Part 22

After finding Pete still hiding where she'd left him and telling him to meet Barbara at the van, Dinah pulled Harley down the maze of hallways, not saying anything. She could feel Harley's curious gaze on her and it was making her head spin. It had been so very long since she'd seen the woman she loved, outside of here dreams.

Harley could sense the tension in Dinah, even without her former telepathic abilities and to her irritation she found herself feeling nervous. She and Dinah hadn't parted on such great terms and despite their nocturnal encounter where they made up, she wasn't certain that Dinah had forgiven her and that came close to making Harley angry. She'd sworn that she'd never again give anyone the power to feel bad or doubt herself and now, here she was, ridiculously close to begging for the forgiveness of an eighteen-year-old girl. Not out of fear, as she'd done with the Joker, but solely out of a need to make things right with someone who actually meant more to Harley than Harley herself.

Still, she said nothing, just following the lanky blonde as she led the way, to where, Harley had no idea. Then, Dinah stopped so suddenly, Harley nearly ran her over. With a flick of her wrist a door was flung open and Harley was pulled inside.

"Dinah? What…?" she never got to finish as she found herself backed up against a wall and Dinah kissing her furiously.

With only one split second of surprise protest, Harley embraced the desire that flashed through her. She reached up and removed the hat and mask Dinah had been wearing, quickly sinking her fingers into the fine blonde hair as Dinah kissed her more deeply than Harley had ever been kissed.

Dinah felt Harley's surrender and her knees nearly gave out. She'd forgotten how good the older woman tasted and she needed more. She clutched Harley tighter, nearly whimpering with her need as Harley parted her lips and welcomed Dinah's tongue inside to dance with hers.

"God, I missed you," Dinah whispered as her lips trailed across Harley's jaw, nipping nightly at her chin before moving down to suck hotly at her throat. She shivered when she felt the rapid beating of the strong pulse beneath her lips.

"I missed you too, Little bird," Harley replied, fingers clenching painfully in blonde hair as Dinah continued her enthusiastic efforts to give her a mark Harley would be wearing for days.

Feeling her emotions starting to overwhelm her, Dinah pulled back and lifted her hands to Harley's face.
"I love you Harley," she said earnestly.

"Oh Dinah, I do love you," Harley replied, for once not shamed by the sting of tears in her eyes.

"You mean that?"

"I do. I won't deny it anymore Dinah. I still don't know what you see in a half crazy, woman more than a decade older than you, but I'm not afraid anymore."

"I will never hurt you," Dinah swore. "Not on purpose."

Harley would dearly love to believe that, but she knew that once the wrinkles started to show, Dinah would most likely find someone else that drew her attraction, but she no longer cared. If all she had was a few years of being loved by this young woman, it would be worth the loneliness that came later and any lingering doubts she might have had vanished when she saw the big smile brighten Dinah's face,

"So, we need to get you home so you can get your meds and then…"

Harley smiled at the blush and sudden shyness on the previously fierce face. "And then," she agreed, saving Dinah from spelling out what she had hoped for the rest of the night. Despite the lingering fuzz of her re-emerging madness, she laughed in delight as Dinah grabbed her hand and literally dragged her down the hall until she found the place she came in.

BBBBBBB

Helena breathed a sigh of relief as she entered the apartment and kicked off her heels. She didn't mind dressing up once in a while, especially since Barbara seemed to love seeing her in a dress, but there would never be anything to compare to the comforts of yoga pants and a soft t-shirt.

"Hi honey, I'm home," she called out playfully. When she got no reply, she remembered that she'd inadvertently hurt Barbara's feelings before.

"Barbara?" Helena called out, seeing no sign of the fiery redhead. Instinctively she knew Barbara would be in the one spot she loved to be in order to clear her head. She walked out to the balcony and as always, her heart flipped at the sight of the woman she adored.

"Hey Red," she said quietly, stepping up beside Barbara.

"You used the door this time?" Barbara greeted, turning to smile up at Helena.

Helena wasn't fooled by the smile. "Yeah, this dress isn't really made for jumping roof tops. Even with this rip up the side."

Barbara's eyes fell to tear in question and her mouth went dry at the length of beautiful, toned thigh on display.

"Oh my," she rasped, fighting a very strong urge to reach out and touch the firm skin.

Helena saw the flush on Barbara's cheek and it sent her heart racing, but for once she wouldn't be a slave to her own desires.

"What's troubling you Barbara," she said seriously.

"What?"

"I know I said something earlier that upset you. What was it?"

Barbara sighed. "It wasn't any thing Hel. Honestly."

"Quit doing that," Helena said almost angrily. "Quit trying to cover up your feelings all the time."

