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 [livejournal.com profile] 20thcenturyvole. I started this story long, long ago, and decided to finish it for the [livejournal.com profile] wipbigbang.  I do author's notes every chapter on fanfiction (dot) net, but I'll only copy the relevant ones here.

Chapter 9- Little Lies

Her shift could not have ended sooner. She had almost forgotten to clock out in her hurry to leave the asylum. They had had to sedate the Joker to get him to stop screaming… about her.

Of course, no one but Dawn knew what it was that maniac had been yelling his lungs out about. Now, with her arms hugged tightly about herself, she tore down the stone steps of Arkham, stopping at the very last one. She simply stood there, knowing that she should call for a cab, but she just could not summon the strength to reach for her phone. Instead, she just continued to stand there, staring blankly out at the darkened parking lot.

She just pissed off one of the most dangerous criminals that this place held. That had been dumb. So dumb. With a hard swallow, she finally wiggled her hand into her purse, withdrawing the silver phone. But Gotham's taxi services was not the call she made.

It rang twice on the other end before, finally, Giles answered with a curt, "Hello?"

"Giles!" she all but yelled into the phone. Taking a second to calm her voice, she tried again, "I have something to tell you, like majorly huge something!"

"Oh, right, yes. That's correct. Yes, I was indeed expecting your call," he said, his voice tight and forcing the business-like tone from it.

Dawn narrowed her eyes, gazing sideways at the cellular in her hand.

"What? Giles, it's me," she said.

"Oh, yes, I'm quite aware of that. I'm actually here working on the problem with Willow and Xander," he said, and Dawn could almost imagine the librarian turning in the direction of her sister's two best friends as he put the slight emphasis on their names.

Eyes wide, Dawn muttered, "Oh. Right. They're in the room with you."

"Yes, but I've still made no progress," he said.

Dawn huffed, rolling her eyes. To have been a Watcher, in charge of training the slayer and keeping her identity a secret from the world, Giles would never make it as a spy. She shook her head, her ponytail sweeping her back as she did so.

"I gotcha. I'll try back later," she said.

"Very well. Oh, but didn't you just say that this call could not be missed?"

It took a minute before she realized what he was really asking. With a laugh, she shook her head.

"No, it's fine. I mean, I know I said it was majorly important, but it's not like I-solved-world-hunger important."

Or I-got-the-cure important, she thought.

"Right. Then I look forward to your call again. Take care," Giles said just before the line disconnected.

Dawn stared at her phone's screen as it flashed the time that the call had taken up. She glanced back up at the foreboding asylum and sighed. Going to her contacts, she dialed the number for the taxi service.

"I've got to get the hell away from here," she murmured to no one.

#

Giles snapped his phone shut, turning back to Willow and Xander, who stood shoulder-to-shoulder before him. If he didn't know better, from the looks on their faces, he would have thought that this was some sort of intervention. He slipped the phone into his pocket and sighed.

"Sorry about that. Very important call from one of ours. In fact, I was just about to bring up that I needed a hand with some research," he said, straightening his glasses.

Willow rolled her eyes while Xander huffed.

"We know who that was, Giles," the witch said, crossing her arms.

He raised a brow. "Oh?"

Xander took a step forward, shaking his head.

"It was Dawn, Giles. We know that she's in Gotham. And we know that you helped her get there. I mean, honestly, man, how long do you think that we were going to fall for that whole 'she's in the village' story?"

The Watcher shifted in his seat, crossing his arms. He allowed his eyes to slip back and forth between the two before he finally shrugged.

"I have no idea what you're talking about."

Both groaned.

"Giles! Give us a little bit of credit here. You know that we're not that dumb. She's in Gotham, trying to get the Joker's blood, and you got her there. Without any of us noticing, and now I can't find her," Willow said, striding forth to stand just before him. Bending down, she tilted her head just so slightly to the left, adding, "What spell did you use? What spell did you use that I couldn't possibly find her? I can't even find her source. She's in danger, Giles, and don't tell me that you haven't thought of it, the one thing that could be a big problem with her."

In a moment of weakness, Giles allowed his gaze to slip guiltily to the side as something seemed to click within him. But it was only a moment. Clearing his throat, he stood, forcing Willow back to her feet.

"I honestly have no idea what you mean. Is Dawn not in the village? And you can't find her?"

His heart was not really in faking the sincerity in his voice. Xander and Willow knew, and there was no way around it. But he wasn't going down without a fight.

He watched as the two exchanged a glance again. Finally, Xander nodded.

"All right, Giles. You don't know where she's at. We get it. We'll leave you alone," he said, turning and opening the room's door.

Giles fought hard against the relieved sigh rising in his chest. Halfway out into the hall, Willow stopped, turning to glance over her shoulder at him.

"I know you're pretending that you have a lack of involvement in this, but… we weren't going after her. Not yet, anyhow."

