DISCLAIMER: They aren't mine. Birds of Prey isn't mine, and neither is Hawkman. Nor Batman. Nor, sadly, is Batgirl. Okay, so really, none of the DC-related thingy-ma-bobs are mine. And, if you don't like same gender lovin', don't read this. Oh, and don't sue me. Please.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Hawkgirl is from the new Hawkman comics that just started getting published a year or so ago, not the Justice League cartoon. I'd highly recommend picking up some back issues of the comic if you can, it's frickin' awesome.
ARCHIVING: You want it, you got it. Just lemme know.
PAIRING: Barbara/Helena

Broken Wings
By Faechick

Book Two: Kendra

I haven't been this tired since Carter and I had it out last week. It feels like my limbs are about to fall away from my body. The Gotham County hospital is exactly like every other hospital I've ever been in, except that right now, it's full to the breaking point. I have to dance around injured person after injured person, and it's almost more than I can handle in my current state.

The things I'll do for a pretty face.

Carter just doesn't get it, bless his naive little heart. I, Kendra Saunders, was born a lesbian, and getting reincarnated mid-life with the spirit of Chay-Ara... Well, I'm rather confused, to say the least. And angry. Really angry. Although Helena does give me a run for my money in that department.

I'm finally at the hall I need to be on, thank God. It's mostly empty, as opposed to the rest of the building, but I suppose that has a lot to do with the fact that it's the IC. The nurse at the front said Bruce, and therefore Helena, was in room four-oh-five. Let's see here... Ah, here we go.

"Because I love you more desperately than anything else in my entire life."

Oh shit. Awkward moment to walk in on, to say the least.

And there goes that prospective relationship. All the same, at least Helena finally admitted it. Her self-pity over the whole thing was starting to get on my nerves.

"Helena, I-" Oracle's speechless. How cute.

Helena stands up, turning her head my way. Her eyes are closed, or she'd see me standing here, completely intruding on a very private moment. I really should move, but it's so enthralling...

"Look, just don't, okay? I don't want to hear you say it." I can not believe this! She's just going to let this chance slip away! She's going to walk away from the woman she loves without even letting the redhead have a say in the matter. God!

Why must superheroes persist in being so stupid?

She's on top of me before she realizes I'm here. We stumble back into the hallway together, and I land on my ass. Graceful, Kendra. Like a swan.

"Kendra! What are you-"

"I came to see you."


Barbara and I cut her off together. A look of pain crosses her face and she grabs my hand with her good one, hauling me off the ground and pulling me behind her as she flees the scene.

Helena, you are one major fucking moron.

"So, you came to see me?" She whirls on me suddenly when we get into the street, a cocky smile gracing her lips. I have the distinct urge to kiss her. I don't. That would be wrong. She's in love with Barbara. And I, though I loathe to admit it, am in love with Carter.

"Yes, I did. Does that surprise you?" I move past her, walking steadily for a coffee place I passed on the way here. She follows like a child lost at the zoo, her eyes focused on my back - and probably my ass. Women like her are horribly predictable sometimes. I can hear the delight in her voice. "Not really, no."

"Cocky of you."

"You love it about me." I smile; she's right. "See?"

"Shut up."

"Fine, we can just brood." Her voice turns sour. Wonderful way to move into this conversation.

"You love her, huh?" I swear, if I sound half as upset over this as I think I do I'm going to bang my head against a brick wall. She shoots me a look. Where's that wall, now?

"Yeah, I do. I have for a long time."

"But you were with that guy, Jesse."

She's quiet for a while. I hold the door to the Starbucks open for her and we walk to the counter in silence. I manage to order a mocha-

coconut frappichino before she speaks again. "I loved him, too. Just, not the same way."

I nod.

"You love her desperately. You loved him softly." She shoots me another look, one I can't quite discern. I smile a little at her. "I have some experience with all of this." Her look shifts to one I can define: expectant. I really didn't intend to go into this at all. Ever. Period.

Oh well, what can a girl do?

I move to sit in the back corner, placing myself securely in an area of the 'store' that I can see all entrances and exits from. Old habits die hard, apparently.

