Quick update, or this hasn't been updated for so long I can't remember what happened: Jareth gatecrashed the family party, sent Sarah's family to sleep then had a showdown with Sarah's grandmother. All this resulted in Jareth not telling Sarah what he had wanted to, and she left. Grandmother got turned into a pineapple. Jareth decided to bring Sarah back to the Underground. A beetle got killed. Still want to read?
Oh, and Ye be warned: there be swearing. Yar.
Beb sighed, and reflected on the sad fact that he seemed to spend most of his life sighing at one thing or another. He also thought about how he always seemed to end up with - to put it bluntly – the shit end of the stick. It had appeared that Jareth's request for help actually meant 'You do all the hard work while I flounce off and do nothing, and in the end reap the benefits, there's a good goblin'.
Beb sighed once more. Beb had been left to organize the meal that very night, while Jareth went to fetch the mortal. Taking a deep breath he shouted "Icarus! Icarus Dainzaiger Wumpful!" There was a spectacular moment of the complete silence of non-response. "Icky?" Beb tried, weakly.
Icky popped out from behind a nearby statue of a pig "Yessir?" he saluted. "What's the matter?" He stepped over a prostrate Wendle, who was lying on the floor looking at his hand and apparently finding it fascinating.
Beb told it to him straight. "The King is in love with a mortal, and we've got to arrange a meal so he can tell her and stop moping around." There was a random exclamation of "King!" from the aforementioned Wendle.
Icky scratched his arm "Eh?"
The other goblin sighed "We've got to cheer the King up."
"Save our cheerless King!"
"…Yes. Icky, do you know who is on primary cooking duty tonight?" Beb asked.
Icky looked like he was pondering deeply, but the chances of him actually pondering deeply were slim. Tapping a claw on his rusty breastplate thoughtfully, he gave a Beb a shock when he jumped up suddenly. He fished around in his pockets (of which there were many, the seamstress was a little enthusiastic that day). The whole process took around ten minutes. Suddenly, with a satisfied noise, he picked out a small, rather filthy piece of parchment. He squinted at it "Wanda? And Arx, I fink." He blinked at it once more.
Beb sniffed, and delicately removed it from Icky's stubby fingers. He tried to decipher the writing. But what he read was not good. "Wendle and Marx." He stated resignedly. Wendle stirred at the mention of his name and smiled vacantly, giving a little wave.
Icky nodded vigorously "Yessir, yessir." His overlarge helmet closed with a resounding clang.
Beb's eye twitched "Oh, bog." He said thickly, completely ignoring the dazed Icky wandering around blindly behind him. Icky's trajectory was eventually stopped by him falling out of a nearby open window.
Wendle, as well as having the attention span and brain power of a wooden spoon, was notoriously bad at cooking. Most of the goblins in the castle were resigned to going hungry on the night Wendle was on the roster, as they chanced the risk of food poisoning. Severe food poisoning.
It wasn't as if he could rely on Marx either. Marx, in short, was a raging socialist goblin. No one was quite sure how he became a raging socialist goblin. But aside from that, if he had to do any cooking for the King, it would most likely end up being lethal.
He was currently colouring in some pamphlets with crayons.
Therefore, Beb concluded, something else would have to be done. He thought for a moment, and then swung round.
The other seemingly sane occupant of the room was Marx, who was scribbling furiously in the corner. The rest of the goblins were playing pile on each other, not a terribly intellectual game. Beb sidled over, "Erm, Marx?"
Marx looked up "Yes?" he inquired aggressively. Beb blinked "You haven't happened to have seen Icky around have you?" he asked politely.
Marx sniffed "He fell out of the window." He said.
Beb stared at him wide-eyed. "Oh."
"That one. That window over there." Marx pointed with a clawed finger for further clarification. Beb made to leave, and absentmindedly accepted the pamphlet that Marx shoved into his hand. He ran over to the window, hardly registering a proclamation of "Freedom, brother!" from Marx.
