DISCLAIMER: Birds of Prey and its characters are the property of Miller/Tobin Productions, Warner Brothers and DC comics. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Edited by Aussie & nightstorm.
FEEDBACK: To jagurin[at]gmail.com

The Thin Line Between Love & Hate
By Jaguarin


Part 1

Nothing was easy, everything was blurred.

She couldn't deal with this. One moment, she was laughing with her mother and the next one, her mother was gone. She let out a shuddering gasp.

She had kneeled next to her at the beginning, thinking she had fainted, but when she felt warmth between her fingers and noticed they were stained with blood, her mom's blood, that was when she realized she was in a nightmare.

She yelled at the people and asked them to stop the criminal standing a few meters from her, his eyes fixed on them.

He dropped the knife and ran away.

No one saw him, no one tried to stop him.

Afterwards, everything was so confusing and jumbled.

She couldn't remember well what had happened, only that, suddenly, she was inside a small room, waiting. Waiting for what, she didn't know exactly. She was in shock.

That was when he appeared.

The day she buried her mother, a tall, handsome man stood in front of her. She recognized him as the eccentric, millionaire friend of her mother, Bruce Wayne. He stood there for long seconds and, suddenly, he said that he was her father and that he would take care of her.

It was awkward.

Bruce Wayne was a wealthy businessman who lived in New Gotham. Her mom told her that he was often seen as an irresponsible, superficial playboy who lived off his family's personal fortune, but that he was a good man, and that she must not believe all the things that people said. She told her that he was known for his contributions to charity, through his Wayne Foundation.

Her mom said that he helped a lot of people, but he didn't want that people to know about him.

She had seen him dating her mom a few times. They seemed to be good friends, but she never gave her the slightest hint that he was her father.

She was stunned by the news. Afterwards, Bruce had explained to her that Selina's lawyer had looked for him immediately after finding about Selina's death. She had kept the name of her father a secret, but had left orders for her lawyer to reveal her secret to Bruce if something happened to her.

He, too, was surprised by the news, as much as her, but moved his lawyers quickly to keep her at his side and prevent her from ending up in an orphanage.

She was so numb and shocked that she couldn't react or understand what was happening

She discovered, in those painful days, secrets that her mother had kept from her. Alfred, the loyal butler of Mr. Wayne and a friend of her mother, too, knew so much about their lives.

She was Helena Kyle.

Her name was Helena Kyle, not Helena Wayne.

She would never accept his name.

She wanted to keep her mother's name forever. She had been the most wonderful, loving, sweet person she would ever know. She had taught her everything she knew, she had made her everything she was now.

She was not sure whether or not she could survive without her.

It was so difficult.

She still couldn't understand why she agreed to go with him, maybe it was because she didn't have anywhere else to go, maybe it was because she was shocked and all she wanted was to die and not feel, to die to be with her mom.

Being with him was hell. She couldn't talk with a man that she didn't know and now claimed be her father. Why hadn't her mother told her anything? It was so hard to understand.

What was she doing here?

And Barbara was hurt a crazy man had shot her in her apartment. She was in intensive care and she couldn't visit her. She had been the closest friend of her mother, and she had always been nice with her.

She felt defeated.

She ran away from the manor a few nights to go to see her and had broken down inside her room. It broke her heart to see Barbara covered in tubes and that breather. She just sat at her side, holding her hand, praying that she would open her eyes. The smell of the hospital was nasty. It reminded her of the day her mom died. She couldn't stand it.

She couldn't sit there and watch Barbara die.

She was lost and so alone.

Helena lifted her eyes and looked around the foyer of the manor. The place was incredibly big and dark. So dark. She looked up at the high walls decorated with elegant paintings. She felt like she was inside a museum.

The furniture and decorations were probably really expensive, but the place still felt cold, as cold as the incredible solitude in her soul.

How many people would love to live in a place like this? So luxurious, so comfortable, so incredible.

She still didn't know how many rooms it had, or how big the gardens were.

The first time she had dinner with 'her father,' it had been a disaster, he had barely opened his mouth. They didn't have anything in common.

It was not her place, it was not her home.

She just wanted go out and run run until her lungs exploded, run until she couldn't run anymore and just stopped thinking and feeling.

She was so tired of feeling.

"Are you hungry, Miss Helena?"

She turned her head and found the smile of Bruce Wayne's gentle butler, Alfred Pennyworth. He was the only person that had been warm and kind with her since she had arrived there.


"Is there something with which I may help you?"

"No, thanks."

He walked toward her with his hands behind his back, looking around. "Impressive place."

"Yes." The girl nodded.

"Do you want to see Miss Barbara?"

The girl shook her head; she already had seen her, and it hurt her too much to see her lying in the hospital surrounded by tubes and medical stuff. "I can't…"

"She was your friend. Why not?"

"You don't understand…" Helena bit her lips. "She will die… I can't watch her die."

"The doctors are optimistic." Alfred understood she was afraid to lose the redhead, too. "They say she is doing fine. She will be fine; don't lose your faith."

"But she has been unconscious for almost fifteen days…" Helena mumbled, lowering her head.

"She is a strong woman." He smiled gently at her. "Keep your hopes up."

"I'm trying, but it's so hard."

"I know, it was a hard blow for all of us, your mother was a great human being."

The girl was silent a few seconds before asking, shyly, "Did you know about my mother and my father?"


"And… did you know I was…. his daughter?"

"Well, your mother kept the secret, but… I realized it when I saw you. You are so much like him."

The girl didn't say a word, she just stared at a painting in front of her. She couldn't hide her sadness. He noticed it and tried to distract her.

"Have you been in the gardens?" Alfred asked.

"I don't like flowers."

"Do you want me to show you the manor? Since you arrived three weeks ago, you have been locked in your room almost all the time."

The brunette didn't answer.

"Let me ask you another way. Would you be so kind as to join me in checking the rooms of the house? I'm a bit old and I sometimes I have to climb on a chair to lock the upper windows."

"Old?" she looked at him.

"Yes, pretty old."

"I saw you yesterday doing pretty well on a ladder and cleaning the chandelier."

"Well," he explained, gently rubbing his knee, "today I don't know why, but my leg hurts."

"Your leg hurts," Helena repeated skeptically.

"Yes, quite a bit…. and it would be much easier for you with your skills."

She smiled, Alfred knew she was half-meta. She'd known him since she was a kid. "All right."

They began to walk inside the manor, it was bigger that she expected. She didn't know there were so many rooms inside.

"Why would a single man live alone in this big place?'" she asked.

"It's special. His parents lived here. This has always been his home."

"Yeah. I wish I could stay at my home too," the brunette said, climbing up a window to close it.

"This is your home, too, Miss Helena," Alfred said.

"I don't think so."

"All the things you see around are yours, as are all the things that belong to Master Bruce."

She jumped down and landed in front of him. "This is his stuff, not mine."

"But you are his daughter."

"Just in name," the young woman responded, walking to the next room. "We are nothing. We don't feel anything for each other. I don't know him. It's hard to call a stranger 'dad'."

"Just give it some time," he said, following her.

"I don't like this place very much."

"You will love it. It's nice."

"How long did my parents date, Alfred?"

"Many years," the butler answered, holding his hands behind his back, while they walked down the long corridor toward the main hall. "It was the first time in his life that I saw him smile and laugh."

"And why didn't they marry?"

"I think they had different interests, but they remained very good friends."

"I know," Helena said, stopping in front of a big room. "I saw him dating Mom sometimes. Wow, what is this?"

"A gym, Master Bruce loves to train."

"I mean," the young woman walked inside, "this place is huge."

"Do you like gymnastics?"

"Mom made me take classes, it was easy for me."

"I bet."

"She said she wanted me to learn to handle my skills." The girl removed her jean jacket and her shoes before walking toward the rings.

"And do you like it?"

"I love it." She jumped toward the rings.

He watched her in amazement. She was graceful, fast, and incredibly agile. So much like her mother, so much like her father. She had too much of her parents, the stubbornness of Selina, her elegance, her beauty, and, like Bruce, she didn't show her feelings, she was hard to read, but had a determination as strong as steel.

She just needed time.

It was difficult for father and daughter. Helena spent almost all her time locked away in her room. Bruce also spent so much time locked inside his own room.

Why had Selina never mentioned Helena was his daughter before? He never could understand it. Maybe their life could have been different. There were so many "if's", so many questions with no answer.

He was used to being alone and closed his heart to his feelings. He had opened it to Selina, but many things had separated them in the end.

Now she was gone and he had discovered they had a daughter. Helena looked so much like her mother - - her expressions, she reminded him of her at every movement.

Now he knew why Selina had gone to Paris, where she raised her child, their daughter. Selina was an independent woman; she didn't want to tie him to her just because of a baby.

Maybe his life would be different if she had told him about her. But she kept Helena a secret, maybe afraid that some of his enemies or her enemies would hurt the girl… and she was right, but, maybe, if they had talked, they could have found a way to work it out and live as a family.

He had lost his family as a child. He had forgotten what having a family was like and, now, Helena was his family. But what could he say to her? The girl was very affected by her mother's loss. All the tragic events had happened just three weeks ago.

He could handle the most important company in the country and deal with the most dangerous criminals, but he didn't have a clue about how to take care of a teenager.

He knocked on her door. It was weird that he felt nervous. He knocked on the door again and heard her saying he could come in.

The room was dark. He stepped inside and noticed she was sitting on the bed, looking at her hands.

He rubbed his hands nervously and looked at her. "How are you?"


He didn't know what to say. What should he say to a girl that he had just met a few weeks ago and that he just realized was his daughter?

"Barbara is doing fine…" he finally offered, after a long silence "She woke this morning."

"Really?" Helena's heart jumped in happiness and she lifted her head to see him.

He could see her eyes; they were blue, as blue as Selina's.

"Yes," he paused, "but they keep her drugged to help with the pain. It will take her several months to recover. The bullet damaged her spine… we were afraid she wouldn't walk again, but… the doctor says she can recover."

Helena felt a punch in her stomach. "Will she walk again?"

"Yes, but she will need intense therapy. I'm preparing to send her to England."

"England?" Barbara was leaving? That sounded really bad. "Why England?"

"There is a new clinic that just opened. It's run by a friend of mine. He developed a new technology that will heal the damage in her spine, but it will take months…"

Helena's face couldn't hide her sadness. She didn't expect that Barbara would go so far. She couldn't see her. The redhead had always been supportive of her.

"She is alive, Helena," Bruce said. "That's the important thing and, with help, she will walk again… Otherwise, she could be stuck in wheelchair the rest of her life."

"I don't want that!" Helena said in a hurry.

"I know, no one wants it. We are doing our best to help her. Maybe we can go visit her this weekend. The doctor has restricted her visits, but I can talk with them."

Helena nodded.

"Good…" Bruce didn't know what else to say. "Do you need anything?"

"No." How could she say she felt her heart still bleeding, that she wanted her mom back, that she wanted to be hugged. The only good thing was that Barbara is alive. She wanted to cry.

"I see… I'll be here if you need anything. Call me or Alfred, all right?"


"So, you are fine?" he asked again.

"Yes." She looked at him, wanting him to see that she felt so alone, but it seemed he didn't understand her message. He mother would have understood. Barbara would have understood.

"Okay, see you then." He stepped back and exited the room.

She watched him go, feeling her heart shatter into thousands of pieces. Barbara was leaving, she would be alone. She missed her mom, she wanted her mother. She felt terribly empty.

A tear rolled down her cheek.

Helena stood at the main door of the hospital. The floor was white, blindingly white. The doors opened automatically. She stared inside, visitors walked inside, as did doctors; she could see easily through the glass doors.

The place was elegant. It almost looked like a hotel, but she hated it. The smell disgusted her. She could smell that scent so easily, that scent that had filled all her senses the night her mother had died.

The smell of alcohol and antiseptic.

The smell of pain and death.

She wanted to flee, to forget it existed. But Barbara was there and this was her last chance to see her. She would be traveling to Europe early the next day. She didn't know for how long, and the thought of it crushed her heart.

Barbara was her only family now.

Bruce Wayne might be her biological father, but she didn't know him. He was a perfect stranger. This was so crazy, so surreal.

"Are you going to come in, Miss Helena?" Alfred asked, standing at her side.

She didn't answer, she kept her gaze fixed inside the lobby.

"Master Bruce got you a pass to see Miss Barbara. We can go inside."

The brunette looked at him in silence.

"Miss Helena?"

"I don't want to go in there."

"Miss Helena, she will leave today to go to England. You might not see her for a long time."

"I know, but… I don't like the hospital."

"She will be happy if you visit her, if you wish her luck. She will be gone a long time."

Her blue eyes locked on him with infinite sadness. "I don't want her to leave."

He rested his hand on her shoulder. He never touched people, out of respect, but, this time, he knew she needed to feel support.

"She needs to go," he said softly. "If we want her to recover, she needs to go."

"I know… it's just that…" Helena bit her lips, trying to not cry. "It hurts… it hurts, Alfred, you know? I already lost my mom…."

"She will come back, you must look at it in a positive way. You want to see her healthy again.."


"Come on." He smiled at her "She asked for you."


"Yes, she told her father she wanted to see you. He told me."

The girl sighed and nodded. "All right…."

She walked inside the building, feeling that hated smell fill her nostrils. It was so awful. She felt butterflies in her stomach and all her muscles stiffen.

"Are you all right, Miss Helena?" Alfred asked when they were inside the elevator.

"I'm fine," she lied. She felt so nervous to see Barbara again.

The young girl walked inside the room alone. Alfred and Barbara's dad, Commissioner Gordon were in the lobby.

The room was small, all white with heavy curtains blocking the sun. A flower arrangement was on a small table.

And the smell, that hated smell, was inescapable.

Helena's eyes fixed on Barbara. She was lying on the bed with her eyes closed, covered with tubes and machines, immobilized to the bed. An annoying beep showed her heart rhythm. She looked so lifeless, pale, fragile.

She had been shot in her abdomen and one of the bullets had damaged her spine.

The girl felt a knot in her throat and tears filling her eyes. It hurt see her like that. She wanted to hug her, kiss her, say she missed her and that she needed her now, more than ever. That she felt so alone and desperate, that she was all she had in the world.

She wanted to feel Barbara hugging her.

Tears flowed from her eyes.

Helena walked toward Barbara and stood next to her. She let her hand caress the redhead's arm until she reached her hand and laced her fingers with hers.

Barbara squeezed her hand back.

She felt a sudden jolt of joy in her heart and lifted her head to her.

The redhead half opened her eyes. She was drugged, but she recognized the girl immediately, smiling at her.

Helena smiled back. "Hi."

"I'm sorry…" Barbara whispered, dazed "I heard about your mom…"

The brunette squeezed Barbara's hand harder when she heard the mention of her mother. It still hurt, and she knew it would hurt forever. She didn't want to let Barbara go. She wanted her to stay with her.

"I wanted to be there," Barbara said with a low voice. She felt drowsy and sleepy. "I heard about your mom on the TV, but… it was when…"

"Don't worry, don't think about that," Helena interrupted, leaning to look at her "You must recover now. Bruce said you are moving to England, that you will be fine."

"Yeah, they say that." The redhead closed her eyes for brief seconds. She wanted to talk with Helena but she felt so tired, so numb. It was so hard to think straight. She hated being drugged.

The girl smiled lightly. "You will be fine…"

Barbara mumbled something inaudible.

Helena looked at her, tears filling her eyes. She couldn't bear to be alone, to have someone else ripped from her life. "Take me with you," she begged quietly.

"Uh?" the redhead asked, half opening her eyes.

"I... I'll miss you," the girl said, unable to find to courage to voice her pain and loneliness a second time.

"I'll miss you, too," the woman said, feeling her eyes closing, they were so heavy.

A doctor walked inside the room at that moment.

"Good afternoon, excuse me. We need to take her for some medical exams before her transport."

Helena nodded and leaned down to kiss her cheek. "I'll see you soon. Good luck."

"Take care," the redhead said in a barely audible voice, closing her eyes.

Helena stepped back, watching how the doctors moved the bed out of the room. Her eyes followed the redhead until she disappeared behind the door. She felt her heart breaking and a deep sadness, knowing the person closest to her would be so far away for so long.

She fell into a chair in the room and cried.

Bruce didn't return home that night. He was at the airport, preparing for the private flight. He left the airport only after Barbara's flight departed. Helena refused to go with him; she was very affected by her departure…

He stayed at the airport until the flight left early in the morning. He returned home feeling tired; it had been very emotional four weeks for him. First the love of his life had been murdered, later one of his best friends had been on the edge of death and was badly injured, and, suddenly, he had a daughter; Selina's daughter was his.

He had always been jealous of the unknown man that he thought was Helena's father and, now, suddenly, he discovered it was him all along.

It had been the most shocking and unexpected news.

When he returned home, Alfred was waiting for him.

Helena had been shut in her room since she returned from the hospital the prior night and hadn't wanted lunch or dinner.

Bruce went to his room. She would need time to rest and collect herself after all the events, as did he.

It was late when he woke, Alfred told him Helena was still in her room. Feeling it was not good, he went to check on her.

He knocked on the door. The young girl seemed to be awake because she answered immediately. He walked inside the room. Helena was sitting on the window ledge and looking outside in silence.

Bruce walked toward her, hands in pockets, thinking of what he should say. He was not good at these things.

"Why don't you go outside? It's not good for you to be in here all day."

"I don't want to."

"I know this is not easy, but Barbara will be fine."

"Yes.." she answered. She felt weird next to a man that she barely knew.

A deep silence filled the room. The tension between them was thick. He took a deep breath.

"I was thinking that it would be good for you to go back to school," he said.

"Yeah." Helena nodded. She was not in the mood to talk or argue, she just wanted to be alone.

"Alfred… can drive and take you there… anytime you want."

"I prefer to walk."

"You don't need to. Everything here in this house is yours."

Nothing inside the house meant anything to her. Maybe for many people, it would be great, to have all those things. To her, it was worthless. If someone asked her, she would trade all that to have her mom back… and Barbara.

"It's not mine," she said softly. "This is not my home."

"Everything here is yours, Helena. You are my daughter."

The girl kept staring out the window.

"I…" Bruce added, trying to break the ice, "just had my people pick up the things at Selina's apartment. The personnel will bring all your things tomorrow morning."

Helena's head snapped up. "What?"

"All your clothes will be here tomorrow."

"Why?" She stood up, angry.

"This is your home now, you will stay here."

"That is my mom's house. Don't touch anything."

"It's safe, Helena. My personnel just packed…" Bruce said, trying to calm her down, but it seemed she was as volatile as her mother.

"I didn't want you to pack anything!" the girl yelled.

"We needed to do it. We can't leave all your things there."

"It's my house!! Why did you do it?"

"Helena," he said, reaching out to touch her, but the girl refused stepping back. He exhaled loudly. "You are living here now. You need all your stuff here and…"

"No!" The girl stormed toward the door. Bruce grabbed her arm.

"Where are you going?"

"Home, I am going back home now," she growled, glaring at him.

"Helena, your home is here."

"NO! This is not my home!" Helena pulled her arm to free herself and walked again toward the door in a hurry.

"The place is empty, Helena," Bruce said softly.

The girl stopped in her tracks and turned her head. "What?"

"It's empty, Helena, my people picked everything up. We packed all the furniture and put it in storage."

The girl didn't show him any fear, she faced him. "You had no right!"

"I have every right! I'm Selina's executor. I'm in charge now," Bruce said, "and I'll do what's best for you."

"You don't know what's best for me."

"No, you are wrong. You are the one who doesn't know what is best."

Her eyes changed to cat pupils, she faced him. She didn't care he was taller and bigger than her. "Who do you think you are?"

"I am your father." He realized, then, that she had Selina's meta genetics. "And I'll do what I think is best for you. Your mother trusted me. Understand? Stop this tantrum!"

"Fuck you!"

"She is gone, Helena!" Bruce said, impatiently.

"You are nothing to me! I don't know you! You don't know me!"

"I'm not going to argue anymore. This is the reality. She is gone. You are here and I am here. If you keep denying it, it will only be more painful for you."

"The only thing that I understand is that this is not my home!" Helena shouted.

"This is your home. You don't have anywhere else to go, I'm your only family now. When you are calm, we will talk again. End of discussion." He walked out of the room and closed the door behind him.

Helena was silent. She felt tears filling her eyes again and let herself fall on the bed, crying. He was right, she didn't have a home. She didn't have anywhere to go now.

"Still no success?" Alfred asked Bruce as he poured coffee into his mug. Bruce sat in the living room, reading the newspaper.

The living room was a luxurious place, with a big window where the huge back garden was visible. This was one of Bruce's favorite places in the house. In the winter, the fireplace was warm and comfortable. He used to spend hours there, relaxing.

"No," Bruce said, closing the newspaper. "She is too much like her mother, hard to understand."

"Then, she is much like you, too, sir." The old man smiled gently.

"Alfred…" Bruce lifted his brow.

"Well, she is. You can't deny it." Alfred put the coffee pot on a tray on the table.

"It's weird." He sipped his cup of coffee. "She walks like her, she has many of her facial expressions, her gestures. Sometimes, I think that I'm looking at Selina."

"That's true, especially when she smiles."

Bruce touched his chin with his fingers, thoughtfully. Alfred watched him curiously.

"I have never seen her smile," Bruce said, suddenly.

"I'm sure. These are difficult times for all, sir."

Bruce didn't answer. He looked at a picture of Selina over the chimney a few steps away from him. She looked so full of life, stunning, with that wonderful and seductive smile that he loved.

"I miss her," he mumbled. "I don't know why I let her go… Maybe I thought I would have time to recover her and… and now she is gone."

He looked sad. Alfred had seen that look, years before, in a small child that had lost his parents in a terrible way. It seemed the sad story had repeated with Helena. Selina's death had affected him, much more than he could imagine.

"I'm trying, Alfred," Bruce said leaning over in his chair, "but I'm not good at this. Every time I try to talk with Helena, I don't know what to say, and we finish with an argument. I'm not a patient man."

"And she is not a patient girl."

"I don't know how to talk to her."

"She is still grieving her mother's death, Master Bruce. You must give her time. It does not help that Miss Barbara is not here. They were very close, she feels alone now.."

The millionaire stood up and paced inside the room. "Selina died a month ago and I still can't manage to have a decent talk with her." He stopped in front of the fireplace and took Selina's portrait in his hands. "And, worse, as you say, Barbara is not here. I'm sure she could help me with her."

"She will recover soon, sir." Alfred stood behind him.

"I hope so. Helena is very affected by what happened to Barbara, too."

"Barbara is the only other family she has, sir."

Bruce looked at him. "I'm her father, I'm here now."

"I know, but for her, Barbara is the only family she knows after her mother. You must understand that."

He nodded. "Where is she now?"

"In her room, as usual."

"Maybe I should ask her to have dinner with me or take her to dinner."

"Good idea, sir."

Suddenly, the bat-signal appeared in the dark sky.

"Duty calls," Alfred said.

"Yes." Bruce sighed and walked out of the room. "Please, keep an eye on her, I'll be back as soon as possible."

"As you wish, Master Bruce."

He walked inside his library and felt a chill down his back, the secret bookcase was opened. He had a bad feeling and hurried inside the elevator.

As soon as the elevator doors opened in the Batcave, he looked around. The dark place seemed to be empty. He turned to his left and walked inside the room where he kept his batman costumes. There were several closets with magnetic glass doors.

He froze.

Helena was there, standing in front of one of the costumes. She had already opened the door; her fingers caressed the material of one of his costume sleeves.

Bruce watched her in silence. He didn't expect this. The girl didn't move, she kept staring at his costume. Her fingers moved up the sleeve and traced the hard armor of the chest. She moved her hand to the Batman symbol.

"Are you the Batman?" she asked, letting her hand feel the texture of the costume. It was impressive.

"Yes," Bruce responded, resting his side on the doorframe and crossing his arms over his chest.

"Batman is not a legend then, Batman is you."


"Are you meta?"

"No, I'm a normal human being."

"Why are you the Batman?"

He exhaled and put his hands in his pockets, walking toward her. "I want this city to be safer, I want to protect innocents, stop crime."

The young girl took the cowl in her hands and studied it. It was soft. She had never felt material like that before.

"I have heard many stories about you," Helena said with soft voice, her eyes still fixed on the cowl. "Criminals are afraid of you. Many people say Batman is a ghost, others that he is just a legend. My mom knew about you?"

"Yes. She always knew."

The lithe brunette put the cowl back in its place and took a step back, looking up and down the costume. It had a belt, gloves and boots. The cape seemed to be heavy.

"Kill him…" she said suddenly, breaking the silence.

"Excuse me?" he frowned.

"Kill him." She turned and looked at him "Kill the man that murdered my mother."

He didn't expect that. It took him a few seconds respond. "I can't…"

"Do you know who killed my mother?"

"Yes," he said, exhaling loudly. "I have been looking for him. I just received a phone call. I know where he is now."

"Kill him, then." She faced the tall man.

"I can't." He shook his head.

"Why not?"

"I don't kill."

"But he murdered my mother!" The young girl clenched her teeth. "You said you loved Mom! Kill him!"

"I'll catch him, I promise," Bruce said, biting his lip, "and I'll make him pay. I promise you, he will have a trial and…"

"A fair trial?" Helena growled angrily. "He murdered my mother! That was not fair! He didn't give her a chance! She died in my arms! I couldn't do anything! That was unfair! Why do you have to be fair with him?"

"We work for justice, not revenge."

Helena fixed her eyes on him. They stared at each other in silence. All he could see in her eyes was hate and pain, a deep pain. It made him sad. He could give her anything she asked, except that.

It was against everything he had fought for.

She had asked from him the only thing he would never give to her.

"I beg you," Helena said, feeling a knot in her throat, "kill him."

"Helena…" He shook his head, this was not right.

"I beg you," the girl mumbled, with tears in her eyes. He was the only one that could do it, he knew who the man was, he was strong, no one could blame him for meting out justice. "Please."

"You must understand."

"I never beg," Helena said, crying, "but I am begging you now, please, kill him. Make him pay for what he did."

"Ask anything of me, but that."

Angry, she pushed him back. "Kill him!"

He was surprised by her strength. She looked fragile and thin, but she was strong. "Helena, calm down," he said.

"Kill him!"

"No!" he shouted. "It is wrong! We can't break the law."

"We?" she spat, annoyed, fists in balls. "Not we! "We" don't exist! You didn't love Mom! If you had loved her, you would look for revenge, make him pay!"

"I'll catch him, but he will pay, according to the law."

She looked at him with tear filled eyes. Se didn't say another word and ran toward the elevator.

"Helena…." He tried to follow her, but the doors closed before he could reach her. He covered his eyes with his hands. Now everything had turned into a mess. What was he supposed to do now? He looked at the closed doors and shook his head. He wanted to follow her, but he had an emergency call.

Duty was calling him.

Always duty.

He hadn't fought for Selina because duty came first.

Now, again, he had his duty.

He turned and walked toward the room to change his clothes.

Since that night, it seemed an invisible wall had built itself between them.

He tried to be there for dinner every day, but often his business and his work as Batman took up much of his time.

Helena was sure that he didn't care about her pain, that he didn't love her mother. She had asked him – no, she had begged him to avenge her mother's death and he hadn't listened.

He was deaf to her pledge.

It hurt her like hell.

Sometimes she felt like an annoying piece of furniture in the manor, out of place, as an intruder. They didn't talk much; Bruce couldn't find a way to make a connection with the girl, plus she wasn't helping too much with her attitude. She was as stubborn as Selina.

It was ironic how in the modern age, with so many advances communication systems, he couldn't figure out how to communicate with his own daughter.

Helena returned to school. She was not big fan of it, but at least it was a distraction and far away from the man that she was sure, didn't love her.

She focused all her thoughts on Barbara and hoped she would return soon. Alfred kept her updated with news about the redhead. It seemed she needed two operations before starting her therapy. It would take a long time, more than she had expected.

She thought that maybe she could move to live with Barbara as soon as she came back. Living in her father's manor made her feel alone and empty. The only human being that was always there was Alfred, the other people that worked in the house just were there until midday. And she understood why, he needed to help her father keep his secret safe.

Brave hero, he couldn't defend the woman he said he loved and, much less, take revenge for her murder.

She walked inside the manor after a day at school; she didn't like Alfred to pick her up in the limo. She always preferred to walk, as she wasn't exactly dying to get back to that house any time soon. She looked for Alfred, he was the only company that she felt she had. It was weird not finding him in the kitchen as he was every time she returned from school.

She poked around in the fridge and took out a bottle of milk. Checking the stove, she noticed he had prepared spaghetti. Her favorite meal.

"Miss Helena, good afternoon," Alfred said walking inside the kitchen.

"Hey, where have you been?"

"Preparing Master Dick's room."

"Dick? Who is Dick?" she asked intrigued.

"He is Master Bruce's protégé and adopted son."

"Protégé?" She sat at the table of the kitchen.

"Yes, he will return today from England. He was with Miss Barbara."

The name of the redhead made Helena turn her head to him. "Barbara?"

"Yes, he went there to make sure she was okay. The first operation went well and he will be here for a few weeks."

He took a tray and put some items on it.

"I'll eat here." Helena said, "I'm not going to eat at that big table."

"But…" Alfred said.

"Join me, Alfred," Helena requested, looking him straight in his eyes. "I feel alone there."

He smiled fondly and nodded, as he began to prepare the table in the kitchen. "All right."

"Why was he with her?" Helena couldn't avoid a twinge of jealousy thinking about Dick. She had known about the first operation and called her up afterwards, but Barbara never mentioned him. They had talked about many things, but…

"They have always been close friends," Alfred said, interrupting her thoughts.

"When do you think she will come back, Alfred?" she asked, sipping a bit of milk.

"It appears this will take a long time, Miss Helena. She still needs a second operation in a month. After that, she will start a recovery program."

"I see."

Alfred observed her. He thought it was the perfect moment to ask.

"How is the relationship with your father?"

"He is not my father," Helena stated, not giving him time to finish his sentence.

He lifted his brow.

She felt his gaze on her.

"Well… he is, but," she tried to explain, "just a biological father. I don't know him, Alfred, he is cold. We don't have anything in common, we don't have anything in common to talk about." She sighed. "I still don't know what my mom saw in him. He is boring, working all day."

"His life hasn't been easy, either. He lost his parents when he was a child, he is not used to showing his emotions. Maybe you need to give him a chance."

She drummed the table with her fingers, not answering.

"He is a good man."

"Why did he turn into Batman, Alfred?"

"He swore revenge on crime," the butler said, giving her a plate of salad.

"Why didn't he want revenge on my mother's murderer then?"

"He will have it."

"I asked him to kill her murderer and he said no."

"That's not the best way to avenge her death, Miss Helena." Alfred explained, "He is doing the right thing."

She shook her head. "I'll find him and, someday, I'll kill him, I promise it."

"That is not good."

"Why not?"

"It's against the law, heroes fight to defend the law."

The girl fixed her deep blue eyes on the old man. "The law is shit. Criminals kill people, break laws, hurt innocents, and when you catch them, why must you judge them under the law? You must judge them under their own rules, an eye for an eye."

"That is a misguided concept, Miss Helena. Heroes always fight to defend laws, to prevent crime."

"That's the reason I will never be a hero."

Alfred noticed in the girl a determination he had never seen before. It sent chills down his spine. Helena wasn't joking. He wondered if she could be like her mother, she had a lot of her genes. She could easily turn to the dark side of crime. Her frustration, pain and anger were strong and it was not helping that she and Bruce had a difficult relationship.

He wondered if Bruce had considered the possibility that Helena could follow in Selina's steps.

"Hey, everybody!" A young man appeared at the doorframe.

Helena noticed he was handsome. She remembered, then, that she had seen him a few times before.

"Master Dick." Alfred said, feeling surprised. "I thought you would arrive late."

"You thought wrong." He looked at the girl at the table and extended his hand to her. "You must be Helena, Bruce's daughter."


"I'm glad you are here, this house is too big for us."

"So you are my 'dad's' adopted son?" she asked with distrust.

"Yep." He sat at the table "What's lunch today?"

"Spaghetti and beef, sir."

"Excellent." Dick took a napkin. "I missed your meals Alfred, really."

"How is Miss Barbara?" Alfred asked.

"She is doing well."

"Did you stay with her?" Helena hurried to ask.

"Almost all the time." The young man said, "She needs a lot of help now."

"And are you going to England to see her again?"

"She asked me to, for her second operation."

"She asked you?" Helena said, disappointed. Why hadn't she asked Helena? They were friends.


"I want to go," she said.

"You can't," Dick said. "You are in school and you can't go inside the hospital, she is in the intensive care unit."

"But I want to go."

"I'm sure you will go later," Alfred interrupted. "Now she needs a specialist's attention."

"But why can't I go?"

"You are a minor."

"Bullshit." Angry, the girl stood up.

"Miss Helena."

"I'm not a child! I want to see her! You are not my mother to tell me what can and cannot do!" She stormed out of the kitchen.

Dick stared at Alfred. "Now, what was that about?"You will, but not now," Dick said.

Helena spent most of her time alone in the big manor. Luckily, her 'father' spent a lot of time in his business and almost every night out. He usually woke at midday the perfect time, she was at school at the time.

She noticed he spent much time with Dick and, at dinner, they always had something to talk about, she was usually silent.

She discovered Dick joined his father at night, fighting against crime as Robin.

She thought it was a ridiculous name, but, well, he was using it, not her. She spent that Saturday afternoon watching him exercise at the gym in his Robin suit. The movements he was doing caught her attention.

"Are you gay?" she asked him suddenly.

"Don't be ridiculous, kid!" he growled.

"Well, I'm not the one dressed in tights and ballet slippers."

He jumped down from the rings where he was exercising and looked at her. "What kind of question is that?"

"What kind of costume is that?" She pointed at him.

"Wanna try?" Dick picked up a towel and cleaned his hands.

"I'm not in the mood," the girl said, shaking her head.

"Come on, Helena. I'll teach you to fight."

"No, thanks."

"Hi, Helena," Bruce greeted, arriving in the gym at that moment.

"Hi," she said coldly, still feeling disappointed that he refused to kill her mother's murderer.

"I was inviting her to train." Dick smiled. "But it seems she's not interested."

"Leave her alone." He touched Helena's shoulder for a brief second, but when he felt her stiffen, he moved back. "It's better this way," he said, thinking of what happened to Barbara and Selina, He definitely didn't want this life for his daughter.

"Okay, but someday I'll show her how to kick ass."

"Dick, I need your help," Bruce said distractedly. "I have some issues."


Helena just turned and walked toward her room.

Dick moved toward the bars and jumped over them.

"Still no success with her?"

"No. She is really difficult."

"I noticed, not easy to talk to."

"How is Barbara?" the millionaire asked, bandaging his hands.

"Waiting anxiously for the next operation. It will be in a month."

"You will return then."


"I'm glad of it. She will need you."

Dick looked him straight in his eyes. "Things are not okay with Helena, right?"

