Disclaimer: I own naught but the plot, all else is Joss's or Jim's.
A/N: This is rather nonsensical, and very un-betaed, but the bunny would not let me be! Timeline is weird, and well, I
say he's talking about Willow, but whatever...▬▬▬
"You have no power over me...
The words echoed through the Labyrinth and assorted lands of the Goblin Kingdom, sending the weak to their knees and making even the strong cringe as centuries-worth of enchantment was ripped apart by six words from the lips of an unthinking child.
Hoggle and Ludo, some of the closest to the center of the upheaval, cowered against the walls of the throne-room as the floor began to collapse, great cracks running through the stones like an awful spider web.
Streams of wild magic began to shimmer and coalesce, whipping about the room as if recoiling from a sudden release of tension. Red, blue, yellow, green, the thickly-twisted ropes glowed with all the colors of the rainbow, vivid and frightening. What they touched changed
somehow, irrevocably altered under the unleashed power's influence.
Hoggle whimpered to himself, "Told Sarah I weren't nothin' but a coward!"
Ludo roared softly, his call to the rocks only adding to the general mayhem of the moment, though it is worth noting that near to him the mortar and stones stayed together, gripping their foundations ever tighter under the direction of the yeti.
Didymus blinked his one good eye furiously, as if waking from a dream. Trance-like, he pushed off from the wall and strode to the center of the room. Ambrosias whined low in his throat and crept along the wall towards his fellow coward, the dwarf. The fox-knight seemed not to notice this latest defection, walking purposefully towards the throne on the small dais.
Half-remembered words of a long-ago conversation drifted by him, making his pointed ears twitch slightly. There was something he should know, something he was desperate to recall.
A strand of magic detached from one of the ropes and reached out to him coyly. His paw rose of it's own accord, and abruptly the magic struck. Cobra-quick it snapped out and latched onto his upraised paw, twining furiously about his arm and armor. All up and down his frame the magic spun, wrapping him tightly within it's coils until he appeared to be one solid, glowing mass of magic-born light.
Everything seemed to pause for a moment, tense and waiting like a breathe too-long held. Then, with a suddenness that was mind-boggling, all seemed to stretch and settle back into shape. The magic expanded throughout the kingdom, fixing whatever damage it might have caused, and through the land it seemed that all was back to normal.
Hoggle found himself back outside the Labyrinth, a can of pesticide by his foot.
Ludo growled happily upon seeing again the craggy mountains he called home.
Didymus and Ambrosias were back in the Bog, deep in their tree-home. The fox-knight shook himself all over and growled low in throat. He remembered now.
She called to them of course, and Didymus answered the summons faithfully. If his eye was a little duller, if his whiskers drooped a bit... well, in the general atmosphere of the party there were few who noticed.
He returned to his home and called up Ambrosias, saddling his cowardly steed. Their journey would be short, now that the Labyrinth was no longer working against them. It was but a half-hour trip to the castle from his Bog, and he needed the time to think anyways.
There was no door-robot, no army to hold him back now. Not even a footman or servant barred his path as he made his way to the throne-room once again. He saw not a soul, and no-one saw him. If by chance, someone had spied the fox-knight, they would have seen a strange transformation occur as he neared his destination.
Fur fell from his face and body, falling behind his steed in a gentle red rain. Ambrosias too, was shedding, until both were but naked skin and armor. Neither noticed, intent as they were on their direction. Slowly the fox and dog merged into one being, surrounded by a sort of glimmering fuzziness that told the eye that some strong magic was at work here.
By the time he reached the great doors to the throne-room he had altered enough to raise a hand, a fist really, to knock upon the wood. The doors swung open silently, with none of the creaky ill-use that Sarah had heard and felt. It was no longer expected of them.
Jareth sat upon his throne, head in hands. He did not look up as his guest entered, and his voice was weary when at last he acknowledged the other man.
"I've been expecting you."
Silence greeted him, and at last the Goblin King did indeed look up. The sight that met his mismatched eyes was very different from the one Sarah had been greeted with upon her first meeting with the small knight. A tall man, dark-haired and strong stood before the king. His only resemblance to the fox was the patch that covered one eye, and the storm of emotion that glittered in the other.
"Go on then, you're free to go now." Jareth flapped a hand at the young man, "The girl has set you free." He smiled sardonically, "Of course you already knew that, your memories should be returned by now."
Xander's throat worked a bit as he swallowed heavily, "Why?"
"Come, come, now you must realize how it works? She wished, I took," the King leaned back against his throne, "It's really all very simple."
Rage flickered through the brown eye before burning out into dull ash. He moved forward, walking as if the weight of a thousand generations was upon his shoulders, and slid down to rest against one of the rocky outcroppings that dotted the room.
His voice, his real
voice, was still harsh and distorted from lack of use, "How long?"
Jareth shrugged, "A few hundred years."
Xander's eye closed in pain. "I thought she loved me."
"She did," the King shrugged. "You hurt her, eventually she retaliated and love makes fools of us all..." he trailed off into brooding silence. A small mocking smile plucked at the corners of his mouth, "Even me."
"That's why I'm free, isn't it?"
Jareth nodded once, reluctantly, "It was a challenge I could not resist."
Xander looked down at hands that had spent such a long time as paws, "What do I do now?"
The King cocked his head to the side, studying the other. "Why, whatever you wish."
"Wish?" The dark-haired man chuckled mirthlessly, "I have no wishes left."
"What about dreams?"
"None of those, either."
This last was asked with a sort of hungry yearning that made Xander lift his head to look at the Goblin King. The other man was staring at him eagerly, intently, and it made the ex-knight tense.
"What did you have in mind?"
Jareth leaned forward, "How would you like to be King?"
Barking laughter rang through the room, and tears ran from Xander's good eye. "You're not serious," he stated. "Why would you want to give up being King?"
"Well," the monarch said wistfully, "I think I might like to give mortality a try."
"For the girl?"
"For the girl."
Xander thought it over for a moment, then smirked, "She really did a number on you."
Jareth was getting a bit testy, "Will you do it?"
A shrug, "What have I got to lose?"▬▬▬
A/N: So yeah, very nonsensical, weird, and I'm kinda antsy about it. Like it, love it, loathe it with the fiery intensity of a thousand hot suns? Lemme know!