The Gift by Pink Rabbit Productions

TITLE: The Gift
AUTHOR: Pink Rabbit Productions ( )
ARCHIVE: if at all (honestly, I doubt it's worth it)
DISCLAIMER: There's sex, yes, evil, nasty, homoerotic, all girl, we think it's good when the chicks do it, sex ... there's threesomes ... sort of ... there's even frog murder, so if any of that's going to bother you, run awaaaaayyyyyyyy.
Summary: Frog murder leads to an interesting discovery for Dinah.

The idea came to her somewhere during biology. The poor frog was still alive and yet there they were dissecting the pathetic, drugged, little thing. High school students, scalpels, some of the boys having way too much fun, while several of the girls were at risk of losing major extremities, owing to their attempts to cut without looking. And in the middle of that particular brand of chaos sat Dinah Lance, so grossed out she could barely think straight, though she managed to keep her eyes open. Helena would never let her live it down if she either fainted or lost a fingertip for such an inane reason, so she purposely concentrated on anything but the frog.

Like the guilt.

Yes, concentrating on the guilt was disturbingly easy because there was enough of it to keep her busy for years. After all, it wasn't like the frog had ever done anything to her. Yet there she was cutting it up---while it was still alive for god's sake---for the inane purpose of getting a grade. At least it was drugged, so it couldn't feel anything, but still....

It was still alive, for god's sake. This was just. Not. Right.

She had a feeling she'd just participated in her own lifetime traumatization. Great, just great. As if she didn't already have enough problems in her life. Now, she was feeling guilty about a frog and it was going to be the gift that gave and gave and gave.

And then she felt it---the faint electrical impulses moving from the creature's tiny brain, down its spinal cord ... felt the dead end where Gabby had accidentally cut too deep, didn't really even pause to think about it as she concentrated and bridged the delicate gap between sliced nerve endings. One leg jumped ever so slightly.

Dinah was still staring slack jawed at what she'd just done while Heather Somethingorother---she was one of several Heather's and at least six Courtneys in the school, and Dinah had yet to keep any of the leggy blondes straight in her head---the third leg of their little triumvirate of frog murderers---squealed and went screaming for the teacher. Gabby just leaned closer, poking the frog's leg very lightly with the blunt end of her scalpel, and watched it twitch gently. Dinah abruptly yanked her hand back. With the nerve connection no longer in effect, the twitching instantly stopped.

After a second, Gabby peered up at Dinah, one dark blonde brow rising high as she considered her friend. She'd known Dinah long enough to be comfortably certain she'd had something to do with the unusual response. She wasn't sure exactly what, but definitely something. "Ummm," the other girl exhaled after a moment, then looked over at the Heather squalling at their teacher and pointing their way. "Some days, you're an adventure, Lance," she drawled at last. Gabby wasn't one for histrionics.

Dinah just shrugged a little helplessly, then sank into her own thoughts, considering what she'd just discovered. God, it was so obvious. Why hadn't she ever thought about it before? Well, of course, because she didn't know she could do that, had never really considered it, couldn't really consider it until it happened. She could read minds, could affect matter, but it had never occurred to her to try something so complex. Except it wasn't really all that complex. Kinda simple actually now that she thought about it. Hell, she'd done it accidentally with the frog. Now it was just a matter of doing it intentionally.

Totally involved in her own musings, she barely heard the panicked Heather or the way the bio teacher downgraded them for killing their frog ahead of schedule. Gabby's remarks on the whole mercy killing issue did get through, but only distantly, while the current Heather's insistence that she wasn't taking a lower grade just because the other two girls screwed up just slid on by along with Gabby's pointed commentary that the Heather hadn't even been able to watch them work, and so didn't deserve any grade at all. The rest of the argument just disappeared into the ether for the teenager. It was irrelevant next to her musings.

If she could just ... and then ... and if she got it right ... it might just work....

For the first time in her life, she barely even flinched upon receiving a D on an assignment. Nor did she feel any great relief when Gabby successfully argued it up to a C, then nearly got it dropped back down to an F by being a smartass.

She was too busy running through the past several minutes in her head and trying to summon the memory of what she'd done and felt just before and during the frog's twitch.

