongue up, licking part of it off. "I know what my blood tastes like. Let's see what yours is like." Her fist went into the wall where Helena's head used to be. She quickly turned, smashing her elbow into Helena's face. She jerked her fist out of the wall, pulling plaster away with it. She didn't have time to block the kick to her stomach. She bent over as all the air whooshed out of her. The next kick was meant to take her head off but she caught the booted foot before it could make contact. She twisted the foot sharply watching Helena's entire body roll with it then land with a hard thump a couple of feet away.
Barbara wasn't about to let the advantage go. She grabbed the back of Helena's shirt, jerking her up and backwards throwing her back against the wall. She didn't stay there for long.
Helena jumped over Barbara, surprising the redhead with a sudden burst of speed. She wrapped her right arm around her neck then clamped the other around Barbara's waist holding her captive. She kept applying pressure to her neck until Barbara stopped struggling. They both needed to calm down. She held on tightly for a minute before little by little, she began to loosen her grip. She let her guard down when Barbara didn't react to the decreased strength of Helena's hold. That is, until she did react.
Barbara twisted sweeping her arm up and over Helena's arm that was beginning to tighten around her again. She trapped the arm, pushing down until she was released. She reversed their positions seamlessly then pushed Helena towards the wall, trapping her against it with her body. "Is this what you want?" Barbara's voice was an angry rumble as she ground herself against Helena.
"No!" Yes! But not like this. She just wanted to push Barbara a little, she didn't want this. She hoped to push enough to make Barbara lose some control not all of it.
"Liar," she whispered into the brunette's ear. "I can smell it."
"Maybe," Helena agreed, not bothering to struggle. "But, I still won't have what I want."
Barbara frowned at that answer. The confusion from that statement pulled her out of her fog. "What does that mean?" She asked, letting Helena go. She stepped away putting distance between them.
"You like puzzles, figure it out," she replied cryptically.
"Where are you going?" Barbara called out when she saw Helena heading for the elevator.
Metropolis the same evening
"Helena!" Selena exclaimed. She'd heard someone come in but she thought it was Bruce coming back early. The last thing she expected to see was her daughter.
"Hey," Helena replied, genuinely smiling for the first time in a month. She hadn't expected anyone to be here. She'd been prepared to wait for a while, probably days knowing her parents hectic schedule.
She pulled Helena into a tight hug. It had been too long since she'd seen her. "What are you doing here?" She didn't give her daughter a chance to answer. "You're father isn't here yet. He's going to be thrilled to see you."
"That's probably a good thing," Helena mumbled as she plopped down on the couch. Her entire body radiated unhappiness. She never could seem to hide anything from him anymore, her mother either for that matter. Maybe this visit hadn't been such a good idea.
"What's going on?" Selena asked, sitting down beside her. She'd recognized that unhappy voice. She assessed Helena, taking in her tired eyes. Something was wrong.
Helena sighed. Her mother was never one to beat around the bush. She was always very direct, going straight to the heart of things. "Nothing really," Helena hedged.
"I thought we agreed not to keep secrets from each other anymore," Selena reminded her. Secrets had hurt them all before.
"I'm just having some issues," Helena replied vaguely.
"We can talk about it now or we can wait for your father to get home."
Helena glanced up quickly with a mildly panicked expression. She didn't talk about these things with him. She couldn't talk to him about it. He still pretended she was a virgin!
"Romantic troubles," Selena guessed after seeing that look. That was the only thing Helena never spoke to Bruce about.
"I can't say they're romantic," she replied bitterly. How could Barbara just ignore it like she did?
"No?" Selena asked. She tilted her head curiously, studying Helena again. She had the look of a woman who wanted something she couldn't have. "Then what would you say they are?'
Helena glanced at Selena then turned her gaze away again. "Do you think you would have ever had a normal relationship if you hadn't met Dad?" Helena asked after a few seconds.
"Maybe. Maybe not, but luckily I did find him," she replied, unable to stop the smile that crossed her face at the mere thought of Bruce.
"I'd like to find that," Helena said quietly.
So, that was it. "I thought you already did," Selena answered.
"Why did you go back to New Gotham?" Selena asked, ignoring Helena's question.
"It's my home."
"I don't think that's the only reason."
"She wasn't the reason," Helena snapped. She knew what her mother was getting at.
Selena laughed at her. "You've been in love with her since you met her," she said smiling indulgently at Helena.
"I couldn't stand her!"
"Exactly," she said as if that proved her point.
Helena shook her head at the silly notion. "It doesn't matter anyway; she doesn't feel that way about me."
