A Whole New World

Docwho2100 and ellie no name

FANDOM: Birds of Prey TV

PAIRING: Barbara/Helena - Dana/? (crossover with X-Files).


DISCLAIMER: Birds of Prey and all its characters still belong to DC Comics and Warner Brothers. Chris Carter and the crew own X-Files. No ill intent meant just bringing the characters further to life.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Character thoughts appear between ~ ~ symbols. Text quoted by Barbara from Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus

Consensual relationship depicted between adult women in this story. If you have a problem with that or are under 18 please do not read.

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ARCHIVING: DocWho2100's Page @ http://mywebpages.comcast.net/jstratton1/.

E-MAIL: docwho2000@hotmail.com.

Chapter 1

"Welcome To My Life" (Simple Plan)

Quantico Saturday Night, 11:00pm

Sighing the red-head took off her glasses and half-heartedly tossed them on the desk. She watched them land on the manila envelope that had been waiting for her when she got back to her office and was the cause, among other things, for the sigh. It'd been almost four months since the last envelope and she had just about forgotten what had happened as a result of the last one.

She stared at her small desk lamp, the only illumination on the office. She preferred the dim light as her eyes had been overtaxed during the last two hours from the harsh lights in the autopsy lab. She'd been so engrossed in detailing the new procedures and testing new equipment that her muscles' protests had gone unheard as her mind took over allowing her to continue on past normal limits.

Of course that meant now she was going to pay and she could feel her calf muscles along with her upper back and neck muscles almost shaking with tension and tautness from having been standing for so long not moving much except to retrieve an implement, make a change in the tape recording or lean further in to examine a detail.

Anyone who worked with her, especially the last four years knew this was her style. To throw herself into the case, autopsy, lecture, whatever might be the current focus always received the full 110% of her attention. Rarely did she let her mind or mannerisms waver or appear uncontrolled. She could not afford to as rumors and gossip still followed her as did that slight air of being a freak and being on the outside.

She tapped her fingers on the envelope at this thought as she realized those biting words and whispered conversations always would surround her. No matter how hard she tried, no matter what she did, no matter how many awards and special recognitions she had received in the last four years, she would always have that large X hanging over her head.

Scully peered at the clock and shook her head making a tsking noise at herself. She'd actually the last year or so come to accept the X, somewhat. She knew it would be there forever, even if her reputation managed to outrun it or somehow found a way to erase it from her record. Her own personal traits, character and mind would never shed what had happened to her. And frankly she was coming to a point where she actually did not mind that she could not climb out from under the shadow. Unsolved puzzles always did stimulate her imagination.

Her laughter rang through the office, "Good god I've become Mulder." As the words echoed and were swallowed by the stillness of the Bureau, she stopped her tapping finger when the enormity and truthfulness of those words hit her.

The FBI agent had changed Dana Scully; her beliefs, approach to life, even her physical chemisty, all had been touched deeply and permanently once she had been partnered with Mulder. Never could what she had gone through be redone, taken away or made 'better'. What did that mean anyway... made better.

At first, those first few years, she fought the changes. Dana had a clear sense of better and knew honestly that working on X-Files, with Fox Mulder was not better. It was so far from who she was at that point, the path she planned to travel and even what she was capable of at that juncture of her life.

But now... now she was a whole new woman. That fact was something she had slowly accepted. Along with the realization that alone, with out the X-Files she never would have gotten to the place she was today.

The X-Files had molded her, shaped her and very literally rebirthed her. She'd died, she was certain of that now. And although she didn't believe in reincarnation, she had been trained through her X-File experiences not to discount anything. She could not afford to waste any more time denying the existence of more than her mind understood, to continue trying to hide, run away or even rationalize things out. The agent had come to understand some truths would find a way to drag you down whether you were kicking and screaming or calmly watching the show as you went.

The key to remaining somewhat sane was saving your energy. Not fighting the inevitable, inevitable because as the song goes, nowhere to run to baby, nowhere to hide. She had learned through trial by fire, and trial by water, mutants, aliens, chemicals, you name it she'd gone through it, but Scully'd learned that energy could be better spent on finding the backdoor way out of the situation.

To not waste energy running from something that would grab you, use you and spit you back out but rather focus on keeping some semblance of sanity as the weirdness processed you, mutated you and then spit you out naked and bare in front of the world. That way you could find your feet at the end and walk away.

Sure you might be limping, crawling or the way her life had gone you might have an extra leg by the end. The secret was you were still moving. Might be in a different place, with a new mindset or even suddenly seeing the world for the first time, but you were still around to enjoy the fireworks. Seeing the world... She chuckled at that as she turned the envelope over seeing only a small X in the corner. Time dealing with the X-Files had given her a new vision. One might say an x-ray vision to the soul.

So now, almost four years after her last physical contact with her former partner, she found he still could get to her. She was sure if she checked the cameras, both the official FBI and the ones she had personally installed, the year Mulder disappeared had taught her a lot about surveillance and she now employed many non-traditional methods, there would be no indication of who had delivered the envelope. But the red-head knew and it still brought the ghost of a smile to her lips.

She pursed her lips at that thought as she realized she actually had come full circle in some ways. She still held tightly to her science, her medical profession, her determined thoroughness in attacking a problem, in finding an answer. But she had relaxed that scientific method and code quite a bit. She'd become the one to suggest a non-traditional, a not by the book, in fact so far away from the book you might as well use the book for something more useful, like wiping your butt, possible solution.

So yes, the last few years instead of running away from the X, she'd come to ignore it and carried on. The forensic specialist still felt the stares, the initiation of new agents that included a trip by her office or lab and the explanation that always had people making those quote marks in the air or doing the little finger spin around their temple, universal signals for something about Agent Scully was a little off kilter.

"And I am," she sighed out loud admitting that. As shocked as she'd been at her partner's unprofessional manners, and Mulder was very unprofessional, the woman realized how much she had become just like that which had at one time made her go to her superiors requesting transfer or at least public reprimands. But Scully was not Mulder. Although she continued his research she at least kept a firm sense of professionalism associated with her mannerisms, reports and cases. It kept her slightly ahead of the total joke game that had befallen Mulder.

That sense of authority that hugged her like a well worn mantle kept her in a regular office and lab and not some basement. And that sense of getting the job done and using the most efficient methods (although her superiors talked about the fact her efficient methods sometimes were not the most sane, expected or requested but they did get the job done) had brought her to the fork in the road that lay before her.

She'd been offered a promotion, of sorts. In one way it was a tip of the hat to her abilities and the fact she was not, well not officially, working on the X-files and bringing shame to the FBI name. But in another way she had a feeling it was a move to further isolate her, further bury the Bureau's dirty secrets. New administrations had come into the division in the last year and once again Operation Clean Slate was in effect. And this last offer seemed to be part of that ritual.

Sure being a Director was a promotion and for once it meant at least right above her on the chain she'd not have to answer to some one or explain her report no matter how meticulous she had been in preparing it.

But she'd started checking out the two offices she'd been given to choose from and as suspected the position was more a title to entice her to take the one way ticket to Obscurityville. Dr. Dana Scully, trained medical doctor and FBI agent, could spend her days in Siding, South Dakota over 300 miles from any town with a population of more than 200 or take the New Gotham office. An office that for some reason was harder to find out about than her former partner's X-files.

In fact from the small gossip and few reports she'd found she was beginning to think she should be researching New Gotham using the X-files. "Damned if I do..." she let the rest of the quote go, she knew she was dammed. Had been so many years ago when the words, "Your new partner, Fox Mulder," had echoed through the office.

Tucking the mysterious envelope in her briefcase along with a stack of other reports to be reviewed and finished up, Dana stood and switched off the desk lamp. She was tired, had been tired for quite awhile now. She picked up another folder and headed down the empty halls. She stopped and placed the folder with her acceptance of the Directorship for the New Gotham field office in her superior's bin.

With one last look at the folder, she headed out already thinking about packing and what she would need to do to clean out her office here. "Ready or not here I come." She sang out hoping this new direction would provide the change she needed to lift her spirits and her life from where it had fallen.

Chapter 2

"All That You Wanted" (Michelle Branch)

New Gotham, Saturday 11:00pm

Anyone observing the scene might think nothing too much was out of the ordinary. A lone woman sitting in front of a number of computer terminals seemingly watching as information scrolled across the screen. And for most people that activity with no other movement might have passed for normal.

But the fact Barbara Gordon had remained motionless for the last ten minutes just staring was not normal. Especially since her eyes were not moving either, were not focused on the screens but on an object on the top of one of the screens. She had missed two alarms and had just sat there. Her thoughts scrolling through her mind almost in sync with the information passing across her computer monitors.

Barbara Gordon was not prone to fits of listlessness. Yet her motivation to do nothing other than contemplate the small object on top of her monitor pronounced the fact she was just not feeling much like Oracle tonight. In fact it had been this way for the last three nights. And if she was honest the last year or so.

The only difference was tonight she was staring at something she had found an hour ago. She had, in a fit of restlessness, wheeled out to the balcony landing and had noted something in the shadows. Picking it up she realized it had not been there before. The item was dry even though it had been raining earlier in the evening.

This item, she reasoned, proved her growing suspicions and created almost more questions than it answered. The computer wiz had thought perhaps some evenings she was not alone. Some sixth sense assuring her for one little moment in time she was not the solitary computer genius monitoring New Gotham and the world from her confined world. Well physically confined, with the increases in technology she was finding herself able to open more doors then she would have been able to if... if he...

Her eyes dropped down suddenly as she gripped the handles of her chair tightly. An image of a green-haired man standing above her laughing as he pulled the trigger another time filled her world, swarmed her senses.

She gasped loudly, her heart rate and breathing pulsing in a non-synchronous beat that threatened to overload her sanity. This time it was taste. The taste of blood, the dusty dryness of gunpowder. Followed by a trace of garlic from her earlier meal, the bit of face paint smeared on her lips as he had leaned down and traced her lips, lips torqued in agony and confusion.

Every attack generated more than just memories or a dream or remembrance. These attacks actually brought her back to that horrible moment. The sensations were very real. If you could test for those sensations, taste, smell, sound, they would have come back positive. Somehow she was forced to relive those moments in exact replication. Barbara knew that sounded crazy. In fact, she was certain her sanity was being chipped away. But sensors she had set up a few months ago had registered some odd readings.

During one attack that involved smell, the odors she experienced yet again had been recorded by her device. If someone had been with Barbara, they would have smelled gunpowder, the decaying breath of the Joker as he reached in to trace the lips and then kiss them gently before leaving.

The readings had helped slightly. They had kept her from going completely over the brink but she knew it was still a balancing act. She continued fighting. Trying to heal her mind, spirit and soul hoping to appease whatever entity had started visiting her with these attacks. Even worse was the new set that had begun to alternate with the episodes from further in her past.

The ones of Helena and Harley and... No matter how hard she tried, she still suffered from these attacks and... and they had been getting worse.

She'd not told her father, Dinah, Helena or anyone that a side effect of the fallout from Harley's tricks and that night when everything had changed a few years ago for her, Helena and Dinah was the resurfacing of these mind attacks.

The attacks were becoming more crippling than the bullets that took her legs. This was because the attacks were slowly taking her mind. Panic attacks are commonly associated with many phobias, agoraphobia attacks for instance. It was cruel how much control the mind could hold over the body. But this was something more than a phobia.

Yes Barbara possessed some fear of the Joker, Harley and the fact she was at a disadvantage no matter how independent she had worked to become. But it had never been the fear of singularity focus that had become increasingly threatening.

A war waged between what common logic would show to be unfounded feelings and the fact that something was claiming her soul and spirit. She was being forced away from the present to cower in the past.

A war Barbara Gordon was losing. The attacks were mentally and physically trying. She found it harder to do some of her exercise routines. Her eating was worse and her general thought patterns more erratic. Signs she managed to hide and disguise from the others.

It helped that Dinah was away more and more and that Helena mentally seemed more and more distant. The slight notices the young woman would make and then question Barbara about were easily denied, turned away or explained. Barbara found it very easy to shift awareness from her to other things.

All her life she'd let others take credit, stayed out of the limelight and the eye of the public. Even before the Joker's great gag she'd often shied away from pomp and circumstance. The role of librarian and teacher even allowed for this dichotomy. There was the public interaction in the classroom but she did not have to work much with others outside of that atmosphere.

The attacks of late had given her more and more reason to make only a brief appearance at school functions. She kept other activities to a minimum as well. Such as being a consultant to the police department. A job she had taken only when her father had come close to guessing the attacks were back. He'd actually teamed up with Helena for a period of two weeks and managed to trap his daughter into accepting this duty.

So now once a week she met for a committee meeting to hear about all of the programs that existed outside of the normal routines. From basketball sponsored camps or Guardian Angel programs, to liaisons between different law enforcement units and modifications in computer technology to improve the rate of solved cases, she sat through the meetings.

She would attempt to appear interested. Occasionally latching onto a topic that did make for some thoughtful side conversation, she'd offer her one or two pertinent comments. Then the teacher would wheel herself away not going out to lunch with the others.

It was the feel of the object in her hand that brought her back from this last attack. The soft yet strong texture. She must have grabbed it during the attack from the top of the monitor where she had deposited it after finding it earlier.

She brought it to her nose and picked up the final piece of information she needed to confirm that there was indeed more to the shadows sometimes than darkness.

That frightened Barbara. Worried her and made her heart ache more than anything else in the world, even more than over the loss of her mobility. She knew that the owner of this object had become almost indistinguishable from the darkness her partner inhabited. And the English teacher was certain she had helped to push the woman into the darkness. She was sure that even now it was partially her doing that kept Helena trapped in the shadows.

"Voice activate, Gordon personal log - attack entry." She continued with the time and a very thorough description of the attack noting the sensation this time was taste and what she had experienced. Focused on the screen as the journal entry completed, she brushed awkwardly at the few tears slipping down her face, "Oh Helena I am so sorry, if I could change my..." She stopped then and hung her head for a moment composing herself.

As she finished she rubbed the piece of cloth across her cheek and then put it on the monitor. She turned to focus once more on the screen this time logging in the information as she forced her brain away from any more thoughts of her inadequacies and her desires. There was no place for that in her life now.

Engrossed in her work Barbara failed to note the owner of the cape that the piece of cloth had been torn from had come back. Had been once again immersed in the shadows in her customary position and had seen everything, the attack, the journal and the self-flagellation. The last an act she recognized very well as she practiced it on a daily basis as well.

Her face a passive mask, Huntress reached out a hand toward the woman in the wheelchair miming the motions of Barbara so she too could wipe the tears from the teacher's face. How she wished that she could actually do that activity, take the tears away for the red-head.

With a start Helena recognized the item in the woman's hand as Barbara placed it back on the monitor top. The meta-human tilted her head curious at the red-head's actions as her eyes sought and found the place the piece of cloth had been ripped from on her cape. Again transforming her mind and face into a neutral mask, the young woman turned and stepped to the edge.

Helena glanced backwards to rest her gaze deeply on the woman inside who had bent over the terminal. Her heart heavy, she jumped off and sailed into the darkness once more.

Chapter 3

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (Cyndi Lauper)

New Gotham, Sunday 12:00am

Rolling the paper carefully making sure none of the herb leaked out, the figure leaned up against the wall and lit the cigarette listening for signs of any unwelcome intruders. The unconscious man at her feet the only other occupant in the alleyway. She paced up and down restless as she worked through her smoke, the chemicals released from the special blend helping to reduce the pain, somewhat.

She had waited too long this time. She'd been so enjoying herself that she really had not wanted to go through the process quite yet. Since coming to New Gotham a few months ago she'd found her ability to last longer was getting better. And she so enjoyed the fun.

Sighing she came back to stand over the body and knelt down starting the ritual of going through the man's personal effects. They would need cash and of course he was hopefully carrying the next piece of the puzzle. Be a shame if she actually had goofed and hit the wrong man. She would never hear the end of it.

"I'm the brain, you're the brawn." She mimicked in a child's sing song voice. "Of course you are, that's why I keep you around." She retorted knowing that was the farthest thing from the truth.

She kept him around because she had to, her life depended on it. A snarl was ripped from her throat at that thought and the name of her captor followed quickly behind. Captor, lover, creator... all words she disdained and all the things she loved and worshiped. People joked about a love hate relationship usually in a metaphorical sense.

There was no metaphor here. Jem loved and hated equally the position she was in and the persons who had put her here, kept here, was always waiting for when she came crawling back to them. Love... hate... devotion... loathing... ah all the good things that make the world go round.

Realistically she knew she was a little cog in the big machine of life and in the big plans of her lover. Hell she personally preferred that, to run free and not be tied to thinking past basic needs. Well free as her lover defined it, on a very long lease was what Jem had come to find was the true reality.

She found the small leather journal in the man's inner coat pocket. As she opened the jacket and reached for the desired book, the man groaned and twitched some. Startled Jem shot straight up hovering about 15 feet off the ground as she curled into a defensive position. Trying to pull in her run-away heart, the woman watched the man on the ground as he slid back towards unconsciousness.

Lowering herself, the lithe woman hauled back with her booted foot and kicked the man in the temple hard. "Shithole scaring me like that." She watched the skin rip and the pressure cut start to bleed as the man's head drooped to the side. Her master had been very specific about retrieval and the needed item this time was in the chest cavity. Jem could do whatever she wanted to the rest of the body.

Leery, the blonde crouched down and quickly grabbed the book. Leafing through it she matched one of the drawings to a bigger schematic she had seen on one of the tables back at the lab verifying this was the next puzzle piece. Still paging through the book she grunted as most of it was in some foreign language, no wonder she had been trusted to bring this back and not stray. It was useless to her.

"But I'll soon know what it means, I will have to sit there and listen to the blah, blah, blah as they work. Always talking through things out loud, what a bitch to listen to." She said casually looking back down at the body. Jem often would strike up a conversation as she carried out the second part of her retrieval mission. For some reason she liked it when the other person could not talk back, could not interrupt, throw her off her groove. She'd hurt people in the past for just coughing and messing up her conversation.

The blonde did so like them subservient; of course she had to watch her tongue when she was in the presence of The Others. Jarold had not and now his tongue was in a jar for everyone to see. Her laugh rang out as she went over to the wall and picked up a small black bag.

The only down side was missing the screams as she went to work. But every job had its sticking points. She took out the medical kit and started going through the various blades and instruments as she knelt beside the man. Running her fingers up and down the white button-up shirt, Jem stared off into space recalling her precise instructions. Besides her ability to counteract gravity in a limited space around her, she also had been tweaked to have what had been dubbed 24 hour recall. Her mind was like a large memory dump.

Jarold had made her watch this Johnnie Mnemonic movie which had thrilled her and bored her, she had enjoyed watching the characters get beat up. At the end she'd finally pried a reason from him why she had been made to sit through the movie.

Her mind was a bit like the main character, only instead of a computer, she just had the ability to take in vast amounts of information and then regurgitate it back out exactly. Of course it had a habit of dissipating over time, a biochemical response to her metahuman metabolism or some shit, she hated the medical mumbo-jumbo crap.

"Whatever, let's just get this over with shall we, I want some pasta." With that she stared at the wall across the way a moment bringing to her mind's view the slides she had been shown and making note of the cuts she needed and what she was to bring back.

Whistling as she worked she ripped the man's shirt open and pulled out a tazer-like device sinking the leads into precise areas of the skin and turned on the machine. She smiled seeing the body start to twitch. She had no idea why this part worked and fucking did not care but the machine would basically keep the person sedated while she worked. Eventually blood loss and all that cutting would cause death, but stuff needed to be fresh so the process had been designed to keep the person alive as long as possible without pesky drugs.

Getting to work and glad she had decided to have her smoke first, human blood was not a favorite taste of hers and her hands were rapidly becoming slippery, she hurried through the initial incisions trying not to be too messy, she liked her outfit.

Pausing, the woman wondered what would happen if one time the person woke up. They always had to be careful as some metahumans were tricky to work with, they were never sure what some of their bodily limits really were. "Shit man can you imagine seeing like half your body parts spilled all over, what a trip." The thought distracted the woman as she let her mind wander pursuing just what it might feel like before a muscle twitch and groan from the body brought her back, the man had just died.

"Hey now, that is like so rude. Now I gotta hurry or I will get royally beat for bringing back spoiled goods." She made a face at the imaginary scolding. "Humans, always going too damn quickly, why can't I get more metas, have a little fun." She stabbed angrily up and down the man's arm with the scalpel as she spoke.

Bringing herself back under control, barely, she reviewed the procedure again using her vivid recall before plunging back in. "Besides with this job finished I get to ditch the pain for awhile, let Jarold have a turn at fun." Humming she focused on the body and her task.

Chapter 4

Feel (Robbie Williams)

New Gotham, Sunday 2:00am

"Sitting on the dock above this bay. I'm watching the idiots go sailing away."

"Ok, my altered lyrics leave a little to be desired, but can you blame me? It is a bit chilly and damp up here and the idiots down there are just now starting to mosey around the crime scene looking semi-interested." I start talking to the stone statue that is my partner on this ledge as we both peer down.

I already had sent in observations, gotten samples and let Oracle boss me around so she could observe the crime scene through her borrowed eyes and ears to the world, cue slow building crescendoing music... ta-da that'd be me the sidekick of the team.

Yes the sarcasm is being laid on just a little thick as I watch another squad car arrive and the investigation picks up speed. I chose this vantage point so I could hear and see everything. I'd gone comm silent after making my report, but I did want to see what the boys in blue would do and maybe just maybe they'd pick up something Barbara hadn't... although I doubted that.

We do make a pretty thorough team, or use to. The genius Oracle and the mighty Huntress prowling the night. Oh yeah mighty Huntress I like that. I decide to let loose a roar but at the last moment remember that there are people down below so I bite off the noise and it comes out strangled... Oh yeah baby, I am Huntress hear me...


Laughing I waver on the ledge. "Oh man that was a sorry excuse for a call of the wild... anyone hear that they'd tell me I need Viagra for my roar." Holding on to the stone statue for support I continue laughing. Have not laughed in awhile, feels strange, almost forbidden.

I try to keep the heady, light mood even though I am starting to hear the whispers of thoughts, the thoughts that have haunted me for the last two years.

"Yes Helena you need to practice your roar. We have a reputation to uphold." I have placed my hand in the customary sock puppet mimic pose creating the Oracle hand puppet.

Next I hold up my other hand creating the bitchin' Huntress hand puppet to reply and begin flapping my fingers together.

"Why Barbara do you think I would really go and dirty our good name?" I am trying for a southern belle accent, I think I am sounding like one of the Spice Girls with a cold.

"Of course not Huntress," My nifty Oracle hand replies and it would be tapping its cheek thoughtfully if it could. "But we must keep a stiff upper lip and always be diligent on the job."

"Diligent," the Huntress puppet bats its eyelashes. "Why Oracle, sweetness, modesty, diligence and stick-to-it-tiveness are my middle name. Not to mention the fact that you can always count on me, what ever word describes that characteristic."

Hell of a long middle name and one that is so far from the truth... I drop my hands as my spirits plummet to the concrete below.

I rub my hands suddenly, taking away the last traces of my attempt at humor and force myself to not think instead watching as finally the Coroner has arrived.

"Another Dissection Killer victim."

"Yeah, sucks to be him."

I shake my head wondering once again at the selection methods for the NGPD as I continue listening to the conversation as it rolls along at about the same pace and level. Bobby brings out his tools after walking around the scene and gets ready to do his thing, make his report and leave.

That's what I should be doing, leaving. Why I am sticking around... especially after what I saw... what I saw earlier... actually maybe that's why I am here instead of... instead of where Helena? Instead of where I normally sit watching her.

I whack hard at the stone statue. Oops... hey it still looks good without that ear. Ears are highly overrated...

Fuck it... stupid statue, stupid crime scene, stupid mood, stupid Barb... I reign in that last thought, never would I think she was... I should... should watch my impulses.

Isn't that what she is always lecturing me on? Control, mind on the mission... shit here comes that sarcasm again.

"Hey this is the sloppy side of the killer. You think it is two different people or something?"


"No shit Sherlock, Barbara had that figured out by the third body you bozos." My face is pulling down... Barbara always figures shit out, so why can't she figure this... us... me...

I gotta move, standing I start pacing the ledge still keeping an ear out below. I think I'll go, I never learn much from this part of the investigation and Barbara always hacks in and pulls out their reports anyway.

I am about to leap when I hear it, the CD Bobby has chosen and I am frozen, all of the will, blood, motivation drained from me by the strands of the song. Bobby always likes to play music as he plays at being the Coroner and tonight's choice hits me hard.

No, no, no, no... I can't breath, stop associating Helena, just walk away. Isn't that what Barbara thinks about you - that you are so good at walking away - here show her another fine demonstration of your abilities to walk, no run away as she has accused in the past and probably will in the future, especially that one look, the look that says you failed Helena and I failed you Helena.

I continue to beat up on myself as I walk... back to the ledge as the song begins

Come and hold my hand
I wanna contact the living
Not sure I understand
This role I've been given
I sit and talk to God
And he just laughs at my plans
My head speaks a language
I don't understand

I don't anymore, understand myself that is. I think that is why the darkness is so inviting. Darkness hides a lot of shit. Takes away the need to focus on making out details, understanding why I am here and what I should be doing.

I just wanna feel
Real love feel the home that I live in
Cos I got too much life
Running through my veins
Going to waste
I don't wanna die
But I ain't keen on living either
Before I fall in love
I'm preparing to leave her

Oops there went the other ear... a casualty to my anger which is a direct result of the fact I am..... leaving her that is. Been doing that slowly and painfully.... is there any other way?

But been doing that the last two years and baby I am almost out the door. Almost... just need the courage... yeah imagine that the mighty Huntress...

Scare myself to death
That's why I keep on running
Before I've arrived
I can see myself coming
I just wanna feel
Real love feel the home that I live in

I can't touch her, hold her or let myself believe she'd want me to... Robbie I think your song got that part wrong. Why even fool myself into thinking we could be toget... so much time has passed and nothing from her, no indication... just the frustrating looks, the pain, the irritation...

If home is where the heart is... well I must be homeless.

Cos I got too much life
Running through my veins
Going to waste
And I need to feel
Real love and the love ever after
I can not get enough

"Looks like the perp made a right mess this time, what were they doing to the arm, tapping out Morse code?"

"Don't know or really care Jonny." I hear Bobby reply.

Can I have some of that don't care attitude Bobby? Can you just pull the plug for me? See I want to die. Well not really, suicide is something for cowards and I'm not a coward. Well I use to believe that. But I just... feels like someone put me on life support a while ago and it's just letting me limp along. I gotta pull the plug, can't take this coma like existence anymore... it hurts too damn bad...

I just wanna feel
Real love feel the home that I live in
I got too much love
Running through my veins
To go to waste

See that's the problem, I keep pushing myself, going back and drinking up that life support trying to hang on and for what? So I can keep fucking things up? Keep having her fuck things up? I can feel something alright, every time another piece gets ripped away. I thought you were supposed to go all numb after awhile? I want my numbness damn it, I deserve it. Just let me fight and prowl and...

I just wanna feel
Real love and the love ever after
There's a hole in my soul
You can see it in my face
It's a real big place

"You missed something Mr. Coroner" I want to call down as he overlooks the placement of the body parts. That was something Barbara made her go over three times. Good ole Oracle always catching things.

So how'd she miss that big old hole I have? The one that was ripped out by Harley and then made bigger by the way Barbara reacted and just keeps growing like one of those damn black holes Dinah did a report on last year.

Robbie babe you wanna talk big holes and places in your song, try walking around my shadows for awhile. Amazing what a little chip here, a little yank there, a carefully constructed conversation meant to tear down love and build up walls can do.

I've become the master of my fragmenting domain. And you know, I have this bad feeling Babs has too. Damn we team coordinate being nut cases too, yeah we make a great team.

Come and hold my hand
I wanna contact the living
Not sure I understand
This role I've been given
Not sure I understand
Not sure I understand
Not sure I understand
Not sure I understand

No that's the only damn thing I am sure of, I do understand. Understand that life is a bowl of muck and I am just one of the poor saps diving in day after day. Like I'm really going to find a hand to help me out, hold onto a hand that can unplug the damn life support that is doing nothing more than keeping me chained to the darkness. Latch onto a hand that can pull me to a place I can see something else, to help me contact...

It hurts so bad and I understand why, because its suppose to.

Chapter 5

Missing Person (Michael W. Smith)

Somewhere between Virginia and New Gotham
Monday 4pm

She heard the person next to her sigh and shift some in the seat. Turning her head slightly and pausing her typing she could see that the man appeared to be sleeping and was dreaming or something.

Pushing her glasses back up her nose, she scooted a little in her seat and tried to focus back on the screen. She was currently going back and forth between two documents, one a final report typing up all cases and projects she had been working through and the other a review of what had been the previous New Gotham Director's final report.

She scratched idly at her brow then as she thought about that final report and the little she had learned about the previous Director. It seems a case he had been working on had become too personal, or at least that is what the reports indicated. A lot of the file had been blacked out or removed for only very high level clearance. Something that puzzled her to no end as the case had seemed to be very run of the mill.

Some company in New Gotham was bringing in illegal goods from overseas and using New Gotham as a distribution point. A simple smuggling case that barely registered most times on the FBI list of cases. Usually unless drugs, a prominent criminal or a very large amount of product was in question the case was left to local officials and monitored on a need to know basis.

More curious was the fact the Director was now in some place called Arkham Asylum, the other field agent reassigned to out West somewhere and up for early retirement and even the office staff member was now working somewhere else. "No escaping it is there Mulder?" She said softly still staring at the screen.

"Huh, wha?" a raspy voice said from the seat next to her drawing Scully's gaze. She watched as the older man blinked rapidly and wiped at his face as he pushed up.

"Oh, sorry I did not mean to..."

She was cut off by a smile and a raised hand, "Actually glad you did interrupt that little session. I hate that one in particular." He grimaced and turned to the aisle to flag a flight attendant down cutting off any response Scully might have offered. Not that she would have, she had plenty to keep her curiosity busy without prying into some stranger's life.

That was more Mulder's style.

"Mulder's style," she murmured looking at her computer. She then turned and looked out the window.

Maybe... this was a new path in her life, a totally new direction and start in a way.

Maybe... maybe she should try... try to do things just a little different. Be something a little more than the person and walls she had hidden behind the last three years, the walls that kept her from getting hurt by keeping everything and everyone out.

That was something Mulder had taught her, a different, more personal approach to the job and to life in general. The X-files was not just about freaks and mystery and darkness, it was that whole thinking outside the box mentality. Of course Mulder didn't think outside the box. He took the box and smashed it, using the pieces to build a whole new box.

"Maybe I should try a little smashing myself, even the Berlin Wall fell in time..." She let loose a small laugh and turned back to her screen trying to read through the report.

"And it started with just one small chink, one small hammer tap." The voice startled her and she turned to see the man smiling while sipping from his plastic glass of soda. "Sorry, you keep mumbling and it is hard not to listen, we are kinda forced into close quarters here." He waved his hands around the cabin and chuckled. "Good thing I used the extra-strength deodorant this morning."

"We are aren't we? And yes, I thank you as does the rest of plane for your thoughtfulness." She could not help but smile at his cheery manner.

"I'll not keep you from your work," He pointed a finger at the computer screen. "Besides I am always being told my comments are rather..," He paused, "Well either not as funny as I think they are or are, how does she say, so far in left field I am two fields over... or is it lanes?" He bunched up his brows, "I am afraid I am not much into sports so the sayings tend to be totally lost on me." He held up his hand in a helpless gesture as Scully's smile widened.

"Baseball and it is left field," she said keying in the command for save. "And I think I need to take a break from this. I will have all day tomorrow and the next and probably the evening. Might as well give myself some time off. Besides I think we will be touching down soon."

"Ah home sweet home." He said fondly before taking another drink of his soda and clearing his throat, "Darn cold. Although I am not contagious, I was cleared before getting on the plane. Cross my heart."

"No worries, there are so many germs on say the food stuffs and even the items such as the towels in the bathroom that even if your cold was in the first stages I am sure I'd stand an equal chance catching something from drying my hands using one of those towels as I would sitting here next to you." Scully paused. "Yes well, so, not to worry." She finished feeling a little foolish at having gone on.

His laugh was warm and friendly, "I won't then, worry that is. Well about infecting you. Now using those towels..." He broke off and smiled before finishing his drink.

"Well one of the first things I always covered with new agents was the hidden places germs live. Mulder always teased me about using some 70s school health movie to scare the rookies." Dana stopped thinking about those many conversations she and Mulder had during stakeouts or other down periods and wait times. She'd kept a fairly reserved attitude on the exterior but she always enjoyed those conversations, no matter how disturbing sometimes Mulder's psyche and thoughts seemed.

The older man nodded, "Pardon my prying but are you a teacher then or a doctor, Doctor.. um, Ms...?" He was curious about a couple of references the red-head had made in her last statement.

"Dana Scully and oh, well, I have taught. Probably not quite the same image as a teacher." She hesitated not sure how much she really wanted to reveal about herself. "I, I would teach medicine and forensics for new agents at Quantico sometimes. Plus I would instruct the new hires that were placed in my lab."

"Well you answered a few of my puzzles. You are a doctor then? And you must be a good one for the FBI to bring you in. They usually keep most jobs internally." He said staring past Scully out the small window as he plowed through his thoughts.

"Well yes," Scully replied not confirming or denying any of the information even though parts of his statement were not quite right. She really had wanted to keep a low profile. "And if I may return the favor and ask..."

He nodded as if expecting her question, "Of course...". He held out his hand again as was the proper and gentlemanly thing to do when introducing oneself to someone, especially an incredibly good-looking and obviously classy lady. "Jim Gorden. I'm,"

"The former Commissioner of New Gotham Police Department and now consultant and Director of Special Programs and Liaison for Global Affairs" Dana murmured the impressive title, her mind snapping back to the little she had been reading since hearing about the possibility of a new position in the city. She had to smile at her reading.

When most people were thinking about moving to a new place they would tend to research things like neighborhoods to live, employment, census type statistics, where to walk and not walk, the best rib-joint, normal life things people cared about.

Dana researched the medical facilities, research centers and the law enforcement structure. In fact she still was working through that, it would be awhile before she got to the other. She could suddenly almost feel Mulder nudging her and shaking his head. "Try something different," leaking from his lips.

"Very nice to meet you, don't supposed you know the location of a good place to get ribs?" She could hear Mulder's laugh as she had dared to ask that ~different enough for you Mulder?~ she thought and had to laugh at the puzzled expression on the older man's face.

"I must say Dr. Scully that your last two statements have me at a distinct disadvantage and have made a normally reserved and quiet man even more quiet and speechless."

He smiled a little and chuckled, "You remind me of another red-head who tends to catch me totally off-guard with the odd divergence in conversations. What is it about red-heads that demands one keep on one's toes when trying to have a conversation?" He enjoyed a deeper laugh seeing Scully blush.

"I'm sorry, just a new place and trying to follow the advice of a friend and be a little more, well I guess you could say normal and not so focused on my work and..." She trailed off.

"And being a doctor or teacher focused on the problem at hand and letting the world slip by?" He interjected to fill the silence. He saw Dana's face pull down and knew he had hit at least one of the thoughts in her mind directly.

"Again, I have had a little practice with your," He paused and seemed to blush a little himself, "Shall we say approach to life. I have seen it in action first hand with my daughter." He turned then and went to sip from his glass trying to get a little bit of the melted ice water to break his thoughts which had suddenly turned down as he thought about what Barbara had become in the last year or so and how he missed his daughter and wondered idly if he'd ever really see her again.

He'd lost part of her so many years ago as he was focused on his job and trying to save the city. The arrival of new players such as Batman and his associates had made his life complicated and he'd let his daughter slip away some then. He knew something had happened to her those years, the change had been noticeable, but he kept quiet.

The confidence, grace, poise and criminal law knowledge that she seemed to acquire during that time supported his idea that she was doing something more than pushing books at the local library. He'd been a proud man to see his daughter grow up and always wondered what or who he should thank for that. Some part of this crazy world had accepted and been accepted by his Barbara.

Then his world had crashed hard and fast into a brick wall erected from a single night and action performed by a man, no a demon. He had to twist those thoughts and part of his life into a dark corner of his mind. Because if he let that demon out, really let himself feel, he knew he'd do something that would be counter to every other thing that Jim Gordon believed in, fought for and was proud to hear his daughter had adopted the same code. How could he be a good father if he did not practice what he preached?

Although there was the whole twisting, torturing, knife in his gut that daily he pushed on keeping the pain in the background, how was he a good father indeed...

He let the man that had destroyed his daughter's life, destroyed because of his choices, not hers, live and enjoy some semblance of life. He set his glass down bitterly knowing in a way Barbara was more caged than the Joker. That demon had put his daughter into a cell even worse than the one the Joker now occupied.

So how could he be a good father letting something like that happen to his daughter.

And now, with the events and fallout from Harley, it was as if it was happening all over again. Just as he had watched his daughter build up and gain confidence all those years again, now it was like someone had put the movie in reverse. He was watching his daughter slide down that mountain she had so gloriously conquered so long ago.

His daughter was slipping away from him even more and being conquered by the fears, frustrations, disappointments and pain he thought she had left behind. She was a good one at hiding, but recently he had started getting better at seeking.

He had to be better. He knew if something did not upset their world, did not disrupt the course his daughter and those around her were on, then soon there would be nothing left for him to find. Status quo in the Gordon household had become a bitter pill and one he wished they could stop.

He felt his eye starting to moisten slightly as the thought of losing his daughter bubbled up and once again it would be to that demon and his bitch. Fuck it fathers should be protectors from, not contributors to, the bad things that their sons and daughters had to wade through.

A gentle hand on his arm caught him off guard and he jumped looking at the concerned woman whose hand was just resting on his arm. "Mr. Gorden, are you alright?" Her voice was quiet but the concern and caring came through comforting immediately the police officer.

"Thank you," he said, his voice gravelly as it was still thick with emotion. He cleared his throat and looked at his empty glass. "I've been away for a long time, too long." He said softly referring both to the fact he had been away for three months overseeing the development of a special forces unit in another precinct and that in a way he'd been away since that night.

"Than coming home should be all the more heartening. Yes?" She quizzed not sure what had happened to totally change the demeanor of her seat mate in such a short span of time. But something had happened, she could read the sorrow in the lines etching his face.

Flinching then, Gordon was once again amazed and startled as for a moment the look on her face and tone in her voice caused him to see not Dana Scully but Barbara Gordon sitting next to him. He smiled then knowing his daughter would have displayed the same concern and compassion that flowed from this woman. He was glad to be coming back to New Gotham and he could tell the woman next to him was genuinely concerned. He also caught something else. A glimmer in her green eyes that reminded him of another woman's eyes, his Barbara's.

"You understand don't you?" He whispered somehow knowing what he was about to say was true. "You've been through great pain too, lost something and someone. Watched as they fell further and further away and been trapped in your own circumstances, forced to become a different person and trying to cope with who you are now and what you were then."

It was Scully's turn to start, she gasped a little overwhelmed by his statement more because it hit so close to home than by the fact a complete stranger had the audacity to assume something that intimate about her. She started to withdraw her hand and felt a warm, calloused hand close over hers.

"I'm sorry, you just remind me... you seem so much like her. Not that I'd wish for anyone to feel as she does. You just understood me so well and, I'm sorry." He turned then releasing her hand and halted any reply Dana was going to make as he flagged a passing flight attendant requesting another drink. He looked at Dana and she nodded she too would like one as her throat had gotten very dry as well.

"Her, your daughter?" Scully pried a little after a long silence. She was still trying to recover from his earlier words; they had been like a warm glove of understanding and a cold slap of reality both hitting her hard. Trying to slip back into a little more professional zone might help still her thoughts before they consumed her. That was what those endless nights staring at the ceiling lying in bed were for. Plenty of time to berate her self, reexamine how things should have, might have, why the fuck didn't they play out.

He just nodded not trusting his voice until he could drink something.

"Well she must be extra special because I can tell you love her. Does she live in New Gotham?"

He finally had his drink and watched as the flight attendant handed Scully hers. Draining about half the glass he cleared his throat before replying, "Yes, one of the reasons I keep coming back here I suppose." He tried to smile then sensing the woman next to him needed a topic change or else she might lose her emotional foothold as well. "And thank you."

She looked puzzled as she sipped her drink.

"For the topic change, I think we both are right now to near the edge of that emotional ledge and almost did a fine thing in pushing each other over. So I'll offer my hand." He actually stuck out his hand and was warmed when the woman smiled and nodding took his hand. "And we can now reverse what we did and pull each other back. At least back to our precarious balance." He smiled hopeful.

"I think that is a very good thing." She replied her voice still a little lower and tinged with the traces of emotional overload.

"Precarious," he suddenly laughed a little. "If my daughter was listening she'd either be impressed or telling me how wrong my word usage was." He saw Scully's unasked question and continued. "She teaches English at the local high school."

Nodding Scully smiled a few of the remarks and observations the man had made clicking into place. "Well they must be lucky students, or at least they'll realize how lucky they are in a few years. I seem to remember not appreciating my teachers until after I had graduated and finished the appropriate number of grumbling hours."

The both laughed at that. Jim then held up his glass as if to toast. Catching his gesture, Scully lifted hers. "To underappreciated teachers, doctors and..."

"And law enforcement officials and fathers." Scully finished and was rewarded with a warm smile and nod from the man as they clicked their glasses.

Seeing the seat belt sign come on and hearing the announcement they had reached New Gotham airspace, Jim finished his drink and turned to Scully. "It was a pleasure to meet you." He thought a moment and then retrieved his wallet and handed the woman a business card. "Please give me a call anytime. At very least let me make an offer to a new arrival to New Gotham." He said an idea forming in his head.

She took the card and stowed it in her bag as she was securing her laptop. Taking one of her cards out, she had added her new number and information on back as a temporary solution until she could get some new ones printed, she handed it over deciding suddenly she did not mind letting him know why she was coming to New Gotham.

It was always good to have contacts in the different agencies, she had a feeling New Gotham would spit things at her that would force her to look to others for help. She bit her lip some realizing yet again just how alone she was and how isolated she was going to be taking this new job.

"You asked about, I believe it was a rib joint." He chuckled hoping to draw her back from the place he could see she had started going again. "Maybe we can extend the arm of hospitality and show you New Gotham properly." He was about to put the card up but stopped to read it and felt his eyebrows arch as he read the handwritten information first and then flipped it over taking in that information.

"We?" She asked noting his reaction. She held back a sigh knowing this would not be the first nor last time someone found it hard to believe what she did for a living.

"Well forgive an old man for wanting to create a stir but I was thinking if I showed up around town with two red-heads I might get a little respect and stir up some jealous feelings among my co-workers." He teased lightly thinking maybe it would be good to get his daughter out and he could use this as an excuse, tell Barbara it was public relations considering why this woman was coming to New Gotham.

"And wow, welcome to New Gotham Agent..." he flipped the card, "No, sorry Director Scully." He barked out a laugh seeing her make a face. "I hate titles too, always flinched when I heard Lieutenant, Director, and then the dreaded Commissioner. Of course the new title they have sic'ed on me is even worse."

"Hmm, why do I get the feeling I am being used here." She remarked a double meaning to her words as she knew the superficial interpretation would be directed at the statement of an old man with two women but suspecting his offer had a lot to do with his daughter and possibly pulling her out as much as being a nice gesture. "And perhaps we can forgo the titles, at least when not interacting on a professional level."

"I think I can easily leave the titles behind and I am glad you are not too concerned with titles either." He expressed his honest thoughts his first impression of this woman a very favorable one. He was glad she was not another stiff suit or stuck-up pretentious official. New Gotham needed people who cared, it still was a city in need of saving and people like Dana Scully was a step in the right direction.

Feeling the landing gear drop down, he smiled once more at Scully and then relaxed back into his seat. She had mentioned being glad to be home and Jim Gordon realized he was. He had some things to do, events to set in motion based on meetings that had occurred over the last few months, but they could wait. For now he would just sit back and be happy he was home.

Chapter 6

Black Velvet (Alannah Myles)

New Gotham, Dark Horse Bar
Tuesday 11:00pm

Turning off the headlights, she let the car settle while gazing at the building in front of her. Watching as people entered and left the establishment, Scully noted their general attire and appearance trying to gauge the atmosphere of the place she was about to enter.

"Guess your description, albeit brief, was not too off Sam." She muttered.

The Dark Horse appeared to be a typical bar and club. Of course she was still trying to figure out what New Gotham citizens meant by typical. The fact she was at a bar, doing business, at night, signaled that typical might have a slightly different definition within New Gotham town borders.

The agent was still having trouble with the concept that the head of the NGPD Night Division was located within the club and that was a very normal place to find him. She frowned at this thought. Mixing business with pleasure, especially the type of pleasure that most likely went on inside seemed wrong to Scully.

She was here to conduct an investigation and to make an impression. The new Director knew as she got out of the car that being one of the good ole boys was not the impression she would probably leave. Cold Ass Bitch swam to the surface of her mind, a title she'd earned last year. A title she had overheard passed back and forth in the coffee room when her presence was not noticed. Or maybe it had, agent Taccteno was a bit of a loudmouth and bigot.

She smiled as she pulled down her dark blue blazer and silk blouse before running a hand through her hair, glad it was short. She had heard worse than that during her academy training and even back home growing up. High school was not the kindest place to Dana Scully.

This visit tonight was important, her first official act as the Director. She'd been learning in the last day or so since landing in New Gotham that the FBI office here was treated as a joke among other law enforcement agencies. This meant the departments rarely if ever worked in tandem or even veiled cooperation on cases.

And then there were the reports of vigilante and avenging angel activity; all leading to create a fragmented approach to law enforcement and protection. "So basically the overall shape and effectiveness of the FBI field office looks only slightly better than something a cat might hack up after a long day." She muttered moving toward the front door. "Three cases..." That was the number of solved cases the FBI office had reported in the last seven years while going through six directors in that same time.

Obscurityville was actually to tame a classification for this job Scully was coming to realize. Dana was sure now she had been sentenced to Dante's ninth level of hell. What had she done to deserve this twist in her life?

"Okay, introduce yourself, get the files and go." She repeated her simple game plan out loud to calm her nerves. Schooling her actions, she pulled into place the neutral, professional attitude. In an oft-practiced move, she felt for her gun under her blazer and headed into the Dark Horse.

Helena was observing. She had decided to so something owner-like and evaluate her employees. They had laughed at the semblance of a staff meeting she had held. Pouting, Helena had pushed ahead even having Barbara print up an official form for her to use. The look on Babs face as the brunette made her request had been a thing of beauty.

Now the bar owner was sitting at the bar fending off another semi-drunk advance from Lieutenant McDonald and his partner Detective Michelletia. She usually did not mind the fact that various cops and other officials rotated through her doors, she just didn't appreciate being bothered tonight. Helena had an important task to complete. She was going to pretend she was just a normal business owner doing normal business owner things.

Luckily their focus was shifted to another patron and Hel was able to retreat to the end of the bar counter putting a few empty seats in between her and the duo. Shifting her position quickly, her mind locked into watching the lieutenant make an ass of himself, she overcompensated. The normally balanced Helena missed the stool completely.

Surprise flooded her system as her reflexes stuttered and seemed to fail. So sure her butt was going to hit the floor, she gasped as she felt something catch her fall helping her keep her balance.

~Not what, who.~ She amended. "Hey thanks for saving my ass, literally." Hel said putting a little sass in her voice as her eyes roamed, no, raked over her savior.

Dana kept her face neutral picking up on the fact she was being checked out. Releasing her hold on Hel's arm she nodded stiffly, "Might want to consider water for your next order." She said curtly then moved to an empty space at the counter.

Helena opened and then closed her mouth as the woman had managed to make her attempt at humor seem foolish and school-girlish with just a few simple words. She tapped Scully's shoulder before the FBI agent could get the bartender's attention.

"Hey, I was trying to say thank you not sign up for the 'holier-than-thou' lecture series."

Raising an eyebrow, Dana pursed her lips slightly. "Your thanks is noted. It is curious that you felt that was what I was trying to do. Something on your mind you feel guilty about?" Turning then Dana tried waving at the bartender.

She felt a tapping on her shoulder again and turned back, "Yes?"

"Who gave you the right to go Dear Abby on me?"

"I'm what?" Dana turned fully to face the woman finally taking in her appearance for the first time. She noted the tight black leather pants. Her eyes lingered for a long moment on the bare midriff. Her gaze traveled higher taking in Hel's dark purple, sleeveless, silk blouse that seemed to form fit the woman accentuating every curve and toned muscle.

Moving her eyes back to the woman's face, Scully just caught the beginning of a smirk before the brunette caught herself and let her face fall back into a mask of indignation.

"You're staring." Helena said smugly.

Non-plused, Dana jumped slightly at that idea and started telling herself she was just assessing the woman to make sure the scene was secure. Taking a deep breath, Scully decided to forgo a retort and turned back to the counter. Her body relaxed slightly as she caught the attention of a bartender at the other end of the counter.

The familiar tap on the shoulder caused the agent to close her eyes as 'persistent little booger' floated through her mind. Not facing the woman, she tried to mentally will the bartender to move faster as she began tapping her fingers on the countertop.

"It's considered rude to ignore someone when they are trying to get your attention. Some people might take offense." A voice purred low in Dana's ear. The warm breath tickling her lobe as the seductive tone bore past her brain and tickled straight to her center.

Only years of training kept Dana from turning and lashing out at the owner of the voice. She made a face though knowing she had flinched having not expected the action. It took all of her control and past experience staring down the unusual suspect or stuffy FBI superior to not move. She managed not to turn or rise to the challenge thus playing straight into the woman's hands.

"Good thing for you I don't take offense easily then, isn't it?" Dana finally replied her tone lower and slower as well but tinged with an air of superiority instead of sex; the feel of an adult talking to a small child.

Stevie came over then laughing at the sight of this stranger looking his way as his boss was practically draped over the stranger's shoulder. Hel's mouth centimeters from the red-head's ear, the bartender half expected Hel to lean in and start nibbling or more as she teased.

The tone and controlled manner of the other woman impressed Stevie. Most given the Helena treatment by now would have fled, been appalled or turned sucking tongue with the brunette. He'd not seen many that could hold their own with Helena.

"Did you need something?" He asked trying to keep from smirking.

"I'm looking for Lieutenant McDonald. He is expecting me." She replied trying to ignore the sounds coming from over her shoulder. She stilled her body telling herself she had imagined the casual brush of a body against her back and leg.

Helena's mood soured drastically hearing the request. Moving back to her stool, Helena warily watched Scully. What would a classy, professional woman like her want with a low-brow cop?

Smiling at the space she felt as the other woman retreated, Scully tried to pull her mind back to being in control. Somehow the brief encounter had thrown the normally reserved agent into a slight tailspin. Pulling down on her blazer and blouse, Dana stood up straight as she watched the bartender speaking to a man and woman a few stools down.

Pulling out her ID badge, she waited for the two to come to her. Smiling she watched the officers lean close to begin talking rapidly while looking her way; they were surprised. As they continued looking, Scully remained in her spot having no intention of going to them. She wanted to control the meeting as much as possible.

"Nice move," Helena admitted to herself watching the little power play taking place. She watched the lieutenant say something to Stevie who shrugged and then began pouring a shot. Stevie then brought the glass down to Scully, "From the Lieutenant."

Helena could smell the drink and had seen the bottle; this was the best stuff they had in the place, which meant top line.

"I'm on duty." Dana said crisply. "May I suggest you," Dana paused and smiled as a Mulder idea crossed her mind and she decided to try his more relaxed approach this time. "Send it to the lady at the end of the bar." She pointed at Helena. "It is a shame to waste a fine drink. And I do owe her an apology for my earlier," Dana paused a slight edge creeping back in her voice... ~not too relaxed Dana...~ "Rudeness."

With that she nodded at Helena and then turned back to wait for the lieutenant.

Frowning at the turn of events, the two cops finally got off the stools and headed towards Dana. Helena waited and raised her glass when Dana glanced her way. She mouthed the word classy and was treated to the smallest of smiles from Dana before the red-head's face slipped back into her professional mask.

"How may I help you?" The detective's voice brought Dana fully back from Hel's sharp gaze.

"Agent Scully, FBI. I am the new Director." She offered her badge to the man, her tone crisp with authority.

FBI? Director? Helena's eyebrow's shot up as high as they could go mirroring the surprise of all listening in the bar.

"FBI? Riiiggghhhtttt. And I am the head of the tooth fairy division." He sneered sarcastically.

"Funny, I thought you were head of the NGPD night crime unit. My mistake." With that Dana turned her back on the man keeping her face blank. "Enjoying the drink?" She asked casually noting the woman's eyes trained on the show. ~Hope everyone else is enjoying this, I'm not...~

Smirking, Helena raised the glass and tossed back the rest of the contents as Dana felt a finger tapping her shoulder. "Seems like New Gotham citizens have a thing for tapping on shoulders." She remarked turning to face the lieutenant, "Yes?"

He handed her ID back, "Agent." He bit down hard on the word, "Scully. I was expecting..."

"A man? Someone a little more lax in protocol?" She finished his sentence. "You are not the first to make that assumption and I suspect not the last. Now I believe you have some files for me?"

Grinding his teeth, the man felt his partner's hand on his arm stilling any retorts he had planned on making. His hopes of keeping the Feds out of the Dissection Killer case, and his department in general, evaporated. Grudgingly he took the folders from his partner and handed them over.

Sensing no or little help would come, at least for now, from the officer and his department, Scully decided to not make that a two-way street. Her father would never have forgiven her if she treated a fellow officer rudely. "Thank you. And I'll make sure I send copies of any reports or information I find directly to you as head investigator, if that is acceptable? Two heads on any case is always better than one."

~Diplomacy and classiness.~ Helena thought listening to the exchange. Maybe this director wouldn't be such a dick.

Nodding, Lieutenant McDonald stood and moved off waving at the bartender and Helena.

Keeping her posture straight until the officers were out of sight, Dana didn't move. Not until the door swung shut behind the cops did her shoulders sag some. Her only other action was the release of a deep breath that disturbed her bangs slightly. With a slight shake of her head, she too headed toward the door.

Silently watching the agent go, Helena tapped her chin thoughtfully, her thoughts lingering on the red-head for awhile longer before letting her mind drift back to the bar.

Chapter 7

Colour Red (One Dollar Short)

New Gotham
Sir Sip Alot's Coffee Stop in the New Gotham Hospital
Wednesday 2pm

Now with time to kill before the test results came back Scully found herself with a hot cup of coffee and a lack of empty tables. Noticing another redhead she shrugged and headed that direction. The routine exam had been just what she'd been expecting, and now she just wanted to get back to work.

Barbara stared at the empty seat across from her as she used her finger to push her muffin back and forth across her plate. She really did not see the chair, muffin or even the shop around her as her mind was sunk into a rut thinking about things she really should not be thinking about.

For starters she really did not want to be sitting here. She'd finally made an appointment to talk to the doctor about possible side effects from using the spinal coupler a few weeks ago. Alfred had caught her one afternoon in the training room curled up on the floor in pain.

Somehow Alfred had mentioned something in passing when Dinah had called one evening.

Dinah had somehow mentioned something to Helena having called her.

Helena had somehow managed to mention something to the Barbara's principal.

Barbara had found she had a substitute scheduled for her so she could take a personal day and have some tests done.

"And this is the house that Jack built..." she muttered glumly as she made a face at the coordinated attack that had forced her to visit yet another doctor. Hospitals held too many unpleasant memories.

Reaching the table Scully nodded to the empty chair as she spoke, "Do you mind if I join you?"

Startled from her thoughts, Barbara stabbed extra hard at the muffin as she looked up at the speaker. "Oh. No. I mean no that would be fine. Wait, trying again. I do not mind, the seat is not taken." She shook her head at her butchered attempt as she withdrew her finger from the muffin and reached for a napkin.

"Thanks," Scully smiled not sure what to think. "Just here to kill some time," she explained.

Wiping her hand, Barbara returned the stranger's smile. "Those running the show seem to have an odd set of ideals.. Anyone entering the doors to this place has nothing better to do than while away countless hours reading backdated, odd topic magazines or other pointless activities. Counting the number of dots in the ceiling tiles is one of my personal favorites."

Scully smiled, "Exactly, I really should have known better, brought some work with me, or at least a book, right?"

"Well most people do not end up here by choice negating the ability to preplan. Those that do put some forethought into a visit tend to have people to see or keep them busy. Although I find something about this place tends to suck dry the motivation for producing anything of quality. I brought a stack of papers to grade. The thought of trying to focus on the reasons for the Great Depression and the dustbowl migration just do not seem too appealing given this setting."

"You're a teacher?" Scully asked, taking a sip of her coffee as she tried to make herself comfortable.

"That's one possible title for what I do. Task master, and professional torturer are other titles I have been given. Sadistic demon of cruel and unusual punishment disguised as an English teacher is a personal favorite of mine." She chuckled a little thinking of other names she had heard.

"At least you students are creative, right?" Scully smiled.

Barbara raised an eyebrow slightly, "Creative? Are you a guidance counselor by any chance?" She laughed before continuing. "But yes they are, especially when a major project comes due. Suddenly my classroom is a hotbed of creative thought. Of course most of that is directed at being creative regarding why the project is not finished."

"No not a counselor, but my former partner did require constant supervision," Scully explained.

"Ah the wonderful world of I get to make sure the work gets done as my co-worker gets to be..." She paused slightly, "Creative. You have my sympathies. Working with creative people can be challenging." She quieted some thinking of a very challenging person she had to work with.

"Despite his rather eccentric 'creativity' Mulder was probably the best agent I've ever worked with," Scully admitted.

