Queen Elspeth woke by the uplifting sound of canon fires.
"Don't panic, that's for me." Jareth cooed. "My loyal subjects are celebrating my triumph over a mortal."
She scooped herself up against the soft pillows. "How thoughtful of them."
"Don't be such a sourpuss. They don't get to do this often."
"Oh, I bet they don't…" He tapped her lips to silence her and accepted the annoyed look she cast him.
"It is tradition to shoot wine from the canons. Some bottles may even find their way up here through the window. Instant wine delivery." He was as delighted as a child on Christmas.
His words were given more force by the several loud bangs and the crash of something solid against the castle wall that followed. Certainly no shattering of glass or splashing of liquid could be heard.
"Sounds like they have moved on to shooting bricks."
"Those would be actual goblins being fired. A few casualties can't be avoided during a great celebration. "
Elspeth reached for her necklace on the bedside table when her eye was caught by a glimmer in the dark. Beside the necklace lay her other lost jewellery and the crystal apple Jareth had offered her. She put her choker on. Jareth helpfully held her hair back. The choker neatly covered the bite he had made on her neck during their love play. It was payback for what she had done to his back last time. It had to be.
"You really shouldn't hide it." He pressed a kiss where the mark was, drawing her closer into his arms with a small growl.
She did not resist. She did not entirely yield to the shape of his body either.
"You enjoyed that, admit it."
"So did you."
She muttered. "Let there be no misunderstanding, Goblin King, I might have lost but I will never babysit goblins for you."
He laughed kindly. "You can comfort me when they drive me completely nuts."
She craned her neck to get a better look at the glistening item positioned deeper into the room. "Wait." She almost got up to investigate. Her eyes gave up when disillusion convinced her mind the shining was but part of his decorative armour reflecting the sunlight. It had been sloppily flung over a hallstand mannequin with his cape. In thought she still saw her mirror there on its familial mirror stand. Tempting, longing for her touch.
He was not the one going nuts, she was. Her thoughts turned toward the source of her own comfort and madness. She was caught by this surge of devastating loss. Queen Elspeth fell silent. A vast earthquake shook her into a whirlwind of despair. The last sign she had seen of her mirror were those false distorted replicas. Jareth, king of felons and miscreants, had played such tricks before. He assured her afterwards those foul things, those clones disintegrated into rough magic when no longer needed. "They are gone, your secret is safe with me." He had said. "You never have to see that ugly appearance, your opinion not shared by me or any of my subjects," She had growled at the mention of his despicable subjects. "again." Her own mirror was lost somewhere in the eternal darkness of that room. She continued to live in that brief moment when she feared the mirror maze would reveal Snow White's form in every single reflection. She could not decide which was worse. The goblin reality or Snow White's image disgracing her mirrors. And yet, her past form gone, the strength of her abhorrence had not lessened. It was not due to the presence of goblins, not all of it. Quite like the memory of goblins had been a bad dream in the outside world, it now sickened her to think of the girl back in the mortal land. Here Snow White's memory held firm power if only present in Elspeth herself, her hurt called out to be avenged. There was no other solution. Goblins in this world, Snow White in that. One evil had been dealt with the other needed addressing. She burned to get back at that meaningless girl.
What was worse the girl or the monsters? Which was most important? Her mirror.
Her head snapped up. She could hear chickens laugh at her outside the room. What a silly notion, she berated herself, mocking chickens. Jareth felt her flinch. "The poultry is nothing to be afraid of." He laughed tentatively. "They are cackling and gossiping joyfully as usual as the merry rabble they are. Note that tomorrow is Tuesday that is when we have a royal tea party with some of the plumary officials of the people."
She looked absent again. The novelty of the chicken noise was over. Jareth proudly lifted a finger. "You are thinking of your mirror."
"I don't see why you had to meddle with it, my mirror was …"
He cried victoriously at his correct reading of her. "… doing an appalling job as it was. If you wanted someone to insult you I could have sent you a pet goblin ages ago.
