FANDOM: Birds of Prey TV
PAIRING: Barbara/Helena, some Dinah/Helena, and some Dinah/other.
RATING: R for violence, language, and sex.
DISCLAIMER: I do not, nor have I ever owned the Birds of Prey. They are owned/rented by DC Comics and Tollins/Robbins Productions. Also, this story depicts two women who are in love/in a sexual relationship. If this is not for you, I suggest you don't read.
SUMMARY: I hate summaries... besides, the first part of the story is just leading into the main story, it's completely different. A little VotW going on later.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Okay, here goes my shmoozing to explain why I wrote this. While we know little about either Helena's or Dinah's past (Barbara's being general DCU canon), people seem to be writing more about Helena's and Barbara's than Dinah's. This is my whim fic, where I try and show little clips of what I think her life was like at the Redmond's, while mingling it with present time situations. Anyway, enough rambling, enjoy!
ARCHIVING: Delphi_Mainframe messages 107 to 114.
She cowered behind her bed, pulling the baby-pink coverlet over her head like a cape. Her eyes never strayed from the top of her door, waiting anxiously for it to burst open. She wasn't disappointed.
"DINAH!" her father roared as he flung the door open. "Get out here, now."
The young blonde slowly crawled out from behind her bed, and stood in front of the 6' mountain of towering rage. He glared at her, 245 pounds of muscle and anger. He grabbed her arm and pulled over to stand directly next to him.
"What did I tell you?" he shouted at her, shaking her roughly.
"I didn't mean to, Daddy," she sobbed, tears springing to her soft blue eyes. She pushed a stray piece of hair behind her ear, ducking her head as she tried to hide her trembling hand. "It just slipped."
"Oh, it just slipped, did it?" Larry Redmond snarled, shoving her roughly onto the bed. "I told you to keep quiet to your mother. It's just a matter of keeping your mouth shut, you freak of nature."
Dinah ducked her head even more, not quite daring to shy away from her father. "She just kept asking questions, like she knew exactly what I was trying not to tell her--"
Larry strode over to the bed and smacked the young girl hard across the face. "Don't you ever even suggest your poor mother is anything like you. We've tried to do our best by you, and still you persist with these visions from the Devil." He ripped the cross on her wall off, and dragged her out of the room.
"Larry," Mrs. Christina Redmond said as she watched her husband pull the young girl out of her room. "Don't blame your mistakes on Dinah."
"My mistakes?" he asked, scoffing. "She was given those images by the Devil himself, and to suggest otherwise is blasphemy. She needs to be taught that these so-called visions are evil." He shoved Dinah into the hall closet, and forced the cross into her hands. "I want you to pray to the Lord for your salvation, because He knows that we've tried."
With that, the door closed, and with a turn of a key Dinah was locked in.
"Larry, she's only ten," she heard her mother plead through the door.
"Christina, I did not sleep with that woman. The Devil has a hold of her, and I will not let her out of that closet until a sign is given that the Lord has forgiven us for allowing that - that creature into our household."
"Whatever you think is best," she sighed, and returned to the kitchen.
Dinah huddled on the floor, her hands clasped around the cross, and slowly she started to pray in the consuming darkness.
Dinah entered the clocktower's main room to see Barbara already hard at work. "Don't you ever sleep?" she asked as she headed towards the kitchen, fishing around for her usual breakfast of frosted flakes.
Barbara simply held up her giant GEICO(c)-sized mug of coffee. "This wonderful concoction of tar, sugar and caffeine is all I survive on."
Dinah laughed. "I've noticed. Do you ever eat?"
Barbara shrugged, turning away from her computer. She knew she wasn't going to get any work done with Dinah acting like this. The teenager was overly bouncy this morning, a constant smile on her face. And Dinah's moods were always infectious Barbara couldn't help but get into a light chatter with her.
"Not usually," she responded. "Sometimes, when I have that occasional thing called a life." She sobered up somewhat. "Wade likes to take me out to dinner. I certainly eat then."
Dinah giggled at the slight flush that came over Barbara's cheeks. It was always fun to do that to Barbara, considering that it was a redhead's common malady to turn bright red at the slightest embarrassment. "Well, when I have seen you eat, it's enough to make me offer to start up a cattle farm in the gym, just so we can keep you fed."
Barbara huffed, scowling at Dinah with a glint of amusement in her green eyes. "You're no lightweight yourself, missy," she teased her, eyeing the girl as the entire half-box of cereal went into the bowl, followed by a good bit of milk.
Dinah simply replied by sticking the largest spoonful possible of flakes into her mouth, struggling to swallow the soggy pieces of carbohydrates.
"Don't choke," Helena warned as she entered the door, the laziness in her eyes suggesting she'd been up all night. "I don't know the Heimlich." She shot Barbara a smile that reached all the way to her eyes, and went to go lounge on the ramp.
"What did you get yourself into last night?" Barbara asked lightly as she wheeled over, stopping right behind the brunette.
"Trouble?" Helena asked as she closed her eyes. "Me? Surely you jest." She struggled to keep her eyes open.
Barbara rolled her own. "Feel free to crash here. Just be sure you make my bed."
Helena nodded, hopping to her feet. "Sure thing," she said, and headed up the stairs. She disappeared into the redhead's bedroom, closing the door.
"I figured you would mind more if Helena was in your personal space than I do if she's in mine," Barbara responded to the look Dinah was sending her.
Dinah just shrugged. "I just thought she'd take mine, considering it used to be hers." She wouldn't have minded Helena in her bed. The energetic woman had crashed there once before, and Dinah had found the lingering scent left on her sheets soothing.
"She usually spent about 50/50 in each bedroom," Barbara replied absentmindedly as she went to go pick up a folder filled with papers on the desk. She turned to see Dinah staring at her wide eyed. "Nightmares," she filled in hastily. "Don't be a teen," she scolded, realizing where Dinah's mind had been.
Dinah held up her hands in defense. "I never said otherwise," she laughed. "Come one, we've already been late once this week."
Barbara nodded, and the two left via the elevator.
Dinah turned to see a short brunette, wearing a cheerleader outfit with a large "New Gotham High" on the front in green and her arms full of books. She nodded, and closed her locker.
"Yeah," she replied, self-consciously tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. "You're Kayla Jacobsin."
The girl smiled, showing a row of perfect white teeth. "Yeah, that'd be me. Listen, I was wondering if you wanted to hang with me and my friends after school today. We were going to go grab a burger or something."
Dinah raised her eyebrows in shock. "Me? Are you sure you've got the right person? If I remember correctly, it was you and your friends who laughed at me on my first day here."
Kayla winced. "Yeah, about that. Listen, I'm really sorry. I wasn't born in New Gotham, either, so don't feel too bad. It happens to all the new kids. Anyway, you seem like a cool person. If you don't want to hang..." she started, a worried look coming across her face.
"No," Dinah said quickly. "I mean, yes. I'd be... I mean... yeah." She smiled hesitantly at the girl. "Sure."
"Great!" Kayla replied, bouncing on the balls of her feet slightly. "I guess I'll see you after school, k? Meet us in the courtyard, underneath the clock."
Dinah nodded, and watched as the cheerful brunette walked away down the hall, smiling and waving at her friends.
"Now remember, you can't go over to any of the other kids' houses," Christina Redmond said as she helped Dinah with her backpack.
"I know," an eleven-year old Dinah replied quietly, shifting around so that the books in the bag weren't digging into her back. "And I'm not supposed to talk unless spoken to by the teacher. And I'm to eat lunch in the school library." She looked up at the woman who had replaced her beloved mother, the woman who had abandoned her so many years ago.
"And what else?" Christina asked sternly.
"And I'm to say my prayers during recess," she said quietly.
"Good girl," Christina said proudly. She gave Dinah a cold peck on the forehead. "Go on. And don't forget to not tell anyone about your problem."
Dinah nodded, and exited the car. She walked across the playground, and entered the elementary school. Once inside, she ripped off her cross. She stuck the battered piece of gold jewelry in her pocket, and headed in to her first day of fifth grade.
Dinah opened the door to the classroom and peeked her head in slightly. The room was empty except for Barbara, who was collecting her various teaching utensils.
"Hello," Barbara said as she looked up to see the girls head. "Ready to go?"
Dinah entered the room completely. "Actually, I got invited to go hang out and grab a burger with some people. Is it okay?"
Barbara nodded. "Sure thing. Who are you going with?"
Dinah sat down on one of the desks, a thoughtful look on her face. "Kayla Jacobsin," she replied, smiling at the look on the redhead's face. "I reacted the same way, but she seemed genuinely interested in just chilling. I figured, why not?"
"Why not indeed?" Barbara replied. She wheeled over to the door, smiling as Dinah absent mindedly opened it for her. "It's about time you started hanging out with people your own age, instead of us old folks."
"You and Helena are hardly old," Dinah protested, following Barbara as she wheeled down the hall.
