A Raptor Leaves the Nest

Characters: Barbara Helena Bertinelli
Rated: PG
Summary: Helena and Barbara catch up. Babs finally goes forward with her carefully laid plans.
OOC Date: Sun Jan 28 22:21:24 2018
IC Date: Sun Jan 28 19:22 2018
Where: Barbara's House

"…It's unlikely she'll ever regain any function in her lower extremities. There might be a hint of feeling but… Don't let her get her hopes up. The connection between feeling and normal bodily function is actually- nonexistent." With Barbara's permission, the doctor explained everything twice. Once, to Commission Gordon himself when he came to visit and again to Barbara's friends.

Doctor Jacobson was a classically handsome man with a strong chin, dark, neatly groomed hair and soulful eyes. In any other situation meeting him might have been pleasant. But as it stood… "Barbara is going to need all of the support you can give her to deal with this. Especially in these early months."

Six Months Later…

The Gotham sun is, as always, hiding from the people of the city behind a haze of gray that makes it seem much laer i nthe day than it is. it might be about to rain - or it might just be typical Gotham. it's impossible to say on a da like this.Barbara's home looks much the same as always. A cheerful coat of green paint, trimmed lawn. A bastion of cheerful fortitude against the literal and metaphorical darkness of the city.

Babs stopped taking visitors months ago. She still isn't, if one is inclined to listen to what she says over the phone.

It was a long night, as usual. Still, a little sleep and a lot of espresso gets her up and moving. The world still happens during the day, even if the Huntress spends most of her time in the shadows after the sun sets. She has a mission today, anyway.

Bertinelli takes her bike out to a certain younger Gordon's residence, parking on the street and leaving her helmet there too. It's got a tracker in it anyway, so she can hunt down later anyone who steals it. At Barbara's door, she doesn't bother to knock - Babs or one of her programs probably already has seen her in a security camera. Instead, she goes to work on the lock. No sense giving the other lady a chance to pretend she's not there or asleep.

At first there's no response. Of course, Helena isn't waiting for one so after a moment the intercom crackles to life. "You know, I could call the police. This is breaking and entering."

Above the doorway is a camera, which is whirring softly as it adjusts its angle to watch what Helena is doing. "Don't break the locking mechanism. It's going to take you at least an hour to get inside…." When it's clear Helena isn't going to give up Barbara finally sighs. There's a beep and the door unlocks itself.

"No point keeping you standing out in the cold," the woman's voice calls out with an exasperated sigh. "Come in. You look like you could use another cup of coffee." Because of course Bertinelli's had at least one.

After a moment Barbara is rolling out from the direction of the kitchen, a thermos and two cups in her lap. The foyer is a fairly ordinary place, really. Hardwood floors, a hat rack. To the left is the dining room, with a four seat dinner table with a nice white linen tablecloth. Beyond that is the kitchen. On the right is the couch and coffee table.

Babs is moving slowly. She has to be careful to keep the thermos from rolling away and that slows the young woman's speed to a relative crawl. At least she looks normal. Wide blue eyes, freckled cheeks, vividly crimson hair. The biggest difference is that her legs have slimmed from disuse.

"Helena…"

Helena smirks into the camera in response to Barbara's comment from the intercom. "I could have gone in a window, but I thought you'd appreciate not having to replace the lock there." Still, her gambit paid off this time, so she strolls in with a satisfied grin as the door unlocks and she may enter.

"Babs." Helena says. "I can _always_ use another cup of coffee. That's why I keep you around, you know? You have the good stuff." she teases. She keeps her jacket off, but at least she wiped her feet. "What're you doing away from your computer, woman? I'm shocked." but she grins. "This is good thing. I've come to take you away."

"The best stuff? Always for you." A wry smile follows that pronouncement. Babs reaches the coffee table and starts setting out the cups. "Away? I-" Babs looks back over her shoulder toward Helena for a second. She frowns faintly, then reaches up and adjusts her glasses lightly with two fingers. "I can't. I've got something going," she replies, her voice dropping slightly as she looks away.
"I do have my best coffee out, though.Come have a cup with me," the redhead insists gently. She opens the thermos of fresh coffee and fills the cups with careful, steady hands.
"And yes, I'm busy with my computer. I've been thinking about going back to work at the library, though…" Where she will be inside and on a computer most of the time. Again.

"Come sit down and we can talk for a little bit before I go back to work."

