DISCLAIMER: Despite my love for Huntress, and as much as I like to say she's MINE, if you want to be absolutely technical, legally speaking, I don't own the birds. Someone else does. If I owned them, they'd still be on TV.

WARNING: This fic is femslash. In other words, women loving women. If this offends you, get therapy and read something else. But I'm telling you, you don't know what you're missing ;) Also, in some countries, the 'age of consent' is 18 and over so I have to warn you that my fic contains sex with a minor (age 17). The fic also contains a bit of sexual violence. Nothing major, but enough that I need to add a warning. There is some sex in this fic, but nothing overly graphic. Just enough to make me blush as I wrote this at work. *grin*

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Anyone and everyone is welcome to give me feedback. I truly live for the stuff. Everyone has a different view of how they see the characters, this is my vision. I really hope you enjoy it – can you believe it took me 5 years to write this! LOL Please let me know what you think.

LEAD US INTO TEMPTATION

By Sxygrrl Huntress

CHAPTER 1

{I've lost contact with her, Oracle. Can you find a signal?}

{Again, Dinah?} Barbara shook her head, sighing. She tapped on the keyboard as she sat in front of the Delphi system, monitoring the evening sweep.

{Yes… again,"} Dinah groaned, {She jumped up the fire escape and I couldn't keep up.} Dinah tried to hide her frustration from Barbara but being treated this way, from Huntress, upset her.

{Just relax, Dinah, she'll come around. It just takes her a while for her to build up trust with someone.} Barbara thought back to the days when Helena first came to live with her, and how hard it was for Helena to open up, to believe that Barbara was on her side. {You just have to give her a bit of space,} Barbara advised the junior crime fighter.

{She's running across the rooftops! How much space does she need?} Dinah blurted, now showing her emotions. The garbage can she stared at now began to shake violently and within moments, travelled across the night sky and into a parked car. The windshield shattered and the sound of the car alarm ripped through the silence. Dinah's face went from angry to a definite gasp. She looked around quickly, sheepishly and through her comms, said a very bashful, "Oops!" before running down the street, before the car owner decided to check on their vehicle.

{What was that sound, Dinah? Are you okay?} Barbara quickly asked, and immediately stopped typing to listen for a response.

Dinah's embarrassment reflected in her voice. {Yeah, I, umm, there was this cat and it was umm…} She tried to think quickly on her feet but a witty response would not come to her. She reluctantly told the truth. {The garbage can sorta attacked this car,} she said. A huge smile crept across Barbara's face, knowing exactly what Dinah was trying to tell her. A few more clicks on the keyboard and a map appeared on the Delphi monitor.

{I've got it, Dinah. She's at the intersection of Ash and Barlow,} Barbara informed Dinah before switching the comms over to Helena. {Huntress, do you copy?}

Sounds of punches and battered thugs rang though the speakers next to Barbara's computer. {I'm a little busy, Oracle,} Huntress responded. Barbara found this amusing.

{Oh please! Busy? You're fighting what? Four guys? Pfft! Give me a break, Huntress,} Barbara rolled her eyes, knowing four men were hardly a match for the Huntress.. {Dinah's on her way to back you up anyway."}

Helena let out an annoyed sigh, {I DON'T need backup,} she stressed. {I do just fine out here on my own.}

{Huntress! Like it or not, Dinah is part of our team and you're going to have to start accepting that,} Barbara was frustrated, having to repeat the same argument almost nightly. Huntress ducked as one thug swung his fist. She let his momentum carry him forward and once he was off guard, she used a side kick which sent him flying through the window of the liquor store.

Huntress turned to the other thug who was contemplating hitting her. She walked over to the window and picked up a broken bottle of vodka. "Would you look at this! The only thing worse than seeing my clothes get ruined, is seeing a good bottle of vodka go to waste." She dropped the broken glass and took a threatening step towards the man. It only took him a moment before deciding what to do. He ran as fast as his legs would carry him. "See you later!" she shouted after him, smirking at her sarcasm.

Helena watched as he kept running and for a moment, her cat-like senses were on alert, but relaxed almost as quickly as they had arrived. "What's the matter? Couldn't keep up?" she asked as she turned to face Dinah.

