DISCLAIMER: I do not own the characters. They are the property of DC comics and the WB network. I'm just borrowing them for a short period of time.
MUSIC DISCLAIMER: Song lyrics don't belong to me either; no profit gained or infringement intended.
ADDITIONAL DISCLAIMER: I've made several references to a baddie (Crimson Claw) from another work of fanfiction -- The most-excellent "Feral" by Barb/Pink Rabbit Productions. No infringement intended; rather, consider it an homage to a breath-taking work of fanfic (and another plea that Feral be completed??).
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

The Way We Were

Ch. 15

Weird, Red seemed to be spacing out every so often. But, it had been a weird day all around, Helena acknowledged.

Having finished "The Tuxedo", the two were now well into "Drunken Master". Since such a classic clearly called for something more than juice or water, Helena had been galvanized into action: she'd bounced into the kitchen, returning with a six-pack of Fat Tire, and vaulted dramatically over the back of the couch to settle in before the opening credits began to roll. She handed a bottle to Barbara before taking a long pull from her own, watching the redhead from the corner of her eye.

Huh. Considering that she'd brought some to share, the brunette really didn't think all of the eye-rolling from the other end of the couch was strictly necessary.

"Y'know, considering that I brought some for you too, you think you can tone down all the eye-rolling a little bit?" A soft smile took any bite out of the sarcasm.

"Sorry, Hel," green eyes twinkled. "Just in awe, once again, of your dramatic return. Not to mention the timeliness of ", tilting her bottle slightly, "this."

"Hey, being a professional bartender does have its advantages. Always know when a round is called for..."

Now, an hour into the movie, the two women had at some point settled against opposite ends of the couch, their legs companionably intertwined. The younger woman stretched out an arm lazily to retrieve her beer, realizing that, to do so, she'd had to remove her hand from Barbara's foot, which was resting on Helena's stomach, where she had, apparently, been stroking it gently. 'When did she...? When did I...?' Either the redhead hadn't noticed, as-if..., or simply didn't care since she appeared engrossed in the movie and utterly unconcerned about the fact that the brunette was, well, fondling her foot.

Helena finished her beer; it was her third, but with her meta-human physiology, she wasn't even close to having a buzz on. Barbara, she noticed grumpily, was *still* nursing her first. Instead of opening another, Helena allowed her hand to resume its gentle stroking of the redhead's foot.

Staring at the large screen without seeing it, the brunette marveled over the soft, soft skin under her hands. When her thumb brushed the other woman's instep and there wasn't the tiniest jump or flinch from the dead nerve endings, Helena's expression briefly turned grim: In one cruel moment, Barbara had been denied so much. Then, as her hand stroked softly over the redhead's ankle and her fingers fluttered under the bottom of the baggy flannel pajama bottoms, the young woman was briefly, perversely, almost glad that Barbara couldn't feel the stolen caresses. During PT, Helena was careful to keep her touches professional, as businesslike as possible, while still being tender and gentle. At this moment, there was nothing professional about them.

Allowing her hand to venture further up the baggy pant leg, the dark-haired woman massaged the firm calf gently, then delicately brushed her fingertips against the back of the redhead's slightly-bent knee.

'Oh fuck.......'

Helena snapped her eyes shut, knowing they'd gone feral. The delicate caress was too reminiscent of other warm smooth places she ached to touch on the redhead. She viciously bit back on the growl rumbling up her chest as parts lower in her body contracted. She narrowly managed to avoid jerking her hips.

Breathing slowly, deeply, she moved her hand back down to resume the light massage of the older woman's calf. A wave of self-loathing washed through her. What kind of freakin' perve was she, anyway? Not four hours ago, she'd exposed how debauched... or debased... or something skeevy... she was to the older woman. Barbara had been, well, super. And, now, here she was fondling the woman and ready to jump all over her.

Great. Just effin' great.

Okay, she could do this. Just finish the movie and then, casually, roll on out of here. Hell, Helena didn't really know why she'd stayed. It had just felt so good to let go of the secrets; then, the way Barbara had made her feel that it would be okay... But, oh, hell, the redhead would probably want them to talk about it, figure out a plan or something. Even now, Barbara was probably waiting for the right moment, or psyching the young woman out so that she'd bring it up. Well, she could just keep on waiting, because Helena certainly didn't want to talk about it.

The brunette's thoughts were interrupted by the sound of Barbara pulling herself upright, by the feel of a soft hand coming to rest gently on her forearm. The arm which was connected to the hand which was ... massaging the redhead's leg, Helena noted sourly.

