Evil Deeds

Harper

FANDOM: Birds of Prey TV

PAIRING: Barbara/Helena, established

DISCLAIMER: I don't make any profit and they don't belong to me.

RATING: NC-17 (please read the warning below)

RECOMMENDED STORY LISTENING: (which I added for reasons that currently escape me): Fiona Apple's "Criminal", unless you like something a little edgier. If so, maybe NIN's ever so versatile "Closer" would perhaps be more your style.

ARCHIVING: This will be at www.realmoftheshadow.com/harper.htm.

WARNING: Maybe I'm being overly melodramatic with this, but...As fanfic goes, this might be considered, in part, fairly pornographic. There's nothing wildly out of the ordinary, and I at least attempt to be somewhat polite, but read according to your own level of comfort. I would like to say that I don't consider what I've written to be rape, though there is an element of force. There's also some drug use, but nothing hard. I don't advocate it, but it goes with the mood of the piece.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: I thought I'd write something light-hearted and carefree for a change, except, well...not. It is possible that you might find these characters unlikable. That may be true, but I don't think their actions are completely inconceivable. In fact, the characters I see in my head, ones that most certainly aren't the ones on the WB, are quite capable of all manner of things, including what I've written. This is un-beta'd. Hope you enjoy it. Let me know what you think. I'll be at Xfjnky2@yahoo.com.


Having been convinced she had the place to herself, Dinah was more than surprised when she wandered out onto the balcony to find Helena there, her long form lazing indolently against the low wall, back nestled against the brick. She was even more surprised to note that the other woman appeared to be quite high, and if the half-smoked joint dangling loosely between her fingers was any indication, was well on her way to being even more so.

So, startled, not quite sure what was going on, Dinah said sharply, "What the hell are you doing?"

Her only reply was a sly smirk, and a pointed glance down, deep blue eyes daring her to take a guess.

Shaking her head slightly, Dinah sighed, quickly giving up the notion that she was going to be able to enjoy a little quiet time. "Barbara's gonna fucking kill you," she muttered, taking another step forward, cringing slightly when the acrid smell of burning marijuana hit her nostrils.

"Guess who doesn't bother to watch her language when the big boss isn't around," Helena said languidly, chuckling lightly, head tilting back as Dinah approached in deference to her fairly intimidating height. "Besides, Barbara knows."

A blonde brow rose incredulously, the look on Dinah's face conveying her abject disbelief. "Barbara knows that you hang around on her balcony getting stoned out of your mind and she doesn't care?" the girl scoffed, eyes rolling. "Somehow I doubt that. Just can't seem to make it fit into my world view."

Dinah took in the lazy smile that met her words...or was there just because, since in her relatively limited experience, drugs had a tendency to make people happy for little to no reason. They also had the unfortunate side-effect of convincing them that idiotic business schemes were headed for financial prosperity, and if she had to listen to her friend Gabby outline in meticulous, laborious, and mind-numbing detail her plan to release her very own instructional dance video ever again, she'd personally start up her own "Just Say No" campaign.

"So maybe she's never said so, but personally, I think she's smart enough to have figured it out by now," Helena drawled, one hand falling to her belly, long fingers scratching idly in a move that shouldn't have been as inherently sensual as it was.

But, Dinah found it more than distracting, and had to resort to physically shaking her head to clear her mind of the image, trying desperately in the interim to remember the topic at hand and surmising that there really hadn't been one other than her sheer amazement at the sight she was witnessing. It wasn't as if she could berate Helena. It really wasn't her place, and she'd feel a little hypocritical doing so since she couldn't actually classify herself as an abstainer. Besides, she really didn't care. Whatever Helena wanted to do was fine, especially if Helena chose to continue doing it in that thin little white cotton wife-beater she was wearing, the one that looked particularly good with her black Adidas track pants and bare feet, and was transparent enough to confirm her belief that the other woman wasn't wearing a bra. Ghetto fabulous, that's what the Helena was, and damn fine eye-candy at that. Unavailable eye-candy, but visually stimulating nonetheless.

"Wanna share, kid?"

The words jerked Dinah out of her reverie, and she shook her head no before shrugging her shoulders in acquiescence, her minimal battle with peer pressure lost before the first shot was even fired. "Yeah, sure. You won't tell Barbara though, right?"

Helena laughed, passing over the joint with a shake of her head, eyes unfocused and amused. "Nah. Not gonna ruin the good girl thing you've got going," she reassured the blonde, one brow rising in appreciation as Dinah took a hit like a pro. "Though, looks like the title doesn't really fit."

Holding her breath until her lungs burned with the effort, Dinah blew out a cloud of smoke, eyes tearing slightly. "I am a good girl," she qualified gruffly, though she didn't refuse the joint when it was held out her way once more.

Laughing shortly, Helena murmured, "Yeah, and I'm a fucking saint."

Rolling her eyes once again, Dinah sighed, sinking down to the ground alongside Helena, scooting back until she felt the rough edge of the bricks hit her shoulders. "What are you doing here, anyway? Aren't you supposed to be out trading ever so not witty repartee with your little cop friend or pretending to be cool somewhere skeezy enough for even you to scrounge around for a one night stand?"

"Oh look," Helena snorted sarcastically. "Someone thinks she's grown up enough to play hardball with the big girls all of a sudden. You might want to stop while you can still talk, kid."

"As if you're going to do anything about it," Dinah challenged humorously, eyes tracing up and down Helena's definitely highly relaxed form. "Now really, why are you here?"

With a sigh, Helena pressed back more deeply against the wall behind her, head lolling on her shoulders, eyes closed. "No real reason. Just am," she said curtly, though she sounded tired, exhausted almost.

"Please," Dinah scoffed, cutting her eyes sideways to take in the other woman's profile. "You're here because of Barbara."

