The final 2 episodes of Birds of Prey will air as one 2 hour movie on February 19th from 8-10 p.m. on the WB (doublecheck local times and dates)
| Ch. 1-6 | Ch 7-End |
"What're you doing?" Helena asked, toweling off her hair as she walked into the main part of the loft.
"Slippers," Barbara responded without turning around, knowing that Helena was dripping water all over her floor. "Watching the news � looking out for a report on a sudden water shortage in the city," she continued, looking over at Helena expectantly, waiting for the rolled eyes and a dramatic sigh that were guaranteed to greet her comment.
She was not disappointed.
They'd gotten caught in a rainstorm on the way back from one of her cyber optics supplier, and once they'd arrived back at the clocktower Helena had decided to take what surely had to be one of the longest showers known to mankind. Barbara had managed to change and eat dinner by the time the brunette had reemerged smelling like an Irish spring.
It confused and amused the redhead to no end how Helena could hate getting wet during rain and then spend the better part of an hour in the shower. Maybe it wasn't the showering, she thought to herself, maybe Helena just really enjoyed singing off key at the top of her lungs.
"Well, at least I'm not looking all indecent," Helena responded, her head tipped lazily towards Barbara, her eyes trailing down to the redhead's haphazardly buttoned shirt as she lowered herself onto the couch. "It's a good thing that your young ward isn't here to be exposed to this � wanton display of sexuality," she continued, chuckling softly as Barbara rolled her eyes at her.
"I thought you were my young ward," Barbara replied, her eyes drifting down to her chest nonetheless to see how much of Helena's little spiel had actually been hyperbole. So she'd rushed it a little, big deal.
"Not for a while now," Helena responded, her eyes closed, though still turned in Barbara's direction. "I can vote, drink and rent cars," she continued, her eyes fluttering open once more to meet Barbara's mildly curious gaze. "And I'm not a virgin," she added with a saucy smile.
"I'd imagine not," Barbara said in response, meeting Helena's gaze, her expression both amused and slightly confused.
"You've imagined?" Helena asked, smiling rakishly at Barbara, her eyes sparkling with humour as Barbara once again rolled her eyes before shaking her head in exasperation.
"You know that's not what I meant," Barbara replied, reaching for her wine glass, tipping the clear liquid around for a moment before bringing it to her lips. At least it hadn't been what she meant at the time, though for some strange reason Helena's response had formed some rather provocative flashes in her mind.
Looking around a bit, she wondered where she'd put the bottle.
"What did you mean?" Helena asked her eyes only leaving Barbara's when the redhead's tongue darted out of her mouth to lick her lips as she thought over the brunette's question.
"You're serious?" Barbara asked a moment later, her eyes traveling to meet Helena's once more, her brows drawn slightly together as she tried to figure out where Helena was going with all of this.
"Aren't I always?" Helena replied while trying very hard not to smile at the sight of Barbara's 'thinking' face.
"No," Barbara responded immediately, her lips quirking up into a slight smile. "In fact rarely."
"Well, I am now," Helena said decisively. "Explain yourself Ms. Gordon."
"I suppose," Barbara started slowly, "all I meant is that you're easy on the eyes," she continued, her eyes drifting to the news program on the television in front of them. However, looking back over at Helena a second later she knew that describing the brunette as ethereal and in possession of a primal majesty that oozed not only sexuality but sensuality, would have been far more accurate.
"I am, aren't I?" Helena asked, sounding rather pleased with herself.
"I really don't think you can take the credit for that, you come from pretty impressive stock," Barbara replied, not rising to Helena's bait.
"What'd you measure their hooves or something?" Helena asked, staring at the redhead. "You know I'm not going to stand anywhere near you if you're holding a thermometer from now on, don't you?" she continued, raising a teasing eyebrow at Barbara.
"That's okay. You'd be surprised what you can find out when someone's been knocked unconscious," Barbara responded with a wink before grinning wickedly at the other woman.
"Well," Helena replied, drawing the word out into a half growl. "If you're gonna talk all spicy like that we should at least make you look presentable," she continued without missing a beat.
With that the brunette leaned forward and to the side so that she was leaning over Barbara's body and reached out for the redhead's shirt, popping a few buttons open and re-buttoning them in the right order as Barbara looked down simply watching Helena's hands at work.
"There," Helena said as she finished with the last one. "Now someone could proudly bring you home to meet their �" she continued, looking up, her words halting slightly as her eyes met Barbara's which were startlingly close to her own. "Parents," she finished rather lamely, her eyes shifting down to Barbara's mouth as the redhead's lips curved upwards into that crooked little smile she seemed so fond of.
And looking at it now up close Helena could see why Barbara was so fond of bestowing it upon the world. It was beautiful. Captivating. Alluring. With her lips all red, wet, and parted slightly, as if inviting anyone to come closer and discover whether they were as soft and delicious as they looked.
They were, she discovered a moment later, as she leaned forward impulsively closing the small distance that remained between her lips and Barbara's. Her body moving of its own accord as her lips brushed against Barbara's for the first time, her hands falling to the redhead's hips as her tongue flickered out to lick the redhead's lips, which immediately parted allowing her to deepen the kiss, now completely intoxicated by the taste of the older woman.
Finally pulling back, her bottom lip tucked behind her teeth, it fully registered with Helena that she had indeed kissed Barbara, leaving her looking at the redhead with a completely bewildered expression on her face.
"Helena," Barbara started slowly, half of her brain concentrating on keeping her voice from cracking and the other half concentrating on clamping down on the urge to reach up and touch her still tingling lips.
"What?" Helena asked, her body relaxing so that she was no longer ramrod stiff, though her eyes were still slightly wider than normal and her voice tinted with a hint of horror.
"Helena," Barbara said again, her voice slightly higher with confusion and more than a trace of panic.
"Yeah," Helena replied, leaning back against the couch as if nothing had happened, her eyes focused in front of her on the TV as if she was actually following whatever was happening on the screen.
"You kissed me," Barbara stated, though her voice was slightly hesitant, as if she was n't certain whether what she was saying was true or merely a figment of her imagination. A very vivid figment of her imagination that tasted slightly of strawberries.
Helena was quiet for a moment, her eyes still focused on the television set as she tried to figure out what exactly had made her decide that sticking her tongue in Barbara's mouth would be a good idea, and how she was going to get out of actually having to explain herself to the other woman.
"So," Helena finally responded, her shoulders jerking up slightly as if this discussion didn't even warrant mustering up the energy required for a full shrug.
