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Title: What She Notices

Name: adliren

Disclaimer: I do not own anything, nor am I writing this for profit. The characters belong to ABC and Terry Goodkind. No copyright infringement is intended.

Fandom:  Legend of the Seeker

Pairing: Cara/Kahlan

Rating: PG

Summary: You begin to notice more when you no longer feel like a Mord’Sith.

Authors Notes: This is not beta-ed, so any mistakes are completely my own and I admit to it up front. Thanks for reading. Any comments or criticism can be directed to adliren@gmail.com.

 

 

 

What She Notices

by adliren

 

 

 

 

It’s been three days since they burned Leo’s remains. Three days since Richard, the Lord Rahl, took his place as the Seeker. Took back his place as the Seeker. Cara berates herself for the slip. Leo was only temporary. They’re always temporary.

 

Cara knew why the Lord Rahl chose to talk to her. He needed to hear the words out loud. He needed power over his vision, his hallucination and he would never say them in Kahlan’s hearing, nor Zed’s. It was just another human weakness in the man, but she suffered through the hours of soft-spoken words as they hunted game through the dense vegetation. She nodded or gave a slight murmur to show she listened. And she didn’t say anything when he finished and didn’t look at her, didn’t thank her, didn’t care. She was Mord’Sith, she was Cara, why should he thank her for listening to his whining. She was there merely to serve. But she did notice.

 

At first it’s just a niggling thought in the back of her mind. A quick brush of the hand against the agiel clears her thoughts, but it’s persistent. She remembers the way Kahlan looked at her as she handed her the torch, as her long fingers brushed against Cara’s gloved ones. Like she had looked at the Mord’Sith and saw a living, feeling person for the first time.

 

It makes Cara angry and sad at the same time, and she has no business feeling either. A Mord’Sith does not bother with emotion. But like the thought itself, the feelings persist.

 

Then the dreams start. Cara stopped remembering her dreams, if she had any, when she was seven. Her sister’s had trained it out of her. She wished that was still the case. She hated the dream.

 

It was always the same. She was standing on the edge of the Valley of Perdition. She sees herself with agiels in hand. To her far right, Kahlan stands with a dagger drawn, then Verna with her dacaras, ready to throw. Zed stays in front ready to launch his Wizard’s Fire. Finally, Leo is to her immediate right, the Sword of Truth poised in his hands. She is comforted by this fact and scolds herself even in the dream. Just as she does for the concern she feels that the Mother Confessor is so far away.

 

Across from them, stark in their red wrappings against the brown desert sand, stands the line of Dark Sisters. She watches as Zed throws his Fire, and Nicci blocks before knocking Zed to the ground. She watches a Kahlan runs to him when she should have been facing the enemy, ever the soft hearted fool. She watches as the women approach. She watches as Leo engages the first Sister to reach them. She watches as Kahlan takes on two others. She watches as she fights at Leo’s side. She watches as Nicci raises her dacara and throws- straight at Kahlan’s heart.

 

Suddenly she is no longer an observer. She’s in the middle of battle. There are two Cara’s, and she knows this is absurd, but she doesn’t have time to sit and ponder. She  watches as her double steps in front of the three bladed disk, prepared to send it right back at the Dark Sister where it will miss her face by a hairs breadth, but Nicci, her double, the dacara, they all pause as if time has simply stopped.

 

She doesn’t have time to consider this development either as she turns to see a second Nicci bring her hand back to launch her lightning. She watches as Leo prepares to dive in front of it, knowing the horror of what comes next. She steps in front of the lighting, ready to catch it on her agiel and send it back. But then she realizes- there is only one Cara. She cannot be two places at once. She cannot protect both the Mother Confessor and Leo at the same time. She must choose.

 

Her training, her promises, her oaths, her blood scream at her to protect Kahlan, but another part of her refuses to leave Leo to burn. She watches in agony as both events seem to happen at the same time, both in slow motion. She watches the dacara near her doubles hand and the lighting race at her face. She closes her eyes unable to choose, her body and mind torn in two.

 

And then . . .

 

And then she wakes up, her face and hair soaked in sweat. Her leathers damp and slick against her skin. She wraps both hands around her agiels and holds on for dear life. Above all, a Mord’Sith should never feel fear. It is the greatest weakness of all, and an unforgivable sin. The rats were one thing, but to fear a mere decision. Her sisters may have beaten and abandoned her, but for the first time, Cara feels like she is no longer Mord’Sith, and the realization breaks something inside her, something she cannot name, something she had thought shattered long ago by a woman in red.

 

After the fifth night in a row she approaches the Lord Rahl as they prepare for the day’s travel. She holds out her agiels to him, the sweet pain no longer able to comfort her. She hears a gasp and knows it comes from the Mother Confessor. Richard looks at her with confusion and alarm. When he doesn’t move to take them, Cara lays the agiels at his feet, turns and walks back the way they have come. She half listens as they call her name and Zed tells them she’ll come back. She was Mord’Sith, she is Cara, and no one comes after her. She notices, but tries not to.

 

She walks all day, and part of the night. She doesn’t know where she’s going. There isn’t anywhere for a disgraced Mord’Sith, no place for a woman without the most basic social skills. In her head she hears Kahlan trying to instruct her in the art of small talk. Her hand reaches for an agiel and grasps only air. Without her consent her legs stop and won’t start again. She figures this is as good a place as any to camp for the night.

 

She has no supplies, but builds a fire mostly out of habit. The flames are small comfort as she sits with her knees pulled to her chest. For a brief moment she considers ripping off her leathers and feeling the heat on her skin. It’s not like she needs them to identify her any longer. She contemplates going to bathe in the lake she passed not long ago.

 

In the end she does nothing but watch the flames until she falls asleep. The dream comes quickly and plays out like before. Except this time, as she stands with her eyes closed, unable to make a decision- there’s a sound.

 

“Cara.”

 

Her eyes spring open to meet the Mother Confessor’s gaze. She watches the well proportioned mouth form the word, the syllables that make up her name. It takes her several seconds to realize that she is no longer dreaming. When she does, her hand automatically reaches for her agiel, ready to force the intruder out of her personal space. Again her hand finds nothing and her chest feels tight. Kahlan slowly leans back, as if she realizes the other woman’s discomfort. Quietly she circles to the other side of the fire and simply watches as Cara regains her equilibrium.

 

“What are you doing here? The Stone of Tears, not to mention the Lord Rahl, are in the opposite direction.” She cannot help the venom that enters her voice, but even to her own ears it sounds weak.

 

“I’m aware of that. I promised to meet up with them soon.” She doesn’t say anything more and right now, Cara doesn’t have the patience to wait her out.

 

“Is there a reason you decided to go on this little detour?” Kahlan looks at her intently, seeming to weigh her response.

 

“Curiosity.”

 

“Curiosity,” Cara repeats, unsure what to make of the answer. She briefly wonders if the Mother Confessor is toying with her, but decides she doesn’t care. She no longer has the desire to spar with the other woman.

 

“It seemed like a good enough reason at the time.”

 

“I see. And have you come to regret your spur of the moment decision? Have you found the sight of a disgraced, worthless Mord’Sith not worth the journey?” There might have been a little desire left.

 

“I’ll let you know when I find one,” Kahlan answers with a shrug.

 

Cara turns away from the green eyes that seem to bore into her. She despises the pity she imagines in them. Hatred, distrust, even concern she could take from the Mother Confessor, but not that. Without a word she lies down and pretends to sleep.

 

“I think I’ll take a bath. I won’t be gone long.” Cara does not reply and soon hears the other woman walking away. For some reason, her mind fills with images of Kahlan naked, wet, washing in a lake, or was it a hot spring. She shakes off the strange thoughts, deciding it’s likely the stress she’s endured.

 

In the morning, she slips away before Kahlan awakens. She has traveled for more than an hour when she detects footsteps behind her. She doesn’t need to look back to know who is following. Soon they are walking side by side, but neither speaks.

 

At midday they stop to rest. Kahlan takes some bread and fruit from her pack and splits it with her. She accepts it if only so that she has the strength to continue walking away from the other woman.

 

When they are finished, Kahlan lays a hand on Cara’s arm. She knows the Mother Confessor is about to question her and decides to take the offensive.

 

“Do you know what the Lord Rahl dreamed in the Valley of Perdition?” Cara no longer serves the Lord Rahl. She no longer has to keep his secrets. Kahlan doesn’t answer, but she doesn’t stop her either. “He dreamed you were married to a Seeker. Not Leo,” she quickly adds, correctly interpreting the Confessor’s sound of distress. “He dreamed you lost your powers to the Dark Sisters and had a child . . . jealousy does not become the Lord Rahl.”

 

“Jealousy does not become anyone, Cara,” is Kahlan’s reply. The former Mord’Sith makes a sound in the back of her throat before tossing the rest of her meal to the side and turning onto the path.

 

They travel till dark. Once again, Cara gathers wood and starts a fire. Kahlan prepares a stew of vegetables and herbs collected on the trail. Once again, Cara accepts her share without protest.

 

Kahlan is quiet long enough that Cara thinks she may have escaped a night of exhaustive talk, but as the fire begins to die down, the brunette leans towards her, eyes intent and looking into her soul. Cara no longer knows if she can stop the Mother Confessor from reading her. She’s not sure it even matters.

 

“Do you *want* me to confess you?”

 

This is not what Cara expected, but the answer seems obvious enough.

 

“No.”

 

“Well what do you want then?” Cara does not think she is truly expected to answer, but apparently she is mistaken. “Because you’ve given up your weapons, you’ve turned your back on Richard, and you haven’t once tried to purposefully aggravate me in the last twenty-four hours.” The last seems to bother the woman especially. “What is wrong with you?!”

 

And without her consent, Cara’s voice answers.

 

“I cannot stop dreaming. It’s the same every night. It is weakness and idiocy, but I cannot stop. I am no longer worthy of the title of Mord’Sith. I am no longer worthy of serving the Lord Rahl.”

 

Now that it’s been said, out in the open, she feels a measure of relief. Again, not something a true Mord’Sith would feel. A true Mord’Sith would never give a potential enemy knowledge of their failings.

 

“What do you dream?” The question is soft. Cara can tell that Kahlan is hesitant. For a moment she considers telling the other woman to mind her own business or some other such remark, but what does it matter? She cannot disgrace herself further.

 

“I’m standing on the edge of the Valley of Perdition. I see myself, facing the enemy . . .”

 

She goes on to tell Kahlan the entire dream, leaving out no detail. When she finishes, her throat is raw and she gladly accepts the waterskin that is handed to her. They sit in silence as the fire burns between them. If Cara is honest, she is surprised that the Mother Confessor has managed to hold back her remarks this long. As the thought forms, the other woman opens her mouth.

 

“You cared for Leo.”

 

Again the answer is obvious. She had stated as much when she put the torch to his remains.

 

“Yes.”

 

“Well then, it’s only natural that you wish you could have saved him. It’s a good thing, Cara. It means you have the ability to feel, to care about someone. Someday you might even learn to love.”

 

Cara’s scoff is automatic. The Mord’Sith do not love. They may take a mate when it is convenient, and if they will enjoy the challenge of breaking them, but love is just another human weakness.

 

“Or maybe not.” This time it is Kahlan who lies down and pretends to sleep. Soon Cara seeks her own rest. The Mother Confessor said nothing of Cara’s urge to protect her. She said nothing of what Cara might feel for her. But Cara notices.

 

When they begin walking the next day, neither comment on the fact that they have once again changed direction. Neither comment on the almost casual ease in which they travel, just the two of them.

 

But both of them notice.

 

 

***********************

 

 

Disclaimer: I don’t own anything. Stephenie Meyer owns the characters. Just borrowing as usual.

Title: Eat, Drink, and be Married

Fandom: Twilight

Pairing: Alice/Bella

Rating: T

Author's comments: This is the third and *final* part of the series starting with For Money or Love and Something Blue, Something New. You don’t have to read them first, but I thought I’d give you the option. This is the last part, no whining. Anyway, hope you enjoy it, and as always, reviews and constructive criticism are always welcome.

 

Eat, Drink, and be Married

by adliren

 

 

 

There was champagne, there was cake, there was dancing . . . there was a lot of dancing. Bella had never before considered what Alice Cullen would be like at a reception party, at their reception party – after their wedding. She’d been through it, she remembered the ceremony, but it still seemed unbelievable. She was Mrs. Isabella Swan Cullen.

 

Originally the name exchange had caused a bit of an argument. Bella had never had a problem being a Swan, but from the moment she had first laid eyes on the family, in her heart she had wanted to be a Cullen. Alice had argued against it, stating anything from feminist values to family history until finally admitting that she didn’t want to change Bella too much. Bella had won the “disagreement” by stating that Alice would eventually turn her into a vampire. What was one itsy bitsy, tiny, inconsequential change compared to that?

 

So now they were married and she was watching Edward spin Alice around the dance floor. Simply watching made her feet hurt. Alice had worked with her before the wedding on her dancing skills, but she could never do what they could while making it look easy. Well, not yet. Soon she would dance with Alice all day and all night if she wanted. She would be graceful and beautiful just like they were. Bella sighed wishing that day would come just a little bit sooner. Maybe she could talk to Alice about moving up the date when they were alone tonight.

 

Alice heard her wife sigh as she was led expertly by Edward to an old favorite. They had danced to this very song almost fifty years ago. She was amazed at where life (or undead life) had taken her in those years. She was now married to the love of her long life, and nothing was going to ruin this day. Even the dog- ah- Jacob was behaving himself. She knew why Bella was sighing, and silently promised to work harder on her control. She *would* change Bella, it was simply a matter of doing it without killing her that gave Alice pause.