He leant out of the window, to see Icky getting up with difficulty. He caught sight of Beb and waved cheerily "Icky fine! Soft landing!" he called, he motioned towards the ground. Beb almost chuckled aloud on catching sight of a very pissed off Kip flattened on the floor.
He moved back thoughtfully. If the King could delegate, perhaps so could he…
"No." Said Kip sourly, then winced and rubbed his tender backside. Beb rolled his eyes "You're part of ROTK aren't you?"
Kip gave him a filthy look from his position on the floor of the throne room, where he was resting his bruised bones "And here I was thinking that SOCK could take care of everything."
Beb was just about the sigh, but stopped himself just in time. His plan was simple, but Kip was being difficult.
"Look, all I want you to do is go Aboveground and get some human food, how hard can it be? The King needs a meal for tonight, for two. I don't think the others would be able to make anything very impressive. He needs you Kip."
Icky walked over "Icky will go. The King needs our help!" He struck a noble pose, and his helmet clanged shut again.
He embarrassedly popped it back up, shaking the stars from his vision. Beb stood sadly, shaking his head "Come on Icky, Kip is too lazy to help."
Kip growled "I know what you're doing."
"What would the rest of ROTK think?" Beb continued sorrowfully. Icky grinned "Terrible, terrible." He said in a singsong tone, catching on.
Kip scrambled up, still frowning "I still know what you're doing!" He sulked for a minute, and then stood a little straighter.
"The King requested this himself, you say? ...Very well then." Kip capitulated, then had the sudden feeling he'd just made a big mistake.
Beb, with a rather frightening large grin on his face, soberly wished them good luck.
Sarah was busy. She was very busy, and therefore had no time to think about anything other than what she was working on. She couldn't think of anything else, especially not that irritating urge to cry.
Her thoughts stopped short, and she bitterly threw her pen across the room. She sat stock still for a moment, gazing at the darkened window, seeing only her own reflection. Then her face crumpled. She pillowed her head with her arms on the table and sobbed.
After releasing her pent-up emotions for a good half hour, she sat up straight rather self consciously, and then went and brewed herself a coffee.
She stood in her kitchen, sipping the almost illegally strong coffee; she thought it was about time that she admitted some things to herself. And not just about the caffeine addiction.
She already knew that she was attracted to Jareth, and had thought that was all. But then she hadn't been crying about any spilt milk (she took her coffee black anyhow). It seemed her emotions were more involved than she had first thought. And…she wasn't sure if Jareth considered her anything more than passing entertainment. She felt drained, and...Really, really hungry.
Sniffling a little still, she shuffled over to her cupboards, deep in thought. She began to rummage through them.
"Hungry?" a voice purred.
Sarah screeched in shock and threw the pack of cereal she had been holding in the general direction of the voice.
Once she registered it was Jareth, her thoughts went quicksilver fast to the state of her face, all red and swollen from crying. She ducked behind her arms, catching a glimpse of an utterly bewildered Jareth with Cheerios adorning his hair, while rather adorable; he was the last person she wanted to see.
"Don't look at me!" she hissed. Jareth blinked, staring at Sarah cowering before him. She peeked at him again, and wafted one of her hands impatiently in the direction of the living room. "Go! Go in there! I'll be out in a minute!" she commanded.
Jareth, wondering at her near perfect ability to always do the unexpected, backed into the living room. He sat down awkwardly.
Meanwhile Sarah had dashed into her bathroom, and quickly splashed cold water over her face, wincing at the temperature. She made a stop in her bedroom, where she brushed her hair and then looked despairingly at the reflection in the mirror. She was wearing a scruffy but comfortable pair of pants and a slightly too large tee shirt. Plus it might suggest something if came back too dressed up. She sighed, and realised that she'd probably kept him waiting long enough. She paused, and looked at her window sill, where the sloth had just reached and was calmly devouring her plant. She squeaked and moved out.
She trotted through to the living room with a sense of resignation. Jareth was sitting on the sofa; apparently she had been gone long enough for him to get bored. He was juggling a few crystals, but he disappeared them as soon as she arrived. She smiled self consciously and sat down on the other end of the sofa. "Jareth," she said softly, gravely, and he found himself gazing at her, annoyingly like a lovesick puppy.
