Pika: "Does Bowie really have that one dilated-pupil thing though?"
Yes, he does (img.photobucket. com/albums/v27/TrinityDestler/eyesbowie02.jpg). I'm surprised you never noticed, it's really cool. Most people describe Jareth as having two differently coloured eyes, but he actually has two blue eyes; his left pupil is stuck fully dilated. Apparently when Bowie was a teenager he and a friend got into a fight (over a girl :) ) and the friend punched him in the face. Doctors weren't able to repair the left eye, thus, one more slightly disturbing and very cool aspect of Bowie's look was born. Remove spaces to view pictures. (img.photobucket. com/albums/v27/TrinityDestler/eyesbowie01.jpg)
Somewhat Slightly Dazed
Part III: Up Hill Backwards
"Dad! Karen!" Sarah carefully navigated her new (considerable) girth down the stairs, clutching the banister and feeling very much as if she weighed several million pounds- she just might at this point, she added mentally to her list of grievances. She was fully covered, for once, wearing the only maternity clothes she owned, discovered in the attic at the bottom of a box of baby-related things shoved up there after Karen had Toby.
"Dad! Karen!" She shouted again, getting annoyed and wondering why she hadn't been answered. She didn't have the energy to chase people anymore!
"In the kitchen, honey!" That was Karen. Dear, sweet wonderful Karen. A year ago even thinking something like that would have been blasphemy to everything Sarah knew, but she had come to absolutely adore her step mother over the last few months. Karen was the only one who tried to make her pregnancy comfortable and not more difficult than it already was, the only one who had forgiven her for the way in which she had perceivably become pregnant. And Sarah would be eternally grateful for that. Not to mention her realization about how immature she had been before the Labyrinth and Karen's willingness to forgive her.
"Hey Karen," Sarah turned the corner into the sparklingly clean kitchen, lit to brilliance by the mid-morning sun, streaming in through the big bay window. It was nothing short of a miracle that Sarah was alert, or even awake at all, given she'd spent the night sitting in this room nursing uncountable cups of coca instead of sleeping. She had barely managed to haul herself into bed before her parents woke up.
"Hey dad." She added cautiously, noticing her father hovering over Sunday breakfast and a newspaper at the table. There was a chill distance between father and daughter now, completely apart from the indulgent attitude he had always shown Sarah before. She had always been his little girl, his star, the one he came home to in the years he had been without a wife. Their relationship had been closer, more special, because of the way they had been thrown together with nothing but each other. It still hurt to remember how it was when now… she could still feel that stiffening, that sudden unbridgeable gap. They had become strangers the moment he'd found out about her pregnancy- and Karen had to be the one to tell him the details. Sarah couldn't bear to look into his eyes and tell a truth she understood, deep down, must be a lie- that there had been no boy.
Her father only grunted in response. He couldn't look at her, not now she was showing. He couldn't stand to see that some child had impregnated his child. Had always thought, no matter how old she got, that nothing like this could ever happen to his Sarah; not her, she was too smart, too good…. She was just a kid.
Sarah smiled weakly and gratefully accepted a glass of juice from Karen, taking a sip before diving in. "I… there's something I have to tell you- both of you- that I should have talked to you about a long time ago." With a sigh she settled herself into a chair, the same chair which had held Jareth mere hours before, mentally readying herself to face anything and taking an unconscious comfort from his lingering magical aura.
She would need her wits about her if she was going to navigate these dangers untold and hardships unnumbered successfully- the prospect of this conversation really did make the Labyrinth look like a piece of cake.
Karen's sunny, encouraging smile trembled, but she gallantly held on to it as she took a seat opposite her step-daughter, fidgeting and giving Sarah her patented 'serious eyes'. "Is this about… what it should be about, Sarah?"
Regarding what little remained of her lap, Sarah crushed a tiny habitual flare of anger at Karen's wording, knowing she didn't really mean anything by it and desperate to come off mature- at least until this was over. "Well… you remember I said… I didn't know how… it happened."
