In A Song (part 4 of 12)

Saturday: 11:51pm: Clocktower

“Are you sure? I can stay here just as easily as I can stay out at the manor,” Dick said.

The concern in his voice was genuine and it brought to Barbara a warm swell of affection. “Really, I’m fine. Thanks for a lovely dinner.” Dick furrowed his brow and eyed her critically. “You don’t believe me?” Barbara asked, amusement evident in her tone.

“Oh no, Babs, I believe you. I’m just stunned and amazed by you, as always.” He leaned in and gave her a kiss on the cheek. “Call me if you need anything, or if you just want to talk.” He pressed the button for the elevator and the door slid open immediately. Dick held up a hand in a small wave as the elevator’s door slid shut.

Barbara backed away from the elevator and turned her chair around. She glanced over at the Delphi, still in sleep mode on its platform in the middle of the room, and then out the clock’s face at the New Gotham skyline. She guided her chair out the doors and onto the balcony.

She came to a stop near the ledge. As a slight breeze ruffled her hair, Barbara shivered and wished she’d put on a jacket before coming outside. While street level still held some of the city’s heat, the balcony was like a preview of New Gotham’s upcoming weather. Barbara sat quietly and looked out over the city for a few minutes before she spoke.

“Are you going to hang out in the shadows all night?” she asked without taking her eyes off the horizon.

Helena sighed and stepped from the deepest shadow on the balcony. “Should I even bother to ask how you knew?”

“You can ask.” Barbara smiled, “But I’m not going to reveal all my secrets tonight.” Barbara turned to look at her. In spite of her loose stance, tension rolled off Helena in waves; simple proximity was enough to make Barbara nervous. She shivered again as the breeze picked up. Within seconds, Helena’s coat was off and draped around Barbara’s shoulders. The inside of the coat was warm and the rich smell that was uniquely Helena enveloped Barbara, simultaneously jumpstarting her libido and making her feel safe.

“You never remember to put on a jacket,” Helena said, her eyes sliding away from Barbara’s face.

Barbara looked at Helena as love and fear fought each other for dominance on her emotional compass. The breeze blew again and Barbara could see the effort the brunette made not to shiver even as gooseflesh rose on her exposed arms. Barbara gathered the excess material from the coat in her lap so she could turn her chair around. “Come inside with me, you’ll freeze out here without this and it’s too damn cold for me to give it back to you,” Barbara said.

Helena looked out over the skyline as her world dulled under a miasma of hopelessness. Barbara’s hand felt extraordinarily warm when it touched the exposed skin of her arm. “Helena? Please come inside.” There was something in Barbara’s voice that strengthened Helena’s resolve. She would find out tonight what she needed to know. When Helena turned to move, Barbara proceeded into the clocktower.

Saturday: 11:55pm: Gabby’s room

Gabby paused after she shut and locked the door to her room. Some part of her didn’t want to turn around and face Dinah, afraid of the spillover from the strong emotions at the bar and her own insecurities earlier in the evening. She jumped a little when she felt Dinah’s arms circle her waist from behind. Gabby leaned back into the warmth of the taller girl’s body as Dinah nuzzled her hair aside and kissed the back of her neck.

“I didn’t mean to startle you,” Dinah whispered, as she brushed the shorter girl’s ear with her lips.

“It’s OK,” Gabby said, tilting her head back to allow for better access to her neck. “So, Helena and Ms. Gordon, they’ve got a thing?”

“I don’t really want to talk about Helena and Barbara right now. I’ve got other plans,” Dinah said softly.

Gabby smiled. “Do you?” She felt the girl behind her nod along with her soft murmur of agreement. Soft fingers worked Gabby’s shirt free of the waistband of her jeans as softer lips moved to the curve of her shoulder at the base of her neck. Gabby covered Dinah’s hands and stopped their motion even as those gentle fingers brushed the soft skin of her belly. She turned in the circle of Dinah’s arms and slid her own arms around the other girl’s waist.

“Are you sure about this?” Gabby asked, her eyes never leaving Dinah’s.

Dinah kissed Gabby softly, teasing with the tip of her tongue. “I’m very sure,” she said after pulling back from Gabby’s mouth.

“That’s good,” Gabby said. She brought her hand up and rubbed her thumb across the taller girl’s full lips. She slid her fingers over the smooth plane of Dinah’s cheek and let her hand rest on the back of Dinah’s neck. “‘Cause I’ve wanted to do this most of the night.” Gabby’s kiss was filled with heat, her tongue parted Dinah’s willing lips easily. Gabby’s free hand moved over the curve of Dinah’s butt and dropped, fingertips just brushing Dinah’s thigh, to the hem of her skirt. She smiled against Dinah’s mouth at the corresponding moan of enjoyment and started to slide her hand underneath the skirt and up Dinah’s thigh.

“Gabby,” Dinah breathed, pulling away from the curly-haired girl’s mouth.

“Um?” Gabby murmured, licking her lips as she dropped her eyes to the placket of buttons running down the front of Dinah’s shirt. She moved her hand from Dinah’s neck to the buttons and fiddled with the top one even has she made lazy circles on Dinah’s thigh with the fingers of her other hand. Dinah stepped back a little, breaking their contact.

“Jeez, see what happens when I try to seduce you? You take over,” she said with a smile. “What?” Dinah asked in response to Gabby’s laugh.

“Baby, you don’t have to seduce me. I’m all yours.” Gabby moved forward and put her hand on Dinah’s shoulder. She kept moving and Dinah had no choice but to back up or fall down. Gabby moved her hand to the small of Dinah’s back to stop her before the taller girl ran into the end of the bed. “Sit,” Gabby said, toeing off her shoes.

Dinah did as she was told and Gabby knelt down in front of her. Gabby’s sly smile as she unzipped first Dinah’s right boot and then the left pushed Dinah’s heart rate up a notch. Gabby pulled off one boot and sock, and then the other boot and sock, her fingers light on Dinah’s calves. “Kinda warm in those, huh?” Gabby rubbed a thumb along each of Dinah’s insteps. Dinah nodded, voice suddenly failing her as Gabby’s hands slid up her legs to her thighs and stopped just under the hem of her skirt.

