DISCLAIMER: Birds of Prey, its characters, and anything else belong to their rightful owners which excludes me any way you look at it. No copyright infringement is intended, no profit is being made, etc. Just borrowing for a little fun. Also, do not read if even the thought of same-sex relationships bothers you (then again, if it does, you are *so* in the wrong place).
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Again, a big thanks to those who send me feedback. This part took a little longer because I tried something different. As I'm still unsure about how it came out (I've been debating about posting it for a couple of days), I'd appreciate any comments. It's unbeta'd so all mistakes are mine.
FEEDBACK: Any kind is appreciated, even the crayon written variety.
SPOILERS: Through the finale.
PAIRING: Barbara/Helena, pre-relationship
SEQUEL: To It's You

Because I Do
By andie

Two little words.

Two little insignificant words.

Except that they weren't insignificant. Far from it. Not after everything else Helena had said.

And Barbara was speechless. All she could do was watch as Helena slowly withdrew her hand and stepped away. She watched as open, earnest blue eyes shifted to an unreadable state, and also saw Helena's confident mask reappear as the younger woman turned away from her.

Barbara watched as Helena walked to greet Dinah. She even saw that the two had started talking. But she wasn't hearing a word they said. No. Her mind was still stuck on the final two words Helena had said to her. She needed time to process this. Processing was what she did. What she excelled at. But it appeared as though her normal abilities had abandoned her for the time being.

"Did you break her?"

The words spoken unexpectedly close to her broke Barbara out of her daze and she was confronted with a hand waving in front of her face. From the expression she saw on both Dinah and Helena, she could only assume that they had been trying to get her attention for a while.

"Dinah," Barbara said as she tried to compose herself. Good. She *hadn't* lost her ability to engage in conversation. Although, apparently, this was the extent of her capabilities at the moment.

"Barbara," Dinah replied slowly as she examined the redhead. "So, you're not broken?"

This question earned the blonde a not so subtle elbow in her arm from Helena.

"Broken?" Barbara asked, and wrinkled her brow. Wonderful. Her verbal capacity was apparently limited to one word. Or possibly two syllables. She wasn't quite certain which was the limiting factor.

"Dinah's been talking to you for the last 5 minutes," Helena explained looking away from the redhead. "Well, more like talking *at* you seeing as you've been non-responsive 'til now."

Again, it took a few moments for Barbara to respond.

"Oh. I..." she trailed off. Well, at least she now knew that her limit was related to syllables. Not that this revelation helped her in the matter. Noticing the worried look the young blonde was shooting her, Barbara was certain she needed to pull herself together or possibly risk being sent to some early retirement home for incompetent former superheroes.

"She just has a... lot on her mind," Helena finished for her when Barbara didn't continue. Barbara shot Helena a grateful look, but the brunette was still avoiding eye contact.

"Oh, okay," said Dinah, easily accepting the answer. "I was just telling you about my sweep. Not that you wouldn't already know about it, because you're, you know, Barbara."

"Interactive Big Brother... that's our Barbara," Helena added smiling at the blonde. Barbara rolled her eyes at the comment, while Dinah giggled.

"So yeah," Dinah said, "can I do this again soon?"

"We'll see," Barbara replied, smiling.

"Awesome. I sooo can't wait," Dinah grinned.

"Don't get your hopes up," Helena said. "'Cause 'We'll see' in Barbara speak means 'Maybe, but only after I've made you wait for an ungodly amount of time and then I will suddenly let you when you've given up on the possibility and have better things to do.'"

"What? You didn't mean it that way did you?"

"Uh... No." Barbara replied, the statement sounding eerily like a question.

"You did, didn't you?" Dinah sighed in disbelief.

"I... No?" Barbara repeated. The redhead was silently cursing Helena for revealing her tactics to the youngest member of their team. If Helena kept giving... helpful... pointers to Dinah about her methods, things could get difficult. While she was fairly certain Dinah wouldn't be as much trouble as Helena was for the most part, when it came to enthusiasm and persistence Dinah had Helena beat hands down. Although unlike with Helena, Barbara was pretty certain that Dinah wouldn't secretly go out on sweeps when the redhead refused to let her. Or at least she hoped.

"Let me guess," Dinah said turning towards Helena. "'No' means 'yes but I didn't want you to figure it out' doesn't it?"