"Hel?" Nothing but warm affection and concern in the voice, "Are you okay?"

The younger woman opened her eyes, blew out a breath, "Yeah."

Horrified, she heard herself continue, "I was, uh, just wondering if you wanted to talk about... uh... it." Man, Barbara was *good*.

"If you want to talk about it, Helena, that's fine. I'm here." From the corner of her eye, the brunette saw a soft smile gracing those beautiful features. "If not, I'll still be here when you're ready."

With that, and a final soft touch to Helena's arm, the redhead resumed her semi-reclined position at the other end of the couch.


Just... Oh Wow.

Helena skin still burned from the soft touch of that elegant hand; her throat had grown some sort of huge lump in the last few minutes which was making swallowing really hard. For a moment, she sat, frozen, staring at the hand she still had on Barbara's leg.

The redhead again broke the silence.

"You're missing the best scenes," she chided teasingly. "What's so interesting? Did I miss something shaving?"

She was so busted, again. Very-nearly-successfully fighting a blush, the young woman did what she did best: she masked the lonely hunger in her eyes, quirked her lips in an evil grin, and waggled her brows.

"Just thinking that I'm gonna lose my honorary PT license, Red. This makes twice this week that I've let you slide on your physio." The brunette paused; well, what did she have to lose? "I mean, this" she waved at the couch, then the television, "is really great, but, uh, maybe you want to go through your set?"

The redhead had been surprising Helena a lot lately; so, really, the brunette felt like she should have been ready for whatever came her way -- surprising or not. But, really, absolutely nothing could have prepared her for what Barbara, voice low and vibrating sincerity, said next.

"No. I don't think that my regular set is necessary today, Hel. I'd welcome some sort of different.... stretching", the redhead practically purred the word, "with you. But only," and here her eyes became very serious, "*only* when you're ready."

Ch. 16

Barbara Gordon almost laughed at the expression on the brunette's face; probably would have laughed -- not really at Helena, just from the sheer giddy relief of having mustered the courage finally to ignore the self-imposed obstacles, to say what she wanted -- except for the fact she was beginning to worry about the young woman.

"Breathe, Helena", the redhead coaxed gently, pulling herself into a more upright position. After all, CPR might be required.

Apparently, the hint about oxygen had been just what was needed to get the younger woman's synapses firing again. Barbara watched, utterly transfixed, as the dark woman drew in a slow breath and raised her head. Blazing golden eyes locked with green; in one seamless motion, the dark woman rose to her hands and knees on the couch and simply... flowed ... towards the older woman. Frozen in place, Barbara briefly wondered if this was how prey felt, then dismissed the idea. Prey wouldn't have tingles of delirious anticipation running through every nerve ending, would it?

Barbara abandoned this promising hypothesis as Helena came to a halt, knees resting deep in the couch cushions on either side of the redhead's hips, hands against the back of the couch on each side of the semi-reclined woman's head. Noting that the brunette was absolutely, positively, not touching her, the older woman wondered at the heat suffusing her. Green eyes still locked on blazing gold -- had she lost the ability to blink? -- Barbara watched the younger woman bring her face closer and closer, lower her upper body until her tee shirt barely brushed the older woman's chest... still not actually touching her.

Helena lowered her head a fraction more, shifting slightly to the right, bringing her face agonizingly close. Barbara would have sworn that she could feel the fine hairs which dusted the younger woman's cheek brushing against her own cheek, but that was all. Then, then the young woman dipped her face slightly towards the redhead's neck.

A delicate brush of warm breath on her neck led Barbara to believe that the younger woman had opened her mouth; she certainly hoped that she had opened her mouth, that she would soon feel that mouth on her skin. The older woman stretched her neck slightly, angled her head towards the side, offering the creamy expanse of skin freely to the dark woman. Instead of the anticipated brush of lips or tongue or, hell, even teeth, Barbara felt the younger woman taking short breaths through her mouth, *scenting* her, she realized with a thrill. The purr which quickly rumbled through the other woman racheted the redhead's absolute need for contact up another notch.

The older woman fisted her hands by her sides. Lord, she was so tempted to reach up and pull the dark woman to her, tangle her fingers in that silky hair, bring their mouths crashing together over and over. But, concerned for Helena's emotional state, worried that she'd spoken too quickly after their painful conversation of a few hours ago, Barbara was determined to let the younger woman set the pace. She'd finally spoken her heart; whatever might come, would come.

So, she waited. Not altogether patiently, Barbara Gordon would have freely admitted, but she did wait. As she waited, she realized, eyes widening briefly, that she had been terribly, terribly wrong earlier: it was not Helena, but Barbara herself, that might be in need of CPR.

