A/N: As promised, another expedious update. I hope to be posting every Friday or Saturday until we're done with Between the Stars. This chapter (fortunately, if your like, or unfortunately if you think moments like this are annoying) is a really character-development heavy chapter. That being said, I REALLY love this chapter. I love the dynamic that I (kinda accidentally) created between Jareth and his brothers. Before I hear about it, I did put some pretty careful consideration into the joke that Sarah makes... and I think it's funny I even asked a couple other people, and they liked it. If you don't, I'm sorry... kinda.
Shoutout to The Queen of Water for her review. Also to: Princess of the Fae, notwritten, InuBaby91, Byoken, VampireMafiaQueen, Soulwritr16, and camierose for their lovely reviews on chapter 28 since I didn't list them all on the last chapter.
Even after all her time in the Underground, Sarah had yet to see the Fae kingdom. As before, she and Jareth were riding to his brother's kingdom in a small chariot, he leaning languidly against the seat while she leaned back against his chest, her eyes fixated on the view without the windows. She shifted her head to the side, resting it on his shoulder and felt his lips press against her pulse point. The act sent shivers down her spine and she shifted in his arms to face him, resting her palms against his half-covered chest.
"Such a bold, little king."
"How can I resist when there's such a lovely woman in my arms." His lips pressed onto hers, softly, but laced with unspoken desires and promises.
"You say that to all the goblin queens."
"As a matter of fact, I do." He smiled at her before claiming her lips again, less softly and chastely this time, and she felt a soft whimper escape her. His hand still gripped her tightly when he drew back, his voice suddenly husky with desire. "Anamnesis is still quite a journey away, Love."
"And if it wasn't, you'd make sure it was, right?"
"Me? Subvert the laws of nature to get my way? Perish the thought." She shifted her arms, bringing her hands to rest on the cushion on either side of him as she pressed in for another kiss, challenging him to make true on all his promises. A low moan escaped him and she leaned back, shaking her head a little.
"We don't need an audience, Jareth." He shook his head and kissed her again, this time drawing the moan from her.
"Not a concern, Love."
"Subverting the laws of nature again? What am I going to do with you?"She leaned forward again, bent on showing him just what she had in mind.
Sarah ran her hand over the stones beside the entrance to the Fae castle, marveling at how it reflected the light of the mid-afternoon sun. The stained-glass windows that dotted this side of the castle were opalescent in color, and Sarah smiled as she imagined the way the light would glitter within.
"His castle is prettier than ours, Jareth." She looked up to see him shake his head, eyes rolling back slightly.
"Ours has a much more lovely queen." Sarah giggled as she allowed Jareth to take her hand and lead her through the golden doors and into the entryway of the beautiful castle beyond the city of Anamnesis. They did not have to walk far, however, when they encountered the king of the Fae emerging from his throne room.
"Jareth!" A blush crept up in his cheeks as he furiously tugged at his sleeves and righted his shirt.
"I would that I had to power to read minds, dear Brother." Jareth said, a smile creeping across his face as Sarah looked from brother to brother. "But where is Lady Jocelyn, we came to confer our blessing upon her." Geoffry cleared his throat before speaking, shooting Jareth an un-brotherly glare.
"Josie, Love, we have guests." When she stepped out of the throne room behind him, her hair slightly tousled and lips flushed red, Sarah found herself giggling uncontrollably, desperately trying to hide it behind her hand.
"No ESP needed, Jareth." She had meant to whisper it, but it came out louder than intended, echoing in the nearly empty entryway. As it was, the first words Sarah ever heard from the soon-to-be Queen of the Fae was a muttered curse.
"Payback, I suppose, Love." Geoffry said, the trademark confidence of the fae triplets finally leaking out. "For everything I saw in Sarah's memories the first time we met." Sarah looked abashed, her gaze dropping to the floor, but beside her she heard Jareth chuckle, clearly not ready to give up this little battle with his twin.
"You really must learn some semblance of discretion, Geoff."
"Look who's talking."
"I have never been caught." Sarah saw the Fae king glare at her husband, clearly unsatisfied with the answer. She could see them both amping up with new replies when she suddenly stepped forward toward Jocelyn.
"Lady Jocelyn, perhaps you could show me the Fae palace. I'd rather depart before the argument turn to 'whose is bigger'?"
"Glad you remembered." She gestured Jocelyn forward and followed the young siren from the entry hall and into the nearest corridor, leaving the boys to finish their feud. They'd walked a few hundred feet before Jocelyn finally spoke.
