Jareth found himself in a very odd position. He was bored. And lonely. The first part wasn’t odd at all. He was often bored especially with life in court. Fae court never really changed. There were ups and downs, of course, but overall the same games were played constantly by the same people as if the song and dance were the only things keeping them alive. For all he knew, it could be. But the loneliness. Ah, that was new. Absentmindedly, he slapped his riding crop against his left thigh.
Oberon observed his son and the girl in a scrying pool in his sacred glen. His son’s mate was young but even at so tender an age he could see in her a strength that could match a fae. Goodness knows, she’ll need it. The haughtiness of her jaw and the stubborn set of her chin pleased the High King. Jareth will certainly not be bored with this one. Oberon gave a fleeting thought to the Fae court troublemakers that would certainly NOT welcome a mortal queen. Then he shrugged. It was Jareth’s problem after all. He closed his eyes and concentrated. The fabric of magic was alive with anticipation. The Next Great Love Story was at hand.
Jareth could feel it too as he soared in the night sky. The only thing alleviating the boredom at all these days was flying Above. His owlish dreams told him to keep looking, that there was something important he was searching for. Whatever he was looking for, he couldn’t remember it in his humanoid form. Ah, the curse of being a bird.
The fates gathered together. The maid clapped her hands, “Let’s watch it again, let’s watch it again.” The mother warned, “The events haven’t been set in motion quite yet, it may not happen this way.” The crone scoffed. “Have you not seen the tapestries of the Weavers? It will happen EXACTLY that way; they are both too stubborn for it not to.” “Please, please,” begged the little girl. “Fine,” the middle aged Fate grumbling agreed. “Once more, and then it’s set aside until he finds her.” And together they watched the Next Great Love Story.
Linda stared down at him, he was so handsome, so charming. And she was so married. Although, after she told Robert of this, probably not for long. Jeremy stirred. He opened sleepy eyes the color of the sea and smiled at Linda. “’ ‘Ello, love,” he said quietly. Linda put away her fears and kissed her lover on his brow. Her return to his greeting was quiet. Jeremy watched Linda stew for a couple minutes, reflecting on his lover. A talented actress, she was wasted in this town. Sure, she had a family but she could have so much more. An established actor himself, Jeremy was only in the town as a favor to an old friend. He agreed to do the community play as a means of a vacation of sorts. The run was nearing an end and consequently so was the relationship between him and Linda. The very thought of relinquishing this woman gave him a strong feeling of disquiet. “Come away with me,” Jeremy hadn’t even realized he’d said the words until he saw her eyes widen. Well, he’d thought them off and on from the moment they met so he wasn’t too surprised to hear them finally. He sat up in the bed. Best to take the bull by the horns… “Linda, I love you. It’s true; I’ve fallen in love with you. I couldn’t… I mean…I can’t…what I meant to say is I’d never thought I’d find anyone like you least of all here. In this Podunk town you’re wasted, not physically, I mean. You’re wasted here, y’know? You’re incredibly talented and, and loving, and amazing. Please come back to New York with me.” Suave, debonair, Jeremy Eden was stumbling over words and rushing through his sentences. Linda hid a giggle. Her eyes darkened. “Jeremy, I have a child that needs me and a husband that loves me. I would like nothing more than to tell you that this was a mistake but I can’t. There’s something so right about you and I…but I have obligations and commitments…” “Hang commitments!” Jeremy bellowed. “Linda,” he said firmly. “This is about you. If everything else in the world disappeared except you and I, what would your answer be?” Linda hesitated. The tears were rolling down her cheek nonstop now. “You, I’d choose you.” She finally admitted on a quiet sob. “Then pick me Linda,” Jeremy told her gently. “Choose me, I won’t let you fall.” Linda closed her eyes…and jumped.
Oberon, watching in the glen, watched the proceedings intently. “Think it’ll work?” Tatiana said from behind him. “It’ll take a miracle.” He sighed. He kissed his wife. With a single “Buh-bye,” in unison they both disappeared from the glad. It had begun.
Jareth was flying again. This time with an urgency he’d not had before. Something momentous had occurred and he was needed. He still wasn’t sure of the where but could feel that he was getting closer…
Sarah was numb. That’s the way she’d been for days. Ever since her parents had sat her down and given her the “It’s not you, it’s us,” speech. She supposed her mother wanted her to feel grateful that she’d come back to explain that she left in person. But she was gone again, Jeremy had been waiting in the car after all and it wasn’t like Sarah wouldn’t see her for holidays or anything. And Robert had been left with a ten year old girl whose world had come falling down. He didn’t know what to do with her. She spent her nights crying and her days in a silent mourning. Her friends left her alone not knowing what to do with the child who was now the product of a broken home. Their parents issued warnings about the Williams girl fearing the consequences of the others if they were seen with the tainted two. Robert’s practice took a bit of a beating during this time. Despite that he threw himself into his work. Into the world that he knew and understood.
