Disclaimer: See chapter one
Rating: Chapter R/ Story R
Beta reader: Thanks again to my wonderful beta reader, Devil Girl. This chapter is dedicated to you.
Ch 4 I'll Be There For You
Well maybe it's all for the best
But I wish I'd never been lassoed
Maybe it's some kind of a test
But I wish I'd never been tattooed
Or been to hell and back
Fade to black
Fade To Black Dire Straits
Sarah stood at Jareth's chamber window and watched in horror as the fire burned out of control. He had only been gone from her side for a matter of seconds when she saw a white barn owl fly a careful pattern over the conflagration, and then finally land in a crowd of Goblins, Elves, and Fae.
"Sleep, he wants me to try and sleep," she muttered as she watched what was happening below. "Yeah, right! I close my eyes and dream about him and poof! More of his Kingdom goes up in smoke or tumbles into ruin in an earthquake!" Tears pricked at her eyes, but she refused to let them fall. 'Later,' she thought. 'Later I'll give myself time to think, but if I do it now, I'll fall apart.'
With shaking fingers she slipped out of his robe and laid it neatly on his bed. It took all the effort she could muster to keep from curling up in a ball under the bedclothes and crying her heart out. At least there she'd be surrounded by his scent. Instead she quickly dressed, her fingers tangling in his black cape as she pulled her t-shirt free of it.
In a moment of weakness she hugged the cloak to her and fought to make her mind go blank. "Will he ever forgive me for this?" She gasped and buried her face in the material she held. "He's got to understand, I've got to get out of here."
Though she'd spent a good part of her life alone, she'd never felt so lonely. A few hours spent in his company, and the short while she'd spent in his bed, had given her a glimpse of something she'd never imagined. "That damn Curse meant what it said," she whispered. "I have to give up everything, including….him." She bit her lip to keep from saying his name, in case it brought him to her like it had before. The aching pain she felt was almost more than she could bear.
"If I don't leave now, I never will." She forced one foot in front of the other and fought to ignore the pain and anguish that encircled her heart. As she brushed past the small desk she stopped long enough to leave him a note. She couldn't go and not tell him what she felt, but she had to end it and he deserved to know what she was doing.
Sarah's breath caught in her throat as she took one last look around the lovely rooms she'd never see again. It was then she realized she was still clutching Jareth's cape as if her life depended on it, and she couldn't bear to put it down. She might not have him, but if she was going to go out and hunt spells from his past, she needed to feel as if he was beside her. The first time she'd seen him, he had been wearing that garment. In her mind it was as much a part of him as his odd eyes and pale hair. When she settled it around her shoulders she felt stronger, as if she were taking a part of him with her.
The corridors and stairwells of the castle were deserted. Goblins had been drawn to the fire either out of curiosity or a need to help. Sarah was glad there was no one to witness her leaving, but it would have been nice if there had been someone to point her in the right direction.
Jareth's castle was huge and it took her twenty minutes of wrong turns and dead ends to find her way to the steps above his throne room. Finally she was in a section she recognized from last time, or so she thought. Everything was basically the same, but it was the differences that made her blink and wonder what had happened in her nine-year absence.
She stared off to her left, towards the room where she'd had her final confrontation with the Goblin King. Though the door was closed, and even the thought of the Escher Room made her shiver, she felt a compulsion to see it once more. Before her nerves gave out she ran to the door and pulled it open. What she saw made her shrink back in terror.
Where once there had been a beautifully proportioned puzzle of steps and landings leading everywhere and nowhere, now there was nothing but jagged remains of partial steps and chunks of platforms. Sarah clutched the rock wall behind her to keep her balance, because the floor ended a foot in front of her. Then there was nothing, just hanging rock, fog, and air for as far as the eye could see. It was as if the world ended once one stepped though the door behind her.
'Had the frightened words of a 15 year-old caused all that damage?' The thought made her lose her nerve. She turned and fled. She had to get out of the castle, or Jareth would be back and find her wandering the corridors trying to find a way out. In desperations she ran through his throne room. Here too there were changes. The pit in the middle of the room was still there, but gone were the animals and clutter. There was dignity in the huge exotic plants that sat under each window and power radiated from the large sculpture of Jareth's crest, which was carved out of the stone wall behind where he would sit as he held court. But it was the floor in front of her that she couldn't take her eyes off. It was polished white marble, like the one in the ballroom and like the one in her dream.
Sarah gripped his cloak tightly around her shoulders, took a deep breath, and sprinted across the cool white floor. She didn't stop running until she was out the door and had skirted around the side of the castle. Buried deep in the shadows of the thick outer wall she moved with care until she came to a small back gate. Its guard was turned away, yelling orders to others who were scrambling towards the fire. Sarah slipped through unnoticed and made a dash for the trees that were only yards away. Though it was an entrance to the Labyrinth she didn't recognize, there was no mistaking the great maze, because neat manicured shrubs were replaced by tangles of undergrowth and high bushes at odd angles.
She ran deeper and deeper into its interior, knowing she needed the protection the overhead growth would provide. When Jareth got back and found her missing he'd be furious. If he came after her, she needed lots of trees and ground cover if she wanted to remain unseen by his sharp owl eyes from above.
She was glad when her side began to hurt from exertion. It took her mind off the pain that made her heart feel as if it had died. There was no going back, even if he would take her back a second time. It would mean destruction to his world and she couldn't be the one who caused that.
She'd never been in the part of the Labyrinth she was in now. It was dark and dank, but there was no stench from the Bog. She almost wished there were, because then she would have had some idea where she was. The trees were older than any she'd seen on her last visit. When their branches reached out to pull at her clothes or tried to trip her running feet, they came in contact with the King's midnight blue and black cape and quickly pulled back.
Clouds covered the full moon that had been high in the sky when she started her journey. The wind rustled through the old tree branches. Sarah occasionally heard footsteps behind her, but when she turned to look, there was no one there. Fear ran through her blood and her breaths came in quick, shallow gasps.
"Caliban," she called out in desperation. "Caliban, is this what you wanted: me out here alone?" The wind picked up to gale force. Sarah's hair blew back into her face and Jareth's cape danced around her shoulders. What was keeping it in place she never understood, since there were no buttons, clasps or loops at the neck.
"Caliban, you coward, come out and face me!" She screamed into the howling wind, but the only response she received was lightening that cracked through the dark sky, followed shortly by thunder that made her cover her ears in terror.
You desperately search for a way to conquer the fear
No line of attack has been planned to fight back the tears
Where brave and restless dreams are both won and lost
On the edge is where it seems it's well worth the cost
Just when you think you got it down
Your heart in pieces on the ground
They whisper, promises in the – dark
Promises In The Dark Pat Benatar
The sun was coming up over the Goblin City, and smoke hung low in the air. Jareth's magic had been strong enough to contain and finally extinguish the fire but it had not been easy. Then he'd called on it a second time to change the area of damage back into what it had been before the quake. Houses were rebuilt, and blackened soot-covered stone and ground was instantly cleaned, but nothing could be done for the bushes, trees and flowers that had been lost in the flames. The creation of life was not within the power of his magic. Thankfully, there had been no causalities, and Goblins being the hardy creatures that they were, there were few injuries.
