Disclaimer: I don't own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Batman. Buffy belongs to Whedon, and Batman and related characters belong to WB, DC Comics, and Bob Kane. No money made. Proper credited for the quote is given with the quote.

A/N: This is a part of a series I started last Fic-A-Day. Oh, and I apologize for the quality of this. I've had a crappy day. I'll try to return to it on a better day and make it better, promise. Please enjoy!


Addicted


I'm hooked on you
I need a fix
I can take it
Just one more hit I promise
I can deal with it
I'll handle it, quit
Just one more time
Then that's it
Just a little bit more once you get me through this

-"Addicted," Kelly Clarkson


"Dawn?"

She froze. Before she turned, she made sure to plaster a wide grin on her face. She set her cup of coffee down on the rickety break room table, stretching her arms wide as she crossed the short distance to the door of the room.

"Buffy!" Dawn said, hugging her older sister as hard as she could. "What are you doing here?"

Buffy frowned as Dawn pulled away, and the two of them walked further into the room.

"Actually, that's what I was going to ask you," she said.

Buffy took a seat at the table, her ankle-length leather skirt making an odd noise as she did so. Her blonde hair was pulled up in a deliberately messy bun, and it made Dawn feel more than a little self-conscious about her appearance. She was sure that her doctor's coat was very crumpled, her long hair probably frizzed to the point of looking like it was the result of self-induced electroshock therapy. Underneath, her black, pencil line skirt and red blouse was not looking any better. Dawn took a seat across from Buffy, reaching for the coffee cup she had left behind.

"What do you mean?"

Buffy sighed, a big heavy one that meant that something bad was about to happen. She reached forward, taking Dawn's hands in hers, and forced her younger sibling to make eye contact.

"What's going on with you, Dawnie? You moved from the slayer house in Gotham all the way back to California, saying that you were doing it for the better job."

Dawn freed a hand and motioned and around. "Which I did."

"And then you took a sabbatical and vanished off the map."

Dawn scoffed, standing and moving to refill her plain, white mug. She had known that her disappearance was not going to go unnoticed, but she had hoped it wouldn't be brought up quite as soon as this. After all, she'd only been back to work for a month or so now. She knew that Buffy—or someone Buffy would send—would come around, asking why. She had to play it careful.

"I don't know what you're talking about, Buffy. I didn't vanish."

"I call BS," Buffy said, leaning back in the hard plastic chair. "Willow couldn't even scry for you. You know when something's up when Will can't find you."

Dawn had to bite down a self-pleased smile. Apparently, her little spell had worked. And here she had thought hiding from Willow would be like hiding in broad daylight while painted neon green. But things were working out just fine. Apparently, Buffy didn't know. And that's the way Dawn wanted to keep it. She didn't want her sister to know that she hadn't stopped meeting with the homicidal maniac known as The Joker. She didn't want her to know that those meetings had actually increased over time. And she didn't want her to know what it was Dawn and Joker did during those meetings.

"I… I just wanted some time, okay?" she said, sighing.

A little grain of truth never hurt when constructing a lie, she'd learned. She had wanted some time… but Buffy didn't need all the details.

"Time from what?"

Dawn shrugged. "Work? Life? You know, things have been moving fast for me ever since I graduated college. I just needed to take a breather."

Buffy slid out of her chair, walking over to her sister. She stopped almost unnaturally close to her, once again staring her down. Dawn arched a brow as she leaned back against the countertop.

"What… what are you doing?"

"You're lying to me," Buffy muttered, and if Dawn wasn't mistaken, she sounded a little hurt.

She tried to pass off a nonchalant smile, adding a shrug just in case.

"About what?"

Buffy backed up, reached into one of the pockets in her skirt, and withdrew a folded piece of paper. It was a little thicker than normal paper, and Dawn could already guess that it probably had a picture on the side she couldn't see. Buffy unfolded it and shoved it into Dawn's hands. And when she got a full view of the picture, she dropped her coffee mug.

It was her, and the Joker, in a position Dawn never wanted her sister to see her in. She felt sick, and she could feel her mouth moving, trying to form words that just wouldn't come. A violent heat was rising in her stomach, racing its way up to her face, and Dawn balled the photo up, glaring at Buffy.

"How dare you?" she growled.

But Buffy was ready, poised even, for this attack.

"He's dangerous, Dawn. Spike told me that this has been happening for a while. But that he thought you wanted to stop. It doesn't look like that to me. Or do you want to stop? And you can't?"

She sounded a little hopeful at the end there, but Dawn shook her head, rounding Buffy.

"How did you even get this?" she asked, shaking the ball of photo at her.

"It doesn't matter."

"It sure as hell does, Buffy!"

Buffy shrugged. "When Willow couldn't find you, she realized it was probably a spell in place. So… she broke it. I mean, she is Will, you know?"

Dawn shook her head, backing away from her sister. "Leave me alone."

"Dawn…"

But Dawn turned, speeding out of the break room. "Leave me alone!"

She barely thought to grab her purse from her office before she rushed out of the asylum she worked for now, fighting tears. She didn't even glance back as she approached her car, unlocked the door, and slipped inside. She slammed the door after her, shoving the key into the ignition, and spun the wheels hard as she peeled out of the parking lot.

"No right," she muttered as she pulled onto the first major highway.

"Bad day, sweetie?"

