AN: I do not own the main characters in this story, but I thank Jim Henson for introducing them to us.
Chapter Four – What Dreams are Made of
It was another Friday night of babysitting Toby, and Sarah invited Hoggle over to watch another movie, but half way through Hoggle noticed how tired Sarah looked, so he suggested going early so she could go to bed. As Hoggle and Sarah walked into her room, neither of them noticed the owl that was perched in the tree outside her bedroom window. Jareth, from his perch, watched as Hoggle said goodbye and Sarah prepared for bed. She carried her pajamas into her bathroom, changed, and then came out and crawled quickly into bed. Sarah would not admit it to anyone, but fatigue quickly overcame her every evening for the past week. Even though she would climb into bed extremely tired, her sleep always ended up being restless. She twisted and turned all night long as she dreamt of searching for the one person missing from her life. The dream generally began the same way; she was wondering aimlessly through the Hedge Maze searching for the King, knowing he was somewhere in the maze, but unable to find him. Sometimes she would catch a glimpse of him but he would disappear as soon as she started toward him. Other times she would sense his presence but never know which direction to go. She would end up frustrated, angry, and defeated in her attempt to locate him. In the process of all this, she became restless and by morning, she felt utterly fatigue, almost as if she had actually been in the labyrinth searching for him.
On this particular night, she became even more frustrated in her dream than ever before. A few times, she was close enough to see his form distinctly, but he always had his back to her, and then, just as she was near enough to reach out and touch him, he would vanish. This pattern would repeat itself into the early morning hours until in utter defeat she called out his name. In the dream, her voice was strong and loud, but in reality, it was the softest of whispers. Even with her words barely audible, the strength of her desire actually pulled Jareth out of the tree and into her room. As he came through her open window, he took his normal form and cautiously approached her bed. The strength of her call surprised him, as did the fact that he found himself standing inside of her bedroom something he had honestly believed her words in the Escher room had barred him from ever being able to achieve. The fact that he was now in her room verified his suspicions about who hadn't come when she called. For some unfathomable reason, her invitation had included him; he just had not realized it at the time. The most surprising part of that invitation was the fact that she really had included him and had lamented his non-appearance. So many things were finally becoming clearer in his mind, for instance, when she said "all" she really meant "all."
As he stared at her sleeping form, he had a clear picture of the agony on her face that caused a clinching in his heart. As a result, he knelt down beside her bed, took her hand in his, smoothed her brow, and whispered, "It's alright now, Sarah; I understand and I'm here now. Sleep little one and we'll talk when you walk up."
She murmured ever so softly, "You promise?"
To which he replied with a smile, "Yes, I promise."
He then watched as she seemed to settle into a deep calm sleep, and as he tried to pull his hand way from hers, he felt her grip strengthen and realized she did not intend to release it. He resolved to stay beside her bed throughout the night, so he settled himself on the floor next to her bed and leaned his head against it to wait her arising come morning. He had a few uncomfortable minutes as he shifted around to make it easier not only to rest his own head, but also to allow her to continue to hold his hand. When he finally settled into a good position, he intended to stay awake through the night, but his proposed vigil ended as his eyes, overcome by his own fatigue, finally closed and he too fell asleep beside the girl he had fallen in love with all those years ago when he first discovered her.
As sleep finally began to release Sarah, she realized she had actually had a restful night. The first, she admitted, since wishing Toby away. The next item of interest was the hand that she realized she was holding. At first, she thought she was dreaming it, but as wakefulness continued to wash over her, she began to wonder whose hand she was holding. She remembered Hoggle coming over, but she was positive he went home the previous evening. Out of curiosity more than fear, she began to rub her fingers over the hand and felt some type of buttery smooth fabric covering it. As she gained more cognitive awareness, she realized some type of glove covered the hand, but she was almost afraid to look at whose hand it was; only one person she knew wore gloves all time, or at least all the time she was in the labyrinth. Her fear arose from the fact that she might be wrong, but her hoped soared with the fact that she might be correct. She wanted, more really wanted to open her eyes and find him in her room, but if she discovered that this too was only a dream, she wasn't sure how she would survive the agonizing disappointment.
