I do not own or profit from Labyrinth or any of it's characters. However I will go on record if they are giving Jareth away, I will find room :)
Sarah Williams sighed as she unlocked the door to her apartment. As she pushed it open, the dancing tappity tap of her dog's paws made her smile even after a hard day.
"I know I know. You're hungry and you want a walk." She said as she threw her purse and keys on the table then crouched to pet and rub the dog's head.
Scarface was a Rottweiler mix. 90lbs and scary only due to the fact he had an ugly scar across his face, hence the name. She had gone to the shelter thinking she would end up with a cute little poodle or something, but those big brown eyes had drawn her in. When the AC officer had told her he would be put down soon as no one wanted him, that made up her mind. Scarface was leaving with her. She tried to change his name but he seemed to like it.
She didn't regret it. Scar proved to be a sweet pile of dog love that also made people think twice before bothering her or her apartment. They didn't have to know he would be more likely to lick them to death than anything else. Truthfully she had been lucky enough he had never really been put to the test, but she had a feeling if there was ever any real danger to her life, the dog would step up.
Goodness knows what had happened to him before, but whatever it was, it hadn't made him wary of loving another human.
She fed him and took him for a walk, then ordered Chinese food and took a shower. By the time she was done the delivery guy was at the door and she could happily curl up on her couch with the tv, her favorite chow mein and her dog. A perfect evening in her mind.
Flipping through the channels she found an old movie and settled in, sharing little bit of food with Scar as he made sure to watch every bite she took, eyes wide and pleading. She couldn't resist.
After the movie was over, she got into her pajamas and got into bed, Scar hopping up and laying loyally beside her as she fell quickly asleep.
tap tap tap...tap tap tap...
A few hours later, a soft but persistent tapping woke her.
"Whaaa..?" Sarah mumbled as she sat up. Then she heard something else.
Looking around she saw Scar was not beside her, but he was definitely in the room. The growl was close.
"Scar. Come here." She commanded.
tap tap tap...tap tap tap..
Sarah flipped on the small lamp by her bed and saw the dog. He was sitting on her chair in front of her old vanity staring into it.
Sarah's blood ran cold.
It had been 13 years and still she could not get it out of her head. It was always there in the back of her mind.
She got up and grabbed the baseball bat, carefully approaching the mirror.
tap tap tap..
"Sarah?" A faint voice called. She suddenly had a terrible case of the chills.
Scar's growls got more intense.
She slowly walked into line of sight of the reflective glass, apprehensive of what she might see.
She saw a flash of movement in the glass and she jumped.
"Sarah!" Came from behind her.
She turned swinging the bat as the dog was in front of her in a flash in between her and whomever had appeared.
"S..S..Sarah it's me! Hoggle!" The little man crouched eyes wide and scared as the dog was inches away from him.
Sarah sighed with relief. "Hoggle! You scared me half to death! Come Scar. It's okay..he's a friend!" She said as she tugged him back by his collar.
She shoved between Scar and Hoggle urging the dog to the other side of the room. She petted him for a few minutes and calmed him down as Hoggle sat on the floor and tried to recover from his fright of Scar.
She ended up sitting on the bed holding his collar. He had calmed but was eyeing the small man warily.
"I'm glad to see you, but what are you doing here? I haven't seen you since I left home." She asked.
"Was easy back then. Now ain't so easy. Things have been goin' on. That's what I came to tell ya. I came to warn ya."
She felt fear creep back in. "He's not coming after me is he?" Sarah asked, alarmed.
Hoggle shook his head. "Ain't Jareth. He gave me this." He held out a small crystal.
"He wanted me to tell ya. This gives me just enough magic to come to ya. He wanted ya to be prepared."
Sarah's lifted her brow. "Prepare for what?"
"See, there is this thing. Well 13 is a 'portant number. Ya know that. 13 hours, 13 days, 13 years. 13 centuries. BIG deal to the muckety mucks underground."
"Jareth got in lotsa trouble after you won. They think he let ya win. Which he kinda did. Cause he lost his head over ya then. You weren't s'posed to leave. But you were young. He felt bad about that, though not so much ya noticed, the rat. So he kind of made it easy on ya."
She was surprised to hear that. "He...liked me?' She squeaked out.
"Sure we all knew then. Tried to tell yas. Ya get to the center of The Labyrinth ya never get out again. Wasn't lyin. He let ya leave ya know. There were things he coulda done to make sure ya never won."
"But..what are you here for?" Sarah asked again.
"13 years. It's almost 13 years. He will be facing his trial to regain his throne."
Sarah's jaw dropped. "He hasn't been king all this time?"
"Yes an' no. He has a regent in his place now. If he wins his trial he will get it back."
She was apprehensive about all this. "How does this affect me. I mean, why do I have to know all this?"
"Because Sarah, you're his champion. Ya are the only one he is allowed to call upon for help. He's gonna need it too. he is powerful but the won't let 'im use magic. Ya will expected to appear and agree or refuse."
"Where? The Underground? I can't go back there! I have a job, I have Scar! When will this happen?" Her voice rose with her concerns.
Suddenly there was a distinct whooshing noise.
"Now, as it happens." Came a deep voice beside them.
I already posted the first 7 chapters on FFN so thought I would post it here too. Enjoy!
Sarah pivoted at the sound of this new voice and Scar started growling again.
There stood a tall dark man who practically glowed with magic.
"Miss Williams, I presume." He bowed his head.
"Who...you're not Jareth." Sarah said.
The man rolled his eyes and chuckled. "Thank the Gods. My brother seems to have a knack for trouble I wish to avoid. I am Jorwyn. Old and wiser, I hope, than my dear sibling."
Hoggle was bowing. "Yer Majesty."
"Ahh. Thank you Sir Hoggle. No need to fear me dear. I am acting regent of The Goblin Realm. I let Hoggle come first to put you at ease. I give you my word and bond I mean no harm. I am here to to make sure you arrive at Jareth's trial safely. Did you activate the crystal?"
"Ummm..okay. Nice to meet you, I think. No I just got it. Maybe you can tell me exactly what the hell is going on?"
He smirked at her. She noticed when he did that he looked like his brother. "No matter. I'm sure it's just Jareth commanding you to refuse. You see, Jareth had a rather spectacular fall from grace once you were allowed to win and leave. My brother is impulsive, brash, young by our standards. He is however the most powerful magician that has ever been known. Being such he was granted Kingship over The Labyrinth far before he should have. The Realm thrived for centuries, we thought it was secure. Then you my dear girl. You turned his world upside down and inside out. Imagine one of us becoming enamoured of a mortal teenager!" He tsked. chuckling.
Sarah's eyes narrowed. "Hey now. I don't care who you are. I don't care what anyone says. I won that game fair and square. Maybe I'm just a mortal but I kicked your brother's pale ass, fancy pants."
This cause the man to laugh harder. "I can see why he liked you. Feisty little one your are."
Sarah put her hands on her hips and glared at him. "I can see the resemblance now. Condescending jerks, both of you. If he liked me he had a funny way of showing it. Anyway, what am I supposed to do? I'm not going anywhere without my dog."
The darked haired man turned his head just far enough to see the creature standing beside her, growling at him.
"Gods what an ugly thing. Is that even a dog?" He said.
Sarah had heard about enough. "Look you can insult me. I can fight back, but do not talk about my dog. He goes or I don't."
Jorwyn rolled his eyes again. "Fine. The dog can come. Get dressed please. In something suitable." He said as he eyed her nightwear.
"What? Now?" Sarah gasped.
"Yes. you'll be home soon enough. It will be like mere minutes have passed. It may be a day or two there though so pack an extra set of clothing."
Sarah nodded and got some jeans, a long sleeved shirt and a sweatshirt and took them to the bathroom and dressed, then put on her socks and hiking boots. She grabbed her backpack and threw in a bag with travel toiletries, 2 pairs of jeans, 2 t-shirts and undergarments in it as well as a few other "just in case" necessities.
"Oh wait." She remembered something. She went to the kitchen and grabbed several cans of dog food and stuck them in a paper sack, grabbed his leash and snapped it to Scar's collar. "Had to get food for Scar. Alright." She told the man now picking things up from her vanity and examining them.
He was holding a bottle of her perfume as he looked her up and down. "That will not do for court, but I can make you a dress easily enough." He sat down the bottle. "Close your eyes and hold on to the dog. Hoggle go ahead please."
Hoggle disappeared then Jorwyn wrapped an arm around her while she wrapped an arm around her dog.
She felt the floor disappear and before she could cry out she was on her ass on rough stone. Scar whined and proceeded to vomit up his dinner next to her.
She petted and calmed him before standing up and looking around. "Where are we?"
"Goblin Castle, dear." Jorwyn said from across the room sitting on Jareth's throne. "Goblins! Clean that up would you?"
She spun around. "Wow. it's so much..cleaner."
"My brother was never known for neatness or having a love for housekeeping. I will not live in filth while I am here. Which if the Gods allow will not be much longer. I am not fond of this place. My brother seems to enjoy rustic charms but I refer the civilized world."
He stood up and beckoned her to follow. "Come girl. I will show you to a room. Bring the dog. I will also order some breakfast for you and some meat scraps for him. Once he feels better he will be hungry."
She followed him, leading Scar on the leash. As they made their way through the castle, she gaped at the tapestries and statues. Eventually they stopped in front of a wooden door which he pushed open and gestured for her to go inside.
Sarah led Scar into the room. It was large with a huge canopy bed, fireplace, a table and chairs, a bookshelf heavy with books and various other pieces of furniture and decor.
"The bathroom is through that door. The wardrobe is there." He pointed.
He walked to it and chanted in a strange language. "There. Now when you open it, there will appropriate clothing. They will conform to your shape and size perfectly."
She opened the wardrobe and ran her hands over velvet and silk. "Thanks. When is Jareth's trial?"
"Later, after midday. It is still quite early for both above and here. If you would like, get some rest and food will be waiting for you when you awaken. I will send a maid to help you dress."
"I think I can manage." Sarah laughed. "And I'm wide awake now."
"As you wish. If you need anything do not hesitate to ask, girl." Jorwyn said.
"If you're Jareth's brother..I mean, how big is the underground? How many of you are there?" Sarah wondered as she turned to see him making to leave.
He turned back around, his dark eyes amused. "We number in the tens of thousand I would suppose. We used to be almost as numerous as humans, then came The Great War and Separation, and now we are slowly dying out. This is why the children are needed from above. To keep us procreating. Mortals are far more fertile than we."
"You mean you..." Sarah felt herself getting unreasonably angry.
"Don't turn them into goblins? Of course not. They are adopted and eventually they marry into our society and have families, live normal lives here. Such mortal borns are quite coveted here as mates. Especially females. Then tend to not lose their fertility even with immortality.
"What about the boys?" Sarah had to ask, wondering what Toby's fate would have been.
"Not as highly coveted. Male immortals are not so infertile as female, but still they highly prized for the fresh blood they bring to our kind."
"What about Jareth..I mean doesn't he have a...mate? Or potential mates?"
Jorwyn laughed at the very thought. "Jareth? Oh my dear little mortal, he is chased after by every single female in the realm, and many males, though he prefers women personally. He has quite the reputation you might say. But no..he is not bonded or in the process of being bonded. Not many women want to have the...honor of ruling this place. Though they do enjoy his affections a great deal and he is never without a paramour or two. As I said, he is always in high demand, but being The Goblin Queen is considered a low position." He gestured around. "Even my own wife will not stay here but visits when I ask her. I would not force her to stay here. She would go insane. Now, if you excuse me, I have a great deal to get done before we leave for the court."
He bowed low and left.
Sarah walked around the room, touching the luxurious bedding running her hand over the heavy wooden furniture. Scar sat on the rug and watched her, panting and whining slightly.
The door burst open, startling her and the dog. He ran and hid behind her, trembling and growling.
"So much for having a big scary dog to protect me." She said as she shook her head and looked behind her at the frightened animal.
Several goblins wheeled in a squeaky and rather rickety looking cart.
"Food!" One announced in a loud high pitched voice. "King ordered food be brung to you and the beastie! Best we gots!"
Sarah had to laugh at the bumbling creatures. Stumbling over each other to put some covered plates on the table, arguing among themselves.
"Watch it Dinky!" "Ahhh! Hot!" "Stupid!" "Shut up." "Why I oughtta.." "Stop it!"
It was like watching the goblin version of The Three Stooges.
They got everything on the table and lastly placed a bowl with bones and meaty bits on the floor. "For The Lady's monster!" A Goblin wearing a pot for a hat announced proudly.
Sarah approached the table. Well it smells okay, she thought. "Thanks guys. Really. You did a great job."
They turned and stared at her. "What?" They said in unison.
"I said thank you." She replied tilting her head.
They whispered among themselves then turned back to her. "Ummm..you is welcome Lady?" It came out as a question. They must not be thanked very much, she thought.
"Now shoo. I need to eat and feed Scar." She smiled as she said it.
They just stood there, confused.
Sarah sighed. "Alright have it your way. Get your goblin hides out of my room or I'll ask the King to bog you all!" She yelled.
They squeaked and screamed as the dashed out the door, tripping over each other as they ran...but she could hear them giggling and chattering as they got further and further away.
Sarah sat at the table and laid her head in her hands, laughing. "Little weirdos." Still, she found them endearing.
She lifted the trays and found scrambled eggs, bread and butter, and some sort of fried meat she figured she would be better off if she didn't ask the origins of.
There was also a pot of tea, sugar and milk.
"Come Scar. Got goodies for you!" She said.
The dog walked slowly to her, having been thoroughly traumatized by now.
When he got within reach she held a piece of meat from his bowl up to him. He sniffed if gingerly then licked it. finding it agreeable, he dove into his food.
Before she ate, she picked up Jareth's crystal. "I wish I knew what was in this crystal."
It popped, leaving a piece of thick parchment.
Soon someone, I am presuming my brother, will come to you. Refuse whatever you are asked to do. It would be for the best. Your presence is not required nor do I want you to attend.
I wish you well in all you do.
~Jareth, King of the Goblins~
This confused Sarah. They say she was required but he says she isn't? She decided to ask Jorwyn about it later.
The food had turned out to be quite tasty. She figured the cook must not be a goblin she thought as she ate. The eggs and butter fresh, the bread warm. She filled up then pushed back from the table, sated.
Sarah stood up and stretched, walked to the balcony doors and pushed them open.
What she saw took her breath away. The Labyrinth stretched out before her as far as the eye could see.
"It really is beautiful here. Amazing." She mused. The lush green forests and hedges, sandstone walls, the fairies, butterflies and birds, all brightly colored flitting here and there. She could see a huge overgrown flower garden off the side, riots of color winding together.
Her fingers itched to tame that garden. She loved flowers and gardening. Digging her fingers into the soil and bringing such beauty into the world. It had been a long time since she had gotten to do that. Ever since she left her small hometown to relocate to the big, overcrowded city.
She smiled and breathed in the clean sweet air.
Her eyes popped open at that thought. "Why am I not more weirded out to be here? I should be freaking out and I'm standing here like I am right at home?" She said out loud to no one.
She shook her head at herself. "Get a grip."
She went and sat on the bed across from the open doors. Scar having finished his food hopped up next to her and laid his head in her lap. She laid back as she petted him, feeling drowsy.
"Mmm..maybe just a few minutes. I need to rest my eyes." As she finished the thought she was out like a light.
knock knock knock...
She sat up suddenly. "Not again!" She said. It took a minute to realize what had happened was not a dream.
knock knock knock..
"Coming!" She dashed across the room and opened the door. There stood a beautiful woman dressed to the nines.
"You are Lady Sarah?" the woman asked.
"Yes?" Sarah answered. "Who are you?"
"I am Queen Penelope. Jorwyn's wife. He sent for me and my servant Gwennie.." She pointed to the girl behind her. " thinking you might need a woman's companionship and help."
Penelope was as fair as her husband was dark. With pretty blue eyes that shone with nothing but kindness.
"Sure come in." Sarah opened the door wider.
"We need to get you ready quickly. It is less than an hour to Jareth's trial." The blonde said as she ushered Sarah to the wardrobe.
Penelope flung the doors open and started going through the clothes."Let us see..noo..not that..oh that is hideous.. wait here we are." She help up a pretty green dress.
"This would be perfect on you dear!" She began tugging at Sarah's clothes.
Sarah squirmed a little."Umm...I think I can get dressed myself."
The woman had the grace to look apologetic. "Oh I'm sorry. I didn't mean to be too forward. I forget humans aren't used to such things. You will need help dear. Trust me. If you would remove your clothing we can get started. No need to be shy."
Sarah, blushing, took off her clothes except her underwear and bra. Her skin prickling at the loss of warmth her clothes provided, which made her shiver.
"Goodness but you are pretty one!" Pennelope declared. "A fine figure! How I envy your curves!"
Once Sarah put on the appropriate undergarments, The servant girl held out the dress so Sarah could step in and pulled it up her body.
She then laced up the back. "Hold your breath please, My Lady." She asked. Sarah did so.
It was tight but not uncomfortably so.
Penelope picked up her hand and told her to sit. Sarah listened as she recited in that same unknown language her husband had used, She felt tingling over her face and head.
"Perfect!" Penelope said as she stood back. "Don't you think Gwennie?"
Gwennie nodded enthusiastically. "She is lovely, My Lady."
Just then Scar peaked out from the other side of the bed and whined loud, startling the two women.
"Oh Gods what on earth is that?!" Penelope gasped.
Sarah refrained from laughing. "That's my dog, Scarface. At this point it is safe to say he is more scared of you than you are of him. He has had a rough day."
Scar looked at his human with big pleading eyes. "How do I look Scar?" Sarah asked, twirling.
He turned and stuck his head under the bed, whining.
"Thanks." She said to the dog wryly.
"He ...is safe?" The servant girl asked shyly.
Sarah did laugh then. "Yes. He is fine. He won't hurt a fly. Will he be okay here until I get back?" Sarah asked the queen who was walking around Sarah, tucking in this and fluffing that.
"I will inform the king and I will make sure food and water is left in the room and for the door to be locked. Goblins are curious little creatures. I can barely stand to be around them most days. I am glad Jorwyn let's me stay home and occasionally visit. There!" She stood back.
She walked Sarah to the mirror. "Aren't you a vision!"
Sarah's mouth fell open. The dress was a bright emerald velvet, long sleeved and off the shoulder. The sleeves came down to points on the hands and was trimmed in ivory lace around the top of the bodice. It wasn't anything ostentatious like her peach dream dress, but it was fancier than anything she had ever worn.
The woman had used her magic to pile her hair atop her head with perfect curls falling down to her shoulders, flawless makeup and even a pair of matching earrings. When she had walked to the mirror she noticed on her feet were matching low heeled slippers.
"Thank you...this is all happening so fast!" Sarah said to the women. "I feel like I'm getting married or going to prom or something."
"I'm not sure what a prom is, but oh if only. Jareth needs to settle down. Might tame him and get him to behave." Penelope said.
"Not to me! I mean I'm not marrying him! That's not what I meant!" Sarah exclaimed.
Gwynnie giggled behind her and Penelope gave her a stern look. "I am a woman. We know these things. If he had not been interested this whole mess would not have happened."
"I was a child." Sarah told the woman.
"Of course you were dear. In the above. Here many ladies are betrothed quite young even if they do not marry for a long time."
Sarah just stood there letting everything sink in. No point in arguing anyway.
"Come now. We must be off." The queen commanded. She pushed Sarah ahead of her disregarding her protests. Waving an arm behind her a large bowl of water and more meat scraps appeared on the floor. "Your beast will be fine."
Sarah was practically dragged down the stairs and into the throne room where the king paced back and forth. He stopped when he caught sight of Sarah. "Well then. That's more like it. You like like a fine lady and not a ruffian. Now the court will not laugh you out of the room."
"Now wait a minute..." Sarah started to protest.
"Not now girl. We must hurry. Take my hand and keep hold of my wife's please." The 3 winked out of existence.
In seconds they were facing huge gold doors. Sarah was still trying to let her stomach catch up with the rest of her and stop her head from spinning.
A guard bowed low and knocked on the doors which caused them to open.
"King Jorwyn and Queen Penelope of The Dreamers Kingdom!" Said a loud voice.
Sarah's eyes were huge and she was looking around for the source of the voice but couldn't find it. She was hustled inside the cavernous room and once again was practically dragged down a large aisle. On either side People stared at her and whispered as they wondered who she was.
"Wait..what is..." Sarah started to say when she was interrupted by the voice.
"Royals and laypeople, Ladies and Lords, please be seated! We will start momentarily."
Sarah was standing at the front between the king and queen. She was completely befuddled and was trying to figure out what was going on.
She whispered. "Is this the trial or something else?"
"Hush!" Jorwyn said. "Yes."
Sarah nodded and was silent.
Trumpets blew and a line of people in formal robes walked across in front of them to a dais at the end of the room, each taking their seats.
As soon as everyone was settled a speaker stood. "We gather here to try, Jareth, King of the Goblins and Lord of The Labyrinth, for breaking one of the fundamental rules of his station. Letting a mortal win. He failed in his role as Lord, and gave said mortal immortal magic. The law is, if a mortal wins, The sitting Goblin King must perform the trials to regain his throne."
"I don't have magic." Sarah hissed under her breath. Which got her several dirty looks.
"Bring the prisoner forward."
Sarah held her breath. She was both apprehensive and unexplainably excited, because she knew who was was about to make an appearance.
Sarah heard the doors open behind her. Her heart leapt into her throat and pounded against her breastbone. She had not seen him since that night.
She heard the guard's footsteps as they stomped up the aisle, and within that stomping noise, leisurely boot clicks she knew all too well.
Sarah screwed her eyes shut and took a deep breath, opening them slowly.
The Goblin King was not 3 feet away from her, staring at her.
"You! What is she doing here! Jorwyn! What is the meaning of this! I told you not to bring her here!"
Sarah gulped. Fear temporarily gripped her but she forced it back.
She was not one to back down. She made her back ramrod straight and looked him right in the eye.
"Apparently, Goblin King, I'm hear to save your ass."
The crowd erupted and Jareth lunged to grab her.
He was pushed back by guards and Jorwyn stepped in front of her to shield her from his rather irked brother.
"You know I had no choice in the matter Jareth." He answered. "By right she is required to be here. She must do her duty as your Champion."
Sarah turned to Jorwyn. "His note said I didn't have to be here."
Jorwyn ignored her.
Jareth eyes blazed at Sarah. "I need no champion. Take her home. I do NOT want *her* here."
Sarah expected he might be upset, but the way he looked at her was not only frightening, it made her a little sad. She didn't care for him much but she certainly didn't hate him. "I will do this alone!" He commanded loudly.
"SILENCE!" Came from the dias. Everyone froze. "Your Majesty, approach." The man at the head of the table demanded of Jareth.
Surprisingly to Sarah, he did, though he took the time to send a searing look of ire at her before he did.
"This is your Champion. This girl beat the Labyrinth." The man said matter of factly.
"Yes." Jareth ground out.
"Come here girl." The man who spoke to Jareth said to Sarah.
Jorwyn squeezed her hand and tilted his head as a gesture to go forward. Sarah slowly, reluctantly did. She was even with Jareth but stayed out of arm's reach.
"Your name, mortal." The man said. Up close Sarah could see he looked barely past middle age but n his eyes you could see the wisdom of thousands of years.
"Sarah Williams...sir." She answered.
"You can refuse. But he cannot tell you to refuse. If you choose to abdicate your place as champion, you may go home and have your memories removed. You will never know you have ever been here today if you wish."
"Refuse, Sarah. Don't be a fool." Jareth growled.
Sarah turned to address him directly. "Don't tell me what to do. You don't want my help. Fine." Sarah turned and walked down the aisle as Jorwyn chased after her. "Please Sarah wait."
Sarah was fuming. How dare he. What an asshole! Fucking Jerk! She thought as she made it to the doors.
She was jerked back and found herself looking up at Jareth's brother. "Sarah I know he can be difficult but please listen.."
The booming voice interrupted again. "The Champion of The Goblin King has chosen. Jareth will undertake the trials alone. If he wins, he will retain his throne. The penalty for losing is death."
Sarah stopped. "What did he say?" She asked Jorwyn.
"That is what I was trying to tell you. Maybe I should have earlier. If you do not help him, if he loses..he will die. My brother is many things. He drives me insane. He is my only family. As a king I am unused to begging..please. You are his best chance."
Sarah sighed. Damn damn damn. She could not let that happen. He may be an jackass, but she did not want to see him dead.
She moved past Jorwyn and power walked back up the walkway pushing people out of her way.
"Wait a minute here. I did NOT choose." She said. "I did not say yes or no. I need to speak!" She raised her voice until everyone quieted and looked at her. "Fine. I accept. I'll help The Goblin King. I'll be his...champion. " She turned to Jareth whose expression was one of shock that she defied him. "But you HAVE to stop pissing me off or we are are going to end up killing each other."
He crossed his arms and glowered down at her. "You are a fool. I will have to watch out for you every moment and you will most likely not survive in any case. I will have no magic to protect you."
"I will protect my damn self. Let's just get this over with. What do I need to do?" She addressed this question to the man who was obviously the leader here.
"You and The King will be placed in the Northern Forest. You will have 13 days to get to The Labyrinth. If you do not make it you will forfeit. You will return above and The Goblin King will be put to death. If you do make it, from the time you cross into the Labyrinth, you will have 13 hours to reach the castle. Consequences for failure are the same for Jareth. Also, as you will have lost the Labyrinth, the child you won back will be returned."
Sarah went rigid. "Wait what?! No! you can't have Toby! Let me think.."
"You have accepted Champion. It is done. You will return to the castle and report tomorrow at dawn. Be prepared." Then he turned and walked away.
"Jareth you can't let them take Toby! I won!" Sarah begged The Goblin King. She was frightened for her now teenaged brother.
"I tried to warn you. You refused to listen. Now we must win or all of us will suffer." Jareth scolded her like a father to a child. "If you would have refused it would just be me at risk."
"Jareth I..." But she wasn't allowed to speak to him further, he was led away.
She turned her ire of Jorwyn and Penelope. "You did NOT tell me they would take Toby back. You can't have him!"
Jorwyn stood tall. "We do what we must do to save our kin. Certainly you can understand that. We must go Sarah. Penelope will return with us."
The Queen bowed in acquiescence to her husband.
One more time Sarah was pulled down the same infernal aisle and as soon as they passed the doors, all she saw was black as her head swirled and she knew they were leaving.
Sarah was livid. She tried to work off her energy by walking around the castle. It didn't work. She finally returned to her rooms, changed and bathed and laid on the bed, fuming.
Scar crept up on the bed and laid his great head on her stomach.
"What Am I going to do? I don't want to stay here. I have to protect Toby. He may be 14 now but he is still my baby brother. Gah!" She turned and pounded the pillows.
Hot tears traveled down her cheeks. "How did I get back into this?"
Scar moved up and licked her face, whining. Sensing her distress."What will happen to you Scar?"
She felt a change of air pressure. "Your friends are here and demanding to see you, should I send them up?" Jorwyn said.
She pretended she didn't hear him.
"Just so you know, I did not know about your brother having to come back. I would not do that to anyone. I know what it is to want to protect someone."
He moved closer to the bed and continued. He knew she was awake and could hear him. "Sarah, I told you Jareth is difficult. That is true. He is also my blood. When we were children...our parents.. well they were murdered. Jareth blames himself to this day because those responsible wanted his magic. They died protecting him. It is my duty to do the same."
She sniffed and sat up. "I think he can protect himself quite well."
"You are right. He can. I must do everything in my power to tip the scales in his favor. I believe you will be able to assist. You are incredibly strong willed."
"What will happen to Scar?" Sarah asked.
"He can remain here, or you may be able to take him with you. He is not magic and would not affect the journey, we can ask. If not, maybe your friends will volunteer to take him on while you are gone. I swear on my life, nothing will happen to your beast." Jorwyn declared.
"Please, send them up." Sarah said almost a whisper.
He nodded once and left, and the 3 appeared seconds later.
A chorus of "My Lady!" "Sawah!" And "'Bout time!" all ran together, making her smile as she flung herself off the bed and into their arms. Didymus even had Ambrosius with him.
The old friends sat on the floor and talked, reminiscing. They made her laugh and she was grateful for their unconditional friendship. Scar got along famously with Ambrosius and oddly enough took a liking to Ludo, and Ludo liked him too.
After several hours Hoggle insisted they leave, as Sarah needed to rest. He stayed behind as the others went out the door.
"Wish we could go with ya Sarah. Ain't allowed for any of Jareth's subjects though. You will win. I know ya will. If they won't let ya takes the dog The King will let us know and I will take 'im to my cottage. Kinda small but it'll do. Ya know nothing' will happen to 'im."
Sarah bent down and hugged him tight. "Thank you Hoggle I think I will take you up on that. Scar would be better off here. I'll be fine. The Rat will be fine." She said grinning at her use of his nickname for Jareth.
When she was alone, Sarah sat on the lounge next to the fireplace and pulled a blanket off the bed and made herself cozy.
It was going to be a long night.
Sarah stretched and yawned, watching Penelope flurry around the room. She had thought she would not sleep and didn't even realize she had until there was a pounding on her door.
"Now, Lady Sarah you should really wear this, it is a good traveling outfit." The Queen was saying as Sarah sat on the lounge she had slept on. She was holding up some rather ridiculous outfit that looked sort of like an equestrian outfit but with a fitted skirt with leggings underneath.
"I'll wear my jeans, thanks, They are sturdy and comfortable. A skirt would get in the way and be far too bulky." She said.
"That is just not proper." The petite blonde declared.
Sarah stood up and faced the queen and her servant. She liked the woman but damn she was bossy and this prim and proper crap was getting on her nerves. "I don't care. I'm going to be comfortable. Thank you for your help but please leave me. I will be ready in an hour as promised." She hustled the protesting women out the door.
She took a quick bath and packed her things back into her backpack. She grabbed the blanket she had slept with and a pillow from the bed, and rolled them together tightly, then used a long scarf she had found in the wardrobe to bind it tightly and tie it onto her backback. The bedding was lightweight so it did not add much to the amount of weight she would be carrying on her back. It was a good thing she loved to hike and backpack when she got the chance so she was used to doing this.
With a last look around she called Scar to her side, leashed him, and together they went down to the throne room where Jorwyn and his wife were waiting.
As she entered she was glad to see Hoggle, Didymus, and Ludo waiting to say goodbye and see her off. She kneeled down and hugged the dwarf first then the fox knight. She then stood and let Ludo engulf her in his great arms and hold her tightly to his furry torso. "Sawah brave friend." He said. He pushed a small glittery rock in her hand. "Luck."
Sarah sniffed back a tear as she cradled the smooth stone in her hand.
"Thanks for coming guys. Everything will be fine you'll see." She solemnly handed Hoggle Scar's leash and the sack containing the cans of food. He would need more than what was there but at least it would cover a few days. She knew Hoggle would figure something out. He hunted and fished so Scar would probably end up spoiled by the time she returned.
"I trust you guys to take care of him. If I don't come back..." She started.
They were going to protest so she held up her hand.
"If I don't come back, promise me you will look after him and give him a good home here with you all. The King already promised me he could stay. To send him above without me would send him to his death so it would be better if he just stayed. I love him, and I love you all. You are all my best friends. It's right you could all be together."
Didymus stepped forward. "You have our word, My Lady. He will be cared for. Ambrosius will be glad to have a companion."
Jorwyn moved to stand next to her. "We must go, Sarah. It is time. They will be waiting. We cannot be late."
She nodded to him as he took her arm. With a long look back at her friends and Scar whose brown pleading eyes almost broke her heart, her and Jorwyn disappeared from the castle.
Sarah wasn't quite as nauseated by the transporting magic as she used to be. Must be getting a feel for it, she mused to herself as they walked to where all interested parties were gathered at the edge of a seemingly endless forest.
She was directed to stand next to a sullen Goblin King. He was dressed as plainly as she had ever seen them. Simple leather breeches, a roughly hewn tunic, and a long leather jacket with sturdy leather boots.
His wild hair was tied into a ponytail at the nape of his neck by a leather strip, and his large pack he was carrying was over one shoulder. His face was absent of his usual markings. She was never sure if they were makeup or not and now she knew.
The guards were ordered to search her things and make sure there were no magical items being smuggled.
As they rifled through the bag, Jareth glared at her, his mouth tight. He said nothing.
"What is this?" The guard said holding something in his hand. Sarah saw what it was and blushed deeply. While she wasn't embarrassed normally, to have to explain a tampon to someone who would have no idea what it was, was a new experience.
"It's for..well you know, women above use them when they..." She looked at Jareth. He was smiling, amused, his eyes dancing with laughter he was keeping inside. She turned even more red at being embarrassed in front of him.
He finally decided to help. "It is what mortal women use during their moon cycles to keep proper hygiene." He told the guard.
It was the guard's turn to blush. He stuck it back in the box and shoved everything back in the pack. "All clear Magistrate." He told the grayed haired man Sarah had met in the court.
The man, whom Sarah now knew was "The Magistrate." beckoned for Jareth and Sarah to stand before him.
"Jareth King of The Goblins, and Sarah Williams of the Above, Champion of The Labyrinth and of the King of The Goblins, Your trial begins. You have 13 days to journey to The Labyrinth from this point. When you arrive, assuming you arrive within your allotted time, you will then have 13 hours to traverse the Labyrinth and reach the castle. Jareth must make his way through within said time, under his own power. This means The Labyrinth itself, and no subjects or family, may help him. If he does he will retain his throne, and Sarah Williams will be granted all honors and titles she will have earned by completing this trial beside her king. If Jareth is not successful, he will be put to death and his Kingship passed on to a suitable successor."
The Magistrate turned to address Sarah directly.
"Sarah Williams, if you fail, you will forfeit your titles as Champion of The Labyrinth and King's Champion, You will be sent above and the child you won back, a one Tobias Williams, will return underground. Above, only you will remember his existence, to live your life with the knowledge of what you have done, that your failure resulted in the death of the Goblin King and the loss of your brother to the underground for all of eternity."
Sarah's ire rose as she stood there and listened, but she didn't show it. She squeezed her fists tight and gritted her teeth until her jaw hurt, but said nothing.
"Is this understood?" The man asked them both. "Please answer verbally."
"Yes." They both said in unison.
"We will leave you to it then." He bowed.
Suddenly they were alone. Sarah and Jareth. They stood there for a few minutes both too stubborn to speak first.
As the seconds ticked by Sarah got antsy. This was ridiculous and time was being wasted.
"Fine. I'll speak first Let's just get this over with okay?" She said.