Dinah was still in a fog hours later when she climbed into the Hummer next to Barbara for the drive back to the clocktower, uncertain how to approach what she was thinking about, but desperate to try. After all, if she could....

Then maybe....

And, dammit, Barbara deserved....

Nothing but the best. She deserved the absolute best. She'd taken Dinah in, given her a home, love, support, care, taught her, and shielded her where she could.

And, well, Dinah would do anything for the older woman. She was just so ... and Dinah was so ... and ... it suddenly struck her that they were in the clocktower---though she didn't actually remember the trip---and Barbara was staring at her with the faintly worried look she reserved for those occasions when one of her charges was acting particularly oddly. It got a fair amount of use on the average day, but usually it was directed Helena's way, not Dinah's. Caught flat footed and sinking into the strange hold those green eyes always seemed to have over her, Dinah could only stare for a long moment, until she was finally yanked out of her total paralysis by the quiet question, "Are you feeling all right?"

"Feeling ... all ... right?" Dinah repeated as though the words weren't quite clicking into place in her head.

Barbara nodded slowly. "Right," she said uncertainly, clearly wondering if the girl had finally slipped a cog or two. "You look a little..." she trailed off, apparently unable to describe Dinah's state.

"Right," Dinah murmured, then abruptly leaned into her guardian's space, bracing her hands on the armrests of Barbara's wheelchair. "Fine actually," she said a little too quickly. "In fact, really good," she added, the excitement of what she'd discovered finally catching up with her in a rush. It could work. She was sure of it. Might take a little experimentation, but she was sure she could do it again. "Would you trust me to try something?" she asked after a short beat.

"Like?" Barbara questioned a little hesitantly. Dinah couldn't really blame her for being less than eager. Surprises in their business had a habit of being unpleasant. Hopefully not this time.

"Just trust me," Dinah murmured without any further explanations. "And put your arms around my neck." Barbara paused, clearly uncertain, while Dinah tried to offer her most reassuring, coaxing smile. "I promise you," the girl said after a long beat, "if I'm right about this, it'll be worth it." The smile broadened a notch when strong arms finally slid up and around her neck. Dinah's hands found a purchase on Barbara's waist, then one slid around to her back.

A long moment passed during which absolutely nothing happened. Dinah concentrated, hunted for the sense she'd had before, but couldn't find what she was looking for. But then, she'd been touching the frog. Maybe that was the problem.

"Uh ... Dinah?" Barbara said, the uncertainty only increasing when slender fingers slid under the bottom edge of her sweater.

"Sorry ... I think it needs more contact," the girl murmured, her brow furrowing with concentration---no small trick considering the body so close to her own. She glanced up, noted the softness of faintly parted lips. Barbara had licked off most of her lipstick during the day, so she was down to her natural color, a shade of coral that made Dinah intensely aware of any number of fantasies she'd had since moving in. Not that they were explicit porn fantasies---well, mostly not---but that color had figured heavily in her imaginings.

"Oo-kay," Barbara exhaled doubtfully, but didn't argue. She'd learned to trust the younger girl, so she was willing to suspend her questions and play along---at least for awhile.

Dinah looked down, closing her eyes, blocking out the distractions as she hunted for what she'd unintentionally found with the frog. A frown sketched its way across her brow, frustration driving her to gnaw on her lower lip. And then it struck her. "Try to move your foot," she instructed, then felt the tension that rippled through her guardian's upper body.

"Not really an option," Barbara snapped, her patience wearing thin.

Dinah looked up, fighting the urge to flinch in response to the stormy look she saw in green eyes. "I know you can't," she said softly, then swallowed hard, pushing down the nervousness Barbara's expression engendered, "but I need you to try."

Barbara exhaled an annoyed sigh, and her lips pursed into a narrow line, but she purposely concentrated on moving muscles she knew perfectly well she couldn't control.

Dinah twitched, felt the faint signal, and reached out, decoding it, then bridging it.

Barbara tensed, her confusion obvious. She'd definitely felt something, though Dinah could see the doubt in her eyes. Felt something maybe, but she didn't really believe it. Not yet. "What the...."

