Title: Forget Me Not (1/1)
Author: Ash (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Disclaimer: Willow and all her assorted accoutrements belong to Joss Whedon. The
Labyrinth and Jareth belong to Jim Henson. The Quickie Challenge belongs to Jinni,
and I thank her for it. *g*
Feedback: Always appreciated.
Distribution: Anyone who wants it and asks.
Author's Note: Pairing #114 at the Quickie Challenge (http://quickie.moonlitpaths.com/)
The dining room table was awash in books. Everywhere Willow looked she saw more
cracked bindings, more faded gilt, more yellowed pages that had been worn by time
until they were as thin as tissue paper and as hard to handle.
"Buffy," Willow said. "Would you do me a favour?" Her voice
was very calm.
Buffy looked up, only her eyes visible over the top of the massive book she was
reading. "Please say that it involves moving. And stretching." Buffy
said, a smile in her voice.Worry in her eyes.
Willow smiled back and said, "Sorry. It involves reading."
"I've got you covered." Buffy leaned back into her chair and spread
her arms in an expansive gesture, indicating the books all around them. "Reading
is my life. I may renew my library card."
"No." Buffy said. "In fact, after I've we've found out how to kill
the First Evil, I'm going to put my foot down. Ancient audiotapes, that's what
"Mmm." Willow agreed. She was going to cry soon. "And maybe some
ancient videos, too."
Buffy brightened. "Yes! 'Tracking the Wily Vampire', 'Detecting Danger in
Five Easy Steps', 'The ABC's of E-V-I-L'... You know, my demographic is being
badly neglected by the instructional video people."
"That's true." Willow said. "Many companies overlook the large
One Girl in All the World demographic."
"I'm a niche market!" Buffy said. "If they make videos for people
who want to know how to build dolls out of pipe cleaners, they can make some for
"They don't really make videos for that, do they?"
"I hope not." Buffy paused and then smiled ruefully. "Sorry, Wills.
You wanted a favour?"
It was hard for Willow to breathe. Impossible for her to smile. She did both.
"I can't quite make out the words on the bottom of this page." Willow
said, not looking at the small red book in her hands. "My eyes are tired,
I think. Could you read them to me?"
"No problem," Buffy said. "Just toss it over. It has to be better
than what I've been reading. Here's a tip: If you're ever in Sumeria, stay out
of the temples. Ten different kinds of wrong."
"I'll keep that in mind." Willow said. She passed Buffy the open book
with steady hands.
Buffy hefted the red book experimentally. "I like this book already. It's
light. Why is my book so much bigger than yours?"
"Because you thought the big book would have pictures." Willow said.
"Oh yeah." Buffy shook her head. "I hate it when it's my own fault.
So... let's see what the light book has to say."
Hidden beneath the table, Willow's hands were clenched into fists. "Read
the highlighted part."
Buffy's eyes skimmed idly down the page and Willow's nails drew blood from her
palm. She could still knock the book out of Buffy's hands. If she said 'Stop!'
Buffy would stop. If she ran out of the room, Buffy would put down the book and
follow. Willow sat still and silent in her chair.
"I wish," Buffy read aloud. "That the goblins would come and take
Willow wouldn't have thought it was possible for her to feel worse, but here it
was. Her body was a spring wound tight, vibrating painfully, shaking itself apart
from the inside out.
"'Right now.'" Buffy concluded and looked up at Willow with a smile
on her face. "That's all it says... Willow?"
Willow didn't know what Buffy saw on her face but Buffy was already getting to
her feet, reaching across the table.
The lights went out.
"She won't make it." Jareth said, his voice echoing strangely in the
empty throne room. The goblins were gone now.
"I know." Willow said, her eyes focused on the crystal ball in her hands.
The miniature figure of Buffy could be seen inside it, running hard and fast through
some forest, trees and light flashing by in the background in a blur of green
There was a long pause.
"She's very strong." Jareth said. Willow thought that she would never
get used to the sound of his voice. Beautiful. Beautiful like fire or magic or
"I know." Willow said again, proudly
"She might have made it in time." Jareth said, watching the clock on
the wall ticking away its last few minutes. "If the rope hadn't broken. Or
the sun hadn't been in her eyes. Or -"
"Don't." Willow cut him off, her voice breaking in the middle of the
words. She let out a long shuddering breath. "Please. Don't."