"Agreed." Jareth answered. "Follow me please. For the Gods' sake, do not get lost. I do not have time to look after you and make sure you do not do anything foolish."
He took off at a brisk pace and Sarah hurried to catch up.
"What do you mean do something foolish? Hey, I can take care of myself, Goblin King. You should know that already."
Jareth scoffed. "My magic protected you before, girl. In case you haven't noticed I am blocked from using it now."
"What do you mean your magic protected me? Did you let me win?" Sarah had to know.
He just laughed again. "The Labyrinth is dangerous place. You will see this time. The Labyrinth you experienced as a child is not the real thing. It is a child's version. You are not so lucky this time. You would do well to just be obedient and quiet and follow me."
She stopped and stood there glaring at his back. "How dare you! You are such as asshole!"
He stopped and turned. "Hold your tongue. I am A King. I am YOUR King. You will do as I say."
"Excuse me Mr. High and Mighty, it seems to me you got us into this mess. Not so perfect there Your Majesty." Sarah said as she wagged her finger.
Jareth's shouldered sagged. "Sarah..please. Can we do this without arguing? I need all my energy for this trek and you a quickly exhausting me once again."
They glared at each other for another minute. Sarah took a deep breath and relaxed. "You're right. Let's just go, okay? As this is your world you lead the way."
Jareth eyed her for a few more seconds and pivoted, walking away silently.
"Thanks, by the way." Sarah said after a few minutes of following in silence.
"For what?" Jareth asked. He brushed aside tree branches as they went.
"Explaining to that guard about..well you know." Sarah answered, blushing a little again. "How did you know about that?"
"I spend a great deal of time around humans, I am familiar with human biological functions. The women here have moon cycles too..it's just not talked about. They have their own way of dealing with it. We are not that different biologically." He replied.
"Except you live forever and have magic." Sarah retorted.
"We do not live forever. We call ourselves immortal but the truth is we are just this side of it. We can be killed, and we can choose to fade. The reason we are that way *is* the magic of the underground. Without it, we would, while certainly longer lived than humans, eventually age and die. The magic for us is like air, we need it to survive the length of time we do."
"Interesting." Sarah said. "Would you mind if I asked you about life here? I mean, to kill time while we are walking. Since we have to be here anyway."
"Feel free to ask any question you wish, Sarah." He answered.
They spend the rest of the morning chatting rather amiably with each other. He told her about life in the underground.
Mid afternoon they stopped to eat. Jareth had some dried meat in his pack and Sarah had a plastic bag with granola bars she kept for her hiking trips.
"Would you like to try one?" She asked Jareth. He gingerly took the foil wrapped bar and examined it carefully.
Shew unwrapped hers and he followed suit. He took a small bite and wrinkled his nose, but kept eating. "What is in this?" He asked.
"Oh, fruit, nuts, granola. Honey I think to bind it together. It's organic." Sarah said in between bites.
"There are still chemicals in it. I can taste them." He replied in a slightly haughty tone.
"Well you don't have to eat it." Sarah pointed out.
He continued to take small bites until he finished. "I accepted it, so out of respect, I ate it. However I think I will stick to what I can find in the forest, as well as what I have here."
Sarah shook her head and laughed, finishing her bar.
"What is so funny?" He asked suspiciously.
"You. You are acting so proper."I accepted so out of respect, I ate it." Eesh." Sarah rolled her eyes as she repeated him, accent and all.
"I don't sound like that." He frowned.
"Yes you do. You sounded just like that. You sure weren't this formal when I was here before." Sarah said.
"Sarah, in this world there are rules on interacting with humans, I never crossed any line." He answered, getting angry again.
"Bullshit. You always flirt with teenagers?" She was enjoying needling him.
He stood and walked to the edge of the clearing, clearly riled. "You know nothing of my work. I do what I have to do. Sometimes that includes flirtation to distract runners. It is nothing personal."
He crossed his arms and looked off into the distance. "We need to go. There are a few more hours of light, and we need to find a safe place to rest."
Sarah stood and brushed off her clothes then swung her pack onto her back. "So far I haven't seen anything to be worried about."
He walked back and picked up his pack, looping it over his shoulder. "We have been lucky. Believe me our luck will run out many times over. There are dangerous predatory creatures in this forest. At least half are nocturnal. We must try to be well hidden when night falls. I know of a cave a few hours south towards my kingdom. With any luck we can be there when dark comes."
He started walking in the direction he pointed out.
Sarah, hearing Jareth's explanations, looked around, feeling uneasy all of the sudden. She walked a little faster to stay close to The King. She was glad she noticed earlier the scabbard at his side sheathing his sword. At least they let him have a weapon.
This made her feel a little safer. She had a small pocketknife in her backpack too. She didn't know how much good it would do.
Sarah's feet ached and her leg muscles screamed at her to rest. The sun was setting and Jareth seemed to not be affected at all. This annoyed her to no end. They had lapsed into silence not long after they had stopped hours earlier, though sometimes Jareth would hum.
Being tired and in pain this irritated her too.
She could take it no more. "Would you quit that?" She said crossly.
He slowed. "Stop what?" He looked at her out of the corner of his eye.
"Humming. I mean really. Why are you so chipper?" She asked.
"I am not chipper, I just like music. Now would you..." He stilled suddenly holding up his hand. "Hush."
She didn't move, didn't even breathe. She tried to listen but didn't hear anything.
"What is it?" she whispered.
"The birds." He whispered back.
"What birds?" She said. "I don't hear anything."
"Exactly." He said. "We need to hurry. The cave is a few hundred paces that way." He pointed.
Jareth grabbed her hand and pulled her along, Sarah practically tripping over herself to keep up with his long strides.
As they got closer to the cave, Jareth stopped again. He held his finger to his lips in a "shh" motion.
She listened closely. At first she didn't hear anything, but as she stilled completely, she heard a low hissing that seemed to be getting louder.
"Gods." Jareth said as his face paled. "Run left, now. Follow that small trail. I will be right behind you."
Sarah didn't ask questions but took off in the direction Jareth told her to go as fast as she could. She rounded a corner and came upon a large ancient wooden door to what must have been the cave and wrenched it open, falling into the dark space. She looked behind her and at first did not see Jareth.
Then a second later he came around the corner swinging his sword behind him.
"As soon as I cross the threshold slam that door!" He yelled as he ran towards her.
As she watched she was horrified to see several feet behind him was a large head of some sort of snake. The largest snake she had ever seen, with the longest tongue she had ever seen, and it was inches from grabbing hold of The Goblin King.
A small scream escaped her as they got closer. A second later Jareth was there crossing through the door, the snake right behind.
"NOW!" He bellowed and she threw the door closed so loud it shook the ground, dust and pebbles raining down on them.
The room shook again as the snake hit the other side of the door, making a god awful screech. Sarah lept into Jareth's arms and he propelled them to the back of the room against the wall, Sarah's back against the rocks as he shielded her.
It went completely silent except for both of their heavy breathing. Sarah didn't move, but stood there listening to Jareth's pounding heart.
As her eyes adjusted, it dawned on Sarah it was not pitch dark as she would have suspected but there was a light glow emanating from above. She looked up past Jareth's shoulder and saw the ceiling was embedded with glittering crystal rocks that seemed to be lit from within.
After another minute, Jareth stepped back and dropped his arms to grab her shoulders. "Are you alright?" He asked.
She shook off the slightly tender feeling of him protecting her.
"I'm fine. What the hell was that thing?" She asked.
"Demon snake." He answered. "Nasty things. They eat anything, or anyone. They especially love any magic wielding creatures."
"But your magic was blocked I thought." Sarah said as she dusted herself off.
Jareth sat his pack on the floor and sat next to it. He took out his water flask and drank a long draught.
"It is blocked from me using it. It does not mean it isn't there. Those things can smell it. Water?" He offered her the flask.
"I don't want to drink all your water." She said. She took a small sip.
"It is enchanted. Refills automatically." He replied. "Before you ask, all water flasks are made like that it is not considered cheating."
"Wow. That's handy." She said as she took a longer drink. I have never had water this good, she thought. "You would think you would have a magical food pack." She handed it back to him.
"It would be a bit difficult to discern an individual's dietary needs in that fashion." Jareth answered as he dug through his bag. "We should get set up for the night."
Sarah undid her pack, untying her blanket and pillow and laying it carefully on the ground.
"I hope you don't mind, I borrowed a pillow and blanket from your castle."
"I don't mind." He told her as he took his bedroll out and unfastened it. He laid it next to the wall, a few feet away from Sarah. Then he walked back to the very back of the large cave and came forward with an armful of the stones.
She watched as he piled them up in the middle of the space. He took two and knocked them against each other, creating sparks. After a few minutes there were blue flames creeping up around the stones.
"Wow..how do they do that?" Sarah asked him as he arranged them neatly so the top ofthe pile was fairly flat.
Jareth smirked as he got them set and held his hands over the fire, testing the rising heat. "They are blue flame crystals. Unique to the cave system in these woods. Many use them to make jewelry but they are a wonderful source of heat in a pinch. Long lasting as the crystal do not disintegrate but slowly harden in the process. This should last until morning."
"Cool!" Sarah said, making Jareth chuckle.
She dug another granola bar out of her bag, but wished she had something more substantial. She should have been looking for fruit or something as they were walking.
She continued watching as Jareth pulled a piece of metal out of his bag, with the edges slightly bowed up. It turned out to be a shallow pan and he set it on the flat part of the pile he had made. He then dug around his pack and took out a bag made of animal skin. It had some sort of mix in it and he proceeded to make a flat cake on the pan by mixing the powder with water.
She was surprised when he turned to her. "Hold out your hands."
She did, and he laid what looked like a pancake on her palms. It was warm but not uncomfortably so. He brought out a paper wrapped package that turned out to be a block of white cheese. He took a piece of the cheese and some of the dried meat, softened it a bit in the pan, and laid it on top of the cake she had in her hands. "Now roll it up."
She did. "Sort of like a crepe? Or a wrap?" She asked. She took a bite. The meat was chewy but spicy, and the cheese mild. The bread was heavy enough to be filling, though a bit bland. At least it wasn't dry, thanks to the melted cheese. "This is good." She said after she swallowed the first bite.
"It is palatable. If it was just myself I could have one of these a day and survive. We will have to find other sources for food as we continue, but this will keep us until tomorrow." Jareth said while crafting his food. Sarah swallowed another bite. "Do you hunt? I don't think I could do that."
He nodded. "Yes. In a few days we will get to the river. There are plenty of fish there. We follow that until we reach the wastes. The last stretch will be desolate so we will want to have enough food to last without having to hunt or gather."
"What about that..thing outside?" Sarah shuddered at the idea of having to see that again.
"They are nocturnal. Once the sun rises we will be safe from those. They are really quite rare but that one was close enough to sense me. By the time it wakes we will be far enough away from it." Jareth replied between bites.
Sarah watched him. He took small rather delicate bites and chewed slowly. She was surprised out how genteel he was, yet he was quite handy at camping. He hunts too, and fishes. She shook her head and returned to her food.
It really was quite good really. When she was finished she felt very full. She shrugged off her sweatshirt and took off her boots and socks, then snuggled into her folded blanket and stared into the blue fire.
"Jareth?" She said quietly. He turned to meet her gaze. "Thank you. For the food I mean."
"Well I can't have you starving, or trying to subsist on those nasty bars of yours. You will waste away. I need you to keep up your strength for the trip. I certainly cannot carry you halfway." He replied as he took his boots and jacket off.
"Why can't you just say you're welcome?" Sarah snarked, turning away from him. He was nice one minute then a jackass the next.
Jareth got settled in his bed then silently observed the girl..no the woman, on the other side of the fire.
He sincerely was not happy to have to have a companion during this. He did not hate the girl, but felt responsible for her presence. She was human and vulnerable in ways even a immortal such as himself without his magic was. He could survive a long time without food and drink. He was immune to most common poisonous creatures. He could go longer without sleep. In fact he wasn't really all that tired as it was, but humans needed at least 6-8 hours of complete rest a day.
Yes she had solved the Labyrinth but if he had to be completely honest, he could have made it much more difficult. At the time he was all too fascinated by the human girl. He let himself become enamoured of her. He lost himself in those large green eyes and her incredible imagination, her absolute belief in his world that tugged at him.
She is a woman now. Grown and even more beautiful. Her youthful roundness retreating, lush curves taking their place. Her skin peaches and cream, her jade eyes still like pale jewels against the night sky that was her dark hair.
"No." Jareth commanded himself out loud. He would not think of that. He could not. He did not want to become distracted by her. They would be travelling companions and nothing more. Her personality was not all that pleasant either. Petulant and defiant. He had no need of that.
"What?" Sarah said, turning and sitting up. "Did you say something?"
Jareth sighed. "I was dreaming and must have spoken out loud. Go to sleep, Sarah. We have a long day tomorrow."
She gave him a sour look and laid back down. Soon her breathing became deep and even.
Jareth stared into the fire, willing sleep to come. Eventually it did.
Sarah woke up and stretched, wondering what time it was. Her watch was useless in the underground. There was sunlight filtering through the door so it had to be morning.
She turned to greet Jareth but she was alone. Momentarily she panicked but turning further she saw his pack still there.
She got up and put her bed away, then gingerly opened the door. Nothing but trees and sounds of birds greeted her. Leaving the door open, she dashed behind a nearby bush and took care of business, then zipped back into the relative safety of the cave.
When she sat down next to her pack to put her socks and boots on, she saw Jareth's water flask was sitting there with a piece of parchment underneath.
She picked up the container and the note, sipping as she read.
Went for food, will return shortly. J.
A few minutes later the door swung open. Sarah tensed fora second but Jareth's voice put her at ease.
Well as much at ease as she could be under the circumstances.
"I found some food."He said as he walked in the door and towards her.
He crouched down and opened the cloth bundle he carried, revealing a variety of fruits and nuts.
"These are all safe for you. I tried to find only food we could share, except this." He picked up a small bunch of glittery berries. "They are not safe for humans but they are one of my favorites."
She plucked a rather normal looking apple off the pile and bit into it. "This is good. I didn't know you had apples here."
He nodded. "We have some of the same, and some different." He placed a berry on his tongue. He closed he eyes obviously enjoying the flavor.
"What are those? Why are they not safe for me? Are they poisonous?" She asked in quick succession.
Jareth swallowed, laughing. "Not exactly. Let's just sat they have powerful effects on humans. For us, they give a mild feeling of pleasantness, for you..well, they resulting effects would be quite different."
"Oh like taking drugs." Sarah said, finishing her apple and reaching for handful of nuts.
"Yes, if you have a drug that causes extreme...sexual desires." He answered looking her up and down then winking. "On second thought, Please feel free." He teased opening his hand and offering her one.
She moved back eyes wide. "Uhhh..no thanks, Goblin King. Pervert."
He tilted his head back as he laughed.
Sarah admitted to herself she like his deep melodious laughter. It was infectious and she could not help but laugh.
"Does it really do that?" She asked him once their laughter died down.
"It can. It can also cause hallucinations, or make you sleep for a week. It depends upon the individual."
"Good to know." Sarah answered, finishing up and using a wet wipe out of her pack to wash her hands and rubbing them on her jeans to dry them. She took a few more sips of water, then handed it to Jareth who nodded thanks and drank.
"We need to be going." Jareth announced as he packed everything away. He grabbed some crystals. "For starting a fire later if we need it."
They left the safety of the cave. Jareth directed them to again go south, then a bit more east towards the river he had spoken about.
They walked in relative peace for several hours, Jareth only speaking when he needed to point out a change of direction or to avoid an obstacle.
Sarah was getting annoyed of the quiet. She didn't like the man much, but he had been open to conversation at least, and he did seem to be watching out for her. It also kept her from thinking too much. She really didn't have a choice but to trail him since she didn't know anything about where they were going or what they might encounter.
It galled her some that she was having to let him lead. She wasn't used to be being told what to do. Then her mind began to wander into darker territories of what the worst outcomes of this adventure could possibly be and her anxiety set in. As they walked, this train of thought irritated her more and more. She knew it wasn't reasonable but for some reason it didn't matter.
"Goblin King." She said, making him stop and turn to look at her, a questioning look on his face.
"What happens if I die? I mean will they still take Toby?" She had been wondering about it for a while. Her tone was rather surly all of the sudden.
"Honestly? I do not know. Probably nothing. I will be expected to continue on and finish without you, I suppose." He answered with a shrug of his shoulders. He started walking again assuming she would be behind him.
Sarah felt like she was having a panic attack all of the sudden."How can you be so nonchalant about it? You just walk away and leave my body here to rot? Oh well. No thoughts as to how my family would feel? What is up with you people. Don't you have any feelings?"
"Sarah..please." Jareth said.
"No Jareth, I want to know. Do you think you are better than me?" She demanded, not moving.
He turned and gave her an incredulous look. He was truly puzzled why she was angry all of the sudden.
"Why are you saying these things? Since when I have I ever said any such thing? You are no worse or better than I, just a different species of humanoid from a different world. I never said I had no care for you Sarah. Of course I would not leave you here to rot. That is ridiculous. I may have to come back for you after I am done, or send others to make sure you receive proper rights if I do not succeed, but that would not happen. Besides, you will not die."
"How can you know that? You don't know. Maybe one of those weird snakes will eat me. Fuck knows what. Do you even know where you are going?" Sarah' s voice rose higher and louder.
Jareth was getting angry now. He stalked towards her, backing her into a tree. He put a hand on the tree and leaned in. Sarah had a flashback to 13 years earlier, in the tunnels.
"I do not know why you are trying to fight with me Sarah, you stubborn, foolish little girl, but even without magic I am not someone to be so nasty with. I am a King and as such command respect. I would advise you to respect my station and your place, and do as I tell you to do here. I swear to you nothing will happen to you if you listen." He leaned in. "Unless, of course, pet, I am the thing that happens to you due to your insolent little mouth."
His lips brushed her ear and she shuddered. He got closer, his lips brushing hers. "Or I could find a way to keep your mouth occupied, if you like."
She pushed him back. "Get away from me."
He gave a wicked little laugh and started walking again. "Keep up, Sarah, I wouldn't want you to get lost, my girl." He said in a sing song voice.
Sarah sighed and began following behind him, dragging her feet. She knew she was being childish, but she couldn't help it. He brought of the 15 year old in her. She was anxious and felt like she was in over her head.
She also shoved to the back of her mind, the stray thought that when he had been so close, his mouth hovering above her, she really really wanted him to kiss her. Just for a second had felt a bit of heat flare in abdomen and travel lower. She shook her head to clear it. THAT She did not need.
She trekked behind him, practically stomping through the vegetation, while he strolled clearing low hanging branches every so often looking behind him to see if she was still there.
The only time they stopped was when either one or the other needed to duck behind a tree or bush. Mainly her. She noted Jareth seemed to be perfectly fine walking for hours without having to pause.
Several hours and 2 bug bites later, Sarah had enough. "Okay, that's it. I need to rest." She announced, plopping down on a tree stump and shrugging off her pack.
"Tired, princess?" Jareth asked smugly. He did find a stump of his own and sat down far too casually for Sarah.
"What is up with you?!" Sarah exploded.
"Listen, girl. You started it. I was trying to be pleasant, gentlemanly. They you had to open that smart little mouth of yours and prod me with your sharp tongue." He told her, pointing.
Sarah knew she had been rude earlier, but his uncaring attitude had gotten to her. He acted like this was a stroll through the park. And he was the one that could die. She didn't understand why that didn't seem to bother him. It angered her he could be so dismissive about. it. He could die and they could take Toby.
She knew she should have just told him that, but she was too stubborn to say she was worried about what might happen.
She was too scared to admit she cared about him, just a little. She had learned much all those years ago, about strength and courage, about fighting and not giving up, about the kind of person she was and wanted to be. And grudgingly had come to realize he had given her that experience.
That without him she wouldn't be who she was. She did not want him to die because of her.
She could never say that to the smug face that was looking at her, waiting.
"You deserved it." She said. Mentally kicking her stubborn hide. She lifted her chin up, glaring back.
He shook his head and laughed. first his shoulders slumped and he looked up to the sky and sighed before he spoke again.
"Yes Sarah of course I do. I'm the horrible child stealing villain, and you are the noble heroine. How kind you are to remind me of my place in your life."
"You haven't been in my life for 13 years." She said, standing. "Let's get this over with."
He stood slowly. For a moment he seem tired. Not just regular tired, but weary of life itself. The moment passed and he stood straight, pasting a sneer on his face.
"Fine. I must tell you one thing. I may not have been a physical presence in your life all these years, but I know one thing you think I do not."
She looked at him waiting for him to finish.
"You dreamed of me. I felt it. Felt the pull. We are connected you and I. We both are connected to The Labyrinth, therefore have the ability to sense each other. As you were above where magic is so muted, you would not know how or even be aware. I however have been glaringly aware of you since you left. when thought of me, dreamt of me, I always knew."
He marched away, not even looking to see if she was behind him.
Sarah stood there, her mouth open. No sound came out. She replayed what he siad in her head, and blushed hard.
Oh God. He knew. Those damn dreams. Crap!
She looked around and did not see him, so followed in the general direction he set off on, uneasy at being alone. She practically ran and got a little panicked so didn't stop until she hit something hard, and warm.
Jareth, of course. He had doubled back to make sure she was following and she had ran right into him, almost falling backwards if he had not have caught her arms and held her firm.
"Careful, precious. You do not want to get lost here." He smirked at her.
"Well..what did you take off without me for?" She said, trying not to sound scared.
"I did not go far, I just needed a few minutes. Come. We will begin going uphill soon. There is a small mountain range we must climb to get into the valley floor where the river is."
"Oh. Umm..Jareth, I'm...sorry. For everything I said. My mind started racing and I panicked. I just..." Her voice trailed off, at a loss.
"It is fine, Sarah. Let us just go. Perhaps we should just not talk. Keep the conversation to merely perfunctory. nothing more." He suggested.
"Maybe that is a good idea." She agreed.
They walked a few more hours, finding a spot to camp when it got dark. Jareth built a fire and made them both the same dinner as the night before. Sarah thanked him and he smiled.
They said little.
Sarah stared into the fire until she started to feel sleepy, which wasn't long. Jareth had found a piece of wood and was carving at it with a small dagger.
When Sarah was snuggled into her blanket she watched him work, curious. "What are you making?" She called across the fire.
"Nothing really. Just passing time." He answered noncommittally.
"Oh. Well. Goodnight then." She said, turning over.
"Sweet dreams, Sarah." He said.
He sounded amused.
Sarah sighed and got comfortable, her tired body giving to exhaustion.
Jareth again faced another night sitting in the dark across for the girl. She had been extraordinarily rude this day, but he expected that. In fact, everything she said, he knew she would say. This was Sarah after all. He was surprised she had not been lamenting about the unfairness of it all.
It was unfair. She should not be here. She should be above, living her life, married, children, career. She should be oblivious to him. Just live, grow old, and die, then the connection would have been broken and he could have forgotten her. His obligation done.
He knew deep inside, he could never have forgotten Sarah. He did not watch over her out of obligation. He did it because against all his beliefs, he had cared. She had awakened something within him that he thought long dead. Destroyed by time and experience.
She had brought a light with her into his dark world.
He should sleep, but he did not trust these woods. Jareth knew there were ..things..out there. He could tell their every step was watched by one or another. He had been acting like he hadn't a care because he didn't want Sarah to be afraid. It was easier if she didn't worry about what could be waiting behind every tree or bush.
So he continued carving through the night, his eyes sharp, his ears wide open, as the woman across from him slept soundly and oblivious to it all.
Sarah woke up alone again, but almost as soon as she was up and rolling up her bed, Jareth was there.
"Good day. How did you sleep?" He asked pleasantly.
"Like a log. Which is fitting I suppose considering." She gestured around them.
He smiled at her joke.
"I'll be back in a minute." She said.
"Go over there, it's clear." He pointed.
She did and was back very shortly. He sat on one of the logs and she sat next to him as he unwrapped the cloth.
"I could not find as much, but we can make do. I have enough food for 5 nights I believe, but we should keep on the look out for edibles today. When we start climbing, there will not be much available." He sorted out the food, in equal amounts.
She picked up a weird looking blue fruit, kind of like a plum it looked like. She was pleasantly surprised how good it was. She ate everything he had brought her hungrily.
"I'm working up an appetite with all this walking. Plus I'll probably lose a few pounds. Not a bad thing I guess." She said.
"You look fine to me as you are." He stated as he ate and passed her the water flask.
She took a long drink and passed it back. "It's always that last 5 pounds. Those are the ones you can never get rid of, you know? Well you probably don't it's an above thing I guess. Women are always worried about shedding that last 5 pounds." She joked again.
Jareth looked her up and down. "I see no extra weight on you, you are beautiful as you are, like I said. Why mortal women feel the need to be unnecessarily thin is beyond me."
Sarah stared at him for a minute, wondering if he realized what he had said. "You...think I'm beautiful?" She asked.
He looked up from his food. "I said you looked fine."
"You said that the first time, then you said I looked beautiful. Do you..." She stopped. "Never mind you were just being nice I know. Like all guys."
"No Sarah. You are right, I said you are beautiful. I mean it. You are. Do not ever worry that you are not good enough for anyone. Even me." He looked down again at his food, looking slightly discomfited.
"Oh. I umm..thanks. Jareth. Thank you." She smiled at him.
He cleared his throat as he stood. "If you are finished, we need to go. Get your things so we can be off." He commanded.
Sarah wiped her hands off with one of her dwindling supply of wet wipes. She attached her bedding to her backpack and slung it on her back the gestured for him to go ahead.
As she followed Jareth she observed him. She had seen he had dark shadows under his eyes and wondered how much he was really sleeping.
A few hours later the ground started sloping up and Sarah's legs were telling her about it.
"Are we climbing a mountain?" She asked Jareth who was stopped in front of her, his sharp eyes looking around them.
He glanced behind. "I should have told you. Yes, we will be hitting steeper slopes shortly. It is not very big, but it will take most of the day to reach the top. We will camp there. If we leave early enough we may reach the river by nightfall tomorrow. We are making good time."
They pushed on, stopping briefly for water and a snack. She went to hand the flask to him when they got going again and he pushed her hand away. "You will need it more than I for the next part. It is the steepest part and humans dehydrate faster."
She tucked the flask in her belt she started walking again. Or rather, hiking, she observed.
An hour or so later, Sarah was sweating profusely as she struggled stay close to Jareth. He was light on his feet and seemed to have little problem navigating the rocky terrain. They were beginning to climb a fairly steep part of the mountain.
Her hands were bruised and dirty, and she felt disgusting. She made Jareth stop while she put her hair up off of her neck with a clip.
"Why aren't you sweating like a pig like me? Figures." She grumbled as she pulled herself up a particularly steep pile of rocks.
As she went to grab the next rock, her foot slipped and she slid down, landing hard on her ass.
"Fuck!" She yelled.
Before she could even yell for him, Jareth was beside her looking concerned. "Are you alright?"
She stood gingerly, rubbing her sore behind. "My ass hurts, but I think I'll live."
She looked up and noticed the corners of his mouth twitching. "Don't you laugh at me Goblin King, that was NOT funny." She put her hands on her hips and glared at him.
She had to give him credit, he did try. The twitch became a chuckle, and the chuckle became a hearty laugh. He sat down on a rock and bent forward, his shoulders shaking.
Sarah stared a death stare at him, but she fought a smile watching him truly laugh, not sarcastic or smarmy, but really just let it out.
Eventually she walked over and sat next to him and giggled. They looked at each other and as soon as their eyes met they laughed even more. "Well shit. Only me would come to some fairy tale land and break my ass." She said as their laughter died down.
Sarah was surprised as he did something unexpected. He laid an arm loosely across her shoulders and pulled her close, then kissed her on the forehead. "Thank you, I needed that."
"You will excuse me if I say you're not welcome." She teased.
"Understood. Shall we?" He gestured to the rock face.
Sarah sighed. "I guess. I'm tired. I hope I don't slip again."
"You go ahead of me. We are just going straight up anyway. That way I will be able to catch you. Or push you up."
"Oh. Okay." This was the first time he was letting her lead them. Then again, most of the time she had no idea where they were going.
They started again, Sarah trying not think about Jareth staring at her rear end the rest of the afternoon. Or that if he pushed her he would be basically feeling her up. For some reason it gave her a little thrill thinking of him grabbing her behind. Eesh, she thought. Shouldn't she dislike that idea a bit more?
She tried to let her mind go blank as she climbed.
They reached the top as the sun was setting.
She looked out behind them and looked to the horizon. It was beautiful. The sunset was all blues, pinks and purples, clouds spreading across the sky, the stars starting to twinkle.
"Wow. Jareth it is beautiful here. Where exactly is the underground in relation to earth?"
He had been standing a little behind her not watching the sunset, but watching the colors dance across her face, the look of astonished amazement as she looked out over his world. The combination was a glorious sight.
"Yes, it's the most beautiful thing I have ever seen." He said softly.
She turned and noticed him watching her and blushed. "Are you going to answer my question?" She asked.
He shook himself out of his thoughts. "Yes. Let us get settled and we will talk over dinner."
The vegetation was much more sparse in the area they chose to settle in for the night. Sarah found a rock to hide behind to have a little privacy. She had been hot and sticky and chose to change into her set of clean clothes, thinking if they reached the river the next evening she could at least wash them out and bathe herself.
She tucked everything into the bottom of her bag and took out the small box with wet wipes and washed her face and hands.
"Uck. I will be so glad to get to the river you keep talking about." She said as she sat down by the small fire Jareth had made.
"As will I." Jareth said as he prepared their usual fare. "From there we will travel down the valley floor for the biggest part of the trip. After we get out of the valley, the lands become increasingly desolate. The outer fringes of the underground are not all that habitable. Only the heartiest live out there." He handed her the food as he finished speaking.
"You live out there." Sarah pointed out as she took the wrapped meat and cheese from him "And The Labyrinth did not look desolate to me."
"My kingdom straddles the divide between your world and mine. It is also kept flourishing by it's own unique magic." He answered, taking a bite of food.
"Oh. So..tell me about it. I mean the underground. Where it is, why it exists." She asked as she began to eat.
He chewed and swallowed the bite he had taken. "We aren't so much under the above. That is just a term that is used. It is more like, we occupy the same space of a different plane of existence. Humans who came and went called it the underground and it stuck. I suppose because it is place that they would come to escape their life. Going Underground. See?" He answered.
"Humans came here? I mean before me, or besides runners, or children. Why do you take children?" Sarah wanted to know everything. All these questions she had always had.
Jareth smiled at her innate curiosity. "We were once closely connected, the underground denizens and the humans. We traveled back and forth with no worries or trouble. We lived side by side, sharing with each other our goods and lives. They often looked to us as gods, or angels. That is where many of your ancient myths come from. Then they wanted our power, and could not get it, so they became jealous, suspicious, vengeful. They began to kill us. Yes we are long lived, but they found ways to kill us. horrible heinous ways. Tying us down and chopping us into tiny pieces then setting us on fire. We are allergic to iron and it can incapacitate us enough that we are unable to fight back. We were not so numerous that we could survive such a purge. So working with all the magic combined we worked and worked until we were able to create strong barriers to keep them out and protect ourselves. The Great War was a terrible thing. So much suffering."
He paused. "Is this too much? You seem disturbed."
Sarah must have had a horrified look on her face. "Yes. No. I'm okay, I am horrified, but go on."
He nodded. "We do not birth children easily. It is the price we pay for living so long. So, a group of mages came up with a plan. They knew humans often did not want their children, or treated them horribly. So they created a legend and placed it in the above in the form of first oral tradition, eventually written down. The Goblin King, The Labyrinth. The test. The children wished away all become one of us and are cherished." He finished.
"How did you become king?" She didn't want to bug him too much, but wanted to know this one last thing for now.
"It is not an easy thing. This trial that I am repeating is really only the last part of a series I had to do then. Most require magic while this does not. The Labyrinth chooses those with potential to rule it. We do not have a choice. I will be The Goblin King until I die even though I had to appoint a regent for the entirety of this trial. My reign may be over far sooner than I had hoped."
"You were forced be The Goblin King?" She never thought that maybe he wasn't completely happy with his job title. He seemed to enjoy it so much the last time.
"It is a honor, but it is a curse. I was groomed to lead because I showed from birth such a raw talent for magic. The old king went into the fade, as I was coming into my full power. There was no other one more qualified. I passed all the tests, I was crowned. Now I rule a city full of idiots and get to be the villain in everyone's fairy stories."
"You like it a little." Sarah teased him.
"There are times, when being the wicked king is enjoyable." He said, smirking at her.
"It just gets tiresome. I am not a bad man, Sarah. Just a man with a job to do. My entire world relies on me. I have no choice. That is why it is problematic when someone wins, and why it is against underground law. It is a sign of weakness. The last thing any underground ruler ever wants is to be seen as is weak, conquerable. "
Sarah felt tremendous sympathy for him, for the first time she saw he was someone put in a circumstance he could not get out of, and that he was honorable enough to never shirk his duties. Until her, apparently.
"Did you let me win?" She asked in a voice barely above a whisper.
He stood and walked to the edge of the clearing, looking out into the dark valley below.
"I do not know. Maybe I did. I know I could have done much more to keep you from winning, but I am not sure what it means that I didn't. Now I face the consequences for letting sentiment rule my decisions. It surely had never happened before, but then again there were no other runners quite like you. Underground law being what it is, it is against the law to grant mortals any sort of magic, yet that is the reward for a runner winning. The power of the wish and the connection to the underground with the title as King's Champion. It is meant to be a deterrent for The Goblin King being lenient on runners."
It was an honest answer. Sarah wasn't sure how to process it. "Oh. Jareth..I...I don't think of you as a villain anymore, not really. So that is my magic? I never even knew I had any."
Facing the forest below he answered. "Everything you have ever truly wanted since your run, you have been given, Sarah. Though not in ways you might expect. Think upon that."
Sarah decided to forgo trying to decipher what exactly that meant for the time being. She was starting to tire and she didn't know if she could truly comprehend all that might entail. It meant going back to that night and considering everything she had done up until that very moment.
"Is there any way all of this could have been prevented?" She asked.
He came back and sat down, not looking at her. He took out the piece of wood he had been carving on and started to work at it again, his mouth tight. "Yes."
Jareth looked reluctant to answer, but she had to know. "Well?"
He looked up, his eyes full of emotion. "Your death. At my hand." He looked back down and continued his carving.
Sarah was shocked. The underground seemed much harsher in that moment than it ever had. "I didn't know...that was..." She couldn't even finish. Astonishment at the weight of his words overtook her power of speech.