"Isn't that my line?" Barbara offered a half smile.

"Barbara," Helena chided.

"Fine," the redhead sighed. "It's ridiculous."

"I don't care," Helena retorted. "Nothing that makes you unhappy is 'ridiculous,'" she added before moving to kneel in front of Barbara, forcing the redhead to look at her.

"It was my telling you not to meet me, wasn't it?"

Feeling suddenly foolish, Barbara shrugged.

"Barbara, I…" Helena thought back to what she had actually said and then realized how the words might have sounded to a woman who had been having a lot of self-doubt issues lately.

"Oh shit," she sighed. "Barbara, what I said…I didn't mean what you think. I wasn't saying I didn't want you to come down. It's just that…"

"I wasn't needed," Barbara interrupted quietly and Helena sucked in a breath, Barbara's pain hitting her as if it were her own. She was straddling Barbara's lap in a heartbeat.

"Barbara Gordon…there is not one second of the day that you aren't needed. You are like oxygen for me. There is no world, no life for me, without you in it. Do you get that?"

Barbara hated the tears that stung her eyes, but when Helena said such things to her, it always got to her.

"I know Hel, but…"

"No buts," Helena interrupted firmly. "The only reason I told you not to come is because I didn't want you to risk exposure, especially since I gave myself away."

Now Barbara really did feel stupid. She hadn't even considered that. "Oh."

Helena wanted to find the sheepish look adorable, but between Barbara's sadness over not being able to dance with Helena, to now feeling unneeded, Helena couldn't. Barbara rarely gave into the darker thoughts about being in a wheelchair, but it always frightened Helena when she did.

"Barbara, I can't say anything to you that can change the doubts you have and I wouldn't, even if I could. You are entitled to whatever what you want to feel and I won't take that away from you. All I will tell you is what I've said before and what I will always tell you. You are no less of a powerful woman because of this chair. Whether you're sitting, or standing, you are the smartest, strongest, bravest person I've ever known."

"Oh Hel," Barbara said, the tears she was fighting, making her voice raspier than usual. "I know all that. Just ignore me when I get like this."

"Not a chance Red," Helena smiled softly, reaching out to caress a soft cheek. "There is no way that I could ever ignore you. Ever. Now, tomorrow morning we're going to start discussing options for helping you walk again, but tonight…" Helena shifted deliberately in Barbara's lap, relieved to see green eyes flash to black, "tonight, I'm going to spend showing you in numerous ways, just how much I need you."

Barbara's hands went to Helena's waist and any lingering darkness she was feeling, was gone, replaced by a desperate need that only Helena Kyle could cause.

"Show me now," Barbara whispered, her hands sliding down to clasp the hard thighs resting on hers.

Helena swallowed. "Let's go inside and…"

"No," Barbara interrupted, fingers caressing the taut warm skin. "Here." Barbara nearly came undone when she saw the beautiful dark eyes turn golden.

"Anything you want," Helena swore, too turned on to make a sarcastic response. She quickly buried her hands into Barbara's soft hair and took that beautiful mouth that had been driving her crazy almost all night. She poured every ounce of respect, love, desire and admiration for Barbara into her kiss, her body craving closer and closer contact and the little whimpers she was pulling from the formidable Oracle's throat.

"I love you Helena," Barbara gasped as teeth nipped lightly at her throat. "Nothing in the world will ever be as important to me as that."

Helena wondered if she would ever stop crying when she heard those words from Barbara, but she didn't really care as she was too busy tasting every inch of the seductive woman beneath her.

BBBBBB

Harley's eyes opened and she lay there for a moment, letting her mind clear. Suddenly she felt a confining presence around her. For a second, she thought she was back with Joker and she began to struggle, desperate to be free.

"Hey, easy. Harley, please…"

The soft, soothing voice penetrated her panic and she realized the presence was actually Dinah and then she remembered everything, including their return to her penthouse the previous night.

Once Dinah had shed her hat and mask, she had escorted Harley back to her apartment. She had stood by quietly as Harley quickly went to take her overdue medications and to Harley's relief, made no attempt at idle chit chat as Harley waited for the pills to take effect. Instead, she sat on the sofa and pulled Harley into her arms, simply holding her as the ever-present buzz of madness began to fade.

She had no idea how much time had passed, but she allowed herself to rest in Dinah's arms and for the first time in her life, she felt safe and protected. It was terrifying but Harley Quinn thrived on terrifying. That was the last thing she remembered.

Now, she lay in bed, wondering how Dinah had managed to get her into bed. She shifted ad turned, rolling over to meet sleepy blue eyes watching her with concern.

