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 7- Let Me Go
"No, Buffy, I don't think that's it," Xander said, scratching the back of his head as he stared down at his dying friend.
Buffy had yet to be released from the castle's infirmary, and it was making her increasingly edgy. But they all knew why. Despite the fact that she still had months ahead of her, the Wiccans, slayers, and Wiccan-slayers that ran the infirmary had taken it upon themselves to monitor her condition.
Xander cast a worried glance over Buffy's head to the other side of the hospital bed where Willow stood. Buffy's brow narrowed.
"What was that? I'm right, aren't I? Dawn's not in the castle anymore. That's why she hasn't come to see me."
"Buffy, we, uh, just didn't want your feelings to get hurt," Willow said, her soft voice easing the Chosen One a tad.
"According to Giles, Dawn just needs some time to herself. She's staying in the inn in the village. It was all just… a lot, you know, Buff?" Xander explained like he had been caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
Buffy frowned and nodded. "I know. But, I guess I just want my family with me. I mean, all of you."
She smiled up at her two dearest friends, and they both smiled back. After a moment, she nodded once, decisively.
"She needs time. You're right. I mean, it's hard… me dying again… for real this time. You guys are right. Let her have her space… she'll come back. But—"
Willow nodded sagely. "We'll keep an eye on her. You sleep."
Buffy settled back on her pillows, albeit a little reluctantly, as Xander and Willow made their way out of the room. The two were halfway up the corridor when Xander grabbed his Wiccan friend's arm and drug her off into the shadows.
"Xander! What the hell—?" she asked.
Turning his head left and right, Xander ensured that no one was coming. Finally, he focused his single eye on her and set his jaw.
"You know that story Giles fed us was crap, right?" he asked.
Willow nodded, closing her eyes and sighing. "Yeah, I know."
"Yeah, well, I bet, then, that you also know what I know."
"We don't know that for sure!"
"We might as well know it for sure."
"Xander, can we stop saying 'know'?"
Willow now glanced over both her shoulders before turning back her to him. He nodded and crossed his arms across his black-clad chest.
"Dawn's in Gotham."
"You think she went after the Joker, don't you?"
Xander scoffed. "Your sister, the one blood member of your family you've been able to count on since your mother passed away, is dying. There's a cure that nobody will go after. What would you do, Will?"
Behind them, a pair of slayers-in-training passed by, talking and laughing as if they were walking through the halls of a high school, gossiping about boys from their home town. Neither of the two young girls seemed to notice them in the shadows. As soon as they had gone, Willow sighed. Biting her lip lightly, she groaned.
"I bet that's why I couldn't find her… you know, mystically. I tried to track her any way I knew how. Then I tried her ways that I had to learn. Nothing. Dawnie's totally off the radar. If Giles is helping her go after the Joker… that would explain everything."
Xander's brow furrowed as he leaned back against a darkened wall. "You think Giles has done something to keep her deliberately hidden?"
Willow nodded. "Did something or is doing something. There's nothing else I can think of that would keep her hidden from me like that."
Xander lowered his eye and nodded. For a long moment, neither of the two said anything further on the matter, and neither would look each other in the face. They knew that there was one issue that had yet to be addressed… and finally, it was Xander that voiced it.
"Okay. So… do we tell Buffy?"
Willow's eyes bored down into the castle's stone floor.
"We should… shouldn't we?"
Xander did not answer at first, turning instead to look down the corridor.
Now Willow's eyes shot to her friend. She took a single step forward and shook her head.
"Xander! I can think of several, very good reasons why we should tell Buffy that her sister has gone after a deranged criminal!"
"But I can think of one better why we shouldn't. Buffy wouldn't have bought that stupid village lie if it had been one of us… Dawn's the only one that can get that cure without Buffy knowing. She's the only chance we've got right now to save her. The rest of us… we're too needed to get out and away, but Dawn's already been out and away. And is out and away. All we have to do is help cover for her."
"Xander!" Willow hissed. "You don't understand! The fact that Dawn's doing this by herself is just problem one. Problem two comes along with the fact that everyone in that asylum that she's got to go into to get the Joker is grade-A crazy."
"So?" Xander said, sounding genuinely confused.
"So? Xander, Dawn's the key. Glory or no… trying to put her in an inter-dimensional lock or no, she's still the physical manifestation of the key. Her source has only diminished, not disappeared. Don't you remember what we found out about crazy people and the key?"
Xander's eye widened. "You think they could… see her?"
Willow backed off and put her face in her hands. "I don't know. And I'm not sure what would happen if they could."
"But, Will… as big as that problem would be, if she could get some of Joker's blood for Buffy…"
"I'm just saying… let's give it a chance."
It was another one of those long moments, followed by a long sigh before Willow finally nodded.
"Fine. We'll cover for her. But for two weeks, and two weeks only. If we don't hear anything after that—"
"I totally agree," Xander said.
He held out his hand and paused, a big smile cracking his face.
"We don't need to shake on it, Xander," Willow laughed. "Now let's get out of this dark corner. I'm losing lesbian street cred here."
Xander laughed and threw an arm around her, dragging her out into the light of the corridor. Willow leaned in on him, laughing herself, as they made their way to their daily slayer-related duties… passing as they went the two slayers that had walked by earlier. The two girls were now huddled together and whispering like mad.
This only made the two old Scoobies laugh harder.
End Notes: Well, I hope that was all right. I mean, I know it was short, but I just wanted this chapter to show that the Scoobies weren't entirely blind to the fact that Dawn hasn't been in the castle for about a week. And I'm sorry that it's so… talky. We'll be back with Dawn next chapter.
Fun Note: Last chapter title was inspired by "Bleed It Out" by Linkin Park.