She smiled demurely "There is a sloth in my bedroom."
Jareth was wondering whether that was some sort of innuendo when she stood up briskly "Now, could you send it to a zoo or something? It's rather unnerving having a creature in my bedroom." She said matter-of-factly.
Jareth stood also, but caught her shoulder in a loose grip. She turned in surprise to find him towering over her in height, and managing to look imposing with some cheerios still remaining in his hair. "Sarah, you would do well to remember I am not pest control." He said darkly.
Sarah raised her chin, determined not to be intimidated "And I'm not a zoo!" Not the snappiest or even remotely witty comeback ever said, but it worked.
Jareth sighed and concentrated for a moment. "There, it is back to what it originally was." He paused for an almost dignified moment "A lampshade." He said, in a manner of a man conscious of the fact he has just said something completely ridiculous.
Sarah just smiled gratefully, and sat down. A tricky maneuver, considering her shoulder was still being held by Jareth. After a second's hesitation, he sat down too.
"So, why are you here?" she asked, her concentration being sidetracked by Jareth gently stroking her wrist.
"Well, I wanted to talk to you."
"Hmm…" He had now started to massage her tense shoulders.
"So, I thought, you might as well come to my castle."
"Mmm…" There was a quiet moment when the news slowly sank in "What?"
He shot her a dazzling smile, and grasped her hand in a firm grip. She gazed at him "No, you are not…You wouldn't dare…"
"Excuse me, sir, could you please tell us…?" Kip sighed as the third mortal they'd asked walked off rapidly, mumbling about medication.
Icky was looking a little bored by this point, and was humming airily. Kip sat down on the curbside under the streetlight despairingly, and ran a paw over his face "This is hopeless." He groaned.
Icky sat down next to him "What 'bout the King?" he said, holding a fisted paw by his heart. "He needs us!"
Kip raised an eyebrow "Yes, very nice. Now, let's go back."
The other goblin frowned and pouted "Icky will not ignore his duty!"
Kip stood up, and dusted himself off. Straightening his posture, he marched over to the nearest person. The man was hefting several white plastic bags with single minded determination down the street.
The goblin strode over and tugged on the man's trousers "Excuse me, sir." He said menacingly.
The man stopped dead, and stared at Kip like he was some sort of alien subterranean creature of fantastical imaginings. This was surprisingly accurate.
"Uh…" he said helpfully.
Kip turned around and scowled at Icky. "That's it!" he exclaimed almost hysterically "I am going back. I can't TAKE this anymore!"
The man was looking around, a little jerkily it must be said, as if anyone else was seeing the alien subterranean creature of fantastical imaginings having a nervous breakdown next to his leg.
Kip was stalking away, and looking helpless, Icky tottered after him. The man, feelings stirring in his chest of reminiscence, of lessons spent staring out of the window dreaming of other things, shouted "Wait!"
They both stopped, and turned around.
Beb examined the white bag interestedly, while Icky chattered on in the background about the Aboveground. Kip was looking rather smug.
"Icarus, do be quiet for a moment. As I was saying, I managed to negotiate with the mortal for some of their produce." He said, buffing his nails on his shirt.
Beb dove a paw into the bag, and pulled out a large box. It had a picture of some kind of orange flakes in what Beb assumed was milk. "You reckon they eat this?" he asked doubtfully.
Icky wandered over, and looked inquisitively at a box with a picture of soup on the front. "Whasiss?" he muttered. "Soup should be runny." He said wonderingly, shaking it next to his ear.
However, it seemed he would never find out the solution to the mystery, as a loud indignant shriek echoed through the hallway.
Beb looked thoughtful, "You know, I think we'd better start getting this stuff ready."
Meanwhile, in the dining room, the guest had arrived. And she wasn't in the best of moods. Sarah huffed and stumbled away from Jareth, crossing her arms defensively. He smiled serenely, moving a step closer.
