Secrets, Lies and Videotape

Author: Janine

Disclaimers: I do not own the characters of Helena, Barbara, Dinah, Batman, and Catwoman etc. They are the property of DC comics and I suppose the WB network and the creators of Smallville and Tollin/Robbins (geez, this is beginning to feel like an Oscar speech) etcetera, etcetera. I'm just borrowing them for a short period of time.

Fandom: Birds of Prey (WB)

Rating: NC-17 (for language and sexual situations)

Pairing: Helena/Barbara, Dinah/Other

Summary: Sequel of sorts to 'Poetry Feelings', continues from that time-line at least … robberies, murders, and beating oh my! A new caper for the birds to unravel, amidst their own personal woes.

Part One

Dinah tilted her head to the side, idly watching the girl beside her as she doodled in her notebook and bobbed her head rhythmically to some tune in her head that Dinah wasn't privy to. She could have asked she supposed they were friends afterall. Kind of. Relatively. In some sense. They'd hung out before, once, after a chance conversation in which Dinah had mentioned she loved the 'Rocky Horror Picture Show' and Alexa had declared that they simply must go see it then. Dinah had thought that the girl was joking, because even though Alexa was newer to the school than she was, she had had no trouble making new friends. In fact the moment she had pulled into the parking lot and stepped out of her Porsche, hair blowing in the wind as she easily snatched her sunglasses off her face and grinned at the person nearest to her, people had flocked to her and she had accepted them with open arms. So, naturally, when the New Gotham High's newest golden girl, had suggested they socialize together Dinah had smiled and convinced herself it was never going to happen. But then, the next day Alexa had sidled up to her in the middle of the hallway, and announced that they'd met at William's on 49th at nine, and if Dinah dressed up she'd pay for her ticket. And then as soon as she'd appeared she'd disappeared again. Well, Dinah had gone – though she didn't dress up - and Alexa had showed – and paid for the ticket nonetheless - and it had been a great night … until she got home and the talk about dead bodies started.

But, she'd barely spoken to the girl since.

"No volunteers," Barbara said from the front of the classroom drawing Dinah's attention away from Alexa and towards the redhead. "Good, I get to pick on someone," Barbara continued smiling, as the class chuckled and then tried to avoid eye contact with her. Her smile only grew. "Alexa?" Barbara asked seeing the girl once again hanging off the edge of her desk looking half asleep as she doodled in her note pad.

"Wha…" Alexa asked blinking rapidly before squinting at Barbara.

"That's not quite correct," Barbara replied with a slight frown. She knew the comment was perhaps a bit out of line, but Alexa frustrated her so. She'd seen the girls file, she'd read her essays and listened closely when she talked. The child was smart, but she was also, indolent, and spoiled, and lazy. There was so much potential there, potential the girl was too bored to explore and it frustrated Barbara. Yes it did. "The question was what type of narrative was Shelley using in …"

"Frame," Alexa rattled off before Barbara could finish. Not even glancing up. "Which would've been fine if not for the stylized and, well, trite letter format of the novel. Not one of the 19th centuries great contributions to literature," she continued yawning.

"Trite?" Barbara asked clamping down on the urge to ask if she could get the girl some coffee or water in the face. "How?"

Alexa shrugged and Barbara sighed. She'd lost her again.

"So, now we now that in Frankenstein Shelly employed a frame narrative," Barbara continued turning her attention away from Alexa to the rest of the class. "What we have to ask ourselves is why? What did this type of narration allow her to do that other types of narration wouldn't?"

Dinah followed Barbara as she moved around the front of the class for a moment longer, then turned her attention back to Alexa only to find the other girl staring at her, her head tilted to the side curiously. Dinah smiled at her self-consciously, wondering if Alexa had noticed her staring earlier. Alexa smiled back. Dinah looked away. Alexa didn't. So Dinah sat there for long moments, trying to concentrate on what Barbara was saying, but only able to focus on the fact that Alexa was still staring at her. She looked back over at the other girl.

"You wanna go for a drive?" Alexa whispered when Dinah turned to face her.

Dinah blinked. "Now?" she asked.

"Not so much," Alexa responded a slow smile spreading across her face. "I thought maybe after school was out."

"Oh," Dinah responded. Then she blinked.

"You're an odd one Zip," Alexa muttered still smiling at Dinah after that. She was an odd one herself so it didn't much faze her. "Tell you what, if you remain in a near catatonic state I'll assume that you've accepted my offer, and settle myself to the idea that I'll be providing the majority of conversation. If you grunt or utter some other type of unintelligible sound, I'll assume that mean you'd like to do some other time."

Dinah stayed perfectly still.

Alexa smiled.

---

Part Two

-----------

"You listen to country music?" Barbara asked grinning as she looked down her leg to where Helena was crouched in front of her, her foot gently cradled in the brunette's hands.

"It's not even really country," Helena responded frowning slightly as she pushed on Barbara's leg bending upwards to make a triangle, before slowly stretching it back out again. "It's practically blues."

"You don't have to be ashamed," Barbara continued her eyes roaming the ceiling as her back lay flat against the matted floor. "Lot's of people like country … some of them don't even have mullets," she continued laughing as she watched Helena place her leg back down on the floor before crawling over her body so that the brunette was looking down at her directly.

"Folksy. Bluesy folksy," Helena stated firmly. "You've had your fun, now it's time to humour me," she continued leaning down and kissing Barbara softly before starting back down towards the redhead's legs to continue the exercises.

"Why?" Barbara asked defiantly as Helena got back to work, bending her leg up and back down again.

"Because," Helena said, "if you don't stop. Then I'm gonna have to do this," she went on, placing her hands on Barbara's hips then slowly sliding them upwards, carrying the material of the redhead's shirt with them, exposing her abdomen. Dipping her head down, she then placed a soft kiss on Barbara's stomach just above the waistband of her track pants, and followed it by licking a wet trail up to Barbara's bellybutton where she paused again, momentarily dipping in her tongue inside, before licking a trial up to the edge of her shirt. There she rose up slightly, and blew softly onto the redhead's wet skin, smiling as she felt and saw a shiver run through Barbara's body. "I'd do that," she continued. "And then I'd stop," she finished smirking at Barbara before making a move to start back down to her feet to begin the exercises again.

Barbara's hand caught her wrist where it lay on the mat before she could move however.

"Bluesy folksy," Barbara said conciliatorily, her eyes trained on Helena. "Now come back up here," she continued ignoring Helena's self-satisfied grin. She'd wipe that smile off her face soon enough.

"What about …" Helena started, her lips attaching themselves to Barbara's neck as her hand come to rest on the redhead's stomach, running up and down it. "Your physio?" she continued her thumb playfully snapping the elastic waistband of Barbara's pants.

"I'm sure I'll get enough of a work out," Barbara responded grinning at Helena as the brunette gazed at her, her hand moving to the back of Helena's head to direct the brunette's mouth to hers, which she kissed thoroughly and hungrily.

"I do love it when you talk dirty," Helena mumbled against Barbara's lips, her hand already slipping into the redhead's pants.

"Ooaah," Barbara gasped, her eyes fluttering shut as her lips parted forming an 'o' before she tilted her head to the side and licked her lips. Marveling at and congratulating nature for always finding away, for the strange and miraculous process that her body had undergone after the shooting that allowed the sensations produced by Helena's hand to instantaneously travel to her brain, negating the necessity of her injured spinal cord. Nature always found a way.

"I love that more," Helena said to herself as she lowered her lips to Barbara's chest, sucking one of the redhead's already painfully erect nipples into her mouth through the thin fabric of her tank top, as her fingers moved slowly in the moist heat at the apex of Barbara's thighs.

Long minutes passed before Barbara become hazily aware of Helena pushing her shirt up some more, not bothering to take it off, but just pushing it up enough to access the flesh that lay beneath. The redhead's hand coming to the back of Helena's head holding her firmly in place as the brunette licked, nipped and sucked at her breasts, nuzzling them as her hand moved steadily but languidly, teasingly, between her legs.

"Helena," Barbara rasped, her hand urging Helena's head away from her chest to look at her. She couldn't take much more of the brunette's toying.

"I'm busy," Helena responded trying to move her head back down and finding that Barbara had her in a rather firm grip – though it didn't feel like it until she tried to move. She smiled and tried to move again, once again finding her motion blocked. She stared at Barbara - red-hair spread out around her head wildly, her eyes darkened with passion - and chewed on her bottom lip thoughtfully. So many possibilities, so little time.

"Helena," Barbara said again, a touch of desperation in her voice. As the brunette stared down at her she had continued to move inside of her, increasing her pace and slowing it again just when Barbara thought she was going to give in, slowly driving her insane. "Helena."

"Yes," Helena responded, able to move her head enough that she could look down in-between their bodies to see her hand moving steadily inside of Barbara's pants. She returned her gaze to Barbara's watching so that she could see the redhead's face as she stroked her thumb over her clit.

Barbara's eyes closed and her hand tightened in Helena's hair, so that her hold on the brunette was noticeable and on the cusp of painful. Helena shifted to the side slightly, and allowed the bulk of her weight to rest on Barbara, then used her free hand to stroke the arm Barbara was using to hold her captive.

"Helena," Barbara gasped again, loosening her hold a little, but still holding firm. Helena allowed her hand to fall from Barbara's and used it to prop herself up again, looking down at the redhead intensely as she continued to rock them.

"Why won't you say it?" Helena asked still staring at Barbara, their eyes locked together.

"I can't," Barbara was able to get out, her voice low and breathy.

"Why?" Helena asked as she increased her pace.

"I don't know," Barbara gasped, her back arching as Helena's thumb moved against her clit again. And then again.

"Tell me what you want," Helena said, lowering her head to Barbara's neck as she slowed down again. The redhead's hold on her had grown weaker as the minutes went on and was now barely holding on to her. "Tell," Helena continued kissing along Barbara's jawbone, "me too…"

"Helena," Barbara said raggedly, cutting the brunette off. "Just …"

"Just what?" Helena whispered into Barbara's ear before kissing behind it.

"You know what," Barbara replied, her response coming out in ragged gasps.

Helena raised her head once more, to look down at Barbara's flushed, sweaty face as the redhead writhed beneath her. She maintained her teasing pace for a few moments longer looking down at Barbara and then made a low growling sound in the back of her throat before leaning down attaching her lips to Barbara's hungrily, as she moved her fingers in and out of the redhead rapidly using her thumb firmly massage Barbara's clit.

"Ohhhh God!" Barbara cried out as Helena's lips attached themselves to her neck and the brunette's hand began to pump in and out of her more rapidly. "I …" Barbara started to say as Helena's coordinated attack on her continued, until her back arched one last time and her eyes rolled back as her lips parted releasing a harsh, drawn out sigh, as her body shook fiercely in Helena's strong embrace, and fireworks exploded inside her head, sending delicious sparks throughout her whole body.

Barbara's hand ran up Helena's side and around to her back, her fingers scraping down the smooth expanse of skin before dipping into Helena's waistband as she bit and then licked the brunette's shoulder.

One of the Helena's hands rose to cover Barbara's. Helena gently removed it and began to move off of the redhead.

"Helena," Barbara said, her voice still a rough, rasp. She knew that the brunette was upset that she hadn't …

"Dinah's back," Helena said softly her head looking towards the door of the training room, as her hands slid out from under Barbara's pants causing the waistband to snap snuggly at her waist once again.

Barbara titled her head to the side at that, ignoring the shiver that ran through her body as Helena removed her fingers from inside of her. Now that Helena had mentioned it she could hear the elevator moving. Dinah was on her way up.

"Up we go," Helena said lifting Barbara into her arms. It was faster, and easier to bring Barbara to the chair than the chair to Barbara. Besides, she thought to herself smugly, the redhead's cogitative processes didn't seem to have recovered yet from the mind-blowing orgasm she'd just had.

As Helena rested her in the chair, Barbara leaned up capturing her lips in a soft kiss. Helena smiled and brushed some arrant strands of hair off of Barbara's face before kissing her forehead tenderly. Then she straightened up and looked towards the door, ignoring the fact that Barbara's eyes were still on her.

"Woo," Dinah said breezing into the room, tossing her backpack to the side before clapping her hands together. "I'm feeling good today," she continued pointing at Helena cockily. "Ready for an ass-whooping?"

"Delivering one, sure," Helena replied grinning at the blonde. Dinah excitement was extremely contagious; no matter how hard she tried she couldn't resist it. It was highly irritating. "What's the score again? Ten trillion to none?" she continued cocking her head to the side.

"Give me time," Dinah replied. "Give me time."

"No broken bones you two," Barbara said cutting in. "Remember it's all fun as long as its cuts and bruises but snapping bone marrow is nobodies friend."

"I don't understand why I can't find that on a t-shirt," Helena responded turning to watch the redhead as she started towards the door. "It reeks of wholesome." Sometimes the redhead's Barbara-isms were really too much.

"That's what I keep telling Hot Topic, but they won't reply to my emails," Barbara replied shrugging before smiling. "Seriously, play nice … we're almost out of morphine."

---

Part Three

-------------

Two Weeks Later …

"I mean it's not like I'm going to be flying the plane, why the hell do I need to be able to find Botswana on a map?" Gabby complained as she poked at her sandwich, debating whether or not to actually eat it.

"Government got tired of Canadian variety shows mocking our lax education system," Dinah responded looking across the cafeteria to a table located by a large window that looked out onto the school grounds. Alexa was lounging there with mostly various jocks and cheerleaders. She had her cutely booted feet up on the table and was leaning back in one of the crappy plastic chairs that lined the café. Her head was tipped down towards her chest causing her wavy black hair to fall across her face. Dinah could just make out the hint of a small on her face, and as she watched the other girl, she saw one of the guys sitting beside her hop out of his chair wrap his arms around her shaking her from side to side as she slapped at him ineffectually. "This mapping exercise is gonna be a bitch," Dinah continued returning her attention to Gabby.

"See this is what I don't get. It's last period right, so they're going to send a bunch of kids out into the city and expect us to come back?" she said incredulously.

Dinah laughed, nodding along. "I know! I figured we could hit Virgin," she continued her voice lowering, though as she spoke she turned her to the side lightly. She had the uncomfortable sensation of being watched. Her eyes immediately drifted back to the table Alexa had been sitting at, and there she found the girls dark brown eyes fascined on her.

Dinah jerked back slightly. Did Alexa just wink at her?

"On the move again," Gabby commented following Dinah's gaze and seeing the table of the privileged and popular getting up and moving away from their golden perch in the sun. "Not doubt there are very important wedgies to give, and can of some sort to smash against their craniums as the girls compliment each others asses," she continued.

"Alexa isn't so bad," Dinah said turning to face her friend. It was true she hadn't spent much time around the other girl, and that she was still largely a mystery to her, but she had always been friendly to her – and everyone else as far as Dinah could tell. Even if her attention was sporadic and fleeting.

"Alexa Wing," Gabby said shaking her head. "She's spoiled and pompous. Give her a few months and she'll be as intolerable as the rest of them. I've seen…" Gabby continued trailing off as she watched Alexa fall back from the rest of her crowd and begin to backtrack towards the table she and Dinah were sitting at.

"Mind if I make it a crowd?" Alexa asked looking at Dinah, though her gaze briefly flickered to Gabby, even as she pulled out a chair and made herself quite at home.

"Having a zipper emergency Lex?" Kristy Lake asked from a few meters away, smirking at Alexa before turning her eyes towards Dinah and Gabby condescendingly.

"What kind of an emergency could I possibly be having with a zipper?" Alexa asked thoughtfully, looking over at Kristy who was caught unawares having been basking in Dinah's down turned eyes. "Do you know of any zipper emergencies?" Alexa continued looking at Dinah, a small smile on her face.

"Currently?" Dinah asked a bit dumbly, not exactly sure what was going on, only that she didn't want the Zipper Girl nickname to be resurrected, though it didn't look like she had much of a say in the matter.

"Besides mine of course, whatever it may be," Alexa responded her eyes on Dinah, even though Kristy was shifting from foot to foot obviously trying to get her attention without seeming like she had to actually try to get it.

"They tend to be dark and disturbing tales. Extremely creepifying," Dinah responded, not at all opposed to the whole 'ignore the bitchy people' tone Alexa seemed to be setting.

"And me without my marshmallows," Alexa replied with a mock sigh. "Some other time then," she continued looking over at Gabby once more.

