A New Gotham Christmas Party

"Helena, that's not a dress, it's..." Dinah closed her mouth with an audible snap.

"It's what?" Helena asked, one eyebrow quirked as she looked down at her outfit.

"It's a cocktail napkin with attitude," Dinah finished. "And you look gorgeous in it." Helena did look gorgeous. The dress, made out of a fabric Dinah couldn't find a name for at that moment, was a blue that seemed to shift and change shades depending upon the angle of the light and it complimented Helena's coloring perfectly. "Of course," Dinah continued, "the come-take-me-now shoes don't hurt either." The teenager laughed as Helena's other eyebrow joined its mate up near the brunette's hairline.

Helena did one more revolution so Dinah could get a better look from where she sat on the beat up brown couch that made up the bulk of Helena's living room furniture. "Too much?"

Dinah tried not to smirk at her friend's sudden insecurities. Getting invited to the official New Gotham Police Department Christmas ball as Barbara's date was, Dinah knew, a turning point for Helena. "If you consider most of your tattoo showing to be too much, then yeah," she replied, shifting so she was sitting camp-style. "What else have you got?"

Helena laughed. "Get a beverage, Big D. I rented this place for the closet space."

Barbara tried to hide her smile behind her glass as she sipped carefully at the spiked eggnog. She judged her success to be on the lesser end of the scale based on the way Helena's eyebrow curved above her left eye.

"I just didn't think there would be that many uniforms here that's all," Helena continued, gazing out over the sea of navy blue.

"It's the easiest thing to wear if you've got it handy," Barbara said, licking some eggnog off her upper lip. "Then it becomes about rank, not about fashion sense." Barbara raked her eyes over Helena's ensemble. The black sheath-dress hugged her athletic form and managed to be just revealing enough to turn heads but not so revealing that those same onlookers gawked openly.

Helena caught Barbara's appraisal and did her level best not to blush as she opened the small, beaded clutch purse she held and pulled out a roll of Wint-o-Green Lifesavers. She snapped a candy off the end of the stack, dropped the roll back in the purse and snapped the purse shut. Helena popped the mint into her mouth. "You know me, Barbara," she said with a grin, flicking her own gaze down her outfit and then back up to Barbara's face, "fashion is something I'm always thinking about. You don't like it?"

"I was just wondering how hard it's going to be to get off you later," Barbara muttered, taking another sip of her cocktail.

With a grin, Helena leaned down and brushed an invisible piece of lint off the shoulder of Barbara's short jacket. "Why wait?" she whispered near Barbara's ear, "I'm sure we can find a coat room or something." Smile still turning her lips, Helena resisted the urge to plant a small kiss on Barbara's suddenly crimson neck as she straightened back up, winked and headed for the closest of the mini-serving stations that had been set up around the ballroom.

Gabby tried not to blink against the magenta silk that covered her eyes. "Where are we going?" she asked, squeezing Dinah's hand lightly. She blushed hard as she felt Dinah's lips brush across her ear.

"Trust me, Dinah whispered, placing a soft kiss next to Gabby's ear her lips curving into a smile. She led Gabby into the middle of the gym. With a bit of concentration she plugged in the extension cord that that lay on the floor across the room into the wall outlet. Dinah reached up and gently pulled the length of cloth up and over Gabby's head. She smiled as Gabby blinked a couple of times, her eyes going wide as vision returned and she took in the room around her.

White lights criss-crossed the ceiling like a constellation of stars. Evergreen boughs tied with red ribbon were draped along the walls and a single sprig of mistletoe floated in the air above the center of the gym floor. Gabby grinned as she met Dinah's eyes. "How did you manage all this?"

Dinah grinned back. "I have some connections," she replied softly, thinking about how easy it had been to get the key off Barbara's key ring, and how much she'd had to beg Helena for the secret of the school's alarm system.

"Are you doing that?" Gabby asked, glancing upward at the mistletoe.

Dinah nodded, her breath coming short as Gabby slid a hand up her arm bringing it to rest lightly on the back of her neck. Gabby stepped in closer to the taller girl. "If you wanted a kiss," she whispered, her lips just barely brushing Dinah's, "all you had to do was ask."

Dinah smiled and with a small push from her telekinesis she flicked on the stereo in the corner of the room. Classical music issued at a decent volume from the portable stereo's speakers as Dinah stepped back and held out her hand. "May I have this dance?"

