Disclaimer: I don’t own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or the characters from Batman and wherever Dick’s incarnation as Nightwing comes from. The only things I know about them comes from the Batman movies and other people’s fics so this will not be canon and will probably end up AU.
I know I shouldn’t be starting another fic but I was getting sick of this bouncing around in my head! No fics will be abandoned due to this one. I work on them when they inspire me too, hence the various WIP’s.
Pairings: Not sure yet. Will take suggestions.
Timeline: Set about 2 years after S7 of Buffy.
Dick knew he had to get up or he was dead but he didn’t have the energy to move. He gasped as rough hands lifted him up and couldn’t help a pained cry at the searing agony in his neck. He became vaguely aware of the fact that he was losing a lot of blood and weakly tried to fight back but his limbs wouldn’t cooperate. So much for a simple bust. Panicked screams caused him to relax as he was dropped ungracefully to the hard cement floor, Bruce was here. With that comforting thought he allowed darkness to claim him. He remained unaware as his rescuer turned him over and swore as his uniform was revealed. He never felt himself being gently lifted and carried out of the warehouse before being lowered carefully into a car.
He blinked up at the unfamiliar ceiling. His memories were hazy but he was sure he wasn’t in his apartment, the hospital or his room at Wayne Manor. It took him a few minutes to realise he was still in full uniform, mask and all, except for his boots. With that realisation most of the cobwebs cleared although he still felt incredibly weak and ached all over. Obviously someone had pulled him out of the warehouse but who? An enemy or a good samaritan who was in the right place at the right time?
Dick studied what he could see of the room without sitting up, he hurt too much to attempt that just yet. He was lying on a double bed and had been covered with a lightweight blue blanket. His various wounds had obviously been treated as well as they could be while he was in uniform and he could feel a thick bandage on his neck. Across form the bed was a closed door and a solid wood dresser. Aside from the matching bedside tables and a closet the room was empty. Someone’s guest room? His eyes went back to the door as it opened but he closed them to mere slits in the hopes of fooling whoever came in into thinking he was still unconscious, not that anyone would be able to tell behind his mask. The man who walked in did nothing to reassure Dick. He was tall, just over six feet, with shaggy dark brown hair and one brown eye, the other hidden by an eye patch. He held himself like a fighter and was dressed in dark, well-worn clothes. Dick couldn’t see any obvious weapons but that didn’t mean there weren’t any. He held himself still as a gentle but calloused hand felt his pulse and checked the bandage on his neck.
“I really hope you wake up soon or we’re going to have to risk a hospital. I’m not exactly equipped to try giving you a blood transfusion.” The warm concern in the voice was a surprise, not cold and hard like your usual thug. Deciding to take a risk he opened his eyes, making a feeble attempt to push himself up and relaxed slightly at seeing the genuine warmth and relief in that single brown eye. Gentle hands helped him sit up and lean against the pillows and headboard.
“Where am I?” Was that his voice?
“Here, its just water.” Dick eagerly swallowed the cool liquid until the glass was removed, too soon in his opinion but he knew that if he drank too much too quickly he ran the risk of being sick.
“I’ll get you some juice in a minute as long as you can keep that down. You shouldn’t try to move around too much, you took a pretty bad beating and lost a lot of blood. You’re in the guestroom of my apartment and still in Bludhaven. Lucky for you I was near by and heard the fight or you’d probably be dead. As it is you were out for just over a day. It’s just before midnight Sunday, I found you late Saturday night.” Dick studied his rescuer as he talked and mentally lowered his estimation of his age by a good half-decade to twenty-four, tops.
“Who are you?” Dick asked, still keeping a close eye on his companion.
“Oops, sorry about the bad manners. Xander Harris, pleasure to meet you Nightwing. Got to admit, never thought I’d meet one of you guys and I ended up saving your life.” The goofy grin accompanying that statement took away any remaining hardness in his features and took the sting out of his last comment. Dick found himself giving a small grin in return.
“So what were you doing in that part of town that allowed you to come to my rescue?” Just because Xander seemed to be helping him didn’t mean he trusted him, he was definitely hiding something.
“You want the truth or something that won’t affect how you sleep for the rest of your life?” Xander’s face was completely serious as he watched Dick.
“The truth please.” Xander studied him a bit longer before nodding.
“I was out walking, getting a feel for the town, when your fight caught my attention. You were nearly dinner for a vampire nest. Of course, being who you are the probably would have turned you instead of just draining you. A vigilante of your abilities would be a great addition to any nest.” Xander’s face remained completely serious even as Dick stared at him in disbelief. Okay, he’d seen some pretty strange things since donning a cape and mask but vampires?