The teen was not impressed. "Well maybe if you would stop jumping on the nearest fire escape and fight beside me for a change!" Dinah argued.

"Hey!" Huntress snapped, "I don't fight with anyone! And I don't need your help, kid." Dinah wasn't sure if she wanted to cry or throw something at Helena. She constantly tried to impress Helena but no matter what she did, she ended up pissing her new 'sister' off.

{All right, you two,} Barbara interrupted over their comms. {I need you back at the clocktower now. It's a school night.} Helena raised her eyebrows and looked at Dinah with a smug expression.

"You're on your own, kid," she brushed her off. "I don't have a bedtime and I'm going to party," she continued her torment with her unwanted protégé. Dinah's eyes burned into Helena, but Helena found that amusing. "Go home kid, you've got school tomorrow." Helena turned her back and Dinah switched her attention to the now rattling garbage cans. Helena didn't glance back but shot over her shoulder, "Don't even think about it, Dinah," she warned. The cans stopped moving but the blood coursing though Dinah's veins made it difficult to control her power. She had come a long way in a short time, but found that when her temper got the best of her, things went flying out of control.

Dinah glanced over at the thug that went through the window. Beside him she spotted an undamaged bottle of Tequila. She turned to see if Helena was watching but she was already making her way up a fire escape in the distance. Dinah picked up the bottle and in a huff, unscrewed the cap, placed the bottle to her lips and tilted it upward, allowing the liquid to pour down her throat.

"Ugh!" she shouted as she spit out the vile drink. "That's disgusting," she said aloud but it didn't stop her from taking another swig. By the time she got back to the clocktower, she had finished off one quarter of the bottle. She set the bottle down and punched in the security code and made her way up, leaving the bottle outside. As she rode the elevator, Dinah feared she was going to throw up but managed to keep composure. She was drunk. There was no question about that. But she made a conscious effort to appear sober. The last thing she wanted was a lecture from Barbara.

The door opened and she b-lined for the stairs to her bedroom. Barbara still sat at her computer but turned when Dinah walked in. "She'll come around, Dinah," Barbara tried to be encouraging. Dinah hung on to the railing at the bottom step, unable to stand straight on her own. She swayed lightly but thankfully, Barbara didn't seem to notice.

"I'm jus gonna go to sleep," Dinah slurred slightly. "Good night!" she finished, a little too loudly. Barbara's eyebrows lowered as she carefully studied Dinah. She was about to give her a few more words of wisdom but Dinah continued to pull herself up the stairs. Barbara decided to drop the subject.

"Good night!" she shouted back as Dinah rounded the corner and entered her bedroom. Once the door was safely closed, Dinah kicked off her shoes and collapsed on top of the bed, clothes and all.

***

Helena entered No Man's Land and headed right for the bar. Before Gibson could utter a word, Helena raised her hand to stop him. "Just get me my drink and please don't say a word," she said. He frowned, but poured her a Vodka on the rocks. Asking Gibson to be quiet was like putting a bull in a china shop and not expecting anything to get broken. It was only a matter of minutes.

She sat at the bar and sipped her drink slowly. Why does Barbara insist on making Dinah my new best friend? She wondered. She knows I like to fight alone. Helena took another sip and spun around in her stool, taking in her surroundings. The bar wasn't too busy. It never was on a Monday night.

"Slow night," Gibson leaned on the bar, right behind Helena. She sighed heavily, knowing he couldn't stay silent for long. "The last time a Monday was busy here was 96 days, 4 hours, 53 minutes and 12 seconds," he rattled off. She slowly turned her chair around, eyes blazing the catlike fury.

"Gibson?" Helena began, "What is the record for the number of minutes where you actually kept quiet?" she wanted to know, allowing her eyes change back to normal.

"Well let me see," he said, scratching his head. "If you are only counting the hours in which I am not sleeping, then the record is 4 minutes and 24 seconds but then there was this time that I had laryngitis and I tried to talk but no sound would come out. I didn't talk for 11 hours and 41 minutes and 8 seconds but I really tried so I don't know if you want to count that…"

"Gibson!" Helena shouted, interrupting his rant, "It was rhetorical," she said as she got up from her stool, grabbed her drink and made her way to one of the armchairs. She sat down and cradled her drink in her hands, debating on if she wanted to stick around or just go home out of boredom.