Gabby smiled and slipped her hand into Dinah's. Bumping and grinding in a dark, smoky club was one thing, but something in Gabby longed for the beauty of a formal dance. She'd said as much to Dinah months before as they leaned against the wall at the Valentine's Day dance, neither one of them quite ready to attract the kind of attention they'd draw as a couple swaying together on the floor in the New Gotham High gymnasium. Gabby gasped as Dinah pulled her close, sliding her arm around her waist and firming up the formal dance space created by their bodies and clasped hands. "Dance first, kiss later," Dinah said with a grin. She waited until the right beat in the music and then she started them around the room.

"It's guilt by association," Helena said into the awkward silence that hung over the small group. "Detective Reese is a friend of mine."

Barbara and Reese both breathed a sigh of relief as the Commissioner smiled, laying his hand on Barbara's shoulder. "I'll just be happy if there weren't any handcuffs involved in your first meeting," Jim Gordon said with a chuckle.

Helena bit back the reply that sprang immediately to the front of her brain. She slipped her arm around Reese's. "Then you're a very happy man," Helena replied. She glanced over at Reese. "Dance?"

Reese set his empty glass on a nearby table. "My pleasure," he said, leading Helena out onto the dance floor. Once there, he concentrated on the music, ignoring the impulse to glance over and see if they were being watched. "Thanks," he said quietly.

"You're welcome," Helena replied with a grin. "I'm not going to put that one in the saving your butt column since it was as much for Barbara as it was for you."

By the time they were done waltzing about the dance floor and Reese had deposited Helena back on the sidelines with a thank you, neither Barbara nor the Commissioner were in sight. A quick search trip around the ballroom left Helena with a plastic smile and a nagging desire to be away from a very large group of cops. She made her way to the edge of the crowd and pushed through the doors onto the terrace with a grateful sigh, inhaling the cold air deeply. Several couples huddled together under outdoor umbrella-style heaters. Scanning the terrace, Helena smiled as she spotted her quarry.

"You look like you're even deeper in thought than usual," she said, keeping her tone light and trying not to shiver as she passed under the heater and stopped next to Barbara's chair.

Barbara continued to gaze out over the city, the twinkling lights of Christmas decorations, and the lights of the cars on the freeway in the distance combining with the light snow to give New Gotham's general chaos a deceivingly pleasant and innocent glow. "I was just thinking about the dark and the light, and how you can't celebrate one without acknowledging the other. I wonder how many people realize it's impossible to completely banish the frightening parts of life," she replied.

Helena nodded, looking out over the city. "They get it," she said, nodding toward the ball room. She felt Barbara's hand slip into hers. She smiled, trying to cover the blush she felt rush to her cheeks after she turned and saw the love and affection that so openly shown in Barbara's expression.

"What?" Helena asked, resisting the urge to cross her arms over her chest, as much because it would spoil the lines of the dress as because she knew it would look petulant.

Barbara brushed her thumb over the back of Helena's hand. "Thank you," she said softly.

Helena grinned, feeling the warm spike of arousal despite the chill air and light snow falling. "For?" she asked, eyebrows raised and tone light. Helena shivered as Barbara raised their hands to her mouth and skimmed her lips over Helena's knuckles.

"For being my light," Barbara whispered, knowing that the brunette's metahuman hearing would pick up the remark over the soft chatter of the couple passing by on their way back into the ballroom.

Leaning down, Helena squeezed Barbara's hand as she laid a soft kiss on the redhead's cheek. "That's funny. I thought you were mine," she whispered. Helena straightened up, unable to suppress the reflex to shiver as a sudden breeze blew across the terrace. The soft smile that turned her lips made her feel more real than she'd felt all night

"Take me home so I can warm you up," Barbara said softly, her fingers brushing over the ring Helena wore.

Helena started back toward the ballroom doors but was stopped short by Barbara's grip on her hand. She turned back toward the redhead, puzzlement clearly writ on her face.

"Actually, there's one thing we need to do first," Barbara said, flicking her gaze upward.

"What's that?" Helena glanced up to the decoration some wag had strung around the upper part of the heater's housing.

Barbara wiggled her eyebrows. "I believe you owe me a kiss." She slipped her hand around to the back of Helena's neck as the brunette leaned down and brushed her lips softly across Barbara's cheek once again. Barbara pulled away slightly and captured Helena's mouth with hers, not caring who was watching as she sought the light in Helena's kiss.

The End

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last updated 29 December 2003