DISCLAIMER: Birds of Prey and its characters are the property of Miller/Tobin Productions, Warner Brothers and DC comics. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: My first BoP-fiction take it as it is. Lyrics are from Cue Crazy; Barry White You're my first, my last, my everything; Roberta Flack First time I ever saw your face.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
My Kind of Wonderful
Part Two Last Night
Helena is gone when I wake up. I immediately miss her presence, knowing she's not in the room. At first I think she's waiting for me downstairs, but I soon realize she's left the Clocktower. The insight brings instant sadness. She left me, I think sighing, but there's still a sliver of hope within me. Maybe she's gone to speak to Reese. Maybe she's with Dinah someplace... Maybe...
Maybe she regrets staying the night.
Even though I haven't slept for many hours I feel refreshed, rested. It's like I've been charged with a gigantic battery. Thinking of the nights activities makes me blush while I'm making myself ready for the day. Helena...
She left me I swallow, not wanting to have to deal with what Helena leaving me might mean. I'll deal with it when I see her. She might have a perfectly reasonable explanation for why she didn't want to stay in my bed. Other than she considers she's made a mistake?
I push away distracting, negative thoughts, not wanting to paint the world black on a day like this. I've slept with Helena. The thought makes me grin like a fool. I've slept with Helena and it was wonderful. It was better than anything...
"Dinah!" I call, wheeling in to the kitchen. It's empty. Maybe she's gone somewhere with Helena.
I make some breakfast, feeling more at ease and relaxed than I have in a long time. The pain is gone, replaced by a kind of... peace. I'm not really worried about Helena. When I looked into her eyes last night I saw her, felt her sensed her in a way I haven't before. She wanted me as much as I wanted her. That wasn't an act. She's probably just freaked... I think. Helena has a habit of bolting when things get too emotional. Even though we didn't say a word during the night it got pretty emotional. The thought makes me blush again.
I'll just talk to her. Explain how I feel about her.
I've just finished my breakfast and sit by Delphi when the phone rings. It's detective Reese.
"Oracle," he says.
"Yes?" I ask carefully, not sure what to expect.
"Is Huntress there? I've some questions regarding last night's... arrests."
"No, as a matter of fact I'm not sure where she is. I thought she was with you."
There's a brief silence.
"She left too quickly last night. There are some technicalities we need to go through. You know what it's like, being in the department."
"You need to prove everything, right," I say, still unclear about this conversation. There's another silence and then:
"How's Helena?" detective Reese asks.
I blink. "She's... fine, I presume. You saw her yesterday, didn't you?"
He seems to hesitate. "We don't really speak any more, it's strictly business. She's good about it, but I... miss her. Does she mention me?"
"Um, well..." I don't know what to say. "How long... is it now?"
"Since she broke up with me? Almost five weeks. Did she tell you? She didn't think I was exciting enough..."
God! I close my eyes. Right if she hasn't been with Reese during these weeks, where the hell has she been? And last night...?
"Um... I'm sorry, Reese. Her father had a commitment problem. Guess she just inherited it." I don't know what I'm saying.
"Well, yeah we both knew that. I thought she'd grown out of it."
"Frankly," I sigh, "so did I."
"I've seen her around town with other... men. One time I even saw her with a woman. Did you know about that?"
There's a bitterness in Reese's voice and I don't blame him. This is the Helena I know; picking up one night stands to disgard the next day. I remember how she used to be in her late teens the arguments we had about some of her choices. A woman? I think sadly. Helena did last night mean anything to you?
"I'm truly sorry, Reese," I say and mean it, for many reasons. Mostly I'm sorry for Helena. Will she ever be happy?
"Right just let her know I need to see her about the gang from yesterday, will you?"
After my conversation with Reese I sit quietly in deep thoughts for a long time. I feel quite... numb. Numb and sad.
Alfred serves me some tea, but I don't recall any proper conversation other than asking him about Helena. He doesn't know where she is. Later Dinah finds me, breaking my contemplation. I play some music in the background on the computer when she comes home. Usually I don't fancy popular music, but today I find it quite distracting and quite fitting that most of the music deals with romantic love in one way or another. Dinah's alone, but by now I hadn't expected anything else.
"Hi," she says, walking up to me.
