DISCLAIMER: Birds of Prey, its characters, and anything else
affiliated with anybody else belong to their rightful owners and are
just being borrowed. No copyright infringement intended, no profit
is being made, etc. People uncomfortable with same sex relationships
should probably turn away.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: This was written while my brain was a pile of mush, as I was studying/cramming for a final. In German philosophy at that. Therefore, it is a bit... off. Sorry (or, rather, Es tut mir Leid).
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
DEDICATED: To April. You'll know why ;)
Barbara blinked and shook her head a little as the numbers on the clock she was staring at were starting to give her a headache, sighing as she realized she only had fourteen more minutes to mentally prepare for Helena's arrival. Fourteen more minutes to figure out how she was going to broach the subject. Fourteen more minutes of suffering through a slight case anxiety.
Helena, Barbara thought as she wheeled over to her computer in an attempt to distract herself by catching up on her email. The brunette had promised to meet her for dinner tonight, and she was supposed to come over at 6:45. Of course, Helena being Helena, it meant she'd stroll in at 6:47. On the dot.
It didn't take a long time for Barbara to figure out that Helena's chronic tardiness wasn't actually because she always was running late. No, it seemed Helena just had a strange fascination with showing up exactly two minutes after the scheduled meeting time. If you need the brunette somewhere at exactly 11:23:55, you just need to demand that she be there at 11:21:55. Some people would probably find the habit annoying, but Barbara just thought the quirk was cute.
The redhead sighed again as she closed her email program. One, the last thing she needed to think about now was how 'cute' she found Helena, and two, she didn't have any new messages since the last time she checked her mail about 3 minutes ago. No new messages meant no distractions. Not that distraction was what she needed. No, she actually should be planning out how to break the news to Helena. But avoidance was so much more fun.
Pacing. That's what she really missed being able to do, thought Barbara as she rolled around the Clocktower aimlessly. Walking around in circles venting out frustrations and nervousness had a better effect. Barbara shook her head to clear her mind realizing she was even thinking out of character tonight... which meant it would be even more obvious in her actions... which would in turn mean Helena being able to tell something was up... which would mean said brunette asking her what was wrong... which meant the arrival of confession time. Times like these Barbara regretted the astuteness of her former pupil. It made trying to keep a secret more than a little difficult.
But that was what she loved about Helena. Yup, she could admit it. She loved her. Barbara Gordon was head over wheels in love with Helena Kyle. It may have taken a few months for her to get her mind around the concept, but she was through denying it. It didn't take a genius to realize her reluctance to admit it stemmed from a simple case of cowardice. And as fun as denial was, this newfound acceptance was a lot more pleasant.
Barbara couldn't help but smile at the thought that thinking about Helena could bring a smile to her face. Yup. She was far gone. The redhead glanced back at the clock and her face fell. 6:43. Four minutes. Breathe. Four minutes is enough time to figure out how she's going to do this. She worked better under pressure anyways. Comes with the territory.
If asked, Barbara knew she wouldn't have an answer to exactly why she was nervous about telling Helena. It was more than irrational, but she figured that was the whole point about love. It made you worried and nervous about even the most insignificant things. It's not like Helena would be fazed by it. Barbara had gone through countless ways the scene could play out, and none of them were even close to bad. That was just the way Helena was. The brunette would point that cute little grin at her and tell her it was alright, that there was nothing to be worried about.
"Lu-cy! I'm ho-ome!!" yelled a familiar voice from the entrance, which jerked Barbara out of her reverie.
"Helena," Barbara greeted as she attempted to calm herself. She then furrowed her eyebrows as she looked back towards the clock. "You're early," added the redhead as she turned back towards Helena.
"Early?" asked a confused Helena as she made her way towards Barbara.
"Yeah," Barbara smiled up at the brunette as she came and stood near her chair. "It's 6:45," she explained.
