The next morning Sarah starts to sort through, for lack of a better term, her assets.
The first thing to do is to go over her book collection. Working in a book store had advantages and disadvantages. While she got a great discount on books, she probably bought way more than she should have. So she goes through her book case and starts putting them in boxes. Except for the Labyrinth book, none of these holds any personal worth to her.
Next is her clothing. Most of it ends up in a box as well, with the exception of the few outfits that she deems worthy and those that are just to worn out and have to be tossed out.
Finally, there is anything that might be of sentimental value. A few pictures, a comb made of mother of pearl that her grandmother gave her and some odds and ends. She decides to take the wall clock that her grandfather made for her as a present for her eighteenth birthday, even though the Underground works on a twenty-six hour day.
After everything is organized, she showers, dresses and then has something to eat. After cleaning up, she takes the box of clothing and heads out. Her first stop is the homeless shelter to donate the clothes. Then it's off to the bank to deposit her check.
She returns to the apartment to deal with the three boxes of books that she's accumulated. Making sure that she's touching each box, she closes her eyes. Then she closes her eyes and silently wishes to go to the local library with all of her heart. In particular, she wishes to be in the ladies bathroom so as not to scare anyone with her sudden appearance.
When she opens her eyes and sees the tiled walls, she gives a sigh of relief until she notices the urinal. Moving as quickly as she can, she tries to get out the door before she's noticed. After finally moving the boxes to the door, she reaches for it just as the door opens and a man stands there with a rather stunned look on his face. He says something in Spanish.
"Sorry, I guess I went through the wrong door," Sarah replies with a small smile as she continues to carry, push and shove the boxes out of the bathroom.
After the books are donated to the library, she returns to her apartment in much the same way as she arrived. No sooner does she reappear in her living room then she collapses. With what little energy she has left, she crawls over onto the couch and takes a nap.
When she reawakens she sees long shadows stretched across the wall. Staggering into the kitchen, she notices that she's been asleep for a couple of hours. She's so tired it feels like she's run a marathon. Pulling open the fridge, she eats almost everything in sight, ravenous. After she is finally sated, she sits and wonders why she was so hungry.
Shaking her head in confusion, she returns to her bedroom and sits at her desk. Pulling open one of the drawers, she pulls out some stationary that she was given as a present many years ago. She gets out a pen and sits and thinks for a few minutes before she starts to write.
A couple of hours and a few wadded up pieces of paper later, Sarah finishes her letter, places it in an envelope and seals it. With a stretch and a yawn, she gets up, changes and then crawls into her small bed, promptly falling asleep.
When she wakes in the morning, she drags herself back to the kitchen and notices a message on her answering machine. She's not too surprised that she missed it yesterday, considering how wiped out she felt. She pushes the play button and feels the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end when her father's voice fills the room.
"Hello, Sarah, this is your father. I just called to let you know that we took Toby to the therapist today, and she says that it's going to take months, possibly even years to undo the damage you have done. That being the case, Karen and I are expecting you to pay for his therapy. We will be sending you a bill at the end of the month. Good bye."
As the machine clicks off, Sarah gets a nearly overwhelming urge to smash the machine. Taking several deep breaths, she remembers you shouldn't shoot the messenger just because you didn't like the message. Then a rather evil thought enters her brain.
Going to her purse, she pulls out her only credit card. Her father got it for her when she first moved out. He had applied for a joint account in both their names. The deal was that she should use it only in an emergency, and then she would pay it off. When her credit became good enough, she was supposed to get a card in her own name and cancel this one. Well, she never got around to doing that, and now it was time to make her 'family' pay for the hell they have put her through.
Quickly dialing the number on the back of the card Sarah finds out that she has a rather nice credit limit on the card thanks to her father's very good credit history. With a rather evil smile plastered on her face, she carefully puts the credit card back in her wallet. Her father's credit rating is about to go on a roller coaster ride.
She returns to her room and writes another letter. This one she addresses to her father. It takes her a few minutes to explain that she is moving and leaving no forwarding address. Also, she will not be paying for Toby's therapy and gives a brief and rather explicit description of what he can do with the bill. She addresses the letter, sticks a stamp on it and then puts it in her purse.
As soon as she is done with that, she takes a shower, dresses and then heads out the door, taking the second letter with her. As her foot leaves the last step of the staircase, the landlord, in all of his disgusting glory, steps out of his apartment into the corridor and ogles at her.
"Hey, sweet cheeks, where you goin'?" he leers.
"You know, I really wish you'd treat women with more respect," she says.