"Where on earth did you get that idea?" Selena asked, truly shocked. She knew when she saw them together the night everything came out that Barbara had feelings for Helena. Not that Barbara would have ever acted on them, but they were there. Her opinion had only been confirmed when she saw them together at the cocktail party and at Helena's birthday party.
"It's not an idea, it's a fact." A really hard fact.
"We must not be talking about the same person."
"I slept with her," Helena said abruptly. She hadn't planned to say it but it was out before she could stop it. "She left before I woke up and we haven't repeated it since." She left out quite a bit, not considering it relevant but also because protecting Barbara was always foremost in her mind.
"Did you talk to her?" Selena asked. "I'll take that to mean yes," she replied when Helena gave her the death glare.
"Give it time," she advised.
Helena snorted derisively. "I've given it time."
"Give it more time," she suggested. "Not everyone is as sure of themselves as you are. It took your father and me a while to figure it out, you know."
"All the time in the world probably wouldn't make a difference," Helena replied sullenly.
"Then move on."
Helena glared at her mother. Where was her support, her sympathy? Where was her pep talk?
"Then suck it up and give it time," Selena admonished, correctly interpreting her glare. "Now, go upstairs and freshen up. You look kind of dusty. Hurry up," she made a shooing motion at Helena when she just stood there. "You're father will be home soon and I want to surprise him with you."
"Why do I need to get clean for that?" Helena asked. For some reason she felt better even if her Mom yelled at her.
"Because, Alfred isn't here and I don't cook," Selena reminded her.
"Right." Helena shuddered at the thought. Her mother's cooking was worse than Barbara's.
"Don't give me that look. I didn't make either of you finish it." Selena frowned at the memory. She tried cooking when they first moved to Paris. With Alfred at home, someone had to do it. Both Bruce and Helena had turned green at the first taste. She'd never gone near the kitchen again.
Helena laughed at her mother's expression. She was glad she came to see them.
One month later
"You know, I was thinking," Helena said from her place on the couch. She'd been relaxing there after another arduous night of patrolling. When she'd come back from her parents she had acted like nothing happened. It seemed Barbara decided to go along with the plan so now things were relatively back to normal. Which was to say that they still weren't getting anywhere.
"Oh God," Barbara moaned pathetically. Nothing good for her ever came from Helena thinking.
"Shut up," Helena said with fake indignation. "No comments from the peanut gallery."
"We need to go out. We need to have some fun," Helena pronounced. It was a frequent suggestion in the Clock Tower, one that had yet to happen.
"We went out this evening," Barbara told her.
"You know what I mean." She glared at Barbara menacingly. Not that it did any good. Barbara was never intimidated by her before.
"I'm not ready for that yet," Barbara replied quietly. She'd been practicing control. She was almost certain that she could keep herself in check. She'd been doing it for a while now. Patrolling was no longer a problem. The aggression she felt was starting to become something she was used to. It was just another aspect of her personality. But, she still didn't feel in control of other urges. Those were the ones that bothered her.
Helena stared at Barbara. She knew Barbara was ready to get out in the world again. Not just patrol and work. She was ready for all of it.
She'd been patient, like her mother told her to be, hoping that the redhead would realize that Helena was interested in pursuing a relationship but nothing had happened. Her overtures had been rebuffed in the gentlest of ways. Obviously it had been a hormone induced one night stand. This was upsetting to her since, as she realized that morning, she wanted more than that from Barbara. Was she in love with her, as her mother had suggested? It was a distinct possibility.
Helena had done everything in her power to help Barbara, to show her that she was there and that she wanted to be with her. That she wanted her period. When Barbara would start to get keyed up she would drag her into the training room so she could work off her aggression. It was good for Barbara since she was able to test her limits. It was good for Helena because she was able to release some of her frustration at the situation.
She had encouraged Barbara to try to shift again, despite their encounter the last time she'd brought it up. Of course, she'd refused to even think about it. She was afraid she would attack Helena again or someone else if she somehow managed to get out of the Clock Tower. Helena wasn't concerned about it. If it happened, so be it. She'd deal. Then one evening she'd come to the Clock Tower before patrol to find Barbara naked as the day she was born, asleep on the training room floor. She'd obviously, successfully made herself change. Helena was happy that Barbara decided to do it. It meant she was accepting the way things were. But she was disappointed that she'd missed it.
"You're ready, you're just scared."
Barbara gave her an annoyed look. "I disagree," she said flatly.
"Get up and get dressed," Helena ordered. "We're going out."
"I said I'm not ready," Barbara repeated, easily pushing away the sudden rush of anger that tried to overtake her. She didn't want a repeat of their last argument.
