DISCLAIMER: "Birds of Prey" and characters are copywritten by Miller/Tobin
Productions, Warner Brothers, DC comics et al. This story is for
entertainment purposes only and no money exchanged hands. No copyright
infringement is intended. The original characters, situations, and story are
the property of the author.
SERIES/SEQUEL: This story follows the events in The Harvest.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
The airport was packed. People filled wall to wall, shuffling from gate to gate, arriving, departing, checking through various security screens. Helena hated it. The asynchronous symphony of sounds that assaulted her senses. The smell from overpriced food joints. The apprehension in the air from the never ending waiting so thick she could taste it. But, none of it mattered. She paced back and forth. Had stared at the arrival screen until she could memorize it by heart. Watched the seconds click by on the clock hanging near the courtesy desk. None of it seemed to make time go faster. It did just the opposite, it made everything seem to go slower.
Alfred stood next to the anxious young woman. A bouquet of flowers in his hand. The balloons were Helena's idea, several dozen various shaped and colored balloons attached by strings to the flowers. It took everything Alfred had to convince the woman not to buy any stuffed animals to go with the gaudy display. Especially if he had to hold it.
"What's taking so long?" Helena glared at the man.
Alfred arched an eyebrow. "Keep doing that and you'll give the impression you're glad to see her."
Barbara danced her way through the crowd. It would have been more prudent to take the assistance offered by Airport Handlers. Ride in one of the over-sized go-carts. She wanted to say it was because her chair was faster, which it was. But, the Handler's caught her in one of those moments where asking Barbara if she needed assistance reminded her of her disability. It was the last thing she wanted to be reminded of. She could see Helena and Alfred standing at the edge of the doorway. A soft smile crossed her features as she moved her way towards the two. "Is she here yet?"
"Unfortunately," Alfred sighed. "No."
"Good, then I'm not late. I was thinking we could all go out to dinner somewhere. Something special, you know. What do you think, Helena?"
Helena, her back to Barbara, leaned against one of the cement pillars. "Whatever."
Alfred tilted his head slightly in Helena's direction. "Helena's already asked me to put something together." Added a raised eyebrow as he bridged the gap in communication between the two women.
"Oh," Barbara tried to mask her disappointment. "That sounds good. I'm sure whatever you cook up will be better than any restaurant."
The doors to the arrival tunnel opened. Dinah, the sole passenger on the Lear jet, walked out into the lobby. A huge grin spread across her face as she saw her friends, her family, waiting for her at the end of the hallway.
Helena charged towards the girl. Wrapped her in a bear hug as she lifted Dinah off her feet and twirled her around. Dinah squealed slightly as the air left her lungs. Helena placed Dinah gruffly back onto the ground. Gripped the girl in a headlock, running her knuckles across Dinah's head.
"How ya doin', kiddo!"
"Would you stop calling me that!" Dinah laughed, pushing the woman away from her. "I'm glad to see you too."
"Would you care for a greeting less physical?" Alfred handed the flowers to her. Dinah wrapped her arms around him.
"Thank you, Alfred. They're beautiful."
"The flowers were my idea." Helena chimed in over Dinah's shoulder.
"Perish the thought," He chided. "The balloons were your idea. After I purchased the flowers."
Dinah pulled out of the man's arms, moved towards the redhead. She wrapped her arms around the woman. "I missed you guys soo much."
"We missed you too." Barbara ran her hand down the blonde hair. Could feel Dinah shivering slightly from the touch. "Welcome home."
"Home." Dinah stood up. The weight of the word caught her off guard. "It's good to be home."
"When are you coming to New Gotham?" Dinah chewed on her lip. They'd broached the subject before, danced around it. She could hear the sigh of her adopted mother on the other end, the one she'd heard way too many times before.
"I don't know," Sarah Redmond admitted. "Charlie's doing well, but the doctor's say we shouldn't push him. I don't know if taking him to a city like New Gotham is the best idea right now."
"You don't have to come to the city. Helena's Dad has a beach house, you could stay there. It's only like 30 minutes from New Gotham."
"It sounds nice, Dinah, really it does. And maybe we'll do that this summer. Have you thought about coming back to Opal, like we talked?"
Dinah groaned inwardly. They'd had this conversation as well. "I think it's better if I stay in New Gotham."
"Listen Dinah, I have to go pick your brother up from school.."
"I love you, Dinah."
"I love you, too."
Pins and needles. That's what it felt like, millions and millions of pins and needles stabbing at her legs. Only instead of just pins, they were electrical shocks. A fierce, angry storm of pain as nerves, once dormant, shocked to life.
Barbara winced with every step. Tried to take the pain. The prototype was new, barely in the beta stage. She'd ruined her first one in her fight with Lady Shiva. The later models were complete failures of an astounding proportion.
Except this one. It reconnected the electrical stimuli between her brain and her spine. Barbara could walk. Except she was in pain. Blinding, excruciating pain. Along with the pins and needles, her legs felt as if they were dipped in acid. It took every ounce of her mental energy to continue, to focus on walking and not the blinding pain causing her muscles to tense and sweat to pour from her body.
The first steps were tentative, small in step. She walked now, strode across the room, hissing with each step. Another wave of pain cascaded up her body. Quick as lightening, it jolted Barbara's system. She cried out as her body stiffened and her legs buckled under her.
"Barbara!" Helena ran into the room. Crouched by the redhead.
Helena saw the wide belt around Barbara's waist. Noticed how far she was from her chair, all the way across the room. The anger bubbled to the surface. Her hands went to the belt strapped around Barbara's waist. Ripped the device from Barbara's body.
"Helena, NO!" Barbara watched as the brunette hurled the prototype at the wall, shattering it into a million pieces. Didn't notice the angry woman who turned to her, eyes ablaze.
"Goddammit, Barbara, I asked you to stop. You TOLD me you stopped!" Her eyes pulsated with a violet hue. She straddled Barbara's hips as she crouched low, their faces inches apart.
"You don't understand." Barbara gritted through her teeth. The pain had receded, just not fast enough.
"I understand that thing can kill you. And you still built it, behind my fucking back!"
"This isn't about YOU!"
"The Hell it isn't Barbara. Why won't you trust me? Why won't you let me in!" Her voice edged close to desperation. She pressed her forehead to Barbara's, pushed her head until the two women strained against each other, tried desperately to shove her brain into Barbara's so she could see inside those walls the woman always placed between them. "Let me in."
"I can't." Barbara hissed through clenched teeth. She didn't want to hurt Helena, but she hated being pushed. Being prodded and poked, she hated it. Even as she felt Helena's tears staining her own cheeks at the stupidity of her own actions.
"Fuck you!" Helena gritted in frustration. She pulled herself away from Barbara, stomped towards Barbara's chair and pulled it towards the woman. "There's a difference between can't and won't, Barbara."
"Don't you fucking lecture me!"
The argument started as it always did. An offhand comment taken the wrong way. Stubborn versus stilted silence. Again they pushed and prodded around the walls between them. Found the sensitive spots, tore at them until old wounds were left gashed and bleeding.
The argument started as it always did. Today, it ended a little differently.
"Maybe we should have some time apart." Helena didn't know why the words fell out of her mouth. Hell, she didn't know HOW they could have fallen. She saw the wounded expression in Barbara's eyes. The raw aching hurt. Then the walls came up, and the stubborn sullen Barbara returned. Barbara cut the eye contact between them. Elbow on the armrest, her chin rested on her fingers.
"Maybe you're right." Whispered across Barbara's lips.
Helena wanted to apologize. To run to the woman, fall to her knees and take it all back. But Barbara had given as good as she took, and the wounds were still too raw. It was a fight. No doubt about that. And Helena hated losing a fight.
She launched herself out of the clock tower. Recklessly threw herself over the edge, wind whipping about her face. Anything to clear her mind. Besides, she could always apologize tomorrow. Right?
TWO MONTHS LATER
Helena spun on her heel. The sucker punch took her off guard, and off balance. She slammed into the wall. Could feel the rage inside her head, but, for some reason, her synapses weren't sending the proper response to her body. A wave of nausea cascaded over her. Her vision blurred. Something twitched in her stomach.
"Helena!" Dinah shoved herself between the man and her friend. He was a thug, a common criminal. Except, this thug had her friend on the ropes and it didn't look like Helena was going to win.
She threw an elbow. Caught the man in the nose, crushing the bone. He fell to his knees, screaming, hands holding his broken face. Dinah finished him with another blow across the temple. It may have been over the line, but she could think about the ethics and morals of street fighting later.
"Dinah," she could hear the worried voice of Barbara in her ear. "What's going on?"
"Something's wrong with Helena."
She walked over to the brunette. Helena leaned against the wall. Face pale. Her hand over her stomach.
"Helena, are you okay?"
Helena glanced at Dinah. Just the act of using her eyes sent another wave of nausea through her body.
"No," Helena answered. Then, she bent over and vomited.
The doors to the elevator slid open. Helena, arm draped over Dinah's shoulders, limped into the Clock Tower.
"What happened?" Barbara rushed towards the two women. She motioned for Dinah to take the woman to the couch. Helena flopped onto the cushions, groaned as another wave hit her like a ton of bricks.
"I don't know," Dinah explained. "One minute she's kicking the crap out of a purse snatcher, the next she's decorating the street with dinner."
"Helena, can you hear me?"
"Yeah, I'm sick not deaf."
"Helena," Barbara stared at her. "You don't get sick." Which was the truth. Seven years she had known her and Helena didn't get fevers, or colds, or viruses. Her meta-human abilities had an ability to withstand most common ailments.
"I guess there's a first time for everything."
"I'm not taking any chances. You're seeing a doctor."
Helena hated doctors, and hospitals, and all things health related. She hated the smell of hospital rooms. The sickly smell of disinfectants and air freshener. All attempts to hide the muted scent of sickness and disease her meta nostrils did her the displeasure of detecting.
She sat on a padded gurney, eyes on the clock watching the second hand slowly tick by. Counted the minutes she waited for her doctor to return. Waited for the moment she would tell her Helena could get out of the stupid hospital gown, with the assless back.
Doctor Emily Reynolds had been a doctor for over thirty years. Twenty of those had been spent offering medical practice to those within the meta community. A practice she began five minutes after her daughter had 'come out', so to speak.
"So, what's the verdict?"
"The verdict is, you're in perfect health. Your heart beat is a little fast, but I suspect that's less because of any medical condition than your doctor phobia."
"Well, why am I sick?"
"You're not sick," Dr. Reynolds grabbed a stool, slid it next to the gurney. "That is, depending on your definition of sick."
Barbara stared at the computer. The text had long ago taken an unfocused shape. She'd tried to concentrate on her work. Her eyes had failed first. Failed to read the text scrolling on the screen. Then, her fingers followed. Hovered over the keys waiting for a message from her brain to type.
Only she couldn't. Couldn't think about typing, or reading, or anything except the brunette who'd left the Clock Tower and failed to return. If she were honest with herself, she'd admit she hadn't been able to concentrate long before that.
The argument had been a bad one, really bad. One of those things that starts out small, superficial really, and snowballs into something ugly and vicious. Until Helena had suggested they have some time apart and Barbara could do nothing but give Helena what she wanted. Even when her body and mind screamed at her.
The worst part was, Helena was right. Barbara had lied to her, betrayed her trust, and did something that risked her life. But, she couldn't find the words in her to make Helena understand. The desperate need within her to feel grass under her feet, to run, to dance. To do all those things she USED to. It wasn't about regaining her legs to become Batgirl again, which is what Helena feared, it was about being Barbara again.
The need sprang from her nightmares. Visions of a cage, a large bulky man coming towards her, his eyes glowing red, a large machete, sharp and shiny tapping against his leg. How she clawed at the earth to get away, dragging her body behind her because her legs didn't work, WOULDN'T work. Awoke, heart stopped in her throat, just as the blade hacked into her body.
For all the political correctness, and physical therapy, and psychological therapy, about her being in a wheelchair still made her normal. The simple truth was Barbara missed it. The simple things most people took for granted that she could never have again. Barbara would give anything to have her legs again, to be like she once was, even for a moment. Therein lied the problem. She almost had. She stood on the line between having her legs and having Helena, and realized for the first moment, she might not be able to have both.
Her body stiffened at the familiar sound of the elevator. Every thing in her screamed to turn towards the door. To see if Helena was all right. The same thing that had prevented her from begging Helena to stay six weeks ago prevented her from rushing towards the brunette.
Helena didn't say a word. Walked past Barbara straight towards the balcony. Barbara waited a couple moments. Ignored the curious stares of Dinah and Alfred. Took a courage building breath and went towards the balcony.