At the words, Helena stiffened, eyes narrowing in anger. "Barbara's not even here," she said rigidly, suddenly uncomfortable.

"And that's exactly the reason you're here," Dinah said slowly, as if speaking to a child. "You're waiting on her." And then, more softly, her voice sad yet wise, the blonde added, "You're in love with her."

Helena sat forward, a denial springing automatically to her lips. The words died away before she could speak them though, and she slumped over wearily, head in her hands. "I just have to know," she whispered roughly, tone tinted with a hint of pain. "I have to know if she lets him spend the night, or if she sends him home."

Wade, and Barbara's Friday night date with him, was what had led Dinah to the assumption that she'd have the Clocktower to herself, and at Helena's admission, she found herself reaching forward, hand hovering over the other woman's shoulder, ready to comfort. But, she didn't touch her, more than aware that she'd see things Helena didn't want her to see, and for some reason, she didn't want to invade the other woman's privacy.

"Does she not know?" Dinah asked instead, hand falling limply to her lap. At Helena's sharp look, she qualified, "That you love her, I mean."

Leaning back with a humorless laugh, Helena turned unseeing eyes up to the face of the Clock before her, a wry smile creasing her lips. "I'm sure she does," she said finally, voice introspective. Then, hesitantly, "She was my first, you know. The first person I ever slept with. Actually, she's the only person I've ever slept with."

Dinah hadn't known, and frankly found the prospect intensely shocking. The admission, all of it, managed to sweep away the assumptions she'd laboriously built up over months of living with the pair in the span of less than three seconds. And hey, she'd completely missed the boat with her assumption that Helena brought home more strays than the Humane Society, hadn't she. "I...I don't understand," she sputtered, unable to think of anything more coherent to say, mind still reeling at the shyly voiced confession.

Shrugging her shoulders, Helena said wryly, "I was 20 or so, I guess. Just barely, though, and I'd probably been in love with her for...oh God, about four years or so by that point. I was so cocky," she laughed, shaking her head in fond remembrance, voice distant as she related the course of events. "I'd been building up to saying something to her for months, but I guess I got scared. Instead of telling her how I felt, I bombarded her with propositions, each a little more blatant than the last, until one day she called my bluff."

At that, Helena drifted off into silence, obviously absorbed in the memory, and Dinah waited patiently, hoping the other woman would pick up where she'd left off. A few seconds later, her patience was rewarded, and Helena's soft voice once again broke through the muted sounds of New Gotham's nightlife. "She told me she was getting tired of it all, and if all I was going to do was make promises I couldn't keep, then she'd rather I just shut-up. I was so mad...I mean, she'd basically just insulted me and called me a coward and let me know that she didn't take me seriously in the least, and I guess I just snapped. Next thing you know, I was kissing her. I don't know what surprised her more, the fact that I did it in the first place, or the fact that she enjoyed it. But, she looked so absolutely beautiful when I pulled back, so confused and gorgeous and just fucking sexy, so I kissed her again. By the time I pulled back the second time, I had her shirt off and was working on her pants. She told me no, but it didn't really sound like she meant it, so I just kissed her again, and pretty soon the only thing she was saying was yes. I don't think she ever knew she was my first, but it was beautiful, everything I ever could have wanted. I mean, I'd never felt anything like that before, as sappy and cliched as that sounds."

There was a wistful sadness underlain with rueful embarrassment in Helena's voice, enough to almost make Dinah want to cry, and she reached over, placing a reassuring hand on the other woman's thigh, relieved when the comforting movement wasn't accompanied by a rush of visions. "So what happened?" she prodded gently, well aware that something had to have gone wrong between that night and the present one, or else Helena wouldn't have been sitting out there with her, and Barbara wouldn't have been out on a date with Wade.

"I don't know," Helena sighed, the sound one of abject frustration. "I was so happy, and I just knew that was it. I mean, I'd always known that we were meant to be together, and I assumed that after what had happened, Barbara would realize it too. But she just...I don't know how to explain it. It was like she just closed off, like she was pretending it never happened. But then it happened again, and I was sure things would be different after that, that she'd gotten over whatever reservations had been keeping her away from me. Only we still didn't talk about it, but we kept right on sleeping together. Not every night or anything. Well, sometimes we'd be together several nights in a row and I'd think that we were finally getting somewhere, and other times we'd go for months and nothing would happen. But, I could always tell when she wanted me again, and so I'd say something or just head into the bedroom knowing she'd follow after me, and the next morning it was back to business as usual."

"When did that stop?" Dinah asked breathlessly, enthralled by the tale of human drama unfolding before her.

Shrugging her shoulders, Helena smiled sorrowfully. "It never has," she admitted hoarsely, eyes darting off to the side, though whether from embarrassment or something else, Dinah wasn't sure.

"Oh, my God," the blonde breathed, taking in the magnitude of what she'd been told. "You mean this has been going on for four years now?"

A shallow shake of the head was her only reply, and Dinah sat back, stunned. Then, incredulous, she asked, "And you still don't talk about it?"

Again, Helena sighed, the gesture belying the difficulty of the conversation. "I tried once, but she didn't want to hear it and I didn't want to lose her, so I never did it again."

"Lose her?" Dinah echoed, aghast. "Helena, you don't have her to lose."

"Yes I do," the brunette shot back heatedly, eyes blazing. "Not all the way, maybe, but she always comes back to me."

Brow scrunching in confusion, the blonde huffed out her anger. "You can't let her treat you like that. You can't let her just string you along, only taking you out to play when she feels like it."

"Oh?" Helena goaded. "And what do you think I should do?"

"Find someone else," Dinah cried, exasperated.