"Still," Barbara said, conceding the point. "Go on, have fun. Be home at a reasonable hour."
Dinah nodded, gave Barbara a quick hug, and headed towards the courtyard.
"Dinah, would you please stay a moment after class?" Elaine Brandon asked the young girl as the rest of the class filed out.
Dinah nodded, and went to go stand in front of the teacher's desk. She pulled her cross out of her pocket, where it lived every day, and placed it around her neck again.
"Come over and sit with me," Elaine said, gently motioning the small blonde over to a table with chairs surrounding it. Dinah mutely followed, sitting on the edge of the chair as her teacher sat across from her. "I want to ask you something, and I was hoping you could answer me honestly. Do you think you can do that?"
Dinah nodded again, keeping her mouth tightly shut.
"Dinah, what's your life like at home? You don't seem to be a happy child, and your parents have never come to any of our parent-teacher conferences." Elaine studied the girl, sighing softly at the guarded yet vulnerable look on her face.
"It's okay," Dinah replied softly, fiddling with the cross at her neck. "My parents try hard to make me a good person."
"And there's nothing going on? They're treating you alright?" Elaine pressed. She'd noticed the occasional bruise, but the Redmonds were known to be devoutly religious people, so she'd just put it aside as a child's general clumsiness. But if there was a chance...
"They do their best," Dinah said softly, ducking her head to avoid any eye contact. "My mom's waiting for me, Ms. Brandon."
Elaine nodded, and stood. She patted Dinah affectionately on the girl's bare arm. She looked at her, concerned, when Dinah stiffened.
"Oh, Ms. Brandon," Dinah murmured, looking up at her teacher with pity in her eyes. Suddenly, Elaine felt as if they'd switched roles, an uncanny feeling crawling down her spine as she studied her young fifth grade student. "Don't let him ever hurt you like that again. You're much too nice."
Elaine was stunned, and confused. What did she mean? How could she know? But before she could ask, Dinah was picking up her backpack and walking out the door.
"Dinah," Christina said, her voice low and threatening.
Dinah turned to see her mother just outside the door. She shivered at the look in her eye. "Mommy, I--"
"Don't say another word. You're lucky I'm the one picking you up, otherwise you'd be spending the night in the closet again." She grabbed Dinah's hand and hurried her daughter out of the school. "We've told you again and again not to talk to your teachers, and especially not to let on anything about your problem!"
Dinah sniffled as she got into the car. "But he was hurting her, and Ms. Brandon's so nice."
Christina smacked her daughter on the head. "Don't you let your father hear you talk like that, or you'll get a beating for sure. You know that these are the work of evil, and they're not to be believed." She started the car, and pulled away from the school.
"I'm not going to tell your father," she finally said, after a long silence filled only with Dinah's sniffles. "But I suggest you spend an extra hour saying your bedtime prayers to make up for it."
Dinah nodded. "Yes, mommy," she said softly, and stared dully at the dashboard the rest of the way home.
"There you are!" Kayla exclaimed as Dinah entered the courtyard. She walked over, a combination of jogging and skipping, and stopped just short of the blonde. "I was beginning to think you weren't going to show up."
Dinah smiled back, a little shyly, at the enthusiastic cheerleader. "I just had to clear it with Bar--Ms. Gordon."
Kayla frowned. "Why?" She motioned for Dinah to follow her as she walked towards her group of friends.
"Ms. Gordon's my guardian, sort of," Dinah explained, hoping desperately that the girl wouldn't make too much of a deal about it.
"Lucky," Kayla said. "She's hot."
Dinah's jaw dropped as she stared at the brunette. "Really?"
Kayla turned to see the deer-in-the-headlights look Dinah had on, and giggled. "Well, yeah, don't you think so? Unless your related, in which case I completely understand."
Dinah shook her head. "No, we're not related. She's... an old friend of my mother's."
"Then I repeat, lucky." Kayla gave a sigh. "It's so hard to find a quality girl these days."
"I wouldn't know," Dinah murmured. "I mean, I'm not exactly looking for a relationship right now."
Kayla nodded. "Have you seen that woman Ms. Gordon meets in front of the school sometimes? Tall, lanky, has a great ass, brown hair? Apparently she went here a couple of years ago."
Dinah laughed. "You mean Helena? Yeah, I've met her. We actually see each other every day. Helena used to live with Barbara, and she still comes over often. She even stays the night sometimes."
Kayla gave another heartfelt sigh. "I am so jealous. We are definitely going to have to get together some time, so I can meet this woman. 'Cause damned if I know if I've ever seen a girl hotter than she is. Hey guys."
The group of cheerleaders and football players turned to greet their friend. "Hey, Kayla," a tall blonde guy said, giving her a quick hug.
"Guys, I want to re-introduce you to Dinah," Kayla said. "Dinah, meet the gang. We've got Joey, Jake, Elsie, Carol, Mina, the twins Annie and Andy, and Galen." She pointed to each person in turn. They all smiled and nodded at Dinah, a few shaking her hand.
As Dinah shook Galen's hand, a vision hit her full force. She pulled away quickly, eyeing him nervously. He smiled at her, sexual predator written all over.
"I didn't know two people could do that," she muttered to herself as the group made to leave.
"What?" Kayla asked, turning to look at Dinah. She noticed the way Galen was eyeing the blonde, and laughed. "Don't mind him, he's the player of the group. He has this weird talent of getting any girl he wants, and then becoming friends with her." She batted her eyelashes at him.
Galen rolled his eyes. "I've never dated you," he said, a look crossing face saying he would have liked it very much if they had.
Kayla stood on tip toe to give him a peck on the cheek. "That's because I'm gay, sweetie," she said in a sultry voice. "Come on, Dinah, I'll give you a ride in my car. I'm starving."
Dinah followed Kayla, too stunned to say a word.
Dinah exited the elevator, yawning. She glanced at her watch. and winced at the late hour. She knew that if Barbara were to catch her now, she'd be in for a whopper of a lecture. Not that tomorrow would be much better, but she was tired.
"Where have you been?" Barbara said quietly from her bedroom door as the teen tiptoed by. "It's almost one."
Dinah grimaced, and turned to face a very pissed off redhead. "I'm really, really sorry," she said, a look of regret on her face. "It's just that we went out for burgers, and then we decided to go to a movie, and then Kayla wanted to go dancing, and I completely lost track of time--"
"Enough," Barbara interrupted, holding up a hand to stem the flow of words pouring from the blonde. "Dinah, I'm glad you're finally getting along with some of the other kids. Even I'm not so involved in the life that I don't get out every now and then. But you really need to call in if you're going to be late." She leaned forward in her chair, keeping Dinah's eyes with her own intense green ones. "You didn't bring your transmitter with you, you didn't call, and you know how dangerous this city is. You of all people know how dangerous it is here."
Dinah nodded, chastized. "I really didn't mean to worry you, Barbara," she said, rubbing her right arm absently. "It won't happen again."
Barbara gave a sigh, and smiled tiredly at Dinah. "It better not, or next time I'll be sending Huntress to go find you."
Dinah blanched at the thought of the irate brunette railing on her for interrupting her night of fun and worrying Barbara. "It definitely won't happen again."
"Go to bed," Barbara said, propping her head up on a fist, lazily blinking. "You still have school in the morning."
Dinah smiled. "So do you," she reminded Barbara. She gave the woman an impromptu hug, and dashed into her own room. She was asleep before her head even hit the pillow, not even bothering to do more than remove her shoes.
"Hey, Dinah," a boy called from across the lawn. He walked over to her, and sat down. She looked at him skeptically, scooting slightly over as he invaded her personal space.
"Yes?" she replied, not quite brave enough to be rude. She eyed him warily with blue eyes.
"Is it true you're gay?" he asked eagerly, leaning forward. His eyes sparkled with malicious amusement.
"What?" Dinah exclaimed, moving away even further.
"It's just that it would be so cool if we had our very own freak," he replied, nonchalant. "Not that you didn't already fill the job, but this would just take the cake." He laughed at her, and left her to stew.
Dinah hunched over lunch, no longer hungry. She'd never really thought about being gay or straight. Both the boys and the girls in her junior high avoided her, so it wasn't like she was ever given the chance to decide for herself. She felt pretty ambiguous about it--any relationship at all would be fine. That is, if her parents would let her.
She stood up, fingering the cross that was always on her, and headed inside. She dropped the remainder of her lunch in the trash, and went to the library.
Dinah jolted awake as a pencil hit her in the back of the head. She turned to see Kayla grinning at her. The brunette mouthed 'Stay awake' at her, and Dinah turned to see Ms. Kindschi glaring at her. She made as if she was taking notes, and the teacher turned back to her lesson.
A tap on her shoulder. She glanced back, only to have a note dropped over her shoulder onto her lap. She muttered a quick thanks to the deliverer, and opened it up.