Gabby smiled and raised an eyebrow. “So…you were in the middle of seducing me?”

Saturday/Sunday: 12:01am: Clocktower

Helena sat on the couch and shivered, staring at point in space about three feet in front of her while Barbara set the kettle to boil in the kitchen. She registered in her field of view her coat where Barbara had tossed it over the back of a chair. It would be so easy…so easy to just disappear. She shook her head against the thought as she heard Barbara move out of the kitchen and into her bedroom. Helena looked up when Barbara rolled to a stop beside the couch.

“Here, put this on. It’ll warm you up,” Barbara held out her blue, terry cloth robe, the one Helena had given her for Christmas two years ago. Helena took the robe without comment and Barbara waited until she’d put an arm into one sleeve before backing away from the couch to return to the kitchen.

Barbara’s scent wafted up from the soft, cotton fabric, filling Helena’s nose almost instantly. Helena shivered again and pulled the robe tight around her. It was tonight or never for her answers. She had nothing left to lose. She looked up as Barbara wheeled back to the sitting area balancing a tray holding a teapot, small pitcher of milk, sugar bowl, two mugs, and a plate of cookies on her lap.

Barbara set the brake on the manual chair, put the tray down on the coffee table, and poured a mug of tea which she handed to Helena. Barbara sat back in the chair, regarding Helena over the edge of her own mug as she blew across the hot liquid’s surface. Glum was the first word that popped into Barbara’s mind as she looked at her friend sitting silently on the couch cupping the mug of hot tea between her hands. Any intoxication she felt from her two drinks at the bar had evaporated. The desire she felt in Helena’s presence thrummed across her now very alert nerves.

“You have a beautiful voice, Helena,” Barbara said, piercing the silence in the clocktower. “You should sing more often.”

Helena’s head snapped up and she searched Barbara’s face for any hint of pity. Barbara didn’t flinch under the searching look, she merely sipped from her mug. Helena dropped her eyes to the mug she held in her own hands. “Thanks.” She took a drink of the rapidly cooling tea. Helena took a deep breath. “I suppose Dinah told you I bought the bar.”

“She did, yes. How did you manage that without tapping into your trust?” Barbara kept both hands firmly on her mug as she resisted the urge to brush her fingers through Helena’s hair, afraid the gesture would be about as welcome as her kiss in the training room had been. Helena’s mouth curved into a smile.

“I’ve got other resources. Daddy wasn’t the only one with money you know, and I’ve been saving some,” Helena replied.

Barbara nodded. Of course Selina had left money in trust for her daughter. Covering all the bases was what Selina Kyle did best. “How are you liking being the boss?” Barbara asked, amusement at the irony clearly audible in her tone.

Helena put her mug down on the coffee table, visions of the crushed cue ball at No Man’s Land flashing across her brain. She sat back and crossed her arms over her chest. “Is that really what you want to talk about?” She eyed the cookies and knew she was in a very bad place when they offered no appeal whatsoever.

“I don’t have an agenda, Helena,” Barbara said. “We can talk about whatever you’d like to talk about.” Barbara was patient, and more scared than she cared to admit. She knew, though, that if Helena didn’t open the door for her soon she was going to have to kick it down to get inside.

Helena nodded as she stared off into space. “Tell me why.”

“Why what?” Barbara asked, her expression carefully neutral even as fear tightened steel fingers around her chest.

“Why you let me walk out of here twice thinking the reason you rejected me was what happened to Wade?” Helena said meeting Barbara’s eyes.

Barbara raised her eyebrows in surprise. OK, not the question I expected. She swallowed hard as breathing got a little bit difficult.

“It was never about him, was it?” Helena kept her eyes on Barbara’s face.

Barbara shook her head. “No, it wasn’t. I…cared for Wade. I truly did, but I could never have given him what he wanted.”

“What was that?” Helena saw the sadness creep over Barbara’s features. Part of her broke knowing that she was the cause of at least some of that sadness.

“Wade wanted what he thought I was, which is only a part of who I am. Maybe he could have accepted all this,” she said gesturing around the clocktower, “but he never would have understood it. In some ways, he was too innocent.”

Helena snorted with derision. “I guess I’m not innocent enough. Too many redheads, I suppose.”

“What do you mean?” Barbara tapped her fingers on the side of her mug.

“Nothing, never mind,” Helena shook her head. Barbara’s fingers were light on her shoulder through the thick fabric of the robe. “Helena, please…I know I don’t deserve it but you can still trust me.”

Helena’s face flushed at the affection threading through Barbara’s tone. “It probably freaks you out to know that every single woman I’ve slept with in the past three years has looked just a little bit like you, just enough so that in the dark it didn’t matter that it wasn’t you.” Shame and self-pity squeezed her throat tight.

Barbara dropped her eyes to her hands, fingers went back to gripping the handle of the mug tightly. “And the men? Were they all redheads too?”

“No, not a one, now that I think about it.” Helena ran a hand through her hair. She wanted to get up and pace, to lose some of the nervousness she felt coursing through her, but that would mean giving up her proximity to Barbara. Helena ignored her predator’s instincts because she knew that this evening would be the last chance she’d get to be close to Barbara. “Omnivorous, promiscuous as hell, and pathetic to boot. No wonder you don’t want me.”

It was the opening she’d been waiting for. Habits borne of too many years of keeping secrets, of hiding one part of her life or another, of not having anyone know everything about her, pushed against Barbara’s bright-burning desire for the woman sitting in front of her.

“I never said I didn’t want you,” Barbara replied, her voice soft as she raised her eyes to look at Helena’s face.

Their conversations rewound and replayed at lightning speed in her brain as Helena realized the truth of Barbara’s reply. “You want me?”