"You're _always_ busy with your computer." Helena groans. "No, I've come to kidnap you, to wrap you up in your warm coat and mittens and a scarf and take you to the park. The sun is shining. You don't have nearly enough freckles, anyway." she says. "Still, we can have a cup of coffee to get us all wram inside before we go."

The dark-haired woman moves to sit, alighting on the edge of a chair. "The library? Hmm." she murmurs noncommittally. "Whatever you have going on today your computer thingies can take care of, I'm sure."

"No, they really _can't_. Actual human interaction. Believe it or not, even brilliant recluses do it sometimes." Barbara shakes hr head at this but reaches out to take her coffee cup. With her free hand she presses the other toward Helena. A soft sigh follows.

"No. Thank you, but if I get any more freckles no one is going to even want to *look* at me. Babs, they say. She's just a giant freckle!" The redhead shakes her head firmly and then takes a gulp of coffee. She really did bring Helena her finest, it seems. Some things never change.

"Look at me. I don't need to go to a park. I'm fine. Thank you… We can visit for a bit and you can go back and tell everyone that you made sure I'm not dead in here." Barbara breathes a soft sigh and shakes her head.

Helena takes the cup and has a sip as she peers at Barbara over the rim. "I'll look at you." she says, matter-of-factly. "Besides, everyone likes freckles, especially with red hair. That's how men know you're feisty. They like feisty." But then a sip of coffee goes down and she is momentarily silent as she has another. "Mmm."

"You're _not_ fine. You need to get out. It's bad enough that it's half-dark all the time in Gotham anyway, you need fresh air and exercise. You cna chase me around the park and you can play on the monkey bars." she says with a smile. "Besides, even when we go out you're going to stay in touch with whatever through your phone anyway."

"…Guilty as charged," Babs admits when Helena brings up her phone. Then she breaks into a soft laugh and carefully throws up both hands to avoid bumping her cup. "Fine. Fine, you win. I'll go to the park with you for an hour. This will keep that long at least."

Azure eyes shift to meet Helena's and Barbara watches the other woman intently for a moment, studying her features. It also serves as ample time for Helena to look back at her, and study that freckled, sweetheart face with its wide-eyed ingenue gaze. This is held just for a moment.

"I'll be like… Ten minutes. While I get ready," Babs states rather seriously. "Finish your coffee and I'll try to hurry up?" Another faint smile follows. "After we're done maybe I'll… Let you in on what I'm working on so you don't send any of the others looking for me once a week." With that, Babs abandons her half-empty cup and starts rolling back toward the hallway. She's fairly nimble, at least.

Helena lowers her cup and returns Barbara's gaze for that moment, an eyebrow lifting quizzically. She doesn't say anything, though. Babs sets her own cup aside and that breaks the silence. "Ten minutes, sure." and she smiles softly. She sips again as the other woman rolls out. "Wear your warm socks, lady." she calls to the retreating redhead.

"Barbara takes a second to adjust her glasses again, right before disappearing around a corner. She is gone and it goes uneventfully enough- as one might expect. There's nothing to do except sip coffee and survey the marvel that is Barbara's security measures. It's just a house but looking more closely… Whether or not Helena could get in if Babs hadn't opened the door is actually in doubt. Reinforced paneling at the windows and doors, locks that would make safes blush. Possibly more. After what the Joker did how could anyone blame her?

After eight or nine minutes there's a thump in the background, followed by some exasperated cursing. A moment later a frustrated Barbara calls out in a somewhat pinched tone, "…I'm alright." She's anticipated Helena's reaction, clearly. "Just a few more- minutes…"

Of course, Helena hadn't expected to be able to get in. If she had she would be harassing Barbara now to improve that security so nothing like that invasion ever happens to the redhead again. Her cup done, she leans to put the cap back on the vacuum bottle to keep the coffee warm and then collects the cups to the sink. She runs some water in them, so they don't stain.

Helena is up and looking at whatever pictures and other knick-knacks Babs has sitting around, though she doesn't touch anything. She takes in a breath to call out after hearing the thud, but the other lady's response forestalls that. "Fair enough." she does reply, though.

All told it's closer to twenty minutes than ten when Barbara actually emerges. Her eyes are slightly swollen and she's busily combing her hair as she approaches the table where Helena has been seated. The comb is tucked away and then the redhead takes a deep breath of her own. It looks like she managed to change her socks and put on a fresh coat. No changed clothes or anything else so grand.
"Sorry about that. Let's head out to the park?" Another of those smiles follows. "Thank you for taking care of the dishes. I- mmm. Should have gotten to that…" She trails off and then shakes her head quickly. "Anyway. Let's get out of here. Early bat gets the insects, right? Or- something. I should probably work on that one."

