Disclaimer: the last time I'll have to say this…I DON'T OWN JARETH AND THE WORLD OF THE LABYRINTH!
He rouse to his feet slowly, Jade cradled limply in his arms. The rest followed suit. Crow however, went to his fallen brother and with the help of a teary eyed Sheera; Kraven was limply laying across Crow's back, nestled between his wings.
Crow looked to the High King. "I can't leave him here…" he shuddered out.
Vannor only gave a small nod and approving smile. Turning to his son who still stood there expressionlessly he nodded, while ignoring the fallen unwanted offspring by the name of Zaynon. "Let's go home…"
"…home…" flatly spoke Jareth as he turned on his heel and walked away from them toward the castle to retrieve their horses. "…home would be nice…if there was a home to go to…"
!!PLEASE READ!!--A/N--at this time I would like to thank all those that have stuck with this story since the beginning. You all have done wonders to encourage me to keep writing. I graciously thank you all for all that you've done to keep me working on this. You're reviews always made my day. You encouraged me to continue and gave me ways to make my work better. I couldn't have gotten this done if it hadn't been for you reviewers, cause I did debate discontinuing this story, but you never gave up on me, so thank you (bow). So…till next time, I bid you adieu. (bows again)
WARNING: to those that preferred the ending of the last chapter for the ending of this fic, please do not continue. For those that wanted to beat me to a bloody pulp because I killed Jaden, this epilogue is to please you and preserve my life, since I did get a few death threats (shivers). Now if you're the kind of person that likes it either way, go you, and now I finally give you…THE LAST CHAPTER…(bows)
Chapter 23-Epilogue: Black Bird-White Dove
-Two Days Later-
Everything was dark and dank, the gloomy outdoors mirroring the sullenness of the individuals dwelling within the Goblin Castle. Sorrow overwhelmed the halls of the once cheerful castle. Where joy and happiness once roamed the endless halls, there was only emptiness remaining, while heavy clouds of grief hung from the ceilings.
Yet the sorrow was not just affecting the higher royals, but servants as well. High King Vannor and High Queen Terra were hardly ever seen, and when they were, they were forlorn and dressed entirely in black. Then there was Jareth, King of Goblins hardly left his room; always alone, never speaking to anyone but Crow and Sheera, or his parents. He was deep in mourning like the rest of the Goblin Castle that had remembered the deceased girl. It didn't matter whether they were servant or High King, anyone who knew Jaden and her immeasurable kindness lamented over her sacrificial death.
Now it was time to give the once smiling young woman the funeral fit for a King, or Queen. The whole Council of Kings would attend the funeral, all having known Jaden and liked her fiery spirit. All rulers of the Underground would attend; never had there been such a gathering in centuries, and it had taken the death of an innocent to do so.
And here was Jareth sitting on the edge of Jade's bed, staring blankly out to the balcony and to the Labyrinth beyond. The room still held her scent, nothing was packed or had been removed; everything was as she had left it. It comforted and troubled the fae king as he stared out at the pouring rain; even the sky was weeping for the lost child. Then there was the Labyrinth and its inhabitance itself; unearthly silent, shivering as it sobbed out at the feeling of aguish it felt from its King.
"Jade never did get the chance to walk the Labyrinth…" he murmured still staring into the pouring rain blankly.
A soft knock sounded on the wooden door, followed by its creaking as it was pushed open. "Jareth? You in here?" softly called Vannor.
"I am," came Jareth's toneless voice.
Vannor entered slowly as his dark eyes wandered over Jade's untouched possessions. He looked longingly at the large filled bookcase, and the chair by the hearth as if Jade would suddenly appear reading there again. Yet Jade's lifeless body lie in the Great Hall, resting on the smooth stone table as if in slumber, but instead in death. The High King looked back at his elusive and empty son in a defeated way.
"Jareth…" he murmured. "You can't sit there all day gazing outside in the hope all this will go away. She wouldn't want you to waste away like this; she would want you to rule like you have been for so many years."
The silver haired fae king meekly glanced at his father before returning his eyes to the world beyond. He gave no answer or comment; he was silent, much as he had been since Jaden had given her life to save them all.
Vannor snarled down at his ungrateful son. "She died to save you Jareth! And this is how you repay her sacrifice!! Some love you're showing her now!!"
"She may have done what she did, but the face remains that I was the one who killed her."
Vannor's anger died instantly at his son's deadpanned words. "I understand your pain Jareth, but she was your shield while you struck down Zaynon. Had she not been there I would have lost my last son…"
Jareth whipped his head around to glare mercilessly at his father. "So her death was acceptable, as long as I lived!?" he nearly roared, showing more emotion then he had in days.
The High King mentally grinned at his son's rage; happy to see any emotion other then sorrow and pain, or nothing at all. "That's not it at all. I loved Jaden as any Father-in-law should, but I love you too Jareth. I could have lost you both; everyone in the Underground would have missed you both. We all regret Jade's death, but we can't help but be happy as well to see you alive!"
"I can't be…" Jareth said bowing his head.