'Stay awake, or Kindschi will have your hide. Did you catch hell from Ms. Gordon last night?'
Dinah jotted down a quick reply.
'Yeah, she caught me as I was passing her door. I got a lecture for not calling, a small threat to sick the law on me next time. Nothing much.'
She passed the note back, and watched out of the corner of her eye as Kayla giggled quietly.
At that moment, the bell rang. The classroom was instantly full of the noise of desks being moved by eager bodies to leave, books being slammed shut, and chatter.
"She said she'd call the cops, huh?" Kayla asked as she waited for Dinah to get her stuff together.
"Actually, not really. More like she'd send Helena on my trail."
Kayla whistled. "Doesn't sound like such a bad thing," she teased. "At least from my point of view."
Dinah shrugged as they walked down the hall. "Helena may be hot, but she's got a mean temper and an attitude."
"Sounds like love," Kayla swooned, and made as if she was going to faint.
Dinah smiled widely, her eyes twinkling happily. "Let's just say it makes for interesting nights. She's really great," she admitted. "We've definitely gotten to be better friends since I've arrived."
"What are you doing for lunch?" Kayla asked as they stopped in front of her locker.
"I, uh, nothing really," Dinah mumbled. "I was going to eat with Barbara," she admitted.
"Great!" Kayla said. "Mind if I tag along?"
Dinah coughed. "Um, I guess not," she said. "If you want to come along, sure. It probably won't be as interesting as your friends," Dinah said. Normally she and Barbara talked about things like her mother and their common nighttime hobby. She had a feeling that this was not something for Kayla to be hearing.
"If you don't want me to come," Kayla said, looking up at Dinah with soft brown eyes. "I don't have to come, if you don't want me to."
Dinah liked her eyes. She normally liked everyone's eyes -- Barbara's were a very soulful green, with incredible depths, like an ocean. Helena's were like an iceberg, beautiful and blue, but with a hidden volcano that came out when she was feeling any strong emotion. Kayla's were like a blanket, all soft and warm.
"It's no big deal," Dinah said. "Come along if you want to."
Kayla grinned. "Thanks so much. I can only listen to the gang yammer on about sports and guys for so long."
"I've gathered that 'guy' isn't exactly the most important word in your dictionary," Dinah said, as the two walked toward's Barbara's classroom.
"Not even close," Kayla replied. "After you," she said as she held the door open for Dinah.
"Thanks," Dinah replied, blushing slightly.
"Kayla," Barbara acknowledged as the two entered the room. "How are you doing?"
"Pretty good, Ms. Gordon," Kayla replied. "I miss being in your class this year, though. My new english teacher is a complete bore."
"My apologies," Barbara said, smiling. "But if I remember correctly, you were always daydreaming in here."
Kayla blushed. "Yeah, well, I always had something on my mind in here."
Dinah choked slightly. She knew very well what had been on the cheerleader's mind. "Is it okay if Kayla joins us for lunch?" she asked Barbara.
Barbara shook her head. "Not at all. Feel free to pull up a chair."
Kayla grabbed a chair and placed it next to the one already by the desk. She and Dinah sat, and soon the three were chatting lightly about school while eating.
Dinah sat in the principal's office, watching her parents through the glass. She watched as her parents nodded and shook their heads, hanging off of the principal's every word. Finally, the door opened and Larry and Christina Redmond entered.
"Let's go," Larry said gruffly. He picked up Dinah's schoolbag, and she felt as if a leash had been placed around her neck. She followed him to the car, and got into the backseat. She avoided her mother's eyes, knowing she would see disapproval there.
The ride back was deathly quiet. When the car finally pulled up to the house, Dinah slowly got out of the car and headed inside. She was unprepared for the sudden shove she got from behind. Her head connected with a picture hanging on the wall, shattering the glass and cutting her forehead.
"You disgusting, vile creature," her father hissed as he shoved her into the wall again. "Look what you've gone and done. You've corrupted another kid with the evil that permeates you. No matter what we do, you insist on continuing to sin!"
Dinah huddled against the wall, unable to tear her eyes away from her father. He smacked her across the face, snapping her head to the side and causing her ears to ring. He hit her again, and then a third time.
"Daddy, please stop," she cried, sinking to the floor. He kicked her visciously in the ribs, and a sickening crack filled the air.
"What have we done to deserve a wretch like you under this roof? First those visions from the Devil, which have finally been driven out of you, thank the Lord. And now this!" He kicked her leg.
Christina looked on, unmoving. "Why do you do this to us, Dinah? We're just trying to help you, and yet you continue to follow the life of a deviant."
"We just kissed," Dinah whispered, cradling herself in her arms. She'd been surprised when her friend Bethany had leaned forward and placed her lips on Dinah's, but before Dinah could break it off the gym teacher had walked in.
"Just kissed? I will not have you leading a life of sodomy!" Larry glared down at her. Suddenly, Dinah could tell that things had just gotten a lot worse.
"Where's your cross?" he asked slowly, quietly, menacingly.
Dinah's eyes widened in horror. She'd forgotten to put it back on.
Larry kneeled down beside her, and roughly searched her for the object. He pulled it out of her jean pocket.
"Why are you not wearing this?"
Dinah shut her eyes, struggling to breathe. She hurt so badly, the room was swimming.
"Don't want to answer me?" he asked. He picked her up in his arms, and headed towards the closet. He tossed her in their, and she cried out in pain as she hit the floor and the wall. "You've been suspended for three days. See that you beg the Lord for forgiveness."
Dinah barely felt the cross hitting her side as she slipped into unconsciousness.
Dinah sat on the balcony, staring out at the city beneath her. She wondered if Helena was out there somewhere, beating someone's ass. Taking a shot. Talking to Detective Reese.
Dinah turned to see Barbara wheeling out. She smiled as the redhead tossed her a sweater, which she gladly pulled on. It was one of Helena's old ones, all big and soft, and Dinah huddled into it, breathing deeply.
"Hi," she replied. She and Barbara sat there for a while, studying each other and the night. "Everything quiet?"
"Like right before a storm," Barbara replied, sighing. "I'm sure things will blow up in our faces sometime in the next couple of days."
Dinah smiled. "It always does," she whispered. She closed her eyes.
"Is everything alright, Dinah?" Barbara asked, eyeing the girl in concern. Ever since the ride home, she'd been overly quiet and withdrawn. Nowhere near her normal self.
"Yeah," Dinah said quietly. "No."
Barbara allowed herself a small smile of victory. Getting Dinah to come out was ten times easier than trying to get Helena to talk about her day. "What is it?"
Dinah sighed, and turned to look at the redhead. "Just thinking," she said. Her face was guarded, calculated, and Barbara was surprised to see it. Normally the blonde looked like she couldn't keep a secret if she tried.
"About your mother?" Barbara pushed gently, hoping she wouldn't make something in Dinah snap.
"Yes and no," Dinah replied. She stood suddenly. "Listen, I've got a ton of work to do. I'll talk to you later, alright?" She gave Barbara a tired smile, which did not even come close to reaching her eye, and went back inside.
This was going to be harder than she thought. Barbara closed her eyes and rubbed her temple, cursing the day she'd thought that raising kids might be fun, and went back inside.
"Hey, Dinah!" Bethany called from across the hall, and raced down to meet her friend. "How's it going?"
Dinah didn't look at her. "It's been okay," she said softly, her voice strained.
"Listen, I'm sorry about what happened. I just wasn't thinking," Bethany apologized quietly. "I don't even know if you swing that way, it's just that I like you a lot. And I was kind of hoping you liked me too."
Dinah closed her locker, and turned towards Bethany, not quite meeting her eyes. "Listen, you're a really great person and all, but we can't be friends anymore."
Bethany opened her mouth to protest, to ask why, to apologize for whatever it was that she had done wrong, but Dinah was already moving stiffly down the hall. Bethany watched as Dinah pulled her shirt down, noticing the bandages, and fell silent.
Dinah eyed Helena and Barbara as the two whispered by the computer. She dug through the cupboard, pulling out a thing of spaghetti. She chewed silently on one of the pieces, ignoring the loud crunching sound the uncooked noodles made.
"Hey, kid," Helena said as she ambled across the room. "Grab a jacket, we're going out."
Dinah raised an eyebrow. "We? As in I get to come along on a sweep?" A grin crossed her face, and she raced up the stairs to her room. "Don't move a muscle," she shouted from the top.
Helena laughed, and waited for the teen to come back down. "It's just going to be a small sweep, because I can cover more ground by myself. But you know enough to be able to take care of yourself if I get into a fight."
Dinah's smile widened. "No, it's okay, great. Let's go." She turned and waved at Barbara, before dashing into the elevator.
Barbara smiled, and counted to ten. The teen dashed back out, and up the stairs. "Forgot my comm," she said as she came back down, and soon the two were gone.
