Jareth leaned back in his throne and closed his eyes; another baby played in the pit at the base of his throne. The child had been wished away by, "Surprise, surprise, " he thought, an older sister. They all seemed the same to him, of all the children that had been wished to him, only two incidents really stood out in the Goblin King's memory. The most recent had been not so long ago, in terms of an immortal. Sarah had left an indelible impression on the Goblin King. He wasn't sure if what he felt for her was love or the lingering affects of her fantasies that he had helped her act out. The other incident had taken place many years before Sarah had even been a gleam in her father's eyes. Jareth sighed and allowed the memories of the past to wash over him.
Xander stood in the airport, in front of the gate his mother had told him that his cousin would be arriving at.
"Xander, why is your cousin coming again?"
"She is coming for an acting audition she got out here, and to visit. I haven't seen her since I was like twelve and she was fourteen."
"Xander is that you?" A girl with long brown hair waved as him as she approached the group. She picked up her pace as she saw it really was him and threw her arms around him in a great big bear hug.
Xander pulled back from the hug after a while, "Wow, Sarah you look great!"
"Thanks," she beamed at him, " you don't look so bad yourself."
Buffy and Willow cleared their throats, reminding their friend of their presence behind him.
"Oh, before I forget--"
"I think you already did, Xand-Man," Buffy cut him off, "I'm Buffy," she said with a welcoming grin.
"And I am Willow," the quiet redhead smiled at Sarah as well.
Sarah beamed back at them; it was great to finally be in California, her mother had told her so much about it. Even if she wasn't going to a Hollywood audition, it still was a step in the right direction.
"Well I bet you are dying to see the fancy digs we have set up for you."
"Yeah, and I can't wait to see your parents again,"
"Me neither," Xander mumbled under his breath, but not low enough for the girls to dismiss it.
Sarah walked next to Xander ahead of Willow and Buffy as they headed for the baggage claim. The two pairs were separated enough that they couldn't hear the other's conversation.
"So what do you think of her Buffy?"
"She seems really nice, not all creepy like the last out of towners we had."
"I hope not cause that would be some big time suckage."
"Majorly, especially since she is his cuz, and not a potential honey."
"I don't think Anya would take it well if she were."
"Tell me about it, I am surprised we got to go with him unchaperoned."
"Well we aren't totally alone with him, to have out wicked ways, I mean Spike is in the car. "
"I know, how come he has to be the only one with a working car?"
They reached the luggage claim area, fortunately Sarah spotted her luggage quickly.
"Xander, what's the matter?"
"Oh come on, I may not have seen you in a few years, but I can still tell when my favorite little cousin is blue."
"Nothing new Sarah," Xander dropped his usual defense mechanism of sarcasm and let Sarah know how he really felt, "I guess Mom and Dad, are just realizing that I am not the son they hoped I would be."
"Don't talk that way."
"It's easy for you to say that, you have a perfect happy life, you are living out your dream."
"One of them, yes. But, my life is far from perfect, and I wouldn't always call it happy. And Dad, well he tries to be supportive, but I can tell this isn't what he wants me to do and Karen, I think she is just happy that I am out of her house finally."
"How is that wicked step mother anyways?"
"Xander you are one of the few people that Karen seems to hate more than me."
"Well what can I say, when you have it, you should use it."
"I can't believe that you replaced her wedding ring with a Cracker Jack prize."
"Well.." Xander grinned at his cousin.
"I nearly died laughing."
Xander's grin grew, and he draped an affectionate arm over her shoulder.
The group continued on this way until they reached the black DeSoto. How Giles had managed to get Spike to play taxicab was beyond the Scooby Gang, especially when it was high noon.
"Gotta warn you, Spike is a tad, not happy todayhe is usually sleeping around this time"
"Yeah, we had to practically black mail him into driving us, since he doesn't like people borrowing his baby," Buffy indicated the car.
"OK, I will be sure to thank him then." Sarah frowned, Xander sure had some strange friends.
"Xander I will take the front so none of you have to deal with his errr.... crankiness and the rest of you can sit in the back, let me get the trunk key from him real fast," Buffy carefully opened the door to give Spike warning to dodge any stray sunbeam.