While Sarah was debating whether to open her eyes, Jareth had time not only to wake up, but also to stare into the face of someone he had believed he had lost forever. He smiled slightly as he watched the varying emotions flitter across her face, but as he watched delight being replaced by pain, he could no longer allow her to suffer.
"Sarah," he whispered softly, "I really am here; it is okay to open your eyes," and then he added, just in case he had been mistaken about her wanting him to stay, "I'll leave if you want me to."
"No," she nearly shouted as she panicked and opened her eyes. Then, as she stared into his marvelous eyes and admired his glorious face, a shy smile crossed her lips as she softly said, "You're him aren't you?"
In reply, he too smiled. He remembered the first time she had said those words, and then it was more in fear and disbelief. The time he noticed a bit of awe and humor that accompanied her words; that awe brought hope to him that maybe she didn't want him completely out of her life. With that thought in mind, he smiled even broader as he replied, "Yes, I'm him."
A surge of hope filled Sarah's heart as well as she gazed upon the king she had been longing for; the one person she felt who could be her friend, and who would not make fun of her because of her love of things fantasy related. As quickly as the hope came, it also left. She could not stop the thoughts from invading her heart and her mind that this was only a dream or that he was only taunting her and once she welcomed him he would leave. Besides, she found it hard to accept the fact that he would want to spend time with a loser. The thoughts caused her smile to fade as she flatly stated, "You're leaving," and with her words came a small sob.
Jareth had basked in the glow of her smile, but he felt its warmth diminish as her smile faded and then he watched the sorrow replace the joy he saw in her eyes. As he watched, he noticed they were such sad eyes, and then her words surprised him as well as the sob that escaped along with them. Almost without thinking, he stood up, sat down on her bed, and wrapped his arms around her and allowed her to cry on his shoulder. As he began to comfort her, he suddenly realized it was like comforting a child who had been hurt or abandoned. He offered the words he hoped would provide her even more comfort, "No, Sarah, I'm not leaving. I'm here for you as long as you need me."
She sobbed into his shoulder, "I will always need you, but you don't need me."
His first words gladdened heart, but he had no idea why she believed the second. "Sarah, why would you think that?"
"You didn't come before," it too came out in a sob.
So many misunderstanding, he thought. "I wasn't sure you wanted me to come, but last night as I watched you sleep you called out my name and I couldn't leave." As he spoke, he rubbed her back with the hope of providing her with enough comfort that she would cease crying. "Sarah, are you okay?"
"I am now," she replied, this time without the sob. She was beginning to realize that maybe this could work out between them.
As she began to pull herself together, she realized the Goblin King was sitting on her bed and holding her; her next thought was her parents. If either of them walked into her room now she would be in serious trouble. Moreover, how would she ever explain his presence in her room, no less trying to explain how she knew him? She suddenly began to feel a little awkward being this close to him in her room knowing her parents were not that far away, so she pushed herself away from him, but regret the loss of the feeling of comfort he had provided for her. When she had put a little distance between them, she asked softly, "Why are you here?"
Jareth also regretted the loss of her closeness, but as she looked at him and spoke he detected no anger in her tone, so without being caustic, he replied. "You called me and I came."
"No, I meant why you were outside my window in the first place?" The question sounded rude to as she spoke so she quickly added, "I'm just curious what would bring you here?"
He could have said many things, but for the first time in his existence, he didn't feel like being mean, rude, or obnoxious, so he told the complete truth. "I was worried about you. I heard you weren't eating much and that you were having problems sleeping. I decided to see for myself and that caused me some concern."
"Why would you care?" She asked hoping he would answer.
"Sarah, whether you believe this or not, I do care. I don't want to see you getting ill, especially if it because of something I did or did not do. You need to take better care of yourself."