"Like you?" Helena scoffed, rolling her eyes. Then, voice turning aggressive, she growled, "Not that you would mind. Want to try a little role reversal, kid? Here...I'll play Barbara, and you play me. I mean, we wouldn't want to neglect your training, now would we."

Dinah recoiled from the bitterness in the other woman's voice, tears coming quickly to her eyes at the words. She couldn't deny that she'd thought about it before, had indulged in fantasies about the brunette. That she hadn't ever really considered it a possibility did nothing to lessen the hurt she felt at the callously spoken statement, and with a deep breath, she moved to stand.

A strong hand on her wrist stopped her, pulling her back down, and Dinah looked over to see Helena looking at her, sad eyes full of contrition. "I'm sorry," the other woman muttered, voice chagrined. "I didn't mean it. I know that you...well, you know, and I shouldn't have said it."

"What?" Dinah said crossly, not ready to let go of her ire. "You know I have a crush on you? Is that it? And now you're sorry you hurt the silly little kid's feelings?"

"Something like that," Helena said ineffectually, the concession less than appealing. Dinah felt her jaw clench again, unsure whether or not she should accept the rather weak apology, finally giving way with a sigh.

"If you weren't so fucked up, I'd probably be angry," she allowed gruffly, settling uneasily into the place she'd been occupying before.

Reaching beside her, picking up another pre-rolled joint and a lighter, Helena shrugged her shoulders. "Be angry anyway. It was a shitty thing to say."

"So you want me to be pissed at you?" Dinah asked, amused.

"Not really," Helena rasped through a long stream of smoke. "But don't just blame my dysfunction and let it pass. I may be fucked up, but I still have to at least try to behave."

One brow quirking at that, Dinah laughed. "Since when do you behave?"

"I said try to behave," Helena clarified, shooting the blonde a wicked grin. "I didn't say I had to succeed."

"Uh-huh," Dinah hummed, relaxing slightly at the friendly banter. But, not wanting to lose the headway they'd made before, she picked up the earlier conversation without pause, slipping back into it as if they hadn't had any interruptions. "So, what are you going to do about Barbara?"

Clearly startled by the unexpected segue, Helena coughed. "What do you mean, do about Barbara?" she wheezed, trying to clear her lungs of misdirected smoke. "I'm not going to do anything about Barbara."

"You mean, other than hang around like her lapdog, just hoping and praying she'll decide she needs to get off?" Dinah said bluntly, afraid she'd gone too far when Helena shifted suddenly, her posture infinitely more aggressive than it had been.

Brows lowering, Helena scowled. "Don't talk about her like that. And, don't talk about us like that, either. You don't understand."

Pushing forward despite her trepidation, Dinah said softly, "What's there to understand? The two of you aren't going anywhere, and she's not doing anything more than hurting you. If I were you, I don't think I could live like that, knowing that the woman I love is out with someone else, leaving me home alone."

Helena looked down at the concrete beneath her, features sullen. "There's more to it than that," she said roughly, crossing her arms over her chest protectively.

"Then explain it to me," Dinah said simply, waiting.

For a long, silent moment, Helena struggled to speak, her mouth opening and closing repeatedly, but found her mind unable to form the words. Finally she settled on, "Barbara's a complex woman."

Even she found the words a woefully inadequate explanation.

"Yeah, and Courage is a cowardly dog," Dinah muttered, shaking her head in frustration. She wasn't sure what she was trying to do. Helena was obviously content with the arrangement she had with Barbara, even if she was far from happy, and it wasn't as if she could envision good coming out of any attempts to meddle with the women's relationship. They'd picked an arrangement that obviously worked for them on some level, no matter how complex and painful it appeared to her. The reasons for it were there, hidden from her view, but obviously strong enough to withstand four years of pressure. So, maybe she should chalk it up as yet another thing in life that she was simply never going to get, and find a happier topic.

She couldn't do it yet, though, not until she set things straight in her mind. So, with a hint of pity in her tone, she said sadly, "So, let me get this right. Every time this happens, you wait for her here, out on the balcony getting fucked up out of your mind while you try to forget that she'd rather be out with some random guy than you, just to see if she brings him home and takes him to bed."

"Basically," Helena replied, tone full of faux nonchalance.

Pausing for a second, considering what that had to be like, Dinah murmured, "And what do you do if she does?"

The answer, when it finally did come, was so soft that Dinah had to strain to hear it.

"Nothing."

Eyes closed, head once again resting back against the rough brick behind her, Helena looked utterly defeated, and Dinah tried to reconcile the sight before her with the vibrant, self-assured woman she'd thought she'd known.

* * * * *

Helena was still up when Barbara got home, lounging on the couch where she'd been since Dinah had finally left her alone. She'd been thinking, the blonde's words circling around in her head, taunting her. On the whole, she tried to avoid examining her relationship with Barbara, having long ago convinced herself it was simply better to accept it as it was than to lose it completely. Seen through a new set of eyes, though, she was reminded of all the pain she'd felt, of the nights she'd raged against the unfairness of the situation.

The other woman was alone, something she was intensely grateful for, and Helena waited patiently for Barbara to recognize her presence. But, the redhead hadn't looked up yet, was instead slumped over dejectedly in her chair, body heavy with exhaustion.

Deciding she didn't want to wait any longer, that now that she'd finally worked up the guts to say what she was almost certain she was going to say, Helena spoke, startling Barbara and earning herself a gasp.

"Bad date?" she asked casually, leaning over the back of the couch so she was facing Barbara, eyes hooded and hypnotic. The marijuana she'd been smoking earlier as an escape mechanism had worked its way free of her system, leaving her thinking clearly once again, for which she was glad. Normally she hated anything that dulled her senses or slowed her reactions, but over the years, she'd quickly found that it was the only way she could deal Barbara's dating excursions. The few times she hadn't indulged, someone had wound up with broken bones. At least twice, that someone had been her.

