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This story is No. 1 in the series "Bat Signals and Stakes". You may wish to read the series introduction first.

Summary: Falling for someone can sometimes be the easiest thing in the world. Even when secrets are involved.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
DC Universe > Batman > Dawn-CenteredDamiaFR7111,05318284,78320 Apr 1120 Apr 11Yes
Song: Mercy
Artist: OneRepublic

Disclaimer: I do not own BtVS or Batman

Notes: I know I haven't been on in a while and I haven't been updating as I should and I apologize. I will be editing a few of my stories and getting back to them.


She wasn’t smiling when he first saw her. She was staring intently at a book, her eyebrows drawn together in concentration and her mouth tensed. She was obviously irritated about something and he wanted to walk up and ask her what was bothering her. He didn’t though. Instead he sat down, a book in his hand, and pretended to read while he watched the girl. With the light shining down her brown hair turned into a thousand different shades of copper and brown, like a forest in Autumn. She was beautiful. He had left, assuming he would never see the girl again, and went on with his life.

It was almost 3 years later when he saw her once more.

Angel of Mercy

How did you find me?

Where did you read my story?

Dawn sighed and sped up as she walked through the darkened streets of Gotham trying to get home. Her job was amazing and she loved it dearly but it wasn’t as close to the subway as she could wish and sometimes when she worked late (which was often) she had to walk through a questionable neighborhood on poorly lit streets. So far she’d gotten lucky and hadn’t been mugged or worse. Worse in a city like Gotham was bad, all those costumed heroes and villains were a little creepy to be honest. Still Gotham had this vibrancy to it, a life that pulsed throughout it and made her feel more alive. Since she’d gotten away from the demon hunting gig (really she wasn’t needed with all those slayers and witches) she’d needed something else.

Dawn had looked around at her family and it all clicked. She had a wonderful loving family. Her mom, her sister, Giles, Willow, Xander, Faith and Andrew and others that they’d included as well. Xander and Willow and Faith though, they hadn’t had that. Not at first. She knew all their pasts and knew what she was going to do with her life. Being a social worker didn’t pay well but it was a job that needed caring passionate people, especially in a city like Gotham and Dawn was happy to fill the part. Thankfully she had a pension from the WIC for all the help she’d given them over the years and for the help she sometimes continued to give in the form of translations. The past 3 and a half years had been liberating and frustrating and blessedly normal compared to everyone else’s. Gotham was now home.

A noise behind her caused the brunette to twist around and inspect the street but she didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. Still, something made the hair on the back of her neck stand up. She hurried her pace a bit more, wishing she’d worn flats that day. Sadly she’d had a court hearing to go to so had dressed nicely which meant 3 inch sling backs and a pencil skirt. Not the ideal running and/or fighting attire. Another crash and this time booming laughter accompanied the sound of metal falling to concrete. Dawn stopped, knowing that running would only make them follow and she couldn’t outrun them in her shoes.

The brunette turned and raised a single eyebrow, inspecting all 5 men carefully. Thugs but no masks, still thugs could cause quite a bit of damage and they might be working for a mask. On top of that they were all carrying weapons and leering at her. Her messenger bag wasn’t going to be all that great a weapon, even with her laptop in it, and she had given her taser to a coworker who’d been held hostage a few months before. So that left killer heels and hopefully idiot foes. Dawn lifted her chin a bit. “Can I help you?” She demanded, eyes locked on the man in the center standing slightly in front of the others.

“Me and the boys were lookin’ for a bit o’ fun,” The man spat a dark wad onto the cement before smiling at her with yellow stained teeth. Great, a chewer. Disgusting habit.

“I hear there’s a bar down the street that’s supposed to be all kinds of fun,” Dawn made a gesture off behind the men, striving to keep her voice and breathing calm and even.

“Not quite the fun we were looking for,” The started forward toward her, still grinning, and Dawn swung her messenger bag off her shoulders and away from her, kicking her shoes in that direction as well. They’d be a hindrance with this many people and if Dawn was gonna go down she wanted to bring at least 2 of these guys with her.

Pulled from the papers

Desperate and hardened

seeking a momentary fix

The second time he saw her she was smiling. 3 years later and he still remembered those lips and eyes, still wondered what she would look like with a bright happy smile on her face. This smile was bright, but it was also a bit feral. She was more beautiful than he remembered. A thug grabbed hold of her bun and tugged, loosing the long strands as she whipped around and drover her knee up towards his groin. The man blocked by twisting his hips and she slammed the heel of her foot down on top of his knee cap, sending the man falling with what was likely a dislocated knee.

You planning to save the damsel or just drool as she’s beaten to a pulp?Oracle’s dry voice demanded in his ear as the girl’s throat was encircled by a massive fist. Nightwing leaped from the roof, somersaulting in midair to land behind the group as the girl linked her two fists and swung them into her assailant’s chin.

All through the fight the young woman felt the need to provide color commentary to her aggressors and Dick found himself grinning and sometimes even laughing as she snarked at the men. “Chewing tobacco is disgusting, its no wonder you have to resort to rape,” or “ever heard of a washing machine? It’ll do wonders with these rags you call clothes,” and she even referred to one of her attackers as Grabby McGee before twisting his wrist up between his shoulder blades. Oracle was laughing and informing Nightwing that she liked this girl.

When all five men were either unconscious or tied up the woman turned to Nightwing panting a bit and smiling. He stared at her for a moment before realizing he was supposed to be suave and inscrutable. Her head tilted to the side, huge blue eyes raking him over twice before resting on his masked eyes. “Thanks.” She smiled brightly at him, her entire heart shaped face lighting up and making her look far more approachable.

“That’s what I’m here for.” He told her with a grin of his own even as Barbra made knowing taunting noises in his ear.

Police are on there way Dick, you’ve got about 5 minutes to chat her up. Dick didn’t twitch even as the voice of his first love teased him. They were still friends and always would be, she was his best friend actually. Sometimes he thought she might be his only real friend. Bruce was more father than anything else. The woman walked over and grabbed her bag and shoes from the ground, looping the strap over her shoulders.

“Don’t suppose you could give a girl a lift home?” She asked curiously. He shook his head and nudged one of the men with his toe. The guy groaned and Dick decided he couldn’t be too hurt if he was already coming to.

