DISCLAIMER: Birds of Prey and its characters are the property of Miller/Tobin Productions, Warner Brothers and DC comics. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is a blend of TV, Batman movie franchise and a wee bit of comics. This is how it could have been with just a few changes of fate. Or at least, my interpretation of what could have been. So, yes this is my first actual fan fiction. To be honest the reason I wrote it was because I couldn't stand Barbara Gordon being in a wheelchair.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Twist of Fate
By Darkenedkarma


Chapter 10

Three days later…Friday night

Could a person actually die from all the moisture in their body rushing to one place? Maybe it was something she should ask the new manager of the Technology Division. Of course, it probably wasn't considered good taste to ask the person who made the event happen about whether it was possible. So instead she went with open appreciation. "Good God B, you look stunning."

"Thank you," Barbara replied, not bothered by the compliment at all since all her attention was concentrated on Helena. She really had grown up good. Barbara had never seen her in a dress before, at least not a dress like this.

"Shall we?" Helena asked, holding open the door to the limo as she waved off the driver who was hurrying to perform the task.

Barbara slipped across the seat while Helena glided in behind her. "You look wonderful," she said when Helena settled beside her. The brunette's sexy smile made her laugh. She was such a flirt.

"Where are we going for dinner?" Barbara asked as New Gotham passed by her window. She was rarely able to appreciate the beauty of the city when so much of her time was spent on roof tops after nightfall.

"Voltaire," Helena supplied their destination. It had only taken one phone call to make a reservation for this evening despite the fact that reservations normally had to be made weeks in advance. Sometimes being a Wayne had its benefits.

Barbara raised a surprised eyebrow. When Helena had agreed to dinner she hadn't expected Voltaire. Not that she wasn't pleased by the choice, the food was superb. The restaurant coupled with her charming company would make for a memorable night. Charming was an understatement. It was easy to see Selena's unique influence on her daughter. Selena had the ability to enthrall anyone with her wit, charm and sexuality. Helena had inherited that same quality.

Helena had abandoned her playful overt flirting that she normally displayed with Barbara. Since their arrival at Voltaire she had simply been herself. For this one evening she wanted to let Barbara see who she really was behind her mask. It wasn't easy but the important things rarely were.

"Do you have any preferences?" Helena asked, waving her hand to indicate the wine list.

"I thought I'd give you the privilege," she said giving Helena a warm smile. She was amazed at the divergent personalities of this person sitting across from her. She watched as Helena motioned the waiter discreetly. It was done so effortlessly that Barbara realized that Helena was quite comfortable in this setting.

"Cazel De Roques," Helena requested when the waiter appeared by her side.

"An excellent choice," he said as he bowed slightly before he retreated.

"You haven't looked at the menu," Barbara noted curiously after the waiter departed.

"No," she responded admiring her companion's hair. It seemed to glow. It was the affect of the lighting but it was beautiful just the same. "I'm sure they'll be able to prepare what I want."

"What is it you want?" Barbara asked before she realized how suggestive it sounded.

Helena smiled acknowledging the unintended flirtation. "Terre et Mer de queue de homard et filet de boeuf."

Barbara nodded thinking that sounded pretty good to her too. "One of my favorites as well."

"I promise to share a bite or two," Helena offered.

"And if you were ordering for me?" Barbara asked, wondering what she might suggest.

"Tournedo de Saumon au Vin rouge."

"That doesn't appear to be on the menu this evening," Barbara responded not bothering to look at the menu again. She remembered it perfectly.

"Do you honestly think that matters?"

She laughed softly. "Of course not," she admitted. Barbara imagined that any request Helena might make would be immediately granted. Not just because of her name but because she was Helena.

The waiter returned to present the bottle before he poured a glass for both women. Helena ordered for the pair then quirked a small smile at Barbara when the waiter assured her that the chef would have no trouble at all accommodating their choices.

"You're enjoying yourself," Barbara observed when they were alone again.

"Of course I am," she agreed. "I have entrancing company, wonderful atmosphere, and delicious wine and will soon enjoy a fantastic meal. What's not to enjoy?"

"It's difficult to reconcile the girl I knew with the woman in front of me," Barbara told her honestly.

"As you said, I grew up."

"True, but this is the first time since you've been home that I feel like I'm with a stranger."

"Is that a good thing or a bad thing?" Helena asked as she lifted her glass to take a sip.

"I don't know," she replied evasively. It was disconcerting to see Helena this way. She couldn't see any of the girl she had known. All she could see was the woman that Helena was now. She doubted she could ever go back to viewing her as she had before this evening.

"Perhaps you'll make a decision as the night goes on," Helena offered.

"Jeffery," Helena said as she casually placed her hand in the small of Barbara's back. "This is Barbara Gordon, the new Manager for the Technology Division." The introduction was unnecessary since everyone in the room obviously new who the redhead was. After the staff meeting earlier in the week everyone in the room had gathered every bit of information about Barbara they could find. Barbara was the first person Helena had placed into a prominent position. They all knew that Barbara Gordon was also a trusted friend of the Wayne family. This meant that Barbara would be Helena's right hand. Corporate politics were alive and well for everyone except the two women, who really didn't give a damn.

"Ms. Gordon, a pleasure to meet you. Helena speaks highly of you," he gushed.

"Thank you," Barbara replied for the thousandth time that evening. Helena owed her for this night. The wonderful dinner was long forgotten in the misery of this evening. She tried to appear attentive as Jeffery showered Helena with compliments. So far the brunette had been propositioned at least six times this evening. Of course, Barbara acknowledged she'd had more than a few directed her way too. Out of self preservation she had decided to act as if they were indeed on a date. Helena hadn't seemed to mind. In fact, she became even more engaging as the evening wore on. Their flirtation had reached a new level even without Helena's normal over the top suggestive comments.

"Excuse us, please Jeffery," Barbara said giving the man a fake smile. "Our drinks are getting dangerously low." She knew this was probably the one excuse in this group that would be readily accepted. Most of them were already four sheets to the wind.

"Please tell me we can leave soon," Barbara pleaded when they escaped to the garden after getting fresh drinks to sip from occasionally.

"In the fairy tale Cinderella doesn't want the ball to end," Helena laughed as she took in Barbara's harassed expression.

"Cinderella wasn't surrounded by vultures," she replied sourly.

"I disagree. Everyone at the ball was clearly envious of Cinderella," she said, gesturing to the envious guests inside. "She was swept off her feet by her prince. Well her princess in this case," she continued as she took Barbara's hand to whisper a kiss across the redhead's fingers. "And she escaped before the clock could strike twelve," she finished.

"We're still here," Barbara pointed out though she was completely taken with Helena's comparison.

"Technically, we've escaped," Helena said, looking around the empty garden. "However, I realize you've had enough so I had the limo brought around. Thomas will take you back to the Clock Tower."

"You're staying?" The surprise was evident in Barbara's voice.

"I'm the guest of honor. I have to be here until the end," she replied. Just the thought of it made her feel tired. Even her parents had left already.

"I thought you said you didn't care what they thought?" She couldn't believe Helena would make herself miserable for appearances sake.

Helena took a step closer to Barbara bringing them mere inches from one another. "I like that you want me to leave with you," she said softly.

The redhead easily recognized the seductive smile that Helena was giving her. It was the same smile that she'd been giving her since their reunion. Apparently the evening had truly come to an end. Helena had turned into Huntress again. It wasn't as if she didn't find Huntress just as witty, sexy and alluring as the Helena she'd seen tonight but she admitted that she was disappointed to see this Helena go.

"But, I really would rather our first date not end tomorrow morning. There are usually far too many regrets when that happens," Helena said, deciding to keep the mask off a little longer. She'd seen the look in Barbara's eyes when she'd made the comment. She also knew that she didn't want to disappoint the redhead.

"First date?" Barbara repeated. "Really?"

"No," Helena teased.

"Oh." She mumbled not sure how she felt about it being only teasing. She had to admit this evening had been a wonderful 'date' despite the atrocious cocktail party.

"I'll walk you to the car," Helena said, offering her arm to the redhead.

They remained silent until they were by the limo. Helena politely opened the door for her date. "I had a wonderful time," she said.

"I did too."

"Good night," Helena said softly. She leaned in brushing her lips against Barbara's.

The kiss wasn't expected. Barbara couldn't say she was uncomfortable with it though. It was such a chaste kiss. It was actually perfect, just what she would want from a first date. It really was a shame it hadn't been. "Good night," Barbara murmured.


Chapter 11

Three months later

"I like this, it brings so many people together," Batgirl said as she stared down at the scene below.

Huntress looked up to peer at her partner who was on the roof top across the street. "That's just wrong," she replied, trying to keep from laughing. Barbara's sense of humor had taken on a disturbing twist in recent months. She liked that about her. Maybe she was rubbing off on her. After all, they worked together, fought crime together, spent a considerable amount of their free time together, she was bound to rub off on Barbara eventually. She looked back down at the group moving around in a purposeful manner.

They'd arrived at the crime scene to find it swarming with police, EMT's and crime scene investigators. Now they needed to find out what was going on down there.

"We need to see that body."

"No kidding?" Helena mocked good naturedly. "You go ahead; you're wearing the bat emblem."

"We're both going. I'm tired of handling all the diplomacy."

"I don't think that's a good idea. Look what happened the last time. Besides, do you see who's down there?" Huntress had seen Reese the moment he'd arrived. She kept watching as he walked further down the alley, almost directly under her position. "He doesn't really care for Huntress," she told Batgirl, as if the other woman didn't know already.

Her head shot up when she heard clucking over the comm. "You did not just cluck at me," Huntress hissed, completely insulted. She clenched her jaw when the clucking came again. "Fine! I'm going to wring your neck later, though," she promised. She took a leap off the roof, landing easily right in front of the detective in question.

She wanted to laugh when Detective Reese jerked back and reached for his gun when she landed in front of him. It was a pointless gesture, if she wanted to hurt him, she would already have done it.

"Hold it right there," Reese ordered, training his gun on the masked woman. He didn't know what was going on or who she was, but he was going to find out. He'd seen her at several crime scenes now, he didn't believe in coincidence. Why was she always around when a crime had taken place? No, it definitely wasn't a coincidence.

"Okay," Huntress replied patiently. "Let's go over it again. Super-hero," she said indicating herself. "Defender of the weak, downtrodden and such." She pointed at him, speaking slowly, "Police officer, also a defender of the weak, downtrodden and such." She gestured between them. "Good guys," she enunciated, as if to a child.

"You're not earning yourself any points with the sarcasm," he replied angrily.

"Is this criminal bothering you?" Batgirl asked, stepping up beside the detective.

This time Helena did laugh when Reese jumped away from Batgirl.

"Sorry, I didn't mean to startle you." Her voice was low and calm, with almost no inflection.

If Helena hadn't known it was Barbara underneath the mask already, she would have never figured it out from her voice.

Huntress pointed at the bat emblem on Batgirl's costume. "See Batgirl, we're the good guys."

"Her, I know about," he admitted. He glanced at Batgirl as if to confirm she was really there. He'd heard of Batman and the others. He remembered hearing stories about them from Commissioner Gordon himself, but that didn't mean this woman was okay. "How do I know you're with her? Batgirl just called you a criminal." He raked his eyes up and down her body. "You don't have the bat logo." Hostility dripped from his voice.

"I'm a rebel. But, you can call me Huntress."

He didn't like the smirk she was giving him and he definitely didn't like her attitude, like she was better than he was at the job. He stepped closer and took hold of the woman's arm, ready to put a cuff on her when a hand around his wrist stopped the motion.

"I really wouldn't do it, if I were you." She was willing to let him question Huntress. She was even willing to let him yell at her, considering how condescending she'd been. But, he was not allowed to touch her.

Batgirl held him in a tight grip, putting pressure on the joint until he released his hold on Huntress, then she let go as well. Acting as if nothing had occurred between them, she asked, "What happened here?"

He thought briefly about not telling them a thing. In fact, he thought about calling for back-up to arrest them, or at least arresting Huntress. He really didn't like her. Unfortunately he couldn't do that, he needed help with this case. It was the third murder like this and he was out of ideas or theories. Besides all that, there was no way the brass would hold onto anyone associated with Batman.

"It looks like he was mauled by something," He explained, after a significant pause. "This is the third victim."

"Mauled by what?" Batgirl asked, glancing back at the opening of the alley where she knew the body was located.

"It looks like an animal did it."

"Animal?" Huntress questioned. There was more than one type of animal, but from his expression she was betting it wasn't the human variety. That alone gave her the right to mock him. "You mean the kind that goes, 'grrrr'?" Huntress asked, holding up her arms and forming claws with her hands.

He glared at Huntress again. He really didn't like her. "Like a tiger or lion or something similar," Reese admitted reluctantly.

"Lions and tigers and bears, oh my," Huntress sang under her breath.

"You haven't been able to isolate what species yet?" Batgirl asked her voice nonjudgmental as she glared at Huntress. It was maddening, she could easily subdue a criminal but she couldn't get Helena to be quiet.

"No," Reese admitted, running his hand over his face, trying to rub out his exhaustion. "There's something strange about it. The lab insists that there are three types of DNA present, none of which is fully identifiable." Privately he thought the lab was making excuses for their obvious incompetence. He'd recommended an outside lab on the second murder, they should have listened. There was absolutely no way for an animal to run around loose without someone spotting it.

