Disclaimer: I don't own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Batman. Buffy belongs to Whedon, and Batman belongs to DC comics, WB, and Kane. No money made.
A/N: So I read this awesome fic by the wonderful writer, princessbee, over at jokerxharley dot net (remove spaces, replace with actual period) called "Sold." It served as the inspiration to this piece, and I really hope that the authoress doesn't mind. If you get a chance, head on over and read that piece. It uses a canon couple—as it's not a crossover. Also, if you'd like to read the other one-shots in this series, head over to my profile. In order, they are "Keys and Clowns," "Easier Said," "Drowning in Him," and "Addicted." Also, this is a Hard M rated fic. Otherwise, Please enjoy!
She could do this. She could. She was Dawn Summers—sexy, confident, college-educated woman whose older sister had taught her some serious kick-butt fighting moves. She could definitely do this. She straightened the soft pink sweater she wore—as winter was harsh this year, even in Cali—and brushed off as much lint as she could off the black dress pants she had worn to match. A conservative outfit, since she had no idea what to expect on the other end of this date.
A blind date, something that—having grown up on a Hellmouth—Dawn had been taught to avoid. And, since she had spent the last year—give or take a few months—as a psychotic clown's personal booty call, she didn't really have any recent experience in any type of dating. She raked her nails—painted a shade pink to match the fuzzy sweater, a bad choice she was seeing now as that seemed to be where the lint was coming from—through her hair, trying to make sure the frizzies were as down as possible. She was in the threshold of the dimly lit, romantic Italian restaurant she had arranged to meet her date at, and Dawn was sure she was annoying the hell out of the couple behind her trying to get in. But her breathing was a little erratic, so she was trying to stay as close to fresh air as possible. She dug inside her little black clutch purse, withdrawing a compact and her lipstick—pink, like the nails and sweater—and reapplied. She didn't need it, but she did it anyway. When the woman-half of the couple finally huffed for the thousandth time, the hostess of the restaurant intervened.
Menu in hand, the young blonde—couldn't be more than seventeen or eighteen, and God did Dawn miss being that age—smiled at her.
"How many in your party, Miss?" the hostess asked.
"I, um, I'm waiting for someone. O-or he might be here. A Mr. Yokes?" Dawn replied.
The hostess grinned and nodded, tucking the menu under her right arm. "Mr. Yokes has already been seated. Right this way, Miss."
Dawn gulped, nodded, and followed.
What would he look like, this Manny Yokes of Southern California? Would he be tall or short? Dark hair or light? Living or vampire? Oh, the possibilities were so many that Dawn felt her stomach knot. Blind dating was not a good idea, no matter how much Buffy had supported it. But Dawn knew that Buffy had only meant the best. After the night Dawn had spent with the Joker post-clown-induced car wreck, the Clown Prince of Crime had vanished off her radar. Not even a blip. Dawn had made up a little bit of a lie about why the Joker had been at her house. Then, she told the truth of not hearing from him since. Buffy had jumped on the opportunity. After a month of not so much as a giggle from the pasty-pale maniac, Willow had placed about a zillion spells on Dawn, her home, her car, her workplace… and anything else they could think of—all in the name of keeping the Joker as far away from her as possible. So, yeah, sure, she had stumbled upon—for this, read: "looked for"—articles about the Joker's activities these past five months. He'd been out and about, with Harley Quinn, causing mayhem and general badness. So, apparently, the spells had worked. Dawn was a free woman.
Who was now dating blindly. She groaned just as the hostess turned through a round, Tuscan inspired archway into another section of the non-smoking section of the restaurant.
Her eyes scanned the tables, looking for anyone who was sitting alone. She found only one. A red-haired man, peachy-pale (like, in a healthy way, not bleached or undead), dressed in a blue suit with a matching, fedora-style hat. His eyes, the color of which Dawn couldn't make out from her current distance, rose to see her coming. He smiled, his lips just as peachy as his skin—the weight on Dawn's chest seemed to lift to see that they weren't ruby red, like the Joker's—stretching wide. He removed his hat and slid out of the booth, gesturing to the seat across from his. The hostess sat Dawn, handed her the menu, and took her drink order as Manny returned to his seat. Dawn ordered a water—no lemon—and the hostess was gone.
"Dawn Summers," she said, reaching across a single red rose laying in the middle of the table to shake Manny's hand.
Manny caught her hand, and instead of shaking it, kissed it lightly. He released it, and Dawn laughed nervously as Manny lifted up the rose.
"For you," he said, and his voice was low, much deeper than the Joker's.
Dawn gave herself a tiny shake—hopefully one that was unnoticeable to her date. This had to stop, now. She couldn't spend the evening comparing this perfectly normal guy to a murderous, crazy clown. Although… there was something familiar about Manny… something she couldn't put her finger on. She gave herself another shake.
"Cold?" Manny asked, beginning to remove his suit's jacket.
