DISCLAIMER: Birds of Prey and its characters are the property of Miller/Tobin Productions, Warner Brothers and DC comics. No infringement intended.
CHALLENGE: Submitted for the first International Day of Femslash.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Second Verse, Same as the First
By Erin Griffin
The sun sets slowly over the city, my city. Our city. Dinah and Barbara are by my side as I know they always will be, watching the sky turn from light clear blue to the various pinks, yellows, reds and oranges. I could watch the sunset forever and never get tired of it. When the sun can no longer be seen, Dinah murmurs something about her homework and walks inside. Barbara reaches and takes my hand, giving it a gentle squeeze. It's her way of saying 'I'm still here'. I look down at her emerald eyes and smile, feeling my inner kitten wake up a little bit. "Don't even think about it." Is all my lover says. I look at her with fake innocence as if I am appalled by her words.
"Think about what?"
"Singing," she replies, dramatically shuddering.
"You know you want me to." I say, wiggling my eyebrows at her. She tries not to look amused, but I know that the eye wiggle gets her to smile each and every time.
"No, I don't because you sing those songs you learned from camp. You're not in the 7th grade anymore."
"You like it." I tease.
"If I wasn't annoying, you wouldn't have gone out with me." I challenge.
"That's true." I smile at the memory.
A month had gone by since Harley Quinn's attack on the Clocktower, their home. Everything had changed. Everyone was a stranger to themselves. Dinah was always locked away on her room listening to whomever is her favorite band or artist at the moment, Barbara stayed glued to the Delphi system, watching over anything that even thought about making a false move about New Gotham, and Helena stayed as far away from the Clocktower a she could. It took a while for Helena to realize what was going on with her family. She wanted things to go back to the way they were before everything got so messed up in their lives. Before the confusion, before the pain. Helena decided that she was going to break these bad habits in her family, including herself, and she was going to make things right. It was up to her to piece her family back together, starting with the easier task: Dinah. The teen was surprised to see Helena standing outside her 6th period classroom after school, waiting for her. "Come on, Kid. We're going shopping. I've got the H2 out back." Was all she said. Dinah looked at her adopted sister as if she had grown an extra head. "Oh, come on, what else did you have planned for the day? Am I that bad to hang out with?"
"No, I just... didn't think you wanted much to do with us anymore." At Dinah's small words, Helena looked at the girl, surprised that she thought that of her family.
"I haven't been there much, have I?" Dinah shook her head. "I am gonna change that. Come on. I wanna go check out some hotties at the mall, and you're coming with me." Dinah smiles. Helena and Dinah spent a good half of the afternoon walking around the mall talking and having fun like they used to. The teen seemed lighter on the drive home with a bag on her lap and a grin on her face. This made Helena happy. Dinah was always the sunshine of the Clocktower, and without the hum of the Delphi and Dinah's smile, it just wasn't complete.
That night, Helena came in through the elevator with Dinah, and as the teen almost ran to her room to do her homework, Helena sauntered over to Barbara. It was her turn. The redhead didn't even look up from her work. "What do you need, Helena?"
"You need to get out. Come on, we'll go out tonight. You an' me. Go to dinner, get some drinks... On me, whatta ya say?" Helena asks, setting her face to make a pitiful kitten look she knew Barbara wouldn't be able to resist. Barbara again didn't even look at her.
"Can't. Doing a search." She said in a grunt.
"It can wait." Helena insists, determined to get Barbara out of the Clocktower. She was on a mission.
"No, it can't."
"For 3 hours tops?" Helena asked. Barbara shook her head.
"Not even for that long."
"Yes it can." At that, Barbara turns her whole body to look at Helena.
"No it can't, Helena." Barbara took off her glasses and rubbed her eyes, wondering why her younger friend was being so difficult. Helena crossed her arms over her chest and fixed her with a challenging stare. Don't make me do this. Helena thought as she figured out a new plan.
"Can too can too can too!"
"What are you, 12?!"
"No you won't-"
"Try me. I'll sing-"
"Helena..." Barbara's voice was a warning, but the brunette started to sing anyway..