"No, it has been more difficult than I expected."

"Give it some time."

"I'm giving it time, Dick, it's just… she is just a kid."

Just a kid. Yes, that was what everyone thought about her. The poor orphan kid. Annoyed, Helena returned to her room and closed the door. She went toward her drawer and took out her phone book. She checked her clock.

In England it was 9 pm.

She dialed the phone number.

A nurse answered.

She said she couldn't talk to her. It was late. Tell her Helena called, she said, before hanging up.

She hadn't talk with her since she had left almost two months ago. They had been the most difficult and lonely months of her life. She wanted to cry; it was so hard. She felt she didn't have any more tears.

Suddenly, the phone rang. She didn't usually to pick it up, but something made her do it.


The girl felt her heart jumping out of her chest. "Barbara?"

<How are you, sweetheart?>

"I just called you! But the nurse said it was too late."

<I heard. I told her she didn't have any right to control my calls. I have been thinking about you so much. How are you?>

"I'm fine."

<I really would love to be with you.>

"Don't worry, how are you doing?"

<How are things with your father?>

"More or less… not well."

<Be patient with him, Helena.>

The girl wanted to say so many things, but she didn't want to worry her. "I'll try, but it's difficult. I don't know him."

<Give it some time, it's too soon for both of you.>

Helena remained silent a few seconds. She bit her lower lip and looked down. "I miss Mom."

She heard a soft exhalation at the other side of the line. <How could you not? She was a wonderful mother.>

"She was."

"I would like to see you, Barbara."

<I would like see you, too.>

"Come back soon.

<I'll recover fast so I can come back and see you.>

"Can I call you this weekend?"

<Anytime you want, honey.>

"Sleep well. I love you."

Helena hung the phone and stared at the floor. Listening to her voice had made her feel a little better. It was like sun in the darkness. Her soul was restless. Checking her watch, she noticed it was still early. She picked up her sweater and went out to walk a bit.

Communicating with Bruce became more difficult with every passing day. Her anger built every day. She was frustrated; life hadn't been fair to her. She still knew she wanted revenge.

When she was alone at home, she used Bruce's gym. Her mom had showed her some gymnastic and self-defense tricks.

Once, she tried to follow Bruce and Dick to their "work" as criminal fighters. Of course, she lost them very quickly. They were fast and it took her four tries before she finally found a way to follow them. They never knew she was there.

She saw them fighting, they were amazing, but the coolest part was all that stuff hidden on their belts.

She wondered how Dick could fight dressed like that. The villains surely would laugh at him. Red, yellow and green, it was a ridiculous combination.

But he was a dork, so the costume fit him perfectly.

He was support for Bruce, he was like his son, she noticed. They spent a lot of time together; and the feeling of not fitting in was stronger each day. They could talk about anything, but she didn't have anything to share with Bruce. They often talked about nothing, she felt he didn't listen to her, didn't look at her.

Dick found her one afternoon, as she tested some weights in her hands.

"Hey, Helena," he said.


"I'm going to see Barbara next week. Wanna send her anything?"

She glared at him. Was he going to see Barbara again? She was jealous. His father preferred him, he trusted him and he could travel wherever he wanted and she couldn't. It had been almost six months since Barbara had gone and she missed her like hell.

"No, thanks."

"Hey, you could get hurt." He pointed at the weights. "Be careful."

"I know how to use these," she said, distractedly picking up another weight to test it.

"It's not for kids, you need someone to teach you. You don't know anything about fighting."

"Sure." She sighed, tired of being the "kid" of the house. "I'm sure you are the expert, Pied Piper."

"Hey, don't call me that. I'm trying to help. Grow up, Helena."

"Look who's talking." She turned and crossed her arms over her chest. "The guy that fights crime dressed as a Santa's elf."

"Shut up!"

"Shut up, you asshole!"

"If you weren't a woman, I'd kick your ass!"

"Go ahead and try it!" she challenged.

He dismissed her and turned to the bars. He was not in the mood to argue with children. "Go play, I don't want to hurt you."

Angry, Helena took a stick from one of the racks and threw it toward him, hitting his knee. He turned angrily.

"What the fuck?" he growled.

She waved a hand in front of her. "Come on, Peter Pan, punch me."

"You are crazy, kid."

Before he could react, she hit him hard in his face, sending him crashing against the wall.

"Call me crazy again and I'll kick your balls out of the house."

"Do you really want me to sweep the floor with your ass?" he growled, standing up and rubbing his jaw.

"I don't think you could do it."

"I'll show you, kid." He threw a punch at her and she ducked.

She swept his feet and he fell backwards. He hadn't expected that.

"I'm waiting, dumbass," she taunted him.

He charged at her, but she was incredibly fast an agile. He didn't see her fist coming and it hit his gut hard. Where did she get all that strength? Dick, annoyed, faked a fake move to hit her and she tried to kick him, but he held her leg in the air and threw her to the floor. She rolled and crouched to avoid being caught.

They began an exchange of blows. She moved like lightning and, suddenly, when he had her cornered, she performed an amazing jump over him and landed on his back, making him fall on the ground.

Crap. She moved like Catwoman. He turned and narrowed his eyes.

"Where did you learn to fight like that?"

"Mom. She taught me to use the strength of morons against themselves." She said angrily, "Get this in your damn head, I'm not a kid. Stop calling me kid."

"I'll kick your ass."

"Stop." Bruce's voice was heard in the room.

Both youths turned to see him.

"That was impressive, Helena," he complimented, walking toward her. "Selina showed you some great moves. Why didn't you ever tell me before?"

"Maybe because you never see me," she growled, passing by him. He stopped her by her arm. "Hey, Helena, where are you going?"

"My room."

"Don't go. We can talk."

"Talk with your favorite child, he speaks much better than me," she snarled, freeing her arm and walking to her room.

Bruce followed her with his gaze. Dick stood next to him.

"Did you see what she did?" he said, rubbing his chin.

"Yes," he said in a calm voice. "Why the fight?"

"She is always in a bad mood. I told her not to pick up the weights or she would hurt herself."

"And she kicked your ass."

"I didn't want to hurt her."

"I imagine not." He followed Helena.

"Where are you going?"

"To talk with her."

Helena stared at the grass in the garden. It was a huge garden, maybe the part she most liked of the house, full with flowers and butterflies. Stupid Dick really pissed her off, he was always trying to be the mature one of the house, 'the man' of the house. And he was an asshole, and a big one.

"You fight pretty well," Bruce said from behind her.

She didn't respond.

"Your mother showed you really nice movements."

"She taught me how to defend myself against idiots," she mumbled, still looking to the garden.

"Dick is a good guy, don't be rude," he scolded, putting his hands in his pockets.

"I want to fight with you," she whispered suddenly, surprising him.

"Excuse me?" He wasn't sure he'd heard correctly.

"I want to fight with you," she turned and looked at him with determination.

"No," he shook his head, "I don't want that life for you. It's too dangerous."

"I want to learn. I want to be like you."

"You don't know what you are saying." He stood in front of her. Maybe it was time she knew some things about her mother's past. He was afraid to tell her, but it might help her to understand that things were not as easy as she thought. "Helena, let me tell you a secret about your mother."

The mention of her mom caught Helena's attention, everything about her was important to her. "She was a burglar, in fact the best burglar in the country."

She stared at him, not wanting to believe his words. "You are joking, right?"

"No, she was known as Catwoman, one of the best thieves ever."

Helena couldn't believe what she was hearing. Was he trying to distract her? Her mother had always been sweet and lovely, she was graceful and elegant. No way she was a thief.

"I met her when I tried to stop her after a jewelry robbery. You know I don't joke and never when I talk about your mother."

That was right, he was a very serious man. She tilted her head. This was great, her dad a crimefighter and her mom a criminal – a wonderful family. She shook her head and stood up, pacing. "You are lying, she didn't do that."

"I hunted her for a long time before stopping her. She loved to steal jewelry, art; she gave me a really hard time and… don't ask me why, but we fell in love... When she knew she was pregnant, she quit her criminal life for you. She thought that kind of work was a risk and she wanted a normal life for you. She didn't want you to have a life where you never knew if you would come home alive."

Helena was confused. "You are lying! She is dead because of you! You have a lot of enemies, they wanted revenge on you!"

Bruce shook his head, she was so wrong. "I'm afraid that one of her enemies, not mine, killed her."

"Why? I don't understand!"

"The underworld is a dark life. Criminals are unpredictable. It could have been revenge, jealousy, power. There could be many reasons."

Helena brushed her hair back angrily.

Bruce watched her in silence. After long seconds, he mumbled to her, "I'm sorry, but that is the truth."

Helena faced him. "So, if you are saying one of her enemies killed her, teach me to fight, let me find him! Let me make him pay!"

"Helena, we don't fight for revenge," he explained, lowering his head. "We fight for justice. When you fight with anger, you don't think. You will be dead before you know it. I don't want to lose you, too."

"That's a lie! You don't want to teach me! My mother deserves justice."

"And I'll give it to her. Dick and I will find your mother's murderer."

"Dick is your prefect student."

"No, it's not that, I'm trying to help him. Life was not easy for him."

"And for me it's a piece of cake?!?" she shouted, glaring to him. "Why don't you help me?"

"I didn't mean like that, Helena."

"He is perfect, he is the best at everything he does, he can go to visit Barbara, I can't!"

"Barbara needs help, support, she is recovering…"

"And I'm a nuisance right? I can take care of Barbara just like him! I can be a much better fighter than him!!! I already kicked his ass."

"Helena, this is not easy, being a hero is not a game!"

"I know that! Why do you insist on thinking that this is a game for me! It was my mother's life. I lost everything I had!! I lost my home, my life; I lost everything I loved!! I'm alone now and it hurts, hurts like hell!! But you can't see it because you don't know me, because you are not interested in knowing who I'm! You only are worried about your business and Dick!"

"That's not true." He lifted his hand to her.

"Don't touch me!" she yelled, running away. "I hate you! I hate you!"

"Helena, come here!" He tried to follow her, but the girl made an amazing jump to the top of the house. He bit his lips. Why, every time he tried to get close to her, did they move farther apart? "I'm trying Selina," he mumbled. "I'm trying."

The next months were difficult. The distance between Helena and Bruce increased dramatically. Alfred noticed the solitude of the girl and Bruce's useless efforts to try to get close to her. He could understand both, they had the same problem. They didn't know how to talk, express their feelings and emotions. There was so much pain and hurt inside them.

Alfred found Helena, one night, sitting in the living room close to the phone and staring at the fire. Next to it was the a Christmas tree. She wore a red sweater and jeans. She had cut her hair; it was short now. Hr eyes reflected sadness, a deep sadness. The girl looked distant as she stared at the fire.

"Are you all right, Miss Helena?"

"It's my first Christmas without Mom," she mumbled. "It doesn't feel like Christmas. It's so weird."

"Maybe it's time to give your heart time to heal," he said, standing up at her side with his hands behind his back. "I have noticed that you are very angry at the world. You never let your heart rest."

"I don't want to," Helena responded, fixing her eyes on the tree. "I want to keep feeling it, so I won't forget what happened to her. Someday, I'll find the man that did this to my mother and I'll make him pay."

"Revenge destroys our souls."

She looked at him. "My soul is already broken, Alfred."

"Give yourself a chance."

"I just can't find the light, Alfred."

"Have you talked with Miss Barbara?"

Helena looked at the phone next to her. "I already did. She began her therapy today. She is now doing exercises in the water, helped by two therapists. She said they are designed for back pain relief, to condition and strengthen muscles." She kept silence a few seconds before adding, "I don't want to distract her with my problems. She was so happy today, telling me that she finally started her recovery to walk again."

"It would be beneficial if you talked to her. She could give you some good advice and you would feel better."

"We will have enough time when she comes back, she needs to focus on walking."

He extended his hand and gave her a small box, wrapped in red paper. "Merry Christmas."

She smiled, taking the box. "Thanks, Alfred." She sat on the sofa crossing her legs "What is it?"

"Knowing your penchant for dark colors, I think you will love that."

"Hey, this is cool," she said, extending a dark blouse.

"Glad you approve."

She stood up and hugged him. She hugged him hard. He was the only person that she felt loved her in that cold house. "Thanks, Alfred."

"I know it's not my business, but could you accept an old man's suggestion?"


He smiled at her and touched her cheek. "Live, you are still so young."

Bruce was furious. He stepped inside the manor and threw is coat in the living room. Alfred was down the stairs, a tray in hand.

"Where is she?"

"Upstairs, sir. Sleeping."

He stormed to the second floor and down the hall to her room. Not knocking, he opened the door abruptly, and walked toward the curtains to open them. The bright light of day filled the room.

"Wake up," he growled.

"Hey! It's early!" Helena grumbled from under the covers.

"It's well past noon." He put his hands on his waist. "Now, wake up, we need to talk."

"What's the hurry?" Helena slowly sat up in the bed.

"What did you do this time?"

"Nothing, why?"

"Because of you, I had to fly back from Metropolis. What mess were you involved in last night? The commissioner called me, saying the police had caught you and that they needed eight men to keep you down.""

"That?" She yawned. "It was nothing. A moron tried to be smart with me and I kicked his ass."

"I told you not to use your meta skills on civilians." He growled, "You should be grateful that the commissioner is my friend and that he didn't keep you in jail all night."

"He tried to be smart with me, and he tried to sell drugs to a minor."

"Call the police."

"There is a lot of corruption there," she explained, removing the blankets from her bed and standing up. She checked the clock. It was one in the afternoon, an obscene hour to be awake. "He never will try to sell drugs to minors again, you can be sure of that."

"I told you that I don't want you pretending to be a hero."

"I was not pretending," she stood up in front of him, "and he started the fight. I told him he was a moron and he pushed me."

"And, afterwards, you almost destroyed the entire bar."

"Hey," she said, walking toward her closet, "half of the bar was members of his gang. They tried to hit me."

"Helena, I don't want to see you in trouble again. I am warning you…A month ago, it was that car accident."

"It was not was an 'accident.' The guy stole a car! I stopped him from getting away with it."

"By crashing your own car!"

"I still have the bike."

"Please, Helena," Bruce pointed at her with his finger, "next time I'm not going to help you and you will spend a few days in jail." He stormed out of the room and slammed the door.

She had always wondered whether or not he'd do that. Whatever. She never knew him before, And, now, she still didn't know him and she didn't care.

She walked toward the bathroom. Suddenly calling an stranger 'father' was not normal. Every time she pronounced the word, it sounded surreal, out of context…

He had been looking for her, trying to "talk" with her. She couldn't understand why he was interested. Every time they tried, the 'talk' finished in a big argument. She thought he wanted to play the role of "good father" and that the role didn't fit him.

He could handle the most important company in the country and deal with the most dangerous criminals, but he didn't have any clue about how to take care of a teenager.

Helena always thought he didn't know her, that he didn't care about her pain. That he didn't look at her… because she was sure, that in some way, she reminded him of her mother and he couldn't stand it.

She always had felt like a piece of annoying furniture in that manor, always out of place, as an intruder. She missed her room, her mom her smell, her caress. She missed her smile, her loud laugh and her voice.

She missed her home, her world.

Living in that big manor made her feel more alone and empty; the only one that made her feel loved was Alfred.

He was tender and always had a fond smile for her. She could talk to him, open herself a little to him, but he wasn't her mom and he wasn't Barbara.

Luckily, her 'father' traveled a lot and he spent a lot of time working on his business. He spent many days or weeks far from her and, the days he stayed at home, she would to go out until late, but that was not strictly necessary. He spent almost every night out and usually awoke at midday… the perfect time, she was at school by then.

She hated school, but it was better than staying at home with him.

At night, it was easy; she was a party girl and, after having a good time being the socialite at New Gotham night clubs, she would to go out to join the night, to feel the wind caressing her face with its cold whispers.

After a long shower, she walked inside her room again and found Alfred preparing her a cup of warm coffee.

"Hi Alfred."

"Did you piss him off again?"

"Not much, just a bit." She grinned.

"How long to you intend to play this game with him?"

"I don't know, it's fun."

"You are playing a dangerous game."

"Not my intention," she said, letting her self fall on her couch.

He gave her the cup and lifted his eye brow.

She rolled her eyes. "All right, just a bit."

"He was so angry that I'm sure he didn't tell you."

"Tell me what?"

"Miss Barbara arrives today."

She was completely still for a brief second, no one would notice it. But Alfred, knowing her so well, could detect her brief hesitation.

"Good for her, I imagine she is much better now."

"You always talked about her with affection, what happened?" he asked.

"Nothing," she said, drinking her coffee.

"You two talked often, but I've noticed that you haven't spoken in months."

"She was in recovery," she shrugged her shoulders. "She was always in therapy and… I think she was so focused on it… and I didn't want to distract her."

"And when she called, you were at parties or in a new mess."

"Sort of…"

"Well," Alfred said, "she will be here for dinner. Her flight arrives at six and she will come here."

"Good." She smiled at him. "I'm going to the club to swim."

"Have a nice day." He shook his head, smiling. She was incorrigible.

When he left the room, she put the coffee to the side and stood up. She put her palms on the window and looked outside.

Barbara was returning. She hadn't heard from her in months. From her father, she knew Barbara was working extra hours to recover, to be the same woman she was before the shooting. In the mean time, the older woman had forgotten everything else, including her.

Barbara didn't call her often anymore and, when she did call, Helena was never at home. The few times they did chat, Barbara was in a hurry, leaving to go to the rehabilitation center. She felt as a nuisance for her. It was normal, she was a kid.

Just a kid.

She felt, then, more alone than ever, knowing that no one would take her of her. The only person that had loved her was her mother. Barbara had abandoned her, too.

She picked up her sports bag and walked to the door; she needed to get out of that place. It was suffocating her.

Barbara finally returned to New Gotham. It had been two years since the shooting. Bruce had invited her to dinner that same day. Helena was both excited and angry; angry because she had lost contact with Barbara six months ago. Helena had stopped calling her often, and when she did call her, she wasn't at home and didn't answer the phone.

Resting on a single couch with her feet on the window sill, she stared at the back yard as she took a long draw of her cigarette. She exhaled the smoke, making small circles on the air.

On one hand, she wanted to jump out and wait for her at the main door, but, on the other hand, she was deeply hurt. Barbara had forgotten her. She had forgotten her.

Knocks on her door distracted her from her inner thoughts. She quickly put out the cigarette on an astray under the couch and waved the air with her hand.

"Come in," she said.

The door opened and Alfred appeared. "Miss Barbara is just arriving."

"I'll be there in a few. Thanks," she said, still staring at the garden.

"I suggest you brush your teeth, use some mouthwash, and apply some lotion. Cigarette smoke is easily perceptible," he offered, closing the door behind him.

She glared at him, but he was right. She made a stop in the bathroom before going downstairs.

She stopped at the top of the big stair case and checked her clothes. She began to descend the stairs and could easily see the main room. She first noticed Barbara's feet. Slowly, her whole figure appeared; Barbara looked amazing in a tight dark green dress. Her laugh was like sunshine. She was more stunning than she remembered her. Helena smiled, remembering how sweet she was with her, how much time they shared with her mom.

Her smile faded away when she noticed Barbara was with Dick and, worse, her hand was holding Dick's.

She was going turn around and return to her room when Barbara noticed her.

"Helena!" Barbara said, with a wonderful smile; she left Dick alone and walked toward her.

Helena froze in place, not knowing what to do, Barbara was stunning, she really looked great. She had wanted her see her for so long and now she was there. It was so odd.

The redhead stood at the bottom of the stairway and extended her hands to her.

"Come here! Oh my God! You are so beautiful!"

Helena hesitated, feeling many emotions flowing inside her. She felt betrayed, she had not being calling her often, but Helena had missed her so much and wanted to hug her. She didn't want show her feelings to the redhead, she didn't want to be hurt again. She couldn't step back, so she returned the smile and walked down the stairs, trying to be casual.

Barbara hugged her before she get to her level. The woman practically she lifted her of the stairs.

"I'm so happy to see you!" The redhead gave her a kiss on her cheek. She moved back grabbing her arms with her hands "Look at you! You are a gorgeous young lady now! You are so much like your mom."

The girl blushed. "Thanks… You look great too." Helena fixed her blue eyes on the redhead. She was more beautiful than she remembered. She had missed her smile and her spontaneous reactions, like now. When she was a child, Barbara used to hug her and lift her off the floor spinning her around. She looked her up and down.

"You are walking again," Helena mumbled. She knew she had a hard time walking again, it took her a lot rehabilitation. Alfred had told her. The times she talked with her, Barbara avoided talking about her rehab with her. It seemed she didn't want share that with her.

Barbara moved back and spun around once. "Yes, look at me! I can stand on one foot, too."

Helena couldn't help herself. She extended her hand and touched the woman's hair. She was there, she was not dreaming. "You are just like I remembered you."

"I'm getting old," Barbara laughed, "but you, you are turning into a beautiful woman. Your mom would be proud of you." Barbara fixed her green pupils on her.

Helena was melting, she wanted to wrap her arms around the redhead and cry, tell her she had missed her so much all those long months, that Barbara had hurt her so much, that she had needed her. She wanted to ask her why she had abandoned her, why she had stopped her frequent calls.

"Hey, Helena." Dick's voice interrupted them. He hugged Barbara by the waist and smiled at the brunette. "How are you?"

Blue eyes were glued on his hands around the redhead. "Fine, I'm fine… and I can see you two are doing great."

"Fantastic." He grinned and gave Barbara a fast kiss on her lips. "We have been together almost a year and I can tell you she is the most fantastic woman in the world."

Another secret Barbara hid from her. She stared at the redhead with a cold gaze. "I see."

"I didn't think it would work." Barbara smiled touching his chin. "But he has been marvelous and supportive."

"Come on," Dick said, "we will have dinner in a few, but we can talk. Barbara's dad is here, too." He turned, holding Barbara's hand, and moved toward the dining room.

Helena really wanted to kick his ass… and Barbara's too. Suddenly, she noticed Barbara released his hand and walked back to her. She came closer, so damn close. She could feel the fine hairs of her cheek touching her own and could smell her perfume. The brunette felt a chill, feeling her so close.

"Next time, wash your hair after you smoke," Barbara whispered in her ear, "the cigarette smell will piss off Bruce."

She turned, winking at her. Helena watched her go, hating Dick and not knowing what she was feeling for Barbara. Blame because she hadn't gave her more time or happiness because she was back and she was walking again.

The evening was pleasant, Barbara had just arrived in New Gotham after two long years and there she was with her dad- Commissioner Gordon- Bruce, and the moron - Dick.

Dick seemed to be plastered to her, he didn't leave her alone for an instant. She wondered what Barbara saw in him. He was handsome, fun, but he seemed to be a kid compared to the redhead. She looked smarter and her comments were more mature. Probably from the experience she had just lived through.

Watching her laugh, she understood why Barbara had stopped calling her often. She had started to live again and she…she still was in her grief, was still filled with pain, anger, looking for the revenge on the unknown man that had killed her mother.

Barbara had moved on. She was living a new life and Helena was not in her plans.

She was on her own now. It was good.

She would never move on. She would find him, kill him, and make the murderer pay. It was just a matter of time.

After the dinner, they sat in the living room, talking. Helena excused herself, saying that she had a party with friends and that she would be back late. She gave Barbara a quick look, she was sitting with the moron, smiling. Helena was living her own life now. As she walked toward the stairs, she could feel the weight of Barbara's gaze on her. She didn't say another word and walked upstairs.

As soon as she was in her room, she closed the door resting her back on it. She'd always had hope that Barbara would join her life again, rescue her from the nightmare, but it had all been a dream. Barbara was living her own life now, and was so happy. She couldn't hide the happiness in her life.

And her, all she felt was darkness. She didn't have any reason to smile, to have hope. She was totally alone now.

She felt that damn pressure in her chest, but she was not going to cry. She was not going to cry for anyone anymore. She was tired of that.

No one had cried for her, no one had cared for her.

She changed her clothes and jumped outside the window. It was time to visit her only friend. The night.

Helena seemed to be so distant, so closed off. She was not the same bright girl that Barbara had left two years ago. She didn't expect her to be this way. She knew it had not being easy, but she had hoped that living with her father would help her to feel like she still had a family.

"Helena has grown up so much," she said to Bruce, drinking a glass of tonic next to the bar.

"Yes, she has, and she is so much like her mom….in all senses."

Barbara rested her elbows on the table bar. "Will she attend university?"

"I don't think so, she says she doesn't want go to school. She loves parties, she spends almost every nights partying, having fun… spending money."

Barbara frowned and looked at him. "And that is good?"

The tall man sighed and poured scotch in his glass. "I have been working so hard to get her to accept me and I spend a lot of time out of the house, I can't give her enough time."

"So you are giving her free rein in everything else? Spending money? Cars? Parties?"


The redhead shook her head, that didn't sound good. "And it has worked?"

"We don't fight as much as in the beginning."

"I think you are spoiling her and that's not good. Her mom wanted her to get an education."

"Her mother is not here, Barbara, and I'm doing the best I can. She was expelled from the last school and we talked. We chose to leave her free to think and decide what she wants to do."

"I'm not sure that is the best idea."

"Give her time, Barbara, at least she is living now," Bruce explained, looking at her sadly. "The first year was a hell for us."

"I hope you have made the right decision."

"Me too, me too…" he responded, walking to the living room.

"This pate is finished," Dick said. "I'll bring more."

"No," Barbara stopped him. "Let me."

"You sure?"

"Yes. Alfred is busy now," she answered, smiling.

The redhead went to the kitchen and stood at the counter, tapping her fingers on the border.

"I'm so glad you are back, Miss Barbara," Alfred greeted, walking inside the kitchen. "The bread is in front of you."

She crossed her arms over her chest. "You know I didn't come here looking for food."

"Yes, I know." He smiled at her.

"What's going on with Helena? She is so cold, so distant."

"Well, she is not doing well. She has become rebellious, angry – basically, a real troublemaker."

"Why? What happened?"

He sighed and looked at her, sadly. "She blames him for not taking revenge on her mother's killer. She spent almost the entire first year closed in her room, not talking to anyone. Just you. You were the only person to whom she'd open up."

"We haven't talked much in the last year. I was so focused on walking, I put all my attention on that."

"And Master Dick." He chuckled.

"Well, he supported me a lot, but we are talking about her."

"She abandoned school, she spend almost every night at parties, at bars, she was arrested a couple of times for her behavior and once for driving too fast."

Now she began to worry more. "Bruce didn't tell me any of that."

"It's hard for him to be a father; he doesn't know how to handle her. She is very difficult."

The young woman played with her tongue inside her cheek.

"Have you talked with her?"

"I know about her frustrations and anger because she has told me. She feels very alone. She needs a good friend. I'm glad you are back. You will help her a lot. I'm sure Master Bruce will explain everything when you two are alone."

"Barbara, come here!" They heard Dick's shout from the living room. "I miss you."

The redhead exhaled. "I'm worried about her, Alfred. I hope I can talk with her later."

"You will, you will."

She stared at the bars in front of her. This time, it definitely hadn't been her fault. She sighed and leaned back on the bench she was lying on and closed her eyes. Well, anything was good for rest, she was tired. She had been in another good fight. She felt the adrenaline running through her veins, it was so exciting. She could beat seven guys, easily. Now she understood why her father liked being a crime fighter so much.

The bad thing was that she miscalculated the police arriving and they caught her.

After a few seconds, she opened her eyes, feeling that someone was watching her. She couldn't believe what she was seeing. She used her elbows to lift herself.

"What are you doing here?" she asked, not hiding her disgust. What was she doing there?

"A little bird called me," Barbara Gordon said, standing in front of the bars with her arms crossed over her chest, glaring at the girl.

"My dad called you, no?" She rested her head on the bench again.

"That's her?" the officer asked Barbara.

"Yes, we are leaving." The redhead looked at the girl. "Let's go, Helena, it's late."

The police opened the cell. "All right," he said, "move, young lady."

"Just for the record," Helena said, standing up, "I didn't ask you come here and bail me out."

"Noted." Barbara signed some papers the officer gave her.

"I can smell you from here. What the hell did you drink?"

"Tequila, whisky, tequila and… ah! Whisky."

"That is not funny, Helena. If I were to light a match right now, you would explode. Not to mention the fact that you are under age."

"My dad called you, no?" The brunette walked out of the cell, feeling thoroughly pissed off.

"No one asked me to do it."

"I guess it was on the news that I was here, then." Helena grinned.

"No, but it will be." Barbara followed her. "In this city gossip travels fast. My dad called me. It seems you are a frequent client here. What did you do now?"

"I didn't do anything."

"Since I've known you, you always say that."

Helena put on her leather jacket. She was not in the mood for lectures. "I don't need a babysitter anymore, if you hadn't noticed."

"Doesn't looks like that from here." Barbara walked toward the exit.

Helena glared at her.

The redhead was blinded when a rain of flashes surrounded them, as soon as they stepped outside the police station.

"What the…?" she growled.

"Popularity thing," Helena explained, looking around. "Where is the limo?"

"No limo, a bike," Barbara responded, pointing to her left. "There."

A beautiful, incredible black bike was parked a few steps from them. "WOW. That is cool."

Barbara moved between the photographers and gave Helena a helmet that was on the bike. "Why are these people following you?"

"Newspaper editors say I am great news.. The daughter of the millionaire Bruce Wayne, again in jail." Helena adjusted the helmet on her head.

"Seems we can't keep this a secret, then." The redhead climbed on the bike.

"I didn't know you could drive a bike." Helena waved at the photographers with a smile.

"You didn't ask me. Let's go. This is really annoying."

Helena jumped on the back of the bike. They disappeared on the New Gotham streets. The redhead really was a crazy woman driving that thing. Helena had to wrap her hands hard around her waist. She still couldn't understand why Barbara had come to take her out of the police station. Maybe she wanted to be friendly. Sure, she had forgotten her for months and now she wanted to be friendly. She was not a toy.

As soon as they arrived at the manor, Helena jumped off the bike and removed her helmet.

"Well, this was a nice ride," she said, giving Barbara the helmet. "Thanks, but I didn't need your help."

"So I noticed," Barbara said. "You had everything under control. What mess were you involved in, now?""

Helena sighed and put her hands on her waist.




"I don't think people get thrown be in jail for being nice." The redhead lifted her leg and rested it on the bike seat

"So, I'm curious to know what you did. My dad said it's the third time you've visited the police station."

"I like the place."

"And trouble, too."

Helena sighed, annoyed "You don't know me, so you better keep your comments to yourself."

"I know you," Barbara said.

"You knew me, past tense. Now, good night. I'm tired and I have things to do tomorrow."

"I would like to talk with you." Barbara moved off the bike.

"But I don't want to talk to you."

"What happened?" Barbara was pissed with her answer. The girl didn't seem to care about what she was doing. "A guy accused you of breaking his nose."

The brunette lowered her head and looked at the redhead through her messy bangs. "Shame… I thought I broke his arm, too."

"What happened?" the redhead insisted.

"We were playing a card game, he cheated. I hit him, he tried to hit me; I broke his nose with my fist, he returned to try to hit me with a chair. I ducked, he hit another big man, he was annoyed, he joined our fight and later another guy and another and another. That's all."

"Helena!" Barbara waved her hand in exasperation, "You can't fight like a street guy. That is not right."

"I'm a street girl, if you didn't know." She cocked her head, thoughtfully. "You actually don't know. You don't know anything about me and I don't know anything about you."

Barbara exhaled loudly. "Helena, we are friends, what is going on with you?"

"We were friends," the brunette growled. "Now, who asked you to bail me out?"

"That's not the point. The point is that you are acting irresponsibly." Barbara kept to herself that it had been Alfred.

The girl had become uncontrollable and he thought she might listen to Barbara, but it seemed things would not be so easy.

"And what do you think daughters of millionaires do?" Helena put her hands on her hips. "I'm just doing my job as Bruce Wayne's daughter."

"Your mother would be disappointed if she saw you now."

This made the young girl explode. She pointed at the woman with her index finger.

"Don't talk about her! You don't have any right!"

"Helena, what is going on with you?"

"Fuck you!!" The brunette turned and walked inside the manor furiously.

Barbara was disconcerted. She didn't recognize the Helena Kyle that she knew two years ago. This young woman was cynical, cold and aggressive. She shook her head and climbed on her bike. Maybe it was best was to talk with her when she was sober.

Now, that was a serious hangover. Crap. It may have been in over her head when she entered that tequila drinking tournament, "Iron Men."

Well, at least she showed all those people that she was the best at drinking tequila. It had been a great tournament. She had beat twenty five guys and ten girls. She had won.

Yes, she had won a thousand dollars and a great hangover.

Helena was lying on a poolside chair with her eyes covered with dark lenses, to avoid the brightness of the sun. She extended her hand and took the beer glass from the table next to her.

She drank it and felt her body returning to life. That was wonderful.

Maybe she could be drunk all day to avoid hangovers.

Luckily, she hadn't seen Bruce when she arrived at six in the morning that day. She was not in the mood to hear another of his lectures.

She loved to make him angry or disgusted with her all night parties and troubles. She didn't want anything from him or his money. She had been doing everything possible to piss him off to show him her disgust because he would kill her mother's murderer.

She was just waiting to be old enough to rent her own place and live her life as she wanted… and to look for her revenge.

But, maybe, she could moderate her parties a bit. It was not nice to have hangovers like this one. She sometimes crossed the line in testing her own limitations. Being meta helped her to not get drunk easily, but after three bottles, anyone would be.

She drank a bit more of her cool beer. It was heaven. God bless the man that had created the beer.

"Good party?" a voice distracted her from her thoughts.

She recognized it immediately.


She exhaled. What the hell was she doing here? She was not in the mood for whatever she was here for and she didn't want see to her. It still hurt to know that she had forgotten her so easily the last few months, knowing she was broken and alone.

"Excellent party," she said coldly.

"I'm glad you didn't hit anyone this time."

"How do you know I didn't?" the brunette asked, cynically.

"You weren't on the news today." Barbara grinned.

"Good point," Helena lowered her dark lenses a few inches and eyed the redhead. She was wearing a jacket and tight black pants with boots. It was a nice outfit. It seemed Barbara liked the rebel style. "Still riding that bike?"

"I like it." Barbara looked at the pool. It was a sunny day, only Helena could be in the sun after a night full of alcohol.

"You will break all your bones someday," she said, pushing her sunglasses up again and closing her eyes.

"I don't think so. May I sit?"

"I would say no, but you never listen."

"I'll take that as a yes." Barbara sat on a chair next to Helena's.

"How do you get into bars?"

"Weren't you once young?"


"Doesn't look like it. If you were, you would know about fake ID's. What do you want?" Helena asked, sipping her beer and knowing she was not here just to chat.

"You have been ignoring my calls for the last two weeks. Why?"

"I thought you would get the message."

"What message?"

"That I don't want to talk to you."

Barbara leaned on her chair, looking at her. "Why not?"

"Why would I?" Helena asked, lifting an eyebrow.

