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 or whatever. I’m just borrowing them for a short (well, sometimes extended J ) period of time.
Fandom: Birds of Prey
Rating: R (for language and sexual situations)
Pairing: Helena/Barbara
Summary: Sequel to "Batter My Heart" ... Barbara and Helena begin to explore their relationship as a strange phenomena falls over New Gotham.
Email:
jbslayer27@yahoo.com
*Note: Based on the fact that I read far to much of the schlock (ohmygod I spelt that right the first try!) the producers spewed out before the show was aired, I got a lot of ideas in my head about what was going that hasn’t necessarily been established as cannon on the show. Most notably 1) that there’s an actual non-conspicuous penthouse adjacent to the clock tower secret lair, thus making it an actual secret layer. And 2) that BOP is located in a time in the near future, about 10 years ahead of our current calendar – this came from various statements by WB monkeys that BOP couldn’t have any crossovers with Smallville because the Smallville characters would all be considerably older. So this my authors-note-thingy, and I hoped you enjoyed it*

| Ch 1-5 | Ch 6-10 | Ch 11-15 | Ch 16-20 | Ch 21-End |

Part 21

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Later that night … 

Helena inhaled deeply, Barbara’s scent filling her nostrils, haunting her as it dissipated into her making her head spin and her hand twitch. It had been over an hour and half since she’d left the redhead, but it seemed that Barbara was now permanently on her in some way, a part of her always present. Even as she sat across from Dr. Harleen Quinzel, her arms folded across her chest and her jaw tense.

She shifted leaning forward to rest her elbows on her knees anxiously, Barbara’s soft breaths filtering into her ears through the transceivers.

Her shoulders slumped at that, her heartbeat slowing slightly as her mind became less frantic. She tilted her head to the side and peered at Quinzel curiously instead of threateningly.

"What are your thoughts on love?" Helena asked finally, her voice barely more than a whisper as she peered at Quinzel.

Harleen arched a perfectly sculpted golden brow at that, a slow smile spreading across her face as she contemplated the brunette with a touch of surprise. "How do you mean?" she replied easily tilting her head to mirror Helena’s posture.

"Do you believe in it?" Helena clarified leaning back against the back of the couch once more.

"The illusion of it, or the reality of it?" Harleen asked her voice and expression becoming more serious as she meet Helena’s gaze. The question brought thoughts of her sweet Mista J to the forefront of her mind, teasing her with a love out of reach.

"The reality of it," Helena responded decisively. "I’m in love," she continued leaning forward again watching Quinzel carefully. It was the one thing in the world she was unequivocally sure of, and thus the only thing she felt comfortable bring up because she knew that it could withstand any of Quinzel’s usual attacks.

"With your cop?" Harleen asked sounding slightly amused by the idea, once again raising a questioning eyebrow at Helena. "Decided to forgo the dinner and a movie stage and jump right into undying love?"

"No," Helena responded slowly frowning at the doctor. "He’s … inconsequential."

"Inconsequential," Harleen repeated laughing softly. "Another then," Quinzel replied leaning forward. "You do move fast. You haven’t mentioned anyone else in session as a potential suitor, and yet … you’re in love."

"Sure I have, maybe you’re just not as quick as you think you are," Helena said a challenging little smirk coming to her face as she stared at Quinzel.

Harleen was quiet for a second then leaned toward Helena slightly before erupting into joyous laughter, bringing her hand to cover her mouth as her body shook lightly with mirth. "Barbara?" she asked finally, still smiling widely.

"Oh, so you have been paying attention," Helena replied somewhat irritably, not sure how she felt about the good doctors laugh attack.

"Isn’t that lovely," Harleen responded in a cheerful enough tone though her expression was slightly doubtful and concerned. "And she knows about this?"

"Yeah, she’s a pretty integral part of the couple … being the better half of it all," Helena replied suddenly wishing she’d just gone with good old anti-authoritarianism as a topic of conversation.

"So it is a relationship then?" Harleen asked her voice rising with surprise though she seemed to be trying to mask it.

"What did you think it was? A figment of my imagination?" Helena responded more than a little peevishly. "That I was sneaking into her room when she was out and sniffing her unmentionable’s? What exactly are you getting at?" she continued shifting on the couch in agitation as she spoke, sending dirty looks Quinzel’s way as she went on.

"Well, since you brought it up," Harleen replied easily as if she was unaware of Helena’s agitation and irritation. "You did used to live with her. You were her ward under the law for a number of years. She was your saving grace wasn’t she? Wrapping you in her no doubt warm embrace when everything was cold and dark," she cooed softly, thoughtfully. "It’s hardly unreasonable to think that you could’ve developed a … crush on this beautiful, intelligent woman that took you into her home," she went on looking at Helena’s gently. "An unrequited one that could burn just as brightly and true," she finished her face open and her tone guileless.

Helena drew in a deep breath and glared at the doctor for a moment, her diatribe hitting too close to home, reminding her of the period of time in her life that those words had been the truth. When she had been a kid with a crush who had been thoroughly rejected by the object of her affection. She knew it wasn’t the case anymore, but it bothered her that Quinzel was able to read her so easily, to understand her so well. "Am I supposed to respond to that? I mean was there an actual question anywhere in there?" she ground out finally.

"Only if you want to," Harleen responded quietly, her tone affectionate and her expression caring. "I wasn’t trying to question you, I was trying to make you think. Do you really think that your situation, your history allows you to make completely unbiased decisions about you’re emotions when it comes to Barbara? How you feel about her?" she continued. "You said yourself you’ve known her since you were kid. Childhood is full of giants. She was no doubt one of yours. My question I suppose would be, is she still, and if so conversely what must that make you to her?"

"Okay, what?" Helena asked grumpily as she tried to get her mind around the last part of Quinzel’s response. Not sure exactly what the doctor was getting at but knowing instinctively that she wouldn’t like it.

"If she is still your giant, strong and true, that pure, an almost larger than life representation of what it means to be grown, to be secure? If you’ve aged but your feelings haven’t then isn’t it possible you represent an ideal to her too?" Quinzel asked, her tone reasonable and slightly disappointed as if Helena should’ve known exactly what she was talking about and she was saddened to have to take the brunette by the hand.

"What?" Helena asked dubiously glaring at the woman sitting across from her.

"Innocence. Youth," Harleen responded only to her Helena laugh at that and roll her eyes. "Don’t laugh Helena. You think you’re dark and broody and probably irreversibly screwed up. And maybe you’re right; maybe I can only untangle you so far. But don’t think that negates the presence of innocence within you," she continued feeling the brunette’s eyes watching her intently though she shifted around on the couch as if she weren’t paying attention. "There is something startling true, and open and innocent in you. A purity of emotion, a depth of feeling that’s beautiful in its totality. And if I can see it, Barbara who’s known you since you were a child and seen it in all it’s incarnations certainly could," Harleen said, her voice quivering with emotion as she leaned towards Helena. "You yourself have told me what happened to Barbara. She was gunned down in her own home and left for dead only to awake with legs that didn’t work. Perhaps even dead in a way because that gymnast that awed you so much as a child was ashes and dust," she went on seeing Helena flinch as she spoke. "Is it really so hard to believe that in you she could see what she’d lost? You’re young, strong, and physical. Your life is one of limitless potential, of possibility. Isn’t it possible that in you she could see what she was and could have been?"

Helena remained silently staring at Quinzel unsure how to respond to that, until she was jerked out of her revere by the sound of a ragged breath being drawn in. It took a second to realize that it was Barbara on the other end of the transceivers. She’d forgotten the redhead was there with her.

>> Oh she’s good << she heard Barbara breath out a second later, her voice tinted with a hard edge and slightly strained.

Helena could practically picture in her pinching the bridge of her nose, her face scrunched up, before extended her thumb and index finger to rub at her eyes, to be followed by a soft sigh and her glasses being replaced.

