Title: Turning Tables
Fandom: Birds of Prey
Archive: This’ll be at www.realmoftheshadow.com/harper.htm with the rest of my drivel.
Disclaimer: Don’t own them, and while I might be infringing, I’m not making any money.
A/N: This is more of a moment than a story, but I hope you enjoy it. It’s un-beta’d, so all mistakes are mine all mine. If you’d like to send feedback, I’d love to receive it. I’ll be at Xfjnky2@yahoo.com.
“What would you do if I kissed you?”
The question seemed to come out of nowhere, catching Barbara off-guard and derailing her train of thought so thoroughly that she was left speechless. Brow crinkled, eyes clouded with confusion and lips pursed as if just waiting for the right words, she tilted her head to the side, looking at Helena speculatively.
“I’m sorry? What did you say?”
There was a definite note of disbelief in her tone, as if the words had been said in a foreign language, or perhaps as if they were entirely new. Strange and fanciful oddities, to be dissected and studied and comprehended, like a puzzle scattered in a million pieces waiting only to be assembled.
Leaning forward, so close she could feel the sheen of heat surrounding Barbara like a blanket, could feel her nostrils flaring around the other woman’s distinctive scent, Helena said it again, this time slowly, as if speaking to a child. “What would you do if I kissed you?”
Each word enunciated plainly, no other interpretation allowed, and Helena waited, perched like an animal torn between attack and flight, eyes dark and unreadable. Each muscle was tensed, body coiled tightly though inside she was oddly calm.
Cheeks dimpling in a frown, the corners of her lips sneaking downward to give her a fierce expression, Barbara flicked her eyes up and to the side, as if looking for the answer. Shifting uncomfortably, unaccountably aware of the intensity of Helena’s gaze, she wet suddenly dry lips, nervous with the possibility that the move, once innocent, would somehow be more in the unexpected context into which she’d been thrust.
“What do you mean?” she asked, words measured and calm, unassuming and vague.
Smirking slightly, amused by the typical verbal reticence, Helena ducked her chin, gaze immediately shifting to predatory. “I mean, what would you do if I kissed you.”
There was a triumphant note in her tone, and she was pleased with herself. She’d confounded the questioner, refused to give away any ground.
Shoulders growing tense, Barbara looked away, a deep indrawn breath betraying her discomfort. “Why do you ask?” she said, tone bland as if she was discussing the weather.
“I ask because I want to know,” Helena answered simply, bemused. She’d transcended nervousness, had long ago passed through anxiety and arrived at settled calm, and could feel it rolling through her. Zipping through on the rapid rush of blood through her veins, carried by the resigned certainty that there was no other action she could take. No other way she could go on living, without knowing.
Suddenly resentful, angry with herself that she had allowed herself to be boxed into a corner, Barbara turned a defiant look Helena’s way, green eyes blazing and bright. “Why?” she challenged. “Are you planning on doing something?”
Amused surprise sneaking across her features, Helena shrugged, the gesture irritatingly non-committal. “Maybe. That bother you?”
Heart fluttering slightly at the words, a disconcerting physiological response to something she knew to be psychologically disturbing, Barbara narrowed her eyes shrewdly. “I don’t appreciate being mocked,” she said tartly, posture tense and intimidating.
“Then I’m glad that’s not what I’m doing,” Helena replied easily, lazy grin almost patronizing.
Relaxing somewhat, drawn into the easy verbal banter almost despite herself, Barbara asked, amusement heavy in her tone, “Just what did you say you were doing again?”
Laughing lightly, giving in slightly, Helena said softly, “Maybe I’m thinking about propositioning you. What do you think about that?”
Tilting her head to the side contemplatively, Barbara said smartly, “Seems a little ‘The Graduate’, doesn’t it?”
Leaning forward further, distinctly invading Barbara’s personal space, Helena drawled, “Ms. Gordon, you’re trying to seduce me. Aren’t you?”
Grinning, laughing softly, Barbara murmured, “Touche. But, I think you’ve gotten the roles reversed, don’t you?”
“Reversed?” Helena echoed, smiling enigmatically. “Not really. I don’t care much for cliches, anyway. I prefer to make my own history.”
Green eyes twinkling with mischief, Barbara leaned back in her chair, body open and inviting. “Making your own history… is that what you’re attempting to do?”
“Not really,” Helena said, brow arching in sanguine amusement. “I’m not attempting to do anything yet. And when I do, it won’t be an attempt. It’ll be fate.”
“Fate?” Barbara repeated on a laugh. “That’s a rather lofty aspiration, don’t you think? A bit romantic and idealistic for you, too, I’d think.”
Tongue tracing a languid line across a lush bottom lip, Helena watched as Barbara’s eyes followed the move with rapt attention, a contented smirk teasing at her lips. “Not an aspiration. A fact,” she said succinctly, darting forward suddenly to close the distance between them, stopping only when she was mere inches away. Hovering there, distinctly pleased with the way Barbara’s body vibrated with the tension of holding back, she tipped her chin down, tilted her head to the side and let heavy lids obscure the violet blue of her eyes. The seconds passed like the slow, sticky thick slide of honey until the tension and arousal between them grew so potently heavy as to be almost painful.
Pupils dilating rapidly, leaving her eyes a dark black vacuum with only a delicate, fragile fringe of oak green, Barbara waited. Breathing ceased, body wound tightly and mind racing so quickly that she was unable to catch hold of any thought other than the one she didn’t want, the one that told her the lips poised a hairsbreadth away from her own would be nirvana in skin, she struggled not to close the distance herself.
As if waiting for a capitulation only she could sense, Helena suddenly drew back, intensely pleased at the way Barbara unconsciously followed her. Reaching out, she ran the slightly rough pad of a sensitive thumb across the redhead’s pouting lower lip, eyes flaring with surprise as sharp white teeth sank into her flesh and the soft, amorphous wet tease of a tongue taunted her.
Suddenly breathless, she struggled to draw words forth from uncooperative vocal chords. “They said anticipation makes things better,” she rasped, feeling as if all of the bones in the arm connecting her to the thumb still being gently tortured had dissolved, leaving her at the other woman’s mercy.
Smile full of a seductive intent that left Helena little more than a witless puddle of desire, Barbara let go of the thumb she’d captured. “If you insist,” she said breezily, anticipation dancing in her eyes.
“I don’t,” Helena replied instantly, honest need stark in her voice.
“Hmm,” Barbara purred, entirely too at ease in her role as the temptress. So much so, in fact, that Helena wondered idly if the other woman would be overly upset if she committed the rest of her life to the hedonistic pleasures she could feel being promised.
“I guess there’s only one thing I need to know,” Barbara said, voice pitched low enough to elicit delicious tremors of anticipation in Helena’s belly.
Licking her lips in anticipation, Helena leaned forward, grace lost in the earnest nature of her need. “Anything,” she said breathlessly, shy smile growing tremulously wider.
Reaching out to place the tip of her forefinger under the other woman’s chin, Barbara drew her forward until they were once again mere millimeters apart. Then, voice barely more than a whisper, she closed the gap, her lips brushing Helena’s with each word.
“What would you do if I kissed you?”
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