He'd had enough. She had denied him and he was finally tired of trying.
Throwing the crystal across the room Jareth sank back into the chair behind his desk as the little orb struck the wall and shattered. It was impossible.
He put his head in his hands, his heart twisting with rage at his fate. He'd sworn to be free of this place so many centuries ago and yet here he was, right where he had started, still trapped for all eternity in the Underground.
Jareth leaned back in his chair. He'd been so close. He'd manipulated the girl to within an inch of accepting the crystal. One step more and he would have been free, leaving her trapped in his place, but her innocence had saved her. Were her eyes still so innocent he wondered. He banished the thought. She'd chosen her brother over him. He doubted she had been old enough to understand what he had been offering her and was sure she was nowhere near clever enough to discover the truth behind what he said he would give her.
The real joy of dreams was in their impossibility. If they ever came true they wouldn't be dreams anymore and they would never be as pleasing as the person imagined them to be. Why humans sought after them so fervently was a wonder to him. And still no one had come as far as she had. She had been the first and for the briefest of moments he thought he had won, and then she had chosen the child. Jareth's hands tightened into a fist, the leather of his gloves creaking. His lips twisted. Foiled by a little girl. He was losing his edge. He'd been down here too long. But that was the point wasn't it? To make him suffer, to make him weak. But his hate had sustained him and it would still.
Picking up another crystal Jareth turned it, letting the light play off its polished surface. What other choice did he have?
Sarah bolted upright as another wave of thunder rolled overhead. She stared wide eyed into the dark, gasping for breath, her legs tangled in the sheets, her skin chilling in the night air. "I understand," she breathed, her body trembling. "Oh God, I understand." Sarah leapt from her bed and switched on the lights, pacing back and forth and biting at her thumbnail. All these years later and she finally understood.
He was trapped. He'd been trapped in the Underground. Had she taken the crystal she would have taken his place, allowing him to go free. She didn't know how she knew, she just did. And she knew she was right. How long had he been down there?
Sarah's eyebrows knitted together. She supposed the real question was what would she do now that she knew? She couldn't just leave him there, but was she willing to give up everything for him? Sarah glanced around her apartment. Since graduating from college life had been difficult. The economy was bad and finding a job had been next to impossible and even then she was just a pencil pusher. Not exactly her dream job. She'd never found the money or the time to travel like she wanted. She rarely went home anymore and she and Toby had recently started butting heads again as he grew into a teenager. She didn't have many friends so there was no one to leave behind and if she was honest with herself she missed the Labyrinth, even longed for it at times. Wouldn't this give her what she wanted?
Steeling herself Sarah agreed it would. But would Jareth sill make the same offer? It had been so long, but she had to try. So straightening her shoulders Sarah turned to the window and called his name.
The wind moaned against the house, buffeting the windows and lightning flashed outside, blinding her. Sarah shivered as the air crackled with intensity, making her hair stand on end. There was an explosion of sound and breaking glass and something flew past her face making her scream.
She twisted about, trying to protect herself from the flying debris as a tree branch exploded through her window. When she finally turned back to the window he was there, looking exactly as she remembered.
Sarah's heart leapt into her throat and for a moment all she could do was stare. His mouth crooked into a cruel smile, his eyes roving over her and suddenly Sarah wished she'd had the forethought to change into some decent clothes before calling him. All she wore now was an oversized band tee she'd gotten from a concert the year before.
Pushing her embarrassment aside Sarah tried to stand up straight, but his presence still intimidated her.
"Hello," she finally managed. Jareth smirked and she wanted to slap herself. She was no longer a child to be toyed with and she could see in his eyes he thought she hadn't changed. "I didn't think you'd come," she said, steeling her voice and her spine, her hands tightening into fists at her side.
He took a step towards her and to her right, slowly circling her. Sarah tried to follow him with her eyes, but forced herself not to turn with him. He made her feel like a mouse being stalked by a cat and she struggled not to turn and run.
"And why, may I ask, have I been summoned? Surely there is not another child you would wish away." The barb stung, but she admitted it wasn't wholly undeserved. She looked away and dropped her head.
"I was hoping…" Now that he was here she couldn't bring herself to say it.
"You were hoping what Sarah?" He lifted her chin and Sarah's heart skipped. When had he gotten so close? She'd forgotten what an affect he had on her and she swallowed thickly. "That I would offer you your dreams again?" he finished.
Sarah blushed but didn't look away. "Yes," she whispered.
Jareth sneered and released her. "And what have I to gain from this?" He returned to his pacing in front of her. "I just give you what you want out of the goodness of my heart, is that it?" Sarah gave a rather unladylike snort and quickly ducked her head so he wouldn't see her smile. She shifted her weight hoping to look awkward and child like. If he still thought her that selfish maybe there was a chance for this to work. If he knew how different she was he would never offer her what she wanted.
"I don't know." She gave a half hearted shrug. "I didn't think that far ahead. I never expected you to come." She wrung her hands and bit her lip in what she hoped was a convincing manner. "After all this time, I barely dared hope you were real." She peered up at him through her hair as he stopped his pacing and turned to face her. He flicked his hand and the crystal appeared, resting lightly on his gloved fingertips.
Sarah couldn't help the little gasp that elicited from her as she saw it. Jareth heard it too and gave a teasing smile.
"Do you still want it Sarah? All your dreams at your fingertips." He held the crystal out to her and her mouth went dry. This was it. She was so close. She ran her tongue over her lips to wet them, her eyes flicking between Jareth's face and the crystal.
"It's really for me?" she asked, forcing her voice to sound breathless as she reached for the orb, her fingers hovering near it.
"If you answer a question for me." He was watching her strangely. "Why?" he finally asked. He searched her eyes for a moment. Something was wrong, but he couldn't quite place what it was. He was so close to freedom, it was intoxicating.
For a moment his mask of cruelty fell away revealing an intense curiosity and a certain degree of wariness. Sarah's own mask fell away and standing before him was no longer the little girl he'd known so long ago but the woman she'd grown into. She stared boldly up into his eyes.
"Because no one deserves to be trapped for all eternity," she whispered. "Not even you." Jareth's body went cold. - She knew. She knew and still she was going to take it.
"Sarah-" He tried to stop her but it was too late. She'd already touched the crystal.