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.
DEDICATION: A big huge thanks to April who beta'd this for me & gave me sound advice when my brain was stuck. Any still existing typos are completely my own fault when I revised a final time.
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.
PAIRING: Barbara/Helena

Where Angels Dare Not Tread
By North

Part Eleven

I'm fleeing the scene of my crime. I don't run, or stop my retreat to the elevator doors. The confusion and hurt in Barbara's voice shred at my heart, but it's the words she shouts next that freeze the blood in my veins.

"Delphi, voice command lock down!"

Lock down?

I'm not more than two steps from my exit when a plate of solid metal slams down in front of it, barring my escape. More clangs resound in the clock tower. I whirl and witness sheets of metal race down the side of every window and opening. Emergency lights turn on. I'm trapped.


I hurl myself at the barred elevator, use all my meta strength, spurred by desperation, fuelled by fear. Nothing. Not the slightest mark. The thought of being trapped drives me wild.

"This is new." My voice comes out strangled. I turn and face her.

Green eyes spark, Barbara's tone as implacable as the expression on her face, "After Quinn I felt more thorough security measures were called for. Now, where in Hell did you think you were going?"

The last comes out sharp and hard. I ignore it as best I can and pace frantically inside this unexpected cage. "Is the voice recognition program only keyed to your voice?" I don't know how I do it, but I almost sound casual.

"Yes." The word is sharp and precise.

"Let me out." I keep my voice level, reasonable, even as my every move screams desperation.

"No," Barbara responds with surreal calm. "Tell me why Helena."

It's not a question.

Wild eyed, I prowl, looking for an escape. "Because I'm selfish. I wanted the date with you. I wanted your kiss."

She shakes her head angrily, "The reason Helena. The real one. The entire truth."

"I can't!" My hands slap painfully against the unyielding metal.

She wheels towards me. I dance out of reach quickly. She stops and stares at me with confusion and hurt, "I love you. You know I do. You've felt it. And by God I know you feel the same. I know that you love me. That you want this. So why? Why can't this happen? Why won't you let this happen?"

I want to tell her it's because there aren't happy endings for people like me. I don't believe in them anymore. Not since they were murdered in front of me so long ago.

"We can't be together," I answer her, hoarse with fear and anguish. "Not like that. Not ever."

"Why?" she yells. Her hands hit her legs hard enough that I wince.

A frantic terror grips me. "Please. Please Barbara, don't make me hurt you like this." Don't let me be the vice that crushes that great heart of yours.

"You're already hurting me." She's more unyielding than the metal surrounding us.

I look helplessly at her. I never thought I could feel this way again. The way I felt holding my mother as she died in my arms, the knife that killed her only feet away. And me, terrified, desperate and helpless, utterly helpless, to save all that made my life whole. I could only watch her, and my reason, bleed away on filthy concrete in the unrelenting rain.

Here I am again. I built my whole world around Barbara. And again it's bleeding away in my arms. Except this time I don't know which I am: the frightened child, the dying woman, or the bloody knife that did it all.

Every line in my body tries to beg Barbara, "Then let me go Barbara. Let me go before I hurt you worse."

Her jaw tightens, as does the look in her eyes. "There's not a chance even if Hell froze over that I would let you leave without an explanation!"

My heart's beating so hard I'm amazed it hasn't broken through my chest. "Let me go."

Barbara barks a short, staccato laugh that's painful to hear. "You kiss me like no one's ever kissed me before. You give me the most romantic night in my life, tell me you love me, make me feel more than I ever have in my life, and then you think I'm going to just let you walk out the door when you tell me it can never happen again?" Her fierce expression fuels her tone. "I don't know what's going on. I don't know what you could be thinking. But I do know that if you think you're leaving without at least telling me why, then you're insane!"

She plows on, heedless of my growing panic. "Why Helena? Why can't this happen again? Why can I never feel your lips against mine? Feel your tongue in my mouth? Have this evening end the way it should with you-"

"Please stop." The plea's faint, my hands in fists at my side, my eyes screwed tight, fighting it. I'm dying inside.

Barbara doesn't relent. "God Helena, just the way you looked at me is enough to take my breath away. I love you! Isn't that what you want? Am I not what you want? Why won't you let me love you? Let me be with you? Let our bodies slide together, your hands on me, me loving you, my hands inside of you-"


I lunge but force my hands away from her body at the last minute. They find purchase on the back handles of her chair, gripping them painfully. My eyes are open and their burning with my arousal and my fear as my beast wells within me. Barbara meets my eyes unflinching.

She's always been far braver than I.

"This is why Barbara," I grind out between clenched teeth that want to rend. "This is why. I'm not human. Just your words, the sound of your voice, makes me this way and all I want to do is ravage you! God Barbara, why did you think I moved out all those years ago? Even then I could never completely stay away from you, but at least I could protect you from me."

She regards my eyes and their vertical slits. She frowns, "So your meta powers kick in when you're aroused? That's not a problem."

God help us both, she doesn't understand. "No Barbara, it is a problem. What I want to do, the things I want to do to you-" My voiced cracks, the images the words evoke eroding my waning control.

Barbara's touch on my mouth startles me. I finch away. Her hand drops to grab the front of my shirt and suddenly I'm pulled down and kissed hard and wanting. A low growl tickles past my control, past my lips. I tear my mouth form hers, deeply afraid. Before I can speak, Barbara's words penetrate me, her hand still tangled in my shirt.

"You think you're the only one crazed with desire?" she husks, her eyes search my face. "I dream about us together. All night I've been wanting you naked in my bed. I've been spending all night dreaming about what you taste like, hot against my tongue, your body pulsing hot and wet around my hand, moving so deep inside you-"

"Barbara don't!" I warn her, a choked sound. Is she trying to provoke me? My whole body throbs at her words. I ache for her.

Her eyes widen at the sound of metal bending as my grip unconsciously tightened, behind the handles of her chair. The last of my control is all but worn away.

"Do you get it now?" I growl in her face, my death grip on her chair not lessening. "I don't fight like a human. I certainly couldn't have sex, let alone make love like one."

There it is. The point of no return. I'll have to eviscerate my shame and fear in front of her for her to see. For her to believe. And then I'll watch that look of love and desire on her face, in her eyes, be replaced by horror. Horror of me.

"Remember Jimmy Wilson?" I begin.

"From when you were in high school? Of course I remember." Of course she does, that's what I'm counting on, her infallible memory. Then she'll push me away. Save herself. Help me save her. "You brought him to the nurse's office. He had fallen and his lip was split wide open. But what does that have to do with us?"

"You remember how bad his lip was?"

""His teeth had gone right through his lip. It was nasty." she answers, so confused by my train of conversation.

