DISCLAIMER: Sadly, they are not mine. I would like to lay claim to the stunning Ashley Scott tho, if anyone's keeping score. All my earthly possessions for that one. Ahem. Anyway, they belong to people that AREN'T me, I'm making no money and only having fun. Please don't sue.
WARNING: If the idea of two women involved in a romantic relationship together disturbs you, run, run far far away and never look back. If it's illegal where you live, move quickly. Too young? Age quicker, it's fun here. Other than that, enter at your own risk, and enjoy.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: I'm still trying to get a handle on the characters but the only episodes I saw were the last two. I hope I didn't screw it up too bad.
SPOILERS: The last 2 episodes
PAIRING: Helena/Barbara

Barbed Heat
By Aeryn Sun

She's upset, hurting but she won't talk to any of us about it. I can see how angry and devastated she is over losing him and I just want to help but she won't let me close. She's not really pushing me away so much as rebuffing every effort I make to get her to talk about it. She's gentle about it, not wanting to hurt MY feelings. I don't CARE about my feelings. Damn it she NEEDS to talk about it or the pain is going to eat her alive, swallow her up and then I'll lose her for good. And I can't...I wouldn't be able to handle that.

But instead of facing her grief, she's charged headfirst into her precious electronic world. She spends all her time either tinkering with the Delphi, refortifying the Clocktower so this kind of thing can never happen again, or refining that Goddamned blasted belt that let her walk. I hate that damn thing. It causes her so much pain to use and it could ultimately kill her if she's not careful but she ignores those things. Just so that she can do something that so many of us, myself included, take for granted.

After she released Harley and collapsed in my arms, her body shook with an almost painful violence. I thought at first that it was rage or grief until the muscles in her legs started to spasm uncontrollably. Then I realized that it was the damn belt. It'd been damaged first in her fight with me and then again in her battle with Harley. It sparked wildly as I tore it off of her. I don't know how Barbara kept going with that thing on, in that much pain, but she did. I'm still always in awe of her strength and determination. It's her stubborn streak that annoys the hell out of me.

It didn't take us very long to find what Harley had done with Wade's body. She knew Barbara would eventually show up to face her down so the sick twisted little bitch laid Wade out in Barbara's own bed as a way of mocking her. Reese and Gibson gently removed him while Alfred tended to the room. I tried to console Barbara, so did Dinah but we both couldn't do anything but watch her walls come up, blocking us both out.

She's isolating herself in her grief and it scares me. I know she's strong. Shit, she's the strongest person I've ever known but there are some things you can't do or handle on your own. SHE taught me that after my Mom was killed. Despite my rage and grief she broke through to me so that I didn't drown in that swirling blackness that engulfed me. She made me see around it and work at healing. I'm not healed but I get a little better each day. But now because of her blasted emotional walls I'm helpless to do anything to help her. All I can do is sit and watch.

It's driving me crazy; my inability to help her. I'm so used to just finding the source of a problem and beating the living shit out of it that when I can't, when it's something like this, I'm lost. Combined with my guilt over helping to cause Wade's death in the first place, it's all rolling together to make me pretty fucked up. If I hadn't been so blind, so stupid as to trust Harleen...Dr. Quinzel...Harley...oh whoever the fuck she is...if I hadn't been so foolish when I decided to trust her with all my secrets in the first place maybe this wouldn't have happened. Maybe Wade would still be alive. Maybe Barbara wouldn't be in such agony. Maybe I wouldn't be so concerned by guilt and remorse. And maybe, just maybe, Barbara wouldn't have been pushed to that dark place she should have never been forced to visit. I know that's scarred her deep, maybe deeper than anything else in her life has and that's saying a lot. I think...I think she would have done it if I hadn't managed to talk her out of it.

And that fact scares me more than anything else has in a very long time. The darkness is my domain, my burden to carry not Barbara's. She should have never been faced with that line and the thought of crossing it. It seemed so alien to me to be telling Barbara Gordon of all people that we DON'T kill. Damn me, part of my mind wanted her to, my soul ached, and my blood screamed to see Harley splattered all over the floor and to know that she could never hurt us, hurt Barbara again but, not at the cost of Barbara's soul. And that's how high a price it would have been. If she had killed Harley, Barbara would have never recovered herself again. She would have been lost to that same darkness that she's always pulling me back from the edge of.

I don't want to lose Barbara to that. Hell, I don't want to lose Barbara at all. Shit, this isn't really the time for this but she means the world to me. She IS my world. I've never had the chance to tell her or even really think too much on it but she's my rock, my center, my everything. I know that I've loved her for a long time but there's nothing I can do about it. So I play with people in the meantime. Like Reese. He's just a momentary distraction while I lament from afar what I can't have.

