"Jareth!" Sarah screamed into the night. The pain was now constant and beginning to overwhelm her.
Startled he strode over to the side of the bed and held her hand. "Sarah, I'm here love. Shh, don't try to talk. Just rest." He moved to sit behind her, cradling her upper body carefully. Although she didn't look any different from when he had brought her back from the Above when she was just 21 human years old; Sarah's mostly mortal body had long surpassed the amount of time he had expected her to survive. He dared to hope for many years that the fates would be kind to them considering everything they went through to be together.
"Time is short Jareth - you and I both know that I am dying." Sarah turned her head to see his face in the dim firelight. For a half-millennium she had stood by his side, through a war and through the period of great peace. They'd started their tumultuous relationship with the Labyrinth and Sarah wanted to give him some peace before she took hers. "Take me to the balcony, please?"
Jareth scooped his wife up, carried her to the open balcony and sat on the railing holding her tightly. The sun was beginning to rise on the horizon and this would be the last time for her. "Love, you saw many sunrises before I was even born - you'll see many after I am gone. Please promise me that you will continue to live and find love again. Maybe the fates will give us another lifetime to be together. Cherish our children and their children; help them to understand and respect the Labyrinth that brought us together."
Looking at her was pure pain for Jareth. He couldn't stand the thought of waking in the morning without her. She'd been a part of him for so long now that loving her was as natural as breathing or a heart beating. "Sarah," he was trying so hard not to cry "I will never love someone else as much as I love you." He captured her lips as the sun peeked over the mountains. They were warm and soft and Jareth could feel the life drain away from them. Pulling his face away from hers he held her body tightly as the last signs of life exhaled in her last breath.
Jareth watched the sunrise in silence, holding her lifeless form close. Kaladin entered the balcony area and knew immediately that Sarah was gone. Jareth's face was emotionless except for the reddened eyes and trail of dried tears down his cheeks.
"Jareth - let me take her to prepare her for committal." Kaladin's own eyes were watering with the knowledge that Jareth would suffer a long time from this loss. The fae king had always treated him as a brother and had given him a high standing in his court. He reached over to take Sarah's body and Jareth jerked his arms away, cradling her as if she were one of the tiny babies who was wished away shortly after birth.
Kaladin sighed straightening up. "Lord Jareth. You know that the goblins will need time to prepare her. Tomorrow is the beginning of the Autumn Equinox and she must be buried in accordance with customs before the moon rises tonight.
The Goblin King sat motionless for a few moments longer before tearing his eyes away from Sarah and resting them on his friend. Coughing to straighten his voice, Jareth began to speak "Kaladin, I knew that this day would come, but I just hoped…" his head turned away as he neglected to finish his sentence. Staring out across the Labyrinth Jareth spoke quietly "I've got to call the children - they will need to be on their way to say…goodbye."
Kaladin opened his arms to receive the dead Queen's body and bowed to Jareth as he left the room with her. Jareth watched Sarah's body carried out of their room and felt the tears flowing from his eyes again. This was the last time he would see her face.
Jareth conjured a crystal and called to their children Tobias and Alana. He smiled thinking about how Sarah had insisted that their son have some portion of Toby's name since it was him that brought them together. Tobias was stoic like Jareth, his face fell hearing that his mother was gone and told Jareth he would be home within the hour. Alana was a little more, emotional. She wailed at the news like a newborn babe and then cried more as she turned to tell her husband Dante that she would be returning to Goblin City immediately.
The hard part over, Jareth sighed and looked around the room. He needed to clear his head before the children arrived. He thought about going into Sarah's room to see if there were items in there that he should give to his grandchildren - but when he thought about walking through the doorway his blood ran cold and the tears began to well up again. Leaning against the wall that faced her door, Jareth thought about the number of times he had stood in this exact spot trying to reason with Sarah when he first brought her down.
The Goblin King sat motionless against the wall, lost in memories. Tears ceased to fall from his blue eyes, there was nothing left in his body. As he pushed his body against the wall attempting to stand, a shadow passed through his sight.
