"Let go!" Sarah yanked her arm out of Jareth's grasp. She looked around. They were in a small clearing surrounded by forest. "Where are we? What have you done with the others?"
"I felt we needed to talk. Alone." He was rubbing his jaw. "You've grown quite unladylike."
Sarah glared at him. "What. Have. You. DONE. With. The. Others?"
"Nothing, Sarah. So distrustful."
"Because you've given me so many reasons to trust you."
"What did you want to talk about?" She said in a haughty tone folding her arms across her chest.
"Your anger that still burns bright after all these years, years that do not look to have been harsh on you. I only ever did what you asked. You asked that the child be taken... I took him. You cowered before me - I was frightening. I reordered time. I turned the world upside-down... all for you. I exhausted myself living up to you. And what do you do? You... leave... me."
He'd slowly been stalking closer.
Sarah was breathing heavily. "You have n-no power over me." It had sounded VERY weak even to her ears.
"Oh?" Jareth said stepping fully into her personal space. "Stop me then. You stopped me before. Stop me now... or perhaps you do not wish it this time."
Her heart was beating erratically. Sarah squeezed her eyes shut. She could feel his breath on her face. "Don't."
It was sort of like electricity. His mouth was warm and soft on hers. She would not have thought it would be, but there it was. Sarah didn't dare open her eyes for fear it would turn out to be a dream. All the uncertainty in her life melted away at his touch. Music swelled in her head. That song. That damn song that haunted her dreams. Her hands twisted into the material of his jacket.
It was like before when she'd lost herself. But there was no trick this time. Had it been there even then? This spark between them. Had it been there when she was little more than a child playing at being a grown up? His arms held her now. No other arms had embraced her the way his were doing now. How foolish she had been.
But perhaps not.
She was not the same as she was then. She was ready for things now. Even if it was with he who infuriated her so. Yes, he was abrasive with her, but he also made her tingle. Sarah shoved herself back with a little stumble. Her eyes were wide. He was more dangerous to her than perhaps even he realized.
Jareth was just staring at her in a way that made a slow blush creep up her face. She was some teenage girl standing before him again. Sarah had no idea how to proceed. If she had been confused before, it was magnified by a hundred now.
Hoggle was sitting near Sir Didymus talking quietly. Dawn had fallen asleep curled up against Ludo's furry body as if he were some giant stuffed animal. Willow had cried herself to sleep against Spike's chest. He was absently stroking her hair. Poor Red. How in the hell was she holding herself upright? And he thought he had problems. Someone like Willow shouldn't have to bear the weight of such guilt. She was too lovely to feel such pain. And wonky magic usually resulted from it, so it was usually better if she wasn't in pain.
Spike would never be sure why it happened. All he knew was what happened.
He leaned down and kissed her forehead lightly.... and he just didn't stop. He kissed her eyelids, and the tip of her nose, the two tracks of tears on her cheeks, each corner of her mouth, then her little pink lips.... and he just kept kissing those lips until they kissed him back.
Willow was awoken by the very pleasant sensation of lips on her own. Spike lips. Lips of Spike. Oh what in the hell had Buffy ever complained about? Willow wrapped her hand around his neck and deepened their kiss. It was probably the situation and the place, but she didn't care. He could pity her with his mouth all he liked. And yes, Hoggle and Sir Didymus were not sitting that far from them. And yes, the sleeping Dawn and Ludo were even less far from them.
But Spike's mouth had trailed from hers to her pulse point. His hands were straying over her body ever so lightly. Willow yanked his shirt out of his ever-present jeans and let her fingertips glide of the smooth skin on his lower back.
Spike growled quite loudly against her throat. Willow gasped in surprise and arched up against him causing him to growl again.
What an idiot. Her in his midst all this time. But it had never been right for this moment. There had been other vampires, slayers, other witches, werewolves, sexual preferences, and number of things that had made the timing off. Not like it was now. It was SO on right now.
"Oh my God."
Willow jerked hard at Dawn's voice. Spike didn't move. He continued.
He was still nipping at her throat. Willow sighed. Dawn giggled.
"Just a bit longer." He murmured. Like he was speaking of a warm bed when a busy day was calling.
Dawn giggled again. "I'm just gonna go over there and talk to Hoggle and Sir Didymus."
At Dawn's scream, Spike finally looked up, and he so did not like what he was looking at.
Jareth lunged forward and grabbed Sarah by the wrist when he felt the energy start to swirl around them.
"Be silent, woman. She's found us."
A second later they were standing in Jareth's throne room... with Glory on the throne. Jareth hissed at her for it. Sarah didn't realize it, but she placed a soothing hand on his shoulder. She raised an eyebrow at Willow and Spike lying on the ground... making out? Ludo was snoring blissfully next to them. Dawn was crouched down with Hoggle and Sir Didymus. Ambrosius was cowering behind them. Spike was still quite on top of Willow but looking at Glory with venom.
"Well, well. Isn't this a shock?" The hellgod said. "I thought you had the hots for slaygal, goldielocks."
"Things change." Spike snarled.
"And some things don't."
In a flash Glory had moved. She was holding Dawn off the ground by her throat.
"Put her down." Jareth said in a very even tone.
"I'm thinking no, sweetie pie."
"I'm thinking you had better before I put a hole through you." Willow said in a tone that was about two octaves lower than her normal tone of voice.
"Oh, look who's all bad now. You couldn't beat me before, Red."
Willow gently removed herself from under Spike. "That was then. And who're you calling Red?"
Her hair and eyes had gone black.
"Willow... no..." Dawn gasped.
"Will..." Spike whispered.
"Put her down." Willow waved her hand.
