Author's Note: By popular demand, I have written this epilogue. Personally I like the current ending; however, I was inspired to write this, so here's an epilogue just for you! Thanks again for reading and for your kind comments that keep me writing! :)
Sarah's heart jumped.
She was pulled back to the present when Jareth's thumb breezed gently over the back of her hand, and he stepped carefully around to stand before her.
For an instant, she felt dazed. Was he really, truly there?
His breath was warm on her face, and Sarah raised her unclaimed hand. It brushed against his shirt over his chest, and she placed it there, feeling his heartbeat quicken at her touch.
He was! He was really there!
The fabric was soft against her hand, and Jareth's own warm hand came down to rest upon hers. Lifting her hand gently from his chest, he placed it upon the side of his face, where a smile lay waiting.
"You came." Sarah murmured, feeling the lines of Jareth's face wrinkle into a wider smile. His short wispy bangs tickled the backs of her fingers as he replied.
"Of course, Sarah," Jareth assured. "I will always come for you." With his hand still resting upon hers where it lay upon his face, Jareth turned his head to kiss her palm.
It was such a tender, simple act, that she felt her heart ache even as it warmed within her. But then a thought came and she voiced it. "Why?"
Jareth stepped closer, his warmth like a blanket was comforting upon her. His fragrance was soothing, and at the same time alluring. Jareth ducked his head, his bangs tickling her forehead and his breath caressing her lips. "Because I love you, Dearest Sarah."
Sarah felt her heart might burst with warmth and love, and without hesitation, Sarah tipped her head up to better face him. "I love you, Jareth." In that instant, all of the emotions between them broke free, making their hearts light, and the space between them disappeared.
Jareth's lips met with Sarah's, and his free arm encircled her in an embrace that was warm and gentle, and Sarah felt the previous sadness in her heart melting away. As his lips pressed against hers, Sarah forgot everything else. They eventually separated, a little short of breath, but strong in heart.
Jareth tucked a stray strand of Sarah's hair behind her ear, his hand slowing and shifting to stay upon her cheek once again, his thumb sweeping along her bottom lip. "My Dearest Sarah." He spoke it as though savouring the words, and they held an undertone of longing now satisfied.
"Won't you come away with me?" He softly murmured.
Sarah's heart soared for a beautiful, but unfortunately brief, moment, and her forehead wrinkled. She wanted so much to be with Jareth. But what about her family? Sarah worried. About her father, stepmother, and especially Toby. How could she possibly leave them behind?
"Jareth… I want very much to, but I can't just leave my family." Sarah said, and she felt Jareth's smile fall momentarily. But then he smiled again, and that smile turned into an elated grin.
"I think I can help with that. Though, my idea will take some time, if you're willing to be patient?" Jareth suggested.
Sarah thought on this. She had had to learn patience in relearning how to live with her disability. Patience was a familiar concept to her. "I can do that." Sarah said with certainty, then an eyebrow quirked up her forehead. "What did you have in mind?"
A few months later, found Sarah as she came into the hallway through the swinging door of her parent's kitchen, the fresh pine smell of the christmas tree in the living room wafting into the hallway. She thought about all that had happened since her second adventure to the Labyrinth.
She had let Jareth into her life, after he came for her in the library. Eventually he had been invited to have dinner with Sarah and her family, and everyone had adored him. Toby especially looked up to Jareth like he was a very cool older brother, and Sarah wondered if some small part of the boy remembered Jareth, from the last time they'd met.
He kept his appearance as Aaron, of course, in the beginning, and had gradually begun to let his appearance change, and allowed his hair to seem to grow longer. He told Sara it would be a gentle transition for her family, that his true appearance would not be as much of a shock to them by the time he was truly and completely himself again.
She agreed this was a wise course of action, but worried his wild hair might not be favorable to her father.
Jareth chuckled. "Well, I could always say I joined a band." This earned a laugh from Sara, and she agreed.
As for his name, they explained to her family that Aaron was his middle name, and Jareth his first. Karen of course could not have been more intrigued by his "exotic" name, and due to her enthusiasm, fairly quickly transitioned herself and her family into using his "first name".
Sarah had fought down the urge to roll her eyes, partly in exasperation, but mostly in amusement. It didn't bother her too much, however, since the issue of his real name was resolved.
Sarah returned to the present, following the wall with one hand and her other hand sweeping her walking stick across the hardwood floor before her.
Just as she entered the hallway, she heard Toby exclaiming in dismay. "Oh, man!"
Sarah's eyebrows went up slightly, and then a smile pulled up her lips in amusement as he accused in frustration. "You're cheating!"