"So?" Barbara repeated in a baffled tone, not understanding how Helena could possibly think that 'so' was an appropriate response. "So you kissed me," she continued, not knowing what else to say.
"Yeah," Helena responded, tilting her head to the side, finally looking at Barbara, her heart thundering in her chest. "I was there you know," she continued, telling herself to keep it cool, and keep it smooth.
"So," Barbara prompted expectantly, drawing the word out as long as humanly possible.
"I dunno," Helena responded, raising her hands up in the air helplessly before letting them fall into her lap once more. "I mean, what do you want me to say?" she asked, shrugging again for effect.
"Something, anything other than 'so' or 'I dunno'," Barbara responded, starting to get frustrated with Helena's laissez-faire attitude towards the whole thing.
Helena turned her head towards Barbara once more, her mouth opening as if she was going to say something, before letting out a soft sigh and scrunching up her face momentarily before shrugging helplessly once more and muttering, "I dunno." This was followed by Helena turning to stare at the television set again while trying to pretend that she wasn't aware of the fact that Barbara was glaring at her.
"I'm with Wade," Barbara finally said at as loss to where to go from there.
"Okay," Helena responded, playing with the ring on the middle finger of her left hand idly while imagining kicking Wade in his big, fat head.
"Well, I'm with him," Barbara replied as she smoothed her hands across her pants while wondering why she felt the need to try and convince Helena of this fact when just earlier that week she had been denying it to Wade and herself.
"Okay," Helena said, allowing the room to remain silent for a moment before adding, "but you kissed me back." Her heartbeat quickening as she remembered the feel of Barbara's lips pressing against hers as the redhead had leaned towards her.
"No I di �" Barbara started to say, abruptly stopping when she realized that Helena was right. After the initial touch of Helena's lips to hers she had leaned forward and parted her lips allowing the younger woman to deepen the kiss. A kiss that had continued with her as a very willing partner for quite some time. "I mean � I guess I did � but�"
"Why?" Helena asked, suddenly interested in addressing the topic now that it was Barbara's turn in the hot seat. The redhead was cute when she blushed.
"I � don't know," Barbara responded, her face a mask of confusion as she attempted to analyze her own response and finding no other explanation for it other than she liked it.
"Funny that," Helena responded, a quick grin spreading across her face.
"Besides," Barbara continued, turning to face Helena not wanting to think about what liking it meant. "You started it."
"I started it?" Helena asked, looking amused, as she took in the flush that had come to Barbara's skin. "What are we in elementary school or something? I started it. Come on Barbara," she continued, straightening her back and concentrating on the redhead fully for the first since the kiss. "The truth is I don't know why, all I know is that I did � and you liked it."
"I liked it?" Barbara asked incredulously, almost scoffing as she met Helena's gaze.
"Didn't you?" Helena asked, her voice softer and now endearingly vulnerable as she wondered if she had exaggerated Barbara's response to her, or was misreading her behavior. Suddenly she began to feel extremely claustrophobic and began to seriously consider jumping out of the window. After all, she was reasonably certain she would land on her feet.
"That's not the point," Barbara responded in a low voice, her eyes once again in her lap.
"It should be," Helena replied, relaxing slightly now that she was certain Barbara had indeed enjoyed the kiss.
"What?" Barbara asked suddenly. "What should be the point? That you kissed me and I didn't hate it? That should be the point? What kind of point is that?"
"I dunno," Helena responded, her eyes holding Barbara's, her lips curving upwards when she saw the redhead smile in response to her comment. "Just for the record I didn't hate it either," she added.
"I could tell," Barbara responded, grinning at Helena crookedly, her eyes gleaming, before she remembered that she was supposed to be feeling awkward and alarmed and not at all playful.
"You know this is pointless," Helena said, shifting on the couch as she noted the shift in Barbara's expression. "We're making donuts."
"I just feel like this should be more dramatic," Barbara responded quietly. Helena had kissed her, and she had kissed her back. They had kissed and enjoyed it. That had to mean something, had to change something. You couldn't just go around kissing your best friend, who also happened to be your partner in justice and to whom you were � even if in no more than title � guardian to, with no effect.
"Well, it's not. I kissed you, you kissed me back and neither of us hated it. That's it. The earth can continue to rotate, life goes on, woo hoo," Helena replied, standing up, suddenly feeling extremely tired and somewhat frustrated, though she didn't want to concentrate on that. "I'm gonna go."
"You don't have�" Barbara started to respond, a bit thrown by Helena's sudden decision to go, though she supposed she shouldn't have been. She kind of wanted to leave to and it was her house.
"I know," Helena interjected quickly, running a hand through her hair, her earlier desire to remain still and seem calm quickly being replaced by an anxious energy. She needed to get out of there and run through the streets screaming at the top of her lungs. "Tired. I'm feeling kind of tired."
Barbara nodded, before looking back over at the brunette and adding, "I'd stand but �" and shrugging.
"Paraplegic humour. Cute," the brunette responded as she headed for the door.
"I do try," Barbara replied, turning around to watch her go.
"Sweet dreams," Helena called back and with that she disappeared into the hallway and down the stairwell.
"Suddenly that's what I'm afraid of," Barbara muttered to herself, her fingers drifting to her lips, tracing them, as she tried to sort out what exactly had just happened and what she was going to do about it.
Barbara raised her hand up to her face, carefully removing her glasses and placing them on the desk in front of her before wearily rubbing at her eyes. She'd been staring at the screen for over half an hour and had managed to read about three sentences. Sighing again, frustrated with herself, she reached back and tied her hair into a ponytail before picking up her glasses once more and returning her attention to the screen.
"It's all in the wrist," Barbara could hear Helena saying to Dinah on the other side of the loft. "Keep it nice and level."
A loud crash and Helena dramatically throwing herself onto a nearby chair and dropping her head into her hands and shaking it from side to side groaning theatrically followed this.
"Practice makes perfect," Barbara called out, turning to face the other two women, glad to latch on to a legitimate reason to not be paying attention to her work.
"Yeah, and a spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down," Helena grumbled, nonetheless handing another batarang over to Dinah. "No more comments from the peanut gallery please," she continued, glancing over at Barbara.
"Fine, do it your way," Barbara responded, trying to hide her smile as she turned back to the computer, knowing that Helena wouldn't appreciate it.
"Fine, I will," Helena replied, standing up more, wincing as Dinah missed horribly again.
"She's getting closer to your cd collection," Barbara pointed out as Helena tugged at her hair while observing Dinah's technique or lack thereof. The clock tower was still littered with Helena's things, even though the brunette had technically moved out years ago. It never ceased to amaze Barbara how she had been able to accumulate so much crap in such a short amount of time.
