DISCLAIMER: Birds of Prey, Helena Kyle/Barbara Gordon/Selina Kyle do not belong to me. They belong to DC Comics, Tollin-Robbins Productions and Warner Brothers. I'm just borrowing them and will put them back when I'm done.
Any canon I actually hit is totally accidental. If you have read any of my other stories, you would know that canon and I rarely cross paths unless there is a joke involved. I like humor, go fig.
Oh and Wade Brixton doesn't exist here. At all. Never will in my stories.
Dinah will in future stories. I like her
Wade? Not so much. Okay, not at all.
This story is set prior to Dinah's arrival in New Gotham.
So it's just a...
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Big thanks to the Beta for allowing me to use her favorite line again. It's becoming my 'egg'. <.g.> Oh, and for vacuuming out the excess commas and fixing the grammar so BG actually sounds like a High School English Teacher. You Rock! Any comments (Good or Bad) can be sent to McFluffy1@aol.com
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Valentine's Eve 1986
"But Mo-om, you promised," Helena whined. She threw her back against the door frame and crossed her arms in defiance.
Selina turned away from the dresser and proceeded to attach the earring. She bit back a grin when she saw Helena's posture. "Kitten, I know I promised. This meeting at the museum was called at the last minute. We have an opportunity to get some very rare Grecian artifacts for a showing. It would be a huge coup for us." She softened her voice as she walked over to her daughter. Cupping Helena's cheek, she added, "I have to go. I'm sorry, baby." She ruffled the messy long brown hair.
Helena looked down and sighed; she scuffed her sneaker. "I know but tomorrow is Valentine's Day and you promised to help me make the Valentines for all my friends in class."
Selina made her way back into the living room, followed by her daughter. "I'm sure your new sitter will be glad to help."
"New sitter?" Helena's voice rose in indignation, "I'm nine and a half; I don't need a sitter."
"Yeah, well I need you to have a sitter." The doorbell rang. "That's her now." Selina walked to the door and opened it.
Helena had turned her back to her mother. "But you always hire little old ladies with blue hair and... and... no teeth...."
The sitter covered her mouth, stifling the laughter.
"And they wear perfume that makes them smell like they rolled in a field of wildflowers and they never know how to play Nintendo and they are just not any fun. If I have to have one, why can't you get someone like my gymnastics' coach Barbara? She rides a motorcycle and she's sooooooooo cool." Helena turned and her mouth dropped open.
Barbara sauntered further into the room. "Let's see... I'm not little and while older than you, I'm not old." She fingered a lock of her hair. "I have red hair, not blue and...." She smiled wide and showed her teeth, then mockingly chomped them a couple of times. "Those babies are all mine." She made an exaggerated effort to smell her own perfume. "I'm wearing Obsession and I got news for you, KitKat - I can kick your as...." Barbara glanced over at Selina. "...butt at Nintendo." Barbara grinned. She removed her leather jacket and flipped it over one shoulder, then stared down at Helena and winked. "OH yeah, and I am definitely cool."
"Barbara!" Helena squealed as soon as her voice came back, then ran and gave her a hug. "Can we go for a ride on your bike? Huh, can we?"
"Ummm, sure," Barbara looked at the disapproving glare from Selina. "Someday, but not tonight, okay?"
Selina rolled her eyes. "Well, that's never happened before." She turned to Barbara. "I take it you both will be fine?"
"Absolutely. Right, KitKat?"
"Yup." Helena grabbed Barbara's arm and dragged her off to the kitchen. "I have to make Valentines for my class, you can help me." Just then she stopped suddenly. Barbara almost lost her balance as she braked quickly. Helena ran back to Selina to give her a hug. Selina knelt down for her daughter. Helena leaned in and whispered in her ear. "Night Mom," then she kissed her cheek. "You're the best."
Selina stood and went to grab her coat. "There is money on the counter for pizza; don't let her drink a six-pack of pop; there is ice cream in the freezer and bed time is nine."
"Ten." Helena countered.
"I've got it, don't worry. Helena and I will be fine." Barbara walked Selina to the door. "Helena? Why don't you get out your art supplies and we'll do the Valentines before the pizza?"
"She'll be fine," Barbara reiterated.
"She is the most precious thing in the world to me." She looked straight into Barbara's green eyes. "I am counting on it... Baby Bat." She called over Barbara's shoulder, "Night Kitten; I'll see you in the morning." She smiled at the dumbfounded look still on Barbara's face. "We'll talk about that later."
Barbara took a sip of her drink and shuffled through all the construction paper. Both had taken seats at the table after Helena got her art supplies box and Barbara snagged a couple of sodas and glasses. "Okay, so what do you want to do? Cut out some hearts? Maybe some birds? Flowers? A few lacy borders?" She raised an eyebrow in question.
Helena looked up at Barbara through her bangs and shrugged. "I dunno." She paused. "But no pink, okay?"
"Don't like pink?"
"Pink is not cool. It's all so Barbie... uh oh." She cringed.
