Birds Of Prey: The Quest

BY : JohnOConnor
Category: DC Verse Comics > Birds Of Prey
Dragon prints: 5179
Disclaimer: I do not own the Batman series, nor any of the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

Birds Of Prey: The Quest
by John O'Connor

Notes: 1) This is an Alternate Universe story that takes place before the events that otherwise would culminate in "Birds Of Prey" #21.

2) The early events take place before the current renovation of Soldier Field.

3) [ ] denotes Dinah's transmitted dialogue.
{ } denotes Barbara's transmitted dialogue.
( ) denotes Selena's transmitted dialogue.


Part 1: The Chicago Mission

Gotham City; 29 May; 12:15 AM EDT

Barbara Gordon, known to the Superhero community as Oracle, listened to the sounds of fighting over the Bose speakers she had set up in her Monitor Room. It was a typical Black Canary-versus-several-thugs situation.

"God, why aren't any of these cases ever easy?" the redhead moaned as she took off her glasses and pinched the bridge of her nose.

[What?]

Looking at one of her monitors which displayed her electronic files, she gazed at a picture of Dinah Lance. She often found it easier to talk to Dinah when she could see her face. She was amused by this as she rarely felt the need when talking to the Batman, Robin, Nightwing, or anyone in the JLA.

"I'm nuts about her, I guess," Barbara muttered.

[What? I didn't catch the last couple of things.]

Turning to one of her speakers, Barbara smiled and said, "Nothing. Talking to myself."

[Well, it's distracting. Stop it. Oof!]

"Canary? Dinah?"

[Quiet! Oh yeah, you want some too? C'mon, big boy! I got what you're looking for right here!]

Hearing the sound of a boot impacting solidly with another body, Barbara smiled to herself.

[Okay, Oracle, tell me again how this was just going to be a simple surveil-lance... Hey! No grabbing the hair, creep!]

"That's what my contact told me. We were just supposed to watch for any suspicious after-hours activity near the museum. How was I to know that an eight-man squad was coming to rip off the Kremlin Gold exhibit?" Barbara asked.

[Past experience?]

The red-haired young woman shook her head and rolled the wheelchair over to where she had left her coffee. Picking up the mug that was emblazoned with the Batman logo, she sipped it and scowled. "Damn! It's cold!"

[What? What's cold?]

Marveling at how her partner could fight several bad guys and carry on a conversation at the same time, Oracle said, "My coffee."

[Hey!] This followed by the sound of a solid punch to someone's jaw. [Ow! I hate punching guys in the face! I think I broke a nail.]

Oracle laughed.

[Hey, that's not funny! Do you know how much manicures are nowadays? Here creep!]

"No, can't say as I do," Barbara chuckled.


Chicago; 28 May; 11:18 PM CDT

Black Canary pivoted on her left foot, bringing her right around in an arc that connected with another black-clad thief. With a loud exhalation, the perp fell backwards and slid across the polished floor of the Field Museum into the base of the Tyrannosaurus display.

The blond crimefighter came around and saw another of her foes getting up from a broken rack that had held pamphlets for the illustrious institution.

"Bitch! I'll fucking kill you!" the goon growled as he slowly advanced.

"Is that any way to talk to a lady?" Canary asked as she launched herself at the man.

Punching him in his Adam's Apple, she winced and muttered, "What an asshole!"

{Who?} Oracle asked over the earplug link Black Canary wore.

"Just one of my playmates," Canary answered into her throat mike. "He said some very naughty words."

Slowly scanning the central hall of the museum, Dinah Lance saw the unconscious guards and the seven men she had just beaten in an all too familiar fight.

"Wait a minute!" Dinah said.

{What? What is it?}

On guard again, the blonde looked more carefully around the large room. "There are only seven out for the count. I distinctly remember eight guys here."

{Be careful! Please...}

"Yeah, you don't have to tell me twice, sister!"

Seeing movement beyond the dinosaur skeleton nicknamed Sue, she began to creep around past the extended tail of the primeval killer. In the shadow of the display was a crouching figure. Dinah reached out to grab the person as she stood up.

"Why, Black Canary! What a pleasant surprise!" Catwoman purred.

"Catwoman! What the hell are you doing here?" Dinah asked.

Catwoman? Not again!

The shapely woman in the skin-tight, dark purple bodysuit smiled seductively at the crime fighter. "I see you still wear that clingy body armor. Tres sexy!"

{Oh no, Selena. What are you doing?}

"Who?" Dinah asked distractedly.

{Catwoman. Remember? Selena Kyle?}

"Oh, uh, yeah."

"Still talking to our mysterious friend, I see," Selena Kyle, more widely known as the Catwoman, said as she walked out of the shadows. Dinah followed several feet behind.

"What are you so nervous about, my dear?" Catwoman asked.

"One of these clowns is missing...Wait..."

{Dinah! She's the eighth one!}

Realization hit Dinah and her control at the same time. As her eyes widened and she prepared to fight, Dinah saw Catwoman pull a device from behind her. It looked like some sort of taser.

Just as Black Canary started to leap at her, Catwoman fired the gun and twin wires flew out of the weapon. One grazed Dinah's throat. The other caught the real eighth member of the original gang square in the forehead.

Once contact was made, electricity flowed through the wires. Each lead carried enough current to knock out an adult man. Thus the man in black was thrown to the floor unconscious, a state he would be in for some time.

The other lead struck Dinah a glancing blow on her pendant transceiver. The current burned out part of the miniature circuitry and then caused her to convulse briefly. Dinah was limp when she hit the floor.


Gotham City; 12:22 AM EDT

Seeing the life signs on her monitors wink out, Barbara yelled into the microphone, "Dinah! Dinah! NO!!" She covered her face with her hands, forcing back tears.

(Well, pretty birdy, I really must apologize. I didn't mean to get you. Well, at least not this way...)

On hearing Selena's throaty voice, Barbara turned and stared at the monitor displaying her Catwoman file. As Oracle it had become second nature to access any available files should unexpected "guests" show up. The monitor happened to show one of the few existing pictures of Selena Kyle. It was a photo Barbara had taken of her when they were in Atlantic City together one weekend.

(You should be up and around in no time.)

Barbara suddenly felt relief wash over her as she heard footsteps fade away. "She's still alive?" she said as the sound of distant sirens came through the speakers.

