In A Song (part 12 of 12)

Three months later: Wednesday, 4:46pm: Dark Horse

Sunlight slanted in the high windows above the bar dividing the space and turning the circulating dust motes into a kind of glitter. The place had an expectant feel: glasses lined up and waiting, floors mopped, chairs down off the table tops. Helena reveled in the pre-opening quiet; the crowd would get there soon enough.

Business had been good. New customers attracted from most of the myriad levels of New Gotham’s social scene came not just for the strong drinks, friendly service, and attractive staff but also to take in the music. Helena paired the local and out-of-town bands in inspired and often musically disparate shows which sometimes made for some strange crowds. She hadn’t made another appearance on her own stage though. Helena refused to sing there or, despite hinting, prodding, and outright begging from Davey Cruz, with the jazz band she played in on Wednesday nights at the Blue Note. Losing herself in the music as her hands coaxed magic from the piano was just one way Helena had filled up the deafening silence created by Barbara’s request for time.

The first few weeks had been brutal for Helena. Brutal and filled with doubt and self-recrimination, and second guessing over the doubt. Some part of her knew that she’d betrayed Barbara’s trust while another equally stubborn part kept insisting that she hadn’t really done anything wrong. Some days it was a little like the metaphorical devil on one shoulder and angel on the other. Some days Helena wasn’t sure which opinion was which.

The nights those first few weeks that Helena hadn’t been behind the bar moving on rote she’d spent trailing Dinah on sweeps. She’d given the teenager just enough distance to avoid overhearing her communications with Oracle but had stayed close enough to provide backup if necessary. Once she was sure Dinah would be fine, Helena’s sweeps of the city became solitary. Not as effective as they would have been with assistance, she was sure, but they worked the nervous energy out of her system and reduced street crime even in a New Gotham patrolled by a suddenly vigilant police force.

But as two weeks stretched into four, four into six, and six into ten, the silence solidified around Helena and her need for motion, the need to do something, anything, itched along every nerve and fiber of her being. She filled the void Barbara left with every sensual pleasure she could find: music she played with the jazz band and booked at the Dark Horse; food she learned to cook herself so she could taste it and know she was still alive, still real; sweeps where she left the fights with her muscles pumped from the adrenaline and the criminals in a tidy a pile for the next patrol car; sex, the rush of endorphins, scent, and warm skin on skin, with any woman that caught her eye.

One frenzied weekend she steamed the wall paper off the walls in her apartment, shoving all the furniture from room to room so she could repaint everything. A week later when she and Gabby showed up for dinner Dinah stared long and hard at the shredded piece of wallpaper Helena had framed and hung back in its place on the living room wall; she’d stared but she hadn’t asked. For that Helena had been grateful. She was grateful, too, for the fact that Dinah refused to take sides, refused to even acknowledge the change. She gave Helena the comfort of stasis by not mentioning Barbara or sweeps or anything that involved the life the three women shared. Helena was certain the teenager did the same for Barbara.

The weeks passed and Helena’s unsundered life, the one without the space she so desperately tried to fill with pieces she sensed didn’t quite fit, started to seem more like something she’d dreamt than lived. Without the redhead’s voice in her ear sharpening the edges and reminding her of what was, that dream-like quality persisted. It persisted until Helena realized one morning on the way home in the early dawn quiet, the scent of some anonymous woman still clinging to her skin, that not only wasn’t she getting anything done she wasn’t enjoying herself.

The itch, the need to move wasn’t really the desire for forward motion at all; it was fear, fear of punishment lurking unacknowledged and shadowing her subconscious. All her grasping, all the diversions, really only killed time. Helena realized in that instant that there would be no punishment from Barbara for her night with Jess Kalen, for the betrayal not just of Barbara’s trust as her lover but of her knowledge of the redhead’s weaknesses of self-perception. No, the silence was her penance whether Barbara intended it to be or not.

