patriciatepes: (jokerwrite)

Author Name: Patriciatepes (Patricia de Lioncourt )

Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Batman: the Animated Series

Rating: PG-13

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)

Chapter Links: Prev | Next

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 [ profile] 20thcenturyvole. I started this story long, long ago, and decided to finish it for the [ profile] wipbigbang.  I do author's notes every chapter on fanfiction (dot) net, but I'll only copy the relevant ones here.Oh, and I'm sure that everyone figures this… but generally, all the "Batman as fictional character" references in Buffy are to be disregarded.

Chapter 2- Renegade

Dawn's sneakers squealed on the stone floor as she came to a halt so close to Giles's door that her nose was almost touching it. She gave a couple of quick glances over her shoulders—wondering vaguely why anyone would be following her if she had done her sneaking well enough—and knocked a couple of times, hard. She didn't bother waiting for an answer as she pushed the door open and peeked her head in. For a moment, she realized that this might have been a bad idea. Giles could have been in the middle of something that she so didn't want to see. After all, she had just learned that her sister was dying… she didn't need another mental scarring like "Naked Giles" to join in.

Thankfully, Giles was good ol', fully-dressed, musty book reading Giles. He turned from his place at a rather large, very well equipped writing desk and blinked at her. With one hand, he closed the large, yellowed tome he had been reading and stood, smiling softly at her.

"Have you seen Buffy?" he asked.

"Tactful. And here I thought the British were nothing but tact… but, yeah, I've seen her. And I've heard. That's kind of why I'm here," Dawn replied, entering the room fully and shutting the door behind her.

With a sigh, the former Watcher whipped his glasses off and began to clean their lenses almost compulsively.

"I'm sorry. You're right. How are you, Dawn?" he asked, replacing his glasses.

He pulled around the desk's chair to face the foot of his spacious bed as he took his seat there. Dawn crossed the room and plopped down into the chair. Sighing, she shrugged.

"Other than the dying sister that nobody seems to want to cure, I'm cool. Couldn't be better," she quipped.

Giles almost visibly winced.

"Dawn, there's no cure. Surely they told you that?"

She crossed her arms and cocked her head just barely to the right. Rolling her eyes, she frowned.

"I'll call bullshit. Want to try again?"

Giles blinked and seemed to be on the verge of scolding her for her use of language. Dawn set her face, ready to give her best "I'm-an-adult-and-in-college" argument, should he begin to lecture her. However, his argument seemed to die in his throat.

"Dawn. I don't know what to say. There's no cure… no way to save her. If there was, I would—"

"Xander started to say that there was one. And I overheard Buffy, Willow, and Xander all talking about some guy who, apparently, is the cure or can cure it or something. So, just knock it off, Giles, and spill. What's going on? Why isn't anyone going after this cure?"

Giles pulled off his glasses and began to clean them again. Dawn had to fight hard against knocking them out of his hands and yelling at him to stop it. However, the urge passed as he reached around her to set them on the desk. Clasping his hands and resting his arms on his lap, he shook his head.

"Fine. If you've heard that much, then you've heard how dangerous the 'cure' is. Buffy doesn't want anyone to go after him that she doesn't think can handle it," he said, quietly.

Dawn leaned forward, staring the older man right in the eyes. "So, the cure is a person? How? And why is that stopping everyone? I heard Buffy say that he's in no way mystical… this shouldn't be stopping us."

"It is your sister's… wish that none of us put ourselves in harm's way for this cure. We should honor that."

"Since when do you honor Buffy's wishes all the time? I mean, were you honoring them when you tried to kill Spike? Or when you left for England?"

Giles stood, glaring down at her. "That's not fair. I did those things because I truly believed they were the right things to do."

Dawn stood as well, and although she was still shorter than him, she stared him down as if there was no difference at all.

"And going after this cure is the right thing to do. Buffy is my sister, and she's like a daughter to you. We love her. But if that's not enough to convince you to want to save her… she's also now the leader of an untold number of Slayers, with more being found every day. There's not a Slayer here who could handle that, train them, as well as Buffy could. Not Faith, not Kennedy, not Vi… none of them. She's the only one who can do it. She needs to live."

At that, they both simply stood there for a moment, as if seeing who would blink first. Finally, Giles sank back onto the bed. With a half-hearted motion, he directed that Dawn should sit as well.

"You're right, of course. And I'm sure you are aware that this exchange must stay between us?" he asked, sparing a second's glance at his door.

Dawn nodded. "Yeah. Now, what's going on?"

Giles took a deep breath, and then went into full Watcher lecture mode.

"To understand how this man that we'll be speaking of is the cure, you must understand how it all came to be. Which means, first let me tell you of the creator of both the poison and the antidote. He was a powerfully dark magician by the name of William Cane. His specialty was potions, of all shapes and sizes, but mostly deadly. He was known to make poisons and sell them to the highest bidder, be it vampire, demon, or any other creature that happened to learn about him. So, the Watcher's Council tried to stop him. He managed to escape and hide… but years later, after his death, the Council learned what had become of him."

Dawn listened in silence, waiting for the moment of revelation to come. As the story stood so far, she had no idea where Giles was going with any of this.