Barbara still felt the remnants of the panic that had seized her when Black Canary's life signs disappeared. Logically, she knew Selena would never kill another person, but logic flew out the window when she had thought Dinah was dead.

"Dinah? Can you hear me? Dinah?" Barbara asked.

She heard footsteps approaching rapidly. "Dinah! Get up!"

(I have no idea why I'm doing this...)

Selena's voice!

(Oof! You don't look that heavy, girlfriend. Jeez, must be the body armor.)

For several long minutes, all Barbara heard was the sound of labored breathing and sirens getting closer. Then the sound of an old door opening.

(I gotta put you down for a minute. Hopefully, Chicago's Finest will be too busy with the boys downstairs to think of the roof for a few minutes.)

[Wha...?]

"Dinah?"

(Oh, you're coming to? Good. I'd rather not have to carry you everywhere...)

"Dinah? Can you hear me?"

[What happened?]

(When you decided to play hero and attack me, you got hit by this nifty little gadget.)

[What is it?]

(Later. Can you walk? Good. Follow me.)

"Dinah, answer me. Dinah!" Barbara hit the desk in frustration. Somehow, she could hear what was going on but couldn't talk back to her friend. What had Selena used?

(Listen. Canary? Pay attention. We have to go across this line to the Park District building across the way. It's part of Soldier Field and we can lay low there until the boys in blue leave. Can you make it?)

[I, uh, I don't know. Still pretty woozy.]

(Damn! Shoulda left you down there. Here, I'll carry you. Put your arms around my neck and wrap your legs around my waist. Hey! Watch the hands! Those aren't handles, you know!)

Barbara couldn't help but snicker at that comment. The snicker died when she heard Selena's next words.

(Plenty of time for that later... Ready?)


Chicago; 11:28 PM CDT

Dinah looked over Catwoman's shoulder and down towards McFetteridge Drive. The short, narrow street between the Field Museum and Soldier Field was packed with squad cars and several squadrols. It was a see of flashing blue light.

"Jeez..."

Catwoman nodded. "That's right, Birdlady, hold tight. I don't think a cop car would make a good landing pad." With that, Catwoman stepped off the roof of the museum into the warm, dark night.

Dinah stared at the small pulley device Catwoman was grasping as they sailed across the wide gap between buildings. She didn't want to look at anything else in her present state; not the street, the building rushing towards them, the black expanse of Lake Michigan to their left, or the towers to their right.

In seconds they were on the roof of the Park District building. Seconds that seemed like an eternity to the befuddled crime fighter.

"Much as I love your strong arms around me, Canary, you can let go now.," Catwoman said.

"Oh, uh, right." Dinah released her grip and stood up, surveying the scene. Behind them, the museum and the necklace of police. In front of them, the dark football arena with it's soaring columns.

"That's where we're headed." Catwoman started across the roof then turned and looked back, "Unless you want to go your own way?"

Dinah stood uncertainly. She hadn't heard anything from Oracle. She also knew she wouldn't get far without help. It wouldn't do to be picked up by the Chicago Police. It would take far too long to convince them that she was on their side, if they would even be convinced of that. Chicago had little
experience with superheroes; surprising in America's third largest city.

"Wait. Please, I need your help..."


Gotham City; 12:33 AM EDT

"No, Dinah! Goddammit!" Barbara hit her worktable with her fist again. "Not with her!"

(Well, come along then, Pretty Bird.)

Barbara looked around her secret room desperately. There had to be something here that she could use to contact Dinah. There had to be...

As she rolled from rack to rack, she heard the faint noises of two people sneaking stealthily through an unfamiliar place.

(Okay, there are steps here. Need help?)

[No, thanks, Catwoman. I think I can handle the stairs.]

Practically careening around the room, Barbara finally came to a frustrated halt facing the back of the large clockface that gave her building it's unofficial name, the Clock Tower Building.

Tears of frustration blurred her vision and other factors blurred her normally clear thoughts. Hearing Selena's voice again brought back memories of another time, another Barbara.

* * * * * *

She was then the high-flying Batgirl, part of the unofficial Batman family. Dressing in a costume modeled after the Batman, she did her part to try and keep Gotham safe from the freak show the press had dubbed Batman's Rogues Gallery.

In the course of her adventuring, it was inevitable that she cross paths with the mysterious, elusive Catwoman. She just never expected sparks to fly the way they did.

In one of their hand to hand fights, Catwoman fell, pulling Batgirl down with her. Feeling the voluptuous body beneath her, Barbara succumbed to her secret urges and kissed the villainess.

Catwoman returned the kiss with equal vigor, her tongue darting around in Barbara's mouth. It was seemingly as inquisitive as one of Catwoman's favorite pets.

Batgirl didn't arrest her foe that night. Instead she went with the raven-haired beauty back to a Midtown hotel where they spent the rest of the night and most of the following morning exploring each other's sexual pleasures.

Barbara had never experienced passion like that before. She knew then that she could never take Selena in, not for fear her identity would be revealed but because she had fallen in love with the other woman.

Their secret affair continued for almost a year. They usually met at some hotel where Selena had checked in under an assumed name. Only occasionally did they meet at Barbara's home.

The last night they were together, Barbara held Selena's slick, nude body close to her own equally sweaty form. They were both recovering from wonderfully explosive orgasms and were content to cuddle for a while.

"Selena, that was marvelous!" Barbara exclaimed as her fingers trailed down the other woman's back to gently squeeze and fondle her rounded ass.

Licking the underside of Barbara's jaw, Selena chuckled, "Of course. How could it be otherwise?"

"My, my, look at the ego," Barbara said, as her fingers drifted between Selena's legs causing the older woman to squeak.

"Oh, my little Batbabe, you are going to get it," Selena mock warned. Then she proceeded to give it to Barbara, her tongue creating magical sensations on the red-head's soft skin.

As Selena moved between Barbara's legs, she sighed, "I love your little red patch." Selena ran her fingers through it while thrusting her tongue as deeply into Barbara as she possibly could.

Just as Barbara was on the verge of another massive orgasm, the phone rang. She pulled Selena's head more tightly to her as the machine picked up the call.

