Title: Whisper in My Ear Again
Author: Pink Rabbit Productions ( pinkrabbit@altfic.com )
Disclaimer: The characters and situations all belong to DC, the words contained herein are my own, though if they opt to sue, I'll disavow them posthaste. This story contains all girl nookie, so if that's likely to offend (and if it is, boy are you on the wrong site), get anybody arrested (you, me, or the postman), or cause general havoc, make all of our lives easier and move along.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: THIS IS SET IN THE COMIC UNIVERSE, NOT THE TV SHOW. So, the Dinah Lance in here is more or less the same age as Barbara and is currently the Black Canary.

| Part 1 | Part 2 |

Whisper in My Ear Again
Part 2

"I think," she mumbles when the elevator doors open and she glides into the wide open space of her loft apartment, "that I'm gonna have to sleep in the chair tonight."

Suddenly tired and shaky legged, I have to smother a yawn before asking, "Why?"

The question earns a look and a shrug. "Too drunk," she sighs. "Probably fall on my ass if I try to transfer from the chair to my bed." A slow headshake indicates that she's not processing things any more quickly than I am. "Wouldn't hurt, but it'd be damn embarrassing."

Offered my chance at white knighthood, my mouth opens and words spill out while my brain is left way behind. "I could help you."

Green eyes instantly narrow, their expression turning owlish in a blink. "You don't have to--"

She starts to brush the offer aside, her tone perfunctory, though I can't help but think it's more than just a proper dismissal. It's the resentful look in her eyes that clues me in, and it occurs to me that maybe the need for assistance is a sore spot. Actually, no question about it. Definitely a sore spot. Turn it on yourself, and make it a joke, Dinah. "Hey, now, don't go denying me a chance to show off my progid ... progrid ... prod-ig-ious," see, Dinah, you can get it out if you just go slowly enough, "brawn." Flexing a bicep to show off, I can't help but notice that it seems a little scrawny now that I think about it. "Okay, so it's a wiry kind of brawn." The faintly embarrassed mumble gets a tiny giggle, signaling that the start of a bad mood has been chased off. I feel her eyes slide over me like a caress.

"From where I'm ... er ... sitting, it looks like a perfectly apportioned kind of brawn," she drawls, her tone sending a shiver over my skin. Her look is appreciative, silently assessing and praising at the same time, and I suddenly find myself grateful for the genes and hard work that have blessed me with a body that I objectively know is more than a little pleasing to the eye.

"So, it's settled then," my voice sounds almost too cheerful to my own ears, "Time to get you to bed." Definitely too cheerful.

For just a moment, she considers arguing. I can see it in her eyes. But then she suddenly shakes her head, turning the chair around and rolling toward her bedroom, leaving me to stumble along behind her. I've never been in her bedroom before, don't know quite what to expect, something pristine and perfect like the technology she so loves or a jumble of everything as cluttered as her mind. Oddly enough, it somehow manages to be a perfect combination of the two. Perfectly organized -- neat to the point of obsession -- clutter. The hardwood floor is totally barren except for the few pieces of furniture, but the walls are all shelves jammed full of knick knacks and books, even the titles of which seem mildly overwhelming to me. The shelving is interspersed with posters and paintings until there isn't an empty patch of wall in the room, the artwork ranging from the stunning to the sublime. It's so absolutely, perfectly her that I can't think straight for just a moment. Can't move until suddenly I realize that she's turned her chair around and is staring up at me.

"What?" the question is mildly peevish.

"I love it." That gets a grin and her mouth o's in surprise, while a flush crawls over her cheekbones. I know redheads aren't supposed to look good in pink, but she does. I think I'm losing my aversion to the color where she's concerned.

"I thought..." she begins, then trails off, her cheeks flushing well past pink until they're giving her hair a run for it money. Green eyes flick around the room, quick and oddly self-conscious. A slender hand rises from its resting place on her thigh, the gesture a trifle uncoordinated as she indicates the surrounding room. "I know it's a little odd...."

I can feel my smile straining the muscles in my cheeks, it's so wide. "It's very, very you." Her brows quirk, and I can see her trying to decide whether that's a compliment or an insult. "And I mean that in the very best way," I assure her, leaning down into her space, my balance off kilter enough that I have to brace my hands on the armrests of her chair to keep from toppling forward into her lap. Which, now that I think about it, isn't such a bad idea.


My gaze rises, focusing past her shoulder to the one piece of furniture I've avoided looking at so far. Large, comfortable looking, with lots of pillows and a thick comforter. Her bed. Another shiver slides over my skin. It's more than big enough for two. The headboard is polished chrome, the stylish design cleverly made to double as a handrail while there's another rail attached to the frame that can obviously be rotated into position as needed. It's one of the few obvious concessions to her disability, and it brings my momentary bout of fantasies to a halt as it occurs to me that, even if she suddenly decided to pitch a lifetime of heterosexuality aside, I haven't a clue about how to please her. I mean, my knowledge of what goes on between two women comes pretty much from porn flicks, and I'm guessing that won't be much help somehow. In my experience, porn sex and real sex don't have much of a relationship beyond the obvious vague physical resemblance.

A moment passes and then I hear the soft sound she makes as she clears her throat, drawing my gaze back to her face to find her blush has drained away to leave her pale in its wake, and there's something painfully uncertain in her expression. "I ... uh ... y'know, I can probably--"

"No," my protest is instant, and then I catch myself, slowing down, trying to sound blasé and rather than painfully excited by the prospect of touching her even under such an innocent pretense. "Hey, gotta give a girl a chance to help out now and then." She tenses ever so slightly. "After all, you're always saving my butt. Why not give me a chance to return the favor a little ... even if you don't really need my help." A hint of a wry smile touches the mouth I've taken to dreaming about.

"I need your help all the time," she disagrees quietly, her head tipping to one side as she considers me carefully, an odd look on her face. I can't decide what it means. I'm still bent over her, leaning on the arms of her chair, and she reaches up, stroking my cheek incredibly lightly. "I don't know what I would've done without your friendship."

Kiss her, don't kiss her, kiss her, don't kiss. My mind is awhirl with the debate. How easily would a caressing hand gain force and slap? And could she ever forgive if it went that way? God, it's almost worth it to find out ... but then again ... never had a better friend ... and I don't know what the hell I'd do without her. Get it under control, Lance, before you do something really stupid. "No need to find out." I can't resist the urge to grin and offer up a tiny, flirtatious wink. "So, what's the best way to go about this?" I need her to tell me what's best for her ... to teach me how to help.

She pauses for a moment, glancing back and forth between me and the bed, working up a plan in that brilliant -- but at the moment, probably somewhat slowed -- brain of hers. "I ... um ... probably ... er ... maybe...." As I watch, she braces her hands on the arms of her chair, biceps flexing as she tests her strength. Normally controlled muscles quiver gently, the alcohol clearly having a predictable effect. "Shit."

