Disclaimer: I don't own Buffy or Batman. Buffy and related characters belong to Whedon. Batman and related characters belong to DC Comics and WB.

Originally for TwistedShorts August Fic-a-Day Challenge (Day 30)

A/N: This is set after Season 7 of Buffy, disregarding the comics except for a few things here and there. This is also set after "Keys and Clowns" and "Easier Said." Enjoy!

Drowning in Him

Dawn gasped as she head broke through the surface of the clear, cool water. She felt it roll down her body, leaving little waterfalls down her two-piece bathing suit and the skin exposed between the two—small—pieces. She ran her hands over her long hair, squeezing the excess water from it. She knew it was useless, that she would only dive under again in a few moments. But she only smiled up at her surroundings. The high stone wall that surrounded the pool area of her newly-purchased home in the middle of Nowhere, California guarded her from view—not that there were many neighbors within peeping distance. The moon and stars were so clear as they shone down upon her. She took a deep breath and pushed herself backwards and down under the water, shutting her eyes—since she'd been sensitive to the chlorine for as long as she could remember.

Dawn had no way of honestly knowing what to expect when she emerged once again. Logically, it should have been nothing and nobody, as she lived alone. But she had known, somehow, as she finally wiped the water from her eyes, that he would be there, standing just at the edge of the pool.

"You really suck at this running thing, kiddo," he said, crouching down at the edge.

She rolled her eyes at him. "Who said I was running, Joker?"

He laughed in his own, crazy way and shook his head.

"You've taken a year sabbatical from that asylum, after only working there a year. You buy this home deliberately in the middle of nowhere. And you don't even send me a note. I'm beginning to wonder if I should just kill you, since you aren't getting the message."

"Who says I was running from you?"

Joker waved his hand, making a "pfft" noise. "Please. Who else would you be running from?"

She grinned. Dawn kept a close eye on the news, so when the Joker had escaped from Arkham—without Harley—she had known he would come for her.

"That's none of your business," she said, wading closer to him.

He stood, brushing off the sleeves of his jacket. Then, with a roll of his own green eyes, he hooked the heel of one of his spats to her shoulder, pushing her down under the water. Dawn struggled, trying to push herself from underneath him, but that was harder than it looked. The heel was digging in, and she could feel the bite when it broke her flesh. Then, just before she was sure she was going to pass out, that he was finally going to just kill her, he pulled his foot away. Dawn bobbed to the surface, coughing and spluttering.

"Now… if you aren't running from me, who are you running from?"

"My friends… and family," she said, spitting pool water as she did. "All right? You happy? I'm running from my damn friends!" she yelled at him.

"I'm always happy, Dawnie, see?" he said, pointing to his grin with a chuckle. "Have they found out about your little… tryst with me?"

He seemed almost too eager for that, and Dawn shook her head.

"No. And I want to keep it that way. I mean, look. I've got a house with high walls, with zero neighbors, and I didn't even change my name. They could find me, but they know I need the time away from… everything. And I knew you would find me."

She didn't know why he kept finding her. They'd been playing this little affair game for a year now, ever since he had found her at the asylum she had transferred to, and Dawn wondered after every encounter why he just hadn't killed her yet. Of course, he hadn't killed Harley yet… and that wasn't for lack of trying. She suppressed a depressed chuckle as she thought that the same could be applied to her as well: not for lack of trying.

"You look good wet," he said, and Dawn blinked, surprised.

It was probably the first, straightforward suggestive thing he'd ever said to her that didn't involve pain or death.

"I think if I were to drown you here, you'd be a very pretty corpse," he said, crouching back down beside the edge of the pool.

That's what she got for expecting anything else from the Joker. But she was feeling risky tonight, wanting to take stupid chances. She pushed herself away from the Clown Prince, a playful grin on her lips.

"You'd have to catch me first," she teased.

He didn't like to be teased. Joker could tease her all he wanted about whatever, but the tables weren't allowed to be turned. Tonight was no different. He forced his permanently stretched lips upside-down as he stood, shaking his head.

"Get over here. Now," he ordered.

