The Williams' Family Tradition
Disclaimer: I don't own the Labyrinth.
Sarah was in heaven. Her boyfriend's wickedly sinful lips were brushing against her own as he lightly nibbled on her bottom lip. One of his hands was cradling her head as he as moved onto her ear the warmth of his breath against her skin sending pleasant shivers down her spine. The other hand was creeping under her shirt. Her legs were locked around his waist and her hands were doing naughty things to his body as they continued their makeout session. She heard his little chuckle of delight as he unhooked her bra and started to slide the straps off of her shoulders. Things were really starting to get steamy when-
The door to the guestroom that Sarah was staying in, her boyfriend having been forced to sleep in the room down the hall over his very vocal protests, was slammed open exposing their guilty activities to the furious old cowboy who was standing in the doorway. His long white, handlebar mustaches quivered as he shook with fury, one could almost see the steam coming out of the old man's ears.
"I leave you alone for just fifteen minutes and the moment I turn my back you are on her like a randy horndog! I took you into my home, let you eat Martha's cherry pie, welcomed you into the family, and this is how you repay me?! By sullying little Sarah's virtue!" he bellowed, "if it weren't the fact that she wasn't head over heels for you, you cur, I report you to the sheriff and have you locked up for good!"
"Grandpappy, calm down! All we were doing was kissing!" Sarah protested.
"No I won't calm down grandbaby!" Grandpa Williams roared, "that man ruined your innocence and he will have to suffer the consequences!"
"But Grandpa Hank!" Sarah pleaded.
"Joe come over and watch this hooligan to make sure that he doesn't try and slip away like the oily snake he is!" Hank shouted, ignoring his granddaughter's plea, "I'm going to get pick-up started and gather the things we need to solve this dilemma!"
Joe, Hank's old ranching buddy was in his late seventies but was still whipcord thin and had more than enough piss and vinegar in him to whollop any of the young delinquents that hung around in town just a few miles away. He was missing all of his hair and quite a few teeth and his old beaten up leather cowboy hat was with him wherever he went.
"What's all the ruckus about Hank?" Joe asked as he stepped into the room.
"I caught this young rooster trying to take advantage of little Sarah while I was out tending the horses," Hank snarled.
"Oh did he, now?" Joe snickered his white, thin forked beard quivering, "don't worry buddy, I'll make sure that these two don't get into any more mischief until we're ready to make our little trip."
"Good man," Hank gruffly praised as he headed out towards the garage. He shot one glare back at Jareth who looked unimpressed and slightly amused at the old men's antics.
"Just you wait youngin'" Joe grinned nastily, "you're in for one hell of a ride once Hank gets back."
Sarah groaned. This was just like her Grandfather to overact and blow things out of proportion. She was eighteen for Christ's sake! She was an adult now and if she wanted to sully her virtue with her boyfriend of almost three years, then it was her right! Grandpa Hank had always been a bit overprotective of his darling granddaughter and this was just the latest in a long line of embarrassing events resulting from protecting his Little Sarah.
"Well I certainly didn't expect having to deal with meddling old ranch hands on this vacation Sarah," Jareth grumbled as he leaned back against the wall, his long legs hanging over the edge of the bed they were sitting on.
Sarah snorted and readjusted her clothing to their original state before their interrupted makeout session.
"Do you have any idea what I'm in for?" Jareth idly asked.
"Probably something rather unpleasant if I know Grandpa Hank at all," Sarah sourly replied, "but I don't think that you have to worry about it that much. Grandpa might be a bit old fashioned, but he has a good heart."
Jareth sighed and pulled his girlfriend into his lap.
"Mmmm, comfy," Sarah purred. Jareth held back a groan as she deliberately wriggled about as she got comfortable.
"Don't get too cozy there, Hank will be back soon and if he finds you like that he's liable to bust a gasket," Joe warned, his smirk showing off his gap-toothed smile.
As if Joe's words summoned him, Hank returned with an old leather bag hanging off of his belt. He took one look at his grandbaby snuggling up to the little miscreant and growled.
"Sarah, go get in the truck," Hank ordered, "me and your boyfriend are going to have a few words that shouldn't be heard by a little lady such as yourself."
Sarah rolled her eyes as she reluctantly climbed off her boyfriend and headed out of the room.
Joe closed the door behind them as they approached the lounging Goblin King. It was better to have a bit of privacy for what was about to happen.
"So how can I help you fine gentlemen today?" Jareth casually asked.
"Don't get cocky boy," Hank snarled, "you're in mighty hot water right now and we wouldn't want for anyone to get hurt."
"I'm sure," Jareth drawled.