"I can't believe I finally get to come along," Dinah practically gushed as the two walked down the street, peering down every alley, keeping their ears open for any unusual noises. "I thought I'd have to wait until I was at least thirty."
Helena rolled her eyes. "Nah, more like twenty-five, but I talked Barbara into a trial run." The two continued their walk, moving in a large circular pattern. Dinah kept her eyes open, eager to be the one to point out something.
"Dinah!" she heard someone call her name, and turned to see Kayla heading her way. "Hey, what's up?"
Dinah froze for a moment, before smiling at the girl. "Just going for a walk. What are you doing?"
Kayla shrugged. "Going to get a bite to eat."
Helena nudged Dinah in the side. "Aren't you going to introduce me?" she asked the blonde, pleased to see her blush in embarrassment.
"Oh, sorry," Dinah stammered. "Helena, this is my friend Kayla. Kayla, this is Helena, a friend of Ms. Gordon and I."
Kayla smiled at Helena, and held out her hand. "Pleased to meet you, Helena," she said, her voice low and sultry.
Helena struggled not to laugh at the look on Dinah's face. "The pleasure is all mine," she replied in like, shaking the girls hand, holding on for longer than necessary. So this was the one that Barbara thought had Dinah all moody. The kid had taste.
Dinah watched the two of them with a strange look on her face.
"Is everything okay?" Kayla asked Dinah, a concerned look crossing her face. "You look like you just ate something gross."
Dinah shook her head. "Listen, I just remembered I have a ton of schoolwork. I'm gonna head on back. I'll see you later, 'kay?" Dinah pivoted around on her heel, and started walking rapidly in the opposite direction.
Kayla and Helena watched her go, matching looks of puzzlement on their faces. "It was nice meeting you," Helena finally said, sending the girl a smile before chasing after Dinah. Kayla watched her leave, feeling more than a little confused.
Helena caught up with Dinah at the end of the block, and grabbed her arm to stop her rapid walk. "What's the matter with you?" she demanded, getting in front of the blonde. "I thought you wanted to go on a sweep with me."
Dinah chuckled shortly. "Yeah, well, I changed my mind, alright?" She sounded bitter, and a look of pain was on her face that Helena knew she had never seen there before, not even when Black Canary had died.
Helena looked around, noticed that they were getting some attention, and dragged Dinah into an alley. "Listen, I am so not in the mood for your teenage mood swings, but somethings wrong, and you're going to tell me what."
Dinah glared at Helena for a moment. "I don't have to tell you anything," she shot back, angry. "Like you care, anyway." She made as if she was going to leave.
Helena grabbed her arm and yanked her back. "Damnit, Dinah, I do care, otherwise I wouldn't be asking. Something's wrong, and I wish you would just explain to me what it is so I don't feel like I've stabbed you in the back somehow."
Dinah started to shake, unable to tear her eyes away from the tight grip Helena had on her arm. Tears flowed freely down her cheeks. "Please let go," she whispered, no longer having the will to fight.
Obliging, Helena released her arm, and the worry she had felt before doubled. Dinah looked like a puppy that had been kicked way too many times, and Helena knew that somehow her aggression had put it there.
"Whatever it was that I said, I'm sorry," Helena said.
Dinah just stood there, shaking. Suddenly, she broke down into sobs and fell onto the ground, sitting there crying. Helena knelt down beside her and wrapped the girl in her arms, rocking back and forth as her Barbara had her when she was younger. The two stayed that way for a while, the silence between them no longer awkward, as Helena offered comfort and Dinah accepted it.
"Let's get you home," Helena finally said, when the tremors coursing through the teen's body had finally died down. She helped Dinah to stand up, and for a moment they just stayed in each others arms.
"I love you," Dinah whispered as she buried her head into Helena's neck.
"I know," Helena replied gently. "I kinda guessed." She gave the teen a brief squeeze before finally releasing her.
Dinah kept her head down, suddenly realizing what she had said, and how Helena must have taken it. "I mean," she started to say, then stopped. "Not just as... you know, a friend..." She closed her eyes, cursing herself for her inability to articulate.
Helena stopped Dinah with a hand on her shoulder. "I know," she repeated. "It's okay. It happens. But Dinah, I can't."
Dinah looked up at Helena, and was relieved to see the look of affection in the woman's blue eyes. She nodded. "Barbara."
Helena looked at her in shock. "How did you..." She smacked herself on the forehead, and grinned. "Well, duh. You read me."
Dinah grinned sheepishly. "I couldn't help it."
"Come on," Helena said, grabbing Dinah's hand and lacing their fingers together. "We're going home."
"Did you do what I told you to do?" Larry asked as soon as Dinah stepped into the door.
"Yes, Daddy," she said. She looked up at him, her eyes unusually ablaze with fire. "I just ended a five year relationship with my best friend over something that isn't even worth it."
He glared at her. "Don't you give me any lip."
"Sorry, Daddy," she replied. "I'm going to my room now." She shifted her backpack around as she headed towards her bedroom. As soon as she closed the door, she dropped her stuff and lay down on the bed. She'd decided what she was going to do. It wouldn't happen any time soon, probably not even that year, but if it killed her she was going to get away.
Only problem was, it probably would.
"Thank god your back," Barbara said as the two entered the clocktower. She was about to continue when she noticed Dinah's red and puffy eyes. "Is everything okay?"
Helena didn't answer, letting Dinah decide. "It can wait," she said, heading over to Barbara to look over her shoulder. "What happened?"
Barbara nodded, realizing that trying to talk to the teen now would be counterproductive. "The storms finally broken. There's been six breaking and entering reports in the last hour. All of them are homes owned by Gotham's richest men and women. One woman stumbled in on the attack, and was brutally beaten. She managed to call 911 before passing out. There's no more information from the police."
Helena listened carefully to all of Barbara's information. "I'm going," she said, noticing one of the addresses was a penthouse close by. "Be in touch." She raced to the elevator, smiling at the two before the doors closed.
"Is there anything I can do?" Dinah asked as she watched Barbara work the computer. It amazed her how Barbara flipped from screen to screen, barely looking at one before moving to the next.
"Hold on," Barbara said, pausing to look at one of the screens more carefully. "One of the break ins was on the edge of the city. See if you can find anything on the grounds that might give us a clue as to who did this. Just don't get mixed in with the owners."
Dinah gave a firm nod, and left to grab Barbara's old baton. She'd been given the weapon formally a couple of weeks earlier, and she took good care of it. It only came out for the really serious stuff.
"You have your comm?" Barbara asked as Dinah re-entered the room. Dinah tapped her ear in response. "I'll put you on the three-way, that way you can go in if Helena needs any help." She handed Dinah the keys to the car.
Dinah smiled. "More like if I need backup, Helena can come save my ass."
Barbara smiled back, tucking a strand of red hair behind her ear. "Good to know you don't have an ego," she said.
"Helena would've kicked me of that habit long ago," Dinah said, entering the elevator.
'Damn right I would,' Helena replied. 'I'm at the apartment. It's crawling with cops.'
'Is Reese there?' Barbara asked. 'He might know something.'
'Nah,' Helena replied. 'Probably at another sight.'
Dinah hear Barbara start to reply as she exited the elevator and headed to the doors, then stop. "Has he activated the comm?" Dinah asked, knowing full well that if he had Barbara would have already noticed.
'No--wait, there it goes.' Dinah could hear typing in the background. Barbara quickly rattled off an address.
'I'm heading over. See if I can pump the good detective for information.'
Dinah headed to the garage where the car was kept. Not exactly a batcave, but it worked. She started the motor, and was soon heading towards the city's outer limits.
Dinah walked into the kitchen and poured herself a glass of orange juice. She sat down at the table with her parents. After a quick grace, the family ate in silence.
After she was done, Dinah gave a light cough. Larry didn't raise his eyes from the morning paper. Christina looked at her.
"I'm not coming home right after school today," she said uncertainly.
Larry stiffened, and lowered the paper. "Why not?" he demanded, a frown crossing his features. "You know you're not allowed to go over to any friends houses."
Dinah nodded quickly. "I have a project I'm supposed to do for my science class, and the teacher wants three internet sources. I was planning on going to the library after school." She crossed her fingers, hoping the light shaking in her voice wouldn't give her away. She was actually planning on going to a movie with a girl from her English class, but she knew her parents would never agree.
Larry finally nodded. "Be home by six," he replied gruffly, and turned back to the paper.
"Come on," Christina said after a moment. "You're going to be late."
Dinah crept around the yard, flashlight in her hand as she looked for clues.. She'd left the car parked a mile away, jogging the rest of the way here. She kept her eyes open for any sign of the burglars presence, feeling very much like Nancy Drew.
Helena had already met and gone with Reese, her Huntress alter ego in full gear. Reese hadn't had anything interesting to say--they had no clues, the guys were clean and quick. A diamond necklace had been taken, set to be put on auction the next night, starting at half a million dollars. Huntress had quickly taken her leave, going to look over the other sites.
