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Lightning Hearts

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This story is No. 4 in the series "Bat Signals and Stakes". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: No one likes being locked up in the tower to worry for those they love. Some are far better at fighting instead.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
DC Universe > Batman > Dawn-CenteredDamiaFR1314,3801101,60922 Aug 1222 Aug 12Yes
Disclaimer: I do not own Batman or Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Thanks to my Beta Tiziano!! Without her nothing ever gets done.

Also this story was inspired by the song "The Lightning Strike" by Snow Patrol.

XXX


She was livid. She was so angry she wanted to cry. It was taking all she had to keep her breath from coming out in sobs. She wanted to hit someone, to hit one of them. To make them feel the pain and the frustration that she was feeling. Her hands fisted and released over and over again as she stared out the window at the skyline of the city she called home. A city that was on lockdown. The large screen behind her was shouting out breaking news in the static voices of Gotham’s Action News team. There were a lot of names being bandied about right now. Names that didn’t belong in her city at all, but were there because something bad was going down.

They had tucked her into Wayne Manor without a second thought and expected her to stay put.

They didn’t know her very well.

She’d had a talk with Faith fairly recently about being tucked away during danger. Dawn wasn’t exactly helpless. Dick’s first meeting with her should have proved that, she’d held her own against a group of dock thugs intent on rape and possibly murder. Joker had gotten the one-up on her once, but she’d managed to break his face in the end. She could have done a lot more if she hadn’t been so out of shape. It was why she’d been working out with Faith (who was assigned not too far away and more than happy to help) a lot lately, getting back in shape. She had thought it the right thing to do since the two worlds she straddled had overlapped at Thanksgiving. On the screen Robin was thrown from the roof of a 5 story building and barely saved by Superman.

“That. Is. It!” She shouted twirling around and stalking out of the main room. She made it down the hall to the room she usually shared with Dick when she was at the Manor and looked around for a moment before zeroing in on the closet and yanking it open.

“Is there something I could help you locate Mistress Dawn?” Alfred’s ever-calm voice sounded from the open doorway.

“Yeah, something to wear so I can go kick their collective asses!” Dawn snarled as she ripped clothes off the hangers in her haste to find something -anything!- that could help her fit in with the ‘cape crowd’ as Dick liked to refer to them. She had never fought beside those people. She had never fought beside anyone that was out in the middle of Gotham right now, but demon’s were a hell of a lot more scary than a band of uber-villain escapees. She had been to the mouth of hell and faced down the things it threw at her. She could handle the syfy original movie rejects.

“I believe I might be of assistance. Follow me.” Alfred turned and started walking away before checking to see if Dawn was actually following. She did of course, after a brief pause while she considered whether this was a ploy to stop making a mess. It wasn’t. It was Alfred after all.

They walked down the hall and then down the stairs. They went past the main entrance until they reached the butler’s pantry. Once inside Alfred pulled a lever and a doorway opened with a set of stairs leading down. Alfred gave Dawn a little bow and started down the stairs. She had moments to decide as the door began to close. She followed him, trailing a hand down rough stone walls as they snaked their way down to a large cavern. The Bat Cave. She’d heard whispers as well as actual comments from Dick,Tim and Bruce, but she’d never imagined it was under Wayne Manor. She paused, lips tight together as she stared at the huge screen with the lone chair in front of it.

“Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain,” Dawn whispered to herself, staring at the chair with a look of resolve. If her boys could do this then so would she.

“I believe this is what you were looking for.” Alfred pressed something and a section of black wall slid up to reveal a nook with a woman’s suit in it. Solid black catsuit with full arms, full legs and a mock turtleneck that zipped from navel to chin and then locked closed. With it were knee high black boots with flat rubber soles, elbow length black gloves made to grip, a black domino, a wide black belt that had a bright green stylized bird, and two thigh holsters that held telescopic bantos rods that looked to be made of a heavy metal. Dawn looked over at Alfred, but he was being blank faced.

