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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)

Secrets, Lies, and Videotape by Janine

Title: Secrets, Lies and Videotape
Author:
Janine
Disclaimers:
I do not own the characters of Helena, Barbara, Dinah, Batman, and Catwoman etc. They are the property of DC comics and I suppose the WB network and the creators of Smallville and Tollin/Robbins (geez, this is beginning to feel like an Oscar speech) etcetera, etcetera. I�m just borrowing them for a short period of time.
Fandom:
Birds of Prey (WB)
Rating:
NC-17 (for language and sexual situations)
Pairing:
Helena/Barbara, Dinah/Other
Summary:
Sequel of sorts to �Poetry Feelings�, continues from that time-line at least � robberies, murders, and beating oh my! A new caper for the birds to unravel, amidst their own personal woes.
Email:
jbslayer27@yahoo.com

| Parts 1-12 | Parts 13 - End |

Part Thirteen

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Dinah stood staring at the large door wide-eyed. No matter how many times she made her way into the Wing Estate she sometimes still couldn�t believe it. But before she could trace the intricately carved door with her fingers in wonder, it swung open revealing a tall, dark, regal looking woman. Camilla Wing, Alexa�s mother. She was an older version of her daughter in looks, and just as charming, but less mysterious in appearance and character.

Camilla stepped aside and waved Dinah in with a smile.

"Nice to see you again, Ms. Redmond," Camilla said winsomely as Dinah stepped through the door. "I don�t think I�ve seen you since the party," she paused. "You look just as charming fully clothed."

Dinah turned to look at her, her mouth opening and closing though no sound came out.

"Really you looked lovely," the woman continued soothingly seeing Dinah�s look. "I sometimes like to be shocking. I should really stop considering how much it bothers me when Alexa does it," she continued shaking her head. "I�m pleased to see you actually," she continued growing graver. It had confused Dinah the night of the party and still now how the woman�s eyes would light up at the mention of her daughter, and she could prattle on about Alexa smiling proudly, and then the next minute could look completely drained and tired as if dealing with her daughter exhausted all of her mental and physical resources. "She�s been up in her room brooding all day," she went on shaking her head, stopping at the bottom of an elaborate staircase. "Steadily working her way towards a smacked bottom," she finished brightening somewhat.

Dinah smiled at that, then looked at her feet not sure what to say in response.

"Well, I�ll let you get to it," Camilla said taking a step back. "I hope you have better luck than I did," she continued starting to turn. "And you can tell her that I said that smacked bottom thing, it�ll embarrass her. She�s so cute when she blushes," she went on before sweeping off down the hallway.

Dinah knocked on the door to Alexa bedroom, softly at first and then louder. There was no response. Debating momentarily with herself about propriety she then reached for the door knob and opened the door. Alexa was her girlfriend. She didn�t need to be proper.

Turning on the light, she immediately spotted Alexa sitting in the corner of her room, nestled into the �L� formed by the back wall of her room and the left side of it. Closing the door behind her, Dinah quickly crossed the room and crouched down beside Alexa�s huddled figure.

She was startled. She�d never Alexa like this. She seemed so small. It wasn�t that she was under the allusion that Alexa was perfect or invulnerable, she�d seen the dark haired girls softer, vulnerable side many times, especially since that night in her room � this room � when they�d kissed for the first time. But this was different, she wasn�t embarrassed or shy or nervous now, she was broken, scared.

Dinah reached out for her placing her hand on the side of her face trying to turn Alexa�s head towards her so that she could see her face.

When she did, her mind was immediately flooded with a rush of blurred, angry, colourless images. She felt pain, and could see balled fists raining down on her, feet kicking out, impacting with soft skin. She felt confusion, and fear and anger. It all made her head hurt.

She blinked rapidly as she came back to herself. Alexa was looking up at her with concern.

"It�s not as bad as it looks," Alexa said softly, still staring at Dinah intently.

Dinah exhaled a soft, sad sound seeing Alexa�s face for the first time. She bit her bottom lip and carefully brushed the hair back from her face. Her lip had been split and there was a painful looking scab forming on it, there was a large, black bruise of the right side of her face, and her left eye had a nasty looking cut over it and bruise beside it.

"What happened to you?" Dinah asked softly, looking down and noticing that Alexa was also cradling the side of her body. She was hurt more than just on her face. Somebody had beaten the crap out of her.

Alexa made no response, her face turning into Dinah�s touch lightly before moving away again, looking at the far corner of the room.

Dinah�s face darkened and she immediately looked towards the bedroom door.

"If you�re thinking it was an inside job, don�t," Alexa said drawing Dinah�s attention back towards her. "I�m perfectly capable of making my own trouble," she continued darkly, looking towards her drawn up knees.

"That�s not funny," Dinah said softly.

"I wasn�t trying to be funny," Alexa responded still looking down.

"What happened?" Dinah asked again. She was hoping to get another flash, maybe see a face or some sign that would give her an indication where it happened, but she wasn�t getting anything.

"There was trouble. It found me," Alexa muttered. "I was a bad girl."

"Whatever it was you think you did, you didn�t deserve this," Dinah said softly, her hand hovering above one of Alexa�s many facial bruises. "You have to tell someone."

"I can�t," Alexa replied finally looking up at her. "I�m sorry you had to see this. You�re more persistent than my mother," she continued smiling briefly, before wincing. "This," she continued gesturing to her face and body, "happened for a reason. If I tell, people�ll wanna know what that reason is," she finished looking back down. "This I don�t want."

"Allie," Dinah said gently forcing the girls face back up to look at her. "Alexa," she repeated sternly.

Alexa remained silent.

"Why can�t you tell me �" Dinah started again, hurt and fear in her voice. Alexa blinked rapidly, but a few wet drops escaped her eyes nonetheless. She turned her head to the side.

"Will you stay tonight?" Alexa asked finally breaking the silence that had blanketed the room since Dinah last spoke. Her hand traveled to rest on Dinah�s thigh.

Dinah looked up at her. The question had caught her by surprise, she didn�t know�

"I just don�t want to be alone," Alexa said softly, ruefully. "I made my own bed, but I�m scared to sleep in it."

"You won�t tell me what happened?" Dinah asked again. She was really feeling like a Barbara at the moment. She placed her hand over Alexa�s even though the girl was being an ass. Like Barbara she couldn�t help it. She�d found her own emotionally retarded girl, and she was fond of her despite it.

"I can�t," Alexa said shaking her head. She withdrew her hand.

Dinah took it back and stroked it softly with her thumb. "I�ll stay."

=========================================================

Part Fourteen

-----------------

>> Those same guys are here << Helena said softly leaning against the railing of the building she was a top and staring across the street. >>They�ve multiplied<< she continued frowning as she counted them. >>And they brought some large, semi-automatic friends<<

Barbara sighed and rubbed at her eyes. "Who are these people?" she asked no one in particular. "What�s this woman after? And why are they after her?" she continued shaking her head. They�d been keeping an eye on this thief for over six months, and been actively pursuing her for about three now, and they still had no idea what it was she was really after.

>>She�s on the move<< Helena said not responding to Barbara�s mutterings. She knew that the redhead wasn�t talking to her, and would probably not have even heard her if she�d responded. >>Following the leader<< Helena continued before going radio silent.

"We still don�t have any idea who this is?" Dinah asked leaning on the desk beside Barbara, who was leaning heavily against the arm of her chair.

"Diamonds, organic compounds, sheets of polidextrous metal, neurotoxins," Barbara rattled off the list of items the masked woman had been responsible for stealing over the past three months. "Why? Why these things? And why the change in M.O.? Why the deaths? Is she even responsible for them? Who are the soldiers following her?" the redhead continued shaking her head.

"So that�s a no on the any idea about anything," Dinah said looking down at her feet. "If I �"

"It�s too dangerous," Barbara replied already knowing where Dinah was going. "If you touched her, you might be able to find something out. Or not. It�s a coin toss about whether you�d be able to read anything. What�s certain is that this woman is trained, has gone up against Helena and gotten away, and has � possibly killed at the blink of an eye for seemingly no reason," Barbara went on. "Which is my long winded way of saying no. A thousand times no."

"Didn�t have to say it a thousand times," Dinah commented lightly, glad to see Barbara smirk at the comment.

>>Meat packing district, great<< came Helena�s voice over the link.

"Everyone still at the party?" Barbara asked.

>>You know it. She�s gone into a packing plant. The big and beefy�s are holding stationary outside<< Helena responded. She sounded anxious.

"Can you �" Barbara started.