Helena let her eyes shift around the room and in the corner she spotted a group she hadn't noticed before. She didn't recognize them, but watched them in the distance, curiosity getting the better of her. She took a deep breath and did something she knew she would regret. "Hey Gibson, come her for a sec," she instructed and he practically flew over the counter to be of assistance.

"Yes my little peach pit?" he asked hopefully. A giddy smile crossed his face.

She cringed. Not only at the sound of his voice, but the words that came with it. "Would you STOP calling me that!" she snapped. "The day I am someone's 'peach pit' is the day I stop wearing leather," she continued and motioned to the group in the far corner. "Who are they? I don't recognize them."

Gibson looked in the direction she was motioning. "Oh, them," he began. "They said they are visiting from Metropolis."

"When did they get here?" Helena inquired. Gibson checked his watch.

"Two days, 17 minutes and 4 seconds… 5 seconds… 6 seconds… 7 seconds…"

"Gibson!" Helena shouted, holding up her hand again. "I get it. Thank you," she stressed. I knew I would regret this, she made a mental note. "What do you know about them?"

He pondered her question for a moment. "Nothing, really," he concluded. "They've come in each night for a bit; always hang out in the corner by themselves and the only one to order the drinks is the blonde one." He pointed to a pretty, young blonde dressed in black leather pants and a sheer, white shirt. Gibson's stare lingered a little longer than he had intended. "Of course she's no beauty compared to the delectable Huntress," he flashed a dorky smile. Helena rolled her eyes.

"So you don't know them at all?" she found puzzling. "I thought you had every Meta in your mental database."

"You know, I thought I did," he frowned. "I guess I'm going to have to fire my Metropolis contacts for lack of information," he answered. She didn't know if he was kidding or serious. Not that she cared.

Helena kept her eye trained on the group and was surprised when the blonde tilted her head, as if she heard something, and then turned around, staring directly at Helena. Helena's lips parted in surprise, not expecting the woman to catch her looking and staring back so intently. She closed her mouth and attempted a half-assed smile.

The woman turned her attention to one of the guys in the group and whispered something in his ear. He glanced over his shoulder and nodded, approvingly. She kissed his cheek and made her way across the room. Helena tried to look away but found herself curious. Her catlike senses were on alert; she was sensing danger.

Without looking at him, Helena told Gibson to go back to the bar. Obediently, he got up from the other chair and went back to serving drinks.

Helena's eyes never broke her stare. She walked casually, almost gliding across the room, her blue eyes locked with Helena's. Once she was several feet away, Helena rose from her chair. The woman smiled. "Are you Huntress?" she asked, her voice soft and hypnotic. Helena blinked a few times.

"Yes," she replied, mesmerised. Helena reached out to accept the hand that the woman had outstretched. They shook hands but the woman lingered, not letting Helena's go right away.

"My name's Karla," she smiled, and slowly slid her fingers out of Helena's grasp. "I've heard a lot about you." Her eyes were a brilliant blue, and her smile infectious.

Helena smiled and the curiosity grew even stronger. "What exactly have you heard?" she asked, a touch defensively. Karla motioned for Helena to sit back down, so she did. Helena picked up her drink from the table and Karla took the seat where Gibson had been sitting.

"Not to worry, Huntress. I've only heard good things about you," Karla winked.

"Well they couldn't have been talking about me in that case," Helena informed her, while rolling her eyes. This made Karla curious.

"Oh? Why is that?" she wanted to know.

"Because I'm not known for being good," Helena answered. "I'm more known for being a troublemaker and destroying city property."

Karla leaned over and put her hand on Helena's knee and whispered, "That was the 'good' I was talking about," she winked and a smile crept across her face, leaving Helena very intrigued.

Helena looked down at the hand on her knee, and then at the stranger before her. Karla immediately removed her hand and smiled, sweetly. Karla then leaned back in the chair, stretching her long legs and putting them up on the small table in front of her. Her level of comfort around Huntress confused Helena. She was used to being feared, not challenged. Although it was subtle, she knew Karla was challenging her. But whatever the game was, Helena was up for it. She stretched her own legs out as well.

"So what brings you to New Gotham?" Helena started the conversation.