Barbara sighed and reached for her glasses, replacing them as she spoke. >> Don’t forget why you’re there. Set the bug and get out. She’s not trying to help you <<

Helena stood up, her movement jerky and ungainly as she got upright. She turned her back to Quinzel gazing out of the doctor’s large window. She began to move towards it.

"And assuming all of what you’re saying is right. I feel this she feels that. What does it mean?" Helena asked her voice coming out with a weariness she didn’t need to feign. "This all started with a question and a declaration about love. So if we’re talking about these things they must be related. But how? What are you trying to say? What are you trying to make me see?" she continued stopping in front of the window.

"Nothing. Absolutely nothing Helena. We’re talking about it because it’s where the conversation led us. You speak, I respond. I have no direction, no aim. I’m not trying to make you see anything. But if you’ve seen something in where the discussion has led, them I’m more than happy to help you explore it, flesh it out. Understand it," Quinzel responded, watching as Helena turned away from the window and wandered over to her desk.

"Is this good?" Helena asked curiously, leaning over the edge of the desk, her eyes on the computer. "The computer I mean. Barbara’s into computers. I think she’d marry hers if she could figure out a way to make the ring stay on. I’ve never really got them. You know, beyond the music and porn capabilities," she continued moving around the desk, her movements lazy and bored, though her eyes were scanning for the CPU. "She could’ve been like a software zillionaire," she continued contemplatively ducking her head down underneath the desk having spotted the unit. "Designing the techno shit that goes onto these things," she went on patting the back of the unit and leaving her mark. "But god help her she likes teaching," she finished straightening back up and looking over at Quinzel.

"You don’t want to talk about your relationship with Barbara anymore," Harleen stated watching as Helena crossed back over to the couch. She was familiar with the brunette’s evasion techniques.

"Talk? We’re just a pair of emotionally stunted idiots who cling to each other hoping to make the impossible things we see in each other possible," Helena responded her voice dripping with sarcasm. "What’s there to talk about?"

"How’s work?" Quinzel asked easily smiling over at Helena.

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Part 22

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Dinah tapped the tip of her pen against the open page of her textbook, one, two, three times before allowing it to fall from her fingers and land noiselessly in the crevice of her book. Her gaze traveled cross the room to Barbara who was leaning over her keyboard, massaging her temple with her left hand, and typing with her right all while coordinating a more efficient sweep pattern with Dick.

"How’s Helena?" she asked drawing Barbara’s attention over to her momentarily before it returned to the screens. It wasn’t exactly the question she’d wanted to ask, she would’ve liked to inquire how Barbara herself was doing since she’d looked like she was suffering through some severe gastrointestinal pain while listening to Helena and Quinzel. However, she asked what she asked because she knew Barbara wouldn’t answer the question in a way that meant anything in regards to herself.

"She’s … coping," Barbara responded slowly, though her attention remained on the screens. "It was rough on her," she continued stopping her typing though she remained turned away from Dinah. "Being there, listening to her … knowing that she was being toyed with in such a congenial manner. She really liked Dr. Quinzel. Listening to the session … I can understand why. She’s certainly friendly enough …" Barbara went on thoughtfully, her tone going from frustrated, to disillusioned, and hostile only to start the cycle all over again. "It’s been difficult on her."

"The trust issues," Dinah muttered her concentration still focused on Barbara. The redhead’s back was tense, it almost pained Dinah to look at it, and now that she wasn’t typing she was clenching and unclenching her hands rhythmically. As tended to be the case with Barbara, her words didn’t nearly begin to represent what she was feeling. She was censoring what she was feeling, trying to control it, but she wasn’t feeling at all in control or considerate. She was pissed off and just barely managing to control it.

She’d never seen Barbara quite like that before. She’d seen her angry, and seen her reckless, and seen her determined. But she’d never seen her seething with barely restrained rage.

Then again she’d never seen anyone seriously hurt or threaten Helena before.

And Dinah knew that’s what it was. That as passionate and dedicated as Barbara was to crime fighting, it wasn’t the fact that the city was in chaos or that Quinzel was causing problems that had Barbara so worked up. It was that the doctor had hurt Helena. She’d hurt Helena in an insidious and painful way. And Barbara could feel an anger, and loathing and hatred on behalf of Helena that she couldn’t or wouldn’t feel for herself. Her patience and reason did have a limit and it had piercing blue eyes and raven hair.

Quite simply, one should not fuck with her woman.

"The trust issues," Barbara confirmed before inhaling deeply, and noisily and then bringing her right hand to her face to pinch the bridge of her nose. She had to concentrate on something other than the not so nice things she wanted to do to Quinzel’s head.

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

Helena stood in a dark corner of the loft near the elevator; her gaze trained on the redhead slumped over the desk slaving away at the keyboard in front of her. She knew that Barbara knew she was back, she had seen the woman’s bearing change momentarily, had seen her back straighten and her head turn minutely to the side, her back relaxing slightly a moment later as she returned to what she had been doing before.

She knew Barbara’s body. Not just what it looked like, and how it felt. What sounds it made, and where to touch it to make it sing with pleasure. She knew other secrets about it too. She knew how to read it like a book. The tilt of her head, the cant of her shoulder, a movement of her hand, a crinkling of her nose, a brow lowered or drawn, a hand through her hair, two fingers rubbed together, a shifting to the side. She knew what they all meant, what every little shift of Barbara’s body indicated.

She knew Barbara.

She knew that.

She crossed the loft slowly, causally, her body momentarily, deliriously free of tension. Her hands came to rest lightly on Barbara’s shoulders, before beginning to carefully and pleasurably massage the flesh beneath her fingers. Finding it as tight and tense as she knew it would be.

"You feel like I look," Helena said softly, leaning down so that her mouth was beside Barbara’s ear, her breath tickling the redhead’s skin causing her to shake slightly.

"Silky smooth?" Barbara asked her voice coming out as a half sigh as she felt her body begin to actual relax under the double assault of Helena’s hands and her soothing tone. She imaged herself as a ball of plastercine in the brunette’s hands, gently being smoothed out by talented, strong hands, until she would lay in front of Helena open and boundless.

"Sure," Helena drawled laughing softly and meaning it. "Let’s go with that," she continued pressing her head against Barbara’s so that they were side to side before pulling back just enough to place a kiss on the redhead’s cheek. "We should just … stay like this," Helena said her chin dropping to rest on Barbara’s shoulder as her arms drew around the redhead. "For the rest of the … century. The next eighty-seven years, just like this. Only sometimes naked," she finished walking her fingers up Barbara’s taunt stomach playfully.

"I’m warming to this idea," Barbara whispered turning her head to the side so that she could see Helena’s face. She was paler than normal and there were bags forming under her eyes, though her eyes themselves were bright at the moment. "Throw in a ‘sometimes in a bubble’ bath and I think you’ll have converted me."

Helena smiled at that, broadly and leaned towards Barbara brining their lips together, softly exploring the redheads for a long moment before sighing deeply and pulling back, her head dropping to Barbara’s shoulder and burying into her neck.

"Have you found anything?" she asked finally pulling her head up and separating herself from how she’d managed to tangle them together.

Barbara sighed rolling her shoulders as she leaned forward feeling them start to tense again.

"Lots," she muttered quietly. "And lot’s," she continued turning her head to face Helena as the brunette settled against the side of her desk. "She’s the one we’ve been looking for … since Guy," she went on watching Helena closely.

"Guy," Helena said turning her head to the side, her voice nothing more than a pained exhalation as she shut her eyes. A deep, sweeping sadness and despair enveloping her body before gradually giving way to an intense and white hot anger and hatred that made her body shake and bursts of light explode behind her eyes as she screwed them shut more tightly, her breathing deepening causing her chest to begin to rise and fall noticeably.

Barbara’s head snapped to the side as a loud crash reverberated through the clock tower her eyes landing on the spot of impact just in time to see shards of her mug break off and arch in various directions as the liquid that had once been contained by it dripped down the wall slowly.

She turned to look at the spot Helena had been standing in only to find it empty. Shifting her gaze further to the left she saw the brunette bouncing on her feet lightly, and watched as she brought a hand up to rest on the back of her skull, a sputtering and chocking sound being released from her throat as she grasped her hair more tightly, tugging at the strands her bouncing having graduated to quick, harassed hops.

