Chapter 12 – Katarina Novolski

Helena slowly regained consciousness.  She groggily raised her hand to shield her eyes as light from the rising sun grew in intensity.  A gentle, chilly breeze caressing her skin and hard, cold metal against her back prompted a shiver and curiosity.  Blinking, she looked around to survey where she was - on a metal box surrounded by a wide expanse of water all around her.  Slowly sitting up, she winced at the stiffness of her entire body.  Finally, her exhausted brain put the pieces together; she was on a cargo ship, with no land on the horizon.


She was unlikely to get home soon, too tired to fly at the moment.  Well, at least she hadn’t become fish food, she thought.

Hearing someone on the deck below, she quickly realized she was exposed just sitting dumbly on top of a stack of cargo crates in the brightening daylight.  With some effort, she marshaled the needed energy to silently slip down between the stacked crates and out of sight, concluding the Captain and his crew might not appreciate an unexpected visitor just showing up in the middle of the ocean.  And she really did not want to explain that she flew here.  Her eyes widened with alarm as she noted a man with a machine gun, roaming about the deck. 

Must be some important cargo, she considered as her stomach growled.  Loudly. 

“Who’s there!?!” the man shouted, coming cautiously closer, holding his weapon at the ready. 

Fuck!  Helena silently cursed and tried to quietly retreat and have time to assess the situation.  If she were not so damn tired, she would gladly have just flown away and gone home.

Carefully backing up between the crates away from the man, she suddenly felt the barrel of a weapon against her back.  “Move and I shoot.  You understand??” Another male voice barked, roughly poking her with the weapon for good measure.

“Yes,” Helena said, rolling her eyes with an annoyed sigh, lifting her hands up in defeat as her stomach growled again.


Four armed men escorted Helena to the ship’s mess deck, the biggest room for a gathering.  The one leading the armed pack looked like the oldest, with a mean, weathered face and thinning grey hair topped with a Captain’s hat with a most notable pistol holstered on his hip.  The rest wore heavy sweaters and some knit caps.  She supposed they were some sort of merchant marines.  But she didn’t recall merchant marines being so heavily armed.

Of course, the ship she happened upon would be the one running contraband with a little army onboard, she considered with irritation that quickly changed to curiosity.  Did that make them pirates???  She never would have guessed she’d be dealing with pirates in her line of work.  Though they were pretty lame pirates – not one of them had an eye patch and she was pretty sure they didn’t have a parrot.

They shoved her into a chair, and she let them, knowing there would be less chance of injury if she was more rested and fed before engaging them…and that Barbara would be really pissed if she got shot again. 
Glancing at the guy binding her to the arms of the chair, then to the three others glaring at her, she asked with mild annoyance, “Where are the cooks?” as she realized the kitchen was empty of hot food – and it was breakfast time! 

She did find an interesting bowl of protein bars at the end of the metal counter.  Though she wouldn’t choose them if she had a choice, she’d take pop tarts of course, but right now she wasn’t fussy; she was just tired and ridiculously hungry.  She considered that she should start bringing a candy bar or something with her on sweeps and missions.  Though bulging pockets of candy might ruin the sexy lines of her outfit.  A utility belt might be one option….

The surprised men glanced at their Captain, whose eyes narrowed with anger that their captive did not clearly appreciate the gravity of the situation.

“Who are you?”  The Captain-hatted man growled, trying for intimidation.

“Where am I?” Helena countered, glancing around.

“You boarded a ship and don’t know which one?” the leader asked incredulously.

“I wasn’t planning on coming here,” Helena said honestly.

“Hey, Jack, do you think the boss sent her with us to keep an eye on the goods?” the redheaded man with poorly kept beard eagerly asked. 

“Shut your pie-hole, idiot,” the youngest man, a dirty blond with a nose that had been on the losing side of too many fights, hissed.

Helena mentally groaned, her suspicions confirmed.  Why she couldn’t have run across a cruise ship?  THEY had tons of food.  And alcohol, which she thought she was more than entitled to after the day she had had.  Was it too much to ask for a fucking break!?!

“Who the hell are you?!?” he blurted at her vague answer.