Barbara’s smile was soft, sad and vaguely wanton at the same time. “More than you can ever possibly imagine and for longer than I want to think about.” The heat of embarrassment rushed to Barbara’s cheeks; her fear tightened its grip on her breathing as she took in Helena’s stunned expression.

“Why?” Helena blinked slowly as the room went fuzzy around the edges. Barbara wanted her.

“I could ask you the same question,” Barbara replied, taking another sip of tea. It slid down her throat but did nothing to loosen the tightness in her chest.

Helena shook her head. “Because you’re you, but that’s not what I meant.” Her eyes narrowed as Barbara took a deep breath and slowly blew it out. Despite the fact that she could smell the redhead’s fear, Helena asked the question that clung to the end of her tongue. “Why haven’t you said anything before now?”

“I want you, Helena, yes, but it’s complicated,” Barbara said softly. Helena frowned. She was learning to hate that word.

Barbara took a deep breath. The steel around her chest would not loosen. She flashed on the first time she’d stepped off the ledge of a building with nothing but a Bat-cable and what she hoped was a well-enough set grappling hook to keep her from splattering on the pavement below. Her stomach had felt about the same, sour, twisted, and small. She took a deep breath and just as she had that dark, moonless night, Barbara Gordon stepped off the edge.

She held up her right index finger. Helena followed with her eyes down to where Barbara poked herself in the side of the thigh just below her pubic bone. “Below this point, there’s nothing. No feeling at all. Between this point and my belly button there’s some sensation of temperature and some feeling, but it’s intermittent and sort of distant, like whatever I’m feeling is happening through a thick layer of cloth.”

“OK, I guess I’m dumb,” Helena said with a shake of her head. The scent of Barbara’s anxiety filled her nose. Helena tried not to frown. What’s she so afraid of? “Practically that means?”

“It means that the spirit is willing and the flesh, well, sometimes it just isn’t.” Barbara drained the rest of the tea from the mug and set it on the coffee table. She sighed at the sight of Helena’s still perplexed look. “Helena, a big part of the pleasure of being someone’s lover is pleasing that person. Unless someone is completely selfish, which I’m not saying you are, it’s a bit unfulfilling if only one of you can respond.”

The flash of understanding ran visibly across Helena’s features. The flash of anger followed it so closely Helena didn’t have time to clamp down on it. “You weren’t even going to let me try, were you?” She felt her eyes start to change. She shut them and rubbed the heels of her hands against her eyelids until she corralled her temper. “You weren’t even going to give me a chance.” Helena opened her eyes and looked at the redhead. She didn’t need meta-enhanced senses to tell Barbara was fighting off tears. The anger she felt pushed aside her impulse to tenderness. “Does our friendship…you don’t trust me at all, do you?”

“I trust you with my life,” Barbara said softly, eyes firmly fixed on where her fingers had knotted themselves together in her lap. Even after seven years the disconnect between what her hands felt when she touched her legs and the nothing her legs felt still threw her for a loop. “In some ways, this is more important.”

Helena sighed and ran a hand through her hair. Her palms itched and she couldn’t stand sitting still any more. She got up and paced across to the clocktower windows. “I don’t get it, Barbara,” Helena paused and looked out the clock’s face. “You trust me with your life but not with your body? Make me understand.”

Barbara swallowed hard and looked away as all the loneliness came rushing back, bringing with it tears. “I can’t be everything you deserve,” she said through clenched teeth. She swiped a hand across her cheeks. “You’ve had more lovers in a year than I’ve had in my entire life. Stuck in this thing,” she said, banging her hands against the wheels of the chair, “I can’t measure up.” Barbara swallowed again, her breathing shallow, as grief replaced fear as the vice grip around her chest. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Helena move to the side of her chair.

Helena brushed her fingers over Barbara’s forearm as she waited for the older woman to compose herself. Something inside her snapped when she saw the tears roll down Barbara’s cheeks; the urge to protect, to comfort had washed away any hurt she felt at Barbara’s shutting her out. Humor, flirting, and really fast fists were Helena’s best tools. Only two of those could be of use here.

Barbara kept her face turned away even after she’d gotten her emotions under control. She didn’t want to see the pity that she was sure Helena was doing her best to hide. When Barbara finally turned and looked at Helena’s face, she saw as much love, maybe more, as had been there that Friday night so many weeks ago.

Helena smiled softly. “Sex is like fighting.” Barbara snorted her laugh, the humor freeing up her breathing a little. “No, I’m serious,” Helena continued. “Fighting isn’t all about using all your strength and power in every move. It’s about finesse, about anticipation and strategy. Sex is just the same. Not every encounter has to be a mind-blowing orgasm.” Helena dropped her eyes to where fingers still stroked Barbara’s arm. “Another big part of being someone’s lover is knowing you turn that person on.”

Helena swallowed hard as she watched her fingers move over Barbara’s skin. She could swear she still felt the knot in her stomach from Barbara’s earlier rejection. She didn’t think it was possible to feel more vulnerable than she already did but the words that spilled out of her mouth made her feel just that.

“Barbara, there’s no polite way to say this, you really do turn me on, and not in an ‘abstract, ethereal beauty’ sort of way either. Your laugh, the sound of your voice over the comms channel when you aren’t letting me get away with any of my usual bullshit, your eyes, your smile, these beautiful, elegant hands,” Helena said, moving her fingers lightly over the back of Barbara’s hand where it rested on top of her thigh, “that huge, amazing brain of yours…It all turns me on, and it’s really in more of a ‘getting wet and wanting to touch every inch of your naked body’ kind of way.”

It took everything Barbara had not to gasp. Helena’s words had the same effect on Barbara as feeling that thin, steel cable pull taut and take her weight had on her so many years before. She soared.

Barbara’s hand coming up off her thigh, fingers tipping her chin upward, happened in slow motion for Helena. When she flicked her eyes up to Barbara’s face the grin she found on the redhead’s lips was completely wanton. Perception snapped back into real time as Barbara leaned in to kiss her.

