Sarah woke with the cold light of dawn and snuggled closer to Jareth. Contentment and the exquisite feeling of his naked body stretched out against hers made her let out a small sigh of happiness. Jareth stirred against her and still asleep pulled her tighter against him. Sarah relaxed in his arms and he released her marginally and fell into a deeper sleep content she was still there. Sarah wasn't going to fall back to sleep and was too comfortable to move so she let her mind wander over the politics of the Kingdom. It was obvious someone was making a play for the throne and all her money was on the Elvish Kingdom. True, Satire may have been working on his own, but her kidnappers had chosen the perfect time to grab her. Almost like they knew she would be in the room on her on while Jareth was questioning Satire. Almost like they knew both Sarah and Jareth would shut down the bond as much as possible to prevent any pain getting through to her. It was possible it was another kingdom taking the opportunity Satire dropped into their laps. There were informants everywhere in the palace. Hordes of different races worked in the High King's employ and more than a few were more loyal to their own races than to the Goblin. But how did they know about the Soulmate bond? There was too much she didn't know about the Underground and its people. She sighed in frustration and turned her thoughts to another problem. Toby. How was she going to save him when Jareth couldn't know about the crystal in her palm? If she didn't kill Jareth they were going to butcher her little brother. In the growing dawn she lifted her hand to her face but it still wasn't light enough and she let it fall in frustration.
Consumed by her own thoughts she hadn't realised Jareth had woken up some time ago and was quietly monitoring his wife's restlessness. Correctly assuming she was thinking about his Kingdom he was pleased at her concern, but was also aware there was more on her mind than she was saying and every effort to get to it through the bond was being blocked even unconsciously by her. She didn't want him to know something and it grated. He could if he wished hold her down and force it from her with magic but he believed them passed that and was not a little hurt that she didn't trust him with whatever it was. There was only so much time he was going to give her before he broke and forced it from her. He must have made a sound in his own thoughts and by the slight tensing of her muscles he knew Sarah knew he was awake.
"Can we visit the Aboveground?" Sarah asked.
Jareth kissed her neck gently in greeting, "Why?"
"I want to see my brother." She turned in his arms and smiled at him. "I want to make sure he's okay."
"Of course we can go see him, Sarah." He kissed her forehead and she cuddled up to him her head on his chest. They were quiet for a moment and Jareth thought of something. "Did you want to do some magic lessons first?"
Sarah bit her lip thinking, she really did want to learn how to use her magic and not rely on it being a crisis before she could access it. But she desperately needed to see Toby and make sure he was okay.
"Can I do both? Use magic to see Toby?"
"As in transport yourself or make yourself invisible?"
"-or turn into an owl like you did the first time you appeared before me."
"We can certainly try." He laughed as he remembered Sarah's frightened face when he had flown through the balcony doors as a snowy barn owl. "You were such a child when I first met you."
Sarah felt herself redden. She knew what he was talking about- she had been childish and selfish and so very young when she had wished her brother away and run the Labyrinth. "You still fell for me, even though I was such a child." She said a little sharply out of embarrassment.
Jareth's laugh rumbled in his chest under her ear, his hands stoked languidly up and down her spine, it was shooting little sparks of pleasure to her nerve endings, she arched her back a little like a cat and missed the tilt of Jareth's lips. "At the time it was part of the spell that you cast saying that the Goblin King had fallen in love with you. Part of the act, but watching your sheer determination to get your brother back and not betray your friends attracted me and before I realised it had become true. I had indeed fallen in love with you and it nearly killed me when you left." It was said with no rebuke and Sarah didn't feel like he was bringing up old baggage, she shifted nevertheless. The memories of that time were still dark for her, not for the Labyrinth but for her stepmother's actions soon after. "We were fated to love each other, to have the Soulmate bond and to be together forever." His fingers worked like magic over her back and up her sides over her ribs and lightly brushed the outside of her breasts to her shoulders and back down her spine again. Sarah lifted her head and slid her body onto his to kiss him. His hands stopped for a moment to steady her then resumed their slow teasing.
