Sarah felt a slight sense of annoyance as Jareth led her through the stone corridors of the castle beyond the Goblin City. He'd insisted on surprising her tonight and it was obvious that Hermaphroditus had been in on it, because the silver dragon had refused to say anything and was currently enjoying its bribe from Jareth for keeping its mouth shut, the bribe being an entire slow cooked pheasant. How the small dragon could eat that much, Sarah couldn't figure out, but she suspected it had something to do with the creature being magical.
"Nearly there, love," Jareth remarked as he pulled her along the drafty corridor. They'd been walking all over the castle and Sarah had long given up trying to figure out where they were going. She could feel a cool breeze along her face and arms suddenly and she figured they must have stepped out into one of the courtyards. Jareth stopped and she bumped into him before stopping herself. "Okay, we're here," he whispered pulling her close.
She could feel his body heat and his soft breaths against her cheek. "Now, I want you to follow my directions without question, or you'll ruin the surprise."
She quirked an eyebrow, a habit she'd picked up from him, but did not argue. "First I want you to connect with your magic, feel the power of it as well as the control you have over it."
Sarah closed her eyes and did as asked, allowing herself to relax as she felt for the pool of power that was her magic. Over the past couple of months, she'd become quite proficient at doing several things magically, but she was still having issues forming a perfect crystal sphere. Jareth would always give her a hard time about how she could easily transport herself from one place to another, but she couldn't form a proper crystal. It was just something about fragility of the crystal. They always came out lumpy or odd colored.
She sighed as she put her crystal making skills in the back of her mind and focused on connecting with her magic. Once she was absorbed in the warm ebb and flow of it, she smiled and nodded slightly to let Jareth know she was there. Suddenly she felt the familiar cool minty touch of Jareth's magic. He gently pushed against the edges of her magic, probing for an entrance. She let him in and he immediately set to work shaping how her magic would be released. She attempted to sense what he was doing, but was firmly reprimanded, and she settled for allowing him to surprise her. He prepared for another minute before retracting. "Okay, you can release now," he whispered in her ear.
She shivered at his cool breath, but did as requested and allowed her magic to flow through her. It was immediately apparent that this spell was very different from any other she'd done. The closest comparison would probably a transportation spell because it was done to one's self. This spell was changing her; she could feel herself shrinking and a soft tickling along her skin. A warmth spread throughout as the spell finished and she opened her eyes. However the usual darkness that veiled her sight was not there and she squawked in surprise and stumbled backwards, flapping her wings to steady herself. Wait a second… squawked? Wings? She turned her head about to examine herself. Soft white and tan feathers covered every inch of her now significantly smaller body except for her taloned feet. Sharp talons had replaced her feet and she clicked her beak as she took them in. She slowly extended a wing, feeling the muscles work and the resistance in her tendons. This was utterly amazing. The fact that she could see was absolutely amazing all by itself. She quickly turned her head to see Jareth who still stood before her, admiring her new form. Her new sharp eyes took in his lean form until she reached his face and his pleased grin. His shape seemed to shimmer then and a moment later a male barn owl stood before her.
Do you like it? a low melodious voice asked in her head.
Yes… I – I can see again, Jareth. she replied not blinking as she continued to ogle the Goblin King's handsome owl form.
I thought it might be a possibility. I'm glad to see I was right.
Can… can we do this with my human sight? Fix it with magic?
No, I'm afraid not. Healer Orin explored that option thoroughly. The nature of the poison won't allow it.
Oh… she turned her gaze away.
But we always have this. he continued. You are most beautiful, my dear.
Sarah looked back up at him. So I take it this is my surprise?
If owls could smirk, she was sure he was. This is only the beginning, love. Come, let's test those instincts of yours.
And with that he gave a short hop and took off, making fast strong strokes with his wings. Sarah studied his movements and made to imitate. She found it rather easy, and there seemed to be a kind of silent voice in the back of her head telling her how to fly. Perhaps this is what Jareth meant when he said instincts? Hopping along, she soon pushed off and flapped down with strong, sure movements.
She soon caught up with Jareth as he soared a good forty feet above the ground. Holding her wings stiff, she allowed the warm thermals left over from the day's heat to push her higher. It was an intense feeling, soaring above the ground, the wind rustling her feathers; her sharp eyes picking out minute movements back down on the ground. If she could've laughed, she would have done so with exuberance. Flying was an experience she decided then and there that she wanted to experience as often as possible. How did Jareth get anything done when he could soar above the labyrinth all day? Enjoying yourself, my dear? his voice broke through her reverie
Immensely! This is fantastic! I just want to fly forever!
Jareth chuckled and swooped around to fly slightly above and to the left of her. It is rather relaxing, isn't it?
She hummed in agreement. There was really no comparison to this. The Ferris wheel back at the carnival now seemed like a kid's plaything. The view alone was astounding. The labyrinth spread out below them in the light of the setting sun like a toy model. The twisting and turning pathways darkened and cast long shadows. Sarah could pick out tiny goblins searching for shelter from the oncoming night and she felt a sense of pride and belonging knowing that just two days from now, she would officially be their Queen.
They soared above the Goblin Kingdom for hours, Jareth leading the way with only the moon to guide his way. It was well past midnight when the couple returned, landing on the balcony of the royal suite. Jareth transformed from owl to man with ease and turned to Sarah who was perched on the railing. "It's time we retire for the night, my dear," he said coaxing her. She sighed and reluctantly nodded. "I'm going to let you control the change back to human. All you have to do is picture yourself and let your magic flow through you. It's really quite simple, especially since the magic is returning to its natural form. It's like a rubber band springing back to its normal shape."
Sarah closed her eyes and concentrated on being herself. The magic flowed through her and she could feel a tingling sensation as the feathers retreated back into her skin. Once the change was complete, she opened her eyes again only to see darkness. She hung her head and leaned back on the railing of the balcony. "I miss it already," she murmured.
Jareth strode forwards, placing a hand under her chin to raise her eyes to his. "We will go flying every night if it will make you happy, my dear," he said before chastely kissing the end of her nose.
Sarah smiled and wrapped her arms around him, burying her face in his shoulder. "Thank you," she whispered.
Jareth tightened his arms around her and pressed his lips against the skin along her neck, leaving light butterfly kisses. Sarah sighed and tilted her head to allow him better access. He took advantage of the new amount of skin exposed and started to nip along the side of her neck, soothing the small marks with gentle kisses. A small moan escaped Sarah's lips and Jareth walked them backward off the balcony and into the royal bedchamber where they proceeded to the massive wooden structure drenched in silks and velvets sitting in the middle of the room against one wall. The back of Sarah's knees hit the edge of the bed and she started to topple backwards, gasping and clenching Jareth's lapels in her fists.
Jareth chuckled as they landed with a bounce on the bed then resumed kissing along Sarah's throat. "Mmmm," she hummed as he backed away for a moment to take off his jacket. "Perhaps we don't have to fly every night."
Jareth grinned and returned to the beautiful changeling nestled in the duvet. Her arms welcomed him and her lips caressed him as he paid tribute to her with his own hands and lips.
o O o O o O o
A/N: I know, I know! I thought it was done too, but then iiAmmy-chan on Deviantart pointed out that an epilogue where they fly together might be beneficial. So here we are. I do rather like it. It gives a bit more hope for the future. I hope you've enjoyed this story.
Labyrinth (c) Henson, Froud, & Lucas