“Police will be here soon to take your statement, they’ll make sure you get home alright,” Dick promised. She was walking toward him, her long black coat peaking open and showing a black pencil skirt (now ripped up one seam) and a blue satin blouse with shiny little buttons marching up the front. The woman stopped right in front of him, clearly invading his space. This could be a trap, she could be a plant, he’d seen her before but that didn’t mean anything because he hadn’t spoken to her and it had been 3 years before.

“My name is Dawn and it was a pleasure to meet you Mr. Nightwing.” Quick as a flash she was up on her tip toes and pressing a kiss to his cheek. It was then that Dick realize that she was fairly tall for a woman, probably about 5’10” compared to his own 6’3”. She was also rather slender, willowy some might say … and he was getting distracted. Far too distracted for his own good.

“Take care Dawn,” He grinned and saluted her with two fingers as police cars pulled in around them with flashing lights. Nightwing ran straight for one of the cars, using the hood to push himself up into the air and catching a railing, vaulting higher and higher until he was level with the roof tops and could leap into the air and feel as though he were flying.

All I wanted to say

All I wanted to do

Is fall apart now

“Summers? Summers!?” Her boss was waving a hand in front of her face as Dawn was startled out of her musings. From the look on Francine’s face she’d been trying to get her attention for a while now.

“Sorry,” She smiled sheepishly and pushed her hair behind her ears, looking up at the other woman through her lashes.

“Are you sure you’re ok to be here?” The woman asked, concern playing across her face. Everyone knew what had happened the night before. 3 years in Gotham and it was Dawn’s first time seeing a Mask in person. The girl had the bruises to prove that she had been taking care of herself before he showed up but she admitted she’d have lost eventually. She had a pretty black eye and another purple rose blossoming on the opposite jaw with finger like bruises circling her throat and knuckles that were raw and bruised. Her left hand was bandaged white due to cuts that she’d gotten from someones teeth. She looked a mess but she was more exhilarated than she’d been in a while.

“I’m good to be here.” Dawn agreed with a gentle smile for the other woman. So few people were willing to work in the neighborhood as it was Francine was afraid of losing her best employee. She was a good boss, cared for her workers and for her clients, and she was a good person as well. She had a family and a marriage that was surprisingly stable, maybe because her husband was as passionate about his job as she was about hers. Of course her man was in the GCPD and one of those to come riding to the rescue the night before.

“Did you call someone to come over last night?” Francine asked, the concern on her face not dispersing in the least. Dawn hadn’t called anyone to come over actually, she wasn’t close enough to most people to have them over to her loft. She hadn’t even bothered calling her sister or Giles or Vi. It wasn’t that big a deal, a handful of thugs, no super powers and no demonic origins or magic involved. No need to upset them needlessly. She didn’t need a babysitter flying straight over.

“I had a hot shower and went to sleep without a problem. I didn’t need anyone to come over and coddle me.” Dawn finally told her, a flat look on her face that said she still didn’t need anyone coddling her. She was a full grown woman of 26 and hadn’t ever been afraid of the dark or the the things that lurked in it since she was very small. She had a healthy respect for the denizens of the shadows, but with everything she knew being afraid of one thing would make her afraid of everything. Down that path lay a gibbering person in a straight jacket and one Summers girl institutionalized was too many.

“Well I don’t want you pushing yourself. Take off Dawn. Go pamper yourself and get some sleep. I expect you to be bright eyed, bushy tailed and a paying attention tomorrow morning,” Francine announced decidedly, crossing her arms and giving her a mom-look. Dawn sighed and nodded in acquiescence before gathering her things.

Honestly she didn’t overly mind the half day. It would give her time to research this Nightwing person that had come swooping in to help out last night. He with the tooshy of steel. He’d made one hell of an exit, that’s for sure. Even if he was wearing something resembling heavy duty spandex. Maybe if it was leather she could appreciate it. Of course if he wanted to show up one day to let her strip if off him in thanks she might appreciate it even more. She’d let him keep the mask, there was something hot about that piece of molded plastic.

All I wanted to feel

I wanted to love

It's all my fault now

A Tragedy I fear

Nightwing was practicing in one of the less used Batcaves when Barbara Gordon’s voice popped up in his ear piece to announce that she’d sent him a present and he could reciprocate with Gyro’s later. When he’d finished his workout and wandered over to the computer terminal he wasn’t at all surprised to see a picture of the woman from the night before. Dawn Marie Summers. He settled into the chair, scrolling through all the information that Babs had found for him (which he was fairly certain was all of the information available on the girl.) Her background was one of sadness after her sister had supposedly had a psychotic break. Too bad Dick knew that Vampires weren’t really myth. The death toll of Sunnydale and some footage that Babs had included let the man know that Buffy (that poor child) had most likely been telling the truth when they had locked her up and that she’d been smart or desperate enough to lie her way out of the hospital.

What Dick was most interested in though, were the recent activities of Dawn. It was amazing that she’d lived in Italy and it was sad she’d lost her mother and that her town had sunk into a crater (due to extreme demonic magics according to Fate but the League had been asked to stay out of it because another faction was taking care of it. A faction that Dawn was at least a minor part of.) She’d gone to school and majored in psychology and family practices. She’d become a Social Worker and family counselor. She was a Child Advocate for Gotham City and by all accounts very good at her job. Passionate, caring, sweet, a little bit of a loner but with her history that wasn’t surprising. Everyone left her until she left everyone else.

Good news Romeo, Juliet is googling you as we speak Barbara’s voice sounded amused as she came over the com. Dick grabbed a baton and started playing with it, keeping his hands occupied as his legs crossed and one foot started bouncing up and down.

“Is she now?” He was grinning a bit, head falling back as he pictured her dishing out a hell of a left hook to one of the goons the night before. There had been an excitement about her, a sparkle that seemed to snap and crackle like electricity. His eyes were suddenly glued to his monitor as what must have been Dawn’s web search was suddenly opened on his monitor. She really was googling him, looking for pictures it seemed like. She was most interesting in the ones of him leaping through the air. She seemed to stop on a picture that wasn’t the best quality. It was of himself leaping off the side of a building, legs together arms spread wide, chin tilted up, huge smile on his face. She zoomed in until most of the background had been cropped out and all that was left was Nightwing. All activity on the computer paused.

