Beltane Wish

By

Paisley Rose

***Disclaimer***

You know the drill…

Not mine,

I don't get paid…

I don't get … er a hmmm

**

A one shot

*

May first in the Goblin Kingdom of the Labyrinth

Jareth sat pensively in the Escher room; it was just as she'd left it nearly a year ago…a shambles. In his hand, the shattered remains of the last crystal he'd offered her. Each shard still showed the possibilities of her dreams and her childish hopes. Jareth stared at the shards and wondered how it was the girl had not been tempted. How could it be that the selfish creature had turned on herself and chosen to save the boy? More importantly, how could she have chosen the boy over the King… he had after all offered himself at the last moment, hadn't he? Over and over his words echoed here in the ruins of the puzzle room. "I ask so little," he had said, spinning the crystal before her trying to mesmerize her. "Just believe in me, and you can have everything you want ... everything you have ever dreamed of ... your dreams, Sarah ..." In that moment he thought he was breaking through to her, that she understood.

She had frowned, had halted her advance. "... and my kingdom as great~" she said under her breath looking confused and vexed; why wouldn't the word come, they were supposed to flow! "Damn!" Jareth had mistaken the vexation, and the confusion, and had actually believed he was getting through to her. However Sarah's fists were clenched white, she was thinking frantically. What were her right words?

Taking a step toward her, needing her belief, he pleaded desperately, "Just fear me," his voice dropped an octave as he droned, "love me," he told her in a gentle voice, "and do as I say, and I ... I will be your slave." He stretched his hand out toward her offering her the orb filled with her dreams, and now his dearest hopes.

Over and over and over he heard himself plead, only to hear her startled voice say the dreaded phrase that would break the spell and send her home… "You have no power over me," each time he heard it now he cringed. The shards in his hand stung like bee stings, and he wondered if there was anything he could have done differently.

"Your majesty," the guard with the waxed handlebar mustache entered the archway; however he didn't dare venture in further. He was still on the king's list since he'd been the one to announce that the girl had gotten past the mechanical goblin at the inner gate. "The May Queen is here to see you, sire."

"Tell her I'm indisposed," the Goblin King sighed not taking his eyes off the shards.

"Why not tell me yourself," a female voice commanded.

Looking up, Jareth saw the mystical female enter the archway, and he groaned. She was far too jubilant and buoyant for him. "Go away," he muttered.

Flora, unaffected by his sour mood swept into the room, her long gown festooned with buds and blooms filled the dead air with fragrance. "See here Goblin King," she addressed him sternly; "Spring has come! Yes even here to the Labyrinth~ Spring has arrived! You cannot prevent the turning of the seasons by your constant vigil here in this gloom." With a sweep of her hand she sent the shards flying out of the hand of the unhappy King, "My sisters warned me of what you've been up to. The idea; holding back time just because some silly girl refused you!" She admonished him harshly. "Get up, man, you are needed at the ceremony to welcome spring to the Labyrinth."

"I have no desire to attend this… ritual." Jareth growled. "Leave me to my thoughts."

"You've been left to your thoughts and self pity too long already," she argued as she took hold of his wrist and yanked him to his feet. "Up I say!"

"Flora, cease," he demanded as he tried to pull back. "I'm in no mood."

The May Queen pulled him out of the ruins of the puzzle room, "I should think not, what with brooding in that god awful room." She dragged the unwilling Goblin King behind her. "I don't care what the Autumn or the Winter Queens say, you need to snap out of this!"

"Oh Flora please, please leave me alone," he begged. "I don't want to welcome Spring."

Once she'd pulled him into the throne room she shoved him toward his throne. "Sit down you great fool," she commanded. "You're not a child who can spend his time pouting. You are a king, who has a very solemn duty to perform."

"What is a king without his chosen queen," asked the sad figure on the throne.

The May Queen sighed, as long as he was out of that damned ruin, as long as he was back on his throne, she felt she could investigate the situation. "Keep him busy," she warned the goblins in the circular room. "Don't let him go back in that ruin!" She walked out of the throne room and through the fabric that separated the mundane world from the lands of mists and fog.

