Disclaimer: I do not own the Labyrinth or its characters; they are property of Jim Henson, Lucas Films, and Dennis Lee. This fanfiction is not made for profit in anyway; it is only further proof of my love for the movie and that I have an overactive imagination.
A/N: Omg, this was a mammoth chapter. I had a lot of scenes in my mind I wanted in here and I sincerely hope I did the long wait justice. Again, thank you everyone so very much for your kindness. You've overlooked my complaining, my poor grammar, and the long delays in posting. I hope this chapter can at least in a small way, repay your indulgence. I love you guys.
This as well as most of my other grammatically challenged chapters was unbetaed.
The passageway stretched out before him steeped in inky shadows. He had moved slowly, feeling the air around him become more dank and cold. Glimmering spider webs disappeared as he progressed further into unknown territory, plastered with thick humidity that transferred to his bruised hands.
Jareth shook his head to clear it. Where was he? He could feel the hate and disdain the strange hands outside seemed to exude, breathing out from the metal iron gates above his head. There were many, each maybe seven or eight meters apart, giving the narrow dim corridor some clarity with its feeble yellow light. Brief comfort that as along with the light came the disdain and fear, and Jareth was a trapped animal beneath what felt like an endless supply of eyes as the whispers never ended.
A rock fell in the distance behind him. The tiny clamor caused his heart to hammer. Was someone following him?
He walked faster. There it was again. No, he wasn't imagining it. More rocks fell, and it sounded like hurried footsteps followed, obscured by the ensuing echoes of his frantic steps.
A soft random voice rasped, like stone grinding upon stone, "this is not the way. Turn back while you still can…"
Jareth ran, and snarled when his arm crashed into an uneven wall in the patch of darkness. The light was gone suddenly, and he had no sense of direction anymore in this cavernous realm.
He turned a corner and stumbled into an abrupt change of scenery.
It was cold.
Silver moonlight skimmed the fast moving black water that flowed past the top of his boots as snow drifted all around him. Delicate flakes melted in the long blonde strands of his hair upon contact.
A silver mist ghosted from his mouth in a frenzied question, "Where am I?"
Confused, he looked around and saw he was within the heart of a dark forest. Standing within the center of a stream that flowed over rocks and ice frosted twigs; he shivered and drew his mantle closer in a panicked grip. It was… familiar. But no matter how hard he tried he could not remember ever being in this land.
He tried to calm himself and was about to step out toward the icy edge and remove himself from the rapid stream when he saw someone struggling in the far distance. It was dark but she was wearing a bright red cloak and for one second he caught a flash of the color illuminated by moonlight.
The water pushed him, as if to carry him specifically to this person. He struggled with the current, though not deep it was strong and the cold was making his muscles move less fluidly. Her back was to him and he could see she was struggling with the weight of something before her.
Foreboding rose in his chest and the hairs on the back of his neck stood as he was within touching distance. Her height indicated she was young, a child not yet into her teens. He reached out to turn her and assist in anyway he could.
The breath left him in a shocked gasp of white frost. Her eyes were intensely blue and conveyed only absolute hatred. Snow was piled on the shoulders and hood of her blood red cloak as if she had stood in the elements for hours. Within her arms were a little boy and his eyes were open, the lashes iced and his lips blue.
"You did this."
The hood fell back and her long blonde hair streamed behind her in a cold gale. Her eyes pierced him with its intensity. Shame rose and he wanted to cry out, beg her for forgiveness. He could not remember, but he was a monster, evil seemed to follow his every step.
How? Why can I not remember? How could I have done this crime?
She coiled her arm back but he did not resist, and her nails raked the fair skin of his face underneath his left eye. Mentally he winced and closed his eyes in his despair. The red seeped out and with his face dipped low it looked as if he were crying tears of blood.
The child's face seemed to move slowly, a sense of surrealism stole over him as the girl's mouth moved and he thought his crazed mind heard her say, "You have no power over me."
He shuddered and thought he was losing his mind. What did you say?
"They are here," she said as if she were answering his unspoken question.
And from the forest emerged the shadows of men. Fire crackled over their heads in bright flickering torches, so many, so many, their shadows stretched out and pointed to him accusingly, against logic and the laws of physics.
Their voices slithered out from all sides of the forest, cold and vapor like, stretched thin like a deadly hiss, "murderer."
Jareth stepped back as an arrow sliced into the cold water. He turned to run or fly if necessary but stopped.
Rushing toward the whiz and sluice of water, he made to grab her arm. Her body stiffened with a horrifying thud and her eyes rolled up into her head as she fell forward into Jareth's arms.