Helena sat on the corner of the ledge, back to the wall. Her head rested in her hand. Barbara could feel her heart seize as she saw the trail marks of tears down Helena's cheeks. Every worst case scenario filled her brain.
"Do you love me?" Helena's voice was barely above a whisper. It carried into Barbara's ears louder than a sonic boom.
"With all my heart," she answered without hesitation.
"Do you trust me?"
This time, there was hesitation. The kind where Barbara never intended for her silence to mean what she knew Helena would think. But, she needed to process. Needed to read between Helena's lines.
"Do you trust me?" It wasn't a question but a pleading demand. The words fell out of her mouth in a hurried rush, as if everything in the world depended upon what came next.
"Yes," Barbara moved towards the woman. Her hand gently placed against Helena's cheek. "Helena, what's going on?"
Helena pulled out of Barbara's touch. Not much, her face still hovered over Barbara's palm, could still feel the heat from her flesh. She wanted so badly to move back into Barbara's touch, to wrap it around her until the world disappeared, until everything no longer existed except she and Barbara. The way it used to be. The way it was six short weeks ago.
"Helena, what is it?"
"You're what?" Barbara's hand recoiled instinctively from Helena's face.
"I'm pregnant," Helena repeated. The words spoken through gritted teeth, as if even just saying it caused her pain. "I don't know how.."
"What do you mean you don't know how? It's very simple Helena," Barbara hit the button on her chair, pulled away from the brunette.
"I mean, I don't know how!" Helena yelled, a tinge of desperation in her voice. She wasn't used to this thing called fear. Yet, there it was, coursing through every inch of her body. Helena closed the distance between them. She knelt in front of Barbara. "I asked you if you trusted me. Did you mean it?"
"Helena," Barbara felt the hand clasping onto her own, clamping the two together.
"Did you mean it!?!"
"Yes," she sighed. Despite her anger and slight revulsion at the situation, she had to admit, she trusted Helena. Trusted her more than anyone in her life. But, this was different. Way different. And she couldn't overcome the giant hurdle standing right before her eyes. The air began to choke her lungs. Vision turned blurry. Her hand shot instinctively to the remote, pulling the chair away from Helena.
Helena charged in front of her, blocked Barbara's path. "Please, don't walk away from me."
"Why?" Barbara spat. "Isn't that what you did? Walked out. You left us, Helena, you left me. No idea where you were, or what you were doing. If you were safe, or alive. Then you crawl back into my bed, without a word. It's my turn Helena. I get to do what I want. Say what I want. Fuck who I want."
Helena placed her hands on the armrests. Fingers dug into the material as her entire body tensed. The threat hovered in the air. The thought frightened her down to her very core, almost as much as it angered her. Barbara would not leave her. Not now, not ever. "I thought you trusted me."
The anger flickered across Helena's face. She wanted to, God how she wanted to, pound the truth into Barbara. Use fists as words, beat her into submission. Make her feel, make her know, there would be no other but Helena. It was there, inside her. The mere thought of being without Barbara tickled the primal rage within her. To think, after all those years of training, physical, mental, emotional. It had all come down to this. She had to be the adult in this. She had to be the calm one, rational, collected. It was so terribly hard because she danced on the precipice. If Barbara didn't believe her, she'd fall into the one truly dark place of herself she'd never gone before. The words came out through clenched teeth. "Then please believe me Barbara, I don't know how this happened. I haven't had sex with anyone but you for almost two years. The doctor was absolutely positive that I'm pregnant. I even made her do another test. I've been wracking my brain over the past six hours trying to figure out how this happened. And it's still the same, I don't know."
The words poured out of her mouth. Barbara watched her. The pale gaunt of her face. Pale blue eyes wide and begging. The fear that oozed from every pore. She knew Helena. Had known her for more than seven years. Knew when she was lying, or hiding the truth, and she also knew Helena was afraid. The world seemed to disappear as she concentrated on Helena's face. It took her a moment to realize the woman was still talking.
"..I'd never do anything like that. I'd never try to hurt you Barbara. Please believe me."
Angry Barbara was made of glass. That's what Barbara felt like. Rage colored glass shattering into a million pieces around her. There was a time and a place for anger, rage. There was also a time for love, and for trust. The anger dissolving around Barbara revealed the person she was, the one who loved Helena. She brought a hand to Helena's face. Caressed the soft features now taught with tension. "I believe you."
The tension crumbled away. Bottled emotions uncorked. Helena sank her head into Barbara's lap as her legs collapsed, her hands grasped the woman's slacks, clung to them. Her body trembled, tears pushing through the sobs wracking her body.
Barbara ran her hand through Helena's hair. "I believe you."
Dinah paced the floor impatiently. She'd been on edge all day. Helena was sick. That much she was sure of. Everything else clouded in a whirl of confusion. She'd watched as the brunette entered the Clock Tower. Stormed past Barbara, her lover, and headed towards the balcony. Had heard the muted sounds of raised voices, tried desperately to pick out the words without trying to eavesdrop. It had done nothing except leave her feeling confused and shut out.
She didn't want to be jealous of the relationship between Helena and Barbara. They loved her, unconditionally, treated her as one of their own. But, there's a difference between lovers and family. Another world of codes, and trust, and communication that she would never be a part of, even as she desperately wished she could be. It made her feel uneasy sometimes, to see the two wrapped in each other, to hear the passionate cries leaking through thick walls, to fill in the blanks with her hormonal imagination and wished she could be a part of what they had. To know what it was like to love someone so completely that the line between two people blurred so much they became one. Dinah was treated as family. When, deep down, she wanted to be treated like one of them, as a lover.
Then came the guilt. Guilty over the amorous feelings she had for both her caretakers. Actually, amorous a polite way of saying debauched and primal lust. That even now as the two sorted out the rift between them she wished she could go to them, wrap herself in their combined embrace and do all the things she'd imagined since before arriving in New Gotham. To hear her name on their lips whispered breathlessly. To feel their bodies against hers. To know she was the one causing the pleasure rippling through their bodies, as they, in turn, did to her. Dinah shuddered softly. Valiantly tried to remove those thoughts from her brain. The only thing worse than being a teenager in love, she derived, was a teenager in lust.
"What's taking them so long?" Dinah huffed. She leaned against the desk. Mouth chewing on her thumbnail subconsciously. She stared at the two silhouettes through the window. Suppressed the urge to run out there and scream at the two women to tell her what the Hell was going on.
The shadows moved towards each other, merged in that way Dinah knew all too well. Had seen one to many times to not know exactly what the two women were doing. Technically, it was nothing more than a kiss. But, Helena and Barbara didn't kiss like normal people. They consumed each other, gave and took as if they were exchanging their souls. She groaned as an uncontrollable wave of heat flared below her stomach. Tried to camouflage her thoughts with images of hockey, cold showers, and Alfred naked.
The shadows moved towards the doors. Barbara emerged first, Helena trailed closely behind. Her arms wrapped around her body, face still pale.
"Well it's about time," Dinah huffed.
"Alfred," Barbara called to the man in the kitchen, ignored the annoyed blonde standing by her. "Could you come here please."
"Yes Miss Barbara."
They all stood in the center of the Clock Tower. Waiting. All eyes on Barbara as strained hush fell over them all. "We have a situation. And we're going to need your help. Both of you."
Barbara inhaled deeply, glanced at Helena. The woman shrugged. Lips pursed tight. Arms clamped tight around her body, quelling her shivers. Barbara kept her eyes glued to Helena. The woman avoided the eye contact, eyes glued squarely to the floor.
"What!?!" Dinah shrieked.
"Oh dear," Alfred added.
"How could you?" Dinah stepped towards Helena. "You know how much she.."
"Dinah!" Barbara's voice was low, almost threatening. The girl froze in her tracks. "Back off." Barbara lowered her voice, calmed herself a little bit.
"I take it there's more," Alfred straightened his cuffs. A subtle indication of his unease.
"Yes, we need to find out how this happened."
"How?" Dinah rolled her eyes. "It shouldn't be that hard to figure out."
"Dinah, knock it off!" Barbara growled, literally growled. It sent a shiver down Dinah's spine, knocked her back a step with its intensity. For just a moment, the veil lowered, exposed a dark side of Barbara people rarely glimpsed. It scared the Hell out of Dinah and she mentally checked herself to never do it again.
Barbara continued, "Someone's done something to Helena. And we need to figure out what and why. Until then, Dinah you're on patrols."
"What?" Brunette and blonde spoke in symphony. Barbara raised her hand.
"Helena, you'll go with her, but no fighting. Either leave it to Dinah, or both of you get the Hell out of Dodge."
"Barbara, I'm fine."
"No, you're not. We don't know how this pregnancy is affecting you. With your change in hormonal levels who knows what kind of side effects you could have."
"And how long is this going to take?"
"I don't know."
"You don't know? You don't know!?! I can't wait around Barbara, I want this thing out of me now. IF you won't help me, I swear.."
"And what if that's what they want? For you to go to some dime store quack and wind up bleeding to death in some back alley." The words came out in a rush. It was too much information to process, way too quickly. The weight of what they were dealing with hit Barbara hard. Helena had been violated, in the worst possible way. When her defenses were down. She reached out, grabbed Helena's hand into her own, drew on the younger woman's strength. Even if Helena would have begged to differ. "We'll figure this out Hel. I promise you."
Helena grimaced. "Do it soon, Barbara. I'm not sure how much longer I can keep this thing inside me."
With that, Helena pulled from Barbara's grip. Preferring to seek solitude in their bedroom. They watched the woman trudge up the stairs, slamming the door as she entered Barbara's bedroom.
Dinah punctuated the silence, glancing sheepishly at Barbara. "Do you think I'm ready? You know, to go solo?"
"You have to be Dinah, we all do."
The Five Point was a cop bar. It needed no other definition. The place cops went to when they needed the comforting solace of the 'brotherhood' without the element of danger. Where they could be amongst their own, those who understood without explanation.
Det. Jesse Reese swirled his glass. Stared at the copper liquid settling at the bottom, grimaced, then slammed the remaining drops down his throat. He'd had one too many. Lately, it was becoming a habit. A way to silence the thoughts and images running through his head.
He reached into his pocket, pulled another 10 and slammed it on the counter. The bartender, Rick, wandered over with a bottle of whiskey.
"Don't you think you've had enough?"
"I'm a big boy," Reese cocked a smile, "You can call me a cab."
"It's your liver," Rick smiled, filling Reese's glass. "A woman, huh?"
"What makes you say that?"
"Easy, it's always a woman."
Reese shrugged, taking another healthy swallow from his glass. Rick was right, it was a woman. And he didn't even know her name, just some stupid moniker she used to keep her distance from him.
Huntress. Even now, he could still taste her on his lips. Could still feel the smooth silk of her skin against his body. How she shivered when he entered her, tight around him, all wet and wanting. Marked him with her nails when they crashed into that state of oblivion that caused his body to quiver and his eyes to roll into the back of his head.
He had neither seen nor heard from her since that night. He'd tried using the ring she gave him. Instead, she'd sent the girl. What was her name again? Dinner. Darla? No, Dinah. Sent the blonde girl with the wide eyes in her place.
Maybe it wasn't supposed to happen. He supposed he should just forget about her. The way her eyes stared at him as if she could read his soul. Or the way her back arched and she drove herself onto him. But, he'd had a taste. And like some drug made of flesh, bone and saliva, he wanted more. Couldn't get her out of his mind. Even when he'd found others and tried to recreate their night of passion, was left wanting more, wanting her.
"I gotta get out of here," Reese shuddered. He slid off his barstool, grabbing his coat as he headed out the door.
The air was still warm, thick with the dirt and grime of the day. It didn't matter, anything was better than the cloying heat inside the bar. He staggered up the sidewalk. Tried hard not to walk like he was drunk, failing anyway. Even with his mind clouded with drink, he couldn't help shake the feeling that he was being watched. In his heart, he'd hoped it was Huntress, in his gut, he knew it wasn't. His hand instinctively went to his gun hip, toyed with the feel of cool metal on his fingers.
"Hello Jesse." The voice sent a cold shiver down Reese's spine.
Immediately, his gun was out. He spun on his heel.
"Whoa, hold on there son," Al Hawke stood ten paces behind him, hands in the air defensively. "I know you wanna see me in jail, but even the worst cop looks down on a drunk shooting his old man."
"Yeah, and you wanna tell me why you're here and not there?"
"Allergies," Al tapped his reconstructed nose nonchalantly. "I'm allergic to prison."
"What do you want?"
"For starters, for you to get that gun out of my face," Al sighed softly, tried to ease the tension in his son. "I wanted to see you."
"You should have saved yourself the time and sent a letter."
"I want us to start over. You and me, father and son."