"I could never have done such a thing, Sarah. Do not think me wary of killing. I have done so without regret far too many times to speak of. Not you. Never you. I would sooner die first. So here we are then." On his face was an expression of repressed anger. Not at her, but at himself and the impossible situation.
Sarah's heart pounded in her chest. He had done all this, with the attempt to keep her away, to protect her. She wanted to hug him but knew he would not want that. "You should get some sleep, Goblin King. Your Majesty." Her mouth curved into a lopsided smile.
His eyes darted back up to hers. "You do not need to call me that. Believe me I will sleep tonight. Here on the mountain, among my brethren, we are safe. They will let me know if there is danger."
Saah looked around. "Brethren? I don't see any.."
Just then the distinctive hoot of an owl came from a nearby tree. Looking up she saw a pair wide eyes observing them.
"I almost forgot you did that, turned into an owl. They know you then." She said simply.
"They are not of my parliament, but yes they know and recognize me as kin. The owl magic is unique only to my family. It is a great gift. My great great grandfather was the first given the honor. We are a part of them as much as they are a part of us. Every immortal family is chosen by an underground animal to carry it's magic. The owls were stubborn, never giving their gift to anyone, until him. There they found a kindred spirit. I am only the 5th generation to have it and only one individual of every generation will have the gift." He said proudly.
"That is really amazing." Sarah said, in awe.
Jareth inclined his head. "Yes, it is."
"How come you and not Jorwyn?" She wondered.
"He made the choice to abdicate his first born right to it. When we were children, after our parents died, he was always fiercely protective of me. He felt the owl magic would be an added layer of protection for me, I suppose." Jareth shrugged. "He never really said, being Jorwyn he was never one to be so open with his feelings. He believed I would be better suited possibly, being stronger magically."
Sarah unrolled her bed. She yawned the whole time she was doing so, then crawled into her blanket snuggling in. It was getting chillier here than it was in the valley.
She watched as Jareth did the same, tucking whatever he was working on back into his bag before getting settled into his bedroll.
"Sleep well, Jareth. She said before she closed her eyes.
"And to you, precious." Jareth answered, but she was already asleep. He relaxed at the soft sound of the birds communicating above, letting him know they will be watching, and followed suit.
They next day was easier on Sarah's legs since they were going downhill. So far, except for the first night, they had been lucky and not faced any true danger.
When they reached the valley floor it was early afternoon so they stopped and took a break. More water and fruit. Sarah had one of her power bars, seeing she had quite a few left. Well at least they would be at the river that night or in the morning. Jareth had said food was plentiful there.
Jareth took out a piece of parchment and was writing something out using an aboveground pen Sarah provided, so Sarah wandered around a bit. She noted he was left handed. Interesting. She thought she would ask him later if it was opposite of the above and most people here were left handed instead of right.
Jareth warned her not to go far so she just walked a wide circle around the area where he was.
As she walked she noticed a very alluring scent. She breathed in, trying to follow it. She got a little farther than she had planned but knew where she was so she figured 20 more feet wouldn't matter.
What she found were flowers. A small clearing filled with huge flowers. They were at least a few feet across, blue and purple and red, orange and yellow. They smelled heavenly she stepped inside the clearing and breathed deeply.
The feeling of euphoria overtook her and she moved further inside the circle.
One flower seemed to move closer to her, drawing her towards it. The patterns shifting on the huge petals..as she got closer she saw what looked liked veins of a deep color running all through it. The shifting patterns entranced her.
She reached out to touch, eyes wide with wonder...
She was jerked back and practically thrown out of the clearing. Landing hard she heard a screeching sound behind her. She rolled to looked and see Jareth, sword raised and...
The flower she had been about to touch had a developed a very large mouth full of razor sharp teeth and a long pointed tongue. Jareth swung and unceremoniously separated the flower from the stalk, purple blood spurting from the wound.
Other flowers rose up and started screeching but Jareth was already out of the clearing, dragging her off the ground and running for safety.
They reached the spot their gear was at and he practically threw her down, turning away, hands on hips, trying to catch his breath.
Sarah could tell he was trying to control his emotions as he stood there, his jaw clenched, his fists opening and closing.
Sarah just sat there letting her breath and heartbeat normalize, Landing hard twice had knocked her breath out of her.
Irritated she finally spoke. "Did you have to be so rough? Damn." She grumbled, rubbing her knee where she had landed the first time.
He turned on her. Eyes shooting fire. He kept his voice surprisingly calm at first. "Sarah...you were not supposed to wander away from me. I thought I was clear how dangerous this place is for a human. You are lucky I got concerned and I went looking for you. One second more those blood flowers would have had you and you would have been an empty shell in seconds!" He voice rose as he spoke. "Many of the things you take for granted, flowers, trees, anything here..could be sentient and try to kill you at any time! You need to listen to me!"
He reached out and yanked her up to look him in the face. "I do not tell you these things for my protection but yours! Stupid girl!" His eyes bore into hers, daring her to argue.
This made Sarah mad, shocking her out of her haze. "Hey! I am NOT stupid because I don't know about the murderous vegetation in a world I'm not from! I admit I'm not the smartest human that ever lived, but don't call me stupid!" She jerked herself away from him and stomped over to where her pack was leaning against a rock, turned and sat down, glaring right back at The Goblin King.
They stared each other down for several minutes, until Jareth looked away. He ran his hand through his hair, it having come down in the fight with the flower and dash for safety.
He took cord off and shook his head, tossing his long hair, then sat down himself.
Sarah took a deep breath and tried to relax, letting her anger drain out of her. She dug in her bag for her brush and walked over behind Jareth. "Let me." She said. He handed her the cord and dropped his hands.
She brushed his hair back into a ponytail, running her fingers through his feather soft blond locks. It didn't feel greasy or dirty at all, unlike her own. She got it tied firmly at the nape of his neck and walked around the fallen log to sit beside him. "I didn't mean..to do anything wrong. They just smelled so good and.."
He held up his hand. "I should not have yelled at you. You are right. You are not stupid you just did not know. You could not know. You are really incredibly bright. I was just..when I saw you about to be devoured by that monster..." He could not say it. The fear he felt at losing her was even more frightening to him than the initial fright of seeing her in that clearing. He did not want to care so much.
She nodded and looked away from him to the ground, staring at her boots.
"Thank you...Jareth." She said quietly. She grabbed his hand and squeezed it. "Thank you for saving me."
When she looked up at him, his gaze was still intense, but it was different. There was a flash of some unnamed emotion, and it was gone.
He ran a gloved finger over her cheek, rubbing dirt off. "You are filthy." He smirked.
She giggled. "I know. Will I be able to bathe in the river?" She asked. The spot where he touched her cheek tingled.
"Yes. The water is wonderful. Cleansing. You do not even need soap and you can wash your clothes there too. You will see. Though I think we will walk a couple of more hours then camp for the night, reaching it in the morning. We have traveled much faster than I have thought and have at least a day's cushion. Let us get our things." He said, standing. He offered her his hand, she took it and he pulled her up.
They trekked a few more hours then found a spot to rest for the night. Jareth made their food, noting he was getting low on supplies. He could stock up a bit when they reach the river in the morning. There was lots of vegetation that would be good for several days, roots and tubers were plentiful.
Sarah was tired and ate, then went right to bed.
Jareth took out his carving he was working on and got settled, sitting cross legged on his bedroll in front of the fire.
Thank the Gods he was able to get a decent nights sleep the night before, with the owls as sentries.
He went over what had happened earlier that day.
She had not known how close she was to being killed. The moment she would have touched that blood flower, it would have shot of it's razor sharp tongue right into her jugular, wrapped her in it's vines and drained her of blood in a matter of less than a minute. The things were brutal. He had seen it happen before.
He shuddered. "Nasty things." He mumbled under his breath. His eyes slid to the sleeping woman. She had laid her bed out only a few feet away from his this night. He would bet her fear had outweighed her disdain for him on this occasion.
Another sleepless night for The Goblin King, he thought to himself as worked on his carving, passing the time.
Jareth woke Sarah up a little earlier than she usually woke, eager to get to the river. She put her shoes on and gathered all her belongings quickly seeing Jareth was practically jumping up and down with energy.
It took only a couple of hours to get there.
"Listen." Jareth told her.
They stopped and she concentrated on the sounds. There. The barest hint, but it was there. Rushing water.
They grinned at each other and walked faster, reaching the river in a matter of minutes.
Sarah loved it. The water was clear and sparkling, she kneeled next to it and splashed the water on her face.
"Oh this feels wonderful!" She exclaimed.
She turned and her mouth dropped open.
Jareth had removed everything but the thin leggings he had been wearing under his leather pants and those he rolled up. Not giving her any mind, he waded in, then dove underwater.
Sarah watched him and admired his gorgeous physique. He was lean and toned, his pale skin having a slight sparkle in the sunlight.
He came back up and smiled at her. "Aren't you coming?"
She blushed. "Well..I don't really have anything to wear. I didn't plan on a swimming party." Then she thought. "Wait hang on!"
She dug through her bag then went behind a tree.
Her other bra was a black sports bra, and she had on boyshorts so she would be decently covered. They were black cotton so nothing would show through.
She changed then came out from behind the tree, threw her dirty clothes by her bag and waded in.
It feel incredible. The water was cool but not freezing. She ducked her head under and came up close to Jareth.
"This is amazing. Your were right I feel clean again." She laughed, overjoyed at the feeling.
When she came up she was facing his back. He was running his fingers through his loose hair and shaking it around.
She loved watching him move. He had a swimmers body. The lean muscles working under his skin.
He was incredibly graceful.
Jareth turned and caught her gaping at him. He winked at her and gave her a wicked, knowing smile. "Enjoying the view, Sarah?"
Her mouth slammed closed. She blushed hotly, so she dunked herself under the water again.
How could someone so irritating be so damn handsome? She thought to herself.
Jareth moved to the bank and sat, tipping his head back to the sun. Sarah splashed around a little while longer then joined him.
They said nothing as the let the warmth of the sun dry them off.
Out of the corner of his eye, Jareth looked at her. She was incredibly attractive. Her body curvy, legs long, her expanse of skin between her top and bottoms flat. He could see her navel.
His hands itched to touch her soft skin.
He felt a pull below and sat up, trying to get the thought out of his mind. He should not let himself think those things. In little more than a week she would be gone. He shut down his feelings and stared forward at the trees on the other side.
"If we dip our clothes in they will be clean too." He said, trying to get his mind off things.
She opened her eyes and sat up to face him.
The first thing she noticed, was that he was not wearing gloves. She could not remember seeing him without gloves, ever. Yet there they were his bare hands lying on his thighs.
"I don't think I've ever seen your hands. You have musicians' hands." She remarked.
He looked at them, turning them over a couple of times. "I never thought about it." He shrugged and laid them back down.
Feeling forward, she picked one of his hands up and cradled it between hers. He jerked, startled, but did not pull away. Touching another without permission was not done in the underground. Her touch, however, was gentle and he unexpectedly welcomed it.
"Why do you wear gloves all the time?" She asked.
"Our hands are sensitive. We sense others' feelings and emotions through touch. Our magic tends to..leak I suppose you would say, and touching humans ungloved, that magic will bind them to us in most circumstances."
He watched her touch his hand, not wanting her to stop but knowing he needed to put a halt to it. He wasn't sure even though he was bound from using his magic, if she could be affected by it.
He pulled it back reluctantly.
"Well it tingled a little, but didn't seem to affect me." She said, smiling up at him.
Sarah knew then she wanted to kiss him, and the thought went through her like a lightning bolt.
She dropped his hand and scooted a few inches away.
"So umm..you don't even touch your own kind without gloves?" She asked in a loud voice, try to break away from the tender moment.
"No. Unless it is parent to child, or you are lovers, married or not. It is not done unless with permission." He answered. He got up and walked to where his clothes were, returning to the river, getting in waist deep and washing them out.
"Oh. Sorry." She grimaced. She didn't mean to be rude.
"You didn't know. Anyway, it's fine. Under the circumstances, with only each other to rely on, it is reasonable we may have to have physical contact now and then." He shrugged.
Sarah followed Jareth's lead and grabbed up her clothes to wash out but moved 20 feet further down the river. She was suddenly very shy and uncomfortable, and thought she should stay farther away from him while they weren't fully clothed.
They laid their clothes to dry, which thanks to the warm sun wasn't long. Once they had redressed, they packed up and walked a few more hours down the river until the late afternoon.
Jareth crafted a fishing pole and told her to stay put while he walked a little ways downstream to a good fishing area. He calculated that they were still about a day ahead of schedule, so they could stop a few hours early this night and relax a bit. They might even gain more time as they traveled which would give them a good cushion to traverse the wastes. He hoped so. The valley was the easiest part of the trek. Once they were out of the valley it would be slower going and trickier. There were creatures in the wastes even worse than the forest. Creatures that they needed to avoid. Not to mention the native clans who were descendants of outcasts.
He point to some plants nearby and gave Sarah a small shovel he had in his bag, instructing her to dig. The plants' roots were edible, he said, something like the above ground potatoes.
She did so, retrieving half a dozen large tubers. She took her knife and chopped them up. They could fry them over the fire later.
Jareth came back to camp near sunset with a string of fish. He cleaned and filleted them then hung them up, taking the scraps into the forest for the scavengers to eat.
He started a fire then stripped down to his leggings again and took another dip in the river.
Sarah watched him. The waning sunlight made him glow slightly. She admired the way the damp fabric of his leggings clung to his thighs and rear end, defining their shape and definition.
She was feeling rather warm again.
Damn what an ass. He turned and she could clearly see other things being defined, which made her even warmer and a bit achy in certain sensitive areas. She got up and moved down the river a bit, stripping down to her black undergarments and diving into the cool water. She was well aware about The Goblin King's endowments from the first time she was here. He wasn't exactly shy about it, the way he dressed. However she needed to not be thinking about it because it did not help her situation in the least.
She was turned on by The Goblin King and it was a disturbing train of thought. She needed to stop it. She could not get attached. She would be going home. He would be staying here. Getting together with Jareth would be a horrible idea. A sexy, hot, horrible idea that made her knees weak.
She dunked herself under and stayed there for a minute.
When she climbed out Jareth had thrown his tunic on and was setting up the pan for the fish. He looked so different. His leggings damp, his tunic hanging open, barefoot and bare handed. He was like a wild thing, beautiful and uncivilized.
"The fish will produce a little oil, then we can cook the tubers." He informed her.
She put her jeans and shirt back on, then sat on her blanket near the fire to dry out and brush her hair while he cooked the food. She had offered but he refused to let her.
"You should let me cook sometime. I'm surprised you don't make me. Being a woman's duty and all." She said joking with him.
"While we have very clearly defined gender roles here, some things are done equally by men and women. I learned to cook when I was very young. I often spent time in the kitchens. Our cooks were a married couple and Hannah, who was also my nanny, was a second mother to me. I really do like it. It's relaxing." He said.
Once the food was done he came and sat on her blanket in front of her with the large pan full of food. She moved back, wondering what he was doing.
"I do not have plates, so we will have to share. Be careful it is hot." He handed her one of the 3 pronged forks he had in his hand.
"Oh boy a picnic." She said dryly. Spearing a piece of fish, she popped in her mouth. It melted on her tongue. "This is good." She said, and took another bite.
They were both quite hungry and didn't talk much as they ate. When they were done, Sarah insisted taking the pan and rinsing it out, and the utensils. She sat them by the fire to dry.
"This was a nice day." She told him as she settled into her blanket. She had also washed it in the river and dried it, so it smelled good now. Like after a rainstorm.
"It was." Jareth agreed. "They will be few and far between on this trip I'm afraid."
He was whittling again.
"What are you carving? You never said?" Sarah asked him once again.
"Nothing of importance. Just keeping my hands busy." He said, noncommittally.
Sarah smiled and rolled her eyes. Always the same answer, too.
"Mmmm..night." She felt her eyes drifting closed. Her belly was full and she was clean and warm.
Jareth chuckled. "Goodnight Sarah."
He was so tired, he thought. He put his things away and laid down.
"I will just rest my eyes." He muttered. Then he too, was deeply asleep.
She was on fire. Her body arched against his cool touch. His lips on her flesh. He whispered "Sarah..my beautiful Sarah."
He kissed her, his tongue dancing with hers. His hands were on her breasts, pinching, rubbing..his lips followed, he sucked at her nipples...a hand drifted down, stroking her heat, finding her bundle of nerves and pressing making her jump. "Jareth please..."
"Please...what Sarah." He said."Tell me what you want."
"You..I want..." She gasped as his fingers glided over her swollen flesh, then inside...pumping slowly. "Please. Inside me...I need you..' The orgasm overtaking her ability to speak...she cried out. "Jareth!"
Something was shaking her. "Sarah?"
Her eyes popped open, a pair of concerned blue ones hovering close to her face.
She pushed Jareth away and sat up.
"You are alright? You called my name." Jareth said.
She blushed hard. Oh God. That dream. "Ummm. Oh. I dreamed I couldn't find you. I guess I was looking for you and said your name. Sorry." She replied.
Jareth moved back to his bed and watched her, perplexed. "Are you sure you are fine?"
She nodded, laid back down and turned away from him. "Goodnight."
"Sweet dreams, Sarah." He answered.
He smiled and said nothing more, wondering what she was dreaming of. Whatever it was they were doing, it certainly was not what she had said. This gave him far more pleasure that it should, knowing she was dreaming of him again. If only he had his magic, he could look into her dream. Then again, maybe that was not a good idea.
He got comfortable and watched the moon make its nightly trip across the sky.
They walked a long way the next day, the terrain not as rocky. It rather humid by the water, and Sarah was glad they could stop occasionally and take a dip in the river if they needed to.
Sarah was still to embarrassed to talk to Jareth much. He kept giving her a look like her knew exactly what she had been dreaming of, but chose not to say. This made Sarah follow behind a few steps further, afraid he would ask.
Mid afternoon Jareth stopped her.
"We must cross the river. When we leave the valley we want to be on the other side."
They stripped down and packed everything in their packs, carrying them overhead.
Jareth had found a shallow part so it only came up to their waist. When the reached the other side, they redressed and sat down to rest.
"I honestly thought this would be a lot harder than it has been." Sarah said, relaxing.
Jareth gave her one of his trademark Goblin King smirks. "This is the easiest part, Sarah. The trek is really meant to tire us out more than anything. It's The last bit, the trip through the Labyrinth, that will be the true test." He said. "The trip through the wastes will be no picnic. We will need to fill our packs with food to sustain us through it. Today, though, before we start thinking of that, I would like to show you something just an hour or two into the forest from here."
This piqued Sarah's interest. "What?"
Jareth grinned. "You will see. Let us go."
Jareth led her through the lush green forest, pointing out brightly colored birds and small animals. As they got closer to where Jareth was taking her she saw something else.
Fairies. They buzzed around them, chattering and giggling. Sarah was wary because she had been bit by one, but these seemed friendly enough.
Jareth found this odd. Usually the little creatures were if not openly hostile, at least were wary of approaching humans. They however had no qualms at approaching Sarah.
Sarah started hearing a constant crashing sound that got louder and louder, as they got closer she figured out it was the sound of a waterfall. Jareth was taking her to a waterfall.
"Come, Sarah, come and look." Jareth beckoned, parting some big fronds in their way of the place he wanted to show her.
He held the curtain of foliage open and she stepped through..gasping at the sight.
It was a waterfall. It was huge. The droplets of water glittering in the light, an apparently constant rainbow hovering over the falls and pool below. The pool below was filled with tiny, darting rainbow colored fish, and the flowers and plants were also all brightly colored. The fairies flew this way and that, looking like small lights flitting above it all, like living stars.
It was magical.
"This is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. What is this place?" Sarah asked as she walked to the waters edge and looked up to watch the water crash down.
He came to stand beside her. "The Rainbow Falls. If helps to feed the river. Which is called Tranquility River. There is a very special reason besides its beauty I wanted you to see it. Let us sit a while and eat...If we are lucky we will see something else too."
"What more can there be? This is like out of a fairytale already." She exclaimed as she turned around swinging her arms wide. "I can hardly believe I'm seeing this!" She twirled and laughed.
Jareth watched her, smiling. He knew his Sarah would fall in love with this place.
He put that little thought out of his mind. "Sit, with me." He told her. "Please."
She stopped dancing around and came back to where he was, smiling from ear to ear. "Oh alright. I can't help it, this place makes me...I don't know how to describe it."
"It fills you with peace." He said. "Yes, it does that for everyone."
They sat, ate, and watched the water fall and bubble, as the fish swam and the birds and fairies swirled around in the air.
"This must be the favorite spot in all the underground." Sarah observed.
"Very few come here." Jareth answered. "It is a special place and not many can even find it. I have permission."
A crashing sound through the forest startles Sarah and she grabbed Jareth's arm. "What was that?" After the snake and the man eating flowers, she was jumpy.
He patted her hand. "Just wait, you will see. We will have guests momentarily. Though it's more apt to say we would be their guests."
The rustling and footsteps became louder from across the pool. Sarah held her breath.
Then the forest seemed to part reverently and..
Sarah's eyes about popped out of her head. There were two real live unicorns not 100 feet from her.
"Oh my God. They are real." She said, staring at the mythical beings.
"Shh." Jareth said.
The unicorns, obviously parent and child, walked delicately to the water and drank. Paying them no mind.
Just then the smaller one spotted them and reared back against the larger one, startled. He nickered and neighed.
The larger one raised her head and stared at them with wise, yet curious glittering purple eyes, not making a move either way. She moved so she was between the little one and them. Facing them fully, unafraid and expectant.
Jareth stood slowly. He had piece of fruit in his hand and placed it in his palm, holding it straight out.
He spoke a language Sarah had never heard. She watched, enraptured by what was happening.
Jareth walked slowly around the pool, approaching and talking to the creatures. The large mare took a step towards him. Finally he was close enough that she could sniff the fruit in his hand, taking it gently from his hand and chewing. She then stepped to him and he could pet her long face. All the while speaking to her with reverence and respect. She nuzzled his hand.
Sarah could not believe she was seeing what she was seeing.
"Sarah, bring that bunch of berries and come. This is Uhrulu. She is Queen of the Unicorn Herds. This is her son. Bahala. "
Sarah got the berries and went to where they were gathered but made sure to go slow like Jareth had done. He was talking in that language and she was nickering back to him. It sounded like they were conversing.
Jareth turned and took her free hand, pulling her face to face with the unicorn. She held out her hand and the large beast stepped aside, bumping the smaller one to take the fruit, which he did.
Jareth gestured to her while talking, and the unicorn nodded it's head, all the while Sarah was gingerly petting the young one, who had taken a liking to her.
"I had no idea unicorns could be queens too." Sarah said.
There was an odd sensation in Sarah's mind, a strange prickly feeling. Not unpleasant, but unsettling. Like something pressing softly on her forehead and entering her brain.
We can and are, child of the above. A soft voice drifted through her mind
"Did you hear that?" Sarah asked Jareth.
"I was hoping you would be able to hear her, Sarah. She communicates by sending thoughts to your mind. The Unicorns rule this valley. They are allies of The Goblin Kingdom. Though there are too few. Maybe a few hundred."
The baby was openly nudging and nuzzling her now. She was totally entranced but the beautiful creatures.
Bahala likes you. So do I. You are welcome here anytime Sarah, Champion of The Labyrinth and favorite of the The Goblin King. He is a friend to us. You are now a friend to us as well.
Sarah bowed low to the mare. "Thank you. You know above you are a myth. No one knows you really exist."
As it should be. They slaughtered many of us when we were all one world. For trophies and folk remedies that were useless. You must be quite extraordinary to conquer the great maze, and win the favor of a king such as this one.
Sarah reached out and stroked her soft nose. "Thank you."
We are honored to meet you, Champion, but we must go.
The mare bowed her head towards Jareth, and turned, leading her son away. The young colt gave her one last nuzzle and trotted behind his mother.
"How did they know we were here?" Sarah turned to Jareth, who looked as relaxed and at peace as she had ever seen him.
"This is their sacred pool. Uhrulu sensed us." Jareth said. "We should go and get back to our journey."
Sarah and Jareth collected their things and hiked back to the river chatting about the unicorns and the waterfalls. When they got there they continued their trip down river. Both feeling happy and at peace.
They found a place and set up camp, built a fire and laid out their beds. Jareth showed Sarah how to clean the fish, which she found disgusting but helped anyway, since Jareth had been doing so much.
After they ate they talked a little more. Jareth told her stories of the underground and she interrupted him constantly to ask questions, then of course they argued and bickered about that, but each smiling the whole time.
Sarah crawled into her bed smiling. She realized as weird as it was, they seemed to have fallen into a pattern of domesticity that she found oddly comfortable.
She drifted to sleep, happy.
Come here baby, come on Scar.
What's wrong? What do you see..
Sarah jerked awake. Just as Scar was lunging at her in her dream. "What the...?"
"Sarah." Came Jareth's quiet voice.
She sat up and looked towards Jareth's voice.
That is when she heard a deep growl...then when she saw the source terror swept through her making her freeze.
A Huge..thing..something like a wolf, but bigger. so much bigger...was on the other side of the fire from Jareth, who was standing in front of her, sword in hand.
"Stand, but stand slowly. Stay behind me." He said over his shoulder.
She did as he said looking around him to see the large beast.
It looked to a cross between a wolf and bear, hairy, malice in its dark eyes, saliva dripping from its huge fangs. Claws extended out at least 6 inches.
Jareth was backing up and bumped into her. She stepped back from him. "Sarah, please do what I tell you exactly." He spoke low, not turning his head from the beast. "Keep backing up. Once you are out of the light of the fire, I want you to run. There is a tree about 30 feet back that is larger than the others. Climb as high as you can and stay there no matter what you see or hear."
"But what about you?" Sarah pleaded. "I won't be able to.."
"Sarah! Do as I say if you want to live! If something happens to me, go to the falls. Uhrulu will give you sanctuary." Jareth commanded.
Sarah's heart dropped. "Jareth...I..." She grabbed his free hand and squeezed. He squeezed back. "I know. Now, go."
She backed up, Jareth shielding her. Once she crossed the line from light to dark, she turned and ran, the tree Jareth had told her about she practically slammed into, then swung up on the lowest branch and kept going until she maybe 20 feet off the ground.
She could not see anything but a faint light coming through the trees from the place Jareth was.
Then came a horrifying noise. She knew the beast had struck. The noises from the camp were awful, She could hear the sounds of sword being swung, and Jareth's exclamations and grunts as he was hit or fell several times. The thing growled and roared. Jareth must have got it a few times as it screeched and yelped in pain.
She put her hands over her ears, tears streaming down her face. "Oh God please don't die..please Jareth, I don't know what I would do if.." She prayed and sobbed.
It seemed like forever until it was finally quiet though it was no more than 20 minutes in reality. She waited as long as she dared, before climbing down and as softly as she could walk, making her way back to the camp.
As she stepped into the area, a sob escaped her.
Thier belongings were strewn everywhere, blood splattered all over. The fire was out, the battle having strewn the wood rocks, and crystals all over.
"Jareth?' She called. "Jareth where are you?" She wrapped her arms around her body, fearing the worst.
She heard a slight noise on the other side. but when she went to see, ran into something furry.
"Gah!" Sarah jumped away from it. In the dim light of early morning she could see it was whatever had attacked them. it looked dead. She touched it and her hand came back slick with blood.
"Ugh." She wiped her hand on her jeans. Moving past the hulk she made her way around the camp, towards the slight noise.
"Jareth?" She called again.
Her foot hit something and she fell over it. Turning to look her heart dropped.
Jareth, she had tripped over Jareth.
She scooted over to him. Listening she realized the noise she had been following was Jareth's labored breathing.
"Oh no. Oh please..." She begged. She turned him over and tears sprung to her eyes. The sun was rising so it had become bright enough to see he was badly injured.
Claw marks raked across his chest, and there was a deep wound in his shoulder. His arm looked at least strained if not broken. Blood was everywhere so it was hard to see what other wounds there might be.
"Jareth..." She whispered, terrified at his conditon.
He coughed while he tried to breathe, blood coming from his mouth. He forced himself to open his eyes just a little.
"You need.." He tried to speak but coughed again, more blood.
"Don't try to talk I'll be right back." She ran and found a tattered t-shirt on the ground, ripped it in two and went to the river and wet one half. She ran back to where he lay.
By the time she got back to Jareth he had dragged himself over to a rock and propped his torso up.
She tore the shirt into rags and wiped the blood from him. His face and chin, his chest. She removed his torn tunic to get access.
"You're going to okay, I promise." She keep telling him as she worked to wash him off and bind the wound on his arm so it would stop bleeding.
He watched her work, only hissing a little at the pain when she tightened the makeshift bandage on his arm.
Once there was nothing more she could do she sat there fidgeting.
"Sarah..you must go.." He struggled to speak without coughing.
"I'm not leaving you here!" She yelled. He cringed. "I'm sorry. What can I do?"
"Uhrulu...magic..only thing.." He started coughing again.
"But I don't want to.." He stopped her.
"If you do not...I will die." He said. His voice raspy, his eyes eyes full of pain as they bore into hers.
"I can't leave you alone." Sarah said, her voice sounding whiny even to herself, but she was worried and frightened beyond anything she had dealt with so far on this ordeal.
He used his good arm to pull her to him, looking into her eyes as if trying to get the point across. "You..have..no choice. Be fine." He wheezed out. He let her go and laid back, closing his eyes.
She stood up. Looking towards the direction they had come. it would take most of the day to get there and back.
She tried the best she could to gather their things, shoving them in the tattered packs. She found the water flask.
Bring them all she sat them close to Jareth. He turned his head to watch her.
"Alright. I will try. Please..just don't.." She couldn't even finish saying it. She took the flask and put it in his good hand. "Sip at it if you need to. I can drink water from the river when I get thirsty. Stay put and don't try to move."
He nodded once, then closed his eyes once more. She found her pillow unscathed if not a little dirty, and lifted his head to put it between him and the rock for cushioning, and laid the blanket over him gently.
"In case you get chilly. If you get hot you can push it off right?" She asked. He nodded again.
She swiftly found her shoes and put them on then took off running as fast as she could back towards the falls, heart racing with fear and adrenaline.
As the sun rose higher she ran, only stopping to catch her breath or take a few gulps of water from the river. She fell several times because she wasn't watching where her feet were landing.
Her lungs were burning and her feet screaming in pain, but by noon she found the place that led to falls.
She pushed herself through the forest, dodging low hanging branches not even noticing the birds and fairies moving quickly to avoid her.
Still she ran. When she finally pushed apart the leaves and saw the falls she cried out twith relief. She got to the water and dropped to the ground, scooping water up and gulping it down.
"Uhrulu?" She cried out. "Uhrulu, please..can you hear me?" She screamed the Unicorn Queen's name.
She sat on the ground and curled her arms around her knees, laying her forehead down on them.
The tears came. The sobs were loud and unchecked. She didn't care who heard or saw her. Jareth was going to die, and Toby was going to be taken. She would have to beg to stay underground so he wouldn't be alone, and their parents never know either of them existed. No one would know to try and find them.
Worst of all..Jareth was going to die. Her heart broke.
What is wrong little one?
She heard the voice in her head. Looking up she found the great mare standing behind her, a puzzled look in her bright purple eyes.
"Oh..Uhrulu.." She jumped up and ran to Uhrulu, throwing her arms around her neck.
"Thank god you came!"
Tell me what is wrong Champion.
The story spilled out, Sarah trying not to cry as she told it.
The unicorn queen listened closely. When Sarah was done, she spoke.
Do you have something sharp?
Sarah pulled the small pocketknife out of her pocket. "Yes."
Retrieve one of those large fronds, then come close.
Sarah did as she was told.
Uhrulu dipped her head so he long sharp horn was right near Sarah's face.
Scrape some dust from my horn with the knife. It will not hurt me, so do not worry. My horn regenerates instantly.
Sarah did. Soft at first but then a bit harder. As she watched, glittery dust began to fall from the horn and she caught it in the large leaf.
"How much should I get?" Sarah asked.
A pile as large as your fist should be enough.
She kept scraping until it looked like the right amount.
Now, go back to your king, and sprinkle it over his wounds. It is pure light magic. It will heal him. Go as fast as you can, human child, it sounds as if he will not last long.
Sarah wrapped the dust tight inside the leaf and stuck it in her pocket.
"Oh thank you, Queen Uhrulu. I don't know what i would have done if he.." She sobbed.
Go. Go save your beloved king. He feels the same, you know. He cannot hide his heart from me.
Sarah didn't think about the queen's words too closely, she just turned and ran back the way she came.
She will make a good queen, my friend. Uhrulu thought.
Hearing her youngling call for her, she went back into the forest.
After Sarah reached the river she drank a few more mouthfuls of water and continued to run , but her body was starting to give out. So she slowed to a fast walk. She had stop a few times to rest, and it was driving her crazy.
"Damn it Sarah..don't give up now, you have to keep going." She complained to herself.
It was twilight when she finally saw the carcass of the hulking beast, marking the edge of their camp. Making a wide berth around it, she limped to where Jareth lay.
He was in the same position, but the blanket had been kicked off. He was sweating and unconscious, barely breathing. Her stomach clenched in fear.
Sarah took the leaf out of her pocket and unfolded it. She picked up some of the glittery dust and sprinkled it over his wounded arm, then carefully over each of the deep claw marks across his body. She then took the in her hand and blew it gently so it settled all over him.
Nothing happened. Maybe she was too late.
"Oh god. Oh no..please.. Jareth...don't leave me alone." She cried. She lay against him, wrapping her arms around him lying her head on his good shoulder. "Please don't die.." She said into his ear.
Her crying turned to sniffles as she waited. She tried to stay awake but she had worn herself to almost nothing. She had no energy left.
She fell asleep there, her tears drying on his skin.
Jareth felt odd. He was floating in a sea of light. He skin tingled. His eyes were itchy and dry.
He struggle to find his way out..and saw and opening far away. He pushed towards it slowly, like he was swimming through mud.
When he reached it he pushed himself through...
Jareth's eyes popped open and he was sitting against a rock, something warm and soft against his side. He turned his head to see dark hair. Sarah.
He tried to move but she clung to him.
"Sarah..wake up." He shook her. She mumbled and sniffed. "Sarah?"
She opened her eyes and sat up turning to stare at him.. "Are you okay?" She asked.
He moved his arms and legs. Sore but nothing seemed broken. The blood on his chest was flaking off to show new pink skin beneath.
"It seems so. You found Uhrulu." He answered.