She’d stopped on the street corner, morning sun hitting her face like a spotlight, as the force of the realization ripped through her. If the clouds had opened and angels had sung Helena wouldn’t have been surprised. It was then that Helena began to learn the difference between quiet and silence and how to embrace one and acknowledge the other without letting it rule her life.

What she did from then on she did because it felt right not because she couldn’t bear to face her life, to face the silence outside and the noise inside her own head. Her piano playing, kicking ass on the streets at night, the occasional third-wheel outing with Dinah and Gabby, flirting with Caitlyn her lead bartender, even randomly accepting the staff’s invitations for drinks after closing; everything she did added up to a life that felt almost complete. Almost.

The silence in Helena’s life reduced down to a small hard ball at her very core, something she knew she could carry nearly indefinitely. Some days she could ignore it, and on some days, like today, when the sun threw spotlight shafts through the windows and the newspaper was filled with fallout from the arrests and exposure of corruption in the city government, she felt that silence keenly like a physical presence in her body.

Helena shook her head as she finished the latest article about the grand jury testimony. Jess Kalen completed two days on the stand the previous afternoon only to be whisked away by the FBI to “an undisclosed location.” There was no mention of her brother. Helena snorted. She could think of at least one person who could find them both if she really wanted to. She set aside the news section and dug through the paper for the comics.

“Hey boss, you’re in early,” Caitlyn said, ducking through the service cutout at the end of the bar.

“I’m leaving early,” Helena replied, taking in Caitlyn’s subtle curves with a glance. Helena silently gave herself two points for being smart enough even in her darkest hour not to sleep with anyone on the staff, especially not the smart, perceptive woman she’d put in charge of her bar.

[Continue Reading…]

In A Song (part 11 of 12)

Thursday/Friday: 1:27am: Helena’s apartment

Helena felt her eyes shift to feral as Jessica marked her left shoulder. Her heart beat faster as the same lips that had been fastened to her skin brushed her ear.

“One word and I’ll stop,” Jess whispered sliding her hand lower across Helena’s taut, exposed belly. “That’s all it would take.”

Helena arched back into the circle of Jess’ arm pressing against warm, soft skin; against full breasts and firm abs. “More.”

Jess slid her hand even lower, fingers seeking and finding. Helena’s groan of pleasure drowned out the noise of the wallpaper shredding under her hands.

Thursday/Friday: 1:56am: Clocktower

The Delphi beeped drawing Barbara’s attention out of her memories and back to the clocktower. The query on missing kids between nine and sixteen listed more than double the previous month’s disappearances with most of them being 13 or under. The question poked its way to the front of Barbara’s mind. Who are the they she’s meeting with? Helena had only mentioned Jessica Kalen by name but the way she’d reported the vision of the kids Barbara got the distinct impression she hadn’t gotten it from Jess.

He’s running kids. Helena’s voice filled with white hot rage echoed inside Barbara’s head even as her stomach turned. She could understand Jess condoning, even promoting, a gambling operation; gambling was a basically victimless crime. A good theoretical argument could even make prostitution the same kind of crime. Barbara shook her head. The Jess Kalen she’d known would sooner have poked her own eye out with a dull spoon than be a part of King’s new business plan.

“Wow…that’s a big list.” Dinah set down a mug of tea for Barbara and blew across the surface of her own mug.

Barbara pulled up the detailed reports as a second query eliminated kids who had been found in other jurisdictions. That narrowed the list down to small double digits. It wasn’t much comfort. “Don’t forget that you’re probably still listed as missing somewhere. Fourteen kids in a month. Can King’s operation be that big?”

“I hope not. I still think you should have let me follow her.” She shuddered slightly remembering how hard it had been to make that final decision to leave home. Dinah shook her head and tried not to think too hard about what would compel the average, non-meta kid to run away from home. After a year or more on the streets doing sweeps she had a pretty good idea and it still pissed her off.

“Her contacts were very specific, and you know Helena when she gets her mind set.” Barbara smiled and shook her head. The argument over the op, over Helena going into the meet blind, had taken less than five minutes. Barbara knew from experience when it was better to wait Helena out than it was to apply logic. This had been one of those times.

