DISCLAIMER: This is an alt fanfic based on the television show/and comic characters in Birds of Prey. It's rated R for sex, violence and language; including a strange but not particularly violent occasion of non-consensual sex, as well as heterosexual sex.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

By ficmail2004


Part Two:

Wade, stalwart man that he was, hadn't given up the ghost immediately.

Sure, all right, okay, Dick was still ensconced in a guest room of the Clocktower.

And Helena, 'Baby Jesus' as he'd heard Dick growlingly call her one evening, was still omnipresent. He'd hoped against hope, idiot that he knew he was, that he was wrong. It had taken only one evening, though, to find out.

Helena had suggested movies and Thai at the Clocktower on the next Friday afternoon.


So they'd all—Barbara, Helena, Dinah, Dick and Wade—enjoyed a tremendous helping of Thai food before they'd popped in the first DVD.

Action. Of course. Because Helena had picked the movies. As soon as the first movie had come to an end, though, Helena had said. "Don't know about you guys, but I want more popcorn."

Barbara countered with a "Don't know about you guys, but I'm taking a bathroom break."

Helena had jumped up and had very casually asked Barbara, "Need a lift?" And Barbara had said, "Sure, thanks." Which was world-shaking, actually. Barbara never let anyone help her, carry her. Ever. Anywhere.

Helena hadn't hesitated, had picked the older woman up very gently and matter-of-factly, and placed her in her chair, before asking, "Anybody need refills?"


Hell no. The other three were too…something…by not only the accepted assistance but by the soft, sweet look this assistance had won Helena.

After the two women left the room, the three remaining spectators sat in silence for a few beats before Wade asked Dick, "She ever let you pick her up like that?" Dick was on the same wavelength as Wade…and Dinah, for that matter. "Nah, man."

Dinah tried to salvage the moment with, "Well, you guys know…uh…she's used to Helena helping her from back when…" The sentence died as both men looked at her—a look that said her explanation was just as lame as it sounded to her own ears. Oh well, she thought, she'd tried.

A few minutes later, as they'd rejoined the others, the three were informed yet again by the casual way Helena placed Barbara gently on the couch beside Wade that they were, and always would be, outsiders at a party for two.

After the movies, Dick and Dinah looked Helena's way before going out on their sweep.

"Hell no, still on vacation, thanks. I'm staying home and relaxing with the kids. Feel free to call us, though, if you get into trouble." After an hour and a half, Delphi alerted them to a silent alarm going off in a department store. Five minutes later, Barbara and Wade heard a rather nervous-sounding announcement from Nightwing.

<Holy batshit, Oracle! There are about…uh…15-20 guys with machetes. Do ya think Huntr-->


Wade could scarcely believe the speed with which Helena had disappeared. And they'd listened to the flurry of activity that followed, Barbara realized, with even more anxiety than she would have if the men had been armed with guns. Because guns were, well, sort of normal. Machetes though? Weird.

When Helena joined Nightwing and Canary, she was astonished to see a shitload of guys wearing hokey martial artsy costumes and swinging, whoa—he hadn't been lying—machetes. Machetes, for God's sake.

She got their attention with a "What the fuck are you guys? A gardening gang?" As she'd swung into action, she quickly found that kicking an ass being protected by a whirling blade was a pain in the ass.

In the ensuing fight, any semblance of martial arts training the men possessed quickly disappeared as they became tired and scared. They started to swing their blades like baseball bats.

Helena heard a startled yelp from Dinah and saw that she'd slipped and fallen. She abruptly abandoned the three men she was fighting to assist her, since about ten of the guys immediately jumped to attack the fallen girl. After wading into that melee, she soon remembered a little fighting tenet of hers "Leave no ass kicking before its time." What brought this home to her was the sting of a blade cutting her arm. And again. And her leg. Make that legs. Her back. Again. And again. It was only her meta-human reflexes that allowed her to react enough to keep the blows from being fatal.

After Dinah had scrambled up and Nightwing rushed in, she'd felt the sting of another blow as she whirled around, looked down at her tattered clothes and body, then charged the three men, shouting. "Do you have any (punch) idea (punch) how (kick) much (kick) I loved (throttle) this outfit?"

The outrage committed against her fashion was going to make cleaning up the rest of the guys not only a duty but a pleasure.

Barbara and Wade then listened to about ten minutes of tremendous swearing from Huntress and Nightwing, punctuated by an occasional high-pitched 'Fuck!' from Dinah. A low whistle followed hearing the last man go down and Nightwing said <Oracle, Huntress is cut up pretty badly. We'll be right there.>

As they'd walked in, Barbara and Wade were stunned by the sight of an incredibly bloody Helena accompanied by two apparently untouched companions. Even her hair had suffered in the attack—looking now as if she'd used blood as a hair gel.

"Take off your clothes. Now."

"God, I love it when you say that." Helena's truly mischievous grin was met by an exasperated blush from Barbara.

"Now, Huntress."

"Uh oh, still in Oracle mode, I see."

Helena plopped down in a chair and took off her boots. As she began unbuttoning her leather pants, she noticed the slightly averted eyes of the men in the room. "Hey, I don't think I took any hits in the ass so don't turn away on my account."

After undressing to her underwear, the extent of her injuries was startling. The cuts, the wounds, were everywhere.

Which scared Barbara. And which, idiotically enough, made Barbara furious.

"See? See Helena! This is what vacations do! You lose your edge. You get slop—"

Dick started to say something that was interrupted by Helena.

"Uh, NO!" Helena barked,"Dinah slipped and about a hundred of them turned on her. Consequently, I didn't exactly have the time to kick the asses I was working on as thoroughly as I wanted. I wasn't sloppy, I was just—" she stopped, thought about this for a beat. "Okay, well maybe I was a little sloppy. I think the idea of our lovely young ward becoming deli meat freaked me out just enough that I didn't care if I protected myself." She turned to Dinah, "Nothing against you, though, D. Anybody can slip. You kicked major ass."

As everyone watched Dinah grow visibly taller under the weight of that compliment, Barbara's anger disappeared just as quickly as it had appeared. Over-protectiveness was not something she could exactly fault anyone else for. She moved closer, "I understand…let's talk about it later. Stand up."

