DISCLAIMER: I own the thoughts in my head, maybe <g> but the characters of BoP are not mine. No infringement harm intended & certainly no profit is made.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: If you like fluffy fic, I don't think this will be it. Call it a hunch, & fair warning.
SPOILER: After the events in Devil's Eyes with a bit of essential creative retelling of events.
FEEDBACK: Please let me know what you think Always appreciated, especially as this is my first BoP fic
ARCHIVING: If you like & want? Just ask.
Where Angels Dare Not Tread
My mother was a thief.
A reformed thief even. Striving to give her daughter a better life.
My father was a hero. To so many people. Just not me.
My hand scrapes along the cold stone surface of the gargoyle I'm crouched over.
I'm something neither of them were.
I'm a murderer.
I killed Wade Brixton.
The air wasn't that cold but the wind whips through me, flapping my coat around me. I stand up to face it, allowing it to enter the ice in my veins & the cold I need so desperately to dull the sharp, all consuming pain in my heart.
I step off the gargoyle to lose myself in the night.
It's been hours since I finished my sweep but it's still dark. It's still cold. I shouldn't have come here but my feet always unerringly find my way here. To where she's supposed to be. I shouldn't be here. It takes so much out of me to pretend. Can't someone please tell me how I can ever make amends? Like you can ever make up for what I've done. What I've done to her. I'm broken & moving. How can that be? Neverhteless, as the elevator doors to the clocktower open, I use my old practiced swagger. The place is empty however, except for slashes of green illuminating ghostly from the humming Delphi. The place seems all the emptier without the familiar clatter of her typing. It's so often more empty these days. Just like me.
A flash of red outside catches my eyes & stops my heart. It's her. Barbara's outside, overlooking the city she's sacrificed so much, too much to protect. Like any of those worthless jerks would give even a fraction she has for her. They wouldn't. The human race is scum. I almost feel like I fit in but I'm so much worse. My going outside despite my knowledge that I shouldn't, my promise to myself that I wouldn't, just proves it to me all over again.
I'm the lowest bastard I've ever met.
So I creep along the quiet parts of the floor from long practice, I hide in the darkest shadows & watch her. She doesn't disappoint me.
"I know you're there Helena." Her voice holds a gentle smile I get to see in the next moment as she swings her head around to look directly where I'm hiding to prove her point.
I put on my best game face & walk out, hands stuffed in the pockets of my coat. I shake my head grinning at her. "I still don't know how you do that."
One side of those full lips curls in a smirk. "I'll never tell my secret."
"Have you got me bugged?" I hold my arms out & do a spin. "Where did you hide it? You always know where I am. Meta humans with super hearing wouldn't have heard me."
She likes the old game between us. I can tell by her smile, the warming of already warm green eyes. All I do is hurt because she thinks so many things are the same & nothing can ever be again.
"I didn't hear you. I didn't see you." She shrugs, suddenly looking down at her knees. "I feel you."
"What, Barbara the psychic now?" I tease her jokingly sarcastic.
"Yeah, me & Dinah are joining a group."
I snort at the kids name.
Barbara's smile slips. "You seem to be avoiding her lately. Anything wrong?"
I raise my eyebrows in false surprise. "Me avoiding the sidekick? Never." The though of her touching me & reading even a fraction of my thoughts freezes me in terror. " Nothing's up Barbara, sheesh, everything with you has to be some Greek tragedy. I've just been busy that's all. You know, business & all."
A totally different regard now as she scrutinizes me. "That's right, you bought the bar. You never did tell me what prompted you finally to take some of the money your father left you."
"I just decided some things aren't that important. But don't worry, my daddy issues are alive & well. Besides, I needed to do something. It's been dead on sweeps ever since-"
"Ever since we put Quinzel away." she finishes for me. "It's alright you know Helena, you can say her name around me."
"I just don't want to bring back painful memories." I mutter, looking anywhere but at the one person who should hate me.
