Anya felt the pressure of time slipping away. She had never worn a watch. When she was an immortal demon, the passage of time didn't matter. When one was nearly 1200 years old, what does a year, or even a century, really matter in the grand scheme of things? Once she became mortal, the passage of time was too depressing to track. Each passing minute was one minute closer to wrinkles, decrepitude, senility and death. But just this once, she wished she had a watch. She needed to know how much time she had left to rescue Xander!
Illyria stalked through the maze as if she owned it. Anya frequently had to take little jogging steps to keep up. Well. That was good. Although a firm non-believer in the benefits of exercise, with the exception of sexual gymnastics, at least she no longer had to prod and cajole Big Blue every step of the way.
Illyria stopped suddenly and lost in her own thoughts, Anya ran into her. It felt like smacking into solid rock. Anya rubbed her nose and hoped it wasn't broken. She stepped around Illyria in an attempt to discover the cause of this abrupt stop.
There it was! Goblin City. She mentally reviewed her tasks. Find the Labyrinth
. Check. Solve the Labyrinth
. Check. Fight my way through Goblin City to the castle and convince Jareth to give Xander back.
Uh-oh. She was glad she had thought to bring Illyria along.
The city was surrounded by a high wall with a pair of twenty-foot high doors barring the way into Goblin City.
“They attempt to refuse us entrance.” Illyria tilted her head. “What mortal behavior do pond scum exhibit in response to this challenge?”
Anya thought. “I guess they'd—we'd—knock.”
“What is 'knock'?”
“You pound on the door with your fist.”
“This mortal behavior is acceptable.”
Illyria raised her fist and—knocked. The doors screeched open with the sound of tearing metal.
“I approve of this 'knocking'. I will incorporate this behavior into the greatness of Illyria.”
An ominous clanging sound sent chills up Anya's spine. Large hunks of metal were coming together and clanging into place. It was like one of those transformer toys Xander liked to play wi—collect.
A behemoth stood before them, a huge sword in its hand. A sword that was raising rapidly into the air. And Illyria just stood there studying it. They were in big trouble.
“I wish to do violence.”
“By all means. You go, girl!”
Anya covered her ears at the banging, clanking, screeching sounds that ensued.
I have no knowledge of this species, Anya. How is it terminated?”
“Best guess would be head or heart. Of course, certain species can only be killed by drowning or fire or . . . but I don't think this is one of those, so—off with his head!”
She'd always wanted to say that, and this was definitely an appropriate time.
Illyria launched herself into the air, twisting like those competitive divers she and Xander enjoyed watching during the Olympics, but Big Blue was diving upwards
instead of downwards. It was disconcerting. Illyria hit the behemoth's head with both feet and it went flying, landing twenty feet away with a loud clatter. It didn't resemble diving at all. Maybe the discus throw. . .
The headless thing kept coming toward them, slashing with its monstrous sword.
“Try the chest!” Anya yelled.
Illyria shimmered for a moment and then drew back her arm, leapt into the air again and punched a hole right through its chest.
“Ow!” A little voice complained.
Illyria tilted her head and reached into the chest cavity to remove—a goblin. It was still maneuvering the joy-stick that controlled the metal monster, but as the control stick was no longer attached, it had very little effect. Illyria held the chittering angry goblin at arm's length.
“It is attempting to communicate. I do not yet speak this goblin language.”
“I'm pretty sure that the gist of it is, 'Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain',” Anya suggested.
Illyria extended her hand and poked the behemoth with a forefinger. It fell over with a crash and broke into pieces. The goblin squirmed and hissed at her. She fixed him with an icy blue stare and he gulped and got very quiet. Illyria opened her hand and he fell to the floor and scampered away as fast as his little legs could carry him.
The tramp of marching feet warned Anya that, although they were now inside
the Goblin City, they were by no means finished with their quest. They still had to make it to the castle.
“Come on! Run!” she screamed.
“You wish to avoid a confrontation with these annoying creatures?”
“They are nothing. They will bow down before Illyria, God-King.”
“That's good, but we don't have time
. I have to rescue Xander.”
“This 'Xander' is your god?”
Anya snorted. “He's my fiance. Not in the least god-like. But he is
a Viking in the sack. He's funny and kind and nicely-shaped, when he stays away from the excess pizza and Dorritos, and he gives me lots of orgasms and I love him! I want him back, so we have to get to the castle. We avoid all the goblins we can; you fight the ones we can't avoid and—look out!”
