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.

Chapter 13- The Consequence

This was not good. This was as far away from good that someone could get. Their two week deadline was nowhere near up… but Dawn needed them in the now.

Xander and Willow strode shoulder to shoulder up the castle's halls, not a word spoken between the two as they seemed to move and think as one. Willow clutched the folded newspaper in her hand, letting her arm hang loose at her side as the two finally reached the door to their destination—Giles's room. Without even a knock, they entered.

Giles jumped from his place at the small table he had positioned in one corner of his large room, snapping the musty, green-bound book in his hand shut. Eyes narrowed, he fidgeted with his glasses for a moment, and his first words had a tinge of anger to them.

"What is the meaning of this?" he demanded.

"This," Willow said, throwing the newspaper to the table.

It landed with a hard slap, and Giles lifted it gingerly, as if it might explode. Xander and Willow stayed silent long enough to watch the older man's eyes skim the front article of the paper. Finally, they opened wide in surprise, his lips parting the form the smallest "o" of shock imaginable.

"Good Lord," he whispered. "How did you come across this?"

"We've been keeping an eye on Gotham's news, and that's a copy of their Evening Gazette. This evening's, Giles," Xander said, arms folded over each other.

"Why have you been—" the watcher began, only to stop and sigh. "Bloody hell, forget it. The three of us all know why the two of you have been keeping an eye on Gotham's news. But how do we know this is even Dawn?"

"Joker Escapes Arkham, Kidnapping Orderly?" Willow quoted the title. "You and I both know that can't, judging on the events of our lives alone, just be coincidence. Besides, they give a name."

"Dawn Winters," Giles murmured as Xander stated it out loud.

"She shouldn't have gone," Willow said in an even tone.

Giles removed his glasses, wiping his forehead with his right sleeve before replacing him. He closed his eyes and sighed deeply, sinking back into his chair.

"What would you have had me do? Buffy was being unreasonable about the whole thing, and Dawn didn't want to just sit idly by while her sister lived out the last of her life when there was a known cure out there. And I couldn't blame her."

"The Joker's dangerous," Xander said, but Giles threw up a hand.

"Not to us. You both know that. Look at our resources. Is he formidable? Yes. But enough so that any one of us should have to worry? No."

Xander and Willow exchanged a look. Apparently Giles was not the only one to have had that thought. Shaking his head, he tossed the green-bound book onto the table with a thud and gestured listlessly at it.

"I've been researching the poison that Buffy got hit with, trying to find an answer. Studying its symptoms. I hadn't gotten far when the two of you arrived."

"We've got bigger worries now," Xander said. "Dawn's been snatched by that wacked clown, and Buffy doesn't even know that her sister's been out of country these past days."

"We can't tell her. Her condition is deteriorating. Slowly, but it's the same principle as with any disease. I fear the more stress and worry we place on her, the more it will speed the poison and, in turn, the more it will steal her life. We have to leave Buffy out of this," Giles said.

"I agree. Now let's end this so we can try again, the right way. Tell me how you hid her, Giles. Why is it I can't see her, mystically? And then undo it," Willow said, crossing the room in a couple of strides to take a seat opposite the one Giles was in—readying herself for whatever magic she was about to do.

Giles paled, his eyes searching the room before returning—panicked—to Willow.

"We have a problem with that."

Willow arched a brow. "Why?"

Giles sucked in a soft breath, releasing it slowly. Finally, he shook his head.

"The way I hid her was that I tied her essence solely to her. She isn't leaving mystical traces because they're tied only to her core."

"Goddess," Willow breathed.

"What?" Xander said, taking a tentative step forward. "I don't get it. What does that mean?"

Giles turned to the one-eyed man, shrugging. "You see, most people—whether magically inclined or not—leave little mystical traces behind them everywhere they go, on every item they touch. Like leaving a miniscule bit of their aura everywhere. I made it where Dawn didn't do that. From the moment she left this room after that spell, she became utterly untraceable by mystical means. And I highly doubt that the Joker thought to grab her cell phone as they were leaving Arkham."

Xander was still looking and bit puzzled, and Willow finally smiled a bit sadly.

"It's like trying to dust a crime scene for prints, only to find out that the criminal has burnt off their fingerprints."

Xander's eye widened. Then narrowed as he held up both his hands, shaking his head.

"Wait," he said. "Then why don't we just track the Joker?"

"I don't have any of his personal items.  To scry, you must have an object that belongs to the person you're looking for.  Maybe when we get to Gotham, but I doubt it."

"Well, damn," Xander said. "So what do we do?"

Willow sighed and pushed herself out of the chair, resting both her hands on the table.

"We'll have to do this the old fashioned way. We need to head to Gotham."

Xander nodded. "Do I need to gather anyone, Faith or one of the others?"

Giles shook his head. "With Buffy out of commission, and with the supernatural world aware of that fact, we need all the slayers we can get out there dealing with that. I think the three of us will be more than enough to deal with a psychopathic clown."

Willow smiled. "The three of us?"

Giles returned the grin. "You didn't bloody well think I was just going to sit here, now, did you? I sent Dawn to Gotham by herself, and I'm going to make sure she comes back. Besides, maybe by studying the cure…"

"We can know what to expect out of the poison," Willow nodded.

"What are we waiting for then, team? Let's find our 'Miss Winters,'" Xander said, leading the way out of the room.

End Notes: Another shorty, but like I said, there's some set up to be done for the second half. The pieces are falling into place, however, and I expect the action will be picking up a great deal in the next few chapters. I hope you all enjoyed this one, and I apologize for the lack of Dawn and Joker. They'll be back next time. Well, until then!

Fun Note: Last chapter's title was inspired by the song "Glow," by Nelly Futado.

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