"I'm glad you brought me back to the Underground." She said quietly, "I was so miserable without you. You were in my dreams, in my thoughts. I compared every guy I went out with for four years to you and they all came up wanting. I didn't know how to find you short of wishing away my brother again. I was never going to do that, so, I guess I'm trying to say thank you." Jareth's beautiful eyes widened in surprise. Sarah smiled and kissed him again. "Thank you for bringing me back down to the Underground to be with you."
Jareth's eyebrow rose but he smiled at her. "You fought tooth and nail against me and now you are thanking me. I will never be able to predict anything you do."
"That's what makes me so much fun!" She teased and squealed with laughter as Jareth grabbed her and flipped her under him. She wiggled to get out but he settled his weight on her and laughing she stopped and her green eyes sparkled up at him with fun and naughtiness.
"Jareth, don't forget, I really want to see my brother now." She reminded him that it was important to her and not something to be forgotten with their bedplay. He nodded his head, eyes serious for a split second before they softened into a naughty thought.
"Really? Right now?" He said and kissed her thoroughly one hand by her head the other one gliding down her body. "Are you sure?" He teased as Sarah moaned and arched beneath him. Her eyes clouded with smoky lust and he knew she would be his for a little while yet.
"After." She breathed and arched again as his lips found the hollow of her throat and collarbone.
"After what?" He teased kissing her softly up her neck. Sarah sighed and pushed her head back so he could get more of her throat.
"After." She gasped out.
Jareth and Sarah stood opposite each other in the lounge area of Jareth's suite. Like his bedroom it was done it dark blues and was beautiful and masculine.
"Do you feel the magic inside you?" Jareth asked reaching through the Soulmate bond to monitor what she was doing.
"It feels like the same, like a wet balloon I can't get my hands on, it slides straight out of my grasp." She said and mentally stomped her foot in frustration. There was no way she would do that in front of him but she glanced at him and by the quirk of his lips she knew he had seen her do it through the bond.
"Ok. Tell me how it felt when you released it in the arena?"
"It felt like it burst, I felt the sting against the insides of my body like it was literally a balloon popping."
"Good. That is an apt way of describing it. It literally did burst, out of your control and thereby hitting physical body instead of staying inside. Your magic is not really in your body but actually in a different plane of consciousness. It is not encased in anything so there is nothing to 'burst'. To use a hunting example, you need to round up little bits of magic and get it away from the herd to use it. You can't force an entire ball of magic to do one small thing, it will burst as you have discovered it can hurt you with the backlash. Luckily you released it all so that it didn't stay in your body and really do any damage. Had you tried to say fill a crystal with light and it burst it would have given you the amount you needed for your will but you would have used too much and the excess would have burnt through the consciousness and into your physical body. Do you understand?"
"I think so. I need to learn to separate enough magic to do what I need from the entirety or I can really hurt myself?"
"Correct. So now when you are examining it does it still feel like a balloon?"
"Yes, it does." She went quiet and Jareth watched her examine the magic closely, as she began to understand how to use it her consciousness changed the magic into what it truly was, a ball of white energy. "Why did it do that?" She asked a little started with the change. She tried to touch it and found that it gave off a pleasant heat and no longer slid through her hands.
"It has turned into a manageable form now that you know how to use it. Before it was how your mind perceived it- Unobtainable except in emergencies. Now you can start trying to use it. Carefully try and get enough magic to fill this crystal with light." He flipped his wrist and produced a crystal. Sarah took it and tried to fill it with light without success.
"Let me show you," Jareth took the hand that was holding the crystal and through their bond, Sarah watched as Jareth effortless separated a small amount of magic and manipulated it into the crystal which glowed instantly with a soft white light.
"Cool," she breathed and focused on her own magic. Jareth let his spring back into its ball and watched her try and round up the magic. Eventually she managed to get a little bit of magic apart and slowly push it into the crystal. It glowed like a little flame flickering and soft and Sarah smiled triumphantly and looked up at Jareth. The magic in the crystal faded and returned to its ball. Sarah frowned and looked back down. "Please don't tell me I need to keep concentrating on it to keep it there."