Karla eyes sparkled and she parted her lips in a shy smile. "You," she simply replied. Helena nearly choked on her drink.

"Me?" she coughed, suddenly feeling very embarrassed. I'm The Huntress. This is my city! She reminded herself. She shook her head back to reality, trying to break her humiliation. Helena sat upright and tried to play it cool, even though she felt her insides twisting in knots. "Okay," she spoke, "What exactly did you want to see me about?"

"All in due time, Huntress," Karla replied. "I have several things I would love to discuss with you. Right now, business isn't one of them." Helena knew she was flirting and decided to play along. She was curious to see what Karla was up to. Karla snapped her fingers and one of the guys from the group rushed over.

He didn't say a word but stepped before her and waited for her request. She answered his silent question. "Michael? Could you bring over two of the bottles for Huntress and I?" Her voice was strong and commanding yet seductive at the same time. He obeyed the request and was back within moments, carrying two bottles of Raspberry Vodka cooler. Michael offered the drinks to Karla and she handed one over to Huntress. As Helena grabbed one of the bottles, Karla's fingers once again lingered over Helena's. An eternity seemed to pass but it was mere seconds.

What is wrong with me? Helena wondered. I'm not THAT drunk. "Thanks," she said, finding it more difficult to break the stare and regain some inner control. Karla tilted her own bottle to Helena as a toast. Helena did the same and took a long drink. The raspberry liquid slowly made its way down Helena's throat. In all the time she drank, Helena could not break the fixed stare. She felt herself getting mildly dizzy.

Karla watched intently as Helena took another swallow. She, herself, took small sips; content on watching Helena get to the bottom of her glass in a matter of minutes. She licked her lips and Helena felt herself completely smitten. Helena was used to both men and women being attracted to her. It was all part of being The Huntress. She was desirable… dangerous… seductive. And now she sat before someone who made her feel that very way.

Helena didn't like feeling such a pull to someone yet she could not stop herself. She finished off her drink and placed the bottle on the table. Karla seemed pleased that Helena had finished every drop and she handed over the bottle that she was drinking. "Why don't you take mine?" she said, looking into the feline blues across from her.

"No thanks," Helena politely refused, feeling too out of control as it was.

Karla leaned even closer, placing the bottle in Helena's hands. "I insist," she breathed, letting her fingers run across Helena's until she had a secure grip of the bottle. "Enjoy it," Karla finished, and once again leaned back in her chair.

Helena had her eyes fixed on Karla's and didn't break her gaze, even as she began to work on the next vodka cooler. Another wave of dizziness washed over Helena but it didn't stop her from finishing her drink in one shot. "Whoa!" she said as the alcohol hit her. "I think I'm cut off," Helena informed herself, feeling the room start to spin.

Karla watched Helena set the other bottle down and decided that they should get some fresh air. "Come outside with me," she said, outstretching her arm and pulling Helena from the chair. She led Huntress out the back exit as Gibson watched his little peach pit stagger the entire way.

Helena plopped down on the curb, outside No Man's Land. "I don't usually get this drunk on only a few drinks," she confessed, feeling very humiliated. Helena, on any normal day, could drink anyone under the table. Not that she drank much; she just had a metabolism to handle it. She rubbed her hands on her face, trying to sober herself up.

Karla sat down beside Helena, so close that you couldn't slip a piece of paper between them. "I guess I shouldn't have given you my drink, huh?" she grinned, knowing exactly what she was doing. She knew Helena would not refuse her suggestion, she couldn't. The question that lingered in Karla's mind, however, was just how far Helena would go before she would refuse. All in due time, she thought to herself. She playfully bumped her shoulder against Helena's, knocking her off balance.

***

Barbara wondered why Dinah had gone to bed so early. She must have really been angry about Helena, she decided. I hope Helena gives Dinah a chance soon, she's earned it. Barbara let out a long, deep breath and wondered just how much she could take of the constant fighting between her two girls. It was true that Helena was an adult in her own right, but Barbara still felt protective over her, in a way that had nothing to do with them being crime-fighting partners. Helena was family, her home, when she had no home to go back to. Barbara felt just as lost as Helena after Selina died, and she was shot. Although Barbara wasn't alone, her life changed dramatically and she needed to take Helena in as much as Helena needed to be taken. They provided the home each other desperately needed at that moment.