 

********************************

 

Edward stiffened when he felt Alice go limp in his arms. He looked into her vacant eyes and realized she was having a vision. He continued to move her across the floor, supporting her weight and keeping up the illusion for those who didn’t know about Alice’s gift.

 

“Is everything all right?” he questioned when she was herself again.

 

“I- I don’t know.” Alice raised her hand to her forehead, trying to erase the headache that had formed. She wished she could erase the pictures that had been suddenly forced on her as well.

 

“Maybe we should sit down? Just for a minute,” Edward indicated when Alice seemed surprised to still be moving.

 

“Yes, I think that’s a good idea.”

 

Edward pulled them off the dance floor and moved them towards where Bella was seated. He continued to support the smaller vampire and noticed when she started to shake. It became more violent the closer they came to Bella.

 

Alice?” He questioned.

 

“It’s fine. I just . . . my vision, it was about Bella. She- she was dying.” She spoke so softly that even with his enhanced senses, Edward had trouble hearing her.

 

“Oh.” For a moment he was at a loss for words, finally settling on the only thing he could think of. “She won’t die, Alice. You know every one of us will protect her with our lives, especially after today.” He hugged the slim body to his side, only letting go when they were next to Bella.

 

“I know,” Alice whispered, before sitting down next to her wife. She grabbed Bella in a hug, burying her face in her wife’s neck and breathing deeply. She would never let anything happen to Bella. Never.

 

******************

 

The wedding night was, well, the wedding night. Nothing they hadn’t practiced quite a few times before. Not to say the night wasn’t special. Each touch was delivered with love and the full understanding that each belonged to the other for eternity. Bella cried from the overwhelming emotion, and Alice did everything in her power not to bite her human when she was driven to scream her name. In the end, both parties were very satisfied. So satisfied in fact, that Bella forgot to ask her question until several afternoons later. They were sitting in a small apartment in Paris, rented by Carlisle and Esme for their wedding gift. Bella was stuffing as many scrambled eggs as she could, as delicately as she could, into her mouth as Alice looked on.

 

“Do you have to watch me eat?” Bella’s voice was soft and playful, but Alice detected a hint of annoyance buried deep in her tone.

 

“No. I don’t *have* to, but I enjoy it. It’s been a long time since I was able to eat, and there’s something so – satisfying about watching you.” Bella looked at her like she was crazy then softened when the vampire smiled at her and shrugged.

 

“Whatever makes you happy, I guess.”

 

“You make me happy.” Bella looked into golden eyes and tried not to cry, hearing the sincerity in the words. She had done enough crying for a lifetime on their wedding night. Suddenly a thought popped into her head.

 

“Speaking of making me happy . . . do you think – is there anyway you could change me sooner?” she blurted, the words rushing out of her mouth. Alice turned away quickly to look out the window, but not before Bella saw the expression on her face – unease, with a large helping of fear. Worried and at a loss, she waited for the vampire to turn around again. When she did, her face was a blank mask, doing nothing to calm Bella’s nerves.

 

“Bella . . . I’m not sure I’m going to be able to change you.”

 

Bella heard the chime as her fork hit her plate, but it was a distant sound, drowned out by the rushing in her ears. “But you promised.” She knew she sounded like child, but it was all her addled mind could produce.

 

“I know.” Alice ran a hand through her hair, tugging at the strands that stuck out in many directions. “I just-” Bella could see she was having a hard time talking.

 

“Just what, Alice?” Gold eyes again looked at her with fear and determination.

 

“I had a vision, Bella. I saw you die. I saw your throat ripped out. I watched you bleed to death.” Her eyes had grown steadily darker as she spoke, the gold disappearing as the black pupil expanded in her anger and fear. “If I try to change you . . . I’ll kill you.” The last was nothing but a whisper, barely loud enough for Bella’s human ears. Neither spoke for a moment.

 

“Are you sure it was you?” When Alice looked at her questioningly, she tried to explain. “It could have been another vampire, or a werewolf, or, or all kinds of things.” Bella waved her arms around, gesturing emphatically, and managed to knock her glass of milk to the floor. With a sheepish look she started to get up and get a towel. She wasn’t even on her feet before Alice was there, wiping up the mess. “Thanks.” She knew her face was burning. She would risk whatever she had too to keep stupid, clumsy accidents like this from happening to her all the time.

 

“No problem. No use crying and all that. I’ve always wondered where that saying comes from. Haven’t you?” Alice smiled at her, brightening up the room as always, but Bella could see she was forcing it. She leaned forward and placed her hand on the hard, cold arm in front of her.

 

“Please, Alice - just tell me.”

  

“I would if I could,” she stated with a deep sigh. “I just don’t know. You die, and it’s sometime around when I change you. It’s blurry. And no, it’s not the death of becoming a vampire. It’s the kind that lasts forever. The kind you don’t wake up from.”

 

“You had this vision at the wedding didn’t you?” The idea had just come to Bella and she was sure she was right. “You were acting funny when you came back from dancing. Did he say anything to you?!” Bella had no real issues with Edward, but sometimes his habit of snooping in other peoples minds made her nervous. She was overjoyed the day she realized her couldn’t see inside her head or read her thoughts. She, and probably he, would have been mortally embarrassed by the thoughts she was constantly having about his sister.

 

“Edward didn’t say anything, other than the whole family would protect you.”

 

“Well, there you go. I’ll be fine.” Bella grinned triumphantly at Alice till she realized the vampire was looking at her in sympathy and what might have been shame.

 

“And if I kill you? Who would stop me when you’ve asked me, begged me for it? When you tell them everything’s alright? Who will protect you when they protect us both?”

 

Bella wanted to lash out. She wanted to shout the unfairness of it all. Instead she sat back at the table and tried to finish her breakfast. Most of the eggs stuck in her throat and it was many minutes before she finished. Alice stared at the window the entire time, not once looking at Bella.

 

“You made a promise, Alice. You promised you would change me. Three days ago we promised to love each other forever. If you don’t change me Alice, then what does that mean? I’ll love you all my life, until I die of old age, I swear it. Will you love me after I’m buried and gone, Alice? Will you even remember me after a few hundred years? What will you choose?”

 

Bella knew she was manipulating the facts and her wife’s feelings to an outrageous degree, but she could see no other way. She was ashamed of herself, but held firm when Alice slowly turned from the window to stare into her eyes.

 

“No, you *give* me no choice. Either I change you and risk killing you, or I don’t, and I watch you fade away before my eyes having broken my promise. That’s not a choice Bella.” She turned back to the window.

 

Bella decided to head back to their bedroom. They had plans to go out later, when the sun wasn’t so prominent. As she crossed the doorway a faint whisper reached her ears.

 

“I would have remembered you for eternity.”

 

**************************

 

__________Three Years Later___________

 

They’d had another argument. Bella had pushed too hard about being changed, but she was getting desperate. She wasn’t getting any younger while Alice avoided and flat out refused to acknowledge the issue.

 

She was enjoying college and the friends they had both made in Port Angeles. She loved having their own apartment close enough so they could visit Charlie and the other Cullen’s easily. She loved how Alice would surprise her with gifts and picnics on weekends and special occasions. She loved waking up and going to sleep with Alice. She just plain loved Alice, but it was time. Past time and she had said so, loudly, and certain pieces of cookware might have been used to emphasize her point.

 

In the end she had been too upset and had to flee, taking a walk around the neighborhood to cool off. It was dark, but she wasn’t afraid. She didn’t seem to have the normal human reaction for self-preservation, as those who knew her would attest. Also, she was almost always with Alice anymore, and though she didn’t look it, the pixyish vampire was better than any bodyguard.

 

Those were her actual thoughts as Bella wandered down a poorly lit street. The shadows seemed to close around her, and she looked up for the first time, noticing that the street lamps seemed to have been shattered on purpose. Bella felt her heart rate pick up which caused her feet to move just a little quicker across the pavement.

 

She never saw what hit her. One minute she was running toward the lighted streets and the next all she could see was bright white light all around her. Slowly other sensations returned. Pain around her neck and a bright spot of agony in the back of her head. She tried to move her legs and realized they were hanging in the air. Finally her vision cleared enough for her to see a dark shape holding her by the throat against a brick wall. The form came closer, and she could make out matted hair and a fetid stink that clung to the grime covered features. His teeth however were sharp and white, and steadily approaching her throat.

 

The pain as they pierced her neck was excruciating, the venom seeping into her wounds, a pulse to the overarching agony. She felt rivulets of blood run down her neck to splash on the concrete and leak onto the collar of her shirt. It took several moments for her to realize that the pain, while still terrible, wasn’t increasing. Once that was established in her mind she was able to take in the rest of her reality.

 

She was lying on the ground. The vampire that had attacked her was dead. Preoccupied with Bella, he had obviously failed to see Alice come upon him. As much as her mind tried to cower away and hide from the horror, the fact was, the face of the vampire whose teeth were still pressed into her neck, no longer had a body to go along with it. Screaming and chocking she managed to grab the head and toss it away into the shadows of the alley. Looking around frantically for anything reassuring to grab onto, physically or mentally, she peered upward and met the solid black eyes of her wife who was focused solely on the blood running from her wound. 

 

Alice?”

 

Her answer was a growling scream that echoed against the stone in the alley and funneled up into the sky. Alice pounced and pinned her hands above her head and sat on her stomach. Bella pushed with all her strength and managed to move Alice a total of zero to the nth degree millimeters. Then she didn’t have time or energy to struggle because the pain, the devastating pain, was back again. This time caused by Alice’s teeth at her throat, Alice’s venom in her blood.

 

Bella felt herself go weak. Felt the venom and the blood-loss take affect. At the edges of her awareness she could feel Alice shifting slightly on top of her. She could still feel the powerful muscles housed under the small, unassuming frame. She was losing control of her body, but she could still smell Alice. She could hear the little whimpers and sighs that escaped. She was more used to hearing them in a different setting, but they comforted her even now. This was her Alice, her wife, and no matter what her body and her mind were screaming, her heart told her it would be okay.

 

“I’ll remember you forever too, Alice.”

 

She wasn’t sure she had managed the words, but it didn’t matter. Bella let go and floated into the raging inferno her world had become.

 

 

_______________Five Years Later_______________

 

“No. I won’t.”

 

“Yes, you will.”

 

“No!”

 

“Yes!”

 

“No I wo-“

 

“Shut up, you two!”

 

Rosalie’s voice shrieked through the house, making every one inside cover their ears. Not to be deterred, the pixyish vampire continued the conversation.

 

“I promise I won’t.”

 

“You promised last time.”

 

“Last time I had my fingers crossed. But not this time, see.” Slim, beautiful fingers were held out to be examined. “Besides you have to come with me.”

 

“And why is that?”

 

“Because, Bella, you accepted my proposal, so now you have to do what I say.”

 

Bella Cullen stood stunned, staring at her wife. “What?! That doesn’t make any sense. Are you trying to say that’s some kinda rule? That’s ridiculous.”

 

“As ridiculous as saying since I proposed you could invite a *werewolf* to our wedding?”

 

“Seriously?! Are you seriously still holding a grudge about that?” Bella took the silence as her answer. “It was five years ago. You have to let it go, Baby.”

 

“I will.”

 

“When?”

 

“Hmmm, give or take a couple hundred years.” Bella stared into the laughing golden eyes that now matched her own and couldn’t help but smile. God, she loved her wife.

 

“Well, I suppose I could hang around that long,” she teased in return. She watched as Alice’s eyes grew darker, more intense, more . . . vulnerable.

 

“Could you hang around forever?”

 

Bella walked forward and pressed a passionate kiss to Alice’s lips. “I plan to, thanks to you.”

 

Alice kissed her back softly before burying her face in Bella’s neck. She lightly ran her nose over the scars that still marked the brunette’s skin. “I was almost too late. I was almost the one who would have kept you from eternity.” A gentle hand, cold and solid, lifted her face up.

 

“But you weren’t. You saved me, Alice. You saved me in so many ways.” The pair moved in to kiss again, but were interrupted by something rapping on the boards under their feet.

 

“Don’t make me come up there. It’s bad enough I’ve had to listen to all this lovey-dovey crap twenty-four seven for the last two years. I will *not* listen to you two get it on in this house one more time.” Having said her piece, Rosalie put down the broom before grabbing Emmett and hauling him up to their room.

 

 The newest couple laughed until they were both doubled over. Finally they settled down and headed companionably out to the car. Bella took one last look at the Cullen house as Alice began to drive them home. She knew they would be stopping at the Port Angeles Mall before they reached home, but that was to be expected. Alice needed to shop and Bella need Alice, therefore, Bella would shop. And have Alice, forever.

 

 

END


FIC: Sticking the Landing (B/H)

Disclaimer: I don’t own anything. DC and WB own the rights. Frivolous lawsuits just hurt everyone.

Title: Sticking the Landing

Fandom: Birds of Prey

Pairing: Barbara/Helena

Rating: M/M+, whatever you want to call it. There will be sex between two women. Gasp.

Author's comments: This is actually the sequel to Walking Away. Some people felt (myself included) that the story wasn’t finished. Like its predecessor, this story got away from me and took a radically different direction than I originally planned. I hope it can still bring a little bit of BOP happiness to your heart. Oh, this story was also not beta tested so the blame goes to me. As always, reviews and constructive criticism are welcome.

P.S. For anyone who cares, I wrote this story mostly in past perfect tense. However, the last scene is written in present tense. That’s just how it came out of my brain. I wrote it again in past perfect and decided it was missing something so I switched it back. I think I made the right choice, but I know mixing tenses can kill a story faster than just about anything else. Anyway, feel free to let me know what you think. Cheers.