Time for a superhero to step in. And guess what I just happen to be. "Babs." I lean a little closer. "Put your arms around my neck."

In an instant, her pupils seem to expand until there's no color left as she stares up at me. "Umm...." I can't decide whether the uncertainty is her independent streak, something else entirely, or a mix of factors.

"Normally, I'm the one who just blindly follows orders," I tease to lighten the mood. "Just this once, you can give it a try." A moment's silence. "Now."

"Never realized you have such a bossy streak," she complains, some of the hesitancy draining away in favor of a bantering note.

"Damn straight. Gotta turn the tables on you now and then." I can't help laughing because the look on her face is so little-kid resentful that I half expect her to stick out her tongue. My chuckle earns a dirty look that quickly melds into a look of resignation and finally a hint of a smile.

"I repeat ... you're incorrigible." And then she's reaching up, arms sliding around my neck. I can feel the muscles working -- taut, hard, warm -- as she pulls herself a little closer.

All of which happens just about the time it occurs to me that maybe I could make things worse, harm her somehow if I do this wrong. "I ... um ... this is okay, right?" I can't resist the impulse to glance down, my gaze briefly touching on her legs. "I mean ... is there any way I could hurt you?"

The cutest set of dimples I've ever seen in my life flash my way, and my heart sinks on her response. "Sure," only to rise again when she adds, "drop me."

A shared chuckle and then I'm sliding a hand behind her upper back and another behind her knees, pulling her close and straightening. She's not some light as a feather cliché, but rather solid flesh, muscle, and bone, and I love her for it. Never did think that whole, Ally McBeal, she'll blow away in a high wind look was attractive. Plus she feels good in my arms, strong, smart, stunningly beautiful. And she fits perfectly, as though one or both of us was designed for this exact moment. Unfortunately, just as I turn toward the bed, I'm reminded of the very harsh fact of life that she's not the only one who had a great deal of alcohol to drink.

Novels and movies are always showing instant sobriety in extreme situations. Total and utter malarkey. Just like coffee doesn't sober a body up, but simply results in a wide awake drunk, panic does nothing to retard the effects of alcohol, just leaves a very panicky drunk. In the process of developing at least two, but perhaps three or four left feet, I'm suddenly stumbling and unsteady; the very panicky drunk in question. I hear her startled gleep as the arms around my neck cling with more strength. What a really lousy time for someone to replace the bones in my legs with toothpicks and the muscles with spaghetti. Suddenly we're falling. I retain enough control to make sure we topple onto the bed and not the floor, but not enough to turn so that I wind up on the bottom of the heap, though I make a valiant effort and at least manage to avoid landing on top of her with my full weight. Arms and legs akimbo, there's a moment of instinctive struggle, not against each other, but simply a natural effort to regain lost stability. An elbow and a hand sink into the mattress, one knee finding purchase in the open space between her thighs, while one of her elbows cracks into the back of my skull hard enough to leave me seeing stars.

The world goes very grey for a moment. I never quite lose consciousness, but am definitely knocked a little silly, and when things right themselves my nose is buried in the open vee of her blouse, the scent of her skin filling my nostrils, the heat of her body searing my skin even through the twin barrier of our clothes.

The faintest shift of my head to one side confirms that I really am lying with my face pressed between the swell of perfect breasts. A button or two on her blouse has obviously popped open in the momentary chaos, and I can see the edge of her bra and feel the center strap pressing into my skin just above the edge my jaw. Hoo-boy ... I am ... yes ... oh ... god ... I ... am.

I think I'll just stay right here.

"Er ... Dinah," her voices reaches my ears a moment later, sounding a little shaky, while a hand brushes my hair and then my shoulder in an attention getting gesture. "You're ... er ... on top of me."

Something I've very aware of, thank you very much. "Mmm, I know."

"Well ... um ... maybe you should move." Her words are a little slurred.

The problem is I'm just sloshed enough to think maybe I can get away with ... whatever it is I'm doing. "Mmm, but I like it here." It's hard to believe that wanton, drunken mumble is my own voice, and suddenly the ear resting against the inner curve of her breast is assaulted by the hard, pounding throb of her heartbeat. The way we're lying, it would only take the slightest shift for my lips to touch her skin. Could be totally accidental even. Just ... a ... little ... movement.

Right ... there.

The hand on my shoulder curls into my blouse, clinging so tightly to the fabric that I fully expect her to pull me away as my mouth makes light contact with the inner curve of her breast just above the lace froth of her bra. Her breast is right there, in front of me, the slope and shape clearly visible. Never really thought about women's breasts much. I mean, I've noticed them before. Go on a mission with ... say ...Wonder Woman, and it's damn hard not to at least notice them. I mean, they're pretty impressive any way you look at it, and not exactly hidden away from prying eyes. And ... well ... costumes in this biz aren't generally designed to conceal that particular feature. Not sure why except for tradition, though I'd like to think it's because it gives us female superhero types a little added advantage over the enemy in a fight. Hey, distraction techniques work in my experience.

But suddenly I'm noticing, studying, and considering the subject with a connoisseur's eye. Hers aren't especially large, but perfectly shaped, and very firm. As my gaze slides along the slope, I pause -- freeze really -- at the faint dimple that denotes her nipple. Oh God ... can it.... No. No, Lance, it's just your imagination. Her nipple isn't really getting stiffer ... isn't firming where it's hidden under silky fabric ... swelling as her heart pumps harder and blood flows to the area....

Like hell it isn't.

Could just be -- what -- the cold? Except the room's pretty warm, no breeze ... well ... unless you count the fact that I'm heavy breathing all over her chest, but still....

I'm still puzzling over the question when she tugs lightly on the back of my shirt, whispering my name again in a voice that's husky and rougher than normal. "Dinah ... I ... uh ... you're ... uh ... kind of ... heavy...." The last word comes out as little more than a strangled croak while the pounding under my ear seems to grow in volume and intensity.

"Mmmm." The low mumble has my lips moving against her skin, unintentionally caressing and tasting. I think I could stay right here forever. Except I can feel her hand on my shirt, tugging a little harder, and feel the way she's straining to breathe. Maybe a sprawled, limp body is a little much. "Sorry." My back and shoulder muscles pull taut, my elbow sinking into the mattress alongside her waist, hand forming a well near her upper arm as I push up fractionally, taking my weight without moving away from her.

Even as I lighten the load, I can't resist the urge to nose a little deeper into the inner curve of her breast, breathing in her scent, surrounded by her warmth. The hand tangled in my blouse twists, pulls more firmly, while sweat rises on her skin. I don't really even realize what I'm doing until the faint salt tang flows over my tongue, the texture of fine velvet filling my senses along with the taste of her flesh.