"It wasn't his teeth that did that." I watch her carefully for her reaction, "We were fooling around behind the bleachers. I thought he was hot. I certainly was. And he would do for the moment. We were making out and I...changed. I wanted to kiss him harder, take him. But the taking wasn't sex, or at least not only sex. I wanted him bleeding., I wanted his blood and his whimpers of pain. Before I realized what I was doing, he was trying to push me away, screaming with his skin in my mouth and I kept biting, his blood filling my mouth. And it felt good Barbara. Better than good. Better than anything I've ever felt. Do you hear me? I did that to him and got off on it."

Barbara's expression is as guarded as I've ever seen it. Unreadable. "He said he fell."

"He was scared and ashamed at a girl making him scream." I tell her harshly.

"You were young, suffering form teenage hormones and your emerging powers. After that-"

"After that. It was nearly a year before I tried anything with anyone else," I cut her off, my turn to be unrelenting. "But I did try. A party at Cindy Evans' ring a bell?"

Green eyes widen, "Cindy Evans...she was the girl admitted to the hospital after she had fallen on a rake in drunk stupor..."

"It wasn't a rake. But she was drunk." I inform her, pitilessly confirming her conclusions. "We had all been drinking and were playing truth or dare. You know how I can never resists a dare, don't you? The dare was for me and Cindy to make out in the shed for ten minutes. Her eyes were too blue but she had red hair and luscious curves. I liked how she kissed. Then she began to feel me up and I liked that even more. Next thing I know, she runs out and I see her back through a shirt that wasn't torn before we went in the shed. I could see parallel streaks of red on her back. I looked down at my hand and saw the same red on my fingers, under my nails. That's when I figured it out. What I'd done. Wanna know what I did then?" I don't wait for an answer but tell her, "I licked it off. I licked her blood off my fingers and nearly came from the rush of it. Do you remember how many stitches she needed?"

Reluctantly Barbara releases the number, "Twenty-seven." She protests, "But there was no report of her being attacked. She never said anything."

"Cindy was too drunk to remember. I wasn't. People drew their own conclusions and I let them."

From the look on her face, Barbara's mind is racing, "But you've had sex since then."

My eyes burn and I shake my head slowly from side to side.

"Ever?" She asks astonished. Shock flows over her face, through her voice.

Again, I carefully shake my head negative.

"Helena," stricken, she reaches for me.

I release the chair and scramble away. "What's wrong with you?" my voice rises, "What is this? Pity? You should be horrified! I've tried since then. Countless someones, anyone. Sure, none of them were you but they all turned me on. It starts at kissing and before it ever gets any farther...every time, every time Barbara, there's a point where I lose control. And I hurt them. I want to hurt them. I want you and I want to hurt you. Do you hear me Barbara? I love you and want you and none of it matters because I want to hurt you!"

I make it over to the wall before my legs give out and I slide down it's metal smoothness to sit on the floor. I press my face to it's cold surface. "I fuck myself. Less guilt. And when I bruise or draw blood it's my own and at least I have meta healing to ease it the next day."

I hear her draw closer to me. "How lonely you must have been all this time. Why didn't you ever tell me? It can't affect how I feel about you. Do you really think so little of me?"

The beast that I am hasn't receded. Too much arousal and fear. My senses are still heightened, my eyes still inhuman. But the raw pain of her words...she's hurting and the hurt is for me. It bleeds some of the edge away, though it lingers, waiting.

"I always knew I never deserved you." The words squeeze past the sadness in my throat.

A hand runs through my hair, I close my eyes at the soothing touch. Her voice is thick with more emotions than I can decipher. "You realize you've earned serious idiot points for underestimating me? And it makes me upset when you put yourself down."

She sounds so normal. I blink open my eyes to see the tender expression on her face. "I don't understand. Haven't you heard a word I've said? I hurt people I want. If I didn't run every time, I would have hurt them all much worse. I'm in love with you, but it doesn't mean I can make love to you. I can never be with you."

"I love you too," she empathizes with a caress to my face. "But you seem to be missing the obvious."

"Which is?' I ask bitterly.

"That even if we could never have sex, it wouldn't change how I feel about you. Also, that you haven't tried yet."

"I have tired!"

"You've never tired with me," she states quietly. Her voice like her eyes, soft and hard at the same time.

My whole being stumbles over the implications of what she just said. "You can't be serious."

She nods once, firm and sure. "I know I - we, deserve the chance to find out what we can have, what we can be together."

I don't know whether to scream or weep in frustration. Every part of me is on fire to take her. How can she taunt me with this?

"Don't think because it's you, because I love you, that it'll be different. The beast I am comes out, and you'll get hurt. I could even kill you."

Barbara cups my face in her hands, "You're worth the risk."

I yank my face from her touch. Long held-in lust turns into anger. "I hardly agree. If we had sex I wouldn't be able to stay in control. God Barbara, I could break bones or worse. I can't face doing that to you. I can't risk it. You're worth more than that to me."

"We'd be making love, not sex." Barbara insists, her gaze soft. "And you're a person Helena, meta-human or otherwise, you're still a person., not any kind of beast."

I laugh but there's no humour to it. The painful sound has more edges than shattered glass. "How can you say that? Even now, seeing your hair slightly mussed and that sensual mouth, all I want to do is take you. I want to throw your body on the nearest table, shred that dress off and mark you with teeth and nails as mine while I fuck you so hard you scream when you come and then I want to bite you so hard you bleed. I love you with everything that I am. But it doesn't change the fact that if we went further than a kiss, that I would do all of that and more. I would hurt you Barbara. And I would get off on it. Do you hear me?" I growl suddenly, getting up to lean over her menacingly, intimately. "I would fuck you, hurt you, and I would love it."

A scent sets my hyper-senses on fire. Arousal. Barbara's arousal curling around us like an exotic perfume. I take in her flushed face, the dilated pupils, her pulse beating against her neck like a trapped thing. "You can't want this," I gasp. She can't want me.

"I want all of you." she says. And now it's her eyes that hold mine. "But you're right. I don't want it to be like that right now. Not for our first time together. And certainly not for your first time making love."

My need, my urges are making it so hard to think clearly. "How can you not be afraid? Why aren't you angry?"

"Oh, I never said I wasn't angry." There's an edge to her tone, a hardness in her eyes that I flinch at. "That you could walk away from me like that, without giving me the benefit of the doubt...No Hel, you managed to piss me off. But then you've always had a habit of being maddening." she gives me a small, lopsided smile. "God, you can drive me crazy sometimes. It's never been enough to drive me away before. I won't let you drive me away now either."

The kiss takes me by surprise. Everything Barbara has said and done this evening has. It's gentle and forgiving, just like her.