"Kinda hard with you being a criminal and all, don't you think."
"Dammit Jesse, could we cut through the bullshit. It's me, your old man. And no matter what you think, that's what I'll always be. And I'll always take care of you."
"What the Hell is that supposed to mean?"
"It means, whether you believe it or not, I care about you and I'll always look out for you. You should read this." He opened his jacket slightly, pulled out a manila folder. He set in on the roof of a car, backing away slowly. "It's about your girlfriend. Huntress."
"She's not my girlfriend."
"Could have fooled me," he cocked his head towards the envelope. "You should read it son."
"Because, your 'not' girlfriend. She's pregnant."
Helena lay flat on her back. Eyes glued to the ceiling, she counted the tiny holes in the tiles. She'd tried closing her eyes, but the images flashing in her brain put thoughts of sleep or rest far from her conscious. Mental muscles flexed to the point of breaking, trying to remember what happened. HOW it happened. That seemed to be the biggest question. How? It was a lie. She hadn't slept with anyone except Barbara. That much she was sure of. But, there was the hard cold truth staring in her face. She was pregnant. Which meant she'd slept with someone. All she had to do was figure out when, and with whom.
She had done some pretty stupid things in her life, no doubt about it. Tested her own mortality with reckless abandon in her youth. When hormones and cynicism clouded her judgment. She'd done it all, lived the cliché, sex, drugs, rock and roll. Even with Barbara as her guardian, Helena danced the fine line between light and dark, life and death.
Then again, maybe it was BECAUSE of Barbara, Helena pushed so hard. It's easier to dance in the dark when there's always someone willing to pull you back into the light. Her feelings for Barbara had always been there. And despite the advice of, pretty much everyone, Helena knew it wasn't a crush, or puppy love, or all those other trite names adults placated teens with. No, Helena had been in love with the woman since the first day she saw her.
It had never been an easy love. Knowing what she wanted, believing she could never have it. An albatross that hung from her neck, weighed her down with its cruelty. Because that's what it felt like loving Barbara, a cruel joke played on her by the Fates. She could touch her, be with her, sit by her side, share jokes and laugh and cry, but Helena could never be with Barbara. To feel the heat of her body as Barbara cried herself to sleep in Helena's arms. Touch the silk of her skin as Helena took over the role of Barbara's physical therapist. To be THAT close and know it was not enough, would never be enough. It drove Helena to the edge with its intensity. And sometimes, Helena dove over. If she couldn't have Barbara, maybe Hell WAS the better alternative.
Barbara quietly entered the room. Helena didn't budge, or acknowledge the woman's presence. Even when Barbara climbed onto the bed, body stretched parallel to Helena's, Helena continued staring at the ceiling.
"Dr. Reynolds is going to perform the.. procedure tomorrow."
"I know what you're going to say. I've talked to the counselors, read the fucking pamphlets." She hissed. "I don't care, Barbara, I want it gone."
"I was going to say, I don't want you to do this alone. I'll go with you."
Helena's mask seemed to crack. She felt a warm hand sliding across her stomach, clasping around her fingers. Her lip trembled slightly.
"I'm scared." Whispered across her lips. Helena turned to Barbara, curled into her embrace. She didn't want the tears, but they came anyway. Stained Barbara's shirt as her fingers dug into the woman's back. "We have to find them. Make them pay."
"We will," Barbara gently stroked Helena's hair. A sudden sense of déjà vu washed over her. The two of them huddled together, clinging to each other like a lifebuoy. Being with each other should have been a moment of solitude, of peace. Normally, it was. A place where they could keep the world at bay. Forget about all their problems and just be with each other. Except, the world was closing in. Pushing at the walls around them, threatening to choke and stifle them. Instead of a fortress meant to protect them, it was beginning to feel like a cell.
"Do you know what I was thinking this morning?" Helena tilted her head slightly, acknowledging the woman's presence. "We should go on a vacation."
"You? A vacation? Who'd protect the city?"
Barbara shrugged. "Maybe I could pull some strings. Get someone to come to New Gotham. I don't know. I just think the city can survive without us for a couple weeks. So, what do you think, you, me, a sandy beach with no other person for 50 miles."
"I thought you hated the beach?" Helena remembered their one and only visit to the beach. It had been an unmitigated disaster. A year after Barbara's paralysis, they'd gone to a beach upstate. Except, the beach wasn't very accommodating to people in wheelchairs. Barbara spent her time on the side walk, fifty feet from the shore, staring at all the people frolicking in the surf. Still edgy from the many months being manhandled by well meaning nurses, she'd refused Helena's offer to carry her to the water's edge. In the end, it had left Barbara feeling embittered and depressed. Took Helena weeks to pull her out of it.
"I did," Barbara darkened slightly at the memory. "But, I'd like to try again."
"Why do you believe me?"
"I've known you far too long. You have a tongue on you that can slice the thickest of skins with just a word. We've said some things to each other out of spite and anger, things we didn't mean, or maybe we did. But, you're not a liar Helena. You sometimes may have been unintentionally cruel, in the past, but you've never lied to me."
"Why do you love me?"
"Because there's no one else who makes me feel the way you do."
Barbara pressed her lips to Helena's forehead, planted a trail over the worry lines creasing Helena's brow. The kisses soft, gentle, reassuring, and like all things between them, slowly built to some thing more. Helena tilted her head up, capturing Barbara's mouth with her own. Flicked her tongue across Barbara's lips in invitation, moaned at the acceptance. Grasped the hand caressing her face, pulled it towards the building coil of heat and tension between her legs. She needed Barbara, needed to feel her acceptance, her love.
The door to the room burst open. Dinah rushed in, skidding to a stop at the scene. "Oh, sorry."
Their kiss broke, Helena rose onto her elbows. Fired angry glares at the embarrassed teen standing in their doorway. "What is it?"
"Um, it's Reese."
"Tell him to leave a fucking message!" Helena hissed.
"I wouldn't interrupt if I didn't think it was important. He sounds..different."
Barbara moved in front of her station, turned on the microphone to the Delphi system. "Reese, this is Oracle."
"I need to talk to Huntress." An angry voice slurred on the other end.
"He sounds drunk," Helena noted out of microphone range.
"He sounds pissed," Dinah added.
"Huntress can't talk right now.."
"Oh yeah," Reese cut her off. "Maybe Helena Kyle would like to talk!"
Dinah gasped. "How does he know your name?"
"I don't know," Helena moved towards the balcony, grabbing her coat as she moved. "But, I'm going to find out."
Reese paced back and forth wildly. He'd stared at the medical file in his hands until he could recite it by memory. Until his head existed for no other reason than to hold questions.
He felt her near. Felt the familiar stirrings cutting through the alcoholic haze fogging his brain.
"What do you want Reese?"
He charged towards her, broached her personal space until their faces were inches apart. "Are you pregnant?"
"What!?!" Helena's face paled. The words hit her directly in the solar plexus, knocked the air from her chest. "NO!"
"This is none of your business, Reese."
"The Hell it isn't! Is it mine?"
"C'mon Huntress, you're not dense. We fucked and five weeks later you're pregnant, or was I not the only dick you screwed!"
"Don't you push me Reese. WE did not have sex."
Reese grabbed his shirt collar, yanked the material off his neck and shoulder. Pointed towards the angry bite mark on his flesh. "This and the matching set of nail marks on my back say otherwise."
Helena stepped back. Her voice shaky. "We didn't have sex."
"Uh-huh, it was your twin sister Helena Kyle, right?"
"Who told you this?"
"The same person who told me you were pregnant, not you!"
Her head began to swim. She could feel the tension building in her neck, inching its way towards her brain. "It doesn't matter."
"What do you mean it doesn't matter? You're not thinking about.."
"Yes Reese, I am. That's right, I'm pregnant," the words fell out in a rush of anger. "But not by you, that's for damn sure. And by this time tomorrow it will be gone."
"If you think I'm going to let you kill MY child," he growled at her. "I'll stop you."
"You can try," she spat before running towards the nearest building. Launched herself up the wall, disappearing over the ledge. Reese stood, staring at the empty space.
The cigar was expensive, Cuban. Hand rolled by the best, Hawke wouldn't have it any other way. He chewed on it surreptitiously, barely contained the contempt for the toad of a man sitting across from him. Doctor Francis Stone, and Hawke used the term 'doctor' loosely, sat in the chair. A shoddy designer suit clung ill-fittingly to the man's pudgy frame. Stone liked to pretend he was high class, from the suit, to the bad shoes, to the only thing he could afford, a manicure. His smooth fingers worked over the hundred dollar bills, counting them quickly.
Hawke pulled the cigar from his mouth. "You ever hear that song 'The Gambler'?" Stone didn't paused, kept counting the bills as he peered at the man. "There's a line that goes 'you never count your money, when you're sittin' at the table'."
"There'll be time enough for counting, when the dealings done," Stone finished the verse. "I seem to recall the storyteller of that song died. Seems to me, the smartest thing to do would have been to take the time to count it. Besides, I'll be in Asia this time tomorrow. I'd hate for your check to get lost in the mail."
"You accusing me of stiffing you?"
"Perish the thought," Stone closed the briefcase, realizing the precariousness of his predicament. "It's not very often a man sees 5 million dollars in his lifetime. Forgive my obvious glee."
Hawke sneered, popped the cigar back into his mouth. His phone began to ring, Hawke checked the connection before putting the call on speaker phone. "What's the news?"
"Your boy just had a late night visit. From his girlfriend."
"Good." A huge grin spread across his face, the first time in days. "Where's Reese now?"
"Drowning his sorrows in a sea of liquor and strippers."
"Keep your eye on him. Alert me if anything else happens," Hawke cut the connection. He rose from his chair, walked towards the large bay windows behind his desk.
"I don't get you," Stone stared at the man.
"What's to get? I'm rebuilding my empire. The only way to do that is to get rid of what stands in my way."
"Sure, I understand that but even you have to admit this is a little fucked up. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm all for putting the fun in dysfunctional, but knocking up your son's girlfriend and telling him the kid's his?"
"I never told Reese the kid was his."
"Yeah, because saying it and implying it are so different. All I'm saying is if you wanna get rid of this Huntress so bad, why not just kill her?"
Hawke turned towards the man. Stone always had one huge problem, two actually, his ego and his mouth. Both ran rampant at a speed that made Hawke want to cave in the man's skull. "You're kidding right? This is my problem, a vigilante, who happens to be the girlfriend of a cop, my son. Who's roommates," Hawke paused on the word, "Roommates with the daughter of a former Police Commissioner. Add in the kid of one of my worst enemies, who probably isn't dead. No, kill any one of them and the city would be turned upside down. It was bad enough when it was just Black Canary after me. I have no intention of turning ANY of them into martyrs."
He walked towards his desk, grabbing a lighter and lighting his cigar. "No, this is much better. There are two ways to destroy your enemy from without, or from within. I'm turning her life upside down until she can't tell up from down. With Huntress out of the way, who are they going to rely on? The girl? She's powerful but no where close to Huntress' level."
"Well, I gotta admit," Stone rose from his seat, grabbed the briefcase. "It's a helluva plan, almost as brilliant as me. Hope it works."
"Dr. Stone," Hawke called after him, waiting until the doctor stopped in his tracks, "You're sure she's pregnant?"
"Oh please, I insult you by counting my money so you in turn insult me by questioning my abilities. There are only six people on the face of the planet who could do what I have done. Only one willing to do it for the right price." He tapped the briefcase triumphantly.
"Good," Hawke reached behind his back, pulled the gun hidden there and fired two rounds into Dr. Stone's chest. Hawke walked towards the man gasping for air on the floor. He pointed the gun at Stone's head. "Now there's only five."
Dinah threatened to wear a hole in the floor as she paced. If she was confused before, it was nothing compared to what she felt now. She glared at Barbara, bored holes into the back of the woman's head with her eyes.
"Why do you believe her?"
"Who?" Barbara continued typing.
"What do you mean 'who'? Helena! You heard what Reese said," They'd both been privy to Helena and Reese's conversation. Either intentionally or not, Helena had left her mic on.
"Helena didn't sleep with Reese," she stated matter of factly. Shrugged it off like it were a missed item on her grocery list.
"And you know this because?"
Her fingers slowed. Barbara turned to Dinah, an eyebrow cocked suspiciously. "Have you slept with Helena?"
"What? No!" Dinah gasped.
"But you want to right?" Barbara's eyes darkened. Her voice turned caustic. "You'd give anything for that one night of passion. I've seen the way you look at her when you think no one's looking. So, I ask you, have you slept with Helena?"
Dinah could feel her cheeks blushing. At having been found out, and the truth revealed in Barbara's words. "No, I haven't slept with Helena."