"Dinah!" the yelp is sharp and startled, the sudden jerk on my blouse enough to nearly strangle me on my own collar and drag me free of my newfound haven. As I lift my head, mouth hanging open, I can't help but notice that her eyes are wide and faintly glazed. "Wh-what are you...." She doesn't finish, her voice fading away into her harsh breathing.

Muscles pull a little tighter as I take more of my weight, removing the remaining pressure on my larynx and staring down at her. I can't help but wonder if I look as dazed as I feel. I can feel the muscles in my face working as my mouth pulls in to a slow, suggestive smile. "If you'll recall, there were two parts to the whole getting-over-being-cheated-on recipe."

She swallows so hard it makes an audible sound, then pink lips part -- damn, I'm starting to actually like that color -- her tongue darting out to moisten them, which leads to another hard swallow that makes her throat bob ever so slightly. "I ... uh ... the guy at the bar..." her voices comes out smaller and squeakier than normal, "...not really my type."

"Thank god for that." A woman like her with a slug like that would be a form of heresy.

She knows what I'm thinking ... even borderline to suggesting. I can see the knowledge in her eyes, but she's still in denial, not wanting to see it maybe, or afraid of it. The funny thing is there's no anger or horror or any of the other possible predictable responses, just....

Just something I can't quite figure out. Funny thing is the alcohol is making it a lot harder to think and understand, but at the same time, I know damn well that without it, I'd never have the guts to make any kind of move.

Her eyes reflect her internal debate, that phenomenal mind just as slowed as my own. Heh, except even dumbed down with drink, she's probably still a lot smarter than I am sober ... only I've never gotten the feeling that personal relationships are her strongest suit. She's struggling to understand, trying to be certain that I mean what she suspects. Gotta be a scary moment for her. After all, I've had some time to adjust to my feelings for her, and they still scare the hell out of me. She takes a breath, chest expanding and pressing into mine, increasing the contact for a moment, then her mouth starts to work only to snap shut again, whatever she was going to say left unspoken.

Another deep breath puts our upper bodies back into closer contact, the sweet pressure of breasts and stomachs meeting sending a fresh bolt of heat and awareness through me.

"We're drunk," she manages to utter at last.

No shit, Sherlock. Whoa, that's way too sarcastic a response, likely to wind up with me out in the cold, whimpering with arousal, and begging to be let back in. Stall. Buy yourself some time, Dinah. "Mmmm, a bit." Now that's a nicely ambiguous answer that neither confirms nor denies anything but the extraordinarily obvious.

"I ... we ... alcohol tends to ... impede ... decision making skills," she says at last, the words coming out in jerky, disjointed syllables. Gotta love a drunk intellectual.

"Lowers inhibitions too." A calm, practical observation that draws another audible swallow from her. "Lets a body do things they'd never do otherwise." I wonder if she suspects what I'm thinking. The confused gleam in her eyes says yes, but that she doubts her own instincts. "Like this." Tension ripples through the body beneath my own as my mouth comes down. She tastes like mint, a hint of strawberry, and something completely unique to her. Her hand pulls at my collar, not hard, more like a requisite gesture, while a soft, startled gasp parts her lips beneath mine, making way for my tongue to dart into her mouth. Sharp teeth, a silky smooth inner cheek, rough tongue, and incredible heat all leave my senses burning. Her mouth moves under mine, more an attempt to speak than kissing me back, but she doesn't jerk away either, and after a moment, there's a tentative brush with her tongue that nearly steals my breath away. "God." I can't hold back the startled gasp that even that tiny bit of response sends arcing through me. And then I'm layering kisses down the side of her neck, trembling violently, my body meeting hers, feeling every push and pull of her muscles and the shifting tempo of her strained breathing.

And it is strained. No mistake about it. Strained and ragged. And not because I'm bearing down on her because I'm carrying my weight on my hand and elbow. Nor is she breathing hard because she's fighting me. There's a little pressure in the hand that rises to rest on my shoulder, but not enough to really notice.

"We ... we're friends ... partners," she gasps as my lips slide down to taste the taut cord that joins her neck to her shoulder. "It could screw up so many things."

Not a complaint that it doesn't feel good, or that she's not enjoying herself. No mention that she doesn't want this, or I'm pressing for something that doesn't interest her. Just a worry about the possible ramifications if we go ahead. Ironically, as protests go, it only adds fuel to the fire. If I thought for a second that I was pushing her into something she didn't want, I'd be out the door and on my way. But if her only problem is the possible consequences, I'm more than willing to take the risk. If it's only this one night, I can survive and still be her friend. It'll hurt like hell. I'm not stupid. I know what I'm risking, but it's worth it. I push up, braced above her and staring down into green eyes, grateful to see a shaken, burning kind of heat simmering there. "Not if we don't let it."

"Dinah...." Gentle fingers stroke blonde bangs back from my brow. "You're my best friend. I don't want to risk that for...." She doesn't finish, instead trailing off and gnawing on her lower lip, while I wait, wanting to know what's going on behind those remarkable eyes of hers. I can see the thoughts spinning in her brain, but I need a window onto her thoughts. "...for pity sex."

The whole idea catches me by surprise for a moment. Pity her? Despite some of the difficulties she faces, it's never occurred to me. "I wouldn't dare."

She narrows her eyes, suspicious that I'm making a joke. Not even close.

"This has nothing to do with pity." Dropping any hint of humor from my voice, I do everything in my power to sound as sincere as humanly possible. A quick kiss dropped onto her lips draws a soft gasp, and I feel her stomach muscles quiver where our bodies are pressed so close. "Just you and I ... being together." This time when I duck my head, the kiss lingers, leaving us both breathless. "Does that feel like pity?" I'm just aching at this point, literally hurting because I want her so bad, and I can only pray that she feels even a little bit of what I do.

The hand tangled in my shirt collar relaxes faintly, resting against my back and shoulder instead of pulling. "No ... but," she groans as our lips break contact, "if we ... what happens ... afterward?" If you had asked what her response might be to this situation when I was sober, I would have predicted a whole lot of things -- most of them involving putting me firmly in my place. It never occurred to me that her only real doubts would come from questions about what might happen later.

And if I'm honest, I've got a few fears of my own on that front. She means so damn much to me and suddenly I'm scared of screwing up a relationship that's become such a huge part of my life. Successful relationships have never been my strong point. At the same time, maybe it's the alcohol and lust, or maybe it's just that I can see the possibilities stretching away in front of me, but I don't want to hide from what I'm feeling anymore. "Whatever we want to happen, I guess." Another slow kiss leaves me shaking and reinforces the notion that it's worth the risk. "Tonight ... just let me please you ... and if that's all that happens, that's okay." I taste her mouth again, catching her lower lip between my teeth, nibbling softly, then letting it drag free. "And if we decide we want more ... that's okay too."