Tilting her head a little at the mention of agent, Barbara simply nodded. She worked to keep her mind from reading anything into what should be a simple, banal conversation between two strangers. "Challenges are not always bad, but they are rarely welcome and usually end up producing results far from where you had predicted they would take you."

"That's right, but I'm sure you're familiar with challenges, one of the parts of a job in education, if you don't mind my asking, what level do you teach?" Scully asked.

Barbara's thoughts had started to drift as she thought about how challenging things had been lately. How those challenges were taking her very far from where she wanted to be. She raised her eyes back to the other woman's face as she answered, "High school. And yes, education seems to have more than its fair share of challenges, but so to do a number of other occupations. Guess it is a matter of perspective."

"From the time I've spent teaching I'd have to say that it's pretty far up there," Scully said, "I'm Dana Scully," she added, extending her hand.

She hesitated slightly. The conversation on the verge of moving from a simple idle chat between nameless people to a slightly more personal level, Barbara gave in and took the offered hand. "Barbara Gordon, and a pleasure to meet another teacher. Are you also addicted to the joys and challenges of high school?" The mannerisms of the woman didn't seem to fit with the general feeling elementary teachers gave off so she guessed at secondary. ~But why use the word agent if she is a teacher?~

"Actually I helped with some medical forensics courses through Quantico," Scully said, hating to come off as someone a little too full of herself and also slightly preoccupied with the woman's name, it seemed familiar.

The little words and references suddenly clicked and forced Barbara to subtlety readjust her assessment of the woman across from her, "Ah, well partner and agent makes more sense now." She admitted out loud then blushed ever so slightly as she grinned slightly chagrined.

"Sorry, my mind tends to like to put pieces together in an attempt to form a bigger picture. Irritating habit as I have been told a number of times." Deciding to make another jump as she was doing oh so well so far, "So are you here to teach then?" The woman had not used a title in front of her name. Barbara was not sure if she was a full doctor and had no pretense about titles, or if she was not fully licensed and assisted in teaching.

"I was actually just transferred out here to be the Director of the local FBI office," Scully said, almost blushing.

~Really?~ Barbara tried to contain her amazement as her assessment of Dana Scully again had to be altered. She'd been trying to follow the odd quirks in the FBI field office as part of her routine monitoring of anything related to law enforcement in New Gotham. However, she had let detailed tracking of the office and the changes there go the last year and slip past her monitoring more and more.

She knew she'd been getting sloppy. The notice she'd intercepted a few weeks ago about the dismissal of the Director and the search for a new Director and field staff had been barely noted before being filed away.

"FBI? And Director, congratulations and welcome to New Gotham." Barbara said pulling herself from her reverie. "I must admit you do not seem like..."

Scully smiled, "You're not the first person to think so, there was a man on the plane... Wait, you said you're Barbara Gordon?" she asked, wondering if she'd just heard what she wanted to.

"You mentioned teaching forensics, I just assumed you were a doctor or medical consultant. I should have caught the references earlier and noted the timing..." She bit her lip slightly berating herself for being caught so unawares and being so far off on her assessment. Why hadn't she anticipated and determined this earlier. Oracle did not seem so all-knowing suddenly. Looking up, the teacher realizing the last had been more of a question, "Yes still Barbara Gordon." She smiled trying to focus; she'd worry about her shoddy practices later.

"I met your father on the plane here," Scully said with a laugh, trying to figure out just how the odds had worked out that way.

"My father?" Her mind made the quick jump from the last topic. "He did get back from a consultant job a few days ago."

~She's been here a few days and I did not catch that. Tonight I run a complete track on all agencies. If we have new people to worry about trying to get around, Helena needs to be prepared...~

"I hope he did not talk your ear off about this program or that." ~Or talk about his daughter too much.~

"No, he was actually quite helpful," Scully smiled, knowing that everyone must feel the same way about their parents. "I'm sorry if I made things awkward, just surprised."

"That makes two of us in the surprised column. Although, please at least save me from turning redder than our combined hair color and tell me he did not pull out any pictures." ~If there is anyone up there still looking out for me please say the baby pictures remained buried in the deep recesses of his wallet.~

"No pictures," Scully grinned, "Though I don't know why that would be so embarrassing." She added without thinking.

"Thank goodness, it must have been a short flight or else he was distracted." She joked some as she poked at her muffin again. "And you don't? You try having your bare behind flashed to strangers because you look so cute as you are caught painting tiger stripes on your body with a marker. Then attempt to make a formal speech or bring up a serious topic." She still caught certain people giving her growls on occasion.

"You wanted to be a tiger when you grew up?" Scully asked with a grin, unable to keep a smile from her face.

"Well," she hesitated a little not having expected to follow through with her story. The warm tone though to the question helped to ease her hesitation and Barbara went against her normal routine of not being drawn into conversation. "That was one of the many phases. It also happened to be at a time when my father was trying out a new toy and I was the lucky guinea pig."

She picked up her coffee to take a sip. "Didn't you go through the 'I want to be this when I grow up' rotating list of people and things?"

"My dad turned me into a bit of a tomboy, but I think I always knew that medicine would be part of it," Scully replied.

"I tended to jump right into the thick of things myself," Barbara said childhood memories flitting through her mind as she swirled her cup some. "I really didn't have an idea of where I would end up. Certainly not here."

She set her cup back down. "Did you intend on being a practicing doctor or you had the law enforcement pathway pretty much in mind as you went through school?"

"I thought I'd practice, but I found the criminology to be too interesting," Scully admitted.

"The two fields are actually very similar. Both are designed to help people who can not help themselves and to protect people. You tend to have a mystery to solve using the clues and cues that you pick up. The subject is just different." Barbara leaned forward on the table stretching her back some.

"And both often are portrayed on television as being very glamorous and full of excitement. The truth is often a little glamour and many hours of patient research and piecing together odd facts and a lot of waiting. Of course there is the awesome adrenaline rush when you solve the case."

~When you are high on the excitement of pursuing and chasing down a criminal or speeding along hot and heavy into the chase...~ She looked down at the table trying to clamp down on those thoughts. She was not allowed those thoughts anymore.

"I don't think that my partner ever really believed in that assessment," Scully admitted. She generally didn't think about Mulder quite so much, but there was something that Barbara seemed to have in common with him, even if Dana couldn't put her finger on just what it was.

"What do you mean? What did your partner believe in if not that?" She asked watching Scully's face.

"He liked to find the strangest cases possible and then drag me out to listen to the most insane theories," Scully shrugged.

"Strange is a very relative word. Its definition tends to be very malleable given the circumstances and environment." Barbara replied after a few moments of silence. "Sometimes people need to do something a little different to break up those long periods of normality." She paused before asking, "And you use words like drag and insane... I take it you did not share his fascination with these cases?"

"They grew on me, but still not what I'd really choose for myself," Scully smirked.

Barbara was about to ask if that was because the cases were just that strange or if Dana considered herself too sane to deal with them but she heard Dana's name called over the loud speaker system. "Well looks like that question can wait for another day. I believe Dr. Scully you are being summoned, lucky you."

"If you father follows through I'm sure we'll be seeing each other again," Scully smiled as she got to her feet. "Enjoy your day off."

Not sure about the comment regarding her father, Barbara watched the woman stand. "I will enjoy the break from the school, not the reason for the break." She answered truthfully She wheeled around the table some and reached out a hand towards the agent, "It was nice to meet you and enjoy your day as well."

"I'll do what I can," Scully smirked, shaking Barbara's hand before turning to head back to the lab.

Watching the woman leave, Barbara thought back to something Dana had said about speaking to her father... ~I'm glad he was helpful, he believes very deeply in what he does and goes out of his way to do what he can to support his convictions. If he believes in a person or a cause, than that person is a very lucky individual. He is a good judge of character...~

She had found it fairly easy to talk to this woman and could see why her father might have talked with her. Barbara had been so careful to keep the walls of reserve and isolation tight around her for so long she had forgotten what it felt like to let go a little. How it felt just to have a normal conversation that was not related to work, her life as Oracle or the stilted discussions she and Helena had.

She twitched a little as a thought popped up in her brain, she was hungry for this type of interaction. She'd always cut everyone off or out quickly, not wanting to let go or too busy to be bothered.

This time she'd been off because of the tests and the setting and had lingered a little more, conversed longer than planned. No that was not right, there had been no plan. For the first time in a long time, Barbara Gordon had done something totally spontaneous and unscripted. It was exhilarating and disturbing.

She stared in the direction the red head had exited for a very long time replaying the conversation in her mind.

Chapter 8

Kid Fears (Indigo Girls)

New Gotham, Alleyway
Wednesday 11:00pm

The way the last few nights had been going with the recent crime streak coupled with her low level of interest, Helena was in no rush to get to her current destination. Instead of the usual sprints she took her time traveling from one rooftop to the next. She knew that she didn't really have a choice to back out of one of these missions. It wasn't like she could suggest Barbara take the initiative.

Last time Helena had suggested such a thing her mentor had risked her life on that junk that plugged into her spinal cord. And Helena refused to risk anything of the sort ever again. She was carrying around enough guilt for two lifetimes as it was.

Even after the damage from fighting during the whole Harley thing, the red-head had been determined, working on the setup to try and make it work better. A few weeks ago Helena had made a wise-crack and dropped a hint she might want to take a break. This had lead to Barbara trying the stupid machine again. The red-had had thought she could cover things if Helena did leave. That attempt had ended badly.

The young woman knew Barbara had gone to the doctor earlier today as the failed attempt still causing problems. For the great 'I can make it on my own Ms. Gordon' to go to the doctor, Hel was starting to figure out something serious was wrong. She briefly wondered if the red-head would confide in her. She also wondered if Barbara didn't, if she should even try to pry it from her.

Reaching the right alley she sighed before dropping down and turning on her comms.

"Oracle. I'm here. Same MO, and... God, she was just a kid," Huntress said softly, pushing back an image of Dinah, the girl she'd somehow come to see as a sort of sister. At least what qualified as a sister in her strange idea of family.

Barbara heard Hel's initial report and felt her stomach twist her face mirroring her stomach's action. It was never fun to be the one to try and take care of the messes others left behind. It was even worse when the victims were so innocent.

"Copy Huntress. You should have plenty of time to get the information I... we need. So far no call has gone into the police."

An anonymous tip had alerted Oracle to the killing giving them a first glimpse at the body with a greater amount of time to study the scene. She was still running a tracker program to determine where the tip had come from.

"But try to start moving a little faster." She had noted, using the GPS tracking system, Huntress' lagging pace getting to the scene. It had taken all of her patient reserve not to snap at the woman to increase her speed.

Pulling out the digital camera thing that Barbara had sent with her, Helena tried to get it to work. When it didn't do what she wanted the dark haired woman started hitting it.

"Hey, your video thing won't go," she said.

"What?" Oracle could hear Helena making what sounded like exasperated grunts and then she thought she heard the sound of something striking concrete.

"Huntress..." she drew the name out slowly, "What are you doing to the nice camera? You can not bully it into working. It is not like one of the criminals you like to throw around. That is why we do not have a visual right now. Someone had a little problem with the equipment last time." She struggled to keep the scolding tone out of her voice even as it crept in.

"It wasn't working. You made it sound so easy. I just press the right buttons. Or whatever. It doesn't work. So what do you want me to do?" Helena said, getting frustrated again.

It wasn't her fault Barbara's equipment wasn't up to the movement standards for one Helena Kyle.

The red-head released a larger sigh and wiped at her eyes. Patrols had been like this more and more for the last few months. Barely more than strained exchanges that consisted of little more than instructions.

And God help Barbara if they were not exact as Helena would let her know how wrong they were. Or, she would have to redo efforts as the young woman had followed Barbara's instructions to the letter. Instructions worded incorrectly thus leading to wrong information.

Add to that distractions from their daily lives on both of their parts and it was a wonder anything had been accomplished lately.

"Huntress." she kept her voice rigid and professional. "The button on the side turns on the power and then the button on the top takes the pictures. I believe the settings I programmed in should take care of everything else. But as I have no visual right now..." she trailed off.

"Right," Helena said, following the directions, but still not wanting to look at the body.

The victim was young, blonde... and Helena didn't want to think about it.

"IS that a right it is working or one of your sarcastic yeah right whatever Oracle?" Barbara really wanted Helena to get the needed information and get out.

She tried to school her voice though hoping her frustration was not coming through. Especially since deep down the teacher knew her frustration was not with Helena directly but at her own inabilities.

Pushing down the button Helena sighed, "I'm doing what you said, you getting anything now?"

A static filled image popped up on a corner of one of her monitors. Sighing she attempted to tweak the resolution and clear the electronic noise. Oracle would have preferred the better signal from the video equipment she had originally sent out with Helena. That was not going to happen due to the little tech problem from a few nights ago. She bit her lip as she struggled to work with this inferior signal until her ordered equipment arrived.

Barbara hoped Huntress would refrain from taking up a criminal's taunt of stick it where the sun don't shine next time. Or at least not use the expensive video equipment to do the sticking.

"I have some visual Huntress, go ahead and move around the scene and we'll try to gather what we need and call in the police." She responded having ignored the audible sigh that had come across the comms.

Helena didn't say anything, just moved around the body, getting different angles and views. She lived for what she did, but that was because of the fight, not this type of work.

Typing out her thoughts and comments as Helena captured the gruesome scene, Barbara noted this killing had been committed by the more precise persona. She and Helena had come to regard the killer as either two people working somehow in tandem or someone with a split personality. There were similarities between this and the other bodies that had been collecting over the last three or four months but also distinct differences.

She let her mind focus on the scene trying hard not to let personal feeling or emotion clutter her thoughts. There would be time for emotions later, wasn't that always the case. Yes she could feel, but later not now.

Going into an analytical, almost cold zone, she pulled her mind back to the crime scene. She worked in silence, breaking it only with short commands to Huntress to aid in the collection of images.

After a few minutes she added a question to her commands. "So what do you see Huntress?"

Scanning the alley Huntress frowned. "Hard to say. There's a bit of a mess, definitely a fight..." she said, moving to see what she could find. "But I don't see anything that could help us."

"Good on noticing the fight." She smiled knowing that would be one of the first things the woman would pick up on. "So what does that tell you?" Oracle replied trying to pull more out of her charge.

"Our killer, at least part of the team or whatever, can handle themself. Wait, look at this," Helena said, snapping a shot of a scratch on one of the body's upper arms.

"Yes they can, although the bodies that have a cleaner, more clinical approach to the mutilation also tend to be associated with more of a pre-killing struggle." She said absently as she zoomed in on what Helena had focused on, she kept speaking even while her attention was diverted.

"Remember the last body. A much larger man and also one who had been on an exercise program for quite awhile. There was not as much sign of a fight. And yet here, this person obviously put up a struggle. Thoughts?"

"Maybe the fight didn't have to do with muscle, maybe it had to do with meta-powers," Helena said, fully aware of the differences those powers could make. "This injury seems different from the others on the body."

"Oh, that's intriguing..." Barbara wheeled her chair to the other end of her bank of computers and rummaged through a stack of papers and pulled out a chart looking it over.

"Listen can you collect some samples? Maybe there is more of a link between the human/metahuman aspect than I previously thought." She drifted off staring at the chart.

"Samples... What kind of samples?" Helena asked, already knowing the answer and wishing that she didn't.

"What do you mean what kind of samples? I need you to go over the body as you always do and then draw..." she looked up from the monitors finally having caught the slight tone difference in Hel's voice. "Huntress is everything ok?"

"It's fine," Helena said, already getting to work, wanting to get it over with. She tried not to wonder why Barbara had to ask, didn't she remember that this was Helena's least favorite part of the job?

"Fine?" She sighed disappointed that Helena continued to stay distant and closed off. She suspected it was far from fine, she could tell from the voice and the slight jumps in the woman's heart rate and other vitals she was monitoring that she was upset.

She wished for once Helena would confide in her, not push everything back. Ever since being betrayed by Harley the teacher suspected the brunette had stopped talking to anyone. Barbara could understand the logic behind that. Helena had confided in Harley and had that openness used and twisted.

But it still hurt, hurt that Helena no longer came to her and hurt to know that she was probably hurting herself more and more everyday as the young woman kept it locked away. ~However, takes one to know one...~ She thought bitterly as she had not talked to anyone really since those events as well.

"Very well Huntress, please continue and do not forget to be mindful of contamination. The NGPD have had problems with their samples because of careless collecting."

"Don't worry Oracle, I've done this before," Helena said simply, already pulling out the right tools as she delicately knelt down next to the body, trying to think of it as only that.

~I always worry, just not about that but about you...~ She wheeled back to her place in front of the monitors still holding the chart. She'd go over the chart later hoping something might jump out at her.

"I have the highest confidence in your abilities. It is your focus that has been lacking." Barbara stopped speaking but realized it was a little too late.

The slight push she'd wanted to give Helena had accidentally come flying out of her mouth against her better judgment.

"I think I could focus better if you weren't distracting me," Helena said, not sure how to respond.

"Distracting... how could I possibly be... you are the one who has been showing up later and later and from doing God knows what." Actually she had a very good idea sometimes what the woman was doing, or more appropriately who.

And the red-head's very active imagination always was very willing to fill in some of the activities the brunette might be engaged in. Her mind was always very willing.

"But not a very willing body or..." she muttered angrily frustrated at her losing her temper and also frustrated at the reason behind the loss. She started tapping out a command to run the images against previous crime scenes.

Helena took a breath to say something, but didn't. Instead she closed her eyes, took a calming breath, and focused only on collecting the samples. The other details could wait.

Scully pulled her car to a halt a block down and peered out at the dark street. She was still trying to figure out why she was doing this. Her meeting last night with the Lieutenant had been almost as expected although she had been hoping for more support.

Being alone in a strange place was never fun for anyone.

The tip had come in as she was about to head out for the night. Nothing more than an address and a reference to one of the current cases that had been sitting on her desk and filling her mind since getting the files from the Lieutenant. Someone knew the FBI had started looking into these, what had the media and police nicknamed them, the Dissection Killings...

She took a deep breath and then got out. She immediately snapped on her flashlight and headed to the mouth of the alleyway alert for any sound. She unholstered her gun but kept it loosely at her side.

The smell hit her. It had been awhile since she had been out like this but she could just faintly pick up the odors of the alleyway and the faint smell of something sterile... she recognized it from so many hours in the lab and working on bodies.

The agent barely made out the figure a moment before her flashlight hit the edges of someone kneeling over something. She slowly brought her gun up resting it in the oft practiced position to provide a clear shot using the flashlight as a sight.

"FBI freeze," she said loudly as she tensed on the balls of her feet. She had not expected to catch the person in the act, how had the informant known...

Slipping gadgets into her pockets even as she stood Helena shot to her feet remaining crouched just enough to be able to move. "Fuck," she said, wondering if Oracle had heard the arrival.

I'll second that explicative," Barbara's voice floated over the comms.

"Huntress, I don't think I have to tell you, leave now." Barbara frowned pulling up a map and looking at the layout of the surrounding area. The voice sounded... familiar. She furrowed her brows in thought trying to place the voice.

Already moving Helena jumped to the fire escape, using it to push herself up faster and landed on the roof before sprinting.

"I thought no one had called the cops yet!" Huntress demanded, recognizing the red head from the bar.

Amazed at the athletic display, Scully held her shot not able to determine if anyone else might be in the area and unwilling to just randomly start shooting. Knowing she could not catch up going the same route, she ran back to the street in time to see a figure running along and jumping to the next building's roof to disappear.

Frustrated Scully headed back towards the body and then paused as the image of the woman she'd caught in the glare of the flashlight before she had gone up the fire escape suddenly hit her.

She'd seen the woman the other night. Taking out her cell phone, she placed a call to the police after determining the woman in the alley was dead.

"Huntress, Huntress are you clear?" Barbara's voice came quickly over the comm as the silence had begun to stretch. While waiting for a report, the computer expert had checked and verified no call had been placed to the police until about 30 seconds ago.

She recorded the cell number for future reference but had a good idea who had made the call as they had just been discovered.

"Clear. I don't think she saw my face, I was moving fast," Helena said, already knowing what Oracle would ask next.

"I thought the plan was to wait and call the cops after I was done."

"I stuck to the plan." She replied defensively. "If someone had not delayed in the collection." She rapped her knuckles on the edge of the desk.

"I have no idea what the FBI or any law enforcement was doing there. Did you get everything?"

"I got it, on my way back to you. And I know she was FBI, but how do you know?" Helena asked, her mind clearing as she practically flew over the rooftops.

"Well there was her little announcement. One that seemed to catch you totally by surprise." Oracle said not wanting to needle the woman but still going back to the fact Helena's focus had been slipping.

"But her voice sounded very familiar. I think she might be involved, or have been called in by them or something. I need to check a few things." Barbara frowned trying to tease back all of the conversation from earlier even as she started her normal hack procedures to get into the NGPD database.

Having made a once over of the crime scene and seeing no direct personal effects left behind. Scully moved out hearing sirens in the distance and got in her car.

She decided to go back to the bar she'd been at last night. Maybe someone could point her in the right direction for finding this woman. She had not gotten a great look, but she thought it was the same person. And it was all she had.

"Wasn't sure you'd heard it," Helena mumbled, leaving out her earlier run in, and the fact that if Helena recognized the red head it could have easily been a two way street.

"And I seem to recall someone causing a bit of a distraction..." she muttered, nearing the rebuilt clock tower.

"I hear a lot," Oracle snapped and then caught herself. "And the distraction was..." She bit down her retort and watched as the computer began the information transfer.

She wheeled into the kitchen as she noted the general direction Huntress was heading. "Maybe this is the time when we should bring up the whole mask issue once again?"

"Wearing a mask is like announcing I'm guilty. That I have something to hide, and I'm old enough to make my own decisions," Helena growled, already pissed that she'd been surprised.

"Yes Hel... Huntress you have something to hide. But hiding here is equated with safety." Barbara felt herself slip on the name almost breaking the protocol she tried hard to maintain.

"And as to making decisions, I do not question your ability to make them, it is the thought behind the choice and where the choice will lead that concerns me. You are not some vigilante running alone on the streets."

"If your person is compromised, it makes you a target. I don't want to put you at risk. You may enjoy taking the dangerous route but I don't want to see you..." Barbara reigned in then belatedly realizing she had again gone beyond a simple discussion.

Helena sighed, rolling her eyes as she reached the clock tower. "You're samples are on the balcony," she said coldly, more so than she'd intended. The raven-haired woman paused, her gaze flitting inside daring to catch a glimpse of the woman who frustrated her, pissed her off and captured her heart with ever word she uttered.

Clenching her fist at those thoughts, Helena moved back, turning off her comms. She fled back into the night deciding to head for the Dark Horse.

Barbara did not even bother coming out of the kitchen right away knowing Helena was already gone.

Wondering how much of the young woman's recent behavior and actions were her fault, she threw the cup back on the table and slowly rolled out to get the samples. Might as well focus on work and not that once again she'd let the conversation and Helena somehow slip away from her.

Chapter 9

Obsession (Animotion)

New Gotham, Downtown business district - 35th floor
Thursday 12:00 am

"Happy, sad, elated, mad..."

"Horny, mild, optimistic, wild..."

"All the emotions under the rainbow can be found below. All of them present in some form in the city as the moronic little robots go about their business oblivious to most of what carries on around them." She continued watching the twinkling lights down below through the large glass window as she clasped her hands behind her back.

Jarold quietly crept into the board room and waited at the end of the long black marble table that was positioned in the middle of the room. He automatically counted the chairs as he always did when he entered. It was soothing to him to find the 22 black leather chairs were all still present and accounted for. Jarold loved numbers, loved precision, loved patterns. She had gifted him with that.

She'd given him so much, it humbled him. He knew without a doubt he would do anything for Her and had since his birth, well rebirth, ten months ago. He bowed his head and waited patiently glad his sister was not with him. His sister often would upset Her. He made a face and felt his regenerated tongue flicker out as he felt apprehension run through his body.

The materials he had retrieved during his earlier run were secure in the cooling device She had provided. Jarold knew She had not built that particular device, it was technology from the same source that preserved Her daughter. His eyes flickered in the direction of the hidden lab as his thoughts were pulled to the reason for their activity the last ten months. The reason he and his sister existed.

"You are upset?" Her voice startled him so that he lost control of his body for a moment causing a nearby a chair to flip over.

"I am sssorry," his voice hissed some as he bowed lower if that was possible.

"Were you not successful?" The older woman continued to stare at the city below, her body not moving save for a tiny shimmer in her shoulders whenever she spoke.

"I have what you desire." He replied keeping his tone subservient as he knew he should. His sister might enjoy back-talking and being punished for her sins, but he did not. Of course his sister fulfilled many needs of Her in that way.

Her shoulders rolled forward slightly then. "Thank you, it is her birthday in three days."

The deep sadness and strong hatred in that simple statement hit Jarold physically and he stepped back dropping to his knees. "I know, I, I feel..."

"What my little cutter, my counter... What do you feel?"

"Your pain is deep, she was rrripppped from you. Your search the last two years has been long and hard." His speech was slipping more from him as he struggled to remain honest. "Each ssssmall ssstep brings joy and sssorrow as it remindssss you sssshe is not in your life." He was nervous; afraid he would anger Her. Or even worse, drive Her to that fearful insanity, the dark place She was receding to more and more often.

"You are the wise one Jarold. I knew you would reason it out. Your sister, she pushes me providing the physical release I need. But you... You provide the logic and conversation." The laugh that followed that statement was bitter.

"I hear you and your sister talk. I know you wonder why I have not brought any others to play or help in our search." Her voice was suddenly void of any feeling and that frightened Jarold. He started counting the blue speckled dots mixed in amongst the silver, gray and black dots in the carpet where he knelt.

"Too many liabilities."

He sighed, the hissing sound filling the room.

She felt a smile creep along her face in response to the sound. She knew the sound was one of relief, not one of sorrow or rage at being nothing more than a liability to her. She knew even that much was a gift for those two.

The businesswoman took a step forward then almost pressing against the glass as she followed the cars below. Her mind continued to follow the cars even as they left her sight as her imagination played out where they were going and why. She spent countless hours here playing that game. It was one of the few activities that kept her from the darkest corners. The places that were incredibly hard to get back from, the places her daughter had always saved her from in the past.

She raised a hand flattening her palm against the cold glass. "I will perfect the method little one."

Jarold started towards the lab then as She was no longer here, at least her mind had taken leave of this place for the moment. He could hear the distance growing in her voice. His tongue flickered in and out quickly, scenting the air and tasting her edginess. As it filled him, he too became restless. His eyes dropped to count the black dots on the carpet as he went through the motions to open the lab door.

He hiccupped then keeping from crying out as a face swam into view as the door opened to reveal a wickedly cruel face that bore a harsh grin. His sister had been playing again. Whenever she was near the pain threshold she became cruel and dallied much in distractions.

"Heyo Bro. I see you were perfect as usually." She waved at the container he clasped.

"I sssuceeded although there were people nearby... ssssomeone knew..."

The blonde cut him off not even listening, "Whatevaher..." she brushed past him pausing only to reach a foot backwards to kick at his butt playfully as she barged into the board room bringing her own brand of frenzied energy to the space.

Jarold bowed his head but glanced to see his sister come up behind Her wrapping her arms about the older woman, the hands already gliding up under the front of Her blouse. He hissed in relief hoping maybe Jem could pull their teetering Master from the edge. The work needed Her guidance and brilliance.

And perhaps She could punish his sister and tame her recent surge in spitefulness and maliciousness. Her collection was getting sloppy and he had to do more work to make up for her untrained ways. He hated taking away time from his matchstick models and sleep periods. In fact the metahuman was happy Jem could please Her, it left him free to play his own games.

Trailing soft feathery kisses along the silk covered shoulder blade, the young metahuman's hands found their goals and began massaging gently, her palms rubbing over the already hardening nipples. Her kisses became deeper, slower and more fervent as she reached up on her toes some, her lips heading towards exposed flesh.

Reaching the crook of Her neck, Jem sighed as her hands shifted, the feel of silk across her own skin something she found stimulating. Just as her feather kisses and lips reached the exposed, creamy flesh, she bared her teeth then biting into Her shoulder blade and neck as her fingers turned to pulling and pinching the stiff peaks.

It happened so fast the blonde barely had time to register the action as she had already started sinking into a euphoric haze. But as her teeth bit into flesh and she desired to suck and pull the tension from her partner's body, the older woman turned and shifted slapping Jem hard across the face.

Clasping her stinging face, the chastised woman barely had time to catch her equilibrium before feeling strong hands clasping at shoulders pushing her roughly across the room. She blinked as she felt the marble table dig deep into her back and Jem laughed as she knew a bruise was already forming.

Moist lips met in a passionate kiss fueled by raw hunger not compassionate desire. Jem growled in delight as she recognized Her mood. The younger woman then pushed her knee up roughly thrusting it hard against Her silk dress skirt pushing deep into Her center. Breathing deep Jem could smell the lust and arousal thick in the air and knew it came as much from the woman shoving her onto the table as from her own flushed sex.

She tried to wrap her arms around her master wanting to feel the taut skin and sweat stained silk but found her arms roughly slapped away, one arm pinned behind her back somehow as she was finally laid out on the table. She snarled then looking up into Her face. A face alternating between angry lust and blank acceptance.

The woman's tongue pushed in to the metahuman's mouth: filling it, stroking, dancing, commanding. Moans filled the air as a free hand made its way to tear at the silk skirt even as Jem felt her pants being pulled down. The blonde's stomach muscles tightened in anticipation even as the stroking, searching fingers made their way lower and lower.

The metahuman thrust her body up, letting her lips and teeth dance over skin. She managed to turn some so she could lick lower. Maneuvering, Jem was just able to suck on a nipple through the silk as it came within reach of her moist tongue. She sucked harder feeling the cold digits slide gracefully into her moist, warm channel. Her master's hands could be so gentle.

"You have been a bad girl Jem, but then so have I. Punish me little one." Her voice husked out then as she rubbed her body fully against Jem's feeling the curves and toned muscles sliding over her own body as she thrust deeper, harder and faster. Wonderful muscles she had worked to create and shape. Flesh she now could command and take; to love and worship or to dominate and destroy.

Jarold had transferred the items he had collected to the proper place. He could hear the grunts and smell the thickening musky scent permeating the air. He heard a scream and some words exchanged and knew it would not be a long session.

He patiently finished setting the tests and chemicals in place. He felt the ache growing and knew the processed drugs could not come too soon. But it had been longer since needing a transfusion. And the process had not hurt quite as bad the last time. All positive results, all things that made Her happy he thought.

He did not look up as She entered. He noted the 52 bolts that kept the tables and chairs together as She checked the progress of the tests he had started. "Perfect as always Jarold," She said.

He had heard Her scream at the end and knew that was the cause of Her raspy voice. He went to get her a drink as he noted his sister wobbling in looking sated and cocky. ~Damn...~ he thought as he got the drink. He had hoped She might take the edge off his sister.

"Now little ones," She began accepting the drink as she pushed aside her bangs. "I have a second run." She held up a hand seeing Jarold's head snap up, fright evident in his large eyes as Jem even looked a little uncertain.

"I have made a break-through, something from the book has given me hope. The others found some new molecules and I have decoded the next to last DaVinci piece. We will be able to reconstruct his alchemy process, I am sure. But I need raw materials." She walked over trailing a still moist finger across Jem's cheek smiling as the young girl caught the finger in her mouth sucking it in and then slowly releasing it.

"Whatever you need, I will give." Jarold replied averting his eyes from the touches and then kisses the two women exchanged.

Nodding at Jarold's statement, she began given them instructions, keeping her mind focused on the two, not the special device in the far corner of the room. The device that was her world and all that mattered. Well, no, not the device but who it held. Who someday she would save. ~Someday me dear... someday soon......~

Chapter 10

Games People Play (Tesla)

New Gotham, Dark Horse Bar
Thursday 12:08 am

Helena had made it back to her apartment rather quickly once she left the clock tower. After shedding her coat and taking a few to calm her nerves, she realized that what she really needed was alcohol. There was no way that she'd been seen clearly, right?

Scully was sitting at a small table in a corner of the bar watching the crowd. The place was maybe half full and she had been here for only about 10 minutes. She'd hesitated going up and asking the staff about the brunette. She wanted to wait and establish a better feeling for the setting. There was also the matter of trying to calm herself a little to make sure she was focused. She was still trying to figure out how the woman had managed to get to the roof top so easily and quickly.

Helena had easily shrugged off the incident when dropping the samples with Barbara, but now that she was alone the brunette was a bit more worried. Quickly bouncing down the stairs Helena slipped into the bar through a back door and headed straight for the bar counter.

Tapping her fingers on the table, Scully started to pull her body up from her seat deciding to ask about the woman from last night. She quickly froze and sat back down, her arm resting on the table as she caught the entrance of the suspect. Not only was she here, but she'd come in via a private entrance. Scully was glad now she had not automatically gone to the staff. Perhaps the woman had an accomplice.

Serving herself some whiskey as the night's staff looked busy enough Helena sighed, finally taking a moment to scan the room. When she noticed a certain redhead she was careful to keep any reaction from her face, wondering just what was going to happen next.

~She knows her way around behind the bar very well.~ Scully observed just as the brunette noticed and locked her gaze on the agent. Catching the fact that the brunette's facial expressions remained unchanged, she slowly stood and casually walked to the bar. Pausing slightly, Scully decided to head to a position located on the opposite end of where Helena was standing. She continued to watch the brunette as she leaned on the counter.

Taking a deep breath Helena threw back some more of the Jack Daniels in her hand before slipping through the crowd and back out the door she'd come in through. While she was tempted to go straight to her apartment the brunette waited, wondering if her concern was warranted.

Dana bit her lip and decided to take a moment, she might have lost the woman already but information was always a good thing. She flagged down the bartender and waited until there was no one else in earshot.

"What do you need... hey you're the cop from last night." Stevie had come up putting a napkin on the counter before looking at the customer.

"Agent," Scully automatically replied, "And I need a drink, later, but maybe an answer to a question now. I, I couldn't stop thinking about that woman from last night." Scully mixed a little truth with a little embellishment hoping this was the right tact.

Stevie grinned widely, "Most people react that way to Hel. Especially when they're gifted with her playful side."

Scully took in this information and nodded, "Yes well... I was just hoping to maybe find out a little more but before I could get here she..."

"She rarely sits still," Stevie laughed and plucked a couple bottles off the shelf having seen a regular approaching. "Helena was born to be wild and active. She might just be going to the bathroom. I saw her heading that way. Or she might have been going home for the night." He shrugged.

Scully pushed away from the counter. "Thanks, if you see her." Scully paused, "Tell her I'd really like to see her again. She owes me a thank you for the drink."

The bartender barked out a sharp laugh, "Wow someone almost as saucy as she is. I'll tell her... Agent."

Scully nodded and headed then towards the door, opening it and going through. At least now she had a name.

Helena had been about ready to jog back up the stairs to her apartment when the door opened to reveal the redhead. Hoping to play things casually, and pray, for once in her life that the woman hadn't actually seen her earlier Helena smirked, "I was wondering when you'd be back."

She quickly assessed no one was here, but she could see a set of stairs and signs for the bathrooms both meant someone could come in here at anytime. She had to get to a secure location. "Why is that? You felt like playing me again?" Scully let her hand rest so she could easily grab her gun.

"I was thinking more that I owed you a drink," Helena said, smirk still in place as she tried to read the other woman.

Her face still and passive, Scully kept her eyes focused on the woman as she had been trained to do in case the brunette decided to try and run. "That really was from the Lieutenant. I tend to set my sights a little higher than he does. Perhaps you should go and thank him personally."

Helena shrugged, her head tipping to one side, "He's not really my type," she admitted, her fight or flight instinct still urging her body to move.

"Are blondes more your type?"

"I like redheads," Helena grinned. "What about you?"

"That's information I don't give up easily." Scully replied taking a step towards the brunette. "I really don't think we should continue this discussion here. I don't want anyone else to get hurt."

"Hurt?" Helena asked, all too used to the acting dumb routine. "I didn't break your heart already, did I?"

"You would have had to have my heart to break it." The red-head replied falling into the easy give and take for a moment. Peeved at her slip, Dana's face hardened then. "I don't want to hurt you or involve anyone else. There's no fire escape here."

"See, now you're losing me. What's going on?" Helena asked, fully throwing herself into the confused mode.

"What?" Scully's face drew down taken back by Helena's replies. For someone who had committed the level of crimes she had read about, she had not associated this particular personality with the killer. "I would like to find out the answer to the same question." Scully relaxed her face, "Would you be willing to come with me to try and find the answers?" Two could play this game.

"Answers to what?" Helena asked, practically daring the redhead to come out and accuse her.

Her hand continued to hover close to her weapon. "Helena, is this just part of the game? Is this the reason you do it? You like playing and manipulating people?"

"Look, I don't know what you're thinking, but I didn't do anything, I'm just trying to stop it from happening again," Helena said, finally admitting to what the redhead clearly already knew.

"Oh you obviously know exactly what I am thinking." Scully replied. "And stop what? Why did you do it?"

"Are you deaf? I didn't do it. I was collecting evidence, probably the same reason you showed up," Helena shot back, crossing her arms over her chest.

"Deaf?" Scully's eyebrow raised slightly as her arm tensed at Hel's motion her hand now resting on the handle of her weapon. "I'm not deaf, blind or dumb. Now, turn around, keeping your hands where I can see them."

Waiting for the woman to comply, Scully heard sirens and they seemed to be growing louder indicating they were hopefully headed this way. She'd placed an anonymous call into the police right before Helena had come in telling them there was a crime in progress at the bar and an officer needed backup. Fortunately someone had decided to follow through.

With a sigh and a roll of her eyes Helena shot out a fist aimed right at the woman's temple.

Scully had let her focus waver as she was glad to hear the sirens and almost missed the incoming punch.

If she had not actually been turning slightly towards the sound of the siren, the fist probably would have hit her hard and taken her out then. As it was the blow glanced across her forehead and she staggered against the wall.

As she slid down, she managed to somehow keep her hand steady enough to pull her gun. Sitting on the floor, her head hurting she braced her back against the wall trying to draw a line on Helena. "Stop now or I will shoot," she said loudly managing to push back up using the wall to support her.

Already in full on fight mode Helena kicked at the gun while almost simultaneously throwing another fist at the redhead's jaw. "Like to see you try," the younger woman said.

Feeling the sharp pain as the gun was wrenched from her grasp. She automatically moved trying to follow after it. Pain exploded in her jaw and head sending her to the floor again.

"Trust me you'll see me succeed." She mumbled spotting the gun, barely, through the hazy cloud of pain. She tensed her body ready to gather strength to lunge for the gun but made no other movement hoping the woman would settle or pause her attack just long enough for the uniforms to arrive or even the unlikely possibility she might make it to her gun.

Not wanting to cause any serious injuries Helena let her forearm come down just hard enough on the space between Scully's neck and shoulder to leave the agent unconscious.

The sirens had already put Helena over the edge. Trying not to think ahead, an action that came all too easily, the brunette scooped up the redhead and her gun before sprinting up the stairs and into the safety of her apartment.

After lying the redhead down on her couch Helena started swearing. After getting that out she flipped on her comm, "Oracle? There seems to be a bit of a complication...

Chapter 11

Don't Ever Think Too Much - (The Zoltons)

New Gotham
Helena's apartment above the dark horse Bar
Thursday 12:46 am

Pacing, the brunette laid the gun on the lamp table as she watched the redhead slowly breathing. Turning she started a new lap waiting for Oracle to respond.

Breathing heavily, Barbara managed to make it to her comms and placed them back in position, "Helena? Are you alright." Her fingers flying over her keyboard already checking the status. "I am registering a police call into the bar. What's going on?" Barbara tried to calm her breathing and not let her worry for Helena appear in her voice.

"Cops? Shit, ok I thought I heard sirens." She glanced briefly at the redhead, her gaze lingering over the still form. "Um what did you say Oracle?"

Barbara frowned as she heard the slight stutter in Hel's voice. "I am trying to find out if you had anything to do with the call. I am trying to track the number that made the call into the police."

"Well, I might have had a little something to do with the call..." Helena began her voice getting a little high and vague.

"Huntress..." Barbara drew out the name staring at the computer as she paused her typing... "What exactly are you not telling me?" She had known Helena long enough to know what that tone meant. It was the Hel got caught with her hand in the cookie jar voice.

"Well, there may have been a... complication with the evidence collection..." Helena said, still pacing, her eyes on the redhead.

Barbara rolled back over to the other side of the console and looked at the bag and items Hel had left before leaving... ~No, before running... why is she always running...~

Barbara caught herself and focused back on the items trying to see what might have contaminated the samples. "Why would the evidence be faulty?" She asked gently trying to keep her patience and pry the needed information from the young woman.

"The evidence is fine!" Helena shot back, she'd long since mastered that part of the job. "I said getting the evidence, not the shit itself."

Making a face at the computer screens, Barbara bit back her retort picking up on Hel's tension through the terse reply. "Alright, fine." she said a slight patronizing tone developing, "How exactly did you complicate picking up the shi... uh evidence?" ~One, two, three, Lord help me...~

"And the unit has arrived at the bar." She added picking up the report from the police monitor. "You're not out in the open are you?"

"No," Helena said, unable to help herself from glancing down to the street from a window. "Fuck," she muttered. "Someone saw me. That same someone happened to be an FBI agent. An agent who recognized me and who is currently unconscious on my couch."

Barbara tilted her head slightly to the side hearing a slight snap of static over the line. That served to jolt her out of her amazed daze she'd sunk into trying to process what Helena had finally revealed. Leave it to the woman to wander around the topic for ever and a day and then dump a load and a half right on top of you.

~All or none... can't you ever just take the middle road and not continue to tax my nerves and heart...~ For some reason this thought made the red-head smile as she realized how much she liked that quality about Helena; even though it often lead to frustration and a large amount of time learning how to pull things from the woman. If only she could figure out if it was all or none or even middle regarding how Helena felt about...

She pulled her glasses off and began pinching at the bridge of her nose as she closed her eyes and closed down those thoughts. "Alright Huntress, let me make sure I have this. The complication is you just happen to have an agent who works for the federal government unconscious on your couch. And why oh why do I get the feeling the number that placed the call is her number?" She paused trying to keep her voice even and emotionless.

"Well..." the voice drawled across the comms.

"And why oh double why... no this deserves a triple. Triple why do I suspect you somehow had a hand in her current state?" Barbara closed her eyes somehow already knowing the answer to her asked question. ~Please tell me no, please, just say... "No Oracle, I did not do anything to the nice agent, no Oracle I did not just assault a federal officer and could be facing a felony charge... I was just walking along minding my own business..."~

"She was pulling a gun on me, what was I supposed to do?" Helena shot back, frowning down at her couch and glancing at the gun on the table next to it. After a moment she moved to pick up the gun, looked around for a place to hide it, and ended up putting it in the freezer.

Moving to rub at her eyebrow, which had begun to throb, Barbara followed the activity coming through the police scanner a moment trying to remain calm. "Is she badly hurt, are you hurt?" She pulled up the 911 access program she had written to send in anonymous tips and began formulating a call if either needed medical attention. She paused waiting for Hel's reply as well as hoping for divine inspiration as to how to report the need for aid while keeping the young woman from jail and trouble.

"I'm fine. And I just knocked her out. How stupid do you think I am? Just tell me what to do with her now," Helena said, wanting more of the whiskey she'd left downstairs.

"Do you really want me to answer that?" Barbara said her exasperation and uncertainty finally leaking out some. "I should say you got yourself into this, you work it out. Why does your solution often carry some physical answer? Perhaps a little practice thinking things out would do you good."

"She had a gun!" Helena yelled.

Flinching at the tone and also the word, Barbara grabbed at the armrest and fought to remain calm. "Alright, so she had a gun and followed you to the bar. What exactly did she want and why would she pull a gun on you Hel? Did she come in guns blazing?"

"She started dancing around the point, I played dumb, then I guess she didn't believe me and went for the gun. I stopped her, no excessive force, I swear," Helena explained.

"No excessive... you have an unconscious woman on your couch." Her voice rose in tone as she spoke. "And dancing around the point... that sounds like standard procedure for someone else I know. Perhaps you two are a match made in heaven." She muttered canceling the 911 call and trying to figure a way out of this one.

"So do you have any ideas how to find a way out of this situation? One preferably that does not have you locked in a prison cell for 5 to 10." ~Think Barbara... how do we get out of this... I can't lose Helena.~ She started cracking into the local FBI field office computer hoping she could see something in the agent's profile that might help.

"Well, now that she doesn't have the gun I'm waiting for her to wake up so I can try to talk some sense into her..." Helena shrugged.

"Now you're going to try talking?" she asked incredulously. "I think the world just stopped spinning." She found a few files and started reading them over. "Are you sure you can handle this?" She asked absently focused on the background reports her brow furrowing as she became more engrossed in what she was reading.

"Do I have a choice?" Helena replied, not about to consider putting Barbara at risk.

"You did and this is where your choice lead you." ~And now once again we find a way to deal with the consequences. Why do I keep doing this?~ She paused then her eyes wandering from the computer screen to the small piece of cloth she had left on the top of her main monitor, ~That's why...~

A groan from the comms broke across her thoughts and forced her eyes away from the piece of cloth. "Huntress?"

Chapter 12

Choice in the Matter (Aimee Mann)

New Gotham
Helena's apartment above the Dark Horse Bar
Thursday 1:19 am


"Chill out Oracle, she moved some but didn't come to." Helena replied having knelt beside Scully watching as the agent's breathing seemed to even out. "I just hate the standing-here-and-waiting-thing,"

Breathing a sigh of relief hearing Hel's voice, Barbara stared off into space working over Hel's comment. "Huntress, there is this little saying, patience is a virtue..."

"Virtue is highly over-rated oracle." Resuming her pacing, the young woman glanced at the agent, "Know of any ways to just wake her up totally?"

"Wake her up... are you sure she is alright?" She hesitated before adding the next sentence already hearing Hel's protests, "Maybe you should take her to a hospital?" As she said this, a blinking light from another monitor caught her eye and she turned to take a look.

"I told you that I didn't hit her that hard, besides, she's breathing just fine and if we can keep doctors out of this. They'll ask questions and isn't that what got me into this lovely mess in the first place?" Helena huffed.

Rubbing wearily at her eyes, Barbara typed in a few lines to call up what had set off one of her alerts. "Breathing is a good thing. The acting before thinking we need to work on along with a number of your other magnificent social skills." Barbara glanced over at the monitor where she had started reading through some of the back cases. She'd been calling up reports and journal entries from the division Agent Scully had been assigned to, something called the X-Files.

"We need to find out exactly what she..." her voice trailed off as she refocused on the monitor in front of her and read the report that had set off her alarm.

"She's fine Oracle, I already told you that," Helena said, rolling her eyes as she dropped into the chair across from the couch, staring at the FBI agent and wondering what all of this was going to lead to, or at least how Barbara was going to fix it.

"Mmmm," was the absent reply as her eyes flitted over the report. "Huntress... there are reports of disturbances in a location not too far from where you are. Strange, the police response is a 534." Barbara pulled at her lip as she continued to stare absently at the police call and the reply.

"534?" Helena asked, not recognizing the code. "And are you sure I should leave? I mean, leaving someone on my couch, unconscious, alone in my apartment? Seems harsh, especially for a special agent or whatever, right?"

"Seems someone did not take to heart the list of police codes we reviewed last month. I am sure you got the memo..." Barbara said, a slight ring of sarcasm to her voice. She tapped at her brow as she contemplated the report as well as Hel's words.

Another call from the same area broke through the red-head's indecision and spurred her to action - especially since this one had been also labeled as a 534. "Huntress, I agree this is not a very sane idea. But at this point she already knows who you are and where you live. Another report just came in, this one had the reporting officer's recorded reply as tracking an individual who just seemingly disappeared at the end of an alley. I think this might be related to the earlier call. If someone is in trouble..."

She closed her eyes hoping her shifting of priorities was correct and wondering why her normal calm and collected approach to problems was so much harder to grasp and maintain these last few weeks. ~Distracted, I've just been distracted and tired and...~ A brief thought to her hospital visit tried to work its way into the thought monologue but was swept aside as she hear a sigh from Helena ring across the comm. link.

"A 534 is a new code I brought to your attention last month, it means to disregard and break off any further investigation on the matter."

"So why I should I be worried about it if New Gotham's finest don't care?" Helena ask, leaning forward to rest her arms on her knees.

"Because people slip through the cracks and those are the people someone needs to care about." She replied quietly, her thoughts suddenly dragged back to a night so long ago and yet so fresh in her mind. She shook her head trying to break free of those thoughts... there would be plenty of time tonight to curl into a ball in her own bed away from the world as those thoughts came back to consume her.

"Two of the Dissection Killers last four victims were found in areas where disturbance calls came in and were ignored as a 534." she did not add her own growing suspicion at what the 534 meant and who was pushing calls into that label.

"So I get to chase them down and leave the red head alone in my apartment. You know, I'm questioning this, and that never happens," Helena admitted, standing and pulling on her jacket.

"What never happens?" Her voice was distant as her eyes wandered back to another monitor where Dana Scully journals still filled the screen. The few entries she had read had alternated between clinical and thorough to others tinted with a hint of personality and experiences that piqued Barbara's interest. "Did you check her pulse and are you sure her breathing is steady? If you are concerned, you should take her to the hospital and I can monitor the calls and see if there is any further activity."

"I know she's fine, I'm just concerned about the location," Helena sighed.

Barbara was leaning in toward the monitor engrossed in a more personal journal entry she had just found. Her eyes widened slightly as she reached the line about cancer. A bleeping sound from another computer broke into her reading and pulled her back to the current situation. She saved the pathway she had found to get to these journals and then snapped off the monitor as a way to force herself to focus.

"Sorry Huntress, location? And I do not like the idea of leaving Dana alone as well but if there is even a remote possibility of this being connected..." She trailed off her eyes wandering back to the darkened monitor.

"Right. So are you going to tell me the address or should I start guessing?" Helena said, getting annoyed. "And why the hell am I telling you to focus and not the other way around?"

Her eyes snapped back to front and center and she could almost feel herself blushing at Hel's comment; now who felt like they had been caught with their hand in the cookie jar?

Wiping at her warming cheeks, Barbara moved and pulled up the address of the different calls. "Maybe I decided to give you a little taste of what I have to deal with on a fairly daily basis." She snapped back trying to cover her chagrin at being caught distracted even as a small part of her wondered the same thing Hel had voiced.

"Yeah, but you have patience and I'm impulsive. So, about the address...?" Helena said, trying not to start jumping up and down. She could already feel the adrenaline starting and she wasn't even outside yet.

"And that impulsiveness is what I love about you Huntress although it continually tests said patience." She read off the two locations. "Did you copy that?"

Repeating the addresses and an intersection between them, Helena nodded to herself as Oracle confirmed she had the right information. "I'm off," she added, glancing at the redhead before slipping out the window and climbing up to the roof, heading toward the address.

Chapter 13

The Heat Is On (Glenn Frey)

The rooftops of New Gotham 2:00am

"Should have tied her up or something," Helena muttered as she landed on another rooftop heading towards the address Oracle had given her.

"You clocked a federal officer which is a felony. I think that is enough without bringing bondage into the picture as well."

Helena barked out a laugh hearing that word from Barbara's lips. For some reason the way the red-head had said that made her shiver. "Say it again Oracle."

Frowning at the request, Barbara shrugged as she continued calling up city plans of the alleyway Helena was headed towards and repeated her words. "Let me know if it does not come through clear this time. I said I think that is enough without bringing bondage in..."

"Oooh Oracle I love it when you talk dirty like that to me. Can you say whips and chains this time?" Helena teased and then frowned as there was no reply from the comm.. Pulling up in her movement she hesitated and then felt her eyes widen as she could hear over the comms a change in the breathing of the red-head.

"Ba... um Oracle, you ok?"

"Fi-fi-fine Huntress. Are you there yet?" The voice came through obviously trying hard to change the topic.

Cocking her head to one side Helena realized she had gotten to Barbara. She had... she pulled up on that thought and instead focused on making another jump. The idea of being able to turn the older woman on was actually starting to turn Helena on. While she liked to feel the warm rush and electric flow through her body, one reason why she flirted and prowled so much, she knew she needed to focus in case this was an honest tip.

~Bondage... tying Helena up and...~ she thumped her hand hard on the arm of the wheelchair gripping the metal in an attempt to grip her own run-away emotion. She focused on pulling up the schematics she'd been researching to see if there were any cameras she could hijack in the area.

Dropping down, Huntress could make out two figures struggling. She heard a gurgle and swore. "No, not this time." Both she and Barbara said at the same time. Helena blinked at the shared words but tensed as she stood up. "Hey is there room for one more?" She called out hoping to take the element of surprise.

"Huntress what's going on? I can't get a visual."

The figure had already let the second body go and stepped back as it folded silently to the ground. She was not positive but from the boneless way the second person seemed to collapse Helena thought she might be too late. "Listen sicko, I'm here to make sure you never get the urge to be a Ginsu wizard again."

"No one appreciates work ethicsssss these days." A voice hissed. He'd not been happy She wanted two collections in one night and this only proved his point. "I take pride,"

Helena had been drawn in by the odd speech impediment and almost didn't hear the change in his voice. Almost didn't see the slight flash. Almost was impaled by the scalpel that came flying from the shadow.

She growled in pain as she reared up, her hand managing to deflect the projectile but suffering a large cut across her palm as the ultra-sharp implement stuck in the crate behind her having been thrown with such force.

The distraction of pain was just enough that she was plowing into the crates, fists raining down on her unprotected temples and ribs for a full 10 seconds before she even realized the shadow had followed the scalpel and was now kicking the shit out of the metahuman.

"Okay I was going easy," she kicked up with her knees catching...it...no... him... catching him in the gut and was rewarded with a lessening of the blows as the air whooshed from his lungs.

Barbara could hear the fight and grunts of pain but kept silent, knowing that misplaced words here would only distract. She cheered silently as she finally found a surveillance camera and began hacking in, it might give her a little something to help.

The older woman hated being bound, bound by the rules and settings put in place by others only able to be a passenger. Only able to borrow what someone else had put in play. She wished for once she could be the one taking charge, designing the rules... being the one to take the leap, the chance, to be bold, brash, to go after the woman she...~What Barbara, what does Helena mean to you?~

Jarold staggered back but caught himself before he plowed into the collected materials. He looked down distracted as he noted he had not properly covered the container. He reached turned to close the container and as he did, he snaked out his tail to grab a piece of metal and flung it at the other metahuman.

She caught herself about to clap as she was watching the show below. No need to let the interfering bitch know she was being watched. Surprises were something the blonde enjoyed so much. She riveted her gaze to the struggle below.

* * * * *

Dark Horse Bar 2:00am

Scully had been working hard not to groan or move even though her head pounded and she felt stiff. She'd woken somewhat earlier but had drifted off feeling dazed. The fact she had not moved or made much noise since her initial groan when she regained awareness earlier seemed to have convinced the bar owner she was still out.

After Helena had left, Scully pushed herself of the couch trying to collect her thoughts amid the pounding ache in her head and neck.

She staggered to the door pausing to grip the doorjamb as a wave of dizziness passed. Mentally repeated the address Helena had recited earlier, Scully headed down the stairs. She pulled on her clothes knowing they were disheveled and her hair tousled.

Pausing to adjust to the noises as she entered the bar she started to the front door but stopped realizing she was still too new to New Gotham and had little idea where the address was located. Knowing time was crucial, she made it to the bar and flagged the helpful bartender down.

She winced inwardly at the shit-eating grin on the man's face as he took in her appearance. "I see you found Hel," he practically purred and she could easily guess his thoughts on what their meeting had been like.

"Yes, we found each other." She said coolly not giving any information one way or another. She really did not have time for this. "I need directions."

"Ooo a secret rendezvous, she does like the exotic. Probably what attracted her to you."

Scully's eyebrow shot up, "Attracted?"

Wiping his hands on a towel he shook his head laughing. "I've seen her in action and in heat and in lust. She's definitely gunning for you. Now those directions?"

Non-plused by the frank words Scully just stared at the man.

"And Helena leaves yet another shell-shocked victim behind." He teased as he leaned on the bar. "Although the way you handled the lieutenant, I'm willing to bet Helena may have met her match this time. I won't be surprised if you are the one that ends up making her scream and beg for more. I mean the way you turned down her initial advances. She was zoned out for the next two days. I think you might be good for her actually. Making her think with something other than her sexual desire and charm."

Scully could feel her cheeks heating and coloring to match her hair and rubbed at her face trying to collect her stray thoughts and stop the pounding in her head which now seemed to match a warm pounding in another part of her body that had started when the man was describing what she had done to Helena. "Listen, what is the fastest way to get to this place." She gave him the address trying to do the equivalent of taking a mental cold shower.

~It must be the fight, she knocked me pretty hard. Has my whole body thrown off...~ She reasoned trying to explain away the thoughts and reactions her body was having to thinking about the brunette.

She was in her car quickly, the directions barely passing from the man's lips. She had to stop the woman, no matter what she was thinking or feeling, Helena Kyle needed to be kept from murdering again, at any cost.

As these thoughts passed through her brain, Scully leaned over and retrieved her backup gun from the glove compartment. "Any cost Dana."

Chapter 14

Tite Squeeze (Rainbow)

New Gotham, Some Alleyway
sometime after 2:00am

"Shit," Helena said, trying to dodge the scrap metal thrown at her. Feeling it hit her shoulder, Helena managed to recover, immediately launched herself at the guy. "That's enough!"

Jarold just managed to close the container as he felt himself hit from behind. He twisted roughly crying out at the pain in order to move their falling bodies away from the specimen. He reached up grappling with the woman as they traded blows. Rolling to his side, he freed his tail so he could use that as well trying to gain the upper hand.

