DISCLAIMER: Birds of Prey and its characters are the property of Miller/Tobin Productions, Warner Brothers and DC comics. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This is a blend of TV, Batman movie franchise and a wee bit of comics. This is how it could have been with just a few changes of fate. Or at least, my interpretation of what could have been. So, yes this is my first actual fan fiction. To be honest the reason I wrote it was because I couldn't stand Barbara Gordon being in a wheelchair.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Twist of Fate
Jack Napier clawed at the out stretched hand of Batman. He knew that, although the fall wasn't far, the tank holding the chemical below him would definitely kill him. He could feel his grip slipping, panic shot through him as he made a grab for the rail with his other hand. When his hand slipped out of Batman's everything seemed to freeze before gravity reasserted itself. Before he could voice his terror he felt himself being jerked up by the back of his coat. A strong hand gripped his arm pulling him up. He mentally cursed the gratefulness he felt while held by Batman's firm grip. It was amazing, the strength the vigilante exposed as he lifted Napier over the railing of the catwalk. Napier knew he didn't have a chance in hell of escaping. Not that he could even think of escaping right now, his legs would barely hold him up after the adrenaline fled his body.
"I guess I should thank you," Jack Napier said while still trying to catch his breath.
"No thanks necessary, I'm happy to put you behind bars," Batman responded as he slapped cuffs onto Napier.
Jack wasn't afraid of prison. It was just a box, one that he would eventually escape. He smiled thinking it all terribly funny, though the smile never reached his eyes. "The thing about a Jack in the box is, we always pop up," he said, laughing at his own joke. He'd be back; it was only a matter of time.
"Not without someone turning the crank," Batman replied before giving him a shove at the waiting police officers.
Two years later
"Selena!" Batman's voice rang out in the underground cavern. He knew he had to stop her. Killing the bastard may have been something both of them wanted, but if she killed him there would be no future for them. She would always be a criminal. He would always have to stop her.
"He deserves this! You know he deserves this!" Catwoman yelled back. Her voice shook with anger, yet under the anger he could hear the pain.
He took a step closer to them. "It's not worth it. He's not worth it," he implored. He took another step closer meeting Selena's angry gaze. Bruce Wayne reached up tearing the mask that hid him from the world. "It's not worth losing us," Bruce said, holding out his hand in supplication.
Selena Kyle stared at him, marveling at the man behind the mask. He was such a contradiction of controlled anger and naïve trust, always believing that good would conquer evil. She knew he truly believed that they could be together. He believed that they could be happy together. Catwoman tightened her grip on Max unconsciously as the need to destroy him ran through her. She pushed the impulse down. Maybe they could be happy or maybe they were fooling themselves. How could they both drop their masks? They were the masked vigilante and criminal more than they were Bruce and Selena.
She wanted him anyway. She wanted the happy ending, the kids, the dog and the love. She did love him. She loved him that first awkward date they had. She loved him when they had danced at the ball. She loved him on the rooftop when they'd fought and kissed. She thought she may have loved him the moment she saw him, both of them, Batman and Bruce.
"Is there an 'us' Bruce? Can there ever really be an 'us'?"
He moved within arms reach of her. "Let him go. Let him go; be with me," he pleaded, making himself truly vulnerable for the first time since his parents were killed.
She released her captive before she could change her mind. Even through their gloves she could feel the warmth of his hand. It was strong and comforting. She let him pull her into him. This was what she wanted, more than revenge, more than the thrill that came with Catwoman, she wanted him. She wanted the life they could have together.
"Thank you," Bruce whispered. He didn't know if he was thanking Selena or God or both.
"Well isn't this nice, Bruce Wayne and Selena Kyle in love," Max Shreck wheezed sarcastically. "Or is it Batman and Catwoman in love?" He was going to kill them. He was going to enjoy killing them. After all, it was good business. Bruce Wayne was a thorn in his side, in his business and Batman was a thorn in his side in everything. Selena, killing Selena again would make sure that this business was complete. They both had to die. He grabbed the umbrella he was sure was actually a gun.
Bruce felt Max move more than he heard him. His reaction was complete instinct. He turned with Selena in his arms protecting her with his body. His booted foot smashed into Shreck's face before the white haired miscreant could pull the trigger. He watched as Max staggered backwards from the blow, throwing his hands out to keep himself from falling back into the water he knew was behind him. The painful jolt of electricity that arced through him refused to release him.
Five years later
"Bruce," Selena said making her husband look at her sheepishly. "We agreed that we wouldn't try to influence Helena."
Bruce smiled at Selena before turning back to Helena. "She just looks so cute in her little Gi," he said, pointing at their daughter. She was so adorably serious going through the forms he'd been teaching her.
Selena shook her head refusing to agree with him even though she could tell he already knew she did. "I don't think she should learn to fight," she said yet again. The former cat burglar doubted he would listen, he never had before.
Bruce stood up from where he'd been watching and coaching Helena. He crossed over to Selena taking her into his arms. "She needs to learn self defense," he said reasonably. "It's never too young to start, in fact, it's better to start early."
She leaned in giving him a soft kiss. "I'm afraid if we teach her to fight, she'll think it's okay to fight," she said giving Helena a fond but worried look.
He chuckled softly. "I'm not worried, she already understands more about right and wrong that we do." He turned back towards their daughter. He couldn't help the pride he felt when he watched her. She was only four, she seemed so small but her agility and strength were phenomenal. He was constantly surprised at how strong she was for a small child. Her focus was sporadic but that was expected. One day she would be very formidable.
"If she gets into trouble you're going to be the one that has to go straighten it out," Selena warned before giving his jaw a playful nip. She knew he was right, but she wasn't going to admit that out loud. She really couldn't resist either one of them. She loved them too much.
"She's four, what trouble could she get into?" Bruce said as he swooped down catching Helena as she came barreling towards him.
Selena smiled as she watched them. Bruce started to dangle the girl upside down by her ankles while Helena shrieked with happiness. She shook her head marveling at the little ball of energy. She really was her parents' daughter.
"Okay, come on you two," she said. She didn't want to interrupt their fun but Alfred had a way of making his disapproval felt if they were late to meals. "It's time for lunch. Alfred's waiting for us."
Bruce and Helena both stopped moving then looked at each other. The butler was the only person they both were truly afraid of. She watched as Helena shook her legs trying to escape from her father's grip. He set her down on her hands prepared to gently lower her onto the floor. Her impatient kicking finally caused him to let go before he wanted to. Helena balanced effortlessly on her hands for a moment before she dropped her legs to the floor easily landing then immediately ran towards the kitchen where they took most of their meals. "Race ya!" Was all they heard from the little girl as she streaked away. Neither even bothered to try to catch her. She was also unusually fast for a child.
9 years later
"Is she ready yet?" Helena asked impatiently.
"She'll be down soon Hellion," Bruce told his daughter for the tenth time in five minutes. The girl was one of the most impatient people he'd ever known, which was saying something since he was married to Selena. He watched her pace in front of the stair case, only stopping every few seconds to glare in the direction of the master bedroom.
"We're gonna be late," she grumbled to her Dad.
Bruce looked at his watch. They still had over an hour before it would start. "Hel, it only takes forty minutes to get there," he said, completely amused by the child's irritation. She was so much like her mother.
"We won't get a good seat if we get there too late," she groused while glaring up the stairs again. Maybe if she yelled 'fire' that would hurry up her mother. It was a circus! How much time did it take to get ready for a circus?
"It's a charity event Hellion, our seating is reserved," he reminded her patiently.
She sighed softly wondering if everybody's parents were as slow as hers were. "What exactly is she doing that takes so long?" Helena asked. She plopped down on the loveseat next to her father, laying her head on his strong shoulder.
"She's making herself beautiful," he said as he shifted to put his arm around her, pulling her closer.
"She's already beautiful," Helena replied gruffly, always the staunch defender of her mother.
"Thank you," Selena said from the entrance to the sitting room.
"Something bothering you Hellion?" Selena asked innocently, hiding her amusement from her daughter. She'd spent the last ten minutes listening to the girl pace and grumble. It was probably wrong, but she enjoyed driving Helena crazy when she could. Turn about was fair play, after all.
"No," Helena replied. Her impatience and irritation were long gone now that things were starting to move along. Her father was already holding a coat for Selena to slip into. He turned offering the same service to Helena.
"You look very smart," Selena said, eyeing the child's outfit. Helena had a unique sense of fashion that made her stand out from most children her age. Bruce often thought Helena's clothes were too sophisticated for someone her age. Personally, Selena loved her daughter's uniqueness. It didn't bother her at all that Helena's style reflected it. The girl reminded her of herself at that age.
"Yeah, I do look good," Helena said, casually checking herself out in the mirror across the hall.
"So modest too," Bruce said indulgently as he herded them towards the door.
"Wow, they're amazing," Helena said reverently as she watched the acrobats flying through the air. She wanted to do that. She was good at gymnastics; she didn't think it would be much of a stretch to learn this.
"They are very good," Selena agreed with her daughter. The Catwoman in her thought it would have been more impressive without the safety net. Of course, not everyone was perfect.
"We could do that, don't you think?" Helena asked.
"Don't get any ideas about running off to join the circus," Bruce warned her. He wouldn't be at all surprised if Helena actually tried to do just that.
She shook her head as she watched the Flying Grayson's perform. "There's no way, do you see what they have to wear?" Helena sounded horrified at the affront to her fashion sense.