She held out her hand.

"Allow me to introduce myself, I'm a woman of wealth and taste," Alexa said by way of introduction, smiling as the curly haired blonde girl glared at her. "Or Alexa, you can go with whatever sets you a tingle," she continued turning her attention back to Dinah. The curly haired blonde was still glaring at her. It was kind of fun.

"What about your friends?" Dinah asked, as she watched the group Alexa had been with before exit the room, more for the sake of conversation than anything.

Alexa glanced lethargically at that, looking in the direction of her other companions. "I'd like to think I'm with some," she replied looking straight at Dinah, her expression and words some of the most frank Dinah had seen from her. "But if you meant my lunchtime companions, I can find them whenever I want to. All I have to do is follow the aroma of 'currently in our prime'," she went squeezing Gabby on the shoulder chummily as the girl finally cracked a smile.

"How does that smell?" Dinah asked smiling.

"Kind of dewy," Alexa replied crinkling up her nose. Dinah smiled and leaned back in her chair suddenly feeling all bright and sunny. She was glad Alexa had decided to drop by.

---

Part Four

-----------

Later that Night…

"I've been waiting for you," Reese said not even bothering to turn around when he felt the Huntress's presence behind him. He was leaning against the wall of a dark, dank alleyway, out of site from prying eyes. He was trying to protect her, not everyone would be as chivalrous about allowing her to remain a mystery as he was.

"That's sweet," Helena responded moving to stand opposite him. "Why?"

"Knew you'd show up," Reese responded pushing off of the wall. She was smirking at him, that small little half smile that always seemed to be permanently on her beautiful features. Either that or a frown. "You're like my shadow," he continued stepping closer to her. She cocked her head to the side and smiled at him again. She also stepped back, leaving a respectable space between them. She'd been doing that a lot over the last month or so. He couldn't figure it out, she'd seemed to like him, they'd seemed to like each other, but she was distant now. In a friendly sort of way. He wanted to blame it on her need to remain mysterious, and on her inability to share. But he couldn't quite, her countance didn't say 'I want you but I'm stopping myself' anymore – sometimes he wondered if it ever had – as much as it did 'I know you want me but you can't touch'.

"There you go with that sweet talk again. Cause all girls love being called stalkers, though I will give you points for subtly," Helena responded shifting somewhat uncomfortably under his gaze. He was trying to figure her out again. "I don't suppose there was any evidence this time," she continued, wanting to get to the topic at hand. She had perfected the flirty greeting to such an art form she wasn't quite sure how to start talking to him without it, but she'd found very quickly that it led to conversations, conversations that became extremely awkward. She felt like she should tell him that she was off the market, but since she'd never really mentioned she was on it, and they weren't even 'first name buddies' she wasn't sure how to go about telling him, or if she really even needed to.

"No evidence, no clues, no point of entry or exit, no suspects, no anything," Reese replied backing up to lean back against the wall once more. "I don't suppose you know anything about the robberies?" he asked. She looked up at him sharply, and he realized his question might have sounded a bit like an accusation. It wasn't like he hadn't done it before. "Any information would help. The guy's really upset this time. Whoever it was actually took something that mattered this time 'round," he continued.

"Not yet," Helena replied sighing, as her eyes drifted around the alleyway. "It's just so random, and pointless," she continued shaking her head. "We're working on it."

"We?" he asked. "I thought you were a lone ranger?"

"The invisible friend would be hurt to know you've forgotten her already," Helena replied, smiling nonetheless as she heard Barbara yelling 'Do NOT put that in your mouth!' at Dinah over the transceiver.

"Something funny?" Reese asked seeing the genuine smile that had appeared on her face, not able to stop himself from wondering what, or who could've put it there. Disappointed that he had never managed to put it there.

"Exceedingly," Helena responded shaking her head as she focused on him once more. Her badass mask was once again in place. This was no time to be getting all domestic and mushy, though sometimes she just couldn't help it. She still couldn't figure out exactly how that'd happened. But she wasn't stupid enough to question it. Barbara may have been the genius, but she wasn't too shabby herself when it came right down to it. "I'll be seeing you," she continued, jumping onto a nearby fire escape and continuing up onto the roof.

"Yeah, seeing you," Reese muttered to himself.

---

Part Five

-----------

A Week Later …

Alexa rubbed at her beautifully bronzed chin savagely as she stared down at the papers scattered around her on the library table. There was an open folder to her left with newspaper clippings, and various scraps of scribbled on paper falling outside of it. She shoved the piece of paper, with all of its arrows and words, to the side sweeping it and the others into the folder impatiently, leaving only one piece of paper lying out on the desk. She was frustrated, and glad to be so, she'd finally found something (well there was one other thing but that was besides the point) to keep her interested. A mystery. One of two (maybe three) she'd recently stumbled upon. It felt good to be occupied, instead of wandering, searching for something, anything to relieve the boredom.

"Seventeen years," she muttered to herself staring at the paper. "Two of them, one big one, one small one, men. Eleven years, two of them, one big one, one small. A man and a woman. Defining features, Caucasian, tall, red hair. Gone. Why? A fire, the destruction of docks, a victory and then… blank. Cause? Or Effect? Five years of nothing. Then a shadow … the Dorset kidnappers, the Randal gang, etcetera, etcetera. Gift-wrapped, hope someone got a tip. Related? Defining features? … A return? Or someone new?" She rambled on running an agitated hand through her hair.

Dinah watched Alexa as she slumped over a desk in the library, her head resting in her hand as she stared at something on the surface of the desk. That was one thing that Dinah had noticed about the girl. She always seemed so relaxed. It was like nothing in the entire world could fluster her, she was un-flusterable. Dinah bet that if the ground were to suddenly start shaking, Alexa would only look up and raise an eyebrow. Maybe think something like 'curious' to herself before going back to looking nonchalant. It was kind of irksome. Dinah wondered what she was doing.

"New Gotham's an interesting city," Alexa said as Dinah sat down beside her. "Old Gotham even more so," she continued smiling over at the blonde. She found herself smiling at the blonde a lot and actually meaning it.

Dinah looked down at the table. There was a photocopy of a newspaper article sitting on the desk. The heading read: "Two Bats, A Cat (woman?) And A Gordon Equal A Deadly Night in Gotham!" Dinah looked over at Alexa quirking at eyebrow.

"She was shot," Alexa said softly.

"Who?" Dinah asked though looking at the headline again she had a good idea who the brunette was talking about.

"The President of my Fanclub, Ms. Gordon," Alexa responded as she traced her index finger over the word 'Gordon'. "I wouldn't have thought," Alexa continued thoughtfully. "She doesn't act like a victim."

"She wears it well," Dinah agreed her voice practically ringing with pride.

"A small grace," Alexa added, her fingers moving over to trace the words 'Two Bats'.

"It's weird," she continued feeling Dinah's eyes on her once more. "These obscure references," she went on tapping the words her finger had been rubbing over before. "They go back almost twenty-years. There are mentions of all kinds of weirdoes, but most of them mention two men or a man and a woman. Vigilantes. Unofficially, dressed up like human bats. With capes. I found a couple disreputable articles that called them Batman and Batgirl. Batman!" she exclaimed smiling shaking her head. "Batman," she repeated shaking her head some more. "Not even the reporters could believe it, half the time they sounded like they didn't even believe what they were writing," she went on. "Crazy ass city. It's kinda fucking cool."

"You don't believe that … do you?" Dinah asked, focused more on Alexa's excited use of the word 'weirdoes', than on the subject. It wasn't directed at her, but in a way it was, and it hurt her. Because she liked Alexa, she really liked her, and … it just never changed, it didn't matter where she was everyone reacted negatively, with fear and insults. Hear about something different, they must be weirdoes. She thought she had gotten used to, embraced her freak status, but coming from the girl beside her it hurt. It still hurt.

"I do," Alexa said glancing over at her. There was something in the blonde's voice but she couldn't figure out what the cause of it was, not then at least. Dinah was rather hard to read at times, and painful easy at others. This was one of the hard times. "It's so ridiculous nobody would make it up," she continued. "Besides, it's … interesting. It's a mystery."

"What they are?" Dinah asked flatly, her eyes flickering away from Alexa.

"No," Alexa responded sounding mildly surprised as if the idea hadn't even entered her mind. "What they are doesn't matter, so much as who they were. Or where they went," she continued chewing her bottom lip with excitement. "Almost twenty years of allegedly fighting the worst of Gotham crime under the cover of night, and then nothing. Absolutely nothing," she said fiddling with the piece of paper. "It's weird."

"Yeah," Dinah said, knowing that the story may have been weird, but it was more tragic than anything else. And somewhat relieved to hear Alexa's take on the weirdoes of Gotham was a pretty positive one, if not very politically correct.

"More interesting than math anyway," Alexa continued glancing over at the open textbook to her left. "Bet Batman," she said the name mockingly, "didn't need to know no math."

"Repelling class, or hitting things 101 was probably more his style," Dinah responded grinning as Alexa smirked at her. Alexa had an infectious smirk. Actually Alexa had an infectious everything.

"I took Crotch Shots 101 in New York," Alexa replied. Dinah looked at her. "Well, they called it 'Self Defense'," she added with a smile. "You wanna go steal some Jell-O from the cafeteria?" she asked suddenly.

"Why?" Dinah asked. She was beginning to feel like a broken record. She couldn't keep up with Alexa sometimes, it was like the girl's brain didn't follow any linear pattern, she'd just jump from topic to topic. It was confusing. Dinah liked that about her.

"More interesting than math," Alexa responded standing up. "Come on, deviant behavior is fun," she added holding out her hand to Dinah with a wink.

---

Part Six

-----------

A Week Later …

Barbara dropped her head into her hands dramatically, shaking her head before peaking out the side, an embarrassed smile on her face. She rued this day. She hated it when days she would rue just snuck up on her like that. She liked to be prepared for her day ruing. If criminals could warn her she didn't see why the faculty of a High School couldn't. 'So you still won't tell us who you're dating, huh Gordon? Well, you'll come to rue the day' was all it would've taken. But no … they had to be all spontaneous about it.

She was pretty sure she was blushing. She wondered how long it would take until the pleading started.

"Come on Liz," she said a moment later in a rather pleading tone. Well, that answered that question.

When she'd arrived at the teacher's lounge she'd found everyone crowded around a table in the middle of the room and immediately joined them to see what all the commotion was about. Peaking her head in she'd been surprised to see a rather tasteful floral arrangement sitting in the middle of the table as everyone gaped at it. She'd been even more surprised when Elizabeth Calloway, one of schools science teachers, had pushed the flowers in her direction and smiled at her cheekily, before saying 'don't just sit there read the card'.

So, she'd read the card, and she'd grinned broadly then looked up and noticed everyone smiling at her and had tried to hide the fact that she was smiling broadly which only made things worse. Then she'd made the horrible mistake of placing the card down on the table open, which gave Liz the opportunity to read it to everyone in the room with glee:

"A rose for rose … that sucks doesn't it? Oh well, I guess you'll just have to pretend that I wrote something poetic and stirring … while you're at it you could as well imagine that I wrote it in loopy, Elizabethan handwriting, because that's pretty …like you.

H."

After Liz had read it, Barbara had internally cursed Helena for being so damn cute, and then she'd smiled because Helena was so damn cute, and then everyone in the room had gone 'awww' – or made some equally embarrassing sound – and she'd begun to rue the day.

"There's a really easy way to end this, Gordon," Liz chortled, much to Barbara's chagrin and almost everyone else's amusement. There was one face in the room besides Barbara's that looked unimpressed with the attention the flowers were getting, however.

"What do you say we leave her alone, huh? She's changing colour," Wade commented from his perch near the fridge. He'd come in just for the beginning of the letter reading and teasing. Barbara looked over to him as he said it, he couldn't read her expression. He never could really, not even when they were dating. He'd wish he had been able to because then he might have been able to see the break-up coming. But he couldn't, and he hadn't. 'H' was probably able to read her expression. He looked away.

"Henry maybe?" Liz continued after glancing disapprovingly at Wade. He'd been a real stick in the mud over the last month. It'd been kind of obvious that he had a thing for Barbara since his first day at the school, but as far as she knew nothing had come of it, which was probably why he was being pissy about it now. Still his unrequited love didn't mean he should try and ruin everyone else's fun. Barbara was rather inscrutable when it came to her private life. Outside of the basics nobody really knew that much about the redhead. So, this was an amazing opportunity to try and glean some information out of her, Wade's ill-fated crushes be damned. Some of them had been waiting years for something like this.

"Harold?" another voice guessed in a singsong voice. It was Nate Granser, she was going to leave the board full of chalky writing next time she had a room before him.

Barbara sighed and looked away from Wade, who was now studying his shoe, and around the assembled group of teachers. They were in a high school that was true; she just didn't see why they had to act like they still attended. Of course, she would've had fun with it, if she hadn't been the focus of the ribbing. Oh, it was so tough to admit you couldn't take your medicine.

"Herbert?" another person guessed. Then nudged her on the shoulder. It was Carol Halder. Barbara avoided her eyes and sighed as a chorus of 'H' names greeted her as she was almost nudged out of her chair. She should've gone out for lunch.

"Helena." Barbara looked up towards the door at that, looking somewhat startled. "Kyle's here to see Barbara," Cassie, the school's secretary, continued poking her head into the room before opening the door allowing Helena to brush past her. The brunette was wearing black pointed boots, tight washed out jeans with a stylishly big belt, a tight fitting black collared shirt, and a cocky smile. All eyes in the room were on her … and then on Barbara … and then on Helena and Barbara once more.

Barbara sighed deeply, now they'd all gone and made a casual link.

"I'm guessing you don't get many visitors?" she said glancing at Barbara before looking around the room at the still staring teachers, her gaze momentarily falling on the flowers she'd sent before returning to Barbara and the card clutched in the hands of a decidedly gossipy looking woman. "Whose birthday?" she asked innocently seeing Barbara staring at her.

"No one's," Liz responded looking somewhat confused. "Gordon's got an admirer," she continued looking between Helena and the flowers. She'd thought … but … it couldn't be … she'd taught Helena herself when the girl had been at the school.

"Some girls have all the luck," Helena said tilting her head to the side with faux seriousness as she looked at her former science teacher. She'd never liked Calloway. "I hate to interrupt the teasing and humiliation, but do you think I could borrow her for a minute?"

"If Barbara doesn't think H will mind," Liz responded perking up again noticing the familiarity with which Helena rested her hand on Barbara's shoulder.

"I am H," Helena responded innocuously.

"You are?" Liz asked perking up even more, her eyes widening slightly at the idea of Barbara dating this, tall, rebellious, model looking former student. She was feeling superior and jealous. Helena had grown up good.

"Am an H," Helena replied looking over at the woman as she gaped at her. "I'm Helena, remember? You used to say things like 'Quiet down Helena!' or 'Sit down right now Helena before I break my foot off in your ass'," she continued as Liz looked at her unimpressed. "That last one was paraphrased. Anyway, good times. So, what H are you talking about?"

"The H from the card," Liz responded looking down at the card as if to confirm its existence. Dealing with Helena had always been exhausting. She'd warned Barbara when she'd heard the girl had gone to live with her. Barbara hadn't listened.

"I'm not good at writing cards, it's probably not me then," Helena replied mildly, looking over at Barbara who was watching her and trying not to smile. The redhead knew she was playing with Liz and enjoying it immensely. Barbara had told her that Liz didn't like her much.

"Neither is card H," Liz responded leaning towards Helena suspiciously.

"Can I see the card?" Helena asked.

"Why would you need to see it if you wrote it?" Liz asked narrowing her eyes at the brunette.

"Well, how am I supposed to know if I wrote it unless I look at it to see if it's something I wrote or not?" Helena asked quirking an eyebrow at the other woman.

Liz looked at her dubiously for a moment then handed the card over.

Helena glanced at it briefly. "Kinda sounds like me actually. Especially the 'pretty like you part'," she continued glancing down at Barbara dully. "You are very pretty," she stated leering obviously at Barbara.

"Shut up," Barbara responded smiling and taking the card back.

"Not very nice though," Helena said shaking her head as she looked around the room. "If I did send the flowers I'd be thinking about taking them back now."

"What're you doing here?" Barbara asked seeing Liz start to glare at Helena. She had realized Helena was making fun of her.