Dinah, Dick and Wade watched as she slowly went over Helena's body like an experienced groom inspecting a well-loved racehorse. Gently but firmly tracing each limb, the muscles of Helena's back, her stomach. The two women were remarkably unselfconscious about it all—it was as if the other three weren't even in the room.

"Head." Helena leaned over for this order and Barbara ran her fingers quite thoroughly over the woman's scalp. "I don't see anything up here—why's your hair bloody?"

"After the fight I was trying to touch it up a bit with my hands—then I sort of realized my hands were bloody."

Barbara tousled her hair before letting her stand up. "I think you're going to live but you're going to need stitches in about twelve of those, sweetie."

Helena yawned, suddenly feeling that low that sometimes followed the high of combat. "Alright, boss. I'll take a quick shower and you can get to work. Make a night of it."

Barbara's voice was peeved but her gaze was incredibly fond. "Great…my kind of night. Me, you and the suture kit." She shook her head and smiled up at Helena. "You know, sometimes I just don't know what I'm going to do with you."

We do, everyone else in the room thought at once. It was obvious. Glaringly obvious, actually, to Dinah, Dick and Wade exactly what Barbara would eventually be doing with Helena.


Later, after showering and donning a fresh sports bra and a pair of boxers Helena had purchased in her 2.5 minute modesty phase during high school, they'd all retired to the workout room so that she could lie on the massage table for Barbara's better access. Barbara began by injecting anesthetic into each wound in preparation for suturing.



"OUCH! Barbara! Dinah? Are you two lau—don't you DARE laugh at me."

"I'm sorry, Hel, it's just that," Barbara countered, injecting her again…


Dinah dissolved into mirth, utterly unmoved by Helena's glare. Even Dick and Wade looked a little amused.

"What I was going to say is that it's just that it's a little incongruous…" she made another injection.


"—Big bad Huntress and her little bitty shots," Barbara finished.

Helena could hear a slight whine in her voice, which wasn't necessarily attractive—but hey, there it was. "Little bitty my ASS. What the fuck's incongruous about that? The shots hurt worse than the stitches—they sure as shit hurt worse than the cuts."

Barbara was willing to concede this point and she felt sorry, but just a little, for laughing at the other woman's pain. "I know, sweetheart, I'm sorry."

The soothing voice and calling her 'sweetheart' seemed to make up—instantly—for the laughter, and Helena took a towel and bit down on it for the rest of the shot ordeal.

After ten of these shots, Wade's face began to change. Helena noticed it first and she took the towel out of her mouth.

"Hey, Wade, you'd better sit down, dude. You're looking a little green around the gills."

I'll say, Wade thought, deciding a manly retreat was in order.

"Thanks but you know what? I should probably beat it. I don't have much of a history with the sight of blood and I'd really like not to faint and look like even more of a wuss than I probably do to you guys already."

"I don't think you're a wuss." Wade found it difficult to believe Helena had said this with a straight face.

Dick shrugged. "Me neither man." And Dick? Nightwing Dick? Wow.

"Nah, no wuss." Even little Dinah, who could kick his ass with one hand. Now that was sweet.

Barbara turned her gorgeous eyes to him and smiled. "You're not us, Wade—and nobody here expects you to be. I'm absolutely positive you're just as brave and capable as the next civilian."

"That's nice of you guys to say—really—but I'd better go or you'll be treating me next." He kissed Barbara on the cheek and nodded at everyone else. "Glad you're okay, Helena. Call you tomorrow, Babs."

As Wade drove home, he thought with no little regret how sad it was that he was going to have to break up with Barbara. Insanely beautiful, charming, intelligent woman that she was.

It was just that, hell, it was time. It was getting a little embarrassing for him to be hanging around with a woman who was in love with someone else. Even if she hadn't seemed to notice yet. He'd been waiting around long enough—willing to take what he could get—not only because, let's face it, she was a babe, but because he was just enough of a guy to get a real thrill out of watching superheroes and vigilante justice.

But at least, he reflected, in the grand scheme of things, even though he could never tell anyone, he'd always know that he'd slept with Batgirl.

Him. Boring-ass teacher Wade. And Batgirl. HOO-AH!

He laughed aloud at the sheer wonder of it and, nice guy that he truly was, in his heart he honestly wished them well—all of them.

After about an hour of suturing, Dinah and Dick looked, and were, bored.

"How long do you think this'll take, Babs?"

Barbara didn't even look up. "Another hour."

"I'm thinking maybe me and the Canary will go back to the sweep."

"That's fine, Dick—I can hear Delphi from here."

"Great. We'll be back in a couple of hours."

As Dinah trotted off happily after him, Helena scowled. "She never looks that happy going out with me."

"Probably because Dick calls her Canary or Dinah, not kid. That and he is pretty easy on the eyes, you know."

Helena's scowl deepened. "Don't remind me."

Barbara laughed gently, pulling yet another wound shut. "You have no reason to be jealous of Dick. That's ancient history."

She worked in silence for a few minutes before Helena asked, "Can I stay here tonight—on the couch, I mean?"

"It's your home, Hel, and if you want, you can sleep with me in my room." She looked up briefly. "Nothing's changed in that regard."

Helena laughed. "Wow. Two great sentences in one night. 'Take off your clothes now' and 'you can sleep with me.'"

It was Barbara's turn to scowl—which she did at Helena's wound, because suddenly she didn't feel equal to meeting the other woman's eyes.

A full 45 minutes of silence went by before Helena girded up the courage to ask softly, "Hey Barbara?"


"Have you even thought about it at all?"

Barbara cleared her throat. "It?"

"Me…I mean…us."

The length of silence after this was positively excruciating. And if Helena hadn't been attached by a thread, literally, she probably would have fled.

Barbara didn't look up from her work but she did finally reply. "I've thought of very little else for weeks."


"And I don't know, Helena." She grinned sheepishly. "I always thought you were the one with commitment issues…but maybe it's me."

Helena considered this. What could she possibly say to that?

Barbara finally looked up, looked Helena over as if surveying her work, and then sighed. "You know, sometimes I almost hate you."

At the surge of pain Barbara saw in Helena's eyes, she quickly added, "Only because you've been treated like ground round tonight and you still look…so absolutely gorgeous."