A rain of arrows was falling toward them from the sky. Anya and Illyria ran.
Jareth stood looking down at the sleeping Xander.
“How you turned my world, you precious thing. You starve and near exhaust me. Everything I've done, I've done for you. I move the stars for no one! You've run so long, you're run so far. . . Your eyes can be so cruel—just as I can be so cruel. Though, I do believe in you. Yes, I do.”
He reached out to brush the hair from Xander's forehead. His hand trailed down the side of his face, enjoying the rasp of Xander's five o'clock shadow. Jareth smiled. “Soon, Xander. Soon you'll be mine and you'll forget all about Anyanka.”
“Anya?” Xander murmured. “Are you there, baby? Ahn?”
With a grin of triumph, Jareth's form shimmered and blurred. He crawled into bed with Xander. Xander pulled him close.
“Ahn, honey. Remind me never
to let the Buffster talk us into sushi in Sunnydale again. With all the fish-monsters and creepy-crawlies around, who knows
what's in it? And I've been having really weird dreams about goblins and stuff!”
Jareth's hand caressed Xander's chest, trailing his fingers down the happy trail. Secure in his glamour, Jareth planted a series of light kisses over his chest, pausing to lick and suck first one nipple, then the other.
Xander moaned. “Oh, Anya! Oh, baby . . .”
Jareth nibbled and nuzzled his way downward, enjoying Xander's enthusiastic reaction. His mouth closed over Xander's erection. He looked up. He wanted to see Xander's face as he pleasured him. Xander's eyes went wide with shock and then he screamed, pushing Jareth away.
“Bad dream, bad dream! No more sushi!”
Disconcerted, Jareth popped into the next room. Had his glamour slipped? It would be very embarrassing if his need for Xander was so great, he could no longer maintain the simplest of illusions.
He lifted the ornate, gilded mirror from the table and studied his face. Pure white skin, red ridges and lines . . . his glamour was perfect! He looked exactly like Anyanka. What in the world was the matter with the boy?
Anya and Illyria ran down the twisting streets of Goblin City, trying to lose the goblin army pounding after them, while still heading in the direction of the castle. Anya stopped abruptly. Had they gotten turned around? The tramping feet were now coming toward them. She whirled around. The marching army was coming from that
direction, also. They were being surrounded! She grabbed Illyria's arm, urging her into one of the small goblin houses.
“You wish Illyria to hide
from these lower beings?”
“Hiding is good! If they don't see us, they can't detain us and maybe they'll go right past and then we can slip out and get to the castle. I don't think you've quite grasped the mission. We're. Here. To. Rescue. Xander. Got it?”
“I wish to do more violence.”
The goblin army was milling in the street in confusion. The two forces had come face to face with each other without any sign of the interlopers. Some of the goblins were scratching their heads in puzzlement; others began fighting each other. Several enterprising goblins noticed the house on the corner and started toward it.
Anya snatched up a frying pan and hefted it. “Looks like you'll get your wish. We need more weapons!”
“What weapons are effective against these creatures? You will tell me.”
“I guess swords. Not sure about crossbows because of the armor and all. Blunt instruments. . .” Anya brandished her frying pan in demonstration. “Rocks . . .”
“Rocks.” Illyria stood perfectly still and tilted her head. Her eyes were glassy. There was something slamming at the front door, trying to batter its way in. Anya took up a fighting stance. Illyria still hadn't moved.
“Uh, Illyria? What are you doing?”
“I am calling the rocks.”
“Calling them what?”
“Calling them here.”
Anya didn't think that 'here' was a very innovative name, but she remembered the time she and Xander had broken up for 6½ hours and she had gone to the party at Lowell House with Spike. Spike had told her that Drusilla named the stars, giving them all the same name. Anya figured this was the same type of quirkiness.
Underneath the sounds the goblins were making, a low rumble caught Anya's attention. What new disaster was being unleashed upon them? The rumble was getting closer.
The door gave way, and a goblin burst into the house. Anya hit it on the top of the head with her frying pan. It's a good thing they're so short
, she thought as another took its place. The rumble was louder now.
Bam! Clang! Rumble! Bam! Clang! Rumble!
Anya looked outside. Rocks of all shapes and sizes—from stones to boulders—were rolling down the street. The larger ones bowled over the goblins in their path. Smaller ones flew through the air, knocking over goblins.
