Like A Fire
FANDOM: Birds of Prey TV
DISCLAIMER: a) Unfortunately, I do not, nor have I ever owned any part of the BoP. I do not make any money off of this, because if I did I'd be a whole lot richer than I am now. BoP is owned by Tollin/Robbins.
b) Not everybody likes reading slash fanfiction. If you don't, this isn't your kind of story. So, in the nicest way possible, take a hike.
SUMMARY: Barbara's thoughts on the time after the accident and her relationship with Helena.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I have no idea when this story takes place.
FEEDBACK: Yes, please, if you wouldn't mind writing me at email@example.com
I still have nightmares.
Even after seven long years, I still have them about once a week. Sometimes twice, if I'm stressed. But they're always there, lurking in the background, and I have a hard time sleeping for fear of them. I don't sleep very much, as you can tell.
Various people have told me, mainly Dad, that I'm too involved in my computers, that I don't get enough sleep, food, exercise, etc. How do I tell him that my mind is constantly seeing flashes of green hair and maniacal grins out of the corner of my eyes? That the blue glow of the computer chases the green away, negates it, softens it. That maybe if I tire my mind in front of the computer, I won't hear the gun go off or feel the blood underneath my skin as I lie on my floor, dying.
Of course, they were the worst after it happened. I could hardly close my eyes without seeing his mocking me, without hearing that awful laugh. I never slept, I didn't eat, I just sat at my computer, writing essays on subjects nobody cared about, just for something to do.
If it hadn't of been for Helena, I probably would have killed myself.
Under almost any other circumstance, I think I could have pulled through on my own, done just fine, maybe even excelled. But I was paralyzed from the waist down, my family, my friends, and my boyfriend (a recently re-named Nightwing, aka Dick Grayson) all looked down at me pityingly, and worst of all, the man I idolized, who had helped me to fly, had disappeared. Batman was gone. I was more than ready to take Dad's gun and pull the trigger.
Helena stopped me. And I don't just mean she gave me a reason to live, although she did. I mean I was in my room, a loaded and well-oiled gun in my hands, and I was prepared to stick the barrel to my temple and blow my brains out. And Helena came dashing into the room, although she was supposed to be seeing a therapist that day, and threw herself at my feet, sobbing hysterically, begging me not to. I still don't quite know how she knew - she's never told me.
At first I didn't answer her, too surprised to find the words. Then I got angry, and shouted at her that it was my life, damnit, I would do whatever the hell I wanted to do with it. And I didn't want to live, and she couldn't stop me. This was little over six months afterwards, and I was still weakened from the incident. She could have taken the gun from me with ease.
Instead, she simply put her hand on mine and guided it so that the barrel rested on her chest. When I asked her what she was doing, she replied that if I was going to kill myself, then I would have to kill her too, because she didn't want to live if I wasn't around. I argued with her, telling her that although she'd been through hell and back, she still had other friends and family out there who would miss her, and she still had a life ahead of her.
"So do you," she replied. And that was that.
We made a promise to each other, that very day, that neither of us would ever let it go that far ever again. Because we both knew that if I had killed myself, she would have followed me into hell at a dead run. So instead I helped her focus on other things, and I did it through training. It had helped me forget the alcoholic father I had left behind; it would help us both forget now. We took to sharing a bedroom at night, although she would go to bed in her own. At around two in the morning, like clockwork, she would silently open the door and crawl in with me, and I would hug her close and comfort her. I was never asleep when she would arrive, and I used to just lie awake and watch her sleep, stroking her hair, trying to keep the nightmares away.
Despite the devotion we gave each other, I was surprised at what happened next. I don't quite remember how it started that day - something about my eating habits, or hers, or maybe it was exercise. However it did start, it grew to epic proportions, the argument that we had. I could have sworn that the people down the block could hear us, we were so loud. But what we fought about wasn't as important as how it ended. Frustrated with it all, head ringing with our voices, I finally asked her, rather curtly, why the hell she gave a damn anyway, other than the fact that I fed her and gave her a place to stay. "Because I'm in love with you, damnit," she replied hotly, those ice-blue eyes of hers blazing into my own. "And fuck you for thinking otherwise."
She moved out the next day.
I was completely devastated, and completely confused. I knew I loved Helena, but I had always thought it was the love of a friend. But after that night, the emotions that clouded inside of me led me to believe it was a whole lot more. She was my ward, and yet I didn't think of her as a child, let alone my child. I had always seen her as a woman, and I realized that some part of me had always wanted her. And yet I couldn't say anything, because she had left, and I took it as a sign that she felt her words were a mistake. She stopped coming by, and for several weeks it was as if she didn't know I existed. My mind turned to the gun again, but I firmly put that option aside for desperate measures for more desperate times.
Just as I was about to do something impulsive, such as start bothering her at work, she showed up.
"Let's train," she said, and we did. We trained every day, for hours on end, each of us seemingly relieving all of the tension we felt towards each other. Training to chase our nightmares away, just like before. Only this time, our nightmares were each other.
I'm not quite sure what changed, or when exactly it happened. Just, one day, I realized she wasn't just coming by to train anymore. And instead of just steady work, we bantered. We'd even bickered a few times, which I felt was a positive step from utter silence. I took to inviting her to eat with me about once a week. And slowly, so slowly, the food changed from take-out chinese and sodas to instant pizzas and beer to spaghetti (the only dish I really know how to make) and red wine.
And then, one night, after training and one of said spaghetti and wine dinners, we got to talking about her personal life. I asked her if she was seeing anyone interesting, and her answer was yes, she hoped so. And I felt my chest tighten, and thought I might be sick, and I knew that there was no doubt in my mind that at some point I had fallen for the dynamic young woman in front of me, and fallen hard. I told her that was great, my voice thick with wanting to cry, and that I hoped the person was worthy of her.
"Are you?" she asked me, and my whole world stopped. I stared at her, gaped really, unsure if I had heard her right.
"I'm sick of pretending that I don't love you," she said, her eyes focused on my own green ones. "I'm tired of spending night after night in my apartment, wishing I was back here, sleeping in your arms like I used to. I just want to be back here," she whispered, her ice-blue eyes softened, full of tears.
And then it hit me. She didn't want to date me; she wanted me to be her mother figure, to comfort her when she's skinned a knee, to be there while she complains about boyfriends and girlfriends. And my world crumbled. I felt like falling through my chair, through the earth, to the other side, as far away from here as humanly, or even inhumanly possible.
"Barbara?" Helena whispered, looking at me with those eyes, and I didn't know what to say. "I know what you're thinking, and your wrong. You are not my mother, you are not a mother figure, you're my mentor. You're my friend, my best friend. And I want to be able to touch you, to know you inside and out, to be with you, for as long as I can." With that, she leaned over the table and kissed me, gently.
I seriously wondered if I had died and gone to heaven. She looked worried when I started crying, and I reassured her that I was happy. That I had missed her so much, had hardly slept since she left. But some part of me couldn't say all this without making sure that she knew exactly what she was getting. In a halting voice, barely able to get it out, I told her I wasn't exactly sure of how much feeling was left. That she may not want to get into a relationship with someone like me.
And what did she do? She got mad. She told me I was never to think of myself like that, that I was as perfect as was possible for any person could be. And when I wasn't convinced, she spent the next half- hour extolling my virtues.
"You're like a fire," she finally said. "You're warm, playful, and full of scorching passion underneath. If you don't mind the few burns you'll get along the way, you can have a friend, companion, and lover, for life." She leaned forward and kissed me again. "I'd take a lifetime of third degree burns, if it meant I got to be with you."
Well, who am I to argue with logic like that?