"I need a sample of whatever you have for DNA evidence."

"You have a lab?" Reese asked suspiciously.

The two masked women just stared at the detective.

He wanted to kick his own ass right now. God puts the answer to his problem on his door step and he questions their ability. "Right, I suppose you have access to something," he replied lamely. That hadn't been his best moment.

"The sample," Huntress prodded when he just stood there looking like an idiot. Here was the guy she decided not to see anymore.

"I'll get it for you," he promised Batgirl, ignoring Huntress completely.

"We would appreciate any crime scene photos as well as any other evidence you've gathered on all the murders."

"I don't know if I can get you all the evidence," he said slowly. He actually had some doubts that he could get the DNA.

"Reports would be fine," she assured him.

He glanced over his shoulder at all the people milling around the scene. "I'll have to get it to you later. Is there some way I can contact you?"

Batgirl pulled out something from her utility belt that looked to Helena like a pager.

"When you have it, push this button," she explained, handing him the homing beacon. "We'll be able to find you."

"How long will it take you to get some results? We need to catch whoever it is that's doing this. Knowing what exactly who or what it is would help a lot."

"We'll contact you when we know something," Batgirl affirmed.

He glanced over his shoulder again to make sure they were still unobserved. "Give me two days," he said, turning back to the women, only to find the place where they'd been standing empty. He looked around quickly, trying to figure out where they'd disappeared to.

Helena chuckled softly from where she was crouched on a window ledge hidden in shadows.

"What's so funny?" Batgirl questioned. She was moving away from the scene on a neighboring rooftop.

"He's just looking around like a lost kid," Huntress related, amused.

"We need to get back to work," she scolded mildly. She could hardly blame Huntress, for some reason she didn't care for the detective either but she couldn't exactly admit it. She didn't want to examine why she didn't like him too closely.

"Back to work?" Huntress repeated. "I didn't know we were working. I thought this was a date."

"Well, in that case, you really know how to show a girl a good time," Batgirl replied dryly.

"I always show a girl a good time," she replied, pitching her voice into a sexy timbre.

"Oh, I'm sure you do. How about right now?" Batgirl purred.

"What did you have in mind?" Helena had been having full on, techno-color fantasies about Batgirl and a dark alley.

"A mugging in the park, Delphi caught the call from an officer in pursuit."

"Almost the next best thing," Huntress mumbled, already moving in that direction.

Later that evening

"So, you were just telling him that to get him to give us what we needed, right?"

"What?" Barbara asked, absently. She was searching the CCTV network in the areas of the murders for any sign of something or someone out of the ordinary.

"Reese," Helena clarified. "We're not going to tell him what we know, are we? I mean, I know he's doing his job but he'll get in the way."

"Of course we're going to tell him. They have more man power; we need them. The chances of finding this person increases considerably with their assistance," Barbara replied. "We can't be everywhere."

"You think it's a person?" Helena thought it was a person but Barbara usually liked to keep an open mind. After all, they'd seen crazier things than a wild animal mauling people.

Barbara sighed, sitting back in her chair. "I find it hard to believe that an animal could manage to run around the city without being seen at least once."

"Maybe it's a meta," Helena offered, shrugging slightly.

"Maybe," Barbara echoed, tapping her finger against her lip.

The brunette hopped over the back of the couch, landing comfortably on the cushions. "When you figure it out, let me know," she called out as she reached for the remote to the TV.

"You could help."

"I am helping," Helena replied, raising her head up enough so Barbara could see her. "I'm staying out of your way."

Barbara nodded at her. "You're right, that is helping. But, I was thinking you could go sniff around the scene. Everyone should be gone by now."

"You want me to look around? Should I be looking for anything in particular?" Helena asked.

"I do want you to look around," Barbara hesitated for a moment before she continued. "But, I also want you to sniff around."

"Excuse me?"

"You have a heightened sense of smell; you might notice something that everyone else didn't."

Helena stared at the redhead, unsure if she were joking. She was a bloodhound now? "The only thing I'm likely to smell is a dumpster or maybe urine."

"Or maybe an animal scent," Barbara added.

"I thought we just decided that it wasn't an animal."

"It's unlikely, but it won't hurt to try." Barbara noticed Helena's affronted expression. "Is something wrong?"

"No, I don't mind being treated like a bloodhound," she replied archly.

"If you do a good job, you can have a treat."

"What type of treat?" Helena asked, interested. "I can think of a treat I wouldn't mind nibbling." She raked her gaze over Barbara's body.

"Scooby snack."

"I love that cartoon," Helena shot back on her way to the elevator.

"Stay on comm.," Barbara called out before the door could slide closed.


Huntress rolled her eyes at Barbara's impatient question. "I just got here. Give me like two minutes to look around. God, impatient much?"

"You know, that's almost exactly what you said to me the first time we did this," Barbara told her, smiling at the memory.

"Really?" Huntress asked. "You would think you would've learned some patience after such a long time."

"You're ruining my moment," Barbara replied sourly.

"Sorry," she said, trying to keep the laughter out of her voice.


Huntress took an exaggerated inhalation so it could easily be heard over the comm. "Hmm."

"You found something?" Barbara's voice sounded surprised and excited.

"Yes, I can't believe it, B. I just can't believe it," she said, sounding amazed.

"What is it?"

"Puke," Huntress replied, all the wonder gone from her voice, replaced by revulsion.

"You're not amusing," Barbara snapped.

"Oh my God, it's urine. I think I might be on to something," Huntress exclaimed with feigned excitement. "Trash! B, there's trash. I'll collect some for evidence," she finished, looking around, disgusted.

"Thank you for that comedic intermission. Getting back to the mission for a moment, is there anything relevant?" Barbara asked, holding in the urge to bang her head against the table. She should have realized when she sent Helena out that the woman would be like this.

"That wasn't what you were looking for?" Huntress asked innocently as she moved up and down the alley, looking for anything the cops might have missed. She smiled when Barbara was silent on the other end of the comm.

"Nothing," she reported after a thorough inspection of the alley, street and the sides of the buildings.

For a moment Huntress thought Barbara was going to ignore her. Then a muffled 'thank you' came through. Maybe she'd taken it too far? She looked around the alley again, grimacing. No, she didn't, in fact, she didn't take it far enough.

"Are you coming back in?" Barbara asked, when Huntress didn't reply.

"Nah, I think I'm gonna head home."

"Oh, okay. Have a good night," the redhead offered, hiding her disappointment.

"Night B," Huntress said quietly before she shut off her comm.

She took another deep breath as she looked around at the surrounding rooftops. She felt like she was being watched, but she couldn't detect anyone. With two quick steps and a leap she was on the roof of one of the buildings looking for what her senses told her was there but she couldn't see.

Huntress took off in the direction of home, listening intently for any pursuit. After several minutes she thought she heard something clicking against brick. She concentrated on the sound, it was steady now. It was definitely behind her, keeping its distance. She sped up as she approached the building she was waiting for. She dodged behind a corner then leapt up to the highest ledge, next to a gargoyle that decorated the building. There were many of them around this particular building, she'd spent many nights admiring them when she was a child, and she still came here occasionally.

She waited patiently for any sign of whatever might have been following her. Maybe it was just her imagination. After all, nothing could really hide from her. Still, she waited. She was truly surprised when something rounded the corner then leapt across to the adjacent building, continuing its chase.

What the hell? She followed it as best she could, keeping to the higher buildings. She lost it a few times, but managed to find it again. She shrank back into the dark, watching it look around. It knew she was there. She was certain it knew she was there. But, much like when she was in the alley, he couldn't see her. What the hell was it? It certainly wasn't an animal, at least, not any kind of animal she'd ever seen. It looked like a mix between a dog, cat and something she really couldn't put her finger on. The combination was disturbing.

While she was watching, it disappeared. She looked around trying to see where it went. It was gone. She tilted her head curiously, trying to figure out what happened. One second it was there, the next it was gone. Maybe it was some kind of meta? A meta that was a cat-dog that could become invisible. She snorted at herself. Right. But, if that wasn't the answer then what was? She remained where she was for almost an hour, barely breathing, waiting to see if it was playing cat and mouse. Finally, she was tired of waiting. She'd never been particularly patient. She moved quietly checking the surrounding buildings, finding absolutely nothing. Not even a scent of the thing. Giving the area one last look, she finally headed for home. She'd have to tell Barbara about this in the morning. Maybe she would have some ideas or suggestions.

"I was thinking we could go to dinner tonight," Helena started talking before she even stepped off the elevator. "Maybe that Italian place down the street? A girl needs carbs to fight crime," she finished as she came to a stop beside Barbara, who was at the computer, again.

"I just need a few more minutes," Barbara replied absently.

"What are you doing?" Helena asked curiously as she leaned over Barbara's shoulder to look at the monitor. "Is this a home movie? Porn?" Her voice was a little more interested at that last question.

"What? No! What?"

"Well, aren't we articulate," Helena said, smirking at the miffed look on Barbara's face.

"It's not a home movie or porn." Barbara glared at her. She turned back to the monitor to peer at it intently. "This is recorded footage I found from the night of the murder. See this?" She asked as she tapped the monitor. "This is the view of the alley from across the street. Look here," she pointed at an area of the building wall. "I think I saw something disappear. I'm not really sure; it could just be a glitch with the video feed. I've gone over it a few times it looks like whatever it is just vanished."

"The same thing happened to me last night," Helena told her as she leaned closer. "Go back again?"

"Last night?" Barbara asked, ignoring Helena's request to rewind the footage.

"When I signed off I had this weird feeling I was being watched," she told her distractedly. She canted her head to the side looking for the rewind button on the key board. "I let it follow me for a while until I was sure it was actually there then I lost it long enough to find a position to wait for it. I followed it for a while but it disappeared on me." She found the button she was looking for and pressed it until the footage went back far enough for her to see what Barbara was talking about. "Yeah, that's it. I got a pretty good look at it. It looks like a mix between a dog and a cat. Kind of creepy," she finished, only just noticing that Barbara was looking at her as if she wanted to strangle her.

She stepped back from the computer holding up her hands. "Sorry, I won't touch it again." Barbara was extremely territorial about her computer. Helena was surprised she hadn't lost her hand as soon as she touched the button.

"You knew it was out there and you went off comm.?" Barbara barked. She was angry; completely, totally, thoroughly angry. "Do you know what could have happened?"

"A game of fetch?" Helena joked, answering what was obviously a rhetorical question.

"This isn't a joke!"

"I know that," Helena replied defensively. She was wrong and she knew it. She shouldn't have cut herself off from Barbara. If the redhead had done the same thing Helena knew she would have raked her over the coals then taken away her batarang for a week.

"What were you thinking? Barbara demanded.

"I wasn't sure if anything was there," she explained as she left the Delphi platform to sit on the couch. She looked up at the redhead who was towering over her, having followed her into the room. "I didn't want to bother you with it. You have a lot of work to do and I know you've been working really late to do it."

"You didn't want to bother me?" She repeated incredulously.

"You've been looking a little tired lately," Helena admitted cautiously. By the look Barbara threw her she knew she'd piqued her vanity in a bad way. "Not that you don't look great," she back peddled furiously. "You look great, fabulous, gorgeous, good enough to eat. In fact…" Helena stopped the less than subtle proposition she planned when Barbara held up a hand.

"I don't care if I stay up all night for the next month and look like a zombie. When you're out there without back up you will stay on comm. If you think there's something or someone following you, you will tell me immediately. You will not go off on your own, risking your life so I can do some paperwork," Barbara told her emphatically.

"Well, aren't we just the tiniest bit dictatorial," Helena drawled. She understood Barbara's concern but her attitude had to go.

"I mean it."

"You mean it," Helena mocked in the same authoritative tone. "Who died and left you in charge?"

"This is my team, my operation," she yelled, her fury over-riding her good sense. Even as the words left her mouth she wanted to reel them back in.

"Yours?" Helena repeated. "Is that what this is?" She asked as she stood up. That hurt quite a bit even though she knew Barbara didn't believe that. The redhead was scared for her and like most people, when scared they get angry. Helena knew all about that reaction. Even now she could see that Barbara was regretting her words.

Barbara pinched the bridge of her nose then rubbed her eyes. She really was tired, exhausted actually. It was letting her mouth run unchecked like a leaky faucet. "No, I didn't mean that," she replied wearily.

"What did you mean?" She may understand but that didn't mean she couldn't give Barbara a hard time about it.

"I'm sorry, you're right, I'm tired. I don't think that at all," Barbara said as she gestured at Delphi and the rest of the Clock Tower. "It's ours."

"Everything is ours?" Helena asked, contemplating the room then Barbara.

"Of course it is," the redhead assured her. "You're my partner, Helena."

"Partner?" Helena repeated.

"Yes, partner."

Helena took three steps forward bringing her so close to Barbara they were breathing the same air. She took the redhead's hand gently, holding it against her heart as she gazed into confused green eyes. "I had no idea you felt that way about me," Helena breathed. "I swear I'll do everything I can to make sure you never regret a moment of our life together." She looked away shyly when Barbara continued to look bewildered. "So, even though it goes against my up-bringing, I'm prepared to consummate our relationship," she finished in a sultry purr.

"You're such an ass," Barbara muttered trying to contain the smile she could feel turning up the corners of her mouth.