Barbara took a moment to regain her composure, back straightening as she worked to reconstruct her perfect fašade. Hiding her emotions behind the shield of a steely gaze, she murmured, "Not exactly perfect, but I'll survive."

Anxious, body hyped up on a combination of fear and adrenaline, Helena said sharply, "Why do you date him, anyway?"

Slightly taken aback by the other woman's tone, Barbara shrugged. "I don't know. He's better than nothing, I guess."

Helena reared back, stung by the words. Tears sprang to her eyes instantly, and she was forced to swipe at them with the back of her hand. Instantly concerned by the unexpected display, Barbara rolled over to the couch, brows furrowed. "Helena, what's wrong?"

"What's wrong?" Helena echoed, disbelief coating her tone. "What the fuck do you mean, what's wrong?"

Growing irritated again, the stress from her date combining with that of the still unreadable situation she found herself in, Barbara pinched the bridge of her nose, unsuccessfully staving off the beginnings of a headache. "I mean, what's wrong," she said pointedly, frustrated.

"You're so fucking clueless," Helena muttered, deflating slightly.

Brows furrowing in confusion, irritation warring with exhaustion, Barbara closed her eyes momentarily, trying to gather together the scattered bits of her resources. "I've heard more than enough about my faults tonight, so if you don't mind, let's focus on something else," she said on a sigh, leaning back into her chair, body loose yet somehow tight at the same time.

Anger flaring fully to life, agitated by Barbara's nonchalance, her lack of desire to push to the heart of the obviously antagonistic words, Helena said roughly, "I can give you something to focus on."

Her tone left little doubt as to what she was talking about, and Barbara took in a deep breath, already active brain almost visibly weighing pros and cons in search of a decisional balance. Then, eyelids fluttering open, she looked over at the brunette, one brow arched in expectation, "Lead the way, then," she rasped, voice etched with a combination of anticipation and acceptance.

Nostrils flaring with repressed emotion, Helena did just that, idly shedding clothing on her way to the redhead's bedroom, apparently unconcerned with the prospect that she was leaving a highly suggestive trail in her wake. Snorting lightly in amusement, Barbara rolled her eyes before following after her volatile always friend, sometimes lover. She'd made the right choice, she decided. A little mindless pleasure was just what she needed to divert her thoughts from the date she'd just endured, and from the reminder that she was most certainly not considered appropriate relationship material.

Helena was naked by the time she rolled into her bedroom, standing by the bed in anticipation, svelte figure back-lit by the soft illumination of a muted lamp. Rolling right up to where the other woman was lounging, Barbara stopped just short of bumping into the brunette, her posture as assertive as she could make it. "Waiting on me?" she asked, tone full of faux innocence.

Instead of answering, Helena merely reached forward, easily moving Barbara from her chair to the bed, eager hands stripping the other woman of her clothing with the efficiency of familiarity.

"I'm in a...hmmm, a mood tonight," Helena purred, one hand reaching down blindly, sliding open Barbara's bedside table. There was the rustle and scrape of various items being displaced before the distinctive click of metal on metal twinkled from the depths of the drawer, and a wickedly pleased smile slid across the brunette's face.

One brow arching in a silent, sarcastic comment, Barbara drawled lazily, "Is that so?"

A sound that was more moan than affirmation was her only reply before Helena moved suddenly, sliding lithely over Barbara's form until she was straddling the other woman's slim hips. "I think I'd like to have you at my disposal," Helena nearly growled, steel handcuffs dangling easily from the fingers of one hand, blue eyes nearly black.

"What makes you think I want to play?" Barbara asked thoughtfully, already caught up in the game. Helena was unlike any lover she'd ever had. She was a strange mix of familiarity and reckless experimentation, of unrestrained carnality and deep emotion. At times, the concoction seemed almost too much for Barbara to handle, and she'd pushed the other woman away on more occasions than she could count. But, the nature of their relationship was such that any separations were relatively short-lived, and feuds ended with quiet acceptance instead of drama, leaving Barbara grateful that at least one thing in her life wasn't bedeviled by complications.

Lunging forward in a move that would have startled anyone else, and that did manage to catch Barbara off-guard, Helena slapped a cuff around the other woman's right wrist, drawing the recently imprisoned limb upward, wrapping the redhead's long fingers around the sturdy cherry rail at the headboard as she threaded the chain through it. "What makes you think you have a choice?" Helena smirked, her other hand already on Barbara's free wrist. She was physically stronger than the other woman, a fact due to her meta-physiology and not to actual brawn, but she still wanted Barbara to acquiesce. While she might have won any fight that ensued, she wanted capitulation.

"I always have choices," Barbara said softly, though she moved her free hand up, presenting it for capture. With a soft snick, she was firmly bound and completely vulnerable. "Been a while since we've played with these," she added, tugging at her restraints, the gesture one of routine. "What brought about the desire to pull them out tonight?"

Barely suppressing a wry smile, Helena leaned back, most of her weight supported by strong thighs, though she didn't hesitate to press down on Barbara's abdomen, reminding the other woman she was there. "Maybe I wanted to make sure you couldn't get away?" she replied, grinning rakishly. Then, not caring to continue the verbal banter, Helena swooped down, capturing Barbara's lips in a fierce kiss, tongue slashing and conquering, shaping the redhead into submission.

When she pulled away, Barbara was left panting, wrists already digging painfully into the cuffs, acutely aware of a need to touch the other woman. "Need I remind you, running isn't really an option for me," the redhead quirked, tone darkly humorous, eyes flashing toward her chair for a brief second.

Voice rough, driven by the conclusion she'd reached earlier and by the intensity of her emotions, Helena rasped, "Oh, I think you can run just fine. You always run away from me."