'Hello, sweetheart. Just wanted to check in with you. I leave early tomorrow for Coast City. See you in a week. Love you. Bye.' The machine beeped as James Gordon's message ended.

Barbara felt some slight amount of shame to have a naked woman in bed with her when her father called. However, the thrill of doing something "wrong" when he called, added to the sensations Selena's tongue was producing and she screamed out her orgasm.

Later, after Barbara returned the favor and Selena slipped out, she lay back and called her father to chat before his trip. While talking to him, she could still taste Selena's essence on her tongue and rapidly became aroused again.

After wishing her father a safe trip, she hung up and masturbated furiously until she came two more times. 'Selena has a definite effect on me,' she mused as she fell into a deep, untroubled sleep.

Within a month, she was crippled both physically and emotionally. A bullet fired by the Joker, and the subsequent abuse and torture at his hands, had ended her life. She spent several months wanting nothing more than to die.

Finally, one morning she woke up and decided to live. With some initial help from the Wayne Foundation and judicious investing, Barbara set herself up in the Clock Tower with a computer system second only to the Batcave's massive Crays.

Selena Kyle, though, had returned to Gotham at a time when Barbara was nearly suicidal. Knowing nothing of what the Clown Prince of Crime had done, she went to Barbara's to find no one home. A quick word with the building manager, along with a $20.00 "gift" clued her in to what happened. She immediately went to the Gotham City Public Library and poured over the previous month's Gotham Gazzettes reading everything she could about her love and the tragedy that had befallen her.

Selena bought a Saturday Night Special and broke into Arkham, her sole intent to kill the lunatic who destroyed her lover's life.

"I couldn't, Barbara! I couldn't! Even that monster! And all the evil he has perpetrated. I just couldn't kill him," Selena sobbed as she stood in Barbara's cold, empty bedroom.

She snuck out the window, leaving a note that said Barbara deserved better than a woman who couldn't even avenge the hurt done to the woman she loves.

Later, during the Clench outbreak, Batman was assisted by Catwoman among others. She was put in touch with Oracle as they coordinated their efforts at saving the plague-ravaged city.

It was the only time since she found Selena's note that Barbara allowed herself to cry for her lost love.

* * * * * *

Barbara's attention was brought back to the present when voices once again came through her speakers.

[Where are we, Catwoman?]

(From the, ugh, smell, I'd guess one of the locker rooms. We'll go through and wait near one of the gates until I'm sure the coast is clear.)

[What the hell is that thing you zapped me with? It looks like a taser.]

Barbara sat forward, she wanted to hear this too.

(Oh, this little thing? It basically is a modified taser. It can fire up to six wires, each independent of the others.)

[Where did you get it?]

(I liberated one of the prototypes from STAR's Kansas City office. They're developing it as a crowd control measure. Little extreme in my opinion.)

[I'll second that]

Barbara heard Dinah's mirthless laugh.

(I guess in the excitement, I accidentally set it to fire two. Sorry, Pretty Bird.)

[Well, okay, I guess....Mumpph! What the hell was that?]

(A kiss. Surely you've been kissed before?)

"Oh Selena, please, not Dinah. Anyone else but her..." Barbara felt tears roll down her cheeks but did nothing to stop them. Nor did she make an attempt to turn off the speakers or the monitors.

[Yes, of course I've been kissed. Just not by...]

(A woman?)

[No, a villian!]

(Well, I guess you didn't hate it. You definitely responded.)

[I, well, I get...]

(Yeah, the adrenaline, the rush; they get me pretty worked up too. That outfit? Can you feel this through the body armor?)

[Uh, I don't think you shou...]

(Feels a little damp down here too...)

[We shouldn't...]

(Don't worry, I never take advantage of my lovers. Ask Tall, Dark, and Vengeful, or...)

Barbara stared at the picture of Dinah on the monitor as she heard the sound of people kissing again. She didn't deny that she had kissed a woman before. Could that mean...?

(Oh, Pretty Bird, I could just eat you up...)

[Better women than you have tried.]

(Ooo, I like a challenge!)

The smooth sound of a plastic zipper being pulled came through clearly.

(Well, as long as we have to wait, we may as well relax and enjoy ourselves. How about joining me in the shower, Canary?)

[I am kind of sweaty from our little adventure...]

(I promise to be good. Very good!)

Barbara heard snaps being opened and then the sound of Dinah's thin body armor suit hitting the floor.

(Oh, you aren't a natural blonde, Pretty Bird.)

[Does that bother you? Oh! I guess not...]

(Most of my pussies are multi-colored. If you know what I mean...Mmmm. You taste good, Canary. Come on.)

The sound of a shower filled the speakers. But, unfortunately for Barbara, it didn't drown out the sounds of two women making love.

She buried her face in her hands and sobbed quietly.

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

Part 2: The Quest

Gotham City; 29 May; 12:55 AM EDT

"Oracle."

The voice was hard like cold steel. The sound of the voice alone had brought grown men to their knees.

"Oracle," the Batman repeated.

Looking up, Barbara stared with red-rimmed eyes at the tall, caped figure standing in the center of the room.

"You've been crying," he said.

"I knew there was a reason you're called the world's greatest detective," Barbara replied sarcastically.

Batman regarded the monitors and listened to the sounds coming over the speakers. Then he turned his cowled head back to the young lady before him.

Barbara's head snapped around and she lunged for the audio control, shutting off the sounds coming from the distant locker room.

"Black Canary and Catwoman, I presume?" the Darknight asked, as he caught sight if the open files on the smaller monitors.

Barbara stared at her monitors before slowly nodding her head. She then turned her chair to face Batman.

"Are you going to tell...?"

Batman shook his head, "No, if Dinah wants to tell her friends in the Justice Society, it'll be up to her. I don't see the need."

"But, Catwoman is a criminal," Barbara protested weakly.

"I never had to worry about you, did I?"

Barbara's eyes widened, "You knew? When? Why didn't you say..."

"I know Selena. She never compromises her lovers. That's one of the few traits I admire in her."

"You? Admire a villain? Now, I've heard everything," Barbara said.

"I said I admired some of her traits. Not her. Not while she lives this way. What about you, do you still love her?"

"What? Uh, no, not anymore. Not that way." Barbara hesitated then added, "I still have feelings for her but after the Joker, I don't feel love anymore."