Her parents shared an amused smile. Before either of them could tease her, shouts and gun fire ripped through the arena. Two Face. Bruce edged closer to Helena in an attempt to shield her from any threat. Helena just leaned to the side to get a better look at the super villain. She'd heard her parents talking about Two Face for months. He apparently was a tricky operator. On more than one occasion her father had returned to the Batcave battered and bloody from fights with the weird looking guy.
He didn't look like much to her. Sure the different colors splitting his face were creepy but other than that he was kind of a disappointment. Super villains, in her opinion, should be huge and terrifying, like the Swamp Thing. That guy was scary. Not an old guy who was barely six feet tall. Her Dad was way bigger than this guy.
The sound of more gun fire made her jump in her seat. She watched feeling completely numb, as the acrobats fell towards the net. She knew that they were dead. She knew because of the reaction of everyone in the arena, because their faces didn't show fear, they didn't show anything. She'd never seen dead people before. He'd killed them. He just killed them. Why would he do that? Helena remembered overhearing her parents say he was a ruthless murderer. It didn't mean much at the time. Now she understood. Now she was angry. She knew the difference between right and wrong. She knew you didn't kill, no matter what. She wanted to rip the freak limb from limb. She would have tried just that if her parents didn't have such a tight hold on her. Why weren't they doing anything? How could they just watch this?
"Do something!" Helena yelled as she struggled to get out of their grasp. Someone had to do something.
"Helena," Bruce said, clamping down on his daughter's shoulder to keep her in her seat. "We can't do anything. We have to let the police handle it. We're in no position to be of any help."
"We can too help! We need to help him," she said desperately as she pointed at the one remaining Flying Grayson who was working to release the bomb from the arena. She didn't know how he must feel, but she could imagine it. Every night her parents went out she worried they wouldn't come back. Every mission that took them far away she waited, unable to sleep. Helena was amazed that he would try so hard to save everyone when his family was gone.
Even as she was railing at her parents the police flooded the arena scattering Two Face's men. Most of them managed to escape with Two Face. She felt angry. Why would someone just kill innocent people? What kind of monster did that?
The crowd began to stream from the building. The stampede left people trampled when they went down or didn't move fast enough. "Let's go," Bruce said. He put Helena between himself and Selena while they slowly made their way out of the terrified crowd.
"We should have done something," Helena said, trying to suppress tears. She was beyond angry, beyond frustrated, beyond disappointed. They could have stopped it.
Selena stopped her daughter turning the girl to face her. "We couldn't help them," she told her. She met Helena's angry gaze. "We weren't prepared. We would have made the situation worse, maybe gotten hurt or killed," she continued, imparting one of the hardest lessons a crime fighter had to learn. "You can't save everyone."
"I would have tried," Helena said quietly.
Selena looked at Bruce. They both knew she would have tried. She was an impetuous mass of uncontrolled emotion. It terrified them.
Helena watched from the shadows at the top of the stairs as Dick Grayson entered the mansion. He was angry. She couldn't blame him, she was still angry herself, angry and confused. She was disappointed in her parents. She was disillusioned about everything she'd ever been taught. A hero was a hero all the time, not just when they were in costume. What really made her angry was the reason they didn't step in, the real reason. It was because of her. She knew as soon as they tried to shove her behind them. They were scared because she was there. They didn't do anything because they wanted to protect her.
She listened to them talk. Her father felt guilty, she could see that plainly. They both felt guilty, that was one of the reasons Richard Grayson was here. He was seventeen, his parents were dead; he was alone. Her parents had arranged to take guardianship of the performer.
She studied Dick from the dark corner she was standing in. He was just standing there staring angrily ahead of him. Her father had left him alone. Helena wondered if he would leave. She stepped out of the shadow.
Dick looked up at the girl who seemed to just suddenly appear at the top of the stairs. She looked like Bruce Wayne. The intensity of her blue eyes was the same as his. He watched as she walked down the stairs to stand in front of him. She couldn't be more than thirteen, he thought.
"I'm sorry," Helena said quietly.
He looked down at the girl, easily able to see the sadness in her remarkable eyes, sadness for him.
"What's your name?" Dick asked the girl.
"Wayne?" He asked unnecessarily. He could see the resemblance between Bruce Wayne and this girl even more up close.
"Yes," Helena replied. She waited for him to say something else but he just watched her. She wondered what he was thinking. "Are you staying?" She broke the silence.
"No," Dick said bitterly. He didn't want handouts. He wanted his family.
"Why not?" Helena asked. She didn't want him to go. Even as young as she was, she knew he needed them. She wanted to help him. She may not have been able to do anything before, but she could now.
"I don't need a handout. I'll be fine on my own."
"You shouldn't go."
"Why?" Dick asked. He turned away from her. She was looking at him with eyes that were far older than they should be, eyes filled with too much sadness and understanding for a child.
"We want you here," Helena told him as she walked away. Her voice sounded strange. It was lower. It was the same tone as her father's when he was Batman.
3 years later
"How do I look?" Selena asked as she looked at her reflection in the mirror. She could see Helena's reflection as the teen lay on her parents' bed watching her mother get ready for the ball.
"It's sexy," Helena said. She gave her mother a sly grin. "Dad's gonna flip."
Selena quirked an eyebrow at her daughter. "I think he's probably going to flip more when he remembers that you were the one who picked out the dress." She paused looking at herself critically. "Are you sure Maid Marion was the right choice?"
Helena gave a gratified sigh at her good taste before lying down to stare at the ceiling. "Of course I'm sure, I have great taste," Helena said, knowing that her mother was right. Yes, she'd picked out the sexiest version of the dress she could find, but everything else looked so dowdy. Her mother was too beautiful to wear something dowdy. Privately Helena thought her Dad should thank her. She really did have great taste and the dress was really sexy.
"When will you guys get back?" Helena asked casually. She had big plans once her parents left for the night. Or rather, once her parents left and she convinced Alfred that she was too tired to watch Jeopardy.
"Pretty late, probably around two or three," Selena replied absently as she smoothed the front of her dress. Finally satisfied with her reflection she turned around giving Helena the patented parent look. "Don't forget to do your homework. In bed by eleven," she said, trying for a stern tone. Really, she didn't do stern. She didn't really do discipline very well either.
Helena rolled her eyes before she rolled her head to look at her Mom. It was only Friday night and her mother was worried about homework? "I did my homework already, it's almost as if I'm responsible," she said smiling innocently.
"You're seventeen, you should start being more responsible," Selena chastised. She really couldn't be upset with the child. She was an excellent student and athlete. She was very popular, which didn't surprise either of her parents at all. Helena was a mixture of charm, mischief and thoughtfulness that everyone seemed to respond to. Even her teachers were susceptible to the child's personality. Certainly, she could work a little harder at her school work but privately Selena knew that she'd rather see Helena live her childhood to its fullest rather than obsess about school work. She was happy to see Helena have a happy childhood. It was all she'd ever wanted for her.
"Dad says good judgment and responsibility are learned over time," Helena informed her mother. "He says I have plenty of time to learn."
"He's right," Selena said smiling at Bruce who was suddenly standing in the door way of their bedroom.
"Of course I'm right," Bruce said, grinning affectionately at the two most important women in his life. "What am I right about?" He asked as an after thought.
"You think Mom looks beyond se beautiful," Helena hastily amended her words. She loved her Dad but he really was terribly old fashioned about certain things.
"Oh, I'm absolutely right about that," Bruce agreed before taking Selena into his arms. "It's almost a shame we have to go out tonight," he murmured into her ear softly, attempting to keep Helena from hearing him.
"What on earth could you possibly do if you didn't go out tonight?" Helena asked innocently.
Or at least she tried for innocence.
"Helena," his tone gave a very clear warning.
"What?" She questioned with fake confusion.
"It's not polite to listen to other people's conversations," he reminded her for the hundredth time.
"I can't really help it," the teen said with a shrug. She really couldn't help it. It irritated and confused her that she couldn't control so many things about herself. It was hard to hide most of the differences between herself and everybody else. It was especially hard to hide it from her parents.
Bruce watched Helena for a few moments wondering at the sincere unhappiness in her voice. He walked over to her then leaned down pulling her into a firm hug. "I'm sorry," he rumbled into her ear. "You know I think everything about you is perfect, even your big ears."
"My ears aren't big," Helena grumbled while holding back a smile. She touched her ears just to be sure.
Bruce smiled at her. He pulled on her ear lightly before he stood up. "Don't stay up too late," he told her as he straightened out his jerkin. At least he didn't have to wear green tights with his costume. God, Robinhood, next year he was definitely picking the costumes.
"I know, in bed by eleven," Helena repeated dutifully.
"Try not to drive Alfred crazy tonight," Selena added. She took the arm Bruce offered after she kissed Helena goodbye.
"Would I do that?"
"Yes," they both answered as they left the room.
"I'm kind of tired Alfred. I think I'm gonna head up to bed," Helena said while pretending to yawn. She had to be careful with Alfred. Sometimes it seemed like he had a sixth sense when it came to certain things, such as Helena sneaking out.
"It is rather early Miss Helena, are you feeling well?" Alfred asked solicitously.
"Yeah, it's just been a long week," she replied.
"Very well, good night Miss Helen."