"I just couldn't stay away. With you being so very pretty and all. I had to get inspiration for another card," Helena replied noticing for the first time that the rest of the staff was looking at her rather darkly now too. She'd probably keyed some of their cars when she was acting out. "Is it not funny anymore?" she asked a moment later.

"And you wonder why you get kicked out of places," Barbara responded shaking her head.

"I don't wonder, I mourn," Helena replied. "Anyway, now that I've worn out my welcome … again," she said grinning. "Can I talk to you for a minute. There's been a muffin top emergency."

--------------------------------------------------------------

"There was no alert," Barbara said once she certain the door to the empty classroom was shut.

"There was," Helena replied moving to perch herself on the edge of Barbara's desk. "It woke me up," she continued frowning slightly. "I shut it off before it could alert you," she continued idly riffling through the paper on the desk. Barbara pushed her hands away stopping her from nosing around. It wasn't her room.

"Why?" she asked drawing Helena's attention back to her.

"There was nothing you could have done about it anyway," Helena responded looking around the classroom. "There was another robbery, discovered relatively early this morning. They got footage of it," she continued watching Barbara's eyes flash with interest. "But not of the murder."

"Murder?" Barbara asked looking up at Helena sharply. If it was the same person who had been committing the other robberies, there shouldn't have been a murder the crimes had been totally non-violent up until that point.

"Hmmm," Helena responded. "The police think that the woman, the owner of the house, must have walked in on the robbery. The room was pretty trashed, looked like there was a struggle then not so much," she continued watching as Barbara processed the information, then looked up at her questioningly. "I went to see Reese," she said answering Barbara's question before she could ask it.

Barbara's back tensed and she rolled her shoulders minutely. "You went to a police station in broad daylight?" she asked. "You do remember that you have a record don't you? I know that you like to rebel, but you won't wear a mask and even though I was able to erase your prints …"

"I went to his house," Helena interjected, cutting off the rest of Barbara's lecture. She did not want to get into the mask debate again.

"His house?" Barbara asked a moment later. She'd been brought up short by that one. She didn't know Helena knew where he lived. She didn't like that Helena knew where he lived.

"His dwelling, or personal abode," Helena responded drawing Barbara's eye back to her from where they had fallen into her lap. "He's nightshift, they'd called him in cause it was his case," she went on. "I'm going to meet him tonight and look at the tape."

"You've got him stealing evidence now?" Barbara asked somewhat archly, biting down on the rest of her response before it could pass through her lips. She wasn't being fair and she knew it. It was good that Helena had gotten Reese to trust her. It made things on their end a lot easier and slightly more legal. Reese would show her the recording instead of Helena having to break in and make a copy of it. They could get information that wasn't on the scanners or in reports. It was a good thing. But for some reason she had to remind herself of that.

"Borrowing," Helena responded pushing off the desk to stand up. "Are you mad about something?" she asked making a point of putting some distance between them. She moved to lean against one of the nearby desks.

"No," Barbara responded immediately, though she wasn't sure she was being entirely truthful. "I'm sorry," she said moving over to Helena and taking her hand in hers, gently stroking the skin with her thumb. "I loved the flowers," she added smiling over at the brunette.

"Seems like everybody loved the flowers," Helena responded smiling back as Barbara kept her hand in hers. "They didn't tease you too badly did they?"

"Of course they did," Barbara responded laughing softly. "I loved the flowers," she continued letting Helena know that she didn't care about the teasing.

"Would it be inappropriate for me to try and kiss you in here?" Helena asked looking at Barbara thoughtfully.

"Of course," Barbara replied, knowing that Helena was going to kiss her anyway.

"I guess it's just your bad luck I'm so terribly inappropriate then," Helena responded leaning forward to attach her lips to Barbara's, her hands coming to rest on the redhead's knees. The truth was she'd been listening in the hallway for anybody looking to encroach on their hideaway.

"Bad luck," Barbara said softly, resting her head on Helena's shoulder. "It feels pretty good."

Helena smiled. "I should get you flowers more often," she said reluctantly moving away from Barbara, stepping to the side and turning to face the window as the door to the classroom opened.

"I thought this was econ," a tall, gangly boy with an overburdened backpack muttered seeing Barbara sitting in the classroom. Before his eyes drifted over to Helena and then all over Helena who proceeded to stare at him making it painfully obvious that she had noticed his roving eyes.

"You're in the right room, I was just picking something up," Barbara responded trying the draw the boys attention away from her glaring girlfriend. "How's your arm?" Barbara asked smiling. He was getting that flustered 'I'm so stupid' look on his face and she wanted to relieve his anxiety.

"Oh, it's getting better," he said rubbing at the cast on left arm. "It itches a lot though. Yesterday I tried to jam at wire hanger down in there …" he continued. Helena rolled her eyes. A quick exit was in order.

---

Part Seven

-------------

Three Weeks Later …

"You know," Dinah said shyly pushing the curtain to the side. "I didn't think that anyone actually threw costume balls," she continued stepping out into the open carpeted area of the back of the shop. She was talking to relieve her nerves, but she was confused as to why she had nerves in the first place. Actually she wasn't really confused, she just didn't want to think about it too much.

"If there were any justice in the world nobody would. They're horribly pretentious and boring … it was my mothers idea," Alexa responded straightening up in the plush chair she had been sitting on as Dinah emerged from behind the change room curtain. "I feel like a pimp," she continued her eyes raking over Dinah slowly, appraisingly.

She smiled.

"Do I look slutty?" Dinah asked frowning slightly as she looked down at herself. The costume was a bit revealing, but she didn't think it screamed streetwalker.

Alexa smirked as she watched Dinah look herself over. "More like an escort. A classy one," she replied, laughing as Dinah looked over at her quirking an eyebrow before striking a pose and pouting at her.

"How much would I go for?" Dinah asked shifting into another stance, hitching up the already short skirt to show a bit more leg.

"At least $1500 an hour," Alexa said leaning forward, looking at Dinah intently. "I could never afford you," she continued sighing and pouting slightly as she leaned back into her chair.

Dinah looked around at the back room of the store they were in, which was decorated with rich, coloured fabrics, and soft carpeting. It was probably the most expensive store she had ever been in. They didn't even have stores like that in Opal. Then her eyes drifted back over to Alexa herself who was wearing expensive (probably Italian) black boots, black leather pants, and a fitted, understated, white collared shirt that probably cost as much as Dinah's entire wardrobe. And it was all topped off with a pair of authentic Mossimo sunglasses perched on top of her head.

"I doubt that," Dinah said simply.

"Alright, I could probably scrounge it together," Alexa conceded with a smile having been aware of Dinah's inspection of her and what she must have been thinking. "Are you trying to get at something?" she continued wiggling her eyebrows at the blonde a moment later.

"Next in line then," Dinah said turning around and stepping into the change room to hide the blush that had started to spread across her cheeks at Alexa's comment.

"I wouldn't pay for you anyway," Alexa said standing up and moving to pace in front of the curtain of Dinah's change room. "I'd woo you," she continued smiling, looking down at her feet as she moved.

"Because you're cheap?" Dinah asked not having to see the other girl to know that she was smiling. She'd gotten very good at reading the small changes in Alexa's inflections and tones.

"No, exactly the opposite," Alexa said slowly, stopping her pacing and standing still. "I like to pay an honest price, an object's worth. I would really never be able to afford you," she continued her voice soft and sober.

Dinah paused, her arms raised to pull a shirt over top of her, her eyes trained on the curtain of the change room through which she could make out the shadow of Alexa's stationary figure. She didn't know what to say to that. She didn't know if Alexa's joking … or not. However, she did know that she didn't want it to be a joke. She wanted Alexa to mean it.

"I've got another one for you," Alexa said conversationally a moment later, speaking calmly and clearly as if nothing had happened before. She had moved over to the corner of the room without Dinah seeing her and was know holding something in her hand. It was nothing but a large blob to Dinah but she was sure it was beautiful. "Hurry up and get naked so you can try it on."

----

Part Eight

------------

A Week Later…

"We got there too late, couldn't catch them in the act, but we did like you said and did the lady, made it look real messy like there was a fight too," the man said in a voice that was higher than normal. The woman was standing uncomfortably close to him, looking at him with eyes that did not appear to be completely sane. The truth was the lady scared him shitless, but she paid well … as long as you lived long enough to collect.

"Too late?" Harley asked, her voice rising high with curiosity as her hand shot out and grasped the man about the throat, squeezing none to gently. "You knew where, you knew when … and you were too late?" she asked smiling at him though her tone was coated with displeasure. "That doesn't sound very competent," she went on stroking his hair with her free hand. "Did you see them at least?" she asked her tone now soothing.

"It was dark …" he started to say, but stopped that route upon seeing her eyes harden. "It was a woman we know that," he added hastily. "But she … she was wearing a mask," he said closing his eyes.

"How … vexing," Harley said letting the man go. "Good for her though, it's about time people started showing some standards again," she continued pacing in front of him. "Well, you know what you have to do," she went on looking back up at him. "I want my picture back!" she finished, her voice rising shrilly before she pouted slightly. Everybody was always trying to ruin her plans. It wasn't fair.

"Yes, of course. We'll get her," the man responded and then turned to make a hasty exit. His neck was still in one piece. He was lucky.

Harley sat down in one of her chairs, her head resting in the palm of her hand as her arm rested on the arm of chair. She stared at the floor glumly. Now there was a new person nosing into her business. She was never going to…

"Sorry, I'm a bit early," Helena said breezing into the office.

Harley straightened up in the chair then stood, a mask of cool, professionalism sliding across her features before she turned to face Helena.

"Helena," she greeted warmly. "That's perfectly alright," she continued feeling her feverish mind start to cool. She blinked and sat down opposite Helena. "My door's always open," she continued.

---

Part Nine

-----------

Helena curled the small piece of wire around her ear and then adjusted the flat, ocular lens in front of her eye. "Do you read?" she asked waving her hand in front of it.

Yeah Barbara responded. Don't do that anymore

"What? This?" Helena asked waving her hand in front of the eyepiece some more. "Why?"

It's making us a bit motion sick Barbara responded wincing as she heard Helena laugh and wave her hand some more.

"I didn't know this was going to be a group activity," Reese commented drawing Helena's attention over to him. He was standing beside a dilapidated looking vid player and screen.

"We're all on the same side," Helena replied taking a seat. "Don't worry, it won't get out to the press or anyone else," she continued crossing her legs as he moved to sit beside her. "What? No popcorn?" she asked as he dropped into a nearby chair and aimed the remote at the player.

"Who says the guys always gotta buy," Reese responded, looking at her just long enough to see her smirk and roll her eyes before starting the recording.

Helena watched – and therefore Barbara and Dinah also – as a shadowy female figure approached the front of a large, impressive looking house. The surrounding was dark and murky, but the porch lights allowed them to clearly make-out a trim, most likely female form dressed from head to toe in black. The woman stopped upon reaching the door, then looked around her cautiously before glancing up. She was looking straight into the camera. She stared at it for a long moment and then turned to face the locked door once more. Then once facing it she stepped forward and disappeared through the surface.

"We're not sure what exactly happened there, it could be a camera glitch. Durning says that there are some electronic devices that can be used to interrupt live feeds, it's possible," Reese started to say, pausing the recording.

"That's no glitch," Helena said cutting him off as she leaned forward. "You're getting this right?" she said to Barbara.

More than getting it Barbara responded as the feed from Helena's eyepiece went into her digital recorder, and she edited and cleared up the feed.

"How do you know?" Reese asked realizing that the last part of her statement wasn't directed at him.

"She phased through that door," Helena replied turning to look him. "She's a meta-thingie," she continued her eyes back on the screen.

Intangible Barbara said into the earpiece.

"When I said that…" Reese started to say.

"I know, really, it's relatively forgiven," Helena interjected cutting him off. "She's an intangible. That means she can alter her molecular density at an atomic level," she continued as Barbara fed her the information. "Basically she can make herself lighter than air and denser than rock and then reform in regular proportions."

"That's not possible," Reese said staring at her.

"If you say so," Helena replied. She didn't feel like having this conversation with him again. "Let's see the rest of the video."

Reese stared at her for a second, and then started the recording up again. "This is from the hallway camera directly inside of the house. From this point on what you'll be seeing has been edited to show her progress throughout the house," he explained before leaning back in his chair.

They watched as she slowly made her way throughout the house. She stuck close to the walls, following the cameras as they followed her. Gloved hands brushing against the walls, sometimes phasing through and then back out again. She paced up and down the same path for a few minutes and then stopped suddenly in front of a frescoed wall.

She's good Barbara commented softly into Helena's ear.

"Why do you say that, she doesn't look like she's doing a whole lot of anything," Helena commented, as her eyes remained trained on the screen.

She's been checking out the wiring used on the camera's to see how they're connected Barbara responded watching as the woman phased through wall and disappeared out of sight. A moment later there was a flicker and the monitor Helena was watching went dead.

"What happened?" Helena asked. She wanted to look around but she kept her eyes trained on the screen so that Barbara's recording wouldn't be interrupted if it started up again.

She cut the feed Barbara replied. She sounded impressed.

"There was a control room behind that wall. One of two interconnected ones. She blew out the system," Reese responded with a sigh, turning the screen off. "Cut off all the cameras. We don't know what happened after that, only that the study upstairs was ransacked and the owner ended up in a pool of her own blood in the middle of it."

"Charming imagery," Helena commented. "No way to tell how long she was in there?"

"None," Reese replied. "She didn't trip anything going in or going out. All the doors are wired to sound an alarm if tripped once the security system is operational, but none of them were tripped, and she – as far as we can tell – purposefully defused only the camera's, which were our only way of determining a time frame."

"Neat," Helena said to herself softly.

"You're impressed by this?" Reese asked with a touch of distaste.

"I am," Helena responded. "But that's not what I meant. The job was very neat. Tidy. She is good," she finished staring off into space. He wasn't sure if she was talking to him or the person on the other end of her communicator. "Nothing tonight?" she asked looking over at him.

"Not so far," Reese replied. "Although we might not find out until the morning like with this one," he continued.

"Way to look at that glass as half full," Helena snarked standing up. Reese was a real downer sometimes. "Do you know what was taken?"

"The estate can't tell us if anything was taken. If something was it wasn't your typical jewels, or rare stamp collection. There's nothing of value in the house that can't be accounted for," Reese replied rubbing at his temples.

Helena placed her hand on his shoulder drawing his eyes over to hers. "I'll let you know if we find anything," she said in what she hoped was a reassuring voice. He looked all raggedy and ill kept, it was sad. She felt bad for thinking that he was downer before – even if he was. He was a good guy, in a bad world and that could get depressing every once in while.

He nodded. "But you have to go now."

"Yeah," she said removing her hand and stepping back. "Thanks for the tape … it was a lot of help. I'll have to save your life again some time soon," she continued smirking. Then she turned around and swept out of the door.

Reese didn't bother following to look down the hallway. He knew she'd be gone. She was predictable that way.

---

Part Ten

-----------

Two Weeks Later …

"Hey," Dinah said knocking on Alexa's door lightly before sticking her head into the crack of the door.

"Come in," Alexa responded lazily raising her hand up and waving her in. There were about ten other kids from school, hanging around on the lower floor in Alexa's living room, playing Play-Station, pool, watching satellite TV, making use of the unsupervised bar. She'd seen Alexa slip out of the room about fifteen minutes earlier, after brooding in a corner for an hour or so, and had decided to seek the other girl out. Alexa was the reason she was there after all. Unlike the others, she was more interested in the girl than in her house.

"You okay?" Dinah asked walking into the room and perching on the edge of the bed a bit uncomfortably. The room was big, but dark and she couldn't make much out.

"Headache," Alexa responded, taking her arm from where it had been lying over her eyes and letting it flop to the side to turn on a light. Then looking at Dinah for the first time since the blonde had walked into the room, she smiled.

"What?" Dinah asked cocking her head to the side and nervously tucking a strand of hair behind her ear.

"Nothing, I'm just not surprised you came up here," Alexa said struggling into a sitting position.

"Is that such a surprising thing?" Dinah asked moving further onto the bed and drawing her legs up under her.

"Sure," Alexa replied. "The rooms not exactly crowded is it?" she went on to say smiling.

"I don't know," Dinah said smiling as she looked around the room. "You're a bit of a pack rat aren't you?" she asked laughing as her eyes surveyed numerous overstuffed boxes littering the room, half filled plastic containers, jammed shelves.