"Barbara, it's okay to love." The crimefighter's voice had softened. "You may be physically disabled but you aren't emotionally crippled. Not unless you allow yourself to be."

"What do you know about emotions? You're so goddamned cold all the time. You either manipulate or drive away anyone who becomes close to you. Do you even remember what it is to feel?" Barbara's voice had a harsh, savage edge that caught the Batman by surprise.

"Yes, I remember. I know what it's like to care. How revealing it can be." Pulling the cowl back, the Caped Crusader crouched down until he was eye to eye with the upset woman.

"Barbara, when my parents were killed, I made a vow to avenge them and to do everything I could to fight the evil that killed them and threatens this city. I never gave up my emotions, I just learned, as you have since the shooting, to keep them buried. That's not always a good thing. Dick barely speaks to me anymore. I lost Vicki, and Silver. It hurts. Worse than what Bane could ever do to me, but I learned to cope. My crusade is mine. I try, and often fail, to protect those close to me. It became easier to push those close to me, to the Bruce part of me, away.

"You don't need to do the same, Barbara. Let go of some of the responsibility. Live your life, not your crusade."

Barbara looked at the man, Bruce Wayne, in front of her. This was one of the longest speeches she had ever heard from him while in costume.

"I don't know how anymore," she said.

"Barbara, I'm talking as Bruce, your friend now. Not as the Batman. I've noticed you have been burying yourself in your work. Too much? Well, that's not my place to say."

The redhead laughed, "I'll say. You're the ultimate workaholic!"

"I think you need to get away. Get some downtime and relax. Tim would love to play Oracle for a week. You've been going virtually non-stop since well before the Clench outbreak. And then the quake, Sarah's death..." He stopped when he saw tears start to well up again.

Blinking rapidly, she replied, "I understand what you're trying to do. But here I'm not some cripple in a wheelchair. Here I do more good than I ever did as Batgirl. I feel whole here."

"Go visit Dick. He'd love to see you," Bruce suggested.

"I don't want to cramp his style. Juggling those Titans women and his landlady...I'd really be a fifth wheel!"

Barbara smiled though, thinking of the man in Bludhaven who was the closer to her than anyone, more a brother than her brother. Her best, truest friend. He was wonderfully accepting when she told him about her being in love with Selena. He never condemned her for her lifestyle choices or her partners. He just was there for her when she needed him.

"Alright, but don't spend 24 hours a day in here. Go out and see what we've done with the city. It's pretty phenomenal."

"I know, Cassandra has let me know," Barbara said, referring to the young girl who took her old mantle during the post-quake days when Gotham was little better than a No-Man's Land.

"Don't mourn for what was with Selena."

"I wasn't crying over her," Barbara whispered.

Clearing her throat and wiping her eyes, she asked, "What did you need anyway?"

Standing and pulling on his mask, the Darknight returned. "Anything on a carjacking ring in the Midtown area. They've been snatching European cars, mainly of German manufacture, and they've...hurt someone."

Barbara turned back to her main workstation and began a search for information. The last monitor she cleared had Dinah's picture on it, Batman noted.

* * * * * *

Two weeks later; Justice League Watchtower, Earth's Moon

Dinah Lance walked through the futuristic corridors of the JLA's latest headquarters marveling at everything.

"Jeez, this is incredible!" she muttered.

"What is so incredible?" a deep voice asked.

Turning, she saw J'onn J'onnz, the Martian Manhunter, striding towards her. "I've been here before but I still am amazed. I mean, this place, J'onn! When we started the League the first time way back when, we never had anything like this! The less said about the JSA's headquarters in comparison, the better."

"When dealing with threats such as our most recent crisis, it behooves us to have the best and most advanced equipment available," the tall, green-skinned alien replied "S "So, Kyle said this is a blend of Martian and New Genesis technology? That must've been a bit of a pain in...um, a real pain to integrate." Dinah smiled sheepishly, "I guess some of Ollie's style really did rub off on me, sorry."

"Green Arrow had an effect on everyone who knew him," J'onn said laconically.

Dinah smiled, "Yeah, that he did. Anyway, what I really meant was this is a far cry from our 'Secret Sanctuary' outside Happy Harbor."

"Indeed it is. I...excuse me, Dinah. It seems young Mister West is about to get himself into a disagreement with one of your new teammates." J'onn disappeared rapidly down a cross-corridor.

"See ya," Dinah said to the empty air. She shook her head with a rueful smile. Knowing her new teammates in the new Justice Society and how much of a hothead Wally could be at times, she figured J'onn would be tied up for a few minutes.

Looking through a nearby port, she gazed out at the airless void, fingering the new pendant/microphone Oracle had supplied. The barren, rocky landscape was almost white under the harsh light of the lunar day.

Ambling along, apparently with no goal in mind, she neared the computer core. Looking around nonchalantly and seeing no Leaguers or Society members, she quickly stepped into the main computer access chamber.

"God, where do I start?" she moaned as she looked at the unearthly machines around her. "This makes 'Voyager' look like 'Doctor Who.'"

Finding what appeared to be a standard keyboard, she tried to access the League files. Finally accessing a low-grade search engine, she typed in a request for Oracle access.

When the system asked for the appropriate password, she slammed her fist on the rack.

"Damn!"

"Problem, Canary?"

Dinah froze at the sound of his voice. She turned slowly and sheepishly smiled at the Batman. "I just wanted to check my e-mail?"

"E-mail named Oracle?"

"Um, well, ya see..." She suddenly was at a loss for words as Batman stood there quietly. She again fingered her necklace.

"Oracle?" he finally said.

"Well, I've been working with her for several months and I'm, well, I'm curious. I want to know who I'm working for. Is there something wrong with that?" Dinah demanded.

"Some people prefer to keep secrets," Batman said cryptically. "And you've never been the type to pry into secrets of this kind. Not without need."

Dinah stood there in thought, unconsciously playing with her necklace, her link to Oracle. Finally, she reached a decision and said, "I'll be honest with you. I guess I've become fixated on her and who she is. It seems she's alone and could use a friend or a..."

"Lover?"

Face turning crimson, Dinah looked away.

"What about Catwoman?"

Her heart racing, Dinah stared at the dark figure in front of her. "Wh-what do you mean?"