Instead she puts a comforting hand on my arm, her eyes finding mine, all compassion & concern. I would laugh if it wasn't so horribly wrong. If I wasn't so twisted in knots. "You have to stop blaming yourself Helena."
"I have." I do one of the hardest things I've ever done. I walk away from her touch.
"Obviously." She states archly.
I don't look at her. I can see the arched brow in my mind but it's always so much worse for me if I actually look at her. "Can you tell me your over it? It's god knows what hour in the morning & your out here, again. In the cold, looking out at nothing. You're thinking about him. Grieving. Not that you shouldn't." I add with much less grace than I should, I've never been about finesse.
"It's been slow & I like this time to think." she tells me, wheeling close, closing the distance between us again. "It's so quiet at this time. I like waiting to watch the Sun to rise."
"And does it?" I ask, the sudden gust of wind causing my eyes to tear. Or so I'll like to think.
"Well Helena, it's the Sun, it always rises." She adds in a bemused voice.
"Good to know you can depend on at least one thing, right?" I say flippantly.
A hand slide sin mine, so warm, so wonderfully, heart wrenching warm. And I'm so tired of being cold.
"It's not the only thing I can depend on." She tells me, voice serious & smoky as sure as the hand clasping mine.
I give it a light squeeze & walk over to the door. "It's pretty cold out, despite the early thaw. Maybe you should watch this sunrise from the inside of the clock tower? I mean, you did have it all fixed up within a week. Same to waste the nicely heated space..." I hold the door open, waiting.
"Honestly Helena, you'd think I was glass with the way you cosset me." the words are said with a mix of bone deep affection & mild irritation throwing in. She wheels herself over though & past me.
"Is that even a real word?" I stare at her derisively.
"Which one?" She grins insolently at me, playing.
"Cosset." I growl low, playing back. Faking it. Can't let her know what a monster I really am. Can't bear to see her being able to really see me.
"Yes." She affirms adding her trade smirk. "Are you coming in too or just going to stand post?"
"I'm coming in." I swagger in, closing the glass door behind me.
"Good." She's manoeuvring herself to face me. "Then maybe you can tell me what's really going on."
I stop breathing.
The Delphi alert system goes off. I breathe again, never so grateful for an emergency as now because I can't tell her. I have to lie.
She was wrong about my thinking she's glass. She's iron, titanium. She's the Sun.
All I am is shattered glass.
That alarm saved me & damned me at the same time going from one dreaded situation to another. At least this one I can handle.
I spot my target & drop down, scaring him as usual.
"Helena!" He's still shook up at being dropped on. The idiot should know better by now.
I look around the alleyway well lit from the street lights. "I don't see any cop cars." I drawl. "No body, no broken windows or damaged property. In fact there's no perps unless we're dealing with invisible bad guys?" I look to him waiting for an explanation.
He's sweating. "Actually, I used the ring to contact you because we need to talk Helena."
"It's Huntress when I'm duty." I tell him, knowing I'm not liking where this is going. I'm already angry that there won't be any violence for me to bleed myself on.
"This isn't about duty. This is about us-"
I cut him off, snarling, "Us? You used the ring to drag me here for a sensitive chat? That isn't a beeper detective!"
"It's Reese." He loudly exhales. "And what am I supposed to do? You don't talk to me! You don't return my calls. Ever since you took over the bar I don't see you there. What am I supposed to think?"
The edges of my vision are turning red. "I don't know Reese. You're a detective. Why don't you detect?"
There's so much hurt in his face, his shoulders slump. We both remember when I first said those words to him. Our first meeting. Maybe this will signal our last.
"I want an explanation." He tries again.
I look at him, all honest eyes, desperate confusion & hurt. So eager for the truth because he still believes if you're good & honest than you're safe. It makes me hurt for him & hate him just a little too because that innocence was taken from me long ago. What right does he have to be in my face with his self-righteousness?
"What you want has nothing to do with anything Reese. The sooner you understand that the better off you'll be." Which is a lie, you're not better off, just jaded & hurting but at least you can keep yourself safe, not let anyone in.