"It's not like I'm asking you to go cruising with me," Helena said, throwing up her hands. "Let's go play darts or pool or something."
"I'm not ready," Barbara ground out between gritted teeth. When would she get it?
Helena considered the situation for a moment. She couldn't force the redhead. Barbara was more than a match for her. She obviously couldn't bully her into going. She couldn't coax her into it, she'd tried that before. There was nothing else she could do. She would just have to let Barbara do what she needed to do. It was time she let the dream die. It was never gonna happen.
"Okay, I'll see you tomorrow then," Helena told her. She pulled her duster on with angry motions.
"Are you going home?" Barbara asked surprised. Helena hardly left her side these days, aside from the few days she disappeared over a month ago. She'd been relieved when Helena came back unharmed. She'd also ripped into her for not contacting her.
"No, I'm going out," she replied as she stepped on the elevator. She closed her eyes as the doors slid shut in front of her. She needed some mindless fun.
Helena ended up at the Dark Horse again. It was filled to capacity since it was a Saturday night but she didn't have any problem getting inside. She was well known in New Gotham. It didn't take her long to find the bar. It took even less time to down four shots in quick succession. After the forth shot she made her way to the dance floor.
She didn't have a partner when she went out on the dance floor but somehow she found several while she was out there. She danced with women, men and sometimes both. She was sandwiched in between them or they were sandwiched between her and someone else. It didn't matter. The only thing that mattered was that she wasn't thinking about anything other than dancing, dancing and drinking. She'd given the waitress a very healthy fee to keep the shots coming every ten minutes. Now she was beyond feeling good. By normal standards she should have been falling down drunk, but her body burned it off fast enough that the rate of consumption was just what was needed to keep her at this level.
She smiled seductively at the whispering voice that was encouraging her to come home with him. She had no idea what his name was. She just knew he was hot and more than ready. Of course, the woman they were dancing with had asked the very same thing a few minutes ago. Helena didn't know her name either. Just like old times.
She couldn't decide which one to take home. They were both hot. They were both eager. They both felt really good pressed against her. At one time she thought the woman was Barbara. She could have sworn she heard the redhead talking to her. When she looked around she couldn't find the redhead anywhere. It was just wishful thinking, her mind giving her what she really wanted. It wasn't going to happen. Barbara wasn't interested. She more than showed that in the last few months. It was a one night stand, a fucking one night stand. Well, she was good at the one night stand. She'd nearly perfected it at college. She looked at her dancing companions, she really couldn't choose between them, she'd take them both home.
"I think I'm ready to go," Helena told them. She led them both to the exit. Her body was already starting to thrum with excitement. She was almost painfully aroused now.
"Helena," a familiar voice called her name. "Helena," it said coming up beside her.
She turned to face the voice intending to give whoever it was a quick brush off so she could commence with the evenings more enjoyable activities. "Reese," she greeted. She was happy to note she sounded much more sober than she actually felt.
"Hey," Reese replied smiling at the brunette. He'd hoped to see Helena again. He thought it was a stroke of good luck that he had to respond to a call next door. He'd called her a few times but she was never home.
"Hey," Helena repeated smiling at him. She'd written him off a while ago but, he looked pretty yummy right now. What could it hurt? Was three too many?
"Are you leaving? Do you need a ride?" He asked.
"I am," Helena responded. "As for the ride," she continued, giving him a sultry look. "Can you accommodate all of us?" She asked meaningfully, indicating her two companions.
"Oh? Where are you going?" He looked over the two people behind Helena who were patiently waiting for her. It didn't take a detective to figure out what was going on.
"My place." Helena's smile was practically lascivious.
"I think three might be a crowd," he replied. He hadn't realized this was what Helena was into. No wonder she never called back.
"Maybe, but four is a recipe for a good time," she said, giving him a smirk.
"What would five be?" Barbara asked from where she was standing behind Helena.
She wasn't terribly surprised when she'd heard loud music pumping over Helena's open comm. link. She'd tried to ask what was going on but Helena didn't respond. She guessed, after listening for a few minutes that the brunette didn't realize she'd activated it. She was planning to turn it off when she heard Helena's quick intake of breath. That worried her. Then she heard the whisper of a woman's voice so clearly that Barbara knew the woman had to be speaking directly into Helena's ear. She hadn't liked what the woman said at all. She disliked Helena's teasing reply even more. Without conscious thought she found herself headed for Helena's location. The conversation she heard on the way to the club made her irrationally angry. Helena was being irresponsible.
"Five would fall into the orgy category," Helena replied lazily as she turned towards Barbara.