After her injury, Barbara felt a loneliness she had never encountered before. Her other partners were no longer around and her mentor, Helena's father, left town. Her life as she knew it was forever changed. It amazed her how one tiny piece of metal, the length of her thumbnail, could bring such a dramatic turn in her life. She had wanted to kill the Joker for what he had done but always stayed true to the superhero code. We don't kill, she said to herself. She would never admit it to Helena, but she often wished that rule didn't exist.

Barbara switched off her monitor and made her way to her bedroom. She changed her clothing, grabbed a book and crawled into her bed. She turned to the page where the bookmark rested and stared at the words. She tried to read but could not stop her mind from flashing back to the early days with Helena. How difficult things were when Selina died. Helena did not trust a soul, and neither did Barbara. They both refused to let go of the anger and had their moments of tremendous fights and rage. It took them a lot of time to get over it, to accept and trust one another, and their new lives together. She didn't want Dinah to have to go through the same waiting period that it took Helena to trust her.

Dinah needed to feel loved, that she wasn't alone, that she was needed. Barbara could sense how traumatic her life had been with the Redmond's and she wanted to give Dinah what she was craving; to feel wanted. She would do what she could to build Dinah up but knew that Helena would only tear down part of the confidence that Dinah had finally achieved. Barbara couldn't blame Helena either. She, herself, had been put through hell and this was her way of coping. Although she was getting better at trusting people, she still had a long way to go.

Bear with her Dinah, Barbara encouraged, she'll come around. Barbara knew Helena would eventually accept Dinah as part of their family. She knew how Helena worked. She was notorious for pushing everyone away. She would do it every chance she got. Barbara couldn't fault her; she often did the same herself. Her job as a school teacher forced her to open up a bit though. With all the students turning to her for support; whether it be for help with their studies or general guidance in life, Barbara eventually warmed up to the notion of trust. She could feel the devotion and faith that her students had in her and it didn't take long before she started believing it herself.

Now it was time for Helena to start warming up to trust. Dinah was family, she was a sister, and it was time Helena started feeling that. Barbara set her book down and closed her eyes, wondering what more she could do to get the two girls working as a team. As she pondered, she heard a soft knock at her door. And then it opened.

***

"I'm getting really tired," Helena announced, and struggled to her feet. Karla stood and helped Helena. "Thanks," she spoke.

"Looks like you might need some help getting home, Huntress," Karla stated the obvious, grinning mischievously, with a gleam in her eye. Helena raised her brows curiously, wondering if Karla was suggesting what she thought she was suggesting.

Helena shifted uncomfortably, feeling even more of her commanding power slipping away from her. "You want to take me home?" she asked, feeling somewhat shy to the prospect. Karla didn't miss the look.

"Unless you think you can make it there by yourself," she pointed out. Helena knew she could make it home on her own but it wasn't going to be easy. She could barely remember where she was now; let alone how to wander the streets to her apartment above the Dark Horse bar.

Helena accepted the offer. "No, I think I could use your help to get me home," she said, consciously ensuring that her speech did not slur.

Karla looked her deep in the eyes. "I didn't say I would be the one to help you," she informed Helena, watching her face immediately drop. She waited several moments before speaking, enjoying Helena's disappointed reaction. "I'll have one of my friends inside make sure you get home okay," she finished.

Helena was disappointed. She didn't know why she was so drawn to Karla, but she was annoyed when she was tossed aside. What is wrong with me? She wondered. Helena was confused, having never felt a pull toward someone like this before. "Oh," she mumbled. Knowing she still needed help, she agreed.

Karla ran back in the bar and when she returned, Michael, the one who had given her the drink, was with her. "Michael will see that you make it home safely," she promised. Helena dropped her eyes and Karla placed her index finger under Helena's chin and forced her to meet her gaze. "I'll see you tomorrow, Huntress," she said, and slowly removed her hand. Before Helena could respond, Karla whisked herself back into the bar.

Michael offered Helena his arm and she looped hers in his. She told him where she lived and they walked, she staggered, the rest of the way to Helena's apartment.

***

Dinah crept into Barbara's room and slipped in her bed. She looked lost and alone… an expression she hadn't worn to this extreme since she first arrived at the clocktower. She put her book down on the nightstand and turned her concerned eyes toward Dinah.