'Lament from afar'? Where the fuck did I get that from? Anyway, I need to get off this train of thought and back to what's important, Barbara.

I don't think she's eaten anything since this whole mess began. Or slept. It's starting to show in the dullness in her usually vibrant green eyes and the dark circles under them. Her movements are starting to get sluggish, her reactions slower than the usually razor sharp edge she's trained to be at. It wouldn't be healthy for a normal person but more so for her with her specific health problems.

I can't seem to help with the grief, she won't let me and the inactivity against a foe is driving me buggy. But maybe I can do something about this.

I bring over a bagel, specially prepared the way she likes them along with a glass of orange juice and set it on the tabletop where the Delphi is, right in front of her nose. I lean against the desk and wait.

"I'm not hungry, Helena," she says, barely looking up at me.

"You need to eat," I say simply, smirking slightly. She glances at the monitor behind my hip but still not AT me.

"Yeah, well, I'll eat later. I'm busy," she says absently. She's stubborn, I'm stubborn. It's a fun head-butting battle to talk sometimes.

"Eaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat," I groan in a mock-Frankenstein voice. I even go so far as to bring a piece of the bagel up to her mouth. "Here comes the little Batmobile into the Batcave..."

"Helena..." she huffs impatiently. Hey, I thought it was funny. Then again, my sense of humor sometimes escapes people.

"Look, it's all creamy with the cream cheese and lightly toasted," I taunt her with the bread product. "Come on, you know you want it." She takes off her glasses and pinches the bridge of her nose. Ah, progress.

"Helena," she starts in that tone that means we're about to have a deep conversation/ quasi-argument and that wasn't my intention.

"Now that we're sure you know my name," I say playfully to cut her off. She looks at me finally and I can just feel how tired she really is. "Look, I just want you to eat something, Barbara. I'm worried about you." She opens her mouth to retort with another `I'm fine' which I've heard way too often lately.

"I'm not asking you to talk to me," I plow forward. "I'm not asking you to open up and share how you're feeling. I'm not asking you to please let me help," I stare directly into those green pools I silently adore so much.

"I'm just asking you to eat the damn bagel," I finish slowly. "I care about you and don't want you to get sick." I can't keep looking at her or I'll totally melt so I start staring at my hands. Her warm palm on my cheek is a surprise; pleasant but a surprise. My eyes flutter shut at the soft feel.

"I'm sorry," she sighs. "I forget sometimes and.I'm sorry. Thank you." She's stroking my cheek and I swear I'm almost purring. I have to reach up and pull it away before I lean too much into it. I hold her hand and open my eyes to look at her again. She looks so lost it breaks my heart.

"Don't," I whisper. "There's nothing for you to apologize for." She shakes her head.

"Yes there is," she protests. "There's so much I'm guilty of."

"Barbara." Crap, now I'M the one who doesn't want to have this conversation. She's going to rip herself apart verbally and emotionally because if there's one thing Barbara does with flair, it's carry guilt she has no right to.

"No, Helena, let me have this," she asks and I'm confused. "I never really apologized to you for not telling you about the rumors about Clayface being your mother's murderer. I didn't understand.I do now, understand why it was so important to you to know and I should have told you. I'm sorry."

"It's OK," I try to tell her because really it is. I got to kick his ass and scare the crap out of him. She shakes her head again.

"No, it's not. I betrayed you, your trust and faith in me. It won't happen again." There's steel interwoven in her voice making it rock solid. "And neither will what happened with.Wade." Damn, the pain in her voice at just saying his name is palpable.

"Wait.what?" I stammer. Absently I notice that in between our pauses in conversation she's eaten the bagel. Yay!

"He never should have been allowed in here, into this part of my life. OUR life," she declares hotly. "He was an innocent that got caught up in my mess and I won't let it happen again. Outside of those who know of us now, no one else will be let in unless it's someone who can take care of themselves, like you or Dinah."

"A Meta," I say in understanding. But I'm upset because she's further cutting herself off, dammit. She nods.

"Or superhero like Nightwing," she clarifies. "At any rate, no more innocents."

"But Barbara, you can't cut yourself off from people like that," I argue. "It's not healthy. And I know you don't want to hear it right now but you might find someone else to care about like you did Wade and you can't just lock them out of an entire section of your life."

See, this is why I've never understood the whole `secret identity' thing. I'm an honest person and it just seems so `anti-honest'. Ohh, a new word.