"I thought it would take longer for you to come to that realization," Helena sighed sadly. "I suppose I should have asked for a pre-nup."

Barbara smiled crookedly at her friend. She truly didn't deserve a friend like Helena. But, she didn't really care. She wasn't going to lose her. "I am sorry," she said, still holding Helena's hand.

She smiled at Barbara, more than willing to let it go. "I know how you can make it up to me." She moved impossibly closer to her.

"I think I know what you want," Barbara replied huskily. Her eyes dropped to Helena's lips as her tongue slipped out wetting her own. "Are you sure?"

Helena only nodded, not taking her eyes off of Barbara's lips. God, the sight of her tongue running along her bottom lip was too sexy for words.

Barbara leaned in, her lips parted in anticipation. "I'll call ahead and make sure they have a table for us," she said after pulling back at the last possible second.

"You are so wrong, Gordon." Helena couldn't stop the smile that spread across her face even though she was somewhat uncomfortable. Being fully aroused with no outlet in sight will do that to a girl. "I want a divorce."

"Annulment," Barbara corrected.


Chapter 12

Two weeks later

Helena tried not to cringe at the severely off key singing. She could only be thankful that 'Happy Birthday' was a relatively short song. She smiled as the cake was deposited in front of her with way too many flickering candles for her mere twenty-five years on the planet. How many candles had they used? The entire thing was covered! She frowned at that thought. The cake would get wax on it. She didn't like that idea at all. She liked cake.

"Make a wish," Selena prodded when Helena just frowned at the cake.

A wish? She closed her eyes wishing with all her might that she would never have to do this again. She'd wished for the same thing for the last two years. This wish crap was obviously thought up by the candle industry. She took a deep breath then dutifully blew out as many candles as she could.

Almost before everyone could be fully amazed at all the candles being extinguished, Alfred swooped in, beginning to cut the cake. Barbara pulled away from the group gathered around Helena and took the opportunity to get away from the crowd. She went to stand beside Dick to watch everyone.

"Helena was right, you know?" Dick said, admiring the redhead.


"You look better than the cake," he reminded her. "You probably taste better too."

"You were listening? That's the problem with people who lurk in dark places; they hear things they aren't supposed to hear."

"You're blushing," Dick pointed out.

Barbara glared at him. "Tact, it's not just for strangers anymore."

"If your friends can't tease you then who can?"

"I think I get enough of that from Helena," Barbara replied peevishly.

"She does lay it on pretty thick," he admitted. If anyone but Helena said some of the things she had said to Barbara they'd be black and blue. "If you sleep with her the chances are pretty good she'll stop."

"Excuse me?"

"I said, if you sleep with her the chances are pretty good she'll stop. 'Sleep' being a euphemism for sex," Dick explained in his best scholarly voice.

"I heard what you said. I just can't believe you said it," Barbara snapped.

"What? She's hot." He might consider Helena a sister but he wasn't blind. "What could it hurt?" Dick backed away from Barbara slowly. If the glare he was getting was any indication he was about to meet an untimely death. "Take it easy there B, it was just a joke." Of course, he hadn't been joking but he really liked living.

"It wasn't funny," she replied flatly. She turned away from him to stare broodingly out into the room. Her eyes automatically located Helena. The thought had crossed her mind a time or two. How could it not? Every conversation they had was a flirtation, whether it was overt or subtle. But, she'd had the opportunity to see how Helena operated since she came home. Helena flirted with people. Sure, not as heavily as she flirted with Barbara but that was only because they spent so much time together.

Dick studied Barbara wondering what that was all about. He'd said more shocking things to her before. He couldn't understand what had pissed her off so badly. He noticed the redhead staring at someone and followed her gaze until he landed right on Helena. Ah, so that was it. It was an 'I want to but I can't let myself thing'. That was all Barbara, always doing what she thought was the right thing even when it was the wrong thing. She always did the same thing. Dick knew from the way Barbara acted that Helena meant more to her than she was willing to admit. She meant more to her than the redhead probably knew. He'd come to that realization after Helena left with her parents to Paris. And, if Barbara couldn't see how bad Helena had it for her then she must be blind and stupid. "I guess I should go wish the birthday girl a happy birthday," he said, not surprised when Barbara just nodded at him. She obviously needed a little alone time right now.

He started across the room heading straight for Helena. From the looks of things, Helena needed to be rescued in the worst way. He'd never seen such a pained expression on her face before.

"Hey," he greeted the brunette and the gentleman she'd been conversing with. Well, not conversing so much as nodding and glancing around for an escape route. "Do you mind if I borrow the birthday girl for a minute or two?" He asked, giving the guy a small smile. It was all he could do to keep it toned down to a polite smile since he heard Helena's sigh of relief the moment he joined them.

The guy looked annoyed but tactfully withdrew to give them a modicum of privacy, if you could have privacy in a crowded room.

"You are by far my favorite brother," Helena told him gratefully.

"Well, isn't that quite a compliment since I'm your only brother."

"That doesn't mean you're not my favorite."

"Thanks," Dick replied rolling his eyes. "So, how does it feel to be a year older?" He asked when Helena didn't shoot back a smart mouth reply.

"A lot like I felt yesterday, only today I get cake," she replied.

"It's an impressive cake," Dick mused as he looked at the giant confection. "An impressive crowd too," he continued. He scanned the crowd as he wondered who they all were. He recognized many of them as company executives. But, there were a number of people he'd never met. "Who's that?" He asked, gesturing discreetly at an attractive woman who was chatting with Selena.

"Samantha," Helena answered.

"And we know Samantha, how?" Dick inquired patiently.

"She's a…friend."

"Ah, a friend," Dick said, smiling knowingly. "I didn't think you were seeing anyone?" He commented a few seconds later. This could be one of the reasons Barbara wasn't hopping on the Helena express.

"I'm not." She shrugged at his raised eyebrow. "It was casual."

"Was? Over then?" That thought kind of pleased him. He was considering taking a run at her himself.


"Aren't you talkative this evening," he noted dryly.

"Sorry," she said, smiling wryly. "Alfred was kind enough to invite all my 'friends' to this get together." She sighed at Dick's confused expression. "He went through my social planner."

"So they are all…" he trailed off looking around the room. He was kind of impressed. Helena hadn't been in town long, apparently she'd been very busy though.

"Not all of them," Helena replied defensively. Only three or so, she thought to herself. "I have friends too you know. I did grow up here."

"Sorry, I just remember hearing about your randy college days."

"Forget it," she sighed, waving the entire conversation away with a flip of her hand.

"So, you're not dating anyone?" He asked cautiously. He didn't want to upset her but he was very interested in the reply.

"Not for a while, no." She looked away from Dick then allowed her eyes to roam the room until she found Barbara.

"Oh, why not?" He was pushing her.

She glanced at him suspiciously. Dick didn't ask questions like this because he didn't want the attention turned onto him later on. She had a feeling she knew what he was trying to build up to and she had no intention of talking to him about it. She had no intention of talking to anyone about it. "How about some cake?" She suggested as she headed for the table full of cake slices. "I think I need a sugar high right about now."

"Happy birthday," Barbara whispered into Helena's ear. She was warmed by the genuine smile Helena gave her. For most of the night the brunette had looked like she ate something particularly unappealing when she was talking to people.

"It is now. Where have you been all night?" Every time Helena thought she'd get a chance to talk to Barbara the other woman seemed to disappear.

"Let's just say that there's an open bar and leave it at that."

Helena nodded in understanding. "I know what you mean." An open bar was an invitation for drunken groping and less than appealing propositions. For some reason alcohol increased the bravery quotient of the average male while ironically, it lowered the ability factor.

"You're not having fun?" Barbara asked.

"I wouldn't say that. I liked seeing my family," she replied, trying to look on the bright side of things.

Barbara scanned the crowd looking for Bruce and Selena. "Speaking of your family, where are they?"

"They decided to make the rounds for old time's sake." She frowned slightly before she related the second reason. "They also wanted me to enjoy my birthday party without worrying about…business."

"Where's Dick?"

Helena nodded her head towards the balcony where he was chatting up Samantha. She wished him well but knew for a fact he was going to strike out. Samantha was strictly girls only.

Barbara chuckled softly. "He's not going to have much luck there," she said, amused that he would try.

"You know her?" Helena questioned, somewhat alarmed by the thought.

"Mmmm," Barbara hummed her response as she nodded.

"How?" Helena managed to ask. She didn't like the tone of that hum.

"I met her two years ago," Barbara answered slowly, noticing the look on Helena's face.

"Really? Were you close?"

"Not particularly," she admitted. Samantha had been an impetuous encounter after a particularly dangerous patrol. She'd needed to burn off energy and she'd found the opportunity when she met Samantha in a club. That was before she stopped going to night clubs. Dancing and alcohol had always gotten her into trouble. "It wasn't serious."

"You slept with her?" Helena blurted before she could clamp down on her tongue. First, she never knew Barbara went that way. Or at least she didn't think Barbara had experienced sapphic love but knew she was amiable to it. Second, she didn't know how she felt about having slept with the same woman. Because if you've had sex with everyone your partner slept with for the last ten years then technically she'd had sex with Barbara and she didn't really get to enjoy it.

Barbara studied Helena for a moment. She'd never heard that tone from the brunette before and she couldn't imagine what caused it. She couldn't imagine until she could imagine. Because, from the look she was getting she realized that they apparently had Samantha in common. She blanched a bit at that thought. She'd seen Samantha talking to Selena and just assumed they were friends or at least knew each other and that was why she was here. She'd never considered Helena might be dating her, sleeping with her. "It was years ago," she hastened to explain. She looked away uncomfortably. "I didn't know you were dating anyone."

"I'm not," Helena answered absently. How weird was her life that this was the closest she'd gotten to being with Barbara. Even weirder was she was beyond jealous. Why was she jealous? She wasn't jealous of Dick. "We should get out of here," she suggested after a couple of seconds. She wanted to get Barbara as far away from Samantha as she could.

"That sounds like a very good idea," Barbara agreed. The idea of the three of them interacting together made her shudder. She realized that she didn't like the thought of Helena flirting with Samantha now. She didn't like the thought that Helena had slept with her.

"What should we do now?" Helena asked when they stopped next to her motorcycle.

"It's your birthday so it's your choice," the redhead offered as she leaned against the building across from Helena.

Helena looked down the street thinking about what she wanted to do. They could go out but she didn't want to share Barbara with anyone. She wanted to spend the rest of her birthday alone with the redhead. Honestly, that was all she wanted to begin with. "I was thinking it would be nice if we could watch a movie," Helena told her.

"What's playing?" Barbara asked. It was a little late but they should be able to catch something.

"At the Clock Tower," Helena clarified.

"Oh," Barbara murmured. "That sounds good."

"We can watch my favorite movie," Helena enthused as she slipped her leg over the bike.

"Oh God." Barbara couldn't help the groan that escaped.

"It's a good movie!" Helena defended her favorite movie. Barbara wouldn't know quality if it bit her in the ass. "Bullet Proof Monk is a classic," she insisted.

"Only in your mind," Barbara shot back as she headed for her own ride.


Chapter 13

Three days later

Huntress crouched down slowly as she scanned the area. She felt something watching them. She had a feeling she knew what it was. She opened her mouth scenting the air. Normally it wasn't something she would do in front of anyone, Batgirl included but sometimes a situation came about that made these things unavoidable.

"What is it?" Batgirl asked softly. She'd been partially paying attention to Huntress and the data she was downloading to her PDA from Delphi to see if anything was happening in New Gotham that required their talents. Huntress' atypical action pulled her full attention to her partner.

"There's something out here," Huntress breathed out. "I'm going to see if I can draw it out. Don't get too close," she warned Batgirl. "I have a feeling it'll know if you do."

"Maybe I should try to get it to follow me. I don't think I'll be able to reach you as fast as you could reach me if there's a problem."

Huntress shook her head before she realized that Batgirl didn't have her kind of night vision to see the action. "I have a feeling it's waiting for me," she said, feeling the anticipation of the chase ahead. "We have some unfinished business."

"That doesn't make me feel better about this," Batgirl replied, not trying to hide her annoyance. Still she didn't say anymore about it when Huntress leapt across the chasm between buildings and took off.

"Is it following?" She asked a few minutes later.

"Yeah. Are you following yet?"

"On my way." She shot a bolt across to another building then swung down to the street, breaking into a run without missing a single step. She was on her motorcycle and following seconds later. Batgirl kept watch on the directional finder she carried that had a lock on Huntress' GPS signal.

"You're traveling faster than normal," Batgirl noted. She had no idea that Huntress had that kind of speed.

"I'm trying to keep pretty far ahead of it," she replied, breathing heavier than usual. It was far from a comfortable pace. She wondered how long she would have to keep it up.

"Did you have a plan or are you just going to run around all night until you drop?"

"I thought you would have a plan by now," Huntress returned, sounding put out that Batgirl hadn't understood what was expected of her. "I'm supposed to come up with a plan to trap it and lead him to said trap?" She asked. "What did you plan on doing while I was taking care of everything?"

"Oh sarcasm," Batgirl drawled, amused despite the situation. "How atypical of you."

"A plan," Huntress prompted impatiently. She was beginning to get winded. It was bad for her reputation.