She pulls back enough to stare into my eyes and I'm drowning in twin expanses of the softest, deepest green. "I love you. How can I see you in so much pain and not feel it with you? Any anger I feel is nothing compared to how much I love you. I don't care if I have to say it a hundred times a day to help convince you of that. Right now, I'm going to prove it."

Terror rushes through me, "Prove it?"

"You've suffered with all these misconceptions for too long. It's past time we changed that."

"It's not a misconception," my voice rises with my anxiety.

"Yes," she stares me down, "it is. Now you're going to pick me up out of this chair and carry me to the bedroom."

I struggle to think, to find the right words that will convince her that it would destroy us both.

She kisses me again. It's as soft as the last one but this time her mouth is demanding.

"Stop trying to think." she whispers against my wet lips, "Take me upstairs and make love with me."

I don't think. I've wanted this for too long. Fighting it hurts too much. I lift her, all too aware of the feel and heat of her body against mine, her bare back against my cradling arms. I don't dare look at her. I focus on breathing and moving my feet as I navigate us to her bedroom. All too soon we're standing there, in her room, by her bed.

"You're shaking," Barbara whispers.

"I'm scared."

"Of me?" a hand slips up my neck, rubbing it soothingly, but arousing me at the same time.

"Not you so much as this," I barely nod at the bed. "I still think this is a mistake. It has to be."

"Why?" That free hand forcefully moves my head around to face her. "Because your code of romantically self-destructive behaviour says you can't be happy? You can be."

Her breath is sweet and her lips so close...


I blink. Barbara's peering at me. "You zoned out there for a second." she tells me concerned.

"I'm here." I say a little breathless.

"Maybe you should lay me on the bed?" she points out.

My losing track of time, no matter how briefly, isn't a good sign. Nevertheless, I do as she asks and lay her on the bed, that pale body in that long dark dress. She moves up to rest her back on the headboard. She's waiting for me, wanting me. I stand there, so scared of hurting her that I can't move.

Barbara tilts her head at me. After a moment of scrutiny she says, "Breathe Helena."

I drag in air into my lungs. Seems I forgot to do that to while freezing up.

"Come here." Barbara holds her hand out to me.

I take it without thinking. Next thing I know I'm being gently pulled onto the bed. At her urging I kick off my footwear and climb onto the mattress, feeling it dip under my weight. With some prompting, she soon has me sitting astride her lap, facing her at very close range.

She takes my face in her hands and lays the sweetest, most tender kiss upon my parted lips. "Helena," she soothes, "you're almost hyperventilating. You can relax. This is just us. Loving each other."

She continues to try and calm me with a gentle rain of light kisses and comforting touches. After a while, I exhale slow and long, feeling some of the tension uncoil from me.

"That's better," Barbara murmurs, taking a good look at me in the dim emergency lights. "You're eyes haven't changed back."

"I'm in your bed, over your body," I respond sounding remotely like my old self, "I'm marginally calmer but no less aroused."

"I wonder," she muses, the most wicked glint in her eyes, "if your eyes change back just before, during, or after you climax?"

A tearing sound makes us both start. We glance down. I've accidentally torn the mattress under my hands.

I pry open my grip. "Sorry. Told you this was a bad idea."

Her hands cover mine, "This fear of hurting me is going to keep interfering with you enjoying this, isn't it? Let's take care of that right now."

She leans to the side and reaches into her bedside table. She sits back and holds up a dark gold silk scarf.

"That's my favourite scarf of yours." I say, concerned. I love the way she looks in all that gold silk.

"I know." she says warmly, " More incentive for you not to rip it. Now, put your hands behind your back."

My eyebrows rise into my hairline at that. "Kind of kinky for you isn't it?"

Barbara smiles fondly at me, "Helena, do you trust me?"

I bite back the glib response I could make, instead I tell her the truth. "I trust you with my life. I just don't myself with yours."

Her expression alters, gentles further even as a strength that's all Barbara seems to emanate form her. "I trust you." She tells me with complete sincerity. "And I won't ask you to trust me implicitly, just for you to trust me enough. Can you trust me enough to try? If not, tell me. We'll stop. I won't have you here against your will. Tell me what you honestly want Helena, and I'll give it to you."

My whole state of self goes into flux at her words. This is the moment where I can come through for her. I can be her hero. All I have to do is do the right thing and leave before I hurt us both. But what I want, all I want, is half-reclined in this bed.

I'm so tired of living in a place where every thought hurts, every word wounds, and the skies are always a dark industrial black. I want skies of perfect blue. The skies Barbara showed me. The ones she promises in her kiss. In the end, my selfishness wins out. And just like that, I damn myself that much more.

"I want you, Barbara." She's the best part of my heart and all I can claim of a soul. I lean forward and place my hands behind my back.

She meets me halfway, her body brushing against mine, soft and pliant and strong all at once as she binds my wrists in the silk scarf tightly. She pushes the ends of silk into my palms.

"Hold these." she commands.

I hold the ends of my confinement confused, "I can get out of this. I only have to release the ends of the scarf and my hands are free."

A finger grazes my lips, sending sparks along my mouth and down my body. "That's right. You're still in control. This is just to help you feel safe from yourself."

I open my mouth in obvious protest but she stops me, pressing fingers to still my lips.

"Trust me," she implores. "Please, Helena, until you feel safe enough to trust yourself, believe in me."

"Sometimes you're the only I can believe in anymore."

"Than kiss me," she sits back and waits for me. Waits for me to choose.

I gaze at her, weighing the value of my actual soul over this choice. The scales don't balance. The scales never do. Her beauty overwhelms me. It always has. Not simply her physical presence, though that's undeniable. But it's the ineffable sum that's uniquely, only hers, that caught and kept my heart from the first. Her warmth, her strength, the way she can make me laugh, the effect of her smile, her amazing mind. The sheer dichotomy of fierceness and calm strength combined with an inner vulnerability. She's guarded but open, cautious but trusting. Melancholic but always striving to fight for the best in us all. In me. Like right now.

Maybe I'm just fooling myself that I ever had a choice in this at all.

I don't answer her with words. I can't. I have neither the eloquence or facility to speak the myriad of emotions she evokes in me. Instead, with my hands tied behind my back, I carefully lean towards Barbara and hope that I can show her with a kiss, as I slowly caress her mouth with mine.