"John Jacob Jingle Heimer Schmitt. That's my name tooooooo. Whenever I go out, the people always shout, there goes John Jacob Jingle Heimer Schmitt. La-da-da-da-da-da-da!" Helena repeated the song many times, though instead of getting quieter each time like the song requires, Helena sang louder, watching Barbara as she tried to hide the fact that each time Helena sang, it grated on her every last nerve. Helena was shouting after a few minutes, causing Dinah to come out of her room to see what the commotion was about. Barbara tried her best not to show how annoyed she was getting. She was just going to let Helena play her games, and when she got tired of them, Helena would leave her alone so she can get back to her searches. If Barbara ignored her long enough, Helena would eventually just go to the den or the training room and leave her alone. The problem with that is that Barbara was never able to ignore Helena for long. There was just something about her that always demanded attention from her, and somehow always got it. Helena stopped singing for a second and thought things through, making Barbara believe that she was ready to give up, but no, not Helena Kyle, not if she was the daughter of Selina Kyle. She wasn't ready to give up just yet, in fact, she had only just begun Mission: Annoy Barbara.
"I'm Hen-er-y the 8th I am. Hen-er-y the 8th, I am I am. I got married to the widow next door. She's been married 7, times before and everyone is a Hen-er-y (HEN-ER-Y!) She won't have a Willy or a Sam (NO SAM!!). I'm her 8th old man, I Hen-er-y. Hen-er-y the 8th, I am I am. Hen-er-y the 8th I am! Second verse, same as the first!!!" Helena kept singing that song over and over again, because unfortunately for Barbara, that was the only part of the song she knew. She 'forgot' how the song ended. When she got tired of singing one song, she started up on another, hoping that one will do the trick faster.
Dinah watched with curiosity to see how this will end. Both parties seemed determined not to let the other win whatever little challenge this was, though she could see that Barbara was slowly wearing down, and that Helena knew of this fact. Helena switched from camp song to camp song, even adding in MMMBop for good measure, then after a good half hour, Helena stopped singing and frowned. "Nice try. I know you well enough to deflect your charms." Barbara said in a cocky manner.
"Alright Barbara, you are one tough cookie, I will give you that. But you have made me bring out the big guns." The redhead's eyebrows rose and Barbara looked at her as if to say 'Hit me with your best shot.' Helena took in a big breath, then she sang at the top of her voice. "THIS IS THE SONG THAT NEVER ENDS- I KNOW YOU KNOW THIS SONG, KID!-" Dinah smiled as Barbara's eyes went wide with what can only be known as horror.
"YES IT GOES ON AND ON MY FRIEND!" They sang together, Helena's voice breaking and going off key from singing so loudly for so long. "SOME PEOPLE, STARTED SINGING IT NOT KNOWING WHAT IT WAS, AND THEY'LL CONTINUE SINGING IT FOREVER JUST BECAUSE THIS IS THE SONG-"
"AAAAAAALLLLLLLLRIGHT!!!! Barbara shouted over Dinah and Helena's small choir. She glared at Dinah. "Traitor." She spat out in an almost teasing tone. The teen only shrugged her shoulders as she broke out into a large goofy grin. Barbara turned to Helena, who had a look of satisfaction.
"I love it when I win." she says.
"Three hours. Tops."
"More than I need. I'll go get your coat. Be good, Kid."
"What? I don't get to go? Where ARE you two going?"
"Out, but I'll tell you what. I will bring you back a doggie bag for helpin' me out with the song." Dinah gave Helena a look that said she would hit the older woman if she wasn't faster, stronger, and 6 feet away. The two older women watched Dinah as she slunk back into her room where she was listening to Lillix before all the commotion. Helena handed Barbara her jacket.
"Ready?" she asked. Barbara nodded, turning off the monitor of the Delphi, yet it still didn't lessen the hum the machine made.
Barbara led the way to the elevator, then to the semi-shoddy van Helena was able to afford with the many hours of overtime at the bar. Helena looked at Barbara with a question on her face, and Barbara shook her head. Helena opened the door, then waited as Barbara crawled in the passenger seat by herself. Helena packed the wheelchair in the back, then went to the driver's side and got in herself. They were silent as Helena drove them a good 20 minutes to get to a restaurant called The Shy Dragon, a pricier Chinese restaurant that had opened about 6 months ago. They had talked about going to check it out the night before Dinah had happened upon them, but... Well, shit happened and they never got a chance to. Helena thought this would be the perfect time to check it out. Helena killed the engine, got out, and took Barbara's wheelchair from the back, placing it so that she could get back into it. The brunette stayed by Barbara's side in case she needed any help, but she knew that she wouldn't. The two women were seated next to a window, and an elderly woman handed them a couple of menus. "I didn't know you would be taking me here, Helena."
"I thought you wanted to come here. At least to check it out?" Helena's playful demeanor was gone, and without meaning to, Helena sounded almost like a little girl for a split second. Helena cleared her throat to get rid of it.
