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: Suffering from writer's block, I thought I'd write something short and fluffy in an attempt to break free of its hold. Numerous efforts were made, but all ended in failure. This is actually what resulted. I apologize if it seems choppy and out of character... I blame it on the writer's block. And it's not beta'd.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
I Dare You
It all started with a dare.
A stupid dare at that.
Helena groaned as she buried her face into her hands. She didn't know why she let Dinah talk her into this. Okay, maybe she did. And maybe she couldn't quite say Dinah talked her into it. No, it was more like Dinah had teased and taunted her. Helena didn't like it. Dinah had thought that was funny. Again, Helena didn't. One thing led to another, and now Helena was stuck with this dare. Damn her pride. She didn't even know which parent she should blame for this charming trait she'd inherited.
Parental cursings aside, Helena was still stuck with this dare. Well, more like a challenge. But she *never* backed down from a challenge. *Ever.*
Dinah had figured out Helena's secret. One that Helena thought she was doing better with than her whole secret identity thing. But apparently, she wasn't. Helena thought back to the conversation that happened not even an hour ago.
"Chicken," Dinah had suddenly said as she walked into the room and saw Helena sitting alone and watching TV.
"Uh, was that a dinner request?" Helena had asked more that slightly confused. "Because I think Alfred actually made some meatloaf for tonight."
"No, it was more like a description."
"Okay," Helena had said, still confused. "I give. A description of what?"
"You," Dinah had answered as she sat down next to the brunette. "You're a chicken."
"You know, name calling isn't really nice, especially when I don't recall doing anything to merit it. Well, recently at least," Helena had said as she turned to look at Dinah. "Do I at least get some kind of explanation? I mean, I'd usually just beat up the person who said it, but I'm feeling a little generous."
"Fine. You're in love with Barbara."
Of course, Helena wasn't expecting this comment from Dinah. The brunette had been sent into a coughing fit before she could croak out any response.
"Wh-what?" she had said as she tried to steady her breathing.
"Helena, you just choked on air. I think you heard me," Dinah had deadpanned.
"I didn't choke on air."
"Air, spit, whatever. My point is, you heard me. And you just gave away that it's the truth by pretending you didn't hear me. The fact that you're about to deny it proves my original point. You're a chicken," Dinah had said, stating her argument surprisingly concisely. She continued to look at Helena who was at a loss on how to continue.
And that was how it all started. As Helena thought back on it, she realized she was screwed no matter how she'd continued. Dinah must have had it planned, because all paths would have led to the same result. Dinah telling Helena that she didn't have the guts to fess up to Barbara, Helena taking it as a challenge and swearing she would prove Dinah wrong. The girl was good.
But this still didn't help her current predicament. No. Because it didn't end with just telling Dinah that she'd prove her wrong and tell Barbara. Oh no, it had to go a little further.
"So what are you gonna do Helena?" Dinah had started after Helena had blurted out that she'd prove she wasn't a chicken. "Walk up to Barbara one night after patrol and just tell her before jumping back out the window? Or e-mail her so you're not even actually there? Maybe get her drunk one night so her memory'd be foggy and get it over with then? Huh?"
"No," Helena had answered immediately. "I wouldn't do that," she insisted. "I don't know what I *would* do, but not that. Barbara deserves better."
"Really," Dinah had smiled and paused a little before continuing. "So you're saying you could do better?"
"Not that I can, but that I'd have to do better," Helena had replied quietly. "I have to do better," she had slowly repeated before everything clicked. She then finished with confidence, "So yeah. You know what. I can do better. I will."
And those were the words that were haunting her now.
Helena let out a frustrated growl before swinging at the punching bag. She had walked into the training room while she was thinking, and she was glad she did. She had some frustration to work off. She caught the swinging bag to steady it before she started some quick rounds. She needed to think.
Fuck, she thought between jabs. She totally fell for Dinah's plan. She didn't think the teen had it in her. Damn, was she wrong. She'd normally feel a hint of pride at seeing Dinah able to hold her own, but not now. Not at her own expense. And what frustrated her the most was that she had nobody else to blame but herself for this. She should have caught onto Dinah's plot. So yeah, fuck summed it up well. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.