"Come to find out," he continued, "Cane had jumped the pond to the States, settling himself inside Gotham City. There, using the generous funds he had acquired selling his potions and poisons, he set up a business to act as a cover for his magically dealings. Which, as you know, is rather common for magicians on the run to do."

"Like Ethan Rayne with the costume shop and the band candy?" Dawn asked.

"Precisely. A rather ingenious cover, I might add, as no one would have thought twice to seeing large quantities of oddly colored liquid just lying around."

"Okay…" Dawn said slowly. "So, how does this end up with some guy being the cure to this poison?"

"Well, as most realize, it's rather stupid to create a special poison—like the one Buffy was hit with—without creating its antidote."

"What if someone turns it against you… I get it."

"Right," Giles said, smiling briefly at her, apparently pleased to see that she was keeping up. "Well, Cane dedicated some of his resources to creating the antidote, which he did, successfully. The problem was that the antidote by itself was just as deadly as the poison. Together, the two cancel each other out… but separate… well, the antidote, I daresay, is actually far deadlier. Death was almost instantaneous. He tried it out on no less than fifteen subjects, all of whom died. The poison is meant for a slow death… best for exacting revenge. The antidote was more of like a quick fix to any such problem. Well, as time went on, the company grew and was more than able to maintain itself."

Dawn's brow furrowed. "What did he disguise it as? His company?"

"A chemical factory. Have no idea what he said the 'chemicals' he made was supposed to do, but no one seemed to question that. I suspect he bewitched any who asked into avoiding just such a question. Now, as I was saying, the antidote is deadly. And, currently, none in its pure form has survived."

Now Dawn's eyes widened. "Then, how are we supposed to be able to cure Buffy?"

"Patience. I'm getting to it. The antidote, as Cane discovered, left large traces of itself in the victim's bloodstream. Ultimately, that's what killed them. None survived his testing trials, and he eventually stopped them. However, there was one who took a large dosage of the antidote, accidently, and survived. The antidote, like many of the other potions and poisons Cane created, was disguised as a vat of chemicals within the factory. One night, a group of criminals broke into his factory, trying to break into the factory conjoined next door. A fight ensued, and one of the criminals accidently fell into the vat of antidote. Of course, I doubt that this was entirely by accident. Cane most probably placed a Bad Luck Charm on any who entered the factory by force."

Dawn sighed. Rolling her eyes, she snapped, "I'm on the edge of my seat, Giles. Get to the point!"

Giles cleared his throat. "Right, yes. Well, the criminal survived and was flushed out into the city's river, along with the antidote. The antidote was lost forever, since this incident was shortly followed by Cane's death—he never shared the exact recipe with anyone… but the criminal is largely well known. I know you've heard of him, Dawn. Anybody who's heard any of the news coming out of Gotham has heard… of the Joker."

The Joker. The bane of Batman, Gotham, and all people sane. Of course Dawn had heard of him. She had heard a lot about him… in fact, one of the people she had met in college was doing a report on him for one of their classes. He was trouble with a capital "T." And suddenly, she understood why Buffy didn't want anyone going after him. After all, if any human posed a truly real threat on the world, without mystical powers, then it was the Joker.

Dawn launched herself out of her chair. "How is that possible? How is he supposed to help cure my sister?"

"Don't misunderstand me. He isn't supposed to help cure Buffy. He, physically, is the cure. Or his blood is, rather. He's the only person who has survived the antidote… and at such a high dosage. If Buffy were to be injected with his blood, it would not just kill, but annihilate the poison that is coursing through hers."

"Okay," Dawn said after a couple of deep breaths. "Fine. So… what happens now? I mean, how much blood do we need? Does he have to die so that Buffy can live?"

She really hoped not. As horrible as the Joker was, he was still human. And if Buffy had taught Dawn anything, it was that humans had their own laws… and that their lives were not to be taken by anything or anyone associated with the Slayer. But if that was what she had to do to save Buffy…

"No, I don't believe so. A vial, possibly two, should be more than adequate to save Buffy. But it won't be easy. Joker is one of the most highly watched criminals in history. If you are serious about going after him… you'll need some help."

"I can't take anybody with me. They'll rat me out," Dawn said.

"You're absolutely right. However, I have many friends who can pull many strings. I can get you fake ids, a fake passport, not to mention all the magical resources you might need to hide yourself from being found out by Willow."

"Or one of the SWs," Dawn replied.

SW was a term Dawn had been desperately trying to get started that referenced those who were both Slayer and Wiccan. By the look on Giles's face, that term wasn't going to be used again anytime soon. She sighed.

"Okay," she said. "So what do I do?"

Giles reached over to his desk, picking up a cell phone from one its shelves. Flipping the small, thin, black phone open, he gave a curt nod to Dawn.

"Give me two days. Then, we'll send you to Gotham."

End Notes: Okay, so I'm sorry for all the talk in the chapter. But, a lot of information had to be covered here for the basic plot to make sense. I hope everyone enjoyed this. Please review!

Fun Fact: Chapter 1's title came from the song of the same name by Alice Cooper, or the cover by Groove Coverage. Whichever you prefer.

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