"You are not concentrating," Jareth growled impatiently. The heels of his boots clicked rhythmically as he paced back and forth behind Sarah's seat. She sat at a long table, her head buried in her arms. "Sarah!"
"I am concentrating but this is hard!" She protested straightening up, she knew she sounded like the petulant child she had once been but Jareth was pushing her to the brink of exhaustion. She had been seated at the table for hours without a break, trying to practice with the small amount of fae magic that she possessed. She had never used so much in such a short space of time. "I am exhausted; can we please take a break?"
"No." Jareth replied stonily.
"Then may I please have a sip of water or something?" Why is he being so infuriatingly cruel? Sarah couldn't help ask herself.
"Certainly." Jareth made a great show of pouring water from a jug in to a goblet. As Sarah held out her hand to take the goblet she frowned, her hands were frozen in her lap and she found she couldn't move them.
"Jareth…" Sarah sighed as he set the goblet in front of her. "Stop it…" He sat opposite her and leant back in the chair.
"There is nothing stopping you from taking the goblet," he shrugged. "You merely need to concentrate." Huffing Sarah glared at him before turning her eyes on to the goblet of water. Did he not understand how exhausted she was? Could he not see? Her body felt as if her blood had been replaced with molten lead, weighing her down and making it hard to breathe. "The longer you sulk then the longer we shall sit here Sarah," as if to demonstrate his point the goblet moved further back along the table. Why are you doing this? She wanted to scream at him but instead focused the last strands of energy on the goblet.
Closing her eyes Sarah took a deep breath and imagined the strands of energy as threads which she could wrap around the goblet. She pictured pulling it across the table, but even picturing it was no easy feat. She could feel the goblet resisting against her mind, pulling backwards and threatening to snap the threads.
"This isn't fair!" She cried rubbing her forehead as pain began to slice through her. "I am not a full-fae and we aren't even truly married!"
"You are the one insisting on childish games," Jareth shrugged ignoring her obvious exhaustion and pain. "It is a simple task Sarah. Take the goblet and we can stop for the day." And I thought I would prefer this to council meetings, she scoffed to herself. Was this because of the previous night? Jareth had surprised her when he had pulled back seconds before their lips met. He had disappeared in to his bathing chamber and when he emerged he'd slept on the chaise lounge. When Sarah had woken up that morning he had already gone. "Magic is not easy. I certainly never gave you that impression, it will not come to you unless you concentrate and stop whining."
Sarah suppressed a scowl and forced herself to look at the goblet just out of reach. Come to me, she thought desperately as her brow creased in a frown. She could feel beads of sweat gathering on her upper lip and forehead but she couldn't move her hand to wipe them away. Please come to me. The goblet didn't even shiver and Sarah sat back in her chair biting back a cry of frustration. As if to infuriate her further Jareth nodded at the goblet and it came hurtling towards him. Smiling coldly at her, he raised the goblet in a silent toast and set it on the table. Silently he stood up and swept from the room; leaving Sarah stuck to her chair.
I hate him, Sarah thought angrily as she glared at the goblet. Taking a deep breath she focused on the goblet once more, picturing tendrils of power deep within her. She almost cried in elation when the goblet twitched towards her. Motivated by the sudden movement she forced herself to concentrate, determined to summon the goblet.
Stepping out of the bath Sarah pulled on a fresh nightgown and robe. She sat on the window ledge looking out at the city below. Had Jareth sat in this spot watching her trawl through the Labyrinth? What of Toby? She had never asked what had happened to her brother; she had never given it much thought. Had he been safe all that time? No…he looks after the children. He seems to care for them. Sarah's hand briefly touched her belly; would she give Jareth children? Fae lived for eternity, how many children would she be expected to have? The thought was not an appealing one and she quickly pushed it to the back of her mind. The thought of bearing his children wasn't completely repulsive, but the number that might be expected of her frightened. He's never mentioned if he has any siblings…and many of the human children are given to Faes without children…perhaps it is not so easy.
Sarah looked down at the crystal he had given her. She wanted so much to see Toby, to speak with him, but she was frightened of the consequences. Perhaps it was best to leave things as they were? She looked up as the door to the chamber opened and Jareth walked in, his boots clicking against the floor. For a while the two just stared at each other, neither prepared to break the stubborn silence.
We can't continue like this, she thought standing up and pouring herself a drink. She took a sip, aware of Jareth's eyes on her back. She stared down at the crimson liquid within, tears stinging her eyes. She couldn't go home. She had to accept this. Three years had passed since her arrival, how long would she fight against her fate? I can't deny that I am at least part-Fae, she told herself. Her magic was strong proof that she could no longer fight against. Steeling her nerves she took a deep gulp from the goblet before turning to cross the room to Jareth.
Nervously she held out the goblet to him. Did it matter whether or not she was ready? Would she ever be ready if she kept putting it off? Silently Jareth took the goblet, his eyes searching hers. Still neither of them spoke, both too frightened that shattering the silence could cause more harm than good. Slowly, as if giving Sarah the chance to stop him, Jareth lifted the goblet to his lips and took a deep gulp.
A surge of power knocked through Sarah and she reached out grasping Jareth's arm tightly. Her stomach felt as if it had been knocked from her and she fought back the urge to throw up. Setting the goblet down Jareth held her elbows, keeping her upright.
"You are coming in to your powers," he soothed her and pressed his lips to her forehead. "You will feel dizzy for a day; two at the most, but after you will feel no different." Gathering her up in to his arms Jareth planted feather-light kisses across her brow, cheeks and lips. Sarah tried to answer but dizziness overwhelmed her and she could only lean her head against Jareth for support.
As he set her in the bed, tucking her in firmly, she realised the crystal was still clasped in her hand. Silently she prayed that she had made the right decision.