A Promise to the Goblin King (Sarah's Side)
Echo the Insane
Disclaimer: Nope. Still don't own anything. Not even me house.
Summary: Sarah's Point of View. Companion Piece to A Promise to the Goblin King
Sarah never knew just when she started loving Jareth. It just seemed the natural thing to do, after all she had been through. It was odd, it was dangerous, but it was true. He showed her dreams, things she imagined but never thought could be. When she on the verge of leaving childhood, he danced her into womanhood. He made her aware of things she had wanted to feel but never had. He had awoken her soul, sang to her heart, and made her whole.
Too bad he never noticed, or perhaps, just didn't care. She had returned to the real world, not totally aware of her love, just knowing something had changed in her forever.
Years passed, and the love grew from a spark to a flame. She looked for him behind every corner, always just a bit too scared to call his name. What if he laughed at her, what if he didn't want her, or worse, didn't understand? How was she to know if Goblin Kings even could love? Want, yes, desire, yes, covet, yes, but love? Was it possible?
So she kept her peace. She dated, she cared, she drifted, and lived, but never loved. She called for Hoggle, Sir Didymus, Ludo, and even sometimes the goblins. She enjoyed their company, and very carefully made sure she did not ask after Jareth, though she always heard news of him anyway. She hung on every word, laughed at his antics, and worried when he got himself into trouble.
"Kingking talks about Sarah," a goblin named Helo told her once. "Says Sarah's a nasty girl, a pest, best off in Aboveground. Sarah bugs Kingking, so Goblins love Sarah." He had grinned, clearly thinking he'd paid her a compliment. She had smiled and thanked him, all the while feeling very small and unimportant.
It was several months later, and she hadn't seen hide nor hair of her magical friends. She was cleaning her bedroom, dusting her bookshelf, when she heard his voice calling to her from the full length mirror hanging on her door. She turned, dropped the feather duster, and could do nothing more than stare.
He was standing there, inside her mirror, leaning on the frame as though he was weak. He was staring at her face, panting hard, his brow dotted with sweat. "Sarah!" he called again, his voice feverish and slurred.
She ran to the mirror without thought, pressing her hands to the glass. It was cold and hard and she could not reach him. "Jareth! Jareth, what's wrong?"
His face crumpled, and he looked so lost. Her heart lurched, and all the years of pain seemed to melt from her heart. "Sarah, I wish you were here, now."
The glass melted under her fingers. She stumbled forward, falling through a tunnel of darkness, where magical objects swirled and chimed around her. I'm falling through the rabbit hole, she thought as a clock with thirteen numbers flew past her. She landed in his throne room, seated at the foot of his throne. He was slumped over in it, his white silk shirt soaked with sweat. He was breathing hard, his eyes closed, lips parted.
"Jareth!" she yelled, lurching up from the floor as he started to tip towards her, wrapping her arms around his neck. He lay limp against her, moaning in discomfort. "Quick!" she yelled to a nearby goblin, obviously confused and frightened. "Find Hoggle and Sir Didymus! Jareth needs help!"
"R-Right!" the goblin squealed, taking off in a dead run. Sarah struggled to lift him back into the throne, pressing a kiss against his cheek thoughtlessly.
"I'm here," she whispered, rubbing his back.
"Sarah," he moaned, clutching at her back. "My Sarah."
Her heart leapt, shaking her. It made no sense, but he had called her his. Her. She felt elated, and at the same moment, absolutely terrified.
The goblin returned, Hoggle and Didymus on his heels. "My lady!" Didymus called, obviously happy to see her, followed by distress upon looking at Jareth. "But what has happened to our King?"
"I don't know," she said, glancing over her shoulder at him. "He summoned me, and I found him like this."
"He summoned thee, my Lady?" Didymus asked, sounding more than a bit surprised.
"Help me get him somewhere he can lay down." She rose, pulling Jareth up with her. He was rather heavy, but Hoggle came to her side immediately, grabbing Jareth from the other side.
"His room's down the hall," Hoggle grunted, helping her drag him to his chambers. Didymus ran ahead, opening doors along the way and shooing goblins out of their path.
They lay Jareth down as gently as they could manage. Sarah pulled his boots off, tucked him under the covers, removed his gloves and lay them upon the bedside table. He opened his eyes at last, and smiled gently at her. Sarah's heart stuttered, her throat suddenly very dry and tight.
"Hello, my Sarah," he breathed, reaching up to touch her face. Her mind swam, she could barely breathe. He was so beautiful, even in sickness. The fever was bright in his eyes, his skin prickling with sweat.