Blue eyes swung up. "I can sense the signals in your spine," Dinah explained a little hesitantly, "and I think I can bridge the gap." She looked down again. "Try and move your foot again." Barbara's shoe was utterly still, but it occurred to Dinah that maybe it was too heavy given that they were both new at this. She broke her light hold and dropped to one knee, not bothering to ask for permission as she removed Barbara's boots and socks. The arms draped around her neck had shifted when she crouched until Barbara's hands were resting lightly on her shoulders.

"Dinah..." Barbara's voice was soft, the tone gentle and a little worried. "I think maybe you've been working too hard--"

"No," the girl snapped almost too quickly and snapped to her feet, hands finding purchase on the chair near Barbara's hips. "I know what I'm talking about," she continued more calmly, the look in her eyes freezing her guardian in place. Dinah reached up, caught one of the hands resting on her shoulder so lightly, and tugged it back into position behind her neck. "Please," she begged, "let me try." Barbara had given her a real home for what felt like the first time in her life. She desperately wanted to give something back to the other woman.

Barbara drew breath to argue, and Dinah turned on her most puppy-doggish, pleading look, the one that usually got her what she wanted. It worked again. The redhead sighed very softly, clearly having serious doubts, but she slipped both arms around the back of Dinah's neck. "Okay," she exhaled, "what next?"

The teenager took a deep breath, one hand curving to Barbara's waist as she leaned forward. Her head so close to the other woman's shoulder that a few strands of auburn hair brushed her cheek, she wrapped her free hand around Barbara, and eased her fingers back under her sweater. Struggling to clear her mind and ignore the warmth of the skin under her fingertips, she concentrated on the task at hand while a thin trickle of sweat gathered between her shoulderblades. "Try and move your toes," she instructed and focused on the delicate impulses moving just under the skin. The human body is an enormously complex machine, and the girl had to work to separate and understand all of the disparate signals. Not quite like a heavily drugged frog. She deliberately slowed her breathing, deepening her concentration. She felt Barbara draw breath to speak and hushed her gently. "Keep trying." Then, suddenly, it was like someone opened a door and it all made sense. An odd sense of relaxation sliding over the girl, she felt a tiny tingle in her fingertips as she made a connection. A small smile touched her lips as she felt Barbara's startled gasp.

"What the...." Dinah felt Barbara lean forward, the change in position pressing her forehead into her guardian's shoulder. A touch telepath by nature, she'd learned to control her powers enough to limit the constant battery of thoughts and emotions that came at her if she wasn't careful, but the sudden rush of sensation was too intense to be ignored. She was right there with Barbara as the redhead looked down, staring at her own bare toes and seeing them move ever so slightly. The girl gasped softly, experiencing the moment from so many different angles she was almost completely overwhelmed. She could feel her own body, the signals in Barbara's back, and the emotional flux it all sparked in the other woman, along with the actual physical sensations. Lost in the influx, she barely registered Barbara's softly uttered, "Oh ... my ... god."

Dinah took a tiny beat, caught her breath without even trying to sort through the tidal wave of data. Just concentrate on the signals, she reminded herself. If she let herself be distracted by everything else---not the least of the factors, her own lust---she'd never be able to do it. "Try again," she instructed after a beat, blocking out everything but her awareness of the complex flow of signals moving through the complicated twining of nerves.

The movement was distinct this time. No two ways, Barbara's toes moved. Despite her best efforts not to tap into Barbara's response, Dinah tasted the flow of intense emotion---shock, disbelief, hope.

It was the hope that made the girl smile and tighten her hold. "Hang on," she whispered, then lifted her head from Barbara's shoulder in order to peer into green eyes. "Let's see if we can get you on your feet."

"I'm not sure..." Barbara started to whisper, but Dinah was already straightening, muscles pulling taut as she took the other woman's weight. All the workouts had built her strength up enough that it wasn't nearly as difficult as she would have predicted.

Subtly powerful upper body muscles clenched tight as Barbara clung to the support of the teenager's shoulders, allowing the slow lift.