"Are you okay?"

Harley smiled up at Dinah. "I'm fine, dumpling. I'm just not used to waking up with someone else."

"I'm sorry. I just…I was really tired and I didn't want to leave you."

"Don't apologize. I don't mind at all."

"No?" The familiar cheeky smile made an appearance and Harley's chest tightened.

"Not one bit."

Dinah looked at Harley and sighed. "I missed you so much," she said softly.

"I missed you too, Little Bird. Not a day went by that I didn't regret how we…how I left things and how I let you go thinking I didn't love you."

"It took a while, but I finally understood. You were afraid, not just because of what the Joker did to you, but that you wouldn't be enough for me."

"I did try to tell you," Harley reminded her.

"I know, but I didn't want to hear it. Being away from you for so long, I had nothing but time to remember what you said and it kind of made me mad."

Harley's eyes widened and she sat up, bringing Dinah with her.

"It made you mad?"

"Well, yeah. Not because I think you were being ridiculous, but because you couldn't stop to realize I had the same fears as you. Mostly."

"Do you?"

"Of course," Dinah said earnestly, nervously twisting her fingers with Harley. "You have told me a lot that you think I'm going to leave you for someone younger, but has it occurred to you that I'm afraid that one day you're going to decide I'm too immature for you? That I'm not as exciting or mature or sophisticated?

"Dinah," Harley started and then paused. The thought had never occurred to her. She sighed. "I suppose that if I tell you that's not going to happen, you'll throw my own words back in my face," she muttered.

"Oh, most definitely," Dinah laughed. Seeing a woman most of the city claimed to be evil incarnate, pouting like a kid was pretty adorable, not that she'd ever say that out loud.

"You know, as a therapist, my advice to couples having this problem would be to talk through their fears together, instead of making assumptions and trying to act in the other person's best interest."

"And that's why you were a successful therapist, when you weren't out being a felon and all," Dinah said.

"Well felonies are a lot more fun and make a lot more money than therapy," Harley grinned. "Are you sure I can't convince you to at least give it a try?"

"I'm sure," Dinah laughed.

Harley was silent for a moment. "Have you considered what you want to do now?" She actually gasped at the suddenly intense look in Dinah's eyes.

"I've considered nothing else since you woke up."

"I didn't mean it that way," Harley stammered, though the moment Dinah rolled her long, slender body on top of hers, she changed her mind.

"I guess we could discuss my career plans instead," Dinah pretended to sigh and started to move, but strong arms wrapped around her.

"We can do that later," Harley said firmly, sliding her arms around the blonde. "Right now, I think I like you right where you are."

Dinah smiled a bit nervously. "I…I've never done this before," she said shyly. "I hope I don't…"

Harley placed her fingers over Dinah's lips. "You have already made me feel more than I thought I was capable of," she said gently. "Just love me Dinah, that is all I need."

"I do," Dinah said, tears springing to her eyes at hearing words she knew Harley had never said to another. "I do love you, with all that I am." Then she took a fingertip into her mouth, thrilling at Harley's sharp intake of breath, before leaning down and kissing the other woman, pouring her soul into every movement.

BBBBBBBBB

One Year Later….

Barbara and Helena entered the enormous, sprawling mansion and Helena let out a low whistle of appreciation.

"Wow," she said.

"Wow is an understatement," Barbara agreed. The elegant and clearly high-end décor and overall spaciousness, just of the entry, made Helena feel underdressed.

"Like it?"

The two women turned to see Harley and Dinah walking toward them. Barbara smiled thinking she had never seen either blonde look happier and more at peace than they did at that moment and the way Harley had slipped her arm through Dinah's told her that their relationship, odd though it was, was as strong as ever and while it had taken a while, Barbara was finally happy for both of them.

"It's amazing," she answered honestly.

"Well the foyer is impressive," Helena added with a smile. "Take us on a tour."

"Pushy much?" Dinah rolled her eyes.

"How about an overview first," Barbara suggested.

"Practical and sexy," Harley said, batting her eyes in a way that had Barbara rolling her eyes, Helena snorting and Dinah pouting playfully.

"There isn't much to add to what you already know. On paper, this is my new private home. However, it has two separate wings. One side is where I'll be living when I'm not in the city. The other side houses a fully equipped training environment for any Meta's who have just discovered their powers or who, like Pete have been having trouble adjusting to them. Since there are so many who are homeless, there are also twenty full sized bedroom suites for any who need somewhere to stay. There is a large training facility in the lower level which Dinah will be in charge of, and offices where myself and Joan Leland will help with the more psychological needs of these people.

"That sounds really amazing Harley," Barbara said sincerely.