Dinah nodded. “I can still get over there.”

Barbara drummed the arm of her chair tactics and unanswered questions swirling in her head. “No. I trust Helena. Let’s see how it plays out.” She turned back to the Delphi, opened a new window, and began a new search for information on Marcus King.

Friday: 2:56pm: New Gotham High School

“I wanted you to hear it from me and not through the grapevine,” Jess said, stuffing her hands into the pockets of her slacks.


Jess grinned. “Because Mrs. Miller is a horrible gossip.” She grinned wider at Barbara’s laugh. “I’ve got some family business I need to take care of and it’s incompatible with a full time job as a high school guidance counselor. I haven’t been here long enough for a leave of absence so resigning was my only choice.”

Barbara raised an eyebrow even as she noted the disappointment she felt. She knew Jess was a connection to her life before the shooting but the strength of the feeling surprised her. Barbara pushed the emotions aside for later consideration. “The last time you left town to take care of some family business you were gone ten years.” The questions formed a neat queue in Barbara’s brain but she dared not ask them; she trusted Helena’s certainty that her identity as Oracle remained a secret.

“In a few days when things have settled down I’d like to tell you about that, and about some other things.” Jess tilted her head and let the question settle unspoken.

“I’d like that.”

Friday: 4:32pm: Clocktower training room

“Tell me I didn’t just see what I think I just saw,” Dinah demanded.

Helena picked up her water bottle and sat down hard on the bench. She swigged from the bottle, more to buy herself time than to quench any thirst. When she looked up Dinah hadn’t moved; her gaze bore into Helena’s face.

“Judging by the look on your face, I’m going with you saw exactly what you think you did,” Helena muttered. She leaned forward, elbows on her knees, as her gut roiled. “Fuck.”

“You’ve probably done enough of that for a while.” Dinah flopped on the bench next to Helena. “Oh don’t give me that look,” she said in response to Helena’s glare. “I’m not the one who went all…” she waved her hands and shuddered at the second hand sensations she’d picked up, “with Ms. Kalen.”[Continue Reading…]

In A Song (part 10 of 12)

Thursday/Friday: 12:02am: Clocktower

Panic. It was panic Barbara felt coursing through her veins. Not the ordinary fear or the adrenaline rush that came when Helena took a chance she herself wouldn’t have taken, but pure, pharmaceutical-grade panic.

A quick glance at the monitor to her left showed Helena’s telemetry readings weren’t far off baseline, and a glance at the monitor above showed not only that the GPS in the comms set was still operational but also that her physical position hadn’t changed enough to trigger an adjustment in her mapped location.

Barbara tapped a few keys, shifting her main display over to a map showing both public and private surveillance cameras. Finding none that would give her a usable picture of the jewelry store, she drummed her fingers on the table, fear and frustration needing some sort of outlet.

She glanced at the clock. Five minutes since the comms channel had gone dead leaving her with nothing but static. Barbara pulled up the latest version of the meta tracking database, tapped out a quick query to run against it and recent releases from Arkham and from the state prisons as she tried to think who would have drawn a surprised response from the normally unflappable Helena.

Thursday/Friday, 12:05am: Rooftop in the shopping district

“A proposition?”

Jess nodded fighting back a smile at the suspicious tone. It rang in her ears as just the one she would have taken had their positions been reversed.

“We work together to take King down,” Jess replied crossing her arms and mirroring Helena’s stance. The smile she got in reply was luminous and impressed upon her yet again why Barbara found the younger woman attractive. “He’s a bad man, Helena. It goes far, far beyond the gambling.” Jess swallowed the acid that crawled up her throat. Finding out about King’s new business ventures had burned a hole through what little trust and respect lay between them.

Helena tilted her head and considered the two people standing in front of her. ” How do I know this isn’t all bullshit? The crime wave…that’s been you, right?”