“This is exactly what I was looking for.” She told him with a nod, pulling off her jacket as Alfred walked out of sight. Worry sped her movements and when Alfred came back around the corner Dawn was lacing up her boots. She took the black stick Alfred was holding out to her, making raccoon eyes that would have horrified her sister before she took the green domino he also held and pressed it to her face. There was an odd feel as it seemed to fit itself to her features and then suction close.

“Nanotechnology.” Alfred responded to her look of surprise with a fond smile. He had been expecting this day to come sooner or later. He’d been watching her for some time and she wasn’t the type of girl to sit back and let the people she cared about fight for her when she could be fighting for herself. That was what had attracted Dick in the first place, it was a trait that all of his boys found attractive. He stepped forward with the last piece still in hand. “This is your earpiece.” He tucked it into her ear himself and then stepped back and held one arm out wide. “And this should take you to the team.”

Dawn stared at Alfred a moment before turning back to the motorcycle in front of her. It was a graceful piece of machinery done in solid black with the same green bird silhouette across the front, wings trailing down the sides. Looking back at Alfred she threw her arms around him and hugged him tight. “I’ll bring them home and yell at them until I feel better, ok?” She let go and took a step back, giving him a nod before getting on the bike.

“Of course, Miss Dawn.” Alfred smiled sadly as he watched her go, the tiniest bit worried she was going to get hurt. Truly there was no need, not from what Miss Faith had been telling him for the last few weeks. Still, it was another of his charges that he would have to stock emergency supplies for. “The bike is tuned to your suit. The belt has the controls that will call it to you.”

Dawn nodded before she pulled on the black helmet and turned on the bike. The visor was a voice activated screen that displayed all the information she requested. Including current whereabouts of Nightwing and the fastest way to get there. Dawn revved the engine and took off. She zoomed down the streets, leaning deep into the turns as the sounds of explosions grew closer. She drove right up to a fight between Robin and Poison Ivy. Robin kicked up at the eco terrorist and Dawn pulled a rod, flicking her wrist to extend its full length and then slamming it into the back of the woman’s head. Ivy lurched forward as Dawn parked the bike and pulled off her helmet, latching it to the bike in case the bike had to come find her.

“Uh, hi.” Robin was trying not to stare at her as he slapped restraints around Ivy’s wrists.

“Don’t ‘hi’ me.” Dawn snapped at him as she turned and kicked a random thug in the gut and and then punched him square in the nose. Tim, no Robin, tossed her a zip tie and Dawn caught it before punching the guy once more and restraining him with his arms behind his back. A man in black and green came over and lifted their two catches with glowing green ropes of power. “Can I get a lift to Nightwing?” She asked with a grin. She ignored the look Green Lantern shot Robin and the nod of assent that Robin returned.

“Can do.” A green disc of light was under her feet and Dawn spread her feet shoulder width apart as she looked about her, trying to pinpoint all of the fighters and who they were up against. “Last I saw he was working his way through to Bane.” He told her as he set the brunette down in front of Gotham City Bank.

“Thanks!” Dawn waved and then took off through the dark alley. She paused before leaping into the fray, watching the players move before she added herself to the equation. A woman in black and fishnets, a man in green tights, Nightwing, Bane, and Killer Croc. She had a bone to pick with Croc, and Robin Hood seemed to be up against that one on his own anyhow. Dawn rolled out of the alley just as he was leaping past and stabbed upward into his gut with both rods. He lost his momentum, falling where she had just been. Dawn rolled to her feet near the man in green, rods at the ready as she cracked her neck.

“Who the hell are you?” Green Arrow demanded as he shot an arrow at Croc while the creature got back to it’s feet. The exploding arrow struck home and Croc fell once more.

“Someone who has a bone to pick with this one.” Dawn informed him before glancing back at Dick. “That one too, but he’ll keep until after the city is safe.” The glower on her face seemed to amuse Green Arrow.