"S'okay; it's not like I was named for the doll." She leaned in closer and whispered, "I don't like pink either." She stood up, her eyes twinkling and gestured to herself. "Do you see any pink on me?" She made an effort to twirl around and even pulled up her jeans leg to show off her sock.
"No but...." Helena joked back. "What color is your underwear?" Barbara did a double-take and looked at the smirk on Helena's face. Before she could answer Helena continued through giggles. "Ha! Now your ears are pink."
"I'll pink you, you little...." she leaned over to start a round of tickles and Helena bolted from her seat.
"Noooooooooooo, no tickling. House Rules."
"Yeah, House Rules."
Barbara nodded her head in agreement. "Okay, what are some of the other of Selina Kyle's House Rules?" She waggled a finger at Helena. "And no fibbing, I can always check with your mother."
"Selina Kyle's Ten House Rules," Helena started reciting solemnly, "No disobeying Mom's orders. No lying. No staying up past curfew on a school night. Indoor voices when inside. Walking feet in the house. Treat the items in this house with respect. Do your chores without whining. Homework first, then playtime. Manners always. Always try a bite of something before dismissing it." She tilted her head and lowered her voice a bit. "Although she did let that one slide when she tried making this salmon casserole thingie one time." Helena scrunched up her nose. "Talk about ewwww."
Barbara laughed. "Okay, but I didn't hear a 'no tickle' rule in there."
"You asked for Mom's House Rules. The 'no tickle' rule is in Helena's House Rules."
The redhead scratched her nose and inwardly debated. This ought to be good.
"Okay; and what are the rest of Helena's rules?"
"Helena's Rules are way easier to remember. Treat others like you want to be treated. Be nice to animals." She giggled. "Cats rule, dogs drool." She thought for a second as to where she left off. "Play nice and share. Celebrate all holidays." She grinned. "And no tickling."
Barbara ruffled Helena's hair. "I like those rules. Good job." She slapped her hands together. "Now, about those Valentines. I have an idea. You want to do something really different?"
"Cool." Helena nodded her head vigorously.
"When I was in Japan years ago for gymnastics' meet, we went to a place that showed us a very old and very unique art form called Origami."
"It's making animals and flowers and other shapes out of folded paper. No cutting and no gluing, just folding."
Helena tilted her head. "For real?"
"Yep. I learned a few different patterns. You want me to show you?"
"How many Valentines do you need?"
"There are twenty-two in the class. So I need twenty-four."
"No, silly. One more for the teacher and if this is as neat as you say, I want one for my mom too." She paused a second. "Can you do a cat? She really likes cats."
Barbara bit her lip, to keep from laughing and nodded agreement. "I know. How about we do some flowers and butterflies for the girls and some dragons and dinosaurs for the boys?" She held up her hand. "And a cat for your mom and an apple for your teacher."
"Okay," Barbara grabbed a sheet of colored paper. "First you fold it like this ."
"Good morning, Mom" Helena skipped into the kitchen. "Did you get 'em?"
"Yes." She flipped the newspaper down and smiled at her child. "We got the exhibit for all of June." Selina watched as Helena dug into her cereal. "Did you have a good night with Barbara?" She went back to reading the paper.
Helena started to answer and then stopped and covered her mouth as she finished chewing. "We had fun. She showed me how to do... what did she call it? Oh yeah, Or-game-ees."
"What?" The paper flipped down again.
"It's neat. You fold paper all different ways and it doesn't come out like all crumpled or anything but ends up looking like cool animals and things. We made them instead of a Valentine's cards." She grinned in pride.
Selina closed her eyes and calmed. "Origami."
"Yeah, that's it. Neat, huh?" She got up from the table. "I'll show you."
Helena brought back a big white box. She carefully set it on the table and opened it. Inside were twenty-four colorful paper animals and flowers. Selina gently lifted one out. It was an orange cat. She grinned and went to set it back in the box.
"No, Mom. That one is for you. It's the only cat. Barbara helped me to do that one 'specially for you."
"She did, did she? I'm going to keep this on my nightstand so I can see it first thing every morning and last thing every night. Thank you, Kitten." She opened her arms and Helena stepped in for a big hug. When they stepped back apart, Selina took another look into the box. "Those are all very pretty, Kitten. Your Valentines are sure to be the hit of the class."
Helena frowned a bit.
"What's a matter, baby?"
"I tried to make a special surprise one for Barbara this morning but it didn't turn out too good. I guess I didn't remember all the steps she showed me." Helena looked dejected.
"Why don't you show it to me and maybe your old Mom can figure out a way to help."
Helena disappeared back to her room for a moment, then returned. She held out the paper object in her hand. "I tried to make a bird but it's not quite right."
Selina picked it up and looked at it from all angles. "Honey, why did you use black paper?"
"It was all I had left after I messed up all the other times."
"I see, well you know, if you turn it this way, it looks like a bat. A black bat."
She stifled a laugh and a smirk. "I think you should give it to her just the way it is."
"But it's not a pretty bird; it's just a dumb old bat." Helena scuffed the floor with the toe of her shoe and ducked her head.