“Yes, but then, the New Gotham police aren’t exactly known for their ability to multitask.” Jess’ sideways grin reminded Helena way too much of a certain redhead for comfort. “It’s a standard part of the op, diversion so King can run his business while the authorities he hasn’t been able to grease are busy elsewhere.” Jess slid a glance at Nicky. “Would you show her?”

Helena tensed as Nicky stepped toward her.

His smile was kind as he held out one midnight-blue hand. “It shouldn’t hurt…much.”[Continue Reading…]

In A Song (part 9 of 12)

Wednesday: 8:25pm: Dark Horse

Helena leaned against the catwalk’s railing, tapping the ring on her forefinger against the steel pipe, and surveyed the crowd below. Not bad for a Wednesday night. She hadn’t been sure about the band but she trusted Jaycee, and she was glad she hadn’t been wrong.

Zydeco hadn’t exactly been part of Selina Kyle’s regular playlist, hell jazz barely made it to the turntable in their apartment — and only then because her mother was in a smoky, dangerous mood — which had made it all the more attractive in Helena’s early adolescence. Something about the rhythms had always appealed to her, giving her visions of warm, sultry nights when the sheen of sweat on skin carried with it the scent of desire and the feel of a cold can against the back of her neck would be welcome rather than unpleasant.

Helena closed her eyes and listened, letting the music wash over her even as her meta-hearing was able to separate out the noise of the crowd down to the individual orders Toby, the new bartender, was taking at the far end of the bar. The smile spread slowly across her lips as the rhythm player attacked the washboard that hung from his neck and the singer launched into a particularly spirited burst of Creole that sounded to Helena like he was singing the praises of his woman’s charms in the bedroom. The thought brought back the memory of the soft contours and timbre of Barbara’s voice in the message she’d left earlier, the one Helena had let sit in the mailbox of her brand new, tapeless answering machine after she’d listened to it. Helena shook her head and opened her eyes. Dinner with an old friend usually meant the Boy Blunder, and Helena certainly wouldn’t put it past Dick Grayson to check up on how she’d had been treating his old, dear friend and ex.

With a sigh, Helena scanned the bar below to make sure there were no fights imminent. Seeing nothing but a crowd drinking and having a good time, she steeled herself for a task that, given the choice, she’d gladly face a dozen of New Gotham’s baddest to avoid: going over the payroll. Helena opened the camouflaged door using the inset ring-pull handle and stepped through to the Dark Horse’s back offices. The sound of the door shutting was lost in the bar crowd’s enthusiastic applause.

Wednesday: 8:45pm: Donatello’s Restaurant

Barbara looked down at Jessica’s hand covering hers and silently cursed herself. A quick mental review of recent encounters with her old friend proved fruitless; Barbara couldn’t find any signs she might have ignored or misinterpreted.

What bothered her more than the idea that she’d missed some subtle clue from Jessica was her own body’s treacherous reactions to the warmth of the other woman’s fingers on hers. In the time in took a synapse to fire Barbara knew that what she felt wasn’t simply an echo from the past; it was attraction borne of insecurity and a flattered pleasure that someone who had known her before the shooting, and who’d found her desirable then, still saw her in the same light.

Years of habit allowed her to ignore the slight rise in her heart rate and the specific reactions she’d lately learned to associate with arousal. Barbara flicked her gaze back up to meet Jessica’s hazel eyes. “I’m seeing someone, Jess,” she said softly, hating to be the cause of the disappointment she saw her old friend’s expression.

Barbara waited until Jess withdrew her hand before she moved. She glanced at her espresso cup and suppressed a smile when she noted the idle way she turned the cup on the saucer. Barbara made a mental note to pay more attention to which of Helena’s habits she picked up from then on.

“I hope he treats you well,” Jessica said, fiddling with the spoon that rested in her dish of tiramisu.

Barbara titled her head and waited for her friend to meet her eyes again before she spoke. “She does, and you can meet her later when I take you for a drink.”

Jess swallowed hard as hope turned to ash, coating her throat and making the sweet, light dessert she’d just swallowed taste gray.