He went to push himself up but found himself suddenly straddled and embraced by an overjoyed Sarah.
"Sarah." He managed to get out. He hugged her back to keep them both from falling over.
She grabbed his face and started kissing him all over his forehead his cheeks, even his lips. "Jareth oh my god I thought you were dead I was so scared don't do that to me again or I'll kill you myself you jackass!"" Her words running together.
He replayed them to try and decipher what she was saying.
After a few minutes he pushed her away gently. "Sarah. calm down. Please..I was just grievously injured."
Sarah backed off, then blushed. "I'm sorry. I was just so worried. Do you need anything?"
"Water." He rasped. She handed him the flask. He took a long drink. "Help me up please."
She stood up and gently help him stand. He was a little weak, but now that he was healed his body would regenerate quickly.
He asked her for a wet cloth, so she got the scrap of t-shirt she had been using earlier, wrung it out and handed to him, he wiped as much blood as he could off of his skin.
"I will be fine by morning. That...thing almost killed me before I killed it. Everything got tossed about. I hope we have adequate supplies to make it. We lost a day we had gained, maybe even a day and a half." He grimaced as he sat on the rock he had been leaning on.
Sarah stood there, her mouth open. "You almost died!" She exclaimed. "Why are you are worried about supplies?!"
"We have to move forward, Sarah. We have no choice. There are still a few hours until dawn. Could you make our beds up please?"
Sarah stuttered. 'I..okay." She dug around. "I can't find your bedroll, it might be in the bushes."
"Then we will have to share. We can look in the morning." He said.
Sarah took her blanket and got the pillow which had been underneath Jareth's head. Laying them out she waited, unsure.
Jareth rolled his eyes. "We are adults, Sarah, it's just for a few hours. "
He unfolded the blanket and got in scooting back then holding it up for her.
She crawled in next to him turning so her back was to his front. He folded the blanket over her.
She was trembling but it wasn't from cold. She could feel the warmth of him on her back.
"Are you cold?" He asked. She nodded so he wouldn't think any different.
He pulled her against his body, laying his chin on her neck "Relax, Sarah. I'm not going to ravish you. Believe me I do not have to energy to even try." He teased.
She tried to avoid pressing hard against him, and soon he was breathing deep and even. She drifted in and out but didn't sleep much. When she finally did fall asleep, she wasn't aware how her body relaxed into his, and he came to briefly. She didn't know he tightened his arms and cradled her so reverently against himself, that he buried his face in her hair, trying to find comfort in her warm presence.
Jareth was the first to wake. It was later than he had woken in a long time, probably mid morning. At first he did not want to move, his face still pressed against into Sarah's dark hair.
They needed to move because they had lost the day they had as a cushion and needed to go quickly.
"Sarah we need to get up. Now." He said next to her ear.
She yawned and stretched, moving away from him, embarrassed at their closeness.
"Do you feel better?" She asked.
He got up and stood, his knees wobbling a bit. The hulking beast lay some 30 feet away, and it was starting to smell. Soon the scavengers would come and they needed to get away. The scavenger birds were vicious and would gladly attack anything living or dead near their prey.
"We need to go, Sarah. Gather as much as you can, and we will leave. I will find some food along the way."
She hopped up and looked around finding everything she could. Everything seemed to be there, just scattered.
She found Jareth's bag near the carcass of the hairy thing, trying not breath, she snatched it and threw his things inside.
"Found my bedroll." He announced pulling it out of a bush. "Do we have it all?"
Sarah nodded. She put the scraps of her shirt and wrapped them in a plastic bag from her pack, not wanting to leave any trace of them there.
She turned and watched Jareth trying to move the beasts' body. He pulled something out from underneath. His sword, covered in dry blood. He rinsed the blood off and sheathed it.
He could here screeches not too far away. The carrion birds were tracking the scent of blood and death, and coming closer.
"Let us go, Sarah. NOW. MOVE!" He commanded.
He walked as fast as he could, his sore body protesting. Sarah walked with him, looking back, the sounds unnerving after what had happened the day before.
After an hour or so, He slowed. "We are safe for now. They are dining nicely and have no care for the small traces of blood that may be on either of us."
"Gross!" Sarah said, thinking about birds eating at that smelly thing back at their previous camp. "I'm surprised they didn't come yesterday."
"Wasn't starting to decay well enough for them to smell it. Takes a day or so." He explained.
"But if they would have.."Sarah answered.
Jareth frowned at her. "Do not think of it. It did not happen. You need to put it out of your mind now, Sarah, so we can carry on."
They stopped for a little while and ate some fruit they found, then continued on. They didn't rest much because Jareth was trying to make up time.
Sarah was tired, dirty and needed a break, but she tried not to complain. She knew it was his ass on the line here. She just kept silent and followed Jareth's lead. usually she would have argued but it would serve no purpose at this point.
They kept going until well after sunset. Jareth relented when it became too dark to see more than few feet, and they found a spot.
"Is it safe at night to go into the river?" Sarah asked. She looked at the water longingly.
"Yes, The river is not called Tranquility for no reason." He answered as he sat up the fire. "I may join you when I am finished here."
Sarah stripped off all of her clothes except her bra and underwear, no longer concerned what Jareth saw, and waded her way into the water. She wished it was a bit warmer but it did feel good anyway, she dunked her head and came up flinging her hair out of her face.
"Be careful, love." She heard behind her.
"Oh I didn't know you were so close." she crossed her arms over her fabric covered breasts. The cool water made her nipples hard and she hid them from his view.
She turned to face him.
His hair was down and he was shirtless, his pale skin glowing slightly under the full moon.
"I believe we should stay within sight of each other, just in case." He said, stroking her cheek with a fingertip. "I would not want anything to happen to you."
"Me either. I mean I wouldn't want anything to happen to you either..again. I don't ever want to go through that again. You scared me Jareth..I thought you...and I would be..." Her eyes filled with tears.
He stepped closer causing the water to ripple and laid his hands on her arms.
"I'm alive, Sarah. No need to cry anymore. I will not leave you."
She stepped forward into his arms, and he hugged her close, comforting her.
Sarah pressed her face to his skin.
Damn he smells good, she thought. He was warm and kind...and so very different than she had ever expected her childhood villain to be.
She stepped back and he took her face in his hands, looking into her eyes. "We will make it Sarah. I have faith in you. As long as you reciprocate, we will win. Do you trust me?"
Afterwards, she would not know who kissed whom, all she knew was that her lips were touching his, and it was incredible.
It was gentle at first, but then it changed. He urged her mouth to open, and his tongue touched hers.
The passion flared between then and the kiss deepened, she took her arms from her chest and slid them around his neck, her breasts against his chest.
His fingers threaded through her hair. Slowly they slid down her back to cup her backside, pulling her closer.
She could feel him already hard against her stomach. Her nipples brushed against his chest and she shivered from the sensation.
He lifted her and she wrapped her legs around his waist, their lips never losing contact.
He pulled back and looked into her eyes. "Sarah," He whispered "My Sarah."
She shut him up with another kiss. She felt herself being turned, carried out of the water. She was laid down on the soft surface of his bedroll.
Sarah lifted her chin and he took the cue, attacking her neck with his lips and tongue, nipping at the hollow of her neck.
"Jareth..I need you, please." She gasped out. This time she was begging him not to live, but to love.
He pushed himself up. "Sarah, are you certain? Maybe we should not..."
"No. I want you. Don't stop." she begged.
He pulled the straps of the bra down her arms, finding the clasp between her breasts he snapped it open. She sat up and it slid off her body.
His eyes softened. "You are so beautiful." He sighed. He took her breasts in his hands rubbed his thumbs over her nipples. He bent down and sucked one into his mouth, making her back arch up to push her breasts to his lips. He moved back and forth until she was writhing beneath him.
He sat back and hooked his fingers under her panties, pulling them down and off, continuing his discovery of her body, her stomach, her thighs, the sweetness of her sex. He buried his face between her thighs, licking and kissing her hot, moist center. She grabbed onto his shoulders and moaned, her release coming quickly as he worked his mouth on her.
He nuzzled his way back to her lips and kissed her with all the pent up feelings he had harbored all the years they were separated.
Sarah was pushing at his leggings trying to get them off. He sat up and practically ripped them off of his body, then settled himself between her legs. His rock hard erection pressing at her entrance demanding entry.
"I need to be inside you. I can't wait anymore." He said. She nodded, waiting.
WIth a thrust he had buried himself in her welcoming heat. They both groaned at being joined. After all these years, the one thing he had desired most. Sarah. His champion was his, finally, completely.
Sarah once again had her legs around his waist, linked at her ankles. She had no intention of him go anywhere. He thrust hard and she took it all, liking his aggressive pace. Never had she had anyone fill her the way Jareth did. All along he was the missing piece that she could never find.
They ground themselves together, both needing release. After all the frustration, the hardships unnumbered, the dangers untold. They deserved this. This moment, this feeling.
Sarah screamed his name as her orgasm exploded inside her, her body tingling and shaking as her muscles contracted and released.
Jareth followed closely behind, his body spasming as he filled her with his seed, moaning her name again and again. She could feeling him pulsing inside her, and it made her come again around him, her body gripping him.
Sarah's body relaxed against the soft blanket beneath her spent body. She let all her stress melt away as he placed kisses over her face and neck, unwilling to remove himself from her body.
Eventually the kisses slowed and Jareth laid his head on her chest, listening to her heartbeat and breathing slow down to normal.
He reluctantly removed himself from her and rolled off, laying on his side and watching her.
"We should not have done that." he said and moved to lay on his back, staring at the stars.
She turned and looked at him, confused. "What? You didn't want to? I mean be with me?"
He turned back and smoothed her hair away from her face, looking at her tenderly. "I have wanted you more than I have ever wanted anything." He said, the truth spilling out. "I just don't want this to make things...confusing for us. Later."
Sarah moved closer. He grabbed her blanket and laid it over them. "Let's not think about later Jareth. Right now all we have is each other. I needed you. You were there. We...I'm an adult and no virgin. I don't regret tonight. No matter what happens." She snuggled her face into his neck, breathing in his unique scent.
He held her against himself through the night. As dawn was breaking they made love again. This time slowly, enjoying each other. Their time was limited, they did not wanted to waste a minute.
I was sick in bed editing this chapter via tablet so if there are any glitches I'll fix them in short order :)
They set off early the next day, Sarah firmly by Jareth's side, no longer walking behind. He wanted her close.
In the afternoon they were not far from where the valley gave way to the wastelands. They could see it on the horizon, a dull brown stretch as far as they could see, the river branching off into smaller streams and reaching into the haze like spindly fingers.
By sunset they had reached where the vegetation was spreading out and becoming sparse.
Jareth chose this spot as a good place to rest before heading into the wastes. They could fish and find some fruit and tubers for that would last. They had 6 days to get to The Labyrinth.
Had it really only been a week? Sarah thought to herself. It seemed like she had always been here in the valley, with Jareth. It wasn't so bad really, being here.
They washed out all their clothes and blankets, Getting ready for what was to come. Jareth explained water was sparse in the wastes. He knew where there were some small ponds, but they would not be like the river.
The two new lovers sat close as they ate, feeding each other and laughing, making a mess. The moon came up and they cuddled under their blankets, touching, talking and kissing, sometimes just staring at the stars. It seemed to them they were the only two beings in the universe.
"Oh wait, I have something for you." Jareth said. He sat up and dug around in his bag.
Sarah's eyes lit up. "A present?" She grinned, sitting up with him.
He pulled it out of his bag and hid it in his hands. "Close your eyes."
She did and felt him place something over her head, and a small weight settled between her breasts.
She opened her eyes and looked down, picking the object up to get a good look.
"This is what you've been craving isn't it?" She asked.
It was an intricately carved small wooden owl much like his animal form. Sarah was amazed at how detailed it was.
"Thank you..Jareth. It is the most beautiful thing anyone has even given me."
She looked up and they way he was watching her, with such intensity, it caused her heart to race.
No one had ever looked at her like like that.
"I used an extra cord I had in my bag to make the string. Do you truly like it?" He implored.
She nodded, holding it in her hand like it was made of the most precious substance in the world, and not a piece of common wood.
"Jareth..before we continue to the wasteland, before we go any further..I want you to know...I..you..you mean a lot to me. I never thought I would even like you much less..well, care for you."
He laid a hand on her cheek, his eyes full of an emotion he dare not speak of. "Sarah, you are..quite special to me also. You will always have me. If we do not succeed, if I pay the price I must pay for failing...please do not forget me. Be happy, live your life, but carry me with you always?"
Sarah's heart nearly burst from her body, so full it was. She dared not speak. So she kissed him. She pushed him to the blanket and straddled him. She removed her clothes and his. sensuously sliding against him, then she reached between them and positioned his shaft against her center and lowered herself, taking him inside.
Jareth grasped her hips and pushed up to meet her. She rocked her body against his, taking them both to the heights of pleasure. When they had both found release, Sarah laid atop him as his arms were wrapped around her, neither wanting to be separated from the other. They stayed this way until morning. Barely sleeping.
The next morning they woke early, gathered as much food as they could, filling their packs, and set off.
"The wastes are appropriately named, I'd say." Sarah remarked after they had been walking for hours. The plants had thinned out and started to turn brown. There were more rocks than anything.
"You could say that." Jareth replied. "If you see anyone out here it is best to avoid them. Most of those who live out here are cast out from their families and clans, though small groups of natives do exist, with their own ways of life. Harsh ways."
This alarmed Sarah. "Will they be trouble?"
"If they are outcasts, they may recognize me as a king and that would be trouble. They could try to hold us to gain leverage. The clans...well they are bit of an enigma. It is hard to know what to think about those who would choose to live out here. "A human woman could be a curiosity to some. Best you stay away from them. They don't exactly have the same way of courting as the rest of the underground. It is more like take first, ask later. They may pay us no mind as we hardly look like we are just coming from a ball now do we." He said, smiling.
She laughed, looking down. Her jeans were torn and stained, though clean for the moment. They would not be for long. She had started with 3 t-shirts and was down to two, and was wearing 2 pairs of socks to give her feet a little cushion.
Jareth looked gorgeous and rugged, His remaining tunic hanging loose, his boots broken in and dusty, his hair falling out of it's ponytail.
"You know," Sarah began. "I never knew the markings you had years ago was just makeup. I thought it was part of your skin."
He laughed. "It's part of being a royal, wearing the face paint. Comes with the territory. I am glad that I'm not required to wear it out here, it would be highly uncomfortable to do so."
"I wonder how I would look in some royal face paint." She answered, flipping her hair and giving Jareth a saucy pose.
"Gorgeous I'm sure. Perhaps when we get to my castle you can try it for yourself. I will help you." Jareth offered.
The thought of her wearing royal markings made his heart ache. If only, he thought. She would never really want that. This..whatever it was, was temporary. He knew that. He would enjoy her company for as long as he had it, then he would let her go. As it should be.
"Oh look!" Sarah said suddenly, pointing to the ground.
Littering the ground were tiny, glittery shards of shells.
She picked one up. The were like glass. Shimmery glass. "Can I keep a few? You know, as a souvenir?"
"They are fragments of eggs. The shells are harmless." He answered.
She gather a handful of the iridescent shards and put them in the front pocket of her pack.
"Wait..eggs?" She paused, curious.
"Glass spiders." He said, shrugging his shoulders. "They lay hundreds at a time. When the babies hatch the eggs shatter. This must have been a nesting area. We just want to make sure we don't run into any. The eggs are pretty, but the creatures that come out of them are deadly."
Sarah looked around apprehensively. "Do you think they are close by?"
"Hard to tell. As they are made almost entirely of sand glass, they are not easy to see until they are far too close for comfort. For you they would be especially difficult. Listen for chittering noises, and if you hear a high pitched roar, run like Hades."
"So noted." Sarah said, a shudder going through her. Ugh. She hated spiders and had severe arachnophobia. "Any other creatures out here I need to watch out for?"
"A few. Be careful where you sit. Not all rocks, are rocks. Sand serpents dwell under the sands, but come up for food, so stay away from any large holes. It mean they are waiting for something tasty to fall in. For personal experience, I can vouch that you are quite tasty." His eyes glinted wickedly and he licked his lips.
Sarah blushed, tapping him on the arm and laughing. "Oh stop. Pervert."
He snickered at her shyness. "You certainly didn't complain early this morning."
"Neither did you." She shot back.
Jareth laughed. How he loved bantering with this woman. She gave as good as she got. There was nothing worse that a simpering, compliant milquetoast of a female.
Who would have thought The great Goblin King would prefer argumentative, insolent human to an immortal woman who would live to please him, strive to be the perfect hostess, and demurely defer to her king?
He always was rebellious and hard headed, so it would figure he would want the same in a female companion.
High born underground females were trained from birth in manners, breeding, all the traits needed of good wives. Especially if one was to be the wife of a king.
Of course, Sarah would never want that.
That thought made The Goblin King's mood shift. Of course she would not. She refused him once, what would make him think she would not readily do so again? Because they had been intimate? He knew in the above, as underground in some circles, sex was a casual thing for many.
Granted, he was no innocent, but there were people for that here. Women and men who served society through pleasure. Making sure needs were taken care of. These people were highly revered, not slaves and lived well.. They were not looked down upon either.
Of course people had affairs, but it was discreet. He had affairs. Women loved The Goblin King. Men of power had little trouble finding a partner.
No one wanted to marry him. He was considered untamable, rude, and arrogant. The women thrilled to him as a lover, but had no desire to take on the mantle of Goblin Queen. To live beyond the wastes away from underground society, overseeing a kingdom full of wild creatures with very few of their kind around to socialize with.
Not that he wanted them to. He enjoyed his freedom, his life. He liked being the naughty lover women wanted to take into a closet and let him do what he wanted to them.
He even liked living out on the edge of the underground, away from proper society. He didn't even mind, much, being put in charge of a band of filthy goblins and assorted creatures who made their way into The Labyrinth.
Then he found Sarah. She had been barely into her teen years when he first saw her on a flight through the above.
Playing in the park, her dog her loyal steed. Bright jade eyes, dark hair, pale skin. Her absolute belief enchanted him, and he watched her often. She was far too young to consider courting, but the feeling in his gut had been to leave her the book. He had placed it in a spot she would see it and she took the bait.
As she acted the book out over and over, he knew she would call on him, and eventually she did.
Then she won. He honestly had no conscious intention of letting her win. He thought she would lose, that the game would end as it always had. He had become far too invested in the girl, let himself actually care what happened to her. If he wouldn't have, he would have left her to rot in the oubliette, waiting for some of the nastier tunnel dwellers to find her and torment her, but no. He suddenly had a case of nobility and told the dwarf to let her free. Then he thought, well if she accepts his offer in the end, taking the crystal would grant her immortality, and he could claim her as his future bride as was his right, so all was not lost. After all, he did need an heir, and she was attractive, though he would have waited to wed her until she was of age. He would have even sent the child home if she wished it, as a peace offering.
That isn't what happened, and he had been furious at himself and her. He had even convinced himself he had been a fool, that some human would never be good enough, that it was a good thing. She was too stubborn and he would quickly tire of fighting with her.
He even convinced himself of his dislike for the girl. She had been a passing fancy because of her vibrant imagination calling not only to him, but to the very heart of the blasted maze.
But now..now what was he to do. He could not face offering his heart and soul to someone who would be leaving in a few days.
"I suppose whatever happens, will happen." He muttered to himself out loud, kicking a rock out of his way.
"Did you say something?" Sarah asked him. He had almost forgotten she was next to him.
"Not really, just thinking out loud." Jareth replied quickly.
"I talk to myself all the time, and I always say that very thing." She told him with a smile.
"Tell me about your life, Sarah." He urged. If she was talking, maybe it would give him less time to think.
"Let's see. Before you met me I was just a kid, so not much exciting there. My parents divorced when I was 10, father remarried, they had Toby." She started.
"After that night, things changed. I was a better person. I was kinder, less selfish. Despite everything, I think it was good thing it happened. You taught me some good lessons." She smiled at him.
"That is part of the experience." He said. Glad she did not regret it.
"Then I graduated high school and went to college. I took art, and became an illustrator for children's books."
"Not acting?" He asked.
Sarah laughed at that. He remembered. "Oh God no. I was horrible at it. I tried out for a few plays and was rejected every time. I was always told to tone it down I sounded like an overdramatic teenager."
"Yes..well.." he answered, grinning.
"Yeah, I was. I know. She giggled. "I'm pretty much alone most of the time really. I'm what humans call, introverted. I like reading, and writing, painting, and listening to music. A few friends, but no one close. Except Toby. We are close."
Jareth was glad of this too. "How is the boy?"
"Tall. Taller than me. He is 14 now. Just hitting the throes of puberty. Loves playing baseball."
She sighed, thinking of him. "He would be miserable here. I can't let them take him."
Jareth put an arm around her. "Not to worry, we are going to win. Sarah. Remember?"
She nodded, trying not to cry anymore.
"Back to you," Jareth said. "Boyfriends?"
"A few over the years, no one really special. I lost my virginity to my college boyfriend. I mean I liked him, thought it was more for a bit, but in reality, I think I just did it because I thought I should because everyone else was. He was nice, sweet to me, but it wasn't...what I was looking for I guess." She shrugged.
She could have told him the truth. None of them had ever compared to him. Though she had talked herself into disliking the arrogant king, deep down she knew she was incredibly attracted and fascinated by him. All her darkest desires had always involved him. Often when she had sex in the past, she pictured him instead of whatever boyfriend she had been with. It was the only way she had really enjoyed the experience.
She hadn't had a lover in several years until Jareth. She had given up trying to find anyone to make her happy, and looked ahead to a rather solitary life. She wanted a child or two someday, but couldn't picture herself marrying anyone and settling down.
Except now. She had lain awake the night before, picturing herself at Jareth's side. They would fight and argue, certainly, but she had a feeling making up would be spectacular with Jareth.
Then she remembered, she was human. in 50 years she would an old woman, and he would be..Jareth. Why would he want to marry her? Have immortal children? So they could watch her grow old and die? To do so would mean she would miss everything important in their lives, and she definitely didn't want her husband and kids crying over her grave for eternity. That was too sad to think of.
He would look at her aging body with pity and sadness, and wouldn't want her then. Sure he would smile and say he did. but she knew the truth. Of course he wouldn't. Why would he want to cuddle up to an old crone when he was still so beautiful?
No. It was better to have this brief time with him while she was still young, and they could enjoy each other. Then they could part friends and go on with their lives in their own worlds.
She could carry the sweet memories of him with her all her life, and it would keep her going, knowing she once knew such passion.
Yay for Bowie references :)
The next 2 days and nights were routine. They got up after dawn, ate, and walked all day. As they traveled, the weather got warmer and warmer. Sarah had taken to tucking her shirt in the middle of her breasts and tying it like a halter top. Thankfully she didn't burn easily, but she did have sunscreen in her pack.
When it got too dark to see, Jareth would build a small fire, more for light than warmth, and they would split their carefully rationed food then sleep curled together. As with most deserts, it got chilly at night. They were both happy for the excuse to keep each other warm.
Jareth did not sleep as much as Sarah thought. Most of the night he would simply lay there holding her, watching and listening for any danger. Even without magic he senses were much sharper than humans. Having an owl nature, he also saw well at night.
Sometimes he would simply watch her face. He knew when she was dreaming. Her lips would curl into a little smile if it was good, and frown when it wasn't.
They did make love a couple of times, but Jareth insisted on only removing as little clothing as possible and redressing right after. He did not want to be caught with his pants down quite literally and for them to be ready to leave at a moment's notice. Everything stayed packed but his bedroll which they laid on and Sarah's blanket and pillow. They even slept with their shoes on.
He watched the horizon almost obsessively as they walked. Any sand kicked up would mean something approaching. They had 4 days to reach The Labyrinth and he was pushing them both as hard as he dared without wearing them out completely.
Calculating carefully he had figured out they might have regained half a day, which was good. If they could make it the day before dawn on the 13th day, they could rest outside the Labyrinth in relative safety and he could sleep.
The 3rd night they did the same as they had been.
Once Sarah was out, Jareth slipped out of their shared bed and stoked fire. He count the fire crystals he had left. Only half a dozen. He hope he could make them last. Otherwise the would be spend at least one night with only the moon and stars to provide any light. He didn't like that idea.
Something could sneak up on them more easily that way.
He gingerly joined Sarah and spooned her sleeping form.
He tried, he really tried, but he could not keep his eyes open anymore. He was soon fast asleep.
Jareth awoke alone to a cold fire. He rose and looked around. "Sarah?" He called. SHe was most likely behind a nearby bush or pile of rocks need a few minutes of privacy.
He walked the perimeter of the camp, then out a little further, calling her name.
Now he was worried. If she was anywhere close, she would hear him.
His voice rose, and sun slowly came into view. "Sarah! Where are you! You better have not started out with out me! It's too dangerous!"
He grabbed their belongs and walked around even more, examining every inch of ground looking for her distinctive shoe prints.
As he came around a large pile of gray rock another 20 yards from camp, he spied something.
The owl he had carved was laying on the ground, the cord broken. There were weeds and rocks kicked up and..something worse. Drag marks.
"Damn it!" Jareth yelled. "Sarah!"
He took off in a run, following the marks.
Sarah had woke and saw that Jareth was deeply asleep. She smiled and kissed him.
Since she was up, she thought she would get their food ready, then wake him. But first..she needed to take care of a necessity, urgently. Her bladder was practically screaming at her.
She found a spot a little way away from the camp and took care of things, stood and turned to go back to Jareth.
As she took a step a large hand was placed over her mouth. She tried to scream but couldn't.
She was pulled back against a large, obviously male, body. He said something to her in a similar, but rougher sounding language Jareth's people spoke while she struggled. He sniffed her and she felt like she was going to vomit. "Human?" He asked, with an odd accent.
He laughed suddenly, grabbing her under the arms and pulling at her. She fought to get away, kicking and swinging her arms, but another man was there, and he grabbed her arms and tied them together then to her body, wrenching them in place behind her back. The pain made tears come to her eyes. Before he did, she was able to snap the cord on the necklace and leave on the ground, hoping Jareth would find it and know she was in trouble. They wrapped a dirty rag around her mouth preventing her from screaming.
In her mind she was screaming for Jareth as she was dragged away. The hulking man carrying her almost like a football, face down, feet dragging on the ground.
Jareth followed the trail for a couple of miles until he saw it was leading a small group of tents. He hid behind some rocks and watched.
He did not see her out in the open.
As he observed he realized this was one of the nomadic tribes out here in the wastes and not outcasts of his kind.
They had been here for many generations, they had their own traditions and ways. He could not get Sarah back by fighting them. He had to play by their rules.
He hid their packs carefully, and sheathed his sword.
Jareth stood tall and walked towards the camp. He would simply have to be smarter. He was a king. You don't earn a crown without cunning.
A group of men were sitting around a fire. When the saw him they stood immediately. They were not used to visitors.
Jareth held his hand up in a gesture of non malice. They did not advance, but they eyed him with suspicion.
He stopped in front of them.
Speaking in the native tongue of the underground he spoke loud and clear. "You have something that belongs to me. Stolen just this morning. A human woman. She is mine. I followed the tracks here."
The men grinned, looking at each other.
"She was out in the open, alone. Fair game." A tall man dressed in animal skins said.
Jareth shook his head and gestured in a cutting motion. "She was simply relieving herself and you took advantage of her momentarily being out of my sight. That is NOT fair game. She is My property. I found her, tamed her, claimed her as mine. She will stay with me and birth my children. You have no right. We have already lain together. At this moment she could be carrying my offspring. Give her back."
The 3 men put their heads together and spoke among themselves.
"She is a pretty one," Another said, elbowing his companion. "Sturdy. Many fine sons on that human."
Jareth crossed his arms and raised his brow. Saying nothing but thinking if she heard and understood what he had just said, she would probably be mad enough to kill him with her bare hands.
"We will buy her from you. If she births your child you may take it, then leave her to us," Yet third one said.
Jareth shook his head again, gesturing with more emotion. Body language was important to these people. "No! She is mine! Only mine! I do not share my possessions!"
The one who must have been the leader turned and said something to one of the women standing a few feet away. The woman bowed and hurried into a nearby tent.
A few minutes later she came leading a bound and gagged Sarah into the circle. The man who was obviously the leader pushed her down to her knees and pulled her hair until she looked up at him. Then forcibly turned her head to see Jareth. He gripped her hair tightly. It had to be hurting her.
Jareth's hand twitched, but he kept his anger under control.
He saw pure fear in her green eyes, and noticeable relief at his presence, but he showed no emotion, observing her treatment coldly. At least he knew that is what it would look like to her. Inside he wanted to scoop her up and run like the hounds of Hades were after them. But to do so would mean they would be chased, possibly all the way to the border with his kingdom. That would be foolish.
"She is mine." He repeated firmly.
The leader drew his sword. "A human is valuable. Are you willing to fight for this one?" The man asked. Jareth noted he was much taller and bigger, but Jareth was a master of the weapon and had no fear of that.
Jareth drew his sword in response. "If I have to. I will kill anyone I need to. You, your companions, anyone. She belongs to me and only me. I will not negotiate."
The tall man showed him a large sack of coins, offering it to him. "Not for money?"
He resheathed his sword, took the coins in his hand and examined them, counting, acting as if he was interested.
Then he gave the man a look of derision and threw it back to him, along with a piece of his other torn shirt. "You do not have enough money in this camp worth as much as she. This has my scent upon it. If you smell it then her, you will find her marked." He refolded his arms as he stood tall and waited.
The leader discussed it with his fellow clansman for a few minutes. One took the cloth and smelled it then walked to Sarah and jerked her to her feet, sticking his nose into the crook of her neck. Sarah cringed and tried to pull away but the tribesman held her fast. Once he had smelled the cloth and her several times he let her go, went back to the leader and nodded. "She is marked." He said simply.
The leader handed the cloth back to Jareth and spoke. "We recognize your claim, and return her to you. You keep her close. Others may try to do the same, and they might not have our honor."
He held out his hand, and Jareth took it. The deal was done.
Sarah was brought forward and pushed towards Jareth, who beckoned her to come to him.
"Come, will be on our way." He commanded.
Sarah narrowed her eyes but was in a hurry to get away from her hijackers. So she practically ran to him.
He turned her roughly and pushed her ahead, untying her arms. As they got further away from the tents, he whispered. "Don't look back and do as I tell you. Don't argue and act as if you are compliant to me. As far as they know you are my property and expect me to treat you as such. Say nothing."
She took her gag off and was quiet as he instructed, but glared at him.
He urged her to walk quickly and within half an hour were near the spot the had been camped.
It was then she spoke. "I'm your fucking property? What kind of screwed up world is this? What the hell? I go to take a pee and am kidnapped by a bunch of smelly cavemen who drag me off by my hair? How dare you treat me like that! I saved your life!" She yelled.
Jareth's control snapped."Sarah! I did what I had to do! If I would have charged into that camp swinging my sword by sheer numbers they would have won! No magic, remember?! I had to use my negotiation skills, my mind, to save you! You do not realize what it is to be a human in this world! Yes among civilized society here, you have some standing as my Champion, but most humans are not so well thought of! Children who come here are changed into one of our own, but adults are little more than servants! Those men wanted to use you! They would have forced you to have all the children they could impregnate you with to fill their ranks, until you died or were of no more use to them! They would not have asked permission either! I HAD NO CHOICE! How many times do I have to remind you of that?!"
His voice was becoming shrill and raspy, the fear and anger and little sleep had frayed his nerves to the breaking point.
Sarah backed away from him as he yelled, eyes wide, mouth hanging open. She had never seen him so upset, so on edge.
"I'm...oh God..I'm so sorry. I didn't know. Jareth I..." She just stood there.
He grabbed her and crushed her to his body suddenly, almost squeezing the breath out of her. He regretted being so harsh after she had such a scare. "Sarah..I would not purposely hurt you. I did what I had to do to get you out of there and back with me. You know I do not think of you that way. I truly do not. You are...precious to me. In every way."
He stroked and kissed her hair, letting his anger bleed away.
She pulled back and looked up at him. She could see the residual fear. There were dark shadows under his eyes again, his mouth tight, his brow scrunched up as he tried to regain control. She reached up and touched his face. Even haggard, he was beautiful. As her fingers ran over his face, he visibly relaxed and took a deep breath.
"You need to get some sleep, Jareth. You look like shit." She teased to lighten the mood.
He barked out a small laugh. "I am sure I do. We must go Sarah. Time is short."
She took her bag from him and put it on her back, then took a deep breath of her own. "Let's get this over with."
Real life is a buzzkill! Sorry this took longer than I wanted!
areth and Sarah again walked until well after dark then bedded down for the night. They had found a small copse of rather brown trees with a little pond and chose there. Jareth insisted on looking around as far as possible for any other living creature, and besides a few small reptiles found none.
They ate and crawled into bed, exhausted emotionally and physically. Before Sarah went to sleep, she shook her finger at Jareth.
"Here is the deal. You sleep for a few hours, then I will wake you, and I will sleep. Even if it's just few hours, you need to sleep. No arguing or I will stay awake all night annoying you. I'm a night owl, I can take it for a couple of nights."
"How will you stay awake?" He asked. She reached into her bag and pulled out a book, and a small book light.
"We are fairly sheltered here." She answered. "I'll just read. Now, go to sleep. I mean it." She demanded.
He was too tired to argue. She stay next to him but sat up, her book in her lap. She took her watch and set it to beep to tell her it was time to wake him. She calculated they had approximately 9 hours, so she would let him sleep 5, and she could make it on 4.
He was deeply asleep, she saw. She kissed his forehead and opened her book, letting herself get lost in the story.
She barely could keep her eyes open by the time it beeped. "Jareth," She poked him. "Wake up."
He pried his eyes open and sat up, rubbing his eyes and blinking. "How long did I sleep?" He asked first thing.
"5 hours. How do you feel?"
He gave her a little smile. "A little better. Thank you. We do not need as much sleep as humans. A few hours a night is enough."
She looked at him closely. He did look less stressed. And the dark smudges had faded some.
"Alright. Wake me up at dawn, as per usual." She yawned loudly and laid down, asleep as she hit the pillow.
He smiled and kissed her cheek. "You and your fairness, my love." He murmured.
Spying the book next to her, he picked it up and examined it.
"Well then. Let us see what Sarah likes to read, shall we?" He got comfortable and skimmed the book. He was not surprised to find it was a romantic fantasy. Sarah curled next to him, he laid the book down and listened closely for any movement, enjoying the quiet sounds of night, watching the stars twinkle above.
They next day he got Sarah up and the were already off before the sun was fully up.