"Now you listen here boy," Joe bristled.
Jareth snorted, he was older than both of the aged humans in front of him. No mere mortal (expect Sarah) would tell the Goblin King what to do, but since Sarah he told him to play nice with her relatives, Jareth would keep his cool.
"When I allowed you to accompany my grandbaby here for her summer vacation it was on the condition that you behaved yourself and kept those tricky hands of yours to yourself," Hank lectured, "you've only been here three days and already you broke that rule. There are consequences for every action and you are now going to have to pay."
"Can we get this over with?" Jareth yawned, "Sarah and I were planning on going out hiking in a little while."
"Don't give me your cheek youngin'!" Hank growled.
Jareth snickered and contemplated freezing time so he could leave the two old stogies while he went out to get Sarah.
The two old men shared a look that said that this one is going to be trouble.
"Well don't you think highly of yourself," Hank sarcastically rumbled.
Jareth shot the pair a smirk.
"Think he will go willingly?" Hank asked Joe.
Joe shook his head and grinned, showing off age-yellowed teeth, "reckon not, especially if he knows what's going to happen."
"Please, what can the two of you old geezers do to me?" Jareth sniped.
"I was hoping that he would say something like that," Hank stated gleefully.
"Gives us a good excuse it does," Joe added.
"What are you blathering about?" Jareth snapped.
They were on him in an instant. Hank sat on Jareth's legs and forced him onto his stomach, while Joe wrenched Jareth's arms behind his back.
"What the bloody hell are you crazy old men doing?" Jareth cursed, "I swear if you don't release me right now I'll- mmmmph!"
Hank had calmly shoved the scratchy wool scarf into Jareth's mouth and tied it tightly behind his head. Jareth was furious at this manhandling of his person and doubled his efforts to break free. Despite their advanced age, Hank and Joe were in excellent shape and within a few minutes hand hog-tied the Goblin King very effectively. Hank gave the trussed up man a good look over, making sure that the knots were tight enough before heading out of the room, leaving Joe to deal with furiously struggling Goblin King.
"Don't struggle too hard, wouldn't want for you to hurt yourself," Joe half-heartedly warned.
Jareth yelled some muffled profanities at him.
"Well I certainly don't think that way about your mother," he replied as he pulled something out of the storage trunk at the base of the bed.
"Where's Jareth?" was the first thing Sarah said when her grandfather climbed into the driver's side of the blue and rust colored 1977 Ford pick-up.
"Joe's with him," he replied, "they'll be joining us in a bit."
"Grandpa, what's going on?" Sarah demanded.
"We're just going to make a little trip to town to talk to an old friend. Don't you worry your pretty little head about it Sarah, Grandpappy is going to take care of it," he assured her.
"That is what I'm worried about," Sarah muttered as the truck started and they pulled out of the driveway.
"Hey Martha, I'm going to borrow the car for a few hours," Joe called as he exited the kitchen a large canvas bag slung over his shoulder," I have a few errands to run in town."
"Go ahead, I won't be needing it until the weekend anyway," Martha, Hank's wife called back, "be back in time for dinner, I'm making chili."
"I wouldn't miss your world-famous chili for anything Martha, don't worry, we all will be back in time for supper," Joe told her ask he passed.
"Keep out of trouble!" she yelled Joe started up the old Honda.
"Sure thing Martha!" he replied as he pulled away.
"First Hank goes off with Sarah and then Joe takes the Honda to go to town just a few hours before supper. Even after all these years those two are still stirring up trouble," Martha sighed, "wonder what was in the bag though, I could have swore that I saw something in it move."
Still talking to herself, Martha went back into the kitchen to start making dinner.
Hank pulled the old beat-up Ford truck into the driveway of a sagging ancient mansion that was straight from the Old South. There were weeds all over the front lawn and one of the ropes from a tire swing hanging off a giant oak had rotted away, trailing against the ground listlessly. Hank killed the engine, and went up and banged on the front door with peeling, faded blue paint.
"Whasa? Who?" a thick, sleepy voice came from within.
"Father Clarence? You there?" Hank shouted.
"Yes, yes, of course I'm here," came the irritable reply, "I'm always here when I'm not at the church!"
Sounds of shuffling came from within. Finally after a few minutes the door opened and an old, cranky priest poked his head out of the door, his watery blue eyes squinting against the sunlight.
"What in the Lord's name are you doing here Williams on a Wednesday morning? The Sunday service isn't for another four days!" he griped.
"We have a bit of an emergency Father," Hank told him.
Sarah watched as the two old men conversed in hushed tones.