She was already halfway over to her before she even realized she was moving.

"Is everything alright? I heard a …" Dinah started from the second looking down, spotting Helena and Barbara, and stopping her words. Everything was clearly not alright, which became even more apparent when Barbara reached out for Helena’s arm and the brunette stepped out of her reach drawing her arm into and around her body, while her other one came up, finger raised indicating that she didn’t want to be touched.

She turned her head to the side spotting the remains of Barbara’s mug all over the floor. She headed for the stairs, taking them slowly as she shivered slightly, the sweat that had formed on her skin while training cooling in the air of the loft.

"What’s going on?" she asked reaching the bottom floor. Helena had settled herself on the couch, her knees drawn up against her chest and her arms wrapped around them, her head resting on her knees as she looked out into the loft. Barbara was in the same spot she had been when Dinah started down, only now she had her elbows resting on her thighs and one of her hands was covering the side of her face.

"Harleen Quinzel, or more colourfully Harley Quinn’s operation, and it is an operation, is far more extensive than we originally thought. She was the one behind Slick and his weapons hording, and was the person funding Simcron’s genetic research and experimentation," Barbara said slowly turning her head to look at Dinah, her hand listlessly falling to the controls of her chair.

"Guy?" Dinah breathed out as Barbara started back towards the workstation. "She’s the woman Helena saw?"

Barbara simply nodded, her fingers hovering over the keyboard for a moment before she began typing once more.

Dinah turned to look at Helena. The woman had stretched out along the couch while she and Barbara were talking and now had an arm flung over her face. Her body was a glorious contradiction between tension and exhaustion. Dinah didn’t know whether to expect her to leap up any second or fall into a deep sleep.

"I hope everyone’s in the mood for donuts," Dick called out as he breezed into the clock tower. He wasn’t wearing his mask, and had a long trench coat on that went down to his ankles effectively covering his entire suit. Superhero undercover chic. "I needed sugar, but I went a bit overboard, so we can all have sugar. It’ll be …" he continued before trailing off, surveying the three women littered around the clock tower dubiously. "I’m missing something," he decided.

"Might I suggest your brain," Helena muttered not moving an inch.

"I’ll fill you in," Barbara said wearily, drawing Dick’s attention towards her before he could respond to Helena’s insult with one of his own. A verbal sparing match was not something any of them needed at the moment, especially considering that Dick and Helena’s truce had evaporated as quickly as it had formed, leaving them more hostile and less inclined to deal with/tolerate each other than they had been before their brief bonding. "You’re on your own with the donuts though."

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Part 23

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It was after four in the morning when Barbara felt Helena’s side of the bed depress to be followed by a body with cold skin pressing up against the side of her body, Helena’s arm draping across her waist, holding her tightly as her head came to rest on Barbara’s shoulder, her face pressing into the redhead’s chest as she inhaled deeply.

"I don’t even …" Helena started, trailing off helplessly as she realized she couldn’t verbalize what she was feeling because what she was feeling was changing and mutating so rapidly she couldn’t even keep up with feeling it.

"I know," Barbara whispered turning into Helena’s embrace, wrapping her own arms around the brunette’s snuggling closer to her. She lifted her hand to Helena’s head and stroked her cheek lightly, all the while looking into those deep, watery, endless pools Helena’s called eyes.

You think you’re dark and broody and probably irreversibly screwed up. And maybe you’re right … But don’t think that negates the presence of innocence within you … There is something startling true, and open and innocent in you. A purity of emotion, a depth of feeling that’s beautiful in its totality.’

Barbara closed her eyes as Quinzel’s words from earlier that night echoed through her mind, trying the will the voice out of her mind because it was right. There had always been so much emotion in Helena, so much and so strong that as a teenager and still the brunette was hard pressed to know what to do with it all. Would become overwhelmed and overrun by it, completely consumed by the veracity of her feelings. And it was beautiful, and tragic, and breathtaking. It brought tears to her eyes, and made her heart expand with a love so large and true, so full and poignant, that she could understand what it was Helena felt. How it was that she felt. She knew because at moment’s like that she couldn’t control her emotions or comprehend them anymore than Helena could. She would be swept away too.

She felt Helena’s arms wrap around her more tightly, the brunette’s breath tickling her ears for the second time that night and realized for the first time that she had practically plastered herself to Helena’s body while she was in thought, so that her body was pressed up against the length of Helena’s and her head was buried in between the brunette’s neck and shoulder. She was clinging to her.

"Don’t," Helena said softly feeling Barbara start to pull back from her. "It’s nice to know that you need me too," she continued gently stroking Barbara’s back, sighing as the redhead leaned forward into her once more, settling down.

"I always need you," Barbara breathed out so softly her voice was almost inaudible, though she knew Helena would be able to make her words with ease. "Always."

"Even when I get mad at Jeopardy contestants and throw my socks at the screen?" Helena asked smiling as she felt Barbara laugh into her shoulder.

"Why your socks?" Barbara asked feeling herself sag against Helena even more as her body calmed even more with laughter. It amazed her how Helena was able to take away stress she didn’t even know was there.

"Socks don’t break things. They bounce off … or something slide off if there’s a lot of static cling," Helena replied feeling Barbara’s lips graze her neck faintly. "You don’t like it when I break things, but I like throwing things … a quandary solved by socks … and sometimes dishtowels. Or a scrunchie."

Barbara laughed again, a soft but joyous sound as she pushed against Helena causing the brunette to roll onto her back from where she had been lying on her side.

"God, I love you," Barbara whispered softly, looking down at Helena’s face, her voice cracking slightly as she blinked rapidly, her eyes burning with tears. She leaned down pressing her lips against Helena’s, feeling a thin trail of wetness along her cheek, tasting the salty moisture a moment later when her tears bleed into their kiss.

She felt Helena pull back, the brunette’s fingers softly scrapping along her cheek a moment later wiping the wet streaks with her thumb diligently, her hand slipping to the back of Barbara’s head when she was done urging the redhead forward once again as she leaned up to meet Barbara’s descending lips.

"I’m tired," Helena breathed out a moment later, blinking sleepily as she peered up at Barbara. "I think I’m falling asleep," she continued sounding surprised and alarmed though in a sleepy way. She’d barely slept at all in the last few days, and when she had it was a troubled, restless slumber. Forced, ineffective, and always brief. But as she lay there, Barbara’s warmth covering her body under the redhead’s watchful eye, she actually felt her eyes begin to droop and a peacefulness descend upon her body that she knew would mean a restful sleep.

"Then sleep," Barbara said softly, resting her head back down on Helena’s shoulder, feeling the brunette’s arms wrap around her again, though lightly as Helena drifted off, her breathing deepening.

"Barbara," Helena mumbled as her head tilted to the side drowsily. "I love you more."

"How much?" Barbara asked her own voice tired but amused.

"Times ‘finity," Helena replied, apparently too tired to be bothered with forming whole words anymore.

"I love you times infinity plus one," Barbara replied smiling. "I win, now go to sleep."

"Eh," Helena groaned. "I hate it when you beat me at my own game."

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

Part 24

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The next evening … 

Helena leaned up against the wall closet to the workstation, her arms crossed and her head slightly lowered as Barbara detailed their plan of attack to disable Harley Quinn’s base of operations and bring the woman herself into custody.

She shifted restlessly, from foot to foot before beginning to cross and uncross her arms. She was getting tired of standing around, of waiting. She needed to move, she needed to run. She needed to get this over with, because she was really over the entire the thing. The doubt, the anxiety, the frustration and anger, she’d had enough of it. It was tiring, exhausting really. She was ready to move on to new and probably equally as irritating things.

She wanted it over. Needed it resolved. She was tired of thinking.