“Blood drinking, demon reanimated corpses and yes, demons are real. I work for a group that tries to keep their numbers down, doing whatever we can to save lives.” That explained the battle weary look; he wasn’t a thug but a different brand of vigilante in a way.
“Of course, according to official records I work for a Historical Society but how many of those have members who have diplomatic immunity in just about every country on the planet?”
“You don’t look like a historian.” Xander threw him a mock hurt look before laughing.
“Nope, I had enough of big, mouldy books back in high school. Apparently I’m a wandering myth collector. I officially spent the last two years wandering Africa picking up various legends to be recorded. In reality I was hunting demons and scouting the local hunters to see how they were doing and if they could use our support.”
“So you’ve been doing this long?” Dick was curious, Xander was either one of the best liars he’d ever met, insane, or telling the truth.
“Since I was fifteen and I literally fell for the new girl at school, very embarrassing. Hear about the town in California that got swallowed by a sinkhole two years ago?” Dick nodded; it had been all over the news for weeks.
“Good old Sunnydale, I was born there and nearly died there more times than I like to count. Our school paper had its own obituary page things were so bad. Town was built over a Hellmouth and yes, that is exactly what it sounds like. People would die or disappear and no one would do a thing. A bunch of teenagers and a British librarian were all that stood between the end of the world and humanity and we managed to do it every time. We had a few casualties over the years but considering most of us had no training we did incredibly well. Do you know we actually had a discussion the other week on what the plural of apocalypse is? We were the last ones out of Sunnydale because we were the reason it sank. It was either Sunnydale or the world.” Dick stared at Xander in shock, his story was pretty unbelievable but he certainly looked like he’d been fighting for the last ten or so years. In fact, he looked pretty close to burning out, something that was dangerous in his own line of work and probably just as dangerous in Xander’s.
“So, planning to call the nice guys with white coats?” He frowned as Xander tried to joke.
“No, I’ve seen some pretty weird things since I started this line of work. You’ve left a lot out but I believe you.” He watched as Xander relaxed and smiled.
“Thanks, I’ll go get you that juice.” Xander left the room, giving Dick the chance to think. Xander was definitely one of the good guys, one who was very close to reaching the end of his endurance. He reminded him of Bruce on a few occasions when they’d had a particularly hard case and Batman had refused to rest. It was obvious he wasn’t in Bludhaven for a holiday but surely his superiors could see what he saw? He watched as said man walked back in, balancing a tray.
“Here you go.” He put the tray down on the bed between them and took a chocolate chip cookie for himself. Dick sipped his juice slowly.
“Thanks.” They sat in silence for a while, Dick eventually deciding to brave a cookie and thankfully keeping it down. He already felt stronger from just the liquids and that little bit of solid food.
“So, what brings you to our wonderful city?”
“Rumours. We’ve been hearing whispers of something big planned so I’m here to scout them out. If they turn out to be true I’ll call in backup and we’ll take care of it.”
“Need any help, I know the city.” Xander was shaking his head before Dick finished speaking.
“No offence but stick with the human scum, you don’t need the extra trouble. A mask won’t hide your scent or aura and there are demons that can track you by either. And they won’t care about who gets hurt in getting to you.”
“All right. Could you let me know what happens?” Dick could see his point but he still wanted to know if anything happened.
“How? You’re not exactly in the phone book.” Dick surprised himself with his next actions, he never trusted this easily.
“I am.” His hands went to his mask but Xander grabbed his wrist.
“Don’t, I don’t need to know your id Nightwing. It’s better if I don’t, what I don’t know can’t be tortured out of me.” Dick nodded, seeing his point and surprised at his own willingness to trust this stranger with his secret.
“I have an email you can use, even if it’s just for directions.” Dick offered and they laughed, breaking the tension.
“Thanks, I’ve got a personal one you can use, in case you run into trouble with the nightlife again. It’s better to keep this from the Council’s official notice, there are still some of the old schooler’s that I don’t trust.” Xander looked out the window at the night.
“I better head out. There’s a bathroom off my room if you feel up to a shower. You can borrow some clothes if you want. I get the feeling you won’t be here when I get back but you are welcome to stay as long as you need. It was nice meeting you.” Xander smiled and extended his hand. Dick returned the smile and took it.
“Thanks for saving my life. It’s been interesting.” Xander stood and left the apartment.