Sliding her hand deeper under the cover of Barbara's sweater, Dinah spread her fingers, increasing the contact as she tracked progressively more signals and tried to ignore the way Barbara's body was plastered against her own, her lips a scant distance away. She could do this. It was just a matter of forgetting the shape and heat molded against her ... or at least concentrating her way through it. God, she'd either been very bad or very good in another life to deserve this. Now if she could just decide which it was. "Try to stand," she whispered and felt artificially conditioned thigh muscles flex and twitch under their own power. "You can do it."

Barbara's breath came in a gasp, her brow furrowed as she visibly struggled to make her muscles respond. "It's not like the coupler," she whispered almost inaudibly. "Doesn't hurt." Dinah knew from what Barbara had told her before that the neural coupler hurt like hell, sometimes so badly the redhead was hard pressed to keep going. Programming helped its workings, made it more efficient, but couldn't do away with the agony its use inflicted. She felt the compression of Barbara's calf and thigh muscles working in clumsy tandem where their legs were pressed so close as she struggled to reconnect with her own body.

Bound into Barbara's thoughts, she also felt the shock as the redhead took her own weight for a moment and lost concentration.

Dinah easily caught her guardian when she would have otherwise fallen.

"Sorry," Barbara apologized as she steadied herself, her chin pressed into her chest as she stared down at her own feet. "Not used to this yet."

A blush sliding over her skin, Dinah had to concentrate hard to keep from losing all control. This was just a very distracting position. "S'okay," she muttered a little shakily. Damn her teenage hormones and their tendency to rush and roar with just the slightest provocation. Not that having the full length of Barbara's body plastered against her own could be described as slight. "Take all the time you need." She was rather proud of herself that her voice didn't crack.

"Right..." Barbara exhaled, "...time...."

Dinah watched carefully as Barbara stared down at her own toes, wiggled them. Then the blonde felt the flex of muscles, quivering, but definitely pulling taut, up the length of Barbara's legs. "That's it," she whispered encouragingly, and felt the increased pressure as the redhead took a breath, then let it out on a controlled count. The woman was scared to death. The teenager could see the fluttering of the pulse at her throat, and feel the quiver in the arms wrapped around her shoulders. "You can do it."

"I think so," Barbara said tentatively.

No more than five minutes later, Barbara was standing under own power, still plastered against Dinah, but definitely holding up her own weight, while Dinah’s hand was under her sweater, spread over her lower back. It was easier for Dinah to feel the faint tingle of the signals running up and down her spinal cord, and far easier to bridge the gap so that they made the entire journey. That it also did evil, cruel things to her pulse and blood pressure was purely a side effect. Whether for good or ill, the teenager still hadn't decided.

Jade eyes widened in disbelief while full lips moved in a hint of a whisper. "It really doesn't hurt," the older woman whispered in awe "And I can ... feel...."

Dinah nodded slowly, nearly losing track of the delicate electrical signal as the other woman's emotions and sensations washed over her, so intense they couldn't be ignored. "Yeah," she gasped, losing herself in the complex array of things that were so intensely and intimately Barbara that she could barely stay on her feet.

"How?" Barbara whispered, still leaning against the hand at her elbow, though her balance was slowly improving.

Dinah shrugged. "Biology ... kinda killed a frog ... but kept it jumping."

Russet brows shot up.

"Long story," the girl added hastily, then found herself returning Barbara's smile as the woman's mouth turned up in a manic grin.

"I ... do you have to touch ... or could ... god...." Then Barbara abruptly trailed off, the joy in her expression making way for worry as she brushed blonde hair out of Dinah's eyes. "Wait a minute. Could it hurt you in any way? I mean ... it's not worth any risk to you."

Dinah shook her head. "I don't think so," she answered, mentally testing for any sense of fatigue or pain from what she was doing, and finding nothing. And besides it was such a pure joy to give this to Barbara that it would make up for anything. She offered a tiny smile. "You want to try a few steps." Barbara had walked with the spinal coupler, but this was different, and Dinah was still learning to bridge the signals.

A slow nod.

