|I Moderate (i_moderate) wrote in we_archive,|
@ 2006-07-29 23:18:00
|Entry tags:||barbara gordon, helena bertinelli, jake chambers|
i_hunt Tell Me This Night Is Over [Oracle & Jake]
Characters: Huntress (of New Earth), Oracle, and any roommates/protectors
Setting: The Clock Tower
Summary: Morning can't come soon enough. After Oracle returns home, and Helena Wayne calls, Helena Bertinelli drops in for tea unexpectedly...
Blending with the pre-dawn sky of navy and purple, Huntress plummeted from one of The City Institute's tallest structures. Her midnight hair whipping back against her ears, her cape fluttering like a frightened fish on a hook, she fell until the swing of the jumpline thrust her upwards. Hurtling up and up, Huntress gained enough momentum to release and retract the grapple mechanism of the 'line. She soared the remainder of the distance to her destination.
Her destination: the face of the Clock Tower.
As a substitute teacher, Ms. Bertinelli's assigned classroom had afforded her a nickel-tour view of the Institute's Clock Tower. Seeing it from the school's grounds, Helena had been jarred by how familiar it was. From a distance, it merely appeared to be similar, but from her classroom, Huntress had been certain that it was the same. The clock tower was identical to the one Barbara Gordon had destroyed in Gotham City. Through her incipient understanding of The City's metaphysics, Helena could only assume that the clock tower had not been destroyed during Gotham's gang war games. Rather, it had been absorbed by The City. And if the clock tower was here, it's sole resident may have been brought along as well.
After class, Helena had returned to her own home for a power nap. Having fallen out of the practice of living a constant double-life, she slept through most of the night. She chided herself for missing out on her chance to investigate the clock tower, and resolved to visit at a decent hour of the morning.
No one ever won an argument with Helena by calling for decency, least of all Helena herself.
Scaling down the side of the clock face, Helena knew precisely how to avoid the clock tower's security systems. She had done it before, and, for a time, she had been given free access to the building. If the clock tower had been brought here at the time of its seeming destruction, she should still have access to it; alternatively, it had been quite some time since it's arrival in The City. Plenty of time for Barbara to have changed the locks. In the spirit of the trust Babs had shared with her, Helena stood passively at the doorway beside the clock face, removed her right glove, and placed her hand on the sensor pad. A bar of amber light slid down the pad, recording Helena's handprint, body temperature, and for all she knew, her DNA signature. Another moment would tell her if she received an open door, or an intruder alert countermeasures...
From: i_seeall Date: 07/30/2006 14:05:37
Babs was running on four cups of coffee, three mugs of tea, a power bar or two, and a few very sporadic hours of sleep. She'd been up almost a good three and half days now and if she kept drinking three or four cups of coffee every day and every night she was going to become immune to the caffine very soon.
But she had to stave off the need to sleep, at least until she was done with this one project. She'd been saying that a lot over the past few days. Just until I'm done with this project... But inevitably she'd finish, and then it would be night, which brought about an entirely new realm of responsibility. After night came day, and generally a new project.
Slowly she was losing her concentration, slowly but surely, and it showed.
"Helena, please. Just use the normal door next time. Or the window." Babs held down the intercom button and spoke when she heard the scanners for the door beside the clock face activate. She barely even looked at the screen, forgetting for almost an entire moment that something about this was just... wrong.
When she did realise, there was plenty of cursing to make up for it.
"That's it... tonight, I'm sleeping," she muttered under her breath. She grabbed a hair tie from the side of her desk and quickly stuck her hair up in a messy, loopy bun. Then it was into the next room.
There was greeting to do.
From: i_hunt Date: 07/30/2006 15:07:55
There was no electric shock, no tranquilizer darts, no lasers, no boiling oil, and no giant butterfly nets. The door simply opened for Huntress, and a slightly distorted voice announced, "Helena, please. Just use the normal door next time. Or the window."
Huntress let go of her held breath with a single "ha" from deep in her throat, deep in her diaphragm. As the corners of her lips upturned for the brief laugh, she squeezed her eyes shut to dispel the almost-tears that welled up so suddenly. The gut-wrenching annoyance in Barbara's voice was nearly the most beautiful sound that Helena could have expected, because it meant that she was expected. Or so she assumed. Of all people, Helena should have predicted that Oracle would be three steps ahead.
Taking her own steps into the clock tower, Huntress' head whipped from side to side. The room appeared to be roughly the same as Bertinelli could remember it. Perhaps some of the tech was slicker, perhaps not. As her flat-soled boots lightly tread upon the floor, she tried not to let herself become overwhelmed with the sensation one felt when finding something that was once lost.
"I apologise, Barbara," Huntress replied a tad more airy than she intended. "You must know that patience is a vice I rarely indulge in."
From: i_seeall Date: 07/30/2006 15:46:34
"It's... alright." Babs gave a very tired smile. She couldn't not smile, this was Helena. Her Helena. Which wasn't to say that she disapproved of Helena Wayne, not at all, it was just very nice to see a familiar face.
If she could have Dinah back then things would be pretty much perfect.
