Disclaimer: I do not own Labyrinth or anything associated with it, or the characters and names therein; that's all Henson's.
If You Turn It This Way ~
A very long time ago, before us humans were doing much more than trying to defend ourselves against large predators with sharpened sticks, there was something marvelous happening. It had been happening in a land where everything magical that has ever existed in our world originated since before time even thought it might be a good idea to start keeping track of itself. In this land that was somehow a part of our world, and yet a world all its own, a magical race known by such names as the Tuatha De Danann, or Sidhe, were living and loving. They were even helping out the new, interesting race of humans in what they referred to as the Aboveground world now and then. They lived quite happily for several millennia, moving between the worlds at their leisure, and continued to help us out when we needed it.
It wasn't until mortals started to grow and develop beyond the mammals around them that things started to get tricky. Interactions between the two races became strained when we started noticing that these magical beings, one of their other names being the Fae, were a lot different than we are. When we started to notice that we didn't have any magic it was perplexing. When we noticed that they seemed to never get sick or harmed in any natural way, it was a miracle. But when we noticed that they never really die and seemed to live forever, things got complicated for both races. This was when we started to referring to them as gods and monsters. For having supernatural powers as they did seemed to be a double edged sword, as far as interacting with us was concerned. Cultures praised them for bringing about everything from the sunrise in the morning to the good harvests every year. But they also cursed them for the drought the next season and the deaths from starvation that followed.
When all of this came to head the Fae knew that it could not continue to go on like this. They knew that the human race would continue to develop more and grow far more intelligent. As the Oracles' prophesies over the years said they would. They knew when they did things would continue to grow worse than they had already. This set of prophesies were indeed right when things escalated into a trio of wars with the humans as well as other invading supernatural races. These races, such as the Fomorians and the Fir Bolg, fought them for the right to live in the human world as well. It was the last war with the Milesians that defeated them in spirit as well as in body. It was then that they decided to go back to the world they had come from to begin with, Tir na nOg, to live in peace once more. But not all of the Fae wanted to return to that world and never interact with the interesting humans and their world again. They were also afraid that if they left the humans wouldn't be able to defend themselves from the enemies they would leave behind.
These Fae that wanted to stay behind, in the place inbetween, made a deal with the humans and all other surface races. They said they would stay in that inbetween place and continue to help and guide the humans, and told the other races they would end hostilities if the others would cease their hostile acts against them. And so the two groups of Fae said goodbye. The Dagda led the group back to their homeland while Fionn Bheara and his wife Onagh became High King and Queen of the remaining Tuatha De Danann and continued to live quite peaceably and happily in the between world they called the Underground.
On the first day of the Summer solstice, of that first special year, the High Queen and King of those remaining Fae were blessed with another child; a son. As is their custom when such a child is born, the Oracle of the High Court prophesied about his future. His life, love, the path that he would take, and when and where it would lead him to her. This child was special; the seventh son of a seventh son, but it seemed that his ancestor's blood was especially strong in this one and his path would be more twisted and unforgiving than most before it led him to his lifemate. The timing would be off, the oracle said, the first time around. But lucky for him it wasn't just the mortals that got second chances when it came to life and love.
Over the years of his "early" life certain decisions were made for him. They were beyond his control and for reasons his family couldn't tell him about yet. Jareth had not understood why they did such things to him, and then would say it was for his own good. Giving him the Goblin kingdom to rule over, for instance, was one such decision that he hadn't understood at first. And he didn't think he ever would understand what made his parents do that to him. With his pride and smugness about his birthright, and pretty much everything else, he thought himself much too good to rule over such a simple people as the lowly goblins. It also seemed that they had given him a kingdom that was tucked far away from his family and the rest of high society. He felt as if it was a blemish on the landscape of the Underground that they just wanted to forget about. The feeling was confirmed when he actually arrived at the castle beyond the goblin city. Jareth was told that in time he would understand perfectly. He just had to wait until his destiny unfolded and all was revealed. But he was young and foolhardy, and he didn't care one jot about something that was going to happen so far in the future. At the time before his parents sent him to the Goblin Kingdom he had thought he could continue to have it all if he just kept living the life he had in the society of his parent's court. With all of the women he could ever want vying for his attention, he could have a different one every night if he chose to. And more often than not he took full advantage of all of the beautiful women throwing themselves at him. It was his thinking that with such a life to be had, why should he care about such things as a soul mate, his true love, that hadn't even been born yet? He shouldn't, that was what his answer had been back then.
As the years passed, Jareth grew bitter with the life that had been chosen for him. In his growing bitterness and frustration he chose to take it out on whatever, or whoever, got in his path. Usually it was one of his witless subjects that accidently got within kicking distance. His only peace through the millennia was visits to his family, usually during official court business, which he extended as long as he could. But not even his parents knew about the visits he took to the mortal world in one of his other forms. It was a secret refuge of sorts for him. He enjoyed watching the interesting humans grow and develop over the many centuries of his reign as Goblin King. When his parents and the rest of the High Court limited how much contact the magical races of their world could have with the human world, his feelings developed into a general malaise that seemed to have no exact cause.
One of the final straws was when he had to trade half that precious time topside to try to save innocent mortal children from parents that weren't worthy of them. His visits became even rarer then while he was scaring the parents that deserved so much worse, and teaching the misguided ones to still fear and respect the power of the real magic of both worlds. Dealing with the lowest forms of mortals over the following years: those that would wish their own children away to his kingdom; tainted even the joy he had gained from secretly watching the human world grow. It seemed after a while that all they were interested in was learning how to destroy each other the fastest. That taint in him spread until his bitterness became almost malevolence at times.
Of course, looking back on it now, Jareth knew that that was probably why he hadn't recognized Her for who and what she was until it was almost too late. But in the end it didn't matter for she refused his offer. A last ditch effort to keep her with him because the oracle had known what it was talking about. To put it simply; the timing was certainly off the first time around with these two. Sarah had won her brother back, the first 'wisher' to do so; as she had been the first to truly not mean what they said. But she had been too young and naïve to understand exactly what he had been offering her. And both of them hadn't understood what exactly he felt for her. After Sarah left him, at least that's how Jareth had seen it, he became depressed and despondent. Even his family's visits and mysterious comments about fate couldn't raise his spirits. Only watching Sarah every now and then through the years brought any joy into his life.
Seeing her joy in her life without him, though, was a double edged sword; as it brought him more pain as well. He was plagued with 'what-ifs' and only serious warnings from his parents about not reordering that much time without serious repercussions for the universe was the only thing that stopped him from repeating her time in the labyrinth until she changed her mind. He wasn't the stereotypical evil villain that Sarah had assumed he was during those ten hours she was in his world by any means. Because of these other emotions that she had brought out from the depths of him he just continued to become bitterer and disconnected from everything. All of this mess because he was trying to hide the immense pain. The pain that had gripped him around the exact time that Sarah had declared he had no power over her. And so it was up to fate to bring them back together again and make good on the Oracle's premonition. For both Jareth and Sarah deserved the life and love that had been intended for them since the beginning of the universe.
* * *
Years passed since Sarah's victory. Her life went on as most mortal lives in the western world do. After finishing high school she went on to get her bachelor's degree on a full academic scholarship. Realizing that she had a love of acting, but not the talent, she switched her focus to an interest and talent discovered not long after her return in a high school elective course: writing. Her trip to the Underground seemed to awaken a fantasy world of her very own inside her imagination. And though the characters of some of her stories might have resembled her friends from the Labyrinth in one way or another; they were all an amalgamation of the dreams and fantasies of a creative young mind. After graduating with her bachelor's degree in English Literature with a minor in Celtic Mythology, Sarah, like most middle class Americans, got a job she was vastly overqualified for that was only barely related to her field of study. She was fortunate when all was said and done to have a job at all, let alone that she actually enjoyed it. She worked full time at a local used bookstore for little more than minimum wage. But she got to be around books all day and it paid the bills every month, so it was more than enough for her.
Then, not long after Sarah had turned twenty-three, she entered an internet writing contest, by one of her favorite publishers' websites, on a whim. Not only had she ended up winning it, but had miraculously landed a four book deal by the end of the same year as well. Even though her books were hailed by critics, and growing in popularity with each edition, she still chose to work at the bookstore in her hometown. The money from her deal and early royalties had afforded her the luxury of being able to maintain her apartment, and a car that actually worked, but she was too early in the game to be confident that her book sales would keep growing. She also wasn't the kind of writer that could make herself write. Because of this and to not be bored while she waited for the inspiration to hit her, she still enjoyed her work at the little book store. The stability and routine was nice, as well, in case the next idea happened to never come. It was something she feared greatly; that and ending up alone forever. She was terrified of learning that it was all a big cosmic joke and she really didn't have any talent at all.
Sarah had been left with a constant feeling of confusion since her return, though. No matter how many years passed since her ten hours Underground, or how long she puzzled out the Labyrinth itself, the feeling wouldn't go away. She was still left with too many unanswered questions and an unexplainable regret. The worst part was that she had no clue what exactly she was regretting. It was pathetic of her really. All her life she had felt like she was missing something; that she really didn't belong and no matter what she tried to fill the void with over the years it only seemed to make it worse, progressively so as she grew older as well. She knew that if she didn't do something about it soon, though, she would drive herself slowly crazy.
It was out of the blue, and completely unexpected, when it happened. She had just gotten off work; and was going through the newest stock as to take full advantage of her employee discount, when she had found it. The golden scrollwork and font on the cover took her aback as it was exactly like a certain slim volume from her past. The only difference, that allowed her heart to leave the place it had found in her throat, was the leather cover was not the familiar dark red. It was a blue that was just as dark in tone as the red one that suddenly reminded her of the jacket that He had worn while they had danced in the crystal ballroom. The Magic of the Underground was what the lettering on the cover read. It caused Sarah to gasp in surprise at happening to find such a book in the exact bookstore that she worked in, of all places in the world. When she looked for the publishing info on the back of the title page she realized that the hunch she had gotten upon seeing it, about its' origin, had been right. This book was like the one that was sitting on a shelf beside her bed. By all rights and laws it just shouldn't exist. Gathering the other books she had decided to purchase, before finding this one, she brought them all to the front counter. Her coworker and friend, Dolores, a retired school teacher with too much time on her hands, and a love of books that rivaled Sarah's, rang her up before saying a friendly goodbye.
Sarah tried very hard not to speed home once she was behind the wheel of her car, and she almost succeeded; almost. Something inside her told her that she was meant to find this book. The same something told her that it was meant for her, just as the other one had been. She also was hoping that this could finally lead to some of the answers that she felt she needed before she could put the past behind her and move on for good. Once home she rushed to her apartment and decided to change into comfy clothes as she intended to read the book from cover to cover no matter how long it took her. And that was the reason that she woke up sprawled on her living room couch with a crick in her neck and aching all over. She couldn't believe she had just fallen asleep sitting up while reading the little book. It was ridiculous and betrayed just how much she felt she needed some answers.
Once she had gotten up and gone to the bathroom, as the need to pee had been what had woken her up, she checked the clock and saw that it was only barely eight in the morning. For someone that usually slept until at least nine or ten this was extremely early. The need to read the book seemed to drive the sleepiness away, as Sarah felt wide awake. She was extremely glad that today happened to be her day off as she really didn't want to have any interruptions until she finished reading. Feeling that she might as well go through her morning routine since the sleeping had interrupted her reading already, she quickly showered and got dressed in some more comfy clothes. Today she chose a very soft cotton lounge pant and a black, somewhat low-cut, v-neck spaghetti strap tank top, as the outfit was comfortable and she wasn't planning on going out of the house today. Sarah figured if her plans changed she could always throw some other clothes on anyway. Once she had brushed her teeth she curled up on the couch once more. She looked over the structure and chapters of the book in more detail than she had last night then.
The book itself was, on the surface, a simple tale of folklore, or mythology, with some poetry thrown in here and there. But Sarah, who had been to the place that most people thought didn't exist and returned unscathed, was able to see the truth when she read it. It was a very interesting and in-depth tale of the Tuatha De Danann. But the point she had gotten to just before she fell asleep had yet to give her any answers she was seeking. When she opened to the point she had placed one of her favorite bookmarks, ironically enough one with a picture of an owl in flight, she started reading again as if possessed. She would call it pathetic of her looking back on it later. The next part of the book seemed to be completely different than the history lesson format of the first section, called "Part One: The Underground." The heading of the next part was "Part Two: The Magic" and on the following pages looked to be ancient poetry or songs with brief descriptions next to them. Under such a title Sarah was guessing that they couldn't be as mundane as regular poetry though. She had learned the lesson the hard way that words had power under the right circumstances, and she would bet her life that these were some such words.
There was a title list of the following verses on the back of the chapter's first page and, while reading through them, one in particular caught her eye. It was called "The Crystal of Wishes." The description of it said that it would 'help you use the power within yourself to create the wish crystal.' It also said that 'the crystal itself could help you find what you are seeking; whether you know you're seeking it or not'. Knowing she was being ridiculous, Sarah decided to try it because some part of her knew she had to. But the ridiculousness of the book even existing and finding her so outweighed the feeling of idiocy she would feel if nothing happened when she read the poem aloud. Before she had finished thinking about whether she would definitely try it or not, she was reading it silently to try and get the rhythm of it. Decision made at last, she took a deep breath and hoped she didn't screw it up.
"Mother Danu has given many gifts grand,
And the Crystal of Wishes be just one,
Such a miracle will appear in your hand,
When you, dear reader, are done,
So raise your hand toward the Mother,
In praise and supplication from you,
And know this gift comes from no other,
As will your granted wish too,
Your one wish need be clear as well,
So picture the words inside your mind,
That both words and thoughts shall tell,
As both heart and your will securely bind,
Now of your thoughts and words she'll know,
As her wish crystal will appear for thee,
If your intent was pure as virgin snow,
Let the truth of your wish set you free."
Sarah, who had extended her right hand while reading, as had been indicated, gasped in complete shock when a crystal orb appeared in her grasp. The all too familiar look of it almost made her drop it like a hot potato. Of course, this is what she had hoped would happen and had been trying for, but it was completely different to think something will happen, and having that outcome actually happen. She blinked several times to make sure that the crystal was really in her hand. The weight reassured her, for though it might have resembled a bubble, it certainly felt like it was made of crystal. Suddenly feeling the need to hurry, as the book didn't say how long the wish crystal would hang around once it appeared; she decided to make her wish now.
