Disclaimer: Labyrinth is not mine.
Hello! Thanks to the people who read and reviewed Mr. Owl! I'm glad that you liked it. I hope you'll like this one too. My attempt at romance.
Jareth knew that something was off the moment he saw her smile like that.
He liked that smile. But he would rather face the Bog or an oubliette than admit it out loud, especially to her. Her face radiated pure joy; her delectably lush mouth blossomed into a secretive grin – as if she knew something he didn't and was very pleased about it. And those eyes…those cruel, cruel eyes. If stars were colored green they couldn't be more beautiful or couldn't have shone much brighter than them. He realized that he had no need to put the sky in her eyes, for the azure firmament was already there.
Whenever she adapted that dreamy expression, he would brush off the glossy black curls away from her comely face, wanting to see more. Her delighted smile would turn into a smirk, knowing what was running through his mind. It was all he could do not to capture those tempting lips in a kiss and have his wicked way with her then and there. No, he knew it was unwise and would only demonstrate the power she had over him. He'd whisk themselves away to a secluded area first and tease her mercilessly so that she'd be begging for more.
It was not the prospect of corrupting innocent goblins by public displays of affection caused by that smile which worried him. Nor was it his wife repeatedly rubbing "you have no power over me" in his face which made him brood on his regal, chicken-feather decked throne, riding crop beating against a tight-wearing leg and wearing a look of utmost concentration.
No. It certainly wasn't those trivial things which vexed him so. It was much, much worse.
It was the fact that it wasn't he who caused her to smile that way.
He frowned. If it was a female who made her smile he probably wouldn't mind too much. A week of sulking and kicking chickens will most likely help him get over it. But if it was that Hogwash or any other male, he won't be too generous. Jareth was sure that he could arrange the little fool's visit to the bog to look like an accident.
A smile played on the corners of his mouth. No one had ever been a guest of the Bog of Eternal Stench since she arrived. The oubliettes had become despondently empty also. It seems like nothing would ever be the same when his Sarah was around.
His Sarah. How strangely satisfying did that sound!
The subjects of his kingdom had undergone a radical change, too. They were a lot less rowdier and much more behaved even though their penchant for trouble was still present. What was interesting to note is that they all liked Sarah and nobody dared lay a hand on her. He previously thought that it was because they were afraid of him but after viewing their interactions, he drew the conclusion that the Underground dwellers were sincerely fond of her. And everybody has a tendency to listen more to her than to him, which was completely baffling. He was their King!
Shaking his head slightly, Jareth grudgingly marveled his wife's special ability to draw his subjects to her side. First was that treacherous dwarf, followed by a particularly dim hairy monster, the deluded fox with his cowardly dog and now his whole kingdom. He knew that they were ready to defy his orders if it would hurt their 'Lady' in any way and he was secretly impressed by their loyalty.
She was too kindhearted for her own good. While current society deems compassion as a weakness, he views it as her greatest strength. After all, courage may gain a person's respect, but only kindness would win his heart.
Nevertheless, why in the world was she smiling like that?
He couldn't ask her directly. Sarah was acting peculiarly these days and he did not know what to make of it. He would engage her in conversations about topics as mundane as the weather and the next minute, he was either busy dodging items hurled in his direction with deadly accuracy or trying to placate the distraught woman. He had detected the earliest signs of her ambiguously odd behavior over dinner so many days back.
Sarah was idly pushing her food around her plate and occasionally taking a bite disinterestedly. Her sudden loss of appetite did not escape his notice, nor did the not-so-subtle glances she threw on his way. She would avert her eyes when he caught her staring, and even though it amused him to no end, he started to wonder why she was so apprehensive. His wife was ridiculously easy to read – it was obvious that something has happened and though she dearly wanted to tell him, she had no idea how to begin.
His superior powers of deduction, however, did not prepare him for what occurred next. She put her fork down resolutely and asked, "Jareth, what do you think of children?"
If Jareth was a lesser man he would've spit out the peach-flavored drink he was currently enjoying and made a fool of himself in front of the woman he wanted to impress. But he was no lesser man. Instead, he had raised a questioning eyebrow, and calmly placed back his beverage on the awaiting coaster. He then proceeded to do what Goblin Kings do best: say the first thing on their minds.