Eyes narrowing in confusion, Barbara struggled to sit up, cursing when she realized she had absolutely no leverage. "What are you talking about?" she asked sharply, lips pursing into a frown.

Taking a deep breath, Helena decided to lay it all out, no lies or obfuscations. "I love you, Barbara. I am so fucking in love with you, and you either don't know or you don't care. I'd rather think you didn't know, because otherwise, the way you treat me and the things you say to me...well, they'd be downright cruel."

Clearly shocked, Barbara looked up, eyes wide and arms pulling futilely on her bonds. "Right. You're in love with me," she muttered darkly, shaking her head in amused disbelief.

"I'm tired of it, Barbara. I can't keep on doing the same old thing we've been doing, just waiting around for you to throw me a pity fuck," Helena said angrily, closing her eyes to block out the sight of the other woman simply staring at her. "It hurts me every time you go out with someone else, and when you sleep with one of them, I want to die. Tell me why I'm not good enough for you."

"Helena..." Barbara began, a warning tone clear in her voice. But, when strong fingers cupped her breasts, kneading and massaging her flesh, she stopped short, thrown completely off-balance.

"Tell me," Helena hissed, head dipping down to bite roughly at Barbara's neck, fingers tightening painfully on the other woman's hardened nipples. "Make me understand why this is the only thing I'm good for."

The words were accompanied by the hard thrust of her hips, slick wetness smearing a seductive trail up Barbara's firmly muscled abdomen, and the redhead moaned despite her determination to remain aloof.

Mind momentarily deserting her, Barbara had to force herself to concentrate, to minimize the highly distracting feel of sharp teeth tracing along the sensitive tendons running down her neck. "Unlock the cuffs so we can talk about this," Barbara whimpered, cursing the weakness in her tone.

Blue eyes looked up at her at the words, calculating and aloof. "I don't think so," Helena said, voice gravel rough and low. "In fact, I think I've changed my mind. I don't want you to talk at all, Barbara."

There was a shift in the pressure against her, but Barbara was spending more time cursing herself for getting into the predicament she was in than she was in paying attention to what Helena was doing. Unfortunately, the cuffs were standard issue police gear, with no quick release tabs, and without the key, she'd have more luck breaking through the wood of her headboard than she would in getting them off.

"Been a while since we used this too," Helena mused, the contemplative words breaking Barbara out of her thoughts, and she looked up to see thin strips of black leather hanging suggestively from Helena's right hand and fire red silicone clutched firmly the other. Green eyes widened in alarm, and much to her consternation, the look earned Barbara an amused chuckle.

"Afraid? Don't worry, sweetheart," Helena purred, her tone making the endearment sound anything but loving. Agile fingers were moving quickly, lifting Barbara up with ease, as if she weighed no more than a feather, and almost before she had time to think or protest, the harness was secured around her hips, obscenely bright strap-on dildo protruding in almost vulgar faux excitement, specially designed nubby inner mechanism nestled tightly against her clit, already teasing her.

Eyes narrowing, Barbara brought her thoughts into focus as best she could. It meant tearing her eyes away from the seductive moue of lush lips and the alluring slope of full breasts, but she did so. Fixating instead on an unremarkable spot on the far wall, she asked calmly, "Are you doing this to punish me for something?"

"Punish you?" Helena echoed sarcastically. "Of course not. I'm just here to do what I'm good at...get you off."

The last three words were punctuated with firm tugs on the fake cock, the harsh thrusts pressing ruthlessly against the already aroused bundle of nerves the harness was designed to stimulate. Despite her desire to remain unruffled in the face of Helena's actions, Barbara couldn't help the way her eyes fluttered closed, the way her lips parted on a soft sigh.

"No," Helena barked sharply, drawing Barbara's gaze once more. "You don't close your eyes. You watch me," she demanded brutally, scowling. The brunette wasn't sure what she wanted, or what she hoped to accomplish, but it seemed infinitely important that Barbara be right there with her for every single second of it.

One brow raising in surprise and anger, Barbara opened her mouth to speak, only to shut it seconds later. She couldn't say anything, not with Helena crouched seductively between her legs, the broad flat of her tongue licking a long stroke up the bright scarlet shaft before her lips wrapped around the tip of the fake cock, blazing blue eyes looking up at her. Frankly embarrassed by the intense arousal the sight elicited, by the flood of wetness the soft slurps and muted sighs of enjoyment evoked, Barbara struggled to tear her eyes away from the blatantly sexual display. She felt slightly dirty watching it, watching the obvious enjoyment in Helena's movements, enthralled by the slow drag of tightly stretched lips, by the flutter of an expert tongue against the cock's tip. In the face of her rampant arousal, it took her a long time to figure out that, despite the eroticism of it, there was something decidedly not intimate about the performance.

And, with a jolt of awareness, Barbara realized that was exactly what she was seeing...a performance. It was all calculated to achieve maximum effect. Any level of feeling she thought she'd detected, any innate enjoyment on Helena's part, were all sublimated. Helena had, quite literally and with as little subtly as possible, transformed herself into a sex object.

Feeling completely ill-at-ease, not at all comfortable with the parallels her mind was beginning to make, Barbara commanded sternly, "Stop. Please...just stop."

Pulling herself away from her task with a wet pop, Helena looked up as if surprised, eyes wide. "What's the matter? Didn't you like it?" she asked, voice a harsh tease even as her fingers slid beneath black leather and into Barbara's slick wetness. "If I were you, I wouldn't lie."

"I don't want things between us to be like this," Barbara replied, voice quiet with remorse and resignation, even as her body flinched uncontrollably, a flare of pleasure shooting up through her abdomen.

