DISCLAIMER: I do not own the characters. They are the property of DC comics and the WB network. I'm just borrowing them for a short period of time.
MUSIC DISCLAIMER: Song lyrics don't belong to me either; no profit gained or infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.


Chapter 7

'No harm done'.

That's what Barbara had said -- softly, so kindly -- when Helena had pulled away from the nirvana of her mouth and scrambled away. When Helena had stammered apology after apology -- 'You know how I get; I'm just so sorry, Barbara.' -- even as her body screamed at her to jump over the balcony, fly through the night, and just keep running.

Barbara had been kind, had been almost... resolute in her assurance.

'No harm done.'

Helena just wished she could be so sure.

In the last two days, the young woman had replayed the moment -- the almost-kiss -- a multitude of times. Examining what had happened, how it had happened, what might have happened. Prodding at her reaction and response, poking at Barbara's response.

And, despite all the thinking and worrying, she had to admit that she was right where she'd been two nights ago just before awkwardly departing, leaving the older woman alone on the balcony -- looking a little shell-shocked -- with one hand pressed to her lips: Helena just didn't have a fucking clue.

Grumpily thumping another rack of beer mugs on the bar and then snagging one to fill with a local microbrew, the young woman decided to cut herself a little slack. After all, after grappling with her feelings for all these years, maybe it -- that horribly awkward, embarrassing gaffe of two nights before -- was bound to happen. Especially with the whole 'dating thing' that she'd been batting around with Barbara for the last couple of weeks.

Even the strongest dam could only handle so much pressure, right?

Still, explaining it to herself wasn't helping Helena figure out what the fallout from... 'it' would be.

Running through some of the possible outcomes, the dark woman decided that it was pretty unlikely that Barbara would kick her out of her life or something. The two women just shared too much. She simply couldn't imagine a life without the other woman in it, and after more than seven years of driving each other crazy she was confident -- Okay, pretty sure -- that Barbara felt the same way.

Disappointment. Awkwardness.

Yeah. The brunette could definitely see those as outcomes. After all, Barbara had made herself clear -- freakin' crystal -- two and a half years ago. And, well, shit -- Helena had made a promise, both to the older woman and to herself.

Helena swiped a patron's credit card and started a tab as she fought the urge to cry.

After fleeing the clock tower two nights ago, she'd returned to her almost barren apartment -- after almost three years, she sometimes thought she could have managed to hang a poster or something -- to replay what had just occurred: both the delirious near-kiss and the stomach-turning shame that she was still grappling with.

In the end, she'd decided it all came back to her promise.

Despite a multitude of character flaws and bad attitude that she wore like a cloak of honor, Helena had always -- always -- tried to keep her promises. Especially those that she gave to Barbara. Failing so miserably -- especially only days after encouraging the older woman to trust and open herself up -- was going to be hard to get past.

The misery and nervousness hadn't abated much in the last two days.

Last night, after finishing the late double shift at the bar -- which she'd begged Leonard for -- Helena simply hadn't been able to muster her courage to deal with Barbara's voice in her ear during sweeps and the inevitable face-to-face that would follow sweeps. Chickening out, she'd checked in only long enough to learn that there was no major criminal activity to deal with and then had bailed for the night.

She'd debated hitting some clubs -- maybe she'd run into Marian... Sabina again -- but, in the end, that held no appeal. Restlessly pacing her darkened apartment, she'd filled the empty hours with memories of those soft lips, wondering if she'd imagined the other woman's nearly-inaudible moan and attempting to figure out how she could forget it all.

Ending this shift -- again, at her request, a double -- Helena sucked in a fortifying breath, preparing herself for the inevitable. She couldn't avoid her friend forever, and the young woman hoped that the sooner they got past her little gaffe, the sooner they could get back to hanging out, watching movies, and commiserating about -- or maybe pointedly not talking about -- their respective love lives.

Helena checked the time -- 11:30pm -- and shrugged into her leather duster. She was already wearing her usual sweeps wear: her favorite knee-high leather boots, tightly laced leather pants, and a butter-soft, form-fitting black leather shirt. She found the ensemble garnered her a certain measure of respect, both on sweeps and behind the bar. Not to mention the fact that she thought she looked pretty damned good in it.

The dark vigilante took an uncharacteristic moment to check herself in the mirror, to practice her trademark cocky grin, before she fastened the tiny comm set in place and headed out her window to the roof.

"Oracle, do you copy?"

Well, that had been encouraging. To her own ears, her voice had sounded pretty normal.

The response was immediate -- and oddly shy-sounding.

<"I copy, Huntress. Are you... available tonight?">

Heck, maybe Red was almost as nervous as she was, Helena realized. The thought loosened the band of tension encircling her chest, allowing her to sound almost as carefree as usual when she replied.

"Sure am. What's up?"

<"Nothing much is going on right now, Huntress; so, I was hoping...">

Helena vaulted to a higher rooftop, then spread her arms and tipped her head back, allowing the night breeze to blow through her. Barbara's voice, through the receiver, sounded more relaxed than it had initially -- even if it was laced with a tiny note of apology.

The young woman decided that Red probably felt bad that there weren't any asses for her partner to kick.

Smiling at the thought, the brunette permitted herself some cautious optimism that everything was -- would be -- okay.

<"... that you could run an er -- Wait a minute--">

The dark figure immediately tensed, hearing the sound of rapid-fire typing.

<"Silent alarm just went off at the shoe factory off 38th Street.">

Moving sleekly across the rooftops, Helena felt the need to ask.

