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 Five Second Kiss
I spent last night with Mike. We talked mostly about life, about love About Helena. Julie told him about the remark Helena made and Mike was furious at Helena. To me it seemed his anger was out of proportion, but I was too devastated myself to pay any attention to it. I still defended her when he went on about how ungrateful she was and what a rude young woman she was. I didn't tell him I had feelings for her, but I realized he was jealous of her. I had chosen her over him all those years ago and now I don't know what he thinks, but he told me it seemed to him it was time for me to let her go.
I would, I think as I'm returning to the Clocktower. I would if it wasn't for the fact that my heart would break.
Mike slept on the couch while I borrowed his bed. We had breakfast, vowing we would meet again and catch up but we both knew we probably wouldn't. I know he's still in love with me I could see it in his eyes, I felt it dancing with him and even though I enjoyed the attention last night and this morning it's not the same for me. It would be wrong of me to pretend it is. I made that mistake with Wade already. Even though I loved Wade I wasn't honest with any of us not even Helena. If I'd been honest from the beginning maybe we wouldn't be in this mess right now.
She hurt me last night, not only by words but also by her feral eyes and the way she kissed that woman. I think the kiss hurt me the most, but hearing her call me cold in front of a stranger She should know me better than to think I'm cold.
I return to the Clocktower early midday, feeling a slight pain in my back. I need to change the neural transmitter, I haven't worn it for so long before and even though it works as it supposed to now I'm not used to it.
Alfred rushes towards me as I step out of the elevator. His face is pale and he looks tired.
"Miss Barbara! Where have you been? Miss Helena is in the hospital!"
"What?" I whisper, feeling the color drain from my face. "Alfred "
"They needed to get her to surgery "
I don't stay to listen, but take off to the hospital as fast as I can move, forgetting all about the pain in my back.
Dinah meets me outside Helena's room in the corridor at the hospital, throwing her arms around me.
"Barbara," she sobs. "Where've you been? I thought she was going to die."
Thank goodness, I think, closing my eyes while embracing Dinah. She'll be all right.
"I'm sorry," I mumble. "I'm so sorry, I shouldn't have left you."
Never take a day's leave as a crime-fighter if the criminals don't mess up your life your partners will.
"How's she doing?" I ask. "What happened?"
"Don't be mad at her." Dinah pulls away, wiping the tears off her cheeks. "Don't be mad at her, Barbara."
I shake my head. "I won't. I'm not unless she dies then I'm going to wring her neck myself."
Dinah glances at me to gauge if I'm serious.
"I promise," I say softly and caress her cheek. "I'm not angry I'm just immensely relieved she's all right. She is, isn't she?" I add worriedly.
Dinah nods. "Yes. She just came back from surgery and she'll be fine."
I nod. I want to see Helena, but I need to calm Dinah first. "Tell me, Dinah."
The girl takes a deep breath. "She left me at the White Lily. I lost her and couldn't find her, so I returned to the Clocktower. I'd just returned when I got a distress-call from her. She needed help. I phoned Reese and then left to find her." Dinah closes her eyes as new tears trickle down her face. "She saved my life, Barbara. When I arrived at the warehouse where she was there was so much blood I thought she was dead already The gang there was so many of them and they'd beaten her badly. I think some of them were metas."
I nod, urging her to go on.
"I think she would've died if I hadn't turned up I used my abilities and my training and I did well. I did well, Barbara, but then someone pointed a gun at me and I I " She bursts into tears and I hold her close.
"Ssshh, girl," I say soothingly. "Ssshh now "
"Helena took the bullet for me. I didn't even see her move she was so fast Then the police turned up." Dinah leans back to look at me. "It was that gang, Oracle. The gang Helena caught the other day. Reese needed to let them go for lack of evidence." Her eyes turn hard. "Well, now he's got his evidence."
"How's Reese?" I ask.
"Devastated," she says immediately. "The thought of losing Helena really frightened him."
Me too, I think. "I need to see her now," I say and Dinah nods, drying her tears again. She moves away from the door and I open it.
"She's alone now," Dinah says behind me when I enter. "She's sleeping."
I nod, closing the door behind me.
She looks pale beneath the sheets. I stand unmoving by the door, just looking at her. I remember when she was younger she was never sick, but sometimes she had nightmares and fell asleep exhausted from bad memories and tears. I used to watch her sleep then, seeing the vulnerable child she so desperately tried to hide during the days.
