Fridays and Saturdays and All
Daylight glittered over the back of Sarah's eyelids. Feeling lethargically content, she stretched and opened her eyes—
—came instantly awake when she looked up at a white plaster ceiling with a small crack spidering out of the corner.
Sarah bolted upright—in her bed. In her house.
No, this isn't right…
She found herself wearing a white tank top and plaid shorts—not what she remembered falling asleep in. Her fingers gripped cotton sheets—they were supposed to be something finer than cotton—as she tried to figure out what the hell was going on. Was this a trick? Was she still Underground? If so, where was her mischievous Goblin King?
Because the last she remembered…
"I should probably close my eyes for this again, huh?" She sighed as Jareth wrapped his arms around her. "Can you make it less spinny? I'd rather not feel like I'm going to throw up."
Jareth chuckled. "It's only unsettling the first few times," he promised.
She scrunched her nose, closed her eyes, and tried to keep her lunch out of the back of her throat as the entire world shifted.
"I don't understand why we couldn't have come here sooner," she said later, when her stomach had finally found its proper place. She turned away from the twisting view of the Labyrinth sprawling out below her and looked at Jareth.
"The simple answer is you weren't strong enough to move us so far."
"And the complicated answer?"
"Is for after you've cleaned up." He sniffed with mock distaste. "You're filthy, princess."
She laughed, a sound quickly stifled when he moved across the room and caught her up in an electric kiss. Then he left her to bathe, her lips still tingling.
When she saw him again, he looked like the Goblin King she remembered from thirteen years ago and yet…he stood before her with an easier air. The set of his mouth, the gleam in his smoke and cobalt eyes was…gentler, somehow…
She breathed in his scent of wild moonlight when he stood before her, closed her eyes as his fingers sank into her damp hair, allowed herself to finally exhale and sink into him. Because it was over. She wasn't running, wasn't searching for anyone, wasn't trying to save anyone, wasn't playing against the clock.
So now, when he kissed her, it was a leisurely press of his lips against hers, a slow exploration of her mouth. His hands outlined the curves of her hips. Her fingers memorized the planes of his chest. Magic sparked as their skin touched, a low pulse that steadily built between them…And, I wish it could have been like this from the beginning, she thought…
Sarah scrambled out of bed. She crossed the room and yanked the door open, almost confused to find the familiar hallway on the other side.
She called his name from the top of the stairs—clambered down them when there was no response. Her thoughts stumbled around each other as she searched the house. Maybe he had brought them here because…because…
Empty. The kitchen, the living room. The downstairs bathroom.
She was alone.
Closing the front door on the empty porch, she rested her head against the warm wood. A dark thought tried to wriggle into focus. Sarah shook it away.
No, she thought. He wouldn't…
As she passed through the kitchen again, she absently picked up her phone and glanced at its face—
Stared at it.
June 27th, the date read.
"But that…that's not possible," she breathed.
Because she'd only arrived at the house the day before. Today she had…she had weeded the garden, bought an air conditioning unit…
She dashed up the stairs, skidded around the corner back into her bedroom. Ignoring the wild look in her eyes, she strode purposefully toward the mirror.
"Mirror, mirror on the wall!"
She waited two breaths. Three…Six. Slammed her hand onto the silvery surface when nothing happened. The mirror banged against the wall, but continued to show the mundane setting of her bedroom as it wavered to stillness.
"Jareth! You tricky bastard!"
She glared at her reflection; a reflection devoid of the amulet she'd once been entrusted with—one now hanging around the neck of the Goblin King. Where it belonged.
Maybe where it never left?
The thought made her hand pause before smacking the mirror again. Her lips parted, her eyes widened and her reflection mimicked the terrible disbelief slowly creeping over her face.
Her fingers curled into her palm. She dropped her arm. Took a step away from the mirror.
"No. Not even you would be that cruel…"
Cruel enough to make it all seem real?
Sarah shook her head, not willing to let the thought anchor itself.
But her dreams…her dreams had always been so real.