"I know for a fact that Barbara likes dumb old bats. After all, it's the University mascot and she'll love this because you made it especially for her."
Valentine's Day 1994
"Go away. I'm sleeping." The voice was filtered a bit by the closed bedroom door. An exaggerated snore was added.
Barbara shook her head and wheeled up closer to the door. She knocked. "C'mon, it's Friday. You only have school today and then you are off for the weekend."
She bit back a grin when she heard movement within the bedroom and headed down into the kitchen for a cup of coffee.
When she returned to the living room she could see and hear the teen now moving about. "C'mon Hel; shake a leg, you pokey little puppy. We are going to be late." Barbara yelled toward Helena's now open bedroom door.
"Oh no you didn't; you did not just call me a puppy." Helena answered back in mock anger as she made her way into the living room. She leaned down on the arm of the redhead's chair. "I am sooooooooo not a mangy dog."
Barbara took in the ripped jeans and the black t-shirt and silver choker her ward was wearing. She grinned and fingered the choker. "If the collar fits, Fido...."
Helena shook her head. "So funny... NOT!" She stalked off into the kitchen.
"Yeah, yeah, Ms Surly. It got you out here. Go grab some breakfast...." She paused while she chose her word. "...kibble and let's go. We are running behind schedule."
Helena came back into the room munching on a PopTart, the silver packet containing its twin in her hand. "I'm supposed to be surly and uncooperative. I'm a teenager; it's my job. Besides, schedule schmedule. You're the teacher - class can't start without you." She pointed a thumb at herself, "Me, on the other hand - school won't miss." She dropped heavily onto the couch and threw one leg over the arm. She smiled around her chewing.
"You are only a couple of months away from graduating. You can grace the halls with your presence a little while longer."
"But it's not like I am going to go to college. Maybe I just want to be a... I dunno, bartender or something."
"Then you can be a bartender or something with a diploma." Barbara rolled over to the couch and snagged the packet from Helena's hand. She started eating the other one. The older woman grimaced. "How can you eat these things? They're like cardboard."
"I like them." She cleaned the crumbs off her hands. "No muss, no fuss and lots of sugar."
Barbara shook her head and moved her chair over to the desktop and started hastily throwing her lesson books and files into her messenger bag. She accidentally hit her reading glasses and they dropped to the floor. At the sound of breakage she looked down. "Crap."
"Oooh, language - innocent ears here." Helena got up and walked over to pick up the broken glasses.
"Innocent ears?" Barbara made a showing of looking around the Clocktower. "Do we have mice? I'm surprised; the way you eat there are rarely any crumbs left."
Helena grinned and gently popped Barbara on the nose with her finger. "Now who's being surly?" She handed her the broken glasses.
Barbara frowned. "Sweetie, could you go get my other pair from my nightstand, pretty please?" She exaggeratedly batted her eyes.
"Yeah, yeah. Use and abuse the indentured teen servant." Helena crossed the room and headed for Barbara's bedroom.
"Yeah, that's the one cool perk to my job."
Helena stepped into Barbara's bedroom and stopped cold. It was so different than her own. It was so sterile. While her walls held the latest posters of celebrity sensations and contained the classic teen clutter; Barbara's were a plain cool pale blue, with a minimum of adornment. She walked over to the left nightstand and pulled open the drawer.
Her eyes widened in recognition. She carefully lifted out the black paper object and set it reverently on the top of the nightstand. Her blue eyes returned to the stack of envelopes it was sitting on. The envelopes were all tied together in a bundle with a piece of string but she could easily read the writing. She picked up the bundle in one hand, the finger from her free hand traced over the familiar scrawl. I can't believe she kept them. All the cards and letters I sent to her from Paris when Mom and I moved back there for five years.
"Did you find them, Hel?"
Helena jumped at Barbara's voice then realized that the older woman was still in the living room. She carefully replaced the packet, then picked up the black paper bat and did the same. Helena smiled and closed the drawer.
"Coming." Helena quickly moved to the other nightstand and found the glasses. She started back toward the doorway, then stopped and took one more look at the nightstand.
She crossed down into the living room over to the desk and handed the redhead the glasses. "Here you go."
"Thank you, sweetheart," Barbara said automatically while she snapped her messenger bag shut.
"Ummm, Barbara? Did you know today's Valentine's Day?"
Barbara looked up at the teen. Her head was ducked shyly and she was slightly nervous. "Is this your way of telling me you have a hot date and you want your curfew extended a bit?"
Helena's head snapped up. "No, my hot date tonight is with Pythagoras and my geometry book." She sighed. "You?"
"Oh yeah," she deadpanned. "I have an orgy scheduled." She bit her bottom lip as she watched Helena's eyes widen comically.
"Yeah, Ben and Jerry are bringing their friend Rocky Road and we are going to have a high old time. I'm pretty sure whipped cream, chocolate sauce and cherries will be involved."
It took a few seconds but recognition dawned and Helena smacked Barbara's arm. "That was not funny." Helena said while trying not to grin.
"Maybe, but the look on your face was very funny." She raised her hand and cupped Helena's cheek. "You need to smile more."