"So you wouldn't mind sharing?" She asked while she appraised the group.
"Sharing," Helena repeated. Would she have to share Barbara or share with Barbara? Weren't they the same thing? Either way it didn't really matter. "No I don't mind sharing."
Barbara took a step closer to Helena. "I do." Her voice was uncompromising.
That was sobering and it pissed her off. "Is that so? If you had a claim on me that might matter," Helena said quietly so only Barbara would hear her.
"Don't," Barbara warned her.
Helena laughed derisively. "Don't? Somehow you seem to think you have a say in this. Let me disabuse you of that notion, you don't get a say in anything since you haven't said anything in months."
"What did you want me to say?" Barbara asked harshly.
"Anything would have been better than nothing."
She was annoyed when an arm slipped around Helena's shoulder. "You ready baby?"
"No, she's not," Barbara answered for her.
"She looks ready to me," he replied. "You look pretty ready too." He smiled at the redhead.
Barbara wasn't sure how it happened but suddenly the guy's wrist was in her hand and she was squeezing it hard enough to make him sink to his knees. He tried to pull away but she refused to let go. "Go home," she told him as she tightened her grip further before she let him go. She looked at the woman Helena had picked up letting her know with a look that the evening wasn't going to end the way she'd hoped. The last one was Detective Reese. She really didn't like seeing him with Helena. "Good night," Barbara told him evenly.
"Good night," he returned, nodding at the redhead. He recognized Barbara Gordon. There wasn't a cop in New Gotham that didn't know who the Commissioner's daughter was. He didn't need that kind of trouble.
"That was impressive," Helena said with fake admiration after Barbara had run off all her fun. "You should take that act on the road. Oh look, there's one," she mocked, pointing at the street.
"You're drunk," Barbara said. "And you're surly."
"Yep, I'm surly and drunk," Helena agreed as she started walking away.
"Where are you going?"
Helena glared at the woman who was now walking beside her. "Home," she replied curtly.
"I'll give you a ride."
"You already gave me a ride," Helena replied angrily. "I don't need another one."
"What the hell is wrong with you?" Barbara yelled rounding on Helena. Her frustration had finally reaching the boiling point. "I've done the best I can. Do you think this has been easy? Do you think this is what I wanted? I didn't mean to do it!"
"Didn't mean to do what? Fuck me or ignore me?" Helena shouted back.
"You don't understand," she told Helena at a lower volume.
"Please, explain it to me."
"Okay, but not here," she said, looking around at the interested people on the sidewalk. "Let's go," she said pulling Helena behind her. She didn't give her another opportunity to disagree.
It was a long ride for such a short distance. Neither of them was willing to give an inch. It was an uncomfortable ride too. It was also an uncomfortable ride in the elevator up to the Pent House.
Helena sat down in the living room chair. It wasn't the most comfy chair in the world. It was more decoration than anything. If she wanted to relax she normally did it at the Clock Tower. "Explain," she prompted when Barbara just stood there watched her.
"It wasn't me," she began. As soon as it was out of her mouth she knew that was the wrong thing to start with.
"Really? It sure as hell looked like you," Helena replied snidely.
"What happened wasn't something that I would have done before this happened to me," she rephrased her statement. That sounded more like what she wanted to say.
"I know that!" Helena yelled. That was what hurt most, if not for Barbara changing she never would have given her a second thought. Her entire body was vibrating from everything she was feeling. She couldn't even put a name to half of them. "But you fucking did it and ran away." She started to pace the room. "Then you topped it off by ignoring what happened. You ignored me. When I finally decide it's not going to happen you show up waving your proverbial club around like a cave woman."
"I was stopping you from making a mistake!" Helena would have regretted tonight if she hadn't stepped in when she did.
"Oh, well thanks." She rubbed her face with her hands. God she was tired. Everything was so screwed. She wished that she'd never even challenged Barbara to a race that night. Her life had sucked shit ever since. "Look, I'm going to bed. Just go home," she told Barbara waving a hand at the elevator. "I'll see you tomorrow."
"Fine, I'm sure Alfred changed the sheets in the guest room," she said over her shoulder.
"What Barbara? What!" She turned to look at the redhead. She couldn't understand why Barbara wouldn't just let it drop. God she was starting to feel kind of light headed. She wasn't in any shape to fight right now.
"I wasn't finished," Barbara said closing the distance between them. "I said it wasn't something that I would have done, not something that I didn't want to do."
"Thanks, that's something I suppose." She turned to leave, past ready to have this over and done.
"I'm still not finished. You always did interrupt too much," she reprimanded gently.