"Well, that could have been much worse than it was," the weary Goblin King sighed as he sat in his study drinking his morning brew with his aide Declan. Both Fae had bathed and changed their dirty clothes in the mud room off the stables. Jareth hadn't wanted to worry Sarah by appearing in his chambers covered in soot and smelling of smoke. She had been upset enough the night before without adding to her worries.
"Yes, but it was bad enough." The dark-haired man shook his head. "Have you any idea what caused it? I thought the magic kept the tectonic plates beneath the Underground from shifting."
"In the past it has." Jareth looked into the depth of his cup. "I have an idea of its origin, but am unsure of how to proceed."
"What can I do to help?" Declan watched his friend carefully, there was something that was being left unsaid. Loud knocking on the King's study door kept him from asking more.
"Well, come in, don't just stand there and pound!" At the sight of the lone Goblin, the King became unusually terse.
Jareth cocked his head and raised an eyebrow at the small female servant that stood quivering in the doorway. He'd sent her to get Sarah, but it seemed as if she was incapable of performing even that simple task.
"Your Highness, I can't get the Lady Sarah for you."
"So it would appear," he drawled lazily. "Then send someone who can."
"Sarah!" Declan stood in excitement when he heard her name. "She's here? By the Seven Crystals you pulled it off!"
Jareth casually shrugged then glared at the Goblin.
"But, Your Majesty, that's just it, she isn't here. Your chambers were empty when I went for her."
"WHAT!" Jareth's roar made the windows rattle and the little female Goblin shake even harder, but she stood her ground.
"I said, she's not here, Your Majesty," she whispered. Before the words left her mouth, both Fae males had disappeared and the little Goblin was left quaking in her pointy little boots.
Jareth reappeared in his chamber, but Declan had the tact to transport himself to the hall in front of the King's door. Before he could raise his hand to knock, Jareth pulled open the portal, knowing his friend would be on the other side. The rooms were empty, except for the King gripping a note in his gloved hand. From the grim expression on his face, things were not going well.
"It appears as if the Curse is not done with us yet," he said in a low voice and handed Sarah's note to his friend.
I love you more than words can say, but I can't stay with you if it would mean the destruction of your kingdom. I know I can never go back to my world, but please don't try and follow me in yours.
It would seem as if we haven't heard the last of the Curse. You told me its power was hidden in the Labyrinth somewhere. I'm going to try and find it. Maybe Caliban will be satisfied with one more human female's life. All I can do is try.
I will love you forever. Nine years ago you told me that forever isn't long at all, so it may not seem like much to you, but under the circumstances, it's all I have to give.
While Declan was reading, Jareth quickly changed into black body armor and tight leather breeches with thigh-high boots. He had reached for his sword and scabbard on the wall then thought better of it. If there was a battle to be fought, it would be with magic, not metal. He looked around quickly for his favorite black cape that he'd left on the arm of the sofa. The velvet pouch that was hidden in its lining might very well tip the balance of power in his favor.
"What does it mean?" Declan looked up from the note he'd read twice.
"It means exactly what it says." Jareth attempted to conjure his cape, but it didn't answer his call. "That stubborn woman has gone off to take matters into her own hands and I am afraid she will die trying."
"What does she mean when she says she was responsible for the destruction?" He nodded toward the window and beyond to the still healing land.
"Simply, Declan," there was ice in Jareth's voice because he hated revealing this to anyone, even his best friend, but it was necessary. "Because, Sarah and I were in here alone when the quake began. We caused it. Do I need to spell it out for you?"
"Oh," Declan blinked in surprise. "Oh my goodness." Suddenly a clear picture of what caused the tremors filled his mind. "Oh," he gasped. "But how can you be sure? I'm sorry Jareth, I know it's none of my business, but it doesn't make sense that..." He couldn't finish his sentence, the look of utter desolation in his friend's eyes told the story.
"There must be some small detail of the Curse we've overlooked." Jareth flicked his wrist and a crystal appeared. "Show me Sarah," he commanded. Her image suddenly filled the sparkling void held in his hand. Her hair was being whipped around her head. A familiar dark cloak flew out behind her as she leaned into the wind and tried to move forward. Tree branches snapped and fell, as lightening split the sky and thunder rolled all around. "At least I know where my cape has gone," Jareth smiled bitterly. "Let's hope it gives her the protection she needs until I get there."
"That looks like the Eldair Forests. Would she have gone alone to such a dangerous place?" Declan looked closely at the area that surrounded Sarah's image in the crystal. The ancient forest had been searched by each Goblin King a number of times, but Caliban's Spell hadn't been found there despite the evil that lurked behind every tree and bush.
"I keep forgetting you didn't meet her when she was here before, or you wouldn't bother asking that question."
"Well, what are we waiting for?" Declan blinked and transported his cape and sword from his office where he'd left them.
"No, you cannot go with me."
"What? As your aide I must. This is far too dangerous for you to be on your own. By rights you should have a compliment of troops."
"Troops would only slow me down." Jareth sighed and handed Declan a parchment scroll that was tied with a black ribbon and sealed with the crest of the King of The Goblins. "If I don't return, you will need this." He held up his hand when his friend would have interrupted him. "It states that if I should die without issue, you are my appointed heir. It was drawn up when I was first crowned. It is not only my wish, but my father would have wanted it and my mother gives her complete approval."
"No, Jareth, you are the Goblin King, not me, never me! All the more reason I should go with you, or better yet, instead of you."
"We are wasting time that Sarah does not have. There will be no argument. This was set in motion a long time ago. What is done is done. You are like a brother to me. I trust you with my life and more importantly, I trust you with my Kingdom."
"The other nobles will never allow it." Declan tried reasoning. He never wanted nor believed he could do his friend's job.
"Mother will back you. Your wife, Merilee, is an Elvish princess, though a younger daughter who would never have inherited a kingdom of her own. I know your father-in-law will give his support. Between Livia, Dowager Queen of the Goblins and Luthor, High King of the Elves, you will have no problem keeping the nobles of the High Court in line until you've proven yourself. Please, Declan, I am the only one who can do this. One way or another, the Curse will end today. If it means that both Sarah and I die, then at least we will be together. My bloodline will cease to be, so there should be no more heard from Caliban's Spell." Jareth tossed the crystal in the air that had contained Sarah's image and another empty one landed in his hand. "If for some reason Sarah returns alone, send her to my mother. She will understand Sarah's loss and may be able to help her through the years ahead." Jareth shattered the empty crystal on the floor at his feet and disappeared from the room.
These are the tears…
The tears we shed
This is the fear
This is the dread
These are the contents of my head
And these are the years that we have spent
And this is what they represent
Why Annie Lennox
He saw her almost immediately. She was in the middle of a clearing being buffeted by wind and rain. "Caliban," she shrieked. "What are you waiting for? I'm here, come and get me, you coward."
"It is unwise to insult a magic spell that is attempting to kill you." He strode forward and caught her by the shoulders.
"Jareth, what are you doing here?" Sarah whispered as she gripped him tightly and tried to appear as if she had the situation under control.
"This is my Labyrinth, I can go anywhere I please. The question is, why are you here?" He was furious and could hardly contain himself. Unsure which would give him more satisfaction, to shake her until her teeth rattled or pull her close until he had convinced himself he'd really found her, he did nothing.