"I really am sorry for our… indiscretion, Lady Sarah." Sarah waived off her apology with one hand.
"Believe me, it's luck, not discretion, that saves us from the same fate." She giggled, a sound that reminded Sarah of fairy bells. "And call me Sarah. I've never cared for titles much."
"Very well, Sarah. You can call me Josie." She paused and leaned against one of the opalescent stained glass windows, her hands absentmindedly smoothing her hair. "Are they always like that?"
"Heaven, yes." Sarah said, remembering when she'd taken Geoffry to see Jareth in the Labyrinth. "Jareth is as competitive with Geoffry as he is accommodating with Morpheus." Sarah paused again. "At least until they need each other. Then, there are no better friends than those three. I always feel incredibly lucky to have married into such a family."
"I'm glad to hear it. I love my mother but she was… a hard woman to live with at times."
"She's a hard woman to cooperate with sometimes." Josie smiled.
"We all have had people like that in our lives. What's important is finding ways to love them or to move on from them."
"And I have, but let us hasten back before those two move on to talking about us."
"You're wife is outspoken, unabashedly crass," Jareth smiled at his brother, quirking an eyebrow at him. "and entirely suited to you. How on earth did you find the female version of yourself?"
"Isn't that what all three of us did? Mother would be proud." He heard Geoffry chortle at the suggestion. "She would have been inexplicably pleased to see that we found women who were our equals and made us happy." At that he nodded, reaching out a hand to shake that of his brother.
"Where did this rivalry between you and I come from, anyway, Jareth?"
"You were always jealous that I was the favorite."
"Like hell you were. I was her lovely and charming Fae son, oh Goblin King."
"Very nice. Way to rub it in. It's alright though, I always had Morpheus in my corner."
"Ah yes. The Loukai versus the Fae. I think Mother was genuinely concerned for our safety every once and a while."
"It would have been a tragedy to lose her favorite son, after all."
"Shut it, Brother." It was then that Jareth looked up to see Sarah and Jocelyn returning, their eyes dancing with laughter as they watched to good-natured feud. Sarah had a gift for making friends and endearing people to her and it seemed she had succeeded once again on that front. It was fitting, really, that the three soon-to-be sisters-in-law were quickly becoming such good friends.
"Now, now boys. We did journey all this way for a reason." Jareth's eyes ventured to the delicate pendant that hung around Jocelyn's neck. It was an intricate Celtic knot that was so intertwining that it made Sarah's look simple in comparison. Jareth's heart broke at the sight that pendant. That last time he'd seen it had been around his mother's neck as her body had burnt in the cremation fires. The pain must have shown on his face because he felt his brother's arm draped over his shoulder.
"I know, Jareth." He should have known it would be the same emblem. Morpheus and his father had the same pendant but it felt so raw to see it now: the symbol and source of his mother's power after so many years. From across the room he could see Sarah bite her bottom lip, her eyes glassing over as she took in his pain.
"We came to offer you our blessing, Josie." Sarah said, crossing the room and taking Jareth's hand and offering him her strength. Jareth cleared his throat and shook his head a little, willing himself out of his grief-driven stupor.
"Of course, we did." Jareth took a deep breath before allowing Sarah to lead his hand, along hers, to cover the amulet.
"Lady Jocelyn. We confer upon you know the Blessing of Will and the permission of the Goblin People to be a ruler of the Underground." She paused, allowing Jareth to finish the blessing.
"May you lead always aware of that line between will and obstinance, and always striving to find and grant the wishes of your people." Jareth found himself suddenly unable to watch as that symbol solidified. The memories were too strong and he wondered if Geoffry and Morpheus had felt the same. Had Geoffry been nearly moved to tears by that memory as well? One look from his brother confirmed it and Jareth found himself pulling Geoffry into an all-too-rare embrace.
"The Underground seems happy, Jareth."
"Wish I could feel it. All I can feel is my Labyrinth's fear."
"That too, shall pass, my friend."
"Indeed, but let us depart now, Sarah. I have an unbridled desire to see said Labyrinth."
"One favor, Jareth." She held her hand out towards him. "A pass token, for my new friend?" He summoned a single, small crystal in his palm and held it out to her. "Come see me anytime, Josie. It's been a pleasure." With that, Jareth took her hand and winked at his brother before conjuring a crystal and throwing it to the floor engulfing all in the throne room in misty black glitter that would take Geoffry hours to get cleaned up.
I realize my style has changed a lot since I began this story. What do you guys think? Is the change an improvement?