"What?" Barbara tried to clarify the garbled words as she waited for the computer to find a connection to the camera feed.

"I said, this fucker has a tail." Helena spit out blood from where the man had slapped her hard with the tail as she had grabbed his hands and had been about to head butt him to oblivion.

Swinging hard at his face Helena growled at him. She knew that Barbara was still listening and didn't want to terrorize the woman, but she did want to scare the shit out of this guy.

Unable to move fast enough, Jarold fumbled, swinging at empty air as he tried to recover from the pain shooting through his jaw where Helena's punch had landed. He twisted his hips then and managed to scramble away across the ground his hands searching for anything to use as a weapon. His hand closed around a bar of some sort he swung it behind him hoping to land a blow.

"Now that's just pathetic," Helena chuckled, easily catching the bar and twisting it until he was forced to release. Rolling her eyes Helena took a few steps and jumped, her foot heading for his head.

"You know that's just rude," a female voice hissed near Hel's ear a moment before the owner of the voice sent a hard kick connecting with the small of Helena's back.

Barbara had resisted asking her question again when she had received no reply from Helena, she knew not to distract the young woman when she was "working" but the change suddenly in the fight dynamic forced a comment from the red-head.

"Where did she come from?" Barbara asked as the camera feed blinked into life. A green, fuzzy image showed some general structures and three strong heat images as well as a faint fourth. She worked to try and get a better visual.

"Fuck if I know," Helena groaned, pushing herself up from where she'd landed on the pavement. "And that's not?" she growled at the woman.

"Of course it is but at least I can carry off rude and still look sexy, you just look pathetic and needy." Jem took a step back so Hel's punch swept through empty air.

"That's what you think," Helena said, launching herself forward with a jump.

The two traded blows as the blonde backed up. Feeling her back dig into a crate, Jem smiled then and reached back pulling something out as she allowed herself to be hit to give Helena confidence. Turning her head back after it had been rocked by the blow, she let her smile grow. "No honey that's what I know." She lashed out then swinging the scalpel she had pried out of the crate at Hel's face.

Jarold had crawled back to the body and his bag. He new She would be angered if they came back without the needed materials. "Sssso much delay already..." He hissed as he moved to finish the collection. His attention however was drawn to the fight and he gripped another cutting instrument poised to throw it if he could get a clear shot.

Oracle sat in her chair watching the moving figures on the screen as her fingers hovered over the keyboard. Unable to do anything, she sat, listening and watching, willing Helena to be alright. She hated this part of the patrols, the never ending feeling that she might not see Helena again.

Hissing Helena took a few steps back, feeling the blood already sliding down her face. "Now that was just uncalled for," she growled, ducking to try a more direct tackle.

Trying to set her body, Jem rolled with the metahuman losing the scalpel as they crashed into a dumpster. She cried out a little as she felt a jarring blow to her ribs setting off a wave of pain. Using the momentum from the impact, she managed to disengage herself from Helena's hold on her body.

Inhaling a deep, exaggerated breath, Jem pushed down her pain as she stood to face Helena. "Ah, urine, rotting food, dying bodies and blood. All the comforts of home. Looks like someone will need a band-aid." She said holding up a finger covered in blood before slowly sucking her finger into her mouth, "Hmm, what are you A positive?"

Trying to ignore the taunts and focus, Helena moved swiftly closing the distance between them.

"Fuck," Jem gasped out as she side-stepped the first wave of punches but got caught off guard by a sweeping kick from Helena. "Not one for small talk I see," she grunted out through her clenched jaw as she set to counter Hel's attack. "Not really my style," Helena agreed, her body refusing to stop.

She was unable to respond as she struggled against the vice grip Helena had on her. The raven-haired woman had managed to twist Jem's arm behind her back and had snaked her other arm around the blonde's shoulders containing her struggles for the most part.

As the two women focused on fighting each other, Jarold had completed his task and gripping his bladed instrument he crept up behind Helena and darting his arm out managed to stab deep into Hel's side.

Feeling the distraction, Jem took the advantage to grind a boot heel on Hel's instep as she thrust an elbow hard into Hel's midsection.

Jarold had moved back and when Helena doubled over from the attacks, he stepped near, his tail wrapping tight around Hel's neck. He held her tight so his sister could work on the woman that had intruded into their business.

Coughing for a moment Helena started struggling for breath, squeezing at what was around her neck. "Ba..." she tried to get out.

"Begging are we?" Jem leered as she punched rapidly at the woman's midsection moving closer. "See what happens when the little girl tries to play in the big kids' playground?"

"Huntress!" she called hearing the gasped voice of Helena cut short. Barbara gripped the handles of her chair tighter and tighter. She watched the images continue their surreal dance across her screen; the three main signatures had suddenly coalesced into a tight group. "Huntress?" She called again breaking her usual reserve and code of keeping comm communication to a minimum during a fight.

"Love you," Helena choked, working her fingers between the tail and her neck to get some breathing space. Her eyes were closed tight against the barrage of hits, and all she could think of was Barbara.

"What?" Barbara's word was a whisper as she could not take her eyes away from the fuzzy image on her monitor. "Helena?" Her voice clogged with confusion and fear as she continued to hear nothing more than odd sounds, grunts and ragged breathing.

"Get out of there, Huntress, please, get out of there." Her voice was rising and the tense fear she felt as she still heard no reply suddenly focused in a fit of futility and frustration causing Barbara to slam her fists down.

Hitting her keyboard hard enough to cause it to fall to the ground, the images on her monitors blinked and fuzzed out. "No!" the red-head shouted as her visual link to Helena went dark. "Come back to me Helena." She cried again trying to reach for her keyboard and finding she could not grasp it from her position in the chair.

"Sorry," Huntress managed to say before losing consciousness, watching the world fade to black.

Chapter 15

Out of the Blue (Jack the Lass)

A dark alleyway in New Gotham
the darkest time (just before dawn)

"Huntress?" Barbara called again and then almost screamed as a voice purred across the comms.

"Listen sexy voice, Huntress is currently not available may I take a message?"

Jem was crouched speaking to the ethereal voice having taking the device from the unconscious brunette. Something about the voice on the other end had sent shivers down Jem's spine and right then and there she knew she wanted that woman. Wanted to take her, break her, make her scream and plead to the metahuman using that same sexy voice.

She looked down at the brunette and thought how lucky she was to have this voice whispering in her ear. The blonde breathed in deeply letting out a slow growl into the comm piece. "Whatever she's got, I can give you ten times and then some. She teases you, denies you. I'll dominate you. Fulfill your burning, hidden, suppressed sexual desire."

The woman shifted watching Jarold go to work on the victim retrieving what he had been commanded to find. Her grin widened as she toyed with her nipple while she imagined the woman that owned the voice lying naked and broken beneath her begging not for the pain to stop but for Jem to continue, to take her completely.

"Her touch, whatever she makes you feel, will pale and fade when compared to the voracious appetite I can feed. Your voice tells me what you need, want, crave. The dark, pure erotic fuck you long for but have been afraid to voice. I'll slide inside your warm, tight channel with my fingers and tongue and give you the fuck that you call for each time you speak."

The killer licked her lips loudly knowing the sound would carry over the comm system as Jem heard what she'd been listening for, a slip on the other end. A quick, sharply inhaled, ragged breath. So soft most would miss, yet just enough that Jem knew she was touching the woman; sliding over and into Oracle's psyche with her words, dragging the other woman at least for a moment into Jem's dark, psychotic world. That thought tore a shiver from the blonde causing her to groan.

"I'll take you to places you can only imagine and then when you can't breath, comprehend or even whimper." Her voice was low, husky, and sensual. "I'll continue to ravage you feeling your silky wetness coating my throat and.." Jem's words were cut off as a hand shot straight up strangling her words.

"Shut... your fucking... mouth," Helena ordered, squeezing as she spoke. She'd heard bits of things, but all she really knew was that the woman had been threatening Barbara.

Caught totally by surprise, Jem dropped the comm link as her hands shot up to pull at the hand around her throat. She fell back some as she struggled against the tight grip.

Blinking, Helena couldn't clear her eyes that much, but refused to let go as she struggled to get up from the ground. "Oracle. Back-up would be good."

"Hel..." the raspy voice came through the comm signaling what ever hold the blonde's voice had over the computer hacker, the spell seemed to have been broken.

"Bro, Jarold..." Jem gasped out still trying to regain her equilibrium and upper hand. "A little help here."

Jarold was tempted to leave her, as he had been waiting patiently by the front of the alley for his sister to finish her fun. He had heard her conversation and sighed knowing she had found a new game to focus her cruel desires. Watching the awakening brunette, Jarold wondered if Jem chose to chase after her new choice for a playmate if it would be more than his sister bargained for. Coming up still holding the container, he began kicking at Helena.

Trying to keep the bartender's instructions straight in her head, Scully had managed to make it to the location. Checking the street names once more. She staggered out of the car holding the gun as well as a flashlight. Keeping the light off for the moment, she used the dim street lighting to pick out her path. She waited a moment more as she again heard the noises coming from a nearby alleyway and then hurried towards the sounds.

Trying not to cry out, Helena couldn't help the groans that came with the violence against her. "Oracle... now," she said as she curled up.

"Hang on," Barbara whispered her fingers already pulling up her 911 call program and starting to enter the override to bypass the operators and dispatch help. "I've got you." she shook her head, "I mean help is coming."

Jem's cruel smile swallowed her other facial features as she pulled back gulping in air watching Helena retreat under the pounding boot of her brother. She saw a hand placed on the ground for support and managed to dart in crushing the fingers below her own boot. She'd retrieved a wooden beam from the dumpster and moved forward tapping Jarold on the shoulder.

The metahuman paused his assault his tail twitching as he had been using it whip like to lash the woman as well as deflect Helena's attempted blocks.

Raising the beam she froze, blinded by a light and hearing a new voice.

She could barely make out the dim figures in the shadows. Turning on her light, she swept the powerful beam into the fray and was not really surprised to find her quarry. What did cause the FBI agent to pause was the sight of the other two and the ravaged body nearby, all caught in the sweeping motions of her light.

~Pull yourself together Dana, with what you have seen...~ She hardened her face, "FBI, freeze now or I will shoot." She stared at the brother and sister, her mind telling her something was...off... Her medical instincts kicking in, she noted the facial features and body structures seemed... wrong...

Knowing that she wasn't really in her usual bullet-dodging shape Helena didn't move, just made sure that she was curled up tight. "Be careful, there's more to them than meets the eye," she called out.

"We sssshould go," Jarold squinted in the light, blinded. He gripped the container tighter sensing his sister's caginess he willed her not to do something stupid. He was so tired.

"Dana?" Barbara said quietly as she sent the dispatch instructions, her eyes searching over the monitors which had started to come back.

Trying to assess the situation, Scully crouched some, the flashlight acting like a sight as she chose to target the blonde as Jem held the beam still raised over her head. "Drop it now and everyone move back along the wall, I said drop it." She shouted suddenly having picked up on a slight adjustment by the blonde.

"Nope gotta finish what I started." She let her eyes wander down to find Helena's, "Besides I don't want any obstacles popping up as I hunt down my new friend." She let her tongue dart out to lick slowly along her lips as her smile turned to a thin leer.

Hearing the voice and knowing what the woman probably had in mind Helena pushed to her feet enough to start stumbling to one side of the alley, shakily getting to her feet when she wasn't so close to the crazy woman.

Helena's movement triggered a domino series of events. Jem sensing Helena was moving started to swing the beam almost catching her as the woman stumbled away. Scully's shot rang out hitting Jem in the upper shoulder causing her to jerk and thus swing wide missing her target.

Jarold had started to move seeing the women react. He noted the agent had aimed again and was going to score a more direct hit on his sister. He lashed out with his tail wrapping it around Scully's arm holding the gun and pulled.

He'd meant to just deter her. The agent however had not frozen in surprise as he'd expected instead she let her body be pulled along and struck out using a flat palm karate move to strike at Jarold's nose and face.

Screaming in pain, he ripped his tail away causing the agent to slam against the side of the building as he managed to stagger away. Clutching the container he headed out of the alley, "Jem, we musssst get to Her," he whimpered feeling blood trickling down his face. "Pleasssssssse," his tongue flicked out trying to reach and sooth his aching face.

Seeing the gun Helena gave it a kick in the redhead's direction before moving to throw herself at Jem's legs, hoping to tangle her up enough to take her down.

Finding it hard to get her vision clear, Scully reached out and retrieved her flashlight and swept the alleyway trying to assess her situation. She used her shoulder to push up along the wall as she watched Helena purposely send the gun her way.

The blonde was furious. "Bitch, you need to stay down and learn to play dead. And I'm going to be the one to teach you your proper place." The blonde began a series of punches letting her anger and frustration over ride the pain and find a focus, Helena.

Jarold almost cried at his sister's refusal to come. "Jem, behind you." He spat as the red head had gotten her gun and drawing a bead on the two began to squeeze the trigger.

Taking the hits Helena returned a few of her own, trying to drag the woman down.

Scully hesitated pulling the trigger as the brunette's earlier words and actions cast doubt on her actual role in everything. Scully had too few answers to make a good decision and held her shot.

She drew closer, her focus wavering for a moment to note that the man had not entered the fray. Her gaze was held though as her mind saw something she could not comprehend, the man had... an appendage???

A sudden cry from the fighters drew Dana's eyes away from Jarold and his tail which had appeared over his shoulder twitching nervously as he watched his sister fighting.

Scully turned to try and get a shot when she was surprised as Helena was thrown clear across the alleyway to hit against the wall high above Scully's head. Fixing the blonde who was wiping at a bleeding lip in her sights preparing to fire, Scully cried out as something pushed roughly against her. The agent was thrown, crashing hard against Helena.

Dazed as she flew through the air Helena was reminded of some of Dinah's old antics, but found herself more concerned with her sudden meeting with a brick wall, followed by another connection with the pavement. Between the two hits, everything was blurrier than it had been all evening, not to mention spinning as well.

"Next time sweetie, we dance to the death." Jem called lightly trying to keep the irritation out of her voice, her shoulder throbbing with pain. Jarold began pulling his sister out of the alleyway. "And send my regards to your lusty friend, I'll be with her soon enough." Jem called before the two disappeared.

Breathing hard, Scully started pushing against Helena trying to disengage herself and focus on the others. She managed to push up enough to watch as the two slipped out of the alleyway entrance. Groaning as she felt a jolt of pain in her knee she dropped back down resting against the other woman.

"You're under arrest." Scully managed in-between heavy breaths.

"I might have broken some ribs, you want to get off?" Helena asked, her own breathing heavy.

"Do I want to get off? Yes. Can I? That is another question altogether." She gritted her teeth trying to contain the groans as she felt her knee protest again as she shifted. Managing to use her hands and good knee, the red-head crawled to retrieve her gun. Turning she started moving back to Helena's side.

Barbara had heard static cut across the comm. She could tell from the way the sounds had started coming through, the comm had been dropped. Pieces of conversation and the struggle had filtered through the speakers adding to the tense atmosphere. Barbara had little choice but to stare off into space, her knuckles white where they held onto the arm rests.

Careful not to let the FBI agent close enough to pull her handcuffs Helena moved to find the comm link, tapping it a few times as she put it back around her neck. "Listen, about earlier... Think we can forget that? I mean, I'm on your side."

Scully was still trying to piece what had happened together, her mind fighting the images and impossible things she had seen. Whether the brunette was telling the truth or not, she was the only link Dana currently had right now. "I can't let you go, there's too much I need..." She pulled up, a siren cutting through her admission of how lost she felt. "You need to see a doctor, you're hurt. Besides I don't think you can make the fire escape this time and any decision is about to be taken out of my hands." She waved in the direction of the sirens.

"I have someone who can take care of me," Helena said, suddenly rethinking the phrasing. "And this is a no on the arrest question, right?"

"I wasn't aware there was any other question being considered." She paused hearing the sirens draw nearer. Her thoughts from her plane ride and the sense of thinking outside the box warred with her normal procedural routine. "Although I might point out how it could be to your advantage to perhaps answer my questions not Lieutenant McDonald's." she made a face thinking how much the police officer had disgusted her as she struggled to her feet.

"Huntress, if she is offering even a possible alternate to not revealing ourselves to the NGPD, take it. I'll explain later." Barbara said letting out the breath she had been holding listening to the conversation between the two women.

"So let's get out of here," Helena said before glancing at the body. "And for the record, it was too late when I got here."

Scully said nothing in reply instead waving at Helena to move out of the alley. The agent stopped by the body and looked down at it frowning. She continued taking in the body picking up on the similarity to wounds from crime scene photos.

With a sigh Helena pushed to her feet, making sure to space herself from the redhead for the time being. "Oracle. What do you want me to tell her?"

"As little as possible, but she..." Her eyes trailed again to where she had brought up the journals knowing as soon as Helena was safe she would bury herself in them once again. ~She may be more of an ally then we have had in a long time... or more of a threat...~

"How badly are you hurt?" Barbara's voice softened as she asked that trying not to think over how many nights she had spent going over every inch of the delicate skin; searching out any wound or injury her intent to take care of Helena. Closing her eyes it did not surprise her how easily she was able to call up images. How well she knew that body and yet... and yet how little she felt she truly knew. Oh how she longed to explore and be allowed to touch the skin in a very different way. She leaned her elbow on the desk rubbing at her eyes pushing back in the longing and her wants.

Scully's frown deepened as she stared at the body, there was something, a pattern... She jumped hearing the approaching vehicles and started moving towards her car still focused on the crime scene.

"Might have cracked some ribs. I'll be over when I'm free," Helena said, cutting the conversation short as the agent approached where she was waiting at the end of the alley.

"I'll be waiting, I have some... questions to ask you." Hel's words from earlier still rang loudly in the teacher's mind.

Considering the woman could have gotten away when Scully was distracted by the body, the agent had to admit at least the woman was not running. "It's unlocked," she waved at the car and opened her door. Gingerly getting in, feeling her aches and bruises. Scully waited until Helena was settled noting that Helena had made a wincing motion as she appeared to be listening once again to her communications device. "So where is this person that can take care of you? Where are we headed?"

"You can just drop me at the Dark Horse," Helena said, not about to give up any locations. Barbara had taught her much better than that.

Hitting the automatic lock as she managed to get her car going and around the corner before the units arrived, Scully shot Helena a look that said 'yeah right'. "I did not know your bartender was schooled in the field of medicine." She said sarcastically.

"Now we can head to the hospital and explain why a federal agent who is bruised and battered is bringing in an equally injured woman, or you can tell me where I can take you to get help." Scully focused back on the road driving slowly, "Is it the person you talk to?" She asked casually.

"Your gun; it's the back-up, right? I'll give you your usual one back, but I'm not dragging anyone else into this," Helena shrugged, shifting in her seat and immediately wincing.

Oracle worked her hand under her leg trying to keep silent as she listened to the conversation knowing the brunette was trying to keep her identity secret.

The words back-up triggered a wave of loneliness to run through Scully's thoughts. Trying not to think of how she was isolated and alone, Dana pulled the car over to the shoulder. She turned to face Helena. "What or should I say who is your back up Helena? I suspect they are probably much further "in this" than you are willing to admit."

She leaned over then probing at the woman's side and her fingers worked to move to the back of the woman's shirt, "If you continue to lose blood you will need a hospital regardless of what you or I want. You need to be looked at. Luckily the cut seems not to have hit anything major, I think. Hard to see from this angle. Now where to?"

"Fuck," Helena said, pushing the probing hand away, despite how much it felt like one that belonged to another redhead. "It's really not that bad. I've had worse. So I can get out here, or you can take me to the Dark Horse," Helena said, one of her hands moving to put and maintain some pressure on the cut.

Determined, Scully narrowed her eyes and put the car back into drive. "When a human loses over a quart of blood they stand the risk of dying from hypovolemic shock. You will lose consciousness before that however and then the choice is taken out of your hands." She rattled off the words using her medical voice. "Do you have medical supplies at your place?" She had turned the car to head towards her field office as she waited to hear the reply.

"Huntress, if you are hurt. She is a certified doctor." Barbara kept her voice controlled and emotionless.

"Yeah," Helena nodded answering both women. This definitely wasn't good. Although it wasn't as if the woman didn't know where she lived already. "You didn't happen to leave my place through the fire escape, did you?" Helena asked.

Scully turned shooting Helena a disbelieving look as a snort of laughter came through hel's comm. "I actually gave up that method of travel for Lent." She tried not to let the corner of her mouth turn up at her reply as she made a turn. "And no, I left the way I came stopping to have a nice chat with Steve the bartender. IS there a reason behind this question?"

"Trying to find a reason behind a Helena line of questions is like trying to listen to a Beatles record backwards and derive meaning." Barbara added trying to calm down now that Helena seemed out of danger.

"I was just wondering if the door would be locked," Helena said, shaking her head. "So glad you found that so funny."

"Sorry," was the simultaneous reply from both Scully and Barbara. "You did set yourself up there," followed the apology again in eerie stereo.

" I did not lock it as I was in a bit of a hurry." Scully added, "I take it you are set on going back to your place, do you have gauze and bandages by any chance?"

"I've even got stitches, just don't think that you'll be putting them in me," Helena muttered. "So, let's see. Dana Scully. New Director of the local FBI Office... Anything I'm leaving out?"

Arching an eyebrow at the comment, the red-head could not help correcting Helena even though she was reluctant to use her earned title. "Dr. Dana Scully. And if you can stitch your back that is a technique I'd love to see." she replied sarcastically as she pulled up in front of the bar. "And since you know my full name and affiliation, may I know yours?" she asked as she shut off the car engine.

"Helena Kyle. Bartender," the brunette said, opening her door and taking her time getting out. "There's a door in back," she said, starting her way around the building.

"Bartender? That's what they call vigilantes in New Gotham is it?" Scully bit off the rest of her retort as she slowly got out of the car. She paused a moment before reaching back in to grab her gun. She placed it in the holster she was still wearing in a show of trust. An act she hoped she would not pay for later.

Pulling ahead, Helena whispered into her comm, "Oracle. I'm going silent for awhile. I really am not hurt too bad, I swear. Just a few bruises. And after the so called doctor is done butchering the patch job, I'll be over to have someone I trust look at me." She paused almost able to see the deep frown of concern forming on Bab's face. "I swear, things will work out just fine. I'm not a little girl anymore. Huntress out."

Barbara saw the message snap up that Hel had turned off the comm link cutting off any reply the teacher might have made. Sighing, she rubbed at her forehead a moment before covering her face with her hands, her shoulders drooping. A single, deep sob tearing at her body causing it to flinch and rock in the chair. After a moment another and then another followed.

Chapter 16

Consequence Free (Great Big Sea)

Helena's Apartment
Thursday early morning

Wanting to lean against the wall for support Helena resisted the urge; she didn't want to have to clean blood from the walls again. It never came out all the way. "I think it's in the bathroom," she murmured in response to Scully's question about the first aid kit. Making her way in and flipping on a couple of lights Helena started making her way through the cabinets.

Watching the woman disappear, Scully took off her jacket and placed it over the back of a chair. Again doubting her wisdom, she took off the holster placing it under her jacket. She looked around the apartment and then moved to the kitchen.

The agent started looking around trying to locate some soap. Finally finding a small bottle, she started washing her hands as her mind ran over exactly what she was doing here again and exactly what she hoped to accomplish. "Actually I have no idea why I agreed to this," she mumbled shutting off the water and looking around trying to locate a towel.

"You might want to bring a couple of towels," she called out noting the stack of dishes and other signs that the woman did not take much time to tend to chores. "Clean towels." she added emphasizing the word clean.

Rolling her eyes at the fact that this redhead seemed in some ways identical to the other in her life Helena grabbed the box that held Barbara's version of a first aid kit, setting some old, but clean, towels on top. "It's all here," she said, emerging from the bathroom, everything in her arms.

Watching the brunette for signs of fatigue or other indications her injuries were starting to worsen, Scully nodded and grabbed one of the towels to dry her hands. "Where should we set up?" She asked looking around the apartment.

"Anywhere but the couch," Helena said, "just tell me where you want me so I can put this shit down."

"Yes saving the furniture is a good thing, perhaps in the kitchen near the sink." Scully commented knowing she'd have to have the car cleaned. But then she'd had to do that many times before when working with Mulder and even with Doggett and Reyes... She paused and ran her hand through her hair thinking of the agents and wondering how they were.

"Right," Helena said, moving across the room and dropping the box onto the counter before moving to drop her coat to the floor.

Scully moved to stand first in front of Helena taking in the woman's appearance.

Switching to a clinical mode, she began noting the various wounds assessing them for the level of damage. Firmly locked in her assessment, she stepped in close as she started touching and pulling slightly on the different cuts she noted trying to determine if stitches would be needed. "Alright let me check the back." She ordered as her eyes focused on the cut on Hel's cheek, her fingers moving to assess the depth of the wound.

"That does hurt," Helena said, used to at least a warning from Barbara. Not thinking too much about it as she took a step back Helena pulled what was left of her shirt off and dropped it by her coat before turning around, putting her hands on the counter. This one was really going to hurt.

The agent had let her gaze take in the newly exposed skin as Helena removed her shirt. ~Just looking for injuries,~ Scully thought and then paused wondering why she had thought that, the idea almost coming across as an excuse... but for what...

"Of course it does, I would have thought your partners would have pulled their punches a little better." She said knowing this was probably not the right track to take but wanting to get the conversation going. It was faint, but she hoped Helena would slip and give her something to use to break through the charade.

Scully frowned then seeing the bruises spread across the woman's shoulders, midsection and lower back. "I'm amazed you are not in more pain." She said faintly surprised at the amount of damage. She also found that the bruises were different colors and some were yellowing indicating she'd had previous encounters. She could also see traces of scars.

"I'm good at hiding it," Helena said, turning back around to stare the redhead down. "And if you seriously think that I'm one of the whack jobs behind this shit then get the fuck out now," she said, her tone low, hard, and completely serious.

"You are good at hiding many things," Scully returned the gaze calmly not moving.

"Why should I seriously consider you are not a whack job?" The woman's tone had impressed Scully, but she had seen so much during the last few years that she found her cynical side usually more in command than her trusting side. Trusting had gotten her almost killed and hurt so much in the past. "Besides, a doctor does not leave an injured person. Also an agent does not leave a suspect."

"I told you I've got someone to take care of me. And the only time I laid a hand on you was in self-defense," Helena growled. "And don't you want the gun back tonight?"

She stared at Hel a moment the silence stretching before she finally broke the stand-off. "I need you to turn around so I can see your back."

"First tell me if you really think that I'd take a beating like this for show," Helena said, crossing her arms.

"You seem very angry and defensive for someone claiming innocence. People sometimes go to incredible lengths to perpetuate a reality. Or to protect someone. Who is it that you had planned on going to to take care of you and they know about these crimes as well?" She started to move behind Hel as she spoke since the young woman still was not turning around.

Scully also found herself needing to move from in front of the woman as her eyes had begun wandering from the woman's face and had started to take a path that left the agent feeling uncomfortable and also aroused... she focused on a bruise forcing her self to regain her clinical mentality.

Turning to stay facing the woman Helena shook her head. "I'm the only one who was out there. Just me. And my problems with authority figures have nothing to do with this.

Scully paused as the woman again twisted keeping her front to the red-head. "You were the only one physically out there. I think someone else was listening in on us." She averted her gaze then looking for a moment at the first aid kit, not at the woman standing in front of her.

~The half naked woman and... What is wrong with you, how many times have you worked on people, just a simple patch job. Get the information and take Ms. Kyle and whomever she is protecting to the police and let them sort things out...~ Dana thought struggling to understand why she was reacting this way.

"And so you consider me an authority figure do you? Have you been in trouble with authority figures much in the past? Is this a pattern? Criminals often follow certain habits." She darted then suddenly trying to get behind Helena.

"I don't hurt people," Helena said, turning again. "Unless they're hurting someone else. Got it?"

"Damn it, stay still and let me look at your back." Dana practically shouted as she caught Hel's eyes. "And I was not hurting you earlier when you decided to hit me."

"You were trying to arrest me. Besides, it's not like I did this to you," Helena fired back, waving a hand at her bruises.

"I was trying to bring in a suspect who was at the scene of a crime bent over a dead body and who resisted arrest and ran away." Scully said calmly. "And fine if you are not one of the Dissection Killers or helping them, why were you at the two different crime scenes? Why did you run?" As she said this she tried once more to slowly move behind Helena.

Relenting Helena faced the counter. "The cops have been called off of each of the crime scenes before they find the work in progress. I've been doing my own investigating to find what it is they don't want found," Helena said, it was true enough, and Scully would even be able to confirm most of it herself.

Scully looked at the back of Hel's head, taking in that information. "They have been called off?" She puzzled over that as she drew herself back to tending to the wounds. She could tell already that the stab wound was long and deep enough it would need stitches. "Why are you investigating this?" She kept to the pronoun the woman had used even though she suspected there were others working with Helena.

"I don't like people dying in my city. Especially not like these people have," Helena said, leaving out the bit about meta-humans. "And it's a new code, 534 I think? Got added about a month or two ago and it's popped up before the discovery of each crime scene in the same area.

"I have to stitch this wound. The others can be cleaned; maybe a few should have a butterfly or two. I don't think your ribs are broken, but maybe bruised." As she said this she moved her fingers gently to the woman's side trying to probe carefully. "I do not like the idea of people dying either. Kind of goes against the whole Hippocratic Oath I seem to remember reciting somewhere along the way."

"I don't need stitches," Helena said, "just do the butterfly thing. It'll be fine."

"I am starting to almost believe you do work alone considering how stubborn and obstinate you are," Scully retorted, her frustration creeping out as she moved to wet a towel so she could clean the woman's back.

"How do you know about this new code?" She was planning on checking into that later, but again the odd glimpses she was getting from Helena seemed to leave her more confused and only created more questions.

"There might be an authority figure or two I haven't driven away," Helena shrugged, reaching up to rub at one shoulder as she felt a muscle cramp up.

"So you have a contact inside the police force then. Was he the one you were talking to during the fight?" She paused watching Hel's hand as it worked on her shoulder. "And please tell me it is not the dear Lieutenant from the other night." She added absently her focus drifting as she continued to watch.

"Definitely not, but I'm not going to give up my sources. How stupid do you think I am?" Helena asked, rolling her shoulder some as she continued to massage the muscle.

"Do you really want me to answer that question? Besides from the few pieces you are dangling in front of me, if you are not a criminal, you sound a lot like a vigilante, which is just as bad and even more dangerous to me." Scully sighed and set the cloth down a minute.

"Stop, where is it hurting? Here? Is this better?" As she had talked she had moved to knead deeply into the muscle and shoulder blade in a few places.

"Yeah. Thanks," Helena said, letting out a sigh. "And I helped you earlier. I'm also helping you now, so how am I a threat to you?" Helena said, relaxing as she closed her eyes, trying not to think about the soft, warm hands on her skin.

"Helped me earlier? Um exactly how did you help me?" Scully shook her head in disbelief stilling her hands as she tried to work through the meaning of that statement. "And helping now, I am still not too sure of that."

"Then why are you still here?" Helena asked, turning to face the redhead. "I'm pretty sure that if I'm really a suspect what you're doing now would be considered aiding and abetting, right?"

She dropped her hands to her side and took a half step back as the change in position had put Helena too close to her. "I'm still here because someone keeps turning around and keeping me from finishing. And you are still a suspect. You are linked to this somehow plus you continue to hide information," Scully retorted trying to regain the upper hand which she felt like she had lost once again.

"I seem to remember owning up to everything I've done. You're just mad that I won't share the name of some cop who keeps me up to date on procedure?" Helena asked. "Besides, I said I'd be fine," she added, reaching for gauze to cover the cut herself.

The agent reacted quickly, grabbing Hel's hand, "No you will not." She said forcefully. "And mad, yes I suppose I am becoming irked at the dodging game you are playing, both physically and with words. I doubt very much you have owned up to even a fraction of how involved you are with this case. And if we are going to talk about sharing, we could begin with what in the hell I saw tonight. Both at the first crime scene and your escape and then the fight at the second scene." She paused taking in a breath attempting to calm herself.

"Well, generally I'm better at not getting my ass handed to me," Helena said, wondering why the contact of their hands made her feel like she'd previously been missing something.

"Better? So you engage in your particular style of talking often then? Was tonight a normal occurrence for you? And again you are twisting what I am asking. Maybe I should just let the police take over, I am breaking protocol." She tried not to think about how she had learned working the X-Files that playing outside the rules was sometimes the only way to get things done.

"Fine. Ask away. What is it that you really want to know?" Helena asked.

"First turn around and let me finish." She wanted to finish not just to make sure the woman was alright but because she wanted Helena to put her shirt back on, there were enough distractions from the woman's behavior.

"I know I am new here," ~and alone...~ "Immediately I am drawn into a case with multiple homicides performed in some sort of ritualistic manner. Then I find someone at two crime scenes, what else would you expect me to think? Add to that the person runs, then assaults me, seems to know more about the case than the police, and will not give me a straight answer about any thing..."

"What do you want me to tell you?" Helena asked, turning around. "Fix if you must, but no stitches."

"Yes stitches," she replied as she began again to clean the cuts, preparing to close the stab wound. "For now why don't we start with the most current interaction we had as I am still trying to catch up on the case myself. Why were you at the two crime scenes?"

"I heard the 534 calls and went to make sure that it was really nothing. Obviously, it wasn't nothing. Those two are killing people and someone is calling the cops off," Helena said. "Bandage it; I'd rather have someone I knew do the stitching."

"I am a trained doctor. I can take care of it." She replied wondering why the woman was so adamant not to let her close the wound. She didn't think it was a pain issue based on the beating the woman had taken. "So you just happened to receive these calls and arrived to try and stop the others. Are you a trained law official?"

"I'm trained, and a lot of that training is from what you could call a former law official, but no, I don't have a badge. That's not the point though. The guys with the badges didn't show, did they?" Helena said, resting her arms on the counter.

"No one was in time for any of the victims." She remarked quietly. "All you have accomplished is to disrupt a crime scene, which could interfere with the police working on the case." She paused as she placed a hand on Hel's back near the deep cut.

"Former? Are you a licensed private investigator or a bounty hunter? Or is there a more personal reason you are involved? Was one of the victims close to you?" Scully continued to pry trying to understand how Helena had become involved hoping it would reveal the true intent of the young woman.

"Call me an indirect victim of past crimes. I'm sure you can figure out the rest with some research of your own," Helena said, her eyes flashing as she tried to relax.

"I will check. I'm going to begin and this should not take too long, I promise." As gently as possible, Scully began stitching up the wound.

"So you have some training from someone, perhaps the same someone you continue to protect and keep anonymous. You look into crimes not for profit or because you are working a case but because, as you said earlier, you do not like people dying in your city. I am finding it hard to understand why you would put yourself at risk and why you feel you have the right to intrude." She quieted trying to comprehend what would be the woman's motivation to place herself in dangerous situations. The normal reasons the agent had encountered in the past did not seem to be involved.

"Someone's got to do it, right? I'm a good fighter, I can take a beating, and I like the shadows, guess that makes this my kind of gig," Helena said, careful to keep her breathing and speaking even.

Manipulating the skin carefully and with a light touch, she worked to keep the stitches small trying not to pull too much. Scully focused on the task not the body she was touching. "You make it sound like a game. That is why I said earlier that vigilantes are dangerous. The law applies to you equally Helena."

The agent was fairly convinced Helena had not murdered the victims. She was however becoming concerned Helena might pose as much a problem as the killers. "And maybe you got lucky tonight and the injuries are not too severe, but the human body can only take so much damage and stress. And those p-people tonight..." She faltered on the word people as her mind was still trying to reason logically what her eyes had seen.

"You e--never mind," Helena said, about to drop a word that had a tendency to get her into even more trouble.

"I what?" She prompted as she tied off the final stitch.

"Sorry, little distracted," Helena said, moving a little, but not enough to interrupt the doctor's work.

"Was tonight the first time you had gotten that close?" The agent decided not to pursue the other even though she wondered what had been cut short. "What do you know about the two you fought?" She hoped her carefully constructed questions conveyed to the woman she believed at least part of her story.

"Last time they were already gone. Guess that makes tonight first blood. I know that they're killers. I caught the names Jem and Jarold, and the guy seemed rushed," Helena said, trying to tell enough to gain the woman's trust, but she wasn't sure just how far to trust the agent.

"I'm finished," she moved back. "With the stitches." She added feeling still as if every answer seemed to create two questions in its wake. "They also have some sort of odd weapons," Scully again faltered still trying to figure out how they had managed some of the moves they had during the fight.

"We should share this information with the local police. I know I made a spectacle the other evening pulling federal jurisdiction, but it is much easier to go through the local department and if I have their co-operation." She thought out loud as she paced a little. "I do not have any inside contacts. And to answer your earlier question, I was not breaking any law as I am the investigating lead on this case now."

She paused, a slight trace of a smile in her next statement, "I'm the leading authority figure you might say."

"Right. Then I'll be sure to step back when I see New Gotham's finest stepping up to the task," Helena said, turning around.

"Any police department has its good and bad points. Is it police officers you do not trust or depend on or is that just a general trait of yours?" she replied absently looking at the floor. She ran a hand through her hair trying to figure out the next step to take. "I'm tired, bruised and very achy and you need to put a shirt on." She announced out loud as her mind jumped between taking a risk and erring on the side of caution.

"Well, I was going to make sure the wound dries out a little first..." Helena said, finally picking up on the fact that tension in the room was running both directions. "Unless you're... uncomfortable with something?" she couldn't help but tease, her hands moving to rest on her hips.

The agent paused mid-step her fingers still snarled in her hair, which she gripped tighter as she looked up to see the pose Helena had adopted coupled with a smirk growing on her face. "No, no I was just concerned you might be cold or, or something." She finished as she moved her hand down through her hair to rub at her neck. She made sure her eyes stayed focused on the woman's face, "What were you going to do if you had managed to gain the upper hand and caught them tonight?"

"Generally unconsciousness and/or restraints paired with a 911 call get the job done," Helena said, taking a few steps forward.

Scully's breathing hitched slightly as Helena neared but she held her ground trying to appear unconcerned by the movement. "You don't feel a need to retaliate for what they have done?" The answer Helena had given had brought some relief as Scully was afraid Hel was a true vigilante in the sense of judge, jury and executioner.

"Unlike them, I'm no killer," Helena said. "Now, if we're done with that, I seem to remember owing you a drink..." the brunette smiled, unable to help herself. She was finally back on ground she found comfortable, and after her earlier admission to Barbara, well, she wasn't about to turn away some comfort.

"I hope you're not." Scully replied quietly contemplating the offer. "You're still under investigation Ms. Kyle and I would recommend you do not leave town without notifying the authorities." She said seriously. She then paused a moment and decided to jump.

Mulder had always been the one to jump and sometimes he landed them in hot water as he misstepped. But sometimes, sometimes he found answers. She needed answers. If she had any hope of solving this case and thus gaining respect and confidence enough to stay afloat here, she needed answers and realized she might have to kick protocol to the curb to get them. ~God help me if I am wrong...~

"Now that I am off duty, yes I think a drink would be very good right now."

Chapter 17

The Rules of the Road (Nat King Cole)

Helena's Apartment
Thursday early morning

"What's your poison?" Helena asked, pausing as she opened the freezer; remember that the gun was hidden. Reaching in, she pulled it out, handing it to the redhead. "I suppose you want that back."

Scully tentatively accepted the gun shifting it between her hands as the chilled metal was uncomfortable to hold for very long. She looked from the weapon to the brunette, "You hid my gun in your freezer?"

"You didn't look for it there, did you?" Helena smirked. "Now," she said, turning back to the freezer, "What's your drink?"

"Whatever is fine and no, I would not have looked for it there." She replied having made sure the safety was on before walking into the small living room and placing it out of the way. She still had heavy reservations about this woman and especially about being here.

Although the reason for being here was easy enough for Scully to justify; she was simply trying to assess and make sure Helena Kyle really was not a threat. She let her eyes roam around the living room taking in the fact is was fairly bare. Helena did not really live here, Scully felt as if this was more a place she visited.

"Whiskey with a beer chaser, unless you'd prefer the vodka?" Helena asked beers in one hand, a mostly full bottle of Jack in the other.

Scully looked up as Helena entered the room pausing slightly before answering. "That will be fine. Do you need help? Need me to get glasses?" She shifted some feeling her legs bump up against the couch. She resisted looking down at it as she started rubbing at her neck some.

"I don't have any," Helena said. "Have a seat," she added, taking a seat on one side of the couch. Opening the first beer, she set it in front of where she'd indicated for Scully to sit before taking a deep swallow of the whiskey and opening her own beer to chase it.

"You don't have any?" Somehow this did not surprise the agent as much as she thought it might. Sitting she kept her eyes on Helena. "Did you just move in?" That might explain the threadbare look and feel of the apartment.

"I keep myself pretty busy. Besides, there's a bar downstairs," Helena said, setting the bottle of Jack between their beers.

"So you appropriate what you need when you need?" She smiled a little as she tried to relax. Something she had not really done in quite a while. "What keeps you busy? Obviously you are not into the Martha Stewart mentality."

"I like to keep active, and I work a lot," Helena said, swallowing more beer. She could see what the agent was doing, continuing the interrogation despite the alcohol.

"You seemed at home behind the bar, so I assume you work there, correct? Do you work somewhere else as well? Well I guess I should say officially work somewhere else." She added the last trying not to let her slight annoyance through. Leaning forward she picked up her beer and took a drink noting it had a good flavor.

"Just the bar," Helena said. "You sure this isn't still an interrogation?"

"Do you feel like it is?" Scully replied. "I'm just trying to find out a little more about you. I like to know a little bit about strange women who jump me and then take me to their place." She covered her frown at how that came out by taking another drink.

"Helena Kyle. Resident of New Gotham since I was... 14. Born in Paris, France... Ask away, just don't act like it's nothing," Helena smirked, throwing down a little more whiskey.

"Well now that I have your name, rank and serial number everything is just peachy." For some reason the smirk on the brunette's face irritated Scully as well as making her feel like laughing out loud. Perhaps the irritation was in part that much like Mulder, Helena seemed more relaxed and easily slipping into a casual attitude while Scully felt herself forcing the feeling and struggling to not tense up. "And what do you mean act like it is nothing?"

"Just ask the questions, don't try to mask them as getting to know me," Helena smiled, leaning back and suddenly being reminded the cut on her back by a sharp pain. She proceeded to shift, leaning her side against the back of the couch again.

The meta's actions drew her from her self assessment and the agent looked over at Helena. "You don't want me to get to know you then?" She inwardly winced at how she thought she sounded. Starting, she forced her eyes up from where they had automatically landed as she realized where or more what she had been staring at the last few moments. "Is your back alright?"

"I would love to get to know you, but that's not what you're doing. And my back is fine, just forgot about it there for a moment."

"That's right, this is an interrogation as you pointed out. Seems to be the only thing I know how to do well." She retorted. Catching any other remarks, she sighed exasperated as much with herself as with how things had been progressing since arriving in New Gotham.

She wondered how her son was doing. Trying to force her mind from where those thoughts would take her, Scully found herself staring again at Helena.

"Where'd you go just then?" Helena asked, drinking her beer and hoping to move past the interrogation.

"To the past, another life." She looked down at the empty space between them as she twisted the beer in her hand. "A place really I should not go anymore. So what else besides tending bar and creeping around in the night at crime scenes fills your busy schedule?" She asked as she took another drink her mind and eyes still focused elsewhere.

"I enjoy the art of seduction, but work and watching the city do keep me fairly busy. And I know what you mean about the past. It's best left behind you," Helena said, finishing off the last of her beer. Holding up the empty bottle she stood, "You up for another?"

Looking up at the young woman, Scully smiled at the reply. "Thank you that would be fine. And do you enjoy being seduced or being the one to seduce?"

Smirking Helena returned to the couch, popping open both bottles. "I have a tendency to be the one on top," she replied.

Dana found herself drawn again to the smirk although this time her thoughts roamed less to irritation and more to mapping the woman's facial features. "That does not really answer my question, someone who is good can easily seduce from any position. Although I will file that away for future reference."

"It's been a very long time since I had someone who could do the seducing better than me," Helena smiled. "What about you?"

"You seem very confident, some might say confident to a point of being full of oneself. And it's been a very long time since I was..." Scully caught herself from completing that thought leaning forward suddenly to place her empty bottle down and retrieve the new bottle.

"...seduced?" Helena said, unable to help a momentary grin. "Now, you're a doctor, you should know that it's not a good idea to repress those urges."

"Are you saying I'm repressed?" Scully's eyebrow shot up as she leaned back against the couch. "And now you remember I am a doctor. Earlier when I was trying to help you, you seemed to think I was not capable of putting on a simple band aid..." She trailed off as her eyes had automatically started moving back over the bruises and cuts. Her eyes however continued to wander over the woman's midsection and the exposed skin, both injured and unmarred.

"I take a little while to warm up," Helena said, her smirk firmly in place. "Remember that issue with authority figures that I mentioned earlier?"

"Well when trying to make sure you do not bleed to death maybe you should warm up a little faster?" She shook her head and took a drink considering the second part of the woman's comment. "Actually yes I do remember," She looked up meeting Helena's eyes. "Why do you have a problem?"

"I was raised... in a very liberal home. I don't like being told what to do," Helena said, leaving out the bit about her brief stint with the child protection services.

"I can tell you have a problem playing by the rules. You can get into a lot of trouble always questioning authority." She frowned then thinking how many times the X-files had been closed down, or she and Mulder had been reprimanded. Sometimes her adherence to the rules had been the only sane light in some very dark times.

"I can, and I do, but it's worth it for the freedom," Helena admitted. "Do you always obey the rules?" she asked, her face serious as she leaned forward.

"Freedom? What do you mean by freedom? Freedom from respecting others and doing what you want regardless of the consequences? All actions leave ripples." She still could not understand all the twists and turns that had occurred changing her life.

Feeling the frustration rise again, she ignored the woman's question instead finishing her beer. "I don't ignore the rules, I just push some of the lines," Helena said, not leaning forward anymore.

Curious, Dana followed the woman's slight retreat with a question as well as shifting forward some on the couch. "Why? Why do you push the lines? And you didn't ignore the rules Helena, you flat out broke them. I wonder what other rules you bend and break during your "watching"?"

"I only break rules to protect people. Someone had to step up after Batman left. It'd be different if I were doing this to make money or something. The rules I break are only broken to allow me to help others. You need to wake up and realize that the law doesn't get everyone," Helena said, glaring now.

Returning the hard stare, Dana didn't budge. "So it's okay to hurt some people as long as you are protecting others? How do you decide which rules are ok to break? A spinner, dice maybe? And maybe the law does not get everyone because people like you interfere. Did you ever consider working with others, bringing your insight to good use instead of vigilante waste?" The name Batman triggered a memory but Dana was unable to follow it through her focus pulled by the woman across from her.

"I defend the people who can't do it for themselves," Helena said. "You know, I liked this conversation a lot more before we got to the part where you pick apart my life."

"I'm not picking apart your life. But maybe you need to reconsider just where your life is if a simple twist in a conversation like this appears to be picking." Dana rested her hands on the couch, "I defend those same people Helena. There are just other methods besides beating and being beat up. But then that would mean playing by someone else's rules. And you don't do that do you? Can't be tied to rules or people or anything except what you see as the way to go?"

"I can't follow rules that allow murders to walk my streets. When the law becomes more effective, then I'll step down, but I can't stand by," Helena said.

She could see the woman was very adamant and believed strongly in what she was saying. Scully pulled back then chuckling a little as Hel's attitude brought to mind another driven individual whom she had grown to admire watching his approach to cases and life. "If everyone is so focused on chasing the conspiracy, who works to change the gears that put it into play?"

"Conspiracy? I usually just stop muggers..." Helena said, completely confused now. ~I didn't have that much to drink yet, did I?~

"Sorry, another life. Spent too much time looking over my shoulders and seeing shadows." She rubbed at her face some feeling the weight of the last few days and the last few years. "I just... if you always walk along your own lines and work to fight the system that leaves no time or energy for changing it, making it more effective. Who'll fix the system if everyone is too busy fighting it?" She scooted towards the edge of the couch. "And somehow I can tell you are not one to stand by, you'd get the fidgets."

"I am not the one to change the system. That's someone else's role," Helena said, trying not to lose herself again.

"Why not? What's keeping you from trying?"

"I know plenty of people who are better at that than I am," Helena said.

"IS that really the reason? Or is it safer for you to walk along your own path and not have to follow the rules or follow along someone else's path?" Scully toyed with her empty bottle.

"I don't have the self-control for that," Helena shrugged,. "Another beer?" she asked.

"A shame, you would be an even more amazing woman. Perhaps someone can teach. Although I pity the poor soul who ends up with that task." She smiled some then and put the bottle down. "I would like another one, but I shouldn't. I have to drive and it has been a very long day. There are also some properly obtained crime scene files and photos I need to review tomorrow."

"You sure? What if I pull some stitches in my sleep and you're not here in the morning to fix them again?" Helena asked, leaning forward with a smirk, painfully aware of the compliment.

"What you don't have someone to take care of you?" Scully managed to reply surprised at the tease and also surprised at how she felt her mind and even body reacting to the comment. ~That's all it is Dana, just this woman's approach to the world...~. "Do you want me to be here in the morning to look at them?"

Dana had started to smile but then stopped, "I mean stop by to look..." She trailed off hoping she was not blushing at her slip.

"I wouldn't mind a sleep-over Agent Scully," Helena grinned, "the bedroom is one of only two rooms that are furnished in this apartment."

"I, I didn't mean..." she trailed off trying to convince herself this was just Helena's way of getting back at the agent for earlier teasing and her probing questions. "Besides the idea is to make sure you don't pull any stitches not promote activities that would put undue stress on your injured body." She looked down surprised to find she was toying with the empty beer bottle again.

"Well, if you're so keen on protecting my injuries then why don't you do the seducing? Let me lay back and enjoy myself?"

"I..." Scully froze as she knew the simple tease had become an offer. For some reason she found her eyes watching the rise and fall of Helena's chest. "Can't." She tried to move but found the conflicting thoughts running through her mind held her to the spot.

"You can't deny that some rules were meant to be broken, can you?" Helena asked, her face inching closer.

"If you will admit sometimes rules need to be followed." Scully replied trying to turn Hel's tease back as she struggled not to sink into the violet-blue eyes that seemed to be drawing her in further and further.

Watching the redhead's eyes Helena couldn't help but lick her lips. "What if something happens? I really think you should stick around, keep an eye on me."

Her eyes darting down to follow the pathway the woman's tongue traced, Dana found the idea that it was too brief of an appearance consuming her thoughts. She snapped her eyes away from Helena's lips and found that any place she rested her gaze, her thoughts immediately incorporated the bartender.

Giving in she drifted back to the woman's face. "Something happen? I thought you were finished looking for trouble for the night."

"If you were here I wouldn't have a reason to leave," Helena said, unable to help herself, her face getting even closer while one hand moved to the agent's thigh.

She took a breath in jumping slightly at the touch but found herself not pulling away, "Are you saying you might actually consider letting someone else watch the city for a night? I wouldn't want to keep you from that." Her mind began counting trying to pull her breathing back from the ragged rhythm the continued pressure of Hel's hand was causing.

"Besides I'm not sure I could... I'm not..." She stopped then and frowned as she realized what she'd been trying to explain and the fact that she'd even been considering Helena's offer. Considering had she ever... She looked down at the beer bottle she still held letting her mind jump through the questions and possibilities. Ideas she never had let her self think about... She froze at that thought... let...

"I've done enough out there for tonight," Helena said. Seeing that Scully wasn't quite ready to take the plunge herself Helena leaned in the rest of the way, gently placing her lips on the redhead's.

Gripping the bottle tightly, Scully found her other hand moving to lie over the younger woman's hand squeezing it as she found her body's want fighting her mind's rationale.

Finally grabbing hold of her reason, she pulled back breathing hard finding the air was not helping to clear her mind. "I think I misjudged my assessment of your seduction abilities." She stared at Hel, the woman's words about breaking rules wearing on her reason.

"That mean I get to prove you wrong now?" Helena asked, a completely mischievous grin covering her face.

"I'm not sure you could but it could be interesting to watch you try." Scully said regaining finally some of her equilibrium. "Helena, this is not the arena I imagined when we were discussing rules and lines and bending those lines."

"Shh..." Helena said, moving in again. Her lips worked a little more to make their presence known as her hand moved up, though she resisted the urge to let it move very far.

She pushed down hard against the hand moving up her thigh trapping it against her leg trying not to be swept away with the rush of feeling flowing through her body. The beer bottle dropped to the couch as Scully brought her other hand up catching Hel's shoulder.

Taking a moment to reflect how smooth the lips sliding across hers felt, she closed her eyes and pushed on the woman's shoulder breaking the kiss. "Does everything have to move as fast as you do?"

"Unless you want to show me how the slow part works? It's not really my usual area of expertise," Helena said, smiling while her fingers kneaded the muscles in Scully's thigh.

Opening her eyes, Dana's reply was lost as she found the intense violet-blue eyes directly in front of her once again. The soft, gentle pressure on her leg worked like a beating drum pounding on her attempts to stay logical and approach this using her normal concise methods.

She started moving her thumb in a circular pattern where she held Helena trying to not let her desire control the moment. "Maybe it's time you started looking beyond your usual area." She cocked her head then wondering if she had said that for Hel's benefit or her own.

"Like this?" Helena asked, leaning in again, only this time slowly working and pulling back to tease, her teeth every so often catching Scully's lower lip.

Dana pulled back away from the kiss. "No like this," daring a forward move, something the agent had spent a lifetime hiding from, she reached her hand up slowly laying it on Hel's cheek.

She allowed herself to not think about this as kissing another woman, or someone stimulating her senses or that she had not felt like this for a very long time, but to think and do a simple action. An action that came from her desires, not the logical, clinical thought out process she had learned to hold her personal life to as well as her professional. She did nothing more, leaving her hand there a moment feeling the soft skin warm against her hand. "I should go."

"Are you sure?" Helena asked, searching the agent's eyes for a chance that the choice hadn't already been made. Her hand still moved on the woman's thigh, hoping to keep her around.

"You asked if you would get to prove me wrong now." Scully took a deep breath trying to calm her thoughts and body down enough to do what she wanted. "Now, no..." She gently slid her hand along the woman's cheek before dropping it to her side. "But if you think you're really that good, I'd like to see you try and prove me wrong." She took a breath in a smile gracing her lips.

Helena nodded, not sure how she felt about this. Part of her knew she was using the woman for her resemblance to another redhead, but another part of her was intrigued (not to mention somewhat frustrated) with the woman. "I'd ask for your number, but I have a feeling you'll be around. And you can always look mine up, but I usual forget the bill..."

"You are still at the top of my list of suspects. You better believe I'll be around. In fact I was hoping you and perhaps your silent partner could," Scully hesitated once again teetering on the edge of doing something she was not use to or had ever considered. She focused back on Hel, "Perhaps you could come by the FBI office late tomorrow? I'd like to show you what I have and ask you some questions about the crime scenes."

Helena ignored the silent partner bit. She'd talk to Barbara later. "I'll be there," Helena nodded, "But am I really the suspect? You watched the other two run."

She squeezed the woman's hand once as she slowly stood, "You ran the first time as well. And there are details I have to... some of the things I've seen tonight need... clarification."

"Tomorrow then," Helena said, barely keeping her annoyance hidden. "Don't forget your gun."

She walked over to pick it up, "Tomorrow and thank you." She started moving towards the door, running a hand through her hair.

Standing herself, Helena followed Scully to the door. "What for?" she asked.

Opening the door she paused, "Keeping my gun safe, showing me a side of New Gotham I'd not yet seen." She smiled shaking her head slightly. "For being willing to break your own rules and perhaps, for starting me on the way to learning how to bend a few of mine. We'll see which happens first; you learning slow and patient can be just as remarkable or my clinical side actually not rearing its ugly head for once reminding me of the rules. Thank you for the challenge." She turned then to leave.

"Goodnight, Dana," Helena said, watching the redhead for a moment before shutting and locking her door.

Chapter 18

Sing It Again (Beck)

Helena's Apartment
Thursday early, early morning

Helena had watched Scully's car disappear before turning from the window beginning to pace. She was feeling her usual hunger, but didn't have an appetite, not to mention the lack of food at her place anyway. Instead she went for another beer.

Once she was on her third one, she flipped her comm back on. "Oracle. You there? It's Huntress."

Barbara heard a voice in her ear and raised her head from her arms where she'd been dozing at her computer station. Disoriented she frowned, "Who's there? Hello?" She replied her voice raspy.

"Wake up. It's me," Helena said before taking another swig of her beer. She was already pretty sure how she'd be finishing her night, but also knew that Barbara would want to know how it'd gone.

"Of course it's you who else would it be on our..." She stopped mid-sentence as up until tonight it should only ever have been Helena on the link. Clearing her throat some trying to shake the memories of the earlier intrusive conversation, she ran a hand through her hair trying to straighten it out some.

"And what do you mean wake up? I was not sleeping just..." She frowned half way through the action not sure why she was bothering to try and tame her sleep-tangled hair.

"Otherwise you would have answered immediately," Helena said, still managing to roll her eyes, despite the ever increasing effects of the alcohol.

"Of course I would answer immediately. I don't turn the comms off like some..." She placed two fingers in the center of her forehead and began moving them in small, tight circles trying to relieve the building tension.

"How are you and Agent Scully?" She asked as her eyes traveled briefly to the journals she had called up again after Helena had turned off her comms. "Did you manage to keep yourself from federal prison?"