"Yes, I see. That indeed is a problem," Father Clarence agreed straightening his robe self-importantly, "don't worry, I'll get my things and then we'll head off to the church."
The priest went back into his falling apart house and came back a few minutes later in his full clergy vestments, a King James Holy Bible gripped in his left hand.
"Scoot over Sarah so Father Clarence can get in," Hank said as he climbed back in.
Reluctantly she moved, not wanting to be forced to sit next to the pigheaded priest that she remembered since her first visit to her grandparent's ranch. Scrunched between two men, one smelling like cattle manure, the other one very overweight, Sarah miserably watched the scenery go by as the truck headed down the main road in town to the Church of the Holy Mary a good hour away.
The clunking old Honda pulled to a stop next to the Ford near the entrance of the Church of the Holy Mary. The old ranch hand climbed out of the car, popped the trunk and retried the long shotgun that he kept there. Joe then ambled over and opened the back passenger door on the left side of the vehicle. He jabbed the end of the shotgun into the oversized canvas bag that he had thrown in the back seat.
A grunt was heard from within but the contents of the bag remained still.
"Keep still and don't make any noise," Joe addressed the bag, "you'll be out of there soon enough but any funny business will result in me taking it out on your worthless hide. Got it?"
There was no reply.
"Good," Joe stated, "time to go."
With a huff he picked up the tied off end of the bag, slung it over his shoulder and headed into the church.
In the church Father Clarence was standing behind the pulpit, a scowling Sarah standing next to her grandfather in front of the priest.
"For the last time, where is my boyfriend?" Sarah fumed.
Hank spotted Joe with his burden enter the church, shotgun in hand.
"Right on time!" Hank greeted.
"So I assume that the young man in question is now here?" Father Clarence asked.
"Yup," Joe grinned, dropping the canvas bag to the floor.
Muffled cursing exploded from with the bag.
"That better not be my boyfriend there," Sarah growled, her left eyebrow ticking.
"He won't be in there for much longer," Joe grinned.
Joe reached down, quickly undid the knot at the top of the bag and yanked it away. One very disheveled and teed-off Goblin King tumbled out and sent a murderous glare at Hank and Joe. Sarah took one look at Jareth and rushed over to him.
"Why is Jareth hogtied?" Sarah asked incredulously as her fingers fumbled at the tight knots.
"Because he wouldn't come willingly," Hank responded, his thumbs hooked in his belt loops.
"I'm sure he would have if you had asked nicely," Sarah grumbled.
"Perhaps," Joe noted, "but it was more fun this way."
"Yes as much fun as it was for you I'm sure," Jareth snarled once Sarah finally removed the itchy scarf from his mouth, "let's see how much fun you would have tied up, gagged and stuffed into a smelly bag and then tossed onto the floor of a decrepit car with abyssal shocks and be driven down a pot-hole filled dirt road."
The last of the knots unraveled and the ropes binding Jareth's arms and legs fell away. Gingerly he rubbed his wrists, grimacing as pins and needles shot up his arms as circulation returned to his hands.
"I should know," Hank commented watching Sarah's boyfriend stand up with help from his granddaughter, "same thing happened to me over fifty years ago."
Sarah stared at him dumbfounded.
"How come I never knew about this?" Sarah demanded when she recovered her wits.
"It's a Williams' family tradition started by my father," Grandpa Williams replied, "seems that my Pa didn't approve of me and Martha engaging in certain activities without getting hitched first. Martha fainted dead away when my Papa dragged my sorry hide into this very same church five decades ago."
"Well this is one tradition that we could have done well without," Sarah derisively stated.
Grandpa Hank grinned unrepentedly.
"Yes, now that we have that cleared up, can we get started?" Father Clarence grumpily asked, "I want to get this over with as soon as possible."
"Remember, we want the short version Father, Martha is making her chili and we wouldn't want to miss that," Joe spoke up.
"Yes, yes," Father Clarence irately replied.
Joe and Hank herded Sarah and her boyfriend up to the pulpit.
"Stand on the at Sarah's right side youngster," Hank ordered as Joe prodded Jareth with the shotgun.
Jareth, deftly avoiding the mouth of the firearm, stepped over to stand next to his girlfriend who was still scowling.
""Dearly Beloved: We are gathered here today, in the presence of God and of this company, so that Sarah Williams and- what is the young man's name again?" the priest paused.
"Jareth King," Jareth supplied.
Sarah snorted at the unoriginal last name Jareth has supplied.