This time when their lips met there was heat instead of surprise. Barbara’s mouth was warm and tasted of milk and sugar and tea, and bourbon from earlier in the night. Her tongue was gentle but insistent as she parted Helena’s lips. Helena felt Barbara’s fingers wind into the hair at the back of her head, drawing the rest of her body closer.

Arousal tingled along Barbara’s skin as Helena took charge of the kiss, breath hot against Barbara’s mouth as she groaned with pleasure. The analytical part of Barbara’s mind took note of a slightly-felt warm heaviness between her legs before it shut down under the emotional onslaught of the raw, aching need that pushed against her every nerve ending.

By the time Barbara pulled away, Helena’s full weight was balanced on her toes. Strong fingers massaged the back of Helena’s neck lightly. The sly curve of Barbara’s lips pushed Helena’s libido up as she looked into green eyes made darker with desire. Helena clenched her fingers against the chair wheels. Her first impulse was to take charge but some instinct told her to hold back.

“Bed?” Helena asked, her voice so low it was almost a purr. Barbara nodded, her body flooded with warmth and arousal. “You want to drive or should I?” Helena said with a tilt of her head. She knew Barbara hated to be handled and in such precarious emotional territory any push in the wrong direction could send either one of them running.

Barbara looked down to where Helena’s hands rested, one on each wheel of the manual chair. She’d been plenty vulnerable tonight, and she knew Helena would soon push her boundaries even further. “I’ll drive.” Barbara unlocked the brake and when Helena straightened up she backed up, turned around, and started for the bedroom. Helena had taken but two steps when Barbara looked back over her shoulder. “Bring the cookies. I have a feeling you’re going to want the sugar in about an hour.” Barbara’s lips curved into a smile as she heard Helena stop dead in her tracks. She moved forward toward the bedroom.

Saturday/Sunday: 12:15am: Gabby’s room

Dinah fumbled with the hooks on Gabby’s bra, her face growing warmer by the second. Gabby chuckled. “Let me.” She reached back, shooing Dinah’s fingers away, and popped open the hooks. Dinah’s tongue darted out to wet her lower lip. She slid the straps off Gabby’s shoulders, pulling the garment away from her body. Once she had it all the way off, Dinah tossed the bra aside without taking her eyes off Gabby’s small, firm breasts.

She leaned in and kissed Gabby’s neck, working her way down and across her collarbone and over the upper swell of Gabby’s left breast. Dinah put her arm around Gabby’s waist as she brushed her lips over one already taut nipple. She sucked gently as Gabby threaded a hand into her hair.

Gabby moaned, pressing herself into Dinah’s mouth. She looked down at Dinah’s face and let herself feel the swell of love she’d been handling cautiously since they’d started dating. She stroked Dinah’s cheek with gentle fingers even as Dinah pulled away, satisfied grin on her mouth.

Gabby dropped her hand away from Dinah’s face to cup one of her breasts, her thumb teasing the hard point of the other girl’s nipple through the soft fabric of the bra she still wore. Dinah blinked against the surge of pleasure from the touch and the image of herself in the middle of an orgasm that she got from Gabby’s mind. She opened her eyes wide as Gabby popped open the hooks on her bra with her free hand.

Gabby smiled wickedly. “Misdirection. You didn’t even notice that I missed it the first time. Dinah’s smiled. “I’ll have to remember that.” She bent to Gabby’s lips again.

Saturday/Sunday: 12:22am: Barbara’s bedroom

A couple of candles, just recently lit, burned on the dresser, giving the room a soft glow. Barbara had transferred herself from the chair to the bed and was pulling off her boots and socks as Helena kicked the bedroom door shut. Helena put the plate of cookies and two small bottles of water down on the nightstand. She hung Barbara’s robe on the hook outside the bathroom where Barbara normally stored it. Then Helena crossed back and stopped in front of where Barbara sat on the bed. For all her experience, Helena couldn’t decide what move to make next.

Barbara decided for her.

She reached out and slid her hands up Helena’s thighs to her hips. Barbara pulled Helena forward as her fingers snuck under the hem of Helena’s tank top exposing a larger swath of Helena’s skin above her waistband. She leaned forward and kissed Helena’s belly, her tongue running around the outer edges of Helena’s belly button. Helena jumped and pulled away.

“Jesus, Barbara. Do you have a first gear?” Helena asked, her expression full of shock even as her libido cranked up.

Barbara smiled up at her. “I’ve been in first gear for way too long. C’mere,” she said, her voice husky. Helena stepped forward and Barbara started to untie the laces on her pants. Helena brushed her fingers through Barbara’s hair as the redhead concentrated on pulling the laces apart, half-smile gracing her mouth. When she’d worked the laces apart enough, Barbara moved her hands to Helena’s waistband to slide the pants down.

“Uh, Barbara?” Helena glanced down at her still boot-clad feet.

Barbara followed Helena’s gaze. She flicked her eyes back up to Helena’s face. “In a minute.” Barbara tugged the leather pants down over Helena’s hips and pushed them down her legs into a pool around Helena’s ankles. She smiled when she saw the black, low-rise bikini panties Helena wore.

“What?” Helena asked, looking down at her underwear. Helena could definitely smell Barbara’s desire, and, given their positions, even without a meta-enhanced sense of smell, Helena was sure her own desire was evident to Barbara’s nose.

Barbara shook her head. “Leave it to you to match your underwear to your pants.”

“Yeah, well, wait till you see what color the bra is,” Helena replied. She bent down and grasped the hem of Barbara’s sweater. She tugged the sweater up and over Barbara’s head and down her arms, turning the garment inside out. Helena balled the sweater up and tossed it over her shoulder. “Don’t worry, it’s still wearable,” she said in response to Barbara’s arched eyebrow. Barbara’s skin was milky next to the burgundy of her bra, her breasts hung round and full, the underwire garment giving her a provocative amount of cleavage

Helena turned and dropped onto the mattress next to Barbara. She yanked off her boots and the pants and tossed the whole mess aside. She turned toward Barbara and let herself really look at the woman before her. The candlelight brought out golden highlights in Barbara’s hair that Helena didn’t remember ever having seen. Her shoulders and arms held a strength Helena had experienced first hand, and her belly, flat as it disappeared into her jeans, was marked with a furrow of scar tissue, white against her pale skin, from the bullet wounds. Helena ran a finger over a freckle dotting Barbara’s collarbone. Barbara reached up, cupping Helena’s cheek and running her thumb over the dent in Helena’s chin. Helena’s eyes flicked up to meet hers. She kissed Helena gently. “You like what you see?”

