Chapter 20: Aboveground
One Year Later
The soft strumming of an acoustic guitar filled the small apartment. The blond man holding the instrument had his eyes closed, his medium length hair swayed slightly in front of his face as he moved with the slow rhythm of the melody he was playing. Gently, his voice entered the song:
You'll remember me when the west wind moves
Upon the fields of barley.
You'll forget the sun in his jealous sky
As we walk in fields of gold.
The deep tenor of his voice resonated through the room. His hands moved with confidence up and down the fingerboard while he swayed from side to side. It was art in motion.
Will you stay with me, will you be my love
Among the fields of barley.
We'll forget the sun in his jealous sky
As we lie in fields of gold.
See the west wind move like a lover so
Upon the fields of barley.
Feel her body rise when you kiss her mouth
Among the fields of gold…
The song continued on its sensuous path, his silken voice leading the way until the last line was spoken and the last strum of the guitar was played. When he was finished, nobody applauded him; nobody congratulated him. Silence filled the room and he sighed in contentment. It was finished. Jareth had been working on the piece for weeks and finally it was done. It was meant to be a surprise for Sarah for their one-year anniversary. She'd left early that morning to get to her internship at Lincoln Elementary School. She was in her final semester of college, which consisted of less actual classes and more time spent at her internship. She'd been lucky to get a paid internship so she could help to support them. Jareth himself had been unable to help until recently when he'd landed a regular job playing his music at a coffee house (ironically named The Underground) four days a week.
It had been difficult when they'd first come to the Aboveground and the first few days had been spent at Sarah's dorm in extreme tension… just waiting to see if the marital bonding spell would work. As it turned out, the spell not only helped Sarah in being able to borrow Jareth's magic, but it also allowed Jareth to borrow Sarah's immunity to iron. He no longer needed to worry about iron poisoning, though he still avoided cast iron cookware out of the ingrained fear of it.
Sarah's roommate, Vivienne, had been of great help once Sarah had explained that Jareth didn't have anywhere to go. She'd helped them apartment hunt and had even offered to help with necessities like food, considering that Sarah couldn't get her deposit back from renting the dorm room. Vivienne had also been instrumental in helping Jareth gain an identity in the Aboveground. He'd been bewildered upon learning the things necessary for one to be considered a legal citizen. He'd needed a social security number, birth certificate, driver's license, and she'd even gotten him a British passport just to be on the safe side considering the story they'd come up with was that he was from a place called Oxford in England in the United Kingdom. He had something that she called 'duel-citizenship' in both the U.S. and the U.K. Of course he had no idea what that meant at the time, but Sarah had been very surprised at how Vivienne had managed it. Apparently forging these kinds of documents was both very illegal and very difficult to do properly. Vivienne had shrugged it off, but had made Sarah promise not to tell anyone that she had access to those kinds of resources.
Jareth had taken comfort in that first week upon learning that the council hadn't completely cut off his magic. In fact, it seemed the only thing they'd done was bar him from the Underground; otherwise he had full access to his magic. Of course, he had to be very careful in its use, but he still took comfort in it. Adjusting to Aboveground society was difficult, but he had little choice. He hadn't complained about it all though considering that he was so grateful that he had Sarah there with him. She was the reason he continued on and was the inspiration for much of his music.
Setting down the guitar, he rose and moved to the kitchenette that was also part of the dining room. Really, the apartment consisted of three rooms, a bedroom, bathroom, and one large room that had been separated with furniture so that one half was the living room and one half was the kitchen/dining room. He'd never had to live in such small conditions before, but once more he didn't mind. Absently, he turned on the kettle and moved about getting the things necessary for tea. Once it was ready, he moved to the window seat in the living room and sipped slowly at the scalding liquid. However he nearly burned himself as a small goblin popped into existence in front of him on the window seat. Carefully, he set down the cup of tea before turning to the small brown goblin wearing a spiked helmet. "What is it, Droop?" he addressed the creature.