"I didn't want it to be because I was…feeling different. I wanted it to be me, only me. I needed to be certain." She paused searching for what she wanted to say, what she needed to say. She'd never been good in situations like this. Emotions were fine if they stayed inside where they belonged. It was when they needed to be outside that the problems started.
"I know I hurt you. I never wanted to do that again." She looked directly into Helena's eyes. Normally, she avoided that whenever possible. Even with Helena. Her eyes were probably the one thing that she disliked about her new existence but she wanted Helena to see what she was feeling, she wanted her to see what she was trying to say. "I wanted to stay that morning. I wanted to kiss you awake, shower with you, be with you."
Barbara took a deep breath. "I know I've blown it," she admitted. "Sometimes I can over think a problem. I suppose I spend too much time trying to cover every angle. I just wanted you to know that I wanted you, that I do want you."
She waited hoping Helena would say or do something. She didn't move a muscle. Barbara couldn't blame her. She'd stomped all over Helena's feelings. She hadn't even realized it until this evening. Hearing Helena throw all of it in her face made her see herself as Helena saw her. She didn't like the picture. "Good night Helena," she smiled sadly as she turned to leave.
"You hardly ever look me in the eye anymore," Helena mused aloud, stopping Barbara's retreat. "I've never understood why. I love your eyes." She walked over to Barbara her lightheadedness almost forgotten for the moment.
"I didn't want you to see. I already felt like a monster. I didn't want to see that thought reflected on your face."
"Do you remember the first time we met?" Helena asked needlessly. She knew Barbara would remember, she remembered everything. "That night, after the fight you asked me who I was; not what I was." You didn't seem frightened really, just curious." She moved to stand even closer to Barbara. "Then the next day when you saw me again, you looked at me like I was normal. Do you realize that was the first time I felt entirely accepted by anyone? You didn't think I was a freak. I always thought that if anyone found out they'd run away screaming or worse."
"They were beautiful," Barbara replied smiling slightly. "They still are."
Helena smiled at the compliment. She took a deep breath then let it out slowly. "I could never think you were a monster. And it's not just that 'love is blind' thing." She took Barbara's hand tangling their fingers together. "I wanted you the moment I saw you standing in the door when you came over for dinner that first night. I wanted you the night of the race. I wanted you all the days and nights in between. I still want you."
"I'm not the same anymore," Barbara warned her.
"You are to me."
"That's good to hear. Because I'm so in love with you it's kind of scary," Barbara said smiling fully. "So, is this the part where we kiss then stumble to the bedroom?"
"Actually, this is the part where I tell you that the room is starting to spin and I need to lay down. But, the kissing thing might be doable when the room calms down," Helena said even as she started to sway. This must be vertigo. She'd heard of it but never experienced it. She imagined this must be what it would be like to be flushed down the toilet.
"Whoa." Barbara grabbed one of Helena's arms pulling it across her shoulders then wrapped the other around the brunette's waist. "I thought you could hold your liquor better than this?" She joked as she helped Helena into her bedroom.
"It was a lot of alcohol." She sighed with relief when she was lowered to the bed.
"You should get some sleep." Barbara sat on the side of the bed looking down at Helena. She couldn't believe how happy she was right now. She couldn't fathom why she waited so long to say it to Helena.
"Hmmm, good idea. I like that about you, you know. Lots of good ideas." Helena opened one eye happy to see Barbara not spinning around her as much. "Another good idea would be if you were sleeping beside me."
"Are you sure?"
"Stupid question," Helena grumbled. She scooted back; pleased when the room didn't spin faster, then she pulled Barbara onto the bed in front of her so she could wrap herself around the redhead.
The next morning
Why was there light shinning in her eyes? She brought her hand up to shade her eyes then realized they were closed. How could light shine in her eyes when they were closed? Helena blinked blearily at the location of the bright light. She sighed in irritation; she should have shut the blinds before she went to bed. She rolled over trying to get away from the sun streaming through her window, right into a warm body, a warm body that she recognized right away. She smiled when the warm body shifted enough so equally warm hands could move over her body.
"I know you," Helena purred against Barbara's neck. She breathed in her scent happily. Barbara first thing in the morning was better than baked bread. She ran her tongue over the suddenly pounding pulse point just to get a small taste. The lick was quickly followed by kissing, which ended with a light bite causing the body against hers to shudder.
"It's nice to see you're finally awake," Barbara murmured. She ran her hand down Helena's side to her hip, pulling her further into her body.
Helena hummed her agreement. She didn't want to talk, they'd talked enough. She wanted to do other things with her lips right now. The only drawback to her plan was there was a really bad taste in her mouth that she hadn't noticed before. That was quite the stumbling block.