Jareth would calculate in his mind as they walked weighing their dwindling food against the time they had left.
"We may had to have one midday meal after today, It is just for two or three days. Will that suffice?" He asked, but it wasn't really so much a question as information.
"It will have to. I understand." Sarah said.
"There, look." Jareth pointed ahead at the small line on the horizon after they had been walking a little while. "The Labyrinth."
"We are that close?" Sarah was surprised to hear that.
"It is still nearly two days' walk. The size of it is..well it is much larger than you think." He pointed out.
"Oh. Well. Then let's do this so we can get it over with." She answered.
When the sun was high, they found a little shade and sat. Each ate a piece of fruit and drank water.
The fruit was overripe now, almost to the point of rotting.
"This is the last of the fruit. Thank goodness. We would have had to throw any we had away after today." She said.
Jareth agreed. "I counted. We have 4 of the tubers left, a small amount of dried meat, and a handful of nuts. We can split that into a meal for tomorrow and the next day. We ate this morning and now. I am afraid we won't have anything to eat tonight."
They took out their packs and went through them seeing what they had. Sarah still had her small first aid kit, her book and light, her other jeans and shirt and set of undergarments in a plastic bag, which she had also added both of their tattered shirts so as to not leave them behind, as Jareth said to leave as little trace of them as possible anywhere, and her travel kit and brush. Jareth had mostly been carrying food supplies and cooking, hunting and fishing implements, as well as his bedroll.
"Oh look," Sarah said, smiling. "I still have a few of my power bars! Add that to our food."
"I do not know if I would label that as food, but we can each have one tonight I suppose." Jareth said, frowning at the bag of bars in her hand.
"Hey, don't complain, Goblin King. They are edible." She pointed out.
His brow rose. "That is debateable."
She laughed. "Let's go."
They stood and went to take a step, but Jareth stopped her. "Wait. Do you hear that?"
Sarah paused in mid sip from the flask and was silent. "I don't hear anything." She said, trying to listen.
She observed him in the silence. He tilted his head much like an owl.
All of the sudden he sucked in his breath, obviously startled. " Sarah, we need to move. Fast." He grabbed her and pulled her along.
"What..what is it?" She asked, tripping to keep up.
Then she heard the noise. A strange staccato ticking sound. It sounded like..a ripple of fear when down her back.
"Is that..?" she said.
"Yes. Chittering." She turned her head and screamed.
There not 20 feet behind them a huge gleaming spider had appeared, and it was looking right at them.
Sarah's phobia kicked in and she started running. She hated spiders and that thing was as big as Ludo.
"Sarah! Don't get too far ahead of me!" She heard behind her.
She didn't care what Jareth said, she kept going, terrified.
Eventually she ran out of steam in the heat and dropped to the ground, Jareth joining her a few minutes later.
"Sarah do not do that!" He bellowed at her.
"You cannot just take off like that! You could get lost out here!" He continued. "How am I supposed to keep you safe?"
She turned on him. "I told you! I am scared of spiders! I mean it's a phobia! I can't think when I see them!" She panicked and looked around.
"She did not follow. We were probably near another nesting ground. They do not go far from their eggs." He calmly said. "Now, let's go."
He pulled her up and started walking.
"How can you stay so calm?" She asked as she trailed him. "Those things are terrifying!"
He jaw tightened. Why did she have to be so stubborn? "I have to keep my head out here. Apparently for the both of us!"
He stomped ahead.
Still railing at her. "Girl it is my life we are playing with here. Can you do as I tell you for one damn day!?"
"Listen Your Majesty, I happen to think I have been fairly accommodating. I won't apologize for my fears. It is not my fault your world is trying to kill us!" She yelled back.
He made a scoffing sound, and she glared at his back.
The walked together in silence. Neither one wanting to be the first to speak, or give in.
After a couple of hours, They had both cooled off, at least temper wise.
It had become horribly warm.
"Sarah..hand me the flask." Jareth stopped and held out his hand.
She searched herself and her bag, not finding it.
"You must have it."
He looked through his things. "I don't. Did you lose it?!" He asked, alarmed.
"No I didn't you must have." She shot back. Then she remembered she had been drinking out of it when the spider appeared. She must have dropped it in her panic. She mentally kicked herself.
"You were the last to have it." He answered. He glared at Sarah, frustrated.
"This is wonderful! Stupid woman!" He snarled. "We are going to go through the hottest, driest part of the wastes!"
"Jareth..I.." She said.
"What are we going to do?! We have no water!" He said, throwing his pack on the ground.
Sarah felt a sinking feeling in her stomach. He was well and truly mad at her now.
He sighed and picked up his bag again. "Come on." He said. He turned and started walking, not bothering to see is she was there.
Sarah followed behind, looking at her shoes.
What a champion she turned out to be.
That night they camped. Jareth made his bed separate from hers. She felt like crying, but didn't want to waste the water. He handed her one of the bars and grunted at her.
After she ate it which wasn't easy with no water and a dry throat, she got inside her blanket and hid her head. She didn't even want to look at Jareth right now. She knew they were both exhausted and worn down but he was being unreasonable and hard headed and she just couldn't deal with the looks he kept giving her.
She had a sinking feeling whatever they had shared was quickly coming to an end.
After dawn they were up and trekking once more, Jareth silent, Sarah sullen. Maybe a half hour into the walk Jareth paused and pointed. "We are much closer."
She looked towards the horizon and saw what he was talking about. The wall that marked the edge of The Labyrinth was much bigger than the day before. "Alright." she said. "Let's go." She answered unemotionally.
Her voice was raspy and her throat dry as she spoke.
As they walked Sarah's throat was screaming at her for water. The air was suffocatingly hot, dry and full of dust as they walked and kicked it up. She was sweat profusely and felt awful, but kept following.
The sun was relentless. Beating down on them. She hadn't had a drop to drink on over 24 hours and was already weakening, slowing. Jareth was further ahead, but she kept shuffling behind. He had not even looked at her in hours.
Eventually she could not take another step, and collapsed to her knees.
This was it, she was done. So close, and she had failed them both. Toby, and Jareth. She gave up and laid her head on the dirty sand. "I'm so sorry." She rasped out, and gave in to the darkness nibbling around her sight.
"If we keep this pace we may get there in a few hours." Jareth remarked. The great wall getting larger as they walked.
He turned say something to Sarah and didn't see her. "Not again. Insolent woman." He growled. "Sarah!"
He walked back a little ways. Looking around he did not see her, and his eyes shifted to look at the ground.
There he saw her.
He dropped everything and ran to her, dropping down and turning her over. He laid his hand or her forehead and hissed at what he found.
Her temperature was dangerously high and she was severely dehydrated.
He picked her and her pack up and went back to where he had dropped his.
Jareth knew what he had to do. He dumped everything on the ground and sorted through it, keeping only what was necessary and leaving everything else. He then put what he was keeping in his bag and swung it on his back, and picked Sarah up again. He could come back for what he left, chances are this close to his kingdom it would be safe for days, if not months or even years.
Sarah's body was dead weight. she was completely limp.
He cursed himself, her, their luck, everything. "Hang on, my love. We are almost there."
Jareth set off walking as as quick a pace as he could manage, his unconscious champion in his arms.
Sarah woke briefly, water being poured down her throat, it made her cough.
"Drink, woman. Don't defy me." She heard. So she did. She drank as much as she could before passing out again.
A while later she slowly came back to consciousness, voices talking low a few feet away.
"Yer Majesty..you need to get some rest." She heard a familiar voice say.
"I will be fine Hogwart. I got us here did I not?" A lower, rumbling voice remarked. Jareth.
"Hoggle." Sarah said, rolling her head towards the voices with her eyes still closed.
Then someone was beside her, wiping a cool cloth over her face.
"Sarah can you hear me? Are you feeling better?" Jareth said.
She opened her eyes and saw two concerned faces. One handsome if not a bit tired, and another aged and lumpy, but both beloved.
"His name is Hoggle." She said, trying to sit up. "Where are we? How did Hoggle get here?"
Jareth swept his arm out of the way. "Why Sarah, we are in front of Labyrinth." He smiled.
Not fifty feet away were the doors, waiting for them. It was night but the moon lit the area.
"We made it?" She said. "Oh my God, we finally made it." She felt relief wash over her.
"Here Sarah, eat." Hoggle said, shoving a plate at her. A plate full of eggs, fried meat, bread and cheese. "But slowly."
She did, she ate and sipped the large cup of water Jareth handed her. They both watched her until she told them not to. She was getting self conscious.
"My Lady! Your Majesty." Came another voice. Sarah found herself knocked down, her face being licked liked an ice cream cone. Scarface.
"Oh Scar!" Sarah said hugging the large dog. He was so happy he was practically beside himself, his tail wagging furiously, whining and licking at Sarah's face, while she tried in vain to push him off.
"So this is the beast you spoke of. He is quite vicious." Jareth said, observing with a smile.
Sarah got Scar to calm down and lay beside her. "Yup. He's a killer." She said, laughing and patting the dog. "What time is it?"
"I arrived as the sun was setting and it is a few hours past. If you can manage, I am going to get some sleep. Hoggle has kindly offered me his cottage for the night." Jareth said as he stood.
"Hmph. Offered." Hoggle said, but a glaring look from Jareth shut him up.
"I'll be fine, Jareth, go rest." She answered. She watched as he went inside the small hovel and closed the door. He had to duck nearly in half to enter.
"I think Jareth is pissed. I lost the water flask." Sarah said to Hoggle and Didymus. "He must hate me. I'm not much of a champion am I?"
"Now Sarah. He may have been mad, but he don't hate ya. He spent at least 6 to 7 hours carrying ya here, he could have just left ya. Let ya suffer the price on yer own." Hoggle told her, sitting down. "He was worried 'bout ya I could see that m'self. "
Sarah shook her head. "It was rough out there Hoggle, I don't know how many times either one or both of us could have died. I was such an idiot." She teared up. "We..we got along for a while, but things started to fall apart in the wastes."
"My Lady, thee and Thy King were facing many hardships. The wastes are difficult and unwelcoming. I am certain it was just stress and exhaustion." Said Didymus, patting her hand. "The important thing is, you made it. You both were brave and strong. You fought your enemies well and now you are here."
"Well crap." She said. "I guess I should go talk to him."
"Thy King sleeps." Didymus reminded her.
"It's okay, he is already mad at me. So this will be another thing he hates me for." She replied, rising.
Hoggle and Didymus watched her go, they looked at each other and shrugged. It was obvious much had happened the past couple of weeks.
Sarah opened the door and went in closing it behind her. She closed the shutters so they could talk without the others hearing. Though they were far enough away, they should not hear unless they screamed at each other. Which was a possibility.
Jareth had laid his bedroll in front of Hoggle's hearth, and stretched out. The place was bigger on the inside than it looked from the outside. He was damp from washing up. Sarah looked around and saw the small tub with a cake of soap and damp rag and towel hanging on its side. She surmised he must have had to bathe kneeled and uncomfortable.
She sat down next to him, unsure of what to say. Jareth hadn't redressed after bathing and she could tell he was naked underneath the thin blanket. He was on his back with his arms over his face.
"What is it?" He said, making her jump.
"Oh..I thought you were asleep." She replied. She scooted closer. "We need to talk."
He removed his arm from over his eyes and opened one, waiting.
"Jareth, I'm sorry I lost the flask, and got scared. I know you're disappointed in me. I'm a lousy champion. What can I say. But..in the valley, when we...well...it was something I will never forget. I wanted you to know that."
He pushed himself up. "Sarah, I am not angry with you. Or disappointed in you. You are a fine champion. I should not have yelled at you or treated you so horribly. I was tired, and angry at myself and this whole situation. You have nothing to apologize for."
He cupped her cheek, smirking at her. "My Sarah. Our time was special to me too. I am grateful you saved my life. I am happy I could save yours. Shall we call it even?"
He opened his arms to her, and she leaned in. She felt her sadness melting away at his gentle embrace.
"Stay with me." He whispered in her ear. "Do not leave me." Sarah didn't realize it, but he meant more than just that night.
She kissed him and smiled. "I should wash first, do you mind?" He shook his head.
Sarah went to the small tub and shed her clothes as he laid back and watched, admiring her curves. She turned the spigot and warm water filled the basin. When it was half full she got in, kneeled and bathed quickly, using the same rag and towel Jareth had as they were the only ones she could see. When she was done she dashed to Jareth's side as he lifted the blanket for her to join him and they cuddled in front of the fire.
After a few minutes they began to kiss and caress each other, keeping as quiet as possible.
Sarah slid her hand under the blanket and took him in her hand, and he groaned at her touch.
She stopped and looked behind her at the door. "What about.." She gestured with her head.
"They will not dare enter while I am sleeping." He replied, in a decided sexy tone.
"You aren't sleeping." She reminded him with a squeeze of her hand and a kiss.
"True. But that is your doing, naughty wench." He turned her over so she was beneath him, and placed kisses all over her face, neck, and chest.
Sarah continued stroking him until he stopped her. "Stop before we end this sooner than we would like. I only have the energy to do this once tonight, and I want to make it count for both of us."
He turned her to the side and got behind her, then lifted her leg to lay over his. When he got them both situated, he slid into her and made love to her in long, slow strokes.
She arched her back against him as he grabbed her hips and plunged into her. Her lower half rocking forward and back with his.
Sarah's orgasm was not explosive like usually was, but like a wave that washed over her languidly, leaving behind a grasping, tingling sensation as her body trembled against his.
He moaned into her neck and thrust in short strokes, his climax giving him a much needed feeling of relief, his tension leaving him as her body took all of him in.
When they were both satisfied he pulled the blanket up over both he and Sarah, wrapping his arms and legs around her.
"Now, let us rest. The council expects us to be ready and waiting."
She turned her head to look up at him. "Personally I think those council guys can lick a toad and die."*
Jareth chuckled. "Interesting idea. Maybe later we can locate a few of those toads."
She smiled and sighed, relaxing against him, her eyes drifting closed as his breath on her neck warmed her skin.
They fell asleep like this, enjoying their precious few hours before they would have to make the final run for Jareth's throne and Toby's freedom.
*Thank you theBabewiththePower (FFnet) ;)
The next morning Jareth and Sarah stood calmly side by side, resigned to their fate, waiting for the council members to arrive. Jorwyn and Penelope had come at dawn to see if they were there, and were relieved to find them eating breakfast with Hoggle.
"Would you like me to bring you fresh clothes?" Jorwyn asked them as he looked them up and down.
Jareth stood and the brothers shook hands formally. "You cannot. It is not allowed to accept any help from any of my kin. You know this."
"Too bad. You look rather...primitive, brother." Jorwyn observed.
Jareth gave him a grin. "Yes, I suppose I do. In any case. We will make do. It is only 13 hours more."
So now they stood. Sarah moved close to Jareth as she became nervous. He reached over and grabbed her hand. With his other he urged her to meet his eyes, and spoke softly so no one else could hear. "We will win. Champion. Recall what we spoke of before. I believe in you. All you have to do it believe in me. I trust you. Trust me. Remember this as well. Nothing is ever what it seems in The Labyrinth. Do not trust anyone, or anything but me."
With a flash of light, The 3 council leaders were there in the clearing. Jareth and Sarah turned back to face them, Jareth squeezing Sarah's hand in assurance.
The Magistrate spoke. "Good, very good. Goblin King. I see you both made it this far. Though decidedly the worse for wear. Then again, that is the point is it not?"
Jareth inclined his head at the robed man.
"For this last trial, you can only take with you what you have on your person. No packs. You may each have a flask of water. Your Majesty, you may carry your short dagger, but not your longsword. Understood? Jorwyn, remember you are not allowed to aid Jareth in any way."
They agreed. Hoggle had provided them with the water flasks given to him to give to them by the council when they arrived. Which they both had attached to their waists.
The councilman stepped to the doors of ThE Labyrinth, speaking in rhyme in their language.
He stepped back.
The doors creaked open.
The Goblin King and his Champion stepped forward to the opening, waiting for the signal.
"By your leave, Goblin King." They bowed and gestured.
Jareth and Sarah stepped into the doors and they slammed shut behind them.
She looked at him and gave him a nervous smile. "Here we go."
The game was on.
The two set off along the outside path, looking for the first available opening.
"Should we go that way?" Sarah said pointing the direction she had went before.
"No. This is the short path that used to go straight to the castle. I'm certain it does not today, but I am taking it in hope it will still be shorter."
Sarah's mouth dropped open. "It went straight to the castle? That little worm!" She said, teeth clenched.
"Who?" Jareth asked distractedly.
"The worm..the one that lives in the wall? He told me to go the other way!"
Jareth laughed. "Of course he did. He's a worm, love. He has no need of castles."
Sarah shook her head. Figures.
Jareth was running his hand along the wall. After a few minutes his hand hit air.
"Ah. Here we are." He beckoned Sarah to follow him though the opening.
Sarah noticed he sounded rather chipper, even excited. "you don't seem too worried about this."
"Though I'm certain the maze will do it's best to foil us. I know it very well. It is impossible to memorize since it shifts, but I have spent almost a thousand years walking these paths. As long as we remain true to our purpose, and remember anything we see here is a trick, we will be fine. It is sentient and can read our deepest fears and desires. It will throw all of it in front of our faces to keep us from winning." He explained, peeking around corners and leading them through archways as he spoke.
"So if I see a giant spider it's probably an illusion?" She surmised.
"In all likelihood," He agreed. "Though, there are creatures here I do not even know about, so tread carefully. Don't take chances."
Sarah gulped. She hoped she wouldn't have a nervous breakdown if that happened. She made a mental checklist of all of her fears over her lifetime.
The wound their way through the stone walls. Often if they tried to go back in another direction, they would find themselves blocked by another wall. So far it had been fairly quiet, except for the occasional buzzing fairy or scuttling brownie.
Jareth observed the fascination of the little fairies with Sarah. They seemed to be incredibly interested in her, watching and flying around her, giggling and shooting off into the air.
He pointed it out and she shrugged.
"I know. Weird right? The first thing that that happened to me when I was here 13 years ago is a fairy bit me.
Jareth stopped. "A fairy bit you?" He asked, "Did it draw blood?"
Sarah shrugged. "Maybe a little, I don't really remember. It was just a scratch. Why?"
"Nothing. Never mind." He answered, but his mind was racing. If Sarah was infused with even one drop of fairy DNA outside the Labyrinth...
He shook it off. There was nothing he could do about that. She didn't even seem to know if blood was drawn and Sarah already expressed her desire to go home. It didn't matter. He was better off not even mentioning it, not daring to hope anything would come of it.
She stopped suddenly and grabbed his arm. "Did you hear something?"
He tilted his head. "I am not certain. What did you hear? What direction?"
"Rumbling. like a distant earthquake." She replied. She pointed ahead. "It sounded like it was coming this way."
"Thunder, maybe?" Jareth wondered. Scanning the sky he saw nothing but blue. That didn't mean anything though. The Labyrinth could have rain pounding down on them within seconds if it chose.
"We cannot stand here all day, Sarah, let's go." He said, moving forward.
They got a few steps further when the rumbling got loud enough that stopped and looked at each other.
A few seconds later shaking began, dust and bits of stone shaking loose.
Jareth pushed Sarah against a wall, shielding her.
"What the hell is it?" She yelled loud enough to hear over the noise.
"Sarah...you wouldn't, perhaps, have a fear of the cleaners would you?" Jareth asked her.
"What?! I thought those were in the tunnels!" She replied.
Jareth pulled her with him as he began to run. "Apparently the Labyrinth has the power to move them up here if it needs to."
He looked around to see where it was coming from and prepared to go in another direction.
"Sarah looked behind them and screamed. "There it is!"
In the time it took to blink the monstrous machine was not 10 feet behind them as they stood in a archway to a cross section. All the walled closed except two. One left, one right.
In a panic Sarah went left to avoid the claws coming at her. Letting go of Jareth's hand.
Immediately a wall appeared between them, the cleaners on the other side of the wall with The goblin King.
"Shit! Jareth!" Sarah pounded on the wall, but it would not give, all she could hear was the receding noise of the cleaners as it most likely chased Jareth away from her.
The Labyrinth had deliberately separated them, Sarah knew. It knew they were stronger together, so it did what it had to do to beat them both.
Sarah felt much like she had 13 years earlier. Frustrated and alone. "It's not fair!" She sputtered, stomping down the path. "Fine. You want to play? Let's play. I've beat you before and I'll do it again!" She knew she sounded a bit childish but she didn't care.
There was nothing to do but keep pushing ahead, so she did.
Jareth dodged the machine and found an opening, taking it, the thing passed him and in a few seconds, completely disappeared.
He stood fora few minutes, catching his breath.
He glared at the wall in front of him. "Blasted Maze. When I get my magic back...I am your king! How dare you! Fuck!" He railed at The Labyrinth's purposeful effort to separate the two.
The archway closed, so he could only go forward now.
"Stay true, Sarah." He whispered as he crept forward.
As Sarah expected the first thing The Labyrinth threw at her was reached into her mind throw everything it could find at her.
For the first couple of hours the damn things large and small were everywhere. She had no idea how to tell if they were illusions or not so tread carefully. The first few times they did cause her to flee in a different direction, but she found if she stopped, closed her eyes and took deep breaths, letting her fright lessen, she would open her eyes to find the illusion gone.
Only once did the spider remain, and assessing the threat was real, she was able to get away.
Eventually, she noticed, the sightings got less and less. She was expecting them so the maze changed tactics.
Sarah rounded a corner and came upon a familiar sight. The Ruse. The two doors with their doubled head guards. She remember well where they led. The tunnels.
"Well hello little lady." The top blue head said merrily. "Come to try your luck again?"
"You remember me?" Sarah was mildly surprised.
"Of course!" Said the bottom red. "You are the Champion after all!"
"I suppose. The doors lead to the same place they led to before?"
"Now you know the game." The top red tsked her. "You know one of us tell the truth and one of us lies. Choose your door, take your chances."
"You know, I don't believe even you know which one of you is telling the truth." She answered smartly. "I think that was one possibility I didn't consider the last time. "
"Don't know, even if we did, only one of us would say it was the truth." Bottom blue said.
Top blue snickered. "Now are you going to choose or stand there? We haven't got all day you know."
Sarah put her hands on her hips and glared at them as they chortled at her.
"Really now. What exactly, do you have to do? Rush off to a party? Attend a ball? Exactly how would that work? Two doors dancing together?" She raised her brow.
"It seems the little lady has been taking lesson from the king." Top red said to the rest. The all nodded in agreement.
"So, does one door leads to the castle and the other to certain death..like before?" She was getting impatient too. Time was ticking.
"Oh no. Both doors lead to certain death now." said bottom red, laughing behind his hand.
"Well that doesn't make sense. What would be the point of that?"
Top blue spoke again. "Don't believe him, he always lies."
They 4 heads then proceeded to argue among themselves for several minutes.
"Stop it!" Sarah demanded. They shut up and stared at her. "You don't seem to understand. This isn't about saving a baby. Well it is, kind of, but really it's about saving YOUR king! Quit fooling around!"
The whispered among themselves again.
"Apologies little lady. Just doing our job. The riddle stands, as we know no other way to be."
"I understand that, but could you at least give me a little cooperation here?" Sarah asked them. "Alright. I chose right last time. This time I'll choose left."
She pushed open the door and went through, slamming it behind her.
Top red shook his head. "The king has got his hands full with that one."
The other three agreed.
Once through the door, Sarah watched where she stepped carefully. She did not want to fall into the tunnels again.
The walls here were different than she had ever seen. They were much like vines twisted together tightly. Covered in small colorful flowers. After almost being killed by flowers days before, she tried to avoid coming too close.
Tiny fairies danced in the wind around her, giggling and seemingly daring each other to fly up and touch her, then speed away.
"What in the world?" She said to no one. A group of them were beckoning her to follow them.
Since she really did not know where she was going, she thought maybe they were trying to show her the way.
She followed little beings, around the walls and through arches.
They burst through a tight space between two hedges and were in an open field.
Sarah took it all in. The field was as green as she had ever seen grass to be. There were flowers and butterflies, mushrooms and trees. And fairies. Everywhere where fairies. Urging her into their midst.
They were speaking but she could not understand them. One came to her and sprinkled her dust, similar to the horn dust she had gotten from the unicorn.
"Come come play...come Sarah..come play..dance dance dance, dance with us...be with us..we welcome you, fly with us..." The voices sang to her. Now she could understand them.
She was drawn in like a moth to a flame. Her conscious mind seemed to be fading away...
Glee overtook her and she danced. She twirled and dipped, jumped and played.
After a while, she stopped for a moment. "What was I doing? I was looking for something wasn't I?"
She asked the fairies.
"No worry here..just play..stay with us...be one of us.." They answered in small sweet tones, dancing with her, giggling, and she giggled too. Why would she be looking for anything? Everything she needed was here.
So she just kept on dancing.
Jorwyn could not watch his brother, but he could keep an eye on the human girl when he found out they had separated. He had his goblins watching and reporting in at regular intervals. The rules were a little murky being as there had never been a Labyrinth champion before. His temporary position as Goblin regent gave him the power to do so.
"My Lord my Lord!" A goblin screeched as it reported in.
"What is it?" Jorwyn asked the dirty little creature.
"The girl...she is in the Fairy Field."
This was puzzling. "Why would they be interested in a human girl? Ah well, I suppose I'd better go see."
When he arrived, he did not see Sarah at first. Technically this was the one area The Goblin King, and especially a temporary regent, had no control over. The Fairies governed themselves. Once they left the field however, that was a different story.
Then he heard singing. Human singing. "I, I will be King..and you..you will be my queen...nothing will keep us together...but we will be heroes..forever and ever..."
"Damn it." He strode out onto the grass, through hordes of complaining fairies.
He found her within the circle completely oblivious to anything but the dance.
"Fairy ring. Of course." He stepped into the fray and dragged her out of the circle and pulled her with him all the way back to the stone pathway of the maze.
"What did you do that for? I was having fun!" She looked up at him blankly.
"Woman, stop it." He said, holding her struggling body in place. She was still beguiled.
He shook her as hard as he felt he could without damaging her. Finally he conjured a large cup of cold water and dumped it over her.
She sputtered and blinked. Then wrenched away from him and sat down. "What happened? Why did you do that?" She asked him, looking up. "What are you doing here?"
He crouched. "You were lured into a fairy ring. Humans are susceptible to it though the fairies are usually hostile to humans here. They were inexplicably trying to claim you. Good thing I have goblins spying on you."
"But you aren't supposed to help me I thought? Thank you by the way..I don't remember much..the fairies..dancing..was I singing Bowie?"
Jorwyn frowned."I have no idea what "Bowie" is, but yes to all the rest. I can only assume that since I was explicitly told I cannot help Jareth and was told nothing of the sort about you that this is not a problem, as you are not together at the moment. Now you need to be on your way. Do NOT follow any more fairies."
Then he was gone.
Sarah turned a saw the fairies gesturing for her to rejoin them. She shook her head and went the other way.
Jareth collapsed against a tree, exhausted. So far he had fought his way through a horde of hostile trolls throwing rocks, and outrun the fieries. Without his amulet the creatures of his Labyrinth weren't recognizing him as their king, and were treating him like a particularly hateful runner.
Maybe he should be a little less heavy handed with his subjects. They were turning on him.
The days of little sleep and no decent food were catching up to him. He hoped Sarah was faring better.
"Off I go." He mumbled, standing up. He heard growls and snorts coming from the path ahead.
"Wondeful." He said, drawing his dagger out of his belt. The giant boars.
He trod carefully, he was light on his feet but there were things out here in the forest with better hearing than even him.
"Whooooo." Came from above in the trees.
"Thank you my friends. There is little you can do." He told the owls that dwelled there. They at least, recognized him.
His owl magic was separate from his born magic or the Labyrinth's magic. They would always know him and be able to communicate with him wherever he went in any world.
Then an idea struck him. Of course! He wasn't forbidden from that here! There was no way to separate him from that part of himself in his own home! It may have not worked before but when he stepped into the forest, the home of his owl kin, his owl parliament, the brood which gifted his family with the magic...it was worth a shot.
He stopped, closed his eyes and concentrated. It was a little slow in coming without the boost of the other magic, but after a few minutes he felt the familiar tingling, his body reshaping itself to it's owl form.
Now I can travel easier through here, at least, he mused.
His owl brothers joined him as he flew.
Brothers, go look for the girl and lead her to the edge of the forest. I will meet you there.
Two of the owls broke off from the group, swooping through the trees, look for the human whose picture Jareth planted in their minds.
Jareth kept flying, making for the forest border as fast as he could.
Sarah had reached the forest as well but from the other side. She was hoping to avoid the fire gang this time, Jareth had told her they weren't as easily dealt with for adults as they were for children, that to those of age they could be downright dangerous. There would be no Hoggle to throw her a rope this time.
She ran as fast as she could, she knew time was ticking. They had set out at dawn, and it was afternoon she could see by the sun. So they had been in the maze for at least 7-8 hours, maybe longer. The time in the fairy field had thrown her off.
She was hot and sweaty, dirty and tired. Her stomach was growling and she had scratched herself up falling into a hedge of thorny brambles.
She slowed to a limp, breathing heavy, then stopped and bent over, hands on her knees. "Give me one break here. Just one?"
Looking up her mouth watered. Apples. Big red apples right in front of her dangling off a tree full of them. "They are safe right? We ate them before. They aren't peaches. She plucked one from the tree. "Well..Jareth didn't tell me to not eat anything. I know about the peaches...so..." She bit into it. Perfect. She ate the apple as quickly as she could, the juice running down her chin. When she was done she threw the core to the side and took off again.
As she was running, she started to feel weird. Dizzy. "Shit!" Was the last word before she pitched over into the soft moss, asleep.
She was walking, again in the hedge maze. She was looking for Jareth, but he remained elusive.
"Hello precious." She heard from behind. She turned to face him.
"Oh Jareth! There you are! I've been looking for you everywhere!"
She ran to him and hugged him tight. He stood stiff, not returning the embrace.
She stepped back and looked at him.
He was dressed in fine clothes, his gray breeches and purple jacket, his cape billowing behind him. His royal markings in place, as well as his necklace.
She smiled up at him, thrilled their ordeal was over."Oh you must have made it! I'm so glad! Now take me to the castle won't you?"
He sneered at her, looking down his nose.
"Now, why in the world would I ever do that?" He said haughtily.
"So we can save Toby. Then we can be together. I love you, and I want to stay with you." She answered, confused.
He laughed. "You love me? What a fool you are, Sarah. How did you ever get it into your pretty little head that you were good enough for me? A human? You are a simpleton to think that."
She felt her stomach drop and she backed away from him "But..but we, you said, in the forest, by the river, and we.."
He strode up to her and ran a finger down her cheek.
"My poor little girl. You think because I used your body I would want to have you here? With me? You will be dead before long. Why would I waste my time? I said what you wanted to hear. It got me what I wanted. You opened your legs to me so easily. Like all the little human girls before"
His mouth twisted into a malicious grin. " A few kind words, some soft touches, and you spread yourself open to me like a buffet. S uch a silly stupid girl. How easy it was to manipulate you. You amuse me with your mortal mind. Such a precious thing, like a vacant little doll. A precious little toy."
Sarah's heart broke into a million pieces. She fell to her knees. "Please, Toby.."
Jareth rolled his eyes as he clasped his hands behind his back and began to circle her.
"Toby Toby Toby. That is all I hear from you. I will take Toby. He will make a good little slave. I will break him down, and mold him into my perfect little servant. Or..maybe I will sell him. I prefer females, but many of my kind love little human boys to play with. He would make a good gift for someone. They would enjoy a teenage human boy very much. So fresh and sweet."
He stopped circling and crouched down, taking her chin in a gloved hand and tilting her face up to look at him, tears running unchecked down her face.
He leered at her, enjoying her pain. "Like you were in the forest by the river."
He waved a hand and the ground fell out from under her. She screamed until she hit bottom.
She looked up, his face the only thing she could see in the darkness. "You know what an Oubliette is right? A place where you put people to forget about them. It's only forever, dear Sarah, not long at all."
He slammed the opening shut.
Sarah cried and screamed in the dark, listening to his laughter get farther and farther away, little things poking at her she couldn't see.
"Stop it! Stop it!"
"Stop it!" Sarah sat up suddenly. Her heart racing.
She looked around and found she was lying in a pile of moss and leaves.
"Oh thank goodness." She felt her heart and breathing slowing to normal.
She also found wasn't alone. Two owls were there, poking at her with their beaks.
"What! That's not nice." She said. shooing them away.
They were hopping and hooting at her, flapping their wings like mad.
She got up, rubbing her hip where she landed. She was going to have a bruise. "Damn Labyrinth and it's freaky drugged fruit."
The owls were flying around her now, and Sarah thought their behavior was odd. As she watched the would take off in one direction then come back hooting and flapping.
There were almost..gesturing to her.
One got close enough to grab a piece of her hair and pull her, jerking her forward. "Hey! Quit that. What is it with the owls around here? Wait..owls. Owls! Did Jareth send you?" She asked, causing them to hoot and squawk even more vigorously.
Sarah smiled at their antics. She took their frantic gestures as a yes. "Alright, lead the way."
As they took off, she followed after them. They hooted and went to the next tree, turning and watching. She walked towards them and they did it again.
They did this a few times, leading her somewhere.
"I'm coming!" She told them, when they got impatient and came back to pull at her hair and clothes. "You aren't taking me to more fairies are you?" She joked.
One of the owls screeched.
"Heh. Okay okay, no fairies. Alright. You take the lead. I suppose if Jareth trusts you, I should too."
She set off, letting herself be guided but the two very demanding owls.
Jareth knew exactly when he hit the border of the forest. He tried to stay fairly low, as to avoid too much of a fall, but when he was suddenly in his immortal form again, he dropped like a stone and hit the ground with undignified crash.
"Right now death doesn't sound all that terrible, I must say." He mumbled to himself as he looked around, finding himself trapped in a clump of bushes, and scratched up nicely. He went to push himself out of the brush, but found he had something wrapped around his wrist.
"What now?" Jareth said, exasperated. He tried to pull his arm out of the mess of leaves and branches and found he couldn't budge it. Something had wrapped itself around his arm and wasn't letting go. As he sat there trying to figure out what was going on, something grabbed a hold of his leg and he knew exactly what he had fallen into.
In the Labyrinth, the phenomenon of the hands were common and came in several forms, helping, harming, giving, taking, and lastly..holding, and The Goblin King had fell right into a nest of holding hands. "Let me go, you ingrates!" He complained as he struggled, they only held him tighter.