Seemed things would not be as easy as she thought. Helena was so hardheaded.

"Why don't you want to talk to me?" she asked.

"We haven't talked in a long time," the brunette put her beer on the table. "Why the interest now?"

"I don't want you to be hurt," Barbara said.

Helena looked at the pool. Sure, now she had interest in her, now she cared about her. She had probably talked to her father and he had begged her to help him. This trick was not going to work with her. She'd had enough of all this shit.

"You are seriously playing the role of the millionaire's daughter, right?" the redhead asked, crossing her leg.

"Public figure, it's called."

"All right, 'public figure'. You are a very intelligent girl. You know this is not right."

"Do you recall that I didn't want to pick up your calls?" Helena said, finishing her beer and taking another can from the cooler. "It's because I'm not interested in your advice."

"Helena," Barbara leaned toward her, "let me help."

"I didn't ask for your help."

"Why are you so closed off?"

"I'm fine, I'm having fun," Helena rolled her eyes. "I'm enjoying my life. What's the problem with that?"

"You are meta, you can hurt someone," Barbara said. "You need to learn to control your skills!"

"I handle my skills pretty well." The brunette winced, opening the can of beer. "Could you please not yell?"

"Helena, don't act like a child."

"If you'll excuse me, I would really love to be alone."

The redhead observed the girl. It would be hard, really hard, to make her stop her crazy way of living. She was frustrated. What happened to that sweet girl she knew? It seemed the last two years had been rough on her, much rougher that she imagined. If she hadn't been in recovery, maybe she could have helped her before. "Why Helena?" she asked, suddenly.

"Why what?"

"Why are you doing this to yourself? To Bruce?"

"Mind your own business." Helena growled. "Keep your nose out of mine."

"You were not like this."

"You said it. I wasn't like this. Start knowing the new me."

"All right. I hope you will think about this." She put her card on the table "Call me, if you need anything."

"Sure." The brunette closed her eyes.

Barbara stood up, taking the beer from Helena's hand. She was too young to be drinking like this. "I hope to see you soon."

"Hey!" The brunette sat up angrily and watched the redhead walk away, drinking her beer.

"I'll always be here for you, when you want talk," the redhead said, not turning her head and lifting the hand with the can. "Thanks for the beer."

Helena growled and looked inside the cooler. Crap. She had taken the last beer. She stared at the redhead, who disappeared behind the big doors.

The redhead closed the door behind her and walked inside the hall. Helena was really hardheaded. She picked up her helmet that was on a table.

"Bad luck?" Alfred asked, descending the stair way.

"She is really difficult and cynical," she said, giving him the can of beer.

"Do you drink?" he asked, surprised.

"I just started today. She is very difficult."

"I warned you." He walked toward her.

"Yes, I thought she would listen to me, but I was wrong." Barbara crossed her arms, thinking. She couldn't forget the image of Helena as sweet, loving child, "What happened to her?"

"Anger, pain…" he explained. "I think the loss her mother affected her too much. Master Bruce tried everything, but she closed all her doors to him. He gave her everything, he thought that she would understand that he loved her, but she… she is so lost in her own world. She is just living a crazy life to forget all her pain."

Barbara rubbed her temples. "I'm feeling guilty, Alfred, I should have been with her," she said biting her lower lip. "I could have helped her."

"You were recovering, Miss Barbara, you couldn't do very much."

"I know, but…" she turned to look to the pool where the brunette was swimming, "I feel I could have done something else. Dick told me she was difficult, that they argued a lot, but I thought he was exaggerating. She is so hurt."

"What are you going to do?"

"Keep trying, Alfred."


Part 2

Barbara tried, with no success to get close to the rebellious kid over the next few months. Helena kept her crazy lifestyle - parties, trouble, and appearances in the on newspaper gossip columns.

She couldn't blame Bruce for her attitude, he had tried everything to be close to her, but Helena was –she had noticed- so angry at life. She was always so disrespectful against laws and anything that remotely resembled authority. She was really hard to handle a hurricane.

"You look incredible." Dick squeezed her hand, gently.

"Thanks." She smiled walking inside the big manor. It was Bruce's birthday and the manor was full of people. She thought this would be a good opportunity to try to get close to Helena again. She knew the girl had been in trouble the week before, on a vacation trip she had taken to Hawaii. It appeared she had organized a party in her hotel room, and the resulting scandal hadn't being good for the other guests. They had all been kicked out of the hotel.

"I'm so glad you are here," Bruce greeted, appearing suddenly in front of her.

"Hey!" Barbara smiled and hugged him. "Happy birthday!"


She extended a small gift. "We hope you like it."

"You didn't need to buy me anything."

"You are our best friend," Dick said, patting his arm.

"You look so handsome," she complimented Bruce.

"Glad you approve."

"Want a drink?" Dick asked her.


"Take care of my girl, I'll be right back," Dick told Bruce.

Barbara's eyes caught Helena, who was laughing as she was encircled by a group of handsome young men.

"How are things going with her?" she asked her old friend.

"As always," he sighed, looking at his daughter. "She is involved in some trouble, I try to talk with her, we fight and she leaves. The next day, she is in more trouble and the cycle continues." He drank from his cup. "She does this to piss me off."

"Why do you keep giving her money, then?"

"I'm trying to make her understand that I love her."

"Maybe you need to leave her in jail a few days."

"Come on, Barbara," he said.

"I'm serious, you always get her out of any the trouble she gets in."

"I can't do that."

"But I can. I'll talk with Dad."

"You won't," he said.

"Why not?" She looked at him. "You have tried everything except this. Let's try. At least, she will not be in trouble for a couple of days."

"Forget it. Believe me, that will not work with her."

"Here is your cup." Dick said, handing a glass to the redhead.


"Enjoy the night, guys." Bruce smiled at them "I'll be around."

"Okay." Dick smiled and wrapped his arm around Barbara's waist. "Wanna dance? The music is great."

"Sure, let's go." She smiled at him.

The redhead had a good time with him, he really was a good dancer. She felt she was being watched, but she didn't know why.

She spent the rest of the night having fun and taking with old friends. Her life was returning to normal after the shooting. Now she was working at the New Gotham library. She liked the place and she had contact with many young people that she could help.

She wanted to return to her Batgirl career, but Bruce had told her to take it slowly, she still was healing. She still felt tired after standing too long and would get a bit of pain in her back if she had too much exercise. She was still testing her limitations. It was important, if she wanted to stay alive in her fight against crime.

Over the course of the night, she saw Helena flirting with everything that moved close to her. Her laugh was loud and open, but she knew it was a mask that the girl hid behind. She tried to act as a cold person, just interested in fun and having a good time, but she knew her, she was not that kind of person.

After a pleasant dinner and enjoy excellent music, she went with Dick to walk around the gardens. He had been a gentleman with her all those months, always supportive, sweet and romantic. He gave her a wonderful and sweet kiss.

They stood for a long time, watching the moon lighting the trees.

"Maybe we should get married, what do you think?" he mumbled, rubbing his nose on her cheek.

"You will break the heart of your fans. I don't want to be responsible for that." She grinned at him.

"Dammit, you are right." He smiled. "How about we go somewhere else, where we can be alone?"

"It's late."

"And tomorrow is Sunday. Do you have something interesting to do?"

"Just be with you."

"Excellent." Dick gave her a fast kiss on her lips. "I'll go pick up our coats."


They walked inside the house again. "I'll see if I can find Bruce while you're gone."


Barbara didn't see Bruce in the crowd. She stopped Alfred, who walked close to her. She asked for him and he told her he had seen him five minutes ago, walking to the library with Helena. She walked toward the back of the house where the room was.

She heard some loud voices when as she approached. She stopped a few meters away and noticed Bruce was furious. He was yelling at Helena, who was yelling right back. She couldn't understand what the argument was about and thought it best to leave them alone. But then, she noticed Bruce walking to open the door. She hid behind a door so he wouldn't notice her and think she was listening.

He was really angry and stormed out the place. He never lost control of his emotions, so it was weird to see him so annoyed. She turned and looked inside the library.

Helena covered her face with her hands; she seemed to be so sad. Barbara couldn't stop herself and walked to her.

When she opened the door, she noticed the brunette wasn't there. Looking around, she could see the balcony door open and she walked there.

Helena was sitting on the cement bench, looking at the garden.

"What do you want?" the brunette asked, knowing she was there.

Barbara couldn't understand how, she hadn't made any noise.

"Are you okay?"

The girl wiped her nose with her hand. "I'm fine."

Barbara remained silent, trying to find the correct question to try to talk with her. Helena would never admit she was crying.

"Why did he make you mad?"

The girl did not respond. Barbara hugged herself and observed her.

"I saw him yelling at you," she said. "I'm sorry."

"He doesn't understand me." Helena finally spoke, with her gaze to the ground.

"He is a man," Barbara mumbled, "Men often can't see inside women's hearts."

"He is so blind," Helena whispered.

The moon light allowed Barbara to see a tear rolling down her cheek.

"Why can't he see me? I'm not what he expected. He wanted a boy, not a girl."

"Don't say that, you are a great person."

"Not for him, other people are always better. He always tells me why I'm not like Dick, like you… He always says I would disappoint my mom." She sniffed. "But no, he didn't know her, my mom loved me, she always said she was proud of me. She hugged me, she listened to me."

"She loved you so much," Barbara said with a soft voice. "You are right, she was so proud of you, you were her world. She told me many times she wanted the best for you and she worked hard every day for it –to give you everything. She believed in you."

"She was the only one. He thinks Dick is best. He knows how to do things, he is smart, he is intelligent." Helena turned her blue eyes and fixed them on her. Barbara was a beautiful woman. She felt, in some way, protected being close to her. She could smell her when she was around, not matter if a room was full of people. It reminded her of the feeling of being loved, cared for, of a past that no longer existed. "Dick should be his kid, not me. I don't know what I'm doing here. I don't know why he took me."

"He loves you, he just doesn't know how to show it to you." Barbara touched her hand. "I love you, too, but you won't let me in."

Helena jerked up, as if she was touched by electricity. "Don't lie to me." She was not going to let her hurt her again.

She had hurt her enough, she had forgotten she existed. She also thought Dick was better. She was with Dick, they were a couple now. She had seen her dancing and having fun; she had seen them kissing in the garden. She always had time for him, since she had gone. She only looked at Helena when she was not with him. Helena was not important.

"I don't lie, I love you, Helena." Barbara stood up behind her. "I don't know what happened before, why you are so distant with me, but I would like you to trust in me again, like when you were a kid."

"Leave me alone." The young woman growled, turning her back to her.

"Helena, please."

"I said, leave me alone!" Helena turned, her eyes feral. "You are like him! You are like everyone!"

"Let me be your friend."

"I don't have friends, I don't need friends."

"What is wrong with you?" Barbara didn't step back. "Why do you push away all the people that love you?"

The brunette crossed her arms and smirked. "Oh, I see. Now, you are an expert on my life, you know what I feel and what I need."

"Something happened to you and I want to help."

"Keep your help to yourself. I don't need you, I don't need anyone."

"Why are you so damn stubborn?"

"Why don't you worry about your own life and leave me the fuck alone? Why have you been following me since you came back? What part of leave me alone don't you understand?"

"You are hurting yourself!"

"Why your interest in me?" Helena began to walk toward her in a threatening way. Barbara began to step back. Helena buried her eyes on her; she was not going to let her in. She was not going to get hurt again. She had learned that the best defense was a great offense. "Am I so beautiful and you are attracted to me?"

"Don't be ridiculous!" Barbara spat, what the fuck was happening with Helena? Suddenly, her mood had changed 180°. She was a broken child one second and, in the next one, a total jerk.

"Why not?" the brunette smirked, smiling seductively. "I'm young, very good looking, smart, funny. I'm the most eligible bachelor in the city."

Barbara's back hit a brick wall. "Are you drunk?"

"Often, but not now." She stood close, her face inches from Barbara's.

"Helena." Barbara lifted an eyebrow, she was not going to show her fear, "I didn't know you were gay."

"Me neither, but it will be fun to try with you," the brunette smirked, hands in pockets. "You are an experienced woman and I know many interesting tricks that I'm sure you will enjoy. We can exchange experiences."

"I'm sorry, I'm taken." Barbara sighed, knowing she was avoiding talking about what hurt her.

"Don't worry, I'm not jealous." She shrugged her shoulders.

"I'm trying to help, Helena. Why do you act like an asshole?"

"Maybe because I am one. Everybody thinks that my father, Dick, and I know that you do, too." Helena grinned.

"Welcome to the club."

"What's happening here?" Dick asked from the balcony door.

Helena smirked and gave a step back "Nothing, your girlfriend was telling me how fascinating I am."

"What's wrong with you, Helena?"

"Bachelor's life." Helena stared at her. "I need to keep my image. Have fun with the Pied Piper."

"Hey, hey." Dick said, annoyed.

Barbara grabbed his arm. "Wait, Dick, she is taunting you."

"Do you want me to kick your ass?" he shouted at her.

"Try it. Last time, I kicked yours. I would be glad to sweep the floor with you again."

"What's wrong with you?"

"Selina would be so disappointed in you," Barbara told her.

The brunette turned angrily toward her.

"Don't say her name!"

"Don't hurt her memory by acting like a jerk:"

"You don't have any right…" She clenched her teeth.

"You don't either. Grow up, Helena."

"Fuck you!" the brunette shouted and exited the balcony.

"Hey, you! Come here!" Dick growled.

"Dick, stop! Don't listen to her!" Barbara shouted.

"Did you see what she….?" He pointed at the girl.

"She is trying to piss you off, as always. You know her."

He paced furiously on the balcony. Barbara felt so disappointed. She was starting to think she never could get close to Helena again, that she would never understand her change. They might never be friends again.

"What did she tell you?" Dick asked, standing in front of her.

"Forget it."


She brushed her hair back. "Can we just go and forget all this?"


"Can we just forget this?" she said with a loud voice.

He exhaled and nodded his head. Helena really had pissed him off.

"Let's go, Dick, please," she said, touching his arm.

He nodded and walked to the exit. Barbara was silent, thinking, trying to understand Helena's behavior. She didn't know what to do, she was so unpredictable, so weird. What had happened to the Helena Kyle that she had known? Maybe she really had died the night her mother did, and she didn't want accept it.

Two years later…

The young brunette opened two beer bottles and turned, giving them to two guys seated in front of the bar. She took then two glasses from the counter and mixed some lemon juice and tequila. When she finished, she gave it to the man on her left.

"Hey, beautiful," a man said, "give me a scotch."

She didn't answer and prepared the glass. She put it in front of the man.

"Thanks, beautiful."

"Do me a favor," she said, putting her hand on the counter, "don't call me beautiful again, unless you want me to break your nose."

"That's not nice."

"It will be less nice to have a broken nose." She turned and found Leonard, the owner of the bar looking at her.

"I've told you many times to be nice," he said.

"I was nice." Helena smiled. "I warned him, I didn't break his nose."

"Be nice, I'm telling you once more, be nice."

"All right, all right." Cleaning her hands with a towel, she checked her watch. Her shift had ended. She gave the towel to her partner at the bar.

"Shift's over," she said to Leonard. "See you tomorrow."

"Have a good night, Kyle, and, remember, be nice."

"Yeah, yeah." She sighed and exited the bar.

She went to her apartment above The Dark Horse Bar, the place she worked as a bartender, and changed her clothes. She chose black leather pants, a sleeveless black shirt, and a long black leather coat.

Luckily, she was old enough now to live on her own and she earned enough money in her work as a bartender to rent an apartment. Not so luxurious, but it was hers, as was her life. She didn't depend on him anymore. After her night shifts, she usually went out to join the night, to feel the wind caressing her face with its cold whispers. But tonight she was not in the mood to waste the time on those things, she wanted action.

She left her apartment through the window and climbed to the rooftop. She began to run on the top of the buildings until she arrived downtown. She crouched over the cornice and closed her eyes, feeling the wind hitting her face.

She loved that sensation, she felt loved by the night, it fed her, it made the adrenaline run through her veins at high speeds, making her feel alive.

She always thought about taking revenge on her mother's death, but she had never quite figured out how to do it, until a night that she had been just walking in the city. It was late, she had not returned early to the manor that day.

A group of guys had blocked her way, at first she had hesitated, it was not the same as a fight in a club, This was a gang with knives in their hands. But after her first move, she knew she could defeat those guys very easily.

She knew, then, she could avenge her mother on her own. She started her search for the man that had murdered her.

She just wanted to go out and pound on those criminals that ruled the streets.

On her 21st birthday, she finally moved out of his house. She had worked the last summer and collected some money, thinking about being independent. She got a job as the assistant of a bartender with a friend.

She didn't know why, but her father had then told her that he had decided to quit as Batman, he didn't want to be the Caped Crusader anymore. He was tired of the violence and criminals. He said he wanted go around the world, that he needed to breathe.

He left…

She didn't know how to feel afterwards. It was weird.

He had abandoned her, too. It made her feel so angry, so miserable. For a moment, she thought she might have been important to him.

She had fought with him almost all the time they had been together, but in some way she could say she missed him.

After a few months of working at the bar, she had learned a lot and was much better than her friend.

She was promoted to a full bartender at The Dark Horse and rented a small apartment above it.

She had then, too, started to look for criminals and had learned to defend herself alone on those streets…

It was one thing to be in the training room and quite another to feel the cold blade of a knife cutting her skin. At the beginning, it had been hard. And she got her fair share of bruises for that, but she learned fast and she was very good now.

She just wanted to relieve all the anger, all that rage, the fire burning inside her. She just wanted to get her revenge and make all that people that were like him pay.

She had started being a crime fighter on her own just a few months ago. She never told him about her nightly adventures. She didn't want him lecturing her about it being too risky or about being too rough or breaking bones unnecessarily.

A sound distracted her from her thoughts. She heard cries. She was at the top of a big building and turned her head, trying to determine the source.

It seemed it came a few streets away from her. She jumped easily to the building in front of her. In a few seconds, she found the source of the cries.

A man was hitting a woman.

Party time. He shouted something at her; she shouted back, and he slapped her hard on her face and took out a knife.

A knife.

It made her so angry.

She hated knives.

Before he could make a single movement, she was on him. She took his hand in hers and grinned when she heard bones breaking and him yelling.

"You aren't so brave now, no?" she growled at him.

"Bitch!" he yelled.

"Wrong answer," she said, as her fist found his face.

He slammed into the wall behind him. The woman stood up and ran as fast as she could, away from the scene.

"Let's try again." Helena smirked.

"Go to hell."

"I think, tonight, you will go there, not me." She lifted him and punched him hard on his gut. It felt really good to beat a jerk like this one.

The man tried to fight, but she was too much for him. In a few seconds, she had him crying and begging for forgiveness on the ground, but tonight she was not in the mood to give a second to a moron like this one. She threw him against a garbage bin and walked toward him, fists in balls, ready to pounce on him again.


Now, that was new, who the hell was interrupting her fun?

She turned her head and found a tall woman dressed in a funny costume: black with a yellow bat on her chest and a black cowl over her head, that didn't cover her long ,red hair. The costume was so much like her father's. She must be Batgirl. Helena had heard so much about her, but she had never seen her. Apparently, she had disappeared for a long time, but she'd heard stories that she'd returned after Batman had stopped his work as a crime fighter. She thought Batgirl was a legend, but no. Helena had asked her father once about her, but the only thing he had said was that she was an incredible fighter.

It appeared that the rumors were true, and that she had taken over Batman's job.

"What do you want?" Helena asked, annoyed.

"What are you doing?" Batgirl asked.

"Stopping that asshole from hurting a woman."

"You already did. Leave him alone."

The brunette grinned. "Oh… and you are…?" she asked, taunting the costumed woman.

"Just leave him alone, he is already knocked out."

"Good," Helena shrugged her shoulders, "he will not feel a thing when I rip his head off."

"Leave him alone."

"What if I don't want to?"

"Then you must fight me."

The brunette laughed lightly. "What?"

"You heard me." Batgirl said with a firm voice.

"Who the fuck do you think you are?" Helena growled. Either the woman really was very confident of herself, or she didn't know that Helena could easily kill her with her hands.

"Someone who is trying to prevent you from making a mistake."

"Oh good, now I have my own guardian angel," Helena mocked, putting a hand over her heart.

"No, I'm your friend."

"Friend? Bullshit!" the brunette shouted. "I don't know you!"

"You are good, but you don't have experience," Batgirl said.

That was enough, no one was going to tell her what to do. Helena took a step forward, but a nasty smell filled her nostrils and she stepped back. "Where have you been?"

" A building was on fire." The redhead crossed her arms over her chest.

"Oh my god!! What was burning?" She winced, covering her nose, as she was assaulted by a foul odor.

"Plastic factory."

"Fuck… that is disgusting."

Batgirl softened the tone of her voice, trying to make Helena listen to her. "You could get hurt, fighting crime is not easy."

"I know and I don't care." The brunette turned her back on the other vigilante and walked down the street. She didn't want to keep talking to that woman.

Why was she so arrogant? Batgirl tried one more time. "You could get hurt or killed, if you aren't careful."

"I'll call 911 when I need help, I promise." Helena retorted, then jumped easily to a stairway, four floors above her, and from there to the rooftop.

The redhead watched in amazement. Wow, she knew about her meta skills, but had never seen them in action. She sighed, resting her hands on her hips. This was going to be a bit more difficult than she'd anticipated. She turned and walked to the other side of the street.

The old butler opened the curtains of the dark room. The light revealed a total mess. Clothes over the floor; drawers opened. Different kinds of shoes were strewn about the place. The small room was a disaster zone. He looked at the bed, which was a mass of blankets and covers, he still couldn't understand how a person could sleep there or, worse, live there.

He shook his head and took a basket, picking up the clothes.

"God, Alfred," Helena grumbled from under the covers, "What are you doing here so early?"

"I'm using Eastern Standard time. It's only early if you are on Pacific time." He lifted his eyebrow as he continued to pick up the clothes from the floor. "Might I remind you that we live in New Gotham, close to the Atlantic Ocean?"

"What time is it?" The brunette buried her face on her pillow.

"Twelve o'clock."

She lifted her head and, blinded by the light, she rubbed her eyes. "You must be joking."

"I wish." He filled his basket with the clothes over the floor "I prepared you a good meal."

She pushed off her covers. "You just said the magic words." She walked out of her room, wearing just her white shorts and a grey t-shirt. She sat down at her small table in the kitchen.

There were scrambled eggs and a big cup of coffee. It smelled great. She loved Wednesdays. That was the day that Alfred helped her clean her mess… well, house. Technically, he cleaned it alone, but it was not her fault, he always said she didn't know how to clean a house.

"I love you, Alfred!" she shouted, taking a piece of toast.

"Sometimes I have the feeling your love for me is directly proportional to the hunger in your stomach," he responded, crossing the small corridor to put the clothes in the washing machine.

"That's not true," she said. "I also love you when you wash my clothes."

"I'm speechless."

"Guess who I met last night?"

"No idea." He stepped inside the kitchen and moved toward the counter. God. It was a real disaster, how could a single person create such a mess?

"Batgirl." Helena ate a bit of her egg.

"Batgirl?" He turned to look at her.

"Who is she, Alfred?" Helena asked, biting into her toast.

"No idea, Miss Helena." He rolled up his sleeves to wash the dishes.

"I don't believe you. You know all about my father." She pointed at him with her fork.

"You said it." He began to clean the dishes. "About your father, not about her."

"But you know her."

"Of course I know her. She is an enigma. Women are always an enigma."

"Point for you." Helena took another piece of egg. "But I still find it hard to believe that you don't know who she is."

"She is like a ghost, she just appears when she is needed and vanishes in the same way." He smiled to her. "In an unexpected way."

"I see."

"So, where did you find her?"

"I was beating up a guy that was harassing a lady." She wiped her mouth. "She said I needed experience."


She put her fork on the plate and observed him. "I have the feeling you know something."

"Miss Helena," he replied, "she is a mystery for me as she is for you. Batgirl supported Batman on the streets, but she fought on her own. She was a mystery even for your father. He respected her secret identity as she respected his."

"Sounds reasonable." Helena took a sip of her coffee. She was silent a few seconds, thinking. Why was Batgirl looking for her? What did she want? How did she know about her? "Do you think she knows what I do at night?"

"Why do you think that, Miss Helena?" Alfred cleaned the counter.

"I know he is not here. What if he knows what I do and he sent her to follow me?"

"That is a bit hard to believe. You always say that no one follows you."

She glared at him.

"Miss Helena, I don't think you father had anything to do with it," Alfred explained, looking at her and drying his hands. "He wouldn't send anyone to follow you. He never did it when you were young and loved to get in trouble. Why would he start now?"

"Why did she disappear? Do you know?"

"Master Bruce told me that she just vanished." Alfred removed his glasses to clean them with a cloth. "She was always a woman of few words. No one knows where she came from. She just appeared one day. I know that she confessed to your father that she admired him and that she wanted to be like him. Maybe she, as your father is doing now, took a time to be alone and think. The life of a hero is not easy."

"I think she knows who I am." She finished her eggs.


"The way she talked to me. She said I could hurt myself."

"I agree with the last," he said, picking up her plate. "You still have a lot to learn, that life is very dangerous."

"I have the feeling I'll meet her again," Helena said. "I'm not going to let her go until she answers some questions for me."

"Might I suggest that you not piss her off?"

"Why not? She pissed me off first."

"She is a very skilled fighter and you might find yourself regretting the encounter."

"Don't be so optimistic, Alfred." She stood up. "No one can kick my ass."

"Wanna bet?" he chuckled.

"Hey, thanks for the vote of confidence."

"You never listen to good advice, Miss Helena."

"I do… I just take the ones I need," she said, disappearing to her room.

"I suggest, then, that you purchase a big steak."

Helena's head appeared in her frame door. "Why do I need a steak?"

"You will need it when she blackens your eye."

"Ha, ha ha."

"Don't say I didn't warn you." He began to clean the table.

Helena gave the drinks to the group of men that had ordered them. The place was full of people; it was Friday night. Fridays were always busy days. She couldn't get the image of Batgirl out of her head. Why had she looked for her? Had her father sent her?

It was so weird.

She had been looking for information about her all day, but it seemed she was more myth than reality. She needed check around in the underworld. Maybe she could go to some hidden bars and ask for info. That would be easy. She had some friends that always gave her info. She wanted to be prepared the next time she found her.

"Water, please."

Water? Who the fuck asked for water in a bar? Helena poured a glass of water and turned. She found Barbara Gordon sitting at the bar's counter. She couldn't hide her surprise.

"I'm glad to see you, too," Barbara said, taking the glass in her hands.

"What are you doing here?"

"Looking for you."

Helena glared at the redhead and rested her hands on the counter, burying her gaze on her. It still hurt that Barbara had abandoned her when she needed her and Helena would never forgive her for that. The, Barbara had tried to get close to her again, but Helena allowed it. She was not going to let anyone hurt her anymore.

She'd had enough of it.

She thought Barbara had quit on her. Since she had moved to her own place, Helena had completely lost contact with the woman. She knew about her from the newspapers. It seemed her father had left Barbara in charge of the Wayne Foundation.

Yeah, he trusted Barbara more than his own daughter.

It had fueled her anger at both of them.

The last time she had been this close to the redhead was the night of her father's birthday, years ago, when she had cornered her against that wall. She had been so tempted to let her walls break down, to open her heart.

Luckily, she hadn't done it, but there was not a day that she didn't think about her.

"Well," Helena finally said, "you are looking at me now. Do you see something you like?"

"Maybe. I'm not sure."

"You are not sure. Why not?" Helena crossed her arms over the counter. She observed her. She was wearing a sleeveless blouse with a turtle neck and black pants. She couldn't deny the older woman looked spectacular.

"Depends on you." Barbara sipped her water.

"Why me?"

"Can we talk?" She pointed to a table at the end of the bar.

Helena looked at her with distrust.

"Come on," Barbara stood up. She noticed the girl didn't move from her place and she grinned. "Or are you afraid?"

Helena felt her blood boiling. She didn't like her games. She took a bottle of whiskey, a Perrier bottle, and a glass.

"Be right back, John," she said to her partner at the bar, not moving her eyes off the redhead, who walked to the table at the end of the bar.

The brunette sat at the table and put the bottle of whiskey and her glass on it.

"I don't drink, thanks," Barbara said, leaning back in her chair.

Helena put the Perrier bottle on the table and pushed it toward her. "On the house."

"I see you live on your own now."

"And I'm pretty happy with it." Helena opened the whiskey bottle and filled her glass.

"I hear you rent a small apartment above the bar." Barbara circled her finger around the rim of her glass.

"Perfect for me." Helena sipped a bit of whisky.

"This is not one of the best areas of the city."

"But everything is close and I don't need anything else."

Barbara smiled at her. Helena didn't know what she was thinking or what game she was playing. She stared at the redhead, waiting.

"Do you miss all your old luxuries?" the redhead asked.

"No, I never wanted anything from him."

"Didn't look like that." Barbara sipped water from her glass.

"I just wanted to piss him off."


"None of your business."

"Sweet and gentle as always." The older woman shook her head.

Helena fixed her blue eyes on her, trying to read her face. It seemed she was having fun with her and she didn't like being anyone's toy, especially not Barbara's.

"What do you want, Barbara?" Helena asked, opening the Perrier bottle and filling Barbara's glass.

"Thank you. I want to ask you to visit the Green Orphanage tomorrow."

The brunette blinked. "What?"

You know the Wayne Foundation, right?"

"You know it better than me." Helena finished her scotch whisky. "You are in charge, no?"

"We support that orphanage. I would like you to go tomorrow."

The brunette laughed. "Now, that is funny. Why should I go?"

"I promise that I'll tell you tomorrow." Barbara said.

"Why don't tell you tell me now?"

"You will understand tomorrow."

Helena leaned back in her chair and finished her scotch, her eyes fixed on the redhead. Barbara didn't look away and held her gaze. The young woman observed her, wondering what she was planning. She knew Barbara. She was always methodical and never took a step without thinking.

She had changed, she looked great. Helena had read about her in the newspapers; she was active with the Foundation always trying to find more resources. In some way, she'd have to admit that she admired her, especially her courage to move on after the Joker shot her and for her effort to help those kids.

"What if I say no?" Helena suddenly said, bending her leg over the chair and resting her arm on her knee.

"Then you never will know why I asked you to go," Barbara said in a calm voice, drinking her water. "I never ask anything of you. So, if I'm here, it must be for something really important."

The brunette stared at her. What kind of game was she playing? She was not going to be part of this mess. She was not going to let Barbara involve her in anything.

"The foundation helps innocents. It's not business," Barbara explained as she wondered why Helena was drinking as if she had, in her possession, the last whisky bottle on Earth. "I know you have issues with your father, but this goes beyond all your feelings for him. We are talking about innocent children."

The young woman didn't respond. She remained still, gazing at the older woman. The redhead drank a bit more water and put the glass on the table. Helena was drinking more of her liquor.

There was a noise at the other side of the bar. The brunette turned lazily. There was a fight.. The young woman finished her glass. "I'll be right back."

Barbara took a drink of water. Helena, in a second, had jumped into the fray. Before Barbara could count to three, Helena had ended the fight with two fast movements. After a few seconds, she returned to her seat.

"Sorry, work issues." She poured another glass of scotch.

"Aren't you afraid of getting drunk when you drink that much?"

"Hard to get drunk." She grinned. "I'm meta."

"Yes, true." Barbara shook her head "You fight well."


"You could be good, if you had some technique."

Helena took the comment as an insult. "Excuse me?"

"You fight well, but you need technique. Maybe I can help you."

"What?" Helena laughed, amused.

"I know how to fight," Barbara smiled. "I practiced gymnastic many years and some martial arts, too."

"I knew about the gymnastics, but not about martial arts."

"I love martial arts, it's not just about fighting," the redhead explained. "It's about knowing your body, controlling your mind, your environment, and using the strength of your opponent against them."

"I don't need anything." Helena watched her with curiosity. Barbara crossed her arm over the table. "Why do you hate him so much?"

"I don't hate him."

You two could never have a good relationship."

elena stood up and picked up the bottle from the table. "Time's up, I have work to do."

"I'll be there at ten," Barbara said.

The young woman didn't answer and returned to the bar. Barbara stared at her glass. She closed her eyes a brief second. This was going to be so hard.

"Miss Barbara, good to see you," Alfred said, greeting the redhead when he walked inside the her office at the Wayne Foundation.

"Thanks, Alfred," she said, smiling and standing up. "Thanks for accepting my invitation to have lunch with me."

The office was huge. It had a spectacular view of New Gotham and a small, but comfortable living room with a TV.

Barbara spent most of the day there and it was like a second home for her.

"Always a pleasure," he said lifting a plastic bag. "I brought your favorite salad."

Barbara frowned and rested her hips on the desk. "I invited you to lunch."

"I know, but knowing your cooking abilities, I preferred cook myself," he said, smiling.

"My cooking is not that bad."

"Trust my instincts."

She rolled her eyes and opened the door of a private room to her left. It had a small dining room and a kitchen. The table was ready, so she opened the fridge and took out a pitcher of water.

"You are incorrigible." She said, "For your information, I considered buying some food at the salad restaurant on the corner."

"The worst in the city." Alfred pointed out, opening the bag on the counter. "I'm glad I thought to bring the salad."

"The table is ready, so sit, please."

"Thanks, but let me," he responded, moving a chair back for her.

"Always a gentleman." She sat on her chair.

"I can't deny it." He put then bowl with salad on the table.

"I went to see Helena last night." The redhead poured water in her glass while Alfred sat at the other side of the table.

"Any luck with her?" he asked.

"No, she is as stubborn as her mother." She put a bit of salad on his plate before taking a forkful of her own. "How are things on your side?"

"Her apartment, if you can call it that, is a mess."

"It's that bad?"

"Not the apartment, her. The place is small, but comfortable and nice. The problem is that she still doesn't know the meaning of order."

She laughed lightly. "She has always been a disaster with order."

"She told me she met Batgirl."

"Oh…" Barbara looked at him. "It means she impressed her. If not, she wouldn't have commented about her."

"Yes," he agreed. "She is not easily impressed by anyone."

"Maybe it was the cowl."

He chuckled. "She thinks that, perhaps, her father sent Batgirl to keep an eye on her."

"Sounds logical, but no." Barbara put more salad on her plate. "He told me he knew she was doing this and was worried because she fights, but doesn't think. I thought it would be good to keep an eye on her. Selina loved her so much and would be upset if she knew Helena is trying to tear herself apart."


"Well, she had her 'I know everything attitude' and was really rude. She didn't like that I stopped her from beating a guy to death."

"Weren't you afraid she would recognize you?"

"Nah, she never would imagine me dressed as a bat at night…. and I was in a fire before." She pointed at him with her fork. "The smell of the smoke and melted plastic really disgusted her."

"You need to be careful, she was not happy."

"I bet. I really pissed her off."

"She asked me if I knew her." Alfred ate a piece of salad.