"I wish that Jareth and I could answer each other's questions and have no more riddles, lies, or half-truths between us when it comes to the past, present, or future." She said the words in a clear and steady voice. And if her voice shook a little when she said the Goblin King's name out loud for the first time, she pretended not to notice in the slightest. Sarah gasped again when the crystal popped like the bubble it looked like and disappeared in a shower of glitter, before that vanished as well. She closed her eyes as she was afraid that just because she couldn't see if there were shards of glass flying everywhere, didn't mean there wasn't. When she opened her eyes she sighed for there was no sign that the crystal had ever truly existed. Unfortunately there was also no sign that it had worked in the slightest. Sarah got up from her crouched position then and sighed gustily in disappointment. She stretched the sore muscles that had gotten stiff while she had once again stayed in one position for too long.
"I guess I used up all of my allotted wishes a long time ago," she muttered dejectedly before turning around to go and put the book in the shelf beside her bed. She would put it next to the only other magical book in her collection, where it belonged, now. She jumped back in shock when she realized that not only was she no longer in her living room, but she was now standing face to face with the Goblin King who looked as shocked as she felt.
"Sarah?" Jareth questioned quietly then, shock in his voice, and written all over his face. His voice was even better than Sarah remembered. It was deep and velvety smooth with the accent that made everything sound so much better to her ears. She feared that she could easily lose track of her thoughts while listening to such a voice, and yet wanted to keep listening to him speak for as long as he would. When she finally realized that he had said her name; the fact that he recognized her on first sight after thirteen years also did something strange to her insides. It surprised and scared her that after so long he still had such a strong affect on her, even if it was a much different affect than last time.
She couldn't help but look him over as they both stood there not believing what they saw. She noticed, first of all, that he was only half dressed. It was a fact that instantly brought color to her cheeks. His boots were of a familiar style as were his black leather leggings, but they were not as form fitting as she remembered most of his pants being. They seemed to hug him low on his hips as she could see the V of his hip bones just above the point they laced up to. Just looking at him like this made her mouth suddenly dry. It was very strange that her reaction to him being shirtless was so very strong and sudden. She was surprised to see that though he was still such a slim man, he had very defined muscle structure as well. And she could see quite a good deal of it at the moment. From the defined pecks and well formed biceps and triceps, which just happened to be flexed now in his surprised state; to the rippled muscles of his washboard stomach, they were all quite evident. It was interesting to notice that he seemed to not have any body hair whatsoever as well. That brought several thoughts and questions to mind about where else he might, or might not, have hair. And thinking like that, in turn, brought another blush to Sarah's cheeks. Sarah was surprised at the direction her thoughts had turned since she had noticed him there; she was usually very prudish about such things.
Sarah also realized then that he wasn't wearing gloves at the moment. Her eyes were drawn down from the flexed muscles of his arms to his hands and the long, slender fingers resting at his sides. They looked built like the rest of him, and reminded her of a pianist's hands. Knowing that he was a musician she figured then that he must also play an instrument as well as sing. It was just so weird for her to see him gloveless; for she had never seen him without them before. She thought of them as much a part of him as the silver and golden goblin pendant, which was even now hanging from his throat. Sarah had never thought to see him without either. Not that she had ever thought to see him again after returning home thirteen years earlier. But she had definitely thought about him over the years; a lot. The fact that she was here in the same room with him now was a thought that her mind was still trying to wrap itself around.
Upon further study of him, Sarah realized that he looked as if he hadn't aged a day. And yet, there were changes to his appearance that she knew had nothing to do with the thirteen years that had passed since she had been in his company last. For one thing, his bi-colored eyes were slanted to a degree that they hadn't been before. This look was enhanced by his familiar brow markings that seemed to perfectly frame them. She wondered idly if every Fae had markings like that, or if they meant something specific. She couldn't help but also notice that his ears were different as well. They were a bit longer than a human's and had a more tapered look that led to a slight point at the end. It brought a smile to her face to see that he had both of them pierced. It seemed unexpected at first, but then it was something that seemed to fit him perfectly once she thought about it. There were two bronze decorative rings of diminishing size just below the tip of each of them. She thought it very mercurial of him.
His hair was also different, she noted. It looked less like the figurine that was sitting on the bedside table in her apartment, and more natural. It was longer all over, falling until it just reached his trim waist, but the style still had familiar parts. Like the choppy bangs and several pieces that seemed to want to stick out more than others. And some that still wanted to fall into his face. They were just longer now as well. Though most of it was still silvery blonde, there were several small chunks that were colored light bronze, copper, and amber. They brought to her mind the colors of the changing leaves in Autumn. It also reminded her of the colors of his feathers when in his owl form. This must be his natural hair, she thought then, I like it much better.
Sarah suddenly stopped her perusal when he took a step closer to her. It was everything she could do not a step back at the same time, but she was older and wiser now and refused to show the slightest hint of fear to him. If only she had known that a whole new kind of fear would appear inside her when she was once again so near to him. He stopped then, probably sensing her anxiety. His gorgeous eyes lost some of the brightness that had been in their mismatched depths as he sensed this and stilled.
"What are you doing here?" he asked then, his curiosity more than evident now. She took a step forward then, trying to show him that she was no longer as tense around him as she had been at first.
"I don't know," she said quietly when she realized exactly how different her reaction to being this close to him was this time around. She tried to get her mind back on track and looked around trying to get her bearings. Sarah could tell that she was in his castle, but it was a room that she didn't recognize and had never been in. That was confirmed when she saw the huge four poster bed in the corner of the room beyond just beyond Jareth. Her cheeks heated up to realize that not only had she suddenly appeared in his presence, but she had had to appear in his bedchamber while he was getting dressed of all places. When she braved a look at him again she saw a hint of that familiar smug smile was gracing his lips.
"I didn't ask to come here," she breathed out just above a whisper, "I just asked a crystal of wishes for some answers." She was looking at the floor now as if it were the most interesting thing in the world, and cursing herself. She was a grown woman now, for goodness' sake. She hadn't seen this man in thirteen years, and now here she was in the same room with him for less than five minutes, and she felt like an awkward girl again. But Sarah realized her reaction to the monarch in front of her was now quite a bit different than it had been before. Not only her physical reaction, but on an emotional level, and every other kind of level there was, as well, for that matter. Sarah should have known she was going to have this issue around him for she had known, even back then, that he was attractive, even when he was her villain. She knew it wasn't his fault that she had so little experience talking to men in general, let alone ones she found attractive. She always turned shy and inept whenever she was this close to a member of the opposite sex, or if they tried to talk to her. She had never had any success in the romance department; to say the least. But that was also because she hadn't met any guy that seemed to be worth the trouble of learning to act more natural around the opposite sex.
"A crystal of wishes?" Jareth asked suddenly striding toward her to stand about a foot away. "Where did you find a wish crystal?" the curiosity was back in his voice and expression again.
"I didn't find it," she clarified distinctly and quietly as she tried not to stare into his beautiful bicolored eyes. "I created it."
"You created a wish crystal?" he asked incredulously as if she had just said she had met the pope, or something. Sarah had to look down as his gaze had suddenly gotten too intense for her and she nodded her confirmation. "Well I always knew that you were more than just an ordinary girl." He stated matter-of-factly. She looked up then questioningly at him then and was surprised to find him smiling a small, soft smile at her. In that moment he was the most gorgeous thing she had ever seen and wondered suddenly how even at fifteen she had not realized exactly how very attractive he was. But she had only known that he was beautiful in an innocuous way back then. It was like the way you know a classic painting is beautiful when you see a picture of it in an art book, but then when you see it in person you fully realize the picture hadn't truly shown its' beauty at all. She had been aware, but not fully connected. Perhaps I had been even more focused on finding Toby than I had realized, she thought suddenly, that might explain such a massive oversight. But she had been a very naïve fifteen year old too. Her memories had not done him justice at all, she realized as she looked up at him once more. Fearing she would get lost inside his crystal blue and chocolate brown gaze Sarah looked away just as quickly. Jareth turned away as well and walked back where she had first noticed him and Sarah saw a small pile of clothing on a chair beside him.
"If you wished only for answers it would not have brought you here," he said then as he pulled on a loose black shirt. It was of a similar, but plain style compared to everything she had seen him in before. Next he put on a leather waistcoat that had black and silver vertical stripes, and when he began to pull on a pair of black leather gloves he turned toward her. She couldn't help but notice that the shirt was styled in the same way as every shirt she had seen him wear before, for it's neck was open until it reached the top of the waistcoat. She assumed it was like that to show off his royal pendant. But she realized that he could just be showing off his very attractive chest and part of his stomach as well.
"What exactly did you wish for?" he asked, pulling her out of her thoughts. Sarah swallowed several times before she was able to speak around the lump that had suddenly appeared in her throat. She looked down, trying to cover her cheeks' sudden color of embarrassment and prayed that he would think that her blushes were from her nervousness. The real cause was more mortifying, but knew it was futile to hope he wouldn't notice, as he was the most observant person she had ever met.
"I wished that you and I could finally answer each other's questions and have no more riddles, lies, or half-truths between us regarding the past, present, and future." She said finally in the loudest tone she had used since finding herself back in the Underground.
"Oh," was all he said in reply so she looked up, suddenly very anxious.
"What do you mean, 'oh'?" she asked, "That hardly explains why I suddenly appeared here in your bedroom." The last words were spoken shakily as her steam started to run out. He laughed then and while Sarah could appreciate the pleasant sound, she did not like to be laughed at by anyone. For some reason it seemed especially hurtful coming from him. She looked up to glare at him, but the sparkle within his eyes quite made her forget to. That and the fact that he was standing right next to her suddenly.
"Actually, my dear Sarah, it does," Sarah felt a shiver go up her spine when he called her 'my dear' and hoped to God that he didn't know the affect he was having on her. She wouldn't be surprised if he did though. "You see," he continued, "A wish crystal employs very special kind of magic," he explained. "And because both of us are mentioned in the wish, we are both stuck together until it is fulfilled completely." The way he said the last sentence made her shiver again. Sarah was sure that what he said was true given the sudden and unexpected nature of her appearance here.
"Oh," she said suddenly as it was the only thing she could say coherently at the moment. She looked at him from under her lashes as she suddenly felt very guilty for getting both of them into this situation. "I'm sorry," she told him and hoped she wouldn't start to cry or something equally discomfiting. "I didn't know this would happen." She looked around the room as she tried to avoid looking directly at him. "I just needed answers," she finished and closed her eyes with a heavy sigh.
"It's not your fault," he said in a subdued tone. They were words that she had never imagined he would say, and she realized that he had his hand on her shoulder in what could only be called a comforting gesture. "Magic of this kind is tricky, even for those of us that are used to it." He smiled that soft smile again, which she inwardly decided was her favorite of his and felt her eyes dilate as she tried to focus on his eyes. She had just realized that there were pretty little flecks of gold in the irises of both of them, when her gaze lowered to stare at his all-too-near lips, seemingly on their own. Sarah was shocked when she realized this and looked back up to his eyes as she knew not what else to do at the moment. Sarah saw him pause briefly, as if he was moving closer to her. He seemed to think better of it, though, and moved slowly back to his position a foot or so away.
"It seems we are unable to separate, for now," he told her after clearing his throat and there was a new emotion in his eyes. She didn't know what emotion it was, but she felt her temperature climb just seeing it there nonetheless. "And since neither of us can do anything about it until the magic of the wish is done; I was wondering if you would join me for breakfast. I was just about to head there myself and we can discuss these questions and answers of yours." The polite request came out of the blue and surprised her immensely. But seeing as how he was right about having to stay together she knew she should accept. When it was coupled with the fact that she hadn't had anything to eat since waking up, and was afraid her stomach would start growling if she didn't accept his offer, it seemed quite an easy decision.
"Umm…" she uttered stupidly as she was taken aback by the hand that had just been extended toward her. "Sure." She replied in a voice that was barely above a whisper. Sarah tried to remain as unaffected as she hoped she looked when he took her hand in his before placing it in the crook of his arm. She tried not to notice the firm muscle under her palm or the heat coming off of his body as he escorted out of his room, but failed utterly. They were in a part of the castle she hadn't seen and hadn't known existed as no part of it looked familiar beyond the stone that made up all of the castle's outer walls. They passed several grand looking and surprisingly clean rooms as they went along the torch-lit hallway. Sarah was surprised to see no sign of his subjects, but guessed they had to use their own houses at some point of the day.
"It's just through here," he murmured, gesturing to a nearby archway, after they descended a staircase and walked down another hall. She assumed they were on the ground floor now as she didn't see any other staircases leading downward in this area. The room through the archway was obviously the dining hall as there was a huge trestle table lining the center that was long enough to feed Sarah's entire family; cousins and all. She was surprised that there was no sign of the goblins on this floor either. There were also no bad smells and it was completely spotless. It looked, in fact, like Sarah what had always imagined a fantasy castle to look like. Jareth lead her around the table then to what she assumed would be her seat beside his at the head of the table.
She froze in shock when she looked up and couldn't help but to gasp quite loudly at the beauty before her. There was a huge picture window on the far wall that almost encompassed the whole thing. The huge window looked out on a view that she hadn't had the opportunity to see on her last visit. It was the far side of the castle and the only thing Sarah recognized was the labyrinth. There was a garden behind the castle it seemed, and it was edged by a lovely fruit orchard. Even the labyrinth had a certain charm, she realized, as it was completely different looking at it from the inside out. As she watched the pink sun rose to shine just above it. When the first rays finally reached beyond the top of the outer stone walls, they illuminated the gardens in a way that could only enhance their ethereal beauty.
"It's beautiful," Sarah gasped out as Jareth pulled out her chair or her. "Thank you," she murmured as he passed her to go and take his own seat. She had not realized until it was too late how close he was to her until his arm brushed the side of her breasts accidently. Sarah tried not to gasp again, but couldn't help the blood rushing to her face at the brief, but intimate, contact.
"I'm glad you can still find beauty in this place after your last visit here," he said then, seemingly unaware of her flustered state.
"Oh," she said dumbly as she tried to gather her thoughts. "Well, at the time," she began again, "I was so focused on Toby I hardly noticed what anything looked like." Including you, she added silently to herself. "Except for the bog," she uttered suddenly as the thought hit her. "The bog was quite awful no matter what the circumstances." Sarah was surprised when he laughed with her then and couldn't help returning his smile when they had both stopped.