"Shoe factory, Oracle? What do you think...?"

<"Hmmm, NGPD records and insurance records for the factory don't show any break-ins for the last fifteen years. I can't imagine that there would be a large store of cash. The supplies on hand are esoteric enough to be of limited interest. Some of the dyes and solvents might...">

Helena smiled fondly as her older partner continued to work through -- and discount -- a list of possible reasons for a break-in. As for herself, the young crime fighter figured that it was probably kids on a dare or something.

<"... and so, I'd have to guess that it's most likely a high school prank, Huntress.">

At that pronouncement, Helena allowed herself a broad grin as she landed silently on the factory roof. Her enhanced senses didn't pick up any unusual sounds or movements; nevertheless, she spoke almost sub vocally.

"Yeah. I'm here; going silent."

Thirty minutes later, the young woman bounded rapidly back onto the roof as New Gotham's finest finally rolled up amid sirens and flashing lights in response to the alarm that had triggered earlier. Blending into the shadows, she wished them luck in finding something more than she had: a trail of hundreds of shoes -- correction: left shoes -- all with their tongues cut out, arranged in a spiral on the warehouse floor.

Frikkin' bizarre.

Blending into the shadows, the dark figure wondered just what the kids today were huffing... or snorting... or smoking. Judging from the bemused bafflement in Barbara's voice when Helena had described everything -- and then carefully photographed the scene at her partner's request -- the cyber genius was also inclined to chalk this one up to youthful mischief.

Still observing NGPD's desultory investigative efforts, Helena rubbed her hands together, chafing for a bit of action.

"Okay, Oracle. Now that we've gotten New Gotham's own version of crop circles out of the way for tonight, do you have any real crime for me to deal with?"

<"I'm afraid not, Huntress, unless something turns up on regular grid sweep.">

Not bothering to mask her frustration, the brunette sulkily dropped into a dark alley to begin a sweep of the city at street level.

Sometimes, if there wasn't much happening, just the sight of a lone woman wandering through the midnight streets was enough to lure out an unsavory character or two.

Unfortunately, other than a long wolf whistle from some punks cruising by in a low-rider -- Helena had grudgingly decided that it wasn't enough to provoke any ass-kicking and etiquette lessons -- the sweep remained quiet.

"Sheesh, Oracle. When a helpless female in tight clothes can't even get herself mugged at 2:00a.m., I start to worry about New Gotham's reputation for crime."

<"Perhaps you need to put a bit more wiggle in your walk, Huntress.">

The cheerful reply, over a low chuckle, did a lot to alleviate the brunette's petulance. Tickled by the easy banter after the evening's cautious exchanges, she shot back a reply without pausing to reconsider as she re-ascended to the rooftops.

"Hey! Are you trying to tell me that I don't have enough swerve in my curves, Oracle?"

Barbara's laughter was bright; her voice, though, sounded kind of odd, Helena thought.

<"I think your swerve-quotient is just perfect, Huntress.">

The brunette paused at the edge of a building and exhaled soundlessly.

"Yeah, okay. Too bad that it's too subtle for the less refined elements of our fair city."

She paused, deciding that this line of banter had gone far enough.

"Is there anything else? You mentioned an errand or something."

The businesslike reply came a beat later; Helena thought that her mentor might have been checking the time.

<"No, I think the other little job can wait. But, perhaps you could run by with the shots from the shoe factory before you knock off for the night?">

Acutely aware of a teensy, weensy -- almost insignificant -- tendril of gaping terror in the pit of her stomach, the younger woman nevertheless turned towards the clock tower, putting her game face firmly in place. During the brief trip across town, she reminded herself again ... and again ... that she had to face Barbara sooner or later. And, things had gone pretty well on sweeps.

Hell, maybe the older woman was just gonna let it go... pretend that it hadn't even happened.

Clinging to that hopeful thought like a deck chair from the Titanic, the brunette swept dramatically through the balcony doors and bounded onto the Delphi platform. She pulled the microcamera from her duster and extended it with a flourish.

"Behold. I come bearing proof of crop circles and the depravity of the teenaged imagination."

A quirked brow and half-smile met the words as Barbara seemed to consider. Finally she accepted the camera and spoke softly.

"No additional proof needed for the latter, Hel. Don't forget, I'm exposed to proof of teenaged depravity on a daily basis."

Turning back toward her monitors, the redhead added, "Why don't you grab something to eat while I download these?"

Twenty-five minutes later, Helena stuffed the last of her fourth pop tart -- blueberry, unfortunately -- into her mouth and reached for the remote when she heard the older woman powering the Delphi to standby and moving down the ramp to the living area. Turning off Jerry Springer in mid-revelation, she downed the rest of her Snapple in one long swallow and sat up from her comfortable nest of cushions on the couch.

"Didja figure out what it all meant, Red? Should we be on the lookout for cow abductions or anything?"

The brunette automatically accepted the microcamera that the older woman held out to her. She noticed the bemused shake of red hair from the corner of her eye as she tucked the unit into one of the capacious pockets of her coat, draped over the back of the sofa.

"You've got me on this one, Helena. I'm running pattern matches against some of the likely databases -- NASA, SETI, FBI..."

"Well, if anyone can figure it out, Barbara, it's you."

The younger woman scootched forward in preparation for her departure but drew up short when a long hand came to rest on her forearm. She glanced up with a puzzled half-smile as the redhead rotated her chair a few more degrees, placing their knees at right angles.