She spun around, dashed back downstairs, dug through the front hall closet looking for…
"It isn't here," she whispered, relief spiraling her voice upward when she didn't find her backpack. She ran up to her bedroom again, panting as she glared at the mirror. "Okay, enough is enough. I know it wasn't a dream. So how do I make you work?"
"The only thing hindering you is your refusal to believe."
She screwed her mouth to the side, squeezed her eyes shut; placed her palms flat on the cool surface and leaned into it, wishing with every fiber of her being. She wished she was back Underground. She wished she could see the Goblin King.
She wished she could feel the magic in the air breathe against her skin. She wished she was with the Master of Time, Creator of Dreams, Patron of Wishes—no. She wished she was with Jareth, the man, the king, the Other.
"Her power over his powers."
"Jareth! Show yourself right now!"
The silver surface rippled. Sarah sucked in a sharp breath and tried to press her hand through.
Because he stood there, his back to her. A soundless wind ran playful fingers through his starlit locks, whipped his tattered cloak around his lean frame. She didn't know where he was, wished she could see the expression on his face.
But he couldn't hear her.
Or he's ignoring me…
"You lousy jerk! I better not have nearly died rescuing your glittery ass and saving your world just to have you throw me back here!"
His image wavered…
…faded around the edges…
"You can't leave me here like this! You can't because—"
Sarah's fingers pressed against the smooth surface as her room took focus again. She closed her eyes and rested her forehead on the mirror.
"Because I love you," she whispered.
He fulfilled her every wish in ways she'd never realized until he wasn't there. And she…
She fulfilled his, she knew. She made his dreams come true simply by being. It was all he needed, all he'd ever wanted.
"Are you asking what my deepest, darkest, desire is?"
What would the wishes and dreams of a goblin king consist of? Sarah could hardly imagine, but knew it would take lifetimes to make all of them into a reality.
But now…now she was stuck on the wrong side of the mirror. And the only thing she wanted was to go back.
"You love me. Now now. Later. After…all of this…"
"Are you saying you think I'm going to fall in love with you?"
"I know you are."
She knew how deeply she'd fallen. She'd give him everything, and he'd do the same, unfailingly, simply because he loved her—enough to find her, over and over, enough to risk his sanity and his life to make sure this time she'd make it through the madness.
He loved her enough to even let her walk away if it was what she truly wanted.
"But it's not!" she cried, slamming an open palm on the mirror. "I want to go back! I want the magic and the wishes. I believe now! Why would you take it all away when I finally started to believe again?"
Her trembling question went unanswered. She pressed her lips together, railed against the hot prick at the corners of her eyes. She pulled in a slow, deep breath, considered this defeat with narrowed eyes and an arrogantly tilted chin.
But no matter how much she shouted, how hard she wished, the mirror refused to work again. She spent the next two months wishing on falling stars, throwing pennies into wells, hopping in and out of toadstool rings.
And, while she wasn't obsessing over how to get back where she wanted to go, she packed up the house, put it on the market, found a place to live closer to her family. She told her brother her story. Because she'd always been honest with Toby ever since that day thirteen years ago.
"Did all that really happen, Sar?" Toby asked breathlessly.
She squinted as she looked across the little pond from the stone bridge. The sun reflected cheerfully from the water, but it wasn't the brilliance of the day creating the tears in her eyes.
"It felt like it did." She smiled at her brother. "Who knows? Maybe I just have a great imagination."
Toby nodded thoughtfully. "I'd make a killer king," he finally concluded.
Sarah laughed, ruffled his hair in the way that made him growl with annoyance, and told him he'd definitely make a terrific king.
Then, one day—
Her heart leaped and she spun around, not daring to hope—not able to stop herself from doing it anyway.
Puzzlement pulled at Jareth's brow as he looked at her. He reached out, but pulled away before he touched the other side of the mirror.
"Sarah, where did you disappear to?" He glanced behind her, to either side, and the crease on his brow vanished. "Ah, I see. Back to your world." He nodded, as though he had expected as much and it didn't affect him in the slightest. "I suppose it was only natural for you to want to return. We had an agreement, after all."