Karen's breath caught. Her father's grip on his newspaper became murderous.
Sarah took a deep breath herself; "It's time I told you the real story."
Karen maintained eye-contact; covering the brunette's hand with her own and giving an encouraging squeeze. Sarah's father stared, stone-faced into his breakfast. Well, that's probably the hardest bit over with, she thought bleakly.
Sarah found it damned inconsiderate of Jareth to do something as nice for her as this. She wouldn't have expected it in a million years, and she resented it when he managed to surprise her, it meant he still had an edge over her. She couldn't possibly deal with such a kindness on his part. Such a wretched, mean, cruel, unjust, despicable kindness.
Oh you'll pay for this Goblin King, yes you will.
He had given her the chance to make a clean break from her parents, explain her whereabouts and her baby rather than simply disappearing from beneath their noses one night and leaving them wondering and worried about her for the rest of their lives. She hadn't thought he had it in him. Of course, he was certain to watch her trying to come up with a story her parents would believe and every agonizing second of admitting to them that she did know how her present state of affairs had come to be. He was evil. She hated him. Most of all, she hated him for leaving her here to do it alone.
She did not miss him.
After the meeting and the strange and painful resolution that they simply belonged together whether either of them really liked the idea or not, Sarah had lain in bed trying to dream up a story that wouldn't end in her being disowned to tell her parents. Jareth, in all his endless imagination could probably have solved everything with a wave of his hand- but he wouldn't, he had warned her he wasn't sweet and he loved to watch her squirm. She was certain he had bets going on her back Underground.
Eventually, after drawing a complete blank until nine o'clock, Sarah decided to tell the simple truth- as closely as it could be told without her ending up in a mental institution. Boy had met girl, etc, etc; and now- don't worry dad- they were to be married. That was probably the closest thing to revenge she would be able to get on her dear fiancée- not that he would mind overmuch- but he had put into her hands. A fatal mistake.
Sarah looked into Karen's eyes as she waited for the right words to start the worst conversation she would ever have (she hoped nothing worse was in the works, anyway).
"There was this boy…" a thoroughly lame beginning. Said 'boy' was probably laughing his sparkly blond head off. Bastard. "His name is Jamie and he's about to turn eighteen." That was as high as she dare go, age-wise, lest her father press charges against someone who- technically- didn't exist.
Speaking of, her father's grip on his fork was beginning to look painful. She swallowed.
"I met him in a bookshop in town," substitute for 'I met him in a book', "he's a foreign exchange student from England, he's no parents back home, but he belonged to a good family and they left him a trust fund he can access when he comes of age." Rather than, 'he's an ageless, immortal Fae being who can magic anything he wants, but probably has pots of money anyway because he's bleeding royalty and won't let anyone forget it.'
Karen pressed a hand to her breast, "What happened to his parents?"
Sarah's mind whirled, since she didn't know the truth about Jareth's parents- or even if he had any- it was easy to lie; "His mother died when he was young and his father was killed in a car accident."
"Oh dear," the blonde looked over at her husband, but he was still staring into his eggs. "Robert?"
"I think it's more important you tell us… how this happened." He finally met his daughter's eyes and regarded her levelly with no small amount of anger and betrayal. "We don't really need to have his pedigree, Sarah, unless there's something else you're not telling us."
Sarah's chin came up, "I was going to tell you, dad, if you'd give me a chance."
Karen became referee, not for the first time, "Robert, Sarah, now, let's not start an argument before everyone's put their cards down." It seemed Karen was a gambling addict in another lifetime, because her analogies often had to do with poker. "Go on, Sarah, we're listening."
She'd actually hoped to let her father blow off some steam, he was normally a very gentle, almost passive person, but if looks could kill… The change in him was unsettling, but if he let go he may be able to think more clearly. She could use all the help she could get as far as being rational right now.