The younger woman's eyes became softer. "And just think, all of this could be yours."

Barbara immediately turned back to her suturing. "That's what I'm afraid of actually."

"You're afraid?"

Something about Helena's wound was suddenly particularly interesting.



"You're afraid?"

"Of course I am. Or maybe you wouldn't know. Maybe love doesn't scare you."

"Of course it scares me." Helena took a deep breath and waved at her wounds, the suture kit. "Are we finished here?"


"Good. Can we finish this discussion in bed?" Helena laughed at the alarm in Barbara's eyes. "I'm tired."

"Oh…uh…of course."

So they'd continued the conversation in bed.

Helena had put on one of Barbara's New Gotham High t-shirts and was amused to find Barbara had chosen the equivalent of a suit of armor, given her usual taste in nightwear. She was wearing a long-sleeved pajama pants and top and was sitting propped up rather rigidly with three pillows behind her back.

"Is it the whole 'woman thing'?"

"Woman thing?"

"Yeah, I mean you have noticed I'm a woman, right? The breasts are a dead giveaway—well, that and the fact nobody calls me a cross-dresser when I wear a skirt."

"No, that's not a problem—strangely enough, no—not at all."

Helena looked down at the comforter, "so…I guess you're basically saying you don't love me that way, huh? That it?"

"No! That's not the—look Hel, the problem is that you're—" Barbara didn't quite know how the English language was escaping her, "I mean, you know you're—" she stopped in mid-sentence.

"I'm what?"

"You're the most important relationship, person…thing in my life. I mean…if we ruined it, I truly don't know what I would do."

"I don't understand. How would completing our relationship ruin it?"

"But that's just it. I'd have you, this—" Barbara waved her hand vaguely at Helena's body before looking away, "perfect, complete wonder and you'd have…half a person."

Helena used her hand to lift Barbara's chin so she could see her eyes. "Oh no. Not just the half of you, baby. I'd want the full meal deal." She tried to play off her desperate sincerity with a saucy waggle of her eyebrows.

Barbara blushed before a look of true embarrassment flooded her face. "My point exactly, Helena. Why would you want me? I mean, for example, even if you did…that…I wouldn't feel it."

"Oh?" Helena snorted. "You don't think you'd feel it?"

There were unshed tears and the raw pain of experience in those green eyes. "I know I wouldn't."

Helena thought for exactly one minute. No guts no glory, no guts no glory. No guts no glory.

"Barbara, would you mind if we tried a short experiment?" If it had been an appropriate time to laugh—Helena would have laughed aloud at the sudden anxiety in the other woman's eyes.

"Ten minutes. Rules are I'm going to touch you exactly once and you can't touch me at all."

Barbara hesitated.



Boy, Helena thought, Barbara sure had a talent for making a two-syllable word seem like a paragraph.

With one easy movement, she was straddling the older woman at waist level but, Barbara noted quickly, no, she wasn't actually touching her. Just sort of hovering over her.

For a moment Helena looked at her with such adoration that she thought she would cry. She watched the woman move closer and closer. If she'd been touching her, she would have been stroking one cheek with own, would have been kissing her…neck. She could feel Helena's breath on her neck, wondered vaguely how the warmth of the other woman's skin could seem like it was burning her when it wasn't touching her.

She also reassured herself that, biologically speaking, it was impossible for her head just to explode, though that's how it felt.

Her lips were so close to hers—she was embarrassed to feel disappointed when Helena sat back a bit to look at her. Still not touching her. Then…she would have been touching her face, running her hands over her neck and her shoulders, her collarbones, up and down the length of her arms. She would have been if she'd been touching her—but she wasn't. Surely it was impossible that she wasn't touching her. She wondered if this was some meta-human oddity—the surreal warmth of these hands, hands that weren't touching her.

All rational thought disappeared as she watched Helena's hands not touching the swell of her breasts, not touching her nipples. Helena would be kissing her breasts if she were actually kissing her, kissing her stomach, running her hands down the sides of her body.

"Time for your one touch, Ms. Gordon." She stifled a groan as she watched Helena rise slightly, as she watched Helena gently open her legs enough that Helena could sit between them.

"Now watch this."

Barbara almost laughed. As if there were anything, on planet Earth, more worth watching the woman who was now running her hands over the lengths of her legs, over her knees, over her hip bones, not touching her, but so close and then…even Helena gasped a little as her hands ran up the inside of the woman's thighs and then…

As Helena began to reposition herself, she spoke but she didn't look up at Barbara as she did so.

"You see, Barbara, the woman who loves you," she moved downward, then upward—she would have been kissing her way up Barbara's legs if she'd been touching her, "lies awake every night longing for you…starving for you. She's been dying to taste you, to smell you, to…lose herself in you."

And she would have been kissing her sex, would have, indeed been rubbing her chin, each cheek on her, in her. Barbara gasped as she watched the woman's bangs actually touch her there—the only touch there was.

"And after the woman who loves you has bathed in your sights and smells and tastes," Helena continued murmuring, "she'll want to push her tongue inside you…again and again, until she needs more."

Helena propped herself on one elbow and pushed her other hand down, down. Barbara was slightly embarrassed to hear herself groan as she watched that hand disappear into her boxer shorts. Helena gasped as she touched herself, saw Barbara's hands clutch the comforter.

She continued, "And she'll need more because she needs to have more inside you—she needs to be surrounded by you because it means everything to her to be so close to you. You're so wet…and so hot…and so tight…and she slides one, and then two and then three fingers inside you."

"And then," Helena, her eyes now their feral meta-human yellow, was looking Barbara right in her eyes. "she fucks you and fucks you…and fucks you."

Although Barbara had never been particularly fond of that word in the bedroom, she had to admit it gained a staggering amount of value and allure if you were watching Helena Kyle fuck herself while poised over your body.

As she watched this, she felt a hell of a number of things, one of which she was surprised to realize was tenderness. For this beautiful woman she loved so much, who was so unashamedly pleasuring herself in front of her.

Helena's eyes pinned her with her gaze, never left hers, and as she saw her getting closer and closer to a climax, she felt that she was right there with her, breathing at the same rate—she knew she was just as flushed as Helena. Was it even possible, Barbara thought suddenly, wildly, to have a mental orgasm?