At that Helena turned and stared at Barbara for a moment, her weight shifted cockily to one side before finally strutting across the loft to come to a stop beside Barbara.
"Alright," she said leaning over Barbara's shoulder so that she could see what was on the computer screen, her face so close to Barbara's that the redhead could feel wisps of Helena's hair brushing across her cheek. "What's your bright idea?"
"Practice makes perfect," Barbara repeated, knowing that she had planned on saying something more intelligent than that but currently distracted by Helena's scent. "And move your CDs," she continued willing her eyes not to close as Helena tilted her head to the side to look at her, leaving their lips on inches apart.
"I can't believe I walked all the way over here for that," Helena said, though she didn't remove herself from Barbara's personal space. "What are you working on anyway?" she continued, looking at the screen again.
"Research," Barbara responded quietly, trying to dislodge the memory of the way Helena's hands had felt on her hips as she had leaned into their kiss. A memory that seemed to be trying to scorch itself permanently into her brain matter. "Villains, evil plots to take over New Gotham. The usual," she continued, watching closely as Helena's hand crept towards and then over the top of hers, moving the mouse beneath their hands.
"You might want to go a little faster," Helena commented, finally standing up and giving Barbara some space. "They'll be done by the time you finish at this rate," she continued, meeting Barbara's eyes, her expression inscrutable before she turned around and headed back towards Dinah, but not before momentarily changing course to remove her CD collection.
Barbara's eyes squeezed shut as she looked at the time counter Helena had released before she turned once more to look at the other two, Helena now demonstrating what she wanted Dinah to do.
Straightening in her chair, Barbara lifted her right hand up and slapped herself lightly on the cheek, muttering 'get it together' under her breath before once again reaching for the keyboard.
She hadn't even been like this in High School. It was only one kiss after all. It would only be one kiss, she told herself. One very good kiss. But it couldn't eclipse the fact that they were partners, and friends, and already had a complicated, constantly malfunctioning relationship as it was. It would just complicate things if it went any further, it already was. She could barely concentrate on anything for more than a minute as it was. If they did it again, or anything more, she couldn't imagine the distraction it would cause. Their work would suffer, and it was too important for that. She just had to pull herself together and remain strong. It was for the best. She was sure of it.
Dinah stood still as a statue, the only part of her body that moved being her eyes as they tracked the progress of Helena's hand from the side of her body up to her forehead as they pressed against the flesh there softly.
"Take five," Helena said slowly as she looked at her fingertips, which were tinged with the slightest tint of blood.
"I�" Dinah started, confused and terrified to find out how one of the batarangs she'd thrown had actually managed to hit Helena. Actually, she wasn't so much surprised that one of them had gone in the brunette's direction, but that it had actually hit her, square in the forehead. She'd seen Helena snatch flies out of the air and just couldn't fathom that somehow her throw had been skilled enough to evade Helena's grasp.
"Five," Helena ground out before swiping at her forehead with her hand, removing the light tickle of blood that had seeped out of the small cut.
"Okay," Dinah replied immediately heading for her room. The last thing she wanted to do was piss Helena off. She was pretty sure that the brunette could barely tolerate her presence in the clocktower and only that at Barbara's insistence. She would not test her luck.
Sighing and flopping back down on to the couch, Helena tilted her head towards Barbara watching as the redhead stared at the screen with an amazing intensity. She hadn't even turned to look at the sound of the earlier commotion.
Touching her cut lightly with her finger, Helena sighed at her own stupidity. She couldn't believe that'd she'd actually let that kid brain her because she'd been too busy wondering what else Barbara's hands could do as she'd watched the other woman typing.
It was strange, but ever since the night she had kissed Barbara, it was like she had become intoxicated by the redhead. Like a switch inside of her had been flipped on when their mouths touched and it was stuck in the 'on' position. It was the same old Barbara, the one she had lived with for years, and seen on a daily basis for over seven years, but suddenly she was more than that. She was like sexy Barbara now, with her sexy smile and sexy voice, and sexy eyes. Sexy, sexy, sexy, Helena thought to herself, bringing her hand up and pinching the bridge of her nose.
And she was alright with Barbara, seemingly in the blink of an eyes, becoming sexy Barbara, she really was. What had been leaving her feeling uneasy and was making her palms sweat was that sexy Barbara was an entirely different entity to all of the other sexy people she'd been involved with. Sexy Barbara wasn't like sexy coffee girl, or sexy carpenter man or any of her other nocturnal distractions. She wondered what sexy Barbara was thinking, and talked to sexy Barbara about her day, and wanted to cook her dinner even though she knew that she could burn toast. Sexy Barbara scared her in a way; a way that she wasn't entirely sure was bad though she was afraid what it would mean if it were good.
Dark Horse Bar- Night
Wade entered the dark crowded room looking around him uneasily and feeling distinctly uncool because of his lack of leather and shiny, pointy accessories. Quickly scanning the bar and finding the woman he was looking for on the other side of the room, he quickly pressed his way through the crowd, and thankful sagged against the bar.
"What can I get you?" Helena asked even though her head was turned to the side as she spoke and she was motioning to someone in the distance.
"Guinness," Wade responded tilting his head to the side trying to catch her eye and not having the least bit of success. It was a feeling he was getting used to.
"Yeah," Helena said still turned away, drawing the word out distastefully. "Not here � but I might be able to help ya anyways, let's see what we've got here," she said, finally turning around to face him. "A Wade, obviously virgin to these parts," she said, trying to hide her surprise at seeing him. "This bars so trendy I can't even pronounce the names of half the drinks on the menu, but don't worry, I'll take care of you," she continued, reaching under the bar and pulling out a bottle of amber liquid. "My old friend. Straight up or the sissy way?"
"Well, when you put it like that," Wade said, trying to get his bearings after her verbal assault. "The sissy way � please."
"So polite," Helena responded, pouring the drink.
"You scare me," Wade replied softly to Helena's delight.
"Where's �" Helena started to ask a moment later, assuming Barbara had brought him to the Dark Horse since it didn't exactly seem like it catered to his crowd.
"Your guess is as good as mine," Wade responded, downing the drink in one gulp. Helena raised an eyebrow at him, but looked impressed. "That's actually why I'm here," he continued.
"Really?" Helena asked, moving to the side to take another order before returning to Wade. "That's � strange."
"It's just that I �um, kind of need some advice � sort of," he responded, looking uncomfortable. Helena kind of liked that.
