A Fanfiction by Heist
A fairytale ending did not mean the end of the fairytale. It was more of a beginning than anything else. Sarah still had a kingdom to claim, and Jareth had his own kingdom to restore. The Labyrinth had done untold amounts of damage by severing itself from the land, and it would be months before anything resembling the Labyrinth's usual disorder was restored.
Sarah was crowned the Queen and sole ruler of Istrien a short month after she woke from the Goblin King's kiss, out of a semblance of respect for the dead Katrinne. She had been universally hated by the people of Istrien, but Sarah wanted to give her young brother time to get used to his mother's death. Tobias had been quiet and withdrawn, so different from the laughing child she remembered, and it hurt to see him so solemn. It was days before he said anything less perfunctory than the polite manners drilled into him by tutors. She was greatly relieved when one of Jareth's goblins got a smile out of him, and when he finally laughed at a valiant Sir Didymus defending his wife from a rosebush grown out of control, she was convinced he would be fine.
Sarah was greatly surprised by the number of people that attended her coronation. The Horandi that had followed her mother to the kingdom came out in full force, as did a large number of commoners that had formerly believed the rumors of her mental infirmity. Even more unexpected was the arrival of the entire royal Court of Ennevar, eager to again see the woman destined to marry their king. It was an emotionally charged ceremony, as many were torn between watching Sarah vow to defend and protect them and goggling at the Goblin King she intended to wed. The most surprising part of all was how little dissent marred the occasion; Sarah had expected her people to reject her or her choice of husband, especially after the royal disaster that had been Katrinne, but if any objected, they kept their complaints silent.
In the intervening weeks after the coronation, Jareth and Sarah stayed away from each other by mutual, silent agreement. It confounded nearly everyone who had seen them together; for days after the spell had broken, they had clung to each other as if to separate would mean being unable to draw breath (Sarah was later amused by that metaphor, but she never explained it). Only the two of them knew that what they had was too raw and fragile and new, and love was not enough to completely undo all the hurts they had done each other. For the moment, love from a distance was the best solution until they learned to coexist, if not peacefully, then at least without the battle of wills that had plagued all their previous encounters.
That, as it turned out, became a futile effort.
"I said NO!"
"And I said YES!"
"Sarah, be reasonable."
An irate Sarah threw her door open to glare at a befuddled Irias. "I am being quite reasonable. Tell your KING HE IS BEING IMPOSSIBLE AND I'M THINKING ABOUT CALLING THE WHOLE DAMNED THING OFF!" she yelled, and slammed the door shut again. Irias shrugged plaintively at his wife, who was trying to negotiate with an equally sequestered and irate Goblin King across the hall.
Jareth flung his own door open and "FINE!" he yelled back. "Riganne, tell Her Majesty THAT MAYBE I DON'T WANT TO MARRY HER ANYWAY!"
Sarah's door again flew open and crashed into the wall. "What in all hells are you talking about? This was your idea!"
"You agreed to it!"
"I am not surrendering my kingdom, Jareth!"
"I never asked you to do any such thing, Sarah."
"No, you decided to annex my kingdom without telling me."
"I was not responsible for the Labyrinth growing around your borders! How many times do I have to apologize for that?"
"It's your Labyrinth!"
"You try telling it that, Sarah!"
Riganne pinched the bridge of her nose and pulled on her husband's arm. They had been privy to dozens of these spats since Sarah had returned to Ennevar for the marriage negotiations. It wasn't terribly common for independent monarchs to wed, and they were all beginning to understand why. Land negotiations were difficult enough, but adding love into the equation made it infinitely more complex. Sarah and Jareth had been perfectly happy to leave each other's kingdoms alone, but then the Labyrinth had interfered, and taken the choice entirely away from them. Sarah was not pleased.
Negotiations between the two royals had become… strained, and none of their ministers wanted to be present when they began arguing at the table. Hence, a permanent recess had been called, so the two of them could work out their differences alone. That had not gone well, to say the least, and so Sarah and Jareth had been summarily confined to their rooms. All might have been well after that, except for the fact that Sarah was residing in the Queen's chambers, which was directly across the hall from Jareth. The panicked ministers had called Irias and Riganne back from their honeymoon to sort out the carnage.