Wednesday: 9:02pm: Clocktower main room

“Barbara’s really into computers,” Dinah said, tucking some hair behind her ear.

“I’ll say,” Gabby replied, expression wide-eyed as she took in the Delphi’s platform, multiple flat screen monitors, the hard disk storage, video machine, and the multiple CPUs that were visible in the equipment rack. “And what the heck is that?” She gestured toward the Plexiglas enclosure in the corner.

“It’s a portable digital PET scanner,” Dinah said, her smile feeling as thin as her voice sounded to her own ears. “The reason Barbara has all this is because she’s friends with Bruce Wayne.” She shrugged, trying to make it sound casual, as if every random high school English teacher could potentially be friends with a famous, lately-reclusive billionaire. Dinah continued, “She beta tests a lot of stuff for one of his companies. That’s why I don’t have people over. Most of this equipment won’t hit the market for a couple of years so it’s super secret, plus, she needs to be able to concentrate to do a good job with that.” She worked at her ‘this is no big deal’ expression, hoping that the small lie held water.[Continue Reading…]

A New Gotham Christmas Party

“Helena, that’s not a dress, it’s…” Dinah closed her mouth with an audible snap.

“It’s what?” Helena asked, one eyebrow quirked as she looked down at her outfit.

“It’s a cocktail napkin with attitude,” Dinah finished. “And you look gorgeous in it.” Helena did look gorgeous. The dress, made out of a fabric Dinah couldn’t find a name for at that moment, was a blue that seemed to shift and change shades depending upon the angle of the light and it complimented Helena’s coloring perfectly. “Of course,” Dinah continued, “the come-take-me-now shoes don’t hurt either.” The teenager laughed as Helena’s other eyebrow joined its mate up near the brunette’s hairline.

Helena did one more revolution so Dinah could get a better look from where she sat on the beat up brown couch that made up the bulk of Helena’s living room furniture. “Too much?”

Dinah tried not to smirk at her friend’s sudden insecurities. Getting invited to the official New Gotham Police Department Christmas ball as Barbara’s date was, Dinah knew, a turning point for Helena. “If you consider most of your tattoo showing to be too much, then yeah,” she replied, shifting so she was sitting camp-style. “What else have you got?”

Helena laughed. “Get a beverage, Big D. I rented this place for the closet space.”[Continue Reading…]

In A Song (part 8 of 12)

Tuesday/Wednesday: 1:56am: Clocktower

The sound of the elevator’s door and the low murmur of conversation that followed didn’t make a dent in Barbara’s concentration as she tried to find a pattern to New Gotham’s recent crime spree. She barely heard Dinah’s door shut and, if she’d been asked later on to confirm it, her morals would compel her to admit that she’d completely missed the sound of running water and the noise of the tub in her bathroom filling.

Barbara plugged the details of the last two major crimes, a jewelry store robbery and an armed robbery of an entire bachelor party, into the database and set the mapping program to render. She pulled off her glasses and rubbed her eyes with the heels of her hands. You’re not 25 anymore, Gordon. The recent uptick in crime combined with Helena’s very welcome attentions had slashed the amount of sleep the redhead was getting down to an average of two hours per night. Dry eyes and the effort she was having to make to keep track of details both as Oracle and in the classroom were the earliest signs of extreme fatigue and Barbara knew better than to ignore them for too long. She was rolling her shoulders in an attempt to get rid of a knot under her right shoulder blade when she felt Helena’s gentle touch.

“You sit in front of that machine entirely too much,” Helena purred from behind her. She slide her thumbs and under the fall of Barbara’s hair massaging the base of her neck.

“Where else would you have me sit?” Barbara replied, fully aware of the range of responses she was inviting even the tension was pushed out of her system by the first stirrings of arousal.

