DISCLAIMER: These characters and situations do not belong to me in any way shape or form. I have borrowed them as part of my sanity maintenance.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Written for the Femslash Advent Calendar: Dead of Summer 2008 as a companion piece to my previous two calendar entries, Thank God for Helena and Thank God for Barbara. This will be the interlude before the final piece, Thank God for the Birds of Prey.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To deb123em[at]gmail.com

Interlude (Differences of Opinion)
By Debbie


Barbara's fingers whizzed over the different keyboards as she tried with all her organized might to keep track of the speeding Huntress. She quietly seethed as the other half of her brain tried to keep a bead on a bunch of teens intent on blowing up Metropolis.

She knew she was moaning, but she had to try and get Huntress back on track again.

"Please, Huntress; it's important."

Damn, she knew they, of all words, were the wrong ones to use even before she said them, but they'd slipped past her lips without a thought. Huntress's present concern was just as, in fact probably more so, important to her than a bomb threatening Metropolis, and Barbara knew it. Given the choice between saving a bus load of children and a city, Helena's heart would always choose the children, and no amount of logic from Barbara would change her mind.

"Forget it, Oracle! Someone else will have to handle it."

Barbara pointing out to Helena that saving the children so they could live in a demolished city didn't make an awful lot of sense probably wasn't the right thing to say right now. She knew Helena's decision had been made.

She sighed; Huntress and Oracle at odds with each other again. These days were getting fewer and further between, but still, like today, they occasionally happened.

As her fingers continued to fly, her eyes flittered from screen to screen and a smile threatened to break Oracle's stern features as she remembered the reason these days were now few and far between; her ever lengthening relationship with Helena.

Helena Bertinelli, her crime-fighting partner, her friend, her lover, her past, her future. Jeez, when had she gotten so melodramatic?

Raising her voice slightly, she once again tried coercing Huntress to the other side of town, only for the answer she'd known would appear to ring back over the airwaves.

"I'm busy."

Oracle continued to tell her tale to Huntress while doing what she did best, helping Huntress without the other woman really knowing it was happening.

"Keep 'em green all the way up Bessolo Boulevard!"

A chuckle managed to escape as another reason for their better working relationship surfaced; Helena was really beginning to realise just how much assistance Oracle could give, even in what sometimes appeared to be the most mundane of crime-fighting tasks, like chasing down a bus full of carjackers and their stolen human cargo.

Oracle grinned; it was obvious she wouldn't get Huntress to desert the children, so her best course of action was to tell Huntress the rest of the story, while giving her the appropriate encouragement to get her job finished. Only then could she set about stopping the crime at the Waterworks.

"I wasn't finished about the Waterworks."

This time it was a low, almost chuckle from Helena that broke the airwave stand-off.

Oracle quickly related the details of the other situation that was brewing as a group of high-school misfits had been called into action by The Atomic Skull, an imprisoned ex-terrorist leader. He'd convinced them to set off his weapon of choice, a bomb designed to release a cloud of chlorine gas that would kill upwards of 20,000 people in downtown Metropolis, if their demand for his release from prison was not met

"He's set those kids up to fail; hell of a way to treat your fanclub." Despite putting two and two together to make five, Helena was having none of it. "Let Lady Blackhawk handle it."

"Helena, I am not calling in an airstrike…"

After bandying back and forth a few other possibilities of women Barbara could call into action, Helena finally threw in the one name she knew would make Barbara lose her cool. "What about Power Girl? Her chest alone should subdue them."

Even Oracle of the 'no emotion involved' fame could pick up the slight hint of jealousy in Helena's suggestion. For some reason, Barbara's very short liaison with Power Girl was the one past relationship that really bothered Helena. Not even Babs much more intense, and important, past relationship with Nightwing caused Helena as much heartache. Barbara wasn't sure what the problem was with Power Girl, and for that reason only, she always bit.

"She's busy with the Justice Society these days. Now, will you stop whining and just handle it already!!"

Oracle had had enough of waiting; she wanted her chosen city to be safe, and she wanted it safe now.

Huntress's reaction to the command threw her brain into turmoil though. She couldn't stop the gasp as Helena immediately dipped her bike into a slide…


… disappearing under the bus in a flash. Barbara held her breath for what seemed like hours until catching a glimpse of Helena pulling herself up onto the tailgate of the bus ready to smash her way through the rear window. She then had to hold her breath again as all she could hear were shots and thuds as Huntress did what she was good at.

Finally, finally, the voice of Helena came back into her ear with the hint of a tease in her words.

"Oracle, you owe me a motorcycle. Now, where's this damned emergency of yours?"

"The Waterworks substation next to the Shuster Bridge."

