Chapter 5: Kindling & Fuel
Jessie looked around the room that Jareth had set aside for her. It was large, more so then she would ever need, and it looked cleaner then just about anything she had ever owned. Jessie threw her pack onto the bed and started to unpack.
The candles, which had been lit before her arrival, were aromatic with the scents of berries, vanilla, and sandalwood. They provided ample light despite the large oil lamps being lit. Jessie quickly placed her few things into a handful of drawers. Jareth had allowed a goblin to show Jessie to her room and now she wanted nothing more then to just be alone.
Jessie pushed one of the large windows open and looked at the Goblin City below. There were lights and fires that dotted the dark town. People and creatures moved around, oblivious to the watchful girl above. A strange knotting and tearing in Jessie's stomach came about when she looked at the Goblin City. Here she was, in a castle, when she should be down amongst the people, protecting them.
Jareth's scent caught in Jessie's nose. "I should be down there."
"The room is not to your satisfaction?" Jareth asked, announcing his arrival into the room.
"I never said that" Jessie said not moving to look at the blonde king. She watched as some fool clearly ran out of a shop with some stolen goods. "That chap just stole something." She turned around and glared at Jareth. "And, here I am up in your castle."
"Perhaps he was hungry" Jareth said moving closer to his favorite knight. Jessie had already set aside her long leather coat and sharply pulled her matching gloves off, slapping them onto the table.
"What do you want of me, Jareth?" Jessie asked. "To love you? To be your lover? Or maybe you want a wife and can't find one elsewhere."
Jareth narrowed his eyes, but allowed her to continue.
"I am a knight. I will always be a knight" Jessie finished.
"So quick to cut, even with your sharp tongue" Jareth mused. He stood before her, taller, more regal. "Darling, you'll just have to relax on this little vacation of ours. Let the others take care of the city for a week or so."
"And what would you have me do tonight?" Jessie asked. Jareth narrowed his eyes once again, studying her. He reached over and touched her hair, stroking it. He smiled and looked around the room, as if he were briefly looking at the décor.
"Let's go down to the hot springs" Jareth replied. "We'll wet our tongues with a little wine while we're there."
"Sounds fine" Jessie said. She moved to pick her robe from her bag when she realized that her hair was much longer. She looked up at Jareth after noticing that her hair now hung half way down her back. "My hair didn't satisfy you?"
"You look more feminine like this" Jareth replied. "It suits you." He held his hand out to her. "Let's go, shall we?"
"As you wish" Jessie replied taking his hand.
The hot springs were always delightful. The steam and the minerals in the water seemed to have their own type of magic for relaxation and soothing aches. Jessie sipped at her cool glass of wine and watched as Jareth floated on his back in the hot pool.
"I'm curious Jareth" Jessie asked. She set her glass down on the rocky edge and swam closer to Jareth. "Where do you intend to take me for vacation?"
"It's a surprise. I know how you just love them" Jareth replied. He moved so he was standing in the pool, facing his dark haired knight. "I hope you don't mind that I didn't ask you."
"Are you asking me to believe that I would have had a choice?" Jessie asked. Jareth smirked. He picked up her hand and scowled at the bruises that laced her knuckles.
"You need to be more careful" Jareth said. Jessie pulled her hand from him.
"That's from our little 'discussion' over that dragon" Jessie replied. She gracefully moved through the water and stopped at the edge to take another sip of wine.
"You were completely out of line in that 'discussion'" Jareth said. "I've had others publicly whipped for less."
"I think you underestimated the power of that dragon" Jessie replied. "And, whipped or not, I would still be right about how to go about dealing with it."
"Always defiant" Jareth said moving close enough to brush his body against hers. "It's always so amusing."
"Is that all I am to you? Amusement?" Jessie asked. Jareth smiled.
"Of course not" Jareth replied. "It's nice to have someone around who will speak their mind."
Rushed footsteps came from the hidden stairwell. Jareth and Jessie both watched as a goblin guard ran into the cave.
"Yer Majesty! Yer Majesty!" The goblin yelled between his heavy breathing.
"What is it?" Jareth asked.
"We couldn't stop her, Yer Highness!" The goblin shrieked. Jessie was out of the springs and tying her robe on in an instant. Jareth was doing the same, but not being as rushed about it.
"Her who?" Jareth demanded. The goblin looked as if he had just run a marathon.
"The girl we don't speak of" The goblin replied. Jessie was quickly pulling on her pants and boots, leaving the undergarments. Footsteps were heard on the stairs until a woman appeared. Jessie immediately pulled a dagger from her tall boot and moved between the woman and Jareth.
"Who are you?" Jessie asked.
"Jareth?" The woman called. Jareth moved to stand next to Jessie.
"Sarah?" Jareth whispered. Jessie's eyes widened. The dark-haired woman before her was THE Sarah Williams? The legendary Sarah? The King never spoke her name until now. Jessie had heard all of the stories over and over again and came up with one question: why would she be here now?
