As most of you already know, I was very sick which is why this story was on hiatus for song long. I apologize, but the situation was out of my control.
I love this story, it's one I'm really proud of…and I'm pleased to bring you the final chapter.
As I do with most of my stories, I plan to add an epilogue containing a more graphic intimate scene. I do not have an ETA on that, but this chapter will be the official end.
Thank you all so much for reading…your encouragement and love helped me through a really tough time in my life.
Also, please leave me some feedback as to what story you'd like me to create next. More Labyrinth? Phantom? Any takers on either?
The air was cool and crisp, causing Sarah's hair to whip around her face. It was still cold, colder than it should have been for an April morning in New England, but to Sarah, it felt like home.
While the ground had been covered with a fresh blanket of snow the last time Sarah had seen her childhood home, it was now a pre-spring brown, with stubborn premature flowers making their presence known to the world. As she had always done as a child, Sarah carefully stepped over the small purple blossoms, making her way towards the steps to her front door.
She turned suddenly, aware that Jareth had stopped moving several steps behind her.
He stood in her yard, looking hesitant and unsure, something Sarah was not used to. She had chosen the clothing for the trip aboveground, promising Jareth that he could change immediately after the visit was over. He was dressed in sleek blacks, with a leather duster coat that reached his ankles. His hair was less outrageous, but nothing could be done about the ethereal glow that radiated from his very skin.
"Are you coming?" She asked, one foot on the front porch steps.
Jareth's face twisted. "Perhaps you should enter first," he replied. Sarah smiled.
"Scared?" She jibed.
Jareth's eyes narrowed slightly. "Am I to believe you suffered no level of apprehension upon meeting my parents?"
"I didn't have time to be apprehensive," came the quick retort. "One second I was beating the Labyrinth again and the next I was in Setanta."
Jareth smiled, revealing rows of white teeth. "Touché," he said, sighing heavily and then ascending the stairs. Sarah grasped his hand, holding it tightly in hers as she depressed the handle, which opened the front door.
"Hello?" Sarah called into the foyer, her head peaking around the door. "Anyone home?"
Footsteps could be heard upstairs…the hurrying, panicked type that was identified by a quick pace and things being knocked over in a rush.
Before the small child appeared at the top of the stairs, Sarah identified the owner of the footsteps.
"Sarah? Sarah!" Toby was yelling, and then suddenly stopped short at the sight of the man standing just behind his sister. "Sarah…" he whispered, all the color draining from his face.
Sarah looked back at Jareth, who was standing in uncomfortable silence, unable to stop himself from puffing out his chest in order to look more intimidating.
"Toby, it's alright," Sarah said softly, climbing a stair or two. "It's alright."
Toby cocked an eyebrow at Jareth, but then looked down at his sister, whose open arms beckoned him to fly down the stairs and hug her tightly, tears of happiness and relief staining her shirt.
Sarah smiled, holding the boy's small frame to her own, deeply inhaling the smell of Tide Laundry detergent coming off of Toby's pajamas.
It was a comforting scent Sarah hadn't even realized she missed.
"Sarah," Toby said in a small voice, "what is he doing here."
Sarah broke the hug but clasped her brother's hand. She turned slightly to face Jareth, coaxing Toby down the last few steps. She wasn't quite sure what to say, but the words came out before she could think.
"Toby, allow me to introduce you to Jareth, the Goblin King."
Jareth took a step towards the small boy. Toby could not prevent his sudden exhale as his head tipped backwards in order to take in the Goblin King's impressive height.
Uncomfortable around children he was not trying to kidnap, Jareth awkwardly extended a gloved hand down towards Toby.
Toby looked at the hand and then up at Sarah. "You stole my sister," he informed Jareth tersely.
Jareth blinked. "Well, you wished her away," he replied.
"I didn't mean to," Toby said, exasperated.
"What's said is said," Jareth shrugged.
"Toby," Sarah interrupted, coming down to his level. "I'm glad you wished me away," she said softly.
Toby looked confused. "You are?" He asked.
