Disclaimer: I do not own either the Buffyverse, which belongs to the brilliant Joss Whedon (everyone saw the Avengers, right? He's done it again), or the Batman Universe, which belongs to DC Comics and Christopher Nolan.
It turned out to be a complete coincidence. Well, not entirely, but God knew that Dawn hadn’t meant for this to happen. When the Hellmouth blew and everyone had gone to England, Dawn had gone with them all for a few years. They had established a massive organization. Then came the facts—Dawn needed a degree to work for the council. She could have stayed in England, gone to Oxford or something. But she had wanted to branch out, do something away from her loving but slightly overbearing family.
So she had decided to apply to a bunch of big schools in the US. NYU had been the top of her list, but she had decided against if after she had been accepted.
The one that she had eventually picked was Gotham University. The place had had one of the highest crime rates in the world, until they started cleaning it up. But it was much better now. There was always going to be an element of danger to living in a big city like Gotham, but she had figured that it would be mostly fine.
And she had been right, for the first part of her school career. She had started her BA in ancient languages and translation when she was twenty-two, and the first two years were uneventful. She made some friends, moved from a dorm room to a downtown apartment shared between a couple of girls, and got to know the lady that ran the Gotham City Bakery down the street—her pastries were to die for, and she made good coffee too.
She had a Council credit card that she had been using to pay her way, but eventually Maria offered her a job, and she had accepted—she wanted to feel like she was doing at least part of this by herself, being self-sufficient.
It was halfway through her third year that all hell broke loose. She was on campus when it happened, trying to suck up the last bits of sunshine before winter fell and sitting with her friends studying. All of the TVs around the courtyard were pinned to the football game in Gotham Stadium, but nobody had really been watching.
At least until the ground blew out underneath the football players. Then everyone was crowding around the screens, turning up the TV to watch.
Classes had been cancelled after that. Nobody wanted to worry about their university degree and future when they weren’t sure that they were going to survive the next six months. Her phone rang off the hook at first, Buffy, Giles, Xander, Willow and a bunch of Slayers all calling to ensure that she was alright. They couldn’t be assured of her permanent safety, but they could call daily to be sure that she was still alive.
The anarchy that descended over the city was terrifying, to say the least. But Dawn managed to keep her head above the water. She had access to Council funds still, and she used that money where she could to help.
And somehow, the fact that she had money got onto somebody’s radar, and she got dragged in front of the war council that the morons had put together to try the high society rich people for the crime of not sharing their money (and okay, the class division in this city was kind of ridiculous, but that was even more so).
She stared incredulously at the guy that was sitting surrounded by a pile of books, too shocked to be frightened.
“Dawn Summers, you stand guilty of—“
“Of what, having access to money?” She interrupted. “You mean that credit card that I have? It’s not even mine. That’s my sister’s company credit card; I haven’t even used it since first year at school. At least until now. And now, I’ve been using it to help whatever way that I can, helping the homeless, freezing, starving masses. The people that you’re too busy trying rich people to help.”
“This is not a trial, Miss Summers. The crime has already been established, and you were found guilty. This is a sentencing hearing. And there are two sentences: exile or death. You may choose whichever you would rather.”
“This is ridiculous,” she muttered. And, okay, she was no Slayer, but she was a good fighter. She hadn’t had much practice lately, but the element of surprise helped to overcome that. She sprang out of the chair at the nearest guy and swung the chair at his head.
Eventually she was cornered. It was like fifteen on one, and they had guns, and she was just one girl who wasn’t any stronger than anyone else. She closed her eyes and thought very hard of her apartment, wishing that she was there right now.
She opened her eyes again at the sounds of surprise emanating from the men in front of her, and watched the entire scene fade away, to be replaced by her apartment.
She stood and stared for a split second before she bolted for her bedroom, where the bottom few shelves of the bookshelf were stuffed with old, dusty tomes that she hadn’t opened in three years, dug to the very bottom and unearthed the old council ones on Glorificus, the Order of the Dagon, and the Key.
After a bit of reading, she finally noticed her forehead throbbing, ran her fingers over the line above her eyebrow. They came away sticky with blood. She was bleeding when she had done this—she was sure that that was the key. To the Key. She snickered inappropriately. She could get out of the city, maybe even get some other people back in. She dug her nails into the line of blood, winced in pain as it reopened, and concentrated on the base in Cleveland. She could feel it working, feel the world fade around her.
And then she hit something with a clang, and bounced back. She was on the shore of the island of Gotham, down by the docks with a bunch of people being pushed forward onto the ice. She recognized Commissioner Gordon and swore under her breath, but didn’t spare another thought for that.
She was absolutely sure that the Powers that Be had something to do with this ridiculousness, but she had no idea what they wanted from her.
“What the fuck?” She demanded of the sky. “What the fuck is your problem? Why do you always have to do the cryptic bullshit?”
She had obviously caught their attention—along with everyone wandering along the river, because suddenly a guy in a bowler hat and a Hawaiian shirt was standing in front of her.
She reacted without thinking. She hurled herself forward, still high on adrenaline from the whole situation, and pinned him by his throat to the nearest wall. “I am going to fucking kill you,” she snarled.