Observing the expression on the older woman's face -- did Red look a little nervous? -- Helena thought she felt something cold and unpleasant trickle down her spine.

"Do you have a minute before you go, Helena? I'd like to talk with you."

At the soft, hesitant tone, the brunette became certain that she felt something unpleasant trickling down her spine. Still, she decided to try to keep it light.

"Sure, Red. What's up? Did you find out where that group of BDU's managed to put together enough of a brain to plan that half-assed bank job the other night?"

Some of the tension seemed to leave the older woman's frame as she laughed.

"Actually, I did pick up something interesting that I may need you to check about the job our Big, Dumb, & Uglies were trying to pull."

Both women smiled as the familiar description crossed Barbara's lips. Helena's smile grew a bit strained as her partner's tone grew serious.

"But, that can wait. Right now, Helena, I'd like to talk with you about that night."

A tendril of terror wormed through the brunette's chest, and she realized that -- at that moment -- she would have cheerfully given up all of her meta abilities for the power to teleport... just once. She concentrated on the possibility for a moment -- didn't hurt to try -- before drawing in a breath and sucking it up.

Hell, she hadn't honestly expected the redhead to let it go without some sort of dissection, right?

"Barbara, I-- I--"

Hearing the quaver in her own voice, Helena focused on her knees, swallowed, and tried again.

"I'm really sorry about that. Really, really sorry. I just--"

Blue eyes blinked rapidly then cautiously peered up when two slender fingers briefly came to rest on her lips, silencing the awkward apology.

"Hel? Sweetheart? I told you: it's okay. I'm... we're fine."

The brunette felt her forehead wrinkle slightly as she carefully observed her friend's face. Looked like there was a little amusement there, definitely nervousness, but nothing suggesting that Barbara was upset.

"Okaaaay. So...?"

Barbara spoke softly, and again Helena heard that odd reticence in her tone.

"Well, it does have to do with the other night. The, er, it... I've been doing some thinking."

At that stilted admission, Helena relaxed marginally. After all, as long as the redhead wasn't thinking about cooking or something, it probably wasn't too bad.

Carefully observing the older woman -- How red could she get? -- she reached out and began to pick at the label of her drink bottle. The sour realization that she was using the finger that had been "injured" on the night in question caused her to roll her eyes and slump back against the cushions of the couch.

"I don't know why this is so difficult, Helena. After all, nobody knows me better than you do."

Not sure what was making her friend so uncomfortable but aching for her palpable anxiety, the brunette leaned forward and gingerly clasped the older woman's left hand in her right. She spoke over a hesitant smile.

"Hey, Red. It's just me; you can tell me anything."

The sweet smile, so filled with love, that Helena received stripped the last of her fear from her. Whatever it was that Barbara wanted to say, the younger woman was determined to hear it out.

"-- true, Helena. And, you've been right when you've accused me of hiding, of being afraid -- "

When the redhead raised a hand to forestall Helena's automatic attempt to apologize or explain, the brunette snapped her mouth shut and allowed her mentor to continue.

"...of believing that nobody would-- or that I couldn't respond... "

When the older woman stammered to a halt, face as deep a red as Helena could ever remember seeing it, the younger woman decided to step in. Voice thick with tears unshed for the fears that this strong, beautiful woman was laying bare, the young woman could only manage a growl.

"But that's bullshit, right, Babs?"

It was enough.

Green eyes sparked briefly as the older woman straightened.

"Exactly, Helena. I know that I tend to be one of the duller knives in the emotional drawer -- "

The brunette couldn't hide her smirk, an expression which she quickly transformed into an expectant smile in response to an arched red brow.

"...but, I do believe... That is, Hel, I think I've detected, er, picked up..."

The redhead sputtered to a stop, impossibly, blushing harder.

Ducking down slightly, the younger woman caught -- and held -- green eyes with blue.

"Out with it, Barbara."

Looking almost as miserable as Helena had been feeling for the last two days, the older woman spoke quietly.

"Hel, I'd like... I don't know how to say this, and it certainly could be awkward..."

Helena squeezed those long fingers reassuringly and spoke lightly.

"C'mon Babs, what could you possibly say to embarrass me?"

The younger woman's patented eyebrow waggle did draw a laugh, but Helena thought it sounded pretty strangled.

What the fuck was it that was so hard for Barbara to find words for?

Watching those brilliant green eyes as they traced her face, Helena suddenly experienced a frisson of awareness, a giddy, almost vertigo-inducing flutter in the pit of her stomach. It was, she thought, a little like the first time she'd stood on the edge of a forty story building, readying herself to leap. Only then... then she'd been young, cocksure, nothing to lose.

Now, though... Well, Helena knew she had a helluva lot to lose.

She held her breath as the older woman spoke quietly.

"Helena, two nights ago made me realize... That is... I'd like... Or, rather, would you, er, be interested...?"

Helena bit the inside of her lip as the redhead trailed off, looking at her imploringly. Looked like the rest was in her hands.

Shutting her eyes for a moment, praying with every fiber of her being that she was reading this right, Helena raised the other woman's hand to her mouth and pressed a lingering kiss to her fingers. Looking directly through her lashes at the woman she loved, the young woman spoke softly.

"In this, Barbara?"

Chapter 8

It felt like an eternity, hovering on the brink, lips resting lightly on Barbara's knuckles, eyes trained on the other woman's face. During that excruciating eon, Helena thought that the redhead's elegant features seemed fixed -- frozen -- as if Barbara were afraid to reveal her reaction... reveal herself.