"How much do you know about Hawkman and I?" I say it lowly, throwing my voice only to her. She leans forward, her eyes on mine. My stomach tumbles over on itself. "Not a lot. You're reincarnated, right?"

"It's not quite that simple, but yes." I nod and take a sip of my drink. I love these. "Thousands of years ago an alien race landed here and established an empire in what would later be called Aegyptus, or Egypt. Their culture reveres a bird that resembles our Earthan hawk. The ruler of this empire was called Horus."

She shifts her weight as I take another drink.

"He and his line ruled successfully and continuously until Prince Khufu Kha-Tarr. This prince was desperately in love with his Princess, Chay-Ara. They would have lived happily ever after and borne many sons and daughters had Hath-Set, an evil sorcerer who vied for the throne, not killed them both.

"With his dying breath, Hath-Set doomed both Khufu and Chay-Ara to be eternally locked in the throws of their demise. Every lifetime they would be reborn to live out the story all over again. Every lifetime they would die together."

She's looking at me again, pity pooling in her eyes. I look away and take several long drags off my frappuchino. "So you're going to die?" I nod, a lump in my throat.

"And that's where the story should end. Except, it doesn't." I look at her again before my gaze shifts to the ceiling. "I wasn't reincarnated as Chay-Ara. I was born Kendra Saunders. Carter was my Uncle by marriage. When my aunt died, she was in breach of contract - so to speak." I smirk. "Her soul could not pass on to a new life without completing the cycle of death Hath-Set started. So, Chay-Ara sought out the most worthy host and, well, hopped in."

"So, you just suddenly had a spirit thrust on you?" Helena's following this better than I expected. I have to give her credit for that.

"Yes, essentially. One minute, I'm passing into the land of the dead and the next I'm awake in the hospital room where I died, memories of Egypt and Khufu and a thousand other lives flooding me to the point of breaking."

"Wait. What?" She sits up straight in her chair and looks at me hard. "Died?"

I look at my hands. "I tried to kill myself. Or, rather, I did kill myself." I sigh. "Chay-Ara got to me just after I'd legally been pronounced dead and revived me with her soul." I look at Helena; I'm sure my eyes are big and round and doe-like. Grandpa talked about them when I got this way. "You can't know what it's like, to suddenly wake up as someone else, and yet still be you."

"That must suck."

Understatement of the year.

We've made our way - silently - back to Gotham City. With the major villains out of the picture, it's a matter of simple cleanup. I'd left Carter, Black Canary the Second, and Batgirl the Second in charge of that. I'm assuming Helena and I can simply meander around awhile and pick up some pieces. That's what I want to do, anyway.

It's getting close to dawn, although the sky hasn't changed colors yet. My helmet is cold against my face, and I shiver in the northern winds. I really should have been better prepared for this.

"Cold?" It's the first thing she's said to me since "That must suck." I nod at her. "We can go back to the Clock Tower, if you want." She obviously doesn't want to do that. I shake my head.

"It's okay, I'll be fine. I'm a thousand-year-old superhero, after all." I'm smiling sardonically.

"There's more to that story, isn't there?" She's turned to face me in the middle of a street that's littered with debris. It's almost comical, the look on her face against the backdrop of a ruined city. If it weren't so damn serious, I might laugh. "Tell me."

"Huntress," I use her code name because it'll make her stop for a second to think. "I don't want to. Not now. Please?"

She's thinking about it. But she backs down, in the end. I knew she would. She starts walking away from me, but I hear her words drifting back to me through the cold. "I tried to kill myself, too."

We worked in silence for hours, combing the city for any more survivors. We didn't find any. Dawn broke and we realized how tired we were, almost simultaneously. She looked at me and her shoulders dropped lower than I'd seen them since the night she cried herself to sleep in my arms. I grinned a little and let out a long sigh before grabbing her, mindful of her injury, and hauling her into the sky.

She hates it. She absolutely can't stand flying, and it hurts me just a little to know that.