 

 

Sticking the Landing

by adliren

 

 

The heat on my face felt nice. The flames were far enough away to just brush the chill air from my nose and cheekbones. I closed my eyes and let the colors dance across my eyelids; yellows and reds against the black. Finally coming out of my self-induced trace I looked over to my partner. Her face held a deadly scowl, and despite the inappropriateness, I wanted to laugh. Unfortunately, I had promised to try and control those impulses. I would have managed it too if Canary hadn’t chosen that exact moment to speak through the coms.

 

“I could bring you guys some marshmallows if you want.”

 

That was all it took. In seconds I was doubled over with tears in my eyes. I was laughing so hard partly in relief that Batwoman, aka Barbara Gordon, wasn’t hurt, and in some part of my mind I prayed she realized that. It wasn’t everyday that you survived unscathed from a motorcycle crash, especially when the bike proceeded to catch fire and burn to a crisp in the middle of the street. She was lucky to be alive, and my emotions were just now catching up to that fact.

 

“That won’t be necessary, Canary,” Barbara’s smooth voice echoed in my ear. “It’s just about burned itself out. I think we’ll leave the rest for the fire department.” She sounded resigned and just a little ticked off, understandable since it was her favorite bike.

 

“Gotcha, Batwoman. You okay catching a ride with Huntress?” Barbara turned to me and even behind her mask I could tell she was raising one eyebrow in question.

 

“Yeah, we’re good. See you back at base in a few,” I responded before shutting off my coms. I looked at my mentor for a moment, unsuccessfully trying to force the laughter out of my system. “Do you want to say a few words?” Her scowl was answer enough as she brushed past me, heading for my black ninja.

 

I hopped on and she climbed on the back, putting her hands gingerly on my shoulders. That gesture was enough to kill my somewhat giddy mood. I started the bike aggressively before telling her to hang on. Her hands didn’t move as we headed back to the Clocktower.

 

**********************

 

“D, calm down.” The girl was bouncing around Barbara and I the moment we got out of the elevator. I loved the kid, but sometimes her hyper act rubbed me the wrong way.

 

“Okay, okay, but oh my gosh Barbara, you were shot at with a bazooka. A real bazooka. If you hadn’t swerved . . . and then you crashed and it caught on fire!” If I didn’t know better I’d say the kid enjoyed the night’s disastrous events.

 

“I’m aware of that,” Barbara responded drily as she began to take off her suit.

 

“Yeah, but a bazooka!” Her blonde head whipped in my direction. “Tell her Helena. That’s just insane!” I dutifully turned to Barbara.

 

“You were shot at with a bazooka, Barbara. That is just insane.” I was hoping for a laugh, but had to settle with the small smile I received.

 

“Thank you both for clearing that up for me.” Her tone dripped sarcasm. “However, I think we should concentrate on finding out *who* it was who shot at me with a bazooka.” She headed to her room to finish changing. One of the nice things about my Huntress costume, I could fight crime one minute and get a cup of coffee at the nearest Starbucks the next.

 

“Didn’t you have a study date with Gabby?” I questioned.

 

“Yeah, but I told her I probably couldn’t make it once you guys took off after that gang.”

 

“Well, it’s not too late, and you know how the rest of the nights going to go.”

 

“Yep, Barbara will spend all night on the Delphi and you’ll either watch TV or head out to do your ‘thing’.” I laughed as she used air-quotes to make her point. “I do need her help. Are you sure Barbara won’t mind?”

 

“Hmmm, let me think.” I brought my hand up to my chin, pretending to consider carefully. “Barbara minding you doing some extra studying? I’m gonna have to go with not.”

 

“I guess you’re right. Tell her goodnight for me.” I nodded my head and she raced up the stairs to grab her overnight bag and books. In a matter of seconds she waved as she entered the elevator and disappeared.

 

I headed to the kitchen to grab something to eat, finally settling on some chocolate fudge Poptarts. Thank god Alfred stocked the kitchen so often. I really needed a sugar fix after tonight. I heard Barbara leaving her room and walking to the Delphi, figuring now was as good a time as any to talk to her about what had happened earlier. She was hunched over the keyboard when I entered the living room, and once again I was startled to see her standing over the desk instead of sitting in her chair. It had been close to a year since she had gotten her legs back and sometimes I still had a hard time remembering.

 

“What’s wrong, Hel?” I realized I had been staring and quickly averted my eyes.

 

“I was going to ask you the same question, Red.”

 

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she brushed me off and turned back to the monitor. I felt my frustration rise and tried to control it.

 

“Yes, you do. You saw how heavily armed those guys were and you went ahead anyway. I thought *I* was supposed to be the reckless vigilante in this group.” I tried to keep things light, but if the frown on her face was any indication, I wasn’t succeeding.

 

“Yes, I made a judgment call. Do you have a problem with that?”

 

“No, but you need to be careful. You’re not invincible. Ever since you started-” I cut myself off, knowing that finishing that sentence would be a mistake.

 

“Ever since when, Hel? Ever since I started walking again? Ever since I started being Batwoman? What do you think has compromised my decision making skills?” She was starting to get angry but so was I.

 

“I don’t know. Maybe some of both. I just know that tonight you drove straight into an incoming missile and got your bike torched. You could have died!”

 

“But I didn’t.” Her voice was flat and hard, and I knew discussing this further was not an option. “Speaking of tonight, why didn’t you go after them when I was down? You could have caught them but you stopped. Why?”

 

“Are you serious?! I just watched your bike go up like a Roman candle. I didn’t know if you were okay or not. In case you missed it the first time, you could have died!” I was fast losing any control I might have had over my temper. I couldn’t believe she was being this thick. “We’ll get another chance. I’m sure you’re already close to finding them.” My attempt at flattery didn’t do me any good. She just scowled at me and went back to typing.

 

“I’m fine, Helena. I’ll let you know when I find something else.” It was a clear dismissal and I almost took it, but she was starting to scare me.

 

“Babs, you’re starting to scare me.” That got her attention and she stopped typing to turn and face me again.

 

Helena, I don’t want to talk about this now.”

 

“Too bad. You might not be around next time. I know this is ironic coming from me, but you’re taking too many risks. You’re going to get yourself killed.”

 

“And you would know all about that wouldn’t you?” Her tone was vicious and I couldn’t stop my flinch as the words registered. I could see she regretted it instantly, but she didn’t make any attempt take it back. Silence hung between us for several moments before I found my voice.

 

“I guess I would.” I spoke haltingly, allowing her a chance to try and fix things. When she didn’t even acknowledge me I sighed, giving up for now. Something was bothering her, but she wasn’t talking tonight. “Right, well, good luck with the research. I’m gonna head out and do my thing.” For some reason this seemed to make her even angrier since she grabbed the office chair next to her and practically threw herself into it.

 

“That’s fine. Have a good evening.” You could cut glass with the sharpness of her tone.

 

“Alright.” I moved to the elevator, deciding to exit the old fashioned way. “You know you can always talk to me, right Barbara.” My answer was the continued clicking of keys from the Delphi. I got in and closed the door before she could see my frustrated tears. I didn’t need to bother, she never turned around.

 

**************************

 

A week passed with only minor incidents. Barbara and I kept our distance from each other and Dinah ran interference when we couldn’t. Canary was on field duty every night, with either Huntress or Batwoman as a partner. It worked, but Red still wasn’t talking to me. Finally I was reduced to something I truly hated. I did the mature, responsible thing. I formed a plan.

 

We never talked the night of my meltdown. I was grateful that Barbara, and Dinah if she ever got anything from my mind, respected my feelings enough not to mention it. That was great, except that night Barbara and I had really talked. We’d aired out some dirty laundry, and as far as I was concerned things were cleaned up between us. For a while that seemed to be true. Now however, Barbara seemed depressed most of the time and when she wasn’t, she was chasing down the bad guys like she had eight lives to spare. As much as I hated the thought, maybe it was time for us to have another talk. Preferably without either of us reduced to crying or trying to make a quick escape from New Gotham.

 

I considered my options carefully. Barbara was very reserved, so if this talk got emotional, which I assumed it would; it needed to be somewhere kind of private. Still, I didn’t want to tip her off to my plan. Asking to meet at the Clocktower or at my apartment would definitely set off warning bells. Besides, there was always the chance that Dinah could interfere at home and there were any number of things that could go wrong at my apartment.

 

Finally I decided to take her to D’anglios. It was a nice Italian restaurant that everyone agreed had the best lasagna in the city. I could easily reserve a private table in the back, the Wayne name had to be good for something, and hopefully the different surroundings would get Barbara to open up.

 

The reservations were made for Friday night. It was easier to get her to go than I expected. I offered to take her out for a nice dinner, and after looking at me with a blank face and an emotion in her eyes I didn’t understand, she agreed. The week passed quickly and before I was ready it was time to put my plan into action.

 

*************************

 

“Would the ladies care for some wine?”

 

Our waiter started for the chairs, but I waved him away. I pulled Barbara’s seat out for her and got another one of those strange looks I’d been getting since I picked her up at the Clocktower. I ordered a nice red wine and looked around in satisfaction. D’anglios wasn’t a large restaurant, but we had a nice corner in the back curtained off from other customers. There were candles on the table and soft string music in the background. Perfect for getting Barbra to relax and let down her guard.

 

“What should we get for an appetizer?” I asked Barbara after looking at the menu for a few minutes.

 

“Whatever you like, Hel. I think I’ll wait for the main course.”

 

“You sure? It’s not like you have to watch your figure anymore,” I tried to joke, eyeing her in the deep green, sleeveless dress. Barbara gave me a wide smile and demurred again. I ordered the stuffed mushrooms knowing they were her favorite, and sure enough she ate two before ordering the house special.

 

“Thank you for inviting me tonight.” Barbara was looking right at me, and for once she seemed happy.

 

“No problem, Red. We should do this more often.” That got me another strange look and a pleased smile.

 

“I’d like that.”

 

Dinner was nice as I focused on the pleasant conversation and my food. It really was the best lasagna in New Gotham. After Barbara finished and the waiter took our plates I decided it was time to initiate stage two of the plan – get Barbara to start talking.

 

“I’ve been thinking about finding a new job.” Barbara’s eyebrows rose in surprise. I did sorta spring it on her, but I was going for a little tit for tat. “I like working at the Dark Horse and everything, but it doesn’t make much sense. I have all day off when I could be doing something, and at night I have to work two jobs between bartending and the family business.”

 

“That’s very true. Any idea of what you might like to do instead?” Barbara asked after a moment.

 

“Not really. Thought I’d just look around, see if something else appeals to me for now.”

 

“It’s a big change for you, Hel. Take your time and find something you enjoy,” was Barbara’s advice.

 

“Yeah. Speaking of big changes, is anything going on with you?” It was a little heavy-handed, but I was never any good at the more delicate aspects of intelligence gathering. It showed when Barbara gave me “the look.” The one the lets me know she knows something’s going on; just not what it is yet.

 

“Nothing I can think of, Hel.”

 

“Really, cause you know I’m always here to listen.” Shit! I shouldn’t have said that. It just came out before I could really think. Her face started turning red and her eyes were slicing me up like a loaf of bread.

 

“Are you trying to pump me for information?! Is that why we’re here tonight, Helena?!” She’s whispering, but it’s so intense I feel like diving for cover under the table, or maybe just making a break for it out the back. I know I can’t though. I started this and I’ll see it through to the end. Even if it’s the literal end which right now looks very possible.

 

“I just wanted a chance to talk to you away from the Tower,” I say holding my hands up in front of me, but she doesn’t seem to be listening anymore.

 

“I can’t believe I was so naive. I actually thought this was a-” She cuts herself off and stands up quickly. Her hand twitches and I think my face is going to be introduced to the wine selection, but all she does is throw her napkin down and storm out. I drop some bills on the table, more than enough for the meal and tip, and follow her. She’s halfway down the block, and for a split second I wish she was still in her chair which makes me even more ashamed of myself. Ashamed because I think I know what she was going to say before. Barbara thought tonight was a date, and looking back I can see how she came to that conclusion.

 

I follow her until she reaches the Tower. I take a detour down the alley, up the fire-escape and over the roof to land on the balcony. The door is unlocked and I wait by the Delphi for the elevator. She’s not going to be happy when she sees me, but somehow I have to fix things between us when I don’t even know how they got so screwed up. Her first words out of the elevator don’t give me a lot of hope either.

 

“Get out.” Her voice is completely serious and the look she’s giving me could peel paint.

 

“Listen, Barbara. Let me explain.”

 

“I don’t want to hear it, Helena. Just get-“

 

“It wasn’t a date!” I interrupt her frantically.

 

“I’m aware of that.” She lifts her hand and pinches her nose, a sign that she’s got a headache coming on and I’d better get to the point. “It was made startlingly clear to me when you started to interrogate me for lack of polite conversation. Even *your* attempts at romance couldn’t be that bad, not that you’ve had any experience in that area.”

 

That stung. I could do romance if I wanted. I could be awesome at romance; I’d just never had a reason. I was more of a one-night stand, let’s keep it simple kinda girl which had never bothered me. So why did it suddenly seem like it should?

 

“Listen, I didn’t mean to hurt you. Yes, I was trying to get you to talk to me, and yes, maybe the way I went about it was a poor choice, but I couldn’t think of anything else! You won’t talk to me!” Suddenly it was all pouring out of me, all the hurt and confusion her distancing had made me feel. “I just wanted you to relax and feel like you could trust me. I’ve been doing everything I can to make you see me as more mature, more responsible! Haven’t I done everything I was supposed to?! Everything you wanted?!” I made myself turn away before I could really lose my temper. That wouldn’t solve anything and could only give her more ammunition.

 

It was silent. I’m not sure either of us knew what to say at this point. Barbara kept her head down when she did speak.

 

“Yes, you are more responsible. This past year you’ve changed so much. Sometimes I wonder if there’s any of the old Helena left. And yes, Hel, I do trust you with almost anything- or I did. I trusted you with my heart . . . and you broke it . . . again.”