"I don't know if I'm really the person to be giving out relationship tips. I figure someone that does that should've had some or something, and I can count my longest on one hand �by the number of days," Helena responded, nodding to someone in the distance and disappearing again momentarily.
"That's okay," Wade said hurriedly when she came back, sensing a brush off. "I just need some help with Barbara, and by all accounts you're the best source."
"I see," Helena responded, perfectly settled for the first time that night. "You know, it's just �" she continued, really wanting to be any where but there, at that moment. "I'm not really an expert on wooing Barbara." Unfortunately, she added to herself before shaking her head.
"Please," Wade said, dropping any pretense of not being desperate that might have remained. "Anything. I'll scrounge."
Helena sighed and rested her elbow on the bar, dropping her head into it, looking at him to indicate he could continue.
"She's been acting a bit weird lately," he started, staring at something in the distance. "I mean, Barbara generally isn't an open book, as I'm sure you know. It's just that � I don't know, I get the feeling she's avoiding me and I can't figure out why."
"Maybe she doesn't want to see you," Helena muttered under her breath.
"What was that?" Wade asked, straining forward to hear her.
"She's very busy," Helena said loud enough that he could hear her this time. "Busy little bee that Barbara."
"You don't know � I mean you don't know if she's seeing someone else do you?" he asked, deciding to just get his real concern out there.
"Why do you think that?" Helena asked, perking up a bit now, interested in this conversation for the first time since it started. She'd noticed that since the night of the kiss she hadn't seen him around or heard Barbara mention him, but then again even before the kiss, she hadn't really seen him that much and Barbara had barely mentioned him so she didn't know exactly what to make of it.
"It's just a feeling I suppose," he replied, feeling a bit foolish as he went over his 'evidence' in his head. "She's been distracted. Not the usual semi-distant where you get the feeling she's thinking about at least three dozen other things, but really distracted, like she can't keep even one train of thought going," he continued.
Helena nodded. "I've noticed that," she said almost to herself. "I don't know what that is, it's new. What else?"
"A couple of times, when I was able to track her down for lunch, she'd end up kind of staring off into space, smiling. But, when I asked what was so funny, she'd say nothing and then poke at her food but not actually eat anything," he said, frowning.
"Really?" Helena asked a bit too brightly. "I mean, really," she said in a more dour and appropriate tone. "Anything else?"
"Well, I just don't see how it's possible for anyone to be that busy," he said. "She's always busy, but busy doing what? What does she do all the time?" he asked sounding genuinely perplexed.
"She's a superhero, prowls the night as part of a vigilante unit defending the weak and innocent. Has a codename and everything," Helena responded looking him straight in the eye.
"I'm so sure," Wade replied rolling his eyes. "I just don't think anyone can be that busy. I mean you obviously see her."
"I do," Helena agreed, realizing that if she really wanted to be helpful she should have added a 'rarely' or 'only through psychotic scheduling' or something like that anyway to her statement to make him feel better. But she didn't.
"So, do you think she's seeing someone?" he asked.
"No," Helena responded. "She wouldn't, it's not � it's not Barbara."
"But she's interested in someone," Wade said, reading between the proverbial lines, and reading them correctly, even if Helena hadn't intended to leave a paper trail. "She's just waiting for the right time to break it off," he went on, looking down at the top of the bar, playing with a peanut shell.
"I didn't say that," Helena said quickly. "That's not what I said," she continued helplessly.
"Do you think she's interested in someone else?" Wade asked, noting Helena's slight agitation and thinking that he was on to something.
"No, I mean � no," Helena responded as her mind involuntarily drifted back to that night on the couch, her lips pressed against Barbara's, and then towards the little things that had followed, lingering looks and touches. Lingering looks and touches that probably meant nothing, she told herself firmly.
"That was convincing," Wade replied, not really buying Helena's answer.
"Listen," Helena started, shooting him an irritated looked. "You asked me for help, and if �" she finished, trailing off, thinking better of it.
"What?" he asked.
"Nothing," she hedged, really wanting nothing more than to destroy any thread of hope he had with Barbara so she could see if he was right, but not able to. Shaking her head, she wondered where her ambiguous sense of morality had disappeared to, she really could've used it at the moment.
"No, tell me," Wade insisted.
"You really want to know?" Helena asked.
"Yeah," Wade responded.
"How long have you been seeing her?" Helena asked even though she already knew the answer.
"About three months," Wade replied immediately.
"Okay, I'm going to ask you � let's say five questions. And if you can answer these questions, then you're not doing badly at all, and should chalk her weirdness up the moons rotation and send her some flowers or something. If you can't � well, effort doesn't always guarantee an 'A' if you know what I'm saying and I think that you do," she replied.
"First question," Helena said, resting her hip against the bar. "What did she want to be when she grew up?"
"A teacher?" Wade responded, mentally crossing his fingers.
"A gymnast," Helena responded.
"She did gymnastics?" Wade asked, having no memory of Barbara mentioning it, though he knew they had talked, briefly, about childhood hobbies.
"She ruled gymnastics, has � had a cupboard full of trophies," Helena responded. One night about a month after she'd moved in with Barbara, she'd snuck into the redhead's room and cleared the cupboard out, putting everything in a box and hiding it in the basement of the building. That had been during Barbara's 'resenting what she could no longer do' phase and staring at those fake gold statuettes had been one of her favorite brooding activities. "What's her second language?" Helena asked, snapping herself out of her memories.
"French?" Wade guessed, remembering that she hadn't had a problem reading the menu when they had gone to French restaurant on their third date.
"No," Helena responded. "Japanese. And from now on, no more guessing," she added a bit impatiently. "But she can speak French, being autodidactic and all," she added bragging on Barbara's behalf since the redhead obviously hadn't seen fit to do it.
"What university did she go to?" Helena asked once Wade had looked suitably impressed.
Wade opened his mouth as if he were about to say something, then closed it. "Don't know," he muttered.
"Wade," Helena said slowly in response as she shook her head. "You know this isn't going well, don't you?"
"It's just �" Wade started to say.
"I know. There's just something about Barbara," Helena replied knowing the feeling. "The thing is I think you already knew what the situation was before you came here," she continued. "The answers I gave you earlier, they didn't really make a difference did they?" she asked, sensing a way out that would leave her free of blame for the breakup if Barbara were ever to find out about this conversation.
"I really liked her � when I actually managed to see her that is," he replied, smiling ruefully at Helena.