"Droop be bringing messages for King!"
The goblins, who were now under the control of King Olseth and the regent he'd set for the Goblin Kingdom in particular, still hadn't quite grasped that concept and refused to stop calling Jareth their king. "Well then, let's have them," he said holding out a hand.
Droop placed two scrolls into the fae's hand and Jareth absently waved a hand dismissing the goblin for a moment. Droop, who'd done this job before, knew to wait and see if his former monarch wanted to send a reply, so he made his way into the kitchenette and straight to the cupboard holding the shortbread cookies.
Jareth smiled at the letter he was reading. It was from King Olseth; the monarch was updating him on how the transition was going as well as letting him know about the Cumberland situation. Jareth hadn't had time to deal with Lord Cumberland before the council had sent he and Sarah to the Aboveground, so Olseth had kindly obliged… with a few helpful hints from Jareth via letters like this one. It appeared that Lord Cumberland had recently had a bit of an incident. While traveling through the Banthor Forest, he had been attacked by a fairy swarm. No one was quite sure of the reason the swarm had suddenly attacked Lord Cumberland, but at least the Lord hadn't been seriously hurt. It was unlikely that he'd ever stop glittering now, but at least he could walk away from the situation. Jareth smirked; he knew why the swarm had attacked the Lord. In his absence, the goblins had formed a special task force with rotating shifts whose sole purpose was to make Lord Cumberland's life misery. So far, they'd managed to trip him (a direct eye for and eye jab in response to his pushing Sarah), fill his bath with sludge from the bog of eternal stench, turn all of his official robes various shades of buttercup yellow and hot pink, spike his drink at a council meeting (that one had been particularly well done since the goblins hadn't been caught and Lord Cumberland had ended up making an utter fool of himself in front of the council), and apparently just recently the goblins had convinced the fairy swarm to join their mission.
He chuckled to himself at his goblins' initiative and inventiveness while looking over the second message from his aunt who was wishing him well and letting him know about the various happenings and gossip in the Underground. Athena had apparently convinced her husband to take a short break and they both would be visiting the Aboveground sometime next week. The royal couple had visited once before early on when Sarah and Jareth had first gotten the apartment. They'd had a bit of culture shock at first, but had eventually gotten used to such things as television, the wail of sirens as police cars zoomed down the street, the whistle of the train as it went down the track only three blocks away, and electricity. Sarah would be glad to see them again. Athena and she had bonded quite a bit during her short stay at their castle before the trial.
"Droop," he called the goblin back to him after writing a response to both Olseth and Athena. The goblin came rushing back to Jareth, his hands and face covered in shortbread crumbs. "Deliver these to King Olseth and Queen Athena please."
"Will do, King!" the goblin gave a short salute then disappeared.
Jareth smiled again and went back to his thoughts and his tea. Tonight was special. Tonight he was going to show Sarah just how much he appreciated everything she'd done for him. He'd purchased a dozen Scarlet Carsons earlier in the week and had arranged for them to be sent to her work. Glancing up at the clock, he smiled. It was approximately noon and she should be receiving them shortly if not already. At that moment, a short trilling melody filled the air and he reached into his jeans pocket to answer the mobile phone Sarah had gotten him. Her picture filled the screen and he smiled widely knowing that she had indeed received the roses. "Hello, precious," he answered.
"Jareth! The roses are beautiful!" she exclaimed.
"I'd hoped you'd like them."
"You really shouldn't have…"
"It's just a fraction of what I'd like to give you, Sarah. However I shall content with flowers and dinner."
"Yes, we have reservations at seven o' clock."
"Telling would ruin the surprise," he said mischievously.
"Jareth, you're spending way too much on me."
"Am I not allowed to show my love for you?"
Sarah sighed and consented. "Fine…"
"Seven o' clock, and dress up."
"Jareth…" she protested.
