DISCLAIMER: I do not own anything, nor am I writing this for profit. The characters belong to the WB and DC comics. No copyright infringement is intended.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: This is not beta-ed, so any mistakes are completely my own and I admit to it up front. Thanks for reading. Any comments or criticism can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
"Oracle, you have to come quickly!"
Barbara Gordon, aka Oracle, quickly sat up in her chair. She faced the multiple screens of her creation, the supercomputer Delphi, scanning for what had caused her friend and vigilante partner to call for help.
"Huntress, what's your status?!"
"Just hurry, you have to come see!"
Barbara would have questioned Huntress more, but the connection was broken on Huntress' end, leaving her listening to nothing but static. Taking a quick look at the GPS and noting her operative's position, the redhead wheeled herself back from the table looking at her useless legs. Rolling to the elevator that would take her to the parking garage below New Gotham's Clocktower, she once again cursed her disability. As Batgirl she could have been at Huntress' position in a matter of minutes soaring across the rooftops. Instead, she would have to fight traffic in the specially modified Range Rover. Who knew what could happen to the young woman in that amount of time?
Twenty minutes later, Barbara lowered herself into her wheelchair and looked up at the glowing letters above her, Costco. After a moment of disbelief, she ran though her mental catalog of possible ways to seriously injure her friend. She was eyeing the shopping carts and wondering at the metal's strength and flexibility when a familiar figure approached. Helena, aka Huntress, was dressed in tight black jeans and a blue t-shirt that matched her eyes, her hair going in fifteen different directions as usual.
"Barbara, you have got to check this out," the young woman spoke giving her friend her best smile.
"What I need to check out is your head!" Barbara had long since become immune to Helena's charms. "You dragged me out of the Clocktower when you were supposed to be working for this . . . a bulk food store!" Realizing she had begun to shout, Barbara tried to calm her breathing. Really it wasn't the worse thing or even the most inconsiderate thing the younger woman had ever done, but she hated going out for any reason that wasn't vital. As much as she tried to ignore it, she was a woman in a wheelchair and some things were just harder than they had once been.
Helena hesitated for just a moment in the face of the redhead's anger. "Sorry, I just you have to see this!"
"Fine!" Realizing that having Helena show her - whatever it was the brunette wanted to show her, was probably the fastest way to wrap-up this entire mess, Barbara began to wheel herself to the entrance. Helena followed at her side almost bouncing on her toes, the childlike action managing to put a grudging smile on the redhead's face.
Entering the store, Helena took the lead, unconsciously clearing a path for Barbara to follow. She led them past electronics (which managed to catch Barbara's eye), past books, past bins heaped with different types of clothing, finally reaching the food in the back. Counting the aisles, she turned into the fourth and stopped halfway down.
"Here it is." Helena's voice held a note of reverence, and her eyes looked upwards with awe.
Barbara, on the other hand, stared upward in disbelief. On the shelf above sat a blue box. The box read "Poptarts" in white script, and at the bottom proclaimed a ridiculous amount of the sugary rectangular food. Her gaze passed back and forth from Helena to the box several times before she closed her eyes and counted to ten, then to fifty. Then she tried meditation. Finally, she settled for finishing her daydream of the many possible uses for shopping carts and a human body which allowed her to face her younger friend with something like calmness.
"Helena, this is a box of Poptarts, albeit a very large box of Poptarts, but still merely a box of Poptarts. Please tell me that you did not blow off sweeps, have me abandon the Delphi, drive down here, and enter this temple to human consumption just so you could show me a box of Poptarts."
For the first time since they had arrived, Helena looked away from the shelves. "Uhh well . . . pretty much . . . yeah."
Gritting her teeth, Barbara refrained from speaking, merely gesturing for Helena to grab the box before turning her wheelchair toward the exit. She remained silent as they purchased their one item from the zombified clerk and throughout the indignity of one of the employees checking their receipt at the door. Honestly, who would carry out a giant box of Poptarts they hadn't paid for? She was still quiet as she and Helena entered the car, waiting for Helena to pack her wheelchair away. There was no sound as she started the car and pulled out of the parking lot.
"We could go shopping."
Barbara slowly turned her head to look at the woman beside her. "Excuse me, Hel?"
Helena glanced at her almost shyly.
"Well I just thought we're already out, so why not have some fun." Her blue eyes gazed at Barbara pleadingly.
"Helena, I don't want to go shopping. I want to get home and check on the Delphi and get my lesson plans straightened out for tomorrow." The brunette nodded her head sadly.
"Right, sorry, it's just we haven't done anything outside of 'the business' (here Helena supplied the necessary air quotes) for so long. I miss spending time with you."
"Helena we do stuff all the time. We have responsibilities that simply won't allow for shopping trips to the mall, but you're at the Clocktower every weekend to watch movies anyway. We have breakfast most Sundays. What more do you want!?"
"I want it to be like before Mom died, before-" Helena quickly shut her mouth and looked out the window, but Barbara wasn't fooled.
"Before I was shot you mean." The younger woman let out a sigh, but didn't look at her.
"Yeah, I guess." She looked down at her hands resting in her lap rather than look at Barbara. "Sorry, I just miss when we used to hang out all the time."
"We weren't together all the time, Hel. You had school and I was working as Batgirl. I think you may be exaggerating somewhat." Barbara tried to smile, but knew it was a sad attempt. Helena finally met her eyes, her expression serious.
"That's not the point." Barbara had to wonder when Helena had become the more direct of the two of them.
"No, I suppose it's not." Silence filled the car as Barbara focused on the road. When they entered the garage below the tower, she laid a hand on Helena's arm, stopping her from exiting the vehicle. "If I promise to try to get out more, will you promise to try to be around more?" Helena's face scrunched up.
"But you said I'm always around-"
"Not just watching movies," Barbara cut in. "I mean working with Dinah, being on time for sweeps, staying out of trouble, and taking an interest in our lives. Can you do that, are you willing to do that? Because that's what I need, Hel. I need a reason to leave the tower. Like knowing there's someone ready to meet me halfway." Helena was silent for period and then looked directly into her eyes.
"Alright, it's a promise." Barbara let out the breath she'd been holding.
"It's a promise. We'll go to the mall next Saturday."
"But, that's five days away! I'll be old and crippled by then!" The older woman rolled her eyes and started the process of getting out of the car while Helena unloaded.
"Shut up, Hel. I should have made you promise to tone down the melodramatics."
"You like my melodramatics. It's one of my better qualities."
"I actually happen to agree, but only because there aren't that many to choose from." Helena motioned her into the elevator with one hand, her face a mask of indignation.
"Why did I want to go shopping with you?" Barbara didn't bother to reply, simply smiling benignly at the woman next to her. As they neared the top of the Clocktower, however, she thought it necessary to make one last point.
"Hmm . . ."
"If you ever drag me out to help you purchase a carton of Poptarts again, I will do terrible things to you with a shopping cart." With that, she calmly rolled out of the elevator leaving a fuming and slightly nervous Huntress in the elevator alone with her box of Poptarts.
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