Disclaimer: The only thing I claim to own is the insane idea that formed this story. Everything else is borrowed.
Summary: Through accidental encounters and coincidental meetings Sarah discovers that behind the title of Goblin King there is a man who is fascinating and seductive, but is that enough to warm her indifferent heart? Jareth's love for Sarah is reborn, growing stronger each time they meet. But a mistake was made during their first encounter that changed Sarah forever. Can Jareth mend the damage done? Or will Sarah keep her heart Between the Stars…
A/N: A while back a friend of mine asked me to write a Labyrinth romance story: Where Sarah and Jareth are not in love, but learn to love each other. Here's my attempt to fulfill her request. I hope everyone in the kingdom enjoys!
Between The Stars
October - Halloween Ball – Location Unknown
Sarah Williams found herself becoming excited as she got out of her car. There was just something in the air for this year's Halloween, something… magical. Making sure she had her keys, cell phone, and lipstick for touch ups in her small drawstring purse, she locked and closed the car door. Pulling her shawl tighter around her bare shoulders, she carefully stepped around the front of the vehicle to join Frank, her current live-in boyfriend.
"I can't believe how many people are here," she commented, glancing at the full parking lot, and then, at the stream of people dressed in various costumes filing into the old theatre house.
"I can't believe you talked me into this," Frank remarked sullenly. "I feel fucking ridiculous."
Sarah smiled warmly at him, taking hold of his hand as they approached the end of the line to get inside. "I think you look fantastic," she beamed up at him, giving him a promising look when he returned her gaze.
"Now, see? That's exactly the look you used to talk me into this," he quipped, trying to sound perturbed, but failed. He could never stay mad at Sarah for long. She had such an innocent quality to her sometimes that made you feel like a million bucks just to have her look at you. "But, c'mon babe, tights? I mean, really," he commented cynically.
"You had no qualms about being Robin Hood when you first saw me in this gown," she quipped with a small laugh.
"That was before I knew about the tights," he admitted, leaning closer to her so the people around them wouldn't hear about his discomfort.
"Ahh, but you carry your sword very well, Sir Robin," she taunted with a gleam in her eyes, and a mischievous smile on her lips.
Frank pulled back to his full height to look at her. "That I do, Maid Marian," he adlibbed with his own mischievousness. "And, I know how to use it, too."
"Of that, I am certain, Sir," she responded, bringing a blush to her cheeks. He leaned over her and kissed her cheek, both of them laughing at their own antics.
"I love how you role play, you know that?" Frank asked, his tone full of fondness.
"You're not so bad, yourself," she complimented. "Once I get you started, that is."
"Good Evening," the vampiric doorman greeted pleasantly, holding out his hand for their tickets. "Robin of Locksley, and Maid Marian, I presume."
"Yes, my lord," Sarah replied, curtsying slightly with a smile. God she missed this, she really, really missed this!
The doorman laughed heartily, "Brava, my Lady," he beamed. "Not everyone is as enthused as you are." He handed Frank their ticket stubs. "Hold onto these for the mix match, and consolation prize drawing later in the evening," he told Frank, who nodded and handed them to Sarah to put in her purse. "I hope you both have a great time tonight."
"Thank you," Sarah and Frank replied, then stepped past the doorman to follow the red velvet ropes to the interior.
"Ooh," a woman dressed as a Victorian Lady voiced with appreciation as she walked past the newly arrived couple. "Robin Hood, I admire your… sword, Sire."
"Heh… uhm… thank you," Frank replied, feeling flustered at the woman's blatant stare at his groin. He stepped closer behind Sarah as she took in all the costumes and ambiance of the spacious theatre turned ball room. "You know, maybe the tights aren't such a bad thing after all."
"I told you," Sarah sing sung with a knowing smile. "Let's get some refreshments before starting to dance."
"After you," Frank stated agreeably.