"I did, but- I mean-" Barbara looked at the younger woman and stopped talking for a second. Then she placed a hand on Helena's knee. "Yes. I did want to come check this place out. It looks lovely. Thank you for taking me here, Helena." Helena's eyes flickered to her knee as her mouth twitched upward. She opened her menu, though she knew what she was going to order.
"What looks good?" Helena asked casually, concealing the effect Barbara's touch had on her just then. It was a new feeling. The older of the pair had touched her thousands of times while sparring with her, swatting her playfully on the butt when she was being a pill, and healing her wounds both inside and outside, but never had it made her insides crawl in a way that made her silently beg for more. Why the sudden change?
"I'm in the mood for orange chicken, some sweet and sour pork, and a lot of fried rice." Helena smirked, putting down her menu.
"How did I know?" she said. Barbara grinned. It was her usual when they went to the Panda Express. "I'll have the same." Helena had already decided that though. She put her menu on top of Barbara's. When the elderly woman came back, Helena ordered for them, adding in an extra order of sweet and sour chicken, 2 egg rolls and chow mien for Dinah. While the two women waited for their meal, they spoke about their daily life, and what has been going on since Harley Quinn's attack, and they spoke a little bit in their own code about how their night life was as well. Though both of their comm. sets were on, all was silent inside the Clocktower, and Barbara hoped that Dinah had found a good movie on TV (and with the 500 channel cable package Helena insisted on getting, there shouldn't be a problem finding at least one).
When their food came, they ate in silence. It was comfortable, save the stares. Helena couldn't seem to help staring at this woman. Though Barbara wore what she had all day (a long sleeved light green sweater and jeans), she still looked elegant, as if she was dressed for a nice night on the town. Only Barbara could pull that off, Helena realized. She wondered why she had never before noticed the beauty and spirit that Barbara possesses, and seemed content to just watch her.
Helena's eyes on her made Barbara twitch, but she pretended she didn't notice, even though they both knew she did. The brunette finished her meal first, and Barbara finished eating about 10 minutes later, and Helena took that time to continue Barbara watching. Finally, Barbara maneuvered her chair a little and looked at the younger woman. "You ready to go?" Helena nodded, then signaled for the check. When she paid it, she met Barbara by the van.
"Here. They gave us fortune cookies." Helena cracked hers open enthusiastically like she used to when she was younger, then read the fortune while she crunched down on the cookie itself. "'In the midst of the darkest night, you will find the firefly.'" Helena read out loud. "Hmm.." The younger brunette seemed to think this over... "Wait... I AM the firefly!" Barbara didn't understand exactly what Helena meant by that comment, but she didn't want to ask. Helena set the bag containing Dinah's food in the passenger seat. "What's yours say?"
"Well, duh! Open it and see." Barbara rolled her eyes and sighed. She broke her cookie apart, then slowly ate it just to make Helena fidget in her impatient state. "Alright. It says 'Don't expect the unexpected to happen; Expect life to happen, nothing more.'" Helena tilted her head to the side.
"I don't know." Helena shrugged, then looked at Barbara sideways.
"How about we go for a slight stroll before we go? I'm too full to drive right now." Barbara wondered if she had anything up her sleeve, but pushed it back when they started traveling along the road. They walked around the block and were rounding the corner towards the van again when Helena was thrown against the wall. After her confusion left, Helena stood between her attacker (a larger sized man, though not much older than Dinah) and Barbara, her body tense... and Barbara could have sworn she heard a low rumble not unlike a growl escape her lips. The boy seemed to want to reconsider this, but he stood his ground.
"Give me all of your money, or I swear I'll-"
"Or you'll what? Shoot me with that little squirt gun you got there? I'm sure Teletubbies is on. Go home." The boy pointed the small revolver at her, his hands shaking, but Helena wasn't even slightly afraid. Barbara, on the other hand, was worried for Helena's safety, and she was afraid that Helena's cocky manner would get her into trouble. Helena sighed and rolled her eyes before she kicked the gun out of the boy's hands and then gave a simple blow to the head, knocking him out cold. "Dinah?" There was a pause, then the sound of a click.
<Yes Huntress? Is something wrong?> came the sleepy voice in both Helena and Barbara's ear.
"You sound tired, Kid."
<I fell asleep during Lilo and Stitch. What's going on?>
"Oh, clean up on isle four."
<Damn, all the fun stuff happens when I'm not there. Gimme the address, and I'll handle it.>
"You're the best. He's on North Field Boulevard. Tell them he was attacked and that you saw it from your friend's cousin's window or something." Helena said.
<Are you gonna just leave him there?>
"Sure why not?" Helena said shrugging. Barbara gave her a cross look.