"She liked you too," Helena responded. "Really," she continued, seeing him shake his head. "Barbara's complex, and definitely not a push over. She wouldn't have agreed to go out with you if she didn't find you interesting. It's just that there's a lot of interesting things out there to keep her busy," she went on. "I mean, we're friends, and I'm supposed to take her side and dog you and stuff, complain about 'The Man'� but the truth is I'm pretty sure it's her," she finished, smiling as Wade grinned at her.
"Well," Wade said standing up. "Talking to you has been a thoroughly depressing experience, and I hope never to do it again," he went on, tossing a few bills onto the bar top.
"Go with your gut," Helena said as he turned to leave, not quite able to wish him good luck. They were interested in the same girl after all.
"Yeah," Wade called back. "Good luck with the bar menu," he added, looking up and shaking his head before disappearing into the crowd.
"You're looking more conflicted than usual this afternoon," Dr. Quinzel commented lightly, her shiny blue eyes trained on Helena with an odd intensity.
"Just thinking about how I too could get a job stating the painfully obvious for three figures," Helena replied, tilting her head to gaze at Quinzel, a fake smile plastered across her face. "The sky is blue, that'll be three hundred dollars," she continued, scrunching her face up cutely as Quinzel merely continued to look at her.
"Isn't there anything you'd like to about?" Dr. Quinzel asked a moment later, her eyes still trained intently on Helena. "Whether you want to believe it or not I am here to help you," she went on. It was so difficult to get anything out of the young brunette; she was so guarded, so glib. Usually she couldn't wait for her patients to shut up as they jabbered on about dead dogs, bedwetting, and how they felt under-appreciated, but with Helena it was different. She could tell, from the moment she had read the woman's file that she was different, special. She wanted to hear from her, learn about her � sculpt her.
"Thanks for your concern, but I'm doing just fine," Helena responded, her eyes searching the room, Quinzel's intense gaze starting to freak her out just the tiniest bit.
"Okay," Harleen stated a second later, deciding to change tracks a bit. She had learned that sometimes the best way to get Helena to talk about herself was to start off talking about others, people in her life or who were in her life at some point. "Greener pastures then," she continued brightly. "How's � Barbara?" she asked, seeing Helena straighten slightly at the mention of the other woman's name. That name always seemed to pop up during their sessions, she didn't think that one had gone by where Barbara Gordon's name hadn't come up at least once. She was important, a key figure, a character to question and manipulate.
"Fine," Helena said simply, though her expression belayed her minimal response. She was hiding something, Quinzel could tell.
"She means a lot to you doesn't she?" Quinzel asked softly, drawing Helena's eyes over to her with her gentle tone. Helena merely proceeded to stare at her, but Quinzel was alright with that, it meant that she could see the brunette's eyes. "You talk about her a lot you know, mostly in passing � but she's always there," she continued.
Helena shrugged and rolled her head up to look at the ceiling.
"Is there anyone else in your life? � Anyone special?" Harleen went on, knowing that she was treading on a sensitive nerve and feeling slightly giddy.
Helena winced slightly at that, almost imperceptibly, but Quinzel caught it. She was looking for it.
"You've pretty much got all your eggs in one basket then, don't you?" She commented, pleased to see Helena shot her a harassed look. "I wonder if Barbara does too," she continued under her breath, her eyes turned away from Helena for the first time, her 'thinking' face firmly set.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Helena asked, turning to look at the doctor sharply.
"Nothing," Quinzel responded, forcing a surprised and somewhat chagrined look onto her face.
"Come on, help me," Helena challenged, interested in the session for the first time since she'd arrived.
"When you're here," Harleen started slowly, as if carefully choosing her words, "and you have the opportunity to talk about whatever you'd like to, freely and without judgment, you usually end up talking about Barbara," she continued carefully. "I ask you, if Barbara was in the same position, do you think that she'd talk about you?"
Helena remained quiet, her expression staid and thoughtful.
Quinzel smiled to herself. Another relationship well on its way to being sabotaged. She was a bad girl, oh yes she was.
Barbara tapped at the keyboard in front of her, her eyes shifting between the three screens spread out around her, her eyes darting back and forth assessing and comparing various reports.
"Interesting," the redhead said, leaning back in her chair, removing her glasses momentarily to rub at her eyes.
"You shouldn't sit so close to the screen," Helena commented, coming up behind her, followed by Dinah on the other side.
Barbara looked up at over at her as she said, seeing a look of genuine concern on Helena's face.
"I know," she replied ruefully, though there was a slight smile on her face as she replaced her glasses.
"What'd you find?" Dinah asked, leaning towards the screen.
"Didn't you just hear me?" Helena asked somewhat peevishly, looking at the young blonde.
"The drug is being called Roxet on the street, because when it works right it's supposed to send you into space � as it were," Barbara began to explain, ignoring Helena. "So far fifteen deaths have been reported."
"People OD all the time," Helena interjected. "What's so special about this?"
"Nobody knows exactly why they died. A strange chemical compound has been found in their blood streams during toxicology exams, but nobody knows exactly what it is or how it does it, just that it does," Barbara continued, her eyes back on the screen, though she was very aware of the fact that Helena had been getting increasingly close to her and was now practically sitting on top of her.
"What does it do?" Dinah asked, oblivious to the other women's antics. "I mean besides resulting in death."
"It seems to be causing massive brain and organ failure in the ones that it kills," Barbara responded. "Dementia, extreme adrenaline kicks, and bouts of violence in the ones that it doesn't," she continued. "It's strange though. Most new stuff on the market takes a while to catch on, but this � it's just spread like wildfire. Fifteen deaths in a week from this particular drug. It's like they're handing it out for free. People are popping these things like Chiclets all over the city."
"They could be," Helena said thoughtfully.
"What?" Barbara asked, turning to look at her.
"Handing them out, they could be. I used to know this guy, Drew," Helena replied, making a face as she said his name. "Spoiled little rich boy who wanted to play with the big boys, become a gangsta for real, you know," she continued, shaking her head. "He had this party, and he was literally handing stuff up � trying to build up a market you know."
"When was this party?" Barbara asked looking up at her curiously.
"If you don't know then it was obviously nothing to worry about," Helena replied with a grin. "So, back to our current crisis," she prompted looking at the screen.
"In almost all of the cases of death police have been able to confirm that the vics were at, or were planning to go to a club called 'Dionysus'," Barbara responded, shifting back into Oracle mode.
"Fitting," Dinah muttered, Barbara smiled.