"I was trying…I mean…" She was so glad to see him, all she wanted to do was touch him and feel his skin against hers and damn the consequences.
"I told you once, nine years ago, that I would be there for you." His eyes flashed with anger at how careless she was. "And since it appears as if the world is falling down, I am here. Or weren't you listening to me?"
"I didn't know you really meant it," the words caught in her throat as she remembered how he'd sung to her as they'd danced in a crystal ballroom that seemed to be part of another lifetime. Then she remembered where she was, and why. Suddenly she was angry at all that was being asked of her. "What did you expect me to do? Sit and do nothing while you were out trying to put your kingdom back together? Or worse yet, fall asleep, have another erotic dream and send everything tumbling back down again?"
"It was my wish that you stayed in my chambers until I returned." His eyes turned hard at the thought of what could have happened to her in this part of the Labyrinth, alone, without magic to protect her. "I am not used to being ignored."
"I couldn't stay," she shouted above the howling of the wind. "Don't you understand how hard it was for me to leave you? But I was afraid to even try and sleep! What if I'd dreamt about you? What if I destroyed all of this?" She flung her arms wide, indicating the lands for miles and miles in every direction.
"You could have waited for me." He refused to be moved by her plea. "Given its evil nature, this area has been searched any number of times by each successive generation of Goblin Kings," he growled. "None of us has been able to find the power source of the Curse here, even using our magic. It is unlikely that you will be able to find it." Fear for her still fueled his anger and made his words insulting.
"But don't you see? Whatever this thing is, it doesn't want to punish just the Goblin Kings. It wants me too, and all of the women before me who should have known the incredible joy of loving and being loved by your ancestors." She stood tall and straight, needing him to believe in what she was doing. "I hoped it would come after me, no matter where I was in the Labyrinth."
"What if it had, and I'd lost you?" Jareth couldn't stay angry at her any longer. She was right and he knew it. He pulled her close and held her against his heart, never more proud of her than he was at that moment. "How did you expect me to go on if that happened?"
She looked up at him in confusion, unsure she'd heard him correctly. One moment he was furious with her the next he was holding her so close she could feel his emotions flowing off him, even through the leather of his garments.
"I need you, Sarah. My heart needs you." He looked down at her and almost laughed at the irony of the situation. "I'm a king with great powers. I shouldn't need you, or anyone, but I do. I need you." Jareth picked her up and kissed her but this time it was about his needs not just hers. He had to do something to still the fear that had driven him to look for her and the panic he'd hardly recognized. One gloved hand held her head firmly in place while his tongue dug deep to taste her mouth. He felt her fingers gripping tightly to his back and shoulders, as if her life depended on it. It only made him want her more. Finally he pulled back, but kept her face buried against his neck and his arms securely around her.
"And I need you. More than I ever realized," she whispered against his neck and lips as she kept kissing him over and over again, until her breath settled and her trembling stopped. All during the wild passionate kiss, she'd kept a tight reign on her desires, afraid that if she let go, the external world would shake as badly as Jareth was capable of shaking her internal one. "But that doesn't solve my dilemma."
"Why are you so sure that it was your reaction alone that caused the ground to move?" Though their time of passion had been short-lived and she had found release under his skillful hands and lips, he'd had inner quakes of his own that he'd barely held in check. "My magic is powerful, but I doubt it was strong enough to keep my emotions contained."
"I never thought of that." Sarah blushed.
"You're still too innocent." He ran his fingers along her jaw and smiled as her blush intensified. "Once we've found the source of the magic that feeds this Curse, and destroyed it, we will turn our attention to the matter of your chastity."
A rumbling laugh echoed from deep within the forest. Jareth let Sarah's body slide down his, but kept his arm around her shoulders. He positioned himself between her and the direction the sound had come from.
"Very touching, a Goblin King did learn to love a human. But the human, can you really believe what she says?" A shadowy figure stepped out from under low hanging trees. He was dressed much like Jareth, though his clothes were rougher and darker. There were dents and scratches in his body armor that told of hard fought battles. "Are you going to beg for her life and you for his?"
Jareth stood straight and tall, every inch the haughty King. Sarah gripped his arm and he hoped she'd follow his lead. This was his battle and he had to be the one to fight it, or they could both die. "We will beg for nothing. Who are you and what are you doing in my Labyrinth."
"I am what you've been seeking for generations. I am Caliban's Spell." He drew his well-polished sword and stepped closer to the couple in the middle of the clearing. As the Spell moved, It appeared almost translucent; only Its iron blade was solid.
"If you are what you say you are, then why are you still here?" Jareth flicked his wrist and the velvet pouch of tears filled his hand. He was careful to keep it hidden behind Sarah; deep in the folds of the cape she was wearing. To the Image, it appeared as if he had his arm wrapped protectively around her, but nothing more. "Sarah and I have fulfilled the stipulations of the Curse. She conquered the Labyrinth, and won my heart and I hers. She followed me willingly to the Underground to live out her days. Why did you prevent us from consummating our union of souls?"
"It is not enough. The human woman must be made to feel what Caliban did. He gave up everything, his honor, his family, and his people. He abandoned a man who was like a brother to him and he did it all for her. For that his wife repaid him by her faithlessness and it killed him."
"I've left everyone behind and can never return. I've lost my brother, my family and my people." Sarah cried out as she thought of her life in the Aboveworld.
"Yes, you have, but that was nothing compared to the loss you will feel when I kill him." The Curse nodded toward Jareth.
"You will find I am not so easily killed." The tall blonde Fae challenged loudly to cover the sound of Sarah as she gasped in panic.
"But you will die, nonetheless, as your father, and his father and his before that." It moved closer with Its sword raised. Its eyes raked Sarah who was held possessively in Jareth's arms. "First, she will watch you die. Then I shall take her innocence and finally her life."
"You think I will give her up that easily?" Jareth gripped the velvet bag and began calling on its hidden power. "She is mine. Didn't my great-great-grandfather, Jared, teach you anything? The Goblin King rules the Labyrinth. You are on my lands and my word is law."
"Your great-great-grandfather was a weak-willed fool who was easily tricked." Caliban's Spell roared. "And you are no different. I will take great joy in killing you. This sword is made of iron. After I wound you with it, you should live long enough to see me ravish her body. It is a fitting punishment for Jared's heir to end his life as Caliban did; to hear your woman scream as I take what is left of her honor and to know that she will die painfully, hating you for bringing her to this evil place."
"We shall see," Jareth growled and pressed Sarah's face against his shoulder to keep her from yelling out the denial that shone from her loving eyes. He was tempted to use some of his magic to send her to safety, but realized that if he lost there would be no place in the Underground that was safe. Better to save all of his strength for what was ahead. Slowly he pulled his arms from around her. His gloved hands moved past one another at shoulder level, causing the right one to glow. Suddenly sparks flew from his fingers. They were aimed at the shadowy Spell.
The ground shook and lightening flashed as Jareth did battle with magic as old as the Underground. The King's own considerable powers were boosted by the tears of longing and pain that were contained in the bag.