Knowing the older woman as she did -- what an absolute lack of affect usually meant -- the brunette slowly lowered her lashes, not quite shutting her eyes but nevertheless attempting to shutter away the raw hope she knew had been so bright only moments before.


So overcome with burgeoning self-recrimination was she and so softly spoken was the word that it took Helena a full ten seconds to process, then comprehend, the redhead's soft answer. Startled blue eyes flew open, and the dark head jerked, bringing Helena's chin to rest against the sharp knuckles still in her grasp.

This time, needing to be absolutely certain that she was correctly understanding her normally fluent partner's cryptic offering, Helena could only manage a helpless lift of her eyebrows and a puzzled quirk of her lips.

It wasn't quite a half-smile, but she gave herself points for effort.

Barbara's answering smile was full and warm.

"Yes, Sweetheart. That is what I meant."

Replaying their awkward conversation in reverse, the brunette raised her head as her brows smoothed over twinkling eyes. Hesitation and puzzlement transformed to a full smile as she came to eye level with the older woman, and Helena finally spoke for the first time since she'd braved her question a lifetime ago.

"Then, yes. Yes, I would, Barbara."

'Interested' didn't begin to express the younger woman's level of enthusiasm for Barbara's... proposition; however, she figured that she could clear that up for the redhead later. Nonverbally.

Watching the older woman seem to sag in relief -- Helena had to admit that she understood the feeling -- even as a bright laugh spilled from full red lips, the brunette lowered her head again, turning Barbara's hand in hers and bringing it to her mouth. Reverently parting her lips, she finally, freely, drew in the other woman's scent before placing her mouth to the redhead's palm. Pressing lightly, she touched her tongue briefly to warm skin -- eyes fluttering closed at the coveted taste -- then suctioned gently.

A beat later, the young woman decided that she was glad that she hadn't been able to trade her meta abilities for teleportation skills. After all, she suspected that someone without her enhanced hearing would have missed the tiny sound -- not quite a groan -- that slipped past the redhead's years of iron-clad control. She was, however, damned sure that nobody could have missed the slight tremor in the hand which was pressed to her lips.

Disengaging reluctantly, Helena straightened and turned toward the older woman. She stretched forward, resting her forehead against Barbara's, unable to restrain the huge smile that seemed to be taking control of her face.

Since she wanted to be absolutely certain that she'd been clear, she spoke again, her voice a bit deeper than she'd expected.

"Fuck yes, Barbara."

The older woman's answering grin was all the acknowledgement that Helena needed. She could wait no longer.

Eyes fluttering shut, nostrils flaring in anticipation, she tilted her jaw just enough to brush --

Barbara's fingers? Fingers which had raised and come between her and the object of her desire.


Red's expression was gentle. She wasn't pulling away or anything. Helena figured that was a good thing, so she held her pose -- forehead to forehead, nose to nose, her readiness vibrating through her limbs as a faint trembling.

"Helena, it's simply -- "

The older woman's tone was decidedly husky.

"I love you, and you're the most important person in my life. I... I don't want to end up with any problems between us, Sweetheart."

Helena allowed herself a moment, blinking twice in puzzlement, as she wondered how Barbara could... Then, it hit her and a laugh washed through her.

Of course her digitally obsessive partner was gonna need to cross all the T's and dot all the I's. Idly, Helena wondered if Barbara had a pre-nup tucked in the pocket of her chair.

"No way, Red. I love you too much for that to happen."

Helena didn't need to sign anything. This was a promise she'd been waiting for years to make.

Struggling to focus at such close range, the brunette saw green eyes go cloudy as Barbara weighed her response. A split-second later, they cleared... and danced.

"Thank god -- "

Helena shivered at the throaty tone.

She gasped at the next words.

"Now, kiss me, Hel."

A tremor, another shiver -- hell, it might have been a frikkin' earthquake -- ran through the younger woman, and she smiled again. Shifting her head to one side, she wondered if she should just get the expression tattooed across her face. A moment later, when her lips finally brushed against that lush mouth, she realized that inks and needles wouldn't be necessary: that smile was gonna be fixed there to stay.

"Ohhhh, fu---"

Helena couldn't restrain her hoarse exhalation when their mouths finally came into contact.

The shape... the pressure... the satin touch... They were all more than she'd ever experienced, better than she'd dare dream.

Her jaw dropped slightly behind her closed lips, a yawing hunger licking at the back of her throat, as she continued to brush, then nibble gently at the other woman's soft mouth. When she heard Barbara's soft whisper -- "Dear heavens, Helena..." -- the brunette's jaw trembled briefly as she pulled back and parted her lips to draw in the other woman's sweet breath.

A warm hand cupped her ear; long fingers wound into the hair on the side of her head, nails scratching softly at her scalp. Upper lip drawing back in a pleased snarl, the young woman twisted her head down, tenderly raking the redhead's jaw with teeth and lips as a moist kiss simultaneously warmed her temple.

"Sweetheart-- "

Again, it was only a whisper, but the soft imprecation fanned the flames tickling the brunette's belly. She pushed herself closer to the edge of the couch, desperate for more contact, and rested shaking hands on the redhead's shoulders.

"God, Barbara..."

Lowering her mouth to the long neck arched before her, Helena squeezed her eyes and drew a long breath through flared nostrils.

Time for a little... control. Just a little self-control.

Clenching her teeth, aware that the trembling in her jaw was a complete instinct driven by her giddy, consuming desire for the other woman, she forced herself to slow down. This... this amazing, unbelievable moment was something Helena had wanted too long, and Barbara was too important. No way she was going to rush things.

