VI. GETTING TO KNOW YOU
She couldn't believe the nerve of Jareth! He had kissed her again! And because of it she had not slept a wink!
Sarah had tried not to respond to the kiss, but something within her stirred; as though there was something within him that she needed, just like she needed air to breathe.
Shaking her head of these thoughts, she briskly made her way towards the school building. But once again she found her thoughts returning to the kiss she and Jareth had shared just the night before.
And it was her first kiss too!
Sarah did not hold back her groan. She did not want to deal with Dawn this early in the morning.
"That guy last night was so hot!" Dawn exclaimed. "You're so damned lucky, Sarah. I wish I had the attention of a guy like that."
Sarah tried to ignore Dawn's little tirade, despite the fact that it grated on her nerves.
"What's with the two of you anyway?" Dawn finally asked. "There was enough electricity between the two of you to power up a whole town."
"Dawn, I don't want to talk about him," Sarah said, tiredly.
Noticing Sarah's unusually sullen mood, Dawn asked, "What did he do to make you so mad?"
"He kissed me," Sarah replied, not bothering to lie. Big mistake.
"What? No way!" Dawn screeched. "That's, like, your first kiss! How was it?"
"I said I don't want to talk about him!" Sarah shouted.
"That good, huh?"
"Look, Dawn! Just leave me alone!"
At this point they were getting quite an audience
Not wanting to attract any more attention, Sarah turned without another word just as the bell began to ring.
Sarah spent all day trying to avoid Dawn and her seemingly endless questions about Jareth. As if she didn't have enough on her plate already without her adding to it.
Also, that agreement she had made with Jareth occupies her mind for most of the day. Something just didn't sit well with her. She had been tired when she had agreed to that proposition. And who wouldn't be of they were woken up in the middle of the night? So it could be said that she wasn't thinking properly when she had agreed to 'getting to know each other'.
What was Jareth up to? Was he planning on seducing her, like he had tried to back in the tunnel near the false alarms?
The whole thing just made Sarah's head go round and round in circles.
By afternoon, she was exhausted; both mentally and physically.
She trudged along the footpaths that led to her home, feeling completely exhausted. She just wanted the day to be over and done with – except she had several assignments that she wanted to finish before the end of the week so she'd have more time to herself, and to practise with the band.
"Jeez!" Sarah very nearly dropped the few books that she had in her hand—that was how lost in her thoughts that she had been.
She turned to face Jareth, who had seemingly materialised behind her.
Once again he was dressed in aboveground clothes—this time he was wearing a black denim jacket, white t-shirt, black jeans and black pointed boots, which Sarah thought suited him more than the biker boots did.
"I don't know what game you're playing at, Jareth," Sarah said. "But I refuse to play it."
"It's no game, Sarah," Jareth replied. "I'm perfectly serious."
He stepped closer to her.
"I want to know everything about you."
"Don't you know everything about me already?" Sarah retorted. "After all, you've been watching me for years."
"No," Jareth replied, smiling at her. "There is still much I don't know about you, and very sure there's much you don't know about me."
"I know enough," Sarah said. She turned and started to walk away.
"But surely you wish to know more, if not about me, but my kind,"
That made Sarah stop short.
As much as she hated to admit it, Jareth was right – she would like to learn more about the fae, the goblins, the Labyrinth and the whole Underground. And though she may say otherwise, she was curious about Jareth himself.
"I'll think about it," she said.
With that she turned into the street where her house was located.
It was most likely not the answer that he wanted to hear, but he would have to be content with that for now.
Not long after she arrived home, Sarah had attempted to complete some of her assignments, but found that she couldn't concentrate. Jareth and his proposition kept popping up in her mind. She had managed to finish her Math assignment, but that was all.
Finally, she decided to call on one of her friends from the Underground.
She pondered who would give the most help.
Ludo wouldn't be very much help. As much as she loved the yeti-like Rock Caller, he was a bit slow and was very much a very small child in terms of mentality and speech capabilities.
Hoggle and Sir Didymus were the obvious choices. Although Sir Didymus could be a bit longwinded with all his talk of duty and codes of honour, he did give some very good advise. Hoggle was more sceptical, especially when it came to Jareth.
Making up her mind, she sat down at her vanity and gazed into the mirror.
"I need you, Hoggle; I need you, Sir Didymus," she murmured.
Almost immediately, Hoggle's reflection appeared in the mirror behind her, but Sir Didymus's did not.
Hoggle explained that he had been unavoidably detained. Something one of his spur-of-the-moment quests. Just as well, Sarah thought.