 

“I don’t understand.” She sighed before continuing, sounding so weary.

 

“We decided to move on, remember, but where has that gotten us? We’ve changed, both of us, but are we happier?” I wanted to comfort her, but I wasn’t sure how. I wasn’t sure I was happier either.

 

“Barbara, I-”

 

“Did you ever wonder why I went back to being Batwoman? Why I pushed myself so hard, even to the point of putting myself in extreme danger?”

 

“I thought it was because you couldn’t for so long. I thought you needed to feel like the old you, that you were still one of the best vigilantes in the business. Maybe- maybe it helped you forget a little bit too.

 

“Good guesses, and all probably part of the reason, but mostly I wanted to get closer to you. I wanted to show you that I could keep up with you and your lifestyle. I thought if you could see that then maybe something would change between us. We could move on like we promised.”

 

“Right, okay.” I took a moment to run my fingers though my hair, trying to calm down and straighten out everything that was running through my mind. “All you had to do was tell me, dammit! I thought you were trying to hurt yourself,” I whispered my darkest fear.

 

“No, Hel, I just . . . needed you to notice. I needed you to want to be with me, but you just kept going out every night, drinking and bringing someone else back to your apartment.”

 

“And what, you’d rather be the one that came home with me?” I scoffed.

 

“Yes.” She looked me straight in the eye. No chance for a misunderstanding now.

 

“But- but I don’t understand.”

 

“We promised we’d see where the future took us, but I don’t want that to be just friends. Helena, I told you I could never love you more than I did right then, but I lied. Watching you become this person over the past months has made me face the fact that I want there to be more between us. I want a deeper, physical connection with you, and I had hoped it would develop on its own, but it never did. *We* changed, but *you and I* didn’t.” She stopped to take a breath and pinch the bridge of her nose again. I could tell her headache was bothering her. “So I decided to take matters into my own hands and show you that I could accept you as you are and share that part of your life as well.”

 

By now, most of my brain cells had fried themselves trying to follow the twists and turns in this conversation. I was barely running on auto pilot, so my reaction when Barbara moved up in front of me and placed her hand on my cheek was to simply look at her blankly.

 

“Please, Helena, tell me this isn’t just me. Tell me you want something more than friendship as well.” I still couldn’t say anything, and her hand slid slowly off my face. I missed the warmth immediately, and wanted nothing more than to grab her hand and put it back. “I see. I’m sorry I’ve been worrying you. I’ll try to cut back on the more dangerous missions and take better care of myself.”

 

I let her walk five steps before wrapping my arms around her from behind. She tensed, and I rose up a little to lay my chin on her shoulder. I felt a few drops of water hit my hand, but I didn’t say anything, just held her tighter.

 

“I didn’t know I could tell you so many things, Barbara. I didn’t know that I could tell you how it hurt when you’d scold me and call me irresponsible. Or when you said I couldn’t care about someone enough to make a commitment, so I never bothered to try with the only person I would ever want that with. That I could tell you I’ve wanted more than friendship from you for years. That I’ve always felt like you could keep up with me, always. I didn’t know, Barbara- I didn’t know that I could tell you I love you.”

 

“Hel-” she turned, hiding her face in my neck. My shirt collar was wet, but so was the top of her head. We stood like that before I gently picked her up and moved us onto the couch. We stayed that way for quite awhile, long enough that I thought she had gone to sleep. Her breath ghosting along my chest was a surprise. “I’m in love with you too, Hel.”

 

“I didn’t ask.”

 

“But you can. You can always ask, Helena.”

 

******************

 

Two weeks later we were back at D’anglios. A return of the criminal gang and lingering feelings of hurt and confusion had delayed out next date (or was it our first?). We had the same table, but this time Barbara pulled out my chair and I ordered a sweet, white wine with dinner. We both ordered the lasagna and conversation flowed freely. We were both relaxed and simply enjoying the time alone together.

 

All the gang members were behind bars, and Barbara managed it without the smallest injury to her person or equipment. So far, she seemed to be taking her promise seriously. I, on the other hand, had upped my flirting and innuendo to the point where I was becoming concerned for Barbara’s health; blushing that hard with her coloring couldn’t be pleasant.

 

I was careful to return to the Clocktower every night I didn’t have work. I would hang around and talk to Dinah, and Babs if she wasn’t busy. I didn’t even feel trapped or caged in. I still felt the need to go out and party, let off some steam, but it was easy to wait when I knew Barbara would eventually join me.

 

“Can I ask you something, Barbara?” I questioned after we finished eating.

 

“Always.”

 

“When we leave, can I come back to the Tower?” She seemed surprised, looking at me over the rim of her wine glass.

 

“Of course, Hel, you know you’re always welcome.”

 

“Yeah, but tonight can I stay . . . with you?” Her eyes rounded and then narrowed, holding an emotion I couldn’t face yet.

 

“Yes.”

 

Without a word she got up from her chair, paid, and we were out on the street in two minutes flat. On the walk back we didn’t hold hands, but we walked close enough that our arms occasionally brushed together. Each time, I had to close my eyes and will them to return to their normal blue.

**************************

 

‘I think my shirt is hooked on the bathroom door.’ That is my first coherent thought after Barbara kisses me in the elevator. My second thought is something along the lines of, ‘Red couldn’t do that again if she tried.’ Between them, I somehow find myself sans pants.

 

“Hel- just move . . . what’re you . . . your hands, Hel.”

 

Barbara is mumbling something in my ear in between mind-blowing bites and licks. If she expects me to be able to understand her at this point, she is SOL.

 

Helena, move your hands!” I finally realize I’ve been holding onto Barbara in a death grip, hindering her from removing her clothes and what little are left of mine.

 

“Sorry.” I quickly use my hands in a more productive manner, stripping her out of her dress (light grey this time, amazing with her eyes) and move us closer to the bed. When she feels the bed hit the back of her legs, she grabs my shoulders and falls back; turning so when I regain my senses she’s straddling me. I feel her heat hover above my hips and it’s all I can do to keep them on the mattress.

 

Sometimes when you’re in the middle of screwing there’s this pause right before things get really hot and heavy. You stop and look in each other’s eyes and acknowledge exactly what’s going on between you. With all my other lovers it was an acceptance of a hard fuck and a quick goodbye in the morning, but not with Barbara. When we lock eyes, I’m finally ready to see what they are trying to tell me. Her eyes are full of lust and desire, but even more than that they hold her love. I feel my eyes flicker-shift for a moment, breaking the connection. As I lean up to capture her lips, I hope she can see an equal amount in mine, whatever shape or color.

 

We kiss for some period of time and I become aware of Barbara grinding into my stomach. At that moment I want nothing more than to rip off her last bit of clothing and let the smell of her desire fill the room. So I do.

 

Barbara bites my lip sharply, probably in revenge for destroying her panties, but I couldn’t care less. Her scent is overwhelming me, forcing me to close my eyes and grip the sheets in tight fists. My eyes spring open and my fists clench tighter when I suddenly feel her mouth on my breast and hands relieving me of my underwear in a less violent manner than I had employed. My hands wind themselves into her hair, keeping her head steady against my chest. I can feel myself starting to tense inside and out, and I know I have to put the breaks on my own pleasure. I quickly reverse our positions, tasting her right nipple and rolling the other between my fingers. Her guttural moan is almost as bad for my self-control as her mouth had been.

 

Eventually, after several more heart stuttering sounds, I move down to lick and taste across her stomach. She freezes immediately and I’m concerned until my tongue encounters the scars. Starbursts and raised lines pepper her abs, faded after ten years, but still so prominent. I don’t say anything; simply worship this part of her as I would the rest. It takes several minutes, but she finally moves her hands to my head, slowly sifting through my hair as her muscles relax. I stay a moment longer, exploring lightly before moving on.

 

I run my fingers gently up the insides of her thighs, absurdly startled when the muscles under my hands twitch. I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve fantasized about Barbara and I in this position before. She is, and always has been, an extremely attractive woman. However, after the Joker, my fantasies always included ways to get around the fact that feeling stopped for her at the waist. Seeing her walking around couldn’t bring home what she had lost, what she hadn’t felt for *ten years*, like that small involuntary movement transferred through the pads of my fingers could.

 

“Barbara.” It was compassion, a question, and a plea forced out in a name. She doesn’t say anything. Instead, she places her hands on my cheeks and pulls me up into the gentlest kiss I’ve ever experienced. When it ends, I make my way back down her body, finding spots I missed the first time until I’m settled between her thighs again.

 

I take my time, letting all my senses have a turn. She’s slick on my fingers and burning in my nose, her taste an addiction I don’t feel bad about starting. I use my meta-hearing to grab onto every little sound she makes, as my eyes feast on the movements I draw out of her sweat coated body. I know I could drag this out forever, but she’s pleading with me in between panted breaths. I focus on her bundle of nerves, first with my fingers then with my tongue. She’s got a death-grip on my hair with hands strong from years of training and necessity. She screams when she comes. Next time I promise myself I’ll make her scream my name.

 

I lay my head on her chest, listening as her heartbeat slows to something resembling normal. I don’t have long before I’m on my back and being straddled once again. Her eyes are filled only with desire, but I can feel her love in the hands that stroke my side and trace my ribs. She spends an entire two minutes on my breasts before it’s full steam ahead. I cry out when I feel her tongue, no words, just a wail of shocked pleasure. Barbara always was the hands-on type so I’m not surprised to feel three fingers stretching and filling me. Soon there’s nothing but my hips moving, her fingers thrusting, and her mouth working where I need it most. I come in seconds with stars in my vision and a howl on my lips.

 

We collapse together on the bed, both of us breathing raggedly and hearts hammering away. She pulls me close and I let her even though I’m almost unbearably hot. We stay like that as the night moves on around us. The Clocktower is silent except for the ever present ticking. For once I find it comforting instead of just this side of insanity inducing.

 

“So now are we okay?” It takes me a moment to recognize my own voice. Barbara doesn’t answer right away, pretending to think about it. Her voice is still a little breathless when she answers.

 

“Well, if *someone* could promise sex this good every night . . .”

 

That’s all it takes and we’re laughing and releasing any lingering tension between us; letting go of the pain our fights have caused and the uncertainty and fear of where this new phase of our relationship well lead us. I consider asking if this is how she wanted us to move on, if now we’ll be happier. I don’t because I think I already know the answer. The silence returns but it’s nice now, peaceful. I let my eyes close thinking about how I’m going to wake Barbara up in a couple of hours.

 

It may be juvenile, but as consciousness slips away, I congratulate myself on scoring with a retired gymnast right before doing a good impression of passing out.

 

END










Disclaimer: I don’t own anything. Stephenie Meyer owns the characters. Just borrowing as usual.

Title: Something Blue, Something New

Fandom: Twilight

Pairing: Alice/Bella

Rating: T/PG

Author's comments: This is actually the sequel to For Money or Love that was requested. You don’t have to read that first, but I thought I’d give you the option. I may consider writing a third piece, but that is in no way a promise. Anyway, hope you enjoy it, and as always, reviews and constructive criticism are always welcome.

 

Something Blue, Something New

by adliren

 

 

 

“One hundred years. I’ve waited over a hundred years for a wedding. Do you know how many movies and TV shows I’ve watched? I never miss an episode of Bride Wars. But does anyone listen? No!”

 

“Honey, you designed the wedding dress, the bridesmaids’ dresses, the groomsmens’, or was it bridesmens’, tuxedoes. You also chose the flowers and decorations for the ceremony and the after party. I would say you put all that knowledge to good use. On this, you’re just going to have to compromise.”

 

“But he’s a wolf! At my wedding!” Esme just sighed, one of many in the past hour. She and her adopted daughter were going over the final preparations for Alice and Bella’s wedding.

 

“Yes Alice, we know, but Bella cares for him and you care for Bella. I get the felling that you would do anything to make her happy, but not this. Why?”

 

“He’s a werewolf!” Alice all but shouted, hoping she could get Esme to drop it. Unfortunately, Esme had an unbroken record of getting her to talk through her issues. Her mere presence screamed trust and understanding. So when she just looked at Alice with her soft, caring eyes, the petite vampire caved as fast as a Disney teen putting out a new line of clothing. “Fine. I just don’t like . . . thathekeepslookingatherlikeshe’sapieceofmeet.” Without vampire hearing it would have been hopeless, but Esme was also gifted in that area as well. She grabbed Alice and pulled her into a hug.

 

“Oh Alice, it will be fine. You’re the one marrying Bella tomorrow, not him. Do you really believe after everything; the wedding planning, the dress fittings, and traveling to Canada for a ceremony that she’s terrified of performing that she doesn’t love you with her entire heart?” She waited for her daughter to shake her head no. “Good. The greatest gift you can give your partner is your trust in them. Bella is a wonderful girl and you can give her this gift and trust her with it.”

 

“I know. I will.” Alice did trust Bella and would allow Jacob to the wedding, but she didn’t trust *him*. The petite vampire might not be as physically intimidating as her siblings, but one wrong move from that dog around her human and it wouldn’t be pretty . . . and everything at a wedding is supposed to be pretty.

 

***********************

 

“What do you think?” Bella’s hesitant question floated to Alice from two rooms away.

 

“You look like an angel.” The vampire growled hearing Jacob Blacks voice. “I’ve never seen anything more beautiful in my life.”

 

“Have you seen a Cullen lately, any Cullen?” Bella laughed.

 

“That’s not real beauty, Bells. You are gorgeous and human which I would take over vampire perfection any day.” Jacob sounded completely sincere. Alice was torn between liking the fact that he was soothing her nervous fiancé, or going over and ripping his head off for daring to comment on Bella’s beauty.