"Indeed," the redhead replied. "As for the others who didn't have such a fatal reaction, it's been difficult to get much of anything out of them or their friends. However, a lot of them were found wandering around the area by 'Dionysus' so I think it's a pretty safe bet to assume that this our patient zero."
"I'll go get friendly, see what I can find out," Helena said, straightening up.
"Be careful, we still don't know why it's been affecting people differently. You're good, but remember what comes after meta," Barbara replied.
"You should put that on a t-shirt," Helena responded, winking at Barbara as she headed for the door. "Besides, it's all good. I've got this pesky little voice in my head keeping me on the straight and narrow. Figuratively speaking of course," she finished sweeping out of the door with a dramatic swish of her jacket.
"She's gotta teach me how to do that," Dinah said looking at the door clearly impressed.
Club Dionysus- Night
>> What do you see? << Barbara asked hearing nothing but the sounds of sweaty, pulsing music in the background. Helena probably fit right in.
"Sweaty young people. Wishing you'd come?" Helena asked, smirking as she looked around, nodding, winking and swaying occasionally as she made her way through the crowd. "This place is lush though," she went on. "Thank you," she added, plucking a drink off of a tray as the server walked by.
>> Are you drinking? << Barbara asked, trying to distract herself from the images of a sweaty, dancing Helena that had immediately begun to flood her mind. She had been feeling of late, distinctly like an undersexed teenager and it was really rather irritating.
"No," Helena responded, though the sound of her raising a glass to her lips and swallowing could be heard.
>> You need to stay focused << Barbara said, trying to make the other woman -- and herself -- see reason. Sometimes Helena and her 'don't worry about it honey, don't worry about it' attitude made her want to bang her head against a blunt object.
"No, what I need to do is mingle," Helena said as she approached the bar, knowing Barbara was irritated with her and kind of liking it. The redhead was so cute when she was angry, her eyes all squinty and her mouth pursed. Just thinking about it made her want to smile.
>>Huntress? << Barbara said getting no response. >>Huntress? <<
"How're you doing?" Helena asked, smiling at the bartender even as she twitched slightly from the sound of Barbara yelling directly into her eardrum. Man, she had a set of pipes.
"Good," he replied, smiling back. "How're you doing?"
"Good," Helena responded, tilting her head to the side and smiling. "How're you doing?"
"Good," he responded, pushing a bowl of cherries over to her. "How're you doing?"
"Good," Helena said, picking up and cherry and popping it into her mouth moving it around before pulling the stem out in a nice little knot and chew as she smirked at him. "How're you doing?" she asked, winking.
>> Good God << Barbara moaned into the transceiver, making Helena smile. >> You're doing this on purpose aren't you? << she asked, but she got no response. Helena was still busy finding out how he was doing.
"I get off in a half hour," the bartender, Tai, who was doing just fine now, said to a bored looking Helena. "You wanna party?"
"Party how?" Helena asked, perking up a little. Finally something she could use.
"Hard, man," Tai said, laughing, seeing her perk up even more. "Hard."
"What you got?" she asked, hearing Barbara shuffling on the other end of the transceiver obviously waking up as well.
>> Don't take anything << Barbara said into the transceiver now that they were finally getting somewhere, but as usual she got no response.
"Tell me you're joking," Helena said, looking at Tai, clearly unimpressed, her gaze shifting between his face and the E capsule in his hand. "God, why don't we just trip on some acid or smoke some opium?" she continued derisively. "You have got to be shittin' me, this is hard?" she finished, standing up.
"Wait," Tai crooned, reaching out and grabbing her arm. "I's just playin', you know, seein' how hungry you were," he continued, smiling as she saw her sit back down. "The party's in the back," he said, leaning forward now so that nobody else could hear him. "Stuff's killer fer real, like cosmic shit, blast you to Pluto," he continued, laughing. "Take this for now," he said, handing her the E capsule again, "you gotta be at least hovering to get in. But I promise, I'll hook ya up," he finished, winking.
>> Don't � << Barbara said warningly, knowing that it would do no good.
"No foolin'," Helena responded, ignoring Barbara and picking up the pill.
"Fer real," Tai replied. "Sit tight, I'll be back like Presto," he continued, heading further down the bar, smiling all the while.
>> Tell me you did not take that pill << Barbara said once he was gone and Helena was free to respond again. Silence met her. >> Huntress << Barbara said, shaking her head.
"You wanted information and you're gonna get it," Helena responded. "Relax yo," she added, laughing softly. "Stuff hardly hits me."
>> And you know that how? << Barbara asked, shaking her head again though a completely involuntary smile started to creep across her face.
"Some thing's are better left unanswered," Helena replied, wishing that she could see Barbara's face. "My escort's coming, going silent," she added a moment later and then stood up.
>> Nah see � nah see � nah see, cause she was all 'squirrels' and shit, but nah� see like technology's like fucking up here man, << Helena said, raising her hand above her head. >>And evolution's like way down the fuck on the ground, see � nah see, nah see I got this bitch that's like fucking McGyver man, cause � see like squirrels don't know how to build shit! << she finished dramatically.
"Did she just refer to me as 'her bitch'?" Barbara asked incredulously, turning to face Dinah who was only semi-successfully trying not to break out laughing.
"Is she serious?" Dinah asked, looking at the transceiver as if it held the answer to her question. "I thought she said this stuff hardly hits her," she went on, her mind flashing back to Barbara's expression when Helena had called her 'her bitch'.
"I don't know," Barbara said her voice serious now. "I hope it's an act," she continued, worrying about Helena being able to get herself out of anything if something were to go down.
>>Nah see � nah see << Helena started up again on her end. >>That's stupid, man. You need, nah�nah, you � you need like, like a plan or some shit, << she went on, receiving a chorus of nods. >>Like you need to get yourself, you see what I'm saying, like a target market, yo<<
"Is she giving them business advice?" Dinah asked, actually liking Helena a lot more stoned out of her gourd.
>>Cause like rich people are suckers << Barbara heard Helena saying through the transceivers.
This was followed by a clattering sound and laughter, then a strange hush.
"Huntress?" Barbara asked. "What's going on?"
>> Like Keyser fucking Soze man << Helena muttered into the transceiver before being told to 'ssshhh' by someone nearby.
"That helped," Barbara commented dryly.
>>Ready to fly? << Barbara heard through Helena's transceiver a moment later. She recognized the voice as the bartender, Tai's. >> Boss lady's coming, wanna show off the merc << he continued half singing his words. >> Show off the merc << he sang again. >> Show off the merc << Helena sang back. >>Boss lady << Helena said again in a funny voice.