"Ah! Allow me this, precious."
"Okay, I get off at four today."
"I'll be waiting."
"I love you."
"I love you too, Sarah."
He disconnected the call and stuck the phone back in his pocket. Going back to his tea, he smiled at his plans for tonight. It was obvious that Sarah thought he'd gone and spent a fortune on a nice dinner somewhere when in fact it was quite the opposite. Tonight would be perfect.
Seven hours later…
Sarah, despite her protestations at Jareth spending so much on her for one day, had complied with his wishes and dressed up in her nicest dress, a midnight blue affair with silver beads sewn in a swirling design. It was one year today that they had been married. When they'd arrived back in the Aboveground (only four days from when she'd left it), they'd had to tell her parents, and while they'd been disappointed at her 'eloping' with Jareth, they'd taken it in stride. The fact that they actually liked Jareth helped. The past year had been a struggle, but they'd survived it and now things were starting to go well for them. They had an apartment together, she was almost done with school and had been guaranteed a position at Lincoln Elementary upon graduation, Jareth had a steady job playing his music, and she had a surprise for him tonight as well. A very big surprise that she knew he would be overjoyed about.
A secretive grin on her face at the surprise she had in store for Jareth, she emerged from hers and Jareth's bedroom to find that the apartment had been transformed within the short half hour it had taken her to get ready. The lights were off; the only light provided was by the dozens of tea candles that were placed on nearly every flat surface. It caused a kind of shimmering effect with shadows that was really quite beautiful. On the table were place settings for two complete with champagne flutes, a vase with a single rose in it, two plates with what looked like pasta carbonara, and two tall candles. She looked up at Jareth who was standing next to the table. He was dressed in black slacks, polished dress shoes, a starched white dress shirt, and a black dinner jacket with matching bow tie. His normally wild hair was smoothed back. Her eyes were wide and nearly popping out of their sockets as she took all of this in. "W-what happened to the reservations?" she asked.
Jareth smiled and moved toward her. He took her hand in his and raised it to his lips, allowing him to kiss the back of it. "Our reservations are for two at Chez Nous," he said the last part with a French accent that made Sarah's knees weak.
Sarah's French was rusty, but she was able to translate 'Chez Nous' as 'Our Apartment'. "Did you make this?" she asked looking at the delicious looking carbonara.
He nodded. "With a little help from some woman named Rachel Ray. Vivienne recommended her," he smiled. "Which reminds me…" at that, he snapped his fingers and music started to play. It was a song that Sarah recognized and she smiled at the lyrics:
I'll be your dream
I'll be your wish I'll be your fantasy
I'll be your hope I'll be your love
Be everything that you need.
I'll love you more with every breath
Truly, madly, deeply do
I will be strong I will be faithful
'cause I'm count on
A new beginning
A reason for living
A deeper meaning, yeah…
I want to stand with you on a mountain.
I want to bathe with you in the sea.
I want to lay like this forever,
Until the sky falls down on me.
It was one of her favorite songs, Truly, Madly, Deeply by Savage Garden. Without saying a word she took the one step necessary to be close enough to him to reach up and kiss him. It was soft and gentle and expressive of every bit of emotion she felt for him at that moment. "Thank you," she said as she pulled away.
"Anything for you, my dear," he replied. "Shall we?" He pulled out a chair for her and allowed her to sit before taking his own seat. "A toast," he said, taking hold of his flute of champagne. "To my beautiful wife who I find myself loving more and more each and every day."
Sarah grinned, her cheeks flushed and she made her own toast, raising her flute of champagne. "And to my wonderful husband who fills my every day and night with love and devotion."
Jareth grinned as well and took a sip of his champagne after clinking the glass against Sarah's. He lowered the flute a second later though when he noticed that Sarah hadn't drunk as well. "What is it?" he asked a confused look on his face. He could feel through the bonding spell's magic that she had meant every single word she'd spoken, and yet she hadn't completed the toast by drinking.