 

“Thanks, Jacob.” Alice knew Bella was blushing, she could almost sense the blood rushing to her face. “I know Alice will love it. She has such great taste in clothes, even if I could do with a little less lace.” Jacob coughed to cover his laugh.

 

“Well, I’m sure that was the fashion two hundred years ago.” Alice wanted to go teach the stupid wolf a lesson. She was only one hundred and eight, thank you.

 

“She not that old.” Alice wanted to cheer when Bella defended her. “She’s only like, a hundred and twenty.” The vampire considered there might need to be a talk with Bella about stopping when she was ahead. “Besides, it doesn’t matter. I love the dress and I love her.”

 

“Are you sure, Bella?”

 

“Of course I’m sure.” No hesitation, Alice sighed in relief.

 

“Okay, but it’s not just her age. You’re only 18, Bella. You’ve got your whole life ahead of you. And let’s not forget she’s a vampire. Do you really want to tie yourself down like this?”

 

Alice had had enough. In her opinion, Jacob had overstayed his welcome. Just as she moved to leave the room she heard Bella speak and paused.

 

“Jacob, you’re my best guy friend and I love you, but enough. Alice and I have thought about all of this, and we don’t have all the answers, but we have one. We both love each other and I believe with that, all the others can be solved. I don’t care how young I am or how old she is, I love her. I don’t care that she’s a vampire, I love her. That’s what matters, and if you can’t accept that, well then . . . I, um . . . I need you to leave.”

 

Alice couldn’t believe her ears. That hadn’t sounded like her Bella. That voice belonged to a mature young woman who had stood up for her beliefs even against a friend. The vampire had never been prouder of the woman Bella was becoming. There was silence in the other room for several seconds.

 

“I don’t want to leave, Bella. I just want to keep you safe.”

 

“I am safe. I’m with Alice, Jake, there is no safer place.” Alice felt the spot where her heart once beat swell with warmth. She promised herself she would never make Bella into a liar.

 

“Alright, I won’t say anything else. I think I’ll go see if Charlie can help me with this tie.”

 

“Good luck. He usually wears a clip on to work.” Alice heard laughter and then the opening and closing of a door. She desperately wanted to go to Bella. Reassure her after the talk with Jacob, but she knew it was bad luck to see the bride in her wedding dress. Instead she settled for listening to the breathing and subtle movements of her soon-to-be wife.

 

*********************

 

“Something blue . . . something new . . . something, uh . . .”

 

“Something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue.” Alice’s sing-song voice floated through the door that separated her from Bella.

 

Alice!” The vampire could hear the relief in Bella’s voice and the quick footsteps that came to the door.

 

“Don’t, Bella. It’s bad luck for me to see you before the wedding.”

 

“Okay.” Alice was suddenly overcome with a vision of Bella pressing her hands to the door, trying to get as close as possible to her. She pressed her own palms to the door and pretended she could feel the heat of her love through the wood. “Thanks. That rhyme was driving me crazy.”

 

“It was more common in my day I’m sure,” Alice stated with a small smile. Bella made a non-committal noise, and Alice could tell something was bothering her. “Bella, is there something wrong?” She tried not to let her slight panic show in her voice.

 

“It’s silly.”

 

“Please, you can tell me.”

 

“Well I was just thinking we should have all those things. You know, just in case.” Her voice was hesitant, but Alice could feel it was important to Bella. She thought for a moment before replying.

 

“Well, I’ll do for the old part, and I’m only one hundred and eight by the way,” Alice joked. “You borrowed your pearls from Renee which I’m sure look fantastic on you. You’re wearing the ribbons in your hair that I picked out right?” Blue was such a wonderful color for Bella with her brown hair and dark eyes. “Finally, there has never been a human-vampire wedding that I’m aware of, especially between two women. I think that will do nicely for something new, don’t you think?”

 

“You’re right! We’ve got everything,” Bella’s voice rang out in relief. Alice didn’t bother to ask why it meant so much to her human. If she had to guess, it was probably something to do with Charlie and Renee’s divorce. A little superstition wouldn’t hurt anything, and if it helped Bella relax, Alice was happy to oblige.

 

“I wish I could hold you right now.” Alice could hear the yearning and a bit of uncertainty in Bella’s voice. She laid her head against the door in frustration.

 

“Just a little longer, love. Then we’ll have forever.” A heavy silence came from behind the door before Bella spoke.

 

Alice . . . do you mean forever, forever?”

 

“Well I- I mean,” Alice stuttered, realizing what her frustration had caused her to reveal. She considered trying to distract Bella, but decided it wouldn’t hurt anything for the brunette to get her wedding gift a bit early. “Yes, Bella, I meant forever. I need a little more time before I’m ready, but as soon as I am; I thought I could, if you still want- I mean I could-”

 

“Yes,” Bella interrupted her stumbling confession. “I want. Thank you, Alice. You know how much this means to me.”

 

“I do. I love you, Bella Swan.”

 

“I love you, Mary Alice Cullen.”

 

Alice quickly said her goodbyes before she was tempted to do away with tradition and see Bella in her wedding dress and then shortly after, Bella without her dress. There were a few formalities that needed to be taken care of first. Tonight though, Alice was hoping to see Bella in her borrowed pearls . . . just the pearls.

 

END

FIC: Walking Away (B/H)

Disclaimer: I do not own anything, nor am I writing this for profit. The characters belong to the WB and DC comics. No copyright infringement is intended.
Fandom: Birds of Prey
Pairing: Barbara/Helena
Rating: PG
Authors Notes: Can't stay away from this pairing. This fic is not beta-ed, so any mistakes are completely my own and you've most likely seen them before. Thanks for reading. Any comments or criticism can be directed to adliren@gmail.com.



Walking Away
by adliren

**************************************



Approximately six inches.

I estimated the distance between one square on the carpet to another. Not that far, but a daunting distance for someone in my position. I slowly willed my right foot forward and walked for the first time in nine years.

*******************

No one knew. Well, I suppose the scientists and researchers knew, but they hadn't known the big picture, the driving force for all their efforts. Millions of dollars and thousands of man (or woman) hours just so one person could walk again. Sometimes I felt guilty. Still, many people would benefit from this research and I had the means thanks to Bruce's generosity. And it had paid off.

Two days ago I had been contacted by the department head I had established to research solutions to human paralysis, specifically those dealing with spinal damage. I had stopped following the research due to my duties as Oracle and the simple fact that I had given up hope several years ago. I continued to fund the program because I was too stubborn to simply let it go. I was never more grateful for my stubbornness.

And so Dr. Reitserf had contacted me, excitement clearly audible in his voice. The gist of the conversation was that if I was ready, I could walk again. Of course the treatment would need to be tested more thoroughly and eventually approved by the FDA, but there were some advantages to being the sole benefactor for the program. I would be allowed to take the treatment in a matter of days. I insisted on returning to my home after the treatment. I wouldn't allow anyone to see me if it failed. Either way, I would report the results to the team.

Now I stood stunned on the other side of the living room, having crossed the vast distance on my own two feet. I thought I should be excited, but mostly I just felt numb. I had truly never expected to walk again.

I was distracted from my thoughts by the sound of the elevator opening. My mind quickly shuffled through the possibilities, Dinah, Alfred . . . Helena- and of course it was her.

"Barbara!" Her eyes tracked right to me. It was almost comical the way her eyes widened and the look on her face. "You- you’re standing!"

"I am aware of that, Hel." I couldn't stop the smile. It felt like it would split my face.

"But how?!" I slowly and cautiously made my way back across the living room and stopped before her, her eyes following me the entire time.

"I think there are a few things I need to tell you, Helena."

******************************

It had been several days since I had first taken those few crucial steps, and I was gaining confidence by leaps and bounds. I knew I would soon be back on the streets as Batgirl, or possibly Batwoman considering my age. I spent more and more time away from the clocktower, trying out my second lease on life. I knew both Helena and Dinah were keeping a close eye on me, waiting for a sign that my miraculous recovery wouldn't last, but I proved them wrong at every turn. I noticed as I became stronger and more comfortable that Dinah cheered me on and seemed genuinely happy for each of my successes. Helena on the other hand, was outwardly supportive, but there was something lurking in her eyes that only someone who had known her as long as I had would notice. So far I had yet to figure out what it was.

They had both taken the news of my secret research fairly well. Dinah had been ecstatic, but Helena had, at first, seemed rather hurt that I hadn't confided in her. I told her I didn't want to get my hopes up and asked her to forgive me for not telling her. It seemed to work, but I wondered if the- something- that I saw in her eyes was not related. We had long ago agreed not to keep secrets from each other and I had knowingly broken that agreement. Still, I wasn't sure.

Six months after that fateful night, the first night I went out as Batwoman, I found out.

***************************

"God I've missed that." I put my grappling hook away and threw my cape down on the couch, ignoring my own rule about cleaning up after yourself in our home. I was overjoyed at the chance to take on New Gotham's criminal element with my own two fists again. I had enjoyed my time as Oracle, and I would still occasionally be the stay-at-home crime fighter I had been, but nothing could replace the satisfaction of stopping evil with your own physical presence.

"Yeah, you kicked as- butt," Canary amended seeing my look.

"You definitely still got it." Huntress added her two cents. I had taken Canary out for some training, and if I was honest, in case something had gone wrong while Helena stayed home and monitored the Delphi. It was a comfort to have her whispering in my ear even though there were too many sarcastic mutterings for my taste, but I had gotten a few good comments in myself. Being taller than Helena again was definitely a plus. I nodded to her slightly, grateful for the compliment.

"It's good to know it's still there after all these years. Why don't we celebrate? What do you think Hel, pizza and some movies?"

"Sounds great!" Dinah shouted, but I was focused on Helena. There was a look on her face I had seen many times before. I predicted she was about to blow us off.

"Can't, sorry. I've already got plans. You two go ahead though." Sometimes I hated always being right.

"Right, well, we will." My voice was steady and non-confrontational. I tried not to show her how much it hurt that she would make plans on the night of my return to crime fighting, but I more than anyone knew how inconsiderate she could be. We'd talked about it enough to last a lifetime when she was a teenager. She looked at me intently for a moment before turning to get her coat. She only spoke when she reached the elevator.

"Okay, see ya. By the way, great job, Red. It was nice to be the one calling for an ambulance for once." I flushed at her comment and she grinned. I might have gotten a little rough on my first night back. "You too, Kid." Then she was gone. Trying to keep my cheery mood I turned to my newest charge.

"Shall we order the pizza then?" The blonde girl looked at me with sympathy and I cursed, not for the first time, her ability to feel other people's emotions.

"Sure. I'll order and you pick the movies. Just nothing with blood and guts, okay?" With that, she wandered off into the kitchen to find the number. She really was a very sweet girl and I thanked my old friend again for bringing her into the world. I walked (walked!) into the living room and began the search for acceptable movies. I heard her pick up the phone as I passed over the more gory offerings, thinking it was just as well since they would only remind me of evenings spent with Helena.

****************************


The movies had played themselves out and I had woken Dinah long enough to get her into bed when I noticed the balcony doors were open. A small breeze was blowing into the clocktower as I turned to face the Delphi. Standing in front of the screen was a figure clad in black leather. I never doubted who it was, a sixth sense allowing me to identify my former charge instantly.

"Hey." The familiar voice floated over to me. "Sorry I couldn't stay. I had to take care of a few things." I knew better than to ask what things. Helena would accuse me of butting into her life, and I didn't want an argument this evening.

"That's alright. There's some left-over pizza in the fridge."

"No thanks," she grimaced. That was the first sign that something was really wrong. Helena never turned down food, especially pizza.

"Are you feeling alright, Hel?"

"Yeah, just a little nauseous. Listen, could we talk?" Helena's face was a blank mask. Only the clenching and un-clenching of her fists at her side reveled the emotions hiding underneath.

"We are talking." It was a basic defense mechanism. Somehow I knew I didn't want to have this conversation. Helena frowned then nodded her head once, decisively.

"I just want to get this over with. I'm quitting the vigilante business." That was definitely low on my list of possible responses, but not completely unexpected. I was able to respond calmly.

"Why?"

"Honestly?" There was a pause while I nodded. "I don't want to hang around here anymore," she said with a shrug.

*That* surprised me. Helena could be blunt, but this was a new level even for her.

"You don't want to hang around here anymore?" My tone contained more sarcasm than question.

"No, I don't." Helena's hands moved to her hips, her classic frustrated and angry pose. "Frankly I'm tired of it. I've been babysitting you for nine years and the kid for almost a year. Now that your back on your feet," she actually took the time to smirk, "I'm ready to head out on my own. Take on the world, be my own woman, things like that." She looked at me expectantly, waiting for my response. I simply stared at her.

My mind was a jumbled mess. So were my emotions. Logically I knew I should be enraged, and some part of me was, okay a lot of me was, but I was also shocked, confused, and extremely hurt. Shocked because even at her worst, Helena was never this cruel. Confused because I had never picked up on any hints that she might be feeling this way, at least not to the point where she would really leave. And hurt because, though I would never give her the satisfaction of knowing, her words had cut me so very deeply. I had never wanted to be a burden to anyone, least of all Helena, and she had flat out accused me of being such.

I took several deep breathes, waiting for my thoughts to sort themselves out. I studied her as I tried to control myself. Her face remained impassive, but her fists were clenched at her sides so tightly that the knuckles were bone white. Looking closely I saw a few drops of blood fall to the floor where her nails bit into her skin.

"I see." I kept my voice free of emotion. "If that's how you really feel, I think you should go. Now." Her breath hitched before she nodded once, jerkily. She didn't say anything; instead she simply climbed the stairs on her way to the balcony. As she reached for the door I called out. "Are you going to say goodbye to Dinah?"

