A/N: This is a plot bunny I thought of several weeks ago and finally decided to write down.
The sun was setting over the magnificent Labyrinth and the castle at it's center. All the large area's inhabitants were either preparing for bed or getting ready to engage in nightly activities. In another hour or so the Labyrinth would be filled with the sounds of the goblins chasing chickens or partaking in goblin ale, but luckily, the sounds would be shut out from the sound-proof walls of the castle.
If one stood at a very far away angle and looked through a pair of binoculars, they might catch a glimpse of a man with wild blonde hair standing near the window looking out over the vast land. They would of course know this man to be the Goblin King, though it might seem strange to them to see their always in-control ruler look so confused and nervous.
Jareth sighed as he watched the sun slowly set. His arms were crossed over his chest and his brow furrowed in thought. He couldn't remember ever feeling this way before, all at once he was happy, excited…and incredibly scared. It was a preposterous thought of course; The Goblin King, Scared? Never. Yet he was.
What may also seem strange was just what he was scared of. It would take a lot to even intimidate a man like Jareth, but this of course was a lot, more that a lot even.
Tomorrow was his wedding day.
Jareth had always been rather independent minded, much to the chagrin of his mother who'd wanted her only son to marry early and have a child to be his heir and for her to spoil. After five hundred years of life though, Jareth was still (happily) single. He did have the occasional lover, but he was never looking for anything serious, he was fine just as he was…until she came along.
Her name was Sarah Williams. She was fifteen years old, no longer a child but barely a woman. He remembered watching her one day in his owl form as she recited lines to her pet dog from the pages of a rather familiar red book. Several hours later that same girl wished her baby brother away to him, and subsequently challenged the Labyrinth to win him back. Jareth didn't think much of it at first, he had had challengers before, none who ever made it past the fifth hour before giving up or falling into an oubliette. This one was different though.
She had befriended denizens of the Labyrinth and in return they helped her to reach the castle, by that time Jareth was intrigued by this mortal girl even though he would never admit it. Not only was she now this close to defeating him but she had managed to break the spell he put on her with that peach. Her will to save the child was greater than he had ever seen before in a mortal, and suddenly he did not want her to win for a whole new reason; he wanted her to stay.
Her brother did not matter to him, he would send him back if only she would remain there with him. He realized that it really was going like that story she read: the Goblin King had fallen in love with the girl.
And so he made his plea to her in the Escher room. Well it wasn't really a plea, it came out a bit more demanding he thought, not that it really mattered anyway because in that final moment she had rejected him anyway. With six words she was ripped from him, back in the mortal world with her baby brother and with a new lease on life. Jareth remembered watching her through her bedroom window as she and her new friends from the Labyrinth celebrated her victory over him. As he watched he was torn between going in and making her pay for humiliating him and pleading with her to return and be his queen. In the end he simply flew away, a very un-kingly thing to do. Strong kings didn't run away from their problems, and Jareth was a very strong king.
For the next several days he felt numb, spending all his time watching her in a crystal. He saw her in school, at home, playing with Toby, talking to friends. Though he did give her privacy when she used the bathroom. Finally after a week or so of moping, that old stubborn gene of his kicked back into gear and he managed to convince himself that she was the one who would suffer most from her refusal. He had offered her everything she wanted, and she threw it in his face. Well if she didn't want him fine, he wouldn't bother with her either.
Eight years he stood by that promise, never once looking in on his sole defeater. The temptation was still there though, and many times Jareth had come so close to summoning a crystal and watching her again, but he never did. It was these times that truly infuriated him, because it made him realize how much he still loved her.
Then he met Yasmina.
She was a fae noblewoman from the elven kindgom. She had flowing red hair and sharp brown eyes. Her figure was thin but still with some curves and her legs were said to be at least a mile long. Jareth was not particularly excited when a friend of his introduced them, but as they struck up a conversation he saw that she really was very smart. He had never before met a woman who would listen to what he was saying and actually be interested; most other fae woman would just smile and nod while staring directly at his face, probably admiring how handsome he was without even giving his words a second thought.