"Surly teen, remember? I have a rep to uphold."
"Ri-ight." Barbara started to say something and then hesitated. She contemplated her options and decided to go for it. "Hey Hel, how about I help you with your Greek boyfriend and then you can double date with me and the boys?" She watched the teen's face. "That is if it won't hurt you rep too much to be in proximity to this old lady on purpose." She smiled hopefully. "We can watch some movies and bemoan the fact that there are two unlucky fools out there missing out on our glorious company."
Helena thought about that. "I dunno; being as old as you are, can you actually stay up that late?" She smirked. "Pizza and beer first?"
"Rootbeer for you, Ms Underage, but sure."
"Rootbeer? You suck."
"Yeah, that's part of my job too." She grabbed her bag and headed for the elevator. "So, it's a date," the redhead said automatically. "Now, let's go."
She never saw the teen's eyes augment for a split second or the huge grin that accompanied the change. "Wait," the brunette called out. Barbara turned and Helena was finally following after grabbing her own backpack. "I want sprinkles, lot and lots of sprinkles for the ice cream. The good kind too. I'm not a cheap date, y'know?" Helena joked as they got in the elevator.
Barbara shook her head. "Could have been worse, you could have asked for chocolate candy and flowers."
"Oooh, yeah," Helena crooned in agreement as the doors closed.
"Here you go," Helena handed the older woman a steaming cup of hot chocolate and then resumed her seat on the couch next to her. She pulled her legs up underneath and turned slightly.
"Thank you, sweetheart." Barbara smiled, blew across the cup and took a small sip.
She placed the cup on the table next to the couch. "Y'know Hel, a Dirty Harry movie marathon is not what you would call typical Valentine's Day fare."
"Well, we aren't typical Valentine's Day women." Helena yawned and hastily covered her mouth. "Sorry. Besides, those movies are way better than those sappy romances."
Barbara shrugged, then nodded in agreement. "Very true." She patted her lap and Helena took the opportunity given. "But I also know, despite your protest against sappy romances," she tapped Helena's chest with one finger, "that you have a great big heart and anyone would be damned lucky to win it."
Helena looked straight up at the redhead and in her best Clint Eastwood voice said, "Do you feel lucky punk? Well, do ya?" She held her breath waiting for a response.
Barbara tried to gauge the seriousness of the query. She ruefully shook her head and lightly chuckled. "Do you?" Barbara wriggled her fingers and raised an eyebrow.
Helena shouted, "Rule five, rule five!" but made no real effort to leave her comfortable position.
Barbara feigned a ticklefest once more and watched Helena flinch. Then just started running her fingers absently through Helena's brunette locks. She stared unseeingly out into space, deep in sudden thought.
Helena relaxed and shut her eyes. A few minutes later, she jumped up, startling the older woman. "I almost forgot." The teen dug through her pockets and pulled out a small cardboard box. She shook it vigorously. "Hold out your hand, please?"
Barbara did and was rewarded with several heart shaped candies falling into her palm. "Helena?"
"Okay, now close your eyes and pick one." Barbara did as instructed. "What does it say?"
Barbara opened her eyes and read the candy. "It says 'smile'."
"Okay, so...." The teen gestured toward Barbara.
Barbara plastered on the biggest cheesiest grin she could manage. "Happy?" Being familiar with these candies and their stamped messages, she tossed the rest in her mouth and chewed them before Helena could ask her to read another one. Barbara Gordon, big chicken.
"My turn then." Helena closed her eyes and shook the candies around in her hand. She then chose one randomly. Looking down at the pink candy, she read aloud, "'Hug me'." She held it up for Barbara to see. "Well?" Helena spread her arms as wide as she could and waited. The redhead rolled her eyes and complied. Helena then ate the rest of her candies too and resumed her position on the couch with her head in Barbara's lap.
After several minutes of silence, Barbara decided to broach the subject that was presently consuming her thoughts. "Hel?"
"Hmmm." Helena replied, her eyes closed.
"Is that something you think you want to do?"
Helena opened her eyes and looked into the questioning, confused green ones above her. She decided a bit of levity was in order. "Well, I'm quite a catch ya know? And if I date both, it increases the chances of me actually having a date on a Saturday night." She closed her eyes again, then one blue eye opened. "Are you applying for the position?"
"Uh... ummm... no?" The slight hitch in Barbara's voice made the statement sound like a question.
"Oh, too bad. Well, I'll keep your résumé on file for say two...." She shook her head slightly. "No, five years, just in case you change your mind." Helena appeared to have closed her eyes again but through her dark lashes she watched for any emotion to flicker across Barbara's face. She inwardly smiled.
Valentine's Day 1999
Helena smoothed her hands down the front of her jacket then nervously pulled on her shirt cuffs. She shook her head incredulously at the idea of herself dressed in a pinstripe business suit. She walked around the back of the makeshift desk she had set up and sat down. She straightened the items on the desk and shuffled the papers until she was satisfied they were precisely where she wanted them. She jiggled the small candy dish and smiled. The brunette pushed the chair back slightly and swiveled from side to side, impatiently fidgeting. A devilish grin overtook her face and she pushed off in one direction, tucking her feet so that she could spin around in the chair. As she grabbed the desktop to relaunch herself in the opposite directions, she knocked a pen off. She heard it hit the floor and bounce under the desk.