She stared at him. "No, I…An agreement…?"
"I want you to swear to leave me and mine alone when I win. Forever."
But, "If you win, I'll leave you alone. If you still so choose," was the real bargain she'd made. And she wasn't choosing that. It had been something other than the agreement that had brought her back here…something like—
"I wish it could have been like this from the beginning."
A small laugh bubbled up her throat, broke through her lips. All this time and she was still careless.
"I'm not sure what's funny," Jareth said, frowning. "You've been gone nearly a week. I thought…"
His mouth tightened around the words and he turned his head. Sarah took a step forward, not wanting to miss what flashed through those mercurial eyes.
"You thought what, Goblin King?" she whispered. "Thought…I'd left you?"
That sneering mask slid over his face. But it was softer, now, an attempt to hide the shine of heartache in his gaze. "I thought perhaps something had gone amiss," he stated tonelessly.
"No." A smile tugged at Sarah's lips. "Just a silly girl making silly wishes."
Jareth shook his head. "When will you learn?" he tsked, amusement lacing his voice. Then, his expression bland and his voice once again impassive, he asked, "So, you truly didn't want to return there?"
His gaze held an anxious glow that made Sarah's heart skip. "I've been trying for the past two months to figure out how to get back to you." She took another step forward. "At first, you know, I thought it might have all been some elaborate dream. And then I was afraid maybe you'd sent me away now that…now that I'm no longer useful."
"Your dreams are quite extraordinary, but your adventure wasn't one of them. And I…" His voice softened. "…I find you quite useful no matter what we're doing."
A dark thread fluttered across the surface of the mirror. Without thinking, Sarah reached for it—
—and a strong wind snagged at her clothes, tangled through her hair. She looked at the thread between her fingers and frowned. "That couldn't have appeared when I first saw you in the mirror?" she asked, turning her confused expression on Jareth.
"Your magic doesn't work quite the same in your world as it does here," he told her. "It's bound by too many rules."
Sarah made a sound of annoyance and flicked the thread away. "I don't play by the rules anymore."
Jareth tilted his head back and laughed. Sarah turned away from him with a pleased grin, and found they stood on top of the highest tower of his castle. She could see the Labyrinth and beyond, to where the dusty red landscape curved into the tangerine sky.
"You don't seem to very upset by what transpired. I was afraid…" Jareth hesitated. "I had thought maybe you'd left because of the truths you'd discovered."
Sarah stared across the Labyrinth as she reexamined those conflicting emotions she'd been left with. No matter what anyone said, her husband had been real. She had thought, when the Fool of the Forth had appeared to her in that guise, her heart would break all over again. But she had mourned the literal death of the relationship long before she'd been aware of the deception, so the blow hadn't been fatal. How could it when her heart belonged to another?
"Turns out, he wasn't my Prince Charming after all," she said with a shrug.
"Prince Charming," Jareth repeated ponderously. Sarah glanced at him from the corner of her eye, unsurprised to find his face devoid of expression. "Why on earth would you settle for a prince?"
She laughed. "You're right. I should have aimed to snare the heart of a god."
"Let's not go overboard. Perhaps something in between. A king, maybe."
Amusement danced through his tone. But a wary light shone in his eyes as he waited for her reaction, for her to hear what lay in the spaces between those words. She realized, with a soft breath, she'd never once told him how she felt about him.
"Like…the Goblin King?"
"Certainly not. Haven't you heard? Goblins are filthy creatures. Besides, I'm told their king is a miserable cheat and completely untrustworthy."
Sarah nodded slowly, thoughtfully. "That's too bad," she murmured. "I realized, after everything, I do love him. I had hoped he'd be there." She glanced at Jareth, noticed he'd gone very still next to her. "Just, you know, in case my world fell down again."
Then, "I'll never let you fall," a whisper nearly snatched away by the wind.
Warm affection unfurled in her stomach, spread to her heart where it blossomed. Sarah spread her arms and pitched forward on the edge of the tower, watching as the sharp rocks loomed up toward her.
