Title:  Early Morning in New Gotham City
Author:  cyn#  (cyn88@hotmail.com)
Date Written:  March 2003
Pairing:  B/H, established relationship
Rating:  This is so tame...I don't have words for it.  <rolling eyes>  It's tame.  Fluff, fluff.

A/N:  Someone wrote a post that involved pics and creative inspiration, and one of the lines from that post stuck in my mind -- I thought it'd be a great title for a fic -- hence, this ficlet.  Hope you like it.  C&C welcome, with thanks in advance.

Updated A/N:  Er, this has been sitting in my hard drive for months, hence the outdated reference.  <cough>  Ooops.

Archiving:  Let me know where.  Please include the month/year.

Disclaimers:  Characters belong to the show's creators; I own nothing but my interpretation of them.


Dawn.  The start of a new day.  The sun was just breaking out across the city, and Barbara Gordon watched it with a smile.  Beautiful.  It was a Saturday morning, the air was crisp, and all was right with the world.  Sitting in her wheelchair, she gazed out at the city from the safety of the Clocktower's balcony, awaiting the majestic colours that would soon paint the sky a dazzling hue.  Normally it was the night that drew her, but sunrise had it's own attractions, and today she was going to enjoy them.

In her days of Batgirl, she'd rarely taken in the sight, preferring instead to recuperate from the previous night's activities, gain as much sleep as she could before morning college classes called.  And if the night had gone poorly, she'd needed the time to adjust to the assortment of aches, pains, and bruises that adorned her newly battered body.  Those nights, and there were far too many of them, she'd often wondered if she weren't completely insane.  A pillow over her face to block the sun's rays was her sole concession to the encroaching dawn.

Years later, after she'd been shot by Joker, the start of a new day had become a signal that she'd survived another night.  Another night filled with nightmarish visions of his laughing face haunting her in her dreams.  Another night of despair, and crying, and wishing things were as they had been -- when she could walk, perform gymnastics better than any Olympian...or even just pick up a newspaper at the corner store, and not have to plan the trip around the wheelchair she was trapped in.  Would there be a rush of pedestrians at that hour to impede her path?  Did she need to use the facilities before leaving, or risk an unfortunate "accident" because she'd timed poorly, and there was no available access?  Concerns she'd never given a thought to previously were monumental obstacles now that she couldn't move her legs.  Everyday actions required forethought and careful planning, never mind the part about combating crime dressed in black leathers...that was as lost to her as the freedom of swinging through the night sky.

So many times, she had wished she hadn't survived the night of the shooting.

Seven years after that near-fatal gunshot wound, Barbara Gordon was a different woman.  Older and wiser, she'd rebuilt her life -- and she appreciated sunrise for its simple beauty.  As a teacher, she had to be at New Gotham High well before classes started, and consequently, mornings were no longer the unfamiliar terrain they had been.  But even still, she didn't often catch the very early morning -- her work as Oracle kept her up well into the night, easily matching the hours she'd put in when she prowled the streets as Batgirl.  And getting enough sleep was necessary for her now, even more so then before -- her body needed time to unwind from the day's stresses, the disability leaving her less resilient than she had been in her youth.  Thankfully, in her case, "enough" consisted of a mere 6.5 hours.  Each new day had become a testament to Barbara's courage, her stubborn will to survive.  She had endured so much.  She had excelled despite the hardships she faced...proving herself to be a survivor above all else.

This day, Barbara had risen early to take in a moment of peace.  The city was just waking up, and the hustle and bustle of New Gotham was at a minimum.  She wanted to breath in the air, enjoy the city while it was still half shrouded in darkness, half lit red-gold from the sun's rays.  To Barbara's eyes, New Gotham seemed lovelier than she had ever known.  But, she admitted to herself with a rueful grin, ever since she and Helena had become lovers it seemed as though everything in her life was decked out in resplendent colours -- somehow brighter and more vibrant than before.  She found herself looking forward to the start of each day as she hadn't in years...for each day marked another day in their lives together.  A new day of love between Barbara Gordon and Helena Kyle.

As if on cue, Helena's voice came from behind her, signaling the young woman's entrance.

"Hey," Helena said, mid-yawn.  Sure enough, when she glanced over her shoulder, Barbara was presented with the view of her lover, hair still mussed, (not that it was ever anything else), rubbing the sleep from her eyes.  She was dressed in a wrinkled, light cotton t-shirt, obviously pulled on without thought -- it was inside out -- and the mismatched silk of Barbara's own pajama bottoms.  All in all, Helena looked adorable.

"Hi."  Barbara smiled at her softly, watching with pleasure as Helena stretched leisurely, extending her arms to their fullest, rotating her neck until all the kinks were out.  It was an almost feline display, and it was entirely seductive.  More so, as it was performed so unselfconsciously -- Helena had no idea how attractive she was as she stretched, and Barbara had never told her.

"Why are you up this early?  I thought I tired you out last night," Helena said with a redolent grin, as she caught Barbara's eyes tracing her curves.  The night had been memorable in its intensity -- she could still hear the quiet sighs the redhead had made during their love-making, the soft moans as she'd clutched Helena closer...the sudden pain/pleasure as Barbara's teeth bit into her shoulder when she came.

"I wanted to see the sunrise.  It's beautiful, don't you think?" Barbara asked, oblivious to the carnal thoughts of the younger woman.  A wave of her hand indicated the gleaming towers of the city, the beautiful orange cast to the sky.

"Yeah," Helena replied, turning her attention to the skyline for a moment, before looking back at Barbara.  "It is.  But not as beautiful as you."  The redhead was gorgeous with the sun's rays catching her hair, making it glow with a fire of its own.

Barbara blushed, embarrassed as she always was when attention was drawn to her.  Ducking her head down and glancing away, she muttered, "Since when were you a smooth-talker?"

"I'm not.  I just tell the truth," Helena replied with a quiet earnesty, all lingering sleep gone from her eyes.

Her words touched Barbara deeply, as did the look in her eyes.  It was rare that she saw such open honesty in Helena.  Such simple intensity.  Her partner often veiled her inner thoughts and feelings, hid her capacity for kindness -- in fact, as far as she knew, Barbara herself was the only one for whom Helena allowed her softer side emerge.  She never hid her aggressive emotions, though, and others were often misled into dismissing her as a typical, irresponsible young adult -- probably couldn't start a revolution, if they had to get up in the morning.

Barbara knew Helena was more than that.

"Come here, you."  She pulled Helena closer, down until they were eye level, then kissed her with a slow familiarity.  "I love you."

Helena smiled, one of her blinding smiles that always melted her heart.  "I love you, too."

"I'm glad you came out."

"Mmm," Helena drawled lazily as she returned Barbara's kiss, "So am I."

She made herself comfortable, sitting at Barbara's feet, resting her back against the other women's legs.  Enjoyed the soft passage of Barbara's fingers through her hair, the occasional kisses she planted upon her temples.  The quiet chuckle as she caught Barbara's fingers and kissed them tenderly before allowing them to return to their roaming exploration, an idle task that filled them both with warmth.

Together, they settled in to watch the sun as it rose higher over New Gotham, heralding the beginnings of a new day.  Last night, they had been Oracle and Huntress, New Gotham's protectors:  the Birds of Prey.  This morning, they were merely Barbara and Helena -- two women very deeply in love.

The sun, as it shone down on them and the city they protected, could have been a blessing.