She starts to answer only to fall silent, staring up at me with the same look she has when she's studying a particularly complex new piece of information on the Delphi.

Suddenly uncomfortable with the scrutiny, I duck my head, darting my tongue into the hollow at the base of her throat to escape a gaze I fear may see too much.

"Dinah?" I can taste the vibration as she says my name, the sound a little lost and confused, but also breathless ... and maybe aroused. A gentle finger draws my chin up and green eyes search my face, hunting for something. When I try to hide behind my hair, she brushes it out of the way, then trails a finger along the outline of my lips. "Why?" she whispers at last.

The best thing to do would be lie, at most claim it's all just some simple sex fantasy. I know that, but faced with the clear gaze directed my way, I can't lie ... at least not completely. "I've thought about it before." Not the whole truth, but definitely not the lie a denial would be.

A hint of a frown creases her brow as she considers my answer. "I'm not gay," she whispers at last, sounding a little confused, but not giving me any clues about what she's really thinking.

"Neither am I." Except lately I've been having some serious doubts. I mean ... maybe these things aren't quite so cut and dried as I always thought. And it suddenly occurs to me that this is a big enough discomfort zone when I'm sober, so let's leave it for later. I lean closer, feeling her breath on my face as I dust tiny kisses along her jaw. "It's just that ... we're so close ... and I...." Pushing back up, I stare down into her eyes. Stay on the current path, and I'm going to wind up confessing my every feeling for her, and I have my doubts about how she'll take that news. A fast subject change is in order, and I duck my head, nibbling lightly on her ear, tasting the tiny shiver that slips through her. My voice is low and intentionally suggestive when I finally speak. "Tell me what you like."

The hand on my back shakes loose of my collar, then slips up into my hair, tugging my head up until I have to look into eyes that are suddenly scared. "It's not that simple ... for me..." she whispers after a beat, her cheeks flushing a deep shade of red. Her gaze slides away from mine, locking on a distant point somewhere past and to the left of my shoulder. "There's not much ... feeling." Her jaw muscles work, teeth grinding, while she blinks rapidly at the sudden hint of tears.

My stomach instantly ties itself into guilty knots, the thought that I may have hurt her threatening to rip me to shreds. Bringing up old agonies or making her doubt herself was never the point. Even though I forget sometimes, I know that it's not the same for her as it is for me, that there are nerves and muscles that no longer react or feel. But she's so much more than that, and there is so much that can feel. I find my eyes drawn back to taut curves. Before I can think better of it, I lean on my elbow, shifting my weight to lift my hand from the mattress. How drunk do I have to be for it to feel perfectly normal to trail my fingers along the easy slope of her breast. "Can you feel that?"

The question earns an impatient look. "Of course."

Her nipple stiffens under the light caresses, confirming her grumbled comment and driving me to ask, "Feel good?"

She tenses, and for a moment, I'm afraid she's going to put an absolute stop to the game. "Dinah ... what do you want?" her voice comes out as a shaky gasp, somehow sounding hopeful, scared, and confused all at once.

"You." There it is, simple, undeniable. Just the hard truth.

"And what if you regret it in the morning?"

My headshake is decisive. There's no way in hell I could ever regret being with her. "I won't." I lean down, tasting her mouth, exploring until she's breathing hard, her body trembling, heart pounding under my palm. "I couldn't." My teeth brush the tip of her chin. "Tell me, or show me ... but I want to know ... how to make you feel as good I do right now."

A tiny whimper escapes her lips, an indication that maybe she isn't nearly as calm or sane as she's trying to appear. I'm still considering this possibility when her fingers curve around my palm, stroking my knuckles lightly as she guides my hand lower on her torso. My fingertips brush warm flesh and soft fabric, then I feel the edge of her waistband. She presses a little lower until she pauses, the look in her eyes growing more frightened, as though she expects me to turn away if I know the truth. "That's where I was shot ... below that point ... there's not ... much.... I mean, I don't ... feel ... much...." She turns her head away again, refusing to look at me as she quietly adds, "You don't have to stay."

I wonder who ran out and left her feeling this way. If I knew I'd punch the bastard, because pissed off as I am at Nightwing, I really don't think it was him. He's acting like a putz, but I can't see him doing that. "I know I don't," I whisper and lean down, trailing my lips along her cheek, then capturing her lips while I spread my hand against her abdomen. "I want to." This is anything but pity sex, and I want her to understand that. I try desperately to send the message in the kisses that fall on her lips and the caresses I spread over her abdomen as I pull at buttons and zippers.

In a way, I hate the gratitude that flares in her eyes when she looks at me because it implies that somehow she owes me something instead of the other way around. That need to show her how I feel drives me as I rear up on my knees, tugging the remaining buttons on her blouse free and parting the soft fabric to let my hands wander over silky flesh. Moments pass while her breathing grows steadily rougher with every caress. She's enjoying it, leaning into my fingers, increasing the pressure and writhing in a way that guides my hands where she wants them. And then nimble fingers slip into my hair, winding into the long strands, clamping down along the back of my skull and pulling me to her chest. Suddenly, my mouth is sliding along the flesh stretched taut over her sternum, then dropping lower, following the pressure from her hand. Shaky handed, I push her blouse aside and fight with her bra, clumsily tugging it here and there to gain more access, her soft whimpers egging me on. I'm on the verge of just ripping fabric, except I'm not sure it'll tear all that easily, when she drags my head up, her mouth open and her eyes glazed.

A moment's silence follows as we just stare at one another, caught in a little eddy in time while we study each other, taking in swollen lips, pink flesh, and passion dazed eyes. The momentary paralysis holds until her hands start moving, wrenching the front of my blouse open without bothering to be neat about it, sliding under the fabric and around the back of my neck and waist. God, her hands feel good, smooth and warm, but incredibly strong. They stroke and massage, then push my blouse back off my shoulders, every brushing caress enough to make me tremble. Is she really doing what I think she's doing? Letting go and pulling me in? Pulling herself upright by using her hold on me for leverage and burying her face in the curve of my shoulder, lips kissing, teeth biting? In a moment, my blouse is gone, the cool air playing over my bare torso drawing tiny prickles on my skin. Then her arms are around my upper body and fingers find the clasp on my bra, amazingly agile despite all the alcohol as they free the tiny hooks. A shrug and it slides forward off my shoulders, easily flung aside and forgotten in favor of concentrating on the hands that cup the underside of my breasts, weighing them while her thumbs circle the outline of swollen nipples and puckered aureolae.