"You're ill," she whispered, feeling light-headed and a bit feverish herself.
"I missed you," he said, tracing the worry lines at the side of her mouth. "Oh Sarah," and he fell asleep once again.
She shivered, unsure what to do. Hoggle was at her side, Didymus at the end of the King's bed.
"Sarah?" Hoggle asked gently, laying his hand upon hers. She squeezed his fingers, panicked and never more afraid in all her life.
"I need...cold water. Rags," she breathed, trying her best to think past her over-beating heart. "Didymus?"
"Someone, we need someone who can tell us what's happened. Someone to advise us," she said, looking desperately at him.
"I shall go and find the Wise Man," Didymus said, holding his head high, purpose shining in his eyes. "Surely, of all the creatures of this, our Labyrinth, the Wise Man shall know what we must do."
She nodded, grateful to him. She watched him go, then turned back to Hoggle.
"Water and a cloth, got it," Hoggle said, waddling off as quickly as he could.
Sarah looked back to Jareth, watching him sleep fitfully, his hands tensing in the sheets, his back arching every now and again. He whispered her name like a prayer, looking troubled and almost afraid. "I'm here," she said, grabbing a handkerchief from his side table, running it over his brow. He sighed, relaxing a bit. She touched his cheek, feeling the fever burn. "I don't know what to do."
Hoggle returned with the water and cloth. He stood silent beside her, watching her dab the King's brow, press the cloth to his neck, down into the collar of his shirt. She looked to her friend, saw the worry in his face.
"What's happened to 'im?" he asked at last.
"I don't know Hoggle," she said, her hands shaking.
"He's the Goblin King. Ain't supposed to get sick," he said gruffly, scowling at him. "Gots to be magical-like. Not just sick."
"Yes, I think so as well," she said, ringing the towel out again.
"You are correct, young lady." The Wise Man walked slowly in, his Hat looking interestedly around the room, commenting on the decorating choice. Didymus was at his side, his hat in his hands, looking worried.
"Any change in his Majesty, my Lady?"
She shook her head, looking to the Wise Man. He bent over Jareth slowly, running his aged finger across his brow. Wise Man looked troubled, as did his Hat.
"He is, indeed, enchanted," Wise Man said at last, looking to Sarah. His expression was patient, saddened. "A deadly curse, potion, or spell-cast is effecting him."
"He's rather icky looking, isn't he?" the Hat said, scowling down at him.
"Hat," the Wise Man warned, looking up towards it, then meeting Sarah's eyes.
"What do we do?" she asked breathlessly, looking back to the sleeping King. His face was pinched in pain again, and she touched his hand. He relaxed again, breathing a sigh of relief.
"It is you he summoned, Sarah Williams," the Wise Man said. "It is you he calls for. You shall be the one to save him. However," his tone suddenly changed, deepened, worried, "I fear it is you who shall suffer the most in saving him."
"But I can save him?" she asked.
"Oh yes. First we must know what has been done to him." The Wise Man rose to his full height again, his hand on her shoulder. "You must summon me again as soon as he has told you what happened. He will tell you, but it will be hard for him to recall. You must respond to everything he says, Sarah, everything. If he says he hates you, you must hate him back. If he wants you, you must want him back." He paused, stared into her eyes, his voice thick. "If he loves you, you must love him back."
Sarah's heart lodged in her throat. Surely he wouldn't...he couldn't...if he said...those words... "I have to...respond?" she repeated, her voice faint.
"Yes," the Wise Man replied, patting her shoulder.
"What-What if he asks for...something?" she blushed, thinking of the Wise Man's warning. "If he wants me, I must...want him?" she repeated, blushing deeper.
The Wise Man opened his mouth, only to have his Hat interrupt. "Then you will give him the best loving of his life. Yummy yummy," he said with a lecherous look to her.
"Would you please be quiet, you simpleton?" the Wise Man grumbled, glancing up towards the hat, before looking back to Sarah. "I do not think he will do anything...improper. However," he said in that same, warning tone, "do not allow him to kiss you Sarah. For your own good. You may, should he desire, kiss him upon the brow, or cheek. Not upon his mouth. Never upon the mouth."
"Why?" she asked thoughtlessly, overwhelmed with thoughts of kissing the Goblin King.
"You will never be free of him," the Wise Man said. "His magic is too powerful. He will entrap you forever. Your heart will be his and his alone. You will never love another, and die alone, with him on your mind."
Sarah felt cold, as though she'd take a dive into a frozen lake. Wasn't that how she felt already? Would it be worse? But could she deny him if he wanted a kiss? Would she? She looked back to Jareth, worried and unsure.