Helena nodded, suddenly unable to manage more than monosyllables. “Yes,” she whispered. She glided her hand up the strong muscles of Barbara’s back to her neck, fingers automatically rubbing out the tension she found there. Barbara purred and dropped her head forward, hair slipping over her shoulder and hiding her face. Barbara let her hand drift to Helena’s thigh, fingertips skimming Helena’s exposed skin. Helena took a deep breath. The shock of pleasure she felt at Barbara’s touch went right to her center.

She had a case of nerves worse than the one she’d had the first time she had sex. Of course, she and Stacy hadn’t been consummating five years of unrequited love, just teenaged passion that had rapidly deteriorated when Stacy realized Helena’s devotion lay elsewhere.

Helena shook her free hand, subconsciously hoping to shake off the jitters even as she continued to work the muscles in Barbara’s neck and upper back. With nimble fingers she reached forward and unsnapped the clasp that rested between Barbara’s breasts. She skimmed her fingers under one cup and then the other, palm lightly brushing nipples and areolae only slightly more pink than Barbara’s skin. She felt Barbara’s fingertips sneak under the edge of her panties, hand circling higher toward her hip, as she pulled Barbara’s bra off with the hand that had been massaging her neck.

Helena moved off the bed and knelt between Barbara’s parted knees, hands sliding up still firm thighs to her hips over the soft, faded denim of her jeans. She grinned up at Barbara, a sly twisting of her lips, before she lowered her face to Barbara’s lap and breathed deep the scent of Barbara’s arousal. The smell was intoxication made vapor. Helena’s arousal was so keen that she knew when she looked at Barbara again she’d be presenting feral, yellow cat eyes instead of her normal blue. Helena felt the slight hitch in Barbara’s breathing as she nosed what should have been Barbara’s most sensitive flesh through the fabric of her jeans.

Above Helena’s head, Barbara closed her eyes, pulling her lower lip between her teeth. She could feel the slight drumming of Helena’s fingers on the skin of her back just above her waistband where the brunette’s right hand had come to rest. Her imagination supplied the feeling of Helena’s other hand splayed on her thigh. She looked down at Helena’s face, the corner of her jaw working as she nipped at Barbara through the jeans. Barbara wasn’t sure if she could actually feel the slight scrapes of Helena’s teeth or if she merely wanted so badly to feel them that her imagination was filling in the gaps.

“Now who doesn’t have a first gear?” Barbara said, fingers brushing through Helena’s dark locks, her voice purposefully light.

Helena rested her head on Barbara’s thigh and looked up. She could see the fear washing Barbara’s features, belying her nonchalant tone. Helena frowned. Enough. She stood quickly and slid one arm beneath Barbara’s knees. Barbara stiffened, suppressing a small gasp as her hand went to Helena’s shoulder. “I know you hate this but I’m not going to make love to you on the edge of the bed,” Helena said, her eyes not leaving Barbara’s. At Barbara’s nod of assent, Helena picked her up and resettled her in the middle of the big mattress.

Helena paused to take in the woman lying on the bed in front of her as Barbara piled up a couple of pillows and leaned back against them. “God, you’re beautiful,” Helena said, unable to believe the vision before her. She swallowed hard, feeling self-conscious. “Not exactly an original thought, huh?”

Barbara smiled softly. “It’s the feeling behind the thought that counts, and you’re not so bad yourself,” she replied, eyes dancing over the lean lines of Helena’s body. She’d seen Helena nearly naked enough times during the doctoring she’d had to do over the years that Barbara had a pretty good idea what Helena would look like totally unclothed. It didn’t make her any less gorgeous to Barbara’s eyes.

“Not bad?” She looked down at herself. “All this rates is a ‘not bad’?” The smile that curved her lips took the sting out of the mock indignation that threaded its way into her tone.

“OK, how about beautiful, captivating, stunning, exquisite, bewitching…Shall I continue?” Barbara said, arching an eyebrow. Helena really was all those things and more to Barbara. Perhaps it was because of her sometimes-childlike curiosity that Helena delighted Barbara in the most unexpected ways. Right then, Barbara knew one specific way she’d like to repay Helena for those delights. A fourteen year old’s fantasy made live.

“Nope, we’re already going to have to do carpentry to make the door big enough for my head.” Helena shook her head, her face becoming serious. “Words…sometimes I’m not so good with them, you know. I’m more of a ‘go out and do’ kinda girl. That whole analyzing thing is your gig.”

“You do better with words than you think, Helena, and besides, I think in this case ‘doing’ is probably what’s called for,” Barbara said, running her hands through her hair and fanning it out behind her before she resettled herself on the pillows. “We can analyze tomorrow.” Helena blinked rapidly, amazed, as Barbara’s hand skimmed over one of her breasts, lingering just long enough to tease it erect as her hand passed over her nipple, and across her belly to the button on her jeans. She popped the button free and moved fingertips under the fabric covering the zipper. “You want to help me with these?”

The mattress dipped as Helena crawled up Barbara’s body. She stopped, one knee between Barbara’s thighs, and planted a hand next to Barbara’s shoulder. Helena’s eyes never left Barbara’s face as the slow, clicking release of the zipper’s teeth became a tease itself. Helena’s smile was wicked. “So, I’ve always kind of wondered,” she said, eyes still on Barbara’s even as her hand slipped inside Barbara’s pants. “Are you a redhead everywhere?”

“What do you think?” Barbara replied, keeping her expression serious even as she fought back a laugh.