"I'm not always surrounded by such loveliness and I forget how much true beauty can really affect me." The way he said it while looking at her made her wonder if he was suddenly speaking about more than the scenery. She looked down at the place setting in front of her and the ornately carved table beneath it to try and get her mind in order and the blood out of her cheeks. A sudden noise across the room brought her eyes to its' location. She couldn't help but smiling again at the pair of small and unfamiliar creatures carrying trays of food toward the table slowly, One of them looked up at her finally and gasped in obvious surprise.
"Having a guest for breakfast this morning, Majesty?" the one Sarah thought was female asked then in a voice that sounded almost amazed.
"Yes, Leera," Jareth answered breezily as if he had humans, or women of any race, as guests for breakfast frequently. She thought then, with a stab of completely ridiculous jealousy, that he might. "Please tell the rest of the staff that Lady Sarah will be here until further notice."
"Yes, Majesty," both Leera and the unnamed one said in unison before dishing the weird looking food onto each of their plates and then shuffling out of the room. Sarah didn't want to seem rude, but she didn't recognize the lump of food on the plate in front of her. It looked to be the consistency of oatmeal, but there was something different about it, so she couldn't help poking at it with her fork.
"What is this?" she asked quietly as if the food might hear her and take offense.
"What do you want it to be?" Jareth answered her question with one of his own.
"I don't know…" Sarah muttered, wondering what was going on, "Plain old scrambled eggs with bacon sounds good right about now." She commented offhandedly and wiped her mouth as if afraid she would start drooling at the appetizing thought.
"Then it is scrambled eggs and bacon," Jareth told her, but the food on her plate remained unchanged. "Just take a bite and see," he told her after swallowing a bite of his own. "I promise it will taste like that." Sarah was surprised by the sincerity in his voice and the look on his face and decided to trust him on this. She knew the whole wish thing was going to go a lot slower if she didn't at least try to sometime soon. She put a miniscule bite on her fork and closed her eyes as if prepared to spit it right back out if she had to. She ignored more of Jareth's laughter at her expense and she brought the food to her mouth. She was more surprised than she should have been to find that it tasted exactly like the scrambled eggs with pieces of bacon mixed in that Karen makes for breakfast whenever she visits home. It was this exact dish that she had been thinking about when he asked.
"Mmm…" she said aloud before she could stop herself and took a bigger bite to better appreciate the taste. "That's amazing," she murmured once she had swallowed. She didn't see Jareth's gaze had been drawn to her mouth at the sound of pure pleasure she had just emitted. He looked away, though, before she had opened her eyes, as they had closed in surprise at the comfortingly familiar taste of one of her favorite breakfasts.
"That's magic," Jareth said simply as if he were discussing the weather. He continued to eat his own breakfast, but only after she had started to dig into hers. "So," he said after a few minutes of chewing-filled silence, "I'm sorry that you have to be here against your will. I'm sure that after your last visit this is the last place and company you want to be in," his voice filled with a definite self-deprecating quality then, "But I promise you that you will not come to any harm during your time in my kingdom." He sounded all intense again as Sarah looked at him in something akin to amazement.
"Thank you," she said demurely after smiling for she really didn't know what else to say to that. "That's very reassuring," she said almost sarcastically, "But I really hadn't had any fear about that." She sighed then and thought she might as well say exactly what she was thinking since she had to tell the truth because of the wish anyway. "I know that we didn't exactly leave on the friendliest of terms last time, to say the least, but I've grown up a lot in the last thirteen years and have come to see that most of the trouble I encountered here was my own fault. You were only doing your job." By the time the last words were out of her mouth she was beet red as he was looking at her so fervently she felt as if she had suddenly grown a second head, or something.
"I…" he started to say, but stopped suddenly staring into her eyes. His eyes, for lack of a better description, smoldered then. "That is quite generous of you." He said then very slowly and she knew that he had worded that statement that way quite specifically. "I shall endeavor to fully earn your change of opinion and trust." He declared quietly with a very bird-like tilt of his head as if he was trying to study her from a different angle.
"Thank you," she stated just as quietly before taking a drink of what she assumed was water. She was surprised, though, to find that it tasted exactly like the raspberry lemonade of her favorite restaurant.
"So," he began again a few moments later, "Do you have a list of questions in mind already, or is it more of whatever you think of at the time?" the question seemed reluctant from his lips and she was shamed to realize that she had almost forgotten the reason she was here because she was busy starting to enjoy just being in this place; with him.
"It will probably be a little of both," she told him, "I do have some in mind, but your answers will obviously dictate how many more will come to mind. And of course I'll answer any you have as well." She answered this while moving the food around on her plate as his avid gaze was almost too much to handle while she was conversing with and sitting this near to him.
"Well, if you are finished with your meal," he spoke the words as he pushed his own plate away from him several minutes later, "We can adjourn to a more comfortable room and begin." She nodded briefly and pushed her own plate slightly away.
"Sure." she all but whispered.
"Great," he murmured while standing up, "This way if you please." The little creatures from before had come back into the room as he took her hand in his before placing it on his arm once more. He led her out of the dining hall and down the same hallway they had come down earlier before turning down a new one. After going halfway down this new hallway, he opened a large ornate door and led her inside the chamber within. Sarah gasped when she saw what was inside for she had never before seen so many books in one place. His library was huge. Even bigger than the book store she worked for. He continued to lead her to a sitting area in the middle of the room before he placed her on the settee and took a seat on a comfy looking chair across from her.
"This room is amazing," she declared for, in her opinion, this was almost better than the view from the dining hall. "I've never seen such a big collection of books in my life," she admitted in awe.
"Well," he said, "It took several generations to amass, so I'm not surprised." He smiled at her again and she knew she was not remaining as unaffected as she was busy pretending she was. "Do you wish to begin now?" he asked her when she began to look around the room curiously.
"I don't know," she admitted, "This all just seems so surreal." She sighed and looked at him out of the corner of her eyes in what she hoped was a surreptitious way.
"For me too," he revealed in a low tone. Sarah turned toward his chair in an unconscious move to get closer to him while he spoke. "But we must begin somehow," he said and she knew he was right. She sighed unnecessarily again and tried to think of a question that was simple enough to start with.
"Okay," she announced after a few moments of silence. "I think I've got one to start with then,"
"Okay," he echoed her, "Go ahead."
"Okay," she said again without meaning to, "Umm…" she hedged a bit more, feeling weird about the whole situation. "So, what exactly are you?" she asked in a rush of breath. Jareth's quiet laughter was the only response for a few moments.
"Ah, yes," he muttered, "I had expected this one to come up sooner or later." He was quiet again and she didn't know if he was thinking, or if that was all he was going to say for now.
"So?" she prompted then, getting fidgety waiting for his answer.
"I'm sure you've already assumed as close to the truth as humans ever have." He said with another small smile on his lips. "But I'm sure you want more of an answer than that," he continued and she nodded emphatically. "The humans that have gotten the closest called us the Tuatha De Danann, the aes sídhe to be exact." he explained. "To make it simple just call us Fae. We are a race of magical beings that have lived in this world beside yours, but not exactly in it, for more millennia than you could imagine."
"Oh," she gasped then for lack of anything better to say. She had assumed as much once she had gotten her hands on the research material she found while getting her minor in Celtic Mythology, but it was a different thing to hear him actually admit that he wasn't human.
"Did you expect a different answer, dear Sarah?" he asked rhetorically with a mischievous twinkle in his eyes, but she answered him anyway.
"No," she muttered, "But it's quiet different to hear you say it," she told him in echo of her thoughts. Realizing that he must be much older and wiser than she had really ever realized she was suddenly curious about his age. "Then you must be quite a lot older than you look," she said in a joking tone.
"Quite." He said simply with a little chuckle. "To answer what I assume will be your next question," he began without prompting then, "I am going to celebrate my 4,867th birthday this year, and am still considered quite young for one of my race." He took a drink of a glass that suddenly appeared in his grasp, ignoring her gasp of incredulity. "Would you like something to drink?" he queried softly then, completely ignoring her gaping mouth.
"Sure." She squeaked after she could finally close her mouth before a glass matching his appeared in her hand. "Wow." She stated simply while trying to wrap her mind around living for so long as if it were the simple fact that he seemed to consider it. Not only that, but the fact that he was considered a young man still. That was amazing as it was unbelievable to her. When she took a drink she noticed that it was the same enchanted liquid from breakfast for it was clear as water, but tasted like Diet Coke this time. She also noticed that the level of the liquid within didn't change no matter how big of a drink she took; it was quite a wonderful trick.
"In human terms," he continued then, after he had seen to her comfort, "I would be in my late twenties or early thirties, I think," To have it be put in those terms was even stranger to Sarah. And if what he said was true, and she knew it had to be because of the wish. She also realized that his race must live for much longer than she had ever imagined. Sarah knew that even though she was extremely curious about that, the answer would most likely make her even more confused than before.
"Okay," she whispered, "I really don't know what to say," she went on. "I knew that the Fae were long lived, but I hadn't really thought about it in those terms before."
"I had thought not," Jareth murmured understandingly. "Perhaps we should move on then," he suggested in a lighter tone suddenly.
"That's probably a good idea," she told him, "I don't want my brain to explode," her sarcasm peeked out then. She smiled at him when he laughed at her words and was absurdly happy she could make him laugh, even though she didn't know why she cared. But like the technicalities of the Fae race, this was something she didn't really want to think on at the moment.
"Yes, that is something that I definitely wouldn't want to happen either," he told her with the laughter still in his voice. "Perhaps a question that's not so stimulating, would be best," he said and she wasn't quite sure if he had done that on purpose this time or not. From the light in his eyes, though, she was fairly sure he had.
"Okay," she went on then, not bothering to acknowledge her reaction to his words. "Let me think about it for a second then…" She thought and went over the questions she had wanted answers to since the beginning then. Remembering the view from the dining hall she chose one that seemed to be fairly innocuous. But Sarah also realized that she had thought that the last one had been and look how that had turned out.
"How long has the Labyrinth been frustrating wishers like me?" she asked after a minute or two or silent thinking.
"First of all," he began in a voice that had an edge to it that wasn't there before, "There is no one else like you," he began and Sarah was surprised when he started to reach out to her, but seemed to think better of it before his hand made it to her, and lowered it back to his chair's armrest. "Most people that wish children away don't really care about them, let alone actually attempt to win them back." She knew he heard her gasp of horror, but continued with his answer anyway. "And second of all, the Labyrinth wasn't always used for the purpose it is now."
"What was it used for?" she asked before she could help herself, as she was imagining some truly horrific things.
"The Labyrinth is actually one of the oldest structures in the Underground," he told her. "This kingdom hasn't always belonged to the goblins. A very long time ago my people were in much greater numbers than they are today, unfortunately. It was only a few years before my birth that this kingdom was abandoned and given to the goblins."
"Why was it abandoned?" Sarah asked, very interested as he curious nature took over.
"It was the third war with the Milesians," he murmured, saying the other race's name like a curse. "When most of my people decided to go back to our home world, several kingdoms here in the Underground were abandoned and given to the remaining lesser races of sidhe." He sighed then as if trying to chase away ghosts of the past. "But before the later wars, this was one of the homes of lesser nobility," he explained, "And the Labyrinth was built to be enjoyed by the family. It was only later it was changed to a security measure when the other races had found a way to invade this world."
"Oh," Sarah muttered, thinking over all she had learned already today. "So, it wasn't always used as a test for the humans that wished children away?" she queried in a tone that didn't betray her intense curiosity.
"No," Jareth stated quite simply, "It was after the kingdom was given to the goblins that that was set up,"
"But why?" Sarah asked, not quite understanding why they would set it up in the first place.
"It was the dwindling population that I mentioned," Jareth answered with a sudden sadness in his voice. "After the last war, before most of my people left, there were already a great number of casualties." He stood up then and started to walk back and forth, but too slowly to really be called pacing. It was more like he was just trying to think about his wording before he spoke again. "You see," he began again when he had apparently finished thinking about it, "Our race, because we are so long lived, can only breed under very certain conditions," he chuckled without humor then, "But," he went on, "Our magic, that exists not only in us, but in the very air of our world here, can be used to transform mortals, such as humans, into one of us. The younger the mortal is," he went on, sounding almost guilty about it, "The faster the transformation is."
"Oh," Sarah exclaimed indignantly with a glare in his direction, "Then you…you…" but the words didn't seem to want to come out. "You lied to me," she accused when she finally got the words out in a rush of breath.
"I'm sorry," Jareth spoke quietly, "But most people that wish their children away don't care what happens to them anyway. The ones that at least put up an effort to get them back can't be told the truth, for they wouldn't want to win them back if they knew how much better their lives will be if they don't. Not to mention that my people don't exactly want to spread their population crises to everyone." He looked at her apologetically then. "I'm sorry the book and I tricked you," he went on, "But I told you he would become one of 'us' forever and I'm not a goblin, am I dear Sarah." He sighed then as if that flimsy explanation didn't sit well with him. "I am sorry," he said again, "As you said before; I was only doing my job."
"Yes," Sarah agreed reluctantly, "I should have realized that there were still elements I didn't know the truth about when so much was not what it seemed." She sighed as well then, "It's still difficult to hear, but I am sorry about your people's problem."
"Thank you," he began, "And I know it probably doesn't make a difference, but all of the children taken over the years have all lived quite happily here in their new lives, raised by Fae parents that couldn't have children of their own."
"If so many children have been taken over the years," Sarah commented suddenly, "Then there must not be many people that make it to the center."
"No, Sarah, you're right," he told her, "Only you have made it all the way to the center, or even past the first obstacle set in your way. You are the only one that has ever won the child back, dear Sarah, for you are the only one that had ever not really meant to say the words." He admitted.
"Really?" she asked automatically, but knew it had to be the truth with the wish and all. Sarah was suddenly sad with this new knowledge, and felt tears well up in her eyes. "That's so sad." She told him with her own quiet honesty.
"Yes," he told her in the same kind of heavy tone, "But it's much better to think that the children we've taken were saved from such circumstances and grew up with new, loving parents." Sarah nodded slowly, realizing he was right, and she should think more of the good outcome, not the bad situation they would have been stuck in if not for 'the right words.'
"So, do they even remember that they had children when they lose, or what?" the question came from her lips before she realized she wanted to ask it.