"I don't like it," Hoggle said, when Sarah had finished explaining about the deal between Jareth and herself. "I don't trust the rat as far I can throw 'im. He's up to something. That I guarantee."
"I get the same feeling too," Sarah agreed.
"But a deal's a deal, and I know that if Sir Didymus were here, he'd be spoutin' off 'bout the code of honour and such," Hoggle sighed. "And as much as I hate to admit it, he'd be right. But I still don't like it. Yeh know what he's like. I wouldn't be surprised of this were one of his damn schemes."
"But what if he really means it?" Sarah asked.
Hoggle looked at her with a sceptical eye.
She took a deep breath and said, "Hoggle, I know you don't trust him, and I can't really say that I do either at the moment, but…I know that if I don't give him a chance, I'll spend the rest of my life wondering 'what if?', and that's not something I want hanging over my head for the rest of my life."
Hoggle sighed and said, "Just be careful, Sarah."
"I will," Sarah promised.
"And should you need us, I mean, any of us…"
With that, Hoggle disappeared back to the Underground just as Karen called Sarah down for dinner.
After she's finished eating, she shrugged on her purple overcoat and pulled on a pair of long brown boots, intending to go for a walk by herself.
"I'm going out," Sarah called behind her, as she opened the door.
"All right, honey," her father called back. "Be safe," he added, even though he knew that his daughter could take care of herself.
Sarah walked across the road and down the familiar paths to the park where she used to act out her favourite scene from 'Labyrinth' with Merlin. As well as a barn owl, which always stuck her as odd as owls didn't usually come out during the day.
The park was her sanctuary, somewhere she could think in peace and quiet, and she felt safe here.
She sat down on a stone bench and began humming one of her favourite songs to herself. It always made her feel better.
Reaching her destination, she went and sat down on the stone bench by the pond, near the stone bridge, where she had practised the lines of the story so often.
It wasn't long before she felt like she was being watched from somewhere nearby.
Knowing full well whom, Sarah called out, "I know you're there, Jareth. Come out."
"I know you're there Jareth," Sarah said aloud. "I know you're watching me."
Sarah heard a flutter of wings in the trees behind her, which was followed by a change in the air around her, accompanied by the scent of magic before he stepped out from behind her.
Jareth knew she would shy away from him when he had suggested they get to know each other, but he had not expected her to agree so quickly and easily.
"How about we play 'Twenty Questions'?" Sarah suggested. "Do you know the game?"
"I've heard of it," Jareth replied. "It's where two people ask the number of twenty questions, one after the other until they've asked up to that number, am I correct?"
"Yes," Sarah said. "Why don't you start?"
He paused to think of a question. It didn't take him long to find something he had been wondering about for some time. "Why did you give up on acting?"
"After I came back from the Labyrinth, I realised it wasn't what I really wanted to do, it was more like my way of keeping my mother alive. I wanted people to remember her. I wanted people to see me to see me as someone worthy of being called the daughter of Linda Williams. But it wasn't my real dream."
"And you found it." It was a statement, not a question.
"Yes, I did," Sarah said. "Why did you build the Labyrinth?"
"Because I wanted to be left alone, for the most part," Jareth began. "I am very eligible bachelor here in the Underground and I have had countless noblewomen attempt to seduce me into their beds, in the hopes of forcing me to marry them."
Sarah regarded Jareth thoughtfully.
"I can kind of relate to that, although my case isn't quite the same as yours," she said. "Since I came back from the Labyrinth, I've had so many guys ask me out. At first it was flattering that so many guys now looked at me as girlfriend material, but then it got annoying."
Jareth nodded thoughtfully.
"It's your turn to ask me again," Sarah asked.
"What's your middle name?" he asked. In all the time he had watched her, he had never heard any of her friends or family call her by her full name.
"Sarah Elizabeth Williams," Jareth tested her name, and found that he like the sound of it. "I like it, it suits you."
"Thanks," Sarah smiled, her cheeks colouring a little. "What's your middle name?"
"Peregrine?" Sarah was surprised. "As in the hobbit from the Lord of the Rings?"
"Yes, it's actually a Welsh name meaning 'traveller' or 'wanderer'."
It made sense, somehow, Sarah thought for him to be called that, seeing as how his animal form was an owl. "I think it suits you," she said.
They continued in this way, asking questions back and forth. They soon exceeded twenty questions, but Sarah didn't care. She was actually enjoying herself.