“A tired traveler looking for a ride?” she said with a tired smile that was quickly erased by a backhand to her face.

“Hey!  Is that anyway to treat a guest??”

“I don’t know where you hid,” Jack blurted and glared at his men, who he assumed were unsuccessful with policing the ship for such intruders, “but you are a stowaway.  Maritime law would give me the right to shoot you right now,” the leader spoke with a slight smile; it was clear he’d enjoy it.

“You can legally detain me for being a stowaway, but I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to call law enforcement, not execute someone who’s in no position to do anything to harm you,” she said innocently, wiggling her arms against the tie wraps that bound her to the chair to emphasize the point.

“Are you a fucking cop?” A redheaded man interjected anxiously, stepping closer and waving his pistol more threateningly at her, getting a glare from the leader for speaking out of turn.

“Do I look like a cop?” she offered and looked down her leather outfit then back at them with a mildly offended look. 

“No,” the redheaded man responded sheepishly.

“Enough!  We’ve got a shipment to deliver on time or the boss man will have an excuse to short-change us.  Shoot her,” the gray-haired leader said dismissively, and turned to leave the mess decks.

The blond man spoke up. “Skipper, can’t we have a little fun first?” he asked eagerly, quickly looking over her fine body with a smirk.

The Captain paused his departure with a frown. “You better get your work done.  I’ll be on the bridge.  We had better get to New Gotham in five hours.  Or I’ll be target practicing on you lot, ” he said gruffly and left.

After a few quiet moments of uneasiness with the remaining men, the redheaded sailor noted, “That wasn’t a no,” as he looked over Helena’s body hungrily.

“Hey!  It was my idea.  I go first,” the young blond man complained.

“Shut it, junior, I’m the senior of the three of…,” the black man growled.

“Guys!” Helena interrupted, then smiled tightly when their eyes were on her.  “Excuse me, but can I have some food first?  Last meal and all?  And to stop my stomach from growling,” she said in a resigned tone, her stomach punctuating the odd request by a loud sound from her gut.

“That is kind of gross,” the black man acknowledged with a grimace.  Helena rolled her eyes.

The three glanced at each other an uncertain moment then with agreeing shrugs, the redhead closest to the bowl of protein bars grabbed a few in his thick hand and walked towards Helena.  He paused in front of her, eyeing her warily. 

“You could feed me…or free a hand,” Helena suggested.  “Up to you…clearly,” she added, feigning discomfort when she eyed the weapons pointed at her.

“I ain’t feeding you, bitch,” the redheaded man snarled at the demeaning thought and tossed the bars into her lap to untie one hand.

Helena looked at the three men who were watching her very closely as the tie wrap was cut, freeing her hand.  She smirked and took the opportunity to make a show of her consumption.  Running a finger seductively over a bar before picking it up caused the young blond thug to swallow excitedly and shift on his feet.  She picked up the bar and, in spite of her gnawing hunger, slowly tore open the wrapping with her white teeth.  Biting into the chocolate protein bar she emitted a loud “Hmmm” which was not entirely a show; the food was appeasing her very unhappy stomach.  She made a similar show of the second bar and as she started to eat the third, the men grew impatient.

“You’ve got a hell of an appetite, bitch,” the blond man blurted with a frown.

“You have no idea,” she responded seductively as she opened her third bar.  “But I would prefer pop tarts.”

 “Stop stalling!”  the redheaded goon snarled.  “Meal time is over.  We’re going to have some fun now,” he eyed her with a moment of hesitation.

“Trying to figure out how to handle me, hmmm?”  Helena asked innocently.  “My question for you is, do you really think you can…” she eyed him in challenge, angering him.

The redheaded goon stood in front of her chair and put his pistol down on the table before rubbing himself rudely to show her what was coming.  As he reached for his belt, he suddenly found himself on his back, nursing a broken nose. 