I set her down next to the jet before walking inside and removing my helmet and wing harness. I toss them haphazardly behind the pilot's chair before moving to the storage cabinet and pulling out two sleeping bags. I toss one at her feet and unroll the other, getting into it.

As weary as I am, sleep eludes me.

I listen to her breathing next to me and shift in my bag. My body aches to wrap around her, to curl into her heat, to listen to her heartbeat as I drift into unconsciousness. It's been so long since I've been with anyone - these past few days have been... I don't know that I can think of a word to properly describe it. But they've been something.

I don't think I'm in love with her. I know that I could be, if she let me. If I let me.

I push those thoughts away and concentrate on my own breathing. In and out. Find my center. Think of nothing. Think of white. In and out.

Coffee. I smell coffee. My eyes are crusted over and I have to rub at them before I can see clearly. Sure enough, there's a styrofoam cup and a sack labeled "Dunkin' Donuts" next to my sleeping bag. Helena's nowhere to be seen, so I can only assume this is her doing. I swallow half the cup of coffee before ripping the bag open and devouring the two glazed donuts I find inside.

Sweet, sweet sugar.

I groan, standing and stretching and scratching my head before finishing off the remainder of the coffee and tossing all the trash into the jet's compactor. Why we have a compactor, I'll never know. I move to the front of the jet, checking to make sure everything's in top shape. It is, so I walk outside. It's far too bright for me to be awake.

"Morning," Helena startles me and I jump a little. She's grinning like the cat that got the cream. Oh, my. What a mental image that conjures. Don't go there. Don't go there, Kendra. Damnit! "Sweet dreams?" I blush deeply and look away. "Really, now? And who might you have been dreaming about, dear Kendra?" She's sidled up next to me, her body heat incredibly aparant in the frosty air. "Was it Tweety or Sylvester?"

I don't think I've ever had a dirty thought related to Looney Tunes before. Oh well, a first time for everything. I'm saved - or not - by Carter. "Kendra! Helena! Where have you been? Oracle's been worried sick, and so have I."

He lands a few feet in front of us and glares daggers at Helena. I roll my eyes, and she doesn't move an inch. I don't know why that turns me on.

"You can't just run off like that!" Oracle's in full rant mode. I don't really blame her, but she could tone it down a little. It is still early for us. "No communicator, no note, no contact at all. What if something had happened? What if we'd needed you?"

"Look, Oracle, we're sorry." I'm going to try to take the brunt of this, for Helena's sake. "Last night was pretty tough on everyone. Emotions were worn thin, we were all tired. It seemed the best course of action at the time, wrong though it may have been."

She's glaring at me the way Carter glares at Helena. What have we gotten ourselves into, Huntress?

Oracle spins around as the Delphi system starts beeping loudly. Saved by the bell. "What is it?" Dinah jumps up next to her, eager to find out what the next threat is.

"Jon's calling." She grabs a headset and puts it on. "Yes, Jon." I have memories of Jon from Shiera's time as Hawkgirl. As I recall, I liked the Martian. "Hold on a moment, perhaps you should talk to him yourself." Oracle takes off the headset and stretches her arm around Dinah, shaking it at Carter.

He looks surprised, but removes his helmet and puts on the headset. "Yes, Jon?" His face becomes dour. "I see. I don't suppose you can send all the information you have to Oracle, can you? Yes. Thank you. I really do appreciate this." He removes the headset and hands it back before looking at me, his eyes sad. "Speed's been kidnapped."

My stomach falls through the floor and my heart stops beating. "Grandpa..."

Grandpa Speed is the only family I have left. I don't know why anyone would want to kidnap him except to get at me or Carter. I'm more than a little surprised that I'm not crying, but now's not the time for tears. All the same, I'm the one curled up into a ball with Helena rubbing my back consolingly. Carter's busy getting the details from Oracle and working out a plan - or what passes for one according to him.

We're sitting together in the loft area, hidden behind the cogs of the derelict clock. I can hear the discussions below us faintly, but Helena pushes it all away with her concern. "Hey, are you all right?" Her hand is warm against my back, and she's rubbing in long circles, her pressure increasing and decreasing with each pass. "Is there anything I can do?"