"Do you want to talk about it?" Barbara asked, sympathetically. Dinah shook her head no. She did want to talk to Barbara but she was still feeling quite drunk from the Tequila and didn't want to get caught. Dinah turned her back to Barbara to hide her expressions. She felt very drunk and knew that must mean she looked very drunk.

Barbara switched off the lamp and before getting comfortable; she leaned over and rested her hand on Dinah's shoulder. "She will come around, Dinah," Barbara reassured the kid. "She's been on her own for so long that she doesn't know how to trust anyone but believe me, she WILL come around."

Dinah turned her face into the pillow so that Barbara wouldn't smell the alcohol on her breath. "She hates me, Barbara. She's always mad at me, I can never do anything right with her and why would she trust me? She thinks I'm a dumb kid," Dinah rambled all the while praying that her words weren't coming out slurred.

Barbara's heart melted for the kid, she understood how she felt. "Dinah," she sighed, "You just have to give her a bit of time. Even I had to earn her trust when she first moved in with me. It wasn't easy but we stuck it out and look at us now."

Dinah felt mildly reassured. "She didn't trust you?" she was confused, finding it hard to believe considering the two women were so close.

"We didn't really trust each other. It was a difficult point in our lives and neither of us wanted to open up. But eventually we did. And through it all, we backed each other when it counted. You can rest assured that when you are on sweeps, no matter what Helena says, she will always be there to back you and protect you. You are part of her family."

This statement should have provided Dinah some comfort but to Barbara's dismay, it had an adverse reaction. "Yeah, the bratty, little sister that she can't wait to get rid of," she mumbled, fluffed her pillow heavily and threw the covers over her in a huff. Barbara watched her for a few moments and knew that there wasn't anything she could really say for the time being. She only hoped that Helena would come around in a hurry.

***

Helena approached the Dark Horse with Michael's assistance. He looked at the outside of the bar with an eyebrow raised. "You wanted me to take you to another bar?" he asked, exasperated.

She let out a drunken laugh and hit him in the chest playfully; which to her; packed quite a punch. He winced from the momentary pain. "I live here," she replied.

"You live in a bar?" he pressed, still rubbing his chest. That's gonna leave a mark, he realized.

"I live upstairs," she explained as she opened the door. Loud music spilled out into the streets and Helena grimaced, feeling the beginnings of a hangover already happening. From afar, Leonard, Helena's boss, watched as she wavered, struggling to get up the stairs to her apartment. He shook his head, thankful that she was on her way up to her place and not sticking around the bar and causing trouble. He'd encountered those evenings more often than he would like; yet he still let her keep her job. She was magnetic and he knew she helped draw in a crowd on any given night.

Everyone wanted a piece of the delectable Huntress and he kept her around because for the most part, she knew how to con each of the paying customers into buying more drinks. Although he wished she would smile more to keep the customers coming back, he knew that he couldn't complain too much. Sure she skimmed from the bottle on her shifts but not enough to get drunk while on duty and unlike the previous bartender, she never stole from the register. She was a troublemaker, but she had morals.

Helena wouldn't admit it but living with a schoolteacher for years did eventually rub off on her. Helena tried to fight it but she often found herself wondering what Barbara would think and what she would advise. Helena gave a disgusted look on her face.

"What's wrong?" Michael shouted over the music, still helping her up the stairs.

"Old memories haunting me," she said, and stuck out her tongue in a way that made it look like she had a bad taste in her mouth.

She fell against the door and fished for her keys. Once she found them, she struggled to fit the key in the lock but found it difficult figuring out which was the real lock and which was the hallucination. Michael found it amusing watching her but as the frustrations started to build, he decided to give her a hand. "Allow me," he said. He took the keys, opened the lock and handed them back to her.

Helena opened the door and turned back to Michael. "I'd invite you in but…" she paused.

"But your mind is stuck on someone else," he finished her sentence. "It's okay, we all feel that way around her," he admitted and she looked at him, bearing a confused expression.

"What the hell are you talking about?" she asked, grabbing her head; the headache getting worse.

Michael ignored the question and smiled knowingly. "I'll see you tomorrow night, Huntress," he said as he walked off, his task complete. She was safely home.