"Yeah, but unfortunately I have a meeting to look at some crime scene photos with her tomorrow. I have a feeling if I don't go she'll actually use the handcuffs on me," Helena sighed, dropping to the couch.

"Crime scene photos?" Barbara's curiosity was piqued and she began calling up the index of all of the images she had acquired both through Helena and other means.

"And why the sigh? I seem to remember someone going on in detail about the wonderful world of handcuffs and 1001 ways to use them." She hoped the tease would lift the tension she could hear seeping in over the comms.

"It's different when they're on you for jail," Helena said, draining the last of her beer. The brunette worked to not think of what she'd almost done with Scully, what she now imagined doing with Barbara. Pushing to her feet she headed to the kitchen. "But it's to view some photos she has, guess she thinks there's something I can tell her about them. We'll see."

"We'll see? Try to hide your enthusiasm a little more there Huntress." She busied her mind and began typing up a list for Helena to ask.

She hoped this meeting could begin to supply missing information. Besides, keeping her mind occupied with analytical activities was the key to not thinking about other topics, such as the intrusive voice, and the way Helena's actions seemed so uncharacteristic of late.

As the silence stretched she realized the brunette was waiting for her to talk. The red head began pulling on her bottom lip as the wish list grew. "Did she say what she wanted exactly? And do you think there is something you can tell her?" She asked, her voice growing distant as she continued pushing thoughts of Scully and Helena further from her mind.

"She's on the right side, but I doubt that she could handle herself if she got close enough to the truth. Wouldn't want anyone else to get hurt," Helena said, pulling out another beer from the fridge. Pausing, she decided to just grab the rest of the six-pack and returned to the couch.

"I'd be careful dishing out that doubt so easily, especially where Agent Scully is involved." She looked away then from the monitor her concern about the raven haired woman interfering with her list making. In the silence she heard a clinking sound confirming what she thought she had picked up on earlier. She frowned wondering just what state of mind Helena was in right now.

"And no, I don't want anyone else hurt either." Her voice softened as she pushed out her next thought quickly. Rushing to speak before her logical side could stop her, as it usually did when she dared become personal instead of staying professional, "What exactly happened earlier?" She let the question out that had been plaguing her on so many levels.

"One of them caught me with a knife, or a scalpel, but the rest is just bruises."

"Is that all that happened? You make it sound like it was a walk in the park, yet they escaped and left behind..." she paused the throbbing starting up again as Helena chose the most obvious and easy answer to her question; not the one she had hoped would come.

"I'm talking to you now, aren't I?" Helena asked, popping open another beer.

"Talking and saying something that means anything are two entirely different things." Barbara closed her eyes.

"Do you want to try and describe what happened and what you saw like this or do you want to come by and help me type up a more formal report? Well if you're able to stand and walk in a straight line..." She added having heard the sound of something metal hitting a surface. A sound that combined with the ever so slight changes in Hel's speech as well changes in the young woman's monitored vital signs had prompted the biting comment.

"There something wrong with waiting until later this afternoon?" Helena asked. "I'm not up to rooftops and the Clocktower is further than I'm willing to walk tonight."

She let go a humorless laugh that sounded almost condescending, "We've waited so long, what's another dark night?" She moved back to finishing the list that she had started. Trying to recover her control, she made sure to assume a more clipped, precise tone.

"That is fine Huntress, why waste your time or mine? I do need your report as you and Agent Scully seem to be the only people that have seen the killers and are still alive. I have a feeling anything you'd say tonight would need to be corrected in the morning. Just as I am sure anything you said earlier over the comms was wrong as well."

"Excuse me? Why don't you just say whatever it is you're thinking?" Helena growled.

"Why don't you?" she shot back.

"I'm tired. I'm frustrated. I want to go to sleep. I wanted to let you know I was alright, that's all," Helena roared.

She was not sure how long she was silent, only that she could taste blood in her mouth having bit down hard on her lip so she would not retort. Alright? Who was Helena trying to fool? If the way things were right now could be described as just fine, then Barbara shuddered to think of what Hel's definition of really bad would be like.

Maybe it was alright... Maybe that is why Helena acted the way she did and never...

Barbara rubbed her hand across the smooth desk surface. Why she never said the things Barbara wanted to hear. Maybe it was because what Barbara wanted to hear was something Helena would never say.

Those words were something Barbara would only hear in the dreams that swept her away most nights. A place she wished more and more were a reality she could linger in. But if this Helena would never say those things, then had Barbara been dreaming earlier when the words she so desperately needed and wanted had hit her like a cold slap in the face?

Had she wanted for the young woman to say those words so badly that she had fallen into convincing herself that a choked grunt or retort during a fight had been the simply words Barbara craved? Wouldn't this Helena have said something if she had uttered those words earlier?

She continued running her hands along the desk. Helena could have any one she wanted.

She was not blind. She knew Helena had been with others. What could a young, vibrant, beautiful, passionate woman like Helena see in an older, logical, washed-up superhero, such as herself? ~Too many barriers, you have too many weights holding you down, a free spirit like Helena doesn't carry around excess baggage...~

Defeated, Barbara held her voice tight willing it not to break, "Please stop by before you see Agent Scully if you can. I have some questions for you to ask. Some items to look for in the photos and other reports she might share. If you have nothing else to report at this time..."

"Later, Oracle. Goodnight. Huntress out," the brunette said before turning off her comms.

Chapter 19

Locking It All Down Tight

Helena's Apartment
Thursday afternoon

"Fuck," Helena said, scratching at her hair. Her movements were slow, but sleek, as she rolled onto her stomach, stretching like a cat. With a sigh she slowly moved from the bed, stretching her arms toward the ceiling until she was on her toes. Remembering all that had been said to Barbara the night before, both at the alley and when she'd gotten home, she closed her eyes, "Fuck times two."

Running a hand through her hair the brunette sighed before feeling to check the stitches at her back. She hoped she hadn't bled on the sheets too much, but at least they were black, it wouldn't show. It was pretty well scabbed over, but Helena didn't want to risk any water making it bleed again. Padding into the bathroom she started with her hair, bending over the sink to wash it, careful of the cut on her face.

Next, the wash-cloth, Helena would have much preferred a shower, but she knew that it might have reopened too many of the cuts. It took a while, but at least she felt clean. Clean of the blood, the grime from the alley, the killers she'd fought, and the thoughts and feelings of the previous night.

Now she could push it down and resume her usual attitude.

Chapter 20

My December (Linkin Park)

New Gotham High School
Thursday afternoon

Barbara pushed the door to the faculty lounge open and breathed a sigh a relief as it was not packed. She rolled over to refill her coffee cup glad she had only one more session and set of exams to give before she could leave.

She'd been having a hard time focusing today having barely slept any before having to get back up and get ready for school. If it had not been the end of the summer school session, the teacher would have decided not to grace the halls today.

It actually had been touch-and-go for awhile there as she lay in bed trying to convince herself she should get up and make her way into school. It was the last day and after grading finals it would mean freedom from her teaching duties for a blissful few months.

Her work ethics and stubborn dedication to completing things she started helped to prod her tired body from the bed. She knew better than to expect Helena before she left for school and had been able to prepare for work in relative quiet.

Letting herself into the school building Helena made her way straight to the teacher's lounge. It was on the way to Barbara's room and the brunette knew she'd be in one of the two places. "Hey there," she said, slipping through the door as she recognized the red hair.

"Good afternoon." Barbara nodded as she finished filling her cup. "Coffee?"

"Sure. Some more wouldn't hurt," Helena nodded, moving closer.

Grabbing a clean mug, Barbara handed it over to Helena as she moved out of the way. "How are you feeling?" Her eyes had already started roving over any exposed skin noting every little cut, scratch and injury.

She'd started with the hands and arms before moving to the very noticeable cut that marred the woman's cheek. Her frown deepened as she noted the size and shape of some fading bruising as well.

"Not too bad," Helena admitted. She'd had a little of a hangover, but as usual her body had processed most of it in her sleep.

Her eyes continued to linger on the cut as she gripped the mug with both hands to keep from reaching out. "That's good. As long as things are... in order." Her eyes moved down to look at her coffee mug.

"I'll go with the guess you are just quickly stopping by on your way to other places. I have that shopping list you wanted to... pickup." She breathed in then having managed to get all of that out, struggling to find the right words. She made a face at that thought, an English teacher struggling to link together a few simple sentences.

"You going to tell me what all you put together?" Helena asked, pouring some coffee.

"If you come back to the classroom, I can print out the list. If you have any questions, I will clarify what I listed." Securing her coffee, she turned her chair to start heading back to the room.

The faculty room felt too open to discuss what she wanted. Barbara didn't like mixing her two lives. The last time that had happened... she missed her wheel and tried to recover as the memory of Wade and what that series of events had done to their lives crashed against her mind.

"Alright," Helena agreed, following Barbara through the hallways. She felt a little awkward, but then again she usual did when she had to return to the high school. Not to mention it was rare when she woke up having to deal with the consequences of alcohol.

"Please close the door behind you Helena." She called over her shoulder as she made her way to the laptop. She clicked the keys in silence not daring to start any conversation afraid it might spiral into areas similar to last night's conversation. And that was a place she knew she could not afford to head, her control precariously balanced right now.

Helena nodded, closing the door before taking a seat on the desk nearest Barbara's. "When do you get done here?" she asked.

The hum of the printer confirmed her request had gone through as she looked up at Helena. "I have one more exam. I'll be finished here in a couple of hours. I just have to submit final grades and then I am free for the summer."

She tried to smile a little. "You know I usually remind my students of the difference between a chair and a desk and the proper use of each. But I'll let you slide this time."

"I already paid my dues," Helena said, returning the smile as she went to pick up the papers from the printer.

"In triplicate," She agreed thinking of how many times she'd had to dig Helena out of trouble or stop by to talk to a teacher or school official. "I'm actually amazed you dared set foot in the school. And you are holding a list of some things to keep in mind as you speak to Agent Scully. Are you meeting as soon as you leave here?"

It wasn't that she didn't think Helena was capable per se... but it always helped to have two pairs of ears listening in, even better would have been two sets of eyes. "I wish there was an easy way I could 'be at the meeting' as well."

"Yeah, I'm headed there next," the brunette replied, looking over the papers. "I'll see if I can get copies of what she has so that you can see them too. Then, I'll meet you back at your place later on."

"At this point anything new may throw light on what we are dealing with. I hope between what she might provide and what you can report from last night, we might be able to start connecting some of the pieces. She closed her eyes as she ran a hand over her face. "I'm tired of being led in circles."

"And I'd like to know more before I get into it with them again," Helena agreed. "I should, ah, let you get back to your break," she added, drinking more of the coffee.

"I, I am not sure you should engage whomever it was you encountered last night again until we know more." The teacher did not add that she was worried they were more than Helena could handle.

"I'll be by after my... 'meeting,'" Helena said, the closest thing she'd give to an agreement.

"I began typing up a recap of the events from last night. Perhaps we can use that to construct a more detailed report. Begin to find out who we are dealing with and what they could possibly want." ~And not end up snapping at each other or worse...~

"I'll see you later then." "Later, thanks for the coffee." Helena tossed over her shoulder as she left the classroom.

Barbara sat in her chair staring at the doorway for a long time after Helena exited. The voice from last night on the other end of the comm link had gotten to the red head more than she dared admit.

It was not just the things the woman had said. It was also the fact that she had managed to take out Helena. Even if it had been for a few moments, Barbara had been left alone.

That idea was more terrifying than she'd imagined when trying to prepare for the possibility. She had almost lost Helena before; she was not sure she could handle it if that possibility became a gruesome reality.

Chapter 21

My December (Linkin Park)

F.B.I offices, New Gotham Division
Thursday afternoon

Still not a huge fan of the meeting Helena sighed, glancing up at the building before adjusting the camera ring she wore on her thumb. Once in the building she found her way to the right office and frowned when Scully's name didn't appear anywhere. Knocking anyway, she waited.

Hearing a noise, Scully looked up from the file cabinet she was currently sifting through. She had been slowly trying to go through the case files and other materials left by previous agents and directors. She'd found everything from incomplete and sloppy work to meticulously detailed reports that took three pages of reading to find one piece of useful information.

"Hello, come in?" She called out not sure if that had been someone knocking out front. She banged the drawer shut with a sigh as she headed to the front of the field office.

Hearing the voice Helena opened the door and stepped in, glancing around as she did so. "Ah... Dana?" Helena called.

Scully hesitated in the doorway to the front reception area hearing her first name, something she was not use to when working. She briefly realized much of what she had become use to in her previous work assignments might not work in New Gotham.

"Good afternoon Ms. Kyle. Did you have trouble finding the office?" The red-head answered inserting a little formality into the atmosphere. She felt a need to keep her thoughts focused on work and not what had happened the night before.

"It's Helena. Or even just Hel," the brunette smiled briefly. "I'm here. Nothing in this city is that hard to find." For a moment she just stood there, one arm hanging, the other hand resting on a hip as she tried to read the redhead.

"Helena," she paused slightly after saying the name as she considered the rest of the woman's response. "I guess my question comes from my newness here and how everything seems hard to find right now." She waved for the woman to follow as she turned to head towards the office she had selected. "And I would venture that some things seem to have found a very good way to stay hidden." She called over her shoulder.

"Then I suppose I just happen to know all the right people," Helena shrugged, following the redhead.

"I'll keep that in mind. Watch the stacks." She waved at the assorted piles in the office as she moved to sit behind the desk that was the only clean and neatly arranged surface in the office. "The previous Director left in a bit of a hurry and seems to have not understood the concept of a file cabinet." She offered trying to explain the disorganized feel to the office.

"Right," Helena said, moving to one of the other chairs where she sat on the back rest, her feet moving to the seat itself. "You know, you did leave in a hurry last night, hope I didn't scare you off..." the brunette said, relaxing some because she knew that Barbara wasn't listening in, although other parts of her tensed up at the same thought.

Scully raised an eyebrow, her gaze falling for a moment on the position the young woman had adopted. Rather than comment, she let a small smile creep on her face as she went ahead and sat down. "It takes a little more than that to scare me Ms... Helena. It had been a very long night and I am sure our thoughts were cloudy due to the earlier events."

"Right, of course," Helena nodded, fighting off a smirk. "So I take you are more of a let's-get-down-to-business-kind-of-woman?"

"I would not have used that exact phrase, but yes I did ask you to stop by to look at a few items." She had started to turn to retrieve a folder but paused and looked back making sure to catch Helena's eyes, "Thank you for coming." she said her voice heavy with sincerity.

"What can I say? After the stitches and the ride I figured I still owed you," Helena smiled, not about to admit that she had been looking forward to seeing Scully again.

"I'll send you my bill." Scully let go a small laugh, Helena's reply helping to lighten the agent's mood and thoughts. She completed the action she had started earlier and grabbed a few files she had laid aside.

Her hands next to her sides Helena watched the redhead. She couldn't help but smile at the laugh as she relaxed a little more.

"I've started trying to pull together the random files and information I believe to be linked with these murders. Not an easy task between the state of things here in this office and the wonderful cooperation I have received since arriving." She explained as she opened the folders and set them on the edge near Helena.

"Not sure if you can see things from your perch up there." She shook her head at her comment before continuing, "But I wanted to find out how familiar some of these images and facts might be to you."

Getting back to her feet Helena stepped forward, bending over the files and looking at the photographs. As she reviewed the photos and reports she used the ring camera to take pictures. "Last night was only the third crime scene I've been to with this case." Glancing over some of the typed reports she looked up again. "Do these make note of the extremely clinical and professional appearances of the... organ removals?"

The agent frowned as she worked through the various pieces of information Helena had offered. "You only have records of three killings? Or have only recently started showing up at the aftermath? And removal?"

"I've only been able to investigate three of the crime scenes myself. Took a bit to connect the crimes," Helena explained. "Removal," she repeated, looking up at the redhead. "When that bastard cut them open and took out the organs."

"Hmmm," she made a non-committal noise as her eyes focused back on the photos, her mind trying to recall an image that she had seen earlier. Maybe that was what had seemed out of place last night. Scully started looking again at the bodies with this new possibility in mind. Her finger tracing cuts and injuries on the photos as her mind filled in the names of the incisions and procedures from her medical training.

"I noted the few autopsy reports I could find mentioned the possible missing organs. However I noted that autopsy reports are just one of many things missing from a number of the case files." She was silent a moment as she moved the photos around some more.

"Although many of the bodies were so badly mutilated it was hard for the coroner to accurately identify the extent of damage to specific organs or even if material was missing." She'd noticed many of the reports she had found were simplified and inaccurate. Something she had seen many times during her time on the X-Files. A feel to a report she'd learned to note indicating either doctored reports or rushed reports signaling an unprofessional level of care given to an examination.

"That's what they're doing. Just haven't figured out why yet. There's nothing to suggest that the victims are really good... donors, or anything like that. Different blood types, different backgrounds..."

Scully looked up at Helena her attention drawn for the moment from the images, "You have a background in medicine?" she asked trying to determine where the woman was drawing her information from.

"I have lots of friends. In lots of fields. They help me out when I need it," Helena said, hands on her hips.

Noting the young woman's position, Dana stood up facing Helena fully, "Is your silent partner a doctor?" She asked bluntly.

"You seem to be stuck on this silent partner thing. Can't a girl have friends?" Helena asked, her hands moving to the desk as she leaned over it, looking through the papers.

"I'm stuck on the fact that you and others know quite a bit about this case and yet you insist you and your associates only wish to help." Dana folded her arms over her chest watching carefully to see what items would grab the woman's attention. "And friends are one thing, people who aid in criminal activity," she held up a hand to try and stem objections, "or activities of any sort or connection to crime are not always the best friends for someone to have. Do they have some sort of hold over you?" Scully asked suddenly.

"No one's making me do this," Helena sighed, shaking her head. Looking up from the desk she stood. "Have you researched crime levels in New Gotham's past? And Old Gotham's? Maybe found mention of Batman?"

"I've not had a lot of time to look into the most recent activity here never mind old cases." She admitted. "Although I have read over some of the last Director's reports. He noted a high level of unusual cases associated with interference from vigilantes and individuals claiming to act on behalf of law enforcement."

"'Unusual, huh? What kind of unusual?" Helena asked.

"Unusual in that most of the cases were marked unsolved, transferred to Gotham's local law enforcement, or the fact that often the suspects brought in were admitted to a local asylum, I forget the name right now." Dana moved to the doorway of her office and waved across the small hall at another room.

"There are a couple of file cabinets in the corner filled with names like Pamela Isley, Jonathan Crane, Harvey Dent, Victor Fries, Selena Ky..." Dana broke off looking back over at Helena...

"Does it tell you what makes those names special?" Helena asked, leaning back to sit on the edge of the desk.

"Other than they were all suspected criminals I don't know. As I said I've not been able to really go through any of them in detail... yet." Scully frowned some unable to think it mere coincidence regarding the similarity of last names. "Why are those names so special?"

Helena laughed, a smirk showing on her face. "If I told you, you wouldn't believe me."

"I see. Thank you for assuming you know me well enough to dictate what my belief system allows regarding my job." Dana replied coolly moving back over to the desk, her eyes keeping to the photos. "You do enjoy your games, don't you Ms. Kyle?" She accentuated the last name as she stared at the photos, frustrated both from the lack of information regarding the case and how this woman was involved.

"Promise at least not to send me to Arkham? You know, the asylum you mentioned earlier?" Helena asked, completely serious now.

"I may not agree with the way people interpret events. I may also find the things some believe in are paths I can not possibly understand or travel." The red-head paused as she searched for and met Helena's gaze. "But I can assure you I do not toss people into an institution just because they believe something I might not. Not after what I have seen." She smiled a little trying to break the tension, "So there will be no sending."

"There are people with abilities that are beyond human. Like in the alley the other night? They were meta-human. Along with the people on your list," Helena explained.

"I've not heard that term before." Her thoughts immediately went to the super soldiers and other alien hybrids she had encountered. She sighed, thinking over the fight last night,

"So the people in the alley are these meta-humans who have..." She paused trying to vocalize the image she had of the man from the other night. "Are they medical experiments or altered in some way?" She asked trying to understand what she had seen last night.

"I think it has more to do with evolution. Too wide-spread to have been an experiment. Meta's are born that way, and it often does get passed down to their children," Helena replied.

Rubbing at her forehead, Scully kept quiet a moment mulling over what Helena was telling her as she tried to align it with what she had seen and read. "So there are meta-humans, who have abnormal abilities, running around. And many of the cases that are referenced in those files, including this one," She tapped on the photos, "Are unresolved because these unusual characteristics were not properly explained or accounted for?"

"Right. These abilities also make it more difficult for some of these people to be tracked down. Just don't go thinking they're all criminals. There may be a lot of these people in your files, but there are even more that aren't," Helena said.

"But the ones in those files, they are criminals." Her comment a statement not a question.

"Yes," Helena said after a moment. "Some reformed, and some of them are or were incredibly sick."

"Am I going to find your name in there? Is that why you are here, to make sure I don't or haven't already?" Dana didn't really suspect Helena having sensed the woman could have run or harmed the agent many times over at this point. However, dealing with all of the lies, conspiracies and half-truths thrown at her over the years had led to a hefty dose of suspicion always at the forefront of her mind.

"I've gotten into trouble. Nothing serious though. I had problems driving, so I stopped. The rest is just little stuff. Things that you'd expect from a vigilante..."

Chuckling slightly at that, Dana just stared at Helena. She had hoped the young woman would have taken the opening and given Scully at least a hint of what she might encounter. "You paint an interesting profile Helena; the small glimpses and light games you offer are somehow hiding a much deeper story. One I will look for and find."

She picked up one of the reports. "So, we are dealing with these meta-humans who are killing people for some unknown reason and possibly removing organs or other material from the bodies."

"Right. First they were killing all kinds of people. More recently they've been going after other meta-humans, at least as far as I can tell," Helena admitted.

"So there may be a method to their seeming madness." The agent looked back at the photos knowing they were a poor substitute for the real thing. "What are you doing tomorrow night?" She asked absently as she picked up her cell phone and hit a speed dial number.

"I'm working the early shift. Get off around 10. Why?" Helena asked, curious as to who the redhead was talking to.

"Ah hello Dr. Juruz? Yes, this is Agent Scully, we spoke in the hospital the other day." She was quiet, listening to the man, "Yes, I received the reports and images. Thank you." She did not add she had to have an official form special delivered to the man before he reluctantly had turned over the autopsy reports and files.

"I believe you still have the last two bodies in your morgue." She nodded at the phone as she waited. "I'd like to look over the bodies tomorrow night."

Helena frowned, wondering what the dead bodies had to do with her.

"No doctor, I just need to verify some findings I stumbled upon." She puckered her lips trying to remain calm. "I understand you can not be around and have other things to attend to. I am capable of performing the examination myself and will have help if an extra pair of hands is needed. As the papers you had me send earlier indicate, I have extensive training in the medical field and have trained others as well in medical forensics. I would not want to trouble you over a simple reexamination, I just need to make sure your facilities are available." She listened again to the man and this time felt herself wince, her face crinkling in mock pain.

Rolling her shoulders, Helena was almost relieved to hear that whoever was on the other end of the line wasn't so keen on whatever it was that Scully had in mind.

"Well if your lab is not available, I can arrange to have the bodies transported to another fac..." she stopped as she smirked, the man's words cutting in. "Yes tomorrow after 9 would be perfect. I thank you for your help and cooperation." She hung up the phone before muttering, "What an ass. Probably has a... ego... the size of a pencil..." She cut off then sighing. "So you are free after your shift ends?"

"I don't play with dead bodies," Helena said, right off the bat.

"Excuse me? First, I find you playing with a dead body in an alleyway. Second, I don't play with bodies or people either. These photos don't provide enough information. Perhaps if we can actually conduct a proper examination we might find something others missed." She paused a beat, "If you won't do this, perhaps you could have your friend come in your place?"

"Listen. All the stuff I do, there's this one part that I hate. I protest every time that it comes up. You're a doctor. So obviously this is something you can handle. You even said you teach this stuff. What the hell do you need me for?" Helena asked.

"I had someone tell me once to keep your friends close and your enemies closer." Scully replied looking Helena in the eyes. "Which ever you turn out to be, it would seem keeping you in sight is the best solution for now. Besides, a second pair of eyes, one that has pre-knowledge of this case would help. A lot of people have died already, I want to stop these people, now. If you won't do this, fine, tell me how to contact someone else who will." She challenged moving closer to Helena as her voice remained firm.

"Doesn't anyone work under you? You're an FBI director, right? Isn't someone paid to do what you want them to do?" Helena asked.

"It seems right now this is a one woman show," She replied frustrated at that truth. She had thought there would be help but had found even that aspect to be in disarray when she arrived. Mysteriously all of the office personnel had left or been transferred, even the secretarial staff.

"I help people. The people you're talking about? It's too late for them. I do what I can, but dead people? I know they're dead, that's all," Helena admitted.

"Alright fine, you can't handle the idea and are unwilling to provide me with a contact to someone who could help. It looks like I am the one assuming things now, I am sorry. "If you have any more information, please send it to me." She turned then to head back around the desk.

Helena bit her lower lip. "Let me talk to some people. What's the best way for me to contact you?" she asked, already knowing that Barbara would want her to go and that she'd give in.

"Thank you," She wrote down her cell number and handed it to Helena. "If nothing else, is there someone you can put me in touch with who has a good working knowledge of metahuman physiology? If I don't know what should be there, how can I tell if something has been disturbed?"

"That's why I need to talk to some people," Helena admitted. "I should get started so I can figure something out before my shift starts. Anything else before I go?"

The agent started to say something but bit off her words and just shook her head no. "I'll be at the morgue at the New Gotham hospital tomorrow after 9. Try not to get into any more trouble."

"What did you almost say?" Helena asked, raising an eyebrow.

"It's not really important." Dana smiled a little then sitting back down in her chair. "Besides, what kind of woman would you think I am if I revealed all of my inner thoughts when we really don't know one another?"

"Yet. We've just gotten started, right?" Helena smiled.

"Oh I can assure you I am very interested in you." Scully paused then and felt her cheeks warm slightly. "Interested in finding out about you. About what happens when you take a moment and stop hiding behind the games and teasing that is."

"Good luck with that," Helena grinned. "I'll give you a call later on. Bye, Dana."

Chapter 22

Reluctant Messiah (Immolation)

Clocktower, Thursday evening

Running her hand through her hair again Helena looked to check the time. She wasn't sure how long she'd been pacing, just that she'd been expecting Barbara back much earlier. She wasn't sure how to feel about Scully's suggestion about checking on the dead bodies. And while she was fairly certain of the outcome of the evening, she just wanted to get it over with.

Barbara waited for the elevator doors to open and she slowly wheeled out pausing as the doors closed behind her. She looked around for the "intruder" her pager had alerted her to earlier at school. After the Harley incident, she'd installed a system to alert her anytime someone accessed the Clock tower, it had been one of the many things she had done to try and convince herself it was still a secure place to be.

She'd ignored the fact the intruder was Helena and had not bothered trying to contact her. Instead the teacher had remained focused on finishing up grades and other final paperwork so she could be finished with her "day job" allowing her more time to focus on the strange twists the case had taken the last few weeks.

"Did you wear a hole in the floor yet?" She called out leaning an elbow on the arm of her chair as she located the restless bobbing brunette head.

"Where have you been? I mean, doesn't school end at like 3 or something?" Helena asked, moving in Barbara's direction.

"The instructional portion ends. Teachers continue to work long past when students decide they have had enough." She rolled a little further into the room. "But look who I am talking to; one of Gotham High's Hall of Fame record holders for ways to beat the system and champ for finding a loophole."

"She wants me to go check out the dead bodies in the morgue tomorrow night." Helena blurted out, not up for banter about her high school days.

Barbara looked at Hel a moment gathering her thoughts. No matter how long she worked with the young woman, the teacher still found she could easily be pulled into one of Hel's tailspins and manic approaches to a problem. "I see. Is Alfred in?" She asked casually starting to move down the ramp and heading towards the kitchen.

"He's around. She's a medical examiner herself, but she thinks I'll be able to help. Me or someone who knows what metas are supposed to look like on the inside," Helena ranted, following Barbara.

"Did he fix anything for dinner before being chased away?" Barbara tried not to smirk guessing Alfred had stopped by and met a similar treatment from Hel. She could almost see the polite, yet hidden smile the older man would have worn while nodding and listening to the deluge.

"She is a doctor with training specializing in forensics. Although her bachelor's is in physics." Barbara added as she shifted to take her bag off the back of her chair. The redhead had started going through the files on Agent Scully in more depth last night. "She has received a number of commendations and is regarded one of the best in the FBI, even with the other marks in her record.

"So why the hell would she think that I could help her? Or that I would actually put anyone else at risk like that?" Helena demanded. "And why aren't you concerned about this!"

"I did not say I was not concerned." Barbara corrected. "Did she tell you why she wants you to help and what do you mean put at risk?

"I don't know. Something about identifying victims as meta-human, but I think it's more just that she wants to find out who I'm working with. I might have convinced her that I just have 'friends', but I don't know if she bought that," Helena said.

"This is what happens when I let you go somewhere comm-less. This will teach me to not just permanently have the comm. buzzing in my ear." Barbara went to open the refrigerator. "Something to drink?"

"I didn't have a choice. She's stuck on this silent partner thing, and there's not much I can do about that. No drink. Just help me figure this out."

Opening a bottle of juice, Barbara wheeled up to the table and leaned her arms on the surface watching Helena. "Well from her perspective, she did find you associated with two dead bodies. One time you ran, another you assaulted her . I personally am glad you are sitting here with me and not in some jail cell."

She took a drink of juice to hide her concern and relief that Hel was here. Barbara had replayed the recording from the encounter last night trying to pull more clues from the meeting. She could still could feel the chill and fright hearing Hel's struggles.

And that voice.....

"What can I say? I'm a sweet talker," Helena replied. "Now back to suggestions about showing tomorrow? I told her I'd look into it. Maybe I should I just blow it off?" Helena asked, hoping Barbara would go for the last option.

"Sweet-talker, bullshitter two sides of the same coin wouldn't you say?" Barbara said quickly but chased her candid remark with a smile. "Listen, sit. Your pacing and body language is worse than watching a caged animal. Which you are not Hel," she waved at a chair next to her.

She paused, her eyes focused on the young woman. "You do have some choices here and we can sweet talk or bullshit, let's see which the situation calls for, alright?"

Under the glare Helena finally settled in a chair across from Barbara.

"Now tell me again, a little more succinctly, if that word even exists in your vocabulary, what happened at your meeting and what exactly does Agent Scully want?"

"She showed me the pictures. Nothing new there. Started listing off metas that Batman fought. Including my mother, not sure how long until she puts me together with mom. Then wanted me to go along on her outing to the morgue tomorrow. Thinks I can notice something she won't. Or that I'll set her up with one of my 'friends' who can," Helena said, not really calming as her rapid delivery of the meeting emphasized her demeanor.

Barbara ran her hand through her hair leaving her fingers tangled as she thought. "I'll check what access I have to the FBI files and see if there are any references to you or other information that could link back to us." She frowned thoughtfully at her juice.

"Why was she interested in metas? And did she say why she wants to go to the morgue? I've seen copies of those reports the so called Coroner is churning out and they are lacking. But did she mention anything specific she was looking for?"

"Something about meta physiology, I think." Helena paused; her eyes wandering over the redhead. "And let her find information on me, I don't want her getting more suspicious. Just cover your own tracks, okay?"

Barbara raised an eyebrow at Hel's statement, her fingers still playing with her hair. "Let her find information on you?" Not sure what Helena was thinking or why she made that distinction, she let any further probing of that topic go, for now.

"You mentioned, how did you phrase it, me or what I look like inside? Does she have any experience working with metahumans? I was going through some of her cases. I searched a few terms to start with to see if anything jumped out. There was not a single mention of the word metahuman. Although she does have experience it seems with altered physiology, I think. I am still trying to follow exactly how some of her journals and cases are linked. It is... convoluted."

"She knows about people with abnormal abilities. I'm pretty sure she's on our side, but I don't really want to show her all our cards yet. Not until I know more about her anyway," Helena said.

"Our side... I would be more likely at this point to say she wants to reach the same conclusion we do." She pulled her fingers through her hair and rested her hand on the table. "I know you have an aversion to certain aspects of investigation."

The redhead looked up; it had not been lost on her how Helena reacted when asked to do certain things. Tasks if Barbara could, she would have gladly spared Hel from having to complete. "Her examination might provide a key or at least rule out certain possibilities. And I believe her reports will be accurate and thorough. Would you be willing at least to go and set up a camera link for me? Explain you have someone on the other end that can provide some details and in exchange we get a recording of what she finds."

Helena nodded. "If she says no?"

"I believe that is where you area of expertise in sweet-talking comes into play."

"Right," Helena nodded, relieved that Barbara had not tried talking her into doing it. "You think we can trust her?" the brunette added as an after-thought.

She leaned her head on her hand, "At this point we may have to take a few risks in order to find these killers." She took in a breath letting it out slowly. "And I think the question is more will she trust us?"

"I'm working on that," Helena said softly. "I should get going. I have to work. Do you have a camera I can take?"

Puzzled slightly by the working comment, Barbara nodded. "I have a camera and can explain how you feed it through her system to record both video and also provide a straight transfer of any report she types. I'll tell you how to set it up. Make sure she knows Helena exactly what it will be recording. If you can't sweet talk, I don't want to go behind her back. She's had too many people do that to her in the past, alright?"

"Yeah, I don't want to push the trust issue. Too many questions can lead to a very bad headache." Helena stood and headed out of the kitchen. "I'll be by tomorrow."

Barbara watched the young meta. ~Trust... what a dirty five letter word. Could we ever deeply trust one another Helena?~

Chapter 22b

Barbara Gordon's Caesura

Barbara Gordon's Bedroom
Thursday late night

Propped up in bed, reading, Barbara was trying to settle down for the night. She needed to catch some rest before tomorrow's planned activities. So the redhead had done a little more work on her database cataloguing the crime scene details before heading to bed.

An old T-shirt and a simple pair of shorts had been her choice of nightwear as she worked through the latest recommendation from her Internet book club. She'd shivered a little as the room was turning chilly. Twisting to put the book to the side she gave a small startled gasp and curse; someone was standing at the foot of her bed.

"Helena," she admonished trying to recover from her fright. "I know how much you miss doing that to Detective Reese but I thought we had agreed no more sneaking."

"We didn't pinky swear Barbara."

Her breath caught in her throat as the tone Helena had used was far from casual, light or friendly. It was throaty, lusty and oozing with sexual arousal.

For the second time in as many minutes, Barbara shivered. This time it was from anticipation, not because of the chill. In fact, the teacher absently noted, the temperature had seemed to reverse course and was suddenly blazing hot.

"Well try to give me a little warning."

"Would you like me to wear a bell Barbara? Maybe a leather collar around my neck?" Helena sauntered to the bed's edge, her leer raking over Barbara as she let the older woman consider her words.

And consider she did. As well as imagining Helena wearing a collar and nothing else... Barbara stifled a half-gasp and half moan as the images poured and slithered through her brain. "I don't think anyone could put a collar on you Helena." She managed. She was startled to hear her voice had begun to match the brunette's in tone and intensity.

"Not unless I wanted them to."

Barbara licked her dry lips trying to wet the warm skin. Even as she worked to moisten them, she laughed at the irony this action produced. As one body part felt parched and dry, she knew another body part was damp and growing wetter with every word, look, and movement.

She was sure she stopped breathing as Helena bent over placing her arms on the side of the bed. She leaned in, her face hovering just above Barbara's. "Do you want to put a collar on me Barbara?"

Her sultry question sent a rush of feeling through Barbara. Belated she realized her head, taking a cue from other parts of her body, had answered the brunette shaking out a languid answer of yes.

Smirking then, Helena gracefully changed her position. Straddling Barbara now, her smirk morphed into a hungry leer as she closed her eyes and breathed in deep. "Someone's having naughty thoughts. And getting all hot, bothered and wet from them."

~Oh god yes I am.~

As Helena opened her eyes, Barbara's hands shot out grasping the woman's thighs as the meta bent down, golden predatory eyes locking onto intense green.

Swallowed up by the rapacious look, Barbara slid her hands up along bronze skin. Encouraged by hisses and moans from the younger woman's lips, Barbara worked her way up under the thin silk blouse. Her fingernails scratched over satiny flesh.

She pushed up then as Helena's hands had busied themselves as well. Removing first her T-shirt followed by teasing, twisting, pinching and kneading the redhead's hardened nipples and firm breasts.

Nirvana, delectation, rapture and euphoric bliss were some of the words that flitted through Barbara's mind as Helena leaned in commandeering her lips. Nibbles and licks soon gave way to dueling pleasure. The tastes and sensations as Helena's tongue stroked and danced with hers were more than she had ever imagined.

She was barely aware that a hand pushed her head to the side. Her mind and body stuck more on trying to comprehend how the brunette had removed the rest of her clothes. It was the moist tongue licking and lips sucking on her earlobe that pulled her attention from the fingers tangoing their way south.

She felt moist kisses against her ear then cheek and jaw. Sliding down, the hot, wet mouth nuzzled deep into her neck finding the rapidly beating pulse point. Her mind let go as the biting and sucking matching the rhythm Helena's finger's had set up as they again played and tweaked her stiff rosy peaks.

Afloat in an erotic and enraptured wave of sensation and fire, Barbara knew she had not felt like this since... since before the shooting. All of her senses were being overwhelmed and she wanted, desired, craved... more.

More... the sight, taste and scent of the brunette blazed through Barbara's being like an aphrodisiac. Years of loneliness and exile from feeling like this were forgotten as the fervid touches from the metahuman continued to release Barbara's hesitation and apprehension.

Pushing up against the crushing lips, Barbara could just feel the ghost of a touch across her midsection. Her limited sensation was heightened by the erotic buzz flowing through her body.

She was sure she could feel the fingers trailing over her lower abdomen. She gasped out loud feeling the pressure as one, no two, she could make out two separate pressure points; two fingers pushed deeply into her.

Her hand shot out grasping the meta's shoulder, her nails digging in deep enough to break the skin. A hiss and growl reached Barbara's ears and added to the pleasure she was experiencing. It had been so long since she had felt this way. Yet now, now her dreams were taking form. What and who she had always secretly wanted was here, touching her, and wanting her back.

"So long Helena," she whispered as she twisted to kiss the arm she was holding. "I've want this, craved you for so long." Her admission was stopped as lips again consumed hers even as the trusting motions increased bringing the woman closer and closer to her peak.

She blinked her eyes then wanting to see her lover's face as she pushed back into the bed. The thousand caresses and touches and kisses had kept the redhead in a lusty fog; her mind and vision blurred as the meta had seemed to be everywhere.

Needing to see Helena as she could tell she was close to release, she opened her eyes and captured the... She frowned focusing on the intense eyes staring down at her. They should be violet, blue or even gold and yet... the color seemed... Barbara groaned then as the fingers twisted deeper and faster.

Her hand slid from its position on the shoulder into brunette... no blonde... blonde hair. Barbara's eyes opened wide even as her upper body jerked, the sexual tension releasing in a powerful, orgasmic wave.

"So was it good for you too? Told ya I'd make you writhe." Jem pushed down against the gasping redhead as she ripped another kiss from the lips cutting off any protest.

"You don't need Helena. She never wanted you anyway. If she had, she would have taken you just like she has taken all the others. Nope honey she left you behind. I mean really. Why would someone as vivacious and free as her want something old and cloying like you?"

Again Barbara's protests were cut off as the woman lavished her lips and breasts with kisses and stokes aimed at keeping the computer hacker off center.

Struggling against the aroused feeling, Barbara pushed Jem away. "NO! Helena is who I want not anyone else, not... I'm not..." Jem's words rolled over her again. "She hasn't taken me... has she..."

The blonde shook her head and leaned in close, her lips brushing Barbara's. "But no worries because I'm here. I'll take good care of you. I'll do for you what she won't." Jem started laughing then even as she roughly grabbed Barbara.

Screaming, Barbara swung her arms and felt a jolt go through her hand bringing her painfully aware. Her chest heaving as the pressure of the blonde was suddenly gone. She looked around the darkened room.

Covering her face with her hands, Barbara tried to remove the lingering traces of the dream as her breathing slowly began to settle. She sank back against the bed even as she wrapped her arms around a pillow. Trying hard to let go of the suffocating emotions, Barbara let her analytical mind begin to deconstruct the dream and thoughts.

Piece by piece through the rest of the night she worked to destroy or at least obscure the images and feelings. Satisfied finally as light began to filter into the room, Barbara drifted towards a fitful sleep, the images of Jem and Helena locked away.

Her wants and desires for the brunette nicely sanitized and rationalized. The dream had been right about some things, Helena couldn't possibly want her. She'd have said something or done something by now... right?

"Right." She whispered even as she drifted off.

Chapter 23

Calm Before The Storm (Kane's River)

New Gotham Hospital parking Lot
Friday, 10:07pm

Drumming on the steering wheel, Scully reread the passage she was on trying to catch the intent behind the words. After Helena had left, she had revisited many of the file cabinets in the office and selected any files she could find referencing Selena Kyle. She'd spent the rest of yesterday and much of today reviewing those files.

She had a small stack of files for now. The field office's filling system was very similar to another system she had encountered in a basement in what seemed like a lifetime ago. She shook her head smiling as she recalled what she had thought about that system and also what those files had held and dragged her into. Dana sighed then wondering if these files would enlighten her or simply drag her into another set of X-files.

It had taken a few blocks to get used to the backpack with Barbara's camera equipment, but after that Helena easily got to her usual pace.

Arriving at the hospital Helena quickly picked out Scully's car and made her way over to tap on the window, smile ready for when the director looked her way.

Dana tensed at the sound, her hand moving down automatically before she realized who it was outside her car. She closed the file as she rolled down the window. "Good evening Helena. I'm glad you decided to come. I wasn't sure if you would show up."

"Figured I'd share the game plan before I got distracted by work," Helena smiled, bending to rest her arms on the door, her face nearly even with Scully's. "So I have some stuff to set up. One of my friends wants to help, but, ah, he's kinda shy. I have some stuff he sent me with, so he can see what you're doing and you can talk to each other. It sounded like you'd take whatever help I could get, so that's cool, right?" Helena asked, though she acted like it had already been agreed upon, not wanting Scully to see that saying 'No' was even an option.

Distracted by the sudden close proximity of Helena, Dana just stared at the woman trying to get past the way her face looked in the dim light. "Help is good."

She was silent again just staring at Helena. "You have another person meeting us?" She finally managed to say trying to cover the extended silence.

"Just through voice. He'll see what you're doing and let you know if anything's off. But like I said, he's shy, plus he doesn't get out much. I was hoping to get you more help, but it was all I could get without more notice, sorry," Helena shrugged. "I'll kinda hang around, but, ah, I barely passed high school bio, and this stuff makes me kinda queasy."

"Voice?" Dana blinked a little and then nodded as she caught on to the intended setup. "Ah, a video conference. Well, any help at this point is welcome. Especially if he has experience with metahuman physiology. I take it he is one of your mentioned sources and familiar with the case?"

"Somewhat familiar. But probably one of the best people to talk to about meta psy... well, what metas look like on the inside," Helena said.

"So, ready to get this going?"

"Sure, although it is a shame you will not be joining in." Dana teased as she leaned forward a little towards Helena. "A person who works to keep the streets safe gets a little ill at the sight of blood? Next you will be telling me that you leave a light on to make sure the monsters stay under the bed."

"It's more the dead thing than the blood thing. And I'll stick around, hopefully in the room and not the hall. We'll see," Helena admitted with a small smile. "How long does this usually take anyway?"

Scully's smile slipped at Helena's admission. "It really varies and if possible I'd like to look over both." She gently laid a hand over one of Helena's. "And if your friend will have a link for questions, you really do not need to stay at all. I do appreciate the fact you set up the meeting, well distance meeting."

"I'll be here. Just in case, but thank you, for the thought," Helena replied.

"Just in case? I'm not too bad with technology. Or is there something I should know about your friend?" Scully moved her head a little trying to catch the younger woman's eyes.

"I don't know. I just want to know that everything goes smoothly. If you really need help with something here and there I well help, okay?" Helena asked, returning Scully's gaze.

"Curiosity and cats." Dana remarked and then pulled back a little not sure why that image and saying had come to mind. "If I need your help, I'll ask. But I do understand. Sometimes... Sometimes we are forced to go places we never dreamed, never wanted and might end up in a place from which we can not return. I don't want to force you to one of those places Helena." She sighed, "I need to get my bag from the trunk."

"I'll do what I can. Pop your trunk," Helena smiled, moving back from the window to retrieve the bag.

Dana shook her head slightly as she released the trunk. Placing the files on the passenger seat, the agent got out and locked the car, adjusting her blazer as she walked around to the back of the car. She noted the bag the brunette was carrying as well the ease with which she moved as she retrieved Dana's bag.

"So, from our few conversations and your activity the other night, your involvement in things tends to be more of the physical?" She asked still trying to understand exactly who Helena was and what she did.

"I like to think of it as 'hands on'," Helena smirked. "So what did you bring? I mean, don't they keep what you need around here?"

"I'm not counting one hundred percent on the cooperation of the staff here." Dana moved to take the bag from Helena. "It seems the same cheer and good will held by many of the local authorities has infected the good doctor and his staff. But then going in on cases as a federal agent I am unfortunately accustomed to the territoriality many hold."

"Right. And I'm fine with this. The heavy lifting I can handle," Helena grinned, shifting the bag to her other hand, out of Scully's reach. "Lead the way, doc."

Scully paused considering her replies before finally just nodding and starting to head towards the building. "Alright, fine, and it's Dana. Doc is a title better left for Elmer Fudd."

"Dana. That's more like it," Helena smirked, following the redhead.

Chapter 24A

Oooo Baby, Baby It's a Wild Life

New Gotham Hospital, an examining room adjacent to the morgue
Friday night

"Testing..." Helena said, waving a hand in front of the camera, trying to see if Barbara was getting the signal. "You there?"

Looking up over the top of her glasses, Barbara momentarily forgot what she was reading as Hel's face blinked onto the main screen in front of her. She smiled again watching as Helena began shaking the camera a little.

"No I am not. I decided to hit the local Friday night party scene and leave you to do all the work, surprise. This is a recording, leave a succinct message after the tone." She had not yet switched on the voice modification program instead speaking to Hel through her comm link.

"Well, I thought I set it up right..." Helena said, glaring at the camera, not about to start talking to invisible friends again.

Catching the glare, Barbara laughed and switched off Hel's comm link while activating the audio feed Helena had set up. Taking off her glasses, Barbara twirled them some as she looked over the monitoring programs making sure she had set up the signal feeds properly.

She should be able to see and record the proceedings using the video link. Patching in through that, she'd have audio communication with Agent Scully in the lab rather than trying to use Helena as a third party. Add one voice modulation program and you had all the makings for a perfect disguise and untraceable link.

"Yes it is set up correctly. So please do not shake the equipment. It is fragile and should be treated tenderly." She bit off any other remark as Agent Scully should now be able to hear them.

Scully was almost finished setting up the lab having finally found most of the equipment she would need. As expected the coroner had not left anything set up for her examination. Just the two gurneys in the corner containing the bodies she was interested in examining. She looked up having heard Helena muttering and then heard a new voice.

"Looks like we're good to go," Helena smiled, before turning to Scully. "And the next step is...?"

Scully looked over at the bodies, "The next step is to take a look at the victims. We'll see how accurate the reports we have are and if there is anything else that can shed some light on what happened and why. If you need to leave, I can manage on my own. Well with the aid of..." She let her sentence hang not sure how to address the person on the other end of the camera.

"Bar--t. His name's Bart," Helena said, not sure that Barbara knew she was a man now. "I'll be in the hallway. Call if you need me?" She asked.

"Bart?" The masked voice cut across the room. Barbara had noted the way Agent Scully had offered for Helena to leave. Now the computer operator had two things to discuss later with Hel. One was her obvious discomfort and the second was a nice reminder on code name development.

Trying to hide the developing smirk, Dana nodded at the young woman. "Certainly. And I thank you... Bart, for agreeing to help me. I would appreciate any help or knowledge you can offer and I know you will not discuss our findings with anyone else."

"I'm sure you two will hit it off," Helena said before ducking into the hallway.

"Let's get started then," Scully said, rolling one of the bodies from the side of the room. "What differences should I be looking for?"

"Well, that is the 64,000 dollar question isn't." Barbara turned her focus to a database she had created cataloguing metahuman anatomy and abilities. "Realistically the differences are not always that easy to pick out. Some metas actually are very similar to non-metas internally as well as on the surface. Others may have quite a large range of... differences."

"Excuse me a moment." She spoke softly into a recording device near the body detailing her first observations. "I am going to just leave my recorder running to make the examination more fluid, is that alright?"

"Of course."

"So basically we're looking for abnormalities that we can link to meta-human abilities, but how do we link them?" Dana asked after a moment as she prepared to reopen the chest cavity.

"Not a lot of research, well I should say published research, has been done on that subject. We can see differences but why they are there is something that has not been closely studied. Metahumans tend to keep their abilities and thus differences to themselves and within a very closed community. Something I know you are familiar with."

"So if I had a contact into that community and could find out about the victim's abilities I might have a chance to try and make those connections," Dana nodded, making her way into the chest cavity noting certain features for her report.

"It is also hard to determine what exactly might have been the focus. The human victims often did not have anything missing, at least nothing removed. Although a few of the later bodies, human and metahuman had extensive damage done to several areas such as the..."

Barbara paused her eyes scanning through the reports hoping to spark that one link that could be what they needed. "Hmmm, can you see if there is any damage in the area of the neck, armpit or near the back of the kidneys?"

Out in the hallway Helena was already bored. Not really surprised by the fact, but still bored. She didn't even have Barbara to keep her company this time. Wondering if there was a snack machine close by, she had started to move down the hallway but stopped hearing something.

It was probably nothing, an employee down the hall, but it would at least give her something to do. Wrinkling her brow in concentration, she headed toward the sound, trying to figure out exactly where it was coming from.

Barbara noted a frown appearing on the agent's face as Dana started examining the areas she had mentioned. "The Pancreas was missing from one human victim. And the area near the kidneys of a metahuman as well as the throat area had shown signs of numerous incisions. There also seems to be enlarged cavities indicating maybe something should have been there that was not. I am not sure about the other areas in terms of details, just those areas seemed to have the most extensive damage reported."

Scully simply nodded at the information as she explored the areas and continued making detailed notes of her observations.

Banging the large metal gas can against the wall, Chubby turned the last corner grinning over at his fellow partner. They'd been told to make some noise as they approached the lab. They had also been told to make sure nothing and no one was left standing by the time they finished with the lab.

"Hey there guys, I think you have the wrong address. This isn't the party," Helena said, already walking toward them having pinpointed the source of the noises she'd heard.

"Really?" Chubby said slowly as he let his eyes rake over the woman's figure. "I'd say Baldy and I just scored a very nice party favor." As he spoke he set the gas can down and snapped his arm some letting the steel rod he had hidden there slide out into his hand. "And wrong address? Nah... I find I can party anywhere." He said pressing a button so the rod extended. "This is going to kick ass... yours that is."

Chapter 24B

Danger Zone (Kenny Loggins)

New Gotham Hospital
an examining room adjacent to the morgue
Friday night

Helena sighed, coming to a stop. "Last chance to change your minds boys," she said, arms crossing over her chest as she shifted her gaze between the two.

Both men called out "No" at the same time as the rushed the woman.

Shaking her head as she fought off a laugh, she easily jumped and dodged their rush. "Fine. One more chance, but that's it. You got me?" Helena asked, a smirk appearing.

"Not yet, but we will." Chubby replied swinging his arm back and nodding at his partner. As he aimed his rod for Hel's shoulder, he knew Baldy was pulling out some of his favorite toys and would go low.

Scully had found there was damage in two of the areas Bart had mentioned. She'd brought the camera in and had started discussing the possible pattern and reason. The agent also had noted a few structures she did not recognize that Bart had confirmed as being a metahuman feature.

"Let me check the other body." Scully said moving out of range of the camera's view.

Barbara absently nodded at the response, her focus on the metahuman database.

"Stupid boys," Helena said, jumping and pushing herself off of the wall and over their heads, wanting to act as a buffer between them and the morgue so she could warn Scully.

"I told you, take the party somewhere else!" Helena yelled, accenting her point by planting a foot in the back of Baldy's knee. ~Hope they heard me.~

Using the woman's focus on taking down his partner, Chubby quickly altered his swing connecting this time.

Both redheads jerked at the shout, Barbara looking at the screen as Scully looked up at the door.

"What's going... what is that?" The alteration in Barbara's question was brought about by the sudden falling of a metal grate from the ceiling in front of the camera. This was followed by the appearance of pair of legs wearing knee high black leather boots which then began idly swinging back and forth.

Wincing as the hit caught her across the cheek Helena rolled with it, letting the momentum propel her into the examination room. "Dana. Grab your gun. I think our time's about up," she said, pushing to a crouch, waiting for the doors to swing open again.

"Where'd she go," Baldy said scrambling to his feet. Chubby yanked him back up as they headed toward the lab pulling on the smaller man's collar at the last instant.

"Wait, use one of your little giftboxes Baldy, I want to make an entrance. I mean why use the door when there is a perfectly good wall just begging to be transformed?" He smirked watching Baldly set something on the wall near the door.

Dana started trying to yank off her borrowed lab coat so she could get to her gun. Her movements delayed as her focus had been drawn first to the comment from Bart followed by the sudden appearance of Helena.

"Time's already up babe. In fact you've been on borrowed time." Jem said as jumped down from the vent heading straight for Helena.

"Helena!" Barbara called as she watched the owner of the legs, a lithe blonde woman, head towards Helena

"What?" Helena said, turning just in time to catch blondie head on. Swinging before contact was made Helena was no longer so confident about the skirmish.

Taking the punch, Jem staggered back only enough to give her room to swing returning the favor. "You've been a very bad girl. Messing in places you do not belong."

Jem kicked out and deflected Helena's second punch enough so she could grab the metahuman by the collar pulling to try and throw her across the room.

Dana had finally managed to pull her gun but she could not sight a clear shot. She kept her gun ready as she moved closer to the door of the room.

"Oh god it's you." Barbara breathed out, her gaze now riveted to the monitor and the blonde as she recognized the voice from the other night and felt her entire body tense.

As the timer had finished counting down there was not only debris, but dust and fire. All of this was immediately followed by the goons lumbering through the still flaming hole. "Looks like fun," grinned Baldy.

Distracted by the explosion Helena couldn't deflect the blonde's action, but did manage to plant a hand in the woman's hair to drag her along.

Jem had heard the distorted voice and looked around the room trying to see who else was here and missed Hel's reaction. Barely adjusting, she rolled some screaming in pain as she felt some of her hair ripped from her head. "You bitch, I just had that cut."

With that she flew at Helena, her anger causing the tray holding the implements Scully had been using to shake as her metahuman powrer revved up.

Coughing, Dana pulled herself up some from where she had landed from the explosion. She noted the a new arrival as she retrieved her gun. Getting to her knees, she drew a line as he made for Helena. Firing, she watched him recoil as her shot hit his shoulder.

Wiping at her eyes, Dana cried out then drawing her arm towards her body as she dropped her gun, pain flaring through her shoulder. She barely registered the fact it was a knife embedded in her shoulder causing the pain as a shadow fell across her and she looked up to see Baldy advancing on her.

Sending one of the gurneys in the blonde's direction Helena was on her feet. Catching sight of Dana, but not close enough to intervene directly, the brunette grabbed what had been part of the wall and flung it at the man.

Grabbing his head with one hand Baldy groaned but kept advancing on the redhead.

Dana scrambled back trying to gain some space between her and the thug as she winced when she jarred her injured shoulder. She looked over searching for her gun and noted Helena was once again fighting the blonde woman.

Distracted by Hel's struggles with the blonde, she almost missed Baldy as he lunged again. Rolling on the floor she kicked out trying to get away. Dana yelled again as the knife pushed into her shoulder as she rolled. Her fingers reached up trying to pull it out.

"Helena, behind you!" Barbara called out as Helena, busy going back towards Jem had not realized Chubby, after being shot, had gone to retrieve the large gas can and was now swinging it at Hel's back.

"Someone has a guardian angel." Jem cooed as she heard the warning. The blonde spotted the camera then. Pushing off the wall, she shoved the gurney back at Helena sending the tray of implements towards the brunette as well.

Dodging the gas can Helena wasn't prepared for what Jem sent her way. She managed to avoid most of the sharp implements cursing as other hit her. Wiping at a cut, she stepped up to face off with the woman. "You already killed them, what else do you want?" she asked, standing in a position that left her ready to move.

"As I said, someone's been a very naughty girl and needs to be punished. I would like to make it a slow death, so much more fun." Jem moved languidly towards the brunette making sure she was in front of the camera.

"Although I am thinking I'd like more to punish and tease your friend from the other night. Hearing her screams I think would be so much more pleasurable than listening to yours. It is you my scrumptious darling, isn't it." Jem looked at the camera winking. Her eyes then slipped to where Chubby had dropped the can, she watched the clear liquid as it spilled from the container.

"Let's just get this over with," Helena said, making a move in Jem's direction.

"Stop twitching so much bitch. Just let me get this over with," Baldy said, his free hand wrapping around Scully's neck.

Struggling, Scully kicked out as she gasped for breath, her head and shoulder hurting. She swung her hand holding the knife she'd retrieved from her shoulder down hard trying to break the man's grip.

"It'll be over soon," Baldy smiled easily disarming the agent as he continued to squeeze.

