Joss Whedon owns "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and related characters; DC Comics owns "Batman" and related characters; I own nothing.~*~*~
Dawn normally didn’t approve of Buffy’s choices of boyfriend material. They were either broody--like Angel--, too challenged by the idea of her being the Slayer--a la Riley--, or there was just something that didn’t work--like her and Spike. So when Buffy let slip that she had started dating somebody new, Dawn naturally had her doubts. It didn’t help that the odds in the pool she had constantly running whenever Buffy dated had the guy lasting less than a month.
“So, Dawnie, how’s the pool going?” Buffy asked sweetly when Dawn dropped by her new home for Thanksgiving a day ahead of when the rest of the Scoobies would arrive. Next to her, her boyfriend choked on the piece of chicken.
“You bet on your sister’s love life?” Bruce Wayne asked Dawn incredulously. Dawn grinned in response.
“I don’t bet on my sister’s love life. That would just be wrong,” Dawn objected. “But there’s nothing in the Sister’s Code of Conduct that says I can’t be the one taking them and giving the odds. And to answer Buffy’s question, Faith, Andrew, and Corina are the only ones still in.”
“You have no idea.” Buffy shook her head and looked down at her plate. Dawn didn’t miss the concerned look on Bruce’s face. Getting to her feet, she grabbed her glass. “I’m going in for a refill. Anybody else want one?" Both of them answered no, so Dawn went by herself into the kitchen. She paused for a moment after getting the diet coke out of the fridge, thinking about what she had just seen.
Buffy had that light back her eyes, one that Dawn hadn’t seen in far too long. It meant that she was happy, despite everything else that was going on in her life. Dawn couldn’t remember when she had last seen it, but it had been years ago. Whatever or whoever Bruce Wayne was, he was doing something right.
“Did you get lost on your way to the fridge?” Bruce asked when Dawn returned to the table.
“What did you expect, with the mountains of food Buffy has in there?” Dawn retorted, sending a playful glare her sister’s way. “Did you forget that you aren’t in Cleveland anymore and don’t have to feed a small army every single meal.”
“Old habits die hard sometimes,” Buffy answered. “And be glad I didn’t buy as much as I did back then. There would be leftovers until Christmas.”
“Ugh. I’m not ready to think about leftovers just yet,” Dawn moaned. “One meal at a time, Buffy.”
They finished up their meal, and Buffy went back into the kitchen to get coffee and pie. Dawn leaned back in her chair and studied Bruce Wayne. The only thing that they really knew about him was that he was richer than could be believed, had met Buffy at a benefit for the school she was currently working at, and that she had only agreed to go out with him as a bet to her co-worker. Oh, and that he was a bit of a playboy. That’s what troubled Dawn the most.
“Penny for your thoughts?” Bruce asked, adjusting his posture slightly to copy Dawn’s. Dawn didn’t say anything for a moment, trying to organize her thoughts. He would probably be getting several shovel speeches from the visiting Scoobies, but she didn’t know how seriously he would take them if they were all coming at him as a mob. Making up her mind, she put her elbows on the table and leaned forward slightly.
“You do anything to hurt Buffy, I will find you, hog-tie you, and then place you in the path to the fridge in front of a herd of starving teenage girls. Then, if there’s any of you left, I’ll take that and beat you to death with a shovel,” Dawn told him matter-of-factly. “And don’t think that’s an idle threat. I have my ways.”
Bruce’s face was impassive, although Dawn was sure she caught a flash of surprise on his face. “I have no intention of hurting your sister,” he said quietly. They never do,
Dawn thought. “Just think of it as a friendly warning, then. The first of many friendly warnings, and mine’s probably the least creative out of all of them.” Except for Xander. He would probably go with the classic shovel speech.
Now, Dawn wasn’t really any judge, but she was sure that Bruce was a shade or two paler than he had been just a second ago. Dawn smiled sweetly at him as Buffy called for him to help her carry the plates to the table. It had been too long since she had seen that light in Buffy’s eyes, and she was going to be damned before she allowed somebody to put it out without a fight.