In concert with the sudden head-butt, Helena swiftly stood with one arm still tied to the chair and snatched the rifle from the surprised blond thug with her free hand.  In a violent but graceful arc, she swung the butt of the rifle at the black thug, nailing him in his temple, rendering him unconscious.  As he crumbled to the deck, she dropped the weapon and grabbed the chair with both hands as she swirled around, whacking the blond guy with the chair, which broke apart.  As the blond goon fell unconscious, she noticed the redheaded jerk scrambling up and grabbing for his pistol.

Without hesitation, she smashed the chair arm over his hand and broke it, causing the man to cry out in more pain and drop to the floor, cradling his injured limb with a whimper. 

“Guess you just learned the hard way - you can’t handle me,” she growled before knocking him unconscious. 

After tying them up, she started for the exit where the leader, Jack, had left.  Suddenly, she stopped.  Her eyes on the immediate target, she darted towards the bowl of protein bars.  Scooping a few, she quickly shoved a couple in her duster’s pockets.  To hell with the unflattering bulges, she considered, and started munching on one as she jogged out of the mess hall.


Helena found herself on deck again, carefully navigating around the cargo containers in case there were more armed goons patrolling.  Wondering what kind of cargo warranted such heavily armed protection, she stopped in front of one container.  After a glance around to determine the coast was clear, she grabbed the chain and lock and gave it a healthy pull, causing a weak link to deform and open up.  She quickly looked around for patrols.  Satisfied, she carefully put the chain down and opened up the container to find it packed with wooden crates.


Not in the mood to break a nail or get a splinter, she reluctantly backed out of the container and was intercepted by another roving watch.  “Stop right there!” the man nervously pointed his weapon at her.

“Well, when you put it that way,” she said, lifting her hands up in mock surrender before she swiftly stepped to the side and grabbed his rifle, abruptly shoving it at his face.  Hard.  He crumbled to the ground, unconscious.

A rifle shot rang out, nicking Helena in the shoulder.  Her hand reflexively went to her wound as she sought cover and exhaled a pained hiss followed by a soft curse.  Barbara was going to be pissed.

Another shot rang out, pinging against the metal crate she quickly moved behind.

She glanced around the crates then to the water with a frown.  Her strength had returned enough to fly but even if she managed to get off the boat without getting shot, she wasn’t sure where land was.  And she wasn’t sure she was strong enough to keep going until she found some.  The last thing on her to-do list was passing out and drowning. 

More shots rang out, each hitting the crates near Helena.  Too close, she considered worriedly.


She heard the sound of a jet engine coming towards them before she saw what she never would have considered a beautiful sight before now – the batplane.

“Huntress?  Are you there?”

A big smile filled her face as the plane’s engines turned and the craft hovered over the deck.

“Roger that, Nightwing,” she said.  “What the hell took you so long?”

He chuckled, expecting as much.  “Your GPS doesn’t seem to be working.  But the sensors picked up gunshots and somehow I knew you were involved.  Don’t tell me - you’re actually happy to see me?” he joked.

“There’s a first time for everything.”  She said but couldn’t keep the smile off her face.  Even with the continued gunfire directed at her.

“Now why am I not surprised to find you in the middle of the ocean being shot at,” he said, shaking his head.  Flipping on the heat sensor, the small screen in the cockpit showed more people coming onto the deck.  “You’ve got more company coming to the party.”

The shooting increased; shots were shared between the batplane, which bounced off the bulletproof hull, and the non-bulletproof Huntress.

“Can you pop the cockpit so I can catch a ride?  I’m not up to par at the moment,” she admitted.

“You think you’re bulletproof now too?” he said with a bit of irritation for her recklessness.

“Recent experience would indicate I’m not,” she said, gingerly touching near her wound as shots continued to ricochet against the metal containers near her.

“How bad,” he said with concern.

“Just a nick.  I can fly up to you but I was hoping you had some sort of bat-gadgetry to help cover my escape.”

“Oh,” he said uncomfortably, knowing he shouldn’t have assumed the worst about Helena.  “Right.  Smoke bombs coming up.”


As promised, golf ball-sized pellets were shot down, immediately exploding into a thick cloud of smoke enveloping the deck, the gunmen, and Helena.  Dick flicked a switch on the dashboard and the cockpit canopy popped up and slid back.  After a few moments, his eyes widened at the surreal sight of Helena floating in front of the plane.  He watched, amazed as she slowly drifted above and climbing into the back seat.