Dinah gave a small sigh. She knew that she had been shuffled to the middle of nowhere because it was the one place the cops hadn't been allowed to invade, and there was very little chance of danger. Still, she enjoyed the fact that Barbara in her Oracle mode had trusted her enough to do this.
'Have you found anything yet, Dinah?' Barbara asked through the comm, making her jump slightly. She cursed as she ran into a branch, cutting her shallowly on her neck.
"No," she said, blotting at the blood with her hand. "Just some mean trees that don't know when to leave a girl alone."
'Should I come and rescue you?' Helena said, the sounds of Gotham suggesting she was racing the rooftops.
"Just give me some clippers, I'll be fine," Dinah replied. She glared at the offending branch, and swatted it with her hand. To her surprise, her hand caught on something soft. She peered closer to see a small swatch of black fabric.
"I've got something," she said, carefully breaking the twig off. She aimed her flashlight at it, and noticed something wet at the end. She stared at it closely, and the coppery smell of blood reached her nose. "I've definitely got something."
'What is it?' Barbara asked eagerly, the sound of typing ceasing.
"Blood, a small piece of black fabric. Blood might be mine -- it's the same branch that caught me on the neck. But the fabric is most definitely not."
'Bring it back for testing. Good work, Dinah.'
Dinah grinned to herself, heading back as fast as she could towards the car. She raced back to the tower, pushing the speed limit.
When she entered the clocktower, Helena was already reading over Barbara's shoulder as the redhead searched through the NGPD database.
"Here," Dinah said, handing Barbara the twig in a bag she'd found in the car. "As clean as I could keep it."
Barbara gave Dinah a wide smile before turning to her lab. She soon had the blood on a slide, and was studying it carefully.
Helena rolled her eyes. "Might as well get something to eat. She's going to be at that for at least the next hour."
Dinah grinned, and followed the energetic brunette. Helena was always more cheerful after she'd been productive, from invading police sights to kicking some muggers ass. Soon the two were munching on blueberry poptarts.
"Dinah," Helena said, breaking the companionable silence. "Can we talk?"
She nodded, knowing what was going to be said. The two sat down at the table, Helena sitting next to her.
"Dinah, what happened earlier?" Helena asked, crossing her legs Indian style on the chair. "Please tell me it wasn't for the way I acted around your friend, what's her name. I was just playing."
Dinah shook her head. "It wasn't about Kayla, at least not completely." She took a deep breath. She knew she'd have to talk to Helena and Barbara at some point. She'd just figured it would happen with Barbara first, and she wasn't sure if she could continue. "I really like her," she finally said, quietly, looking down at her hands.
Helena snorted. "Nah, really? I hadn't guessed." She grinned at Dinah. "Don't worry, I approve. She's seems very nice."
Dinah nodded, not really listening. "This is hard," she admitted, not quite looking Helena in the eye.
"It doesn't have to be," Barbara said quietly from behind. She wheeled over, and took one of Dinah's hands in hers. "We like you here, Dinah. Don't worry that whatever you say will change that."
Dinah swallowed. Tears were threatening to spill, and she wiped her eyes with her free hand. "I've only ever been kissed once," she finally said, then stopped, unable to continue as her eyes clouded over.
Barbara and Helena waited, neither pushing her as she struggled with her past. "My friend Bethany and I were changing for gym. She kissed me, and the gym teacher walked in. We were both suspended, and my parents came to drive me home."
She started to shiver, and without a word Helena took off her jacket and draped it carefully over the blonde. Dinah whispered her thanks.
"When we arrived home, my father..." Dinah paused, and found she couldn't continue just then. She breathed deeply several times. "By the time he was done, I had a concussion, several scrapes and bruises, a sprained ankle, and injured ribs." She noticed Helena visibly stiffening, her eyes flickering momentarily to their catlike appearance. "I was then placed into the hall closet, where I was told to spend the entire time of my suspension praying."
Helena snarled softly, her eyes steadily catlike now. Barbara looked like she was more than ready to stand up and break someone's back. Dinah realized she was lucky to have these wonderful women to be her friends and family.
"Did you get any medical attention?" Barbara finally asked, gently rubbing Dinah's hand with her thumb. Dinah shook her head.
"After the three days were up, my mother took me out of the closet and bandaged my wounds. I wasn't beaten again for a while after that."
Dinah was freely crying now, huddling in her chair as the memories she had kept so tightly in check came flooding over her. Barbara gently pulled her into her arms, and she sobbed into the redheads shoulder. Helena was pacing now, anger permeating from her very pores.
Suddenly, she stopped, her eyes widening in horror. "Oh, Dinah, I'm so sorry," she said, sitting down next to her. "I'm so sorry I grabbed you like that."
Barbara looked up at her, astonished.
"Dinah got upset after we ran into Kayla, and left. I ran after her, and at one point I grabbed her arm roughly. She broke down after that." Helena looked completely chastised, a look that was so foreign on her usually cynical features. She rubbed Dinah gently on the back. "I didn't mean it like that, kid. Never like that."
Dinah nodded. "I know," she said, sobbing quietly now. She reached out to stroke Helena gently on the cheek. "Never like that."
Helena leaned in to the stroke for a moment, the guilt on her face easing slightly.
Dinah finally sat back up, wiping her nose with her sleeve. "I don't think..." she started to say, than stopped, another sob racking her body.
"You don't have to tell us any more if you don't want to," Barbara said. "It's been--" The Delphi alarm went off for a moment, before stopping. Barbara gave a sigh of annoyance. "Just once," she mumbled, and the three quickly transferred themselves to the computer.
"It just finished analyzing the blood, which by the way was not yours," Barbara said, looking at the several screens the computer was showing her. "I had it try and match the DNA to any in the police or hospital files. Apparently, there's a match."
The three looked at the name at the bottom. Suddenly, Dinah's eyes widened.
"Oh my god," she exclaimed. "That's GALEN!"
"So you thought we wouldn't find out?" Larry asked as Dinah followed him into the house, her eyes wide and frightened. "Well?" he asked her, standing with his legs spread.
Dinah kept silent, knowing that any excuse she tried to come up with would just make things worse. She wanted more than anything to retreat to her room, but any motion on her part would be suicide.
"Answer me!" he roared. "Or I'll beat it out of you."
Dinah simply stared at him, biting her lip until it bled. Larry answered her silence by unbuckling his belt. "Turn around and lift your shirt."
Dinah did as told, bracing herself for what was coming. She cried out as the leather connected with the tender flesh of her back.
"I tried to keep from resorting to this." Thwack. "I didn't want it to come to this." Thwack. "But I'll be damned by the Lord Almighty if I let you sin like that again, after everything else we've tried." Thwack. Thwack. Thwack. "Imagine what your biological mother would say if she was here. She'd be so disappointed with you." Thwack. "She left you to us to raise as our own, and look what you've become." Thwack. Thwack. "No wonder she abandoned you." Thwack.
Dinah sank to the floor, feeling the blood drip down her back. She struggled to breathe.
Larry knelt down in front of her, forcing her to look at him. "Did you think we wouldn't find out?" he asked her, the belt clenched tightly in his right hand.
Dinah looked him in the eye as best she could, but didn't reply.
He stood up again. "May the Lord have mercy on us for allowing you to be allowed in His house."
Thwack. Thwack. Thwack.
"I need to sit down," Dinah said, and promptly sat on the floor. Her eyes were wide with disbelief.
"So you know this kid?" Helena asked, staring at his medical records. He'd had blood drawn earlier in the year, which was how they could get a match at all. DNA profiles were eradicated after six months, providing no health or legal problems arose.
Dinah nodded. "He's friends with Kayla." She stewed on the floor, the gears in her head turning at light speed.
"He was in my class at the beginning of the year," Barbara said, drawing what information she had from the recesses of her mind. "He had to switch to a different class because of sports."
"He's very... aggressive," Dinah added, recalling the images she had gotten when they had shaken hands. "Very sexually aggressive."
Barbara nodded. "I can see that being the case. He definitely exudes a lot of sexual energy into a classroom."
"You say he's friends with Kayla?" Helena asked, trying to use deductive reasoning. "Could Kayla be in on this?"
Dinah shook her head violently. "She would never do anything like this," she said fiercely, glaring for a moment at Helena.
Helena held up her hands to ward of the blonde's anger. "Whoa there, calm down. It was just an idea."
Barbara was scanning the police reports again. "Interesting. The woman placed into the hospital woke up, and has supplied the police with all the information she had. Apparently, there were five people. One was male, the rest were female. She said their voices all sounded like they were young, and one of the women mentioned something about finally being able to drop out of School. That suggests either one of the colleges or high schools in the city."
Dinah closed her eyes for a moment, and clenched her jaw. "Kayla did not have anything to do with this," she said tightly. "She wouldn't ever hurt someone."