Helena sighed and looked under the desk. She quickly realized that she would have to crawl under a bit to retrieve it. The chair was moved out and she maneuvered herself under. Just as she was almost all the way out....
"Dammit," she exclaimed as her head hit the drawer on the desk. She stood back up rubbing the back of her head.
"Hel?" came a voice from the open elevator.
"Oh, it's you."
Barbara turned her chair a bit to look behind, back into the elevator. "Who else would it be?" She said a bit peevishly. "Last time I checked I was the only one who officially lives here."
Helena cocked an eyebrow and put one hand on her hip. "Is that a besmirch? Do you think I am here too much?"
"No, but the fact is you are here at least a couple of times a week and always on grocery day."
"No, that may have been a besmirchment though."
"Po-tay-toe, po-tah-toe. Ooh, by the way, got any chips?" She grinned.
"I don't know. Were you hungry when you first got here?"
"Helena, why are you dressed like that?"
"You don't like?" She twirled around.
"Actually, it's quite nice. Just ummm...." She paused to choose her words. "...very un-Helena like." Barbara raised her hand to ward off the reply. "No, that was not another besmirchment; just stating a fact."
The brunette looked at her attire again. "You do have a point there."
"Why are you dressed that way?"
"Oh," she replied with a bit of surprise. "You are looking for a new job?"
"No, you are."
"Excuse me?" Barbara questioned. "I am?"
The redhead rubbed her hand on the back of her neck. "Helena, need I remind you, I have a job?"
Helena ignored the remark and continued, "And I have to tell you that you really should dress better for interviews." She pointed at the older woman's outfit of slacks, a sweater and a blazer. "That makes you look like a high school teacher."
Barbara looked at her clothing. "I am a high school teacher."
"Oh yeah." Helena glanced down at her watch. "Well, you have about ten minutes to get ready. Go change. Wear something low cut to show off your...."
"Hel!?!" Barbara retorted in outrage.
"Freckles." Helena grinned sweetly.
"Just because I have red hair does not mean I have freckles!" the older woman said through gritted teeth.
Helena walked over and hooked her finger into the neckline of the sweater and pulled it out a bit. She looked down into Barbara's cleavage for a brief moment before her hand got slapped. She stepped back a bit. "Red marking pen explode recently?"
Barbara glared. "I am not changing."
"Fine but I'm telling you, it's gonna cost you points. You better be outstanding on the rest of the interview."
"What exactly am I interviewing for, pray tell?"
Helena moved behind the desk and sat down. She picked up Barbara's spare reading glasses and perched them on the end of her nose. She squinted and grinned when she tried to look through them. Her head dropped down and she took a steadying breath. Her blue eyes came up and locked on the befuddled green pair across from her. Helena smiled and stood back up; she circled the desk and held out her hand as she approached Barbara, who was still a few yards away. "Hi, I'm Helena Kyle." They shook hands. "You must be Barbara Gordon. Won't you follow me, please?"
"Hel?" Barbara's eyes narrowed at being ignored. "Helena?" They narrowed a bit more. With tongue firmly in cheek, she tried, "Miss Kyle?"
"Yes?" Before the other woman could speak, she added, "Would you like something to drink? Water?"
"No." Barbara followed the brunette and wheeled closer to the desk.
"Soda?" Helena seated herself behind the desk and clasped her hands on top.
"No." Barbara looked down to lock the brake on her chair.
"No... what?!?" Barbara's head whipped up.
Helena chuckled. "Just seeing if you were paying attention." She picked up one of the papers on the desk and squinted at it, turning it every which way. Then, chuckling, she took the glasses off and proceeded to peruse it in earnest. "Let's get started then, shall we?" When no reply was made, she continued "I have your résumé and application right here."
"Application?" The redheaded woman's eyes widened. "May I see it?"
Helena handed it over.
She looked at both sides of the paper. "This is not my handwriting. The signature is pretty close...." She glared at Helena and raised one eyebrow. "This explains how you managed to get that tattoo at seventeen without me signing a permission slip."
Helena reached over the desk and grabbed the paper out of the older woman's hands. "Whoops!"
Barbara smirked a bit. "For what position am I applying?"
Helena waved her hand in a dismissive gesture and ignored the query.
"Okay, guess I'll play along," Barbara muttered just loud enough for Hel to hear.
"Ms. Gordon. I prefer Ms."
Helena rolled her eyes but complied. "Ms. Gordon, I'm going to ask you a few questions now. I know what is on your application and résumé, but these questions should give me a better idea of how your qualifications will affect your performance should you be hired. First, how old are you?"
Barbara sat back in her chair and crossed her arms over her chest. "You can't ask that."
"By law, you cannot ask me how old I am."
"Oh." Helena thought for a moment. One eyebrow arched. "Okay, how many years until you collect retirement?"