"Barbara?" Is that raspy whisper my voice? Yes, it has to be. I can feel the faint leftover effects of the vibration in my throat. I've never thought of Barbara as a wanton sensualist, but as her hands cover mine, drawing them to her body, I find myself rethinking the idea. She is ... oh ... my god ... she definitely is. It's as though having made the decision to do this, she's completely immersed herself in the experience. A little more pressure from her takes my fingers from the flesh they're aching to explore to the soft fabric of Barbara's blouse.

"Take it off," the hoarse command makes us both tremble.

I push and she drops her shoulders, letting gravity carry it away from her body. She has beautiful shoulders, pale and slender, but square with subtly corded muscle. Never tried removing any bra but my own before, and my fingers fumble as I wrap my arms around her, one hooked over her shoulder, the other around her upper arm, fingertips searching out the delicate bra strap at her center back. It fights me, and I taste her soft laughter as our lips meet in an impulsive kiss.

"Never done this before?" she chuckles, her voice slurring faintly, the tiny lift at the end turning the statement into a question.

"Not hardly." Her lips trail from my mouth and down my throat, my brain threatening to seize up under the force of the pleasure vibrating through nerve endings that have never felt so alive. Damn, that's doing nothing for my fine motor control. God, how is it I can take one of these things off reaching behind myself, but reaching around her seems to have made it next to impossible? Of course, when I'm taking my own bra off, I'm not facing the distraction of doing it while soft lips are teasing my own, not trying to think straight despite the tiny nips playing over my skin, or the rough texture of her tongue playing havoc with my mental faculties. Damn. Still can't--

Screw it. One good hard yank solves the problem, popping hooks and tearing fabric. She shivers in my arms, gasps into my mouth, her fingers digging into my skin where her hands are resting on my hips. I think she liked that. Lean back a little, tug and skim the fine straps down her arms, and suddenly her bare breasts brush my own, the brief caress leaving me intensely aware of the competing textures of the different patches of flesh touching my own -- fingertips that are smooth, but sharply tipped, warm silk overlaying hard muscle on her arms, the skin more velvety over her breasts except for the coral tips which are slick and faintly puckered. Amazing, the level of detail that can register in an instant.

I'm still musing on all of the different shapes and sensations when I hear the sound of a zipper -- my zipper -- or rather the zipper on my jeans. The soft rasp of the slide moving down, grinding gently and allowing metal teeth to part, sends a hard shudder through me, and suddenly I can't breathe. Shock compresses my chest, forces out what little air is left in my lungs.

Her smile is ... what is that expression? God, I can't tell. It's like triumph, but more than that, something powerful and sexual ... something that scares me and grabs me at the same time. There are questions I think about asking, ones about whether she's done this before, or thought about me, questions about her thoughts and fantasies, but I'm afraid we'll both run scared if we think too hard about what we're doing. Instead I cup her face in my hands, leaning into her body as my mouth searches out hers, lips meeting, tongues wrestling. It would be impossible not to be intensely aware of the gently trembling hands that slide up and around the back of my neck, pulling me along for the ride as she sinks back into the mattress.

No thinking from here on out, which is a good thing since I think my brain just about fried. Wait, no, not just yet. A hard shudder rips through me when her fingers slip into the open vee of my jeans to stroke my stomach well below my navel. There, I think that finished everything off. Can feel my brain shorting out, and I think that's all she wrote. Her fingers slide around to my hips, fighting with my jeans, pushing them down along with my underwear. Our lips part, hers trailing along my cheek, then sharp incisors close on my earlobe. Dear God, how did she know how much that turns me on? She's still struggling with my jeans and I push up on one hand, reaching down, helping her. I hear my own frustrated grunt as I realize my shoes are still in place and firmly in the way. "Damn." Her soft giggle punctuates my curse. Good move, Lance. Some smoothie you are. Apparently, when it comes to seducing a woman, I'm more in the Jerry Lewis vein than the Julio Iglesias mode. Maybe this is why god initially limited me to heterosexual encounters. Guys don't notice if you make a damn fool of yourself when it comes to sex. So long as you get naked, they don't care how it's done. "I ... uh ... in case you haven't guessed, I've never done this before."

She doesn't answer, just kisses me, her lips soft on mine. "Kick out of your shoes."

Good idea. Obviously that's why she's the genius type who makes the big bucks, and I'm the hired muscle. I toe one shoe and then the other off, kicking them aside, the distant thuds they make as they hit the floor barely registering. I've got a lot more important things on my mind. A few shimmies and a little slithering and my pants are a puddle lost somewhere on the bottom of the bed. Jesus, I'm lying here naked on top of her and she's ... she's not naked. But I want her naked ... nude ... thoroughly and completely unclothed. I want every inch of her body pressed against my own, want to touch her in all the places that I can reach, inside and out, kiss and lick, and do every last sexual thing either of us can imagine.

I think I'm turning into a guy.

Ah hell, who'm I kidding? I've always been a let's get naked now kinda girl. Which probably triples the irony of the fact that she's the one to trigger all these things I'm feeling. If I'm StraightToThePointGirl, then she's SubtletyWoman, able to spin unreadable ironies in a single syllable. Except she's the one who ultimately pulled my hands to her body, leaned into me, and asked for me to touch her. It almost seems like a fantasy, like I've slid off into my own daydreams and somehow mixed them up with reality. If that's the case, please God, don't let me wake up.

"Dinah," warm and throaty, her voice washes through and over me, ending any drunken musings in favor of the sheer sybaritic pleasure of flesh on flesh.

Okay, so I wish she was totally naked, but to do that I'd have to move away from my current position and I'm in no hurry for that as she writhes beneath me, grinding our bodies together. She's all sweet smells and velvety skin, her body strong and graceful. God, she's amazing. Unable to resist temptation, I lean down, trailing my lips along the curve of her jaw before nibbling on her ear. The caress winds up with my nose buried in her hair, the scent of strawberries filling my nostrils.

"God," the short, sharp exhalation ruffles my hair and sends a shudder of awareness coursing through me.

My first impulse is to demand she tell me what she's feeling and what she wants, but neither one of us is much up to talking at this point. Language has slipped away to some strange netherworld that has little to do with anything. But I need to know what she wants, and I haven't a clue. I suppose I thought there'd be some miraculous bit of coital knowledge to magically guide me through this. No such luck. My hands find hers, guiding them to my hair while our mouths mate and play. "Show me," the groaned command escapes my lips as our mouths part and I dip my head to taste her upper chest.

A moment's pause, then her body writhes beneath my own, while her fingers wind more tightly into my hair, drawing me to the left, guiding my lips and tongue over her breast. She's catching on.

After that, each moment merges into the next as I lose myself completely in the taste and feel of soft flesh. In one sense, she's totally in command, controlling where she wants to feel my mouth at any given moment, but in another, I'm the one in charge, the caresses and tempo totally under my control. A steady symphony of low moans and tiny whimpers tells me I'm doing it right, and drives me to greater efforts. Fluttering delicate kisses along her ribs, I move on, outlining cut stomach muscles with the tip of my tongue, riding with the heaving motion of her upper body as she desperately grabs for each fresh breath.

