DISCLAIMER: These characters and situations do not belong to me in any way shape or form. I have borrowed them as part of my sanity maintenance.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Written for December 9th of the the Femslash Advent Calendar: Dead of Winter 2007.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: Birds of Prey Comic - Issue 108.
SEQUEL: To Thank God for Helena
Thank God for Barbara
Thank God for Barbara.
Helena Bertinelli stared up at the tower rising high in front of her. She smiled to herself, remembering the night she had broken into Barbara's old place back in Gotham, and how that indiscretion had, after a few mishaps along the way, resulted in the relationship they now shared.
It was a relationship that meant more to Helena than she cared to admit; a relationship between two women previously afraid to really let go. At least now, she could count on being welcomed into Dalten Tower with open arms, and sometimes she admitted crudely, with open legs.
Laughing now, she considered Barbara's use of her prior to this most recent mission for her team, the Birds of Prey. Helena was confident now in calling it her team. Oracle might be seen as the Commander-in-Chief, but she, Huntress, lead the team from the front. More importantly, Oracle, too, admitted the fact, not only in private, but openly to her allies and foes.
Oracle had infused in Huntress a confidence to not only lead the team but also to be part of the team.
And Barbara had infused in Helena the confidence to accept her feelings; to accept being half of a couple.
Thinking back to their sex before the mission, she knew that she hadn't really been used; she'd known all along that Barbara had needed to release her frustration, and loving the woman as she did, giving Barbara her release had given Helena the strength to go on and fight the Secret Six.
Thank God for Barbara.
So why did Helena feel so let down right now, as if the whole shared strength was false?
Katarina Armstrong, of all people, that was why.
She'd always thought Oracle was one of the strongest women out there, and even after getting to know her softer side, Helena still thought that. So, why was Oracle kowtowing to this other woman; this woman who couldn't hold a candle to Barbara Gordon?
Helena had hardly believed her ears when there'd been no comeback whatsoever from her partner when Armstrong had fired Zinda. And, Helena hadn't been afraid to let Oracle know that she'd been in the wrong.
As she'd said, she'd back Barbara all the way, was always on her side, but that, that had been wrong, and that had been weak. Barbara was stronger than that.
As Helena had known, Barbara had taken the bait.
Helena kept her focus on the tower. Barbara was up there, waiting to take Katarina down, and she, Helena was scared to death she'd pushed her lover too far.
She glanced back towards the two women that had accompanied her back to the tower after getting Tora on her way to Checkmate and safety. She'd managed a private talk with Manhunter while Armstrong was on the phone to somebody in high places and knew Barbara had been making contacts on this end, but other than that, all she knew was Barbara had a plan.
Barbara always had a plan; she could always think of a way out, it was what she was good at.
Thank God for Barbara.
Helena led the way up towards Oracle's lair, hoping the plan was better than Katarina's had been for the recent mission. It had been a farce that admittedly worked out okay in the end, but only because Tora was back where she belonged. The only thing Helena had gotten from the trip was a sore ass where she'd toppled into the ditch and stubble graze from her encounters with Catman; fear of commitment indeed. She just hoped Barbara had been too busy watching the others on her monitor to concentrate on her close-up duals with Thomas.
At last, she locked eyes with Barbara, saw a glimpse of relief thrown her way, and then the passion of fury took over.
"Hello, Kat. Welcome to the Maiden Tower."
It had been a long time since Helena had heard that voice; Katarina was going to feel Oracle's wrath that was obvious.
"Whatever, Gordon, I brought you a little gift. Some information I stumbled upon."
Huntress smiled her evil grin; there was no way Armstrong was going to bluff this one out, so she quickly readied herself to play her part. She nodded to Manhunter, and they effectively barred Katarina's exit.
"What's going on here?" Katarina glared at Huntress and then eyed up the advancing Barbara.
The redhead muttered, "Nothing you haven't earned, Kat. You might even like it. I challenge you to combat. A duel for my operation, everything I've built. Everything you covet."
Helena groaned inwardly as Katarina laughed out loud and dared to underestimate Barbara's strength with her patronizing words.
"Funny Gordon, but I've already won all that. And, you'll forgive me if I don't feel like beating up a cripple today."