Batgirl calculated Huntress' current position then estimated the time it would take her to get set up and how much time it would take for Helena to lead it to her intended destination. The only likely place for an ambush would be the fertilizer packaging factory. The ammonia would cover her scent sufficiently so she wouldn't be detected. "Ag-trans," Barbara directed as she accelerated towards the destination.

"Damn it! I'd like to be able to breathe when we stop," Huntress complained. The smell could suck the air right from her lungs. She hated that part of the city and avoided it whenever possible.

"Get over it. It's the best spot." Batgirl smiled, hearing Huntress grumble in between labored breaths.

Batgirl watched the net land over the animal, satisfied when the ends secured themselves to the ground. She was startled when the thing began to effectively work its way free. She shot another net, reinforcing the first. Then she had to shoot two more.

"How many of those things do you have?" Huntress asked, pointing to the nets.


"Wow, what would you have done if four wasn't enough?" She wondered as she circled the thing.

"Run like hell," Batgirl responded.

"What are we going to do now?" Huntress asked. "I could try to knock it out," she said thoughtfully, as she considered the situation. She really didn't want to get too close. It had really sharp teeth and was pretty pissed. "Do you have an escrima stick?"

"No." She pulled a small white pellet out of her utility belt then decided to get some pay back on Huntress. "You could try talking to it," she suggested. "You're part house cat."

"House cat?" Huntress asked incredulously. "Did you just say I was part house cat? Cause, if you did I'm gonna have to feed you to that thing," she threatened. "I don't speak cat," she finished indignantly.

Barbara studied the animal for a few moments. "It looks as if it's probably part Lynx. So, you're right; you probably couldn't communicate with it."

"Lynx, coyote, it doesn't matter. I'm not Dr. Dolittle," she snapped.

"Coyote is a canine," Batgirl corrected.

"You know what? Just for that you get to be the one to knock it out." She shot Batgirl a challenging look. "Good luck with that," she said, smiling evilly. The batsuit would probably protect the redhead but Huntress hoped it would get in a good swipe or two. Then she would be able to stitch Batgirl up. That thought made her smirk. Paybacks.

"No problem," Batgirl said confidently as she returned Huntress' smirk with a superior look.

Huntress glanced at the animal, ready to take odds on it rather than Batgirl when she did a double take. It was gone. "What the hell!" She shouted looking round for where it might have gone. She crouched a bit preparing for an attack.

"What?" Batgirl asked, automatically assuming a fighting position, preparing for trouble. She looked over at their captive, gasping when she saw it wasn't there. She frowned slightly, looking at the nets and the way they were still shaped as if they were still holding the thing. "It's invisible," she said, awed at the ability.

"You're kidding?"

"Look," Batgirl said, gesturing at the bulging netting.

"It can really do that? I thought it was just really fast," Huntress replied, completely amazed. That was so cool! She needed a trick like that. She continued to circle it then stopped to stare at it. She tilted her head from side to side trying to get a better angle on what she thought she was seeing. Yes! There it was. "It's camouflage," she said slowly, not sure if what she was seeing was real or not.

"It is?" Batgirl walked around looking at it from all angles. "That is impressive," she admitted. "Several reptiles have the ability to blend into their surroundings. It's a defense mechanism."

"So this is part dog, cat and reptile? I thought my parents were a little mismatched," Huntress mumbled under her breath. "How are we going to know if we manage to knock it out?" She asked.

"I'm not sure. But, we'll figure it out eventually."

"Ha, good luck then. Try not to get eviscerated," Huntress suggested helpfully.

Batgirl held up the sleep pellet smirking. Then she threw it near the animal. They waited patiently as the gas dispersed then watched the netting twitch and stretch.

"Well, at least we know it doesn't like it," Huntress noted sourly. She didn't like that it seemed to be working. Batgirl was a little to smug right now. She let out a defeated sigh when the net fell quickly as if whatever was under it just collapsed.

"I think it's safe to say its out," Batgirl noted smugly. Its gradual reappearance more than confirmed her theory.

"I'm not lugging that thing all the way back to the Clock Tower," Helena said firmly.

Batgirl stared at her silently.

"I'm not!" Huntress insisted, trying not to fidget.

"I'm not a dog catcher," she snapped, still refusing to budge.

"There's no where to keep it at the Clock Tower," she pointed out. She frowned when the only answer was Batgirl's continued stare. "You expect me to drag it back to the batcave?" She asked, realizing that was the only place they had that could hold it.

"Absolutely not!" That was even further away than the Clock Tower. "Stop looking at me like that. It's not going to work." She folded her arms over her chest then stared right back. Her eye twitched after a minute. Batgirl wasn't going to win this! She wasn't a delivery service. Let miss all knowing crime fighter find someone else to take it! Her shoulders were getting tense. She eyed Batgirl looking for a break in her armor. She looked relaxed.

"I don't see why I should have to do all the lifting and toting just because I'm stronger," Huntress complained as she walked over to pick up the unconscious animal.

"You're the brawn," Batgirl replied.

"Oh so that makes you the brain?"


Huntress considered this for a moment. "Damn," she sighed, agreeing.

"So?" Huntress questioned when she stepped into the batcave. She'd gone directly to the shower after she carried the thing several miles until Alfred arrived to give her a ride. She'd glared at the redhead for not telling her Alfred was coming. She could have just waited for him instead of carrying the thing so far. She was pretty sure it had fleas. At least she'd started scratching after she put it down for the last time in the cage that Alfred had set up.

"DNA testing takes a while Helena," Barbara replied. Sure the equipment in the batcave was much faster than what was being presently used but it still took time.

"We're just going to wait?"

"We don't have much choice in the matter," Barbara told her patiently. "You could try communicating with it." She suppressed the smile that was threatening to come out at the death rays Helena was shooting at her.

They both turned when the elevator opened again and Alfred stepped off holding a covered platter. Helena smiled at the butler. She could always count on him. "You read my mind Alfred, I'm starving," Helena said, practically salivating at the aroma of steak she could detect under the dome.

"This is for our guest," Alfred informed her. "Miss Barbara asked that I prepare dinner for the poor creature."

"You made it steak?" Helena asked, considerably miffed that the steak wasn't for her.

"It is a carnivore."

"Would you mind preparing a couple more?" Helena requested.

"I'm afraid this was the last one," Alfred replied. "I was not expecting visitors this evening."

She closed her eyes counting to twenty. This night had pretty much sucked rocks. She opened her eyes watching as Alfred went about feeding their captive and Barbara played on the computer. Things could be worse. She left the cave, taking the elevator until she was in the mansion. At least she knew there would be pop-tarts.

Ten days later

Helena hadn't been exaggerating when she said the Tech Division was going to need a lot of work. So far she'd spent months putting things in order. She'd never met a group of people who were so sure that the research they were pursuing would change the world. Needless to say, in most cases that was far from the truth. Even the software designers thought their work would be the catalyst for extreme change in the way people thought. Barbara couldn't see how a video game could accomplish that goal.

After weeks of reviewing projects she began adjusting her resources. Simply put, she permanently shelved lines of research or projects that were going no where. She reallocated funds and personnel to the projects she felt were promising. There had been a few researchers who were less than willing to give up their work, two in particular. She planned to keep a close eye on them. She'd seen the type before, willing to do anything to further their research no matter the cost. Four others had filed formal complaints to Helena. The result was a memo supporting any and all changes Ms. Gordon was implementing.

That memo was the most significant contact Barbara had with Helena aside from staff meetings the last two weeks. Helena was patrolling New Gotham while Barbara monitored Delphi and worked on identifying exactly how their captive animal was created or born. She'd spent a considerable amount of time perusing one line of research that she shelved. It could very well be a possible method for creating their guest. Or the research could be just the jumping off point she needed to figure all this out. She was even considering consulting the scientists that were working on the project. She wouldn't tell them the exact reason for her questions but she could certainly use their input.

To top it all off, she also had the daunting task of improving her division at the same time. She was looking forward to when things would run smoothly. She missed being out there with Helena, so far she'd only been out occasionally with the brunette. She missed Helena.

"BG it's kind of dead out here tonight. I'm gonna knock off for the night." Helena's voice brought her out of her day dreaming. She was never going to get back to patrolling if her mind kept wandering.

"Are you coming by?"

"Can't, busy day tomorrow," Helena replied as she leapt across an alley. She'd be home in ten minutes. She could already hear her bed calling her name. "You should knock off for the night too. I need you fresh tomorrow."

"Is something wrong?" Barbara asked. No one had mentioned any problems to her.

"Nope, I have tickets to the opera. I have to make a public appearance and I need a date," Helena said. She'd been trying to decide how to ask Barbara to go. Finally she'd decided to do the same thing she had with the cocktail party.

"I really don't have time…" Barbara started to say only to be cut off.

"You have time. No one expects you to work yourself to death." She knew Barbara had been pouring everything she had into their current mystery as well as work. While she appreciated the dedication she wanted to spend some time with the redhead. Something she hadn't been able to do because of their respective work schedules. Helena had thought she'd be able to spend more time with Barbara with this change not less.

"I'll pick you up at five. Dinner then the opera," Helena informed her.

"Don't you have anyone else you can take? I find it hard to believe you're not dating someone."

Helena snorted indelicately. "Who has time to date? All I do is work."

"Then this would be the perfect opportunity for you to go out on a date," Barbara replied reasonably.

"That's what I'm doing. Be ready to go at five," Helena ordered before she turned off the comm. link.

Barbara smiled but it quickly turned into a frown. She'd have to leave early tomorrow in order to be ready. She sighed as she put Delphi on standby. All this would keep for another day.


Chapter 14

The next evening

"I wish I had some pop-tarts or milk duds," Helena said to her companion. "Maybe both," she amended.

Barbara looked at her with horror. "You just consumed more food than a small army. How could you possibly want anything else?"

"There's always room for junk food," Helena said sagely. Maybe she could send Thomas to get some?

"I don't think it would compliment the champagne," she said.

Helena made a noise of agreement. She should probably have Thomas pick up a Pepsi for her too. She flipped open her cell phone and punched in the chauffeur's number. "Thomas, would you be willing to do me a favor?" Helena asked, keeping her voice low so the other box holders wouldn't hear her conversation. "Wonderful, would you find a convenient store and pick up some Pop tarts, Milk Duds and a Pepsi? Oh wait, if they have Slurpee's get me a coke flavored one. Hang on a sec Thomas," Helena said, covering the phone. "Do you want anything?"

"I don't think one drinks a Slurpee at the opera, Helena."

"One does now," she said, not one iota concerned about what anyone might think. "Do you want anything?"

Barbara bit her bottom lip for a moment. "Snow Caps and a diet Coke."

Helena smiled. "Some Snow Caps and a diet Coke too, please. Thanks T." She flipped the phone closed feeling very satisfied.

"I didn't know you liked opera," Barbara said while idly running her finger around the rim of her glass.

"I don't."

One red eyebrow arched in question.

"But, you do," Helena answered the unspoken question.

Barbara just blinked at that statement. It was true but she could barely believe Helena would subject herself to opera just because she liked it. "Won't you be bored?" She remembered what Helena was like when she got bored. It never ended well for those around her.

"I'm sure I'll find something to hold my attention," she said, looking at Barbara's profile while the redhead began to peruse the program.

Barbara turned to give Helena a doubtful look. "What might that be?" She asked. Helena's steady gaze answered that question. She turned back to the program willing the butterflies she felt in her stomach to go away.

"Helena this is an all female cast," Barbara told her as she ran her finger down the list.

"Yes," she confirmed Barbara's statement. "A friend of mine saw it some time ago during the ENO season. She found out it was going to make a limited tour here and let me know."

Helena knew this production of 'The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant' was a lesbian opera.

"What friend?" She was curious. Helena never mentioned anyone from her time abroad.

"Megan," Helena said, smiling at her thoughts of her friend and one time lover.

"Where you close?" Barbara asked noticing Helena's smile.

Helena turned towards Barbara. "As close as I was with anyone," she replied. "She only knew the parts of me that I was comfortable showing her." She'd long ago realized that she had some intimacy issues. Of course, considering her first disastrous affair and everything that followed it wasn't a surprise.

Barbara's eyes clouded. She knew that it was mostly her actions that made Helena cautious with people. She hated it. She even hated herself a little because of it. "I'm sorry."

"There's nothing to be sorry for Barbara," Helena told her, determined to make her believe it. This had been hovering just below the surface during all their time together since she returned to New Gotham.

The redhead laughed humorlessly. "I disagree."

"Doesn't matter," Helena replied dismissively. "I'm making the decisions tonight and I say it's fine."

"You're bossy." She didn't agree but since Helena wanted her to let it go so she was going to try.

"You like it."

"In certain situations," Barbara teased.

"Barbara Gordon, you're naughty," Helena said scandalized.

"It must be the company I keep."

"Do not throw that," Barbara hissed, clamping down on Helena's arm before she could hurl the candy at the stage. Obviously Huntress was back and she'd brought along adolescent Helena for the ride.

"Oh come on," Helena groaned. "This is almost too ridiculous. Who falls in love that fast? Plus she's being used!"

"Love is blind," Barbara said quietly.

"Love can be blind, just not stupid." She really wanted to throw the Milk Dud.

"Where's your sense of romance? Where's your sense of humor?" Barbara chuckled. It certainly was over the top in her opinion. She wasn't surprised that Helena was getting irritated.