Helena was annoyed at the implication. "I'm busy tomorrow," she sneered. He gave her once final glance, a patronizing smile and thought, we'll see about that. She slammed her door and grimaced again with the loud bang. Helena tried to understand why she felt such a hangover when she really didn't drink that much. She'd had more than that in one sitting so why it hit her so strongly this time; was puzzling to her.

She kicked off her boots and removed her long, leather jacket. The staggering had subsided but the headache was intensifying. Helena once again put her hand to her head, applying a little bit of pressure to relive the throbbing pain. She made her way to the medicine cabinet, pulled out a bottle of tablets and popped two in her mouth, washing them down with tap water.

Helena then made her way over to her bed and eased herself down. She didn't even bother to remove her street clothes; she passed out when she hit the covers.

***

Barbara found it impossible to sleep. Lying in bed, eyes closed and Dinah breathing softly beside her, Barbara could not shut off her thoughts enough to let herself drift into unconscious bliss. She flashed back on memories spanning from the moment she was shot to the present day.

There were many changes over the years. Helena; a happy-go-lucky kid, was now practically an orphan with a father who couldn't cope, and skipped town. Her happiness turned to anger and her caring turned to resentment. Barbara wasn't prepared for taking care of Helena; and for the rampant emotions that soon transpired between the two women. Barbara was still a carefree kid herself, sailing over the rooftops with Helena's father, doing what she loved, fighting crime. But the moment she was shot, Batman left town and along with him, followed every other partner that she had come to rely on to watch her back. They weren't there when she was shot, and they weren't there afterwards to help pick up the pieces.

But Helena was there. Not to help Barbara to pick up the pieces but to suffer through her own ordeal. They were a team; bonded together through tragedy, enduring together as family. Once the anger started to subside, the gruelling process of healing began. Barbara went through her daily rehabilitation therapy and worked with Helena, turning her into the crime fighter that she once was, and could never be again. The mantle was passed and she did everything to ensure Helena accepted her destiny.

This caused many fights between the two. But Helena also appreciated the outlet for her anger. To beat criminals into submission but in every person she fought, she saw the face of her mother's killer. Bent on revenge, Helena nearly killed a man and the only thing that stopped her was Barbara shouting over her comms. When they sat down to discuss it later on, Barbara filled her in on the 'Superheroes code'. They don't kill. No matter what, they don't kill. It was a rule Batman stuck by and Barbara wanted, almost demanded; that Helena follow this code.

Barbara threw part of the covers off of herself. Old memories were starting to make her blood boil and the covers were starting to make her feel trapped, confined. She sat up in bed and looked over to Dinah, still sleeping fitfully. It amazed her just how well Dinah had adapted into their family. There was no built up anger and resentment in her that consumed Helena. Not that she could see; anyway. Helena had the walls firmly in place while Dinah was never given the opportunity to build a protective wall. It was constantly broken down with verbal abuse from her foster parents. The more they broke her down, the harder that she tried to be accepted. When she finally realized that that would never happen, she hopped a bus and headed for New Gotham.

Barbara admired the young girl. She often wondered that with Dinah's great mind-melding powers, if it also brought about a wisdom that took years for Helena and herself to understand. The longer that she watching the sleeping girl, the more Barbara started to relax. She once again put her head on the pillow and soon thereafter, fell asleep.

***

Barbara stretched and opened her eyes. She glanced at her watch. Almost 5am. She looked over to where Dinah had fallen asleep and was surprised to see that she wasn't there.

"Dinah?" she called out softly, with no reply. She must have gone back to her own room, Barbara decided and closed her eyes, hoping to catch another hour of sleep before she had to get ready for work. That, and she insisted she help Dinah prepare for her upcoming history quiz.

***

Dinah stood outside the door of the clocktower and reached to pick up the Tequila bottle she had left in front, the night before. As she grabbed it, a voice startled her and cause the bottle to slip and some of the remaining liquid spilled on her clothing. She was still mildly buzzed, which explained the clumsiness.

"Good morning, Miss Dinah, you're up awfully early today."

"Oh! Alfred!" Smash! "I didn't hear you sneak up on me," Dinah exclaimed, hoping; that she had gotten away with what she was up to.