Sarah nodded. "Yes. You see, I had always wanted to go back, I just never realized it before."
She stood slowly, clasping Jareth's hand within hers, hoping that Toby was old enough to understand love.
For a moment, Toby looked disgusted, but then, all at once, it dawned on him.
"Jareth and I are married," Sarah said. "And I'm very happy, and it's thanks to you."
Toby's eyes were wide as saucers. "You married the Goblin King?" He said incredulously.
"Yes, she did," Jareth said, feeling childishly satisfied that Toby would have to deal with that fact.
Toby placed a hand to his head, making a slapping noise. "Oh man," he said, looking up at Sarah. "Does that mean you're the Goblin Queen?"
Sarah nodded. "I suppose so."
"And you have to live with gobins??" he continued, emphasizing the word 'goblin' each time he said it.
Sarah laughed. "They aren't as bad as you think, Toby. Most of them are very friendly, in fact."
"Pfft," Toby snorted. "I'll believe that when I see it."
Sarah looked over at Jareth, who nodded slightly. Sarah stooped down to Toby again.
"Would you like to see it?" She asked, a hint of devilishness in her voice.
Toby smiled slowly, for the first time his anger replaced by excitement. "Can I really?" He asked.
Sarah nodded. "Where's Dad and Karen?"
"They're out at some dinner for Dad's work," Toby informed them. "And the babysitter is asleep on the couch."
Sarah crooked her head into the living room, where, sure enough, the large form of Mrs. White, a neighbor who would watch Toby when Sarah couldn't, was snoring contentedly.
"I suggest you change into something a bit warmer," Jareth said suddenly. Toby regarded him for a moment. "It's quite chilly in my castle," Jareth explained.
Toby's eyes lit up. "A true, honest-to-God castle?" He squeaked.
Jareth smiled. "With true, honest-to-God fireplaces that never keep the chill out."
Toby whooped. "Who cares about the fireplaces…I want to see Goblins!"
"Then change…fast…before Mrs. White wakes up and we give her a stroke," Sarah said, pushing Toby gently up the stairs in the direction of his room.
He scampered up the steps, pausing to turn around for a moment. He looked Jareth dead in the eye and placed his hands on his hips. "If you ever hurt my sister, I will make sure you pay," he said seriously.
Jareth fought a smile and placed a hand over his heart. "You have my word that I would never do such a thing," he swore. Toby nodded and continued up to his room, muttering something about remembering to bring his sword with him to the Underground, just in case.
Sarah smiled and turned to her husband. "Looks like our adventures are just beginning," she said, wrapping her arms around Jareth's waist.
Jareth sighed and pulled Sarah closer. "I've had enough adventure for one lifetime," he informed her. "I'm looking forward to several days and nights in bed."
Sarah laughed. "You certainly have high expectations of yourself," she said, languidly kissing the soft spot behind his ear.
"I'm simply living up to the ones you have of me," he reminded her, dipping down for a deep, long kiss.
"Okay, rule number one," Toby announced, pushing his small form between his sister and new brother. "The kissing has to stop."
Jareth and Sarah looked at each other over the top of Toby's head. Sarah mouthed the word "never," causing Jareth to smile.
Again, the Goblin King extended his hand to the young child in front of him. "Come, Toby," he said. "It's time to show you what your dreams are made of."
Toby hesitated for a moment, and then placed his small hand inside of Jareth's much larger one.
Sarah's heart swelled as she watched Jareth lead Toby out the front door and down the steps, Toby asking questions the entire way. She listened as Jareth patiently answered each one, his voice soft and gentle.
She turned back to her house, and while she knew she would visit again, she also knew it would never be the same.
Just as she was about to close the front door and join the still chattering Toby and Jareth, something on the foyer table caught her eye.
A worn, fraying book with gold lettering on the cover.
Slowly, Sarah moved over to the book and traced the words on the cover. "The Labyrinth," she read aloud. "Where everything is possible and nothing is as it seems."
She tucked the manuscript in a deep pocket in her jacket, patting it softly.
It seemed a few chapters needed to be added.