"The humans that wish have most of their memories erased. But," he continued, "They are plagued with nightmares for years so that they think better of ever having children again."
"Good," Sarah said with a slight viciousness in her tone. Jareth laughed lightly at her reaction.
"Indeed," he breathed lightly.
"I was wondering," Sarah began again, "Because I realized years ago that the labyrinth obviously changes to suit each wisher, for I couldn't help but notice the familiar faces around me even when I was here last time. But over the years I realized how influenced by my fantasies everything I saw was. Even the way you looked back then was because of the figurine my mother gave me when I was a little girl. I know that and it has me worried." She looked up at him and saw that he was looking all intense again. "Do my friends really exist, or were they just all part of the fantasy to try and get me to turn back and give up?" she asked when her barrage of words finally formed a question. He surprised her then by coming toward her and sitting next to her on the settee.
"Be at ease," he comforted her then, before his hand patting her thigh briefly almost made her completely forget what she had asked. "Your little band of companions exist," he told her reassuringly, "Indeed, how else could they visit you if they didn't?" he asked rhetorically and she suddenly wondered how he knew that. "Though it is true that the Labyrinth changes to fit each wisher, it is only on the surface, and only the wisher sees that difference in the Labyrinth's inhabitants. Your friends," he went on, "Who were actually supposed to get you to turn back, in their own different ways, when you crossed their paths, have lived here quite unremarkably for quite some time." He laughed then at the face she made at his teasing words. "The way they look since your victory is the only difference."
"Okay," she commented, trying not to smile at his show of humor. "That makes sense, I guess. I figured it was something like that." She muttered finally. "So, you didn't punish them or something, for helping me, did you?" she asked with concern plain in your voice.
"I'm surprised you're asking me this, I assumed that Hogwart must complain about me everytime he talks to you as he usually does to whoever will listen whenever he gets the chance." He chuckled then.
"Hoggle," Sarah corrected automatically while trying not to laugh as well. "Actually," she told him, "None of them really mention you," her voice got quieter then. "I think they're afraid of upsetting me or something." She muttered mostly to herself.
"Oh," Jareth mumbled himself at her revealing words. "Well, don't worry, they're all fine and living the same lives they have for as long as I've known them. "
"Good," Sarah breathed then. "So, do you have any other questions for me?" she asked him in turn. "I don't want this to feel like some kind of interrogation or something," she added before she smiled at him shyly then as it was still weird being here with him, especially after her last confession. Sarah was sure it would be this strange, though, no matter how much time passed.
"I assure you it's fine," he said then, "As the victorious party last time you are entitled to some answers. " he smiled back at her and it brought a smile back to her face. "I do have a question though," he added suddenly as if remembering it just now. When she made a continue motion with her hand, he did so. "I was wondering how you happened to learn how to create such a magical item as a crystal of wishes."
"Oh, that," she said breezily, "I read a poem in a book I just happened to find at my work," she stated almost cryptically.
"Oh, really," he said as nonchalantly as her reply. "It must have been quite a book to do all that. What kind of book was it?" he questioned then.
"It was magical, of course," she told him, "Much like the book that started all of this for me," she commented as if just realizing this. "It was called The Magic of the Underground and looked almost exactly like Labyrinth." Sarah whispered this as if afraid to say it all out loud. Jareth looked at her strangely for a moment as the intenseness was suddenly back in his gaze.
"Really," he drawled, "It seems that these events were not as random as they appeared," he whispered that part mostly, if not entirely to himself, before it looked like he shook himself mentally and moved on. "Thank you, dear Sarah, for answering my question. I believe it's your turn now." He finished then as if what he just said wasn't important at all.
"What do you mean 'these events are not as random as they appeared'?" she asked suddenly and realized that her voice had raised louder than the whispered conversation they had been conducting. "You just can't say something like that so nonchalantly. I need to know what's going on here." She all but demanded in a softer tone once she reigned in her sudden excitement and annoyance.
"I'm sorry, Sarah," he said as he liked to say her name whether she realized it or not yet, "I didn't mean to brush it aside. I just realized myself that these things were not what I had thought they were and I'm trying to figure out if I have enough information to answer both of our questions now or if I should go to someone I know will have more answers than I do." He had stood up and was pacing now as he seemed a bit annoyed himself now. "As a matter of fact, hold on a moment and I shall be right back." And with that he disappeared.
Jareth brought himself to his parents' palace in the far north of the Underground immediately as he was not in the best of moods and he wanted answers now. He found his mother in the room they used as an office answering mail at the desk she shared with his father.
"Mother, please tell me that you didn't do what I think you did." Jareth spoke into the silence of the room. He had switched to the Fae language naturally as he was speaking not only to his mother, but the High Queen of all of them. "Please tell me that you haven't been interfering in my life again after all these years." He spoke the last words quietly as he was suddenly overwhelmed by the feeling of desperation and hoping that everything he thought was real wasn't an illusion orchestrated by his family.
"Jareth," his mother said lightly, "It's so nice of you to visit so unexpectedly." She continued, completely ignoring his words, while she just looked at him with that smile that she uses that means that she's just humoring one, so much younger than she, that will never understand all that she has seen and all that she knows. He realized suddenly, looking at her beloved face, that he hadn't seen his family in more than ten years and he had missed them more than he was willing to admit to himself.
"It is nice to see you Mother," he told her sincerely and smiled at her. He moved around the desk to kiss her cheek and embrace her affectionately. "But I need you to tell me what's been going on," he continued as he moved back around the desk, sitting across from her. He could not allow himself to be distracted completely from his purpose as he only had so long before the magic would pull him back together with Sarah.
"It's your fate, dear," his mother said, getting to the heart of the matter quickly. "But even fate can't work without help of circumstances outside of our control."
"You sent those books to Sarah, didn't you?" he accused, even though he had known the answer before he had popped himself all the way over here. "I don't know whether to keep badgering you about this, or just stop and thank you." He muttered quietly as the implications of the last fifteen years ran through his head.
"You always were a stubborn one," his mother admonished, but her voice was too full of love to be taken seriously.
"I'm still quite upset Mother," he exclaimed petulantly then. "I refuse to believe that things had to happen in this truncated manner." He sighed as his annoyance was almost gone. "Who would have thought I'd end up with a mortal." He spoke, more to himself than to her, quietly. His mother just looked at him for a moment with that look in her eyes again. "I was right then," he confirmed to himself, "She does have some Fae blood. Perhaps that's why I felt so called to her when I first saw her in that park all those years ago." This was spoken aloud, but he was indeed talking to himself now. His mother was quite used to it and so went about the business she had never stopped doing since he had suddenly entered.
"How else could she have created a crystal of wishes, Jareth?" She added.
"That doesn't change the facts, Mother." He sighed, "Why didn't you tell me sooner?"
"It's your fate, dear," she repeated her earlier words. "Things are only revealed to you once you have already figured them out and once the love is already there."
"But I can't exactly just go back and tell her that she's my destiny," Jareth suddenly protested in a child-like huff, "She's barely able to be in the same room with me, you should sense the anxiety pouring off of her," he told her offhandedly then. "If I tell her what's going on she'll run the other way as fast as she can and this time she won't want to come back, no matter what you send her." The finality of his tone just made his mother smile that infuriating smile and he had to hold in a growl of frustration. The only thing that stopped him was that his mother was always right; whether he liked it or not.
"The wish will prevent you from lying to her," his mother commented quite simply then. "The truth will reach her eventually, dear. You would just be prolonging the inevitable since the girl might even ask about it herself, and then by the magic that brought her to you, Jareth, you must answer her whether you want to or not." He knew that trying to arguing with his mother was akin to banging his head against a brick wall for all the progress it would get him. But no matter if he knew this fact or not he could never quite help himself from trying it, now and then, over the years, just the same. He did growl in pure frustration then, he couldn't help himself, and turned to pace the area in front of the big desk. It was a very inhuman sound and he knew it didn't help, but he was that frustrated with everything at the moment.
"Come now, Jareth dear," his mother chided then, "Swallow your stubbornness." She sighed then and began tapping her perfectly manicured nails on the desktop. He stopped pacing then as he knew that his mother showing any sign of what could be called annoyance was never a good thing for those around her. "Fine," she finally conceded, "If you don't want to swallow your pride and actually tell the girl about fate's hand then just blame your father and I like you always do." Under normal circumstances Jareth would have just laughed at her to hide his own annoyance, but at the moment her words hit a sore spot which launched them into a very familiar refrain. He had been trying to argue his side of it with her and his father for almost five thousand years, eventually they hoped he would get the point that he would never win.
Meanwhile…before Sarah could realize what was happening Jareth seemingly disappeared from where he was standing across from her, and she was alone in the gigantic library. As a minute of silence passed, the shock wore off, and she wondered exactly where he went. She also wondered how long he would be gone. If the wish was keeping them together she had no clue how long it would let him stay gone. She was suddenly granted the answers to these silent ponderings, but not at all in the way that she had expected. One moment she was sitting on Jareth's library settee, and the next she was standing in a room she had never seen before.
When she looked around she noticed, thankfully, she was not alone. Jareth was there and he was standing next to a beautiful woman that looked to be Fae as well. They were talking, but she couldn't understand the language they were speaking. It sounded very familiar, but she couldn't place why at the moment. They were speaking very quickly and from the tone of voices she knew that they were not simply having a calm conversation. But she didn't know if they were actually arguing or if they were just always tense while talking to each other. She gasped and twirled when a hand touched her shoulder. The owner of the hand was a Fae man who looked a lot like Jareth, except his hair was dark and both of his eyes were a very familiar brown. She couldn't help, but note that both he and the woman had similar markings around their eyes too, but not exactly the same as Jareth's. But given the fact that she didn't know if these people were royalty too, it didn't answer the question she had been pondering earlier. She was suddenly even more curious about who these people were.
"You must be Sarah," the very attractive man in front of her said quite simply in accented English, and he even sounded like Jareth. She smiled at him for his smile was contagious and the ridiculousness of the situation was getting to her. She noticed that the voices on the other side of the room had stopped when she saw Jareth still and turn toward the sound of her gasp. He and the woman were now staring at her and the man beside her.
"Sarah," Jareth cried into the suddenly awkward silence. "I thought the magic would bring me back to you since I was the one that left, but apparently I was wrong," he stated the obvious while looking back his mother with an imploring look. He was thankful that Sarah missed the silent exchange from the current angle she was standing at in the room.
"That's okay, I've always wanted to travel," Sarah quipped with a chuckle because her brain was so overloaded it was either that or cry and she really couldn't even imagine how mortified she would feel if she did that. The couple with Jareth chuckled lightly while Jareth looked as if he was trying not to.
"Sarah," the man behind her surprised her then, "Since Jareth is apparently much too preoccupied," he said with another chuckle, "Allow me to introduce myself and my lovely wife."
"Sorry, Father," Jareth interrupted him quietly then, "I hadn't noticed your arrival." He walked over to embrace the other man affectionately. "It is good to see you, Father." He said with a smile after they parted and Sarah gasped in shock. Not only to realize that these people were his parents, but because his words were spoken in a tone that was almost submissive and she had never heard Jareth speak in a tone half as timid as that. She didn't know whether to laugh at him or be scared out of her wits by these people that were, no doubt, much older, wiser, and more powerful than the Goblin King himself.
"Sarah," Jareth addressed her when he came up beside her. He turned her toward the couple that was now standing side by side in front of the desk. "Allow me to introduce you to my mother and father, Onagh and Fionn Bheara, the High Queen and King of the Tuatha De Danann." Sarah was mesmerized by the dazzling beauty of both the gorgeous woman with golden blonde hair and familiar blue eyes that was wearing a glittering silver gown and the extremely handsome raven-haired man with brown eyes dressed in blue garments in a very similar to his son's. She was also taken aback by the revelation of whom exactly they were. These were figures in a history so old it had been relegated to myth and story thousands of years ago. Like the stories that she had studied vigorously about them and the rest of the well known sidhe. Looking at these high royals of all Fae, remaining in some contact with the human world, Sarah did something she had never done before in her life. She fainted.
Thankfully, Jareth was close enough that he was able to catch her in his arms before her body had fully realized her mind had shut itself off.
"Well," he said a lot more nonchalantly than he felt at the moment, "That didn't exactly go the way I thought it would," he muttered. He was surprised when both of his parents burst out laughing as he gathered her up into his arms before he carried her over to the sofa across the room gently. "That was also completely uncharacteristic of her. I would have never imagined her fainting," he commented to himself. "Even thirteen years ago she didn't seem like the fainting type." He couldn't resist the urge to caress her cheek lightly as she lay in his arms. She was so beautiful and he was holding her, an opportunity he hadn't expected, but was grateful for.
Being this close to her made him realize several things. It became painfully clear that he had never been as ambivalent about never seeing her again as he had been telling himself he was. It had felt like a weight was lifted off of his chest the moment that she had appeared in his bedchamber this morning. He had known, in that moment, he would do anything to win her heart, her love, and to get her to stay with him this time. Scaring her away was the last thing that he wanted to do, but he also knew that his mother was right. It was only a matter of time before she found out how much she mattered to him. He just hoped that his parents were right, and she was his fate. For he knew he couldn't take it if she left him again.
"In light of her reaction," he spoke softly as if afraid to wake her up with the noise, "Perhaps it would be better if I took her back to my castle before she wakes up. Just in case." He laughed suddenly then, looking up at the stunning picture his parents made. "I had forgotten for a moment how mortals can get sometimes when they see you two for the first time." They were a shining couple alright. "Especially when you're together," he murmured offhandedly then. Both of his parents smiled down at him then.
"Yes," Fionn said then, "That might be best." He patted Jareth's shoulder in a comforting way then. "I'm sure we'll meet her again when everything between you two has been cleared up." He said rather quizzically and Jareth had no idea what his father was talking about since there was nothing between Sarah and him as of right now.
"When what has been cleared up?" Jareth asked.
"Nevermind that now, dear," Onagh replied rather primly. "You should be off before the girl regains consciousness." Her smile turned more, well, motherly, as she looked on her son holding the woman he loved like she was made of glass.
"At least tell me what you think of her," Jareth blurted out, suddenly self-conscious. His parents laughed once more at that.
"She's lovely," Onagh replied, "And she's just what you need to keep your arrogance from getting out of control." Her words were said in a joking manner, but he could tell that she was quite serious. He also knew that her saying Sarah was right for him was high praise indeed coming from her.