"I don’t think so," Helena said in a low tone, though it traveled quite effectively in the relative silence of the clock tower. "Quinn’s mine," she continued lazily turning her head to the side, her eyes immediately focusing on Barbara’s, drilling into the redhead’s green orbs. She was fine with Dinah being assigned to blow Quinn’s equipment up. Sure blowing some shit up would’ve been fun for her too, she’d always liked fire a bit too much, but it wasn’t anything she was going to get her panties in a knot over. There was however no way in all the circles of hell that she was going to let Dark Wing Duck get to pick up Quinn. She would’ve argued the point on principle even it wasn’t personal.

"Ah," Barbara breathed out, reaching up to take off her glasses as Helena’s eyes burned into her. "Are you sure?" she continued a second later, peering over at the brunette through her lashes. It wasn’t that she doubted Helena’s ability to bring Quinn in. She just didn’t want to put her lover in another potentially emotionally mauling situation so soon after the last one. With Helena masking herself the majority of the time she went out, it wasn’t that Barbara was worried about Quinzel trying to use her knowledge of Helena against her, she knew it wouldn’t be another therapy session like the night before, but she did worry about what merely being in the other woman’s presence would do to her. It presented a potentially charged situation that could be and probably should be avoided. That being true she knew it was a long shot even proposing that Dick pick up the good doctor, but she had to try.

"Yeah," Helena replied a moment later, toying with the idea of a flippant response but deciding against it. She knew Barbara was already hesitant to send her because of her history with Quinn and didn’t want to give the redhead any more cause for concern. "Yeah I’m sure," she continued steadily holding Barbara’s gaze.

"I take it that puts me on patrolling duty," Dick stated a second later, his eyes lingering on Helena’s brooding figure for a moment before turning to look at Barbara.

"Unless you’d rather stay here and help me … ‘rearrange’ her bank accounts," Barbara replied cocking an eyebrow at him.

"You’d let me play with the computer?" Dick asked looking like he might actually take her up on the offer if her answer was ‘yes’.

"I was thinking more along the lines of coffee fetching and brow mopping actually," Barbara replied smiling as he rolled his eyes and began to pull on his gloves. "Alright then," she continued turning so that she could see all three of them, her voice all business once again. "Everyone’s got their assignments. Let’s shut her down," she stated nodding to them austerely.

"That’s it?" Helena asked after waiting a moment for Barbara to say more and hearing nothing. "That’s the speech?" she continued pushing off of the wall. "Really, it’s a shock that motivational speaking gig didn’t pay off," she drawled sarcastically tipping her head towards Barbara with a mild look of displeasure.

"You wanted a speech?" Barbara asked looking over at Helena curiously, her full attention focused on the brunette.

"Well, yeah, I mean I kinda thought there was going to be speech," Helena replied shrugging. It wasn’t like Barbara sat her down for a pep talk every time she went patrolling, but when they were approaching a final showdown with evil criminal genius’ she usually said a few rousing words, squeezed her shoulder, gave her a meaningful look. Something. "I mean it didn’t have to be a long one. You know, maybe something about duty, and adversary making us stronger, and good overcoming evil. The promise of cake after," she continued shrugging again looking away. "You know."

"It’s not that I didn’t want to say anything, it’s just that … well, you always roll your eyes when I make speech’s and look at your watch," Barbara replied sounding a bit lost. "It’s a little discouraging. They don’t write themselves you know," she continued looking over at Helena.

"Well, yeah," Helena admitted a little uncomfortably. "I fidget. That’s what I do. It doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy them. I’m just … being me," she continued a bit sheepishly, looking over at Barbara through her eyelashes, her chin tucked into her chest innocently.

"Oh," Barbara responded sounding surprised but pleased. "But I really don’t have anything prepared, because I thought … I mean if you give a couple minutes I could scare something up. A dark knight metaphor or two … maybe a little Dylan Thomas for dramatic effect," she continued thoughtfully.

"Nah, it’s alright," Helena said pulling on her jacket though she still sounded a bit disappointed. "I mean the moments kind of over," she went on shrugging. "And, ‘shut her down’ good. It was …ah really succinct … and stuff. Next time," she continued exiting the clock tower and moving onto the balcony.

"Well, that was … unusual," Dick commented a few moments later as he and Dinah headed towards the door.

"It was wasn’t it?" Dinah replied looking over at him holding his eyes for a long minute, their progress halted as they considered the oddity of the conversation they had just witnessed. "I …" she continued a moment later but stopped when she realized it was still very strange.

She shrugged and then they continued towards the door.

Meanwhile, as Dinah and Dick made their exit as well Barbara returned her attention to the computer in front of her. She had a bad guy bank account to hack into and loot. All she had to do was create a back-dated electronic trail of large amounts of funds being transferred from The Bank of New Gotham to a few accounts in Grand Cayman and Switzerland under Harleen Quinzel’s name, and the police would have a nice little trail of information to use against her, especially once they got documentation of the funds suddenly being withdrawn – which she was would take care of soon enough – and a plane ticket to Hong Kong was purchased in Quinzel’s name on her Visa. Once that was done, and she’d relocated Quinzel’s capital to various New Gotham charities, all that remained was for Dinah to destroy her records and equipment, and for Helena to deliver the woman to the police with the disc of damning evidence the brunette had left with.

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

Helena landed on the handrail to Quinzel’s penthouse apartment, her position precarious even for her, though she remained crouched on the thin rail for a moment staring at the blood red curtains that hung just inside of the large swinging doors opposite her before finally hopping soundlessly onto the surface of the balcony.

She took a deep, calming breath, trying to reign in her impulse to go all Karloff-Frankenstein and beat down the door raging ‘Grrargh arghgrrrr’ before menacingly approaching Quinzel and strangling the shit out of her. She was still all for the menacing, and maybe even a bit of funny strangling and a flutter kick/five-across-the-eye combo for variety, but she knew that she had to be in control of herself when she went in.

Rolling her shoulders and sucking in another huge breath of air, Helena held her breath for a moment and then lifted and extended her booted foot with all her might, kicking the swinging doors in and immediately stepped forward, pushing the curtains out of the way as she entered the room.

****************************

"Ah, you must be the bane of my existence," Harley exclaimed happily, smiling over at the dark figure that had just noisily crashed into her spacious apartment, her hands clapping together as she spoke. The soft sounds of Chopin filling the air once more when the ringing of shattering glass finally left their ears. "I thought you’d be shorter," she continued a moment later, her eyes drawing over the dark figure standing just over a meter away from her.

"Why?" Helena asked as she stalked forward to close the remaining distance between them, over her momentary shock at Quinzel addressing her with such apparent friendliness. She’d been worried that maybe despite the mask the doctor had been able to recognize her, but was now certain that whatever the woman was going on about it had nothing to do with Helena Kyle.

"Because," Quinn said still lounging in her chair as if Helena had come over for tea, "you’ve been such a pain in my ass," she went on, staring at Helena for a moment before tilting her head back laughing merrily.

"Very droll," Helena snapped reaching out for the still laughing woman. "Now shut the hell up!" she continued grasping onto the material of the woman’s soft, red, cartoon character covered, cotton pajama top and hauling her onto her feet, her mind involuntarily wondering what a grown woman was doing wearing children’s pajamas. Did she have to get them special ordered?

Quinn allowed herself to be dragged up, her body limp as noodle and still shaking slightly with laughter, her legs completely loose causing Helena to have to support her entire body weight as the woman dangled in her grasp. Then, without a moments warning, Quinn planted her feet on the ground firmly and twisted around harshly in Helena’s grasp, her body crouching down and her arm shooting out to connect forcefully with Helena’s ribs before she spin out of the area of the brunette’s body.

Helena looked over at her angrily, her nostrils flaring hostilely as her lips curved into a predatory sneer.

Quinn laughed at the animal display of fury. "You didn’t really think it would be that easy did you?" she asked with amusement and disdain. "I am an evil genius you know. We, traditionally, don’t go easily," she continued her knees bending slightly as she entered her combat crouch waiting for the dark, and alluring figure to make a move. "It’s a union thing," she added with a smirk. She had no intention of actually trying to beat this woman in a fair fight, because she no idea of actually being in pain or hurt in any fashion. She just needed to tussle with her long enough to be able to get to the table just behind where the woman was currently standing. Then she’d shoot her and put the body up for auction to pay for her window!