--

Mayday in Upper Nyack New York

A village park, Friday May 1st 1987

Flora, Goddess of Spring and ruling May Queen appears stealthily.

Sarah was rather surprised when her father and stepmother had agreed to taking part in the Mayday celebrations that her history club was sponsoring. She had not thought that Karen was exactly the picnic type. In fact she had even gone so far as to remind her stepmother that there would be bugs and dirt and loud and obnoxious people in the park. Still the family was seated predominantly in the park when the History club came marching through the village green singing an olde English Mayday song of welcome.

Each of the students was dressed in renaissance garments depicting a typical Mayday in some Olde English village. Sarah wore the same dress she'd worn over and over her in the park. To make it a bit more authentic she's added a soft green surcoat. The soft green over the pale greenish gray cotehardie gave her a look of having stepped out of the pages of history. She topped it off with the wreath of flowers she had worn before on her many afternoons in this park, only this time she didn't pull her hair up, but allowed it to hang its full length down. She'd worn braids in school all day, and now her hair was masses of long waves of chocolate tresses blowing softly on the wind. Several of the other girls had asked for and received help from the girl whose mother was a stage actress. Her group looked very authentic.

The History Club gathered in the meadow clearing and the instructor, Professor Llewellyn gathered the young men together to erect the Maypole. Sarah wandered over to where her father and stepmother and Toby were seated on a wide old blanket. She was again surprised by how much effort they had gone to. Karen was in a long skirt with a peasant blouse; her father was in a poet's shirt much like the one she had favored a year ago over slender fitted slacks. Both were in sandals and even Toby was dressed in medieval styled garments. "You are unreal," Sarah said in praise as she came near the family. "You all look great!"

"Not quite as authentic as you," Karen said returning the praise, "But we'll do." Shockingly enough the stepmother had even winked at Sarah. Both had been making a greater effort to get along in the months that had come and gone since the big storm.

Toby now at nearly two was speaking gibberish mostly, but now and again a real word would pop out. "Storee…" he demanded of his sister. "Sarawwwa."

"In a bit, I have to finish this," she promised. Crossing his arms he pouted, and Sarah laughed, "Toby, I promise as soon as the opening ceremony is over I'll tell you a story."

Lori and Lynn Dennis came rushing over excitedly, "Come on, Sarah," they said in unison as they did most everything. "They are going to announce the May Queen!" Between themselves they then twittered in laughter as each held out a hand to the Williams girl.

Sarah didn't know what all the commotion was about, surely Megan Reilly, Professor Llewellyn's favorite student had the position of May Queen sewn up. Megan was one of the top students, and very popular. She always came out on top in exams and in having class projects done on time. It was little wonder her name had been at the top of the ballots, "What's the hurry, Meg's got it." She said to the twins who grabbed her hands and pulled her toward the maypole. "I'm not even up for a member of the May court," she complained.

Robert winked at his wife, who chided him, "You didn't tell her?"

"And ruin a wonderful surprise," he asked with a smirk. "Not on your life, why even Linda was never May Queen."

As the girls approached the rest of the young ladies of gathered at the Professor's feet, he turned and announced in a clear voice, "This year's May Queen is Sarah Williams," he held out a flowered mask to the stunned student, who for a moment just stared at him. "Well do be good enough to put it on, girl." Still reluctant to comply, the teacher leaned closer to remind her, "Miss Williams, part of your grade for the history course is participation." Once Sarah complied Llewellyn held up a hand and the crowd of teens gathering grew silent. "Hear ye, hear ye," he cried out like a town crier of old. "We the citizens of Upper Nyack's Blain Academy, do here by welcome our sister school Lawrence Military institute," a round of applause welcomed the parading young men from Lawrence who arrived in masks.