"Time heals all wounds my son."
With his mismatched eyes, Jareth gazed up brokenly at his father. "Some wounds refuse to heal…High King…"
Vannor sighed both in frustration and distress as he took his son by the elbow and hauled him to his black booted feet. "The funeral is going to begin and you have to be there to great everyone." Pulling Jareth along, the High King strode to the awaiting Great Hall and the dead girl beyond its large doors.
The Goblin King followed obediently, but reluctantly as he eyed the cold stone floors of his castle. He didn't want to see all those people, especially Princess Krystal, she would be absolutely flirtatious. It was that kind of thing that royally pissed Jareth off, and would get her killed. Jade deserved everyone's respect; she saved their world from a chaotic war that would have killed thousands.
"…Jaden..." Jareth whispered and he found himself halting before the large grand double doors of the Great Hall.
Vannor gazed at the doors hauntingly. "You were supposed to be married in this Hall…not burry your fiancé in it."
Jareth scowled. "You're not helping father."
"Sorry," he murmured turning to his son. "I was thinking of things that could have happened had Zaynon never turned on us."
"There's no point in asking 'what ifs' father, it changes nothing."
Vannor nodded reluctantly with an elongated sigh. "So true, but you can't tell me that you haven't been asking yourself the same Jareth. What else could you have been doing for the last couple of days?"
It was the Goblin King's turn to nod in reluctances. "Still changes nothing," he whispered hoarsely. "It only makes the ones left behind that much more in pain."
"True once again my son. Your mother has been deeply grieving the lose of Jade, as well as Sheera. We men must be strong so the women have a shoulder to cry on when the time comes for them to do so. So be strong Jareth, as you go in there and wish Jaden one final goodbye."
He didn't want to say another goodbye, Jareth didn't want to say goodbye at all! He didn't voice his reluctance or complain he just braced his hands against the heavy wooden doors. The feel of smooth carefully crafted carved wood beneath his gloved hands was surprisingly soothing. Staring at the black leather clad hands, Jareth found them to be shacking; from fear or nervousness he didn't know, and didn't care either way. Just gazing at his hands though, led Jareth to realization that his whole body was trembling. Everything shook uncontrollably as if the entire Underground was having an earthquake.
Taking in a large breath to calm his fraying nerves, if not more so to calm his body, Jareth pushed. With little effort the tall and wide doors swung open to reveal a hollowed dark room. Once this room had been gorgeous; full of joyful colors and life, now it was resorted to a gloomy and depressed image of its once magnificent glory. The colors of mourning now replaced the jovial pigments. Candles and torches gave light to the room, but still the shadowed corners crept and crawled, wavering with every flicker of the flame. The once welcoming Great Hall was now a haunting room filled with the dead presence of the one deceased.
Jareth didn't want to step another foot into the room. He just remained standing there bracing open the wooden panels. Mis-matched eyes never left the floor, never did he look up to the stone table that stood directly down the aisle. The Goblin King had no other wish then to flee the room; he had no desire to see Jade's magically preserved body. She may have been magically preserved for the funeral, but she was no doubt deathly pale as the dead were supposed to be; he didn't want to see her that way. Even if Jade was dressed in a flowing layered fine silk gown she would have been wearing for her wedding, rather then her funeral, Jareth still didn't want to see.
"Jaden," Jareth murmured softly. "I should have died that day beside you. I can't live without you…"
Conjuring up what strength he had left, the silver haired King of Goblins raised his eyes to what was awaiting him. What he saw was an unmoving pale reminisce of the beauty the girl that had been, but also a figure shrouded in a clock at her side. The stranger stood over Jaden with a hand hovering over her face.
"You there!" angrily snapped Jareth. "What the hell are you doing in here!?"
The figure's sleeved arm shook in their surprise before it was rushed to the mystery person's side. The clocked stranger swiftly swung around to face a very agitated, to put it lightly, King Jareth. Yet the daunting individual said nothing, and it was nothing that could be seen beneath the deep hood.
Jareth seethed when no answer came, and ignored his father who now stood by his side in confusion and concern. "I ask you a question stranger! WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING TO JADEN!! AND I DEMAND AN ANSWER!!"
It was only Jareth's echoing voice that answered.
The shrouded figure stood motionless for a time, before turning their head to Jade. And in doing so, Jareth and Vannor looked as well. To their horror they found Jaden dissolving into little slightly glowing particles that slowly floated upward only to disappear completely; the body of the Daughter of the Labyrinth was fading into nothingness.
"NO! JADEN!!" Jareth called in a tragic plea as if Jaden would answer him. He's smoldering eyes turned on the mystery person that had caused it. "What have you done!?"
Vannor and Jareth received no answer as the rest of Jade's body dissolved into glowing sparkles before vanishing forever. The Goblin King couldn't but take a few steps forward stretching out his hand as he could touch what was no more. Rage soon overwhelmed his grief as his eyes turned on the figure standing stationary at the stone pedestal.
The King of Goblins snarled flashing fangs, as the strange disrespected Jaden's memory further by now sitting on the carved stone table. Legs crossed at the knee, with their right arm draped over them, the left hand gripping the ride of the table.