Never letting go of Its sword, the Curse sent angry waves of magic at Its enemies. Jareth blocked Sarah's body with his as he muttered spells and tossed them out as fast as they were completed. All three beings in the clearing were struck by angry power as a Fae King and an Ancient Spell met one another on the field of combat. They were fighting not only for their lives, but for supremacy of the Labyrinth. It was a battle that Jareth did not plan on losing.
It was too much for Sarah. She gasped in intense pain as she was knocked to the ground by spells that Jareth couldn't deflect. She felt power slam into her body from all directions. The last thing she remembered was being tossed across the clearing to land hard against a huge rock.
"You will not win," the Curse yelled as It was buffeted by Jareth's superior strength. "Even if you succeed in destroying me, your woman will die. She is no different than Caliban's was: weak willed and thin-skinned."
The Goblin King had to fight to ignore the words that had more strength than the magic that was hitting him on all sides. He could feel Sarah's presence behind him. She was alive, but in a great deal of pain. He couldn't think about it and still control the vast stores of magic he'd called upon in the tears of his ancestors. For the first time in nine years he closed his mind to Sarah. Better a quick death at the hands of magic than what Caliban's Spell had planned for her.
Jareth pulled deeply from the tears that sizzled in his gloved hand, and focused harder on his enemy. He thought for a moment of the Kings before him and how they had been forced to live their lives because of one Fae's weakness. It added anger to his arsenal of power and increased his strength even more.
"Nooooo," the Spell cried out as it was hit with the feelings of loss it had inflicted on previous rulers of the Labyrinth. The Curse jerked back and dropped Its sword. In desperation It reached into Its pocket and pulled out the source of Its power. With a quick spell that doubled Its strength, It knocked Jareth to his knees, but the added power of the spell shortened its duration. All it did was further incense the Goblin King.
"Feel what you've caused!" Jareth shouted and rained magic from his gloved hand until Caliban's spell began to weaken. "Feel it and die as they died." The fire that flew from the King of the Goblins increased until the Curse lost Its footing and bounced across the clearing. Its edges flickered with small flames until It was a blaze of burning magic. The flames grew until the Power that had haunted the Labyrinth since the beginning was nothing more than putrid green smoke that gave off a foul stench.
When Jareth was sure he'd reduced the centuries-old Curse to nothing more than a pile of ash, he reigned in his augmented power. "It is done," he said softly and slumped in exhaustion as the sun broke through the canopy of leaves above. The angry storm that had been as much a part of the Eldair Forest as its trees finally abated, and the Forest was at peace.
"Sarah," he called out, but was met with silence. He knew she was alive, he could feel it, but he needed to see her and touch her to make his heart stop racing. He pulled himself to his feet and ran to where she lay, tangled in his black cape, her body crumpled against a rock. "Oh, my love," he whispered as he knelt beside her to free her from the black material she was cocooned in. Her face was pale, and she had a gash on her head, but she was his, alive, and in his arms, where she was always meant to be. "Open your eyes, my darling." He gently brushed his fingers over her lids, coaxing her awake.
His cape had protected her from the worst of the magic that had poured through the clearing. He'd always known it protected him when he was in the Aboveground, but hadn't realized how truly powerful it was.
"Jareth," her eyes fluttered open and she wrapped her arms around his neck. "I'm so sorry I wasn't strong enough to help you. You were right, I should have stayed behind."
"No, my love, the Curse was after both of us." He kissed her bruised forehead and her injury began to heal. "I think somehow in the last 2000 years It took on a life of Its own. It didn't want to be defeated. I've hunted it many times in this very forest and It never showed Itself, just as you were safe until I arrived. All It wanted to do was go on killing and inflicting pain."
"Is the Spell really dead?"
"Yes, but I must check on the remains to be sure there is no source of power left behind." He leaned her against the rock and began to stand.
"No, wait, you're not leaving me alone again." She reached out a hand so he could help her to her feet.
"Me, leave you? Don't you think it was the other way around?" He pulled her close to him and kissed her to reassure himself she was really there.
"Do you have any idea what it cost me when I did?" She looked at him gravely, refusing to cry, but the pain of her actions was plainly written on her face.
"Yes," he whispered. "I can feel it. It is like you are attached to me here." He thumped his fisted right hand over his heart. "You make me feel vulnerable, Sarah. I'm a king and I shouldn't be vulnerable, but I am where you're concerned. What you did was necessary, but I'll die if you ever leave me again."
"I won't, I promise." She ducked her head and leaned her forehead against his heart. "I couldn't even if I wanted to. I'm not strong enough to do it again. You are part of me now. I'm unsure how it is different from when I ran from your castle, but it is."
"Maybe this is the answer." Jareth smiled down at her and held up his right palm.
The battle with the Curse had burned away the velvet pouch the tears were kept in and the black glove that the Goblin King had worn was singed and had small holes. In place of the crystal spheres that had contained the powerful grief of those affected by the curse were diamonds that sparkled in the morning sun. All were perfect emerald-cut two-carat blue-white stones, except for one large one. It was seven diamonds that had been fused together by the heat of the magic, to make one huge, brilliant emerald-cut stone. Six perfect blue-white diamonds bound around a core-yellow diamond interwoven with sapphire.
"Were those ours?" Sarah looked in awe at the magnificent jewel that made all the others look insignificant.
"Yes. I can see the passion caught in the outer part of the stone. It will burn for all time and is the only power left in these now." He indicated all five stones in his hand and gave her a devilish grin as he thought of the pleasures their diamond foretold. "I believe we will enjoy that. The inner color is like my eyes, just as my tear was."
"Does that represent us?"
"It would appear so. Your passion and my eyes." He traced her lip with a gloved finger. "We are bound at the soul as we were meant to be. The Curse is defeated. I wish past Goblin Kings had been so lucky." He looked sadly at the three solitary stones that had belonged to his parents. Both had had soulmates with whom they had been prevented from joining, so like the diamond that had been his grandfather's tear, theirs sat alone in his palm.
"I love you, Jareth," Sarah was swept with an unbearable emotion that made it hard for her to breathe.
"And I you, my Sarah." He looked around the clearing with distaste. "I want nothing more than to show you how much, but not in this place where evil dwelt and I have one more task before we can leave." He nodded toward the small heap of green-gray ash that had once been a Curse.
Jareth picked up a stick as he crossed the clearing to finish the battle he had started. Kneeling carefully, so as not to get any ash on his boots, he used the stick to sift through the charred remains.
"What are you looking for?" Sarah leaned over his shoulder and watched with interest.
"The source of the Spell's power, it must not be left behind. Ahhh," he smiled with triumph. "I do believe I've found it," he uncovered a small lump of coal, with a crystalline edge along one side. "And Declan owes me a bottle of 1533 Zinfandel, Elvish Special Reserve. That Fae has an entire case hidden away in his wine cellar and refuses to share! Well he's going to have to share now, he lost this bet."
"What are you talking about?" Sarah grinned at Jareth.
"This," elation gleamed from his mismatched eyes as he pointed to all that was left of the power behind the Curse. "I was right. The source of Caliban's Spell was a tear from my great-great-grandfather, Jared."
"But how could Caliban have gotten it. You guard those tears so carefully, wasn't it always so?"