Flora saw a chance, and froze time ever so briefly. She moved swiftly with precision to the throne room of the pouting Goblin King. Taking hold of his hand she pulled him through the fabric that holds the words apart, and transformed the sad and weary man. No longer was he dressed in his Goblin Regalia, nor was he dressed in the faded owl garments. Now he stood dressed in a handsome uniform surcoat over garments that were fit for a king. His unruly locks of soft Fae hair were smoothed and tamed, at least for a bit, and the long strands were gathered at the nape of his neck with a tight leather strap. Flora handed him a half mask of a horned oak Green man. Jareth stared at her, then the mask for a moment, she urged him to comply. Once he donned the mask she placed him within the ranks of the costumed students and set time free once more.

At the rear of the parade of tall and polished young men walked the one who had been chosen to represent the Greenman. He moved with more poise than the others, and didn't seem as self conscious of his dated garments. In fact Sarah thought he moved as if he was born to another age, and he took her breath away. From his expensive leather boots, to his elegantly cut surcoat, he was a cut above and beyond the others. Even his fair hair that was shinning in the last rays of the late afternoon sun.

"Welcome Jack of the Greenwood," the professor greeted the procession. "Son of Herne, lord of the Spring planting and keeper of the Sacred Grove." Taking Sarah's hand he extended it to the approaching figure. "Come claim your bride, the Queen of the May."

Sarah trembled as the figure in the oak mask approached. She had not prepared herself for the possibility of her even being a member of the May Queen's court. She had purposely kept her name out of the running. Now confronted by this young man, dressed in garments of a personage of regal birth, Sarah felt a panic she'd not felt in nearly a year. Dropping to a deep curtsey, she lowered her eyes unable to meet his. She was stuck, somehow the class had elected her to the position, and if she faltered, it was certain that Professor Llewellyn would flunk her.

Surrounded by young men dressed in the garments of the army that accompanied the Lord of the Greenwood, Jareth could not take his startled eyes off the young woman in the flowered mask of the May Queen. He knew those long tresses, knew the curve of that chin, and most assuredly knew those green eyes for they had haunted him for nearly a year now. He knew her unique and heady scent as well, it was Sarah. He stared at the hand of the girl who had lowered her eyes respectfully as she'd dropped into the graceful position of supplication. Unsure of himself for the first time in centuries he hesitated for only an instant. His right hand reached for the left hand offered and remembering his court training, he bent over it and gently placed a kiss upon the smooth skin.

A rousing cheer met the deed, boys from the military school and students from Sarah's academy both clamored. Feeling suddenly shy, Sarah kept her eyes lowered. Professor Llewellyn wrapped a length of flower decked ribbon about their hands and pronounced them the King and Queen of the May. Another rousing cheer rose and was resounded by the parents and families that had gathered to participate in the pageant. With their left hands still tied together, the couple was led to a pair of thrones that had been fashioned by the woodshop class upon the instructions of Professor Llewellyn. The larger of the thrones had antlers representing Herne sprouting from the trunk of an oak; the smaller had boughs of flowers sprouting from the back of the seat of laced laurel branches. Both looking primitive, still having rough bark and looking like they had just sprouted out of the forest; the primitive appearance was in keeping with the pageant.

The King waited until his queen was seated, before he lowered himself, his hand still bound to her hand, into the throne he was to occupy. The professor called for the revels to begin. A group of students from each of the schools gathered about the maypole, as another group stood off to the side with instruments of days gone by. They struck up a lively tune and the outer ring of young men moved in one direction while the inner ring of girls moved in the opposite. He watched her through the eye-slits of his mask, reveling in this unique moment of victory. She was different, more mature and less childish. Her face had lost what little baby fat it had held a year ago. She was more like the image she'd projected in the Crystal Ballroom. His eyes scoured her face, looking for a trace of the spoiled young girl who had plagued his soul, and he found little of that vestige left. When his eyes found her cherry red lips, they remained there for longer than he would have liked. Hunger to taste the sweetness of those lips began to burn in him like a forest fire.

Sarah felt the eyes watching her, but could not or would not give in to the urge to meet the staring eyes. A vortex of turmoil was spinning within the girl. She was angry that someone in the class had put her name up for May Queen when she'd purposefully had kept out of the running. She was confused as to the professor's harsh reactions to her hesitance, and she was bewildered by her own reactions to this young man whom she'd never met before in her life. Her fingers were trembling and there seemed no way she could make them cease. The last thing she wanted to do was to look into the eyes of the May King.

