AN: Feedback, motivation for those inclined towards procrastination.
In other words: me.
Thanks to my super duper beta trooper, Irene. Why yes, I did make
that ridiculous rhyme up all by myself... How kind of you to pelt
rotten fruit at me for it. ;)
************** Forever is a Gift: Chapter Three ****************
"How could you let her go?"
"As the soon-to-be purple area on my jaw will attest, I did not 'let'
her go!" ~Xander and Giles
"So, umm, by 'mine' do you mean in like the Biblical sense because,
if so, please spare me the details."
A cold smile froze what little humanity there was in the Goblin
King's face. "Do your foolish words make you feel braver, Dawn?
They do nothing for your cause."
She swallowed, hypnotized by the cultured disdain etched on the
Goblin King's sculptured face. Her tongue wet suddenly dry lips.
"What... what cause is that?" she stammered as she tried to come to
grips with the fact that her fairy tale had become flesh and blood.
And suddenly he was in her face, sneering, powerful, intimidating
as hell, even in lace and leather. Only one pathetic desk lamp
stood between her and this creature of myth and fancy. Dawn had
faced her share of demons and evil nasties but there was something
distinctly different about the Goblin King. He was tightly coiled
energy, controlled distaste, deadly elegance. He was more than good
and evil or right or wrong, bigger and infinitely more complex than
those two polar opposites she had believed in most of her life, or
imaginary life as the case may be.
It was hard to be on the side of righteous and good when she wasn't
really sure if there was a side to be on, not when a Goblin King,
THE flesh and blood Goblin King, was staring down at her from a
breath away. He had pretty eyes.
Dawn was pretty sure she was going to have nightmares about them.
He was like nothing she had imagined. He was more real, and a hell
of a lot more intimidating.
The Goblin King tapped his crop against one cheek, making her jump
at the contact. "You made a wish, child, am I to understand that
you actually want it to be granted?"
Dawn's brow furrowed as she thought, and paled with the knowledge
of what her self-righteous wrath had wrought. "Where's Buffy?" she
demanded as she stepped willingly closer to this dangerous man with
deadly grace and a vampire's fangs.
His mismatched gaze crinkled with cold laughter. "Ahh... so you
will join the others in your regret."
Her small hands clenched into fists that left half moons curled
into the palms as she strangled the lamp. "Where is my sister?!"
she screamed, heart slamming with the fear that maybe Dawn Summers
really was as alone as she felt. Maybe the invincible Slayer had
let grief lead her astray as well.
The creature tisked her, amused by her inner turmoil, as the stupid,
stupid crop pointed towards the book Dawn had flung to the floor in
her terror. Its pages lay twisted, open, but she didn't have to
look at them for the truth to blind her with its implications.
"Give her back!"
The Goblin King stared at her, down at her, all hint of amusement
gone. The damned crop rested against his heel as he unconsciously
struck a pose. Moonlight framed him once again, sketched the
proud silhouette, and made her aware of just how much potential
mere darkness could hold. "Take her from me," came the frigid,
Her mouth snapped shut, then slowly opened, "I have thirteen
She could see, even with the distance between them, the slight
sneer on his sculpted lips. "Yes, that is traditional."
Dawn swallowed, and watched, transfixed despite herself, as the
Goblin King waved one lace covered arm. She stared at the scene
he had conjured, at the twisting green Labyrinth, and the Castle,
ensorcelled safely beyond the Goblin City. It looked almost as
intimidating as its Lord and Master did. "Leave her to me, Dawn."
She met his strange, disquieting eyes. "She's my sister."
Shuddered as those eyes pierced her and read the secrets of her
"Is she really then?" The drawled reply was awful to hear, painful
with its insinuating truths.
Dawn's eyes flashed, with rage, determination, and enough power
to pique the fickle Goblin King's interests. He hadn't been
presented with such interesting possibilities since...
His mind automatically blocked the thought, and the feelings that
would follow it. He was powerful, but he was no longer invincible,
thanks to, thanks to one who no longer had a place in his world, or
"She is all the family I have left in this world."
Her answer drew him from the echo of regret to the present. And
Jareth grinned in mocking reply. "Yet she is part of my world now.
You saw to that."
The girl's chin raised an inch, and jutted out. "Not for long.
I'll win her back."
"Will you?" he asked, indulging her self-delusions. "You wouldn't
be the first. But I promise you Dawn Summers, you won't be the
"Second?" came her yelp.
"Are you planning on bringing the lamp with you? I give my word,
the sun will shine, even Underground."
Dawn stared blankly down at the object still cradled against her
chest. Embarrassment stained her cheeks as she gently placed the
lamp on the ground in the center of the room, and walked through
the portal the Goblin King's magic had called, back ramrod straight
as his laughter floated sardonically after her.
Angel was frantic by the time he had run across town to Willow's
apartment after finding the Summer's house empty and cold. Tara
answered the pounding at the door, looking withdrawn, the gentle
lines of her face etched deeper by grief for a woman who had show
her some of the scant kindness she had received in the world.
You didn't have to lead a hard life for life to not be easy. And
Tara had never had an easy life.
"Is Dawn here?" Angel demanded, empathy for the ash-blonde witch
softening the edge panic gave his question.
Tara drew further into herself at his words, and tucked an errant
strand of hair behind one ear before nodding slowly; unsure of this
black clad stranger who had meant so many things to the people she
had come to care about. It was difficult to decide how to treat a
man who had been lover, torturer, murderer, and friend.
Xander and Giles would never truly forgive him for his sins. Willow
and Buffy already had.
"Dawn wished Buffy away to the Goblin King. We have to stop..."
Tara whitened at the words and Angel knew, in that instant, where
Dawn Summers had learned the story of the Underground.
"We have to stop him from taking them both."
Angel stepped forward, until he was at the boundary that refused
him entrance to Willow's home. "Tara?"
"I invite you in," she called over one shoulder as she turned and
ran, bare feet flashing pale soles in her race towards the room she
and her lover had left Dawn in to grieve. Angel barreled in after
her, shouting for Willow all the while.