Again Jareth found himself above ground in his owl form flying with urgency. It was becoming more and more imperative that he find what he was looking for. He could feel the urgency growing. Please, please let me be on time.
Sarah retreated to her room. No one wanted to hang out with her anymore, no one wanted to play. It must be her. Never mind what daddy says he doesn’t even want her around anymore. Her friends were all gone with the exception of Merlin her dog. Her mother’s dog true but she’d abandoned him with the same lack of concern that she’d shown Sarah. Her tenth birthday had come and gone and there had not even been a message for her. Her mother claiming it was impossible for them to come down because of the new play and darling, you understand that mommy has a career now don’t you? And we’ll send something after the opening night. Surely you can wait a week; after all you’re a big girl now.
Jareth sighed in relief. There. That big white house was his destination. He flew one of the second story windows. He was drawn to this side of the house this window although he had no idea what was doing the drawing. It felt like magic this addicting presence and he only wanted to get closer. Upon the canopy bed rested a little girl eyes shut tight with big fat tears in her flowing down silently. Jareth changed forms and slipped into the room. He knew at once what she was to him. He’d waited centuries upon centuries for her. Her dark hair and classic features promised beauty even now. She’d called to him. He doubted that she knew what she was doing but she needed…something and he came to provide it for her. He sat down on the bed and stroked her back anxious to sooth her. With a small sigh she began to relax. He began humming a tune, his heart song. She would be the only female human or fae or any other to hear it.
There’s such a sad love deep in your eyes, a kind of pale jewel open and close within your eyes. I’ll place the sky within your eyes.
With the first verse her breathing deepened and Sarah began to fall into the first restful sleep she’d had since the divorce was final and she understood that her mother was never coming back.
When her father remarried, Jareth came back. She liked Karen a little. She understood that her father needed someone to entertain, to be with to talk to and to see to his adult needs. Well, Sarah understood this inasmuch as she was able being only thirteen at the time but she understood this concept as being far off into the future. Not right now. Right now what she saw was that she wasn’t enough for her father. Not good enough for her mother, her friends, and her remaining bastion against the world. Karen didn’t try to influence the opinion of her new stepdaughter. To be honest, Karen would have liked to have come into a house with no reminders of Linda or Sarah. But Robert was hers now and that was all that matters. His daughter was a little spoiled but she’d get over it sooner or later and even then she’d only be in the house for another five years before college anyway. She’d teach Sarah the basics of womanhood and send her on her way like a good wife should.
For the last three years of her life, Sarah saw Linda very seldom. Most trips to see her were canceled and her mother never came to visit after that awkwardly first time. Her mother was busy with her stage life in New York City and a gangly awkward child that lived in the clouds was not for her. And although Linda never said so, Sarah knew she was a disappointment to her mother. The beauty that was promised in her childhood seemed too had been delayed lending her limbs too big for her body and a painfully thin appearance. She would fill out over the course of puberty but until then this self-conscious child was too serious and too clingy for a woman who preferred to forget her former life altogether.
On Sarah’s birthday Jareth flew to her window. He watched as she hugged a ragged looking stuffed bear to her chest. He would never admit it but Jareth longed for the day that she would hug him as close and as tightly as she held the bear. That she would whisper to him the loving words he knew she had in her heart. But not yet, she was too old to turn and too young to keep. As usual he waited outside on a nearby tree branch until she was in bed and trying to search for slumber before flying into her room and changing forms. Like all his visits he set about soothing the young girl and singing bits of his heart song to ease her loneliness and to remind her that she was loved.
There’s such a fooled heart, beating so fast, in search of new dreams. A love that will last. Within your heart, I’ll place the moon within your heart.
The night her crush rejected her and told her horrible untrue things about her family, was ironically the night Karen announced she was pregnant. With a boy. An heir to the Williams name. Her father looked proud and thrilled and as the happy couple laughed and made plans, Sarah felt excluded and lonely. She went to her room and took down a tattered picture book with a laughing toddler on the front. Turning to her favorite passage she whispered, “I’ll love you forever and I’ll like you for always…”Throwing the book across the room. “They lied, “she said fiercely, lowly. She cried herself to sleep that night.
As the pain sweeps through, makes no sense for you. Every thrill is gone. Wasn’t too much fun at all, but I’ll be there for you-ou-ou as the world falls down. Falling, falling down. I’m falling in love.
Throughout her stepmother’s pregnancy, Sarah would often catch her father looking at Karen with a look in his eye that had once been for Linda. There was less and less time for Sarah. But after all, she should understand. Karen needed help around the house; she should be doted upon for she carried the heir. The expectation of Toby the boy became all that her father talked about. If Sarah asked to go on an outing the way they used to either one or both would entreat her to think of the baby. Always the baby.