"-So that Sarah Williams and Jareth King may be united in holy matrimony. We are here to celebrate and share in the glorious act that God is about to perform - the act by which He converts their love for one another into the holy and sacred estate of marriage," Father Clarence continued, "the step which you are about to take is the most important into which human beings can come. It is a union of two people founded upon mutual respect and affection. Your lives will change, your responsibilities will increase, but your joy will be multiplied if you are sincere and earnest with your pledge to one another."
Sarah's mouth hung open as she realized what was going on. Here she was, standing next to Jareth in front of a preacher as he droned on about the responsibilities and duties that came with holy matrimony. A look of confusion was on Jareth's face and Sarah couldn't help but giggle. The poor man had no clue what was going on!
"Who gives this woman in marriage to this man?" Father Clarence asked.
"I do," Hank replied. Joe was still pointing his shotgun at Jareth meaningfully.
This is a shotgun wedding! Sarah thought as she noticed the firearm for the first time, I'm getting married to Jareth right now!
The full enormity of what was happening sunk in.
I'm getting married, Sarah realized, the simple statement meaning so much more than the words alone. Her eyes started to tear up as the emotions overwhelmed her. A silly smile stretched across her lips.
The priest turned to Jareth and addressed him.
"Do you Jareth King take this woman, Sarah Williams, to be your wedded wife? To love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, and forsaking all others, keep you only unto her, for so long as you both shall live?" he asked.
Jareth stared at the priest uncomprehendingly.
Joe prodded him with the shotgun and Hank hissed, "say 'I do'."
Jareth, bemused looked at the radiant smile on Sarah's face and replied unsure as to what he was agreeing to, "I do."
"Do you Sarah Williams take this man, Jareth King, to be your wedded husband? To love him, comfort him, honor and keep him, and forsaking all others, keep you only unto him, for so long as you both shall live?" Father Clarence asked her.
Though tears were streaming down her face, her voice was clear and steady, "I do."
"Do you have the rings?" the priest asked.
"I have them," Hank answered pulling one thick gold band and one slender gold band, both with intricate etchings adorning the outside.
He handed the rings to the priest.
"It is a Christian custom to exchange rings as a symbol of love," Father Clarence explained, "as the rings have no end so your love should have no end. As the rings are made of gold symbolizing purity, so should your marriage have purity. As often as either of you see them, you will be reminded of this moment and the endless love you promised."
The priest handed Jareth the woman's wedding ring.
"Please place the ring on the bride's finger and say: "With this ring, I thee wed'," he instructed.
Jareth slid the ring onto Sarah's finger and repeated, "with this ring, I thee wed."
Next Father Clarence gave Sarah the man's wedding band.
"Please place the ring on the groom's finger and say: 'With this ring, I thee wed'," he told her.
Sarah slid the ring onto Jareth's finger. He could have sworn he felt a tingle when it touched his skin, but he dismissed the idea as being caused by Sarah's light touch.
Sarah repeated, "with this ring, I thee wed."
"In as much as Jareth and Sarah have consented together in marriage before this company of friends and family and have pledged their faith – and declared their unity by giving and receiving a ring – are now joined," the priest continued, "you have pronounced yourselves husband and wife but remember to always be each other's best friend. What – therefore – God has joined together – let no man put asunder. And so, by the power vested in me by the State of Montana and Almighty God, I now pronounce you man and wife – and may your days be good and long upon the earth."
Sarah tensed, she knew what was next.
"You may now kiss the bride."
Sarah didn't hesitate, she pulled Jareth down into a searing, bone-melting kiss before he had a chance to blink. Jareth, when he was finally able to pull his wits together after Sarah's sudden assault eagerly returned the kiss and Father Clarence could have sworn that the air around the two heated up by several degrees. Joe finally let the shotgun point to the ground now that the ceremony was complete.
"Ahem," Hank loudly cleared his throat.
Reluctantly the two parted.
"Now that this affair is complete, can you please take me back to my house?" Father Clarence asked, "the game is going to be starting in about twenty minutes and I don't want to miss it."
"Game?" Jareth mouthed.
"The National Backgammon Tournament," Sarah explained.
"How exciting," Jareth deadpanned.
"Enough snickering you two, get back in the Ford," Hank admonished, "Joe will take the good Father home and then we can all go and enjoy Martha's homemade chili."
"Does a body good," Joe wholeheartedly agreed.
Father Clarence had already headed out of the Church and was waiting next to the Honda. They got in the car and with a sputtering start turned back onto the road to go back to town.
"Get in," Hank ordered, holding the passenger door open.
First Jareth then Sarah climbed into the truck (Sarah didn't want to be stuck in the middle again) and then they were off. Hank turned the radio to his favorite country music station. Both Sarah and Jareth grimaced. Sarah despised country music and Jareth found the mournful caterwauling highly irritating. When Hank started singing along loudly, they simultaneously covered their ears and spent the rest of the ride home in silent agony.