Helena clamped down on her reflex impulse to flirt. Instead she smiled to herself, letting a hint of sin edge into her voice. “I’ve got some ideas,” she replied, shaking her head to banish the image of Barbara hovering above her, warm and slick with arousal. She brushed her fingers down Barbara’s neck and outward to work strong trapezius and deltoid muscles. In a smooth motion, Helena moved her hands further down, deft fingers tracing the shape of muscle and sinew to curve around Barbara’s shoulder blades. Barbara’s involuntary groan and the way her head lolled forward brought a soft smile to Helena’s lips.

She worked out the knot, careful not to pinch the underlying nerves with too much pressure. Before the redhead could sit up, Helena leaned forward and kissed Barbara on the back of the neck just where that smooth column of flesh intersected with her shoulder. She suppressed a smile at the resulting moan. She nibbled her way up the redhead’s neck. “I want you,” she whispered, her lips just barely brushing Barbara’s ear.

Barbara shivered, heart thumping in her chest. “Do you really?” she asked, keeping her voice even, stalling for time as she tried to plan what she’d do next. She flexed her hands against the arms of the chair as Helena’s lips caressed her skin. Her breathing was fast and shallow, heat suffusing her chest and face. Barbara wasn’t sure she could plan anything, though: under the onslaught of Helena’s touch her brain seemed to have ceased functioning.

“Yes.” Helena balanced on tiptoes, kissing the side of Barbara’s neck, just under the corner of her jaw. She slid her left hand over Barbara’s shoulder, across her chest and down, fingers brushing over the outer curve of Barbara’s breast. Helena bit down on Barbara’s shoulder careful not to break the skin as her fingers skimmed over the already firm peak of the redhead’s nipple where it strained against her bra and tank-top. The wicked twist of her smile matched the feral yellow of her eyes when Barbara’s groan of pleasure rumbled to her ears.[Continue Reading…]

In A Song (part 7 of 12)

Monday/Tuesday, 4:17am: Clocktower

It was the blurred edges that told Barbara what she saw was part of a dream and not reality, was a dream and not necessarily a memory. The dreamscape always had a hyper-real quality to it: the sound was sharper, the colors more vivid than anything she’d seen. What gave it away, though, was the fact that only those things she looked directly at were in focus. She’d long thought this narrowing of focus was some sort of existential joke, her unconscious mind’s comment on the narrowness of human perspective.

Despite knowing it was a dream, despite having lived through the aftermath of the Joker’s one and only visit, Barbara vibrated with terror as she felt herself twist the knob on her apartment’s front door. Her conscious mind, the part of her watching herself move through the dream, barely had time to register the figure on the other side of the door before she awoke with a start. The small gasp seemed loud in the dark bedroom and Barbara jumped slightly as strong arms tightened their embrace around her.

“Nightmare?” Helena asked, voice thick with disturbed sleep.

Barbara consciously relaxed into the pillow and into Helena’s embrace. “Just a bad dream,” she replied. She glanced at the clock. It had only been about twenty minutes since they’d turned out the light, sated for the time being, their senses filled to the brim with each other. Barbara smiled softly in the dark as she felt Helena’s lips graze her shoulder, her question communicated by touch rather than sound. She laced her fingers between Helena’s and pulled the brunette’s arm tighter into her body. “Go back to sleep, love,” Barbara said quietly.

It wasn’t until Helena’s breathing settled into the even rhythm that meant sleep that Barbara allowed herself to return to the dream’s final image. She’d only gotten a slice, a brief glimpse, but it hadn’t been the Joker’s unruly green curls she’d seen through the open door. Instead, her eyes had lighted upon a very familiar, and deliberately mussed, dark head.

She pushed the image away, knowing that if she let it sit long enough she’d come up with the answer. Barbara closed her eyes and concentrated on relaxing, willing her sleep to be dreamless as it finally settled back over her.

Tuesday, 12:17pm: New Gotham High Cafeteria

“Let her go,” Dinah said quietly.

Chad looked her up and down and laughed. “Or what?”