She found out in ten seconds.

Yes, it was. It wasn't physical, actually she couldn't possibly define what it was that swept over her as she heard Helena's voice "Oh…oh… yes…Barbara, Barbara, Barbara." She only knew she was gasping for air just as much as her…lover.

She watched, swallowed hard, as Helena slowly pulled her hand from her shorts and wiped her hand on her face before licking her fingers with a salacious grin. She climbed toward the head of the bed and leaned in to whisper in Barbara's ear.

Barbara could feel the heat shimmering off that body, smell the other woman's arousal as Helena whispered, "Didja feel that, baby?"

Helena leaned back, her eyes again their ravishing blue, and looked an astonished Barbara in the eyes, who shook her head and cleared her throat before rasping out, "Helena, I think people in China felt that."

Helena chuckled. "Gee whiz, huh? We just made love and we didn't even touch each other." She pulled Barbara's pajama top up just far enough that she could actually straddle her where she could feel it. She watched Barbara's eyes widen impossibly as she felt the warm, damp cloth of Helena's shorts lower onto her skin. "By the way, just so you know," Helena cupped Barbara's cheek, "even if you had never been injured, I would always have wanted to make love to that beautiful mind of yours just as much as the rest of your body."

She leaned forward and kissed her gently before adding, "Barbara Gordon, you are the love of my life. If you'll just let me love you, I'll spend the rest of that life making certain, injury be damned, that you feel it."

Barbara looked at her with something like bewilderment for a few beats. "That almost sounded like a proposal."

"Well…yeah, I guess so. Of sorts. I mean, if I could make it legal, I wouldn't hesitate."

Helena felt the rather short silence that followed was about two years long. Just as she began to wish she'd never been born—

"Alright. Yes."


"I said yes."

Helena couldn't believe her ears—began to second-guess herself. She sounded embarrassed, anxious when she spoke "But…I mean…this isn't just 'cause I'm really cute and wear cool clothes and I'm an ass-kicker extraordinaire and 'cause now you're suspecting I'd be really phenomenal in bed, is it?"

Barbara laughed, then leaned forward and kissed Helena. "No, it's because I love you. You make me feel like a whole person…you make me a whole person."

As she hugged her tightly, "I hope you understand, though, that I'll, uh, have to break up with Wade, obviously, before anything else happens."

"Can we say cell phone?"

She felt Barbara chuckle. "No, the old-fashioned, respectful way. In person."


"Oh, and on one other condition."

Helena pulled away to look at her. "Name it, darlin'."

Barbara turned her head to the side. "Darling…wow." She grinned. "I like that—a lot."

Helena smiled at her. "I said name it, darlin'"

"I'd really like for you to do that…little show for me again sometime."

"Say the word and I'll do it for you right this minute."

Barbara laughed. "I don't think I could take it…the top of my head would fly off."

They both started a bit as they heard Dinah call from the next room, "We're baaaack."

Dick and Dinah heard a muffled response from Barbara's room, "We'll be right out!"

In a few moments, they watched as a surprisingly rosy Helena was followed into the room by a pajama clad Barbara. "You guys wanna watch that last movie?"

"Sure, Hel." Dinah touched Helena on the shoulder, "How ya feel--?"

Hoo boy.

She knew how she was feeling after the flash of vision this touch produced. She looked, wide-eyed from Helena to Barbara, who had the grace to blush furiously.

Dick noticed the change in the room, asked Dinah, "What? What's up?"

"Nothing," Dinah squeaked. "Let's watch that movie."

Barbara beat a quick retreat, "I'll make popcorn. Could you help me, Dick?"

"Uh, sure."

Helena and Dinah watched them leave the room and the woman turned on the girl. "Damnit, kid. You really need to get a handle on that power."

"I know. And I'm really sorry." But she just stared, continued to stare at Helena.

"So?" Helena, growled. "What? You got something to say about it?"

"No—it's totally cool. I'm happy for both of you. It's just that I'm really, really…impressed is all. I mean, wow—when you take things into your own hands, you really—"

This sentence was lost as Dinah yelped, bolted and ran from the room, laughing her ass off, Helena in hot pursuit.

But Helena was laughing too.

One week later…

Dick and Dinah sat before an immense spread Alfred had prepared as 'Dick's going away' brunch, waiting for Barbara and Helena to appear from Barbara's bedroom.

Scratch that. From their bedroom.

Sipping coffee, they heard the faint sound of laughter from that bedroom. Dick grinned at Dinah. "Sorry to leave you alone with the honeymooners…"

And a honeymoon, so far, it had been. Since the day Barbara had broken up with Wade, everyone in the Clocktower, Helena included, was astounded to find that Barbara could keep neither her eyes nor her hands off her younger lover. If they were in the same room, Barbara was continuously petting over her as if she might never get the chance again.

Not that Helena was complaining, mind you. Plus, she was now constantly wearing what looked to Dinah and Dick like a particularly irritating version of the dazed expression of a new 'Clearinghouse Sweepstakes' winner.

Dinah shrugged, "It's okay. I guess after all this time, they deserve to be a little giddy."

"Don't get me wrong…I agree—it's just that hanging out with a new couple can be tough."

"Well…yeah," Dinah answered, smiling. As she looked at Dick, she wondered whether every teenaged life was like hers.

Crushes, crushes everywhere:

An 'Isn't she amazing!' crush on her mentor, Barbara;

An 'Isn't she hot!' crush on Helena;

A 'She sure is…something…' crush on Gabby;

And a brand new 'Isn't it nice to be taken so seriously?' crush on Dick.

Because he did take her seriously. He never acted as though he thought she wasn't up to their work. He helped her, showed her stuff, trusted her with his life on sweeps. Not that Helena didn't—and God knows she loved Helena. It was just that Dick always went to the effort of really trying to make her feel his equal.

The result was, Dinah understood, a tremendous crush she knew was pointless, since she was so young and Dick was an honorable man.

They both turned as they heard a door open, watched as two immensely self-satisfied women emerged from their lair. Helena continued to look as blissful as Dinah or Dick had ever seen her. Barbara looked as if she might at any moment levitate from her chair.