"And why should I believe you?"
Dinah's mouth opened then clamped shut. Considering Barbara's words, and her feelings towards Helena, she really didn't have reason to believe her. Another of life's little lessons smacked hard against her brain.
Barbara softened slightly. "Why are you so willing to believe the worst of her?"
"I.. I just.." Dinah blushed harder, crumbling under Barbara's gaze. She folded her arms protectively across her chest. She hated when Barbara looked at her that way. "I don't want you to get hurt."
"I know," Barbara smiled. Placed her hand on Dinah's arm. "I'm flattered, really, but I'm a big girl and I can take care of myself. But the person you should be worried about is Helena. She needs our help, Dinah."
Amazing. That was the word that sprung into Dinah's mind. Barbara Gordon was amazing. How she could lance a person with just a look, then make them feel like the most important person in the world with her smile. But, Dinah loved this look the most. The wistful faraway look Barbara sometimes got in her eyes. It didn't take a genius to figure out who she was thinking of when she had that look in her eyes. But, sometimes, Dinah imagined it was her who made Barbara look that way. The emotions swelled within her, took over in a wave of heat and want. Dinah leaned in to Barbara, pressed her lips against the soft silk that had been the fuel for more dreams than she could count.
Barbara jolted out of her thoughts. Saw a mass of blonde hair in her vision. It took a couple moments to connect the blonde hair with the soft lips pressed against her own. Dinah's lips. She pressed her hands gently but firmly on the girl's shoulders, pushing her away.
Blue eyes opened wide with shock. Her face flared into a sheet of red. "Oh God!"
Barbara self-consciously wiped her hand across her mouth. Felt the slight wetness on her lips, and the slight shock from having been slipped the tongue.
"Oh God," Dinah backed away from the woman, turned and fled towards her room. "OhGodOhGodOhGodOhGod!"
"Well," Barbara groaned, turned towards the sound of Alfred's voice. As he stood at the edge of the kitchen. "As if this situation weren't complicated enough."
Her chest was too large. More the result of modern science than genetics. Her features more lupine than feline. But she was a brunette with eyes of pale blue. If Reese drank enough, and squinted, he could believe it was her. Give in to the fantasy. Lithe and lethal, she danced before him. Beckoned him with her fuck me eyes. Tossed him her top, a couple more bills and the rest would follow. New Gotham had a puritan clause. Strip clubs were supposed to maintain the status quo, she could lose the top, but not the bottom. But there were places, like all else in New Gotham, that skirted the rules. Places Reese knew where to find. Being the son of a mob boss did have its perks.
There was also a 'no touching' rule. Many a patron had lost teeth and gained broken limbs by placing their paws on the dancers. Reese knew how to get around that one as well. She straddled his lap, took the champagne bottle from his hand and poured the liquid on her chest. Reese growled, leaned forward, lapping the liquid from her breasts. More fuel for his fantasies, sure it would be expensive as Hell, he'd pay tomorrow, one way or another, but, for now, it was worth it. Anything to feel her against him, doing anything and everything for his pleasure. He gripped her from behind, pulled her onto his lap. She placed her hands on his shoulders, wiggled her finger.
"Uh, uh, uh, that'll cost you more."
Reese smiled, leaned back to pull his wallet from his jeans. He handed her his credit card.
"I'll be right back," she extricated herself from his lap, making sure her hips swayed as she exited the room. Al Hawke stood in the doorway, admiring her features as she sashayed past.
"Not bad," he whistled, shaking his hand.
"What do you want?" Reese grabbed the champagne bottle, took a healthy swig.
"I heard you weren't doing so well. Had to come and see for myself. She's hot, but a stripper? C'mon Jesse, you can do better."
"Like you care."
"I do care, Jesse, I'm your father. I wanna make amends, make things right between us."
"You could start by turning yourself in."
"Come on Jesse, you know better. Besides, I want to do right by you. I can do that on the outside," Reese huffed. Hawke pulled a small piece of paper from his pocket, an address, he handed it to Reese.
"You've heard of this new drug called 'Fantasy' right?"
"Yeah, makes 'X' look like M&M's."
"That's where they're making it. From what I've heard in a couple days there 'll be enough of that shit on the streets to make New Gotham float. It's just the production lab, I don't know who the money man behind it is. But, he's new, some guy from Metropolis trying to make his mark by taking over New Gotham."
Reese stared at the address, turned his eyes towards his father. "Why are you doing this?"
"I told you, I wanna do right by you son."
"Why? Why now?"
"I'm dying," the lie fell from his lips so easily, for a moment, Hawke almost believed it do be true. But the words had the affect on Reese he was looking for. "Three, four months at the most. Sometimes it takes the worst to bring out the best in a man. I don't know if I'll ever be that man, but I can help you. It's what a father's supposed to do."
"Father," Reese spat the word out. He ran a hand over his head. Tried to hold back the emotions spinning dangerously out of control. "She's getting an abortion Dad."
"What!?!" Hawke's face twisted in anger. This definitely wasn't part of the plan. "When?"
"So? Stop her."
"You know I can't. Besides, I don't even know which clinic she's going to."
Hawke reached out his hand, cupped Reese's chin, forced the eye contact between them. "Let me help you son. Just say the word, and I'll have a guy outside every clinic in the county."
Hawke removed his hand just as the door to the room opened, the woman returned. She waved the credit card in her fingers. "You only paid for one, two will cost you extra."
"Don't worry, he was just leaving." He motioned her forward with his hand. Hawke stood and watched as the woman knelt between Reese's legs, unfastening his jeans, all thoughts of Huntress and a bouncing baby Reese quickly fading from the man's mind.
"What do you say, Jesse? Just say the word."
Reese glanced at his father before closing his eyes. He didn't want to think about Huntress, or her lies, or his child. But she'd plagued his mind from the first moment he met her. He wanted to be rid of her. Exorcise her from his soul. Liquor seemed a good idea, this, even better. Although he knew it wouldn't be that easy, he had given into the fantasy of Huntress just as easily as he gave into believing the woman between his legs was her. If he could just have her one more time, the two of them, together like before. Maybe this time, the fantasy could be real.
"What's the word, son?"
Reese hurled himself over the cliff, he'd have her, one way or the other. "Do it."
Helena quietly peeled out of her clothes. She was surprised to find the Clock Tower dark when she returned. The only illumination provided by Delphi lit her path. Barbara's room was also dark. The woman laid on the bed, arms folded behind her head, staring at the ceiling. Helena slid under the covers, snuggling into her.
"You want to talk?" Barbara kissed her lightly on the head. "About Reese?"
"No," Helena gritted her teeth. Their standard operating procedure had always been to leave the mics on, it was just easier to communicate that way. By the time the conversation had become heated, she'd forgotten all about the tiny devices planted all over her face and ears. She could feel the body under her tense. Realized her word had been slightly harsher than she intended. Helena rose onto her elbow, stared down at Barbara's face. "I mean, I don't want to talk about it right now. Anything but that."
"Okay, anything but that," Barbara's face remained tense. "Can we talk about what happened, I mean, between us?"
The two had reconciled after their last argument like they always did. With Helena silently reentering the Clock Tower without a word, any inclination as to where she'd been or what she'd done. With Barbara, accepting her return without comment. Sometimes Barbara felt as if they were in less a relationship and more like a war. The battle lines drawn, each side advancing and receding. When the dust settled, they always found themselves silently acquiescing into a stalemate. They hadn't discussed what occurred. The giant elephant in the room they both danced around. While each side stock piled the ammunition until the next battle. Barbara couldn't wait that long. They both couldn't.
"You were right, I lied to you, I should have told you about the new prototype. But, I'm not going to stop trying," she watched as the flicker of anger crossed Helena's face. She placed her hand on Helena's cheek, she needed to tell Helena the truth. Even if it hurt her, even if it hurt them both.
"I can't live like this Helena."
Helena rose to a sitting position. It helped her to gain some distance between the woman. Bracing herself for a fight. "But you've made so much progress."
"Progress? Why does it feel like I'm treading water? Most of the time, I can ignore it. And then there are those days where I'm just sitting there and something will flash in my brain and I can remember what it was like, what it FELT like, and I'm back in the water being pulled under. And it's like living that day all over again."
"But it could kill you."
"Answer me this, if it were possible to bring back your mother, would you do it?"
"That's not fair, Barbara."
"No, it's not. But, everyone tells you how much you've coped with her death, and how life goes on and you have to soldier your way through. But it's not the same is it? There's still that part of you that aches for her, I see it in you Helena. Now tell me, if you could bring her back, despite all the odds and everyone telling you its wrong, would you?"
"You know I would."
"Now, ask me how I can just turn away from the ONE thing that might possibly allow me to walk?"
"Because you love me. Because it can kill you. Because if you do.."
Helena's voice trailed off. The threat hovered in the air, as did the retort locked and loaded on Barbara's tongue. And she wanted to say it. Instead, she stayed silent because she already knew the answer. Helena would leave. And both would give in to their darkest impulses which would set them each on a path of self destruction.
Helena placed her head in her hands. Could feel the throbbing ache of the oncoming migraine. She felt Barbara's hand on her knee.
"I'm sorry Helena. You wanted in."
"Thanks a fucking lot. I'm sorry," Helena's shoulders sagged. She felt tired. Achingly tired, as if her entire body had aged twenty years in the past two days. All she wanted to do was rest. Try and gain what was lost. "Promise me you'll stop. I don't know what I'd do if I lost you, Barbara."
Barbara gritted her teeth. "I promise."
Helena reached out her hand, cupping Barbara's chin. She held the eye contact, staring into Barbara's gaze as if she could read her soul. Masked the tickling voice of doubt, either Barbara was telling the truth or she was getting better at lying. And right now, believing the lie was the better option.
"Good," Helena nuzzled into her neck. "Is there anything else you want to talk about?"
"Unfortunately," Barbara sighed, braced herself for Helena's reaction. "It's about Dinah. She kissed me today."
"WHAT!?!" Helena snapped to attention. Barbara had assumed when discussing the prototype and her situation with Dinah, it was a case of really bad news versus kinda bad news. She never assumed this would be the worse of the two. Helena rolled off the bed. "I'm gonna kill her!"
Barbara grabbed Helena's arm. Pulled her back onto the bed. "No, you're not."
"You're right, I gonna strangle her, THEN, I gonna kill her."
"I think she feels bad enough as it is."
"Oh yeah, not as bad as she's gonna feel in a minute."
"Helena, you are not going to kill her," Barbara sighed. "She's not doing well. Her father's death hit her pretty hard."
"That wasn't her fault," Helena shivered. Alex Redmond's death flashed into her mind.
"No, it wasn't. But your mother's death wasn't your fault either. It didn't stop YOU from feeling like it was."
Helena sighed, accepting Barbara's point. Dinah wasn't coping well with her father's death, at all. Had skipped all the stages of grief. Instead, returned to the chipper teen they'd met less than a year ago. It was scarily similar to how the teen reacted to Carolyn Lance's death.
A coy smile spread across Barbara's lips. She tilted her head slightly. "And let's be honest, this isn't the first time I've been hit on by a hormonal teenager."
"Yeah, well that was different," Helena snorted. She slid back under the covers, molded her body next to Barbara's.
"At least you were single then."
"I think Dick Grayson would beg to differ."
"That was different?" Helena huffed at Barbara's raised eyebrow. "Well, it was. Besides, you weren't serious about him anyway."
"Oh, and I'm serious about you?"
"Damn straight you are," she straddled Barbara's legs, leaned in, planting a trail of kisses on her jawline. "You can't get enough of me and my hot little bod."
"That's funny," Barbara purred, offered her neck to the searing kisses. "I thought it was the other way around."
Dinah tossed another pillow on her head, clamped her arm over it. Tried shutting out the sounds leaking through the thick walls. One thing she'd learn from living with the two women, they were both vocal, very, very vocal. The sounds always seemed to coincide with a previous fight. The more aggressive the argument, the louder their lovemaking. She hated it. Well, hate was an over exaggeration. Dinah knew they were respectful of her space. Made sure they thought she was asleep or away before engaging in any 'activities'. But, even in her deepest slumber, the sounds traveled through her ears. Caught sail on sleeping hormones that multiplied to infinity until she awoke in a sea of heat. Laid in her bed trying not to listen even as her body writhed and twisted. Imaged the phantom sensations she so desperately craved.
Even now, the pillow on her head slowly crept off her ears. She'd spent all evening trying to reconcile herself with what she'd done. Going so far as to contemplate running away, again. Nothing seemed to work. She was hurt, horny and confused. Hurt from the damage she probably inflicted on her relationship with Barbara, and Helena. Horny, that was the easy one. Confused because even now, she could still feel Barbara's lips on her own. The slight shiver from the woman's body when Dinah grazed her tongue across her lips and Barbara accepted. Confused because even though Barbara was kissing her and thinking of Helena, Dinah didn't care. As wrong as it felt, she would have offered her soul for just one more second if Barbara had let her.