"Yes, it was, but Jared trusted his best friend, who was also captain of the guard and head of his army." He shrugged. "If you trust someone with the safety of your Kingdom, you're not much of a King if you wouldn't trust them with your personal safety. Protection of the tear was probably just one of Caliban's many responsibilities. The clue was in the wording of the actual Curse. Wiseman showed me the copy that was written down by someone who was there when the words were uttered." Jareth closed his eyes and called to mind exactly what he'd read. "Caliban said, 'that he'd used Jared's power against him'. Declan and I tried for years to discover what that meant. Though Declan is my most trusted aide, he has too much integrity to ever betray me and is too soft-hearted to fight dirty. It's no wonder he never believed me."
"Would there be enough power in one tear to cause all that damage for thousands of years?" If she weren't looking at the warped remains of a diamond, she would have doubted Jareth too.
"Caliban did have magic of his own, which I'm sure he used as a basis for the spell, but it was the tear that fuelled it. My mother believes that the Curse sent the human females to us when it would be reprehensible for us to join with them. If that's true, then controlling the Labyrinth book was the only thing true magic was needed for, and since it was spread over thousands of years, one tear could manage it easily. It was a diabolic spell when you think about it. We, the kings, were the ones that put ourselves through pain. The book sent you to me, but I had to choose not to seduce you at 15. My father could have applied for a writ of dissolution of marriage from my mother, freeing him to be with his human female, but to do so would have ripped the Goblin Kingdom apart as High Nobles fought for the Crown, since Cormac would have had to advocate. And if his dissolution was granted, I would have been declared illegitimate and forbidden to rule."
"What are you going to do with it?" Sarah nodded toward the offending object. She hated the thought of it joining the other, beautiful stones in Jareth's hand. "I know it belonged to your great-great-grandfather, and should probably be with the others in a museum or someplace, but it was an object of evil for so long, it doesn't seem right."
Jareth carefully ran his hand a few inches above the remains of the Curse. "Like the diamonds, the magic is gone, but you're right, it was evil for too long." He stood and crushed the tiny piece of coal under his boot-heel. Then muttering words understood by only the most powerful Fae, he called upon the Winds of Forever to come and carry the remaining ash and molecules of coal to all the far parts of all the Worlds. Never again would one piece of the Curse be anywhere near any other. Never again could they join even as benign pieces of matter.
"Come love, it is time to go home." He wrapped one arm around her waist, beneath the cape she was still wearing and with the other he held her face against his neck. "That's much better," he smiled and murmured as he felt her arms wind around him, pulling him close, instead of resting passively on his shoulders like last time.
We belong to the light
We belong to the thunder
We belong to the sound of the words
We've both fallen under
Whatever we deny or embrace
For worse or for better
We belong, we belong
We belong together
We Belong Pat Benatar
Moments later they materialized in the midst of the throne room of the Castle Beyond the Goblin City. Unlike when Sarah had dashed thought it to make her escape, it was not deserted, but full of beings. Chaos erupted the second it was apparent that Jareth had returned. Everyone tried to talk at once.
"This was a mistake," Jareth leaned and whispered in Sarah's ear. "I should have transported us directly to my chambers." He grinned as she blushed, but quickly straightened and wiped all emotion from his face.
"Quiet!" His voice rang out cool, calm and not to be argued with. The crowd parted as he strode to his throne with Sarah in tow. No matter how much she wanted to make herself inconspicuous, at that moment, he wasn't about to let go of her hand. "As you can see…" even Jareth's voice ground to a halt when he looked around a room that he thought he'd known well, but in the amount of time it had taken him to destroy the Curse, everything had changed. He cleared his throat and started speaking again, "as you can see, the Curse has been broken."
He took time to look over his subjects and take in the changes. Sunlight streamed in every window, where before there had been just enough to keep things growing. The stone walls of his castle sparkled white in the new light. No longer were they dark and damp and almost impossible to keep clean. Large flowers bloomed in profusion on the ancient plants at the long windows. Never in the history of the Goblin City had they ever bloomed. But the best change was the one in the Goblins. There was new purpose in their steps and intelligence shone from their eyes. Jareth only hoped that their magic would return as slowly as it had been taken away or he would have some difficult years ahead of him. When creatures possessed power, without the knowledge to handle it properly, damage could be done unknowingly.
"This is the Lady Sarah. She was instrumental in helping me find the power behind the ancient magic and she will be your Queen, very shortly." Jareth nodded and smiled at the woman at his side.
"Sarah," a familiar voice drawled from the back of the room.
"My Lady," a little dog moved forward and bowed to his King and Queen-to-be
"He did it," a dwarf whispered as he pushed his way through the crowd.
"There are three among you who were part of my quest to win Sarah and destroy the Curse." He nodded at Sarah's friends and held his hand out, beckoning to the ceremonial sword of the Goblin King that hung on the wall to his right. The sword and scabbard disappeared form the wall and reappeared in his hand. "Step forward, Ludo the Rock Conjurer; Hoggle, Keeper of the Labyrinth Gate; Sir Didymus, Knight of the Underground Realm and be honored."
All three shuffled shyly to stand before their king, while Goblins, Fae, and Dwarves looked on. Not since the Great War with the northern territories, when King Cormac had been newly crowned, had a Goblin King honored folk of common blood.
"Kneel," Jareth commanded. Moments later he drew his great sword and touched Ludo on first the right shoulder then the left. When he placed it on the beast's bowed head he began to speak again. "I dub you Sir Ludo, Knight of the Moving Rocks." He silently moved on to Hoggle and repeated the gesture, but when he touched the little dwarf's head he spoke. "I dub you Sir Hoggle, of the Labyrinth." When he turned to Didymus he stopped for a moment; the little dog was already a Knight. "Sir Didymus, my father knighted you for your bravery in battle against the northern usurpers over 500 years ago. He gave you the title of Knight of the Underground Realm, and to that I add the Order of the Windmill." He smiled to himself and hoped the little Knight wouldn't injure himself too badly jousting with the new structure that would be built beside the Bog. "Arise Sir Knights and be known to all for your bravery and loyalty to your King, the Labyrinth and the Underground." With that he did the unheard of and bowed to the three standing before him, to the wild cheers of the crowd.
When he straightened, he the saw tears running down Sarah's cheeks. His brows rose and he shook his head as he moved closer to her and gently wiped them away. "With a human wife I think I'll need to get a larger sack for storing tears."
"I love you," she whispered as his bare fingers touched her face and rolled her tears into crystals.
"And I you, my love." When he looked away from her deep green eyes, he saw his mother and Declan standing behind her.
"Very nicely done," Livia smiled at her son. Her pride in his kingly demeanor radiated from her blue eyes.
"Thank you," Jareth nodded and sent the Sword of the Goblin Kings back to the wall where it belonged. "Mother, I'd like to present to you Sarah Williams, my betrothed." He grinned at Sarah's confusion as she automatically reached out to shake hands, but thought better of it and did a hasty curtsey, using his long black cape, which was still draped over her shoulders, instead of a skirt. "Sarah, this is Livia, Dowager Queen of the Goblins, my mother."
"Pleased to meet you, ma'am…I mean, your Highness." The young woman blushed and discreetly elbowed Jareth in the side for catching her unawares.