"I thought you were a fruit bat," Helena says with a grin. "Hey, I used the dishes and you made the coffee, so cleaning up after myself is the least I can do." She tilts her head, having another look at the lady. "Are you alright?" she asks, but then Babs seems ready to go and says so. "OK." and she heads for the door. She opens it and steps aside for chair and Gordon to pass through. "How's your dad taking all this? Suffocating, being standoffish, or what?"

"He tried to suffocate me but I… Shut the door until he stopped," Babs admits quietly. She opens the door andcarefully rolls herself outside. "You're right, by the way. I am more of a fruit bat." Babs smiles, enough so that her nose wrinkles slightly and the corners of her eyes crinkle behind those glasses of hers.

"Anyway, I've made sure to call him so he wouldn't be too woried, I just… Couldn't deal with all of that right after I got back from the hospital." Babs lets her chair roll, reaching up to brush her fingers through her red tresses as she speaks."So. Which park did you want to hit up…?"

Helena wrinkles her nose in response. "Sorry." she says. "I'm sure he'll get better with time. I guess good fathers are like that." though Helena herself wouldn't know. "Oh, the one near here, just down the way. I'm sure we'd be fine on the bike I brough…" and she motions to the motorcycle at the curb. "…but the chair'd be awkward."
She starts walking in the direction of said park. "I guess it's more of a playlot than a park, and the area's covered in pressed rubber stuff I think is made of shredded recycled stuff rather than having sand everywhere." she pauses a step to fall in beside the chair. "Why do you keep primping? You look great, woman," she says with a gentle laugh. "Maybe sometime I'll rent an accessible van and we can go somewhere fancy, just because."

"I do have a van if we need one sometime," Barbara replies with a soft laugh. "I was able to use some of the money from the insurance settlement to have it customized so I can drive using my hands." Babs is much shorter than Helena now, though she holds herself with excellent posture as they travel. "I'm primping because my hair was completely mauled when I fe-" A beat. "Finished getting ready," she states clearly.

Babs sets a solid pace, but nothing Helena can't keep easily. "I know the park you mean. Okay." She nods once, her blue eyes thoughtful as she watches the world pass by her. "Someplace fancy, hmm? If I didn't know better I'd think you were asking me out." There's another laugh, as Barbara pick up the pace.

"We all f… finish getting ready sometimes, Wheels." Helena says, keeping up with the other lady. "_Do_ you know better?" she asks, but doesn't elaborate that particular point further. "You want to network, yeah? Going out and letting Gotham see that the costumed crazies here can't keep even normal people down." she does add, though. "Besides, it'd make your father happy to hear you were out and about. Maybe you'll make the gossip sites?"

"Gossip? Me? Nah, I don't think so. But you're right. That would make my dad pretty happy." Barbara shifts her weight from left to right again and then breathes a soft laugh."Costumed crazies, hmm? I don't know about all that. I guess it might be nice to make sure everyone knows I'm still alive." The park is coming into view up ahead. Barbara sets a direct course for it, accelerating further as she approaches. "So, what have you been up to while I've been hiding out here?"

"The usual," Helena replies. "Keeping my head above water. Trying to make scum's lives as hellish as I can. You know. Things." she says. "You're still an eligible bachelorette, right? If you go out, you'll probably have offers for dates coming out of your intarweb tubes." She goes back a point in the conversation. "I'm thinking of opening a gym, maybe offer some self-defense classes or something. I don't know."

"Oh, yes. Plenty of would-be chivalrous knights ready to help a poor, innocent crippled damsel with her difficult life." Barbara rolls her eyes at this point and then seems to be considering the monkey bars in questions while Helena speaks further. "A gym? You'd be good at it. As a trainer. Push people past when they thought they would break?"

When it comes to the monkey bars the issue is actually reaching them. Babs has lost at least a foot of height thanks to being in the chair so she's going to need a boost. "Anyway,m those sorts of people- aren't really my type," Barbara concludes.

"Not even Pretty Boy… young master Dick Grayson?" Helena asks. "If I do open a gym, you have to come all the time. I'll need the membership fees anyway." that last bit is probably a gentle joke. "What _is_ your type?" she asks as she steps around behind Barbara to put her hands on the other lady's flanks. "Ready to go up? One… two…"

"Okay. I'll be sure to come and even get the premium membership package with the massage so you can charge me double," Babs replies somewhat drily. "…Two… Three!" Then Babs is up and suspended entirely by her slender arms. Perhaps surprisingly, she's able to lift herself all the way up by the bars. After a couple pull-ups she makes her way across and back, legs left to dangle.

