I do not own Labyrinth in any way... I wish Jareth would give me my dreams and let me own him. :)
What Dreams May Come
The sun was just setting as Sarah Williams pulled her truck into the driveway, tapping the garage door remote clipped to the visor above her head. Her head swayed in time with the song playing on the radio as she sang along, doing a female's rendition
"Dream walkin', pillow talkin', he's callin' my name again
Day's breakin' I ain't wakin' up, I'm sleepin' in,
I'm on a roll now, gotta know how this dream ends."
She turned off the truck as the last of the song faded out, popping the bed liner lid with the inside switch. She turned off the lights and tapped the remote to close the garage with one hand as she opened the door with the other. She went to the back of the truck and pulled out a bag of groceries, her purse and portfolio. Holding the bag of groceries on one knee, she closed the lid and headed toward the door of her small cottage through the thickening darkness of the late October evening.
She paused at the door struggling one handed with her keys, as she flipped them this way and that to disentangle the many key chains that hung together upon the rings. With a muttered curse, she finally freed the key she wanted and opened the door with a click.
Once through the door she dropped everything heavily on the counter and let out a sigh as she kicked off her pumps at the door. Home, finally. As much as she hated to admit with each year that passed she was becoming more of a homebody. She adored the peace that surrounded this cottage, nestled in the Appalachian Mountains. Fortunately, these days, she could and did her work from home, unless she HAD to go to Louisville to see her agent.
There was an otherworldly charm here that allowed her a sense of wonder and gave her a sense of freedom. She could dream here, allow her fantasies to come to life. It gave her inspiration, and kept her from losing her child's heart. This place freed her somehow and brought her work to life.
She unbuttoned her jacket as she moved into the room, flipping on the light over the cook top as she passed it. It was enough light to see by. She threw the jacket onto the back of a chair a few feet away. Moving back to the bag of groceries she quickly emptied it into the refrigerator and pulled out a cold wine cooler.
Picking up her portfolio she went to the living room and literally dropped into a chair, spilling some of the cooler on the upholstery. The edges of her lips quirked up into a mischievous grin, alcohol abuse.
"Ah me girlie, with a last name of Williams thet's gotta be a sin."
She leaned her head back as she dropped the portfolio into her lap and rubbed her aching neck muscles. As much as she loved kids, the book signings could be draining. But it was their enthusiasm, their belief, the shining innocence in their eyes that gave her energy. To bring even one of them closer to the real truths of the world: that good should always triumph evil, that love should always be true, that dreams are worth fighting for, made her feel as close to complete as she'd ever get.
She straightened again, and looked down at the portfolio in her lap. She had to look them over tonight, these final proofs for her latest book, "Sir Didymus Saves the Day". She pulled the sheets out of the case with a gentle care. As she flipped through the pages, she thought of her friends Underground.
As she'd grown older, she'd slowly lost the ability to call them to her. The onset of adulthood and responsibility had slowly taken them from her. Karen had talked her father into kicking her out soon after her 16th birthday. She'd taken a job and gotten a studio apartment. She quit school and started working full time just to pay her bills. The child she'd fought so very hard to save, no longer knew she existed. She took the test for her GED the same day that her classmates graduated from high school.
As the responsibilities piled up, her ability to talk to her friends Underground dwindled. But, she never lost her ability to dream. In fact, it was her dreams that got her where she was today, that and her Grandmother's love.
"Granny" Williams had been one hell of a lady. She'd been known by everyone in this sleepy Eastern Kentucky town. She had been something of a mountain herb witch. People were as likely to come and see her with a sick child as they were a doctor. She'd been a feisty old lady. She had been brutally honest; her temper could be kindled and burned out in the space of a minute.
When she'd found out Sarah had been kicked out and was living on her own, she'd come to Connecticut and brought her here. She, who had never set foot outside Pike County, Kentucky, got in her truck and drove to Connecticut only to have a fight on her hands the moment she arrived. Sarah had argued that she was fine. The woman had just looked at her, a strange light in her eyes. "No arguin' Sarah, you're comin' home with me." The argument had ended. When Granny Williams made up her mind, you were done for.