Helena rested her hand on the redhead's arm to get her complete attention. "It's in the car heading far away from here, just like we should be doing."

"Are you saying you want to leave?"

"Are you saying you want to stay?"

Barbara looked at the stage then back at Helena. It was bordering on inane. "It'll be over soon," she assured the other woman. It wouldn't do to have Helena leave the performance early.

"Not soon enough," Helena replied petulantly. Why couldn't Delphi page with an emergency? Surely there was some go-getter criminal out there that wanted to get a jump on the weekend job?

"Fine, we'll leave." Barbara gave up willingly. She didn't want to stay either. Helena being bored and cranky was a good enough excuse to her.

"I love you," Helena declared after Barbara uttered those beautiful words.

"Come on," she whispered. Barbara did her best to not attract attention to their departure. Not that it did any good when Helena finished her Slurpee, reminding her exactly why they were called a Slurpee.

"Do you want to go dancing?" Helena asked when they were safely in the limo.

The redhead looked at her friend wondering where that had come from. "We're not exactly dressed for it," Barbara replied, giving Helena an appraising look. She looked good in the gown.

"You're right, well go change," she replied taking Barbara's comment as a yes.

"We have to patrol tonight. Plus I still have work."

"When you look back on your life do you want to think about all the boring work you did or would you rather think about how much fun you had dancing with me?" Helena asked. She was tired of working, she needed some fun. The opera had turned out to be a huge mistake but she wasn't ready to call the entire evening a bust. It could still be salvaged.

"I'll have plenty of time to dance when I've got things under control," Barbara replied exasperated.

"You'll have plenty of time to get things under control after you go dancing," Helena shot back stubbornly.

"Fine," Barbara said throwing up her hands. Honestly, she was tired of trying to fight Helena.

Helena just smiled.

"Where," Barbara stopped to clear her throat. "Where did you get those?" She asked staring at the skin that the low riding leather pants left in view.


Helena sounded as if it were a silly question. Looking at the pants she supposed it was a silly question. Where else would Helena have found them? What was even more inexplicable was that she had a pair for Barbara.

"You didn't change." Helena gestured at the clothes she'd provided for Barbara. "Hurry up! I don't want to sit here all night."

"You honestly expect me to wear those?"

She was pointing at them as if they were a poisonous snake. Actually, Helena thought that she would be more inclined to touch a snake than the pants. "What's wrong with them?" She looked down at her own, they seemed just fine.

"I can't wear those. They're fine for you but you're," Barbara waved her hand at Helena. "You're you. I'm me, they aren't me." She finished lamely.

"Oh please, I've seen you in far more revealing clothes. Besides they aren't like mine. Yours don't flare at the bottom. I figured you more as a straight leg girl," Helena replied. She held up the pants for Barbara's inspection. "See?"

"And this?" The redhead asked holding up the lacy top. "Is this supposed to cover me? You can see right through it!"

"Exactly, it's sexy." Helena was pleased with the combination. When she'd decided weeks ago to get Barbara to go dancing she'd ordered the outfit. She knew what was in the redhead's closet and she didn't think any of it showed her off enough.

"Helena everyone will be able to see everything! My bra included!"

"I got you a black one to wear under the top," Helena reminded her. "Besides there's also the coat."

She had to admit the coat was great, but the rest of it wasn't. She fingered the duster. The collar was trimmed in the same color as the bat design on her bat suit. It was almost the exact same style as Helena's. It was a wonderful gift since the brunette had caught her admiring the duster more than once.

"Look, you'll fit in if you wear those," Helena said.

"Where are we going?"

"The Dark Horse," Helena responded, rubbing her hands together in anticipation. It was pretty much an 'anything goes' sort of place. She could barely wait.

"And these," Barbara said holding up the garments in question. "Will be appropriate?"

"Think of it as an undercover operation and you're in disguise," she suggested.

"If I hear even one snicker out of you I will make your life miserable," Barbara vowed as she took the clothes into the spare bedroom she used occasionally.

Helena sat down to wait. She didn't think snickering or anything close to it would be on her mind when Barbara came back out.

Dark Horse

"That was pretty hot."

Helena reluctantly pulled her gaze away from Barbara who was on the dance floor with some guy to look at the person who was trying to talk to her. "I know." If anyone knew it was her. Hell, she was still recovering. Get Barbara out of work mode and ply her with a few drinks; she turned into an animal, a very sensual animal. She could still feel the redhead's hands stroking her body even after she'd been sitting here for twenty minutes.

"Are you two together?"

She wanted to roll her eyes. Same shit, different asshole. She ignored him.

Not really one to take a subtle hint the guy put a hand on Helena's arm then said, "How about we dance."

His grip was firm, too firm in Helena's opinion. He was obviously a stupid asshole. "You want to dance?" She asked, her voice promised a good time. They could dance.

"Definitely," he said pressing his erection against her leg.

She gripped his hand then twisted it before bending it backwards. "Is this what you had in mind?" Helena asked sweetly.

"Fuck! Let go!"

She pushed him backwards by his bent hand then smirked at him. "Let that be a lesson to you, if a woman ignores you, chances are she doesn't want your hands or your dick on her."

"Fucking dykes," he spat but still walked away.

"You say that like it's a bad thing," she responded before he was out of earshot. Really, she had no idea how she always managed to attract the assholes. It must be her perfume.

"That was entertaining."

Helena sighed inaudibly. Why were people determined to keep bothering her? "The next show is in two minutes," she replied without taking her eyes off the dance floor. She could barely believe the Barbara she was watching was her Barbara

"I haven't seen you here before," the woman said.

"Do those cheesy lines ever really work?" Helena asked as she turned to give the woman the brush off.

"It's a nervous habit."

"Sarah." Helena breathed the name. She recognized her instantly. She hadn't seen her since Harley Quinn's take down. She looked older. She still looked like the person Helena knew but there was a look in her eyes that wasn't present before. Helena knew that look. She'd seen it in the mirror. It was the look of someone who didn't trust people.

"I wondered if I'd ever see you again," Sarah said. She moved closer to the brunette. "What happened to you?"

"We moved." She glanced at Barbara to make sure she was still occupied. "I read about what happened," Helena told her.

She laughed bitterly. "Yeah, they splashed the bust all over the news but never bothered to mention the fact that we were being drugged and hypnotized."

It was true. She hadn't learned that until she had talked to Dick almost five months after they left New Gotham. "You're out now," Helena said stating the obvious.

"For a while now, actually, they managed to 'de-program' us," she said using air quotes. "Kind of like they do people who've been brainwashed by cults. Loads of fun."

"I'm sorry," Helena replied for lack of anything better to say. She hadn't even thought of Sarah except in a vague way for years.

"Don't worry about it," she said smiling. "It's in the past. Ancient history."

She opened her mouth to say she was glad but stopped at the prickle of awareness that she felt. Helena knew Barbara was watching her. She could practically feel the redhead's eyes boring into her. She didn't even have to turn to know that she was walking over.

"I know you didn't want to dance with that guy a minute ago but maybe you'd like to dance with me?" Sarah asked.

Wasn't this a pickle? Sarah in front of her and an overprotective Barbara behind her. Barbara who knows who Sarah is and what happened between them. Barbara who knows that she was devastated by what happened. Barbara who wasn't likely to be happy that she was talking to Sarah at all. But, Helena didn't want to be rude. After all, she had cared about Sarah. She felt bad for what she'd been through with Quinn. The idea of being manipulated by someone in the manner that Sarah and her friends were manipulated was horrifying. Regardless she was still relieved when Barbara slipped her arm around her shoulders.

"Ready for round two," Barbara asked.

Barbara gave Sarah a look that clearly said back off. She knew exactly who Sarah was. There was no way she was going to leave Helena alone anywhere near her.

Helena stood up happy to have an excuse to get away from Sarah. "It was nice seeing you again," Helena said, giving the blonde a small wave as she followed Barbara back onto the dance floor.

"Are you okay?" Barbara asked.

Helena fought back a shiver when the redhead's lips brushed against her ear. She smiled, nodding at her concern. She didn't want to think about Sarah. She wanted to think about dancing. She wanted to think about dancing with Barbara. She wanted to concentrate on the seductive press of Barbara's breasts in her back and the warmth of her against her butt. It was enough to make her moan. For the next hour she didn't think of anything else.

What was it about dancing that made her want to touch her partner? What was it that made her want to feel the press of lips against hers when their bodies were moving against each other? It was no wonder that dancing was considered a mating ritual in some cultures. The act of dancing was tantamount to sex. Barbara wanted that too.

Helena tried to figure out why Barbara had stopped all of a sudden. She quirked an eyebrow at her dance partner. Barbara's eyes were intent on her, no more like intense. Was it possible to have your heart pound out of your chest? It felt like her heart was breaking through her rib cage. She was sure Barbara was going to kiss her.

"We need to go." The tone was strained.

Helena's body responded to Barbara's gaze and tone, involuntarily causing her eyes to change to their golden hue. Helena closed her eyes for a moment. That hadn't happened for years, she'd learned to control that reaction a long, long time ago.

"Now," Barbara husked when she saw the brief glimpse of gold that had suffused Helena's eyes before she closed them.

She had to avoid looking at Thomas. Much to her chagrin her eyes seemed to morph back and forth without her permission. Barbara hadn't made it any easier. She could smell the other woman's arousal. It ratcheted up Helena's arousal significantly.

Helena slid into the limo trying to get her body under control. It was ridiculous, she felt like she was going through puberty again. "Barbara, are you okay?" Helena asked without looking at her. If she saw Barbara looking at her like she was looking at her in the club she'd do something impulsive. She couldn't be impulsive with Barbara. It was one thing to be suggestive but in this situation Barbara would have to make the move. She knew it was something the redhead would need to feel comfortable.

"Yes." She was so turned on it hurt. If she hadn't gotten out of that club and stopped dancing with Helena she probably would have gone home with the first person she could lay her hands on. More than likely Helena. She needed to get home, maybe take a cold shower. She really shouldn't go out dancing. She always got a little out of control when she did.

"What's that noise?" Helena asked, looking over at Barbara. It sounded like the comm. but the tone was different.

"Damn it!" There was absolutely no way that there could be a problem right now. Barbara tapped the comm. unit she'd developed so she would have instant access to Delphi and Helena at any time. Right now though, she wanted to smash it to bits. She was too keyed up for this.

"Is something wrong?"

"No," Barbara's voice was distracted.

"What is it?" Helena was instantly worried. It would have to be something big for Barbara to get a call over the comm.

Barbara made a shushing motion at Helena before she sat up. "What's the problem?"

Helena frowned. The only people who knew about the comm. system that Barbara had set up were the JLA members. Was there an emergency? Did something happen to her parents or Dick? Her heart was starting to pound again for an entirely different reason.

"Steven, I left explicit instructions that the project was to be secured in the vault!"

Steven? Steven Polk? Steven Polk, senior scientist and head of genetics? She had her comm. hooked up to work!

"I'll be right there. Don't let anyone leave and don't touch anything," Barbara instructed. She was worried. She had down graded the priority of the project. There were other companies working on similar lines of research and while she knew it would be beneficial to humanity someday, it wasn't beneficial to the company to pursue the research. Apparently the news hadn't been taken very well. Now the lab was a mess and the work had been escalated. The results didn't sound good. Also, she now had the sneaking suspicion about who could have created their furry friend.

"Tell me you do not have your comm. unit set up as some revved up blue tooth! Are you taking calls when we're patrolling?" Helena demanded.

When Barbara didn't answer she went on. "You've been working while we've been patrolling, haven't you?" Helena was outraged. "Is that why you shushed me the other night?" She asked sitting up straighter so her glare would have more of an impact. "That's why, isn't it? I was killing myself subduing a gang war and you were taking phone calls from work!"

"The world doesn't stop just because we have to fight for justice," Barbara told the brunette as she pushed the button to roll down the window between them and Thomas. "Thomas, would you please take us to the office."

"Yes, ma'am."

"Well, this certainly puts a crimp in the evening," Helena grumbled. She'd been pretty sure Barbara was going to attack her few moments ago. At least she was kind of hoping she would. She hated being aroused and not being able to do anything about it. Now Barbara looked all serious and worried. While she just felt all horny and hot. She sighed inaudibly.


Chapter 15

"What's going on?" Barbara demanded as she strode into the lab with Helena a few steps behind her.

"Ms. Wayne, Ms. Gordon," Steven greeted before he started explaining the situation to Barbara.

Helena listened as Polk jabbered away in science geek speak. Barbara had told her that the scientists working on a mutagen project had taken it upon themselves to continue their research after hours. They also decided the testing phase should be moved up, which was the current problem. The most disturbing thing was that one of her employees could have created something that killed three people. She could barely stand the thought. Helena glanced around the room seeing the animal for the first time. From the looks of things in the lab she had to agree that this was definitely a problem.

"What the hell happened?" Helena demanded when she saw the unconscious cat. "How did it get like that?" Its entire body was convulsing.

"It was injected with this," Steven answered, pointing to a syringe filed with some kind of liquid.

"And now?" Barbara asked, staring at the animal in question. She knew it couldn't be a coincidence. This project was responsible for the death of three people. She could only imagine what this cat was going to turn into.

She wasn't surprised to see Helena kneel beside the cat to stroke it. Barbara doubted it would do anything but she could understand the sentiment.