She exhales as if relieved, showing she had left herself wide open for rejection, for me to walk away and cause her that kind of pain. Note sure what my choice would be, she risked her heart for it. For me. But she hoped. Hoped I would stay. It brings tender tears to my closed eyes. With everything I have, I pour every nuance of my love for Barbara into my kiss. A hand twines in my hair, pulling me closer. The brush of her tongue on my lips excites me sharply, but I hold back, enjoying the sensation of her tracing my lips with the lightest touch of her tongue. After a languid moment, I hesitantly touch the tip of her tongue with mine. The lightning shocks that shoot through me from the contact release a groan from me. Barbara's breathing catches at the sound. Still, neither of us speed things up. Relishing this, I return the gesture and Barbara allows me to explore every millimetre of her wonderful mouth with my lips and tongue.

She breaks first. With a strangled noise she claims my mouth, kissing me fully, her tongue hot and wet inside me. Still, the caresses are achingly slow, oddly soothing and arousing at once. It's when her hands move on me that my heart stops, and then speeds up as if making up for the lost moments before this.

My whole body shudders as she touches me for the first time. Her hands slide down from my hair and face to caress the curve of my neck and the tense muscles in my shoulders, and further down still. The heat from her hands brands me wherever they touch. An almost tickling sensation along my ribs, a light pattern on my stomach that makes the muscles there quiver. Then, with her lips on mine, my tongue in the arm haven of her mouth, she grazes the side of my breasts. I drag in a breath, tear my mouth from hers and nearly drown in green eyes dark. She watches me hungrily, seeing the reactions to her touch play over my face as she repeats the action. This time she presses more firmly, fingers gently pinching painfully erect nipples.

A low growl escapes me.

Barbara doesn't blink. She croons to me as she caresses my breasts, moulding them with her hands. "I'd like to loosen your shirt." She tells me, gaze intense, "Let me loosen it and feel your skin. Be closer to you. You're so beautiful Helena, may I undress you? Just your shirt for now. I promise."

I'm about to move my hands to grab hers but tight bonds of silk stop me and I won't relinquish my hold on the scarf. Unable to speak, afraid to, I only nod once for her to continue.

Mesmerized, I watch as her elegant hands trace over my buttons. With agonizing slowness, Barbara undoes them, one after the other, taking her time, prolonging the moment as long as possible. She punctuates each button releasing with a kiss to my jaw and throat. She leans back, eyes hot on me, she slowly pulls the ends of the shirt from my pants. Afterwards, she doesn't move to pull my shirt off right away. Instead, slender fingers take either side of the shirt's opening and languidly slides the silk between her fingers, down the length of the shirt.

"I love the way this heavy silk feels under in my hands." she tells me, her voice smoky with pleasure. "There're only two things I want to feel under my hands even more."

"What things?" I gasp, aching to know.

She slides her hands onto my shoulders, just under the shirt's collar. "One's your skin." And with that, she smoothes the shirt over my shoulders. Her breath catches while she reveals me to herself, letting the folds of the shirt lie around my waist and bound lower arms.

"No bra," she mentions, licking suddenly dry lips.

"No." I swallow in response to the hunger on her face, eyes roaming over me as I sit naked before her eyes. "What's the second?"

"Later." she rasps, her gaze hot on my skin.

Her hands stroke my back, openly relishing the way I arch into her touch. Nails lightly rake my sides and I moan. Her lips capture mine, but only for one full kiss filled with lust and something deeper. She drags her mouth from mine to look upon my face as she brings her hands to my bared beasts and begins to squeeze and kneed them.

It's so different. Her touch on me rather than my own. It's so much more than anything I felt before. I push myself up against her, needing more. She responds by tweaking my nipples, pinching and pulling them. The sensations travel directly to the throbbing heat between my legs.

"Harder," I growl more than I wished to. And before I can answer her she leans over and wraps her mouth around one of my aching breast, sucking and licking me fiercely.

"Oh god!" I nearly sob in pleasure at this new and completely unexpected storm of sensation. It's indescribable. Overwhelming. The heat, the wetness, the conflicting softness of her lips sucking me while the sharp rasp of teeth and silky stroke of her tongue ravage me. All the while I feel her eyes on my face. I meet her eyes with my own blaze of need. My growling becomes a rolling constant of sound.

"Skin. Now." My words are barely intelligible around my snarl.

Barbara softens her attentions, giving the other breast the lightest of licks over a taut peak as she considers me intently.

"I want to give you anything you need, everything you want." Her eyes are stark with honesty and there's such raw need of her own that it gives my rising beast pause, though barely. "But you have to tell me exactly what that is. You said 'skin now'. Tell me what skin, where and what you want me to do. I'll do it. I want to." The last is said with her own growing urgency, which both warms me and further fuels my desire.

But it's getting harder to stay in control.

"Your skin. I need to see you. Feel you."

"You want me to undress myself?"

"Yes." Wait. "No!"

She pauses, her hands having already moved up to undo the tie of her dress around her neck.

"I want you to undress," I clarify as I force myself to think and speak, my growls fading under the effort. "But I want to undress you."

I close my eyes and taking in a few ragged breaths. Thinking about her naked and wet and wanting. It nearly drives me over the edge.


"Still here," I assure her, opening my eyes. "Just getting a hold of myself. I don't trust myself to use my hands. Could you...undo the closure at the back of your neck and let me roll it down...with my teeth? I'll be careful not to tear it with my teeth."

A delighted smile crosses her face. She complies immediately, first removing her necklace and placing it on the bedside table, then undoing the dress and holding the top against her chest, the neck strands hanging over her hands.

"You're not afraid that I'll bite you?" My lurking fear flaring at what I'm about to attempt.

"No. In fact, later on, I'm counting on it." Her contralto tone is filled with anticipation. An amused upturn of her lips compels me to kiss her. I do, caressing the velvet texture of her lips and a teasing slip of my tongue before I draw back and lower myself to where her hands are, holding the cloth. So cautiously, I take the fabric between my teeth. Her hands let go. Our gazes lock. Slow, slower, I peel back the front of her dress down, and down until I stop at her waist. I sit up straight, tearing my eyes from hers to feast on the sight before me. Milk white skin, smooth planes, full round breasts and already tightened, reddish pink peaks. I want to map her with my mouth, make her feel the same pleasure she's given me.

"Can I?"

She doesn't ask for elaboration this time, but nods silently. Suddenly, my oracle no longer has a voice.

I want that abrupt lack of sound to soon change. I need to hear her voice, her sounds. Let it roll inside me. Wrap around my head, in my heart.

I rub my cheek along hers, first one side, then the other. She's smiling beatifically at me. An angel with blood red hair and wicked green eyes. Maybe Barbara's a fallen angel rather than some haloed being from on high. I can't imagine any angel would dare to love someone like me.

I lose myself in verdant eyes filled with love, and a smile as wicked as sin. I smile back. There's something in her regard that makes me feel whole. Worthy. Just mere mortals the two of us, flawed and beautiful. A little bit brave and a whole lot of crazy, but maybe that's where the good people are found. I'm beyond grateful that I found her.