"I don't think she's pretending," Dinah commented after Helena had started speaking and she and Tai seemed to be laughing at the fact that they were laughing.
"I know," Barbara replied, frowning, her eyes back on the computer screen.
>> A << Tai said almost like he was greeting someone. >> You're not positive is ya? << he went on laughing a bit before abruptly stopping.
>>Nah man, nah see << Helena responded a moment later. >>It's cool man, totally clean Bra<< she went on, vaguely aware of the sound of Barbara typing somewhere far, far away in the back of her mind.
"What is it?" Dinah asked, coming to stand behind Barbara, having seen the redhead suddenly start typing.
"I'm not sure exactly," Barbara replied her eyes still glued on the screen. "There's something � when he asked that question, it just � but I can't figure it out," she said shaking her head as she scanned all of the documents they'd gathered on the case. "It's � strange."
>> Stand up, come on now << Tai said, grabbing Helena by the arm. >> Damn girl! << he added, struggling to keep her on her feet.
"What is that?" Barbara asked, suddenly looking up. "Can you hear that?" she asked Dinah though she didn't look over at her.
>>Blue Eyes << Tai was saying over the transceiver. >>Orbit to Blue Eyes<<
"It's her," Barbara said suddenly.
"What?" Dinah asked still hearing the strange sound over the link but not knowing what it was.
"It's Helena, she's not breathing properly," Barbara said, listening to Tai trying to get Helena to look at him.
>>Ah shit man << Tai exclaimed followed by a dull thud. >> Ah shit man, shit. Ah man << he continued looking down at Helena's convulsing body. >> Man something's wrong with this chick. Not again. Shit << he continued, sounding extremely panicky.
Barbara sat staring at the monitor though she wasn't really seeing anything. Her entire brain was filled with Tai's panicky words and Helena's harsh, desperate breaths.
>>Another one? << Barbara heard a female voice ask. Boss lady.
>>She lied man, she lied << Tai said, sounding like he was going to pass out. >>I asked her. I totally fuckin' asked her man, she lied. She said she wasn't positive. I asked her man, I did, I asked her, she lied, man <<
That was followed by the sound of flesh hitting flesh and Tai moaning softly though no longer talking.
>> Get it out of here << the woman said again, staring at the lump on the floor. >>Some place fun this time. Make Gotham's finest work for it for once << she continued, sounding almost giddy. >> And make it look good. Play a little << she finished with a girlish little giggle.
Dinah looked over at Barbara and saw her shudder.
"Barbara?" Dinah asked, seeing the redhead staring straight ahead of her, not moving. "Barbara?" she said again, approaching her. "Barbara!" she said sharply, rewarded with the Barbara's green eyes turning to focus on her. "What are we gonna do?"
"Take the jeep," Barbara said, flinging the keys at Dinah. "I'll feed you the directions to the � dump site as I get them," she continued, her attention already back on the screens in front of her.
"Should we take her to the hospital?" Dinah asked, looking down at Helena's shaking form. She'd eventually found her slumped against a dumpster barely conscious on the other side of town.
"She doesn't like hospitals," Barbara muttered in response, her eyes trained on Helena. She was so pale, so very pale.
"She'll be unconscious, I think she'll forgive us," Dinah responded, moving her head around trying to catch Barbara's eyes but not succeeding.
"It won't help," Barbara said shaking her head a little. "Nobody knows what's causing it let alone how to reverse it. Hospitals are good at taking blood samples though. They ran detailed analyses on the others, detailed blood work. Once they see the anomalies in Helena's blood, they won't let her go," she finished, her eyes back on Helena.
"What went wrong?" Dinah asked, slumping down onto the floor, her back against the bed.
"I didn't see it in time, I was � I should've seen it," Barbara mumbled more to herself than to Dinah. "All of the Roxet deaths occurred in people whose blood type was 'A' positive. I must have seen it when I went over their autopsy reports, but when he asked � it just sounded so strange."
"What are we going to do," Dinah said, wanting to get up, wanting to move. The room was so still she couldn't stand it. She needed to help.
"Nothing," Barbara replied helplessly.
"I don't �" Dinah started to say.
"In the other cases death was almost immediate. Helena's body will either fight off whatever it is the drugs are doing to her � or it won't," Barbara interjected.
"They could pump her stomach or something," Dinah offered, sounding almost as hopeless as Barbara.
"They tried that, with the tenth victim who was found within blocks of County. Roxet doesn't work that way. It diffuses immediately into the blood stream, contaminating it. The only way to stop the effects is with a counter agent, but you can't make a counter agent until you know what the source is. And nobody knows," Barbara answered. "We can do as much � or as little for her as the hospital."
"But she's doing well," Dinah reasoned. "If all the others had died by now."
"She's doing better, yeah," Barbara said her eyes focused on Helena's sweating, unconscious from. "But not well. This is not well," she finished her voice cracking at the end.
"I'll � make some tea," Dinah said standing up, suddenly feeling as if she were intruding upon something very private. Besides, she knew Barbara wouldn't be sleeping tonight and would need it.
Barbara nodded faintly, but otherwise didn't respond.
"God fucking dammit, just listen to me for once and START!" Barbara yelled, her right palm pressing down on Helena's chest as her left reached for the faucet, turning the shower on so that water came pouring down over Helena and herself. "Come on," Barbara said again, her tone pleading instead of angry this time. "Come on," she repeated, pressing down again blinking back tears.
She'd been staring at Helena so intently for so long that she no longer was really seeing her, when something in the room had changed. She had been there so long that she had become attuned to the dynamics of the room, and something had suddenly shifted. Focusing on the body in front of her immediately, she realized what it was. Helena had stopped breathing.
"Why do you have to be so fucking stubborn?" Barbara asked pitifully when she still received no response from Helena, her hand raising to strike the brunette's cheek out of desperation when she finally heard a soft wheeze and then a ragged cough come from Helena's body though her eyes didn't open.
"Is everything � alright?" Dinah asked, skidding into the bathroom, her words halting slightly when she saw what was going on within.
"Yeah," Barbara said softly, her eyes wide and bright with shock or terror, or maybe a bit of both.
"Did she?" Dinah started to ask.
"Yeah," Barbara interjected her eyes still wide and her hands shaking slightly. "I'm gonna clean her up," she continued her voice still coming out slowly as if being filtered though water as she looked down at Helena's soaked clothes.
"Do you need any �"
"No," Barbara responded. "I don't think she'd forgive me if I let you change her," she added, trying to lighten the mood though her smile never reached her eyes and barely reached her lips.