Helena nodded. “I think yes. Only, I think what I’m going to find when I get these jeans off you is going to be more auburn than the fire you’ve got going on up top.” Helena moved her hand so she could graze Barbara’s lips with her fingers through the soft cotton of her panties. She watched carefully for Barbara’s reaction which was minimal at best. OK, that would be driving me up a wall.

“You’ve given thought to what color my pubic hair is?” Barbara asked behind the laugh she could no longer control.

“Uh huh. I’ve thought about whether or not you’re ticklish, which I know you are, and about the best place to put my mouth to make you moan spontaneously, and about the noise you make when you come,” Helena said, slipping her hand farther inside Barbara’s jeans and cupping her vulva while she rocked the heel of her hand over the lip of Barbara’s pubic bone. “I think about you a lot. Can you feel this at all?” Helena glanced down.

Barbara followed Helena’s glance and then looked back at Helena’s face. She skimmed her hand up the arm supporting Helena’s weight and let her fingers twine into the hair on the back of Helena’s head. “Sort of,” Barbara said, sadness edging into her voice, eyes bright with sudden tears. “Not as much as I’d like.”

“How about this?” Helena asked as she moved her hand from between Barbara’s legs to the curve of her hip, fingers skimming just under the elastic of her panties. The sadness on Barbara’s face, the slight hitch in her breathing, brought a vice-grip of sorrow to Helena’s chest as well as a hot flash of anger; one that raged against the fact that Barbara had been denied so much in one cruel instant. Helena hoped the flush she felt in her cheeks would be mistaken for arousal. Pity was the surest way to get Barbara to close the door in her face forever.

Barbara shook her head, swallowing a hard lump in her throat. “About the same. God, I want…” She turned her head to the side as she felt the tears spring to her eyes.

“You want what?” Helena asked, fingers rubbing in a small circle over Barbara’s hipbone.

Barbara shook her head. “I don’t know any more. Things I can’t have,” Barbara ground out with more anger than she’d intended to let slip. Her face felt flushed and hot. She focused on a point on the ceiling past Helena’s shoulder.

“You said intermittent, right? So, there’s any number of things that could be going on here. I’m sure you had a drink at the bar, yeah?” Helena said.

Barbara nodded. “A couple, actually.”

“OK, see. Alcohol impedes performance,” Helena said, her voice sure.

“I thought that was only guys.” Barbara refused to be jollied. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Helena shake her head. “It’s everybody. Plus…earlier, that was all kinds a scary. Big emotional rollercoasters and good sex…not always a good combo. Then there’s always the trust thing.”

“Trust thing?” Barbara said, flicking her eyes over to Helena’s face. Helena nodded. “Yeah, you don’t exactly trust me yet. At least, not all the way, and not here, and I have a feeling it’s important to you for that to be there.”

Barbara didn’t respond as she returned her focus to the point on the ceiling. Sadness and an impotent rage like she hadn’t felt since she’d woken up in the hospital to find she couldn’t feel her toes roared through her like a hot wind. Barbara took a deep breath and blew it out slowly as she felt Helena’s fingers move up her belly and between her breasts.

Helena held her hand in front of Barbara’s face. “Smell.” Barbara frowned. “Barbara…” Helena raised her eyebrows. Barbara lifted her head from the pillow and sniffed the palm of Helena’s hand. “What do you smell?”

“Sweat, mostly, and, I don’t know,” she trailed off with a shrug as she dropped her head back to the pillow.

“You’re wet, and if my sense of smell is any good, you’re really wet,” Helena said, eyes half-lidded with anticipated pleasure.

“If you say so.” Barbara clenched her jaw and looked away. Helena’s caress was soft on her cheek. Barbara looked back at Helena’s face. There was no pity there, only the lust Barbara had wanted for so long to see. “Gotta give me a little bit more time to figure you out, Barbara, and I’d need that time even if you could walk. I mean, I’m good but I don’t have that whole mind-meld thing to fall back on. I’ve got to experiment to see what works best. ‘Course, we could get the kid in here to help but I have a feeling she’s a little busy right now.” The smile that turned Helena’s lips was just too dirty for words.

Barbara laughed and covered her mouth with her hand. Helena’s smile softened with affection as she watched some of the tension drain out of the redhead’s face. Barbara ran her thumb over Helena’s lips. “You and words seem to get along just fine,” she said. “You’re really OK with this?” Barbara waved to indicate the lower portion of her body.

“It’s part of who you are, and…” Helena said, her eyes going from feral yellow to blue.

Barbara raised her eyebrows. “And?”

Helena shook her head. “Later,” she said, leaning in and kissing Barbara lightly. “So…how does this feel?” She dragged her fingernails up Barbara’s belly coming to a stop just below her sternum.

“It tickled,” Barbara said through clenched teeth as she bit back a giggle. She sat up and claimed Helena’s mouth. Her tongue was insistent between Helena’s lips as her hand dropped from the back of Helena’s neck to the hem of her tank top. The end of her tongue toyed with the metal stud that pierced Helena’s as Barbara snaked her hand under Helena’s tank top and up to her breast. She smiled against Helena’s mouth at the brunette’s small gasp when her fingers brushed over the full curve of Helena’s naked breast and stopped to roll one of Helena’s already pebble-hard nipples between her thumb and forefinger.

Barbara pulled away from Helena’s mouth. Her face felt as flushed as Helena’s looked. “You naked, now.”

Helena sat back and pulled the tank top over her head. She tossed it onto the growing pile of clothes in the corner of the room. She slid her hands under Barbara’s ass. “I’m not the only one getting naked here, Babs.” She lifted Barbara and pulled her jeans and underwear down over her hips. As she registered the triangle of curls below Barbara’s belly button she raised her eyebrows in surprise. It was an even color match to the hair on Barbara’s head. “Guess I was wrong.” She tossed Barbara’s jeans and underwear and shucked her own panties.