My lips seek out hers. A need, warm and soft but insistent drives me to try to show Barbara that she's my heart, my desire, my love. I breathe those words and more against her lips. Then I kiss her cheekbones, press my lips to the line of her jaw. She tilts her head and I lightly bite down on a soft ear lobe, hearing her breath hitch. I lick the incredibly soft area just behind and below her ear, trace the curve of her neck with my mouth, follow the sweep of her neck down the length of her throat, along her collar bone, trail kisses down to her breasts. I inhale and breathe out before I rub my face around her chest, delighting in the incredible softness of her. My first taste is tentative, my eyes finding her face as I lick and circle her areola with my tongue. Heat darkens her gaze. I flick the erect tip. Barbara gasps. Slowly, I envelope as much of her in my mouth as I can, and begin to suckle her in languid, hard strokes. Her eyes flutter closed but she fights to kept them open and watch me as I make love to her. Hands tangle in my short hair. Her upper body arches into me, a small cry escapes her parted lips. I nearly climax from that sight and sound alone.

She's so soft and sweet and full in my mouth. I scrape my teeth along her as I pull myself away to lavish the same hungry attention on her other breast. Her body nearly convulses over me at my actions. Her hands are pushing me down and I'm all too happy to comply. With the greatest pleasure, I lick the quivering muscles of her stomach in long, wet lines. I dip my tongue easily into her belly button, circling it suggestively.

Barbara's hands tighten in my hair and she's moaning in earnest now. My senses are thick with the taste of her skin and the scent of her arousal. I'm so close to her swollen wet sex I can almost feel the flesh tremble for my touch. Barbara moans my name and I'm ready to tear the rest of her dress off with my teeth and take what I want. What she wants. My growl rips through the air, loud and sudden, startling us both with it's ferocity.

That's when I stop.

I can't do this. My needs are so strong, the damage I'm capable of so overwhelming. It's too much, pulling at me from every direction. The fear and anxiety, the desire and despair, the incredible frustration that I feel I could die from. That I wish I would. I don't want to fail Barbara. I want this but I can't be trusted. My own body aches for release. The maelstrom inside me pushes and pulls for any escape. My throat clenches tightly. Against my will, my eyes burn with unwanted tears. I want her so badly. But I can't trust my mouth on such a tender place, don't' dare use my hands. My need and failure are too much. I hide my face against her hip, silent sobs I can't stop, wracking my body.

Almost immediately, Barbara curls her upper body over me. One hand smoothes my hair, the other gently rubs my shuddering back and shoulders. "Helena?"

I try to bury my head deeper into her side, shame and embarrassment filling me even as my need rages inside me. I try to stop sobbing but I can't.

Loving but firm hands pull me up, and up more, until my head is buried against her neck and her arms wrap around me securely.

"You've held all this in for so long," Barbara speaks softly near my ear. "It's okay Helena. Just let go." She can't help but feel the vibrating tension of my body. "Let me help you let go."

I can't. It won't ease even though I sob until I'm winded. Through it all, Barbara holds me, constantly murmuring and caressing me soothingly. It's torture. The silk friction of her bare skin along mine heats my body even more despite my weeping. It feels like I'm breaking into jagged pieces.

"Help me," I squeeze out, the plea muffled against her skin, soaked with sweat and tears.

She continues her comforting murmurs in my ear. Her hands move lower. Through my turmoil I don't notice her loosening my pants until she's sliding her hand down the opening and immediately finds my soaking wet sex.

I cry out at the electrifying contact of her exploring my throbbing, aching sex.

"It's okay." Barbara tells me, sounding breathless herself. "Let me do this. Let me help. Let me in."

In the slick wetness, her fingers easily glide over my pulsing clit. I gasp against her neck in shock. "I didn't know-it could feel like this-so much!" I can't focus to explain my disjointed words. Having only ever felt my own hands on me while masturbating, I'm completely unprepared for the overpowering sensations her touch evokes.

"I know," she assures me with such empathy that I believe her. "I feel it too."

My mind and panic tell me to ignore the desire in her voice, the sweet, sweet touch of her, and pull away. But my body and need thrust my hips against her fingers, desperately searching for the rhythm I require.

"Yes," she sighs, her breath hot on my shoulder. Her free arm warps around my waist, guiding my movements, helping me rock against her hand. She quickly finds the rhythm I need, fingers circling my clit in ever tightening circles.

"You're so beautiful, so wet, you feel so amazing," she half-whispers, half moans. I've never climaxed with someone, anyone before.

"I'm scared," I pant, my eyes squeezed shut, feeling myself on the edge of burning bright orgasm.

"I'm with you Helena." And her voice feels like it's surrounding me. Her arm tightens its hold around my waist. And then in the next instant, the next, she pushes me over that shining ledge and I fall against her even as I feel like light inside me is bursting me apart inside out. From every limb, every trembling shuddering breath I fly apart.

Through it all, Barbara is with me. Her voice carrying me, her body anchoring me as I return to rest inside my sweat soaked skin.

We did it.


One hand cups my head gently while her other hand rubs my back, fingers running through my damp hair. Lips press against my shoulder, my neck, below my ear.

"I love you Helena."

I release the scarf and carefully unwind my wrists. I drag my head up and stare at Barbara in wonder and amazement. I touch her face with shaking hands, the scarf looped loosely over one arm and writs.

I gaze a long time into the depths of her eyes. Reverently, I kiss her.

After I release her lips, I ask, "You okay?"

Barbara laughs a bright burst of delight. "After that? I'm more than okay. Wonderful. Amazing. Though next time I want your pants off."

Next time.

I release a shaky breath. Reluctantly, I move back away form her and of the bed. My hands still tremble as I pull my pants down and step out of them. I stand naked by the bed. Barbara's looking feels very much like her touching.

"My eyes haven't changed back yet," I tell her.

She seems undisturbed by it. "I hardly thought one orgasm would be enough to satisfy years of pent up desires. It's not enough to satisfy me." she wears that amused, hungry smile, her eyes filled with carnal knowledge and promises only made in bedrooms or dark corners. Promises that I want kept, want kept with a dark, deep ache.

"You were trying to take the edge off for me." I say it, but it's almost a question.

"So you could think a bit more clearly," she confirms, her gaze searching my face for my reaction, "be more in control again. And because I wanted to."

I look at her, half-reclined on the bed, bared upper body slick with sweat, her hair damp, smelling of sex. I'm still far from sated. I need to be with her. Need to answer that hunger in her eyes. Taste her. Hear her cry out my name. And I need her to claim me completely. We're both far from safe yet.