"Night Alfred," she said, giving him a small wave as she trudged up the stairs, the very picture of exhaustion.
At the top of the stairs she paused. She listed as Alfred turned off the television then started picking up the soda cans and popcorn that was littered all over the sofa and table. She waited as he made his way into the kitchen. Only when she was certain that the coast was clear did she quietly descend back down the stairs. She'd learned long ago that she could easily slip through a room full of people unnoticed if she didn't want them to see her. It was quite handy.
She opened one of the many secret entrances to the Batcave. Stepping inside the sarcophagus she pulled the lid shut behind her giddily waiting for the moment when the floor would open into a slide. It was her absolute favorite way to enter the cave. She only wished her father would make another slide on one of the higher floors in the mansion.
Completely unconcerned with making noise now that she was safely in the cave she moved to the bat shrine, as she liked to call it. Inside were several Batman costumes as well as her Mom's Catwoman outfit. She ran her hand over the lightly armored suit. How could either one of them stand to be in something so stiff? She pushed past the suit to get the mask and comm. piece she normally used. Once she had those she closed the shrine then went into a small alcove where she'd been stashing her super hero outfit. It wasn't armored or full of gadgets like her parents' stuff but she really didn't need the other stuff. Leather was fine for the warriors of old so it was good enough for her. Besides, injuries that took other people weeks to heal only took a day or less for her to heal.
She changed quickly then hid her clothes before she finally fit the not quite full face mask on. It wasn't quite as cool as Superman changing in a phone booth, but heck no one could move that fast. She turned on the comm. unit to make sure everything was working. The first time she'd gone out, she left the comm. behind. That had been a big mistake. She'd almost been spotted twice. It was difficult to avoid Batman, Robin and Catwoman with the comm. It was nearly impossible without it. Giving herself the thumbs up, Helena made her way to the garage. It was almost too easy. She'd moved her motorcycle out earlier. Now it was simply a matter of pushing it far enough away so that when she started it Alfred wouldn't hear.
Helena wondered if this was what her parents' felt when they were flying through the night. Dad used the Batmobile, something that she couldn't understand. A motorcycle made you feel like you were free. Mom liked to run across the rooftops rather than use a car to get around. Helena had always been in awe of her mother's fluid grace when she practically flew through the air from building to building. It was amazing and something that she found they had in common. She could leap across the chasm between buildings with hardly any effort.
She pulled the bike into an alley. One of the cardinal rules of leaving your transportation unattended was to secure it so that when you needed it, it would still be there. Helena pulled out a black tarp like cloth throwing it over the motorcycle. She stepped back looking at the area to make sure that the camouflage was working properly. It made the bike blend into the shadows as if it weren't there. Batman had some really nifty stuff in his arsenal. Satisfied that her bike was safe she leapt halfway up the building, wedging her fingers around the bricks, she began to climb up until she reached the roof. The rest of the trip to the New Gotham Royal Hotel was just a hop, skip and jump over the roofs.
Normally one of her parents' functions wouldn't have interested her, but a costume ball was too cool. Adults dressing up in goofy costumes had to provide some laughs. Besides, she really loved seeing her parents having fun. Not to mention the fact that she was close by if anything were to happen. Since she'd been running around at night she'd taken care of the odd mugger or burglar, nothing too difficult or dangerous in her opinion. She'd only had to help out her family once in all that time. Some baddie had pulled a gun aiming for her Dad's back while he was fighting three other crooks. She hadn't even stopped to think before she'd slammed into the guy, shoving him so hard he flew through the store front window then slid twenty feet across the floor. She hadn't wasted any time getting gone afterwards. She hid on the roof of another building until he'd cuffed everyone and was on his way. Ever since then she would follow either of them if they went out at night, most especially on nights when they weren't Batman and Catwoman. They couldn't do anything in public without the possibility of their cover being blown, so Helena considered it her job to look after them. The fact that it was a costume ball tonight was just an added bonus.
Helena watched as one couple after another entered the main hotel entrance dressed in silly costumes. Some of them looked great, while others looked as if they'd checked their dignity at the door. Who would dress up as Baby New Year? She was contemplating the wrongness of a grown man in a diaper when a flash of red caught her attention. She watched as a lithe figure stepped completely out of the car with a man the teen recognized as Commissioner Gordon, even though he was dressed as a pirate. She likely wouldn't have really noticed the woman if she hadn't been wearing a Batsuit! More specifically, she was wearing what was obviously meant to be a Batgirl suit! Helena bristled at the woman's nerve. Batgirl was her alter ego! Well, as soon as she could convince her parents that she should join in the family vocation. She had the sudden impulse to go down there to stomp the woman. The thought that it was likely she could literally stomp the woman made her feel slightly better.
Once the steady stream of guests stopped arriving, Helena made her way into the hotel to find a good vantage point. It was easy to spot her parents. They were the focal point of the room. Then red hair caught her attention again as Batgirl walked by. She narrowed her eyes at the imposter. It would be so easy to snatch the woman from the room to show her a thing or two. She sighed softly, she wouldn't do it. It wasn't right. If she thought about it, something she really didn't want to do but couldn't help doing, it was flattering. It was a tribute to her father's legend. Though, it still irritated her.
She moved to the roof of the ballroom after she'd noticed the skylight. It was easier to keep an eye on everything, both inside and outside from her new hiding spot. Just when she thought she might fall asleep from the boredom, pandemonium broke out in the ball room.
Helena looked around for her parents, finally spotting them off to the side of the dance floor talking to Commissioner Gordon. Her parents were watching the group of armed men spread out around the room. She counted six goons wearing the ugliest masks she'd ever seen. They looked like flies but worse. Then something large entered the room. What the hell is that thing? It looked like a giant bug. Its eyes bulged and it seemed to be oozing some kind of slime from its mouth, if you could call that gaping maw a mouth. It walked into the room with sure strides as if it belonged there. It was heading straight for her parents. She heard the calm voice over the comm. alerting Robin. Helena knew that it would take Robin at least twenty minutes to get here. He was sweeping the East side, which was always pretty busy from a crime fighter's standpoint.
The giant bug thing slammed its leg into her Dad, sending him careening into a wall. Helena didn't stop to think, she plunged through the skylight directing her free fall towards the bug. She used her downward momentum to kick the disgusting thing backwards across the room. Helena was fully prepared to square off against the thugs as well as the bug thing. Before she could move towards the thugs, the woman dressed as Batgirl took out two of the guys with moves so precise and powerful they didn't have a chance to stop her. She never stopped for a moment, quickly charging for the next criminal. The bug, as Helena now thought of him, started stalking towards her. Its claws made slashing motions as it came at her. Her Dad always told her that the best defense was a good offense. Since she didn't think to bring any Raid she decided to just kick buggy ass the old fashioned way. Helena charged it much faster than bug man was expecting from the look on his face. She landed several kicks to its malformed head and broke one of his arms. Well, maybe broke one of its arms, it was so crooked already it was hard to tell. Still the creature wouldn't give up. It sounded like the thing was saying something, but she couldn't make out what it might be. Not that she would have stopped to ask or even cared to ask.
She took a blow to the head from the arm she thought she'd broken. While she was trying to get her ears to stop ringing it kicked her in the side, hard. Helena was pretty sure she'd be sore as hell later.
The young vigilante spared another quick glance for her parents as she backed away to regroup. She was glad that her Dad seemed to be alright. She was slightly uncomfortable to note that both her Mom and Dad were watching her intently. She could almost feel them stripping away her mask and leather to find their daughter underneath. She knew it was just paranoia. If they suspected it was Helena neither of them would have stayed out of the fight no matter the risk to their identities.
The Batgirl imposter seemed to just appear by her side. She glared at the interloper, fighting the urge to throw her to the bug as an appetizer. The woman's low voice interrupted her mental murder. "You go for the head, I'll take out its legs," she ordered as if she were in charge. Helena grunted at her, knowing that she could use the help. Not that she couldn't take the bug man herself, but it would go quicker with two people. She'd pound on Batgirl later.
Deciding to really show off, Helena launched herself feet first at the bug. She angled her boots towards his eyes intent on popping them like a grape. She saw Batgirl knock its legs out from under it. The bugs' downward momentum caused it to impact with the masked teen's oncoming boots. She could feel his flesh give way under the boots. The bug emitted a pained screeching wail from its mouth as it changed directions, flying backwards from the sudden impact. When Helena landed on her feet some distance away from the downed monster, she stood face to face with Batgirl. She glowered at her as they stood toe to toe. She heard Batgirl's surprised gasp when she noticed the glowing eyes behind the mask. They were burning a bright gold with slit pupils. Helena had seen them in the mirror many times. Even to her the sight of them staring back was unnerving. There was nothing human about them when they were like this.
"Who are you?" Batgirl asked when she recovered from her surprise.
"I'm the person that saved your ass," Helena said. It sounded closer to a growl. That's new, she thought.
Batgirl tilted her head in a curious manner considering the masked vigilante in front of her. "It seems to me that I actually saved your ass," she responded with cocky assurance.
"It probably did appear that way to you," Helena returned sarcastically, "since it's obvious that you can barely see out of that mask. You should find a better tailor." She looked over at the bug, making sure it wasn't going to suddenly get up to attack. She'd seen that happen more than once in movies. She couldn't believe people were stupid enough not to check to make sure the bad guy was really dead. "I'll see you around Batgirl," she sneered at the name. She jumped up to the top of the staircase then through the skylight. Sure, she was showing off again, but it felt good to show that imposter that she couldn't really compete with the real thing.