Jareth's mouth opened but no sound escaped. It was as if his throat was paralyzed, frozen inside out from the cold and the buzzing terror clawing inside his chest.
The child disappeared within his hands, like an errant sigh, and the red cloak flapped wildly in his clenched fists.
It made no sense.
He closed his eyes and saw falling white silk and sheer cloth falling through space, staggered and ran as a clock gonged loudly behind his aching eyes.
The air lifted him and he finally found his voice. Screeched it in guttural owlish cries.
Arrows flew past as he tried to reach beyond the evergreen tips. The shouts did not stop and it was as if the forest bottom was alive with shadows and flames.
Jareth flew until his heart pounded his throat dry. A bright tearing pain ripped into his wing, and for one second he was pinned to the dark sky like a needle to a board, before he fell through frost and thin branches and crashed into a clearing devoid of snow.
It was cold. The wind came in eerie blasts as she closed her eyes and focused on feeling within her mind his magic and energy. Her mind traced the dark walls and cavernous pathways, and then there. A small flicker of light in her mind. Her throat constricted with relief. Finally, evidence of his location.
Sarah leant against the hard wall, sharp with its porous gravelly texture, knew her hand was cut as she felt a cold drop lace down between her fingers. She brought her hand up but in the process accidentally left one small faintly red finger print on the wall. The memory of her trying to navigate the Labyrinth swam through her weary mind, "Someone has changed my markings…"
No, nothing could mark where she had been, all that lay before her, all the paths and twisting unknowns became her only option. She trembled with fatigue, but she could feel his fear now, felt the walls almost breathe and move, as if alive with apprehension.
"What a horrible place this is…" she whispered.
Walls do not move and breathe but here anything was possible. Jareth's mind could bring to life any memory, Sarah realized this the moment the amulet touched her skin. Sarah recalled the bag lady's fierce panicked whisper.
He dreams Sarah! Do you understand? He dreams!
The bag lady had tried tracking her lost king by the magic of the amulet but it was futile. Jareth did not know her anymore. To him she was another outsider that would only torment him for his "evil" abilities. Too often she was within running distance from him only to turn a corner and see him wing madly into emerging shadows. No longer was he the arrogant noble king galvanized into action by human suffering, he had become a scared wild beast, only returning to human form when he thought no one was near or else collapsing from exhaustion. All his fears warped the magic of the underground and caused walls to emerge, thorny vines grow and black rusty gates to appear out of thin air and keep intruders from following him.
Without his memories Jareth did not know that he was in a world constantly evolving based on his fears and despair. And more importantly he did not understand who he was.
Sarah clenched her eyes at the unfairness of it all. Jareth did not deserve this.
She had believed Nigel when he had said he would slumber in peace, unaware of the passage of time and be left dreamless. But perhaps their admission back into the void was what had changed the course of events. She couldn't be sure, all she knew was that Jareth had left behind his memories and was unaware of the role he had played in the void.
Dashing from dream to dream in this realm had awoken some latent memories of his and without all the facts, without the proper context, Jareth truly believed he was worthy of the scorn and hate that was at the moment pulsing in every fiber of this savage manifestation.
If she stood very still and listened beyond her own heartbeat, she could feel this world he created unfurl into longer twisting domains. Whispered threats skittered across her consciousness. Malevolence tainted the air so that each breath was a lungful of dread and trepidation.
Sarah took another deep breath and pulled from within herself strength to reach out to him. His name rang through her consciousness like an echo fading down a long dark hallway. She swayed, nearly fainting as the amulet pulsed a deep bright blue, draining her energy but not before she felt him one more time. Sarah felt as if she entered into a trance and saw a vision.
His eyes wide in fear as he cringed from a crowd of shadows, running, suddenly flying, and then falling into a clearing under a sky of stars. It was surrounded by forest on both sides and then straight before him a cliff. Orange flames flickered in small bundles held high over shadowy figures as the mob gathered near. He was trapped.
She gasped, breaking the connection and though her body screamed for rest, she pushed her feet to run. The panicked pace echoed before and behind her as the amulet weakly illuminated which way to go in washes of faint blue.
"Jareth," she cried. She had to get to him. Because as her sore hand pointed out, darkness was in the labyrinth and in this world Jareth could be hurt.
She fell, the darkness had hidden a large block of stone before her feet and the wind was knocked out of her. Intense fear choked her as she hunched over, he was surrounded, and there was no way she could possibly run there in time.
