Just another night with the boyfriend.
Or friend. Admirer. Partner. Whatever.
Question and Huntress had broken into an office-building, suspiciously surrounded by and filled with security guards – thankfully none of whom packed anything more threatening than a billy club. Either that, or they were really stupid.
Question had called it a "shadow operation"; it looked, walked, and quacked like an ad agency, but in an impenetrable bunker below the building was a secret Cadmus research facility.
Or something like that.
"So when are we going on a real date?" Huntress asked, taking down the guards with ease. They were all charging her like bulls, not even trying to coordinate or use anything more sophisticated than head-butting tactics. She didn't even need to use her crossbow. "You're lucky to even have me along on these little hit-and-runs, you know."
"Hardly," Question replied as he tapped away furiously at one of the cubicle's desktops. Good thing the aboveground system was linked to the Cadmus mainframe. "You're attracted by my eccentric charm."
Huntress smirked. There was no denying that.
When all the bulls were down and out, the gorgeous Italian slunk up behind the typist and whispered in his ear, "Finished."
The detective ejected his flashdrive and stood. Behind the faceless mask, his eyes flickered over Huntress' shoulder. "Not quite," he disagreed, and sent the monitor of the computer he'd been using flying into the face of one last, sneakier goon who had chosen that moment to come out of hiding. There was a wet crunch as the heavy plastic made contact with the grunt's nose, and he tripped with a surprised yelp of pain. "Now we are."
Huntress surveyed the piles of unconscious heaps of henchmen with a disinterested look before turning back to Question. She leaned into him. "Leaving the rest of our evening tantalizingly free," she purred suggestively, arching an eyebrow.
"You can't be serious," Question protested. He held up his enhanced Wayne Tech flashdrive. "Do you know how many terabytes of data I have here? I'll be busy processing for days, if not weeks."
Huntress glared. Unacceptable. The force of her scowl made him step back a pace. She snatched the flashdrive out of his fingers, passionate Italian eyes flashing dangerously.
Without even attempting to recover the drive, Question sighed, defeated. He wouldn't stand a chance against the superior fighter if it came to shows of force. "Dinner and a movie?" he suggested, shoulders sagging.
A grin played at the corners of Huntress' lips. "It's a start."
Question drove them in his classic blue Camaro back to Huntress' loft in Gotham City. She got out to shower and change, and he sped away to find food.
This was how their interactions had to be, for the time being. Huntress had yet to fully convince Question to reveal to her the face beneath his expressionless mask, and since they couldn't very well stroll into a restaurant to eat with one of them faceless, Question would drop his would-be sweetheart off at home so he could become Vic Sage in the privacy of the general and uninterested public.
He returned just as Helena Bertinelli, costume gone, stepped out of the shower. She answered his knock wrapped in a towel, wordlessly opening the door for him as she shook out her thick, glossy black hair. Turning, she smirked to herself as she sauntered back to her dresser. She knew Question's hidden eyes were following her every step.
He laid the to-go bags he'd been carrying on the counter. "Thai," he informed her, though Helena hadn't asked.
This particular loft didn't have a separate bedroom. The only closed-off area was the bathroom. Her home, like Helena and Huntress herself, hid nothing – everything was wide and open, laid out for all the world to see. It was the most attractive thing about her by far.
Or so Question had thought, until Helena let the towel drop to the floor so she could slip into a pajama set of purple silk.
Vic Sage the man gaped for a moment, eyes following the feminine contours of her body, but when she bent down to pull the small shorts on, Question the careful thinker turned away and busied himself with unpacking the food.
Helena joined him at the counter, smiling mischievously. She had done it all on purpose, of course. "Did you remember to stop at the movie store?" she asked casually. If he wouldn't react to her forwardness, then neither would she.
He reached silently into his trench coat and withdrew three DVD cases and laid them on the countertop for her to peruse. They were all vintage titles: Dracula, Bonnie and Clyde, and Sherlock Holmes.
"What do you want to watch?" he asked, voice too high. He mentally kicked himself, hoping the bella donna at his side hadn't noticed.
She hadn't. "We fight crime every day," she reasoned, automatically discarding Sherlock Holmes and Bonnie and Clyde. "How about Dracula?"