"Look at me, Willow." Jareth said, and hearing him say her name was
the worst thing he could have done to her. Except that it wasn't, not even close,
and so she put the crystal down carefully and turned to face him.
And he was like his voice, something she thought she'd never get used to. When
he wasn't there, she thought she remembered what he looked like, sounded like,
what his power felt like against her skin and in her mind. And then he'd be there
again. And her memories would crumple like paper and burn away.
Willow looked him in the eyes. What good would it do to be afraid now?
Jareth smiled, showing a hint of fang. "Come here."
Willow hesitated for a second before she walked over to him, stopping when she
was only inches away. She had to look up to see his eyes now; it seemed very important
that she see his eyes.
"Willow..." Jareth said in that musical voice, the words almost a whisper.
"What do you want from me?"
"Only what you promised." Willow said, keeping her voice steady.
Jareth brought his hand up in a graceful gesture and opened it to reveal the crystal.
Buffy still ran inside it, although now she was running through what looked like
"She will forget you." Jareth said. The crystal flashed and Willow saw...
Xander, Dawn, Anya, Angel, Cordelia, all of them blinking past faster and faster
until they disappeared into a glow of light. "They will all forget you."
Willow blinked back tears. "I can't help them," she said. "All
my powers... and all I do is hurt them."
"You'll never hurt them again." Jareth said. "No one will remember
your pain. No one will... regret you."
"Thank you." Willow said. She closed her eyes as the last seconds on
the clock ticked away and it stopped. She waited.
After a few seconds she opened her eyes. Everything was the same. Jareth was still
"What happened?" Willow asked, forgetting to be afraid as she stared
quizzically at Jareth. "Did Buffy win?"
Jareth shook his head, a faint smile starting to curve his mouth.
"Then... Why am I still here?"
"Why not?" Jareth said, and Willow had the feeling that he was laughing
"I should be a goblin," she said accusingly. "Or dead. Or... something!"
"You are 'something'," Jareth said, and this time she knew
he was laughing at her. "Mine. This is my world, Willow. My rules."
"Well, yes." Willow had to admit. "Hence, goblin." She looked
down at herself. "Which I'm still not, by the way."
"No. You will never be a goblin."
"Okay," Willow said slowly. There was something in Jareth's voice that
she didn't like. "Then I should be dead, right?"
"No." Jareth said, the smile that had been in his voice spilling out
onto his face. It wasn't a particularly nice smile. "You will never die,
Willow took a step back, or started to. Something stopped her and when she looked
down she saw that Jareth's black-gloved hands were gripping her shoulders and
holding her in place. Willow's mind went blank.
"I gave you my book." Jareth said in that beautiful voice. "I would
have given you anything you wanted. You wanted to find me. And you have found
"I wanted oblivion." Willow said numbly. Jareth was pulling her closer.
She stared at the black velvet of his shirt as it got nearer and nearer.
"You wanted them to forget. And they have forgotten." Jareth said. "You
wanted to be somewhere else... and you are."
"I wanted to die
!" Willow said, lifting her eyes, seeing his
face as a pale close blur through her tears.
"I want you to live." Jareth said simply, his hand on her chin now,
tilting her face upwards. "You will live."
"No..." Willow said, pressing her hands against his chest. It was like
pressing against stone.
His mouth tasted like honey and tears and by the time he lifted his head she knew
that it had all gone wrong.
"You said that you would give me anything I wanted." Willow's said to
Jareth, her eyes searching his. "I want to leave."
Jareth paused and everything in Willow paused too, even her heart stopping its
frantic panicked beating, to hear what he would say.
"The bargain is made." Jareth said. "I want you to be happy."
"I won't be happy." Willow said. "Ever. I'll fight you, I promise."
Jareth smiled and lowered his head again. "My world, Willow. My rules."
he said, the words a whisper against her lips. "You will be glad that you
"No-" Willow started to say, but his mouth was on hers and the taste
of honey was so sweet and strong and the taste of tears only a fading memory.
Her sadness was slipping away, he was stealing it away, the sadness she'd earned,
and she wanted to scream.
Willow closed her eyes and felt a tear slip down her cheek and knew with an awful
certainty that it was the last tear, her last tear.
And she was glad.
As always, feedback is appreciated. I love writing Willow. I love writing Jareth.
Why I can't write happy fics for either one of them is something that should probably
puzzle me. *g*