Helena didn't wait around for her parents to leave. The ball was likely going to be cut short for obvious reasons. They'd probably go home soon. She had no intention of being caught by them. The trouble she'd be in would make tonight look like a picnic. She sped through the New Gotham night straight for home.
"Hey," Helena said as she jumped over the back of the couch, landing with her head in her mother's lap. Last nights injuries barely registered.
Selena put her book on the arm of the couch as soon as she heard her daughter. "You slept late," her mother commented as she ran her hand through the girl's silky hair. She knew that normally Helena needed very little sleep, so the late hour was curious.
"Yep," Helena replied ignoring her mother's implied question. "So, how was the ball?" She asked. She had to keep up pretenses.
"It turned out to be quite exciting," Selena remarked casually. She didn't want to alarm Helena. The girl worried about all of them enough as it was.
"What happened?" Helena was very interested to get her mother's take on her performance last night.
"Apparently Killer Moth thought it would be a good opportunity to try to take some hostages," Selena told her absently, though her attention was fully focused on her daughter.
"Killer Moth? What kind of name is that?" Then she winced knowing she probably should have acted more upset than curious. Damn.
"Actually, it was some kind of mutant bug," Selena said slowly, surprised by Helena's non reaction.
As descriptions went, she considered that one totally inept when she remembered what that thing looked like. "Mutant bug," Helena repeated softly. "What happened? I mean, I know nothing happened cause you guys are here. But, what happened?"
"A couple of newcomers showed up. Your Dad is doing some research," her Mother replied.
"So the new guys took this bug out?" Helena asked, fishing for more.
"Women actually," Selena corrected. "They were quite impressive," she admitted.
"Huh, that's kind of cool." Helena paused for a beat as she tried to decide if she should ask the question. Everything seemed to be okay. Her Mom didn't seem to suspect Helena. So, she plowed ahead. "Any idea who they are?"
"One of them, yes. The other one is proving more difficult to find anything on."
"Who's the one you know about?" Helena asked curiously. She'd been thinking about this very thing most of the night.
"The teacher? Commissioner Gordon's daughter? She's a freakin' egg head!" Helena ranted disbelievingly. A damn egg head was trying to horn in on her soon to be secret identity.
"I know, it's hard to believe," Selena agreed. "But, I suppose it's just as unusual as a billionaire being Batman and his wife, Catwoman."
No way, this was definitely weirder. She'd seen Ms. Gordon around school since last year. It was only this year that Helena was actually in her class. As far as teachers went she was cool but the woman was a hard ass about assignments or missing tests. Not to mention she was like the president of the National Honors Society of Geek Genius Brainiacs.
"So you thought she was good?"
"Very," Selena answered. "In fact, we're going to invi "
Helena's name being bellowed from some where in the mansion interrupted them. She sat up looking out the door of her mother's reading room. "What?" She yelled back, much to her mother's displeasure.
"Let's go, Hellion! Time for your whoopin'!"
Helena grinned as she hopped off the couch. "You and what army," she shouted as she tore through the mansion heading straight for the training room. She saw Dick drop his bag on the floor before she took a running leap onto his back. "It's about time you got here," she said as she locked her legs around his waste, then wound her arms around his neck. The first time she'd jumped on him for a piggy back ride they'd both ended up in a heap on the floor. Now he only staggered a little bit under her weight.
"Kind of eager for your next butt whoopin' aren't ya Hellion?" Dick teased as he spun in circles as fast as he could; it always left them both staggering around for a minute or two but it was fun to horse around with Helena.
When the ride stopped Helena dropped off Dick's back. She tried to keep her balance while the room spun crazily around her. When she could finally see Dick without it looking like she was on a merry-go-round she taunted, "I was just taking it easy on you last time. No more free rides!"
"I'll give you a free ride," Dick shot back. He stalked towards the teen, more than willing to play for a little while longer. He was unprepared when Helena decided to run. He chased her around the training room, never able to catch up to her. The girl was extremely fast. He almost ran right into her when she came to a screeching halt in front of the person who just stepped into the training room.
"What's she doing here?" Helena asked without taking her eyes off the redhead. It sounded rude even to her. Apparently it was rude to Dick too since he lightly whacked the back of her head.
"You know her?" Dick asked as he stepped forward to greet the woman.
"Teacher," she grunted. She listened with barely controlled anger as Dick welcomed her to the team and shook her hand. Helena stepped back, ignoring the hand that was held out towards her. She and Ms. Gordon had already met. She certainly didn't need or want to shake her hand and she definitely wasn't going to welcome her to the team. "What's she doing here?" She asked just to make sure she'd heard him correctly before. She was preoccupied glaring so she might be mistaken.
Dick looked at Helena as if she were a pod person. He'd never seen the girl act so unfriendly towards anyone before. "Barbara's joining the team," Dick explained. He could see the tension in her body as she stared at the redhead.
"We're recruiting now?" Helena asked scornfully, her tone indicating just how unimpressed she was with Barbara Gordon. "I didn't know we were that desperate for help."
"Hel, what's the matter," Dick asked, wrapping his arm around her.
Helena tore her eyes away from Barbara, realizing that her behavior was going to get her caught. "Sorry, I was just surprised," she replied as she pulled away from Dick.
"Sorry," Helena apologized to Barbara after a slight hesitation. As an after thought she held out her hand to the other woman, trying to act like she didn't mind touching her. Then an evil thought popped into her head. Touching could be good if done right.
"No problem," Barbara replied, seemingly unconcerned with the young woman's attitude. She didn't even bat an eyelash when Helena squeezed her hand in a vice like grip. She just returned the gesture, although not quite as hard. The redhead really thought it would have been the men that gave her a hard time. So far both Bruce and Dick had been pretty welcoming. Even Selena hadn't seemed to mind her presence. But, by the look in her eyes, this girl obviously couldn't stand her. It was surprising because although she didn't know her very well, Helena had always been pleasant.
"Barbara's going to be training with us," Dick told Helena, slapping the older woman on the back. He hadn't seen Barbara Gordon fight but he'd listened to Bruce and Selena talk about it. If she was anything like they described she was going to be a tough match. He would have liked to meet the other one from last night too. From what he'd heard she was even more impressive than Barbara Gordon. No doubt they would meet soon. Bruce always got his man woman.
Dick gave himself a little shake bringing him back to the two women in front of him. He was supposed to give Barbara the once over, which he'd done already. She was seriously hot. He wasn't at all upset to have her joining the team. He looked away from the redhead tying not to stare. Instead he concentrated on Helena. The kid being here was just what they needed. He was actually pretty eager to see her go up against Helena. He knew Hellion hadn't been joking when she said she'd gone easy on him. He'd seen her beat her Dad a few times when they sparred. He also knew the only reason Bruce won most of the time was because of his experience. When the kid actually got some experience under her belt she'd be unbeatable. But, today he'd have to make sure he took Helena down. He had a girl to impress.
"You ready kid?" Dick harassed the teen. He began stretching, throwing out a constant stream of trash talk, which Helena returned word for word.
The way they were taunting each other, Barbara thought that it was going to be a knock down drag out fight. She couldn't wrap her mind around the idea that Helena's parents would let their daughter fight anyone, adopted brother or not.
After a considerable amount of innuendo, insults and name calling they began to circle each other cautiously. Privately Barbara thought it unfair to pit a girl who couldn't weigh more than a hundred pounds soaking wet against a man of Dick's stature. One good blow from the man and the girl could be in the hospital for God's sake. Was she the only one who saw a problem with this picture?
Dick, finally getting tired of the slow dance they were engaged in, surged forward with a strong combination of kicks and punches designed to overwhelm his opponent. The result was him flat on his back. "You got lucky that time," Dick wheezed painfully. He stood up slowly. There was no way was he going to let Helena kick his ass in front of Barbara. It would seriously put a dent in his plans to ask the woman out if a girl could kick his ass. He'd seem so pathetic that even he would expect her to say no. He eyed Helena severely. She had the same 'take no prisoners and give no quarter' look that Bruce got when he was fighting. He was going to have to go all out today.
"Should I go easy on you again?" Helena asked amused. She could see that Dick was going to bring his 'A' game this time. She'd noticed the way his eyes had slid in Barbara's direction. She'd seen that look directed at herself enough to know that he was trying to impress the woman. It was such a shame that she was so angry about Gordon's presence that she wasn't in any mood to give an inch.
"I think we should both stop holding back," Dick said, his tone bordered on dangerous.
Barbara almost interfered when the strength of their blows clearly showed that neither of them was pulling their punches. She was amazed by Helena's ability to absorb a blow that would easily have floored Barbara herself. It went on for, what seemed like forever but was only about fifteen or twenty minutes. For a few seconds it seemed as if her eyes blurred when she watched the girl, she never saw the blow that sent Dick Grayson, a feared vigilante, flying back several feet to land on the floor with a loud thump. Barbara looked between them horrified to see blood trickling down the side of Helena's face and swelling along her jaw. Not to mention all the red blotches on her body that Barbara knew would eventually turn into some terrible bruises. Even worse was that Dick was just as beat up and was holding his chest and ribs as if something might be broken. She hurried to Dick's side intent on checking him over.
