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.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Just a Woman
By Debbie


The computer clock slowly turned over to noon, and Barbara once again cocked an ear to see if there were any signs of her mail being delivered; Simmons always had it dispatched up to her as soon as it arrived.

Silence reigned.

Her shoulders drooped as she once more turned back to her bank of computers. After what appeared to be an age of worming her way through page upon page of binary code systems, she couldn't resist glancing at the clock, 12:15.

Surely, more time had passed than 15 short minutes. Taking a moment to listen yet again, she checked the calendar on her wall. There it was, she wasn't mistaken, February 14th.

This time the silence was broken by her sigh. She really thought that this year she would've had an early delivery of something. Since taking the proverbial step into the unknown with Helena those few weeks ago on Christmas Eve, the two women had forged a strong, healthy, and as far as she knew, loving relationship, the sort of relationship wherein two people celebrated this day with presents and some of that special loving she'd often heard about.

The redhead grinned as she pictured Helena's face when she received the present she had chosen personally as her gift to her lover. She saw it now, carefully laid out on Helena's side of Barbara's large king-size. She chuckled to herself, when had she started calling it Helena's side of the bed?

Suddenly, a laugh rumbled up through Barbara's chest; she knew the art of loving was in the giving, but God help Helena if she hadn't returned the sentiment in some way. After all, having red hair gave her the license to have a temper, and having a fiery girlfriend like Helena, gave her license to exercise her license.

Working her way back to the computers, she opened up her note-pad, ostensibly to start working with the Viterbi algorithm and the tape of a satellite communication they had intercepted the previous night. She believed it was related to the delivery of a large cache of arms from the island of Marikeshnah, bound for the lair of some major player. Using Andrew Viterbi's program, admittededly modified over the years by herself, she intended to decode the convolutional coding of the satellite communication and decipher which major player was involved.

Ten minutes into her work, a shrill alarm began to ring. Expertly scanning her other open screens, and failing to recognize the alarm's tone, Oracle stared hard at her open note-pad. Nothing appeared to be out of the ordinary. Then she spotted it, down in the task bar, a small flashing red rose.

Going against all of her cyber-geek instincts, she clicked on the flashing lure.

A screen opened immediately, and a computerized hand sketched a rose. A paint pot proceeded to fill it in red, and a large I appeared above the sketch.

Barbara shrugged.

Two minutes later the shrill alarm went off again. Immediately, clicking on the icon, Barbara watched as the exact same process occurred again, this time with the large letter L. Twice more in quick succession, the sketches occurred with the addition of two more letters, U and B.

It was obvious this was a planned attack and a welcomed one at that. Barbara might be called emotionally starved by some people, but even she recognized an elaborate Valentine gift sent to a cyber-nut. All she had to do was work out the sequence of attacks, and her message would be clear.

Quickly, she realized that every time a certain sequence of the code appeared, D = ||vr - vi||2, the alarm triggered, and her singular sketches transformed into a perfectly formed bunch of red roses with the letters, I L U Babs xox H, hovering above.

Barbara was surprised to feel a tear in the corner of an eye, and a large grin creasing her face. She'd realized recently that Helena wasn't as computer illiterate as she claimed, but this had stunned Barbara. She was over the moon with happiness.

And yet, questions flooded her already overworked brain. When had Helena introduced this to her Viterbi program, how had she known that Barbara would work on this program today, how much did the message really mean, and did Helena only see her as the cyber genius?

As her phone rang, Barbara put all her questions aside and answered quickly.

The nervous voice of her lover answered, "Hey, Babs, did you get it?"

"Did I get what?"

"Um, the valentine gift I sent you?"

"If you mean this amazing bunch of cyber roses, you know I did. I bet you've got some signal programmed back to you letting you know exactly when I finished opening the bits, haven't you?"

Helena's voice was sheepish on the other end of the phone, "Yeah. I wanted to be able to call and say it in person to you, too. May I?"

