The following was written for A.j.'s Christmas fic contest. Many thanks to Chicago for her usual superb job of proof-reading and advice.


You Can Count on Me

by Sandra


"Dinner was wonderful, Babs," Dick told the beautiful woman in his arms. "Now what did you have in mind for dessert?"

Barbara giggled as Dick waggled his eyebrows at her suggestively. They were comfortably ensconced on her sofa -- or rather, Dick was comfortably ensconced on her sofa, *she* was snuggled up on Dick's lap. They had enjoyed a quiet candlelit dinner and were now watching the snow fall outside and listening to Christmas carols.

"It has always amazed me," she said, ignoring his question for the moment, "how just a few changes in weather conditions can make such a change in the way our world looks." When she saw the inquiring look on his face, she explained: "I mean, it looks so peaceful and serene outside with the snow falling and covering all the ugliness; but if it was raining or sleeting outside, we would think something completely different. The world is the same; the amount of precipitation is the same; but there's a difference in our perception."

"And fewer car accidents."

"Oh, you!" Barbara smacked him on the shoulder. "I'm trying to have a philosophical discussion here, Mr. Grayson!"

"Gotcha!" he laughed and hugged her tightly. As he did, he realized that the song that had been playing in the background was about to finish. He knew this album, and the song he had been waiting for was coming up next. Turning to Barbara, he became serious. "Babs, there's something I've been wanting to try, but I need your help. Will you?"

"Will I what?"

"Just ... will you?"

Babs looked into his eyes. They were pleading with her to trust him; they reminded her of how he had looked when he took her "flying" again on the trapeze. She sighed; she had *never* been able to resist him. Why did she think she was going to start now?

"Okay. What do I need to do?"

"Just hold on to me."

Dick stood up, still holding Barbara in his arms. He repositioned her so that she was "standing" against him with her arms around his neck and his arms around her waist. When the next song on the CD began, he felt her stiffen slightly in his arms. "Trust me," he winked at her.

As "I'll Be Home For Christmas" played in the background, he and Barbara began slow dancing in her living room. Once she realized what Dick was doing, Barbara shifted her grasp so that she could rest her head on his shoulder; Dick's arms tightened about her slightly in response. Barbara knew she wasn't a frail person, but with Dick's arms around her she felt both light and secure.

During one of their spins about the room, Barbara spotted their reflection in one of the wall mirrors. The long skirt of her dress disguised the lack of movement in her legs, and with Dick's arms securely around her, it looked for all the world like Christmas of times past. This had always been one of their favorite songs to dance to, before ... her thoughts ground to a stop.

They continued their dance around her living room as the song continued to play until finally it, and the magic time it had created, was over. Dick brought them to a stop in the center of the room and hugged her. He drew back to thank her for the dance, but stopped in shock as he realized she was crying.

He immediately carried her back over to the sofa and held her on his lap, castigating himself the entire time. "Oh, God, Babs!! I'm so sorry! I'm an idiot -- what was I thinking?!? Will you ever forgive me?"

Babs wasn't sure how long he would continue like this, so she put a stop to his words the best way she knew how: she drew his head down to hers in a passionate kiss. When they finally broke apart, she spoke before he could start up again. "Dick it's okay. In fact, it's *more* than okay! Those were *happy* tears!"

"You're not upset with me?"

"You amaze me, Dick! You continually give me back things I never thought I would do again -- flying, loving, and now dancing. I was just overwhelmed by my feelings toward you and what you've done for me."

"So, you might like to do it again sometime?" He looked at her with an odd light in his eyes.

"Of course! It's a little more difficult than the old way, so I'm certainly not going to want to go dancing all night long or something, but yeah!"

"That's good, 'cause I always wanted to dance with you at our wedding." He gave her a shaky grin as she gaped at him. "Babs, will you marry me?"

The tears started flowing from her eyes again, but this time Dick could definitely see that they were happy tears. "Oh, yes! Yes!"

And outside, the snow continued to fall.


***End***