"I'll meet you inside," Jareth informed his companion stiffly, as she paused at the end of an obnoxiously long line of mortals just to enter the place.
"Jareth," Selina breathed exasperated. "It's no fun if you don't go through the motions. Now, please, wait with me."
"I spend more hours simply waiting than I'd like to think about," he replied curtly. "There is no point to this if it can be avoided."
"You were the one who invited me to this function, may I remind you," she replied smugly. "And, I would have you enter as everyone else."
Jareth took a heavy breath, resigning himself to remain, waiting, in a line of humanity. He had regretted asking Salina to accompany him to this function as soon as the words had left his mouth. She had immediately gone off treating the event as though it were a formal affair of the Underground. His only consolation was that he had successfully talked her out of actually wearing mortal costumes, Robin Hood and Maid Marian, no less. He cringed inwardly at the thought.
"This is so very exciting, don't you think?" Salina asked Jareth with exuberant enthusiasm. "I haven't attended one of these in such a long time!" she glanced over at Jareth, stepping closer so she wasn't overheard by prying ears. "Do you think they still have beheadings?"
"Highly unlikely," Jareth replied dryly. "That custom has been banned for quite some time here."
"Oh," she murmured with a pout. "How disappointing." Glancing along the waiting line ahead of them, Salina recognized someone entering the building. "Oh, look, it's Roland and Phoebe!" she exclaimed, nudging Jareth in the side. "Let's meet them inside, shall we?"
"Ah, not just yet," Jareth stated whimsically, holding her by the elbow. "It's not fun if we don't follow the motions, after all," he reminded her, smirking with pleasure at the sour look she gave him in turn. Finally, it was their turn to enter, greeting the vampire who acted as a doorman.
"A little run of the mill for you isn't it, Colin?" Jareth asked, handing the other immortal a set of tickets.
"No more than seeing you actually standing in line!" Colin returned laughing. "I thought I had finally lost all my senses!"
"Very amusing," Jareth responded with feigned sourness. "You remember Salina?"
"Of course," Colin drawled in a silky voice. "How could I possibly forget Mistress of Eighteen Twelve?"
"Oh," Salina chuckled with feigned embarrassment, waving her hand gracefully. "That was so long ago."
"But, unforgettable none the less," he replied, winking at her. "Enjoy your evening," Colin chuckled, handing Jareth their ticket stubs. "Don't lose these," he whispered. "You just might end up with an interesting consolation prize, and don't forget about the mix match."
"I'll be sure to guard them with my life," Jareth joked, smirking at the vampire. "Take care, Colin."
"Oh, Jareth," Salina whispered with awe, breathing in deeply at the entrance of the grand ball room. "Can you smell the humanity? Mmm, it's like fall after the floods come."
"I try not to breathe that deeply around mortals, so excuse me if I don't agree."
"What is with you?" She turned on him in agitation. "Ever since we arrived you've been in this morbid mood of yours, and quite frankly, I'm getting bored with it."
"My apologies," Jareth responded, bowing slightly to show his sincerity. "I've felt a little on edge since arriving," he admitted. "I can't explain why."
"Well, just try to ignore it," Salina pouted prettily, pretending to fix his frock. "And have some fun. That's why we're here after all."
"Perhaps some dancing will make me feel more at ease," Jareth suggested in a lighter tone.
"Oh, now that's something I would never say no to you about," Salina replied with a sly look in her eyes.
"Sarah!" Frank hissed into her ear, handing her one of the drinks he carried. "That woman just shoved money down my tights!"
"Really?" Sarah exclaimed, laughing. "How much?"
"I'm sorry, Frank," she told him, trying to stifle her amusement.
"You know, sometimes I think you don't care at all," he accused her, placing his drink on the small high table they stood by.
"Why would you say something like that?" she asked, mildly hurt by his words.
"Because my previous girlfriend would've tried to gauge out that woman's eyes for doing something like that!" he replied heatedly, pulling a twenty from the waist of his tights.