She heard Jareth's warm chuckle and her smile widened at the sound. "Truly, I'm not. I'm afraid it's just the rule of the game."
Toy grumbled, annoyed, and he demanded. "What even is an 'oubliette'?"
Humor wove into Jareth's voice, as he explained. "An oubliette is a deep dungeon with an opening at the top. It has another way out, but you have to solve a puzzle to find it."
Without seeing it, Sarah could tell Toby was making a face. "That sucks!" He groused.
Jareth laughed outright and agreed. "You're very right."
Sarah thought about the game they were playing. Jareth had first asked her approval in sharing it with Toby and her family. She had hoped someday she might be able to tell her brother and her parents about her first time in the Labyrinth, and maybe even show it to them.
Jareth suggested a game, and Sarah agreed it was a good way to familiarize them with his world. But she was a little worried about how frustrated Toby was becoming. She listened as the boy complained. "This game is so hard!"
Jareth patiently explained. "Yes, but that is life. It's unexpected, and you can't expect things to stay the way they are all the time, just because you want them to." In a gentler voice Jareth continued. "Things are going to change no matter what, and you're going to have to adapt. How you greet those changes is entirely up to you. It will change you forever-but whether for the better or worse, falls to you."
Sarah came around the corner then, saying. "How's it going, guys?"
Jareth seeing her, warmly greeted. "Ah! Hello, Dearest." He stood and made his way over to Sarah. "I would say it is going well, but I think young Toby would disagree with me."
From his spot on the couch, Toby grumbled. "You've got that right!" Toby had complained about the game in the beginning, but he seemed to dismiss the previous complaints as he discovered more and more of the mysterious land. In the end, each puzzle and obstacle he solved, made him enjoy and appreciate the game more, and seemed to boost his confidence.
Despite all he'd learned, it didn't stop him from the occasional complaint when the game took an unexpected turn.
Sarah giggled at his response, offering Jareth her hand when she heard him coming toward her.
Taking her hand, he stepped close and placed it on his shoulder. Ghosting his hand up her arm, he rested his palm on her cheek so as not to startle her when he lay a loving kiss upon her lips.
Sarah kissed him back, her heart warming with love for him, and he wrapped his unoccupied arm around her waist to guide her closer. But all too soon it seemed to Sarah, Jareth broke the kiss, chuckling and placing a second brief kiss on her lips again when she pouted.
"Come," Jareth murmured before stepping back and releasing her, though he held her hand in his as he spoke loud enough for both siblings to hear him. "sit with us, Sarah. There's room here on the couch." He led her to it, and Toby scooted over to give her room so she could sit between him and Jareth.
"So, Toby, what do you think of the game, now you've gotten further along in it?" She was pretty sure she knew the answer to that question, but she wanted to hear his answer. She received it not even a second later.
Toby grumbled. "I like it-except today I keep losing!" Toby's pout was evident in his tone, though it was not as strong as it had been the first time he played.
Sarah's eyebrows went up. "Oh?" She asked.
Jareth corrected him gently. "He's not losing, he's learning."
"It doesn't feel like it…" Toby sighed.
Sarah smiled lightly, encouraging him. "Learning is good, though, Tobes. Don't worry, you'll get the hang of the game eventually." Toby seemed a little appeased by her words, and Sarah added. "You know, I was terrible when I first tried the Labyrinth, but with some help, I eventually figured out how to work through the obstacles."
Toby's response was full of surprise, and touched with a margin of hope. "Really?"
Sarah nodded. "Really. It'll take some practice, but you're a smart kid. I know you'll figure it out. It may not be easy," She cautioned. "but what you gain is definitely worth the effort." She brushed her thumb over Jareth's hand wrapped around hers, and he squeezed her hand gently in return.
Toby was cheered up a little after his big sister's pep talk, and when they continued the game, Sarah noticed a real difference in how he reacted to each new trial.
It was when Toby's character had landed in 'The Bog of Eternal Stench' that he spoke with bewildered disgust when a card described the smell of the foul place. "That's so gross!"
Sarah couldn't help but to agree with a shudder and a muttered. "You have no idea..."
Jareth chuckled at her words, and she half heartedly nudged his stomach with her elbow. He grunted at the surprise attack, but she felt his lips were turned up in a smile when he leaned over her shoulder to place a kiss on her cheek.
Toby suddenly exclaimed, "I found a secret door in the hedge maze!" startling Sarah and bringing her attention back to him.
At that moment Karen and Robert came in from their saturday morning walk. Toby grinned as he told Sarah and Jareth. "I'm going to show Dad!" The boy jumped to his feet, hurrying towards the front door. "Dad! Come look how far I've got in the Labyrinth!"