When she died, just over a year ago, she'd left everything she owned to Sarah. This cottage, a hundred acres of prime timberland, and a wide knowledge of folklore and history were passed to Sarah as they had been from her Grandmother's own father. Most people don't know it, but Eastern Kentucky is steeped in beliefs of the Old Country. The belief in the ways of magick and of the Fair folk is almost a racial memory there. It's stirred easily.
While the people may be Christian, they are Christian with an almost pagan attitude on life. There is a deep belief in family, honor, and honesty. But more importantly, at least in Sarah's mind, was their ability to dream, to believe, to not think that all there was ever going to be in this life was another day in the dark coal mines where they made their living.
She'd had had vivid dreams for what now seems like forever. They'd started after the night she'd gone Underground. She could see the destruction she'd caused at her leaving. It seemed the labyrinth itself had heaved and broken. She had been so ashamed. Every night she slept and every night she dreamed of him, watching him as though watching through one of those crystals he used to enhance his magic. The curse the labyrinth, itself, laid upon her as the magicks around it crumbled at Jareth's defeat, to have to see him forever in her dreams but never be able to touch him.
Sarah moved to her work room upstairs. It was a large open loft area with nothing blocking a view to below, scribblings and sketches pinned to the walls, some decorating the floor. The moon outside was rising, its light poured in through the large unobstructed windows of this room. She sat down and began to sketch, sitting the wine cooler on the table beside her. Not Hoggle, or Didymus, not Ludo or the fierys, but Jareth, the Goblin King.
The Sidhe were hard to draw, but satisfying. They had so many subtle features that had to be brought out. A perfect tilt of the head, a wing-like angling of the eyebrows, a certain hardness about the eyes, but yet a mirth deep within that you will miss if you are not watching to see it. Jareth is especially hard to draw, for each action holds a secret, each hard look a heart break. But she knew his face, his hands, the tilt of the head like no other. He was the first thing that she had seen upon falling into dream every night since she was fifteen.
She drew his face, his hair, that strong nose, those cold, mismatched eyes, his hands covered with their black leather gloves. She set a knowing smirk upon his impudent lips. He stood holding a feathered mask in one hand and a glass of wine in the other, watching the dancers at a ball. The longer she drew, the more enraptured she became. When she finally looked up, to view the large clock on the living room wall it read 13:30.
She smiled tiredly at the clock, remembering her decision to have it made. The day in this house was 26 hours long. It was a replica of the one that Jareth had used at the beginning of her 13 hour adventure there, well, twelve really since he'd taken an hour away. It kept her grounded in the world that she wanted to exist within these four walls.
Funny, how twelve hours could change your whole life, your whole being for that matter. It was more than time for bed, she was getting maudlin, and she never wanted her friends in Underground to see her sad. She'd made a point to make sure they only saw her happy, happy to be with them, happy to be in their lives, happy to share her dreams with them.
She moved through her nightly routine, haphazardly. She brushed her teeth as she combed out her hair. She hopped on one foot as she struggled out of her pants and then slid her silk shell over her head. She changed into a pair of knit shorts and a battered flannel shirt that was three sizes too big. She crawled into bed, stretching one last time before she pulled Lancelot into a loose embrace and drifted to slumber to dream.
The sight that met her when she reached underground was one she was not ready for. The images in her mind's eye were almost more than she could take. She slept fitfully, trying to decide whether to run or stay.
The city around Jareth's castle lay burning. It lit up the sky like nothing she'd seen in Underground before. A riot of monstrous creatures ran the streets, eating anything that stood in their paths. She ran through the castle doors to find Jareth lying on the floor in the throne room, unmoving. A man in black armor was towering over him. She could feel the layers of protection that Jareth had wrapped around himself being stripped away. She could feel his magic being drained from him
"Jareth," she moaned softly, the word drifting to the edges of her room.
