The final 2 episodes of Birds of Prey will air as one 2 hour movie on February 19th from 8-10 p.m. on the WB (doublecheck local times and dates)
Because Sometimes You Hurt The One You Love
Sheís inside me. Her eyes, her heart, her voice. Especially her voice. Always in my head. A whisper to a scream echoing between my ears. Booming. Commanding. Whining. Debating.
I am the legs she can no longer run with. The brawn to her brain.
Sheís inside me, comforming, pushing against my insides, fitting tighter and smoother than a hand in glove.
Some days, I think I hate her.
"Huntress, HUNTRESS, can you hear me?"
"Yeah, I hear you." I bark back. Voice dripping with disdain.
"Do you see him?" My eyes are her eyes. They focus in the darkness, the dark alley bright as Sunday in the park.
"Yeah." How could I miss him. Calling him a clod would be a compliment. Then again, he doesnít think anyone is following. People are different when they think no one is watching. I donít have that luxury. Sheís always watching me.
"Well, follow him."
I do. I always do. Obey her voice. Follow her command. Sure, I may resist, but never for long. I can never resist her.
I follow him. Heís a gangster, or something. I wasnít really paying too much attention. All I needed was the scent, the possibility of violence. Thatís one emotion she doesnít own. My anger.
We walk, hunter and prey, deep down into the bowels of the city. The place the tourists and regular people donít see. The down below places where up is the street and the scent of the gutter is a welcome relief. Where the walls drip with a darkness, and hint of something foreboding. Violence. Sex. Something else I have she doesnít, a taste for both.
The walls begin to throb. Pulse with the rhythm of a faraway beat. Soon, the corridors arenít just for me and him but of the larger rats, the two legged ones, all following the beat of our twisted Piped Piper.
It doesnít take long to figure out where heís taking me. I can already smell the smoke, sweat and booze. The tricks and treats of the children of the night.
A hundred bodies writhe and sweat, dance and grind to the beat. A hundred more stand on the sidelines, watching, waiting, doing the dark dangerous things people donít do in the day, or the light.
I make my way to the catwalk. A platform strung by cables overlooking the dance floor. The vantage point is perfect, I can see everything. Everyone.
"Focus." She drones in my ear.
"I know what Iím doing."
"I didnít say you didnít, I said focus."
The pulse reverberating through my body is intoxicating. Hypnotic with a primal intensity. I canít help the tapping of my toes, the snapping of my fingers. And the beat, beat, beat pounding in my head, drowning out her voice, and all thoughts of duty, honor and destiny. I grab a drink, numb the clarity, dull the senses just a little. Because the thought running through my brain is too delicious to give up just yet.
"What?" I yell to no one. Fire anger glares to silence the strange looks around me.
"Have you found the objective?"
"Yes I have." I lick my lips. Iíve definitely found my objective. The hairís too red, the eyes blue instead of green. But her legs are long and deadly, leading up, up, up to promises of pleasure or pain. I want both.
She feels me watching. Tosses me a smile that goes straight to where itís supposed to and Iím following. I have new prey now, and I wonít stop.
A kick of a boot, the slam of a door and weíre on each other. Groping, grabbing, fighting for dominance. I win. Pin her where I want her, where Iíve always wanted her. In my head, my arms, between my legs. Our moans are loud. My scream is primal. The rush of pleasure and release takes me higher than any drug.
I leave her panting in the stall. The taste of our sex on my tongue. The voice in my head is silent. I wonder if she enjoyed the show?
Sirens. Police, lots of police. Not here yet, but they soon will be. Too bad, the nightís still young.
Without her voice in my head, I realize Iíve lost my prey. Doesnít matter, I can find him easily enough. His kind are all the same and not too imaginative.
I wanna go home. Back to the tower, back to her. The gameís no fun if I canít see my audience react. And she will react.
Itís dark. The familiar hum of computers strangely silent. I walk into the center of the room, Barbaraís space. Her absence is palpable. The blank screens stare at me, almost scornfully. I see a pair of headphones sitting on the desktop, a microphone attached to them, Barbaraís end of our Ďconnectioní. Barbaraís not attached to them. Sheís left me, left my head, my insides.