It wasn't that Sarah didn't like his answer; it was that it confused her. Why would a king take time to check up on a nobody, worse yet, a loser like her? She had so many unanswered questions concerning what just happened and about the "game," but she didn't think this was the place or time to ask them.
Jareth saw the confusion and longing reflected in her eyes and knew she felt uncomfortable talking to him in her room. He could also hear her parents downstairs, and although he could just stop time, he thought she needed a place to talk where she would feel more comfortable and private.
"Sarah, why don't you get dress and meet me in the park you enjoy so much?" He smiled as he talked in an attempt to reassure her that he would really meet her there.
"You won't just leave; you'll really wait for me there?"
He could see the doubt and fear on her face as well as hear it in her voice.
"I promise I'll be there for you."
Sarah could not understand why he was being so nice to her, but she was going to trust him. She needed to trust him because she realized, for some reason she didn't quite understand, she needed him above anyone else. "Okay, I'll hurry," she said as she quickly got up and headed to the bathroom to change.
Jareth chuckled to himself as he realized he hadn't lost anything because of her defeat of the labyrinth; he was realizing he was gaining more than he had ever imaged. It was obvious she wanted him in her life, at least for now, but if he cultivated a friendship with her, then maybe he could develop it into something much deeper and permanent. This could end up better than he believed possible especially after her harsh cruel words.
While Sarah was getting ready for the day, Jareth made a quick trip to the underground for some items he felt would be useful. After gathering up the items, he went to the parka and began to lay out the items they would need. He knew she really needed to eat something, so he prepared a light meal for them to share. He also laid a blanket down on the grass so they could be more comfortable while they talked, and talk was something they both needed to do. He had so many questions to ask her, and he was positive she had a large number she wanted to ask him. This was going to be a good day, he decided.
While Jareth prepared things in the park, Sarah pondered the meaning of his coming; she had convinced herself that the only reason he never answered her invitation was because he didn't want to be around a loser, but she still had no explanation about why he allowed her to bring Toby home. She didn't believe he had come to take Toby back; if he had really wanted Toby, he would just have kept him, and after looking in his eyes this morning, she knew he was sincere about not leaving unless she wanted him to leave. She was very positive she never wanted him to leave and she had told him so; she hadn't lied either when she said she needed him, but she hadn't told him yet that she needed him as a friend, and she knew she would do whatever she had to do to keep him as her friend.
As she thought about him waiting for her in the park, she felt butterflies fluttering around in her stomach; she was excited but scared. The excitement was due to his presence and the hope his presence created; the fear was a nagging doubt that he would not be in the park when she arrived. Because of her doubts, she flew through her morning routine, and as she went downstairs to leave the house, her parents stopped her to ask her about eating breakfast and her plans for the day.
"Oh," she felt caught off guard. She had no desire to make Jareth wait and she feared if she took too long he wouldn't wait for her. "I'm . . ." she paused trying to remember what lie worked best and then remembered the past weekend, "still trying to finish that report for school, so I have to go to the library to find some more information." She saw them frowning as she began to walk toward the front door, so she quickly added, "I'll pick something up along the way." Then as she rushed out the door, she shot back, "Bye, I'll see you later."
It was a good thing her feet knew the way to the park because all she could think about was whether he would be there. She hoped he would; she wanted to believe he would be, but in the back of her mind, she still feared he would have left. It wasn't until she reached the park and saw him walking back and forth that she knew he had waited.
For Jareth's part, he had laid out everything and then waited. He felt rather impatient, so he pulled out a crystal to see if she were still coming to meet him. He had watched as her parents stopped her, and he had nearly intervened so her parents would let her leave, but he waited because he wanted to see her decision. As she finally rushed out the door, he had smiled because he knew her choice had been him, but he still felt restless waiting for her to arrive, so he ended up walking around to work off his impatience.
As she approached, he held out a hand to her to welcome her, "I'm very glad that you made it. I think we need to talk. I know we both have questions," he said as he took her hand and led her to the blanket laid out upon the ground. "I also brought some food; I don't think you have been eating enough," he commented as he helped her to be seated and then sat down beside her.