"I'm fine," Dick rumbled gruffly. Actually he wasn't fine. That last hit had broken at least one rib. He'd have to get Alfred to tape him up, which would lead Alfred, Selena and Bruce to ask what happened. How was he going to tell them that he and Helena had just had an all out bitch slap fest for no other reason than Dick wanting to impress a girl? Well, maybe he could just hobble off and do it himself.
Both Dick and Barbara looked over at the teen to see her bouncing lightly on her toes like a boxer. "I think we're done Hel," Dick answered tightly. It kind of hurt to talk too loud. God, he'd gotten his ass handed to him by a girl. From now on he was just going to let her go easy on him.
"Actually, we're not done yet," Helena disagreed as she pointed at Barbara. The cold look in her eyes gave Dick pause.
"Helena," he began, only to be cut off by Barbara.
"She's right. I need to get in some practice too. After all, this is why I was invited here today, to let you see what I've got," Barbara said as she stood to her full height. She knew if she refused to fight, Helena would think she was scared. Barbara wasn't scared of anything and the notion that this child would think it drove her to agree to this match. She easily had two inches on the girl, plus a longer arm span and muscle. That should provide some advantage, coupled with the dark haired girl's unfamiliarity with her fighting style. She'd need the advantage after what she'd just seen.
Helena smiled at her. It was a purely predatory smile that made Barbara wary. The teen didn't seem like a child anymore, she seemed like a wild animal that had just smelled blood. Refusing to doubt herself, Barbara pushed those thoughts to the back of her mind, while she formulated a plan. She knew this sparring match was going to define all their interactions in the future. She'd either have to beat the dark haired teen or at the very least, fight her to a stand still. Considering what she'd seen over the last little while, it was going to be extremely difficult.
Helena followed Barbara's every move, waiting for the redhead to attack. She had no intention of ending this fight quickly. She wanted to draw it out. She wanted to enjoy this moment. She'd show Barbara exactly who should be Batgirl.
The kick was so badly telegraphed that Helena had no trouble blocking it. Instead of following it up with a counter attack she danced away from the woman. Really, if this was all the other woman had to offer, this fight was going to be over much sooner than she'd planned. She wondered if last nights performance was a fluke, just the woman getting lucky. Another telegraphed combo was easily swept aside by the younger woman. "Maybe I should tie one hand behind my back," Helena wondered aloud, deliberately needling her opponent.
"That might be fair," Barbara allowed. She attacked the girl again, purposely telegraphing another punch. Barbara knew she had her. When the girl brought her arms up for the block early, Barbara shifted her weight and direction, landing a hard blow to Helena's side. Without a second thought she gripped the girl across her shoulders to flip her onto her back. Instead, Helena twisted slightly, breaking her hold then hooked Barbara's arm throwing the grown woman over her hip a significant distance.
"You're kind of sneaky," Helena mocked in a sing song voice. "I can get behind that."
"Guess I'll have to try something else," Barbara replied lazily as she rolled to her feet.
Helena laughed. Barbara certainly did seem confident. Her approach to fighting was also vastly different from Dick's. Were Dick used muscle and strength, Barbara was about control, precision and planning. It was an entirely different ball game with her. "Let's see how you handle this," Helena said. It was the only warning before she launched punch after punch at the redhead, only to have them blocked.
Every strike was getting progressively faster and more powerful, which was beginning to worry Barbara. She didn't know how long she could keep the girl at bay at this rate. Deciding that defense was getting her no where fast, Barbara dropped down suddenly sweeping Helena off her feet. Taking the advantage, she pinned Helena with a knee in her back. She honestly thought the fight was over. She had her knee in Helena's back and one arm pinned flat. So it was frightening to find herself being flipped then slammed against the floor with enough of an impact to force the air from her lungs. It was even more startling to find the same golden eyes of the masked woman from last night boring into her from inches above. "I was wondering who you were," Barbara panted, trying to get air back into her lungs.
Barbara saw confusion cloud the girl's eyes for a moment before she realized what the redhead was talking about. Something resembling a deep rumbling snarl crawled out of Helena, vibrating through Barbara's chest. Whatever Helena was, Barbara knew she wasn't completely human. "Do they know what you've been doing?" She asked when she could actually breathe a little easier.
The teen lowered her head letting her bangs cover her abnormal eyes as she shook her head. "I guess you're going to tell them," Helena's tone was flat. All the anger drained out her body at the realization of just how much trouble she was going to be in soon.
Barbara thought about that for a minute. If it were her child, she would want to know if they were putting themselves in danger. "Do they know about that?" Barbara looked pointedly into Helena's eyes when she was able to capture the girls gaze. She waited seeing the hesitation, already knowing the answer before a quiet 'no' was muttered.
Helena lifted herself off Barbara moving back into a crouch just out of the redhead's reach. She was angry with herself. Angry that she'd lost control. She was angry that her secret was out, and most especially angry about who now knew her secret.
Barbara was fascinated by those eyes as they contracted then seemed to blink out. It was just the change of color that made it seem that way but the effect was startling. She wondered how Helena could have kept something like this from her family. How the obvious differences about the girl could be so completely over looked. Her strength, speed and how she jumped out of that skylight was simply amazing. Barbara made her decision. "I guess we'll just have to keep it between us then. I'm sure when you're ready you'll tell them."
Relief flooded through Helena when her scared brain deciphered Barbara's words. Considering that Helena had been exceedingly rude and violent towards the woman she was surprised at the response. She cocked her head to the side curiously. "Why?"
"It's not my secret to tell,' Barbara shrugged as she stood up. She held her hand out offering Helena help up. This time when the teen took her hand there was no attempt to grind the bones together.
"Okay," Helena nodded, accepting the offer for what it was. A truce.
The teen sighed when she heard her name being called again. She turned around just as Barbara Gordon caught up with her. Helena was beginning to regret their fragile truce. The teacher had decided to take a special interest in her, both in and out of school. This was the fifth time this week that Ms. Gordon had stopped her to chat. Her friends were going to start ragging on her if this didn't stop. "Hi, Ms. Gordon," Helena greeted with fake pleasantness. "What's up?"
Barbara regarded the girl warily. She could easily detect the irritation in Helena's voice. The redhead knew her interference in the teen's life wasn't appreciated, but as the only adult who knew what Helena was up to, it was her responsibility to watch over the girl. "I thought we decided that you were going to cut back on your nightly excursions."
"Actually," Helena drawled mockingly. "You suggested I cut back. I decided to ignore your suggestion."
"I overheard a couple of the teachers saying that you've been falling asleep in class more often," Barbara informed her. "I won't sit idly by while you flush your future down the drain."
Helena smiled condescendingly at the woman. "Somehow I doubt falling asleep during an extremely boring class is going to 'flush my future down the drain'." Helena leaned closer so her next words couldn't be heard by anyone but the redhead. "I wouldn't fall asleep in class if I wasn't concerned about Dick's safety." Helena watched the angry flush creep up Barbara's neck. Dick had been assigned to do sweeps with Batgirl until the new member of the team was deemed ready to fly solo. As far as Helena was concerned this left Dick with too much to worry about. The distraction could easily get him hurt or killed. The teen didn't trust Barbara's skills enough to leave her alone to watch his back.
Barbara took a few deep breaths to center her. Every time she spoke to the girl her temper flared. She'd never experienced such a loss of control with anyone else. Somehow Helena knew how to push her buttons. In fact, she seemed to take delight in pushing her buttons. "I don't think its something you'll need to be concerned with in the future," Barbara said once she was sure she was calm enough. "I'll be on my own from now on. So, you can get some sleep and start paying attention in class." Barbara gave Helena a serious look before she went on, "That is not a suggestion."
Bite me, Helena thought as she smiled sweetly at the teacher. "You bet, Ms. Gordon," she chirped brightly. She wouldn't do it. In fact, she knew it was likely that she'd be on the rooftops even more now. The thought of saving Batgirl's ass was appealing. Actually, it was the thought of throwing that into Barbara's face that was really appealing. "Well, gotta go," Helena said as the bell sounded. "Don't want anyone to think I'm trying to 'flush my future down the drain'."
"Barbara's really good. Barbara's really pretty," Helena mimicked angrily under her breath. They were having one of the few 'family' night's they'd been able to have since her parents started being more active in the JLA. Instead of talking about interesting stuff, they were talking about Barbara, again.
She glared at Dick. He was so in lust with the redhead it was pathetic to watch. Helena would swear that he had drool running down his chin when she was in the room with him. Not to mention her parents! They thought she was the best thing since sliced cheese. They practically treated her like a daughter. Sure Barbara was really good looking and she did okay in a fight and she was a freak of nature when it came to brains but besides all that what was the big friggin' deal?
" since we'll be gone for a few weeks and you and Alfred will be in Bludhaven."
Her Dad's words snapped her out of her head and into the conversation. "You'll be gone?" Helena asked. They were leaving again! They just got home!
"We have another assignment," Selena replied. She ran her hand through Helena's hair lovingly. "We'll only be gone for a few weeks."
"Alfred's going too?" Okay, her voice was whiny, but everyone was deserting her.
"Just for a while," Dick promised, seeing Helena's expression. "I just need some help getting things set up.
Helena leaned back in her chair letting out a big sigh. She knew Dick needed help. She'd been to what would soon be his base of operation. It needed a lot of work. But, these days she felt kind of like an orphan. Now, even Alfred wouldn't be there with her. She frowned at the thought. What kind of parents trusted their seventeen year old daughter this much anyway?