>>No. There�s no way for me to get over there without them seeing me. They�ve formed a perimeter and it�s too far away from any building for a jump<< Helena interjected cutting Barbara off. >>There�s too many of them. I need back up or something<< she went on. Barbara could hear the sound of her kicking at the pavement through the transceiver.

Barbara was silent for a moment, staring at the monitor as her right hand balled up tightly and her left rapped against the arm of her chair. It would�ve been so easy if she could�ve just � she shook her head savagely and sighed deeply. She had to concentrate on coming up with a plan that was actually plausible.

>>Put an anonymous call into Reese<< Helena said drawing Barbara out of her thoughts.

Barbara closed her eyes and clenched her jaw.

"Alright, hold tight," Barbara responded motioning for Dinah to secure the phone line.

----------------------------------

Helena watched with a cross between disbelief and horror as the street below her was suddenly flooded with light and noise. NGPD squad cars came wailing from both sides, screeching to a halt around the plant.

It was utter and complete chaos.

The soldier looking guys had already all made it into their jeeps and vans by the time the police cars came to a stop. Some of them then immediately turned around heading out after the black unidentified vehicles speeding away from the scene. Maybe they would catch some of them. More likely they would get close and die.

Others were jumping out of the standard police vehicles and heading towards the building, flanking around the sides. They wouldn�t find anything. The woman would be long gone. There was no way she couldn�t be with all of the commotion.

Helena looked over the edge.

"Wha�" Reese managed to get out before a hand was clamped over his mouth and he was lifted off of his feet. He began to struggle, but then looked down and realized it would do him more harm than good if he were to actually be let go. Besides, as the initial panic started to fade, he became aware of the fact that it was a female body holding him, and he knew that he was in good, if mysterious and broody hands.

"What the hell is that?" Helena asked dumping Reese onto the floor of a fourth story room. She was at the window they�d just come through looking out into the alleyway. She could see the main street still lit up and didn�t need supersenses to hear the people moving about out there.

"Backup," Reese responded standing up and straightening his tie. "Thanks for the lift by the way," he added a bit bitchily glaring at her.

"I asked for you �NOT the cavalry," Helena responded turning around to face him, her arms folded across her chest. "That," she continued angrily. "Could�ve woken the dead. Probably did. Some corpses are probably walking around all soggy and disgruntled after having their nap with the fishes interrupted."

"Listen," Reese started. "I�m sorry alright, this isn�t what I had planned on," he continued in an apologetic tone. "McNally was with him when your persons call came in. He wouldn�t let me go without some sort of information. He�s a funny guy that way. I told him an anonymous tip came in about the robberies, he called in the cavalry. It�s a high profile case now, he wanted the t�s crossed and the I�s dotted," Reese went on shrugging. He didn�t look very happy with the way things had turned out himself. "I�m sorry. Truthfully, I didn�t think it would be so bad. I thought that maybe they�d been trained to make a sneak attack � you know, sneaky."

Helena looked over at him, her stance loosening slightly. She didn�t know what she expected. He wasn�t like them. He had rules to follow and people to answer to. He did his best, it was just that most of the time he had to do it was both hands tied behind his back.

"Yeah," she breathed out dropping her hands to her sides. "Listen, I�m sorry. I asked for help, you tried to give it. Sometimes shit happens," she continued gesturing helplessly. "You should probably get back out there."

Reese turned his head to the side his eyes closing momentarily. He could hear them even from a building across the street. He knew this wasn�t the gesture that would allow him to worm his way into her heart.

"Yeah, I �" he started to say looking back over to where Helena had been standing.

She was gone.

=========================================================

Part Fifteen

---------------

Barbara ran her fingers along the transponder slowly, her eyes focused on the smooth blend and metal and plastic at allowed her to think and therefore move. A further adaptation of the device had been hanging over her mind heavily during the past few months. Becoming an almost obsessive concern of hers. The need to � but she couldn�t figure it out. She�d sat at the desk many times before like was currently, and started at the device itself, at the schematics, and her original calculations and theoretical propositions, but they led her nowhere. The technology had been adapted as much as it could. If she was going to get it to work for her body and not the chair she had to pursue another avenue, there had to be another �

She looked up sharply. Helena was back. Quickly she replaced the transponder in its drawer and cleared the screen of the schematics that had been on it.

She waited.

"I could kill him," Helena declared as she walked onto the main part of the workstation. She�d had time to get herself worked back up on the way to the clock tower. "Slowly, and elaborately. Something involving wires or maybe droplets of water, lot�s of tiny little ones," she continued coming to rest against the edge of the desk just to the left of Barbara. "The ass-monkey brought an entire squad of cars down. It was fucking chaos," she continued shaking her head.

Barbara nodded but said nothing. She wasn�t even looking at Helena.

"Hey," Helena said placing her hand on Barbara�s knee. The redhead blinked and focused on her for the first time since she had come in. "Are you okay?" Helena asked seeing Barbara looking at her now. She brushed a strand of hair behind Barbara�s eyes and waited for a response.

"It�s nothing," Barbara said softly, leaning into Helena�s touch, her eyes closing. She felt Helena shift closer to her, and then the brunette�s lips were brushing against hers softly. She sighed and let her head drop onto Helena�s shoulder.

"I think it�s bedtime," Helena said softly into Barbara�s hair, smiling. She let her hands drift around to Barbara�s waist and then behind her preparing to lift her up.

Barbara�s hands came onto hers stopping her.

"You go ahead, I�ve still got some work to do," Barbara said softly, removing Helena�s arms from around her waist. She was being too sensitive, she knew it she just couldn�t help it. She wanted to bolt at what Helena�s touch suggested � she would�ve if it were still possible for her to bolt. But then again, if that were the case, it wouldn�t have been a problem.

"It can wait until morning," Helena said moving around behind Barbara, preparing to push her into the bedroom. "Whoever this lady is, she�s probably sleeping. Like any normal person would be at this hour."

Barbara braced her hand on the edge of the desk, halting any movement of the chair Helena could�ve made.

"I�m not tired," she said, her voice a little tight as she closed her eyes and sighed.

Helena stepped back, and then moved around so that she was in front of Barbara once more. She tilted her head to the side trying to catch the redhead�s eyes. Barbara avoided her gaze.

"Fine," Helena said finally after moments of uncomfortable silence. She stood up and turned heading towards the door.

"Where�re you going?" Barbara asked seeing Helena heading towards the exit.

"Home," Helena responded turning around to face her. There was something going on with Barbara, something had been going on with her for a while. But Barbara wouldn�t tell her what it was, wouldn�t let her in. She was getting tired of it. She was tired of it. It hurt her, and she got defensive when she got hurt. She knew if she stayed and Barbara continued with the stoic routine that she�d stay something she�d regret like she had so many times in the past. But after she spoke, she stood there waiting, for something, anything from Barbara that would indicate the redhead wanted her to stay, that would say that she was overreacting and everything was fine.

Barbara stared at her for a moment and then looked away regretfully.

Helena clenched her jaw ran a savage hand through her hair then stalked towards the door leaving without another word.

Barbara sat silently staring at the blank screen in front of her.

========================================================

Part Sixteen

---------------

"You�re upset," Harley said as she watched Helena shift on the couch yet again. The woman had been doing nothing but shifting and sighing and glaring since she�d showed up. She hadn�t seen Helena like that for quite some time, hadn�t seen that barely restrained fire glowing in her eyes threatening to erupt at any moment. She�d missed it.

"Very astute," Helena responded looking over at Quinzel sharply.

"Do you want to tell me why, or should we continue to stew in silence?" Harley asked cocking at eyebrow at Helena. She�d found that sarcasm worked well with the brunette. It was something she understood and she was bright enough to figure out what it was directed at when she used it.

"It�s Barbara," Helena said wearily, leaning back against the chair, tiredly now that she had gotten around to talking about what was bothering her. "She�s keeping something from me. She�s distant and moody, and she won�t � let me in," Helena continued. She realized the irony of her talking about someone not letting her in. She wasn�t amused by it.

"When you say, let you in. Do you mean emotionally or �" Harley asked letting the sentence hang.

"Emotionally," Helena replied looking over at her dubiously. "Sex isn�t the problem," she continued feeling the need to mention that for some reason.

"In adult relationships it usually tends to be part of it," Harley responded, her voice light and conversational.

Helena was quiet for a moment, lost in thought. "The � when we�re together � intimately it�s great," she said finally, haltingly. Still thinking. She was frowning by the time she finished.

"That�s what it looks like," Harley commented looking at Helena pointedly. The brunette smirked slightly then went back to brooding.