“Wow,” he honestly said.

“It’s pretty cool when I’m not crashing into things,” she said with a small smile.

Dick chuckled, knowing of her difficulties.

“Seems like you’re getting the hang of it,” he offered, glancing down at the deck where the smoke was dissipating.

“Hmm.  Is it me, or do these guys seem like bad guys?” She said as gunfire continued, though less aggressively as the men fumbled around in the thick fog.

“I was getting that impression.  Let me look up the registry for the good ship, Katarina Novolski.”

“This plane is kind of cool.  Lots of buttons,” Helena said, looking closely at the many buttons and switches on the backseat console.

“Careful you don’t drop a bomb on them,” he said absently, calling up the information on his computer.

“Would that really be such a bad thing?  I mean they just start shooting at you without getting to know you.  At least they should get to know you first,” she offered.

“I don’t think there are too many criminals who care about etiquette,” he said.

“Hey, mom did!”

“With the exception of your mother, of course,” Dick said smoothly.  “Interesting.”


“You don’t happen to know why those goons are shooting at us over cargo belonging to Daley Imports?”

Helena’s eyes widened with surprise.  “Ha!  I knew it!”

“Knew what?”

“Obviously these guys are embarrassed by their ugly furniture,” she said with authority.

“Huh???”  Sometimes he really hated talking with Helena.

“Barbara thought there might be some drug importing going on with them but we didn’t find evidence,” Helena said.  “I bet we’d find some now,” she said with a satisfied smile, looking down at the deck that was still partially obscured by the thinning cloud of smoke.

“Perhaps it’s time for our Coast Guard friends to pay them a visit,” Dick said, sending out a message to his contact in the service, followed by one to the Clock Tower.

Found Helena a little banged up on a cargo ship.  I’m taking her home now.  She’s probably very hungry.  Hope the kitchen is stocked.

Chapter 13 – Moving Forward

“Yes!!!!”  Dinah cried out excitedly as she read the screen.  Bolting up from her chair, she ran towards Barbara’s bedroom shouting, “Dick found her!  Dick found her!”

Jim and Alfred emerged from the kitchen and watched Dinah bound up the stairs, two at a time.  Glancing at each other, Jim sighed with relief.  “Thank God.”


Dinah rushed into the bedroom and repeated her news.  “She’s alive and coming home, Barbara!!  She’s coming home!!!”

Barbara turned to look at her not sure she could believe the unlikely news.  “Wh…where was she?” 

“She was on a cargo ship!” Dinah gushed, seeing the surprise on Barbara’s face, she added, “I know, right?!?” She giggled.  “Oh!  I should help Alfred prepare her some food or something. Dick said she’s very hungry!”  She started to leave but hesitated.  “He also said she’s a little banged up,” she said with a little worry.  “I’ll get the medical kit ready for you and Alfred can do the food without me… of course – duh.  This is so GREAT!” She blurted excitedly and left Barbara’s room.

Barbara stared at the doorway where Dinah departed.  After a few moments, she saw her father in the doorway.  They looked at each other in silence for a moment.  “You ok, honey?” Jim asked his daughter.

She blinked and absently nodded before plastering on a smile.  “Now I am.”

He eyed her a skeptical moment then nodded.


From her bedroom, Barbara could hear the squeals of delight from Dinah that almost rivaled the Black Canary’s.  They were here, she considered; a numbness had settled upon her prevented relief or happiness.  Many long moments passed before she finally heard the familiar voice she had longed to hear.

“Barbara?” Helena called softly.

Barbara shut her eyes.  Helena was actually here.  Her numbness started to fade away as her ache welled up.  The person that meant everything to her had survived.

Helena looked at her lover with concern.  Jim had discreetly mentioned that she had thought Helena didn’t survive the blast and took it really hard. 

Quietly, she entered the bedroom and slowly approached the redhead, who was now looking at her with an unreadable expression.  Kneeling before her, Helena lowered her head to Barbara’s lap and sighed with relief. 