After a long supper (Martha's chili was indeed delicious), Sarah dragged Jareth back to their room. Though entirely unplanned and forced upon them, the wedding couldn't be undone. Given the circumstances under which it happened they could easily get the wedding annulled, but Sarah didn't want that. She loved Jareth and by God, now that he was her husband, there was no way that she was letting him go. He was hers, poofy hair, glitter, tight pants and all. But before their relationship progressed any further, Sarah was going to lay some ground rules.
"Okay, first off, just because we are now married, don't expect for me to move into the castle right away," Sarah laid out, "I want to go to college and get my bachelor's degree at least before I move in with you full-time. Also, don't expect me to clean up after the goblins, that's your job, you are the Goblin King after all. Third, there is no way that I am going to be dealing with Wish-Aways or Runners until after I have finished college. Furthermore, as I have told you countless times, you can't just pop or fly in as you please, if you want to see me, contact me in a normal, human way first. I'm tired of cleaning up glitter and feathers. Also there is the issue with-"
"Sarah," Jareth interrupted, "would you kindly explain to me what gives you the right to be making such demands of me?"
"Duh, because we're married!" Sarah answered, her tone implying the unspoken "idiot".
"Yes, yes, as I am well aware of," Jareth grumbled, wanting to forget the farce in the church earlier that day, "but how does that correlate with these demands you giving me."
Sarah stared at him in amazement, "let me get this straight, you don't know what it means to be married?"
Sarah groaned, "being married means that two people promise to be faithful, belonging only to each other. They are bound by ceremony and law and hopefully love, as it is with us. They are united, 'for as long as they both shall live'."
He looked at her with incomprehension.
Sarah groaned again, "being married means that we are husband and wife. Partners, equals."
He still wasn't getting it.
"My God how can this man be so uneducated?" Sarah asked to the heavens, at that Jareth scowled, she looked at him again, "married, you know, hand fasted?"
Realization finally spread across the Goblin King's face followed by shock.
"Jareth, are you alright?" Sarah asked worried as his face paled.
"I have to sit down," he dazedly muttered before he fainted dead away.
Handfasted, the word kept on bouncing around in Jareth's head as he bemusedly stared at his ticked off wife. If this marriage was the same thing as hand fasting was in the Underground, it certainly explained Sarah's emotions during their "shotgun wedding".
"Jareth? Hello? Earth to Jareth?" Sarah waved her hand in front of her husband's blank expression.
"Huh?" he finally snapped out of his daze, "did you ask me something?"
"Only wondering what planet your mind had wandered off to," Sarah muttered.
"You're angry," he stated.
Sarah's snort confirmed the Goblin King's observation.
"Did I do something to displease you love?" he asked, "are you not happy with our 'marriage'?"
"There is no way on earth that I am unhappy with being married to you. No, I am angry at my husband's inability to pay attention to his wife," she growled.
"So you don't want our marriage to be dissolved?" he hesitantly asked.
"Jareth, you are an idiot," Sarah succinctly replied, "the only reason why I would have dated you for three years was if I wanted to marry you someday."
"Oh," was his one word answer.
Sarah let out a put-upon sigh. She may love him, but he was truly clueless at times.
"So now what?" he asked.
"We enjoy the rest of our vacation and then figure out what sort of changes we need to make to accommodate our new relationship," Sarah finally sat down next to him on the bed.
The moment she settled down next him, Jareth shot to his feet cursing violently.
"Out of all the inconvenient times!" he ranted.
"What is it?" Sarah demanded.
"Someone has decided to wish a child away to the goblins," was Jareth's angry answer, his causal clothing fading, to be replaced with his full battle regalia.
"Go do what you have to do," Sarah sighed, disappointed at the sudden change of events.
The Goblin King shot Sarah a grateful glance, gathered his magic around him to transport to the location of the wished away child.
Golden glitter rose about him and he started to become transparent. He felt the world start to shift about him and then a formless, restraining force wrapped around him and slammed him back against the mattress next to Sarah.
"That has never happened before," Sarah observed.
"Thank you for pointing out the obvious," Jareth grit out, his back smarting from his impact on the queen sized bed.
"Any idea why this happened?" she asked.
"No clue," the Goblin King admitted, "but that won't stop me from doing my duty."
"Good luck," Sarah called as he gathered his magic to transport once more.
This time the bits of glitter had just appeared when the same nameless force slammed Jareth back. He landed heavily on Sarah, knocking the breath out of both of them.