She’s got taste. Good hunting bird boy. Oracle’s voice was soft and warm as she disconnected and Dick sat back and stared at the picture for a good ten minutes before Dawn saved it to her computer.

Angel of Mercy

How did you find me?

How did you pick me up again?

A week later Dawn was walking home after work, this time a pair of eskrima tucked in an outer pocket of her bag within easy reach. Just in case. She didn’t want the other people she worked with to constantly be taking her home so that they new she was safe. She especially didn’t want Eric sending police cruisers to follow her so that Francine didn’t worry. It was embarrassing and sooner or later someone would take it into their heads to do a background search on her and find out all sorts of interesting things about her past. Of course if they did that they might back off, growing up in Sunnydale taught a girl how to take care of herself. After all it had a larger mortality rate percapita than Gotham did.

Sometimes Dawn wondered if the reason she’d relocated to Gotham City was because it reminded her of Sunnydale. Sure there weren’t monthly demonic uprisings, up there were masked super villains which was just as weird. People tried to stay out of the streets at night and avoided going anywhere alone. They flocked to anything that could bring that bright shining light of hope to their hearts with reckless abandon. Their was life, pulsing and obvious, in this stained city. A vitality that was missing in most places. People in Gotham knew it was dangerous here and they knew that they could lose everything in a moment, including their lives, so they lived those lives to the fullest.

Like Sunnydale it meant that with all that living the kids often got overlooked. Running for their lives, running for their freedoms and from pain and to hope and away from the screaming emptiness of their homes. Kids could be dumb sometimes, Dawn knew this from experience, but that didn’t mean what they felt wasn’t real. Xander had been running for years before they’d met him. Running from abusive alcoholics and avoiding his home and talk of it at all times. Willow had stayed with him, avoiding her own silent house and the ghosts of parents that were never there. They’d needed something to be whole, to feel good enough and worthy enough. They’d found Buffy.

Thinking of the terrifying trio turned Dawn’s thoughts back to the person she’d been so distracted by for the last week. Nightwing. What had he been running from that he’d felt the need to actually don a costume and mask? How lonely must one be if no one knew such a huge part of his life? His social circles must be somehow stilted, even if he spent most of his time with other heroes he had to have a day job? Or at least some kind of real life however broken it might be. She wanted to investigate, to figure out who it was behind that mask and ask him if he was as lonely behind that smile as she was.

That was what it was all about too. Dawn had admitted to herself a while after she’d moved to Gotham that she was a loner at heart. She kept everyone at arms length so that she wouldn’t have to worry about them being casualties. She smiled brightly and enjoyed herself but she went home alone and locked her doors and windows. It wasn’t because she was some poor victim despite what some thought. It was because so many people around her became victims and she just couldn’t lose anyone else. She couldn’t drag them into that darkness where her family dwelled and where she sometimes still felt she belonged. She’d done what she had to do, fought and protected and took care of herself and her family. She smiled and quipped and went home and hid in the shower when she couldn’t smile anymore so that no one would worry about her like she was always worrying about them.

Gotham was home. It was dark and twisted like her and it reminded her of her childhood. How sick was it that she still considered Sunnydale home? That was something that Buffy couldn’t understand despite Dawn trying to explain it more than once. She knew that Giles and Willow had discussed the fact that she was technically a construct and that could be part of it but the only person who really understood was Xander. Sunnydale had been home to Xander as well. Gotham with its shadows and dangers and its dark vigilantes was home now.

As Dawn stepped onto the train she turned and her eyes caught a shadow on top of a building across the street. A slight glimpse of blue across the shoulders of a person. She pressed a hand against the glass and kept her eyes locked on him until a turn blocked him from view.

Angel of Mercy

How did you move me?

Why am I on my feet again?

And I see you

She’d seen him. He wasn’t actually sure how, but she had. She’d gotten on that train and turned and stared directly at him and he hadn’t been able to move. Dick rubbed a towel through his hair and wandered into his bedroom, sweat pants slung low on his hips. He froze in place, a frown crossing his features as he stared at the intruder sitting on his bed idly reading a book.

“I was hoping for at least some poorly written love poems with the way you’ve been mooning about for the last week,” Tim told him without looking up.

“Who says mooning nowadays when not referencing naked butts?” Dick demanded, flopping down on the bed beside his adopted brother and draping his wet towel over the boys head. Dark blue eyes stared up at the ceiling as his crossed arms came to rest under his head and a noise of disgusted preceded the flinging of the towel across the room. So Tim had noticed, which meant Bruce and Alfred knew about his fixation on the girl.

“That’s what you’ve been doing. She’s pretty enough.” Tim shrugged and went back to looking at the book he’d been reading. Probably something extremely dry and full of wisdom for ahead of the kids age. He himself preferred fun novels that were meant for entertainment rather than serious thinking.

“You should see her left hook,” He told his brother, a grin spreading across his face at the memory of her facing those thugs and not backing down. It was one of the reasons he and Barbara had been together all those years ago. Knowing such a beautiful woman could hold her own in a fight, could be by your side and you didn’t have to be afraid for her … it was a gift. In their line of work it was a big thing, knowing the other person could handle themselves. Even now, when he and Babs were relegated to best friend territory, he thought it was hot when she kicked someones ass with those eskrima sticks of hers. Then he looked at the person she had just beaten and usually laughed himself sick at the look of shock on their faces. Wheelchair or not Barbara Gordon was a force of nature.

“The Wayne Foundation is having a charity gala to benefit Children's Services next weekend.” Tim informed him, breaking the older boy out of his musings. Damn. Dick was up on his feet in an instant, staring down at the now amused boy that was still reading his book. He noted idly that Tim had grown again, this was fairly normal for a teenager but still came as a bit of a surprise. His genius little brother who was always so focused and driven was growing up. Dick felt a rush of affection and reached out to ruffled his hair.

“Thanks kid,” He grinned and took off out of the room, still chuckling at the offended look that had been directed at him. He traversed the halls of Wayne Manor with the ease of long practice, heading straight to Bruce’s office.

“Master Dick, shirts are appropriate when one is outside of one’s room.” Alfred reminded him as he came to a stop in front of Bruce’s desk. Dick blinked for a moment before look down.