Dawn almost wrecked. She managed to get the car back under control as she whirled. In her back seat, his feet propped up between the front driver's and passenger's seats, was the Joker. His had his purple gloved hands clasped behind his green hair, his ever-present ruby smile aimed right at her.

"Eyes on the road, dear."

She whirled back around, her own eyes wide. "What are you doing here?"

"Aw," he said, pulling his feet down and leaning forward. "Is that any way to greet me? I thought you'd be happy to see me."

Another situation she'd have to play carefully. "I-I am. I'm just surprised, that's all. I didn't even hear that you'd broken out."

Joker let out one of his trademark cackles, slapping the back of her seat. "Oh, they probably haven't noticed me gone yet. Now, what had you all upset?"

Dawn tapped the side of her thumb against the steering wheel, her mouth speaking before her brain could process what it was she was saying… and to who.

"Like you give a damn."

Suddenly, a hand was against her throat, and she was held tightly to her seat. Joker leaned forward so that his lips tickled her ear as he spoke.

"Careful what you say, Dawnie dear. Someone just might get hurt."

He added a little jerk to her neck just for emphasis. She managed to choke out an apology, and his grip loosened.

"Forgotten," he said in a bright, chipper voice. "Now, come on. What was it that had you so angry?"

"Buffy confronted me about my absence over the summer. And when she couldn't find me, she had Willow break through my spell and spy on me. She had a picture of me… and you."

A tiny growl let Dawn know that Joker was about as happy about this as she was. However, when he responded, his words were deceptively calm.

"So what? They won't go to the cops, dear. That would get you in trouble, and I think Big Sis would just hate that."

Dawn growled and shook her head. "That's not the point! The point is the fact that my sister not only knows about my rendezvous with you, but she spied on me and caught me in a very comprising position! And on top of that, she's gonna be all holier than thou, when I know her track record isn't spotless!"

"Careful, careful," Joker said, his hand snaking back toward her through. "I don't like this tone you're taking with me."

But Dawn was lost in a rage. She couldn't give a damn about what he liked or didn't like.

"Yes, of course. Like you care. I forgot. You know, Harley might be content to be your silent little lap dog, but sometimes, I just need you to know that I don't give a shit about playing your games to the T."

She'd done it now, and she realized it too late. His grip tightened and tugged. Along with her head, her hands pulled back, and she lost her grip on the steering wheel. She was going the exactly speed limit of the highway, and now she wasn't guiding the vehicle. The car careened off to its right, and Dawn could hear the horns of the cars she had just veered in front of. Joker seemed to realize his mistake, because he let her go to grab the wheel. But it was too late. She cut the wheel in the wrong direction, and the car flipped, once, twice, before landing upside down against a guard rail. Along the way, Dawn got thrown forward, her forehead colliding with the window beside her. As soon as the car stopped moving, she lost consciousness.

#

She didn't know how long she had been out. But when she woke up, a couple of paramedics were loading her into the back of the ambulance. She leaned up, trying to get a look around, but the paramedics pushed her back into a laying position. It didn't matter. She had seen what she thought she would. Or rather, what she thought she wouldn't. Joker was nowhere to be found.

She was rushed to the nearest hospital, and as soon as they were sure no damage had been done, she was released. Buffy had been called, so she was busy waiting for her in a taxi outside the building.

"Here," she said once they were both in the backseat, buckled, and on their way to Dawn's beautiful middle-of-nowhere house.

Buffy handed the balled up photo to her sister, who took it and immediately pocketed it.

"I didn't want the cops to find it. I'm sorry. You're right. I shouldn't have spied on you, but I stand behind what I said. He's dangerous. You don't need to see him anymore."

"Don't worry," Dawn mumbled as the fresh new memory of her wreck replied in her mind. "I don't think I want to anymore."

Buffy grinned, wrapping an arm about her shoulders. "Good. If he ever causes you trouble, though…"

"I know. I'll call right away."

That seemed to satisfy her as they arrived at Dawn's house several minutes later. Buffy offered to stay, but Dawn waved her off, saying she would most probably just go to bed. Buffy tried to argue, but finally gave in and drove off in the cab.

Dawn groaned as she walked toward her home's spacious dining room, turning on the lights to the small chandler overhead. As soon as the room became illuminated, she paused. In the center of her circular table's center was a dozen of red, beautiful roses in a simple glass vase. She approached them slowly, seeing the tag on them immediately.

Written on it, very simply, was "Forgive me? –J"

She dropped the tag. She lifted her thumbnail to her mouth and began to chew absentmindedly at it. Finally, she turned and made her way toward her bedroom, turning on the light there as well.

She jumped. Sitting across her bed, very much in the same way he had been sitting in the backseat of her car, was the Joker. He grinned at her, the sparkle in his green eyes mischievous.

"So? Am I forgiven?"

For a long moment, Dawn was as unmoving as she was silent. Finally, she nodded.

"Yes."

Joker laughed and patted the bed beside him. "That's my girl. Now… come sit with me."

She obeyed. She knew in her heart of hearts that she should run screaming from him. Take her sisters advice and stop this madness. But then, she remember what she had said the first time Joker had come to her home. Everyone else got to be bad, why not her too? She deserved here own destructive fun, didn't she?

She laid down beside him, and he leaned over her.

"Wanna have some fun?" he asked.

She smiled. "Don't I always?"