"Not unless you can get him back for me, right now." I try to smile, but I'm not sure it comes off that way. "He's all I have left of my family."

Her arms encircle me, pulling me into her body as she tucks my head carefully into her injured shoulder and leans hers on top of mine. Her breath tickles across my forehead as she talks. "He'll be fine. You and Carter will get him back in one piece."

"That's just it, I don't know that we will." A tear slips past my barriers. "I'm scared, Helena." She places a kiss on my brow and holds me tighter.

"A woman named Jayita Sahir is going to be your guide. My contact says that she and her party claimed to have seen some suspicious activities along the mountain trails. You can meet them in the village at the coordinates I gave you." Carter and I are standing in front of Oracle, by the balcony. Helena's standing off to my left, looking at me intently.

"Thank you, Oracle. We appreciate the help." Carter, ever the polite one. Oracle smiles at him. "Not at all, it's the least we could do."

"No." Oracle's head spins around so fast I think it might fall off when Helena speaks. "The least we could do is go with them. I'm tagging along."

My heart swells by three whole sizes when she steps up next to me, her hand on my shoulder. She squeezes it just a little.

"You're going away again?" Dinah does not sound pleased. "Typical!" She throws her hands up, rolls her eyes and turns around to mope. Batgirl the Second pats her on the shoulder.

"She's right, Helena. You just got home, I'm sure Carter and Kendra can handle themselves on this-"

Helena cuts Barbara off (and it's Barbara talking now, not Oracle). "That's not the point. We could have handled this," she throws her arms out to suggest the city. "On our own. They came anyway. That's what we do, isn't it? We help people. And this time I get to help my friend." She turns to look at me and I smile.

"What about your father?" The disapproving tone in her voice makes me want to slap her. Not that she doesn't have a point, mind you.

Helena shrugs. "He'll be fine. He's got the best doctors in the world looking after him. I mean, jeeze. He's Bruce fucking Wayne." She turns to Carter and I again. "Well? Let's went."

She's lucky Carter and I have lived as many lives as we have, otherwise we wouldn't understand half the things she says.

No one speaks for at least an hour after we take off. Carter's busy making course adjustments to get us to where we need to be in the least amount of time, and I've been flipping through the printouts Oracle supplied us with. Helena's simply not said anything. I don't know if she's asleep, or just trying not to dwell on her situation with Barbara.

It's so incredibly obvious how they both feel, and yet they just can't seem to get it together. It makes me want to scream.

"Huntress," Carter's sudden foray into the verbal world makes me drop a few sheets of paper onto the floor. I fumble with them as he continues. "I wanted to thank you. Your support, it- It's appreciated." He's swallowing his pride over this one, and I have to smile at him for it.

"Sure, Big Bird. No sweat. Besides, I've never been mountain climbing before." She doesn't even have to try. She can say anything and it will piss him off. I'm surprised he doesn't rise to her bait.

I pass Helena one of our spare winter coats as Carter and I suit up. The winds outside are ten times colder than the ones in Gotham were, and I can tell she's not looking forward to trekking through them. My winter gear feels odd. I haven't it used it before - not as Kendra.

"Okay, let's move out." Carter steps out into the cold first, taking his place as leader. I roll my eyes at Helena and she grins at me before following him outside. Once we're all together he uses his codes to lock the jet up. "Let's hope it's still here when we get back."

I look at him like he's daft. "Who do you think is going to steal it here, Carter?" He shrugs and makes his way towards the village on the horizon. Helena snorts and trudges after, huddled deep within the coat. It was one of Carter's, so it's far too big on her. The left sleeve dangles, empty, at her side. I'm concerned about her arm; maybe she shouldn't have come.

It takes us fifteen minutes to get to the outskirts of the town. The yurts are silent and no campfires burn at this time of night. We probably should have planned better for this. Carter walks straight to the middle of town and sits down on one of the benches that must stay there year round. Helena follows suit, tucking her legs into her jacket and shivering. I sit down beside her, leaning towards her for warmth.