Jareth knew beforehand that Yasmina was a beautiful woman, but it wasn't until he really got to know her that he saw just how lovely she really was. She was wonderful with children, she was intelligent, and she liked Jareth for who he was and not just as a pretty face.
Soon he found himself falling in love with her. After a year and a half of long walks in the moonlight and many deep conversations, Jareth proposed marriage, shocking all of the underground and greatly delighting his mother.
Now here he was, one day away from his wedding to the most perfect woman in either world…or so he thought.
He hadn't thought a lot about Sarah Williams in those last two years. When he did it was only a passing notion and he always dismissed it with the logic that at her current age she was probably already married or in a steady relationship; besides he had Yasmina now so what did it matter to him anyway?
Still, the thought persisted and Jareth was at a loss of how to fix it before his wedding; he really wasn't sure he'd be able to consummate the union if all he could think of was that damned mortal. He'd realized a long time ago what he had to do to fix it. Since announcing the engagement Yasmina had begun staying in Jareth's castle to familiarize herself with the kingdom before becoming it's queen, luckily she was back home that night, as it was customary for the bride and groom to stay apart for at least 24 hours before the wedding, so this was a perfect opportunity.
This time he was not just going to look in on her with a crystal like some kind of voyeur, he was going to physically go to her. For the first and final time since she beat him he was just going to go and see her, see that she was probably happy and content with some mortal boy and had forgotten all about him and her time in the Labyrinth. Then he would leave, finally free from his thoughts of her. But if that was all true, why did the idea of her with someone else make him want to cringe? Jareth waited until the sun had gone down completely, in the aboveground it was probably close to nighttime as well so he assumed Sarah would be at home by now (she never struck him as the 'party girl' type). He walked away from the window and onto his balcony. Changing into his owl form he pushed off and soared over his kingdom, headed for the world above.
Her apartment was decently sized but not too fancy. He walked slowly in case she was still awake. Glancing into her living area he could see photos on display; some of her as a teenager with several other girls and some of her with a young blond boy, most likely her brother Toby.
Jareth looking ahead and saw a light coming from a room on the left hand side. He heart began beating rather fast as he approached the open door. When he was standing right next to it he carefully peeked into the room and saw a young woman with long raven colored hair sitting up in bed with her nose in a book. She was deep in concentration and hadn't yet noticed the man standing in her doorway. For a moment Jareth just watched her, she looked so beautiful. He tried hard to shake those thoughts from his head, reminding himself that he was to marry another tomorrow and that he loved his fiance more than anything in the world. He did not love Sarah Williams anymore, not now that he had…um…Yasmina! Yes that was it.
At this point it was becoming too much for him, she still hadn't looked up and he was starting to doubt that he could face her if she did, so he began to back away. Unfortunately the floorboard he had been standing on was somewhat loose, and made a loud whine the moment he released pressure from it. Sarah's eyes darted away from the pages of her book and she began to get out of bed and walk forward.
"Who's there?" She called out.
Jareth froze in place, he knew he had to leave now while she couldn't see him, so that she'd never have to know he was there, but somehow he couldn't bring himself to leave now; not when he had come so far. Before he had a chance to think more on it, Sarah's gaze reached his and she recoiled in shock.
"Wh-wha-" She stammered, "What are you doing here?"
There was no way she hadn't seen him now unless she was referring to some being visible only to her standing right next to him, so he stepped into the room and in plain view.
"What are you doing here?" She repeated, this time with more conviction.
In the last few weeks since he started to consider doing this, he had gone over all the possible outcomes of the encounter numerous times and rehearsed what he would say to her, but now that didn't seem to matter and he was at a loss for words.
"Have you lost the ability to speak or something?" She asked angrily.
Jareth realized now that he had to say something to her, just get it over with.
"I just wanted to see you." He said softly.
"'You just wanted to see me?'" she repeated incredulously, her anger growing, "Who do you think you're fooling? You think I don't remember how you play these games? I'm not going to fall for your tricks!"
He listened to her as she continued to rant and was almost thrilled to see that fire in her again. He realized that Yasmina didn't really have that, she was not stubborn like Sarah was. She was in no way submissive but she lacked Sarah's spirit.
