Following Rainbows

Sarah brushed aside the branches in her path as she walked through the forest. Taking two steps forward, she felt a thwack on her head and tumbled to the dirt covered ground. "Oof!" Looking behind her, she saw a branch quivering. "Damn tree," she muttered, picking herself up and continuing on.

She had to find a trail before dark. Why had she been so stupid as to separate from her group of friends? Oh no, she had to go exploring into the forest because she thought she saw an owl. Her friends had warned her, "Don't stray too far from the trail, Sarah." "It's getting dark Sarah." "Be careful, Sarah." Yet here she was chasing goblins at the end of a rainbow. Or rather a very elusive owl. How many hours had she been "exploring" now? Looking at her watch, she saw it was 8 o'clock, two hours from the time she had left the trail and any means of getting to their campsite. She was starting to lose hope. Normally Sarah prided herself on navigating herself through unfamiliar territory, but this adventure had left her exhausted and a little cranky. Some would say she was stubborn not to use her resources, say a GPS perhaps?, but her reply would usually be, "I can do it myself. It'll be a piece of cake." This time however, she felt that she better call it quits and suffer just a smidge of hurt pride over a cold and lonely night. Just before she reached for her cell phone to access her GPS, a hoot from ahead encouraged her onward.

As the sky grew dark with red tendrils bleeding across the heavens, Sarah stumbled upon a clearing blanketed in deep pink stargazer lilies, their sweet fragrance hanging thickly in the air. To the far end if the clearing was a small stream that glistened in the golden light that seemed to glow from within the meadow itself. Next to the stream stood a tall and sturdy peach tree that had blossomed fully; its roots tangled and knotted gracefully along the bank of water. The whole scene took Sarah's breath away. No where had she seen any site so peaceful or serene.

"Ah, I see you've found one of my hiding places," said an accented baritone from behind her. She spun around and saw a tall man with a shock of white-ash blonde hair and a pair of piercing blue eyes, one permanently dilated. He wore a white poet's shirt, and a black vest with a good portion of smooth chest visible, along with an amulet of sorts on a chain around his neck, black boots, and tight grey pants that left little to Sarah's imagination. Even after all the years they'd been seeing each other, she still couldn't get over how regal he held himself or how much she wanted to brush her fingers through his hair.

Jareth had pretended he wasn't interested in her romantically for a few years, but then Sarah began to see the signs when she turned twenty. When she went on a date, an owl hovered on a nearby tree. After one terrible breakup, she escaped to the park to be alone. Instead, she found Jareth with open arms; she flung herself into him and cried on his shoulder. He'd patiently comforted her through the tears, the anger, and grief. But when she wallowed in self-pity, his temper flared; yet he held it in check as he desperately tried to convince her she was worth something. The night ended in a passionate kiss; the next few days Jareth began to "court" Sarah. Secret evenings together were frequent, and Sarah often found herself quite revived even after a long day. Jareth always knew how to take her mind off disturbing matters.

Continuing to talk whilst taking a few steps closer to Sarah, he said with a sly smirk, "I do so love my hideouts Aboveground. What do you think of my clearing, precious?" A few steps more and she could feel the heat of his body without actually touching.

She scowled. For nearly two hours she had been following white owls, peaches on the ground, and a whisper of a tune on the breeze that would appear out of nowhere for a few brief moments. Pointing her finger, and with daggers in her bright emerald eyes, she said through gritted teeth, "Jareth! It took me forever to get here. Why couldn't you just pop in after I walked a hundred yards or so? Why all the little signs? That little traipse through the woods leaves me tired and no time for me to get back!"

A gloved hand grasped her wrist and Jareth pulled her body flush against his. She struggled against him, but his hold on her was too strong. "Sarah," he purred with amusement in his eyes. "I had no idea you were looking for me until only fifteen minutes ago. The only clue I had of your presence was when I heard you humming a familiar song. What signs did I send to you?" A seductive grin spread across his face.

She could feel her body turn to Jell-O. Not again. What was he doing to her? Avoiding her questions and trying to seduce her! Who the devil did he think he was? Oh yeah, the Goblin freakin' King. Pulling herself away from him, she stormed off towards the stream and grabbed a peach that had fallen. Turning back, she noticed His Majesty had meandered after her, entirely at ease and with feline grace.

"Oh, really? So the owl wasn't you?" she asked, exasperated. With the full force of the anger she could manage, she threw the peach at his head; she only missed because he ducked just in time. She grabbed another one. "And I suppose the peach trail just appeared out of nowhere?" She shot the next peach, just missing his shoulder. Damn he was fast. With steel in her gaze and hurt in her voice, she asked, "What about our song, huh? I'm sure the wind just randomly picked up a tune!" This time the peach hit its target right in his face. His gaze softened, but Sarah was having none of that. Not again. After all their little visits in the park for the past few years, her frustration with Jareth had finally exploded. Before she could grab another fruit, he rushed to take hold of both her hands in one and turn her face towards his with the other with a surprisingly gentle touch. This time there was no amusement in his features.