Tightening her hold on the girl's shoulders, Barbara leaned against the gentle support, her expression screwed up with concentration as took a few cautious, shuffling steps. "I walked," she whispered, her voice thick with wonder. She looked up at Dinah, her eyes glossy with the threat of tears. "My god ... you...." She couldn't finish, and just stared at Dinah for a long moment. "Thank you," she croaked at last. And then she was smiling, laughing, and crying all at once as she pulled Dinah into a hard hug.

Dinah felt her heart soar as she was wrapped in Barbara's hold. She slid her free hand around the redhead's body, clinging tightly, her own throat tight, eyes burning with the threat of tears. It could have cost her limbs, and it would have been worth it at that point. Careful to maintain contact with Barbara's back, she let her other hand slide higher, fingers slipping into red hair, cupping Barbara's head as the woman nosed into the curve of her neck, half giggling, half laughing. She kissed her guardian's temple lightly, the scent of shampoo and soap washing over her, teenage hormones playing havoc with her purer impulses.

That was how Helena found them when she entered, eyebrows drawing together in a frown. Her eyes darted back and forth between the two women and Dinah could see her drawing breath to say something, though it was impossible to predict whether it would be to chastise Barbara for using the neural coupler---previously her only option when it came to walking--- or to make a joke at Dinah's expense. Though Barbara had yet to notice Dinah's little crush, Helena had, and thoroughly enjoyed making sly, little digs at her expense.

Barbara's head came up, the explanation coming in a rush before Helena had a chance to speak. "It's Dinah," she said quickly, her voice infused with laughter. "She can bridge the signals in my back. I can feel ... without pain ... and my muscles, they're responding." She sniffed back on happy tears, her voice thicker than usual.

Helena blinked, took a moment to absorb the explanation. "You mean," she looked Dinah, "she can ... but ... how?"

"She can bridge the break in the nerve endings," Barbara added, her voice sliding over into the tone she used when she was trying to figure things out, clearly working through the idea as she spoke. "It's basically just an electrical signal ... and she can decode it and bridge the gap ... not too different from the coupler ... but without any pain ... there doesn't seem to be any risk either."

It took Helena a moment to process the response, and then a noisy whoop of joy escaped her lips. Suddenly she was sweeping Barbara up and spinning her around, warm lips coming down and swallowing any further explanations until the redhead broke the kiss.

"Um, Hel," Barbara quickly added. "It needs contact to work." There was a disappointed note in Barbara's voice and her legs now hung limp without Dinah's efforts to span the gap in her spine.

Helena froze, looked over at Dinah, then back at Barbara.

"I ... uh ... may be able to figure out how to work it at a distance with practice though," Dinah felt the need to add when she saw a hint of disappointment in blue eyes. She reached out, could almost make the connection with her mind, but couldn't quite manage the trick.

Her expression turning serious, Helena shifted her hold on Barbara, then glanced at Dinah. "Do it," she requested quietly, holding on tightly until Dinah had made contact again, and Barbara was taking her own weight. Holding Barbara's hands in her own, the brunette stepped back a half pace, though their hands remained twined, eyes sliding over her lover's slender frame. "How does it feel?" she asked after a moment.

Barbara sniffed back on the threat of tears. "You have no idea," she murmured, then shook her head a little dazedly. "It's ... um ... a little shaky, but good."

Lovers shared a long look that was full of so many things it made Dinah's heart clench just to watch them. Life was so damn unfair some days. There she was, sixteen, hormones amok, and did she have a couple of geeky parental units hanging around, the mere contemplation of whom involved in sex would put her off the whole topic for at least a month? No, she had two gorgeous women whose only drawback was that she couldn't decide which one to be more in love with. God, it was a wonder she ever got out of the cold shower.

And then Helena pulled Barbara close, mouth finding her lover's in a kiss that was intimate and sensual ... all about love and not sex, but with arousal as a constant, incredibly tangible reality.

Dinah gasped as it all flooded her senses, but they were so involved in one another that they didn't notice.

Suddenly it was hard for Dinah to tell where Barbara left off and she began as Barbara was lost in an influx of thick, tumultuous lust that coalesced then flowed outward from nerve endings too long denied. The redhead wrapped her arms tightly around her lover's lean body, clinging hard, her fingers winding into dark hair. It was a visceral, burning kind of arousal that washed through her and nearly took her to her knees.