Trying to summon energy from her deepest reserve, Scully tried again to punch at Baldy as her hand closed around something on the floor. Picking up the fallen medical tool, she jabbed at Baldy and was relieved to hear him cry out and release her.

Scully could barely see, the pain so bad she didn't want to move. She curled up some trying just to keep from passing out. The agent could hear other sounds but knew she needed to get up; that Helena was in trouble. Trying to clear her hazy vision she thought she spied her gun and started sliding across the floor.

Jem shook her head at Helena and waggled a finger making a tsking noise. She took out a gold plated Zippo and opened it watching the flame appear. "This was a gift." Well I like to think of it as a gift. I'm sure she would have given it to me if she had not died first. Humans have such a low stamina and pain threshold. Ah well easy come."

With that she took off not going for Helena directly but sliding across the floor she kicked at Hel's legs as she reached her goal and let the lighter fall into the puddle of gas. "Easy go up in flames." She laughed watching the liquid ignite as she continued to slide across the floor.

As Jem had moved. Chubby had adopted a tackle position and had run straight at Helena as well swinging his rod as he moved.

"Helena, Scully's in trouble." Barbara had been trying to keep silent but watched as the agent had crawled into view only to be dragged back by Baldy.

"Fuck," Helena yelled as the fire quickly spread. Turning toward Scully the brunette didn't notice Chubby until he hit, his rod creating a large gash where it tore into the meta.

Dropping to her knees Helena bit her lip, grabbing one of the medical tools that had hit the ground earlier and flung it at Baldy as she pushed to her feet.

Air flooding back into her system as Baldy was pulled away from her, Dana coughed and rolled onto her stomach willing herself to get to her knees. She struggled to stand up watching the fighting.

"Blondie. Come on, afraid to fight me yourself? And here I thought it'd be fun," Helena yelled

"I may be blonde but I am not dumb. Whoever said diamonds were a girl's best friend sorely underestimated the wearing-down value of your enemy by a good goon." Jem replied watching the thugs advance on Helena. She turned then and began pulling down some bottles of liquid from the shelves, tossing them at the burning flames. Her eyes glazed over with elation as the flames burst higher.

"Ow," Helena said, landing a kick at the man's throat. The brunette immediately swiveled and slid across the lab. "Your turn," she said, going back after the blonde. "Aren't I worth something to you?" Helena demanded as she tried to land a kick at the woman's lower back.

"Helena, you need to get out of there, I can't trigger the fire suppression system, something is blocking the main system. I've rerouted the call to the fire department it was blocked at first as well. Someone planned this." Barbara managed to find her voice struggling not to let the images from her dream the other night paralyze her actions.

Scully retrieved her gun even as she looked around trying to find a fire extinguisher. "Shit," Dana muttered having located the object, in the hands Jem who had grabbed it after being tossed against the wall by Helena. The blonde had started spraying the foam, trying to keep the brunette at bay.

The agent felt a hand then wrap around her ankle. Determined she twisted her body using the pain to actually clear her head as she fired a shot straight down at the man. Pulled off balance though, Dana lost her gun as she fell again to the floor.

"Who's the person on the other end of the camera?" Jem taunted, "Think you could fix me up with her?"

"Fuck you!" Helena yelled, struggling against the foam as the floor grew slippery. "Dana! Get out of here!" she yelled, throwing whatever she could reach at the blonde.

"Is that a promise? Although I think you I just want to gut you, her I'll fuck." Jem taunted again loving the way Helena reacted, feeding off the brunette's rage. With a cheery laugh, Jem threw the extinguisher at Helena and then took a running start sliding on her stomach along the slippery floor.

Her hands wrapped around an object as she twisted. Finishing her slide she ended behind Helena and flipped to her feet.

"Both of you get out now. Leave the fight Helena, back off. You don't always have to take them down. The fire is spreading and will soon cut off the main exit." Barbara replied the voice modulator not hiding the fear and pleading in her tone.

Scully rested her forehead on the cool floor but did not move. She heard her name and knew she should do what the voice was telling her. She could trust the voice. But she felt too tired. "Where's my gun?" she mumbled knowing for some reason she needed it.

"Why it's right here." Jem barked out a deep laugh casually waving the agent's gun that she had picked up as she slid.

Chapter 24C

Danger Zone (Kenny Loggins)

New Gotham Hospital
an examining room adjacent to the morgue
Friday night

"Dana. Get out of here now!" Helena commanded, her eyes tight on the gun in Jem's hand. Out running bullets was never easy, even for Helena.

Jem's eyes flickered for a moment to sort out where the agent and her fallen thugs were laying. Moving fast, Helena closed the distance grabbing at the gun.

Scully had managed to pull herself up. She watched the two facing off staggered towards the counter using it to support herself as the room seemed to be twisting before her eyes. Rubbing at her face she could feel the heat from the fire and stepped back as Helena and Jem struggled fighting over something clasped between them.

Her hand brushed against some of the bottles on the counter, her eyes drifted to the labels. Grabbing one of the glass bottles, Dana jerked hearing two gunshots. Her eyes widened as she heard Helena cry out and slump some away from Jem.

The blonde kneed Helena hard in the midsection and kicked out, her boot heel connecting with the growing blood stain spreading across the woman's shoulder grinding into the wound as Helena collapsed. Jem continued to kick and punch Helena a round of blows connecting with the bar owner's body again and again before turning away from the fallen woman..

Sauntering across the burning room, Jem came to rest in front of the camera having heard an anguished cry come from the speakers. "So, how about you ditch that one?" She waved the gun at Helena's body. "Go for someone who's willing to take you for a ride you'll never forget. I can give you so much more than she does."

"Don't hurt them anymore." Barbara choked out her eyes not able to move from Helena's injured form.

"Beg, beg for her life and willingly come to me and I'll drop the gun and leave her quivering sorry ass there on the floor." Jem leaned forward in anticipation her body tense with lust and desire. "How much do you care? Hmmm, what's to keep me from firing right now?" As she said this her hand moved over drawing a bead on Helena.

"I will..."

"I think this is the only thing you'll be receiving." Dana's voice cut across whatever Barbara was going to say as she had uncorked the bottle and come up on Jem who had been totally absorbed by the camera and prospect of the woman on the other side.

Jem screamed out in rage and pain, the gun dropping from her hand as the liquid burned her hand, arm and side of her face. Her frenetic motions next took out the camera before sweeping through the flames and out the door.

"Dana," Helena choked out. "We, ah, need to go..." she murmured, pushing herself part way up with her good arm. "Fuck," she sighed, letting herself back down to put some pressure on the hole in her shoulder even as she hissed at the pain.

Coughing, Dana took a step away from where Jem had been and rubbed at her face trying to pull herself back from the hazy way she was feeling. "We need to get you to an emergency room, now." Sirens finally sounded cutting through the room.

"Can you make it to another hospital?" She asked stumbling over to try and see how bad Helena had been injured.

"Oracle," Helena said, hoping that it was something that they clock could handle. "It went straight through. I don't like hospitals," she said, her arm not feeling any better.

"This is not something that requires a few simple stitches." Scully said firmly as she worked to try and support the woman looking around the room trying to find the best way to get out of the lab.

"Helena are you there?" Barbara had been trying to reestablish at least the audio link but found the connection dead. She had switched back to comms not sure if she was getting through, her heart pounding as she had seen Dana attack Jem before the video feed had lost the signal.

"Oracle," Helena said, hoping Dana wouldn't think her delusional. "She shot me. It went right through my shoulder," Helena said before sucking in another deep breath. "You know I hate hospitals."

"Yes I am getting that impression. And I can see she shot you, I don't care if it was the tooth fairy that shot you, you need medical attention now. You're losing blood and you have other injuries too." Dana found some strength returning and she began pulling Helena towards the hole that had been blown in the wall earlier trying to keep from choking on the smoke that was growing thicker.

"Huntre.. Helena, if you are badly hurt..." She paused and closed her eyes turning away from the static-filled screen that had held the link to the lab. "This is not the time to be stubborn." She opened her eyes wiping away the traces of moisture gathering at the corners. Rocking some in her chair trying not to think how close she had come again to losing Helena or how she still might, her eyes fell then on the fire monitoring program, the one that had been altered.

"Fuck and fine, the hospital at New Gotham U," Helena said, both to Dana and Barbara. "Get me there and just tell them who I am, alright? They'll take care of me."

Finding the adrenaline from the earlier fight starting to wear off, Dana grimaced as her wounded shoulder flared with pain. She looked at her stained lab coat trying to determine the state of her own injuries.

Although it hurt like hell, Dana could tell by her level of awareness she had not lost too much blood and hoped that meant the wound was not too deep. "Fine, we need to go, now. You can tell me in the car how to get there." She had found some towels on the counter and pressed them into Hel's hand. "Try to put more pressure, we need to slow the flow or else we won't make it there."

"Wait, they were expecting you, or Dana, or someone." Barbara said, her fingers moving to send another trace program after the hacker that had broken into the hospital systems; her first attempt having failed. "I'm not sure how they knew, but if you go to the hospital and they enter you into the system... I don't think I can treat a gunshot wound though..." The red-head trailed off as she covered her face with her hand trying to determine what would be the best course of action.

"Dr. Jane, from NGU. Oracle, can you call her? Get things ready," Helena said. "Dana, help me tie one of these around, alright? I can walk, I just need help getting to my feet."

Dana nodded and did as instructed. "Good, finally something breaks through your stubborn block. Whoever this Oracle is I want to thank them." She muttered.

"I second that," Barbara said relieved that Helena had agreed to treatment and would be taken care of. "I'm calling her now. If she's not on duty I am sure she will meet you."

"We'll be there," Helena nodded. "Oracle's a friend," the brunette said, leaning some on Dana as they made their way out. "We need to get downtown," Helena said, hoping she wouldn't lose consciousness.

It clicked for Dana then, "Oracle, the friend from the other night." She wasted no more time sensing the fight had taken a toll on Helena and she knew both of their reserves were fading.

Concentrating on getting to the parking lot, Dana was only vaguely aware of the sirens and the commotion as she managed to get them both into her car. She helped Helena into the back of the car before managing to struggle into the front. "Thank god for automatic," she whispered leaning on the steering wheel for a minute trying to pull her mind away from the pain. "Downtown it is. You still with me Helena?" The agent asked as she straightened some and pulled away from the hospital.

Leaning against the door Helena nodded. "Still here. I think I'll still be awake, but if not. Park under the clocktower, by the hummer. Then the elevator, hit the penthouse button, alright?" Helena said. Feeling around some Helena tried to see if she'd been hit twice. She knew she'd heard two gunshots.

"Clocktower?" Dana's voice cut through the car as did Barbara's.

"That should make the hospital easy to find, although penthouse?" Scully added.

"Hel, what are you doing? I told her to meet you at the hospital." Barbara added.

"I have a doctor friend who can help me. Hospitals have to report things like gunshot wounds," Helena said. "Everything we need will be there."

"So nice of you to clarify," Barbara said sarcastically already redialing the doctor to tell her the change of location.

"I guess if I can give birth in an abandoned compound I can be patched up in a penthouse." Dana wryly remarked as she turned in the direction Helena indicated still unsure if this was the best for the brunette or herself.

Chapter 24D

Changes (3 Doors Down)

ClockTower , Saturday after midnight

"So this doctor friend, is that the person I was talking to earlier? You're sure she is capable of handling this?" Dana asked.

"The doctor who'll be there... She works at NGU's hospital. Medical genius, just not the genius you were already talking too," Helena mumbled.

"Genius? Someone is being generous with the comments." Barbara tried to keep her voice light and soft in the brunette's ear. She continued working to keep her worry from seeping in. "The doctor is on her way. Are you alright?" Barbara asked having heard the slight slur in Helena's voice.

Working to keep straight all of the assorted connections associated with Helena, Scully just nodded. "Want to tell me about this doctor or your other genius?" She asked having noted also the change in Hel's voice and wanting to try to keep the woman awake.

"Oracle always knows what's going on. Like you said, must have taken a saint to put up with me, and train me. There was genius there too," Helena said, closing her eyes, but keeping her lips moving. "I only kinda know Dr. Jane. She's cool, little too smart for me sometimes."

"You do have a very, shall we say assertive approach to life." Dana chuckled slightly unable to hear the corresponding chuckle coming through Hel's comm as well. "So this Oracle is your mentor?" Dana made another turn seeing what she thought might be the building up ahead.

"You could say that," Helena nodded, opening her eyes a little. "Good. We're almost there."

The agent noted the impressive building as they approached wondering what it looked like in the daylight. She waited for the gated entrance to open before pulling in. Locating the hummer, she parked and moved to help Helena out of the car.

"What kind of doctor is Dr. Jane?" Dana asked frowning at the amount of blood that had soaked through the towels.

Barbara had watched the approach of the agent's car screen on her monitor as she had sent a third try out at finding the hacker into the hospital system. "Are you sure this is a good idea?" She asked softly still tormented by what had happened when they'd brought others to the Clocktower in the past. She knew this would help Helena but since Harley's attack, she had found it harder to trust people or feel safe in certain situations.

"Good idea," Helena murmured as Dana moved to help her. "Surgeon. Trauma," she added, leaning more heavily on Dana this time. "Elevator. To the penthouse," she said.

"I hope so Helena, I hope so." Barbara whispered as she watched them arrive setting up the elevator to bring them up. She ran a hand through her hair and moved then to go and prepare Hel's old room her thoughts conflicted about this turn of events.

Puzzled by the first part of Hel's reply, Dana took in a deep breath willing herself to keep going. "That sounds like a good fit." As they arrived at the elevator it automatically opened.

Looking up, Dana noted the cameras. "I guess your friend likes to keep an eye on things. This is quite a place even for a surgeon's salary." Dana leaned against the back of the elevator as it started up, again without any prompting or button pushing from Scully.

"She's meeting us here. Doesn't live here, just meeting us," Helena said, trying to put some of her weight on the side of the elevator, and less on Scully.

"Then this is not the doctor's place but someone else's? I think the pain is clouding my ability to think." Dana felt the elevator slow and then stop as the doors opened. "Is this your silent partner's home or maybe Oracle's or are they the same person?"

Dana stepped out and took in the open space, "Or maybe this is an office?" She amended trying to take in the new surrounding noting the area did not appear directly to be an apartment.

Standing inside the door Jane stepped forward, taking Helena's weight from Scully. "I've go you Hel," the woman said before glancing at Scully. "Follow me. You'll be next. Gunshot wound to the shoulder," she noted, confirming what she'd been told. "Anything else I should know about?"

"Shoulder really hurts," Helena mumbled, relieved to be at the Clocktower. Barbara wouldn't let anything happen to her.

Noting the professional tone, Dana gladly stepped back letting the new person take charge. Impressed with the small but telling mannerisms, she listed as many of the possible injuries she could think of including the need to check for concussion, the young woman's ribs and watch for signs of internal bleeding as the image of Jem continuining to pummel Helena after firing the gun was stark in Dana's mind. "Is there something I can do to help? And you are Dr. Jane?"

"Yes, feel free to just call me Jane," The new blonde nodded, leading Helena to the room Oracle had prepared.

"Dana," she replied trying to keep the weariness and pain from her voice as she followed Helena and Jane into the room. Moving, she helped the doctor ease Helena into the bed. She noted a table near the bed and nodded her approval at the materials that had been setup. She located a door across the room. "Is there something I can get you and where is the bathroom?"

"I've got everything here, but as soon as I get this shoulder patched up I want a look at yours. And the bathroom is out the door to the right, first door on the left," Jane said as she pulled on her rubber gloves.

Barbara had been waiting in her room listening in on the conversation after telling Jane that they were coming up in the elevator. Hearing the agent leave, Barbara found that the urgent, pounding, screaming need to see Helena and make sure she was okay had been replaced by a cold fear.

Fear at seeing Helena once again hurt and covered in both her and other's blood. She looked down at her own hands knowing someone had to be willing to bloody their hands in order to keep the darkness back.

She closed her eyes tight as she wished she could keep Hel's clean. Even as that thought flowed through her mind another chased it. The thought that she needed Helena's hands because she'd had that wish and possibility taken cruelly from her so many years ago by a madman with a gun.

She rolled into the room holding her breath as she saw Helena lying on the bed. Her eyes followed every little movement Jane made, critical of the care and wanting to make sure it was the best.

Even after the doctor left to find Dana, Barbara just sat there not moving. Her eyes following the slight rise and fall of the unconscious brunette's chest, her hands tightly wrapped around the arms of her chair. She let her whole being and mind narrow until only Helena existed as she sat there.

Her mind took up a mantra as the minutes passed, repeating over and over thanks that Helena was alive and here. And that it was time she, Barbara Gordon, did something.

She didn't want to keep living like this; all alone and on the outside watching Helena move through life. No, she knew she either had to step inside and face up to what might come next or walk away. She moved a hand to rest on the bed, her fingertips just touching Helena's hand.

~I can't turn away, damn it Helena I can't let you go. Even if you drag me down, I won't let you go.~ Bowing her head feeling the tears slipping down, Barbara resumed her rigid, silent watch and litany of thanks.

Chapter 25

Dancing Alone (Ours)

ClockTower , Saturday after midnight

After making sure that Helena was sedated enough to keep her down, Jane had headed to the bathroom in search of Agent Scully. She stretched her shoulders some before knocking, "Dana? Are you alright? If you don't answer I'm going to come in and make sure you're okay..."

"I'm good, go ahead and take care of Helena. I'll be back before you are finished." The answer floated through the closed door after a moment. "I've only been a minute. I thought doctors were taught to make a patient wait until their blood pressure has risen at least by 5 units."

"Her shoulder's all patched up, it's been a bit more than a minute. Mind if I open the door? Your shoulder didn't look too good and I'd really like to get a better look at it," Jane admitted, leaning against the door frame.

Dana had taken off the soiled and bloodied lab coat depositing it on the closed toilet seat earlier. She had deferred trying to clean up any more as she found that the blood from the wound had started clotting and actually had stuck her blouse to the wound, which was not a bad thing considering it had helped to staunch the flow of blood somewhat.

The agent had decided to sit in the bathroom for a few minutes rather than intruding back in the other room. She recalled how much Helena did not like to be treated and figured the fewer doctors in the room the better.

Having found the cool tile floor to be very comfortable, a sure sign she was exhausted beyond her normal capabilities, Dana had leaned against the tub and wall trying to ignore the pain. Her mind had drifted as once again she had spent the night being exposed to things that tested her boundaries and safety zone.

"More than a minute?" Dana frowned some trying to account for the possibility of missing time as she leaned back against the wall her eyes closed.

"I'm coming in now," Jane warned, turning the handle and letting herself in. "Long night, wasn't it?" the blonde asked, recognizing the results of adrenaline fatigue and mild blood-loss.

Coming over to crouch next to the redhead Jane carefully felt around the wound. "It looks like it's clotted, but I'd really rather clean it out, maybe put in a stitch or two. If you want to head back to the other room I can grab you a glass of water..." she suggested, getting back to her feet and offering a hand.

"Long night... that is mild statement. A friend of mine would say Scully, you've been through two ass-kickings in as many days, you look like shit."

She groaned a little as she used the doctor's offered hand to push her way up the wall. "I didn't try to do anything myself as I thought it would reopen. And water or something would be good." She replied realizing between the smoke from the fire and the fight her throat did feel a little raw.

"Is Helena alright? She really bore the brunt of the attack."

"She's banged up. Lucky with the shoulder, it bled, but no real damage to bone or muscle," Jane said, putting a hand on Scully's arm to make sure she was balanced after sitting for so long.

"I'll get you to the door and then grab the water. Helena's out, I sedated her a bit to make sure she stayed down for at least the night," Jane explained, remembering a comment at some point regarding the fact that the redhead was a doctor as well.

"I was wondering how you got her to lie still long enough to take care of her. I will remember that next time." She smiled a little brushing the hair away from her face. " I guess she does not mind your stitch technique."

Scully was glad for the woman's arm using it to help keep her stable as she worked to bring her self back from the weary haze she kept wanting to sink into. Something that had been nagging at Scully's mind floated to the surface, "Helena is a metahuman, isn't she? Is that one reason why she has such a strong aversion to hospitals? Possible discovery?"

"Helena's dislike of hospitals... well, it starts with her general dislike of people, you'd have to ask her about the rest," Jane replied politically dodging the question.

"Hel said you asked a lot of questions," she added. Reaching the door, "Can you get it from here?"

The agent sighed some then a relieved look crossing her face, "I actually realized a little too late I should not have asked that, possibly revealing something to you Helena would not want known. I think I need to go sit back down."

Dana held onto the doorframe a moment. "And questions... I was trained to ask questions. I slowly learned how important it is to listen to the answers. And I was forced to learn that not asking questions doesn't mean bliss, it means it is easier for them to hurt you." She started to move out of the bathroom a humorless laugh chasing her statement.

"I don't share anyone's secrets," Jane smiled softly. "Now let's get you patched up. Everyone needs some rest, including you." She pointed at an open door across the hallway. "I'll be right there."

Making her way to the room, Dana hesitated just outside the door looking toward another closed door where she knew Helena was resting. She did not see anyone else, but could almost feel the presence of someone else nearby. Dana bit her lip as she felt somehow she was intruding and did not move further into the room instead leaning on the wall waiting for the doctor.

Arriving with water Jane saw Scully still standing at the door frame, "You really need to sit down," she said, reaching again for the redhead's good arm.

"I'm an intruder here." Dana started a little feeling the doctor's touch. "I mean I don't want to possibly wake her. I have a feeling she pushes herself too much and needs at least some moments of uninterrupted peace. Somehow I am not sure she has too much of that when she is awake."

"I promise she won't even notice," Jane said, handing over a bottle of water.

Grateful for the water, she took a long drink. As she finished, she turned her attention back to Jane. "Fine. This should not take too long and then I can leave."

"We'll see how steady you are once I'm done," Jane said, heading into the room. The doctor indicated a chair for Dana. She smiled gently as she pulled on a new pair of gloves. "I can drive you home tonight and you can get your car tomorrow."

"That would be going beyond the call of duty. A doctor that still makes a house call. You must be from the old school." Dana laughed a little as she focused on a picture on the opposite wall. "Although that scenario would mean I could have something a little more effective than Tylenol."

"It would make me feel better," Jane admitted, slowly cutting Dana's shirt away as she began her work, wanting to keep Dana talking for a bit of a distraction. "And it is a bit of both. I hear you're a doctor as well?"

"A bit of both?" She questioned, her eyes flickering over to look at the woman before going back to picture. "I am trained as a doctor, although I am not practicing."

"Old school and the new," Jane explained. "Do you have problems moving any of your fingers? Unexpected pain? Any numbness?" she asked.

Testing each digit, she then waved at Jane and winced. "Medically, no to all of those answers. Practically, yes a lot of unexpected pain." She sighed and dropped her hand back down. "This was supposed to be one of those mundane jobs they send agents to, to keep them out of the way; buried in the boring and mundane." she sighed and tried not to question once again her decision to come here. "So which do you feel you align with more, old or new?"

"Old. I stick to trauma. I do some surgeries, but never anything planned out too much. So most of it keeps me on my toes, using the tricks of the trade you might say," Jane said, "Good news. Everything looks pretty clean in there. I'm going to hold off on packing it, don't want to have to get back in there if I can help it. Unfortunately I don't have a full round of antibiotics, so I'll write a prescription."

"You are very thorough, thank you." Dana said. "And many times the simple trick is all that is needed to get the job done. So does Helena keep you on your toes much, or is this house call a very unusual occurrence?"

"She takes good care of herself, and is taken good care of. I don't mind not seeing her often when this is the why," Jane admitted, closing the wound with steri-strips which she covered with a few layers of gauze and tape.

"You'll need to change this tomorrow morning. I'll be in the ER if you want to stop by, I'm not sure how limited mobility will be, but it's not too deep or wide. You know what to look for, and if you have any problems or questions at all," she explained, stripping off her gloves and pulling a card from her pocket, "give me a call or check with another doctor."

Her gaze had drifted back toward the other room as Jane spoke. "Yes, this isn't quite the best circumstances to meet someone under is it?" She looked back to the doctor and took the card. "She's fortunate to have people around to care and look after her."

"She's a very lucky girl," Jane smiled, getting to her feet she went to her bag, retrieving some pills and a prescription pad. Writing out a prescription she handed that over as well, "This is for the antibiotics and a couple painkillers. Try to save the heavy ones for when you sleep, but if you need them otherwise just avoid driving and that sort of thing. Any questions?"

"I always have questions, isn't that what you were told?" She said in jest, taking the offered items. "I do have one more question. Would you happen to have an extra shirt in that bag of tricks of yours?" Scully asked lightly smiling. "I seem to have sacrificed mine in the line of duty."

"Yeah," Jane nodded, already reaching for it. "Just scrubs, but it'll do the job. Now I'd like to drive you home, make sure you get there alright."

"Spent many a night in just scrubs." Dana replied taking the top. "If you see Helena when she wakes, please tell her I'll..." Scully paused not really sure what she wanted to say.

"Tell her I'll be working on things and she knows where to find me." She trailed off her gaze again traveling to the wall between them. "Also please tell our unseen host thank you. Both for the help and information earlier as well as the trust in opening her home tonight; I'll be sure to share any information I find in return." She stopped then and began trying to get the top on without pulling too much at her shoulder.

Jane moved to help with the top before picking up her bag. "I'll go let the host know we're leaving. Then we'll get you home," she said before disappearing out the door.

Scully picked up the items she'd been given and followed the doctor out. She paused outside of Helena's room whispering, "Good night Helena, sleep well, try not to think about saving the world for one night."

Chapter 26A

Witch Hunt (KMFDM)

New Gotham, Downtown business district - 35th floor
Friday 11:37pm

"She's waiting. Best not keep Her waiting. She collects body parts as a late entry fee."

"Fucking shit!" The young man jumped and stumbled as the low, husky voice had hit his brain even as a hand snaked from behind latching onto his crotch. He'd been nervous and absorbed in watching the city of New Gotham through the large picture window.

He turned trying to see the speaker some but found himself suddenly pushed up hard against the window, one arm trapped between his body and the window, the other twisted behind him. The hand continued working the area between his legs and he found himself groaning, his eyes rolling closed.

He turned as he felt himself harden and had to stifle a scream as he saw the face of his... attacker? His eyes widened.

"Oh this, just a little boo-boo. No worries, She'll take care of it." Jem stepped back a grin barely discernable through the burned and scarred skin covering over half of her face. The man's eyes traveled over her body noting burn spots on her arm and clothing as well.

"Little?" He coughed out, his earlier excitement dissipated completely. The woman's marred features more effective in killing the mood then a cold shower.

Jem pointed at the wide board room doors and then turned almost skipping out of the room. "It's raining, it's pouring, a brunette and redhead are boring. I'll thump their heads and skewer them in bed. And make sure they never see morning."

He shivered at the mangled childhood rhyme and nervously ran a hand through his own dark hair. He swallowed hard then and opened the doors hoping this would be over quickly.

His eyes first rested on the long black marble table. His reflection stared up at him, bloodshot and haunted eyes unblinking. He noted a laptop open near the other end as well as his employer. She had her back to him, Her gaze focused on something outside the window.

"Sit darling. Sit and show me your magic and what failed."

The voice was chilling as it was devoid completely of feeling and inflection. He'd never heard a voice before as this was the first time he'd met his employer in person. He burped and felt the acid reflux burn his throat. Digging out a pack of Tums, he made his way to the computer.

He was astonished to find the computer's desktop mirrored his own. Within moments he had the programs he knew She wanted opened and running. The same ones that had been run earlier. He'd followed the plan set up by Her and had acquired the necessary bypasses and shutdowns. But there had been another. One he and She had not planned on.

He almost salivated as his mind clicked over to a few hours ago; when he had been locked in competition with this strange hacker. He'd found the initial stages of the break-in to be easy, the hospital and emergency management systems a joke. He would have been able to get in with a Spell & Spell game and his eyes closed.

But then... then he or she had appeared. Ah glorious wonder, someone had dared challenge. He made a face and clasped his hand, in a tight fist.

"They tore up your little programs dearie." Her voice startled him. His eyes flickered up but the woman had not moved.

"I still managed..."

A sigh cut him off. He waited for more but none came. The young man's focus turned back to creating the reports. "I'll transfer the hospital reports you wanted as well as the medical records that match the profile you gave me. I've identified those that seem to match the description. But I still think..."

"That I have read one too many comic books. I Am... chasing after myths and fairytales."

He was surprised by the reply having caught on She did not bestow replies to many.

"Just the characteristics you are looking for are..."

"Metahumans, darling. Myths that..." Her voice trailed off, the first indication She was capable of anything more than a chilly tone. "Are what I need."

He shrugged and finished the reports sending them out; the medical queries as well as an analysis of the hospital real estate properties in and around New Gotham. "Done."

She not respond or move yet a door opened and a man emerged. He waved at the computer hacker and then stood expectantly watching the dark-haired man.

Sighing he hit one more combination of commands sending his account a special report as well; one that contained a key... he had caught a trace of the interfering hacker before they had disappeared. He stood then with a last glance at the woman before following the aide out.

The earlier game had seemed so... familiar...

He'd played this game before. And lost... but not this time... if his gut feeling was correct, this might be the one he had been trying to find.

He had searched a very long time and this time he would win.

Chapter 26B

Ultravox - Just For A Moment

Clock tower, Saturday Morning: A moment ago

Barbara wearily moved out of the kitchen, a mug of coffee in her hand. She positioned her chair at the computer station staring off into space trying to collect her thoughts and center herself. She had discussed Helena and Dana's condition with Jane and saw the doctor out.

She had then turned to reviewing the video and audio files from the last two nights although she had not been able to focus fully on that task. Her analytical actions broken as she kept a constant vigil on Helena moving between the computer station and Hel's bedroom often.

Unable to continue listening to the sounds from the files, sounds that represented just how close Barbara had come to losing Helena, she'd gone to bed trying to find a few moments of peace. Now the crime fighter found herself once again poised to delve into places and areas she was slowly coming to loath.

"Need to catch these killers and now, can't stand any more ..." She stopped her words and thoughts as she shut her eyes. She pinched the bridge of her nose hard, willing herself not to go down that road.

It was a road closed to her and she did not posses the key. The slight glimmer of hope that a key might exist had been given to her two nights ago; she'd replayed that part of the audio recording again and again; needing to hear those three wonderful words of possibility spoken by a certain brunette.

Three words that provoked a sense of terror and uncertainty that drove into the very core of Barbara's values and being.

Yet her later conversation with Helena had effectively revoked the possibility yet again.

Her cool, professional walls had been reinforced and strengthened by Hel's denial to even acknowledge those words. The young woman's critical tone and biting remarks bore into Barbara's mind as strongly as the whispered phrase.

Yet again Barbara was nothing more than one of Helena's mistakes; an oopsie moment in a heat of fighting and Hel's furious passion.

Passion... god what the teacher would give to be the focus of the metahuman's full, scorching passion, even for a moment...

A moment filled by three words.
A moment that she was reasoning away.
A moment that would remain locked in her mind.
A moment that had come and gone...

A beeping brought her back from the twisting thoughts. Blinking open her eyes, she found the monitoring program keeping watch over Helena's vitals had recorded a jump in breathing and heartrate. Frowning, Barbara left her coffee on a table as she headed to the bedroom.

Chapter 27A

Hanging By a Moment (Lifehouse)

Clock tower, Saturday Morning

The nightmare playing out behind her eyelids, Helena's face contorted, her fingers moving, almost making fists. Soft sounds came from her lips, but not enough to be understood.

Barbara had rushed to the room but stopped just outside the open doorway. She hesitated; a slight thought not to disturb Helena, not to continue letting the young woman dominate her thoughts brought her actions to a halt for a moment of time. Her eyes started to drift away from the room but were quickly pulled back hearing possible sounds of distress.

She wheeled into the darkened room coming to rest at the side of the bed. Her gaze locked on the young woman as she tried to determine what might be disturbing the brunette.

"Barbara," Helena tried to yell, but the sound came out strangled, her throat too dry to produce the proper sound. "Barbara," she repeated, her eyes coming open as she jerked, trying to sit up.

The pleading tone drew the red-head to the struggling woman like a moth to flame. She leaned forward in her chair using the bed to balance some so she could lay her hands on Helena's shoulders mindful of the injury. "I'm here Helena." She said softly trying to break through whatever had a hold on the woman.

"Barbara," Helena said, locking onto the redhead's eyes, reassuring herself that everything was okay. "I... Fuck, my shoulder," Helena said, her breath tight, still trying to catch up with what was going on.

"You're... I didn't hurt you did I?" Barbara automatically looked at where she had placed her hand as she thought she had been careful not to come too close to the injury. She leaned in a little more trying to see if it looked like the dressing was still secure.

"Not you," Helena said softly. "When I sat up," she frowned. "I... Was I... What time is it?" The brunette's eyes never left Barbara's, still trying to convince herself that the woman was alright.

"Well maybe you should lay back down then," Barbara chided gently confirming the dressing was secure. "It's Saturday morning, early, too early to be awake. Unless you want to catch the newest installment of Schoolhouse Rock?" She moved her eyes back to Hel's face quickly as the brunette's grip on the sheet had started to relax causing the cover to start to slip down.

Noting the obvious aversion of Barbara's eyes Helena relaxed, leaning back and readjusting the sheet. "She drugged me, didn't she?" Helena asked, recognizing the groggy after affects of heavy painkillers.

"Yes she did as a certain brunette tends to give doctors a hard time, or so I hear." Barbara followed Hel's movements as she settled back. "Are you okay?" She asked her voice soft.

"Guess I'm a little sore," Helena replied, making a lame attempt at a smile. "Scully's alright?"

"A little?" She felt her eyebrows rise at the assessment, "If this is a little sore, I'm not sure I want to be around if you ever score a major boo-boo." Barbara teased, her hands shifting down to rest beside Helena. "Agent Scully is fine. Jane took care of her. I hear she was not quite as resistant to being taken care of as you were."

"Not my fault. Doctors always want to run tests and poke me with needles and stuff," Helena frowned. "You alright?" she asked, trying to redirect the attention, not to mention reassure herself.

"Maybe I wasn't just talking about doctors?" Barbara picked absently at the sheet her eyes moving down to focus on the spot. "And why wouldn't I be alright. I wasn't in the fight."

"You didn't answer the question," Helena challenged softly, the hand on her uninjured arm moving to rub at her eyes.

"I didn't? Maybe I've been hanging around you too long and some of your habits are rubbing off on me." Her picking transformed into drawing geometric shapes on the sheet. "You really should get some more rest Helena. You're still tired and you have been through a lot in the last few days. Do you need water or anything else?"

"Yeah, I'm thirsty. Starving too," Helena sighed. "And fine, I hurt. In a lot of places. Now it's your turn."

"I'll get something for you and then you should rest." Barbara stilled her fingers and looked up at Helena. "As I said, I was not in the fight. I will not lie, I hate only being able to listen, unable to do anything. That hurts." Barbara sighed and moved her hands to her controls. "I'll be right back."

"I'll be waiting," Helena said, managing a smirk this time.

"Helena waiting, I think the world just stopped spinning." Barbara responded to the smirk feeling her mood lift slightly. She paused at the doorway, "So is this what a person has to do to get the great Helena Kyle to wait for them? Have you drugged and ordered to bed rest?"

Leaning her head back against the pillow Helena closed her eyes taking a moment to let her emotions out for a moment before recomposing herself. It had only been a dream. Helena was thankful, she'd been the only one seriously injured, and that was acceptable.

Trying not to think about the fear she'd felt even after waking up, Helena moved, conscious of her arm, to sit up. Leaning back against the headboard of the bed, she shifted a couple of the pillows behind her.

"Comfortable?" Barbara's question barely preceded her arrival, a tray with a few items secured on her lap. She'd gone with the basics trying to include the items she always noted Helena snacking on when she stopped by. At Barbara's request, Alfred made sure to keep the cupboards well stocked to meet the metahuman's likes even after Hel had moved out.

"As comfortable as can be," Helena nodded. "Jane leave any painkillers that won't leave me unconscious?" the brunette asked, not too keen on having any more dreams too soon.

Setting the tray within easy reach, Barbara waved at two small cups. "You can take the red pill or the blue pill." She paused half a beat, "Alright so I've been having some late night movie marathons." she smiled a little.

"Seriously the ones on the left are a little heavier and I strongly recommend you go with them, at least one more dose. You are welcome to spend the day here." she paused trying not to admit to herself much having Helena around for a little longer, even sedated and sleeping, meant to her. "The ones on the right will contain the pain to a dull roar."

"You gonna disappear on me?" Helena asked, grabbing some water to get herself started.

"Disappear?" Barbara was puzzled by the question and wheeled closer to the bed.

"If the pills knock me out again," Helena said casually rather than own up to the fact that she didn't want to be left alone.

"Ah," She started still not quite tracking the current conversation. "Usually when one succumbs to sleep the world in general disappears." Hesitating as she could see Helena's non-reaction to her comment, Barbara readjusted her answer.

"I had planned on working around the Clocktower today. I wanted to review some of the..." she paused not wanting to bring up the activities of last night right now. "I do have some reading I need to complete. I can adjust the lighting in here so it would not bother you..."

"That would be nice," Helena nodded, not meeting Barbara's gaze, just reaching for something to eat. This wasn't a conversation she believed herself to be ready for, but Helena also needed some kind of comfort in hopes that it would keep the nightmares at bay.

"Yes it would." Barbara kept her reply simple but sincere. "After you finish eating, I can check your dressings, make sure everything is ok. Is there... anything else you need right now?"

"After you check everything... Well, think you could find me a shirt? Maybe something that buttons up the front?" Helena asked, trying not to eat too quickly even as she discovered just how hungry she was.

"I am not sure I have anything of yours here anymore."

Actually that was a lie. However, Barbara was not about to try and explain how one of Hel's shirts that she had found mixed in with hers after the brunette had moved out was now tucked away in a corner of her drawer.

She especially did not want to try and explain why she kept it there or how sometimes during the last year she would sit at the drawer with it open, staring at the piece of clothing.

She blinked a little and looked up at Helena realizing she had been silent, consumed with her thoughts. "I, uh, I have some button down shirts if you do not mind wearing one of mine..."

"Not at all," Helena agreed, trying not to think about the fact that she'd been hoping for that last answer. It had been too long since she'd spent much time at the clock tower; too much time away from Barbara. Part of her wondered if the redhead felt the same way about the separation as she did.

"Good," She smiled in relief at Hel's acceptance. "I mean it is not quite up to the fashion standards you follow, but it seems to get me through. Wouldn't do to go around naked now would it? Cause quite a stir in the faculty lunch room..." Having felt an uncomfortable tension in the room, she'd rambled on and had not been able to catch the last before it slipped out. Barbara pulled back then trying to turn before the blush made its way to her cheeks. "Well, yes, I think I should go get the shirt and medical supplies."

"Right," Helena said, nodding though Barbara couldn't see it. Taking a moment she then returned to the food. She was hungry and hoped that it would distract her at least long enough for the redhead to return. She was supposed to have these feelings locked away. Away where even she couldn't find them.

The brunette was painfully aware of her slip a couple of night before, but was hoping she'd imagined it as Barbara had yet to comment on it. Barbara was too smart for her. Not to mention far too controlled to want to deal with Helena's feelings.

"Alright, supplies and clothing, check." Barbara announced coming back in and moving up alongside the bed. "Has that voracious hunger been satisfied enough or do you still need something more?"

"I'm good for now," Helena said, trying to relax and get herself comfortable, knowing what would come next.

Barbara placed the needed items on the small table by the bed. "Okay, if you want to shift over this way, maybe sit on the edge of the bed if it does not hurt too much, I'll take a look." she looked up catching Helena's eyes, "I promise to do it as quickly and as painless as possible. The last thing you need is me adding more pain on top of what you have been through." The red-head paused then having said the words in one context but suddenly realizing how they could be applied to another set of feelings she had.

"Ok," Helena agreed, moving slowly, letting the sheet slip enough for Barbara to have full access to the bandaging.

"If you feel any additional pain or other discomfort, let me know. Jane said the wound was pretty clean and there shouldn't be any hidden injuries, but sometimes things tend to be missed." Barbara very gently worked to take the tape and dressing off letting her mind focus only on the task and not any of the side thoughts that kept trying to intrude; such as how soft Hel's skin felt under her fingertips.

"After this... Did Jane check my back? I think I pulled some stitches from the other night," Helena said, looking up at the ceiling, not really wanting to see the mark on her shoulder.

"I am not sure. I tried to stay out of the way and not interfere. I'll finish this and then check. It looks pretty good. I need to clean it out though, get ready." She noted the direction of Hel's stare. "Is there anything up there I need to make a note about?"

Helena's gaze flickered to Barbara's. "Just been a while since you had to clean me up," she said softly, unable to add the other things that hadn't happened recently... or at all.

She paused her actions, taking in Hel's gaze and words. "That's a good thing, right? Isn't that what you want?"

"Well, to be honest I don't really like needing to be cleaned up..." Helena said, unable to make the words sound like her usual tease.

"I know. I am not too fond of this activity either, although it does mean I get to see you for a few minutes past your normal drop and run." Barbara remained still not going back to the task she had started as she wanted to push Hel's choice of words. "And is it truly the cleaning up part you do not like or is it the fact you might just sometimes need someone?"

Helena sighed, shifting her gaze away. "Every time I need someone they get taken away. I think we both know how that works," the brunette said softly, her eyes slowly turning back to Barbara.

She laid her hand gently over Helena's, "Yes we do. Maybe better than most people. But I made a promise to someone a long time ago. And while never is a word that I would not be foolish enough to use as we both know nothing is guaranteed, I know I can use never with the word willingly. I promised to never willingly leave you alone."

For a long moment Helena didn't say anything, just watched Barbara's eyes, trying to figure out what her choices were. If they were even choices... "I can't let you do that to yourself," she said softly. Helena knew how this was going to happen. With their current case she was about to start counting down the days.

"This woman... this meta, I don't know that I can take her. And I can't let myself do anything to make it harder for you..." she tried to explain, no longer able to hold the redhead's gaze.

"Please don't run, not today." Barbara pleaded. All the cold, dark nights Helena had come in like a whirlwind only to leave again; always leaving the teacher alone and with a lingering taste of the energy that always seemed to surround the metahuman. Barbara didn't think she could handle the aftertaste right now, not with her feelings so raw and near the surface because of the last few days.

Helena remained silent her head still turned away.

Trying not to let her frustration show, Barbara tried a different tact. "What do you mean you can't let me do that?" As she asked this, she leaned forward against Hel's legs so she could reach the brunette's cheek trying to guide Hel's gaze back to her. "What can't you let yourself do?"

Her eyes settling on Barbara's, Helena opened her mouth to speak, but nothing came out. She knew what she wanted to do. Helena wanted to repeat the words she'd said in the alley, but couldn't bring herself to do it. She couldn't open herself up to Barbara like that.

At least not now.

Could she?

Chapter 27B

This Is the Moment (From Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde)

Clock tower, Very Early, Saturday Morning

The two remained locked in silence, the moments ticking by as each ran from the twists and possibilities their thoughts were guiding them toward.

"Yes, well." Barbara broke the long silence, her hands sliding away from Helena's face and hand. "I think your wound has been open to the air long enough. I'll just finish up and then check your back." As Barbara withdrew, she schooled her voice, cleansing it of emotion.

"I..." Helena started, grabbing at Barbara's hand. "I meant what I said," she stumbled again into silence as those were the only words she could mange to speak. Words necessary to provide some kind of confirmation that she wasn't delusional.

Barbara looked at their hands, "Meant what Helena? Please tell me as all I heard was can't, won't, and that you might leave me alone with..." Barbara cut off abruptly. She had started to vocalize how the idea of the owner of that voice might take Helena away terrified the red-head. This would leave Barbara alone and open an avenue for Jem to follow up on some of the things she had described. "I need my hand so I can finish."

"No," Helena said, her grip not quite tight enough to bruise. "That night in the alley. Right before..." she trailed off, wanting Barbara to look up. To return her gaze.

"Hel," She gasped at the firmness of the grip and looked up startled by the sudden intensity behind Helena's words.

"I meant it," Helena said, swallowing hard. She couldn't bring herself to repeat the words. Not until she knew that she wasn't alone in her feelings.

Reaching out, Barbara gripped the bed trying to keep the suddenly tilting world from crashing down around her. Life was cruel, how could this be any different? "I have no doubt you meant it at that moment. Deathbed confession is a classic psychological response when a human is placed in a dire situation. You live for and in the moment Helena."

She realized her tone had grown bitter as she was coldly and resolutely preparing herself for the reality that Helena had made a mistake and was about to tell her as much. "So unless I have a reason, proof, to believe you meant anything more than a classic knee-jerk response...."

"I thought I was the blind one," Helena said, getting frustrated as her hand moved to Barbara's face. "I mean, here I am, finally owning up to the fact that I love you and you won't even look at me..."

"You do go into things half-blind ninety percent of the time. That's why I have to jump in and find a way to save your butt most of the time." Barbara managed to choke out before her throat closed up as her eyes snapped to Hel's face hearing those words again. She searched for any trace in Helena's face that the woman was teasing, or uncertain or just saying something to push the moment along.

Helena was done speaking. For now she just waited, her eyes on Barbara's, hoping that she hadn't imagined the other half of her hopes.

Still unable to push words out, Barbara moved her hand to lie over Hel's hand on her face. She pushed hard against Hel's hand feeling the pressure increase against her cheek; the feel of the woman's hand warm and soothing against her skin. "Love comes in many forms Helena." Barbara whispered finally finding her voice. "I can accept that. I would not dare to force my own meaning of those words on you. Or to wrongly assume what you really meant in the alleyway and even now."

She knew how she had interpreted those words in the alleyway, knew she had wanted to have them mean something more than a simple caring. And for that reason, she wanted to give Helena an out. Barbara knew she loved Helena; not the love a mother would give a child, or a mentor a ward.

Her simple love had changed over the years. It had become a love tempered by her bitter acceptance that their worlds were too different to allow the red-head to express that love. Someone like Hel would not want to walk in her world.

So she would give Helena a way to save face. To stay the free spirit, not tethered or held back by the weight of a washed-up, crippled superhero. Helena could maintain she cared but that it was not meant to be something more.

"Was that what you meant?"

For a moment Helena didn't say anything, just sat there, watching Barbara's face... her eyes. "Is it so hard for you admit it? If I can say it, then you can," Helena said, still needing more from the redhead.

"Is that a dare?" She asked not really trying to tease. She tried to answer the question Helena had posed and found her answer was one she did not like. How had she gotten to this point; that one of the simplest sentences in the English language was the hardest for her to formulate and use?

Her eyes started to drift away unable to hold her own against the intense violet stare. She got as far as the wound on Hel's shoulder before her gaze was riveted once again. ~So many wounds and she still opened herself...~

"It seems the student has become the teacher." She said drawn back to Hel's unwavering gaze. "Yes Helena." she paused trying to recapture her control feeling it unravel more and more and finding that as unsettling as the implication of what Helena had said, offered.

Helena's gaze was growing more frustrated, her hand slowly moving back. "I'm the one that keeps getting my ass kicked," she tried to argue.

It was her turn to tighten her grip on the metahuman's hand as she tried to stop the retreat, her words not having the effect she had thought they would. "No." She paused, "No, not no; I meant yes, but no that is not what I meant." She felt her face twist as she struggled to stem her confused barrage of words.

"I meant yes, yes to the hard, yes you did and yes if you can I can. I want to..." She hit the edge of the bed with her free hand trying to pull things back to a place where she was more comfortable. "I have become so used to dealing with problems and computers and situations that need logic and have a predictable outcome that I can calculate what is coming next and how to counter."

She rocked some in her chair. "Helena Kyle doesn't follow logic." She added before trailing off still afraid to say the words as she knew where saying the words would lead and she had not been able to determine if that was best for Helena.

"Then just say it," Helena said, not fighting the frown the appeared on her face. She couldn't take this. Either the feeling was mutual, or it wasn't. And that was all she wanted to know.

The change in Helena's face struck Barbara and she actually flinched knowing she was the cause of the frown. That she had disappointed the woman, twisting the trust and openness Hel had given the red-head. "I love you."

The tension drained from Barbara as she spoke those words, her shoulders drooping as the words echoed in her mind. She released Hel's hand and shifted her hands to her controls starting to pull back; the words acting like a pin popping a balloon.

Helena reached out, only able to touch Barbara's hand as a slight wince from the stretch crossed her face. "Then where are you going?"

The gentle touch drew her gaze. She then let her eyes travel up the woman's arm finally resting once again on her face, captured by the always intense stare from those violet-blue eyes. Barbara struggled to keep her face passive knowing she was not too successful in her attempt.

"I was going to go call Jane to come and finish taking care of you. I seem not to be doing to good of a job in that department. You deserve so much more. Some..." she caught the word she had been about to use knowing Helena would tear into her for saying that. "...thing better. Something that won't cause you to frown so much."

"I'd rather it be you," Helena said, her hand still on Barbara's, trying to read the redhead's face, figure out what it was she wasn't saying. "You do just as well as others."

"Just as well..." She used her free hand to twist her chair back towards Helena staring hard at the young woman. "Actually I do perform some actions just as well others." she waved idly at her chair. "Running physically is not as graceful for me as it is to watch you exit with your dramatic flair. But it seems even I can run; I just use alternate methods."

Barbara sighed and bit her lip, "Go ahead and scoot back on the bed so I can finish what I started. You should be resting."

"Yes, ma'am," Helena smiled softly, reluctantly breaking contact and moving back to where she had been.

"Ma'am? What's with the ma'am?" Barbara replied taking a deep breath as a smile worked its way onto her face in response to Hel's smile.

"You know, have to show a little respect every now and then, right?" Helena smirked.

She had retrieved the needed materials to redress the wound but paused at the reply, her eyebrows rising slightly. "Show respect? And why is that?" She let her smile grow wider. "And so help me Helena if the words elders, seniors, or similar synonyms appear in your answer..."

"More to make up for all the shit I put you through the rest of the time," Helena smiled softly, already anticipating soft skin against her own.

Barbara paused and looked at the bed a moment before moving to gently begin taking care of the shoulder wound. She was very relieved at how the conversation had seemed to almost abruptly shift in topic and tone. She still was trying to work through really what had just happened and what it truly meant.

"You do create quite a whirlwind of chaos. And I don't think you need to make up for anything." She hesitated half a beat, "Although flowers work miracles. And maybe chocolate, no caramels though. And there is that matter of replacing my camera." Barbara glanced from what she was doing to try and catch Helena's gaze.

"Hey now," Helena said, "The camera was not my fault, but the rest I'll be sure to keep in mind." Trying to stay relaxed and not tense up Helena took a deep breath. "So, just how bad is it? Can't remember what Dr. Jane said, if she even told me last night."

"You were out of it last night weren't you?" Barbara shifted her focus and gaze back to Hel's shoulder. "It is a fairly clean wound, assorted other bruising and damage. Your healing abilities should take care of those within another day, although things are slowed down because of your shoulder."

She looked up at Hel, "You may have to take it slow for another day or so, think that is possible?"

"Define slow?" Helena asked, doubtful that she could do any such thing. "How long until it's healed up all the way?" she added, twisting her neck to try and see the hole.

"Not soon enough," Barbara muttered answering Hel's last question. "Stop moving around, I need to finish here. And slow means no rooftops. It means trying normal modes of transportation. Maybe forego heavy lifting. I'd say complete bed rest but that I think is one of those impossibilities of the universe." Barbara sighed.

"Can't say that I'm surprised," Helena sighed, making a more conscious effort not to move.

"Surprised?" Barbara had not anticipated that reply.

"Been a while since it hurt so much," Helena admitted softly. She was just too tired to play it off at this point.

Having finished, Barbara stilled leaving her hand resting lightly on Helena's arm. She decided to answer Hel's candid remark with one of her own. "I know. Been a while since I was so scared."

Chapter 27C

Moment By Moment (Yvonne Elliman)

Clock tower, Early Saturday Morning
Way before School House Rocks : )

Barbara watched as Helena settled in front of her, her entire back and torso bare as the brunette had settled the sheet around her lap now so Barbara could get to the wound on the meta's back. She'd started to reach her hand forward, wanting to let her fingers glide over the exposed skin but hastily drew her hand back, keeping her inspection professional.

She muttered a reminder to her self that she was just checking the injury, nothing more. "I'm not sure you want to hear that right now." she took a deep breath and forced out a better answer, "I mean I believe the stitches are holding and healing. Everything looks stunning from here, very stunning."

"Stunning?" Helena asked, her usual tease back in place. "I guess Jane did something last night, because I know I pulled something," she added. "What about bruises?" the brunette asked, her tone softer this time.

"Jane is aware of how you take your body to the limit. I have a feeling she double checked everything as she took care of you." Barbara let her fingers probe gently near the stitches a moment longer before moving to trace certain patterns up Hel's side and back. An action in the past she had done using her eyes to take in the purple and yellow bruises. Their earlier conversation giving Barbara the courage to do more than let her eyes roam over the skin.

"They are fading but still here, and here and here." She traced each injury with her index finger, the nail carefully scraping along the skin.

Helena was careful to keep from inhaling too sharply, instead forcing herself to relax as Barbara traced the bruises. "Were there any other spots I you think I should be concerned about?" Helena asked softly, wanting to see Barbara's face, but for the moment just enjoying the fingers on her back.

"All of them," Barbara teased gently as she finished her inventory. "I know bruises are part of the package deal. I remember many nights enjoying a long hot bath." she sighed wistfully, "I just wish they weren't such a common occurrence for you to deal with." she let her hand drop to the bed signaling she had completed her examination. "Of course if you learned to keep that right elbow from dropping during a fight..."

"And now is when you decide to critique my fighting?" Helena asked, an eye brow raised as she looked back over her shoulder. "Why am I not surprised?"

"So I believe in capitalizing on a teaching moment, sue me." she smiled catching Hel's eyes. "If you prefer I could run a comparison program as you fight which would automatically score and read out needed adjustments." she laughed a little. "You could tell the thug you are fighting to hold a minute as you listen to the evaluation and the fact you drop your right elbow when fighting. Is that better?"

"How about you just give me that shirt instead?" Helena asked, trying to sound more annoyed, but knowing that it wasn't coming out quite that way.'

"Some people do not appreciate the value of feedback these days. Touchy, touchy..." She made a tsking sound followed by a laugh as she wheeled over to retrieve the shirt. She turned back to hand the shirt to Helena, her laugh cut short as she found the woman had not drawn the sheet back up.

"Thank you," Helena said, her eyes on the shirt, not Barbara as she grabbed the cloth. Facing the wall again the brunette carefully slipped it on over her injured shoulder before pulling on the other sleeve and buttoning it.

"You are welcome," She replied as she forced a shift in her thoughts. She began to clean up the supplies and area. "Is there anything else you need right now?"

Helena was instantly aware that Barbara had said 'need' instead of 'want.' Turning back around she moved her feet to the floor. "Just a bathroom break. I'll be right back," she said, getting to her feet and pausing a moment before she began to move again.

Barbara frowned watching Helena stagger some, "Can you make it there okay? Your equilibrium may still be off from the fight and drugs."

"Don't worry so much," Helena sighed. "I can handle this one all by myself," she added, keeping one hand on the wall for balance as she made her way out the door.

Resisting the urge to follow or comment, Barbara managed a tight nod and watched Helena go. "I always worry about you." She whispered once the woman had left the room. "And what happens when you get to the place you can't handle something?"

Wobbling on slightly less on her return trip Helena was careful not to sigh when she finally lay back down. "Anything else before I drop unconscious for a while?" she asked, propped up on her uninjured arm.

Barbara had collected everything save for the set of pills and some water for Helena. She stacked the materials on her lap as she considered the question. "I will go and collect my reading and come back. Maybe grab some coffee, well if the smell won't be too distracting, I do want you to get some more rest. Now I lob the question back to you."

"Sleep sounds good. I'm not supposed to be awake this early," Helena sighed, grabbing the pills and chasing them with the water. "Goodnight, Barbara."

"It is disturbing to see you like this." She kept the smile in place not letting it fall as she found multiple interpretations for that statement surface in her head. ~Why didn't you think of how that might sound before you spoke..~

She chided herself and then amended her statement hoping to fix her possible revelation. "I mean your usual preference for darker colors fits much better with the shadows you use to hide..uh...in... from... the um... bad...guys?" ~Maybe I should not have said that either...I think I will quit while I am only ten paces behind...~

"It's the whole symbolism thing, purity or whatever, and black's way sexier," Helena smirked. "Or did you mean the duality part? I get black, you get white..." she trailed off, relaxing against the pillow, her head tilted up just enough to easily watch the redhead.

"You know I often forget you may have actually zoned in and picked up a thing or two during high school or some other educational setting." Barbara grinned relieved at the interpretation Helena had selected to mold her response. "Although you made that last sound like we are setting up for a chess match, or perhaps getting ready to make a really bad western. Of course in our version, the good guys wear black as well as white. Tight, black leather." She wriggled slightly in her chair.

"No Westerns here. And I do remember that there's much more to duality that good and bad," Helena smiled.

"You have something against the genre in general or just the fact they all involve storylines that might be too clich for you?" Barbara's eyes trailed down to the injured shoulder. ~And please, no more shoot-outs at the OK Corral...~ "Duality is a complex concept that daunts even the bravest literary authors and wisest philosophers."

"See, more than black and white," Helena teased.

After a frown and a moment's thought she asked, "You didn't tell Dinah what happened, did you?"

Barbara sighed, "I talked to her earlier and brought her up to speed on the current case sans certain facts. She was going to talk to the other students and teachers and find out if any had heard of metahumans matching the description you gave me coupled with what I was able to pull. I still need to send a still image from the lab footage." She looked down at the items in her lap, "But I left out the severity of the injuries."