When Barbara speaks next she's breathless, though still going strong. "Dick is okay but he might be a little too…" Babs pauses there for a second, letting it trail off. "It didn't work out. My type? I'm not sure. I think I have a broader type than I thought, really…"

"I think I might have been going about it the- mmm- wrong way.Before." Back across the bars again. "I had a date scheduled with a cute blonde girl the night after… things went down," Babs confides in a whisper. "It, um, never happened, but… I don't know…"

Helena's dark eyebrows disappear into her hairline for a moment. "Really?" she says after a moment with a grin. "Anyone I know?" she wonders. "Are you going to see her again?" She hops up to grab onto the bars too, joining Barbara on the playset. She hangs there too, smiling in the sun, such as it is.

"NO, no one you know. I mean, probably not. It was one of the girls who worked at the library," Barbara replies quietly. She continues to work her arms intensely, up and down, back and forth until sweat streams down her forehead and cheeks, soaking dark red tresses and dripping onto her shirt.

"She's moved on a long time ago. I don't think I'll see her again," Bab continues seriously while taking a second to cool down. She is by no means done. "How about you? Seeing anyone recently…?"

Helena does slow pull-ups as she watches Babs go. She's keeping an eye on the other lady, just in case it looks like her arms are going to give out. "Well, I'm sorry about that." She somehow combines a shrug with a pull up in answer to Barbara's question. "Not really, no. I don't really have time. I do stuff at night and then sleep half the day. I'm afraid to have a pet, so trying to get to know someone and feel comfortable around them is probably asking too much. Plus…" she continues. "… I've been in Gotham too long. I'm all surly now." she says. "Well… more than usual." she laughs.

Babs maybe crippled but she was still Batgirl for ten years. it seems she can keep this up for quite some time. She suspends herself when Helena starts talking and nods a few times as the story is laid out. Barbara ends with, "I understand." It's a bit of a whisper but it seems that she is pretty sure of that point. She watches Helena intently while she speaks ."You'd need someone who would - really understand. Who you are and what you do. And that means someone you can trust with your secrets…" She pauses there for a second. "That can be hard to pull off at the best of times. And I'd be afraid of getting a pet too, so I don't blame you with that either."

"They'd always be wondering what I was hiding from them, why I'd end up yelling at them to stay out of that box in my closet, where I disappear to all night long, why I can't stand to watch movies or show about the Mafia… stuff like that," Helena says. "They'd probably think I was a prostitute or a meth dealer at worst and a spook at best." she sighs. "I guess I could pick up people at a bar or something, but that's not really what I'm looking for."

"Not mine either," Barbara admits quietly. She's focusing all of her attention on Helena now but then she flashes the other woman a quick smile. "Help me get down from her? I think I can manage a safe dismount, but…" Before long Barbara settles back into her chair. "I was there. For years. You get used ot thinking that you'll save the day first and then reap the rewards later, I guess." Barbara shrugs once, slowly. "Mmm. I am going to feel all of that tomorrow," she complains. "You're right. This was exactly what I needed. Thank you."

Helena does help her down. "Good job." she says encouragingly as the other woman is securely back in her transport. "If you need a massage sometime, or want some help stretching your legs or whatever, just let me know." She then starts back for Babs' house. "Eh, I needed it too. It was a good excuse to see the sun."

It isn't long before the pair make their way back to the house. Babs sets a much more sedate pace this time. No doubt her arms are screaming at her after that display of strength no matter what kind of conditioning she has. They reach the door and Babs turns toward Helena, nodding briefly. She reaches up and adjusts her glasses again, blue eyes intense as she stares into them for a moment. "So. i did say I had something I wanted to show you before you go. What I've been working on the last few months. I need you to promise not to tell anyone. I know you can keep a secret, Helena, but this is really important."

Helena mimes zipping her mouth shut, locking it and throwing away the key. She nods, waiting to follow. "Cross my heart and hope to die," she says. She reaches for her throat, but she's not wearing her crucifix. "You've got me curious now, though."

"Alright." Barbara opens the door and leads the way through the house toward the bedrooms. "I have a project I've been working on. It's- an Information Network. I was looking at bringing my own team together, learning from some of the mistakes Bruce made and building something that will last. I call it the Birds of Prey."

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