Aw. He was gonna offer her his coat. Dawn smiled and shook her head.
"No, sorry. Just… nothing. So, Manny, we only know what our profiles told us. What brings you to ask me out?" Dawn asked.
Are you crazy? Are you going to try to kill me? How do you feel about clowns?
Dawn bit her bottom lip for just a second. Seriously. That had to stop. The Joker was miles and miles away, across the country in Gotham. And spelled away. No more Joker. No more bad girl. Buffy was right. Joker was just going to kill her, sooner or later. Five months clean, she had joked with her older sister. Dawn was five months clean from deadly boyfriends.
"A pretty girl your age on a dating site? How could I resist? Tell me more about you, Dawn," Manny said, his smile reducing to a grin.
Dawn opened her mouth to speak, but stopped. Manny's eyes were green. Bright green. Like his. And now that she looked, his features were rather pointed, his nose aquiline. Her breath quickened. No. No, that wasn't possible. Magic kept the Joker at bay.
Then why did her chest feel tight?
"Is something wrong?" Manny asked, real concern coloring his features.
Dawn laughed. She couldn't help it. She was being silly. Manny had just proved that. After all, the Joker wasn't capable of real concern. She shook her head.
"Nothing. I-it's crazy. You might not get it," she said.
The waitress finally arrived, and the both of them ordered quickly, going for classic dishes. Happy, and leaving their drinks, she bustled away to fill their orders. Manny turned back, his grin still in place… and there was something about it that seemed to make Dawn squirm.
"I don't know about that. Try me," he said.
"It's our first date… and this is deep, personal stuff. Really, you don't want to know."
Manny reached across the table, taking Dawn's hands. "Maybe I want the deep stuff. Guarantees a second date, doesn't it?"
Dawn laughed. "Not necessarily, but… I sort of just got out of a bad relationship. Real destructive."
"A break up? I'm sorry to hear that."
"Well, not really a break up, per se. I stopped seeing him. I don't think it was mutual. He's… kind of a scary guy."
Manny's eyes narrowed. "Oh? How so? Did he beat you?"
Dawn blinked, her eyes stinging with tears she didn't know she had. Manny shook his hands, withdrawing back to his side of the table.
"Pardon me. I shouldn't have asked."
Dawn shook her head as the waitress returned with their food and refilled their drinks.
"No, it's fine. Those tears, ha, they just sort of snuck up on me. Yeah, sort of. I mean, he was bad, physical. But also mental, you know? He wasn't good for me."
"Did he hurt you, like, really badly? Deadly?"
Dawn paused, staring Manny down. But that concern was back in his emerald eyes. She shrugged.
"Well, he caused a car wreck… in which I was driving."
"Oh my. How terrible. How long were you in the hospital?"
"An hour," Dawn laughed. Waving her hand as she twirled some spaghetti around her fork, she sighed. "I guess that's not that bad. Just bumps and bruises. But he was abusive. Like…"
She paused, finding her mouth unable to produce the words. She was a psychiatrist now, a respected one. She should have been able to say the words, but she was just so painfully aware that this was date one, not six.
"Sexually? A rough player?" Manny asked.
"And you… didn't like that?"
Dawn laughed, feeling her face flush with reddish heat. Manny grinned as he made headway into his lasagna. Dawn picked her way through her pasta, and the two ate in relative silence for a while. Finally, they struck up more conversation, a little bit more normal for a first date. By the end of the night, when the dishes were cleared away, they were laughing and genuinely enjoying one another's company. The waitress deposited their check, and Manny wouldn't even let her look at it. He shoved some unseen bill inside the black, padded check holder, and leaned a bit onto the table.
"Forgive me if this is presumptuous," he said. "But… would you like to continue the night elsewhere?"
Dawn smiled, her tongue snaking out to wet her lips. She nodded.
"Your place or mine?" she asked.
"Oh, mine, if you don't mind. I know that a lady's quarters are a private thing, or so I've been taught. One day, perhaps," he said, standing and gently assisting her to her feet.
His apartment was within walking distance of the restaurant, on the top floor of the building. He unlocked the door, and gestured her inside. Dawn was nervous, and she would be lying if she tried to believe anything different. In the sum total of her life thus far, she had been with—talking, all the way been with—a total of three guys. And the last one—the Joker—had taught her a lot more than she thought she would ever want to know. Her hands were shaking, and she gripped her clutch tightly, trying to hide it. Manny came up behind her—the jacket to his suit hanging on the hook by the door—gently placing his hands on her shoulders. She jumped and he laughed silently, withdrawing a bit.
"A glass of wine, perhaps?" he said.
His voice was a whisper, and it sent a pleasurable tingle up Dawn's spine. She nodded, and he guided her into the adjoining kitchen. It was a small room, with a bar counter dividing it off from the living room. The wine was red—Dawn really didn't notice anything past that—and he uncorked it, pouring it into two glasses.
"The couch?" Manny asked.