"I'm afraid so," Jareth laughed at her crestfallen face. "That comes with practice and eventually you wont have to even think about it, you will do it naturally. You did wonderfully to get even that far on your first lesson. Don't let it perturb you."
"This is hard." Sarah sat down on the cough exhausted. I don't think I will manage anything cool for Toby. You will have to take care of the magic side of things." She looked up at Jareth expectantly. "Can we go now?"
"Yes." Jareth moved to her and gave her a hand up. "Ready? This can be quite jarring at first."
Sarah nodded her assent and Jareth grabbed a crystal out of the air and filled it with magic, he blew it at her and it turned into an iridescent bubble and popped on her face. Instantly she felt the magic start to work, she began to shrink and little pinpricks started all over her body as her feathers grew. It wasn't uncomfortable and within no time she was a beautiful little brown owl. She shuffled her feathers and hooted softly at Jareth. Jareth changed just as quickly into his snowy owl and Sarah rubbed her head against his.
What do you think? Jareth's voice whispered into her head and she turned her head and it just kept going until she was looking behind her. Weird she thought and she felt Jareth laugh. Her head snapped back around and she looked at Jareth. Our bond is still active? She thought and he ducked his head, yes but I would be able to talk to you anyway as it was part of the spell I wove.
Ah cool. Sarah said and opened her wings, is it far to fly to the Aboveground?
Not with magic. Just watch me and follow. Jareth spread his wings and paused as she did the same. She felt every tiny fragment of air shift through her wings. In one powerful push Jareth's snowy wings came down and he pushed off from the ground. Sarah dragged her wings down and was amazed when she lifted up easily. Her wings moved soundlessly and lifted her higher, the air forced through her aerodynamic feathers felt ticklish and she was surprised to find it very pleasurable. She flew around Jareth and connected with him in the bond. No wonder you like to fly she teased and he chased her and nipped her tail in play. Wait until we get out into the air.
They flew around the room a few more times so Sarah could get used to the feeling of flying and then Jareth banked sharply and went through the open window. Sarah couldn't remember him opening it but the thought left when she followed and she was out in the open with the ground galloping beneath her and growing more distant with every powerful push of her wings. The smells, sights and instincts filled her with primal thoughts and she found herself scanning the ground for a tasty snack. Her eyes seemed to have binoculars built in, they could focus on the smallest flower as she whizzed overhead.
She banked sharply and flew around Jareth. He chuckled in her head and they sped up together to the glittering crystal dome surrounding Illiera.
How do we get through the crystal?
There is a hidden portal and only those who have had clearance from the transport ministers can get through. I do obviously have the power to come and go as I please being High King and you may have as well as you are my wife now.
Without an official wedding the Underground may not recognise you as the rightful ruler but I'm hoping our bond will convince the magic to let you though and then there is the fact that you are with me.
Okay, so you're telling me I could go splat?
No, I'm telling you there is a remote chance you may go poof.
There isn't really a mess, you get displaced out of existence.
The sky looked warped like it was in a soap bubble and as they got closer Sarah could see through it into another world. The real Underground. The soap bubble sky got closer and then with the feeling of wet they flew through it and came out into the night air of the Underground. There were a few other crystal worlds around and Sarah smiled when she saw the Labyrinth twisted in endless roving walls.
Jareth, could we have just magicked our way into the Aboveground without using the portal like we did when we had a picnic in the Labyrinth?
Of course. I am High King nothing in the Underground can stop me moving as I please. Why? Are you getting tired? He flew closer to her, checking her through the bond.
No it was just a random thought. Sarah thought at him and mentally smiled. How much further?
Anytime really. All we need to do is fly up.
Fly up? How do you know we will end up where we want to?
Sarah, there are even some things I don't understand about the Underground. Maybe it has something to do with wishes. We will be exactly where you want to be.
Not where you want to be? Sarah wondered.
I want to be with you so your wish to be in a certain location in the Aboveground will guide this trip.
Sarah digested that for a moment and wished to be at her old bedroom. Okay. Here we go!