"The pleasure is all mine," Livia grinned. Her sharp eyes hadn't missed a thing since the couple appeared in the room. It was obvious the children loved each other deeply, and it was just as obvious that Sarah was not about to let Jareth get away with his usual tricks.
"Your Highness," Declan bowed formally to his friend and was introduced to Sarah, as well.
"I can see you're bursting to greet your friends," Jareth turned and whispered to Sarah. "I've some business of my own to attend to." He nodded toward his mother and Declan. "I'll be in my office. It's through that door," he pointed to the left of his throne. "Enjoy your reunion. They have missed you, almost as much as I did."
"Thank you." She stood on tip-toes and kissed his cheek. It made him grip her hand all the tighter. "I've missed them, too," she whispered. "But not as much as I missed you."
"Don't be long." His mismatched eyes danced with desire that made her tingle. He watched as she shook her head then turned to be caught in Ludo's excited embrace.
A reckless night in a nameless town
And we moved out of sight, with a silent sound
A beach that wept with deserted waves
That's where we slept, knowing we'd be safe
If You Think You Know How To Love Me Pat Benatar
As much as she enjoyed seeing her friends again, Sarah was anxious to get back to Jareth. All she wanted to do was touch him and assure herself that everything that had happened was real. When she entered his office, he and Declan were in deep discussion over what was to be done with the tears. It was Livia who noticed how Sarah's shoulders drooped in exhaustion and suggested she took her to the King's dressing room, where a hot bath had been drawn for her.
"I'm afraid I don't have anything to wear," Sarah looked sadly as the maid carried her damp, mud-covered clothes away to be cleaned. She felt vulnerable and in awe in the presence of the beautiful woman who was Jareth's mother.
"I'm sure I can find you something." Livia had no qualms about opening her son's wardrobe and rifling though his clothes. "This should do," she placed one of Jareth's shirts over the chair beside the huge bath Sarah was soaking in. "Don't worry about the bath, it'll empty itself as soon as it perceives you're no longer in it. Your dinner should be here any moment now. I'll wait for you in the sitting room."
"Thank you, I'll be out shortly." The younger woman sighed. It was evident from whom Jareth had inherited his air of hauteur and general demeanor.
A few minutes later Sarah found Livia sitting on the couch in front of a large fire, in the sitting room of Jareth's chambers. The table in front of her had been set with dinner for one.
"I was right." The Dowager Queen of the Goblins smiled as the mortal walked towards her. "That shirt is big enough on you to fit like a short dress from the Aboveground."
"It…ahhh…it'll be just fine." Sarah could feel herself blush. This was not a conversation she'd ever imagined having with the mother of the man she was about to sleep with, especially in said man's bedchamber.
"Come here, it's much warmer by the fire. Our nights are getting chilly as autumn approaches." Livia patted the couch beside her. "Sit, eat, you must be starving."
Sarah settled beside the older woman. No matter how hard she tried subtly tugging on the hem of Jareth's shirt, she couldn't get it to cover her knees while sitting.
"It is becoming on you, you know." Livia smiled at the lovely dark-haired woman whom her son loved.
"I've embarrassed you?"
"I'm sorry, but you're Jareth's mother," Sarah flushed a deeper shade of red as she looked at the Dowager Queen and shrugged.
"Ahhh, I see," Livia grinned. The girl was as innocent as Jareth had believed. "You needn't worry; I'll be long gone before he gets here."
"Ohhh," Sarah couldn't take it anymore, she hid her face in her hands.
"Oh dear," she patted the younger woman's shoulder. "You must remember that we're Fae. Our pleasures are very much a part of who we are. I know it is different with humans. You have yet to exchange vows, but I'd be worried about the happiness of your marriage if you were insisting on separate bedrooms." Livia sighed, not wanting to reveal too much, but knowing that Sarah needed some reassurance. "Did you know that my son is in awe of your innocence? It has eaten at him for nine years that he may have been inappropriate with you when you were here last."
"He wasn't. He was perfect for who I was then." Sarah thought back to her time in the Underground as a 15 year-old girl. It had been her own doubts that had caused her to be so frightened by the charming, attractive King who had captivated her from the moment she saw him. "And I can't image Jareth being in awe of anything – or anyone." She shook her head trying to make sense of the conversation. "Why are you telling me all this?"
"For many reasons," Livia settled more comfortably on the sofa and turned to look at the young woman who would shortly be her daughter-in-law. "I was a Goblin Queen for more years than I care to remember, so I should say it is because you helped save our Kingdom, but that would only be part of it. I saw what happened to my son when you defeated the Labyrinth and then went Aboveground. Part of him shattered like the Escher Room. It is what happens to us when our other half is taken away." She saw the younger woman flinch at the mention of the damaged room. "I gather you saw the empty spaces and hanging rocks?"
Sarah could only nod in shock.
"Like the magic that kept the Escher Room from crumbling to dust, Jareth was able to stay strong, as well, though incomplete. If you had been truly out of his reach, the rocks in the room would have crumbled to nothing and so would he. You're back now, and the Escher Room has reformed. It is the beautiful puzzle room it was meant to be. And my son is complete and truly happy for the first time in his life. I don't need to worry that he will die long before his time of a broken heart as all the other Goblin Kings have done."
"But I didn't do anything special." Suddenly Sarah remembered having a conversation very much like this one with her stepmother. She said simply, "He's the man of my dreams."
"If he hears that too often, I'm afraid he won't be able to fit his crown on his head for State occasions." Livia stood and straightened her skirts. "I can see you love him as much as he loves you. That is a precious thing in our world. Hold onto it tightly, for it will give you both great joy." The Dowager Queen of the Goblins smiled sadly because she had known that joy for a few short years. Then death had taken it away from her and there had only been emptiness until Cormac had offered her his friendship, his hand in marriage, and a Kingdom to help rule. A few years later, he'd given her their son to love. "Now I shall take my leave, because as you pointed out, this is no place for a mother, at this time."
An hour later Jareth quietly stole into his chambers. He'd bathed elsewhere so he wouldn't wake Sarah. He slipped out of a robe he'd had brought him and crawled naked into bed next to the woman he'd loved for so long. No matter how much his spirit wanted to pull her beneath him and make love to her, he knew his body was too tired. Instead, he folded his long limbs around her shorter ones and fell asleep, content for the first time in nine years.
Make me feel again
Side across my skin again
Let me uncover you to rediscover you
And I will open up
If you promise to give in
On this perfect night
Let the two of us be one
To Be With You Hoobastank
Sarah was warm and she felt wonderful. She could smell the intoxicating scent of moonbeams and magic all around her and it made her moan. A long slim hand slipped beneath the material of the ivory silk shirt she was wearing and her flesh sprang to life. "Please don't let this be another dream," she murmured.
"But, my love, I said I'd give you your dreams." A low, mellifluous voice whispered in her ear.
"Jareth, is that really you?" Sarah was afraid to open her eyes and find that she was in her bed at the farmhouse and about to dream again.
"In the flesh," wicked laugher rippled through his words.
"Hhhmm," she smiled and turned towards the warmth beside her. As her bare leg brushed against his and her hand come in contact with his naked chest she shivered. "You really are here and in the flesh." She opened her eyes and it all came flooding back. "Did you get any sleep at all?"