"I haven't been very hungry lately," she replied softly remembering how food seemed to have little interest for her because of another need that superseded any hunger she should have felt.
"Well, it's time for you to eat something before you become sick. I can't allow that Sarah; you have to keep your health."
"Why?" She was confused as to why he should care and still slightly hurt and bitter that he had rejected her invitation on her return from the Labyrinth. "What difference can it make to you? You didn't even come when I invited you." She had thought about this for so long that the words just rushed out before she could stop them.
"Tell me Sarah, when did you invite me before last night?" He had been waiting to ask. Until last night, she had never called him by name; she had never personally invited him to her room, her life, or her world after defeating him. She had alluded to a previous invitation but he wanted her to tell him exactly when she had invited him, and he wanted no more misunderstandings between them.
"Right after you allowed me to go home. I remembered what everyone had said about 'choosing your words carefully,' so I did. I was ever so careful to say the words that would let all of you know that I needed you, and I distinctly told Hoggle that I needed 'all' of you. Don't you see it was inclusive?"
"Yes, you did say all, but I didn't think you meant to include me," he replied as he sat next to her watching her face for her reactions to his response.
"Not included! Jareth, you were the first one I thought about when I said the words. You did everything for me, so how could I not include you."
He distinctly saw the shock his comment caused registered on her lovely face and he enjoyed hearing his name roll caressingly off her tongue – a tongue, he thought, he wouldn't mind teasing with his own when the time was ripe. The fact that she had thought about him made him extremely pleased and hopeful. She hadn't forgotten him, and best, she had appreciated what he had done – that made him feel even more elated. He reached out his hand and caressed her check as he said, "You are a precious thing. I'm sorry I misunderstood, but not many would invite the villain of their story to a celebration party." He smiled as he felt her skin under his gloved hand.
"Celebration party? I hadn't thought of it as that; I only meant to let all of you know I needed you. I really hadn't thought it would turn into any kind of party, but it rather ended up like that didn't it. In all actuality, for me it wasn't as happy when I realized you hadn't come." She stared into his eyes enjoying the feel of his hand on her cheek but wondering what his hand would feel like without the glove on.
His realized his hand was still on her cheek, but he had no desire to remove it and since she didn't seem to mind, it remained. As she stared into his eyes, he returned the look marveling at the deep green coloring of her eyes and the innocence and purity that flowed out of them. His eyes then wondered to her lips; he was awed at their fullness and red hue and couldn't help but wonder what they tasted like, so without thinking much about it he leaned forward and kissed her softly.
For Jareth, the kiss tasted sweet, innocent, and promising – the promise told of things to come as she matured, and he knew he would willingly wait for her to reach maturity and all that it promised.
Sarah found Jareth's lips very soft as they brushed hers in a chaste kiss, and she responded with a giggle.
'A giggle,' she thought, 'I've never giggled, and that's for those girls at school, those cheerleaders, those girls who giggle over boys,' and that thought made her to laugh out right causing her to suddenly realize, she didn't laugh anymore. She hadn't laughed since her mother had deserted her. In fact, she hardly ever smiled because of that desertion. Maybe, she pondered, that's why the kids at school didn't like her. She had never laughed in their presence and she had hardly ever smiled, maybe that's why they called her weird.
Jareth watched as so many emotions raced across her face. He realized something was going on within her mind because he read all the fleeting changes on her precious face, and he realized it was a very precious dearly loved face, but he also saw the youth and innocence in it that he hadn't totally recognized while she had been in the Labyrinth. In the Labyrinth, he had seen the woman she would become, but for now, he would have to wait for her to grow into the woman he had seen.
"Sarah," her name flowed of his lips like a caress, "what are you thinking?"