Helena nibbled and sucked tenderly at the redhead's soft throat and angular jaw, drinking in the other woman's quietly panted sighs and rasped murmurs. She licked at a pounding pulse point, easily scenting the blood rushing beneath skin, and felt herself swelling and throbbing in sympathy to the redhead's deep groan. She arched her shoulders in response to fingers sifting though her hair and whispered her prayer of joy as her lips danced towards her lover's ear.


In a heartbeat, strong hands clasped both sides of the brunette's jaw and coaxed her face back up. A slightly calloused thumb roughly stroked her lips, and blue eyes flew open. Looking up, the young woman found herself impaled by the raw want in verdant eyes. All air seemed to leave her body in a rush, and Helena felt her eyes start to hood, the reaction to the older woman's hawk like gaze one of pure biology.

Regaining some control of her nervous system, the brunette cautiously licked very dry lips, then snaked out her tongue to capture that teasing digit and suck it between her teeth.

"Oh, yeah -- Barbara..."

The feel of the other woman's thumb between her lips, against her tongue, almost caused the young woman to lose control, hinting as it did of the fulfillment she craved, of the chance -- finally -- to take the other woman inside herself. Groaning, she raised her eyes to the other woman's face and smiled wickedly, then danced her tongue across the skin in her mouth and squeezed her thighs together against the pounding in her center that had just increased ten-fold.

Helena's smile was short-lived when the older woman summarily slid her thumb free, tugging the brunette to her even as she leaned forward.

"Helena, please!"

Capitulating to the plea, the young woman managed to shift herself into Barbara's chair, straddling the other woman's thighs, just as their mouths crashed together. She moaned, clenching the muscles of her pelvis, and dug her fingers into the arms of the chair when a questing tongue teased at her mouth. Helena parted her lips on a sigh and felt her muscles -- from her back to her stomach, down her arms to her fingers, across her thighs and down to her toes -- begin to quiver in ecstasy.

For possibly the first time in her life, Helena let go of her ingrained habit of taking charge. Instead, she surrendered to Barbara's pace, to knowing thrusts and teasing strokes that mapped her and shaped her as nothing ever had. She opened, drinking in the heady taste as she would a sacrament, and felt everything within her begin to swell and contract at the same time. As Barbara's hands on her back pulled her closer, the young woman arched into the contact and tried not to cry from the sheer joy of it all.

God, it felt so fuckin' good -- and amazing -- and right.

Still drinking in that impossible, unfathomable kiss, Helena mastered the trembling in her arms and raised her hands to touch the redhead's face. Tender strokes against the smooth plane of the other woman's cheek left her dizzy as Helena's fingers thrummed to the motion of Barbara's jaw as it moved in hungry concert to her teasing tongue. Gentle combing through red silk stuttered and jerked when warm hands moved suddenly from Helena's back to her chest, kneading roughly just above the swell of her breasts then dropping to her belly.

Helena gasped, fighting for breath, when the older woman broke the kiss and brought her mouth to rest against her cheek. She managed to draw her upper lip back in the semblance of a smile at the other woman's ragged breathing, then groaned -- low and thick -- when knowing fingers began to drag the hem of her shirt from her waistband.

"My god, Helena. I need to touch you."

The whisper of warm breath across the fine down on her cheek and the flutter of long fingers against the tank top under her leather shirt sucked the air from the young woman's lungs again. Arching forward like a tightly stretched bow, Helena pressed her lips to the delicate shell of an ear. Crazed for the taste of the other woman, she teased with her tongue even as she husked her reply.

"Oh, please, Barbara -- "

In an instant, impossibly strong, warm hands had cupped her breasts, kneading with languorous intent, palming suddenly over-sensitized peaks. The brunette dropped her hands to the back of the chair to bow her torso back, thrusting her chest into the welcome touch and struggling not to buck her hips against the other woman's lap.

"Fuck -- yeah."

Nearly delirious from the sensations against her own flesh, from the sound of the redhead's increasingly harsh panting, from the feel of Barbara's almost bruisingly frantic caresses, Helena allowed her head to drop back and lost herself. She lost herself in the effort to breathe, lost herself in the other woman's moans and whispers -- "Yes, Hel -- Let me...". She surrendered herself to the heat blooming through her chest and belly, surrendered herself to the grasping, aching hunger that fluttered at her center.

The brunette struggled to swallow through the low rumbling in her chest. She dragged her head upright, licking at her lips with a dry tongue, before lowering her face to brush her sweat-beaded cheek against her lover's. She dropped her head to lick at Barbara's neck, savoring the distinct taste of sweat... and arousal.

Whoa --

Helena rested a hand lightly against the side of the older woman's chest, then froze.

It was too much, too fast. Things were getting way out of ---


Yeah -- oh god, yeah -- it was the unmistakable sensation a slender hand inching past her snug waistband, of long fingers working against the tight leather of her pants to dip --

"Oh, shit, Barbara!"

Yellow eyes snapped open, and Helena instantly forgot every thought she'd ever had except one.


Judging from the almost rapturous look on the redhead's face, she thought she wouldn't have to wait long.

"My god -- You're so wet... so ready."

Barbara's voice was barely a whisper, holding a hint of something that Helena couldn't identify, something wonderful and thick with sin.

Staring into those sharp green eyes, the younger woman shivered anew when she realized what else was in that tone: Want.

Helena blinked back tears and raised a hand, tenderly brushing long red hair back from the older woman's face.

