Author Name: Patriciatepes (Patricia de Lioncourt )
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Batman: the Animated Series
Characters: Dawn Summers, The Joker, Nightwing/Dick Grayson, Batman, Giles, Willow, Xander, Buffy Summers, OCs, several minor scenes with major characters
Pairing: Dawn/Nightwing (Dick Grayson)
Warnings: (for all chapters) Torture, swearing
Summary: When Buffy is poisoned and dying, Dawn is left no choice but to go to Gotham for the cure that she is told is too dangerous to retrieve. Time is on her side... too bad the universe isn't.Disclaimer: I don't own Buffy, Batman, or any related characters. They belong to Whedon, DC Comics, and WB. No money made here.
Author's Notes: Art by the wonderful 20thcenturyvole. I started this story long, long ago, and decided to finish it for the wipbigbang. I do author's notes every chapter on fanfiction (dot) net, but I'll only copy the relevant ones here.
Chapter 6- Bleed It Out
"Get the double treat, that's so double sweet…" Dawn sang under her breath. Stopping halfway up a deserted hall in Arkham, she sighed, adding to herself, "Buffy hasn't worked, and I haven't been, to a Doublemeat Palace in years… So why can't I get that stupid jingle out of my head?"
Once again, she found herself on her usual late shift in Arkham… and completely bored. Half the inmates had been relocated to the Rec Room for their "free time," and the other half had already been fed and otherwise taken care of. Orderlies weren't allowed in the Rec Room, nor were they needed due to the surplus of cops, which meant double the orderlies to take care of half the jobs. Just barely halfway through her shift, she found herself longing for the end of tomorrow evening—her last night of work for the weekend.
Sighing, she continued her walk up the hall, noting that the few inmates that she passed were already fast asleep. Four more hours of work to go… and not a damn thing to do but to purposelessly wander the hallways. She couldn't even whistle, for fear of waking them up.
The other orderlies had told her that today would be boring… that it would be best for her to do a quick round and then come and hang out in the snack room until the "free time" was up, and they were needed for the transport of the inmates back to their cells. But she was restless. Being a member of the Scooby Gang had often kept her moving, so staying put in one place for too long—without a significant purpose other than killing time—drove her crazy. She giggled a little at that thought, figuring that if she was going to go crazy then she was in the right place.
She reached the end of the hall and let out another heavy sigh. Bored, bored, bored… her eyes were growing weary, despite the fact that she had gotten plenty of sleep. She needed to do something, and fast. Blinking, she glanced down the left hall—which would ultimately lead back to the snack room—and then turned and glanced down the right hall—which would lead to the Rec Room.
Dawn had been warned that today's batch of inmates in the Rec Room were the craziest of the craziest… hence, the most dangerous. Pursing her lips, she glanced once more down the left hall—to make sure no one was there to see her—then made a quick dash down the right hall. She wouldn't be allowed inside the Rec Room—again, too dangerous for a mere orderly—but would it hurt her just to peek inside?
Justifying it only to herself, she decided that it wouldn't. But, despite that fact, she all but doubled her walking speed. Just in case. She made sure she kept glancing at the cells she passed, so that she was still doing her job, but it was only a quick look. Finally, three cells away from the end of the hall—which would lead to the hall that was mostly the Rec Room—she slowed.
How suspicious would she look if she came speeding around the corner, claiming to just want a "peek" into the room? Taking a deep breath, she kept her speed in check.
Of course, all this was in hopes of catching another sight of the Joker. She knew he was one of the ones in the Rec Room tonight, and it killed her to know that she was so close to getting what she needed from him… but so far away. But there was just no way. Not one single way that she could get a vial or two of his blood while he was sitting amongst cops and fellow inmates. No, she would have to get him alone…
A single cell from the end of the hall, she paused. Coming from around the corner—a bit muffled, so possibly from within the Rec Room itself—was a loud scuffling noise, followed quickly by shouts and the sounds of violently scraping furniture. Her eyes widened. There was a fight going on! Years of being the slayer's sister had attuned her ears to just such a noise. Losing no time, she rounded the corner… only to pause again.
Flying out of the Rec Room's door—literally, airborne—was the Joker himself. And he looked a little dazed, which wasn't helped by the fact that his body crashed into the wall across the way and slid down it. He was chuckling in a low, incoherent way that made Dawn gasp. Blood was spilling forth from cuts on his lip, check, and forehead.
"No," Dawn muttered, about to rush forward.
She couldn't afford this. She couldn't have him get hurt too badly. He was precious cargo to her. However, she paused, two steps into her rush, as another body burst through the door. However, this one did so of its own accord.
A tall, blond, burly police officer all but roared his way out of the Rec Room, his eyes ablaze… and locked on the Joker. His cap had been lost at some point and exposed his crew-cut hairstyle—which did nothing to soften his looks, and he was huffing. He stepped forward, his hand curled into a fist and reeling back. Dawn put her feet into motion again.