"Well," Sarah countered flatly, her amusement completely replaced with ire. "My previous boyfriend would never have let me talk him into wearing tights in the first place. So, is that an enhancement from the past, or a handicap?"
"That's not what I meant. I'm sor…" Sarah firmly placed her drink on the small table and walked away, her back stiff with agitation. "Sarah!" he called after her, bumping into a couple who had been walking by. "Excuse me," he mumbled. "Sarah! Please! Wait!"
The name alone had drawn his attention with minute curiosity to the mild commotion to his left. The flustered man walking into him gained his attention fully. Jareth turned his head to catch the woman briskly making her way as far from her companion as possible, strategically using the crowd to lose herself in. "Trouble in Sherwood Forest, Sir Robin?" Jareth asked with mild amusement.
"Yea," Frank answered, resigning himself to simply let her go for now. "It's called foot in mouth disease, and it's running rampant tonight." He looked over at the man for the first time, noticing physical characteristics similar to his own. "Are you one of her exes or something?"
Jareth was honestly taken aback by the question, and allowed his surprise to show on his features. "Highly unlikely," he replied. "I only caught a brief glimpse of her as she stormed off. Why would you ask such a question?"
"Sorry," Frank apologized demurely. "You just match her 'type' that's all, as you can tell by looking at me."
"I fail to see why that would have reason for your question."
"Let's put it this way," Frank explained. "If you lined up all of Sarah's ex boyfriends, you'd think we were all related." He raked his fingers through his mid-length blonde hair with frustration. "That was the fourth time I've said the wrong thing since we got here!" he exclaimed, flipping his hand in the air in the direction Sarah had stalked off in. "What the hell is wrong with me tonight?" he asked rhetorically.
"Feeling a bit… on edge?" Jareth prompted carefully.
"Yea," Frank answered, looking back at Jareth. "You feelin that way, too?"
"I was earlier," Jareth admitted. "I found a good dose of dancing alleviated the feeling somewhat."
"I'll try that, then. All I have to do is find her, again." Frank craned his neck in an attempt to locate Sarah, then gave up temporarily. He turned and held his hand out towards Jareth. "Hey thanks, and I'm sorry for slamming into you like that."
"Not a problem. Good luck with Maid Marian," he smirked, briefly shaking the man's hand before the mortal hustled into the crowd in search of 'Sarah'. 'Now there's a coincidence like I've never heard before,' Jareth thought as he turned to locate his own companion of the evening.
The host for the entertainment stepped up to the DJ stage, taking the microphone in his hand to make an announcement. As the music slowly faded off, and the blaring microphone buzz filled the room, all the participants gave their attention to the stage.
"Good evening," the announcer stated in a smooth calming voice. "May I please have your attention." He paused briefly as the din in the room came to a hush. "Ladies and gentlemen, goblins and ghouls, pirates and…" he glanced down at a woman in the front. "I'm sorry, I'm not sure what you are, but welcome!" People laughed, and shifted on their feet to catch a glimpse of the unknown guest.
"It is time for the mix and match," he announced. "Now, for those of you who don't know what the mix and match is, I'll tell you," he added exuberantly with a broad smile. "On your ticket stubs, that you were asked to hold onto by our dear old friend, Colin, at the door, you will notice that they are marked with a 'G' or an 'L'. These are to identify the gentlemen from the ladies." He paced the small stage briefly as he continued. "The tickets have been separated into their specific groups and now we shall draw fifty ticket stubs from each basket. I will call out the ticket number, and if you have the matching stub, kindly make your way to the orchestra pit, which is empty at the moment so you needn't fear of tripping on anything," he added with humor.
The host proceeded to call out numbers from random tickets, first from one basket, then the other, he then stapled those two tickets together to hand over to an assistant. Sarah held their stubs in her hand hoping she was picked to dance with someone else for awhile. It would give her a legitimate reason to avoid Frank, who has been nothing but a sour puss most of the night. She squealed in delight and briefly bounced in place when her number was called out. Handing Frank his stub, she collected her skirts, and made her way through the crowd to the orchestra pit.