Anya looked at Illyria admiringly. “You did this?”
“You requested rocks. I called them.”
This was a much better talent than naming the stars!
Anya dispatched the goblins still trying to force their way into the house with the judicious use of her frying pan. The rest of the goblin army seemed to be running away—rocks in hot pursuit.
Anya raised her hand to slap Illyria's in triumph, remembered that it had hurt when Giles
high-fived her, and lowered it immediately. Illyria saw the motion, and accepted the salute as her due.Bong! Bong! Bong!
The sounds of a clock chiming reverberated throughout the Labyrinth. Anya turned paper-white and felt light-headed. Bong! Bong!
She couldn't have come this far only to fail. It wasn't possible!
“We're too late! We need to get to the castle before the clock stops chiming and I don't see any way we can do it!”Bong! Bong!
Illyria threw out her arm and opened a portal. Trustingly, Anya threw herself into it. She was skidding across the marble floor of the castle just as the thirteenth chime struck.
“Jareth! I'm here! Give me back my fiance, right now!”
Xander leapt out of bed. “Anya! I'm here, Ahn!” He yelled. Please let her really be here and I'll never eat sushi again. I don't even like sushi. Please don't make this be another sushi nightmare.”
“Xander! Where are you? I can hear you!”
Xander struggled to zip up the fly of his white satin pants—he didn't want to know—and threw his puffy pirate shirt over his head. Again with the not wanting to know. He found his thigh-high silver boots—Anya would never
let him live these boots down—and pulled them on.
“Keep talking, Ahn. I'll follow the sound of your voice.”
Anya stared as Xander—a vision in white and silver—appeared to be hanging upside down in the air as he climbed the underside of those floating staircases. She took a deep breath, and made a leap of faith. Xander caught her in his arms and suddenly the world seemed to be right-side up.
“You came!” he exclaimed.
“Not in the pleasurable orgasm way, but of course I did. Even if it was your own stupidity that got you into this situation in the first place. I love you, Xander. And if you ever do anything like this again, I'll eviscerate you myself!”
“You can invite anyone you want to the wedding. I'll even wear blood larvae—but no goblins!”
Anya smiled. “Silly! Men don't wear blood larvae. But the outfit you're wearing now would be perfect.”
“Well, well, well, Anyanka. You surprise me. You've put yourself through all that for this mortal. He must be something really . . . special.”
“He is. I love him, Jareth, and he loves me. We're going to be married and be very happy.”
Jareth tapped his cheek with an index finger. “And if I give you back your Xander, what do you offer me, Anyanka?”
She was momentarily tempted to offer to date him again, but then she thought of all the worry and aggravation he'd put her through, and besides, she was engaged to Xander now.
“I offer you . . . an introduction to a being worthy of your kingly magnificence.”
“I'm not worthy, I'm not worthy,” Xander interjected.
Jareth raised an eyebrow. “And just where would I meet such a 'worthy being'?”
“Illyria!” Anya called.
She shimmered into being. Jareth noted blue streaked hair, ice blue eyes, silvery-blue lips, long, lean frame encased in a leather catsuit . . .
“Jareth, this is the God-King, Illyria. She has an appointment elsewhere in April 2004, but until then, I'm sure you'll both be very happy and give each other lots of orgasms. Illyria, this is Jareth, King of the Goblins. He's really quite nice when you get to know him. He's just cranky because he's lonely, and who wouldn't be, with only those annoying little goblins for company. Xander and I would like to go home, now. It's been a very trying day.”
Anya walked over to Jareth and snapped her fingers in his face. He didn't even blink. He was totally enthralled with the greatness that was Illyria.
“Men!” They were all alike. Anya turned to Illyria.
“Illyria?” she questioned. Illyria thrust out her arm and opened a portal.
“Thank you,” said Anya.
“I will keep Jareth as my pet.”
Grabbing Xander's hand, Anya pulled him into the portal. He shut his eyes tightly.
He landed with an 'oomf'. Xander opened his eyes to discover he was flat on his back in what seemed to be a sarcophagus. Anya was lying on top of him.
“Where are we?” he asked.
“Bogglesworth mausoleum,” Anya replied, covering his face with kisses.
Xander made a sound that greatly resembled a purr.
“Well, as long as we're back home and you know where we are and since we're already lying down . . .”
“Shut up, Xander, and kiss me!”
He did so.The End