I crawl onto the bed, my primal gaze locked on her. I snarl, low and wanton as I reach for the top of her dress, pooled around her hips. My heightened senses hear the skip of her heart, feel the increased heat from her body. The loveliest flush rises up her body, dusting her throat and neck in rose. With my eyes, I try to convey all I want to do to her. Her hands spill eager over mine to hurry my taking her dress off. The fabric slides smoothly under her with my barely having to lift her.

I spread her legs open and growl as I inhale the heavy scent of her arousal.

"God Helena, that is the most erotic sound I've ever heard," Barbara says hoarsely.

I regard the woman I long for, needing to be sure. "Are you certain you trust me, my mouth, on such a tender place?" I grip the bed on either side of her hips, afraid of touching her as my beast comes to the fore, wanting.

She touches my face. "I've never wanted anything more in my life."

I coil ready to pounce, but Barbara isn't prey. I fight back the urge to take her roughly.

"Please," she adds, the words raw with her own need.

I give in and surge forward but I don't take. When I claim her mouth, my kiss is wet and full but not commanding. It takes everything I have to keep my movements gentle, languid. Neither of us are surprised by the sound of her sheets and mattress tearing under my white knuckled grip. I don't dare use my hands on her.

Faster than before, I make a path down her body with lips, tongue and barely restrained teeth. Soon, but not soon enough for either of our lust, I'm between her legs. My head down, I stare at her through dark, damp bangs, knowing how my eyes reflect the dim light. Inhuman and hungry.

"Ready?" I tease her, the word a guttural rolling sound.

Barbara stops breathing for a moment, her own eyes wild. "Helena." The name comes from deep in her throat. It's the closest to a growl I've ever heard from her and it inflames me even more.

I hold those eyes, almost crazed with need, with my own and lower my parted lips to blow past crisp, crimson curls to the heated flesh just beneath. A tremor ripples through Barbara's entire body. Leaning down more, I cover as much of her sex as I can and with my mouth, breathe hot breath onto her.

Barbara gasps. And now it's not only me gripping the bed. With one long movement, I taste her with my tongue, take what flesh I can into my mouth and explore every line and crevice, every curve and dip and fold while grazing parts with my teeth.

Barbara writhes above me as I stroke every part of her sex. Her ragged breaths and moans burn me with her want, making it my own. I lick and suck and take in the taste of her, the textures and scents like a woman drowning. I shudder, once, sharply. It never occurred to me before that heaven could have a taste, a smell, a sound. But here I am, greedily taking it all, with my eyes open to witness it every moment.

I lovingly circle her clit, teasing her. I don't stay there despite Barbara's protests. Starving for more of her, I lower my mouth and circle her opening. She cries out, sharp and loud. I growl in response, the sound reverberating against her sensitive, aching flesh, which makes her moan again. A hand finds and tightens in my hair. With a quick thrust, I push my tongue inside her. The hand in my hair convulses, pulling at me painfully. I like it. But it's nothing compared to having my wet muscle buried deep in the slick heat of her. I push my tongue up against her inner walls, careful of how I rub the membrane with my piercing, feeling her spasm around me tongue. I want more. I pulse my tongue inside her, and alternately thrusting in and out of her repeatedly.

"Helena," she can barely gasp my name, "Helena, please!"

I raise my chin and take her throbbing clit in my mouth, sucking on it and pinching it with my teeth. Her trembling grows, and I know she's close. Rational thought leaves me and before either of us have a chance to stop me, I push three fingers into her wet core and suck her clit hard into my mouth.

Barbara's head flies back and she screams her pleasure as she comes. I feel every delicious ounce of it against my mouth and pulsing against my fingers eagerly trapped inside her. My fingers curl inside her and she climaxes again. I lap at her juices, wanting every bit of her satiny wetness. I lick the soft, soft skin of her inner thighs. Even as she struggles to catch her breath, I begin to move my fingers in and out of her again, stroking her with a slow thrust.

"Oh god. Hel-" I look up to see her face flushed with pleasure and more...fear?

"Helena," the hand in my hair pulls at the delicate nape hairs, hard. It hurts. I snarl at her and rise up to crush her lips to mine. I move my tongue in her mouth like I did in her sex. She grips me hard, sucking at my tongue to the point where it almost hurts. With my free hand I push her back.

"I need you," my voice comes out more hoarse than I've ever heard it. "Inside me. Please Barbara, go inside me."

She hesitates and I nearly weep in frustration. "I don't want to hurt you."

It didn't give me pause that I've never entered myself while masturbating. I don't give a damn about some temporary pain. "I need all of you." I tell her.

The words are a dim echo of what she told me before but something in my face must convince her. Her hand reaches for me while the other leaves my hair to steady herself on one of my shoulders while my hand still moves slow and strong thrusts inside of her. I move up better and straddle one of her legs, allowing us both better access and leverage.

Her hand teases me, gliding over my length, rubbing my clit, arousing me to new heights. Her fingers move to my opening and her eyes lock back onto mine.

"I love you," I whisper, never wanting anything as badly as I want her right now. To fill me up with her, to claim me, to own what was always hers. For me to at last be hers.

She slides inside me easily considering how slick I am with need. Two fingers thrust up and a sharp pinching sensation barely registers followed by an odd feeling of cramping. She keeps moving her fingers in and out of me, moving in deeper, removing all sensation of discomfort as my body floods her hand with my need. The most incredible feelings ripple through me.

Barbara's eyes are darker than sin when I refocus on her face. "Remember what I told you before?" she rasps, low and sensual, "How I've dreamed of feeling you just like this. Of filling you up with my hand, hearing you call out my name as I make you come, your body pulsing around my hand?"

I can only moan in want. Her voice making me shudder at the image.

"I'm going to do that to you tonight," she promises me, her voice thick with need.

I cry out as she pushes a third finger in, my tightness making the pleasure partly pain. But even now, like this, Barbara's loving me gently, wet lips on my neck, her hand moving slowly, allowing me to adjust to each new stretching of her filling me.

To both our amazement, I'm soon riding her hand, my hips pushing down on four fingers though it's tight, but it feels incredible and all I want is more, more of her. It's doing confusing things to me, my wild side is taking over but it's- I'm - confused. I don't know which I want more, for Barbara to fill me up, fuck me. Or for me to fuck her. I can't decide. I growl louder. I can't think anymore. I push my hand inside her harder, speeding up my movements, hungry for the noises she makes, the way she feels moving against me. Our sweat slicked bodies rubbing against each other while we each move our hands deep inside the other.

I feel my half-life slipping away as the beast inside me begins to merge. Can't hurt Barbara but I want to claim her with all that I am. I warned her. Warned her about this.