She was home.

Tears filled Barbara’s eyes as she leaned down to embrace this precious gift, still not quite believing the danger had truly passed and Helena survived it.  She exhaled unevenly as more tears fell, relishing in the feel of her lover.

“We did it,” Helena exhaled softly.

Barbara sat back up and shook her head regretfully, though her fingers reverently combed through the brunette’s hair, needing the contact.

“No,” she softly argued.  “The only thing I did was almost get you killed,” Barbara said guiltily.  Her gaze dropped to the tear in her jacket and blood. 

“Barbara…” Helena said with surprise and looked up, clearly not in agreement.

“You’re hurt.  Let’s get you patched up,” she said with authority, relieved to have something productive to do…and a distraction from her chaotic emotions that were bubbling up.  She wondered if numbness wasn’t better; she never really did emotions well.

“It’s noth…” Helena said dismissively.

“Helena,” Barbara said sternly, grabbing Helena’s hand.  “Please,” she added earnestly.

“Ok.  Ok,” she relented.  “Training room?” she asked, getting up.

“Bathroom.  Dinah put the kit in there,” she said, not meeting Helena’s gaze.  In fact, she seemed to avoid looking into her eyes.

“Are you OK?”

“I will be when I get you patched up,” Barbara responded firmly with a nod and rolled into the bathroom with a worried Helena following behind.


Quietly, Helena put the seat down on the commode and sat, watching Barbara roll to the counter and pick up the medical kit.  A task that Barbara had repeated for her too many times to count.

“What can I do?” Helena said softly, noting Barbara’s…off…behavior.

“Take your jacket off,” Barbara said, absently motioning to Helena, who frowned and did as asked.  The tear and red stain on her silk blouse brought a displeased look to Barbara’s face.  “Your shirt too,” she added as she washed her hands.
Helena took off her shirt and noted Barbara’s frown.  “I’m afraid there’s really nothing to stich up.  You’ll scar,” she said in guilty resignation, inspecting the damage. 

Helena watched her start to clean the wound with a damp cloth.  Barbara usually had steady hands but at this moment, they trembled.  “What’s going on, Barbara?” Helena said softly, gently grasping her hand, stopping her from tending the wound.

“N…” Barbara was going to deny anything was wrong and dismiss Helena’s concern but the lie got caught in her throat as her emotions welled up and nearly suffocated her.  Seeing her tears welling up, Helena pulled her into a protective hug.  Her hands slowly caressed her lover’s back as Barbara desperately clung to her, needing her comfort.

“The crisis is over, Barbara.  I’m ok,” she whispered into her ear.  “I’m here now,” she said soothingly.

“No thanks to me,” she responded guiltily as tears fell.

“Barbara, you’re wrong,” Helena said firmly, not going to let Barbara wallow in unfounded guilt.  “I’m alive today because of you,” she said with a tighter hug.

Barbara wiped at her tears, continuing with her self-flagellation.  “I couldn’t think,” she admitted with disgust.  “I couldn’t think!” she said incredulously.  “I…I’ve been in stressful situations before but this time…I couldn’t think.  I was so worried about losing you and…and I can’t let my emotions paralyze me and put you or Dinah in jeopardy.  I have to be able to think to keep you safe.  I failed you….” she said miserably, breaking down into sobs, clutching onto Helena desperately.

“Oh God no, Barbara.  You’re human.  So this mission threw you.  It happens.  But you always have a way of adapting and overcoming challenges.  That’s one of the many things I…”

“I can’t… I can’t live like this,” Barbara interrupted miserably as tears fell.  “I can’t do this anymore, Helena,” she announced regretfully, pulling back from their hug to look her pleadingly in the eye.

Fear washed over Helena, who had envisioned a far different homecoming – one that did not involve them breaking up.  Tears welled up as she wondered how she could possibly live without loving Barbara.  She immediately recognized she would always love her, even if denied the ability to be with her.  Oh God, Helena thought, wondering if the unbearable ache that gripped her heart would actually shatter it.

“I … just want you happy,” Helena said hoarsely, truly meaning it, even if she was not to share in that happiness.  She vowed to walk away if Barbara asked but she never expected to have to honor that vow.