"Yeah," Helena said slowly as she continued to look confusedly at the redhead. "I thought you said that was when I should get here."
"It was," assured Barbara. "It's just that you never get anywhere at the agreed time. I wasn't expecting you until 6:47."
"Oh," replied Helena before smirking. "You know, I could leave if you want. And come back again in..." Helena paused as she looked towards the clock "one and a half minutes."
Barbara rolled her eyes as she moved to swat Helena's arm. Helena swiftly moved out of the way and continued to smirk at the redhead.
"You know," Helena drawled as she dodged another swat. "I don't have to take this. Most women would be happy that I arrived on time. Or at all. You should be trying to hug me or something, not trying to hit me."
"If you insist," Barbara answered with a mock sigh. "We should start over then. You come in through the door and I'll run excitedly towards you and leap into your arms. Oh wait. Silly me," Barbara paused and slapped her forehead before continuing, "I can't. Guess you're going to have to settle for this."
Helena couldn't hold in her laughter hearing this, which allowed Barbara to catch the brunette off guard and effectively land a swat on her arm. Helena ignored this and kept laughing.
"You're a riot, you know that?" asked Helena as she calmed down from her laughing fit. "And of course I didn't expect that from you. If anything, the fact that I was on time should tell you that *I* was the one who was looking forward to seeing you. I could go back to the door, rush in, and leap into your arms if you want."
"And what, let you crush me in my chair? I don't think so," Barbara replied trying to hide her grin. "And besides, no do-overs. This way I can criticize you for your horrible entrance. I mean, how clichéd can you get Helena?"
"Hey," answered Helena. "I thought it was appropriate. What with you being a redhead and all."
"Right," Barbara said, clearly unimpressed. She shook her head as she wheeled away, putting distance between herself and the brunette.
"Hey," Helena said softly and waited for the redhead to turn around. "What's wrong?"
"Huh?" was Barbara's eloquent reply.
"Don't think I didn't notice," continued Helena. "You only make self deprecating wheel chair jokes when you're nervous about something. And I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that since I'm the only one here to act weird around and got a special dinner invite for tonight, it has something to do with me. Do you have something you want to tell me?"
Barbara opened her mouth to reply but Helena cut her off.
"Wait, let me rephrase that. Do you have something to tell me that you're not sure you want to but know that you need to and are trying to avoid talking about at all costs?"
"I don't know Helena, you tell me," answered Barbara as she watched Helena move back closer to her.
"Ah, so that's a yes, then?" asked Helena when she reached the redhead's side. "Come on Barbara, stop and think about who you're talking to, how bad could it possibly be?"
"You know, I don't even know why I'm surprised that you can read me this well," Barbara said as she glanced away from thoughtful blue eyes.
"Ah, another avoidance tactic," said Helena. "You should know by now that I not only read the book, but revised and published an updated edition on these tricks."
"Fine," sighed Barbara as she looked back at the brunette that was crouched in front of her. "I do have something to tell you."
Helena didn't respond but just continued to steadily look at Barbara. When the younger woman smiled softly, Barbara knew it was time to fess up.
"Helena," Barbara started in a grim voice. "I burnt dinner."
Silence permeated the room as Helena just stared at Barbara. The only thing Barbara was hearing now was her heart beating in her ears, and she continued to watch the brunette for her reaction.
"That's it?" Helena slowly asked, her face a neutral mask.
"Well, no," answered Barbara before looking away and adding, "I, uh... there wasn't just burning. Other parts were equally destroyed even without the added assistance from an open flame."
Helena continued to stare at the redhead before she leaned forward and buried her face in Barbara's knees and started trembling. Barbara opened her eyes wider in panic, but before she could react Helena fell back and started to laugh, unable to hold in her laughter any longer.
"It's not funny Helena," Barbara said, frowning at the laughing brunette.