“Miss Summers,” he started, a little muffled from the way that she was crushing his windpipe. “My name is—“
“Whistler, I know, you’re a messenger for the Powers that Be. And your bosses have been fucking manipulating me the whole fucking time, haven’t they? I shouldn’t be here. I got accepted to NYU, UCLA, Oxford, Yale and Columbia, and I would have picked any of them before Gotham. Fuck, I wouldn’t even have applied to Gotham except for some random kernel in the back of my head that said that I should.
“But it wasn’t random, was it? You wanted me here.”
“Miss Summers, you are a Champion of the Powers that Be—“
“I never agreed to be your fucking champion,” she snarled at top volume.
“Your sister accepted her fate far more gracefully than you do,” Whistler commented.
“Buffy accepted her lot in life a long time ago. She never had any choice. But me? I have choices. And this isn’t a choice.”
“You had a choice. You made it when you chose to work for the International Watcher’s Council.”
“That means shit ass all, and you know it,” Dawn growled, too livid to speak in a normal tone. “Plus, I know for a fact that Buffy threatened to... what was it? Oh, right, rip out your ribcage and wear it as a hat. I’ll do her one better—I’ll rip out your spine and use it as a sword.”
“Miss Summers, we sent you here for a reason. This is very much a human evil, not a demonic one. As a result, we have no place sending a Slayer, or the Red Witch, or even the One Who Sees. But you, you are entirely human, and, entirely normal. We were hoping that you would be of some help to the Batman, who we have no jurisdiction over.”
“Fuck off,” Dawn snapped.
“We have granted you the use of your power as it spans the island of Gotham, and, if you do indeed help, you will be allowed to keep that power for your own personal use around the world. Think about how useful that would be, Miss Summers. Think of how they wouldn’t be able to treat you like a child anymore, if you could go from any one place to another in the entire multiverse in the blink of an eye.”
She wanted to swear at him again and leave. But two things stopped her: number one, he was right. She could finally mean something to council, be more than just a generic little girl who was only here because of Buffy. And number two, well, that had two parts. She couldn’t leave these people to fight certain death on their own, she was too much Buffy’s sister for that. And also, if Batman failed without her help, she would be dead too. And she was less willing to just die like that than Buffy might be.
“Fine,” she snarled. “But this is a one-time thing.”
“We’ll see, Miss Summers.” Whistler disappeared, leaving Dawn in the middle of a large group of Bane’s flunkies and a bunch of cops that were about to be exiled in the river, staring at her incredulously. She sighed deeply.
“I suppose I might as well start earning that power,” she finally muttered. She concentrated hard on the spot next to the guy holding Gordon and appeared there with very little fanfare. Everyone frantically jumped around, trying to work out what she’d done. Dawn took the moment to relieve the bruiser of his gun and cold cock him with it.
“Pleasure to meet you, Commissioner,” she offered, undoing the handcuffs in the confusion. “My name is Dawn Summers.” She paused in the introduction to slam the butt of the gun over her shoulder, where one of the goons had recovered from his shock enough to try and sneak up on her.
Gordon stared at her. “Summers, where do I know that name from?”
“My sister, Buffy Summers is an American diplomat with the appropriate privileges on foreign soil. She’s also the co-chair of the International Watcher’s Council, the youngest and least British in history. Perhaps that’s how you heard her name?”
“Of course,” Gordon muttered, rubbing his forehead with his recently freed hand. “Buffy Summers. And what are you doing here, Miss Summers?”
“Complete coincidence, and entirely unwillingness on my part, Commissioner, I assure you,” Dawn deadpanned. “I’m here for school. No, really,” she added, at his incredulous look. “I wouldn’t do that, if I were you,” she added over her shoulder again. “You saw what I did to your friends.” When he didn’t stop moving, she knocked him out as well, and sprung towards the other men, only to find them already in the middle of a brawl with an impressively large masked man, dressed in all black.
“Who’re you,” Batman grunted at her, eyeing the Commissioner warily and barely sparing her a glance.
“Dawn Summers, at your service. I figure that we’re trying to find the bomb?”
“Who says you’re coming with us?”
“I do,” she snapped back. Batman gave her a rather nasty glare and handed the Commissioner a glare gun.
“Would you care to do the honours?” Gordon took the gun and lit it, and sent a massive bat signal at the sky.
“Impressive,” Dawn drawled, in a tone of voice that plainly said that she was so not impressed.
Here is yet another crossover with Dawn at the centre of it, though differently than I’ve ever characterized her before. Yes, this Dawn has more of a temper and more of a chip on her shoulder than she usually does. I wanted to explore the options of a Dawn that resented the Council and the Powers that Be for forcing her into this life, and she isn’t actually as heartless as she tries very hard to make people think she is. She can’t walk away, but she doesn’t have to make this pleasant for everyone either. Notice this: she doesn’t resent Buffy. Her resentment runs deeper and more complicated than that, creating a character that’s near sociopathic when you get her riled up. In short, a Dawn Summers that I feel is more fitting in the Nolanverse. This will be a two-part ficlet, not an actual story. Part 2 is coming soon. Or maybe 3, but no more than that. Two as it stands right now.