Dawn blinked. She couldn't see a darn thing. All she knew was that one of Jareth's hands was still wrapped around her upper arm, and she was leaned against his side. Strangely, she just knew she could trust him, that he had never really been about hurting her. Glory had. Obviously. But Jareth didn't go around bloodletting little girls. Dawn didn't know how she knew this, but she just did. She had to wonder where they had ended up. She had the strangest feeling wherever it was, it had not been the planned destination. It smelled a little dank. Like slightly stagnant water or something else as equally unpleasant. Perhaps mold.
"Where are we?"
Dawn's eyes widened. Somehow his gloved hand had managed to cover her mouth in this darkness. She heard a tinkling sound like glasses knocking together carefully, then a slow light started. Dawn looked down. There was a round crystal on the floor next to her feet. It was giving off light. She and Jareth were crouched down in some dark hole.
"Damn." He muttered. "She must have altered things. Changed the labyrinth. I would not have thought she would have been that powerful yet. Damn."
"We're in one of the oubliettes. I didn't mean for us to end up here. Dammit!"
"What's an oubliette?"
"A place to put people when you want to forget about them."
"Nice." Dawn said with a raised brow.
Jareth chuckled. "I knew I liked you."
"That must be why you kidnapped me." Dawn snapped. She got up and started looking around the tiny cave-like room they were in.
"Oh, Dawn, don't be cross. After all, I did rescue you just now. I didn't have to, you realize."
Dawn whipped around to face him. Jareth noticed for the first time that she was wearing one of the dresses he'd provided for her. Likely because her other choice had been the pajamas she had been in. It was probably the simplest one of the bunch, but she wore it well. It was pale blue cotton with dark blue flowers embroidered along the collar, hem, and sleeves and blue lacing at the bodice. It was a rather plain dress, but it suited her. She so reminded him of someone else in that dress. The way she carried herself in it was very reminiscent of another young girl he'd known. All she needed was a wreath of flowers in her hair, and she could be standing by a stone bridge and a little lake reciting the lines of a certain play.
But he wasn't going to think about that. Not now.
Dawn placed her hands on her hips. "True, you did save me, but why DID you kidnap me in the first place, your majesty?"
He nearly chuckled at the way she'd spat out the title 'your majesty', as if it were swear words. Oh yes, he was liking her more every minute. "To get my kingdom back from that... that female beast."
Dawn snickered at his description of Glory. "She stole your kingdom?"
"I brought her here. They had found her in the labyrinth, wounded. Before I could even think about questioning her about any of it, she'd sucked what little sanity there was out of more than several of my goblins and healed herself. She told me if I got you for her, she could go home."
"Ben said she lied to you."
"Yes. She told me she just needed a little of your blood. I was not fond of the idea, mind you, but I had little choice in the matter. She assured me that it would not kill you. Little lying beast."
Dawn looked away.
"This is not the first time she's tried to kill you, is it?"
"Now I am very put out. I do not like being lied to."
"So what do we do?"
"We journey through the labyrinth and take my city back."
Dawn rolled her eyes. "Oh is that all."
"So little faith."
"You do know she's a hellgod, right?"
There was a scream that was getting closer and closer. Dawn ran over to Jareth. He was quite alarmed at how he didn't even think about protecting her. It just happened. Dawn was behind him holding onto one of his arms.
A hatch opened in the oubliette, and someone tumbled into the dirt floor and landed unceremoniously at Jareth's feet. His eyes narrowed. It was a female, and she looked a bit familiar.
"Willow?" Dawn asked.
A pale face with big green eyes framed with fiery red hair looked up at them. "Dawn!"
Dawn dropped down before Willow. "Are you ok? How did you get here?"
Willow pulled Dawn away and yanked them both to their feet. She shoved the younger Summers girl behind her. Jareth took a step forward. He was completely fascinated by the witch.
"Stay back, eighties hair band, or I'll kick your butt!" Willow held both her fists up.
Jareth blinked. She really was quite comical. Her fight him? That was funny. She wouldn't last a minute. He wondered if he ought to laugh. He decided probably not. Because if she used any of the magick he could feel coursing through her, he would not be the victor. He could feel it rising to the surface. There was a darkness and horror laced into it. As if she had once done an unforgivable thing.
"Willow." Dawn whispered.
Jareth arched an eyebrow. Fascinating. The redhead had stamped it all back inside her. She had all this power, but she refused to tap into it. He had to wonder why.
"Willow, he saved my life."
Jareth and Willow continued to stare.
"Seriously, Will. Glory's back, and Jareth saved me from her."
"You speak as though my name is familiar to you."
"I might have heard it mentioned."
"I don't think I'll tell you just yet."
Jareth flashed his smile. "And that is that." He'd know that answer to his question soon enough. There were other ways to get information from people besides just asking. "Well, ladies, what do you say about getting out of this nasty, dark, foul-smelling oubliette?"
"I vote for that." Dawn said.
