I was clicking around and I happened upon The Labyrinth Revisited by Give-Me-Your-Coffee ((come on, who can ignore a name like that anyway?)) and I got all motivated and. . . stuff. So I continued looking around, trying to quench this new thirst with stories like An Equal Partner by Solea ((this is starting to sound like an advertisement)) and several more. In conclusion, I became obsessed and must get this story I thought up out of my system or I'll explode.
That is my only reason. Not the best excuse you're ever heard, I'm sure, but surely a sound one. Forgive?
WARNING: I'm going to take my time with this story. I mean in updates and in my writing. I want to take things at a steady pace and not make any obvious gaps in the plot. As far as my talent will allow, of course. I'm keeping this story rated M just in case, but it make take a step lower. I give props to "explicit content" but I don't think I have the ability to write it, ha ha. I'll still try.
An Offer Given Twice
Introductory Chapter One: Honesty
Jareth lay on the ground, back to the cold floor, arms spread as he thoughtfully considered his options. In his time of absolute failure, serenity prevailed over any sense of fury, loss, or panic. His eyes followed the hypnotic movements of the staircases as the gravitational magic crumbled like he imagined his reputation in the Underworld was doing now. The glitter and majesty that held his Stair Room together left when she did. It had now transformed into his private Brooding Room, his place of pity and fret; though he had little worry that any stone would be as so imprudent to fall on him. He had, in a moment of consideration, thought to change his form so he could personally ensure she returned from the Underworld safely. Though he did not move. Not that the Goblin Kind was physically unable, it was more like he didn't want to. And the greatest perk that Jareth continually exploited was the unspoken fact that no one told a Goblin King to do something he did not wish to perform.
Except for maybe her.
'A moot point,' he thought. 'She defeated me. With only her words, my room lay in ruins.' His insides clenched at the vague understanding that this room wasn't the only thing feeling shattered. The King could not feel his heart beating, for all the sorrow it held, his heart would not beat for him anymore.
His familiar, a snow owl of his exact likeness when he changes form, took the responsibility of guiding her home as Jareth continued to practice the grandeurs of immobility. It was now that Souay cooed her return, perched on a nearby stair piece that had fallen as close as it dared to the Goblin King. Curious, he pulled his eyes away from the magnetic fall of his once most treasured room. Of course, now that it was his Brooding Room, it will probably remain his favorite place in the entire Underworld; he smirked a little at himself and looked to his familiar. The snow owl's calm arrival and patient stature told him that Sarah Williams was safe in The Above.
His head nodded in approval. She cooed again, resettling her wings delicately.
'Once, I imagined Sarah delicate.'
Centuries of being King could have blinded him of her strength, her will. Not of human strength, but hers. She must be a being entirely of her own definition; her achievements are proof enough of her inhumanity. Because humans do not solve the Labyrinth, befriend his loyal dwarves—what The Bog was his name??—or attract the love of a Goblin King. He knew that it was by no fault of his character that brought about this ending. She was just that good. Or was she just that young?
Jareth was aware that with youth came the feeling of invincibility, a fearlessness that only age can dim. He knew that even as she trembled, it was just as much from adrenaline as it was from the awareness of death. She was breathing off the excitement of her role in the story of their fate.
'Ah, but Sarah also rejected my proposal. Sarah rejected me,' his dead heart whispered. Could he also blame that on youth? Age and time were different Below, is there any hope that she was simply too young? He offered her the world and his all-consuming affections. He would give himself. And in committing himself to her, Jareth willingly allowed his heart to follow Above with her. Sarah did not take, he gave; for better or for the definite worse.
"Souay," he called gently, knowing that his thoughts were simplicity if it was the snow owl that read them. She glided towards him, a trail of whispers in her wake as her feathers combed the wind and fell gracefully on his ribcage. The snow owl faced his mismatched eyes readily. His heart would not even flutter for the sweetness of Souay's loyalty. "I have been defeated, yet you continue to heed my call."
She only resumed her stare, urging him to come to his own conclusions.
Jareth formed a familiar twist in his lips, "Perhaps you would like me to replace 'defeated' with 'discarded'?"
Souay cooed to him.
"What a cruel lady you are," The Goblin King leaned forward and placed a kiss on her white brow, "to suggest such a thing."
Jareth had learned early in his life that it was perfectly fine to lie to others—provided the liar kept detailed records—but to lie to one's self was an entirely different matter. The dangers of inner conflicts can bring great disaster, which explained why Jareth is. . . was such a perfect King; he was powerful, charismatic, instinctive, and more than tricky, he was clever. The pros and cons to lying was something the previous Goblin Kings had not figured out.
So he lay for a moment longer, staring into the darkness of Souay's eyes with a laziness that comes just before admitting the truth. There wasn't a being alive that could look into his familiar's eyes and not be honest. At least, honest with oneself. A Goblin King honest with everyone is a preposterous notion. In fact, honesty in anything remotely related to goblins is quite correctly rumored impossible. Which is why Jareth and Souay being bonded was a cause for much confusion and mockery. Though with Sarah's image in his mind, three words came easier than any goblin might have thought, "I love her."
Souay didn't move. Go on, she pestered him silently, go on, Goblin King, go on.
"But now that I have been, shall we say, thrust aside—"
The snow owl opened her beak and pecked upon her master's clothing.
"—I said thrust aside, not politely declined. Give me this much."
Souay eyed Jareth sternly but did nothing.
"I may finish then?"
The snow owl remained as stagnant as her master.
"Now that I have been thrust aside," he paused, "do I still want to be devoted Sarah Williams? Is an unsolicited love going to satisfy me?"
'No,' he concluded a second after his question, 'nothing less than my own dedication will do.'
"So this leaves me with one last dilemma, my Feather Lady." Jareth tipped his head backwards and stared again at his new Brooding Room. It was becoming less appealing to him by the minute however. He frowned a little, wondering if it would be wise to even have a Brooding Room with regards to his future plans. Sarah would surely jest at him for such a place in his ownership. He frowned even more.
When no words came, Souay pecked at him again and with force. "My my, you do become impatient," he pretended to be cross. Neither of them was fooled.
Jareth held his forearm to Souay's breast and the snow owl regally climbed upon his offer. As he pulled himself to his feet in smooth, effortless motion, he thought over his decision one last time before devoting himself to it. Thinking it over thoroughly was rare—useless, even—since he was already committed the second he gave his heart away.
End of Chapter
Thank you all for reading!