Sarah was surprised at how organized everything was at the event, even the mulling around of people with matching ticket numbers was being handled in an efficient manner. She stood among the group of people, chatting and comparing costumes with the others while the announcer finished calling numbers from the baskets. Someone gently tapped her on her shoulder, and Sarah turned to see who it was.
"May I have your stub, please?" requested a dark haired woman dressed in a very short white toga, tan sandals that strapped up her calf, and a vine of ivy delicately weaved in her hair. Sarah handed over her stub, and the woman looked at the number on it. She quickly flipped through the few tickets she had in her hand, found the one with Sarah's matching number on it, then looked around for the gentleman she would be matched with. "I was just speaking to this man," the woman informed Sarah, craning her neck from side to side as she peered through the small crowd. "Where did he… oh, there he is," she stated with a smile. "Please, follow me, and I'll introduce you to your mix match."
Sarah couldn't believe her luck when it became apparent that they were heading towards the tall blonde in the purple, jewel studded tail coat. A please smile formed on her lips before they were even within speaking range.
"Your Majesty," the roman woman addressed politely. "The Maid Marian will be your mix match this evening."
Jareth had immediately noticed her in the smaller crowd as he joined those in the orchestra pit, especially while her back was turned to him, he recognized her as the wayward companion to the mortal with foot in mouth disease. But, seeing her face as she approached him made his breath hitch. It wasn't coincidence at all, it seemed, simply extreme odds of fate. "It's my pleasure, Maid Marian," Jareth stated suavely, reaching for her hand to kiss her knuckles. He smiled secretly as her green eyes darkened pleasingly at the simple gesture, but, as of yet showed no sign of recognizing him. 'Perhaps she doesn't remember,' he thought with mixed feelings.
"If everyone is ready," the host announced through the microphone. "Let the mix match dancing proceed!"
Light cheers and applause filled the grand room as most of the guests made their way to the dance floor. Jareth held Sarah's hand in a proper fashion as they joined the main masse of people.
"May I ask what you are dressed as, Sire?" Sarah asked in character as they placed themselves within the crowd. "Besides royalty, of course," she added with a sly smile.
"I am a Fae King, nothing more," he replied pleasantly, being drawn to her eyes just as he had been before. He placed his hand at her waist, the other holding her hand, to begin dancing.
"But, you wear no crown, Fae King," she flirted lightly, placing her hand lightly upon his shoulder as she fell into step with him.
"I never do," he quipped back at her, matching her flirtatiousness. "It messes up my hair," he added with arrogant humor.
Sarah chuckled becomingly, blushing slightly at his smile. "I feel like I know you from somewhere," she told him, slightly frowning thoughtfully as they followed the flow of dancers around them. "You have the most enchanting eyes. I'm sure I've seen them before."
"Perhaps you do know me," Jareth replied easily with a smile. "Or, perhaps I simply remind you of someone else," he added misleadingly. "Say, a boyfriend of similar appearances?"
"Oh," she voiced flatly, the wonder in her eyes fading. "You bumped into Frank, didn't you?" she asked disgruntled.
"Actually, he bumped into me," Jareth replied casually. "It seems he was suffering from foot in mouth disease."
She huffed in agitation, and shook her head as she lowered her face slightly. "He suffers from more than foot in mouth disease," she muttered under breath, then smoothed her brow, and raised her eyes to meet Jareth's. "That still doesn't explain this feeling that I've met you before."
"Forgive me, but, I feel we should end this dance," he stated with finality, not sure how she would react if she suddenly remembered why he seemed familiar to her. "Allow me to escort you from the dance floor."