This was why he replied, albeit unthinkingly, "Children are a bunch of sniveling, spoiled brats who are probably worse than goblins when it comes to trouble and mischief-making."
And consequently, earning her ire.
Jareth was generally fond of kids, especially those who had doe-eyes and innocent, friendly natures. But on answering Sarah's question, he was referring to the brawling, chaotic type he had the misfortune of meeting; the ones whose mere appearance practically screamed 'give me the chance and I'll burn your house down.' Unfortunately, in his line of work, he gets to meet these kinds of children more often than not.
Seeing that they were alone on an extravagantly grand dining room savoring sumptuous victuals on an equally grand and long dining table, he had no one to blame but himself when a stormy, mutinous look stole across her normally calm features. It was also his fault when she abruptly stood up, excused herself without a word, and promptly made her mind to ignore him for a week. Why oh why hadn't she asked something simple like 'Why is the sky blue?" "Why are there 13 hours in the Underground instead of 12?" or even "Jareth, why are you so sexy in those tights?"
He blinked. Sarah was not bold enough to ask that.
1 week, 7 days, 182 hours and 11835 minutes later (he personally counted), she finally stopped regarding him as an insignificant piece of furniture and Jareth woke up to find her watching him.
Waking up to see your beautiful wife wearing a provocative nightgown was not an unpleasant sight. Her glorious midnight black hair was bathed in sunbeams, making it shine a tone of gold even Rumpelstiltskin would have a hard time duplicating in the best of spinning wheels. Her face tilted towards the early morning light similar to a flower basking in the rays of the sun. He was openly admiring how the lingerie accentuated her endowments nicely when she burst into tears.
"Sarah, what ever is the matter?" he demanded, a hint of trepidation no one else would notice showing in his voice. "Are you taken ill?"
She shook her head mutely, and thrust into his hands a small rectangular object. Puzzled, he looked at it. The thing was made of plastic and must have come from aboveground. It had two small windows with a red line on each, one mark fainter than the other. He had no idea what it was. Why on earth was she showing it to him?
Sarah was waiting for him to say something. Her big, jade eyes were staring at him unblinkingly. Thinking that she was anticipating a compliment, he said, "Nice stick."
To his horror, it only drove her to more tears and she fled the room.
"Wait! Sarah? It was a really remarkable piece of stick. There's nothing quite like it, truly," he attempted to call after her. A slammed door was her sole response.
He was not surprised when she reverted to the silent treatment once again. How was he supposed to know what was going on if she didn't tell him?
Another matter to be addressed was her daily ailment. He could've sworn that every time he strode inside a bathroom to relive himself, he would inexplicably find her there, emptying the contents of her stomach in an unfortunate toilet.
He had ordered her to visit the Castle Healer, not a little bit perturbed. After all, she might be unused to staying in the Underground for long hours and vomiting is her body's natural way of recuperating. He had seen numerous cases similar to hers before.
Jareth explained it quite clearly to Sarah, but he entirely missed the murderous look she gave him, and her attempts to get a word in edgewise. He hadn't seen the way she gripped the toilet seat so hard that her knuckles turned white, as if she'd dearly love to wring her hands round his neck. If he had, he'd probably fear for his life, immortal Fae or not.
He had a sneaking suspicion that his subjects were in on her little secret. He would see them, jabbering between themselves, and stopping the moment he was near enough to understand what they were saying. The Goblin King had also seen the smug, contented looks directed at him when they thought he wasn't looking. He had managed to eavesdrop on their 'hushed' conversations once.
"Have you heard?" a goblin he could not place a name to asked his friend conspiratorially. "The Lady's having a bun in the oven."
What the heck?
The friend bobbed his head up and down excitedly. "Giggle knows."-insert inane giggles here. Jareth did not have doubts where he had gotten his name-"Everybody knows. King doesn't. Lady's mad at King. Giggle saw Lady throw a frying pan at King once. Funny."
Their chuckles boomed into full-blown raucous laughter which the others followed suit. Jareth did not appreciate their mirth. The frying pan had hurt.
Pushing the thought of punishing goblins for their insolence aside, he pondered on the sliver of information overheard. Sarah was having a bun in the oven? What did that mean? His wife had little or no interest in baking, as far as he knew. Maybe he didn't know her as well as he would've liked.
Deciding to confront her about it, he marched purposefully in their bed chambers.