"Yeah, well traditionally …" Helena started mockingly as she stared at the woman opposite her. "Oh fuck it! Banters overrated. I’m just gonna get on with the kicking of your ass now," she continued moving towards Quinn once again.

****************************

Harley’s tongue flickered out of her mouth to scoop of a trial of blood that was running out of her nose and over her lips. Just like all of her other plans the masked woman in front of her had thoroughly ruined her plans to kill her dead. She’d been foiled again, not bruised rather badly in the course of it. She sniffed lightly and cocked her head to the side so that she could look up at the woman standing in front of her, her view slightly skewed. A heavy boot rested upon her shoulder, helping to press up back against the wall she was already pushed against, her knees drawn up against her chest.

"Any other traditions you’d like to observe?" the dark woman asked staring down at her, her voice nothing more than a low purr, the energy radiating from her body seeming to seep into Harley through the leather boot resting against her. "Or can we get on to the key tossing part?" she continued.

"You," Harley breathed out struggling against the boot holding her place lightly, but finally relenting and resting against the wall once more when it didn’t budge. "Are a very impressive woman," she continued her voice a series of ragged wheezes as she clutched her ribs, but also full of respect and admiration.

Helena frowned at that. The look, tone and words too close to something she’d once heard this woman say to her in therapy.

"So much power … and darkness," Quinn continued softly her eyes clouding over as she felt the body in front of her tense and saw the beautiful planes of the woman’s lower face draw into a tight, displeased line. "It clings to you like a cloak, is screamed out in your every movement, it … pours out of you like a fine wine," she continued her voice no more than a low, rasp as she stared up at Helena, her pupils dilated and her eyes seeming to shimmer with intensity. "A woman like you could do very well with me," she went on, her hand unconsciously trailing up to rest on the ankle of Helena’s boot. "I could give you what you need, everything you need," she continued stroking the leather of the boot idly with her fingers. "With me you could set the world on fire with your passion, no harness, no restraint … just untamed fury," she finished, her voice quivering as her eyes shone manically and her hand began to trail up Helena’s leg.

Helena yanked the appendage away from the wall and out of Quinn’s grasp, her momentary spell cast over her by the doctors words broken by the insane fervor and naked desire shimmering in her eyes. The woman just wasn’t making a proposition. She was propositioning her. The ludicrousness of it would have made her laugh if uneasiness hadn’t already set up shop within her. Because while the doctors arousal did nothing but incite feeling of malicious glee within her, for a moment there Quinn’s oratory had caused her heart to still and her mind to soar at the idea of total freedom and abandonment, and of complete surrender to her emotions without fear of consequence or reprisal. The liberty feigned by rage and apathy tantalizing her senses. It was only for a moment but it still unsettled her.

"Ah, superhero here," Helena responded tersely grabbing Quinn by the front of her shirt and hauling to her feet none to gently. "Good guys, traditionally," she said spitting the word out remembering the woman’s earlier taunt, "aren’t so much with the accepting offers from raving loons."

"Are you really?" Quinn asked her voice a little strangled by Helena’s treatment. "I mean I’m sure you’re good," she continued cocking her head to the side to smirk suggestively over at the dark haired woman. "But a good guy? You’re a bit too … colourful for that don’t you think?"

Helena looked down at the woman hanging in her arms at that, feeling the anger the desire to inflict pain upon her begin suffuse through her body making her feel warm and tingly. There was a significant part of her that would’ve liked nothing more than to make Quinn feel a fraction of the pain she’d caused Helena herself, or any number of her victims for that matter.

She tightened her hold on Quinn instinctively and bent her head forward sniffing the woman in an animal fashion causing Quinn to inhale deeply as her body became even more excited at the primal display of power, which only riled Helena more. She responded by slamming the blonde up against the wall she had just hauled her away from, one of her hands pressing against Quinn’s chest holding her firmly in place while the other went to her neck, squeezing for a long moment before coming to simply resting there.

Helena leaned into Quinn then, her head coming to hover beside Quinn’s her lips beside the doctor’s ear. "Good enough," she whispered, remaining in the position she was in for a moment longer, allowing the tension to build before she yanked Quinn back away from the wall and shoved her roughly towards the door.

"Don’t you want to know why?" Quinn asked, smiling as she lay sprawled rather ungracefully on the floor, her left hand clutching her battered side and her tone was tinged with notes of pain.

"Fine," Helena smiled snapping the thick piece of fabric that lay in her hands and would soon be shoved into Quinn’s pretty little mouth. "I’ll bite. Why?"

"Because," Quinn said settling herself a little bit more neatly on the floor though she never once took her eyes off of the masked face in front of her.

Helena stared at her for a moment though Harley couldn’t see it for Helena’s mask she could feel it. And then Helena was moving towards her again, a flurry of motion as she crouched down and tied her hands impatiently before moving to put the gag in place.

"What did you expect?" Quinn laughed while she still had the chance. "I’m crazy!"

"And now you’re quiet," Helena replied tying of the gag behind Harley Quinn’s head before standing once more, dragging the woman up with her.

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

Epilogue

Three days later…

Barbara considered Dinah quietly for a moment, a contemplative then serious expression covering her face. She sighed deeply and then opened her mouth to speak. "A party huh?" she asked trying not to smile.

"Yeah, a sma…average one," Dinah replied seeing Barbara’s eyebrow start to rise as she began to fib about the size of the party. Stupid she thought to herself, of course Barbara had heard about it. "Okay, it’s gonna be huge. It’s gonna be huge because it’s the party of year. You have to let me go, if I don’t I’m going to be a social leper for the rest of my high school existence and end up spending my Saturday nights knitting sweaters with Alfred," she continued pleadingly.

"Hmmm," Barbara responded her tone thoughtful once more. "When does the party end?" she asked finally.

"That," Dinah hedged for a moment. "Is kind of open-ended," she admitted.

"I see," Barbara replied nodding her head to emphasis how much she really did understand what Dinah was saying.

"I promise not to get into any trouble whatsoever. I’ll be practically prudish. People will look at me and go um … ‘isn’t she prudish’," Dinah related in a very sincere tone while looking at Barbara sincerely. "I’ll be so good that everyone’ll be wondering where my wimple is, and …"

"Alright, alright," Barbara said smiling a bit holding up her hand. "You can go," she said now fully grinning at Dinah. "And," she continued drawing the word out suspensfully. "I’ll leave it up to you to decide what an appropriate curfew would be and to meet it," she went on seeing Dinah stare at her for a moment and then break out into a grin.

"Thank you, thank you, thank you," Dinah gushed putting her hands together and shaking them excitedly before bending down and hugging Barbara. "Wow," she said pulling back, her voice a little chocked with emotion. "You’re like the best … … Barbara a girl could have," she said nodding at the redhead before stepping back. She had to get to her room so that she could call Gabby and gloat, and then they had to coordinate outfits. It was going to be a full night.

Helena looked up when she heard the door to Dinah’s room close. She didn’t even need to look over at Barbara to know that the redhead had been following the blonde’s progress with an affectionately amused smile on face.

"Now that she’s gone and I’m free to act as immaturely as I want, about the curfew thing … no fair!" Helena exclaimed finally turning to look at her lover, her voice rising slightly with her exclamation and her face screwing up indignantly. "You never waved curfew rights for me."

"Because you never actually ever made curfew to begin with," Barbara responded turning to face Helena who’d set up shop on the couch and currently had a medium sized box laying on her lap, scotch tape hanging from the tip of one finger, and brightly coloured wrapping paper surrounding her.

Helena made a face and then tilted her head from side to side as she made fake talking motions while smoothing a piece of tape down with her thumb. "Yes, yes Dinah’s the good orphan child and I still have to apply foundation for a least twenty minutes everyday to cover up the pentagram on my forehead," Helena finally said with a normal expression in a normal speaking voice.