Dawn floated in the middle of the pool, trying to measure her odds. However, Joker's hand disappeared into his jacket, and she only caught a glimpse of the handle of a gun before she swam over to him.

"I was just playing," she said.

He grinned. "So am I."

He grabbed a handful of her hair, and Dawn cried out as he slammed her back against the titled cement with a wet smack. He stood over her, eyeing her now chilled body as she shivered from the sudden temperature change. She knew the gleam in his eye, and it was a dangerous one—when was it not with the Joker?

He was in the mood to cause pain, to hear her struggle and cry out. Dawn pushed herself onto her back, leaning up.

"Please," she said, not quite sure what she was pleading for… or against.

He knelt over her, putting his hands on the wet cement over her head. His grin was as wide as ever, and she squirmed, her knee rubbing against the stiffening crotch of his pants. A sigh of relief spread through her body, and she managed to transform it into a gasp right before it left her. For a moment, she had honestly thought that it was over, that he was finally going to kill her. But now she had evidence to the contrary. She still had that fear in her, the fear of not knowing what he had planned, and she kept that on her surface. He liked it when she was afraid.

"Please, what, Dawnie?" he breathed, letting the heat of it tickle her nose.

"Please don't hurt me."

He laughed low, a guttural sound of joy that got caught in his throat.

"Oh, Dawn… I love it when you know what I want to hear."

There wasn't much clothing to remove for her, and she was freezing despite the growing heat within her. She was very much exposed, very much outdoors, and very much in danger. Any moment alone with the Joker was a dangerous one. He grinned down at her shivering form having not bothered to remove any of his own clothing, save for his gloves. She watched as his bleached-pale hand disappeared from her vision, and gasped when she found it again. He moved his arm slowly, sending rocking waves through her.

It was strange. He was in the mood to make it hurt. She knew that. She had learned that much after so much time with him. But he was being gentle, slowly building her up. Dawn was on the edge, begging with him to move faster, when he suddenly stopped.

"Wha-?" she gasped, staring up at him.

"Tell me," he said, "why are you running from your friends?"

She blinked, shaking her head. Honestly, the answer to that question was the furthest from her mind at the moment. She wiggled her hips, trying her best to get some relief, but he pressed his other hand down onto her stomach, holding her still.

"Answer… or we're done for tonight," he whispered.

She groaned, trying to fight against him. He enjoyed the struggle, but he didn't give. He wanted his answer.

"Because they'll stop me," she whimpered.

He arched a brow. "You mean, they'll stop you from having these little meetings with me?"

She nodded. "I don't want them too."

"Ah, but you're lying. Spike said that you'd sent him."

A tear rolled down her cheek. She was so close to simply exploding, and this was not what she wanted to be talking about. Why did the Joker even care? This was nothing but another way to torture her.

"I thought I was done… that-that I'd had my wild moment," she said, still trying to get him to finish her. "But I'm not. And it's not fair. Buffy, Spike, Willow—all of them—they've all gotten to do something bad. Why can't I?"

She was crying now, and she felt ridiculous. After all, she'd just bore her soul to the Joker, of all people. But he shook his head.

"Aww," he said, and the mocking in it was almost louder than the word. "Well, let's let little Dawnie be bad, huh?"

His hand gathered speed as she gasped, clutching his arm with both of her hands. She cried out when she finished, her whole body relaxing against the ground. She heard his zipper a moment later, and his lips connected with hers the moment he was entered. She gasped against his kiss, but he didn't let up, going harder and harder until she climaxed again with him following shortly after.

They lay there, under the moon and stars, just panting for several moments after. Dawn looked away from him.

They weren't finished. Tonight was going to be different. Not once and done, not now that she had provided them with the privacy that they had needed.

"I need to hear you hurt," he whispered a moment later, confirming her suspicions.

She grinned a bit bitterly. Her thoughts trailed to her sister, to her friends, and she felt the overwhelming need to cry again. Joker had a talent for ripping people's insides out, both physically and emotionally, and whether she had verbalized it or not, he had made her hurt.

End Notes: I hope everyone enjoyed this one! As of right now, I don't have any plans for another follow-up, but I think it might still need one. What do all of you readers think? One more? Two? Let me know! Please review!