The pain was agonizing. She couldn't stand it anymore she had to do something. It felt like the layers of her skin were being peeled away. In a way, it was. The tie, her link to him, forged by the Labyrinth in those last moments, was buried deep beneath these protections. Buried so deeply in fact, that she doubted he was even aware. She could feel him on some level that she had never really understood.
She had not known during her time Underground what a truly complicated man he was. She did not have a chance to gaze at all his different sides, she'd seen only what he wanted her to see. But through her dreams, she'd seen all his sides. She'd even seen him gazing at her through one of his crystals, as she slept. But, that had only happened once. He'd thrown the crystal against the wall after a moment with such wrath that she'd woken up screaming.
She'd been lost to him from the first dream. It happened the same night she'd defeated him, no, not him, his labyrinth. She would never believe that she, a simple mortal girl, could have defeated someone like he had proven himself to be. If he had made a single mistake at all, it had been to force her to choose between her brother and himself. Had he offered to release the boy in return for her staying forever, she'd have never challenged him.
She'd been lost to him to the point that she wanted no one else, and had never made a particular effort to find someone. Sure she'd dated like all teens do. She'd even gotten serious with a couple of those guys. She'd tried to break the Underground's hold upon her. She fought the dreams, she taught herself to get by on sleep with no dreams. For brief amounts of time, she would wake herself just as a dream cycle began.
Not dreaming is dangerous to the human psyche. If done over long periods of time, it can lead to psychosis. She was never able to continue it long enough to cause lasting damage. Always, just as she thought she might have gained her freedom from Underground, it would reassert its grip over her, over her dreams. Whomever the unfortunate man in her life was, would vanish within the week.
Even now at age 21, she went out only when she had to, and came home as soon as possible. Over the time that she wasn't writing or drawing, she was sleeping and watching, learning to control the dreams so that she could in a fashion still visit her friends. She visited them faithfully at least once a week. But normally, she spent her days watching him. Watching, learning….obsessing. The dreams had become her life. She lived in them to the exclusion of eating, of socializing… of living any kind of normal life.
She'd watched his world crumble and his painful rebuilding of it. She'd helped the only way she'd known how. Through her stories, she'd brought a new generation to knowledge of Underground. She'd brought belief, if only through the children her stories touched. Their belief added to the healing of his city, his Labyrinth. While she held a joy in knowing that the children she touched were learning the real values of life as she knew them, she also knew that she was aiding him, even if he never knew the truth. That was the true happiness that she received, knowing that life Underground was flourishing again.
She'd watched…through her dreams. She'd watched as he seemed to get his life back on track. He regained his honor, his pride. He had whole platoons of women to choose from, throwing themselves at him. She watched him bed them and leave them, ripping a whole in her heart each time he kissed them, caressed them, made love to them. What she never understood is why he never kept one of them. There were a few she had thought he could make it with. But he never gave them a chance. He seemed to have some bar that he measured them by and not one ever attained its height.
And now six years later, she lay here in a dream, watching his world crumble again. Everything he gained was falling to ruin. She could not allow it. She had to stop it. She had to stop this monster that was slowly killing him, but she didn't know how. She'd never been able to truly interact in her dreams, at least not physically. She could form a misty version of herself, and talk to the inhabitants of the Labyrinth. But she couldn't touch them or hug them…or save them. There had to be a way…there had to be.
She felt his last protection spell give way and she watched the man in the black armor raise his sword.
"Noooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Her mind screamed agonizing in the pain she only now felt emanating from him.
She'd watched him too long, loved him too long, even if only from afar to watch him be killed. She reached with all her power and all her strength. She placed her mental hands on his shoulders and with every ounce of strength she had she pulled. She watched as the sword made its cascading arc downward toward his chest and pulled even harder. Just as it touched his chest, Jareth's body vanished.
She had him. "Come on Jareth. Come to me. Don't fight me. I can't lose you here in the space between." She mumbled to herself, still fully locked in her dream. It was as though she'd separated her mind one part moving Jareth, one part holding the dream. As she towed Jareth closer, she watched the knight in Jareth's Castle begin to curse. She was going to have to wake up as soon as Jareth got to Aboveground with her, but she wanted, needed to see what action this creature would take next. She had to be alert to the possibility that he might trace Jareth to her.