Sarah was wearing the bottle green messaline dress he particularly liked, for it was the exact shade as the color of her eyes. She was eyeing her reflection in the full-length mirror critically and clearly finding herself lacking. Noticing him, she whirled around and asked, "Jareth, do you think I'm getting fat?"
Caught completely off guard, it also interrupted the tirade he was planning to vent about buns and ovens. He knew that women often need reassurances about their figures, but he hadn't thought that Sarah would need hers so soon. After all, he was the narcissistic, vain one, not her.
Jareth was caught in a dilemma. Judging by her volatile moods, she might take offense to anything he'd say. If he told her that he noticed the growing bump on her belly, she would certainly explode at him. On the other hand, if he lavished her with praises and compliments, she might think that he was lying.
Weighing the consequences in his head, he decided that she would be mad at him either way, and answered as neutrally as possible.
"You look fine, love," he said cautiously. Jareth couldn't resist adding, "Though I would stop eating all those cookies if I were you."
She sniffled and her eyes started to cloud with tears. Uh-oh. Why couldn't he keep his mouth shut?
Hoping to distract her, he quickly said, "I had gleaned knowledge that you're having a 'bun in the oven'. Am I rightly informed?"
The change came instantaneously. All of a sudden, her moist eyes dried and he beamed at him like a child who had gotten what she wanted for her birthday. Sarah changed moods faster than he changed outfits, which was an impressive feat.
"You have a rather odd way of putting it"-she looked at him strangely for a second- "But yes! Yes! Are you glad?"
He inclined his head slightly. "Very much so."
Even though he could not comprehend why he should be exhilarated about a piece of pastry, his ego reveled in satisfaction, for being the cause of the smile which currently graced her features.
Looking back to that day, he realized that he should've stopped there. He should've been contented with making her smile and leave the case of the mysterious pastry for some other time. But he just couldn't. Damn his curiosity.
"What's so remarkable about this bun anyway? Different flavor?"
The cozy temperature dropped several degrees. Even the sun sought refuge behind terrified clouds. The tension in the room was so palpable that it began to clog his senses, and rendered him incapable of coherent thought.
"Do you even know what we're talking about?" she asked in a frosty, scalding tone that made him think of bitter, unending years of snow blizzards and cold places where nothing would ever thrive. It was a solid proof of his masculinity when he resisted the urge to run far, far away.
She left without a word or a backward glance, the only sign of her displeasure was the violently slammed door.
Enough was enough. He would get to the bottom of this.
From his place on the regal, chicken-feather decked throne, Jareth smiled. It would've sent his subjects scampering away if they had ever seen it. It was a plotting, scheming, devious smile, which spelled trouble for whoever was involved. If Sarah won't tell him what was wrong, he would ask somebody else.
And he knew just the right person to interrogate.
The Castle Garden was every bit as beautiful and mysterious as the Labyrinth. The ambient weather allowed different kinds of flora to thrive at once all year round, which was impossible Aboveground because of the seasonal change. Vines of ivy, clematis, and morning glory adorned the trunks of noble, sturdy trees while shrubs of buddleia, periwinkle, rose and a variety of others were scattered along the earthy, fertile ground. Birds of every color made their home in the branches of the trees, and assorted creatures burrowed their homes deep into the land. At the garden's core was a marble fountain, whose splashing water bubbled a cadenced, harmonious rhythm.
Jareth wasn't paying attention to all this beauty, for his attention was focused on an odious, acerbic dwarf who seemed out of place on this panorama, like a withering weed amidst a bouquet of freshly picked flowers. In his hands was a spray gun, which he aimed amongst the shrubs and keeping tally under his breath.
Jareth curled his lip in disgust. What Sarah saw in this dwarf he would never know. But he was her friend, and he must have an idea what was wrong with her.
"Hogspit!" he barked. The person in question jumped and turned to look at him.
"Oh it's you," he glared, retrieved his fallen spray gun, and resumed to his former work. "And it's Hog-gle, you would do well to remember that."
The Goblin King's eyes narrowed. Such impertinence. He crossed his arms threateningly and continued to glare at the little man. He was satisfied to notice that the dwarf was getting fidgety and flustered. Glad to know that he was still scared of him.
Finally, Hog-gle couldn't stand it any longer. "What do you want?" he snarled, lacing every syllable with contempt.
