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 15- Anything But Ordinary
Nightwing perched on the ledge of the roof of a small diner, overlooking one of the many streets right in the middle of downtown Gotham. His lips were pursed, and he kept lifting a small pair of binoculars to his eyes listlessly. Every time he removed them from his eyes, it was with a small growl.
It had been eight hours since Dawn had been taken from Arkham. Nightwing had scoured all of his resources trying to find out whatever he could on Dawn Winters. And he had given Batman all the information he had had on her, which was not much. She had told him that her name was Dawn Winters. She had taken Judo. Her mother and father were divorced. Her mother was dead. She was raised by her sister, Buffy. She was an honors student both in high school and college. And she was originally from California.
A small, sad grin formed on his face as other little facts rose to mind. She had not been allowed to watch horror films at twelve, and when she had broken that rule she ended up leaving on the lights while she slept. She smelled like strawberries, and her laugh was like music. And she had been through some sort of hard time. Something that had caused her to slit her own wrists.
Nightwing had kept those tidbits to himself.
His resources had had nothing on the young woman. Now it was up to Batman.
Almost as if he had been listening in on his fellow vigilante's thoughts, Nightwing heard a beep in his ear, letting him know that his mentor was trying to communicate with him. He lightly pressed a finger to the link, letting out a gruff, "Yeah."
"Do you want the good news or the bad news?" Batman's familiar voice rumbled into his ear.
"I could really use some good news right now."
"Everything that you told me about Winters was true."
Nightwing's eyes widened. "What?"
"Everything she said about having a sister, taking Judo, being an honor student, it was all true. However—"
Nightwing groaned. "I was afraid of that."
"However, it was all true of a girl by the name of Dawn Summers who lived in a town called Sunnydale with older sister Buffy Summers, mother Joyce, father Hank."
"Wait. Sunnydale? Wasn't there something about that town on the news some time ago?"
"I should think so. It's now a crater. Not so much as the 'Welcome to' sign is still standing. And rumors persist that big sister Buffy had something to do with it."
"Whoa. Wait. Batman, how could any one person turn a whole town into a crater and their involvement in it be nothing but a 'rumor'? I mean, is this Buffy Summers a cape or something?"
"I've already checked that with the Justice League. They've never heard of her before. They're doing a bit more searching on the matter, just in case she's just one we haven't come across yet."
Nightwing stood upon the ledge of the roof, looking down at the small sedan that had pulled alongside the road to park. Shaking his head, he turned his gaze skyward.
"I can't believe it. Why would Dawn tell me true things… but leave out that she came from a town that's now nonexistent?"
"Obviously, she was hiding something. Everyone's got a secret. You of all people should know that."
Batman was right. But that fact did nothing to ease the small pain gnawing at Nightwing's insides.
"That's not all," the Dark Knight added. "I ran her name through some databases that I hacked. Turns out, our government has a red flag raised on Buffy."
"My question exactly. I haven't been able to crack the file to read it. Whatever it is, they want to make sure it stays as top secret as possible."
Nightwing gave a wry smile. "That's never stopped you before."
"And I don't intend to let it now. Nightwing… if there's anything else you can tell me that can help me pinpoint more about this Dawn Summers… now's not the time to hold back."
It was one of the reasons most people either loved or hated Batman: his keen insight. Nightwing had given no indication that he had held back information. He had been trained by the best to lie with the best. But the Dark Knight saw right through him. Nightwing was not sure if that put the man on his personal "love" or "hate" lists at the moment.
"She attempted suicide once. Her mother took her to the hospital for it. There should be records somewhere of it, crater or not. And her mother died of an aneurysm."
"I'll keep looking. We'll find her, Nightwing."
"Before or after the Joker kills her?"
It was grim, and it drew nothing but silence as its immediate reply. With a groan, Nightwing changed the subject.
"What about the clown? Any leads on him? None of my sources have anything."
"Joker was careful this time," the Dark Knight said. "Not a single clue left behind to indicate where he has her hidden. We will find her, Nightwing. Batman out."
Nightwing shook his head, looking out across the many rooftops ahead of him. He pulled a grappling gun, aimed it easily, and fired.
"Who are you, Dawn?" he muttered just moments before swinging into the night.
The diner's bell rang as Giles and Xander—with a sandwich—exited the building. They made a beeline for the black sedan they had rented upon arriving in Gotham, Giles taking the driver's seat while Xander piled in behind him. Both slammed their doors harder than necessary, causing Willow to look up from the giant, musty tome that set open in her lap. She arched one brow over at Giles.
"Well, I've had no luck," Willow noted, snapping her book shut. "Every mention of that spell in this book says that it can only be removed when the subject is standing with you or you know their location. And for good reason, since it's made to hide you from mystical sight. What did you guys learn?"
Giles swiped his glasses off his face as if they were the subject of his agitation. He wiped at the lenses so hard that Willow thought, for a moment, that he might crack one. However, they went unharmed as the former watcher jabbed a thumb in the direction of the diner.
"Jeremy says that nothing mystical has beeped up on the Mystical Ether Net. So we can assume that Dawn's still among the living."
"And that's it?"
Giles nodded. Willow could see the cause of his annoyance. That little bit of information was little comfort.
Xander stuck his head in between the two in the front, looking to each of them.
"How does that mean that Dawn's all right?"
"Usable or not, she's still the Key. And if the vessel that houses the Key is killed, then magic users everywhere would be able to feel it. Most would likely not feel it enough to note if one wasn't paying attention… but they'd feel it somehow. Jeremy said that he would keep an eye out for us."
"Well, not a glimmer of Keyness… that's a good thing, right?" Xander asked.
"It does mean she's still alive," Giles nodded.
Willow's mouth pulled downward into a deep frown. "But 'alive' and 'all right' are two very different things."
No one responded to that for a long while. Finally, Giles nodded toward Willow's tome.
"Not a thing we can us at all?"
"Not a damn thing."
With barely a look, she tossed the book behind her, narrowly missing Xander as it landed on the seat beside him. She muttered an apology, and he waved it off.
"I thought that there'd be some sort of mystical thing I could do once I got here. But I guess we really are gonna have to do it the old fashioned way. Clues, sources, all of it. Very Sherlock Holmes."
Xander half-grinned. "Very Scooby."
Willow could not help but smile. Giles reached for the keys, starting their vehicle.
"Then we all know where we have to go now," he noted.
"But it's way past visiting hours. How are we going to pull that off?" Willow asked.
"I have a friend who works at the asylum. That's how I managed to get Dawn an interview so quickly."
"You don't mean…?" Xander said, leaning forward again. "We're going to Arkham to—?"
"To talk to someone who knows the Joker better than anyone," Giles confirmed.
"Harley Quinn," Willow nodded as the trio made their way toward Arkham.
End Notes: Because every time I do a Joker fic, Harley's got to have a cameo at least. Don't worry, I'm not going to pull a Harlequinnaide on you (everyone remembers that episode of the animated series, right?). Also, sorry for the shortness again. The next chapter should be a bit longer. And have Dawn and Joker back.
Fun Fact: Last chapter's title was inspired by "Monster" by Lady Gaga. I was trying not to use two song titles by the same artist in this fic, but that one just fit so well.