And now Barbara was with Helena. And her head filled with thoughts of pale blue eyes, alabaster skin and black hair. Mingled with the other thoughts of skin pressed against hers, writhing, sweating, making the sounds she knew all too well.
"Argh!" She tossed the pillow across the room. Kicked the covers off her feet and headed towards the bathroom. She quickly stripped out of her clothes, cranked the shower head on and threw herself under the show of icy cold water. The water seemed to do the trick, iced her veins, chilled the heat flaring through her body.
She pressed her hands against the wall, let the water cascade over her head. She had so much to think about. The only thought she kept coming back to tomorrow was going to be a long day. If she lived that long.
Barbara sat at her computer, hand on the bridge of her nose massaging the tension. She'd prepared herself for the 'talk' she would have with Dinah. Felt slight pangs of guilt over the relief that washed over when Alfred relayed the girl had already left for school. She thought she'd start the day with a little research. Then realized, it's hard to do research when you don't know what you're looking for. Helena was shaken, understandable, frightened, no doubt about it, tight-lipped, par for the course when dealing with the brunette. Still, there was the nagging doubts that maybe her trust in the woman had been given a little too freely.
Helena's conversation with Reese replayed in her mind. The tone of Reese's voice, there was no doubt. He honestly 'believed' the two had had sex. On the flip side, Helena was adamant they hadn't. Either, one of them was lying, they both were, or they both weren't. And without any answers from either of them, Barbara had no idea which way to go. It confused and befuddled her. She wasn't used to her mind being stuck. Where the wheels wouldn't turn, just pushed and pushed and pushed against each other until it felt like her brain would break.
Alfred approached her station, set a cup of tea next to her keyboard. Barbara took the mug, played with the short string. The tea bag bobbed up and down in the hot water.
"Do you believe her?" She asked.
"In the words of your generation, Helena doesn't 'do' dishonesty. The question is, do you believe her?"
"Yes," Barbara paused, searched inside for the real answer. "I don't know. I 'm not sure if it's because I believe it's the truth, or I'm deluding myself into believing Helena."
"These last few months have been difficult. For all of you. Tumultuous is the word I would choose."
"Yes, our relationship has always been.. raw. But this?" Barbara set the cup down. Placed her fingers at her temples, massaged until the skin ached. "Maybe I just need to think about something else."
"Yeah," Barbara snorted. "Did Bruce ever have this problem?"
"Perish the thought. His protégé's were too busy chasing after you."
The bag thumped loudly. Air smushed out of the tightly woven seams. Hawke punched the bag. Jabbed it with a series of rights. The accident had ruined his body. It had taken him weeks just to be able to walk again. The burned skin on his body no longer had the elasticity of before. Made the simplest of tasks painful. He spent even more weeks after his re-constructive surgery getting used to his new body, his new face. The skin grafts were better than the charred remains, but they still had their limitations. Limitations Hawke pushed by rebuilding his body as much as he rebuilt his empire.
The door to the training room opened, Frankie stepped in. He'd been Hawke's right hand man for over five years. A borderline psychopath who followed Hawke's orders with an almost malicious glee. There's been a few grumblings of protest when Hawke had promoted the man to the position. Truth was, Hawke didn't trust Frankie as far as he could throw him. Knew he had ambitions that went a little further above than being second in command. Had seen the flicker of disappointment when Hawke escaped from prison and retook his position. It didn't matter, Frankie remained loyal to Hawke for one reason and one reason only, Al Hawke scared him shitless.
"We gotta problem," Frankie stood next to the bag, watched and waited for Hawke's reply.
"What is it?" Hawke continued punching the bag.
"Word is there's gonna be a raid on the ship. Don't know when." Hawke didn't flinch at the news. Frankie pursed his lips. "You want me to call the ship, tell'em to get the drugs outta there?"
"No? That ship produces over two thirds of Fantasy. They raid that ship and we'll be up shit creek."
Hawke stopped punching the bag. He grabbed his water bottle, squirted the liquid into his mouth. "You want to know why you're not number one? You don't think of the big picture. Let the cops take the ship. Let'em take the drugs. Fantasy's the hottest drug on the street. Word gets out that the cops have slowed the flow, demand will go through the roof. That ship produces two thirds of our product, we'll just charge three times more on the stuff we DO have. See what I'm getting at Frankie?"
The wheels turned in the man's head. "We'll make more money because of the bust than we ever could have before." He smiled widely. "I gotta admit, that's pretty brilliant."
"And that's why I'm the man in charge. Anything else?"
"Yeah, they found your boy's girlfriend. She went into the clinic on eight street about 5 minutes ago."
"He's sure it's her."
"Lem's a squid but he knows what she looks like. Besides, the cripple's with her."
"You really think she'll get rid of his kid?"
"Damn, that's cold man. How you gonna stop her?"
"Easy, tell her whose bun is really in her oven."
Dinah stared at the combination. She'd been staring at it for minutes. Even after the bell rang and the stragglers ran to class. Dinah stood in front of her locker, for the life of her, unable to remember the combination. It was in there somewhere. Buried within all the other things floating around in her head. Things she couldn't stop thinking about no matter how hard she tried. Until even the simplest of tasks, like her locker combination, were on par with fractals and rocket science.
The thoughts ran tandem with the emotions running through her body. Dinah hurt. A painful body aching hurt that came not from physical stress, but emotional. She didn't want to admit the nightmares plaguing her sleeping and waking hours. Her father's eyes, wide with horror, staring at her. The cold, cruel snap of his neck. It replayed on constant loop, over and over and over. And when she wasn't thinking about her father, or Charlie, or her mother, Dinah was thinking about Barbara, and Helena. And all the emotions that came with that. An undeniable heat that washed over her as quickly and powerfully as the images of her father's death.
Back and forth her mind battled between loss and lust, desire and grief, pain and pleasure. So much so, Dinah began to wonder if she were losing her mind. She pounded her forehead against the metal door. Maybe that could stop her brain. It didn't, just made something else on her body hurt.
She heard voices in the distance. Laughing. Skylar Trip stood next to his locker, a couple of his cronies laughing at some joke the boy said. Skylar had it all, looks, brains, money. The popular kid who could do no wrong. He also had something else, too much free time, too much money, and two parents who barely acknowledged his existence.
He was the party guy. The one everyone went to because he knew where the hippest places were. And if there wasn't a party to go to, Skylar sold the other kind, the ones that took place in a person's head.
She watched as one of the boy's slipped Skylar a couple bills. Skylar reached into his backpack, handed each of them a small Ziploc bag filled with a couple pills.
Dinah marched over to the boy. He ran a hand through his short black hair, for show or arrogance, she did not care.
"Hey Zipper," he smiled smarmily. "What can I do for you?"
"I want what you just gave them."
"I have no idea what you're talking about."
"I think you do," Dinah fished into her pocket, pulled out a hundred dollar bill. "I'm in the mood for a fantasy."
"And what would Miss Gordon think?"
"Quite frankly, I don't give a damn what she thinks."
Pain. Dull and throbbing. That's all he felt. An icepick jabbed into his temples, repeatedly. Reese groaned, lifted his head slightly. A wave of nausea washed over him, until his head slumped back onto the pillow. Another icepick added to the dozen or so crashing into his cranium. Last night was a bad idea, a very bad idea.
He could feel warmth across his body. Noticed the slender form molded against his body. A mass of black hair pressed against his chest. For a moment, his spirits lifted. Thoughts that maybe the night hadn't been a total wash. Then, she raised her head and Reese's fantasy's dissipated into nothing more than smoke and mirrors.
"You gonna get that?" She mumbled before rolling over, jamming a pillow over her head. Reese realized the ringing she referred to wasn't just from inside his head. He rolled over, yanked the receiver off the phone.
"It's me," Hawke spoke into his ear.
"Did you find her?"
"Clinic on 5th. She's been there less than 20 minutes."
"Thanks," Reese ran a hand over his face, tried to clear the cobwebs. "Dad?"
"Nothin'. Talk to you later," Reese hung up the phone. Ignored the pain in his head. He rolled out of bed, grabbed the clothes strewn sloppily across the floor, legs sliding into his jeans. Apparently, he'd had fun last night, too bad he couldn't remember half of it. His 'guest' rolled on to her back, the sheets falling nonchalantly off her chest. She eyed him seductively. Reese figured that look probably worked last night, when his head was clouded with drink, along with his judgment. Now, it just seemed a fateful reminder of how far he'd fallen. Reese reached into his wallet, leafed through the bills. "How much do I owe you?"
"I'm not a whore," she sneered at him.
"If you say so," he shrugged, tossed several hundreds onto the bed.
"Oh yeah!" She yelled after him, grabbing the bills off the sheets. "What does that make you?"
"Step into my office." Skylar's office was a van. Less than a year old, top of the line. The window's tinted darker than the legal limit. The interior was covered in plush red carpeting. As tacky and gauche as anything in an Austin Power's movie. Dinah knew Skylar had ulterior motives for bringing her into his van. Truth was, she didn't care. If being hit on by one of the more popular boys in school meant she got what she came for, so be it.
Dinah flopped onto the back seat already flattened into a bed. Skylar scooted next to her. She fished the money from her pocket, waved the bills in front of him. Skylar smiled.
"I have to warn you, 'Fantasy' isn't cheap."
"50 bucks a pop."
"I want two."
"Whoa, hold on, babe. This shit isn't for kids. You take two and.."
"The first one isn't for me. It's for you." She paused on his reaction. "I want to make sure it's safe."
"I don't take my own stuff."
"You're not," she put on her best seductive smile. "I'm paying for it."
"Okay." The logic worked for him, he smiled at her. "It's your dime."
He reached behind the bed, pulled a toolbox from the floor. Removed the top tray, a cornucopia of illegal substances stored inside. He fished out a small plastic bag filled with dozens of tiny pink pills. He took one of the pills and placed it on his tongue.
Dinah watched. Watched for any negative reaction. Skylar's breathing increased, deep inhales of breath. His face flushed. Eyes glazed slightly as the drug took affect. After several moments, he tilted his head towards her.
"Happy?" He smiled drunkenly. "Now, it's your turn."
Dinah could feel her heart hammering in her chest. Every part of her screamed to run. To get away from Skylar and his van and his drugs. Maybe he was a cliché, the rich kid turned bad boy. But, there was always a kernel of truth to every cliché.
"Just relax. Don't swallow it, let it dissolve on your tongue," he held the tiny pill between forefinger and thumb. Hovered them in front of her face. "Now, open your mouth, close your eyes and get ready for a big surprise."
She did as commanded, ignored every instinct in her body. Felt Skylar's fingers on her tongue, wrapped her lips around them and sucked the pill into her mouth. It tasted bitter, acrid. Dissolved immediately in her mouth. She sat waiting, staring into Skylar's face.
Then, it hit. A tingling sensation cascaded across her body. Her heart began to thump heavily in her chest. Her mind split in two, felt cloudy and crystal clear. Thoughts became fuzzy, but her senses cranked into overdrive. Skin tingled like goose pimples without the chill. Her vision pulsated with light. In a word, it was incredible. It felt incredible. As if the world itself dissolved away and all that existed was the here and now.
Heat rippled from the pit of her stomach, from that deep dark place where desire and lust were born. Until it felt like her entire body was nothing but one giant erogenous zone.
Skylar leaned closer to her, placed his hand on Dinah's thigh. She moaned slightly, another wave of heat cascaded across her, pooled between her legs.
"So," Skylar licked his lips. "Is it true? Is Miss Gordon into chicks?"
"I'd tell you, but then I'd have to kill you." Dinah smiled. Enjoyed the slight shift in power between the two. His moves were smooth, rehearsed, but there was also a slight hesitation in his touch. A realization that the boundaries he played on held not only pleasure, but danger as well. That he saw Dinah as dangerous. She purred at the thought. That she could be seen as dark, dangerous. "Does that turn you on?"
"Oh yeah," he mumbled into her neck. Took a tentative nip out of her flesh. Dinah moaned at the contact. Her flesh tingled from the slightest touch, from his touch. But, it was fantasy. And the images in her mind floated to reality, became tangible, flesh and bone. And the image staring down at her was no longer Skylar's but a beauty with dark hair and pale blue eyes. She took the hand caressing her thigh, slid it higher. Until curious fingers slid between denim and skin, danced across heated wet flesh. Her eyes closed. Body arching into the contact. Dinah needed more, more of this. Anything to bring sensation to the myriad of thoughts and images playing behind her eyelids.
