Jareth couldn't understand it. She had run away from him again. It seemed no matter what he did, she ran away from him in the end.
He sat down with a sigh as the ballroom pieced itself together and started up again. How many times had he done this? He'd lost count. He stared at the dancers as they whirled without seeing them. Somewhere, a recreation of Sarah had started to thread her way through the dancers, looking for him. In this crystal he could replay what had happened over and over, trying different ways to get Sarah to stay. He wanted to know what he could possibly have done that would have convinced her to stay with him, forget about her brother, to just be with him.
Jareth was beginning to think that there was no chance that she would ever have stayed. No matter what tact he tried, what he said, what he did, she would always run away from him, breaking out to go rescue her brother. Perhaps he should just give up. It wasn't like him to just admit defeat, though. He wasn't even sure why it was so important to him. He just needed to know; was there ever any chance she would have accepted him?
He cushioned his head in his hands, weary of this dream. He didn't think he could go through seeing her escape him once more. Seeing the way she looked at him, fled his presence to break the dream and eventually break him too. He took a deep breath and slowly let it out, opening his eyes. Just in his line of vision he could see the edges of a dress he knew so well. He stood up and looked down into that expression that was imprinted on his brain by now; slightly dazed and almost frowning at him.
He smiled wryly and said, "Not this time."
The frown deepened, and Sarah cocked her head slightly. He laughed self-deprecatingly and said, "You're just going to run away again, like you did originally, like you have every other time. And why not? You're supposed to be exactly like her, react the same as she would. Of course you would run."
At her continued open-mouthed confusion, he cleared her mind, letting her gain focus. "My brother," she started, turning away from him. He caught her arm.
"One question, then you can go, break the dream, destroy the ballroom, shatter my crystal, crush me," he said, stopping himself from continuing, staring into her eyes. She stared back, eyes widened, perhaps in fear, perhaps in curiosity. Whichever it was, she nodded her head once for him to continue.
He took a deep breath. "Why?" He asked, the question burning him deep inside. He went on, "Why do you run from me? No matter what I do, what tricks I try, how I talk to you, dance with you, woo you, compliment you, tell you that everything you do is beautiful, that my heart is yours, still you run. Why?" His tone became exasperated. He was tired of this, he wanted answers, he wanted to know whether it was impossible for her to love him in return.
The Sarah before him contemplated his question, looking at the floor. When she glanced back up at him, she looked uncertain. "Do you," she started, before putting more strength into her tone and continuing, "Do you really love me?"
He laughed and smiled tiredly at her. "My dear how could I not?"
She looked dazed again, and this time he knew it wasn't from any fruit. "Oh," she said.
In previous ballrooms he had told her he loved her, and she always seemed to have trouble believing him. He never tired from seeing the look she gave him. So uncertain, guarded, like she wanted to believe him, but was expecting him to be lying. This wasn't the real Sarah, though, so he had no problem being completely honest. Besides, she had turned him down so often and scampered away he was used to it. Well, as much as you can get used to a girl ripping out your heart and stamping on it a few times for good measure.
"Is it that you cannot love me?" He asked, both dreading the answer but needing to know with every fibre of his being. "You are afraid of me? Do not want me?"
She looked up at him and a small smile appeared. "No," she replied at length. "No, I think I could be quite capable of accepting you love, loving you in return, but…" she trailed.
"But?" He asked, his heart somewhere between jumping out through his throat and dropping into his stomach.
"My brother," she said simply.
"Your brother?" He said with a frown. "Your brother? What could your brother possibly-" he cut himself off spinning away from her, running a hand through his hair as he tried to calm himself. He couldn't comprehend it. What was it about her brother-?
She interrupted his thoughts. "I have to get him back, you see." He looked at her. She looked regretful, her eyes were pleading with him to understand. "I can't leave him here, to be a goblin, to grow up without his mother, unloved. If I accepted your offer I'd forfeit my brother, wouldn't I?" He nodded once, a deep scowl etched into his face as he listened, thinking, figuring it out. "I just can't do that," she said simply. She moved towards him and cupped his face in her hand. "I'm sorry, but this is just something I have to do."
His scowl was turning to an overwhelmed look of understanding. It didn't have anything to do with her and him, she might have accepted him had it not been for her brother… mightn't she? He caught her hand as she started to turn away.
"Wait!" He said desperately. She turned back to him, a sad look lingering in her eyes. "If I were to approach you, after all this is over, would you take me then?"
She took a breath to answer, then paused. "I don't know," she said frowning at the floor as she thought. She looked at him. "Perhaps, depending on how things turn out here. How far will you go to stop me, what lengths will you go to to keep my brother?" She looked at him and said softly, "Will I win him back?"
She wasn't expecting an answer, but he kissed her hand that was still so close to his face. "So I stand a chance? If I went to you after you finish?"
She bit her lip as she looked up at him. "Perhaps," she said again. They stared at one another for a long moment, as the other dancers continued their whirling dance around them, oblivious to them.
Finally Jareth let go of her hand. "Perhaps is more than I had yesterday." His mouth curved into a smile as she ran to the edge of the ballroom, picking up the same chair she always did, smashing the dream for the last time. This time, the ball didn't start again. This time Jareth let it fall around him. Because now he had tomorrow. And boy, was he looking forward to it. Now he had perhaps.
This is a one shot, however, if I ever find the time, which is unlikely given all the work I'm supposed to be doing, and if I can think of anything to write, then I may do a sequel.
I'm so sleep deprived. I bought some tablets today to help me sleep, so hopefully I'll be refreshed for work tomorrow… The joy. This was written at around two last night, and reread by my tired self today, so if I have missed any mistakes, I apologise. Oh, and if anyone's interested, I was listening to 'You And Me' by Lifehouse over and over as I wrote this, since that was what was going through my head when I thought of it.
Now, to do uni work, like I should be doing…