I don't know how many minutes I've been at work, totally lost in the task at hand, her every breath and groan sending bright bolts of heat through my veins, when the hand moving ahead of my mouth encounters soft fabric. A quick, dazed glance touches on Barbara's pants. Right. Still there. Unbuttoned, the zipper down an inch or two, but still definitely there. Almost forgot about those. Dipping my tongue into her navel to swirl it around, I use the caress to buy time. Time to move forward and find out what's next. I don't know and I find myself scared ... not of what I might find or what might happen, but of failing her.

"Barbara?" When I look up, I encounter her gaze. It slides past my face, touching on my hands as they slip under the waistband of her pants, stroking the line of her hip tenderly.

A frown creases her brow and green eyes widen, her expression dangerously akin to fear. "Go on," she whispers after a moment's trepidation.

Well aware that this has to be hard for her, I hold her gaze, striving to look at her with an expression I hope is reassuring, while I push the lightweight slacks down. The operation is ungraceful and entirely too reminiscent of my efforts with her bra, though I manage to restrain the urge to shred even more fabric. Finally, I manage to get the rest of her clothes off without losing track of the hands tangled in my hair. And some people think I'm not a real superhero. Shows what they know.

A gentle tug brings my head back up. My gaze touches on her face -- taking in pale features, the way a muscle in her cheek twitches and her eyes won't meet mine -- then slides down, absorbing all of the details. Stop at her navel and it would be easy to forget she's ever been hurt. There are a few scars. The leftover effects from old injuries when she was still Batgirl. Tiny, minor things here and there. But nothing outside of the norm. It's not until my eyes fall below her waistline that I see the real scars, the ones the Joker left when he put her in the damn wheelchair. Time has faded the worst of the damage, but I can see the jagged shape of the original wound, surrounded by neat, surgically-straight lines. Considering the depth of the scarring, it must have been terrible when it first happened. Dammit, how could anyone make her suffer this way? Given a chance at the bastard, I think I might just be able to kill him. I hear and feel her draw a deep breath and look up in time to see her mouth open as she readies herself to speak.

Another offer to let me leave with no hard feelings is on its way. Not sure how I know what she intends to say, I just do. I don't want to hear it, don't want those words hanging in the air between us when it's all feeling so right and good. She's still drawing breath to speak when I lean down and trail my lips over the soft flesh of her lower stomach, my tongue ruffling the faint ridges of scar tissue. "It's a part of you," I whisper against her skin, then dust kisses along a scar that curves along her pelvis and nearly reaches her hip. "And you're incredibly beautiful." Our gazes lock and hold for a long moment, and then I duck my head, dropping fresh kisses onto soft flesh, my voice a pleading croak. "Help me ... please you."

Her head bobs gently, throat muscles working convulsively, a muscle flexing along the line of her jaw. A moment passes while it sinks in that I'm not going to run screaming into the night, then she moistens her lips, leaving me to wonder if she has any idea how sexy that gesture is. "It-it helps ... to watch." An embarrassed flush slides over her skin, while her gaze darts sideways to escape my perusal.

"Good," I whisper, surprised by the coiling tension in the pit of my stomach the idea engenders. It feels vaguely sinful and taboo, and I have to admit, I've always been drawn to the sexually forbidden. "I like the idea." her gaze just barely touches on me, then moves on, only to be drawn back when I begin fluttering more butterfly kisses over her stomach, sliding down, trailing along the bottom edge of the scar tissue. Shock has her hands loose in my hair, giving me a chance to explore at will, learning the shape and texture of this part of her in a way I'm not sure she'd allow if she was thinking clearly. It's a reminder of the horror that she's been through. If I let it become a symbol of that torment, it would be easy to shy away from it and give it power it doesn't deserve to have. Better to see it as a proof of her strength in surviving. Looking at it in that context, I find myself grateful because it means she's here, warm and alive in my arms.

She's watching every move. I can feel her eyes tracking my touch, which leaves me to wonder how much actual sensation there is. Does it still hurt sometimes? Is there remembered pain? Does she have any idea how many people have reason to be grateful for her survival? Some who know her and have stared into her eyes, and even more who don't even know she exists.

"No one has ever..." the words escape her mouth in a burst, then trail away, the sentence unfinished, but the meaning obvious. Nightwing knew her before the shooting, apparently lusted after her for years. Must be some serious baggage that goes with that sort of relationship when something like this happens. I can imagine how hard that would make it to look at a physical reminder of what must feel like his failure to protect her.

I don't even come with all that baggage and I experience a flicker of guilt, as though I should have been there and done something. If I could, I'd sell my soul to go back to that place and time and make sure things came out differently. And the funny thing is I know she'd never let me. She gave up her chance at walking to save my life.

"Dinah?" her tone rises, turning my name into a question that's asking so many things.

"Thinking..." holding her gaze, I spread my hand over her stomach, thumb lightly stroking the faded ridges, "...about how glad I am this didn't take you away from me." I duck my head and strong hands tighten in my hair as though ready to pull me away, but she doesn't resist as I press a final kiss over the scars, a silent tribute to the pain she's borne and the person she's become.

Wasn't this supposed to just be simple, easy, drunken sex with no real meaning to it? Who'm I kidding? Whatever it is for her, it's a whole lot more for me. Damn. I must have given myself away because I can see the questions in her eyes. When she's sober, she can put on a game face that gives nothing away, but right now, her expression is a window onto the workings of her mind. Green eyes widen faintly, a hint of a frown between her brows, lips parted ever so slightly. I can almost see the gears turning as she struggles to make an alcohol laden brain figure it all out. She's close to putting two and two together and coming up with four. That idea scares me more than I can say. I know her. Whatever else, she cares for me as a friend. If she thought it was more than just a good time for me, she'd probably put a stop to things so as not to lead me on.

Can't give her a chance to think too hard. Which is why I'm suddenly sliding lower on her body, my weight braced on one hand, the other skimming down the brushed velvet of her outer thigh. A sharp spasm ripples through her along with a heavy exhalation as my tongue brushes soft flesh just above the first few wisps of auburn curls. She's flushed, her skin glossy with perspiration, her breath coming in quick gasps with random delays between. I don't know whether it's the sensations or the sights doing it, but I recognize arousal when I see it. Speaking of arousal, pure heat has me trembling as it sinks into the depths of my body, coalescing and falling into itself, a heated plasma fire under pressure.

This is happening, and I can't stop it now. And, God knows, I don't want to. What I want is to know every inch of her body, to lose myself in her and find every caress that arouses, hear every sound she makes, discover even the smallest erogenous zones. I want to know every part of her in a way I haven't wanted to know anyone in a very long time ... maybe ever.