"Dammit Helena," Reese steps towards me, moving his hand in a fist to emphasize his words. "I turned my back on the law & helped you & your friends clean up the Harley Quinn mess when I planted evidence & falsified reports that it went down at a warehouse & that you weren't involved. I respect the law, just because you & your friends don't doesn't mean I don't deserve to be treated with some consideration & respect in turn!"
My eyes flash at his presumptions. "Consider this Mr. Police, my respect, that you call it, for the law, is tempered by my experience with it. The whole reason this city is safe is because of people like me & my friends so don't you dare talk at me about what you deserve!"
"Don't purposefully misunderstand me! You owe me an explanation & a whole lot more." He glares at me waiting full of expectations.
"I owe you?" I enunciate the words slowly, carefully. I'm on the ledge again & I so want to fall. "What do you think I owe you Reese? A lap dance? Is that what this is all about? You think that ring & what you've done entitles you to have me as your personal whore?"
My eyes flash at him. I know they've changed because his eyes widen & he steps back, hand raised to ward me off. "What-"
"That's just it, isn't it Reese." I advance on him, every movement the promise of violence. "You keep coming back to asking me what I am. I told you once it's who I am that matters but little man, tonight I'll take it back & say you should be afraid of me & what I can do!" I lash out. I know it's wrong, I know it to my core even as I hear Barbara's voice over the comm having forgotten she was listening, yelling at me to stop whatever I'm doing, to back off but it feels so good to finally let loose, if only this much. If only enough to hurt someone else so that I'm not the only one hurting.
Reese falls to the ground from the blow. He looks up at me, sad soft brown eyes staring at me while his hand gingerly touches his bleeding mouth.
"So now I'm your punching bag too?" Reese asks me. "Didn't I mean anything to you? I stopped you from drinking that night. I reminded you of your duty. What we had. What was I to you Helena?"
"Nothing but a substitute crutch." I tell him coldly furious at him for being hurt instead of angry, for not fighting. "It was the alcohol or you & you wanted it to be you. Don't blame me for your 'intentionally misunderstanding' the situation."
"I don't know you at all." He slowly picks himself off the ground. He slides the ring off his finger. "I don't think I want this anymore." Than he made the mistake of pitching it at me.
I snatch it from the night air easily. "Oracle gave this to you as a show of trust & that's how you repay her? Just because you're not getting any from her pet crime fighter? You worthless waste of time, she trusted you & all you do is betray her trust like this!"
In a flash I'm all over him, wailing on him with my fists. He never had a chance.
An unseen force hits me from behind, throwing me off him & several feet away. Like a cat, I land on my feet a whirl around. Dinah's there, she's kneeling over Reese, checking him for injuries. I hear her talking to Barbara.
"He's got a split lip & a missing tooth I think. Both eyes will be black. He's pretty bruised but he should be okay. She hadn't broken anything yet."
<What about Huntress?>
Dinah's glare finds me. "She's here. Huntress how could you?" Reese is already rousing himself. Satisfied that he can manage, she approaches me. "What's wrong? Why are you acting so angry all the time? Why can't you-" She reaches for my arm & I step back.
"Don't touch me!!" I warn her.
Hurt flares up in her face so fast & it shines in her eyes. "Why not? Why don't you let me touch you? You keep avoiding me & we never spar anymore. Why? Did I do something wrong?"
More innocence. So much hurt left for her in the world. I can't bear it. It almost outweighs my terror at the thought of her picking up what I feel, what I'm thinking, what I've done. I can't let her know.
"It's not you." I tell her, my voice harsher than I wanted but I don't have enough control. "I just need my space. Help Reese, go back to Barbara. I need to be alone." I turn my back & flee.
"Huntress!" Dinah tries to call me back.
<Helena?> Barbara's voice asks in my ear, filled with concern & something that I don't recognize.
I take the comms off . "I'm sorry Barbara." I crush them in my hands & let the twisted metal fall away as I lose myself in the night. I know where I need to go & what I have to do.
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