"The sex is mind-blowing, it�s just that � I mean I guess your right. It�s there too. The distance. She won�t �" Helena started pausing, trailing off into her mind again.

"She won�t what?" Harley asked trying no to sound as interested as she actually was. Helena came across as the kinky type.

"She won�t give in completely," Helena said sighing. Harley had to stop from sighing herself. She thought it was going to be something interesting and dark, not more talk about emotions. Helena had gotten extremely boring since this Gordon woman had domesticated her.

"It�s like there�s this barrier but I can�t see it. I don�t know. It�s gotten worse, in general I mean. Last night, she just wouldn�t even �" Helena continued rubbing at her eyes. Her fingers came away a little wet. She took a deep breath. "It feels like she�s fucking punishing me for something!"

"Like it�s retribution for you having taken so long to figure out how you felt about her?" Harley asked quietly. "You feel like she�s trying to give you a taste of your own emotionally distant medicine � or something to that effect," she continued, smiling to herself upon seeing Helena look at her sharply.

"I didn�t mean that, she knows I was just � scared," Helena responded not even liking to say it now. "I just didn�t know � she wouldn�t �" she finished tugging at her hair before letting her hand drop into her lap and shifting on the couch again.

"So maybe you feel like she doesn�t trust you, then?" Harley asked softly, looking directly at Helena. "She can�t hand you her heart because she doesn�t know what you�ll do with it."

Helena looked up at her at that, and then looked to the side. She bit at her bottom lip and rubbed her thumb and index finger together savagely for a moment before turning back to look at the doctor.

"Maybe �" she said, looking like she was going to say more but instead lapsing back into silence. She dropped her head into her hands and sighed.

Harley leaned back in her chair and tipped her head to the side to look out the window.

========================================================

Part Seventeen

-------------------

Alexa threw the newspaper down onto the ground savagely and then wiped at her eyes. She felt like crying. Everything was so bloody wrong. She didn�t understand what was going on. No, that wasn�t true. She understood what was happening, she was being screwed, she just didn�t understand why. It was all so � she was giving serious thought to crying.

"Hiding again?" Dinah asked wrapping her arms around Alexa�s waist and resting her chin on her shoulder. They were practically the same height, which made it perfect for chin/shoulder resting. She inhaled deeply. She loved the way the girl smelled.

"Catching up on my reading," Alexa muttered, kicking at the newspaper at her feet before leaning back into the warmth of Dinah�s body. She sighed and turned around in the blonde�s arm. She didn�t feel like crying anymore. She brought her hand up to rest against Dinah�s cheek, then leaned in and brushed her lips against Dinah�s softly, and then more passionately.

"We�re in the library," Dinah breathed out softly when Alexa leaned back again.

"Behind many rows of big book stacks. We could strip naked and do a jig and nobody would know," Alexa responded smiling. "Not that I�m suggesting we actually do that. The jig part anyway," she continued, her smile growing as Dinah slapped her lightly on the arm and then leaned in kissing her.

"Semi-casual? Casual? Or blindly threw clothes on the bed and decided to wear them?" Dinah asked a moment later.

Alexa sighed.

Dinah stepped back from her.

"I can�t. Tonight," Alexa said seeing the look on the blonde�s face and knowing that she was displeased. She would�ve done anything to wipe that look off of her face. She�d promised herself she�d spend her days making Dinah smile, but lately all she seemed to be doing was devastating the girl.

"Why?" Dinah asked. She wanted to yell at the brunette or hit her. Maybe throw a few really thick books at her. She was on the cusp of spazing. Alexa was infuriating. She�d been doing this for weeks now. Brooding one moment, smiling the next. Playful and loving one day, withdrawn the next. She wasn�t finding her girlfriends mystery all that alluring anymore, and she momentarily wondered what was wrong with her that she had to go for the bad girls.

"I�ve got some stuff to take care of, I need to sort a few things out. That�s all," Alexa said reaching out to take Dinah�s hand. The blonde removed it from her grasp immediately.

"Are you a drug dealer?" Dinah asked perfectly serious.

"No," Alexa responded. Her immediate instinct had been to laugh, but she realized that Dinah was asking the question seriously � and that really, she had reason to do so. "I swear I�m not a drug dealer. It�s just �"

"It�s just what?" Dinah asked a little impatiently. They�d been having this same conversation on and off for weeks, since she�d found Alexa beaten in her bedroom. "You�ve been saying it�s going to be fine, and sure you haven�t been beaten to within an inch of your life again � yet. But this problem, it�s not going away. What are you waiting for? To be pushed off a building next time?"

"There�s no need to be so melodramatic," Alexa replied frowning a little. "This isn�t the Soprano�s," she continued. "It really will be over soon. I think."

Dinah looked at her for a moment. Into those beautiful brown eyes, at her golden skin, and wavy, charming disheveled hair. At her lips, full, red lips curved up slightly, hopefully. The girl was truly a breath-taking sight.

Dinah turned and headed back towards the main part of the library. She heard Alexa call her name, but didn�t turn around. She couldn�t, or else she would give in. And she couldn�t afford to do that. The fact was she liked Alexa. A lot. More than liked, or really, really liked if she were going to be completely honest with herself. Was maybe even moving towards that other �L� word. But she didn�t know her. She knew her, but only what Alexa was willing to tell her, and she got the distinct impression that the girl�s omissions were considerable, and important. And maybe she had gone along with it for so long because she knew that she too was hiding something, not being completely truthful. But that was different. She wasn�t getting beat up in dark alleys over things she couldn�t tell the police. Well, she was, but that was for a higher purpose. She wanted so badly to just ignore whatever was going on, because in Alexa�s arms everything was � but she wasn�t going to be one of those girls. She wasn�t going to be blinded by love, or lust, or extreme like or whatever it was. She couldn�t turn a blind eye. She�d been hurt by the people that were supposed to love her before. Then she had been too young, and confused, and scared to do anything about it, she�d thought that if she could change the world would change too. She knew better now, and she wasn�t going to walk into that kind of hurt again.

Besides, Alexa was into something, something serious, and no matter how much she liked her, she couldn�t ignore it anymore. She was dedicating her life to dealing with serious something�s. �This is the job. Right here� she thought to herself, even though it was Barbara�s voice she heard in her head. �This is the job�.

She squeezed her eyes closed as her heart constricted. She had to think, come up with a plan. Figure out what she was going to do about the situation. But, that would have to wait until she could breath again, for the moment she just had to continue walking away.

========================================================

Part Eighteen

-----------------

>>I need something to distract me from the boredom<< Helena said into the transceiver as she leaned against the alley wall opposite the building the masked lady had just gone into. She had seen her by chance on a random sweep and was waiting for her to come out of the building so that they could get down to business. She didn�t plan on losing her this time. She was tired of playing, she wanted to get this case over with she had more pressing matters to attend to. >>What�re you wearing?<<

"Huntress," Barbara said in what was supposed to be a warning tone, though the smile she wore could be heard in her voice. The truth was she was rather revealed to hear from Helena, to have the woman joking with her, at least for the moment. She�d only seen her for a few minutes before she�d left to sweep, and she�d been radio silent the whole time she was out until this point. Barbara knew that Helena was upset, and she knew that she had a reason to be, she just hoped the brunette would give her some time, like she�d given Helena, and it seemed like she might be.

>>You�re right, I saw you before I left. I know what you�re wearing<< Helena responded, a small smile working its way across her face. >>How about you slowly take it off while describing it to me?<<

"Okay," Barbara responded leaning back in her chair. She�d located Helena on GPS and was monitoring the activity around her area. The masked woman didn�t seem to have her entourage with her. Helena was relatively alone except for an alley cat or two.

>>Really?<< Helena asked rather pleased to hear Barbara in something that resembled a good mood.

"I�m reaching for the bottom of my shirt and pulling it up slowly," Barbara replied, as her hands few over the keyboard as she hacked into the NGPD network she wanted to catch any alarms that might be sent there way and divert them before the police could be alerted. She had nothing against the NGPD, they�d just screwed things up spectacularly last night and she preferred to avoid that happening again. "I�m taking it off and flinging it across the room with careless abandon now," she continued, her eyes drifting to a screen to the left where Helena�s bio reading was. There was something calming about seeing her heart beating strong and steady.

>>I can hear you typing<< Helena grumbled into her transceiver.

Barbara smiled.

>>Well don�t stop<< Helena continued a moment later. It was still working for her.

Barbara smiled again. "I�m looking down. Oooh, it�s cold in here," she responded.