"I think you're right," Barbara replied, to Helena and Dinah's surprise. "You mentioned earlier that you ran into her while on a sweep?"
Helena nodded, and then it dawned on her. "We were talking to her while the robberies were going on."
Barbara nodded. "Right. So at the very least she wasn't their when the robberies were being committed." She turned to Dinah. "Do you have any idea of who the others could be?"
Dinah thought for a moment. "It might be the other girls in the group," Dinah finally said. "You said four girls, right? Well, other than Kayla, there are four girls in the group. Elsie, Annie, Mina and Carol."
"But why would they help out this Galen to commit robbery and assault?" Helena asked, itching to go out there and kick some ass.
"They've all slept with him," Dinah replied, dry amusement in her voice. "He's quite the player - he doesn't date any of them, yet he can get it with any if he wants to."
"He might be metahuman," Barbara suggested, turning back to her computer. She drew up the schematics of his DNA, looking at it carefully for any sign of abnormality. "It's possible that he somehow makes a telepathic connection with them when they have sex, therefore gaining control. When it comes to him, they would literally have no will."
Dinah rolled her eyes. "No wonder all he thinks about is sex, if it gives him that kind of power."
Helena was pacing again, eager to be out and about. "Can you give me an address where I might find him?" she asked.
Barbara gave her an address for a condo close to the New Gotham's Museum of Art and Science.
"Would Kayla have ever slept with him?" Helena asked as she went to go retrieve her coat.
"No," Dinah said. "She said as much basically the first time he and I met. He seemed like he wanted her, but she clearly stated she wasn't interested."
"Not her type?" Helena asked, noticing the small smile on the blonde's lips.
"Wrong type of chromosomes," Dinah replied, getting a small chuckle from Helena.
"I'm out," Helena said, and entered the elevator.
"So much for a quiet night," Barbara said, tracing Helena's comm. "It's a good thing I turned Wade down at the last minute. It seems every single one of our dates are interrupted by muffin top emergencies."
Dinah smiled at Barbara. "Every single one of your dates has been interrupted." She laughed at the look of consternation of Barbara's face. "He must be wondering why things go wrong all the time."
Barbara grimaced. "Probably. But I think it's for the best. I don't know if a relationship between us would work."
Dinah watched Barbara carefully. "Why not?"
She sighed. "I don't think I could ever really have a relationship with someone who doesn't know all of who I am. Or, at least, all the parts I want to give. And I think he wouldn't be able to handle it. Besides, he's a little too nave for me."
Dinah grinned, an idea slowly dawning on her. She reached out to pat Barbara on the hand, and instantly images flooded her mind. She pulled back a moment later to see Barbara glaring at her.
"It's not nice to invade people like that, Dinah," Barbara said severely.
"You should tell her," Dinah simply replied. Barbara blushed fiercely, and coughed.
"It wouldn't work. She's too wilful, and I'm a control freak. We'd kill each other within a week." She sighed. "What am I doing? Why are we even discussing this?"
"Barbara, less than twenty minutes ago you were helping me deal with one of the most difficult and horrifying memories I have." Dinah caught Barbara's eyes with her own, and held them. "Let me help you."
Barbara groaned inwardly. "I doubt she even thinks of me as anything other than a mother figure who she can confide her secrets to."
Dinah shrugged. "You need to tell her. You can't know until you try."
Barbara narrowed her eyes. "You know, don't you. You read her too."
The blonde grinned widely and waggled her eyebrows. "Wouldn't you like to know." She pulled back just as the redhead swiped at her, amusement in her blue eyes.
'You guys there?' Helena asked, breaking in. The two immediately switched to superhero mode.
"We're here," Barbara said. "What's going on?"
'The apartment's empty. There are clothes everywhere, including a black turtleneck missing a bit of cloth from one shoulder. I have yet to find any of the missing merchandise.'
"Keep looking," Barbara said. She turned to Dinah. "Do you have any idea where they might be?"
"Probably eating," Dinah replied. "If they're anything like Huntress, they'll be eating cows raw by now. I can think of a couple of places they might be."
Barbara nodded. "Good. Go try and find them. If you do, call Huntress in -- don't try and collar them yourself. You'd be badly outnumbered."
Dinah nodded, grabbed the keys from where she had dropped them, and raced out the door.
"Dinah, have you seen my pearl necklace?" Christina asked as she entered the kitchen. The blonde was sitting at the table, doing math homework.
"No," Dinah said. "Did you misplace it?"
"I don't think so," Christina said. "It's worth too much, both sentimental and money wise, for me to just misplace it." She shook her head. "Maybe your father has seen it. I'll ask him when he gets home."
Dinah nodded, and watched as her mother left the kitchen. She gathered up her books, and returned to her room. She carefully locked the door, put her chair under the doorknob to keep anyone from entering, and crossed the room. She pulled out the pearl necklace from her pocket, and placed it in a cigar box hidden in a secret drawer behind her desk. The box had a large wad of tens and twenties, plus several jewelry items she had taken from her mother. They had been disappearing gradually over the past couple of years. She was planning on pawning them as soon as she got away. Hopefully it would be enough to live off of.
She carefully replaced the box, making sure it wasn't visible, and sat on her bed. She opened her math book up again, and continued with the trying task of learning logarithms.
Dinah entered the third diner that night, scanning for any sign of Galen or the girls. At first she didn't spot anything, but then she noticed a familiar blonde head with letterman jacket. It was Galen.
"Oracle, I've found them," she whispered. "They're at the Stardust Diner." She sat down at the far end of the diner, eyeing the group.
'Good work,' Barbara said. 'Helena's on her way.'
"Good," Dinah said, watching the group. They definitely seemed smug about something, laughing and breaking into small chants of victory every minute or so. Suddenly, to her horror, she heard a familiar laugh.
"Kayla's here," she whispered, noticing Barbara's sudden hitch in her breathing. "What the hell is she doing here?"
"Hey, is that Dinah?" Galen suddenly asked, peering across the diner. "Why, so it is!" He stood up and walked over to her, a sultry smile on his lips. "Why you sitting here all alone, Dinah?" he asked, sliding into the seat across from her.
Dinah coughed to clear her throat, suddenly frozen in terror. "Just waiting for a friend," she managed to get out, smiling at him.
"Well, come wait over here with us!" Galen said, standing. He motioned to where the entire group was sitting, smiling and waving her over. Kayla stood up and came over, and linked her arm with Dinah's.
"Come on, Dinah, sit with us," she pleaded, shooting the blonde a thousand-watt smile. "Please?"
Dinah nodded numbly, and was soon sitting in the already crowded booth with the others. "So what are you guys doing here?" she asked after she had ordered a Pepsi from the waitress.
"We're celebrating," Galen replied, taking a long drink of his soda. He winked at Dinah. "It's a special night tonight."
"What's the occasion?" Dinah asked, looking around. Suddenly, the entire dynamic of the group changed, everyone sending off bad vibes. She looked nervously at Kayla, who seemed oblivious.
"I don't know," Kayla said, her voice cheerful. "They won't tell me." She glared mockingly at the group. "They said they wanted to surprise me, but so far not a peep out of any of them."
Dinah's eyes widened imperceptively. Kayla really had no idea what was going on. They were all eyeing her and Kayla as if they were fresh meat, about to be chewed up and spit out.
"Let's go dancing," Mina piped up. "I'm in the mood to get my groove on." She pulled Andy up onto his feet. "The rest of you coming?"
Galen head rolled to one side as he eyed the group. "Sure," he replied languidly, blinking slowly, lazily. He stood up in one smooth, fluid movement, and held his hand out to Dinah.
She hesitated, unsure if she should accept it. Finally, her curiosity overbore her, and she grabbed his hand firmly. Immediately she saw images of the break ins -- the stealing of many different riches, the beating of the woman, and Galen's plan to just leave them all behind. She came back to earth as he released her hand, and was surprised to see herself on her feet.
She grabbed Kayla's arm, and held the girl back from the rest of the group. "Are you okay?" she asked the brunette, worried.
Kayla put her hands on her hips. "Shouldn't I be asking you that? You ran out on me like a bat out of hell earlier. What happened?"
Dinah shook her head. "It's a long story, and one I don't think we should go into right now. Listen, I think you--we're in trouble."
Kayla raised an eyebrow at her. "Oh really? How is that?"
Dinah shook her head. "I can't really explain. All I can say is that Galen and the rest are dangerous, and I don't think you should head home."
Kayla scoffed. "Are you kidding me? Dinah, I like you and all, but you're sounding crazy."
"I know it doesn't make any sense," she said. "But I'm serious." She placed a hand on the girl's shoulder. "I don't want anything to happen to you," she added, her eyes capturing Kayla's and holding them there.
"Okay," Kayla said after a moment, her tone just as serious. "If you say things aren't safe, I'll believe you." She smiled at the disbelief on Dinah's face at how easy it had been. "I trust you." With that, she stood on tiptoe and kissed Dinah on the cheek.