"I can't drink this."
"Why ever not? I thought you liked champagne?"
"I do," she reassured him. "But I can't drink it right now… or for the next few months."
"Sarah?" he asked still thoroughly puzzled. Through his link, he could feel her bursting to tell him a secret… something that she was absolutely delighted about.
"I suppose now's as good a time as any," she said. "I can't drink alcohol because I'm pregnant." Her mossy green eyes rose to meet his ice blue ones as they widened in first surprise then joy.
He rose from his seat and quickly traversed the short distance to her on the other side of the table, kneeling next to her seat. One hand came up to rest on her flat stomach. "How far along are you?"
"Only fourteen weeks, so I won't show for a while longer. I found out just last week. I'd missed my last couple of periods and went into the doctor to find out what was wrong. Apparently nothing was the matter though," she smiled down at him.
Still in awe, Jareth leaned forward and placed a kiss on her abdomen, gently rubbing it with one hand. "You've outdone me, once again, my dear," he mumbled against her belly.
"What do you mean?"
"I try to gift you appropriately with flowers and a wonderful dinner to celebrate our anniversary, but you blow me out of the water with a gift that I have no hope of matching," he grinned up at her.
She smiled back. "Would you rather I hadn't told you?"
"Of course not! You've made me happier than I could have ever thought possible, love." With that he kissed her stomach once more before rising to kiss her lips.
His hands framed her face while her own arms rose to wrap around his neck. After a moment he pulled away and smiled at the moan of protest from Sarah. "Our dinner is getting cold, and I did work hard on it this afternoon."
Sarah couldn't seem to keep a smile off of her face as she nodded and they began to eat as Jareth re-took his seat. It truly was a delicious meal and the music that accompanied their dinner was obviously picked out by Vivienne. It was all sappy 90's love songs including music by Edwin McCain, Savage Garden, Westlife, Evan & Jaron, and Celine Dion; she'd have to thank her former roommate the next time she saw her.
When they were done eating, Jareth rose silently and held out a hand to her. She accepted it and they began to sway slowly together as I'll Be by Edwin McCain began to play. Sarah really could not remember being happier than she was in this exact moment, and she could feel through the bonding spell's magic that Jareth felt much the same way.
o O o O o O o
A/N: SO MUCH FLUFF! This is the last chapter of Stolen Kisses, and I thought I'd fill it with fluff… just for you guys! I had a lot of fun writing this story even though at times it was frustrating and didn't want to be written. I'd like to thank you all who hung in there from the early chapters that were written… *looks at calendar* holy cow! all the way back in November of 2010. So… *clears throat* that definitely took longer than I thought it would.
I'd especially like to thank I_Like_Cheetos aka FigaroLuv on DeviantArt who has been invaluable to me as a sounding board and beta. She also supplied the name of the coffee house Jareth works in being that it is a real place where she lives!
So, to the credits!
Labyrinth (c) Jim Henson, George Lucas, & Brian Froud
Also, some of you may notice the reference to V for Vendetta in there with the Scarlet Carsons. Obviously, Jareth doesn't want Sarah dead, but I couldn't help myself.
Fields of Gold by: Sting
Truly, Madly, Deeply by: Savage Garden
Fun Facts: During the time it took to write this story (November 2010 – January 2012) a lot happened in my life. Here are some highlights:
1. I graduated college with a Bachelor of Arts degree in writing.
2. I went on a three-week trip to Europe visiting London, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Budapest, Vienna, and Munich. (spent my 24th birthday in Prague drinking Absinthe)
3. I got a job for the first time since 2008.
4. I have a new cousin. (He was born May 8th, 2011. His name is Garrett, and he is such a flirt!)
5. I got another cat. (Found her stuck in a pine tree in our front yard. Her name is Stormageddon and she's healthy and happy now.)
6. I competed in and won NaNoWriMo 2011.