Strong arms caught her securely around the waist. Able hands pulled her gently from the ledge. Sarah turned within the embrace, smiled at Jareth before he dropped a kiss full of sweet promises on her lips; promises to sacrifice everything for her because she meant more to him than she could ever fathom. Promises to give her anything if only she'd never leave him because he'd already pledged himself to her forever.
Promises to love her, furiously and senselessly, with his entire being, until the end of time and after. Because he didn't know any other way.
She'd taken the path between those stars and found her happy ending.
"That's all I've ever wished for."
Final Notes: I can't believe this is The End! Even though the story summary doesn't guarantee Happily Ever After, I'm sticking with this traditional fairy tale ending (and I'm a romantic at heart—this adventure/action/plot stuff isn't what I normally do, lol). I'm so glad all of you joined me on the crazy adventure! I hope you've enjoyed reading it as much as I've enjoyed writing it! Now, I'm moving on to other things...perhaps another Laby fic... ;)
A note about the time differences for Jareth and Sarah in this chapter: I'm taking the route of C.S. Lewis' Narnia on this one and not making any hard calculations about time flow! :)
A HUGE thank you to the fabulous startraveller776 for being my beta for these final chapters! (Why are you still reading this? Go! Read her stories!)
Chapter Title: Orlando: "Then love me, Rosalind." Rosalind: "Yes, faith, I will, Fridays and Saturdays and all." Orlando: "And wilt thou have me?" Rosalind: "Ay, and twenty such…" As You Like It, Act IV, scene I
VampireMafiaQueen: It seems we're in sync—I always update on my days off! :) I'm so glad the story kept you guessing, kept you interested, and that you enjoyed it! Thank you!
startraveller776: You're just the best for helping me out, then writing such a lovely review! Amazing, ah, haha, well gosh *blushes* Lol! I had to bring Anann back—no good villain dies the first time! This is what I've learned from watching too many horror movies, as well. I was so afraid, introducing her in person so late, that she would come off as just a blah antagonist. I still kinda think she did, but I like her more than I thought I would, lol. Thank you so much!
jinx1764: I'm exhausted after this, lol! Just dead on the floor exhausted, so I'm glad you think I've brought everything together well—otherwise, I'm sure my brain might die. Seriously. Jake's last name appeared in the very first chapter, but never again, which wasn't necessarily intentional; it just seemed to work out that way (adding it again and again would have felt awkward, I think, but I may go back and rework that...). Now, we're off to more lucrative efforts, yes? Yes! :) Thank you!
LittleMargarita: I tried very hard to keep people guessing, but not to make it really frustrating, so I'm glad to hear you think I accomplished it! Thank you!
Dancing Nancies41: I really wanted to keep the story going until the very end, you know? And I can't believe it's over! I'm also kind of sad this is the last chapter, but ready to move on to other things :) Thank you!
xxyangxx2006: To tell you the truth, I'm totally a happily ever after kinda gal and, as much as I would love to brave the world of tragedies, I just don't think I have it in me to pull one off; so I definitely couldn't have turned this story into one, lol. Thank you!
UndergroundDaydreams: One little last twist at the end was necessary XD I'm not entirely sure I explained all the time travel and the worlds in a completely satisfactory manner, but I'm am slowly rewriting this, so I'll try to tie all that together better. Oh, I'm so glad you felt that way about them as a couple! I wanted to make it feel like they were unified, but wanted to go about it in a subtle way. Thank you so much for all your reviews!
Cordite Quill: I was so glad the identity Evil Queen didn't come out of left field for people! Obviously, I didn't want to come out and tell everyone, but I didn't want to make it too vague. As confusing as it may have been, I'm so pleased that people were really unsure of Jareth's intent, even if it was just for a moment. Ah, yes! I had to bring Anann back from the dead at least once, because no good villain goes down the first time! As for Anann's name, there's no real explanation for it within the story, but she is a significant character in mythology, and the name is an alternate for the Morrigan. Perhaps I'll try to work that in during a rewrite :) I'm so glad you've enjoyed the story! Thank you!