"Yup," Helena grinned. "You're catching up way faster than I did kid."

"Dinah," Barbara started, trying to get back into the conversation.

"I know, I know, let me guess," Dinah interrupted. "You're argument is something like 'it was good for you to get this vital experience in, but I only let you out because the trend for the moment seems to point that the criminal activity is at a minimum and therefore safe for you to go out. I still have to watch you and make sure you're ready before I let you out there alone on a regular basis' isn't it?"

"That's right," Barbara slowly answered, surprised that the blonde teen was able to predict and summarize what her standard response was going to be. She knew Dinah would be easier to handle. Although she wasn't sure she didn't detect a hint of a mocking tone underlying Dinah's impersonation of her.

"Well," Dinah said. "I see your point for now, but don't think that I'm not going to spend all night and possibly some of tomorrow trying to come up with some sort of rebuttal." Dinah looked like she wanted to say some more, but a yawn stopped her from continuing.

"Tired?" Barbara asked as she smiled.

"A little," Dinah answered with a sheepish grin. "I guess this patrolling thing took more outta me than I thought. I'll head off to bed before I fall asleep at your feet and start drooling on your shoes or something."

"Alright," Barbara replied.

"Yup. So. 'Night Barbara, 'night Helena," Dinah said as she bounded towards the stairs.

"Goodnight," Barbara called after her.

"Yeah, 'night," Helena said, speaking up for the first time in a while.

After watching Dinah run up the stairs, Barbara returned her gaze to Helena who still had her back towards her. Helena. With Dinah gone her mind was free to revisit the entire conversation she had with Helena earlier. Not that most of her mind wasn't preoccupied with said conversation throughout the duration of the talk with Dinah. But she still hadn't properly digested the information.

"So," Helena started, as she slowly turned around and faced Barbara, eyes meeting for the first time since their earlier talk. Barbara could see that the walls were still up in Helena's normally brilliant blue eyes and was hesitant to continue.

"So," Barbara parroted, hoping to stall a little while longer while her mind worked on overdrive. She still didn't know what to say, and wanted to see if Helena would again lead the conversation. Although she thought it would be slightly unfair, considering Helena pretty much did all of the talking before with minimal input from Barbara, she really didn't have a better option at the moment.

"Look, about before," Helena continued after a while. "What I said. I mean, it's okay. I know what you're gonna say, and--"

"Then tell me," Barbara interrupted, apparently freed from her earlier speech impediment and grateful for it. "Tell me Helena, because *I* don't even know what I'm going to say."

"Finally able to shake off that whole cat problem?" Helena asked hedging the redhead's request.

"What?" Barbara asked, confused at the seemingly irrelevant question.

"You know," Helena shrugged. "The whole cat, tongue, speechless thing you had going for a while. Don't think I didn't notice." Helena smiled slightly before continuing, "Although you have to be the only person I know that can sustain a conversation with 2 word replies."

"Two syllables," Barbara wryly corrected. "And whose fault was that?" she asked before she could stop herself.

And looking at Helena she knew she should have. Damn her mind for being caught up in the cat and tongue part of the conversation.

"Look, about that," Helena started, obviously hurt. "I'm--"

"Don't apologize," Barbara cut off. "I'm sorry for what I just said. I wasn't thinking. But don't apologize Helena. Not unless you didn't mean what you said."

"Of course I meant it."

"Then you have nothing to be sorry about."

"Yes I do," Helena argued. "Because it's obvious that you'd have preferred that I didn't say anything."

"What?" Barbara asked incredulously. "I didn't say that--"

"That's right," Helena interrupted. "You didn't say anything."

"You didn't give me a chance to say anything!"

"Yes I did. And you said that you didn't know what to say," Helena finished sadly.

"Helena," Barbara started. "Yes, I did say that. And I still don't know what to say. But that doesn't mean I think you should've kept this to yourself. I'm glad you told me," she said sincerely and paused before continuing softly. "I don't think I could have in your place."

And that was the truth, Barbara thought to herself wryly. She wouldn't have said anything. She would have kept her feelings locked away securely. Then possibly hid her feelings behind other diversionary relationships...

"Look, Barbara, I..." Helena started and pulled Barbara out of her thoughts. Barbara watched as Helena continued to fidget. She couldn't stand the thought of anything bothering the brunette, so her first instinct was to try to set Helena at ease.