"Sorry to keep you waiting."

"No prob, Babs, we both know you have new…priorities." Dick smirked at Dinah.

Barbara smiled ruefully at him, "No new priorities, Dick, it's just that—"

Helena interrupted here, "It's just that neither of us are used to—" and here she, too, was stuck for the remainder of an explanation. "Wow, look at all this food—let's eat!"

Dick watched with affection as Barbara tucked into her brunch. God, how he loved the woman. He realized his antipathy toward Helena had receded to the point where it was virtually non-existent. His sister truly seemed to have been able to help Barbara reach a part of herself that was still able to bloom and, for that, he esteemed, even loved her.

He raised his glass, "Well, ladies, I hate to be leaving you today but…to us."

"To us," the three answered.

It was nearing time to go. Barbara pulled Dick aside to speak. "Thanks again for coming on such short notice…and for staying." She blushed, suddenly. "And…for understanding."

Dick knelt beside her chair. "My pleasure, Babs. Always." He paused, then asked, "Is it what you thought it'd be?"

Barbara knew what he was asking but didn't quite know what she would say before replying, "It's…so much more, Dick. She's…every possible color of…every idea about love I've ever had."

He smiled, kissed Barbara on her cheek and stood. "I'm happy for you, then."

As she'd seen him toward the door, he'd waved goodbye to the other two women, wished them well. As he was about to disappear into the elevator, Dinah interjected, "I'll walk you out!"

So she had. When they'd reached Dick's car, Dick paused and said, "It's nice to know that now I'll have one more reason to visit New Gotham—you." Dinah was certain she was turning purple but she mustered a smile.

And then he hugged her.

And with that hug she knew, immediately (naturally), if she were willing to wait about five years until she was a real grownup, Barbara and Helena might not be the only Mentor-Youth combo in the Clocktower. She smiled as she watched him drive away. Well, well. Sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander.

Three months later…

Barbara groaned as she woke up. Not only because she didn't feel Helena lying beside her but because it was her birthday. And she was fairly certain, from the vague goings-on around school, that something perhaps…atrociously special…was going to be intermingled with the school dance she was scheduled to chaperone this very night...

She toyed with the idea of calling out sick but knew that would be somewhat…ah, hell, entirely suspect given her co-workers' understanding of how much she hated to be made a spectacle of.

As she pulled herself upright, the bedroom door opened, with Helena and Dinah behind it. Helena placed a breakfast tray next to her. Breakfast, and a vase with a dozen roses in it.

First thing's first. Barbara took a sip of coffee before Helena drawled, "Happy birthday, darlin'. We come bearing breakfast."

"Oh yeah? Is Alfred here?"

Dinah interjected, "We cooked it ourselves, thank you very much!"

"Oh my God! You cooked for me!? You shouldn't have—I mean, that's so much more dangerous than your nightly swee—"

They ignored her, "And we come bearing gifts…"

So they had.

The first was from Dinah. As Barbara opened it, she gasped, thinking…Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass…first edition…my…my…my…what this must have co—

"That was D's idea."

"But how in the world—"

"Your second gift…" Helena sat beside her in the bed, nearly fainting from nervousness. Short and sweet, she thought to herself, as she bit her lip uncertainly.

Short and sweet.

Nodding toward Dinah, she said, "Since we already have a family, thought I should give it to you in front of the kid…" she placed a small box in Barbara's hand and knelt by the bedside.

Barbara hesitated only briefly before opening the box. She smiled beatifically in the few moments it took for her to adjust to the…size of the offering.

An astonishingly green princess-cut diamond in what looked to be a platinum setting.

"Helena, how on Earth—"

"Daddy's money has to come in handy for something. I figure I can pay him back over the next 96 years or so." She paused, then added, "Just wanted people to know you're taken, that's all."

"Well, by God, this'll show 'em," Barbara said as she slipped the ring onto her finger.

"The color's…uh…for your eyes." Was that a blush?

As Barbara pulled Helena over to kiss her, she found, that yes, it was. "It's perfect—just like you—and I love it. And you. And you," she added to Dinah.

Barbara was smiling, though she was groaning inside.

It hadn't taken 15 minutes in the teacher's lounge before people were already celebrating her birthday. She tried to keep her ring-hand out of view, hoping against hope she wouldn't have to explain this on top of the festivities.

After opening the numerous sweet and thoughtful presents, she'd come to Wade's. He blushed a bit, then said. "I bought it about four months ago…"

What was lost on the rest of the teachers, since Barbara had insisted on keeping their relationship discreet, was that he was saying it had been purchased a month before their breakup.

He looked a bit nervous—unsure whether it should be opened in front of the others or not and thought he might need to explain away the subject, so he lied. "I know how you…uh, collect…stuff about the history of Gotham, just thought that you might like this…"

She opened the package and found a breathtakingly framed past edition of the Gotham Gazette. The front-page picture was a remarkable and romantically blurry candid photo of a costumed woman caught unaware, poised against the skyline of their city, with the headline, 'WHO IS BATGIRL?'

It was…amazingly beautiful. And, with a tremendous, almost electric jolt, Barbara felt tears spring into her eyes, realizing all at once the immensity of all she had lost—and gained—since then.

Wade swallowed hard, knelt beside her. "Hope you like it."

Barbara touched the figure in the picture, kissed Wade on the cheek, hugged him and whispered in his ear. "It's perfect. Thank you, honey."

Sara Beckett, their new and never shy math teacher, jumped in. "Good lord, Wade, why Batgirl?"

He smiled as he stood. "I just remembered a discussion Barbara and I had about her one day—wondering," he chuckled, "wouldn't it be funny if she were teaching right here at Gotham High?"

Everyone, including Barbara and Wade, laughed at this. How absurd!

As Barbara again traced the figure in the photo, someone squealed, "OhmyGod! Barbara Gordon, are you engaged!?"

Barbara looked momentarily like an aardvark caught in headlights. Wade, the closest person to her, looked at her ring and smiled. "Wow! Sorta like your eyes, isn't it?" He made another guess, "Hel?"

Barbara answered him with a shy smile. "Yeah."

"Hell yeah's what I say too!" Sara, too, was ready with a comment. "Holy Mother of God, look at the size of that thing! Does J-Lo know Ben's still dealin' out the rings? Where can I get one?"