>>You�re evil. Don�t ever change<< Helena replied though even as the words left her mouth she straightened up slightly. >>She�s out<< Helena said into the transceiver as she moved behind a large garbage container out of sight. The woman was coming her way.

Helena stepped out of the shadows as the woman ran past her. She coughed loudly. The woman stopped and turned around.

"You again?" the woman said. Her voice was strong and smooth. Helena was going to enjoy braining her. "What�s the point? You know you can�t touch me."

"I was in the area. Just wanted to say hi," Helena responded folding her hands behind her back. She started to whistle. "Hi," she said when the woman remained standing still staring at her.

"Well, this has been very entertaining, thanks for the tune," the woman said. And with that she turned around and started off back down the alley, no doubt expecting Helena to follow.

Helena didn�t.

Instead she removed a batarang from under her jacket where her hands had been resting comfortably and flung it at the woman, catching her on the back of the neck. She went down like a sack of potatoes and Helena smoothly caught the returning batarang as she slowly walked down the alleyway.

She was still whistling.

"What�s the point?" Helena muttered bending down to pick up the limp figure. "You know you can�t catch me," she continued mockingly as she threw the woman over her shoulder. "Pompadour�s not so fluffy now is it?" she said slapping the prone woman�s back.

There was nothing quite like a job well done.

========================================================

Part Twenty

----------------

"Can I do it?" Helena asked as Barbara approached the masked woman�s body with a syringe. Barbara looked up at her. Helena generally liked to stay away from needles. "I just want to stab her with something," the brunette replied to Barbara�s look. The redhead smiled and proceeded to roll up the woman�s sleeve. Helena guessed that was a no.

"Alright," Barbara said removing the needle from the woman�s arm. That dosage she was given would keep her out for an hour or so. "Let�s see what we�ve got here," she continued reaching for the mask.

Helena and Dinah came up closer behind her. It was nice to have family activities.

"Oh my god," Barbara said softly, the mask falling onto the floor silently as they all looked upon the serene features of the female on the couch.

Dinah took a step back, from Barbara and the body. She was staring at it open mouth, her eyes wide.

Helena looked between the two of them. She didn�t get it.

"What? I don�t get it," Helena said still looking at the body. "Do we know her?"

Barbara opened her mouth to respond, but the voice that answered her wasn�t Barbara�s.

"Alexa," Dinah said softly, approaching the girl on the couch once again now that some of the shock had worn off. "Alexa Wing," she said again, her voice a little hard and a little distant. She�d never thought, not in a million years that this was what Alexa had been up.

"I thought you said she was lazy?" Helena asked looking over at Barbara. Girl seemed to be quite the go-getter as far as Helena could see.

"Dinah," Barbara said ignoring Helena for the moment. Dinah was looking alarmingly pale and seemed to be shaking a bit. She knew that she had gotten close to Alexa; especially over the past couple months. She had her own ideas about just how close they had gotten after seeing them interact on a daily basis at school, but Dinah had never said anything about it. Either way, it had to be quite a shock for her to see Alexa lying there.

"It explains a lot," Dinah said softly, she was speaking to herself. How could she not have seen it? How could she have � "She�s �" she started to say looking over at Barbara with a lost, desperate expression on her face. "She�s not a � she wouldn�t kill � she �" she finished trailing off.

She needed to sit down.

--------------------------------------------------

Alexa gasped, sucking in a huge breath. Her head was killing her, and her chest felt heavy, like someone was sitting on it. She tried to sit up. She couldn�t. She looked down to see what was stopping her. If someone really was sitting on her they were gonna get an ear full. She couldn�t see anything. Why was her head hurting her?

"Oh god, I�m blind," she croaked out hoarsely. Great, she could add her voice to the list of things that seemed to be broken on her.

She was cushioned though, she noticed suddenly. Fuck.

"You can stop struggling, you won�t be able to break free," Barbara said calmly. Her voice low and steady, it was the voice of authority. "Unless you want to try phasing. But I wouldn�t suggest it. The drugs in your system might not agree with the rephrasing process. Although it could be a rather freeing experience," she continued as Alexa lay her head back down on the pillow and turned her head towards the sound of Barbara�s voice. "Good. I can see you�re listening."

Alexa turned her head to the other side.

Barbara looked over at Helena and rolled her eyes.

"Listen closely. We know what you�ve stolen, and where you�ve stolen it from. What we don�t know is why. That�s what you�re going to tell us. You�re going to tell us, because if you don�t you�re going to end up in a special place for very bad girls. It�s a place so bad they don�t even tell stories about it to little children to keep them in line," Barbara continued. "You see, officially metahumans don�t exist. They�re tabloid stories or bad science fiction. But we know differently. And so does the government, even if they won�t admit it. They have a special place for metahuman criminals. It�s called �The Slab�. It�s a bad place, and you�re going to end up there if you don�t tell us what we need to know. Murderers�"

"Murderers?" Alexa said, hoarse and alarmed. "You can just pause your overly dramatic oratory right there. I�m NOT a murderer!" she continued turning her face back towards Barbara.

"Bet you�re not a thief either?" Helena piped up. Alexa turned her head towards Helena.

"No, I�m a thief. You can tell because of the thieving and such. As for the murderin� I don�t think so," she said. "Thanks for the cracked skull by the way."

Helena glared down at her, her eyes narrowing. The girl had a smart mouth. A pretty mouth, but a smart one. She wanted to shut it.

"I don�t think she gets that she�s our prisoner," Helena said turning to face Barbara. "What with the mouthing off and everything. I think we should show her what kind of dangerous people she�s gone and pissed off. She�ll still be able to talk without a few teeth right?"

"You must be the renegade of the group," Alexa responded. "What�s your tattoo of?"

"Huntress," Barbara said warningly as Helena stepped towards Alexa looking to do some hurting. "She�s trying to provoke you."

"It�s working," Helena responded though she stopped struggling against Barbara�s hand and took a step back.

"And now we know who the pants wearer is," Alexa chirped up once the exchange ended. "Not surprising. She is a formidable lady," she continued her voice slowing with what sound like genuine respect. "Aren�t you Ms. Gordon?"

"Who is this Gordon person you speak of?" Barbara asked looking over at Helena. "I know no Gordon," she continued glaring at Helena as the brunette snickered beside her.

"You�ve only been talking at, yelling at, and lecturing me for months at end. No, I wouldn�t recognize your voice," Alexa replied rolling her eyes though nobody could see.

Barbara was still and silent for a moment, and then she reached forward and removed the blindfold.

"You can take off the restraints, I�m not dangerous. Unless you�re worried about your virtue," Alexa said looking up into Barbara�s face once the blindfold was removed. She continued to look at Barbara as the redhead leaned over her and loosened the restraints.

Making sure that her movements were slow and non-threatening Alexa carefully sat up, her right hand moving in front of her face. She split her middle and index finger into a �v� and brought them up in front of her face, closing her left eye as she continued to stare at Barbara.

She smiled. "Batgirl," she whispered happily.

"You�re a telepath as well?" Barbara asked looking at her slightly alarmed.

"No. I�m smart and well-read," Alexa responded smirking at her teacher. She was feeling rather pleased with herself truth be told. It taken her weeks to locate a dimly lit and distant shot of Batman and Batgirl in an old copy of an obscure German magazine. And it had taken her even longer to get the image cleaned up and enlarged. She�d felt a jolt when she�d first gotten a look at the photo of the girl, but she hadn�t been able to place it. At least it explained what had happened to one of them.

"You�re also irritating and in danger of an ass whopping," Helena responded glaring at her.

"How?" Barbara asked drawing Alexa�s attention back to her.

"Newspaper clippings, tabloid photographs. Research. More interesting than math," came the response. But it wasn�t from Alexa.

Dinah slowly crossed the floor of the loft to come to stand between Helena and Barbara. She�d been watching the proceeding from the second floor. She�d had to leave after the mask was taken off, she�d needed some time alone, to think. She�d thought.

"Dinah," Alexa breathed out. She should�ve known that Dinah would be there, she lived with Barbara after all, but she hadn�t given a thought to it since waking up. She wondered just how hard the surly one had hit her. She started to stand only to be roughly pushed back down by the brawn.

"Why?" Dinah asked. It came out chocked, and that made her mad. She didn�t want to sound weak, even if that�s how she was feeling.

"Our neighbor told us this story about costumed �" Alexa started.

"Not that," Dinah interjected impatiently. "Why any of it? Why were you stealing? You�re rich!" she continued incredulously.