"You don't like?" Alexa asked smiling herself as she looked around the room. Surprised and pleased that she really did care what Dinah thought of it.

"No, I do. It's … it's very you, I think," Dinah replied. And it was true the more that she thought about it. The rooms walls where painted red with navy trim, and the perimeter was lined with hanging icicle Christmas lights, while simple, understated artwork hung on the walls. A leaf stuck onto a black background in a silver frame. A collage of photographs pasted onto a foam board. It was a calming, like Alexa. But then if you looked at the floor of the room and in the closets, it was a mess. Clothes, and paper and boxes all over the place, hanging half off of things, draped carelessly here and there. But Dinah thought that that was also Alexa, in the girls dark brown eyes she had always seen something shifting behind her calm exterior. Like her room she was full of surprises.

"Is that a good thing?" Alexa asked watching Dinah closely as she looked about her room.

"I think so," Dinah replied looking back over to meet Alexa's eyes momentarily before looking away again. The dark-haired girl was holding her gaze rather intensely; it felt like she was almost looking inside of her. It made Dinah feel warm, and uncomfortable. She couldn't hold it.

"Good," Alexa said softly a moment later, tilting her head down to look at the bed covers. "Sometimes we don't see ourselves the way we are, maybe better or worse than the reality. But if someone else … well, maybe you're alright then," she went on picking at her covers.

"What do you mean?" Dinah asked looking back over at her.

"I don't know exactly," Alexa responded looking back up at her, smiling widely before shaking her head ruefully. "I just know that I like me better around you."

Dinah blinked at her for a moment, and Alexa smiled again somewhat self-concioiusly.

"You do?" Dinah asked finally, smiling herself.

"Yeah, things are calmer. Clearer. I'm not so restless. I'm often restless, it's one of my less attractive personality traits," Alexa answered grinning self-depreciatingly. She was often self-depreciating Dinah had noticed. It made her more endearing and mysterious at the same time.

"You always seem so still outside," Dinah replied trying to reconcile what she had seen of Alexa with what Alexa saw in herself.

"On the outside," Alexa agreed. "All of the chaos is in my head. It makes me do things like steal Jell-O from the cafeteria, and extreme ski, and free-dive, and play rugby, and learn how to punch stuffed bags in my free time," she continued shaking her head. "My Mom says I'm hyperactive and probably have undiagnosed attention deficit disorder. I think she's just being catty, but that seems to pretty much describe it something. I mean, sometimes I feel like a can of soda sitting on the sidewalk in August in the blazing sun. The pressure keeps building and building until I almost can't stand it and then I pop," she finished looking up at Dinah through her eyelashes. She looked small then, vulnerable. Not her usual larger than life persona. Dinah liked this version just as much, maybe more.

"Do you feel like that now? Is that why you're up here?" Dinah asked, her mind whirling in a million different directions, wanting to ask a million different question, but some sense of propriety and fear stopping her.

"Yeah, but it's not why I'm up here," Alexa responded tilting her head up a bit to meet Dinah's eyes. She wasn't smiling, but her eyes were bright and warm. "Do you ever get the urge to do something you know you shouldn't?"

"All the time," Dinah responded, her brain filling mostly with thoughts of wanting to throttle Helena, but also filling with thoughts of Alexa. Mostly what she looked like in the change room after getting out of the shower. She shook her head trying to clear her mind of those particular images.

"I kind of feel like that right now," Alexa told her, her voice dropping secretively.

"How do you control it?" Dinah asked. She knew that her mind automatically configuring the worst possible outcome and then playing in over and over again usually did it for her.

"I don't," Alexa responded shaking her head. "And usually it doesn't end up as bad everyone thinks it will," she continued shifting down the bed until she was sitting across from Dinah. "Like this for instance," she went on gesturing between them.

"What?" Dinah asked not quite following.

Alexa simply looked at her, and then slowly leaned forward until her face was directly in front of Dinah's. She hovered there for a moment, and then closed the rest of the distance between them and brushed her lips against Dinah's.

Dinah was still for a moment, not so much surprised by the action since she'd been preparing herself for it since Alexa had leaned towards her, but by the actuality of the feelings produced. She felt shivery, and warm all over. She leaned forward instinctively and placed her hand on Alexa's arm as if to steady herself. At that, Alexa moved forward some more, never breaking the contact between their lips and placed her hand on Dinah's hip as she sucked on the blonde's bottom lip, before slipping her tongue into Dinah's mouth when Dinah's lips parted. Dinah's hand traveled up Alexa's arm, and around to the back of her neck, holding onto the other girl tightly as she kissed her back, her mind a whirlwind of pleasure and sensation.

"You want a tour of the rest of the house?" Alexa asked as she pulled away from Dinah's lips to sit in front of the blonde once more.

"No," Dinah practically growled in response, before she realized how her answer must have sounded and reddened some more. "I mean …"

"There's lots of other rooms we can make-out in," Alexa interjected smiling knowingly. "Some closets, some pantry's, some alcoves. We could be at it for quite a while. If you're up to it that is," she continued looking at Dinah carefully. She wanted her to be comfortable. She wanted to do this right. To do right by Dinah.

"What is this?" Dinah asked watching as Alexa uncurled her lithe form and stood up holding a hand out to her. As she asked it, she thought that it was maybe a little unfair. To be asking the other girl something she couldn't even attempt to answer herself. What was it for her? Was it a crush? Was it love? Was it lust? Was it none of those things, or maybe it was something waiting to grow into something more?

"I don't know," Alexa responded honestly. "This is the first non-familial emotional attachment I think I've made," she continued scrunching her brow thoughtfully. "But I think we're doing well so far."

"Because we respect each other as people," Dinah responded allowing Alexa to pull her up. She was tired of thinking, but flirting she could take some more of.

"Exactly," Alexa replied. "Well let's get on with the tour so I can kiss you some more. Then we can go back into the living room and stare at each meaningfully over pizza as people use my pool cues as lightsabres and puke in the bathroom. Doesn't that sound romantic?"

"No, but oddly enough it feels that way," Dinah replied laughing softly as she allowed herself to be led out of the room.

---

Part Eleven

--------------

Same Night …

Helena dipped the spoon back into the container of Hagendaas Irish Cream ice-cream and scooped out a neat proportion. "One for you," she said smiling as she brought the spoon to Barbara's lips. "And one for me," she continued leaning in and kissing Barbara lightly, licking her lips as she pulled back.

"I can't believe I'm letting you feed me," Barbara grumbled before once again accepting a small scoop from Helena, before accepting Helena's lips once more.

"It's spontaneous and romantic," Helena replied taking the scoop in her own mouth this time, before leaning in to kiss Barbara once more. She was becoming a fan of routine. "And more than a little yummy," she continued smiling.

Barbara gasped a moment later and looked down towards her chest.

"Ooops," Helena said looking up at her with mock surprise. "I dropped some," she continued before smiling rakishly, and lowering her head placing her tongue at the tip of the 'v' of Barbara's shirt and licking upwards making short work of the ice-cream blob. "Finish your story," Helena continued once she was done … for the moment.

"Story?" Barbara asked looking at Helena as the brunette settled herself a top her body. "Oh that," she continued a moment later, when Helena merely smiled at her. The brunette enjoyed distracting her far too much. Actually she liked being distracted far too much.

"You've gotta learn to stay focused Ms. Gordon," Helena said dropping her head onto Barbara's shoulder as she rested the small container of ice-cream on the redhead's stomach.

"It's just so frustrating," Barbara said ignoring Helena as she opened her mouth to accept another spoonful of ice-cream. "There's more in her, I can see it. She's knows it too. She's knows she doesn't have to try, so she doesn't. It's so frustrating."

"Why should she?" Helena asked before licking the spoon and dropping in back into the tub. "Try if she doesn't have to. She's probably bored. It breeds apathy you know," she continued bringing the spoon up to Barbara again.

"Does this mean we should step up your training program?" Barbara asked raising an eyebrow at Helena.

"I'm plenty challenged thank you," Helena responded pressing a kiss to Barbara's shoulder. "Maybe you should make this Alexa kid dodge a knife welding machine. That'd probably wake her up."

"The school board tends to frown on that sort of thing. I tried to beat a child once with a meter stick, and you should've heard the stern talking to I got. Knife welding machines would definitely lead to finger wagging," Barbara replied smirking. "She's been a bit better lately though. I think Dinah might actually be having a positive affect on her."

"She's my hero," Helena responded propping herself up so that she could look down at Barbara.

"I'm sure Dinah will be overjoyed to hear that," Barbara responded watching Helena's eyes light up as she smiled.

"Not Dinah. Alexa. Blondie's never been out of the clock so much. It's great," Helena replied leaning down to kiss Barbara slowly and deeply, the hand that had been holding onto the ice-cream container falling over the edge of the couch to rest it on the floor.

Barbara smiled her hands coming to rest on Helena's hips. "There is that," she responded smiling.

Then her lips found other activities to engage in.

Bracing her hand on the back of the couch, Barbara wrapped her other arm around Helena's waist using the leverage to turn them over so that she was lying on top of the brunette, never once breaking the heated series of kisses they were exchanging.

"Take off your shirt," Barbara whispered in Helena's ear before kissing behind it and then moving her way down the brunette's neck, stopping only when she reached the edge of the material of Helena's shirt.

Using the arm she still had braced against the back of the couch, Barbara then slowly pushed her way down Helena's body as the brunette dutifully removed her shirt and dropped it onto the floor smiling rakishly.

Barbara looked up at her and smiled back at Helena as her hands moved to the brunette's pants, easily unbuttoning them without ever having to look down.

"You've got a look in your eye," Helena said softly, before chewing on her bottom lip as Barbara continued to watch her. She lifted her hips up allowing the redhead to slide her pants and panties over her hips and then down her legs, which caused Barbara to break eye contact with her for the first time in minutes as she fully removed Helena's pants and tossed them to the side.

Barbara then lowered her head and began to kiss a trail up Helena's thigh, as her hands roamed the parts of the brunette's legs that weren't occupied by her lips, moving up and down caressing the silky smooth skin. She loved Helena's body, every single part of it. Helena was so incredibly beautiful. Barbara wanted to lick every inch of her.

Helena let her head drop back against the arm of the chair and sighed deeply, raising her hips slightly. She felt Barbara smile against the skin of her hip, before nipping it lightly. Then the redhead's lips were gone from her body, and one of her hands was resting on Helena's abdomen holding her hips down.

Helena raised her head up at this latest development looking down her body to see what Barbara was up to. She was a fan of the lips and caressing and the kissing of her body, she didn't like that it had stopped.

Meeting the redhead's eyes, she grinned and then gasped as Barbara painted a trail of cold ice-cream along her stomach and hips, her eyes closing as the redhead's mouth then moved back to her body, cleaning up the mess she had made with long, sweeping strokes of her tongue.

Helena's hands came up to massage her breasts through the lacy material of her bra, her hips bucking as she pinched and rolled her nipples while Barbara scrapped her teeth along her skin.

"So impatient," Barbara muttered against Helena's quivering abdomen as her hand trailed up and down the brunette's leg. But she made no effort to stop Helena's motions. She was actually enjoying them a lot. There was something about seeing the brunette so overcome with passion that she couldn't help but touch herself that was incredibly erotic. She continued to watch Helena, her hand sliding up the brunette's leg and around her waist to squeeze her ass, causing Helena to groan and her to smile. She let her free arm drop over the edge of the couch.

"Oh good god!" Helena exclaimed a moment later, her eyes shooting open and her hips twitching as she looked down her body to see what Barbara was doing down there, perfectly willing to beg her not to stop. Barbara had applied something cold to her sex, and after the initial shock had worn off, she found the sensations the contrast between hot and cold was creating to be almost overwhelming.

"OoohAahhhh," Helena moaned her head falling back again, as her hands began to aggressively fondle her breasts again. She could feel Barbara's mouth on her now, her tongue slowly moving up and down the length of her sex, slowly lapping at her own essence and the ice-cream as the redhead's hands continued to roam about her body.

Helena's right hand fell to her side, scratching and grasping at the material of the couch cushion as her head thrashed from side to side, and her hips undulated rhythmically as Barbara continued her expert and relentless attack on her. The redhead's fingers now moving inside of her rapidly, stretching her as her lips covered her clit.

"Bar…" Helena moaned, her eyes fluttering towards the back of her head as her hands continued to grasp at the couch desperately. Bright lights were dancing behind the lids of her eyes, and she hot, very hot. She was hyper aware of every inch of her body, of the warmth where Barbara's body rested against hers, and of the feel of the cool air of the loft against the skin of her sweaty, overheating body. She couldn't think, her body was a just a big, quivering raw nerve ending. She was so close, just one more … "Barbara!" she cried out, her hips rising one last time remaining lifted off the couch for a long moment, Barbara rising and then falling back down with her, never ceasing her motions.

Placing her hand on the arm of the chair so that she had a firm grasp on it, Barbara pulled herself up the brunette's body slowly kissing and licking her way, enjoying the taste of Helena's sweaty skin, mixed together with her other taste.

She dropped her head onto Helena's shoulder and wrapped her arm around her waist, listening to the brunette's heartbeat as it raced beneath her breast, feeling the rapid rise and fall of her chest as Helena slowly recovered from her orgasm.

"I," Helena said softly, her breathing still a little ragged. "Don't care how obnoxious this Alexa kid is. You better give her a passing grade," she continued a huge smile spreading across her face as Barbara kissed her neck. That had been good, really, really, really good. "Is there any ice-cream left?"

---

Part Twelve

----------------

Two Weeks Later …

Helena raced across the rooftop, her feet barely touching the ground as she sped across the wet gravel. The masked woman was just ahead of her, heading for a …

"Fuck," Helena muttered watching as the woman disappeared through the chimneystack she was heading right for. Immediately, Helena relaxed her legs muscles bending her knees slightly, and then launched herself upwards to land precariously on the edge of the stack. Halting for a moment to try and regain her balance as she swayed, she then jumped cleanly over the other side and began to look around. "Fuck," she muttered again not seeing the woman anywhere. Quickly she made her way to the side of the building and looked down. Success! She was heading down the escape ladder.

Note to self, buy thesaurus for secret lair Barbara said into the transceiver as Helena started down the ladder.

"Fuck off," Helena replied playfully, her eyes all the while looking down to keep the masked woman in her sight.

I'm hurt. Addendum, soap Barbara responded not sounding hurt at all.

Helena made no response, she was too busy swinging to the side of the ladder and dropping down to the ground. The masked woman was near the bottom and Helena landed with just enough time to reach up and grab her before she could jump, yanking her down to the ground.

The woman immediately twisted Helena's arm breaking the brunette's hold on her, before rounding on her bringing her elbow into contact with Helena's jaw. Helena maintained her position despite the blow and surged ramming into the other woman with her shoulder, knocking her off balance. Using her opponents momentarily dazed state, Helena then reached forward, grabbing the masked woman by the shoulders and yanking her downwards burying her knee into the woman's abdomen before knocking her to the side with a well-placed elbow to her right eye. Payback was a bitch.

The woman fell onto the ground, rolling to her side and then onto her back, placing her hands behind her head and flipping back upright into a ready position. She didn't maintain it for long, choosing instead to fake to the right with her arm while kicking out at Helena's shin. Oooh, so it was a dirty fight she wanted. Helena was all over that.

And they danced that savage dance, kicking and punching, ducking and weaving, aiming for flesh and bone, until Helena jumping up into the air kicked the masked woman in her chest with both of her feet, sending her flying against a nearby wall as she landed and approached her. She saw the masked woman struggling to get up, her feet slipping on torn up newspapers and beer cans and other street trash. Helena could smell fear and she moved faster.

But as soon as she smelt it, it was gone and the woman was standing, looking at her calmly. If Helena could've seen her mouth she would've been sure she was smiling. It was fine with her, all the more fun to kick her ass then. She lunged forward.

Helena quickly placed her hand in front of her, her palm coming into contact with the wall right before her face. That could've hurt.

"Fuck!" Helena yelled hitting her hand against the wall before twirling away, kicking at some trash angrily. "She phased out," she continued in a softer voice, clearly addressing Barbara this time.

Were you able to tell what she stole? Barbara asked trying to get Helena to concentrate on something other than her escaped prey. The Huntress didn't like to lose.