"How long, Barbara? How long have you...?"

The brunette's questions came out on a ragged gasp. Her partner's answer, delivered from under heavy lidded eyes which were filled with dark promises, was molten.

"Too long."

The words were accompanied by another teasing touch, and the brunette bucked her hips wildly and almost exploded.

God, yes, she was ready. She'd been waiting for this for as long as she could remember.

For this... This perfect touch. For Barbara's other hand, strong against her back, anchoring her. For the touch, the pressure that was... was...

Suddenly gone, its loss a physical pain.

"Jesus, Barbara! Wha--"

The hungry, almost desperate look that greeted Helena swallowed her question. The sensation of hands frantically plucking at the laces to her pants and the words that came to her ears on a harsh whisper sent a flood of wetness down her thighs.

"Get these down, Hel. Now. I need to be inside you."

Oh god...

Moments later, Helena rose on her knees, achingly ready for the touch -- the thrust -- that needed no further prelude. Two heartfelt groans mingled before being carried away by soft panting and short gasps. Head bowed, sweat dripping down her arms to slicken her hands where they clasped the arms of the chair, Helena held herself above Barbara. She kept her eyes open, locked on green-rimmed dark orbs which were filled with so much passion... and joy. She breathed slowly, in rhythm -- opening, opening herself until the fullness was all there was. And then -- in the next instant, the next moment, the next eternity...

Overwhelmed by the pleasure and the pain and the purity of the experience, Helena cried out, shuddering and sobbing.

Ready to collapse, aware of wetness seeping from every inch of her body, the young woman slid bonelessly from her lover's lap and sank to the floor. She buried her face against the older woman's knees, completely spent.

For long moments, she huddled there with her pants bunched around her knees and her shirt riding up her chest, aware only of Barbara, who was leaning over her to rub her back, to press melting kisses to her hair, to whisper thickly to her.

"Oh, Sweetheart. You... you're so beautiful. So wonderful..."

For another minute, maybe two, the young woman remained huddled, clinging to the other woman's legs. The sound of Barbara's still-harsh breathing and the feel of her slighty jerky caresses thrilled her, underscoring as they did that she'd not been alone in her passion. Finally, Helena shakily came to her knees and scrubbed the back of her wrist against her eyes, looking up. The frank wonder in that beloved face threatened to wipe out the modicum of control she'd regained.


She'd never, never, seen this coming. Couldn't have imagined it in her wildest dreams. It was everything she'd ever wanted -- needed -- without knowing that it could really exist.

"Are you all right, Hel?"

Recognizing that the whole speechless, glassy-eyed thing might be a little unsettling for the redhead, Helena sucked in a fortifying breath and then grinned.

"Hell, yeah, Red. Just give me a minute, and I'll show you."

The young woman accompanied this pronouncement with a waggle of dark brows and by leaning forward to nuzzle at well-toned abdominal muscles. The feeling of slightly heavier flesh brushing her cheek from above through the cotton of Barbara's tee shirt momentarily distracted the brunette, and she lifted her head fractionally. Stroking her lips across the soft cotton pulled taut against the redhead's upper chest, she amended her earlier remark.

"M'be not even a whole minute, Barbara..."

The only response was long fingers stroking her neck until Helena was surprised by strong hands grasping her shirt, tugging her into the older woman's lap. Puzzled, and certainly pleasantly intrigued, the brunette twisted her head to catch laughing green eyes as Barbara unlocked the brake of her chair and turned towards her bedroom.

"Let's go, Hel. I've got plans for you."

Chapter 9

Helena Kyle awakened slowly, as relaxed and content as she could remember feeling in a long, long time. She felt, she thought, kind of like a well-fed housecat on a sunny window sill.

Tensing her muscles in a series of isometric stretches, the young woman smiled dreamily -- relaxed, content -- then hissed silently as she tensed her thighs. She realized she needed to add to her list.

Relaxed. Content. And, sore.

Deliciously, thoroughly, stretched and sore.

Relaxing in complete lassitude, Helena blinked at the ceiling and smiled broadly. She'd sure been right about that smile thing: looked like "goofy grin" was gonna be her expression du jour for a while.

My god. What a night.

Blue eyes peered grumpily at the barely lightening sky visible through a crack in the heavy curtains, and the brunette corrected herself.

Considering the time that she'd arrived at the clock tower early this morning, it had only been a few hours. A few amazing, jaw-dropping, totally mind-blowing hours.

There had been that perpetuity of awkward conversation -- the brunette rolled her eyes as she recalled a few of the more cryptic and stilted exchanges -- as the two women had danced around their respective terrors. Then -- Helena's eyes fluttered shut as images painted a Monet fresco across the back of her eyelids -- that freakin' amazing interlude in the living area.

Thank god Dinah was a sound sleeper.

After that... The young woman smirked, recalling the trip to Barbara's bedroom, a journey which normally required all of fifteen seconds on a slow day. For some reason -- she thought it might have had to do with their inability to keep their hands to themselves -- this particular passage had taken quite a bit longer.

Helena suspected that some touch-up for the paint on at least two door jambs might be required.

Body suddenly awash with heat, the young woman smoothly turned within the arms which were encircling her from behind. She had no trouble focusing in the dim pre-dawn light, and her breath caught at the sight of her redheaded companion -- her friend and partner, and now, finally, her lover.

The older woman was sleeping soundly, hair fanned back from her face, covers neatly folded at her waist. Her breathing was quiet and steady, and her features were relaxed in repose in a way that Helena was seldom privileged to see. One tendril of long hair was caught against the corner of her mouth, and the brunette reached out to smooth it back.