And nearly took Dinah right with her. For the first time since Dinah had known the older woman, Barbara's mind was completely open to her, arousal knocking down the redhead's normal walls, and sending a torrent over the teenager.

At the same time, Dinah saw a thousand things she didn't expect. Like a sense of the nothingness that the redhead lived with on a daily basis, the lack of sensation in her lower body so very dense that even the agony of the spinal coupler was an improvement over it. In that instant, Dinah had a frightening look at the realities of the redhead's limitations. She'd never really thought about it before. It was just a part of who Barbara was, and she always seemed so utterly in control, like she could do anything. But she couldn't, and that reality was rammed into the girl's head with brutal effectiveness, forcing her to experience the sense of loss and tragedy, and the deep-seated hurt and loneliness. The telepathic contact she'd had with Barbara had always been shallow, the older woman's thoughts so guarded that she never allowed any accidental information leaks. Having seen past those walls, Dinah suddenly realized that it wasn't the pain or the chair, it was the nothingness that was truly haunting. It left her on the verge of tears.

She gasped, shocked out of that part of Barbara's mind as another bolt of heat slid through her. In an instant, the mental timbre shifted and she felt the movement of Helena's hands as though it was her hips they shaped to, felt the tongue that flickered as though it was her tongue it was playing tag with, then felt the thrust of a hard knee, and the bolt of sensation so intense that orgasm was only a half a beat away.

Dinah groaned low in her throat, nearly pulling back as the nature of it all nearly overwhelmed her. "Uh ... guys ... teenage touch telepath in the room ... touching," she reminded them, her voice a ragged whisper, "...and ... telepathing...." She offered a weak smile when Helena looked back at her, then blushed crimson when the brunette's thoughts opted to burn themselves into her brain. Herself tied, gagged, blindfolded, earplugged, one hand duct taped to Barbara's back as Helena and Barbara made love. She felt the older girl mentally debate whether it would work or not, then conclude Barbara would never go for it anyway. Damn, it was hard being a teenager because Dinah would have gladly volunteered for the duty.

Blushing nearly as red as her hair, Barbara glanced back. "Sorry," she said through a wince.

"Don't worry, Barbara," Helena said quickly. "I don't think we corrupted the kid too much."

Not nearly enough as far as Dinah was concerned, even though she knew any thoughts that they might let her into their world were a childish dream.

Barbara still looked intensely embarrassed. "I just ... um ... sorry," she apologized again.

"Hey, it's an emotional moment," Dinah said abruptly, not wanting anything to destroy the pure pleasure of what had happened. She purposely played dumb, pretending she hadn't sensed all the things she'd glimpsed. That would just be way too uncomfortable for all involved. They weren't stupid. They knew she knew they were having sex, but none of them were quite ready to acknowledge it quite that openly. And they certainly weren't ready to acknowledge any leakage of other than G-rated thoughts.

"Yeah," Barbara exhaled, and Dinah found herself pulled into another hug as the mood shifted back to the innocent.

"Maybe we should keep her after all," Helena said through a grin as she caught Dinah in a choke hold and delivered a furious round of noogies.

It was very possibly the best moment of the teenager's entire life, giving her the sense of love and acceptance she'd craved and been denied all through her childhood. She leaned into the hug, holding on tight as two sets of arms wrapped around her and each other.

Family, she realized in an instant. They were a family, both simpler and messier and more complicated than some, but a family. It meant everything in the world to her to finally accept that basic fact.

In the days and weeks that followed, the time Dinah had spent training with Helena often gave way to hours spent working with Barbara, learning to control the connection while Barbara relearned how to move her lower body without the added boost the spinal coupler gave her. It was frequently difficult with emotions prone to swing between intense joy, equally intense frustration, and sometimes agonizing depression. There were tests to be run, experiments, training---time spent in a dozen different ways that related to this new development.

If asked, Dinah wouldn't have said that she loved it all---there were plenty of challenging moments---but it was definitely worth it if only for the incredible trust the other woman showed in her. Dinah would always remember those moments when Barbara leaned against her, their skin touching, trusting her completely as she took those first tentative steps, then later, more confident ones.