"It was small, couldn't tell what it was," Helena replied still kicking at the ground angrily and looking towards the wall like she wanted to rip it apart with her bare hands. She wanted to pick up one of the ugly metal garbage bins that lined and alley and chuck it, and then kick it, and then chuck it again. But she controlled herself. She only chucked the bin the one time.

Come on back Barbara said hearing the commotion on Helena's end and knowing that she was destroying someone's property. I'm sure somebody needs whatever that was

---

Part Thirteen

-----------------

The Next Day …

Dinah stood staring at the large door wide-eyed. No matter how many times she made her way into the Wing Estate she sometimes still couldn't believe it. But before she could trace the intricately carved door with her fingers in wonder, it swung open revealing a tall, dark, regal looking woman. Camilla Wing, Alexa's mother. She was an older version of her daughter in looks, and just as charming, but less mysterious in appearance and character.

Camilla stepped aside and waved Dinah in with a smile.

"Nice to see you again, Ms. Redmond," Camilla said winsomely as Dinah stepped through the door. "I don't think I've seen you since the party," she paused. "You look just as charming fully clothed."

Dinah turned to look at her, her mouth opening and closing though no sound came out.

"Really you looked lovely," the woman continued soothingly seeing Dinah's look. "I sometimes like to be shocking. I should really stop considering how much it bothers me when Alexa does it," she continued shaking her head. "I'm pleased to see you actually," she continued growing graver. It had confused Dinah the night of the party and still now how the woman's eyes would light up at the mention of her daughter, and she could prattle on about Alexa smiling proudly, and then the next minute could look completely drained and tired as if dealing with her daughter exhausted all of her mental and physical resources. "She's been up in her room brooding all day," she went on shaking her head, stopping at the bottom of an elaborate staircase. "Steadily working her way towards a smacked bottom," she finished brightening somewhat.

Dinah smiled at that, then looked at her feet not sure what to say in response.

"Well, I'll let you get to it," Camilla said taking a step back. "I hope you have better luck than I did," she continued starting to turn. "And you can tell her that I said that smacked bottom thing, it'll embarrass her. She's so cute when she blushes," she went on before sweeping off down the hallway.

Dinah knocked on the door to Alexa bedroom, softly at first and then louder. There was no response. Debating momentarily with herself about propriety she then reached for the door knob and opened the door. Alexa was her girlfriend. She didn't need to be proper.

Turning on the light, she immediately spotted Alexa sitting in the corner of her room, nestled into the 'L' formed by the back wall of her room and the left side of it. Closing the door behind her, Dinah quickly crossed the room and crouched down beside Alexa's huddled figure.

She was startled. She'd never Alexa like this. She seemed so small. It wasn't that she was under the allusion that Alexa was perfect or invulnerable, she'd seen the dark haired girls softer, vulnerable side many times, especially since that night in her room – this room – when they'd kissed for the first time. But this was different, she wasn't embarrassed or shy or nervous now, she was broken, scared.

Dinah reached out for her placing her hand on the side of her face trying to turn Alexa's head towards her so that she could see her face.

When she did, her mind was immediately flooded with a rush of blurred, angry, colourless images. She felt pain, and could see balled fists raining down on her, feet kicking out, impacting with soft skin. She felt confusion, and fear and anger. It all made her head hurt.

She blinked rapidly as she came back to herself. Alexa was looking up at her with concern.

"It's not as bad as it looks," Alexa said softly, still staring at Dinah intently.

Dinah exhaled a soft, sad sound seeing Alexa's face for the first time. She bit her bottom lip and carefully brushed the hair back from her face. Her lip had been split and there was a painful looking scab forming on it, there was a large, black bruise of the right side of her face, and her left eye had a nasty looking cut over it and bruise beside it.

"What happened to you?" Dinah asked softly, looking down and noticing that Alexa was also cradling the side of her body. She was hurt more than just on her face. Somebody had beaten the crap out of her.

Alexa made no response, her face turning into Dinah's touch lightly before moving away again, looking at the far corner of the room.

Dinah's face darkened and she immediately looked towards the bedroom door.

"If you're thinking it was an inside job, don't," Alexa said drawing Dinah's attention back towards her. "I'm perfectly capable of making my own trouble," she continued darkly, looking towards her drawn up knees.

"That's not funny," Dinah said softly.

"I wasn't trying to be funny," Alexa responded still looking down.

"What happened?" Dinah asked again. She was hoping to get another flash, maybe see a face or some sign that would give her an indication where it happened, but she wasn't getting anything.

"There was trouble. It found me," Alexa muttered. "I was a bad girl."

"Whatever it was you think you did, you didn't deserve this," Dinah said softly, her hand hovering above one of Alexa's many facial bruises. "You have to tell someone."

"I can't," Alexa replied finally looking up at her. "I'm sorry you had to see this. You're more persistent than my mother," she continued smiling briefly, before wincing. "This," she continued gesturing to her face and body, "happened for a reason. If I tell, people'll wanna know what that reason is," she finished looking back down. "This I don't want."

"Allie," Dinah said gently forcing the girls face back up to look at her. "Alexa," she repeated sternly.

Alexa remained silent.

"Why can't you tell me …" Dinah started again, hurt and fear in her voice. Alexa blinked rapidly, but a few wet drops escaped her eyes nonetheless. She turned her head to the side.

"Will you stay tonight?" Alexa asked finally breaking the silence that had blanketed the room since Dinah last spoke. Her hand traveled to rest on Dinah's thigh.

Dinah looked up at her. The question had caught her by surprise, she didn't know…

"I just don't want to be alone," Alexa said softly, ruefully. "I made my own bed, but I'm scared to sleep in it."

"You won't tell me what happened?" Dinah asked again. She was really feeling like a Barbara at the moment. She placed her hand over Alexa's even though the girl was being an ass. Like Barbara she couldn't help it. She'd found her own emotionally retarded girl, and she was fond of her despite it.

"I can't," Alexa said shaking her head. She withdrew her hand.

Dinah took it back and stroked it softly with her thumb. "I'll stay."

---

Part Fourteen

-----------------

Three Days Later…

Those same guys are here Helena said softly leaning against the railing of the building she was a top and staring across the street. They've multiplied she continued frowning as she counted them. And they brought some large, semi-automatic friends

Barbara sighed and rubbed at her eyes. "Who are these people?" she asked no one in particular. "What's this woman after? And why are they after her?" she continued shaking her head. They'd been keeping an eye on this thief for over six months, and been actively pursuing her for about three now, and they still had no idea what it was she was really after.

She's on the move Helena said not responding to Barbara's mutterings. She knew that the redhead wasn't talking to her, and would probably not have even heard her if she'd responded. Following the leader Helena continued before going radio silent.

"We still don't have any idea who this is?" Dinah asked leaning on the desk beside Barbara, who was leaning heavily against the arm of her chair.

"Diamonds, organic compounds, sheets of polidextrous metal, neurotoxins," Barbara rattled off the list of items the masked woman had been responsible for stealing over the past three months. "Why? Why these things? And why the change in M.O.? Why the deaths? Is she even responsible for them? Who are the soldiers following her?" the redhead continued shaking her head.

"So that's a no on the any idea about anything," Dinah said looking down at her feet. "If I …"

"It's too dangerous," Barbara replied already knowing where Dinah was going. "If you touched her, you might be able to find something out. Or not. It's a coin toss about whether you'd be able to read anything. What's certain is that this woman is trained, has gone up against Helena and gotten away, and has … possibly killed at the blink of an eye for seemingly no reason," Barbara went on. "Which is my long winded way of saying no. A thousand times no."

"Didn't have to say it a thousand times," Dinah commented lightly, glad to see Barbara smirk at the comment.

Meat packing district, great came Helena's voice over the link.

"Everyone still at the party?" Barbara asked.

You know it. She's gone into a packing plant. The big and beefy's are holding stationary outside Helena responded. She sounded anxious.

"Can you …" Barbara started.

No. There's no way for me to get over there without them seeing me. They've formed a perimeter and it's too far away from any building for a jump Helena interjected cutting Barbara off. There's too many of them. I need back up or something she went on. Barbara could hear the sound of her kicking at the pavement through the transceiver.

Barbara was silent for a moment, staring at the monitor as her right hand balled up tightly and her left rapped against the arm of her chair. It would've been so easy if she could've just … she shook her head savagely and sighed deeply. She had to concentrate on coming up with a plan that was actually plausible.

Put an anonymous call into Reese Helena said drawing Barbara out of her thoughts.

Barbara closed her eyes and clenched her jaw.

"Alright, hold tight," Barbara responded motioning for Dinah to secure the phone line.

----------------------------------

Helena watched with a cross between disbelief and horror as the street below her was suddenly flooded with light and noise. NGPD squad cars came wailing from both sides, screeching to a halt around the plant.

It was utter and complete chaos.

The soldier looking guys had already all made it into their jeeps and vans by the time the police cars came to a stop. Some of them then immediately turned around heading out after the black unidentified vehicles speeding away from the scene. Maybe they would catch some of them. More likely they would get close and die.

Others were jumping out of the standard police vehicles and heading towards the building, flanking around the sides. They wouldn't find anything. The woman would be long gone. There was no way she couldn't be with all of the commotion.

Helena looked over the edge.

"Wha…" Reese managed to get out before a hand was clamped over his mouth and he was lifted off of his feet. He began to struggle, but then looked down and realized it would do him more harm than good if he were to actually be let go. Besides, as the initial panic started to fade, he became aware of the fact that it was a female body holding him, and he knew that he was in good, if mysterious and broody hands.

"What the hell is that?" Helena asked dumping Reese onto the floor of a fourth story room. She was at the window they'd just come through looking out into the alleyway. She could see the main street still lit up and didn't need supersenses to hear the people moving about out there.

"Backup," Reese responded standing up and straightening his tie. "Thanks for the lift by the way," he added a bit bitchily glaring at her.

"I asked for you …NOT the cavalry," Helena responded turning around to face him, her arms folded across her chest. "That," she continued angrily. "Could've woken the dead. Probably did. Some corpses are probably walking around all soggy and disgruntled after having their nap with the fishes interrupted."

"Listen," Reese started. "I'm sorry alright, this isn't what I had planned on," he continued in an apologetic tone. "McNally was with him when your persons call came in. He wouldn't let me go without some sort of information. He's a funny guy that way. I told him an anonymous tip came in about the robberies, he called in the cavalry. It's a high profile case now, he wanted the t's crossed and the I's dotted," Reese went on shrugging. He didn't look very happy with the way things had turned out himself. "I'm sorry. Truthfully, I didn't think it would be so bad. I thought that maybe they'd been trained to make a sneak attack … you know, sneaky."

Helena looked over at him, her stance loosening slightly. She didn't know what she expected. He wasn't like them. He had rules to follow and people to answer to. He did his best, it was just that most of the time he had to do it was both hands tied behind his back.

"Yeah," she breathed out dropping her hands to her sides. "Listen, I'm sorry. I asked for help, you tried to give it. Sometimes shit happens," she continued gesturing helplessly. "You should probably get back out there."

Reese turned his head to the side his eyes closing momentarily. He could hear them even from a building across the street. He knew this wasn't the gesture that would allow him to worm his way into her heart.

"Yeah, I …" he started to say looking back over to where Helena had been standing.

She was gone.

---

Part Fifteen

---------------

Barbara ran her fingers along the transponder slowly, her eyes focused on the smooth blend and metal and plastic at allowed her to think and therefore move. A further adaptation of the device had been hanging over her mind heavily during the past few months. Becoming an almost obsessive concern of hers. The need to … but she couldn't figure it out. She'd sat at the desk many times before like was currently, and started at the device itself, at the schematics, and her original calculations and theoretical propositions, but they led her nowhere. The technology had been adapted as much as it could. If she was going to get it to work for her body and not the chair she had to pursue another avenue, there had to be another …

She looked up sharply. Helena was back. Quickly she replaced the transponder in its drawer and cleared the screen of the schematics that had been on it.

She waited.

"I could kill him," Helena declared as she walked onto the main part of the workstation. She'd had time to get herself worked back up on the way to the clock tower. "Slowly, and elaborately. Something involving wires or maybe droplets of water, lot's of tiny little ones," she continued coming to rest against the edge of the desk just to the left of Barbara. "The ass-monkey brought an entire squad of cars down. It was fucking chaos," she continued shaking her head.

Barbara nodded but said nothing. She wasn't even looking at Helena.

"Hey," Helena said placing her hand on Barbara's knee. The redhead blinked and focused on her for the first time since she had come in. "Are you okay?" Helena asked seeing Barbara looking at her now. She brushed a strand of hair behind Barbara's eyes and waited for a response.

"It's nothing," Barbara said softly, leaning into Helena's touch, her eyes closing. She felt Helena shift closer to her, and then the brunette's lips were brushing against hers softly. She sighed and let her head drop onto Helena's shoulder.

"I think it's bedtime," Helena said softly into Barbara's hair, smiling. She let her hands drift around to Barbara's waist and then behind her preparing to lift her up.

Barbara's hands came onto hers stopping her.

"You go ahead, I've still got some work to do," Barbara said softly, removing Helena's arms from around her waist. She was being too sensitive, she knew it she just couldn't help it. She wanted to bolt at what Helena's touch suggested … she would've if it were still possible for her to bolt. But then again, if that were the case, it wouldn't have been a problem.

"It can wait until morning," Helena said moving around behind Barbara, preparing to push her into the bedroom. "Whoever this lady is, she's probably sleeping. Like any normal person would be at this hour."

Barbara braced her hand on the edge of the desk, halting any movement of the chair Helena could've made.

"I'm not tired," she said, her voice a little tight as she closed her eyes and sighed.

Helena stepped back, and then moved around so that she was in front of Barbara once more. She tilted her head to the side trying to catch the redhead's eyes. Barbara avoided her gaze.

"Fine," Helena said finally after moments of uncomfortable silence. She stood up and turned heading towards the door.

"Where're you going?" Barbara asked seeing Helena heading towards the exit.

"Home," Helena responded turning around to face her. There was something going on with Barbara, something had been going on with her for a while. But Barbara wouldn't tell her what it was, wouldn't let her in. She was getting tired of it. She was tired of it. It hurt her, and she got defensive when she got hurt. She knew if she stayed and Barbara continued with the stoic routine that she'd stay something she'd regret like she had so many times in the past. But after she spoke, she stood there waiting, for something, anything from Barbara that would indicate the redhead wanted her to stay, that would say that she was overreacting and everything was fine.

Barbara stared at her for a moment and then looked away regretfully.

Helena clenched her jaw ran a savage hand through her hair then stalked towards the door leaving without another word.

Barbara sat silently staring at the blank screen in front of her.

---

Part Sixteen

---------------

The Next Day …

"You're upset," Harley said as she watched Helena shift on the couch yet again. The woman had been doing nothing but shifting and sighing and glaring since she'd showed up. She hadn't seen Helena like that for quite some time, hadn't seen that barely restrained fire glowing in her eyes threatening to erupt at any moment. She'd missed it.

"Very astute," Helena responded looking over at Quinzel sharply.

"Do you want to tell me why, or should we continue to stew in silence?" Harley asked cocking at eyebrow at Helena. She'd found that sarcasm worked well with the brunette. It was something she understood and she was bright enough to figure out what it was directed at when she used it.

"It's Barbara," Helena said wearily, leaning back against the chair, tiredly now that she had gotten around to talking about what was bothering her. "She's keeping something from me. She's distant and moody, and she won't … let me in," Helena continued. She realized the irony of her talking about someone not letting her in. She wasn't amused by it.

"When you say, let you in. Do you mean emotionally or …" Harley asked letting the sentence hang.

"Emotionally," Helena replied looking over at her dubiously. "Sex isn't the problem," she continued feeling the need to mention that for some reason.

"In adult relationships it usually tends to be part of it," Harley responded, her voice light and conversational.

Helena was quiet for a moment, lost in thought. "The … when we're together … intimately it's great," she said finally, haltingly. Still thinking. She was frowning by the time she finished.

"That's what it looks like," Harley commented looking at Helena pointedly. The brunette smirked slightly then went back to brooding.

"The sex is mind-blowing, it's just that … I mean I guess your right. It's there too. The distance. She won't …" Helena started pausing, trailing off into her mind again.

"She won't what?" Harley asked trying no to sound as interested as she actually was. Helena came across as the kinky type.