Sarah flapped her wings and shot straight up. Jareth followed keeping pace. They didn't have to fly far. Only after a few feet an opaque magic window opened in front of them and they flew through. Sarah pulled her feet up suddenly to land (not crash) on the branch outside her bedroom window.
Okay, that was really cool. She said and then got serious. She craned her head to look into her room and saw that it was exactly the same as she had left it. Strange, she thought her emotions jumping.
What's wrong? Jareth askedconcerned with her sudden mood change.
They left my room as I left it. My stepmother said she was going to turn it into a sewing room.
Maybe something happened to change her mind?
Maybe… Sarah agreed outwardly but inwardly doubted it. Karen had gleefully used that as a sledgehammer to drive home the fact she was no longer welcome in the house. It occurred to her that she would probably find this a very changed household; hopefully not too changed.
Let's look for Toby.
They flew from window to window around the house looking for him and found him playing on the floor in Sarah's parent's bedroom. The same bedroom Jareth had challenged Sarah in. They alighted on the balcony railing and watched the little boy for a while. He was just passed 5 and happily playing on his own with a set of tracks and a Thomas the Tank Engine toy. He was talking to himself, making up long detailed stories about what was happening in his imagined train world. Sarah was sad watching it. Right now he was so young and full of imagination, he wouldn't remain so with Karen as a mother.
Are we going in? Jareth asked softly, aware he was intruding on her thoughts.
Yes, she felt her wing pulse and remembered the crystal embedded in her hand. She threw her blocks up so Jareth wouldn't see it and only just succeeded. She felt Jareth's shock and loss and regretted it. I'm sorry she sighed and satisfied her secret was safe, let her blocks down.
A bit of an over-reaction don't you think? Jareth purred and she knew she had hurt him.
I'm sorry, it was defensive and I have taken them down again. She shuffled her wings and looked away from Jareth and back to the boy playing quietly on the carpet. There was a surge of magic and Jareth gracefully turned into a man again. His face was arrogant and cold and he lowered his head until he was face to face with her owl form.
"Do not make the mistake of thinking you can hide things from me, Sarah. You know what I will do if pushed to learn the truth myself."
A flashback of the cold slippery magic forcing its way through her body chilled her down to her very bones. I know. I'm sorry.
Jareth didn't respond. He searched her eyes again carefully with his own and then straightened and looked at Toby. The toddler had not seen them yet. Jareth flipped his wrist over and a crystal appeared. He blew it gently at her and it popped against her beak. Smoothly she became human again and stood beside Jareth.
"Jareth, I'm sorry it was an unconscious defence and I took it down immediately."
Jareth nodded his head. "Forgiven, now let Toby know we are here. Karen is downstairs in the lounge reading a book, but her ears are perked to hear her son so make sure you keep him quiet." Sarah moved towards the balcony doors and Jareth watched her, anger beginning like a slow burn in his stomach. He didn't let her know that he had seen her consciously throw up her barriers after getting a flash of her hand. He didn't know what it meant but she was lying to him and it was going to stop.
Sarah tapped the glass quietly and Toby looked up. He saw Sarah and a big grin came over his face. He stood and then bashfully looked away sneaking a peek at her again. Sarah quickly put her finger to her lips to tell Toby not to make noise and he caught on quickly.
"Open the doors, Toby." She said through the doors and Toby did as she asked quickly. The doors opened and Sarah fell through in her haste to get to her little brother. She gathered him up in her arms and held him close.
"Hi, Sarah." He said happily hugging her back.
"Hi, Toby." She said and felt tears well up in her eyes. "How are you?"
"Good," Toby pushed away from the hug wanting to get down. Sarah let him go and he looked up at Jareth. "Are you going to sing?"
Sarah looked at Jareth blankly and Jareth felt his face break into an unexpected smile. He had never in a thousand years thought Toby would remember his time in the Underground. He had been just over one.
"Not this time, Toby. Maybe next time."
"Aww," Toby whined, "I liked your song."
"Jareth," Sarah started looking very confused, "What…?"
"I'll tell you later." Jareth said quickly and turned back to Toby. "Your sister is here to say hello but we can't stay for long."