He really hoped his owl brothers would soon arrive.
Sarah followed the birds for what seemed like hours. They could move faster than her, so they were constantly coming back and urging her on.
She was never so glad to see the edge of a forest in her life.
"Okay guys. Now what?" They were acting a bit confused. They took off and left her there.
"Well..what do I do now?"
The cliff wall that was in front of her wasn't too bad, full of places for her to climb. She started up and was only a few feet off the ground when the owls returned buzzing her.
"Hey I'm climbing here!" She said to them as the flapped in her face and screeched.
She fell backwards onto her rear end.
"Damn it! I'm going to need an ice pack the size of a glacier by the time I get done. What the hell?"
The owls were beckoning her again.
She followed them, but stayed by the cliff wall.
As she walked she started hearing noises, then a voice..as she got closer she walked faster.
"Damn you awful things, let me go!" She heard. Jareth.
She rounded a clump of trees and found him, firmly stuck in a bush by one leg and one arm.
Before she could help it a laugh escaped at the ridiculous scene in front of her.
Jareth turned, relief then irritation crossing his face. "Would you help me! Chop them, hit them, burn them for all I care!"
She went to him to see what was going on. Several hand like branches had him trapped.
She took the dagger off his belt and tried sawing at them, but the marks healed as soon as she made even a shallow scratch.
Several owls had perched above to watch, hooting encouragement.
"Hold still!" Sarah said. Surprisingly, he did. "These things are creepy. Why is your Labyrinth so..handsy? I swear those helping hands tried to feel me up when I fell down that shaft years ago." She said as she pried at the weird, wooden fingers.
One creepy branch hand shot out to grab her and she fell back trying to avoid it, which she did.
"I do not know Sarah. Many of it's features were in place before I became king. We all add something new of our own but this was already a part of it."
"You must have had one pervy king before you. Well..pervier." She grinned at him.
He clenched his jaw and glared at her. "Can we get this off please? No more jokes! On the clock remember?""
"Alright, I know. Sorry. Now..if the king who added these was into hands, holding, grabbing and snatching..what would be something that would counteract them?" She wondered out loud.
"Touching, stroking, poking, tickling.." She mused out loud as she reached out and gently rubbed her fingers over the branches.
The bush shimmied, the leaves rustling. She tried it again and it shook and trembled once more.
"Sarah what are you doing?" Jareth asked, exasperated.
She reached into the bush and ran her fingers over the leaves and branches. It shuddered and shook like crazy, this loosened the hand that held Jareth's arm and he was able to free himself.
"How did you figure that out?" He said, impressed.
"You predecessor was a kinky guy." She answered. She kept stroking and tickling the weird plant until it let go completely and retreated into itself to protect itself from being tickled further.
The second it let go of Jareth he grabbed Sarah and darted away.
They looked at each other and started laughing.
"Only you would have a a perverted plant." Sarah said. "Let's go. Down this way is a good place to climb up."
He followed her.
They found the spot and pulled themselves up and over.
Looking out they could see the great junk pile, The Goblin City, and the spires of the great castle reaching up to the sky.
"We're almost there!" Sarah declared, pointing.
"And we are almost out of time." Jareth said sadly. "Look at the sun."
She turned towards the light and was disheartened.
The sun was almost touching the horizon. She looked at Jareth questioningly. "How much?"
He frowned. "Less than an hour."
They started running.
The piles of junk were treacherous. There were sharp things all over, and junk people to avoid. They would try to lure the two as they passed, but Jareth steered Sarah away from them. "Come, come look at what we have!" They would say.
"Don't look. Remember what happened last time." Jareth told her.
"You knew about that?" Sarah replied, panting hard from the strenuous activity.
"Of course. I watched you the entire time. I didn't want anything to happen to you..well nothing fatal anyway."
"I'm touched." Sarah said sardonically.
It took a good 15 or 20 minutes to skirt around the junk.
There before them were the walls to the city.
They ran to the doors and pounded on them.
"Let me in you revolting little cretins!" Jareth bellowed at the goblins inside.
Sarah poked him. "Why don't we try asking nicely?"
"They do not respond well to nice. They like being yelled at and kicked. Well mostly." He gave her a sheepish smile.
They tried for a minute or two more but no one came. Sarah found if she stretched she could just fold her fingers over the top of the wall.
"Give me a boost." Sarah told Jareth who was still pounding on the door.
"Boost?" He stopped and asked.
"Hold your hands like this." She demonstrated, cupping her hands and entwining her fingers together. "I will push myself up and over."
Jareth did as she showed him to do. She stepped up into his hand and was again able to get her finger over the top of the rough wall. "Now push hard!"
"If you insist." He said and pushed up. Hard.
Sarah went flying over the wall, momentarily wondering how she ever got herself into this ludicrous situation. She unceremoniously landed in a hay cart, which also happened to be a place chickens were nesting, and unfortunately, sitting on eggs.
Eggs that were now smashed all over Sarah, who had chickens flapping around angrily in her face.
She got up and tried to not concern herself with slimy egg dripping down the side of her face, and ran to the doors.
Lifting the heavy lever out of it's cradle, she pushed the door open and waved her arm.
He darted inside stopped suddenly, looking Sarah up and down.
"Yeah, maybe not so hard next time." She said.
"Come on!" Jareth noted the time.
They ran through the small streets. Sarah got a sense of deja vu. Hadn't she been here before?
There was not a goblin to be seen, but chickens and a few cats were darting back and forth.
The two made it to the square and the cannon goblins shot off , narrowly missing them. They ducked to the side of a nearby building.
"Where is Ludo when you need him?" Jareth remarked.
He grabbed Sarah's hand and they made a mad dash across the square, dodging the cannon goblins.
Just as Jareth set his foot on the first stair to the castle, the clock started to chime.
He dragged Sarah along and took the steps two at a time as the final seconds ticked down.
When they practically fell through the doors, Sarah jerked away. "Go!" She yelled.
He did. He dashed across the throne room, past the goblins, his brother and Penelope with their mouths hanging open, to crash land into his throne.
Sarah behind him collapsed on the steps at his feet as the last chime sounded.
It was completely silent except for their labored breathing.
The council appeared in front of them. The Magistrate stepping forward.
"We hereby relinquish your crown to you, Jareth, King of The Goblins. You have passed. Champion, you are free to go. your brother is safe." The man announced with no fanfare at all.
He stepped over Sarah who had moved to a sitting position, gave her a dour face, and placed Jareth's amulet over his head.
"Now, go bathe. Both of you. You are filthy."
He turned and went back to the group of council members, whom all promptly disappeared.
A cheer rose up from the goblins, and they all came at the two at once, burying them with their tiny bodies to congratulate them.
Jorwyn and his wife watched quietly from the side, smiling at the crazy scene.
"You miscreants! Get off of me!" Jareth yelled, flailing to get up, kicking goblins left and right.
"Wheee!" "Whoopee!" "Yahoo!" They cried as they sailed across the room
He pulled Sarah up of the steps, who was beginning to see why he kicked them around.
Jorwyn strode forward, putting out his hand. "Congratulations, brother." He eyed Sarah. "What in the underground happened to you? Is that egg on your face?"
She snorted and laughed. "In more ways than one most likely. Long story. Let's just say Jareth has bad aim. Though I guess landing in the hay was better than landing on the ground."
Penelope hurried to Sarah and tugged her forward. "This will not do. Come with me Champion we need to get you cleaned up!"
She was pulling her away from Jareth who still had tight hold of her hand. His fingers slipped out of hers and they both paused, staring at each other. Not sure what to say.
With everyone around, Sarah didn't say anything. She just smiled and gave him a nod.
He returned the gesture.
Then she was gone with his brother's wife.
There was so much to say, and he didn't know quite where to start.
I can't even begin to speak of all the weirdness of the past almost 2 weeks. Oy! Death, illness, major surgery, a divorce, an engagement are among the tales I could tell(none mine, friends and family), all on top of typical holiday shopping and baking and delivering..ugh.
Anyway, wanted to get a least *one* chapter out before the new year! If I'm lucky there will be another but not going to promise anything. 6 more chapters! The next is also a fairly long one as well, and citrusy ;)
Yay they made it! But there is still another part of the tale to tell isn't there? Still a bit more of a journey, through internal more than external now :)
Sarah found herself shoved into the bathroom of the rooms she had been given the first day she had arrived.
"Now, strip." Penelope demanded. Her servant waved a hand over the tub and it was filled with hot, sudsy water.
"Ummm." Sarah blushed. "Look , I appreciate all you have done for me, but can I bathe alone please?"
The two women sighed in indignation, but left her alone.
Sarah practically ripped off her dirty and torn clothing and sank into her bath.
The hot soapy water stung as it hit her cuts and scrapes, but even with that Sarah had never loved a bath so much.
She relaxed deep into the huge tub, just laying there for a while. After a bit she grabbed a bottle and shampooed her hair, massaging her scalp, her arms feeling rubbery.
"I wish I had someone else to do this. I'm so tired."
"You rang?" Came from the side of the tub. She jumped at the unexpected intrusion.
Looking up she gazed into the familiar blue eyes of Jareth, clad in only a towel.
"What are you doing here?" She squeaked out.
"You wished for me." He smirked knowingly.
"I wished for someone..not you specifically.' She answered smartly tossing her hair. She watched as he waved a hand and a crystal appeared. He looked back to her and gave her wicked little smile as threw the crystal into the air.
She looked up to see where it went, only to find her back against warm flesh, arms wrapping around her waist.
"Ahh. Yes. Magic is so handy, isn't it?" He said in her ear.
She turned and straddled him. "Why are you interrupting my bath?" She asked, teasing him.
He held her close. "I was about to enter mine, when I heard your call. I thought why waste water? We could do the sensible thing and share. Maybe celebrate together in the bath."
He pulled her hair gently which tilted her head back, and nibbled at her neck.
"Jar...eth..." Sarah gasped. She pushed him back. "We need to talk."
He looked into her eyes again not letting her eyes travel from his own. "I know we do, but can we have this night, Sarah? Do we not deserve it? He gestured and there were two glasses of wine sitting on the side of the tub.
He handed her one. She eyed it. "I don't know. I ate an apple in the forest and had this horrible dream..."
"You ate fruit of the maze again? Sarah Sarah Sarah...you should have learned." He said. "The wine is perfectly fine. As is any food you eat in the castle."
She sipped, finding it delicious, and drained the glass. When it was empty she sat her glass down and let her fingers wander over his handsome face as she spoke.
"The nightmare I had, you were there, and so horrid to me. You said terrible things." Sarah said, his eyes softening with empathy. He knew well those tricks. She told him of the conversation she had with his dream self, leaving out the part where she said she loved him. She was not ready to say that, yet. She wanted to know he felt the same before she said that.
He kissed her face and lips. "Love, that was not me in your nightmare. Whatever you dreamed, it was The Labyrinth playing into your deepest fears about me. I certainly have my dark side, but would never say such things to you."
He paused and once again smiled sexily at her. "Besides, if I were to lock you in an oubliette, I would join you and we would spend many uninterrupted hours together. You would find my brand of interrogation and torture, specific to you alone, far more pleasing than anywhere else."
Sarah felt a bolt of desire move through her at his words but felt there was more they should be discussing than sex. "I..don't know what to say..so much.."
He shushed her. "Let us have this night together. Just for us." He sat his glass down and pulled he against him, kissing her.
Inside he knew this may be their last night together, and he wanted to enjoy it. To cherish it. For it would have to sustain him a long time. He knew now, he could never feel this way for another. He didn't want anyone else. He wanted her. Only Sarah. Tomorrow she would leave him, go back to her life.
He retrieved a soft sponge, lathered it up and proceeded to wash her all over. Sarah he dunked herself under the water to wash the soap off. She picked up the sponge he had sat on the side, and reciprocated.
Once they were clean he handed her the magically refilled glass of wine. They toasted with a clink of the glasses, and drank.
Jareth rose stepped out of the tub and held out his hand, Sarah took it and followed. He wrapped a towel around his waist again then got another of the unimaginably soft towels and wrapped her in it. Once it was secured he swung her up into his arms, making her giggle as she wound her arms around his neck.
He carried her out of the bathroom, and through a door that appeared on the other side of her rooms that she knew had not been there before. It opened into a much larger set of rooms, incredibly plush with furniture of dark heavy wood covered in colors of dark reds, blues and purples. He went through the room to a thick fur rug in front of the huge fireplace where a fire blazed to life. He sat her on the soft fur and took his place behind her. Another towel appeared in his hands, and he dried her long hair until it fell in shiny waves down her back.
The towel he had been using disappeared and he held her close, enjoying the scent of her skin, pressing light kisses over her shoulder and neck, smelling her hair. They didn't speak at all. She leaned back into him and they both watched the flames dance in the fireplace, lost in their thoughts. Sarah wasn't sure how long they sat there, but she enjoyed the companionable silence.
After a while he made to rise from the rug. "Come, Sarah." He whispered in her ear, making her shiver.
He stood and led her through a door to the side of fireplace, into a different room.
This room was similar in some ways to the one she had been using but much bigger and luxurious. More dark heavy furniture and the bedding on the huge canopied bed was all plush velvets and shimmery silks.
"Your brother gave me the rooms next to yours?" She asked him.
He chuckled. "My brother has an odd sense of humor. He gave you The Queen's Chambers." He wiggled his eyebrows.
Sarah swallowed hard. Queen's Chambers? Crap. Did Jorwyn think she was going to be Queen?
Jareth took in the slightly scared look in Sarah's eyes and his heart fell a little. He thought maybe..but no. She wanted to go home. She should go home. Sarah was a mortal woman, and he needed to keep that in mind. There was no future with her beyond this. "No need to worry, love. There isn't a Champion's Chambers and most likely felt it was the most appropriate rooms for you to have, considering you carry some standing here. I was teasing you."
"Oh." Was all she could say. She smiled at him but it didn't reach her eyes.
She walked around, still wrapped in only a towel. He stood back and admired her.
"Your rooms are beautiful. Classy...very masculine, but not without a feminine undertone, with all the velvet and all."
She turned to face him.
He just stood there, looking at her. It was that same look he gave her when they first made love in the valley days ago. So many days. A week? It seemed like yesterday and a million years ago all at once. Then it was just them. Under the stars, no pressure, no knowledge of what the future would hold, it was two people finding comfort and solace in each other's arms. Now, he was once again The Goblin King, and she was just a human woman. A woman he had no future with after this night.
A woman who loved him desperately but was afraid to say it because of what it might mean for both of them. Heartache, in all likelihood. Just a brief moment of happiness, followed by so much pain. Even if he does love me, she would not want him to live the rest of his life pining for her. The thought came to her like a lightning bolt, she had to love him enough to let him go, and she did.
The realization that she loved this man and had to let him go made her woozy and she tipped forward. Jareth rushed to her holding her up.
"What is wrong? Are you ill? I can call the healer." He said, concerned.
She gave him a weak smile. "No..no. I'm fine. It's just been a long 2 weeks. Maybe if I lay down for a few minutes."
He guided her to huge bed in the middle of the room. He pulled back the sheer curtains and she climbed up in it. She laid down, finding the silky sheets soft and cool on her overheated, flushed skin. The pillows were large and fluffy, cradling her head. She had never laid on bed so comfortable.
"I don't think I've ever seen a bed more...kingly than this." She told him as he got in next to her and propped his upper half up on his elbow to look down at her.
She sat up a little. "I'm fine now. I think my body needs to adjust to not being on the go all the time again." She joked.
She was surprised how nervous she felt. They had made love at least a dozen times and had seen each other at their absolute worst. There was practically nothing they had not experienced together in those 13 days. Why was she so jittery now?
"Oh wait." She sat up more and pulled the towel off. "It's a little damp. Don't want to get your bed wet."
She made a move to get under the blankets but he stopped her.
"Wait. Lay down." He said.
She laid back, naked and shaking a bit. Not from cold either.
Jareth twirled his finger. "Can you turn over?"
Sarah paused, wondering what he was planning. She was no innocent but there were a couple of things she hadn't ever done. He had probably tried everything in his long life, she thought. "I um. I don't know..I've never..."
He then understood what she thought. "No nothing like that. I want to heal you." He replied smiling.
She let out the breath she was holding and did as he asked. While wasn't averse to trying new things, tonight was definitely NOT the night for such things.
He ran his hands over her body. She had cuts and scrapes, but her side, hip and buttocks were terribly bruised. He had noticed in the bath.
"These look painful." He said as he worked. He closed his eyes, letting the magic build in his hands, feeling the heat of the light magic coming forward.
When it was sufficiently strong which for him was seconds, he touched her bruises lightly with his fingertips, watching as the bruises and swelling recede and disappear.
He then created a healing crystal and laid it on her skin.
Sarath felt the cold spot press on her back and wondered what he was doing. He said something in his own language almost to quiet for her to hear and she felt a small pop like a bubble bursting against her skin, her whole body tingling for a few seconds.
'There. Much better." He said satisfied, as he admired her lovely form. She pushed herself up and turned over looking at herself all over.
"Could have used that days ago." She said, pleased to see her body injury free for the first time in 2 weeks. All the soreness was gone. Her wounds healed, her body all peaches and cream, and clear of bruises again.
She bent forward and kissed his lips. "Thank you."
He inclined his head.
She laid back against the pillows, but did not take her eyes from his.
"Lay with me?" She asked, biting her lip.
He removed the towel from around his waist and laid down next to her. She saw he was already excited at her presence and it made her feel good that she could do that to such a man.
"So..." She started.
He laughed. "Yes..so." He leaned down and kissed her laying his hand on her waist.
She laid her arms around his neck, pulling him closer. Thier kisses deepening, becoming more passionate.
His hands started running over her limbs, her sides, her belly, lightly touching her breasts.
Sarah gave into it. In this quiet room, with only the sound of the fire crackling, it was only them once more. She let go of all her thoughts and worries.
This one night. That's is what Jareth had asked for. Tomorrow would bring whatever it brought. Whatever happened would come. This night was about them. About honoring what they had shared.
She would go home, and he would move on. He would find some beautiful immortal woman and they would live in this castle, make love in this bed. They would have children, and she would be long gone while their lives together would be just beginning.
She kissed him ever deeper, more and more. She wanted to make it last forever. Though her forever was comparably short.
She wanted to think of him when whatever lawyer in her father's law firm he introduced her to that she would marry was making love to her and she would stare at the ceiling pretending to love him above all others.
She would always see Jareth's face. She knew that. Though she would never be able to tell a soul. He would always be a wish away, but once she left here, she would never say the words because it would open the wounds she would need to heal when she left.
Whoever it was she married, Sarah could care for him, but she could never love him the way she should and she would always feel guilty. Everyone deserved to be truly loved. Her heart would be taken by fairytale king, as ridiculous as that sounds.
Sarah would remember him when she had children and grandchildren, and as she was dancing and playing games with them she would think how wonderful it would be if he were there, laughing and dancing with them. She would wish the children were his. But they wouldn't be.
She would live through those children, telling them fairy tales, they would grow up believing in The Goblin King, that much she could do. Then someday, when she wasn't there, maybe if they needed someone, maybe he would hear and he could show up and be there when she was no longer able. She somehow instinctively knew he would do that. He would help the children and grandchildren and all those that would be of her blood, the blood of his Champion, if they wished it. In her mind's eye she could see him showing up at sometime far in the future, looking as he always did, explaining who he was and why he was there to help that future descendant of her. His eyes filled with pride, with a hint of sadness.
"Sarah..why are you crying?" He asked. He had lifted his head when he felt wetness against his cheek. Tears were sliding down her face.
She smiled through them. "Nothing. It's fine, it's just all the stress leaving, you know."
He looked at her as if didn't quite believe such a simple explanation, but he brushed them away and kissed her damp cheeks.
His mouth moved to her earlobe and sucked on it, sending more and more tremors through her.
Heat flared in her body. He nibbled at her neck, and kissed her chest. He cupped her breasts, taking her hard peaks one at a time in his warm mouth, sucking them, making her gasp and moan.
His mouth trailed down to her bellybutton and swirled his tongue around it. Spreading her legs he went lower.
The first touch of his lips on her sex made her back arch, a loud groan of pleasure escaping her lips. She reached down and wound her fingers in his feather soft hair. He brought her over the edge her over and over with his lips, tongue and fingers. Savoring her taste as he worked her into a frenzy of sweet hot desire.
After several orgasms, she pushed him away and onto his back to return the favor. She explored him as thoroughly as he had explored her. She wanted to memorize him. Every inch. His arms, his chest, his legs and feet, his long fingers and muscled thighs, the way his hips curved over to his flat belly with the light dusting of soft blond hairs that led down to his very hard, large erection.
She cradled his cock in her hands as he watched, his breath hastening when her fingers wrapped around him and moved up and down carefully. She caressed him for several minutes, then bent over and took him in her mouth, her lips gliding up and down his shaft, making him jerk and writhe under her.
"Sarah..Gods..woman...that feels incredible." He moaned as she worked on him.
She used her hands and mouth to bring him to the brink. She briefly considered stopping, but wanted to know all of him including this, his very essence. So with a few more strokes he groaned even louder, and found his release. She took it all swallowing quickly, continuing her motions until he was fully spent and relaxed against the sheets.
When Sarah was done pleasuring him, she kissed his shaft, thighs and belly a few times, as he stroked her hair and closed his eyes, enjoying the feel of her lips against his skin.
She moved and lay next to him, smiling at he look of contentment on his face.
He turned and hugged her tight, wrapping his arms and a leg over her body to press her closer, kissing her face all over. He spoke between kisses. "Oh my Sarah..how you please me. You are so beautiful."
He kept whispering to her as they lay together kissing in the firelight, saying sweet things, dirty things, all the things he wanted to do to her, with her, as she sighed and moaned his name under his ministrations.
They touched and kissed, stroked and played with each other until both of them were on the edge again, making each other crazy with desire.
Jareth moved over her, rolling her on her back. Sarah spread her legs to accommodate his slim hips pushing forward. She felt him nudging at her entrance, then he keep pushing and was fully inside of her. She wrapped her legs around his waist, her heels pressing against his backside. They stayed in that place for a moment, not moving. This seemed different than before, for both of them. More intimate, more binding.
Sarah was once again amazed at how perfectly he fit inside her. They were made to fit together, like pieces of a puzzle. His strong hips began pushing forward and drawing back sliding almost all the way out and pistoning back in again. With every thrust he hit the place inside that sent her passion reeling towards the precipice of her climax.
He sat up suddenly and pushed back on his heels, so she was straddling him. How he managed to never leave her body while do this amazed her. "I want to be looking into your eyes, this time. I want you looking into mine." He said firmly. She spread her legs even more to allow for his being open slightly to support her.
Sarah rocked up and down with the urging of his hands holding her backside and guiding her. This position caused an immediate and sharp increase in the sensations he was causing. The friction increased against her ultra sensitive channel, and her moans were happening with every thrust downward. getting louder.
Jareth knew how close she was, as was he. He took her face in his hands, forcing her to face him. Her eyes fluttered open and struggled to stay that way.
"Look at me Sarah." He commanded, taking control of her pleasure. "Come for me. With me."
She did. Her eyelids ached to close but it was like she couldn't close them. His blue eyes bore into hers and she felt an indefinable sensation, it felt as if he was reaching into her very soul and stroking it with his own, combining their energy until there was no separation between them. Her orgasm overtook her and she screamed his name.
Jareth's simultaneous climax exploded inside of him and the outward, but he did not let go of her. He refused to close his eyes and miss what he saw in hers, the passion, the powerful release, the connection to him he knew she felt in that moment. He kept moving his body into her until each of them had completely finished.
Sarah felt weak. All the tension left her body and she fought to stay upright. She could feel Jareth's release inside of her body. His seed filling her, but she did as he asked and kept her eyes open. She could see the pleasure in his eyes, his control slipping as his body shuddered and tensed. A low groan escaped his lips but still his eyes burned fire into hers as he continued to pump into her holding her very soul in the grip of his own.
When they were both done, Jareth's grip loosened on her body and she slid backwards.
He caught her and laid her back on the bed, knowing as a human she would need a few minutes to regain her strength.
He caught his breath and closed his eyes, the spell broken. A sheen of sweat covered his body.
"What did you do to me? Damn." Sarah said when he laid down and pulled her over so he could cradle her against his chest.
"Enjoyed that did you." he answered. His voice deeper than before, sounding sleepy.
"Yes..what was it?"
He kissed her forehead. "It is a way of lovemaking, using magic, that is used here to increase pleasure. A way of connecting to each others, souls at climax."
"All the ladies must love that." She joked.
He turned to the side, to face her. "I do not do that with all the ladies, as you put it. Only once...and that was a long time ago, when I was young, with the woman who taught the technique to me. Now you. That is all."
They were quiet for a while. Sarah was getting tired but did not want lose a moment.
"Who was it..the one from before?" She had to ask.
"Why do you want to know?" He answered her question with genuine curiosity.
She shrugged. "I was just wondering. We have talked a lot about the underground but you haven't told me much about you. Your life. I'm not jealous or anything. We both have pasts I know. I have no claim on you."
Oh if only you didn't. Jareth thought to himself. I would not be in this situation.
Sarah felt him nod in understanding. "When I was just out of my pubescent years, which for us is a long time, but before I became king, I met a woman. She was older than me, kind, beautiful. A woman of the court. Her husband had been killed in a skirmish between his kingdom and another. She was lonely and I was still quite naive about..those kinds of things. She taught me a great deal about the physical acts of pleasure. Eventually she and I parted, as relationships of that kind are not meant to last. I was rather fond her. For obvious reasons." He laughed.
Sarah repositioned herself so she was looking up at his face. "Did you love her?"
He stroked her back as he thought, his brow crinkling. "I thought I did. I felt I would die of a broken heart when she sent me away. Eventually I came to know she was correct in breaking it off and while I was fond of her, love was a foolish notion of youth. We weren't suitable in any other way but sexually. She found another husband a few years later. I envied him back then. She was quite skilled. Though in this moment she seems not exciting to me at all. I much prefer you in every way." A half smile appeared as he reminisced, then it changed to a slight frown after the rest of the sentence.
Sarah turned back to lay her cheek on his chest, curious about the frown but leaving it alone. "And you never married or found anyone else?"
"I found many someones. None lasted long. As for marriage, if I would have married I still would be. It is never to be entered into lightly for us. It is a bond that cannot be broken. Once done, it is done. Most of us do not marry for love because of that, I suppose. We marry to unite families and kingdoms, to secure treaties and bring peace between peoples. To care for each other, to enjoy each other's company, be friends, is the best we can hope for. I would say we are a guarded race. Afraid to give ourselves over to another so completely they hold our hearts in their hands. To do so it is thought that one person is your weakness. They can be used to hurt you. That they themselves are the one that will ultimately hurt you the most. That it is better to always keep your heart to yourself."
Sarah felt tears threaten to spill over. "It seems so jaded. Lonely too. Everyone deserves to be loved. Should know the feeling of losing your breath by just looking into someone's eyes. Of your heart racing by just seeing them across the room. To be able to say, look, there is my love, aren't they amazing?"
Jareth moved suddenly pushing her to the bed and laying on top of her, but supporting himself as not to crush her.
He kissed the tear that had appeared. Then once again looked into her eyes so intensely that it froze her into place, wondering what he was going to say or do.
"Yes, Sarah. You should. I want nothing less for you. You should love with all the passion and fire within you and have it returned. You deserve all of that, and so much more. Promise me you will love exactly that way."
The intense passion shooting from his eyes was so bright it threatened to consume her whole.
Her heart felt like it was going to burst from her chest, looking at him.
"I promise. I will." She whispered. She already did.
Say it. Tell him. Tell him you already love that way. Maybe he..no. He can't. I get it now. He will always guard his heart.
He kissed her then, and she was lost once more, the moment over. She gave into it. For this one night.
Here and now, she was his, he was hers. As the stars twinkled and the moon shone through the shimmering curtain onto the bed, she let herself believe for just this once, that he loved her.
Jareth and Sarah slept little. A few hours before dawn both were too exhausted to fight it anymore, but it was altogether too brief.
When they rose, both were still tired. Emotionally, more than anything. At least for Sarah.
They dressed in silence. He in his typical finery, she in a fresh pair of jeans and shirt he conjured up. They shared a long kiss before he left to begin his first day back upon his throne.
She went back to the chambers she had been using and found her things there, even that which was left in the wastes. He had used magic to return them to her. She found everything packed neatly in her backpack. Even the shirt she had torn to bits, was restored. The blanket and pillow she had hauled around as a bed was stacked neatly on the settee.
As she was trying to gather herself together the door flew open, and she practically flew up into the air it startled her so much.
She turned as she was bowled over by an ecstatic, slobbery dog who was licking her with unrestrained glee.
"Good morning My Lady!" Didymus said from the doorway, Hoggle beside him and Ludo lumbering behind, waving at her.
"We came ta bring yer beast back." Hoggle said as he entered. "He missed ya. Not a bad dog, as dogs go."
Sarah hugged Scarface to her, burying her face in his soft fur. She felt like crying, but refrained. Her friends would want to know why, and she was afraid she would tell them. Though they would try to understand in their simple way, she figured the concept of her loving Jareth would be beyond them. They surely knew what love was and she never doubted they loved her completely. But romantic love, she was not sure they could even feel such a thing. Their love for her was simple and straightforward. They just loved. No other reason than she was their friend.
Hoggle frowned. "Where is the rat..er..king?"
Sarah smiled at him. "He is busy. He has a lot of stuff to do now that he is back at his duties. Guys...it's almost time for me to leave. I'm going home soon. Promise me you will keep in touch?"
She was suddenly swept up into their arms, Scar jumping around trying to join in, Ambrosius patiently watching the melee.
"You ain't got rid of us yet, have ya?" said Hoggle.
"We are forever at your leave," Didymus agreed.
"Sawah..best fweind." Ludo added.
Sniffing back tears, Sarah picked up her backpack and called Scar. "Let's go." She announced, picking up the dog's leash.
They filed out of the room, Sarah the last to cross the doorway. She gave the room one last look and closed the door.
The group plodded down the stairs, talking loudly. Goblins darted out of the way, especially of the large Ludo. They well remembered his rock throwing rampage through their city.
They entered the throne room, where Jorwyn and Penelope stood, and Jareth sat on his throne, looking a bit glum. He saw her and stood, stepping down one step with one leg, watching her approach. He took no notice of rest of the group, all the he saw was her.
She stopped at the foot of the stairs and looked up. "Thanks for returning my things. I appreciate it." She said nervously licking her lips. He looked incredible standing there looking down at her, his intense eyes unmoving from her face. The way he looked when she had been there as a teenager. Regal, royal, sexy as hell.
"You take with you all you brought." he replied stiffly.
Plus one more item. He thought.
He walked down the steps and stopped in front of her. "I thank you, My Lady Sarah, for helping me regain my throne. You are a fine Champion. This, everyone in my world will know. You are revered and will always be a hero in this kingdom. Beloved throughout my lands."
Most of all, to me. He wanted to say. His brain screaming at him to say it.
He clenched his jaw and said nothing.
His eyes bore into hers. Sarah trembled. When he looked at her like that, in a way that said so much more than he ever could, or ever did. She wanted to throw her arms around him and beg him to let her stay. She didn't care about being anything to anyone here. She just wanted to be with him. However, he had explained clearly the night before why he could not love her. She would have to be satisfied knowing he did respect and care for her, as much as he possibly could let himself.
That wasn't enough to throw her life away, it just wasn't. To stay here she would giving up everything, for a man who, yes, would make sure she was cared for the rest of her days, but could never be what she needed. She would lose herself respect, her dignity to sit around like a princess in a tower being The Goblin King's human lover, until she got old and faded away, watching the light in his eyes dim as she aged...and if there were children...they would be forced to watch their mother age and die when they were still so young.
No. Stop this.
She bowed her head, willing the tears threatening to fall back, then looked back up. "You are welcome, and thank you, Your Majesty. Just doing my job." She smiled halfheartedly. He returned the smile, his eyes relaxing just a little.
Jorwyn and his wife looked at each other knowingly, but said nothing.
Jareth took Sarah by the shoulders and kissed her forehead, allowing his hand to move and caress her face for just a moment.
He pulled back and with a wave of his hand he held a crystal.
"Do you want it?" He asked, smiling wider.
She reached out and touched it. Sharing the old memory with him.
"I'm ready." She answered and opened her hand.
He placed the crystal in her hand and laid his over the top.
"Goodbye, Sweet Sarah." He said softly.
It grew brighter as they watched.
The glow overtook the room, and when the light died, Sarah was gone.
The Goblin King slowly walked up the steps and retook his throne, swinging a leg over the side and stared into the distance. His crop appeared and he tapped it against his thigh absently.
"Jareth..." Jorwyn stepped for began to speak.
Jareth's eyes sparked as they turned to his brother.
"Do not say anything. Just leave it." He snapped. "I am grateful to you for watching over my kingdom. Now if you would please leave me be."
The other king rejoined his wife. He bowed and Penelope curtseyed. "We will speak soon." Jorwyn said. With that they too were gone via Jorwyn's crystal he created.
Jareth looked at all his subjects still gathered in the room. "All of you. Get out." He growled.
They didn't need to be told twice.
Except Hoggle. He refused.
After a few minutes Jareth sighed. "What do you want, Hogbreath."
"You are a fool, Yer Majesty. Maybe I ain't so smart. But I ain't dumb either. I know what's what. You jus' let her go. When it's pretty darn clear ya love her. She loves ya too. I knows how hard that might be for ya, but jus' 'cause it's hard, don't mean it ain't worth tryin'."
"What do you know of love, Hoghead?" Jareth said, rising, suddenly unreasonably angry. "Oh yes...you have always loved the girl. Though you know she could never see you as anything but a pathetic little scab of a dwarf."
Hoggle didn't let The Goblin King's words hurt him, well not much anyway. He knew well how volatile Jareth was. Kind one minute cruel the next.
In his way Hoggle had always had a small crush on Sarah, but he also understood she was not meant for him, but this rat of king. He knew then, he knew it now.
"Maybe that's all I am, but I know enough to see ya love her." He countered, not letting his fear keep him from speaking out.
"Get out of my sight, you traitorous little ingrate, unless you want to take a nice long visit to the bog." Jareth sneered, and with a gesture the dwarf was at the front gate of The Labyrinth.
Jareth fell back into his throne, again lost in his thoughts.
Sarah appeared in the middle of her bedroom, the sun rising through window.
She immediately wondered what day it was.
Sarah went into her living room and flipped on the radio, waiting for the morning announcer to come on.
When he did she was surprised. Here, she had only been gone a few hours.