"Too many," was the sarcastic reply.
"Hrmpt." Helena bit her lip. "Married?"
"Can't ask that either."
"Can't ask... forget it. Yes, but their significance to my life varies from moment to moment."
"About a hundred and fifty every school year."
The brunette smirked. "Orientation?" Helena leaned forward on the desk and smiled evilly at the other woman; she realized the gauntlet had been thrown, the challenge accepted. Let the games begin.
Barbara leaned forward as well. "I'm facing due north."
Helena shook her head and conceded the point with a slight nod of her head.
"Do you live nearby?"
Barbara looked around her living room and then stared back at the brunette. "I try to live other places but my keys only fit the door locks here."
"Do you smoke or drink?"
"No, but I am seriously considering taking them up later today."
"Have you ever been arrested?" Helena smirked.
"What?!?" Hel screeched out.
"But it was sooooooooo noooooooot my faaauuuuuuuult. I honestly thought the sign said Streaker's Park, not Speaker's Park."
Helena swallowed hard at the visual. "You were...." Her voice cracked. "...arrested for public indecency?"
"I know; I actually thought I looked pretty decent naked but...." She shrugged.
"Right." She coughed and cleared her throat. "Moving on. Do you speak any other languages?"
"I'm fluent in three."
"Impresssive," Helena retorted.
"But I can say 'you are a dumbass' in seven others." She grinned. "Want to hear them?"
Helena shuffled the papers on the desk, then looked up at Barbara. As she opened her mouth to speak, Barbara interrupted. "May I ask what precipitated the timing of this job interview?"
"Your application expires today."
"My application? The one I didn't even know I had filled out."
"Yes, we only keep them for a certain time period."
Helena rubbed her chin, using her hand to muffle her answer. "Five years."
Barbara searched her eidetic memory. Five years ago... hmmmm. What's today? February fourteenth. She mentally slapped herself in the forehead. Valentine's Day. Her head dropped to her chest and she pinched the bridge of her nose. She glanced up through her eyelashes and thought she saw a glimmer of what appeared to be hope in Helena's blue eyes.
Her brain finally pulled up the right record of the events. She closed her eyes again and waded through the images. She recalled the numerous moments of outrageous flirting; the Friday movie nights where Helena could have been out on her own date not spending time with her in the Clocktower; all the times they shared commiserating ice cream and celebratory pizzas. The laughter, the tears, the way Helena always seemed to know what she needed and when she needed it, even before she did herself. But she's....
No. She's not your ward anymore. She's twenty-two and a grown woman. Admit it Babs, she's a cuter than hell and twice as sexy grown woman. She's been with you every step of the way through your recovery. She ought to know what she is getting into by now. But do you? What if it doesn't work out? But what if it does? You'll be.... Barbara's eyes popped open and she stared at the brunette. The look of hope in Helena's eyes had faded and Barbara could see the walls rebuilding. Hel was bracing for the hurt she was sure was coming. No doubt due to Barbara's prolonged silence and reaction. Barbara never wanted to hit herself in the head more than right that second. Where's a damned eskrima stick when you want one? "Well then, I guess we need to get on with it." Barbara smiled and winked.
Helena fell back in her chair, her own grin threatening to split her face.
"I'm applying for the position of your girlfriend, correct?" Barbara asked.
"I'd think you were more qualified for the position of love slave but we can give you the entry level position and let you work your way up," was Helena's cocky reply.
"I would have thought that you would have had any number of candidates willing to fill either position in the past five years." Barbara regretted those words the second they left her mouth and even more so when she saw the brunette flinch.
Helena's gaze dropped to the desktop and she ran her fingers nervously back and forth across the top. "Not nearly as many as you obviously think." She looked up. "Barbara, I...."
The redhead reached across the desk and stilled Hel's hand with her own. "No, Hel, I'm sorry. I didn't mean... I was just going to make a joke about whether or not this old lady was up to beating up the competition."
Helena smiled at Barbara. "This old lady has nothing to worry about on either front. I have no doubt she can beat anyone's butt at any time, including mine." She cocked her head and purred, "Oooh, that might be fun." She picked up a pen. "Should I schedule that in for later?"
Barbara shook her head and laughed.
"I know, I know. Business first, then fun." Helena shuffled the papers around again. "We need to finish the interview."
"Yes, we do. I'm learning all kinds of things I didn't know about you, Ms Run-Around-In-The-Park-Nekkid."
The redhead blushed. "Indeed."
"So? Game on?" Helena asked, with a bit of a challenge in her voice.
Helena took a deep breath and let it out slowly. She bit her lip as she contemplated her approach. Barbara eyes widened as Helena suddenly pushed herself up and stalked around the desk. The older woman turned her chair slightly. Helena placed one hand on each arm of the chair and leaned in close.
"Let's find out what other things you like that make you tick, shall we?" Helena purred the last bit in her ear.
"Go for it."
"Let' start with something easy. Favorite food?"
"To eat in public or private?"
"Is there a difference?"
"Sure. I can lick the plate in private."