Soft steps and sniffling approach from behind. Itís Dinah. I feel her long before sheís within reach. Sheís not who I am looking for, who I need.
"Helena?" She calls out to me in that childlike voice of hers. God, why wonít she go away? My hand reaches for Barbaraís transceiver. Itís still warm, and fading. I turn it on just to feel something of her within me.
Dinah steps onto the platform. "Sheís gone." She says almost disbelieving.
"She...she said Alfred would take care of me now."
"Sheíll be back."
"No, she wonít."
I turn to look at her. Her skin is paler than normal, eyes puffy and red. "Do you hear me, I said sheís not coming back."
Her eyes are pleading with me. ĎTell me what to do, tell me how to feelí. I wonder if I looked as lost when I came scratching on Barbaraís doorstep.
"Barbaraís just pissed. Sheíll get over it."
Something doesnít feel right. I storm off. I donít have time for this, or for her. I need to talk to Barbara. Need her.
"Helena!" Dinah grabs my arm, stops my momentum. "What did you do?"
The rush is intense. I can see it on her face. In an instance, Dinah sees everything. Knows everything. What I did. Why. All thatís left is the inevitable mess I somehow have to clean up. Except, itís more than that. Her eyes go wide, shock, fear, anger. It doesnít take an empath to figure out what sheís thinking. Except, I never thought Dinah would hit me. Her hand is fast. The slap knocks me back a step, more from shock than anything. A little wisp of a girl like her could never hurt me.
But, she CAN piss me off.
A growl rumbles up my throat and Iím grabbing her and slamming her against the wall. Her eyes lose focus, body limp from the impact. A little harder and I would have knocked her out, a little harder than that I would have killed her.
"How could you?" Her eyes find mine, accusing me.
My hand rears back for some payback. No body hits me. No body hurts me.
"She loves you."
Her words hit me harder than any punch could. I freeze, hand stuck in mid-air. My legs move first, taking me away from Dinah, far away. Her voice calling after me, echoing in my ears.
"Donít you care? She loves you!!"
Dinahís words ring in my ears, taunting me. Isnít this supposed to be part of the game? I push, she bends. She gives, I take. Only, Iíve pushed to hard, taken too much. Itís time to pay the price. I donít want to pay. I want to take it all back, all of it, go back to the beginning. Only there are no Ďdo overísí in real life. Just pain, pity, stupid mistakes and the possibility of, some day, getting it right.
I want Barbara. I want her back, inside my head, in the Clocktower, watching over me, bickering with me. Anything but this silence between my ears and the pain in my heart. I hurt her. Take it back.
"Barbara!" I scream her name as I burst through her door. Her apartment is silent, cold. Sheís not here. Hasnít been for awhile. I wander anyway. Assaulted by memories of older times, other times. Laughter. Smiles.
I enter her bedroom. Collapse onto the bed, sheets balled into my fists. Inhale her scent. Think of the times Iíd watch her as she slept. How her hair fell about her face, the calmness, a calm I can only dream of having. Then, there were the nightmares. Dreams of darkness and terror, of a single shot that changed all our fates. I hate him. If sheíd ask, Iíd kill him for her.
God, I just want to hear her voice. Please, let me hear her voice.
Tears. Streaming down my cheeks, until I can no longer hold back the river of pain within me. Until the only thing left in me is sleep, and I crawl into Barbaraís bed, holding her ghost, mourning what was and what will never be.
I stop counting the days. They all blend in together anyway. Sleep, work, then endless nights of anger, rage and pain. Iím lost without her. The only thing I know is violence. I take my rage out on the denizens of the night. They deserve it anyway. Besides, the only time I can focus, when Iím not thinking about her and the void in my soul where she used to be is when Iím kicking ass.
Like these guys. They circle around me, smelling a fight. Five against one, they should have brought more friends. I lunge, kicking, punching. Fists cracking against faces, bruising skin, breaking bones.
A sucker punch to the stomach, then a blow across the back of my head and Iím down. Theyíre on me, kicking, punching. I think I hear something snap. I guess I should care. The pain on the outside incomparable to what I feel inside. The darkness creeping around my eyes is a welcome relief. I long for the end of this waste of life. Iím nothing, lost, empty without her.