She had the same magic as he didn't she? Could she somehow appear where he was, like that one time he had done to her when she was running around the Escher room?
But how? What if she tried and failed? What if she appeared in the same location as a tree or slab of stone?
She heard her name, gasped by him in the cold night air as if about to meet his doom. As if it was his last thought and he was about to give up.
She closed her eyes in terror, tried to fix on the feeling of his magic and before she knew it, she vanished.
The magical dome encasing the island held, though long jagged fissures had erupted on its surface in one loud terrifying crack. It had shocked everyone into stunned silence. Every second felt like the last as light snaps and crackles continued downward, enlarging the great broken lines that followed the slope down to where crystal met moist soil.
Shaking legs gave way and he fell softly to the damp soil, his rusty trinkets had fallen from his aching grasp. Hoggle placed his hand gently on one of the cracks in a daze. A tiny dab of blood smeared from his cut wrinkled hand.
A firey was about to shout at him not to touch the cursed thing but was jostled by a crying goblin and his attention was diverted.
All Hoggle could think of was Sarah's safety. His mind was foggy and his eyes swam with tears. Delirious, he spoke to the glass as if it were alive.
"My name is Hoggle…" he rasped, his hand clenching into a tight fist, only then to unfurl with his fingertips exuding the gentlest of pressure against the dark cold glass. "All my friends here need you to stay strong."
Through the jagged plane he could see the mist and darkness outside. Flashes of muted lightning illuminated the planes of glass surrounding them and everyone could hear a strange subdued rasp under the harsher beat of rain.
Black vines of dead roses and tiny needle like thorns softly grew out of the water and crept up the crystal walls, the added pressure causing miniscule cracks to branch out from the larger ones.
Throat tightening, Hoggle closed his eyes. He pictured his home, cluttered with papers and knickknacks. A warm fire crackling and a brass dented kettle, full of tea suspended in the fireplace. Sarah there smiling, visiting them in the underground, and Sir Didymous regaling them with some such new adventure. Ludo, too large for his den was outside, holding a delicate cup and saucer to the window for a refill.
"If you need magic," he whispered, his heart beating even louder now as his breath left his chest in one hurried desperate gust, "then take mine. Keep them safe."
His throat gave out, and he could not speak so he opened his heart and saw the sun rise in his mind. Saw the warm rays reach out and spread before him the land of the Labyrinth as night gave way to dawn. Thoughts of stone slab streets, and grass, fresh bread and cold ale filled his consciousness. He smiled though it pained as well as uplifted him as he recalled Sarah's eyes. Relieved and proud and something he couldn't quite describe as she quietly said, "I forgive you Hoggle."
A whisper of power moved across his feverish skin and was absorbed into the crystal which shimmered slightly with a faint coppery glow.
Hoggle hunched over as if in agony but really was overcome by all that he was feeling. He was a stupid small dwarf; a flea, a blip in the grand scheme of things that stole and talked its way out of shady deals. Selfish and greedy and whose sole purpose was just to talk a girl out of finding the middle of a maze. And yet he was more. She made him more.
The magic pulled out of the center of his chest, in dull beats synched with his heart and though his eyes were closed, his vision pulsed red and gold. No pain, just a growing seeping chill and so much gratitude; so much god damned love and thankfulness.
Golden wisps drifted off his skin and the portion of glass in front of him fairly blazed white.
"Let her dream live," he cried, "let the Labyrinth live…"
Nigel watched the strange happenings in quite awe. It was impossible, they were just snippets of a girl's fancy; they were pieces of her imagination for god's sake! He struggled to sit up and saw, as if time were working backward, the crack Hoggle had placed his hand upon move upward; leaving nearly a foot of clear unblemished crystal before his bowed head.
Sir Didymous gravely removed his hat and placed it over his heart as he approached his friend and comrade.
For once the noble hearted knight did not shout out his intentions as he usually did before battle. Instead he placed his gloved paw upon Hoggle's shaking shoulder and his hat drifted down into the mud as with his other hand he too placed it on the cold crystal shell.
Privately, his heart told of his great love for the land, his comrades and the noble lady Sarah.
The glow grew, and with the burden shared Hoggle felt less chill in the center of his bones.
One by one, goblins of all shapes and sizes overcame their fear of the storm and placed their paws and claws upon the shiny plane carefully and told of their own love and magic.
"She danced with us. She didn't let us pull off her head but she danced with us…"
"I loves cheeses…and bugs…and jam…or best of all, all of thems together, eatenz when the sky is holding up da moon."
"Please… protect the labyrinth."
"Save our home."