Giles's firm stance softened as he narrowed his gaze at the young woman. Willow smiled a little coyly at him.

"But, despite the danger… thanks. You did what we, apparently, couldn't. She has two weeks, Giles, and then I go to Gotham after her."

With a half smile of his own, he shook his head.

"I still have no idea what you're talking about, Willow."

Chuckling as she left, she muttered, "Yeah, I know," just before shutting the door.

#

The elevator dinged as the doors slid open, awakening Dawn from her thoughts. With a heavy sigh, she shoved her hand into her purse, digging for her damned keys, as she stepped into the hallway. Her purse so held her attention that she did not even notice Dick standing by her door until she was right in front of him.

She blinked as he smiled at her, doing that nervous head scratch that he was so inclined to.

"Stalker much?" she said, grinning at him.

He blushed. He actually blushed. Looking more embarrassed than Dawn had ever seen anyone look, he cast his eyes toward the carpeted floor, and suddenly she was feeling a bit embarrassed herself.

"I'm only kidding!" she said.

He chuckled and said, "I knew that. I did."

She shook her head, slipping the key into the door's lock.

"Though, I don't think that your girlfriend would like you hanging outside some other girl's door," she said, turning it and the knob, letting herself inside.

She invited him in as an afterthought, and he almost tiptoed inside, shutting the door quietly behind. She tossed her purse and keys onto the breakfast bar and turned, surprised to find the confused look on his face.

"Girlfriend?" he asked, sounding genuine.

Dawn slowly nodded.

"The girl who showed up last night in your apartment," she said just as slowly, as if explaining something new to a five-year-old.

He blinked once, face completely blank. Finally, the proverbial lightbulb switched on and he said, "Oh!"

"There it is," Dawn laughed, taking a seat on her fluffy couch.

"You're talking about Barbara! Oh, Babs isn't my girlfriend… well, honestly, we used to date."

"Ex-girlfriend. Even better," Dawn said, curling her feet underneath her.

Dick laughed. "No, no, it's not like that. We're just friends now. I mean, that's a big used to, honest. Actually… we sort of work together. Sort of. But we're not dating, really."

Dawn leaned forward without thinking about it. "Really?"

Dick strolled into the living room, taking a seat in the recliner just off to the side of the couch.

"Yeah. Wait. Is… is that why you bolted last night?"

Now it was Dawn's turn to blush. She shrugged, unable to meet his eyes.

"Well, um, I just thought that, maybe, she wouldn't have liked me, you know… being there," she stumbled through.

Dick laughed. "Really? Well, I can assure you that that isn't the case. But, to make up for the confusion, how about, if you're feeling up to it, we go pick up where we left off with your training session?"

The offer was tempting, more tempting that she probably would have cared to admit. In fact, sitting in the living room with Dick had almost made her forget the events of the evening. Then, it all came screaming back to her. She could hear the anger and rage in the Joker's voice in her head as he threatened to wring her neck. She crossed her arms low about her stomach, squeezing lightly, as if that would make it all go away.

"Honestly, I'm not feeling too great right now," she said.

"Oh," Dick said, hurt clear on his face.

Dawn's eyes widened. "No! I mean, I'm not trying to avoid you or anything. I just… I had a bad night at work, and I'd really just like to sleep right now."

He seemed to brighten, just a little, at that. But a moment later, another shadow fell across his face.

"Are you all right?"

She smiled, "Yeah, really. Just one of those nights."

Dick laughed. "Well, I know about those. I'll leave so you can sleep. How about tomorrow night for the training?"

"I'd like that."

Dick stood, making his way to the door as he murmured a "good-bye." Then, just before reaching the door, he paused. Reaching into his jacket's pocket, he withdrew a pen and a scrap of paper, jotting something down on it. Turning, he crossed the distance between them and handed it to her.

"My cell number. This is going to sound creepy, but I just can't shake the feeling that you might need this. If you get into any sort of trouble, anything, please call me."

He made his way back over to the door as Dawn gazed at the number. Before he could leave, she said, "Hey! What if I just need to talk? Can I call it then?"

She was teasing him, flirting and testing the waters. He grinned over his shoulder at her.

"Only if I'm not upstairs. If I'm there, I'd rather you just come up," he said, leaving.

Dawn couldn't wipe off the goofy smile that that had put on her face. And, thankfully, it was Dick's voice, repeating his invitation, that played in her thoughts as she went to sleep, completely erasing all scary images of the Joker.


End Notes: Wow, really short. I'm so sorry for that, but the next chapter, I have a feeling, is going to be a little epic in length. Also, we've got some big things coming up in this story, and I can't wait to write them all for you! How did everyone like the interactions in this chapter? I look forward to hearing from all of you.

Fun Fact: The title of last chapter was inspired by the title of the Within Temptation song, "See Who I Am."

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