I embrace the darkness. Hopefully, for the last time.
Water, hot, almost scalding. It envelopes my body. The warmth seeps under my skin. I shift slightly, suddenly aware of the pain. All over. Thatís the worst thing about being a super hero, the pain. And the health coverage sucks.
A cloth gently caresses my face, brushing against my bruises. I open my eyes. Sheís here with me, mending to my broken body. Her eyes donít meet mine, continue to survey the damage done to my face. Itíll heal. The outside always heals.
I canít believe how much Iíve missed her eyes. The smell of her skin, I inhale it, filing it away into memory. I want to touch her. Hold her. More than anything, I want to hear her voice.
She applies a bandage over my eye, then moves away from me. Thereís an edginess to her. Like the alleycat who bites the hand that feeds it, Barbaraís tired of feeling my teeth.
"You ready to talk?" She says dryly, any concern she had for me removed from her voice.
I sit up slightly, ignore the screaming of my muscles. Dinahís standing in the doorway, her arms folded across her chest. If looks could kill, Iíd be flat on my back, buried somewhere close to China.
"Dinah, could you leave us alone for a second?"
"Sure," She can barely contain the contempt in her voice. Her eyes never leave me. "Iíll be right outside."
I wait until she leaves, until weíre alone.
"Have you thought about getting her a leash? I think they makeíem in her size."
"Shut up, Helena." She fires me a look. Eyes blazing hot with anger. "When I chose this life, I made an obligation, an oath, you could call it, to place duty above all else. Before my job, my life, my emotions. I let my emotions cloud my judgment. What everís going on with you, with us, I canít let you dictate how I do my job. But, I donít think I can trust you anymore and I donít know why. Youíre aloof, youíre moody and when I try to get in, to know whatís wrong, you push me away."
"I was an ass."
"Yes, you were. But, I should have known better. All Iím trying to say is no matter how much you antagonize me, Iím not going anywhere. Youíre an important part of my life, but this means more. And I wonít let you screw it up."
She pushes herself towards the door, away from me. The damage is done.
"Alfred set out some clean clothes for you and a plate in the oven."
The door slams behind her. Our conversation is over. Iím left stewing in my own thoughts. My guilt. I donít want to feel anymore.
I pull my battered body out of the tub. Barely towel myself off before trudging into my room. Thank you, Alfred. Black shirt, leather pants, thick boots that kick ass. Itís all I need. All Iíll ever need. Me, myself and I, thatís it from now on. No more voices, no more Barbara, no more..
"Where do you think youíre going?" Dinahís behind me. The contempt dripping from her voice.
"Iím giving you what you always wanted, a chance to play super hero Ďcuz Iím outta here."
"No youíre not." She steps into the room, her hands balling into fists.
"You gonna fight me?"
"If I have to." Her eyes are intense.
"Youíll lose." I circle around her. Dinah stands her guard. Barbaraís taught her well, but sheís still no match for me. I shouldnít take pleasure in the thought of bashing her head in, but if she wants a fight she came to the wrong place.
"Iíll take my chances." Dinah sneers at me. "I wonít let you hurt her."
"News flash kid, I already hurt her."
"So what? Youíre just gonna cut and run. God, youíre just like your father."
I lunge, catch off guard, again. Barbaraís gonna have to do something about that. If Dinah lives. The punch is quick, hard, one to the face. The other, straight to the solar plexus. Dinah bowls over, holding her gut, coughing. Iím not done. I grab Dinah by the hair, pulling her back up. I expect to find fear, pain, instead, I find rage and anger. Oh yeah, this I can deal with.
"What the fuck did you just say?"
"I said youíre just like your father. He made a mistake, people got hurt and where is he? He cut and run, just like you." I let her go. She drops like a sack of potatoes, slumping against the wall. But the angerís still in her voice, rage still burning hot in her eyes.
"I guess it just sucks being Barbara huh?" She coughs, spitting out blood. "First your father fails her, then you come along to screw it up for her all over again. Youíre right, Barbara is better off without you."