You needed the distraction from your treacherous mirror and petty human court. I offered you that with this far-away challenge. Feel free to thank me now." A grain of time lapsed in silence. "Alas my noble intentions go unrecognized and the distraction is no longer large enough. The chickens aren't doing the trick. Your life and looks are in safety. You do not wish to be parted or distracted from your heart's desire a moment longer. What king can mend this?" Her face had grown angrier during his speech. She cast him an unforgiving look. Mirror. NOW. The look said. "Now that our game is over, you demand that I, your humble servant, should get you your mirror forthwith. Did I tell you I would return it to you? Ah you wait for me to stop talking so you can venture out of this room and look for your mirror. Let me detain you a while longer. I find this most entertaining and will keep talking until you reconsider. Am I not your true heart's desire?"
Of all the sappy lines…
"You don't have to allow it. I will find it all by myself, with or without your approval."
"You have so little faith in me. You don't know where it is, sweetheart. Don't look at me like that. That glare looks nothing like the puppy eyes I deserve. Either you soften up so I will get you what you want or you try to sneak out and get it, somewhere in the palace, leaving a trail of stone goblins in your wake. Well, you know I will not allow you to do that. I have a theory, you actually missed my monsters, especially when you are forced to look upon that pretty Snow White girl. Just as annoying but too big to turn to stone and be done with her. Her dumbness doesn't show on the outside. The world is so unfair. You'd have to smash her to be content of the stone result. I say, you collect pesky gnomes to make up for the lack of goblins. It's quite touching really."
"I don't. You are provoking me on purpose."
"Oh just a bit. I am entitled to, after tonight, as your lord and consort." He nuzzled her neck. She was in no mood to hear him say more deliberate wrong words.
"Think of the goblins outside this cozy bedroom. Stay in bed."
Elspeth's head drooped down.
"Aawe don't fret, if you stay a good girl I will let you have your wicked way with her. Behind my back or with my consent."
It took him a moment to notice what was tricking onto the covers and realize that she was silently crying.
His voice changed from playful to grave and concerned.
"Come come dearest. Don't shed tears for what is past. You have an untouched new fate here. You are still fair." He stroked her hair. He was prepared to take a burnt look for that understatement of her beauty. It did not come. "The fairest." he added. He held her crestfallen face. His eyes took in her delicate frame, she was his. His pretty gobliness on his bed.
A shrill whisper clawed through her throat. "Goblins," she muttered shaking softly. "there are goblins and junk everywhere outside this room. I have lost my kingdom, my mirrors, servants. And I am to stay with goblins! Fairest of all goblins." Jareth grinned, not the least bit intimidated by her harpy cries.
"Don't make fun of me!" She tasted a flavour of embarrassment previously unknown to her. She would not meet his eyes. "Leave me!" she cried in exasperation. This was not a state she would let anyone see her in.
His silence showed he took her sorrow seriously, she had not expected him to. If one other being knew how precious vanity is it was Jareth. For this, among other reasons, she was incapable of hating him. Part of her wished to be fed up with him for the trickery he put her through. She never would be.
At long last Elspeth ceased crying. Out of happiness he told himself, knowing that was untrue. He never was any good at comforting people. In time she would be happy, as happy as last night, but that was not the reason now. The reason was anger. Anger at being understood by someone. At him fooling her to be happy. With this devilish plan he could fool himself into happiness too and then what danger would the world be in?
"I enjoy witnessing the human side of you just as much as any other side." There is a vulnerable creature at her core and it is so unwilling to show itself. How he loved both her insecurity and pride. He rubbed her back. He could see a solid, life determining fact take form in her sobbing sobering mind. For as long as she could use this change of events, her goblin identity card, his interest in her to her advantage, she would. She could not blame him for wanting her, however baffling his bizarre attraction to her origins was. She would embrace it. She would make it work in her own interest. As she usually does when faced with unexpected situations.
"Everything you could ever wish for is here." He motioned to her right.
"You can have that back now. It is yours. I will not impose my powers on it ever again, not including necessary exceptions."