I move to the bed and find the chart describing her injuries. Looking at it I realize she's been lucky. The bullet took her without causing too much damage. It's the beating that's worse: broken ribs, a fracture on the skull, a fracture on the left arm, some damage to one lung and a fracture on the leg. I think it's thanks to her meta-human genes she's healing quickly, otherwise the injuries would be even worse. I wonder what she was thinking, getting herself in this kind of fight. I know she's arrogant sometimes, but I've never known her to be this reckless.
I carefully sit down on the bed beside her, not wanting to wake her but needing to be as close to her as possible. I could've lost her and I didn't even know it. I'd never forgive myself if I'd lost her without telling her the truth.
Watching her, her youthful look makes me remember the first time I met her; a curious child, wide-eyed as she noticed me on my motorbike. She was such a sweet child and it pains me seeing her like this.
"Barbara ?" she whispers, not moving.
"I'm here, Helena," I say softly, taking her hand. She mumbles something inaudible and I lean closer to hear her. It sounds like " hero " I smile, brushing some dark curls from her eyes. "Yes, sweetheart, you're still my hero. You're my everything."
She probably won't remember my words when she wakes up, but she smiles hearing them now and then she's asleep again. I wonder how much sedative they had to give her to get her in this state.
I stay with her the rest of the day. Dinah comes and goes, looking worried every time, until I send her to the Clocktower to get some of Helena's clothes and hygiene's.
"You know she'll be furious if she can't look good, even here," I tell her and she smiles, happy to be of use.
Dinah might have been gone almost an hour when Helena finally wakes up. The doctor has just checked in on her, stating that her condition was stable and everything looked fine.
"What ?" Her voice is ragged, low. I rise from the chair I'm sitting in by the windows and move closer. Not too close, I'm not sure she wants to see me right now. "Dinah ?" she asks, looking anxiously at me. It moves me, seeing her so concerned about the younger girl.
"She's fine," I say. "You saved her life, Helena."
"Thank goodness," she whispers, closing her eyes. "She probably saved mine," she adds after a moment.
"That's what she told me," I say. Helena looks up at me with searching eyes.
"Are you mad at me? Are you going to yell at me for being such a dolt?"
"I probably should," I say with a soft smile. "But I'm all too happy both you and Dinah are safe."
"I'm such an idiot," she sighs, closing her eyes again. "Please just shoot me. Or yell at me I deserve it ten times for dragging Dinah into this mess."
I can't stop myself from touching her this time and I feel her stiffen when I put my hand on her arm. I squeeze gently and then let go.
"You'd be dead if you didn't," I say. "Besides, Dinah did well. This is the reason why I prefer you to work in teams in the field. You'll watch each other's backs."
Helena nods. She opens her eyes, but doesn't look at me. She looks out the windows behind me, at the radiant sun. "You still want me around?" she asks so softly I almost miss it.
I feel a jolt in my chest. Her eyes are moist, her look broken. All I want to do is to take her in my arms and kiss away the pain.
"Of course I do," I say briskly. "I need you you're my hero, remember?"
She looks at me then, wondering. "You've got yourself a new hero, don't you? He's the perfect one for you. He knew about your secret, didn't he?"
I lean forward and touch her forehead. "It was a long time ago, Helena," I say softly. "Yes I did choose between you and him. I knew I couldn't raise you like an ordinary teenager "
I see the pain in her eyes before she averts them, again looking out the windows.
"Helena " I need to ease that pain. Need to let her know she's never been a burden to me. "I never regretted that choice. You must understand that."
I see a tear falling down her cheek. "But I always hurt you," she whispers.
"Never intentionally," I say teasingly. "Helena " I add more seriously when I see her closing her eyes to hide her emotions. "You've brought so much to my life. Without you my life would be empty and dull."
I dry the tear from her cheek, wanting to cup her chin in the palm of my hand. She opens her eyes and looks at me.
"You're the most important thing in my life," I say, holding her gaze but lowering my hand. "Never doubt that."
She swallows and looks lost. "But Wade "
I shake my head. "Wade's gone. I loved him, but " I hesitate. "I buried him at that funeral, remember?" She'd been there, supporting me. I had let him go then.