"And?" the redhead asked curiously. If she could get her attention as Batgirl, maybe it was a good signal and she could find a way to get close to her.

"I said no."

"You lied?" Barbara lifted her brow. "That is new, you never lie."

"Technically, no," he smiled, taking his glass of water. "I said that I didn't know her, that she was an enigma for me. And she is. Batgirl has always been an enigmatic part of your personality, Miss Barbara. She never asked me, "Do you know her name?" In that case, I would have told her the truth, but she didn't ask it."

"Clever." Barbara smiled, he really was smart.

"British." He winked.

He had piqued her curiosity. She wanted to know more about the girl. She wanted to find a way to get her to open the doors of heart. She was a good detective, but people were not her best area, and, even less so, angry young people. "What else did she say?"

"Not much, but she is very intrigued about who Batgirl is. She wants to find her again to determine what she wants.You must be careful; Miss Helena is pretty aggressive. I assume she will look for a fight with Batgirl."

"That doesn't worry me too much." Barbara exhaled, "What worries me is that she is so impulsive. She really could hurt someone or herself."

"I agree, sometimes she returns with pretty bad bruises. She loves to learn the hard way."

"Helena thinks she doesn't need anyone and tries to attack any human being that tries to be close to her."


Barbara stared at the far wall, thinking long seconds in silence.

"Something wrong?" Alfred asked.

"What happened with her, Alfred, all those years that she was with Bruce?" she asked. "When I returned, she was not the sweet girl I knew. She was cold, angry, arrogant and stubborn, she distrusted everyone."

"She was sad in the beginning and she felt lonely. I understand it was not comfortable living in a house that was not her own with a strange man that she'd just learned was her father." He remembered with sadness, "Master

Bruce tried to get close to her, but he failed." He explained, "But things went from bad to worse when she discovered he was Batman."


"She asked him to kill her mother's murderer, her refused to do it, and that was the point of no return."

"He doesn't kill."

"She never could understand that. She turned most aggressive and shut herself off; she looked for every way to piss him off and she found it."

"Spending his money and being a troublemaker," she said.


"It was sad. He didn't know what to do. She was really a difficult person."

Barbara sipped a bit of water. She put the glass on the table and looked at him, "She still is. I noticed it when I returned. She just closed herself off to me, too."

"Yes, I remember how many times you tried to talk with her and she refused."

The red head fixed her green eyes on him "It just seems like she needs someone to talk to. Does she talk to you"?

"Yes, she is funny… grumpy but funny. I always try to tell her all the things she doesn't want to hear. Sometimes she gets furious, but she never says anything to me. I still have hope that you can find the way to open her heart. She deserves to live again."

The old man took a deep breath.

"And I'm quite afraid she will get herself killed, if she keeps risking her life, obsessed with the idea of tracking her mother's murderer."

"I saw her fight, as I told you… twice. She is really good, but, yes, she still needs to train. Fighting crime is not a piece of cake."


"She needs to stop and think, make a plan. She needs to focus on the fight, protect her sides." She waved her hands. "Anyone that knows how to fight could hit her easily. "I offered to teach her last night."

"What she said?"

"What do you think?" She tilted her head. "She refused."

"I think she needs a bit of pressure."

"She is so hard headed. Sometimes I think she needs a good kick in the ass."

"That might help, too."

Both chuckled.

"But, you know what?" Barbara asked. "I have a plan. I think I know how I can make her accept my company."

"That sounds interesting. Perhaps you'd like to share your idea?"


The dark haired woman crouched over a building and closed her eyes. She felt so alive then. She still couldn't understand why life had been so hard on her. She didn't think she'd done anything horrible. First, it had been hard to deal with being half meta; when she was a kid she had to hide it.

Her mother told her that people didn't understand metas and that it would be dangerous if people knew her secret.

She had been a happy child. Yes, her whole life had been perfect until that day. The day she was murdered.

Since then, she had been living just to reach her goal: to find who had killed her mother and take revenge the revenge that her father refused to accept.

She heard a scream. She noticed it came from the park in front of her, but she couldn't see anything, it was surrounded by many trees. She jumped down and ran toward the place from where the yell had come. She arrived and saw that two guys had a young girl on the ground and were ripping her clothes. Her fury raged. She grabbed the first guy by his shirt and threw him across the clearing.

The other guy tried to attack her, but she ducked and punched him hard in his face. He tried to hit her, but she was faster. He hit his head hard and fell unconscious.

She kneeled next to the girl. "Are you okay?"

The girl, crying, nodded.

"Go," she said.

Helena felt a hard blow on her head. She turned and kicked the guy. She took her hand to her head. Now, she was pissed.

Feral eyes turned, and she kicked him in the head. He couldn't react, she fell over him, beating him harder.

The man yelled and cried, but she didn't hear his pleas.

Suddenly, she felt herself being lifted and thrown to the side. She rolled and crouched, ready to attack, wondering who the hell was messing with her.

"You?" she growled angrily, seeing Batgirl standing in front of her. She looked impressive in that black suit, but she was not going to show her any respect or fear. "What the fuck are you doing?"

"I asked you to stop, but you didn't listen." The masked woman turned and kneeled next to the man to check his pulse. He was alive.

"What's wrong with you?" Helena shouted, standing up.

"I was going to ask you the same." The redhead stood up, glaring at her. She definitely didn't like her style. "What in heaven's name do you think you are doing?"

Helena observed her. She was taller than Helena and looked like a giant bat. Now, she began to understand the clothing was part of a trick to intimidate people. "I was going to rip his head off! That son of a bitch tried to rape a girl!"

"It doesn't give you the right to kill him," The redhead scolded with a hard voice.

No one had ever talked to her like that... at least not since her mother died. Helena blinked, disconcerted. Who was she? She was the first person that challenged her in that way. The woman didn't seem to be afraid of her. People were afraid of her and, yet, Batgirl was not moving a single muscle.

"You are no one to tell me what to do or not," Helena growled.

"Maybe," Batgirl said, crossing her arms, "but I can stop you and prevent you from committing the worst mistake in your life."

"What?" It was definitely looking like she'd need to kick Batgirl's ass.

"What's your name?" The redhead lowered her head and looked for a strange box on her belt.

The movement disconcerted her. Lowering her head meant she didn't see Helena as a threat. She was very confident or very stupid.

"None of your business," she spat back.

"I'm Batgirl," the redhead said, lifting her head and pressing a button on the box she had in hand. "What's your name?"

"Huntress," she responded, almost automatically, not knowing where the name came from. "What's that?"

"This?" The redhead lifted the box. "I sent a signal to emergency services. An ambulance will be here in a few minutes."

"You called an ambulance? For him??"

"He is a human being. Let the courts judge him. Now tell me, why 'Huntress'?"

Batgirl's attitude confused the young woman. The costumed vigilante was acting as if she was the adult and Helena, a child.

"I hunt assholes like that one." The brunette growled in irritation. "And I beat people that piss me off, like you!"

"It's not good that you take advantage of your meta skills," Batgirl said, pointing at her. "You must be more responsible using your power against humans."

"He is not a human, he is an animal!" She walked toward her, fists in balls. "Why are you defending criminals? Aren't you supposed to be a 'hero'?"

"I am. What are you?"

"Excuse me?" Helena asked in disbelief. What kind of question was that?

"I said I am a hero. What are you?"

"I'm a fucking crime fighter, if you haven't noticed!" Helena shouted. She wrinkled her nose and took a step back. She smelled like gasoline, damn! It was so nasty!

Batgirl smiled, noticing her discomfort.

"What is so funny?" Helena asked in annoyance, seeing Batgirl's smirk.


Helena wrinkled her nose again, the smell was so annoying. "Your perfume sucks!"

"Sorry. Gas station. Helping a couple."

"God! Were they swimming in gas?"

"Something like that." Batgirl nodded her head,

Helena glared at the woman, annoyed. She was smart, and she knew it. Batgirl was challenging her and Helena was now very pissed off. She was not used to being challenged. Who was she? "Do you think you always are in control?" she asked.

"I must be in control, if I want to stay alive."

"Well, be careful or I'll rip your head off."

Batgirl laughed.

That was it. The last straw. Huntress growled, her eyes feral, and threw a punch at Batgirl's face.

The redhead ducked and used Helena's impulse to turn her around and throw her to the ground.

"Easy, Huntress," the redhead said. "I don't want to hurt you. You must control yourself. You let your emotions blind you."

"Fuck you!" The young woman stood and kicked out. Batgirl moved back.

"Huntess," the cowled superhero said, "I don't want to fight."

"Are you scared?"

The redhead sighed in exasperation. Huntress tried to punch her again and Batgirl blocked it. She hit the brunette hard in her gut with her leg. The brunette took a step back, holding her stomach.

"Look, Huntress," Batgirl said, waving her hand, "could you please stop?"

Groaning, the young woman moved with incredible speed and kicked her in her face. Batgirl fell backwards, seeing stars.

The redhead shook her head and rubbed her jaw, she hadn't seen that coming. Huntress smirked in front of her, her fists balled.

"Stand up," Huntress ordered, smiling.

Batgirl shook her head. It seemed Helena was not going to learn with words. The redhead stood up and closed her fists, guarding herself. "All right," she said, "let's do it the hard way."

Huntress turned and threw a kick that Batgirl avoided by moving back. The young woman jumped and tried to kick her, but Batgirl bent over and Helena fell behind her. When Huntress turned, she found a hard fist hitting her skull. The next second, she felt a knee burying in her gut, knocking the air from her lungs.

She couldn't react and Batgirl's fist felt like a hammer when it hit the middle of her nose. She stumbled back, hearing a buzz on her ears and seeing flashes around her. It was hard to stand on her feet. She took her hand to her nose, still hearing that annoying buzz on her ears. She shook her head trying to clear her vision. Batgirl was standing in front of her. She lifted her fist to punch the other woman, but a hard blow under her jaw made her knees give out and her vision blur. She hit the ground like a ton of bricks.

She heard her someone calling her name, but it was distant.

Then, she felt herself lifted off the ground by the front of her jacket. She was thrown over a shoulder. Maybe she fell unconscious, then, because when she opened her eyes again, she noticed the dark sky above her. She coughed and rolled to her side, taking her hand to her nose that hurt like hell. She was bleeding. Her shirt was soaked in her own blood.

She growled, tilting her head back, trying to stop the hemorrhage.

She noticed then that she was on a rooftop. It took her a few moments to kneel and stand up. "Crap." She shook her head and coughed again. Who the hell was that woman? How she could fight that well? She winced, the smell of gasoline still filling her nostrils.

Fuck. Why was Batgirl always in such nasty places?

With hesitant steps, she went toward the edge of the building. Looking below, she noticed the police and an ambulance below.

She had beaten her to a pulp and, later, she had taken her to safety. Why?

That was so confusing.


She could figure it out later. Her nose was on fire and hurt like hell, but not more than her pride. She coughed and turned to walk to her home.

"Oh my God." Alfred exclaimed, not hiding his surprise when he noticed Helena's bruised nose and eye. "What happened to you?"

"Don't ask," the brunette grumbled, annoyed, lying on a small sofa in her living room.

"Someone kicked your ass last night, I see." He closed the door behind him and walked toward the table with several bags full of groceries.

"Not funny, Alfred," Helena responded, covering her face with a small bag of ice. "What are you doing here? It's Monday, not Wednesday."

Helena couldn't get the image of Batgirl standing in front of her with that costume out of her mind. She looked like a warrior, so confident, so proud. She couldn't deny it, she was attracted to her strong personality. She had never met someone like her and she wouldn't deny that Batgirl had a great body, too.

"I had a free day today so I chose to come today instead of Wednesday." Alfred took out a steak from one of his bags and he extended it to her.

"What's that?" she said, looking out of the corner of her eye.

"Put it on your eye. I knew this would happen sooner or later. I'm glad I came today."

Sometimes she hated him when he had that know it all attitude. She took the beef and rested it carefully over her nose and eye.

"It was Batgirl, right?" he asked.

"How do you know?"

"You are annoyed," he answered with a calm voice. "It means you couldn't hit the person that did this to you. So, it must be Batgirl. She is skilled enough to hit you right in your face and not be killed."

"You are smiling." She groaned, feeling her head throbbing.

"No, I'm just happy that you survived her." He put some cans in the cabinet. "She usually beats people that annoy her pretty bad. What did you do this time?"

"I didn't do anything." She sat up on the couch.

"You always say that."

"Hey, are you on my side or not?" she growled at him.

"Considering I know you both," he walked over to her and gave her two pills and a glass of water, "I want to be fair in my judgment. Take this. It will help you with the headache."

"What judgment?" she sat slowly and took the pills.

"You are asking me questions and I am trying to offer you advice."

"You say she just beats people that annoy her." Helena swallowed the pills and some water. "What if she annoyed me first? Did you consider that?"

"I find it hard to believe, knowing you. And I know you much better than her."

"What?" She glared at him. He was supposed to be her friend.

"Batgirl is a fair person, I know her as a hero. She never lies or attacks people for no reason."

"Me neither, people usually piss me off first." She gave him the glass of water empty.

"And it's usually very easy to do," he said in amusement, taking the glass to the counter.

"I don't want to talk about this." Helena turned her head and winced.

She was not going to discuss this with him. He thought he always knew everything. She was in a bad mood, sure, but this time Batgirl had started the fight. Shit. She was going to need another steak. This one would thaw very soon. She looked for her makeup mirror she had on the table and opened it to look at her face in the mirror.

Shit, she would need a lot of makeup. Her face was swollen and she had black rings under her eyes. She wanted to kill that woman.

"I suppose, then," Alfred said, turning to look at the brunette, "she was right to hit you."

"What?" The brunette couldn't believe what she was hearing, She sat up, wincing again, feeling a sharp pain in her head.

"If you were right," he said walking to her, "you would surely defend your point of view."

"She said she could kick my ass." Helena closed her eyes, with the steak still on her face.

"See? She doesn't lie. She did it."

The girl lowered the beef and glared at him. "Are you my friend or are you an impostor pretending be my Alfred?"

"She did it, no?" He pointed at his own nose.

"She was lucky last night."

"Oohh, I see."

"Is she meta, Alfred?"

"No, she is human."

"How can she fight like that? I didn't see her." The brunette still couldn't understand what had happened.

"I told you to be careful. She is very skilled, but you didn't listen to me."

"She impressed me."

Alfred lifted his brow. He had never heard her say that she admired someone.

"She is incredible," the brunette continued. "She moves like lightening and she looks so controlled. She doesn't show fear; I yelled at her, I shouted at her, I threatened her, and she didn't blink. It was as if I was just a fly. She talked to me as if I was just a spoiled child!"

"And it didn't piss you off? That's amazing."

"Of course she pissed me off. That was when the fight started." She looked at him. "Are you really sure she is not meta?"

"Maybe you should be more prudent and talk to her. In my opinion, you are committing a big mistake by fighting against a legend such as Batgirl."

"She is fucking annoying."

"And you are pretty impatient and disagreeable."

He was impossible today. It was a shame she was not in the mood to argue. Helena leaned back slowly against the couch. It was a lucky he was there. She doubted she'd be able to move today.

"Maybe I can find more about her by checking in my father's computer."

That was not good,. He stood up in front of her, crossing his hands behind his back. "Could be. But computers are not your strongest area."

"Can't be too difficult. Any kid can handle a computer." She waved her hand.

"You said it, a kid." Alfred said, walking to the fridge "She is very skillful, she is smart, she has more than ten years of experience fighting on the streets. This is just your sophomore year, Miss Helena. Why don't you try talking with her?"

"I tried, but she is so difficult! She is always mocking me! I feel she just uses me to have fun."

"That sounds bad. I don't think she can do that." He took another piece of beef from the fridge.

"You said you didn't know her," Helena grumbled from the couch.

"I said I don't know her secret identity. But I know her as a crime fighter, and I'm sure you will learn a lot from her and improve your skills."

Helena sighed and removed the steak from her face.

"How do I look?" she asked.

"Do you really want to know my answer?" he responded, offering her a second cold steak.

"No." She switched the steaks and put the new one on her face as she rested her head on the couch, closing her eyes. She hated to admit it, but it was really lucky he had arrived. She didn't want to move for a long time.

Alfred smiled and walked back to the kitchen.

"Barbara offered to train me."

"Miss Barbara?" He feigned surprise and turned to look at her. It was hard not to laugh, looking at her lying on that couch. She was a spoiled girl, that one. For the first time in many years, someone had finally taught her a lesson.


"She saw me fight at the bar the other night. She says I'm good, but that I need technique."

"She really is skilled in martial arts. It's a sport she loves." Alfred rolled up the sleeves of his shirt.

"Where does she work, Alfred?"

"The Foundation's offices are in the Clock Tower, on one of the middles floors."

She kept silent a few seconds. ""I never thought she would be into martial arts. She seems so focused on the foundation."

"I saw her in some tournaments and she was very good. You should accept her offer."

"No. She started to give me some advice and I left her at the table. I don't need any advice. I don't need anything from her."

"You always say that." Some days, he really wished he could spank her. He picked up a broom from the cabinet.

"Your denial just means you are just trying to convince yourself that you are right."

"Are now you are analyzing me?"

"No," he said gently, "I'm trying to provide information not known by you, which would help you make the correct decisions that you always make when you have the proper information."

"English, please." She raised her left hand.

"You are committing a big mistake by fighting Batgirl. She has always risked her life to fight against crime and violence. Your goal is supposed to be the same maybe different techniques, but not different goals." He said looking at her, "Then, Barbara offered, very nicely, to help you and you reacted like a cavewoman, as you always do with people that want to help you. You have a strange tendency to push away all the people that try to be nice to you. In simple words, you are really pig headed."

"What?" Helena lifted her head looking him, astonished.

She couldn't believe it. He had just called her pig headed. How could he….?

"But you are smart, Miss Helena." He continued and smiled, "I know that soon, you will go to Barbara and rectify the situation. Accepting our own limitations makes us wiser. And you are very wise. Impressive for someone of your age." He walked toward her room. "Now, if you excuse me, I have work to do."

"How do you do that support me and undermine me, all in less than twenty seconds?"

"It's a British thing." He smirked, disappearing behind the door.

Helena rolled her eyes and leaned her head again on the couch. Well, that was further confirmation that it was not good to argue with him.

She didn't know how, but he always won.

Barbara paced nervously in her office. She played with a pencil between her fingers. She was worried; she had been very rough with Helena the night before. She didn't want to beat her so hard, but she had been so aggressive. She couldn't find another way to stop her. She had seen her fight before she was half-meta, faster, stronger, lethal. Not an easy adversary. The most dangerous part was that she didn't know her own strength and could easily kill someone without thinking. Her anger and ego were too great.

She lifted her hand and chewed a nail.

She had taken her to the top of a building to avoid the police finding her. She had tried to wake her up, but she was knocked.

Afterwards, she had kept a close vigil from an adjacent building until she woke, just to be sure she could get home safely. Helena was a big child.

Early that morning, she had called Alfred and requested he keep an eye on Helena by giving her any excuse he could think of, knowing the girl was hurt and she would not be able to do anything.

The phone rang, she picked it up, not giving it time to ring a second time.

"Barbara Gordon…"

She felt the air coming back to her lungs when she heard Alfred's voice at the other end of the line.

"Thank God, Alfred," she hurried to say. "How is she?"

<Oh, she will survive.> Alfred replied, amused.

"I'm serious, Alfred." She brushed her hair back.

<Well, you really gave her a thorough beating.> he explained <You hit hard.>

"I didn't want to do it." Barbara said, covering her eyes with her hand, feeling ashamed. "Really I didn't want to. She pushed me."

<You don't need to tell me, Miss Barbara. I know her, she is very impulsive.>

The redhead stood up in front of one of the windows and looked at the city below.

"Is she badly hurt?"

<Her face is very bruised and swollen, but don't worry, she heals quickly thanks to her meta-genes. She will be fine in a couple of days.>

"I didn't want to hurt her, but she turned very aggressive. She is strong, but doesn't think. Is she angry?"

<Not angry. Pissed. Mostly because she will need extra makeup and the kind she uses is very expensive.>

The redhead covered her face, "I screwed up everything, Alfred. I tried to get close and I failed again."

"Well, let me tell you, she doesn't make socializing easy. But let me tell you something good, she is impressed with Batgirl."

"What?" Barbara couldn't believe what she was hearing.

<Batgirl impressed her with her fighting skills and her controlled temperament. She said she has never met anyone like her. I think that she is intrigued with her. She told me she was thinking about looking for information about her on her father's computer.>

"Thanks. I'll connect to Delphi and delete all my info, just leaving what I want her to see." It was lucky she had installed her crime fighting lab at the top of the Clock Tower. Bruce had given her the penthouse and the top of the building, where the Clock Tower was, she had built a complete laboratory with a sophisticated computer system that she called Delphi. She helped the Justice League and other heroes, like Dick and Superman, to fight against crime. She could hack any system or computer.

<I'm sure she does not want to be beaten by Batgirl again, so…> Alfred pointed <I'm sure she is now reconsidering the offer that Barbara Gordon made to her a few nights ago.>

"Do you mean…? Do you think she will let me train her?"

<Miss Helena doesn't like to listen, but she hates to lose even more. So, I'm sure she will suck up her pride and ask you to train her before letting Batgirl kick her ass again.>

"Ass?" she smiled "You never say that."

<If you could see her now, you would agree that there is no other way to describe the beating you gave her.>

"Maybe I should visit her again."

<I'm sure she will come to you.>

"How do you know?"

<She asked me where you work. She never asks anything, if she is not thinking of doing something.>

"So… your advice is…?"

<Give her a couple of days. I'm sure she will surprise you in your office soon.>

She bit her lower lip. "All right, I'll wait a few days.

<How is it possible that she didn't recognize you?> the old man asked.

"Well, Batgirl is very different from me and… she is pissed with her for challenging her. I've never tried to challenge her. I also used a bit of gasoline before going out. I cleaned my armor with it because I didn't want to risk her recognizing my scent. I know she has a pretty good sense of smell." She laughed lightly. "And I was right. You should have seen her face when she stepped close to me and smelled breathed in the gas fumes."

<That was smart.>

"Where is she now?"

<Snoring like a bear on her bed. I gave her the pills as you instructed and she fell deeply asleep.>

"They will help her with the pain. Take care of her please."

<Be sure of it.>

"See you later, Alfred. And…. Alfred?"

<Yes, madam?>


The redhead signed the last of the papers on her desk and removed her glasses, pinching the bridge of her nose. Sometimes this was really boring. She stared out the window, her thoughts flew to Helena. She wondered how she could help her. She wanted to do something for her, but the girl had built an impenetrable brick wall between them.

She had tried for years to break it, unsuccessfully.

Alfred said he thought Helena would make contact, but it had been almost fifteen days and the young woman hadn't called or looked for her.

Barbara was afraid she would be hurt fighting, she was so impulsive.

She checked her watch, it was late, she had promised to go to the orphanage. The phone at her desk rang; she turned her chair around and used her pen to press a button and answer the call.

"Yes, Mandy?"

<Helena Kyle is here. She says you asked her to come here."

Barbara smiled, Helena had never wanted change her last name, she was very proud of it. "Sure, let her in." She stood up, arranging her dress.

Mandy opened the door and Helena walked inside. She was wearing tight jeans, a white, sleeveless blouse and had a big blue bag over her shoulder. She looked around curiously.

"Welcome, Helena," Barbara said, walking toward her. "I'm glad you came to visit me."

The brunette put her hand inside her pocket, looking around. "Nice place."

"Want something to drink?" Mandy asked the brunette.

"No, thanks. I'm fine," Helena replied.

Mandy exited the room as the brunette whistled, examining a painting on the wall.

"You like that?" Barbara asked.

"Joan Miró, right?" the brunette said, pointing at it.

"Right. You know about art." Barbara crossed her arms and stood next to her, very close.

"She liked art." Helena walked, almost immediately, to her right to look at another paint, not hiding the hint of sadness in her face. "She liked to take me to museums on weekends."

"Yes, your mother loved art. She had good taste." Barbara observed the younger woman. She had noticed Helena didn't like to touch or be touched. Since the redhead had returned to New Gotham, Helena had avoided any kind of physical contact with her, even a handshake, with the exception of the hug that first day. She wondered what was in the brunette's mind, how hurt she was after her mother's dead. She had definitely been deeply affected by it, but it seemed she didn't want to admit it or ask for help in dealing.

"I see you like modern art." Helena leaned over the painting in front of her. "You have good taste in art."

"I like any art expression. Look at this." She waved her hand to the opposite wall and touched the brunette's arm. Immediately, the young woman flinched.

Yes, she definitely didn't like to be touched, but Barbara had seen that some of her friends touched her at parties. She also noticed that the younger woman avoided talking about herself and rejected everyone that had been close to her; maybe she was trying to be distant from people that reminded her of her mother.

"This must have cost a fortune. It's Picasso." the girl noted.

"Yes, a lot, but it's Foundation property." Barbara smiled crossing her arms. "We often open expositions around the country and invite school students for free."

Helena narrowed her eyes. "Who chooses what to buy?"

"Me, most of the time," Barbara explained. "We try to buy art that has a special meaning, that gives a new vision of life or that could be valuable."

Helena nodded walking around the room. "Good investment and, as I said, you have great taste in art."

"Thank you." Barbara rested her hip on her desk. "I'm glad you finally accepted my invitation to visit us."

"Well, I came to visit you, not the foundation." The brunette observed her. She usually avoided looking at the redhead. In fact, she had been trying to avoid having any contact with her after she had abandoned her.

"To visit me? Well, thanks, that's a nice surprise."

Helena walked toward her and stood a few steps away, fixing blue eyes on green. She was a person who was ruled by her senses. If what she saw looked fine, smelled good and felt nice, she could go forward.

Barbara was good looking. In fact, she was attractive. The brunette couldn't resist her curiosity and lifted her hand to touch the fabric of Barbara's blouse, brushing the skin of her hip. She was soft, too.

"Nice fabric," she said.

"Thanks," Barbara responded, not knowing what to think. Helena wasn't a person that she could read…. But maybe she could take advantage of her five minutes of good mood. "I would like you to come with me."

"Come with you? Where?"

"To visit the place I want you to see," the red head explained. "I'll explain on our way."

The brunette looked at her, thinking. She still didn't know why she's ended up here. Barbara had said she would teach her to improve her fighting skills, but asking her for help would be like say she needed her and her pride was really strong. She knew Barbara knew she was hesitating, when she heard her next question.

"Do you distrust everything and everyone?"

"Just on weekdays and weekends." Helena smirked.

"I was thinking that." Barbara picked up her handbag and opened the door. "So it's my lucky day. You can come with me. Today is holiday and doesn't count as a normal weekday or weekend."

Well, that was a clever answer. The brunette followed her. "Where are we going?"

"You will see. On our way, you can ask me anything you want." Barbara walked toward the elevator.

"How do you know I want to ask you anything."

"You are not here on a social call, I know you." Barbara pressed the elevator button.

"It's good to interact sometimes with my dad's employees, don't you think?"

Well, it seemed Helena's good mood had been short lived. Helena loved to piss people off to show she was in control, but she was stepping in a wrong field. Her field.

"Yes, that's exactly why I wanted you to come here. It's good that you learn to interact, as well, with people that are here just to help other people. Volunteers that never ask for a penny to make children happy."

Barbara stepped inside the elevator. The brunette walked behind her.

"Are you implying that you work for free?" she asked. "And what do you do make money?"

"I'm not implying, I'm saying it, I work here for free and I try to convince investors to give us donations." Barbara pressed the button to send the elevator to the parking garage. "Maybe you don't know, but this foundation runs sixty percent on external resources. I work in the mornings at new Gotham High School and, on my free days or holidays, I work here. All day."

"I always thought you were my employee."

"You thought wrong. I work here to help your dad and help children."

"Why were you in the bar the other day?"

"We need your help."

The brunette nodded and waved a finger on the air. "Oh, I see. Just clarify for me… is it "we" need my help or "you" need my help?"

"Your foundation needs your help."

"My foundation?" Helena asked in a loud voice.

The elevator doors opened.

"Everything that is Bruce's, is yours too. You are his heir." Barbara walked toward a black motorcycle close the elevator. She took a helmet and turned, throwing it to the brunette.

"I'm not his heir," Helena said. "Maybe you don't know, but I have issues with my father and I renounced his fortune."

Barbara put the helmet on her head. "Did you give legal notice to an attorney?"

"Of course not." The brunette put the helmet over her head.

"Then, you are still his heir."

"I don't care about the legal shit, I don't want anything from him." She wanted to sit behind Barbara, but the red head stopped her.

"What?" the brunette growled.

The redhead pointed at a silver bike next to her. "You ride that one. Just be careful."

"Are you joking?" Helena looked in amazement at the wonderful bike. "That's the new Ducati Hypermotard 796."

"I see you know about bikes."

"It's an incredible machine," the young woman caressed it with her hand. "Two-valve-per cylinder L-Twin mill, it uses a brand new engine. It has a light action APTC clutch, and claims 81hp and 56 lb/ft of torque."

"Let's go," Barbara said. "It's late."

The brunette climbed on and followed her. That was fun, she really loved bikes.

That was a good thing about the redhead. Her taste for bikes.. and art.. and her clothes - those were cool, too. Barbara intrigued her, what was she doing working for free? She was smart enough to get a good job with good pay and… teacher? Being a teacher? That was really boring.

After twenty minutes, they arrived at an old house. Barbara parked her bike in front, at the sidewalk and Helena stopped behind her.

This was a really awful place.

"What is this?"

"An orphanage," Barbara said removing her helmet. "Come."

"Orphanage?" Helena removed her helmet, too, looking with disgust at the place "This sucks."

"It was an old building that was donated by a wealthy lady," Barbara explained, opening the main gate. "A group of neighbors cleaned the place up, made small changes and began to pick up kids that ran the streets. After some time, people began to bring abandoned babies."

"Abandoned babies?"

"People sometimes leave babies in trash cans or on the front porches of houses."


"Miss Gordon, nice to see you." A lady opened the door of the house and a group of kids ran toward them, screaming.

Helena made a face, no one mentioned kids.

She didn't like kids.

The children surrounded Barbara and she smiled, kneeling to greet them and talk to them.

Barbara looked so sweet. Helena remembered when Barbara arrived home with a bag of candy for her. She waited for her on Tuesdays, the day that she always visited them. Her mind traveled back in time. She still could remember the anxiety she felt, waiting for five o'clock to roll around. Barbara always arrived on time. She had been ten years old and Barbara had been like eighteen or nineteen years old.

She felt she was being watched. She turned her head to her right and looking down. A small kid looked at her he had a messy brown hair and green eyes.

"What?" she asked him. "Do I look like an alien to you?"

"Are you going to choose one of us?"

"Excuse me?" the brunette frowned.

"Barbara always brings people that want to pick one of us."

"Oh no, I'm too young to be a mom." The brunette shook her head and looked at the red head.

"Why?" the kid asked.

"Why what?"

"Why you don't you want to be a mom?"

"I didn't say that. I said I'm too young to be a mom."

"You look old."

Well, that was not nice. She glared at the boy. "I'm not old."

"How old are you?" the child asked.

"I'm twenty one."

"You are old. I'm five."

Helena rolled her eyes. "Why don't you go over there and play?"

"Do you like to play ball?" He lifted a plastic ball.

"No, I don't like to play ball."

"I want to play ball."

"I'll give you five bucks if you go play with your friends."

"I wanna play football." The small boy kicked Helena's knee.

The brunette howled and hopped back.

"Helena, what are you doing? He is just a kid." Barbara said, standing at her side.

"This son of…"

Barbara made a face at her and looked at the children.

She understood and bit her tongue with a sigh.

"This kid kicked me!" She pointed at the small boy with her index finger, bending to rub her knee. "I didn't do anything."

"As always…" Barbara sighed.

"She didn't want to play ball with me," the kid said.

"She is old Justin, she doesn't like to play ball." The redhead bent down and brushed the kid's hair.

"I'm not old!" Helena protested.

"Let me check some things here and when I'm finished, I will play with you. Right?"

He nodded.

"Come with me, Helena." Barbara walked to the house.

"You should spank him." The brunette walked behind her.

"Helena, he is a kid, you are an adult."

"Helloooo? He kicked me."

Amused, the redhead looked at her. "Hel, these kids are just looking for attention."

"Well, he got mine."

Barbara sighed. She was still a big kid. She walked toward the house.

"You must be in big trouble if she's taking you inside!" the kid said to Helena.

"Why I would be in trouble?" she asked him.

"When she makes me go in, I'm always in trouble."

"Must be because you are a two feet of trouble." Helena stuck out her tongue and followed Barbara. She felt a ball hitting her back and the child was laughing. She picked up the ball and threw it at him.

She turned and found Barbara giving her 'the look'; she knew it perfectly well. The redhead used to give her that 'look' when she did something wrong. But it was not her fault, it was the kid's.

"He threw it at me first!" she said, both arms out to indicate the child in question.

"He is five." The redhead lifted her eyebrow. "You are an adult… sort of."

"He is a pygmy."

"He is a kid."

Helena felt, then, another hit on her back. She growled and turned, angry. The child was running to hide behind a bush and the ball was rolling on the floor. Before she could react, Barbara pulled her by her arm and took her inside the house.

"Did you see him? He threw the ball at me again!!"

Barbara ignored her outburst, and walked inside. The house was old and with different kinds of furniture. The beds were really small and with a few covers and blankets. The kids were like rabbits; they were everywhere.

"Have you considered using some money to improve this place?" Helena asked, holding her hands behind her back.

"We have two houses in New Gotham," Barbara explained. "Fifty around the world. This is new, the community created it and they just called us a couple of months ago asking us for help to improve the place."


"We are just starting, we just bought the beds and painted the house."

"It's dark."

"You should have seen this place two months ago. It was worse, with junk everywhere."

"Yes," the old lady guiding them said, "Miss Gordon has helped us a lot. We started to give them three meals a day. Before, we couldn't."

Helena turned her head and noticed the small kid was walking behind her, imitating her way of walking. She stopped suddenly and the kid hit her leg and fell, sitting on the floor. She grinned and kept following Barbara.

"Supporting this place is not easy. It costs a lot of money in medicine, food, clothes and doctors," the redhead said.

"How many kids are here?"

"Fifty," the old lady replied.

"Fifty?" Helena opened her eyes wide in disbelief. That was a lot.

"Plus five newborns on the upper floor."

"That's sad." Helena turned her head once more, that damn kid was behind her ass again.

"Yes, people are very irresponsible with kids," Barbara said. "What do you think about this?""

The brunette didn't answer, she had turned her head around, looking back.

"Hel?" Barbara said, noticing she was distracted.

"He is following me!"

The redhead looked behind her and noticed the small kid walking like the brunette. "I guess he likes you." She smiled.

"He does that with people he likes?"

"People usually imitate persons that they admire or love."

"He can't love me! We just met!"

"Kids are incredible, Helena, you don't know them." Barbara began to walk upstairs.