No sooner do the words leave her mouth then he jerks like he's been slapped in the face. A look of pleasantness suddenly takes over his features and he smiles.
"Good morning, Miss Williams," he greets nicely. "How are you this fine day?"
"I'm fine, thank," Sarah responds, smiling.
"I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but your rent is over due," he states with a look of concern on his face.
"I'll be moving out soon," she informs him. "Whatever is left in the apartment after I'm gone you can sell to try and settle the cost. Oh, and you can keep my deposit as well."
He looks at her in shock as she quickly walks past him, drops the letter in the outgoing mail slot and then out the door. Her first stop is the bank to close her account. With that meager amount safely stashed away in her purse, she heads for the subway station. Once she arrives in downtown Manhattan proper, she heads for 5th Avenue.
Her next stop is at a very posh hair salon. She's not sure when she'll next be able to have her hair professionally done, and besides, she wants to look good for a certain someone. After having her hair cut and styled, getting a manicure and a pedicure, and leaving a very generous tip for all the wonderful people who worked on her, she leaves.
Realizing it's lunch time, she stops at the most expensive restaurant she can find. After having an incredible lunch and leaving a thirty percent tip, she heads out on a mission.
She goes to Macy's, Bloomingdales, Neimen Marcus, Saks and even Victoria's Secret. By the time she's done, her arms are loaded down with packages (except for the ones she has already wished back to the apartment) and the credit card has been maxed out. Waving down a taxi, she heads back to the apartment. Upon arrival at the apartment building, she pays the cabby and gives him a very nice tip as well.
Once she enters the apartment, she starts to go through and organize her purchases. After everything is in place, she changes her clothes into something a bit more tasteful than jeans and a t-shirt. That gets stuffed into one of the boxes waiting to go with her.
Then she takes the now well worn credit card, cuts it to pieces, and then tosses the remains into the trash. That accomplished, she picks up the letter she wrote last night, staring intently at it, she wishes it away to the only friend she has in this world.
Abe languidly floats in his tank reading. Just as he's finishing one page and getting ready to move on to the next book waiting on its stand, an envelope appears with his name on it. He hovers there stunned for a moment before he quickly leaves the tank, trots downstairs and retrieves the letter. As he picks it up with his bare hands, all that has been happening in Sarah's life floods his senses.
Giving his head a brief shake to clear the vision, he opens his letter and reads. While the words written tell him her plans, the paper they're written on tells him even more. A smile crosses his face as Hellboy walks in.
"Whatcha ya got there, Abe?" he asks.
"A letter from Sarah Williams," the blue man answers as he hands the paper over to his friend. "She's made her decision."
"How did she know where to send it?" Hellboy demands after he reads the message. "You didn't give her the bureau's address did you? Because if you did, I want a front row seat to your chewing out from Manning."
"That's not very nice," Abe admonishes. "And I didn't give her the address."
"If you didn't give her the address, then how did she get this here?" Hellboy queries, waving the paper at Abe.
"She wished it here," he replies with an elegant shrug. "Didn't you say she was able to stop the Goblin King dead in his tracks?"
"Yeah, she did," Red replies. "I guess she still has that voodoo from the Underground. I wonder what made her make up her mind."
"Her family," Abe answers. "And love."
"It doesn't say that in the letter," Hellboy states as he scans the letter again. "What gave you the idea it was her family?"
Abe simply holds up the envelope that he still holds in his hand instead of answering.
"What did her family do that made her want to leave?" he asks. "And please tell me she's not in love with Queenie."
"I'll tell you about it after I get back in the water," Abe replies with a smile.
He heads back up the spiral staircase he came down a short while ago as Hellboy finds a seat and makes himself comfortable. A few moments later, Abe returns to his spot in front of the books and then he starts to tell Hellboy everything the envelope revealed to the merman.
Sarah stares at her empty hand and hopes that her aim was true. She's kind of saddened that once she leaves, it's very likely that she'll never see Abe again. But the chances of seeing him again anyways were pretty miniscule to begin with. With one last check in the mirror, she says the fateful words that will change her life forever. She hopes.
"I need you, Jareth."
"Do you now," comes the familiar voice from the direction of her bed.
Sarah turns and looks at the man reclining on her bed. He's lying on his side, propped up on one elbow with a guarded look on his face. He's wearing the usual poet's shirt, gloves, knee high boots and tight pants. There are dark circles under his eyes and he actually looks a bit thinner than when she saw him a couple of days ago.
"Yes, I do," she answers, taking a couple of steps towards the bed.
He launches himself off of the bed with the speed and grace of a hunting cat. He steps up to Sarah and stands toe to toe with her. He glares at her with hurt and anger in his mismatched eyes.