"She won't give in completely," Helena said sighing. Harley had to stop from sighing herself. She thought it was going to be something interesting and dark, not more talk about emotions. Helena had gotten extremely boring since this Gordon woman had domesticated her.

"It's like there's this barrier but I can't see it. I don't know. It's gotten worse, in general I mean. Last night, she just wouldn't even …" Helena continued rubbing at her eyes. Her fingers came away a little wet. She took a deep breath. "It feels like she's fucking punishing me for something!"

"Like it's retribution for you having taken so long to figure out how you felt about her?" Harley asked quietly. "You feel like she's trying to give you a taste of your own emotionally distant medicine … or something to that effect," she continued, smiling to herself upon seeing Helena look at her sharply.

"I didn't mean that, she knows I was just … scared," Helena responded not even liking to say it now. "I just didn't know … she wouldn't …" she finished tugging at her hair before letting her hand drop into her lap and shifting on the couch again.

"So maybe you feel like she doesn't trust you, then?" Harley asked softly, looking directly at Helena. "She can't hand you her heart because she doesn't know what you'll do with it."

Helena looked up at her at that, and then looked to the side. She bit at her bottom lip and rubbed her thumb and index finger together savagely for a moment before turning back to look at the doctor.

"Maybe …" she said, looking like she was going to say more but instead lapsing back into silence. She dropped her head into her hands and sighed.

Harley leaned back in her chair and tipped her head to the side to look out the window.

---

Part Seventeen

-------------------

Alexa threw the newspaper down onto the ground savagely and then wiped at her eyes. She felt like crying. Everything was so bloody wrong. She didn't understand what was going on. No, that wasn't true. She understood what was happening, she was being screwed, she just didn't understand why. It was all so … she was giving serious thought to crying.

"Hiding again?" Dinah asked wrapping her arms around Alexa's waist and resting her chin on her shoulder. They were practically the same height, which made it perfect for chin/shoulder resting. She inhaled deeply. She loved the way the girl smelled.

"Catching up on my reading," Alexa muttered, kicking at the newspaper at her feet before leaning back into the warmth of Dinah's body. She sighed and turned around in the blonde's arm. She didn't feel like crying anymore. She brought her hand up to rest against Dinah's cheek, then leaned in and brushed her lips against Dinah's softly, and then more passionately.

"We're in the library," Dinah breathed out softly when Alexa leaned back again.

"Behind many rows of big book stacks. We could strip naked and do a jig and nobody would know," Alexa responded smiling. "Not that I'm suggesting we actually do that. The jig part anyway," she continued, her smile growing as Dinah slapped her lightly on the arm and then leaned in kissing her.

"Semi-casual? Casual? Or blindly threw clothes on the bed and decided to wear them?" Dinah asked a moment later.

Alexa sighed.

Dinah stepped back from her.

"I can't. Tonight," Alexa said seeing the look on the blonde's face and knowing that she was displeased. She would've done anything to wipe that look off of her face. She'd promised herself she'd spend her days making Dinah smile, but lately all she seemed to be doing was devastating the girl.

"Why?" Dinah asked. She wanted to yell at the brunette or hit her. Maybe throw a few really thick books at her. She was on the cusp of spazing. Alexa was infuriating. She'd been doing this for weeks now. Brooding one moment, smiling the next. Playful and loving one day, withdrawn the next. She wasn't finding her girlfriends mystery all that alluring anymore, and she momentarily wondered what was wrong with her that she had to go for the bad girls.

"I've got some stuff to take care of, I need to sort a few things out. That's all," Alexa said reaching out to take Dinah's hand. The blonde removed it from her grasp immediately.

"Are you a drug dealer?" Dinah asked perfectly serious.

"No," Alexa responded. Her immediate instinct had been to laugh, but she realized that Dinah was asking the question seriously – and that really, she had reason to do so. "I swear I'm not a drug dealer. It's just …"

"It's just what?" Dinah asked a little impatiently. They'd been having this same conversation on and off for weeks, since she'd found Alexa beaten in her bedroom. "You've been saying it's going to be fine, and sure you haven't been beaten to within an inch of your life again … yet. But this problem, it's not going away. What are you waiting for? To be pushed off a building next time?"

"There's no need to be so melodramatic," Alexa replied frowning a little. "This isn't the Soprano's," she continued. "It really will be over soon. I think."

Dinah looked at her for a moment. Into those beautiful brown eyes, at her golden skin, and wavy, charming disheveled hair. At her lips, full, red lips curved up slightly, hopefully. The girl was truly a breath-taking sight.

Dinah turned and headed back towards the main part of the library. She heard Alexa call her name, but didn't turn around. She couldn't, or else she would give in. And she couldn't afford to do that. The fact was she liked Alexa. A lot. More than liked, or really, really liked if she were going to be completely honest with herself. Was maybe even moving towards that other 'L' word. But she didn't know her. She knew her, but only what Alexa was willing to tell her, and she got the distinct impression that the girl's omissions were considerable, and important. And maybe she had gone along with it for so long because she knew that she too was hiding something, not being completely truthful. But that was different. She wasn't getting beat up in dark alleys over things she couldn't tell the police. Well, she was, but that was for a higher purpose. She wanted so badly to just ignore whatever was going on, because in Alexa's arms everything was … but she wasn't going to be one of those girls. She wasn't going to be blinded by love, or lust, or extreme like or whatever it was. She couldn't turn a blind eye. She'd been hurt by the people that were supposed to love her before. Then she had been too young, and confused, and scared to do anything about it, she'd thought that if she could change the world would change too. She knew better now, and she wasn't going to walk into that kind of hurt again.

Besides, Alexa was into something, something serious, and no matter how much she liked her, she couldn't ignore it anymore. She was dedicating her life to dealing with serious something's. 'This is the job. Right here' she thought to herself, even though it was Barbara's voice she heard in her head. 'This is the job'.

She squeezed her eyes closed as her heart constricted. She had to think, come up with a plan. Figure out what she was going to do about the situation. But, that would have to wait until she could breath again, for the moment she just had to continue walking away.

---

Part Eighteen

-----------------

The Next Night …

I need something to distract me from the boredom Helena said into the transceiver as she leaned against the alley wall opposite the building the masked lady had just gone into. She had seen her by chance on a random sweep and was waiting for her to come out of the building so that they could get down to business. She didn't plan on losing her this time. She was tired of playing, she wanted to get this case over with she had more pressing matters to attend to. What're you wearing?

"Huntress," Barbara said in what was supposed to be a warning tone, though the smile she wore could be heard in her voice. The truth was she was rather revealed to hear from Helena, to have the woman joking with her, at least for the moment. She'd only seen her for a few minutes before she'd left to sweep, and she'd been radio silent the whole time she was out until this point. Barbara knew that Helena was upset, and she knew that she had a reason to be, she just hoped the brunette would give her some time, like she'd given Helena, and it seemed like she might be.

You're right, I saw you before I left. I know what you're wearing Helena responded, a small smile working its way across her face. How about you slowly take it off while describing it to me?

"Okay," Barbara responded leaning back in her chair. She'd located Helena on GPS and was monitoring the activity around her area. The masked woman didn't seem to have her entourage with her. Helena was relatively alone except for an alley cat or two.

Really? Helena asked rather pleased to hear Barbara in something that resembled a good mood.

"I'm reaching for the bottom of my shirt and pulling it up slowly," Barbara replied, as her hands few over the keyboard as she hacked into the NGPD network she wanted to catch any alarms that might be sent there way and divert them before the police could be alerted. She had nothing against the NGPD, they'd just screwed things up spectacularly last night and she preferred to avoid that happening again. "I'm taking it off and flinging it across the room with careless abandon now," she continued, her eyes drifting to a screen to the left where Helena's bio reading was. There was something calming about seeing her heart beating strong and steady.

I can hear you typing Helena grumbled into her transceiver.

Barbara smiled.

Well don't stop Helena continued a moment later. It was still working for her.

Barbara smiled again. "I'm looking down. Oooh, it's cold in here," she responded.

You're evil. Don't ever change Helena replied though even as the words left her mouth she straightened up slightly. She's out Helena said into the transceiver as she moved behind a large garbage container out of sight. The woman was coming her way.

Helena stepped out of the shadows as the woman ran past her. She coughed loudly. The woman stopped and turned around.

"You again?" the woman said. Her voice was strong and smooth. Helena was going to enjoy braining her. "What's the point? You know you can't touch me."

"I was in the area. Just wanted to say hi," Helena responded folding her hands behind her back. She started to whistle. "Hi," she said when the woman remained standing still staring at her.

"Well, this has been very entertaining, thanks for the tune," the woman said. And with that she turned around and started off back down the alley, no doubt expecting Helena to follow.

Helena didn't.

Instead she removed a batarang from under her jacket where her hands had been resting comfortably and flung it at the woman, catching her on the back of the neck. She went down like a sack of potatoes and Helena smoothly caught the returning batarang as she slowly walked down the alleyway.

She was still whistling.

"What's the point?" Helena muttered bending down to pick up the limp figure. "You know you can't catch me," she continued mockingly as she threw the woman over her shoulder. "Pompadour's not so fluffy now is it?" she said slapping the prone woman's back.

There was nothing quite like a job well done.

---

Part Twenty

----------------

"Can I do it?" Helena asked as Barbara approached the masked woman's body with a syringe. Barbara looked up at her. Helena generally liked to stay away from needles. "I just want to stab her with something," the brunette replied to Barbara's look. The redhead smiled and proceeded to roll up the woman's sleeve. Helena guessed that was a no.

"Alright," Barbara said removing the needle from the woman's arm. That dosage she was given would keep her out for an hour or so. "Let's see what we've got here," she continued reaching for the mask.

Helena and Dinah came up closer behind her. It was nice to have family activities.

"Oh my god," Barbara said softly, the mask falling onto the floor silently as they all looked upon the serene features of the female on the couch.

Dinah took a step back, from Barbara and the body. She was staring at it open mouth, her eyes wide.

Helena looked between the two of them. She didn't get it.

"What? I don't get it," Helena said still looking at the body. "Do we know her?"

Barbara opened her mouth to respond, but the voice that answered her wasn't Barbara's.

"Alexa," Dinah said softly, approaching the girl on the couch once again now that some of the shock had worn off. "Alexa Wing," she said again, her voice a little hard and a little distant. She'd never thought, not in a million years that this was what Alexa had been up.

"I thought you said she was lazy?" Helena asked looking over at Barbara. Girl seemed to be quite the go-getter as far as Helena could see.

"Dinah," Barbara said ignoring Helena for the moment. Dinah was looking alarmingly pale and seemed to be shaking a bit. She knew that she had gotten close to Alexa; especially over the past couple months. She had her own ideas about just how close they had gotten after seeing them interact on a daily basis at school, but Dinah had never said anything about it. Either way, it had to be quite a shock for her to see Alexa lying there.

"It explains a lot," Dinah said softly, she was speaking to herself. How could she not have seen it? How could she have … "She's …" she started to say looking over at Barbara with a lost, desperate expression on her face. "She's not a … she wouldn't kill … she …" she finished trailing off.

She needed to sit down.

--------------------------------------------------

Alexa gasped, sucking in a huge breath. Her head was killing her, and her chest felt heavy, like someone was sitting on it. She tried to sit up. She couldn't. She looked down to see what was stopping her. If someone really was sitting on her they were gonna get an ear full. She couldn't see anything. Why was her head hurting her?

"Oh god, I'm blind," she croaked out hoarsely. Great, she could add her voice to the list of things that seemed to be broken on her.

She was cushioned though, she noticed suddenly. Fuck.

"You can stop struggling, you won't be able to break free," Barbara said calmly. Her voice low and steady, it was the voice of authority. "Unless you want to try phasing. But I wouldn't suggest it. The drugs in your system might not agree with the rephrasing process. Although it could be a rather freeing experience," she continued as Alexa lay her head back down on the pillow and turned her head towards the sound of Barbara's voice. "Good. I can see you're listening."

Alexa turned her head to the other side.

Barbara looked over at Helena and rolled her eyes.

"Listen closely. We know what you've stolen, and where you've stolen it from. What we don't know is why. That's what you're going to tell us. You're going to tell us, because if you don't you're going to end up in a special place for very bad girls. It's a place so bad they don't even tell stories about it to little children to keep them in line," Barbara continued. "You see, officially metahumans don't exist. They're tabloid stories or bad science fiction. But we know differently. And so does the government, even if they won't admit it. They have a special place for metahuman criminals. It's called 'The Slab'. It's a bad place, and you're going to end up there if you don't tell us what we need to know. Murderers…"

"Murderers?" Alexa said, hoarse and alarmed. "You can just pause your overly dramatic oratory right there. I'm NOT a murderer!" she continued turning her face back towards Barbara.

"Bet you're not a thief either?" Helena piped up. Alexa turned her head towards Helena.

"No, I'm a thief. You can tell because of the thieving and such. As for the murderin' I don't think so," she said. "Thanks for the cracked skull by the way."

Helena glared down at her, her eyes narrowing. The girl had a smart mouth. A pretty mouth, but a smart one. She wanted to shut it.

"I don't think she gets that she's our prisoner," Helena said turning to face Barbara. "What with the mouthing off and everything. I think we should show her what kind of dangerous people she's gone and pissed off. She'll still be able to talk without a few teeth right?"

"You must be the renegade of the group," Alexa responded. "What's your tattoo of?"

"Huntress," Barbara said warningly as Helena stepped towards Alexa looking to do some hurting. "She's trying to provoke you."

"It's working," Helena responded though she stopped struggling against Barbara's hand and took a step back.

"And now we know who the pants wearer is," Alexa chirped up once the exchange ended. "Not surprising. She is a formidable lady," she continued her voice slowing with what sound like genuine respect. "Aren't you Ms. Gordon?"

"Who is this Gordon person you speak of?" Barbara asked looking over at Helena. "I know no Gordon," she continued glaring at Helena as the brunette snickered beside her.

"You've only been talking at, yelling at, and lecturing me for months at end. No, I wouldn't recognize your voice," Alexa replied rolling her eyes though nobody could see.

Barbara was still and silent for a moment, and then she reached forward and removed the blindfold.

"You can take off the restraints, I'm not dangerous. Unless you're worried about your virtue," Alexa said looking up into Barbara's face once the blindfold was removed. She continued to look at Barbara as the redhead leaned over her and loosened the restraints.

Making sure that her movements were slow and non-threatening Alexa carefully sat up, her right hand moving in front of her face. She split her middle and index finger into a 'v' and brought them up in front of her face, closing her left eye as she continued to stare at Barbara.

She smiled. "Batgirl," she whispered happily.

"You're a telepath as well?" Barbara asked looking at her slightly alarmed.

"No. I'm smart and well-read," Alexa responded smirking at her teacher. She was feeling rather pleased with herself truth be told. It taken her weeks to locate a dimly lit and distant shot of Batman and Batgirl in an old copy of an obscure German magazine. And it had taken her even longer to get the image cleaned up and enlarged. She'd felt a jolt when she'd first gotten a look at the photo of the girl, but she hadn't been able to place it. At least it explained what had happened to one of them.

"You're also irritating and in danger of an ass whopping," Helena responded glaring at her.

"How?" Barbara asked drawing Alexa's attention back to her.

"Newspaper clippings, tabloid photographs. Research. More interesting than math," came the response. But it wasn't from Alexa.

Dinah slowly crossed the floor of the loft to come to stand between Helena and Barbara. She'd been watching the proceeding from the second floor. She'd had to leave after the mask was taken off, she'd needed some time alone, to think. She'd thought.

"Dinah," Alexa breathed out. She should've known that Dinah would be there, she lived with Barbara after all, but she hadn't given a thought to it since waking up. She wondered just how hard the surly one had hit her. She started to stand only to be roughly pushed back down by the brawn.

"Why?" Dinah asked. It came out chocked, and that made her mad. She didn't want to sound weak, even if that's how she was feeling.

"Our neighbor told us this story about costumed …" Alexa started.

"Not that," Dinah interjected impatiently. "Why any of it? Why were you stealing? You're rich!" she continued incredulously.

Alexa was silent for a moment. She looked down into her lap. "I wanted to see if I could," she muttered a moment later. Her voice barely audible. "I was bored."

"You were bored?" Dinah asked chuckling darkly before simply staring at Alexa disbelievingly. After a long moment she looked away from the raven-haired girl. "People died."