"I'll write her a letter," drifted down to me and then she was gone.

Through sheer will I managed to keep from crying for forty-five minutes, but eventually even Batgirl couldn't hold it together. I fell to my newly functioning knees and sobbed. I had always assumed being able to walk again would make everything better. It turned out that it had somehow made it all so much worse.

*********************************

 I'm ashamed to admit that it took me two hours to realize something was wrong. I had known Helena since she was twelve years old. Yes, she was inconsiderate, broody, and maybe a bit narcissistic, but she was also one of the most caring, fun-loving, and more-often-than-not compassionate people I had ever met. Things had been rough after Selena's death and Harley Quinn, but she had found her way again after each trial. Helena was a good person who had always cared more about the people she loved than herself. I knew in my heart that Helena loved me; therefore something was very, very wrong with this situation.

I considered briefly before deciding that the best action would be to confront Helena directly. I grabbed my cape and belt before taking off from the balcony. I had a little time to think as I crossed the rooftops heading for the Dark Horse. Logic said that she was either being controlled by someone/something, or she was lying for her own reasons. The funny thing was that if she hadn't been so calculatingly cruel I probably wouldn't have suspected anything. I would have believed she just wanted some space for herself.

I admit I wasn't in the best frame of mind when I arrived at Helena's apartment. I offer that as my excuse for literally kicking down her door and, well, also I really did get a kick (no pun intended) out of using my lower extremities. I made sure to keep my senses on alert in case there was someone else involved, but everything was quiet when I entered. I was heading for the kitchen when a small noise came from the bedroom. I approached silently and looked carefully around the doorway. I needn't have bothered.

The room was in shambles. Clothes were strewn around the room; a broken suitcase was thrown in the far corner, and in the middle of the mess Helena sat whimpering quietly, tears rushing down her face. I was crouched down with my arms around her before I fully processed the scene. She turned slightly and buried her face in my neck, the collar of my shirt quickly soaked through. I felt her lips moving against my throat and pulled back so I could make out the words.

"I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry." She was repeating it over and over in a near whisper. I pulled her tighter to me and kissed the top of her head.

"It's alright, Hel. I don't understand, but it's alright." She stayed leaning against me, but wiped her face with her sleeve (normally Helena would never treat her clothes so poorly) and moved back a little.

"I was afraid you'd leave. I was gonna do it first. No one else can hurt me anymore, Barbara. Mom's dead and Bruce never cared. You were all I had left. I couldn't watch you walk away from me too." She buried her face back in my neck, and I was reminded again of the young girl, young woman really, that had become my ward so many years ago. In many ways she was still that young woman, so afraid of losing the one thing that held her together. It was my fault that I hadn't told her the same was true for me. As Dinah would point out, denial was not just a river. It was also a masked vigilante with emotional issues.

"So you thought your little temper tantrum would do the job?" Just because I now understood didn't mean I wasn't still upset. Helena could frustrate and hurt me better than anyone. She was maybe the only one who could damage me emotionally anymore. You learn to close yourself off when you have to re-learn how to go to the bathroom, and I wasn't an emotionally demonstrative person before the shooting.

"I knew you wouldn't let me go if I told you or just left. You would have tracked me down with Delphi and brought me back."

"First of all, you don't know that. If you had told me you wanted to try being on your own for a while, I would have let you go-"

"And kept tabs on me," she interrupted.

"And kept tabs on you probably," I admitted and she gave a weak grin in triumph. "But I still don't understand why you thought I wouldn't be around in the first place."

"Well, you were gone so much from the tower, even Dinah noticed, and you don't need me anymore." Her head hung down when she finished. She looked like an abused animal and I felt my heart literally ache.

"But I always came back," I tried to defend myself. "And of course I need you, Hel. I always will." This seemed to agitate her and she pulled away. I grabbed her hand before she could move away completely, and she allowed me to rest it in my lap.

"That's not true, Barbara. I was someone to commiserate with when you were getting used to . . . everything. After that I was your friend you didn't have to keep secrets from and then I was your partner in crime fighting." She paused to run a shaky hand through her hair. Then she looked me in the eyes, nothing but sincere belief in her own. "You don't need anyone to commiserate with anymore. Other people know you're Oracle now and Batgirl, err woman, and you clearly don't have problems keeping secrets from me. You don't need a crime fighting partner, but if you did there's always Canary. I know I drive you crazy. I go against your orders and deep down you still think of me as that rebellious kid that part of me is and always will be. I knew it was only a matter of time before you left or asked me to."

I considered her words carefully, acknowledging that she did have a few decent points. I kept her hand in mine, slowly running my thumb across the back of her hand, trying to soothe her and myself.

"It's true, I don't need you anymore." She started, her eyes full of pain, and I couldn't help the brief flair of pleasure at hurting her as she had so recently hurt me. We were definitely a pair, and that was our strength. "I don't *need* you, but I want you around. I always will. Yes you drive me crazy, and I hate when you disobey my orders, but you're also the only one who can make me laugh when I'm depressed. I'm pretty sure I'll be depressed again sometime in my life, Hel," I said running my hand slowly through her hair. "I find you frustrating, immature, obnoxious, narcissistic, and I couldn't love you more than I already do." She had flinched as I listed each of her faults and looked at me with such hope at the last. "You drive me crazy; I drive you crazy, but that's only because we care so much." She was crying again, and I may have shed a few tears myself.

"I tried to leave," she mumbled. "I couldn't do it."

"Neither of us is ever going to leave the other. We're a pair, Helena, a packaged deal." Her face lit up.

"Like Poptarts."

"Case and point," I muttered rubbing the bridge of my nose. Helena tentatively reached for my other hand, holding it lightly in her own.

"So, are we okay?" I sighed tiredly, but didn't pull back my hand.

"Not really. You really hurt me earlier."

"But I was just trying to-"

"I get it now," I cut her off," but I don't want to keep hurting each other like this. I need to be able to trust you not break my heart again."

"Like I trusted you to tell me about your research into paralysis?" Her eyes were hard, but she didn't remove her hands either.

"Touché." What did she wan't from me? I didn't have all the answers, dammit. We sat in silence for awhile, not moving to be closer or further apart.

"Is your heart really broken, or could it maybe be fixed if someone promised to try *really hard* to be more considerate and trustworthy?" Her hands tightened on mine, and I was reminded again why I would never leave her or let her leave.

"Well, if *someone* promised something like that, I think I could move on from this point, see where the future takes us." I gently tugged her closer and she came willingly. "Somehow, I think we've got a pretty good chance."

We enjoyed just being together for a while, but soon my legs started to cramp. It hurt like hell and I was ecstatic so I said so. Helena laughed, and together we headed back to the Tower to watch gory movies and eat cold pizza.

So my recovery didn't make everything worse, and no one ended up walking away.

Well, except Helena did limp up to her room when she tried to get back at me for calling her narcissistic and found out the hard way that I still had a devastating shin kick.


**END**

FIC: For Money or Love (Twilight)

Disclaimer: I don’t own anything. Stephenie Meyer owns the characters. I have no idea who to credit for the lines from Sabrina, but it’s all theirs. Just borrowing as usual.
Title: For Money or Love

Fandom: Twilight

Pairing: Alice/Bella

Rating: T/PG

Author's comments: Another Twilight one-shot. For those of you who are paying attention, yes I did steal a few lines from the movie Sabrina (1995). I love that film and watching it recently, this scene popped into my head. Don't ask me why, my mind is a scary and disturbing place even for me. Anyway, hope you enjoy it, and as always, reviews and constructive criticism are always welcome.

 

 

 For Money or Love
by adliren

 

 

 

************************

 

"Forks is in Washington."

 

Alice Cullen's musical voice filled the room causing the other occupant to look at her strangely. The smaller girl didn't look up, instead keeping her face buried in the book in her hands.

 

"Washington is really close to Canada."

 

"I'm aware of that, Alice. When I asked you to help me study for my Geography final, I didn't mean you needed to start from the beginning." When Alice didn't answer, Bella turned back to her notes with a slight shake of her head.

 

"But I mean, they're really close, only a couple of hundred miles from here to the border."

 

"Alice, what the hell! I'm trying to study here!" Bella immediately regretted her outburst when she saw the hurt look her girlfriend sent her. She knew she was stressing her upcoming finals, after all it was senior year and if she managed a decent report card Renee and Charlie had offered to help pay her college tuition, but that still wasn't an excuse for snapping like that. "Alice, look at me please." The dark head stayed lowered in the book. "Please." Bella slowly crawled over the carpet until she had reached the small vampire, leaning down to give a lingering kiss to her cheek. Twinkling, honey colored eyes looked back at her and she realized she'd been had.

 

"I can't believe you!" Bella shoved her girlfriend and sighed resignedly as she was the one repelled. Wrestling with Alice was never good for her self image.

 

"Sorry." Alice grimaced as Bella fell over on the floor. Leaning forward, she quickly picked her up and set her upright. "I'll help you study; I know how important this is to you." Bella looked at her suspiciously.

 

"Really?" The vampire made an x over her heart with her finger.

 

"Scout's honor."

 

"I don't think that's the right salute, baby," Bella laughed "but thanks, I appreciate it."

 

They settled down to on the floor again, Bella with her books spread around and Alice reading from her notes. Time passed slowly for Alice as she tried to help her girlfriend of one year, six months, and twenty-three days. Her mind kept going over what she wanted to say to Bella. She resisted with every breath the urge to take a glimpse into the future. She desperately wanted to know what the other girl would say, but at the same time the very thought sent cold shivers racing down her already frozen spine.

 

"Have you ever thought about . . ." Alice's sentence slowly trailed off. She wasn't ready, this wasn't the time, but she had already spoken and deep brown eyes were regarding her curiously.

 

"Have I ever, what?"

 

The vampire gave a large sigh, after taking in some unnecessary air to expel. It was now or never. Sink or swim. Do or die. Of course the last one didn't really apply to her anymore she thought with a bit of hysteria, but really it was all about the sentiment.

 

"Marry me."

 

She had said it. It had been said. Alice seriously considered passing out in relief. She was actually quite fond of the idea since it was a properly dramatic thing to do. Except Bella was looking at her like she had lost her mind and also a little bit like that time she had choked on a piece of apple and Alice had finally gotten to practice the first aid training she had begged Carlisle to teach her one summer when she had found herself entirely too bored.

 

"Alice, that’s not funny." She hadn't expected the fury that was evident in Bella's voice or the hard scowl that was directed at her.

 

"I just- I thought you could marry me for my money," Alice quickly backpedaled. "I am a very wealthy woman you know. Stock markets and interest and all that."

 

"I'm not marrying you for your money you stupid vampire." The human girl didn't seem to be calmed much by Alice's attempt at humor. She couldn't blame her really, it was horribly pathetic. Proposing was supposed to be an extravagant romantic gesture, and all she could do was blurt it out and then make inappropriate jokes. Bella was certainly worth more than that.

 

"I don't know what you think you're playing at, Alice, but I don't like it. It's not funny and I won't-"

 

"Then marry me for love."

 

Silence descended on the room in the blink of an eye. Alice couldn’t bear to look at Bella and instead kept her gaze locked on her fingers twisting nervously in her lap. Just when she had decided to sprint for the window and never again darken the other girl's second-story frame with her presence, a warm hand closed over her own. She slowly raised her eyes and looked into the face of her beloved where tears slowly leaked from the beautiful eyes. Bella cleared her throat and then managed to speak.

 

"Yes." She nodded her head forcefully, to the point where Alice feared for her safety. "I mean, I know it's crazy, that we've only really started to get to know one another and you're so much older and have so much more experience. Then of course there's the whole vampire-human thing, but I can't see my life without you any more. I want to marry you. I love you." With that, she threw herself into Alice's arms, trusting the vampire to catch and protect her.

 

"I love you too, Bella. You're all I've ever wanted and never dreamed I could have. We'll work it all out, I promise. As long as we're together that's all that matters to me." Remembering, she quickly shifted the girl in her arms, drawing something from the inside pocket of her fashionable jacket. Bella recognized it as a ring box and immediately the tears started again. "I know I should have done this better. You deserve the fancy restaurant, a ring hiding in the champagne or desert, and me being down on one knee, but I hope you can accept this knowing how much I care for you and the feelings behind it." It was an eloquent speech and Bella quickly nodded her head, unable to speak for the moment. Alice removed the large (but tasteful) ring from the box, proving that she was, in fact, a rather wealthy woman and taking the utmost care, slid it onto Bella's finger.

 

"It's gorgeous, Alice," she stated unable to take her eyes off the light reflecting on the diamond.

 

"So are you." Alice leaned down and gently kissed her hand before moving up to taste her lips. They kissed for several minutes and finally Alice laid them on the floor, Bella's weight resting comfortably on top of her. She didn't know how long they stayed that way before Bella lifted her hand and slowly traced her cheekbones.

 

"So, Canada?" The vampire let out a small chuckle.

 

"It is rather close."

 

"Close is good. That way Charlie can come. Renee and Phil will have to fly in, but that's fine. They’re always traveling anyway."

 

"And Rose can be your maid of honor," Alice remarked with a grin. Immediately Bella's face paled and her eyes darted around the room as if she were afraid that the blonde vampire was hiding somewhere in the room. Time and her relationship with Alice had not softened Rosalie's feelings towards Bella in the least.

 

"Uhh . . . well, yeah that might work." Alice laughed and took pity on her.

 

"Rose can be my maid of honor. Maybe you could ask Angela, or you could have the guys stand with you. It's not like it's going to be a traditional wedding anyway."

 

"That's true." Bella breathed a sigh of relief. "A vampire-human wedding between two women. Definitely something you don't see everyday."

 

"Very true."