"Okay, do that thing with the traffic lights again. I need a clear shot from here to the Waterworks."

"It's already done. I just hope we're not too late."

Helena's next words suddenly made everything alright again; they were back to their teasing ways.

"Nag, nag, nag. You know, I really thought with all the new birds on the roster, this wouldn't be a problem."

Only a lover that was becoming more and more attuned to her partner's nuances would have picked up on another sliver of the green-eyed mist, but Barbara heard it and was surprisingly pleased. It really was nice to know that Helena cared enough to get irritated when she worked with other women. She grinned; sometimes it didn't hurt to play on that knowledge just a little.

"Remember the time I got Catwoman to stop a jewel heist on Paris Heston's yacht?"

As she told Huntress of Catwoman blowing up said yacht, of Phantom Lady playing soft with a group of child thieves, and of Black Orchid detonating the bomb she was supposed to be defusing, she kept hearing soft huffs in the background and little sighs of Helena's irritation. All the while, she also maintained a close eye on the borrowed bus's destination.

"Okay, the Waterworks should be up on your right."

"Finally, any more of your sob stories, and I'll scream."

Barbara chuckled as she tried to give orders of how Huntress should arrive at the Waterworks.

"They're in the main building, right?"

Helena's interruption drew her up short. "Yeah… why?"

"I'm taking a shortcut."

Another groan of consternation left Oracle's lips as she watched the school bus basically take a flying leap off the Schuster Bridge straight into the main building of the Metropolis Waterworks. She muttered, "So much for stealth," to no one in particular, knowing very well that Huntress had a tendency to tune out her words once at a crime scene.

She had to try though, that was Oracle's way. "Huntress, don't let them touch the bomb."

At her words, Huntress stopped and looked around at the assortment of youths, a look of consideration on her face. Oracle sighed as Huntress grabbed the nearest lad and dragged him over to stand beside the bomb, grumbling in his ear, "Come on, boy genius, you're elected to defuse this thing."

Once again it appeared Helena was ignoring Oracle and wandering off along her own tangent. Barbara racked her brains, trying to find a way to get Huntress back on course. The crime-fighter's next words stopped her meandering thoughts immediately.

"Whoa, you started the countdown."

Barbara bit her lip, keeping her thoughts to herself, things had escalated. Huntress was at ground zero, Huntress knew what to do, and whatever else that had happened in the past, Oracle was slowly accepting that Huntress could be trusted to do the right thing in a pressure situation. She even managed to maintain radio silence when she spotted a muzzle pointing at Helena's back; if she wasn't mistaken, she'd also spotted Helena notice the gun in the boy's waistband the moment she'd burst through the bus window in her wild entrance manoeuvre.

Sure enough, Helena immediately dealt with that situation, only to then confound Oracle with her chosen master-plan.

"Listen up. Your jailbird hero set you up to die today! There's nowhere to run, so if you're all such evil masterminds, you'd better come up with a solution now!"

How Huntress thought that trusting a bunch of thugs with the safety of her city was a good plan, she had no idea but, if that was Huntress's plan, then, this time, Oracle was going to heed it.

Thirteen minutes later, the teens had vented the chlorine tank into the Waterworks chlorination system and, by the time the bomb detonated, Helena and the boys were all outside and safe.

Finally, with everything under control, the carjackers off to jail, the bomb youths off to Juvenile Hall, Helena's bike off to the scrap yard, and a new one ordered in its place, Oracle dared to ask.

"You do this stuff to torment me, don't you?

Helena laughed a joyous sound. "What stuff?"

"Rush in recklessly like Black Orchid, hold your fire like Phantom Lady, scuttle the mission site like Catwoman…"

"So-o-o next time, just shut up and stop giving me ideas, huh?"

Oracle laughed. Now that the adrenaline rush was easing off, she knew just what the two women needed to come down from their high. Purring, she whispered over the comm link. "Get yourself back here as quick as you possibly can, and then maybe I'll give you another couple of ideas, huh?"

Helena's breath caught at the seductive trill in Barbara's voice. She could still feel the tingles of pleasure that had coursed through her the last time Oracle had welcomed her home from an exciting mission. "Ideas, huh? What pray tell will stop me from taking a hot shower and sleeping the sleep of the dead?"

"Ah, well, did I ever tell you about the time Catwoman brought her lash and …"

Already bounding across the rooftops of Metropolis on her way to heaven, Helena didn't hear the rest of Oracle's words.

Later that night, after Helena had proven that none of Barbara's ideas came anywhere near her own suggestions in planning, execution, or fulfilment, Huntress finally heard about Catwoman's matching PVC bustier.

And Oracle? She just knew, without any grain of doubt, that differences of opinion with Huntress were what made this world all that she wanted.

End Interlude

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