"That was not fun," Sarah complained.
"I concur," Jareth agreed, wincing as he got off of her, "this presents a problem."
"Ugh," was Sarah's response.
"I'm going to try again," Jareth stated as he got up again.
"Let me get out of the danger zone first," Sarah hurried to the other side of the room, backing up her statement.
He had barely gathered up his magic when he was hurled across the room, crashing into Sarah, causing both of them to fall to the floor.
"I'm sensing a trend here," Sarah moaned.
"I've noticed," Jareth groaned, "every time I try to leave, I end up being thrown back at you."
"So what you are saying is that you literally cannot leave me?" she asked.
"Yup," he replied.
"Great, just great" she muttered, "this sucks."
"You're not the one being prevented from doing your duty," Jareth angrily pointed out, "we can't be separated remember?"
"You can't, but maybe I can," inspiration hit Sarah suddenly. She got up and headed to the door.
"What are you doing?" he asked.
"Going out," Sarah answered, "stay put."
Then she was out the door, leaving her husband behind in the guest room. Sarah made it all the way to the barn and nothing happened. She started pulling out her grandmother's mare, as if she was going to go out for a ride and still nothing happened. She had saddled the mare and was riding away from the ranch when something, or someone dropped on top of her. The mare reared and Sarah fell off the saddle, her fall being broke by the very person who had landed on her.
"I thought I told you to stay put," Sarah scowled as she brushed herself off.
"Got tired of waiting," Jareth mumbled as he painfully climbed to his feet.
They watched the mare run off in the direction of the western pastures in silence.
"Guess that this means that you can leave me, but I the moment I try to separate from you, I am forcibly prevented from doing so," Jareth grumbled, breaking the stillness between him and his wife.
"So now what? You have to go everywhere I go?" Sarah asked annoyed, "I love you and all, but I don't want to be stuck with you all the time."
"The sentiment is shared, I would go crazy if I was forced to be with you for the rest of eternity," Jareth grumbled.
"This sucks," Sarah wined, careful to suppress the urge to say "it's not fair".
"Yes, but at least I now have a solution for the Wish-Away that I have to collect," Jareth stated, winding his arms around from Sarah from behind.
"Jareth, what are you doing?" Sarah asked.
She never got her answer as they vanished the next moment.
The next morning Jareth and Sarah stumbled into the kitchen still tired and very grumpy. They had spent almost all of the previous night figuring out that it was their wedding bands that had prevented Jareth from transporting or even leaving by normal means (i.e. walking) away from Sarah. In specific, it was Jareth's wedding band was bound to Sarah's and while Sarah could remove her wedding ring with ease, Jareth's seemed permanently stuck to his finger. He couldn't remove it, but Sarah could, though only with great difficulty.
Jareth wasn't too fond of the idea of being bound to Sarah's wedding band even less than being bound to his wife and so he enchanted it so that only he could remove it from her finger. Sarah was a bit miffed about it, but if he was going to have his wedding ring stuck on his hand, so would she. They were married after all, equals and all that.
When Hank saw them stumble into the kitchen, bleary-eyed and clumsy, he smirked internally. He had a pretty good idea of what had happened to the couple and looked forward to the fireworks to come when they learned the truth about the family heirlooms that they were wearing on their ring fingers.
"Did you two have a good sleep?" Martha kindly asked.
"Yes, do tell us about your wedding night," Joe nastily added.
"Wedding night?" Martha echoed confused.
"Yes, you can thank your husband and his friend for that," Jareth bitterly stated.
"Oh Hank you didn't," Martha scolded, sounding disappointed, "he is such a nice young man, there was no way that they deserved that."
"I found that scoundrel taking advantage of my grandbaby," Hank defended, "besides, it's a family tradition."
"Bah! Tradition," Martha scoffed, "the only traditional thing about a Williams' shotgun wedding is that there is usually too much testosterone floating in the air on the day it takes place."
"C'mon Marty," Joe piped up, "cut your hubby some slack."
"And you!" Martha rounded on her husband's best friend of sixty years, "you are just as bad as Hank is! Seriously, the two of you act like three year olds. What you two have done is inexcusable. Poor Sarah, being denied the right to have the wedding of her dreams thanks to you two miscreants. And the way you treated Sarah's boyfriend, appalling. You both owe Sarah and Jareth an apology."
Joe and Hank looked like two shame-faced little boys getting a dressing down by their mother. Jareth was watching the two old cowboys' discomfort with glee. Sarah just looked exasperated by the entire affair.
"Well?" Martha demanded once she finished her lecture.