"So, it's just me? Can I have the keys to the Batmobile?" She joked, trying to hide how upset she was.
"Sure," Bruce replied smiling at Helena.
"Really?" Helena asked. Sure her parents were leaving but if she could cruise around in the Batmobile that would make up for it a little. Okay, it would make up for it a lot.
"You're so not funny," Helena grumbled with disappointment.
He laughed giving Helena a fond look. "It was very funny," he disagreed, still chuckling slightly. "And, you won't be alone. Barbara's going to look after you."
"What?' Helena nearly shouted. No way! There was no way she was going to have Barbara breathing down her neck for weeks! "I'm old enough to be by myself for a few weeks," she said indignantly, despite what she'd been thinking a few minutes ago.
"Take it easy, Hellion," Bruce soothed her. "She's just going to check up on you, not stay with you."
"Oh." That wasn't too bad.
"If you need anything, we expect you to call her," Selena told her.
"Of course," Helena agreed. "When are you leaving?"
"Okay." Helena glanced at Dick. "What about you Dick?" Maybe he'd be around for a few more days.
"I have to get back tonight. Some of us have to work in the morning," he reminded her.
"I have school tomorrow," she retorted. "I think I'm the only one who should be able to complain, it's not like I choose to go to school."
"True," Dick agreed. School sucked, he was glad he didn't have to do that anymore. "Sorry, Hellion, I wouldn't trade places with you for all the money in the world."
Helena grinned at him for the first time all night. "Are you sure, cause I have access to it," she said, pointing to her parents. Having billionaire parents seemed handy all of a sudden.
"They don't have it all. Just most of it," he replied lightly, ignoring twin glares from the billionaire couple in question.
"Okay, how about a trust fund?" She bargained.
"You won't have access to that until you're twenty-five," Dick pointed out.
"Cash only," he said, shaking his head.
"Damn," Helena sighed, resigned.
"Helena." Bruce's voice carried a clear warning. He didn't like it when she cursed.
"Sorry," she said dutifully. She glanced sideways at her mother. She never said anything when Helena cursed. Sometimes she wished her Dad wasn't such a Dudley Do Right.
She started eating again when all their attention shifted from her to Dick, who was asking another question about Barbara. All of a sudden her lighter mood reverted back to its former self. Maybe Dick being gone wouldn't be so bad. All the talk about the redhead would probably stop when he left. She stabbed a green bean vengefully. Now Barbara was making her think her family leaving was a good thing. She sucked almost as much as school.
The black clad vigilante watched from a neighboring rooftop as Batgirl fought with her perp. Since Barbara had been given the approval to patrol the city alone Helena had been following her. Really it was inevitable since there was no one at home; she didn't really have much else to do. So, she followed Batgirl at night. As a result, she'd been really bored over the last couple of months. Batgirl had no verve! No clever quips or puns. No sarcastic wit to taunt the bad guys with. In a word; boring. It was all, subdue the baddie then cuff em' and stuff em'. There had yet to be one instance where Helena's help was needed. She was almost beginning to think Barbara Gordon was impressive. That thought irritated her.
Helena perked up when Batgirl seemed to fall right through the burglar. That was different, Helena thought as she continued to watch them. Punch, kick, block blah blah blah. She wanted to see if she'd been hallucinating before about Barbara passing through the guy. She got her answer. She sure as hell had gone through him! One minute he was solid, the next he wasn't. That was so cool! What wasn't really cool was Batgirl going right over the edge of the building. Helena was leaping over the distance before the sight could fully register. The distinct 'chink' of metal being imbedded into brick brought a wave of relief. Batgirl had caught herself. That just left Helena to deal with 'see through guy'.
"Hi," Helena greeted the guy when she was standing right behind him. She nearly laughed when he shrieked like a girl, whirling around in a panic. "Does that little shriek ever scare anyone?" Helena asked innocently. "Is that your idea of a battle cry or something? You might want to rethink it. It's not very intimidating," she mocked as she shook her head sadly. She casually leaned over the edge of the building to make sure Batgirl was okay.
"Who the hell are you?" The burglar demanded. "First her," he gestured angrily towards the edge of the building. "And now you! Can't a guy catch a damn break!"
"Well, it's like this," she drawled lazily as she watched him with intense but hooded eyes. "You're committing a crime. We," Helena indicated herself and the dangling Batgirl. "We are what are commonly referred to as 'Crime Fighters'. You see where this is going, don't you?"
"Screw you freak," the guy said as he backed cautiously away. He was getting the hell out of here. There were way too many people running around at night these days.
Helena clucked her tongue at him. "Not nice," she said reprovingly. "Besides, takes one to know one."
While he was puzzling that out, Helena moved so fast he barely had time to take a breath before she knocked him out cold. She didn't bother to cuff the guy. What was the point? Helena figured he would just go all see through and get loose.
She strolled over to the edge of the building to look down at Batgirl. She was slowly but steadily climbing up to the roof. Helena sat on the edge, lazily swinging her legs while she watched Batgirl's progress.
"So, just hangin' out tonight, huh?" Helena asked the dangling Batgirl playfully. See that was quippy.
Batgirl jerked slightly. She glared up at Helena. She wasn't at all happy to see the girl considering her current position. Having Helena see her being thrown off a roof by some meta was not something she wanted. Ever. The girl had already implied she thought Barbara wasn't up for the job, not that she was bothered by Helena's opinion. What did a kid know about it? "What are you doing here," she snapped. Batgirl continued her way up the wall a little faster, determined to get out of this position as quickly as possible. "You're supposed to be at home."
"Thought you might need a hand," Helena said giving a small shrug. She hitched her thumb over her shoulder at the unconscious guy when Batgirl glared at her again for the comment. "I took care of your burglar."
"Thanks," Barbara grunted. She was only a few feet from the ledge, thank god. Then she'd be on equal footing with the teen.
"You didn't cuff him," Batgirl scolded when she was finally on the roof top. "Did you at least call the police?"
"What for?" Helena asked.
"Criminal," Batgirl enunciated slowly as if talking to a small child. "Criminals go to jail, hence the need for restraints and law enforcement."
"Won't do any good," Helena pointed out, her tone clearly saying that Barbara was an idiot. "We don't have anything that'll hold him right now."
Damn! Barbara could have smacked herself. She knew that. Of course, she knew that. She'd been thinking the same thing only a few minutes ago, but the smug look on Helena's face irritated her, so she said the first thing that came to mind. "Right," Batgirl replied after a slight hesitation.
"Stop by the cave, Dad has something for every occasion." With that Helena stood up, ready to leave.
"Where are you going?"
Helena considered Barbara for a moment wondering why she would ask such a stupid question. "Leaving."
"Home?" She was supposed to be keeping an eye on Helena. She really couldn't let the girl just run around all night unsupervised. "Or are you going to follow me some more?"
"Nope, wasn't following you before," Helena fibbed. "I was just out for a stroll. Just happened by."
"Right," Barbara responded, clearly not buying what the kid was selling. "Worried?"
"No," Helena replied quickly. That was just ridiculous. Of course she wasn't worried. Well, maybe for just a second when Barbara went over the side of the building but only because she didn't want her parents to be upset by a Batgirl splat in the alley.
"Sure you weren't," Barbara said in a patronizing tone. "But, as long as you're going to follow me around every night you might as well help me with something."
The way she emphasized 'every night' made Helena realize that Barbara knew she'd been following her. The idea irritated her. Everything about the redhead irritated her. Her stupid big egg-head brain, her stupid flaming red hair, her stupid sparkling green eyes, her stupid brother drooling all over her. It all irritated her. The admission that Barbara could use her help wasn't so irritating though. In fact, it was kind of nice to be needed.
"What?" Helena asked suspiciously. She didn't want to seem too eager.
"Last week I busted up a robbery at a pharmacy," she started. Helena already knew what she was talking about. The robbers had gotten away. It wasn't because of anything the redhead had done. It was just a lucky break on the thieves part that there was a car accident at the intersection and that Batgirl was more concerned with saving lives than apprehending criminals. "They got away but I saw two of them clearly. I found out who they are and where they hang out."
"Who are they?" Helena was intrigued.
Batgirl let out a short, disgusted laugh. "They're kids. Well, they're legally adults but they're still a bunch of teenagers," she replied. She couldn't believe what the world was coming to when parents didn't notice that their kids were involved a small drug ring.
"Okay, so?" Helena prodded.
"They're part of a drug ring. Distributing in schools, parks and in the teen clubs."
"Oh," Helena said finally understanding the situation. "You want me to try to buy from them?"
Batgirl shook her head in the negative. "That won't really give us the entire ring. I know there's someone else running the show. We need to apprehend the mastermind too. So, I was thinking more along the lines of you making some new friends."
"Oh," Helena said again. "Exactly how am I supposed to do that?" She asked after a few seconds. If they were considered adults they probably wouldn't be in school with her.
"Like I said, I know where they hang out," Barbara repeated patiently.
"Oh." Why all of a sudden, Helena wondered, was she so enamored with the word 'oh'? Ah, who cares! She was going undercover! How cool is that!
"Helena," Barbara said, trying to get the girl's attention. "Helena," she said again, this time a bit louder. "Helena!" she nearly yelled while snapping her fingers in front of the teen's face.