“Well, alright then.” He seemed to accept her explanation even as the other two heroes glanced in their direction. Dick did a doubletake and Dawn glowered at him for a moment before she was leaping at Killer Croc, smashing both his fingers hard enough that the creature lost feeling for a moment. It was just enough of a distraction that Dawn was able to stab one rod into his mouth to smash against the back of his throat and leave him gagging. Dawn hopped back and Arrow released some kind of foam cloud that encompassed Killer Croc and rendered him immobile. She wanted to punch the creature in the face, she was still mad at him for breaking Dick’s leg almost 2 years ago. Summers’ women knew how to hold onto a grudge.

Dawn turned to watch Dick and Black Canary work at Bane. She’d helped finish off two villains now, even if they had been mostly taken care of before she actually jumped in. This wasn’t the best test of her mettle, but that was alright. She was here because she needed to be part of all of this. She needed to know that her family wasn’t getting killed while she was sitting at home watching from the TV. It was no less dangerous than when she was a young teen sneaking out to help fight the forces of darkness so that her sister was the much more likely to come home again. She had tried the normal life and it had been wonderful, but then she’d gone and fallen head over heels for Dick Grayson. After tonight normal would be something of the past.

Dawn stepped forward, standing beside Dick with her bantos rods at the ready as she stared at Bane while he pumped juice into himself and got bigger, his muscles and veins standing out in grotesque relief against his skin. She spared a glance to her left and saw a serious look on Dick’s face while he spared a glance for her. He wasn’t happy with this. He wasn’t happy at all. The young woman smirked a bit, a dark look in her eyes as Bane stepped forward and she dove down, sliding under his legs as the others leaped at him from the front. There were four of them and one of Bane. Sure, he was smart and he was strong and he was fast … but so were all of them. Well … maybe not as strong.

Dawn bounced to her feet behind Bane and leaped at his back. He couldn’t turn to stop her while the others were going full out in front of him. He did manage to twist a bit so that she had to hook one of her weapons behind a tube to swing herself properly into place. That got Bane’s attention and he reached back with both hands to grab her. He got hold of her forearm, but she’d already ripped 2 of his 4 hoses loose. Bane jerked hard, pulling Dawn half over his shoulder with one hand while Dick and the blond duo attacked from the other. Dawn stretched out a foot, wrapping it around the third hose and letting the man smash her forward into the ground.

Dawn lay there dazed for a moment, but it was a short one. Faith threw her just as hard in practice. Of course the Dark Slayer didn’t throw her into concrete, but this was what she’d been training for. In a theoretical sense. The slim brunette rolled back to her feet, snatching her shiny toys from the ground and stalking forward to reign hell on Bane alongside the others. Green Arrow was given a boot to the face sending him flying backwards into a wall and Dawn slipped forward, rods at the ready, and lost herself in the dance. One two, duck, three, uppercut, spin out of the way of a fist, slam a heel into the side of Bane’s knee. Dawn’s eyes widened a bit as he stumbled just a hair. The knee, what did all big men have in common? Bad knees. She pressed her lips together and went after the knees. She kicked low, slammed her feet, fists, and rods into the abused joints. Canary joined her not long after, quick to catch on without the younger woman having to say a word.

A single massive backfist knocked Dawn sideways into Nightwing, sending them both careening into a wall. It gave the Black Canary her moment to do a concentrated Canary Scream straight at the man’s knee. The knee gave out and he fell heavily to the ground, roaring in pain and rage as he went. Canary wasted no time in doing a pretty flip over his sprawled legs and yanking loose the last tube. Dawn shook off Dick’s worried hands and stalked forward to slam one of her rods up under the big man’s chin, hitting that sweet spot that knocked a man out every time. Spike had taught her that long ago, but she hadn’t used it in recent history.

“Thanks for the help, Legs.” Green Arrow sent her a smirk and raked up her long legged form even as the Black Canary and Nighwing sent him dark looks.

“Anytime Robin Hood.” She told him with a smile and a chuckle, ignoring Nightwings stares. He wasn’t happy, but hopefully he’d keep his ire in check until they were back at the manor. The cave. She would have to remember not to call it the manor.