"Yeah," Dinah replied. "Okay, I'll just � you know, go. If you need anything, I'll just be � out there," and with that she quietly backed out of the bathroom.
>> Stupid mistake << Barbara thought to herself savagely as she rubbed at her eyes. >>Irresponsible. Dangerous. Stupid, stupid mistake<< she continued her eyes returning to Helena.
The brunette was breathing better since Barbara had gotten her back into bed and her heartbeat had settled down, back into a regular pattern. But she was cold, she was so cold to the touch that Barbara had almost jumped the last time she touched her.
Reaching out once more Barbara placed two fingers onto Helena's arm. There was no change. She'd wrapped every blanket she owned around Helena and there was still no change. 'There's always body heat', Dinah's words from when Barbara had gone to steal her blanket rushing her mind.
>> It's a bad idea << she thought to herself. >>Could as well try it out <<.
Helena looked down at Barbara, studying her features as the redhead slept. She had woken up about a half hour earlier to find herself cocooned by Barbara's body, the redhead's arm flung over her waist. She had then carefully turned her body around making certain not to jostle Barbara and wake her, and what she had seen when she settled down again had stopped her cold.
She was a warrior, not a poet, but as she looked down at Barbara, her features relaxed and angelic with sleep, she wished that she had been. She wished that she had some way to describe the emotions that were flooding through her body, flooding over her body, drowning her. But she had no words, all she could was lie there and feel, and she found that it was more than enough.
"Morning," Barbara said softly, very conscious of their positions and of the rather intense gaze Helena had been bestowing upon her. She automatically reached her hand up, resting it on Helena's face, unbelievably relieved to see her up and looking so good. She'd been so worried, so incredibly worried that she'd never she Helena's face alight with life again. Just the thought of it made her heart seize.
"Yeah," Helena responded, her head tilting to the side and into Barbara's hand, as her own hand slid up Barbara's body to settle over her heart. She could literally hear the redhead's heart beating, a rhythm that was steadily increasing the longer they lay together. She wanted to kiss her, needed to, the desire so intense that she was in pain.
Returning her gaze to Barbara's face, Helena observed her for a second longer then slowly leaned forward until her lips were pressed against Barbara's, a touch so feathery light Barbara thought that she could have imagined it.
"You were cold," Barbara whispered when Helena pulled away from her long moments later, her hand coming to rest on the side of the brunette's abdomen feeling it gloriously raise and fall, and warm, so warm.
"You warmed me up," Helena responded, her voice just as soft as Barbara's as she leaned down close to the redhead but not touching her. She knew what she wanted, they both did now, but she would leave the rest of it up to Barbara.
After that, they were still for a second, the room filled with only the sound of their breaths, their eyes locked together before Barbara surged upwards closing the distance between their lips, her hands coming up to the back of Helena's head pulling the brunette towards her hungrily as their lips crashed together.
"Who are you? That you can do this to me," Barbara whispered a few minutes later, her breath coming in harsh gasps as she watched Helena yank her tank top over her head and fling it across the room carelessly, obviously completely recovered. The brunette's hair was disheveled, her blue eyes clouded with lust, looking down at her with an almost feral intensity, and her lips red, and now bruised parted and pouted slightly as she studied her. And Barbara was certain that if the brunette hadn't been lying on top of her, she would have literally pounced on her, ravaged her on the spot. It had never been this intense before, this raw, and she craved it, she needed it, she felt outside of herself and didn't want to go back.
"I'm the Huntress," Helena responded, her voice a low purr as she looked into Barbara's eyes and saw the fire raging there. "And you're," she continued her lips curving up in a sinfully delicious way, "the prey," she finished, the last word cut off as she returned her lips to Barbara's, her hands dropping to the redhead's waist impatiently pushing up the material of her shirt.
After that neither of them spoke for a long, long time.
Barbara looked up at the ceiling, as they lay tangled in her sheets, Helena's head resting on her shoulder as their hearts beat in time. It was white and completely blank, a sharp contrast to her mind, which was swirling with a myriad of images, sounds and emotions, a place of complete chaos in throbbing Technicolor.
Looking down at the brunette only when she felt the slumbering woman shift closer to her, Barbara shut her eyes and sighed deeply, a worried frown coming to her face. She had always considered herself a woman of conviction, of deep dedication and of honour. She was the person who gave their word to someone and kept it no matter how difficult or at what price. So when she had decided, excruciating as it had been, that she would not, could not give into the feelings she had for Helena, she had considered that the end of the matter. But it had not been the end of the matter, and she was now more confused, and conflicted than she had been before.
Because it was good, everything was so incredibly good. The way Helena smiled cheekily against her skin as she trailed her hands over her body, the way the brunette half whispered and half moaned her name as Barbara moved inside of her. The way Helena had looked directly into her eyes and smiled slightly before gently kissing her lips and dropping her head onto her shoulder as she'd recovered from her orgasm. The way she had then mumbled something unintelligible and lightly bit her shoulder shaking her head around like she was trying to eat her, causing Barbara to dissolve into a fit of laughter. The way Helena felt pressed up against the side of her body, and the way their hearts beat together as if they were one organ.
It was all so good, so incredibly good.
And yet, so wrong. So very, very wrong.
They couldn't afford to fall in love, to have their worlds reduced down to nothing but each other. It was irresponsible and dangerous, just as the previous night had shown. She couldn't concentrate, she could barely even think, and it only got worse and more consuming the more she thought about it. She had sacrificed, they all had, given up almost everything for the cause, herself, Batman, Robin. And they had saved lives, saved cities, they had done well, it had been worth it, even if it had cost Bruce his daughter and herself her legs.
What they did meant something, it wasn't typical, it wasn't easy, but it was as meaningful as the things they'd lost or never touched.
The thought of something surpassing the mission as a priority had been inconceivable, but it was no longer now. She had conceived of the idea and if frightened her. In that moment, when Helena had looked up at her and smiled, a lifetime had flashed before Barbara's eyes, a life where she agreed with Helena during one of her rants on why they do it, and they bought a house in the middle of nowhere in some warm utopia and played cards on the deck in the afternoon heat, and took long walks along country lanes in the breezy evenings looking at the stars and laughing at nothing.
But the flashes had only lasted a minute, reality easily settling itself upon her once more. And reality was that she didn't know how to be that woman playing cards, couldn't conceive of her in more than momentary flashes, because it wasn't her. It wasn't them. They were what they were and along with that came certain conditions. It had to end, because it had to be about more, it was always about something more. That was something she didn't need to conceive of, it was something she knew.