Much chirping ensued:

"Who is he?"

"Yeah! Let's hear it!"

"How long have you known him?"

Barbara was saved, literally, by the bell. And Wade laughed and winked at her as she rolled toward her first class.

Helena was bitter as hell that Barbara had to chaperone, well let's face it, a fucking-high-school dance, on her birthday. She would much rather have had her lover wrapped around her on the first birthday either of them had spent as partners.

Until D. started talking about the dance…

Just because Dinah had a crush on Dick didn't mean that she was immune to the charms of the most popular boys in school. Unfortunately, however, they seemed to be entirely immune to her.

And so she fretted as they ate dinner before the dance—and enough that her family saw it.

"So, spill, D. What the fu—I mean what the heck's wrong with you?"

"I just don't want to go—that's all."

"I understand why I don't want Barbara going—but why not you?"

Dinah frowned at her dinner. "You wouldn't understand…you were always popular."

Both Barbara and Helena laughed at this. "I wasn't popular, D., I was just hot—there's a distinction there."

Dinah frowned more deeply at her dinner, "Yeah, well…I'm neither, thank you."

"Fuck popular. And you are hot."

Dinah looked up to see whether Helena was pulling her leg. Evidently not. She grinned her thanks to the other woman.

Helena thought for a few beats, "I'll dress you tonight and, if you'll pretend that you don't know me for a while, once I get finished, every boy in that goddamned joint will be eating out of your hand."

Dinah snorted, "Oh yeah, how's that going to happen?"

"Trust me."

Paul Teasdale and Johnny Gaddis, the gods of New Gotham High, watched from the bleachers as people entered for the dance. As the almost unfairly attractive star quarterback and linebacker of the football team, they had little reason to worry about getting what they wanted out of this social function. Which wasn't dancing—since they shared that malady so typical of astonishingly well-muscled young football players—a terminal lack of rhythm. They might deign to slow-dance with some of the hotties, but they were content to sit on the bleachers and let the hotties come to them.

And they would.

As they waited, they judged everybody's 'look.' Their comments, which they were civilized enough to keep to themselves, broke down into basically four types: 1. Snickers. 2. Who the fuck dressed you—the math teacher? 3.Hot. 4. Next.

As Dinah Redmond entered, dressed somewhat hotter than they were used to, she received a 'next' from both young gentlemen.

They also noticed, with some chagrin that Ms. Gordon and Mr. Brixton were perched (Ms. Gordon almost literally—snicker) next to the punchbowl, which would entirely foil the spiking they'd been planning.

And then…wow. And then… the hottest, Hottest, girl sauntered into the room. She was wearing way below hip-hugging leather pants, the smallest, midriff-baring Gotham High t-shirt they'd ever seen and a leather jacket.

Who the holy shit was she? She walked over smiling as she kissed Mr. Brixton on the cheek (No way! No fucking way that chick's with Mr.--) before leaning over and kissing Ms. Gordon on the cheek. (Whew! Just some teachers' friend.) They shook their heads in wonder, their brains only relatively adjusted to the fact that teachers had friends at all, much less friends like that.

By the time the dance was in full swing, Helena was finishing the second cup of punch that Wade had liberally spiked for her. She chuckled to herself at how differently she could feel about Wade, how she could even be happy to see him—as long as she had her girl.

Dinah couldn't believe what she was about to do would make any difference to the boys at this dance—it would probably just get her laughed at. As she passed the bleachers, she gazed furtively at Johnny and Paul. What must it be like, she mused…to be perfect? She snorted. What the hell was she talking about? She lived with perfect. She gazed at Helena as she approached her. Helena had told her to be blasé, to try to look really super-confident. Okay. She could do this.

Although many of the male, and not a few of the female, students had been watching Helena as she talked and laughed with Wade, Barbara and a few of the other teachers, no one in the room had even remotely the guts to approach her.

Johnny and Paul watched, with a group of their friends, as Redmond passed by them. Her glance was not lost on them and they accepted it as the tribute almost all girls paid them. They only continued to watch her because she was talking to Ms. Gordon—and Ms. Gordon was next to the hottie.

A slow song started. And they watched as…


Redmond was just sorta grabbing the hottie's hand and pulling her out onto the floor. And the hottie…was…letting her. HOLY SHIT, MAN!

As the couples began to sway, they were staggered to see Redmond sorta forcefully take the hottie into her arms.

And the hottie let her!

As the song continued, their collective eyebrows crawled into their hairlines as they watched Redmond slip one hand through the belt-loop of the woman's leather pants, the other hand moving to rest on the skin of her exposed torso, sliding around her back, pulling her closer.

They groaned with envy. Jesus, that was so…smoooooth.

They also groaned because this was sorta like that fucking Russian…tAtu video or something. Except hotter, cause these chicks were hotter—and, after all, they were right there in front of them.

Shit, shit, shit!! Why couldn't this be a hot-Catholic-uniform-wearing-school tonight!?!

No WAY! The hottie was wrapping her arms around Redmond's shoulders—Redmond was looking her right in the eyes.





Barbara watched the entire student body and faculty pretend that they weren't all glued to the spectacle unfolding before them. She was quite sure that the seriousness of the looks Dinah and Helena exchanged were being interpreted as pure, wanton lust, though to her experienced eyes, she could tell they were only a few seconds from collapsing in laughter.

And, she had to admit, this little display did make Dinah seem far older, more experienced, even sexier—Barbara's brain nearly shut down at this word, then she laughed. Why should she be surprised to find that Helena knew what she was talking about?

As Dinah danced, she pushed down the thought that groping Helena was actually sort of fun as she looked into the blue eyes of her dance partner. She also pushed down her flash of knowledge that Helena was sort of enjoying it, too. That was really sweet to know, though.

But all good things had to end—it was getting more and more difficult to dance and not laugh at the saucy little looks Helena was throwing her way. She might have been able to keep it together if Helena hadn't leaned in and play-growled in her ear, "Dinah Redmond, you are one…hot…tamale."

That was it.

Both of them shrieked with laughter, collapsed into each other's arms.

As they walked back toward the punch bowl, Barbara and Wade watched them wiping tears from their eyes.