And the joy on the older woman's face would always be with her as she thought back on the first time she managed to keep the signals flowing even without direct physical contact. In that moment, Barbara seemed to glow, her eyes alight, mouth lifting in the lightest, most natural smile Dinah had ever seen her offer. She even swallowed hard and dashed a few tears from her eyes.

Then she started to topple as Dinah momentarily lost control of her own abilities under the impact of her own emotions. She caught the other woman before she could fall any farther, holding her close, her heart beating wildly. "Sorry about that," she apologized breathlessly. "Lost concentration for a moment."

Barbara just smiled, wrapping her arms around Dinah's neck, supporting herself, then helping to regain her balance as Dinah got the signals flowing again. "It's okay," she said quickly. "There are bound to be mistakes ... and less than graceful moments ... but it's working." She grinned, hugging Dinah, and kissing her on the cheek when she pulled back.

Dinah was in heaven, grateful for the opportunity to give back some measure of everything Barbara had given her.

Other times, Helena joined them, teasing and joking, though her eyes were often serious, and more than once Dinah saw her blink away tears when she watched Barbara's careful steps. Dinah didn't need to guess at the emotions. She could see and feel them as rich and intense as she felt her own.

By six months later, Dinah could work her magic at a considerable distance, they'd managed twenty feet, and through walls. It wasn't perfect, Barbara's control wasn't nearly as total as it was with the spinal coupler, leaving her balance iffy, but she was gaining strength in her legs, and they were all learning how to work with this latest development. It was unlikely that fighting would ever be an option, but she could move fairly easily, and just the ability to feel seemed to have taken some of the load off her shoulders and knocked down a few walls. There was, Dinah sometimes mused as she found herself intimately tied to the other woman, a lightness of spirit in her thoughts that was something new, and she laughed more often than she had before.

Through it all, Dinah was aware of the longing in the two women who'd become the most important people in her life. It was the one thing they actually tried to shield her from, but it was too intense, too visceral to be hidden. More often than not, she felt their desire like a living thing, coiling around her, taunting and tempting, until she wanted to plead with them to just go ahead. It wasn't like they had any sexual thoughts left that she hadn't slid into either intentionally or by accident. But of course, neither of them would ever go there, too intent on protecting her, on being upright and upstanding, and on making absolutely certain not to hurt her. They were so totally clueless, in her opinion, that it was almost cute. She, on the other hand, was mostly surviving on cold showers.

Which was why she finally pushed them toward one another. Roses and candy for Valentine's Day, along with the quiet suggestion that they should spend some quality time together. They weren't completely stupid. They both knew what she was suggesting, and Dinah was quick to stammer, "W-with the distance we're managed, the whole telepathy thing ... well ... it's not really a part of the equation," she lied, not smoothly, but lied all the same. She saw the couple trade a look, temptation in their eyes. They'd held off for months, not giving in to the allure of being together totally, but the strain was starting to show. Not that they hadn't made love. She had no doubt they had. Lots of times. But they hadn't given in to the desire to ask Dinah to give that to them, hadn't even allowed themselves the minor temptation of touching or kissing during the practice sessions, clearly conscious of her response that first day. "Look, it's not like I don't know th-that you're ... y'know," Dinah added. "Will you just go?" she pleaded.

Barbara blushed a bright shade of crimson, but Helena got the hawklike look that Dinah had realized early on meant she was in the mood. Without a word, she swept her lover up in her arms, well aware she could walk on her own, but enjoying the gesture. She ducked her head, kissing Barbara so deeply that Dinah was soon weak in the knees and uncertain she could keep up the illusion that she didn't feel every moment of what followed. The world was still swirling around her when Barbara looked over, and she had an impression of herself as seen through green eyes that were watery with gratitude. Not about the sex, she realized, in an instant as she saw it all through Barbara's eyes and thoughts. It was about giving them something they'd never had, total freedom with each other. Sensation, yes, but also the ability to move without all the carefully choreographed realities that came with a damaged spine. She could let them forget for just a little while that they were anything but lovers, give back the lives they might have had before a madman had done everything in his power to destroy them both.