“Sorry Alfred,” He gave a sheepish smile and turned to Bruce, who was grinning a bit even as Alfred gave him an arch look of disapproval and left the office. Turning his full attention to Bruce words started to fall from his lips before he realized it. “Is she on the guest list? Will she be there? I’m going with you to the gala,”

“Yes, I assumed so and Tim will be going as well.” Bruce responded, amusement still on his face. It wasn’t often that his boys lost it over a girl and it was fun to watch sometimes. He worried about them, about their relationships and interests and friends and lack thereof. He worried more about his boys than he did about the girls actually. Cass and Barbara and Helena all had their issues, but they had ways of dealing and they could turn it off that drive and be regular people sometimes. Well regular for Cassandra was relative, but even so. His boys got so wrapped up, just like him. Maybe he influenced them too much sometimes.

“Thanks.” He grinned, and knew that Bruce had set this whole thing up for him, probably with Barbara’s help. If he did this that meant that he approved (tentatively) of Dawn and that was something in and of itself. Bruce could be hard on people. The door opened behind him and Dick turned to find Alfred staring at him with that blankly expectant look, a folded shirt in his hands.

Whoa Whoa Whoa

I feel you

Whoa Whoa Whoa

Another week and all she’d been able to really think about was Nightwing. She caught glimpses of him and knew he was keeping an eye on her. Always around the time she was heading home. It was nice, a little irritating after the first couple days because she could take care of herself thankyouverymuch, but it was still kinda nice. All week while she’d been doing house visits and court appearances and counseling sessions and filling out endless paperwork he’d been on her mind. Even while everyone else was so excited about the charity gala their little office had been invited to (and weren’t they envied for that) by Bruce Wayne. THE Bruce Wayne. The man was disgustingly rich, a well known playboy and a true humanitarian. He’d adopted 3 boys actually, boys he had no reason to care at all about except he’d seen them sad and alone and had likely remembered his own lonely childhood.

The Gala. She’d had to buy a new dress as it was a formal event and had decided to splurge on the outfit. She’d called her sister and spent a few hours taking pictures of herself in various gowns and asking for Buffy’s advice. Thankfully they both agreed that as tall and thin as Dawn the more risque the style the less flattering it tended to be. She tended to come off slutty rather than sultry so she didn’t bother trying. They’d ended up with a pewter asymmetrical silk sheath dress with a slit up to her knee and a thick band of black white and grey rhinestones around her hips. Dangerously high strappy sandals and a single cuff bracelet finished the look. Earlier she’d gone to the hairdresser to get her long locks pulled up into a neat chignon with pretty sparkly pins to hold it in place. She felt like a princess, all plucked waxed painted and lotioned to perfection.

She took a taxi to the Museum, where the Gala was being held, and felt a little self conscious as she was helped out of it by a valet, her hands gripping her cute little clutch like a lifeline even as she smiled her thanks. She’d never gone to a formal ball of any sort before. No prom, no homecoming, certainly none of the formal events that the Watchers International Council held and participated in. Dawn would be seen as a pawn and Buffy hadn’t wanted that. Truthfully Dawn hadn’t wanted that either, but it would have been nice to dress up like this before.

Walking into the brightly lit hall Dawn felt her breath catch in her throat. It was beautiful. People dancing in the center like bejeweled butterflies, others mingling around the outside looking just as lovely. There were a number of local political figureheads as well as famous entertainers and she felt a little out of her element. Thankfully she spotted Francine in a violet gown waving her way, Eric beside her looking bemused in a tuxedo. She made her way over to the couple and smiled bashfully as Francine told her how lovely she looked and how if she were a younger she might be jealous. The woman teased a bit but she had worked with Dawn for 3 years now and knew that the young woman was uncomfortable and shy amidst so many people. Sometimes Francine wondered if Dawn realized just how beautiful she was.

Fortress of daylight

come in and standby

Waiting to catch the quickest plane

Dick froze for a moment, just long enough for Tim and Bruce to notice, but not long enough for anyone else to see what he was distracted by. Their eyes followed his line of site and spotted a tall thin woman with pale skin and rich brown hair standing near a pillar trying to look inconspicuous even as she looked all around her with wide blue eyes. Dawn Summers was looking lovely, and from the looks she was getting from other party goers Dick wasn’t the only one to think so. He smiled and nodded and said a few parting words before heading straight across the floor to the young woman.

Party-goers slipped out of his way as he casually grabbed two glasses of champagne and stopped in front of Dawn Summers. He casually handed her the glass and the other men who had been homing in on the lone beauty dispersed. Not easy to compete with a Wayne for someone’s attention. “I’m Dick Grayson-Wayne,” He told her with a grin.

“Dawn Summers,” She grinned shyly and took a sip from the glass, peeking up at him through her eyelashes before her big blue eyes darted around to everyone that was now staring at them. She took a larger sip from the glass. Dawn had never been the kind of girl to like being the center of attention. Especially when she wasn’t quite certain what everyone was thinking.

“So are you here for the party or for the possible tax write-off?” He asked with twinkling blue eyes, leaning up against the pillar beside her and wrinkling the back of his tux.

“Business actually.” She grinned up at his inquisitive raised eyebrow. “I’m a Social Worker,” She gave a one shouldered self-conscious shrug and tried to pretend no one was staring. Especially not Francine who was now giving her a not-at-all subtle thumbs up and huge smile while Eric just shook his head and looked at the woman fondly. Dawn downed the rest of her champagne and sighed and turned to face a different direction, eyes wide and looking slightly hunted. Dick took her glass and passed it and his own off to a caterer.

“Would you like to dance?” He asked with a wide grin that tugged at Dawn’s memories. It was a familiar smile, something about the easy delight made her relax and smile back.

“I’m not exactly graceful,” She told him ruefully, the smile still on her face. She couldn’t not smile with him look down at her so charmingly, his blue eyes sparkling with good humor.

“You just haven’t had the right partner yet.” He promised, looking into her eyes. She bit her lip a bit and took the hand he’d outstretched toward her. You only lived once, might as well do something crazy like dance with a ridiculously good looking man at your first formal event.

Flying to nowhere

Is better than somewhere

That's where I've been and nothing's changed

A reporter had made her way up to Bruce and Tim, her eyes locked on the striking couple on the dance floor. They were on their third dance. The first one had been a little stilted at the girl had looked more than a little nervous. Now the two were laughing as they danced, whatever they were saying too low for anyone else to overhear but it was obvious they were enjoying themselves immensely. “Janet Carey, Gotham Gazette. Who is that lovely young woman dancing with your son?”