“Does Batman know you’re here?” Nightwing demanded, figuring Canary would keep Arrow in line. Dawn had scared the crap out of him when he saw her come into the alley. She’d done well in this fight, but that didn’t mean she should be here. No, not at all. Dawn was supposed to be the woman they could keep safe. The one who stayed home with Alfred out of danger. Barbara had fought and she’d ended up in a wheelchair, Dawn could end up dead. He stared at her face, the green domino not hiding her expression of dark irritation at all, and he shook his head. He was upset, angry even, but from the get-up she was wearing this was not going to be a one time thing.

“What’s he going to do? Spank me and put me in time out? I’d like to see him try.” Dawn snarled as she pressed the small button that let the rods retract. She shoved them into her thigh holsters, snapping the small covers over them so they wouldn’t come loose if she started getting active. That done she poked Dick in his rock hard pectoral muscles, leaning in close. “You lock me up like a maiden in a castle again and you will live to regret it.” She was back to being mad about getting dragged out of her penthouse and dropped with Alfred, safe from the city where a Mass Breakout of Arkham had taken place.

“Son, I think you need to learn a little something about strong willed women.” Arrow was looping an arm around Dick’s shoulders moments later, watching as Black Canary took Dawn in hand and called in Superman to help clear out Bane. No way did any of them have the strength to cart him off to the nearest prison van.

It was hours later when all the team was back in the Batcave staring at Dawn with everything from vague amusement to absolute forbiddance. For her part Dawn was glowering back, arms crossed over her stomach as she leaned back against the bike she caught Bruce frowning at. She’d also seen the slight narrowing of his eyes as he contemplated his butler when Alfred had brought down refreshments and bruise balm.

“You know this isn’t a game.” Bruce started, his voice dark with frustration. It was odd to see him dressed as Batman, even if he had taken off the cowl. He knew from second hand experience that yelling at Dawn made her less likely to listen to you. He also knew that she wasn’t dumb and she didn’t take stupid risks like his boys tended to. He didn’t want her in this fight and he knew Dick was in accordance with him this time. They were both still in a lot of pain over Babs.

“I’m aware. This isn’t going to be a nightly thing, I prefer to do my fighting inside the system for the most part.” Dawn told them, her mouth tight and her shoulders clenched from stress. Her eyes took in each of the men in their suits, looking tired and ready for more bad news. A sad smile crossed her face and she shook her head a bit. “Nights like tonight though? There will be no more locking Dawn in the manor, to keep her safe while she worries her head off about you all.”

“We do it so we don’t worry.” Dick told her as he scrubbed his hands over his face.

“And I get that, but it doesn’t make me less pissed off about the entire situation.” Dawn informed him, not budging on the issue.

“She did pretty well out there.” Tim pointed out a few moments later, thinking back to her help with Poison Ivy. She had moved like she had tag teamed an opponent before. There was no way this had been her first fight. She had been calm and thought through each move before she made it.

“This time.” Dick pointed out immediately.

“I’m not going to stop.” Dawn dropped her hands to her side and walked forward until she was standing directly in front of the man of her dreams. “I thought I could stay out of the fight this time, but I guess it’s just not in my nature. I can’t sit back and watch the people I care about take on risks that I wouldn’t take myself. You’re going to have to get used to me tagging along for the big stuff like tonight, because so help me … if something happens to you not even Superman himself will avoid my wrath.” Her eyes were dead serious and her tone was just casual enough to make Bruce decide to dig into Dawn’s family once more. Her “this time” comment had to mean her sister, what all was she caught up in?

“I don’t want you hurt.” Dick lifted a hand, his thumb brushing over Dawn’s cheekbone.

“Neither do I. You don’t get to just arbitrarily decide to keep me wrapped in cotton though.” Dawn wrapped her hand around his, pressing his palm into her cheek as her eyes stayed locked on his.