"Dinah, I know about you and Selena. The question is whether it was a one-time fling or do you plan a relationship with her?"

"I...Batman, I didn't plan...I like guys, y'know? I mean, Ollie, Hal. We had some wild... Alright, the thing with Catwoman was just a way to release tension. I was keyed up from the fight and then the electrical shock..."

"Dinah, I don't care why. Is she a factor in your life?"

"No. It was just the one time."

"Fine. That's all I needed to know." Batman stepped up to the terminal and, under cover of his black cape, keyed in some instructions.

"I believe someone left a trace on the monitor showing Oracle's location. Sloppy maintenance. Well, it should clear in five minutes or so."

He turned, his cape swirling, and walked to the door. "Five minutes isn't too long, is it?"

Dinah swallowed and said, "No, not too long at all."

Stopping with his back to the chamber, Batman said, "She's very important. I don't want her hurt anymore."

"I understand." Dinah then asked, "Why did you...?"

"She's my friend."

Suddenly she was alone. Turning, she saw a Gotham City address. She committed the address to memory with a small smile.

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

Part 3: The Meeting

Gotham City; 28 June; 3:30 PM EDT

Dinah Lance sat at a table of an outdoor cafe, sipping coffee and scanning the street. Glancing at her watch again, she knew her quarry would be here shortly. Smiling, she sat back, smoothing the sundress over her bare legs. She refused to admit to the butterflies flying around in her stomach.

After the JSA returned from the Watchtower, she stayed in Gotham on a personal mission. She had determined that the object of her surveillance came to this café virtually everyday for a cup of coffee and a croissant. At least she had for the last week and a half.

The blonde sat up a little straighter. There she was, gliding down the sidewalk in her chair, her red hair gleaming in the sunlight.

As the woman wheeled her chair onto the patio, Dinah stood up and looked right at her, smiling.

Barbara saw Dinah and her heart skipped a beat. 'What was she doing here? And why does she have that expression on her face?' Barbara thought. 'Well, she doesn't know who I am. It must be a coincidence. The JSA's headquarters is nearby. after all.'

As she wheeled herself to an empty table, Dinah stepped up and held out her hand, "I'm Dinah Lance."

Taking the extended hand, Barbara nodded, "I'm Barbara Gordon. May I help you?"

"You have. Many times." Dinah smiled knowingly. "May I join you?" Barbara nodded mutely. "Thank you. It's a lovely day, isn't it?"

"Yes, it is. Gotham in the summer is always special. But this year, even more so." Barbara prattled on, trying desperately to figure out what was going on.

"In parts of the city, you'd never know there had even been an earthquake."

Barbara nodded, "The Wayne Foundation has been wonderful helping out."

"So has Lexcorp, I understand," Dinah said. Seeing the look in Barbara's eyes at the mention of the Metropolis-based multi-national, she added, "Luthor is good at making things look nice. But personally, I think he's worse than a snake-oil salesman."

"Far worse," Barbara muttered. "Back to my original question, if you don't mind. What can I do for you?"

Dinah smiled and said, "I was hoping to get a tour of Delphi..."

Barbara's face became a frozen mask. Delphi? That was Bruce's private joke with her. How did she find out?

Dinah saw the mask go up and her face fell.

"I'm sorry. Barbara, I, uh, I know you're Oracle," Dinah said softly. "And I've been wanting to meet you for so long. It's just that you've avoided it or put me off, so that I finally had to track you down." She paused, "I owe you so much since you took me on as an operative that..."

Barbara chewed her lower lip then asked, "How did you find me?"

"A computer trace actually."

"That's impossible. Between the multiple firewalls and the blind alleys I created, no one can trace..." Barbara stopped when she realized she had just admitted that she was Oracle. Twice.

"Not to Martian technology," Dinah offered.

"The Watchtower computer? Oh, of course, the JLA/JSA mission," Barbara paused when a thought struck her. "Wait. You got into the League's computer system? That's impossible without the right codes. How...?" Barbara paused again and her eyes narrowed. "Batman."

Dinah gave her a small grin. "He cares about you. That's why he let me find you, I think."

Smiling, Barbara said, "Yes. Yes, he does."

Finally a waiter came up and they ordered. While they waited, little was said. Dinah gazed at Barbara and realized that all of the effort was worth it. Her companion was a beautiful woman.

"What are you smiling about?" Barbara asked with a grin.

"Just so happy that you are such a beautiful woman," Dinah said, deciding to throw caution to the winds.

"No. I'm not." Barbara looked down at her useless legs and the chair she often felt a prisoner of, no more so than now.

"Yes, you are." Dinah reached over the table and took Barbara's hand, "I really mean that." She gently squeezed the slender hand and Barbara turned her hand and returned the gesture.

"Barbara, you always were there for me. I want to be there for you too. Will you let me?"

Barbara felt herself succumbing to this lovely woman's charms. "I don't know if I even know how anymore."

"You've been alone a long time, haven't you?" Dinah asked.

Nodding, Barbara replied, "I haven't been...not since the shooting."

"Why?"

"I feel ugly and a mess this way. I feel like the only times I matter are when I'm Oracle."

"You are definitely not ugly. Or useless. You survived in the hell that Gotham was last winter and, more than just survived, you helped. Not just the people here but me, the JLA, and anyone else who needed you. That shows me you are a strong, determined woman." Dinah let her words sink. "Am I wrong?"

Barbara shook her head, "I don't know. I'm kind of confused right now. I have no idea how to even talk to you face to face. There are so many things I want to..."

"Barb. Can I call you Barb? I guess I may as well say this now. I really want to be with you. In every way. If you can't...well, I don't care. I still want to be with you. If, however, you don't want to, tell me now. I'll understand."

"I, um, I do. And I can...I just never believed you'd be..." Barbara paused for a long moment.

"Interested? I am. I guess I started to fall for you months ago. And to see what a beautiful, desirable woman you are only makes me want you more."

Barbara smiled shyly, "So you want to see Delphi, huh?"

"I thought it was better than the old line about coming up to see your etchings."

They asked the waiter to make their order to-go & left for the Clock Tower shortly after.

* * * * * *

On a rooftop a few blocks away, Selena Kyle was observing the pair through a small but powerful set of binoculars. She had her mask pulled back and her long black hair hung loosely around her face. She smiled as the two young women held hands across the table.