Not that she had a clue what she'd do if he did come after her. She'd never had a need to test what she could do while dreaming. And she had no power at all awake. This disbelieving world outside these walls was too much for high magical powers, unless one was purely a creature of magic, as Jareth and all his kind were. Even here, in this superstitious landscape she resided in, there was only enough belief for little magicks. She had no idea of how she was doing what she was doing right now as a matter of fact. All she could do was believe, believe that she could bring him out of the mists and into her home, safe, or at least safer, than he was in Underground.
She woke at the last possible second, as she felt him enter her world. A sharp breeze came crashing around the house, shaking it to the very foundations. She heard him land roughly on her couch.
"Damn!" Why did she have to be so clumsy? She tore out of her bed, grabbing her robe as she ran into the living room, finally succeeding in pulling on her robe as she stopped stunned at the sight before her. She moved to him quickly, but quietly.
She bent over the man that had been so unceremoniously dumped on her couch, gently and carefully laying a hand on his head, He was out cold and running a fever if Fae body temperature was supposed to run like a humans. He was shivering violently.
"Why the hell did I wait so long?" She whispered quietly to herself.
"How were you supposed to know that you could do this? Her reasonable side responded.
"I should have known, that's the point!" The more guilty side retorted.
While second guessing herself mentally, she was moving between the rooms. She pulled out a small first aid kit from beneath the sink and a blanket from the bedroom. She grabbed a couple of dishtowels from the sink, soaking one down with hot water the other with cold. She went back to the living room.
She placed the cold cloth on his forehead, and covered him with the blanket, moving it back and forth when she needed to clean a wound or bandage one. Her couch was soaked in blood, there were puddles of it on the floor. She almost gave into despair. And then, she straightened her shoulders, determined that she could save him, she set to her task.
She looked up only occasionally as she worked on his wounds, checking only to make sure that his chest was still rising and falling. She removed his armor, carefully loosening the straps that held it to his body and then cut his clothes away from his body rather than try to disrobe him and possibly injure him further. She tried to ignore the amount of blood she was washing off of him. She had finally just gone and gotten a bowl of water instead of constantly getting up to rinse the towel she bathed him with. She bandaged his injuries, using butterfly bandages to try to close the worst of his wounds. She worked feverishly, thinking only that she had to work faster and faster to keep his very life from draining out of him.
Finally she could do no more. She looked up at the clock and then out the window to see a new day dawning. She'd been at this for hours. It was only now that she felt she could possibly move him. First she wiped up the blood from the floor. She gently placed him upon the wood floor then she threw the destroyed cushions behind the couch. She pulled out her spare bed and then carefully brought him back up onto it. She went and got another blanket then placed it over him. She went to the kitchen for another bowl and filled it with cold water and placed another cool compress upon his forehead. A wave of exhaustion took her and pulled her down into the darkness even as she heard the bowl she'd been holding crash to the floor as it slipped from her grip. She crumpled to the floor next to where he lay.
Gregori cursed as Jareth's body vanished from in front of him. How had he summoned the strength for that? It should not have been possible. Daanna was not going to be pleased. His curses strengthened and then silenced as he head the doors of the throne room open behind him. He turned, slowly, removing his helm and bowed, with a grace that should not have possible while encased in armor, to the woman entering the room.
"Daanna." He spoke as he rose from his bow. He watched her walk toward him, her brocade skirts lifted so as to not drag their lace hems in the blood that covered the floor. She walked over the goblin's bodies gracefully as she moved to him. She lowered her eyes and gave him a small flirtatious smile.
"Have you a gift for me, my Lord?" She raised her eyes as she approached him, bringing her hands to rest on the front of his blood drenched armor.
"Have I not given you enough, my Lady? You have an entire kingdom at your disposal." Gregori responded, looking into her deep blue eyes. He reached out to touch her midnight tresses. She might be mortal, but she was lovely, so lovely. He watched as her eyes narrowed and became harder. She was even lovelier when she was angry.