And behind them, most helpful of all, Ludo threw back his head and howled.
His song filled the air with faint magical vibrations and the earth they stood on hummed faintly. The dirt reached out to the stones and the stones sang, giving so much of their magic that they cracked and broke into smaller rocks, which still continued their song.
The Labyrinth rose in everyone's minds and gave them strength, as they gave of themselves to the dome, beseeching it to stand and keep them and their home safe until Sarah's return. The magic poured in from the ground and the warm glow suffused the surface up to the very pinnacle of the domes height.
The black vines withered and then burst into fine dust, unable to withstand the pure magic.
And when the glow subsided and everyone opened their eyes…the dome stood whole.
Sarah appeared just inches away from a tall oak. So suddenly did she appear that she fell, dizzy and spent, her hands raking the bark as her feet slipped between large gnarled roots. Down she crashed into foliage and peered through branches and the view of legs. A crowd of men stood before her.
Her eyes widened as she saw Jareth stagger from the ground, just before the edge of a deep cliff. Blood marred his clothes as he pressed his right hand to the left of his collarbone.
She heard a tightening sound like the twist of leather and realized the man before her was pulling back the rope, notching a fresh arrow. Fear renewed her. She bolted, shoving the man as she ran. The arrow zinged past Jareth's startled face.
No, oh god no.
Jareth was going to be the death of her. He saw her run, ashen faced and terrified, towards him as if in slow motion. Just as his being there in the river killed the children, he was going to watch her die.
He staggered forward as if to forestall her by the strength of his will alone, or else stop the arrows pointing at him and thus her unprotected back. The strangers were faceless, all cloaked in shadows, phantoms that haunted him at every turn but it was the arrows he had to stop.
It was the first conscious act of power he performed since he opened his eyes. Ever since he awoke in this strange realm he had reacted impulsively, running or flying away, in no way retaliating toward the nightmarish forces that followed his every move. If magic was used it was done instinctively, without Jareth really understanding that it was caused by him rather than his surroundings.
The need to protect her changed his focus.
Desperate, though on the verge of utter collapse, he slumped forward pulling the last of his strength. His body tightly bowed as his right hand clenched, knuckle digging into the dry grass as if weighted by a reservoir of power. Though he had no recollection of how to use magic he just suddenly knew that he possessed this ability and he reached out, feeling his energy rapidly stretch beneath the soil. He heard the twang of many bows and watched her leap toward him.
The name exploded in his mind like a supernova. All that was beautiful to him, the torment and balm to his soul.
A roar shattered the sky as the ground trembled and cracked when Jareth surged upward, his fist clenched heavenward and his body arced back, pulling between Sarah and the mob a thin sheet of rock and stone. Arrows snapped and splintered against the magically induced wall.
As if he were a puppet whose strings were suddenly cut, Jareth swayed, the dirt crumbling under his heel.
Stars burst behind his eyes, too much, it was too much. There was no power left and he began to fall, losing consciousness. Sarah's hands grasped the front of his shirt and she began to fall with him.
"Jareth," she cried, as they tipped over the cliff and fell into new darkness.
The bag lady watched them drift next to each other like lost dolls in an old bath tub of rainwater.
She had transported Sarah next to her king underneath the stormy sea and helped her within the complex realm of dreams but now that she was no longer in the same realm as they were, the waiting was horribly trying. It was up to Sarah alone to rescue his majesty, as Jareth was too tangled within the web of repressed memories.
She watched anxiously as the amulet pulsed in a rhythm that only made sense to those who utilized it within the dreams. They all floated gently within the dark water and the old bag lady wished she could have stayed in the dream world without the amulet. Not knowing what was going on was killing her with suspense.
"Save him," she murmured, quietly encouraging Sarah as she looked upward. Deep within the bowels of the dark water she could not see the stormy vapors rove over the fluid surface but she could sense it. If Sarah was successful the bag lady knew the storm would dissipate and it would be safe for all of them to swim upward, toward the last standing piece of the Labyrinth.
In the only way she knew how, she reached for their hands to show her support. Though there was no way they could know she was there the bag lady still hoped and prayed that it helped, that on some level they knew others cared and wished only for their safe return.
The amulet pulsed steadily showing no outward change but that didn't alter her resolve. Watching and waiting, tightening her wrinkled hands around their slack grasps, the bag lady continued her silent vigil.
It was the throbbing of his arm that woke him. He did not remember any impact from the fall but lying on his right arm caused a long line of burning pain to reverberate from his waist up to the bottom of his throat. His red rimmed eyes looked upward slowly and he saw that the darkness had bled into almost an Aurora Borealis of black, red, and indigo. Blocks of broken rubble floated in random easy discord beyond the floor and the warm breeze that wafted by carried the subtle scent of sand mixed with dry wood.