"It... it is," Helena manages to say between laughs. "Oh god, it is. You should've seen your face Barbara. I thought you were going to tell me I only had 3 days to live, or something equally ominous," she continued as she calmed down. She reached out to touch Barbara's knee to catch the redhead's gaze before adding, "Seriously, Barbara. I don't even know why you were worried about telling me this. I didn't even know you were cooking."
"Liar," Barbara said, but smiling at the brunette's attempts to cheer her up. "You know I know you better than that. There is no way you would've missed the burnt smell, no matter how faint. You'd think you had some canine in you or something."
"True," Helena said, before countering, "but I could've just thought it was residual from an earlier failed cooking attempt made by Dinah or something. I mean, why were you even cooking? You don't cook. That's why we have Alfred."
Barbara blushed at this question as she looked away. Helena patiently waited for an explanation that she knew would eventually come. Barbara inhaled deeply before looking back at Helena.
"I, uh," the redhead started nervously as she fidgeted. "I wanted to make you dinner. I wanted tonight to be special. I know you don't even remember this but--"
"But," Helena interrupted and reached out for Barbara's hand. "Three months ago tonight, I told you I loved you. You'd found me sulking, drunk and depressed staring out into the skyline. I passed out right afterwards."
"Helena?" Barbara asked quietly, trying to catch Helena's gaze. The brunette was the one avoiding eye contact now.
"I woke up next to you in your bed the next morning," Helena continued as she looked back up at Barbara. "I lied and told you I didn't remember a thing, even though the only part I didn't even have a clue about was how I ended up in your bed. You smiled at me, pecked me on the cheek, and got me some aspirin and water."
"You remembered?" Barbara asked quietly.
"Yeah," Helena replied as she stood up, still not letting go of Barbara's hand. "I did, but I wasn't ready for the ramifications of what I said. I couldn't have taken it if you'd rejected me then, Barbara. I'd never planned on telling you, but seeing you that night, in the state I was in, I just couldn't hold it in. I figured things would be easier if I played stupid. But they weren't. I know you've been acting a bit off since that night. And I could keep my mind off of the fact that I told you at all. I figured we couldn't keep going like this forever, so here I am, ready to take that rejection."
Helena smiled sadly as she looked at Barbara. The brunette let go of the older woman's hand and took a deep breath as she stepped a little away.
"Alright," said Helena, releasing the air she inhaled. "Let's get it over with. I'm ready." Helena paused before adding with a shrug, "Well, as ready as I'll ever be."
Barbara stared at Helena with an unwavering gaze. When she let her eyes wander she noticed the brunette had her hands clenched shut, muscles tense. The redhead closed the distance between the two again and reached out to hold them into her own.
"Helena," Barbara started as she held the brunette's hands. "Do you really think I would've gone through the trouble of even *attempting* to cook if I was going to reject you?"
Helena had been looking down, still avoiding eye contact when Barbara started, but hearing this, she had to look up at the redhead. The brunette was looking at Barbara with a blank look, obviously not quite understanding what she was trying to say.
"Hel," Barbara continued. "After what I did in there, Alfred is going to lock up the kitchen so securely that not even I am going to be able to crack it."
"I... uh... huh?" supplied the ever eloquent Helena.
"I admit that a drunken confession wasn't the most romantic thing done," Barbara said offering Helena a soft smile. "And it was a bit clichéd. Especially with the whole passing out bit. But it got me thinking Helena. I'm sorry if I was acting strange, but you did catch me off guard."
"Thinking?" asked Helena, starting to get a gleam of comprehension in her eyes.
"Yes," Barbara smiled. "Thinking."
"And this thinking," Helena started with a smirk. "Did it lead to any conclusions?"
"It may have," Barbara supplied. "But I'm now contemplating rethinking the whole thing. What, with you being this dense and all."
"Dense?" Helena frowned, slightly offended.
"Helena," Barbara started, deciding it was her turn to use the clichés. "Just, shut up and kiss me."
And Helena smiled as she did just that.
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