DISCLAIMER: I don't own baby!Jareth but I do own everything else in this story.
NOTES OF AN AUTHORESS: Random musings on where Jareth came from etc. Might even turn into a proper story if you review enough. -lures with cookies-
It should have been raining. It should have been pouring down, it should have been a storm. There should have been rolling thunder so loud it was like the tearing apart of the world and flashing lightning so bright that it blinded you. There wasn't.
Instead the sky was coated in pale grey clouds with a few gaps where the sky shone through. The sun was sometimes veiled by the clouds and sometimes, as the wind blew them aside it shone down on the village. Farmers worked in the fields as the dusk rolled on, wives prepared dinner and children laughed and played, running errants and looking after younger siblings.
But one house, one house had the windows closed, one house was avoided as though it bore the red cross of the plague. From that house you could hear the muffled screams of a young woman in labour.
Her pretty face was twisted in agony and her blue eyes swam with tears as her back arched and her breath came in panting gasps. Her honey-blonde hair was splayed on the pillow around her and her entire body was bathed in sweat. The curtains were drawn and the only light came from a flickering candle on the bedside.
Another scream tore itself loose from her throat and petered out in a series of heart-wrenching sobs. The midwife was bent over her, her brow furrowed in concentration. To one side stood her father, his face a mess of worry for his daughter. Her mother was knelt beside her, clutching her hand and murmuring soothing things to her that the young woman couldn't hear.
"Push!" The midwife's head lifted and her fierce tawny gaze met that of the terrified woman. "Push damn you! Push or the babe will die and take you with it!"
"I can't," the woman sobbed. "It hurts so much. Mother, mother, mama. Make it stop. I just want to die if it'll make it stop!"
The mother opened her mouth to speak but the midwife cut in. "Push! Do you want the child to die? Push you useless sack of bones, push!"
Taking a deep breath the woman sat up and pushed, pushed with all her soul and all her strength. The effort made her scream in agony but the child was born in a hot rush onto the bed. Exhausted, she slumped back and closed her eyes.
The midwife quickly cut the umbilical cord and slapped the baby's feet until his mouth opened and it let out a healthy wail. The midwife grinned and wrapped the child in a swaddling cloth before bringing him to the young woman who, despite her ordeal, sat up desperate to see.
"Let me see. Let me see," she panted her eyes bright. The midwife handed the child over and the mother took it and held it in her arms.
"It's a boy," she informed the woman's parents. "A fine one too, despite..." Her voice trailed off and the smile faded when she saw the look on the father's face. The young woman was blissfully happy, gazing at her newborn son.
The father cleared his throat to attract his daughter's attention and she looked up promptly, her face alight with happiness. "Look at him father. Isn't he a fine boy? Your first grandchild!"
"Isabel," he began ignoring the looks of sheer disbelief that his wife was giving him. "You are aware that you cannot keep him? He is a bastard child, his father is a rogue and a wastrel. It would be best if you gave him up to the Church; you can have more children and this one would make it impossible for you to ever find a husband."
"No!" The woman's eyes widened and she clutched her son desperately. "Father I implore you! He is...No! Give him away and I go with him! He is my child..." She dissolved into tears and her mother crouched down and placed a comforting arm around her daughters shoulders.
"Listen my darling, your father is right. The boy is nothing but bad news and it would be better for everyone if you were to give him up." She attempted a reassuring smile but her daughter pulled away from her and turned her eyes to the gurgling baby in her arms. She rocked back and forth, mewling like the infant she held.
The wife looked despairingly at her husband and he averted his eyes, ashamed.
Suddenly the woman threw the covers aside and tried to get out of bed. Immediately the midwifes strong hand found her arm and pushed her back down. "Don't you dare missy. You're far too weak to even consider leaving. Your parents are right for once; the child is a bastard and better off in the care of others."
The woman looked at her and at the child who had begun to grizzle at the harsh words. "Please...Please..." She murmured, not knowing what to say.
The midwife knelt and looked at her. "Look at me lassie." Obidiently but snuffling the girl lifted her eyes from the child in her arms. "Now I know that you may think that the world will accept you and the babe and if they don't then you'll just fight and run and fight some more and manage on your own. Right?"
The woman, looking very young and incredibly vunerable nodded dimly.
The midwife's grip tightened on her arm and she looked at her intently and continued. "A child is a child is a child. A babe can fade away so fast. But a name now lass, a name lasts forever. You can't change your name no more than you can change your heart or the colour of your eyes. If this child stays then your fathers name will be ruined as will yours. You will never be wed and will die a spinster with naught but a bastard to call her own. You don't want that do you?"
The woman, no not woman. In the soft light of the candle she was a girl, a child no more than sixteen years old. Her face was gaunt and tear-streaked and her slender frame was wracked with sobs as she shook her head.
The midwife stroked her hair and her face softened. "I will take the child and give him to the Church. He died at birth and there shall be no more of this. He never was."
"I want to...to say goodbye." She looked at her father, her mother and then back to the midwife. "Let me have some time alone with him." She saw their uncertain faces and gave them a weak smile. "Please."
The family glanced among themselves before leaving and closing the door behind them.
Outside the sun was setting.
The girl, exhausted from her long labour and tears heaved herself out of bed, switching her son from one arm to the other so she could pull herself upright. She made her way to the solitary shelf on which sat the candle, a doll and a book the remanents of her childhood. She rocked her child gently, crooning under her breath as she smelt the rag dolls frayed wool hair, inhaling the scent that reminded her so vividly of a time when all had been simpler. Then she replaced the doll and picked up the book. She set her child down in the cradle, the cradle that she had slept in as an infant, tenderly pulling the covers up around his chin. He mewled a little but snuggled down to sleep soon enough. He would need a wet-nurse, the girl thought.
But her mind was dreamy and foggy as she sat down on the rickety wooden chair and opened the book, whose words she could not read but whose story she knew off by heart.
If only it were true.
She clutched the red-leather bound book and leant back, closing her eyes and just wanting to sleep. But suddenly there was a gust of wind, a gust so strong that it tore the shutters open and extinguished the candle, prompting a wail from her hungry son. The girl leapt to her feet and stared at the window as though something would fly in but nothing did. Heart hammering she went over and closed the shutters, holding the book languidly in one hand. Looking down at her wailing son, her red faced son so nerw and so pure. He was a strange child though; his eyes were not blue like hers or hazel like the fathers but mis-matched; one blue as a summer sky and one as green as a marsh.
In a voice as soft as a butterflies whisper she spoke the words, the right words, the words from her story. "I wish the goblins would come and take you away." She lifted the child to her breast and watched him feed hungrily, sucking down a much needed meal. When he was done she put him back in the crib and tucked the blanket around him. "Right now." Leaning forward she kissed his forhead and turned to go.
But when her family came to take the child he was already gone.
And then the storm started.