Not that this mental burst of profanity was helping her any, Helena thought to herself as she dodged out of the way of the heavy punching bag she'd just hit fairly hard. She turned and caught it with another punch as it swung back, and resumed to some lighter punches to regain her rhythm.
What she was upset at the most was that she now *had* to tell Barbara. Helena didn't really have a problem with the prospect of telling Barbara. It was something that had been on her mind on and off for as long as she could remember. But the fact that she *had* to do it was what had her frustrated. She *had* to tell Barbara. She didn't have a choice in this. She wasn't telling Barbara because she *wanted* to. No. Well, wait. That came out wrong. She did *want* to, just not like this. That was where the problem was.
Helena had always figured there would come a time when she could just tell Barbara. A perfect scenario where she'd just tell the redhead one day, and no matter what Barbara's response would be, it would all turn out okay. A time when something would just hit her inside and scream that *that* was *the* moment. And Helena was waiting for that moment. She'd been waiting for a couple of years actually. But she knew it had to come sometime.
And now she was stuck with this dare from Dinah. She wasn't going to get her special moment. The confession wasn't just going to happen. No. She had to make it happen. Because the blonde bet that she couldn't. And now that Helena thought about it, she wasn't sure a confession forced to happen by a dare was any better than all the ways Helena had insisted she could do better than. At least blurting it out one night after a patrol would be spontaneous. From the heart. Not that this confession wouldn't be from the heart, because it would be. Damn, Helena cursed again as she took another hard swing at the punching bag. She couldn't even articulate what she meant in her mind. Great.
It was just that... forcing it to come out? It meant that now Helena wasn't sure who she was doing it for. For Dinah? Herself? Barbara? This uncertainty was what had the brunette upset.
When she told Barbara, Helena would want there to be no doubt that telling Barbara was something she wanted to do. Something she decided on her own. Not because she needed to prove herself to Dinah. Or even to herself. But then all of this thinking she was doing to try to back out of said confession would just go to prove Dinah's point. Maybe all her reasons to justify why it would be bad to tell Barbara this way was a thinly veiled attempt to hide her chicken-ness behind reason. Maybe she should take this chance and run with it.
Helena flopped onto the floor before lying back and crossing her arms over her eyes. Thinking about it wasn't getting her anywhere. It actually was making her a bit more frustrated. She let out a groan and was about to start on some crunches when she heard the familiar squeak of wheels on the floor and looked towards the doorway.
"Hey," said Barbara as she wheeled over to where Helena was sprawled out on the ground.
"Hey," repeated Helena as she sat up. "What's up?"
"Nothing much," Barbara replied. "Training?"
"Sorta," Helena answered. "Well, thinking really."
"Oh," Barbara said with a grin. "Thinking? Should I be worried?" Barbara paused as she was struck with a thought and looked at the brunette in mock horror before asking, "Are you a pod-Helena?"
"Ha, ha" Helena replied as she rolled her eyes. "Yeah, thinking. You know, what *you* usually spend 99% of the time you're awake doing, Miss Human Computer?" She smirked before adding, "Sorry, wait, I forgot who I was talking to for a second. You can think in your sleep, which would make you more advanced than a lowly human computer."
"Ouch, now who's taking the cheap shots?" Barbara smiled back. "That said," the redhead started, turning serious. "Helena, I know training session thinking means it's pretty serious. Anything else would be sitting on the balcony thinking. Do you want to talk about it?"
"No," Helena answered instinctually. "Yes," she said and furrowed her brow. "I don't know," she finished with a sigh as she flopped back down onto the floor.
Barbara didn't say anything as she watched Helena, and the brunette internally sighed in relief. She waited a few moments and really sighed before she decided that she would indeed seek the redhead's advice. It couldn't hurt, and maybe she could clear up the mess inside of her head.
"Have you ever wanted something so much that you didn't know how to get it?" Helena asked quietly as she stared at the ceiling.