Jareth must have sent her back to the same day she left, to save her from having to explain her disappearance.
She threw the backpack on the floor of her bedroom and kicked to the side. She didn't even want to look at it. She would unpack it later.
She wandered into the small kitchen and started a pot of coffee, then filled Scar's food bowl. He certainly took the return trip better than when they left, not hardly bothered at all by interdimensional travel.
He ate, but he acted like he was disappointed he was back to his regular old dog food.
"Sorry boy, we don't have whatever you were eating there, here." She said as she patted his head.
She drifted around her apartment. It seemed cold, hollow. Lifeless.
"I need to move on." She chastised herself. "Stop it. Let it go."
She stripped her clothes off and took a shower. As she was washing, she noticed her hands were shaking. Her knees began to feel weak.
She forced herself to finish, then put on a fresh t-shirt and pajama bottoms.
As she was walking out of the bathroom, the phone rang and she nearly jumped out of her skin. She had not heard a ringing phone in two weeks.
Not wanting to deal with anyone yet, she let it go to messages.
"You've reached Sarah Williams, I'm not available right now, leave your message after the beep!" Her own voice said, sounding way too happy. She rolled her eyes as she went to walk back into her bedroom, but was stopped by the voice of her brother.
"Hey sis, it's Toby. Wanted to ask you if you're planning on coming up for my birthday party in a few weeks. Mom wanted me to ask, so she would be sure to make enough food. Lasagna, both our favorites! You know how she likes to plan ahead. Anyway..call me back okay? Love you and miss you Sis!"
Toby's voice gave her a small measure of comfort. At least he was okay. She would call him back later that day.
She picked up the phone and called her work. The front desk answered.
"Brown and Walford Publishing." A female voice said.
"Hi, Gina. Sarah Williams. I'm calling to let you know I'm staying home for a few days. Got a touch of the flu I think." She tried to sound congested.
"Sure Sarah. I'll postpone your meetings for today. Hope you feel better soon." The woman said sympathetically.
"Thank you, I hope so too. Bye." Sarah replied. She hung up the phone and sat on the couch, turning on the tv and not watching, but staring at the screen without even knowing what program was on.
She grabbed a pillow and laid on her side, Scar jumping up and laying his great head on her hip. Sensing his mistress' distress, he whined and chuffed, looking up sweetly at her.
She petted his beautiful, marred face. So perfect to her.
"I'm okay, Scar. Just need some time."
He settle down next to her and closed his eyes, keeping vigil over his beloved person.
Sarah buried her face in the pillow, her pain overwhelming her. The dam broke and she sobbed herself to sleep.
Weeks passed, and Jareth was miserable. He went through the motions, did his duty.
At night when he was alone, he would drink a bottle of wine and go to bed, consumed with thoughts of her. What was she doing? Was she dating? Was she happy?
You could look you know. His inner voice told him one afternoon.
His own thoughts betrayed him now. Fuck.
The goblins watched their king curiously. He had not kicked or bogged any of them since the girl had left.
But being goblins, their thoughts never lingered long.
This night Jareth was expected as some silly ball at court, and he loathed to attend. He had to, but it didn't mean he would like it.
He dressed in all black. Standing in the mirror staring at his reflection he remembered this was the clothing he had worn when Sarah had been chasing him through his room endless stairs. Funny how everything he did now, he viewed in a way that always related to her, or brought forth some memory of their times together.
"Well..I suppose I will get it over with, say my hellos, have a glass of wine, or two, and beg off to come home." He sighed.
He threw on his cape, and with a thought he was at the doors to ballroom at the courts.
An attendant bowed low, then opened the door for him.
"Presenting Jareth King of the Goblins!" Came a booming voice.
They all turned to look at him. This was the first time he had come her since the trials had ended.
Left and right, people came and bowed, remarking how happy the were he had regained his position, congratulating him. Women, and some men, flirting openly.
He made niceties but wanted to strangle every one of them. The fakery of them all driving him mad.
When he made it to where the wine was being served he was relieved. He snatched a glass and drained it, then took another and turned, watching the dancers dance.
I wish Sarah were here. I would dance with her all night. How wonderful it would to be looking into her shining pale jewels. Everyone else would fade away.
He turned his head and there, resplendent in her pale yellow dress and bright red hair, was the only other woman he had ever really cared for in his long life, besides his own long dead mother.
"Cassandra. You are looking lovely." He smirked at the irony of thinking about Sarah, at the time Cassandra would place herself in front of him.
Ah, Fates, you do love to play with me, rather like a cat with a mouse.
"Oh Jareth, it is wonderful to see you alive and well. I was worried you know. " She said, curtsying, a smile growing on her pretty pink lips.
She rose and pushed up to stand on her tiptoes, kissing him on the cheek.
"I have missed you. Your Majesty. You were hardly a king when I knew you last." Her blue eyes dancing.
"Time moved on." He answered simply.
She touched his arm delicately with the tips of her lace covered fingers. "You have gotten only more handsome over the years. Time has been exceedingly generous to you."
He let out a scoffing humorless laugh. "Oh? Has it? I would not know. I would say time is incredibly cruel to me."
She moved in closer and looped her arm through his. "Talk a walk in the garden with me? They are so lovely in the twilight of sunset."
He complied, letting her pull him along, out the doors and down the path to the great gardens. They strolled together saying nothing for a few minutes.
Cassandra stopped and turned him to her. She once again pushed herself up on her toes, kissing him on his lips.
He neither responded or pulled away. "I have thought about you often. You do not want to kiss me back? We had such fun long ago."
He pushed her away from him then, not harshly but none to gently. "No Cassandra you are married."
"True, but Orion has his mistresses. I am allowed to have my own fun. You know how this works. I know you and your reputation, since when has marriage been an issue for you in choosing lovers?" She went in to kiss him again.
"I said no." He pushed her away again. He would not have hesitated before. Now it seemed wrong. Not because of the woman in front of him, but because of the memory of the woman who had a hold of his heart. It felt like betrayal and left the taste of ashes in his mouth to even consider.
"Alright, shall we sit and talk?" she suggested. She could see he was troubled.
So they did, finding a bench nearby.
"What would like to talk about?" He asked.
"Jareth, what's wrong with you? You are not yourself. You seem melancholy."
He stared at the ground. "Not a thing is wrong with me."
There was a pause.
She said it so quietly he almost didn't hear her. "It is the girl, isn't it? I saw her. I was at your hearing. The dark haired girl? She is pretty."
"She is human, and she is gone." He snapped."Back above. Living her life. She has no need of me. Or I her. She did her duty as my Champion."
He next heard the woman's soft laughter. "Oh you doth protest too much, dear Jareth. Please. You cannot lie to me. Of all people in the Underground. It *is* the girl. Tell me..do you love her?"
He shook his head. "I can't love her. I told you she is human. To love her is to break my own heart. Then what would happen to me to any children we may have? In 60 years, perhaps more perhaps less, she would be taken from me anyway."
"Does it matter?" Jareth, if you truly love her.." Cassandra began.
"I told you I cannot!" His arm cut through the air violently. He clenched his jaw, stood and walked away.
She chased after him. "Please let me finish." She grabbed his arm.
Jareth glared at the redhead. "It is not wise to grab a king and demand things from him, woman." He said fiercely.
"Please." She implored, loosening her grip.
He crossed his arms, "Proceed."
She paused, collecting her thoughts. "My husband. My first husband. Philippe. How I loved him Jareth. As you know we do not love easily. But Phillippe...I met him at a ball, and he was such a devil. He insisted I would love him and marry him. I laughed in his face. My father hated him. He was like you. Charming, wicked, brazen. He set his sights on me and that was that. After 3 meetings, I fell. I could not stop it from happening. When I confessed to him my feelings, he just grinned and said "See I told you." We married quickly. We were so in love. He worshipped me and I him. Body and soul, we were together. Then he left one afternoon to stop some small fight in our kingdom near our home, and they brought his body to me back wrapped in a blanket. I wanted to die."
She stopped and took a deep breath, the memories making her heart ache. She noticed that Jareth was now listening closely.
"I did not of course. Year later I met you and you were like my husband reborn, though I know you were alive and well when he was killed. Stubborn, handsome, so incredibly charming, and so delightfully full of yourself. I did not love you the same way, nor could I, but you helped me heal."
"What is your point?" Jareth asked.
Cassandra reached out and squeezed his hand. "The time I had with Phillippe was terribly short. Not much longer than what you would have with your girl. At first, I wished I had never known such love. Now I am glad of it. Those years were precious. I would not trade a second I had with him for anything. He lives inside of my heart forever."
She stepped close to him. "If you truly love her, enjoy the time you could have with her. If it is meant to be only 60 years. Make them matter. Do not let her go. Jareth, I haven't ever lied to you nor would I. It is worth the pain that will come. Every bit of it."
"Sarah will grow old before my eyes, and it will kill me." He countered.
"Why do you love this Sarah?" Cassandra asked him.
He hesitated for a moment. "She is like the brightest star. So full of life. She is strong, tenacious, and loyal. Her passion, her fire. Her very soul." He answered, letting the truth spill out for the first time.
"Not just because she has a pretty face?" She asked in return.
He shook his head. "That is but the icing on the cake, so that saying goes."
"Then you will always see her as beautiful because she will always be all of those things, Jareth. Tell her you love her. Spend that time living and loving and not worrying about someday. Cherish what is before you every minute."
He went to leave then turned back.
"Thank you, Cassandra. Be well."
She bowed her head. "Goodbye Jareth. Be happy."
They smiled for a moment at each other, and then he turned and walked away, to the future, leaving the past behind.
He left the gardens, walked through the ballroom, and went back to his castle, with a new determination in his heart.
Sarah pulled up to her childhood home and got out of her car.
"Sar!" Toby yelled as he jogged over to her an swept her up in a bear hug.
"Hey Tobes. Wait..are you taller than me?" She said as she hugged him back.
"Yep. Almost 6 feet tall!" He stood up straight and proud.
"Damn..I mean darn." She replied smiling up at his handsome face.
He put an arm over her Sarah's shoulders and they walked to the house.
"My girl!" Her father greeted her at the door, hugging her tight. "So glad to see you."
They went into the kitchen where Karen was cooking. She gave her stepdaughter a big welcoming smile. "There you are! Party is out back. Toby neglected to give me a proper head count so it's a good thing I made two pans of lasagna last night just in case."
Sarah hugged the older woman. "Good to see you Karen." It really was. It took a long time for Sarah to appreciate her stepmother, but she knew now how special the woman was and why her dad loved her, and he did.
She got that, now. You love who you love.
They all went out back where a group of teenagers were waiting.
Sarah had not had so much fun in ages. She let go her worries and laughed, ate, and played volleyball with Toby's friends. Toby opened his presents and gave Sarah a big hug when he saw the video game system she had bought for him. She had cleared it with their parents beforehand.
When she flopped down on a bench, worn out, her father sat next to her. "Sarah..you look tired. Have you been getting enough sleep? We worry about you. That career takes up so much time. I hope you are making time to relax too. Have fun."
"I'm fine dad." She said, leaning against him. "Do you think Toby would miss me If I went to my old room for a bit. Just to lie down. It was a long drive."
"No kiddo. Go ahead." He patted her shoulder.
She went through the house and up the stairs, down the hallway and open the door to her old bedroom.
It was much different now as a guest room. All her things gone. She sat on the bed and looked at herself in the mirror hanging on the door.
If you need us, call.
She laid back and stared at the ceiling. Then she remembered why she came up here. She opened the closet stood the desk chair in the open door and climbed up.
There in the back of the shelf was the box she was looking for.
She pulled it forward and out, then sat back on the bed and opened the box.
Inside were 3 things.
First, her music box, she sat it aside and pull out her Fairy King figurine, and underneath that wrapped in velvet was her book.
She cradled it in her hands then held it against her chest for a few minutes.
I remember it all. Like it was yesterday. Jareth blowing in with the storm, his wicked little smile, his offer of my dreams. Who knew my dream would be him?
"Sarah?" Karen's voice came from below at the foot of the stairs.
She shoved everything back in and picked the box up, going downstairs. "I tried to fall asleep but didn't Then I remembered I'd left this box here. Thanks for inviting me but I need to go. it's a long drive home."
"Are you sure you can't sleep here?" Karen said, reaching out and stroking the side of her face, concern in her eyes.
"Is it a man? You look like you lost the love of your life." Karen quietly observed.
Tears threatened to fall but Sarah did not allow it. "Maybe. I don't know. All I know is he is gone and I'll never see him again."
Karen hugged her tight. "Oh Sarah, I'm so sorry. I know how hard breaking up with someone can be. Don't give up hope. If he is the one, you will find him again, if he doesn't find you first. If it's meant to be, it will be. Keep the faith. If it doesn't happen that means there is someone else even better coming along."
Sarah hugged her back. "Thank you Karen. I really hope so. I love you guys, please give Toby and dad my love."
She slipped from Karen's arms and took off out the door with a wave.
She ran outside and placed the box in her car, then said her goodbyes to everyone and drove home.
Jareth was at his desk when his brother appeared." Jareth, you left rather abruptly last night. What is going on?" Jorwyn inquired.
"I had to get out of there. I cannot stand such functions." Was his short reply. "I'm making preparations."
Jorwyn's curiosity was piqued. "For what?"
Jareth stood up. "I am going to ask Sarah to come back. To marry me."
"It's about time!" Joryan clapped him on the back.
"This is not an easy thing. I will have to fight tooth and nail for the courts to allow a human queen."
"Well not quite human certainly, but I understand." Jorwyn said.
"What do you mean not quite human?" Jareth wondered what his brother was on about now.
"The fairies. She did not tell you? They brought her to their field, attempted to make her one of theirs. I assumed you knew this."
A realization hit Jareth like a slap in the face. He had forgotten. 'The fairy bite. "Jareth said out loud in amazement, dumbfounded such an important thing slipped his mind. "A fairy bit her when she was here the first time. The first thing that happened. Before she even entered the gates."
The brothers looked at each other. "Before The Labyrinth could claim her as a runner?" Jorwyn asked, incredulous that Jareth did not tell him sooner. "Did it break the skin?"
A smile grew on both their faces. "The Labyrinth could not shield from Underground magic as it does most runners, it was too late." Jareth said.
"So if she comes here to stay..." Jorwyn continued.
The brothers stared at each other, grins spreading on both of their faces.
Jareth picked up his jacket off the desk chair and went to leave in a hurry.
"Wait," Jorwyn said.
Jareth turned. "I just wanted to tell you, I do believe Mother and Father, they would approve. She as stubborn and insolent as you. Good luck." He laid a hand on his younger sibling's shoulder.
"Thank you, my brother. My friend." Jareth said inclining his head.
He rushed away to speak to the one being who would know the truth.
Hoggle was at his little fire cooking stew over it when Jareth appeared suddenly frightening the dwarf, making him drop his spoon.
"Hoghead!" He demanded.
"Wha..what is it, Majesty?" Hoggle asked, bowing and shaking a little.
"Answer me this, when Sarah was here the first time, was she bit by a fairy?" Jareth crouched to be at eye level with the little man.
"Well yeah..I tried to tell 'er, but she picked it up...and it took a right chunk out of Sarah's finger." He replied.
Jareth narrowed his eyes. "Did she bleed? Sarah I mean."
"Sure did, saw 'er wipe the blood on her pants with my own eyes." Hoggle answered. "Why? Did one of those nasty pests hurt 'er?"
Jareth grinned at him. "No, Hogwart. That fairy may have given us a gift beyond measure. I may have to start being more accommodating the the little pests."
"What are ya on about, Maje..." Hoggle stopped mid sentence, realizing Jareth was no longer there.
He picked up his spoon, and went back to the fire, grumbling to himself about the rat interrupting dinner for nonsense.
Sarah read and reread the book, looking for something. She wasn't sure what. She knew she had the power to wish Jareth to her, but would good what that do?
The phone rang. When she picked it up she found her father on the other end.
"Hi dad." She said.
"Sarah, can you do me a big favor? I have this client, he is new. He also happens to be new in town and is staying not far from you. I was wondering if you wouldn't mind showing him around? Just one night? I know you said to not set you up anymore but.."
"I'll do it dad." She answered. Might as well. Wasn't doing her any good staring at the wall.
She could tell her father was happy. She got the information from him and hung up, then looked at the clock.
"Crap. It's after 4 and I have to meet dad's client at 7?"
She dashed into her room to find something to wear, then took a warm shower.
She dressed and put on her makeup. Her dress was of a soft jersey knit, emerald green, the skirt dancing around her hips, the gathered material across her chest dipping slightly to show a hint of cleavage.
While she was putting on the matching shoes, she spied her backpack, still unopened in the corner.
She knew she should wait, but she put it on the bed and opened it, taking her things out and setting them down on the bed.
All her supplies were there, minus the power bars. Clean, neat, like she had never even left.
She started to go through the pockets, finding matches and the pocketknife.
In the last pocket, she stuck her hand in and pulled. Out came the owl Jareth had carved, a tissue filled with little pieces of colored glass egg shell pieces, and a folded leaf. Unfolding it she found just a fingerful of magic dust given to her by the Unicorn Queen.
She held these things in her hands, like they were the most precious items in the universe.
Sitting the tissue and leaf down, she ran her fingers over the wooden owl, it's rough hewn cord replaced with a fine silver chain. Elven silver, she guessed.
It was all she had left of him.
"No. I'm not going to cry anymore. I'm not going to smear my makeup now." She demanded of herself.
She looped the necklace over her head, the bird laying between her breasts. It seemed appropriate it would be next to her heart. The last fingerful of glittery dust, she took it and touched it to her skin above her heart. "I wish.."
Maybe it would heal the chasm that was within. The dust sparkled then disappeared.
She made sure Scar had food and water and left to meet her father's client who sent a car to pick her up that was waiting for her downstairs by the sidewalk. The driver opened the backdoor and tipped his hat, guiding her inside. He got behind the wheel and they were off.
Following the address he had already been provided, the driver arrived at a small French restaurant, one considered the finest in the city. Very expensive.
Okay, I'm a little impressed. Sarah thought to herself.
The driver let her out and winked at her. "Have good evening, Ma'am."
She smiled and went inside.
The maitre 'd greeted her. "Good evening! Do you have a reservation?"
"I am here to meet a Mr. Alban?" She replied.
His smile got huge. "Ah yes. He has reserved one of our private dining suites. Follow me!"
Sarah followed him through the restaurant, down a hallway, and opened a door, urging her to enter.
She walk in and her mouth dropped open.
Candles. Candles everywhere. The room was aglow in warm light. A large spray of roses laid over the table, waiting for her.
"What the..?" She stopped when she saw him.
He had his back to her, looking out the window. Blonde hair, gloved hands clasped behind his back. Feet spread slightly in a commanding stance.
"Mr. Alban? Hi, I'm.."
He turned. "Sarah Williams. I'm well aware." He said, smiling.
Her heart stopped.
"Jareth?" She gasped.
Jareth smiled his slightly feral smile, his blue uneven eyes twinkling in the candlelight. "Hello Sarah."
The purse Sarah had been holding fell to the floor as she stood there, frozen in shock.
"You..but you...and your hair.." Sarah didn't know what to address first.
He was wearing a fine black suit, probably Armani or some such brand. It was cut perfectly for him. His hair was shorter, but still shaggy around his face.
"Pardon my appearance, humans are so judgemental about these things. I felt a little glamour was necessary."
Jareth strode forward to stand in front of her. "You look beautiful." He said, as he raised a gloved hand and brushed a stray lock of hair off her face, letting a finger trace her cheekbone and lower lip. "I have missed you so."
Sarah finally shook herself out of her daze. "You missed me? You missed me?! I've been slowly dying here. I can't eat or sleep, I can barely function, and you missed me?"
He pulled her in close, but her body remained stiff.
"Yes. I missed you. Without you, my life has become rather boring. No one to argue with." He joked, trying to lighten the mood.
Sarah kept staring up at him, gobsmacked by his presence.
"What..why are you here?"" She asked him. "I can't take it if you are just visiting for a little romp. You can forget it. I'm not going to be your human playtoy. It would kill me."
"Oh Sarah...my Sarah." He hugged her, though she was still reluctant to hug him back. "No I am not there for that. Let us sit. Wine?" He offered.
She nodded and he poured them each a glass after they sat down. She picked it up and drank the whole thing, and he refilled it.
"Now, what do you want Jareth?" She demanded. She wasn't sure how to feel. Joy, anger, shock, curiosity, her emotions flooded forward all at once.
"It simple, my love, I want you." He answered.
"I told you.." She began to say.
He held up his hand. "You misunderstand me. I want you to come and live with me. To marry me. I...find myself holding more affection for you than I expected to ever feel for anyone."
She crossed her arms, her eyes narrowing. "That is not good enough, Jareth. I already know you have affection for me. What about the fact that I'm human? You're not going to be to thrilled about making love to an 80 year old woman someday."
He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He knew what she wanted to hear. He was just having a hard time saying it. It was not something he had ever said to anyone but his parents.
"Sarah...I...love you. Nothing else matters truly."
Sarah was staring again. "You love me?" She managed to squeak out. Tears sprang to her eyes and she cover her mouth with her hands.
Jareth let all the walls he had been shielding his heart fall away. If he wanted to keep her, he had to.
He took her hands from her face and kissed them each in turn, not taking his eyes from hers. "I do. Do you.."
"YES! I love you!" She screamed before he could even finish. He stood and pulled her up with him and kissed her. After all of the heartache, nothing was as sweet, nothing had ever felt so good, so right as her lips against his own.
When they managed to tear themselves away from each other, Sarah spoke. She had to let him know of her fears before they went forward. "I'm afraid. I don't want to grow old and leave you alone. If we have kids..that scares me."
He smirked. "Ahh..that is another matter. There is something you should know. But before I tell you, I must say this. I had already planned to come here and fetch you before this information dropped in my lap. Or rather, before I had a chance to fully think about it and put it together. With my brother's help. He is a witness that I was already coming for you, just in case I need one, knowing you. Let us sit again."
They did and she waited for him to speak. He filled their glasses again before he began. "When you came to my kingdom the first time, remember, you were bitten by a fairy?" She nodded. "Now, It is question of timing. Had she bitten you inside the Labyrinth it would not have mattered, but you have said you had not entered yet."
"Why does it make a difference?" She interjected.
He chuckled at her typical eagerness to know everything. "Give me a chance to tell you, my impatient girl. Once inside you are shielded by a very specific type of magic that keeps you from being affected by underground magic. Otherwise...it has unpredictable results at times, on humans. However there is one thing that happens for certain."
He paused and took a long drink of wine, and she gave him a look that said he had better hurry or she might throttle him.
"You see, there is something about the underground you do not know. The fairies...they are distant kin. We as a race are the result of their...interest in mortals. Not the fairies who live within my lands specifically, but far in the past. Before, when our worlds were much more closely connected, Fairy and human interbred, and my race was the result. Fairy blood, even the slightest bit of it, changes humans."
She waved at him to continue. "The fairy bit you before you could be shielded. Therefore fairy magic got into your veins. It changed you. You are a halfling, a changeling. That is why the fairies were so interested in you when we were in The Labyrinth. They recognized your presence as fairy.
Sarah was surprised. "What does that mean?"
"If you come to live there, within matter of months...you will become fully acclimated."
"And?" She urged.
"With the magic feeding your fairy side, it will be only a matter of times before you become one of us."
"Oh my." Sarah breathed. "This is a whole bunch of information to process. I mean..how did fairies and humans even get together? They are tiny and humans are..well, my size."
"In the mortal world, fairies could, and I assume would still be able to if they were to travel here, change to be the size of humans. If a female conceived they had to stay here until the birth of the child, then could leave. The male fairies of course could leave at will, and often did, leaving the human woman to fend for herself. The children craved the magic, because they needed it to feed their fairy side, so they ended up in this world. As the population of half bloods grew, they began having children together. So here were are. The humans started becoming more and more hostile to fairy folk and to us, their own descendants, and it became necessary to close ourselves off from your world to preserve ourselves after The Great War, about which I will not go into details this night. The old blood fairies grew to hate humans for the most part, due to their ill treatment...and they are not very fond of us either. We remind them of their foolish choices that led to the war. They are also quite resentful that our magic grew to far surpass theirs because of our size and strength we can channel much more of it and maintain control. I try to keep them away from the doors to The Labyrinth for the very reason you are now dealing with, to avoid changelings for their own good. Most go eventually go mad when they return above. While the fairies dislike humans they love the taste of them to this day."
Sarah felt lightheaded. "So ummm..you're related to fairies? Jorwyn said at one time you were as numerous as humans." Was all she could think of to say.
"There were far less humans at the time he was speaking of and they lived much shorter lives. Many many thousands of years back now did the fairies give us life. My family is a good 30 generations removed, and there are some families farther removed than that."
"What..3,000 years?" Sarah tried to calculate.
Jareth smirked. "No. The mortal race was still quite young. Closer to 100,000 human years. Many immortal or underground races are much older."
Sarah's head swam with this information. She grabbed her water and gulped it down.
"Maybe we should eat. You look as if you need a break from this conversation." Jareth suggested.
"Yeah..that's a good idea." Sarah answered.
He went and opened the door to speak to a waiter, then returned to the table and sat across from her. "I ordered beforehand I hope you do not mind."
She shook her head.
A few minutes later a plate of steaming food was in front of her. "Coq Au Vin. My favorite french food." She was suddenly hungry and began eating. The chicken melting in her mouth. "Perfect."
"I am glad you enjoy it. I so rarely get to eat here, but French is my favorite." He said as he took a bite.
The waiter was standing patiently by the door. "Retirer Magnifique, mes compliments au chef." Jareth said smoothly.
The waiter bowed his head and left.
"Since when do you speak French?" Sarah asked teasingly.
"I can speak all human languages, Sarah. Requirement of the job." He took another bite.
"Oh, yeah. I guess it would be. Not every person to wish away a child would be American."
He poured more wine. "Very few are, really. Most are people who have a strong tradition of calling upon Erlkonig."
Her fork dropped. "What? That's you?"
He laughed and winked at her. "At your service. Though the stories have been greatly changed and twisted 'round..basically The Goblin King is the source of all of those myths. No matter who has had the job."
They chatted more as they ate, both ignoring the elephant in the room.
Sarah had still not answered. He knew and recognized it, but did not mention here. He wanted her to enjoy herself, to feel as if she was being romanced and wooed.
When they were done Jareth tipped the waiter, the maitre d', and left a generous gratuity for the chef. They left and climbed into the car that had brought Sarah to the restaurant.
"So, do you..want to see my apartment?" She asked finally.
"That would acceptable. I expect you have more questions." He leaned forward and spoke to the driver.
Once they were dropped off, the car drove away. He escorted her to the door, and she unlocked it. "Be careful. Scar you know." She reminded him.
"Ahh." He remembered. The dog.
She let them in and closed the door, locking it behind them.
Scar was jumping around and wiggling, happy to see them both. She petted him and got him a treat, then put him in her bedroom.
Jareth shrugged of his jacket and took off the tie, while she tended to the dog.
Human clothing is bloody uncomfortable, He thought.
"Jareth..can you do me a favor?" She said as she walked towards him.
"What is it?"
She gave him a flirty smile. "Not that you aren't handsome in this form...but could you...be yourself?"
As her words he smirked and the glamour melted away, leaving behind the Jareth she had always known. Breeches and a tunic, boots and gloves, Amulet and long feather soft hair.
"That's better." She molded herself to his body and inhaled his scent. "I missed you too. So so much."
He wrapped his arms around her, her softness making everything well again, his heart quickening at her closeness.
She pulled away and eyed him up and down. "Now, Your Majesty..how in the world did you become my dad's client and weedle a date with me?" She said looking up and grinning. "You are a sneaky bastard."
They both laughed as he guided her to the couch and sat down, Sarah curling contentedly against his side.
"Magic, obviously, is the first component, but I have well placed connections in the above. Immortals who live here. I've made investments in human businesses. Most of my people, they want nothing to do with humans, but I have this job that requires so much contact that I need to have an identity carved out for myself here. It is for the best. I can hide in plain sight, if need be." He explained.
"So, you were really going to come for me even if I stay human, well at least in part. Even if I wanted to stay here, would you still want to be with me?" She had to know.
He took a deep breath. "Yes. It would be difficult. I would have to go back and forth. I would do it for you. Only for you. Though you are no longer completely human, and might live up to twice as long as others here, I would do what I needed to to be with you for as long as I could."
Sarah felt wonderful, and awful. It dawned on her if she made that choice, children might be out of the question, at least for her. She knew they would have to live with Jareth to be truly happy, as they would be more like him than her. Still, if they married she would want to be the one to give him an heir, which was probably a big deal for a king. "And when I die.."
She felt his arms tighten around her.
"I would grieve for you the rest of my days. I would never love another, or want to. It would cause me unimaginable pain...but I have no choice. I would bear it, if you would have me do so. What choice would I have? 100 years of life with you...it would be worth all of it. Every second."
When stopped speaking he realized Sarah was crying silently beside him.
"I thought I wasn't good enough." She said quietly. "I thought you would forget about me and find someone else. I thought you could never love me.."
He moved and turned her to face him. "I did not want to. I will be honest because I refuse to lie to you. This was not in my plans. You changed all that. You stubborn insolent brave woman. When I asked you to believe in me, you did. When I asked you to trust me, you did. No one has ever done for me what you have. You gave me your complete faith. That is unheard of in my world, to trust someone so deeply."
She touched his face. "When you told me you wanted me to love with all the passion inside me that last night, I wanted to scream. I want to tell you that I already did. That I loved you and I didn't want to leave, but I thought I had to. I figured you would have no use for me."
"Foolish girl." He replied sympathetically. He pulled her tight against him and kissed her cheeks, her forehead, her lips. "Yet, I am so much more foolish that you. I put my pride as a king above both of us."
He kissed her deeply then, and she surrendered to it. His hand slid down her face to her neck, and he felt a small lump just under her blouse. He took it in his hand and pulled away, looking down. The owl.
"You kept it."
"Of course. It was the only part of you I had. They only thing to remind me it wasn't a dream. That out there somewhere, you existed." she answered breathlessly, her desire for him taking over.
He went to speak further but found her lips on his own again, instigating another kiss. Who was he to argue?
She leaned backward and took him along, so that they were both laying halfway on the couch, their feet still on the floor.
His hands were all over her, caressing, touching, pulling at her clothes.
She stopped him and lifted one his hands up, slowly tugging off his glove. "You have the sexiest hands I've ever seen. I'm slightly obsessed with them."
He held up the other one for her to repeat the process. "By all means. Take my gloves."
They kissed again, as he unbuttoned her blouse and pushed it open. She sat up just enough to take it off, and he was already undoing her bra. He pushed it of her shoulders and it fell behind her. Then his hands were on her breasts.
She shoved his tunic up and he helped her get it over his head and off. They pressed together, both bare from the waist up.
He went back to her breasts, laving his tongue over them as she moaned. She had missed his talented tongue. Every lick, every nip at her hard peaks going straight between her legs.
He moved up and buried his face in her neck. "Sarah..you are the sexist woman I've ever known. So responsive to my touch."
He had a hand beneath her skirt, seeking out and finding the dampness there between her legs. He pushed aside her underwear and stroked her as she bucked her hips to meet his hand. Two fingers slid into her and a few strokes later she was coming hard, her body squeezing his fingers.
She laid there trying to collect her thoughts after the orgasm had scattered them all over. She watched him withdraw his hand and stick his fingers in his mouth, tasting her. "So sweet." He said as his tongue ran over them watching her eyes dilate as he did so.
"Jareth..let's go into the bedroom. "
He readily agreed pulling her with him to their feet, letting her guide him through the semi dark space. She put her blouse back on but didn't button it.
Unfortunately she had forgotten the dog, so when she opened the bedroom door he came bolting out tongue lolling around, tail wagging like a propeller.
"Your beast is a bit mad." Jareth observed warily.
"No, he just doesn't know a stranger. Go into the bedroom and I'll get him settled in here. "
He did, gladly.
Sarah got him one of his big bones she saved for treats, knowing that would keep him occupied for hours, then went inside the bedroom and closed the door, Scar happily laying in the middle of the living room gnawing away. She had turned the stereo on low to keep him company.
When she turned to the bed, Jareth was lying there stretched out, hands behind his head, dressed only in leggings.
"Take off your clothes...slowly." He commanded her.
She smiled and did as he asked, throwing her shirt on the chair, shimmying out of the skirt, placing first one, then the other leg on the bed and sliding her stockings down. She turned around and swayed her hips to the low music, sliding her underwear down and then throwing them to the side.
When she faced him his eyes were almost black. He sat up and reached for her, tugging her arm until she fell on top of him.
"Vixen." He said, in that low growl that made her only want him more.
He rolled her over, got to his knees and stripped his leggings off, his rock hard erection springing free of it's confinement.
She reached out and took it in her hand as he stayed on his knees, watching her as she moved her hand up and down, running her thumb over the head. She took him in her mouth, making him groan, his head tipping back, his hand winding through her dark hair.
She stopped and laid back, opening herself to him. "Jareth..please. I can't wait. I missed you. I need you inside of me." She pleaded.
He complied, getting between her legs, laying over her to place himself at her entrance. He teased her for a moment, barely pushing in then pulling out until she grabbed his behind in frustration.
"I have never wanted anything more than to please you..My Sarah." He kissed her and thrust forward.
He was inside her then, laying his pelvis flush against the cradle of her hips and thighs. "So fucking perfect." He murmured into her neck. "No one has ever felt like this. Like a glove." He pulled back then pistoned into her again, making her gasp and moan his name the sensation.
He pivoted and rolled his hips, and she was pushing up to meet him. She wrapped her legs around his body, holding him to her, her arms holding tightly to his neck. She surrendered he body to his, letting him set the pace.
He grabbed her hands and entwined his fingers with her as he laid his forehead against her own, looking into her eyes. "Remember Sarah..do you remember this?" He whispered to her as he watched the fire ignite in her eyes. "Do not close your eyes." He told her.
Sarah felt her body growing hot and sweaty from the intensity she knew was his doing as he used his magic to reach within her and connect to her soul, but she never closed her eyes. She knew what he wanted. He wanted all of her. Body and soul. She was willing to give it, because she knew he would give her the same. He would give her everything. His eyes told her all she needed to know. He was giving her his heart, but would settle for nothing less in return.
That was Jareth. That was her Goblin King. He was powerful and commanding, and she liked it. She would never bend enough that he would break her, and she would never ask him to change what he was, as he would always accept her for the smart mouthed, pig headed, contrary woman she knew she was.