"What of its King, my Lord?" Her voice was harder, a bit louder. "You promised me his heart… still beating in my hands."
It would seem that we underestimated him, Daanna. He vanished away at the last possible moment. I have no idea how. He should have had no strength left to him. I stripped everything away. Yet, somehow, he pulled enough together to do a Vanishing."
Daana's eyes turned cold as he spoke. "You failed me."
Gregori pulled her roughly to him. "I did not fail you. I have given you everything that was his. We have his kingdom, his title. We, together, will rule his lands. Using the power that lies within the Labyrinth, we can gain more strength and more lands. In truth, we have committed an act that was far more successful than killing him would have been and far more satisfying. This place was his strength. It is ours now to command. If he lives, which I doubt, he can only watch as we rule."
"I wanted his heart." Daanna whispered into the vaults of her own mind. "Explain to me what happened." She said forcefully. "Perhaps you missed something. Your attentions were focused solely on the task at hand. Perhaps there is something else."
Gregori looked down at her, passion burning in his eyes. The battle had aroused him as nothing else ever could. "Explanations can wait." He took her lips roughly, even while sliding one hand beneath her legs and pulling her up to him.
She responded to his kiss, the look in his eyes burning through her. He was right. Explanations could wait. She wrapped her fingers into his blonde tresses, reveling in the feel of the blood in his hair. He was walking now. She whispered directions to the royal bed chamber and then took his lips in another kiss that grew more heated with each step they took.
Jareth awakened as the sun passed its zenith and managed to hit him full in the eyes where he lay. He started as he woke, groaning loudly, his body screaming with pain. He opened his eyes slowly, in case he had watchers. This did not seem to be a prison. Looking around a bit more fully, he took in the room where he lay. There was a large stone fire place to his right with a very large sward hanging above the mantelpiece. The blade radiated the chill of Cold Iron. To his left, there was a small table and chairs and another room beyond. In front of him, a chair and a large book case with two doorways, one to either side. One seemed to lead up to the room he could see above, the other to another room.
He sat up slowly, catching cloth as it fell from his head. He started to move off the bed, swinging his legs out from beneath the blanket covering him. He looked down to place his feet, stopping them just before he slammed into the girl lying on the floor below him and the glass where she lay. "A mortal girl?" His quiet voice seemed to reverberate in the silence of the room.
How had he gotten here? He closed his eyes as a wave of dizziness struck him. He had been fighting the Bane Sidhe and his army. But, his goblins had been no match for the other Sidhe's trolls and redcaps. By the time their leader had reached his castle, he had been drained to the core by a battle of magicks instigated by someone beyond the walls. He had fought still, paying no heed to each hit the other made, and then there had been darkness, darkness and pain. He remembered nothing else. Somehow he had gotten here, Aboveground, with her. He let out a quivering sigh as he moved to the other side of the bed and slid off of it, only then realizing that he was covered with Aboveground bandages, and very little else. His clothing had been cut away and he was left with just was required for decency.
Jareth stood for a long moment, willing his legs and body to cooperate as he started to move around the bed to where the girl lay. He looked down at the girl with a cross of confusion and irritation on his face. The confusion for how he had gotten here, the irritation for the fact that she had seen him weak. She must have called upon him to take away a child or herself and the Labyrinth had answered her call, when he had not done so himself. The call may have been what saved his life, but he had hardly crossed to Aboveground as the Goblin King, creature of fear and legend. He tried not to look at her at all as he bent and lifted her from the floor to the bed.
Her weight was slight. A worried thought passed through his mind. 'Was she unwell?" This place where she lived was small and seemed not to have much of value inside of it. The sword on the mantle worried him as well. 'Does she have Fae enemies?' He definitely did not need to be involved in a dispute with another Fae for the girl. If she belonged to another, he could not take her or her child. He reached out to pull her face toward him once he got her settled on the bed, but pulled back quickly when he met something wet and sticky on her face. He reached again, this time touching her chin and tilted her face toward him; a long gash lay across her cheek, the glass from the floor still within it. He gazed at the face his eyes widening. "Sarah."