"Hey Spike, you awake?"
"Cor, Slayer, be more careful would ya? I don't want to be sunburned today."
"Hey I tried Spike. I am not here to argue right now, I need the trunk key so we can put Sarah's bags in."
"Oh sod it all, fine," he handed her the key, Buffy was about to dodge back into the sunlight," 'course I haven't opened it in a while, not since Dru and I killed that..." He was cut off by the car door slamming, he chuckled to himself and lit up a cigarette.
Back out side Buffy made her way to the trunk, she held her breath as she opened it, she looked down to find it surprisingly clean, Xander put Sarah's bag's in and Buffy shut it. No one noticed the glass orb that was partially underneath a blanket.
Buffy got in the car first and shut the door quickly; she pulled Spike's head into her lap to protect him from the sunlight that was about to invade through the backseat.
"Don't get any ideas Spike, this is just so I don't have to learn how to drive in this hunk of junk while sitting on a pile of dust."
Spike had been very shocked to say the least at having his head so nicely placed on Buffy's legs, his first reaction had been to curse at her, but her words had silenced him. The back doors opened just as Buffy finished talking, Xander was the first to get in, taking the middle seat, Willow and Sarah flanking him on each side. After Spike heard both doors shut he pulled himself out of the Slayer's lap and turned shifted in his seat to great the new comer.
"Spike, I still say that there is a quarter down there." Spike raised an eyebrow at this random remark from the Slayer.
"Oh is that what you were doing, I was wondering, I thought maybe you were sleeping in her lap, I am Sarah by the way." Sarah extended her hand across Xander and to Spike; he took it and kissed it winking at her.
"Hello, Cutie, I'm William the Bloody, but you can call me Spike." Buffy elbowed him in the ribs.
"Let's get going I am sure Sarah is tired from her flight, we can do that small talk thing on the way." Willow smoothed the situation over. Spike turned around, smirking at Buffy; Buffy stuck her tongue out at him and turned towards the blackened window.
The drove on in silence for a while, until Sarah's curiosity finally got the better of her and she leaned over to Xander and whispered, " Why are all the window's painted black?" Spike's super-natural hearing however picked up her question.
"Cause I like not being dust," he muttered under his breath. Sarah knew he had spoken but only Buffy had been able to tell what he had really said.
"Pardon?" Sarah asked, wanting to know.
"Spike was just muttering about the paint on his windows, he hasn't had time to scrape it off since some weirdo painted it on, " she emphasized the last bit by glaring at Spike, "it was some sort of practical joke," she clarified her lie for Sarah. Willow, Sarah and Xander chatted in the back seat until they pulled into Xander's driveway.
"Well Mates, this is your stop."
"Aren't you coming in?"
"'Fraid not luv, I don't want to be a--"
"At all late, yeah me neither," Buffy cut in, " but we will stop by on are way back from our pat-er..umm...shift."
"Sure thing luv." Spike smirked at Buffy, then turned and winked at Sarah.
Willow, Xander and Sarah got out of the car and got her luggage out as well. Sarah was about to follow them into the house when she realized she forgot something. She ran over to the driver's side of the car and threw open the driver's door.
"Hey Spike I just wanted to thank you for the drive, I know you kind of went out of our way for me, so thanks." With that, she shut the door on a petrified Spike and an almost equally scared Buffy.
"That's sums it up pretty well."
Spike gave a reverent look to the huge oak tree that was shading Xander's driveway, before he pulled away from the house.
"You can't stay here William, it isn't safe." The young girl tried to push her younger brother out the back door into the inky black night.
"I want to stay with you Penny," the boy's bright blue eyes looked up at his sister with fear reflecting in them, that mirrored her own.
"You can't," a loud pounding at the weak front door interrupted her," now there is no other way, William I am sorry, just remember I love you." She bent over and hugged him tight, tears streaming down her face.
"I love you too Penny, forever." His sister backed away from him and took a deep breath.
"I wish the Goblins would come and take you away, right now!"
With that, he was gone. A few moments later the Goblin King appeared ready to give his usual speech to a jealous older sibling, however he was shocked by the grim carnage that lay before his eyes.