"Yes," Fionn agreed simply then, "Now; go,"
"Yes," Jareth echoed him then, "I'll come for a proper visit next time," he told them smilingly. "Goodbye Mother, goodbye Father," he called out finally before he popped Sarah and himself back to his library. He begrudgingly laid her down on the settee she had been sitting on before. He knew that if she had woken up in his arms it would have been awkward for both of them, no matter how much he didn't want to let her go. He took a seat on the chair across again and conjured another drink, but something much stronger this time. Jareth knew she would have even more questions when she came to, and was trying to think how exactly to answer them. Each new question would keep her here longer as the wish would remain unfulfilled, but Jareth almost resented that. He would rather have her here because she wanted to be, not because she had to be.
Sarah woke up slowly her eyes fluttering prettily whether she realized it or not. She was having trouble figuring out which parts of what she remembered were real and which was dream. She guessed she would find out once her eyes focused on whatever she was seeing at the moment. If it was still her living room she knew it had just been a very elaborate dream. But if it was somewhere else, well, she was having trouble admitting what her feelings would be if she were someplace else. When her eyes did finally focus and she saw the rows upon endless rows of books her trouble distinguishing her feelings on the subject was over as a blinding joy hit her. She had to keep herself from smiling like an idiot suddenly, but Jareth appeared in her line of vision and the smile appeared briefly before she could stop it.
"Hello there," he said, her favorite smile on his face. "Are you feeling alright? You weren't out for very long."Sarah felt her cheeks heat when she remembered what had happened and why she was now lying down on the settee again. She knew that Jareth must have taken them both back here while she was out and she was both grateful for it and disappointed. She would love the opportunity to talk in detail with his parents as they must know and have seen things that she had only been able to study in vague, ancient records. But not at the moment, of course, as right now it was hard enough for her to handle just being around Jareth again. She realized that he had been around to see most of the things she was now thinking about asking his parents, but she really didn't want to think about all of that right now. For, if she started to think about that, she was afraid her head really would explode from an information overload.
"Hello," she greeted him in what she hoped was a nonchalant tone. "I'm sorry," she continued, "I've never fainted before in my life." She laughed lightly then, knowing how ridiculous this situation was.
"You're not the first person to have that reaction to seeing my parents for the first time, and I daresay you won't be the last either," he told her in a reassuring tone.
"I never really thought about who your parents could be before." She spoke almost entirely to herself now, "There's several different sets of royals throughout the histories of the Sidhe I've read and I've never come across your name. But I never thought that your parents would be the High King and Queen of all of the Tuatha De Danann." She was so distracted by her own thoughts that she hadn't even realized that she had admitted to looking for his name during her studies. As she continued Jareth didn't even know if she was speaking to him now or not. "I mean, wow," she continued, in an awed tone, since he hadn't stopped the flow of words that seemed to be pouring endlessly from her.
"Wait a minute," she called out suddenly as if she just remembered something important. "Does that mean that your grandfather is Manannan Mac Lir?" she asked in the same awed tone. "He was always one of my favorite sidhe or Celtic gods, whatever;" she continued her tangent quietly, "For the sea is ever changing and so peaceful. It never judges you. I've always wanted to go to Galway Bay and toss in a bronze figurine into it as tribute to him. But it seemed slightly ridiculous because I didn't know which of you was real and which were made up by us mortals to explain away certain things in nature." She stopped talking finally, feeling extremely stupid for babbling on for so long. She blushed brightly as Jareth was looking at her very strangely.
"Uh, yes," he said then, "He is my mother's father," he answered her first question, as he had to, with the wish and all, before he laughed at her confession. "He would be pleased to know such a beautiful woman wants to pay tribute to him in such a traditional way. You are quite remarkable, Sarah," he continued and Sarah's face felt like it had went super nova as he had just complimented her twice in the same statement and she wasn't used to hearing such things from anyone, let alone a man like Jareth. "I had no idea that you would even recognize my parents' names, let alone have studied our history." Sarah looked down, her face still bright red and feeling like a kid getting caught with their hand in the cookie jar.
"Well, yes, you see," she began in a subdued tone, "I had always been interested in that kind of thing, you know, and after I knew that this world actually existed I was very interested and wanted to know more about it. I didn't know what would be accurate or not, but as I read about you guys I found that when I read about the Underground I could somehow tell what was the truth and what was not. The more I read about the sidhe, the more I wanted to know. I actually minored in Celtic Mythology in college because of this." She confessed this fact as if she was confessing a sin and he was the priest. "I even learned Irish and some Scottish Gaelic, and Welsh as well, so I could read the old texts. I could tell the language that you were speaking back there," she continued, "Was most likely a predecessor of the more modern Gaelic I learned because they sound almost exactly alike, but I couldn't understand any of it." She tried not to let her disappointment at that show. But Sarah also knew that eavesdropping on that conversation probably wouldn't have been the best idea anyway. Jareth, when she finally braved a glance up at him, looked quite flabbergasted.
"You know something, dear Sarah," he commented, "You are quite amazing," he praised her quietly, but his tone was full of emotion. She felt her cheeks get even hotter at that. He smiled down at her then with his eyes smoldering once more. It was her turn to be amazed as he quite took her breath away.
"Umm….thank you, I guess," she shyly whispered, barely getting the words out.
"You're more than welcome," he responded. "We should perhaps get back to the questions," he announced, reminding her of why she was here in the first place and could not leave as yet. "You deserve your answers," he ended quietly. She could have sworn she heard what sounded like resignation in his voice when he spoke, but it happened too fast for her to be sure. She shrugged it off mentally and got back to the matter at hand.
"Okay," she concurred. Sarah was about to continue when Jareth noticed something on the other side of the room and started to speak again.
"I don't mean to interrupt," he began again, "But I just realized that it is almost lunch time and my staff will be coming to look for me if I don't head back to the dining hall soon."He got up then and extended his hand in a now familiar gesture. "Should we adjourn to the dining hall and continue after a short break?" he inquired politely. She turned to look at the thirteen hour clock on the opposite wall and knew suddenly, even though she hadn't realized it, she was quite hungry again.
"Sure," she agreed, "That would be lovely." She smiled up at him and tried once again not to show what being this close to him did to her. They reached the dining hall in only a few moments as it wasn't that far away. He seated her in the same chair she had sat in during breakfast before taking his own seat. They had barely sat down before the same two little creatures, Leera and the unnamed male, came in carrying trays of food that smelled different than the stuff they had this morning.
"Thank you, Yuur," Jareth said quietly when the male set the covered trays down in front of both of them. The female moved around and filled their glasses with the same clear liquid before taking off the covers of their trays. Instead of the oatmeal-like lumps from before, there was actually food that was somewhat familiar looking to Sarah. Her plate was filled with what looked to be green beans, mashed potatoes, and a chicken leg and thigh.
"I don't mean to be rude," Sarah said quietly after the servants had retired from the room, "But I was wondering if this was what is looked like,"
"What does it look like?" Jareth asked her teasingly then.
"Chicken, potatoes, and green beans, I guess," she replied automatically.
"Then, yes," he chuckled, "It is what it looks like." He smiled brightly at her. "Apparently they were trying to make you feel at home, for this is the most conventional meal they've made in years."
"Well, that was nice," Sarah told him sincerely, "I shall have to thank them then."
"I'm sure they would appreciate any comment from you," his words surprised her, "For guests are very rare." Sarah was oddly happy about his last statement, but at the same time she wondered if he was bored all the time since there was no sign of anyone else like him in his kingdom. She wondered, as well, how many different kinds of creatures did live on his land, if no other Fae did.
"What kind of creatures are they anyway?" Sarah asked then, curious about Leera and Yuur. For she didn't recognize them from her time here before, and they didn't seem familiar at all from her reading.
"They are Brownies, actually," Jareth told her as he took a drink from the glass before him. "They are perfect for domestic work as that's what makes them happy."
"I have heard that," Sarah remarked, "They're just not what I pictured Brownies to be, but nothing is ever what it seems around here." She chuckled lightly then before digging into her food.
"This is delicious!" she exclaimed in an almost rapturous voice when she had tasted everything on her plate.
"I'm glad you like it," Jareth replied with a good humored smile. It became quiet again as they both enjoyed the meal in front of them. It was quite some time before either of them thought to speak again. Jareth, it seemed, always ate rather fast, and he was pleased to see that Sarah seemed to eat quickly as well. But that perhaps might have been only because she was so hungry. "So," he went on when he was more than halfway finished with his food, "About your remaining questions…" He took a drink then and Sarah seemed to shake herself from her distracting thoughts at his words.
"Oh, yes," she cried suddenly as she had completely forgotten about anything except being in his company during a very good meal. Since awakening and finding that this was indeed real, and not a continuation of the dream she had somehow had while unconscious, she had been so happy that she knew she couldn't lie to herself anymore. She had wished for answers from him, but not only for those answers. She had also wished because she had secretly hoped that she could see him at least one more time. He was so damn magical, for lack of a better word, that, even when he was in the villain's role, his charisma had stuck with her all these years. His final words to her had also stuck with her. They had left her confused and also determined to find out if they had been real or not. To find out how he really felt about her, as she was quite past lying to herself about feeling indifferent when it came to Jareth. But finding herself actually face to face with him again made the subject seem impossible to breach and too intimate to even try. It was also too embarrassing to even contemplate how she would feel if it turned out that it had just been another ploy. The thought made her hang her head and drag her hands across her face in a frustrated gesture.
"Are you quite alright?" Jareth's silky voice cut into her self-deprecating reverie then.
"I was just thinking," she told him as she couldn't think of another honest answer at the moment.
"About what?" he inquired in a polite tone that seemed to have another emotion lurking beneath it.
"About the last time I was here," she told him honestly as she had no other choice. She took a drink from her glass. Sarah was not surprised to find that it was now her favorite orange cream soda, as she had been craving it earlier.
"Such a pity," Jareth murmured and her mouthful of liquid shot out in her surprise at his words. Jareth, being who and what he was, managed to make the spray disappear before it hit anything, or anyone.
"I'm sorry," she apologized fervently, seriously red faced; "I guess the déjà vu of the moment was just a bit too much for me." She found herself reaching across the tabletop toward where his arm was resting before she realized that the offending liquid had already disappeared. When she did realize this, she dropped her hand back onto her lap with another flush of embarrassment.
"It's alright," Jareth reassured her softly then while her favorite smile graced his lips. "I should have expected something like that." He took a drink of his own glass then. "You were saying," he prompted her and she realized that she had to ask him at least one of the questions that had recently been in her mind for the wish wouldn't let her do otherwise.
"Well," she began anew and sighed. Here goes nothing, she thought suddenly. "There are still a few things that happened that I'm unsure about," she stalled, trying to think of the least embarrassing one. "There was a part of my trip through the labyrinth," she said, deciding on a question, "After we left the bog and started through the forest again. We had grown hungry," looking up at him then she knew from the sudden look on his face that he knew what was coming. Seeing that, she decided to skip the rest of the preamble and get right down to it. "What exactly did that peach do to me?" she queried suddenly. Jareth's eyes began to smolder as he looked at her intently for a few moments before sighing gustily.
"It's an enchantment," he admitted slowly, "It makes the person eating the fruit to slowly forget what they are looking for or doing at the time of ingesting it and pretty much everything else." He paused briefly to shoot her an intense look and his tone suddenly seemed repentant. "Then," he continued, "It picks out a childhood fantasy from the victim's memories and builds an escape for them to stay in while it continues to eat away the rest of their memories. Unless," he said with a pointed look in her direction, "It is a very strong willed person. In that case the person can escape with their remaining memories in tact. It lasts for no more than a day before all of them return."
"So," she began before she was even sure he was done speaking, "Was what I saw and experienced after I ate that peach real at all? Did it really happen? Or was it all a dream induced by the enchantment?" She tried not to let her desperation show, but the fact that the ballroom might have been her own little fantasy made sharp pains start in the area of her chest for reasons she didn't want to explain at the moment.
"It is hard to explain to someone not from our world," he said, not helping her confusion in the least. "It is a bit of both. It took place on a plane, inside one of my crystals, where both dream and reality exist. There are pieces of both involved." He sighed before continuing, "In your case the enchantment latched onto your fantasy of being Cinderella and dressed like the princess on your music box."
"So which parts were real exactly?" she asked as she felt she needed to know.
"Define real," he contested suddenly in way of an answer. Suddenly feeling tears stinging her eyes; her emotional state was deteriorating rapidly. It showed in the volume and tone of her voice when she next spoke.
"Was I really in a ballroom?" she asked, "Do those people really exist? Were you really there with me, or was I dancing with myself?" The desperation was in her voice very plainly now, but at this point she hardly cared.
"I created the ballroom inside the crystal and brought you there," he told her as he reached out for her hand before she realized what was going on. "The people dancing inside it were real, but they were truly just goblins in disguise." Sarah was surprised again when he took a lock of her hair between his fingers and started playing with it softly. "And," he went on, "You most definitely were not dancing alone for I was really there holding you as we waltzed." Relief so sweet it blindsided her rushed through her so suddenly she was afraid a few tears leaked out when she blinked to try and focus on his face.
"What's the matter, dear Sarah?" he asked her with what had to be concern in his voice then,
"I didn't know whether it was real or not and I didn't want it to be just a stupid dream," she admitted as she couldn't stop the embarrassing words from coming out.
"Why not?" he asked so softly that she barely heard him. More tears leaked out for she realized she had to answer him.
"I liked dancing with and being held by you," she all but whispered, "And I figured that if it was just a fantasy as part of the peach's enchantment it wouldn't really count." She sniffed and prayed he would leave it at that, for answering any more questions on this line would be more than embarrassing. But it turned out that she wasn't lucky enough for him to just stop.
"Count as what?" He questioned in the same soft tone and she started crying silently in earnest.
"As dancing with and being held close to a man for the first time."
"Well, you were still rather young for all that at the time, Sarah dear," he told her quietly while caressing her hair as it curled around his fingers. "You were quite beautiful in that ball gown," he told her in the same quiet voice.
"You didn't look too shabby either," she commented blithely without realizing what she said, and by the time she did it was too late. A blush was climbing across almost every inch of her flesh it could at this point. There was just no way he hadn't heard her. He was just too observant and close to her not to have. She snuck a look up at him and gasped at the intense look that was back in his gaze. He tilted his head in the bird-like way again before smiling slowly.