"We were both looking for the same book, in the bookshop," she went on, carefully weighing everything before she said it. "And ran into each other at the shelf, both reaching for the only copy. We started talking about the book and fantasy and school and… just everything… and…" At a loss, Sarah paused, her infamous imagination failing her for the first time; what the hell was she going to call the Labyrinth in this 'soap opera weekly' version of her life story? Toby had become a book and she had come off looking a hell of a lot better, but the Labyrinth…
It wouldn't like it if she turned it into something too trivial. And it would know. She didn't doubt it for a second. She supposed it might be best if she didn't try to include it and neglected to mention it altogether.
"Was it that little red book? The one you take with you everywhere?" Sarah never would have known that Karen noticed, much less that she cared enough at the time to remember how important that little volume was to her misbehaved step daughter.
"Actually… yes." Sarah looked up at the older women almost gratefully. If that giant maze did know she was talking about it, it should be placated. "It… reminded me of him."
Robert leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms; his gaze was heavy and shadowed. "What exactly are you saying, Sarah? And don't look at me like that, I'm your father and you are still a child no matter what you've gone and done to yourself. You tell me what's going on here!"
Her expression hardened and Sarah set her jaw, no, she couldn't explode right now. She could not explode right now!
"I'm not a child!" she thought she'd burst, the room shuddered with the force of her cry. "I haven't been a child since mom left, since she got on that plane and never looked back! I haven't been a child because I wouldn't have lasted one second if I didn't grow up that night! Someone had to take care of you and there wasn't anyone else, was there, daddy? You needed me to be your little girl; but who do you think cleaned the house, did the dishes, walked the dog, answered the phone, took out the trash, set the table- who cooked dinner for three years until Karen came along? It wasn't you, dad! You were too buried in feeling sorry for yourself and your needs to even notice!"
Only Sarah's panting for breath filled the silence that followed. Minutes went by like hours and it was Sarah's voice again that broke the silence.
"I'm saying that I fell in love, that I'm old enough to make decisions on my own, that I'm not a little girl and I'm going to have a child of my own soon and I'm saying, daddy, that there's another man in my life that isn't you. You will have to make peace with that because I'm going to marry him and it's not up for discussion." She crossed her own arms, resting them on her swollen belly and watching her father with fire and brimstone in her dark green eyes.
Robert Williams looked across the table and saw his daughter as if for the first time, as the young woman that she had become. When had it happened? Had he really been so blind that he hadn't seen her change so much? When did a doting father have to realize that his little girl was growing up? Did this mean that he had to lose her to this no-good Jamie punk?
"Sarah… I'm sorry that I never appreciated how much you missed out on because of your mom… but you can't honestly think that that makes what you've done okay. You've been irresponsible to a point I never could have dreamed you would be, I expected better than that from you and I'm disappointed that you think you'll be treated like an adult without acting like one." He leaned foreword, keeping a careful reign on his temper and finding his old calm, rational parenting-style returning to him. "I'm still angry, Sarah, hurt and angry that you could do something so… well, careless!"
"No. I don't want to hear you preach at me about making your own decisions. If it had been a decision you wouldn't have tried so hard to deny it. You made a mistake and Karen and I will need some time to forgive you. That doesn't mean that we stop loving you, Sarah, and it doesn't mean… doesn't mean…" Robert sucked in a breath and clenched his fists, "It doesn't mean that I won't try to give 'Jamie' a chance."
A steely gaze held his own. Sarah turned her head after one of the longest minutes of his life; "I'm going to marry him."
"You're too young to make that choice."
"I'm going to marry him."
"I'm carrying his child, dad, what do you think is the more responsible thing to do?"
Robert sighed. "Did he give you a ring?" A sudden, terrible thought struck him, "Or have you even told him about this?"
"Dad! He asked me! And of course, what do you take me for!" She wanted to scream in frustration. How could he even ask something like that!
"All it takes, Sarah, is one misstep of this magnitude to shatter our faith in you. I hope you remember that." He wondered vaguely if he was getting through to her at all. He resigned himself all the same, "Well, when is… Jamie coming to meet us?"
