Disclaimer: I don't own anything in Jim Henson's wonderful world. There are some minor characters that are OC.
Summary: It is the morning after the day that Sarah defeated Jareth. What has happened the night before?
Jareth, King of the Goblins, Lord of the Underground, Prince of the Sidhe, Duke of the Bog of Eternal Stench, Ruler of the Castle at the Heart of the Labyrinth, etc., groaned. A small beam of light had penetrated the heavy draperies of his bedroom and alighted upon his pale face. He opened a bleary eye at the sunbeam's effrontery and groaned again, this time much more loudly, at the pain ripping through his head. It felt as though a thousand goblins were trying to bash their way out of his skull with Stone Age axes. His head wasn't the only thing that was protesting. His mouth tasted like the bottom of a bird cage, his stomach was doing loop-the-loops, his eyes felt like they had been salted and dried in a hot sun, and there was a ringing in his ears that he didn't care to know the source of.
The intruding sun wasn't just shredding his eyes with a scythe. His body was parched with thirst to the place that he felt he would die if he didn't get some water. He groaned again, this time more quietly, as he tried to roll over.
And found that he couldn't. He was lying, fully dressed on top of the bedclothes. One booted foot was draped over the side of the bed and planted as firmly as possible (under the circumstances) on the floor. The hand upon the opposite side of his body was clutching the head of his bed. This position was a known preventer of the swirlies, so last night he had evidently… evidently… done what?
… Last night? … yesterday?... someone running his labyrinth… something about the oubliettes… a baby, a blond little boy… playing on his lap… a peach…
Sarah. Sarah… a silver-and-white princess… dancing… in his arms… her sable hair brushing his face, her celadon eyes open with wonder… dancing… swaying and twirling to the music… Sarah in his arms… her wondering eyes on his face… a kiss? ... in his arms…dancing… falling in love…
Until the world falls down… Sarah turning away from his arms… thirteen o'clock… running… running away from him… "You have no power over me!"… her face… the world falling down… falling in chunks… you have no power… no power at all… body falling… twisting… his heart shattered…
Falling… the dance gone, the world in pieces … the song gone… Sarah. Losing to Sarah… losing Sarah… Sarah gone… all gone… Sarah…
After that… what? He couldn't remember and wasn't sure he wanted to. His heart twisted and a sense of pain and loss knifed through him. This was worse that the physical discomfort, a pain that racked a cry from him.
"Oh Sarah! How could you?" Jareth immediately regretted the cry. All of his innards felt as though they were about to erupt out of him. Fortunately they were cut off at the narrowing of the pass. He winced and gulped. Now they were evidently trying to duke it out over who had precedence. He gulped again. If he were lucky, he would die of thirst and never have to feel this way again. If he were lucky, he would just lie here for the rest of his life and pretend that yesterday had never occurred. That last night didn't exist, that…
But his luck was out. His cry had called attention that he didn't want.
"Yer majesty! Yer majesty! You awake?"
"Yer majesty! You up?" The call was coming from several goblins.
His majesty groaned. "No, I'm down. I intend to stay that way. For the rest of my life. Now GO AWAY!"
"But yer majesty, she's here and wants to see you now! She won't go away! She says she must see you now!"
"What she? Tell whomever it is to go away. Tell her I'm seeing no one at this ghastly hour of the morning. Tell her… "
Too late. The doors of his bedroom flew open, hall light streamed into the darkened bedroom… and his mother strode to the foot of his bed. Her hands on her hips, her amethyst eyes blazing, she looked down upon her recumbent son with disgust on her perfect face.
"Jareth! Just what do you think you are doing in bed at this time of day?"
The King of the Goblins tried to sit up. When your mother is Queen of the Sidhe, it is not a bad idea to show respect. Of some sort, anyway. "I'm trying to sleep, mother," he managed to grate out, his voice hoarse, his throat raw. "Please let… "
"Jareth, it is three o' clock in the afternoon. When were you planning to rise?" She came closer to the bed and sniffed suspiciously. "Are you drunk?"
"No." More of last night was coming back to him. "At least, not any more." He was definitely paying for his excesses last night. He never should have gotten into Glurg's hooch. He knew better than to drink it. Even a little was known to have dire consequences. From the evidence, he had had more than just a little. And if he could just get his hands on the little scab, he would not be the only one hurting.
"Jareth!" He wished she would quit screaming his name at him. It wasn't as though he didn't know who he was. Her voice, sweet and silvery normally, was rocketing around the inside of his skull like a bat on uppers.
"You are drunk! Just what brings on this disgusting state?" It was a question, but something about her face told him that she might already know the answer.
Her son pulled himself up by means of the headboard of his bed and attempted to stand straight without support. This was a lost cause and he gave it up and caught hold of the bedstead again.
"It seemed like a good idea at the time." He rubbed the side of his head, wishing he could park it somewhere and come back for it later when it had stopped hurting.
Queen Aeldra sniffed again, this time in disgust. "Drunk or sober, you should be up and about your duties. You have a kingdom to run and it won't run itself, you know."