"Dinah," I say.
She looks inquiringly at me and then states: "You're feeling better."
"I am, thank you," I say, somewhat distracted.
"So, whatever Helena did last night must've helped."
So, I had been right Dinah had talked to her. It doesn't really matter now, considering everything else that's happened.
"Did you have a good talk?"
"Not really," I say matter-of-factly, thinking of Helena's hands and mouth touching me.
I hear a low, sad voice singing a song in the background I've never heard before.
The message is hidden
Let's get serious
What's going on?
Hey! Hey! You make things difficult
You make it hard livin' on
I'm going crazy
Livin' this way
I'm giving all my life to you
Baby I'm crazy
But I'm going insane
I shouldn't love you like I do
I must have been screaming
That was unintentional
I do apologize
For the way I feel
So tell me I'm dreaming
cause I'm a bit conventional
It's no big deal
Maybe the cure is
Worse than the disease
I shouldn't love you like I do
I shouldn't love you, but I do "
It's the most fitting song I've ever heard. I wonder who sings it.
"Hmm?" I say, still listening to the song. That was the way Helena used to make me feel. I knew I couldn't love her, so I went other places to find love. I found Wade, but even before his death Helena's presence made me ache for her. Not as much as when Wade wasn't there anymore, but enough to make me realize my feelings for her wouldn't just go away. I hated myself in the beginning for falling in love with her she was young and I was her guardian, her mentor. I had no right to feel that way about her. "I shouldn't love you the way I do " But I do... Presumably that's why I thought she'd hate me if she found out the truth. I wonder if she does now?
Before Wade I dated a couple of other men, just to get my mind off Helena. They didn't mean anything to me and I used to share my experiences with her. We would laugh at their shortcomings and she would tease me about my efforts. I didn't share my experiences about Wade with her and I think that fact hurt her. She probably felt I left her out of my life, but the thing was that I needed to move on. I needed Wade in order to forget about her.
"Barbara!" Dinah says sharply and I look at her.
She gestures towards the desk. "Look you're stirring an empty cup with your pen."
I look down, realizing she's right. My tea was finished long ago thankfully, otherwise my pen would be quite spoiled by now. I remove it and put it down.
"Sorry I'm somewhat distracted."
"I can see," Dinah says dryly. "You're feeling better, aren't you?"
I meet her gaze and nod. "I am. I do appreciate your worrying about me and I understand you interfering, but..." I hold her gaze. "Next time, please give me a heads up before sending Helena charging into my life."
She blushes, as I expect her to.
"Um, sorry 'bout that," she mumbles. "But honestly, I didn't know she was coming home yesterday."
"You didn't?" I ask surprised. "You didn't ask her to come home while at the crime scene?"
"No." Dinah shakes her head. "She sent me right off again, before detective Reese turned up. She didn't say anything about coming back to the Clocktower."
I frown. "Right, thanks, Dinah." Helena, I think. Where are you? "Dinah," I add after a moment's hesitation. "Did you know Helena isn't dating detective Reese anymore?"
"Well, she told me yesterday. Did she tell you?"
I shake my head, again slightly distracted. "No, actually Reese did when he called me this morning."
"Yes. You don't happen to know where she is, do you?"
The blonde girl shakes her head without a word and I look closer at her.
"You didn't sleep at home, did you?" I add, noticing for the first time that she is still wearing the same pink top as yesterday. She blushes slightly.
"Helena didn't think it would be good for me being around the two of you... If you ended having an argument, wanting to kill each other or something. Considering my abilities, that is."
I nod, thinking Helena at least showed some sense of responsibility yesterday. That wasn't fair, I think, defending her. To be honest: I kissed her and she didn't do anything I didn't want her to... Not a thing. I blush thinking about it and notice Dinah giving me a strange look. Well, I think with an inward sigh. There's nothing to blame Helena for. She probably thought she was comforting me. Maybe she thought I didn't need or want anything more from her. It's my own fault for not talking to her last night not telling her the truth.
"Did you have a fight?" Dinah asks worriedly.
"No, we didn't. She... She was a good friend. I'm fine now, you don't have to worry about me."
Dinah nods and gestures towards the elevator. "If you don't mind I'm going to have a shower and freshen up."