“Disappointed?” Barbara asked, mischievous grin on her lips. Helena shook her head. “By you, never.” She straddled Barbara’s hips, leaned down, and nuzzled her neck, breasts just barely brushing Barbara’s skin. Barbara closed her eyes and arched her back to get more contact. “Do you have any idea how good you smell?” Helena whispered, teasing Barbara’s earlobe with her tongue. “How good your skin tastes?” She nipped lightly at the skin just below the corner of Barbara’s jaw. Barbara moaned, her hands on Helena’s back to pull the brunette closer. That answers the moaning question.

“Helena,” Barbara rasped. She could feel Helena’s heat and her wetness against her lower belly. Helena’s kiss was fierce on her mouth and time stretched as Barbara’s world became a blur of touches, nips, licks, and caresses, and the low sounds of her own pleasure and Helena’s murmurs of encouragement. Helena was gentle and passionate, appreciating Barbara in the best way she knew how as she slowly worked her way down Barbara’s body. Barbara opened her eyes when Helena stilled, her breath blowing warm as she laid her cheek on Barbara’s belly. The yellow in Helena’s eyes didn’t surprise her; the serious look did.

“Can I taste you?” Helena felt a small twinge of guilt as she watched Barbara’s face for her reaction. She knew the act would probably do more for her than it would for Barbara. She felt Barbara’s breath hitch.

Barbara flitted her fingers through Helena’s hair, fear and sadness swirling through her. No turning back now…hell, who are you kidding, Gordon. There was no turning back the moment you kissed her. She took a deep breath and blew it out evenly. “It might not go anywhere for me, you know that?”

Helena nodded. “I know, but I’m selfish, Barbara. I want to. It’s that whole ‘turning your lover on’ thing,” Helena said with a small smile she hoped Barbara found charming, one that she also hoped would calm some of the fear the redhead was suddenly shedding in waves. “Besides, it might go somewhere and even if it doesn’t this time it might the next time. Unless you plan on one-night standing me.” She suddenly felt a little sick at the possibility. The nausea evaporated when Barbara spoke.

One-night stand? “Helena…I…no,” Barbara said with a shake of her head. “You’re too important to me for that.” She closed her eyes and tried to push away the shame she felt that she’d given the impression she valued their relationship so little that one night with Helena would be enough. When she opened them again she wasn’t surprised to find Helena’s eyes still fixed on her face. Barbara smiled softly. “Yes…please. I’d love to have your mouth.”

“You’ll tell me what you want? What you can feel?” Helena’s breathing was shallow as her heart pounded. She’d dreamed about this moment so often she had to resist the urge to pinch herself to make sure she wasn’t unconscious.

“Yes,” Barbara replied, her voice soft. She pushed the embarrassment and fear that rose renewed in her chest to the side as Helena slowly spread her legs and settled between her thighs. She smiled as Helena lowered her face and breathed deeply. Cat thing…it has to be.

“Have I mentioned that you smell really good?” Helena asked, tracing the cleft between Barbara’s lips with the tip of her nose.

“Not in the last five minutes, no,” Barbara said with a small smile. She reached for Helena’s left hand which lay across her hip. She laced her fingers in with Helena’s. “That feels good.”

Helena flicked her eyes up to Barbara’s face still running her teeth gently over Barbara’s swollen lips. She kept her eyes on Barbara’s face as she dipped her tongue between those lips to stroke Barbara’s clit. Barbara’s fingers tightened on hers. Helena’s murmur and the look in her eyes were clearly a question.

“No it’s…good. It feels good.” Barbara’s breathing was rapid and shallow as Helena continued to run the flat of her tongue over her clit. Despite feeling a little distant, the strength of the sensation surprised Barbara. “Are you using that stud in your tongue?” Helena nodded without altering her tongue’s rhythm. If Barbara was feeling good there was nothing short of her saying stop that was going to break Helena’s concentration. Barbara loosened her grip slightly but still didn’t let Helena’s hand go. She put her head back and closed her eyes, trying to concentrate on amplifying the sensations she was feeling. She teased first one nipple and then the other.

Helena let out her own moan at the sight of Barbara’s fingers caressing her own flesh. The image pushed Helena’s arousal up another level, past the point where she was sure she was going to climax spontaneously. She closed her eyes and concentrated on keeping her rhythm even and the pressure steady. Helena answered Barbara’s occasional murmurs of instruction with immediate compliance. If strength of desire could have compelled it, Helena’s wish for Barbara to reach any sort of climax would have had the redhead over the edge multiple times by the time Barbara touched the top of her head.

“Hel…stop, please.” Barbara smiled softly as Helena raised her head question plainly written on her face. “Hi.”

“Hi. You know, you taste pretty good too,” Helena replied with a grin.

Barbara’s laugh pushed away most of the frustration she felt. “Can you do that and be inside me at the same time?” Barbara asked, her face coloring slightly.

Helena resisted the urge to grin in triumph; getting the redhead to ask for anything for herself in any situation was a Herculean effort. That she felt safe enough to ask in a situation as charged as this one made Helena feel ten feet tall. She quirked one dark brow, full lips turned into a slight grin. “Barbara, you ought to know how well I multitask by now.”

With Barbara’s laugh still ringing in her ears, Helena lowered her mouth once more, her tongue resuming the same rhythm as before, as she found Barbara’s open, wet center with her fingers. She slid one finger inside Barbara’s warmth and flicked her eyes up to Barbara’s face. The question ‘enough?’ was plain in Helena’s eyes. Barbara shook her head. Helena added a second finger and then a third at Barbara’s indication, the motion of her hand matching that of her tongue.

Helena had no idea how long she’d been moving in and out of Barbara when she felt the redhead’s fingers tighten on hers. Seconds later she felt the first squeeze of Barbara’s smooth interior muscles on the fingers of her other hand even as Barbara arched slightly from the mattress. Helena kept stroking, firm and steady, as Barbara called out her name.