Helena had mixed feelings at the relief that flooded Barbara’s smiling face. 

“Thank you,” Barbara said emotionally, cupping Helena’s cheek and looking at her intently before leaning into a heart-felt kiss. 

Helena blinked in confusion.  Was this a good-bye kiss?  Before Helena had a chance to make the most of the intimacy, Barbara pulled back with a serene smile.

“I do love you.  And I know that during this mission it wasn’t the most romantic setting for me to ask you and well, this really isn’t either but I want you to know I really meant it,” Barbara said with a shy smile.  “I want you to marry me.  Will you, Helena?  Will you marry me?”

Helena’s eyes widened.  Barbara’s smile started to fade a little more with each silent moment that passed.

“You don’t want to get married?” Barbara said hesitantly, crestfallen. 

“What??  No!  Yes.  I mean…of course I do!  But…,” Helena blurted, clearly confused.


“So what were you talking about before??”  Helena asked, baffled. 

Barbara looked at her not understanding. 

“Not being able to think because of me, ring a bell?  Not being able to do your job worrying about…,” Helena stopped when it hit her, “you’re quitting?!?”

“Yes,” Barbara answered with confusion.  “What were you thinking I…” Barbara stopped when it hit her.  “You thought…I was choosing crime fighting over you?” she said, hurt.

“Barbara,” Helena said and took both of Barbara’s hands in hers.  “I know how important it is to you.”
“You don’t know how important you are to me??”  Barbara asked with concern.

“I know I am important to you but I guess…I never expected to be more important than crime fighting.”

“I am so sorry I ever gave you the impression you came second, Helena,” Barbara looked at her with understanding.  “I honestly never expected to find someone that was more important.  But you are, Helena Kyle.  I love you with everything that I am,” she declared and squeezed Helena’s hands tightly.  “I wish I could manage my fear but this last mission made me realize I can’t.  I lost focus too many times.  And that puts everyone at risk.  I used to be able to bury my feelings but I can’t ignore them with you, they are too powerful.  But I also realized - I don’t want to,” she said gently, caressing Helena’s cheek.

Helena remained silent, listening to Barbara bare her soul.  She could understand the fear, but she still couldn’t imagine Barbara giving up on what had been her calling.

“I’ve never felt like this about anyone, Helena.  And I am not about to give it or you up.  I’ve paid my dues and I want to have a life where I’m not terrified of losing you.  I want us to grow old together,” Barbara said, then shrugged and shyly offered, “maybe have kids.”

Helena blinked, still digesting what she was saying when Barbara asked a little uneasily “so, what do you think?”

Helena reverently kissed Barbara’s hands.  “I want you happy.  And if giving up crime fighting will make you happy.  I want that,” she said carefully, expecting that after the emotions settled down, Helena was sure Barbara would see that she was overreacting.  But she knew now was not the time to point that out.  Now was the time to provide Barbara with piece of mind and unconditional support.

“Thank you,” Barbara said and pulled Helena into a deep kiss.


Barbara and Helena finally made it down to Delphi.  Barbara was surprised to find several anxious faces; the crisis was over and Helena saved New Gotham and survived.

When a happy smile filled Barbara’s face, there was a collective sigh of relief from her friends and family.  “We have two announcements to make,” Barbara said eagerly, taking Helena’s hand in hers.  “I asked Helena to marry me and she said yes.”

“Awesome!” Dinah said.  Alfred nodded with a smile.

“Congratulations, Barbara.  Helena,” Jim said, patting Helena on the back and shaking her hand.

“Guess Barbara is determined to make an honest woman out of me,” Helena joked, slipping her arm around her love, who softly nudged her with a shoulder and shook her head at the bad joke.

Barbara and Helena looked over to Dick, who looked at them quietly.  He gave them a small smile.  “What are the chances your second announcement is that one of you is pregnant?” he joked, attempting to remain calm.  He knew he would always harbor doubts about them, but had come to accept Barbara was determined and apparently totally in love with Helena.  And it really did appear that Helena loved Barbara.