"You will pay dearly for what you've done!"
A chuckle reverberated off the stone walls, and it was obviously female. Was Krystal playing some sick and twisted joke now that Jaden had died?
"Come…come now Jareth, it's just the husk of the Labyrinth's dead mortal daughter."
"How dare you?!" snapped Vannor stepping forward to be equal with his son. "You should show more respect for the dead, girl!!"
Another episode of chiming laughter came; hauntingly familiar. "Hard to mourn what is lost Vannor, when it is not lost at all."
Both father and son narrowed their eyes in confusion. The hooded female spoke in riddles they could not decipher. She must of noticed the males' confusion because a sigh was heard, followed by "you two are so slow." Now…that comment pissed the pair off and they showed it very clearly upon their majestic faces.
Laughter came again, but it was becoming far more familiar. Vannor and Jareth knew that laughter; they knew it well, but still they were hesitant, and for very good reason too.
"Who are you?" they asked.
A small chuckle came. "Forgive me," she whispered a smile heard in her voice. "Faes do just love…" trailed the female as she reached up and somewhat slowly pulled back the shadowy hood. "…a little mischief."
The pairs of eyes bugged out, as two mouths fell open in thunderstruck shock. Neither could believe what they were seeing. Was this some nasty, way below the belt joke? Or was this seriously who they thought who sat atop the stone tablet.
"…J-Jaden…?" breathed Jareth taking a hesitant step forward.
"But…but she's fae!" finished Vannor.
Indeed, the girl sitting atop the stone funeral table looked like the deceased Jaden. Rich, silky raven black mane flowing down her back. Her once pale angelic face was paler still, but with high fae cheek bones and such. Her eyes remained the same; bright shinning green mimicking emerald and putting them to shame, but more almond shaped. Yet like fae, her eyelids were naturally tinted in a way not much unlike Jareth's. When she smiled, her rosy lips spread to reveal a fang filled smile. And no doubt Jareth and Vannor knew beneath the ebony clock the imitating girl had a fae figure; thin and lean, but it wasn't unlike Jade didn't have one before.
Vannor was the first to regain his composure. "This can't be; it's a lie! We both watched Jade die; you can't be her!"
"Sure I can!"
Jareth regained his senses then. "You can't be my Jaden, she wasn't fae; she was human!"
The Jaden appearing fae sighed. "True enough, I can see your guy's reluctance to believe; I would be too if I was in your shoes. But perhaps I should explain everything to you; make things clearer."
"Oh please do," sarcastically spoke up the Goblin King as he crossed his arms, face set in a stern expression.
The fae female scowled and stuck out her tongue out at Jareth before explaining. "When I cured Zaynon's territory, I was able to use the large store of power I had within myself. I could only do so being that I was close to my death. However, the mortal body I possessed could not withstand that much use of magic, so it began to shut down. Yet, even though the body was reaching its limit, my spirit was not, and neither was my magic. Before it became too late I formed my magic into a fae form underneath the mortal husk. While the mortal body died, I remained alive inside using magic to grow. You could interpret the whole process as something revolving around a cocoon. I appeared dead to the world, but I was truly alive waiting to be reborn into a beautiful butterfly; that being the fae form of myself. I'm all here, just with a little different of a face."
And Jade gave a smile and both Jareth and Vannor knew this Jade was the real thing.
"It's really you…" Jareth breathed stepping forward slowly.
"Yes love, it's really me…"
Then quick as a flash, Jareth was gone only to reappear before a still sitting Jaden. With no time to spare, Jareth captured Jade's lips and ravished them passionately in a kiss long denied. Jade answered with her own very passionate kiss. The couple clung to each other like they had been apart for an eternity and couldn't believe the other was there. Course having Jaden appear dead and coming back to life could be considered such. Yes, Jareth and Jaden were very happy to see each other, and held one another like there was no tomorrow.
Jareth however, reluctantly broke the kiss as he held Jade's face between his hands. "I love you…don't you dare ever do something like that again."
Jade just grinned innocently up at him. "I love you too Jareth, and I don't plan to. But before we get carried away, why don't we change this funeral into a wedding; everyone is here yea now."
The Goblin King gave his beloved another peck on the lips before retreating again. Jareth took in the beautiful face as well as the other new features. And here he thought Jaden couldn't get anymore beautiful as a mortal. He smiled down at her to receive a gorgeous one in return.
"You took the words right out of my mouth love."
"Glad to hear it. I want to marry you as soon as possible."
Not another second passed before the pair captured each other's lips once more, leaving Vannor grinning madly. Turning on his heel, he strode to the door with a joyful spring to his step. Yes, everything was alright again; everything was as it should be. He had a lot of things to prepare before the binding deed could be done; a lot of mourning individuals to tell. Already the soon to be father-in-law could hear the cheers and cries of the jovial and the echoing of wedding bells.
"Yes…" he whispered heading to the group of mourners waiting to get into the Great Hall. "Everything is right in the world."