They floated on a sky of purples and blues. Naked. Flesh covered in sweat and desire. Merged together until their bodies were no more than a writhing mass of flesh and heat. Dinah floated towards them. Arms outstretched, they pulled her into them. Sandwiched between them, Dinah melted under their combined touch. Flesh seared, melted, trembled.
An abyss opened underneath them. Dark and warm, slivers of rainbow colored lightening streaked around the edges. Blinding white light erupted through her vision. Dissolved Barbara, then Helena. Dinah could feel the body next to hers jerk away. She slammed open her eyes, the sensation diluted as reality came crashing down around her.
The door to the van jerked open. Skylar jumped. Wade stood in the opened door. "What the Hell's going on here?"
Once again, Helena was in a hospital, a clinic to be exact. Not that it mattered. She still hated it. The eggshell white walls. The antiseptic smell. The feeling of apprehension seemed to tie her stomach in one giant knot. A combination of nervousness and nausea. She supposed she should have thought a little more about what she was about to do. But, the truth was, it didn't matter. Someone had done something to her. Put something inside her without her knowledge or consent. It drove her insane when she actually thought about it.
Actually, insane wasn't the proper word. Terrified was more like it. She had lost control. Didn't know when, didn't know where. And that scared her more than anything. The knowledge that time had passed by her, slipped through her proverbial fingers where she was vulnerable to the world and if not for the ticking time bomb inside her body, she'd still be oblivious to it all.
She wanted to talk to Barbara. God how she wanted to talk, and talk, and talk. Then Reese came along with his accusations and suddenly, what seemed like one thing had become a big ball of something else and the urge to talk dissolved into the feel of soft skin, and strong arms wrapped around her. Anything to feel safe. Anything to feel loved. Anything to not think about being vulnerable, violated, used.
Helena pressed her hands to her face. Anything to stop the salty sting forming at the corner of her eyes.
All she concentrated on was the future. She'd get this done and then she'd find him, or them, it. Whatever. Take back the control that was stolen from her.
She felt the soft hand of Barbara's wrapping around her own. The pangs of guilt that immediately followed. She'd been a bitch, and a pain in the ass for completely superficial reasons.
"I think you're right," Helena sighed.
"Right about what?"
"I think we should go on vacation."
"Anyplace in particular?"
"China. I've always wanted to see the Great Wall. Maybe we could walk it, ya know."
"Helena, the Great Wall's over a thousand miles long."
"Did I mention it would be a really long vacation?" Barbara cocked a half smile at the obvious tension breaker. Not enough to keep her from worrying about the woman lying on the gurney. Helena stared stone faced at the ceiling.
"I've never felt this," Helena paused, the word choking in the back of her throat. "Helpless. Not since Mom died. And then I start thinking and I'm wondering if she felt this way with me."
"No," Helena cut her off briskly. "I know. She loved me. They both did. But I just," She tilted her head towards Barbara. "Am I doing the right thing?"
"You can stop at any time. No one's pressuring you to do anything you don't want to."
"Except being pregnant," She shook her head vigorously from side to side. Eyes once again glued to the ceiling. "No. No! I want this.. this parasite out of me, Barbara."
"Okay," Barbara squeezed Helena's hand. "Okay, what ever you want."
They could hear voices, raised voices, carrying through the walls. Helena felt her stomach lurch as the unmistakable voice of Jesse Reese reverberated through her ears.
"Oh God," she groaned. "Not him. Not now."
Barbara moved her way to the door. "I'll take care of this. Helena?"
A hush fell over the room. Barbara waited until Helena tilted her head towards her. "I love you."
"I love you, too."
Rage. That's all she felt. Pure, unadulterated rage. It had been years since she'd felt this way. Not since she'd been shot, maybe not since before. It pumped through her like liquid fire. Until her eyes saw red and her blood burned hot. All directed towards the man yelling at Doctor Reynolds.
"Where is she? Where's Helena Kyle?" Reese teetered on the edge. He knew she was here. Could feel it in his bones. His father had lied to him about many things. He knew this wasn't one of them. If they wouldn't tell him where she was, he'd tear the building down brick by brick.
Barbara moved towards Reese. Until she was positioned next to Dr. Reynolds. "What are you doing here, Reese?"
"You know this man?" Dr. Reynolds gaped at Barbara.
"I've heard of him. Haven't had the displeasure of a face to face until now."
Reese glared at the woman in the chair. If he'd been thinking clearly, he could have put the face to the voice. "And you are?"
"What do you want with Helena?"
Reese pulled the paper from his pocket waved it in Barbara's face. "This is a court order. To protect my child."
"It's not your child, Reese!" If there were any doubt the two had slept together, it faded immediately. Even if this had started about an unborn child, it had shifted to something else. This was about territory. Lines drawn in the sand. Each posturing for position. Words, threats and the possibility of violence all in the air. Reese fighting for what he thought was his, Barbara protecting what was hers. If she drew blood, preferably Reese's, oh well.
The cell in Helena's jacket pocket began to ring. Helena grimaced rising from the table. The floor felt ice cold against her bare feet as she made her way to the coat rack. She shoved her hand into her pocket, answering the cell.
"I wouldn't go through with it, if I were you." The voice was tinny, mechanical, filtered through a device to hide the identity of the caller.
"Who is this?" Helena stomped towards the window, peering through the curtains.
"Don't you wanna know who the Daddy is?"
"Why don't you tell me, Sherlock."
"I'll give you a hint," Hawke smiled on the other end. Wished he could be there to see the expression on Helena's face. "Red hair. Green eyes. Last name begins with a 'G', ends with an 'N'."
The line disconnected. Helena stared into the receiver as if it had grown an eye. Nothing about her pregnancy was even within the realm of 'normal'. She felt dizzy, nauseous. The tingling sensation of doubt erupted into a full blown sense of fear. Suddenly, what was the right thing to do became something very, very wrong.
The door to the room opened, a frazzled nurse stepped in. Helena could hear the raised voices of Reese and Barbara in the background. She ran towards her clothes, hurriedly shoved her body into them.
"The room's ready, I'm going to need to.."
"No," Helena shot past the woman, "I can't do this."
"I'm the father!" Reese barked at Barbara.
"For the thousandth time, you are not the father of this baby."
"Wanna bet?" He hissed at her. "All it will take is a DNA test."
"He's right," Helena stepped behind Barbara. The woman turned to her, a confused expression on her face. "I need to know what's inside me."
"Okay, we'll get a DNA test done," she turned to Reese. "Happy now."
"Not even close, but it'll do. Until then," He fired his gaze towards Helena, took in her disheveled appearance. "Why don't you act like an actual pregnant woman. You look like shit."
"No, fuck you!" He spat. "How dare you do this to me!"
"SHUT UP!" Doctor Stone shoved her way between the three of them. "She's agreed to a DNA test. You have your court order, now quit throwing your weight around and get the Hell out of my clinic."
Barbara's cell began to ring. She jammed her hand into her pocket. Couldn't help the puzzled expression as she saw the number on the caller ID. "Hello?"
Helena stared down at the woman, caught bits and pieces of the conversation as her ears bounced between Reese and Dr. Stone and Barbara. The redhead sighed, shoved the phone back into her pocket.
"I can't believe this," she mumbled to herself.
"What is it?"
"That was the school. Dinah's been suspended."
The doors to the Clock Tower silently slid open. The first to exit, a streak of blonde hair that stomped loudly towards the stairs, slamming the door to her room. The sounds of music, cranked to the highest degree boomed from the closed door.
Barbara exited next, followed silently by Helena. She wheeled towards her station, doing the one thing that seemed to make any sense in her world. She pressed a couple key strokes, reams of text scrolled across the screens. Data compiled while she was away. The music blaring upstairs seemed to send a bolt of pain straight towards her temples. She pulled her glasses from her face, tossed them onto the desk.
"You know that rule I have about not killing people, I think I'm starting to waver."
Helena smiled softly. She approached Barbara from behind. Placed her hands on the woman's shoulders, began massaging the knots of tension. "No you're not, you're just pissed."
"You're goddamn right I am. This is going to go on her record, Helena. Not to mention Social Services is going to be giving us a call."
"This isn't the first time one of your charges was found under the influence."
"No, it's not," Barbara softened slightly at the memory. "But, back then, there were 'extenuating circumstances'. They aren't going to be so understanding this time. My God, what was she thinking?"
"She wasn't thinking at all."
"I need to go talk to her."
"No, you don't," Helena placed her hand on Barbara's arm. "I've been there and I remember your 'talk'. It's not one of your best. Just give her a little space and some time to cool down."
"Don't you mean sober up?" Her jaw clenched. Teeth grinding against each other. She didn't notice the silence from the other woman until the air between them was palpable. "Helena?"
"We need to talk," Helena mumbled softly. "About today."
"Helena, there's no need. This is your decision.."
"No," Helena cut her off. "You need to know why I stopped. I need you to know why." She paused off Barbara's puzzled reaction. Helena dropped her eyes. It seemed easier when she didn't have to stare at Barbara. She began to pace the floor, arms gesticulating wildly as the words poured from her mouth. "When you left the room. Some one called. I don't know how they found my number or where to find me. Anyway, he or she said I shouldn't do what I was about to do. Not until I found out who the father was."
The rest of the words seemed to catch in the back of her throat. It seemed impossible, implausible, improbable and all the other 'ble's'.
"You don't have to tell me. I don't care."
"It's you," Helena whispered.
"They said it's yours. The baby I'm carrying is yours."
For once in her life, Barbara was glad she was in a wheelchair. If not, her legs would be failing right about now. "Why would anyone go through all the trouble of impregnating you with my DNA?"
"Because you're the only person I'd ever consider having a child with."
A shiver ran down Barbara's spine, not because of Helena's words, but the implication. If it were true, someone out there knew way more about all three of them than she'd ever conceived possible. With everything floating around, the bottom line was they'd been compromised. Barbara placed her glasses back on her face. She moved away from Helena, towards the safety of the Delphi, fingers clacking loudly on her keyboard.
"Barbara, did you hear me? I said I might be carrying your child."
"I heard you. I heard you," she turned her head towards Helena. Could see the fear reflected back towards her. Instinctively, her hand shot out, clasping around Helena's. "We need to find out what happened to you. Tell me about your last night with Reese."
"Barbara, I told.."
"I know, you didn't sleep with him. Just tell me what happened. It's the only piece that fits, the estimate is five weeks ago."
Helena relaxed a little. Leaned against the desk. "Okay, fine, we went to Gibson's and played pool. Drank a little, okay, a lot. Reese was totally hammered. We took a cab back to his place. I put him to bed and took a cab ride home."
"Call Gibson, see if he can corroborate your story."
Helena tried not to roll her eyes, this seemed pointless. She knew she hadn't slept with Reese. But, she did as Barbara instructed. Her mind seemed to go on auto-pilot. Data from across the spectrum scrolled across the screens. Windows from various organizations popped onto her screen.
"First off, Gibson says 'hi' and he says the same thing I did. Except in incredibly long detail that also included descriptions of various parts of my anatomy."
"Which cab company did you take?"
"What do you mean 'which cab', the yellow one."
"They're all yellow Helena. I just hacked into every cab company database and according to their files, there's no record of a cab driving from Reese's apartment to yours."
"Are you saying I slept with Reese."
"I'm saying you never left his apartment."
"Jesus," Helena gripped her stomach as another wave of nausea cascaded over her. Her head began to throb. She hated thinking. Ever since her visit to Dr. Reynolds, that's all she'd done was think. And worry, and fear, and hope. Her eyes glanced towards one of the monitors. A stream of face shots flipped from photo to photo. It clicked something in her brain. "What was that?"
"On that monitor there," Helena pointed, Barbara turned her chair, grabbed the nearest keyboard. "Go back."
The stream of faces slowed. Her eyes widened at the sight of a portly man with the world's worst comb-over. "There, I've seen that guy before."
Barbara called up the information. "Doctor Francis Stone." Her eyes scanned the text. "They pulled his body out of the harbor this morning. How do you know him?"
"I don't know," Helena stared at the face on the screen. Until the image burned onto her retinas. "You know one of those faces you see but you don't know from where."
Barbara plugged the doctor's name into her database. Scanned the information scrolling across the screen. "It says here he was a fertility specialist. Had his license revoked for illegal experiments in genetic cloning." She turned to look at the brunette. The blood completely drained from her face. "Oh God."
"It was him wasn't it? He did this to me."
"Either that or it's an awfully big coincidence." Hands shaking, Barbara reached for the phone.
"Who are you calling?"
"Dr. Reynolds. I think I need to take a DNA test."