Scooping a hand behind her knee, I carefully shift her leg to the side before settling it back into the mattress, well aware of the responsibility that simple act puts on my shoulders. It's no small thing that she trusts me, and I know that. The fingers tangled in my hair become caressing as I lean down, silently encouraging me when I press a soft kiss onto the top of her thigh. The problem is we're now well beyond any practical knowledge, moving past the fake it till you make it phase, and distinctly headed for totally clueless territory. I have no idea what I'm doing. Damn, this is embarrassing. I'm supposed to be the sex goddess; done it all at least once, no boundaries, gimme some more, and I'll have some of that. Only I feel like a goddamned virgin. If I were wearing boots, I'd be quaking in them.

"Help me," the ragged, pleading rasp is my voice, sounding rough and unfamiliar as I beg for her guidance. God, please let her understand that I need her along with me. The ideal, fantasy lover may be some omniscient paragon of virtue that knows a woman's every thought and fantasy, knows exactly where to touch and when. But that's not me. I, unfortunately, don't have a clue beyond some very vague generalities that may, or may not, apply in her case.

Dammit, Dinah, do not panic. You wanted this, wanted to be here with her, this way. This is not the time to freak out.

Before I can lose myself in a total panic attack, there's pressure from her hands, pulling me back up the length of her body. Not what I expected, but soon we're eye to eye, bodies dovetailed together, touching from the tip of our toes to the press of our upper chests. Then her eyes flutter closed, her expression one of profound concentration.


"Shhh," the soft, sibilant hiss stretches out for a long moment, freezing me in place.

Silence and total stillness follow, forcing me to concentrate on the feel of her flesh pressed against mine. No, not total stillness. I can feel the faint compression and expansion of her chest as she breathes in and out, the tempo slow and measured now. Closing my eyes, I concentrate on the sensation, the feel of her body pressed into mine, and become aware of tiny quivers sliding over her skin and through her muscles. Lying so utterly unmoving shouldn't make my arousal coil even tighter, and yet it does, until the muscles in my arms and shoulders are shivering randomly where they're braced to support my weight, and my breath is coming harsh and unsteady.

Then fine-boned hands release their grip on my hair, sliding down and around, measuring the width of my shoulders, brushing my upper chest, then slipping around my body again to brail the length of my spine down to my hips.

"I can feel you," she whispers at last, her eyes still closed, brow furrowed in concentration. Her hands spread, fitting themselves to shape of my lower back. A hint of a smile curves her mouth, tempting me to lean down and taste, but I hold back, intensely curious about what she has to say. "Your thigh muscles are tense ... bunched at the knee ... on the left side at least." A brief pause follows before she continues, "Right foot ... your big toe is stroking my foot." The corner of her lips twitch in a smile she can't quite contain, and the hands on my back slide a little lower.

Oh damn. She hasn't even touched ... and I'm on the verge ... and ... oh god.

A moment passes, then she draws my head down, her breath teasing my ear. "Dinah...." How the hell does she know just how erotic it is to hear her voice in my ear? It makes me quiver deep inside. "You're wet."

Which is very probably the understatement of the year. A glass of water is wet. I am a goddamned raging river. Waitaminute ... either I'm blazingly stupid -- a definite possibility all things considered -- or that means that--

Sharp teeth close on my earlobe, biting just hard enough to make me shudder, then her voice slides through me. "That's right," she confirms my suspicions, pausing to dart her tongue into my ear before continuing, "I told you ... I can feel you." Her fingers tighten on the curve of my hips, pulling me closer, guiding me in a slow moving thrust. Her breath catches and neatly blunted nails dig into my skin. "It's subtle," she admits, taking a deep breath before continuing in an explanation, "not like it was before." A graceful hand trails up, caressing my hip and side, then rising to brush blonde hair out of my eyes. After a moment, she threads nimble fingers into my hair and tugs my head up until our eyes meet. "Sometimes it can be hard to tell the difference between reality and ghost sensations. The mind can play tricks ... some good ... some bad." Her lips find mine, kissing slowly, while the hand still resting just below the base of my spine pulls just hard enough to encourage another slow thrust. "But this is real," she explains, each word coming slow and measured. "It's slower ... takes time ... gets more intense with arousal ... but it's very real."

After that, my existence becomes a blur of flesh and whispered words. She tells me so many things, some of the most intimate details of her life and body, letting me in on her secrets and drawing out more than a few of my own. Ultimately, we're bound together, she and I, moving, kissing caressing, hands and mouths slipping over soft flesh, stroking outside, dipping inside, then driving deeper. She's so goddamned beautiful it hurts to look at her, but I can't take my eyes away from the picture she paints where her body is twined with my own. It's one big experiment or maybe we're explorers leaping into the unknown. Neither one of us knows what the hell we're doing, but we manage to teach and learn together.

She feels good ... inside and out. And she tastes good -- sweet and salt, musk, the flavors of flesh, expensive perfume, and something wholly unique to her.

The first orgasm is a learning experience for both of us, and I find myself fascinated almost to the point of forgetting my own pleasure as hers sweeps over her. I was afraid that it either wouldn't be possible or wouldn't be ... I don't know how to express it, but I guess the word is enough -- good enough, intense enough, pleasurable enough. Judging by the way her eyes roll back as sweat slides over flushed skin, and her body bucks into mine, it is enough, though I can feel her fighting it, watching me, trying to concentrate on me as hard as I am on her. Probably plagued with her own set of doubts and uncertainties. Not the same as mine, but unquestionably just as deeply felt. A shared smile soothes us both, putting us back in synch. That togetherness tips me over into my own abyss and leaves me so lost in sensation that the tracks her nails leave in my back only cause more shudders of pleasure, and feel like a mark of my triumph.

Afterward, there are lazy caresses, and I find myself lying wrapped in her arms, considering the warm flesh pressed against my own. It's nothing like any of the men in my past. Where they were bulky and hard, all rough textures and raw power, she's lithe and firm, just as steely in some ways, but overlaid in silk and velvet. I never would have thought I'd like the difference, but I do.

No, I don't like it, I love it.

And I can't contain the desire to explore this new world all over again. Soon my hands are moving once more, idly scouting for fresh terrain. I think she likes it too, because she's just as eager to resume as I am. For a moment, I feel like one of her experiments as she tests and plays with my body, her expression focused and intent, and then her gaze rises and a smile curves her mouth, the expression all sex and sensuality. Shoulders and upper arms knotting tightly, she maneuvers lower on my body.

And she's....

Oh God.

Oh God, oh God, oh God.

Her lips feel even better than they look, soft, but hot, demanding, and always moving, then making way for sharp teeth. She taunts and teases, taking the lead for the moment, making me beg in way I never have before ... with anyone. When I pull her to me and return the favor she's already aroused and shaking.