Quirking a brow, Helena drew herself up from her perch, shifting her body so she was poised above the other woman. Lowering herself slowly onto the bright red shaft, she closed her eyes for a moment, stomach muscles automatically contracting as she adjusted herself to the penetration. "But this is the way it's always been between us, Barbara," she whispered, leaning forward so that her hands were buried in the soft pillow on either side of the other woman's head, bodies barely touching.

"No, it's not," Barbara replied, voice harsh. Turning her head to the side, escaping the searing focus of conflicted blue eyes, she felt a tear roll down her cheek, soaking into the fabric beneath her cheek. Helena's every movement scraped roughly, seductively, against her clit. But, eyes shut tightly against the sensation, Barbara refused to let herself lose control, to give in to the delicious pull of pleasure tugging fiercely at her consciousness.

Breath catching momentarily, hips still thrusting slowly, Helena breathed, "Yes, it is. Only this time, you're the one getting fucked."

Barbara watched as the muscles in Helena's forearms flexed and released, listened as her breathing stopped abruptly then erupted in a cascade of pants, and felt her lift herself up, detaching them.

Frustrated and confused, Barbara twisted her head around so she was facing the other side, eyes fastening intently on the slim line of Helena's back. "Where are you going?" she asked, anger and panic intermingling in her voice.

Looking back, tousled brunette hair just barely long enough to sweep the curve of her shoulder, Helena murmured, "I'm not going to do it anymore, Barbara. This is it."

"Damn it, Helena, don't you dare leave," Barbara said sharply, virulently, tugging fiercely on her bonds.

Chuckling wryly, Helena reached down, digging the handcuff key out of the depths of the drawer. "Afraid I'm going to leave you like this?" she asked, turning just enough to sweep her eyes down Barbara's bare form, a hint of a smile curving at her lips. "Don't worry. It's not my style."

Moving lazily, Helena inserted the key in the cuff's lock, leaving it there as she sauntered away. Fingers scrambling against the slick metal, Barbara laboriously worked the lock on one cuff free, threading the metal through the headboard and flicking the other off with a quick, agitated move. Fighting with the straps still encircling her hips, she struggled out of the harness, tossing it to the side, and, grabbing a sheet as covering, maneuvered herself into her chair.

"Don't you fucking leave!" she screamed, the angry words echoing around the room as she settled herself hastily, tucking the loose ends of the sheet in to the fold she'd made, securing it around her chest.

Barbara felt less than comfortable rolling out onto the main floor of the Clocktower wearing only a make-shift Egyptian cotton toga, but she consciously pushed the embarrassment to the side, aware that there were more important issues at stake than her modesty. A quick scan confirmed her presumption that Helena would already be dressed and gone, but a second look caught something she hadn't noticed the first time. There was a shadow on the balcony, one that seemed grossly out of place to eyes used to knowing each and every element of their environment.

"Decide not to run away?" Barbara said casually, well aware that Helena would be able to hear her, even through the glass balcony doors.

At the words, the shadow detached itself from the wall, revealing a redressed and apparently unmoved Helena. "You were quicker than I gave you credit for," the brunette husked as Barbara rolled across the threshold to the balcony, watching as she shivering slightly in the cool night air.

Wrapping her hands around her upper arms, rubbing to produce as much heat as she could muster, Barbara said calmly, "Quite a show you put on in there. Highly entertaining and enlightening."

Snorting in frustration, Helena spun around, presenting the other woman with her back. "Seems not to have had much of an effect," she drawled, arms crossing protectively over her chest.

"You know," Barbara mused, voice contemplative, "if anyone but you had done that to me, I'd already be plotting my revenge."

"Revenge? I thought Oracle wasn't the vengeful type," Helena retorted, tone skirting the edge of scorn.

Smiling, the expression devoid of humor, Barbara said smoothly, "Just goes to show that your misperceptions stretch farther than I'd thought."

Spinning suddenly, arms thrown wide in a gesture of vulnerability, Helena taunted, "So go ahead then. Take your revenge. Don't compromise on my account."

Jaw clenching, Barbara rolled forward, stopping only when she was mere inches away from the other woman. "Is that how you really think I see you, like you were in there?" she asked abruptly, face dimpling with frustration. "As some kind of object?"

"Why would I think anything else?" Helena asked bitterly, arms dropping limply to her sides. "You said it yourself, Barbara. Wade's better than nothing, right? So what am I? Less than nothing is the only thing I can figure."

"You set the terms of this relationship," Barbara spat, eyes narrowing.

An incredulous look spreading across her face, Helena squeaked an outraged, "Me?"

"You," Barbara confirmed, sighing tiredly. "I don't think your message could have been any clearer. You didn't want any entanglements. You wanted diversion, and I fit the bill."

Stepping back, precariously close to the wall behind her, Helena looked at the other woman, aghast. "Diversion? I wanted it all, Barbara, and you turned me down. I'm not the one who was distant. I'm not the one off dating other people."

"Oh, that's right," Barbara scoffed. "You're just the one off fucking other people."

After a stunned moment of silence, Helena laughed, the sound rich and full of genuine mirth. "Me off fucking other people? That's rich, Barbara. Priceless even, especially coming from you. I'm not the one bringing Wade's and Dick's home to bed. That's you, sweetheart."

"Just because you can't remember their names doesn't mean they don't count," Barbara shot back, voice full of ire.

Shaking her head sadly, Helena dropped her chin, eyes focusing wearily on Barbara's knees, noting the way the sheet had fallen away from one. She had an intense desire to reach out and pull the sheet back up, painfully aware that Barbara couldn't feel the bite of cold there, but she held back. "You always thought that. Maybe I let you think it, because it was easier for me to pretend you weren't the only one," Helena said softly, a wry smile on her face.

"Excuse me?" Barbara questioned sharply, uncertain. There was something to the brunette's words, some larger meaning tugging at her consciousness, begging for recognition.