"I don't know what happened between you and Oracle, Huntress." Helena's eyes narrow a little as Carter starts talking. "But whatever it was, it hurt her pretty badly."

"Mind your own damn business, Tweety."

They continue to glare silently at one another until the village begins stirring. The first person to spot us sounds something of an alarum, sending dozens of men into the center of the village proper. A woman steps forward before anything can get out of hand. She looks Indian.

"You are Hawkman?" Her accent is definitely Hindi. She pulls back her cowl and I can now see the mark on her forehead. "I am Jayita, your guide."

The insides of the yurts aren't that much different from the outsides, though they do have a generous amount of fur thrown about. Helena has stripped herself of the jacket and is curled languidly on top of a set of pillows. If I didn't know better, I'd think she weren't paying attention to our guide.

"There is a temple, high in the mountain above this village." Jayita motions in the direction the mountain would be if we were outside. "It is very old, and no one has been there in a very long time. I am here to find it and research it." She claims she's an archaeologist working with the British government. "The man I hired as my guide, Rajak Darkraven, and I were heading towards the temple when we saw a group of men on one of the paths above us. They were dragging what looked like another man behind them, tied up with ropes."

I wince, and suddenly Helena's there, her arm on my shoulder.

"We watched them, hiding ourselves in the snow. They proceeded towards the temple. I believe that is where your friend is."

Carter nods at her, chewing on a stick of smoked meat. After a time, he says, "Did they appear to have any weapons?"

"I do not know. We could see only outlines."

Grunting, Carter stands. "Whenever you and your guide are ready, we should leave. The sooner we rescue our friend, the better."

Jayita nods. "We can be ready within the hour." She stands and leaves the yurt.

Carter turns towards Helena and I. "Huntress, are you going to be able to do this with your arm?" He motions to her sling. She pulls away from me and begins pulling the bandages off. I start to stop her, but she gives me a look and I back down. Once she's free of the bandages, she flexes her arm gingerly.

"I heal pretty fast. I was leaving them on as a precaution."

I sigh in relief and Carter nods. "Good. I'm going to go get some weapons from the jet. Do you prefer anything?"

Her eyebrows raise upwards. "I don't use weapons."

"I'm going to get you something anyway, just in case." He's standing in the doorway of the yurt, now. Turning to me he says, "Do you want your mace? Or would you prefer something else?"

I ponder that for a moment. Ranged weaponry, unless we're talking about modern artillery, simply isn't going to cut it out here. Since Carter and I never use modern guns - they're too deadly - that leaves me with archaic melee weapons. I don't have the upper body strength Shiera did. "Get me a war hammer." He nods and leaves.

"War hammer?" Helena's looking at me. She's got no idea what that is. Neither did I, until Chay-Ara.

"It's like a regular hammer, except that instead of a side to pull out nails it has a curved spike. They were used to pierce full plate armor, rip it off, and then bludgeon or pierce the exposed skin."

Helena grins. "Cool."

The mountain is treacherous, and the winds on top of it make it almost impossible to fly. Carter is braving the possibility of plummeting to his doom, circling above us to keep a look out. We've been climbing for what feels like half a day, although I'm sure it's much less than that. The sun hasn't even climbed to it's peak yet.

"We're almost there!" Jayita calls back to us. She's just behind Rajak, whom I don't trust - he's got a look in his eyes that sets me on edge. "Be ready!" Like she needs to tell us that.

Helena sprints up next to me and falls back into pace. She's huffing pretty badly. I don't think she's used to this kind of exercise. Still, I'm glad she's here. She smiles at me a little and shifts her grip on the sap Carter gave her. I'm pretty sure she's got no earthly idea how to use it.

"I can see the temple!" Carter's voice sounds like he's a thousand miles away, when in reality he's only a few hundred feet above us. He wheels downwards, landing next to me. "Do you feel up to flying the rest of the way?" I nod, and turn to Helena. The look on her face speaks clearly enough, but she's nodding anyway. "All right then. You take her, and I'll go in first." He's away again as I turn to Helena, grabbing her under her legs and along her back and lifting her like a groom would a bride. She slips her arm around my shoulders and buries her head in my neck.