"You're the legendary Sarah that beat the Labyrinth?" Jessie asked. Her dagger was still ready for battle. Jareth's hand found Jessie's shoulder. It was obvious he didn't believe that it was her either.
"Who are you? Did he steal your sibling?" Sarah asked. Jessie took a step closer to Sarah. Jessie mentally noted that Sarah played the damsel in distress well. Here she was in a white dress.
"I am a Knight of the Labyrinth, Miss Sarah" Jessie replied. The dress looked familiar. Jessie's mind was trying to remember the Aboveground. She looked at the dress, then back up at Sarah. "You must prove that you're Sarah before I will allow you to pass." Jessie noticed the sad look along the face of the woman before her. "Are you in a wedding dress?"
"Was. Was in a wedding dress" Sarah replied. She looked past Jessie, to Jareth. "I couldn't go through with it. I had to see you at least once more."
"How did you get here without my knowledge?" Jareth growled. Sarah looked as if she saw a glimmer of hope.
"Hoggle. Hoggle got me through the mirror" Sarah replied. "I called to him and I—I..."
"Your Majesty" Jessie said. "Your thoughts?"
"I sense no foul play" Jareth replied. He walked up and stood face to face with Sarah. The woman before him looked to be in her late-twenties, perhaps thirty at the most. She looked more of Jareth's equal. "Is it really you?"
"It is" Sarah replied in the same tone. Jessie holstered her dagger and went to finish dressing. The two whispered about the past and having missed each other. Jessie felt a part of herself become jealous, but she was mainly relieved that she could go back to her normal life.
She slowly dressed, keeping an eye on Jareth the entire time and allowing the two to talk. As soon as she was dressed though…
"Shall I escort you two up to the main level?" Jessie asked. Jareth nodded, his hands never leaving Sarah.
The stairs went up several floors before they actually brought you to a door.
"Sir Jessie, here, is one of the best knights for the Labyrinth" Jareth said. "She is in charge of the Goblin City division, so I frequently see her about."
"I hope Jareth treats you fairly" Sarah said. She had a smile that wouldn't stop and it made the hair on the back of Jessie's neck stand up.
"I work for the Labyrinth, not for His Majesty" Jessie replied. It was easy to fall into order when one was not sure of company. They trotted up the stairs a little more before Jessie spoke again. "I believe you know one of the knights from the BOES. Sir Didymus?"
"I know Sir Didymus" Sarah said happily. "He helped me through the Labyrinth."
"Ah" Jessie grumbled. She allowed Jareth to take over from there and just led the way to the main level. She did, however, send an acorn to the head maid of the castle, asking for her things to be on the main level. A strange sense tugged at Jessie's mind, as if there was something not right. It wasn't one of Jessie's usual senses that were alerting her. It was the strange feeling that someone or something was not right. Jessie stopped mid-step. "Sire, do you sense that?"
"Sense what?" Jareth asked. Jessie sniffed the air, trying to get a grasp on it. "What is it?"
Jessie couldn't shake the strange feeling, but couldn't pin point it either. She shook her head. "It must be nothing. Nevermind."
At the top of the stairwell Jessie collected her things from the head maid of the castle while Jareth was talking to Sarah about his peach orchard that she "just had to visit". Jessie strapped on her usual gear.
"Please tell the stables to ready my horse" Jessie told the maid. The maid nodded and scuttled off. "Your Majesty?" Jareth stopped talking and looked over at Jessie. "Sire, I'll be going back to my usual duties now unless there is something more that you need from me."
"I thought we were still going on vacation" Jareth said. Jessie raised an eyebrow.
"I figured that it was null and void since Miss Sarah is now here" Jessie said politely. Sarah watched the two talk as if she were watching tennis.
"We are still obliged to follow the contract" Jareth retorted. Jessie narrowed her eyes and stepped closer.
"Don't you think the contract is going to be obsolete now?" Jessie asked. Jareth turned to fully face Jessie and stepped closer.
"We must still try" Jareth said. "Otherwise I simply lose."
"What contract?" Sarah asked. Jareth glanced at Sarah and then allowed his eyes to bore into Jessie's.
"As king of the Labyrinth" Jareth growled mere inches from her face. "I am ordering you to be Sarah's personal body guard during her time spent here."
"You can't do that" Jessie growled back. "I am the Elder of the Goblin City. I have duties that I must attend to!"
"Then do it in your spare time" Jareth replied.
"As one of your advisors, Milord, I would advise that this is a poor course of action as I am needed elsewhere" Jessie snapped.
"And, as my advisor, you will also take heed that what is said, is said!" Jareth replied. Jessie grumbled and finally nodded. Jareth straightened himself out and calmly ordered "Sir Jessie, please escort Miss Sarah to one of the spare rooms."
"Yes" Jessie said biting her tongue to make a witty comment. "Sire."