I kick my leg, straight towards her head. My foot imbeds in the wall, missing Dinahís skull by the width of a hair. Just as quickly, I remove my foot. I stare down at Dinah, blood, fury, pumping in my veins. I want to hurt her, beat her senseless, make her hurt. As much as I do.
"Iím not like my father."
Alarms pierce the room. The Delphi System blaring loudly throughout the Clock Tower. Iím out the door, Dinah on my heels. Damn, sheís getting fast.
Barbara is downstairs, fingers clicking away on her keyboard.
"What is it?"
"Bank robbery, Iím hacking into the bank security system now."
Our eyes shift to the monitors. Itís not good. Bank robbery gone bad is more like it. Six guys, with guns, sixteen hostages, maybe more, an ugly situation about to get uglier.
"Whereíre the cops?"
"The bankís on the South End. The majority of the precinct are already responding to bomb scare on 15th."
"Fifteenth? Itíll take them at least 20 minutes to get there."
Barbara ignores me. "Dinah, are you ready?"
"What? Youíve gotta be kidding me. Youíre sending Dinah?"
"Dinahís all I have." Tiny daggers cut my heart.
"No," I grab the tiny earpiece off the desk top and head towards the door. "Sheís not."
The night slowly gives way to the dawn. The shadows creeping back into their corners taking the denizens of the night with them. A rebirth I suppose. A new opportunity to make things right, or screw them up.
I make my way to the Clock Tower. My body still throbbing.
Sheís there, staring towards the sunrise. Sometimes, I wonder what sheís thinking. If itís the past, the present, me. Other times, I just stare. Like right now, I stand on the edge of the staircase, watching her, wondering if it will ever be as it once was.
"I know youíre there." She calls back to me. "You should think about getting some less audible footwear."
"Why does less audible sound too much like less fashionable." I dare to walk on the balcony, joining Barbara on the platform. "I wasnít sure if I was still welcome."
"Youíre always welcome, Helena."
"Iím not sure your lapdog agrees."
"Maybe she would if you hadnít hit her."
"Donít apologize if you donít mean it."
"I mean it Barbara." She looks at me for the first time in days. Really looks at me, her eyes filling the hole in my soul and making things feel like theyíre supposed to be. Like when she looks at me things have meaning, I have meaning. "I mean it."
Barbara gets quiet for a moment. Her eyes locked with mine staring so intently I wonder if she can see into my soul.
"What do you want from me, Helena?"
Voices, hundreds of them, scream inside my head. I want you to touch me. Kiss me. Hold me. Fuck me. Hurt me.
"If you could have any wish in the world, what would it be?" I ask instead.
"You canít answer a question with a question." She smiles softly.
"Yeah, well, I canít do a lot of things." Barbara stares at me with a puzzled expression on her face.
"If I could have any wish in the world," She turns to me, green eyes boring into my soul, "Iíd wish I could take your pain away."
Silence. Like someone shut off the volume to the world. It wraps around me, crushing my lungs, squeezing my heart. I turn away, stop staring into her eyes because looking into them makes me hurt more than anything Iíve ever felt before. It hurts because I know she still loves me, after everything Iíve done and said. And for the first time, I donít feel anger, or pain, I feel unworthy.
I donít have to see her to know it. I can sense it. Just me, myself and I, and Iím the last person I want to be left alone with.
"Is it safe?" Dinah calls out to me.
"Yeah," I roll my eyes. "Itís safe."
She stands a comfortable distance from me. Her body tense, like sheís waiting for me to strike.
"Youíve been out here a long time."
"For four hours? I didnít think you were capable of that kind of thought."
Somehow, she manages to get a smile from me. I turn to her seeing her, I guess, for the first time in months. Gone is the insecure willowy little girl, instead, a strong young woman with the courage and heart of a lion.
"Iím sorry about that." I point to the bruised skin under her eye.
"Donít worry about it." She smiles and tucks her hair behind her ear. "If Iím gonna be a super hero gotta learn to take a few lumps."
"Yeah, well, those lumps shouldnít be coming from me."
"I pushed you to get a reaction. I got one."