"Barbara," I pant between growling breaths, " - can't hold on."

She's beginning to move her thumb into my drenched aching core. "Don't hold on Hel, let go."

"But - hurt you." I feel her filling me further, it's overwhelming me, the sensations pulling me under.

"Helena," I can just make out her words, "I need all of you."

I cry out her name as her whole hand moves deep inside me, into me. I lose control, my beast and I merge into one. Finally complete. I yowl and thrust faster and harder into her while her hand pushes deep inside me and I feel so full, my walls quiver around her hand, the explosion building from the deepest part of me.

Her own body movements are erratic, she's getting close as well. With feral eyes I take in the sight of her body, the rapture on her face, her hair splayed out wild with damp strands sticking like snakes upon her sweaty skin. I see the pulse point jump in her neck and hear her heart beating. My own blood roars in my ears. And just as we both crest, I sink my teeth into her neck, her heart beat pulsing against my tongue, claiming her even as she claims me. Our bodies surge and shudder and our cries echo throughout the clock tower. I feel everything she promised me as I pulse strongly around her hand buried inside me. The last thing I register before I pass out, is the taste of Barbara's blood in my mouth.

Part Twleve

I wake slowly, my body heavy and reluctant. I've never felt so lethargic. My senses are confused by the unfamiliar scent of sweat and sex mixed in with the smells of laundry soap. Cotton, and Barbara.


Memory flash floods me with what happened between me and Barbara. Between us. Fear and love. Sex and pain...and pleasure. Blood. I can still taste it in my mouth. My heart lodges in my throat. My eyes fly open and I look over at the weight pressed up against my side. Barbara.

She's lying in bed next to me, eyes open and...smiling. Smiling more widely than I've ever seen.

I take in her blissful smile, her sultry gaze, crimson hair splayed out and wild covering the pillow, her neck and shoulders, and her body barely covered by a sage sheet. One which I have no idea how she managed to get from under both our weights. I've never her seen her so content, so happy. She seems fine, unharmed. I try to settle my heart back down.

"After," she says.

My still slumbering mind stumbles over the word, tries to poke at it from every angle. No dice. "Huh?"

"You eyes," her green ones sparkle mischievously, "I noticed just before you passed out completely. They change back to normal after you climax."

I look around, take in the emergency lighting, the metal slabs covering the windows, Barbara stretching languorously.

"Am I in your head?" I ask her suddenly, needing to know if this is real.

She arches an eyebrow at me. "Hardly. Even the great Oracle couldn't have imagined last night."

Which means we're also not in my head, because I never pictured happiness. Which means the lethargy pulling at my body, the bliss lingering deep in my bones, is real. Last night was real. And so is the taste of blood in my mouth.

I pull the sheet barely covering her off her body. Both eyebrows rise at my sudden movement. I begin to carefully inspect every inch of her.

"Helena? Is something wrong?" she asks, letting me push her hair back from her neck.

I nearly hiss at the painful sight. It's already a dark mauve where I bit her. And I can see a clear imprint of my teeth where I pierced her skin, covered by dried blood.

Barbara's calling my name, trying to regain my attention. Too ashamed to meet her eyes, I stare at her chin.

"I'm so sorry Barbara." I didn't say I didn't meant to hurt her, make her bleed. We both would know it for a lie. I wanted to mark her, and I did.

"Regrets already?" the soft sadness in her voice along with the gentle pressure of her fingers tilting my chin, both make me raise my eyes to hers. "Because," she continues, "I don't regret a single moment."

I regard her for a long moment. I sigh, "How badly does it hurt?"

"I don't know, you tell me." she responds with a pirate smile that I don't understand. "How does yours feel?"

I can only stare at her. A low throaty chuckle breaks free from her at my perplexed expression to her answer of my sombre question. It's a unique sound, erotic and pleased. And I still don't understand. She obligingly points at me, at my body just between my shoulder and neck.

I frown and try to turn my head to look at what she's pointing at on me but I can't see it. I raise my hand to feel and wince suddenly at the tenderness I feel there. I gingerly explore the area but can only guess it's bruised somehow.

Barbara turns the other way and reaches into her bedside table. She fishes out a hand mirror and passes it to me silently.

I hold it up and look at my body's reflection in shock. There's a bite mark there, where my hand just touched. No where near as dark as the one I left on her but still visibly bruising the muscle joining my neck and shoulder. There's even blood in three places where her teeth broke the skin. It's a bite. She bit me.

"You bit me." I say to her, astounded.

"Well, it felt so good while you were doing it that I got caught up in the moment. Thought you might enjoy a little reciprocation." she's pleased with herself, voice filling with desire at the memory.

"I didn't feel it." I'm still in shock. Barbara bit me.

"I felt you." Barbara says in such a wanton tone that I snap back form the mirror to her. Naked, smelling of sex, her eyes dark with desire. "I love how you felt." She adds, smoky and thick.

I drop the mirror.

Gingerly, I reach out and touch my mark on her skin. "You're really okay with this?"

She turns her head from side to side experimentally, "It's sore now but nothing compared to how good it felt when you did it. How about you? You seemed a little spooked before."

Hands cover my body, exploring me. Instinctively, I arch into her touch. "I was confused a bit when I first woke up. I was scared I hurt you. But...you seem alright with all of this."

She pulls me down and I eagerly lay myself on top of her, the silk friction of her skin under mine reigniting the heat between us.

"I feel wonderful." she gazes up at me, gentle and warm. "How do you feel?"

I take stock of myself. A little sore between my legs, my breasts are tender, and inside I feel sated, free. Heavy and light at the same time like when your arms are pinned down for a long time and then when you finally lift them you feel weightless, like you're flying.

"I've never felt so amazed in my life. I think...I think I'm happy." I tell her honestly.

Her caresses become more intimate. "Make love to me." she says, closing the small distance between us to kiss me.

I lose myself I her. Revelling in it. Our tongues caress for long moments. I drag my mouth away from hers to press my lips to her face, along her jaw. I hesitate when I reach her neck. I pause as shame lingers in me. I tentatively, lightly, lick the bruised skin. As soon as I do it, Barbara clutches at me with her hands and she arches under me.

"Yes, Helena." she rasps. And I feel her wet and hot where my thigh rests between her legs.

"It really is okay with you," I marvel.

"Are you still afraid?" she asks breathlessly.

"Not as much," I answer. Scared of it not being okay at some point.

Barbara fights to reassure me, "You can't expect half a lifetime of fear to disappear overnight. You have to give things time."

Time to grow. Time to become something else. She's right, I won't lose this fear overnight. It also wouldn't be a lie to admit that I'm afraid of losing the constant restraining terror that has held me in check for so long. I'm worried about what's left after it leaves entirely. Afraid of finding out what's left. What kind of self I am without it. If the change will be for the better.