"Catwoman," a familiar, flinty voice said from behind.

Without turning, she said, "You're up early."

"What are you doing, Selena? Why are you back in Gotham?"

Finally turning, she regarded the black-clad figure standing in the middle of the roof. "If you must know, I came to see Black Canary, only to find she was quietly tailing Barbara for the past week. I wanted to know why. Now I do and..."

"What concern is it of yours?" the Batman asked.

"I do still care for Barbara. Very much. And I still feel bad that I couldn't help her after the Joker..." She blinked rapidly and cleared her throat, "That I failed in what I wanted to do for her."

"You couldn't kill Joker. I know." At her surprised look, he added, "I was following you. I was prepared to stop you if you had actually tried."

"Why? Oh, never mind. I forgot about your code."

"Must be your code too, Selena," he said gently. "You've never killed and you've had ample reason to do so."

"Maybe so. Not that it matters now. I saw what I wanted to see." She stood and slipped the binoculars into a small pouch. "I guess I'd better be out of town by sundown, huh?" she asked with a smirk.

"What did you want to see?" Batman asked, deliberately ignoring her question.

"Barbara looking happy. She deserves to be happy, don't you think?" she asked, pulling the mask over her head.

"Yes."

She smiled, "I'm glad we agree on something, Bruce. Well, I guess I go. I think I can catch the last shuttle to JFK."

"Yes, it would too bad if you missed your flight..." Batman said, without any trace of sarcasm.

Selena looked up smiling, "Oh? Would it?"

* * * * * *

Slowly making their way down the street, they chatted about the little things people talk about. As a result, they felt themselves grow closer. At one point, Dinah placed her hand on Barbara's shoulder.

"You know, you remind me a lot of Ollie," the blonde said.

"Oh? I do?"

"Well, like him, you're smart, resourceful, and a survivor. And you care." Dinah paused then snorted, "Fortunately you don't have all that macho crap in you. I swear Ollie had to be taking booster shots of testosterone."

Barbara shared Dinah's laugh, remembering how Green Arrow often was second only to Guy Gardner in the Male Chauvinist Pig category.

Dinah continued, "You are like a walk...um, I mean living, breathing example of the old cliche about lemons turning into lemonade."

"Please!" Barbara protested. But secretly she was very pleased that she had made such an impression on this lovely lady by her side.

Dinah opened her mouth but stopped when she heard a noise down a side alley. Looking into the shadows, she saw three figures struggling.

"Wait here a minute," she said as she dashed into the alley.

Two men in their twenties held a struggling young girl against the wall. "C'mon chickie, you'll love it. Stop squirming."

The speaker got ready to strike the teenager when his arm was caught and he was flung across the alley. Crashing into the side of a dumpster, he slumped to the filthy, broken pavement.

The second would-be rapist turned with a switchblade in his hand and lunged at Dinah. She stepped back and to the side, and planted her left foot. Pivoting, she came across his face with her right foot, shattering the punk's nose.

Blood flowing freely down his face, he raced out of the alley. Dinah saw with horror that he was going out the way she came in. Barbara!

Barbara had edged her chair up to the alley's mouth and saw the bleeding figure coming towards her. She pushed out in front of him, locked the wheel, and braced for the impact.

The running man, unable to stop himself, slammed into the wheelchair, overturning it and the occupant. He fell across and past Barbara onto the sidewalk.

Dinah came running out of the alley to see Barbara flip her chair upright and lever herself to a sitting position, using the prostrate figure to lean on.

Are you alright, Barbara?" Dinah asked worriedly. Barbara waved her off like this was an everyday occurrence. Dinah smiled when she saw Barbara give an extra push that caused the man's bloody, broken nose to grind into the pavement.

"I see I had nothing to worry about. You're pretty handy with that thing," Dinah said.

"Yeah, I kinda learned to live with it. How's our victim?" Barbara asked, as she climbed into her chair.

Dinah went back into the alley. There was a thump and a groan before she led the girl out to the sidewalk. The girl was shaking and sobbing. Barbara noted that she couldn't have been more than thirteen or fourteen.

"Those bastards!" she hissed.

Dinah nodded and said, "The um, gentleman in the alley won't be getting up for a while. This other guy," Dinah indicated the man on the sidewalk with a hard kick between his legs, "won't be able to do much of anything for a while either!"

Barbara smiled grimly and reached for the girl's hand, "Sweetheart, what's your name? Is there someone we can call for you?"

"I'm Lola. My daddy is at work but I got the key for our house. Am I in trouble?"

"Oh no, honey. Not at all," Barbara reassured the child as she heard sirens coming. "The police will help you. Okay? And we'll wait with you."

A couple of hours later, after a squad car dropped Dinah and Barbara off in front of the Clock Tower, Barbara asked, "Want to see my etchings?"

Dinah laughed, "I'd love to see anything you want to show me."

"Oh, you're so bad," Barbara snickered, leading the way to her private elevator.

After a brief tour of the main apartment, Barbara said, "This is my inner sanctum. What Batman likes to call Delphi."

She opened a panel in the wall and wheeled herself through. Dinah followed into the large chamber behind the building's clockface. The blond bombshell stared at the equipment filling shelves and racks on the walls of the room.

"Jeez, Barb, you could fly the space shuttle from this room," Dinah said quietly.

"Only if I have a vid-link," the redhead replied.

"You could? I was just kiddin...Oh man," Dinah shook her head.

Barbara wheeled over to the main terminal and brought up her monitors. "This is it," she announced. "Let me check for any messages..."

Dinah came up behind her friend. She knew that Barbara was nervous but so was she. Dinah was scared to death at what she was feeling for the lovely auburn-haired woman. She hadn't felt this way for anyone in a long, long time. Much less a woman.

Shaking her head, Dinah gently placed her hands on Barbara's shoulders. They were bunched and tight. She started to massage the girl's neck and shoulders as she whispered, "I know you're nervous. So am I. But I want this. I want you."

Dinah's breath tickled Barbara's ear and the blonde's hands felt fantastic kneading her shoulders. She rolled her head as the strong, nimble fingers dug into her taut shoulders. "Ooh, that's wonderful!"