“You will be training with us as well as your friend Faith. There’s a lot you need to learn, even if you are going to be a reserve member.” Bruce announced after a moment of eye contact with Tim. Tim would be checking her tumbling and teaching her to use their grappling hooks. The Bat Family did most of their work from the roofs and not everyone could tumble about like Dick.

“Understood.” Dawn wasn’t going to argue with him. He had just let her off with a lot less arguing than she had expected. Then again maybe he had been expecting it. He hadn’t said a word about the uniform, he’d only been surprised at the motorcycle. Which meant Alfred had taken a request and then, as was his job, listened to what Bruce had asked for and then gone above and beyond to give him what he hadn’t realized he really wanted.

“Master Dick, if you would show Mistress Dawn to the Ladies changing area and where to hang her Nightingale costume, I will see to Masters Bruce and Tim.” Alfred told them a moment later. Dawn raised her eyebrows and looked over at Alfred. Apparently he had named her alter-ego for her. Oh well, kept her from doing something silly like naming herself after a goddess who would just turn out to be real and put her in her place for being uppity. She let Dick pull at her arm and tug her in the opposite direction from where Bruce and Tim were heading.

“How do you get the mask off?” She screwed up her face in frustration as tugging lightly at the lightweight piece of machinery did nothing to budge it. She scowled at the smirk of amusement on the taller man’s face as he slid his finger tips along the pointed outer edges and pressed under at the lightest dip of metal. It was an odd sensation for the piece to no longer be attached to her face. She wasn’t sure she wanted to know exactly how it worked, in fact she was positive she didn’t want anyone explaining it to her.

“I’m not happy about this.” Dick told her a moment later, setting her mask on it’s shelf and watching as she slipped off the gloves, thigh holsters, and belt. Dawn cocked an eyebrow and smirked up at him.

“You’ll be far less happy when Buffy ever finds out.” She informed him before sitting down to begin unlacing her boots. Dick had a single zipper and he was out of his costume in moments. How unfair was that? Why did she have to have one that … well it did make her look pretty hot actually. She decided to dismiss the thoughts and focus on undressing, slowly since Dick had finished changing and was now watching her carefully. His eyes got darker with every bruise she uncovered, and she couldn’t help the sad smile that crossed her face as she watched him. When she was down to her black boy-shorts and matching sports bra, Dawn stepped forward and wrapped her arms around Dick’s shoulders, pulling his seated form against her and resting a cheek against the top of his head.

Dick’s arms snaked around her lean waist and his head rested against her shoulder. She was offering him comfort for an all encompassing fear. He was afraid that something would happen to her, like it had to Jason and to Barbara. Like it had to so many others in their positions. This life of costumed heroics led to one end, and it wasn’t the happy kind. He’d somehow gotten off lucky with Dawn, though he had no idea how, and now she was donning a costume and telling him that she would be out there. Bruce was allowing this. Alfred was encouraging her! “I don’t want you hurt.” His voice was little more than a harsh whisper. He’d said it once, but it bore repeating since she had apparently ignored him the first time he mentioned it.

Dawn’s lips quirked a bit at the corners, a slightly wider smile peeking through for a moment. “And I don’t want you hurt. Sometimes it’s going to happen though, whether we like it or not. I won’t be out there every night. Not like you and the others. I’ll only be there when you need all hands on deck, or when one of my kids needs me. I can’t let you hide me somewhere safe while you go off to fight for the good of the city.” Dawn gave a tiny sigh, pulling away the tiniest bit so that she could place her hands under Dick’s chin and make him look up at her. The anguish there killed her a bit, but it also steeled her resolve. It was time to share a few personal things with the Bat Family.

“I was 14 when my mother died of a brain aneurism. It was only a few months later when someone tied me to the top of a tower and sliced open my stomach to bleed me dry as part of a spell. Buffy saved me, but she lost her life for a little while. You see, Buffy is a very special girl.” Dawn began the story of The Slayer, Buffy Summers, as Dick’s thumbs caressed pale slashing scars below her belly button. This was going to make Bruce irritable for a few days.

The End

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