"Yes, mother. I know." Jareth swallowed a groan and desperately wished for water. Right now he was contemplating sticking his head out of the window and seeing if there were any moisture in the rain gutters. On second thought, maybe that wasn't advisable. He shuddered and motioned towards a chair by the side of the bed. "Please, mother. Sit down."
The queen did just that, seating herself with a graceful swirl of her lavender silk skirts. The motion and color made Jareth nauseous but he attempted to straighten himself up once more. If he could just get through this interview, he could lie back down and get a couple of the servants to bring him a vat of water. After he drank, he could use what was left upon his head. The memory of last night was beginning to reassert itself. Something about singing a song about a bullfrog named Jeremiah…
His mother eyed him. "And just what were you celebrating? A glorious victory in battle? The successful conclusion of a war? There has obviously been something of the kind going on. Your city is a disaster."
"Oh. I'll have to do something about that."
The lady drew herself up. "I should hope so. And pray tell me what you were celebrating so vigorously?"
"Wasn't a celebration. I… " He swallowed hard at the thought. More memory was returning. Had he really danced around the throne room with a chicken tied to the top of his head? "I lost," he managed to say.
"So I understand. And to a mere chit of a girl, I hear." His mother skewered him with a sharp look.
"How did you hear about that?" When had she learned that? It had just happened… yesterday… last night… How could she learn about it so quickly?
Queen Aeldra actually rolled her eyes. "I'm your mother, Jareth. I hear things. So what does this little human have to do with you present condition?" She leaned back in her chair and looked at him warily. "You say you lost? To a mere chit of a human girl? Jareth, you have to be jesting! You, my son, a prince of the sidhe, lost to a human?"
Jareth shut his eyes and gritted his teeth. This wasn't getting any better. "Yes, mother, I lost. To a human girl. I. Lost. Her."
His mother observed him more closely. "You lost her? You care about this girl? You wanted her? Why? Who is she?"
He set his shoulders and raised his chin. His self-control was returning.
"Yes. She is human. Her name is Sarah. She called for me to take her baby brother and I did. I had been watching her for some time. She has the Book, you see. So I set her up to run the labyrinth and I gave her thirteen hours to do it—less, actually. And she did it—went through everything I could throw at her, all of it. And she won back her brother. I lost."
Aeldra threw back her head and laughed. "Jareth! I can't believe it! You have a thing for this girl, this little human twit, and you let her get away. Why? She should be flattered at your attention, fall at your feet. Why didn't you just keep her until you tired of her?"
Her son bowed his head. "I couldn't, mother. She is only fifteen."
"So? In the past many human girls were wed much younger and were devoted mothers of a couple of babes by her age. Why not? You don't have to marry her or anything—just keep her until you are tired of her. She's only human, after all."
Jareth sighed. "Mother, that was a very long time ago. Things are different in the human world just now. A girl that young is called jailbait. It's against their laws. Even if she had begged me to make love her, in her world it is a crime called statutory rape. Oh, how he had wanted to… to take her into his arms and kiss her, love her, caress her… but those wondering eyes, trusting, … all innocence… he couldn't do it.
"You care so much about a human?" The queen's voice was sharp. "You certainly don't want to marry her!" She looked at her son with disbelief written plain on her face. "You do! I can't believe it! You actually want to marry her!"
"Yes, I would like to. She would make a wonderful queen. And she definitely has the power. But she used that power against me and she won. End of story."
His mother sighed. "My son, your father and I have been wanting you to wed for centuries. You have turned down so many eligible Sidhe girls. We have overlooked this little penchant of yours for humans. After all, you are a prince and a king; you can have your fun. But it truly is time you were wed. But NOT to some little human girl who, from the way you are acting, treats you like a carpet. Why didn't you turn her into ashes while you had the chance? How dare she treat you like that?"
"I couldn't. And she won. She defeated me. I lost." He said this flatly, as if he were not torn. "I didn't want to turn her into ashes, mother. I couldn't do that."
The queen stood up, gasping, her eyes enlarging with horror. "Jareth… you LOVE this girl? Why… why… you wouldn't… you couldn't…" her voice died away and she was silent for a moment. "You really love her, don't you?" She asked in a wondering voice. "You can't, you know. You mustn't. "
He closed his eyes. "I do and I can." He opened them and surveyed her. "I can rule the Goblin Kingdom, be a prince of the sidhe, and respect my parents but I cannot control this feeling. I will have to accept that fact and so will you, mother. Please understand that it is not easy but it is the way things are. Please accept it." The last words were all but a whisper.
She stood, her face stiff with shock. She looked at him for several minutes more, then shook her head and swept from the room, her back rigid, her bearing proud. Jareth watched her leave his room, then he sighed. As rotten as he felt, it was time to get started on his day. Duties awaited him. He had the strong feeling that part of it was going to consist of serious house cleaning in the throne room.
The call came again. "Yer majesty! Yer majesty!"
"What?" he yelled.
"She's gone. She left. She's all gone."
"I know, " he grated out. His duties were definitely going to include murdering the goblins. A few, at any rate. A couple, at least. One in particular. He turned and lurched to the wardrobe to get the day started.