They would argue, they would fight, then would push each other, but they would love. That love would always be the undercurrent of everything else. He would get mad and stomp off and she wouldn't listen and go off on her own. They would always come back to each other because for them there was no one else who could satisfy whatever it was they needed and gave to each other. The trust, the belief in one another that was absolute. There was an unspoken agreement that they would always have faith in each other.
Now in this moment, she would yield. She let him take her to the heights, and they crashed over the edge together. His orgasm coming in torrents as her back arched and her body squeezed and milked his until they were completely drained of energy.
They lay together a long time in her comparatively small bed. The music in the next room playing low. Light from the moon peeking through the blinds.
She had her head on his shoulder, His fingers stroked her arm.
Jareth spoke first. "You never answered me. If you would come to the underground."
She looked up. He looked a bit nervous in the dim light of what her answer might be. Sarah found it odd, and endearing. This was a man who was rarely unsure of anything, even if he was wrong.
"I thought I just did." she smirked at him. "I mean, would I stay here, if I could be there, and do this every night?"
"You are a naughty wench." He observed wryly.
"Would you want me any other way?" She poked him, laughing.
He grinned tiredly at her. "Not really. submissive women are boring. I would rather fight with you. Which is a good thing in the long run, since we will have a very long time to perfect the art of war...between us, I mean."
"Mmm..no war.. just skirmishes. Look at this way, makeup sex is always pretty hot." She replied.
"Good point." He said turning them to face each other. "Do you meant it Sarah, you will marry me? Be the Goblin Queen? Rule over a kingdom of imbeciles?"
"Yes..but...can I see my family? And bring Scar?"
Jareth rolled his eyes. "What is one more beast in my kingdom. Of course you can see your family. Once fully changed you can come and go as you please."
"Than abso-fucking-lutley, Your Majesty. "
They laughed and rolled around on the bed, tickling and teasing. Eventually they made love again, then fell asleep. For the first time in weeks, wrapped in each others arms, their sleep was peaceful.
Happy Birthday David! Muah!
In the next few days, Sarah began preparations for her departure. Jareth could not stay with her during this time, he had a kingdom to look after, but he could come and go. It would take a few weeks.
She quit her job, giving them a final two weeks and finishing what she could, while passing on work she couldn't finish to colleagues. She packed, sorted, and stored her belongings, Jareth moved the few boxes of things she would keep to The Queen's Chambers as she went. She put her car in storage in case they needed it. She figured she might want to use it when she visited her family.
She spent a weekend with her parents and brother, staying up late, watching movies, and eating junk food with Toby. She knew she would see him again, but Jareth explained it might be a while for the underground magic to have permanent and lasting hold on her. He wanted to be certain she was completely and irreversibly changed before going back above, to be safe.
3 weeks after the decision was made, Sarah Williams married Jareth Alban in a civil ceremony above. Her family had been surprised when the man her father had set her up with had turned out to be the man she married, but they were happy for her. Karen had cornered her privately, and Sarah confessed that Jareth was indeed the man she had been speaking of when they had talked on Toby's birthday. She smiled and hugged her stepdaughter, letting her know it was their little secret that she had known him beforehand. Let her father think he had set her up with her husband, Karen suggested, it made him happy.
She would be going with Jareth to England to live, as far as her family knew for now. She thought she might someday tell them the truth if it seemed they could accept it. She knew she *would* tell Toby sometime.
She didn't want to answer all the questions and concerns, she just wanted to enjoy the time she had with them before leaving, and to let them get to know Jareth some before they knew who and what he really was. The Goblin King, whom she had met at 15 had turned out to be the man she would come to love.
The apartment was empty, everything packed and transported, sold or donated. Sarah was walking through each room, taking a last look at her home in the above.
She had lived at home throughout college, so she had only had two homes her entire life, the one she grew up in and this one. She could not help but feel a little sad.
"Are you ready?" Jareth said as he hugged her from behind.
"I'll miss this place. How is Scar doing?" He had taken the dog first thing that day to the underground, to keep him out of the way.
"He is happily frolicking through my Labyrinth with the fox knight and his sheepdog. I'm sure there will be a mess to clean up."
"I'm wondering...is Ambrosius a male or female?" Sarah asked.
Jareth thought a moment. "You know, I do not know. Since that is the only dog in the kingdom it's never come up. Gods, I hope a male. That is the last thing we need."
Sarah chuckled. "I suppose we will find out soon enough. I never got Scar fixed. I kept meaning to, but never did."
Jareth sighed and laid his head on her shoulder. She patted his back and giggled. "Poor long suffering king. How about when I am able to return, I get that taken care of."
"It would be too late I'm afraid." He answered.
"Well one litter wouldn't be so bad. We definitely don't want a couple a year. Something tells me finding homes would not be so easy underground."
He snorted out a laugh. "Definitely not."
They stood there a minute more. "I suppose we should go. I already dropped the keys off. figuring we don't need to leave through the door?" Sarah asked.
"Obviously. Close your eyes." He replied, holding her tightly.
She felt the world tilt and disappear.
When she opened her eyes, they were standing in the same position in the middle of his chambers.
She turned in his arms and kissed him. "Aren't you going to welcome me home properly?"
"My pleasure." He said sexily, kissing her back with fervor.
And it was.
The Goblin King and his Champion were married underground a few days later at court, in front of a huge gathering. Because she was Champion, and a changeling, there was no argument by the magistrate. Not to mention Jareth informed them he would marry her with or without their approval, and would go to war to do it if necessary. The magistrate and council felt it was not worth fighting over having the fearsome Goblin King staring them down, they knew he meant every word.
Jareth and Sarah, in all their finery, were required to remain standing after the ceremony until all who wanted to, or were required to, filed past and offered congratulations.
One of those was Cassandra.
She took Jareth's hand and squeezed. "Congratulations, Your Majesty. Your Queen is truly a fine woman. She will be an asset to us all."
She kissed his cheek and moved along. She gave Sarah her cursory greeting and kept going, but before she went through the doors she gave Jareth one last long knowing look. He bowed his head to her, she smiled and left.
Sarah noticed but said nothing until later when they were alone.
"Who was the woman?" She asked him as they began to undress.
"What woman?" He pretended he didn't know exactly who she meant, as he sat removing his boots.
"What woman? she repeated. "You know what woman, the one who was staring at you, the one you stared back at. You nodded to her? The redhead?" Her green eyes shooting fire at him.
He waved his hand nonchalantly. "Oh. That was Cassandra. The woman I told you about that I had a tryst with a long time ago.".
"The one you loved?" Sarah asked, her voice getting higher.
Jareth sensed she was upset so he went to hug her but she pushed him away.
"I told you, I thought I loved her. Are you jealous Sarah? I love you, I married you. I threatened the entirety of the court to do it. I haven't wanted her for many many years. However in the interest of full disclosure, we did speak once. Before I went above to claim you."
Sarah began removing her jewelry, trying to act like the idea of her near her husband wasn't making her crazy. "Oh? About what?"
"You. She was the one who convinced me, that even if you were human and remained so, it would be foolish to not claim you. She was the one who made me see even a short time of being with the woman I loved was infinitely better than letting you go and never seeing you again. That 50 years of absolute joy with you, was worth the rest of my life grieving for you when you left me. That love is worth the pain it causes."
Sarah turned to him, tears in her eyes. "I'm sorry about getting upset it's really not like me. I just...thinking of you..even thought it was long ago...I can't help if there are still some deep seeded insecurities in me."
He did hug her then. "My queen, My Sarah, my love. Do not EVER doubt me. Do I have to remind you our promise to each other?"
She shook her head. "No. I'm just tired. This has been an emotional past few weeks. Now that everything is done, it's all catching up. I'm overly emotional."
"Understood. You need rest." He kissed her on her forehead, her cheeks, then her lips.
He led her to the bed. "Here, let me help you relax."
"I know what THAT means." Sarah said to him as he started unlacing the back of her dress, kissing each inch of skin he revealed.
"You protest? It is our wedding night. Again. That is one bonus of having two weddings isn't it?" He wiggled his eyebrows at her, making her laugh.
She shook her head. "Not at all. Just amazed at how you never get enough."
He pushed her dress down her body and she stepped out. "Are you complaining dearest? You seem to enjoy it as much as I." He answered as his hand wandered over her legs, hips and behind.
He stood and moved her hair out of the way, kissing and licking her neck. She hung on to him as her knees became weak.
He finished removing her undergarments, then both of the worked to get him out of his formal wear. When they were both naked the fell onto the bed. caressing, squeezing, kissing.
Sarah rolled him under her and unwilling to delay it much longer, positioned herself above him and took his erection in her hands, then seated herself on him, taking him completely inside.
They both groaned at the intimate contact. She leaned forward and he sucked and nibbled at her breasts, increasing her pleasure greatly.
Jareth grabbed her hips and guided her. She rocked forward, letting him slide almost completely out, then moved back hard, his cock pistoning back inside. Her inner walls clenching and releasing.
Jareth slipped one had between her legs and found her hard bud, flicking at it and rubbing it between his fingers as Sarah gasped and shuddered. Her rhythm because faster, more intense, making him groan beneath her.
The release they shared was fast and powerful, their bodies grinding together as Sarah cried out his name repeatedly, and he growled low in his throat as her body claimed every bit of his climax.
Afterward, Sarah lay prone on top of her husband's body. She loved listening to the steady beat of his heart. The heart she knew he had had such a difficult time giving to her. When he did, he had given to her for keeps, as she had given hers to him.
She wiggled up to be face to face with Jareth. His closed eyes cracked open, and he smiled, his eyes full of gentle post coital warmth.
"I love you, my king." She said simply.
She could have sworn, for a moment, there was the hint of a tear in the corner of his eyes, but it disappeared as he blinked.
He wound a hand through her hair and laid the other on her face, holding it up with his thumb under her chin. "I love you, my champion."
They snuggled close and fell asleep that way, content. Through the night the woke to bathe, eat, and make love, the fact that it was their second wedding night didn't seem to matter.
Sarah's first night as Goblin Queen was one she enjoyed thoroughly.
A couple of weeks later, she discovered why her emotions kept spilling over.
The celebration that took place when The Goblin King, bursting with joy, holding The Goblin Queen's hand, announced the impending arrival of his and Sarah's first child, was one to be written in the history of The Goblin Kingdom. It went on for days, with drink, dance and song.
As The Goblin Kingdom partied below, high in the castle, in the King and Queen's Royal Chambers, two entirely unprepared and nervous parents to be had a celebration of their own.
In the light of the moon they lay, Sarah on her side, her beloved curled around her protectively. She dozing, he deep in thought.
Once again, my precious thing had turned my world upside down and inside out, and I am glad of it, and better for it. The Goblin King thought as he cradled her body next to his. His hands laying over her abdomen in wonderment of what they had created.
This. This is life. This is living. This is what love is. My champion has saved me in every way. We are both hopelessly flawed, but perfect together. One part of our journey has ended and another is beginning.
"How you turn my world." He whispered into her hair smiling from ear to ear.
One green eye popped open, and she turned her head slightly to look at him. "Jareth I love you, but quit mumbling and go to sleep."
He laughed softly. "Yes, my queen."
Truthfully I thought Sarah was one to be responsible enough to have her dog neutered but the idea of The Labyrinth be overrun with big silly dogs and driving Jareth crazy made me laugh so left it in as a fun bit :) But really please spay and neuter your pets ;)
The next several months were entirely stressful on the Goblin King and Queen, they had a rush of visitors and presents pouring in from all over the underground, as well as an entire kingdom adjusting to having a Queen.
Fortunately, the goblins and other denizens seemed to adore Sarah. Getting the castle in order was not easy but the fact that she could simply asked sweetly and things would get done was a great help.
Sarah herself was fully assimilated within 3 months, much to both her and Jareth's surprise. She spent whatever time she wasn't learning how to be a queen, learning her newly acquired magic under Jareth's watchful eye. She was a natural.
With all this going on, Sarah's pregnancy came along nicely, though she had to get a new, expanded wardrobe to accommodate her growing belly.
She had visited her family at 5 months, who threw her a shower at their insistence and she ended up with sacks full of baby items to take home with her.
At 8 months pregnant, Sarah's body was telling her it was time to slow down and relax. She was to be a mother and needed to think of the child within for a time.
So she sat in front of the fire reading, or walking in the gardens visiting her friends. Jareth insisted she stay close to the castle and him.
"My love, I have a wonderful idea." He said as he walked into the library where Sarah was laying on a large sofa reading.
She looked up from her book, propped up on her rounded middle. "You do, do you? I am hesitant to even ask. The last good idea was for you to teach the goblins how to paint the nursery. Remember how that turned out." She chuckled.
"Yes..well..." He cleared his throat, the memory of paint covered goblins leaving footprints all over his castle flashing through his mind. "They all cannot be perfect. This one is though. We need honeymoon. So you can relax. We get completely away from here for a few days."
She sat down her book. "I'm listening."
"If you would like, we can take a trip to the valley where we first...connected."
"I am NOT walking though that valley are you nuts Your Majesty?" She exclaimed.
"No no no of course not! We go by magic. We can use magic to shield us from harm. A tent, I'll even make a bed so you don't have to sleep on the ground. It will just be us. Like when we were there. Just a couple of nights. A last chance to be together before the babe comes."
Sarah raised a delicate brow. "I don't have to do anything?"
He grinned, "You will be a complete lady of leisure. I will fish, it will be wonderful."
She sat up. "You know, that is a wonderful idea. I love it. Let's do it."
He took her hands and kissed them, then stood. "I will make the arrangements, precious."
He did, and a few days later he swept his queen off to the Tranquility River Valley, to a camp he had set up that morning. It came complete with a small yet comfortable bed inside a tent that could be converted from mesh to opaque. Jareth had used magic to create a circular barrier around their camp, so they would be safe.
Sarah walked through the area, breathing in the sweet clean air that had the light fragrance of fresh running water and green trees, with undertones of nearby wildflowers.
"I love it, Jareth. It's perfect." She said. "Thank you. I did need this."
"We both did I believe." He answered. He was working on the firepit. He promised Sarah he would do the cooking.
Once he was done he urged her to take a rest. He rolled up the dark flaps of the tent so she could see everything but still lay down.
She did so gladly. Transporting was becoming wearing on her pregnant body.
"Now, I'm going to go fishing, not far. So if you need me call. There is your book and a water flask." He laid the items next to her. He leaned down and kissed her lips, then kissed her swollen middle. "You two rest."
When she opened her eyes the sun was going down and the scent of cooking fish made her stomach growl. She pushed herself up and waddled out to where Jareth had placed a long lounge chair by the fire for her and sat down. He turned and smiled at her but kept cooking. "Dinner will be done in a few minutes, did you sleep?"
"Yes. I had the best sleep I've had in a long time. Must be the air here. So restful." She watched as he made up a large plate of food they could sit between them and share, like they had done the first time they had camped in the valley. Her mouth practically watered.
He brought the food, handed her a napkin, and sat across from her, placing the food between them. Sarah grabbed a fork and ate heartily, as Jareth watched her inhale the food with gusto.
"Hungry, my love? He teased.
She tried to laugh but she was chewing. After she swallowed she continued. "I swear I could eat a cow. For the first few months I could hardly eat now I want to eat everything. This baby is hungry."
"Then eat as much as you like, I can make more." He urged.
"No no. I'm eating my share and that's it. I don't want to gain more weight than I need to. I'm already huge."
"You are not. You are beautiful. Soon the baby will come and you will be back to normal."
Sarah knew he meant it. Ever since they had found out she was pregnant he couldn't keep his hands off of her. One of the visiting ladies who was a Duchess of a neighboring kingdom had told her that pregnancy was a turn on for immortal men. That her husband had been like that too. Something about how they were sensing and responding to their wives' hormones.
A few weeks before this trip she had stopped feeling comfortable being naked with Jareth, so their lovemaking had ceased. She knew he wanted her but wasn't sure how it would affect the child.
He wasn't happy but understood.
She sat down her fork and leaned back. "I don't think either of us will be normal again. I think we will have to get used to a brand new normal with a baby around. A baby that is part you and part me. Something tells me stubborn isn't going to begin to cover it."
He finished eating and sat the plate to the side.
"That is true." He made Sarah turn so he could lean back and she could lean against him.
"Jareth, I'm worried I won't be a good mother. My mom was a horrible mother. I loved her, but she was. Karen was okay, but I didn't have her as a mother until I was almost grown. For goodness' sake I wished Toby away because he cried!" She let her fear she had been keeping inside out in a rush of words and emotion.
"Well the last part isn't a problem. You may wish the child to me anytime you like." He joked.
She poked him with her elbow. "I'm trying to be serious. I just hope I don't totally suck at being a mom."
"I know you are worried about this, Sarah. I do not think you have a thing to be concerned about. You are fierce protector of those you love. This child will be cherished like no other, by both of us. It is natural to worry with the first child I suppose. I too wonder what kind of father I will be. Until you, I had no desire to be. After all I have seen, of how cruel people can be to their own children, I just did not think I would ever want to even try. As always, as long as we believe in each other, we will be fine." He kissed her head and rubbed his hands over her abdomen. "Besides, how could we not love one who is of you and I? Obviously this little one be will be loved by all. Being my offspring, I'm sure charm will be a natural affinity." He teased.
"Oh geez. Jareth I swear is there anyone more full of himself than you?" She said, laughing.
"Probably not." He laughed with her.
The talked and laughed, joked and flirted the rest of the evening. Jareth guided her to the river, and helped maneuver her so she could get into the water up to her belly, wash up and splash around with him. The day had been warm, so the water felt good to her, cooling her skin and alleviating her aches and pains.
By the time they had dried off and changed, Sarah was tired so she went to bed while Jareth sat up and read for a while then just sat on the ground looking at the stars, thinking of everything the last year had brought him. When it got late, he put out the fire and curled around his wife, protecting her even in sleep.
The next morning Jareth got up early and made breakfast, leaving it warming on the fire, and heated up water for tea as he assumed Sarah would sleep a while longer while he trekked a little ways down the river to fish.
Sarah woke up alone, and her body was hurting. She got up and tried to eat the food Jareth had left but found she felt nauseated every time she tried to eat, so she left it and drank a little water, then laid back down.
"Gods, I wish the pregnancy would would hurry up, I feel like a beached whale and I hurt all the time." She mumbled to herself as she tried to get comfortable. She tossed and turned but could sleep. It seemed like everything below the waist was throbbing. She got up again and sat on the chair by the fire putting her feet up and rubbing her belly. "It's okay little one, it won't be much longer. You seem restless today." She laid her head on the pillow and watched the clouds roll by, finally dozing off.
She was awoke not long after by a wrenching pain in her abdomen, it felt like her whole body was cramping. She sat up and gasped at what she saw.
Blood, on her loose gown, on the chair.
"JARETH!" She screamed as loud as she could, the name echoing through the trees.
He heard the terrified scream and his whole body tensed with fear. In seconds he was at her side.
"What is it?! Sarah?!"
She was breathing heavily, grasping the side of the chair and cringing.
"The baby...coming...now...early... " She managed to get out between breaths
"What..NOW!?" He replied. "Alright, we will go..."
Sarah grabbed his arm and jerked him over to her, face to face. "No time! Coming now! Oh God..." She squeezed his arm, her nails breaking his skin. The contraction tapered off, letting her breath for a minute.
You are a king, you have seen everything, fought in wars. You can certainly help your wife give birth.
He took a deep breath and let calm overtake him, them moved to the business end of the long chair and pushed Sarah's gown up.
"Should there be so much blood?" He asked assessing the situation.
"How the fuck should I know!" Sarah yelled. "I've never done this before!" He could tell she was beginning to panic with the pain overtaking her. He grabbed her hands. "Sarah..breathe. Try to not panic. Women have been doing this since time began. We will do this."
She glared at him through sweaty lock of hair. "What you mean we, jackass. Seems to me I'm the one trying to push a person out of myself!"
He decided maybe he should refrain from further conversation for a bit.
The labor was going fast. Sarah thought it would take hours, but this one wanted out. Then she remembered what she had said and started crying. "Oh Gods I did this. What if something happens? It will be my fault!" She wailed. "I wished for the pregnancy to be over!"
Jareth once again tried to soothe her. "Sarah...I can assure you you did not cause this by wishing. I would have heard the wish if you have meant for that to happen. I would not have granted it in any case no matter how much pain it would cause me to refuse your wish." He answered as he kept checking on what was happening below.
Another contraction came, a hard one, and Sarah felt the baby beginning to move downward. "It's coming!" She pushed.
All Jareth could do was try to have his hands it the right position as he watched. Sure enough, in minutes he was seeing his own child be birthed from Sarah's womb. He saw a head full of blonde hair. His feelings in that moment were beyond words.
"One more push, Sarah, the baby will come." He told her, trying to maintain controlled, calm demeanor when inside his heart was pounding and his hands shaking, not wanting to make a mistake.
She gave it everything, all her strength, and then she felt the child leaving her body, and into it's father's hands.
A small wail filled the camp as the firstborn child of The Goblin King and Queen came into the world.
Jareth shrugged off his tunic and wrapped the babe in it as he held the infant with a complete look of wonder in his eyes.
"What is...?" Sarah asked him.
"A daughter. We have a daughter." He said his wide eyes meeting hers over the crying newborn.
Sarah was crying and laughing at the same time. He handed her the child, and used his knife to cut the umbilical cord, grabbing a towel to wrap the afterbirth in. He would cremate it as was tradition, to keep anyone from getting a hold of any part that could be used magically against them.
With a wave of his hand all the blood and mess of the birth was gone.
"Let's move you both inside." He said. Though Sarah was paying little attention to him. She was busy cooing over her small yet perfectly formed and healthy daughter.
Before he could lift them both, there were loud noises of something coming through the trees near the camp.
Jareth pick up his sword and placed himself between Sarah and the baby and whatever was coming.
A few moments later the trees parted.
Relief flooded his body. "Uhrulu. You startled us."
The Unicorn Queen walked closer, with her she had two others. A huge golden stallion and a slightly smaller silver one.
I heard a womans screams and a child's cry. We came to see and give assistance if it was necessary. You and your Queen are well?"
Jareth nodded. "Yes. Sarah...she went into labor a month early. The child was born just minutes ago. A daughter. Thank you."
The mare's eyes brightened.
The child is healthy? I understand. Birthing is difficult and painful. Yet it is the way of things. I have birthed 3 times myself. Goblin Queen, you are well?
Sarah nodded. "I'm okay, thank you Uhrulu."
May I see the child?
"Of course." She handed Jareth the baby girl. He cradled her and got close enough to the unicorn so she could sniff her head gently.
She is beautiful, Goblin King. She will be a strong one. She would have to be, sired by you and birthed by one so strong as to tame you, though just barely I am sure, as wild as you have always been.
Both Sarah and Jareth laughed. Even the other unicorns nickered and chortled in amusement.
The unicorns then seemed to be communicating with each other, leaving the Jareth and Sarah giving each other questioning looks.
Uhrulu nickered to get their attention.
Your Majesties, As this child has been born in my lands, she is not only The Goblin Princess but an honorary member of my herds as well. Therefore I would give her a gift. She will be the first immortal granted the Unicorn magic.
Jareth's mouth dropped open. Sarah was surprised at his expression. She had never seen Jareth so shocked.
"What does that mean?" She asked. "What is happening?"
He brought the baby back to Sarah and laid her in Sarah's arms then turned. "That has never been..Uhrulu, that is an honor beyond anything I could ever imagine. But..immortal females have never been given animal magic."
Unrulu gave him a knowing look.
I am aware Goblin King. My people are matriarchal as you know. Only a female would be strong and wise enough to carry OUR magic. She will be the first. Only firstborn daughters of her blood from now until forever will carry it. Your sons can have the owl magic. She is one of us, born in our lands.. She will carry unicorn magic.
Jareth bowed to the Unicorn Queen. "It will be an honor, Queen Uhrulu. For my daughter to be part of your noble race as well as my own."
Now that is settled. We will leave you with your new family. I suggest you get your Queen and daughter home to rest. You may come a build a small cottage here so that you may bring the child to visit.
She turned and went back through the trees, the stallions following her.
"Jareth what just happened?" Sarah asked as he sat down next to her.
"Uhrulu has effectively joined The unicorn herds with our people. Though both races live here, The unicorn herds stay fairly isolated. they still have a fear of being slaughtered. They are one of the few animal populations to be considered truly equal to immortals in the underground. They and the dragons. Their magic is a strong as ours, and more pure. They are incapable of using it for anything other than good."
He laid a hand over hers. "It is a cause for celebration for both of us, The unicorns and the immortals, that an immortal child has been granted such magic."
He touched his sleeping daughter's head, her downy soft blond hair much like his. "She will be...incredibly powerful and revered. The only woman to carry animal magic, and unicorn magic at that. I'm honestly stunned."
"Does that mean when she gets older, and shifts..." Sarah began, then gasped as she understood what had just happened, her weary brain and body taking a bit longer than usual.
"Yes, she will take on the form of a unicorn with all it's power and gifts." Jareth replied.
"Oh...I...oh." Sarah was a bit speechless.
Jareth held out his arms and Sarah placed the sleeping girl into them. "My child. Flesh and bone and blood of my own. Born into my own hands. How I am humbled to be your father." He said, kissing the baby's forehead.
Sarah began openly weeping. She had never thought Jareth could be so tender.
"When you are feeling up to it, I will move us to the castle." He said as he handed her back the child.
"I'm so tired, and moving isn't really fun right now." Sarah replied sleepily. "Will she be okay transporting?"
"Yes. She is one us. Magic is in her veins. If it will make you feel better, and you can sit still for a few minutes, I will be right back. Do NOT move."
He came back in 10 minutes with his healer, who immediately took charge. Jareth got scolded for not coming to get him sooner, but Sarah explained there was no time.
With a quick examination both the Queen and Princess were pronounced healthy and fit to travel.
Within the next hour the camp that had been there was not, the sun setting behind the trees. It was like they were never there, and Sarah was comfortable in her own bed, nursing her daughter, Jareth in a chair nearby.
"We need to give this one a name." Sarah said as she watched the baby nurse. "This feels weird. Not bad, but weird." She admitted to Jareth.
He smirked. "Yes I can well imagine it does. Solias."
"What is Solias?" Sarah asked him, a little worried he was so tired he was just speaking in random words.
"Her name. It means light. She is a child of light. So different than those of us who lean more towards the darkness."
"Solias," Sarah repeated. "It's different. You aren't that dark, just a bit wicked." She grinned. "Solias it is. I like it."
She put the baby up on her shoulder and patted her back, who proceeded to let out a very satisfied belch.
"I hope that isn't a comment on the name." Jareth said wryly.
The now named Solias fell asleep and was placed in her cradle next to the bed by Jareth.
Sarah got comfortable on her side, gazing at their sleeping daughter, while Jareth changed into his sleeping pants and joined her, looking over her shoulder.
"Look what we did." Sarah said to him, in awe.
"Tomorrow the kingdom expects her to be introduced to them." Jareth answered, his chin on her shoulder.
"Can't we just keep her to ourselves for a while?" Sarah asked as she turned her head, and kissed his cheek.
Jareth snorted and laughed. "If only. For her life will be different than it was for us. We have to be prepared for that. Shall we have another?"
"Uhh...yeah.. maybe later." Sarah answered. "I'm too tired and sore to even think about that."
"A little magic can help." He offered.
"I know. Not tonight. I think it's is a good thing to do it like MY ancestors did it. Tough it out, you know? Not just use magic for everything. Tomorrow I might take you up on it if I'm going to have to walk around and deal with goblins."
Jareth gave her a look of mild surprise. "Funny you should say that, I would bet your ancestors would be glad to be able to use magic to heal themselves."
"Good point." Sarah giggled, pushing him and turning on her back. "Right now. Let's just sleep. She will be awake soon enough, wanting to eat again, needing changing and all that."
Jareth adjusted his body so Sarah could prop her legs over his hips, and held her close. "Sleep, my love."
She did, then he followed suit. Thier daughter slumbered peacefully beside the bed, dreaming of unicorns.
As years went by Solias, or Sola as she was known was joined by a brother, Strix. Sarah was thankful that he was born in the castle and not the woods.
Jareth insisted on being the one to be there to catch his second child like his first. There was quite a scandal when it got out, as men, and certainly not kings weren't expected to be in the same room much less actively involved in childbirth. Jareth, defiant and not one to care what anyone else thought, couldn't have cared less. He would not have anyone other than himself be the first to lay hands on his offspring.
As was tradition, when each entered puberty, they received their animal magic.
Solias' ceremony took place in the valley next to the river, where her and her family had spent a great deal of time over the years. Many wanted to attend, but all were refused. Only The Goblin King and Queen, Jorwyn and Penelope and their daughter Alina, Strix, Uhrulu and her mate Ragar, the golden stallion they had met right after the Sola's birth, and several other unicorns were there, along with a representative from the Council of Magic to officiate and confirm the magic had been given and received.
Strix' had his cermony much closer to home, in the Dark Forest of The Labyrinth itself, where Jareth's owl-kin resided. Once again they limited the attendees to family, clergy and the owls of Jareth's parliament.
Both grew to be strong, powerful, and very much like their proud parents.
Jareth and Sarah lived exactly how they thought they would in the beginning of their journey.
They loved passionately, fought furiously, and believed and trusted each other completely.
He was still arrogant, demanding and wicked, she was stubborn and defiant and insolent.
Neither The Goblin King, nor his Champion, would have it any other way.
I can't even express how heavy my heart is. I had to finish, I just had to. Tonight. I love you forever db. My fellow writers, keep writing. Don't ever stop. Let yourself continue to be inspired. Hang in there. Any glitches will be fixed in due time.
Bonus Epilogue! This takes place in between 19-20, before the birth of J&S's baby. Something fun for my readers..I hope :)
Jareth paced back and forth in front of the closed door to Hoggle's cottage. Nervous, hands clasped behind his back.
"What is taking so long?" He demanded.
"These things take time, Your Majesty," Sir Didymus replied. "Or so I am told."
Jareth stopped and stared down at the little fox knight."How did this happen? Never mind. I know how this happened. Sarah warned me. You should have known, fox!"
"I had no cause for concern until My Lady and her loyal beast returned to live here, Sire. How was I to know my steed, Ambrosius, was not a sir, but a madam!"
"Speaking of that creature.." Jareth growled, turning to look at the large dog laying on the ground softly whining. "Could you not control yourself? You did this beast!"
Scar stood up and snuffled at Jareth, barked softly, and wagged his tail.
Pinching the bridge of his nose and sighing, Jareth paced the other way.
The door opened and Sarah appeared, smiling.
"Well?" Jareth and Sir Didymus said in unison, Scar giving a questioning whine.
"Five. Five adorable little bundles of fur. They are so cute! You can go in Didymus, and take Scar with you to see his progeny." She answered.
"Thank you My Lady! Is my loyal friend well?" the little fox asked, concerned.
"She is fine, a happy mama." Sarah hugged him. "Now go."
She opened the door and Scar dashed in, followed by Sir Didymus.
After the door was closed she faced her husband. "It will be okay, Jareth. Besides they really are cute. What until you see."
He eyed her warily."Really Sarah, what are we going to do with 7 dogs running amok in my kingdom! Chaos! I've lost control! Are you certain the issue is taken care of now? I do not want to do this again."
Sarah put an arm around her husband's waist, her bulging belly pressing against him. "Yes. I told you. I got him fixed the last time I spend the night with my family. This is it. Come on, come see."
She grinned and pulled him with her back into the room and over to where the sheepdog lay on a soft blanket, feeding her newborn pups.
She reached down and carefully picked up a fluffy brown and white puppy, holding him up so Jareth could see. "Look at him. Isn't he the cutest thing ever? It won't be so bad. Kids like dogs."
Jareth crossed his arms. "So you say."
"Come on, just hold him." Sarah urged.
Jareth reluctantly took the small creature, who immediately snuggled into the monarch's arms and made himself comfortable.
Sarha watched as Jareth's eyes softened and he stroked the pup's head. "Well...this one isn't completely disgusting, but still yet.."
"He likes you, Jareth." Sarah observed. "Look at him."
"Sarah..." Jareth started.
"Please Jareth, for me? Your pregnant, emotional wife? Give it a chance." Sarah rubbed her belly and gave her husband a pleading look.
He sighed. "Alright. There is no use arguing about it, they are here now. Just...keep them out of the castle, and control them when we have runners. The last thing we need is someone thinking running the LAbyrinth is..fun."
He turned to leave, still cradling the puppy.
"Your Majesty?" Sarah said. He turned back.
She held out her arms. "The puppy? He needs to eat."
Jareth looked down. "Ah yes. Here." He handed the newborn dog back to Sarah. "But careful. This one, he seems much more handsome than the rest. more suited to royal service. I may...be able to put him into service as my personal dog...for protection."
Sarah tried to keep from laughing. "Of course. May I suggest a name?"
Jareth watched her as she paid a hand over her mouth to keep from laughing at him. "What?"
She removed her hand. "Cuddles." She started to laugh, unable to control herself any longer.
Jareth frowned at her. "How undignified. No royal dog will be called...Cuddles."
Sarah lost it, she had to sit in a chair as the mirth overtook her. Didymus, Hoggle, and a few goblins who have come to see the puppies followed suit.
"You did this." Jareth said to Sarah, acting hurt. "You've turned my kingdom against me."
"Oh Jareth." She held her hands out and he took them, pulling her up. She hugged him again. "I love you. The whole kingdom loves you, lighten up. It was a joke."
"I love you too. But I still say you've usurped my subjects." Jareth answered. "I have to reluctantly admit.." He paused, looking at the little puppies nursing. "They are rather...not horrible."
"I agree my love. They are definitely not horrible." She stood on her tiptoes and kissed his cheek.
Jareth looked over at the large dog sitting loyally by his family, proud, then back to his wife looking up at him. "You seem to know just how to not only turn my world, but flip it upside down, and inside out."
"Would you want it any other way?" She asked, batting her large green eyes at him.
"No..no I wouldn't." He replied slowly.
Sarah pivoted them both towards the door. "Good. Let's leave them to themselves. I have something I want to do."
"Oh?" Jareth asked,raising a brow. "What is it?"
"You." she answered.
"Cheeky woman." Jareth said as she led him out of the cottage to transport back to the castle.
"Mmm..and you like it like that." She answered, slapping him on the backside.
"Sarah!" He admonished. looking around to see if anyone saw.
"You like it and you know it," She said. "Let's go home."
"Yes, let's. I owe you a spanking now." He answered.
They disappeared back to the castle, to continue their bickering in private.
In the end, they called it a draw.