"More than enough, it's almost dawn. I came in about six hours ago and you were sleeping the sleep of the innocent." He rolled her beneath him and felt her catch her breath. "Sarah, are you afraid of me like this?"
"No," she gasped and took his face between her hands. She felt herself blush. "Just unsure of what to do next."
"Follow my lead and I'll take you where you want to go." He slowly began to unbutton the shirt she was wearing. "You seem to have a fascination for wearing my clothes," he teased to relax her. "Shirts and capes are one thing, but I draw the line at my breeches." He punctuated each word with a kiss as the shirt separated, exposing more and more of her creamy skin.
"And here I thought you've wanted me in your breeches for years." Sarah laughed.
"Oh, you are a quick study." His hands parted the shirt and he lifted her so he could slide it off first one arm then the other.
Suddenly her laughter stopped and she looked up at him with huge green eyes. Her hands shyly reached out to explore his shoulders and chest. She was rewarded when he groaned.
"You like that?" She looked up at him under her eyelashes.
"Very much so," Jareth's voice was husky with need, but he was as determined to take it as slowly and carefully as he had before.
"Good, because I want to touch you everywhere." Sarah remembered how it had felt when he had tasted her skin; she raised her head and ran her tongue around and around one of his nipples, as her fingers brushed across the other. She felt his instant response as his hardness pressed into her stomach.
"Easy, love," he moaned and ducked his head to take her mouth with his. "Slowly."
"I don't want to!" She gasped and lightly nibbled on his lip while rocking her hips to get his attention.
"You are impatient." He flung the covers to the foot of the bed and rolled to his side. One arm was around her shoulders keeping her pinned on her back against him and the other explored her body from thigh to breast and back again. "And so very beautiful." He reached for her right nipple and gently tugged while his mouth covered her left one.
"Ohhh," she gasped as lightening shot from where he was touching her straight to her groin.
"And so very responsive." He looked up with burning eyes.
For the first time, Sarah saw him naked. The bright light of the setting moon shown in the window and played over his pale skin. "I want to touch you," her voice was husky as she ran her hands over his well-muscled chest, flat stomach and finally grasped his shaft. "You feel incredible," she whispered and gasped as it jumped in her hand. "Like velvet-covered steel." She arched her back and rocked her hips as she ran her hand up and down its length. "I want you in me now! Please don't make me wait any longer," she begged. "I've had enough nights that end with only cold loneliness, and last time was even worse, because I had a taste of what we could create together, and then it was torn from us." She moved frantically against him as her fear grew.
"Easy, my love," he rolled her beneath him and quieted his own fears that he would move too fast for her. His only experience with virgins was with Sarah. "This will not end like other nights for you. And the ground will shake again, I promise you, but only we will feel it." His hand crept lower until he could feel her warm wetness and satisfy himself that she was ready for him.
She moaned in pleasure as his fingers probed. Her hips surged upwards craving his touch. Fire burned in her depths, and her need for him intensified.
"Sarah, look at me, open your eyes. I want to see what you feel." The time for slow was over. He gently spread her thighs so she could feel the weight of him against her.
"Ohhh," she gasped, hardly able to breathe. She felt awed by his generosity as he let her feel the velvet weight of him resting between her legs. "Now, please," she gritted her teeth to keep from screaming in need. Her hips rocked in tiny up and down movements, rubbing against him.
"Yes, now," Jareth's voice was rough with desire as he positioned himself at her opening. "There may be some discomfort at first," he tried to warn her, but she was beyond rational thought and reared up, impaling herself with one deep thrust.
"I love you," her words came out gruff and breathy as sensations of pleasure were fed by the slight pain she felt at being completely filled for the first time. "You would never hurt me."
"Oh my love," Jareth tenderly brushed her hair away from her face as he fought to hold himself still deep within her, when every fiber of his being was begging to thrust hard and deep to find his own completion. Then he lost the battle and his hips moved while his lips took her mouth and plundered. He felt her hands pressing on his bottom, urging him deeper with each thrust.
"Jareth," she cried out over and over again, as the world exploded around her. The only solid thing in her wild world was the man above her. As she was floating to earth to the exotic tune of tiny inner contractions she felt him thrust deeper than before. He groaned her name and she watched in amazement as he caught his breath and locked deep inside of her; joy transformed his face.
Share each day with me,
Say you love me…
You know I do…
Love me –
That's all I ask of you
All I Ask Of You – Phantom of the Opera (Sarah Brightman)
Hours later Sarah woke up with her naked body intertwined with Jareth's. After they'd made love the first time, the night had seemed to stand still. They had caressed and touched each other over and over again. Jareth had guided Sarah to all the gentle places where passion lived. "Good morning," she smiled sleepily, her voice heavy with pleasure.
"It's no longer morning, my love," he continued stroking her skin as he'd done so often in the times when they held each other between lovemaking. "I can't seem to be able to stop touching you."
"Hhhmm, that's all right with me." Sarah snuggled closer. "I feel the same way about you."
"You're not sore are you?" He raised his head and looked her in the eyes. "We did get rather carried away, a number of times." He grinned when he thought about how eager Sarah had been to explore different ways of finding and creating pleasure.
"We did, didn't we?" She blushed and her breath caught. "But I'm fine. In fact, I wouldn't mind starting all over again." She leaned over and kissed a spot on Jareth's neck that she'd discovered was particularly sensitive.
"Or we could try something completely new." He rolled her beneath him and gripped her wrists with one hand, holding them high above her head. Last night he'd been the considerate lover, this morning he wanted to try something different. "How does my Lady like this position?" He grinned and nibbled on an exposed nipple as he kept her pinned to the bed.
Sarah's chin dropped open in surprise, and her eyes flared with desire, but before she could answer, someone knocked on the door.
"Damn! This had better be important!" Jareth growled as he jumped out of bed and grabbed his black silk robe from where it had landed on the floor some time during their exuberance the night before.
Sarah shivered with desire and pulled the covers up over her shoulders even though she knew no one would be able to see her from the hallway door to the King's chambers. She heard voices, Jareth's at first terse, and then he was laughing. She hoped that whoever had knocked was not now doing the sidestroke through the Bog of Eternal Stench.
Moments later Jareth rounded the corner to the sleeping area with a tray in his hands, a large flat box under one arm and a hand-blown corked bottle under the other. He was struck again by Sarah's beauty as she sat up with the sheet pulled to her shoulders and her long dark hair trailing down her back. Her lips were slightly swollen as if they had been well-kissed and her green eyes were dark with passion. "It was Declan," he shrugged and then laughed. "No one else would have the nerve."
"I can imagine." She let the sheet drop as he put the tray on the bed and took off his robe before sliding in beside her.
"I couldn't very well send him head first into the Bog when I'd asked him to bring me this," he indicated the flat box, "as soon as it was ready. Besides he thought you'd need some nourishment after last night."
"He didn't say that, did he?" Sarah gasped, suddenly embarrassed.
"No, he said I was the one who needed the nourishment. Here try this. It isn't that vile brew you Abovegrounders favor in the morning, but give it a try. It's made from kava leaves that are ground until they're very fine than steam is run through them."
"This is good," Sarah sipped the strong morning brew. It tasted like espresso with a hint of chocolate. "What else have you got there?" She reached out and took a bite of toast liberally covered with honey.