Sarah smiled winningly, "Actually, since he won't be going back to England, he has no where to stay and I was thinking it would be a waste if he were to stay anywhere else but with us- it would give you a chance to get to know him." Oh yes, revenge was sweet.
Robert balked, but Karen slid in smoothly before he had a chance to protest, "Of course, dear, it's only natural. It would be silly for him to stay anywhere else. Positively silly." She gave her husband a meaningful look over her shoulder.
He mumbled something under his breath.
When, later that evening, Sarah summoned her supernatural fiancée; (supposedly to bring him up to speed, but she was certain he already knew), he started laughing before she could say a word and announced that he was going to enjoy the whole thing.
"Though I don't know why, my dear, you would ask them to have me stay. Surely the less your parents find out about me the better." Jareth was still in his red-headed glamour and the relaxed, robe-like clothing of the night before. His bare feet were much, much too perfect to be at all fair. "Wouldn't you agree?"
"Oh I don't know, shouldn't my parents get to know their future son-in-law? I love you, darling, why wouldn't they?" She was barely suppressing her manic grin. This had to rattle him, no man ever liked to meet his in-laws, their worst fear being prolonged exposure; she was combining the two.
"It is common knowledge, Sarah, that you are an exception to almost every rule ever created." He didn't bother to suppress his. "I suppose, though, if you insist…"
As she watched, his red hair grew longer, fuller and unkempt, the maturity fleeing from his features, his sharp cheekbones softening- but only a little, and a sparkling merriment seeping into his eyes that gave a sort of almost innocence to his face that was not there before. There was still a wisdom in the depths of his eyes, a self-awareness far too developed for any eighteen year-old, too poised and regal, as if he had no reason to doubt even the slightest movement of his pinky finger- which he probably hadn't. Though some of the hardness had melted from his features and his gaze and fringe hung alluringly in his eyes, he didn't begin to look human.
His formerly ageless face was now somewhat recognizable as between nineteen and twenty-five, but that quality of other-ness remained, otherworldly was otherworldly no matter how much glamour you put over top of it. Jareth grinned at her, pointed teeth flashing. He seemed depressingly undaunted by the whole affair.
She reached up and tapped one lethal-looking incisor, handily changing the subject; "Can't you hide that, too? It doesn't look… right."
He shook his head in a cascade of fiery red hair, he seemed amused by this new unruliness, but his eyes remained serious. "I cannot conceal my true nature completely. For every faery or changeling there must be something to give them away. The Powers That Be don't think it fair to pick on humans without giving them a sporting chance." He grinned again, "The more I try to hide what I am, the more pronounced my defect will become." He shrugged regally, "It is the mark of the true-blooded Tuatha de Danann."
Sarah thoughts skipped on that title, "The Tuatha de Danann?" she blinked at him innocently, wondering how difficult it would be to get him to explain the truth (or lack thereof) behind every fairy tale ever written.
Jareth threw himself, elegantly somehow, down on the bed, smirking up at her in that knowing fashion, "The Daoine Sidh, the Faery Men, the Children of Life, the titles go on and on… whatever humans have called us, or we have called ourselves over the millennia." He inspected his fingernails, candidly watching Sarah from the corner of his eye, "Said to have invaded Ireland in a fleet of mist and flying ships, a race of magic and infinitely superior knowledge."
Sarah made a face she thought he couldn't see, "Of course." She muttered sarcastically.
The Goblin King's amusement only increased, "First we were the conquerors, then conquered, then legend and finally… gods." He looked up at her through newly long, thick eyelashes, facing her fully; beginning to be serious about what he was telling her. "I am very old, Sarah, much older than you could possibly have imagined. There was a time when mortals honoured me."
She merely stared, unsure whether to believe him or not. Though he had never lied to her, he had done his fair share of bending the truth. It was very possible he was just playing with her head.