It wasn't exactly a room, but the large stone arches that hovered horizontally were so close to each other beyond the small stretch of floor that it gave off a sense of enclosure. Jareth sat up and the pain nearly crippled him.
Abruptly he recalled the young woman. Sarah! Her name was a bright burst of color and just thinking it both thrilled and agonized him. Who was she? Why was she here? He had to remove himself from her, had to make sure no harm came to her in its pursuit of him. What happened after the fall? Was she injured?
He shook, trying to push himself upright. Had to make sure she was unharmed, before -
White sneakers neared, he looked up and saw a fiercely determined look mar her beautiful young face. Her black hair shifted, blown by an invisible breeze as she tilted her head up while at the same time looked down arrogantly.
She seemed so different from just moments ago; his bewildered brain could not comprehend it. When she ran toward him, she seemed terrified for his safety. There was a moment even where right before he lost consciousness he had felt the warm weight of her pressed to him as they fell, his name whispered in awed relief.
Had she somehow realized in those lost moments while he was unconscious what kind of monster he was?
"Through dangers untold, and hardships unnumbered, I have fought my way to the goblin city, to take back what you have stolen."
He didn't think it would terrify him this much. But the moment she uttered those words he felt inside a calling terror. Of utter desolation just moments away, knowing that a clock would chime and his whole world would fall apart. He tried to crawl away, his one good arm dragging the rest of him over sand colored stone.
For the wages of sin is death.
This was it, the way all stories ended, he said to himself. Sarah, the epitome of goodness would now banish him. Good would triumph over evil. Sweat soaked his skin, even if he understood it, oh god, he didn't want to die.
"Sarah," he gasped, clenching his eyes against terrible fear.
"For my will is as strong as yours. And my kingdom as great!"
"I – I," he gasped curling in upon himself, moaning. A clock gonged and the chimes caused everything, the air, even the stones, to tremor within the vibrations.
No fear, not a hint of hesitation. Her eyes burned brightly, "You have no power -
Sarah ran and slashed her arm savagely through the apparition. The horrible parody of herself broke into vapor, and disappeared like mist as she strode to Jareth's kneeling body. Silence. The moment the real Sarah stepped in the loud chiming vanished, leaving just the sound of their labored breaths.
"Look at me Jareth," and he lifted eyes wide and terrified to hers, and found no malice there. Her clothes were dirt stained and her face pale and tight with worry, but beneath it all, a sense of relief exuded from her as she gazed at him.
"Oh, Jareth," she said, and the look she gave was strange to him. It was sad, her expression soft as she brushed her fingers gently over his cut cheek. He recoiled, not knowing how else to react.
Hurt. She looked uncertain and slowed her movements, keeping her hands within his view so that he was not startled.
"Yes that happened," she explained, "but you don't know what followed. You saved me, you saved all of us, and, and," her voice wavered, overcome with emotion but he saw her soldier on, swallowing past the roughness, "you saved Toby. You saved so many young lives from mistakes, horrible decisions no one could recover from."
Jareth turned his head away from her tearing eyes, toward the shouts. A wooden door had appeared on the side of their dimension, just feet away within the darkness. Orange fire light and blocks of shadows flickered under the crack of the door and he jumped at the loud pounding.
"No, Jareth, don't do this," she pleaded.
What? He looked at her in confusion. How was this his doing?
Her touch did not alarm him as before. She gently turned his head forward though every nerve of his body was on alert, riveted in attention to the shouts of "Monster! Death to the Goblin King!"
"They can go away. You do not have to run. You have the power to control dreams and," she tried to think how to calm him, how to explain the situation quickly, "They may be part of your memories but they are not real, not at this moment. I am real, I'm here before you and I love you."
The shouts abruptly stopped and Jareth looked at her in open shock.
She leaned in close and gathered his face in her hands and touched her forehead to his. It was too much what he wanted, her touching him without revulsion. Jareth's eyes closed against the soft sway of black silky hair as it caressed his cheek. He could smell the lovely sweetness of her skin; feel her warmth and beauty cloud his mind like a heady perfume.
The very air between them seemed to be vibrating with magic as the amulet pulsed, encompassing their bodies in comforting bluish light.
He felt her brightness and energy enter, knit, and heal his shoulder wound and suspected that her power was greater, that beneath her initial fatigue was a reservoir of power unsuspected even by herself. Power to destroy, to maim and kill if she so desired. However… with him only the utmost care was bestowed.