"Do you find me handsome then, dear Sarah?" he asked, "For I find you to be even more ravishing now than you were last time we met." Sarah's temperature climbed in reaction to the extremely unexpected compliment as well as from the shame of having to answer his question.
"Yes," she admitted like she was confessing to murder. She breathed the words softly as if trying to hold them back; for she was. "I think you are quite the most attractive man I've ever seen." She covered her mouth with her hand then with a gasp once the words had come out. She noticed that his smile now contained just a bit of his signature smugness.
Seeing that all too familiar expression she felt suddenly ridiculous and bolted from the table and the room. She ran as fast as she could then, despite the futility of her actions. She assumed that he must be mocking her for having seen his mother she didn't know how he could think she was even close to ravishing. Sarah ran down the hall not caring if he followed. Her tears were pouring down her cheeks as she turned down a hallway she had never seen before. She turned into the first room she came to. It turned out to be a parlor of sorts as it was filled with three different seating arrangements across the large room. She wondered idly what the room was used for before looking to see if there were any doors to another room or to outside the castle. She spotted a door that led outside and ran to it, throwing it open and running. Sarah didn't know why she was bothering for she knew it was less than useless to run from him when the wish was still in affect. Her point was proven when upon reaching what appeared to be the side of the garden; Jareth appeared a few feet in front of her.
Sarah gasped in surprise and turned around to run back into the parlor. She heard Jareth call her name, but she ignored him. She kept running until he appeared just a few inches from her, bringing them literally face to face.
"Please stop," Jareth said, bringing his hands up to rest on her shoulders so she had to stop for the moment.
"What do you want from me?" she blurted out suddenly and Jareth burst into a humorless laugh before giving her a strange look and wiping her tears away gently.
"Several things," he said cryptically. "But right now, I want you to stop running," he told her. "I don't want you to get lost as the castle is tricky for those who aren't extremely familiar with it and it won't do you any good anyway." He sighed and the hair that was forever falling in his face moved with the force of his breath.
"I know," she told him, "I just couldn't help myself," she sighed in return.
"Why?" he asked and she groaned in frustration.
"Because I have to answer each of your questions and they're mortifying the hell out of me."
"But why?" he said automatically and murmured a quick, "Sorry," when he realized what he had done.
"Because," she began, ignoring his quiet apology, "I'm attracted to you and that's the response I kinda expected upon coming face to face with you again, but like I said before; it's one thing to think something and quite another for you to find out it's true firsthand. Besides," she went on then knowing she would regret her next words, but she couldn't stop them from coming, "I have very little experience being around attractive members of the opposite sex, let alone from another race, and because of this it's embarrassing for me that I am so inept, especially around you. Since you have seen me at my worst and you're, well…you." She stopped talking then, tears falling again, knowing her face was as bright red as a tomato. She hung her head again and would have bolted again for her fight of flight reaction seemed to be particularly strong around Jareth. But his hands on her shoulders prevented her from fleeing.
"I have another question for you, Sarah," he said and she realized exactly how close to her he really was. He wiped the tears from her cheeks once more as her embarrassment kept them falling down her cheeks. He caressed her cheek with the back of his hand and she looked up at him torn between shock and indignation.
"Haven't you embarrassed me enough?" she all but shouted at him. "Do you have to rub it in by asking another question?"
"Sarah, I'm sorry if my questions embarrassed you, truly I am," he told her and she couldn't doubt the sincerity in his voice, especially since he couldn't lie at the moment. "But I have the right to know the truth," he admitted, "Just like you have the right to get answers from me." Jareth sighed, "Believe me," he whispered, taking her hands in both of his, "Offending you was the opposite of what I wanted to happen, given the circumstances."
"Fine, Jareth," Sarah declared in a frustrated breath. "Ask your damn question. The sooner this is all over the better," she muttered under her breath and did everything she could to avoid his gaze. But she was already blushing again by the time he kept one hand on her shoulder and used the finger of his other hand to tilt her head up so she had to meet his bi-colored stare. What she saw there was so intense it held her gaze and attention until she had no desire to look away at the moment.
"What was the question you wanted to ask me?" she whispered quietly when a full minute of silence had passed.
"Is it alright if I kiss you, dear Sarah?" he asked in a voice so thick it was a lot deeper than normal.
"Why would you want to?" she asked reflexively instead of answering. "I mean," she continued, "You're you…..you're unbelievably powerful and knowledgeable, and magical. We've established that you're attractive to the opposite sex and you could have anyone you want, quite literally. Why would you bother with a little insignificant human nobody like me?" When she had realized what she had just blurted out she looked down with her eyes even though he still had her chin. Her cheeks got brighter than they had all day.
"When we can both talk and think rationally once more you are going to get a lecture about how absolutely gorgeous and perfect you are in every way," Jareth told her, "And if you haven't figured it out by now you are the one I want, you silly girl."
"Really?" was all she could squeak out after his heated confession.
"Really," he assured her simply. She looked up and was once again taken aback by his gorgeous features and intense stare. Much like the view from the dining hall at sunrise, the only response she could manage at the moment was, "Oh," in a very quiet and shaky voice. She cleared her throat over the huge lump that had formed there since his words. "Then the answer would be yes," she spoke so quietly that she almost repeated herself for fear that he hadn't heard her, but she didn't have the guts. It turned out it wasn't necessary.
"Thank you, precious," he breathed quickly in response; a response she barely registered before he had leaned down to capture her lips with his. When she gasped in pleasure, he used the slight openness of her mouth to explore her lips and beyond with his tongue. His hands slid up her shoulders, across her neck, and up to caress her face. He touched her cheeks in a certain way until she moaned in response to his kiss. She leaned into it and him as she opened her mouth even wider to allow him further access beyond. Sarah moved her own hands up to grip his shoulders, pulling him closer whether she realized she was doing it or not. He sucked her bottom lip into his mouth and she whimpered at all the new sensations coursing through her at the moment. She slid her arms around his neck and her fingers sunk into his long pale hair. He pulled her closer, wanting to feel her body mold to his and deepened the kiss. He tasted every corner of her mouth, his tongue caressing hers and she shivered in response. Sarah kissed him back by following his lead. She knew that she was doing alright when his grip tightened on her when she petted his tongue with hers and he made a sound deep in his throat.
When they broke apart for air he moved his trail of openmouthed kisses down her neck. He scraped his teeth along the sensitive skin he found there and she sighed out his name in pleasure. He moved up to her ear, nibbling her earlobe before sucking it into his mouth. She moaned in response as she all but melted against him. He brought his hands to her hips and pressed her to him even more so she could feel how much he wanted her and no one else.
"Feel what you do to me, Sarah," he whispered hotly in her ear, "You and no one else has been able to make me want them so much since I first laid eyes on you. Only you, precious." He grinded against her intimately then and she couldn't believe that she could cause such a response from any man, let alone a magical being like Jareth. He had been moving them, unknown to her, across the room until Sarah's back met a wall. He pressed them against it and returned to devour her mouth with his. It seemed the noises she was making in response were enough to arouse him even further as she could feel him harden even more against her stomach. When his hands moved up to cup her breasts Sarah moaned his name in surprise and pleasure. She was shocked at the waves of pleasure Jareth was causing wherever he touched her. It was all the more sweet to her because it was all so unexpected. Her nipples hardened when his thumbs grazed them lightly through her tank top. Her fingers tightened in his hair then, pulling slightly, in a way that had him literally growling. It wasn't a human sound at all, but feeling the vibrations roll through both of them, she could feel her heartbeat throbbing wildly in her most intimate place.
Jareth nudged her legs apart with one of his thighs to stand more intimately between hers. When he leaned into her, hip meeting hip, in such a way that made her toes curl, she wrapped one of her legs around him to bring him even closer to her. She moaned strong enough to break their kiss when he rolled her nipples with his thumbs. He nipped the skin below her ear at the same time, melding pleasure with pain of the moment. He reached up and brought her other leg to wrap around him. Their bodies rubbed against each other in such a way she cried out his name as he continued to massage the tips of her breasts and she pulled his head back up for another kiss forcefully. He started nibbling on her lips then, before sucking lightly on her tongue. Sarah cried out at that and her fingernails dug into his scalp. He moaned at that, apparently enjoying it, and brought his thigh up, caressing the throbbing heat between her legs through her clothing. Sarah whimpered at the intimate caresses and melted into him even more.
"Yer Majesty," called a very familiar voice from the door to the garden that neither of them had bothered to close. "I need ta talk to ya about the roses." Jareth and Sarah froze at the sound of someone so near before slowly breaking apart so quickly she almost fell. It was like they were suddenly acting like guilty teenagers found necking in the back of their parent's car. Jareth, cursing violently under his breath in Fae, knew she hadn't realized who it was right away. he had, however, and didn't want to embarrass her any further while she was feeling so vulnerable. He would have to threaten the little scabby dwarf with things much worse than the bog later for interrupting what he knew was the fruition of the past thirteen years and his lifetime of loneliness.
"Hoggle!" Sarah cried out joyously once the fog of passion cleared slightly and she could think of something besides jumping onto Jareth again. She noticed the Fae king watching her intently from the corner of his eyes as she crossed the room to hug her knobby little friend.
"Sarah!" Hoggle called out as she hugged him in pleased surprise. It didn't take long for worry to take over though. "What are you doing here with Him?" Hoggle queried suddenly. "You're not in trouble again, are you? He didn't hurt you, did he?" Quite the opposite, Sarah thought suddenly and had to fight back another shiver of residual pleasure just from the heat of Jareth's gaze.
"I'm fine Hoggle, really," she reassured him. "I accidently brought myself here to get some answers from Jareth." She remarked as she smiled down at her friend.
"He hasn't done nuthin' ta harm ya, 'as he?" he asked again, apparently not reassured enough.
"Come, come, come, Hogwash," Jareth called out as he came up to stand beside Sarah.
"Hoggle." Sarah and Hoggle corrected automatically.
"Hoggle," he conceded, "You know I could never hurt dear Sarah." He said looking at her with that smile that melted her insides. It was almost comical to see the gears working inside Hoggle's head. His remaining cowardice was warring against his need to keep Sarah safe.
"I'm fine," Sarah reassured him again. "Jareth has been quite hospitable since I arrived this morning," she told him. Apparently this new information was enough to render poor Hoggle speechless.
"Now, Hoggle," Jareth began again, "What's wrong with the roses?" he asked the dwarf.
"N-nothing's wrong wit 'em, Yer Majesty," Hoggle said, his cowardice taking over once more. "They's just not wanting to climb like you wanted 'em to," he said. "We was wonderin' if you could talk some sense into 'em, Yer Majesty."
"Fine," Jareth responded brusquely, "I'll take care of it." A crystal appeared in his hand then which he looked into as a portion of the garden appeared within and seemed to study whatever he was watching. He continued to watch the crystal for several moents in silence."They say the pixies aren't doing their jobs fast enough," he told Hoggle after he looked up again, "And that the faeries are pestering them again." He rolled the crystal artfully into his other hand where it became a little black drawstring bag. "Feed them this," he said then, "It will take care of the fairies and tell the pixies to quit slacking unless they want me to talk to them next time." He handed the little bag to Hoggle saying, "Now, off with you."
"Yes, Yer Majesty," Hoggle murmured in response.
"I'll see you later, Hoggle," Sarah called out to him as he walked back into the garden. He turned and waved briefly to her before remembering who was standing next to her. Looking up to Jareth when Hoggle was no longer in sight she suddenly felt extremely awkward given what they had been doing before Hoggle came upon them. She blushed very brightly as she looked into his smoldering eyes again as she remembered the past ten minutes in great detail.
"How did Hoggle know you were in here if he couldn't see us?" Sarah asked, suddenly curious, and felt her temperature rise with the word us. He stepped closer to her once more and she stepped back reflexively as he suddenly reminded her greatly of a big jungle cat stalking its' prey.
"The same way I knew which hallway you had taken after you ran from the dining hall," he said and they both took another step. "The same way I know you're still very much aroused at the moment," he murmured erotically. When they both took another step she realized too late that she was trapped against the wall again. Jareth took the last step toward her and leaned down again. She closed her eyes, but he didn't bring his lips to hers. He brought his head lower to nuzzle her neck. "I can smell you," he stated softly, tracing her neck and the underside of her jaw slowly with his nose until he reached just under the opposite ear. "Down here we use all of our senses to the fullest," he explained, "And following someone's unique scent," he nuzzled her neck again and she bit back a moan, "Is much easier than the trial and error filled option of calling out for them and hoping they respond."
"Oh," she gasped out, her voice breathier than before, "sounds like it would come in very handy," she breathed shakily.
"Believe me, it is," Jareth whispered in her ear before caressing her cheek lightly with the back of his hand. When he made a move like he was going to kiss her she stopped him suddenly.
"Wait," she called out quickly.
"What?" he murmured a hairsbreadth from her lips. "Don't you want me to kiss you, precious?" he asked softly, his voice pure temptation.
"Of course I do," she whispered back in a matter-of-fact way. "But I need to know something first." She replied honestly.
"What?" he asked again, still not moving. Sarah licked her lips, her eyes dilating trying to focus on his that were almost too close for her to do so.
"About the final confrontation thirteen years ago," she murmured.
"What about it?" he asked with a sigh and moved a fraction backward.
"Well," Sarah began slowly, "Years ago I realized that I had been so focused on getting Toby home safe and sound that I hadn't been really paying attention to anything, but saying my lines, as if it were just a role in a play or something. It was so pathetic," the last words murmured to herself mostly. She sighed and rolled her eyes as she was very glad she wasn't like that anymore. "Later, when I did realize what had been going on, it naturally made me curious," she said and for the first time since her sudden return to the Underground she saw Jareth look flustered or uncomfortable. "Was what you said real, or was it just another ploy to get me to give up and go home?" she asked. Jareth sighed again and moved back a full step so he could look into her eyes more fully.
"I will answer your question with a statement of fact," he told her and his eyes were smoldering again. "You had already won Toby back the moment you solved the puzzle of the Room of Stairs."
"But why?" she cried out once his words and their implications had finally sunk in. "Why didn't you tell me that?" she demanded.
"Because I was a stubborn idiot that wanted you to stay with me no matter what the cost. But you were too young, you didn't understand what it was I was offering you." He spoke in a strong voice that turned her already melty insides to mush. The hurt that laced it made her heart start to ache as well.