"But you grieved him so much. That night "
I look at her and she silences, maybe seeing something in my eyes that makes her lose her words. "Helena," I say softly. "I didn't grieve for Wade that night. I grieved for you."
She swallows, looking shy. I think she's trying to find the right words again, but I don't let her. I put a finger to her lips and feel the softness of her mouth. The touch triggers memories that almost make me blush.
"Ssshh," I say. "You're still weak "
"Barbara," she whispers and in her eyes I see that look again the same look I saw a couple of nights ago. Longing, pain, fear need.
"I don't regret a thing," I say hoarsely in a whisper and lean towards her. I softly kiss her lips and feel her gasp before I pull away again. She looks at me and opens her mouth to speak, but in the same moment the door opens behind us and Reese enters, followed by Dinah and Mike.
"Barbara " Mike says. He's dressed in a black suit and I realize he's here in the line of work.
"Helena!" Reese rushes towards the bed and grabs Helena's hand. She looks quite embarrassed at the touch, glancing towards me.
"I'm the prosecutor," Mike explains, looking at me as I rise from the bed and move towards him.
"Mike Drake," Reese says with a nod, looking at Helena. "He's very good I've heard. New in town."
"We've met," Helena says, giving Mike a guarded look.
"You have?" The look Reese gives Mike is suspicious and I realize what he thinks. Jealousy, I think, looking at Helena.
"I was engaged to Miss Gordon once," Mike says curtly. The look he gives Helena is cool, distant. He obviously sees her as a rival. The thought make me consider Wade's behavior towards Helena. Did he too see her as a rival?
I turn around, seeing Dinah in the door. The room is too crowded and I notice Helena feels pressed in.
"I think that is enough," I say sternly. "Helena is recovering and still needs her rest. Please leave now." I look at Reese and Mike to show them I'm serious about it and they have the grace to look embarrassed. Dinah drops the bag beside the bed and turns around to leave, but Helena grabs her by the wrist.
"You stay, kid-o," she says and Dinah's smile could compete with the sun. "Barbara " Helena adds concerned when she sees me follow Reese out the door. I turn and look at her. She looks young and confused and I give her a soft smile.
"We'll talk later," I say tenderly, wanting to ease her worries.
"But " She looks troubled and before I have time to think about it I move towards the bed and kiss her on the cheek.
"Don't worry," I say softly. "I'm not angry at you. Rest now."
Then I leave, feeling Dinah's wondering gaze at me. I'm afraid that if Helena and I don't talk soon we'll lose each other to fear and hurt. This is the pattern we've made over the years and even though I've seen Helena's desire for me in her eyes I'm still afraid it's just a phase for her something fun and exciting.
I cut the thought if I keep thinking like that I'll end up hurting her again.
"Will she be fine?" Reese asks worriedly and I nod, looking at him and Mike.
"You'll arrange for everything with the Court, right?" I ask and Mike nods. "I'll have to go away in a couple of days," I say. The damn school-project. I don't feel comfortable leaving while Helena is recovering, but I'm one of the key characters in the project and can't pull out at this short notice. "I'm leaving on Tuesday. If there's anything you need me to do until then you'll have to let me know."
Both Reese and Mike nod, looking strangely at me.
"What?" I ask, but Reese shakes his head.
"I'll see you around," he says and leaves us.
"I have some questions for her," Mike says.
"Later. She needs her rest now."
"She's not a child, Barbara," he says, narrowing his eyes at me. I hold his gaze.
"I know that, Mike, but she's been through a rough time. Leave her until tomorrow. She won't go anywhere."
He nods, searching my face. "I've lost you, haven't I?" he says suddenly, surprising me.
I catch my breath for a second, still thinking about how I kissed Helena a moment ago. Then I nod briefly. "I'm in love with someone else," I say and speak the truth for the first time. He reads the truth in my eyes.
"You love her."
I nod again. "I do. I can't I can't fight it, Mike."
He smiles then and softly touches my cheek. "You can't fight love, Bird," he says with affection. "I wish it were differently I'm not going to fight for you I can see I would lose. It would've been different, if I hadn't left "
"Yes," I quietly agree, but I'm not sure he's right.
"I wish you luck then," he says, glancing at the closed door behind me and making a face. "From what I've seen you'll need it."
"Tell me about it," I mumble with a sigh.
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