She started to walk back to Jareth, but Willow grabbed her arm. "Can we trust him?"
"Do we have a choice?"
"Wait a minute! Did you say Glory was back?!"
Spike had landed on his face. He got to his feet slowly and peered up at the now-closed trap door he'd fallen through.
"Bleeding perverts!" He shook his fist at the hands near the bottom.
A few of the hands stretched down to form a face near the gridded window of the door. "Well, if you wouldn't wear your jeans so tight, we might have something else to grab."
He slapped his middle finger up against the grid. "Piss off!"
"Well. Aren't you the classy one."
Spike spun around as the trap he was in became alive with a warm glow. There was a dwarf holding a lantern and a small sword not three feet from him who had the largest nose Spike had ever seen.
"Who in the bleedin' 'ell are you?"
"Hoggle. And you?"
"Hmrph!" Hoggle turned away and started waddling off.
"What's all that then?"
"Lost in the labyrinth. Separated from his companions. Foul-mouthed boy, terrible black oubliette...."
"This is an oubliette?" Spike started looking around.
"You don't even know what an oubliette is."
"Do so. It's a place where you put the blokes you wanna forget about."
The dwarf looked surprised.
"The foul-mouthed boy is not so much the boy. I've been around, mate."
"Fine then. Let's go."
"You want to stay here?"
"Not particularly, no. How'd you know I was here?"
"I been following you."
"You were with Sarah. So I knew you'd get into trouble."
It dawned on Spike who he was. Hoggle. That was one of the names that Sarah had uttered when she was trying to scry into the mirror in Willow's room. "You're a bit late in answering the call, mate."
"Am not. I got here as soon as I could."
"Fine. Let's find Sarah and Willow, get Dawn, and get out before this Jareth wanker notices."
"Jareth ain't your trouble."
"Some evil woman named Glory has taken the castle. She made Jareth go steal some key. She's been controlling most of the creatures in the labyrinth and the Underground. And making some of them crazy. Or crazier."
"She's the worst of bad news. We have to get to Dawn. Now."
Sarah winced as she sat up. It was very dark. This was certainly familiar. She was in an oubliette.
"Damn." She looked around. "Willow?! Spike?!"
Then she noticed something on the floor. A large piece of burlap. She rushed over to it and lifted it. The door was under it. Sarah smiled. She pushed the plank of wood against the wall and the swung it open. A broom fell out.
"Oh!" Sarah jumped back. Then she giggled. "The broom closet. How embarrassing. Too bad I don't have anyone to make out with." An image of Jareth flashed in her mind. Sarah mentally shook herself. What in the hell was THAT? She switched the door and opened it the other way.
She stepped through.
They were walking through this cave with all these faces on the walls. And they were talking. Portents of doom.
"Don't go on."
"Go back while you still can."
"This is not the way."
"Take heed and go no further."
"SHUT UP!" Jareth screeched.
Willow and Dawn both jumped.
"Sorry, but that's SO annoying."
Dawn started giggling. Willow was trying to remain scowling, but the giggles became too infectious. They made their way out and into some tunnels.
"I don't see why you can't just..." Dawn made this weird little claw with her hand at Jareth.
"Use my magick?"
"Yeah. Like when you got us away from Glory."
"I told you, she changed it. I don't know where we'd end up. And besides if I did... " He mimicked her claw. "She'd know. Best to keep a low profile."
"Low profile? In that outfit?" Willow snorted.
Jareth gave her a look that could have frozen water instantly. "At least my clothing matches."
"I got dressed in a hurry!"
"In the dark apparently."
"I wasn't concerned about matching. I was concerned about Dawn."
Dawn smiled sweetly. "Willow, when have you EVER been concerned about matching?"
Willow glared at Dawn as Jareth threw back his head and laughed heartily.
"Why don't you use YOUR magick to get us out of this fix?" Jareth suggested.
"NO!" Dawn yelled.
Jareth was taken aback by the sudden panic that was all over her. "Dawn?"
"Willow can't use her magick."
Willow was looking at the ground. Jareth looked from one girl to the other. He was getting the feeling that the darkness he'd sensed on Willow the first time he saw her had somehow affected Dawn. He'd have to find out what that story was.
"Ladies, let us not linger. No one will use magick, agreed?"
"Agreed." Willow mumbled.
"I don't have any magick."
"Just agree." Jareth said in a voice that sounded like he was trying not to lose his temper.
"Fine. I won't use magick that I don't have." Dawn snapped.
Jareth rolled his eyes and mumbled something that sounded a lot like 'willful brat'. Willow snickered at bit. Their eyes locked for a minute. Willow froze completely. He'd drawn her in... totally. She couldn't think. She could barely remember to breathe.
Jareth watched the young woman become lost in his mismatched eyes. She was lovely and sad. Too bad she didn't have a little brother to steal. She might give in if the world fell down. Then again, she might not. There was such weakness yet strong will in her soul. Like someone else he knew. He grinned slightly, moving his face and breaking the spell.