Babs stifled a bit of a yawn before grinning again. "You're new... I thought you were someone else at first. Palm scan was all wrong," she said. "Forgive me for not doing the whole welcoming speil with you? I just want to know how you got here."
From: i_hunt Date: 07/30/2006 16:24:07
Wincing at the mention of her palm scan being 'wrong', Huntress pulled up her purple mask as she thought on the implications of such a statement. There was something comforting, like hot cocoa, about a mystery. It was comforting to hone her consciousness on who exactly Barbara had been expecting, and how they all were brought to this place. It allowed her to compartmentalise her warm and gushy feelings for finding Babs. She could dwell on them later. Maybe in Barbara's company, maybe not.
"Forgiven. I drove home after class, I rang up Dinah about her freaky friday plans with Lady Shiva, and then I soared out for a patrol. I tripped off a building in Gotham, and crashed into a dumpster in this City," Huntress explained, the epitome of matter-of-factness. While she tied her hair back into a pony, and unthreaded it from her cowl, she went on, "My condominium, my Lamborghini, and my Little Italy safe-house were brought with me, evidently."
Helena tilted her chin up, awaiting any further questions before getting to her own.
From: i_throwplates Date: 07/30/2006 16:38:12
Jake heard their voices in the hallway just before he stepped out of the kitchen. In one hand, he was holding a tall glass of milk, a plate of cookies balanced on the wrist. His other hand had a twice-bitten cookie, that was being lowered to Oy, who stood up on his back legs to take it.
He swallowed the bite in his mouth, and waved. "I was just gonna take this to my room," he said. And then blinked at Helena. The first thing he noticed was the costume. Second, was that this was Helena, but a slightly different Helena. That was weird. He didn't think she'd been gone that long.
From: i_seeall Date: 07/30/2006 16:52:34
Jake. Helena. Costume.
Babs looked between the two, the sudden sensory overload and instant worry jerking her immediately to life. She blinked several times. "Shit." Her hand went to the bridge of her nose. This was neither of their faults, it had been stupid of her to lead Helena in costume to the more residential area of the tower.
It was like in the manor. Costumes stayed in the Batcave. Well, here costumes were supposed to stay in the computer rooms. Her mistake.
That was what she got for neglecting four days of sleep.
Calm down, she told herself. "Jake, Helena. Helena, Jake. Jake, you're going to spoil your dinner." And that was really all she could do for now, introductions and mother-like comments. To think, she'd thought that her talk with Jake a few nights ago had fullfilled their serious-talk quota for the week. There would have to be another discussion.
From: i_throwplates Date: 07/30/2006 17:10:29
Jake shrugged and tried a winning smile. He was out of practice, but they'd always worked on Mrs. Shaw. "It's only a few cookies. I'll be fine."
He glanced back at Helena in her costume and nodded. Another member of the Tet of the Bat. Okay. He could live with that. But from the look on Babs's face, and the fact that she'd cursed - out loud - he could guess there'd be some Talk coming.
"Musta been one hell of a costume party," he said, trying not to smile. "Nice bah." The crossbow looked impressive.
From: i_hunt Date: 07/30/2006 19:20:41
Helena's train of thought, first: The boy makes an innocent joke about Ms. Bertinelli looking like the Huntress. The joke becomes a rumour. The rumour sparks investigation. The investigation ends in Bertinelli's firing. There is no other school board, nor even another school, in The City to hire her. If she's lucky, the shifting buildings keep the police from finding her home, and Huntress' enemies never get called to The City.
Huntress' train of thought: The child lives with Oracle. Barbara knows the rules. The child must know the rules. She must have taught him the rules.
...As Barbara made introductions, Huntress instinctively lurked back towards the wall. Less direct light. She sank into shadow just as easily as Batman himself. Helena dropped her ponytail with enough force to send her hair draping over the edges of her face, obscuring her cheeks and her eyes.
"Nice bah," the kid complimented the weapon on Huntress' hip.
"Thank you?" Helena returned, her reaction time slowed. She crossed her arms under her breasts. All she could think of were the times she pulled the trigger while the crossbow was aimed at someone's head, or heart. Uncomfortably, she added, "Nice haircut."
After forcing a smile at Jake, Helena snapped her head in Babs' direction. Bluntly, she asked, "Is this another temporal paradox? Is he... yours?"
From: i_seeall Date: 07/30/2006 19:49:15
That technically was a very logical question on Helena's part considering that she'd never seen Jake before in her life, and if you were looking on strictly a first sight basis one would take the two to be mother and son.They both shared the same brown hair and he obviously lived here, the room Jake was going to down the hall was filled with kid's clothing and books she'd bought him. It was an easy assumption to make.
"I... no. No, he's," He wasn't her son though, she wasn't his legal guardian, he wasn't her ward... nothing like that. This whole set up they had going on was actually somewhat illegal. Just another thing that would possibly have to be settled in the near future. Babs found herself adding it to the list of things to do.
"He's Jake," she said again. Her hand reached out for his shoulder, gently pulling him closer. "We sort of... found each other a few months back. He lives here now, goes to school at the Institute. "
Not her son, no, but pretty damn close in all the places it mattered. Babs smiled a bit. She probably did need to go over those rules with him.