Toby's face fell but he seemed to understand. "Okay. Sarah can I show you my Thomas?"
Sarah reached forward and touched his silky hair memorising its texture. "Sure, Buddy." Toby took her hand and pulled her over to the train set and then set about explaining in detail all the different parts of the track and about all the engines in the Thomas the Tank Engine world. Sarah listened with rapt attention listening to anything that may tell her if he was in any pressing danger. If he was he seemed completely unaware of it. There were no stories of kind strangers or mysterious happenings that could only be explained by magic. He was completely safe for the moment and Sarah felt the tight knot in her stomach relax. There was a footfall on the stairs and Karen called out for Toby. Sarah stood up hurriedly and explained to Toby quickly that mommy wasn't to know Sarah and her friend were there. Toby nodded solemnly and Sarah grabbed Jareth's hand and they disappeared seconds before Karen came within sight of the open bedroom door.
From Sarah's old bedroom they could hear Karen reprimanding Toby for not answering her when she called. They listened for Toby to tell her about the strange visitors but he didn't and they slowly relaxed. While Sarah remained by the door listening Jareth explored her room.
The toys and books had been long since put away or taken with Sarah when she moved out but the bed was the same, the cubby with the bears on her wall was also still filled with all the bears save one. Lancelot was tucked safely into Toby's bed. The windup up music box from her real mother Linda was on the dresser still and Jareth was a little stunned to see that the doll wore a similar dress to the one he had put Sarah into in the Masquerade. He wondered idly if that design had come from her head as another one of her wishes.
"She's gone back downstairs." Sarah said and relaxed against the door. She watched Jareth move around her room and was surprised by how moved she was that it was still all here. He stopped in the corner by the rocking chair and running a finger over the top he looked back at her.
"Do you want to take him with us? Make the world forget about him?" He asked quietly, conscious of her mood.
She desperately wanted to take him. She hadn't realised how much she missed him until he was there with her. While the idea took root and formulated the crystal in her palm pulsed ominously and she remembered why she was there. She took a deep breath in and let it out slowly. She met Jareth's steady eyes and felt her own mist, "No. He needs to remain here with his mother."
"Are you sure?" Jareth asked and walked back over to her. He put his arms around her and drew her in. "I'm sorry this is so hard for you, Sarah. " He rubbed her back as twin tears fell from her eyes and rolled down her cheeks. "Do you want me to make you forget?"
Sarah's mind rebelled at the idea of wiping the memory of her little brother from her life. "No, please don't. I want to remember him, always. I want to visit him often."
"We won't be able to do that, Sarah. As he grows up he will start to forget and to stop believing. It gets harder to get up to the Underground if there is no belief in you from the Aboveground source. Toby would need to never forget you, never believe that you are dead, and never lose hope."
"With constant visits he won't forget!" Sarah cried out wrenching away, "He won't forget me."
"Sarah, think about what you are saying. It will affect his entire life to have his sister around who no one is allowed to know about. You have to think about Toby in this, not just you."
Sarah felt desperate tears coming on and said nothing. She knew he was right and there was nothing she could do about it. She looked at Jareth rebelliously and then her shoulders slumped in defeat, "Okay. Take me home now."
Jareth pulled her back into his arms and kissed the top of her head. "I'm so sorry my love." He whispered and they dissolved out of Sarah's room and back into Jareth's lounge.
a/n: Hi everyone. I hope you all enjoyed it. Please feel free to tell me what you would like to see in this story, what you would like me to include and where you think the story should go. To be quiet honest the reason it's taken so long is I'm a little lost. The story has changed so much from my initial idea that I'm feeling quite tentative about where it could go and if I will dig myself into a bigger hole. So feel free to hit me with plot bunnies.
Thank you to everyone who reads this. Without you there wouldn't be any story at all. Thank you to my amazing reviewers, especially my old reviewers who have been with me since the beginning. You are so amazing to keep supporting me with my wild plot turns and long absences. I really appriciate you all.
Thank you to; Celtic8Raven8Mage, Unique Fantasiser, FullMo0n.
Love you all