Glory seemed to involuntarily set Dawn upon the ground. The teenager started choking. She scrambled away to where Jareth and Sarah stood. Each of them put a hand on the girl. She was shaking like a leaf.
Willow seemed to study Glory curiously for a while... before she grinned wickedly. "Separate."
Glory gave a horrific scream as her body seemed to split down the middle like a dividing cell under a microscope. Dawn shivered. Jareth tightened his gloved hand on her. Sarah moved in closer to him without even realizing it. Then, suddenly, before them stood both Glory AND Ben.
Jareth sensed a weakness in her and took it upon himself to roll a crystal her way. It clinked beautifully across the throne room floor, and Glory involuntarily leaned down to grab it. She stood straight again looking at the sphere. There was a loud pop, a whiff of smoke, and a startled shriek. When the cloud cleared, in Glory's place stood a tiny little goblin with curly blonde hair. Ben looked down at her and snickered.
"Well, don't you make the prettiest goblin ever."
"What?!" She shrieked in a decidedly less goddess-y voice.
"Well, Madam..." Jareth began. "The lovely Willow separated you from your host, thus weakening you. It allowed me to alter your form... permanently. Welcome to the city beyond the Labyrinth. I'm Jareth... King of the Goblins. Your king."
"I assure you, my dear, I can make it that way." He looked at Dawn. "How do you feel about me sending her to the oubliette for a while?"
Dawn glared at Glory the goblin. "Sounds just peachy."
"Hey! Wait a minute-"
But with a snap of Jareth's fingers, she was gone.
"Wicked." Dawn whispered.
"Yes, she was."
Willow crumpled to the floor breathing heavily.
"Willow?" Spike moved next to her.
"No chance of that, Red."
"I can't... I can't... I swore I wouldn't, and I did."
"It's all right, pet."
Willow looked up at him. Her nose was bleeding. "It's really not."
"Oh bloody hell." Spike muttered.
Then she fainted.
Willow opened her eyes slowly. It was very bright, but she was in quite possibly the most comfortable bed she'd ever been in.
And someone was holding one of her hands.
Spike. He was sleeping silently in a chair next to her bed, holding her hand. The sunlight was hitting his blonde head just right, so as to give him the appearance of an angel's halo. Angel's halo. Sort of ironic.
Wait a minute... the sunlight?
"Oh Goddess!" She lurched up and threw a blanket over him before he fried.
"Bloody hell! What is it?! What's wrong?!"
Upon later reflection, it would be funny that a blanket with a pair of legs tipped off with black boots was running this way and that in no apparent pattern trying to manage something. There was a bit off struggling and Spike succeeded in getting the blanket off of him. Only to be standing directly in the light.
"Oh Goddess!" Willow flicked her hand, and all the shutters in the room slammed closed, bathing it in shadows.
"What ARE you doing?"
"Well, I don't want you all flame-y."
"What's that face?"
"I can't do that anymore, Red."
"I'm a daywalker now."
"I'm not a human, but not yet a vampire, pet."
"Thank you, Brittany Leers. Make some sense please."
"I'm not so human..."
"Can I finish?"
Willow rolled her eyes and tapped her foot a bit.
"I'm not exactly your typical vamp anymore either."
"Well, the bit and I have done a few experiments in the last two days-"
"That's how long you've been out, luv. And we discovered a few things."
"Just sleeping away."
"Wait a minute... what things?"
"I can do the sunlight thing now. I still need blood, just not as much. I still don't fancy crosses. No holy water about, so we didn't check that. I preferred not to test the old stake through the heart method. I still go all bumpy when I turn. This heart beats, and this skin is warm, yet I don't have to breathe. It's a bit odd."
She was just blinking at him.
"I don't know what to say." She swayed on her feet.
Spike rushed forward and ushered her back into the bed.
"Still all vamp-speedy, I see."
"You need more rest. You shouldn't have done the shutters. It was a big thing you did the other day. You tapped yourself out."
"I didn't want you all flame-y." Willow murmured as her eyelids drooped. "I think I sort of like you."
Spike's jaw opened in shock. She wasn't just.... she didn't just feel sorry for him? It wasn't all 'poor souled Spike all in love with a slayer who could never love him'?
He smiled a real smile and smoothed some hair off of her forehead.
Sarah sat rather rigidly studying the chessboard before her. Jareth was lounged back in the chair he was in with one leg draped over the arm. Just all sprawled out for anyone to see. She should tell him that he ought not sit like that in the particular pants he was wearing, but then he'd know she'd been looking, damn him.
He'd promised to alter time for them as soon as Willow was well enough and send them back when they had left, so Buffy and anyone else would be none the wiser.
It had been two days. Sarah knew Willow was still very weak, but Sarah was weak herself. Resisting Jareth took every ounce of strength she possessed. And the bastard knew of her struggle, damn his mismatched eyes that seemed to follow her every move.
Dawn was enjoying herself very much. And for that, Sarah was happy. The girl needed some enjoyment in her life. Strangely, she was rather fond of Jareth. Hoggle, Sir Didymus, and Ludo had taken the girl just about everywhere in the kingdom. The man Ben had decided to go off and make a life for himself here in the Underground. He knew the ways of healing and had set off to find a place to settle away from anything that reminded him of hellgods. The Glory goblin had been removed from the oubliette and set to cleaning the bathrooms. She was most displeased, but everyone ignored her whining because most goblins whined.
"It's your move, Sarah." Jareth purred.
"I know!" She snapped. "I'm thinking!"
"Don't think on it too long."
She scowled at him. Why on earth, or anywhere else, did she get the feeling he was not talking about their chess game?