Maybe this is all just some drunken fantasy or I'm completely misreading things and she's just playing to my ego, but if I'm not, she's just as exited by my response as I am by hers.

Powerful. It may not be the only word to describe that realization, but it's the only one I can come up with right now. The sheer power of it washes over me, makes my muscles tremble, and my soul quake. For the moment at least, we belong completely to one another.

We're far from knowing everything there is to know, but it's enough to spur thick heat and low groans. The second orgasm is pure pleasure, the pressure off, and our bodies more attuned to one another.

Afterward, we're too wiped out to do much more than lie entwined in a liquid sprawl. Her hair is silky and damp where it's spread across my chest, her cheek warm velvet pressure on my breast.



"Is this real?" The question is sleepily asked, her voice slow and slightly blurred.

It's ironic that it apparently feels as surreal to her as it does to me. Ducking my chin to press a kiss to the top of her head, I can't resist the need to toy with the pure spun silk of her hair, sifting my fingers through the delicate strands. "It's real." Nothing that feels this complete could be anything else. Even lying there, still half drunk, exhausted, and nearly as satiated as it's possible for a body to be, I have to touch. My hands wander, stroking a slender shoulder and smoothly muscled arm, outlining the faint curve of ribs, the joining of muscle and sinew where her underarm blends into a firm breast. It's lazily done, with no pressure to go faster or slower. After a while, she rolls, lying on her stomach, chin pillowed between my breasts, an idle smile playing over her lips. Time has ceased to have any meaning. Our world consists of the dark confines of her room and each other. Everything else is superfluous.

She kisses my inner breast, sweeps her tongue up and around my nipple until relaxed flesh firms up again, then takes possession with her mouth, suckling gently.

I think I may have died and gone to heaven, a heated, damp, satiny kind of heaven where the clouds are the color of pale flesh and crimson hair, and the harps play a symphony of soft moans and barely coherent entreaties.

And when the hell did I turn all poetic?

The sandpaper warmth of her tongue slides over and down, then up again.

Oh yeah, that's when.

My low moan brings a smile from her, a little tip of one corner of her lips, while her eyes spark and gleam.

"I love seeing you like this," she whispers and presses a kiss to the center of my chest without explaining any more than that

Wanna ask her, don't you, Lance, except maybe you don't wanna know the answer because maybe you've swept her off her feet, but then again maybe this is just a reboundy stab at Nightwing. No. Don't think. No thinking. Thinking is bad.

Stick with kissing and caressing. Much safer than thinking.

And a whole helluva lot more fun.

This time it's more about the journey than the destination. We're both already so worn that muscles quake and sweat beads, but at the same time, neither of us can let go. If I were more sober or less aroused, I might find it necessary to ask myself why she's as unable to quit as I am. Thankfully, I'm not, so I don't have to worry about it. All I have to worry about is the way she whimpers when I touch here, or cries out when I kiss there.

It's pure compulsion, incredibly good, but also a little overwhelming. Or maybe a lot overwhelming. She's on me, over me, in me, and around me, and I'm bound up to her the same way. Our mouths are fused together, her sweat on me and mine on her, breath flowing from my body to hers and back again.

It's slow this time, an aching climb up Mount Everest that leaves us both weak and drenched, and makes a body wonder why. Right up until some incredible vista opens out and it all makes sense.

She's my vista -- a once in a lifetime, breath-stealingly beautiful sight -- but I have to admit that by the time we're both caught in the throes of a third orgasm, it's almost a relief. When you climb Everest, there's a time to hit the top and come down the other side. I don't want it to end, but I'm not sure I'll survive if it doesn't.

I'm back to the poetry thing. Orgasms were never poetic before. Not that they were the stuff of bad porn, complete with a three letter word that's usually spelled with four and means the opposite of go. They were nice, intense, maybe even a little on the lyric side once or twice. But poetic? No way. I didn't think such things existed.

Thank you, God, I was wrong, and they do.

"Oh, Dinah," her voice is husky and bleary sounding as we tumble down from the pinnacle, falling into one another, bodies limp.

"Oh, Barbara." Even as drained as I am, my voice comes out as a euphoric mimicry of her tone.

She smiles and ruffles my hair, though it's already way past disarrayed. I lean into the petting, enjoying the affectionate gesture, then shift to one side, sinking into the mattress with an weary sigh. Letting my eyes slide closed, I lose track of time for a little while, not quite sleeping, but far from awake.

Her voice brings me out of the daze, her tone the one she gets when she's been thinking about something, soft, a little slow, and cautious. "Dinah ... why?"

No big secret what she's asking. Rolling onto my back, I lie there with my head pillowed on her stomach, eyes fixed on the ceiling overhead. The sight flutters, the darkness so unfocused I let my eyes slide closed to avoid the threat of motion sickness. Sobering up is never as much fun as getting drunk. "Seemed like the thing to do at the time."

She doesn't answer. I guess maybe she's fallen asleep. Good idea.

When I open my eyes again, I'm still lying sprawled on her mattress, my head pillowed just under her breasts, staring at the ceiling, my whole body pleasantly limp. Her fingers are slipping slowly through my hair, combing it tenderly. I must have slept for a moment, and that's what woke me. As I lie there, she trails a caress along my cheekbone. Haven't been out long because her hand still smells of sex, but then so does the rest of her body. And mine. In fact the air is frosted with the scent of sex. I don't mind at all.

Soft and thoughtful, her voice rises and wraps around me like a vapor trail. "Dinah?"


"I love you." Her voice is quiet and serious in a way that would probably sound dispassionate to many, but I can hear the depth of emotion in the undertone. Perhaps it's not the wild passionate, 'I love you,' I've fantasized about, but it's very real. It's not the 'I love you,' of lives intended to be bound together under god and law, or even the romantic promise that this will continue past one night. It's simply, 'I love you,' a lifelong commitment without boundaries, an unequivocal bond that won't be broken, no matter what happens. Whether this facet of our relationship continues is immaterial. It may add to the emotion, change it, rewrite it, but it can't lessen it.

"I love you too." I know I sound a lot more eager and a lot less serious than she does. Then again, that's my usual persona, so she'd probably suspect something if it were otherwise. Her hand pauses in my hair. Has she guessed. And why am I so scared to have her realize just how deep my emotions run? It's like when I was a kid with a crush, and the worst thing I could imagine was the object of my affections figuring it out.

"I know," she admits, her voice little more than a bare breath that gives little away, leaving me to wonder at the depth of her knowledge.

She doesn't press the issue though, and her fingers continue their slow journey through my hair, a tactile reassurance that does away with my fears. Whatever the answer is, it doesn't matter. She loves me. For now, that's enough.

* * * * * *



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