"Daddy." The young fae wrapped her arms around Jareth's chest helping him to his feet. Jareth was grateful that Alana was here. Her face was undeniably his Sarah, but her blonde locks were slightly curly and she always wore her hair tied back loosely at the neck.
"I can't...believe she is gone. It came so fast." Alana was no longer crying, but Jareth suspected that more tears were on the horizon.
"Dante and Jare will be along this afternoon. He figured that Tobias and I should have some private time with you. It should also give me some time to compose myself before explaining this to Jare."
Jareth rested his chin on top of Alana's head and stroked her hair for a moment as she cried softly. He shifted his head as he felt Tobias coming. The sparkling air crackled as he materialized in front of Sarah's door. In respect, he knelt and placed a single white rose at the foot of the door.
"Tobias, come son." Jareth stretched his arm out to the young fae with dark straight hair. "Let's go sit down and we can discuss what will happen now." The three walked slowly to the library where Jareth sat down with their two children and cried. He relayed Sarah's wishes and her final moments as the sun rose over the Labyrinth with her last breath.
"Alana?" Dante and Jare opened the library door cautiously.
Jare came flying into the room, "Mommy, mommy!" Alana put her arms out to her son and cradled him close. Jareth watched as Alana held the little boy close and tried to hide her tears from him.
"King-pa, where's Queen-ma?" His bright green eyes flashed to Jareth as Alana hitched her breath and closed her eyes.
Jareth reached over for the young boy and set him on his lap. "Jare," he ruffled the little boy's hair as he looked up to see Alana nod. "Listen tough guy, do you remember how we've had talks about magic and the differences between fae and mortal people?"
The little boy nodded his head emphatically and said matter-of-factly, "You and mommy and daddy and Uncle Tobais are fae, Queen-ma was a mortal. She told me stories of the Above and what her family was like."
Alana was holding her breath trying very hard to not cry, Dante saw this and knelt beside her so that she could hide her face in his chest. Jareth took this as a sign to go ahead and tell the little lad the truth.
"Jare – Queen-ma will not be here any more. She's gone for a very, very long and well deserved rest."
The green eyes stared right through Jareth's, "You mean Queen-ma, died?" His voice quivered and his little body began to shake. "She didn't say bye."
Jareth's eyes misted over at the blatant honesty of the boy's words. He hadn't really had to deal with death much, at least not one he cared about. The little namesake on his lap already seemed to understand so much, yet the events of the rest of the day would ensure that the boy remember this day for the rest of his life. A knock at the library door as it opened and Kaladin entered the room brought Jareth back to what was happening.
"Majesties, it is time to begin the ceremonies." His somber voice and deep bow were in respect for their pain.
"Kaladin!" Jare ran toward the young man as he stood up to catch the boy.
"Hello Jare. I think we best find you something to munch on while the adults have a few minutes." Dante smiled at Kaladin and nodded. With the boy out from underfoot, the fae family rose and their clothes immediately turned gray and black. Jareth let out a deep sigh as he headed for the door.
The entire Underground seemed to feel the sorrow of this day. The roses, buds and full blooms, bowed their colorful heads; the trees were heavy laden with birds which made the trees appear to bow.
Sarah's body was carried out on a stretcher by six goblins and laid to rest upon the prepared area of sacred terra where Jareth's ancestors had been laid to rest many millennia ago. He found it difficult not to run to her form and demand that she rise and stay with him. Dante's arm was securely around Alana's waist and her arms held her precious son. Tobais stood stiffly at Jareth's right side, hands clenched in fists at his sides.
Jareth breathed deeply as the elven council began the ceremony with a prayer, but Jareth did not hear their words; his mind was lost in a song he sang so many years ago to Sarah. Holding his tears back during a long period of silence the words escaped his lips:
How you turned my world you precious thing,
You starve and near exhaust me
Everything I've done, I've done for you
I move the stars for no one
You've run so long
You've run so far
Your eyes can be so cruel
Just as I can be so cruel
Though I do believe in you
Yes I do
Live without the sunlight
Love without your heartbeat
And with a great pause, he finished the tribute
I….I…Can't live…without you.