Flora watched from her hidden bower of flowers and twining laurel branches. In all her years of taking part within the human Mayday celebrations, this was the first time she'd actively picked the King to suit a Queen. It would have been easier to allow the two schools to complete this day's activities as they had planned, but far less amusing as this re-enactment. Sometimes meeting out justice was so much more entertaining. From where she stood she could see that Jareth was softening, and seeing the young woman with new eyes. She could see too that the girl was hesitant, and reluctant to participate. With a wave of her hand the Goddess sent a sweetly fragrant breeze toward the pair on the thrones.

Jareth leaned toward the trembling queen and whispered. "Do you know the significance of these thrones?"

Sarah nodded, "Your throne represents the god of the returning season," her words were spoken very quietly. "Mine is that of the nymph Daphne turned into a laurel tree in order to escape ravishment by Apollo." Still she refused to look at him, "An old English traditions, I believe."

"It's more you know," he whispered, keeping his tone warm and gentle. "A good deal has been lost through time, but the true meaning is a renewal."

Sarah looked up, blinked rapidly, and repeated, "A renewal?"

The hand tied to hers tightened firmly about the slender fingers within his grasp. "Each spring is a promise, a renewal of a vow…" he paused, not wanting to frighten her; "A vow between the elements, the earth, the crops and man."

"I never heard that, Professor Llewellyn never told us that," she whispered, "However, it does make sense."

"This ribbon that binds our hands," he continued delicately, "Represents our being bound to the vow." Her fingers trembled, "In days gone by it would have been considered a marriage."

"Would it," she asked distractedly. The dancers were nearing the end of the ribbons in their hands and still they danced on.

"The maypole, and its ribbons were a fertility ritual," his voice was like a buzzing in her ear now, droning softly. "It comes from a more primitive time, a time when such rituals were common. History is full of the telling of a May King taking a May Queen bride… two villages seeking the blessings of the gods on their plantings, one gives a young woman who has known no man… and the other gives a young man in his prime." Again he felt her fingers tremble. "Their joining was seen as the physical manifestations of the horned God and his flower Goddess… and if they conceived, that child was considered a blessing to both villages and assurance of a bountiful harvest."

Feeling the warmth of his breath as he spoke in her ear, Sarah shivered. There was something strangely familiar about this young man. The scent that seemed to seep from his every single pore assaulted her. It was tangible, and yet it was as elusive as smoke or mists upon the morning fog. Closing her eyes, Sarah tried to clear her mind, to no avail. His voice, soft and dreamlike droned in her ear and she felt slow fire burning in her veins. She was a stranger to this emotion; it was unlike anything she'd ever experienced. Every breath she took seemed to draw more and more of his essence deeper into her. Every fiber of her being was beginning to tingle and she was experiencing little electrical shocks in places she'd never imagined.

The hand holding that of the young woman's grasped the fingers with in his firmly. "The dancers have finished, and we must stand and receive them, my dear." He watched as she opened her eyes, and gracefully rose to greet and thank the dancers. He somberly regretted that the King and Queen of the May were not allowed to dance with the revelers. He recalled how she felt that one time he'd danced with her. He longed to take her into his arms and dance with her once more, but that would have to wait. For now he was participating in the ceremonies, and did not wish to alert her or alarm others. Once they had thanked the maypole dancers the mistrials had stuck up again and all the students who were portraying villagers began to dance.

"It is time for you to go about the grounds blessing each family," urged the professor as he ushered them toward the path. "Quickly before the sun goes down, remember we have to have the bonfires still, and we cannot light them until you've completed the blessings."

Sarah looked at their bound hands, "Do we have to…."

"Yes," the May King assured her. "It's tradition for the royal couple to bless the revelers with bound hands." Gently but firmly he directed her steps toward the first family that was seated nearest the makeshift thrones.