Helena swallowed hard. "Ri-ight, ummm... favorite drink?"
"Straight up or mixed?"
"Okay, I can see where this is going." Helena stood up and stepped back a bit. She shifted her weight onto one hip and crossed her arms. "Tsk, tsk, you want to play big'n'bad. We can do that." She narrowed her eyes. "Leather or lace?"
Barbara thought for a moment. "Well, lace is easier to tear with your teeth but leather has some wonderful qualities too." She made a growling sound and then smirked. "Is that the best you can do?"
"Speed or finesse?"
"Am I driving?" She made a wave motion with her hand. "Or along for the ride?"
Helena scratched her chin. "Who knew? Who knew you had this... this... devil streak in you?" She grinned but replied deadpan. "I am appalled, appalled I say. And yet, strangely fascinated."
They both laughed.
Helena continued her questions. "You are the new star of Survivor. You are purposely stranded on a deserted island for six months. Your food and shelter will be provided for you. You can take three things along to keep you amused. What do you take?"
"Ooh, toughie." The redhead bit her lip as she concentrated. She looked predatorily up at Helena. "I think the three H's... honey and handcuffs."
"That's only two items."
"You're right, Helena," Barbara said heavily pronouncing the 'H'. "I just thought that you might like to come along. You seem like a handy thing to have around. Yep, Helena, honey and handcuffs. I'm sure we can keep ourselves mutually amused."
Helena mock fanned herself. "Are you sure you studied Library Science at University?"
"Among other things. My academics were... well-rounded."
"I see. Well then - what other skills did your well-rounded academics develop or enhance that might affect your job performance should we hire you for this position?"
"Well, the Chess Club taught me about thinking ahead and strategizing. Did you know that not making certain moves or delaying certain movements can increase anticipation and gratification for an overall positive end result?
"Ummm, yeah, of course." Helena paced a bit. "Is it hot in here?" Then mumbled very softly to herself. "Or is it you?"
Barbara inwardly smirked but continued speaking as if she hadn't heard the brunette. "Now all my martial arts training helped me develop the mental discipline and pinpoint control over the movement of the muscles in my body. I can be as hard or as soft as I need to be." She looked over at Helena who had seated herself on the edge of the desk. "Then there are the oral skills I developed all through college. Those were acquired mostly through trial and error though. Practice, practice, practice."
Barbara wasn't sure but she thought she heard a whimper.
"May I have that application, Helena?" Barbara pointed to the desk and then held out her hand.
Helena reached back on the desk and picked it up. Just as Barbara reached for it, she pulled it back and grinned. Barbara rolled her eyes and waited for the brunette to place the paper in her hands. She then tapped Helena's thigh to get her to move over a bit. When Helena complied, Barbara leaned forward onto the desk and went to work - a few folds here, a few creases there. Barbara leaned back in her chair and gestured for Helena to hold out her hands so she could place the paper creation in them.
Helena looked down to see a perfect origami representation of a bat. She looked back up into sparkling green eyes.
"I can do origami... dexterous fingers." She wiggled those same fingers. "I was also a world class gymnast." She paused a moment, then lowered her voice. "Dexterous everything else."
"Do you-oo," Helena's voice cracked. She nervously coughed once and started again. "Do you have any hobbies that might support your job requirements?"
"I have computer skills. All that typing keeps my fingers strong." She paused a second. "Oh and I love to swim. I can hold my breath for what seems like an eternity." She tried an innocent smile, "Is that what you meant?" Barbara looked up into Helena's eyes and saw them augment. Game, Set, Match - Gordon.
"That'll do. You've got the job."
"Yes. To be perfectly honest, you had the job the second the elevator dinged." Helena grinned.
"Oh." Barbara glanced at the elevator, then back to Helena. "Wait, we haven't discussed compensation and benefits."
"You don't have to pay me. I'm going to really enjoy this."
"Not your compensation - mine." Barbara drummed her fingers on the desk top. "What do I get out of this... arrangement?"
"Well, you get me." Helena smiled widely.
"All the fun and excitement that goes with, ummm... me."
"And all the trouble too, right?"
"But fun and exciting trouble."
"I don't know."
Helena tapped her chin as she thought. "I can also offer you a signing bonus."
Helena reached back on the desk and picked up the tiny bowl of candy. She held it out to the older woman. "Close your eyes and pick one."
Barbara looked at the candy dish and grinned. "Ah, pure sugar in a heart shaped form." She closed her eyes and reached into the bowl. She closed her fingers around one and palmed it.
Helena put the dish back on the desk top. "So, what does it say?"
Barbara opened her hand and flipped the candy heart over to read what was printed on it. She looked down at the candy and up at Helena's smirking face, then down at the candy again. "It, uhhh... says, ummm... 'Kiss Me'." She ducked her head, suddenly shy.
"Really? Gotta love tradition." Helena moved off of the desk and toward Barbara. She knelt down and placed a hand on Barbara's thigh. The brunette waited for the older woman to look up.