"Wait on those other details? I don't want her getting pulled into the middle of this and getting herself hurt as well," Helena said softly.

"My thoughts as well." The red-head sighed knowing she was doing it again; trying to protect her wards and keep them from as much of the painful reality as she could.

Unfortunately the lifestyle they had chosen meant that was almost always an impossible task. Some days Barbara had to decide not how to keep them from the hurt but how best to catch what was left. She rubbed wearily at her eyes with that thought.

"Did you sleep at all?" Helena asked, noticing the way that Barbara rubbed at her face.

"It depends on how you define the term," she hedged. "But I'm fine. Now need anything as I make my rounds before coming back?"

"Get some sleep. Go to bed," Helena sighed, the drugs were kicking in, or at least her need for sleep was. Yawning she finally lay down, relaxing.

"A promise is a promise." Barbara answered. "I'll be back in just a moment. And maybe try to have sweet dreams this time?" She hoped the young woman could sleep peacefully this time around.

"Right," Helena nodded, closing her eyes.

Chapter 28

Entry in Dana Scully's Personal Files
Saturday, May 15

Fractal patterns exist everywhere. They represent organized chaos; channeling the random movements of the universe using a set of rules. Rules that are so complex, convoluted and guarded that the observer is not able to discern the rule, simply the chaos.

A precedent created by the collection of seemingly random actions.

Nature learned long ago to use chaos to create beauty. To allow the fractal to take its own course rather than expend energy in trying to stop a process that can not be halted, destroyed or changed.

Humans still have much to learn.

For like ripples across a surface, random acts have consequences. Even chaos is not above the laws that bind the universe. For every action there is a reaction. The smaller subsets of a fractal are repeated and combine to produce a larger, often overwhelming twisted reality.

My arrival in this new city has thrown me into a seemingly random set of events that are slowly aligning; the small steps have their place in the bigger setting. As I delve deeper into the facts searching for a solution, the picture becomes more convoluted. The more I discover, the less I know.

The consequences from the events of the past few days have shown me I am not immune to pain, confusion, frustration or hope. The last I add because even as I find control slipping from my grasp, other avenues of possibility have been offered to me.

A dark beauty has slipped into my thoughts and world. She brings with her the assured knowledge I do not need to be alone as I face what life throws my way. There are others in this place that know, know that the surface only masks a deeper, darker, dangerous reality.

My father always said when one door closes another opens.

I had thought the final closing of the X-files and the drifting away of Mulder would forever close the door on certain feelings.

I could exist alone.

My need to make choices, uncomfortable and painful choices, finally buried. But, it seems New Gotham has opened that door yet again.

In my short time here I have had already had my beliefs tested and taken to a point of no return. I have been shown my normal procedures do not produce the desired result. The very building blocks of my belief system, such as FBI regulations and rules or the clinical dissection of a case, are tumbling, being swept away. A process started when I met Mulder.

And now, once again, it has begun. I have encountered an individual that calls me to question my deepest convictions. An individual who will not allow me to fall back on simple procedure.

The rules driving the world I move in have been changed yet again. I find the unexpected is the rule not the exception in this city. The only constant I have found thus far in this frenzied world is, strangely enough, the most complex and chaotic element here, Helena Kyle.

I say constant because all roads I explore wind their way back to Ms. Kyle. As I attempt to make the best of this road I have been forced to now travel, the scattered pieces make no sense. But I feel as the ripples continue to push me along, this is a journey, if attempted alone, will end in darkness and death.

A journey I would have resisted even believing could exist when I first came to the X-Files. A journey I would have closed the door on before it could begin; using logic and science to explain away the desultory pattern of facts and discoveries. But, I am no longer that person; New Gotham is not like any door I have ever traveled through.

If I am to survive the ripples that have begun, if I am to stay afloat in this chaotic maelstrom, I must go through that door.

Ignorance is not an option I am allowed. Truth, as always, is something I need to seek if I am to continue to exist.

For now I will search for that truth in the one place that may offer answers. Or at least may serve to be the albatross that takes me above the confusion. She may illuminate the dark night long enough that I glimpse the fractal's beauty rather than become ensnared in her frenzied discord.

Helena Kyle.

Chapter 29

Little Steps (Jill Phillips)

Clock tower, Saturday night

Slowly Helena became aware of the sounds around her. This sensation was joined by a dull ache in her shoulder. She wasn't ready to wake up, but her stomach had decided to chip in as well making its presence known.

Barbara looked up over her glasses as she let her finger glide down the page to hold her current spot. She smiled softly watching the slight changes in Helena's face and body signaling a shift in her sleeping state.

Her eyes flickering open, Helena immediately caught sight of red hair. "I thought I told you to get some sleep... How long was I out for this time?" the brunette asked, her voice dusky from sleep. She yawned and began stretching the joints that didn't hurt.

"Well many are about to embark in some form of the ritual known as dinner." She looked down and made a few notes along the margin before closing the file folder and looking back to Helena. She watched Helena trying to determine how the healing was progressing.

"Please tell me we're doing the same," Helena sighed, slowly sitting up as she stretched one arm over her head.

"We're doing the same, happy?" Barbara laughed as she placed the files and writing materials she had been using in a side pocket of her chair.

"Alfred was by earlier. We discussed a few things including the fact you were here. I believe he spent a little time making what he called, Helena's delight, a collection of Miss Kyle's favorites." She added her glasses to the side pocket. "He has missed making those dishes."

"Ooh, now that's what I like to hear," Helena's feet hit the floor as she finished stretching out her back. "So, what are we waiting for?"

The teacher chuckled watching Hel's transformation from languid stretching to eager anticipation. "Well first, I want to make sure you are feeling alright? Any pain? Numbness?" She let one of her schoolteacher glares spread on her face capturing Hel's gaze to look for any traces of deception in the answer.

Helena shook her head. "Just the expected stuff," she said, not at all phased by the glare. "Besides, I've been sleeping too much, missed out on too many meals. I need the food," she replied.

"Well that certainly sounds like the Helena we all know and have come to lo... expect." Barbara teased changing the saying slightly at the end not wanting to bring up a certain word or topic right now. "I'll head to the kitchen and start setting things up. Meet me there?"

"You know it," Helena smiled, returning to the stretching; this time focusing on her legs while trying not to think about Barbara's choice of words.

With a nod, Barbara headed out. Making her way to the kitchen, she began setting up dinner for them both. She had deferred Alfred's earlier offer to eat something wanting to wait in case Helena would be interested in having dinner. Although she had melted under the butler's stare acquiescing that she would eat something before the evening was out.

Humming a song she had been listening to earlier, she brought things over to the small kitchen table.

Once she felt a bit more sure of herself Helena made her way to the kitchen, more than ready to eat. "Smells delicious," she smiled having heard the light humming, finding the sound to be pleasing and something she wished she could hear more often.

"I'd say thank you, but I really only can take credit for putting things together following a very explicit set of instructions." Barbara finished setting the food on the table. "What would you like to drink?"

"Whatever's around," Helena replied, slipping into a seat.

"So, enjoy a home cooked meal, let me make sure everything is still properly bandaged and in place and then back to bed rounding out this evening's activities, right?" Barbara listed her ideal to-do list for Helena as she brought over something for them to drink.

"I should check on Dana," Helena said, not really looking up, her eyes on the food as she helped herself to everything in front of her.

"If you want to call that is fine, I have things set so nothing can trace a call back to here. I doubt she, or anyone who was ever in the local FBI field office, has anything to even attempt a trace..." She paused a little pulling up to the table.

"However, something is suspect with the lab visit. Someone hacked the hospital systems and it was very convenient that certain parties happened to show." She deferred filling her own plate for a moment just enjoying watching Helena.

After a couple of bites and a drink Helena finally looked up. "I was actually planning to stop by. Make sure everything's alright on her end."

"She has not called today. I spoke with Jane earlier who said she had not spoken with Agent Scully either. I am sure if things were not alright, she would have contacted someone." Barbara offered before taking a bite.

"I'm actually more concerned if no one's talked to her," Helena said before returning to the food, her eyes still not meeting Barbara's. "Besides, I can't stay still this long."

"You believe someone would try something this soon?" Barbara laid her fork down on the plate. "And if you get too antsy before you heal, you'll end up in worse shape. A little patience now means a much faster recovery."

"I'm not going to pick any fights. Just make sure she's alright. Probably pick up a few things from my apartment, make sure someone covers me at the bar," Helena shrugged, ignoring any glares Barbara might have sent her way as she concentrated on her food.

"I know you say you will not pick any fights, but trouble seems to be drawn to you. You can call the bar from here." Barbara watched the young woman eating as she told herself her arguments were only for Hel's benefit. Not because she had hoped Helena might spend a little more down time at the clock tower.

Barbara had found the day incredibly pleasant. Having Hel's presence in the room as she worked had produced a calm feeling; something she did not realize until today just how badly she had missed that feeling.

Between Dinah leaving for her special studies and Helena leaving for... well leaving, the tower had been an isolated island. A place Barbara inhabited every night in dark solitude. Helena's presence had felt like a freeing breeze, breaking the dark and desolation.

"I'm going to pick some stuff up so I can crash here for a while. At least until this case is over. We've already figured out that I have nothing here," Helena said, tugging at Barbara's shirt she was wearing as a reminder.

"Ah. You are always welcome here." She looked down at her own food. "We could go over later or in the morning."

"I won't be long. I promise," Helena said, trying not to let her appetite go.

Barbara sighed sensing that Helena had made up her mind and was only appeasing her futile attempts to alter the decision. "No rooftops, no fighting, no checking crime scenes, no lifting, no running..."

"My apartment, bar, Dana's," Helena sighed. "I'll even take the Hummer so I don't have to exert myself. God, are you trying to make me feel like a teenager again?" Helena asked, unable to help a smirk.

"Curfew is set for 12." Barbara continued not missing a beat. "I'll be checking for scratches and dents when you bring it back."

"12? You mean it?" Helena retorted before finishing up the food on her plate.

"Not a minute later." Barbara pushed the food around on her plate before setting her fork down. "Actually, you really shouldn't be out too long. Maybe just stop by the apartment tonight and do the rest of your intended stops tomorrow?"

"I should make sure she's okay. And if I'm at my place, I'm already at the bar. I'll be fine," Helena said softly. "Are you going to insist on escorting me next?"

"Would you let me?" She asked pushing her plate to the side, her appetite gone.

"Barbara, are we seriously having this conversation?" Helena said, finally setting down her fork to look the redhead in the eye.

"I am being serious, aren't you? I really do not want to see you do something that will exacerbate any of your injuries." She took a breath then pushed on. "I was reviewing the transcripts from the audio and video files from your last few encounters. These are not some simple thugs or criminals. There's something deeper here..." She trailed off keeping her edgier concerns in check and unspoken.

"Listen. I know this case is serious. And I know you're concerned. I just want to have my own clothes, okay?" Helena asked.

The redhead pulled away from the table leaning fully against the chair back. "For the official record, I feel you should wait and rest until tomorrow before attempting too much activity. I also know that official records and rules are something you make a habit of ignoring, bending or breaking. So there is not much I could say to dissuade you."

"Thank you. I should go now. Hour and a half, tops." The brunette said, standing up. "Did Alfred make dessert?"

Barbara's smile was forced as she tried not to let her own personal feelings surface regarding Hel's final decision to go and the stops she intended to make. "Actually I chased Alfred out before he could get to that part. He protested, but he had been working here most of the day as well as running a number of errands for me. We can dig something up later if you want."

"Or we can just eat more of this later. Keys?"

"The keys are on the board by the elevator as always. Some of us have designated places for certain objects and actually keep things organized. Cuts down on the frenzied, 'Where the hell did I put that?' mad dash." Barbara began cleaning up the table.

"Although I must admit watching you during those dashes was always amusing. Especially right before you had a date. One of those many classic, priceless moments that you treasure and use as blackmail in future negotiations." She chuckled a little as she headed towards the sink with some of the dishes.

"Hey I always got things organized in the end. I'll be back soon, okay?" Helena paused at the edge of the kitchen.

"Sure." Barbara called out keeping her focus on clearing the dishes and not other concerns.

Pursing her lips, Helena paused a moment taking in the older woman's features before giving a nod. An action that the redhead didn't see as she was already lost in thought.

Barbara's odd facial expression lingered in the meta's mind as she replayed the dinner conversation. ~Something's definitely wrong...What's going on up there Barbara? And what can I do make things better for you?~ She thought as she headed toward the elevator.

Chapter 30

Yesterday's Wine (Merle Haggard)

Dana's Apartment, La Gargouille Apartment Complex
Saturday night

After stopping by her apartment, changing clothes, grabbing more, and not-so-unintentionally leaving Barbara's shirt behind, Helena had checked in at the bar before tracking down and arriving at the home of one FBI Director. Pausing outside the door she took a breath and knocked.

Moving slowly from the kitchen, Dana frowned. She still felt sore. However, spending the day primarily resting had helped her begin to recover. She'd kept her actions light: short trip to the office and store, some more reading and research followed by a long soak in a hot bath. She'd just finished that and had been fixing a light snack when she heard a knock at the door.

Tightening her robe's sash, she headed toward the front of the apartment. "Who's there?" She called out as she neared the door.

"Me. It's Helena," the brunette, called back, suddenly feeling self-conscious as she shifted on her feet.

"Helena?" Surprised, Dana confirmed through the view hole it was the bartender. She absently pulled again at her sash as she unlocked and opened the door. She pulled it open some standing in the opening. "Are things alright?" The agent asked trying to read the woman's face and assess her mood.

"Yeah," Helena nodded, not stepping any closer, she knew she had to get back to Barbara. "I just wanted to make sure that you're alright..." she explained.

Holding onto the door, Dana frowned slightly trying to remember if she had given the young woman her address. "I am very sore and trying to recover physically and mentally from the events of the last few nights as well as determine where everything fits and belongs. But other than that..."

She paused slightly, "Are you sure everything is alright? People usually don't just appear at someone's door." Well that was only partially true, she thought of the times people had appeared at her apartment door in the past. Dana also realized most of those appearances had been associated with unwelcome news.

Helena almost shrugged, but remembered her shoulder just in time, instead making it a half-shrug. "I don't have a phone," she smiled back.

"You don't have a phone?" She cracked a smile at that, relaxing slightly as she unconsciously opened the door a little more leaning on it. "And here I thought in this technology age everyone was connected." She paused then thinking of last night, "But then I guess you have other ways of being connected."

"Well, I have a phone, I just have issues with paying bills on time," Helena admitted. "I... I should let you get back to the... relaxing."

"I guess a bartender's salary keeps things tight." She stressed the word bartender still wondering exactly what the true story was. "And honestly I was just fixing something simple to eat before heading to bed." Dana paused knowing she felt tired, but maybe she could use the opportunity to pull a little more information out of the woman. She had so many questions. The agent had also noted how the woman had not shifted much at all or indicated she really was intent on leaving.

"Something like that," Helena nodded. "You sure your shoulder's gonna be alright?"

"It will be." Scully looked at Hel's own shoulder. "How is yours? I'm surprised you are up and moving around considering the intensity of the fight. Your doctor friend must be a miracle worker."

"I'm on strict orders not to be out long. Just picking up some of my stuff so that I can crash with a friend. Well, that and make sure you're alright," Helena added.

"They sound like very good orders." Dana shifted some as her sore muscles started to stiffen again. "But I thank you for stopping by, especially considering you have limited time." She paused slightly before adding, "And crashing with a friend, does that mean if I need to find you, you will not be at your apartment?"

"I'm sure you'll hear from me," Helena smirked. "I'll give you a call tomorrow?"

"I thought you didn't like phones? Or are you planning on making an exception for me?" Dana replied smirking a little.

"Alright, so it might be another visit. We'll just have to see," Helena laughed. "Take care of yourself, alright?" she added, a bit more serious.

Dana tilted her head slightly hearing the change in Helena's tone. "I will, thank you." She pursed her lips slightly trying to make a decision regarding a thought that had popped in her head. "Wait here just a minute." She turned to go retrieve something.

Waiting as the redhead ducked back inside Helena moved to lean against the door frame.

Coming back to the door, Dana held out two file folders to Helena, one had a typed label reading Selina Kyle. The other had Helena Kyle handwritten across the tab. The first one the previous director had started, the second a file Dana had started the other night. "Perhaps when you are ready, we could talk about some of the things in here? You can give me the truth about certain things rather than leaving me to assume."

Looking up from the files, Helena frowned trying to cross her arms over her chest. "And what is it that you want me to fill you in on?"

"Read over what is in there. Then we can talk, not a debriefing session, just a talk. And you should not do that, you'll hurt yourself. The little scowl face you make works just fine for trying to act defiant with me, no need for extra body language." Dana replied evenly as she looked again at the folders.

Readjusting the folders Helena turned to go, but paused, turning back to the redhead, her face serious. "For the record, which I'm sure you know, my mother is dead. There's not much more to that story," she said before turning away and storming off.

"I think you are wrong about that." Dana replied watching Helena leaving.

Ignoring the words, ones she'd barely heard, Helena just tightened her jaw. Now was not the time.

Chapter 31A

Hesitation (Peter Hammill)

Clock tower, Sunday, May 16, after midnight

Barbara had decided to forego working at the computer station after Helena had left opting to instead finish reviewing the files she had been working on earlier. She also realized how tired she was and had found the couch to be much more comfortable than her chair.

She had started the evening resting against the side of the couch arm, her legs stretched out, the various sets of reports spread out along her legs and back of the couch. Along the way, she'd snuggled down deeper and deeper into the couch finally leaning her head back on the arm telling herself it was just for a minute while she waited for Helena to return. Her weariness and lack of sleep finally catching up with her, her minute had stretched into minutes as she fell into a fitful sleep.

After a final stop, Helena had buried the files from Scully in the bag of her things before returning to the clock tower. Though she knew that Barbara needed sleep, part of Helena was still hoping to find her awake, but as she made it to the small living area she found the redhead.

Smiling Helena set her things by the couch and the bag she'd picked up on the coffee table before crouching down next to Barbara. Part of her almost left the woman sleeping there, but the meta still felt the need to make up for leaving, if only for a short time.

Tucking some red hair behind an ear she spoke softly, "Barbara... You really asleep?"

Feeling something tickle at her ear, Barbara's hand shot up grabbing for whatever might be causing that sensation. She used her other hand to rub at her face as she started to wakeup.

"Have you always been such a light sleeper?" Helena asked, honestly curious as she watched the redhead's face as she woke up, the grip tight around her wrist.

Turning her head towards the voice, Barbara finally blinked open her eyes. Startled she barely managed to keep from pushing back as her entire vision was filled with a very lovely, yet unexpected sight, the Helena's entrancing eyes.

She blinked a few more times trying to pull her senses together. After a moment of just staring at Helena trying to adjust and form words to reply, her face started to break into a smile, "Only when I needed to be listening for a certain young metahuman trying to sneak in past curfew."

"Well, I almost let you sleep," Helena smiled. "It's actually a little selfish. I brought home dessert and I didn't want to eat it by myself."

"Here I would think the selfish part would be letting me sleep and eating all of the dessert." Barbara replied, her smile growing wider as she remained where she was. She had not really ever looked at the woman's face from this vantage point or this closely. She continued to let her eyes sweep over Hel's face taking in the small details the close distance afforded.

"Well, I picked up one of your favorites, so that means you have to eat it with me," Helena grinned, noticing the way that Barbara was looking her over, "Got it?"

The redhead frowned some at the question, "Got what?"

Rolling her eyes Helena just reached behind her, grabbing the bag. "Look. Finish waking up. Then help me eat," she grinned, pulling out a box to reveal a fresh cheesecake.

She reluctantly pulled her eyes to look at what Hel was holding. As she did that, she shifted a little more, a rustling sound reminding her she had been trying to work before nodding off. "Is that what I think it is?" She moved the papers to the side so she could use her arms to pull herself to an upright position. "It smells good."

"Of course it is," Helena grinned. "You finish waking up and get yourself settled. I'll be back with plates and put the rest in the fridge. Want something to drink?" Helena asked, reluctantly getting to her feet and stepping away from the redhead.

"Water would be fine, thank you." Barbara replied following the woman's movements. "Did you finish everything you needed to?" she asked casually as she continued to pull herself up. She made sure to leave enough room for Helena at the end.

"Yeah. Bar's got me covered and now I have something other than leather to sleep in," Helena called from the kitchen as she grabbed a tray, and served up the cake. "You want one piece or two?"

"I'll start with just one." Barbara called out as she collected her papers. "And this means you can take it easy for the rest of tonight and tomorrow as well, right?"

"Yes. You'll get me all to yourself," Helena called back, cutting large pieces for both of them before gently lifting the tray with her good arm and returning to the living area. "You think we can teach Alfred to make this stuff too?" she asked.

Barbara's eyes widened slightly at Hel's first statement but she covered her reaction, she hoped, by answering the woman's question. "He can. But if that came from the diner down the street, then you hold a reminder of one of the few secrets Alfred has not been able to charm away from the cook; although it is not for lack of trying. He seems to partake of a cup of tea there quite often."

"Well, I do suppose that they're close enough we'll survive," Helena grinned, setting down the tray before moving to sit next to Barbara on the couch and reaching for a plate. "Nice nap?"

"It was not a nap," Barbara explained. "I was doing some work and needed a moment to regroup. I was only resting for a few minutes." She accepted the plate from Helena, "Nice visit?"

"Short trip. And fine, don't admit it, but I know you're worn out. After the food you're going to bed," Helena retorted, digging in; it had been hard enough to wait this long.

A bite half way to her mouth, Barbara paused, an edge of disbelief displayed in her eyes and facial expression. "I'm a little tired, but I think I can decide exactly when I need to go to bed. If anyone needs to go to bed after this it is you." She finished taking her bite after her comment.

"You're tired. You probably haven't slept for a day or two now, and you need rest before more research. I need sleep too, but I'm not going to be your excuse for driving yourself into the ground," Helena said matter-of-factly, shoving more food into her mouth.

"Excuse?" Barbara's voice and eyebrows rose. "Exactly how are you my excuse?" Barbara shifted her back some against the couch, Hel's words too near the truth to be comfortable. "There are two killers out there that is my excuse for..." she caught herself, "Not that I am running myself into the ground for anyone." she finished emphatically

"I know how you work. Since I got hurt the other night you were watching me, even before I asked. Now I'm not about to complain, but that means you didn't sleep. So you'll sleep after the food. I'm not that blind," Helena added, most of the way through her cake.

"I was not trying to imply that you were Helena, or even that your assessment was not sound." Barbara regained her normal tone picking at her dessert.

"However, I have worked long hours in the past when needed. I won't have that taken away from me too. That was something Bruce, Dick and the others could never handle. That was one area where I was..." Barbara paused but pushed on not use to talking about her self this way, "I was better." she said softly looking down at her cheesecake.

"They had the gadgets and the brawn and the moves, but I had the patience, the plan, perseverance. That was one of the few things that kept me going after..." she sighed and took a bite of her dessert.

Helena took a breath, shifting and setting aside her plate before placing a hand on Barbara's leg. "Totally not what I mean. I just want you fresh. It's already been a few days since your, um, adjusted sleep pattern."

Her shoulders sagged some in resignation. "Maybe." Her reply serving to answer both the question of how long but also as a comment on Hel's other statement. "I have slept a little here and there. It is just we finally got close and yet getting close means now we, you, others may be in even more danger. Just as they have been revealed so have we Helena. Look at Dana's inquiries for instance as well as interest in us by those other..." Barbara pulled up not wanting to reference the newest danger.

"So can we take a break until morning?" Helena asked, hoping the redhead would agree, "I mean you get to guilt me into sleeping more and not leaving. I think the least you can do is get some sleep yourself."

She let loose a small chuckle, "I see I am not the only one who can be stubborn and display a bit of perseverance. My teaching has not been in vain." She reached over and let her hand rest lightly on Hel's arm. "Fine we will both go to bed."

"Just one question. You're done playing with my shoulder now, right?" Helena asked, her hand sliding down Barbara's leg, but not breaking the contact.

Trying not to watch Hel's hand moving along her leg, Barbara focused on answering the question. "The dressing should be fine until morning; assuming you stuck to the Hummer not rooftops as well as no lifting or thwacking of archenemies when I was not looking."

"I'm good then," Helena nodded, watching Barbara's face. "But that leaves the next item of business."

"So shoulder is already starting to heal?" Barbara tilted her head slightly not quite sure where Helena was taking the conversation. She leaned forward then peering at the young woman.

"Alright, what exactly is it you are planning? You're not thinking about sneaking out when I fall asleep. I can reprogram the alarms and lock you in here next to me." Barbara teased not aware of her subconscious slip.

"Must just be zoning out," Helena said softly, trying to push back the thoughts of sleeping next to Barbara. Or being next to her and not sleeping. "Sleeping, right," she smiled, hesitating a moment before removing her hand.

Barbara managed to push up a little more towards Helena as she darted her hand out trying to catch Hel's, a worried frown replacing her teasing smile. "Hel, that was one of your worst lies I have ever seen. And I know you have tried some whoppers with me in the past. Are you alright?" Barbara let her eyes focus on Hel trying to encourage the woman to talk.

"I will be, just not back to myself yet," Helena said, letting Barbara catch her hand and still trying to ignore their proximity.

"I don't think either of us will be back to any semblance of normal until we are able to put this case and those criminals behind us." She ran her thumb absently over the back of Hel's hand as she spoke.

"And I believe I have been guilty of zoning out a few times as well. If there is anything I can do for you, you have to tell me Helena. I'm not a mind reader, I also know you prefer to do things on your own. I'm..." she paused slightly, "I'm not so sure your usual MO will work this time. I think you need to do something very different."

Helena nodded, "I'm figuring that out," she said, finding those words true not only for her vigilante life, but her personal one as well.

Barbara nodded and smiled although she still felt Helena was holding something back. "Okay. Just remember, I'm here if you need or want." She looked down at her plate. "How about I finish this and then we can get to bed?"

"Sounds like a plan," Helena said, pulling her hand free before resting her arm on the back of the couch and leaning against the seat, debating whether or not she could voice the concerns she was feeling.

Making a slight face, she took a deep breath, "Barbara..."

Chapter 31B

Brand New Start (Paul Weller)

Clock tower, Sunday, May 16, after midnight


"Um, uh, how's the dessert?"

"This is very good, and it was a nice way to wake up." Barbara said as she worked on finishing her slice. "Thank you for being selfish."

"Anytime. I promise," Helena smiled, letting her eyes close for a moment before opening then again. "I knew you'd enjoy it."

Tilting her head some, Barbara could not help but smile at Helena's remarks as she scooped up the last bite of her dessert. "Considering that promise is based on events that produced this," she waved her last forkful of dessert. "I think I will make sure to hold you to that promise."

"It involves food; do you really think I wouldn't keep it?" Helena grinned.

Enjoying a deep laugh, Barbara shook her head no. "I would never be foolish enough to stand between Helena Kyle and food." Her smile slipped a little as she finished her statement, "Or to really stand in the way of anything you wanted." She looked down at her plate tying to cover her statement. "Well looks like I am finished." Knowing that she'd probably regret it, just as she regretted so many things she said lately, Helena took a deep breath, "Are we ever going to even bring it up again?" she asked, trying not to look too hurt.

Leaning over, Barbara managed to place the plate on the coffee table using the time to try and figure out how to answer Helena. She bit her lip as the first three words that entered her mind were three words she was loathe to ever use or admit she would need to use them.

"I don't know." She reached out not quite able to touch Helena from her position because of the way Hel had shifted back. "How do we, how should we bring it up?"

"I meant it. Just not really sure where that leaves us," Helena said, her sore arm reaching out just enough to reach Barbara's hand.

Barbara sighed softly glad for the contact; the touch giving Barbara something concrete to hold onto. She tightened her grip slightly to affirm her next words. "I meant it too Helena. And I," she stopped not wanting to use that phrase again. "I know where ever it leaves us, I think we are heading towards a better place."

She rubbed at her face with her free hand needing to compose her self before sharing her next thoughts. "I have not been in a very good place these last few months Helena. The last year really since," she left off as neither one needed to hear that woman's name right now.

"I was slipping away Hel. I still feel like I am even now. We both fled this place in a sense. Maybe you still did patrols and I tracked the criminals but we both left. And I'm not so sure it will be easy for me to come all the way back." she stopped taking a deep breath hoping that would ease the incredible pain she felt building in her chest. "I am afraid to lose any more of you or any more of me."

"I thought this was more about gaining than losing," Helena questioned. She knew it wasn't cut and dry, but it wasn't that complicated, was it?

Barbara just stared at Helena letting the silence grow. She blinked a few times and then tried to smile a little. "You're right. It should be about gaining." She breathed out trying not to think how easily Helena seemed to have just overlooked or explained away the deep worries and doubts Barbara had shared with Helena.

She wouldn't bother the metahuman with the fact she was scared. Scared that once she opened up to Helena and told her how she loved her and what she felt, the brunette would see it was not really what she had in mind and Barbara would lose Helena completely.

Sitting up suddenly, Helena moved the hand she'd been leaning against to the side of Barbara's face. "So what's hold you back? What are you afraid of?" she asked softly, looking for answers in the redhead's eyes.

"Hurting you or being hurt again."

Helena nodded, her eyes not giving up. "I don't suppose there's much I can say to fix that, huh?"

The strength, wisdom and feeling Helena managed to convey with those simple words shook Barbara's cynical view. Drawing strength from the steady gaze, "That's one of those things I don't think either of us can fix with words. We can understand but..."

Taking a deep breath Barbara managed to say a phrase she had thought about a hundred, a thousand, a thousand plus a thousand times but never once had the strength to use, until now. Using the strength drawn from one incredibly persistent, stubborn, caring woman, "Would you hold me Helena?"

Not sure what to say Helena didn't speak, just stood and shifted. She rearranged the redhead on the couch so she could sink behind Barbara, her arms wrapping around tight. Guiding the woman's head to her shoulder, she closed her eyes letting her other senses take the lead.

It was one thing to always be around Barbara, but being this close... Everything was stronger, the smell of her shampoo, the feel of muscles hiding below her skin, and the warmth of her body. It was much more than she'd expected.

Barbara felt not just the woman's arms, but her sense of being enveloped as for once the crime-fighter let go of her dogged need to do things herself and let Helena pull her into the embrace she had asked for. Feeling the gentleness and tenderness in the actions and in the soothing way the woman now held her, Barbara was taken back at how the normal fire and frenzy she'd come to associate with Helena masked this side of the brunette.

Startled by this realization, Barbara wondered just how much more she had missed, had been missing all these years. How much they had lost? All because of the lack of a simple action - to love and to be loved.

Not wanting this incredible sense of awareness and in a way glimpse of a magnificent beauty too often cloaked in darkness go, but knowing there would always be pain, Barbara let the tight walls down, just as Hel had with this gentle act. An action she had not done with anyone in a very, very long time. Something she was sure she would never do again.

As she did she laid her hand against Hel's chest feeling the heartbeat there as the tears began as she leaned more into the woman's arms.

"Shh..." Helena murmured, one hand moving up and down Barbara's back as she tried to soothe her. "What is it?" she asked, not pulling back.

She shook her head a little, her cheek rubbing across Hel's shirt, not ready to take the next step and vocalize certain thoughts. Closing her eyes against the tears and thoughts, both happy and painful, she tried to regain her composure. She trusted her voice only enough to allow a simple statement past her lips, well simple in form.

"I'm tired Helena."

"Yeah, I think we covered that earlier," Helena said, resting her cheek against the top of Barbara's head.

Not wanting to disturb the contact, Barbara was reluctant to talk or move. However she could feel the events of the last day catching up suddenly like a tidal wave of weariness unleashed by her tears and the gentleness displayed by Helena. Knowing if she did not move soon, the weariness would catch her and she'd not be able to move, she scratched her fingers a little over Hel's chest where her one hand had been resting. "If your shoulder is alright, I should go to my room now."

"Probably, yeah," Helena nodded in agreement, still not letting go or pulling back at all. "What if I don't want to get up?"

Her fingers stilled mid-scratch, "Well if you prefer the comforts of the couch... I know I spent quite a few nights here. Just please wear some clothing so you do not give poor Alfred a heart attack." She smiled a little trying not to think of all the nights she had fallen asleep here waiting for something, well someone to haunt the balcony...

"And if I don't want to move at all?" Helena asked, unable to help from letting her lips brush over red hair.

Trying to twist her head some, Barbara managed to bring at least Hel's chin into view. She reached her hand up, her fingers playing along the feature. "You've already given me more than I had thought I would ever know." she said softly. "And if you do not move soon, I am not going to be able to move. And I really am not sure if this is that comfortable for you."

"Well, we could always lie down," Helena said, smiling softly as she twisted her head and leaned back to see Barbara's face.

"Yes, we could do that; would be one solution to your not wanting to move." She let a smile play across her face as she caught Hel's eyes. "Seriously Helena, if I do not untangle myself now, I am going to be the one not moving." She turned her head to locate her chair planning how to get up.

"I don't want you to go," Helena said, her eyes staying on Barbara's face while she used one hand to turn the redhead's face back toward her own.

Drawing in a breath, Barbara realized just as she had asked for something from Helena earlier, now the brunette was sharing her need and want with her. Her eyes roamed over Hel's face as she worked through this before coming to rest, sinking into the intense blue eyes watching her. Managing to reach a hand up, she laid it gently on the woman's cheek.

"Then I won't."

"Wait, maybe I should rephrase that. I'm willing to move, but I want you to stay close," Helena said, gently leaning her cheek against Barbara's hand.

Laughing lightly Barbara shook her head some as she slowly drew her hand down feeling the smooth skin slide beneath her fingers. "I think I sense a hidden message here. Something along the lines of, 'I am not really comfortable but trying to be polite before my leg or arm or whatever goes completely numb.' Alright, let's rearrange things to provide a little more comfort, good?"

"Exactly what I had in mind," Helena smiled, her eyes showing how tired she was. Her heart beating with a new found energy.

Chapter 32

And She Said (Lucus Prata)

Tuff and Buff Gym
Monday evening

Hel had started with inventory at the Dark Horse, but it wasn't nearly the physical outlet she needed. Not to mention the fact that no one working there understood the phrase 'Leave me alone.' Eventually she'd given up on it and just left.

Stopping by her apartment for a change of clothes she went to a local gym. Normally she'd work out in the clock tower, but she needed to work through things and didn't feel like facing Barbara or the possibility of bumping into a certain federal agent. The files Dana had given her had ended up flung across her apartment and had remained in that scattered state of array since Sunday.

The gym by her apartment was open 24 hours and Helena had been known to show up when she needed a break from everything.

Finding herself a treadmill hadn't been too hard, and since she'd arrived Helena had been moving as fast as the machine would go. Although it just wasn't enough.

Dana sighed nodding her head as she listened to yet another enthusiastic explanation regarding the piece of equipment she and the trainer on call were staring at. She drew her attention back to the trainer trying to remind her self she was here investigating the current case; as well as checking into a place to resume her physical training.

She'd realized after the last couple of encounters with Helena and the killers, she was sorely out of shape. Even though she was still recovering from the lab incident, she had needed an outlet for her building energy, the saying just healed enough to hurt herself danced through her head.

She shifted her thoughts back to the current case. The agent had also been pouring over the photos and the victims' profiles trying to find any connection possible. She had noted gym club member cards among many of the victims' wallet contents.

Dana had found that seemingly normal item had reignited a memory from the body in the alley as well as what she and Helena's friend had been noting when interrupted at the morgue. They had been chasing the fact that certain organs were missing, many of them part of the endocrine and glandular system.

Considering they had nothing else to follow at this point, Dana had decided to pound the pavement and fall back on good old footwork and interview tactics. This was the third gym she had visited today. So far nothing spectacular had jumped out at her.

"Excuse me, would you mind if I just looked around a bit." She heard the trainer harrumph at her interruption but the redhead continued.

"I have such a great idea of the equipment now from your explanation. I'd like to just feel the place. Make sure it matches my, um, energy needs." She trailed off realizing belatedly she sounded like a hippie or oddball. ~What I get for working on cases dealing with oddballs, I end up sounding like one.~

She snapped back from her thoughts to catch the tail end of the trainer telling her to stop by the front office when she was ready.

Nodding, Dana quickly moved before the trainer could change his mind. As she looked around, she thought she recognized a form in the corner and headed that way.

Helena was just growing more frustrated. She needed to work off the energy she felt, but even she knew that she wasn't in good enough condition to go for her usual patrol. Not while that chick was still out there. Normally she'd find herself some random pretty face with a capable body at a bar, but not tonight. It just felt wrong.

Amazed at the pace and stamina Helena was displaying, Scully had remained quiet having identified the brunette and stopping to admire her has she exercised. ~Admire?~ Scully frowned as her eyes continued to move over the woman's body as Helena pushed the machine to its limits.

She frowned a little more as she realized the look on Helena's face was not really from exertion but it seemed more... "Frustrated?" She shifted some having realized she had spoken out loud. Moving to the side so Helena could see her, she decided to try and amend her statement. "I meant you seem frustrated. Is the equipment not working properly?"

It took Helena a moment, but then she caught sight of the red hair. Reminding herself that it was Scully, not Barbara. "Not fast enough," she said, pointing at the controls.

"Are you saying the treadmill can't keep up with you?" She asked as she moved so she could see the controls. She blinked a little in surprise as she made out the program's current settings. "I seem to remember you do like to move at a quick pace."

"I was hoping to run off this energy, but this doesn't seem to be doing the job," Helena admitted. "It's a little late for most people, you usually work out this time of day?"

"My schedule often skews to night time investigation." she said thinking back how many times she'd ended up trampling through some field or driving down some road during the night. "Do you always have an excess supply of energy you need to release?"

"I usually take care of it on patrol, running around the city and all that. Just not sure if I'm up for the fist-i-cuffs tonight," Helena explained, still running.

"Patrol..." Scully trailed off still not 100 percent sure what Helena's activities truly entailed. Dana's eyes wandered from the machine's controls to take in the metahuman as she continued to exercise. She noted how sleek and elegant the woman's actions appeared; how Helena exhibited a graceful style and ease as she moved.

"Your form seems to be just fine." She absently remarked her mind still on analyzing the movements.

"I guess you could call me a natural," Helena half-smiled, unable to ignore the way Scully was looking at her. "Kind of goes along with everything else."

Scully drew her eyes away from their current resting position then up to meet Helena's. "What do you mean goes with everything else? Your fine form or your fast pace?" Dana paused a little after speaking reviewing her question and wishing she had chosen slightly different words.

At that Helena briefly grinned. "All the athletic stuff. I got it from my mother."

"Your mother was a metahuman?" Scully asked, her voice low. "From the profile I read as well as the photographs I viewed, I can tell your mother was a remarkable woman."

Helena just nodded, her body still moving with the treadmill as she thought about her mother.

"Was your father also a metahuman?" Dana asked genuinely interested in learning more about Helena. Her hopes that any information she found out could help her better define Helena Kyle. She also found the questions were helping keep her mind from wandering. Something it seemed to be doing more and more as the brunette continued to run.

"No. He doesn't really have much to do with who I am," Helena said, not wanting to continue with that line of questioning.

Sensing the increased tension, Dana let the topic go. She made a mental note to follow up on the topic later. "So treadmill is not up to fulfilling your needs and your usual method of releasing energy is out of the question for now. What other methods do you use to get rid of the extra energy?" She turned to look around the gym, "Is there anything in here you can use?"

Helena chuckled, "I doubt I'd find anything to help me out here." Realizing that the treadmill wasn't going to get her anywhere the brunette, stepped to the side and turned it off. "So, what kind of work out are you looking for?"

Turning back, Dana resisted her first instinct to take a step back as Helena stepped down from the machine. "After the last few nights, it has been painfully brought to my attention that I need to resume my physical training. I am hoping between a more regular workout here, or at some gym, and if I can find someone to resume my martial arts training, perhaps I can keep from being thrown about quite so easily."

"Ah, well, if you need a sparring partner let me know. I wouldn't mind seeing what you've got," the meta admitted.

"I am willing to admit it is likely no where near what you have based on what little I've seen. I'm not sure I'd be a very good sparring partner for you. You might have to slow down a little, I have a lot to learn." Dana pursed her lips a little thinking about that fact.

"Hey, I'm probably not as good as you tonight. I do still have something of a hole in my shoulder," Helena said, rolling her good shoulder.

"Tonight?" Dana raised an eyebrow slightly even as her eyes traveled to look at the mentioned shoulder. "I was just here to look into setting something up, follow a few leads. I am not sure I am up for a workout tonight myself." She started to reach a hand out to probe at the woman's shoulder but quickly pulled it down playing with the hem of her shirt to cover her action. "How is the shoulder?"

"Doesn't hurt too much. Just playing it by ear. What about you?" Helena asked.

"I think it is safe to say I am not planning on roaming the streets or leaving places via the fire escape anytime soon." Dana replied lightly. "I am not sure if you got my messages I left earlier, but perhaps since you are not planning on your usual activities, you would have time to go over some more of the files and items from the case? I came across a few things and wanted to clarify a few items." She paused and laughed, "Alright I have a number of things that could use clarification."

"I should be able to handle that," Helena smiled. "Not getting enough out of this workout anyway.

"I am not sure they make equipment designed to give you the workout you want." Scully quipped. "Or maybe they do. I seem to once again be discovering things are not what they seem and that my idea of the world is not in line with what is truly out there."

"Well, I still wanna get some hanging body curls and back lifts done. Work out what I can, you gonna stick around for long? Or can you ask questions while I work?" Helena offered.

"I had not really planned on doing anything this time," she said waving at her jeans and blouse. "I was just doing a little research." She looked around the gym and then back at Helena being careful to keep her eyes focused on the woman's face only. "I'm not sure if this is the right environment for talking about the case and the questions I have."

Helena shrugged, "Well, I can delay my workout if it means spending some time with you." She paused half a beat, "Workign on the case and your questions." She smirked some seeing Dana react to that as she wiped her face with a towel.

"I should probably clean up a bit. There's a great 24 hour diner a couple of blocks down if you don't mind giving me 15-20 minutes?"

"Mind? Why would I mind that you wish to remove the sweat and grime from a workout. Although I'm not sure if you actually worked up much of a sweat." Dana replied thinking again how effortlessly Helena had kept up with the treadmill program.

"I like to set my own pace, but like I said, still not up to par yet after the last fight," Helena admitted. "So I'll meet you in about 20?"

"Not up to par..." she shook her head. the image of Helena on the treadmill working its way across her thoughts once again. "Um, yes, well, of course that is fine. I need to grab some files from the office and also let Hans up front know I might be back later." She turned to go but paused, "And again, thank you for taking the time to talk to me."

"I just want to get this case done," Helena admitted, grabbing her jacket and slipping it over the tank top she was wearing. "I'll see you soon."

"That is a sentiment we both share." Dana said stepping back. "Enjoy your shower."

Helena just nodded before heading out as well.

Chapter 33A

Who Can It Be Now (Men At Work)

Leather and Lace Diner
Monday night

Arriving at the diner Helena looked for Dana, but not catching sight of the redhead got a table.

Tightening her grip on her small leather satchel, Scully pulled the door open and moved just inside letting the door bump against her back as it closed. She looked around the diner trying to spot a familiar face as she reminded herself for the umpteenth time why she was here.

Actually she really was not 100 percent sure herself, she had started by telling herself it was simply to pursue the case. But as she listened to the sounds of the diner fill the space around her, she knew that was not the only reason she was here. Why her normally reserved and conservative approach to her job and personal life had been relaxed the last few weeks.

She knew if she tried to approach this as a simple case or even an X-file that she would falter and fail. So that was why she was here. Why she was heading toward a booth and a brunette who even with the suggestion of this meeting was pulling Dana further and further from her known place and into this new city and new path her life had taken.

She paused at the table not sitting down, "Sorry I took so long. I hope you have not been waiting too long."

"I ordered a drink about a minute ago, figured I'd hold on the food until you got here," Helena smiled softly, leaning back in her seat.

Nodding, Dana slid in setting her satchel on the seat beside her. She picked up the menu not really looking at it as she tried to quell her nervousness. "Do you recommend anything in particular here? Or maybe a better question is do you recommend I steer clear of anything?"

"Avoid anything with fish, the rest is good. Desserts are amazing," Helena assured her.

"I should have guessed you would know about dessert. Why do I get the feeling you often start with that? You don't do many things 'by the book' or as expected, do you?" She asked as her eyes wandered over the menu.

"I try to avoid 'the book' as much as possible," Helena agreed as the waitress arrived with her coffee.

"So it seems," Dana mumbled under her breath as she made a choice and gave the waitress her order. She kept the second part of her comment back not wanting to open up that topic until they were alone again.

Adding on some food Helena returned her gaze to the redhead once the waitress was gone. "So, what's on your mind?"

Deciding to ease into her questions, "So besides your athletic abilities and obvious grace and be..." Scully paused almost adding a third quality, one which surprised the redhead as it popped into her head. "And fondness for the night, did you also inherit your penchant for not playing by the book from your mother?"

Helena chuckled, "You could say that, but once I was born she toned her life down. A lot. That's not what she wanted for me.

Dana let her fingers toy with the small glass of water, "I know the files I left with you detail certain activities your mother was involved with, or suspected to be involved with as well as other information I collected."

She raised her eyes to meet Helena's, "Children often imitate or follow in their parent's footsteps. I have started going through more of the files at the field office. There are some references to unsolved cases being solved with the help of outside help; the description of these helpers however seems to be missing from most of the reports. I did note the mention of ghosts and shadows a number of times however." She laughed but found little humor actually in the subject.

"That mean you might trust me sometime soon?" Helena asked, her tone still rather light, but serious as well.

"You spend your nights roaming the streets of New Gotham rounding up criminals with the help of an unseen partner and without any sanction from the official law enforcement agencies. You are one of the good guys just doing things your way or well your partner's way, right?" She paused before adding any more.

"Our way," Helena said with a frown. "And if law enforcement was better in this city we wouldn't have to. You have to agree it's better than some of ways I could use what I have to my advantage.

"That is true." Dana leaned her arms on the table as she spoke. "So whose footsteps are you following Helena? Why not follow your mother's inclinations? Is that the connection between you and your unseen partner? Or someone else's influence?"

"Does it really matter? Maybe it's even possible that it was my choice?" Helena said with a glare.

"It matters to me. I need to know." She responded not backing down from her line of questions. "You have a history, or least the few instances I could find, of edginess and forcefulness in certain situations. You were even assigned to anger management for some altercations. How thin of a line do you walk?"

Dana leaned in closer making sure her voice was low, "Obviously something simple like a routine exercise program is not enough to satisfy whatever needs you have. What keeps you on that line Helena?"

"Did you read about how she died? How I held her and watched her die? How they never charged anyone? Never even found any suspects?" Helena demanded, her voice low and quiet, but full of emotion.

"I found a brief report, I am still waiting for some records to be sent to me. I know there were no ghosts to help solve that case, only shadows. Shadows don't always contain help." She frowned some feeling the pain in Hel's voice.

She knew that sound as she had lost so many family members to unknown shadows and madmen who cared more for their own plans than the life of someone who happened to be in the way or useful for sending a message. "Is that what caused you to make your choice? Are you searching for that shadow?"

"I gave up on that shadow. Now I try to keep others from having to live with their own shadows," Helena said evenly. "If that means I get a little rough with the criminals sometimes, then it's something I can accept."

"Gave up? Why do I find that hard to believe?" She continued to stare at the table surface. "How much like the shadows you fight have you become Helena?" Dana asked almost afraid to hear the answer as she had begun to admire this woman and wanted to trust her.

"I will never become one of them. I'm selfish enough to keep who I am," Helena said softly, her gaze focused on the table top.

"Yet you will accept getting a little rough." The agent looked up watching Helena's face as again her curiosity at who exactly was this woman guided her questions and actions. "A very thin line."

"It's not like they don't throw punches too..." Helena said, still a bit lost in thought.

"Yes, I know. First hand even," She replied absently stretching her side some thinking of the fights. "I guess being able to duck is a handy skill and one I should focus on developing." she trailed off as their food was brought to the table.

Helena didn't say anything. Leaning back she ignored the food for the moment, focusing instead on the redhead.

"I am alone here. The little help I thought I might have... does not exist. I am the only agent in the field office and you saw how the NGPD welcomed me with closed arms. Plus as you said their history is spotty regarding being able to apprehend certain criminal elements." Dana's eyes strayed from the other woman's face as the loneliness she had felt for the last few years again began to bleed into her being. The weariness from dealing with that crept into her voice.

"It seems to me here in New Gotham there is more hidden in the shadows or at least it is easy to turn your head away and remain oblivious. My predecessors stayed away from the shadows leaving them for someone else to deal with. Or often turned their heads. I learned very painfully turning your head really only makes it easier to be taken down." She offered trying to fill the silence as well as perhaps explain part of the reason for her questions. The other part was something she was having a hard time admitting even to herself.

"So what else do you want from me?" Helena asked, having regained her composure as she looked up at Dana and leaned forward, finally looking at her food.

~That's a question I wish I could answer.~ The agent thought as she sat back trying to put the assorted feelings running through her mind in order. A task she was finding harder and harder to do the more time she spent with Helena.

Chapter 33B

Who Can It Be Now (Men At Work)

Leather and Lace Diner
Monday night

As the silence between the women grew, Dana shook her self slightly and tapped on the files, her professional approach winning and taking over her mood once again.

"I have been looking at the limited information I have regarding the case. There are some," she paused searching for the right word but could not catch what she wanted. "I guess inconsistencies in some of the mutilations as well as the profiles of the victims. I was hoping perhaps you could fill in some of the holes."

"Lay it out for me, we'll see how well I know this part," Helena said, taking a drink of her coffee.

Having poked at her food and taken a tentative bite, Dana laid her fork down and reached over to the satchel she had brought with her. She rested her hands on the satchel just looking at Helena a moment still uncertain if she should be doing this. If this woman and her associates could, or would help her. She had trusted many in the past, and been burned so many times.

Taking a deep breath and a huge leap away from her normal reserve, she pulled out a few folders.

"I have collected basic profiles of each of the known victims. I am not even sure how many deaths to attribute to these killers. The FBI technically was not called in until one of the victims happened to be a visiting foreign official. There are gaps in many of the basic information fields for what I do have."

"This is the start of a psychological profile of the killer, well based on the alleyway meeting this should be adjusted to killers. Also I am curious just how much you know about the killers. For instance, I wonder if your friend recorded anything from the lab altercation." Dana gave Helena a sharp glance as her mistrust reared its head once again as she pushed over another folder.

She flipped open a third folder spreading out a few crime scene and autopsy photos. "This is a combination of photos I have sorted that show the various mutilations, which I have a number of questions about. I have begun regarding the possible dissection or medical aspect of this case." She hesitated biting her lip again not sure she should have shown this leap of faith by providing her own reports and observations.

Picking up the folders, Helena flipped through the pages, "I'm going to need a little more time to go through these," she said, looking back up at Dana. It was becoming more and more apparent to the brunette that the time to introduce the redheads was long overdue.

Scully nodded, "I understand. And it probably is over kill to make any remarks along the lines of working against a clock or time being something we do not have in unlimited quantities." She remarked as she picked her fork back up ceasing any other comments as she sampled a little more of her food.

"That would be preaching to the choir," Helena agreed. "Anything I can help you sort out now?" She added, finally picking up a French fry and playing with it a moment before dropping it into her mouth.

"Excuse me?" Scully replied, her attention having been drawn to the brunette's action. "I didn't quite catch what you said." She looked down then busying herself with her food as she berated herself for having been distracted by such a simple action. It was just someone eating a French fry.

Someone toying with a French fry between her slender fingers before easing the golden fry past lush lips. Her tongue sliding out to meet the French fry and help work it into her mouth, the pink tip darting out to lick the full lips catching an errant drop of salt before disappearing back into the woman's mouth that curved upwards in a sensual way at the corners as she chewed.

Just a simple action.

"Any other questions that I might have answers for now?" Helena asked, downing a couple more French fries.

Working hard to listen to Helena as she spoke, Dana tried to recall the questions she had wanted to ask. The answers she hoped to find. Her eyes followed the journey of a number of fries from the plate before she remembered she was the one supposed to be speaking. "Yes." she finally replied.

"Such as..." Helena prodded, finally looking up from her food. "Are you alright? Sure you shouldn't be resting?"

"Actually it has been a very long few days." The agent replied rubbing at her forehead as she put her fork down. "I have other questions, but I think the focus needs to be on the questions regarding the case." ~Professional Dana, keep it professional and focused.~

"Other questions?" Helena asked, a smile flickering at the corner of her lips. "Now you've got my attention..."

"If I am just now receiving your full attention I am not sure I can handle..." Dana muttered somewhat as she shifted in the booth. She let her eyes drift from her half eaten meal to the intense blue eyes staring at her. "Those questions, questions about what really goes on in New Gotham to need someone like you to watch or maybe prowl the city. Questions about what you represent; that would help me understand who you are. And why I..."

She drew in a breath although her eyes never wavered from the other's gaze. "But perhaps those are questions for another time. You do enjoy putting off answering questions until another time."

"Well, sometimes they need a little thought, not just whatever is on the tip of my tongue," Helena admitted, finally picking up the sandwich in front of her.

"Yes well, sometimes the most honest and true answers are those found on the tip of your tongue." Dana paused having tripped over the word tongue. She picked up her glass and took a drink trying to hide her face sure her coloring might give away her thoughts.

"Then ask me something," Helena said, swallowing her first bite.

"I think maybe I shouldn't." Dana said putting her glass back down a little more firmly than she had anticipated. She looked around watching the other patrons. She looked back at Helena, "You have an incredible sense of self Helena."

Helena frowned, "What does that mean?"

Dana found the corner of her mouth quirking upwards slightly. "It means you wouldn't know what I meant by that." She shook her head. "It was a compliment. You seem to always know where you are, what you want and the pathway to go from here to there. You also..."

Dana sighed and nervously wet her lower lip some. "You also tend to have such a presence that those around you can easily fall..." she hesitated changing her wording, "Can be caught up and enjoy that presence."

"I must just be a good actress. I make up things as I go along," Helena admitted. "Besides, you're the one who's successful and all that."

"I'm successful?" She felt her eyebrows rise at the unexpected statement. "I'm not sure of that assessment and I really am having a hard time making the connection between that and your ability to draw attention just by walking across the room."

"You're a doctor, an FBI director, and like, 29?" Helena asked. "And what about my ability to draw attention?"

"29? We will now add either a keen sense of flattery to the list of your traits or the lighting in here is really working in my favor." Dana picked up her fork but just pushed some of her food around on her plate.

"I only meant Helena that you take an activity that is mundane or average, such as walking across the room, and elevate it to something that demands or at least deserves attention."

Helena nodded, but didn't say anything, instead swallowing another drink of coffee.

Dana sighed, her eyes having moved to glance over at the metahuman only to find her mind still drawn to personal not professional thoughts. She moved to bring out her wallet taking out a few bills. Trying to keep her face and thoughts neutral she looked at the brunette. "When you have those answers, please let me know."

"You're already leaving?" Helena asked, looking up from the plate in front of her.

"I came here looking for answers and truth Helena. I want to stop these killings. Instead all I seem to be focused on right now is," she drew her words up short. "Is nothing at all to do with the case or investigation. There is nothing more I think I will find out in this diner, so yes, I'm leaving."

"So now you can't take breaks either? God, you're just like..." Helena said, then she sighed and shook her head. "I... can you hang on for just a minute? Give me a moment to... call someone?"

"Helena," she reached out placing a hand on the brunette's hand that had moved. "It is not about taking a break. It is about being in this diner, thinking things I don't understand and knowing that being in this diner is the last place I want to be right now, especially if you eat any more of your food." She shook her head pulling her hand away.

"That is why I need to go. I don't have that sense of self. I realize I am in a crowded place full of people and that I can't control how I'm feeling... I need to go." Dana began collecting her items.

"Just a minute. If this is about the case..."

"Five minutes. Tops," Helena added, as she got to her feet, stepping away before the redhead could protest.

Moving to a pay phone near the door Helena flicked on her comms, picking up the phone in case Dana glanced her way. "Oracle. Oracle, are you there?"

"Huntress, where are you? I've been wanting to talk to you and was one step away from sending Alfred out to find you." came the immediate reply.

"I've been talking to Dana. About the case, and I think it's time the two of you put things together without me as the middle man," Helena said seriously.

"What?" Barbara replied, her eyes flitting over yet another set of search results.

"All this go between shit. It's not getting us anywhere. Not to mention the fact that if I get you two geniuses together you'll probably have it figured out in under an hour. I'm going to bring her to the clock tower," Helena finally said.

"Sh...??" the young woman's use of the word had pulled Barbara's complete attention to the voice coming over the comms.

"Wait Huntress, please repeat. You are bringing who, where? I hope you said you are coming here, now. I finished cataloguing the audio and video from your encounters. Using that set of cues, I sent out some trace-bots and hit a number of positive returns. In addition, Canary came up with some information to add to what I have been piecing together." She paused slightly, "And she says hello and that she misses your wardrobe."

"I'm coming, but I'm bringing Dana with me," Helena said, slowly and clearly. "That way the two of you can solve this case. And I'll send Dinah a gift package soon."

Barbara stared at her displays her mind torn roughly from the information filling her monitors. Even though the agent had been to the tower, it had been in the form of a convenient place to administer medical aid.

An apartment nearby provided by an unseen host.

Helena's words meant showing Dana what she and the clock tower really were. Something that she had tried very hard to stay away from since the incident with Harley.

"What happened to the keeping your partner silent and unseen?" Barbara questioned trying to pull herself back from memories of that disastrous night and the resulting distance that had torn at her and Helena ever since.