"I hate flying." I hear her mumble as we take off. I squeeze her just a little to let her know I've got her.

Jayita and Rajak are waving at us below, but I can't hear them and I don't really care about what they have to say. My grandfather is in the temple. He may already be dead.

I see Carter swoop into the crumbled opening ahead of us and I follow him, letting Helena down as soon as I can. She wobbles a little as I touch down in front of her, but gets her bearings again quickly. The temple is dark and quiet, the only sound is the wind howling through the ancient columns. I can make out Carter's form in front of us.

Moving behind him I see what he's looking at: nothing. There isn't anything here at all. I was expecting something of a small army, and yet... This doesn't look good.

This was a trap.

"Do you guys hear that?" Helena's voice echoes, filling the atrium with noise. Carter shakes his head. "Hear what?"

"Someone's back there." She points towards an opening past what was once an alter. I rush forward, barreling past Carter and through the doorway into a long hall. The farther I proceed, the easier it is to hear what Helena was talking about. Someone's trying to yell, but their voice is muffled.

I veer left when I come to a fork and have to duck down through a broken archway to get into what was probably a sacred bath. Grandpa's struggling in the far corner, trying to yell around his gag. I rush to him, tears springing to my eyes as I pull at his bindings. "Grandpa! I was so worried we wouldn't find you. Thank God you-"

"It's a trap! You have to get out of here, now!" Grandpa cuts me off when I remove his gag.

"A trap? Who set it?" Carter and Helena are in the room now.

"Jayita, she's not who she says she is. She's-"

"Hath-Set." Jayita smiles wickedly as she enters the room, an automatic rifle pointed at Carter and Helena. Rajak is behind her, pointing his own weapon at Grandpa and me. "So nice to see you again." She motions at Carter with her gun. "Drop the weapons, all of you, and you two go stand by the old man. I'll try to make this quick."

"Who the hell are you?" What does Helena think she's doing? She's knows who Hath-Set is. Jayita turns to her. "That's none of your business, little girl." The sneer in her voice makes my stomach clench. "You'll be joining your friends in death, soon. Then, you shall know all you ever need to."

"You think you can just get away with this?" Helena's moving with Carter over to where Grandpa and I are crouched, unmoving. Carter's dropped his mace, and I don't see the sap anywhere. What did she do with it? "Do you have any idea who I am?"

"Do I look like I care?" The bored tone in Jayita's voice says it all.

"You won't get away with this!" If I didn't know better, I'd say Huntress has a plan.

"Watch me." Jayita settles the rifle and prepares to fire. I flinch and look away, squeezing Grandpa's shoulders. The bullets rain at our feet, but never hit us. I look up to see Jayita sprawled on the ground and Rajak in the middle of hand-to-hand with Helena. She must have thrown the sap.

I grab my war hammer and jump into the fray, swinging the piercing end at Rajak's shoulder. It connects, and I hear him scream as blood spurts from the wound. Helena finishes him off with a strong blow to his head. He slumps to the ground. We both turn to watch as Carter looms above Jayita, his mace poised for the kill.

For the second time in my life, I want someone to die.

Carter hesitates, and Jayita laughs, kicking upwards and catching him in the groin. He hisses as he stumbles away, his mace dropping to the floor. Before I have time to think, I'm on top of her, beating her senseless with the blunt end of my weapon. Every blow I land is a finger in the face of destiny.

This time, Hath-Set will not win.

The four of us trudge back into the village, Helena and I covered in blood and Carter dragging an unconscious Rajak behind him. The village elder, upon hearing the conclusion to our tale, offers us two yurts before having Rajak carted off to the jail - or whatever they have that passes for one, here. Helena and I slink into our yurt together, and I refuse to look at Carter or Grandpa.

I almost feel guilty for killing her.