 

Silence descended over the room as they continued to hold each other and enjoy the feeling of peace that enveloped them. Bella tightened her arms around Alice as, unseen to the vampire, a smirk danced on her lips.

 

"You know, you're right. I think I'll have the guys be my groomsmen . . . brides-men . . . whatever."

 

"Good for you." The smirk grew into an evil smile.

 

"Yeah, Edward and Jasper and Emmett and Jacob." Alice was nodding along until the last name when her eyes shot over to stare incredulously at Bella.

 

"No werewolves."

 

"Hey, it's my wedding. You proposed so I get to have whoever I want." The vampire looked at her quizzically.

 

"That's not a rule. Where are you getting this? Seriously, no wolves. Period."

 

"Well talk about it later," Bella said patting Alice's hair comfortingly before laying her head down and to all appearances drifting into a peaceful sleep.

 

"Bella, Bella? Are you awake?" Alice whispered, not wanting to wake her fiancé if she did indeed have the miraculous power of falling asleep instantly. When no answer was forthcoming, she wrapped her arms tighter around the other girl and prepared to spend another night as a vampire pillow. As the moon slowly rose to shine through the window, a musical whisper drifted around the room.

 

"Not gonna be any werewolves at my wedding. I've been waiting over a hundred years! Don't care who proposed. Not even a real rule."

 

The rest descended into soft muttering that blended seamlessly into the night.


FIC: Getting Out (B/H)

Disclaimer: I do not own anything, nor am I writing this for profit. The characters belong to the WB and DC comics. No copyright infringement is intended.
Fandom: Birds of Prey
Pairing: Barbara/Helena
Rating: PG
Authors Notes: This was supposed to be a short, funny bit about Helena’s obsession with a certain snack, but as usual I can’t help but address the deeper issues between these two women. Hopefully you can forgive me if it seems awkward in places. I really did set out with the best intentions.



Getting Out

by adliren



“Oracle, you have to come quickly!”

Barbara Gordon, aka Oracle, quickly sat up in her chair. She faced the multiple screens of her creation, the supercomputer Delphi, scanning for what had caused her friend and vigilante partner to call for help.

“Huntress, what’s your status?!”

“Just hurry, you have to come see!”

Barbara would have questioned Huntress more, but the connection was broken on Huntress’ end, leaving her listening to nothing but static. Taking a quick look at the GPS and noting her operative’s position, the redhead wheeled herself back from the table looking at her useless legs. Rolling to the elevator that would take her to the parking garage below New Gotham’s Clocktower, she once again cursed her disability. As Batgirl she could have been at Huntress’ position in a matter of minutes soaring across the rooftops. Instead, she would have to fight traffic in the specially modified Range Rover. Who knew what could happen to the young woman in that amount of time?

Twenty minutes later, Barbara lowered herself into her wheelchair and looked up at the glowing letters above her, Costco. After a moment of disbelief, she ran though her mental catalog of possible ways to seriously injure her friend. She was eyeing the shopping carts and wondering at the metal’s strength and flexibility when a familiar figure approached. Helena, aka Huntress, was dressed in tight black jeans and a blue t-shirt that matched her eyes, her hair going in fifteen different directions as usual.

“Barbara, you have got to check this out,” the young woman spoke giving her friend her best smile.

“What I need to check out is your head!” Barbara had long since become immune to Helena’s charms. “You dragged me out of the Clocktower when you were supposed to be working for this . . . a bulk food store!” Realizing she had begun to shout, Barbara tried to calm her breathing. Really it wasn’t the worse thing or even the most inconsiderate thing the younger woman had ever done, but she hated going out for any reason that wasn’t vital. As much as she tried to ignore it, she was a woman in a wheelchair and some things were just harder than they had once been.
 
Helena hesitated for just a moment in the face of the redhead’s anger. “Sorry, I just – you have to see this!”

“Fine!” Realizing that having Helena show her - whatever it was the brunette wanted to show her, was probably the fastest way to wrap-up this entire mess, Barbara began to wheel herself to the entrance. Helena followed at her side almost bouncing on her toes, the childlike action managing to put a grudging smile on the redheads face.

Entering the store, Helena took the lead, unconsciously clearing a path for Barbara to follow. She led them past electronics (which managed to catch Barbara’s eye), past books, past bins heaped with different types of clothing, finally reaching the food in the back. Counting the aisles, she turned into the fourth and stopped halfway down.

“Here it is.” Helena’s voice held a note of reverence, and her eyes looked upwards with awe.

Barbara, on the other hand, stared upward in disbelief. On the shelf above sat a blue box. The box read “Poptarts” in white script, and at the bottom proclaimed a ridiculous amount of the sugary rectangular food. Her gaze passed back and forth from Helena to the box several times before she closed her eyes and counted to ten, then to fifty. Then she tried meditation. Finally, she settled for finishing her daydream of the many possible uses for shopping carts and a human body which allowed her to face her younger friend with something like calmness.

“Helena, this is a box of Poptarts, albeit a very large box of Poptarts, but still merely a box of Poptarts. Please tell me that you did not blow off sweeps, have me abandon the Delphi, drive down here, and enter this temple to human consumption just so you could show me a box of Poptarts.”

For the first time since they had arrived, Helena looked away from the shelves. “Uhh  well . . . pretty much . . . yeah.”

Gritting her teeth, Barbara refrained from speaking, merely gesturing for Helena to grab the box before turning her wheelchair toward the exit. She remained silent as they purchased their one item from the zombified clerk and throughout the indignity of one of the employees checking their receipt at the door. Honestly, who would carry out a giant box of Poptarts they hadn’t paid for? She was still quiet as she and Helena entered the car, waiting for Helena to pack her wheelchair away. There was no sound as she started the car and pulled out of the parking lot.

“We could go shopping.”

Barbara slowly turned her head to look at the woman beside her. “Excuse me, Hel?” Helena glanced at her almost shyly.

“Well I just thought we’re already out, so why not have some fun.” Her blue eyes gazed at Barbara pleadingly.

“Helena, I don’t want to go shopping. I want to get home and check on the Delphi and get my lesson plans straightened out for tomorrow.” The brunette nodded her head sadly.

“Right, sorry, it’s just we haven’t done anything outside of ‘the business’ (here Helena supplied the necessary air quotes) for so long. I miss spending time with you.”

“Helena we do stuff all the time. We have responsibilities that simply won’t allow for shopping trips to the mall, but you’re at the Clocktower every weekend to watch movies anyway. We have breakfast most Sundays. What more do you want!?”

“I want it to be like before Mom died, before-” Helena quickly shut her mouth and looked out the window, but Barbara wasn’t fooled.

“Before I was shot you mean.” The younger woman let out a sigh, but didn’t look at her.

“Yeah, I guess.” She looked down at her hands resting in her lap rather than look at Barbara. “Sorry, I just miss when we used to hang out all the time.”

“We weren’t together all the time, Hel. You had school and I was working as Batgirl. I think you may be exaggerating somewhat.” Barbara tried to smile, but knew it was a sad attempt. Helena finally met her eyes, her expression serious.

“That’s not the point.” Barbara had to wonder when Helena had become the more direct of the two of them.

“No, I suppose it’s not.” Silence filled the car as Barbara focused on the road. When they entered the garage below the tower, she laid a hand on Helena’s arm, stopping her from exiting the vehicle. “If I promise to try to get out more, will you promise to try to be around more?” Helena’s face scrunched up.

“But you said I’m always around-”

“Not just watching movies,” Barbara cut in. “I mean working with Dinah, being on time for sweeps, staying out of trouble, and taking in interest in our lives. Can you do that, are you willing to do that? Because that’s what I need, Hel. I need a reason to leave the tower. Like knowing there’s someone ready to meet me halfway.” Helena was silent for period and then looked directly into her eyes.

“Alright, it’s a promise.” Barbara let out the breath she’d been holding.

“It’s a promise. We’ll go to the mall next Saturday.”

“But, that’s five days away! I’ll be old and crippled by then!” The older woman rolled her eyes and started the process of getting out of the car while Helena unloaded.

“Shut up, Hel. I should have made you promise to tone down the melodramatics.”

“You like my melodramatics. It’s one of better qualities.”

“I actually happen to agree, but only because there aren’t that many to choose from.” Helena motioned her into the elevator with one hand, her face a mask of indignation.

“Why did I want to go shopping with you?” Barbara didn’t bother to reply, simply smiling benignly at the woman next to her. As they neared the top of the Clocktower, however, she thought it necessary to make one last point.

“Helena?”

“Hmm . . .”

“If you ever drag me out to help you purchase a carton of Poptarts again, I will do terrible things to you with a shopping cart.” With that, she calmly rolled out of the elevator leaving a fuming and slightly nervous Huntress in the elevator alone with her box of Poptarts.
 

FIC: Edward's Girl (one-sided Alice/Bella)

Disclaimer: I do not own anything, nor am I writing this for profit. The characters belong to Miss Meyer. No copyright infringement is intended.
Fandom: Twilight
Pairing: Bella/Alice
Rating: PG
Authors Notes: This is my first Twilight fic and I’m not sure I should have started out with Alice’s point of view. She is a rather difficult character for me to write and was maybe a bit too ambitious. Anyway, I guess you would have to call this a songfic, but it didn’t start that way. Enjoy.


Edward’s Girl
by adliren



People were always describing me as bouncy, playful, or heaven forbid, chipper, and generally I have to agree with them. I really am a glass half-full kinda girl. I tend to go with the flow and speak my mind.

“And she’s watching him with those eyes”

My fingers moved quickly over the threads in my hands faster than the human eye could follow. The orange and brown sweater was coming along nicely if I do say so myself. It would look wonderful with her eyes and coloring.

“And she’s lovin’ him with that body, I just know it.”

I paused to turn up the small radio in my room. I loved this song. Even that pop cover wasn’t so bad. You just can’t kill a classic.

“Yeah ‘n’ he’s holding her in his arms late, late at night”

I added my voice to the music as I knitted away the night-time hours. They didn’t used to seem so long, but now that my latest obsession sleeps at least eight hours a day I was trying to find creative uses for my time. I don’t do the whole sit and brood thing well. That was more Edward’s or Jasper’s thing. I was always the more, ugh, chipper one.

Of course lately I’ve had reasons for brooding. It’s not everyday that you’re in a position to break your little brother’s heart - or that you want to so badly that you almost don’t care if you do.

The knitting was also keeping me from making a decision. No decisions equals no premonitions and no un-happily ever after endings. Believe me; they’re out there waiting to get you. One wrong decision and bam, everything’s in ruins. I’m energetic and bubbly all the time because I can’t afford not to be. It’s better than crying all the time. If I could still cry that is. So yeah, on with the knitting.

“You know, I wish that I had Edward’s girl”

I laughed to myself bitterly as I sang the words. They were true and I couldn’t admit it to anyone. Any member of my family would have condemned me for coveting what was so clearly the love of my brother’s life, and Edward did deserve to be happy. He’d been waiting so long, but dammit, why did it have to be Bella. Bella who called to me in a way no one ever had, even Jasper.

“I wish that I had Edward’s girl!”

Everyone else was out hunting so I let myself go and almost screamed the words, letting the bass and guitar pulse around me.

But the truth was I would never have Bella, not the way I wanted. I would have a friend, and when Edward finally got around to changing her I would have another sister. I needed to forget Bella Swan and move on with my life - or life after death as it were. That was my decision and I would stick to it somehow.

“I want, I want Edward’s girl”

My hands dropped into my lap with the yarn pooling at my feet as a vision filled my head. The next song on the radio was going to be “Letting Go” by Straight Lines.

“They say that if you love somebody, you’ve got to set them free
And if you really love somebody, you’ve got to let them be”

I sighed and gathered my knitting. Slowly a small smile tugged at my lips as the opening strains of the 80’s song filled the room. The next song was “I’ll Be Waiting” by Lenny Kravitz after this ode to hopeless love. The DJ had just made up his mind.

“And the hardest part of love is letting go”

The sweater really was coming along nicely. It might even be done before she had to go to school. If not, when she comes home it’ll be here waiting for her, just like me.

FIC: A Different Way of Thinking 12

What it Means to Be a Hero

 

Part 2: A Different Way of Thinking (12)

By adliren





Barbara resolutely kept her attention focused on the plasma screen, praying desperately that Helena couldn’t hear how fast her heart was beating. The furtive sideways glances the brunette kept throwing at her were not making things easier however.

 

Barbara was feeling decidedly . . . different. She wasn’t sure how else to describe it. Analyzing her feelings had never been one of her talents. Computer algorithms, criminal motivations, complex metaphors of 18th century English literature – yes; her own emotional state – no.

 

But she did feel different . . . in a good way.

 

As Rhett and Scarlett raced through a burning Atlanta in front of her, Barbara swore she could feel the heat of Helena’s body soaking into her skin. Her breath became shorter, and there were tingles racing over the flesh of her upper body. With surprise, she realized she was amazingly, devastatingly aroused.

 

When she was Batgirl, she had often been . . . amorous after a night on the streets, and she wanted to assume this latest manifestation was simply a result of their battle with the Monk, but sitting next to Helena, tracing the lines of her neck and the concealed swell of her breasts under her sweatshirt, Barbara was forced to admit that the brunette was definitely having an effect.

 

An effect that apparently hadn’t gone unnoticed.

 

Helena had turned and was facing her, an unreadable look in her dark blue eyes. Eyes which Barbara suddenly found herself lost in.

 

Even as she thought it, Barbara knew she was being ridiculous. This wasn’t some dreadful romance novel, and they weren’t two women meeting for the first time, recognizing a mutual attraction. It was simply Helena looking at her, whom she had known for almost thirteen years. There was simply no reason for her to be acting this way.