"We let Dinah in," Helena protested. "If I put you and Dana together this will be over so much faster. And you and I both know that we can't keep this up much longer."

"No, we can not." Her eyes traveled to a small window that contained am image of Jem and the information on the blonde that one of her trace bots had returned.

"And we, no I, also let Wade in." she said softly. "Dana is not like you or Dinah. I can't handle another Wade." She admitted softly, her eyes stuck on Jem's image.

"We're letting her in to solve the case. That's what makes it okay," Helena argued.

"Why the change Huntress?"

"Is now really the time?" Helena asked, not sure she could say the right words anyway.

"Is this one of your patented 'gut feelings'? Or do you have something more substantial on which you are basing your trust? Something more personal?" She had closed her eyes to better focus on Helena's words and not the other memories assaulting her thoughts.

"Gut. She hasn't arrested me, and she just gave me more case information to look over. She trusts us, we should trust her," Helena said. "I'll be by soon, okay?"

"Soon? Tonight?" Barbara replied reduced to one word responses as she tried to catch the same assured feeling her partner seemed to have regarding the federal agent.

"Yes, we'll be leaving the diner by my place soon. You'll be there," Helena said, waiting for confirmation, though it definitely wasn't a question.

"Do I have a choice?" She snapped moving her chair back away from the monitors as a way of expressing her frustration.

"What do you think?" Helena asked, hanging up the phone and speaking those words as she walked back to the booth.

Dana had placed the bills on the table intending to slip out; it had been a very long day. As she stood by the table, she watched Helena as she spoke on the phone and noted the changes in her facial expression indicating the conversation was not going as expected.

Leaning over to grab her satchel, the agent began moving toward the door, her path intersected Helena's.

Stopping in front of the redhead Helena paused, taking in a breath. "It's time you met someone. Let me grab those files."

"Excuse me," She furrowed her brow. "I thought the idea was to have you find some of those answers to my questions while I headed back to my place for the night."

"I'm going to introduce you to the answers," Helena said a bit somberly. "Your car's nearby?"

"Out front," she confirmed. "Is this your partner, the one I spoke to, in a sense, the other evening?"

Helena nodded. "Just... tread lightly. It's a pretty exclusive little club."

Not sure how to take that comment, Dana nodded and headed toward her car.

Following, Helena was quiet, not sure what to say. "You remember where we got fixed up?" she asked, settling into the car.

Dana buckled her belt and started the car. "Yes, a nearby friend's place and a doctor who does not mind house calls." She said recalling the previous evening.

"That's where we're going," Helena said, buckling her seatbelt and trying to get comfortable.

Having thought originally the friend providing the care might be tied more closely to things then Helena had indicated, Scully nodded. After confirming the directions she pulled the car out and headed towards the clock tower.

"I take it not many know exactly what you and your friend do." she said a moment later breaking the silence.

"Probably less than 10," Helena agreed, after counting off a few in her head.

Dana glanced over at the woman, "Why? I mean, why work so hard to hide what you are doing?" She pulled at the belt feeling an edginess developing. Her experience with people who hid things had always come with death or pain.

"We've had bad luck in the past," Helena said simply. Now was definitely not the time for details.

"So have I." Dana replied as she continued to question if this was the right thing to be doing.

"Then it's safe to say that all of the caution is mutual," Helena said softly.

Keeping her eyes on the road, the agent did not reply immediately. "The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown." She said after a few moments using a quote Mulder had written on a piece of paper and kept taped up in their office.

"Can't argue that," Helena agreed, her eyes staring straight ahead, suddenly questioning her decision.

Chapter 34

Lay of the Land

Clock tower, Monday night

The perimeter alarm had sounded as the car pulled into the garage but Barbara had already known of their arrival. She had barely moved from watching the monitors since Helena's call. She had not really gone back to her research or even followed through on the number of pending actions that continued to make their presence known through the occasional alert or reminder sound.

Barbara had simply sat in her chair staring at the monitor that displayed the feeds from the camera as well as the tracking program associated with Helena's comms. She had clicked through the different cameras on a continual basis watching the darkness and minutiae associated with the night.

Watching the two exit the car, she had flirted with heading to her bedroom or the training room rather than greet the elevator and the occupants it was delivering. She batted the flee or stay ball back and forth a number of times before the elevator finally opened. In a slight show of defiance...... alright, fine... in a slight show of being pissy and huffy, Barbara kept her chair turned toward the monitors, her back to the elevator.

"This way," Helena said as the door opened, finally letting out a deep breath only to take in another as she walked toward the computers.

Dana tightened her grip on her satchel slightly as she followed the brunette. She recognized the general layout from last time although where she had been lead down a hallway and to another room, now she watched as Helena moved in the opposite direction further into the large main room. She could hear the hum of the equipment coupled with the clicking of a keyboard indicating there was someone else in the room. She kept behind Helena a few paces as she slowed her approach taking in the setup.

Working her jaw as she continued her fast typing for another moment, Barbara managed to bring her typical, logical approach back to the controlling point of her actions. With a simple sigh she closed the window she had been working in and maneuvered her chair to face the two. "Helena," she said feeling the time for code names had pass. "Agent Scully." She nodded smiling at the agent and glaring at Helena.

"And here we are," Helena said softly, looking away from Barbara's gaze to glance between the two, waiting for Dana's reaction.

Not having expected this particular person to be the one they were meeting, Dana's mind blanked. Falling back on the habit of social etiquette and politeness, she managed to at least recover her voice if not her thoughts, "Please call me Dana." Somehow she was feeling less and less like a federal agent and more and more like Alice; unable to even offer a guess as to what strange twist to expect around the next corner.

"How were your test results?" Dana managed after a moment, her mind traveling back to the conversation she'd had with this woman in the hospital. Her mind now trying to reanalyze and wonder if there had been any dropped hints, missed double entendres.

"They were unexpected." Barbara admitted. "There are some things the doctor wants to follow up with a few more tests." She did not look at Helena even though she could feel the burning gaze. Her eyes flickered to the meta and she blinked as Helena held up two fingers out of Dana's sight.

"That's two you better explain." Helena mouthed as she stalked toward the wheelchair.

"I could use some coffee right now." Barbara said hurriedly, trying to escape the young woman's searching gaze. "Would you like some, Dana?" As she asked she headed toward the kitchen.

"I'll get started on it," Helena interrupted, disappearing into the next room.

Cut off by the uncharacteristic, enthusiastic offer from the brunette, Barbara watched the "volunteer" disappear fast. "No fair using your meta speed," she muttered still staring in the direction of the kitchen.

Having run through her repertoire of glares and looks that would melt steel, she sighed having almost forgotten the agent standing behind her, almost. "Brat, you owe me for this." She half-whispered as she plastered a smile on her face as she did a 180 to face Dana.

Startled she started laughing almost at the same time as Dana. Both red-heads in the attempt to plaster a smile on their face, had ended up more with the look you graced the dentist with right before receiving a major root canal.



Both fell silent as they other had started to speak.

Laughing again, the pause was followed as another choral response began. This time Barbara held up a hand and waved at Dana. "You first, please."

"Actually I was just going to comment this is a rather unique residence. I believe that is one of the acceptable remarks in a socially awkward situation." The agent said shifting the satchel to her other hand, a genuine smile this time gracing her features.

"Which can then be followed by vague discussion as to where this item or that item came from as well as safe comments about home decor in general." Barbara added.

Dana slowly turned taking in the furnishings and setup. "Yes, although I must admit some of the decor is, very unique." Dana chuckled slightly as she could almost hear Mulder adding some quips about Geek's R Us or other references to the expansive computer setup filling much of the large room.

"Well, one could say it is functional as well as fashionable. Although I dare say the fashionable statement would be called into question by many." Barbara headed towards her customary spot as she looked over Delphi.

"Did you both want coffee?" Helena called, ducking her head back through the doorway for a moment.

"Coffee would be good." Dana replied having watched Barbara move while remaining where she had first stopped unsure where to go.

"It'll be ready soon," Helena nodded, slipping back through the doorway, but still listening for any harsh tones.

Noting Dana's semi-rigid stance, Barbara smiled some catching the agent's eye. "Would you like to sit down?" As she spoke she moved away from Delphi and across the room toward the couch.

Glad for the offer and something to break the nervous tension, Dana fell in behind Barbara and settled into the couch setting her case by her feet. "So more discussion on color coordination or can we agree to skip the idle chatter and move ahead to the reason we are here?"

"I never fared well with chatter." Barbara replied.

"Coffee is here," Helena said, two mugs in one hand, one mug, milk, and sugar in the other. Setting everything down on the coffee table Helena dropped down onto the couch, happy to see that the redheads didn't appear to be at each others throats. "I knew you two would get along."

"You knew?" Barbara reached for the mug Helena had placed near her. "Let me see your hands Helena." She said picking up the milk.

"Hmm...?" Helena asked, looking up from the coffee she was holding.

"I want to make sure you are not crossing any fingers as you make your rather bold assumptive statement." Barbara finished fixing her coffee.

"And the night is still young." Scully interjected feeling a little more at ease hearing that she was not the only one feeling apprehensive about this meeting. "Perhaps we can move from the awkward phase of this meeting to the semi-uncomfortable phase." Dana remarked trying to keep the conversation light. "You know for some reason I am having flashbacks to my hormonal teenage years." Laughing she opened her case and withdrew the folders Helena had given her back a little earlier.

Glancing at Barbara, Helena fought a laugh. "She's got some pictures and stuff. It's beyond me," she said to her mentor.

"Beyond you?" Barbara leaned against the side of her chair and caught Helena's eyes. "Do not think you are about to use that as an excuse to disappear again. You are staying put. If it is beyond you, then consider this a lesson. One of many you will have learned before all is said and done."

"Right," Helena sighed, leaning back into the couch, coffee in hand.

Noting the exchange, Dana tried not to smile as she leaned over to hand the folders to Barbara. "I have been trying to organize the case notes as well as add my own. I have found a number of areas where there is missing information or the reports are incomplete." She kept her comments regarding the discipline and procedural abilities of the former Directors as well as the investigating officers to herself.

Pulling her glasses from the side of her chair, Barbara accepted the folders pursing her lips as she noted the hand written titles on the tabs.

"Helena, why don't you give Ag... Dana a tour of the tower while I review these quickly and then perhaps we can fill in some of the gaps." she looked up over her glasses smiling at Dana.

"I have found my files are also in a state comparable with Swiss cheese." While she kept her tone light, she hoped to use the time to determine what Dana knew and exactly how much to share with her. She still harbored a few more reservations than her energetic partner.

"Yes, ma'am," Helena agreed, reluctantly getting back to her feet before looking to the FBI Director and offering her a hand. "Ready for the official tour?" she asked.

Barbara quirked an eyebrow at the response but let any comment go, instead letting her gaze travel again to the reports in front of her.

Accepting the hand, Dana placed her mug on the table as she let Helena help her stand.

"So," Helena began, stepping away from the sitting area. "This is the Clock Tower," the brunette started, "and you saw the Delphi computer set-up when we came in." Stepping up to the raised landing she waved at the monitors.

Dana glanced at Barbara and could see she was already engrossed in the files, a look on her face Dana recognized as one of intense concentration and interest. A look Dana knew she herself had worn many times in the past.

Turning to look in the direction Helena waved, Dana nodded as she really took in the complexity of the setup. "This is... impressive. Quite a bit of computer power it would seem."

"We've got some good funding," Helena said off-handedly before turning and pointing to some nooks and areas. "Basic medical, living area, the rest is upstairs."

Dana took in the various places as Helena pointed them out. "Very, very good funding, or else teachers and bartenders make quite a bit more here in New Gotham." She paused and looked back at the brunette. "I know from the other night there are bedrooms and you mention living area... you have your apartment so, Barbara lives here or others?"

"She lives here. And Alfred is always around," Helena nodded, leading the redhead toward the spiral staircase.

With a backward glance at Barbara who had not moved save to open another folder, Dana followed Helena. "Alfred?"

"He's a butler. Long story, but you might say that we inherited him or maybe more he inherited us," Helena shrugged, pausing at the top of the stairs.

The agent halted behind Helena a small laugh escaping her lips. "Inherited a butler. Well I am slowly coming to expect the unexpected. It seems to be one of your unique talents."

"That's me," Helena smirked. Here's the kitchen, and there are a couple more bedrooms off in the wings, she waved vaguely. "There really isn't that much that's not out in the open," she shrugged.

"It does have breathing room," Dana commented and then shook her head at the statement. "Actually this seems very well thought out and organized. Not what I expected." She hesitated having voiced a piece of her impression regarding the true nature of what she thought Helena represented.

"I can't take credit for that. I think Barbara planned out most of it. These days it's more her space anyways. Anything you wanted to know more about?"

"There are a number of things I would like to know more about." She half mumbled, "But I am not sure now is the time." She sighed some and leaned her shoulder against the wall. "So the basic setup here is you and Barbara work to aid, in a manner of speaking, the current law officials in apprehending criminals?"

"Pretty much, yeah," Helena nodded, her arms grasping the railing behind her as she leaned against it.

Dana let her eyes wander over Helena's form taking in the way the woman's clothing style accentuated her body. Snapping her eyes back to Helena's face as she realized her mind as well as her eyes had been wandering, she worked to focus back on the current conversation. "I am guessing the aid is given not asked for? I have the impression you tend to work alone."

"That sounds right," Helena nodded. "We usually take on the more... complicated cases. And I prefer taking things on by myself."

"Complicated? What does that mean?" Dana shifted some rubbing her shoulder on the wall. "Does that translate into Helena Kyle does not play well with others?"

"Something like that. Others don't usually get along with me," Helena admitted.

Dana was silent a moment as she considered what Helena had said. "IS there any particular reason why?"

The brunette just shrugged, "Call it a personality quirk." Pushing away from the railing she headed back toward the stairs, "We should check on Barbara."

"Well at least one person seems to get along with you," Scully remarked as she pushed off the wall stretching slightly before heading after Helena.

"And she only puts up with me sometimes," Helena smiled.

"Solitary life takes its toll on anyone," Dana remarked, her own loneliness pushed to the front of her mind by the track of the current conversation. She dropped into silence as she followed Helena down the stairs.

Chapter 35

Thank You (The Calling)

Clock tower, Monday night

When the pair of redhead's finally began to pause between sentences, Helena stepped forward, a finger tapping Barbara's shoulder. "Want to help me get more coffee?" she asked.

Tilting her head a little at the request, Barbara kept her expression guarded as she nodded at Helena. "Dana, please excuse me a moment. When I return we could take a look at that metahuman database I have. I like the idea of a possible connection through that avenue."

Dana smiled at the statement. "Well, I've been trying to find any pattern. Almost to a point of seeing links that might not exist. Such as the gym memberships."

Barbara started to turn her chair toward the kitchen. "Actually that might not be such a forced relationship. There might be something more to that. Do you need anything."

"A refresher would be wonderful. And thank you, both of you. It's been awhile since I did this." The agent shrugged then unable to elaborate her feelings any further regarding how she missed working on cases and with a partner.

Barbara caught the underlying shyness and just let the agent's remark go with a nod, "Of course."

Leaning against one of the kitchen counters, Helena just crossed her arms, waiting for Barbara to catch up.

Moving into the kitchen, Barbara was silent but kept her gaze expectantly on the brunette as she opened the refrigerator looking for something to drink.

"Are you going to tell me what's been going on any time soon?" Helena asked, one eyebrow arched.

"You are expecting me to start off this conversation?" She closed the appliance door having found some juice. "You asked me in here, remember? Or have you messed up the coffee maker and want me to fix it before Alfred finds out?" "Tests? I believe Dana just brought something up that you failed to mention," Helena said, taking a few steps toward Barbara. "And you've been cagey, tense and other adjectives... what gives?"

Pushing back, Barbara managed to swivel away from Helena as she headed to the coffee maker so she could refill Dana's cup. "Actually, Dana and I had met the other day in the hospital. She was having her physical for the transfer completed."

"And you were in the hospital getting tests," Helena prodded.

"Ah yes. Can't get anything past you can I?"

"Do I not deserve to know how things went? Maybe a hint why you were there. I can not break into the records like some smartasses around here." Helena remarked, her voice sarcastic yet filled with worry too.

"Deserve? Why would you use that word? And as to the other descriptor..." Barbara set the coffee pot down, her entire focus back on the meta. She tried again for humor to deflect Helena's inquiry. "I submitted two liquid specimens, one a blood sample and the other, well I am sure you can figure that out. Is that what you wanted to hear?" She resumed making the coffee hoping things would slide.

"I was thinking more along the lines of what the results were, maybe even why the tests were done in the first place?" Helena asked.

Barbara hung her head a little working her jaw back and forth some as she tried to plan a response to the continued questions. She kept her gaze and focus on the coffee pot as she spoke. "It seems the hospital lost some tests I had done a few weeks ago and I was having them redone. As I mentioned earlier, the tests seemed to be a bit inconclusive and they want to follow up a few things, which they will schedule."

She shifted in her chair, her hands keeping busy. "You've been so distant the last few weeks I really did not want to trouble you any further."

Helena bit her lower lip, knowing that she couldn't argue that point. Nodding she looked back to the redhead, "I realize now's not exactly the best timing either. Perhaps later on then, would you trust me enough to tell me about them?"

Catching the change in the woman's tone, Barbara moved over so she could lay a hand on Helena's arm. "Let me find out a little more first, and then I'll share everything with you. I promise. I just..." She paused and then pushed out the words.

"Hospitals and I don't mix very well and I'm worried where this could be leading." She stopped and looked at the floor even as she kept a tight hold on Helena. "Let's wait and let the doctors and tests do their job."

"Ok," Helena reluctantly agreed. "I just worry sometimes."

"Stop that. Worrying is my job. Besides too much of that can lead to worry lines developing and I wouldn't want to see any of your beautiful features stained by worry." She drew in a sharp breath at her forward comment and turned then grabbing Dana's coffee thus missing the odd look crossing Helena's face. "There is something else to focus on; I think I may have identified the, the woman caught on the tape from the lab."

"You have a lead on the mysterious blonde." Helena moved closer to the redhead catching the sudden tension taking hold of Barbara.

"Yes, I do and it's not very encouraging." Barbara replied softly, words and images from the blonde's taunts springing unhindered to her mind. Sometimes having a photographic memory was not the greatest thing to deal with.

"I won't let her even begin to do those things she said Barbara." The brunette dared to lean close, placing both hands on Barbara's shoulders. A smile grew on Hel's face as Barbara did not flinch or pull away; rather the redhead moved her arms up to rest gently on Helena's arms. A moment passed as the two remained locked together just knowing they were not alone.

Helena nodded then and reluctantly pulled back, "Back to work it is then, no rest for the weary."

Chapter 36

Stay the Night (Mariah Carey)

Clock tower, Tuesday, 1:20 am

Barbara was busy typing a few more items into the case files. She, Dana and Helena had been working the last, who knows how many hours, to coordinate the various pieces of information. She pushed her glasses up on her nose a little more as she reread one of the agent's comments.

Dana had come up with a better way to classify the killings, a term that sounded more appropriate in a B-movie and yet... yet harvesting did seem to be a better word. While the first killings had the feel of Jack the Ripper, or a first year medical student as Dana had mentioned; the latter bodies and crime scenes really had begun to tell a different story.

A story that had been constructed by the three: some well-placed questions from Helena, sharp medical and forensic observations from Dana and a few incredible logic jumps and pattern suggestions from Barbara. A story that had a partial face and name behind it now as the teacher had shared the match her image recognition programs had made; Jem, a blonde who had a long history of mental issues.

Jem's record listed a revolving door of charges; in and out of prison and state asylums as well as the subject of a number of medical studies. Jem seemed to exhibit some rather odd quirks as the files had said. Borderline meta, Barbara had translated for Dana.

Her last know whereabouts had been the Grunckle asylum, about an hour's drive from New Gotham. She'd earned a place there when a remark by one of her fellow co-workers at a factory had led to said co-worker being forced through the various machines. The unfortunate woman eventually coming out as a boxed shipment of Dally-Hee pastry cakes.

The trail Barbara had been compiling however went dead, cold, blank about two years ago. Somehow the woman's records just stopped, vanished; it was as if the woman ceased to exist. No transfer, no death notice, no release papers. Just no more Jem. Well no more until she had popped up in the Birds' world.

Dana had noted in one of the asylum files a reference to a records room at the hospital. The discussion had ended for the night with Helena and Dana agreeing to head out there tomorrow to visit with the doctors assigned to the blonde as well as try to snoop around and find possible paper copies of more information.

Leaning against the side of her chair, Barbara pulled up another of the agent's journals. The redhead was impressed with what Dana had accomplished. So far the woman had been holding her own against what New Gotham was throwing at her. Although Barbara had come to realize that the agent might not be so "new" to out of the ordinary events as her predecessors had been.

Fatigue had finally interrupted their session and they had reached a holding point in the investigation. Helena had gone to walk the agent to her car as well as finalize plans for tomorrow.

"Looks like I have to be up by noon tomorrow," Helena mumbled as she stepped out of the elevator, not surprised to see Barbara back at the computers.

"Hmmm that means only two dance sets at the club tonight for you then." The redhead teased not looking away from her monitor. "Thank you for seeing Dana to her car." She added before being pulled back into her typing.

Rolling her eyes Helena moved toward Barbara. "What do you have left to look at?" She asked, moving to sit on the desk, right next to the monitor.

Barbara stopped her typing trying not to sigh. "Well there was this report I wanted to log. But someone's butt is blocking the report preventing me from working." She looked up at Helena, "Any ideas who might have the audacity to do something like that?"

"Maybe someone who thinks you should get some rest," Helena admitted, feeling a little tired herself, but not about to admit it.

Looking once more at the covered folder, Barbara removed her glasses and used the back of her hand to rub at her eyes. "I can rest when I know you, well when I know the city is safe."

"I know you haven't gotten enough sleep lately," Helena said, her hands resting on the edge of the desk as she leaned forward. "So why don't you go to sleep? I know you're going to get up way too early anyway."

About to argue why she should finish this last log entry, Barbara found herself distracted as Helena leaned closer, her eyes wandering over the brunette's lithe form. "I am still in the school mode." She finally answered trying to justify her normal early waking.

"So you should at least go to bed early to make sure you get enough sleep," Helena argued. For the moment the brunette was still fighting the desire to ask how the redhead had slept when they'd crashed on the couch the other night. Helena wondered if Barbara had felt the same way when she woke as Helena had upon leaving.

"But if my mind is stuck on the fact I still need to log this report," she countered as she reached out and tried to use a corner of the folder to pull it out from under Helena. "If my mind is focused on something Helena, I am not going to sleep. Trust me, I know this well." She continued trying to wiggle the folder free.

Putting a hand on Barbara's, Helena held it still. "Did you sleep well the other night?" she asked, her voice soft, and only a little bit tentative. "When we were on the couch?"

The soft touch stilled Barbara's motions. The quiet question stilled her breathing and heart. Blinking rapidly, Barbara forced herself to breath again and waited until she was sure her heart was beating before speaking. "Yes Helena. Thank you for making it that way. Was it comfortable for you?" She asked awkwardly.

"Very," Helena said, watching Barbara's eyes. "Do you think you would be able to sleep sooner if I stayed here again tonight?" These were the questions that the brunette had been dying to ask, but had been afraid to.

"It would be one less thing for my mind to worry about." She managed to answer even as she felt her throat close slightly, her stomach tingling with nervousness and excitement at the prospect of being so near to Helena for another wonderful night. "I can help you make up your bed in your old room."

"I know finding out about Jem has thrown your normal routines some. What if I told you not to bother? If I wanted to sleep closer to you?" Helena asked, fully aware that she was still skirting around what hadn't been said, all of the little issues that neither of them seemed to know how to bring to the surface.

"I," suddenly very aware of the hand covering hers as well as a warming in her cheeks, she shifted her hand some feeling Helena's hand move over hers. "I think the couch might start to feel a little cramped." she replied veering from what she really wanted and wanted to say.

How could she possibly be what Helena needed and deserved? The meta was so alive, young, full of energy. She, however, was older, more set in her life... Barbara's eyes trailed down at that thought resting on her legs. She was not in the same world as Helena. She couldn't let her wants override Helena's future and happiness.

"What about your bed?" Helena asked, releasing Barbara's hand in favor of trying to tilt the redhead's chin back up.

Missing the contact when Helena had let go of her hand, Barbara almost gasped when she felt the soft, yet strong fingers once again this time on her face. Not fighting the motion, the woman let her head be guided trying to keep her words contained until Helena's face came into view.

"I... I don't know how to say anything right now. Not that I usually do... but... I want to be close to you..." Helena's voice faltered to a stop.

About to try again to erect a barrier to keep the building flow between them contained, the words or protest slipped from Barbara's mind as she continued to fall into the intense blue eyes. The brunette's admission one she could still not quite comprehend as her mind searched for logical reasons to continue to deny what her heart and body wanted.

"You always know the right thing to say. It comes out a little rough sometimes. But you know." She hesitated as she formed another sentence to try and dissuade Helena sure that would be the best for the young woman. However in the grand scheme of meant to be, Barbara's logical approach was tackled and shoved in the closet by her heart.

"But just in case, I believe the phrase, will you stay with me tonight Helena and hold me, might suffice?" ~Dear sweet Zeus, where did that slip from?~ She forced her eyes up however to stand behind her forward response.

"I would love to," Helena smiled, the back of her fingers moving over Barbara's cheek. Barbara was the one who knew how to use words, not Helena. So for the time being the brunette planned on just letting her actions do the speaking.

Amazed at how an action she had imagined for so long could feel so incredible, Barbara found herself tilting her head to lean into the slow caress hoping to prolong the contact.

"This mean you're ready to go to bed?" Helena asked, enjoying the way that Barbara's skin felt.

Not trusting her voice as Hel's simple touch continued to hold her captive she nodded. Unable to hold back any longer, she tentatively reached out to initiate contact herself by resting her hand lightly on the brunette's upper thigh.

"Are we... well, are you sure you're ready for more than just sleeping?" Helena asked, biting her lower lip.

Tensing, her hand involuntarily squeezed the meta's thigh. "Wh-what? Sleeping..." Barbara found her speech reduced as her mind hungrily took what probably was a simple, innocent statement and twisted it; tying it to a number of dreams and fantasies the redhead had experience over the last year.

Helena shook her head chuckling. "Not quite that. I was thinking more lip action. And then a good night's sleep. I want you hitting the pillow and marching straight to dreamland." The meta laughed again loving the way the blush spread across Barbara's complexion.

The redhead tried to tame her blush as she relaxed her hand. Her mind providing a stout admonishment that of course it had been a more innocent question. However the deepest parts of her mind whispered back with 'what-if it could mean more' causing her to tense her hand and squeeze the leather clad thigh once again.

Knowing she wasn't so good at explaining her feelings, Helena moved the hand she was leaning on to the arm of Barbara's chair and leaned forward, her lips hovering inches from the redhead's. "May I?" she asked.

Her hand still slowly flexed open and shut on Helena's hip, the action serving to keep her mind somewhat focused on the now. Barbara resisted the normal instinct to push back as Helena neared.

A reaction she had developed since the shooting when anyone drew near. She had worked to overcome her habit of distancing herself from others with Wade, only to have that progress halted and crushed back by Harley. Willing herself not to flinch or retreat, she managed to nod her assent even as she darted her tongue out to moisten her dry lips.

"Good," Helena smiled before closing both her eyes and the distance. Taking her time the brunette's lips moved slowly, trying not to make the redhead uncomfortable.


That was the first word Barbara's mind was able to form once the electrical rush of actually experiencing what she had only dreamed had turned from a babbling stream to a frenzied maelstrom of emotion and feeling. Her hand continued to work almost with a mind of its own setting a slightly faster tempo of squeezing the same place on Helena's hip.

The rest of her body, save for that hot spot where Helena's lips were meeting hers, stilled as the overload of sensory information prevented her mind from being able to focus even on controlling her movements. Her mind managed one more word before being swept up anew as the redhead tilted her head prolonging the kiss as it allowed her lips to slide gracefully over Helena's.

After a few moments Helena reluctantly pulled back, a very contented smile on her lips. "Thank you," she said softly, not sure what to think of that kiss, a kiss she'd been waiting far too long for.

Barbara shook her head at the words, her normal speech still arrested slightly as her body continued to enjoy the feeling left behind by the kiss. "You do not need to thank me, not for doing that, not ever. I am the one..." She trailed off not wanting to vocalize too much as she was afraid she might wake up. Might be brought back from the amazing place of feeling she had somehow been sent to; sent by the incredible woman standing in front of her.

"Now, if you quit selling yourself short maybe we can actually go to bed?" Helena asked.

"Selling myself short," Barbara chuckled some at that as she let her hand slide finally from Helena's hip; a thrill going through her as she heard Helena use the word we. "I will let that little comment slide, for now. It's been a long day." Her mind wandered back to the information they had received today and the darker implications that knowledge held.

"Good, 'cause your desk isn't the most comfortable seat in this place," Helena smiled, slipping off and to her feet. "You coming?"

"What?" Barbara tried to look shocked as she swiveled her chair to follow Helena. "That comment from a woman who likes to perch on ledges, rooftops and I do not want to know what else." She barely managed to get the last out before starting to laugh.

"But a bed is always better," Helena assured her. "You want to argue or curl up in said soft bed?"

"Who said I am arguing? I was just clarifying." she retorted. Pausing, she pulled up so she could reach out brushing her fingers over one of Helena's hands. "And yes it is better. Better than lonely, dark nights sitting in the cold or rain." She said referencing the fact she knew that many nights Helena had come to the Tower and just lurked in the shadows outside.

"Yes. It is," Helena agreed.

"So, enough idle chit-chat," Having managed to place her chair between the woman and the bedroom, Barbara smiled sweetly as she took off toward the room. "Last one there has cleanup detail for a week." She called over her shoulder.

Chapter 37

Journal Entry AKA Catch Me I'm Falling (Pretty Poison)

Dana's Apartment
Tuesday 2:00am

Dana leaned back in her chair smoothing the lapel of her robe as she reviewed the journal entry she had just finished. She had wanted to set in her mind the many pieces that had been laid out earlier tonight. The agent smiled fondly thinking about how well the session had gone as all three had worked to wrap together the many months worth of information. While there were almost more questions created than solved, many seemingly random details had begun to link together.

"The dominos are lining up. All we need is the last connectors and then a push." With a sigh she pushed back and headed towards the kitchen to retrieve her mug of tea as she reviewed what they had learned.

She leaned against the doorway from the kitchen thinking about the discoveries and discussions. It had been such a long time since she had really worked on a case with someone.

Sure she had been assigned partners and had worked on cases with others since being reinstated after Mulder's trial. But she had really only worked in the presence of the other agents, simply muddled through. And more often then not she had ended up working in the lab, teaching, or playing mentor to new recruits.

She had missed the give and take, interplay between colleagues. Missed laughing at mistakes. Almost forgotten how wonderful it felt to hear the excitement build in a voice as the light bulb of inspiration clicked on. Had longed for the time when she could lean back, comfortable in the knowledge that they would be successful because no matter what her partner was just that, her partner.

Someone to watch her back and someone whose back she could watch.

She rubbed at her face and wandered back to the computer thinking about how much earlier this evening she had been watching someone's back, and front, and sides and face. She frowned and maneuvered her mouse to the taskbar. Clicking a button, she brought up another window.

A window she had opened almost immediately when arriving back at her apartment.

A window that she had typed two words in meaning to start a personal journal entry.

A window that had not been filled with any more than those two words for the last two hours.

She had worked on the more official entry, rearranged her small CD collection and paced around the living room all the while trying to focus on filling that window.

She sat down in front of the computer looking at the name and then down at the keys. She began tracing words and patterns across the keyboard with her eyes. She idly thought about how many pathways her fingers moved in during a day..... Pathways.... Connections....

She oriented her fingers over the keys, took a breath and closing her eyes began to type.

* * * * *


I find the word and concept to be one of the most ideological, frustrating, and controversial issues I have ever encountered. Some pathways are well marked, solidly built, have a distinct start and end and require little effort to put in place or to remain on once begun.

Other pathways have existed since before the start of time, many have yet to form. There are those that are natural, blending with the environment, worn down only because they are traveled by so many. Others are manmade, plundering the landscape around them without care or thought to what the path must cross, only the drive for it to exist matters.

I have created many pathways as well as using those laid down by others. Some paths are easy to forge and maintain. Often paths rise and fall as they are temporal, blinking in and out of this reality, needed for only the briefest of time spans. And then there are the ones that require grit, determination and stubbornness just to find never mind use.

And then there is the fact that pathways are oft filled with travelers. Sometimes one stumbles down the path, other times the journeyer embraces that road ahead and runs along easily managing all that lies down that way. Then there are the arduous and treacherous.

I find I have been pushed, pulled, tricked and manipulated down many of the paths I have traveled. And I also realize that many pathways that were opened to me, that would have been a difficult but incredible pathway, those often had barriers.

Barriers that regulated me to a position of outside observer; I continue to watch others prosper down that same path.

Barriers I use to justify not acting out of normal lines and rules. They work to keep me out while burying, denying, hiding my real desires, wants, and true nature.

Barriers in most cases I myself erect.

Pathways I could have followed but was afraid to let go of my hold on the rocky cliff precipice I had selected for myself. The isolation and surety of the rock in my hand outweighed the risk of possibly flying, or falling.

Paths and missed meetings: junior year at university and the lab partner I never listened to past the assignment due; study group work nights in med school when I would leave after completing the required work, even when asked to stay. Asked by someone who shared a residency position with me and perhaps she would have shared more, I am sorry I pushed you all away.

Pathways which held choices and opportunities, opportunities I ignored. Why, because I convinced myself it was just a fluke, a misunderstanding, an impossible journey to begin.

And now, like a teenager confused and overwhelmed by hormones and the siren call of the unknown, I am again at the entryway to a path. I can not believe I am about to type this, but another trait I seem to share with a teenage counterpart, I have butterflies in my stomach. See I have decided to not build the barrier this time. I want to try this pathway.

Dear god help me, tomorrow I am going to ask Helena Kyle on a date.

I am letting go of that stupid, blind notion that love is something I can't feel again. I am letting go of the cliff face. I pray there is a brunette at the bottom to catch me.

Chapter 38

Denied (Unwritten Law)

runckle Asylum
Wednesday 4:00pm

"I hate that place," Helena murmured, rolling her shoulders once they were back in the parking lot.

Dana frowned slightly as she followed the brunette to the car. "What exactly makes you say that?"

"Just gives me the creeps. Almost as much as the people in there," Helena said before shaking her head. "We got everything we needed?"

"Are we talking the staff giving you the creeps," she paused slightly smiling at the last word, "Or the patients? Or is there something else?" She looked then at the folders she was carrying. "And we obtained the files; I hope it is what we need."

"All of the people. Not to mention the fact that the building is far too gothic for my taste," Helena frowned, pausing as they reached the car. "You saying you felt even a little comfortable in there?"

Dana carefully considered the question. "I found the manner of the attending physician to be..." she paused trying to keep a sense of professional courtesy. "Focused on other topics perhaps." She pursued her lips. "But I was not too uncomfortable. And too gothic? Have you taken a walking tour of your downtown area lately?" She laughed a little hitting the button to unlock the car.

"This place went too far. Not to mention the fact that it's not a good choice for the crazies, right?" Helena asked, shooting Scully a look before getting into the car.

"Crazies?" Scully echoed getting into the car as well. "Environment is important." She added as she buckled her belt. "It sets the mood and can affect the treatment. Although I do wonder about the type of research they alluded to during our tour." She pursed her lips as she looked back at the building, "Although if I had to spend an extended amount of time here, I might prefer something a little more modern."

"Let's just go?" Helena asked, pulling on her own seatbelt, just wanting to get out of there.

Dana started the engine. "And we are going." With that, Dana focused on pulling away from the asylum. Waiting until they had pulled onto the highway, "Are you alright?" she asked a touch of worry in her voice. "Is there something bothering you? You have seemed distant all day."

"Just want to get this case over with," Helena said, looking out the window. "Usually the crimes around here aren't so gruesome."

Dana spared a glance at the brunette before looking back to the road. "It's not easy always being the one to try and stand between order and those who disrupt it. How long have you and Barbara worked in this area?"

"I've been involved... 5 years? At least. Not really sure," Helena shrugged. "How long have you been in the FBI?"

"More than ten years," She rested her elbow on the car door, running her hand through her hair. "Too long maybe. Although there was always a sense of right and wrong in my household." She looked back over at Helena. "It never seems less gruesome or easy. No matter how many cases."

"You've got to admit that this one is taking things a bit further. Usually people just get killed or hurt, not cut to pieces and played with." Helena said, biting her lower lip.

Dana looked at the road a moment and could not help but laugh slightly. "Well actually sometimes they are frozen, or combust, abducted to be experimented on, contract deadly diseases, are engulfed by killer mushrooms..." she trailed off thinking over all of the cases she and Mulder had investigated.

"The first two I've seen, but I'm not sure about killer mushrooms..." Helena admitted, turning to try and read Dana's face.

"Actually it was more of a fungus whose spores created a hallucinogenic state causing the victims to become sedate while it digested them." She replied. "Mulder called it the Little Shop of Horrors case." She bit her lip some thinking over that case as well as others. "I don't think that is the motivation here."

"Right," Helena said with a brief nod, not sure what to make of those comments.

Dana raised an eyebrow, "Is that a right I understand. Or a right, I am humoring her and perhaps they let the wrong person out of the hospital back there?"

"I'm going to plead the fifth," Helena said. "So, head back to the Clock tower? Go from there?"

"Alright, I actually have grown somewhat use to the stares and muttering behind my back." She sighed then but managed to ease a smile back onto her face.

"We could. I was thinking however, maybe we could." She paused staring hard at the dividing line of the highway as she rubbed her hand on the steering wheel trying to force out what she had been wanting to say the entire trip. "We could stop by my place first. See if the files match up to some of the ones I brought home from the office." She swallowed then hoping that did not really come across as obvious as it sounded.

"I thought it was all at the Clock tower," Helena said, looking to the redhead.

"The files I brought over contained summary information. But we might have enough to work through at the tower." Scully was silent then listening to the hum of the car engine as she tried to work up another idea.

"Being thorough doesn't hurt," the brunette shrugged. "Though you probably want Barbara to help you with the details. Paperwork isn't really my thing."

"Help with the details, yes. Actually we really did work through a lot last night. I was surprised. I have not really clicked with someone on a case like that in a very long time." Dana continued rubbing the palm of her hand along the steering wheel. "So what is your thing?

"Mostly the violence, breaking and entering, you know, recon, and the heavy lifting," Helena smirked.

"The brawn. But is that all you are, I mean do?" She asked her focus still firmly on the road and not the woman next to her.

"What do you mean?" Helena asked, turning some to face Dana.

"Uh," she felt the woman's full gaze and flicked her eyes sideways before focusing back on the passing roadway. "Are your nights only filled with the work you and Barbara focus on?"

"Some of my nights are spent bartending, but after that it is usually just Barbara and me," Helena nodded.

The redhead hesitated before asking her next question; the way Helena had phrased her response causing Dana to pause. "Do you ever take a break? Like you did the other night?"

"The other night," Helena nodded, pausing to chew her lower lip. "I... I got a bit carried away... Not that I didn't want to, you're very beautiful... Shit. You want the whole story? The short version is that something happened since that night with someone else. Something that I wasn't expecting, something I never thought would happen..."

Dana wrapped both of her hands firmly around the steering wheel as she tried to follow Helena's story. "The other night was accidental?" she trailed off working over the rest of Helena's words.

"Guess I was not moving fast enough or..." She trailed off again keeping her eyes ahead and on the road fighting not to let the foolish feeling she felt tickling her stomach work its way out as a blush, especially not so Helena could see. "So, this unexpected is a good thing?" She asked trying to push the topic away from where she had been steering it.

"When the other night happened... I fully intended to follow through. So when I say that it's not on your end, I mean it. I always thought I'd be dancing around Barbara forever, but..." Helena trailed off, following her words with a shrug. "I'm sorry."

"The way to hell is paved with best intentions. I've had many tell me I am headed there so what's a few more for good measure." Dana swallowed hard then but forced a smile on to her face. Her mind pulled away from where it was going long enough to fully catch Helena's words. "Dancing with... Barbara is the unexpected?" ~I should have known the way they worked together...~

"Yeah," Helena said. "Like I said, unexpected," she said, hating it when her personal life not only chose to exist, but to also conflict with her business life.

"Well that sounds like a good thing. Speaking of unexpected, I realized I left a couple of the medical reports in my office. Based on the very limited information we got about Jem, I want to look them over. Something is not clicking right. She seems to have acquired these meta powers and yet the way Barbara described metas, she shouldn't have done that."

She breathed deep trying to hold onto her cool manner even as the tight knot began forming in her stomach. "I will drop you off at the tower with the files we picked up and I can swing over to my office and check my phone messages and pick up the reports." She looked over at Helena then having adopted the tone and manners she was use to using on a case, cool and professional.

"From what the doctor told us, I really don't think Jem could carry out the degree of precision we noted in some of the killings. I also don't see her as being the type for keeping trophies or organizing anything that would require much thought so why the dissection? Maybe the files can provide a link."

Helena just nodded, biting her lip as she caught the cool shift. "However you want to run it."

Nodding, Dana looked back to the road, her mind zeroing in on the case and not how stupid she felt for trying to attempt anything other than the investigation.

Chapter 39A

Brass In My Pocket (The Pretenders)

Back Alleyway behind a tattoo parlor, 5:30pm

"I'm going on a break, I'll be right back," Kate said after finishing a large tattoo on a not-so-appealing customer. Slipping out the back and into the alley she pulled out a cigarette and lit up.

Jarold tapped his fingers nervously on the back seat as he stared into the alley. He had counted all of the bricks in the building next to where they were parked. The meta had then carefully reviewed the instructions She had graced him with earlier. The trust She had shown in him to allow him to bring Her one of the next steps to bringing back the one frozen in a moment of time in the lab. His tongue snapped out nervously causing the man in the front to jolt a little.

"Hey looks like the broad you want is taking a little niccy break. Need my help?" The man asked careful not to look at the meta, the weird man creeped him out.

"No, I must prove myself to Her. Wait for me. I will retrieve what She needs." Jarold opened the door and moved across the street trying to keep to the shadows.

"Brown-noser. Hell as long as I get paid." The driver muttered returning to read his magazine.

Stretching as she smoked, Kate closed her eyes, liking the cool late afternoon air. It was a relief after some of the larger tattoos she often worked on.

Trying to keep quiet, he paused as he reached the mouth of the alleyway. Sometimes he did not quite understand the things he was asked to do. This disquieting thought pushed its way through Jarold's mind causing him to stumble slightly. He began reciting the periodic table of elements in a frantic attempt to place his thoughts back where they should be.

Used to the sounds, Kate figured the noise she heard to be a rat. Flicking her cigarette off to one side she slowly exhaled, stretching her arms over her head.

Jarold hesitated thinking the woman was going to leave. Thrown by the variance in how he had planned things, he stepped forward then. "Wait, do not leave." He said not moving any further.

"What?" Kate said, spinning to see where the voice had come from. "What the hell are you doing back here?" she asked, wondering if he was another druggie.

"You've been chosen for something good. I think She chose you because you remind Her of someone." Jarold rarely let himself think why She did what She did. He wondered if it was the extra stress and increased pace in the testing. He was spending more and more time trying to find Her answers. But he had seen a drawing once and there was something about the woman here in the alleyway that reminded him of that drawing.

"What the fuck are you talking about?" Kate demanded, tensing up a bit as she got ready to yell for one of the guys.

"No, please, no shouting that will bring others and you might be injured." Panicking, Jarold sprinted straight at the woman trying to wrap his arms and tail around her to stop her from leaving or even shouting.

"What the-" Kate said, falling to her back as she tried to get out of his grip.

"No, do not be afraid. This is more than either you or I. We serve and can be part of something better." He continued using his tail and one arm to try and keep her from escaping. Reaching into his jacket, he worked to withdraw the syringe he had carefully placed in an inner pocket.

Seeing the needle, Kate struggled more. First the tattoo from hell and now this? Definitely not her day.

Trying to tighten his grip, Jarold flicked the cap off and worked to administer the drug. "I don't want to hurt you. Don't be afraid. This is needed only to make sure you do not hurt yourself."

"Mmm," Kate tried to yell, struggling harder as she needle got closer. This was soooo not cool.

"I'm ssssssorryy," Jarold hissed quietly as he rolled with the struggling woman trying to not jab the needle too painfully as he found his target. "Sssstruggling is something She does not like. And my sister would not understand. Jem thinks fear is something to be twisted and used. Fear is something one should not torment others with. Life does that enough." He continued talking trying to calm himself as he felt afraid he was going to fail.

"Please stop," Kate managed to say as he rolled her over.

"There are 52 cards in a deck. Four suits, Ace, two, three, four." He tried to not listen. His sister always yelled at him for being weak and listening. "I am not going to hurt you. I can not stop. Just relax." He said hoping she would stop moving soon so he could finish and move back to the lab and the order.

"No," Kate said, not about to give in as she tried to buck him off.

"Enough," he said, his tone overriding his normal lisp. He grabbed her a little more roughly, this time making sure to cover her flailing arms and legs. He could sense fear as well as a determination surrounding her. "I do not want you to hurt yourself. You are special."

"Spec..." Despite her fight, the drugs began robbing her of her senses finally leaving Kate in darkness.

Jarold looked at the still figure a moment before collecting himself and the woman. He had done well, She would be proud of him.

Chapter 39B

Can't Run, Can't Hide (Ray J)

The Clock Tower, 5:30pm

"I am da bomb."

The voice rang out over the link, the crowing boast filling the clock tower.

Two pairs of eyebrows, one auburn, the other dark shot up at the exclamation. Coming over to the monitors, Helena and Dana just glanced at each other unsure what to make of the proclamation.

"You all owe me. Team Xanthsis comes though."

Helena looked at the screen, then at the FBI agent then back at the screen before doubling over, her laughter echoing around the cavernous room.

"Stop laughing Helena. There is nothing funny." Dinah's image showed her disapproval as she listened and watched the meta's reaction.

"Xanthsis? That sounds like a men's potency prescription."

"Hel! Stop that! That is what we chose and if you dare to make fun of our code name I will..." She broke off making a face. "I'll do something."

Helena shook her head and continued to laugh. "Yes, what will team." She paused and exaggerated her words. "Xantouris do to me?"

"Xanthsis. And we are fearsome and forcesome and all those F words."

"Oh my god." Helena was consumed by another laughing fit and even Dana had to smirk.

A hand tapped Dinah's shoulder although no face could be seen and a paper was passed to her. "Whatever. Listen oh miss laugh at my attempt to be a crimefighter." Dinah paused and straightened to stand event taller. "We found what you and Barbara asked us to."

Helena nodded and managed to control her chuckles. "Yeah?"

"Yes." Dinah shook her head emphatically to punctuate her words. "We are heading out for deep mission training next week, but we managed to have a little time and Kelter and I flew to this location in Belize."

Helena's laughter subsided even as Dana's smirk transformed to one of confusion.


"Oh yeah, Kelter's got wings and well we decided to do some training for the mission and well see we calculated that the tradewinds would..."


"Oh yeah, well, we managed to get to that mission and we found your second perp."

"Perp?" Dana's voice cut across the transmission.

"Yeah isn't that what you say in the FBI."

"Um, sure." Dana said, glancing at Helena before focusing back on the screen.

"Well we interviewed this guy and he confirmed the stuff Barbara sent. It turns out there was this possible meta. He was a low level. More physical mutation. Had a tail and a weird tongue, but that was it. But he took medical lessons in Belize with the local doctors. Was real good too. Then he vanished. Something about family problems. But that picture you sent, of the blonde. Well the locals confirmed that was the same picture this guy had."

Dinah was practically glowing from pride as she paused.

"So we have a medical connection." Dana muttered.

"And a New Gotham connection." Dinah interjected. At this both Helena and Dana refocused. "Apparently, he headed out that way because of the family problem. Something about an asylum."

"Jem." Helena growled the name, her face showing her anger.

Dinah nodded, her face sporting her concern. "Yeah. Barbara's info was on and we got the confirmation. I'm transferring the files. There is an address about an hour outside the main city. That's where he was headed."

Helena was already moving to grab her duster. "That's where we are heading. Good work kid."

Dinah nodded. "Things ok?"

Helena paused and looked at Dinah. "We miss you. She misses you a lot."

There was silence a moment. "Yeah. I know. But..."

"This is going to be the best thing for me." Helena and Dinah finished together and then laughed.

"Barbara would have never recommended you..."

Dinah nodded and cut Helena off. "I know. I miss you guys too. We have to do this deep mission in a week or so, but when that's finished at the end of the month, I get to come home for a bit."

"Damn I better clean out my stuff from your room." Helena winked then.

Dinah paused and looked at Helena, but then remembering that Dana was present she hesitated from asking the questions tripping through her mind. "You better." She said making a mental note to call Helena later, she knew something was up and planned to figure out what. Barbara had dropped a couple of hints earlier and now the blonde, meta's curiosity was growing.

"I tried getting a hold of Barbara, but the comms seem to be down." Dinah added.

"Yeah, I think somethings up. My comms started buzzing at me too. She went to that charity thing-a-mi-jig. I've recorded this." Helena looked at the console. "I think. I'll make sure she checks in later."

The teen nodded and then looked off camera listening to something. "OK, I gotta jet for a few training sims. Let me know if that address checks out." She paused and then looked at Dana. "Nice to talk to and meet you Dana. Maybe later I can ask you some questions about being an FBI agent?"

Dana nodded and smiled warmly at the comment. "Of course. It was nice to meet you too Dinah."

After another round of teases, Dinah and Helena said goodbye.

Helena turned to Dana. "Ok, let's go."

* * * * *

The silence was deafening. That was a very trite and stupid saying and yet the ringing in his ears was about to drive him mad. Of course he always heard a ringing. Maybe it was a side effect of his years around technology. Of course the silence that accompanied his current employer seemed different.

He knew that was silly, yet, he dreaded these meetings and was glad he had found other consultant work, other things to play with. He was not sorry to see this contract come to an end.

"Ok I took out all the signals coming or going to the satellites. Should put 90% of all electronic communication devices out in the radius you asked. Although, the one system you were particularly interested in," he paused as his eyes misted with an unnatural gleam. His thoughts turning to the little computer hacker he had encountered during the morgue fiasco.

"I am betting you do not have a big window with this guy, he'll prolly easily jump the lines and find service soon. Everyone else should be out for only about an hour before they clear my little worm, him, he'd prolly be up in half that time."

She said nothing, merely staring out the window.

"Anything else?" He asked, his nervousness dripping like beads of sweat into his voice.

Still She said nothing, but the door to the conference room swung open. Taking the dismissal the hacker left.

It was a full 15 minutes after the hacker left before She spoke.

"No, you are wrong, she will not be able to find a way out of this little problem today. Normally, yes, our little ploy to cut her off would be no worse than as if a gnat bothered a wildebeest. Much as when the pandering board members bring their problems to me. So easy to sweep them away with a stroke of my tail."

Silence descending on the room again, nothing moved. Then as if no time had passed...

"So she might be able to ignore us, if she wasn't so intent on trying to follow her daddy's wishes and play the good little compassionate daughter. Something she desperately must do so as not to raise too much suspicion that she's really harboring a darker mentality. One that would have her the focus of many a good shrink and concern of those around her."

A small quirk in her lips broke her stillness. "A trait we share. No, she's occupied right now playing nice with a room full of simpering fools, socialites and snobs who are far beneath her for a few hours. A role I know she must loathe as much as I do. But then we all make sacrifices in our quest to reach our goals."

She placed a hand on the window then, her face pressed close; watching New Gotham below her. "Oh my dear. I will reach the darkness you are locked in my little one, please hold on to life a little more. I am coming, I am coming."

Chapter 40

Possession (Sarah McLachlan)

Outside the meeting place of the volunteer committee "For a Safer New Gotham"

Jem finished her soda and threw the can across the street as she headed back towards the office building. She'd missed the woman she had been sent to collect, arriving after the woman had already headed into her meeting or whatever.

Pissed off that Jarold had been right, that watching that final episode of Survivor would make her late, she'd taken her frustration out in a couple of ways. After messing with the target's car to make sure she'd not get away, the meta had gone down the block and decided to have some fun at a local fast food stop.

The blonde heard the woman's car door shut and hissed in frustration. If she missed the target a second time....

Once everything was in the car, Barbara turned the key. It took a moment and a couple of tries, but eventually the engine turned over. Barbara made a mental note to have it checked, just as it died again. She wrinkled her lips and brow as she considered what to do next trying the engine once more.

"Well fucking green shit. I should have just walked in and hauled her damn ass off. But nooooooo. Keep it covert, keep it hidden. No killing or even maiming. Not a scratch Jem darling..." Jem took off running even as she continued to mimic Her.

Thinking the car was going to leave, she darted from the shadows waving her arms over her head.

Catching sight of something in a side mirror, Barbara paused, the engine just roaring to life while she tried to figure out if the person was in trouble or a threat.

Using the fact the car still had not left, Jem put on a burst of speed even as she moved directly behind the hummer trying to get out of range of the mirror. As she reached the back of the car she knocked on the rear of the car.

Twisting in her seat Barbara tried to see where the figure had gone. Unable to see anyone she went to put the car in gear, not wanting to invite trouble.

Having crept low along the ground, Jem suddenly popped up at the driver's side door. One hand grabbing on to the mirror the other knocking on the driver's side window. "Hey there, can I get a lift?" She asked a wide smile on her face as she glimpsed the face from the photo she had been shown. At least she had the right one this time.

"Shit," Barbara growled, trying to get the Hummer moving, but was having trouble getting it into gear. As she struggled with that one hand reached for the tazer under her seat, just in case. Barbara recognized the woman from the case files she'd compiled, and tried to stamp down her fear.

Jem heard the sick grinding sound coming from the car as Barbara tried to shift. "Cool looks like I did something right. I think there are some important engine bits now strewn all over New Gotham." She noticed Barbara dip down, "Hey, where are you going? Come back up here. I want to say hello. Put this window down or I will."

Holding up her cell phone in her left hand Barbara spoke, "I'm calling 911. Leave now!"

Jem had pulled back her fist to strike at the window but froze hearing the voice. The one that she could not stop thinking about since that first encounter. The one she wanted. Sensing that if she shattered the glass, she could hurt the woman, Jem dropped her hand. "It's you."

Her voice lowered then coming out as a husky growl. "I want you and I know your face now. Your face is almost as fucking hot as your voice." She leered as she pushed her face against the glass. "Call anyone you want. I can kill them as they try to save you. You are all I care about. So go ahead and bring more to our party. Killing someone always gets me wet, it'll make me all the more ready for you." She backed away then her eyes riveted on Barbara's.

"You'll never have me," Barbara said with far more conviction than she felt. Hearing the phone ring the redhead began to relay what was happening.

"Hey do you hear that? Although I must admit listening to your voice does draw my attention. I think that is someone coming down the street. Since you are busy talking, I'll just go have some fun while you finish." Jem grinned trying to appear uncaring and not let her frustration at the way the redhead was not playing along to show through. "The first death on your hands because of your inconsideration. Something to draw us together - shared blood. I'll be back." She withdrew a scalpel waving it at Barbara.

Twisting and looking, Barbara didn't see anyone. "You're bluffing," she said. "Besides, you get any further and you won't get to hear my voice," she glared through the glass, tightly gripping the tazer.

The raw lust and edgy frustration at being held back from what she wanted finally got to Jem. She yelled working herself into a frenzy as she focused and pushed out using her meta ability to lift and throw a nearby newspaper machine at the windshield.

Watching the spider-web pattern develop as the windshield shattered but did not fully break, Jem howled in glee. Having started to move even as the machine hit the windshield, she was across the car hood in seconds and pounding on the side window. She could feel it about to shatter.

"Shit," Barbara said, reluctantly pulling back her arms from where she'd raised them when she saw the news paper machine coming. Sticking close to her own door, the redhead tried to get through to the clock tower on her cell even as she cursed having decided to leave the comms in the back as they'd been giving her trouble. She heard the answering machine beep and began trying to relay what was going on.

As the glass gave, Jem snaked in an arm ignoring the pain as the broken glass cut her arm. She paused then listening. "Ah, the city at night. Not a sound in the air, no hum of cars going by, no insane chatter from people, no sirens." Jem laughed at that hoping the police would be delayed this time just as they always had been in the past.

Jem had to admit Her had connections in very nice places.

Unlocking the door, the blonde pulled hard on the handle and leaned into the cab. Her hand shot out fast ripping the cell phone away, she heard it break into pieces as it hit the concrete where she threw it.

"Not happening," Barbara said, finally reaching out at Jem with the tazer.

"No noises to drown out your screams of pain and groans of ecstasy." As Jem said this she shot her arm out gripping the redhead's wrist trying to keep the weapon at bay even as she moved further into the cab trying to subdue Barbara.

"She may need you to complete Her tests, but don't worry, She doesn't want to kill you. She just needs you for a little while, then you are all mine. For ever and ever." Caught up in the idea of ravishing the redhead, she let her focus and grip waver as she shuddered some at the thought.

Barbara swung fist hard at Jem's head. "I'll never be yours."

Jem groaned caught off guard and fell back against the seat. Her grip loosened more as she tried to regain her hold on the woman. "Mine."

Taking advantage of the loosened grip, Barbara twisted hard and forced the tazer against the woman's neck.

The blonde screamed then and fell back and out the door as her body quivered from the shock.