Sarah learnt much about the fae, goblins and about Jareth himself; and Jareth learnt some things about Sarah that he hadn't known previously, some of which were unexpected. But some answers were more or less what she'd expected of Jareth.
"What's your favourite book?"
"From the Underground or Above?"
"You would not know the book from the Underground, but the title, roughly translated, is The Labyrinths of Human Dreams," Jareth said. "Aboveground…I don't particularly have a favourite; however I'm very fond of the works of Tolkien and also Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream."
"Somehow, I had thought that it would be something along those lines," Sarah idly commented.
"Well, human imagination has always fascinated me," Jareth replied. "What's your favourite?"
"Pride and Prejudice," was Sarah's automatic answer.
This seemed to surprise Jareth. "I would have thought your favourite would have been a fantasy novel of some sort," he said, chuckling. "That goes to show how much I really know about you, but then again, I think I can see why with your middle name being Elizabeth. And you are very much like the character."
"It's partly because of that, seeing as it was also my mother's favourite book," Sarah agreed. "I like romantic novels from the Regency period, my favourite author being Jane Austen. I love all of her books, but Pride and Prejudice is my favourite. My favourite used to be Labyrinth, as you can probably remember."
"Yes, and very fondly too," Jareth smiled. "You would always come her to act out your favourite parts, placing yourself in the heroine's role."
"You were there?" she asked in surprise.
"I was," Jareth replied. "I've been to every one of your performances." He pointed to an obelisk that stood about ten feet from the bench. "Right there, watching from that stone."
"I thought it was too much of a coincidence when the same owl would show up every time," Sarah said, wryly. "No wonder you knew about my costumes."
"You were beautiful in that dress you wore that evening," he said, fondly. "Like a princess."
Sarah blushed, remembering the medieval styled gown, which she now thought of as childish.
"Sarah, I have a confession to make," Jareth said, suddenly.
"What is it?" Sarah asked, curious.
"You remember all those gifts that you thought your father gave you? The music box, the toys of your friends and the creatures of the Underground, and the wooden maze with the ball bearings?"
"Yeah, what about them?" Sarah wasn't sure where he was going with this.
"I was the one who sent you the gifts that you thought were from your father."
"You were?" Sarah was shocked to learn that the one who'd sent her favourite childhood toys, was the man she had considered to be the villain, not her father. "Why?
"I just wanted to see you smile," he said, softly.
He watched as a slight frown appeared upon her brow.
"How long have you been watching me, Jareth?" Sarah asked.
Jareth turned away from her, unsure that she would like the answer.
"Since you were nine years old," Jareth replied. "Around the time your mother died."
"You've been watching me for that long?"
"I was in love with you," Jareth said, softly. "And I still am."
"You love me?"
Sarah couldn't quite believe it. Even after all she had said and done to him and his kingdom, said to him, he still loved her. That kind of devotion she had only read about in books.
Just then the park clock chimed the hour. Sarah looked up. It was eight o'clock; and it was getting dark.
Tomorrow was a school day, meaning she had to get up early.
"Um, I have to go," Sarah said, standing up. "I've got school tomorrow."
"I understand," Jareth replied, also standing. "Rest well."
She started to walk back home, but looked back just in time to see a white and gold barn owl soar up into the moon.
Sarah watched until it was only a tiny shadow in the shining moon's face.
Sorry this took me so long. I was very nearly finished with it when I accidentally turned off my laptop and ended up losing the document, so I've had to start again, writing from memory, as well as notes and little ideas that I've jotted down on pieces of paper and in notebooks. I've also been preoccupied with end of year exams for my courses. Then I hit a bit of a writer's block.
If anything, I think this is even better than what I'd written before. I hope you all feel it was worth the wait, and enjoyed reading it. Please leave any comments you have about this chapter or about the story in general. I appreciate any feedback that you give me, whether praising or critical.
I had a little trouble with coming with the title for Jareth's Underground book, but I found some inspiration from Alfred Hitchcock's film Spellbound, a book title in the film called the Labyrinths of the Guilt Complex. I though that it would be appropriate for the story.
A note to Patchi who commented a while back on the time setting of the story - the thing I like about reading and writing fan fiction, is that the writer can take a few pieces from an original work and build on it to create something of their own. Personally I've always found it easier to write from the viewpoint of a person from the present day, and people, particularly teenagers, are more able to relate to someone from the present day. Also, I've always felt Labyrinth to have a sort of timeless quality that one can almost imagine it happening in the here and now, which I suppose is why I've written it to be set around the present, rather than the past.