Sarah was amazed at how he was able to move in unison with her, strange as she'd never met him or had a chance to measure or practice their movements. She bowed to his superior knowledge of the historical rituals, and envied him his far thinking instructor. While she was fond of Professor Llewellyn, she knew he sometimes played a bit fast and furious with information. If he didn't deem it note worthy, he didn't bother with it. She also knew that he'd messed traditions together to pull off this Mayday Celebration. When they reached the place where Karen and Robert with Toby in their arms awaited them, Sarah noticed that Karen seemed to be glowing. It was more than her stepmother basking in her father's love. More than motherly pride for a stepdaughter who was elected May Queen. It was as if light was beaming from deep within the older woman. Sarah suddenly knew, without being told, that Karen was expecting a second child. If she could have, Sarah would have rushed to her stepmother to congratulate her. This time things would be so different. This time she would not resent the new life that would join their family. This time, she promised herself she would rejoice and teach Toby to do so as well. They would share the new baby, and there'd be no repeat of past mistakes.

Moving on Jareth leaned closer, "You seem pleased," he said harmoniously.

"My father and stepmother," she indicated the family they had just blessed. "I think they are going to have another baby."

"And this pleases you," he asked thoughtfully.

"Very much," she admitted. "It's wonderful news."

Flora watched the ritual and blessed each family unit as they passed by, as was her tradition and right as a Goddess. She too knew that the woman with strawberry blonde hair was with child and she gave a special blessing to the family unit.

Professor Llewellyn smilingly motioned the couple who were strolling leisurely back to the place where the fire department had arranged for the Beltane fires. Fire fighters from the village were standing by to keep control of the situation, and they too were smiling at the King and Queen of the May, "You light the fagots," he pointed to the short kindling at the base of the fire. "Then you must cross the bridge," he motioned to the old foot bridge that Sarah had crossed thousands of times. "Once the May-song has been sung you may return." He tutored them in the proceedings, pleased that everything was working out so well. When he was sure they understood he handed a torch to their bound hands. Carefully they worked their hands to hold the handle with the flame.

Once they were ready, they stepped away from the professor and toward the wooden pile. "We are the fire," they chanted together. "That keeps on burning." Their hands lowered the torch to the fagots which quickly caught fire. "Never ending, always burning." Turning to face the celebrators, they said together, "We are the fire, we are the sun, rising in the sky. Spring has come." They handed the torch back to the professor and moved together as one down the path as the minstrels struck up the cords to the Olde May chorus that had been chosen for tonight's ceremony.

They crossed the bridge, into the knolled garden where Sarah had played make believe and dressed up games with only an old sheepdog for company. Over the tranquil pond where swans glided lazily along, down the foot path to where the obelisk stood like a sentinel. The music from the mistrials seemed to fill the night air as if they were in the glade with the pair. Unable to resist taking her into his arms a moment longer, Jareth moved his hand still bound to hers to direct her steps. There in the dark glade danced the King and Queen of the May in a private moment, unwatched and undisturbed. He looked down at the face of the woman who had as yet not looked at him even once. Here, in the darkening glen, he knew she would not recognize him. "I've a boon to ask of you, my Queen," he said as they danced.

"And what would that be," Sarah questioned in reply.

"One kiss," he requested softly. "Between the King and his Queen, here alone, in this quite glen, with only the swans to witness," his steps slowed, and then ceased. "Will you grant me this," he asked

Sarah, still unable to look at the man, nodded shyly, coyly closed her eyes and lifted her face to him. That's how it's supposed to happen, she reminded herself. Eyes closed, and holding your breath. However she didn't expect it to mean anything, she didn't expect it to change anything. How could it? She felt the hand that was not tied to hers cup her chin, and heard the velvety growl in the back of his throat as his lips pressed tenderly to hers. It was more than she'd expected it to be. Sarah had not wondered about kisses for nearly a year now, not since the moment in that crystal ballroom when she had thought the Goblin King was going to kiss her. Just before she realized that they were the center of attention by the court and she ran away. In utter surprise and astonished shock her lips parted and she gasped.