Alexa was silent for a moment. She looked down into her lap. "I wanted to see if I could," she muttered a moment later. Her voice barely audible. "I was bored."

"You were bored?" Dinah asked chuckling darkly before simply staring at Alexa disbelievingly. After a long moment she looked away from the raven-haired girl. "People died."

"I didn�t do that!" Alexa said sharply, looking up at Dinah. "I don�t � I don�t know what�s going on with that shit," she said looking over Barbara.

"Start from the beginning, tell us what happened," Barbara said calmly. Tensions were high in the room, she had to try and establish some sort of order. Helena was looking at the kid like she wanted to push her again.

"I didn�t�" Alexa started.

"From the beginning," Barbara repeated.

"Alright," Alexa taking a deep breathe, her gaze momentarily flickering over to Dinah. "It�s like this. We moved to New Gotham in the summer right. No school. Too late to sign up for camp, or baseball, or soccer or anything. I don�t know anyone and I�ve got nothing to do. I�m watching the news and this ass jockey comes on taking about how he�s invented a foolproof security system. Nobody can break in. Well, I know it wasn�t a personal challenge to me, but I didn�t have anything better to do so I took it as one. Just to see if I could do it. Like free-diving, and extreme skiing. It�s just another sport," she continued ignoring Helena as she rolled her eyes. "So I go to the company this trial system is being tested on, and I break it. It�s pretty easy; spray painted �somebody broke in� on the wall and got out. It wasn�t perfect though I set off some alarms. So now it really is a challenge."

"The first five robberies, were practice," Barbara said.

"Practice yeah, but not in the way you�re thinking. I wasn�t practicing for anything. I was just trying to �"

"Be perfect," Barbara supplied.

"Yeah," Alexa said. "I�d break in and take something like a stapler or a happy face mug, it was getting in and out with tripping alarms or getting caught that I was after. Not anything � material."

"Guess we should just give you metal then," Helena commented dryly.

"It�d mean a lot coming from an upstanding citizen like yourself," Alexa replied meeting Helena�s gaze as she rubbed the back of her neck. "Anyway," she continued turning back to Barbara. "This one job, I get in and I see these drawings on the table. So I take one, fold it up and get out. This is when it gets fucked up."

"Gets?" Dinah muttered.

"Dinah," Alexa started desperately.

"Focus," Barbara told her. She sighed and turned back to Barbara.

"I get home and decide to take a look at the drawing. I find out that it�s not so much as drawing. It�s a schematic. The last job, the one where I got the schematic, it was perfect. No alarms, no guards, no nothing until the guy noticed it was gone the next day. So I found a new hobby. The schematic," she continued getting a little excited. "I didn�t know, still don�t, what it�s designed to do. But I decided to build it. The first job I pulled for the schematic went fine, and the second went well as far as I could tell too. Only the next morning I found out somebody had died."

"Elizabeth Keller," Barbara said.

"I didn�t do it. I never even saw anyone. I don�t get seen. I was in and I was out," Alexa said. "I figured it was some sort of freaky coincidence. You never know. It�s a strange world. So I get on with the getting on. Another death. It�s getting really weird now. I�m thinking maybe I�m dealing with the mob or something. Those people drop like flies you know. So next job I hang around after. These militia-looking freaks show up. Another death. I�m being set up," Alexa continued throwing her hands up in the air in a �what�s this world coming to� kind of gesture. It was somewhat amusing. "So I figure � well I didn�t� figure anything. I had no idea what was going on. But this thing that I was trying to build, I�m thinking that it�s my insurance you know. If I can figure out what it is, I�ll have leverage. But to figure out what it is �"

"You had to finish building it," Barbara supplied.

"Exactly. Well, that was the theory anyway," Alexa responded. "This was the last thing I needed," she went on reaching into her vest and pulling out a tube with some sort of needle inside.

"So?" Helena asked shifting her weight.

"So?" Alexa asked looking at her. "Somebody hit me over the fucking head with a boomerang before I could actually, you know. Build it," she finished rather bitchily as she rubbed at her neck again.

Helena smiled.

"And you have no idea who�s after the schematics?" Barbara asked.

"Freaky militia guys, that�s about it," Alexa responded sighing. She was looking at Dinah again. "Dinah," she started.

Dinah turned her back, she was feeling very tired. She wanted to lie down and sleep for a year or two. She�d gotten a huge shock. Sure at least it wasn�t drugs, but was stealing for fun really any better? She needed some time to think.

"Dinah," Alexa said more forcefully moving off the couch for the first time, surging towards the blonde. She�d seen the look in her eyes. She knew what Dinah was thinking. She wasn�t a bad person really. She just lacked common sense and impulse control. Foresight too, she wasn�t too close with the foresight. But she could change she wanted to change. If people hadn�t been dropping like flies, she would�ve stopped. She�d been so bored with everything and everyone; she�d needed a distraction. But then she�d met Dinah and suddenly the world had seemed like a much more interesting place. She didn�t need a distraction anymore. But she�d had to keep on doing it.

Alexa fell to the ground, her hand immediately coming up to her eye. She was bleeding. She�d been hit.

"That was the good one," she muttered, staggering to her feet. She took a step toward Helena, who grabbed her immediately pushing her back down onto the ground, her hands gripping the material of her shirt tightly.

"Helena!" Dinah yelled, seeing Alexa bleeding from the head. She might not have been sure what she wanted but it wasn�t this.

"Helena," Barbara said joining Dinah.

It had no visible effect. Helena continued to hold Alexa just off the ground, glaring at her with cat-like eyes. Nobody fucked with her family, especially in their own clock tower. Mouthing off was one thing, but when she had heard the girl�s tone, and seen her sudden movement towards Dinah, Helena reacted like she always did. Violently.

"Helena," Dinah said reaching out to grab the older woman, jerking back just in time to avoid an elbow to her skull. She rounded on Helena, staring at her hard.

Helena was flung backwards, coming to a skidding stop on the floor a few meters away from where Alexa lay blinking as blood tickled into her eye.

"Are you okay?" Dinah asked moving to kneel beside Alexa who stared up at her rather dumbly.

"You � you threw her with the power of your mind," Alexa said still blinking rapidly. "You�re � that�s so cool," she continued struggling into a sitting position, before looking over at Dinah smiling. Smiling, smirking, then practically leering. She licked her lips.

"What?" Dinah asked not able to help smiling back. Suddenly she was a girlfriend again. Funny how mortal danger could do that.

"I�d say, especially given the lesson I�ve recently learned about trust, and sharing, and recycling," Alexa responded still smiling. "But if I were to say, I�m pretty sure one of your two mommies would try and hurt me. Ya know," she finished wiggling her eyebrows before wincing.

"Wait, wait, wait, wait," Helena said putting up her hand realizing that the two girls were more than friends. "So you mean you weren�t joking about not wanting a piece of the H-Train anymore?" she asked looking at Dinah. She sounded a bit hurt.

Dinah looked up at her and rolled her eyes.

Helena looked over at Barbara who was smirking at her. "They grow up so fast," Helena muttered before smiling down at Barbara as the redhead took her hand, looking up at the brunette with an expression that told Helena, Barbara would always want a piece of the H-Train.

Helena smiled at Barbara sweetly. Oh, love sweet love.

"I could comment on how your legs go all the way up if it�ll make you feel better," Alexa said smiling at Helena. Then stopping. Her eye really hurt.

"Why would that make me feel better?" Helena asked glaring at the girl. She ruined their moment.

"Cause it�s sexual innuendo," Alexa responded leaning into Dinah as the blonde helped her into a standing position. These head injuries were gonna catch up with her she was sure of it. Maybe they already had and that�s why she kept on talking to the mean one like she didn�t care.

"No it�s not," Helena replied.

"Is," Alexa replied meeting Helena�s gaze. Now she was just being stubborn. This was one of things she should be trying to control.

"How?" Helena asked rather smugly.

"Because of where they go all the way up to," Alexa replied smirking, before licking her lips as she stared at Helena.

Helena smiled and looked over towards Barbara who was glaring at the girl. Maybe she�d judged her too harshly. The kid wasn�t that bad.

"I like this kid," Helena commented smiling. Barbara looked over at her and she stopped.

"You�re not allowed to sleep over at her house anymore," Barbara said to Dinah who was looking at Alexa affectionately.

"Are you sure you shouldn�t consult the Mrs. about that?" Alexa asked looking between Barbara and Helena smirking. She noticed the previous exchange between the women. She thought it was kinda cute. Superheroes in love and all that. She wanted to be cute like that with Dinah.