"Go ahead. I've eaten, but Alfred saved some lunch for you," I say, recalling the older man telling me Dinah wasn't home. "I've some work to do for school. We're having a conference before the beginning of the semester. I think I have to go away for a few days next week, so you and Helena will have to manage the city on your own. I've been meaning to talk to you about it, but..."
"No, that will be fine. We'll manage."
I nod, not wanting to doubt Dinah. "I'll talk to Helena about it as well. She needs to be around more if I'm going away."
"Great." Dinah smiles. "See you later." She darts off towards the stairs and leaves me alone with my thoughts of Helena.
It's late at night when she returns. She walks in from the elevator; dressed in the blue top with the red rose I gave her once. The sight of her makes my heart skip a beat, but I keep a straight face. Her presences make me remember the night before: her fingers caressing my naked skin, me craving more of her touch of her hands and her lips; her mouth sucking, her tongue in places that make me blush remembering... I've never made love to anyone the way I made love to her. She was like a wave, strong but gentle. She was careful, but still passionate. Her mouth... Her mouth tasted me everywhere. Her fingers traced the length of my body, finding scars not even Wade noticed. She kissed them with soft lips. Her lips... Her face when I touched her... Her cats' eyes...
I want her still.
The thought hits me when she walks towards me. I want her still. The sight of her, the scent of her... My heart trembles and there's an ache within me only her touch will ease.
She's been drinking. She's not drunk, but I can smell the beer on her. I can't see what she's thinking, but she looks guarded defensive. Sometimes she has trouble finding words when she needs to discuss emotional matters. I stay silent, wanting to give her time if there's anything she needs to tell me.
"You're up late," she says and I feel a sudden pang of disappointment, but it passes. I didn't really expect her to proclaim her love for me not after my conversation with Reese.
"Work," I say, gesturing towards the computer. "School starts in a few weeks. There are some things that need to be done."
"Right," she says, looking bored.
She's closer now and my skin tingles longing for her touch. Then I notice the dark mark on her neck: a love-bite. She doesn't even bother to hide it and I feel hurt by this display of lovemaking other than mine.
"Who did that to you?" I ask almost vehemently, losing control for a moment. I didn't do that, I think. I couldn't have done that. "Where have you been?" I'm annoyed and slightly angry and I don't bother hiding it. She gives me an injured, affronted look, squaring her shoulders.
"You know," she says bitingly. "That's none of your fucking business. I'm a grown woman and you're not my mother."
I look at her, sensing the rage and the hurt within her. She's right, of course. She's a grown woman, making her own choices. I thought maybe I meant more to her than one night's pleasure, but I was obviously wrong. Not that it matters I invited her. She gave me what I wanted and she did it well. She comforted me when I needed it and I have no right to ask for more.
"You're right, of course," I say, nodding. "You're right. I won't interfere in your life any more. I'm sorry for prying; it's none of my business."
I turn the wheelchair, thinking I'll have to discuss my school trip with her another day. I wheel towards the elevator, but remember Reese's phone call.
"Reese called, by the way," I say, keeping my eyes on the elevator door. If I look at her she'll see the tears trickling down my cheeks. I don't want her to. I don't want her to feel bad, which I know she will if she knows she's hurt me. She still cares about me, I know that. It was just my mistake thinking she cares more than she should. I shouldn't love you the way I do "He wants you to go down to the station. There were some difficulties with the gang you captured yesterday."
The elevator doors open and I wheel in. I don't hear if she answers still hoping, praying, that she'll call my name the way she did last night. But she doesn't and the doors close behind me.
I spend the day fleeing from myself. It's useless. Again and again I see Barbara's face before my eyes: her lips parting in pleasure, eyes dim with desire I'm even hearing the sounds she makes she whispered my name more than once and I I remember the softness of her touch, of her kiss... I didn't know she was such a good kisser. She melted me completely with her mouth. No one has ever made me feel that way with just a kiss. And her body to touch it, to feel it naked against mine... She was all muscle. Muscles covered by silk it was wonderful to touch. I could never have dreamed about such pleasure, such sensations. I didn't know...
I never knew it could be like this making love. I never knew what it was like making love to someone you're in love with. Nothing will ever compare to this. Ever. Unless...