Dawn bit lightly at her bottom lip, leaning forward to place a gently kiss on Manny's cheek, just off from the corner of his mouth.
"Bedroom?" he amended.
Back on the horse, Dawn thought to herself. Gotta get back on that damned horse. But was this too fast? Date one? What kind of person was she turning into? Dawn nodded anyway. If she was ever going to get the Joker off her mind, then she had to get someone else in there. Was that using Manny? Maybe… but he'd probably enjoy it.
He moved her down the nearby hall, showing her the bedroom at the end. It was dark, only a lamp on the nightstand on, and the walls were painted a hunter green. He leaned forward, setting his wine on the table and planting a kiss on her cheek.
"I'll be only a moment," he said, moving out of sight into the connecting bathroom.
Dawn was looking fast. Something bad was gonna happen. She knew it. No mirrors. Windows covered. Did she cross vamp off too soon? But… there was a wooden cross on the wall. Okay, not vamp.
"So… tell me more about this bad relationship? The… sexually abusive man? How long did it last?" Manny called from the bathroom.
"Um… a year."
"That long? Why did you keep going back?"
Huh, if only that was a simple answer. "I don't know."
"Do you think, maybe, that you liked what he did to you? How he made you feel?"
Dawn's brow furrowed. Alarms were ringing. "No. I-I didn't."
"You didn't like it when he hurt you? When he made you feel every inch of your body, inside and out?"
Dawn stood as the bathroom door reopened. She gasped, dropping her wine glass. It shattered on the hardwood flooring. "Manny" was gone. Now, in his purple suit, his skin bleached white, and those ruby lips, the Joker grinned at her from the threshold of the bathroom.
"You," Dawn whispered.
"Shouldn't have tried to keep me away, Dawnie girl. You're going to pay for that," he chuckled.
Dawn tried to run, but he was faster. He threw her to the bed, straddling her.
"Please! I-I didn't want to! I missed you!" she screeched at him, trying to claw her way free.
"Missed me? How much?"
He slid a knife—his favored switchblade—out from his sleeve, opening it and pressing it against the soft flesh of her cheek. Dawn gasped, feeling hot tears roll down.
"So much. Please," she whispered.
"Spelled me away. Had your nasty friends make it where I couldn't come within miles of you!" he growled, pressing down.
Now, something warmer than tears rolled down. Dawn squirmed.
"Please… please, don't hurt me. I swear… I swear… I missed you."
He released her arms, leaning back. She ran her hands up his chest, her fingers fumbling with the buttons of his orange shirt.
"Please… fuck me," she whispered.
She had to distract him. If she wanted to get out of this alive…
He laughed, that high, cold laugh. He wound a hand in her hair, yanking back hard. She yelped.
"After the way you've treated me? It's enough to hurt a guy's feelings, ya know."
But he was lowering the knife, tracing it down the middle of her breasts—safely still covered by the thick fabric of her sweater—all the way down to the fly of her pants. He undid the button and zipper there, working her pants and her thin, lacy underthings down her legs.
"Why should I forgive you? Reward you?"
"I'll remove the spells! I swear! Please… please, don't kill me," Dawn whispered.
Joker laughed. "Hmm… I do like that…"
His hands hovered over her, his fingers moving like he was a surgeon trying to decide where to begin. He moved the blade down, now, holding the tip of it just at her entrance. She gasped, holding her breath.
"Please, please, don't," she begged.
"Aw… this isn't what you want in you?" he said, moving the blade just a tad.
"I'll undo the spells," Dawn whimpered. "I promise."
He removed the blade, putting it away. Dawn sighed, and he laughed.
"Don't count your chickens before they hatch," he said.
He leapt up and left the room, but Dawn didn't dare move. There was no way to know where he'd gone, or for how long… and if she was moved when he got back…
When he returned, it was with the wine bottle, and his ever-present grin was just malicious.
"Tell me, how strong are you, Dawnie? I mean, how regular do you do something, like say, oh… kegels?"
Dawn gasped before it happened, before the bottle disappeared from her view… before she felt it. She tried to concentrate, to keep her muscle's there from tightening as he moved it. What if it broke, because, damn it, she had been doing her kegels? But he kept on, and she could feel it growing slicker as she grew tighter. She was trying to concentrate on something, anything, else but her mounting pleasure—and the intense tightening it would bring. But it was no use. Before long, she climaxed, and she felt her muscles tighten, vice-like, around the too-thin glass of the bottle.
Please don't break, please don't break, please don't break! She breathed, relaxing, and—thankfully whole—she felt the Joker remove the bottle.
"Aw… what a shame," he said. He tossed it behind him, and she heard it shatter on the wall. "But, I trust we've learned our lessons?"
"Spells come down… never again," Dawn gasped.
Joker nodded, turning on heel. "Good girl. See you soon, sweetie."
She heard him depart, and all she could do was lay there, thinking.
No more blind dates. Ever. As a rule.