Helena glared at the kid, who looked at her and stuck out his tongue. The young woman made her eyes change to cat pupils and growled. "Go away!"

The kid opened his eyes wide. "Wooww!!!" he shouted. "That is cool!"

"What?" another kid asked.

"She has cat eyes!"

Helena felt a hit on her back. She looked down. Who had thrown the ball at her now? She turned and saw Barbara.

Barbara looked like she wanted to kill her. She pointed at her own eyes with her fingers, indicating that Helena should control herself. People couldn't know she was meta.

"Could you please control yourself a bit?" Barbara hissed at her.

She sighed, closed her eyes and they changed to normal. She began to walk upstairs.

The old woman began to show them the changes on the upper floor. Helena stopped in the middle of the corridor, looking at a small painting on the wall; it had been done for kids. It showed some children playing in a garden. All the children were smiling.

They didn't have parents, how they could smile living a lonely life in such an awful place?

She felt some one pulling her pants. She turned and found a group of six kids looking at her anxiously, including little Justin.

"Do it again," Justin said excitedly.

"Do what?" Helena asked curiously.

"Cat eyes."

"He says you can do a cool thing with your eyes," another kid said.

"Show us!" shouted another one.

She made signs with her hands, asking them not to shout so loud. What was wrong with children that now they didn't scare so easily?

"Do the cat eyes trick," Justin said.


"It's cool," the child answered smiling at her. "It's great."

"All right," Helena said, kneeling on front of them, "but promise me you will go after this."

The kids nodded happily.

"And you will never hit me with a ball again," she told to Justin.

The child nodded.

She couldn't avoid smiling, looking at their faces. She exhaled and closed her eyes. After a brief second, she opened them again and made them change. The children clapped and shouted excitedly.

"I told you!"

Justin came closer to her and lifted his hand to touch her face. The movement surprised the brunette. The child had his eyes fixed on her. He touched her cheek and smiled.

"It's great!"

"You are great, too."

"Your eyes are beautiful."

Helena smiled.

The children clapped.

"All right," Helena stood up and rubbed Justin's head. "Now go." She pushed them downstairs.

"Whoa! That was so cool!" a child yelled.


"She is great!"

Helena watched them go. It truly was so easy made them happy. She couldn't remember when she had felt happy, happy like them, as a child. It had been so long. She wondered if some day she would feel that again. When she turned again, she found Barbara leaning on the wall with her arms crossed over her chest.

"I… I…" she mumbled lowering her head, to change her eyes back to normal. "I was telling them to go downstairs."


Helena didn't know what to say. What was she talking about?

"You made them happy."

Helena felt uncomfortable, she blushed.

Barbara cocked her head looking at her. "I wanted you to come here to meet them," she said, "to see how they live. I need you at the foundation."

"Me?" Blue eyes blinked. "You have my father's money, why do you need me?"

"Helena, this is like a glass of water," the redhead explained. "If you drink it all the time and never refill it, one day the glass will be empty. We need to help to raise funds. You help one kid and another one appears. Look." Barbara walked inside a room that was being pained. "As you can see, this needs a lot of work. Every day we need more and more money to support this kind of project. We never finish helping people."

"What do you want me to do?"

"Help with foundation- it's a lot of work. We need to supervise this place, raise money. The foundation also provides scholarships and supports schools for disabled people. We need millions of dollars each year. Wayne Enterprises give us a good amount, but it is never enough. We began to grow and now…" the older woman shrugged her shoulders, "well, this is huge, you can see it."

Helena looked at the dirty walls, not saying a word. She felt sorry for the kids but, but there were so many things that bothered her, maybe her father was behind all this. Was he trying a new trick with her?

"I think you could help us a lot." Barbara brushed her hair back.

"Why are you asking me this?" Helena lifted her head and looked at the redhead with distrust. "Is this a trick of my father's to make me work for him?"

"He does not work with the foundation."

"He could be using you." Helena rested her back on the wall and crossed her arms over her chest.

"No one uses me."

"Yeah…" Helena said, grinning "Maybe you are the one that uses people. You are trying to use me, no? Why?"

"Pardon me?"

"What do you want, Barbara?"

"Do you know what your problem is, Helena?" The redhead pointed at the brunette "Your problem is that you think that the world is against you, that you are its only victim. Look around, Helena, stop being so stupid and selfish."

"Watch your mouth." The brunette straightened and glared at her.

"Watch yours first," Barbara responded angrily.

"You are using those kids to make me accept you as a friend, to get me involved in my father's life again!" Helena took a step toward her. "I don't need anything from him!"

This time, Barbara couldn't hide her annoyance. "Those children need help," she clenched her teeth. "I asked you to come here because I thought that you, knowing what it is to feel the loss of a parent, would understand their needs better."

"You don't know what I feel!"

"Exactly, and I don't want to know. I know I don't like what I see. I thought that maybe you could help me support those kids that no one sees because they are perceived as a hindrance!! But I was wrong. It was my mistake, I'm sorry."

"Who the hell do you think you are?" Helena felt angry, no one talked to her like that.

"In your world, the only one who suffers is you," Barbara shook her head, disappointed. "You think no one else needs attention, just you. You are pathetic. You are wrong. There is a world beyond Helena Kyle. I'm sorry if I distracted you from your own sorrow. Keep feeling sorry for yourself, if that is what makes you happy." The redhead turned and stormed toward the door.

"Don't ever talk to me like that!" Helena shouted, clenching her fists in balls, trying to control her fury. Who the fuck did she think she was? "And don't walk away from me!"

Barbara turned around and stood in front of her. Helena instinctively took a step back and bumped against the wall. The redhead was inches from her face. She was furious, she could see it in her expression, the fire that seemed to burn in her green eyes.

"I'm not going to discuss your traumas," Barbara growled, holding herself back from spanking the brunette. She was a capricious girl and she was tired of her attitude and stubbornness. "I don't want to convince you of anything. If you want to join this cause, do it, but now there will be conditions. First, you must forget your stupid issues against your father. This foundation is not Bruce, this foundation is the kids." She pointed at the children playing in the garden. "But you will work for them, not for any else. Get that inside your damn head. Second, I want your trust, if not, forget it. I want to deal with an adult and not a child. And don't worry about the bike, I can send someone to pick it up from your place tonight." The redhead turned her back on the younger woman and left the room in a fury.

The brunette kept immobile in her spot; Barbara's perfume filled the place, she had left her speechless and annoyed. She still could see those green eyes so close to her, burying in her soul and making her feel like a real asshole.

She hated it.

She hated her.

"Can you believe it? She tried to blackmail me with those orphans." Helena walked toward the fridge and took out a glass of milk.

Alfred, at the table, prepared the lasagna. The brunette rested her hip on the table and she sipped a bit of milk, fixing her eyes on the walls of her home. Maybe she needed to redecorate her place. She needed to paint the walls.

"And then," she added, "he pissed me off and Barbara scolded me!! ME! And I didn't even do anything!"

"He?" Alfred asked distractedly.

"The kid, he lives in the orphanage."

"What did he do?"

"He threw a plastic ball at me!" she grumbled. "He is a moron."


"He might be a child, but it doesn't give him the right to attack people."

"How old?" Alfred covered the lasagna, it was ready to cook.


He opened the stove and put the lasagna inside. "I see. He should be put in jail then."

"I'm not joking." Helena went toward her living room.

"I know. It is a serious problem that a five year old child hit an experienced crimefighter like yourself with a plastic ball and pissed her off."

"I hate you." Helena sat at on the window sill, lifting her leg over it.

"So, Miss Barbara asked you to work with her," he washed his hands at the sink, "the kid attacked you, and what happened then?"

"She tried to convince me to work at that place, but… it's all a trick, Alfred."

"A trick?"

"My dad sent her."

"Do you think he sent the kid to attack you, too?"


"Miss Helena," he lowered the sleeves of his shirt, "why do you always think that your father is behind everyone that tries to be close to you?"

"He always tried to keep an eye on me! At the manor! Remember?"

"Sure, I would do the same. Every week you were involved in a scandal. He was worried about you and, as I remember, helped you to get out of all of it."

"You know what I mean."

"And do you think those orphans at that house were a trick, as well?"

"Of course not!"

"So," he looked at her, "why don't you accept the job? You can do a lot for those kids."

"They are using them to get me in his game," she said.

He exhaled loudly and walked toward the table. "Miss Helena, your opinion of Miss Barbara really disappoints me."

"You don't know her."

"I know her." He removed his eyeglasses and cleaned them with a napkin "She has spent many hours working for those children, she had made the foundation grow from supporting two orphanages to almost fifty around the world; she started a scholarship program that benefits another three hundred children." He picked up an envelope on the table. "But maybe you are right and she worked all those years so hard just so she could 'get you' now."

"Don't try to be smart with me, Alfred," Helena said, irritated.

"I am not. My point is that you got all of your mother's and your father's strongest genes."

"What?" Helena knew she would regret asking, but cats are curious creatures.

"In my opinion, you are more pigheaded than your mother and your father put together."


"You push all the people that care about you out of your life and you live thinking everything is about you. That's a big mistake, all the people you know are moving on with their lives, except 7you."

"That's not true."

"Have you considered that perhaps I am a 'spy'?" Alfred lifted his brow.

"Don't be silly." Helena crossed her arms.

"I could be." He walked toward her. "And maybe I'm so good, that you have not realized it."

"That's not funny."

"Well, I think, then," he exhaled, standing in front of her, "you will not accept her job offer."

"Exactly, I'm not going to be his puppet… or hers."

"When you make a decision it's final," Alfred said, extended an envelope to her.

"Yes." She looked at him and the envelope with distrust. "What's that?"

"An invitation to the First New Gotham Charity Foundation ball."

"I said I won't work for them," Helena said, glaring at the envelope.

"It's not work, it's just a ball."

Helena opened the envelope and read the invitation.

"And, before you start creating theories about why Miss Barbara invited you, let me tell you that the foundation invited you because you are the daughter of its founder and they need someone representing him."

"I'm not going." She shook her head and stood up, annoyed "I'm not going to represent him, why should I?"

"Because the event raises funds for the study of pediatric AIDS. Every year, half of million are born infected with HIV and only fifteen percent get medical attention." He picked up his umbrella and opened the door. "The most important and wealthiest people in the city will be there."

Helena tilted her head. "Alfred, suppose I go, what can I possibly do?"

"I think that is the least you can do for those unfortunate children." He smiled. "I've already confirmed your attendance. I'll pick you up Friday at seven." He closed the door behind him.

The brunette stood in the middle of the room, playing with the invitation in her hands. She was starting to think that Alfred really was a spy… and that he and Barbara had an agreement to make feel her like a piece of shit.


Part 3

Helena looked through the window. She still didn't know how Alfred had convinced her to go to the charity ball. It was going be uncomfortable, but, well, those kids were worth a bit of her time. Barbara was a nice person, but it was not good to allow the woman into her life again.

She had learned not to open her heart again. Life was less painful that way. Someone had told her that by doing that, she closed the door to love, but she didn't want love. Everyone she'd ever loved had failed her, except her mother. Her mind was focused on finding the man that had killed her mother and killing him.

Maybe it was time to start looking for him.

Alfred parked the limo in front of a big building.

The brunette noticed something was wrong. She knew this place.

"Wait, this is the Clock Tower. Barbara lives here."

"Excellent observation," Alfred responded.

"What are we doing here?"

"I must take Miss Barbara to the Charity ball."

"You never said anything about picking her up."

"Miss Helena," the butler explained, "it's important that the two of you arrive together. It's part of the foundation's image."

"I said I'm not working for the damn foundation."

"And you won't," he said, "but, like it or not, you are Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle's daughter, both of whom were very well-known and appreciated in this city. It's the first time the Foundation has held an event like this and your presence is very important to its success." He opened the door on his side. "Oh, here she comes."

He didn't give her an opportunity to protest, but stepped out of the car to open the door for Barbara.

Helena gazed outside.


Her surprise turned to amazement. The woman was breathtaking. She was wearing a long green dress. She walked toward the car with confidence and grace, she really had style. Helena looked at her own dress and arranged it; it was a black cocktail dress. She had a thin necklace with a small diamond that had been her mother's.

"Good evening, Helena," Barbara greeted with a serious expression as she climbed inside the car.

"Hello," the brunette answered, feeling uncomfortable. The last time they had seen each other, they had argued, and it had been pretty nasty. She was going to kill Alfred! Well, maybe just beat him a bit…. he really made great lasagna.

Barbara sat in front of her, as if they saw each other often. She wasn't showing any discomfort.

"Did you bring the notes from my office, Alfred?" the redhead asked the butler.

"In the blue folder, on the seat," Alfred replied from the driver's seat.

"Oh, excellent." She picked up the folder and opened it. "How have you been, Helena?"

"Fine, thanks." The brunette felt some of her tension easing. Barbara was not looking to continue the fight.


"Give me a few seconds, I need to check this."

Alfred raised the glass between his seat and back, giving them privacy.

Helena noted that Barbara's dress was a nice design with just one shoulder strap. Her skin was so white, and her eyes looked greener than ever. Helena's eyes tracked toward her crossed legs. She had wonderful legs. When she lifted her eyes, she found Barbara looking her. Crap. She had been caught eyeing her. She blushed.

"Nice shoes." It was all she could come up with to cover herself.

Barbara smiled. "Thanks. Sorry, I needed to check my speech for tonight." She closed the folder "I want to thank you for coming."

"No problem." The brunette shrugged her shoulders. She turned her head toward the window, but felt Barbara's eyes on her. She didn't like to be watched. It made her feel uncomfortable.

She turned to protest, but the redhead spoke before she could open her mouth.

"HIV," Barbara explained "is responsible for causing acquired immune deficiency syndrome. The virus destroys or impairs cells of the immune system and progressively destroys the body's ability to fight infections and certain cancers. We are trying to save kids." Barbara gave her a paper.

"What is this?" Helena asked.

"The event program and the name of the attendees. It would be good for you to know it," the redhead explained. "I know you didn't want to come today and I understand."

Helena blushed again.

"I appreciate that you decided to attend. it's really important."

"Why is it so important that I be here?" Helena asked, not in good mood.

"Because of who you are."

"I didn't ask to be his daughter," Helena replied.

"Sometimes we don't want to be what we are or we have a life that we didn't ask for, like those orphans. They didn't ask to be born, they didn't want to be thrown in a trash container like garbage, or have a father who drank all the time and hit them." Barbara couldn't avoid sadness, remembering her own story. "Most of the orphans didn't ask to lose their parents," Barbara rested her elbow on the window and looked outside. "Like you didn't ask to lose your mother."

Helena flinched and turned her head to the other side.

"It's impossible have a perfect life. But we can fight, look for what we want. I know you didn't ask to be his daughter, but you can't change that. So it's absurd to fight it." Green eyes focused on the thin brunette, who sat in the far corner of the limo. "Nevertheless, you can choose what you want to be. The important thing is where you want to go, not where you come from."

"Do you think?" Helena asked, not looking at her.

"Yes, your mother is a good example. She was an orphan, too, you know. She chose what she wanted to be. She fought, she prepared herself and she did it. She was a successful woman."

"She was a burglar, no?" the brunette turned to see the older woman.

Barbara recognized the comment as a taunt.

"But she chose her own destiny. No one told her what to do, and when you were born, she made the decision to have an honest life and give you the best, and she did it."

The young woman turned again her head to the window. "She was great."

"Yes, you must be so proud of her."

"I am."

Barbara realized the brunette still had a lot of pain inside. She was angry at the world for her mother's death. She had demons inside her soul that didn't let her breathe. It was heartbreaking.

"What do you want me to do tonight?" Helena asked softly, still looking outside.

"We just want our guests to feel comfortable. You have a special charm with people, use it."

"You think I have charm?" Helena asked ironically. "I have been always a pain in the ass. No?"

"Depends on your mood. You are very nice when you want to be."

The brunette shrugged her shoulders.

Barbara couldn't understand why the younger woman had agreed to go to the Foundation's charity event. She had been trying to figure out how to have a relationship with her, rather unsuccessfully. Helena was full of unexpected reactions, her mind was complicated, and her motivations, an enigma.

Before she realized it, the limo stopped and they arrived at the event. It was full of people and press.

"Well, we are here." Barbara said, lowering her notes. "Want to get out first?"

"I'll follow you."

"All right."

Alfred opened the door and a rain of flashes fell over them. Barbara walked outside, Helena behind her.

A group of reporters stopped the older woman to ask questions. Helena stood behind her, trying to keep a prudent distance. She heard the redhead talk. Barbara spoke with emotion and it was obvious she loved her work for kids.

"In children under the age of 13 in the United States," the redhead explained to the reporters, "nearly all HIV infections are from vertical transmission, which means the virus is passed to the child when they are in their mother's womb or as they pass through the birth canal. However, not every child born to an HIV-infected mother will acquire the virus."

Barbara had a nice smile, it was open and confident. She didn't hesitated in answering, she was very confident of herself.

Suddenly, the brunette found herself surrounded by a group of reporters, too.

"Miss Kyle, this is the first time we've see you at an event. Why are you here?"

"We need to support kids with AIDS."

"Why is it so important support kids with AIDS?" a reporter asked. "Isn't it better to make a stronger campaign to educate adults about this illness?"

"HIV treatment for children slows the progress of HIV infections and allows infected children to live much longer, healthier lives," Helena responded. "But, sadly, of the vast majority of children who could be benefiting from this therapy, 90% are not receiving it.There are between 6,000 to 7,000 children who are born to HIV-infected mothers each year in the United States. Between 1992 and 1997 the number of infants who became HIV positive when born to an infected mother decreased by 50 percent."

She turned and found Barbara winking at her and smiling.

She was proud of herself and greeted another journalist. She began to talk about the work of the foundation. She had read about it and had investigated Barbara's work. It was not so difficult to answer their questions and talk about the work with the kids. She took her time answering and explaining the work in which the foundation was involved.

After a few minutes, she turned, looking for Barbara. A man was standing close to her and had his arm around Barbara's waist. The photographers were taking pictures of them.

She was seriously annoyed. Who was he?

Another reporter asked her a question and she answered him, but she couldn't move her gaze from Barbara and that man. She never had seen him, but Barbara knew him, she was holding his hand.

She observed him, he was good looking, tall, but… Barbara had much more personality than him. From the way he looked her, he was in love, he didn't take his eyes off her… or his hands.

After a few minutes, Barbara called her.

"Helena, this is Wade, Wade Brixton, my boyfriend."

"Nice to meet you, Helena," he said. "Barbara has told me so much about you."

"Hi," she said, not knowing what to think. She didn't know that Barbara had a boyfriend. They walked inside the ballroom.

"You are the most beautiful woman tonight," Wade said to Barbara.

"Just tonight?" she smirked at him.

"Okay, always."

Helena rolled her eyes. That was really stupid. He turned to greet a friend.

"You did well." The redhead smiled at her. "I didn't know you had such knowledge about AIDS."

"I'm not an idiot, Barbara," Helena replied angrily. "I'm not so fucking stupid that I'd come here and not know anything."

The redhead just glared at the brunette, not saying anything, but clearly Barbara hadn't cared for her response. She just turned and greeted a couple standing up a few feet far from her.

Helena walked around; many people stopped her and asked questions about the foundation. She stopped to talk with them and often turned to look for Barbara; she seemed to be glued to that Wade.

After long minutes, a hostess went toward her.

"Miss Kyle, welcome," she greeted. "Follow me, I'll show you to your table. The event will start soon."

The brunette nodded. When she was close to the table, she noticed Barbara and Wade were sitting there.

"Must I sit with them?" she asked the girl.

"It's the main table, Miss Kyle. You are here representing the Wayne Foundation."

"Whatever," she grumbled and sat in the only empty chair, unfortunately located next to Barbara. Destiny hated her.

As soon as she sat, Barbara smiled to her as if nothing had happened. Was the woman was psychotic?

"Helena, I'm glad you are here," she waved her hand toward the guests at the table, "let me introduce you to Governor Jenkins and his wife."

"Nice to meet you," Helena said.

"The Mayor, his wife… and the President of Green Oil Company."

They began to talk, Helena lowered her head, arranging the napkin on her lap, whispering to Barbara: "You are a great actress."

"Why?" The redhead sipped her wine.

"You practically shot flames from your eyes at me a few minutes ago and, now," she lifted her head and faked a smile, "you are pretending to be nice to me in front of these people."

"Well, I'm not pretending," Barbara answered in a low voice, smiling. She lifted her hand to arrange Helena's necklace. Helena shivered under the touch. "The only one that has been looking for a fight is you and, as I recall, to have a fight, you need two people. I'm out." She moved her hand back and turned to smile to the Mayor. "How are your children?" she asked.

Helena blinked, staring at her.

"Fine, thanks." The mayor asked, "So, Mr. Brixton, what do you do?"

"I am a teacher at New Gotham High School," he responded.

The brunette looked at him with interest. Barbara was bright, smart, perfect. Wade was grey, dumb he was like nothing beside her. She wondered what kind of taste in men Barbara had- First, Dick Pied Piper, and, now, this corny, boring school teacher.

"So, Miss Kyle," the Governor said, "I haven't heard much about you for a long time; you used to appear all over the newspaper social pages."

"That was a long time ago." Helena smiled lightly.

"And what do you do now?"

"I'm a bartender," she said, taking her wine glass.

"Bartender?" the man asked, surprised. "The daughter of Bruce Wayne is a bartender? Must be your bar, right?"

Seemed she had given the wrong answer. "No… I…."

The brunette felt Barbara holding her arm and leaning over her.

"Helena wants to make it on her own," the redhead explained.

Helena looked at her. Why was she rescuing her from an embarrassing position? Helena's body tensed, the other woman's hands were warm and soft. Her fingers were long. She remembered when she was a kid, she used to sit with Barbara as the older woman brushed her hair with those fingers. She loved it. The redhead was so close that Helena could smell her shampoo; it was nice. The red color of her hair made her eyes look even more bright.

"She doesn't want to depend on her father," Barbara continued, "And I think that it is incredible. Any other person would just sit back and enjoy."

"Yes," the Governor said, "But why bartender?"

Helena had her eyes fixed on the redhead, her senses trapped by her scent. It reminded her of home, her lost home and Barbara's scent made her feel safe. Barbara laughed, her smile was warm, open.

"Helena?" the older woman prompted, smiling. "The Governor asked you a question."

"Huh?" she turned to look at him. "I'm sorry, I was thinking…."

"I was wondering why you chose to be a bartender," the Governor said.

"Well, you can meet many people there," Helena explained, feeling a sense of loss as Barbara released her arm and leaned to the other side to listen to something Wade was saying. "And it's a good way to know different people and their experiences. People talk to you about many things, and, you know, it's a place where you can always find honest people."

"Honest?" the mayor asked.

"You know, kids and drunks always tell the truth."

The people at the table laughed.

The mayor made a comment and her wife followed him. Helena turned to see Barbara. Why was she was being nice after Helena had harassed her? She couldn't understand her. She liked to have the redhead's attention.

Barbara laughed when the mayor's wife said something and she moved toward Wade whispering something to him. She noticed how he took her hand and squeezed it.

At her left was the president of the oil company. She began to talk with him. She wanted to be distracted and not be looking Barbara wasting her time with Wade. She deserved a better man. What did she see in him?

The night was charming, Barbara was fun. The best part was when Wade went to talk with some friends and left her alone with the redhead. She was interesting to talk to; she knew about practically every topic.

At some point in the night, she was at the bar drinking. She loved whiskey. She noticed many couples still dancing and enjoying the party. She asked for another and a waitress filled her glass.

She felt happy, in some way. It was hard to admit, but she liked the redhead, she liked her company. She just… she was not sure Barbara was being honest with her.

"You drink too much." Barbara said, from right next to her.

Dammit. When the hell had she come so close to her? She hadn't felt her.

"It's free." The brunette smiled, raising her glass.

"You are drunk."

"Not yet, I still recognize you."

Barbara laughed. "I hope you had fun tonight and it hasn't been too boring."

"I did," Helena responded.

"Seriously?" Barbara couldn't believe what she was hearing.


She was in good mood, maybe it was time to try to get a bit closer to the brunette. Barbara licked her lips, thinking of what to say. She needed to find the right words.

The movement caught Helena's attention immediately. That had been sexy.

"I want thank you for your support," the redhead offered. "I know you didn't want to come here tonight."

"Alfred told you?"

"Alfred? Oh, no. I just guessed based on… our last 'conversation'."

"Forget it." Helena waved her hand. She didn't want to talk about that. At least, not now. "You love this? No?" the brunette asked, trying to change topic.

"Yes." Barbara nodded, looking around the ball room.

Helena extended a card to the old woman.

"What is this?" the redhead asked.

"I'm charming, as you said."

Barbara took the card and opened her bag. She pulled out her glasses and put them on.

Helena cocked her head, watching her. What was she doing? She didn't know she needed glasses to read.

Barbara read the note. It had a hand written mobile number and, on the other side, was the oil company director's name.

"I don't understand," she mumbled.

"He wants to be your boyfriend," Helena smirked.

Barbara tilted her head and lifted her eyebrow in a way that gave Helena butterflies in her stomach.

"Don't be silly," Barbara finally said, hitting her arm playfully.

"Well, you are a beautiful woman. Not his fault."

"What is this Helena?" Barbara lifted the card.

"He said he wants to give you a donation," the brunette explained, leaning purposefully to her side, to take the card in her hands. "I told him about your work in the orphanages and about your goal with kids with AIDS. He says he can help with any number you want with five zeros."

"You are kidding." Barbara's expression was priceless.

"Nope…. and did you see that man?" Helena pointed at a fat man on the other side of the bar. "He is interested in supporting your scholarships. You have a breakfast with him on Friday at eight."

"Wow." Barbara blinked and used her index finger to push her glasses up her nose.

It had never occurred to Helena that such a tiny adjustment of eyeglasses could be sexy. But crap, it was damn hot when Barbara did it.

"I… I don't know what to say," the older woman whispered, staring at the card. "This is so wonderful."

"Well, now I deserve an office with a window, no?"

Barbara cocked her head again in that way that gave Helena butterflies.

"Are you serious?" Barbara narrowed her eyes.

"Well…" Helena swallowed her drink. "I have some free mornings."

Unexpectedly, Barbara hugged her with enthusiasm. The brunette froze in place.

"Thanks so much."

The brunette remained still, not knowing what to do. After a few seconds, she wrapped her arms around the other woman and smiled. She closed her eyes and inhaled deeply. Yes, she smelled so good. It was something different, something that made her feel at home.

"Hey, what's the celebration?" Wade's voice broke the moment.

Helena growled. If someone asked her for a four letter synonym for 'inopportune,' she would say 'Wade'.

"Helena got some incredible help for the foundation," the redhead replied happily.

"Hey, that's great." Wade gave Barbara a kiss on the lips.

That was cool, Helena thought. She got the money and he got the reward. Helena took her drink and finished it. She put her glass on the bar and the barman refilled it again.

"I'm going to the restroom and I'll be right back," the handsome man said as he walked off.

Helena stared at her glass in silence.

"Kids are worth everything," Barbara said.

"But kids grow," Helena mumbled, sipping a bit of her whiskey on the rocks. "And when they grow, we forget them."

"I don't think so, you don't forget people you love." Barbara rested her back on the bar,

"Kids and drunks tell the truth, adults always lie."

Barbara looked at her. Helena's mood was different. She observed her, the young woman seemed to be upset now. "Why do you say things that?"

"Well, I'm drunk and you're not." The brunette finished her drink. "You do the math."

"What is that supposed to mean?"

"It doesn't even fucking matter anymore." Helena stared at her empty glass. She needed something stronger. "Maybe I… maybe it never did."

"Do you forget people you love?" Barbara asked-

"No, because I don't love anyone."

"That's a sad way to live."

"It's a safe way to live." The brunette leaned close to the redhead and smirked. She was taunting her.

"Don't think that yours is a poor way of thinking?" Barbara was beginning to get irritated. She couldn't understand how the young woman could change her mood so easily. She was so charming one second and, in the next, she was a real asshole.

"Maybe. Or maybe you don't know anything about life." Helena put her glass on the bar. "You don't have a monopoly on the truth, you know?"

"Why do you love to act like a jackass?" Barbara asked irritably.

The brunette noticed Wade was approaching. Piece of crap.

"It's part of my charm. Nice party by the way." Helena grinned and walked toward the exit "See you."

"Hey," Wade said, hugging the redhead around her waist, "is she leaving?"

"Looks like." Barbara exhaled angrily. Helena was so temperamental. She couldn't understand what caused her to have those abrupt mood swings.

"What happened? You look annoyed."

"Nothing, forget it." Helena was not going to ruin her night. She turned and smiled to him touching his cheek.

"Wanna dance?"

"She really is pissing me off," Barbara said, furiously hitting a punching bag in the gym in her Penthouse at the top of Clocktower. She was dressed with tight black exercise pants and a thin red t-shirt.

"Must be, I have never seen you so angry." Alfred put some clean towels in a cabinet.

"I try, Alfred, really, I try." She waved her hands. "She is very nice one moment and a complete asshole the next.

She looked like frightened child and when I turn my head, that cute child has gone, and the rude young woman is there. She loves to taunt and offend me. I'm tired of her games!"

"She is doing what she does best."

"What?" Barbara took the towel from the bench and wiped her sweat.

"Pissing people off. That is how she keeps a safe distance form everyone."

"Really, she knows how to do it." She put the towel around her neck, took a bottle of water and opened it.

"She has been practicing for years and is a master."

"I understand she is hurt because of what happened with her mother. It's just…. just so frustrating that I can't find a way to get her to let me in." She looked at him, feeling frustrated. "How did you do it? How did you make her trust you and talk to you?"

"I don't know," he closed the cabinet and picked up the dirty towels, "maybe be because she doesn't see me as a menace."

"Menace? Do I look like a menace to you?" She extended her arms.

"For Miss Helena's heart, yes," he said. "You two were very close when she was a child. She is afraid to love and be loved, Miss Barbara. You have a special place in her heart. She wants to deny it and is refusing to accept you. She pushes you away with her abrupt mood swings. S0metimes she lets her heart guide her and, when she realizes it, she starts pushing away."

Barbara shook her head. She put the towel and water on the bench again; she turned toward the rings.

"Now, she accepted the job at the foundation, right?"" Alfred asked.

"I don't know if she will be there for a single day," she put powder over her hands. "Maybe now she changed her mind."

The phone on the wall rang, Alfred picked it up. Barbara put her hands over the rings and lifted herself on them.

"Sure, I'll open the private elevator," he said. "She will wait for her here."

The redhead stopped her exercise and quirked an eyebrow at him. Alfred hung up the phone.

"I'll wait for whom here?" she asked, jumping down.

"Miss Helena is here," he responded, walking toward the door with the dirty towels. "She will be here in five minutes via the private elevator. I'll open it now."

"What? What's she doing here?"

"I don't know. She is an enigma for me, too." Alfred walked toward the stairway "But if she is here, it's a good thing. "See you tomorrow. I don't want her to see me here."

She picked up the towel again. Dammit, Helena really was a walking puzzle. She walked toward the rings and jumped up. Maybe she could finish her routine before she arrived.

She wondered what mood Helena would be in today or what new tantrum would manifest. She loved Helena, she had been a sweet child, and a charming teenager… until that night. She needed to be patient, she needed to think without emotion. She had an analytical mind and usually thought straight, but Helena seemed to know what buttons to push to make her lose control.

The elevator doors opened. Helena stepped out and looked around. Barbara's assistant had said she was in the gym, that it was the room at the end of the corridor. Barbara had a really nice place. She sniffed, her scent was everywhere; it was the same in her office, too. It was not perfume, it was different, but it was nice.

She noticed a picture of the Barbara and Wade on the table at the corridor. She took it in her hands and studied it.

The redhead was smiling and Wade was hugging her from behind.

Yes, he looked dumb. It hadn't been her imagination. She put the picture face down on the table and walked down the hallway, admiring some paintings.

Barbara definitely knew how to choose art.

She heard metallic noises coming from the end of the corridor and walked toward them. The sight of Barbara doing some turns on the air just using her arms as support, holding the rings, was amazing. How could she do that?

Her balance was perfect and her muscles were visible on her arms. Her legs were strong and firm. The expression on her face showed she was totally concentrated on her routine. She followed each movement, each turn, hypnotized

Barbara jumped making an incredible flip, holding her legs against her chest and landed on two feet.


The movement of her bending lightly, extending her arms, and straightening was in slow motion. Barbara looked beautiful in that outfit.

The redhead glared at her.

"That was amazing." Helena said.

"Thanks." The redhead picked up her towel and cleaned her face.

"I see you think of everything," Helena noted, walking toward the weights and examining them.

"I like to be organized." Barbara put the towel around her neck and crossed her arms over her chest.

"Your home is fantastic, very nice taste." Helena lifted a weight to test it. "It's lucky your office is in the same building as your home."

"Thank you. Coming from you, it's a real compliment."

"It's just…. something doesn't fit with you." She put the weight in its place again.

"Oh yes? What's that?"

"Forget it." The brunette turned and looked at her.

"To what do I owe the pleasure of your visit?"

"Well, I said yesterday I would work with you at the foundation and I wanted to know how can I help?" She shrugged her shoulders. The truth was that she had been thinking of her all night. Barbara was nice, smart, intelligent, brilliant, she really liked her. She knew she had been very rude to Barbara last night, but she was pissed every time she remembered that the older woman had forgotten her when she needed her. She didn't want to feel that again, but, well, whatever… She knew she needed to apologize, but she didn't know how. "I didn't know Saturday was your day off."

"It's not. I just like to train on Saturdays, early."

"So… I'm not interrupting you? I told your assistant I could come back later, but she said no, that it was fine if came here."

"No, it's fine." Barbara wondered where Helena was going to take this game of back and forth with her. She was being pleasant again, maybe it was time to give her a lesson. "Remove your shoes, let's have a bit of workout."

"Excuse me?" the young woman asked.

"I want to see you fight, so I can tell you how to improve." Barbara decided she wouldn't give the brunette a chance to refuse.

Helena narrowed her eyes. "Are you serious? I thought you were joking at the bar."

"No, I'm not joking." The redhead walked toward the training floor on bare feet.

"I'm half-meta, Barbara."

"Are you scared?"

Helena frowned. Was she boasting?

"I'm waiting for you, come on." Barbara stood at the far end of the training room, rubbing her hands.

The young woman removed her shoes and her belt. She walked toward the redhead.

"Okay, what do we do?"

Barbara bent her torso slightly and opened her arms. "Fight, are you ready?"

Helena shook her head. "I'm not sure, I don't want to hurt you."

"Don't worry," Barbara winked, "you can't."

The brunette tried to grab her arm to throw her to the floor and finish this stupid session, but before she knew what was happening, she found herself on the floor, with Barbara's knee over her throat.

"All right, first lesson. Don't underestimate your opponent." The redhead stood up and assumed a defensive position.