Unless what? It was one night, to comfort her, in her need. Nothing more. She won't want me again. She'll be ashamed when she sees me the next time, trying to thank me and then smooth it all over with words. I don't want to hear it. I hate her. I hate the way she makes me feel. I always did even from...
Maybe I was seventeen. I told her that if I'd been a man I'd marry her and we'd spend the rest of our lives together. She laughed at me not insultingly, but fondly. She knew I meant it and she loved me for it. No one ever laughs at me quite like her I love that laugh, so full of warmth and understanding. She knows me like no one else does. How can I love another, when I know someone like her?
I sit at a bar, drinking. Several men have made their interest known, but one look from me and they retreat to their corners. It's not until a redheaded woman turns up I raise my eyes from the glass to look at her. She smiles at me and moves closer. It's not Barbara's smile. They're not Barbara's eyes.
"Hi, stranger," she says with a wink. I raise my glass to her, saying nothing. I'm not in the mood. My memories of Barbara are still too precious to me. Barry White sings in the background. "You're my first, my last, my everything..."
I listen to the song, forgetting about the woman beside me and remembering another.
She'd been more passionate than I'd expected her to be. I should've known. There's this part of Barbara few people are aware of, even her closest friends. She used to be another woman at one time a woman hiding in the dark, just like me. Batgirl. Barry sings on: "You're the answer to all my dreams. You're my sun, my moon, my guiding star... My kind of wonderful that's what you are..." My heart aches hearing it, knowing all of it's true when it comes to Barbara. She's everything I ever wanted and ever would need.
Batgirl within her doesn't show often enough, but she did last night she's that part of Barbara I enjoy, knowing she belongs to me and none other. Not even Wade knew her.
"I know... I know there's only one like you. There's no way they could've made two..." Barry sings.
I can't get last night out of my head. The way she looked at me, the way she touched me I should've fled the room, I know to save myself the pain but as soon as I felt her tongue urging me to meet hers I was lost. I wanted her so badly nothing and no one could've torn me from her. I kissed her with a passion I'd never felt before and almost ripped the pajamas off her body. She let me. That was just the thing: not once did I question her need for me. Not once did I hesitate in what I was doing. She almost tore my jeans off me in her need to
I swallow, suppressing a shiver as I remember what she did. The way she had done it If I hadn't been sitting down already my knees would've buckled at the memory. God she was beautiful! She'd filled me completely more thoroughly than any other lover before and I'd been full of love for her, wanting to tell her how she made me feel, how much I needed her. But I couldn't speak. I was glad she'd asked me not to speak, because if she'd wanted words I wouldn't have been able to utter a single one. My heart had been too full and I had tried I had tried to give her what she needed everything I wanted to give her and have wanted to give her for such a long time.
Memories. Memories of the past crowding me, making me grow restless. Thinking of the past suddenly makes me make up my mind. I put down my glass and pay, looking at the redhead at my side. "Sorry, there's someplace I need to be. Another time."
"Sure, stranger." She winks at me, not offended at all, and I give her a small smile. This is the kind of woman I would spend a night with if it hadn't been for last night's... whatever, with Barbara.
I leave the bar, not knowing why I feel this strong urge to return to the Clocktower. I just know I need to see her. Maybe to get a chance to explain... If only I could find the right words.
When she met Wade and started dating him I questioned her decision to see him. She'd faced my childish anger then and it was the memory of her words at that time that drove me from the bar tonight. "Sure, Helena. But you're not a man and we can't marry. I just have to grow up and move on." It was a joke, of course. It was a response to what I had told her a few years ago, but she still remembered. She used to tease me about it sometimes just to make me blush, but when I heard those words in connection to Wade it finally made me wonder. I wish I'd questioned her about it then. I wish I'd had the courage to challenge her on it but then I'd forgotten all about it.
I need to know what last night meant to her what that remark about our relationship in connection to Wade meant. She'll probably tell me if I ask, but I don't know if I'm ready to hear the answer to know the truth. I know I'm not ready to see pity or regret in her eyes and I hope she's gentle enough to spare me this. I think she is she cares about me, after all.