“I’ll make you very, very sorry,” Dinah replied, her voice even. Out of the corner of her eye Dinah noticed the kids at the adjoining tables moving away slightly while simultaneously forming a circle around the brewing conflict.[Continue Reading…]

In A Song (part 6 of 12)

Sunday, 10:46pm: Alley in the club district

Helena winced at the crunching sound the mugger’s cheekbone made as flesh met bricks. “That’s gotta hurt,” she said, picking the stunned man up and shoving him against the wall again. “Maybe next time you’ll pick on someone your own size. Or better yet,” she said, pulling the zip tab on the plastic handcuffs, “stay home and watch TV.”

< Alarms are going off in a jewelry store on Fifth. >

“Is there some sort of criminals’ convention in town we don’t know about?” Helena asked as she made the jump up to the fire escape and then up to the apartment building’s roof.

< I wouldn’t know. I’ve let my trade journal subscriptions lapse. Convenience store clerk on 13th just hit the silent alarm. >

Helena bounced on the balls of her feet. The apartment building she stood atop was on Ninth street. “I’m taking the convenience store,” she said, running for the edge of the roof and making the jump to the next building easily.

< Good call. Alarms are going off in every neighborhood in the city and NGPD is spread thin as it is. I’m rerouting as much as I can but let me know if there’s anything I can do. >

Barbara could practically hear the grin spread itself over Helena’s lips.

< I can think of a couple of things you can do, Oracle, but I’d much rather show you some things I can do first. >

Helena’s voice was low and silky. Barbara chuckled even as she routed a silent alarm call to a private security company before it hit the NGPD call center. She closed that window and in a blink another popped up on her screen. She tracked the call with a brief flick of her eyes. Houseboat. Interesting. Barbara let that one go through to the NGPD switchboard while she rerouted two from office buildings to another private security firm.

“Cat got your tongue, Oracle?” Helena asked in the silence that followed. Turning the corner onto Ninth, Helena spotted the convenience store easily. The low sound that came back down the open comms line stood the hair on the back of Helena’s neck on end; the content of the reply didn’t help matters any either.

< If she’s good, I know a certain little cat who will be getting my tongue later, Huntress. >

Helena was still shaking her head with laughter as she clothslined the armed robber who was trying to divide his attention between keeping the clerk covered and exiting the store. Quality banter was definitely going to make sweeps a lot more fun.

Sunday/Monday, 2:17am: Clocktower

Barbara barely registered the elevator doors sliding open as she routed two more silent alarms at high-end retail establishments to private security companies. She closed the windows confident that the macro she’d written to track the alarms’ addresses would dump the data in the right file. “You must be tired,” Barbara said, not looking away from the monitoring systems open on the screens in front of her. She shivered as she felt Helena’s fingers brush the hair away from her neck.

“What gave you that idea?” Helena whispered as she caressed the back of the redhead’s neck with her lips.

The smiled turned Barbara’s mouth unwittingly and it occurred to her that smiling was something she could very easily get used to. “The low level of sarcasm and lack of complaints, plus, you used the elevator.” She turned her chair in a tight circle and couldn’t control the sharp intake of breath at the sight before her.[Continue Reading…]

In A Song (part 5 of 12)

Sunday, 8:42am, Barbara’s Bedroom

Helena kept still, her eyes firmly closed, even though she’d shed most of the remnants of sleep. She knew the bed was empty before she snaked a hand across the sheets. With a groan, she rolled over, and inhaled deeply of an intimately familiar scent. Barbara. The name shot through her brain even as her eyes flew open.

Clothes, hers and Barbara’s, were piled haphazardly in the corner. The empty plate and water bottles on the night table, her own nakedness, and the palpable aroma of sex all confirmed that she’d hadn’t just dreamed the night before, hadn’t just dreamed falling asleep curled naked around the woman she’d loved for so long. Helena rolled onto her back and stretched her hearing abilities out past the closed bedroom door. After a few seconds she groaned again and pulled the pillow over her head willing gone the grating noise that floated to her ears.