Helena stood up brushing off her pants. "All right, I get it." It seemed Barbara wanted to play rough, she liked it.

She prepared and turned to kick her. The movement was fast, but Barbara seemed to read her mind and she turned at the same time, sweeping Helena's grounded leg and sending her falling, flat on her back.

"You telegraph your moves before attacking," Barbara explained, stepping back. "You can't show what you are going to do. It's like when you are going to kick a penalty in soccer, you need to fake out your opponent, making him think you will kick to the right when you really are going to kick to your left.

Helena rested her elbows on the floor looking up at her. She was beginning to get pissed. Barbara was being a smartass. She stood up again.

"Just fight, okay?" Helena grumbled.

"Let's make a deal, Helena." Barbara was tired of her bad moods. She put her hands on her hips and walked to her. "Let's have a match of three rounds, okay? If I win two, you will let me train you and you will promise to listen to me and follow my directions with no complaints. Plus, you must promise to talk to me with respect, no more sarcasm or insults, all right?"

Helena stoop up, listening with attention. That was interesting. "And If I win?"

"You can ask to me whatever you want."

Helena smirked mischievously. "Whatever I want?"


Helena thought that was a good opportunity for her. "No matter what I ask?"


"Deal." Helena readied herself to attack. If Barbara wanted to play rough, she was on board with that. "Let's play, then."

Barbara positioned herself, too. Helena waited, this time, for the other woman's attack. Barbara moved with a flurry of punches and Helena ducked, avoiding her fists and hitting her hard in her gut with her elbow. She turned and crouched to sweep her feet. The redhead fell heavily to the floor. She twisted her arm back, immobilizing her. That had been easy.

The redhead, breathing heavily, said, "Nice move."

"Yeah." Helena smiled, admiring the woman below her. She was amazing, she had never met anyone like her. She liked her style and the way she challenged her.

"Helena," Barbara said.

"What?" Helena tilted her head curiously.


"Oh…" the brunette released her and stood up.

"All right," the redhead prompted, "try again."

Helena moved to the middle of the training floor, waving her hands. Barbara circled her, the young woman threw a punch that the redhead blocked. She lifted her other arm to stop Barbara's blow. The impact was strong. Wow. She knew how to hit. They began to move, trying to hit the other.

She finally managed to connect with a kick that made Barbara stumble back. But when she tried to jump on the older woman, she rolled and kicked her back.

The brunette tried to hit her again with several fast movements, but the other woman had incredible reflexes; she avoided all her moves. Suddenly, she jumped on Barbara, trying to surprise her, but when she landed, Barbara was expecting her and she caught her in mid-air and threw her to the floor. In a blink, Barbara twisted her and put her arm around her throat. She tried to free herself, but Barbara's grip was hard.


"All right." She was pissed. How she could catch her like that?

Barbara released her and the young woman walked toward the other side of the gym rubbing her throat.

"Listen to me," Barbara explained, "you need to focus. You have a great strength, but the most important thing in a fight is not your strength. It's to use the strength of the other person against them. I let you win the first round and you were very confident, don't do that again."

"Let me win?" Helena growled. "I won!"

"If you say so." Barbara moved back.

Helena tried to land a kick, but Barbara grabbed her leg at mid air and flipped her over. She lost her balance and hit the ground.

"I read your movement again." Barbara smiled, walking around her. "How can you win bar fights? You are pretty bad."

Bad? She was going to show her what it was to be bad. Helena pushed herself up and charged at the redhead. Her fist missed the other woman's head and she felt a hard blow to her gut that knocked the air out of her. She tried to hit her again, but Barbara grabbed her neck as she put her feet behind Helena's and used it as lever to push her back. Helena found herself lying on the floor again, with Barbara's knee pressing into her chest.

"Anger… don't let anger control you." Barbara said, "It blinds your mind and you make mistakes in the fight." She stood up.

"Do you think you know everything?"" Helena sat up, groaning and angry.

"I won," Barbara picked up a clean towel and threw it to the young woman. "You promised to respect me and let me train you. So keep your mouth shut from here on out." Barbara took her towel and walked toward the exit.

Helena, still on the floor, glared at her. Fuck. She was really annoyed. How could she do that to her? She was a damn hurricane. She was not used to losing and Barbara had easily swept the floor with her ass. And Barbara was a human, she was not meta! That was the worst!

"I'll see you at nine o'clock on Monday at the office," Barbara said from the door. "We will train weekdays at five, before your work at the bar."

Helena bent her knees and held them between her arms, resting her forehead over them. She still couldn't believe it. She never thought Barbara could fight like that.

She was thoroughly pissed. She had lost to Barbara, the woman she could never forgive for forgetting her. It had been so painful to be alone those months, feeling betrayed by the person you thought loved you.

But at the same time, the fight really had been so exciting for her, Barbara was incredible, her movements, her reflexes, she couldn't deny she would be waiting anxiously for Monday to see her again.

Her feelings were so mixed up that she couldn't understand them.

New Gotham was a beautiful city, the blue sky, tall buildings. The view was magnificent from that point. It was hard to imagine that, like wolves, criminals were hiding, waiting for the night to pounce on innocents.

She knew she could learn so much from the redhead. It would help her to catch her mother's murderer; she still had that goal in her mind. She would never rest until she saw him dead.

"I see you arrived early," Barbara said from the doorway.

"Well, I don't want to lose my punctuality bonus," Helena turned, "because I have punctuality bonus, right?"

"Yes, you have one." The redhead smiled slightly, removing the bag over her shoulder.

"Great, so…" Helena sat in Barbara's chair and started spinning. "What am I supposed to do here?"

"Well, first you need to know the Foundation." Barbara stopped the movement of the chair and waved her hand, asking her to stand up.

Helena stood up with a jump and sat on the desk. "Okay, and then?"

"Then, I would like you to choose where you want to be involved." Barbara sat in her chair and leaned back, crossing her legs. "We have the scholarship division, the AIDS division and the orphans division."

"Got it."

Barbara turned and put on her eyeglasses. The brunette didn't know why she found that movement so charming.

"Then, you will be in charge of that division, help to raise funds, and get people involved in our Foundation so we can grow." Barbara took a pen and signed some papers on her desk

"In charge of a division?" Helena laughed nervously and stood up "Wait a minute, you're joking, right?"

"No, I need help, we are expanding. It's too much for me."

"But I don't know anything about this."

"I'll train you."

"And I must keep my mouth shut, right?"

Barbara moved back in her chair, holding a pencil in her hand.

"I'd be happy if you respect me and talk to me as a friend and not an enemy."

That was a pretty direct remark. It seemed the redhead had noticed all her ironic comments in their last conversations. Helena put her hand on Barbara's desk and her other one on her hip looking at her. Barbara knew how to corner her and, she had to admit, the redhead was pretty smart.

"All right," she said sitting again on the woman's desk.

"And, I'd appreciate it if you don't use my desk as a seat." Barbara pointed at the furniture with her pencil.

The brunette stood up as if pushed by a spring. She stood up in front of her desk.

"Thanks," Barbara said, picking up the phone "I'll have my assistant show you the floors and the areas. When you come back, I'll show you how work each area. Connie, please show Helena the building. Yes, thanks, she will be with you in a minute."

Helena cocked her head and looked at her. She liked her dress. Barbara knew how to combine her clothes. They were casual, but looked great on her. Maybe she would ask the redhead to join her shopping, as soon as she paid off her debt. Her credit cards were maxed out.

Barbara noticed that Helena was staring at her and she didn't move.

"Something wrong?" She checked her skirt.

"Can I ask you a question?" The young woman cocked her head.


"Why are you dating Wade?"

"He is nice, handsome, fun and… he is sweet with me, very sweet. Why?"

Bingo. She hadn't said she loved him.

"Well," Helena sat on a chair in front of the desk. "You are brilliant, intelligent,"

Barbara narrowed her eyes. Helena noticed her face.

"I'm serious, " she explained. "You are elegant, beautiful, with tons of style and…" Helena waved her hands not knowing what to say.


"I imagined you with someone different."


"He is a school teacher."

"So am I." Barbara crossed her arms over her desk and looked at the brunette curiously.

The brunette shook her head "I don't mean that, I mean… I was expecting someone with a stronger personality. Wade is like grey, yes, grey for you."

"Like Dick?"

"Of course not! He is an asshole."

"Dick? I thought he was like your brother."

"So? It doesn't mean he is not an asshole."

The redhead scratched her head, trying to understand. "Okay, so, according to you, I'm too much for them?"


Barbara laughed. "Don't be silly."

"I'm serious."

Barbara remembered that she had found the picture of Wade and her face down at the living table the prior day. Helena had flipped it over? Why?

"Okay," she said "who is my ideal man?"

"I don't know…." Helena didn't expect that question "David Beckham?"

"He is married."

"Brad Pitt?"

"Angelina would cancel her donations to our foundation if she finds out I'm with him."

"I don't know, Barbara," Helena shrugged her shoulders. "I just think Wade doesn't fit with your personality."

"Helena," Barbara stood up and circled the desk. "I'm a normal woman, I'm not extraordinary. I just want a regular guy. Wade is a regular guy."

"Maybe too regular."

"Wade is sweet," Barbara rested her hip on the desk and put her hands to her sides. "He is supportive, a real gentleman. I think you don't know him well enough."

"Could be."

"All right," the redhead touched the young woman's shoulder and felt her cringe under the contact. She moved her hand back and looked at her. "Does it bother you when I touch you? Sometimes I notice you flinch."

Helena stood up and went toward the door. "I'll ask your assistant to show me this place."

"Helena, I'm serious. The fact that I touch you annoys you?"

The young woman took the doorknob with her right hand and faced the door a few seconds. She turned to look at the older woman with an unfriendly look.

"Barbara, let's have a professional relationship. Nothing more."

"All right." Barbara lifted her hands, placatingly. "Just remember you started with the questions and I was asking because I don't want to do anything that could annoy you."

"Okay, I don't like to answer questions."


Helena opened the door and left the office. Definitely, Helena had serious issues, she turned very aggressive when she touched a feeling or awoke an emotion. She would need to work a lot with her to earn her trust. She really wanted it, she wanted her to be the happy girl she had known years before. She returned to her desk and picked up the phone, she still had work to do.

Barbara tried to focus on her work at the Delphi, but it was impossible. She couldn't get Helena out of her mind.

She was hurt; the girl had said she just wanted a professional relationship with her. She couldn't understand why those words were so painful.

She had known Helena since she was a child. She used to visit them often. Helena would talk to her about the things she didn't want discuss with her mother. Sometimes, when Helena was angry with her mother, she would appear at her home and talk. She was open, easy to read. She was a very sensible person and spoiled. Very spoiled.

The redhead smiled, she told Selina many times that it was not good to spoil her so much, but the blond had answered that she just had one life and one daughter, and she wanted to give her what Selina herself never had.

Barbara stared at the screen and pressed the enter button to start a scan.

Selina didn't trust many people. In fact, Barbara was the only one who knew Bruce was Helena's father before the murder. Selina always protected Helena; she didn't want people to know about her meta skills, she was afraid her enemies would find out who she was and try to hurt the child.

Selina had confessed all those fears to her. She said that the thing that most scared her was leaving Helena alone. Barbara had promised, then, to always keep an eye on the girl. And she had tried to live up to her promise, but Helena made it so hard. It broke her heart to find this hurt and angry girl, leery of everything and everybody.

Bruce had asked her to help him with the girl after she recovered, but Helena was definitely avoiding any contact with her. She couldn't understand why and it was frustrating. She had confirmed it today. Why did the brunette continue to reject her? Why she didn't want her to be in her life, like when she was a child?

The last time Bruce asked her to help with Helena had been a few months ago, when he realized Helena was on the streets at nights, acting as a vigilante. But, before that, Barbara had already known and she had been keeping an eye on her to make sure she didn't get hurt or hurt someone else. Her pain was so great that she didn't care if she killed anyone.

She could do it easily.

Barbara couldn't let her do that, she had too much of her mother, her dark side…. and her anger could transform her into a cold blood criminal.

She didn't want that destiny for the girl. Selina would die again if she saw her being consumed by her sadness and pain.

The redhead had seen her fight and she knew she could be an excellent crime fighter, if her stubbornness didn't get her killed first. She knew that if she could train her, Helena would be a real pain in the ass for criminals. She just needed the brunette to give her an opportunity.

"You are having trouble, I can see," Alfred said, putting a tray with tea and cookies at her side.

"Why do you say that?"

"You have been staring at that screen for more than fifteen minutes and you have pressed but one key. That's not like you."

"Alfred, Alfred…"

"Problems at the Foundation?"

"Not exactly…. it's Helena."

"Oh, what did she do now?"

"She accepted the job at the foundation, but officially put a brick wall between us. She told me she just wants a professional relationship with me."

"And is that bad?" the butler asked.

The redhead looked at him. "I just don't understand."

"Well, she is rude with you, always in a bad mood… Maybe, in some way, it is good to keep your distance from her."

"I would like to be her friend, Alfred. She has no one."

"But she doesn't want that."

"I know, and it hurts."

Alfred looked curious her. "Why?"

"Why?" she stared at him. "Because I made a promise to Selina to keep an eye on her and I can't do that if she won't let me in."

"As I understand it, she is twenty one. She is an adult, she is responsible for her own actions now. You can't do so much for someone as stubborn as she is."

"I know, but I promised."

"Miss Barbara, let me ask you a question. Why are you really trying to help her?"

"I told you, I…"

"I asked, why are you really trying to help her? For Miss Selina or for yourself?"

The redhead rubbed the bridge of her nose. "Alfred, this is not…"

"She has been very unkind to you and it seems that when she pushes you back, you try harder. Why?"

She offered him a blank look and took a few seconds to answer. He was right. She could just forget her. She had done everything she could to help the girl and she had refused. It was not her responsibility.

"Maybe it's pride…." she mumbled. "Maybe I see her pain…. and I don't want her to keep suffering."


"Why?" the redhead asked. "Alfred, I love her."

He lifted his brow and listened to her attentively.

"You should have seen her at the Foundation ball the other night. She was stunning, she has Selina's grace.

Everyone turned to watch her, she looked really beautiful."


Had she said beautiful?

Yes, Helena was beautiful, and her wild side gave her a special attraction.

"She is sweet," Barbara added. "She is hiding all her best qualities behind that attitude. When she is in good mood, she is funny and is like a big kid. She loves to taunt me, it's like a game between us. She challenges my mind with her questions and her reactions."

"You are attracted to her."

"Yes. No! I mean, she only likes me in a professional way."

"You said a few minutes ago that it hurt you that…"

"All right, all right…" She waved her hand. "I mean… I really want to be her friend, and it hurts me she distrusts me that much."

"Give it time." He walked off the platform.

She moved back in her chair. "I'm trying."

The redhead kept thinking. Maybe she, as Alfred said, was giving Helena too much attention. Maybe she needed to back off a bit and let her do whatever she wants. As he said, she was an adult now.

Helena kept working at the foundation. She choose the kids at the orphanage, maybe because her mother had been an orphan and she had told her how much she had suffered in those houses. She organized a program to visit museums. They had five orphanages, so every month she could work with one of them. She wanted to set up visits to parks and a program to get them in public schools so they could live a normal life.

Barbara left her free to do whatever she wanted, but the woman had kept her distance as Helena had requested. It pissed her off. She knew she had asked her to just have a professional relationship but… she hated not getting her attention.

The last few days, she had been going to see her in her office with any stupid excuse, trying to make her talk, and she had done it. She could make her smile and laugh with some stupid comment.

She liked to see her laugh.

Her favorite part of the day was when she trained with her in the afternoon. She had a good time learning new things with her. The redhead was fantastic; she had an analytical mind, she remembered every detail and knew what to do in every situation.

But the fact that she didn't talk about anything other than the necessary began to exasperate her.

She was confused by her own feelings. Sometimes she wanted to be close of her and other times she didn't want anything to do with her.

"Good move, Helena," the redhead complimented, standing up. The brunette had thrown her to the floor with a very fast movement. It was a Tuesday, and they were in the middle of a training session after a work day.

"Thanks." Helena smiled and moved back.

"Now let's try blocking." The redhead took her escrima sticks from the wall.

"What's that?" the brunette asked.

"It's good to know what to do when people attack you with a weapon. I'd imagine that, in a bar, it's common for chairs and bottles to be flying."

"Why do you want to train me? I don't understand."

"Don't worry, it's not for you. I'm trying to prevent you from killing someone."

"You are not funny."

"You are very temperamental. Your main problem is that, when you are angry, you don't think and that is dangerous."

"I'm a bit grumpy, but not too much."


"Hi, Barbara."

"Wade." Barbara's face lit up when she saw her boyfriend at the door.

Helena felt annoyed. What was he doing there? It was their training time.

Barbara wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him.


She went toward the weights and began to lift them, waiting for Wade to leave.

She could hear Wade saying something and the redhead laughed. She gazed back. He hugged her around the waist and said something that made her laugh again.

Helena, angry, closed her fist harder around the weight in her hand, bending it.

She quickly realized her mistake. Crap. Great, she had fucked the thing up.

"What are you doing?" Barbara asked from behind her.

"Nothing." She lowered the weight to prevent the redhead from noticing that it was now mangled, but it was too late. Barbara arrested her movement, she took the weight from Helena's hands. Her strength was amazing. She couldn't believe it.

"How can you do this?"

Helena just growled.

"For that matter, why did you do it?" Barbara asked.

"I don't want to train anymore." The brunette stood up and walked to pick up her towel.

"Wait, where are you going?"

"I said I don't want to train with you anymore."

Barbara crossed her arms, another typical mood swing.

"Why the tantrum, this time?"

"Tantrum?" Helena snapped her head around, furious.

"We are fine one second and, the next one, you are having a tantrum. It's typical of you." Barbara said, "I'm used to it, I'm just curious about why it manifested now."

"I don't have tantrums."

"So what is this about, then? Explain it to me because I don't understand."

"I don't think you care anyway."

"Why not?"

"We never talk, we just do our thing and leave!" Helena paced in front of her, waving her hands.

"You asked for a strictly business relationship." Barbara laughed in disbelief, trying to understand her contradictory change of mind.

"Yes!! But that doesn't mean that we can't talk some times."

Barbara narrowed her eyes and observed her. She was tense, really annoyed. Now, this was new. She was pissed because she had kept her distance from her. What a big child.

"Helena, I am really trying my best to understand you, but you are so difficult," she said, talking in a soft voice in hopes of calming the other woman. "Let me see if I understand this… you asked me to have a professional relationship, but, at the same time, you want me to guess when you are in the mood to talk more than just professionally. Everything must be around what you want. That's pretty selfish." Barbara walked to her. "Let me make this clear, Helena. If you want my friendship, I would really love it. I want to be your friend, but I don't have to be able to tell what you want, when you want it.

"I don't want your friendship," the brunette said annoyed.

Barbara rolled her eyes and sighed. She rested her hands on her waist. "What do you want, then?"

"Nothing." The brunette turned her back to her and walked toward the door..

"Why are you so mad at me?"

"I'm not."

"You are… and you have been since I returned from my recovery, why?" Barbara followed her. "What changed between us?"

"I said I didn't want to answer questions."

Barbara stopped her, grabbing her arm. She turned her to face her. "I want to talk, now."

"I don't." Helena whipped her head around, angry, and jerking her arm away.

"This time I don't care. I want to talk and that's enough for me," Barbara said, glaring at her. "I'm tired of your behavior. Tell me what is wrong with you, or with me. Why do we fight all the time? Why are you so angry with me?"

"I'm not!" Helena pulled her arm back.

"Are you afraid of me? Are you afraid that we will be friends? Why?"

"I'm not!" the brunette shouted. She was sweating from the exercise and her muscles were clearly tense.

"You don't want me to talk to you, you don't want me to touch you. Fine. Just tell me why."

Helena didn't answer, she just turned and walked toward the exit. She was going to open the door, when Barbara stepped around her and slammed the door shut. She stood in front of the door and pushed the brunette back. She knew that Helena would quickly reach her breaking point. She didn't like to be touched, and worse, she didn't like to be pushed emotionally.

"I'm fucking tired of your games!" Barbara growled, shouting at her. "What did I do to you? Why do you act as if I am your enemy? We were friends, Helena!"

"We were," Helena shouted. "Past tense."

"Why past tense?"

"It's finished. It's over, Barbara!." She tried to open the door. Barbara pushed her back.

"You are not running away this time. We are going to finish this conversation, today. We are going to talk, now."

"Don't touch me…" Helena lifted her index.

Barbara pushed her back again. She wanted to push her to her limit to make her talk.

"What am I to you?" Barbara asked, standing a few inches from her, invading her personal space, knowing it would piss her off.

"Nothing, you are nothing!" the young woman growled, pushing her back with her hands.

"Am I nothing?" Barbara asked.

"Yes, you are nothing to me!" Helena spat. She felt her blood burning in her veins.

"Why?" the redhead moved close to her again.

Helena pressed her lips together and clenched her fists.

"I want to know why!" Barbara shouted.

"You abandoned me!" Helena yelled out, her eyes changing to feral.

Barbara was speechless, her facial expression changed to one of confusion. What was she talking about?

"You were all I had and you left me alone!" Helena growled. "I needed you, and you forgot me!!!"

"I didn't abandon you, why would you say that?"

"You didn't call me anymore, you forgot me!" Helena's eyes started to burn with brimming tears. "It hurt! It hurts so much! I lost my mom and I lost you, too!! I was alone, I thought you loved me, I thought you were my friend!"

"I am your friend," the redhead responded, gentling her tone.

"Don't lie to me! You were always busy, you stopped calling me and, when you did, you were in a hurry. I was a nuisance for you!"

"Not true," Barbara tried to talk, but Helena didn't give her a chance.

"You said you loved me and you lied!"

"Helena…" the redhead mumbled, she never imagined this outcome. "I didn't forget you, I was recovering and…and…"

"You had time for Dick. You had time to call him, but not me."

Now the redhead felt all the pieces falling into place. She understood Helena's behavior, she understood her rejection, her pain. She saw Helena was crying.

"I didn't mean to do it." Barbara felt guilty, she wanted to reverse time and fix her mistakes. "Why didn't you tell me?"

Helena wiped her nose with her hand. "You were my friend… I shouldn't have had to ask you."

"Helena, I'm sorry, you were with your father… I thought..."

"I didn't know him!" Helena shouted. "He was a stranger to me!!!"

"But he was your dad! I really thought you would be okay. I know him! He is a good man!"

"That doesn't make him a good father! He felt like a stranger. He had never seen me before, he didn't know me! He was busy with his business and… and he…" she bit her lips. She was going to tell her she had discovered he was Batman and that he didn't want to take revenge on her mother's death.

"He what?"

"Forget it." She shook her head. She wouldn't understand.

"Helena, please." Barbara felt so bad, she had failed her, she was right. She understood why she had been rejecting her all these years. "I didn't know it was that bad, forgive me." Barbara tried to touch Helena's arm, but the brunette stepped back. "You should have told me, I needed to know and… Let me show you I'm your friend."

"No," the young woman shook her head. "I'll never trust you anymore."

Barbara brushed her hair back. "How could I know? I was so focused on trying to walk again,

trying to be me again, that I didn't stop to think. I thought you were fine with him. I should have, I should have been sure you really were doing alright. It was my mistake, you were just a kid… Please, let's fix this."

"Barbara," the brunette lowered her voice, "our friendship is over. Now you have your own life, you have Wade."

"It's different, Helena."

"No," she shook her head, "you spend so much time with him. When you are with him, no one else exists. I see you with him, you are happy, you don't need anyone else."

"Are you jealous of Wade?"

"I'm not in your life anymore and you are not in mine." Helena ducked her head, refusing to look at the older woman.

"You are important to me, very important." The redhead looked for her eyes. "Please, look at me. You are important to me, do you understand?"

Helena shook her head with eyes moist. She looked at her for a brief second. "I can't." She walked through the door and picked up her sweatshirt.

This time, Barbara didn't stop her. The redhead covered her face with her hands.

She felt so bad.

What she had done?

Helena hit the metallic door with her fist, denting it.

"Fuck!" she growled, annoyed.

She had been so stupid, why had she opened her big mouth? She kicked a trash can, feeling frustrated. She had promised herself never to open her heart to her and she had done it. She was so fucking confused. Barbara knew that she was afraid of being hurt again, she didn't mean to expose her emotions like that, but Barbara had pushed her, why had she pushed her?

"Stupid, stupid, stupid." Helena used her fists and smashed a container.

She turned and paced furiously in the dark alley.

She felt a great anger inside her, anger at herself, at Barbara, at her father. She wanted to take her anger out on something.

She squeezed her fists in balls.

She needed a good fight.

After leaving Barbara's gym, she had been walking, walking and walking. It was already dark, she didn't know how long she had been just wandering about. It was late. She checked her watch, almost midnight.

She jumped to the top of a building and sat on the edge, staring at the city below her. She felt sad, depressed, and stupid.

Very stupid.

Now Barbara would feel sorry of her.

She couldn't get the image of those green eyes regarding her out of her mind. She remembered the day Barbara had challenged her to that match in the training room, when she had said she could ask her anything if she won. She never asked her, but she wanted to ask her for a kiss to piss her off. But, now, she didn't know if it was to piss her off or because she wanted it.

She noticed a glow in the distance. She lifted her head, she could smell smoke. She stood up, wondering. It was a fire.

It hit her like a hammer.

The orphanage.

It was the orphanage. It was the biggest building in that zone, surrounded by trees. She ran toward it as fast as she could.

When she arrived, she felt her heart sink. The upper floors were on fire. Some people in charge were helping get the children out. She ran toward them and stopped a person at the door.

"How many children inside?"

"I don't know, it must be many, but it's too hot."

She looked up. Suddenly, she saw a familiar figure at one window.

Batgirl. She had a kid in her arms.

"Throw him! I'll catch him here!" she shouted.

The redhead turned her head, looking down and she didn't hesitate. She did as she was told. As soon as the kid fell into Helena's arms, Batgirl turned and ran back inside the home. Helena gave the kid to a woman and ran inside. She jumped to the second floor.


This was not good, Batgirl appeared, carrying two children more with her.

Helena took one and jumped through the window to the grass. Batgirl landed close to her, using her batrope.

"How many more?" she asked her.

"Two or three…. and I need check the third and fourth floors."

"I'll check the fourth," the brunette said, jumping up again.

The place was totally in flames. She rescued another kid and jumped to the uppermost floor again. She heard a kid crying, she had trouble moving on the floor. Iit was really hot and some parts of the ceiling were falling.

Pieces of wood on fire fell around her.

She ran toward the main room. She found a man dressed in black, with his face covered. He had a gas can in his hands. She didn't think twice, she hit him hard in his face and took the gas can, throwing it to the side.

"Why the fuck are you doing this?" she growled.

"Not your business."

"Now is mine." She growled and charged toward him, hitting him hard again and sending him against the wall. She wanted to kill him, he had burned the place.

He threw a punch. She blocked his arm and hit him again. The man tried to hit her again, but she was faster and punched him hard in his gut, he fell to the floor.

She heard the kid crying again and turned her head.

It was Justin. She needed to help him.

The man noticed her distraction and he used that brief second to pick up a piece of wood that had fallen from the roof.

Helena turned her head and felt a hard blow against her jaw that made her see stars. Dazed, she stumbled back, the man hit her hard on the back of her head and she fell to her knees. A loud noise was heard and she lifted her head to see a big piece of wood falling over her. She lifted her arm and turned, but it hit her with strength in her side, pushing her against the floor.

Her head hit roughly the ground. She fought against the fog that was surrounding her senses.

She heard Justin crying distantly.

She needed to help him. The smoke was filling the place, she coughed.

A warm trickle ran down her face. She blinked and found difficult to see, the blood blurred her vision.

Her head hurt like hell, she tried to stand up. That was when she realized the heavy piece of wood was trapping her legs.

The kid still was crying.

She tried to lift the heavy weight off herself, but she felt numb. Her mind was blurred, she felt she would fall unconscious at any moment. She couldn't, she needed to help Justin. She coughed again and tried to push the heavy wood off her.

The young woman closed her eyes. It was hot, very hot, she felt the fiery heat burning her skin. She tried to turn, but she was very numb and the wood kept her immobilized.

"Justin…" she mumbled, resting her face on the wood. She coughed and gasped, it was hard to breathe.

He called her by her name. He was calling her.

He needed her.

But she felt so tired, she just wanted sleep.


The brunette thought she had heard her name, it was the name she had given to Batgirl.

"Huntress? Wake up!" A hand touched her face, she half-opened her eyes, but she couldn't focus.

"Huntress, I need you to help me push."

Someone was with her. Yes, who was with her?

"Huntress, push."

The dark haired woman closed her eyes. "The kid…" she mumbled.


"I can't…" She felt so tired and closed her eyes.

She felt a hand on her cheek again.

"Listen to me, Huntress."

The dark haired woman tried to open her eyes, she couldn't see well, blood was covering her face.

"Huntress, listen to me, I need to get you out of here. I can't do it alone, this piece of wood is too heavy for me. Push and push hard now!""

The voice was demanding.

She tried again. The brunette made an effort to remove the heavy weight over her again, but she fell to the floor coughing, she couldn't breathe and it was terribly hot.

"Push, dammit! Push!" the voice shouted.

In her confused mind it sounded so clear, hard. She put her hands over the floor and made a big effort, she pushed as hard as she could and she felt the heavy weight on her legs moving away, she rolled to her side.

Her legs hurt, she felt them burning. She could barely see, but she noticed the shadow over her was removing her sweatshirt.

The sweatshirt.

She was wearing still her sweatshirt. She remembered she hadn't gone to change after her argument with Barbara.

She had just been running around the city.


She wondered if she would see her again.

She had been so mad, so pissed. She had just been walking around, trying to clear her mind, trying to think.

Where was she now? She couldn't remember.


The brunette heard her name called from so far away. There were flames all around. She needed to help Justin.

"Justin…" she mumbled.

"We need to go," the woman's voice said helping her to stand up and moving her arm around her neck, "Come on, walk."

She walked as was told.

"Yes, good, keep walking with me."

It was the last thing she heard before darkness enveloped her.

Barbara couldn't sleep. She had kept a vigil all night next to Helena, just to be sure she was okay. The sight of Helena cocooned in the covers reminded her of a little girl years before, innocent and sweet. Helena had stayed with her many nights when Barbara had done some babysitting for her.

Helena's sleeping face was a picture of calm, peace. Something that seemed to be absent from the young woman's waking life.

Looking through the window, she noticed the first snow was falling.

She had been looking for Helena when she saw the fire at the orphan's home. It was out of control when she arrived. It was a lucky the young woman had appeared at that moment, she helped her to save many kids trapped on the upper floors.

She went to check the upper floor before leaving, things were turning bad, really bad. It was a lucky decision as she had found the young woman lying on the floor, trapped under a big piece of wood in a room surrounded by fire. She had tried to move it, but was too heavy for her.

Helena was in shock, she had a pretty bad wound on her head. In a last effort before falling unconscious, Helena was able to help her lift the heavy wood and free herself. Barbara then had to get her and the child out of the place.

The brunette had second-degree burns on her right arm and legs. She had been lucky, it usually healed without scarring. She knew the burns were very painful and she had kept her drugged the last twenty four hours. She was healing, her meta skills were incredible. Normal people would take three weeks healing, but it seemed it would take her a week or less.

When she had returned home, she had needed to stitch the brunette's head. At the beginning, she thought it had been a piece of wood falling from the ceiling, but when she noticed a pretty bad bruise on her jaw, she knew something else had happened there. It was lucky that the impact hadn't broken her jaw. She hadn't move from the younger woman's side. She had been calling the hospital all night, too. Luckily, all the kids were alive.

It had been a long night.

Soon it would be morning, the sky was purple.

Barbara heard a soft murmur and turned. Helena was moving restlessly. She walked toward her bed and sat, touching the young woman's back. The blink of blue eyes was a relief, she was returning to consciousness. She went to her night table and prepared a morphine injection, she would need it.

"How are you?" the redhead asked,

Helena looked at her with annoyance. Damn. What was Barbara doing here? She tried to remember where she was. Why she felt like shit and so dazed.

"What happened?" she mumbled, half asleep.

Barbara sat at her side. "You helped to rescue kids at the orphanage."

Helena tried to make her brain work properly, but it was not so easy. She closed her eyes, she remembered the room in flames, the little kid crying. The kid crying. She snapped her eyes open.

"Justin?" she tried to move, but her whole body hurt. She growled and stopped her movement.

Barbara held her down gently and helped her to lie back down on the bed.

"Easy," she said. "You are recovering; you are burned."

"Where is Justin?"

"He is fine, please stay calm…" the redhead whispered. "You will hurt yourself."

"How is he?" Blue eyes looked at her with anguish. "Please, tell me."

"He is in intensive care, but he will be fine."

"Burned? Is he burned?" Helena asked, feeling her heart thumping hard in her chest. "Please, tell me."

"The kid is at the hospital, he breathed in quite a bit of smoke and he has second degree burns, like you, but he will survive."

The young woman closed her eyes feeling tears flowing. "I failed him."

"No, you didn't. You saved many children."

"I failed him." She winced and tried to sit again. "I need to go to see him."

"Please, don't move." Barbara took the syringe with morphine. It appeared Helena would be hard to keep in bed.

"You can't go out, you are hurt."

The brunette bit her lower lip to endure the pain in her limbs. She held her bandaged arm with her free hand.

"Helena," Barbara rested her hand gently on her shoulder, "you will see him, but not now."

"Don't touch me!" The young woman bent lightly to recover her breath, sitting had been a fucking painful movement.

"Helena, I need to give you this," she showed her the syringe, "it's the only way to help you with the pain. You are burned, and have a pretty bad wound on your head."

Crap. Helena pressed her lips. She didn't like the idea, but her body hurt like hell. She nodded, not convinced, but the pain was too much.

The redhead sighed and cleaned the brunette's arm with cotton doused in alcohol.

The brunette looked around, not knowing where she was. "Where am I?"

"My place." The redhead gave her the shot of morphine.

"Your place?" Helena looked at her confused "Why am I at your place?

"Batgirl brought you here, you were hurt."

"Batgirl?" Helena mumbled.

"She told me you were helping her save children at the orphanage and," Barbara removed the syringe, "that she found you trapped in the fire. She helped you and the kid."

The brunette realized she her lower legs were bandaged as well. Everything was confusing. "What happened?"

"I told you, you were at the orphanage, helping Batgirl to rescue the children. It was on fire. You were burned. You need to lie down and rest, you are healing.

"Am I hurt?"


Helena looked at the redhead. "Did she save me?"



"Why?" Barbara parroted in confusion.

"She doesn't like me and… we fight all the time and I…."

"Helena," Barbara spoke softly, "She does what heroes do, they save lives."

The brunette lowered her head, she was beginning to feel fuzzy. "But I'm not worth…"

"You are worth a lot."

"You don't know me."