"I'm still trying to grasp the fact that this is actually me doing all of this," Harley chuckled.

"Me too," Helena said, earning an elbow in the stomach from Barbara, but a laugh from Harley.

"Delightful as always, kitten," she replied. "I do still plan on visiting Penguin's old haunt. It never hurts to know what the baddies are up to, but Dinah is always there to remind me of just how much I have to lose if I given in to my more…felonious tendencies."

Dinah beamed. "I'm also there to make up for any disappointment you feel at passing up an opportunity," she grinned down at the woman she adored.

"TMI kid," Helena snorted. "So, is this place all business? What about the fun?"

Dinah laughed. "You really think we'd leave that out?" She and Harley took the other two women through the house, showing all the features, including an elevator.

The living quarters were really done well and would give these poor people a place to feel at home instead of the crowded press and sterile rigidness of a homeless shelter. The training room was larger than the one in the penthouse and Helena couldn't wait to get in it.

"Still looking for the fun part," she interjected.

"Patience has never been a virtue of yours darling," Harley laughed. Then she showed Helena a media room that had the other woman nearly drooling. A flat screen TV that had to be over 80 inches, movie theater seating and a concession area. And then there was the four-lane bowling alley and arcade area. In case there were kids, Harley explained. Or Helena came to visit. Lastly was the large infinity pool and hot tub area, which was beautifully designed and overlooked the rolling green hills behind the house.

"This is absolutely gorgeous," Barbara said. "I know it's not polite, but how the hell did you afford it?"

Harley laughed. "Let's just say my previous life was quite lucrative and I did very well as a legitimate psychiatrist as well. I made some wise investments and, basically, even after all this, I never need to work again."

"Wow. Maybe crime does pay," Helena said thoughtfully.

"Prison orange isn't your color Hel," Dinah told her.

"So, you'd be sharing the pool and all that with your guests?"

"Hardly. I have admittedly changed considerably, but my aversion to prolonged contact with groups of people hasn't. Still, Pete will be living here as well. He will be in charge of security, maintenance and making sure everyone is settled when we aren't working together. And we…I have private pool area and living quarters on the other side of the compound."

"Fair enough," Helena said. It wasn't really fair to ask Harley to keep giving more than she was used to.

"Anyway," Barbara interrupted, "I really hope that when we get back, you'll let us help."

Harley's expression turned to one of sincere concern. "I'm sorry, but I have to ask, you're sure you want to go through with this?"

"I'm positive," Barbara said, ignoring the knot of wariness that had been in her stomach since she'd made the decision.

"I do know it's a longshot," she continued, "but this doctor in South Africa has an experimental procedure that can make me walk again. I have to try."

"Barbara…"

"I know all the arguments Harley," Barbara interrupted. She knew the other woman meant well, but the second guessing would make her sick.

"I know that it will likely not work. Trust me, I'm not going into this with the expectation that it will, but I couldn't live with myself knowing there was one option out there that I didn't try. You know how thorough I am," she added, trying to lighten the mood.

"I sure do," Helena leered, picking up on Barbara's intentions and going with it.

"TMI Old Lady," Dinah quipped.

"Who you calling old lady," Helena retorted.

"Children, please," Harley said with a laugh. "Well whatever happens Barbara, I wish you the best and of course any help you and Helena want to give us here will be greatly appreciated."

"Thank you, Harley."

"No Barbara. Thank you. For everything," Harley said with a very rare seriousness. She bent down and kissed the woman who had ever reason in the world to hate her, on the cheek. "Thank you for giving me another chance to live."

"You earned it Harley," Barbara returned and then looked up at Helena. "We need to get going if we're going to make our flight."

"It's the Wayne private jet Red, they can't leave without us."

"It's still rude to be late."

"God forbid I'm rude or something," Helena muttered. Then she gave a startled Harley a hug, followed by Dinah.

"We'll call you. You two kids behave yourself. Helena teased.

Once Helena and Barbara were gone, Dinah turned to Harley and pulled her into her arms.

"Alone at last," she said.

"Well, I've heard worse cliché's," Harley grinned, sliding her arms around the taller blonde's neck.

"Well is it cliché to tell you that I'm happier today than I was a year ago?"

"Not at all. And I'm glad to hear it."

"Are you?"

Harley smiled, and ran her fingers across the nape of Dinah's neck, loving the fact that the young woman still shivered at her touch.

"Well, Little Bird, let's go out to the pool and I'll show you just how happy I am?"

Dinah's excited grin had Harley laughing even as she found herself chasing after the leggy blonde, her heart actually filled with the hope and love she'd always craved.

THE END