The sensation of silky hair and soft skin against Helena's fingers sparked tingling down her arm and throughout her belly, and the young woman stilled her movements, amazed anew at her overwhelming response to the other woman. After a few deep breaths, she felt marginally less giddy and so allowed her hand to resume its motion.

Careful not to awaken the other woman, Helena brushed her fingertips lightly against the other woman's beautiful mouth, which had offered such amazing pleasure during the night -- both through words and deed. She brought her hand back to her face, sniffing delicately -- easily detecting her own familiar scent -- and smiling wolfishly at the older woman's enthusiasm.

When Red had said she had plans, she hadn't been kidding.

When they'd finally bumped their way into the bedroom a few hours earlier, Barbara had matter-of-factly removed her own shoes and jeans and transferred herself onto the bed, instructing Helena to take off her pants and over shirt.

"Leave on the tank and your underwear for now."

The honey-thick directive had raised the hairs on the back of the brunette's arms as she hastily complied with the instructions. Crawling up the big bed, she'd managed a light tone as she'd inquired what the redhead had in mind. The older woman's wicked smile and frank appraisal had brought a rush of color to normally blush-proof caramel features. Barbara's words had stopped her in her tracks.

"Later, Sweetheart, I intend to rip them off of you."

Barbara hadn't been kidding about that either.

Still, jaw-dropping, stomach-flipping promises notwithstanding, Helena had needed something else first.

She'd recovered her equilibrium and completed the short trek up the bed. Resting on her knees, she'd grasped the other woman's hand, wanting -- needing -- to tell her... To tell her how Barbara had already defied every dream she'd ever had, sleeping or awake... To tell her how goddamned much, how overwhelming everything was...

Helena knew that she wasn't always so good with words. But, like always, Red just seemed to get it.

Then, Barbara had done something else.

Helena had watched those arresting green eyes lose focus and track just a bit to the left. From long association, she recognized that the older woman was searching her infallible memory for something. When those eyes refocused on her, Barbara had pulled their twined hands to her lap, squeezing Helena's fingers tightly, as she spoke.

"I had been hungry all the years- / My noon had come, to dine- / I, trembling, drew the table near / And touched the curious wine."

She'd paused then, bringing their joined hands to her mouth and inhaling deeply.

" 'T was this on tables I had seen / When turning, hungry, lone, / I looked in windows, for the wealth / I could not hope to own."

When she'd finished the stanzas, both women had sat quietly for a moment, Barbara with her eyes dropping to their hands where she'd returned them to her lap, Helena blinking away something wet so that she could focus again on this amazingly brave woman who had just laid herself so open and bare.

The incongruous thought had run through the young woman's mind that she really didn't know why Barbara insisted that she wasn't any good with the emotional stuff. Helena thought she'd done pretty darned well, even if the words weren't her own.

Wishing that she had -- or could borrow -- the right words to respond, she'd finally fallen back on one of her surer skills: humor.

Helena had leaned forward, thighs tightening pleasantly under the slight strain, and pulled their joined hands to her. Cupping the back of Barbara's hand in her palm, she'd gently guided the older woman's hand to her chest, rotating Barbara's palm against her suddenly heavy and aching breast. As the redhead took over the motion and just before Helena's eyes had fluttered shut and she'd lost the power of speech, the young woman had smiled widely.

"Baby, I'm a regular smorgasbord. Dig in..."

And, boy, Barbara sure had. After two hours of alternating furious passion and slow teasing, the redhead had finally emitted a long groan and flopped back on the pillow, with Helena sprawled limp and wet in the middle of the big bed. Muttering darkly about hurricanes and passions left too long unvented, the brunette had crawled out of the bed, leaving the redhead chuckling warmly. When she'd returned from her quick restroom break on embarrassingly shaky legs, Barbara had been sleeping soundly -- but not too soundly to spoon possessively around the young woman when she'd quietly slipped into bed next to her.

Hearing the soft click signaling that the bedside alarm was triggering, Helena swung an arm out from under the covers and flailed at the night stand. She didn't quite reach the unit in time, and, when she recognized the bubblegum hit, she altered her motion, fumbling for the volume control to quiet the melody instead of shutting it off.

The way you kiss me crazy

Baby you're so amazing

Seven days and seven nights of thunder

The water's rising and I'm slipping under

I think I fell in love with the eighth world wonder

I guess that I'm just falling

Deeper into something I've never known

But the way that I'm feeling makes me realize that it can't be wrong

Sleepily curled in a nest of blankets and welcoming arms, mouth playfully moued at her own adolescent sappiness, the young woman traced a worshipful gaze down the long lines of her companion.


The other woman was simply, freakin' amazing. Everything -- and more -- than she'd longed for.

As for herself -- Well, the young woman flirted with the idea of pinching herself just to see if she was dreaming. But, as her eyes trailed along her bedmate's long neck -- looked like a turtleneck might be a good idea today -- and over the delicious swell at the top of the other woman's tee shirt, Helena unconsciously shifted her legs against the tightening in her lower body. The movement elicited a grimace at the slight soreness, then a full-blown smirk.

No pinching necessary for her.

"Thinking about something, Sweetie?"


Blue eyes flew up to meet very amused green.

Realizing that she didn't have a prayer -- much less any desire -- of bluffing her way out of it, the young woman decided that a... frontal assault might be in order. She ducked her head to the redhead's chest, mouth watering as she nosed at the tee shirt which covered flesh that she'd touched -- but not yet tasted -- earlier.