He didn't protest, and the two took their boxes of Thai over to the sectional sofa. With the lights out and the movie starting, Helena couldn't help staring at the lower half of Question's face, revealed with his mask rolled up so he could eat. His jaw was narrow but hard, with a strong chin and lips a little on the thin side. He didn't appear to have any facial hair, a trait that was pleasing to her. She didn't find beards or mustaches attractive.
"Hoping to divine my identity from my mouth?" Question asked, head turning towards his observer, chopsticks poised for another bite.
Helena put aside her own box and chopsticks. She leered shamelessly at him, closing the gap between them on the couch. "Maybe." Reaching up, she knocked the silly fedora off his head and pulled him over until their lips met. His were stiff but warm, and not unwilling when she slipped her tongue between them.
Just as Question was beginning to think that it wouldn't be so bad for his dark seductress to know the rest of his face, she pulled back, licking lips that curved into a mock-thoughtful smile. "Hmm," she thought aloud. "You don't taste like the guy down the hall. Or the waiter at that French restaurant. Or my old gym trainer. Or -"
"You're very amusing," he said, just barely gruffly, and returned to eating and watching Dracula being pawed by his three harpy-wives.
Helena snickered and shrugged. "Process of elimination, Q." She grabbed up her food again and settled right next to her austere guest, shoulder to shoulder, ignoring the rest of the expansive and empty couch. "I will find out who you are. Even if I have to make out with every man in Gotham to do it."
By the end of the movie, she was sound asleep, and Question spent the length of the credits trying to decide what to do about it.
The most obvious – and frankly most tempting – option was to stay and fall asleep with her on the couch. He was currently very comfortable – the sofa was high-quality plush, and the weight of the blanketed body leaning heavily against him was strangely soothing. But he had slept the night before, and he really couldn't allow himself the extra rest when he had so much work piled up back at his own apartment.
He could wake her up, but he really didn't know where she would try to go from there – if he'd learned anything from his past research and more recent observations, it was that Helena Bertinelli was dangerously unpredictable.
Undecided, Question glanced at his watch. Five past midnight.
After a few more minutes of deliberation, he carefully shifted himself out from under his slumbering hostess and, blanket and all, curled one arm beneath the crook of her knees and the other under her shoulders, and lifted her from the sofa. She was surprisingly light for such a strong fighter – not an ounce over one thirty-five. He added this to his mental file on her.
Moonlight and the glow from street lamps outside filtered through the loft's several floor-to-ceiling windows, and though within the apartment all the lights were off, it was still easy to see. He carried Helena to her very large and inviting bed, and when he shifted her weight to one arm and a bent knee so he could peel back the covers, she muttered and grabbed at his suit in her sleep. Question froze, wary of waking her, and waited until she quieted again before laying her gently in the center of her bed, slipping the blanket from around her and pulling the sheets up to her clavicle.
Question the impatient and curious data guy wanted to rifle through Huntress' utility belt lying on the bathroom floor for the hostage flashdrive, but Vic Sage the lonely, tired, and overworked man lingered beside the bed, looking down at the peaceful form of the woman he – his mind raced and heart fluttered to even think it to himself – loved.
In sleep, Helena had reached a level of stillness and quiet that the fiery Huntress could never achieve. Long raven hair fanned out across the pillows, and Vic listened to the almost-imperceptible sound of breathing swishing through the full, slightly parted lips, remembering a few weeks earlier when those lips had captured his under the separation of his mask, and just a while ago when she had touched his bare skin for the first time. She was so demanding in her want, so trusting in a man whose face she had never even seen. Her hunger, her faith, and her reckless abandon in pursuit of the two was utterly alien to him, both Vic Sage and Question, and at that moment he was overwhelmed with the desire to know what was going through her mind.
Just as Question's itch to get to work overpowered Vic Sage's longing for Helena, she sighed in her sleep. "Q..."
Halfway to the door, flashdrive recovered and in his pocket, Question came to a halt. He was suddenly warm, too warm for the suit and trench coat he always sported.
"Sleep, my Helena," he whispered despite himself, and the words were barely audible to his own ears. "I will see you soon."