“I’m not actually sure,” Bruce told her apologetically. Tim shrugged beside him and looked around in a bored manner. These events weren’t actually his favorite. He’d been going since he was small as he was the only heir to Drake Enterprises and now that he had been adopted by Bruce he had to go to even more it sometimes seemed.

“Her name is Dawn Summers, she’s a child advocate. One of our best social workers actually,” A delighted woman with graying blond hair tugged a taller more gray man behind her as she came up to them. “I’m Francine Gummer. I run The Narrows office.” She was holding out a hand and gave the reporters hand a heart pump before turning and doing the same to Bruce.

“Hi, I’m Tim,” The teen had made his way around to the man with Francine and held out a hand, “I’m here for the food.”

“Eric Gummer, I’m here for the wife,” The man shook the hand and grinned down at the teen. It wasn’t often that street-beat GCPD guys got to meet the illustrious Wayne men.

“They do seem to be enjoying themselves.” The reporter was looking back down at the dance floor where Dawn was glancing nervously around as a camera flashes started going off and Dick said something that had her laughing helplessly again. The reporter turned shrewd brown eyes on Francine. “How long have you worked with Miss Summers?

“3 years. She’s an amazing asset to our office and to the City of Gotham.” Francine’s eyes were equally shrewd and Tim considered making a smart remark but it looked as though Bruce was enjoying himself. Janet wanted the scoop, Francine wanted positive exposure and Bruce was happy to not be the center of attention.

“Where did Miss Summers receive her degree?” Janet wanted to know, recorder held out to Francine. The blond woman smiled charmingly.

“Oxford. She had offers from multiple organizations wanting to her expertise but she chose Child Advocacy here in Gotham. She’s compassionate and intelligent and could be making far more money in other venue but she cares about what she does.” The woman turned an understanding smile to Bruce. “We are quite the underfunded organization you see, but we do the best we can.”

“I do understand,” Bruce made a gesture around them, “This entire event was put together to bring that to light. We do appreciate your work.”

All I wanted to say

All I wanted to do

Is fall apart now

The music had stopped and Dawn only then realized just how long she’d been dancing with the ridiculously talented Dick Grayson. Most of the night. Well that was embarrassing. She let him lead her off the dance floor and to a group of people that included Francine and Eric. She smiled brightly at the two and nodded to the others as Dick introduced them. Bruce Wayne. Tim Drake-Wayne. Oh god. Important people, she needed to not stuff her foot in her mouth.

“You looked like you were enjoying yourself,” Eric smiled warmly at her and Dawn responded in kind. It was something she did often these days, smile that is. Back in the days of teenage rebellion she’d scowled and sneered and smirked, during her college days she’d done the same. These days it was different. She was relaxed and didn’t have to worry about living up to the awe-inspiring leader that was her sister.

“I did. Dick made sure I didn’t trip and land on my face,” She replied with a self deprecating laugh. The gentlemen around her made the customary words of disbelief and she just raised her eyebrows and shook her head. “Trust me, I’m a klutz. Francine knows all about it. Coffee spillage is a daily event and I can never seem to find my house keys,”

“And yet you are always on time to every appointment.” Her boss replied with a mocking air of wonder. Dawn willfully stopped herself from sticking out her tongue, but it was a close thing. Someone needed to show that they were responsible and reliable to the kids that Dawn dealt with on a daily basis, and that person would be Dawn. Sure she hid candy in her top desk drawer for when she got too stressed about something, and she kept a can of whipped cream in the fridge purely to relieve frustration. That was alright though, there was nothing wrong with a junk food addiction.

“How long have you two been acquainted?” The reporter was asking herself and Dick, breaking Dawn out of her thoughts.

“Since he walked up and handed me a glass of champagne earlier tonight,” The brunette shrugged and glanced up at Dick, noting the knowing smirk on Tim’s face as well.

“She looked like she was nervous,” Dick shrugged as well, looking at the woman innocently.

“I was,” Dawn agreed with a laugh, slipping an arm through Francine’s and squeezing the woman affectionately. The blond patted the younger woman and gave her a fond look. “I’ve never been to an event like this before. Never even really dressed up,” She smiled self consciously and shuffled a little closer to Francine. The woman was a force to be reckoned with and she felt a little better being near her.

“Well you clean up nicely,” Eric told her from his wife’s other side. Dawn gave him another smile and stayed with them for a bit before she bid them all a good night, leaving Francine speaking with Bruce Wayne about what they needed in the way of funding and office equipment. Dick walked her out and waited as the concierge hailed a cab for her.

All I wanted to feel

I wanted to love

It's all my fault now

A Tragedy for sure

The next morning Dawn was staring down at the paper with wide shocked eyes. Front page was a picture of her and Dick dancing, smiles on both their faces. She so needed to warn Buffy. Her phone was in her hand, snapping a picture that she quickly emailed to her sister before she called the woman. She didn’t have to worry about the woman still being asleep thanks to the time difference so she knew she’d get hold of the woman.

“I’m kind of in the middle of training,” Buffy’s voice sounded disappointed. They talked every Saturday via the web for a few hours but they didn’t often talk on the phone. They had an unspoken agreement that they would always answer the phone though, being the only real family they had.

“I just thought I’d let you know I’m on the front page of the newspaper with Dick Grayson-Wayne and you may be called for some kind of quote.” Dawn mentioned it casually and smiled as she heard her sister shout for someone else to take the lead and went somewhere quieter.

“Tell me EVERYthing!” The blond demanded. It sounded like she was running somewhere and Dawn had a feeling it was her office, probably to look up pictures. A door slammed and Dawn grinned.

“I emailed you a picture of the front page but you could probably look it up on the web.” Dawn told her with a grin, reading the blurb under the picture with a grin. Cinderella meets Prince Charming at her first ball and they dance the night away. Compassionate Social Worker Dawn Summers met Humanitarian Dick Grayson-Wayne at her first ball where the man seemed to be enamored of her at first site.

“That’s almost disturbingly sweet,” Buffy laughed from the other end. Dawn walked across to the fridge, looking for leftovers rather than bothering to cook breakfast. After pawing around the mostly empty fridge she decided that Lucky Charms would be part of this nutritious breakfast and pulled down a bowl.