When I reach the Clocktower I feel nervous and tense. I step out of the elevator and see her sitting before Delphi. She turns to look at me and I can't see what she's thinking. I almost never can except she showed me a great deal about herself last night. Her eyes were moist with need and longing. Was it for me or Wade? I think.
She removes her glasses, looking at me. Her eyes are unreadable, green and intense. I feel it, she reads me like an open book. She waits for me, I know. She wants to give me time to find the words if I want to speak about last night.
I hate her. Why does she have to be so understanding so loving, so... so wonderful? You're my first, my last, my everything... I think. My kind of wonderful.
"You're up late," I say, cursing myself. I don't want to be superficial about this. I don't want to be afraid to speak the truth. If only I could see what she's thinking. If only I could know what last night meant to her.
"It's work," she says, glancing at the computer behind her. "Next semester starts in a couple of weeks."
"Right," I say, not knowing what else to add. I don't want to talk about such mundane things like work. We've talked enough about everyday life these couple of months. I want to know her again, like I did before. Like I did last night. I need her. I need the Barbara who taught me to play chess, who teased me about my clothes and my inability to talk about feelings, who yelled at me when she was angry... The Barbara I spend so many late nights with, talking about everything in life. I miss her. I've missed her since Wade was introduced to her. I know it was my own fault we grew apart and that I pushed her away, but I want her back.
Looking at her I know I will always love her. My body aches for her even more now, when I know what it's like to be touched by her. To be kissed by her.
She left a mark on me and when I look at her she notices it. Her eyes grow wide, angry and hurt. I wonder why.
"Who did that to you?" she asks.
Her words and the way she attacks me, hurt me. If she doesn't even know... If she doesn't remember... It didn't mean anything to her, I think, hurt and frightened. She's angry and she has no right to be. Does she think I went straight from her bed to sleep with someone else? I'm confused and afraid, hurting. God I love her so much and she just... She just let me know exactly how highly she thinks of me.
"Fuck!" I exclaim. "You have no right asking me that! I'm a grown woman and you are not my mother."
She grows perfectly still. She doesn't move an inch, looking at me. The anger and the hurt in her eyes dies away and there's only sadness left, before that too gives way to the veil she wears to hide her emotions behind.
"You're right," she says softly. "Of course you're right. I won't pry into your life any more. I'll leave you alone from now on. I'm sorry. It's none of my business what you do."
She turns her wheelchair, moving towards the elevator. I want to stop her. I want to grab her, shake her, make her admit to the night we shared. Make her confess the reason to why she kissed me and now pretends as nothing. But I don't. I can't move. The look in her eyes as if she said goodbye. I don't want you to stay out of my life, I think, but I know I've just closed the door between us. Only I can open it again and I'm just so fucking scared. Me scared. Huntress the most dangerous creature of the night. I'm scared.
She used to be Batgirl, another creature of the night. Maybe I have a right to be scared. Maybe I don't know her as well as Dinah thinks I do as I ought to do.
"Oh, by the way..." she says. She sounds indifferent, distant. She doesn't turn around. "Reese called... He wants you to come down the office. There're some problems with the thugs you caught yesterday."
Reese called. She's talked to Reese... I close my eyes. No wonder she's angry and hurt. God I'm such a fool!
"Barbara..." I move towards the elevator, but the doors are already closed and Barbara is gone.
I hear Dinah approach and feel her presence behind me before she says my name. I'm standing on the ledge outside the high window of the Clocktower, looking at the stars. It's not more than a few minutes since Barbara left me. I considered following her, but again my fear got the better of me. By all the gods in the world I never thought I'd be such a coward!
Dinah makes her way to me and halts by my side, looking out over the city lights.
"Aren't you asleep?" I ask dryly. Doesn't anyone sleep anymore?
"I've been practicing. I bet you'll find my right hook improved."
I can't help but smile at the younger girl's enthusiasm. "Well, we'll try it out soon enough, then."
"I don't know what you did with Barbara, by the way, but it sure helped. You're obviously better at this 'emotional crap' as you say, than you think."
You don't know half of it, I think bitterly. "Oh, yeah?" I say shrugging. "She's alright?"
"She's fine." Dinah hesitates. "You didn't have an argument, did you?"
"No." I don't really want to talk about it, but I don't want to unload my anger at Dinah either.
"No I didn't think so. She said you'd been a true friend."