Without consciously realizing she was doing it, she said, "I've never giggled or laughed before or at least not after my mother deserted us because I found nothing funny or humorous." She suddenly looked up into his eyes and locked her focus on him completely, "You kissed me. I've never been kissed by a boy before," a giggle rippled through her as she realized her word choice had been incorrect, "not a boy," she amended, "a man, king to be perfectly honest. My prince in reality, one I thought I had lost because I failed the game."
Her words sent him down another path of thought, she changed ideas and comments so quickly, that he found himself racing to keep up. 'Her prince,' he reiterated to himself. 'Surely she can't mean me. When would she have ever seen me as her prince? The only role she saw me in was the villain. So when did it happen?' he wondered.
"What prince, Sarah? When did you meet a prince? Failed?" The second word that caused him confusion as he asked, "When did you lose and what game did you fail?"
Still with her eyes locked on his, she tilted her head and simply replied, "You, and I lost your game." Then, as a rather dreamy look overshadowed her face, she continued, "It was the most wonderful game. I never imagined anyone would allow me to play such an incredible game, but you allowed it. You let me play your extraordinary game, but then," he watched the dreamy look quickly faded as despair replaced it, "then I made a mistake and lost the game. That's why you didn't come when I invited you." She finally looked away as a tear slowly rolled down her snowy white cheek.
Sarah took a deep breath before she continued. "Remember the end of the game, you offered me my dreams, but I couldn't take them because you had already given me my dreams – you allowed me to play the game, that was my fondest dream come true. Then you said, "Just let me rule you and you can have everything that you want," but you already ruled me, and you had already given me what I wanted. I didn't understand why you were offering me what I already had. Finally you said, "Just fear me, love me, do as I say and I will be your slave," but I didn't understand what you meant by that. You see, I already feared you because you could have taken it all away from me, and I already loved you as a friend, and then the "do as I say," well I thought I had been doing as you said. I thought I had been playing the game by your rules, so I didn't understand. It confused me, why would you offer what you had already given and I had already accepted. Then later, when I invited you after the game, well you never came, so I figured I lost and you wanted nothing to do with a loser, someone who failed your game. That was the only reason, I thought, why you didn't come when I specifically invited you."
"I didn't come, at least into you room, because I failed to understand that your invitation included me. That part was just a misunderstanding, but I was outside your window looking in. I will admit I was a little mad because I hadn't been invited and because you were celebrating you defeat of me . . ."
Sarah interrupted but cast her eyes down on the ground, "But I didn't defeat you – at least that's what I decided. It was the only reason why you wouldn't have come. I even figured out where I failed and lost the game."
Again, her comments aroused so many questions, but he thought he would focus on the where she thought she had lost first. He reached out, put his hand under her chin, and tipped it up so their eyes met, "Where did you lose, Sarah?"
She stared back at him as she replied, "The peach, I lost when I bit into the peach."
"Why do you think that?" He softly asked.
"It wasn't in the book. The girl was never given anything to eat in the book, and she never went to a dance, so I fell into a trap and as a result, I lost the game." She admitted down heartedly thinking that now he would laugh, agree with her, and leave forever.
"Sarah, accepting and taking a bit of the peach didn't mean you failed, it just meant that I had temporarily lured you off your task, but you must realize by breaking free, you overcame my trick and defeated me, Sarah. You are not a loser but a winner."
"And you really didn't come because of a misunderstanding, not because you saw me as a pathetic loser," she asked full of wonder and real hope for the first time since that night.
"Yes Sarah, it is all a result of a misunderstanding, and one that I promise will not occur again, as least not if I can help it. Next time I will listen more carefully to your words and hold you to them even if you say the wrong thing." He continued to smile down upon her face, which was now slightly glowing with her newfound hope. "And what about this prince that you found, who is he?"
Sarah found herself laughing again and wondering how he didn't realize the truth as she saw it. "You are of course. Who else took me in their arms and danced with me."
"That's what turned me from a villain to prince, my precious little Sarah?" His smiled warmed as he remembered holding her soft feminine form in his arms as he waltzed her around the ballroom. They had fit together so perfectly; another reason why he knew they would be perfect for each other.