"But why?" she repeated, "Why in the world would you want me?" she asked desperate for the answer.
"You've had the answer all along, precious," he whispered as he brought his hand up to caress her face. "It was even in the story you told Toby all those years ago." He leaned down to whisper in her ear, "'But what no one knew was that the king of the goblins had fallen in love with the girl…'" Sarah gasped gustily and looked into his eyes questioningly. Afraid to even hope it was true, but smart enough to realize how stupid she was for not seeing it or remembering before.
"You love me?" she stated more than asked him, completely stunned.
"Of course I love you, precious," he brushed her curls away from her neck so he could kiss her there. "You would have never been sent those books if I didn't" he stated before kissing the same spot on the other side of her throat.
"The books?" she asked dumbly, as her mind was clouding with lust once more. "Is that what you meant earlier?" she asked, suddenly remembering.
"Yes," he answered before his tongue traced the spot below her ear as he had just scraped his sharp teeth there as well. Sarah shivered at that and tried not to moan. She was also trying very hard to think clearly. "They were sent to the woman I'm destined to love for eternity." He told her, moving to look deep in her eyes as he spoke. "That's you, Sarah, precious. You are my fate." He punctuated his words with feather-light kisses on her lips.
"But if I was your fate," she whispered questioningly, "Why didn't you come to get me, or at least come to talk to me before now?" That part just didn't make sense to her.
"I wanted to, precious," he told her, kissing the corners of her mouth, "But the words of power you spoke last time prevent me from doing more than occasionally watching you from one of my crystals," he admitted, somewhat ashamed that he had had to stoop to that over the thirteen years they were apart. "I cannot even come to you in your world unless something more powerful than I am brought me there," his tone pleading with her to believe him.
"Oh," she said quietly. "So, you really love me?" she stated more than asked again in a voice filled with awe and amazement.
"Truly I do, precious," he murmured quietly as he placed loving kisses all over her face. Sarah started crying again, only this time it was from pure happiness.
"What's the matter, precious?" he asked, suddenly seriously concerned. "Don't you love me?" his voice sounding as if he was bracing himself for her answer.
"Of course I love you," she told him, echoing his previous confession, and answering all of his prayers. "That's why I'm crying," she admitted.
"So these are happy tears?" he asked smilingly. Sarah nodded fervently as she was unable to speak at the moment since his lips had captured hers in a hungry kiss. "That's all I needed to know," he told her against her lips before taking the kiss deeper.
"Me too," she whispered as his tongue traced her lips.
Once the words were out of her mouth everything ceased to be for a moment or two before she suddenly found herself back on her living room couch. Apparently the magic of the wish had finally been fulfilled.
"Ahhhh!!!" Sarah groaned in frustration. "You've got to be kidding me!" she screamed. She pulled her knees up to her chest and hid her head there as reality of the situation hit her. "Worst timing ever!" she groaned into her knees. She began weeping, as she had no clue when or how she would be able to see Jareth again. Stupid magic, she thought, apparently it doesn't want us to be happy after all. When her tears stopped after a half hour or so, Sarah finally spied the slim blue volume laying beside her on the couch. She wondered suddenly if the book could help her out. Maybe the force that had sent it to her had known the obstacles between her and Jareth, so she dared to hope once more that the book might help her in this instance as well.
Reading over the title list of the magical verses, she studied both the titles and descriptions of each of them as her desperation had reached a fever pitch. Her posture slumped when she saw nothing that was specifically for lovers or breaking of a previous enchantment. It was only when the book fell open to the "The Crystal of Wishes" page she had bookmarked earlier this morning that she realized that the answer might have been staring her in the face the whole time. Sarah hoped that the thing that had brought them together again after all these years could do so permanently this time. All she had to do was create another one, if she could, and if it let her.
She read through the words slowly, in a voice strong with the love she had recently admitted for Jareth, and raised her hand when indicated. When she was finished Sarah was shocked to discover that it had actually worked again, for one miracle was amazing, but two seemed downright impossible before now. It worked again, she thought excitedly, the flame of hope growing slightly within her heart. Raising the crystal to her face, she kissed the cool, hard surface for luck.
"I wish," she began in the same voice she had used for the incantation; "That Jareth and I can continue to love each other for the rest of our lives and that that love would be strong enough to break any bonds holding us apart, for our love is power over each other and anything else that would stand in our way." Sarah watched as the crystal popped in a shower of glitter and waited. When the glitter had vanished as well and nothing had happened after two minutes, she began to cry again. After five minutes of silence she began to cry harder than she had all day.
"Oh, Precious, don't cry. You've given me my dreams," Jareth's voice suddenly spoke into her ear.
"Jareth?" she exclaimed excitedly, looking up and noticed that she was still in her living room and seemingly alone. "Where are you?" she whispered when he didn't reveal himself and she couldn't see him anywhere.
"Right here," he whispered into her ear again before she miraculously found herself lying down on her couch with Jareth atop her.
"Oh," she half-moaned as he moved against her expertly before devouring her mouth in a deep, drugging kiss. "I didn't know if I would ever see you again. I didn't know if the wish would work," she murmured quietly in relief when they came up for air briefly. She tasted the salt as tears of joy and relief rolled silently down her cheeks.
"I couldn't stay away once I heard you wishing," He kissed her softly and briefly before continuing. "That was very cleverly worded, precious." He whispered into her mouth.
"I'm glad you appreciated that," she panted, the sarcasm lost under the circumstances. Jareth chuckled sexily then as his hands had begun to travel up her body, seemingly with a mind of their own.
Sarah arched into his touch when his hands reached her breasts. He massaged the tender flesh and their stiffened peaks until she cried out into their kiss. She wrapped her arms around his neck, her fingers sinking into his feather-like hair, tightening her grip as he deepened the kiss. When he nudged her thighs apart she opened them quite willingly, for getting closer to him seemed to be the goal of the moment. One of his hands slid down her body very slowly. When it reached her thighs he brought her leg up to curl around his hips; bringing him even closer to where they both wanted him to be. She followed his lead, wrapping her other leg around him and hooking her ankles together to keep them there. Their hips met and as their bodies moved together they both cried out with the pleasure of it.
"I'm afraid we must stop this, precious," he told her in a voice thick with emotion as he rested his forehead against hers, "Or I soon won't be able to." Sarah blushed at his words and wondered at it, especially after what he had done to her just a few moments ago. He will probably always do this to me, she thought quite happily.
"I don't want you to stop, Jareth" she told him quietly, not believing how bold her words were. The look on his face was priceless as he seemed quite stunned with her admission.
"Are you sure?" he asked her quite seriously. "I don't want to rush you before you're ready and I certainly don't want you to regret it later." He caressed her cheek lovingly and she knew without a doubt that she would never regret a moment of being with him in any way.
"Jareth," she began in a soft voice and brought her hand up to caress his face as well, "I love you," she said simply. "I could never regret something so special between us."
"I love you too, Sarah," he replied, "Which is why I want you to be positive before we take that step." She smiled at him as she was still trying to wrap her head around the fact that he loves her and had for so long.
"I'm quite positive," she told him confidently, "Make love to me, Jareth," she quietly demanded of him.
"Oh, precious," he sighed happily, "I hope you never cease to keep surprising me like this," he said with laughter in his voice. The laughter stopped suddenly as they both reached for each other, both needing to be closer to the other. Their lips met and it was as if there had never been a break, like the kiss had continued through their short talk.
Jareth slanted a trail of kisses over her face and onto her neck next. He kept going lower until he reached the skin just above the low cut V of her tank top. He kissed the top of her breasts that were peeking just above as well. When he began a trail of open mouthed kisses her shirt's neckline seemed to get magically lower and lower until it completely disappeared once he reached the peak of her left breast. The very new and surprising feeling of Jareth's mouth on her breast had her crying out his name in a rush of breath. She arched into him, her hands tightening reflexively in his hair, but she wasn't sure if she was trying to pull him closer to her or away. When he sucked her nipple into the wet heat of his mouth she whimpered breathlessly, having felt nothing like it before. He continued his sensuous torture with his teeth, tongue, and lips until she was a quivering boneless mass under him. Jareth switched breasts then as if he didn't want the other to feel left out and she tightened her grip on him with her arms and legs.
Needing to touch him with a sudden desperate yearning she moved her hands to caress every inch of his flesh that she could reach from her present position. When she grazed his ears on the way down she realized that his sense of touch must be as sensitive as his sense of smell seemed to be. He growled low in his throat and the vibrations against her skin set her already sensitive nerve endings alight with bliss. She reached down and unbuttoned the three holding his waistcoat closed so she could slide her hands against the warm-blooded body beneath. He saved her some time when both garments disappeared. Sarah grazed her fingernails across his flat nipples and defined chest before reaching lower to do the same to his rippled stomach. She was more pleased than she could say when he softly groaned, murmuring her name against her skin. She was amazed that she, little ol' Sarah Williams, could bring out such reactions from him. But there was no denying the evidence that he did desire her, as it was searing right through her clothes where it pressed against her thigh.
Jareth's trail of kisses had reached her stomach, his tongue blazing a trail around her navel before dipping inside briefly. The feel of his hair trailing over her heated flesh as it followed in his wake felt like silk, adding yet another sensation that had her squirming in pleasure. His hands moved down her body to caress her hips and thighs, and not stopping until he reached her feet. Sarah hadn't noticed her sleep pants disappearing as his fingers grazed the material until she was only clad in her underwear. His tongue trailed down until his mouth reached the elastic band of her sensible cotton panties. Sarah was new at this, but she was not so new that she didn't realize where his mouth was headed next. His hands slid back up her legs very slowly then, spreading her legs even further once he reached her thighs. It was then that she realized that sometime since he had appeared in her living room he had moved them from the couch to her bed. She had been more distracted than she realized, it seemed.
His fingertips caressing her inner thighs, as well as his breath against her most intimate flesh, brought her back to the present moment rather quickly. She also realized that she was now completely naked under his caresses. He placed a kiss above her core before his fingers caressing the flesh below seemed to plump her lower lips. Her fingers returned to his hair, gripping tightly. She was unsure of whether she was hurting him or not, but she couldn't seem to loosen her grip as he kissed her intimately once more. He parted her outer lips and couldn't help but notice how wet she was for him already. She started squirming again when he started to pet her quite intimately.
"How responsive you are for me, precious," he whispered against her, "You are quite exceptional in every way," His name was what she cried out next as he placed an openmouthed kiss on the little bundle of nerve endings within. She moaned loudly as he slid a finger, then two, inside her tight passage. Jareth started a slow rhythm with his fingers that had her hips moving with them, instinctively trying to reach for some as yet unknown goal. When his tongue replaced his fingers she started to shake with the pleasure of it; especially when his hands had gone back up to massage her breasts. He made love to her with his mouth until she was so overwhelmed she felt tears sting her eyes from pure bliss. She was panting now, her hips moving with his deep, penetrating kisses. Her body jerked as he moved to suck the little nub above into his mouth. It took less than a second for the dam of pleasure that had been building to bust wide open, pouring it through her body as her muscles seized before relaxing as a new kind of sated delight spread through her. Sarah cried out his name loud enough for her neighbors to hear here in response before she realized that she was the one making the sound.
Sarah didn't really have time to think much on the experience of her first orgasm as she was suddenly distracted by a very naked goblin king lying atop her. He was kissing her again, seemingly trying to devour her mouth, before she could barely register that fact. She noticed that there was a sudden urgency in all of their touches and kisses as the dam of pleasure within her started to build once more. She slid her hands down wanting to touch as much of him as she could now that he was again level with her. Her previous awkwardness long gone in the heat of the moment; she brought her fingers to trail over his lower back and delectable behind before pressing him closer to her as the need to do so grew.
His hands continued to caress her, bringing her desire to a fever pitch, before she felt him part her legs again and his fingers parting her lower lips. The head of him brushed against her heated flesh as he slowly entered her. They both cried out when he sunk deep inside with one quick thrust. Having lost her maidenhead in a childhood accident Sarah knew that the barrier was not a problem, but there was still a twinge of pain as his sizable member stretched her virginal passage. He stilled upon sheathing himself to try and give her time to get used to the feeling of him buried within her.
"I'm sorry," her murmured apologetically at her cry of pain, "And I promise never to hurt you again," he vowed quietly with a gentle kiss to seal it. "Unless you want me to," he added saucily with his eyes shining brightly. She was going to respond, but he moved at that moment and the stunningly surprising pleasure quite robbed her of speech. The sweet feeling of friction as he sank back into made her cry out again, but from a sensation far from pain. He started an easy rhythm, seeming to go deeper with every stroke. It was when he hit a certain spot, that Sarah had never realized was there, that she felt she was almost to the finish line once more. She tightened her grip on him; her fingernails leaving half-moon marks in his skin as she started to shake all over.
Jareth, knowing she was close to the edge again, changed the angle of his strokes in such a way that had them both crying out with each one. At the new angle it didn't take very long at all for her body to reach completion. She cried out his name in such a way that caused him to get nearer to his own. The feel of her sweat covered body sliding against his own helped as well. Finally, the feel of her inner muscles tightening on his shaft did the rest. The walls of her sheath milked him until he was suddenly pouring his seed deep inside her as he cried out her name in a rush of breath. He collapsed then before realizing that he was probably crushing her. He moved to his side then, sliding out of her quickly, and bringing her with him as he turned, gathering her close against him.
Sarah felt a wave of exhaustion pour through her as Jareth pulled her close to his side. He pulled her up as well so that they were both leaning back against the small mountain of pillows at the head of the bed and pulled the covers up and over them. She cuddled close to him as he murmured loving words in her ear in both Gaelic and the Fae language she didn't understand. She didn't really need to understand it though, she knew. The tone he used, the feel of his fingers running through her curls, and the look in his eyes as he stared into hers said more than his words ever could.
"*A grá mo chroí; a stór aingeal," he continued to purr into her ear and Sarah felt tears begin to slide quietly down her cheeks. "What's wrong, precious?" he asked as he brushed her tears away with the pad of his thumbs.
"You really mean it," she breathed out in amazement. "You really love me," Jareth chuckled at that, relieved that she was not regretting the fact they had made love so soon after finding each other again.