You are loved, her mind whispered, over and over again, reassuring him that he was indeed not a monster and that she would never leave him.
Jareth's jaw clenched in emotion, how could he accept this love? He was a monster, tainted beyond redemption. But he was drawn to her light, this gentle care like a hideous moth to a flame. He wavered in indecision even as he drew her closer to him, clenching his fists in the sleeves of her dress shirt as if in agony.
"There is so much to tell you," she whispered, tears sliding down her cheeks. "But I will never force you. This amulet holds your memories, and I can give them to you. It will make so much more sense, you don't realize it now, but you're a hero. You must choose this, for everyone's sake you must, for mine as well as yours, you must know the whole truth."
Her small hands reached beyond the dirty blonde strands that framed his face and he felt her palms rest on the back of his neck, drawing their faces just a breath apart. In no way was she going to harm him. Being as terrified and confused as he was already, the entering of his mind would be too forceful. He did not know how to accept her magic, did not know her fully yet.
"I will not enter your mind Jareth," she fiercely whispered, "but…," and at this her tone softened, "you can enter mine."
Her eyes looked into his with so much desperate longing that he felt he could scarcely breathe. Green eyes. A bright vibrant green that reminded him of an emerald reflecting sunlight.
A memory flashed like the flare of a newly lit candle, and he recalled watching the fans part, wishing to drown in that color as she looked at him so innocently within the grim splendor of a strange ballroom. He chased the thought down the long empty corridors of his recollection but it eluded him again.
Yes, he believed her.
The lone memory of her in a beautiful ball gown proved it to him. Only snippets and bits of memories belonged to him, and he wanted, no dear god he needed to know the whole story. What happened to have changed her from cringing from him in a dark bedroom calling him the Goblin King to this brave loving woman who feared for his safety and called him Jareth?
He nodded agreement and she smiled, a small slip of hysterical laughter hiccupped out as if she was so relieved she could scarce believe it, as she nodded with him.
Tentatively, she kissed him and Jareth felt like he was falling into an even greater unknown. Slowly, sweetly, and without fear, he fell into her mind.
Sarah held him, her thumbs moving in small comforting circles on the back of his neck as he stepped into her mind with such care and hesitation that her heart hurt. She laid her mind open to him, not once pushing or prodding him toward any direction, but letting him see the truth of his circumstance in its proper context.
How is this possible? His mind asked, as he retraced their steps through the Labyrinth.
The memories slowly shifted and merged, unfurling a more cohesive whole as he laid twisting walls and mires in front of her all the while secretly rallying her on in her quest. Laid obstacle after obstacle but all the while knowing that her battle against him was for her and her brother's benefit. He watched Sarah's memory of himself fly toward the moon after her victory and methodically save Labyrinth inhabitants in crystal balls. Fearlessly she strode past a blue couch and into the void through a chalk drawn doorway in order to save him and her friend's homeland.
Sarah could feel Jareth's emotions become more confident, relieved and overcome with gratitude that he was not the reviled creature he had once thought.
Inside her mind the memory took the shape of her home, the dream within the dining room. Broken shards of the plate that had fallen from her hand crunched under the memory form of her feet as her parents vanish just as he appeared. Both she and Jareth watched as he, clad in white, reached out to her in the last shared dream and kiss her as if about to die.
Her eyes filled with tears as his feelings flowed in, remembering with the aid of her and the amulet's magic what had transpired before he walked away from her and into the void. So much hope, pain and love.
I…I recall this moment.
Jareth's jaw trembled but his eyes still remained shut, afraid of severing this magical connection. He had never felt so complete, so in tune with another being. Hushed, reverent awe filled him and yet he could not stop the small groaning of his soul within Sarah's mind. Don't, don't he told himself. But outside the shared memory, Sarah laid his head down upon her shoulder, and softly threaded her hand through his hair in silent encouragement.
So alone Sarah. So alone. How could I share that? When you are so radiant?
He had wanted her companionship with such savage longing it frightened him. She was still so young, so full of spark and had so much to learn and give to her world. And he…he was an oddity. As old and everlasting as the elements. Let her live, his conscience screamed as he turned back one more time to look at her tear stained face just before he walked away and into the burning void.
I wanted you to live in your world and experience everything that could possibly make you laugh and cry and smile. But I couldn't bear it Sarah. I couldn't stand the thought that you would grow old and die. I couldn't watch you die.
And Sarah felt even beyond the words of his thoughts, the deeper, more shamed undercurrent of his belief.