"I know what she�s getting at," Helena replied. "And she�s right. There�s nothing wrong with more quality time," she continued remembering how they�d spent previous Dinah-less nights. The kitchen, the dining room, the couch � and there was still the balcony, the desk, the � "Besides, they�ve probably already done it," she finished seeing Barbara looking up at her expectantly.

Barbara looked over at Alexa sharply at that. Truthfully, Alexa was more than a little like Helena and if Helena thought that �

"You mean outside of my head?" Alexa asked thoughtfully before smiling. A smile that was wiped clear off her face after Dinah hit her in the arm. She looked down at her feet. Barbara was still glaring at her, and she now knew who the pants wearer in her own relationship was.

"I like this kid," Helena commented again.

"Alexa," Barbara said, drawing the girls� attention back to her. They�d gotten sidetracked there were still important things to discuss. "I need to look at those schematics. There�s always the chance that whoever�s been following you has a copy of them, and if that�s the case they could be trying to build this thing, whatever it is. If they�ve been everywhere you have they could�ve assembled their own collection �"

"They weren�t there tonight," Helena pointed out.

"There were two manufacturer�s for what I got tonight. A big one and a small one. I figured they�d stake out the small one thinking I�d be trying to keep a low profile, so I hit the big one," Alexa responded. "Or maybe they went out drinking. I don�t know."

Barbara nodded. "Alright. There�s nothing more we can do tonight. I want you to bring the plans with you tomorrow. Then we�ll figure out what to do."

"Do I get an honorary deputy badge �and not a time to be joking," Alexa said seeing the look Barbara shot her. "Sorry."

"Helena will make sure you get home safely," Barbara said looking at the girl. It wasn�t a suggestion.

"Can I knock her out again?" Helena asked bouncing on her feet lightly.

"Hey, I thought you liked me now," Alexa said looking over at Helena frowning.

"I liked hitting you more," Helena said slapping a batarang against her palm as she eyed the girl.

"Kinky," Alexa commented smiling, looking over at Barbara who glared at her. "And still not a time for the jokes. Got it. Ixnay on the okes jay," she continued shooting Barbara a thumbs up.

"You can knock her out," Barbara said turning to face Helena, who immediately reached out for the younger girl.

Having advanced warning this time, Alexa immediately went intangible, causing Helena to stumble forward through her, nearly causing the brunette to lose her balance. It was okay though, the dance routine she had to do to remain upright was funny enough in it�s own right.

"That was neat right?" Alexa said turning towards Dinah once she reformed.

"You�re so cute," Dinah said kissing her on the cheek. "I�m still mad at you."

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Part Twenty-One

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"So," Alexa started as the blindfold was pulled off her of her face. "If I come over for dinner can I expect the same wonderful treatment," she continued smoothing down her hair and then rubbing at her arm.

"Does she ever shut up?" Helena asked looking over at Barbara. "I swear to god I was five minutes away from hearing about mommies fudge squares or something. I feel like poking out my own eardrums. We have q-tips right?"

"They�re very good fudge squares," Alexa muttered looking around her for a head of blonde hair. "Hey," she said spotting Dinah. The last time she�d spoken to the girl was before Helena had unceremoniously put a bag over her head the night before when bringing her home. Dinah had studiously avoided her the entire day at school.

"Hey," Dinah said walking over to the three of them, but still stopping a bit away from Alexa. "Are these the plans?" she asked looking down at the papers Barbara was spreading over the workstation.

"Yeah," Barbara said her voice already distracted as she leaned over the blueprint scanning it. "I�m going to need a while to look over it before I can tell you what it�s suppose to do though," she went on, surveying the stolen items Alexa had handed her earlier.

"I�m gonna get something to eat," Helena said. She�d glanced at the plans and decided to leave Barbara too it.

"There�s a surprise," Dinah muttered under her breath. She swore all Helena did was eat, sleep, beat people up, and have sex. That seemed to be the way the brunette liked it, and really she couldn�t point out the bad.

"Can we talk?" Alexa said drawing Dinah�s attention over to her. "I know I have some �splaining to do," she continued once Dinah�s eyes were on her. "Some ass kissing to get on with."

"No ass kissing," Barbara said pointing in Alexa�s direction though she was still looking at the blueprints.

"So you�re kind of a negative libertarian, huh?" Alexa asked Barbara, who smirked but didn�t respond.

"Come on," Dinah said taking Alexa�s hand. "We�ll talk, and not even think about ass kissing."

"Thank you," Barbara called out as the two girls walked away.

"Can I talk about ass kissing?" Helena asked walking back over to Barbara with a package of salted crackers in her hand.

"That�d be rather hypocritical of me," Barbara commented lightly, still staring at the blueprints. She was starting to get a handle on it. "Go ahead," she continued smiling.

Helena laughed and kissed her on the cheek.

"I�m gonna rot my brain some," she said flipping down onto the couch and picking up the remote. There was nothing quite like mid-afternoon television programs.

----------------------------------------------

"I�m not a bad kid," Alexa said pacing at the foot of Dinah�s bed as the blonde sat on the edge of it looking at her. She was waiting to be impressed. "I�m just a girl that did a bad thing. Really, I�m not a criminal, I just �"

"Have criminal tendencies?" Dinah asked.

"Had," Alexa corrected. "I�m over that trust me," she said looking over at Dinah. She paused a moment then walked over and sat beside the girl. "Don�t be mad," she said once seated, her eyes on her hands which were folded in her lap.

"I feel like I don�t know you anymore," Dinah said looking over at her. Thinking about she realized that she probably hadn�t ever known the girl as well as she thought she had, and that was part of the allure. The thing was, what she hadn�t known about Alexa she had filled in with her own imagining, half in love with the real girl and half in love with her perception of her. Now, her imaginings were stripped away and she was left with theses intense feelings for someone she didn�t completely understand.

"You do," Alexa responded. "Parts. There are a lot of parts to a whole. It takes time to get to know them all," she continued tentatively reaching over to take Dinah�s hand into hers. "There are a lot of things I don�t know about you either," she went on looking up into Dinah�s eyes. "I mean you�re part of some sort of elite crime-fighting unit. It � I mean, what�s up with that?" she asked her voice rising slightly. She looked confused, but not particularly alarmed. "I mean I�m not trying to confuse the issue here. I was immature, and stupid and many over things that I can�t think about at the moment. I shouldn�t have done it, and I�m sorry that I did. But that, the thieving and everything, it isn�t the sum total of me. I like you. I like you a lot. I�m new at that, and maybe haven�t handled it � well, even poorly. But, I do like you and want to get to know you. And let you get to know me."

"That sounds � practical," Dinah responded leaning into Alexa�s body. She felt the other girls arm wrap around her waist and sighed.

"You were hoping for sweeping romance?" Alexa asked. "I could try and compose a poem, I�m not sure how good it would be though. I�ve suffered a couple head injuries lately," she continued smiling as she felt Dinah�s body shake with laughter.

"We�ve had the sweeping I think," Dinah replied finally. "I�d like to get to know the sweeper now," she continued raising her head up so that her lips were only centimeters away from Alexa�s.

"I want to kiss you," Alexa breathed out softly. "Are we friendly enough again that the surly one won�t hurt me if I do?"

"Helena?" Dinah asked smiling.

"Is that her name?" Alexa asked. "Our relationship�s been all boomerangs to the head and knees in my stomach. I mean sure we�ve joked and laughed � about my pain. And I�ve wheezed and gagged � because of the funny pain. And there has been the quality bag over my head time. She got all mushy the last time and feed me juice through a straw which I thought was special," Alexa continued bringing a hand up to her heart and sighing softly. "But somehow names or painkiller�s never came up," she finished looking back at Dinah. "Will she hurt me?"

"If she does, I�ll hurt her," Dinah replied smiling before closing the small distance between them and brining their lips together. Mmmm, she�d forgotten how good Alexa�s lips tasted. She couldn�t let that happen again.

"That�s good," Alexa mumbled against Dinah�s lips, sliding her body closer to Dinah�s leaving her almost in the blonde�s lap.

"What is?" Dinah asked. Alexa�s proximity to her was doing things to her body. She was gonna have to stop mocking Helena for getting all flustered when Barbara would rub the small of her back. Touching was good.

"That you�re so dominant," Alexa replied smiling. "I think I need somebody that�ll keep me in line," she continued brushing her lips against Dinah�s again.