“That would be an interesting announcement,” Barbara responded with a smirk.

“She didn’t ask me to marry her because she knocked me up,” Helena rolled her eyes and added.  “But she would so totally do the honorable thing if she did.”

Barbara stared at her.  “What?” Helena asked defensively.
“Well?  What’s the second announcement??” Dinah blurted excitedly.

With some hesitancy, Barbara looked at Helena, who rubbed her shoulder and nodded with encouragement, even if she thought Barbara would eventually change her mind.  She knew what Barbara needed now, and that was her support.  “Helena and I will also be leaving the crime fighting business.  We’ve decided to retire from that part of our lives.”

“You can’t be serious,” Dick blurted incredulously, looking between the two, as if waiting for one of them to laugh and tell them it was just a bad joke.

Alfred frowned and whispered to Jim, “that was unexpected.”

“Was it?”  Jim asked softly, knowing Barbara had gone through a horrible scare that she would do everything to avoid again.

“But…who will teach me?” Dinah said worriedly, looking at her apologetic mentor.

“I was hoping, that you would take a break too, until you’re older,” Barbara said. 

“Are you asking me to quit?!?”  Dinah blurted anxiously.

“No.  I can’t ask you to do that.  When I was your age, I made the decision to pursue crime fighting,” Barbara noted.

“Without my input,” Jim grumbled softly, getting a small smile from Barbara.

“Dinah, I trust you will do what is right for you.  And if that is to still pursue this calling,” Barbara said, glancing from Dinah to Dick, “I can think of no better mentor than Dick,” she said with confidence in her eyes.  “You could stay here in New Gotham until Dinah decides what to do next….”

“Now hold on, Barbara,” Dick blurted with irritation.  You are telling me you can easily quit being Oracle?  After you fought tooth and nail after your shooting to get back into crime fighting and make a difference?” Dick said incredulously.

“Yes,” Barbara said simply, getting Dick to shake his head in disbelief.  “Dinah, know that you are always welcome to stay with me…us,” she amended when Helena squeezed her shoulder, “but I will not be Oracle.  And truth be told, I would feel better if you did and retired from this,” Barbara noted, motioning to Delphi, “life.”

“Did you put her up to this??” Dick barked at Helena, who could understand his surprise.  Barbara was giving up what she had fought so hard for and believed so thoroughly in.

“It was my idea, Dick,” Barbara quickly responded. 

“But we are in this together,” Helena offered, getting a warm smile from Barbara.

“This is wrong, Barbara.  You have done so much for people.  Are you really willing to turn your back on …” he argued, pointing an accusing finger at Barbara as he stepped towards her.

“STOP!” Helena growled and stepped between them.  “What else do you think she needs to sacrifice before it is too much?!?” Helena spat.   

“I just…” he started to explain but was interrupted.

“And don’t you dare say she is turning her back on anyone!  Don’t. You. Dare,” Helena seethed. 

“Helena,” Barbara said softly, wanting to stop this from escalating.

“Why don’t you go find your hero, Bruce, and lecture HIM about turning his back on the public…his family,” she spat at him, hitting a sore spot.

“Dick, I can’t do this any more.  It’s best if …” Barbara explained, hoping he would see the truth in her words.

“The Barbara Gordon I know would never quit!” he interrupted heatedly.

“Then I suppose you don’t know me as well as you thought,” Barbara said coolly, getting annoyed by his constant judgment of her.

“Finally!  Something we can agree on,” he spat and glared at the two women and stormed off, leaving an uncomfortable silence behind.

After several moments, Helena spoke up.  “I really thought he would have a bigger problem with our marriage announcement,” she said thoughtfully, squeezing Barbara’s shoulder and giving her a peck on the cheek.  “Got any food, Alfred?”

“Certainly,” Alfred said and gratefully retreated to the kitchen with Helena in tow.

Dinah looked lost.

“Do you think New Gotham would have survived without you and Helena?” Dinah asked, needing to make sense of this.

“I almost got us all killed, Dinah,” she said, startling the teen.  “I was making mistakes because I could not keep my emotions separate from the mission.  I will not be put in that position again.  I though you of all people would understand that,” Barbara said pointedly.