 

Except she couldn’t deny that she was, and if she was to be honest, she didn’t really want to. It had been so long since she had responded this way to anyone, but now she was afraid to take the next step – figuratively speaking. The potential for disaster was . . . daunting.

 

Helena, I think . . .”

 

“Barbara are you . . .”

 

Barbara quickly closed her mouth, more than willing to let Helena take the lead this time. She tried to make her features open and curious, and was rewarded with a small smile.

 

“I was just wondering if you’re really okay.” Helena was shifting nervously on the cushions and she didn’t quite meet Barbara’s eyes. “I know how hard it must have been with . . . everything . . . but, I . . . you’re acting kinda different. Not in a bad way,” the brunette quickly rushed to reassure her. “Just different.”

 

Helena looked unsatisfied with her own explanation, and Barbara gingerly reached out to grasp her hand, relieved when the younger woman seemed to welcome the touch.

 

“I think I understand, Helena. I can’t say that I have an answer, though. I think . . . I think I’m just finally starting to accept some things about myself.” Here Barbara paused, trying to work up the courage to reveal the rest. The memory of Helena’s own confession forced her to continue. “And about my feelings for you.”

 

She had clearly shocked the brunette. Helena’s eyes were wide, her mouth partially open in surprise, and Barbara could see her teeth – no fangs she noted with relief.

 

Helena, I almost lost you tonight, but I think I was losing you even before the Monk ever came to New Gotham. That night, when you told me how you felt, I was so shocked and defensive. I didn’t know how to react, and in the end I did what I thought I should do. I thought you wanted to . . . be with me, so that’s what I offered.”

 

Helena’s eyes were suddenly wounded. “So you didn’t want to . . .”

 

“No! I did. I . . . still want to.” Barbara took a deep breath. That had been harder than she’d anticipated.

 

“Why?”

 

Green eyes blinked behind her glasses. “Why what, Hel?”

 

“Why do you want to sleep with me? Is it just because you want to make me happy, or because you think you should? Because no matter how much I want you . . . and I really, really do . . . I don’t think I could live with that.”

 

Helena was starring fixedly at the floor, and her eyes were so sad, that Barbara wanted to roll over to the nearest wall and beat her head against it. How could she have screwed things up so badly?

 

Helena, please look at me.” When watery blue eyes rose to meet hers, Barbara continued. “I love you.”

 

Barbara waited patiently as the silence stretched between them.

 

“Uh, I love you too,” Helena added uncertainly after several minutes.

 

“I know you do, Hel, but perhaps what I meant to say is that I’m in love with you. That’s my answer.”

 

Barbara watched with a certain amount of satisfaction as Helena tried to absorb this.

 

“You love me?” Helena’s face was achingly hopeful and Barbara couldn’t help but reach over and rest her palm on a smooth cheek.

 

“Yes, Hel.”

 

Moments later, Barbara was unprepared for the laughter that seized the brunette. It left Helena doubled over and gasping for breathe while the older woman regarded her in bemusement.

 

Eventually, Helena managed to get herself under control. “I’m sorry Barbara. I was just expecting something else.”

 

Barbara felt a momentary panic. “I know it wasn’t as lengthy or as elegant as your confession Helena, but I promise you, it’s how I really feel.”

 

“I know Barbara, that’s why it means so much.” Helena was looking at her with love and a mischievous twinkle shining clearly in her eyes. “I was just prepared to get out the dictionary.”

 

Barbara laughed, feeling it echo through her entire body, even the parts she could no longer feel. “Sometimes, Helena, brief and to the point is the best way to go.”

 

Helena’s eyes sparked to gold, and Barbara was given a second to wonder what she’d said before satin lips were covering her own, and she was simply lost in sensation.

 

************************************************************************

 

Helena wasn’t exactly sure when they made it to the bedroom. Somewhere in the back of her mind, she realized that she must have picked Barbara up and carried her through the clock tower, but for the life of her she couldn’t remember when. Since she had been making an effort to be more responsible lately, she made a mental note to get the redhead’s chair at some point.

 

When Barbara’s fingernails raked a line on either side of her spine from the tops of her shoulders down to her hips, Helena figured she may not survive to carry out her good intentions - which left Red in an awkward position, what with having to dispose of her body without access to her wheelchair.

 

Helena, are you alright?”

 

Barbara’s voice was loud in her ear, the redhead’s lips brushing against the sensitive organ with each syllable.

 

“Yeah, I’m fine . . . great.”

 

That was such a lie. She was overloading. Every cell in her body was humming and demanding that she simply satisfy her needs in the quickest way possible.

 

Helena jerked away from the arms loosely surrounding her, and tried to take a moment to think. While her brain spun in furious circles, she realized that not only had they made it to the bedroom, they had also managed to lose their clothes without her noticing.

 

All thought in the brunette’s head came to a screeching halt. She could only gaze at Barbara in the center of the bed, naked, lying half under her, without clothes, red hair spread out on the blue pillowcase, wearing nothing.

 

Helena started to move forward again, not sure what tempting bit of flesh she was aiming for, just knowing that she needed to start tasting somewhere, when two strong hands griped her biceps, halting her progress. She felt a small growl rumble through her chest and echo ominously through the bedroom.

 

Helena, it’s alright. We can take our time.” Barbara’s green eyes were warm and serious.

 

Helena pushed experimentally against the hands holding her, finding they gave easily. Barbara wasn’t really resisting.

 

“If this is what you need, Hel, we’ll do it your way. Just tell me what you want me to do.”

 

Like always, Barbara was offering her anything she needed. Obviously the older woman still hadn’t realized that *she* was everything Helena needed. She always had been.

 

“Talk to me.” The words were a broken whisper forced past the arousal and fear clogging her throat.

 

“Hel?” Barbara’s hands were now running up and down her arms in a light caress, making it hard for the brunette to think.

 

“Just . . . keep talking to me. I . . . your voice.”

 

In her relatively short life, the brunette had had many casual sexual encounters. She’d used them as a way to keep from exploding from all the repressed feelings she had never been able to share with the one person she truly wanted. But all those times were merely physical. Few words were exchanged, and none had contained any tenderness.

 

Even her dreams were silent, the ones that had haunted her since she had first met and fallen in love with a certain redhead. She might cry out, and beg, and whisper her devotion, but never her dream lover.

 

“I’m right here, Hel. Stay with me . . . you feel so amazing.”

 

But this wasn’t some one night stand, or a dream sent to torture her. This was Barbara, whose voice had always guided her and kept her safe, now loving her with passion and skill.

 

At some point, the words themselves stopped registering. There was only a murmur threading through Helena’s ears and heart, keeping her grounded while Barbara’s hands and lips and tongue threatened to send the younger woman flying apart.

 

When Barbara finally settled between her legs, concentrating on the brunette with all the focus she brought to everything that mattered in her life, this time the beloved voice didn’t draw her back from the edge, it sent her plummeting over the side in ecstasy.

 

************************************************************************

 

“So . . .”

 

Barbara ran her fingertips lightly over Helena’s back, marveling at perfect skin that slid provocatively under her hands.

 

“So what?”

 

Helena was lying face-down on the bed, luxuriating under the gentle touches. For Barbara, it worked out perfectly. The brunette obviously enjoyed the attention, and she got to experience all that tan skin that Helena insisted on displaying so casually.

 

“So, who was right?”

 

The dark head lifted enough for one cerulean eye to regard her incredulously. “Are you serious?”

 

Barbara raised one crimson eyebrow. “Of course. I told you your meta-abilities wouldn’t be a problem. I just think we should acknowledge that I was right.”

 

“Has anyone ever told you that you have serious control issues?” Helena dropped her head back onto one of Barbara’s ergonomic foam pillows with a muffled thump.

 

The older woman’s lips curved in a completely unrepentant smile. “On several occasions.”

 

Helena’s response was a muffled snort. Seconds later, blue eyes were once again regarding her, and Barbara noted the mischievous gleam with a certain trepidation.

 

“So what about what I was right about?”

 

It took Barbara a moment to work through the sentence, but once she finally grasped the meaning, she was still puzzled – and slightly offended on behalf of English teachers everywhere.

 

“Hel?”

 

Barbara watched with fascination as Helena’s eyes began to shift. “You said that you wouldn’t be able to . . . and I said that you would.” The younger woman’s tone was prompting as she regarded her steadily through eyes that were more gold than blue.

 

Barbara felt herself blush, knowing it was ridiculous at this point. “Yes, well . . . I guess we were both wrong about certain, uh, fears.”

 

“Yep.” Helena was still looking at her with those amazing eyes, and Barbara could feel her blush start to migrate down to her chest. “But you know? We should probably make sure.”

 

“Oh.” This sounded promising. One could never do enough research.

 

“Yeah. I think we should do some more . . . investigating, just to make sure we didn’t miss anything.” As she finished speaking, Helena’s hands began to wander over Barbara’s stomach and sides, casually yet tenderly, mapping the scars that were so much a part of the older woman.

 

Barbara thought it was highly unlikely that Helena had missed any part of her body in the last several hours. Helena had been very . . . thorough, even with areas the redhead could no longer feel. Of course that hadn’t kept Barbara from feeling a hell of a lot – twice.

 

“Hmm.” Her hands began to move with a little more purpose over the brunette’s back, stroking from the base of her neck, down the column of her spine, over the swells of her butt, and further to the backs of her knees. A smothered purr vibrated under her hands, prevented from escaping by the pillow pressed against Helena’s face.

 

“Thank you Hel, for giving me a second chance.”

 

Helena turned over, bringing them face to face so their lips could meet in a tender kiss that before tonight, Barbara wouldn’t have expected from the younger woman. “Thanks for taking it. I know I didn’t say it very well last time, but I love you Barbara.”

 

“You said it just fine, Hel.”

 

For several charged moments, they simply looked at each other without moving. Barbara noticed Helena was staring into her eyes quite fixedly, a small furrow appearing between her eyebrows.

 

Helena, is everything okay?”

 

Helena glanced away sheepishly. “Uh, sorry. I was just trying to figure out what that particular color means.” Her confusion must have been clear, since Helena quickly tacked on, “Your eyes.”

 

Barbara felt her smile stretch across her face. She pulled the other woman to her, fitting their bodies together easily, cherishing the new connection between them.

 

“It means I’m in love, Hel.”

 

************************************************************************

 

It seemed strange after the night they’d just spent to be sitting in the tower with the sun streaming in through the clock face.

 

Dick shook his head at his own musings. He’d thought by now he’d be used to the dichotomies that made up his life, but some days it just hit harder than others.

 

Of course it might have something to do with the fact that this time the enemy had been a bit . . . different. Still, the threat had been neutralized and they were all safe. In the end, that’s what was important.

 

Looking at the two teenagers sitting together on the couch, he was impressed with how much his family had grown since he had moved back to Gotham. He may have lost his mentor and father figure to this city, but it had given him four amazing women to even out the scales. Not that he would ever admit that, especially to Helena.

 

Gabby and Dinah were pressed tightly against each other, and Dick forcibly tried to keep from rolling his eyes. It was obvious they would rather be somewhere else, but this was the time Barbara had specified for the meeting. So far, however, neither she nor Helena had arrived.

 

Dick wasn’t concerned exactly; he just wasn’t sure what to make of Barbara’s uncharacteristic tardiness. He didn’t even bother to speculate why Helena hadn’t shown.

 

“Where are they, anyway?”

 

Dick quashed a tiny thrill of satisfaction that Gabby’s patience had run out before his own. He really was too competitive for his own good.

 

The opening of a door drew their attention, and they all watched, stunned, as Helena exited Barbara’s bedroom wearing nothing but bikini briefs and a tank top. The brunette shot a glance in their direction before she continued on her way past them to the kitchen. Seconds later she froze. When she turned back to face them, she looked slightly sick and her smile was obviously forced.

 

“So, uh . . . hey. Exactly how long have you guys been here?”

 

Dick found his voice first. “Not long.”

 

Helena waved her hands animatedly. “Good, good.”

 

“Don’t forget the water, Hel.”

 

Helena twitched as Barbara’s husky voice penetrated from the bedroom.

 

“Looks like things are ‘good’ for you too,” Dick couldn’t help but add, even as he cringed as the words left his mouth.

 

The shy smile and softly muttered “yeah” went a long way towards erasing any jealously he might have felt though. Barbara had obviously made her choice, and as long they were both happy, he would support them.

 

Helena looked around for anything to stop the knowing looks from Dick and the shared smiles between Gabby and Dinah. She found the perfect distraction in the form a weapon sitting in the middle of the coffee table.

 

She raised one eyebrow in confusion. “Is that a crossbow?”

 

Dinah quickly jumped in. “Yeah, isn’t it awesome. Gabby used it to take out the vampires.” More to herself she muttered, “I still can’t believe they were real vampires.”

 

Helena nodded her head to other blonde. “Nice. I’ve always wanted to learn how to use one of those.”

 

Helena what’s going on?” Barbara’s next question came in a slightly anxious voice. “Who are you talking too?”

 

Helena raised her voice. “Uh, no one.” The brunette turned back to her audience. “So yeah . . . do you think you guys could come back later? Like, say, tomorrow?”

 

Dick thought about refusing, but the pleading look from blue eyes so similar to his mentor’s did him in. Giving a small nod, he quickly ushered the two teenagers to the elevator, leaving his friends to their privacy. Just once, their mission could wait.

 

Things were obviously going to be more interesting around the clock tower from now on. Strangely, he found he was looking forward to it.

 

Helena watched the elevator descend, and then headed into the kitchen, grabbing two bottles of water and a package of poptarts. On her way back, she hesitated, her fingers literally itching to try out the archaic weapon.

 

Shaking her head she continued toward the bedroom. She had something much more exciting to get back to, and a lot of wasted time to make up for.

 

 

************************************************************************

 

 

End Part Two: A Different Way of Thinking