Barbara pulled away so she could see Helena's face when the brunette moaned as if she were in pain. "What's the matter?"
"I'll be right back." She had to practically pry herself away from Barbara. "Do not move," she warned.
Barbara wondered at the sudden departure. Then she heard the sound of running water. There was the clatter of a toothbrush being dropped and a quiet curse. A couple of minutes later the sound of the shower followed. All things considered she was happy with Helena's thoughtfulness. In fact, she thought that such thoughtfulness should be rewarded.
She stopped in the doorway watching Helena through the shower stall door. She could easily make out the shape and outline of her body but the subtle nuances' weren't visible because of the water on the door.
Helena turned when the shower door opened. She wasn't surprised to see Barbara joining her. The redhead never did listen. Of course, sometimes not listening could be a good thing. It was certainly a good thing now. Helena drew in a deep breath; Barbara was truly one of the most attractive women she'd ever seen.
"I hope you don't mind if I join you?" Barbara said. Helena had stopped moving except for her eyes. Her eyes were moving all over her.
Helena shook her head. She took the hand Barbara held out, tugging the woman to her. "I don't mind," she murmured. She trailed her hand down Barbara's stomach, feeling the goose bumps that had spread across her skin with her finger tips. They were soft, just like the rest of her. She tore her eyes away from the fair skin under her fingers to look at Barbara. "You're beautiful," she said. It was even truer now than before.
Barbara leaned into Helena bringing their lips together. She loved that Helena touched her so reverently but the sexual tension was driving her crazy. Last night had been an exercise in torture. It was just her luck that the night she finally managed to work up the nerve to talk to Helena, the woman is too drunk to have make-up sex. That line of thought got derailed when Helena deepened the kiss. She'd forgotten how good Helena was at kissing.
Helena moaned into Barbara's mouth. It felt so good, like coming home. She pressed against the redhead kissing her slowly, with long slow strokes. She mapped her mouth tenderly, savoring the moment. Her entire body clenched when she felt Barbara's hands stroke down her body. She really wanted this to be different from the first time. But, damn, she'd waited, what seemed like forever. She couldn't wait anymore. She leaned down sliding her hands around Barbara's hips then ran her hands over soft flesh before she lifted the redhead up and into her. Helena took two careful steps forward, pressing Barbara against the tile.
Barbara arched her back and threw her head back not at all concerned when her head thumped against the tile painfully. Every single part of her was on fire. She couldn't take Helena deep enough or feel her push into her hard enough. She dug her fingers into the brunette's shoulders urging her on. She was so close. The sound of Helena's voice whispering in her ear made her body shiver. She tried to make out the words but the pounding of her heart and her ragged breathing made it impossible. Instead the sensation of lips against her neck and the full feeling of Helena moving in and out of her pulled her under until her entire body shook with release.
"I love water sports," Barbara breathed out when she could draw air into her lungs.
Helena smiled against her neck where she'd been nibbling contentedly. She pulled back slightly to capture Barbara's lips with her own. She groaned when Barbara wrapped her legs around her waist.
"Bed," Barbara husked. She wrapped her arms around Helena's neck holding her tighter as she devoured her lips. "Now," she mumbled without losing contact.
Helena stared at the ceiling with what she knew was a blissed out expression. She just couldn't help it. That had been the best sex she'd ever had. Not only that, but it was Barbara. If it was good now, she could only imagine how it would be with practice. She clenched below her waist just thinking about it.
"How long was I asleep?" Barbara asked. She wrapped her arm around Helena's waist pulling her against her more firmly.
"An hour. I didn't think you were the type to roll over and go to sleep afterwards." Helena's voice was teasing.
"I was just resting up for round two," Barbara assured her.
Helena smiled. She could get behind that, round two, round six or round one million. "Are you waiting for permission?" She asked, turning to look at the redhead when Barbara just lay there.
"I don't need permission," Barbara replied as she shifted on top of the brunette.
Helena was surprised at the confidence and possessiveness in the tone, but she had to agree, Barbara didn't need permission.
Several hours later
"Do you like it here?" Barbara asked.
Helena frowned in confusion. How had she gotten out in left field? She was enjoying a post coital haze and didn't really appreciate the interruption. But, if anyone was going to interrupt it she was glad it was Barbara. She shrugged mentally before she answered, "Sure, you're here and the bed's pretty comfortable."
Barbara rolled her eyes. Helena could be so obtuse sometimes. "I actually meant, do you like being in the Pent House?"
