There were scratches on her lock. Huntress knew lockpick marks when she saw them and these were made by a professional. She readied her crossbow and gave the door a gentle push; odd that someone would be careful enough to try and conceal that the lock had been picked yet leave the door ajar. She took a deep breath, held it, and listened.
Rustle of fabric, left of the bed and Huntress smiled. She had them. She slipped inside, then turned on her heel and leveled the crossbow where she heard the sound. Only an instant before she pulled the trigger did she recognize the Question, his hands up in surrender. "Don't shoot."
"Q!" She holstered the crossbow and whapped him on the shoulder, eliciting a surprised "Ow!" "Why do you keep breaking in? I gave you a key!"
He rubbed his shoulder. "That was almost six months ago. I assumed you would have changed the locks by now as a routine precaution."
Huntress sighed. "Of course."
"Warned you she'd come up weapons drawn," said a new voice, a woman's in the corner. She's dark-haired and familiar, though Huntress can't quite place her.
"Since when do you have an accomplice on your burglaries?"
Question shrugged his shoulders. "It's only burglary if I steal something. This is breaking and entering." Huntress rolled her eyes and glanced at the woman, who shook her head with a Hey, don't look at me expression. "Helena," he said---her eyebrows raised at hearing her civilian name---"I believe you've met Renee Montoya."
"Oh, right!" she said, the woman's face finally clicking in her memory. "You're GCPD! Bullock's partner!"
"Oh. Right." The scandal. "Sorry." She turned back to Question. "That doesn't explain why you brought her to my apartment."
"I wanted to make sure the two of you met. She's going to be taking over for me."
She quirked an eyebrow. "Taking over?"
"As the Question."
A pit formed deep in her stomach. "Why does someone...are you retiring?" Even as she said the words she knew that wasn't it.
A heartbeat passed before he answered. "I'm dying."
She felt like Batman had just punched her. "Dying? I...how?"
"Cancer." The stark way he said it was what convinced her it was true. No theory, no conspiracy, just that one horrible word. "The chemicals that make my mask function. They turned out to be more carcinogenic than I'd suspected."
She almost wanted to laugh. "Seriously? The expert on all the ways the government is giving us cancer and that's what gets you?"
He shrugged. "It's always the one you don't see coming."
She swallowed hard. "How long?"
"Six months. Maybe eight, with clean living."
Her legs were jelly. "Okay. Okay, we can take care of this. We know lots of people...."
"Zatanna! Zatanna can fix this! Or one of the other magic people...."
"Don't you think I've considered all that?"
Huntress felt the hope bleed out of her. Question routinely considered things that would never occur to sane people, of course he would have already looked into anything she could come up with. "Baby, you can't expect me to not do anything!" It was so much easier to be angry. "You just come here and drop this on me, and introduce me to your replacement like she's getting me in the will" --- Renee chuckled at that --- "and then tell me there's nothing I can do! There's always something....."
He grabbed her shoulders and kissed her through his mask, through the thing killing him from the inside. "Helena, please," he whispered, and she felt him shaking. "Please. That's not why I'm here."
She wanted to rage at him, scream and yell and throw things until she stopped feeling like a bag of broken glass.
She didn't have the time to waste. She grabbed him by his tie and pulled him on top of her, sliding her hands under his shirt. His practiced hands undid her top; she arched her back at the feel of his rough gloves on her breasts. She heard a gasp of admiration from Renee and looked at her; Renee lowered her eyes, blushing, and rose to leave.
She motioned her to stay. For some reason Q needed this. And if that was all she could do, then Huntress would make sure he got what he needed.