Whatever that means, I think. It could mean a thousand things I comforted her when she needed it finally doing something right. I just wish it didn't cost me a broken heart. Damn!
"You didn't tell her about Reese, did you? I think she's hurt she had to hear it from him "
Girl, stop talking I grind my teeth, but Dinah doesn't seem to notice.
"I think we need to get her out of the Clocktower. She needs to have some fun I haven't seen her happy in a long time "
Me neither, I think.
"I wish we could throw her a party "
"I'm not in the mood for a party," I mumble.
"There's this bar in town. What's it called White Lily, right? It's a restaurant with a dance floor. I hear they have good food there. What do you think? Should we book a table for tomorrow?"
"I'm not in the mood for a party, I said," I growl, but Dinah just looks at me.
"You know I don't really care what you're in the mood for. You owe this to Barbara "
"I owe her?" I spit.
"Yes," the girl says coldly. "I don't care that you've been lying to me about Reese. Maybe I should expect more from you, but I really don't "
I blink. It hurts hearing Dinah talk like this, but if she notices my reaction she doesn't show it. She goes on: "But Barbara She's your friend. She didn't say anything against you today, you know. She didn't blame you at all. And if Reese told her what he told me "
"What?" I inhale sharply, looking at her. She glances at the dark love-mark on my neck with a mix of amusement and disgust.
"At least you get lucky," she says frankly. "Are you so selfish you don't want Barbara to experience some fun? Don't you think she deserves it?"
"What, Dinah? What did Reese tell you?"
"He told me he's seen you with a number of different men of questionable character around town. He said it wasn't any of his business, but he was worried about you." She smirks. "I'd be too, had I not known you the way I do. You prefer them 'dangerous', wasn't that what you said?"
I turn away from Dinah and from the truth she has spoken. "He has no right discussing my love life with either of you," I say calmly; calmer than I'm feeling.
"He phoned to speak to you. He's been trying to get hold of you the whole day. Finally he asked me if I knew anything about the guys you caught yesterday, but I couldn't help him. When I said neither Barbara nor I knew where you were he told me he worried about the company you're keeping. That's it. He has yet to learn that you're able to look after yourself."
"Did you tell Barbara this?" I ask.
"She already knew about you and Reese she talked to him earlier. When I mentioned his worries she just said you're old enough to make your own choices. She said you were old enough to know what was good for you." Dinah looks somewhat disapprovingly at me. "I told her I didn't agree."
"Maybe you're right," I say and sigh deeply, hearing this news. I sit down on the ledge. "I'm such a fool, Dinah."
"Sometimes you are," she says softly, squatting by my side and placing a hand on my shoulder. "That's what makes us human, Huntress."
I shake my head. "Barbara's never a fool."
Dinah laughs softly. "If you ask her she'll probably disagree with you."
"She'll only disagree because it's me saying it."
"Well, yes you've got a point."
I glance at her, seeing the amused look in her eyes and smile. "You're growing up nicely, kid-o."
"I'll be fifty and you'll still call me that."
"Of course," I grin and tug her blonde hair. "You'll always be younger."
"And you'll always be faster."
I grin again. "And don't you forget it."
Dinah raises her eyes to the dark above us. "Sometimes to love someone means we have to let them be free. Barbara has let you go and you blame her for it. Do you want to punish her for loving you?"
I grow still, not wanting to listen to this but know I'm hearing the truth. "What do you mean?" I ask carefully.
"She's been your mentor. She's not anymore. She's a friend now, but I think you still want what she gave you when it was just the two of you before Wade and and I, showed up. But Friends don't just demand, they give as well. Don't forget that. You can't just ask things from Barbara anymore, expecting her to give and not having to give her what she needs in return."
"I know," I say quietly. But I did give and then I was afraid of what I'd given and I couldn't take it back. "She she's fine today?"
"Yes, she was like Barbara. You know, the way she used to be. Whatever you did last night helped her through whatever she's been going through."
Maybe that'll have to do, then. But I want more! I want her so badly I won't be able to live with her without being allowed to touch her the way I touched her last night.
"Please, Huntress She needs to get out more. Let's do this for her."
"Sure," I say and shrug, repressing an inward sigh. "Let's party."
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