Well, this is it. --Thanks so much to everyone for reading and reviewing: your support and encouragement has been I hope that I haven't disappointed anyone. Take care everyone! Sincerely,
p.s. I recommend listening to Annie Lennox's "Love Song for a Vampire" while reading this chapter.
I hope that I haven't disappointed anyone.
Take care everyone!
"Of Love and Loss"
Many songs would be sung and many tales of valor would be told of the Battle of the Great Mountain. Little facts would be written on scrolls for historical record: Megrim was slain, Bruehm lead the charge, and the United Armies claimed victory over the Dark Army. Even more magnificent were the ballads of the mighty battle between the great Emrys and the evil Moran, a battle no one had seen and no one could remember.
History and scribes cared not for the blood that was shed or for that hearts that were broken. They were uninterested in the sentimental detail that the Goblin King loved and regarded Emrys as a father and they didn't think it important to recall that Lord Jareth and Lord Bruehm embraced upon the battle field in forgiveness and brotherhood. No, such things were lost and what was remembered would be written cold ink that would never understand the lives of the ones who lived through such times.
The battle was not entirely victorious and it was purchased at a steep price: the life of Myrddin Emrys, King of Rivers and the guiding light of the Underground. A great cry of lament rose from the Mountain when Jareth and Bruehm found his still form upon the precipice. No one in the Underground could a world without Emrys. Emrys had always been there, since before the Dark Times, since the High King dwelt among them: how could they survive without him?
Megrim was slain and the Mountain was conquered, but no trace of Morgan La Fae was found. The Thirteen Lords ordered that every corner of the Underground and Aboveground be searched until she was found out and brought to justice for her crimes, but the oldest and wisest knew, in their hearts, that she would not be found and that they had no seen the last of her.
Emrys had no children and no heir, so his seat on the Council was left empty and desolate; a constant reminder of what he had been to all of them, what he had sacrificed for all of them.
The Goblin City was regained and what had been destroyed by war was rebuilt in peace. Jareth took his Fae Queen, Sarah, home upon his arm and, together, they reigned in peace, cherishing it because they knew how short lived it would be.
Sarah gave her king the heir he had so wished for: a daughter. During her pregnancy and confinement, Jareth had been absolutely confident that she would give him a son and prepared his household and kingdom for a prince. When he walked into the room after the delivery, she braced herself for his bitter disappointment in a girl; but, when he looked down at the babe in her arms she watched the Goblin King's chiseled face soften into an expression of utter joy as he instantly scooped his daughter up.
"Have you named her?" he asked breathlessly, scarcely breaking his gaze from infant's.
"No," Sarah answered, feeling a wave of relief wash over her. "I was waiting for you."
"She is my Rose," Jareth declared proudly, carefully replacing the princess in her mother's arms and sitting on the bed next to Sarah so that he could hold both of them. "Our Rose…" he murmured against his wife's dark tresses. "You've already given me everything I could possibly want," he said, reciting her lines to him from that night, not so very long ago, when he had offered her anything within his power to grant. "You've made my dreams come true."
Sarah smiled as she felt him press a tender kiss to her temple and rocked her daughter within her arms.
Before she could say a word in response, they heard the sound of scuttling and a terrible crash outside the door. Growling, the Goblin King stalked across the room and threw open the door to find a horde of goblins scattered in the hallway, along with the remains what was once a decorative suit of armor.
"Eat baby!" cried one of the goblins, his yellow eyes wide with delighted expectation.
"No!" groaned another goblin, shoving the yellow eyed one. "Not eat baby: see baby!"
"Yes!" the throng shouted with glee, hopping up and down giddily.
"You most certainly will not eat or see my baby," Jareth barked, kicking back a more daring goblin that attempted to slip into the chamber. "And if I catch any of you anywhere near this room or the nursery, you'll be the newest members of Prince Hoggle's Court in the Bog of Eternal Stench. –Is that understood?"
With many boxed ear and shove, Jareth sent the goblins back whence the came, closed the door to his chamber and turned to face his wife and child upon the bed. Sarah merely sat there looking at him with an arched brow and a coy smirk curling the corners of her mouth.
"Well," he sighed, "laugh!"
Sarah didn't need a second invitation: her face lit up and her mouth opened in silent laughter as she tried not to disturb Rose. Jareth watched with no small measure of satisfaction, taking in the sight of his two most cherished treasures together. Sarah's cruel eyes still bewitched him and her smile still stopped his heart. –He shuddered to think what power his wife and daughter combined would have over him.
"What is it, Jareth?" Sarah asked, regarding his wistful gaze.
Letting out a content sigh, her husband approached the bed and took the hand she extended to him. He sat down on the edge and removed his gloves before lowering one hand upon Rose's soft head and re-clasping Sarah's in the other.
"You still exhaust me," he chuckled, pressing her white fingers to his lips.
"Wait until Rose is a teenager," she teased, trying not to blush like a schoolgirl beneath his intense stare. "Then you'll know what exhaustion really means."
"Tell me you love me, Sarah," he entreated.
"I love you," the response came instantly as green eyes flashed in surprise at such doubt and need from him.
Jareth smiled softly and touched her cheek with his finger tips.
Rose began to grunt and fuss within her mother's arms, immediately diverting her parents' attention.
"Here," he said softly, "let me take her."
Sarah complied, carefully easing the babe into her father's arms. She smiled softly as she watched Jareth gently rock their daughter back to sleep. He looked down at the child he held with such warmth and tenderness, it caused her mother-heart to bleed.
"I saw my baby…" he softly sang, bringing a silent chuckle to Sarah's throat.
Unconsciously, the Goblin Queen's mind drifted back to that night four years ago when she ran the Labyrinth and first danced with Jareth. She replayed that moment in the shattered Escher Room, when he made his desperate plea:
I ask for so little: just fear me, love me, do as I say, and I will be your slave.
She didn't care that Jareth hadn't told her he loved her too: he said that with his eyes and his caress. He had always been forthcoming: You have thirteen hours in which to solve the Labyrinth… This how it will be between us, my dear wife… This is probably one of the few times in our life together that you will hear me say those words out loud, but always know, that they are true… I will always come for you. I will always love you.
As if he sensed his wife's thoughts, the Goblin King looked up from his Rose's face and looked into his Sarah's eyes, almost as sorrowfully as he did that last moment before he entreated her to stay all those years ago, but now his eyes seemed to hold something new, something simple, but sincere.
"I do love you, Sarah," Jareth said, reaching out to press the palm of his hand to her soft cheek.
Sarah held it there with her own hand, watching the expression of peace fall over his features as his blue eyes closed. She had her castle, her kingdom, her king, and a child of her own. She was loved by her husband and she loved her own little family. She had her adventures and her fantasies… Her every dream. –Would the High King return to the Underground? Only he knew: Sarah was content with her happily ever after.