"You mean besides breakfast?" He held out the bottle of wine that Declan had handed over with the tray. "This, my dear, is one of the last few remaining bottles of 1533 Zinfandel, Elvish Special Reserve."
"You won your bet!"
"I did and Declan paid up like the honorable Fae that he is." Jareth reached behind him and handed the large flat box to Sarah. "This is your engagement present, the reason I was so late last night and the only reason I answered the door just now." His eyes moved over her body, making her blush.
"Jareth…" Sarah's breath caught in her throat and she put her cup and toast back down on the tray. "There's no need. You're all I've ever wanted. You don't have to give me gifts."
"I want to give you gifts." He caressed her face. "Open it."
Sarah's fingers shook as she opened the box and then she could hardly breathe at what she saw. Nestled in midnight-blue velvet was an intricate platinum chain that contained five diamonds. The center one was the largest. It was a fourteen-carat brilliant-emerald-cut blue-white stone with a center of sapphire mixed with yellow diamond. The smaller, two-carat emerald-cut stones were placed as baguettes, flanking the middle one. Two on each side. "Are these the tears?"
"Yes, and it is fitting that the woman who helped set their sorrow free should be the first to wear them." Jareth reached for the chain and fastened it around her neck. It was a perfect fit. "The four smaller ones are from my father, my grandfather and my mother. Since their power was unleashed to help kill the Curse, it is impossible to tell them apart. But ours," he caressed the large stone that had been created when theirs fused together. "Our joined tear, there is no mistaking it and it is the only one that contains any magic anymore. It's your magic."
"I don't have magic." Sarah shrugged, confused.
"You have the magic of love and passion. You locked it away in your soul all those years, waiting for me. When I fought the power of the Curse I could feel it and it added to my strength. It was what caused our tears to become one. Never doubt your magic, Sarah, because I am a slave to it."
"I love you," her eyes began to fill at his beautiful words. "And suddenly I'm not very hungry." She pushed aside the tray.
Jareth put it on the floor and watched his Queen-to-be as her eyes overflowed and tears ran down her face. "I think this is going to be a full time job," he sighed with laughter in his voice. But instead of wiping away her tears and turning them into crystals, he held her face gently in his hands and licked away the salty tears that ran down her cheeks. "Hhhmm, what's this I taste?" He grinned as his tongue flicked at the corner of her mouth. He remembered watching her take a bite of the honey-covered toast that had accompanied their morning brew. "You taste very sweet today."
With a flick of his wrist her necklace was back in its box on the nightstand and he had the tub of honey in his hand.
"You like the taste of honey?" Sarah rose to her knees, than slid them apart to rest her bottom on the bed facing Jareth. She innocently dipped her finger into the container he was holding and swirled it around. With an impish expression she looked at Jareth from under her eyelashes as she stuck her finger in her mouth and began to slowly suck on it. She sighed daintily as her finger slid out of her mouth and the tip of her small pink tongue trailed up and down from her palm to her nail.
"You, madam, are a tease." He growled, fascinated by the small licking motions she was making.
"Who, me?" She smiled and reached for the honey jar again, but before her hand could come in contact with it, she found herself pushed gently backwards until she was flat on her back with her wrists once again held above her head. Jareth had planted his body between her spread thighs. Her knees were still bent and she was almost sitting on her feet, while he kept her pinned to the bed with one hand. His body pressed into hers and he watched her face carefully to be sure he wasn't expanding her boundaries too fast.
"Yes, you." He ground out. Her body was open and his for the taking. If her dark eyes were any indication, they were both going to enjoy every minute of it. It was what he needed to see before he continued their new game. "There is punishment for little humans who tease a Goblin King."
"Do I get a chance to win my freedom?" She purred as she watched him with anticipation. A bit unsure of herself, but confident that his love for her would guide them both.
"Never," his voice was husky in her ear as he reached behind him for the belt of his robe and carefully tied her wrists to the intricate scrollwork sculpted into the ancient headboard. As his hands caressed her body he kissed her and watched for any doubt that might cloud her eyes, but found only desire.
"Jareth," she gasped and her hips bucked against him when he picked up the honey pot and dripped a trail of the sweet amber liquid down her chest, and around her navel. When he continued on down to between her spread thighs to sweeten all her hidden places, she thought she was going to lose her mind.
He leaned across her to return the jar to the nightstand and then traced her lips with honey-covered fingers. A flash of pink was his only warning as she took his fingers deep into her mouth. "Sarah," he groaned at her innocently seductive gesture. Her eyes fluttered closed as she lost herself in the pleasure of sucking all the sweetness from his skin.
"My turn," his voice was a rough whisper, when she set his fingers free. He took one glistening nipple into his mouth and began to gently nibble on it, her breathing grew ragged and she twined her fingers into the belt above where it loosely held her wrists captive. "Ohhh, please," she mewed and arched her back pushing herself closer to him, needing his touch, needing him.
He stopped what he was doing and grinned at her. "Are you enjoying your punishment, Sarah?"
All she could do was nod and try to remember to breathe as she was rocked with sensations.
"Good, because you're such a delicious creature, my love. And I do want to bring you joy." He leaned over and his tongue began to follow the line of sweetness wherever it led.
"I love you," she whimpered as her body caught fire. She was out of control, and she could feel her need growing, but he kept her too tightly in place to do anything but cry out his name over and over again. She reveled in his power over her as she exploded into a million pieces.
"And I you," Jareth's voice was ragged with need as he felt her hit by deep internal contractions that went on and on as his tongue explored her sweetened skin.
Finally he couldn't take it any more and drove his shaft deep into her slick hot folds.
On the nightstand, in a midnight-blue box, a huge diamond with a sapphire center glowed as the couple a few feet away burned with a passion and love that had united them for all time.
Carry me away and heal my mind
Flow on, river of time
Carry me away and heal my mind
Flow on, river of time
Carry me away and heal my mind
River Of Time Naomi Judd
Outside the window, where the sun shown brightly on the first new day in the Labyrinth, everything looked clean and unsullied. Its inhabitants sang as they worked. Joy had returned when the Curse was broken and even more joy seemed to be emanating from the Castle Beyond the Goblin City.
Flowers bloomed on branches and vines that had never blossomed before. Birds trilled and called exultantly in eager response to something in the air. Light was everywhere, driving out the dark creatures that had skulked in the deep hidden places and terrorized any who lost their way.
Ludo wandered happily along the trails of the Labyrinth, followed by an army of stones. He was going to visit his friend Sir Didymus and watch as the King's carpenters built a strange wooden structure beside a silver spring that had once been the Bog of Eternal Stench.
By the outer wall of the Labyrinth, Hoggle picked flowers and wasn't bothered by faeries as they flitted about. He carefully clutched his bouquet and neatened his hair under his cap. With a spring in his step and thoughts of his newly acquired title of Knight of the Labyrinth, he was off to court Agnes, the Junklady. She had captured his heart nine years ago, but he'd been too shy to say or do anything about it. He decided that if Jareth could win the woman of his dreams, he could too.
At that moment the Labyrinth was truly happy for the first time in its existence. It could feel the love and passion that its King had finally found with the human woman who was wrapped sleeping in his arms.
And Sarah and Jareth lived and loved forever