Title: No, Really?
By: PatriciaTepes (AKA Patricia de Lioncourt ; PatriciaLouise TTH)
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Batman (Nolanverse)
Disclaimer: I don't own Buffy, Batman, or any related characters. Buffy belongs to Whedon, and Batman belongs to WB and DC Comics.
Summary: Faith and her newly assigned watcher, Dawn, have been assigned to Gotham City. So far it's been nothing out of the ordinary—for a slayer, anyway—until the two happen to run into a living legend.
Author's Note: Okay, I swear, I'm working to get these out as fast as possible. So many writing projects and so much work… I promise I'll get these out. This originally wasn't going to be the one I did next… but after I re-read the prompt, I found this particular scene popping into my head. Just a short piece. I have to apologize to declawed_gecko… This might not be what you were expecting, but I hope you enjoy it nonetheless!
"Dawn! The stake!" Faith half-yelled, half-croaked.
She kicked out at the rather strong vampire who held her aloft against a brick wall… by her neck. With a deep chuckle, the otherwise slight-framed bumpy-faced monster dodged rather easily. Behind him, Dawn Summers fumbled with the wooden weapon, coming up quickly behind the vampire. Unconcerned, he used his free hand to knock the young woman back.
Dawn landed a few feet or so away on her backside, but the blow she had suffered was all the distraction Faith needed. She curled one leg around the monster's waist, jerking him close enough for her to throw a hard right hook. With a loud oof, the vampire lost his grip, and Faith landed on her feet. She sucked in a bit of oxygen—because it seemed important at the moment—and made a quick grab for the stake. The vampire recovered, coming at the slayer with a hiss, but Faith made a beeline for his heart… and hit.
A cloud of dust later, Faith was pulling Dawn—coughing and hacking—to her feet.
"I hate Gotham," she moaned, dusting herself off. "Why are we here again?"
Faith shrugged, a small smile on her face. "You're the watcher here, D. You're supposed to tell me these things."
"And why am I your watcher again?"
The two women were now making their way out of the alleyway and onto the street. Their breaths formed small clouds of mist in front of them, and Dawn tugged her black jacket tighter about herself. She really missed California.
"Seriously, though," Faith said. "I think Buffy wanted us to check out the possibility of a Hellmouth here. Giles said he wasn't sure, that he'd never heard anything about it."
Dawn rolled her eyes as Faith nudged her into the light of the streetlamps they passed. She wasn't a child anymore. Sure, she had just stumbled once—twice—with that recent vamp, but he was a lot stronger than he looked. Dawn could take care of herself, and she didn't need Faith shoving her into the light like a wayward trick-or-treater. Besides, Giles, Buffy, and the rest had thought her capable enough to pair her up with Faith, of all people. Dawn drew herself up a little taller, shaking her head.
"I know all that. I'm sorry. I'm just grumpy."
Faith grinned and threw an arm around Dawn's shoulders.
"Ain't no thang, girl," she laughed. "How about I take you to Baby's First Club?"
Dawn blinked. "You know, I have been to the Bronze before."
Faith scoffed, shaking her head. "I mean a real club, Dawnie."
She shook her head. Faith sighed, waving a dismissive hand. The two fell silent for a moment, walking rather aimlessly. Dawn hated these quiet moments. She had never noticed Buffy and Giles having them all that often—unless they had been in the middle of a fight. It signaled a possible failure to her, an inability to connect with her slayer the way she should. Granted, Dawn's most vivid memories of Faith were mostly bad… but she knew that the Bad Girl Slayer had changed her ways, mostly. Well, she fought for the good guys anyway.
"Hey, have you heard those stories about the Batman?" Dawn said all of a sudden, desperate for conversation.
Faith laughed. "Oh, don't tell me you believe that crap. A grown man dressing up as a bat to fight crime? Really?"
Dawn shrugged, more than a little bashed. "Well, I mean, I was talking about the rumors. You know, that he could be a demon or whatever."
Faith shook her head. "So not one of our problems, Dawn. Mostly because he's imaginary."
Well, there went that bonding moment. Dawn looked away from Faith, afraid that the older woman might be able to read the truth on her face. After all, Dawn Summers was pretty certain Batman had at least some basis in reality. He may not be the demon or the vigilante that everyone was theorizing he was… but he had to be something to cause all the ruckus that he had.
"Everyone here in Gotham seems pretty damn certain he's real," Dawn said before she could stop herself. "Especially that psycho on TV… the… Joker? Was that his name?"
Faith huffed as the two continued their walk down the street. Dawn cast a worried glance about, wondering if Faith was leading her to a club anyhow.
"Now that's who we should be worried about," Faith muttered.
Dawn arched a brow. "The Joker?"
Faith nodded, shoving her hands into the pockets of her pants. Dawn marveled at how she had accomplished this, as she always seemed to wear jeans two sizes too small, but she shook it out of mind.
"That guy's the real deal. I saw a few of them when I did my time in prison. But he's one of the rare ones… one those normal people who still aren't quite normal, whose soul isn't going to make them think twice when it comes to killing."
"And you think he's crazy because he believes in Batman?" Dawn asked.