That did it. Helena shared a nod with Manhunter who proceeded to take Katarina down, allowing Helena to pounce, removing Spy-Smasher's holstered firearms. She glanced up and grinned at Babs, giving her the go ahead to take Katarina down a peg or two. The interloper might not rate Barbara's chance in combat, Helena, of course, knew otherwise. She trusted her partner's skills implicitly.
Spy-Smasher meet Batgirl.
Thank God for Barbara.
Helena watched as Barbara landed two heavy punches without retaliation; she knew it couldn't last. Sure enough, Katarina's muttered, "Kill you if I have to!", heralded the start of her counterattack.
It took all of Helena's resolve not to barge in and take over as Spy-Smasher shattered Barbara's glasses and lips with one hefty punch. She clenched her fists and deliberately turned her back to leave. Barbara wouldn't thank her for interfering; and, more to the point, Helena knew, her lover didn't need the help. She would be fine. It didn't mean she had to stay and watch the pain.
She left the two women to fight and headed out to meet the second half of Barbara's plan; to welcome the parade of Oracle's friends gathered to give their support.
Chatting to her friends and superhero acquaintances, she couldn't help keeping one ear on the action. She shared a few quiet words with Dinah as they debated as to who was to take the lead in any word wars with Katarina. Helena gladly passed the mantle over to Dinah; Dinah would make Katarina understand Oracle was not to be messed with.
Finally, the sounds of battle drifted away from inside the tower, and the scuffle of feet could be heard making their way outside. Obviously, Katarina was about to make an appearance.
The door opened, and Spy-Smasher's angry words drifted out onto the balcony where the masses were waiting.
" All your operatives belong to me."
Huntress smiled evilly, enjoying her reply way too much. "Now, me, I'd say that's a little premature, don't you think?"
The look on Katarina's face as she scanned the massed ranks almost made listening to Barbara's pain worthwhile. Almost.
"Hey Lady, I hope you don't mind we invited some friends."
As Dinah's voice took over, Helena spared a few moments to peek inside the tower, smiling as her lover wiped a blob of blood from her nose and then wheeled carefully towards her. Caressing Barbara's cheek with a gentle touch, her gaze offered all the love and comfort she could muster.
Barbara's hand resting gently against her thigh, searing its mark, was thanks enough until later.
They stood side-by-side and watched Dinah at work.
Suddenly, she noticed Shiva's deadly glare boring into Katarina Armstrong; who knew Oracle's rolodex was that deep?
Barbara's plan, to take Spy-Smasher down herself, and then to back it up with a show of strength from her friends, her sometime operatives, and apparently even her enemies, had worked to perfection. Helena could recognize a defeated opponent with her eyes closed, and Katarina was defeated.
Later, much later, Huntress and Canary waved their goodnights and thank yous, promising to meet as soon as possible for another girl's night out, the next time with Oracle in tow.
Helena watched as Dinah's cab sped round the block and smiled. Oracle; her memories of earlier that day, and Barbara's undeniable strength as she'd single-handedly delivered a message to a supposedly stronger more able bodied woman thrilled the huntress deep within her.
The sizzle of electricity that had passed between her and Barbara as they'd shared a group hug with their friends had lit a fire in Helena's belly she hadn't felt for many a long post mission period. A fire that dancing with Dinah and the group of followers two beautiful women always seemed to attract, had failed to dampen.
A fire that, for probably the first time ever, she didn't need to scour the nightlife of Gotham to assuage; a fire that was waiting to be doused in the arms of her lover in their home.
Once again, she looked up to the heights of Dalten Tower to see a warm glow that intimated Barbara was indeed waiting for her.
Her lover, her home.
Thank God for Barbara.
Moments later, Helena entered the part of the tower housing Barbara's apartment and called out, "Lucy, I'm home!"
Echoes of the previous encounter that had followed those words, when Barbara had taken her hard and fast against the kitchen counter, whistled through her subconscious.
Locking eyes with Barbara, she could see her lover remembered it, too.
Her libido climbed another notch, and she groaned inwardly; more than anything these days, more than the thrill of the chase, more even than the sex of the capture, she craved
God, how she just wanted to cross the room, pick Barbara up, lay her down on soft sheets, and release all her desires on the soft willing body; she wanted to love Barbara senseless
Out of the corner of her eye, she spotted Misfit drinking cocoa and watching some inane music channel on Barbara's television set
Another of the pleasures they sometimes lost to the damn job.