"I didn't do that!" Alexa said sharply, looking up at Dinah. "I don't … I don't know what's going on with that shit," she said looking over Barbara.

"Start from the beginning, tell us what happened," Barbara said calmly. Tensions were high in the room, she had to try and establish some sort of order. Helena was looking at the kid like she wanted to push her again.

"I didn't…" Alexa started.

"From the beginning," Barbara repeated.

"Alright," Alexa taking a deep breathe, her gaze momentarily flickering over to Dinah. "It's like this. We moved to New Gotham in the summer right. No school. Too late to sign up for camp, or baseball, or soccer or anything. I don't know anyone and I've got nothing to do. I'm watching the news and this ass jockey comes on taking about how he's invented a foolproof security system. Nobody can break in. Well, I know it wasn't a personal challenge to me, but I didn't have anything better to do so I took it as one. Just to see if I could do it. Like free-diving, and extreme skiing. It's just another sport," she continued ignoring Helena as she rolled her eyes. "So I go to the company this trial system is being tested on, and I break it. It's pretty easy; spray painted 'somebody broke in' on the wall and got out. It wasn't perfect though I set off some alarms. So now it really is a challenge."

"The first five robberies, were practice," Barbara said.

"Practice yeah, but not in the way you're thinking. I wasn't practicing for anything. I was just trying to …"

"Be perfect," Barbara supplied.

"Yeah," Alexa said. "I'd break in and take something like a stapler or a happy face mug, it was getting in and out with tripping alarms or getting caught that I was after. Not anything … material."

"Guess we should just give you metal then," Helena commented dryly.

"It'd mean a lot coming from an upstanding citizen like yourself," Alexa replied meeting Helena's gaze as she rubbed the back of her neck. "Anyway," she continued turning back to Barbara. "This one job, I get in and I see these drawings on the table. So I take one, fold it up and get out. This is when it gets fucked up."

"Gets?" Dinah muttered.

"Dinah," Alexa started desperately.

"Focus," Barbara told her. She sighed and turned back to Barbara.

"I get home and decide to take a look at the drawing. I find out that it's not so much as drawing. It's a schematic. The last job, the one where I got the schematic, it was perfect. No alarms, no guards, no nothing until the guy noticed it was gone the next day. So I found a new hobby. The schematic," she continued getting a little excited. "I didn't know, still don't, what it's designed to do. But I decided to build it. The first job I pulled for the schematic went fine, and the second went well as far as I could tell too. Only the next morning I found out somebody had died."

"Elizabeth Keller," Barbara said.

"I didn't do it. I never even saw anyone. I don't get seen. I was in and I was out," Alexa said. "I figured it was some sort of freaky coincidence. You never know. It's a strange world. So I get on with the getting on. Another death. It's getting really weird now. I'm thinking maybe I'm dealing with the mob or something. Those people drop like flies you know. So next job I hang around after. These militia-looking freaks show up. Another death. I'm being set up," Alexa continued throwing her hands up in the air in a 'what's this world coming to' kind of gesture. It was somewhat amusing. "So I figure … well I didn't' figure anything. I had no idea what was going on. But this thing that I was trying to build, I'm thinking that it's my insurance you know. If I can figure out what it is, I'll have leverage. But to figure out what it is …"

"You had to finish building it," Barbara supplied.

"Exactly. Well, that was the theory anyway," Alexa responded. "This was the last thing I needed," she went on reaching into her vest and pulling out a tube with some sort of needle inside.

"So?" Helena asked shifting her weight.

"So?" Alexa asked looking at her. "Somebody hit me over the fucking head with a boomerang before I could actually, you know. Build it," she finished rather bitchily as she rubbed at her neck again.

Helena smiled.

"And you have no idea who's after the schematics?" Barbara asked.

"Freaky militia guys, that's about it," Alexa responded sighing. She was looking at Dinah again. "Dinah," she started.

Dinah turned her back, she was feeling very tired. She wanted to lie down and sleep for a year or two. She'd gotten a huge shock. Sure at least it wasn't drugs, but was stealing for fun really any better? She needed some time to think.

"Dinah," Alexa said more forcefully moving off the couch for the first time, surging towards the blonde. She'd seen the look in her eyes. She knew what Dinah was thinking. She wasn't a bad person really. She just lacked common sense and impulse control. Foresight too, she wasn't too close with the foresight. But she could change she wanted to change. If people hadn't been dropping like flies, she would've stopped. She'd been so bored with everything and everyone; she'd needed a distraction. But then she'd met Dinah and suddenly the world had seemed like a much more interesting place. She didn't need a distraction anymore. But she'd had to keep on doing it.

Alexa fell to the ground, her hand immediately coming up to her eye. She was bleeding. She'd been hit.

"That was the good one," she muttered, staggering to her feet. She took a step toward Helena, who grabbed her immediately pushing her back down onto the ground, her hands gripping the material of her shirt tightly.

"Helena!" Dinah yelled, seeing Alexa bleeding from the head. She might not have been sure what she wanted but it wasn't this.

"Helena," Barbara said joining Dinah.

It had no visible effect. Helena continued to hold Alexa just off the ground, glaring at her with cat-like eyes. Nobody fucked with her family, especially in their own clock tower. Mouthing off was one thing, but when she had heard the girl's tone, and seen her sudden movement towards Dinah, Helena reacted like she always did. Violently.

"Helena," Dinah said reaching out to grab the older woman, jerking back just in time to avoid an elbow to her skull. She rounded on Helena, staring at her hard.

Helena was flung backwards, coming to a skidding stop on the floor a few meters away from where Alexa lay blinking as blood tickled into her eye.

"Are you okay?" Dinah asked moving to kneel beside Alexa who stared up at her rather dumbly.

"You … you threw her with the power of your mind," Alexa said still blinking rapidly. "You're … that's so cool," she continued struggling into a sitting position, before looking over at Dinah smiling. Smiling, smirking, then practically leering. She licked her lips.

"What?" Dinah asked not able to help smiling back. Suddenly she was a girlfriend again. Funny how mortal danger could do that.

"I'd say, especially given the lesson I've recently learned about trust, and sharing, and recycling," Alexa responded still smiling. "But if I were to say, I'm pretty sure one of your two mommies would try and hurt me. Ya know," she finished wiggling her eyebrows before wincing.

"Wait, wait, wait, wait," Helena said putting up her hand realizing that the two girls were more than friends. "So you mean you weren't joking about not wanting a piece of the H-Train anymore?" she asked looking at Dinah. She sounded a bit hurt.

Dinah looked up at her and rolled her eyes.

Helena looked over at Barbara who was smirking at her. "They grow up so fast," Helena muttered before smiling down at Barbara as the redhead took her hand, looking up at the brunette with an expression that told Helena, Barbara would always want a piece of the H-Train.

Helena smiled at Barbara sweetly. Oh, love sweet love.

"I could comment on how your legs go all the way up if it'll make you feel better," Alexa said smiling at Helena. Then stopping. Her eye really hurt.

"Why would that make me feel better?" Helena asked glaring at the girl. She ruined their moment.

"Cause it's sexual innuendo," Alexa responded leaning into Dinah as the blonde helped her into a standing position. These head injuries were gonna catch up with her she was sure of it. Maybe they already had and that's why she kept on talking to the mean one like she didn't care.

"No it's not," Helena replied.

"Is," Alexa replied meeting Helena's gaze. Now she was just being stubborn. This was one of things she should be trying to control.

"How?" Helena asked rather smugly.

"Because of where they go all the way up to," Alexa replied smirking, before licking her lips as she stared at Helena.

Helena smiled and looked over towards Barbara who was glaring at the girl. Maybe she'd judged her too harshly. The kid wasn't that bad.

"I like this kid," Helena commented smiling. Barbara looked over at her and she stopped.

"You're not allowed to sleep over at her house anymore," Barbara said to Dinah who was looking at Alexa affectionately.

"Are you sure you shouldn't consult the Mrs. about that?" Alexa asked looking between Barbara and Helena smirking. She noticed the previous exchange between the women. She thought it was kinda cute. Superheroes in love and all that. She wanted to be cute like that with Dinah.

"I know what she's getting at," Helena replied. "And she's right. There's nothing wrong with more quality time," she continued remembering how they'd spent previous Dinah-less nights. The kitchen, the dining room, the couch … and there was still the balcony, the desk, the … "Besides, they've probably already done it," she finished seeing Barbara looking up at her expectantly.

Barbara looked over at Alexa sharply at that. Truthfully, Alexa was more than a little like Helena and if Helena thought that …

"You mean outside of my head?" Alexa asked thoughtfully before smiling. A smile that was wiped clear off her face after Dinah hit her in the arm. She looked down at her feet. Barbara was still glaring at her, and she now knew who the pants wearer in her own relationship was.

"I like this kid," Helena commented again.

"Alexa," Barbara said, drawing the girls' attention back to her. They'd gotten sidetracked there were still important things to discuss. "I need to look at those schematics. There's always the chance that whoever's been following you has a copy of them, and if that's the case they could be trying to build this thing, whatever it is. If they've been everywhere you have they could've assembled their own collection …"

"They weren't there tonight," Helena pointed out.

"There were two manufacturer's for what I got tonight. A big one and a small one. I figured they'd stake out the small one thinking I'd be trying to keep a low profile, so I hit the big one," Alexa responded. "Or maybe they went out drinking. I don't know."

Barbara nodded. "Alright. There's nothing more we can do tonight. I want you to bring the plans with you tomorrow. Then we'll figure out what to do."

"Do I get an honorary deputy badge …and not a time to be joking," Alexa said seeing the look Barbara shot her. "Sorry."

"Helena will make sure you get home safely," Barbara said looking at the girl. It wasn't a suggestion.

"Can I knock her out again?" Helena asked bouncing on her feet lightly.

"Hey, I thought you liked me now," Alexa said looking over at Helena frowning.

"I liked hitting you more," Helena said slapping a batarang against her palm as she eyed the girl.

"Kinky," Alexa commented smiling, looking over at Barbara who glared at her. "And still not a time for the jokes. Got it. Ixnay on the okes jay," she continued shooting Barbara a thumbs up.

"You can knock her out," Barbara said turning to face Helena, who immediately reached out for the younger girl.

Having advanced warning this time, Alexa immediately went intangible, causing Helena to stumble forward through her, nearly causing the brunette to lose her balance. It was okay though, the dance routine she had to do to remain upright was funny enough in it's own right.

"That was neat right?" Alexa said turning towards Dinah once she reformed.

"You're so cute," Dinah said kissing her on the cheek. "I'm still mad at you."

---

Part Twenty-One

---------------------

The Next Day …

"So," Alexa started as the blindfold was pulled off her of her face. "If I come over for dinner can I expect the same wonderful treatment," she continued smoothing down her hair and then rubbing at her arm.

"Does she ever shut up?" Helena asked looking over at Barbara. "I swear to god I was five minutes away from hearing about mommies fudge squares or something. I feel like poking out my own eardrums. We have q-tips right?"

"They're very good fudge squares," Alexa muttered looking around her for a head of blonde hair. "Hey," she said spotting Dinah. The last time she'd spoken to the girl was before Helena had unceremoniously put a bag over her head the night before when bringing her home. Dinah had studiously avoided her the entire day at school.

"Hey," Dinah said walking over to the three of them, but still stopping a bit away from Alexa. "Are these the plans?" she asked looking down at the papers Barbara was spreading over the workstation.

"Yeah," Barbara said her voice already distracted as she leaned over the blueprint scanning it. "I'm going to need a while to look over it before I can tell you what it's suppose to do though," she went on, surveying the stolen items Alexa had handed her earlier.

"I'm gonna get something to eat," Helena said. She'd glanced at the plans and decided to leave Barbara too it.

"There's a surprise," Dinah muttered under her breath. She swore all Helena did was eat, sleep, beat people up, and have sex. That seemed to be the way the brunette liked it, and really she couldn't point out the bad.

"Can we talk?" Alexa said drawing Dinah's attention over to her. "I know I have some 'splaining to do," she continued once Dinah's eyes were on her. "Some ass kissing to get on with."

"No ass kissing," Barbara said pointing in Alexa's direction though she was still looking at the blueprints.

"So you're kind of a negative libertarian, huh?" Alexa asked Barbara, who smirked but didn't respond.

"Come on," Dinah said taking Alexa's hand. "We'll talk, and not even think about ass kissing."

"Thank you," Barbara called out as the two girls walked away.

"Can I talk about ass kissing?" Helena asked walking back over to Barbara with a package of salted crackers in her hand.

"That'd be rather hypocritical of me," Barbara commented lightly, still staring at the blueprints. She was starting to get a handle on it. "Go ahead," she continued smiling.

Helena laughed and kissed her on the cheek.

"I'm gonna rot my brain some," she said flipping down onto the couch and picking up the remote. There was nothing quite like mid-afternoon television programs.

----------------------------------------------

"I'm not a bad kid," Alexa said pacing at the foot of Dinah's bed as the blonde sat on the edge of it looking at her. She was waiting to be impressed. "I'm just a girl that did a bad thing. Really, I'm not a criminal, I just …"

"Have criminal tendencies?" Dinah asked.

"Had," Alexa corrected. "I'm over that trust me," she said looking over at Dinah. She paused a moment then walked over and sat beside the girl. "Don't be mad," she said once seated, her eyes on her hands which were folded in her lap.

"I feel like I don't know you anymore," Dinah said looking over at her. Thinking about she realized that she probably hadn't ever known the girl as well as she thought she had, and that was part of the allure. The thing was, what she hadn't known about Alexa she had filled in with her own imagining, half in love with the real girl and half in love with her perception of her. Now, her imaginings were stripped away and she was left with theses intense feelings for someone she didn't completely understand.

"You do," Alexa responded. "Parts. There are a lot of parts to a whole. It takes time to get to know them all," she continued tentatively reaching over to take Dinah's hand into hers. "There are a lot of things I don't know about you either," she went on looking up into Dinah's eyes. "I mean you're part of some sort of elite crime-fighting unit. It … I mean, what's up with that?" she asked her voice rising slightly. She looked confused, but not particularly alarmed. "I mean I'm not trying to confuse the issue here. I was immature, and stupid and many over things that I can't think about at the moment. I shouldn't have done it, and I'm sorry that I did. But that, the thieving and everything, it isn't the sum total of me. I like you. I like you a lot. I'm new at that, and maybe haven't handled it … well, even poorly. But, I do like you and want to get to know you. And let you get to know me."

"That sounds … practical," Dinah responded leaning into Alexa's body. She felt the other girls arm wrap around her waist and sighed.

"You were hoping for sweeping romance?" Alexa asked. "I could try and compose a poem, I'm not sure how good it would be though. I've suffered a couple head injuries lately," she continued smiling as she felt Dinah's body shake with laughter.

"We've had the sweeping I think," Dinah replied finally. "I'd like to get to know the sweeper now," she continued raising her head up so that her lips were only centimeters away from Alexa's.

"I want to kiss you," Alexa breathed out softly. "Are we friendly enough again that the surly one won't hurt me if I do?"

"Helena?" Dinah asked smiling.

"Is that her name?" Alexa asked. "Our relationship's been all boomerangs to the head and knees in my stomach. I mean sure we've joked and laughed … about my pain. And I've wheezed and gagged … because of the funny pain. And there has been the quality bag over my head time. She got all mushy the last time and feed me juice through a straw which I thought was special," Alexa continued bringing a hand up to her heart and sighing softly. "But somehow names or painkiller's never came up," she finished looking back at Dinah. "Will she hurt me?"

"If she does, I'll hurt her," Dinah replied smiling before closing the small distance between them and brining their lips together. Mmmm, she'd forgotten how good Alexa's lips tasted. She couldn't let that happen again.

"That's good," Alexa mumbled against Dinah's lips, sliding her body closer to Dinah's leaving her almost in the blonde's lap.

"What is?" Dinah asked. Alexa's proximity to her was doing things to her body. She was gonna have to stop mocking Helena for getting all flustered when Barbara would rub the small of her back. Touching was good.

"That you're so dominant," Alexa replied smiling. "I think I need somebody that'll keep me in line," she continued brushing her lips against Dinah's again.