"Definitely," she breathed as his eyes began to mesmerize her. She noticed the depth of his feelings in his eyes, but she didn't understand all the emotions she saw, but she was sure of the love she saw and it astonished her. How could someone so perfect and lovely be in love with someone as simple as she saw herself?
"Oh Sarah, you really are precious. You see things so simply, and I mean that in a good way. I wanted to be your prince and your hero, but when you wished you brother way instead of yourself, you set the role I had to play, but I never wanted Toby I wanted you Sarah. Do you remember what you said before wishing Toby away?"
"Yeah, I said I wish I knew the words for the goblins to take him away and then the words just seemed to come to me." Sarah still felt guilty about saying the words, but she was still glad that Jareth sent Toby home.
Jareth smiled; he knew the words came to her because she wished for them, but those words never were important to him. "Well, you did say that but I meant even before that." He wanted her to repeat the words because they would mean more to him coming from her.
He watched as she tilted her head in thought. Sarah had to take a few moments to think back, but then she remembered as she exclaimed, "Oh! I said something like "someone take me away from this awful place." Wait, that's not right, first I said, "Someone save me." That was what I said first."
"Yes, and that was the wish I wanted to grant you but you never said, "I wish" before your words."
Sarah pondered his comment and then asked, "What would have happened if I would have said, "I wish"?"
Jareth smiled at her as he remembered what he would have done. "Then Sarah, I could have done what I really wanted to do. I could have come to you as the hero to rescue you from your plight rather than as the villain who had to take away your brother."
"Oh, but you're still my hero," Sarah blurted out. As she watched his face, she saw disbelief reflected in his features, so she explained, "Jareth, you did exactly what I asked, and then you gave me the opportunity to win him back. You even allowed me to make friends while I traveled your labyrinth. Best of all, you allowed me to play the game for real instead of having to play pretend in the park. It was the best game I ever played, and I don't regret any of it. In fact, that game was so good that my pretend games are no long any fun."
Out of extreme curiosity, Jareth asked, "So, if you could pick the role I was to play next, Sarah, what would it be?"
A smile engulfed her face as she replied, "My best friend."
Jareth smiled back as he as answered, "I think I can fulfill that roll," and he hoped over time the role would expand to include more than just friendship with her, but he recognized the fact that she was currently too young to understand what he truly wanted from her. "Sarah," he inquired, "How old are you?" It was more than curiosity, for him it was information gathering so he could calculate and plan when she would be ripe for an expansion of the friendship role.
"Nearly sixteen," she answered with pride.
'So young, but in human years close,' he thought with pleasure. "When is your birthday?"
"In two months," she answered happily. "I will be sixteen on October thirty-first."
"That is interesting," he replied, "You're a Halloween baby. I hadn't realized that." He should have known Sarah would have a unique birthday and it would explain why she was so different from most of the other human girls he had encountered through the years.
Sarah smiled at him, and in her mind, she saw a budding friendship that she knew she would cherish; for her, his plans were unimagined because she had not developed those desires yet. She had spent so much time in an imaginary fantasy realm that she had not taken the time to delve into the romance novels that many girls of her age had been reading, so her mind had not wrapped around those desires yet.
Jareth had an idea that for her, romance was still of the fairy tale variety, but if they began spending more time together, maybe she would begin to think along other lines; at least that was his hope. For now, he was more than willing to bide his time and develop the type of relationship she so craved and then allow it to bloom into something stronger when she was ready for it.
As he continued to examine her, he realized she still hadn't eaten anything and that was something he planned to change immediately, so handing her a peach, he said, "Eat Sarah, you need to replenish your strength."
Looking askew at the peach and remembering the last one she had, she asked, "Could I have a ham sandwich instead," causing him to laugh as he looked for something else for her to eat while envisioning a future full of promise and reward for both of them.
AN: This really is the end of the story. I'm not sure if I'll write a sequel, there didn't seem to be much interest in the story, as least as seen through the reviews, so I have shelved the sequel idea for the time being.