Take Me Away
Summary: Challenge Response - Willow finds her place
Author's Note: A response to Jinni's Valentine's Day challenge. I'm usually a lurker but this challenge gave me some really good fic ideas so I'll probably right several for it. Feedback: This is my first time writing a Buffy fic so it would be greatly appreciated.
Archive: Fanfiction.net, Twisting the Hellmouth, anyone else just e-mail me the link so I can go see.
It had all started with a little red book. She should have stayed away. She should have believed. After all, she knew the power of words, hadn't she tried to harness that power to end the world? But she took it anyway, reading it away from Giles' prying eyes (he would have surely disapproved). Then she did the stupidest thing she could have done given the situation. She read the writing.
'I wish the goblins would come and take me away, right now.'
He came, of course, did you have any doubt that he would stay away? She ran the labyrinth, fighting for the freedom she had unknowingly and yet willingly given away. Willow won the race, beating the twisting halls of the Labyrinth, but by then, the game had just begun.
Because, as we all know, once Jareth becomes interested in something, or someone, he does not give up until he possesses it, or in this case, her. Willow, of course, was blissfully unaware. She was returned to England and Giles, believing that that was the end. She couldn't have been more wrong.
Her first sign was the roses. A dozen delivered to her each day, no cards and no names. Red roses, they were always red roses. Then came the notes, each different and each signed with a single J, left on her bed, sticking out of a little red book she was sure she had thrown away.
There were several dozen notes delivered, but one sticks out among the many others. The words sung out to Willow, reminding her of all she had done wrong and all she could never again be.
I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain - and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light
I have looked down the saddest city lane
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes unwilling to explain
I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses for another street
But not to call me back or say goodbye
And further still at an unearthly height
O luminary clock against the sky
Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right
I have been one acquainted with the night
She ran after that, it was to much for her to handle, the grief, the pain, the guilt. She left England, returning to the United States, but not Sunnydale, never Sunnydale, her place was no longer there. She travelled, refusing to stay in one place to long, denying her right to make friends and find peace.
Six months later finds her in some sleazy bar somewhere in Texas (it's not important anyway), drinking her problems away. It was excruciatingly obvious to those around her that she desired no company this night. But some people are very bad at taking hints.
He was large, brown-haired, un-shaven and reeked of stale beer and sweat. He leaned over her, breaching her personal space, and leered appreciatively.
'Hey, doll,' he began with a grunt, his voice rough and unpleasant, 'Ever played "spank the brunette"? Wanna try?' His friends guffawed in the background.
She ignored him, as she did to most nowadays, lost in her own thoughts. Throwing several bills onto the bar she turned her back on large, dumb and ugly, moving to leave. She stepped outside into the rain, letting it wash over her.
Large, dumb and ugly, however, was not pleased with her reaction. He followed her into the night, grabbing her arm painfully and dragging her forcefully into a nearby alleyway.
Panic shot through the petite red head's brain and she fought back with tooth and nail.Of course, he was much larger than her and easily overpowered her feeble efforts. She would not use her magic. Things were becoming more and more desperate and Willow resolved to do the one thing that she thought would help.
He was there in an instant. Before Willow could rightly realize what was passing on around her, the assailant had been dealt with.
She was pulled from the ground by strong arms and found herself in the arms of one of the reasons she had been running, the Goblin King. Her green eyes met his mismatched ones. As if suddenly realizing the extent of his presence, Willow spun in his arms and bolted into the dark.
She ran along the rain-covered streets, feet pattering along quickly through puddles. Her panicked, confused eyes risked a glance backwards, checking for his pursuit. Thus, she did not see him before colliding with his strong chest.
She immediately began struggling, instinct flickering on if nothing else, her fists pounding futilely against his torso. His arms effortlessly held her there as his gaze fixed on her, unreadable as always. Her struggles eventually died down and she turned her gaze up to meet his.
'What do you want with me?' his soft voice was beautifully haunting and sent shivers up her spine. She wrote it off as the cold.
'Why are you like this?' was her whispered response, 'Why can't you be like them?' There was a pleading note in her voice, which told you all you needed to know about the sense of abandonment that was heavy on the young woman.
He sneered characteristically at her comment. 'Would you rather I be like them?' was the terse reply, ' "I want to melt in your mouth, not in your hand" or, even better, "Here's a quarter.... call your roommate and tell her you won't be coming home tonight"' The sarcasm in his voice bit through the haze in Willow's mind.
Tears leaked out of the corner of her eyes, the extent of her life crashing down on her with undeniable truth. She sobbed into Jareth's arms and soon enough his silk shirt was being used as a handkerchief by the distraught woman.
'Let me take away the pain. Just say the words, my Willow.'
Willow sniffed into his chest. She pondered what he was offering. A new start, somewhere where her past didn't matter. A home. Someone to care about her. Her decision was made.
'Take me away, Jareth'
Willow stood in front of the mirror and twirled, the beautiful white wedding dress sparkling with the movement. Her red hair shone, falling down her back in waves as her green eyes glowed with a renewed vigour for life.
Her spin was cut short as a tall man stepped in behind her, pulling her into his arms. His mismatched eyes wandered over her reflection in the tall mirror.
'Are you ready?'
The words were whispered into her ear, and she shivered with pleasure at his silky soft voice, as she always did.
'Take me away, Jareth.'
It was hard to believe a year has passed since that night on the street. But on this day it would finally be official. She had a home, with Jareth. She smiled as an shock of irony hit her, Happy Valentine's Day.