Clearing her throat and looking away in embarrassment, Helena murmured, "I said, you were the only one. You've always been the only one."

Eyes narrowing suspiciously, Barbara rolled forward once again, searching for Helena's eyes with her own. "What do you mean, exactly?" she asked, tone guarded.

"Christ, Barbara...do I have to spell it out? You've always been the only one. The only one I love, the only one I've made love to, the only one I ever thought I'd want," Helena replied, exasperated.

Reaching forward blindly, tangling her fingers with Helena's even as tears began to prick at her eyes, Barbara asked hoarsely, "Does that mean...I mean, do you really mean I'm the only one? I don't understand. I thought..."

"Yeah," Helena broke in, tone biting. "I know what you thought. Let me just set you straight though. You're the only one in this relationship who's ever been with anyone else."

"Why didn't you tell me?" Barbara asked, voice full of wonder.

"Why did you assume differently?" Helena shot back, irritated. Jerking her fingers free, she took another step back, only to find herself trapped between Barbara and a brick wall. How utterly symbolic, she thought bitterly.

Thrown immediately on the defensive by the aggressive anger in the other woman's tone, Barbara replied sharply, "Maybe because you didn't give me any reason not to."

"I didn't give you any reason not to," Helena echoed sarcastically. "How about the fact that I never really dated anyone else, or, maybe, that you never even heard me mention anybody. What...I wear tight clothes and go out dancing every once in a while, and I'm automatically fucking half of New Gotham? You don't know me at all, Barbara."

Her agitation reaching a nearly painful level, Barbara nearly shouted, "Because you don't let me, Helena. One minute, I think I've got you pinned down, think I know what you want, and then you go and spring something like this on me. What am I supposed to think? Four years ago you rolled out of my bed without so much as a 'thank you' and since then you've done everything but indicate you want to do more than fuck, and now you're telling me you love me?"

"Don't make this my fault," Helena said, voice fiercely emphatic. "I saw the look on your face that first time. You were seconds away from telling me to get the hell out. I know how you think, Barbara, and I just wasn't up to hearing you tell me I was a mistake. Forgive me for being a little fragile," she continued, drawling sarcastically, "but I'd just lost my virginity to a woman I was madly in love with, and she was getting ready to kick me out of bed with a 'thanks, but once is enough'. I thought I'd skip that part, pleasant as it promised to be."

"What did you expect?" Barbara asked, exasperated, memories of that day flitting through her mind, Helena's words forcing her to see them from a different light. "I mean, Jesus Helena...you were 19 years old. More than that, I was supposed to be taking care of you, not taking advantage of you. You'd been driving me crazy for months, strutting around, all about sex and cocky as hell. I figured I was just another conquest for you, something to add to your list of stunts you managed to pull off. Just you checking off the 'see if I can get in Barbara's pants, find out what it's like to fuck a cripple' item on your to-do list," the redhead finished, tone bitter and cynical, green eyes narrowed and jaw clenched.

"Damnit, Barbara," Helena murmured, mingled regret and pity in her voice, "if that's what you thought, why'd you keep on doing it? Why'd you let me back in your bed?"

Head dropping once more, a wistful sigh whispering past her lips, Barbara said softly, "I don't know. I guess I just wanted it to be real, and as long as I could pretend it was, then that was enough. Sometimes I would think..." she paused, struggling to find the words, "...think that maybe it wasn't completely ludicrous for me to think of us as a couple. You could be so attentive and seem so sincere, and I'd get the delusional idea that we weren't just friends who sometimes slept together. But then I'd remember how stupid it was of me to buy into that, and I'd tell myself it was over, that I wasn't going to do it anymore. I always did, of course. I never could tell you no."

Pained confusion twisting her face into a grimace, Helena leaned back, bumping her head into the brick behind her in a steady rhythm. "I don't understand that at all. If you really felt that way, if you wanted me, how could you sleep with other people. Five of them, Barbara. I can list them off, if you want me to."

Shivering violently, frowning in chagrin, Barbara looked up briefly, shrugging her shoulders. "I was looking for what I didn't have with you. And, to be honest, a lot of it was pride. I mean, just look at you. You can have anyone you want, Helena. I didn't want to be the pathetic nerd in a wheelchair, sitting at home all by myself while you were out having a great time with whoever you'd picked up, thoughts of me not even crossing your mind."

Feeling herself melt slightly, both from the sight of Barbara's obvious determination to ignore the cold and from the awkward admission of her insecurities, Helena shook her head in amusement. She was still a sucker for the other woman, even in the face of all that had happened and all she'd learned. Even now, a little voice in her mind was begging her to simply take the other woman in her arms, to kiss her until they forgot what they were fighting about and it didn't matter any more. "Look, let's go inside," the brunette said wearily, almost disgusted with her weakness, before pushing away from the brick wall at her back. "I'm cold, you're freezing, and I need to think."

"Think about what?" Barbara asked, curious despite herself.

Biting back the urge to laugh at herself, Helena ran a hand through her hair, ruffling the already tousled mess further. "I don't know. About everything, I guess. About what I want to do now."

Shifting uneasily in her chair, the unnecessary move bespeaking her level of discomfort, Barbara said softly, "Maybe we should move past the misunderstanding phase and the self-pity stage and talk about whether or not we can save anything, and whether or not we want to save anything."

Instantly skeptical, Helena shrank back once more, already assuming the worst. "What do you mean, whether or not we want to save anything? Do you not want...not want to..."

Trailing off, unable to articulate her fears, Helena looked away, eyes blurry as she stared out into the night. She could see the shadowy outline of a nearby building, one whose rooftop was familiar to her, and suddenly the brunette wished she was on it, far away from the drama in which she'd managed to find herself enmeshed. Fucking Dinah...it was all her fault.