"Now, I believe it is being mutated by the compound," Steven offered unhelpfully.

"I ascertained that Steven," Barbara replied impatiently. "I would like to know what it was injected with."

"It is a chemical compound used to promote DNA disruption. It also contains foreign DNA that will then, theoretically, attach to the disrupted DNA strand. This animal was given Jaguar DNA." Steven related disapprovingly.

"Oh my god," Barbara breathed softly. She glanced at Helena, giving her a significant look. This was likely what happened to their guest. "Where are they?" She asked angrily a minute later. She should have realized the connection between the research and the animal immediately. To be fair, she realized she had thought about the connection but she couldn't imagine that Wayne Corp. research could be responsible. She rubbed her eyes tiredly; she should have fired them when they originally refused to give up on their research.

"Dr. Cliveler and Dr. Foeler are in the outer lab," he said, turning then motioning at the door the two scientists were behind.

Barbara's face was inscrutable as she stared at the animal that Helena was gently picking up to place on the table. While Barbara was talking with Steven the brunette had made the cat a bed out of lab coats. What they'd done was unconscionable. This sort of animal testing had been illegal for years. The compound itself was obviously unstable. She couldn't imagine that this cat was going to live. She wondered if the animal they had was just a fluke. She stared at the syringe angrily. This research was potentially dangerous if it were even successful. She had no idea if this cat would live or if the one they captured would survive much longer. There was just no way to know. If this were to fall into the wrong hands the consequences could be devastating. They had already caused the death of three people. "Call security," Barbara ordered.

When security arrived a few minutes later Steven ordered them to take the two scientists into custody. They couldn't report them to the authorities, something she wanted to do with every fiber in her being. Unfortunately if she turned them in, the research and their compound would become public knowledge, which couldn't happen. She planned to hold them long enough to have people search their homes and investigate the doctors to make sure they didn't have a hidden lab anywhere. She needed to secure all of their research.

"Ms. Wayne!" Dr. Foeler said, trying to pull away from the security guards who had his arms in a tight grip. "Surely you see what a staggering break through this is? Who knows what we could accomplish with this research!"

"I've already considered that Dr. Foeler. The only accomplishment this sort of experimentation will do is create an unforeseeable and possibly harmful mutation," she said harshly. An image of the one they captured flashed in her mind. "That's the best case, worst case it dies."

"You can't do this!" He said angrily. He glared at the security guards who were holding him.

Helena took another look at the cat. "Yes, we can," she replied, unable to take her eyes off the animal. It hadn't stopped convulsing. She was afraid it might be in pain. The very thought made her angry. She wanted to do major damage to the scientists. "By the way," she said, feeling a minor satisfaction at the words she was about to say. "You're fired."

"No!" Dr. Foeler shouted. He stomped on one guard's foot then elbowed the other one with all his strength. It wasn't much but it was enough to surprise the two guards so he was able to get loose. He grabbed the syringe holding it against his chest protectively. "I won't let you do this! It's my research, my discovery. I won't let you take it away."

Barbara narrowed her eyes in annoyance as she waved the security back. She didn't want to risk him stabbing one of the security guards with it when they tried to grab him again. Nor could she just rush him since he could easily inject himself or her if she weren't careful. She sighed, he was obviously crazy. This was just what she needed. She started walking towards him slowly noticing Helena doing the same thing out of the corner of her eye. When she was close enough she held out her hand then spoke in a low comforting voice, "Dr. Foeler, please give me the syringe."

The doctor took a step backward shaking his head.

"There's no where for you to go," she told him logically. "We just want to keep everyone from getting hurt." She wasn't referring to just the people in the lab.

"Stay back," Foeler's voice was scared.

"I can't do that," Barbara said getting even closer to the scientist. The sudden movement from his colleague distracted her for a moment. Much to her horrified embarrassment Dr. Foeler took advantage of her distraction to wrap his arm around Barbara pushing the needle partially into the redhead's neck. "I won't let you do this," he yelled.

Barbara decided right then that she would never drink again. She figured that had to be a contributing factor to her being caught off guard. She watched Helena waiting for some idea of what she had planned.

Helena took a menacing step forward then stopped abruptly when Dr. Foeler tightened his grip on Barbara and pushed the needle in further. "Don't," he warned.

Barbara was biding her time. If Helena was able to distract him enough she planned to bring this little stand off to an abrupt end. She was even considering doling out some greatly deserved ass kicking. Even Dr. Cliveler was staring at his colleague with horror.

"There's no where for you to go," Helena told him reasonably even while she was feeling anything but reasonable. Now wasn't the time to give into her anger.

"Maybe not," Dr. Foeler agreed, suddenly calm.

His eyes were radiating insanity. Helena wanted to snort at the cliché of a mad scientist. She was going to require psychological testing for all employees on Monday. Even knowing he was pretty crazy she didn't think Barbara was in any real danger. She didn't believe he would do it. She was wrong.

"But, really there's only one more stage in testing left," he finished as he pushed the needle fully into Barbara, pressing the plunger down. "Human trial."

Barbara raised her arm up smashing her elbow into the scientist's face, feeling the satisfaction of hearing the crunch of his nose breaking. She stared down at the bleeding howling man feeling suddenly dizzy. She was going to die, she couldn't think of any other outcome from being injected. She could hardly believe the irony of being killed by someone she worked with rather than on the streets. She had accepted the possibility she could be killed out on the fighting crime, but this? This was just silly. It was the last thought she had before the blackness consumed her.

Helena caught her before she could hit the floor. It only took a moment before she began convulsing. She took a moment to give a chilling look to the scientist being secured by the guards before she turned back to Barbara. She'd deal with the man later. She doubted he would survive it when she did.

Over a week later

She opened her eyes slowly. Her body felt heavy, as if she'd been fifteen rounds with the metal man they had faced not long ago. So, this is what Helena must have felt after that fight. She should have done like the brunette asked and kissed her injuries. She was entitled to that at the very least if this was even half of what she must have felt like. The noise of someone shifting in a chair made her turn her head to see who it was. She smiled. "Hi Dad," she whispered, getting the man's attention.

"You're awake," he said, stating the obvious. "How do you feel?" He asked worriedly as he stood to look at her. He stroked the hair off her forehead in a tender gesture that he rarely offered anymore.

"Okay, just sore and tired," she reassured him. It was something of an understatement but she didn't want him to worry anymore than he already was.

"We've been very worried." He had her hand now. He was reluctant to let her go. It had been scary for a while.


"Me, Helena, Dick and Alfred," Commissioner Gordon replied. "You also got a lot of flowers," he gestured to the surrounding garden of flowers.

"How long have I been here?" She asked.

"Three days." Three long days.

"What happened?" She asked cautiously. She wasn't certain how much her father might know.

"Helena brought you here after you collapsed," he began. "She said you were fine one moment then the next you were sinking to the floor. They did tests but couldn't find anything." He'd been frustrated at the lack of explanation.

She rubbed her forehead then pinched the bridge of her nose trying to think. That wasn't what happened. Obviously Helena was keeping things quiet. She sighed in relief. She also wondered how long she had really been out. She remembered the convulsing cat and couldn't imagine that she'd been spared the experience. "Where is she?"

"She went for coffee. She's been here the entire time," he explained. "I thought she could use a small break. The best I could convince her to do was to get some coffee." He glanced at the door as if expecting her to be back already. "She'll be back soon."

Barbara's eyes closed of their own accord. "Make sure you wake me up when she gets here," she told her father, realizing that she was going to fall back asleep whether she wanted to or not.

"I will," he promised. She was already asleep.

"Is everything okay?"

Jim turned at the sound of Helena's worried voice. He hadn't even heard her come in. "She's fine," he replied, relief heavy in his tone and demeanor. "She just woke up. She told me to tell you to wake her up when you got back."

"I was only gone five minutes," she said frowning. She should have been here when Barbara woke up. She never should have left.

"It was a pretty quick conversation," he joked now that he wasn't so concerned that Barbara wouldn't wake up.

"I guess," she replied sitting in the chair she'd been sitting in since she brought Barbara into the hospital.

"You should wake her up," he told her. "She'll be angry if you don't. She'll probably think I didn't tell you."

"Don't worry, I'll tell her you told me," she assured him, not taking her eyes off the redhead.

"I need to get back to work." He leaned down kissing Barbara's forehead. "Keep an eye on her," he ordered.

"Both of them," she promised. She had no intention of moving again until Barbara woke up.

He nodded before he turned to leave. He had no doubt that Helena would do exactly as she promised. The woman was loyal beyond all reason. The way she looked at Barbara was nothing short of worshiping.

The first thing Barbara saw when she opened her eyes and looked over to where her father should have been was Helena's eyes staring at her. "You were supposed to wake me up," she reprimanded lightly.

"You looked too peaceful to disturb." Helena was watching the redhead carefully for any signs that what every geneticist she had consulted with wasn't true. All of them said Barbara was fine. They could find no abnormalities. She couldn't be reassured until she saw it for herself. She leaned against the railing of the hospital bed and took the redhead's hand.

"How long have I been out?" She asked the same question she asked her father expecting a very different answer.

"Eight days."

"And?" She didn't have to explain what she was asking.

"They say you're normal. They can't find anything wrong."

Barbara nodded. She doubted anyone would. They couldn't always identify meta-humans. She couldn't imagine they would be able to find anything wrong with her. She'd find out if there were any side effects soon enough. "When can I get out of here?" She asked, not telling Helena any of her thoughts.

"I think they want to keep you for a couple more days," Helena replied. "They came in and gave you the once over when your Dad told them you woke up. I know the doctor wants to take a look at you while you're awake too."

She shook her head at that thought. She hated hospitals. "I'm leaving," she said firmly, already sitting up to lower the rails of the bed so she could get out of it. She had a little trouble with the rails. She felt extremely weak but she still wasn't staying here.

"I'm not sure that's a good idea," Helena said even as she helped her.

"I'm not staying here. There's nothing they can do if there's something wrong," she said standing up slowly. She saw the look on Helena's face then added quickly, "Not that anything's wrong with me."

"Are you sure you should be up?" She held Barbara's arm helping the woman as she took shaky steps to the closet where she knew her clothes would be.

"I'm sure," she replied, her tone clearly saying the matter was closed.

"Fine," Helena agreed reluctantly. "But you're staying with me."

"I appreciate that," Barbara said giving her a smile. "But, I'll be more comfortable at home."

Helena nodded. "You're right, I'll stay with you."

"You don't have to do that, Hel. I'll be fine. I am fine," she said as she slowly got dressed.

"I don't care."

Barbara sighed at Helena's stubbornness. She knew nothing she said would change Helena's mind. "Front of back?" She asked, trying to lighten the mood.

The question made the brunette smirk. She knew this game. "Either," she replied giving Barbara a sexy smile. "I'm an ambidextrous sleeper."

"My type of girl," Barbara replied, brushing her hand down Helena's arm before she took her hand. "Ready?"

Helena shook her head. "You still have paperwork to fill out and you're not walking out. Carried in, wheeled out," she repeated what she'd heard a nurse say to another patient a few days ago.

"What? You think they'll arrest me? Take away my birthday?" She waited for Helena to say something. "Thought so, let's go."

They made it down the hall then past the nurse's station before Barbara had to rest. "Still feeling okay?" Helena asked sarcastically.

Barbara glared at her. "Aren't you supposed to be really strong? How about a lift?"

Helena smiled as she took Barbara into her arms. "You know, they're going to notice you leaving with me carrying you like this. It might not look good for me."

Barbara leaned her head against Helena's shoulder. "You don't care what people think about you," she reminded her.

"True," Helena replied, elbowing the down button for the elevator.

"What happened to the good doctors?" Barbara asked once they were in the elevator.

Helena glanced at Barbara briefly then turned away to stare straight ahead. "They've been dealt with." She certainly did deal with them. Dr. Foeler wouldn't be able to hurt anyone ever again. Dr. Cliveler got off much easier. She only had his work seized. Now he was under Wayne Corp. security surveillance. If he started his research again Helena would know about it immediately.

"What does that mean?" Barbara asked.

Helena's features hardened. "It means they won't be a threat to anyone. I've set up surveillance. If he so much as burps we'll know about it," Helena said, not specifying which he, knowing Barbara would think it was Foeler.

The redhead nodded her approval. Keeping an eye on them was a good idea. "What about the cat?"

"I'm not sure," Helena responded slowly. "I've been a little preoccupied. I didn't even think to check on her."

"Don't worry about it. I'll call when we get home."

"What should we do if it survived?" Helena wondered aloud.

"I was planning to adopt it." She closed her eyes feeling extremely tired all of a sudden. "How's the other one?"

"I gave him to my parents. They said they'll find somewhere to put him."

"They couldn't find a cure?"

"No, they're going to work on the problem but the JLA just doesn't have the technology to reverse it."

Neither of them said anything else. Helena was just grateful that Barbara was okay.


Chapter 16

Nine days post hospital

"Helena told me you needed to take it easy. Are you sure you're supposed to be doing this?" Dick asked as he stretched his calves. They were about to spar, something he was reluctant to do. But, Barbara's hostile response when he first asked that question had sent him straight to her training room to stretch. He was having second thoughts now though.

"Yes," Barbara ground out her reply through gritted teeth. She was tired of being coddled. Sure she had been weak the first few days out of the hospital but that was a week ago. She needed to release some tension. She felt like if she didn't use some energy soon she'd explode.