"What?" Barbara replied confused as to where this question would lead to.
"Has there ever been something that you know you want. Something you know is the *one* thing you can't live without, but you don't even know how to ask for it? Like, you're scared of even trying to get it because it means that much to you?" Helena elaborated as she turned her head to look at Barbara.
"I... I don't know," Barbara answered softly. "Maybe," she said after a moment, her expression giving away that her answer was actually more than just a maybe. "But what brought this on?"
"Dinah," the brunette replied with a sigh. "She sorta made me realize that I've kind of been avoiding what I want and sorta gave me a kick in the ass to get my act together and go after it," Helena said before quickly adding, "Figuratively of course."
"Of course," Barbara smiled. "But what's bothering you if you know you want it?"
"What if I'm going for it now only because Dinah egged me on?" asked Helena. "I mean, if it means that much to me, which it does, I don't want it to have this uncertainty attached to it. I want to know I went for it because I wanted to, not because Dinah dared me to."
"Didn't you say you knew you wanted this before Dinah brought it up?"
"And did what Dinah said affect your... feelings... towards this at all? Do *you* doubt the sincerity of your feelings?" Barbara asked.
"No. I know I want it," Helena replied. "I just, I don't know if I ever would have really gone for it without Dinah's intervention. I might have just waited forever and missed my chance."
"So maybe this is your chance?" Barbara pointed out. "*You're* the one who wants it, not Dinah. You're doing it for you, not Dinah. Dinah just gave you the little push you needed to go for it. At least, that's how I see it."
"Helena, Dinah didn't make you want this right? You already wanted it. You were waiting for a chance," Barbara said seriously, before adding on playfully, "Or maybe you were avoiding the chance. But now you have one you can't back out of. Unless you're not going to take on the dare?"
"Me, not go for a dare?" Helena asked incredulously. "Yeah, right. And Queen Victoria was a dime-a-dozen whore." She grinned at Barbara before she continued. "But I want you to know that I'm not doing this because of the dare. I'm doing this for me, and it happens to be a dare," Helena finished seriously.
"Of course. But why are you telling me?" Barbara asked.
"I just wanted you to know," Helena said softly with a smile. "Anyways. You know what? We never hang out anymore. The two of us. We should go do something."
"Something?" Barbara asked, not mentioning anything about the abrupt change of topic.
"Yeah. Something. Dinner. Movie. Hell, the opera. Something," Helena insisted.
"Which one, because I don't think I could sit through an entire opera with your added commentary, as amusing as they are," Barbara replied with a grin.
"How 'bout just a nice dinner then?"
"Sure," Barbara answered. "When?"
"Tomorrow night?" suggested Helena.
"Can't. Parent teacher conference."
"Oh yeah, I actually think I remember you saying something about it," Helena said. "How about the night after?"
"Okay then, uh, about 7-ish?"
"Perfect," Barbara replied. "It's a date."
"Uh... yeah... a date."
Helena awkwardly smiled at Barbara as she got up off of the floor and walked out of the training room with her. She was excited and nervous. A date. That was good. Already better than any drunken confession. See, she could take initiative. Now all she needed to do was come up with a plan to make the night perfect. She was lost in her own thoughts and only caught the tail end of what Barbara was asking her.
"What?" Helena asked.
"I asked if you were going to take a shower before dinner," Barbara replied with a smirk.
"Oh, um, yeah," Helena answered. "That time already?"
"You do realize you were in the training room beating up the punching bag for over an hour?" asked Barbara with a raised brow.
"Oh. I guess I didn't." answered Helena sheepishly.
"Go shower," Barbara said as she laughed. "We'll set the table."
"No problem," Barbara replied with a gleam in her eye. "You get to do the dishes."
"Damn, I knew it was too good to be true," laughed Helena. "No problem. I'm not that incompetent. I can load and start the dish washer."
"Not if the dishwasher isn't working."
"Again?" Helena asked and saw Barbara nod an affirmation. "I don't understand how we can have all this hi-tech computer stuff that normal people can't even begin to comprehend be fully functional at all times, but not figure out how to keep a plain ol' dishwasher in good working order."