"Please, Sarah, I have no intentions of leaving you out all night. I can transport you if that is what you are worried about." He traced her jaw with the back of his hand, thoroughly erasing the rest of her anger. He looked thoughtful, like the knowledge of the world eluded him. "As far as why I guided you here so mysteriously…There's a spell around here." His eyes hardened. "It's been here for ages and beyond my powers. I cannot transport you to this spot in case I was to betray my kind in some way." At this point he chuckled, his face lightened from disturbing thoughts. "I know not the reason. However, I do know this place is special. Tonight is a magical night for my kind. The energy is stronger in your world so I came here to absorb its power. There's something I wanted to show you." There was only sincerity in his eyes, so she knew she could trust his words.

The pressure around her wrists loosened, and Sarah stepped back just enough so she could think. "Well, couldn't you just tell me that to begin with? I mean, why all the secrecy?"

She knelt down and picked a flower, twirling it in her fingertips, the vibrant color even brighter in the glow of sunset. Sitting cross-legged in front of her, Jareth flicked a crystal from his wrist which turned into a red tulip which he stuck in her hair. It was crystalline; yet it looked so real, delicate and light, but sturdy as the Fae before her.

Gazing at him, she noticed the warmth in his eyes; which was still so amazing to see compared to how cold they could look. He leaned towards her and cupped her face in his now uncovered hands, they were soft and sent tingles down her spine. He hesitated for a moment, searching her eyes for something, before gently grazing his lips against hers. Deepening the kiss, Jareth wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her to his chest, then moved one hand to wrap in her hair. Shivers ran through Sarah's body. Every time he kissed her caused the same warm sensations she could never quite get accustomed too. He pulled back just enough so that Sarah could feel his warm breath on her face.

"I didn't tell you because I would have been too eager and spoiled the surprise." As he spoke softly, the sky glowed and the clearing was light enough it looked like day, and the most beautiful rainbow Sarah had ever seen graced the sky. The colors were deep and saturated, and they glittered like the rarest gemstones. Then to her surprise and delight, it ended in the clearing and bathed everything in brilliant multifaceted light, turning the crystal clear stream into liquid diamonds and the lilies started to change color. They began to reflect the rainbow. On the outer rim of the clearing, lilies turned a dark azul, the next ring turned to plum, the next emerald, the next a pure gold as the sun, then an orange like coral, and the last innermost ring turned a passionate red. From the precise center of the meadow and center of the rainbow, a sprout started and shot to knee height; something glinted and glowed, then settled down. With the wave of his hand, Jareth summoned whatever had surfaced from the strange plant. It floated, landing in the palm of his hand. Looking at it, Sarah saw that it was a solid gold ring with a rainbow cluster of gems surrounding a crystalline tulip, sparkling like the rainbow surrounding them. The tulip was the focal point, while the other gems served to contrast the tulip's clear brilliance in the surrounding circle.

"Oh, Jareth. How-"

"Magic. This meadow has been used by my family for thousands of years to propose." He slipped the ring to her hand and held her other one in both of his. "Sarah, I know you saw me as an enemy years ago, and I'm so glad we're past that now. But I cannot contain my feelings for you anymore. I will not repeat the same offer as before, seeing how we are far closer and I understand you better." His piercing eyes locked with hers, and she felt like she could see into his soul, see his vulnerability, his hope, and most of all the love he felt for her. "Sarah, I offer you my kingdom, mornings of gold, Valentine evenings, and I'll move the stars, but most importantly…my heart. Would you do me the honor of being my wife?"

This was a very important decision for Sarah, but she knew the answer in a heartbeat. She loved her family, but she loved Jareth, too. She knew he would make her happy and let her visit. She took the ring and gave it to him, seeing a frown forming on his lips. She smiled and leaned to kiss him, not before saying, "Absolutely yes. You have to put the ring on though."

Jareth laughed joyfully, looking for all the world like the happiest man on Earth, which oddly enough he was. Standing up, he pulled Sarah to her feet and embraced her, face in her hair and deeply inhaled her scent. Proceeding to slip the magnificent ring on her finger, he whispered, "I'm much happier with your choice this time my dear. Did you like your surprise?"

Untangling herself from his arms, she turned to gaze around her and sighed in happiness, "Yes."

"And you like the ring? I can have a different one made if you want." Sarah turned and saw worry in his eyes. She grinned at him. Why would she not like it? It was the most beautiful ring in the world. Suddenly, she realized Jareth may have been speaking of the ring, but was really unsure of himself.

Sarah took a step closer and wrapped her arms around his neck. "I like it very much, Jareth." A soft smile graced his features as she kissed him. "I couldn't be happier."

This is my first story on fanfiction. So any criticism is appreciated, but please be respectful.

Obviously I do not own Labyrinth or any characters involved, Jim Henson does.

If I did, I would be enjoying Jareth's company instead of fantasizing about him. No such luck here.

So drop a line and leave a review.