Dinah stared after her, wide eyed, then followed out the door.
'I'm almost there, Dinah,' Huntress said. 'Can you keep them still for a moment longer?'
"I'll try," Dinah said, and started in towards the group. They were discussing something in hushed tones, quieting as soon as Kayla and her got there. "Are we taking cabs, cars or the subway?" she asked.
Galen grinned at her. Before she could ask him what was so funny, something heavy connected with the back of her head. She fell to the ground, losing consciousness.
Dinah's eyes opened briefly before closing again as she winced against the harsh light.
"You're awake," a low voice practically purred in her ear.
Dinah started, and nearly fell overon her side. Her hands were tied behind her back around what she assumed to be the bedpost. Opening her eyes again, she saw that she was right.
Galen was sitting in a chair a couple of feet away, his keen brown eyes trained on her. "It's about time."
"Why?" Dinah rasped, her voice dry and scratchy. How long had she been out? And why, as she had only just noticed, was she only wearing her bra and underwear?
"I didn't mean for you to be hit that hard," he said amicably. "You've been out for almost twelve hours."
Dinah eyed him, and wished she could have crushed his head. She surveyed her condition, and to her terror and disgust her body was covered in bite marks, scratches, and hickeys. She shuddered violently, tears coursing down her cheeks.
"Oh, don't worry," he said, and shot her a licentious smile. "I didn't fuck you. I prefer the other person to be awake." He sighed, sounding dissapointed. "It's too bad Kayla passed out after the first go--her screams were very arousing."
Dinah screamed in rage and lunged at him, only to be stopped by the handcuffs. He laughed at her.
"Isn't this delightful?" he asked. "Imagine if you had been away to watch." He waved a hand at the other side of the room.
Kayla lay on a bed similar to the one Dinah was on. She was handcuffed so that her body was on its back, and each limb tied to one post. Her thighs were covered in blood, and there were cuts on her stomach and arms. She was bleeding from her wrists and ankles, where she had struggled against her restraints. She was unconscious.
"Why?" Dinah asked again, unable to tear her eyes away from her friend's broken body.
"Becaue it's fun," Galen replied. "Because I can. Because no one will stop me. And because I couldn't have her any other way." He stood up, and sauntered over. She flinched as he gently stroked her cheek. "And now it's your turn."
Dinah glared at him, and suddenly he was flying across the room and into the wall. She focused on the bedpost, and it crumbled. She stepped backwards through her arms, and stood, her hands before her clenched into fists.
"You bitch," Galen spat, crawling to his feet. He charged her, aiming a low punch.
Dinah blocked, and proceeded to kick him in the face, then kneed him in the groin.
Galen stumbled back, a look of awe and respect filling his face. He straightened up, cracked his neck, and came forward again.
They circled each other for a moment, then Galen lunged at her, feignting to the left before hitting her in the face. Dinah punched both of her hands into his solar plexus, then brought her hands, plus the handcuffs, down on the back of his head. He fell to the floor, groaning, and didn't get back up.
Dinah stood over him for a moment, breathing heavily. After a second, she bent down to seach his pockets, and came up with a ring of keys. She unlocked her handcuffs, and placed them around Galen's wrists.
Dinah looked around the room wild eyed. She saw a phone, and somehow managed to stumble over. She nearly cried in relief when she heard the dial tone. She immediately called Barbara's emergency line.
"Dinah?" Barbara asked breathlessly as she picked up the phone.
"It's me," Dinah whispered, tears flowing freshly.
"I'm sending Huntress," Barbara replied, her voice thick with relief. She traced the call, and turned to see Helena reading over her shoulder. The brunette had finally returned after spending over ten hours searching for the blonde, and now she was out the door again, heading in the direction of the wharf.
Dinah looked over at Kayla again. "Send an ambulance. I - I think Kayla may be dying." She hung up the phone, and went over to Kayla's side. Soon she had the handcuffs off, and she was cradling the brunette's body against her own. She checked for a pulse, and was relieved to find one. Sirens sounded in the distance.
"Dinah, you're going to be late for school," Christina said as she eyed her daughter. "Get out of the car."
Dinah nodded, and picked up her bag from the back seat. "Bye," she said as she closed the door. She walked slowly into the school, turned to watch as the old car turned the corner. She hurried to her locker, opened it up, and pulled out a large duffel back. She placed the strap over her shoulder, and turned to leave.
"Where are you going?"
Dinah turned, startled, to see Bethany. They hadn't talked to each other in years, not since that day. The small girl had become somewhat popular in that time, and was often seen with a small group of people at any given time. Dinah, on the other hand, was always alone.
"Hey," Dinah said quietly, smiling lightly at the girl. "I'm..." she paused, unsure if she should continue. She had finally managed to scrape together enough money to get a bus ticket to Chicago. Where she was going to go from there, she had no idea, but she was leaving.
"You should've talked to a teacher or something," Bethany said, knowing exactly what was going on. "They would've helped."
Dinah shook her head. "No, they wouldn't. My parents are model citizens - they would never hurt a child." She sounded bitter, and she knew it, but she had never grown to accept the fact that her parents didn't love her enough to not hurt her.
Bethany sighed. "Good luck," she said, and handed a small box to Dinah. She opened it to see a small stack of bills, mostly fives and ones. She looked up again, to protest, but before she could say a word Bethany was kissing her. This time Dinah responded, deepening the kiss, flicking her tongue into the other girls mouth.
Bethany was the one to pull away. "Go," she said, her eyes watery and her voice thick. "Before you get caught."
Dinah nodded, and watched as Bethany walked away. She turned, and went out the doors, heading for the bus station.
Dinah sat in the ambulance, a large blanket wrapped around her. She was shivering in the cool air, and stared down at the pavement blankly. She smiled slightly as the air shifted just to the right of her.
"Thanks for coming," she whispered, and looked over at Huntress.
"Where else would I be?" Helena replied, and wrapped an arm around Dinah, pulling the girl into a hug. Dinah rested her head on the brunette's shoulder.
"What did Reese have to say?" Dinah finally whispered.
Helena sighed, pondering what to say. Finally, she settled on the simple truth. "They've caught five of the seven--the twins are still missing. Galen's at the hospital, under both medical and police surveillance. The police have two victims, a couple of eye witnesses, and one of the members has spilled everything. There's no way these kids are getting off scott free."
Dinah nodded once, heavily. "Was he meta-human?" she asked softly.
"No," Helena said after a moment. "He's just very persuasive. The kid who spilled, Joey, said that Galen had started their gang about a year and a half ago... they're responsible for a few of the convenience store robberies around here. But apparently they decided to go big."
Dinah just closed her eyes, tired beyond belief. "Kayla?" she whispered, unsure if she really wanted to know. She could still see the girl on the bed, broken and bleeding, and it was an image that Dinah knew wouldn't be going away.
"She's stable," Helena replied, deciding to leave it at that. The girl's condition was poor, but she wasn't getting any worse. Her parents didn't have any health insurance, but Barbara had talked to them over the phone and promised them that their daughter would get the best medical help possible, courtesy of Wayne Corp.
Dinah just sat there, finally feeling safe with Helena's arms around her. "Can we go home now?" she asked, just wanting to sleep.
"Yeah," Helena responded, having already cleared it with Reese. "Let's go.
Dinah walked down the hall, her eyes on the floor. She ignored the stares she got, and closed her ears to the whispers. Most people seemed sympathetic, some seemed angry, all were disbelieving that something like this could have happened.
Dinah stopped at her locker, and as if in a dream she did the combo. She pulled it open, and to her surprise a piece of paper fell out. She bent down to pick it up, and read it.
I know you won't be getting this until after the weekend, over which I'll probably see you, but I'm more of a coward than I seem. This is Kayla, in case you didn't guess. I just wanted to say that I really enjoy hanging out with you, and I want to get to know you better, and I was wondering if you wanted to go out to dinner sometime with me, maybe after Kindschi's test? Anyway, I'll see you around, hopefully. Kayla
She closed her eyes, a tear falling down her cheek as emotions warred inside of her. Sometimes she wondered why she hadn't killed Galen that day--she'd wanted to, she'd wanted to snap his neck. But she didn't. And now, Dinah didn't know if she should feel regret or relief.
She shoved her chemistry book in her locker, and closed it. She walked down towards Barbara's classroom. Barbara had taken the week off to stay at home with Dinah, who had spent the last five days sleeping and training. She knew Barbara was worried about her--frankly, a little section of Dinah was worried about Dinah, but she didn't know what else she could do. Barbara had asked her this morning if she was sure she wanted to go to school today, but Dinah knew that not going wouldn't help.
"Are you ready to go?" Dinah asked as she opened the door. Barbara looked up and nodded.
"Just let me get my stuff together," she said, rapidly shoving various papers into her briefcase.