"Well, I don't know about you," Barbara drawled. "But I'd rather the dishwasher be broken than the Delphi any day. Now. Go shower you," she finished with a smile.
"Yes ma'am," Helena saluted as she walked off towards the bathroom.
Helena hopped in the shower and sighed. Her thoughts were back on what the hell she was going to do for their 'date.' Planning wasn't her forte. Barbara planned. She was more of a play it by ear kind of a girl, and she was worried that anything she came up with wasn't going to cut it. She shook her head as she realized she had more thoughts to sort through now that she took the first step. Not that this was really a first step because Barbara didn't know yet that this was going to be a 'date' date.
All of this thinking was starting to annoy Helena as she approached the table to eat dinner. Dinah shot her a knowing look and smirked at the brunette as she took her seat.
"What?" asked Helena, shooting the blonde a look of her own.
"Nothing," replied Dinah as she continued to smile knowingly at Helena. "Just thinking about our conversation about chicken earlier."
"What conversation about chicken?" Barbara asked.
"Nothing," Helena answered before Dinah could say anything. "Dinah, uh, just had a craving for chicken. I told her to ask Alfred. Or um, find a KFC," she finished with a nervous laugh.
Barbara shot Helena a confused look as Dinah tried to hold in a laugh of her own. Dinner conversation that followed this mostly consisted from mumbled replies from Helena as she often shot Dinah her death glare. Helena was just glad that Dinah kept it to just giving Helena a knowing look and didn't say anything. She figured the blonde had heard about the dinner plans. Great. At least it looked like Dinah was going to let her do things at her pace with minimal ribbing. Which was good because she didn't know how long she could take it before she strangled Dinah. Which was probably not the best way to go about winning Barbara's heart.
Helena was doing the dishes when Dinah came up to her from behind.
"So I hear you're going out to dinner Thursday night."
"Yup," Helena answered as she continued to wash some cups.
"Need a couple days to screw up the courage?" Dinah asked.
"No," Helena answered not rising to the bait. "It was the first night Barbara was free."
"Really?" Dinah asked.
"Yup," Helena said, maintaining her cool. Like she was dumb enough to fall for this again.
"Fine," Dinah sighed after a few seconds. "Well, I'm going on a sweep. Have fun finishing the dishes," she said as she walked away.
"What?" Helena asked as she turned and saw Dinah was already out the door. She grabbed a towel to dry her hands as she followed her. "You're going on a sweep?"
"She is," Barbara answered looking up at Helena. "For a couple of hours. We'll see how the night goes. If something comes up, you're going to go out for back up. If it seems like a slow night, then, you get the night off." The redhead then turned back to Dinah. "And you be careful."
"I will," Dinah grinned. "See ya later," she called out as she rushed out of the clocktower.
The two remaining women didn't have time to reply as the elevator doors closed.
"You really think that was a good idea?" Helena asked.
"As much as I did the first time I let you out," answered Barbara.
"So you're regretting it then?" Helena smirked.
"Just... go finish the dishes," said Barbara, not answering Helena's question.
Helena laughed and went back in the kitchen. She finished about fifteen minutes later and came out to join Barbara who was typing away at the Delphi.
"So how are things going?" Helena asked.
"Good," Barbara answered without taking her eyes of the screen. "She hasn't gotten into any trouble yet, so she's already doing better than you."
Helena rolled her eyes, an action that she realized the redhead couldn't see.
"So," Helena started. "What are you doing?" she asked as she leaned over Barbara's shoulder.
"Nothing really," Barbara answered. "Just checking up on the database to make sure there isn't a high probability anything high profile happening. You know, checking on shipments, cross referencing tonight's date to any past crimes, and other things like that."
"Oh, is this what you always do when I'm out patrolling?"
"Sometimes," Barbara answered. "There isn't a whole lot I can do on slow nights. Just keep tabs on the Police communications, check up on you, and then I check up on other heroes in other cities. All routine Oracle business that you've never really had an interest in before."