"I can completely see how you got that from what I said," Barbara responded in a lightly sarcastic tone though her expression was serious as she moved over towards the couch. It had only been a few days since their final show down with Dr. Harleen Quinzel and while Helena seemed fine for the most part, immediately letting herself be enveloped by the Christmas spirit, Barbara had noticed a shadow in the brunette’s eyes on occasion. Something was bothering her. "Is everything alright?"

Helena sighed deeply allowing Barbara to brush an errant strand of hair out of her face before tipping her head to the side and out of the redhead’s grasp and leaning back. She hadn’t meant for her comment to be as illuminating as it had been. "Fine. I was speaking ironically … you know. It only takes ten minutes tops for the face work, it’s concealing the horns that’s really a bitch," she said smirking at Barbara before turning her eyes back down to the package in her lap. She started to wrap it again. She didn’t want to have to look into Barbara’s eyes. They were and always would be the end of her.

"Really," Barbara commented carefully studying Helena. "I always thought it was binding the wings and concealing the blinding halo of light that kept you in the bathroom for long," she continued a bit relieved to see Helena turn her head to the side, a self-conscious but genuine smile working it’s way across her face.

"I have to say, I like that imagery better," Helena responded the smile fading as she turned to look at Barbara. "But you have to admit it’s not exactly a perfect fit," she continued holding the redhead’s gaze intensely.

"No," Barbara admitted meeting Helena’s eyes. "But it’s certainly closer than your fire and brimstone metaphors," she continued softly.

"You think so?" Helena asked, her tone light and a little flippant, though her somber expression and rapidly blinking eyes testified to the significance of the question.

"I know so," Barbara responded her voice ringing with quiet intensity, her eyes burning into Helena’s as she spoke. "We wouldn’t be here otherwise," she continued her hand grasping Helena’s though her eyes briefly skittered away from Helena’s blue ones to look around the clock tower.

Helena drew in a deep and shaky breath before sucking her bottom lip into her mouth and biting down on it lightly for a moment. At Barbara’s words and the honesty that permeated every syllable of them, she felt an almost tangible weight being lifted off her that had settled somewhere deep inside over the past week. She felt a lightness and warmth begin to tread through her soothing old and new aches and wounds. But at the same time there was a dread, a small sliver of doubt and fear poking it’s head out of whatever corner of her brain it had managed to burrow into. The two emotions hope and despair clashing savagely in her mind. She wanted to believe Barbara, she wanted to be able to pluck the redhead words out of the air and place them in her heart where they would be kept safe and she would know them to be true. She just couldn’t. There was a part of her that couldn’t, or maybe wouldn’t believe, she was as good as Barbara – and even Alfred and Dinah – believed her to be. There was a part of her that believed she was bad.

She looked up at Barbara and blinked, big blue eyes shimmering wetly with unshed tears. She wanted to say something, she wanted to say innumerable things but she didn’t know what they were. She settled for muttering, "Sometimes I wonder," while running an agitated hand through her hair.

"I think," Barbara said, her hand reaching out to stroke Helena’s cheek. "That that’s a good thing," she continued softly. "In the world we live in it’s when we stop wondering, stop questioning, stop searching that we’re in trouble," she went on as Helena turned her eyes up to look at her. "If you didn’t care, you wouldn’t question, you wouldn’t worry. In a strange way," she went on shaking her head slightly. "I think doubt is one of the best checks we have.

"Is there darkness in you?" Barbara continued. "Undoubtedly. More than in most people," she continued feeling Helena tense under her hand slightly and lower her eyes. "Which isn’t a bad thing. Because without darkness there can be no light," she went on her eyes clouding over as her voice became soft and resonant. "And the light in you far outweighs the dark. In fact at times it burns so brightly it can be almost blinding," she said her voice faintly awed as her lips curved upwards.

"You worry about it," Helena said dropping her eyes from Barbara’s face, not able to look at her loving smile as she said what she had to say. "I know you do."

Barbara sighed at that and felt Helena pull away from her hand, was vaguely aware of movement on the couch as the brunette slumped back into the cushions. Helena was right. She did worry about her, about the darkness and the intensity that coursed through her. She also believed every word she had just said. Helena could be amazingly sensitive, kind and generous. She could be as soft and gentle as she could be hard and unforgiving. She was a walking, talking contradiction, a body in contrast and at war with herself. Sure she worried. Of course she worried. It broke her heart to see Helena so conflicted, at times the various parts of her fighting so hard she could almost see the brunette tearing herself apart. But that worry in no way stifled her belief in other woman.

"You’re right," Barbara said finally seeing Helena start to shift uncomfortably under the weight of her silence. "I do worry, I can’t help it. I love you … which seems to mean constantly worrying and obsessing anxiously about you," she continued sounding mildly befuddled by her own emotions. "I can’t sit here and tell you that you’re never going to do something you’re going to regret, or that all the decisions you’re going to have to make are going black and white and therefore ridiculously easy. Or that because you’re a good guy every decision you come to and action you take is automatically going to be stalwart a true," she went on leaning back against the back of her chair herself, a hand running through her hair. "All I can really say is … is that I believe in you."

Helena was silent for a moment after Barbara finished speaking. She could feel the emotions that had been churning inside of her causing her insides to knot and her head swim begin to slow and was waiting for it all to settle. A soft sigh escaping from between her lips when they did, a small smile coming to grace her lips.

"I think I’m going to have to re-wrap this," she said softly looking down at the package in her lap. She’d somehow managed to rip and bunch an entire section of the wrapping paper while tangling the various strips of tape she’d had on her finger tips together forming a sticky, crinkly ball.

"What?" Barbara breathed out in response, her brows wrinkling slightly even as her gaze moved to follow Helena’s. She was a bit thrown by the brunette’s change of subject. She should’ve been used to it by now, having had the better part of seven years to adjust, but it still sometimes took her by surprise. "What the …" she exclaimed a second later, her eyes following upon what had previously been a present on its way to being competently wrapped.

"I think I was a bit tense," Helena replied with an amused self-consciousness.

"And now?" Barbara asked curiously as she reached out for Helena’s hands, her gaze traveling between her own fingers as they worked removing the clusters of tape that covered Helena’s hands, and the brunette’s face.

"Not so much," Helena responded softly as her eyes dropped to watch Barbara work.

"I take it this is for Alfred," Barbara commented a second later focusing on the box Helena had been wrapping for the first time since moving the join the brunette by the couch.

"No. Dinah. Men’s dress shoes are all the rage with sixteen-year-old girls this year. Once she sees them she’s gonna love me forever and ever," Helena replied earnestly looking up at Barbara with a completely sincere expression.

"What do I know I’m still wearing choker’s," Barbara deadpanned in response before quirking an eyebrow at Helena. "Seriously though, why shoes? Were they all out of monocles? No, wait … there was an ascot shortage wasn’t there?" she finished knowingly.

"First," Helena started. "Funny," she continued not sounding very amused. "The man needs to branch out. I mean I like Rockport’s as much as the next girl, but everyday … for seven years. No, no," she continued shaking a finger in front of Barbara’s face. "Mezlan Nicola’s. They’ll drive the ladies at the local grocer’s wild."

Barbara stared at her.

"Oh alright," Helena relented looking away from the redhead. "Renato Balestra was out of classy ascots and I got him a monocle last Christmas – which I might add, he never wore after New Year’s. Are you happy now?"

"Um hmm," Barbara replied nodding happily before grinning at Helena widely when the brunette returned her gaze to her.

Helena smiled back at her, and then sneered slightly snapping her mouth in Barbara’s direction making a ‘rowr’ sound, before then going back to properly wrapping Alfred’s gift.

********************************************

The next day …

Helena paced in front of the bathroom door impatiently staring at its smooth, white surface with a white-hot intensity that could’ve melted plastic.

Suddenly stopping her insane cycle of pacing, Helena turned so that she was facing the door and lifted her arm in the air preparing to embark upon an insane cycle of banging on the door and irritating the shit out of Dinah until she exited the bathroom. Sure it hadn’t worked the last time she’d tried ten minutes ago, but she felt like hitting something.

