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 14- Monster
Dawn felt sick as her world came back from the blackness of being unconscious. She could feel heat and stinging all over her face, neck, arms, legs, and torso. She wanted to vomit, and she wanted to not look down at herself—to see the damage done. But it was useless as her head lolled down against her will, and she caught sight of the red stains on her pink scrubs. She swallowed hard, fighting down the bile. Had her life taken a different course, or maybe if she had been born in a normal way, she would have been panicked at the prospect of bleeding out. But she knew from experience that they were "shallow cuts," designed to bleed a little for a long time before they finally clotted and stopped. Or until a larger vessel was cut. Whatever happened first.
She forced the muscles of her neck to work, pulling her head upright. She felt dizzy, which was never a nice compliment to nauseous. She was not sure how long she had been out, or even when she had finally just lost consciousness. She moaned, forcing her eyes open a little wider. The first thing that registered in her vision was the Joker's grinning visage as he sat, reclined in a rolling chair, his feet propped up on the table of instruments while he wiped a pocketknife clean.
"Oh, nice to see you awake, sleepy-head," he said, pulling his spats back down to the ground.
Dawn wanted to cry, and the tears were already in her eyes. But she sucked in a deep—and painful—breath, holding them back with all her might. Her sister was the slayer, for God sakes. Surely she could take a little torture.
Joker swung his blade at her, way too far away to actually touch her, and she had to bite her lip—hard—to still the whimper in her throat. He chuckled.
"Stop," she said and was ashamed to hear that it sounded like begging. "I don't know anything else."
"I figured you might say that. That's why I brought out the ol' geek in me," he said, jabbing a thumb over his shoulder in the direction of the table.
Dawn drew her attention away from the knife in his hand and put it on the table. She could see the instruments he had used on her, which had mostly been the scalpel and the knife. But the rubber chicken—the butt of which held several unused soap bars—had gotten a couple of hits in and now had red stains on parts that should have been yellow. But for the first time she was noticing other things like microscopes, beakers, vials, and other science-y type stuff. She narrowed her eyes, shaking her head at the clown.
"What did you do?"
"I examined your blood while you were out. See, it's just no fun to hit and cut if you're not screaming away… or trying not to, as the case may be," he explained, making his way over to the microscope to withdraw a used slide.
"And you're nice to say so. You know, some people get off on stuff like this."
Dawn felt her urge to vomit return. Joker laughed loudly as he held up the slide.
"You see, medically speaking, there's not one weird thing about your blood. Not so much as a green blood cell, let alone glowing. Which, I gotta say, I was disappointed when I first cut you and nothing green and bright leaked out. Just the same old boring red stuff as the rest of us. Nope, nothing special about your blood. Or your skin. Or even your hair."
Dawn growled, annoyed—and again, queasy at the thought of him taking "samples" from her. When was this stupid madman going to get the picture? He laughed at her again, patting the top of her head.
"You're so adorable when you're helpless, you know."
"You're not going to find anything out about why I glow through science. I'm a mystical Key."
"So you've said, Dawnie, dearest. So you've said."
He walked over to her, leaning down so that his face was, once again, uncomfortably close to hers. He lifted his pocketknife—she had forgotten about it for just a moment—and pressed it, sharp-side, against her cheek. She could feel a fresh stream of blood down her cheek again and watched in horror as a new gleam flashed in his eyes.
"Stop," she whispered.
She wiggled against her ropes, but they had gained no slack. And in some spots, close to her cuts, they hurt even more. She hissed, sucking in a breath at the pain. Joker did not move.
"What are you?"
"Damn it, I'm telling you the truth!" she shouted suddenly, sick of this mind game.
He pulled back, looking mildly impressed at her outburst. He crossed his arms, careful with the knife as he did so, and arched a brow at her.
"But are you telling me the whole truth?"
She bit her lip, and he grinned triumphantly, turning to snatch the chicken up from the table.
"I'd start getting real gabby, if I were you, Dawnie."
