Karen Irene Williams was many things to many people. To her husband, she was the keeper of schedules, best friend from childhood and rediscovered love of his life. To Toby she was just Mommy. But to Sarah, she was the interloper who had come into her life just to remind her that her real mother didn't love her enough to stay, leaving when she was only four years old.

Karen didn't like that at all, but Sarah was too young to remember how Linda had given up custody without a battle, had run off with another man to 'find herself' in her career. She was too young to remember how she'd cried herself to sleep in Karen's arms, thankful for the loving embraces and soft words from her dad's best friend.

Eventually Aunt Karen had become just Karen as Sarah was pulled back into Linda's fabrications and promises. And when Robert had married her, Sarah had completely forgotten who had held her so many years before when she'd needed a mother's love.

And now Sarah was growing up, growing out of childhood dramas and into adult concerns. She'd met someone who would change her life forever and she was fighting it even now. Soon Robert would take Karen home and they'd play their parts again, seemingly oblivious to Sarah's new confidence and her new hesitation. Sarah would have to learn to trust them all over again while balancing her dreams with her reality. It was a lot to ask from her but Karen shrugged lightly - Sarah was no ordinary girl.

Karen looked up at the full moon and smiled as her husband's arms came around her. The evening had been pleasant enough, visiting with her friends again. The large stone walls of the High Court's palace shielded them from discovery. It would not do for Jareth to realize that there were mortals still somewhere in the Fae world. Not yet anyway, when there was so much to plan, so much to wish for now that Sarah had found her way there.

The High Queen, Karen's mother's best friend, and Jareth's long suffering mother, came into the courtyard biting her lower lip.

"She refused him this night, he will not forget it easily."

Karen laughed. "Sarah is the most stubborn girl I've ever met, Seline. She also is only fifteen. More than enough time for her to realize Jareth is meant for her. Human girls don't really rush into courtship in the same way we do."

Robert sighed, "I still don't know how you two know that - man - is right for Sarah. She's just a child. She has her whole life in front of her."

"Yes Robert," Karen smirked. "A life that I can plainly see, a future that can go many different ways by her own choices. But - Jareth has never gone to bring a mortal back to his world. He loves her and its clear that she is drawn to him as well. We must simply give it time."

"And if she doesn't choose him? What then?" her husband asked, a faint flicker of paternal hope in his eyes. She sighed, hugging him.

"Then she will never be able to come here again and she will forget ever being here. Jareth - well, he would not do well."

"He would die," the High Queen said bluntly. "If the girl does not choose him by her next birthday, my son will die. Such is the way of Fae love Robert Williams."

Karen reached out to take Seline's hand. "She loves him, your highness. But all good things take time."

"All bad things too," Robert muttered, but the women were not listening to him.

JSJSJS

"He's not really an evil being," Sir Didymus told Sarah as she and her friends sat on the roof. Most had gone home, but Hoggle, the good knight, and Ludo were all perched on her roof watching the stars. She had been assured that no one would be able to see them, Hoggle had a tiny bit of his own magic that he could use when the rat wasn't stifling it.

"He's a rat, through and through," Hoggle muttered, but Sarah could see a hint of humor in the old dwarf's eyes.

"He offered me my dreams - what good are those? I can give myself dreams," Sarah said, looking up at the night sky again. "I want more. I want to know where I belong."

"You belong here of course," Hoggle said irritated. "With your family. Where else could you belong?"

"I don't know," she admitted, sitting up. "I'm fifteen. I have a whole life ahead of me. I could belong anywhere. But I don't know where and it bothers me. A lot of things bother me," she said, her eyes clouding as she watched birds fly against the moon.

"Sawa sad," Ludo said, squeezing her hand. She smiled at him.

"No, not sad, Ludo - just - tired and a little confused. But I'll work it out. I always do."

Just fear me - love me, do as I say...and I will be your slave.

If only it were that simple, she thought.