Every argument began with the two of them passing messages to each other through Irias and Riganne, because they childishly refused to talk to each other face to face. It always rapidly devolved into an out and out screaming match, chased by a short time when they actually conversed in mere raised voices. That degraded into name calling, at which point Riganne usually pulled Irias away to wait from a safe distance.
They found the Prince Tobias coming up the stairway and stopped him before he got embroiled in the situation. Sarah still didn't trust Jareth with her brother, and the boy was another issue of contention between the two. Early on in negotiations, Jareth had suggested letting Sarah turn Istrien over to her brother, a notion she had heartily denied. It had never been a viable alternative, a mere suggestion in fact, but it was one of the many things that still came up in arguments between them.
"Fighting again?" the child asked.
"They're almost finished," Irias assured the boy.
"They don't usually take this long," Riganne said a few moments later, when the torrent of insults hadn't slowed.
"They're getting creative," Irias added.
"Why do they do this, again?" Tobias asked. Irias hushed him.
"Wait. We're almost to the good part." Riganne nodded.
"The gods only know why I love you woman!" Jareth yelled finally.
"I can't fathom why I love you!" Sarah shot back, right before she launched herself across the hall into his arms. Their lips met in a crushing kiss, and Tobias made a sound of juvenile disgust as Jareth pulled Sarah into the room and closed the door.
"It's all grown-up kissy stuff after they argue," he whined. "It's yucky."
Irias reached over and ruffled the child's hair. "That's not true, Toby," he said as he met Riganne's eyes. "That's part of the fun of being a grown-up." He let his lips brush Riganne's over the boy's head, and the child retreated.
"Not you too! You're supposed to be the smart grown-ups." He crossed his arms and pouted.
Riganne laughed. "It's one of the things you get used to when you get older."
"Nuh uh, not ever," Tobias said decisively, and he ran down the stairs to find other sources of amusement.
Irias pulled Riganne to his side and she let her head rest against his shoulder. "Children," she said.
"Yes," he answered. A thought occurred to him, and he looked down at his wife. There was no visible change in her aura, but one could never be too certain. "Why? Do you want to have some?"
"Maybe. Someday." A thud emanated from the door of Jareth's room, followed by a low laughter. "But not before they do."
Irias grinned, and could not stop his own laughter. Jareth and Sarah argued over everything, yes, but they made it up to each other in the best ways possible. They were going to be just fine.
Jareth and Sarah married at Midwinter. Their "arguments" wore on all autumn, and they finally reached a truce after the first snows came to the Labyrinth. Jareth promised to rule only his own subjects, and to leave Sarah's under her jurisdiction. Living arrangements were complicated by the vastness of the lands now surrounded by the Labyrinth, but another compromise was made in that regard. Doors were made in each castle that magically led to the other, so as to make running the two kingdoms run more smoothly. If Sarah ran into a problem that required the help of her husband, he was steps away, and if Jareth had to suffer a challenger to the Labyrinth, Sarah was an easily reached distraction.
Initially, the ceremony was to be a small, simple affirmation of vows, but having two royal Courts to corral turned it into the most elaborate affair witnessed in centuries. It was publicly agreed that Jareth and Sarah made the most striking couple to rule the goblin lands in generations, and much more quietly, but more universally agreed, to be the most entertaining pair to ever control the Labyrinth. Their arguments were explosive, but anyone could see that they enjoyed the opportunity to yell at each other, because making up was even more spectacular.
No one was surprised when children came early in their marriage.
The draperies were closed against the morning sun, but a thin line of sun crept steadily across the floor, over the bedding, and directly into Sarah's eyes.
She cracked an eye open and shut it immediately, then curled into the warm body beside her. A bare arm tightened slightly over the slight curve of her stomach, and she moaned in contentment. Labyrinth, she thought, do shut up.
Jareth's breath tickled over her ear, and a smile crossed her face. "Sarah," he said, in a voice that still sent a shiver down her spine, "it's morning."