"Sarah please." he began, raising his hands to her as if in surrender.
By then she had stopped talking and simply stared at her former enemy wondering if this was a trick he was pulling or if he was truly being sincere with her.
"I have never once lied to you, and I'm not now. I really just wanted to see you again." He told her.
For the first time since he came she looked at him speechless. He knew that she saw him as an enemy, and for her to hear him speak so calmly and in an almost friendly tone must have been strange to her.
"Why then?" She finally asked.
Silence followed as Jareth tried to find the courage to tell her. Trapped in her gaze he felt all those old feelings he thought were gone come back in a rush and suddenly he wanted nothing more than to crushed his lips to hers, hold her tight and never let go.
'Yasmina!' his subconscious shouted at him, 'remember Yasmina, you're marrying her tomorrow.'
"I'm getting married tomorrow."
The words were out of his mouth before he could stop them and he frantically searched her face for some kind of reaction, but she remained stoic and didn't seem at all affected by his confession. She didn't speak right away but when she did her voice was flat and gave away no trace of emotion.
"Is that so?" She asked almost too casually.
Jareth nodded silently.
Sarah looked thoughtful now, not sad or angry or upset, just thoughtful.
"What's she like?" She questioned him after another moment of silence.
Jareth was a bit taken aback by this. She acted as though she didn't even care. Then again she had asked him to tell her about his bride, perhaps she was already comparing herself to Yasmina before knowing anything about her. So Jareth described his future wife to the mortal woman. Surprisingly, it didn't take him very long to finish; normally he could talk about Yasmina for hours on end.
When he was done that same thoughtful look still graced Sarah's features, only now it was more so than before.
At that moment Jareth remembered the other reason he'd come, and felt compelled to asked her the question despite his nervousness over the answer.
"Are you seeing anyone?"
She looked back up at him and smiled, but there was no joy in her eyes.
"No," she answered, "to be honest I haven't even had a serious relationship yet."
Jareth's stomach dropped, "Why not?"
Her face fell a bit and her eyes moved toward the window. Outside were many lights and sounds as there were in all major cities, especially this one which was referred to by some as "The City that doesn't Sleep."
"I had my first kiss a year after I ran the Labyrinth." She said out of the blue, causing Jareth to look at her again.
"It was at a party with a boy in my English class," She went on, "since then I can count the number of times I've been kissed on one hand, and the number of dates I've been on with two."
Jareth kept his eyes on her, waiting for her to continue, which she didn't do until several long seconds had passed.
"Every one of those dates were blind dates, and they all ended horribly. Most of the time because I couldn't stop thinking about…"
When she trailed off he became nervous again, he had a feeling he knew what she was about to say and why she was afraid to say it and his need to hear it overwhelmed him.
"About what?" He egged her on.
She sighed and looked up at him, to his surprise she was on the verge of tears, "About you."
With those two words Sarah negated the six that sent her away from him. By saying those words she managed to make him forget everything: his wedding, Yasmina, all that mattered now was Sarah and at some level, she had just professed her love to him.
In that moment of pure insanity Jareth roughly grabbed her shoulders and pulled her against him. She gave a small gasp of surprise and then his lips were on hers. She struggled only a little and Jareth refused to let go, then slowly her hands reached around his neck and held him in place. Their kiss soon turned even more passionate and they eventually had to come up for air, in that moment of clarity the face of a red-headed woman burst into Jareth's mind.
He gasped, "No."
He pushed Sarah away and walked quickly out of the room. For a second Sarah didn't move, and then she was following him out into the hall by the window, where he had planned on flying away and never returning.
"Jareth wait!" she called after him.
Jareth stopped dead in his tracks. She had called him 'Jareth', she'd never done that before. He used to think it was magical when Yasmina said his name but this…
He turned slowly around to face her. Her lips were red and her eyes teary. For the longest time neither of them moved, and then Jareth knew he had to say something to her.
"I can't do this," He told her a bit hoarsely, "I'm marrying Yasmina, I've promised myself to her."