Xander crouched in an alley across from his target and watched as various demons and even some humans went about their business. He breathed deeply, scenting the air. It had taken a lot of work to get comfortable with his enhanced senses but he’d done it, just as he’d retrained his body using once forgotten memories.
It had taken a bit of work to find this place; Bludhaven was not the nicest of places. This was his third night watching the place although the last two had been interrupted. First he’d saved Nightwing from the warehouse two blocks away and then he’d spent a good portion of tonight chatting with the man. For a guy who ran around in a mask and a weird suite he was a nice guy. So far he had been lucky, no one had noticed the hunter observing them but he knew his luck couldn’t hold forever. He needed to find out what was going on and soon.
Dick removed his mask before moving onto the rest of his costume. He’d kept an eye out for Xander but hadn’t seen anything. He knew he was still in the city, he’d seen him moving around his apartment when he’d swung by the previous night. He winced as still tender bruises complained about his movements.
“You were out of contact for over twenty four hours.” Dick didn’t jump, he’d been aware of the others presence since he’d returned home.
“I’m fine now. I got into a fight where I was outnumbered. Lucky for me one of the few people around here with a conscience showed up and got me out. I spent the day unconscious in his apartment and no, he didn’t remove my mask.” Dick turned to his mentor, letting him get a good look at the fading bruises and the more obvious bite mark on his neck.
“Something is set for here within the next few nights.”
“Came to lend a hand?” Dick smiled, Bruce would never outright offer but that’s how the older man was and he was used to it.
“Then I’ll see you tomorrow for patrol.” Batman turned to leave.
“Bruce?” He paused at the window.
“Thanks.” Batman nodded and vanished. Dick collapsed on his bed, he could only hope this wasn’t what Xander was investigating or things would get very interesting.
Xander swore softly as he saw the two figures swinging between buildings and heading his way, he really didn’t need this. Standing he quickly climbed the nearby fire escape to the roof. Nightwing and Batman stood at the other end, ready to jump.
“Nightwing.” Xander called as loudly as he dared. Both figures turned.
“Xander? Oh no.”
“Yeah, let me guess. The club?”
“You’ve been watching it?”
“For the last week now, whatever’s going on in there is big. I called backup for tomorrow night.”
“Nightwing.” Batman growled at his protégé.
“Batman, meet Xander. He’s the one who saved my life the other night. Xander this is Batman.”
“A pleasure to meet you sir.” Xander grinned at the Bat.
“We don’t have time for this.” The Dark Knight readied his line.
“Batman we can’t.” Dick nearly gulped as his mentor turned to him.
“This is Xander’s case to deal with. Tomorrow night?” He asked the other man.
“Plan is to hit it tomorrow evening.”
“He’s a civilian.”
“He’s no more a civilian than we are Batman, it’s just a different fight. We need to go before we attract attention he doesn’t need. Please, just trust me on this one Batman. This is my city.” His partner nodded and Dick relaxed a little.
“I’ll be waiting for your email, don’t get killed.”
“I’ve lasted this long. Just in case, I’m glad we met. Even if the circumstances were less than ideal.”
“You too.” Xander watched them leave before heading back to his surveillance spot.
“Was hoping you’d come by this way.” Nightwing turned as Xander walked up to him, he hadn’t even realised the other man was on the roof. He was as sneaky as Batman!
“Its finished then?”
“Yeah, cops can handle the rest. The others have already left for home.”
“But you’re still here.” Xander shrugged and leant against the low wall that ran along the edge of the roof.
“The apartment’s Council owned if you ever need somewhere to crash.” He offered.
“I’ll remember that, thanks. You okay?” He’d noticed the slight stiffness to Xander’s movements.
“Didn’t duck fast enough but I’ll heal, don’t worry about it. I’ve had a lot worse.”
“Let me see.” Dick moved closer and Xander hesitated before raising his shirt. Dick gasped.
“How are you walking?”
“That bad huh?” Funny, he hadn’t really felt it till Nightwing reacted like that, now it was really hurting.
“You need to get treated.”
“I will.” He held still as Nightwing pulled some bandages from one of his belt pouches and began wrapping his ribs.
“I’ll email you if we hear of anything headed this way again.” Xander offered, wincing as Nightwing tightened the bandage.
“And to let me know you’re still alive.” He tied the bandage off.
“Done. You ever need anyone to talk to whose in a similar line of work…” Dick trailed off and Xander smiled.
“You too.” They clasped hands and then Nightwing was gone.