The Wise Man patted her shoulder again, then was gone. She looked at Jareth with worry, licked her lips, and settled in beside him. She had to know, had to find out what happened to him. She had to save him, no matter the cost.
"I'll go ask the goblins," Hoggle said, patting her hand. "Maybe they knows something. Doubt it, dumb as they is. But I can try."
"Thank you, Hoggle." She smiled at him as he left, then waited for Jareth to come wake again.
When he did finally wake, he called her beautiful. He spoke of heaven, he touched her face over and over again, looking at her with something close to adoration. It broke her heart, it tore her soul. Surely it was the enchantment. The more he looked at her, the more he touched her, the surer she became. Of course he didn't want her, of course he didn't care for her. It was the enchantment, all of it. She pushed the aching aside, asking him over and over again what had happened to make him this way. She had to know, had to save him.
Once, as he tried to recall it, he moved to kiss her. The temptation was horrible, his face coming closer to her, his lips parted and wanting. Denying him broke something in her, but the look of pain and rejection upon his face was more than she could take.
"Later Jareth," she damned herself. "You can kiss me later."
And she knew then, if he wanted a kiss when he was well, she would give it to him. But he wouldn't want it. He would be well, he would not require her presence. He would send her home and forget her, as he had forgotten her these ten years. Her heart shrank and cracked as he smiled at her then.
"I can wait for later, as long as later comes soon," he said sluggishly, tucking a strand of her hair behind her ear.
"If you can tell me what happened last night, I will kiss you as soon as you are well," she promised, sealing her thoughts with her words. She would kiss him, she would damn herself, if he wished it. She would be all right. She had managed to survive ten years of loving him, she could survive the rest of her life.
"I love you."
The world fell around her, cracked like a broken mirror, and crumbled to pieces at her feet. The words echoed and rang in the confines of her skull, bouncing around her brain. Her heart stopped, froze, and died, only to burn alive once again. It was a spell, a horrible, cruel spell made to break not only him, but her as well.
She smiled down at him, praying with all her might that her world dying did not show in her eyes. "I love you too Jareth," she said, the Wise Man's warning ringing in her mind. Respond, respond as he needs me to respond. "With all my heart."
He was kissing her fingers, looking at her with such affection. It was fake, she knew it was fake, but it was all her dreams...at last, all her dreams had come true. Maybe...maybe it wouldn't be so bad to enjoy it while it lasted. This was all she would ever get, after all. She would never see him again once he was well. Why not cling to these moments, make them memories? Kiss or no kiss, she would go to the grave loving him. Why not draw some small happiness for herself? Was that so bad?
"Sarah?" Hoggle called, his voice small, uncertain.
"Yes Hoggle?" she asked, looking over her shoulder at him.
"I asked all the goblins. They said Jareth went out last night, was summoned Aboveground. He came back without a babe, though. Don't understand it, none of 'em do. Me neither," he said, furrowing his brow. "Said he was weird-like when he got back. Stumbling and like this."
She felt her heart sink. Of course they didn't know anything. "Thank you Hoggle." He looked pathetically at them both, then waddled over to the corner where Didymus was keeping watch. She looked to her friends, feeling suddenly embarrassed. To have her friends witness her naked emotions, witness Jareth's false affections made her feel wrong and ever so small.
She cleared her throat, turned back to Jareth and began the questions again. The sooner they knew the truth, the sooner he'd be well. The sooner he'd let her go and she could be alone with her misery.
His memory stumbled, he called her perfection, he looked at her with love (painful, horrible parody of love), and finally, after reminding her of her promised kiss, he at last remember what happened. A hag, a hag Aboveground, had cursed him.
"'Love will be your downfall'," he said the hag had told him.
Hoggle went to find the Wise Man, to tell him it was a Love Spell. It had to be. She was right. The affection Jareth was showing her, all of it was a cruel trick by a cruel creature. He didn't love her, he never had.
Sarah felt her heart break, unable to look at him. He would see the agony, see her shattering. She couldn't let him; for his sake and her own. But then he called to her, and she could not ignore him. Her eyes wet, her soul in pieces, she turned to him.
Perhaps a kiss anyway. She was damned as it was. Why not feel his lips, just once? After he was well, she would never have this chance again. She told him it would be all right, she leaned close to him. She saw the hope in his eyes, the desire for her...the false love...and she could not kiss him. When he was well, he would hate her for it. He would feel wronged. She could never wrong him like that. She kissed his forehead, her heart stone in her chest. She would never feel his kiss, that she was sure of. It didn't matter. Him being well, him being all right...that mattered. She smiled at him, then lay her head upon his chest. Surely this was all right. Surely this little liberty wouldn't offend him. He held her, and for a moment, her pain eased. She would make the memories, she would live off this moment. She had been held by the man she loved once, and that would be enough.