"I know you well enough to know that you are a good person."

The young woman remained still, closing her eyes and hugging herself. "What did you give me?"

"Morphine, it will help you with the pain."

"I don't want to sleep."

"Don't sleep, just lie down and rest." Barbara pushed her back gently, taking advantage of the fact that Helena was under the morphine's effect. She didn't reject her touch.

"I don't understand." Helena mumbled. "Why did she save me? She doesn't know me… We fought."

"That's not important. The important thing is to save people." Barbara covered her with the blankets. "Batgirl told me you helped her save many kids last night. They could have died, but you risked your life for others, that was incredible."

"I couldn't help Justin…" Helena said, closing her eyes again. "I was distracted… you always tell me to focus, I didn't listen to you… he hit me… "

"Hit you? Who hit you?" Barbara narrowed her eyes. Her theory was right, some one had hit her.

"A man… we fought…"

"What man, Helena?"

"A man…" the girl mumbled sleepily. "A man dressed in black… he was there… I tried to stop him…"

"What did he look like?"

"Tall… he had a mask…"

The redhead took her hand to her mouth. The fire had been intentional? Why? It was criminal. It was a place full of children. She needed to go back there and look around. She would need to call Alfred and ask him to keep an eye on the brunette while she went to the burned house.

Helena had fallen asleep. She took her hand to her head and caressed her hair. It was so soft, fine.

She wondered how things would be between them, if she hadn't been injured that night, or if she had known about her loneliness and called her more often, to make sure she was really doing alright.

"I'm sorry, Hel…" she mumbled. "I didn't mean to hurt you so much."

She leaned and kissed her forehead before standing and walking to the door.

She still had work to do.


Part 4

Barbara returned to her apartment late at night. She put her keys and her briefcase on the table in the living room and removed her coat. It was freezing outside. She had gone to the hospital to check the kids and had done some investigating at the orphanage. She had picked up some samples. She would analyze them on the Delphi, but she wanted to check on Helena first.

Alfred appeared in the corridor.

"How is she?" she asked him.

"Well, she has been sleeping almost all day and just had dinner.."

"She must feel really bad to not try to go out," Barbara said, removing her hat and brushing her hair. "I'm glad of it."

"You know her well." He lifted his brows. "How are the children?"

"More or less okay…" She couldn't hide the sadness from her face. "Fifteen of them inhaled too much smoke, but they will be fine. There are eight with minor burns and two in intensive care."

"It was a short circuit?"

"No, it was intentional."

"Pardon me?" He couldn't believe what he was hearing "It was a children's home."

"I know, Helena told me this morning that she fought a man dressed in black. I went back and picked up some samples. I don't have any idea as to who could be behind this, it's insane. I hope that when she wakes up, she can give me more info."

"You need sleep. You haven't slept well the last two days:"

"Yes, I'll take a warm bath, check on Helena, then sleep a bit."

"Do you want to eat something first?"

"I bought a sandwich, don't worry."

"All right, I'll be around."

"Thanks so much." The redhead went toward her room.

She found the brunette sleeping deeply. She put the items to clean and treat her burns on the night table before taking a warm shower. After, she changed her clothes and brushed her hair. She took a small jar and sat next to the brunette. She noticed she was awake.

"You are awake." Barbara said, smiling softly. She took a packet of pills from the night table.

"The noise of you brushing your hair woke me up."

"Figures." She extended the glass of water and pills to Helena.

"What's that?"

"Take this analgesic, will help you. I want to prevent an infection."

In bad mood, the brunette accepted them and swallowed.

The older woman took the bandages and a wet a cloth with cold water from a tray on the night table.

"How is Justin?" Helena asked.

"He is doing fine, I saw him this morning. He is a great kid."

Barbara took Helena's arm and felt her flinch under her touch, she noticed her muscles tensed.

"I need to change the dressing on your arm and legs and apply an antibiotic ointment," Barbara said softly trying to relax her. She knew she didn't like to be touched. "I did it yesterday, but you were sedated, I need do it again to remove dead skin and the old ointment."

The brunette didn't like the idea. Was Barbara was playing to the good doctor, trying to make herself feel better after what she had done to her?

"Why am I here?" she asked, staring at the far wall.

"You told Batgirl your name is Huntress, but you didn't wear a mask and she recognized you as Helena Kyle. She knows who you are and that you work with me. It was this or lie alone at the hospital. I can take you to a hospital, but I know you hate them." Barbara sighed. "Helena, I need to clean your burns, I need to prevent an infection. Please."

The brunette closed her eyes. Going to the hospital was not an option she wanted to explore. It would be a trouble when the doctors discovered she was meta. Humans were afraid of people like her. She lived alone and, definitely, she needed someone helping her with this. Shit.

She felt Barbara resting her hand on her bandaged arm, she didn't move, she kept still. The redhead began to slowly remove her bandage. She took her time, trying to do it carefully.

"This looks much better," the older woman said.

She felt Barbara cleaning her arm with a cloth with cold water. Helena didn't like Barbara touching her, but at the same time… well, she liked to be spoiled and Barbara caressed her skin so smoothly and talked very softly to her. It felt good, but… it was a confusing mix of feelings inside her.

The redhead, very patiently, took care of the wounds on her legs, too. When she finished bandaging her, she didn't say a word and covered her again with the blankets. She stood up and went to the other side of the king size bed.

Helena watched her removing the covers from the other side of the bed. Was she going to sleep there? With her?

"What are you doing?" the brunette asked.

"I'm going to sleep; it's late." Barbara sat on the bed. "Why?"


"Well, it's my room."

"Uh… yes but… here? With me?"

"I slept here last night, but you were out of it and didn't notice. I also slept here the night before that night, and all last week. Oh! And the month prior to that, too." Barbara laid back on the bed and turned off the lamp. She turned on her side and covered herself with the blankets.

Helena was stiff. She held her breath. Barbara really was going to sleep with her. Now, that was unexpected. They had fought, she had unintentionally opened up to the older woman and let her know it had hurt her that the redhead had forgotten her the years after her mother's death.

"Relax, Helena," she heard the soft murmur of the redhead beside her. "I'm not going to rape you."

Shame that…. Helena thought to herself.

Wait a minute.

What the fuck was she thinking? She hated Barbara!

Barbara turned to her other side, facing her.

"Sorry," she said sleepily, with her closed eyes. "I'm still fixing the guest bedroom, but you can sleep on the couch if you want."

"I'm sick." The brunette growled.

"Yes, I let you sleep here for that reason. Otherwise, I'd have already kicked your ass to the floor."

"That's not nice."

"I know," Barbara mumbled. "Wake me up if you need anything."

Helena remained in her place. She could smell her shampoo, she could smell her everywhere in that room. She had been smelling her there all day and… it pissed her off to admit it, but she felt safe there. The place didn't felt as cold as her apartment.

It was weird.

Surely, Barbara was taking care of her because she felt guilty about what Helena had said to her.


But she couldn't change the past, or her feelings, she would never forgive her for what had happened.

She couldn't.

The brunette closed her eyes, she still felt tired. Not realizing it, she fell asleep.

Barbara noticed the younger woman had fallen asleep by the sound of her breath. Helena needed to be loved. She was a lonely person and she rejected anyone for whom she thought she might feel affection. She was grumpy and she was funny.

She wanted the Helena she knew back. She just needed to push her a bit until she got around a corner where she couldn't hide her feelings....

Alfred walked inside the bedroom with clean towels. He noticed Helena was dressed in short pants and was trying to move her feet to the ground. He stopped in the middle of the room and looked at her curiously.

"And you are….?" he asked, lifting his eyebrow.

"…leaving, obviously," the brunette grumbled, using her free hand to move her leg. Crap, it hurt. She would need some pain killers. She panted to take in air.

"Oh, I see.. Why are you leaving, exactly?" Unconcerned, Alfred walked towards the bathroom.

"I don't want to be here."

"Miss Barbara has been rude?"

"No, she is nastily nice," Helena responded, sulking.

"Nastily nice?" He stopped in front of the bathroom and turned to see her. "I have never heard of that concept. Is that bad?"


"Odd." He walked inside the bathroom.

The brunette managed to move her left leg down. That had been really difficult. She still felt her skin stiff under the bandages and it hurt so much. It itched too.

"She is trying to be friends again, but that's not going to happen. I'm not falling for her tricks."

"I don't understand," he said from the bathroom. "Had she asked you to be her friend again?"

"No," Helena answered, holding her right leg to move it down.

"So, how do you know she wants to be your friend again?"

"I told you, she is being nice. I don't like that."

"Why not?" he questioned, walking outside the bathroom with the dirty towels.

"Because I am beginning to like her and I don't want to."

"Interesting," he commented, standing in front of her, "because I haven't heard her say she wants to be your friend again."

"No?" Helena frowned. She didn't expect that. Barbara was always trying to be her friend and she always had a lot of patience with her. What was happening now?


"So what does she want?" Helena asked, confused "No one is nice just to be nice."

"That is what you think. Maybe by working for the Foundation, you will realize that's not true."

"Why is she helping me, then?"

"Because she never denies anything to anyone who needs her, especially if she knows that person."

"I don't need her!" Helena yelled adamantly.

"I've heard that before." He sighed and opened the door to go to the living room. ""So are you going to run away now or are you planning to wait until after lunch?"

"I'm leaving now." The brunette had a hard time moving her other leg down.

"Oh, I see. That's too bad. I prepared a nice lunch for you."

"I can take it to home," she said, trying to stand up. She winced and sat again. "I want to be out of here before she comes back."

"I see. Well, I suggest you take a few pain killers before try to take a step. They are next to you, on the night table," he advised and exited the room.

Helena growled, annoyed. Why had this happened to her? She scratched her arm. Damn, the problem was that it itched, too!!

A few minutes later, Barbara arrived from her work. It was really cold outside. She removed her hat and put it on a chair in the living room. She heard noises coming from the kitchen and she walked toward them, removing her coat.

"Hi, Alfred. How is everything?"

"Pretty good," the butler said.

The redhead checked her watch, almost two o'clock. She stood next to him, leaning over the stove. "Fish, mmmm this smells very good."

"Glad you approve. How is the weather?"

"Freezing! It's snowing now." The redhead gazed to her right. "Is that a hamburger?"

"Yes, Miss Helena loves them and she is not a fan of fish."

The redhead removed her coat and put her briefcase on the table. "How is she?"

"Well, she told me thirty minutes ago that she was going to escape, but I haven't heard her leave your room, so I suppose she is still there."

"Escape? Why escape?" Barbara took a glass and poured some water into it from a pitcher.

"Well, I think she still refuses to feel anything for anyone," Alfred explained. "She told me you are being nice such that the two of you can be friends again, but she is not going to fall for it. In other words, she is being annoyed and childish."

Barbara took a sip of water and remained silent, thinking a few seconds.

"Did she say I was being nice?"

"Well, her exact words were 'nastily nice'."

"Nastily nice?" Barbara laughed. "That's a good one."

"Yes. Granted, she was throwing a bit of a tantrum and it was sarcastic, but indeed she did state that you are being very nice to her and that she hates it."

"Hates that I am being nice?" She couldn't believe what she was hearing.

"Yes." He smiled.

"That's the first time anyone has been angry because I'm nice."

"Well, it makes it rather difficult for her to hate you."

"And it pisses her off."


The older woman shook her head. "I'm really sorry she is determined to hate me because she thinks I abandoned her."

"You were dealing with your own demons. It was hard to keep an eye on her then."

"I know, but she doesn't understand that." Barbara put her glass of water on the table and went toward her room, picking up her coat. "I'll check and see how my Tasmanian devil is doing."

"Excellent idea. I'm afraid she might be stuck in the window. She always uses windows to escape."

Barbara chuckled. She admired Alfred. She still didn't understand how he won the stubborn girl's trust. She stood at her door and took the handle in her hands. She took a deep breath and opened the door.

She found Helena standing in the middle of the room between the bed and the window. Alfred was right, it seemed she liked to use windows to escape. It was really difficult not to laugh at the brunette. She was frozen in place and practically stiff as a statue with her arm and legs still bandaged. Maybe she should have warned the younger woman that when skin was regenerating, it became painful to move or have flexibility.

She lifted her eyebrow and walked inside the room. "Well, that looks like a well thought out and flawlessly executed plan of escape."

"I hate you," the brunette growled, glaring at the redhead.

Barbara walked toward her closet and hung her coat inside. "Should I come back in a few days when it's completed?"

"Shut up." Helena tried to move her leg but hurt as hell. "Help me here," she whined.

Barbara turned and rested her back on the closet, crossing her arms. "I should just leave you there."

"You are not funny."

"I'm not trying to be."

"I have been here for almost an hour! Help me, dammit!" If she could move, she'd have stomped her foot.

"Why are you standing? I told you to stay in bed."

"When the fuck have I ever listened to you?"

"Good point." Barbara sat on her bench to remove her high heels.

Helena observed her and became increasingly annoyed. "Aren't you going help me?"

"Oh," the redhead feigned surprise, "do you really want me to help you?"

"Don't be mean."

"You don't like to be touched."

"Help me!" Helena glared at her, before sighing, "Please."

Barbara stood at her side and moved her arm around the brunette's waist. Helena shivered under the soft touch, and it was not for the pain.

Barbara put Helena's good arm around her neck. "I hope you listen to me next time."

"Damn… it hurts…"

"I'll sit you at the sofa," Barbara moved her carefully to the couch, "and you can eat and rest your back, okay?"

"Did you cook?" Helena asked, not hiding her fear.

"You always are so nice to me." Barbara helped her to sit.

"Well, you don't know how to cook."

"And you don't know how to behave. Now, tell me why you were trying to run away?"

"I don't want help," she growled. "I don't need help."

Barbara cocked her head. "Really? Okay, but if I had left you there, anyone could have stumbled over you."

"Very funny." Helena flinched. Damn, she had an itch on her foot. Crap. Could the itch possibly find a worse moment??

"Something hurts?"

"No, I'm fine."

Barbara put her hand on her chin and looked at small dining table at the other side of the room. "So, do you want move the table in front of you or do you prefer that I help you do it?"

Helena sighed and glared at her, trying to scratch her foot on the floor. "No, I prefer that you do it."

Barbara shrugged her shoulders. "Okay, since you asked so nicely…. Alfred made a hamburger for you."

"Thanks." The young woman tried to bend her arm, but she couldn't reach her foot. Crap.

"What are you doing?"

"My foot is itchy." Why was this happening this to her? Helena growled to herself.

The redhead looked down at her feet. "Yes, itching is terrible. It usually happens when your burns heal."

Helena squeezed her eyes shut. Crap, she needed to scratch!!!

The redhead moved the table in front of the brunette, "Did I told you about the time when…?".

"Dammit, Barbara! Scratch my foot!" she said, angry with herself.

"You have really bad moods."

Helena let her head fall back. God had completely abandoned her. Why?

"Please, Barbara," she whined.

"All right," the redhead kneeled. "Which foot?"

"Left. I hate you."

"Happens," Barbara responded, amused. Helena was like a big child. "Why were you trying to escape?"

The brunette didn't answer, she just growled. Seemed she was really pissed off.

"All right." The redhead stood up. "I'll tell Alfred to bring your lunch here." She passed next to the brunette and rubbed her head. "Next time, ask for help when you try to run away."

Helena growled again. She turned her head away from her, glaring. Why the fuck did she touch her?

Barbara turned to see her and winked at her. "Don't be so grouchy."

"Aren't you hungry?" Barbara asked, taking a piece of bread. "You haven't touched your hamburger."

Helena stared at her. She hadn't stopped talking the entire lunch time. She was really pissed. She'd tried to escape and she had just looked ridiculous in front of the redhead. She had told her she wanted leave. Worse, Barbara had caught her in the middle of "running away" and she still kept being nice.

"I thought you liked to eat," Barbara said. "What happened with you today?"

"I'm not hungry," Helena said, annoyed. Why did she talk so much? Did the woman never shut up?

"Okay." Barbara took her plate.

"What are you doing?" Helena asked, frowning.

"I'm starving." The redhead put the burger plate on her empty plate.

"That's my burger."

Barbara ignored her and bit into it. She licked her fingers.

"It's good." She put the burger on the plate and gave it back to her. "Tell me something, why were you trying to leave?"

The brunette didn't answer. She took her plate back and bit her burger. No way Barbara was going to get her burger again.

Barbara wiped her fingers with a napkin. "I mean, this place is not bad and you can't handle yourself alone for at least another week. Not because you are incompetant, but your injuries were really serious. How is your head?"


The redhead crossed her arms on the table. "I was worried about you."

Helena looked at her, not saying a word.

"When Batgirl brought you here, I was really worried, but, at the same time, I was so proud of you when I knew what you had done for those kids." Barbara smiled at her "It was marvelous, Helena, thanks so much."

The young woman didn't answer. She kept eating her burger.

"If you hadn't been there, I don't want to imagine what would have happened to those kids." Barbara moved back in her chair "Batgirl has been trying to find out who the man was that attacked you. She has a clue and is now following it. The kids are doing fine, if you are interested."

That caught the brunette's attention and the redhead noticed it.

"I was there today. Justin is doing well, he asked for you. He said he was scared, that he saw when the man hit you and, later, when a part of the ceiling fell on you. He thought you were dead." Barbara looked inside her pants pocket. She took out a note and extended it to her. "He sent this to you."

Helena looked at the note.

"Come on, it's yours." Barbara smiled at her.

The young woman took it and opened it. It was a drawing of a heart and an "I love you Helena" in really bad handwriting.

The redhead noticed her reaction. Helena flinched almost imperceptibly, but she noticed it.

"He asked me to tell him how to write that for you," she said. "He also asked me when you will be better because he wants visit you."

Helena fixed her eyes on her. "He is hurt."

"Yes, but he is healing."

Helena lowered her eyes to the note. "He is hurt and thinks of me."

"I guess it's because you annoy him and he loves to do the same to you.

The brunette didn't answer, she just looked at the note in silence.

"It will take to him longer than you to heal, he is not meta. But he is doing fine, Helena," Barbara explained.

The younger woman turned her head to the window to her right. It was snowing. She remembered how much she liked this season of the year. She used to have snowball fights and build snowmen.

"I told him you would come see him when you feel better and you can move," Barbara said softly.

Helena nodded, not looking her.

"It will make him very happy." The redhead knew her mind was in another time. She noticed it in the sadness she could see reflected in her eyes.

She put her napkin to the side and stood next to the brunette, lifting her hand to touch her.

The brunette glared at her and jerked her head away.

"Would you relax?" Barbara said.

"What are you doing?"

"Let me see how this is healing." She pointed at the wound on her temple.

Helena moved her head back a bit when Barbara leaned over her and probed the wound on her temple with her fingers. It was amazing. It had closed and was just a bit bruised around the injury.

Helena remained still. Barbara's fingers felt good as they gently touched her head.

"And the other kids are fine?"

"Yes," Barbara said softly, "maybe when you feel better, you can help me with the project of building them a new home."

The redhead's fingers were so nice. They were soft and every time she moved them, it was like a caress. She closed her eyes and let the older woman work on her.

"Yeah," Helena agreed.

"I already bought some land close to the hills. They could have a big garden." Barbara felt the brunette relax under her touch. She smiled. "This looks great, Hel," Barbara whispered. "You are doing great."

The redhead's fingers moved so smoothly on her head. Helena closed her eyes, listening to her voice. It was almost hypnotic. Her voice made Helena remember when they were close, when Barbara comforted her.

"Does it hurt?" the redhead asked, putting gentle pressure on her head near the wound.

The girl shook her head, opening her eyes.

"Look," Barbara looked at her. "I need to take an x-ray of your head, it won't hurt. I already did one when you were unconscious, but I want do another one just to be sure you are okay." She patted her shoulder, "Be right back in a moment."

Helena watched her go, silently.

She felt numb.

She wished she could feel Barbara caressing her head a bit more.

Helena tried to sleep, but she couldn't. She turned her head to the other side of the bed, Barbara wasn't there.

Alfred said she was working at the Foundation. She really worked hard, she had seen her in afternoon checking papers there, making phone calls… She had many things to do, but Barbara always made sure not to leave her alone too long, knowing she couldn't do many things alone.

It was nice having someone take care of her. The last person that had taken care of her was her mother. Barbara took care of her of her burns and dressed them with a tenderness that she hadn't felt in years.

She realized how much she missed being loved.

But love was pain.

And she didn't want to feel that pain again.

She looked again to Barbara's side of her bed.

Barbara was gentle every time she was with her.

And she liked it.

She was becoming pissed with herself, she was being very stupid. This was not what she had planned. She was beginning to feel affection for the older woman and that was exactly what she had been avoiding for long years, rather successfully.

Until now.

Barbara made her feel loved.

She hadn't felt loved in a long time. And the truth was that thinking about it scared her. She didn't want to be hurt, she didn't want feel the pain of being left alone again.

But she wanted feel loved again, she wanted to be close to someone again.

She was so stupid.

The door opened slowly, she closed her eyes, pretending to sleep. The redhead stopped at her side of the bed and checked her. Thinking she was asleep, she gently covered her with the blankets and went toward her closet. Helena opened her eyes, she could see perfectly well at darkness and noticed she was changing her clothes.

She removed her blouse and rubbed the back of her head. She looked so tired and the truth was that she was always on the move. Barbara then went toward her shower.

Helena could see her reflection in the mirror. Her silhouette was blurred behind the shower glass, but her eyes were glued to her.

Barbara was sophisticated, elegant, refined and, at the same time, she was strong and determined. She liked her style. She remembered the times she had seen her at the office. Barbara was very feminine, but it didn't stop her from riding a bike or helping with hard work. She had seen her cleaning and painting when they had been doing community service. She didn't hid from work, she looked for it.

She was different from any person she had ever known.

In some way, she admired her dedication and devotion for helping others.

Barbara walked outside the bathroom. She held her breath. She was nude, just holding a towel in front of her. She felt butterflies in her stomach. Barbara was breathtaking, she had really strong muscles and a wonderful body.

Barbara always ate healthy food and she followed her routine in the gym every day. She never changed it. Maybe she could move her schedule around so she could be in the redhead's gym at the same time. The redhead turned her back to her and sat on her bench, drying her hair with the towel. Crap, she was beautiful.

What did she see in that moron, Wade? He was too dumb for her. She needed someone more handsome, stronger, with a better personality, almost as strong as hers. She was definitely wasting her time with him, when would she realize it?

Barbara changed to a thin t-shirt and just her underwear and turned to the bed. Helena closed her eyes, immediately. She didn't want be caught looking her.

She felt the other woman's weight on the bed and, a second later, Barbara was moving close to her.

The redhead's soft lips brushed her temple. It was so tender that it made her shiver involuntarily and gasp. She kept her eyes closed, hoping the redhead wouldn't notice she was awake.

"I love you, Helena," Barbara said softly. She had felt the girl trembling lightly under her touch and was surprised.

She didn't reject her this time.

Helena knew she had been caught. Crap. She opened her eyes and found Barbara resting on her side, looking at her from the pillow next to her.

Why was she doing this to her?

"I hope you can forgive me one day," the redhead whispered, looking at her. "I never wanted to hurt you."

The brunette exhaled. "Why do you care so much?" she whispered. Barbara never had stopped trying to be close to her since she came back from her recovery. She had been pushing and pushing, anyone else would have quit after her first tantrum. Helena had been avoiding her, and yet Barbara always found a way to locate her.

"Because you are family. You and your mom were family to me."

The brunette could see her eyes clearly. She looked at her so openly.

"And you never quit on your family," the redhead said. "You know?"

"You quit before," Helena complained.

"I never did."

"You did, you left me." Helena said painfully, turning her head to the ceiling.

"It was not because I wanted to do it," the woman whispered sadly. "I hope you understand some day that it was not the best moment of my life."

The brunette suddenly felt guilty, maybe she had been too hard on her. She was so confused.

"I wish I could turn back time," Barbara said, "but I can't. Maybe you will never forgive me, but anytime you need me, I'll be here."

She took a deep breath and turned to her other side. A deep silence filled the place.

"When you feel better, you can leave any time you want," Barbara said after long seconds. "And if you want to quit the job at the foundation, I understand."

The brunette didn't answer. She was letting her go, she was telling her she could leave. Barbara was quitting on her. After so many long years, she was quitting and it made the brunette sad. She couldn't understand it.

She could still feel her lips brushing her skin. She wanted to hate her, but she couldn't. The brunette closed her eyes, she could feel her warm body, smell her, hear her soft breathing.

A relaxed breathing. The rhythm was soft and steady.

Being so close to the other woman made her feel nervous. She couldn't understand why, but she felt so nervous.

Maybe it was her strong personality; it frequently made her feel like a stupid kid.

It pissed her off. Many things about Barbara pissed her off, but, at the same time, Helena found that she didn't want to go. She liked being close to the redhead. It was a weird feeling…

The next day Helena's mood had changed significantly. It seemed something made her forget her resentment. They had breakfast together. Barbara had laughed a lot, Helena was a funny girl. When she was in good mood, she was really nice to be around. She was smart and could talk for hours. She had just finished high school a couple years prior, but her mother's influence was strong, she had read quite a bit and knew a lot about many different topics.

Barbara went to work and returned to have lunch with the brunette. The next two days were very nice days, as both enjoyed their time together, sharing ideas and projects.

Helena was enthusiastic about the new orphanage.

Barbara was thrilled that she'd managed to win the brunette's trust.

Helena felt like she had a home, a family, and she had wanted that for years. Barbara was as like a mentor, she taught her many things during their talks, she always listened to her, and paid attention to her ideas.

She was the first person that listened to her ideas and gave them a value. Her father never had done it. Barbara spoiled her, too. She liked it when she checked her bandages, Barbara talked to her with such tenderness and love that she forgot all the bad years, all her tears and bad moments.

When she massaged her skin, the rest of the world didn't exist.

Her hands were so soft.

"I'm glad you are healing well," Barbara said patting her leg. She turned, her bright green eyes fixed on the brunette. "I see you can walk now."

"Yes, it doesn't hurt and my skin is not so stiff."

"Yes, your cells are regenerating very quickly." She moved her fingers over Helena's shin, observing her reaction under her touch.

"It doesn't hurt and doesn't itch."

"Yes," Barbara stood up, "You will be perfectly well tomorrow."

Helena stood up from the couch in the living room.

"How does it feel to be independent again?" Barbara crossed her arms and smiled at her.

"Terrific." Helena stretched and bent her arm.

"I'm glad for you."

The brunette looked at her in silence. She really had been so nice with her. "Thanks, Barbara."

"It's a pleasure, Hel, anytime."

"I mean it, Barbara. Thanks." The brunette moved toward her and hugged her.

The redhead returned the embrace, happy that they had moved past their differences, finally. Helena closed her eyes and buried her nose in the redhead's neck. It felt so good to be in her arms, she felt so good. She loved her so much.

"Hello, love."

The brunette snapped her eyes open. Barbara moved back lightly and smiled at Wade.

-"Wade… Hey," she greeted.

Helena moved to the side and glared at him. What was he doing here?

Damn. Stupid question. He was Barbara's boyfriend.

"I'm sorry I'm late, but I was working with some kids." He walked toward her and she wrapped her arms around his neck, kissing him.

The brunette turned her head to the other side and chewed her lip.

"Hey Helena , how do you feel?" Wade asked, smiling at her.

"Better," she responded, waving her hands toward the bedroom. "I was… I was going… to rest a bit."

"I'm glad you are doing well. I was feeling jealous, Barbara been paying a lot of attention to you and forgot me."

The redhead hit his arm playfully.

Helena forced a small smile and walked toward the bedroom. What a moron.

She sat on the couch and surfed the channels. All the programs were boring or stupid. Crap television. She often gazed toward the closed door and checked her watch. Barbara had spent more then two hours with him.

Now it was almost nine and she was hungry and he still was there. Why didn't he go away? Did he not notice that Barbara was busy?

She grumbled and snuggled deep into the couch.

After a few seconds, she heard the door opening, her heart jumped and she sat up straight.

"Evening, Miss Helena."

Alfred. Shit. She buried herself into the couch again.

He walked inside the room with a tray in his hands, "I thought you might like some dinner."

"I'm not hungry," she grumbled.

"No? Now, that is serious."

She gazed at him in an unfriendly way.

"Well," he put the tray on the table and walked toward the door, "that is a shame. Miss Barbara said she wanted to have dinner with you."

She straightened. "She said that?"

"Yes, she is saying goodbye to Master Wade, now." He walked toward the door.

"Master?" she smirked "He is a moron."

"Miss Barbara loves him."

"I don't think so."

"No?" he asked curiously. "Why not?"

"You can see it in her eyes. She is not in love. He is nothing next to her."

"Don't you think that is a rude description of him? He has been very nice to her."

"I also know because she never says his name when she is sleeping."

"Oh." He smiled. "People in love must do that?"


"I see…"

"He is a loser, Alfred." She pointed her finger at him.

He lifted his eyebrow.

"That is a fair description. Loser."

"I don't think so," he chuckled, walking outside the room. "He got her."

Helena felt her anger growing. He never pissed her off, but this time he had managed to do it.

He had just walked a few steps out of the room when he crossed paths with the redhead.

"Be careful, she is not in good mood."

"Why not?"

"Tantrum." He chuckled.

"I didn't eat her ice cream, so what's the problem?" Barbara turned to look at him.

"Let's say she is not good at sharing." He kept walking toward the kitchen.

"Jealousy?" Barbara frowned. Was she jealous of Wade?

"Yes, and something I said pissed her off."

"What did you say?"

"Better not to ask. Good luck."

She scratched her temple. Well, it seemed Helena was jealous of Wade. She had been alone so long that she was acting like as a jealous child. She would need to deal with it, but, well, she was used to it. She took a deep breath and walked inside the room.

"Hi, Hel," she said, noting her tantrum was serious, based on the way she was sitting. "What are you watching?"

"Nothing," the brunette grumbled, scrunching deeper into the couch.

"Knowing how you change channels, I believe you." Barbara sat at the table. "Want dinner?"

"I'm not hungry."

"No?" Barbara lifted the dome covering her food. That looked good.


"You sure?" the redhead lifted the dome covering Helena's plate.

"Why?" the brunette sat up.

"Your dinner looks better than mine." She took a french fry from Helena's plate, "Can I trade?"

Helena gazed at her dinner. It was a big steak with french fries and it smelled damn good.

Barbara had just a salad.

Helena moved to her chair at the table.

"So?" Barbara asked, taking another french fry from the brunette's plate.

"Hey!" Helena grumbled.

"You said you weren't hungry." Barbara waved her hands.

Helena glared at her.

"Wade was nice, he brought me flowers," Barbara said, teasing her.

"Corny," the brunette growled, cutting a piece of meat.

"Corny?" Barbara smiled. "Why corny? I like flowers."

"Do you really like flowers?" Helena narrowed her eyes.

"I love flowers, it's a nice touch. When someone loves you, he gives you flowers."

"I don't see the point."

"Flowers are beautiful. It's symbolic. You give the best to the person you love most."

"Oh…" Helena moved back in her chair, thinking.

"Do you want to see…?"

"No," the brunette hurried to say before the redhead could finish her sentence.

Barbara smiled and, amused, took a forkful of salad. "Okay, what do you like people to give to you as a gift?"


The redhead cocked her head and pointed at her with her fork. "You are in a bad mood."


"No?" Barbara smiled.


"All right." Barbara took another bite of salad. Helena was funny, she couldn't handle her own emotions or control her reactions. Yes, she was like a big child that loved to have her undivided attention. "So, we can play cards, then. I still need to recover the fifty dollars you took from me yesterday."

Helena couldn't suppress a smile. "You bet."

Barbara smiled back.

Helena felt comfortable. She couldn't remember when she had slept so deep and so well. Last night had been nice. Barbara was always an excellent conversationalist, she could talk about anything. She had laughed so much.

I was good to have her as a friend again.

She felt a bit… aroused. That was what had awakened her. She was not dreaming one of those weird erotic dreams she had sometimes, so it was weird.

The she realized something different.

Barbara's smell filled all her senses, it was powerfully overwhelming.


She snapped open her eyes.

She was cuddled against the redhead, hugging her waist and her head was resting on the older woman's right arm. She lifted her eyes slowly. Barbara was lying on her back and her head was turned to the other side. She was deeply asleep. She looked so damn beautiful, and it felt so good to be there.

The redhead stirred.

Helena jerked away so abruptly that Barbara woke up.

"Uh?" she mumbled looking around sleepily. "What's wrong?"

Helena sat up immediately. "Sorry, I didn't mean to wake you up… I, I was going to the bathroom."

"Need help to stand up?" she yawned.

"No, no, I can… alone." Very alone, she added in her head.

"It's okay." The redhead closed her eyes again and returned to her sleep.

Helena could breathe. She almost had caught her. She stood up slowly and turned to look at Barbara.

She really was gorgeous, and she, dammit, she was excited. That couldn't be. She needed a cold shower.

Barbara stretched, arching her body.

Helena swallowed.

She felt weird. She needed the cold shower now.

Her home felt empty, she never thought she could feel that loneliness again. But she felt it now that she had returned to her place after a long, and pleasant, week at Barbara's home.

Helena looked toward the Clock Tower, she had climbed to the rooftop of her place, she could see it clearly from there.

She felt different. She felt she was not alone anymore. It gave her a peaceful feeling, one that she hadn't felt in years.

She had Barbara. She smiled; they were friends again.

Barbara was a beautiful woman and all the men were probably crazy for her.

It was weird how she felt when she was with her, how she felt her pulse increase.

How she had felt aroused.

She never had felt so aroused for anyone. It made her feel very uncomfortable. She was not sure why she was feeling that way. The only thing she knew was that being close to Barbara was like being home again and she didn't want to lose her.

A thought had crossed for her mind that morning.

She liked Barbara, but… she was not sure if her feelings were beyond friendship, she just knew she felt so alive when she was close to her, so safe.

She brushed her hair back with her left hand.

She was confused, there had been many changes in her life over the last months. She had become independent, she finally could live away from Bruce… live on her own. She had found a new direction in her life by helping those orphans and she had found that she couldn't hate Barbara. She had tried and tried, but she couldn't. The other woman was so nice and gentle with her.

She'd never felt loved as she did now, since her mom died.

That was it.

She was mixing her feelings. She had held back for so long that, now, all her feelings were mixed up in overwhelming confusion.

She sighed and looked at her watch. She still was on time to check on Justin. She wanted to see him.

Barbara fell asleep early, she was exhausted. Helena had gone that morning and Barbara had gone to the foundation, where she worked until almost nine. She had been in meetings, on phone calls and looking for a place for the new orphan's home.

She had been deeply asleep, but the sensation of being watched woke her. It was weird. Sleepy, she opened her eyes and saw a shadow in her window. She turned on the light of the lamp immediately.

She felt an arm enveloping her waist and a warm body against her back.

It was Helena, she had come back. She smiled and spooned close to her.

The brunette's hand kneaded gently against her stomach. It felt so good having her so close.