"Well, most of the time I'm not here to witness Oracle in action," Helena countered.
"True," Barbara replied.
"Right. So, what am I supposed to do?" the brunette asked.
"Anything you want really," Barbara said. "As long as you stay here. I mean, you can bake a cake or something if you really want. Alfred just stocked up."
"Bake?" Helena said before she started to laugh. "Me?"
"Or, you could tell me about that one thing you really wanted."
"Which is what you'd prefer I do," Helena replied calmly, although inside she was panicking. How was she going to get out of this?
"Yeah. Now talk," Barbara said as she turned to look at Helena.
"Uh, don't you have to monitor the, um, monitors or something?" Helena asked.
"Not right now. Everything's running on auto, and all the alarms are set to go off if anything happens," Barbara answered. "Everything's covered. You're not getting out of this Helena."
"Um..." Helena started. "Maybe I will take you up on the whole baking thing then..."
"You could do that," Barbara said with a smile. "But you can talk to me while you bake. And if you are baking, I'd like to request a lemon meringue pie. And some brownies."
"But we can't talk. The kitchen's over there, and... uh, the Delphi's over here," Helena answered completely aware that her reply was pretty lame.
"Right, but you are aware of the purpose of the jewelry you're wearing," Barbara said as she pointed to her own ears.
"I'm not getting out of this am I?" Helena finally asked, defeated.
"Nope," Barbara grinned.
"You do realize this isn't the nicest thing you've ever done to me?" Helena asked, still stalling.
"No, but it isn't the meanest either," Barbara answered. "Come on, you've already told me a little about it. Talk to me. Maybe it'll help."
"I was going to talk to you about it," Helena said after a while. "Just... not so soon."
"Well, here's your chance," Barbara countered. "Take it."
Her chance, Helena repeated in her mind. Maybe this was the moment she was waiting for. The chance that she knew had to come some time. Or, maybe it wasn't. But she realized that it didn't matter. She could make it her chance. And hell, it would at least save her from all the mental turmoil she would put herself through these next two days trying to figure out how to set up the perfect moment.
"Fine," Helena finally said as she steadied her gaze on Barbara. "You're sure you want to know?"
"Of course," Barbara replied seriously, noticing Helena's change in demeanor.
"You," Helena said.
"Me what?" Barbara asked, slightly confused.
"The one thing in the entire world that I know I can't live without," Helena answered.
"Me?" Barbara asked again after a few moments.
"You," Helena repeated.
Helena watched as Barbara opened her mouth to say something, closed it, and opened it again. She smiled to herself as she watched Barbara furrow her brow and again snap her mouth shut. It wasn't everyday she got to see a speechless Barbara Gordon. This wasn't exactly the ideal response, but it didn't look like Barbara was going to completely flip out or anything. Which was good. It meant everything would be okay, kinda like she envisioned it. Too bad it wasn't better though, Helena thought to herself wryly. Because this just seemed anti-climactic.
"Me?" Barbara repeated again, apparently finished with her jaw exercises.
"You said that already," Helena said. "Yes. It may come as a surprise, which I don't know why because I'm apparently so transparent that even Dinah can see through me, but yes. It's you. I love you Barbara Gordon," she finished with a soft smile. Helena was just happy she got to say it.
"You love me?" Barbara asked.
"Yes, I love you," Helena said, slightly amused that this concept seemed foreign to Barbara. Well, amused in a slightly sad way. But she had to find the humour in it somewhere.
"Oh," Barbara said Helena's words finally seeming to sink in. "Are you sure?"
Helena scrunched her eyebrows at this. None of the scenarios she came up with in her head followed this route. They usually included Barbara smiling understandingly and letting her down softly, their friendship unaffected. That, or the ones where Barbara said she felt the same and they went on with more pleasant activities. Those were usually just in her dreams though. She even had a nightmare once where Barbara was disgusted with her, but she figured that was unlikely to actually happen because of everything they've been through. That and she knew Barbara wasn't some sort of bigot.
"Of course I'm sure," Helena finally said. "I've been sure for years. I've just never had the guts to bring it up."