“He was really nice actually. He even walked me down to the cab before I turned into a pumpkin,” Dawn informed the older girl, settling herself back down at the table to cram sugary breakfast cereal into her mouth as she read the rest of the article.

“It’s the carriage that turns into the pumpkin, the princess just gets her dress turned into rags,” Buffy reminded her little sister. Foil crinkled and Dawn grinned, knowing that her sister kept candy in the top drawer just like Dawn. Their mother had done the same thing at the gallery.

“With as much as I paid for that gown? Not a chance,” She retorted, flipping to the next page to read about other things that had gone on.

“You look so pretty! I’m glad people took pictures. I just wish I’d been there to see you off and talk to you when you got home.” Buffy sighed a little and Dawn grinned, sadness creeping onto her face a little. She hadn’t had the typical high school experience. What with her mom not being there and then the First and the town sinking and then running to Cleveland to try and set stuff up and then going to England and Italy and back to England. Dawn hadn’t had time for dances, or even boyfriends really, she was driven and focused and knew what she wanted. Those sad shadows that lurked to this day in the eyes of Xander and Willow and Faith and Kennedy and Andrew. Sometimes she could even see it in Giles. Their childhoods had been so much less than her own and Buffy’s. People had cared for them at least. Their parents had loved them. They had been wanted.

“I know Buff, I wish you’d been here too,” Dawn took a deep breath and settled back into her chair, phone pressed between her ear and shoulder as she lounged in her pajama’s and caught up on the gossip with her sister as she continued to stare at the picture of Dick. Something about his smile was poking at her memory.

Angel of Mercy

How did you find me?

How did you pick me up again?

Monday at work was insane. Since Dawn only had a cellphone and the number was unlisted she didn’t have to worry about random calls from various rag magazines. The office number was not only listed but very easy to find. It was ringing off the hook all day long, and not just Dawn’s desk phone. Everyone’s. The other people in the office had wanted to know the details as soon as she walked in and she’d simply told him they’d danced and nothing else. Of course they’d talked about random other things as they danced and gotten to know each other. She knew that his favorite color was Kelly Green and he knew her favorite color was Royal Blue. They now knew favorite foods, favorite flowers, favorite bands, opinions on various political movements on the masked vigilantes and a variety of other subjects that were now seared in her mind. Dick Grayson had swept her off her feet.

It seemed as though every magazine in the world wanted a quote from Dawn Summers as well as various radio stations and questionable news programs. They were quick to respond with “We have no comments at this time and this is a business line, please don’t tie up our lines.” Dawn had idly asked if all of Dick’s dance partners went through this trouble and she’d discovered that unlike his foster father Dick wasn’t much of a playboy. Most of the girls he dated he kept away from the media so that they didn’t have to deal with the calls and intrusive questions.

After lunch Dawn got irritated with the shrilly ringing telephone and stomped over to her desk. “Yes?” Her face clouded over even more and the office went silent. Dawn Summers rarely got upset, they’d seen her angry a total of 2 times in 3 years. She was one of those girls that simply let things go rather than fixating. “Oh honestly! This is ridiculous. If I had a quote I would have given it to one of the first 500 people to have called demanding I share all my internal musings with the world. I am at work, we are very busy with rather important duties and you guys harassing us all day has put us behind schedule so I am going to ask you to please stop before I grab the A.D.A. and find out how hard it would be to press charges against you. All of our phone calls are recorded so we know who has called and how many times. Have a nice day.” She hung up the phone and continued to glower as she stomped over to the break room and took out her whipped cream, spraying some of it into her mouth.

“Is this a bad time?” Dawn’s blue eyes widened as she spotted that broad shoulders of one Dick Grayson-Wayne. He looked as though amusement and concern were warring in his eyes as Dawn swallowed the sugary treat and licked her lips, one arm folded over her stomach and the other holding the can up near her shoulder. Her eyes darted toward the group of people now all staring at the break room and her shoulders slumped.

“I have no idea,” She informed him, eyes screwing shut and her nose scrunching a bit in embarrassment. Great. “You heard me yell at the poor guy on the phone?” She heaved a sigh and put the whipped cream back in the fridge.

“I heard you’ve been getting non-stop calls all day. I was hoping you could take a lunch, get away from it all for a little while.” He shrugged and shoved his hands deep into his pockets. She noted idly that he was in a very nice suit, obviously tailored for him, but rather than a button up shirt he was wearing an untucked old Aerosmith concert tee. It made her smile.

“Only if by lunch you mean dessert.” She agreed.

“Why not both?” He was giving her that familiar smile again. The one that made her think she’d met him before. Something about it was still tugging at her brain, trying to make her remember. Like a work on the tip of your tongue, there was a face just out of reach. She shoved the thoughts out of her head and walked over to her desk, grabbing her coat and digging the little clutch purse she kept in there before mouthing ‘lunch’ to a beaming Francine.

Angel of Mercy

How did you move me?

Why am I on my feet again?

And I see you

“This is amazing!” Dawn informed him, savoring her lamb gyro. They were at a little mom and pop place that he’d driven her to (on his motorcycle, how hot was that?) and promised that they’d go somewhere for a sugar coma afterwords. Dick nodded his agreement, chomping down on his own.

“Best place for Greek food on the East Coast. Effie and Kiril have been feeding me since I first came to Gotham,” Dick told her as he swallowed another bite and a round woman with sparkling dark eyes and silver hair patted him on the shoulder and refilled his iced tea.

“More for you dear?” Effie asked, her soft Greek accent making Dawn a little nostalgic for summer breaks spent on the coast. She nodded in agreement and the woman topped off her cup.

“It’s certainly the best I’ve had since coming here,” Dawn agreed. They’d discussed the night before where they’d grown up. Dick traveling with his parents as a circus performer until he was 13 and they’d died. Then he’d lived here in Gotham. He’d tried being a cop for a while but his real love was performing, of course that wasn’t the whole story or even half the story if the look in his faraway eyes was evidence but Dawn was ok with that. Now he owned a circus and he enjoyed performing when he had time.

“Well finish that up and we’ll head to the next stop,” Dick promised with a grin before taking another huge bite of food. Dawn was keeping up with him though, her metabolism was insane and she needed to down a lot of calories to keep her weight at what it was. A lot of women she knew didn’t like to eat in public and she’d heard more than a few of those mention the word bulimia as she ate, those words and looks had haunted her in college but she’d gotten over it. Now she just smiled and piled more food on her plate. Their taste buds were just jealous that she could devour all of that delicious food.