Moving as fast as she could, Barbara began snaking through the opening to the back of the Hummer. She used every ounce of upper strength to try and twist and pull herself back. An odd thought flitted through her head that she was actually glad, in a sense, she could not feel her legs as she knew they were twisting in very bad angles as she worked to get to the back.

A hand appeared and rested on the edge of the seat. After a moment the woman's head appeared, a look of dark anger covering her face. "So you like toys. I will remember that as we play. But for now, playtime is over." She could hear sirens finally in the distance as she lunged into the cab grabbing at the redhead.

"They'll be here before you can get me out of here," Barbara argued, pushing against the woman, but finding little leverage from her current position. With a final grunt, she popped through from the front to the back and landed on the floor.

"You underestimate me," Jem slithered after the computer hacker. Grappling with the redhead, she brought her arm up back handing Barbara across the face. "And I told you what I will do to them when they arrive."

"She'll stop you," Barbara said, swinging a fist again. As she did this, she lunged for her chair, her hand going deep in the side pocket and connecting with her pager. She pulled back, hiding the device on her even as she punched at Jem again.

The meta let the punches land even as she changed her tactics. Plowing forward, over the woman, she managed to open the back, pushing the chair roughly out of the back. "No need for that, I will take care of your every need even as you satiate mine. She pulled Barbara roughly toward the back of the vehicle and the open door. "And stop me? I want her to try. Hmm maybe she'd like to watch as I fuck you into oblivion?"

Seeing a fallen eskrima stick, Barbara grabbed it, extending the object before she began to beat the woman with it. "I told you it's never going to happen!"

Jem released Barbara as she held up her arms trying to deflect the blows. "What the hell is wrong with you? Just stop trying to be a super bitch before I really..." she paused a blow to her chest forcing out her breath. "Have..." Another pause as she took another hit. "To hurt you." As she said this she managed to sneak in under the weapon and with a growl pulled both of them out of the car and onto the ground.

The move surprised Barbara, and she in turn lost her grip on the weapon when she hit the ground.


It still didn't stop the redhead from swinging. She just had to hold out just a little longer.

"Time to go. But first, something I have spent every waking moment imagining," Jem grabbed Barbara tightly about the shoulders and lifted her, crushed the woman against her chest. As she did that she forced her lips against Barbara's.

"Mmm-" Barbara managed to get out, still trying to free herself.

"Now for a little foreplay." With that Jem lashed out placing a strong, calculated blow across the redhead's jaw followed by another intended to knock out the feisty woman.

"Oh this is going to be sooooooo much fun."

Chapter 41

No Way Out (Theory of a Deadman)

An abandoned hospital somewhere outside of New Gotham
time is not important anymore

"Wha-" Barbara said, her eyes finally opening just in time to try and avoid an incoming hand, but finding herself restrained. She felt the brief sting against her numb cheek as the hand imparted a small slap.

Jarold tightened the straps around the artist's wrists and ankles. He winced hearing his sister's hand connect once again with the teacher's face. He sighed some and then moved to check the monitors making sure the woman's vitals were strong. No need to have something happen before She arrived.

He was about to speak to Jem then thought better of it. He'd watch and hope the others arrived soon before Jem became too engrossed in her games. Nervously he began preparing some of the instruments and syringes, his gaze going between his work and his sister.

"Finally, you must have a glass jaw." Jem pulled back resting her hand on the bed's edge. "Did you have a nice nap?"

"Where am I?" Barbara asked, still blinking, trying to focus as she looked around the room. The restraints were definitely not a good sign.

"Home." Jem replied casually as she ran a finger across the sheet that covered the woman from the midsection down. She let her finger walk idly up the woman's leg. As she neared the thigh, Jem veered her hand and rested it back on the edge of the bed.

"You think she's not already on her way?" Barbara asked, glaring at the woman. She recognized the young man off to one side, but couldn't place the brunette in the next bed over.

"Of course She is coming. She wants to oversee things. Make sure Her little plans go well." Jem moved up then and leaned close inspecting Barbara's face. "But you meant that other little bitch, didn't you?"

"Does this hurt?" Jem asked as she started tracing the bruises on the woman's face already beginning to show.

Twisting her head away, Barbara pulled at her arms. "Who are you talking about?" she asked, still not sure why they would grab not one, but two people.

"Why, you, silly." She reached out cupping Barbara's chin, her fingers curling up to roughly squeeze the cheeks as she wrenched the redhead's face back toward her. "I was asking if your bruises hurt? You need to learn when I ask a question, you should answer, not ask more questions."

Grimacing at both the new angle of her neck and the grip on her face Barbara tried to pull away, but couldn't. "Ow," she managed around the grip.

Still squeezing, Jem leaned in close. Her attention briefly diverted watching the woman's skin turning first red then white around the places where her fingers were gripping the face. "Am I hurting you? Do you want me to stop?"

"Yes," Barbara said, her eyes closed as she tried to fight the pain.

"Yes what?"

"Yes, it hurts and I want you to stop."

"Magic word?"

"Please," Barbara said, though her eyes opened, clearly defiant.

"That's better." Jem whispered. She slid her hand up then softly caressing the reddened skin so she could lay her palm against the woman's cheek.

"And I am glad you opened your eyes. I like the green. Almost as sexy as your voice. "Although they are still a little too confident. We will work on that. We have so much to do. Where do you think we should start?"

"Start with letting me go. Huntress is going to beat the shit out of you as it is," Barbara said with a glare, pulling her face away from the contact; her usual reserve and more formal wording slipping for the moment.

"You are mine, why would I let you go?" She replied making a face as the woman pulled away. Jem let her hand drop to rest on the bed near Barbara's head. She idly began playing with some of the red hair.

"Huntress, she's the other one? You really think she can find you?" Jem laughed then and leaned on the bed so her lips were near the woman's ear. "You have a lot of confidence in her don't you?"

Making a face, Barbara quickly moved her head sideways managing to hit Jem. "Yes, yes, and yes."

"Bitch." Jem moved back some, her fingers pulling hard on the red hair. "I think you should watch your temper. Although I do like it rough. I am going to fucking enjoy watching you squirm as I twist away inside you. And you better scream, oh fuck yeah I wanna hear you scream." Jem looked up then her mind distracted by images of what was to come.

Grimacing again, Barbara tried to think of what she could do. She could keep up the arguing, which would buy her time, and bruises, or she could cooperate. Unfortunately, the medical instruments about the room made whatever was coming look not so good.

"And why so confident in this other woman? I mean look here you lay. No thanks to her. I'd say you have misplaced your confidence and trust." Jem let her hand rest lightly on Barbara's abdomen. "She's failed you before, hasn't she? Has she always been there for you?" Jem looked at Barbara's legs. "How were you hurt?"

"Nothing to do with her. I was hurt because of someone even more insane than you. If you can imagine such a person," Barbara said.

"I'm not insane. I am misunderstood." Jem laughed as let her hand run up through the silky hair, her fingers resting to start massaging Barbara's scalp.

"Where was your mighty Huntress earlier, hmmm? Are you certain she is still alive to be able to come and help you? I do not leave loose ends. She was a damn good fight though. I will admit she was the only one to almost come close to beating me. She drops her left a little too much. Made it easy for the knife to slide in, so deep." Jem shivered. "Oh yeah, she didn't scream though. I had to kick her a lot before she even said anything. Then it was just your fucking name. What a wuss."

Barbara didn't say anything, just tried to pull away from Jem's touch and think about Helena arriving. That was what Helena did, rarely early, but always there.

Jarold came back over to check on Kate even as his attention was drawn to his sister. He hissed at her words trying to show his disapproval. He took the unconscious woman's arm and began prepping it so he could start an IV.

"Take your time with her bro. I'm going to have some fun here. Then you can do your work. I want my lover to do a few things for me and if she is good then you can have her. Jem turned then to look down at Barbara. "But if she's not good... then I shall have to punish her." Jem closed her eyes. "Oh yeah...."

"Pathetic. You have to tie someone up to get a date?" Barbara growled. She knew it was low, but hopefully it would keep Jem distracted for a bit.

Jem kept her eyes closed and took a deep breath in even as she back-handed the woman. "Bondage is all the rage these days."

She opened her eyes and looked down, a flash of anger surfacing before Jem pushed it down. "Yyou are the pathetic one. If I untied you and dumped you on the floor, how far could you really get? How far could you drag yourself before your arms gave out? Then what would you do? Call for your dead friend?"

"She's not dead," Barbara shot back; it couldn't be true. Right?

"Yeah she is." Jem said and shrugged. "Sorry, she should have left me alone. You know, I thought you were supposed to be smart. You knew all I wanted was you. If you had not had such a defiant ice queen bitch 'tude, she might still be alive. Life's kinda fucked up sometimes, ain't it?" So tell me, how far down do you have feeling?"

"I would know if something had happened to her," Barbara said, pulling and trying to see how far she could move.

"You would know that your friend is lying in some alleyway her blood pooled around her? How is that possible, they said you were not meta and had no powers." Jem went over and got a sharp instrument and came back to stand beside Barbara.

"And you did not answer my question naughty little girl. So let's see, there or there?" She let a finger glide first along Barbara's jaw and then down to twirl in circles on the skin above Barbara's blouse collar.

"You think I'm going to start cooperating now?" Barbara asked, getting insulted.

"Oh you will do what I say and when I say and someday you may even like it. First I am going to have to test things myself. But then you will do what I say, when I say and you will talk to me."

She jabbed the instrument down then into Barbara's leg. "Nope not there." She came up and jabbed a few ore times, moving up slightly each time. "Nope, how about here." She started to bring the instrument in to stab the redhead's inner thigh.

"Jem, nooooo, we need her for...

"No worries Jar. As long as she is alive that's all we need. Go back to your counting."

"Wow, this is really intimidating," Barbara said, looking at the cuts. None looked to be too deep, and from the sounds of it, the woman could only do so much without getting into trouble herself. At least that was what she hoped to be true.

Angry, Jem started to make a fist to hit the woman but instead leaned in grabbing at her shoulders and roughly kissing the teacher.

Twisting and pulling back her head, Barbara tried to stop the woman. This was getting old, and fast.

Cursing Jem pulled back, her face stinging from where the woman had hit against her face again. "You know what, where's that stuff Jarold?" Jem stormed off looking around the lab.

"Where's that stuff we used on the diplomat to get him to loosen up. I want to have some fun now. We can work on breaking your spirit tomorrow and the next day and the next. I'll even bring back your friend, or is it girlfriend's body from the morgue. Then you won't have that little fantasy to save you. Oh here it is."

"Sissss what are you doing." Jarold came over watching as she filled a syringe. "We need them."

"This wears off in a few hours. By then her throat will be raw from screaming and you can do your tests on them. You set up the other one yet?"

Jarold shook his head just watching his sister.

"What are you doing?" Barbara asked, seeing the needle. "What the hell is she doing?" she then demanded of the boy.

Jarold walked over to the beds, glancing over as Jem finished filling the syringe. He looked back at Barbara laying a hand on her arm. "I, I'm ssssorry. She'ssss, just.... do what she says. She doesn't understand. I don't want her to hurt you."

He shifted from foot to foot, "If you are damaged, She will hurt my sister. My sister can be gentle sometimes. She use to be..." Jarold trailed off. "I have to take care of..." He looked down and moved to go and put the IV in Kate.

Jem came over and set the syringe on the table where Barbara could see it. She then leaned in and tightened the wrist restraints. "You have such walls and a strong, outward defiance. Since we don't have time for dinner, dancing and all the shit people use to try and seem like they care and thus get your guard down, I'm going to use something to help." She waved at the drug.

"I mean be honest with yourself. What is the difference between what's in that needle and what ever words and bullshit your little girlfriend fed you? Really, what's the difference? Both of us just want you to drop the walls and attitude. At least I am honest and up front. Her way is a half lie, tricking you into a false sense of love and trust."

The blonde shook her head then and turned to pick up the syringe. "Ok, don't relax, this will hurt more and hey I like that."

"Huntress is going to stop you," Barbara said very evenly. Knowing that it wouldn't help her any to move, the redhead watched as Jem injected the drug.

"How can a ghost hurt me?" Jem asked as she placed the empty syringe on the table. She then started brushing the red hair from Barbara's face.

"What was that?" Barbara asked, eyeing the syringe as she waited for whatever it was to kick in.

"You just can't help asking questions can you?" Jem grinned as she continued to let her fingers glide over Barbara's face and skin. "Is that what she liked about you? She must have had a lot more patience than I do to put up with your questions and shit."

"She's really going to have it in for you now," Barbara murmured, feeling slightly disoriented.

"Sweetie," Jem managed to just push her anger and frustration down knowing the woman in the bed would soon see things her way. Although if the woman kept giving her lip...

Jem used both hands to cup the woman's face, her thumbs gently brushing over the bruised facial skin. "I told you she's gone. Don't torture yourself thinking she is still here. We have so many other things to think about."

Feeling like she was working through water, Barbara slowly closed her eyes and opened them again. Try as she might, she knew she couldn't fight chemical reactions.

"Now then, let's start with something simple. Do you know poetry?"

"Of course," Barbara said slowly, still fighting the drug.

"Then say something. Tell me a poem. I want to hear something sexy dripping off those lips of yours instead of the very naughty things you had been saying earlier." Jem leaned in close then, her hands moving to Barbara's shoulders as she leaned against the bed her body humming with want.

"Roses are red, violets are blue, I'm in love, but not with you," Barbara managed, knowing it would be her last barb for a while as she closed her eyes again, the drug affecting her system more and more.

Chapter 42

Am I Too Late (Old 97's)

The Birds' Clock Tower, Wednesday night

Confused when her comms started beeping, but wouldn't let her talk to Barbara. Helena made her way to the clock tower. When she finally arrived all she heard were alarms. Added to that, no one was there. No Barbara. No Alfred.

After hitting a few buttons and only managing to make the alarms louder Helena started yelling at things. Moving to a phone she found Scully's number and dialed.

* * * * *

Looking over the reports again. Dana nodded her head happy with the progress as she felt what she and Barbara had discussed earlier was on target. She knew the computer guru was working on a more in depth psych profile to try and help them tease some possible motivation if it existed.

The earlier trip she and Helena had made netted information about the second possible killer. He had come to America and paired with a doctor at an old hospital before both seemed to disappear. The doctor's colleague they had talked to was sorry he could not provide more.

At least she had narrowed down a basic link between the killings. Although what they would want with the assorted organs was something they still were trying to understand. She looked at the list she and Barbara had generated of the various organs and other possible missing parts. Dana really did not think they were trophies. And not all of the victims had organs removed, some had been exploratory in nature.

The phone disturbed her ruminations and she took off her glasses, snapping off the stereo as she picked up the receiver. "Hello?" She frowned hearing some strange noises coming from the phone. "Hello?"

"It's Helena!" the brunette yelled, her free hand plugging one ear while the other held the phone tight against her ear. "I can't hear you, but I need you here! There's a problem! I'm at the clock tower! Did you understand that?"

"What?" Dana found herself automatically yelling some as the woman's voice had come through only partially. "Did you say come to the tower?" As she spoke she moved starting to try and find her keys.

"CLOCK TOWER! ASAP!" Helena managed to scream before hanging up the phone and hitting the speed dial labeled Dinah.

Seeing who was on Caller ID, Dinah smiled as she answered. "Hey. I am sorry if I missed any other calls we were doing surveillance training, total communications blackout." She replied trying to focus on Hel's voice not the alarms. "What's wrong? What is all that noise?"

"I can't shut it off!" Helena yelled, hoping Dinah would just tell her how to fix it.

"You can't get what off?" Dinah plugged her ear shouting back. "What's wrong, you burn something and set off the smoke alarms? Have Barbara patch into your place and turn off the system."

"It's the clock tower! Barbara's not here!" Helena yelled, growing even more impatient. "Just tell me what to do before I break everything!"

Dinah's eyes widened, "You were cooking in the clock tower? Barbara let you... man Alfred is going to not be happy. What do you mean no Barbara? Were you trying to cook a surprise..." Dinah chattered on forgetting about the alarms.

"Oh my god, Barbara said something was up between you two. And you are cooking, this is great." She frowned hearing more alarms, "Well those are not sounding too great...."

"Not the fire alarm! The alarm, alarm!" Helena yelled, hating when the blonde was too happy.

"Other alarms? Why isn't Oracle responding? She usually carries her little beeper, Delphi, responder thingy." Another semi-audible growl/mutter from the phone snapped Dinah back to the current situation. "Okay first try..." she gave the brunette a couple of steps to follow hoping she could handle it. Biting her lip, the blonde waited.

"Then!?" Helena yelled, doing exactly as she was told.

"Then things should be a little more quiet. What's going on Helena? Is this about the Dissection Killings case you are on? Why are there still alarms ringing? Did you touch the yellow button? I told you not to touch the yellow button. You know she's not going to like you playing with her buttons."

"Which button do I push last?" Helena yelled, about to lose it.

Rolling her eyes, the teen thought about the different things Barbara had been teaching her before she left. She gave Helena another series of steps as she shook her head thinking that should work. Well as long as Helena did not start breaking anything or ripping any wires. The teen wished she could be there to see the discussion between the two once Barbara found out Helena had been messing with Delphi.

"Silence. My god. This is beautiful," Helena said, nearly dropping the phone.

"Now spill, what is going on and why are you calling? Although, you know, you should be calling me more. In fact when are you going to visit? You promised you'd stop by, take a break."

"I can't find Barbara," Helena said, concerned. "My comms started beeping, she wasn't on the other end, and she's not here. How else am I supposed to be able to get a hold of her?" Helena asked, moving around as she saw a blinking red light.

"Are you serious? Delphi sent out a notification alarm and no Barbara? Is her Delphi receiver thing on?" Dinah absently caught a strand of hair and started nibbling on it as her mind raced with possibility. "She had that volunteer thing tonight. She went to that thing-a-mi-jig right?" The teen used Helena's words from earlier.

"None of her committee stuff lasts this long. And if the Delphi went off, she'd get out of it," Helena argued. "Wait a sec, there's a message or something, I'll put you on speaker," the brunette said, moving so that the blonde could hear before she replayed the message hearing Barbara's last words.

When it was finished, Helena was already swearing. "Dinah. I have to find her. Now! She put the tracker things in our comms, is there one for her?"

"Helena?" Dinah had strained to hear everything in the message and was still thrown off by what she had heard. Another prompting from the brunette forced her out of her daze. "There's, um, she set three I know of. She was showing me all of the tracking programs one day..."

Dinah's voice faltered slightly before a slight pause. There was a shifting noise and then the girl's voice came back stronger and determined. "Um I know her phone is linked to Delphi and so is her main Delphi responder. You can call up a map overlay image for all of the tracker programs. That would probably be fastest. Then just look for Barbara's signals." The teen gave Helena instructions on how to bring up the program and how to tell which one would be Barbara's.

"Two are at the location of the committee meeting. Then there's a third outside the city." Helena reported, passing along details as she figured them out.

"They are split - oh that's bad."

"Dammit. Listen Dinah, Dana'll be here any minute. I'll let you know what happens as soon as I know what's going on, alright?" Helena said, already pulling her coat back on as she memorized the address of what she thought was the Hummer.

"The signals are split? That's not good." Dinah was running through the possible combinations. "I mean unless she lost her phone and Delphi receiver together. She's always in her chair so why are they split?" Distracted the blonde rambled on wishing she was not thousands of miles away. "Is there anything I can do?" she asked wanting to help.

"I'll let you know. Thank you Dinah," Helena said, moving to check the cameras in the elevator.

"You better. A couple of the trainees here can fly. I'll be expecting a call very soon or else. Take care of her and you Helena." She said softly.

Dana pulled her car to a stop outside the tower's closed garage entrance.

"Dana's here. I'll call you soon," Helena said, hanging up before making sure that the alarms wouldn't go off when Dana entered.

Watching the door open, Dana slowly drove her car in and shut off the engine. Wondering exactly what was going on, she got out of the car to head toward the elevator.

"Finally," Helena said, looking up as the elevator doors opened. "Barbara's gone, and something's wrong. I need to go check a spot about 6 blocks from here. Can you do something to figure out how far she was from locating the psychos while I'm gone?" the brunette asked, her comments coming rapid fire as she tried to get going.

Taking in a deep breath, Dana nodded immediately sensing the urgency and need for being calm and collected. "We know she was going to run some programs she had developed to try and give a general location based on some of the crime time occurrences and location patterns. Things are almost too organized to be the work of a random killer." Dana made a face, "I can look to see if she made any notes. I don't know her system though."

"I don't do computers at all. I'll be right back, 20 minutes tops," Helena said before disappearing out the balcony door.

It didn't take five minutes for Helena to reach the right location. It didn't take five seconds for her to know it wasn't good. Finding both the Hummer and the wheelchair, Helena bit down hard, trying not to scream.

Add in the broken glass and the brunette was ready to explode, the only thing keeping her from doing just that was the lack of blood. Wherever she was, Barbara was intact. For now.

Making record time back to the clock tower, Helena tried to block out the images her imagination kept coming up with. "Did you find anything?"

"That was fast." Dana said looking up from one of folders they had retrieved from the hospital. "I don't know how to get into the computer. But she did add some notes to the case files. She referenced a couple of the entries by one of Jem's doctors. It looks like they were planning on moving Jem after her condition changed."

The agent paused leafing through the files. "Everyone on staff agreed, except this one. He was the only dissenting vote. He was transferred to the hospital about two weeks before Jem and there is a note Barbara left here about checking the prison and previous employment. Maybe she thinks he knows something?"

"We don't have time to track people down," Helena argued, looking back to the large map. "Wait, the third signal, it's gone, where..." Frustrated Helena began banging on equipment.

"Helena, stop." Dana grabbed Helena by her shoulders and turned the meta towards her. She flinched as she saw the young woman's eyes flash and change. "Helena?"

"I have to find her. This Jem... the sicko bitch said things to Barbara. She wanted her. If she has her... I promised Barbara nothing would happen to her, I would keep her safe..."

Dana was silent as she tilted her head; seeing, feeling and hearing the intense emotions coming from Helena. She made a rueful face as she witnessed how much the brunette cared for Barbara, the errant wish those emotions would be directed at her engulfing her mind for a moment.

But then, those wishes were pushed away as she saw with a resigned clarity that Helena was in love with Barbara. "Take a deep breath. We will find her. The place where she disappeared, what is in that area?"

"Older part of town..." Helena replied her voice faint as she worked to regain her composure. Her eyes changing back to normal.

"What is around that area?"

Dana's forceful tone and guiding questions helped snap Helena from her foggy haze as she hit a few buttons zooming in on the map. "Apartments, a school or two, the old Eggers state hospital, a bunch of old warehouses, most run down and abandoned, burned out. There may be a few shops..."

"Wait, hospital. That..." Dana scrambled for the file Barbara had made notes in. There was the name of a hospital near one of the doctor's names. "The doctor in question use to work at that place. I think it was mentioned earlier today too."

Needing to do something, Helena confirmed the place was too far for her to reach via her normal mode of travel. She pulled roughly on Scully's arm. "We go there, now, drive."

Not offended by the action, Dana just nodded and followed after a very grim and determined Helena.

Chapter 43A

Tear Me Down (from Hedwig and the Angry Inch)

Abandoned Sanatorium on outskirts of New Gotham
Thursday, 12:03am

"Turn up here," Helena said, pointing, literally on the edge of her seat as she strained against the seat belt.

Dana did as instructed. "We had no way to know there would be a detour, we'll get there." She rested her gaze briefly on Helena taking in her body language. "Are you sure you're going to be ok to handle this? We should call this in."

"I'm not waiting that long. You can call them for the clean-up," Helena said, watching their surroundings carefully. "There, just pull up in front."

"You care about her." It was a statement not a question. She pulled up and shut off the engine noting a couple of cars parked near the entrance. She reached out to grab Helena's arm. "If you go in, in the wrong frame of mind, someone could get hurt."

"I have to protect her. I've already failed her so far today," Helena said, looking back at Dana, waiting a moment for her to let go.

"Failed her?" Dana felt the small tug on her hold but refused to let go. "I don't see how what you have done would qualify as failing her. These people, they keep staying one step ahead, it has nothing to do with your abilities. But if you go in and end up hurt, or letting yourself focus on the wrong thing, then you will have failed her."

"My focus is surprise. I have to catch that bitch off-guard and take her down before she gets a chance at me," Helena answered, her eyes and words clear.

"Take her down?" Scully frowned at those words. "The idea is to just get in and get Barbara out safely. Then let the others come in for clean-up, right?"

"Right," Helena said. "I'm going in," she added, finally pulling away from Dana's grip, she couldn't wait any longer.

"Yeah, right.... why do I have a bad feeling..." Dana muttered under her breath as she got out of the car. She pulled out her gun and checked it as she moved around to stand next to Helena. "Are we going in the front, or trying to find a back way in?"

"Not sure which room exactly, just follow me and stay quiet," Helena replied already moving and not looking back.

* * * * *

"You little whore," Jem's face twisted as she found her patience torn from her by the cute words. She kicked at the table and grabbed the instrument from before and worked her frustration out stabbing at the redhead's legs once again.

"I think it is more than your legs that don't feel. But it doesn't matter, it's not your love I want. In fact I feel sorry for anyone who might try to love you. I doubt you could fully love them back. I think your heart is just as withered and crippled as your legs."

Jem threw the tool across the lab. "Now you are going to do what I say, answer my questions and give me what I want. Or you will hurt for a very, very long time." Wanting some sort of satisfaction, Jem leaned in, wrapping her hand roughly in the silky red hair as she tried again to deeply kiss the woman.

"Can't feel that," Barbara stated, her speech slow as she moved her head side to side before she was caught up by Jem. ~I can feel though. I...~

"See, we are starting to agree on something." Jem laughed some pulling back. "So can you feel this?" As she spoke, Jem moved in again trying to kiss the woman. Not happy with the position. The blonde moved quickly, jumping up to straddle Barbara.

"You kissed me," the redhead murmured, getting more confused and trying to determine what was out of place. She was finding it harder to remember why she didn't want to be here or why she didn't want to respond to the way her body was being touched.

Jem leaned in close, her fingers gliding over the bruised cheek waiting until Barbara's eyes were open and focused back on her. "Yes I did, do you like being kissed? Let's try this again. I mean if something feels good, just let go and do it." Jem bent down again intent on capturing the woman's lips with hers.

Finding it harder and harder to think above the way her body wanted to react, Barbara didn't fight the kiss this time. In fact she found it easier just to return the action, fighting things was using so much energy. And she needed to save her energy. She knew that. She had to save her energy for... for... she couldn't remember a name.

"Not right to forget. I never forget." She mumbled into the kiss. "Gotta remember her name. Need to be ready for her." ~Wonder if she will like my poetry...~ She arched her back up against the blonde as the meta's hands glided along Barbara's face, neck and began moving lower.

Averting his eyes, Jarold tried to ignore his sister and prayed that She would not mind the redhead's condition. He scuttled over to check on Kate, at least she was not harmed. He had done his job well.

Finally reaching the right doorway, Helena moved to look in the room. She paused, but only for a moment before launching herself over the first bed and into the girl. The girl that was on top of Barbara.

Engrossed in the kiss, Jem felt her body humming with anticipation as the woman beneath her was finally starting to respond, was starting to play. So captivated by the thought of winning, she barely had time to react as Helena hit her.

Releasing the redhead, her arms flailing to try and grab on to something, the two crashed to the floor.

Scully had stayed close to Helena waiting in the hallway as the brunette had opened yet another door. She'd put a call in hoping backup would arrive before things got too complicated.

Waiting to hear what was in the room, Dana swore as Helena suddenly disappeared inside the room. "I guess this is where they are." She said slipping in the room trying to assess the situation.

Jarold cried out and jumped, pushing roughly against the bed and woman he had been attending to as the sound and flurry of action so close scared him. He struggled to recover, watching as his sister was tangled up with the same woman from the alleyway.

"Wha-" Kate tried to speak, slowly coming to as her bed was jolted, but finding her voice rough. It was then that she became more aware when she couldn't move her arms or legs very far.

Letting her momentum carry them, Helena rolled until she could slam Jem into the far wall. Getting to her knees she continued to move against the other meta, "Fun time's over, bitch."

Dodging an incoming blow, Jem twisted catching the brunette's arm as it missed. "Awww someone's jealous they didn't get invited to play." She pulled on the arm twisting her body as she did.

"Although you are right, we were having fun until you came in. Strange how your arrival ruined the mood - you do that to her often?" Even as she spoke, her other hand was driving in towards Helena's midsection.

Far too busy trying to deliver hits, Helena didn't see the shot to her midsection coming. Grimacing some at the blow she pulled with it, rolling again, trying to throw off the other woman. "Jealous? You're jealous because I don't have to kidnap her!" Helena retorted.

"Method doesn't matter, only results. And at least I am getting results from her. Can you say the same?" Pushing forward, Jem traded blows with the brunette as she worked to change her position. Reaching out she pulled on some shelves sending them towards Helena.

"No, stop." Upset, Jarold rushed forward wanting to stop this now before too much damage was done. He scooped up a handful of items and headed towards the fray.

Keeping an eye on Helena, Dana knew she could not get a shot off at this point. Rather than try to break Helena's flow. The agent headed for the beds intent on trying to release the women.

"You heard the boy. Stop. At least he already knows that you're going down," Helena said, avoiding the shelves as she slipped around on the floor.

"No he's just obsessed with being a yes boy. He fears Her more than anything." She skidded then feeling Helena connect as she came in once again punching at the blonde.

Trying to defend herself, Jem smirked then. "Jarold. I got this one. Start the tests, now. Start the injections with the redhead." As she said this, she lunged at Helena trying to wrap her arms around the brunette.

* * * * *

Dana focused on getting to the beds. She winced seeing the two women bound and their state. She looked around for something to try and cut through the bonds. Tucking her gun back in her holster, she grabbed a bladed tool, "Are you two alright? Are you badly hurt?"

"He... he drugged me," Kate said, struggling to remember what had put her there.

"I can't feel anything, but she's wrong." Barbara admitted, turning to watch the two bouncing around the room, trying to remember whose side she was on. And a name, she had to remember the name.

" Charlotte, no. Katherine, no. Barbara, oh wait that's me. Selena maybe." Barbara closed her eyes to the action around her as she continued obsessing over the name. Her thoughts were hazy and hard to control, but she wanted to remember the name.

For some reason an image of a classroom and her lecturing to the class swam into view. She started reciting the text out loud not sure why.

Doctor Faustus, since our conference about fair ladies, which was the beautifullest in all the world, we have determined with ourselves that Helen of Greece was the admirablest lady that ever lived. Therefore, Master. Doctor, if you will do us so much favor, as to let us see that peerless dame of Greece, whom all the world admires for majesty, we should think ourselves much beholding unto you.

Was this fair Helen whose admired worth Made Greece with ten years wars afflict poor Troy?

Barbara paused, the sounds from the fight blending into the rushing in her head. Unable to touch the sounds to make sense, she fell back on trying to figure out the name of the woman she knew would make things right. She plucked another memory from the whirling chaos.

Was this the face that launched a thousand ships,
And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?
Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss.
Her lips suck forth my soul; see where it flies.
Come, Helen, come, give me my soul again.
Here will I dwell, for heaven is in these lips,
And all is dross that is not Helena.
I will be Paris, and for love of thee,
Instead of Troy shall Wittenberg be sacked,
And I will combat with weak Menelaus,
And wear thy colours on my plumed crest.
Yea, I will wound Achilles in the heel,
And then return to Helen for a kiss.
O, thou art fairer than the evening's air
Clad in the beauty of a thousand stars.
Brighter art thou then flaming Jupiter,
When he appeared to hapless Semele,
More lovely than the Monarch of the sky,
In wanton Arethusa's azure arms,
And none but thou shalt be my paramour.

Barbara closed her eyes then as the words she had recited satisfied her need to remember.

* * * * *

"Too late now," Helena said, throwing a few trays of supplies in Jem's direction. "Show's over little girl."

"Show's just getting started." She batted the items back towards Helena. "And it is too late, but not for me. Seems I'm not the only one who obsessed to the point of ignorance. Little brother is about to make sure your two friends fulfill the reason why we brought them here."

She threw a kiss Helena's way even as she swept in kicking at the meta trying to connect.

"Can't feel?" Frowning, Dana moved quickly to the nearest bed and began cutting at Kate's restraints. "If you both were drugged..." She had just cut through the first restraint when she just registered something wrapping around her ankle.

Turning she managed to catch a glimpse of Jarold as he pulled again with his tail sending her to the floor.

"Think you could help me!" Helena yelled, only to see Dana sliding off in another direction. "Guess Not." She looked back at Jem. "Ok, fine, you get this the hard way," the brunette said, taking the kick before barreling into the other meta.

"Shit," Kate said, using her free hand to try and release the other as she looked around, trying to ignore the tubes currently running from her arm.

"Lots of shit," Dana managed as she rolled trying to get up only to feel Jarold's foot connect with her side. Groaning, she twisted trying to dodge the next blow. As he pulled back to kick again, she brought the blade she had been using around and lodged it in his leg.

Howling, Jarold staggered back pulling the scalpel from his leg. He caught sight of Kate struggling and hobbled around grabbing at her trying to keep things together.

Curling under the increased blows, Jem found herself being hit more and more. She kicked out at Helena and flung what ever was near her hand even as she scrabbled away from the brunette. Her eyes focused on the two beds across the room and she headed towards that direction.

Moving as fast as she could after Jem, Helena snatched up a bit of metal, swinging it at the other meta. She could tell that Barbara was bleeding and murmuring, the other girl was struggling to get free. Helena just had to keep Jem out of the way so that Dana could get them clear.

Jumping over Helena, Jem initially dodged the metallic object only to feel it connect in her back as she lunged forward. Screaming out in pain, Jem dropped to the floor kicking viscously at Helena's knees and legs even as she scooted closer to the beds. Her anger growing with ever kick and punch.

Easily seeing Jem's reaction coming, Helena dodged the blows before grabbing the blonde's ankles sliding her across the room.

Skidding a little, Jem rolled to her feet and wavered slightly. Wiping at a bleeding cut along her temple, the blonde looked around the room trying to find a way to take out the brunette. She let her gaze linger on the teacher making sure she was still secure and not going to be taken from her.

* * * * *

Scully kicked out at Jarold's feet and watched him stagger and fall against a nearby table and slip to the floor. Grabbing at the scalpel as it skittered her way having been dropped by Jarold, she put a hand up on Kate's bed trying to pull herself to her feet.

Dana tried to block out the fight and other distractions. She steadied her self and looked down trying to catch Kate's eyes. "Are you alright?"

"Am I being drugged again?" Kate asked, still struggling before she finally freed her other hand.

"No. No one's going to drug you again." Dana stated firmly as she risked a brief glance checking on Jem and Helena as well as looking back toward Jarold.

She swore quietly as Jarold had disappeared from sight.

"Can you help me free Barbara? She's in the other bed. Are you able to stand?" Dana smiled some while resting her hand on the woman's shoulder briefly hoping to reassure Kate. She then held out the bladed instrument to Kate before she moved away trying to locate the young man. Her eyes searching, she once again withdrew her gun.

Chapter 43B

Wicked Little Town (from Hedwig and the Angry Inch)

Abandoned Sanatorium on outskirts of New Gotham

"Blondie, over here. I'm the one you should be worried about," Helena said, situating herself between Jem and Barbara.

Jem's eyes flickered from the woman on the bed to Helena briefly before looking back at Barbara even as her words were directed to the other meta. "I don't fucking care about you. You don't matter to me and soon enough you won't exist for her. Why keep chasing something you can't have and don't deserve?" As she finished her last sentence she headed for the other woman.

"Now you're really starting to insult me," Helena said, her self-confidence having grown with each of the last few hits.

"Truth hurts. Easier to not listen or run then feel that kind of pain, ain't it?" Jem replied stepping back as she started breathing harder. Wiping some blood from her bleeding lip. The blonde focused back on Barbara using her want and desire to energize her actions as she headed back at Helena. "So why not just run along, save yourself the trouble and pain."

"My pain? I'm not seeing any pain here, 'cept maybe from you." Helena taunted, grinning as she began to bounce on her feet.

* * * * *

Trying to move quickly, Kate began using the scalpel to cut at her ankle restraints. The ankle restraints didn't take as long. Not with the scalpel.

Crouching down, Dana headed toward the table where she had last seen Jarold. Hearing something, she turned. "Listen, I am FBI and will shoot if you do not stop and come out with your hands where I can see them. You can stop this now or you can...."

Her words were cut off as a beaker came flying at her. As she dodged, a blur followed and Dana felt herself falling as Jarold tackled her and pulled her to the ground. She reached her arm out and scooted across the floor trying to get away from the man.

"Yessss you will stop. Then we can continue Her work. We need to prepare. I'm sssorry." He had been crawling on his knees toward Scully as she kept twisting and scrabbling backwards.

She felt Jarold's tail grab her ankle and begin pulling her towards him. Looking back along her body, she could just see Jarold using his tail as his hands busied with the syringe he had pulled from his back pocket.

"Damn," Dana brought her free foot down hard on the meta's tail and lunged backwards trying to get to her fallen gun.

"I hate needles." Dana muttered as she heard the young man cry out even as the hold was released enough that she made the last few inches feeling her fingers wrap around the handle.

Determined not to fail Her, Jarold rose up on his knees and lunged at Dana hoping to be able to restrain the agent and stop her.

Narrowing her focus, Dana twisted back only to find Jarold advancing. Her eyes flitted to the needle and she tried to move her leg even as she fired. She braced for a second shot even as the young man fell forward, the needle clattering on the tile floor beside Dana.

"Holy shit!" Kate yelled, stumbling off of the bed. Moving toward the still restrained redhead, she almost faltered, wanting instead to just run for her life.

* * * * *

"Dana!" Helena yelled, distracted enough to take her eyes off the blonde to see what had happened.

That sound.

That fearful, stifling sound.

One of the few sounds that would pull Barbara regardless of her task, a sound that had signaled the dramatic change in her life so long ago.

Barbara's eyes flew open but were unable to focus on the bleary world in front of her. She heard struggles and loud noises, the more pleasurable feelings from earlier gone. She tried to move to run. She felt something holding her arms and legs, no, just her arms. The redhead realized with stark terror she could not feel her legs.

"No not again, dear god, no." She cried out still trying to escape. But she knew she could not escape, not alone. She needed... "Helena, Helena. No not again. I can't save you, I need to..." She locked onto the thought that she needed to save Helena and needed Helena to save her, the drug clouding the thoughts.

"What the fuck," Jem growled her gaze also torn towards the sound. Seeing the frantic motions of the redhead, Jem frowned and then felt her face contort in anger. "You brought bad shit here. You are dead."

"You're not touching her again," Helena said, "I thought we'd made that much clear." Still bouncing, the brunette waited for the blonde to make the first move.

"Oh yeah?" She moved as if to tackle the brunette then swerved suddenly. She jumped up and over a table and running along the top, leapt down having circumvented Helena to stand at the end of Barbara's bed. She smirked and reached out a single finger, her eyes boring into Helena. "Touch." She taunted as her finger lightly touched Barbara's leg once.

The taunt from the blonde worked to pull Helena away from Dana and the others in the room, her gaze burning into the other meta.

Dropping to the ground, Helena rolled past the woman, kicking up in hopes of pushing her back again.

Blocking the kick, Jem moved some from the force but returned with a series of punches moving her body in close, her thoughts split between taking out this bitch and getting back to what she had started.

* * * * *

Having recovered from her struggle. Dana had stayed low trying to see how she could help. The young man had not moved having hit his head as he fell back from the gunshot to his upper chest. Dana started to creep towards Helena and Jem.

Seeing that Jem was still going strong and that she might be gaining the upper hand, Dana made a decision. She tucked her gun back in its holster, afraid she might shoot the wrong person in these close quarters.

As her foot hit something, she bent down to retrieve the item. Hoping to time it right, she darted forward as the blonde's back was to her. Going low she plunged the syringe deep into the blonde's hip. Before she could press the plunger, Jem had whirled and back handed Dana sending the agent crashing into a table.

Picking up on Dana's action, Helena pushed the plunger while Jem's back was turned before slamming an elbow at the back of her head.

The force of the blow sent the blonde careening into the end of Barbara's bed. She clutched at the bed to steady her self but found the room spinning wildly. She pawed at the bed some trying to turn to kick out at the brunette. She managed to turn, a look of intense hatred etched on her face as she caught Helena's eyes before her legs gave out sending her to the floor.

Helena was on top of the blonde instantly still trading blows. Jem's punches and kicks were growing weaker. Helena managed to land hard hit after hard hit and finally the blonde's return punches ceased.

Adding a hard kick at the blonde's stomach Helena moved back hr anger barely in check. "Wanted to make sure she stays down," the brunette explained seeing the concern on Dana's face.

Dana offered no comment, just a quirk of her eyebrow as she shakily stood and groaned some. "Go check on the others. I'll call for an ambulance. We should also restrain them just in case." She looked at the two fallen bodies as she started to limp towards the door.

Not wanting to risk anything, Helena dragged the blonde to a radiator in the corner and tied her hands to it before finally reaching Barbara's side, ripping the restraints free. "Barbara? Hey, it's okay, you're safe now."

The images still locking her in another time and place, Barbara struggled to latch onto something. She needed clarity. Needed to get away from... She couldn't quite make out the words but the voice was...

She worked to focus her eyes, the light bright. "Hel?" she managed her voice barely a whisper as she was feeling further and further removed from things.

"Hey, it's okay now, I've got you," Helena said, managing a small smile, pushing back red hair.

Her first reaction was to try and pull away, the brunette's action reminiscent of something that happened to her earlier. Something she could not quite picture but knew she had been trying to stop. However the voice was soothing, maybe this was ok. Maybe it was ok as she had been told earlier to 'just let go'.

"Can you try to stay still?" Helena asked, she kept glancing at the blood and bruises. She had to help.

"It's not safe." she whispered back.

"I'm just gonna try to make your legs stop bleeding. I'm not leaving, okay?" the brunette said, giving one of Barbara's hands a squeeze as she reached for some gauze.

"No." She tightened her grip. "He's here, no she's here..." she paused struggling with the two memories trying to sort out which she needed to worry about. "I can't feel..."

"Yes you can," Helena said, dropping the gauze to rub her hand against Barbara's upper arm. "See, you can feel me."

She slowly turned her head, the room spinning some as she moved, to look at the hand rubbing her arm. "That is nice. I like that."

Dana had checked some of the rooms as she made the call. Not finding anyone else, she headed back into the main room. Hesitating inside the door as she watched Helena standing beside Barbara.

"Are you two with the police?" Kate asked, stepping up to the agent. She wanted to know for sure, still thrown off by everything.

"Not exactly." Dana turned to look at the woman. "I'm a Federal agent and she is..." Dana paused not really sure how to describe Helena. "She is helping me. How do you feel?"

"I just feel... off, but I'm not hurt. I don't think," Kate admitted. "I... can we leave now? I mean, there could be more of them, right?"

"More?" Dana considered the question. "We were tracking only the two. And you need to wait. We will go to the hospital, make sure you are alright and then when we'll get you home. I'd like to talk to you about your kidnapping. Find out what they wanted. I'm Dana Scully by the way." She held out her hand.

"Kate Raleigh," the brunette said, shaking her hand before glancing at the other pair in the room.

Shaking the woman's hand. Scully offered a smile before releasing the hand. "I need to speak with my..." Again she paused, "Associate. If it will make you feel better, there's a chair right by the bed." She started to walk over to Helena hoping the woman would sit, Dana thought she looked a little pale.

Kate nodded, taking a seat as Dana had indicated.

"See, you're okay now. I made sure you're safe," Helena said, not liking the effect of the drugs they'd put in Barbara.

"Safe... Are you going to ask me a lot of questions?" She frowned then, "No that was someone else. Where is she?" Barbara twisted her upper body some looking for the blonde. "She was, we were kissing..."

"You don't have to worry about her anymore. You're safe now, alright?" Helena said. Looking up to see Dana approaching she spoke to the doctor. "What did they do to her?"

Barbara reached up and plucked at Helena's sleeve trying to pull her closer. "You are going to safe me?" She smiled a little. "I need to be safed. But I need to safe someone too." she frowned then.

Concerned, Dana came and looked down at Barbara. "Some hallucinogen maybe. Or if she is allergic, maybe she is having a reaction." She looked over at Kate, "You said they drugged you?"

Kate nodded. "The kid came up to me during a cigarette break and tackled me before shoving in a needle. I woke up here."

"How long until your back-up gets here?" Helena asked, looking from one redhead to the other.

"Actually that's what I wanted to talk to you about. They should be here any minute. I can," she looked at the unconscious bodies, "Clean up. File reports. Take care of things. I am use to," she paused, "I am use to wording reports very carefully. I know you two work to maintain your secrecy. If you want to leave, I will make sure to leave you and as much as possible Barbara out of things.

Helena shook her head no and held onto Barbara.

Dana sighed, "If you leave now, you can be waiting at the hospital as we arrive. Here's my phone, I'll call you with the exact room. She'll be surrounded by medical staff anyway and you won't be able to see her until then. Stay hidden and you can watch until the ambulance heads out and then follow. She'll be ok Helena."

Bouncing on her feet, Helena this time nodded a slow yes. "You better call me from the hospital."

"I will. Sometimes having titles in front of your name is a good thing. I'll find out exactly what happened and let you know. I'll also make sure to clear you through channels. Although the way you come and go, I may not need to worry about getting you into the room." Dana smiled some thinking of the brunette's preferred mode of travel.

Turning back to Barbara, Helena forced a smile. "I have to go keep you safe. I'll see you soon. I promise, okay?" she asked.

"You're going to go." Barbara blinked some letting her arm slip back down to the bed.. "Promise..." She worked hard to catch the thought flitting through her mind. "Promise to come back to me. Don't leave me ever again."

"Soon, I promise," Helena said, bending over to put a kiss on Barbara's forehead.

Looking back to Dana she nodded, "Thank you. For everything. I'll see you soon. She slipped to one of the windows and positioned herself on the ledge, thankful for the dark night that would hide her so she could listen as long as possible.

Dana watched Helena leave. Seeing Barbara had closed her eyes, she went to check and make sure the other two were still secure before heading over to Kate.

"Well until we hear the sirens, we can sit in silence if you like. Or perhaps talk about the weather. I Spy was always a favorite during surveillance." Dana smiled a little knowing there would be time later for taking Kate's statements.

Her years in the F.B.I had taught her many things, including thinking of the face behind the case.

"Is it still muggy out?" Kate asked, looking up at Dana, trying to calm herself.

Chapter 44

Tear Me Down I'm Very You, You're Very Me
(When You Want to Fall in Love)
-(From the musical Song and Dance)

New Gotham University Hospital
Thursday early morning

After washing up a bit and changing clothes Helena had received the call from Dana. From there she'd made a brief call to let Dinah know that everyone was okay, and that she was heading to the hospital.

The blonde had voiced a desire to be there as well, but Helena assured her that it wasn't necessary. She had a break coming up in a few days and could visit then. Once the call was over, Helena had practically flown to the hospital.

Thankfully Barbara was only really being held for observation. The doctors wanted to make sure that everything was out of her system. Reaching the room, Helena entered quietly, it looked like the redhead was asleep, and she didn't want to interrupt the rest. Taking a seat next to the bed she curled up enough to prop her head on her knees, just watching for now.

Stirring restlessly, Barbara wanted to turn on her side and found she couldn't. She forced her eye opened and brought her hand up. As it neared her face she froze as she could make out in the dim light something attached to the back of her hand. Frowning she blinked slowly, again trying to clear her throbbing head as she looked at the back of her hand.

Seeing the movement, Helena pushed to her feet, reaching for Barbara's other hand. "Hey," she said softly, giving the woman a moment to wake up.

She started to turn her head some towards the voice and winced as she felt stiff neck and shoulder muscles protesting. The wince caused a flare of pain in her face and she winced again. Bringing her hand up to rub at her face, she stopped her movement. Forgetting someone had spoken to her, she was again distracted by the object stuck on her hand.

Grimacing in sympathy, Helena gave the redhead's hand a squeeze. "I'm sorry I didn't find you sooner," she said softly, wanting to erase the marks on Barbara's face.

The gentle pressure on her other hand drew her attention. Moving slowly she looked first at their joined hands, then she managed to let her gaze travel upwards finally settling on the young woman's face. Her mind still felt stuffy and thick as she took in the information her senses were feeding her. After a moment she managed to force out a word, her voice a raspy whisper from disuse. "Helena?"

"Yeah. Do you want some water? The nurse left some for when you woke up..." Helena offered, glancing at the table next to the bed. "How do you feel?"

Trying to swallow away the dry feeling, Barbara managed a nod followed by a horse, "Yes please." She leaned back heavily into the pillow her eyes staying locked on Helena. For some reason she had the intense feeling of not wanting to let the brunette out of her sight. "Feel..." the word kicked off another flash of a memory but she was unable to grab it.

"Want me to make the bed sit you up?" Helena asked as she reluctantly let go of Barbara's hand just long enough to pour her some water. "You remember something? The doctor wasn't sure how much you'd remember, or if some of it might take time to come back to you..." she murmured.

"Bed? Sit me up... doctor..." An ominous feeling began working its way into the pit of her stomach. Feeling slightly sick as the knot in her stomach grew, she risked a glance around the dim room before searching back out the other woman.

The hand Helena had been holding had dropped to the bed when released by the brunette. She now began clenching and twisting the bed covers in her hand as her discomfort increased.

Tilting the bed up Helena offered her the water, easily seeing that Barbara still wasn't completely herself. "It's okay. You're safe now, I swear," she said softly, brushing back some of Barbara's hair before taking her hand again.

Barbara had reached up trying to take the cup from Helena. Disoriented by the change in position she found her hand again restricted and this time managed to identify the object as an IV drip. Her head turned quickly back to Helena as she tightened her grip on the woman's hand so tight it hurt her own hand.

"Where..." she paused her throat totally dry as she struggled to not panic. Holding her need to know for a moment, she continued keeping the tight grip as she leaned forward taking a small sip. As she drew closer to the woman, her throat a little more pliable, "Where are we?"

"New Gotham University Hospital. From what I put together, Jem grabbed you and drugged you, but she's in custody now. Dana and I followed your tracer and found you," Helena said, recognizing the panic in Barbara's eyes. "You really are safe now. I promise."

Receiving too much information, her mind still lodged at the word hospital as her fears were confirmed, she relaxed her grip suddenly on Helena's hand. She worked to pull her hand away, trying to withdraw into herself.

"How did I end up here? There was a gunshot. I..." she closed her eyes twisting her head some, frustrated nothing seemed to be logical or clear or coming to her as it usually did..

"Shh..." Helena said, setting the water aside while tightening her grip, not letting Barbara pull away as she slipped up to sit on the edge of the bed. "Can you just tell me how you feel?" The brunette asked, reaching up with her free hand to cup Barbara's face.

"I can't feel." She mumbled at first fighting the woman's touch then finally letting her eyes be drawn to Helena, embarrassed as she knew she was losing grip on her control and that tears had started to form in her eyes. She worked to keep them from falling.

"What happened?" she asked knowing Helena had already answered this but she needed something to focus on rather than losing control.

Helena didn't want to tell her already, but it was obvious that Barbara needed something. "When Dana and I arrived they were holding you and another woman. We subdued the pair behind everything and then came here. Everyone's going to be alright.

"You got some cuts on your legs, not to mention the bruises..." Helena said, tracing a mark on Barbara's jaw, "but nothing that won't heal up soon."

Barbara had closed her eyes as Helena spoke so she could focus on keeping things locked down as well as trying to make sense of the errant way her mind and body felt.

The light brush of the brunette's hand across her face caused her to reopen her eyes as she turned her head, looking up. "You subdued..." She paused licking her dry lips, "Are you alright?"

"Yeah. Not even as many bruises as usual. Now you going to tell me how you feel?" Helena asked, trying to calm herself down as she bit her lower lip.

"Physically you are alright, what about emo... are they still..." she hesitated. "Did you?" She reached up stretching the IV line not caring about the pull on her hand, instead intent on capturing Helena's hand.

"Just subdued her. Maybe an extra kick or two, but that's all. Dana got the other one," Helena said, reaching to catch Barbara's hand before she pulled something out. "Promise."

For the first time since waking up, the redhead relaxed some. She sighed loudly as she sank back against the bed again although she didn't release her hold on Helena. "I have a throbbing headache, I am stiff in more places than I care to count and I am having an extremely hard time reciting the entire works of Shakespeare." she said after a few moments. "Why again am I still in here?"

"Doctor wants to keep you for observation. There wasn't anything they could do to reverse the drug, so they want you to stay overnight to make sure it works itself out the rest of the way," Helena explained slightly relieved at the remarks as they sounded a little more Barbara-like. "That sound alright?"


"You really think that you can argue with them right now?" Helena asked, soft but stern. "It's only one night, and while I usually have you to take care of me, I'm not the best nurse in the world."

"If you brought me a laptop I could have my release papers in a few minutes and not need to argue with them." Barbara countered, "And you don't give yourself enough credit Helena. You do a very good job taking care of things. That houseplant I gave you lasted almost two weeks."

"And I'd like you to last longer," Helena shot back. "Please? One night, as soon as it's morning I'll sneak you out if I have to."

"I've stuck around you this long haven't I?" She meant to tease but her reply came out stronger than expected. Frowning some she idly rubbed her thumb along the ridge of Hel's hand trying to regain her still tilting emotions.

"Besides, sneaking out is not exactly an easy thing for me these days. I can not exactly slink out windows or dance across rooftops." ~Not any more...~ A pained look crossed her face as words and ideas she thought she had dealt with so many years ago seemed to be coming back wreaking havoc with her normal reserve.

"So now you think I can't come up with a good old fashioned escape plan?" Helena asked, trying to tease. "Although I'm taking that to mean we're staying? Right?"

The light tone and small smile gracing the young woman's face brought Barbara back once again from the emotional cliff she kept stumbling towards. "Your idea of escape usually involves looking good and barreling through. You really think you are capable of something that might require a little planning past where Dinah and Alfred have hidden the pop tarts this time?" She paused then having caught the pronoun, "We?"

"You don't think I'm letting you out of my sight any time soon, do you?" Helena asked. "Although I think I could handle the laundry routine at least. Thank you very much."

"Laundry routine?" She laughed lightly squeezing the meta's hands. "Thank you. And I would..." She took in a deep breath about to admit something she rarely admitted even to herself, "You asked how I was feeling. Well, I am not feeling very together right now. I would... company would be very helpful right now."

"Good. Then in the morning you can explain to Dinah that you're really okay," Helena said, knowing that the blonde would worry until she spoke to Barbara herself.

Barbara groaned some then. "That is not going to be fun, is it? But I'll take care of it first thing. Just as soon as I am out of here. Can we leave during the early morning?"

"I'm thinking that once the sun's really up we can call it morning," Helena said, giving Barbara's hand a gentle squeeze. "I'm not normally a morning person, but I could make an exception this one time."

"I guess trying to pull in literary illusion about the sun already shining in this room or other poetic phrases would not make you budge?" She asked letting a hopeful look cross her face.

"You could try, but no, not gonna get you out of here any earlier," Helena smiled for a moment. "You're going to be yourself soon, I promise," she added, leaning over to kiss the redhead's forehead, making sure it was a spot free of bruises.

Reaching up, Barbara laid her palm against Helena's cheek as she pulled back. "Promise is a strong word, implies commitment. I thought Helena Kyle tried not to commit. That free spirit thing you like to talk about." Barbara kept her tone light although she felt her heart thudding as she used the word commit.

"You think I'm not committed to you?" Helena asked, a slight frown appearing as her eye brows scrunched together.

"Committed to me?" Barbara worked to focus on the young woman. "I... I was talking about promise as a concept. I..." She breathed in finding it hard to locate the right words. "I don't know if you..., I didn't mean to offend you."

"It's okay, but I promised to keep you safe, and I'm going to, okay?" Helena asked, still leaning forward some. "I'm committed to you Barbara."

Barbara's eyes darted over the face hovering near hers. She had cued in to the deep sincerity in Hel's voice and found as she searched, the woman's face held nothing but caring and honesty.

Trying to let go of the hesitation and tight control that had built her emotional walls for so long, she nodded, painfully but firmly. "I don't want you to promise something you can't..." she readjusted what she was trying to say. "I don't want you to be hurt."

"We both know that you would never hurt me. That's enough for me," Helena said, her fingers tracing Barbara's features again.

~Wouldn't I?~ She managed to this time keep her thoughts to herself as she felt the gentle fingers moving over her skin. Fingers that she had seen display such strength and punishment, yet they were also a conduit for the tenderness Helena possessed. A tenderness the meta kept locked deep most of the time. "You're easy." Barbara said lightly closing her eyes as she felt a wave of weariness seize her body.

"Only for you, because you're worth it," Helena said, recognizing Barbara's fatigue. "You should lay back down," the brunette said, reaching for the bed controls as she gently slid off the mattress.

Waiting until Helena had reclined the bed, Barbara opened her eyes slowly to look at the woman. So many thoughts were racing through her mind as she tried to focus and organize them. "I do not want to.... I do not want to see you chained... I mean changed."

"You won't see either of those. Just more me," Helena said, pulling her chair closer before leaning her head against the bed and taking Barbara's hand. "We can argue about it tomorrow. Okay?"

"Argue? No. Debate, yes. Although seeing more of you is something I would never mind." She smiled then again at the brunette.

Twisting her body slightly, she ran her hand slowly across the woman's forehead brushing the locks of hair some as she did. "I always like doing that. It makes me feel better." As she spoke she closed her eyes again.

"I missed it too," Helena said softly, watching Barbara fade into sleep. "Thank you Barbara. Thank you for daring to fly with me. To take a step into that big unknown."