"Aw, Marty, do we hafta?" Joe whined.
"Apologize," Martha was firm in her decision, "or the two of you will be put on a low-fat, low-sodium, high-fiber diet for the rest of the year."
Both men looked horrified at the idea.
"Sorry," they mumbled in unison.
Grandma Williams sighed, a simple sorry was about the best she would get out of the two. Hank's father had been a bad influence on them and Hank and Joe had carried out some of her husband's less appealing practices on their son. Poor Robert, he and Sarah's young mother had been scared to death when Hank and Joe had carried out the Williams' wedding tradition while she had been out of town. Those two were never very well matched, Sarah's father being too much of a stick in the mud and her mother being a flighty, impulsive little thing. It was a wonder that they stayed together for so long. It was a good thing that Robert and his second wife had eloped rather than face the Williams' tradition again when he married Karen, the silly little twit she was.
Neither of the women who were the mother's of her grandchildren were really suited for motherhood. Privately she thought that her son had an appalling taste in women. Thank goodness that their children did not inherit their respective parent's undesirable traits. Sarah, while having an incredible love of all things fantastic, had a good head on her shoulders and was very smart and responsible. Toby was the most darling grandson that a woman could ask for. He was polite and respectful while being friendly and kind almost to a fault.
At least, Martha reflected, Sarah has chosen a man who suits her unique personality and temperament very nicely. Who knows, I might even have my first great grandchild in a few years time judging by the passion that flows between the two.
"Well at least I expect you to start treating Jareth with more respect and stop being so overprotective of Sarah after what you put them through," Martha spoke, "heaven knows they deserve some privacy while they are here. They are a long way from Massachusetts after all. Let them enjoy the wilderness while they can."
Hank and Joe while still looking slightly abashed had gotten over most of their Martha-caused guilt and a sly glint came into Joe's eye.
"So how are them wedding rings working for you?" he asked, holding in a snicker.
Jareth's expression turned stormy and fire flashed in Sarah's eyes.
"Just what do you know about our wedding rings that you aren't telling us?" she asked suspiciously.
"My Mother always said that the males of our species have a tendency to wander and that sometimes they need something extra to keep them true to their Misuses," Joe drawled.
"You mean like enchanted magic rings?" Jareth suggested, the menace plain to read in his voice.
"Suppose that could work," Hank faux-mused, "that if such a thing existed."
"Just where did these rings come from?" Jareth asked steely.
"My grammy had them commissioned by an old Indian about a hundred years ago," Hank reminisced, "said that she wanted something to remind her fiancé to curb that wandering eye of his. Cost her a pretty penny but it worked like a charm. Ever since those rings has been passed down from firstborn to firstborn. My boy Robert wore it until Sarah's good-for-nothing mother ran out on them and now those rings have been passed down to the newest generation."
"How interesting," Jareth drolled.
"Family legend says that a man will always stay true to his woman as long as they are wearing those wedding bands," Joe added helpfully.
"More like forced him to stay by her side," Sarah muttered.
"What was that grandbaby?" Hank asked, "I seem to have some wax in my ear."
"Oh it's nothing," Sarah sweetly replied, "I'm full can we be excused?"
"Of course dear," Martha kindly replied, "leave your dishes on the table, the menfolk can clean them, with the exception of Jareth of course."
"Of course, that pansy boy gets off without having to do a lick of honest work," Hank mutinously mumbled.
"Did you say something dear?" Martha asked.
Hank gulped, "nothing Marty, only that me and Joe would be happy to do the dishes. Right Joe?" Hank nudged him with his elbow. Joe grunted.
"Splendid!" Martha beamed. She made shooing motions with her hands at Sarah and Jareth, "now off you go, enjoy yourselves. It is going to be a lovely day."
"Thanks Martha, you're a peach," Jareth courteously replied, dipping into a shallow bow before he exited the kitchen with Sarah.
"What a nice boy he is, Sarah's such a lucky girl," Martha wistfully mused, ignoring the grumbling of her husband and Joe.
Compared to the action filled day when they got married, the rest of Sarah's and Jareth's vacation was relatively low key. For the most part Hank and Joe avoided Jareth and tried to get back into Sarah and Martha's good graces with varying success. The land around the ranch with its forests, mountain meadows and gurgling streams was absolutely enchanting. In fact they were so enchanting that Jareth and Sarah disappeared in them for an entire week, coming back filthy and rank but very happy and self-satisfied. Hank had to bite his tongue to stop the berating comments that he yearned to say to Sarah's husband, Martha's watchful presence overseeing them on the newlywed's return.