From: i_throwplates Date: 07/30/2006 20:17:00
Jake grinned when Babs pulled him closer, managing not to spill either the cookies or the milk.
He also didn't protest about being mistaken for Barbara's son. Oddly, he felt complimented by it.
"Nice to meet you," he said. "And..." He looked from Barbara to Helena. "I'm not gonna say anything to anyone. Not like there's anything to say. Or even anyone to tell." Then he furrowed his brow at Babs. "Why, is there something I should know?"
He was good at playing innocent. His age helped that.
From: i_hunt Date: 07/31/2006 17:05:51
Huntress smiled at the stilted explanations, and nodded at appropriate intervals. She was touched by their kinship, and being in the shadows provided her with a sense of bone-deep relief. That maternal relationship... The loose obsidian ringlets draping down Helena's face mostly obscured her jealousy.
Even more than the mortal sin of envy, Helena remembered. She remembered. The looks she had been given stuck in her mind, like a kernel of corn between the teeth. Barbara and Jake both had looked at Helena with searching expressions, and whatever it is they had been looking for, they hadn't found it. Was she a disappointment, again? Was she just too pathetic for them to even speak on it?
Secret identity crisis averted for the moment, Huntress blurted out, "What's wrong with me? How did you expect me to be?"
From: i_seeall Date: 07/31/2006 17:26:49
"What?" Babs made a face, tilting her head as she stared at Helena. "Nothing's wrong with you. You certainly look like my Helena. You are her, right? Please tell me you know Dinah." Babs could only hope that this was the right one, that her censors hadn't steered her wrong.
Biting her lip, she moved her hand from Jake's shoulder for the moment. "Jake?" The look on her face was clear. She needed to speak to Helena alone for the moment. "We'll talk later? I won't come in too late."
From: i_throwplates Date: 07/31/2006 17:46:37
He didn't need to be told twice. Jake nodded. "No problem. I'll just head to my room."
He gave both ladies a smile and slid past them. "Be there if you need me."
From: i_hunt Date: 07/31/2006 19:23:19
"I know Dinah," Helena finally answered, far more soberly. She edged towards a sofa, and tied her hair back into that ponytail. Leaving her gloves and crossbow on a side table, she slouched into the sofa. She went on, "We're a team. Zinda's been trying to call us the Birds of Prey. Mostly, we've been ignoring that impulse."
Although Barbara had managed to mollify Helena's outburst, there was still something there, niggling at her. Meeting Oracle's eyes, Helena insisted, "What did you mean by my Helena and wrong palm scan?"
From: i_seeall Date: 08/01/2006 08:32:54
"I've got to admit, the name's sort've grown on me. Or, rather, it will. In your future." The statement ended with her rubbing the bridge of her nose again. Talking about alternate dimensions when one was tired always seemed to turn a bit confusing for all parties involved.
Admittedly it was nice to hear the team name come out of someone's mouth here and not elict a huge look of confusion. Nice to be only one member short now, though it did just make her miss their third member all the more.
"By my Helena I meant you. You're the one from my world, but there's another girl here, Helena Wayne. Er... Bruce's daughter, if you can believe it. She's from another world, calls herself Huntress as well. That's whose palm scan I'm always expecting to see come in now, just because you haven't been here. But believe me, I am very glad to see you."
From: i_hunt Date: 08/01/2006 19:04:55
"Earth-2," Huntress had murmured under her breathe at the mention of Helena Wayne. The name was familiar because of a conversation she'd had with Power Girl after the last Crisis.
After Barbara expressed her feelings, Helena managed, "It's a relief to have you here. I'd probably be hiding in my bed were it not for the hope of finding you."
Her conversation with Jade percolating in her mind all the while, Helena supposed that the other Huntress must have been the one whom Jennie assumed to be the one belonging to The City. The one that Jennie theorised had been sent to Gotham, to resume Bertinelli's life in her absence. All her relief shifting into dread, Huntress said coldly, "I have been here for a month, now. ...Has Helena Wayne been here all that time?"
From: i_seeall Date: 08/02/2006 17:41:52
"Yes, she's been here since... I want to say possibly February. Maybe later than that, but she's been here awhile," Babs said.
"I'm surprised to hear that you've been here so long. Usually I manage to contact people as soon as they arrive." She had an excuse though, a good one. For the past month or so she'd been distracted by Jack's trial, and then Jack himself. She was just a little distracted.
From: i_hunt Date: 08/03/2006 17:02:48
"Unless you have cameras in my home, I've been living off your grid of influence..." Helena surmised, distractedly. It was beginning to sound like Jennie's theory was wrong. The other Huntress hadn't traded places with Bertinelli; she was likely just as alien to This City. And with that single fact proving to be erroneous, Helena found herself questioning everything she'd slowly learned about The City. She couldn't think of a single thing she knew, for certain.
Affixing her mask over her face again, Huntress resolved, "I should be getting back. There's a new day, with a new class, waiting for me out there. You can contact me on my comms" --She slipped her hands into her gloves, and cupped one hand over her left ear-- "I still wear it."
Huntress took up the grappling mechanism of her jumpline, once again.