He had not planned on taking more liberty than one sweet kiss. He had told himself it would be enough; it would seal her to him forever. Her trembling lips parted and Jareth found himself unable to resist tasting the girl. The tip of his tongue snaked past her lips, past her teeth to the roof of her incredibly open mouth. He heard her intake of breath, he felt the quaking in her very soul, but he was not to be detoured. His hand held her chin in place as his tongue took possession of her orifice, deepening the kiss and finding his demands answered with sweet urgency. "Forever," he whispered as he pulled back; "Only forever."

Dazed the girl was unsure she'd heard correctly, opening her eyes she swallowed and asked. "Did you say something?" lifting her free hand she placed it to her throat, a very maidenly motion. Sarah for the first time looked at the masked face, however as the sky had darkened she could not truly see.

He smiled, knowing the mask still hid his true characteristics and features from her eyes. "I said forever," he stated. "I will wait for you forever if I need to."

"Wait," she repeated still dazed. Her head was spinning and she was sure her knees were about to buckle.

Jareth's bound hand pulled hers upward to his lips. He clutched the hand and kissed it fervently. "There will never be another for me, or you." His lips burned as it touched the skin of the hand, "Forever you will be my queen."

Sarah's hand slipped out of the binding, she took a step back, her mouth, that luscious gaping hole now dropped in alarm. A voice at the bridge called out her name and she turned to look at the speaker. It was the twins they were calling to her and telling her to come. When she turned back the man who had been dancing with her had vanished like wood-smoke. Sarah's head ached, and she told herself it was only hunger pangs. She moved from the dark glen toward the bridge, "You don't have to shout," she scolded the pair. "I'm right here…."

"Where'd the May King go?" Lori asked as they crossed the bridge again to where the Mayday celebrations were taking place.

"He was hunky!" growled the lusty Lynn.

"He was here a moment ago," Sarah said absently, "He must have wandered off while we were waiting for the singing to be over."

"Wandered off… without you," Lori asked disappointedly. "I thought for sure he was going to pull you into the woods and start making out!"

"Yeah," agreed the other twin. "He was looking at you like he'd like to devour you right there in front of everybody."

Sarah heard the sexual innuendo, and short of ignoring it she huff, "He was playing a part, Lynn."

"Didn't look like playing from where I was standing, looked pretty damn serious to me," Lori argued in favor of her twin sister. "I swear he looked ready to pounce on you!" She grabbed Sarah's arm. "You're telling me he just wandered off to the woods alone? He didn't even try to …" she looked closer at her friends face and a smirk broke out. "Sarah," she handed her a tissue. "Your lipstick is mussed."

Lynn looked closer as well, "Well, well, well…. So he didn't wander off disappointed... did he?"

"Oh you two are disgusting," Sarah said as she dabbed at her lips to fix the messed up lipstick. "Okay, so what… he kissed me."

"Was it good," Lynn begged to know.

At first Sarah was going to deny it, not make anything of it, but she found she didn't have the heart or soul to. Not today, not on Mayday. "It was like nothing I'd ever dreamed of," she admitted letting the tingle run through her as she recalled the pressing of lips to hers.

Lori got close and asked in her ear, "Did he use his tongue?" her answer was the blush on her friend's cheeks and a low purring noise.

Jareth watched from the shadows as the three girls vacated the glen. "It's time to go," a female voice informed him.

He turned and smiled, "Thank you, Flora…" without regret, or hesitation the Goblin King opened a portal between his world and that of his May Queen. "Happy Beltane, Goddess."

"And to you, Goblin King," the Goddess said gently. "Blessed be, dear boy."

Entering his throne room the peaceful king took his seat. His hand drew a crystal from the air, something he'd not even tried to do for months. The perfection of the orb filled with mists and then with a face. Her face, Sarah Williams, his hand fasted bride. "Forever Sarah," he crooned.

Goblins drew closer, and one whispered. "The girl who ate the peach…"

"My wife," Jareth said with a sneaky grin. "Time to celebrate boys, the King got himself a Queen." He tossed the orb up and it thinned until it popped into a thousand sparkling shards.