The minute the flap to the yurt is back in place Helena whirls on me, pressing her lips to mine. I respond after I get past the shock. Kissing her is most definitely a pleasant experience. She's forceful, but not rough, exploring rather than conquering. I didn't really expect that. She pulls away, her cocky grin back in place. "So, how's it feel to be free of imminent demise?"

"Um. Nice." I grin back at her and push her into the pillows, my body pressing eagerly into hers. Her eyes are cat-like now, yellow and slitted. Rajak's blood has dried along her jaw line where the spurt hit her. Suddenly I realize how horrible this day has really been. My fingers trail along the stain, and her eyes shift back into blue.

"Are you all right?" Her hands are on my back, her fingers rubbing in little circles. I swallow, a lump forming in my throat. I killed her. I killed someone else. I'm a superhero, aren't I? I'm not supposed to do that sort of thing. Her hands are wiping at my face; I didn't realize I'd started to cry. I pull away, backing into a crouch. "You must think I'm a monster."

"No!" She sits up quickly, staring at me. "She was going to kill him -

us! You did what you had to."

"I had to kill her?" I smile self-deprecatingly. "I wanted to kill her. I didn't have to."

"So? She was evil. You're not."

"I'm a superhero, Helena. You know what that means." I'm pleading with her, in a way. I'm pleading with her to let me have my guilt.

"You weren't a superhero until Chay-Ara came along and made you one. And considering that you've got a thousand lives worth of hatred stored up for Hath-Set, I'd say it's about damned time you managed to give it to him." She's crawled over to me, and she reaches out to touch my face. "It's over, Kendra. You're free to be whoever you want to be, now."

"Am I?" She's smiling at me, and she nods. I don't know who I want to be, but I know what I want to do.

We fall back onto the pillows again.

Helena's drawing circles on the side of my stomach, her head nestled just above my left breast. I feel good, better than I have in a long, long time. She's not quite as much of an animal as I expected, but I kind of liked being able to take control of it all. The only drawback to the whole experience is that now I feel even dirtier than I did before, and these yurts don't come with showers. Oh well, she's not moving away, so I must not smell too badly.

"So." She pokes me gently in the side. "Whatcha thinkin'?"

"That I'm really happy right now." She smiles.

"Me too." She goes back to drawing circles on my abdomen before stopping again. "Watcha thinkin' now?"

"You just want me to be thinking something so that you don't have to be." I run my hand through her hair playfully. She growls a little at me and pretends to snap at my fingers. I grab the hand that's on my stomach and kiss her suddenly, pulling back a minute later. "What's on your mind?"

She looks a little dazed, and has to shake her head to get back on track. I smile because I know that I did that to her. "I just... I don't know." She frowns a little and snuggles back into me. I start rubbing her back.

"You're feeling guilty, aren't you?" I'm saddened by this, but a part of me knew it would happen.

"What do you mean?"

"You slept with me, when you're so obviously in love with Barbara. You feel guilty about it." I stroke her hair gently. "It's okay. I understand."

"What about you?"

"What about me?"

"Do you feel guilty?" She's looking at me with those intense blue eyes and I can't pull away from her gaze. Do I feel guilty? I suppose a part of me does - the part of me that is now Chay-Ara. But the rest of me doesn't. The rest of me wants to do it again. I whisper my answer. "A little."

"So you love him?" Her breath skates across my chest.

"Chay-Ara loves him."

"So you don't love him?" She sounds hopelessly lost. How can I blame her? I get lost in it, too. "It's complicated."

"It seems to me that you're making it complicated." She pulls away from me, getting up and looming as best she can. The effect is dulled a little by her lack of clothing.

I push myself onto my elbows. "What do you mean?"

"Well, you're Chay-Ara now, whether you like or not, right? You can't fix that. You can't say you don't want it." I nod, gloomily. "Well, fucking deal with it and move on." I snap my eyes up to hers. They're shifting angrily. "You think I liked the fact that I'm a meta-human? You think that was easy to deal with? I didn't ask for this, but I'm dealing with it every day."