Coward coward coward
"Never," she fiercely whispered, and Jareth blinked away the memories and felt himself drift back so that he was not in Sarah's mind anymore but leaning against her.
His arm had somehow during that time snaked around her waist, cradling her close. She listened to his heartbeat and turned her body, holding him near as wrecked blocks of stone wall floated in the air.
And even though their minds were not connected anymore, he somehow knew her thoughts, could feel her own magical thread of anguish.
She could live a hundred lives and never could she ever touch his level of magic or wisdom. She was a mere child but she knew what it was she wanted. Knew that what she was asking was in her opinion a sort of condemnation for him. That by accommodating her wish to be with him, she knew he would have to take up the role he had chosen for himself and live once again as the Goblin King.
Solemnly Sarah raised the amulet over her head and lifted it to Jareth. It was as if she were bestowing upon him a golden crown. Her hands shook.
"You are the bravest, most generous man I know," her voice was so low he wasn't sure if she had spoken aloud or if it was an errant telepathic sigh, "Jareth." And he heard her unspoken vow, unintentional as it was, as the amulet touched his skin connecting him to her. Felt the thought as if it were his, ringing like a ripple on a still pond.
She would depart from him if he wished. He now had all his memories and could now dream without harm. The request for him to emerge and take up the role of Goblin King would never be voiced as all she cared for was his safety. He could rest and she… she was willing to give him up. No more would he have to be the willing sacrifice to all the humans he aided.
Her chin quivered.
She made to stand. She was leaving him his panicked mind realized. He grabbed her hand in his and a vision burst into his mind, bright and intensely clear. It was similar to that time he first saw her, when the visualization indicated that her brother Toby would be hurt by her negligence had he not intervened with the aid of the Labyrinth.
The sun was high above their heads but the sky was not a blinding white. Instead it was a soft amber hue as if time in the Labyrinth were perpetually stuck at dusk. They stood on a tall hill watching a child make its way past the dead underbrush toward the stone gate where he would meet Hoggle. The warm air shook the thin black branches and under its well intentioned clatter he felt her fingers lace with his. They stood like that for long moments, sharing a love born from many years, where every movement and small gesture was communicated and understood.
King and queen, loved by all who lived within the Labyrinth. No longer was he a pariah, flying wildly in the night. Sarah was there, encouraging him, standing by him… loving him.
He was home.
The vision ended but the emotions still rolled through him, causing his heart to nearly burst. Love, trust, faith and affection, for each other and for the land they surveyed.
Jareth stared into her green eyes, acknowledging her gaze, her hunger, and realized he could live. Not in pain as before, but with her by his side, an equal who loved the world. Who had faith as he did in every human child when just given the chance. Who could give and take as he could, in life and with love. She was strong and she loved him… as he loved her.
Yes, oh god, he loved her. Had anyone ever given so much of themselves for his welfare? A wondrous joy the likes he had never felt before beat wildly within his chest. No, no one had ever loved him as she did. Any obstacle could be withstood so long as she was by his side.
Sarah gasped in surprise as she was quickly lifted in his arms.
He pressed his face into her throat and she trembled when he brought his lips near her ear and kissed the juncture between her neck and jaw. Sarah was shaking in relieved happiness.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
She wasn't sure who she was thanking but she was grateful all the same.
Jareth's eyes were clear and unclouded where moments ago he was lost in confusion and despair. He held his beloved and embraced her giving nature, her reckless headstrong personality, and her gentle smile. Drowned in the luxury of her warm skin as he held her close and whispered awed, "You've given me life Sarah. I was dying of loneliness and you changed all that. You gave me reason to awaken, to live again."
The silky whisper of his voice overwhelmed her head and heart and she was happily laughing and crying as Jareth twirled her safe within his arms. It was more than she could process, moments ago she was so afraid she had to leave him but instead he had chosen her.
All choked up, she whispered back tearfully, "I love you," then covered his mouth with hers. Jareth carefully let her down and held her close.
"Forever," he kissed back, emphasizing his promise, the extent of how long he would adore her.
So lost were they in each other that they did not notice the background slowly dissolve around them.
Sarah and Jareth opened their eyes to the depths of cold dark water and smiled at each other. The bag lady cried out in delight and hugged them both and could already sense the storm dissipating up above. The water started to lighten, as if the void was not deadly black unknown but just sea water; as if above them was a bright sun and its rays were filtering the gloom of the void. They still breathed underneath the surface which was still a little disconcerting but they all looked upward and gasped at the sudden feel of land that grew beneath their feet.