--

Sarah had read two stories to Toby when the family had come home. She tucked him up in bed so her father and stepmother could spend some quality time alone. She had winked at them and said they wouldn't have much time in a few months. Karen had asked Robert if he'd told the girl, and he said he had not. Now with Toby asleep and her parents dancing to the slow music playing on the stereo in the parlor, the girl sat on the widow seat with the widow open wide. Looking out at the night sky, with the moon only a sliver slipper, she felt a strange peacefulness enfold her.

She had been kissed, really kissed, and she was just a month short of turning sixteen. She wondered how difficult it would be to call the military school and find out who had been elected to play the part of Jack of the Greenwood… She wondered if he would be as friendly toward her now that the pageant was over. But then had he not said he would wait for her forever, surely he must be a senior, and was telling her he knew she was younger… Somehow he'd seemed older than a mere boy, he moved like a gazelle. He had confidence and poise and self-assurance that few teens had, and his speech patterns were more mature not to mention his accent… It was strangely foreign and yet strangely familiar. Putting the questions out of her head, she told herself she had lots of time to find out who he was. She reached up to the wreath of flowers that had crowned her, and smoothly removed it. Sarah had every intention of putting the crowning wreath away and she would have, had her eyes not spotted something that caused her blood to freeze. There, intertwined with the vines and ivy and flowers, were several pinfeathers. Owl pinfeathers of white and tan, and her room filled with that strangely spicy scent that was unique. In that moment of shock Sarah Williams knew that the man who had danced with her, and given her the first kiss was none other than the Goblin King. "OH it couldn't be," she said in shock. She dropped the circlet, placed her hands to her lips to hold back the scream that was lodged in her throat. What was it he had said? What did he tell her about the fabric Professor Llewellyn had wrapped their hands with?

"This ribbon that binds our hands," he continued delicately, "Represents our being bound to the vow." Her fingers trembled, "In days gone by it would have been considered a marriage."

"There will never be another for me, or you." His lips burned as it touched the skin of the hand, "Forever you will be my queen."

Sarah sank down to the floor, beside her was her bed; she leaned against it and whispered. "Oh my god, what did I do?" Her lips trembled and burned. "I let that… Goblin… kiss me!" Guiltily she reminded herself silently that she'd not only allowed him to kiss her, she'd kissed him back and had enjoyed it. For a moment she stared at the circlet, the owl feathers before rage raced through her veins. "Daddy!" she shouted as she rose to her feet, swiftly she went to the landing outside the hall and called down to the couple dancing in the parlor. "Daddy, is a hand-fasting legally binding?"

Robert Williams stared up at his daughter.

***&***

Reading silently over the shoulder of his scribe, Jareth the Goblin King wore a wistful smile. Bending closer he placed a gentle kiss at the graying brow. "That's very nice, Scribe," he muttered smoothly.

"You're lucky I'm in a good mood," she replied. "Or this story could have gone differently."

"Good mood and three cups of coffee," he pointed to the empty mug beside her monitor.

"A little caffeine goes a long way," she quipped wittily.

Kissing the top of her head, he mused that she had a bit more than a little caffeine in her system. "Happy Beltane, Scribe." He wished her tenderly.

"And a very Blessed Beltane to you, Sire." Paisley replied respectfully. "Give my love to the goblins."

"I'll do that," he promised as he vanished from the basement room where her office was located.

Looking at the empty coffee mug, the Goblin's Scribe wondered if it were too early for a goblet of mead. Hearing the sounds of her family rising, she knew that mead, and the Beltane celebrations would have to wait. She mused that if she were in the Labyrinth there would be mead, music and a maypole. However here, in the mundane world there was oatmeal to be made and a family to take care of.

Picking up the mug, she turned her swivel chair and moved away from the desk. Her eyes moved to her altar on the shelf above the desk, decorated for the High Feast. Then to the book shelf behind her chair, and the paper mache barn owl that was perched above it, looking down almost protectively. She winked at it and whispered, "Happy Beltane," before moving up the stairs to start her mundane day.

*&*

The blessings of Beltane

From

Our home

To

Yours.