Hello everyone! Sorry for the late updates. School is stating soon, and I've been swamped with preparations for it, so this came out a little slowly. But think of this as my belated Christmas present to you all!

On another note, this may probably be the last time I post for a long time, as I'm currently entering a very crucial school year.But rest assured, I will see this story to the end.

Eccentric charm

By Erugenel

Chapter 4: Connection

His fingers flicked the keyboard listlessly, in a vain attempt to do something productive when his mind countered otherwise. He usually didn't like being distracted and unable to work, as he was now. It meant that he wasn't in control of himself or his thoughts. And he did like to be fully in touch with his faculties.

The funny thing was, now he actually welcomed it. The feeling of helplessness, drowning in something so overwhelming one only had to embrace it to be set free. He had anticipated it, of course, that when one goes dallying with a beautiful Italian woman, especially one has been admiring from afar for a long, long time, one tends to be distracted very easily. No prizes for guessing the source of his errant concentration.

"Do you know what apophenia is?"

"Apophenia, noun. The tendency to seek connections where none exist."

Their first conversation played in his mind and her sweet, deadly voice rang in his ears, refusing to let him go from their spell. He should have known that the first moment she stepped into his room that he was a marked man. Strangely, he rather enjoyed it. Being under the spell of Helena. She was a dangerous woman. But then again, everything he did was dangerous, why was she an exception?

Because you know there's something more to it, his inner cynic nagged at him. You know she's not a normal case. Even Wildcat said she was a nutjob.

She'd said the same thing about him. Yet his attraction to her was not merely the desperate magnetism between two less-than-normal superheroes. There was something more than that. Something intangible. Something that connected them together even when there were so many other things between them. He knew there was a connection. If it existed, why could he, the Question, not find it?

You've been blinded by her.

"She's a welcome distraction," he muttered.

The man that was Vic Sage rubbed his eyes sleepily, deciding that he'd been distracted enough. But even sleep would be a distraction-in the form of dreams. In his sleep his mind set to work on unraveling the many mysteries that he encountered, the crop circle phenomenon; boy bands; fluoridated toothpaste; they were all twisted into strands, woven into a fabric of his theories, which he tore apart every night, hoping that, beyond it, he might hit something he could go over the next day. But now his dreams were of soft dark hair and deadly eyes, framed with bars of purple and black, moving with deadly precision, advancing on him…

She invaded his nights, letting him transcend the stuff of his dreams, nightmares even, and she brought him somewhere else. Someplace where he didn't need to think constantly to save his life and run his world. Somewhere he didn't need to unravel those conspiracies. The ones that affected National Security and caused people to run for the hills. Except this one.

How in the world had he managed to win the heart of the beautiful Helena Bertinelli?

It was Christmas in a few days. Granted, Vic never really celebrated Christmas, it took out too many painful memories from the closet of the past and cleaned the dust away. The Question just spent the holiday trying to crack another one of his many conspiracies.

He never knew why he was so drawn to them. Mysteries. Maybe they presented an aura of the unknown, of danger, a thrill that he couldn't get enough of. It gave him a high to reveal them, to know that he had uncovered yet another nefarious plot. He had given up long ago trying to see if there was a connection between him and his craving for conspiracies and just accepted who he was, Vic Sage, conspiracy buff and crazed to boot. Others could not accept that, but she did. And he was grateful for that. Was that the intangible connection that wove them together, that caused her to, on most nights, seek his company and his warmth, and him to ponder for countless hours the nuances of her eyes, the deadly rhythm of her body, the strength of her spirit?

He had to push that all aside for now. He knew Christmas was coming, and he also knew that Helena was miffed by his noncommittal answers to her questions about his holiday plans. How could he tell her that, for the first time in his life, he was planning something big around that holiday season? He was entitled to his secrets.

A part of him hated to see her spend Christmas by herself. He had seen her on occasion, drawn away from the festivities, surrounded by people, yet ultimately alone. Another part of him hated the crowds, the commercialized manner in which people banked on the whole "Christmas is about giving and receiving" thing. But this time, he let himself be an ordinary man for once, a man not plagued by so many troubles that his life was ruled by them, dictating what he should eat or do. But hey, if Helena loved Christmas, then so would he.

"You sure know how to show a girl a good time," Helena grumbled as she and the Question staked out an empty, lifeless street atop a roof. "Its nearly midnight! On Christmas Eve! Even criminals want to stay home and drink eggnog and sing carols! But me? Oh, I have to stake out the most boring place on earth with no activity and no bad asses to kick, all because my boyfriend dragged me here and blatantly refuses to explain to me why!"

He saw her out of the corner of his eye throw a dark look at him, and as she went off into a rant again he ignored her, instead looking at his watch.

Anytime now…

"Huntress," his words fell on deaf ears. "Helena!" he tried again. His voice sliced through the air and stopped her in mid-rant.

"If you go on like that you'll wake up every criminal in Gotham." He teased her with a straight face.

"If you refuse to tell me what is going on I'll wake up every sleeping person in Gotham!" she glared at him and huffed, sitting on the stone ledge.

"You won't want to do that, then we'll just have to share our evening fun."

"Fun? What fun, I haven't seen any sign of life here in this whole dark stinking-''

With a surge of electricity, the street came to life. The hidden decorations, concealed by the night, now shone brightly, illuminating the whole street down in a dazzling display. And as if on cue, it started snowing again.

He turned to her, and she was lost for words, a look of pure joy on her face.

"Three. Two. One." He breathed, looking at his watch. Just then, the large abandoned clocktower tolled, and in the distance, he could hear faint cheers.

"How…I can't believe it…Vic!" she squealed and jumped into his arms. A part of him wondered what he loved about her the most. The way she could be so simple and profuse in her joy, or the way she fiercely protected her city with all that she had.

"Merry Christmas, Helena." Was all that he managed to say before she grabbed him by the tie again and kissed him, showing him her thanks. After that, he decided he just loved everything about her, and that she deserved a proper Christmas every year.

"But how…?

Smiling an enigmatic smile beneath the mask, he said, "I have connections," tipping his hat to her.

She kissed him soundly again, and this time she held onto his warmth in the cold winter night, sighing. "Vic, when are you ever going to show me your face?"

"Maybe next Christmas," he replied.

Later, they had retired to his apartment, and she had seen the meager Christmas decorations, his small effort to make her Christmas worthwhile when all the shops had closed. She wanted to cry, touched to the bone by his declaration of love, for his effort in doing for her.

Later, as she lay in bed next to him, soaking in his warmth after making love. Stroking her hair, he contemplated the mystery of Helena once again. Maybe the real question is not how I managed to win her heart, but how she has managed to win mine? He felt her stir beside him, and cool, deft fingers trace a path on his skin, trying to coax him to slumber. "Still thinking again, Q?" he nodded numbly. In that moment he turned to look at her face, and he saw her glowing in the soft light of the moon, her pale cheeks flushed by their lovemaking, his heart swelled with an overwhelming love for her that rendered all motor functions useless. When he forced his mouth open to say something, it didn't quite come out as intended.

"I love you, Helena."

"I love you too, Vic. Haven't I told you that before?" but he could see it shining in her eyes as he held her.

"Tell me again," he said breathlessly, like the first time she kissed him, his voice incapable of speech.

He felt her move against him as she captured his mouth in another kiss.

He then decided that if every Christmas was going to be like that, he didn't exactly mind.