'Dinah Redmond, if you're in the building, please report to the office. Dinah Redmond, if you're in the building, to the office please.' The PA system sounded off.
Dinah looked at Barbara, who shrugged. "I'll catch up with you," she said, and headed towards the office.
"You paged?" she asked as she entered, looking at the secretary.
The young woman smiled. "You have a phone call on line two. Feel free to use the one in the nurses office, she's usually gone by now."
Dinah nodded and went to the back of the office, where the door to the nurse's station was. She entered, closed the door almost all the way, and picked up the phone. "Hello?"
"Hey," came Kayla's weary voice over the line. Dinah dropped the phone in shock, then scrambled to pick it back up again.
"Kayla?" she asked, her voice tinged in panic. "Are you still there?"
The sound of laughter drifted over the bad connection. "I'm still here. What happened?"
"Dropped the phone," Dinah replied, sitting down on the desk's chair. "How's it going?"
"Better," Kayla replied. "I can feel my feet again - for a while there they were completely numb."
Dinah grinned in relief. It was so good to hear the cheerful brunette's voice again. "That's good," she said. "That's really good."
There was silence for a while as the two simply staid on the phone, neither wanting to break the easiness between them.
"Are you going to come visit me?" Kayla finally asked, her voice slightly strained.
"Of course," Dinah said. "When can I come?" She wanted more than anything to be there right now, to be able to see that the girl was on the mend, that everything was going to be okay.
"Whenever," Kayla replied. "But when you do, can you bring me some chocolate? I'm getting really sick of green jello."
Dinah laughed. "I'll be over in less than half an hour," she said. "I miss you."
"I miss you too," Kayla replied, her voice serious but tender. "But if you don't hurry up and get here, visiting hours will end!"
"I'm on my way," Dinah giggled. "Bye."
Dinah hung up the phone, a large goofy grin on her face. Suddenly she was racing out the door and down the hall, seeing Barbara as the redhead was about to exit towards the parking lot.
"Barbara!" she shouted, and skidded to a halt. "We've got to go get chocolate and head over to the hospital, right now!"
Barbara grinned at the blonde's enthusiasm. Dinah had seemed like a wraith before, silent and brooding. Kind of like Helena, actually, when she had first come to live in the clocktower. But the idea of seeing Kayla had apparently made the girl brighten up like a brand new penny.
"I take it Kayla called?" she said as she wheeled over to the car.
Dinah nodded. "Now c'mon, I don't want to miss visiting hours!"
Barbara laughed. "Let's go."
Dinah sat on the bus, staring out of the window. The bus doors closed with a long whine, and slowly it pulled out of the Chicago station. She watched as they weaved through the traffic, and finally came out on the east side of town. She was headed for New Gotham.
Dinah had barely managed to scrape the money together. She had sold nearly all of the jewelry she had taken from her mother, and then had only five dollars left over. The only thing she hadn't sold was the pearl necklace, which she couldn't quite bear to part with. Even then, without Bethany's present, she never would have made it.
She didn't know what she was going to do. All she knew was that she was heading in the right direction. Ever since she was little, even before her real mother had abandoned her, whenever she heard about New Gotham she got this little tingle in her spine. Especially when she thought of the dream.
She'd never forgotten it, although she had pretended to for the sake of her parents. And now that she was heading to New Gotham, she could hardly think of anything else. The images of those two broken and bleeding women had sustained her more than once, let her know that she wasn't alone. Maybe she'd finally get to meet them.
Dinah laughed at herself. As if she would actually meet someone from a childhood dream. She turned her attention to the countryside again.
Dinah stood outside the door for a moment, just staring through the window. Barbara was down the hall on the phone with Helena, telling the woman where they were and not to worry. She finally worked up the nerve to open the door, and went inside.
Kayla was lying on the hospital bed, her eyes closed. She was breathing shallowly but steadily, in time with the IV drip. Dinah walked over quietly, and stood at the foot of the bed, gazing at the girl.
"Hey," Kayla said, opening her eyes. She had felt the difference in the room that usually dictated a visitor, and was pleased to see Dinah standing there. "Sit."
Dinah walked over and sat down in the chair at the side of the bed. She smiled at the brunette. "I come bearing chocolate," she said, and handed her a bag of Hershey's Kisses.
"How sweet," Kayla said, giggling slightly. "No pun intended." She opened the bag after a small struggle, and unwrapped one of the small chocolates.
"Well, green jello's fine and all, but there's nothing quite like chocolate," Dinah replied, pleased to see the girl taking pleasure in the gift.
"Want one?" Kayla asked, extending the bag to the blonde. Dinah accepted, and drew one out. They sat in comfortable silence. After a while, though, Kayla started to fidget, obviously nervous. "So..."
Dinah stopped her with a look. She placed the silver wrappers on the nightstand, and gently picked up Kayla's hand. She was ready for the force of the images, horrified but not surprised as images of Galen drifted through. But she also saw pictures of herself, and with them a feeling of safety and affection. She came back to the real world, and smiled at the girl. "I got your note."
Kayla grimaced. "I figured you had when I reached you at the school." She stopped, unsure of how to continue. "Dinah, I don't think I ever really thanked you for saving me."
Dinah shrugged. "You were unconscious. It's acceptable." She rubbed Kayla's hand with her thumb. "I don't want you to feel uncomfortable," she continued, watching the girl carefully. "But I don't know how to do this. I've never been in a relationship before, and with all of the stuff that's happened to us..."
"I know," Kayla said. "I didn't even really know if you were into girls or not. All I knew was that something about you was mysterious, and I found you really sexy and fun to be around. I don't know if I can get into the kind of relationship I wanted before, but I want to try."
Both girls travelled for a moment into their thoughts. Dinah shuddered at the thought of becoming intimate with anyone now... all she could think of was Galen. She knew that she was falling in love with Kayla, and she wanted more than anything to be able to show that, but that wasn't going to happen any time soon. She had too much in her past, first from her parents and then from this... Dinah knew that Kayla wasn't ready to head there either. They'd cross that bridge when they came to it, though.
Dinah nodded. "I want to try too," she said, and brought Kayla's hand up to her mouth, kissing it briefly before returning it to the bed. "But, Kayla, there's a lot about me that you don't know. And some of it I don't know if I'll ever be able to tell you." She paused. She knew that it was very unlikely that she would ever be able to divulge her secret life as a crime fighter. And she knew that would make their relationship difficult. But maybe, just maybe, if she talked to Barbara and Helena... maybe things could work out.
"It's okay," Kayla replied. "I know that you have some things going on, and I don't expect to be let into your life right way. Just as long as we try, we'll be okay, I think."
Dinah nodded, and the two held hands.
"Kiss?" Kayla asked, holding out one of the chocolates with her free hand. Dinah smiled, and leaned forward, capturing the girl's lips with her own.
"Sweet," she whispered.
Barbara entered the clocktower to see the entire place covered in candles. She gasped at the beauty of it--there must have been over three hundred of them. She wheeled forward, absently dropping her briefcase to the floor, staring around. She looked down to see a trail of roses leading to a table in the center of the room, where a table was set for two.
"Hungry?" a low voice purred in her ear, and the redhead jumped slightly. She turned to see Helena standing there, wearing all black as usual and looking both nervous and determined.
"Um, yes," Barbara replied, looking at her in shock. She'd been out with Alfred all afternoon, shopping for Christmas presents. She'd never really liked buying them online, didn't have as much of a personal touch. And now that she was home, she was faced with a side of Helena she had never known existed.
Helena smiled seductively. "Good," she said. She walked over to the table. "We've got your favorites," she continued, lifting the cover off the platter as Barbara wheeled over.
"You don't cook," Barbara said for lack of anything else. She was completely and utterly stunned--this was by far the last thing she had expected.
"Courtesy of Dinah, master chef," Helena explained as she sat opposite of Barbara, opening the bottle of chilled white wine. "She left it in the oven for me and left to go spend the night at Kayla's."
"It's a school night," Barbara stated, glaring for a moment at Helena. "Did you tell her she could?"
Helena laughed. "No, she told me, right before she explained why she was going to leave us alone for the night." She winked at Barbara. "That kid's got quite an imagination."
Barbara smiled back. "So this was her idea?" she asked, watching as Helena blushed.
"I came up with the candles," she said sullenly, before she noticed the twinkle in Barbara's eyes. She stood up and sauntered over to stand over the redhead. "What's so funny?"
Barbara shook her head. Without a word, she grabbed Helena's arm and pulled her down, and proceeded to kiss her soundly. Helena responded immediatly, and soon the two had completely forgotten about the dinner.
I want to send all readers this link. Nothing like what happened to Dinah in this fic should ever happen on any level to anybody. If you or someone you know has been or is abused, please follow this link: http://www.asafeplaceforhelp.org/index.htm
No one should ever be hurt like that.