"It's different-"

"No it isn't! It isn't different at all!" She's ranting now, her arms lashing about wildly as she moves like a wild animal throughout the room. "Just because you have the memories of a thousand lives doesn't mean you know everything. In fact, it means you probably don't know jack shit about what really matters."

I blink and look down at my lap. That was deeper than I'd have expected from her.

"You're Chay-Ara now, but you're still Kendra. You're both. You're in love with Carter Hall, once Khufu. He's a man. Deal with it." When you put it like that, the stupidity of it rises up before you.

"So..." I stand up and wrap my arms around my waist. "What about you and me?"

"I dunno." She's cooled down almost instantly. A smile plays at her lips. "What about me and you?"

I reach out to touch her face, caressing it. She's beautiful, tilting into my touch, her eyes half-lidded. "I could have loved you."

"Me too." I can't resist playing with her. "You could have loved yourself?"

"Okay, that's just fucking creepy."

I blink. "What is?"

"Barbara said something almost exactly like that to me yesterday." She shakes her head, grinning a little.

"Oh. Well, you started it."

"What are you, twelve?"

"Twelve hundred, maybe." She rolls her eyes and grabs one of the pillows of the floor.

Little does she know I'm a master of the ancient art of Pillow-Fu.

The journey back to Gotham is mostly uneventful. Grandpa and Helena spent more time than I would have thought possible talking about the history of Gotham and some interesting facts about her father and mother. Grandpa certainly got around in his day. I spend my time trying to decide exactly what to do about Carter.

When we arrive outside Gotham City, Carter sets the jet down and called ahead to warn Oracle of our arrival. He and Grandpa opt to stay with the jet. Helena stares at him for a long time before offering him her hand. They shake, and for the first time I see a glint of amusement in Carter's eye. I think she's grown on him. Fancy that.

I nod to them as I lift Helena into my arms and take off into the afternoon sky. She clutches me tightly, as she did in the mountains, and mutters under her breath. Far too soon the moment is over and we land on the balcony of the Clock Tower. I set her down and walk in behind her.

Oracle and Batman are waiting.

"Welcome back." His words are clipped. He must still be in pain from the gunshot. "Good to see you in one piece."

"You doubted my skills?" Helena puts her hands on her hips and juts on her chin comically. "I'm insulted." Batman simply looks at her, and the corners of his mouth twitch.

"Thanks for bringing her back safely, Hawkgirl. I'm glad your grandfather is safe." Oracle, it would seem, is still fairly unhappy with me. The look she's giving me is a mix between respect and distaste. I nod at her.

"Thanks for letting her tag along."

"I don't let Helena do anything." She whirls around to face the Delphi system. Stuck my foot firmly in my mouth with that one. I'd say it's time to get the hell out of here.

"Well, I'll be going then. We've got to get Grandpa back to St. Roch and take care of some other... Things." I smile warmly at Helena when she turns to face me. She throws her arms around me and hugs me tightly before pulling back to look at me. One of her hands sneaks up to my helmet, tugging it up enough for her to kiss me sweetly before she pulls it back down. I'm blushing from my head to my toes.

She winks at me as she backs away. "It's been wild."

I nod at Batman before turning and flying away. I hope that Helena can fix her situation with Barbara. And I'm sure that last kiss didn't help at all.

But all the same, it's going to be one of the memories I treasure in this life and any future ones.

St. Roch has never felt so good to me. I feed my goldfish generously when I first get home; I'm glad they aren't dead. Flopping myself onto the couch I hit the answering machine that's beside it. No new messages. What a surprise. There's a knock at my door, and I groan before moving to get it.

It's Carter.

"I think." He stops. "I think we need to talk." He looks vulnerable right now. He hasn't come here to cow me into thinking his way. I nod and let him past. "You and Helena are-"

"Nothing. We're nothing." I shrug as I shut the door. "That's not a path that was open to either of us for very long."

"I see." He really doesn't. "What about me?" What about him. I study him long and hard before I say anything. How do I feel, exactly? Well, I guess it's probably exactly how Helena feels about Barbara.

I love him. Desperately.

The End

Concluded in Book Three

Return to Birds of Prey Fiction

Return to Main Page