"I will NOT be the reason that someone else dies!" she slams her fist down on the desk, making the plate, cup and various other objects jump and a few fall to the floor. She looks at me, fire burning brightly in her eyes, barely holding back that tide of tears I know is in there.

"Every time I send you or Dinah out there I face the possibility of losing one or both you. And it kills me each time. But it's the life we're leading. It wasn't Wade's life. He was a schoolteacher for God's sake! He took a knife to the gut from a psychopathic bitch simply because he cared for me and was in the wrong place at the wrong time. It shouldn't have happened but I got complacent and it did. Helena, never again." She hits a button and starts to wheel away from me.

"Hey! Don't walk away from me!" Nice choice of words, Kyle. And judging by the sharp look that Barbara's giving me I think she agrees. I move to block her path and try that again.

"Look, Wade's death isn't your fault, Barbara. If anything, it's mine for telling Dr. Quinzel all about us. I betrayed YOU when I didn't even stop to think about what I was doing."

Well, there it is in living ugly color, flapping in the breeze. If she hates me at all for it, I'm about to find out.

She looks down and away from me and I think that hurts more than any sharp words would have.

"I don't blame you, Helena," she says quietly. "I never did."

"But I wasn't hypnotized when I told her all about you and Wade," I say in a rush, needing her to know the truth. Shit, all I wanted when I started was for her to eat the freaking bagel. How did we get here?

"I know," her voice is still soft, tired. "She used you, twisted everything, Helena. Twisted your trust. None of that is your fault. None of it." I don't know when but I collapsed to my knees in front of her at hearing that, my head in her lap, sobbing.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry," I chant as I feel her running her fingers through my hair soothingly. "You loved him and I got him killed and I'm so so sorry I hurt you." It all comes pouring out of me and another part of my brain is calling for someone to put a cork in it.

"Oh Helena," she sighs, placing a light kiss to my temple. "You're forgiven." She always knows exactly what to say to make me feel better. She cups my face in both hands and lifts it so that I have to look her in the face. She's crying too and I'm relieved she's finally letting some of it out.

"There's something I have to say before it eats me alive," she says quietly. I nod and stay quietly, still held tightly in her hands, her thumbs brushing my cheeks to wipe away my tears. I feel so at peace here it should be a crime.

"You're wrong about one thing," she continues. "And I think it's one of the reasons I feel so damn guilty. Damn it," she growls. I reach up and wipe at her eyes, enjoying the way her eyes flutter for a second at my touch.

"It's OK, take your time," I encourage.

"Wade, he.I.and.damn it," she repeats. Normally hearing the usually verbal Barbara at a loss for words would amuse me but right now I find it alarming.

"I cared for him, Helena, but.but I didn't love him," she says softly. "He died thinking I did. He was HERE because I LET him think I did when I knew I didn't. He died for no real reason." She disintegrates as she finishes, harsh sobs overtaking her. I move to hold her, understanding so much more than I did earlier.

"Sssh, it's OK," I soothe. She clings to me, unable to speak. She cries for several long minutes until the sobs become exhausted hiccups. I wrap my arms around her and feel her stiffen for a moment.

"You need to rest. Let me do this," I ask and she nods against me, all fight gone which is somewhat disturbing but I now that I understand maybe I can finally help.

I carry her into her room a little wary if she wants to be in there or not. Alfred ordered her a new top of the line bed immediately after the whole thing happened and it arrived the same day. But still, memories are hard to get by.

"Is it OK to be in here?" I ask gently.

"Yeah," she nods and then yawns which she tries to hide behind her hand in a totally Barbara display. I put her in the bed and then crawl in with her, wrapping her up in my arms.

"When I was younger, after my Mom died and you got out of the hospital, when I had a bad night sometimes you'd hold me. It always made me feel safe and like I wasn't alone. Will you let me do that for you now?" She doesn't answer but snuggles closer putting her face against my neck so that I can feel her breathing. She falls asleep in my arms within minutes, the lines of stress and grief erased from her face as I watch. She looks younger and at peace.

And I finally feel like I've accomplished something. There was no `big bad' with an ass for me to kick but I feel like I've just gone ten rounds with something big. I'm tired but happy.

I think tomorrow might be a better day. After all, I've still got Barbara and she's let me in a little. There's no rush and maybe I can find a way into her heart as more than just a friend. Trust me, stranger things HAVE happened in my life.

My last thought as I fall asleep is that I should have made that bagel earlier.

The End

Sequel Twisted

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