Helena's hand began to made soft circles against her stomach. The sensation was… it was overwhelming… and delicious.

Maybe her body was reacting to the gentle touch in a wrong way, but she couldn't avoid the feeling.

Soft lips kissed her neck softly; the gesture made shiver her body. Helena's hand moved skillfully over her skin, overwhelming her senses.

The dark haired woman traced the shell of her ear with her tongue and her hand moved up, brushing the lower part of her breast. Barbara arched under the contact.

Helena's movements were so slow, so seductive…

Helena's hand covered her breast and pressed it gently. She cupped the young woman's hand with own and turned her head lightly to find Helena's lips pressing against her. She kissed the brunette and opened her mouth to let in a demanding tongue.

The contact was electric.

Helena began to rock her hips against her back.

"Hel…" she gasped, but found her mouth trapped again under that amazing mouth. She lost all sensation of time and when she finally moved back, she found feral eyes regarding her.

She turned and caught Helena's lips again, pushing her back against the mattress, letting her hands touch the soft and firm skin of her stomach. She felt a terrible frenzy to touch, to taste that wonderful and beautiful woman.

She pushed her night shirt up with everything but finesse, and moved her head down to trap a soft nipple and suck hard.

Helena moaned and grabbed Barbara's head between her hands, pressing her harder against her. It was a different and new sensation for Barbara, the brunette's soft whimpers wreaking havoc on her libido.

The brunette's hand moved to her back and pushed her t-shirt up. She moved up and removed it, leaning slowly over the brunette's body to kiss her again. The feeling of her nipples pressing against Helena's was the most erotic sensation she had felt in her life. She moved the brunette's leg with her hand and buried her thigh against Helena's warm center.


"Helena…" she gasped.


The redhead snapped her eyes open and saw a shadow standing at her window. She turned on the light of the lamp immediately.

"Helena?" the redhead said in surprise. "Christ! You scared me! What are you doing here?"

The brunette didn't answer, she just stood there, staring at the older woman

"Helena? What happened?"

Helena traced her body with her eyes. Barbara's skin was so white, like porcelain , her skin seemed to be so soft. Life could be so wonderful.

She lowered her head.

"I went to see Justin," she said softly.

"At the hospital?"

The young woman nodded and bit her lips.

"He must have been so happy to see you."

"He was," Helena said, her eyes moist. She looked at the wall. "He was in pain, Barbara, but he smiled when he saw me."

"He likes you."

"But he was hurt," the brunette paced in front of her, not knowing where to go. "And… he forgot his pain and asked me how I was..:"

Barbara listened to her in silence.

Tears began to cascade down Helena's cheeks, she lowered her head. "He is burned, his hands, his legs…."

The redhead took her hand and pulled her closer, gently. The young woman sat next to her.

"He will be fine, Helena. It will take some time, but he will be fine."

"But he is in pain… It's my fault, I was distracted. I didn't listen to your advice when we trained, if I had listened to you he would be ok now."

"Helena, sometimes we can't help all the people we want and it's not your fault, you tried."

"And I failed."

Barbara put her hand on her cheek and tugged gently, forcing the brunette to look at her.

"You didn't fail," she said softly. "You saved many kids that night. They would all be dead now, if you hadn't been there."

Helena felt herself drowning in those green eyes filled with love. Barbara always looked at her with love. She always talked to her with love and patience and she had rejected her. She closed her eyes and leaned into the hand cupping her cheek.

"You are wonderful," Barbara whispered. "Stop hurting yourself. You are an incredible human, you have a great heart. Stop hurting yourself."

Barbara leaned over and hugged her, the brunette didn't reject the embrace. In fact, she hugged the redhead back, burying her face on her shoulder and crying. Barbara moved her hand behind the dark head and smoothed soft hair.

Helena didn't know how long she cried; she just felt safe, loved, and protected. She felt like she was home again.

The brunette walked around the burned building. She had been out of action for almost a week and, the last month, things had been slow. She had been looking for the guy that started the fire at the orphanage, trying to find any trace of him, unsuccessfully.

She had been working in the mornings with Barbara at the Foundation and then having lunch with her, except on Fridays. That was her day to go out with Wade. Helena didn't ask her so much about him, but she guessed she saw him when she went to school in the afternoons and at night. But Helena preferred not think about that.

She knew that some buildings that were the property of Bruce Wayne had been the target of arsonists, like the one that she was checking. She had arrived late. So she had the feeling that the connection was simple and it seemed she was not the only one with issues against her father.

She walked around the garden and kneeled on the floor where she found a melted plastic form. She took a fragment of it and smelled it. Crap, gas. She smelled something bad, like shit.

"Did you find something interesting?" a voice said from behind her.

She turned and found Batgirl smiling at her.

"Huntress, I was wondering when I'd see you again," the taller woman said.

Huntress stood up, glaring at her. Where the fuck was that smell coming from?

"I want to thank you for helping those children that day," the redhead said. "You did an excellent job."


"Oh, and you don't need to thank me for saving your life. Are you looking for the man that attacked you?"

"Yes," Huntress grumbled. She wanted to kick her ass. Why was she so annoying?

"Did you find something interesting?"

"No, he just used oil, as always."

"You need to open your eyes," Batgirl said, kneeling where Huntress had been.

The brunette took a step back. Smelling a horrible odor, she covered her nose with her arm.

"Something wrong?" Batgirl asked, amused.

"You smell like shit."

"Butyl seleno mercaptan," the redhead explained, picking up a piece of the melted material and putting it inside a plastic bag. "It's a chemical compound. I was investigating this man's trail and ended up at the New Gotham chemical factory."

"Fuck! It's disgusting." This was one of those moments when Huntress hated having a sensitive nose.

"Watch for small clues." Batgirl ignored her comment. "I have been doing some research. This is not a common oil. It's from an oil spill. Oil usually takes the form of liquid petroleum hydrocarbon, such as crude oil, gasoline, diesel fuel and fuel oil. This is the term that often refers to marine oil spills, where oil is released into the ocean or coastal waters."

"A year ago, an oil tanker sank." Huntress remembered, walking a few feet away from her.

"Yes, and the entire oil spill was cleaned up and temporarily stored at New Gotham's old refinery." The crime fighter stood up. "See? You must always check every detail. Everything is important."

"Do you think you know everything?" Huntress asked, crossing her arms over her chest.

"Often…" Batgirl put the sample inside a pocket in her cape.

"What are you doing?"

"I must analyze it. I have a theory."

"What theory? He must be there!"

"He could work there, or someone could be helping him, or he could be stealing it. We don't know. And if he is attacking Wayne's properties, he must have something against him. So, I just need to find out who could have a connection."

That was new. How she could know about that? "How did you know about the Wayne connection?"

"Has anyone ever told you that you are a pain in the ass?" the young woman grumbled.

"Oh yes, and irritating too."

"You should try to be nice with people."

"You must understand that I can't be a Public Relations Manager in my work." Something caught the redhead's attention and she walked toward a tree.

"Crap, you smell horrible." Huntress turned her back to her.

"How are you feeling?" The redhead kneeled in the grass. There was a discarded Milky Way wrapper.


"You worried me," Batgirl took another plastic bag and picked it up. The guy could have been eating it and it would have some DNA. "You had a pretty bad bruise on your head."

"He attacked me with a thick stick."

"To break your head, it must be really thick."

Huntress glared at her.

The redhead put her fist on her waist. She observed the dark woman with curiosity. "Are you seriously thinking of being a crime fighter?"

"None of your business," Huntress growled to her.

"I know. However, if you'll accept some advice, your dress is not proper for the job."

The young woman lifted her brow. "What's wrong with my clothes? What's wrong?"

"The leather pants and the coat are cool, but… it's a bit expensive to fight bad guys. Also, you don't wear a mask."

"I don't like masks," Huntress said icily.

"It's dangerous. Someone could recognize you."

"No one can recognize me. I'm fast."

"Yeah," Batgirl said ironically, "very fast. So fast that he broke your head with a stick."

"I hate irony."

"You need a secret identity."

"I have a secret identity!" the brunette exclaimed.


"I'm not going to discuss this with you."

"You must be careful," the redhead pointed out. "You could risk your own life and the life of people around you, if someone identifies you. Be careful." Batgirl picked up her sample and waved her hand at her. "All right, see you, girl."

"Don't call me girl," Huntress growled.

"Well…" the redhead said, "you don't have mustache, you are a girl, no?"

"You know what I mean."

"Okay, have fun and take care." She took out her batarang and threw it to the top of the next building. She let the cord pull her up.

Huntress watched her disappear in the darkness. She would kick her ass. She would do it and soon. Who was she? Why did she seem to know where she was all the time? It was weird. And irritating.

Batgirl, who was she? She had appeared suddenly from nowhere. She always surprised her and she hated it. She was supposed to be the stalker, not Batgirl. She still impressed her with her black suit and her cape.

She didn't seem be afraid of anything or anyone. She couldn't stop thinking about her the last few days. She was like a ghost, appearing from nowhere and disappearing in the same way. She really must be excellent at her job, but she was a real nuisance, too.

Who the fuck did that woman think she was? She really was looking to piss her off. Batgirl didn't know she was training, Next time Helena would kick her ass!

She had wanted do it last night, but she couldn't, she had just saved her life. But, well, next time she wouldn't be so polite.

"A penny for your thoughts?" Barbara asked, when she walked inside her home. She wasn't surprised to see Helena there. The brunette had been a routine visitor the last few weeks, arriving at night to join her for dinner. She was glad to see her, she liked her company.

Helena was in the living room, staring at the TV. She was so immersed in her thoughts that she hadn't heard her opening the door.

"Nothing," the brunette said.

"Nothing?" She put her briefcase on the table. "I don't buy it." She showed her a paper bag "Do you want a croissant?"


The redhead walked toward the kitchen and opened the bag.

"Who is Batgirl, Barbara?" she heard Helena asking from the living room.

"A hero," Barbara put the croissants on plates and looked for some iced tea. "She has been fighting crime the last few years with Batman. Many people think she is a legend because it's hard to see her. You can't see her if she doesn't want you to." She walked toward the living again.

Helena turned her head to her. "Seriously?"

"So I hear. Do you want something to drink?" the redhead asked.

"I'm fine." She lifted her glass of milk.

"Why do you ask?" Barbara gave her a plate and sat next to her.

"No reason."

"Your favorite words." Barbara sat next to her and watched the TV. "What are we watching?"

"Two and a Half Men."

"Love that guy." Barbara bit her croissant and laughed at a joke.

After a few seconds, Helena said. "I saw her last night."


"Yes, and she really pissed me off."

"Well, that's not so difficult." She opened her can of tea.

Helena cocked her head, gazing her. "Are you on my side or what?"

"I know your qualities, and patience and tolerance are definitely not included." Barbara patted her leg. "So, what happened? How did you see her? She found you?"

The brunette hesitated in answering. She had possibly opened her mouth too much, but now she didn't have any options.

"I went yesterday night to a building that was on fire."

"Are you doing the crime fighting thing again?" Barbara lifted her eyebrow.

"I need to stop him, Barbara." The brunette exhaled and pressed the mute button. "He hurt children…. he almost killed them."

"You need to be careful. If you act, letting your feelings guide you, you will make a mistake and get hurt. Why don't you let her do her work?"

"She is a bitch! Are you crazy?"

Barbara laughed. "A bitch? Why?"

"She thinks she knows everything," the brunette waved her hands. "And every time I see her, she tries to give me a lesson."

"She is pretty good at her job, maybe you should listen to her."

"No way. She is arrogant and I know what I'm doing."

"Have you ever tried to be humble?"

"Don't tell it to me, tell it to her," Helena protested.

Barbara sipped her beverage, trying not to laugh at the brunette. "Okay, so, did you thank her for saving your life, at least? Or did you argue with her all night?"

"How? She pissed me off."

"I see. So, you will keep looking for that man."

"I have learned a lot from you," the young woman said, turning to see her. "I know now, how to defend myself."

"You won't give up, right?" Barbara lowered her can and rested it between her legs.

The young woman nodded. "I'm half-meta, Barbara, you know I can stop him."

"I know. It's just that I'm worried." Barbara lifted her hand and cupped her cheek.

Helena felt butterflies in her stomach under her touch. Dammit.

I don't want you to get hurt," the redhead said. "Promise me that you'll be careful."

Helena felt be lost in those green eyes. "I will."

Barbara smiled. "Thanks."

Helena moved her head to the side feeling very nervous under her touch. "Don't worry, Barbara."

"All right. Talk," the brunette said, holding the man by his neck.

"No way, bitch."

She slapped him harder on his face. He fell to the ground and she put her foot on his throat.

"Beep, wrong answer," Huntress said. "Let's start again. Talk - tell me the name of the man who started the fires at Wayne's properties?"

"He will kill me."

"Well, it's your choice. He will kill you or I will kill you." She smirked, pressing her foot against his throat.

He lifted his hand. "I'll talk… I'll talk.." he gasped.

"Good boy." She smiled and lifted him by his lapels, pushing him hard against the wall.

"Wayne fired him…" he coughed. "He was doing experiments with toxins. He did it and didn't tell anyone. When Wayne discovered it, he sent him to jail…"

"What's his name?" Huntress shook him against the wall.

"People call him Flame," the man hurried to say,

"I'll flame his ass. Where can I find him?"

"I don't know."

Huntress smashed him hard against the brick wall and lifted her fist. "Maybe if I hit you a bit, you will remember."

"No, I'm serious, I'm serious." He covered his face with his hands.

She pushed him back, he was not lying. "Be careful, I'll be watching you." She jumped to the closest building. She began to pace, thinking. Trying to remember which places he had burned.

She kneeled on the rooftop, took a stick and began to draw in the dirt.

First had been a factory, later an office, after that a storage facility, the children's home, and the last one had been a scientific center… It was a circle, the next one… She lifted her head, there was a lab close by. She was sure he would attack it soon. She would need to keep an eye on it. She stood up and ran across the rooftops toward it.

Huntress spent the next three nights keeping an eye on the building, but there were no traces of the guy.

"Hi." She heard a voice behind her.

She covered her face with her hands. Dammit!

Her again. Why the fuck didn't she hear her when she was close? She patted her ear with her fingers. Maybe she was sick or her senses were not working well. Huntress stood up and turned to see her.

"Let me explain in three words: Stop-following-me," she grumbled.

"I was not following, I was looking for you," Batgirl said.

"Know what?" the brunette smirked at her. "I'm beginning to think that you are attracted to me."

"Oh, yes?" the redhead chuckled.

"Yes," she smiled, walking toward the caped vigilante, but stopped when a bad smell filled her nostrils.

Dammit, Why did she like to be in such nasty places? "But you and your taste for perfumes will keep us apart, for sure."

"You've broken my heart." Batgirl smiled.

"I know," Huntress winked at her. "It's terrible to get me and then lose me."

Batgirl scratched her ear, amused. She couldn't believe she was flirting with her. "Don't be so vain."

The young woman took a step back and eyed her.

The redhead noticed her scrutiny. "Do you see something that you like?"

"Could be." Huntress moved toward her, putting her hands inside the pockets of her coat. "I like older women."

"Hey," the redhead protested, feigning offense. "I'm not so old and, just for the record, I like men."

"Maybe because you haven't tried with me."

"Do you really like women? I never would have thought that of you."

Huntress winked to her.

Batgirl sighed. "I'm sorry, not interested."

"Are you afraid?" the brunette stood a few steps from her.


"Of me." Huntress smiled.

"Sorry to disappoint, but, no, I'm not afraid of you and, as I remember, last time I swept your ass."

"Maybe you will try to do something else with my ass and enjoy it."

"Sorry, dear," Batgirl said, amused. "My heart belongs to another."

"Oh, no problem." Huntress shrugged her shoulders. "I'm not jealous."

"And I'm not stupid," Batgirl thought it was time to finish the game. "Listen, Huntress. I caught our guy."

The brunette frowned. "What guy?"

"The guy that started the fire at the children's home."

"What?" the dark haired woman couldn't believe what she was hearing.

"I caught him," The masked woman said.

"When? Where?" the brunette asked, annoyed.

"Ten minutes ago, inside there." She pointed at the building Helena had been keeping an eye on.

"It couldn't be! I have been here all night! I didn't see you."

"Well," the redhead said. "That's rather the point…. that no one sees me."

"You are lying."

The sound of patrol sirens filled the air. Huntress turned her head back. She was telling the truth, this couldn't be.

"In fact, no, I called the police," Batgirl explained. "They are coming to pick him up."

Blue eyes flashed at her in anger. "What the fuck are you talking about?"

"I was doing my research, I came here thinking that this would be his next target and I saw you around. So, I realized that you had come to the same conclusion as I did, that he would come here. So, knowing you would have an eye on him outside, I was inside. Your instinct amazed me. It's very good."

Huntress pressed her fists in balls. "You never told me! You used me!"

"No, I was helping as backup, but you never saw him walking inside because he was already inside. He pretended to be a worker."

"Why didn't you tell me about your plan?"

"It's impossible to talk to you!"

"Fuck!" the brunette paced annoyed. "You didn't have any right!"

"We needed to stop him. He had hurt innocents, we already did it."

"We?" She went toward Batgirl, annoyed. "You caught him! You gave him to the police! I wanted to kill him!"

"We don't kill."

"We? There is no we and I'm not you!"

"Huntress," Batgirl said calmly, "you want to be a crime fighter. We don't kill."

"Who says?"

"It's a rule."

"Perfect, I don't follow rules." The brunette clenched her teeth, facing her.

The redhead played with her tongue inside her mouth. Yes, this would be as hard as she thought. "The guy will have a trial and go to jail. There is enough evidence to keep him there a long time. When we follow a criminal, it's not important who catches him. The important thing is working as a team and capturing him!"

"Get this in your fucking mind! There is no 'we'!" The brunette pointed at her with her finger.

The redhead sighed. "I'm sorry. I thought you were open minded."

The brunette pushed her back. "Why the fuck don't you keep your nose far from me?"

Batgirl took her hands and pushed it to a side. "Careful, young lady."

"Don't talk me as if I am a kid!" the brunette growled and threw a punch.

Batgirl barely had time to avoid it, but she couldn't stop a fast kick. The redhead flew backwards and hit a brick wall roughly.

The brunette charged at her and Batgirl pushed back with her feet. She barely had time to stand up before the young woman was on her again.

It seemed she had learned very well. Batgirl threw a punch that the brunette stopped.

Huntress moved quickly and tried to hit her, but the blow was blocked.

Helena was pissed. It seemed that the other woman knew how she fought. At least she was not kicking her ass as easily as the last time.

"Stop now!" Batgirl growled angrily.

The dark haired woman didn't listen, she jumped and threw a kick.

Dammit, why was she so hard headed? the redhead thought. She didn't want to hurt the girl or want the girl to hurt her. Getting a full blow from Huntress wouldn't be pleasant.

Huntress tried a double jump, but Batgirl ducked easily. She landed on her feet and turned, glaring at her. How the hell did she avoid that move?

Breathing heavily, the masked woman lifted her hand. "Huntress, please stop. I don't want to hurt you."

The brunette growled and jumped at her. Batgirl knew what she was planning to do, so she moved to the side and grabbed the younger woman's waist, throwing her to the ground. The blow would be hard. As soon as the brunette hit the ground, Batgirl moved over her and put her hand on her lower neck, immobilizing her by pinching a nerve.

Helena growled, annoyed.

"Please," the redhead said, "calm down, I don't want to fight you."

"Fucking bitch!" the young woman winced.

"Stop letting your anger blind your mind! You can't think straight! You need to control your impulses!"

Huntress tried to move, but Batgirl pressed harder. The girl cried out and kept still.

"Easy," Batgirl mumbled softly. "Breathe, breathe deeply, slowly…"

"I'll kill you," Huntress panted.

"Please, calm down… You did fine, you found him. I was giving you back up inside the building, but we didn't know that he was already inside. He dressed as an employee and hid in the bathrooms. I noticed he was there when I smelled gas. He was ready to start a fire and I stopped him before he could do it," the redhead explained, softening her tone. "If that place caught on fire the chemicals would have exploded."

"You never told me you were there."

"Because you are so impulsive, you don't stop to think. You always let your emotions control you. You are good, but your anger is a disadvantage."

"You don't know me."

"Maybe I know you more than you imagine, Helena."

The brunette froze. The redhead released her and stepped back.

Huntress turned her head and stared at her. This couldn't be. She stood up slowly, not removing her eyes from the redhead.

Batgirl looked at her with a serious expression. Suddenly, she removed her cowl. She moved her head and brushed her hair. The brunette couldn't believe what she was seeing.


"Yes, it's me."

The brunette opened her mouth speechless. Barbara was Batgirl? She felt a cold shower falling on her.

"I have wanted tell you since the first time we crossed paths, but you were so angry at Batgirl, that I thought you would reject me as Barbara."

"You lied to me," Huntress mumbled.

"I didn't lie to you. I just didn't tell you about me… as Batgirl."

"Why didn't you tell me?"

"I didn't know if you would understand it! It took a lot of effort to get you to trust me again."

"You betrayed me." The girl moved back, feeling her heart break.

"No, no, of course not," Barbara hurried to say. "Helena, I'm so glad we are friends again."

"I trusted you…" the girl mumbled, lowering her head, she couldn't believe this, "and you…"

"Please, Helena." The redhead took a step toward her noticing the pain in her eyes. "I would never betray you. I love you…"

"You are fucking lying again!" the brunette growled. "I'll never trust you again!"


The girl turned and jumped toward the next building. Barbara covered her eyes. Fuck, she hadn't expected this.

She threw her cowl to the ground in anger.

This was a mess.

Helena never came back. Barbara stared at the city from her balcony, dressed as Batgirl, cowl in hand. She felt sad, terribly sad. She was so hurt, she should have predicted her reaction, but no, she never expected Helena would take it this way. She wished she could understand.

But, again, no.

She was gone.

She had tried to talk with her unsuccessfully. Helena refused to do it, she was very hurt. She had quit her job at the foundation, but she knew she had kept visiting the kids and supporting them.

"Thinking about her, Miss Barbara?"

The redhead smiled sadly, noticing Alfred at the balcony's main door. "You got me."

"I imagine so. Every time you are here, it is because you are thinking." He walked to her and stood at her side. "Did you find her?"

"She is very good at hiding, very hard to find."

"She learned from the best: you," Alfred said.

"I have seen her, but she just ignores me." She had seen her sometimes in the distance, but the brunette had ignored her. Truth be told, it was more painful to be ignored than insulted. She had kept to her work at the Foundation, trying to forget the brunette, but she couldn't. She wished everything could be different, but she couldn't change the past.

"You trained her very well. She is a great crime fighter."

"Just a bit violent."


"But life must go on." She put her cowl over her head. "Time to work."

"Do you want a sandwich for dinner?"

"Yes, that will be good. I'll be back in two hours or so."

"Good luck."

Batgirl swung between two buildings, using her batarang. She landed smoothly on a stairway and looked down, it was a quiet night. It seemed her dinner would be early today. She heard a yell and the sound of a glass breaking.

She had spoken too soon.

She turned and, using her batarang, she moved toward the next building. She just needed to cross a couple of buildings before she'd be able to see where the noise had come from. A thin and familiar dark figure was fighting against six men.


She was really impressive. It seemed she had trained her very well. Suddenly, a man lying on the ground took out a gun. Huntress, fighting against the last of the men didn't see him. She took out her batarang and threw it at the man and shouted a warning.

"Look out!"

The brunette turned and she could hear the sound of the bullet a few inches from her head. She jumped at the man and knocked him down.

"Seems every time I find you, I must save your ass," Batgirl said to Huntress' back.

"I was giving you a chance to do something," the brunette said, turning to see her.

The redhead looked at her with a serious expression. "Can we talk?"

"Sorry, I don't have time now." The brunette turned and waved her hand toward the unconscious men. "Call the police and ask them to pick up these assholes, ok?"

"Huntress, I love you. Please talk to me."

"I'm not monogamous. Sorry, Batty."

The redhead watched her walking toward the end of the street.

"Will you forgive me some day?" she asked in a loud voice.

The young woman didn't answer.


Batgirl rode her bike at a high speed down the road. She could reach the heavy truck that she had been following the last ten blocks. The guys just robbed a bank and were trying to escape. She drove her bike close to the driver's window and jumped on it. Holding on the back mirror, she hit the driver with her elbow and took the wheel in her hands, pulling it to her left. The truck turned to the left and hit the sidewalk. She jumped down a few seconds before the impact of the truck against a fence.

Her body hit the ground and rolled on the pavement. Ow, that was a hard blow. She lifted her head and noticed no one in the truck was moving. Slowly, she stood up, holding her side. She would have a good bruise the next morning.

She cleaned the dust from her arms and went to the truck.

She checked the front seat, two men were unconscious. She went to the backdoor and she removed the lock.

Suddenly, the doors opened, hitting her hard.

"You are dead, bitch!" a man shouted pointing at her with a rifle.

The left door of the truck suddenly swung back and the man dropped his rifle.

Stunned by the blow, it took the redhead a few seconds to recover. She used her left arm to rest on her side and lift her head. She noticed a pair of black boots in front of her.

She looked up. Huntress was smirking.

"Impressive… that jump to the truck," she said.


"But you lost all your style points on that fall from the truck. Not graceful."

"Not too many options." Batgirl stood up slowly and winced.

"That hurt."

"You must try it, it's fun." The redhead bent over to clean her pants. Batgirl was used to finding Huntress sometimes on her sweeps. She kept her distance and Batgirl had learned to respect it. It was curious, Huntress didn't like Batgirl. So every time they found each other, they used a game of sarcasm. She was sure it was a way for Helena to show her disgust for everything that had happened.

"Jumping to the road from a truck that is doing 70 miles per hour? Nah. My idea of fun involves other things… like chicks."

"Still dating three women at the same time?" Batgirl walked toward the truck.

"Two. Well," the brunette said, "it seems I saved your ass now."

"You wish."

"He was going to shoot you."

"The gun didn't have any bullets." The older woman climbed inside the truck and checked the unconscious man that Helena had knocked out.

"You are joking, right?"

"No." Batgirl tied the man using a rope.

Huntress frowned and went to pick up the rifle, she opened it. It didn't have any bullets. It was true. She looked at the other woman.

"How did you know?" she asked, intrigued.

"I removed the bullets from all the weapons man standing up, pointing at her with a rifle.in the truck while they were inside the building, robbing the bank." Batgirl smiled and jumped down.

The brunette threw the rifle to the floor angrily. "I hate you."

"Hey, I need to keep my back covered." The redhead walked toward the cabin. "Usually, you are the one who needs her ass saved."

"Fuck! You suck!" Huntress growled.

"Oh, come on, don't be so grouchy."

"You ruined my rescue!"

"Well, you didn't tell me you were coming." Batgirl tied up the driver of the truck "I would have brought a welcome cake."

Huntress patted her chin. "Chocolate will be fine."

"These guys are the same that robbed the National Bank," the redhead explained.

"How do you know? Your marvelous computer system tell you?"

Batgirl smiled. She bent down and took a bag from inside the cabin. She showed it to Huntress. It was an empty bag from the National bank.

Huntress glared at her. "You love to pretend to be the smartest, right?"

"I don't pretend. I am."

"You are so disgusting."

"Well, you are not exactly a sweetheart."

"That's not what my fans say."

"Women or men?" The masked woman turned to see her.

"Both." Huntress grinned.

The redhead rolled her eyes. "You are incorrigible."

"I know what your problem is. You are jealous."

The redhead laughed. "What?"

"But it's not my fault," the brunette said. "You smelled like shit when I met you. You lost your chance with me."

"Shame," Batgirl walked toward her and moved very close of her.

The brunette shivered feeling the redhead so close. She was damn gorgeous.

The redhead leaned almost brushing her cheek with hers and whispered in her ear. "I thought certain scents would be an aphrodisiac." she moved back and smiled.

Huntress swallowed feeling nervous.

She blinked, took her a few seconds react. She noticed Batgirl was looking her amused.

"Yes," Huntress finally said, "but not that one!"

"Oh, I surely won't sleep tonight worrying about that." The redhead turned and walked toward the opposite side.

"Where are you going?" the brunette asked.

"To pick up my bike. It's expensive, you know?"

"You should try jumping buildings."

"Nah, the bike is fun."

The caped woman picked up her bike from the street. She turned her head back and watched Huntress jumping to the closest building. They never would be friends again. She had done everything she could, but it seemed she had failed. But seemed still they had a chance.

Helena yawned and stretched in her bed. She buried her head in her pillow and kept unmoving for long seconds. The memory of her encounter with Barbara two weeks ago was still fresh in her mind. She still could feel her leaning so close to her, whispering in her ear in a way that made her shiver.

She still couldn't understand why the other woman had that effect on her. It had been two years since that day when she had discovered who she was and she still didn't know to how feel about her.

On one hand, she knew she felt a kind of affection of her, but on the other, she was hurt by what Barbara had hidden from her. She had betrayed her again and she felt that she hated Barbara, too.

Well, she mostly hated Batgirl. That Batgirl costume always transformed her into a very nasty person, her sarcasm was really annoying.

She had discovered she missed Barbara, but at the same time she felt she couldn't be her friend. She couldn't forgive her. Barbara had looked for her, but she just couldn't. It was too hard.

Some days she felt she wanted see her, talk with her. Other days, she hated her so much.

The first time she had stumbled into her during a night sweep, she had just turned and left. She had chosen to keep a safe distance and be sarcastic. No more affectionate relationship between them. She had been so stupid opening her heart to her. The next time she found Batgirl, she's said something sarcastic and Batgirl had given a worse one back.

Since then, they had started a game of sarcastic comments and it was hard to say who would win. Helena was loathe to admit to herself that it was usually Batgirl.

It was fun.

Well, at least those encounters distracted her a bit when they happened one to three times per month.


Time to wake up. She checked her watch, yawning. Almost 7:00 pm. The party that had finished at 10 am had really been a good party. She had arrived home close to midday. And now, well, time to shower and go to work at the Dark Horse Bar.

She turned to get up.

"Fuck!" the young woman jumped in her place when she saw Batgirl with her impressive dark costume, sitting on her couch with her legs crossed and feet resting on her bed, staring at her.

"Did I interrupt something?" the crime fighter asked.

"Haven't you heard about private property?" Helena growled, taking the blanket at her waist and covering her chest. She hated that the redhead surprised her. Again!

"Yes, it's a right of every American citizen." Batgirl cocked her head. "I didn't know you were shy."

"What the fuck are you doing here?" Helena released the grip on the blanket and glared at her.

"My God, what a mouth," the caped woman said, resting her elbow on the arm of the couch, as she rested her cheek on her index finger. Helena's expression was priceless.

"Get out!" the young woman stood up and went to her closet.

"You are not nice with your guests."

"You are not my guest."

"You hurt my feelings."

"Yeah, sure." The brunette bent over to look for a t-shirt, turning her back to the redhead.

The redhead fixed her eyes on her underwear. She narrowed her eyes. She was not sure she was seeing what she was seeing.

"Nice tattoo, but… Teddy bears on your thong? Isn't that a bit weird?"

"I like bears." Helena growled. Where were her t-shirts? Crap, maybe she needed to do some laundry.

"Pretty ass by the way." Batgirl said, amused, but she really meant it.

"Enjoy it." Helena finally found a white t-shirt and put it on. "It will be the last time you have a great view of my ass."

"If you say so."

"Did I tell you that you are very annoying?" The dark haired woman turned to glare at her.

"Two hundred and forty five times, including this one."

"I hate you."

"I have heard that too, tons of times." Batgirl swept her finger over a table close to her. It was covered in dust.

"Have you considered cleaning in here at some point?"

"Why? It will be dirty next week."

"Valid point."

Helena crossed her arms and looked at her, annoyed.

"What?" Batgirl said, waving her hands. "I said it's a valid point."

The brunette rolled her eyes and went toward her bathroom to brush her teeth. She really hated this woman. She walked inside the bathroom.

As Helena walked close to her, Batgirl frowned and scrunched her nose. "What did you drink? You smell like hell."

"Bourbon, tequila..."

"Christ, Helena." The redhead stood up and opened a window. "If I lit a match, this place would burn."

"I asked you what you are doing here."

"Oh, I came to save your life."


"I always do it, it's not new."

Helena's head appeared in the door frame. Helena laughed inside the bathroom and put tooth paste on her brush.

"Excuse me?"

Batgirl looked around. The place was a mess. "Any rat would feel happy to live here."

Helena's head appeared again in the doorway with the toothbrush inside her mouth. "You didn't come here just to annoy me, so tell me what you are doing here."

"You are in serious trouble." Batgirl crossed her fingers over her stomach and rested her head on the back of the couch, looking at the ceiling.

"I always am," the girl said with her mouth full of paste. "Did you forget it?"

"Yes, true. Your nickname is trouble."

The brunette returned to the bathroom to rinse her mouth.

The redhead stood up, walking toward the bathroom. She crossed her arms and leant on the door frame The brunette shivered feeling the redhead so close. She was damn gorgeous..

"It seems you pissed someone off," she said.

Helena said something unclear, but the redhead interpreted it as a muffled, "Why?"

"There is a price on your head."

The brunette coughed and spat water in her sink.

"Last night, I heard a rumor," Barbara patted her back. "So I did some research and a guy confirmed it. A hunt for you will start soon, there was a meeting a few weeks ago and it seems your head has a great value."

"The guy can take a ticket." The brunette took a towel and dried her mouth.

The redhead removed her cowl and looked at her, "It's serious, Helena."

"Good. If I'm dead, my dad will be happy. He won't have to worry anymore."

"Are you crazy?"

"Why do you worry so much? You will be free of me."

"You are not funny."

"I don't pretend to be." The brunette turned, looking for a towel. She finally found one.

"I don't know who is behind this," Barbara said. "I suggest that you not go out until I find out who it is."

"Don't tell me your marvelous 'Delphi' can't do a simple job."

"I just know that whoever is behind this won't stop until he kills you."

"Fine, so let me worry about this."

"You are not listening to me."

"I listened to you. Now, if you don't have anything else to say…"

"Helena Kyle," Barbara said with a firm voice, "this is not a game. Someone put a price on your head."

"I don't need your help!" Helena growled.

The caped crime fighter pushed her against the wall hard and grabbed her by the throat.Helena felt caught under the brightness of furious green pupils. She was breathing heavily and she couldn't hide that she was very angry.

She didn't know why, but she found it exciting.

"If you don't want to end up with a hole in your head, be careful," Barbara growled, clenching her teeth, it was so frustrating that she couldn't talk with her. "Get that in your damn hard head." She turned and exited the room.

"I will never invite you to my home again!" The young woman coughed, rubbing her neck.

"You never invite me anyway." The redhead put her cowl on and walked toward the window.

"Of course not, you don't know how to behave."

"Looks who's talking, now."

Batgirl jumped down the window, Helena walked toward it. When she looked out, she had gone. Damn woman. She went to take a shower, angry.

Part 5

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