"I wasn't sneaking, Miss Dinah, merely on my way to prepare a lovely breakfast for yourself and Miss Barbara. I do know how much you distain her cooking." Alfred motioned to the broken liquor bottle. "Especially the morning after a drunken binge with Miss Helena," he cracked a smile and Dinah's face flushed.

"I, uh… wasn't drinking with Helena," she told the truth. This is great, she thought, I really didn't have to lie to Alfred! Looks like I'm going to get away with this after all.

Alfred nodded his head. "I see, Miss Dinah. You went at this one alone then. Such a shame," he shook his head, disapprovingly. "I shall be right back, I will fetch a dustpan and broom for you to continue to hide the evidence." Alfred punched in the code and made his way up the elevator, leaving Dinah stunned and amazed and wondering if HE was the true Oracle.

As promised, Alfred returned momentarily with dustpan and broom in hand. "Thanks, Alfred," Dinah smiled sheepishly, reaching for the supplies. "You won't tell Barbara about this, will you?" she worried.

"My dear, in all my years of observing Miss Barbara dealing with a troubled, young Miss Helena, there were many times when Miss Helena would ask me to keep her secrets."

Because Alfred didn't continue, a puzzled Dinah prompted him for more information. "So does that mean you won't tell on me?"

"What that means, Miss Dinah, is that they don't call her Oracle for nothing. Miss Helena learned all too quickly that she could not hide very much from Miss Barbara and I suspect it will very well, be the same way with you." Alfred left Dinah stunned yet again and went off to prepare the breakfast that he had promised.

"I'm dead," Dinah's face dropped. She swept up the broken bottle and deposited it in the trash bin around the corner. Bringing it up to the tower was far too obvious. She stared down at the broom and wondered how she was going to sneak that back up without Barbara wondering what she was doing, and why it was soaked with tequila. On second thought… Dinah flung the broom and dustpan in the garbage as well. "I'll buy Alfred a new one," she sighed, and headed off to face her day with Barbara.

***

Helena bolted awake and jumped from her bed like a cat ready to pounce. "Aaahhh!" she grabbed her head to stop the throbbing from the hangover. What happened? She asked herself, looking around and ensuring that she was in her apartment. Her senses confirmed that she was alone so she eased up a touch. Damn! I gotta stop drinking! She lectured herself, trying to get a grip on reality and where she was. It must have been a dream, she determined, flashing back to being cradled in someone's arms as she passed out.

"I really have to stop drinking!" she told herself, feeling ashamed and humbled at the fact that she'd lost control over herself in front of others. Helena hated to appear weak and not holding her alcohol and needing help to get home was difficult for the proud feline to deal with.

Remembering the pre-arranged breakfast at the clocktower, Helena proceeded to get ready. Her first stop was the medicine cabinet where she pulled out a small, white bottle, and popped two pills in her mouth. The last thing she needed was to bring the hangover to Barbara's. She knew Barbara well enough that some sort of lecture would come from the visit. There always seemed to be some sort of lesson or lecture when she was around Barbara. Helena wished that she would lighten up, to let her just learn things on her own but that was not Barbara's style. She was extremely moralistic and stuck to every aspect of the superhero code. A code that Helena scoffed at; at the best of times.

Today was not the day for a hangover. She knew Barbara would have something to say about sweeps the previous night. The lecture would begin with Barbara explaining why she and Dinah need to work together as a team and that she needs to accept Dinah as part of their trio. Helena rolled her eyes as she prepared herself for everything Barbara would have to say. They knew one another too well.

Helena stripped off her clothing and turned the hot water on in the shower. As she approached the tub, she momentarily glanced at herself in the full length mirror. What the??? She thought as she noticed something. Helena stepped closer to the mirror and examined her sleek frame. Her creamy flesh displayed several bruises and what appeared to be bites on her neck and shoulder.

The wounds were not dramatic however, she could not remember getting them. Did someone stay over here last night? She struggled to remember, once again berating herself for the loss of memory and control. Helena ran her fingers over her well-defined muscles, looking for more marks but came up empty. As she touched the ones on her neck, Helena flinched from the momentary discomfort. The wound still hurt. She shook her head in annoyance and climbed in the shower, allowing the hot water to cascade over her and wash the grime from the previous night, away.