"I'll give you three guesses, Red..."

She paused for a beat, momentarily distracted by the whisper of a rapidly firming nipple against her cheek.

"...And anything that's not a body part doesn't count."

The redhead's low chuckle was amused and throaty, aroused, and distinctly, distinctly womanly in a way that Helena wasn't sure she'd ever heard in all of her years of sexual experience. The sound brushed across the young woman's skin as surely as the stroke of a warm hand -- or a moist mouth -- and she raised her face to press a soft kiss to Barbara's throat.

"Mmmm, Helena. Good morning."

The brunette bit back any number of glib responses about things rising and shining. This moment... this woman... It was too important for that. Instead, she wriggled a bit more so that she could once again see those warm green eyes in the muted morning light.

"Yeah, it is, Barbara."

Embarrassed by her own naked emotions, Helena grinned and buried her face in the crook of the older woman's neck. Caught up in the subtle taste under her mouth, she was surprised to hear her own voice cheerfully reiterating her earlier sentiment.

"It really, really is."

Helena was shifted slightly as the redhead languorously stretched her upper body under her, the movement pressing Barbara's chest against her in ways that instantly filled her mind with naughty, naughty ideas. She kept her face by the other woman's throat, listening to the rush of blood in her own ears, as Barbara yawned.

"I can't believe I feel this good after only--"

Helena felt the older woman turn her head towards the clock radio, her own face inched slightly in that direction by the twist of Barbara's neck, and she arched her back minutely.

"--little more than an hour's sleep, Hel."

Stroking her cheek lightly across the redhead's upper chest, brushing her lips against the ribbed neck of the tee shirt, Helena purred her response.

"Well, you know what they say, Babs: Diet and sleep only make up two sides of that healthy living pyramid."

"Do they indeed?"

The other woman's response was wry. Without even looking, Helena knew there was an arched eyebrow or two up there. Deciding that a nonverbal response was her best bet, she snaked two fingers under the hem of the redhead's tee shirt and brushed lightly against the soft skin of a firmly muscled abdomen. She thought that the tiny hitch she felt in her partner's breathing was a positive sign. However, since she wasn't sure how to interpret the slow, measured sigh, she reluctantly halted the restless exploration of her fingers and propped herself up on an elbow.

Blue eyes peered cautiously at the older woman, and Helena nibbled nervously at her lower lip. For all of their long years of association, an association that had bridged some of the highest of highs and lowest of lows together, the younger woman just wasn't sure what to make of the wistful, slightly lost expression on her dearest friend's face.

Helena swallowed.


She thought her voice sounded a little -- hell, a lot -- nervous. Apparently the redhead heard something in her tone as well, because a slender hand was suddenly cupping her cheek, thumb brushing her lips.

"Oh, Sweetheart -- No. Everything's fine. I'm just a little overwhelmed by... this."

Barbara removed her hand, gesturing quickly in the general vicinity of their tangled limbs, as she laughed. Reassured, Helena smiled and waited, noticing the color begin to edge up the older woman's face. However, the redhead didn't continue, instead casting her eyes towards the ceiling and turning decidedly rosy.

Raising her hand from Barbara's abdomen, the young woman smirked and walked two fingers up the redhead's torso, past her collar, over her throat and chin, coming to a stop at full lips.

Stroking ever-so-delicately with her index finger, she coaxed, "Aaaand?"

Helena shivered slightly as sharp, even teeth nipped playfully at her fingers.

"And, Helena...," she began briskly, "Well, it was just--"

The brunette hid her smile as her mentor's attempt at a businesslike response wavered rapidly. Instead, she leaned down and brushed a soft kiss to the other woman's lips, breathing her sincere encouragement into her mouth.

"Yeah, it was, wasn't it?"

She didn't move away after that, offering the other woman privacy from inquisitive eyes through her very proximity. The brunette felt Barbara's smile, heard her soft sigh as she finally spoke with endearing shyness.

"Yes, it was. And, I feel like a complete wanton harlot for wanting... so m... again."


Blue eyes popped wide open, and Helena simply purred her response into the shell of a very pink ear.

"Well, you know how I like loose women, Red."

She interrupted the redhead's tight laugh by rolling away from her to fumble on the bedside table. An instant later, she turned back and found herself fixed by a frankly confused stare.

"You want to call in, or you want me to do it for you, Babs?"

Lifting her eyebrows and batting her eyes winsomely, she gestured with the cordless.

This time, the older woman's laugh was full. Unfortunately in Helena's opinion, it coincided with the redhead pulling herself upright and swinging out of bed.

"As tempting as that is, Sweetheart, I did promise to proctor a group before school for a run-through of the AP exam."

Apparently unswayed by the brunette's expression, in which Helena tried to show how very, very unimpressed she was with the older woman's dedication to scholastic pursuits, Barbara laughed again and headed into her bathroom.

Recognizing that she had a better chance of chewing through titanium than she did bypassing the older woman's damnable puritan work ethic, Helena flung back the covers and swung her legs out of bed. The fact that the sudden movement caused several areas of her anatomy to sit up and register protest at earlier hard use improved her mood considerably.

Cheerfully whistling the refrain from the Vanessa Carlton song -- not even caring that the damned tune would be running through her head all day -- Helena bounded out of bed and started digging through Barbara's dresser in search of some underwear to borrow.

Part 10

Return to Birds of Prey Fiction

Return to Main Page