Preparing to bring her fist down on the wooden surface in front of her she halted her motion half way to the door, an evil smile making it’s way across her face. This was followed by her softly chuckling to herself, before taking in a deep breath.

"Dinah!" she called out banging her hand against the door.

"The more you yell the longer I’m going to stay in here," Helena could just make out Dinah yelling through the door over the hiss of the shower.

"Fine," Helena called back in deceptively subdued tone. "I guess I’ll just have to keep Gabby company until you get out," she continued, smiling as she heard the noise from the shower lessen. Dinah had to have turned it down to hear her better. "I wonder what we’ll find to talk about," she went on thoughtfully though in a loud enough tone Dinah could hear her.

"It’s only 8:30," Dinah called back skeptically as she looked at her watch. Gabby wasn’t supposed to pick her up until nine.

"Yeah, got here early. She must really miss you when you’re not around," Helena responded leaning against the wall beside the bathroom door. "Hey, I know! If you’re going to be much longer, the two of us can talk about you! That way she won’t miss you as much," she continued smiling to herself.

This was followed by the sound of the shower turning off completely, multiple thumps, some mumbled colourful phrases – all of which Helena was able to make out – before the door was thrown open, and a still dripping severely disgruntled looking Dinah emerged in the doorway.

"Don’t go near her," Dinah stated seriously looking at Helena. She didn’t know what the brunette would think of to say and she didn’t want to find out.

Helena tossed her hands up in the air. "I was just trying to helpful," she commented as Dinah stepped out into the hallway.

"Where is she?" Dinah asked smoothing down her tangled hair as she glared at Helena. She wasn’t letting the brunette anywhere near Gabby, not even to tell her that she’d be dressed in a few minutes.

"Living room. I set her up with some jerky and scotch," Helena replied non-pulsed by Dinah’s look. "I could so totally host my own show. ‘Home with Helena’," she continued smiling.

Dinah stared at the brunette for a moment, then muttered ‘Whatever’, and headed towards the living room.

As soon as Dinah turned her back Helena slipped into the bathroom, quietly closing the door behind her, bending down close to the knob as she turned the lock as softly as possible.

"Helena!" she heard Dinah yelling a few seconds later.

Helena started whistling. It wasn’t Dixie but it was good enough.

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

"I can’t believe you did that," Barbara commented softly shaking her head as very refreshed and rosy looking Helena emerged from the door that adjoined her bedroom to the bathroom.

"She stopped yelling after a few minutes," Helena replied shrugging as if she didn’t get what the big deal was, though Barbara could see that she was trying to hold in a smile. A big one if the way her shoulders were shaking was any indication.

"You’re lucky," Barbara responded watching as Helena brusquely toweled off her hair. "She only stopped because Gabby actually did get here a few minutes after you took over the bathroom."

"You see that," Helena said tossing the towel she was using for her hair back into the bathroom. "I can’t even not be helpful when I’m trying. I truly am a precious gift," she continued grinning over at Barbara before letting the towel she had wrapped around her body drop. "You didn’t let her take any of my clothes did you?"

"No," Barbara responded rolling her eyes. "And you don’t have to worry about her asking either. They left about two minutes ago," she continued her words slowing and coming out in a lower tone of voice as she watched Helena strut over towards closet. Once Helena had begun to spend her nights in the penthouse once again Barbara had decided to take the brunette’s clothes which had been hanging around the clock tower off of the various pieces of furniture that had housed them for so long and hang them up in her closet.

"That was fast? What’d Gabby help her change?" Helena asked derisively as she thumbed through her section of the closet, which actually took up about half.

Barbara was vaguely aware of Helena’s response, in that she could her the brunette’s low tones, but she couldn’t exactly make out the words that were being spoken. Her attention was firmly focused on the intricately inked phoenix tattoo that adorned Helena’s lower back. She’d been slightly horrified the first time she’d seen it – which admittedly had been almost a month after Helena had gotten it – when the brunette had been bent over digging in one of the lower cabinets for pop tarts. However, as her eyes fell south following the design, she had to admit that she had grown rather fond of the tattoo recently.

"I’ve been negligent," Barbara said drawing Helena’s attention over towards her. "How could you let me get away with such horrendous behavior?" she asked the brunette, reigning in the urge to smile as Helena simply lifted a perfectly sculpted dark eyebrow at her. "You were great at the faculty dinner, and I did get you Christmas presents, but I …sadly, haven’t come close to meeting the ‘lots of sex’ quota," she continued, watching as Helena leaned against the side of closet and crossed her arms, meeting her gaze with a cocky smirk. "I’m shocked and appalled with myself," she went on holding Helena’s gaze. "You’re going to have to lie down on the bed. It’s time for me to have my way with you. It must be done."

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

Barbara ran her hands up Helena’s thighs, enjoying the sharp intake of breath that accompanied her scrapping her nails along the pale, smooth flesh, while she kissed and licked her way up Helena’s other leg.

Upon reaching the spot where Helena’s thigh met the curve of her ass Barbara rubbed her nose in small teasing circles on the firm rounded flesh, while her other hand made it’s way up the side of Helena’s torso, slipping beneath her to cup her breast, massaging it for a moment, before pinching Helena’s nipple between her thumb and forefinger as she bit down on the creamy surface of Helena’s ass, drawing out a ragged gasp from Helena as she thrust her chest forward trying to increase the contact between her breast and Barbara’s hand, and her hips back expectantly.

Barbara smiled against Helena’s flesh as she continued to kiss her way up the brunette’s body, the hand that wasn’t already fondling Helena’s chest sliding up the brunette’s torso so that her hands were cupping and manipulating both of Helena’s breasts, as she lay in between the brunette’s legs her breath tickling the skin on Helena’s back.

Barbara concentrated on rolling and pinching Helena’s nipples for a few long and pleasurable moments, tugging the taunt tips occasionally before pressing down and rolling them between her fingers again, the low growls emanating from Helena’s throat as her head thrashed on the pillow heightening her own excitement driving her to thrust her hips into the mattress beneath her as she lowered her lips to Helena’s skin once more.

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

Helena felt Barbara’s hand on her neck, trailing up towards her face, applying some subtle pressure trying to get her to lay her head back down, even as Barbara’s lips continued to assault her skin, licking, sucking and nipping lightly. She didn’t need to see Barbara to know that the redhead was tracing the outline of her tattoo with her tongue, drawing her lip across it and scraping her teeth against it’s surface before soothing the worried skin with a swipe of her tongue, teasing the inked flesh mercilessly. She didn’t need to see, but she wanted to, she had been trying to when Barbara’s hand began to move towards her face.

Barbara sucked in a laboured breath as she felt Helena suck the thumb of her left hand into her mouth, Helena’s own hand moving to cover hers as she began to suck on the digit eagerly while relaxing against the pillow once again. Her eyes fluttered shut as she felt the smooth surface of Helena’s tongue ring dancing across her flesh slowly driving her into a sexual frenzy when coupled with the warmth of Helena’s mouth and the wetness of her tongue.

Barbara braced her right hand on the mattress and began to draw herself up Helena’s body, leaving wet trial of pink marks on the brunette’s creamy flesh as she made her way upwards, her lips and tongue attacking the back of Helena’s neck as the brunette continued to assault her fingers, before she drew her lips up beside Helena’s ear, drawing the lobe in mouth and sucking on her before pulling back just far enough to whisper "Turn over," roughly into Helena’s ear.

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

Barbara’s head tipped back against the pillow her lips parting slightly as her back arched and her hips thrust forward, meeting every movement of Helena’s as the brunette ground herself against Barbara’s center, her hand on Barbara’s right thigh as she held it draped over her own, her left hand braced against the headboard giving her the leverage needed to drive forward into Barbara.

Helena looked down at Barbara’s flushed face, gazed at her captivated as she continued to grind against her, held utterly and completely hostage by the redhead’s beauty. Her hair spread against the pillow like a fiery halo, her lips pink, moist and slightly kiss bruised, as her eyes fluttered beneath their closed lips and her chest rose and fell rapidly.