Barbara watched, fascinated at the warring messages flitting across her lover's face as she continued across the room to kneel at the side of her wheelchair. The look she gave Barbara at that point left nothing to the imagination; neither did the kiss she planted on her lover's slightly parted lips.
Helena harbored no doubts that Barbara knew exactly what she needed as she stood, nodded to Misfit with a grunted goodnight, and then turned towards the bedroom, leaving Barbara with a healthy glow to her cheeks.
After undressing and taking a quick shower to wash the grime of smoke filled dance halls from her hair, Helena plonked herself languorously on the bed to wait. Laughing out loud, she imagined Barbara's stuttered explanations to Misfit, and her eventual, embarrassed departure from the room.
Knowing Barbara, it would take at least 15 minutes of flannel and wasted words. She checked the bedside clock, 14 minutes and counting. Sure enough, within another turn of the second hand, the rolling of chair wheels carried to Helena's ears, and she watched the door for Barbara's entrance.
Rolling past on the way to the bathroom, the look Barbara sent Helena's way was as incendiary as the feelings already coursing through Helena's body. Barbara's words were meant to still the flames of passion.
"Misfit's in the room next door."
As soon as Barbara came back into the room, Helena pounced on her lover, using her strength to lift her gently from the chair. Her growl in the redhead's ear was answer enough. "Then, we'll have to take this very slow, and you, you'll have to be very quiet."
She carefully removed Barbara's clothing before she straddled her hips and just stared. Her gaze raked ravenously over her lover's body, and the hitch she spotted in Barbara's chest finally broke though her restraint. No longer able to hold back, she spoke.
"Can you do this? Not a word or I stop? Huh?"
Needing no other invitation than Barbara's slight nod, Helena took her fill, until all she knew was the taste and the smell, all she could feel was the heat and the power, and all she could think was Barbara. Misfit was gone, not next door, out of the equation.
Then, with a low growl, she drew the last of Barbara's essence deep inside and felt her lover's tremors zipping along her own nerve endings, right to the very core of her being. At last, she had her homecoming; she had her reality.
Thank God for Barbara.
Helena woke to bright sunshine streaming through the open window and a soft tuneless humming by her side. Rolling over, she found Barbara already working on her laptop.
She took the laptop from her lover, placed it to one side, rolled on top of the now vacant legs, and smiled.
"So, my lovemaking was that intense you're already up and working, huh?"
"Your lovemaking was out of this world as you well know. The problem here is you fell asleep, and I was too wired to do anything but think. I couldn't share with you and "
Her words were cut off my Helena's lips and Helena's determination to gain one up on her lover. Barbara had taken her fill days ago; Helena would take her fill twice right now.
Long moments later, the redhead flopped back on the pillows, and Helena raised her head to ask a very important question. "You were saying?"
Barbara's snore brought a supreme look of triumph to Huntress' face as she, too, flopped back in exhaustion.
"Helena, come on, hon, it's time to get moving. Hel?"
Barbara's voice finally cut through Helena's reverie, and she awoke to share a loving grin.
"So you were saying?"
It took a moment for Barbara's brain to catch up with the situation, but, when she did, she enlightened Helena about the Misfit situation.
" and she'll be staying here for awhile. Is that ok?"
"You don't need to ask my permission, Babs, this is your home."
Helena let her eyes drift away from Barbara's intense gaze, surprised at the hurt she saw flare, surprised even more when her lover tenderly cradled her cheek to whisper, "It's not my home, Hel, it's our home."
It was the first time Barbara had voiced what Helena had only recently admitted to herself; Dalten Tower, the place both could come home to, the place where both could find release, the place where they could just be; their home, theirs.
"Our home, Hel?"
Helena accepted a kiss from Barbara, nodded her head, and jumped out of bed. As she reached the bathroom, she turned to look at Barbara. No more words were needed.
Returning to the room in her jogging outfit, she saw Oracle back on her laptop, deep in thought.
Helena passed the bedside and touched Barbara's shoulder, "Dinah asked me to arrange a quiet meal for the two of you; she needs to talk to you alone."
"Thanks hon, be quick then, and we'll have breakfast together, huh?"
Smiling her agreement, Helena left swiftly, barely acknowledging Misfit in the living area, and was soon pounding the neighbourhood's streets.
Katarina Armstrong be damned, Huntress was Oracle's operative and Barbara's future; she was a Bird of Prey.
Thank God for Barbara.
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