=====================================================

Part Twenty-Two

---------------------

Barbara raised a shaky hand up to her face, jerking back slightly when she fingers bumped against the lens of her glasses. Removing them with an unsteady hand, she lay the glasses down on the desktop and rubbed her hand over her face. Her breaths were low and shallow, she felt a bit warm. If she were the kind of person to faint, she might have thought that�s what was about to happen, but she wasn�t the type of person to faint, and she knew she just needed a moment to get her wits about her. The schematic was � it � if she was reading it right �

"Barbara?" Helena said from her spot on the couch, her head tilted in the redhead�s direction. She hadn�t heard tap, tapping for a few moments and looked over to see Barbara staring off into space. "Barbara," she said again getting no response.

Quickly Helena stood up and made her way over the redhead.

"Hel," Barbara said her voice barely audible as she felt the brunette come up behind her. "Helena," she continued though she simply continued to stare at the blueprint in front of her.

"Yeah," Helena said following her gaze. "Did you figure it out?" she asked she asked looking back over at Barbara. She was still concerned but at least Barbara was responding now.

"It�s � it�s some sort of regeneration apparatus," Barbara replied. She was starting to feel more like herself now. The shaking had stopped and she was finding it easier to concentrate. "As far as I can tell, it�s supposed to introduce a gel into the body which is a mix of organic compounds and synthetic fibers. An electrical pulse is then generated to stimulate the gel and diffuse it into the body. I � I still have to look into it, but it seems that it�s design is stimulate cell generation �and regeneration," Barbara finished looking up at Helena.

"Regeneration," Helena said softly. "You mean �"

"It�s some sort of super healing machine," Barbara replied, her lips twitching. She wanted to smile, but couldn�t quite manage it. "I think it could be used to develop non meta super humans by amplifying already health tissues, cells and organs. And if that�s true, it could also be used to stimulate growth, or re-growth in damaged, tissues and cells."

"You mean it could �"

"Repair my spine," Barbara finished for her. "Theoretically," Barbara continued sighing.

"Shouldn�t there be fist pumping, and hooting � perhaps some hollering too," Helena responded walking behind the chair and wrapping her arms around the redhead, her head coming to rest on her shoulder. "You could walk again, why are you sighing?"

"The numbers involved with the electro-shock, and the liquid compounds. They�re high and toxic. It could work, given perfect conditions, or it could kill you before you got halfway through the process. From the markings on the blueprint, I�d say this is only a second or third draft. It hasn�t been tested yet � it�s � imperfect," Barbara replied taking a deep calming breath.

"How imperfect?" Helena asked thinking that if it was just a matter of some tinkering then �

"I�d say that anybody who tried it out as it stands now would have a fifteen to twenty percent chance of surviving the process. Generously speaking," Barbara replied. Her right hand was shaking again. She grasped it with her left one and squeezed tightly. "Right now, it�s extremely dangerous."

Helena remained silent.

"Could you get Dinah and Alexa, we � we need to figure out what we�re going to do about the people after the schematic," Barbara continued a second later.

"Yeah," Helena said, her hand hovering above Barbara�s shoulder before falling back beside her body. "We�ll be down in a minute."

=========================================================

Part Twenty-Three

------------------------

Barbara looked up as the others gathered around the workstation.

"Okay, it�s going to work like this. Alexa, you�re going to go to the smaller company they thought you�d hit last night. News of the police raid of the big one was all over the papers this morning, it typically NCPD form they�re insisting nothing was stolen so whoever�s been tracking will buy that you weren�t able to get the last component and will probably be stalking out the next place. Once you get there you�ll set of the alarm, just in case. They�ll be monitoring it to see if you show or not, even if they�re not there. It�ll draw them out. I want you to let them find you."

Alexa bent over a drawer and pretended to be searching in it as she heard movement in the corridor. �I want you to let them find you� she muttered to herself as she continued to stall waiting for them to find her, without looking like she was waiting for them.

"�Whoa!" she said trying to act surprised as the door was flung open and five darkly clad men with very big guns entered the room.

"Dinah and I will be here, monitoring everything and running interference. Once the alarm is tripped the police will be alerted as well. I�ve isolated the three quickest routes to the building from where the NCPD has posted cars to be stationed. There�ll be some traffic problems. It�ll buy you maybe half an hour. It should be enough time for you to get in and for them to get at you and all of you to get out, before any squad cars arrive.

I see the look on your face. Don�t worry, Helena�s going to be running back up. She�ll follow them in once they�re on the move. When they find you, she�ll find them. You�ll get into a fun little fight. Then you�ll seem to lose and run for it. You�ll leave this behind."

"Ah, little help," Alexa called out frantically as a mountain of a man picked her up and pushed her up against a wall.

"Little busy," Helena responded, holding two guys at the sides of her body as she kicked one in front of her.

"Right," Alexa muttered phasing out and dropping through the man�s hands, scuttling behind him and kicking him in the back. "This is getting to be not so much fun," she called to Helena dropping the fake schematic Barbara had handed her earlier onto the floor.

"You don�t want to run, do you?" Helena asked head-butting a nearby thug before rounding and catching another with the heel of her boot.

"I do. I am," Alexa responded heading for the back door.

"Party pooper," Helena replied heading after her.

"It�s a little something I just cooked up. It looks enough like the original that they shouldn�t be able to tell the difference, until it doesn�t work. A few little, changes that will muck up the final product. Not that the original is picture perfect. However they do get the added bonus, of having an original tracking device built into the blueprints. If they try to put it together � which I don�t doubt they will � it�ll create a homing signal that will lead us straight to the device, and hopefully whoever was behind the whole plot to begin with."

"Do all of her plans hurt this much?" Alexa asked as they limped down the alleyway, the faint sound of police sirens ringing in the background.

"Yeah, pretty much," Helena responded slapping the kid on the back. "Next time, you should make Dinah agree to have to give you a backrub upon your return."

"I feel that," Alexa replied looking over at her. "With sensual massage oils?"

"Wouldn�t be a backrub without them," Helena responded. "I like vanilla."

========================================================

Part Twenty-Four

---------------------

Helena lay staring up at the ceiling of the bedroom for a moment, left hand lying on her stomach as chewed on the fingernail of her right pinky finger. She was alone in the bed. Again. Sighing she flung her legs over the edge of the bed and stood up reaching for her underwear. Maybe Barbara had just gone for a drink of water.

Stepping around the corner that tucked Barbara�s bedroom away, Helena spotted the redhead immediately. She�d cleared off an entire section of her workstation and spread out the stolen schematic. She was altering her attention between that, a monitor with calculations on it that Helena would never understand, and the prototype they had built the other day.

Helena stalked over to the desk and roughly picked up the schematic papers tossing them to the side.

"What do you think you�re doing?" she accused staring at Barbara hostilely.

"Research," Barbara responded taking her glasses off and resting them on the tabletop. She�d known this conversation was coming. If there was one thing she could say for Helena�s recent personal growth spurt it was that she wasn�t procrastinating when it came to her emotions anymore. She was right on the ball.

"Research into what? How to kill yourself?" Helena asked, shifting her weight onto one foot and crossing her arms. "You said yourself that �"

"Just because this particular model is � faulty. It doesn�t mean that the science doesn�t have merit," Barbara replied cutting Helena off. "I could get it to work."

"Or you could die," Helena responded confrontationally. She made an impatient sound in her throat and shifted onto her other foot. Barbara stared at her for a moment, then turned away, picking her glasses back up. "You don�t care do you?" Helena asked seeing the resoluteness in Barbara�s emerald eyes. "You�d try it," she continued her voice dropping. "Even this model, you�d try it," she went on incredulously.

Barbara was quiet for a moment before looking over at Helena. "Maybe," she admitted softly. "Maybe I would," she added, her voice firmer, with a touch of ice.

Helena stared at her for a long moment after that she knew that Barbara meant it. That if she researched and couldn�t find another solution or angle, she would take the risk of trying it out on herself.

She quickly moved over to where she had thrown the papers and picked them up. Looking over at Barbara she held the redhead�s eyes and savagely ripped the papers, easily tearing them into tiny pieces, which she then let float back to the ground.

"You had no right to do that," Barbara said softly, still holding Helena�s gaze. She knew what Helena was thinking, what she thinking and worried about. But it wasn�t her decision to make. No matter how intertwined they were, it was still Barbara�s life.

"Probably not," Helena responded, not sure she liked how well Barbara had taken her previous performance. "But I�m not going to let you kill yourself over some stupid experiment," she continued walking back over to the desk.

