Disclaimer: I own nothing. Please enjoy the story in which most of the characters were made up by and therefore belong to Jim Henson.
Ch 3. Family Problems
Irene rushed into the room with a thermometer. Ella hid under the covers.
"Ella come on out. We need to take your temperature," she ignored the guest to try pulling the covers off the child.
"Not that one," was the demanding reply.
"Ella, you broke the oral thermometer with your magic last time you were sick," she kept trying in vain to get her grand daughter to come out.
"Ella you're being stubborn. Come out and get it over with," Jareth ordered.
Ella growled, "It's not fair," she banged her fist on the mattress.
He sighed, "Your Mother used to say that so often and I'll tell you what I told her. If you're going to say that give a basis for comparison or the reply is almost always going to
be that life is not fair."
Her head peeked out from under the covers, "It's embarrassing," she whined.
"Is that your basis for comparison," he raised an eyebrow.
She nodded and cuddled as best as she could to her Father's side. He wrapped his arm around her and rubbed her shoulder in comfort. She definitely had a fever. He spoke gently to her, "Would you feel more comfortable with less people in the room," she nodded and clung to him. He nodded to himself figuring out how to fix the problem, "Alright, choose two people in this room to stay."
She didn't hesitate, "You and Uncle Toby."
Irene smiled sadly and handed Jareth the thermometer, "Do you have anything important going on at school today Toby," she asked as her husband left the room.
"Nothing that can't be made up later," he knew she wouldn't ask unless she was going to let him stay home with Ella, "I'll call Michelle and have her pick up my homework for me and I'm sure if I ask she'll stop by the grade school and pick up Ella's homework as well."
The woman nodded, "I'll call the school and have them keep her homework in the office to be picked up. I'll also let the schools know that you two will be absent today," she gave Ella one final sad look before leaving the room.
"Alright Ella, are you going to cooperate now," Jareth asked his daughter in a firm voice.
The girl nodded and allowed her temperature to be taken. The room was quiet as they waited the necessary time for the thermometer to register the correct reading. Finally, after what seemed like hours to the poor child it was over and she could pull her pants back up and sit next to her Father.
"100.9," he set it aside and hugged her.
"Mom's making pancakes for breakfast, Ella. You feeling up to it if we bring your food up here," he sat on the edge of the bed and looked calmly at his niece.
She considered that for a second and her stomach roiled feeling nauseous. She clung to her Father's arm and shook her head trying to will the sick feeling to stop. Jareth could sense her powers straining to follow her desires. Without meaning to she was activating her powers and attempting to use them but in her weakened state they had little effect and her stomach ache would not cease. He wanted to lend his own magic to help but it was best to let her body fight it out. Her mortal immune system needed to gain strength to keep up with the witch half.
"How about something less solid," he suggested.
"Oatmeal," she agreed, "Do we have any peaches and cream flavored," she looked at her uncle.
Toby nodded, "Yeah, I'll go make that for you Ella," he left the room shutting the door behind him.
"Ella, I have made an observation and I would like to ask for further detail. Is there some reason you don't like your grandparents," Jareth looked curiously at his offspring.
"They don't like my magic. They say I shouldn't use it because it's abnormal and wrong. Toby doesn't think it's wrong though. He says it's apart of who I am. He says I shouldn't try to suppress it. I should just be me, magic and all," she leaned against him not liking the topic of conversation.
"Do they make you feel unloved when they talk to you like that," he didn't like discussing his in-laws' prejudice beliefs either but it had to be done for Jarethella's sake.
She nodded and spoke in a teary voice, "When they catch me using magic they yell at me. Grandma says I'm lucky people don't burn witches anymore or she'd have already sent me to the stake."
He was shocked. What kind of person tells a nine year old that she should be sent to her death over something she had no choice in. He had been alive during the burning times and they were horrible. May his Mother rest in peace after she died at the stake. He shed some tears of his own for his beloved bearer as his own child sobbed in his arms.
"Never again," he swore under his breath, "Never again will mortal prejudice end the life of anyone in my dear family."
He waited until Ella had eaten and fallen asleep to confront that mortal bitch that dared to threaten his heir. He found her reading some romance novel in the living room.
"How dare you," he said with an angry sneer as he stood in the door way.
She looked up in surprise, "Excuse me."
"You raise my daughter in your house and tell her she is worthless because of her power. No wonder Sarah thought you a wicked step-Mother. You have no true care for those in your family that aren't genetically related to you," he stepped into the room keeping his glare fixed on her.
"Like you have treated her any better. For nine years the girl has been an orphan and you suddenly show up out of the blue. Then you behave like you've been here all along," she put the book down and stood to face him.
"Burned at the stake," he said, his eyes flashing with fury, "You told her she should be burned at the stake. That simply won't do. I have lost my Mother to those wretched flames. I will not lose my daughter too. As soon as she is better I am taking her to my kingdom, far away from you."
"Toby won't allow that. He cares too much for the little witch to part with her," she squared her shoulders and glared back.
"Then he may come with as well. The Underground has no laws against mortals residing there as long as they are accepting of those around them," the goblin king crossed his arms.
"You can't just kidnap my son against his will," she protested.
"Oh, he'll be given a choice but I think we both know what he'll decide," a triumphant smirk formed on his face.
Irene glanced at the clock and glared at her guest, "I'm late for work Jareth and you've overstayed your welcome. Don't bother waiting for her to get better. If you must take her, go get her and leave or she'll burn in her bed," she stormed from the room.
Author's Note: Sorry about that but I really hate that woman as a character. She wasn't very nice to Sarah and the dog didn't to anything to deserve to be banned from the house. Poor Merlin. I love animals. Anyway go ahead and review.