Willow blinked. Whoa. That's not good. She'd been staring at him and forgotten everything for a minute. She wondered if that was what Sarah was holding back from her and Spike about Jareth.
Spike sighed as he trailed behind the dwarf. He was beginning to get worried. They'd been walking through these hedges for quite a while, and he'd seen no sign of Sarah or Willow.
"You sure this is the right way, shortass?"
"Hoggle! Yes, this is the right way!"
There was a loud roar. Spike stiffened. What in the hell was that? Then he noticed Hoggle looked more annoyed than alarmed.
"Oh great." Hoggle sighed
"What IS that noise?"
"And that explained everything SO nicely, Hogsmeade. Care to vague that up for me?"
Spike felt like the sun had suddenly been blocked. He turned slowly. It was like a giant, very hairy orangutan looking creature with horns and two large teeth.
"Fuck me." Spike hissed.
"Spike, this is Ludo."
"Fuuuuuuck." Ludo said.
Spike gaped. "This... this is Ludo?!" Sarah had not mentioned how, well, menacing Ludo had looked when she described him. Sarah's description had sounded more like giant teddy bear than scary hairy orangutan looking thing.
Hoggle eyed Spike distastefully. "Just had to introduce him to new words, didn't you?"
"Didn't mean to. He's was just so bleedin' unexpected is all. Not the smallest bloke in the labyrinth, are we? Could have warned me, hog-tie."
Hoggle rolled his eyes and stomped off. "Come on! We have to find Sarah."
Hoggle growled in frustration and stomped faster.
Spike smiled and the beast. He wasn't so bad. Spike might as well have some fun. Ludo seemed the best way. Plus it pissed Hoggle off. And Spike kind of liked him when he was being a 'Mr. Cranky Pants' as Willow would have called him. They moved a lot faster when Hoggle was ticked. "Hey, Ludo, what say you we learn us some new phrases?"
Ludo made this confused noise that sounded an awful lot like Scooby Doo when he got confused and tilted his head to the side like a dog might. Spike had to grin. Ok, so the giant teddy bear description might not have been so far off. Willow was going to love him.
"Yeah like... Sarah... hot mama."
Hoggle turned around and pointed at Spike ferociously with his sword. "Don't you DARE teach him to say ANYTHING, you foul-mouthed little rat."
"Sawah... hot mama."
Hoggle sighed dramatically. Spike laughed maniacally.
"Oh yes. Ludo, you and I are gonna be best mates."
"Ludo... Spike... mate."
Ok, that had not sounded right at all. Spike glared as Hoggle fell over laughing.
Sarah was making her way through the maze of hedges when she heard something. It sounded like Ludo.
She took off running towards the sound.
She was so sure.
When the strange vine shot out of the hedge and tripped her, she was completely surprised. She fell hard and skidded across the stone path. Sarah looked at her palms. They were both raw. She hissed slightly and wriggled her fingers a bit. She was about to groan in pain when something started pulling her backwards. Sarah screamed and tried to stop herself. Her scream of terror turned into a scream of pain as her hands hit the ground. She was dragged back, one of her nails splintering off at the quick in an attempt to gain any sort of leverage. She screamed again as she was pulled through a thorny hedge. Tears were made in her clothing. Her sweater snagged horribly and pulled off. Sarah tried to shield her face, but she got scratches on it anyway. Leaves snagged and tangled in her hair. She was pulled free of the hedge and across a grassy area.
Sarah tried to sit up a bit to see where she was headed by the vine dragging her. She didn't remember this from before. It must be a new trick of Jareth's. As she struggled, several more vines shot out from the large plant she was being drug to. They wrapped around her now-bare arms and her jean-covered legs. Sarah continued to struggle. The vines just tightened. She started scratching at them with her nails. A vine shot out like a whip and caught her at the base of her neck. Sarah cried out in pain. She felt a welt starting already. When she looked down, she noticed it was bleeding. Sarah whimpered.
The vines lifted her in the air. That's when Sarah noticed the giant green plant had a mouth. She started screaming her head off.
Spike and Hoggle were cracking up at Spike having taught Ludo how to say 'Jareth is a tool'. Hoggle seemed to take great delight in any derogatory thing Spike could teach Ludo to say about this Jareth character, so he'd been sticking with that. He'd already covered 'Dawn pretty', 'Angel poofy' and 'Willow bitable'. The Willow having gotten him odd looks from Hoggle. Spike had said it was an inside joke, and Will would get it. He wished they'd hurry up and find the redhead. He was starting to get concerned. She tended to get into trouble on her own.
That's when he heard it. A scream.
Hoggle's eyes went wide. He knew that scream. "Sarah." He whispered.
Spike took off running in the direction of the voice. Hoggle and Ludo followed as best they could, but Spike was moving very fast. Because if Sarah was in trouble there was no telling what had happened to Willow.
And he didn't even want to examine why that was bothering him.