"Oh," Barbara said, digesting this information. "Why now?"
"You asked," Helena answered truthfully.
"Oh," said Barbara, again repeating her apparent favorite word of the moment.
"I've been waiting for forever to say it," Helena added. "You know from our conversation earlier. This isn't something new. I've thought about this. Tried to deny it. Tried to accept it as something I'd get over, then as something I'd keep with me to my grave. All those things people generally go through. But like I said, Dinah pointed out I was being an idiot. I've never kept anything from you before. Well, anything important at least. Why should this be any different? You have a right to know."
Helena let the words sink in. For a second she was glad that she hadn't spent days being nervous and planning this out. She never would have been prepared for it. And because she just sort of went for it, she wasn't hindered by trying to remember the perfect words she scripted or anything. This was her. And this was how she wanted it to be.
"Do you have anything else to say besides 'oh'?" Helena finally asked, unable to take the silence and letting some of her insecurity seep through.
Barbara blinking was the only sign Helena had that she was still alive and well. Well, maybe not well. But shock wasn't life threatening. She hoped.
"Not... really," Barbara finally said.
"Oh," Helena said, borrowing Barbara's word.
Helena had looked away from Barbara after she heard her response. During this time Barbara must have wheeled herself close because Helena soon felt a hand at her cheek gently guiding her to look at the redhead. Helena closed her eyes instead of meeting Barbara's however, not quite ready to take the rejection or any other emotions she might see in the redhead's eyes.
"I don't have anything to say," Barbara said, as Helena opened her eyes finally. "But..." she trailed off, as she slowly tugged the brunette close to her.
And before she knew it, Helena was being kissed by Barbara. Slightly shocked, it took her a second before she could respond, but she leaned in and kissed her back.
"But," Barbara again said as she slowly pulled away from Helena, who immediately missed the feeling of the redhead's lips on hers. "I did want to do that."
This time it was Helena's turn to be speechless. She really didn't know what she was expecting, but *this* wasn't it. Not by a long shot. At least when she was thinking realistically. Dreams were another story. She reached up to brush her fingers on her lips; still not able to believe it actually happened. But it did.
"What," Helena started, and cleared her throat, surprised at how her voice had turned hoarse. "What was that for?"
Barbara smiled at the confused Helena.
"Should I spell it out for you?" Barbara asked back. "Because I thought that was an explanation of its own."
"You can't... you can't mean what I think you mean," Helena replied.
"I can't?" Barbara teased before turning serious. "I do though. I love you back. I can't help it," she finished before resuming her teasing tone. "You're too damn cute and irresistible Helena Kyle."
Helena watched Barbara smile as she said this. It was playful. But it was real. Barbara meant it. And Helena could only smile back as it finally hit her.
"Irresistible, huh?" Helena asked, catching on to the general happy mood. "Then we should probably go do something about that."
"Now what kind of girl do you think I am?" Barbara asked back. "We haven't even gone on an official first date."
"So you're saying I have to wait 2 whole days?" Helena whined. "What if I get hit by a bus tomorrow?" she then mock pouted.
"Well, since you put it that way," Barbara said as she pulled Helena towards her and grinned.
Lips were just about to reunite before Helena saw Barbara's eyes get wide and she was pushed away. Helena watched as Barbara took off her glasses and buried her face in her hands, much like she herself did earlier that night.
"What?" Helena finally asked when Barbara didn't say anything.
"I forgot to turn off the mic of the communicator," the redhead mumbled through her hands.
"What?" Helena repeated, in a considerable different tone. That could only mean...
"Dinah says hi," Barbara said as she raised her head. "And she just dared you to keep your hands to yourself until after the date. She's betting that you can't."
There was a moment of silence as the reality of everything sunk in.
"I think," Helena said after some thought, "that it's about time I get over this complex I have about dares." She leaned back towards the redhead and added, "So I'm gonna let Dinah win this one."
And she did. Helena closed the gap and brushed her lips against Barbara's.
So she lost the bet. Whatever.
Because as the kiss deepened, Helena realized something.
This was *way* better.
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