Barbara's green eyes widened a bit when she saw the identical shyness she felt herself mirrored in Helena's blue eyes. She took a deep breath and closed her eyes. She continued moving forward until their lips met. The kiss was soft and sweet. She eased her hand into Helena's hair and held her still for a few moments longer.
Helena was the first to break the kiss; she leaned back on her haunches and gave Barbara's thigh a gentle squeeze. When Barbara finally opened her eyes she was met with a huge cocky grin. Helena leaned in again for another kiss and was gently pushed back.
"Uh uh; more of that later," the redhead said, her face flushed. "It's your turn to pick a candy."
Helena huffed dramatically and rose to standing, her eyes never leaving Barbara's. She reached blindly behind and felt around the desktop for the candy dish. She grabbed a candy heart and closed her hand around it, then immediately resumed her position kneeling. The smirking brunette handed the heart to Barbara and leaned in a slight bit, eyes closed and lips exaggeratedly puckered.
Barbara looked at the heart she had been handed and back at the younger woman.
"Waitaminute, CATSanova," Barbara exclaimed and again held her from leaning in further.
"What?" Helena asked, in what she hoped was an innocent voice.
"How did you know? You didn't even look at the candy."
"Ummm... I, uhhh... got lucky and ummm... guessed right?"
Narrow green eyes stared at her. "Try again." Barbara waved her hand to dismiss that request. "On second thought, just let me see the candy dish."
Helena sighed but complied. She stood and stepped back to the desk and retrieved the dish. A fleeting thought of downing the rest of the candies crossed her mind but she shook it off. Better to just face the music. Charming grin, Hel. C'mon you can do it. She handed over the dish and knelt again, she watched as the redhead riffled through the rest of the candy hearts, reading the messages. "Barbara I can...."
"Hel, these all say 'Kiss Me' on them."
"Oh wow, really?" She smiled. "How odd, that." Helena looked away.
"You stacked the deck or in this case... dish, didn't you?"
"Yes." Helena sighed in resignation.
"I figured even if this whole," she waved her hand around, "interview scheme thingie went really wrong, I'd get one kiss out of it."
Barbara bit her bottom lip. "Did you really think that I wouldn't succumb to all that Kyle charm being thrown at me?"
Helena mumbled her reply, "You haven't for the past five years."
"I wasn't ready then but now I'm ready. So, about my first assignment - what will it be?"
Helena's head snapped up. "Really? Still?
"All right." Helena practically beamed. "You are taking me for a ride."
"Excuse me?" Barbara glanced at Helena, toward the bedroom, then back to Helena.
"Tsk, what a dirty mind. " Helena shook her head. "I have scruples, marbles, morals... whatever. Get over yourself, Gordon; not on the first date." She offered up a teasing grin. "You owe me a motorcycle ride. You made me a V-Day promise a long time ago and it's time to pay up."
"You want a ride on my Ducati? Barbara let out a noisy breath in frustration. "Oh Hel, I can't."
"No, not your baby. I would never touch your baby without your knowledge. I thought we would raid Dear Ol' Dad's toy box. The Bat Cycle."
Barbara's eyes brightened for a moment and then dimmed, "I still can't." She ducked her head in disappointment.
Helena knelt down and cupped Barbara's cheek raising her head so they could look eye to eye. "Don't you even think about calling 'sidecar' either. That baby is all mine." She stood up straight and shook her short, shaggy brunette hair and grinned. "The wind makes this 'do' rock."
"Helena...." Barbara said a bit peevishly. "You know I can't. I would if I could but the cycle would have to have several modifications for me to be able to do what you ask."
Helena held up three fingers and smiled.
Barbara gave her a puzzled look but continued talking. "The transmission would have to be changed from manual to automatic." The redhead watched as Helena lowered one finger. The brunette's eyes began to sparkle. "And the saddle would have to be reinforced to give me more back support." Helena lowered another finger and grinned wider. "And, good Lord, the bike would have to be painted and the bat accoutrements removed. It's a bit noticeable otherwise." Helena lowered the last finger.
"So...." Helena leaned over, placing her hands on the arms of Barbara's chair. "About that ride.... Wanna show a girl a good time, Red?" She smiled.
"You really did all that? For me?" She asked with equal parts of delight and surprise. "How?"
"I had some help."
"Big Al has friends in low places - who knew? We got all the necessary modifications and a killer new paint job. Nice blue/green fade. No one will ever know it used to be a Bat toy."
"It's at... you went to the Manor?"
"But you said you'd never step foot in the Manor."
"I was on a mission for you. I went down to the Bat Cave too." She shuddered. "Creepy. And why in the world would they need to label everything? Weird." She shook her head and said seriously. "Don't expect me to go back anytime soon, though. We can keep the bike where it is in the Clocktower garage."
"It's here? Now?" Barbara asked excitedly.
"Unless you parked the Hummer on top of the blue tarp down there, yeah." Helena watched the joy build in Barbara's eyes. "So, whatcha say?"
Barbara grabbed the front of Helena's jacket and pulled her down for a crushing kiss that left them both pretty breathless.
"Vroom, Vroom... KitKat."
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