She pursed her lips together, resilient. He sighed, shrugging.
He swung the butt of the chicken directly into her face, knocking her head to the side as she cried out. He stopped, giving her just a second to say something. Still, she remained silent. He swung it from the other side now, garnering the same effect. She kept her silence, taking blow after blow from the chicken. After a few minutes, when he got bored, he switched back to the knife, cutting straight lines from her shoulder to her elbow on both her arms.
Joker was getting angry. She could see it in his eyes. At last, with a frustrated growl, he stepped behind her chair, shoving the knife to her throat.
"Let me explain something to you, girly," he said, pressing it into her skin as hard as possible without cutting her.
Dawn knew it was not possible, but she could have sworn she had stopped breathing.
"I'm getting bored. And when I get bored, my toys tend to get broken."
He shoved the knife a little closer, and she could feel its familiar bite.
"All right!" she shouted. "All right! I was made from a mystical ball of green light called the Key! I wasn't even born right! A group of monks was protecting the Key from this hell-bitch of a hell-god, and they had to hide it. They used a spell to take make memories and take DNA and whatever to make me."
The knife dropped from her throat, and she sighed. Memories flooded her mind as she revisited the time when her blood did mean something to the Key. She had a flash of Buffy telling her that she was made from "Summers' blood," and a single tear finally rolled free. She took a deep breath, glaring up at the Clown Prince as he circled around to eye her strangely.
"Don't suppose you'll let me go now?"
He laughed. "Now that's funny."
He paused, thoughtful for a moment with his eyes locked on her. Finally, he shook his head.
"I'm impressed. You see, I expected you to be hysterical by now. Absolutely coo-coo for Cocoa Puffs, if you get my meaning."
"But you're not. I thought, for just a second when you were spewing all that stuff about monks and such, that you'd finally flipped your lid. But no."
He knelt down now, propping his hands on his knees. "You're actually telling me the truth, aren't you, my dear?"
She shook her head. "What do you want from me?"
"You know what I want. You're a Key, by your own definition, kiddo. That means you've got to open something. You tell me what, and this will all stop."
"I don't open anything. Not anymore. You're way too late for that, Joker."
"I think you're lying."
"I'm not. I swear. I don't open anything anymore."
He tsked disapprovingly, standing.
"Then let's start again," he said, letting the light gleam off his knife.
Unseen by either the Joker or by the Key, a grinning woman stood on the shadowed catwalk above them. She was dressed in scrubs similar to Dawn's, her curly blonde hair hanging loose tonight. She frowned as she watched the Joker take another slice at Dawn, shaking her head.
Things were moving too fast with too little progress for her liking. She had hoped that the clown would be able to extract information about the Key from the Key using his… unique methods, allowing her to maintain her cover. But the girl was proving too resilient. At this rate, she would be dead before anything new could be learned.
The onlooker sighed, plucking her Arkham employee laminate—which clearly listed her as Alisha, Senior Orderly—from her shirt. Her cover had been good, but she could not afford to take the risk that the Joker would kill Dawn.
"Well, I was tired of this gender confusion anyhow," she muttered.
She followed the statement up with a series of words in Latin. The effect was instantaneous as "she" felt her limps stretch and plump, "her" hair grow in to a short, close cut—still retaining the same bright, blond color—and her clothes morph into a smart, navy blue suit.
Now, instead of Alisha on the catwalk, William Cane—inventor of poisons, poisoner of the Chosen One, and un-credited creator of the Clown Prince—stood in "her" place. Being dead had been such a good cover, coupled with that of being a young, female orderly. But the time for covers was over. If he wanted to learn about the Key, he would have to intervene, or the girl—that sweet little vessel for the Key—would be dead. And he could not afford to lose such a precious potions ingredient.
End Notes: Mind trip! How did everyone like that little reveal at the end? Confused? A little weirded out? Good, then my work is done.
Fun Notes: Last chapter's title was inspired by the song, "The Consequence" by The Black Ghosts.