Robert waved down the enthusiastic Toby. "OK, Toby, ok." His coat zipper sounded. "Give me a minute to put away my things, and I'll come see."
Toby whooped, and was nearly bowled over by the dog, Merlin, who'd gone with Robert and Karen.
Sarah heard the dog's excited whining and the scrape of his claws, followed by Karen's tired sigh. "Toby, take Merlin to the kitchen and give him some food, will you?" He must have been about to protest, for she added. "Then you may show your father how far you are in the game."
A disgruntled Toby relented. "Ok. Come on, Merlin." Toby said. Merlin apparently was happy to comply-as he had stopped whining-at the mention of food, and followed after the boy.
While Robert and Karen were hanging their coats, Karen spotted Jareth. She must have been beaming based on how sunny her voice was. "Hello, Jareth! How are you?"
Jareth returned the warm greeting. "I am well, thank you."
"Alright. What was it you two wanted to talk to us about?" Robert rumbled once his things were away. He half marched with apprehensive steps into the living room, with Karen coming in behind him. Toby returned just then, telling them Merlin was eating in the kitchen. Karen thanked him, and he came into the living room to sit beside Sarah again.
Sarah took a deep, steady breath, and her hand squeezed Jareth's. He was holding hers in his and she felt his loving gaze on her. "Maybe you guys should sit down first." Sarah advised. After everyone had been seated, Sarah continued. "Jareth wants to take me on a world tour." She then added. "We'd be gone for a few months or so."
Sarah could practically feel the heat radiating from Robert's reddening face, followed by a laser-like glare from her father that hung in the air beside her, directed at Jareth.
Karen gasped in surprise, clearly having been expecting different news. "'A few months'?!" She echoed. "But-you're not married!" Her scandalized tone made Sarah worry, and she waved a hand to try to calm them down.
Jareth was the one to speak, his voice reassuring. "Which brings us to the other topic we wished to discuss with you." A heavy silence fell over the room, and Sarah thought she heard Karen suddenly holding her breath.
She was clearly hoping for something in particular.
Jareth went on, unaffected. "Knowing how you'd feel about it, Sarah and I discussed the idea, and we have decided we would like to marry before then."
Karen's gasp of delight and Toby's excited, "Awesome!" jumbled together.
Karen chirped happily. "Oh, Sarah! How wonderful for you two!"
Sarah's heart lifted with relief at the positive response, but sank a bit when her father cut in.
"Hang on," Robert spoke, his tone firm. "where will you two be living? While we would love to have you both here with us, there's not a lot of room, and well..." He seemed suddenly uncomfortable. "You'll want your own space for some time once you're married."
It was a good question, Sarah knew, and she and Jareth had already discussed it.
"We're going to get a place in town after we get back from our world tour. But Jareth's inherited his family's company in England, so we'll have to go there every once in a while so he can be sure things are running smoothly." The truth was that they weren't going to be in England at all. They were going to be in the Underground, where Jareth could rule his kingdom. Sarah hated to lie to her parents-even a partial lie was still a lie-but to tell them the truth now would make them think she and Jareth had lost their minds.
Her family needed to be brought into the truth slowly. Which was why Jareth had made the Labyrinth game. The game talked about the laws of the Underground, and some of its history, too. Information that would help them adjust better to the idea and understand Jareth's world, should they hopefully visit someday.
Toby's dismayed voice broke her heart. "England? But that's so far away!"
Sarah smiled sadly toward Toby. "I know it is, Toby. But Jareth is needed and it's very important that he go back now and then." She added warmly. "I'll call you, and you'll be able to call us if ever you want to talk."
The air around Toby lightened hopefully. "Really? Whenever I want?"
Sarah amended hastily. "Well, within reason. We'll be about eight hours ahead of you, so we can plan together when a good time to call would be." Sarah turned her head toward her parents. "If that's ok with Mom and Dad, of course."
Robert's tone was easier when he agreed. "That'll be fine. We can all set up a day and time for us to call you or for you to call us." Sarah nodded, her heart feeling lighter now they'd discussed it.
"Excellent." Jareth's smile danced in his voice. He turned to face Sarah, his breath breezing over her face lightly. "Well, I should be off. Much to do before tomorrow evening."
Sarah's brow furrowed. "So soon?" He hadn't been there very long.
Jareth's loving gaze caressed her face. "I shall return tomorrow." Quieter to her, he murmured. "We still have forever, Dearest."
Sarah's heart warmed, and her smile was incandescent. "Yes. We still have forever."