Once they had returned to the Goblin City, Jareth seemed to heal fairly well on his own. He stayed in bed for three days—at Sarah's vehement insistence—drank soup, slept, and screamed the damn Castle down when she changed his bandages every morning and every evening.
As the wounds on his back scabbed over and began to heal, his magic slowly returned to him as well. When Sarah told him that the lash marks would probably leave scars, he threw a fit and broke every piece of furniture in his bedchambers. Thereafter, she informed him that he was fit to leave his bed if he could hurl quarter ton solid wood bed across a room, and that from now on, he could by God change his own bandages.
He had apologized for frightening her and she had relented enough to tell him that she thought the scars would be sexy. He was slightly mollified by this, but he still shouted quite rudely at Elipsabet when he saw her later that day.
Elipsabet, who lately was always close to tears, had started wailing loudly
The look on Jareth's face when Sarah came to find out just what the hell was going on was enough to make her wish she had a camera.
Sarah comforted the deposed queen and told Jareth to behave himself or he'd give himself an ulcer.
"First you turn my throne room into a nursery," he said. "And now my entire Castle into some kind of half-way house."
"How can you not know the meaning of the word 'semantics', but you know what a half-way house is?" she asked him.
He had just grunted without comment and walked out of the room, leaving her alone to deal with the heart-broken Unseelie woman.
That same week, when Jareth finally asked her what had happened, Sarah finally told him. It didn't take nearly as long to tell it as she had thought it would. When she was finished, he's just sat there on the bed looking thoughtful.
"Do you understand any of it?" she finally asked him when he didn't say anything.
"I might have an idea," he said.
After that he started venturing to the Aboveground for a few hours every couple of days. He always returned looking grim, but satisfied with himself, and as often as not, would drag her upstairs and make love to her like he might never again get the chance.
After one of these pleasant episodes, she had run her fingers down his sweat damp stomach and asked him what was wrong.
He told her.
Apparently Sarah's book had become something of an urban legend. After the single publication, no book publisher in the world would touch it. Rumor had it that the book stole children. This, of course, made it highly sought after by rare book collectors and did nothing whatsoever to diminish its popularity among crazy teenagers who thought the whole thing was a hoax, but as with everything, were mad to get their hands on one just to see if it really worked. Consequently, even the most dog-eared and shabby copy was worth a king's ransom.
This did nothing to diminish Aboveground belief the Goblin King, in fact, it doubled it many times over. And since Sarah had used her real name as the character in the story, belief and legend had slowly begun to include her as well.
"So that would explain why I don't need your magic anymore," Sarah said.
"I think so, yes."
She was quiet for a long time, then she said, "He's going to come after us, isn't he?"
She did not have to tell him who she meant. "He can't get you here inside the Labyrinth," he said, smoothing his hand down her hair.
"So now I'm even more of a prisoner."
"You were never my prisoner, Sarah."
"I'm not going to hide from him," she said. "Why should I? He ran from me. Let him come for me if he wants."
Jareth sighed and rested a hand gently on the back of her head. What he did not tell her was that Raspiel would come after them, eventually. But he would never come alone, nor would he be the only one to attempt it. The Unseelie king had disciples both Aboveground and below, and they would all hunt her down at his command for a single taste of her blood.
He did not tell her this because he had no intention of allowing it to ever get that far. He had made a promise to Raspiel in that dungeon, and he intended to keep it. He wanted Sarah to be on her guard, but he did not want her to become skittish and paranoid.
"What does this make me then?" she asked him. "I'm not human anymore, am I? So what does that make me?"
He put a finger under her chin and turned her face up to his. "You are so slight," he whispered against her lips. "So small and delicate and beautiful that no one would ever believe how vicious you can be."
She moved up and swung one leg over him to straddle his hips. She took his face between her hands and brushed light butterfly kisses down his forehead, along his jaw, and finally, his mouth. "La Belle Dame sans Merci hath thee in thrall," she murmured with an amused gleam in her eyes.
He laughed and rolled her beneath him. "So it would seem," he said, and kissed her.
A/N: There is a companion story to this, not very long, and a bit odd, but sort of an offshoot. It describes one of the times that Jareth left Sarah to go to the Aboveground. It is called 'Drunken Conversations of the Immortal Persuasion' if you are interested. I know that I left this story wide open for a sequel, but even though I have enjoyed writing this, I have pretty much lost interest in the Labyrinth fandom, so it is highly unlikely that I will ever write one. Sorry to those of you who were hoping for one, but even finishing this was kind of a struggle for me. Thank you to my constant readers. I am glad that you enjoyed reading this.