"Go on," Dinah said again, and even managed to keep her voice on an even keel. If they ever knew, they'd never let her do this, and seeing through Barbara's eyes, she realized just how much they needed it.

And just how much she needed to give this to them. To do anything else was impossibly cruel, holding out hope and denial in the same breath. The sheer brutality of that idea made her flinch in horror. They'd already had to wait too long.

So she was there as they sank into Barbara's bed, her mind swirling as they kissed and caressed, hopelessly agonizingly aroused as they stroked and experimented with this new development. She was there as Helena carefully explored every inch of Barbara's legs with her hands and mouth, heard the shared laughter as muscles jumped and twitched in response to gentle teasing and tickling, then burned in response to the warmth of massaging hands, and lips and tongue that stroked higher on the redhead's body. She felt the texture of dark hair as slender fingers wound tightly into it, moaned softly as slim fingers entered and sandpaper heat stroked.

And then, unable to resist temptation, she reached out, momentarily splitting her attention between the two lovers so that the taste and smell of humid flesh filled her senses side by side with the sensations those heated caresses caused. She gasped, nearly exploding, the rush washing over her and prickling every nerve ending in her body. Slim hips arched, muscles flexing, her body throbbing, all of it so intense she nearly lost track of the signals in Barbara's back. Despite the temptation, she released the momentary link with Helena's mind, concentrating instead on Barbara's body, and as a side effect, her every thought and sensation.

She experienced the reality of sensation, all the more vivid for the extended loss, as Barbara's body was torn in two by pleasure so intense they were both close to fainting.

Gasping, Dinah rolled onto her stomach, muscles rippling throughout her body, taking her weight on her knees and elbows as Barbara straddled Helena in that exact position. She felt and tasted, moaned along with them, whimpered, begged, pleaded, came, then clawed her fingers into the sheets as they reached for each other again.

Hours later, totally whipped, she lost consciousness shortly after they did, her body sweaty, aching, and shaky.

She came awake to the realization that she wasn't alone in her bedroom. Gold cat's eyes gleamed near the door, seeming to glow in the dark, though Dinah knew it was just that they caught any hint of light and reflected it back.

"You okay?" Helena's voice was gentle.

"Yeah ... I .... why wouldn't I be?" Dinah managed to rasp, though she sounded like something the cat had dragged in. The irony of that thought struck her and she had to smother a giggle.

The other woman was silent for a long moment, and when she finally made a sound, it was just the tiniest of sighs. "Thank you," she said at last.

"Helena?" Dinah exhaled, terror in her voice. There was a note of knowledge in Helena's voice that frightened her, reminding her that if they ever knew, they'd never allow it, and her discovery would only make the prison that much worse for the taunting denial of what they'd had for just a moment and would be denied forevermore.

"Don't worry," Helena said softly, "she doesn't know ... and I won't tell her."

Dinah's heart was pounding so hard it was close to exploding from her chest. "I ... uh ... what are you ... um...." She heard the soft rasp of someone pointedly sniffing the air.

"I know the smell, Dinah," Helena chided lightly. "And I've been sixteen. I can guess ... can guess what it's like for you." Dinah made out a hint of movement as the brunette reached up to run her hair back out of her eyes. "And I suppose I'm not quite as..." Helena paused for a long moment, hunting for the right word before finally settling on, "overwhelmed ... as she is ... so I've felt you in there." Her tone was quietly practical, giving Dinah the sense that she'd been aware of it for some time and done what Helena tended to do when necessary and simply accepted that it was a necessity. She was far less the idealist than Barbara when it came to such things. "I'm probably being immoral as hell ... but ... I don't think either one of us could take being so close and so far much longer."

"I know," Dinah exhaled. She'd felt it, the growing frustration and need. "That's why ... you both deserved it."

"I don't know about me," Helena whispered, "but she does ... so thank you," she said again and quietly turned on her heel and left.

Sighing softly, Dinah rolled onto her back, folding an arm across her face as she slid back into a light slumber that drained away when she felt their passion rise again, so attuned to her guardians that their need called to her. So she reached out, finding the delicate signals and giving them the one thing she could.


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