She stopped just in front of the crumpled Joker, deflecting the officer's punch. From the Rec Room, sounds of yells and more scuffling leaked out. It looked like Dawn was on her own for little bit. The officer screamed at her to move, but she didn't budge. He made another move to punch—her, presumably, as she completely blocked him off from the Joker—and she deflected it once again, this time following it up by a sucker punch right to the stomach.
"Back off, officer!" she yelled at him as he clutched his middle and stumbled off backwards.
Judo and good old-fashion fisticuffs—she would have to kill Xander later for putting this word in her head—was definitely paying off. She strengthened her stance a little, just as two other officers ran out from the Rec Room.
One ran to the attacker while the other went to Dawn.
"Are you all right? How does an orderly know how to do that?" the one approaching Dawn asked.
Finding that a bit offensive for some reason, Dawn huffed indignantly. "Ever heard of a self-defense class? What the hell was going on?"
She moved away from the officer, who rubbed the back of his head nervously, and knelt down beside the Joker. Absentmindedly she checked his pulse, following the back of this head. Pulse was fine, and no concussion. Really, he was just dazed as his green eyes, which were a bit cloudy, gazed up at nothing. His incoherent chuckled continued. He barely seemed aware that anyone was around him. Meanwhile, the other officer had restrained the attacking officer and had gone back into the Rec Room.
"He said something to Joey," Dawn's officer said, jerking a thumb back towards Blond Crew Cut. "I don't know what it was, but it pissed him off. We didn't even see it coming. All of a sudden he just started to wail on Joker. Sorry that it took us so long to get out here… the other inmates were taking this moment to their advantage. We got them calm now."
Dawn opened her mouth to reply, but stopped as she saw Alisha running up the hall towards them. Her green eyes wide, she quickly glanced between Joker—still dazed—Dawn, and the officer. Finally, she whirled on the officer.
"What happened? Somebody said that a fight was going on," Alisha demanded in all the tones that a boss might use.
The officer sighed, and began to repeat his story. When he had finished, Alisha was shaking her head.
"He'll be reprimanded, of course?" she asked, motioning towards Joey.
Sighing, the Head Orderly said, "Fine. Then let's just go ahead and move all of them back into their cells."
"Um," Dawn said, causing both the officer's and Alisha's attention to turn towards her, "he's still pretty hurt. I think I ought to take him to the doctor."
Alisha's brow furrowed. "I don't know…"
"He's pretty out of it," Dawn assured her. "I think I can get him to walk, but that's about it."
Dawn knew an opportunity when she saw one. Any time alone with the Joker that she could gain would greatly help. Plus, he really did need some medical attention. Inside the Rec Room, the inmates' voices were rising again. Alisha huffed.
"I guess it's the only option we've got, though I'd hate to send a new orderly off on their own with this guy. Do you know where the infirmary is?"
"Yeah," Dawn said, jumping up and pulling the Joker, gently, up with her. "I was shown."
Now wagging a finger at her, her boss turned on her firm voice again. "You take him directly there, you understand? I'll page Dr. Bartholomew."
"Yes, Ma'am," Dawn said.
And she was off. It was a slow go, since Joker had yet to regain control of his consciousness. But, one step at a time, with the evil clown still chuckling dazedly, she finally made it to the infirmary. And a little voice in the back her head said, "Ha. He can't be too dangerous if he can just randomly get his ass kicked by cops… and if I can get him here by myself."
Just as Dawn opened the door to the infirmary, Joker groaned. With an arched brow, he looked down at her—as he stood at least a head and a half taller than she did.
"My, my. I zonk out for just a few minutes, and the loverly doctors send me off with a pretty girl. I really must do this more often, ha!"
Dawn's eyes narrowed as she all but shoved him inside and onto the table. He giggled manically.
"And so forward. Please, miss, never on a first date!"
"I think it's pushing people's buttons that got you in this position in the first place," Dawn murmured, eyeing, rather pointedly, all the cuts and blood on him.
The clown let out a low growl, but cut it short as Doctor Bartholomew entered the room. Dawn couldn't help but smile at the doctor. He was a short old man, beginning to grow a little hunched, but still looked like he was plenty strong to do what this job required of him. He was mostly bald, the little bit of hair he had in gray wisps, and his glasses were thick and black rimmed.
"Well, well. When I had heard that an inmate was beaten up in the Rec Room, I knew immediately it had to be you, Joker. Why am I not surprised?" he said, beginning to pull out the various medical supplies he would need.
Joker waved his hand once, downward, and said, "Ah, Barty, it's because you know lil' ol' me so well."
Bartholomew shook his head and pulled up a stool. Then, he looked over at Dawn as if he had just noticed she was there.
"Ah, new orderly?" he said, adjusting his glasses.
"Yes. Dawn Winters, Doctor," Dawn said.