Without thinking about it, he took the rag that had been in his hand and carefully brushed the glass from her wound, his mind swirling with thoughts about the girl he tended. His hands shook with conflicting emotions. She had grown into a beautiful woman. She had denied him. Was she in trouble, is that why she called him? Why should he help her after the way she destroyed him before? But overriding all of it, why the hell did he care anyway? She was mortal. He was Sidhe. They had played a game. She had won. She went home, leaving him and Underground forever.
He carefully pushed all thought away, and schooled his face into a semblance of calm. He wrapped the blanket around him to preserve some sense of propriety. Then he leaned forward. "Sarah."
He spoke softly, his fingertips hovering just above her face. "Come on, girl, wake up for me. Damn it, Sarah, wake up." His voice took on a clipped edge that could be construed as arrogance…or worry.
His words were met with a fluttering of eyelids. Her eyes opened slowly, showed with sleep and confusion. They widened as they locked on his own mismatched eyes and held. Jareth could feel the fear rolling off of her in waves. "Jareth?" She breathed.
He pulled back, desperately trying to maintain control against the onslaught of her emotions. A quirky thought passed through his mind. 'Well, at least she knows who I am.' "That is Your Majesty, girl. I don't remember ever being on a first name basis with you."
Sarah's eyes narrowed, he could feel her anger rising. "If you can call me Sarah, I will call you Jareth."
A blood vessel in his jaw began to pulse as he clamped his teeth together. Sarah shook her head and held up both hands. "Never mind, it's not worth an argument, your Majesty." A wave of concern passed over him as Sarah looked at him, her eyes softening. "Why are you up? You should be resting. You're still in pain."
Finally, he could take no more. Her emotions were swinging so rapidly. He couldn't keep up and they were overwhelming his senses. He stood, then, and walked away from the bed. He brought himself to his full height, the blanket slipping from his shoulders. He turned back to face her, his eyes cold and shuttered. Sarah could feel a building cold rage within him. 'Oh shit, here it comes.'
"What have you done to me? Why am I here?! Are you aiding my enemies now, ting to overwhelm me with your petty mortal emotions? Then do you plan to kill me with your cold iron weapon?!"
Sarah cringed back, very nearly trying to crawl into the back of the couch, as she watched his infamous temper explode.
He moved faster than she could register and suddenly he was standing there, his hand wrapped in her hair, pulling her face back to force her to look into his eyes, the fear and confusion he felt radiating from her fueling his rage. He pulled harder. "Stop it. NOW! Sarah. No more games. You've been caught."
Sarah whimpered. This was not the Jareth she had faced all those years ago. His rage had been controlled. This was the Jareth she had seen only a few times over the past 6 years. There was no sanity left in his eyes. She could almost feel the blood boiling inside his body. Her fear level went up a notch. He'd kill her, without a doubt.
Jareth felt it as her fear spiked. He had to get control or he'd kill her. Had to get control. He needed answers. But first he needed to clear his head. There was only one way his head would clear, she had to be unconscious, unable to project. He raised his hand to backhand her.
Sarah watches as he raised his hand to bring it across her face. It was coming with tremendous force. With his strength, powered by rage, he'd kill her. That was her last thought as she blacked out, fear overwhelming her entirely.
Jareth blinked as her eyes slid closed before his hand touched her. Her entire body went limp. The emotional onslaught died away as her eyes rolled back and slid shut. His hand dropped her head. He brought to her face, allowing it to harmlessly brush her cheek. 'What the…' He ran his long fingers through his hair as he looked at the girl lying before him. What had just happened? Did she hate him this much? He could feel his chest rising and falling with ragged breathes. None of this made sense.
He turned from her. He had to get out of here. He raised his hand to summon a crystal. He'd go back to Underground and regroup there. He looked at his hand and concentrated. Nothing. He tried again. Still nothing. He stared at his hand; the entire world seemed to spin for a moment. Gone, his magic was gone. He turned to face the girl lying on the bed.
"What the hell have you done to me?!" He screamed at her unconscious form.
He, of course, got no answer.