"Of course I do, a stór*," he assured her. "Do you think I would have gone through all of that trouble for you if I hadn't?" he queried with a chuckle and a self-deprecating smile on his face. Sarah couldn't help but laugh to at that. They had both gone through quite a bit to get to this point.
"I guess I never thought it all through," she spoke so quietly that she could barely hear herself. "I've never had the slightest hint of interest from anyone of the opposite sex, so I guess I figured that I would just remain alone." She had never admitted that to anyone before and felt quite strange telling him this now.
"Mortal men must be much less intelligent than I thought," Jareth muttered. "I'm sorry you have never realized how wonderful you truly are." He caressed her face and hair lovingly. "But you are quite beautiful," he said, "The poor fools must have just been too scared to approach someone as attractive as you." Sarah laughed at Jareth's ridiculous justification, but she couldn't deny that she felt quite special that he was attempting to make her feel better about herself.
"You make me feel beautiful," she admitted to him. "And you have quite ruined me for those stupid mortal men you mentioned. But," she added as an afterthought to herself, "You already had long time ago." Jareth felt a wave of almost blinding jealously at these hypothetical mortals. He didn't want to hear about Sarah with anyone else. He wanted her to be his for the rest of their lives. Apparently he was going to have to spell all his feelings out for her though, for it seems she considerably underestimates her worth to him and in general.
"I want to make you feel beautiful, for you are," he announced, "And I want to continue to make you feel beautiful for the rest of your life," he continued as he took her hand in his. Sarah didn't know what to make of his words, as she was too afraid to hope that he meant what she really hoped he did.
"Really?" she questioned cautiously. "But that will be just a blink of an eye compared to your life," Sarah continued as she traced the lines of his palm with her fingertips. Jareth felt a very real pain stab through his heart at the thought of Sarah dying in so short a time as would be the end of her human life. But he knew that there was alternative to that short existence and if he had his way they would be together always.
"That doesn't have to be so, if you wish it otherwise," he countered cryptically. She looked up at him questioningly and wondered what he meant.
"What are you saying?" she asked as she needed clarification, it was crucial at this point. He lifted a hand to caress the side of her neck, her pulse jumping under his fingers before moving her head so she had to look at him.
"I am saying that I love you," he told her with her favorite smile on his lips as his eyes began to smolder. "You are my fate and I never want to be without you." Tears leaked out of the corner of her eyes at this confession, and he wiped them away softly. "I want to be the one to wipe away your tears and to make you smile and laugh for the rest of our lives." He sat up as he spoke and pulled her into a sitting position as well. "As far as I can see," he smiled wider then, "There's only one way for that to happen."
"What way is that?" she asked him dumbly, not wanting or able to believe that this was really happening.
"This way," he said with a twitch of his lips, as if holding back laugh. He pulled her to the edge of the bed and kept pulling until both of them were standing beside it. He leaned down and kissed her quickly, his smile growing into a grin. When he stepped away Sarah realized that not only was he dressed now, but so was she. She started crying again as he was wearing a very familiar outfit from their time in the crystal ballroom. More tears poured from her eyes when she looked down and saw that she was wearing a dress that was almost exactly like the one she had worn in that ballroom as well. The only difference was that it was the color of her eyes and not the, not-so-appropriate anymore, virginal white it had been before. Her hand covered her mouth as she gasped when he started to kneel in front of her.
"Sarah Marie Williams," he began quite formally, "You have stolen my heart and turned my world upside down," he took her left hand in his once more as he spoke. "I love you with all of who I am and want to do so for the rest of our lives," he continued, "You would make me the happiest of men, and I will endeavor to make you the happiest of women, if you would end my suffering now," he conjured a crystal and it became a small heart-shaped box when it came to rest in his palm. "Will you consent to be my wife and queen? Will you marry me, precious?" he asked finally. He opened the little velvet box then to reveal a ancient looking ring made of hammered gold and a rather big diamond framed by smaller emeralds. It was surprisingly delicate and took her breath away it was so beautiful. Sarah looked from him to the ring and back again several times as she did not believe this was really happening. Her tears made her vision blur before she remembered to blink them away.
"Yes!" she exclaimed excitedly, "Yes, of course, I'll marry you, Jareth." She threw her arms around him then and he pulled her close for a tight embrace. He peppered her face with kisses then while he took the ring and slipped it on her finger and magically enough it fit quite perfectly there. He kissed her in earnest then and it didn't take long for the feelings of the moment to take over and cause them to get quite lost in each other. When they came up for breath Jareth peppered her face with kisses all over again.
"You won't regret this, precious," he told her feelingly. "I will do my utmost to be the best husband to you I can," he continued
"I know you will, Jareth," she breathed, "And I will try my best to be a good wife to you as well." She couldn't believe she had actually said that, but the, she still couldn't believe this was even happening at all.
"You have no idea how happy you've made me," he murmured in her ear before pulling her closer. "Dance with me," he whispered hotly in her ear. She had barely nodded excitedly before he began to swirl them around in a very intimate waltz. When Sarah looked around she saw that they were in a very familiar ballroom. She gasped when she realized this and was thankful that this time, though, they were the only people in sight.
"You've made me quite happy too," Sarah whispered into his neck, placing a small kiss there. She hugged him close, nuzzling him contentedly. She had loved dancing with him before and it was even more amazing and romantic this time. "I love dancing with you," she whispered.
"I love dancing with you as well, precious," he replied. "I never wanted to let you go the moment I pulled you into my arms last time," he whispered feelingly. A familiar tune began to play from seemingly nowhere and Sarah smiled into his hair, silent tears running down her cheeks seconds before he started to sing to her. She didn't know what was with her today, but she felt like a water faucet. She hadn't cried so much in her entire life as she had today. But the moment Jareth started to sing she couldn't hold back the fresh tears that started to fall.
"There's such a sad love
Deep in your eyes, a kind of pale jewel
Open and closed within your eyes
I'll place the sky within your eyes
Sarah hugged him closer to her, letting him lead her anywhere as long as she could still remain in his arms.
There's such a fooled heart
Beating so fast in search of new dreams
A love that will last within your heart
I'll place the moon within your heart
As the pain sweeps through
Makes no sense for you
Every thrill has gone
Wasn't too much fun at all
But I'll be there for you
As the world falls down
(As the world is) Falling down
Falling in love
They were hardly dancing anymore, as they just continued to hold each other close as they moved together to the music. At some point Sarah had started to sing along almost silently as well, as she had felt like he needed to know that she felt the same way about him now.
I'll paint you mornings of gold
I'll spin you Valentine evenings
Though we're strangers till now
We're choosing a path between the stars
I'll lay my love between the stars
As the pain sweeps through
Makes no sense for you
Every thrill has gone
Wasn't too much fun at all
But I'll be there for you
As the world falls down
(As the world is)
As the world falls down
Falling in love"
"Thank you, Jareth," Sarah whispered lovingly to him when he finished the song softly, "I love you," she told him as she held him like she was afraid he would disappear if she let go.
"I love you so very much, precious," he purred into her ear, "And I can't wait to marry you." He said as another piece of hauntingly beautiful music started to play. "If you are going to be my queen," he began with another emotion in his intense voice suddenly and broke off to kiss her briefly, but thoroughly. "Then," he continued as she tried to calm her breathing once more, "You must become one of my people as well." He declared and she was taken aback by this surprising condition. This is what she had thought that he had been referring to earlier, but with so many unknowns in this situation Sarah hadn't been sure.
"Are you sure you want me around for that long?" she questioned jokingly, but it was a real worry that was behind it. Jareth took her head in both of his hands and she looked up into his gaze that was even more intense than it had been before.
"Don't joke like that, precious, please," he chided gently, bringing her close for another hug. "Just thinking about losing you so soon after I finally found you again makes my heart hurt," he confessed. "Losing you again, in such a final way, would kill me as well," he told her. "I won't lose you; even to death," he swore to her. The fact that he loved her as much as she loved him, since she felt the same way, made her feel all melty inside once more. She was quite curious and just a bit worried about what exactly becoming like him entailed. Sarah knew the only way to find out was to ask him and that was exactly what she did.
"How exactly do I become like you?" she asked, "What exactly does it entail?" He caressed her neck again before his hands moved down to caress her everywhere. It was as if he couldn't stop himself from touching her. She knew that she couldn't stop the urge to always want to be touching him, so it was probably the same for him.
"Well," he began, "The process is quite simple really."He took her hand and led her to an amazingly beautiful bed; that had suddenly appeared in the middle of the ballroom, and sat her down on it before sitting beside her. "It is one thing my people keep extremely secret. The only humans that can know of it are the ones, like you, that are going to become one of us," he explained. "It might actually seem humorous to you," he told her, "As mechanics are like the conversion of other more familiar races of a supernatural nature."
"What? You're not going to bite me and suck my blood, are you?" she asked with a chuckle as it was the first thing that came to her mind that could be called a 'conversion' process. She stopped laughing though as Jareth gave her a pointed look.
"There's no sucking involved," he clarified in a whisper as he had leaned down to speak into her ear. He licked a trail down to the pulse point below it before scraping his teeth across it and placing a kiss there. "Unless you want there to be," he purred in a heated voice before sucking lightly on the now tender skin. Sarah couldn't help the tiny sound of pleasure from low in her throat that escaped at his ministrations. "There is, however," he continued with a light lick, scrape of his teeth, openmouthed kiss, and sucking of her skin that forced out another small sound of pleasure. "A bite involved." With that he repeated the lick, scrape, kiss, and suck process again as she felt her bones turn to jell-o.
"A bite?" she questioned, but it came out more a moan as he continued his mouth's new game on her skin.
"We should be more comfortable for this part," he said in a voice full of sex. When Sarah looked down the she noticed that he was now wearing a pair of loose-fitting pajama bottoms and she was wearing a cotton nightgown with spaghetti straps and nothing else. "Much better," he commented as his heated gaze roamed slowly down her body, for it was quite evident beneath the thin layer of cloth.
"Yes, a bite" he continued finally as he nuzzled her neck before returning to give her neck the same treatment he had been seconds before. Sarah was sure that she was going to have at least one hickey there tomorrow, but with the way he was using his mouth on her skin she really couldn't find the will to care at the moment.
"Why a bite?" she asked curiously, amazed she could get the words out. He chuckled at the way that they came out in a moan of pleasure once more.
"Because," he said as he nibbled on her tender flesh then, "There is a certain magical agent, for lack of a better term, in my saliva that, without getting too technical, introduces fae magic to your bloodstream and triggers the conversion process."
"What are you, a vampire?" she chuckled, but it turned into a whimper as his hands came up to caress her breasts.
"No," he told her with a chuckle, "But that might be where that legend started," he admitted. "Just one little bite," he said as his thumbs rubbed her nipples lightly, "And the process will start."
"Will it hurt?" she asked, a little of her worry showing through the breathiness of her voice.
"The bite itself might sting," he admitted, "But I'll make sure you don't even feel it," he vowed as his thumbs grazed her nipples again.
"How long will it take?" she questioned, still curious. Any words that might have been coming ceased as he lay them down again, his body fitting perfectly against hers.
"The affect of the bite will be almost instantaneous," he told her with nip and a soothing lick. "But the conversion will take a bit longer. In the children that are wished to my kingdom it takes around a day for them to convert fully." He said as he caressed the inside of her thighs as he wrapped her legs around him. "Because you are still quite young," he continued, "It should take less than a week for you transformation, and being in the Underground during the process helps speeds things up as well."
"Okay," she said quite dumbly as she couldn't think of anything else to say and it was the only thing that would come out with his hands back on her breasts. "Then I'll have time to say goodbye to my family," She said quietly. Sarah had expected to return to Jareth's castle with him, but she hadn't known how soon.
"I would never keep you from you family, precious" Jareth told her, honesty ringing clearly in his voice no matter how thick it was at the moment. "I want you to be happy," he assured her another flick of her nipples.
"Will I look different?" she asked quite worriedly as the anxiety broke through the thickening fog of lust.
"There will be a few changes," he told her, "Your ears will grow to look like mine," he said as he nipped her earlobe playfully. "Your skin will gain the luminescent quality of ours, your eyes will gain an exotic slant, and you will receive similar markings around them as you are the mate of a king." The matter-of-fact way he said this made her smile.
"I'm your mate, am I?" she murmured as she leaned down to return the favor and kissed his neck.
"Um-hmm," he agreed with a sound rife with pleasure as he enjoyed her reciprocation. "You are my mate in life, heart, and soul, precious," She was struck quite speechless by his eloquent confession.
"Oh, Jareth," she sighed with much feeling, "I love you so much." She nipped his ear then before whispering in a heated tone, "Make me yours completely."
"My pleasure," he growled, the sound vibrating both of them pleasurably, as he all but ripped off her nightgown. His pants were gone in a flash as well and he turned them so she was under him once more. He kissed her then, quite hungrily, and his hands roamed her body. "I'm sorry if it hurts," he whispered in her ear when they had to come up for air. He licked a path to her pulse point then and repeated the pattern he had started earlier. He scraped her skin then before distracting her by reaching between them to the little nub of flesh within her lower lips. Jareth bit her then; his sharp teeth meeting almost no resistance as they sank deep enough to break the skin. Sarah did cry out at his bite, but the sound was not one of pain. When the sudden change in her scent told him that his saliva had done its' job he licked the bite closed. That done, their passion and desire for each other took over until they were making love in earnest once more.
Sarah, realizing that she had fallen asleep, awoke with a start. She looked around frantically for Jareth, as the fear that none of it had been real was overwhelming. When she both saw and felt him curled around her protectively in his sleep she smiled joyously. She had been blessed, it seemed, with more than she had ever hoped for. She had the man of her dreams by her side, his love, and the promise of the future in the ring on her finger and in her blood itself. There was no turning back now. And even if she could, she wouldn't, for it wasn't often people received their dreams and she was going to hold onto hers with all of her strength. It felt strange to know that, even now, the magic of Jareth's blood was working deep within her. For once in her life, she felt hope take hold in her heart and had no fear. This is just the beginning, she told herself, the beginning of my new life with Jareth. She couldn't wait to start this amazing new journey and could only imagine where it might lead her. But she knew that, wherever it led, Jareth would be right there by her side every step of the way. And for the first time in her life Sarah felt like she was right where she was supposed to be; she felt like she belonged.
* Tuatha De Danann = The People of Danu
* A grá mo chroí = Love of my heart
* A stór aingeal = My precious angel
* A stór = My precious