"Are you paying attention to anything I'm saying?" Barbara asked annoyed.
"Yes," Helena said as she rolled her eyes. "Keep in radio contact, keep the video feed on, don't take anything they might offer, don't go anywhere with anyone alone," she recited dutifully.
"You need to take this seriously, Helena."
"You can't do that," she told Batgirl as she looked at her outfit. Barbara had been adamant that vigilante chic wasn't appropriate to wear to a teen club. So, Helena had compromised. The result was 'keen fashion sense, with kick ass vigilante flair'.
"Do what?" Barbara asked, confused by the sudden change of topic.
"You can't keep 'Helena-ing' me all night."
"What?" Barbara was deeply puzzled by the teen's reply.
"You can't keep saying my name. You need to come up with something else," Helena told her.
"You mean a code name?"
"Wow, you do catch on quick." Helena's voice was dripping with sarcasm.
"Like what?" Barbara asked, deliberately ignoring the smart remark.
"It sure as hell won't be Batgirl," Helena mumbled under her breath. "I don't know," she said after a few seconds. "Can't really think of anything cool."
"How about Hellion?" Barbara offered. After all, everyone seemed to think it was an appropriate nick name already.
"Yeah, that's covert," Helena said dryly. "If the rest of the Bat gang heard you, we'd be so busted."
Barbara looked affronted. "I changed the frequency on the comm. units," she replied testily. As if she wouldn't have already considered that possibility. Not that they needed to worry about that right now, but Bruce and Selena would be home eventually. Her next suggestion was out of spite. "Mighty Mouse?" She offered innocently while trying to keep from laughing at Helena's expression.
"I'm going to pretend you didn't just say that," Helena replied with fake calm. "Never mind," she said impatiently when she couldn't think of anything better than Mighty Mouse. "Just don't call me anything."
"Are you ready, then?" Barbara asked as she adjusted her comm. for the fifth time in two minutes.
"Yeah," Helena breathed out. She left the Batmobile and Batgirl sitting in the alley as she headed into the club.
"Hey, what did you say to get Dad to leave you the keys to the buggy?" Helena asked when she got past the bouncer.
"The car, BG," Helena clarified. How could someone know as much as Barbara did yet not be able to master a little slang?
"I told him it was supposed to rain while they were gone. And don't call me BG."
"I can't believe he bought that," Helena said disbelievingly. She gave a mental shrug before moving on. "What's wrong with BG? It's better than Mighty Mouse, plus it works on two levels." She stopped talking once she was busy scanning the crowd looking for her targets. Barbara had shown her several pictures of the group. She'd kept shoving those pictures under her nose so much over the last week she felt like she could draw them in her sleep.
"Do you see them yet?" Batgirl asked impatiently.
"I only just got here," Helena said exasperated. "Give me like two minutes to work the room. God, impatient much?" She muttered. She didn't know why Barbara was bothering her. She could see through the video feed that Helena hadn't located them yet.
"I thought you were supposed to have heightened senses? Besides it's a really small space, how long could it take to find them?" Barbara shot back.
"Shhhh," Helena stage whispered, ignoring Batgirl's peak. "I'm hunting wabbits," she finished, channeling Elmer Fudd.
"Right. You're a big bad hunter. Or should I say huntress?"
"Finally you admit it," Helena responded sounding extremely pleased. "I'm big and bad." Nothing but silence followed her statement.
"You know that could be a cool name," she told Barbara a minute later. So far she hadn't been able to find anyone she was looking for.
"Huntress." Helena replied impatiently. "Aren't you paying attention?"
"Bingo! Found em' B," Helena said excitedly, cutting off whatever response Batgirl might have been preparing. She leaned against the railing on the other side of the dance floor watching the group. Helena could tell they were a pretty close knit group just from their body language. Friends that close usually didn't welcome outsiders with open arms. God knew her friends didn't.
"Good Huntress. Go ahead and approach them but be careful. And don't call me B either!"
Helena smiled. She'd hit a nerve. "I'm not trying to sell them something. I can't just barge over there, introduce myself and plop down. I need to be subtle," Helena told her. "I'm gonna watch for a little while until I get a feel for them."
"Oh for heavens sake! Fine ."
Helena tried to catch the rest of what Barbara was mumbling but could only make out something about working and kids. She casually surveyed the club, making certain to keep an eye on her quarry the entire time. She moved to the side a little avoiding the couples that were dancing together. She snorted softly. "When would guys get the guts to actually ask a girl to dance," she wondered as she eyed the women dancing together. Guess that was it then, she'd have to show em' how. Obviously there was really only one way to get into the group without gaining suspicion. She'd have to use her feminine wiles. She was just about to go lay the sexy on one of the guys when her intended target kissed his friend. That, Helena thought, could put a kink in the plan.
"Yo BG, got a problem," Helena said softly.
She smiled at the use of the code name. "Yeah, my only real plan for approach was just torpedoed."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, I was going to put the moves on one of the guys but he just had a lip lock with his buddy, so I don't think it's going to work out for me," Helena replied.
There was a long pause on the other end of the comm. making Helena wonder if Barbara was going to just storm into the club. "What about the other two?"
"I don't think my chances are any better with them," Helena said patiently. "You do realize we're the same sex, don't you?"
"Or I could be wrong," Helena offered slowly as she watched one of the girls make an obvious pass at the waitress, that resulted in a sultry look and a subtle flirtation. "What sort of club is this BG?" She had the sneaking suspicion she already knew.
"Uh, I was going to mention that to you."
"Now." Barbara responded with no inflection.
"What would you like me to do?" Helena asked after a significant pause.
"What you were going to do before would probably work."
"Uh, seriously?" Helena asked completely shocked. She'd never danced with a girl. She'd never even thought of it. What if she had to kiss her? What if this little undercover assignment lasted a while? What then? Holy crap!
"Just do what comes naturally." Barbara told her unhelpfully.
"Well, fearless leader, this isn't very natural for me."
"How do you know?"
Huh? How do I know? "Uh, well I'm just taking a guess here but I'd probably know if it was natural for me." Helena ran an agitated hand through her hair. How do I know? "I mean, I've never eaten squash but I'm pretty sure I don't like it just from how it looks."
"If you can't do it, I'll figure out something else."
It sounded like a way out but Helena could detect a little challenge underneath the words. She was not going to let Barbara think she couldn't handle this. It was just a case. Just something she'd have to do to pursue justice. No big deal. She still didn't move toward the group.
"Huntress?" Batgirl's voice came over the comm. sounding questioning and impatient.
"Just give me a second here!" She just needed a minute to think! Was that too much to ask? She could do this. She could do this. She could do this. She shook her head, that wasn't getting her anywhere. She would do this. She would do this. She would do this!
"I'm going in," Helena muttered determined.
"Keep me posted."
"Do you want a play by play?" Helena asked as she made her way around to the group.
Before Barbara could respond Helena reached the drug dealers. She casually leaned down until her lips were almost touching the other woman's ear. "Hi, feel like dancing?" She asked the cute blonde. She'd decided that if she was going to put the moves on a girl, she'd at least pick the sexier criminal. She waited patiently while the group gave her the once over. The blonde gave her the twice over.
"Nice pick-up, remind me to work on that with you later," Barbara said a bit snarkily.
"Sure," the blonde said giving Helena a rather pleased smile.
"Bite me," Helena mumbled under her breath. "It worked didn't it?"
The only response was a snort over the comm.
The brunette led the way to the dance floor while hoping the blonde wouldn't notice her nervousness. That's all it was, just nervousness. She wasn't scared. There was nothing to be scared of. This was perfectly normal, she saw it everyday. Or just today.
Before they could find a clear spot on the dance floor the pounding techno dance music gave way to a slow ballad. Obviously, the world was conspiring against her. She turned hesitantly towards the blonde trying to act natural when she tugged Helena into her arms. Helena automatically linked her hands together behind the other woman's neck. Then she was pulled in even closer. A battalion of butterflies started flying around in her stomach. It felt different, kind of strange. The blonde was soft in comparison to the guys she'd danced with in the past. It was nice. She even smelled nice. That was definitely a huge improvement over most of the guys she'd dated. Barbara was right, this does come naturally. This little assignment wasn't going to be so bad after all.
"I'm Sarah," the blonde girl's breath whispered along Helena's skin causing her flesh to tighten.
"Helena," she responded keeping her breathing even.
"Don't tell her your real name."
"Helena Wayne," she said just to annoy the voice on the other end of the comm.
"I haven't seen you here before," Sarah observed.
"My first time," Helena admitted truthfully.
"A virgin, huh?"
Uh... "I umm kind of," she trailed off. She had to pull it together! This was just like any other date? She could do this! Flirting was her thing. Flirting and quipping.
"Just to the club or " Sarah let the sentence hang meaningfully.
"Yes to the club, but I haven't been sacrificial material for a while now," Helena said. Flirting was definitely her thing.
When the music switched back to the pulsing dance music they separated just enough to be able to slip a piece of paper between them. After two hours Sarah suggested a water break. She led the brunette over to her friends then pulled Helena down beside her at the table. Sarah pointed at everybody while she yelled their name but Helena couldn't quite make out what she was saying over the music. Not that it mattered. Barbara had drilled their names into her head already.
Rather than try to make conversation, which was nearly impossible anyway, Helena volunteered to go get the water for the two of them. First she decided to take a little side trip to the bathroom to check in.