"He said something about me, didn't he?" she asked in an accusing tone, stopping dead in the middle of the dance floor. "Oh, that's just great," she surmised, not giving Jareth time to answer. "Why can't I ever go out, and have fun without someone ruining everything!" She turned her eyes up towards the star enchanted ceiling, blinking back tears that threatened to spill over. She took a deep, controlling breath, then plastered a smile on her face for good show. "Well, at least you're trying to be a gentleman about it," she complimented, looking up at Jareth. "Thank you for that much."
She turned away from him, walking away before he had a chance to so much as act as a proper escort. "Sarah!" he called, not wanting to see her upset over a misunderstanding.
She knew that voice. "Sarah." It echoed from some deep recess in her mind. "Turn back Sarah!" Only one person could say her name like that. "Sarah!" And how did he know her name anyway? She stopped suddenly, once again within the throws of dancing couples, and slowly turned around to face him, full recognition in her sea green eyes. 'How could I have not recognized him?'
He was in front of her within one stride as he caught up to her. "I was uncertain how you would react once you realized who I am," he stated, a half smile briefly graced his face before waning again.
"Frank didn't say anything about me," she surmised, her voice barely a whisper, was lost within the din of laughing people, and loud music. But, he heard her, and smiled half heartedly once more.
"No, he did not." He reached his hand out to her, palm up, with his other hand elegantly behind his back. "Perhaps you would allow us to finish this dance after all?"
Her hand was in his before she realize that she had moved. Blinkingly she looked up at him to see him attempt a small smile. He seemed just as uncertain as she felt. Taking a breath, she stepped closer to him, resting her hand upon his shoulder with more pressure, and graced him with a winning smile.
"Well, this is a shocker, isn't it?" she stated uncomfortably as he led her in step with the other dancers.
"To say the least," he agreed. "I am, very shocked."
"How come I didn't recognize you right away?"
"A touch of magic from long ago," he replied. "I venture into the Aboveground often, most wishers don't remember me at all. I had a feeling you would be one of the few that would."
"Well, it's nice to know that you get out once in a while," she remarked with a wavering smile, trying to conquer all the emotions flowing through her at the moment. She was 'dancing' with the Goblin King and every nerve ending was jumping with anxiety. But, at the same time, it felt as though she had met up with an old friend. Like that person from high school that you sat with at lunch and couldn't remember their name to save yourself, but it was good to see them again, none the less.
"I'm not as busy as I once was," he replied, marveling at how well she was taking meeting him again in stride.
"Really?" she quipped with curiosity. "Wife and kids bogging you down?" She outwardly cringed at her choice of words, making a disgusted sound at herself. "I'm sorry, that's not…"
His light chuckling stopped her from apologizing further. "That was amusing," he admitted. "Your world's technology is simply taking its toll over magic," he explained, leading her into a different dance step as the music changed slightly. "And yourself?" he questioned. "Any children of your own?"
"I notice you didn't ask about a husband," she quipped with a short chuckle.
"Frank had introduced himself as your boyfriend," Jareth explained.
"Ah, right," she nodded acceptingly. "Well, with that explained. No, I don't have any children of my own." She glanced up to meet his gaze. "You still haven't answered me, though."
"Noticed that, did you?" he smiled genuinely, noticing her cheeks turn a light shade darker. "I do not have a wife, or a queen, though hundreds of children to care for, if you would translate that loosely."
She laughed lightly at his response. "I can fully give you that translation."
He returned her smile, relaxing somewhat now that he was assured that she wasn't going to make a scene. He noticed how gracefully she stepped in time with him as they moved around the dance floor, just as she had done so long ago. It felt nice holding her again, and he couldn't help but wonder if she felt the same. Her rejection of him had bruised more than his ego, but after awhile he had come to his senses, and once again took hold of his duties as goblin king, and ruler of the labyrinth.
"You dance very well," she complimented, having the need to say something.
"I've had years of practice," he replied lightly.
She laughed delicately, her eyes shone brightly as she looked up at him, a brilliant smile etched on her smooth features. "I'll be kind, and won't ask how many."