The lighting on the street had gotten a little bit dimmer, and Dawn could hear the distant sound of loud techno music playing—despite the fact that the area looked distinctly residential. The two young women continued their leisurely stroll, both perfectly aware that most citizens of the city would find the two of them crazy for doing so. Or at least, they would be pegged with a death wish. But when one of the pair is a super-powered slayer, it took some of the fear of the darkened Gotham City streets out of the equation.
"I think that's just the tip of the iceberg of crazy that dude has," Faith said.
A moment of silence as they approached a reddish-brown brick building with a black fire-escape hanging off the side of it—not much different from any of the others around it.
"But no Batman?" Dawn prodded.
And that was when the man fell right in front of them. He was dressed in a brown suit, and both Dawn and Faith distinctly heard the snap of one of his legs as he connected with the cement several feet in front of them.
"What the hell?" Faith said, advancing ahead of Dawn.
The fluttering of what sounded like wings echoed softly in the night as a mass of black swooped down and landed next to the fallen man. The black figure—a man unmistakably dressed like a giant, armored bat—turned his attention to the other man.
Faith's eyes widened as she fell back a few steps, surprised. Dawn shook her head, and bit her tongue hard against a totally deserved "I told you so."
"Where is he?" Batman shouted in a deep, graveled voice into the face of the fallen man.
"Hey!" Faith shouted, closing in on the scene before Dawn could stop her.
The Batman ignored her as the man answered the vigilante's question.
"He must have friends," Batman fired back as Faith drew ever closer, her walk turning into a slow jog.
"Someone knows where he is!" the Batman shouted after the other man's unsatisfactory response.
"Back the hell off!" Faith shouted, now fully running.
Still, she went ignored.
"Don't," Dawn said, unable to get her voice to rise above a mutter.
Shaking her head, she knew it was her duty as Faith's new Watcher to keep up with her slayer. She jogged as quickly as possible to catch up with her, finally closing enough distance to pick up on the man with the broken leg's reply.
"…the Joker, he's got no rules. Nobody's gonna cross him for you. You want this guy? You've got one way. But you already know what that is. Just take off that mask. Let him come and find you."
Batman grunted, dropping the lapels of the man's jacket, letting his back slam into the cement. The man opened his mouth to continue speaking, but Faith had finally reached Batman. She leapt into the air, landing a kick right to the hulking figure's ribs.
"Oof!" Batman grunted, falling back.
"Dude, you all right?" Faith asked, looking down at the suited man.
He laughed, shaking his head. "What's with this crazy dame?"
Dawn was getting the distinct impression that Faith was fighting on the wrong side, but that didn't stop the formerly rogue slayer.
"You think it's cool to just hurl human beings off roofs like that, Batboy?"
"Just walk away," Batman growled.
"Faith," Dawn huffed, totally ignoring the man still groaning in pain on the ground. "I think you've got it all wr—"
But Faith wasn't listening. Instead, she moved to throw another punch at the masked man, who—to his credit—dodged all the blows almost effortlessly. Meanwhile, the man with the broken legs had now propped himself up on his elbows.
"You know, if this chick would just do us a favor and kill this guy," he said, nodding toward Faith and Batman, whose fight was growing increasingly more violent by the second, "I'd make sure she was set for life."
Dawn rolled her eyes. "Oh, shut up."
Faith landed a hard right hook in the Batman's jaw, and he recovered surprisingly fast, ducking her next fist and landing a sucker punch in the slayer's gut. Faith, despite her slayer attributes, was winded, and Dawn took this opportunity to step between the two.
"Wait!" she shouted before Batman could throw another punch. "I think there's been a misunderstanding!"
"You could have killed this dude," Faith said, trying to step around Dawn.
"He wouldn't have killed me," the man on the ground laughed.
Batman growled, ignoring the comment.
"Who are you?" the vigilante demanded.
"None of your damn busine—"
"What my friend means," Dawn chuckled nervously, "is that we're sorry, and we'll be on our way, Mr. Batman, so you can finish whatever it is that you're doing here."
"Dawn! What are you doing? How do we know—?"
But Dawn cut the slayer off again. "This dude is a mobster, Faith. I've seen him on the news more than once. Trust me, you're using the wrong guy as a punching bag."
"She's right," Batman confirmed, which brought an inexplicable grin to the youngest Summers' face. "This is Sal Maroni."
Faith wasn't one for current events, Dawn knew that. But she knew that slayer knew enough about the state of Gotham to know the name of Sal Maroni. She shook her head, and Dawn could almost feel the aggression melt out of her.
"Oh," she said, glancing over her shoulder at him. "My bad."
Dawn glanced back at Maroni, who was grinning like a fox in a hen house up at the two women. When all three turned back to the Batman, they found nothing but an empty street greeting them.
"Friggin' awesome," Dawn muttered in awe.
"So, you two gonna get me to a hospital or not?" Maroni demanded.
Faith arched a brow at the mobster, and Dawn rolled her eyes.
"Shut up," she said.
"Yeah, what the kid said," Faith said, hooking arms with Dawn and continuing their stroll down the street.
"What? Wait! You can't just leave me here!" Maroni shouted after them.
Faith grinned, shaking her head. "Sorry, not our jurisdiction."
They kept going until they could no longer hear the mobster calling after them. And after a moment or two of silence, Dawn grinned over at Faith.
"Totally knew Batman was real."
Faith huffed. "Whatever."