"It's a crystal, nothing more. But if you look into it, it will show you your dreams. Do you want it?"
"I've been here before."
"But you haven't. This is new. Completely new."
"No, I know I've been here before..."
"No, Sarah. I've lived for hundreds of your lifetimes, and never has it been like this."
"Why is it dark?"
"The beginning often is. Then again, so is the end."
"So which is it?"
"Which would you like it to be?"
"You're trying to confuse me."
"Of course not. Silly girl."
A moment of silence. Sarah tried to touch the voice with her fingertips, but failed.
"Where are you?"
"You cannot reach me from there."
"I want to see you. To touch you. I want to know that something is still real."
He emerged from the shadows, alike to the way he had descended upon her all those years ago. The floating shard of rock she stood upon was eerily shimmering in the light that seemed to emanate from the goblin king. This time, instead of wearing the gaudy costume of feathers, the goblin king wore clothing that seemed to be made of the shadow and moonlight itself. Silver shirt and leggings and a black flowing cape; spiky silvery hair and kohl rimmed eyes. Almost as if he knew that she needed him to look intimidating and strong. She closed her eyes against the emotions that swirled through the air.
"Sarah," he said simply. She opened her eyes again, trying to look away from him; suppressing the desire to run up and grab the front of his shirt in a fist and sob until the tears would no longer come. Instead, she inclined her chin, and wondered what she should say. The decision was stolen from her when Jareth pulled a crystal from the air, and dangled it in front of her, letting it rest finally in his left palm, which he offered to her.
"Do you want it?" The girl paused. There was no contest now, no child to be rescued. It was just Sarah and Jareth. She reached out a hand and tentatively touched not the crystal, but his hand. She placed her hand under his, the one that held the crystal, and looked into his eyes.
"I'm lost," she said tentatively. "I don't know the right words or the right actions, or whether or not I'm just dreaming this whole thing. But I trust you. So tell me, goblin king; Do I want it?" Jareth tilted his head to the side. He had obviously not been expecting this answer. He looked at her, bewildered, for a moment. Then he smirked. His free hand found its way around her waist, and he pulled her close to him.
"I certainly hope so," he breathed, close to her, before testing her lips once more with a brief but emotion ridden kiss. Breathless, Sarah gaped up at him, struggling to... struggling to what?, she realized. Why was she fighting what she had realized that she wanted most in the world? And in that moment, Sarah gave in. She whispered, her mouth still close to his.
"Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, I have fought my way here to the goblin city. . ." Jareth looked like someone had just taken away all of his hope, leaving him to die in a barren wasteland. Sarah hurried on. "...fought my way here to the goblin city. . . and guess why I did, this time?" Now the goblin king had reverted back to a hopeful bewilderment. Sarah grinned and reached for the crystal he held in his hand.
As soon as Sarah's fingers touched the glass, the sphere seemed to balloon and encompass the entire world. Bright light blinded her and she stepped back, only to realize that Jareth still held her close to him. She buried her face in his shirt and waited out whatever it was that was making the world split in half. And he held her. The heartless, cruel king of the goblins held the mortal girl protectively against him, and gently kissed the top of her head.
Laughter could suddenly be heard from the sky itself. The blinding light had dulled to the glow of a brilliant morning sky, and Sarah blinked to focus her vision. The laughter carried on the wind.
"Madriel?" Sarah breathed, glancing at Jareth. He nodded.
Without warning, a giant monster of a bird suddenly alighted close to where they stood. It was something like a hawk, with a sharp beak and glittering eyes, but was the purest white that Sarah had ever seen. She stumbled back, frightened, but Jareth placed a steadying hand on her arm.
"He's a friend, don't worry, Sarah. Nothing can harm you now." Sarah looked first at Jareth, then at the bird, which was clawing into the ground with its talons and shifting restlessly.
"I knew you'd figure it out," the animal suddenly thundered. Sarah jumped, but the voice was strangely familiar.
"YOU'RE Madriel?" she asked, in awe. The beast nodded, bowing slightly. Sarah, in awe, approached the creature, smoothing feathers with one hand. Without another word, Jareth leapt onto Madriel's back, reaching down a hand for Sarah. Tentatively, she accepted it, and he pulled her upwards to sit in front of him. She desperately grasped the man behind her.
"Hold onto his feathers," Jareth advised. Sarah shook her head.
"I'll hurt him."
"You won't." She looked behind her, and fell into his eyes. "Don't worry." She grasped the feathers, and felt Jareth's arms wrap closely around her waist. "Good. Now watch what you've done." The giant bird took flight, and after the initial panic that took residence inside of her, she glanced downward.
"Oh!" she gasped, shortly. Jareth's rumbling laughter, a sound she had not heard before without being tinged with cruelty, echoed against her. Below, the wretched labyrinth had been transformed into a blossoming spring wonderland, with fragrant wafts of warm air filtering up to the three flying creatures. "It's beautiful," she breathed. Behind her, the goblin king smiled. They flew lower, and Sarah could see creatures running about through the walls of what had been the goblin city.
"Children!" She gasped.
"Yes, Sarah," Jareth answered. "The spell has been broken; balance is restored. Madriel and I had been correct after all; good and evil must always live in balance. No one in the world wants to be only good or only evil. When I learned to accept the side of me that longed to love another, the underground came into balance, and the extreme light and extreme dark sides of the labyrinth began to mellow. What was left is very similar to your aboveground; things are as good or bad as people make them." Sarah was awestruck. The concept was almost too much to accept. But she could not argue with the change that had come over the land.
"What will this mean for you?" she asked. "You won't be the king of the goblins anymore." The arms that rested about her waist tightened briefly.
"I will be the king of the lands you see below me," he answered, "and, if you'll have me, you will be my queen." She gasped, then smiled, her heart soaring.
"Of course I will," she answered. "All I've wanted since I left the underground was to be loved; and you stole my heart a long time ago."
With this declaration, the three new rulers of the underground flew into the sunset, surveying their lands. The labyrinth, sprawled below them, seemed to sigh in relief as its destiny was decided, at last.
So... someone has to be unhappy with the ending. All I can say is, I'm SORRY, I just didn't know how to end it. But to appease you, I am already in the middle of a new Sarah/Jareth story which hopefully will be MUCH better than this one... And if all goes well, I can start updating more regularly. I've finally found a full time job, and have moved into a new apartment of my very own, and am standing on my own two feet (so long as I don't start having Sarah's bad luck!)
I just wanted to say thank you so much to everyone who stuck by me while I was writing this story. It's meant so much to me, and kept me in high spirits while I was struggling. I'd also like to say thanks to the marysia people that I've met while writing this story; I consider them the best of the best for labyrinth fiction, and would suggest you all read everything they write.
I'm not going to respond to the latest comments in this last chapter; I just want to get it posted as quickly as possible so that I get going on the next one. But thank you to each and every one of you who commented, even after I hadn't updated for MONTHS!
So, until next time, thank you, thank you! And I'll see you in the next fic!