When the squeezing on her fingers subsided and Barbara relaxed into the bed, Helena pulled her fingers out slowly. She wiped her chin on her hand and that on the bedding and moved to Barbara’s side. She reached across Barbara’s body and pulled the comforter over her. Her breasts brushing across the redhead’s still flushed skin only heightened Helena’s need to be touched. She settled down on Barbara’s left; it wasn’t until she did that Helena saw Barbara’s tears.

Helena swiped one fat tear off Barbara’s cheek with her thumb and popped the thumb in her mouth, sucking off the liquid. How it was possible for a little bead of salt water to taste like sadness Helena did not know. “Was it that bad?” she asked, putting a little humor behind the question, hoping she could change Barbara’s mood.

Barbara laughed, still crying. She opened her eyes to find Helena, one hand balanced on her fist, gazing down at her with nothing but love in her expression. “Bad? No, love…I have no idea what to say, how to describe what I feel. Exhilarated, sad, alive, like I want to scream with joy from the rooftops…all mixed together,” she said softly, reaching up to brush fingers through the messy layers of Helena’s hair.

“Then don’t say anything, just feel it. Are you thirsty?”

Barbara nodded. She pulled herself into more of a sitting position as Helena retrieved the bottles of water from the nightstand. Helena screwed the top off her own bottle and downed half of it in one long gulp. The smile that spread itself across her lips was sly and supremely self-satisfied, Cheshire even.

“You seem pretty pleased with yourself,” Barbara said, taking a sip from her own water bottle.

Helena tilted her head. “Yep. I got all my questions answered this evening.” Helena made lazy loops on Barbara’s belly with the fingers of her free hand.

“Oh really?” Barbara arched an eyebrow.

“Uh huh,” Helena said, watching her hand move over Barbara’s paler skin. “Yes, you’re a redhead all over, that little spot about an inch below the corner of your jaw makes you make the most amazing noise, and, apparently, the sound you make when you come is my name.” With this last Helena flicked her eyes up to Barbara’s face.

Barbara’s full, throaty contralto laugh hit Helena like fingers brushing over her swollen clit. “We’re definitely going to have to do carpentry before you can leave the room.” She bent to Helena’s mouth, putting all the love and passion she felt into the kiss. When she pulled away she left Helena breathing hard and shallow. “You’re not leaving any time soon, though. I have plans for you, Helena Kyle,” Barbara said, her voice low and husky.

Saturday/Sunday: 2:17am: Gabby’s room

Dinah’s shoulder was pins and needles asleep and she didn’t care. She kissed the top of Gabby’s head lightly even though she knew Gabby had drifted off to sleep. Gabby stirred, adjusting slightly the angle of the leg she’d thrown over Dinah’s thigh when she’d pressed against the taller girl’s side. Dinah felt her face warm as the newly-minted memory of Gabby’s fingers circling her clit streaked across her brain.

She hadn’t done too badly, hadn’t looked like too much of a kid, putting her no experience with a girl, or anyone else for that matter, up against what she was sure was sure was Gabby’s much greater experience. No, the thought that kept Dinah awake was how she was going to tell Gabby about her powers.

Saturday/Sunday: 2:26am: Barbara’s bedroom

“It’s interesting. Your eyes don’t turn back until after you’ve had an orgasm,” Barbara said, crunching her second cookie.

Helena shook her head. For as much as she’d flirted with Barbara over the years, having her be so open about sex was going to take some getting used to. “Really. Fascinating.” Helena swallowed what was left in her bottle of water. Her teenaged imaginings had paled in comparison to having Barbara actually touch her. Hell, her twenty-three year old imaginings hadn’t come close to measuring up to the real thing. Barbara’s lips had, indeed, teased her to a higher point of excitement, they’d promised she wouldn’t be sorry for trusting, and they’d demanded that Helena give in and let go when it was time, all while Barbara’s fingers moved between Helena’s legs.

“You must have come for five minutes. Are you going to eat that?” Barbara said, gesturing to the one last cookie that rested on the plate balanced on Helena’s knee.

“Barbara! Jesus…” Helena felt the blush creep up her face from her neck. Barbara drew her eyebrows together and wrinkled her forehead, the half-smile that Helena could never resist turning her lips. “You’re embarrassed.”

“I am not!” The embarrassment she so vehemently denied deepened the color in her cheeks.

Barbara laughed. “Will wonders never cease? I finally found your modesty threshold. Of course, your demureness would be a little bit more convincing if you weren’t naked.” Barbara reached out for the cookie which Helena snagged lightning quick off the plate. She bit the cookie in half. This just made Barbara laugh harder. Helena crunched the half cookie in her mouth while she threw Barbara her best glower.

“No, really, it’s, adorable,” Barbara wiped some excess moisture from her eyes.

Helena glowered even harder. “I am not adorable. Sleek, sexy, maybe even exotic but definitely not…” She trailed off as Barbara caressed the inside of her thigh. Helena swallowed hard.

“You are worthy of adoration and extremely charming,” Barbara said, kissing Helena lightly. “Hence, adorable.”

Helena put the now empty plate on the nightstand. She crunched the remaining half-cookie. “Who the hell says ‘hence’?”

“Really hot redheads with big, attractive brains,” Barbara replied, stifling a yawn against the back of her hand. Her body felt loose, more relaxed than it had in years. A bit of panic coursed through her when Helena got up from the bed. She mentally cursed her own insecurities as Helena blew out the candles on the dresser and made her way back to the bed.

Helena rearranged the bedding, pulling the sheets and blankets out from under her and then over the redhead before climbing in beside her and settling on her side. She had no problems seeing Barbara in the virtually light-free room. “I love you,” Helena said quietly, fingers brushing Barbara’s cheek. Barbara turned her head and kissed Helena’s palm. “And I love you.” Isn’t it nice how that works out?

Barbara turned on her side. Helena scooted over to spoon her from behind, arm draped lightly over Barbara’s waist. Feeling safer than she had in years, Helena was asleep within five minutes. Barbara smiled in the dark as Helena’s breath blew slow and even against her neck. She twined her fingers with Helena’s, her last conscious thought before sleep claimed her consisted of one word. Mine.

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