"Thanks for the dance, babe."

"You have less than two minutes before the first approach—betcha."

As Dinah returned to her friends, Gabby looked at her with a newfound respect. "Geez, Dinah…that was—" Gabby didn't finish this sentence because Paul Teasdale was suddenly right behind Dinah.

"Hey Dinah."

Dinah turned, entirely cool, and tried to channel Helena for this interchange. "Hi Paul. What's up?"

"So…I guess you know that girl, huh?"

Dinah corrected him, "That...woman is my foster sister, sort of."

Paul took this in, then asked, "Just wondering if you'd like to dance—the next slow one, I mean."

Dinah shrugged, "Sure. If you want. That'd be great." She smiled as she looked past him at Saint Helena of New Gotham High.

But the slow dance hadn't come quickly enough to save Barbara.

Barbara groaned for the third time that day as Sara Beckett grabbed a microphone and commanded center stage in the gym.

"Although we've all gathered together tonight with the primary objective of enjoying this dance, our faculty members have a surprise in store for someone…we've moved naming the 'Teacher of the Year' ceremony forward just a bit…" she paused with just enough drama to add, "in order to honor our teacher of the year, Barbara Gordon, tonight—on her birthday."

Barbara was more than a little surprised/disconcerted at this news, though she tried to play it off. She smiled as she rolled forward to accept her plaque and her applause.

But Sara Bennett was not content with this.

Oh no.

"The faculty also happens to believe that maybe Barbara has something she'd like to announce to us all tonight…just look at that rock on her hand—an engagement, perhaps?"

She handed Barbara the microphone and smiled archly; Barbara, surrounded by her students and faculty, smiled wanly.

Well, well…let's see…

She had to absolutely—forever—keep Batman's secrets, Bruce's secrets; Nightwing's secrets, Dick's secrets; Catgirl's secrets, Selena's secrets; Huntress' secrets, Helena's secrets; Canary's secrets, Dinah's secrets. Not to mention Oracle's secrets…

But no.

No, goddamnit. She'd be damned if she'd keep her heart's secret any longer…

As Barbara took the mike, she smiled at Helena. "Well, not actually an engagement, per se. But the ring IS a gift from my life partner, Helena Kyle."

For a number of the boys who were present that night, as they watched Helena smile at Barbara's announcement, this was just one of the first of many thousands of instances of realizing, with startling clarity, that women were far…far more complex…than they'd ever really dreamed.

Later that evening, Helena was catching her breath as she felt Barbara kiss her way onto her stomach. And she felt, rather than heard, Barbara chuckle.

"Why ya laughing, babe?" She almost dreaded asking, having learned, to her great amusement/dismay that Barbara's sense of humor was active nowhere more than in the bedroom.

"I was just wondering…when you were a student…did you ever imagine that one day the Teacher of the Year at New Gotham would be going down on you?"

Helena paused before answering, "Well, because the choices I had in my years there would have curled my hair…hell no."

She felt Barbara kiss her way upward, until she was kissing her mouth.

Barbara laughed again.

"What now?"

"I've just decided that prepositional describes it."

"Prepositional? Describes what?"

"I want you in me, on me, over me, under me, above me, beneath me, below me, beside me, inside me…etc, etc…get my drift?"

"Oh I get your drift alright and, you know, if you want to get all grammatical on me…I can think of a few verbs I could whip out on ya…and they'd probably make you moan a few encouraging adverbs until I made you scream out a coupla interjections."

"Helena! You did pay attention in school!"

Helena kissed Barbara again. "Don't tell anyone. I'll deny it."

They lay in the afterglow for another few minutes before Barbara said, "Thanks again for what you did for Dinah tonight."

Helena laughed, "No problem, I enjoyed it."

"I could tell."

Helena pulled away a bit to look into Barbara's eyes.

"I enjoyed putting on a show—not the—"

"Oh please! And I'm telling you…I enjoyed it, too."

They laughed simultaneously.

"Are we going to hell, ya think?" Helena looked slightly worried.

"For thinking Dinah's cute?" Barbara chuckled. "Nah…I mean, after all, she thinks we're cute. Correction: I believe she thinks I'M cute. She thinks you're hot."

"Only because I am."

Barbara smiled and, as she wrapped her arms around Helena, her ring was momentarily illuminated by the soft moonlight filtering into her room.

Green, she smiled as she fell asleep.

Like her eyes.


Like someone else's hair.

Someone who would be successfully breaking out of prison later that very night.

Three days later…

Barbara didn't know what to expect when she returned to school the following Monday. Sure, there were other teachers with same-sex partners—but not same-sex partners that used to be students.

And bad-ass students at that.

As she entered the teacher's lounge, everyone smiled and murmured their hellos. So far, so good. Sara Beckett crossed to her and, for the first time since Barbara had known her, lowered her voice. "Sorry, Barb, for putting you on the spot at the dance—I didn't know."

Barbara smiled at her, "It's okay, Sara. I wasn't planning to broadcast it but it's nothing I'm ashamed of."

Ann McGillicuddy, who, despite her age, had ears like a lynx, piped up at this, her voice the very volume and tone of a cranky foghorn.

"Well, you should be ashamed of yourself." Conversations stopped, every person in the room turned their way.

"I remember that Helena Kyle," the woman continued as she approached Barbara, "and honestly, Barbara Gordon, to…shack up with a girl we all know is nothing better than a two-bit hoodlum—I mean—does she even have a job? She can't have amounted to much."

Barbara could remember seeing red a few times during her crime fighting days. But nothing like this. She bit off her words. "What she's amounted to is the person I'm spending the rest of my life with."

The older woman wasn't cowed by this—at all. "So you think. Just wait until she finds somebody making a lot more money than a high school teacher, then you'll see how long love lasts."

As she finished this sentence, Wade thought he might just be seeing what criminals saw when Batgirl swung into their midst. Anger. But a terribly controlled anger. Barbara took one breath.

"You know, Ann, I happen to be certain that you remember Helena—because I happen to remember the way you always looked at her when she was in school. Don't badmouth her now because she wouldn't sleep with you then."