Their return flight home took a matter of seconds, seeing as Jareth transported him and Sarah and their luggage back to the JKF airport. Sarah's father was there to pick them up, believing that they had just come in on the flight from Atlanta instead of just arriving on the Goblin King Express. As he was helping Jareth load their baggage into the back of the minivan he spied a familiar ring that he hoped to never see again on the Goblin King's finger.
Robert placed a hand on Jareth's shoulder and looked him in the eye.
"I feel your pain," he consolingly told Jareth.
Nothing else on the subject needed to be said both men instinctively understanding the other. The car ride home was filled with happy chatter as Sarah told her father all that they had done in Montana, especially the one week backpacking trip they took. As she described all the wonderful things she and Jareth had done, she omitted the fact that four of those days were spent Underground as Jareth showed his kingdom off to Sarah, taking the opportunity to have a proper honeymoon Labyrinth style (it involved chocolate, peach liquor and a feather duster, but that's all I'm saying about on the matter).
Leave it to Karen to notice the new jewelry before anything else, Sarah thought annoyed as her step-mother shrieked in excitement the moment she saw the wedding rings on Sarah and Jareth's hands.
After an hour of hyper babbling by the bottled strawberry blond (Karen's hair was starting to gray but she refused to admit that she was getting older), Robert finally got his wife to calm down by reminding her that she needed to take Toby over to his sleepover at his friend Jake's house. With Karen and Toby gone, Robert led Sarah and Jareth to the living room and pulled out a bottle of brandy. Gave Jareth a tumbler full of the amber liquid and even gave Sarah a quarter of a cup.
"First off, I believe congratulations are in order," Robert toasted, "to a happy marriage for you both." Both men drained half of their tumblers, while Sarah only took a sip of her brandy.
"I don't believe that I need to tell you about the consequences if you don't treat my baby right," Robert warned in a low voice when they set their cups down, "and secondly I sincerely hope that you never get the foolish notion to continue the Williams' wedding tradition on your own children. I would die happy if those accursed wedding rings never graced the next generation of the Williams clan again."
"You have my promise that these rings will never be used on another," Jareth seriously vowed, "they will go with us to the grave."
Sarah rolled her eyes at her husband's melodramatics. Thanks to the magic that had been woven into the rings when they were created and they additional spell that Jareth placed on the gold bands, their wedding rings could not be removed short of the end of the world. The only consolidation Sarah had was that the wedding rings were actually quite attractive.
Sarah sighed happily. They had come along way from the bratty teen and the spoiled king they had been three years ago. Jareth's ill-fated collision with her parent's balcony door had been a blessing in disguise. If the Goblin King had not flown into the glass door, who knows where they would be today? They had had many interesting and colorful adventures during their three years of courting, some of which made them laugh and a few that made them cringe.
Later that evening as they lay in Sarah's bed, Sarah whispered playfully, "hey owl-boy, flown into any inanimate objects lately?"
Jareth mock scowled in the darkness, thought Sarah couldn't see it and shot back, "hey brat princess, wished away any little brother's lately?"
Sarah giggled into Jareth's shoulder.
"I love you," she whispered.
"I love you too my Queen," Jareth replied.
Sarah snuggled closer to her King, "I still want my loafers back."
"Only if you let me choose our vacations for the next ten years," Jareth returned.
"Deal," Sarah replied, "but only if I get to choose the names of our first two children."
Jareth grimaced, Goddess only knew what sort of poncy names Sarah would come up with for their children knowing her obsessive love of fantasy but it was worth the prospect of not visiting the William's ancestral ranch for another decade.
"Fine," Jareth grumbled, "but only if I can get you to myself for two months next year. No goblins, no family, no meddling traitors who you call friends," Sarah swatted him at that comment, "only you, me and a tropical island hundreds of miles away from people."
"Now that's something I can happily agree to," Sarah murmured, "we have a deal."
I always win, Jareth smugly thought as he and Sarah finally drifted off, it is good to be king.
And they lived (mostly) Happily Ever After.
Barring Jareth's family reunion that dropped upon them unexpectedly during their two-year anniversary, the daily goblin induced crisises, the visits to Sarah's extended family Aboveground, and of course who could forget the sticky chicken incident. Hey for the royal family of the Goblin Kingdom that was as close to a Happily Ever After that a Goblin King (or Queen) could get.
Yes, at long last I have completed the final part of the trilogy that started with Window of Opportunity. I apologize to my reviewers who wanted me to write about Jareth's experience as a Wished-Away, but like I told some of you earlier, I can't write about a Run in the Labyrinth very well. I hope that this story makes up for it.
Please leave a review on your way out.