“Done!” Dawn smiled brightly after wiping her mouth with a napkin and tossing the wadded paper onto her plate. The two made to go stand up and pay the check and Dick ended up paying for both of them. Dawn contemplated making a comment about equality and such, but then decided she’d just call him on it.

“Is this our first date?” She asked curiously, making Effie and Kiril burst into laughter even as a blush creeped up over his cheeks.

“Would it be ok with you if it was?” He asked, blue eyes peering into her own. She grinned.

“I would be. If it is a date I don’t have to remind you about women’s lib and that I have a job and am capable of feeding myself, despite what it may look like,” She grinned as he laughed as well and then he was taking her hand and leading her out to his motorcycle, passing her his extra helmet and swinging himself up in front of her.

They made a stop at a two store bakery with huge clear windows showing a ton of sweet treats. Once she’d taken off the helmet Dawn could smell the enticing aroma of deep fried delights and sugary cookies. This time she was taking his hand and towing him into the place. Gotham Sweet Cakes was famous for its delectable delights and in the years she had lived there Dawn had never gone in. If Dick wanted to bring her here though, she was happy to let him spend crazy amounts of money on desert.

“What looks good?” He asked from just behind her, his breath tickling her ear a bit.

“All of it.” Dawn replied with a grin before actually inspecting it all and trying to choose just one.

“Well I want that,” He pointed out a delicate little chocolate cup filled with raspberry mousse and Dawn smiled.

“It’s cute. I want that.” She pointed at a giant cinnamon roll slathered with thick cream cheese frosting. Dick laughed again and ordered. He wasn’t used to a girl eating the way Dawn did, she ate like Tim did actually and he was a teenage boy. Nothing wrong with that though, nothing wrong at all. Besides she was interesting and bright and had a great sense of humor from what he’d seen. A little dry and sarcastic and highly intelligent. He was enamored.

Whoa Whoa Whoa

I feel you

Whoa Whoa Whoa

“Are you seriously stalking your girlfriend?” Tim demanded as he swung up onto the roof Dick was standing on, watching the woman walk to the train. He glowered at the boy.

“It’s not stalking, it’s watching over,” He corrected, eyes moving back to the woman.

“You’ve got it so bad,” Tim was shaking his head and sighing as he stared at his older brother. The two felt exactly the same in that respect, as soon as Tim had donned the costume they’d become brothers.

“This isn’t really stalking … is it?” Dick asked after watching the woman get on the train. Tim laughed, bending over and heaving with the effort. “Thanks a lot.” Dick gave the kid a dirty look ad Tim just laughed louder.

It's not stalking until you're taking pictures through her curtains. Head to Blackgate, we've got a prison riot that needs quelling. Oracle was listening in as always, there was a smirk in her voice and Dick gave up, shoving Tim sideways a bit.

The two costumed heroes pulled out their ziplines and headed out, the smaller one still laughing. Nightwing shot out a foot and knocked Robin sideways, sending the boy careening toward the side of a building and having to scramble to stop himself even as Nightwing gracefully flipped onto the roof of the building and went running across the top. He cackled in glee as Robin growled behind him, having just gotten to the roof himself. “Try and keep up boy wonder!”

I'm so lost in you

A tragedy seemed to be over now

A tragedy it seemed to be

She invited him up to her apartment. She never invited anyone up to her apartment, but she invited him up. 3 keys to turn to unlock the dead bolts and then he was inside, taking up space in her neat little home. Everything clean and orderly and put in it’s proper place. She turned big blue eyes toward him and smiled as she walked over and stuck her leftovers in the fridge. His height and the width of his shoulders made her kitchen look smaller somehow, but he didn’t look uncomfortable. Just looked around. Her wooden dining table with its matching chairs, the bright festive towels hanging from the oven handle, the equally bright curtains hanging from all of her windows. The overstuffed green and white plaid couch, the huge flat screen tv that was one of her few splurges, the wooden coffee table with runes of protection carved all around it that had been a gift from Xander. If he went into her bathroom he’d find it done in turquoise and tan, reminiscent of days spent on the beach as a child.

“I didn’t actually invite you up for coffee,” She told him with a grin, knowing he already knew that. He grinned and shrugged a bit. They’d been dating or whatever for about 3 weeks and the calls to the office had tapered off but her sister was still demanding information. Dawn liked to take things slow though, she’d slept with very few people in her life and she didn’t mind that. Some might call her a prude, though not the ones that new her well. Her sense of humor had been honed by Spike and Anya and she could twist a phrase into dirty territory faster than most. That didn’t mean one had to jump in bed with someone on the first date though, or even the third or fourth. Of course Buffy was getting worried and Faith had told her to “go for it already”. Their words weren’t what made Dawn decide to invite him up into her home though.

“What did you invite me up her for?” He asked, grinning a little. Dawn was a bit skittish about this whole thing. He hadn’t gotten a kiss goodnight until their third date, but after that she seemed to always want to be kissing him. Not that Dick minded in the least, he rather enjoyed it himself. He was happy to be taking things at her speed. She walked up to him and wrapped her arms loosely around his neck, smirking up at him.

“I was kinda hoping you’d make me breakfast,” She informed him, kissing his chin. He looked down at her thoughtfully for a moment.

“Breakfast huh?” He dropped his mouth to hers, lips pressing together and opening for a few blissful moments before he pulled back. “It’s not really breakfast time” He reminded her, pulling her a little closer.

“I think I can keep you entertained until then,” She grinned and unbuckled his belt before surging up to capture his lips with her own. Suddenly it seemed like they were moving a the speed of light. Hands were moving to remove fabric, shoes were being kicked off, hairbands were removed and hair was tangling around the two of them. Dawn was suddenly pressed against the counter and then hopped up so she was sitting on it, legs locking around Dick’s hips as he tangled his hands in her hair and pulled her closer. Dawn raked her nails up his back, trying to disappear into his skin.

She was being moved again, his hands under her hips as he walked down the short hall to her room and set her on the bed, both of them skinning out of their underwear and then clutching at each other again. Mouths and hands investigated each others bodies, finding every scar and every pleasure point. It was agonizing and amazing and it was a good two hours before the two collapsed to the bed completely out of breath. After laying there panting for a few minutes Dick snagged Dawn’s waist and dragged her closer, spooning against her back and making her sigh contentedly. His hand rested protectively over the two long slicing scars across her abdomen.