Dinah smiled at the silky feeling of Barbara's hair brushing her fingers. When the redhead sighed and shivered with pleasure, Dinah felt a warm, pleasant sensation in her chest. She could smell the essence of the woman in front of her and it sent a jolt of pleasure down to her core.

Bending over, Dinah softly kissed Barbara's neck. Feeling the goose bumps, she smiled and licked the outer curve of Barbara's ear. That sent a definite shiver through the redhead's body.

"Oooh! Dinah," Barb sighed, "Please don't stop."

Dinah pulled the chair around and knelt in front of Barbara. She gently brushed her lips to Barb's. Barb's lips were soft and warm and inviting.

Dinah sat back on her heals, her hands cupping Barb's face. She looked deep into the redhead's eyes and was pleased at the need and want she saw reflected in them. Gently caressing Barbara's cheeks with her thumbs, Dinah leaned in and kissed her again.

Barbara felt her heart soar when Dinah kissed her neck. Her pulse increased when she felt the blonde lick her ear. But when Dinah kissed her lips, Barbara was almost overwhelmed by the feeling of desire that welled up in her. Taking the initiative, she opened her lips and let her tongue slip across Dinah's soft lips. Those lips opened and their tongues met and caressed each other.

After several long minutes, Dinah again sat back on her heels. Without saying anything, she reached up and gently removed Barb's glasses and placed them on the desk. She then leaned back in and placed gentle kisses on the woman's eyelids before trailing down to her mouth. Kissing the corners of her new lover's mouth, Dinah brushed the very tip of her tongue around the outside of Barbara's lips. Barbara moaned and grasped Dinah's head, pulling their mouths together in hard, passionate kiss.

Their passion was shared by lips, tongue, and breath. It washed over them like a tidal wave. Neither woman had ever experienced such passion with a lover before. The sensation both frightened and aroused them.

Dinah again pulled back and gazed at Barbara. The redhead returned the look. They knew that they shared the same fears and the same needs. They understood what each felt without words.

Dinah stood and reached out for Barbara. Barbara held out her hands and allowed her lover to pull her up and out of the chair, trusting that Dinah would not allow her to fall.

Dinah picked Barbara up and carried her out of Delphi. In the apartment's living room, she leaned down to share another kiss. Going down the short corridor to the bedroom, Dinah felt Barbara's fingers tracing her breast through the thin cotton sundress. In the bedroom, Dinah kissed Barb lovingly before gently
laying her on the bed.

The blonde lay beside the redhead, leaning on one elbow as she lightly ran one hand over her companion's soft curves. Dinah leaned over and tasted Barbara's mouth again. As this kiss deepened, Dinah partially lay over Barb, feeling the other woman's body pressing against hers.

Finally, Dinah rose and said, "Too many clothes." She stood and pulled her dress over her head and tossed it aside. Standing in her bra and panties, she smiled at Barbara. Opening the snap in the front, she let the lacy cups drop off her shoulders.

Barbara stared hungrily at the ripe mounds of Dinah's breasts. They were round and firm, capped by dark pink areoles and eraser-sized nipples. 'They're perfect,' Barbara thought.

Dinah hooked her thumbs in the waistband of her panties and pulled them down over her hips. As the material fell to her feet, she ran the fingers of one hand through the dark curls that were revealed.

Barbara found her eyes roaming all over the lovely form standing in front of her. The sight of Dinah's nude figure was increasing her arousal tremendously.

Dinah knelt on the bed over Barbara and reached down to help the young woman undress. It was a little awkward with Barbara laying on the bed and she apologized.

"I'm sorry this is so difficult for you."

Dinah leaned over and kissed her tenderly, "It's not, my love. I want to do this. I love seeing you slowly emerge in all your glory!"

Barbara's eyes misted as she heard the sincerity in Dinah's voice. She smiled as she shifted and moved as Dinah pulled off her blouse then her jeans. Soon, Barbara was laying on the bed, clad only in frilly pink panties.

Dinah leaned over and whispered, "You're even more beautiful...!" She kissed Barb on the lips then trailed her tongue down to the hollow of her throat and across her collar bone.

Barbara shivered at the feelings Dinah was creating in her. She almost cried out when the blonde's lips moved up the swell of her breast and wrapped around her erect nipple. Barbara's breath caught in her throat when she felt Dinah's tongue tease her nipple.

Dinah loved the feel and taste of Barbara. She gently pulled the nipple with her teeth and ran her tongue along the tip slowly. Her hands weren't idle during this; one cupped Barb's other breast and the other slid over the thin lace panties and gently rubbed the redhead's core. Dinah moved her mouth to the other breast and repeated the exquisite oral torture.

Barbara held Dinah's head in her hands, her fingers entwined in the soft hair. She arched her back and moaned aloud. The moan turned into a cry of pleasure as Dinah's fingers slid under the waistband of her panties and the blonde cupped her mound.

Dinah pushed the redhead's panties down with her hand as she ran her fingertips up and down the moist outer lips, consciously avoiding the hard nub at the top of Barb's slit. She began to kiss her way down Barb's body, her mouth watering at the thought of tasting the honey that was oozing over her fingers.

Dinah paused on her oral journey and dipped her tongue into Barb's navel. She licked around the edges of the bellybutton and then ran across the dimpled bottom of the little hole. Barb grunted and then squealed in delight.

Dinah smiled and continued on. She had planned to take her time loving as much of the woman's body as she could but the aroma wafting up from her fingers overcame her control. She nestled between Barb's legs and gazed in loving awe at the dripping sex before her.

"Oh, you are so lovely," Dinah said before pulling the outer mons apart with her thumbs and running her tongue up and down the wet lips.

She looked across the expanse of flesh below her to Barbara's face and loudly smacked her lips. "Delicious, darling!" Then Dinah returned her mouth to Barb's pussy.

Alternately licking the redhead's lower lips and thrusting her tongue between them, Dinah brought Barb to a small climax. She rested her chin in her palm looking at the open sex before her. 'That won't do!' she thought. 'I want Barbara to scream out her orgasm.'

Dinah returned and buried her mouth in the folds before her, licking and nibbling on the engorged lips, tasting the juices that were flowing from the girl before her. She paused only when she felt Barb tense as she neared her second orgasm.