He really wished Helena would get back. She was the only one that was able to deal with Barbara without the redhead practically going postal. "You don't know where Hellion went, do you?" Dick asked.

"Date." Barbara's tone was curt.

Dick nodded his head. He remembered Helena mentioning that now that he'd been reminded. She was meeting some guy she'd met a while ago. It didn't seem right that she was out having fun and he was stuck here to deal with Barbara's foul temper. Maybe he should go patrol? He sighed knowing he couldn't go. He promised to keep an eye on Barbara.

"Reese?" Dick wondered aloud. He seemed to remember Helena telling him that she was going out with him. He wondered if it was getting serious.

"No," Barbara responded, this time her tone was considerably more hostile than before. Ever since Helena had told her about the 'date' she'd been in an increasingly bad mood. She didn't like all the time Helena was taking away from their work.

He sighed with resignation. That question had just made Barbara more agitated. He wasn't going to get out of this. "Are you going to take off those glasses?" Dick asked. Barbara had been wearing new transition lens glasses lately. Most of the time they were so dark you couldn't see her eyes.

She brought her hand up, fingering the glasses. Well, she'd forgotten about those. She needed them though. Four days ago she'd noticed her eyes were…different. She'd seen them before; her pet, Jagger had those eyes. They were disturbingly similar. She wasn't ready to tell anyone yet. Helena would insist she go see a specialist or contact the JLA. She'd also blame herself for Barbara's new circumstances. She didn't want the brunette to do that so she couldn't let anyone know what was happening. So, she immediately dug out an old pair of frames to fit them with lenses that were dark enough to hide her eyes but light enough not to be recognized as sunglass lenses. That same day she'd started working on special contacts that would hide her…condition. Luckily she finished them yesterday but she hadn't tried them out yet.

"Of course," she replied, turning towards the door to head to her bathroom. "I just need to…" she waved her hand vaguely at the door. "Before we start." She raised her hand holding the glasses up to show she'd removed them. "I'll be right back."

Once in her bathroom she fiddled with the contact lenses making certain they were going on correctly. Carefully balancing the contact on her finger she ever so hesitantly brought it to her eye. She blinked rapidly trying to make it more comfortable. Finally she peered at herself in the mirror. A satisfied smile graced her lips then she quickly put in the other one. She leaned in closer than stepped back, all the while keeping her eyes glued to the eyes in the mirror. She looked almost normal. The only way anyone would be able to detect anything strange would be for them to be really, really close. Even then, they would probably have to be looking for it. She had no intention of allowing anyone to be that close anyway. She had no idea it would be so hard to hide the larger than normal iris. Her eyes took up nearly the entire space where once you could see sclera. They had also turned a yellowish green. Still it wasn't terrible. She decided she'd work on them more later, who knew how long she'd have to wear them, possibly for the rest of her life. On the bright side her eyesight was better than normal. She didn't even require night vision anymore.

She walked back into the training room looking around for her opponent. "I'm ready," she called out.

"You're not going to stretch?" Dick asked still trying to find a way out of this. Helena would kill him if Barbara over did it.

She didn't bother to respond. It was a ploy, she knew it was a ploy, he knew that she knew it was a ploy. Instead she attacked. It was good to feel her muscles strain again, to feel the adrenalin pumping through her. Dick was usually a great sparring partner. He was fast and strong. Usually she had to work hard to keep him at bay. Not today though. He was taking it easy on her, she was sure of it. She glared at him. Ducking under his guard she landed a sharp blow to his stomach then followed it up with a knee to his face when he bent over.

"You're not trying! Stop taking it easy on me," she demanded. She paced back and forth in front of him attempting to shake off her agitation.

"I wasn't taking it easy on you," Dick responded. He wiped his nose then looked at his hand to make sure he wasn't bleeding. He'd been fighting Barbara as hard as he normally would.

"Yeah, right," Barbara replied scornfully. She didn't believe him for a minute. "Let's go," she said as she started circling him.

Dick matched her movements. He watched her body language for any sign of what she might do. Barbara would sometimes telegraph her moves. It was why he could usually win their sparring matches. This time was apparently not one of those times. The redhead was relaxed yet ready to strike. She'd obviously been working with Helena a lot lately. This was similar to her fighting style. He tried a blitz attack using a sudden burst of speed hoping to overwhelm Barbara with sheer strength. He was annoyed when he couldn't land a solid punch. He dropped low to sweep her legs out from under her only to have her jump over his attempt. The low round house to his jaw put him on the floor.

"Fuck!" He touched his jaw lightly then moved it around experimentally. At least it wasn't broken. "Want to lighten up a little? I don't think we need to go all out," he told her.

"I barely hit you," Barbara scoffed.

"Just take it easy." He knew Barbara was pissed, that all by itself usually made a person hit harder than normal. Hopefully now that he pointed it out she'd ease up.

Barbara merely grunted before she started to circle him again. This wasn't nearly enough for her. Dick was obviously still holding back. She needed more than he was giving. She'd have to push him.

Finally after what seemed like forever to Barbara, Dick started his assault. She dodged and ducked the first few then decided to let one connect. It was a hard punch. Dick had obviously started to step up his game. She shook her head minutely. That had been a good one. Now that he wasn't holding back she decided she didn't need to hold back as much either. She blocked an incoming blow then turned her body into him bringing around her elbow. She connected with his face then hooked his arm to toss him over her hip. He landed with a thump. He wasn't down for long. She had to move quickly to avoid the kick aimed to take off her head. That allowed him to follow up with a second kick that connected solidly nearly knocking the wind out of her.

They traded punches, neither one of them getting the upper hand. She decided to just let loose. It only took three combinations then Dick was down, this time there was blood. Apparently she shouldn't have done that.

He looked at the blood on his hand. Okay, it was hard ball time. He stood up, then without a word he charged the redhead tackling her. It turned into a WWF Raw kind of fight. In this kind of fight Dick knew he had the upper hand. They grappled with each other, flinging a few elbows mostly from instinct. Dick was surprised when Barbara was on top of him holding him down. Then she was kissing him. Hot opened mouth kisses that were barely kisses at all. It was fast, raw and brutal. He'd never done anything like it before. He'd never thought of doing anything like it.

"What was that?" Dick asked still breathing heavily some time later. He pulled up his underwear and pants trying to get his breathing under control.

Barbara didn't respond. She was staring at the ceiling thinking a very similar question. What the fuck was that? She'd just lost control, completely lost control.

"Are you going to say anything?" He looked over at his silent companion. For all the attention she was paying to him, he might as well not be there.

"I'm not sure what I should say," Barbara responded after a prolonged silence. "It was what it was."

"What does that mean?"

Barbara sighed, feeling an irrational anger towards him. She wanted him to leave. No, she wanted to leave. "It means that we did it, it's done, let's move on," she said rolling to her feet. She pushed her other leg through her pants. They hadn't even gotten them off completely. "I'm going out," she told him over her shoulder as she straightened her shirt. She exited the training room not stopping until she was in the garage and on her motorcycle.

Two weeks later

"You're hovering," Barbara said without opening her eyes. She'd been aware of Helena ever since she walked into the Clock Tower. Now she could feel the brunette's eyes on her.

"Why are you up there?" Helena asked, giving the redhead a worried look. Barbara had been acting different lately. It wasn't really something she could pin down but she just knew something was off.

Barbara sighed as she sat up to look down from her perch. "I'm enjoying the afternoon sun before it goes down and we have to go to work." She leaned forward a bit to stroke Jagger's fur. She and the cat were two of a kind.

"Yeah," Helena said. "I suppose you are." The redhead was lying in the sun that was shining through the clock face. "Why are you enjoying it from up there?"

"I like it up here," Barbara said as if that explained it all. As far as she was concerned it did.

Helena leapt up to the adjacent beam running along the upper edge of the clock. It was a high vantage point and one of the only areas this high up that the sun could reach. It was some place she might like to sit. "How did you get up here?" She asked curiously. It would have been a difficult climb. Not impossible obviously but difficult.

"Much like you did I suppose," Barbara replied vaguely.

"Oh? Just jumped right up here, huh? Maybe the cat carried you up?"

"Maybe," she replied smiling secretively.

"Right," Helena said indulgently. She knew that Barbara had probably used one of her jump cables.

"So, how are you feeling?" She asked swinging her legs as she looked at the redhead. She tried not to stare. There was something about Barbara that drew her to the redhead, more so now than usual. Her scent was more enticing for some reason. Even Dick had noticed it. But, they didn't get the chance to discuss it or Barbara very much before he said he needed to leave. It was disappointing; he had originally intended to stay for a couple more weeks until Barbara was at one hundred percent.

"I feel fine," Barbara told her for the hundredth time. "I was fine yesterday. I was fine the day before that, and the day before that, and the day before that. I'll be fine all week, hell all year."

"Oh, so you're feeling fine?"

"Shit!" Helena yelped as she and Barbara went flying backwards over the beam she was sitting on. Helena wrapped her arms around the redhead as she twisted to land on her feet holding the other woman.

"Yep, I'm fine," Barbara said. She felt giddy. It was the adrenalin, she loved it.

"Are you insane too?" Helena snapped. She couldn't believe Barbara had just done that. Jesus they could have been killed! Well, okay, maybe not killed but certainly they could have sprained something.

"Lighten up, I knew you could handle it," Barbara said breezily, waving a hand at her.

"Are you sure you're alright?" Helena asked again, not quite willing to let it go after that little stunt.

"If you ask me that one more time I'm going to push you off the balcony," Barbra promised.

Helena thought she looked serious. It didn't do anything to reassure her. But if Barbara said she was fine she couldn't do anything but trust her. "Okay," she drew the word out slowly. "I've got to go by the cave tonight before we patrol. Alfred said the new motorcycle arrived." Helena licked her lips in anticipation. She'd ordered the new Ducati Monster 696 but with an extra that Alfred was hesitant to arrange. Dual NOS had been added. That monster was going to kick major ass!

"Oh, so you're going to be on the bike tonight?" Barbara asked.

Helena nodded her head. "For a while," she grinned when her brilliant brain came up with an equally brilliant idea. "Interested in a little race tonight?"

Barbara tilted her head contemplating her friend. She had been feeling bored lately. Not much was going on, she could use the fun. Plus, the thought of competing with Helena made her whole body tingle. "What terms?" She asked leaning back against the wall.

"If I win we go dancing again," Helena replied immediately. She hadn't been able to get that night out of her mind.

"What about you?" She asked cockily. This race was in the bag.

Barbara considered it for a moment. "I think I'd like an IOU. You know, save it for later."

Huh? "I'm not sure that's a good idea," she replied slowly. "I mean, what if you want something that's totally going to suck?"

"Are you scared?" Barbara laughed.

"Of course not." Helena frowned a little despite her statement. Something wasn't right. Then Helena remembered that Barbara had been talking about cleaning out her spare bedrooms lately. Being forced into slave labor didn't have any appeal. Then she remembered the new motorcycle, her worry vanished as if it never was. "Deal."

"Same place? I get to set up the obstacles?" Barbara asked. There was a long, rather dangerous road leading out to Wayne Manor that was rarely used, mostly because no one ever went out there anymore. It was the perfect stretch for a race. Plus she had some interesting ideas about how to make things more challenging.

"Yep," Helena said as she headed for the elevator. "You should dig out that outfit I gave you. I expect you to wear it when we go out."

"A little sure of yourself?"

"Yep." Was all Barbara heard before the elevator doors closed.


Barbara was patient. She sat across from the jewelry store watching the men through the window. She could have easily gone inside to stop them but she didn't see the point. They'd already done too much damage to the store. There was little to save now. No, the best she could do was stop the two thieves before they could get away.

She didn't want to just stop them though, she wanted much more than that. She wanted to see and feel their fear. But first she wanted them to feel safe. She wanted them to think they were going to get away. It would be better that way, more satisfying. She shifted further into the shadows waiting. Barbara knew with all certainty that no one could or would see her until she was ready. Her eyes flicked to movement two buildings over. Huntress. Her eyes narrowed at the approaching woman. This could spoil the fun.

"Stop," she said softly, knowing Huntress would hear her clearly through the comm.

Huntress stopped, crouching down as she looked around. She could feel Batgirl's eyes on her but couldn't see her. "Status?"

"Standing by," Batgirl answered, alternating her gaze between the burglars and Huntress.

"Are they still inside?"


"Feeling talkative tonight, huh? Were you planning to, you know, stop them or anything?" Huntress asked with light sarcasm.

"Soon," Batgirl replied. Her body was tight with anticipation now. They were moving towards the door.

"I need to get into a better position," Huntress told her as she took a running leap to the next building. One more leap and she'd be ready.

"Stop," Batgirl hissed.

"B?" Huntress questioned.

"I'll handle it." Batgirl edged further away from the ledge still hidden in shadows. She needed room.

"Well, it's nice to feel wanted," Huntress muttered. She stayed where she was though.

They were still alert when they exited the store. As they neared the car feeling confident they would escape they got less cautious. There were no sirens, no one on the street. It must seem too easy. It seemed that way to her as well. She needed to wait until she was almost on them before she shot the cable. She didn't want to give herself away, not until she could make the greatest impact.