She stands up to him though the fear in her is threatening to overwhelm her. Her stomach has turned itself into one huge knot, her palms are sweating and she can feel her knees quaking. Only her pride keeps her from throwing herself at his feet in tears begging for forgiveness.
"And why should I believe you?" he snarls.
"Because you were right," she responds. "I have nothing in this world. My dreams are gone. My family hates me. I have nothing."
"Why would you want to come to the Underground?" he growls, eyes narrowing. "You didn't seem all that happy to be there last time."
"This time I'm going of my own free will," she answers.
"What makes you think I want you back?" he hisses.
"I can only hope that you still love me," she replies, never taking her eyes off of his. "I think I'm in love with you."
He stares at her for a couple of minutes, not speaking. Finally, he reaches up a hand and gently strokes her cheek with a gloved finger. She closes her eyes as the feeling of him touching her causes shivers to run down her spine. Embolden by her reaction, he cups her face with the same hand.
"Just fear me, love me, do as I say and I will be your slave," he whispers.
"No, yes, no and no," she answers, her eyes flying open and boring into his. She places her hand on top of his to keep him from pulling away. "I will not fear you, I won't always do as you say and I don't want a slave. I want a partner whom I can talk too and share my dreams with. I am also willing to love you with every fiber of my being. All I ask of you is the same. Can you accept that?"
"Yes, I think I can," he says hoarsely.
He starts to lean down. She closes her eyes and tilts her head back to give him easier access to her lips. He gently kisses her, causing delightful shivers to run relay races up and down her spine.
His free arm snakes around her waist while hers wraps itself around his neck. By the time they part, her knees are weak and she's grateful that his arm is holding her up. With a sigh, she keeps her eyes closed and leans her head against his chest, breathing in the scent of him. Her arms move to encircle his waist and she leans against him, content to just stay there for the rest of whatever.
He stands there feeling like his heart has finally started truly beating for the first time in his life. He gently strokes her hair with one hand while the other holds her to him. He happily looks around and notices several boxes stacked nearby.
"What's with the boxes?" he quietly asks.
"Just some things I want to take with me," she answers with out changing her position.
"What's in them?" he inquires.
"Clothes mostly," she replies. "And memories of a happier time of my life here."
"Will you be happy with me?" he inquires.
"I certainly hope so," she responds, finally looking up at him. "Though the goblins will probably take some getting used to."
He chuckles as he steps back and produces a crystal. He plays with it for a moment before tossing it at the pile. It disappears in a cloud of glitter.
"You know, when I wish things away, there's no glitter," she states.
She notices his body stiffen at that comment.
"You've been able to use magic here?" he chokes out.
"Yes, of course I have," she answers. "Why?"
"Normally, when people return to the Aboveground, any absorbed magic usually turns itself into some sort of talent, like music, art or science," he responds. "No one has ever been able to manipulate the magic for their own purposes before."
"No one was ever able to beat the Labyrinth before me either," she points out. "What about Liz and Hellboy? They finished it; will they start being able to use magic?"
"Not likely," he replies. "They were already imbued with magic before they came to the Underground. If they did absorb anything, it will only enhance their own powers. The same holds true with Abe."
"Liz is more powerful?" she asks rhetorically. "That's kind of frightening when you think about it."
"Yes, it is," he answers. "I'm glad she's living here and not in the Underground. I don't think the Labyrinth could take it."
"I had a dream the first night I was back," she tells him quietly, not quite looking at him. "I was in the burnt out area and you were there on the ground. The Wise Man was there only it wasn't the Wise Man, it was the Labyrinth. The Labyrinth told me you would die without me, and that if you died, it would too."
"The Labyrinth always was one for the melodramatic," he replies haughtily. "I doubt I would die without you."
"Oh," she responds meekly her heart sinking.
"Though I do believe I would have been bloody well miserable without you," he states as he pulls her back into his arms. "Have I told you how beautiful you are tonight?"
"No," she answers, laying her head back on his chest and listening to his heartbeat.
"Well, you look wonderful," he tells her. "I do have something to ask you. Would you be my queen?"
She looks back up at him with a smile on her and tears of happiness in her eyes.
"Yes," she answers.
A lopsided grin graces his face as he starts to lean over to kiss her. He stops just shy of her lips with a confused look on his face.
"What's the matter?" she asks worriedly.
"What's a 'Puff the Magic Drag Queen?"
Author's Note: In case you're wondering what the 'gift' Abe gave Sarah, it was the knowledge that Jareth loves her. Please remember to review.