They slowly ascended, the land rising up to meet air and all three held hands excitedly.
Home. They were going home.
They gasped in fresh air and smelt the scent of greenery. They saw that not only was the storm gone but the sky was blue. It was actually bright blue, sunny and warm. Sarah shaded her eyes and saw fluffy clouds roll in the distance. Jareth turned at the sound of a strange groaning and saw small hills develop and rise from nothingness, dotted with small clusters of new forests.
"Did you know this would occur?" he asked and Sarah had her hands up to her mouth, head slowly shaking in shocked unreserved joy.
By making Jareth whole they were also truly bringing the Labyrinth back to life. The storm was not churning and looking for new magic to recycle into new horrors but had dissipated and what magic was already in the air recreated the land they all so dearly loved.
"Ahoy!" they all turned at the shout in the far distance and could just make out Sir Didymous standing on the shoulders of Ludo, gleefully waving his blue hat to catch their attention.
"Sir Didymous! Oh my god, Jareth it's the island, they're ok!" So excited she was going to jump in and swim there but a gloved hand snatched her wrist and she looked at him curiously.
Her heart gave a happy little skip. She didn't think she would ever get to see him look so confident and amused.
"Haste makes waste my dear," he gently mocked and with a snap of his fingers all three of them were transported to the little floating land. "Showoff!" she laughed.
Sarah was radiant! There was no other way to describe her. Her clothes were filthy, her face was still tear stained and grubby from earlier but she was just indescribably beautiful as she cried and hugged her friends.
Jareth felt so grateful to be there. To think he could find someone like Sarah, who could look beyond his role as a Goblin king and find someone worth saving.
There were howls and shouts, some small goblins threw hands of soil into the air and Ludo lifted Jareth, Sarah and the bag lady in his hairy arms in a giant hug of welcome. When he placed them down Sarah turned and found Hoggle smiling shyly waiting for her to notice him. She took his gnarled hand and before he could fidget uncomfortably away, she knelt down and enveloped him into a big hug.
"Thank you," she whispered, "for keeping them safe. For always being there for me." Hoggle grimaced but it was a happy grimace, and he patted her roughly on the back, not good with words.
Jareth found Nigel and helped the poor old codger stand. Placing both hands on his shaking shoulders he gave back some power from the amulet. Nigel breathed a relieved sigh of gratitude as his fortitude was restored; however, Deek only harrumphed and sneered, "Bout time you showed up."
"Deek," Nigel said in that warning tone he often enforced but this time Deek scoffed and mumbled, "Just great, we all have to live together with this crazy bunch." He then sneezed from all the dirt and bits of grass gleefully thrown into the air by a young goblin.
The sunlight warmed everyone and there was excited chatter as to where the rest of the land held in crystals could be laid in conjunction with the newly formed terrains.
Jareth saw a bit of shine near the edge of the land and knelt down to retrieve it. A smile graced his aristocratic face and he then tossed back his mane in good natured mirth as he lifted the lost crystal. He threw it high into the air where there was a soft pop and the sunlight flashed off hundreds of tiny shiny wings.
The fairies flew high into the air, shimmering color as if they were a horde of butterflies and everyone laughed to hear Hoggle's mock groan, "Now why on earth did you have to go and release them?"
Late into the night, after all of the stress of search parties and police inquiries Karen and Robert smiled in their sleep. Karen's hand crept into her husband's unknowingly. They were dreaming. Sarah was safe, laughing with her new friends and sending her love to them while in the background they both saw the strange gnome chasing shiny moths or something with a spray can.
Sarah waved her hand joyfully smiling. She wore a magnificent long sleeved red dress, and was holding hands with a tall man who wore all black clothes and wild blond hair. A crystal magically appeared in Sarah's hand and she blew it toward her sleeping parent's view of them. Tears slipped from both parent's eyes as they were so glad Sarah was safe and found what she had been looking for.
A shimmer glistened over the night table nearest Robert. When they would wake in the morning they would find a lovely crystal waiting for them that held an engraved parchment telling them she was safe and inviting them to join the Labyrinth should they ever feel ready to leave the world of mankind.
Sarah felt the crystal leave the Labyrinth and knew she was getting much better at the use of magic. Jareth slightly bowed in the direction where the crystal left, paying quiet respect to the parents of his beloved, hoping to one day meet them in person.
He felt her hand entwine with his and pulled her into a soft kiss, holding her close. Sarah looked outward to the rising sun, as did Jareth; both acknowledging all the many wonderful opportunities out there that awaited them.