Well, there was mouth-to-mouth contact, Barbara discovered moments later, but it had very little to do with improving her breathing. Quite the opposite, the redhead determined, the process seemed to be impeding her body's ability to take in oxygen. A fact that she found herself caring remarkably little about.

This time, knowing what she wanted, what they both wanted, there was no hesitance. The moment that Helena's lips touched hers, Barbara opened her mouth, gasping, desperate for the taste of the other woman. When Helena's tongue darted out to trace the older woman's lips, the redhead captured it, shamelessly sucking it into her mouth even as her own tongue slipped into the warm haven of the brunette's mouth. For endless moments, the two women drank from each other, Helena's purring sliding briefly into a low growl as she nipped quickly at the brunette's bottom lip.

'Oh my, hadn't that felt wonderful...'. The older woman groaned when the brunette laved the tiny mark with her tongue, sucking the redhead's bottom lip into her mouth and teasing with the stud in her tongue.

Barbara could hold back no longer. Her hands flew up and twined through dark hair. Instead of pulling the younger woman to her, the redhead surprised both of them by gently moving that dark head back slightly, just enough to see those hungry eyes again. And, didn't that open wanting look gracing the gamine features do amazing things to her?

Just as the older woman noticed Helena beginning to look puzzled, eyes starting to close off, Barbara smiled, broadly, and husked, "Come back here". Those phenomenal eyes reverted to sparkling blue -- honestly, the transformation was amazingly sexy, wasn't it? -- as a huge smile broke across the brunette's face.

The sight of that smile simply overwhelmed the redhead; perhaps it hadn't been quite ten-thousand watts, but it was a start. She heard a bright burst of laughter spill from herself. She couldn't have stopped it any more than she could stop the sun from rising.

At the sound, Helena smiled, shy and sultry, before lowering her face to the older woman's neck. Barbara tingled as she felt those sharp even teeth nibbling along the tendon on one side of her neck. When that shockingly talented mouth began to kiss, then suck deeply, at her pulse point, the redhead saw stars.

"Oh. My. God."

Had that been her voice, she distantly wondered.

Barbara fumbled for the younger woman's shoulders, then moved to her back; she pulled gently, desperate for the weight and pressure of the other woman's body against hers. Helena's strong arms were locked, still supporting her weight; when they showed no sign of relaxing, Barbara decided, at the very least, she could get an answer to her earlier question.

Lifting her head slightly from the back of the couch and turning to one side, she gently placed her mouth on one of those smooth, slender arms; then, she slowly traversed the length of the tan forearm, tasting with her lips and tongue, stopping only when she reached the dark woman's inner elbow, where she suckled gently.

'Like heaven,' the redhead decided. Helena tasted like heaven.

A dark head rose from where it had frozen by Barbara's shoulder, and the older woman lowered her head to the couch to look at that beloved face. Helena's eyes were still blue, rather than the bright gold she'd been unconsciously expecting; the older woman wondered briefly at that. And, then, Barbara didn't care so much what it meant because Helena was finally lowering herself onto her.

At the first brush of the lithe woman's breasts against her chest, the redhead surged upward, a low moan escaping her. However, instead of continuing to lower herself, the brunette withdrew, leaving Barbara panting and terribly, terribly frustrated. Almost crazed from the ache in her chest, the tight burning in her breasts, the redhead fought her way up from the erotic haze. With a feeling of panic, Barbara realized that Helena wasn't just pushing herself up, she was getting up. Standing up.

"Helena?", the older woman asked softly. Dear God, had she pushed too hard, wanted too much too fast and spooked the young woman?

The response was a hesitant tilt of the head and a shyly purred question. "Bedroom?"

Her relief was so intense that the redhead almost cried. Instead, she smiled warmly -- *very* warmly -- and gasped, "Please..."

She saw the young woman's hesitant glance towards the wheelchair, clearly uncertain about how Barbara preferred to get to the bedroom. Without hesitation, the older woman raised her arms and quirked an eyebrow, the request clear.

Again, a hesitation from the brunette. Barbara knew that she was, well, insistent to the point of stubbornness about not being 'handled'. She allowed few people to assist with her chair; aside from the occasional lift for PT, she allowed noone to carry her anywhere. However in the face of her overwhelming need for the young woman, seven year's of fiercely independent pride had dissolved like spun sugar in the rain; she never noticed its departure.

Looking imploringly into concerned blue eyes, Barbara Gordon raised her arms a fraction higher, and, voice cracking, asked again. "Please, Hel. Now."

Part 17

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