“And you are making Helena quit too?  Even with her new power that can help even more people?”  Dinah asked, causing Barbara to frown uncomfortably.

“I…I’m not making Helena do anything.  She supports me and if you recall, she never wanted to be in this business to begin with,” she argued, which did not sound very compelling to her own ears.

“I think it is a mistake to quit, Barbara,” Dinah said honestly and sighed heavily before retreating to her room.

“Do you think I’m making a mistake too, Dad?”  Barbara challenged as she watched a depressed teen climb the stairs.

“I’m sure you are doing what you think you need to do.  Everyone has their limits, honey,” he acknowledged sagely.  “And learning that can be terrifying.  I hope you know I am proud of you, Barbara.  And that is not tied to what job you have or how many people you save.  I am proud of who you are.  An intelligent and strong woman,” he added softly.

“Thank you, Dad,” she said, receiving a hug.

“What do you say we try to get something to eat – before Helena cleans Alfred out,” Jim joked.


That evening, Barbara and Helena sighed contentedly in each other’s arms after tender lovemaking. 

Helena noted how happy Barbara seemed with her decision, like a huge burden had been lifted from her shoulders.  Helena had always thought Barbara took too much responsibility for, well, everything, which made her worry that if crime flared up again and people got hurt, Barbara would feel responsible and bear the guilt for not being there to help.  But she would support Barbara’s decision, she silently vowed.  Even if it didn’t last very long, she considered, expecting that Barbara had too much crime fighting DNA to give it up entirely.  But whatever ultimately happened, they would be going on this uncertain journey together, Helena thought with determination.

“What’s wrong?” Barbara asked, noting the look of contemplation on Helena’s face.

“Should I wear a tux?” Helena asked out of the blue.

“Now?”  Barbara asked dryly, lifting up the sheets to look at Helena’s nude form.

“For the wedding!” Helena moaned, getting Barbara to chuckle.

“I’m sure you’d look beautiful in one,” Barbara said honestly.  “And I’m sure you’d look equally as beautiful in a gown.”

“What do you want to wear?”  Helena asked. 

“I really haven’t thought about it,” Barbara admitted.  “What do you want me to wear?” she asked curiously, propping her elbow on the pillow and resting her head in her hand.

“Anything you want, or nothing at all,” Helena declared boldly.

“I suppose we could go to a nudist colony for the ceremony,” Barbara said, making Helena snort.  “No, really, what would you like me to wear?”

“Is this an indication that you don’t want to do the planning?”  Helena asked, rolling on her side to face Barbara. 

“Why were you assuming I would be the one to plan?”

“You are a planner.  I am a doer.  Surely this is not news to you?”  Helena said, tracing her hand over Barbara’s body and pausing at a nipple that stood at attention.

“Are you saying I’m not a doer?” Barbara said with challenge, rolling Helena on her back before kissing her deeply.

Helena chuckled.  “Nope.  You’re most certainly a doer.  You do me; exceptionally well, I might add.  You are the complete package, Barbara Gordon.  A planner and a doer.”

Barbara smiled.  “I love you,” she said with a chaste kiss.

“Good.  Because marrying me would really be a mistake if you didn’t,” Helena said.

“I love you and I will always fight for you, Helena Kyle,” Barbara vowed seriously, surprising Helena, whose mouth was claimed with a passionate kiss that lead to more doing.

After each woman was sated, the past several days started to catch up with them; both were close to drifting off.

“Thank you for saying yes,” Barbara said softly, her eyes closed.  Feeling safe and loved within Helena’s comforting arms.

“Don’t thank me.  I’m the luckiest . . . woman on the planet,” Helena responded with a yawn, her eyes closed. 

“We’ll have to agree... to disagree,” Barbara said sleepily, shifting a little.

“Well done, Red,” Helena said than yawned.  “My woo-meter just …spiked,” Helena said drowsily.  “I’ll have … to… hmmm,” Helena said and fell asleep.

“Hmmm,” Barbara responded and drifted into a restful slumber.

The End 

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