"Stupid experiment?" Barbara asked. She was angry. "Stupid experiment?" she repeated her voice loud as her eyes burned into Helena�s. Her hands were gripping the ends of the arms of her chair. Helena thought that Barbara would�ve attacked her at that moment if she could�ve. Maybe that was the point. "Wanting to get out of this," Barbara continued brutally hitting the arm she had just been gripping, "Is. Not. Stupidity," she finished, looking away from Helena before leaning back in the chair. She brought her hand up to her eyes. She was trying to contain tears.

"No, it�s not," Helena responded softly. She hadn�t meant it like that. She wanted to reach out to Barbara, but she knew that at the moment the redhead wouldn�t accept it. It was better that way actually. They had to talk about this, and physical contact usually led to distraction. It was easy not to think about what was wrong in her arms, but it didn�t make things right. "But risking your life�" Helena continued letting the sentence trail off.

"Sometimes," Barbara said sighing. "It doesn�t feel like life," she went on. She tried to not to think about it, not to dwell on it, and for the most part, over the years she�d been successful. But there was still a part of her that felt as she had in those first few months after the shooting, when she�d wake up in the middle of the night overcome with a rage and sorrow that she couldn�t put into words. That froze her where she was, because she couldn�t even vent properly anymore. It took too much effort for her to move around and get things to throw. She�d thought that she had learned to accept it gracefully though, and over the years it had gotten easier, the frustrations lessening with time and experience. But lately, she wanted more. So much more. She�d narrowed her field of interest after she was paralyzed, shrunken her dreams and aspirations and focused on what it was possible to do with her reality. But she wanted so much more now. Being with Helena, Helena herself, had awoken her heart, and her dreams, and she wanted again. She dreamed. But it didn�t matter because she couldn�t do. And it was like losing everything all over again. "It feels like a nightmare," she continued her voice quivering with emotion.

Helena�s hand came to fall on her shoulder. She shied away from the touch. She didn�t mean to, but everything was raw and sensitive at the moment. And it just reminded her of what she couldn�t do. She couldn�t just reach out to Helena and draw her into her arms like she wanted to. She had to indicate or settle for a smaller touch. She couldn�t sneak up behind the brunette surprising her as she rained kisses along her neck. She couldn�t�

"I don�t care about the chair," Helena said softly drawing Barbara out of her own mind. "I love you," she continued softly, blinking back her own tears as Barbara�s tortured eyes looked up to meet hers. She was at a loss. She didn�t know what to do. She wanted to take away Barbara�s pain; she wanted Barbara to be happy. But she didn�t want her to die in the pursuit. She wanted to help and she couldn�t, and it made her want to hit something. And then maybe sit and be very, very still.

Barbara reached up at that, her hand coming to rest on the side of Helena�s face, she stroked her thumb over the soft skin there. It came away wet.

"And I love you," Barbara said softly, still stroking Helena�s cheek. "So much," she added her voice chocking as she spoke.

"Then," Helena said moving her head to the side out of Barbara�s hand. "Then why are you pulling away from me?" she asked, her voice tinged with anger. Her last session with Dr. Quinzel was coming back to her, playing through her head.

"I�m not," Barbara responded, reaching for Helena again only to have the brunette shift to the side out of her reach.

"You are. You have been," Helena said looking over at her. Even at that moment, Barbara�s eyes weren�t completely clear; she could see gears turning behind them. Thoughts racing through her mind that weren�t being shared.

"I let you into my bed � into me. That�s distance?" Barbara asked finally meeting Helena�s gaze.

"Let?" Helena asked her eyebrow rising. "You make it sound like having sex with me is an act of charity," she continued standing up. Even though she knew it was unfair, for a moment she wondered if that�s what it was.

"That�s not what I meant," Barbara stated immediately. "I don�t know what else I have to give you," she said her shoulders raising and falling helplessly, a long weary sigh making it�s way past her lips.

"Everything," Helena responded looking over at Barbara. "When we �" she continued pausing. "Why won�t you just �"

"You want me to beg you," Barbara interrupted contemptuously. "Beg you to fuck me and make the cripple feel like a real woman." She was angry but she wasn�t sure at whom. At Helena for asking her to give her this one last thing she had to hold on to, or herself for being to proud to give it to the one person in the world she should have been able to be completely helpless for.

"That was partly right," Helena responded glaring right back at the redhead.

"Why?" Barbara asked.

"I�m selfish. I want to have all of you," Helena replied leaning forward and resting her hands on Barbara�s knees. "I haven�t held anything back from you. I�d do anything you �"

"I�m weak" Barbara said. It wasn�t a direct response to what Helena was saying but she was unable to voice one so it would have to do. Helena could give in, because she didn�t have anything to prove to the world, or to herself.

"You�re the strongest person I know," Helena said immediately. And it was true.

"I feel weak," Barbara replied. And that was the rub. Maybe she didn�t really have anything to prove, but she felt like she did. And she could tell herself that didn�t all she wanted it never changed how she felt. Inadequate.

"I�ll catch you," Helena told her, leaning in and brushing her lips against Barbara�s softly.

"I don�t want you too," Barbara said softly as Helena pulled back from her lips. Her hands had moved to Helena�s hips keeping her close nonetheless.

Helena looked at her thoughtfully for a moment. "I�ll do it anyway."

"I know," Barbara replied smiling, leaning forward and brining their lips together again in a soft, feathery light kiss.

"You�re not going to drop this. That diagram you have it on one of these don�t you? Maybe all of them," Helena said her hand coming up to rest against the one Barbara had placed on her face as she glanced at the computers that surrounded them.

Barbara nodded her head but made no verbal response.

"I don�t want to lose you," Helena said dropping her head down to look at the floor as she spoke.

"I�m not going anywhere," Barbara said, her voice firm and strong as she held Helena�s hand. The way she said it, Helena almost believed that Barbara could actually will the world to bend to her wishes. Almost. "But I have to look into it," Barbara continued softly.

"And if I stopped you?" Helena asked a touch of defiance entering her voice.

"I�d wonder," Barbara replied removing her hand from Helena�s body and leaning back in her chair once more, her eyes rising to meet Helena�s blue orbs. "And a part of me would hate you," she continued honestly. "You don�t know what it�s like."

Helena blinked at that and bit at her bottom lip. She�d never seen Barbara in action as Batgirl. She hadn�t even known that Batgirl was anything but an urban legend before the Joker changed both of their lives forever. But she�d heard stories from Alfred, and from Barbara herself. Barbara had been a hawk, a bird of prey, just like her. Soaring above everyone else, racing across rooftops in the dark of night, blood pumping through her veins and rushing to her head as her body throbbed with power. Barbara knew what it was like to fly, and then she�d had her wings broken.

Helena tried in that silence that had come over the room after Barbara had spoken, to imagine what it would be like. Really. She tried to picture herself in the redhead�s position and for a brief moment she was able to, really able to. She sucked in a deep breath and looked over at Barbara. She couldn�t sustain the mental exercise � she didn�t want to. She couldn�t breathe. The thought of it was almost too much for her.

She stared at Barbara for a long moment.

"You�ll be smart about it," Helena said finally.

"This one time," Barbara responded with a tiny smile. She was always smart about things it�s what made her anal and in Helena�s words �cute as a button with cartoon characters and sparkles�. She wasn�t looking to get herself killed. She still had a lot of things to do, and people to do them with.

Helena smiled back and shook her head somewhat helplessly before looking back up at Barbara and smiling again.

She shivered slightly.

"You�re cold," Barbara said seeing the chill run through Helena�s body. She looked at the brunette appraisingly for the first time since she had joined her out there. No wonder she was cold, she wasn�t wearing anything but a bra and panties. Looking at her again, Barbara wondered how she could not have noticed that at first. Helena in her underwear was very note worthy.

"I didn�t think I�d be out here this long," Helena replied with a touch of chagrin as she rubbed her arms. She was especially aware of the draftiness of the main part of the loft now that Barbara had mentioned it. She was amazed she hadn�t felt it before.

"Let�s warm you up," Barbara replied flicking off the monitor she had been working on.

Helena stood up and held out her hand to Barbara.

"This warming process, can you tell me exactly what it involves?" the brunette asked looking over at Barbara with a grin.

"Well, you�ll have to be wearing even less clothes than you are now," Barbara responded in a scholarly tone.

"That�s crazy," Helena replied smiling. "Will I be wearing anything?"

"A smile," Barbara replied. "Anything else isn�t really part of the plan."

=====================================================

The End

Janine

Comments are always greatly welcomed and HUGELY appreciated, so pretty please (with cherries and whipped cream and sprinkles and bananas and little umbrellas) drop me a line at jbslayer27@yahoo.com

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