She joins me on the ledge. Her legs swinging over the edge. A couple months ago, Dinah wouldnít get near the ledge. Now, sheís sitting like itís a picnic bench seemingly oblivious to the thousand feet of space between her feet and the ground.
"Why didnít you tell her?"
"I know youíre capable of deep thoughts, no point in playing dumb now."
I roll my eyes.
"I just donít understand, knowing what you know, feeling what you feel, how you can let her walk away from you like that. If it were me, Iíd.."
"Whoa, hold on there a sec. If it were you? When did you stop having a crush on me?"
"Oh please, I got over that whole bad girl thing a long time ago."
"Did you now?" I place my hand on her knee. My brain filled with thoughts of blond hair, moans and sweat. My thoughts now her thoughts. Dinah gasps, swats my hand away, scrambling back onto the balcony. Faced flushed, knees trembling. I can near her heart racing. Wonder how many cold showers it will take Dinah to erase THAT image out of her head.
"Y...youíre..." Dinah stammers.
"NO!" Her eyes blaze hot, but not with desire. "Youíre afraid."
This time, Iím the one who breaks the eye contact.
"Who died and made you Dr. Freud." I hop off the ledge, walking towards the door. Dinah grabs my arm, again. One of these days sheís gonna learn.
"I donít understand." She pleads with me. "How can you turn away from her if you love her."
"Fer Christís sake Dinah, loveís not sugar and spice and everything nice. Itís messy and complicated and fucked up."
"AND ITíS WORTH IT!" She screams at me. "Itís worth all the pain, and hurt, and fear, because itís the one thing in this world that makes any sense. And I donít see how you can be so fucking stupid.."
I punch her, not hard, okay maybe a little. It gets her to shut up anyway. She falls to the ground hand over the rebruised patch of skin on her face. I stand over her, hands shaking, rage bubbling to the surface.
"See, this is me, Iím a ball of violence and pain looking to hurt the closest thing near me."
"Fine, have it your way." Dinah clambers onto her feet. "You wanna hide behind your Little Miss Anger Management routine, go ahead. Just remember, she wonít wait forever. And there just might be someone waiting in the wings to grab what you wonít."
I stomp back to the ledge.
"Oh and Helena," She calls to me. I donít want to look at her but I do anyway.
"Thanks for the imagery. I had no idea two people could do that. Iíll have to try that out sometime." She flashes me a coy smile thatís less humorous than it is a warning. Little sister is wearing big sisí clothes, only now, theyíre starting to fit.
Itís dark when I enter her room. Itís always dark. Barbaraís asleep on her bed. I slink into a corner, hiding in the shadows. I stay there, watching her. I donít know why I do this, watch her as she sleeps. Iím not sure if itís because of how I feel towards her, or the fascination I have with how calm she sleeps, serene.
Barbaraís heart begins to race. A dream. One of the good kinds. Sweat forms on her skin, her chest rising and falling increasing in pace. I step towards the bed. It takes everything I have not to crawl under the covers with her. Mold my body to hers, show her how it feels to have her inside me. Watch her face as she says my name.
I freeze. All sound lost under the drumming of my heart. How many times have I wished for this moment? To hear her name on my lips, whispered breathlessly, passionately.
"Are you watching over me?"
"I always watch over you." Itís supposed to be humorous.
"I know." She smiles, rising up onto her elbows, Venus in repose. "Why do you come back?"
"I donít know. Iím fucked up."
"Weíre all fucked up in our own special little way."
"Not like me. Thereís this thing inside me. This darkness. And it scares me because I want to embrace it so much, to give in to all those dark impulses that are a part of me. I come back because youíre the only thing in this world that I care about. That keeps me from going insane."
"If thatís true, then why do you leave?"
The answer is there on the tip of my tongue. All I have to do is say it. Say what I feel, how I feel. I donít.
"I donít want to hurt you anymore Barbara. I canít."
"Helena," She calls to me.
I turn from her and walk away. My heads screams at me, curses, loud, violently. My body speaks another language, pulling me away from her. Back into the night where I belong. Back where the violence and pain makes sense. I leave because I have to. I leave because sometimes I hurt the one I love.
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