"What? Say the words?" Barbara shrugged her shoulders. They'd decided back on New Year's Day that it was something they didn't need to say, it was obvious they lived it. She sighed. "It's your call, Hel."

"Yeah, I know, in that case, I L U, Babs, Happy Valentine's." Hearing her girlfriend's delighted laughter on the other end of the line, Helena knew she had made the right decision not to voice her thoughts but to continue with the virtual feel of her gift. "Are we on for later? Please?"

Barbara's voice became as seductive as she could make it in the cold light of day and over a telephone. "Of course, we are. I have your gift waiting right here, don't be too late." Her voice changed mid sentence to become more serious, "… and don't get too bashed up before you get here, huh? Be careful."

"I will. See you soon."

Putting the phone down, Barbara remembered her last thought prior to the call, 'Did Helena only see her as a cyber-genius?' Suddenly, the redhead realized she wanted more than that.

She'd had relationships with like-minded people before, people who supposedly understood the business they were in, only to have the business still get in the way in the end. As Oracle she always managed to do something that got in the way of the relationships she'd tried to nurture.

Suddenly, it hit her; this time she wanted it to be different; this time she wanted it to last. That was why she'd already introduced Helena to her dad, that was why she'd seduced Helena through her school children, and that was why she wanted to be wooed with real flowers.

It was all very well that Oracle and Huntress were dating, but this time Oracle wanted to be Barbara, and Barbara wanted to date Helena.

This time Oracle wanted to be loved as Barbara, this time the cyber-geek wanted to be loved as a woman.

Many hours of Verterbi later, Barbara noticed the time was getting late, and she couldn't help but chuckle. After all her deliberations of earlier and deciding that she wanted her girlfriend to treat her as a woman, here she was still sitting at a computer, still nowhere near being ready for Helena's arrival.

Just as she zipped up her simple black dress, the dress she always fell back on when she needed to remind herself she really was Barbara Gordon; her phone rang again.

"Hey Babs, I'm running a little late. I got caught up in a mass brawl down by the docks, and just need to go and clean off. Do you want me to bring take-out?"

This time Barbara couldn't hold back the beginning of anger, "No, I don't. You get yourself here, and quick." Calming her temper down, she softened her voice to add, "I want to take you somewhere special, Hel, it's Valentine's, you know?"

"Yeah, I know." Helena rang off.

The redhead wheeled herself into the lounge and poured herself a tumbler of her father's best scotch; Helena could drive tonight, she was going to enjoy herself. Seeing the bunch of cyber roses hanging on her mantle shelf, printed off in a moment of romance, Barbara smiled and let some of the tension go. She might not have said the words, but Helena had told her all she needed to know and now it was her turn. Helena would know how she felt by the end of the evening, of that there was no doubt.

The ringing of her doorbell alerted her to an arrival, and glancing at her watch, she saw only ten minutes had passed; surely this wasn't Helena all ready.

Simmons' tinny voice announced she had a visitor waiting downstairs, some dark-haired woman that said she was expected. Barbara assumed it to be Helena and buzzed up her girlfriend immediately.

A timid knock on the door followed, and Barbara called out for Helena to enter, but no one answered or entered.

An exasperated Barbara rolled over to the door flinging it wide with angry words, "Don't tell me you forgot your…"

Stunned, her words stopped short.

In front of her was Helena Bertinelli in the most gorgeous sheer fitting red dress she had ever seen, thrusting a dozen real roses in her face, and holding a box of what appeared to be very expensive chocolates in her other hand.

Barbara took the roses and wheeled backwards for Helena to pass. As she passed, the redhead grabbed her hand and pulled her down for one of their special kisses.

"What's all this, Hel?"

The words her girlfriend said warmed Barbara's heart and made her realize that on this Valentine's Day she was one lucky woman indeed.

"I know I'm supposed to be the hard assed Huntress, but sometimes I just want to be me, sometimes I just want to spoil my girlfriend." Leaning forward to whisper the real words of her earlier cyber greeting, she added, "Sometimes, I just want to spoil my woman."

The End

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