Did she like it? She was hardly ever in it. The furniture wasn't terribly comfortable and not really her taste. The TV was smaller than the one at the Clock Tower but she spent most of her time there anyway, so why buy one? She supposed the only good thing was that it was very close to work. The drawback was it wasn't very close to Barbara. Still, not such a problem when she considered how much time she spent at the Clock Tower. It was okay.
Helena made a noncommittal noise then shrugged. "It's okay."
"High praise," Barbara replied dryly.
"It's nice but it's just a place to live," Helena replied. "It's not really home, you know?" She looked up at the redhead from her reclined position against her.
Barbara hesitated for a moment, suddenly unsure of what she was so sure of only moments ago. She nodded her head acknowledging what Helena had said. In terms of their romantic relationship it was too soon. Hell, being who they were, thinking about it at all was too soon. But, she wanted it. She loved having Helena live with her. She wanted it to continue. She wanted it to intensify. She wanted Helena in her home, in her bed, in her heart, she just wanted Helena period. "Could the Clock Tower be home?" she asked softly.
Helena practically stopped breathing. "You want me to live with you?" Helena asked, not sure if she'd even heard Barbara correctly. It had been said so quietly she could have misunderstood.
"Yes." Barbara replied, unable to say anymore now that the question was out.
"Really?" She could barely wrap her mind around Barbara asking her to move in. She thought she would be the one to do the asking. Though, her plan hadn't been to ask at all. She was just going to slowly but surely ensconce herself so firmly in the Clock Tower and Barbara's life that it would be like she'd always been there. She was pretty much living there already anyway. She didn't think her plan was much of a stretch. But, Barbara had beaten her to the punch. It was a very un-Barbara like thing to do.
"Yes." Barbara shifted uncomfortably. Surely the idea couldn't be so foreign to Helena? What if she wasn't ready? What if she scared the brunette away? "You don't have to," Barbara told her quickly, trying not to let her disappointment show.
"No take backs," Helena said, pulling away from Barbara so she could turn to face her.
"No take backs," Helena repeated. "You offered, I accept. So now you're stuck with me."
Barbara smiled widely, more than happy to be stuck with Helena. She leaned forward kissing Helena despite the fact they were both grinning like loons. She pulled back, feeling a bit breathless because of all the changes the last twenty-four hours had wrought. "I can have a mover here later this week," Barbara offered helpfully.
Helena looked around the bedroom wondering why she'd need a mover. Everything was pretty much already at the Clock Tower. All she really needed was her Batgirl toothbrush, the two changes of clothes she had here these days and the equipment she kept here. Really, she didn't even need the equipment. She had several spares of everything at Barbara's already. She'd just have Alfred transport that stuff to the Batcave for storage until she needed it. "Don't worry about a mover," Helena replied as she moved to straddle Barbara's lap. "I can get everything I have left here in an overnight bag."
"You're kidding?" Barbara couldn't imagine anyone having almost nothing to move. "Why aren't you going to bring anything with you? I have plenty of space."
Helena tilted her head looking at Barbara as if she said something she didn't understand. "Barbara, almost everything I own is lying around your place already. Haven't you noticed all the extra stuff?"
"Well, I know you've brought quite a bit over but I didn't think it was everything you owned," she admitted. Maybe she should pay more attention to what was going on around her.
Helena leaned forward to nibble up Barbara's very attractive jaw. "All I really need is my toothbrush," she mumbled against soft skin.
"You have a toothbrush at the Clock Tower," she replied absently. She was busy focusing on the sensation of Helena's lips lightly sucking on her neck working her way up to her ear lobe which she nipped.
"This one's my favorite. I've had it for years."
Barbara pulled away from the wonderful mouth doing deliciously sinful things to her body to frown at Helena. "You've had the same toothbrush for years?"
Helena smiled at the look on the redhead's face. It pretty much was a mix between ewww and you're not bringing that thing into my house. "It's more of a toothbrush handle slide-on. I change the actual toothbrush regularly," Helena promised.
"What is it?" She asked curiously. Helena didn't seem like the type to keep a childhood keepsake. Barbara watched in fascination as a blush crept up Helena's neck until it reached her hair line. Even her ears were burning red. Now she really wanted to know what it was. "Tell me," she prodded when Helena ducked her head.
"It's a Batgirl slide-on," Helena mumbled.
"Batgirl?" Barbara repeated, having heard the reply despite how low it was spoken. "You have a Batgirl toothbrush?" She asked with an amused grin. "That's sweet."
"My Mom gave it to me," Helena grumbled embarrassed.