"Spirit of mischief, wine and seduction," he continued, smirking again briefly over this; making her hear in her head a favourite quote from drama class: Lord, what fools these mortals be!
Jareth met her eyes again, his mismatched gaze intense and measuring, "I, Sarah, whom you're going to marry in some small Aboveground chapel was once revered by the pagans as a god." He titled his head, gauging her reaction, "What do you think of that?"
"Fishing for awe?" She had to admit, if he was, he had succeeded. If he was telling the truth. Her own truth be told, she had never thought about where a being like him would come from, the Book had never even specified what the Goblin King was, for all she knew, he could have been a goblin. Reviewing everything she'd ever heard about the origin of the Fae or the faery folk, she wondered if she wouldn't be able to catch him in a white lie. "I thought the goddess Danu created the Fae?"
His eyebrows arched at that and her carefully affected pensive expression, then he smiled and shook his head, and "Some legends are more accurate than others- the faeries don't really know themselves how it all fits together. They don't particularly care; sense and logic couldn't be more irrelevant for them. Terribly irresponsible as a people… snatching humans, making deals with devils…" He was definitely baiting her now.
"I'm not going to give you the satisfaction of asking. Tell me if you're going to tell me." Sarah crossed her arms and barely managed to not stick her tongue out at him.
Jareth laughed, his high musical laugh that sent shivers up from her toes all the way to the tips of her hair. He decided to tell her before she could think of some way to make him laugh again. "You've probably heard the story, dear Sarah; When good and evil were at war and God was throwing the fallen out of Heaven, some of the angels were… on the fence, so to speak, unwilling to take sides between Lucifer and God. Saint Michael the archangel stood up for them and said that though they weren't good enough for Heaven," he grinned wickedly, "they weren't bad enough for Hell, either. So, in disgrace, they were banished to earth for being neutral to live in sidhs and pester mortals… Humans think we bother them because we are jealous of the relationship they can have with God that we cannot share, perhaps… it's also frightfully entertaining."
His jaw twitched to the side and then set and he shrugged, "The oldest, the true bloods got misdirected worship, became too tangled up in mortal affairs and god-hood and when the mortals ceased to believe in them… they ceased to exist. Petty, short-lived praise for deeds they didn't do… it was incredible arrogance." He was voice was thick with disdain and disgust.
Sarah was staring wide-eyed now, her hand reached out of it's own accord and gripped his arm; he actually jumped, startled from his reverie. "Jareth… you won't ever… I mean if…?"
His expression softened to an indulgent smile, a real smile, the like of which she had rarely seen him wear. Nothing pleased him nearly so much as the moments when Sarah proved, unknowingly, that she really had fallen in love with him. He made a dismissive gesture, then rested his hand on her cheek. "I was never overly concerned with what mortals thought or believed about me, my dear… at least, I was not, until I met you, Sarah."
She regarded him levelly, "You'll never just one day fade away? Jareth, I'm not kidding, if you-!"
He laughed, that outrageously melodic laugh and caught the hand which had been making threatening gestures towards him, "My dear Sarah! Your concern is appreciated, but I doubt the forces of the universe would be so generous with you as I was, should you try to take them on!" He mimicked her pout, then smiled again, softly, "I will always be, Sarah…"
Ah, the beautiful contradiction that is Jareth. She relaxed into his arms as soft lips met hers.
Sarah stopped herself from allowing the conversation to end there, "Jareth…?"
"Mmm?" his head lolled to the side, softened, young-looking features blissful as his eyes roved over her face. It was very strange to her; to see someone so timeless confined to just one period of life… vaguely unsettling compared with the way he had been before. He could have been almost any age, depending on how one looked at him.
"If you're a Fae, that means you're of vaguely Irish heritage, so…"
He interrupted, "I suppose, if you wanted to, you could put it that way, but I'm not really-"
She shook her head, returning the favour, "No listen, if… yeah; so, why do you talk with a South London accent?"
Jareth blinked, taken (for once) by surprise, "Why? Don't you like it?"