“Sunnydale was a dangerous place. It happened a few weeks after my mom died.” Dawn told him, knowing he wasn’t going to ask. He pulled her closer and she smiled softly, tugging the blanket over them. He was as good as a space heater, all warm and spicy spelling.

Angel of Mercy

How did you find me?

How did you pick me up again?

Dawn was up before him the next morning and carefully extracted herself from his grip. Looking down she felt a rush of affection. He had purple circles beneath his eyes, something she’d noticed the night before. He actually had cover up to hide them, it was cute and worrying at the same time. She watched him for a few minutes before deciding to get out of bed. As she rose off the mattress he flung an arm up, covering his eyes. She stared for a moment, tilting her head to the side. That jawline, that mouth that had been bugging her for so long …

Dawn slung on her robe and walked into the kitchen, smirking at the clothes that lay all over the floor and counters and table. She gathered it all up and tossed it on the couch before pulling open the fridge and staring at the inside. She’d just gone shopping so it was rather full at the moment. After debating for a few moments she decided on making a cheaters quiche. Refridgerated crescent rolls for the crust and then eggs and mushrooms and sausage. It was quick, it was easy, and it tasted amazing when it was done. She tossed it in the oven and opened her front door for the paper. Sunday papers always recapped the weeks main events and there had been some kind of drug bust …and there he was. Nightwing. That jaw and those lips.

Dawn opened her laptop and looked through her online datebook. It had everything she would be doing for the week on it so that she didn’t overbook herself. The kids always came first and Dick understood that, another reason she adored him. She’d been keeping an eye on Nightwing because he’d come to her rescue and so she had an idea when he’d been doing dangerous things. Funny how it was always a night she had to work late. She grinned a bit and closed her datebook before opening another file. She wanted to brush up on the Laritate case before court on Monday. A kiss was pressed to her temple and arms wrapped around her shoulders some time later.

“I thought I was gonna cook breakfast,” Dick said with a grin as the timer went off. Dawn twisted around and smiled at him, pressing a quick kiss to his chin.

“You looked like you needed the sleep,” She told him. She stood up and went over to the oven, pulling out the quiche. It didn’t take long for her to have the plates on the table and the dish cut up. Dick had found the mugs and poured the coffee she’d started, sitting across from her at the table.

“What?” Dick asked some time later while he was washing the dishes. He had just caught Dawn staring at him again. She gave him a big bright smile and shook her head.

“You’re kind of amazing,” She told him. Turning off the water Dick stalked forward and pressed a kiss against her mouth.

“You’re pretty amazing yourself,” He responded before swinging her up over his shoulder and jogging down the hall, tossing her down on the bed and pouncing as laughter bubbled out of her throat.

Angel of Mercy

How did you move me?

Why am I on my feet again?

And I see you

They’d been together a year. A crazy long year with mostly ups and long hours that sometimes kept the two apart for days at a time. There was nothing wrong with that, they were comfortable with each other and their relationship was strong enough to withstand a few days apart no problem. If someone had told Dawn that one day she would be in love with one of the Wayne Heirs and he was actually a super hero she would have suggested a quick trip to Arkham, but it had happened. Dawn paid the taxi driver and stepped forward, suitcase in hand, and banged a fist on the front door.

“Miss Dawn,” Alfred blinked in surprise as the woman walked through the front door dragging bright blue luggage behind her. She paused to unwrap the scarf from around her neck and then Alfred was behind her, helping her take off the long black coat.

“Dawn, good to see you,” Bruce was coming in, a wary look on his face as Tim came careening down the stairs. She smiled blandly at the two before turning back to Alfred.

“He’s upstairs? His bedroom right?” She asked as Alfred just blinked once and turned toward Bruce. The girl started up the stairs and Tim looked like he wanted to block her but wasn’t quite sure if he should. She had never once made a comment about Gotham’s vigilante’s in all the time she’d been dating Dick and the other man had promised he hadn’t said a word. “Francine is under the assumption that Dick and I have gone on vacation for a week or two. Judging from the footage I saw on the news last night he should be mostly fine by then and all we’ll need is a cover story for the broken leg,” She continued up the staircase and down the hall. Bruce blocked her entrance to the room before she could go in.

“How long have you known?” He asked. She cocked her head to the side and lifted an unimpressed eyebrow. Bruce might be able to scare the crazies in this town but Dawn was from Sunnydale, land of demons and hell gods.

“3 weeks after the Gala.” She answered honestly. She stared at him for a little bit before going on. “I’m not going to say anything. People are entitled to their secrets,” She grinned and waited for him to move.

Bruce wanted to do something, say something. He liked Dawn and he hadn’t had a clue that she knew who all of them were. This … this would hurt Dick a lot should she be some kind of plant. The look of understanding and caring in her eyes though. He stepped aside and let her enter the room. He’d go back to watching her.

Dawn walked in and stood beside the bed, looking down at the bruised and bloodied face of the man she was stupid for. Reaching a hand forward and caressed his cheek before pulling back and flicking his bruised nose. His eyes shot open and he stared up at the unimpressed look on Dawn’s face, her arms crossed over his chest. “You got into a fist fight with Killer Croc. Dumbass.” She shook her head and then sat down gently beside him on the bed.

“You know.” His voice was rough with pain and sleep and she smiled softly into his face.

“For quite some time.” She agreed, nodding her head as her smile turned into a smirk.

“How much trouble am I in?” He gave her that charming grin of his as his hand reached forward so that their fingers would tangle togther.

“Not much. You’re lucky you look hot in that uniform,” She told him with a chuckle.

“How’d you figure it out?” He was looking up at her face and she was suddenly embarrassed to tell him that she had an obsession with his lips, even if he might realize it.

“You really think it’s possible for 2 different men to have an ass like that?” She demanded with a grin as his ears turned red. That’s right, her boyfriend was a hot superhero that swung around like a spandex clothed bird all night and still blushed when you told him he had a great ass. He was so adorable.


I feel you


I feel you

Oh Whoa

I feel you

Oh Oh Oh

The End

You have reached the end of "Mercy". This story is complete.

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