"What?! If he wanted to be watched over and babied, he shouldn't have been running the street like that stirring up trouble with the wrong person." She said in a defensive tone. She started walking towards the van, Barbara following after her. They had just gotten out of the parking lot when they heard the sirens. "We'll be there in about 20 minutes Kid."
"We will. You go to bed. I will talk to you tomorrow."
"Goodnight, Kid." There was another click and they both knew she was going to be asleep at the Delphi if she didn't get to her room within the next 20 seconds. Helena chuckled.
"That wasn't funny."
"That was the funniest goddamned mugging I ever stopped, and it was my own!" Helena burst out laughing hysterically.
"We're never coming here again. Something in the food's made you go mad." Barbara said, but she smiled as well. Helena looked down at her coat and saw a small rip in it from when she was thrown against the wall.
"Y'know? That bugger was strong. He ripped my favorite jacket, so I bust his lip. It seemed an elegant solution." She said, grinning.
"Eyes on the road, Helena." Barbara instructed, but she didn't sound authoritative. "Well," she said after a moment. "as long as you're not hurt."
"Me? Hurt by that diaper wearing moron? I think not." Barbara laughed. Part of the older woman wanted to start lecturing her on her cocky behavior in front of that boy, but something held that part of her back. A smile seemed plastered on Helena's face all day that day, and Barbara didn't want to take that away from her. Helena's smile was rare, but it was worth seeing. It wasn't just because she had lips light and soft, which made Barbara curious for a split second as to how they tasted, but it was the squint in her eyes that told those who got the privilege that she was smiling with her soul. Barbara liked that smile, and since this is the first time in many months that this particular smile was aimed at her, she felt a twinge of selfishness and wanted to keep it all to herself.
Barbara's laugh brought a wave of tingle throughout Helena's body, but she said and did nothing except for turn on the tape player. She had put in a tape that was by a musical trio called Bond. They play more upbeat versions of various classical pieces. Helena could tell that Barbara approved of her musical selection this time instead of the last few times when she was listening to Aimee Allen on full blast. Barbara closed her eyes and listened to the music. Like the thief her mother once was, Helena stole glances at Barbara every few minutes. They reached the Clocktower, and Helena parked in the basement. Together they got into the elevator, and Helena turned to look at Barbara. "Barbara," she said, getting the older woman's attention.
"I'm glad you came with me tonight."
"Thank you for taking me. It was nice."
"Close your eyes." Helena said suddenly, yet her voice was still soft.
"Close your eyes. I want to give you something, but first you have to close her eyes." Barbara raised an eyebrow, but she did as she was told. Helena had been thinking about doing this since they had left the Shy Dragon and wondered if she really had the courage to do it. She leaned in and placed her lips softly on Barbara's. The redhead opened her eyes, widening them, yet she did not back away. Instead she let her eyes flutter shut again and allowed herself to feel the softness of Helena's lips. She placed a hand on Helena's cheek, making the younger woman jump. Barbara's mouth opened slightly, inviting Helena's tongue to play, and felt her tongue touch her own.
Barbara decided she liked the way Helena tasted and she wanted more. Just when she'd felt Helena's teeth open her bottom lips, eliciting an audible gasp, a cough was heard, making Helena freeze. Barbara pulled away to see Dinah, speechless. She says nothing, but leaves the room. "I didn't even hear the elevator door open." Barbara says, her voice husky. She coughed, feeling her face go red. Helena had a stunned look upon her face, as if she couldn't believe what had just happened. Her heart pounded and her stomach did summersaults when Barbara touched her arm. Her body seemed on automatic as she followed the redhead out of the elevator, placing the bag of Chinese food on the table on her way to Dinah's room.
"How very true." Barbara repeats, nodding. Barbara is tracing a pattern on my hand with her fingers. I look down at her and grin again, then I start to hum. "I told you not to sing." she says, but her voice is playful.
"This isn't singing. I'm humming." I tell her matter-of-factly.
"I see. Well, you can do all the humming you like sleeping on the couch in the den." I know this is an empty threat, but that doesn't stop the small whimper that escapes my throat at the thought of spending a night without her.
"I'll be good." I say. She tugs at my hand to pull me down to her. She kisses me roughly.
"Not too good. The night is still young, Love." she murmurs, and I look at her, arching an eyebrow. Fighting the urge to rip her from that wheelchair ravage her completely, I put on a cocky grin.
"Well my dear, I will be as bad or as good as you want me to be." I tell her. She tells me without words to follow her, and I do so without another word, only softly to myself, I hum. 'Second verse, same as the first...'
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