continued from A Whole New World part 3

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."