"Helena," Barbara said as she approached Helena. She laid her hand on one of the brunette's crossed arms before continuing, "Why don't we move this talk to someplace a little more comfortable. I know the couch is complaining that it's been neglected lately."

Helena slowly nodded and turned, heading towards the couch. Barbara followed behind the brunette, once again losing herself in thought.

Her. Everything that Helena said was about her. All of the feelings Helena had described. Everything. Her. But she couldn't let herself believe it. Maybe Helena was just feeling guilty about everything that happened. Maybe Helena was just confused. Maybe Helena was just brainwashed again. Or maybe Helena meant every word she said. And the final possibility was what frightened Barbara the most.

Barbara was once again pulled out of her thoughts when she felt herself being lifted out of her chair. She looked up at Helena as the younger woman gently set her down on one end of the sofa.

"You seemed like you were lost in thought," Helena shrugged as she sat down on the opposite end. "Again."

"I've been doing a lot of that tonight haven't I?" Barbara asked as she chuckled.

Barbara looked towards Helena and briefly saw a small smile. Helena was sitting at the other end with her arms wrapped around her legs that she had pulled to her chest. Her eyes seemed to be focused somewhere past her own feet. The position screamed defensiveness. When Barbara finally caught Helena's gaze she motioned for the younger woman to scoot over towards her.

Helena obliged and slowly moved down the expanse of the couch. When the brunette was close enough, Barbara reached out and pulled the other woman to sit next to her. She guided Helena's head towards her shoulder. While keeping her arm wrapped around the other woman's shoulders, Barbara slowly ran her fingers through Helena's hair. After a few moments, Barbara felt Helena relax and lean in closer to her.

"I don't regret telling you," Helena started after a while. "And I meant every word. I love you, Barbara. And I think I always have."

Barbara closed her eyes at Helena's soft statement. The brunette's words were heart-wrenchingly honest, and if she had any remaining doubts about the sincerity of the other woman's feelings, they were blown away. Helena wasn't just saying this. She wasn't just feeling guilty about Wade, or anything else, as Barbara had thought earlier. Helena *really* did love her.

Barbara felt her heart swell and break at the same time.

"Say something," Helena prompted after another few moments. "Anything."

"I don't know what you want me to say," Barbara replied softly.

"It's not about what I want, Barbara," Helena said. "It's about you now."

Barbara let the statement hang in the air.

"Why?" Barbara finally asked.

"Why what?"

"Why me?"

"Why not?" Helena replied. "Barbara, you're amazing. I could go through every single volume of the Oxford English Dictionary trying to find just the right adjectives to describe you, but nothing would do you justice. It just is. I just do." Helena paused and lifted her head up to look into Barbara's eyes. "The earth rotates. Sodium chloride is table salt. I love you. As terribly cheesy as that sounds, that's just the way it is."

Barbara felt her heart break a little more with every word Helena said. This was everything she had ever wanted. And it was everything she was never going to have. Because she wasn't going to let Helena do this.

"I need you to say something," Helena started again.

"Helena," Barbara said, looking at the other woman. "This was... sudden. I can't just... It's... difficult."

"It doesn't have to be. You're just making it by thinking too much. I tried that Barbara, you just have to go with what you feel."

"I can't lie to you."

"I didn't ask you to. I just need to know what you feel."

"Like I said, I can't."

"Barbara," Helena started. "It's pretty basic. You either feel the same, or you don't. I told you it doesn't matter that you don't. I just need to hear you say it, because as long as there isn't a definite 'no' I'm always going to be hoping for a 'maybe.'"

"It's not that simple Helena," Barbara protested.

"Why not?" Helena asked as she leaned closer to the redhead, not willing to let Barbara go. "Just tell me you don't feel the same way," she pleaded softly. "I need you to say it."

"I can't," Barbara insisted. She saw Helena open her mouth to protest and she placed a finger on the brunette's lips to stop her. She knew what she had to say. And she was going to.

Barbara let her finger linger on soft lips for a moment before sliding her hand to cradle Helena's cheek.

"I can't," she started softly. "Because I do."

With that, Barbara leaned in and softly brushed her lips against Helena's in what she intended as their first and only kiss.


The End

Return to Birds of Prey Fiction

Return to Main Page