Chuck Phelps shifted nervously in his seat. Tried desperately to mirage the apprehension in his body. Failed miserably. Sweat bead on his brow. His leg bounced up and down animatedly.
He was a detective. The old school kind, molded from pulp novels and noir movies. From his Fedora to his trench-coat, to the shoes on his feet. Chuck liked to think of himself as a cross between Philip Marlowe and Jack Nicholson in 'Chinatown'. Instead, he shook and quaked like a frightened school girl.
It's not the job that frightened him. Hell, he lived for this stuff. Born and bred a private dick. Who loved getting his hands dirty and making a difference in his own way. More than a cop. He was used to dealing with the criminal element. Except, when it came to gangsters.
Chuck hated dealing with gangsters. They were moody, shifty, unpredictable, prone to violence and, worst of all, they had a tendency to stiff him. Make him work, pour out blood, sweat and tears, and when it came time for pay day, sneered as they waited for him to complain. Anything to have an excuse to kill. Like they were trying to keep their monthly quota or something.
What really sucked was when they called you came. Choice wasn't an option. So, when Al Hawke called and said he wanted to 'talk'. All Chuck could do was pray he didn't piss his pants.
He sat in an over stuffed chair. Face forward. Eyes glued to the cityscape outside the large bay windows. Could feel the two very large and well armed men flanked behind him. Guys hired for their brawn and tiny brains. Doers, instead of thinkers.
The door swung open. He could hear Hawke behind him, talking animatedly on a phone.
"Yeah, you heard me. Tell that son of a bitch I want my guns and I don't care if he has to shake every dive hole in this town. Get'em."
Hawke sat down behind his desk. Set the phone down. He sighed, placed his hand on his chin. "No sense of history. If it didn't happen 5 minutes ago, no one remembers. When you get the guns, give Harry a reminder."
The thugs nodded, left Philip along with Hawke. Exception being the two goons still flanking him.
"What can I do for you Mr. Hawke?"
"Just Hawke, mister makes me sound old."
"I need you to find someone for me."
"Is this a request or a demand."
"Both," Hawke sneered. Slid a file towards him. "Use all your resources."
"This'll cost you."
"I don't care. Do what you have to do. Walk the ends of the earth. Turn over every rock and leaf, I don't give a shit how long it takes or how much it costs. Just find her."
Dr. Reynolds sat in her chair, stunned. She tried not to stare at the woman across from her like she was a crazy woman, but there was no other way around it. The woman across from her was crazy.
"You what?" She stammered.
Barbara sighed. Hated the look the woman was giving her. "I want you to do another paternity test. This time using my blood."
"I heard you the first time. I just.. I.. Are you serious?"
"Dead serious. The short story of it is, Hel," she placed her hand to her forehead, felt the slight beads of sweat forming on her brow. "We believe she was intentionally impregnated with my DNA. We need to be sure."
"You do understand the implications if this is true?"
More than you'll ever know, seemed to hover on the tip of Barbara's tongue. Instead, she kept that particular fact to herself. The long version involved telling her how Barbara had spent the night researching. Gathering any and all information about Doctor Stone. How she'd spent every spare minute at school calling the man's associates. Had learned Stone really was a genius when it came to fertility and genetics. And had been disbarred because of his hubris and greed. The only thing she learned from talking to his associates was Stone's willingness to bend the law for a price. Something that, in the end, had cost him his life. "I also want you to use a separate company. Someplace different than where Det. Reese's tests are going. I don't want him to have any idea what we're doing."
Dinah punched the heavy bag. Again and Again. Sure, her muscles screamed and her bones ached but it didn't matter. If she concentrated on the bag, on hitting it, she didn't have to think or feel or hurt.
Helena walked into the room. She approached the bag from behind. Held it against her body, supporting the bag as Dinah punched.
"Where's Barbara?" Dinah continued hitting the bag.
"At school. Where you should be. You know, if you hadn't been suspended."
"Please," Dinah paused for a moment. "Spare me your self-righteous platitudes."
"Don't worry." Dinah hit the bag with all her might. Felt a slight sense of victory as Helena was pushed back from the impact. "I've learned my lesson. There's only one person who's allowed to screw up around here, and it ain't me. So don't have to worry about me taking your title of Miss Hedonistic Slut of New Gotham."
Helena shoved the bag towards Dinah. Stepped towards the girl. "So that's how you wanna play this."
"Yeah, this is how I wanna play this. I'm the one who gets crap for taking a couple pills!?! Tell me, what have you got Barbara hooked on? Because, apparently, she must be on something if she'll forgive you. It's not fair," she hit the bag again. "You go when you want, say what you want, fuck who you want. Hell, you can even get pregnant by some guy you barely even tolerate. And here's the kicker, it might not even be his because you can't even remember who you were fucking. And she still thinks you walk on water."
"Are you done?"
"No, I'm not so just shut up before you piss me off."
"I'm pissing YOU off!"
"Fine. Hit me," Helena walked into Dinah's space. Their faces inches apart. "Or are you just going to talk it without backing it up. Do what you always do. Whine. Besides, I owe you one for kissing my girlfriend."
Dinah blinked. A slight blush crept onto her face.
"Oh yea, that's right. MY girlfriend," Helena jabbed her finger into Dinah's chest. "Or did you think you could just walk in here, do a couple months of your junior super hero routine and Barbara would fuck you."
"Shut up," Dinah hissed through clenched teeth.
"Did you think I wouldn't notice? Or that she wouldn't tell me?"
"Shut up, Helena." She could feel the rage in her building.
"Oh, that's right, I'm the one who's pissing YOU off. Talk is worthless if you don't have the balls to back it up. So, tell me Dinah, how worthless are you?"
"SHUT UP!!" Dinah swung with all her might. Her fist connected with Helena's jaw. Helena took the blow. Her head whipped hard to the right.
"Is that the best you got?"
Whap! Another blow, and another, and another. Dinah swung, ruthlessly, mercilessly. Poured everything of herself into the punches. Fought like she was supposed to, like she should have. Watched Helena reel from the blows. Her body tense, waiting for Helena's assault. But, it never came. Dinah punched and punched and punched. And Helena took the blows. Even when the blood trickled from her nose and her face bruised, she didn't hit back.
"C'mon," Dinah yelled at her. "Fight back!"
"Why? Does it make you feel better? Does it make you feel powerful? Come on Dinah, hit me. Or is fucking doped up little rich boys the only thing you're good at?"
"I hate you!" She screamed. Unleashed another round of blows. They were less controlled, less direct. Arms flailed. "You worthless freak! Stupid! I hate you!"
Helena whipped her hand out, clasped it around Dinah's wrist. She spun the girl around, until Dinah's back was to her. She wrapped her arms around Dinah. Arms locked around the blonde's torso, trapping Dinah in her embrace. Dinah bucked wildly, kicked her legs, screamed, hurled expletives at the brunette. Until the fight seemed to drain from her. Until her knees buckled and she sank to the floor, dragging Helena down with her.
"It's not fair," she sobbed.
"I know." Helena loosened her grip slightly. Began rocking the two of them back and forth.
"I can still see him. Still see his eyes. And I couldn't save him." She choked out, hating the world, but mostly hating herself. "Why couldn't I save him, Helena? Why'd he have to die?"
"I don't know, Dinah." Helena kissed her lightly on the temple. "I don't know."
The sun faded behind the horizon. Even down below, where there were no windows, Barbara could feel the slight chill in the air. The darkness creeping in as the shadows came out to play. It seemed like an after thought, coming here, to this place. Barbara no longer felt comfortable in the Clock Tower. The ebb and flow of the tension between she and Helena seemed to hover in the building. But, she felt comfortable here. Even though it had been years since she'd last visited Bruce's lair.
She placed her glasses back onto her face. Gripped the precision screwdriver in her hand. The prototype was almost completed. In the minimal spare time she could muster, Barbara came here. Where she could work in silence without the staring eyes of Helena, or her open disapproval. She'd tried to explain, over and over again, why she needed this. And just because Helena understood, she didn't hide her disapproval.
The door to the lair opened. Alfred stepped inside, walked towards her. "I thought I saw your vehicle parked outside."
"Are you checking up on me?" She smiled softly.
"Why on earth would I do that?"
Barbara sighed. Set down the prototype. "Helena thinks the baby might be mine."
"What do you think?"
"We have seen stranger things. It's not outside the realm of possibility."
"That's not exactly what I meant."
Barbara glanced up at the man. The one who'd been in her life longer than anyone outside her adopted father. She leaned back in her chair, broke the eye contact between the two. "I can't be who she wants me to be."
"Can't or won't."
"She's never asked for more than you could give. Ever. She accepts you for who you are. Why can't you?"
"And just who is that, Alfred? Barbara? Batgirl? Oracle? Who am I?"
"I can't answer that for you. Not that you'd listen anyway. Instead, you're down here, with the ghosts, building a new mask to hide yourself behind. If you love her, maybe it's time you stop running from her. And yourself."
Helena stood in front of the door. Her fist hovered in the air, debated with herself to knock or flee the scene immediately. She hadn't talked to Reese since their confrontation at the Clinic. Wasn't particularly looking forward to another one. But, she needed inside his apartment. All the answers to her questions led her back here, at Reese's place.
She'd seen the light in his window. Knew he was home. But still couldn't muster the courage to knock on his door. Before, Helena would just sneak in a window. Nine times out of ten, scaring the crap out of the man. Those days were over. The tentative strings that held their friendship together viciously ripped apart. Helena didn't have many friends, let alone people she trusted. Reese used to be one of those people.
A sound carried through the door and Helena could feel her ears perking up. The unmistakable sound of a moan. Female. Followed quickly by a male, definitely Reese. The soft thumping, becoming louder with each passing thud, echoed through the hall.
"He won't answer."
Helena jumped at the sound. She turned to see an elderly woman, Hispanic, walking towards her, her arms overloaded with grocery bags.
"He don't answer," she spoke with a thick Spanish accent. "I tell the landlord about him and his puta's. Always making so much noise."
Helena stepped to the woman's side. Pulled the large bags from her frail arms.
"Thank you. Don't see too many nice people these days," she made a face. "Nobody cares no more. He don't care. Landlord don't care. Says he's a cop and the landlord don't wanna get on no cops bad side. Cops shouldn't be with no putas."
Helena followed the woman into her apartment. Even with the door closed, she could still hear Reese and his 'guest'.
"Has he always been," she cocked her head towards the muffled sounds. "Like this?"
"No, he used to be good neighbor. Quiet. Then, all of a sudden, with the drinking and the women. I think he's on the drugs," she wagged a crooked finger at Helena. "You not on the drugs."
"No ma'am," Helena flashed her good girl smile. It was the truth. Admittedly, she had taken her fair share of narcotics in her youth. The woman's eyes widened just a little.
"I know you. You used to come around here.. before."
"Yeah, I did," Helena shrugged. She'd been made. No point in lying about it now.
"You feel better now?"
"'Bout a month ago, maybe longer, you were here. Saw them carry you out on a stretcher."
"Wait, you saw me."
"I'm old, not blind. You may act like a bad girl, even dress like one, but you're not, no? It's in the eyes. And mine see, even if no one care. Was doctor with them. Bad comb over."
Helena could feel the blood drain from her face. Images flashed in her brain, like something from a faraway dream. Or nightmare. "I have to go."
"You sure? You don't look well."
"I'm fine, thank you for your help."
Helena closed the door behind her. Took a large gulp of air. She felt comforted and frightened all at once. Comforted because her suspicions were true. Someone HAD done something to her. Frightened from the knowledge it all entailed.
She marched towards Reese's door. The loud noises had ceased. Not that it mattered to her. She had to get inside Reese's apartment. His feelings be damned.
Suddenly, the doors to the elevator opened. From the corner of her eye, she could see Reese's partner, and a couple detectives exiting the lift. Helena dodged to the end of the hallway, ducking behind a corner.
They approached Reese's door. Pounded on it hard.
"Reese, c'mon, we gotta go."
The door opened and Reese exited. Shirt in one hand, jacket in the other.
"What the Hell took you so long?"
A woman, a very naked woman, propped herself between Reese and the door frame. Helena gritted her teeth as the men collectively picked their jaws up off the floor. She handed Reese his wallet, leisurely kissing him as she did.
"You forgot this."
"Thanks Harmony," Reese grinned. All eyes on the woman as she swaggered back into the room seductively.
One of the men slapped Reese on the back. "Now I know why you've been late the last couple weeks."
Helena quietly slid open the window. Quietly stepped into Reese's living room. She could hear the shower, along with the woman's horrid singing coming from the bathroom.