Pow. The verbal equivalent of a rabbit punch to the trachea. That shut her up. She sucked in a furious breath and stalked out of the room. As the door closed behind her, the room erupted in laughter. Sara clapped her on the shoulder, "By God, I've been wanting to say something like that to that old lecher since the day I started here."

The rest of the morning was a slide on ice.

Helena had just finished lunch when she heard the phone ring. As she moved to answer it, she realized that it was one of the Clocktower's secure lines. Nobody should have the number except…

When she answered, she heard a familiar voice. "Helena!?"


"Listen and don't ask questions." The woman was speaking quietly but urgently and very quickly. "The Joker's escaped from jail and—"


"Listen! There's no time. I'm on my way to the high school with about ten of his henchmen. We're supposed to kidnap Barbara and take her back to Mr. J. I'm calling you so you can stop us. We're armed and there should be two men at each entrance. I'll stay in the room with her—we're only about two minutes away. Get there as fast as you can."

Before Helena could reply, the line went dead. She took one minute to send a message to Barbara and Dinah and, then, she was almost literally flying.

Dinah was walking back from the bathroom in an empty hallway when her Delphi pager went off. She read the text "JOKER ESC - PLT KDNP ORCLE - GET 2HER D"

She was running before she even finished reading the message. As she ran, she heard an overhead announcement, "CODE RED, CODE RED, THIS IS NOT A DRILL. THIS IS NOT A—"

The announcement stopped abruptly. Dinah knew Code Red meant all teachers were supposed to lock themselves and their students in their classrooms. She also knew, since Barbara would have gotten the message, too, she wouldn't do this

She'd prefer to give up—go quietly rather than take the chance of having students hurt. Shit, shit, shit. Dinah was flying.

She burst her way into Barbara's classroom one minute ahead of an armed man and an armed woman in a very strange costume. Her eyes widened—Harley Quinn!

The woman locked the door behind her, then turned toward the students, some of who couldn't help making terrified sounds. "QUIET!"

She turned back toward Barbara and was amused to see Dinah step in front of the woman's wheelchair. Barbara wasn't going to have any heroics. "Dinah, sit down. Quinn, I'll go with you if you'll just leave everyone else alone."

Dinah did not sit down, instead she spoke to the woman and man. "You're not taking her anywhere."

Quinn rolled her eyes and told her henchman, "Make her sit down—gently—but give me your gun first."

The man leered as he approached Dinah. What happened next was a surprise to everyone but Dinah, Barbara and Quinn.

Particularly to the man, though his surprised feelings were short-lived because he lost consciousness from having had Dinah so unceremoniously grab him and slam his head into Barbara's desk.

Dinah turned to Quinn and spoke with real ferocity. "You're next, bitch."

Quinn smirked as she looked at her fallen henchman. "My, my, my." She looked past Dinah to Barbara, "I really must commend you. You seem to have no shortage of…riveting female companionship." Her eyes widened as she turned back to Dinah, "Want some candy, little girl?"

Dinah only glared at Quinn. "Guess not, huh? Your loss, believe me." Then she winked. "Three guesses who you could ask about that."

Because Dinah assumed Quinn was talking about her assault upon Helena, she actually took a furious step toward her before Barbara's voice stopped her. "Dinah! This isn't the time."

"Couldn't agree with you more, Babs." Quinn said as she checked the clock on the wall, sighed again. As she turned, she seemed somewhat surprised to see the other students. "Oops. Almost forgot. Captive audience. So to speak. Shoo, chickens. Jump out the window and fly away now."

She was met by stupefied incomprehension.

"Lesson one, children. During your hostage crisis, listen to the person holding the gun. You—boy with muscles!"

Paul Teasdale paled, but answered. "Yes, ma'am?"

"Ma'am. How quaint. Wouldja do me one small favor, boy-with-muscles?"

He swallowed hard. "Yes ma'am."

She gestured toward the windows. "Open one of those windows, then climb out. Show these other brain trusts how it's done. Then, the rest of you climb out after him. And—NOW!"

That got action. Paul opened the window, scrambled through, and waited to help some of the smaller girls in the class. The students were running like hell. Paul called into the room.

"Hey Dinah! C'mon."

"No—get out of here. I'm not leaving Barbara."


"NO! Get out of here, Paul!"

Paul hesitated, then turned and followed his running fellow classmates.

The remaining women could hear approaching sirens in the distance.

Quinn touched her ear and said into what must have been some comm. system. "Abort mission! Abort mission! Am-scray, eople-pay."

Not everyone in Quinn's gang was able to take advantage of that pig Latin, Helena having mowed through four of them at a speed that surprised even her.

As she burst into Barbara's classroom, she saw Dinah standing between Barbara and Quinn. Quinn didn't even turn before she said "About time you got here, darling."

Helena didn't answer, just passed Quinn and Dinah to verify for herself absolutely that Barbara was unharmed.

Barbara saw more terror than anger in the other woman's eyes, so she smiled up at her. "It's okay, Hel. I'm alright, love."

"Love!" Quinn shrieked with delight, "Love? Does this mean you two have finally, finally consummated this star-crossed union—" She took in the sight of Barbara's ring. "Oh my God! And you broke into Daddy's piggy bank. Helena! I'm so proud of you."

The sirens were getting closer.

"Oh dear. How time flies. Really must get going. Appearances to keep up and all."

Helena crossed to Quinn and put one hand on her shoulder. "Thank you, Quinn."

Quinn smiled thinly. "My pleasure, dear. Though I probably need hardly tell you Mr. J's going to make me pay dearly for this little failure."

"If he hurts you, that'll just give me one more reason to kill him."


"Did you tell him about the Clocktower and—"

"Of course not, donkey. And I'm not going to. I'll be in touch when I have a plan."

She turned to Barbara and added, "Babs, do try to stay out of sight until this is over. If you force me to protect a dizzy redhead while trying to undermine a green…head, I think I'll lose what's left of mine."

"Why are you doing this, Quinn?"

Barbara's question stopped Quinn just before she closed the door. "Why?" She tilted her head to the side the slightest bit. "Because I'm in love with Helena, of course. She didn't tell you?"

Quinn winked at Helena, closed the door and they were alone.

Helena turned to face her family. Dinah was dumbfounded. Barbara didn't look pleased.

Part 3

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