Finally, as Barbara's moans increased in volume, Dinah finally turned her attention to the girl's clitoris. Engulfing the little organ in her mouth, she sucked on it and ran her tongue up and down the tiny nub. Just as Barbara's body tensed again, Dinah thrust two fingers into her and swabbed the tip of her clit.

Barbara's scream echoed in the small room as she was swallowed by one of the biggest orgasms she had ever experienced. Her back arched as her upper body writhed on the sheets and her juice soaking Dinah’s fingers.

Dinah crawled up alongside her lover as Barbara's breathing returned to normal. She gently hugged the flushed body and softly brushed her lips over the girl's feverish forehead.

Barbara finally opened her eyes to see Dinah looking at her with a smile. She smiled back, saying, "That was incredible! I only hope I can make you feel a fraction of that."

"I have no doubt you will, my love."

Barbara pulled Dinah to her and began to suckle at the breasts she had admired so much earlier. The soft flesh was slightly salty and the nipples hard and springy to her tongue. She thoroughly bathed each as Dinah's head was thrown back.

"Move up here," Barbara directed. Dinah smiled and happily did as she was told. She knelt over Barbara's face and looked down to see her smiling up. "I almost forgot you weren't a natural blonde," the redhead commented as she toyed with the dark brown curls above her.

"I've wanted to be with you for so long. Now, I finally have my chance," Barb whispered into the aroused flesh between Dinah's thighs. She grasped the woman's hips and pulled her down until Dinah's sex covered Barb's mouth.

The auburn-haired beauty snaked her tongue out and she finally tasted her prize. It was far better than she had hoped. It was like nectar to her. The salty tang was a feast on her tongue.

Barbara began to worship Dinah's mound, licking, nipping with her h, ah, and thrusting with her tongue. Much like Dinah had done to her.

Dinah felt the pleasure flowing out from her groin in waves. Each wave more intense than the one before. She leaned forward against the headboard and looked down. She saw Barbara's eyes smiling above her pubic thatch and knew the other girl was enjoying this as much as she was.

That thought was all Dinah needed. The touch of Barbara's tongue to her clit only heightened the power of her climax. Clenching her eyes tightly shut, she saw explosions of color as her body was consumed by her passion.

Dinah collapsed next to Barbara and lay sweaty and panting as she slowly recovered from her wonderful orgasm. As she tried to get her breathing under control, she peeked at her lover and saw Barb smiling at her.

"Oh God, th-that was, uh-uh, won-onderful! You made me feel better than...I don't know if I ever had such an orgasm..."

"I'm so glad, my love," Barbara said as she hugged her woman to her.

They made love several more times that afternoon. As the late evening summer sun painted the east wall of Barbara's bedroom, they finally took a break from the multiple orgasms they had given each other.

As they lay engulfed in the afterglow of their lovemaking, Barbara kissed Dinah near her ear and whispered, "You know, someone suggested I take a vacation."

Dinah looked at her love, "And...?"

"I declined."

"Why?"

"No one to go with..."

"Is that an invitation?"

"Would you like it to be one?"

In lieu of words, Dinah kissed her softly.

After Dinah leaned back, Barbara reached over to the nightstand and picked up the phone. With the handset in her grasp, she lay back down. Dinah then moved over and rested her head on Barbara's breast while idly running her fingers through the russet tuft between the girl's legs.

As she punched in the numbers on the handset, she remembered being naked in bed with Selena when her father called. Knowing who she was calling, this felt even naughtier.

"Hello, Tim? Barbara. How are you?" Barbara looked down at the lovely figure laying naked against her equally bare flesh and smiled.

"Listen, how would you like to 'mind the store' for a week or so? Ooh!" She mock-glared at Dinah as the blonde's fingers trailed between the plump outer lips of her sex. "No, nothing's wrong. Just a little twinge." Dinah smiled at her wickedly and ran her thumb over Barb's clit. "Oh God! Stop that! Not you Tim. Uh, it's a, well, never - Ooo! - um, never mind." Barbara lightly slapped Dinah's wrist. "Uh, well, we, I mean I was thinking of getting away from Gotham for a while. Maybeeeee...!"

She cupped her hand over the mike, "Damn it, Dinah! I'm talking to sixteen year-old kid!"

Dinah mimed a "what did I do?" expression as her fingers continued to play between Barbara's legs.

"Um, Tim, I have to go but I'll let you know - Oooh - wh-when I'm planning to go-oooh. Never mind what I'm doing, young man. No. And never mind who I might be going away with. Aaah-aah! Yes, good. Talk to you later. Good-byeeee!"

Barbara savagely punched the disconnect button and looked at her lover. "Well, I hope you're happy!" Barbara's smile belied her words or tone.

"Oh, I am. Happier than I can remember being." Dinah smiled. Barbara grinned down at her.

"So am I."

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

Epilogue

Tim Drake sat at the main console in the Clock Tower and fingered the keyboard. This was going to be great! Two weeks at one of the best computer systems in the country, if not the world!

"Tim, sorry to interrupt, but I just want to make sure you understand..."

"Barbara, it's cool!" Tim turned and looked at his friend, "I know how the system works and I'm not a bad hacker myself."

"Just remember to prioritize your work. The League has priority, then the others as I listed..."

"In the electronic memo and the sheet you stuck to the fridge, and..."

Barbara laughed, "Okay, Wiz Kid, you got it. You have my pager number too."

"Yes, I do," Tim agreed. He already told himself he wouldn't use it unless the threat was huge, like Cyborg taking over the Moon again. "Just have a good time. Relax, okay?"

"Hey, Red, coming?" Dinah called from the entryway. "Wayne's limo is ready downstairs." Barbara waved her quiet.

"And no Spoiler up here! I'm not contributing to the delinquency of a minor. If you want to see her, do it outside of here... Capiche?"

Tim looked at Dinah and back to Barbara and nodded in agreement. Anyway, the thought of those two ladies together was enough to fuel his fantasies for the next year.

Dinah stepped into Delphi, as she had taken to calling the room, and brushed her lips on Tim's cheek. "Have fun, Robbie," she said.

"Hey!" Barbara said from the entry with a laugh.

"What? Jealous?" Dinah smirked and followed Barbara with a little wave towards Tim.

"A year?" Tim muttered to himself, as he watched the monitor to see the lovers climb into the waiting limo. "More like a year and a half," he said with a smile.

The End.

 



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