Sarah's eyes widened, and she held out her hands as if to ward him off (about as effectively as shooing a hungry lion). "No. No, no and no." she said in an authoritative voice. "I'm annoyed."
His intense expression changed suddenly, and his whole demeanor became casual. He turned away to look at the doorway almost absently "You're right. We should eat first."
Sarah blinked, and suddenly felt a little underdressed for the occasion. Jareth, she noticed, had managed to change his clothes somehow on the way to the castle. He was magnificently attired in blue. An almost familiar blue outfit…She remembered, and bit her lip.
Rubbing her arms, she moved to a nearby seat, a large affair made of mahogany and smooth red leather. Jareth noticed her movement, and with a suave politeness he gave a quick bow "I will return presently. Please do take a seat."
She scowled and sat down. In the face of his sudden change of mood, her thoughts became introspective.
Pensively, her fingers traced the twisted carve of the arm; the grain was smooth under her touch. She glanced up, surveying her surroundings, trying not to think too much about him. The room was lit rather poorly by flickering candles, set in brackets on the wall. It was painted a deep red; the shadowed portions seemed almost black. The mirrored sheen of the table reflected the dim light in swirls. There were two covers laid, each with an almost obscene number of silver cutlery, ranging from the large to ridiculously small.
She was pondering what the smallest, tiniest fork could possibly be used for (a very small egg? grapes?) when a slight thumping sound caught her attention. She sat up straight "Jareth?" she asked.
She shrieked when something, or someone, grabbed the leg of her trousers. She leapt up, and there was a screech from under the table. A hand over her racing heart, and with wide eyes she stepped forward and peered under the table.
Hesitant bulbous eyes stared back at her. Sarah blinked "Um, hello?" she said gently.
Wendle scrambled out from under the table, and Sarah sat down slowly. "So, what's your name?" she asked, after a period of uncomfortable silence.
The goblin frowned, and was silent for about a minute. "Wendle!" he said finally, looking pleased. With a nod, he plopped down on the floor.
Sarah, having never had terribly much practice at conversing with goblins (some might say there was the small excuse of having her baby brother to rescue at the time), allowed the silence the stretch on.
Wendle picked his nose thoughtfully.
Sarah felt a little reluctant to interrupt, and so the silence stretched on. And on, it missed the awkward turn off and carried straight down the freeway, past the sign 'to excruciatingly painful silence'. However as Wendle had a thick barrier of pure and simple unawareness, he was fine.
Wendle, had he considered actually doing anything with his life, would have been excellent at extracting information from people.
Finally when Sarah had got to the stage when she was wondering whether the smallest, tiniest fork could be used for suicide, Wendle looked up.
"What are you?" he asked, squinting at her. Sarah smiled thoughtfully, "I'm a human." She explained. Wendle stared at her blankly. "Worm?" he questioned.
There was a pause as Sarah realised just how difficult her task was. The feeling was comparable to standing at the bottom of Everest.
"Mortal?" she said weakly.
Wendle frowned. Within his tiny mind something was happening. Dusty synapses sparked and in the dim recesses of his memory, something stirred.
"The King is in love with a mortal, and we've got to arrange a meal so he can tell her and stop moping around."
Beb's dry voice echoed in his mind. Now, an interesting fact to note about Wendle, not that he knew it of course, was that in some respects he was like a Dictaphone. Not in the small electronic gadget respect, but that he had a sort of recording memory. However like a Dictaphone he lacked the processing power to make anything of it, he was just about able to repeat what he had heard. This talent sometimes led him to say very odd things, but mainly he just said odd things because he was an odd goblin. A few times, his talent had got him into trouble. An example was the time when he gaily told the troll emissary what the King really thought of him ('King says you have a face like a bottom!')
Wendle blinked. "King's in loves wiv' a mortal." He cheerily exclaimed.
Sarah gasped, her eyes widening. "Excuse me?" she squeaked in disbelief.
It was just unfortunate that Jareth took the opportunity to enter the room, in time to hear Wendle's exclamation. His eyes widened.