Jareth smiled mockingly. He hadn't missed the hint of fear in the dwarf's voice, and he could see that it was all false bravado. He liked it when his subjects acted fierce. All bark but no bite.
"Sarah," he said, and was aware of the worry that flashed in his companion's eyes. The dwarf truly cared for her. "is acting oddly. Do you know why?"
Hoggle dropped his spray gun once again and stared at the taller man in open-mouthed shock.
"You mean you don't know?" he asked incredulously. "No wonder Sarah's mad at you."
So the dwarf knew. He wasn't wrong in his deductions.
"Don't try my patience, Hogfeed," Jareth warned, stepping closer to him. The dwarf unconsciously stepped back. He smirked. "I am a man of so little tolerance."
The impudent gardener grumbled something under his breath.
"She's pregnant, you ninny!" Hoggle yelled, drawing himself up to his full height. It would've been impressive if he was taller, and Jareth would surely be amused by it, if he wasn't taken aback by what the diminutive man had just revealed. "So if you don't mind, I'm going back to me work."
Jareth was too preoccupied to dismiss the dwarf without a proper scolding for his presumptuousness.
So his Sarah was pregnant. Everything had made sense now. Her morning sickness, the unusual cravings, the question, and the small rectangular stick which was probably a pregnancy test of some sorts. Having a 'bun in the oven' must have been a colorful way of saying that someone was with child. The emotional imbalance was most likely caused by her condition, too. Why hadn't he seen it?
At least he now knew why she was smiling like that. And best of all, there was no threat of competition!
Sarah carries his child. He couldn't help being awed by it. At this very moment, a being of his own flesh and blood nestles in the womb of the woman he swore to care and look after for all eternity.
Just then, the person who plagued his thoughts chose that time to appear.
"Jareth? I thought I heard voices. You haven't been arguing with Hoggle, have you?" she accused, trying and failing to look menacing.
He swung around to look at her. Sure enough, a slender hand was curled protectively around her belly.
"You're pregnant?" he said without preamble.
Surprise dawned on her face, followed by fear, hope before she schooled it to an impartial expression. He frowned. What was she scared about?
"So you finally figured it out," she said, when she had trusted herself to speak. He nodded. Jareth would never live it down if she knew he had help from the dwarf. "Well? What do you think?"
"Why haven't you told me?"
"I tried to," she said apologetically. "But after you said that you didn't like children, I was afraid. I thought you wouldn't let me keep it. Or what if you banished me and the child to some distant land?"
"I never said that I didn't like children," he protested. "I would never, ever take the life of an innocent, especially my child. I regret whatever had happened in the Labyrinth which put your life in peril and believe it or not, I really have changed. For you. Do you really think so little of me?"
She flinched at hearing the hurt in his voice, and she knew that it was eating his pride to admit that he was wrong.
"I guess I owe you an apology, too," she replied, wringing her hands nervously at her lap. "I should've told you. Will you ever forgive me for not trusting you? "
Silence descended upon them like a thick invisible blanket which was neither suffocating, nor comfortable, each person mulling upon his or her own thoughts.
Sarah kept her eyes on the ground, not meeting his eye. Making the first move, he stepped forward.
"A baby, huh?" he said contemplatively, reaching a hand to touch her belly. She placed her hands on top of his, finally meeting his hauntingly beautiful eyes and she knew that she was forgiven.
She drew him closer to her, wrapping her arms around him and placing an ear above his heart, its constant thrumming comforting her.
"I'm sorry for throwing that frying pan at you," she murmured.
"What is done, is done."
"You do know that I will never banish you to some distant land, don't you?" he asked. "I will never let you go."
"I had no intention of leaving. I rather like it here," she replied.
What do you think? Please review!
Preview of The Adventures of Sarah and Mr. Owl (if ever):
Gone. They were all gone.
"Are you gone too, Mr. Owl?" she whispered sadly. "Were you just a piece of my
The wind hummed a dolorous tune, urging the trees to dance along. Overhead, the
skies rumbled its disquietude, clouds threatened to flood the earth. But there was no
Mr. Owl who came to her in moments of distress, no one to tell her it was all right.
She bowed her head in resignation.
Is it worth continuing? Please review Mr. Owl to tell me! Thanks for reading