He whispered her name, kissed her hair, and fell asleep. It was perfect, it was false, but for a moment, he was hers. She would die happy, with his name on her lips, his memory in her heart.
"Sarah," the Wise Man called. She wiggled reluctantly from Jareth's embrace. "Sarah did you kiss him?" the Wise Man asked, worried and afraid.
"No," she replied, clearing her throat. "What do we do now, Wise Man? We know what made him this way. How do we cure him?"
The Wise Man was still looking at her with worry, but did not question her again. "There is a cure to a hag's curse. It is relatively simple. I need a strand of his hair and yours, a drop of his blood and yours, and the hag's venom."
"But where do we find the hag's venom? We don't even know where she is!" Sarah said, feeling frustrated and scared.
"Fear not, my Lady!" Didymus said, leaping to his feet from the chair he'd been perched on. "I shall find this creature, and bring her to thee!"
"No need," the Wise Man said, smiling. "Your friend Ludo has done this already. We have her downstairs, tied up and contained."
"Ah, my Brother hath saved us once again," Didymus said proudly.
Sarah rose, rubbing her sweating hands on her jeans. "Can I talk to her?"
"If you wish," the Wise Man said.
"I wouldn't though," added the Hat. "She's foul through and through. Stinks like a corpse."
The Wise Man rolled his eyes. "Your hair and blood before you leave them, young woman. I have her venom already," he held up small, green vial. "I will collect what I need from the King while you visit the hag."
Sarah reached up to her scalp, plucked a few strands of hair. She pricked her finger upon a dagger the Wise Man had. She gave the Wise Man what he needed, looked once more to her beloved King, and went to see the creature who had cause him misery.
The hag was as Sarah imagined she would be. Her hair was grizzled, her teeth black and crooked. Her clothes were old, and did smell of corpses, her skin was gray and covered in warts. But her eyes; red, terrible eyes, were intelligent and almost human in their humor and anger. She was tied to a chair, her hands shackled behind her and feet chained to the legs.
"So, little Princess come to see the big bad witchy?" the hag asked, her voice a gasping, growling thing.
"Why did you do this to him?" Sarah asked, looking at this creature with anger and an odd sense of pity.
"Kingy is an evil I cannot abide," the hag snarled, showing her teeth and black tongue. "Kingy destroys and destroys and doesn't love a thing in the universe...'side from himself."
Sarah scowled at her, hugging herself. She felt cold and alone and so confused. Before she could ask, the hag continued.
"Not always like this. Human once," she said, looking down at herself, scowling. "Had a husband, and Little One. Kingy took the Little One. Made a bad wish, I dids." She scowled deeper, looking at Sarah with hatred. "Not like you. Couldn't run the Labyrinth fast enough. Twisted leg; born that way. I lost. Wouldn't leave though, oh no. Not while my Little One was here." She looked around the castle, her head jerking back and forth. "May still be here, goblinlike. May be dead. Wouldn't leave, oh no. Turned into this, after a long...long time. A hag. Miss my Little One. Don't 'member 'er name now. Don't 'member my own."
Sarah felt her stomach drop, staring at this creature that had once been a mother, that had loved enough to stay and become a hag to be near her child...where ever she was. "I'm -"
"Don't say sorry!" the hag spit on the floor, staring at her with absolute hatred. "Never sorry. I made the wish, I suffer for it. Just want Kingy to hurt too. To feel love for a bit...feel pains. Lose it all, Kingy needs to. Needs to suffer too. He don't love you, girly," she said, looking pained for just a moment. "Didn't want to hurt you too, but necessary. Your eyes...looks like my Little One. Didn't want to hurt you at all. He don't love you. Remember that. Don't kiss him. His evil infects. Don't kiss him. He don't love you at all."
Sarah shrank into herself, hugging her arms closer to herself. "I know."
"Don't forget. Not his fault. He don't know how."
Sarah left the hag, wondering if one of the goblins running up and down the halls was the child of that poor woman.
When she returned to the King's Chambers, she found Hoggle and Didymus waiting for her. The Wise Man had left, leaving two vials of blue potion; one for her to drink, the other for Jareth. Hoggle was watching her worriedly as she took her potion, then tipped the other to Jareth's lips. He drank it, never waking. He sighed, snuggling deep into the covers, holding her hand in his.