She glared at Barbara for a moment before she sighed wearily. Sometimes Barbara really liked to have too much information. "When I was in college; after you joined the JLA. It's a collectible," she informed Barbara as if that were the reason she had it.
"Do you have one for Nightwing?" When Helena shook her head she tried again. "Wonder Woman? Superman?" Each one met with another shake of the brunettes head. "I see," she drawled, smiling again. "That's sweet."
"I changed my mind, I'm staying here," Helena said as she folded her arms over her chest and pouted.
"Sorry, no take backs. I'll make sure I save a special place for your toothbrush," she promised making Helena smile at her.
"That's good," she said, finally feeling the blush recede. "I guess you won't mind the Batgirl nightlight then."
"You can't be serious? You have a nightlight?"
"A Batgirl nightlight," Helena corrected. "You're emblem lights up."
Barbara smiled and kissed her again. "Let's see if I can make you light up," she husked as she ran her hands lightly down Helena's body.
God that was cheesy, she thought. But, really she couldn't find it in herself to care. "Okay."
"I'm sorry; you want us to do what?" Helena asked her parents for the third time. She couldn't have possibly heard right those other times. Did she look like she was ready for that kind of responsibility? Besides, she and Barbara were still in the honey moon stage of their relationship and she didn't want anything to disrupt it. What they wanted would most definitely disrupt it. Surely, her parents realized this? After all, she'd talked to her mother mere hours after she'd packed up her Batgirl toothbrush and headed back to the Clock Tower to tell her about her change of address and why. She let her mother deal with her father. It was easier that way.
"It requires someone who's stable," Selena explained again. "We travel too much to do it ourselves."
"But…" She started to whine. Luckily or unluckily, depending on how you looked at it, Barbara cut her off before she could revert to a five year old.
"Of course, we'll do it."
Helena glared at the redhead. "A word?" She asked, looking at Barbara pointedly. She pulled her far enough away to keep their conversation semi-private. "What do you mean 'of course we'll do it'? Don't get me wrong, I'm looking forward to having a family one day. I just thought we'd spend more time practicing the actual making of the family before we had one."
Barbara raised one eyebrow at that speech. "You do know that neither of us is capable of getting the other pregnant, don't you?" Helena hadn't done very well in biology but surely she grasped that simple concept.
"How do you know? You can turn into a Jaguar. Anything's possible," she finished, crossing her arms over her chest.
"That may be true but regardless of what I can change into, the laws of nature are still the same." She smiled a little as she considered their conversation. "You want to have a family?"
Helena looked surprised that she would even ask such a question. "Well yeah, I mean, I have to have an heir. You know. Someone to carry on the family name." She wanted a child that looked just like Barbara. Actually she was looking forward to having several little Barbara's running round.
"What makes you think that our kids will have your last name?" Barbara asked, frowning.
"Well, I was thinking Gordon-Wayne. Kind of make everyone happy."
"Why not Wayne-Gordon?"
Helena smiled patiently at the question. "G comes before W," she explained.
"Oh." That actually made sense. "We need to do this," Barbara said, bringing them back to the original issue.
"No, we don't."
"You have to."
Helena watched her cautiously. Barbara had sounded too sure of herself. Something was going on inside her head and she was sure she wasn't going to like it. "Why?"
"I have that IOU."
"You can't be serious? This isn't something you can just collect from a bet!" She shifted under Barbara stare. "That's not right! This is a decision we need to agree on," she tried again. She met Barbara's stare, she was determined to wait her out.
"I'm never falling for that IOU thing again," Helena grumbled after three minutes of stare down. Barbara had a deadly stare. It was almost like she was looking at a particularly interesting bug. She hated that stare.
She sulked as Barbara turned back to her parents. "We'll do it."
"Helena?" Bruce waited for Helena to say something.
"Sure," she said, resigned to her fate.
"Wonderful!" Selena smiled at them both. "You're going to love her," she promised.
"When will she get here?" Barbara asked. She wanted to have everything ready.
"Actually, she should be on her way up," Bruce answered, looking at his watch.
"She's here? Already?" Helena wasn't sure she was ready. She'd barely had time to digest this and now she was here.
Everyone turned towards the elevator watching an attractive blonde girl step into the room with Dick. Selena walked over to the girl giving her a reassuring smile. "Helena, Barbara, this is Dinah Lance."
Helena smiled at the girl then glanced at Barbara. She couldn't see her eyes because of the contacts and glasses but she was pretty sure the smile she was directing at the girl was genuine anyway. Oh well, she supposed it wouldn't be too bad. It might even be fun to have someone to show the ropes to. Plus, she'd finally have someone to boss around.
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