"Ten more minutes," she mumbled. Jareth was still stubbornly, impossibly a morning person, something Sarah could not claim to have been for years. She rolled over and burrowed her head into his chest to hide from the burgeoning sunlight. She felt the rumbling laughter in Jareth's chest and swatted lightly at his shoulder. "It's not morning until I say it is."
Jareth lifted her head with a finger beneath her chin and rested his forehead against hers. "Wake up, Sleeping Beauty."
"Mmmm… make me," Sarah said with a yawn. A gentle, openmouthed kiss greeted her, and Sarah fairly melted inside. Years of marriage had not dulled the passion between them, and Sarah responded with equal fervor.
"Sarah…" That put a slight dampener on things.
Could you be quiet? I'm having a moment, she thought irately, and wondered vaguely if the Labyrinth did this to Jareth every day too.
"Very well," the Labyrinth said with a sigh. "But don't say I didn't give you fair warning."
The door flew open with a heavy crack, and two fast-moving bodies launched themselves into the bed. Sarah's eyes snapped open, and she broke away from Jareth with a sigh. He grinned apologetically before wrestling the bodies of their children into the blankets. "What are you two about so early?" he growled as the children giggled. Sarah turned her eyes skyward and flopped into the pillows.
It was the same every morning. Esrane and Alida possessed the same boundless energy as their father, especially in the morning. Sarah smiled up at the ceiling and bit her lip as she ran a hand over her growing belly and listened to her children's laughter. Esrane, the heir and his father's joy had come first, nearly seven years earlier, and Alida had followed three years later. They had all of Jareth's impish charm combined with her eyes and dark hair, beautiful little angels, both of them. Jareth insisted this next one was going to have his eyes, but Sarah just shrugged and let him believe it.
"We came to wake up Mama," Esrane said proudly, in between laughing gasps.
"Wakie Mama!" Alida squealed.
"Well," Jareth said in a faux serious tone, "there is only one way I can think of." A brief silence filled the air, and Sarah raised her head to see three mischievous sets of eyes looking back at her. Really, she thought, it was a crime to see that evil expression in eyes that were miniatures of her own. "Tickle fight!"
Sarah shrieked as Jareth pulled her arms up above her head and the children attacked her sides with wicked fingers. She laughed until tears sprang to her eyes, and she hugged Esrane and Alida to her chest. She looked up at Jareth and smiled at his happy look of contented awe, and thought that there could never be a more perfect moment in all the world.
"Come here, you," she commanded her husband, and she pulled his mouth down to hers. Her children grimaced and gagged at the display, and she laughed into Jareth's mouth, as he looked at her with a playful look that promised some kind of retaliation when their children left the room. Sarah couldn't wait.
And so with laughter and love, they all lived happily ever after.
Author's Notes: I owe everyone an apology.
On January 1st, 2007, I pulled all my fic from the 'net at large in a mad manic fury, declared myself finished with it and any other creative endeavor because I was a failure, a wretched desperate grasping failure and nothing I did was ever going to amount to anything. It was a bad day, in an ugly month of bad days following a succession of ugly months. When I am in the teeth of the monster, I destroy the things I love, and after that day I eviscerated Fairest so thoroughly that I have been picking up the pieces ever since. I got over it, and deleted my other copies of Fairest in sheer embarassment: I didn't particularly want the reminder of my little tantrum just lying around.
I know I said it was never coming back. At the time, I really did mean it. I meant it as recently as a month ago, but circumstances change. I found a copy of Fairest still in one piece on my hard drive on September 7th, 2009, and after chewing on my pride and bruised ego for two days I reposted it on September 9th, 2009. To everyone I either ignored or was less than charitable to in the last two and a half years, I am sorry. I was snappish on the topic, and I shouldn't have been nearly so ridiculous about the whole thing.
It's worth noting for future reference that I am working, in off times, on gutting out and revising the bones of Fairest into something new and different and original. A book, to be precise. At this point in time, the skeleton of the idea bears nothing but the most superficial of resemblances to this story, but that might change. I don't believe I will pull Fairest again, but I would rather not be called out for plagiarizing myself in the future.
To anyone who missed Fairest in its absence, thank you for your patience. To any who are new, thank you for reading. I appreciate you all.