Barbara pulls me out of my thoughts with her next words, insistent and sure, "I'll be there Helena, every step of the way I'll be with you."

I lift my head from her neck to see her face. Seeing all the love and trust she has I feel very much the fool.. That love has always been there for me. She's always been there, here, for me.

"I'm an idiot." I state bluntly.

She brushes my hair from my eyes, "Why's that?"

"Maybe if I'd talked to you years ago we could have avoided all this. Putting both of us through this."

Barbara surprises me by immediately shaking her head negative. "Not at all. Think about the very different people we were back then Hel., We were both so angry, had so much to learn, to go through and mature. If we had tried to be together then, when we were so much less, things wouldn't have ended like last night. Like today."

As she says it I can see the truth of it. She wasn't always the cool strategist and it took me long and longer, to learn to control my rage. At least as much as anyone can control such things.

I smile gently, wonderingly at her, letting go of the past as much as I can. "Good thing I've got such a smart girlfriend."

Her entire face lights up, "Girlfriend? Can I take that to mean I'll get second date?"

"And many more," I assure her, feeling her arms tighten around me in response, holding me close. With her question I realize just how vulnerable she's made herself to me, for me, to offer all of herself and have no expectations in return. "Didn't you think, after we made love, that I would? Stay. Be with you. Let there be an us?" It's all I've wanted and everything I believed I could never have.

"I didn't know and I didn't want to assume. But I hoped." she answers seriously, no judgement or resentment in her tone. She means it. She gave me everything with only hopes and no demands.

I really don't deserve her. Let whatever power there is damn me, I'm going to take this chance, take anything she's willing to give. I gave her what's left of my heart and soul long ago.

"It won't be easy for us," I have to tell her, anything less than honesty wouldn't do in the circle of her arms. "But then again it never is with us," I add with a smile that's sad and loving, and I feel old and young all at once. Joy could never be anything but complicated for me. And I think for Barbara too.

Her eyes hold all the world, "True, but it's worth it."

"Worth everything," I breathe the words upon her lips and then claim them in a kiss so sweet and profound that it hurts in the most wonderful way. Like something that festered was lanced and at last cleansed.

Passion overtakes us again. I rub my leg between hers, getting more aroused with every moan and sigh escaping her. We continue to kiss and explore each other, her hands doing wicked things to my breasts.

I jerk back. "What's that noise?"

Barbara stops what she's doing and strains her hearing. Her eyes widen as she catches the dull, thudding noise. It's erratic but insistent.

Barbara groans and passes a hand over her face. "Damn, Damn, Damn."

"What is it?" I ask, worried.

"Hold on." she says. Then, she clears her throat, "Delphi. Open comms."

Dinah's voice comes over the speakers, stressed and frightened. < - if anything's happened to either of you I swear I won't forgive you!>

Another resounding thud echoes through her comm, much louder on her end.

"Dinah? Dinah!" Barbara calls out.

The thudding stops. <Barbara? Are you and Helena okay? What's wrong? The tower's blocked in with metal walls everywhere and when I came home this afternoon and saw it like this and neither of you were answering comms or the phones and->

"Dinah," Barbara interjects into her frustrated ramble. We exchanged a sheepish look when Dinah mentioned it was afternoon. "We're both fine. I was just testing out our new security system and forgot about the time. Just give me fifteen minutes to reset the system completely."

<okay> Dinah's voice is heavy with relief. I feel bad. <Uhm...I'm sorry about any damage I maybe did. I was worried.>

"That's perfectly understandable," Barbara soothes, then a line in her jaw suddenly twitches, "Damage? What do you mean? What damage?"

<I uh tired to blast the doors open.>

"With what?" Barbara enquires hurriedly.

<My tk blasts. Sorry.>

"Oh." Is all Barbara can get out at this. The kid was trying to break in and save us using her tk blasts through solid metal. Wow.

'She loves us.' I mouth silently to Barbara and grin.

Barbara smiles and I bet Dinah can hear it through the comms. "Don't worry about it Dinah. I'm going off comm now and we'll get the system reset."

<10-4> I can hear the Sunny in our Sunny D. She did hear Barbara smiling.

Barbara speaks command codes and the clock tower begins to look like it's usual self as metal shields return to their hidden alcoves. Emergency lights go off and the room is flooded with bright afternoon sunlight.

"Afternoon huh?" I mention cheekily, giving Barbara a long kiss before reluctantly getting up. I know she added the fifteen minutes for us to make ourselves presentable.

A glance around and I find her dark gold scarf. I hand it to her, "You might want to wear this before we greet Dinah. Along with your regular clothes too of course. No sense traumatizing the kid and making her hormones boil over."

"Funny." Barbara deadpans, but she takes the scarf. "Lucky you, I managed to bite you in a more easily concealed spot."

"You must be the more considerate of us." I tease, watching her get dressed and finding it a very sensual experience.

All too soon for my tastes I'm already wearing my clothes from last night. Meanwhile, Barbara's looking like a model in only jeans and a shirt with the gold scarf tied expertly around to cover her bite. She's wearing her hair loose and down which is helping to hide the other, much more innocuous, love bites.

She approaches me in her motorized chair, the manual downstairs where we left it last night. A hand finds my face, brings my gaze to hers.

"You're eyes have changed again," she lets me know, fully aware of how I had watched her dress.

I kiss her wet and full. "I love you Barbara." Right now I couldn't care what my eyes look like. Dinah will deal She may even guess what it means. And if so, she'll be happy for us. I might get teased but I'll get her back if she does.

Barbara returns my kiss with equal ferocity, "I love you too." She pulls away from my lips with the greatest reluctance, her hand lingering on my face, fingers tracing my mouth.

"Give me a minute to freshen up." she says, "Then we'll go face her."

"I'll be here." I'll wait beyond forever if it meant Barbara would come back to me. I watch her go. With a content sigh I lean against the window frame and look out at the strange new world before me.

I blink against the bright light and find myself staring at an expanse of perfect blue sky. The kind of sky I've only ever seen before in Barbara's dreams.

The hum of Barbara's chair draws close to me. "A beautiful day," she observes, her voice as warm as the sun on my face. "A lot to look forward to. Ready?"

Ready? I don't know, but that warm feeling is filling me to overflowing and I know, ready or not, I'm going to try. My heart can't accept less. I look away from perfect skies of blue and into fathomless depths of the clearest green.

In answer to her, this time I'm the one who offers my hand to my lover. And Barbara takes it, the clasp of her hand sure and warm and real.

For the first time in too long, an emotion stirs deep inside me. It takes me a moment but I recognize it.


The End

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