She moved to put out her hand for him to shake, but stopped as he smiled and put his back to her.
"Nice to meet you. So young to be working in a place like this. Stick around, though, won't you? I'll need your assistance getting him back to his cell."
"Well, isn't she a polite one?" Joker laughed as Bartholomew began to clean the blood away from his wounds—after all, Joker had mostly stopped bleeding now.
"He didn't have a concussion, if you want to know," Dawn offered.
"Hmm. How do you know what to look for?" the doctor asked.
Dawn huffed. Why did everyone assume she couldn't do anything? Story of her life.
"I had some first aid in high school and in college," she said flatly.
The doctor barely grunted a response back at her. Instead, he crossed his arms, staring at the Clown Prince.
"You know the procedure, Joker. Since we have people of so many… talents living here, every time there is bloodshed, we have to do a blood test. Roll up your left sleeve," the doctor instructed.
Joker groaned, giggled, but did as he was told. Dawn's eyes widened as Bartholomew tied the little rubber rope above the bend in Joker's arm and readied the needle. Moments later, her eyes were locked on the little vial as it filled with the crimson stuff.
She was feet away. Only feet! But there was just no way she could get the vial. She was so far away from the nearest exit—that she knew of—that any and all thoughts of a grab-and-run were pointless. Plus, she needed two. But she watched as the vial, now filled with the Joker's precious blood, was set aside for testing. Her sister's cure was just beyond her arm's reach… and there was nothing she could do.
It took a few minutes before Dawn realized that her eyes weren't the only ones locked on something. Turning, she found that both Bartholomew and the Joker had brows arched at her. She felt her face start to warm. When a perfectly sane doctor and a homicidal maniac both look at you with the exact same look at the exact same time… it's time to stop whatever the hell it is that's causing the look.
"Um, is something wrong, Miss Winters?" Bartholomew asked.
"I… uh… have a little problem with blood… lots of it, that is. Takes a lot, I mean, to freak me out," she said.
"Very well, then," Bartholomew said, shaking his head and pulling the Joker's sleeve down. "I'm done here. Let's get him back to his cell."
Dawn made it through the rest of her shift, with only an hour left to go, with no further incident. In her mind whirled thoughts of that little vial of the Joker's blood, and how she had been just so damn close. And the mental torture was not over yet. On her little cart she had only one tray of food left… and Joker was the last inmate on her route.
The guard assigned to follow her this evening took up his usual post on the right side of the door to Joker's cell, after having snapped himself out of his own personal little "zone." Joker, looking quite recovered from his little scuffle, was leaning against the wall closest to the glass of the cell.
"Stay back," the guard said lazily, and Joker chuckled.
Dawn stared at the guard. "I thought he was supposed to open the door?"
The guard shook his head. "For Joker, it's better this way."
Joker tugged down his plain, gray-white shirt and turned his ruby smile to her.
"They don't trust me, little one," he said. Then, blinking, his grin widened. "Say… aren't you the little dear-heart that helped me to the infirmary when I got my whoopin'?"
"Yeah," Dawn answered shortly, opening the door and sliding in the tray as quickly as possible.
She slammed the little door shut, standing erect once more. The Joker let out a long, hard laugh. When he finally caught his breath, he shook his head.
"What's wrong? Scared of clowns?"
Dawn crossed her arms. "No. But I've heard a lot about you. And none of it good."
"Not even from Harley?"
Dawn rolled her eyes. "She doesn't count!"
Joker laughed again.
"You know, I never did get to thank you."
His voice had changed, taken on a tone that Dawn had never heard of him using before. It was darker, silkier, and she didn't like it. He moved from his place on the wall and pressed his gloved hands up against the glass, moving his face as close as he could as well without pressing his nose up against it too. Dawn, involuntarily, took a step back. Then, chiding herself, she retook her step forward.
He was not a vampire, a demon, or any other type of bogeyman. He was just a human. But… he did creep her out in a major way. Again, of course, he laughed at her.
"You're a strange one, Dawn."
"So are you. Why would you remember my name?" she asked.
He shrugged, stepping back. She chose not to speak again, waiting for some sort of response. But, when she realized that he was just toying with her, she scoffed. Grabbing the cart rather roughly, she turned it around and began to walk off. She was just passing the end of his glass wall when he said, "Hey… has anyone ever told you that you glow, chickadee?"
She turned, gave a sarcastic little grin, and said, "Flattery will get you nowhere, Joker."
She flipped her hair as she turned back around, and the guard—who was leaving to continue with his own rounds—seemed to find that funny, chuckling as he walked away.
Dawn was nearly three feet away from Joker's cell when he shouted his next words.
"Who's flattering? You glow. A faint green color, at that."
End Notes: Well, that should answer a little something. A bigger chunk of the answer—sort of—comes in next chapter.
Fun Note: Last chapter's song title was from Lady Gaga's "Telephone."