She hurled herself toward the ledge with more speed than she was accustomed. She wondered if this was what it felt like to Huntress; the exhilaration of jumping without a line, knowing that she would land on her feet, unharmed. Just seconds from the roof of the car she fired the bolt into the building. The line pulled taut but she didn't need it to slow her descent, it was just for show. She landed feet first onto the roof of the car, directly above the driver's head. The feel of the roof collapsing and the shouts of fear made her smile. She jumped onto the hood kicking the partially shattered windshield in. The driver was completely out of it from the roof collapsing on him. She reached into the car grabbing the passenger jerking him out of the seat and over the hood. God! She felt alive. Her entire body seemed to fairly sing with adrenalin, with awareness, with strength.

She heard the one on the ground moving. She pivoted towards him as she rose to her full height. She stared down at him waiting. He looked up at her with terrified eyes. It made her want to laugh.

"What are you?" The criminal asked. He tried to keep his voice from shaking.

She tilted her head at him curiously. She was very well known around New Gotham, especially among the criminal element of the city. "I'm Batgirl."

"Your eyes," he barely whispered.

"Are the last thing you're going to see that don't have bars in front of them for a while," Batgirl replied cutting him off from whatever else he might say. She jumped down from the hood pulling out riot cuffs. She sighed with disappointment. She'd hoped he would put up a fight.

She looked at the driver when she was done securing his partner to the bumper. He was still out. It was too damn easy. She opened the driver's door cuffing him to the steering wheel.

"The police are on their way," Huntress told the redhead when she landed a few feet from her. She looked at the car then to Batgirl. She'd been terrified when the woman had made the leap with no jump line. She hadn't been close enough to help her. When she heard the chink of metal against brick she almost cried with relief. Then she just watched. The manner she handled the guys was more like something she would do than something Batgirl would do. If she hadn't seen it with her own eyes she wouldn't have believed it. Barbara was taking more chances lately, Helena didn't like it. Some of her actions had bordered on insane. "Are you done?"

Batgirl turned to look at her partner but was careful to keep distance between them. The street light was too close. Even the burglar could see her eyes. Helena wouldn't have any trouble at all. "You mean for the night?"

"With them," Huntress clarified.

Barbara gave the two men a contemptuous look then nodded her head. Maybe next time there would be more of a fight. "Yes."

"I'm gonna check out the rest of the west side," Helena said, walking backwards so she could taunt Batgirl to her face. "Be ready to get your ass kicked when I'm done."

"We'll see."

"Where did you get that?" Helena's voice was accusing. Barbara was draped across a sleek looking red version of her motorcycle!

"What? You think Alfred only gets things for you?" She was leaning comfortably against the handlebars with one leg on the seat and one leg dangling down the side of the bike.

"That's cheating," Helena protested.

"It's a level playing field. Now you'll have to take me with your…skill," Barbara replied silkily.

Helena smirked at her. "Don't worry, I've got mad skills."

"You'll get a chance to show them off." Barbara's voice was positively seductive. "I made the race a little more interesting."

"Nice," Helena responded in appreciation. She loved a challenge.

"Well, lets get this started," Barbara responded. She sat up, turning on the bike in one seamless motion. In the next second the beast roared to life. She smiled over at Helena then raised an eyebrow at her.

Helena straddled her cycle, revving the throttle in challenge. It was sort of ironic. Here she was about to street race with Barbara when years ago the redhead had practically ripped her a new one for doing this very thing. Of course, they'd technically raced before but that was for the mission. Barbara had only raced to keep an eye on her.

Helena pulled in her front brake then revved the throttle letting the back tire squeal. She looked over at Barbara, giving her a brief nod and then released the brake letting the motorcycle shoot forward. She leaned low over the handle bars to cut down on wind drag. She could feel and hear Barbara coming up next to her. It was definitely going to be a race about skill.

They both had to practically lay the bikes down going around the first curve. Helena felt her knee just barely graze the pavement. Knee, meet pavement, she thought. She brought the bike back up then glanced over to see where Barbara was.

She was keeping pace with Helena for now. When they got to the obstacles the contest would really begin. She saw the first ramp approaching fast. It wasn't a large ramp, she didn't want to kill them or trash the motorcycles but she did want to feel airborne. The more difficult aspect was the curve that they would have to take when they landed.

Her heart started pounding as her body tingled with excitement. She'd barely held it together after that jump and curve. Helena glanced to the side. Barbara was still there. She leaned forward a little more putting her feet on the back pegs before she brought the motorcycle up onto its back wheel. She throttled more dividing her attention between the road in front of her, Barbara and the speedometer that was well over one hundred at this point.

The redhead smiled at Helena's display. They still had about a half mile before the next surprise. The path wasn't bad but they would have to slow down in order to make the closely spaced curves. It was an old service road off the main road that used to lead out to the manor. Dick had showed it to her, telling her it had been rerouted back to the main road. They'd raced along it several times. It was difficult to do even at a reasonable speed. It would doubly difficult since she knew that neither she nor Helena was likely to let up on the speed very much.

The barricades ahead let Helena know that the course was going to veer off very soon. She'd only been on the road a few times but she knew it had a series of very tight curves. It was on now.

Barbara laughed at the thrill of excitement that went through her when her bike almost slid out from under her on the second curve. Her heart was beating so hard she could actually feel it through her entire body. It was getting close. She'd put on a little more speed hoping to put a bit of distance between her and Helena. It had worked a little, though she knew the lead wouldn't last for long. Helena was already creeping up on her right. She glanced at the brunette when she came up along side her. Her first inclination was to strike out. The sheer horror at the impulse almost made her let up on the throttle. She shook off her hesitation. She didn't want to lose. She hated to lose.

She took the last curve faster than the last to make up for those few seconds of hesitation. Helena had taken the lead. The straight away to the finish was after the last curve. It would be a matter of who got control of their machine first that would decide the winner. She was going to hit the nos as soon as she could. She was certain that Helena had the same intention. She decided she couldn't wait for control. Helena was already bringing her motorcycle upright. She pressed the nos as she threw her body weight to the side to get as close to stable as she could. The sudden jump forward almost made her lose her grip. She hadn't expected it to be quite so jarring. Regardless, she was upright and she was ahead. The rush of excitement that flowed through her was overwhelming. It was better than a fight. It was electrifying and dangerous. It was everything she needed.

Her heart was still pounding furiously when she finally brought the bike to a halt. She was just outside the gate of Wayne Manor. Once the nos had been hit, it had to be ridden out until it was gone. That easily brought her to the gate. She vaulted off the motorcycle trembling from the adrenalin. God, she was so aroused now that she could feel the throb between her legs. It was impossible to stand still. She watched with barely controlled impatience as Helena threw her leg over her bike.

"Okay," Helena said smirking slightly as she approached her friend. "You won. Don't even think about rubbing it in." It was the only part of a quickly thought up, yet gracious congratulations she planned to extend to the redhead. Before she could utter the rest Barbara pushed her against the gate then started kissing her. Not just kissing, she was consuming her.

Helena's entire body flushed with intense need. She wasn't immune to the effects of the race. She'd been keyed up but determined to control it. She had plenty of practice with control where Barbara was concerned. She was the very embodiment of control. But, now that she didn't need control she let her more carnal instincts take over.

She had to feel skin. She needed to feel the heat of skin under her hands. Barbara undid the catches of Helena's armor pulling the top part from her body to drop to the ground. She pushed her hands under the tight tank that was now plastered to the brunette's body with sweat. Her skin was slick and hot, so very hot. Barbara impatiently ran her hands down Helena's sides to the lower part of her costume. She released the hidden fastenings then pushed down while Helena struggled to get it off or at least lower as she pried at Barbara's own armor.

Helena's grabbed the side of Barbara's suit that was thwarting her efforts to remove it, giving it a hard yank she ripped it apart. This batsuit would be utterly useless after tonight but Helena couldn't make herself care. She wanted to get to Barbara's body as fast as possible. She started to release the fastenings of the bottom of Barbara's armor until she felt teeth on her neck. The last of her control slipped away. She tore the part of the pants away from the redhead's body then pushed her hand down it until she was finally inside her. God, Barbara was so warm and wet. So very, very wet.

She wanted to go slow. In the back of her mind she knew that this wasn't really the way she wanted to be with Barbara. She just couldn't seem to control the lust anymore. It felt like she'd been controlling her desire for the redhead forever. Who knows, maybe she had been. Barbara wasn't helping. She was wild, aggressive and so damn hot. Helena didn't stand a chance at going slow. She could feel the tremors running through Barbara's body, she was close. Helena was pretty damn close herself. She couldn't stop rocking herself against Barbara's hip.

Helena grazed her teeth back up to Barbara's jaw, nipping at the skin before she took her mouth in a heated kiss. Before she was ready she felt Barbara's entire body stiffen as her head snapped back. A guttural, almost animal cry ripped from her throat right before the orgasm tore through her. Her grip on Helena's shoulders was beyond painful. The pain ratcheted up her desire even more.

Barbara's pulse was erratic. She was panting, struggling to pull more air into her lungs. The scent of Helena's want was permeating the air she was taking in. This wasn't her. She knew this wasn't her. She didn't act like this. Barbara Gordon was not the woman who was pushing Helena back towards her motorcycle. Barbara Gordon wasn't the woman who was barely managing to restrain her hands and mouth from causing bruises and pain.

Rationally she knew that this feeling, this desire was no different from what she'd felt with Dick after they sparred. Only it felt different. She felt like if she didn't feel Helena underneath her body, underneath her hands she might go mad. She was changing. This was all from the changing. Even as that thought flowed through her mind she'd turned Helena around bending the brunette over the seat of the motorcycle. None of that mattered in that moment. Nothing mattered except the taste of skin and sweat. Nothing mattered except the feeling of slick walls gripping her tightly. Nothing mattered except the sound of Helena's throaty moans when she came.

Barbara ran her tongue up the center of Helena's back. They'd just managed to take the edge off. She was still hungry for more of Helena. She started to run her hands over Helena's ass then around her hips until her fingers lightly grazed sensitive flesh. She smiled into the brunette's skin as she kissed her way across Helena's back.

"We should go," Helena said. She was already beginning to feel her body twitch in anticipation. Every inch of her skin was prickling with awareness. "Inside the Manor," she clarified feeling Barbara's fingers stray down further.

Barbara hummed her agreement. She wanted to go inside with Helena. She wanted to go inside Helena. Either way it needed to happen soon. She did the best she could gathering up the ripped and discarded pieces of both their costumes. Even in her state she realized that finding ripped vigilante costumes outside the gate would be bad. She barely took her eyes off Helena the entire time she collected everything. Just the sight of the other woman's body was keeping her at a slow burn. She straddled her motorcycle then tugged at Helena until she climbed on behind her. She gave the remnants of their armor to Helena then pressed the code for the gate on the key pad. A few minutes later they were up the stairs and in Helena's bedroom.

"I've never had a girl in my room before," Helena said aloud when she closed the door behind them. It was the only thought, besides thoughts of Barbara naked and writhing underneath her that had run through her mind when they stumbled up the stairs without taking their hands off each other.

"It's lovely," Barbara replied, not taking her eyes off Helena. How could she when the brunette was stripping off her remaining outer wear.

"You haven't even looked around."

"What I've seen so far is lovely," Barbara amended as she reached for Helena to pull her towards the bed.

"The door?" Helena asked. She tugged at Barbara's suit until she managed to get it off. Her eyes raked over the redhead's naked body. She was absolutely yummy.

"You were in front of it," Barbara offered.

Helena smiled slightly. The line was sort of trite. But, when someone as sexy as Barbara was pulling you towards a bed with the promise of very naughty things it didn't really matter. She had better ideas of how the redhead could use her mouth anyway.

She pushed Barbara down onto the bed then crawled up her body until she was comfortably straddling her hips. She wanted the lights on. She wanted to see Barbara. Of course, she could see Barbara pretty clearly despite the darkness in the room but she wanted to make out every nuance of the redhead as they explored each other.

Making an impatient sound in the back of her throat Barbara sat up then wrapped her arms around the warm body in front of her pulling Helena closer.

"Light," Helena muttered against Barbara's lips. The feel of breasts against hers had distracted her from her earlier mission but it wasn't forgotten.

The redhead shook her head a little unwilling to tear herself away from the warm haven of Helena's mouth. God, she tasted good. She could only imagine how she would taste in other places.

"I want to see you," she told Barbara as she pushed her back down. She wanted to feel her entire body pressed against the other woman. She groaned at the feel of warm skin against her own.

"We don't need the light, you've seen me before," Barbara responded as she ran her hands up and down Helena's back. She didn't have her contacts in right now. The light had to stay off.

"It'll only take a second," Helena whispered against a particularly sensitive spot on Barbara's neck. "Just clap your hands."

"What?" Why would she clap her hands?

"Clappers," she breathed out. Barbara fingers had just grazed her nipples causing the most delicious sensation. "I thought they were cool." Sure it was embarrassing to admit but at the time she had thought they were cool. Secretly she still did.

She clapped her hands quickly as she started to bring her lips back to Barbara's. The light flicked on then promptly went back out with a pop. She stopped in mid motion staring at Barbara. More accurately, she was staring at Barbara's eyes. The light was only on for a second but she could have sworn that the other woman's eyes were odd. Then the sensation of lips against her neck and hands on her body distracted her from those thoughts.

Part 17

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