"Hey, BG? You still awake out there?" Helena said after she locked herself into the bathroom. Jesus, one bathroom for all these women? That was just wrong.
"I told you to keep in contact!" Batgirl practically yelled.
"I've been a little busy," Helena reminded her. "Besides, I figured you knew what was going on what with all the heavy breathing and the bouncing video."
"That doesn't matter. You should have tried to check in earlier. You're supposed to be getting information not gyrating against her," Barbara reprimanded.
"Chill a little!" She wiped some sweat off her face with a paper towel bringing her temper back under control. "I'm fine," Helena said evenly. "It's going much better than I thought it would."
"As long as you ask so nice," Helena drawled. "She's pretty into me," she continued smugly.
"Try to make a date with her. We need to establish trust between you."
"Really," she said with a valley girl ditz voice. "I hadn't thought of that."
"Just do it." Barbara ordered impatiently. She was tired of sitting in the damn car. She didn't like just sitting around while Helena did all the work. If you could call what she was doing work.
"Keep your rubber pants on," Helena replied. "It's getting late anyway, I'll ask her out then head your way."
"Make sure you're not followed."
Helena pushed her way towards the bar. Why would they call it a bar if there's no alcohol served. Wouldn't it be a concession? She signaled for two waters when the guy asked her what she wanted. She leaned her forearms against the bar while she waited. It had definitely been a strange night. Helena was surprised at how utterly easy it was to dance that close to Sarah. Hell, Sarah had rubbed against some parts of her that no guy had ever been near.
"Long line for water?" Sarah asked.
Sarah's lips briefly brushed against the top of Helena's ear. She jerked away before she could stop herself. Well, that didn't look good. She took a deep breath then turned to lean her back against the bar so she could face the blonde. "Yeah, there're a lot of people," she replied smiling.
Sarah nodded her agreement. Helena was surprised that Sarah seemed to display a sudden shyness. It certainly wasn't something she expected after hours of flirting and dancing. Helena thought it was sweet. For some reason she was pleased that Sarah wasn't as smooth as she had seemed. Deciding that she was going to have to make the next move, in light of the blonde's shyness, she caught Sarah's hand. She tugged the blonde towards her until their bodies were barely touching.
Helena noticed Sarah's eyes were focused on her lips. She waffled between kissing Sarah and running like hell into the night, yelling to Barbara that she was really just a big chicken in kick ass clothes. The mental image of Barbara's smirking face clinched it. She leaned forward softly brushing her lips against Sarah's. It wasn't nearly as uncomfortable as she thought it would be. It was nice. It reminded Helena of the first time she'd kissed Kevin Parnell when she was thirteen. That kiss had been just as soft, just as hesitant but nice. The same tingling feeling that she'd had with Kevin was running through her now. Then Sarah kissed her again. Only this kiss was way more intense. Helena stiffened but kept herself from jerking away. She didn't really participate in this kiss, just going along with the flow. After a full minute the kiss wound down. Helena felt like she was going to jump out of her skin.
"Are you doing anything Saturday night?" Helena asked when she knew her voice wouldn't crack.
"I am now," Sarah replied breathless.
Helena crinkled her nose. "That was kind of cheesy," she teased, moving back into her comfort zone.
Sarah ducked her head trying to hide the blush creeping up her face. "Yeah, sorry about that," she said giving a little laugh. "Sometimes I accidentally spew cheesy one liners. It's a nervous habit."
"Don't worry, I have a few nervous habits too," Helena admitted with amusement. "So, Saturday night?" She asked again.
Helena nodded slowly, considering her sudden and brilliant idea. "Or we could go do something else," she said being purposefully vague. She knew her plan would get her on the inside really fast.
"Something else sounds pretty good," Sarah replied.
The blonde managed to twist the words suggestively, bringing a blush rushing to Helena's cheeks. "Do you know the Starbucks on Fifth?" At Sarah's nod she continued, "I'll meet you there about ten?" She asked the blonde. She didn't want to push things. Offering to pick her up at home might do just that. She decided to stick with neutral ground.
"Are you leaving already?" Sarah asked without responding to Helena's question.
The vigilante glanced at the clock above the bar before she replied, "It's getting late. You know how parents can be."
"Yeah, I'm eighteen and they still expect me to be home before three," Sarah replied with irritation.
Helena nodded in commiseration. If her parents knew she was out they'd want her home by then too. Probably before three. "Saturday? Ten?" Helena prodded again.
"Yeah, that'd be good."
Helena glanced at the door then back at Sarah. She needed to go. Actually, she wanted to go. The only problem was that Sarah likely expected a kiss goodbye. Telling herself she had to make things believable, she leaned in brushing her lips lightly against the blonde's. "I'll see you Saturday," Helena murmured. She tossed money onto the bar next to the waters that had finally been delivered. She grabbed one for herself then handed the other to Sarah, giving her a smile before she took off.
Helena practically skipped to the Batmobile. There was nothing like a job well done. She slid into the seat next to Barbara giving her a big grin.
"I think Saturday we should " Barbara began before Helena could draw a breath to say hi.
"No way!" Helena stopped Barbara's words mid-sentence. "This is my date, we're doing what I want to do," she said firmly.
"This isn't a date at all Helena," Batgirl reminded her. "This is an undercover operation. We're busting a drug ring. We're not trying to get you a date for the Prom."
"Like I'd take her to the Prom," Helena scoffed.
"You're completely missing the point," the redhead accused.
"Look, I've got a plan. It's perfect. They'll see I'm not afraid of taking risks," she promised.
"What do you mean by 'taking risks'?" Barbara asked as she headed the Batmobile back to base.
The teen bit her bottom lip uneasily. There was no good way to explain what she'd been doing for the last couple of years. She wasn't even allowed to ride a bike legally until a year ago. Oh well, kind of late to back out now. "I've been street racing."
Barbara's look could have pinned her to a wall. "You've been doing what?" the older woman asked with deceptive calm.
"You you You are so lucky I can't ground you!" Barbara said angrily. "Are you insane? Do you have any idea how dangerous that is?"
Helena would have answered her if she thought Barbara was actually asking a question. But, she was pretty sure the redhead was just yelling.
"You could be killed!" Barbara glared at her. "It stops now! If I even hear the word racing anywhere near your name I'm going to kick your ass!"
Helena narrowed her eyes at the redhead. She was getting really pissed. "You're not my mother," Helena spat contemptuously. "You can keep your threats too! You couldn't kick my ass if both my hands were tied behind my back and I had the flu."
"That's it! You're off this case," Barbara replied heatedly. "I was an idiot to even get you involved."
"Oh yeah, hot shot? What's your big plan to nail them?"
Barbara was silent while her mind went through idea after idea. None of them would work. "I'll figure something out," she replied coldly.
"You go ahead. I'll do it my way and we'll see who wins," Helena replied. She was furious! No way was this wanna be going to tell her what to do!
"If I catch you any where near them Helena, I swear I'll "
"You'll what? Kick my ass," Helena said scornfully. "Tell my parents? Do it! Go tell. It won't make any difference," she went on, her anger causing her to expose more than she would ever want to expose to Barbara or anyone. "They're never around! They're busy saving the world. I'll just keep doing whatever I want anyway. So, please, tell."
"They want to be around Helena," Barbara said after a few charged moments. Her fear and anger at the girl's recklessness evaporated instantly when the teen ranted about her parents. She could clearly hear the hurt in Helena's voice underneath all the anger. Barbara knew they were away quite a bit these days but it was always necessary. Of course, understanding and accepting were two different things.
"What do you know about it?" Helena glowered at her.
The older woman sighed. "My Dad was gone a lot too," she told her. "Maybe not half way across the country or anything, but he still wasn't around."
"We should form a support group," Helena grumbled.
"Too late, I already have one."
Helena had to suppress a smile. She didn't want to smile at Barbara Gordon. She didn't want to understand her and she certainly didn't want Barbara to understand her.
"Helena, I'm worried," she said sincerely, all the humor gone from her voice. "You could be killed. I can't let that happen now that I know about it."
"What would your Dad say if he knew you were running around at night chasing criminals in a bat costume? Do you think he'd tell you it's dangerous? That you could be killed?" Helena asked.
"That's not the same thing," she protested. "I'm an adult. Believe it or not I have been trained for this sort of thing."
"So have I," Helena pointed out. "I've been training since I was four."
"You're still a child," Barbara persisted.
"I'll be eighteen in a year. Are you really telling me that one year makes all the difference? So, the day before my birthday I can't do these things but the next day it's okay? Are you listening to yourself?" Helena asked incredulously.
She had a point. It galled her that the girl had a point. It wasn't as if Barbara wouldn't have pulled the same stunts if she'd been in Helena's position. She was right about the age thing too. One day wouldn't make any more of a difference than one year. She was either ready or she wasn't. Barbara had to admit, Helena was ready.
"Okay?" Helena repeated.
"We'll go with your plan. If it gets too dangerous though, I'm pulling the plug," she warned.
Helena studied Barbara silently. She'd listened to Helena. She'd listened and treated her like an adult. She respected her abilities enough to trust her. She had never had that kind of trust. Not even from her parents. "Okay." Helena agreed, feeling like part of the team for the first time.
"So, what do you think I should wear?"
Return to Bird of Prey Fiction
Return to Main Page