"Barbara," she rasped, looking down watching as the redhead’s stomach muscles tense and relax as her hips bucked forward. Barbara was as close as she was, she could feel it. Could see it etched across her body. "Open your eyes," she continued wanting, nay, needing to see the redhead’s emerald orbs as she came.

Barbara’s eyes shot open at Helena’s words, her eyes immediately finding the brunette’s deep blue spheres, holding them as she felt her body shake and swell with pleasure as she felt Helena begin to move against her more intensely, her breasts swaying erotically as she moved, her hair falling in front of her face, obscuring her features except for her eyes which shone through the strands of raven hair, making her look like a dark goddess, both wild and regal.

Barbara’s hips bucked forward one last time before her body exploded with pleasure and a rainbow of colours began to dance behind her eyelids. Vaguely aware of Helena’s name being torn from her lips, as her body quaked and shook in rapture, her sounds of release mingling with Helena’s own hoarse exhalation as she shuddered above her.

***********************************

The next day… 

"This is SO not the natural order of things," Dinah declared as she watched Helena struggle with the rather large artificial Christmas tree that had been salvaged from the basement of the building, still glittering with pieces of tinsel from Christmas’s past. "I mean, not only is that the saddest looking artificial," she stressed. "Tree I’ve ever seen. It’s Christmas Eve! Eve!"

Helena stopped wrestling with the tree for a moment at that, and used her relatively free hand to part some of the fake braches to make an opening for her face, which she proceed to glare at Dinah through for a long moment. Then closing up the face hole she’d made she turned on her heels and started back towards the door.

"Where’re you going?" Dinah asked curiously though with a touch of trepidation.

"To the basement," Helena grumbled before releasing a series of intricately weaved curse words as she began to struggle with the tree once more, this time trying to get it back out the door, ending with "Fucking hell!" as she clamped one hand over her left eye and began yanking at a branch with her other hand while supporting the tree on her knee.

"It’s only five, there’s probably still a few tree lots open," Dinah volunteered carefully circling around the tree until she was on the other side of it and therefore had a decent barrier between her and Helena, or more accurately any wrath Helena might fly into.

"Oh that’s funny," Helena responded pushing the tree into the doorway before rubbing at her eye. "Basement. No tree!" she declared before beginning to ram her body into tree that was stuck in the doorway.

"You mean we’re not getting a real tree?" Dinah asked incredulously.

"Was ‘No tree’ really that difficult a statement to comprehend?" Helena asked before cocking her head to the side to consider the tree in front of her, her lips pouting slightly and her hand coming to her chin to stroke it thoughtfully. "BARBARA!?!" she yelled a moment later at the top of her lungs. "BARB…"

"What?" Barbara yelled back in a rather harassed tone, her figure emerging in the hallway a few second later.

"Where’s that sword? The big one. You know, the medieval fucking Knights of the Roundtable looking thing?" Helena asked in a normal speaking voice turning around to look at Barbara. "Oh, isn’t that festive," she commented upon seeing the redhead’s attire.

"It’s in the storage room in the clock tower," Barbara responded sighing before looking down at the colourful sweater she’d just put on. "Came in the mail today," she muttered fingering that material. "I’m a grown woman, I don’t see why I should have to …" she continued to grumble mostly to herself. "Couldn’t even have gotten an Elf," she went on distastefully poking at the reindeer head embroidered on her chest.

"Why," Dinah started not sure if it was a subject to be broached considering Helena’s snickering and Barbara’s grumbling. "Why are you wearing it? Not that it’s not nice, I mean, it just seems like you’d … rather not … you know … be … wearing …it," she finished her voice barely audible at the end as she looked around the foyer.

"Gordon family tradition," Helena smirked looking over at Dinah. "Aunt Ruthie makes them over the year and sends them to all the nieces and nephews to wear to Christmas dinner. The kids get jumpers," she continued nodding at Dinah still smirking broadly.

"How come you don’t have one?" Dinah asked looking between Helena and Barbara.

"Ky-le," Helena sounded out phonetically. "Gor-don," she continued pointing towards Barbara. "Kyle … Gordon. KYLE … GORDON," she went on pointing between the two of them as she said their names.

"Barbara said you went to the dinners," Dinah responded glaring at Helena and shifting her weight over onto one foot to show just how unimpressed she was with the brunette’s sarcasm.

"One dinner to be exact. And there was an incident. And every year since my invitation has conveniently been lost in the mail," Helena responded her tone surprisingly subdued though she wasn’t quite able to remove all derision from her voice. "Don’t ask. We don’t speak of it."

Dinah looked between the two of them, Barbara who was staring at Helena rather intensely and not in the ‘awww schmoopy’ way she’d gotten used to over the past month, while Helena pretended to be considering the tree that was still lodged rather firmly in the doorway.

"Storage closet?" Helena asked finally turning around to look at Barbara again.

"What do you want a sword for anyway?" Barbara asked curiously now that she was over the humiliation caused by her sweater.

"I’m gonna hack the tree out of the doorway," Helena responded happily looking back over at the offending object while making a hacking motion with her hand. "Dinah doesn’t like it, and it’s stuck. We don’t wanna make you late for dinner."

"Did you try pushing it?" Barbara asked.

"Yes. And it got stuck," Helena responded rolling her eyes at Barbara. "So I’m going to chop it into little bits."

"I thought …" Barbara started looking over at Dinah who seemed horror stricken by what Helena was proposing.

"She doesn’t like the tree. It’s the saddest looking artificial tree she’s ever seen. We should put it out of its misery. Isn’t that what you said D?" Helena interjected turning to look at Dinah.

"No," Dinah exclaimed. "Well yeah. But not the misery, psycho chopping thing," she continued in a slightly accusatory and incredulous tone.

"Well excuse me for coming up with a creative solution to the problem," Helena replied. "Think outside the box D, not everything is gonna fit into your nice, neat, little number crunching world of leprechauns and dancing sugar plums … and stuff," she continued her hands rising up and moving around to increase the sarcastic quotient of her words, before she started for the entrance to the clock tower.

"First of all, stop calling me that!" Dinah said trailing behind Helena. "And secondly, what? Have you been bathing in bong water? What the hell did that mean?"

Barbara shook her head and headed back to her bedroom. If she had to suffer through a Christmas dinner with barely tolerable family members and stupid outfits she wasn’t going to sit through one of Helena and Dinah’s fights.

"If you don’t know I’m not going to tell you," Helena responded listlessly watching as the doorway to the clock tower opened up. The truth was she could barely remember the words that had poured out of her mouth moments before. She sometimes had a tendency to talk out of her ass.

"You’re not really gonna chop it into pieces are you?" Dinah asked following Helena into the other room. "Cause it’s not such a bad tree. Now that I think about it. And besides, it’s really the perfect tree for us. I mean it’s seen some hard times, but it just keeps on trucking, you know. That tree …"

"Dinah," Helena said turning around to look at the blonde. "I won’t hurt the tree … if you promise to stop talking about it!" she said slowly, enunciating every word.

"Hey," Dinah exclaimed as they entered the penthouse once more and were heading towards the foyer. "You were never gonna chop it up were you. You just wanted me to admit that I liked the tree. Didn’t you?"

"Yes, that’s how I spend my days. Trying to think up ways to foil you," Helena replied sardonically. "Dear diary, today I put salt in Dinah’s tea, and switched the Tide colour-guard with generic brand when Alfred was doing her laundry. In six to twelve months her blacks are so gonna be slightly muted," she continued bracing one of her feet against the wall as she wrapped her arms around the tree and began to tug it into the room once more. "And tomorrow I’m going to put bubble-gum in her hair, and making beeping noises when she backs up," she went on struggling to keep a hold on the tree as it popped back into the room. "Why the hell am I dragging this thing anyway?" she asked a second later rounding on Dinah peevishly. "Aren’t you telekinetic?"

The End

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