Sunday: 8:45am: Clocktower kitchen

“So, I’m guessing last night turned out OK then,” Dick said, doing a poor job of keeping the amused smirk off his face.

Barbara raised an eyebrow, her expression skeptical. “I’m not sure I understand what you’re getting at.” Dick reached out with the hand not holding his coffee mug and pushed the collar of Barbara’s kimono open just a tad. “Unless I miss my guess, that is a hickey. I always suspected Helena was a biter.” He laughed as Barbara looked down in shock trying to see her own neck. After much futile craning and twisting of her head, she gave up and pulled the collar of the robe shut to cover the mark. She could feel the heat rise to her cheeks and her embarrassment over the blush just caused her to blush even harder.

In her caffeine-deprived state, Helena shuddered visibly as Dick’s laugh echoed out of the kitchen. Great, I get the happy ex-boyfriend. She rolled her eyes and finished climbing the rest of the spiral staircase. She stifled a yawn against the back of her hand as she shuffled into the kitchen. “Morning.” Helena crossed to the coffee pot, pulled a mug down from the cabinet, and poured the remainder of the coffee into her cup, yawning all the while. She could feel two sets of eyes trained on her back. Fuck it.

Barbara smiled as she watched Helena shuffle over to the table. She’d put on the blue terry cloth robe. Barbara blushed as Helena leaned in and kissed her lightly before dropping into an empty chair, one that put her directly between the redhead and her former lover at the round table. Helena sipped from the coffee mug as she stared at a point in the middle distance, her free hand idly stroking Barbara’s forearm.

“That’s enough out of you, Dick Grayson,” Barbara chided, her tone a mixture of embarrassment, humor, and mock indignation as Dick tried to maintain the most innocent expression she’d ever seen on his face.

“What? I said what?” Dick asked, unable to suppress the mirth in his voice. He’d never seen Barbara so happily embarrassed as when Helena kissed her. And even though it was Helena that was the cause, a happy Barbara was a good thing in his book.

“I’m going to go run this disk and see if there’s anything I can use on it. Don’t go anywhere.” Barbara glanced over at Helena who was watching the exchange like a tennis match while she did a good job of looking like she wasn’t paying any attention at all. Barbara snaked the hand that rested under the table in her lap beneath the edge of the robe to about half way up Helena’s thigh and gave a gentle squeeze. She caught the slight widening of Helena’s eyes. “Either of you.” She moved away from the table and out into the hall.

Helena flicked her eyes over to Dick’s face and was unsurprised to find him examining her critically. They stared at each other for a full minute, neither of them breaking eye contact, before he spoke. “You hurt her and I will kill you. You do know that, don’t you?” he said, in a very even, conversational tone.

“I won’t, you wouldn’t be able to on your best day, and I wouldn’t expect anything less,” Helena replied. She took another sip of coffee.[Continue Reading…]

Christmas In New Gotham

Helena was just landing on the apartment building’s roof when the snow began to fall. “Great…perfect,” she said, turning the collar on her coat up.

< Something wrong, Huntress? >

The light sound of typing and music came through the open comms channel. “Nothing spending the winter in Florida couldn’t solve,” Helena replied. “Do I hear Christmas carols?”

< I don’t know, do you? >

Barbara’s tone gently mocked the brunette. Dinah’s voice was clear, if distant, over the open mic and her words battered Helena’s ears. “You got a tree? Without me? You let the kid pick a Christmas tree on her own?” Helena asked, trying to suppress the disappointment she felt if only because it surprised her.

< You didn’t seem interested, Ebenezer. Come back and see it. It’s…big. I have no idea how she got it home. >

“I’ll give you three guesses and the first two don’t count,” Helena snorted. Dinah had been reveling in recent weeks in her growing control over her powers both telepathic and telekenetic. “If it wasn’t dead out here before, it’s sure going to be now,” Helena said, glancing down at the few remaining pedestrians who had all picked up the pace from hurry to rush. “I’m going off comms for the night.”

< Will you be by later? > [Continue Reading…]