Fists clenching in frustration, Barbara gritted, "I didn't say that. I didn't want to make any assumptions, Helena. Assumptions are what got us into this mess in the first place. I assumed you couldn't really want me, and you assumed I didn't want you. It seemed best to avoid doing any of that this time."

Anger long spent, leaving little more than emotional exhaustion in its wake, Helena merely nodded, then canted her head to the side, looking pointedly at the balcony doors. "Fine. Let's just do our not assuming inside, okay."

Smiling gently, Barbara rolled forward into the comforting warmth of the Clocktower, touched by Helena's concern for her well-being and charmed by the other woman's attractively sly look. "Do you want something to drink?" she called back over her shoulder, moving in the direction of her bedroom, intent on finding something other than a sheet to wear.

Shaking her head at the apparently inanity of the question, as if she were merely a social visitor who dropped by unannounced, Helena nonetheless replied, "I'll fix us both something."

It wasn't that the structure and function of most major appliances eluded her, but Helena wasn't a big fan of operating them more than necessary. That was why she felt it was a rather notable accomplishment for her to have microwaved water, added little packets of pre-made hot chocolate and oddly small marshmallows into coffee mugs, and stirred it all together before Barbara returned. At the very least, the redhead seemed to be appreciative, cupping her hands around the warm sides of the mug and smiling affectionately at her. She'd pulled on a long-sleeved "New Gotham High" tee shirt and wrapped a thick blanket around her legs, though bare feet hinted to Helena that she wasn't wearing much if anything beneath the covering, and pulled her hair back into a loose, slightly messy pony-tail. She was once again wearing her glasses, green eyes far more composed after the short break than they had been minutes earlier, and Helena couldn't help but think she was absolutely adorable. The fact that she knew Barbara would blush and shoot her a murderous glare for thinking it made her want to say it, and since she hadn't ever really been that good at filtering, she did.

"You look absolutely adorable," the brunette drawled, immediately earning the very reaction she'd predicted.

After a second of awkward silence following that, Barbara cleared her throat and prepared to speak, though she still wasn't exactly certain what she was going to say. But, as soon as her mouth opened, it closed as she took a good, long look at Helena's face. Now that the brunette had said the words, though Barbara still didn't know how much of it Helena meant and how much of it was prompted by the emotionality of the moment, she found herself wondering just how, exactly, the other woman had managed to hide everything she could now see. Blue eyes lingered lovingly on her, tracing over her face before shyly meeting her eyes and then skittering away, embarrassed. Lush lips were curled in a bemused, self-indulgent smile, almost as if Helena couldn't believe how apparent and sappy she was being either, and the other woman was tilted toward her, always closing the distance between them even when they were separated.

So, instead of launching into whatever tirade she could have come up with, or pushing them into yet another painful talk, Barbara settled for a simple, "So do you."

There was a different tension between them now that they were inside, almost as if all of their antagonism and contention had been spent in the cool night air and was still lingering there, dying away slowly. This tension was charged with possibilities, uncertainties and expectations, and Helena felt a little glimmer of optimism worm its way into her heart, settling there heavily.

Taking a deep breath for fortification, Barbara began to organize her thoughts. It was up to her now. She had to take control of the conversation and steer them to wherever they were going, because Helena had already taken the first step, as misguided as it's execution may have been, and now she was going to have to show a little effort herself. It couldn't all be one-sided, not in light of their history together, or it would never be enough.

"I think," she began slowly, brow furrowed as she searched for just the right words, "that..."

"Just tell me, Barbara," Helena interrupted, exasperated, well aware that the redhead was about to launch into a long, tireless examination of everything that had ever passed between them. She wasn't sure she had the resources left to deal with it, though, and with the anticipation leading up to finding out what would be the other woman's inevitable decision. She needed to know immediately, without the half-hour long warm-up presentation.

Startled, Barbara blurted, "I'm in love with you too. I always was."

She looked rather shocked that she'd said it, eyes blinking slowly as if she were recovering from a head wound, and Helena couldn't help but chuckle.

"So what do you want now?" the brunette prodded, wondering if she was quite literally glowing from the warmth the words invoked.

Blushing slightly, always uncomfortable with laying her wants and desires on the line for open and ruthlessly harsh inspection, Barbara nevertheless said softly, "I want to be with you. Full-time with you, that is, but I don't know if you want that too after what I've done to you. I don't know how you could."

Shaking her head ruefully, sadly aware that her words were true even as she spoke them, though wondering how they could be, Helena muttered, "None of that matters anymore, Barbara. Not that you can't try to make it up to me," she added saucily, eyes twinkling mischievously.

Feeling light-headed, almost as if she'd forgotten to breathe somewhere along the way, Barbara nodded solemnly. "Oh, I will. I promise."

Grinning broadly, Helena ducked her head, feeling a bit shy. "So, where do we go from here?"

"Back to bed?" Barbara suggested immediately, blushing furiously as Helena looked up at her, amused surprise and pleasure co-mingled in her eyes.

"Barbara," she drawled, tone full of faux shock, "I'm surprised."

Shrugging her shoulders innocently, Barbara backed away from the table, eyes smoldering as they lingered on Helena. "Well, it's my turn to use the handcuffs," she offered with a devious smile, thoroughly enjoying the other woman's aroused moan.

"Animal," Helena murmured, then followed dutifully along behind the other woman.

It was much later when, laying with Barbara cradled in her arms, body sore and sated, Helena admitted to herself that maybe Dinah wasn't such a bad kid after all.

"Nah," she snorted aloud, earning herself a sleepy kiss on her collarbone as a momentarily reawakened Barbara resettled herself, arms tightening around Helena, determined not to let her go.

An unnecessary precaution, really, because the brunette was finally exactly where she'd always wanted to be.

END