She knew he would never love her. The hag was right. But she lay beside him, waiting for him to wake...to be sure he was all right. To see with her own eyes. She lay her hand upon his chest, feeling his heart beat below her fingers. She would lie here for awhile longer, she would wait, and when he woke, she wouldn't let him see her heart break one last time.
He woke not an hour later. She saw in his eyes that he was himself again. She greeted him quietly and he replied, his voice no longer holding the warmth for her it had before. He spoke to her a bit, said what she feared and knew he would ("I really don't love you") and sent her on her way. Within seconds, she was back in her room, sitting on the edge of her bed, utterly alone.
She peeled out of her clothes, put on her favorite pjs, climbed into bed, and let her heart die. She cried for the longest time; all day in fact, until finally she fell asleep. She dreamt of him, of her time loving him, of his loving her. In her dreams, there was no spell. He meant the words he said, the looks he gave her. He loved her for her.
He woke her too soon. She was still tangled in her dreams, still half-aware of them and the happiness she found there. She threw away her tissue, asked if he was all right, trying her darnedest to ignore the pain welling up inside her. She was doing very good, in fact. Managed to ask him if he was feeling any side effects from the curse, dodge his question about her crying, everything.
Then, he damned her all over again. "You promised me something when I was well."
Her heart plummeted. She couldn't deny him, she knew she couldn't. The Wise Man's warning rang over and over in her head but she couldn't say no. Not when he was looking at her, not when he was near. She wasn't strong enough. "M-Must I?" she asked, praying he would get bored and just leave. Leave before she gave in.
"You aren't angry I've come to take a kiss from you, Sarah?" He was teasing her. He had no idea what he was doing to her, what he was cursing her with. He had no idea he would seal her fate with this. Her dismay must have shown, because he called her name, even looked a bit worried.
The concern on his face was too much to bare. Too close to caring about her. "I-I don't..." she began, caught in the almost human look of worry on his face. The last of her resolve died, and she resigned herself to her fate...as she knew she would. "All right Jareth. You are better, and I promised," she whispered, watching her freedom (though there was little of it left anyway) fly away. She leaned close to him, her hands on his face. He was so still, unnaturally so. Perhaps he didn't really want her kiss. Perhaps he would hate her for it. But he asked, and she could never deny him.
It was so sweet. So gentle. His lips were perfect against her, and in that moment, nothing mattered. The pain was gone, the loneliness was gone. This would do, it would sustain her forever. She kissed him with all her love, letting her heart flow freely between them. He could see it he wished. He could know every inch of her soul, her love for him. She gave herself freely to the kiss, to the moment, to him.
She moved away at last, before he could. She couldn't have bared it if he moved first. She could not look at him, but asked if it was all right; the little kiss that meant all to her and none to him. She felt the tears slide down her face, and was not ashamed of them. Surely he knew now just how much she loved him. Surely he wouldn't be too cruel to her. Perhaps just tell her it would never work, that he really couldn't love her at all. Surely it wouldn't hurt much more than she had already endured.
Then he was running away from her. He fell through the mirror and back where he belonged. Sarah's heart died one last time. She knew it would not survive this. She looked down at her hands, found one of his gloves beside them. She wasn't even aware he'd taken it off. She lifted it to her lips, kissed the fingers of it, and wept.
Her kiss had disgusted him. Her love disgusted him. He hated her, as she knew he would. He would never love her, never could. He left without a word, without warning. There was nothing good about her, nothing he could ever want.
Sarah leaned over the glove, stared down at it. Maybe...maybe he would forget she had it. Maybe he would leave it, leave something of him for her to keep. She kissed it again, cried some more, and wished she would fade away.
The Wise Man was right. It was worse. It went beyond her heart. Her whole body tingled with love for him. She ached with need of him. She would live with this overflowing sense of being his for the rest of her life. His and unwanted.
She pressed her fingers to her lips, recalled how sweet he tasted, held his glove, and wondered how she would survive without him.
He came back for the glove. It was her first and only thought. She looked up at him, how glorious he was, his arms out to her. She wanted to remember this moment. It was awful, yet perfect, because he was there. She said something, she wasn't sure what, lifted her hand, the glove clutched in her fingers.
Then he was holding her. Her body burned, the pain faded to a distant memory, and all she knew was him. "I love you. I'm sorry pet. I love you," he was saying.
She was frozen in his arms. The glove fell from her fingers. "You...do?"
He did. He told her so over and over. He held her, he kissed her, he cherished her. She could feel it, as sure as he could feel her love for him.
He took her home, to the Underground. The Wise Man was right about so much. She did die loving him and only him, many centuries later, but she was not alone. He was at her side, loving her as she went.