If it had been awkward before, this went way beyond.
A staid goblin woman who apparently noticed nothing ambled in. She gently but firmly moved Wendle out of the way, and went about putting plates on the table. She returned to her trolley, and took out two bowls. Within the bowls was some cuppa soup powder with some parsley thoughtfully put on the top. She placed them on the table.
Then with the same detached professionalism, she hefted the yawning Wendle onto the trolley. She wheeled it out, and the sound of the squeaking wheels gradually got fainter. Jareth closed his eyes briefly and went to shut the door.
Sarah moved over to her place and sat down. She gazed at the soup powder in some bemusement.
"You know," she began conversationally "Some people think they have odd days when three cats sit on their front porch."
Jareth blinked, and sat down. "Sarah, are you feeling quite alright?" he asked guardedly, in a soothing tone.
She looked up with a rueful smile "Sorry. Just…a little shell shocked I guess." She glanced down "And the soup seems to be lacking liquid." It occurred to Sarah that perhaps she was avoiding the issue. She just had to be thankful that she hadn't started on a tangent about anything else.
Jareth leant back, tapping his fingers on the table. "I'm sorry you had to find out that way. From an imbecilic goblin, I mean." He said quietly.
Sarah looked at him searchingly, then smiled waveringly "Oh, Jareth." she said half laughing, half a sob. He stood up gracefully, and slowly walked over to her.
She sniffed, and watched him approach.
He reached her, and held out a hand. Sarah wiped her eyes and took his hand.
Pulling her up, he slid an arm around her waist. She stiffened but accepted his embrace. He stroked her tear-stained face gently. Chuckling in a watery fashion, she muttered "Sorry, I have over-active tear ducts." He shushed her, stroking her hair. They remained that way for a few minutes.
Sarah sighed and pulled back, feeling a little more settled. "Jareth…How to put this…" She saw the slight expression of alarm cross his face "No, not that!" she said quickly.
Taking a deep breath, she started again "It isn't that the sentiment isn't returned. I think I released that today, when I was crying all over my patient's files. I was so sad that I wouldn't see you again, now that you've recovered from you identity crisis."
"No, let me finish. I was worried that you didn't feel anything back. Then, there are all those issues of you being a King of another land, and me being a psychiatrist with a goldfish named Ted."
"Yes, he's called Ted. Now, where was I? Yes, anyway, I knew then that somewhere along the line, from you barging into my office to you barging into my family gathering, I'd started to feel something for you, despite the identity crisis."
"Yes, about that…"
She interrupted him. "Jareth, I think…that despite everything, all the difficulties, I feel, well, happy with you. And, I want to keep that feeling." She smiled at him tremulously.
Without answering, the Goblin King kissed her. He stroked her hair, and chastely kissed her forehead. "Thank you Sarah. I agree completely." He murmured. Sarah grinned, and hugged him fiercely. Jareth laughed rather breathily (most of his air having been forced out of his lungs), and tugged at her hair gently to gain better access to her mouth.
Suddenly, as if a thought just occurred to him, he moved back. "Sarah, there is…there's something I haven't told you."
Her face fell, and her brain ploughed up images of seventeen children, six mistresses and a gay lover.
He held her close, and whispered "I don't think I'm quite over my identity crisis. I turned your grandmother into a pineapple."
She smiled against his chest. "Oh, that's alright then."
Wow. It's done. Can't believe it. Hope you didn't choke on all the fluff. Sorry for the delay, which at times seemed less like delay and more like oh my god will I ever finish it. Hope this chapter is okay; it's like, my longest ever. It's been a long ride, I must say. Okay, this is beginning to turn into a weepy Oscar acceptance speech. I'd better stop soon. But this has been fun, and I hope it's been fun for you too! By the way, if I forgot to disclaim 'I don't own Labyrinth'. But I'd like to think Beb, Wendle and the others are mine :)
Ooh, before I forget, a huuuge thank you to everyone who's read and reviewed! I was going to do a great big list of all the names but my courage (and motivation) fails me!
Now, the million dollar question.