Reese's apartment was a wreck. A stark contrast to the immaculately kept place she last remembered. Empty beer and liquor bottles were strewn everywhere. Clothes littered the floor. Reese's and his 'guest's'. His apartment was the first real indication Helena had of Reese's mental state. And if his apartment was any indication, Reese was on the edge.
She wandered about. Tried to find any clues that might help her understand what happened to her. Doubted she'd find anything after two months. But, considering Reese's place. It could be buried under the two feet of crap covering his floor.
His communicator ring, the one Helena had given him, sat on the coffee table. Sat next to an empty beer can and a half eaten slice of pizza. She grabbed the ring, tucked it into her pocket.
She picked up a woman's coat. Helena's face sneered at the sheer gaudiness of it. Faux leather with a snakeskin pattern, several different shades of blue and lavender. It reeked of cheap perfume and cigarette smoke. A small plastic pouch fell from one of the pockets. Helena held it up, saw several tiny pink pills inside. Fantasy.
"Aw Reese, what have you gotten yourself into?" The familiar sound of a gun cocking filled the air. Helena froze.
"Who the fuck are you?" Harmony, one hand held the towel around her body, the other pointed the gun squarely at Helena's chest. Helena didn't know much about the woman, except that she slept with Reese and knew how to hold a gun.
"I could say the same thing about you?"
Harmony took a couple steps into the room. Jet black hair, still wet, hung past her shoulders. She was thin, toned. Eyes almost as pale as Helena's stared back at her.
"I know you," she smiled threateningly. "You're the bitch that's trying kill his kid."
Her pulse began to rise. Heat cascaded through her system. The woman continued talking, taunting Helena with her words.
"Oh yeah, Reese told me all about you. Of course, he doesn't talk as nicely as I do," Harmony whistled tauntingly. "He really doesn't like you right about now. Which doesn't make any sense seeing as how he never shuts up about you." She walked towards Helena. "What's so special about you, huh?"
"What? You mean aside from my looks, brains, class and unwillingness to let drunks shove dollar bills down my crotch?"
"I wouldn't talk like that if I were you. I'd hate to splatter your pretty little brains all over Reese's wall."
"Right, because Reese will really like you if you kill me."
"True, but I'm sure killing you will score a lot of points with his father."
Helena shot her hands out. Grasped them around the gun. She twisted hard, spinning the woman. A sweep of her foot and the woman hit the floor. Harmony yelped as Helena twisted her arm at an odd angle. Helena took the gun, placed the barrel next to her temple.
"Al Hawke is in New Gotham?" The woman clamped her mouth shut. Helena twisted her hand. "I'd start talking if I were you."
"All right, yes, he's in New Gotham. Been here a couple months, got a new face and everything."
"Great," Helena hissed through her teeth. "What else did Reese say about me?"
"Nothing. Just that you two were getting close then you broke it off after you fucked. Now you're pregnant with his kid and won't have anything to do with him."
Helena leaned down. Her lips a hair's breath from the woman's ear. She hissed quietly. "If I were you I'd forget everything we talked about. And if I hear you've whispered one word of our conversation, I'll find you and rip you apart limb from limb. Got it?"
Shakey's was a 50's themed restaurant. With art deco décor. Pictures of Marilyn Monroe, James Dean and Elvis hanging off the walls. Booths with seats shaped like car seats. The waitresses dressed in old school outfits. Most wore bee-hive wigs to accent the look.
Dinah stared down at her shake. Bounced her straw in and out of the triple thick mixture. Any other day, she would have already consumed the chocolate banana shake. Today, she just stared at it. Neither the energy nor desire to finish her drink. Let alone the burger and fries accompanying it.
"So," Gaby, having already finished her plate, reached over and grabbed one of Dinah's fries. "How's suspended life treating you?"
Dinah shrugged. "Not what it's cracked up to be. That's for sure."
"Well, you certainly created quite the scandal at school. Don't be surprised if your 'Q' quotient shoots through the roof when you get back." Gaby cocked her head slightly. "But, don't worry, I set every one straight on that whole sex with Skylar thing. 'Cuz I know there's NO way you'd have sex with him. Right?"
Dinah blushed. Hard. She'd traveled to New Gotham to remake herself. Into something bigger, better. This definitely wasn't it.
"Jesus, Dinah," Gaby gasped, even as a slight flicker of jealously coursed through her. "Why'd you do it?"
The million dollar question. The one Dinah had been asking herself every second since she'd been suspended. She sighed. Ran a hand through her hair. "Do you ever feel like you're going insane?"
"All the time. I figure it comes with the territory of being a teenager. At least, that's what my parents say."
"I just," She sighed again. As if her body were nothing more than a bag full of sighs. "I met my mother a couple months ago. My real one. And I was just getting to know her again and, suddenly, she's gone. Then, my brother gets kidnapped. I find out all these things about my family, my father. Like I wanted to hate him, you know, and then he dies and it feels so unfair because I hated him and I loved him at the same time. I just don't know what to feel anymore. I just don't want to feel anymore."
"Jesus Dinah," Gaby reached her hand across the table, clasped it around Dinah's. "Why didn't you tell me."
"Because it hurts too much."
A group of boys entered the restaurant. They walked past their table. One of them stopped, placed his hands on their table, leering at the two girls.
"Hey Zipper," he leered lasciviously.
"What do you want?" Gaby sneered right back.
"Was I talking to you?" He returned his attentions to Dinah. "Hey Zipper, my parents bought me a van. Was wondering if you'd like a repeat performance. You don't even have to get high this time."
The boys laughed at his joke. Dinah seethed. Thoughts of fists and cracked skulls entered her mind. She slid from her booth. Stood close to the boy, real close. To where the tension filled the air and time seemed to stand still.
"You want me to go with you into your van?" His eyes flickered with possibilities. "Maybe your friends would like to come to? You know, to watch. Nothing beats an audience."
Her fingers grasped the waist of his jeans. Heat seemed to cascade from his body. She pulled him closer. Edged her mouth to his ear. "You wanna know what I did with Skylar?" He nodded emphatically. Tongue sliding over suddenly very dry lips.
Dinah yanked his waistband. Grabbed her shake from the table and poured it down his jeans. He yelped at the sudden coldness freezing his tender parts. Dinah shoved him into his friends. Hard. Pushed him with a strength that caught them all by surprise. They tumbled to the floor.
"Come near me again and I'll kill you." She barked before darting out of the restaurant.
The locker room was empty. A slight consolation for Reese, but not really. He didn't feel like being at work. Didn't feel like much of anything lately.
He could feel a familiar presence in the room. Couldn't help the smile pulling at his mouth. Helena grabbed Reese by the collar. Jerked him up from the bench and slammed him against the lockers.
"You son of a bitch," she hissed at him. "Why didn't you tell me Hawke was in New Gotham?"
"Hi Huntress, guess what? Al Hawke's in town," he smirked at her.
"There? Feel better now. I guess this makes us even, huh."
"This doesn't even compare. How can you let him walk free? You're supposed to be a cop, for Christ's sake."
"He's my father. And right now, he's the only person I trust."
"You've got to be fucking kidding me. Hawke?"
"Who do you think told me about you? About my kid and what you were going to do?"
"That's rich. That's really rich, Reese. You have no idea what's going on," Helena hissed at him. Tried desperately to keep her voice down.
"Oh yeah, I guess you'll be taking the time out of your busy day to enlighten me."
"It's not your kid, Reese."
"Whose is it?"
"This isn't the time for this."
"The Hell it isn't. You come waltzing in and out of my life like you fucking please. Running hot and cold. I'm tired of you cock teasing me."
"Did you just call me a cock tease?"
"Yeah, that's right. What? You're too good for me now. Got what you want and now it's time to move on to greener pastures. Or do you just have'em take a number so you don't have to remember their names."
"Fuck you!" Helena spat.
"Fuck you!" Reese grabbed her by the arm, yanked her towards him. He placed his hand on the back of her head, planted his lips onto hers as he pressed Helena against the lockers.
Helena could feel him pressed against her. Could taste the alcohol, even under the breath mint meant to hide it. Tried to process the information flooding her brain. She expected this from thugs, criminals, but not Reese. The synapses connected. She placed her hands on his chest. Shoved him, hard, until his body crashed against the opposite lockers.
Shock then shame crossed Reese's face. His eyes flittered back and forth, realizing what he'd done. Watched as Helena backed away from him.
"Don't," Helena cut him off. Glared at him. Confusion, hurt, anger, written across her face. Questioned everything she knew about the man slumped against the lockers. "Who are you?"
Dinah marched through the city. Not particularly caring where her feet took her. Away and anywhere seemed to the dominant answers. Things actually seemed to be going good. For one tiny nanosecond, Dinah hadn't felt like complete pond scum. Or angry. Or hurt. Talking with Gaby seemed to help. Seemed to. Until Josh came along and Dinah realized her status in New Gotham High had gone from the Zipper Girl to School Slut. All within the matter of a day.
She supposed Barbara would have been proud of her. She'd quelled the notion of caving the guy's head in with her fists. Something she was quite capable of these days, amongst a few other things. Only, she hadn't talked to Barbara since her suspension. Had avoided the woman like the plague.
Her talk with Helena had gone vaguely better. She'd said things she didn't want to. Didn't mean. And still Helena stood by her side, still loved her. In a platonic sisterly way, of course, which, in its own way, was good and bad. The words that poured out of Dinah's mouth had been cruel and hurtful, and still Helena loved her. At the bottom of her soul, those actions didn't leave her feeling better. It left her feeling unworthy.
She was tired of living in a world where everyone around her was stronger, braver, nobler than she. A world where she was too weak to protect the ones she loved. Images of her mother and Alex kept flashing in her mind.
The sounds of men yelling carried into her ear. Dinah tilted her head up, took in her surroundings. She was on the edge of the Red Light District. Didn't bother to calculate the miles she'd traversed. Far seemed a good enough answer.
She followed the sounds into an alleyway. Ducked behind a garbage bin. Peered over the edge. Six men stood at the other end. One lay on the ground, suffering a beating from the other four while the sixth stood in the shadows and watched.
The man on the ground was jerked to his feet, slammed into the door of the limo. Hands held up in surrender.
"Where's the money?" One of the goons hissed at him.
"It's gone, man, I told you. I used it to buy your guns."
"Liar." Another slammed a fist into his stomach. "Where're the guns?"
"They," He coughed. Dinah could see blood on his mouth. "They're on the way. No body has those kinda guns for that money. I had to get them shipped in."
Another punch to the face. Any more of this and the man would be dead. The man in the shadows held up his hand. "Stop." The goons did as instructed. Released the man who slumped to his knees. The man stepped out of the shadows, towards the car. He placed his foot on the man's shoulder, pushed him until it was pinned to the car.
"Tell me why I should believe you?" The voice sent a tingle up Dinah's spine. She knew that voice. Brows furrowed as she tried desperately to put two and two together.
"C'mon man, you know me. You KNOW me! I wouldn't stiff you. I spent all the money getting your guns. They're on their way. It's just gonna take some time."
The man released his foot. Took several steps back. He pulled a gun from his jacket, pointed it at the man's head.
"Aw please," the man whimpered. "I'm telling you the truth. I wouldn't stiff you, Hawke, never in a million years."
Hawke. The name carried into her head like a bullet. Until her body tensed and her eyes saw red. Hawke. The man who killed her mother. Dinah hurled herself over the garbage bin. A blood curdling scream released from her throat, one filled with rage and blood lust.
She crashed into the thugs. Fists flying, legs kicking. They fell one by one. Until the only man standing was Hawke. He tried to defend himself to no avail. Dinah pounded her fists against him. Knuckles cracked against jaw, ribs, stomach. She grabbed him by the collar, threw him onto the hood of the limo.
"Murderer!" She screamed into his face. Hawke glared back at her. His face cracked into a smile. A laugh bubbled from his throat. "What's so funny?"
"And who exactly did I murder?"
"And where's the body? For there to be a murder, there has to be a body." He stared into her face. Could see the confusion clouding her eyes. "Look at me Dinah. Do I look dead to you? How do you think I survived that explosion, huh? C'mon, you're young not stupid."
"Am I? One minute I'm in the middle of a burning building. The next I'm lying on the concrete fifty feet away. Your mother was like every other white hat in this city. It's never about revenge with her. It's about justice. Anyone else would have let me die in that building."
"I.. I don't believe you." Dinah released her grip. Stepped away from the man. His words sinking into the places they shouldn't.
"Why don't you go ask your friends, huh? Ask them how Al Hawke survived that explosion. Your mother's alive, Dinah."
Dinah backed away further. Her feet getting faster beneath her. Until she was in a dead sprint, running away from Hawke. Towards home. His words echoing in her ears.
"Black Canary's alive!"
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