Sarah mouth was hanging slightly open, "Can't you call it off?" She asked weakly.
Jareth heart was breaking now. "Sarah, you don't understand how things work where I'm from, I have taken Yasmina as my mate; we are not yet legally married but in every other sense of the word she is…she is my wife."
He had never seen her look so depressed. She stood rigid in the doorway for no more than another second before she launched herself into his arms, which he tightly wrapped around her. She was trying hard and failing not to cry, his shirt was soon covered in tearstains. Jareth did not move at all, he just stood there and held her, as he had always dreamed of doing. Sarah pulled her face away from his chest at stared up at him.
"I used to deny it to myself so much," She told him, "I would tell myself that it was just some spell you put on me to try and make me lose. I figured over time it would wear off and I would forget you, but I never did. You've had such an impact on my life, I have a strong relationship with Toby now and can even get along with Karen, and it's all because of what happened. I know it sounds strange, but my experience in the Underground really helped me to grow up.
"But sometimes I think of what you said to me in the Escher room and I wonder if had I wished Toby away when I was older, would I have taken your words differently and would I have given you a different answer."
"Do you think so?" He whispered just loud enough for her to hear.
She reached up and wiped a tear away from her eye and with and pained looked, gave her answer:
Jareth's heart shattered as he pulled his love closer to him. Again she buried her head in his chest, this time not crying; simply taking in his scent and committing it to memory, because they both knew that they would never do this again.
When she finally pulled away the tears were gone, yet her face was hollow and her expression almost dead looking.
"You have to go now." She told him, her voice cracking.
Jareth's insides twisted, "Sarah-"
"No!" She interrupted, "You can't do this, we can't do this. You have a wife now and you have to go to her. I know that you love her."
Jareth brought a hand to her cheek. She was right, he did love Yasmina very much, but it could never outweigh what he felt for Sarah. He almost cried himself because he knew this was it. He lifted her face up so she would look at him.
"I don't want you to be alone Sarah," he told her, "I want you to find someone and have a family, have a happy life."
She gave a flat chuckle and a joyless smile, "How can I do that without you?"
"I know you can." He answered, though every word killed him a little more inside.
Tears appeared fresh in her eyes, "I wish things could be different."
Jareth closed his eyes and willed himself not to cry; if only he could grant her that wish. He removed his hand from her face and stood before her silently. Finally he opened his eyes again,
"I do too."
A sob ripped through her throat and she clutched him to her a second time. He held her just as tightly and a lone tear dropped from his eye before he could stop it, but maybe it was better that way.
Slowly the two broke apart and stood a few steps away from each other. Jareth took a long look at her beautiful face now puffy from crying and then turned away. Just as he was about to open the window she called out to him again,
He turned back around and waited for her to talk.
She opened and closed her mouth, a scared look on her face,
"I-I love you." she said.
This was either the happiest or the saddest moment of Jareth's life. He opened the window with his magic and gave Sarah one last look.
"I love you too." he whispered.
With that he changed into his owl form and flew out the window, knowing if he hadn't left then, he wouldn't have been able to at all. Over the shouting and wailing sounds from the city below, he could almost hear his beloved give him one final word before he left her forever,
And so the wedding of Goblin King Jareth and the Lady Yasmina was celebrated the next day. Throughout the night the happy couple danced and interacted with guests. Jareth's mother was almost beside herself with joy and had to been led away to a queit room so she could calm down. The marriage was one of the most famous events in years, because finally the notorious 'bachelor' Goblin King was taken, something no one had previously foreseen.
Jareth and Yasmina ruled together for many centuries, and had the large family Jareth's mother always wanted for him. Challengers of the Labyrinth came and went and children were still being wished away even all those years later. No one ever won though; but lately Jareth had taken to giving back the children if he felt the summons really was an accident, something that greatly bewildered everyone including his wife. It wasn't against the rules, it just hadn't been done before. Through it all Jareth went on with his reign as Goblin King, with the now Queen Yasmina at his side.
But Sarah Williams was and always would be the true Goblin Queen, if only in the heart and soul of the King.