When Toby was born and she entered high school for the first time. Because of her family situation, children that were once friends were encouraged by their parents and each other to leave that Williams girl alone. As if a broken home was catching. Sarah’s rich fantasy life didn’t do her much favors either in the friend aspect. Very few children understood the way a book could capture your heart and take you to other planes of existence. Craving the escapism of her stories made her aloof and willing to turn down the few invitations she got. Her reputation suffered all the more. Alone and outcast and finding her friends in the plays her mother sent when she remembered Sarah existed. Valentine’s Day, found her in her room humming a song she hadn’t realized she’d known. The words escaped her still although the melody was what she lived her days by. Unbeknownst to Sarah, a barn owl stood watch outside her window.
I’ll paint you mornings of gold. I’ll spin you Valentine evenings. Though we’re strangers till now, we’re choosing the path between the stars. I’ll leave my love between the stars.
At dinner the next night Karen revealed that she and Sarah’s father would be going out that night and would Sarah babysit? Sarah shrugged. It made no difference to her. She went back to making her favorite snack, bananas dipped in pizza sauce. That night, after her father and stepmother had returned Sarah found a book bound in red on her pillow. She read the entire book that night and dreamt of goblins.
Over the next six months, that small volume in red became the one thing she clung to. More specifically the words in the beginning, “What no one knew…” Sarah’s desire to be loved translated into a desire to be the object of affection for the king. She dreamt of him at night. She envisioned wild hair and mismatched eyes singing to her a song of heartfelt meaning. Every time she woke, however, the words had already disappeared from her memory. Even his face was unclear. When she took Merlin on his daily walks she would linger in the park and act out her story. Even though she had most of the story memorized she hadn’t quite got the end right. She always found herself faltering when it came to the RIGHT WORDS, the ones that would break the spell and bring her back to her real life. By fourteen, she had admitted to herself that the truth was if she was the girl of the story, she would never leave the king.
Throughout her sophomore year of school, the king of the Goblins began to take on a much clearer form in her dreams. He was a dashing man whose presence filled her with excitement…and fear. They would literally dance the night away and he would sing songs of romance and love in her ear. Sometimes, she’d dream that they were journeying through a wild and ever changing landscape where weird creatures big and small dwelt. And sometimes they would be still and she would dream that they were in her living room just talking and cuddling. She liked those dreams best of all.
Jareth watched Sarah and Merlin in the park. Unbeknownst to her, Merlin was a protector sent from the kingdom to guard the girl in plain sight until she fully matured. Already she showed signs of being as great a beauty as her mother. Perhaps even surpassing her one day, much to the dismay of that lady. Her wavy chestnut brown tresses and sparkling clear green eyes attracted many a youth but her sharp tongue soon had them shying away again. “My cruel, cruel Sarah,” whispered the hidden king. Her long coltish legs strode confidently in her chosen persona. “Our story again, I see.” Her slender frame acted with abandon in the park all thoughts of time far away from her…and her king.
Oberon sighed with impatience. That boy-king was supposed to have appeared before the court hours ago. He sauntered towards his private glen and shook his head ruefully. Truly, like father like son. He remembered his days of courting his precious Titania… Upon reaching the glen he waved his hand gracefully over the scrying pool. Rolling his eyes at his son’s lovesick antics he caused a clock to chime and rouse them from the waking dream they had fallen into.
Sarah looked dreamily towards the clock. Shooting it a double take she gasped. “Oh no, oh no, oh no. She’ll kill me.” Quickly gathering up her skirts the girl ran along the path back towards the stately Victorian house she lived in. A large barn owl took flight behind them.
Oberon narrowed his eyes. His child knew damn well that the chime was a summons. He was ignoring his father and king for a girl. With a thought and a gesture the skies opened up on bird, beast and girl. “Oh great,” thought Sarah. “As if things couldn’t get any worse. Life isn’t fair!” At that last thought thunder and lightning split the sky. She shrieked and ran faster. Unable to follow her anymore in his animal form, the king huffed and transported to meet his erstwhile parent.
“Yes father?” Sodden and annoyed, the boy-king of the Goblins stood in his father’s private glen with a fairly petulant expression on his face. “Son,” Oberon began clasping a hand on his shoulder. “It’s time you took a wife.” Jareth stared at the older fae. He needed to sit down. Drawing a crystal out of the air he proceeded to do just that. Surely, this was but a joke. His father would never have called him away from his beloved for such a small thing. Right? He even said as much. “Of course not,” Oberon harrumphed. Jareth raised a brow. Oberon shrugged his shoulders. “It’s a leftover trait from one of those damned fan fiction stories. Apparently I harrumph now. Anyway, someone has petitioned the court for your hand in marriage. A powerful someone.” Jareth sighed. “Sarah’s testing time is nearing anyway. I trust you can hold Milisant off until then? Once Sarah passes through there should be no objection as to her status as consort and queen. I trust you set the betrothal contract already, as agreed?” “Of course, my boy.” Oberon chuckled. Jareth tilted his head back onto the chair he’d conjured up and currently sprawled in. “Then we are on course.” All that’s left is to wait for her. The kings sat in companionable silence until Jareth felt that familiar tug. He sat upright and grinned at his father. “Showtime.”