Salina approached the mortal assuming the role of Robin of Locksley, noticing how he watched Jareth closely while twirling the mortal woman around the dance floor. "It is acceptable to cut in, you know," she informed him, coming to stand by his side.
"Huh?" He blinked, prying his eyes from the dance floor to the beautiful woman speaking to him. "You're not going to shove money down my tights, are you?"
Salina laughed with pure delight, placing her hand over her mouth as his blue eyes looked away from her with embarrassment. "My apologies, Sir Robin, I meant no offense to your ego."
"It's not my ego that keeps getting offended," he quipped in a sore tone. "If you'll excuse my forwardness, Madam."
"You are very amusing, I would like to dance with you, Sir," she informed him, holding out her hand expectantly, slightly bent at the wrist.
"Oh," he voiced, turning his head away again. "I can't dance to this stuff. That's why Sarah's out there with my replacement," he grumbled, gesturing slightly towards the dance floor in general.
"It bothers you that she dances with another?" Salina questioned with amusement.
"It bothers me because she used to look at me like that." He paused thoughtfully. "Actually, she never looked at me like 'that'. She must already know him." He slightly leaned sideways, pointing discretely. "She's the one dancing with the tall blonde wearing the purple tail coat with sequins. Look how she's staring up at him." he breathed with frustration. "But, it's my fault. I knew what would happen if I pushed her too much."
"And, what would happen?" Salina asked, her curiosity peeked.
"She rips out your heart, is what happens." He turned to look at the woman with long jet black hair, and captivating amber eyes. "Not intentionally, of course. I don't mean to make her sound like some heartless… shrew, or something. She agrees to date a guy for thirteen months, and that's it, no more, it's over. Unless you manage to win her heart, but that's easier said than done. There's simply no way of pleasing her enough to get to her heart. Then she moves on while you sit heartbroken wondering why you agreed to the idea in the first place."
"I must say, that sounds very bizarre."
"Which part?" he asked. "Her dating for only thirteen months, or guys like me who are stupid enough to go along with it."
"Both actually." Salina glanced thoughtfully out towards the dance floor, watching Jareth more intently. 'Thirteen months, he says. Hmm.' She noticed how Jareth smiled at the woman he led in step, and how the color rose in the woman's face in response. She gave him a reply and he laughed heartily, the baritone timbre of it filtered to Salina's keen ears. "What did you say her name was?"
"Sarah," Frank answered. "Sarah Williams."
"Now that 'is' very interesting," Salina murmured, though too softly to be heard by mortal ears.
The music changed after a brief silence, ending the mix match dancing session. Most of the patrons evacuated the floor to return to other areas to mingle, drink, or watch other entertainment. Jareth led Sarah from the dance floor with his hand at her elbow.
"That was most enjoyable, thank you," Jareth told Sarah with a polite incline of his head.
"It was…" Sarah was so flustered she didn't know what to say accept to agree with him. "… very enjoyable. I'm glad we met again, it was nice… to see you again, that is." She was so nervous her palms were getting sweaty, and she wasn't sure why. She licked at her lips nervously. "I'm having a hard time saying goodbye," she admitted nervously, not knowing what else to say to him.
"Then don't," he replied smoothly, kissing the back of her hand while keeping eye contact. "Take care, Sarah," he smiled, and casually walked into the crowd.
She watched him disappear into the throng of people, noticing how he glanced around in search for someone, then stared stupidly at the hand he had kissed, holding it in her other palm. She felt out of breath, her chest heaved as though she had just met someone famous or something. She smiled fondly. In a way she had.
Taking a deep cleansing breath, she raised her head and turned in the opposite direction Jareth had taken to find Frank. Hopefully he wouldn't be a complete sour puss for the remainder of the night. In all honesty, she couldn't wait for the next two months to be done with so she could be rid of him. The glamour that was Frank had definitely worn off; it was time for Sarah to move on… again.