---

Part Twenty-Two

---------------------

Barbara raised a shaky hand up to her face, jerking back slightly when she fingers bumped against the lens of her glasses. Removing them with an unsteady hand, she lay the glasses down on the desktop and rubbed her hand over her face. Her breaths were low and shallow, she felt a bit warm. If she were the kind of person to faint, she might have thought that's what was about to happen, but she wasn't the type of person to faint, and she knew she just needed a moment to get her wits about her. The schematic was … it … if she was reading it right …

"Barbara?" Helena said from her spot on the couch, her head tilted in the redhead's direction. She hadn't heard tap, tapping for a few moments and looked over to see Barbara staring off into space. "Barbara," she said again getting no response.

Quickly Helena stood up and made her way over the redhead.

"Hel," Barbara said her voice barely audible as she felt the brunette come up behind her. "Helena," she continued though she simply continued to stare at the blueprint in front of her.

"Yeah," Helena said following her gaze. "Did you figure it out?" she asked she asked looking back over at Barbara. She was still concerned but at least Barbara was responding now.

"It's … it's some sort of regeneration apparatus," Barbara replied. She was starting to feel more like herself now. The shaking had stopped and she was finding it easier to concentrate. "As far as I can tell, it's supposed to introduce a gel into the body which is a mix of organic compounds and synthetic fibers. An electrical pulse is then generated to stimulate the gel and diffuse it into the body. I … I still have to look into it, but it seems that it's design is stimulate cell generation …and regeneration," Barbara finished looking up at Helena.

"Regeneration," Helena said softly. "You mean …"

"It's some sort of super healing machine," Barbara replied, her lips twitching. She wanted to smile, but couldn't quite manage it. "I think it could be used to develop non meta super humans by amplifying already health tissues, cells and organs. And if that's true, it could also be used to stimulate growth, or re-growth in damaged, tissues and cells."

"You mean it could …"

"Repair my spine," Barbara finished for her. "Theoretically," Barbara continued sighing.

"Shouldn't there be fist pumping, and hooting … perhaps some hollering too," Helena responded walking behind the chair and wrapping her arms around the redhead, her head coming to rest on her shoulder. "You could walk again, why are you sighing?"

"The numbers involved with the electro-shock, and the liquid compounds. They're high and toxic. It could work, given perfect conditions, or it could kill you before you got halfway through the process. From the markings on the blueprint, I'd say this is only a second or third draft. It hasn't been tested yet … it's … imperfect," Barbara replied taking a deep calming breath.

"How imperfect?" Helena asked thinking that if it was just a matter of some tinkering then …

"I'd say that anybody who tried it out as it stands now would have a fifteen to twenty percent chance of surviving the process. Generously speaking," Barbara replied. Her right hand was shaking again. She grasped it with her left one and squeezed tightly. "Right now, it's extremely dangerous."

Helena remained silent.

"Could you get Dinah and Alexa, we … we need to figure out what we're going to do about the people after the schematic," Barbara continued a second later.

"Yeah," Helena said, her hand hovering above Barbara's shoulder before falling back beside her body. "We'll be down in a minute."

--

Part Twenty-Three

------------------------

Barbara looked up as the others gathered around the workstation.

"Okay, it's going to work like this. Alexa, you're going to go to the smaller company they thought you'd hit last night. News of the police raid of the big one was all over the papers this morning, it typically NCPD form they're insisting nothing was stolen so whoever's been tracking will buy that you weren't able to get the last component and will probably be stalking out the next place. Once you get there you'll set of the alarm, just in case. They'll be monitoring it to see if you show or not, even if they're not there. It'll draw them out. I want you to let them find you."

Alexa bent over a drawer and pretended to be searching in it as she heard movement in the corridor. 'I want you to let them find you' she muttered to herself as she continued to stall waiting for them to find her, without looking like she was waiting for them.

"'Whoa!" she said trying to act surprised as the door was flung open and five darkly clad men with very big guns entered the room.

"Dinah and I will be here, monitoring everything and running interference. Once the alarm is tripped the police will be alerted as well. I've isolated the three quickest routes to the building from where the NCPD has posted cars to be stationed. There'll be some traffic problems. It'll buy you maybe half an hour. It should be enough time for you to get in and for them to get at you and all of you to get out, before any squad cars arrive.

I see the look on your face. Don't worry, Helena's going to be running back up. She'll follow them in once they're on the move. When they find you, she'll find them. You'll get into a fun little fight. Then you'll seem to lose and run for it. You'll leave this behind."

"Ah, little help," Alexa called out frantically as a mountain of a man picked her up and pushed her up against a wall.

"Little busy," Helena responded, holding two guys at the sides of her body as she kicked one in front of her.

"Right," Alexa muttered phasing out and dropping through the man's hands, scuttling behind him and kicking him in the back. "This is getting to be not so much fun," she called to Helena dropping the fake schematic Barbara had handed her earlier onto the floor.

"You don't want to run, do you?" Helena asked head-butting a nearby thug before rounding and catching another with the heel of her boot.

"I do. I am," Alexa responded heading for the back door.

"Party pooper," Helena replied heading after her.

"It's a little something I just cooked up. It looks enough like the original that they shouldn't be able to tell the difference, until it doesn't work. A few little, changes that will muck up the final product. Not that the original is picture perfect. However they do get the added bonus, of having an original tracking device built into the blueprints. If they try to put it together – which I don't doubt they will – it'll create a homing signal that will lead us straight to the device, and hopefully whoever was behind the whole plot to begin with."

"Do all of her plans hurt this much?" Alexa asked as they limped down the alleyway, the faint sound of police sirens ringing in the background.

"Yeah, pretty much," Helena responded slapping the kid on the back. "Next time, you should make Dinah agree to have to give you a backrub upon your return."

"I feel that," Alexa replied looking over at her. "With sensual massage oils?"

"Wouldn't be a backrub without them," Helena responded. "I like vanilla."

---

Part Twenty-Four

---------------------

A Week Later …

Helena lay staring up at the ceiling of the bedroom for a moment, left hand lying on her stomach as chewed on the fingernail of her right pinky finger. She was alone in the bed. Again. Sighing she flung her legs over the edge of the bed and stood up reaching for her underwear. Maybe Barbara had just gone for a drink of water.

Stepping around the corner that tucked Barbara's bedroom away, Helena spotted the redhead immediately. She'd cleared off an entire section of her workstation and spread out the stolen schematic. She was altering her attention between that, a monitor with calculations on it that Helena would never understand, and the prototype they had built the other day.

Helena stalked over to the desk and roughly picked up the schematic papers tossing them to the side.

"What do you think you're doing?" she accused staring at Barbara hostilely.

"Research," Barbara responded taking her glasses off and resting them on the tabletop. She'd known this conversation was coming. If there was one thing she could say for Helena's recent personal growth spurt it was that she wasn't procrastinating when it came to her emotions anymore. She was right on the ball.

"Research into what? How to kill yourself?" Helena asked, shifting her weight onto one foot and crossing her arms. "You said yourself that …"

"Just because this particular model is … faulty. It doesn't mean that the science doesn't have merit," Barbara replied cutting Helena off. "I could get it to work."

"Or you could die," Helena responded confrontationally. She made an impatient sound in her throat and shifted onto her other foot. Barbara stared at her for a moment, then turned away, picking her glasses back up. "You don't care do you?" Helena asked seeing the resoluteness in Barbara's emerald eyes. "You'd try it," she continued her voice dropping. "Even this model, you'd try it," she went on incredulously.

Barbara was quiet for a moment before looking over at Helena. "Maybe," she admitted softly. "Maybe I would," she added, her voice firmer, with a touch of ice.

Helena stared at her for a long moment after that she knew that Barbara meant it. That if she researched and couldn't find another solution or angle, she would take the risk of trying it out on herself.

She quickly moved over to where she had thrown the papers and picked them up. Looking over at Barbara she held the redhead's eyes and savagely ripped the papers, easily tearing them into tiny pieces, which she then let float back to the ground.

"You had no right to do that," Barbara said softly, still holding Helena's gaze. She knew what Helena was thinking, what she thinking and worried about. But it wasn't her decision to make. No matter how intertwined they were, it was still Barbara's life.

"Probably not," Helena responded, not sure she liked how well Barbara had taken her previous performance. "But I'm not going to let you kill yourself over some stupid experiment," she continued walking back over to the desk.

"Stupid experiment?" Barbara asked. She was angry. "Stupid experiment?" she repeated her voice loud as her eyes burned into Helena's. Her hands were gripping the ends of the arms of her chair. Helena thought that Barbara would've attacked her at that moment if she could've. Maybe that was the point. "Wanting to get out of this," Barbara continued brutally hitting the arm she had just been gripping, "Is. Not. Stupidity," she finished, looking away from Helena before leaning back in the chair. She brought her hand up to her eyes. She was trying to contain tears.

"No, it's not," Helena responded softly. She hadn't meant it like that. She wanted to reach out to Barbara, but she knew that at the moment the redhead wouldn't accept it. It was better that way actually. They had to talk about this, and physical contact usually led to distraction. It was easy not to think about what was wrong in her arms, but it didn't make things right. "But risking your life…" Helena continued letting the sentence trail off.

"Sometimes," Barbara said sighing. "It doesn't feel like life," she went on. She tried to not to think about it, not to dwell on it, and for the most part, over the years she'd been successful. But there was still a part of her that felt as she had in those first few months after the shooting, when she'd wake up in the middle of the night overcome with a rage and sorrow that she couldn't put into words. That froze her where she was, because she couldn't even vent properly anymore. It took too much effort for her to move around and get things to throw. She'd thought that she had learned to accept it gracefully though, and over the years it had gotten easier, the frustrations lessening with time and experience. But lately, she wanted more. So much more. She'd narrowed her field of interest after she was paralyzed, shrunken her dreams and aspirations and focused on what it was possible to do with her reality. But she wanted so much more now. Being with Helena, Helena herself, had awoken her heart, and her dreams, and she wanted again. She dreamed. But it didn't matter because she couldn't do. And it was like losing everything all over again. "It feels like a nightmare," she continued her voice quivering with emotion.

Helena's hand came to fall on her shoulder. She shied away from the touch. She didn't mean to, but everything was raw and sensitive at the moment. And it just reminded her of what she couldn't do. She couldn't just reach out to Helena and draw her into her arms like she wanted to. She had to indicate or settle for a smaller touch. She couldn't sneak up behind the brunette surprising her as she rained kisses along her neck. She couldn't…

"I don't care about the chair," Helena said softly drawing Barbara out of her own mind. "I love you," she continued softly, blinking back her own tears as Barbara's tortured eyes looked up to meet hers. She was at a loss. She didn't know what to do. She wanted to take away Barbara's pain; she wanted Barbara to be happy. But she didn't want her to die in the pursuit. She wanted to help and she couldn't, and it made her want to hit something. And then maybe sit and be very, very still.

Barbara reached up at that, her hand coming to rest on the side of Helena's face, she stroked her thumb over the soft skin there. It came away wet.

"And I love you," Barbara said softly, still stroking Helena's cheek. "So much," she added her voice chocking as she spoke.

"Then," Helena said moving her head to the side out of Barbara's hand. "Then why are you pulling away from me?" she asked, her voice tinged with anger. Her last session with Dr. Quinzel was coming back to her, playing through her head.

"I'm not," Barbara responded, reaching for Helena again only to have the brunette shift to the side out of her reach.

"You are. You have been," Helena said looking over at her. Even at that moment, Barbara's eyes weren't completely clear; she could see gears turning behind them. Thoughts racing through her mind that weren't being shared.

"I let you into my bed … into me. That's distance?" Barbara asked finally meeting Helena's gaze.

"Let?" Helena asked her eyebrow rising. "You make it sound like having sex with me is an act of charity," she continued standing up. Even though she knew it was unfair, for a moment she wondered if that's what it was.

"That's not what I meant," Barbara stated immediately. "I don't know what else I have to give you," she said her shoulders raising and falling helplessly, a long weary sigh making it's way past her lips.

"Everything," Helena responded looking over at Barbara. "When we …" she continued pausing. "Why won't you just …"

"You want me to beg you," Barbara interrupted contemptuously. "Beg you to fuck me and make the cripple feel like a real woman." She was angry but she wasn't sure at whom. At Helena for asking her to give her this one last thing she had to hold on to, or herself for being to proud to give it to the one person in the world she should have been able to be completely helpless for.

"That was partly right," Helena responded glaring right back at the redhead.

"Why?" Barbara asked.

"I'm selfish. I want to have all of you," Helena replied leaning forward and resting her hands on Barbara's knees. "I haven't held anything back from you. I'd do anything you …"

"I'm weak" Barbara said. It wasn't a direct response to what Helena was saying but she was unable to voice one so it would have to do. Helena could give in, because she didn't have anything to prove to the world, or to herself.

"You're the strongest person I know," Helena said immediately. And it was true.

"I feel weak," Barbara replied. And that was the rub. Maybe she didn't really have anything to prove, but she felt like she did. And she could tell herself that didn't all she wanted it never changed how she felt. Inadequate.

"I'll catch you," Helena told her, leaning in and brushing her lips against Barbara's softly.

"I don't want you too," Barbara said softly as Helena pulled back from her lips. Her hands had moved to Helena's hips keeping her close nonetheless.

Helena looked at her thoughtfully for a moment. "I'll do it anyway."

"I know," Barbara replied smiling, leaning forward and brining their lips together again in a soft, feathery light kiss.

"You're not going to drop this. That diagram you have it on one of these don't you? Maybe all of them," Helena said her hand coming up to rest against the one Barbara had placed on her face as she glanced at the computers that surrounded them.

Barbara nodded her head but made no verbal response.

"I don't want to lose you," Helena said dropping her head down to look at the floor as she spoke.

"I'm not going anywhere," Barbara said, her voice firm and strong as she held Helena's hand. The way she said it, Helena almost believed that Barbara could actually will the world to bend to her wishes. Almost. "But I have to look into it," Barbara continued softly.

"And if I stopped you?" Helena asked a touch of defiance entering her voice.

"I'd wonder," Barbara replied removing her hand from Helena's body and leaning back in her chair once more, her eyes rising to meet Helena's blue orbs. "And a part of me would hate you," she continued honestly. "You don't know what it's like."

Helena blinked at that and bit at her bottom lip. She'd never seen Barbara in action as Batgirl. She hadn't even known that Batgirl was anything but an urban legend before the Joker changed both of their lives forever. But she'd heard stories from Alfred, and from Barbara herself. Barbara had been a hawk, a bird of prey, just like her. Soaring above everyone else, racing across rooftops in the dark of night, blood pumping through her veins and rushing to her head as her body throbbed with power. Barbara knew what it was like to fly, and then she'd had her wings broken.

Helena tried in that silence that had come over the room after Barbara had spoken, to imagine what it would be like. Really. She tried to picture herself in the redhead's position and for a brief moment she was able to, really able to. She sucked in a deep breath and looked over at Barbara. She couldn't sustain the mental exercise … she didn't want to. She couldn't breathe. The thought of it was almost too much for her.

She stared at Barbara for a long moment.

"You'll be smart about it," Helena said finally.

"This one time," Barbara responded with a tiny smile. She was always smart about things it's what made her anal and in Helena's words 'cute as a button with cartoon characters and sparkles'. She wasn't looking to get herself killed. She still had a lot of things to do, and people to do them with.

Helena smiled back and shook her head somewhat helplessly before looking back up at Barbara and smiling again.

She shivered slightly.

"You're cold," Barbara said seeing the chill run through Helena's body. She looked at the brunette appraisingly for the first time since she had joined her out there. No wonder she was cold, she wasn't wearing anything but a bra and panties. Looking at her again, Barbara wondered how she could not have noticed that at first. Helena in her underwear was very note worthy.

"I didn't think I'd be out here this long," Helena replied with a touch of chagrin as she rubbed her arms. She was especially aware of the draftiness of the main part of the loft now that Barbara had mentioned it. She was amazed she hadn't felt it before.

"Let's warm you up," Barbara replied flicking off the monitor she had been working on.

Helena stood up and held out her hand to Barbara.

"This warming process, can you tell me exactly what it involves?" the brunette asked looking over at Barbara with a grin.

"Well, you'll have to be wearing even less clothes than you are now," Barbara responded in a scholarly tone.

"That's crazy," Helena replied smiling. "Will I be wearing anything?"

"A smile," Barbara replied. "Anything else isn't really part of the plan."

The End

Comments are always greatly welcomed and HUGELY appreciated, so
pretty please (with cherries and whipped cream and sprinkles and
bananas and little umbrellas) drop me a line.