At his request her mirror appeared next to the bed in its traditional mirror stand. Jareth cared for presentation. He would not simply drop the thing in her hands or lap. Elspeth reached for her mirror, claws drawn as if she would snatch it away quickly before it vanished. She balanced onto her knees, too preoccupied with her own fascination to pay much attention to her body. Her face was set in an ethereal look of adoration. Her fingertips carefully brushed the surface. The mirror responded to her. It would come to her again when she called for it and serve her at her every beck and call. Her hopeful disbelief grew more passionate. She lifted the mirror out of its hold in worship. Her trembling slender fingers stroked its wooden back as she carried the mirror into her embrace.
"Mirror mirror in my hand, let me see my human land." The looking glass showed her castle in the late morning sun.
"Our deal said nothing about me losing my kingdom."
The Goblin King stroked the hair in her neck. "How did you come by your kingdom, sweetling?"
Her face darkened. "My charming personality." Her eyes forbade him to say otherwise.
"And perhaps a few mirror shards."
She drew her legs up against her chest and hugged them to her. "You are cruel."
"I am not as cruel as you may think. You will find you haven't lost your kingdom. It is hardly a kingdom anyway, my dear," Jareth laughed.
She placed her free hand on his. "Neither is yours."
He pretended not to have heard that.
He lounged back into the bed. "my sweetling my darling," he was tapping her shoulder, childishly impatient to tell her something.
"You know how rules fascinate me. Especially those laws on property by magic. The kingdom came in addition to you. Not the other way around. It was easy to look into all this, afterall I am in the same line of work as your brother. Your other husband has no more claim to you.
While we were playing I was so generous to let them- the king, Snow White, prince Whatever, your subjects - all live happily ever after, up till now. It is your choice, should you desire otherwise..." Jareth's cunning smile spread to her mouth.
"It's mine," she said. "Mine." He answered smoothly and kissed her cheek. She let him woo her. "Mine," she said again and laid back. Her mirror in her lap. Her hand took hold of it. She blindly slid her mirror back on the nightstand beside her, reluctant to let it go. She would contradict Jareth more firmly on the matter of his supposed ownership another day. In the end she had won. A kingdom and a king. She had gotten the better part of the deal.
Discordant cheers broke her fantasy from the other side of the bedroom door. "Goblin queenie!"
A pile of goblins fell through the door. Their landing was no softer than the landings of those rows of goblins outside taking flight through canon barrels. They peered up at the people in bed in childish curiosity. For a moment Jareth believed his love would dive under the covers at this sudden out- or rather in-burst of goblins. The floor lay decorated with clattering goblin limbs. These creatures would be more appealing, and less putrid smelling, petrified. The faces in between all those bits and pieces rummaged to find a welcoming smile or hostile glower. Aêlst's vicious cat face looked up at her from the bottom of the pile. Elspeth remembered him from the days of her youth spent in this place. Jareth was never to know she had had goblin play mates.
Luckily their king was too preoccupied by mentally crediting Elspeth for not jolting up from the bed and taking refuge under the covers to notice any subtle sign of recognition she might give. Only one goblin actually entered the room to approach the royal couple. She stepped over the heap of smaller goblins with all the grace and caution of an elephant. It was the cook. She brought in a large tray carrying in their breakfast. She stalked sideways to the bed like a large, flubby crab. Her small yellow eyes avoided looking at the king's chosen company. She handed the tray over, placing it less rudely on the bed than she wanted. Queen Elspeth noted red wine, one large bowl of sloshing drab and two surprisingly clean spoons. She would not eat from tarnished goblin cutlery. The dismayed cook was in a rush to leave. She snorted and kicked the other lingering goblins back into the corridor on her way out. Elspeth straightened herself in the bed.
"What a treat. Weech's really outdone herself." Jareth said. After he had filled his own stomach he watched his queen eat. "Most humans turn sick from eating her cooking."
Elspeth continued eating and shrugged. "It's a stew."
"Ah yes, sweetling, stew is the only dish she can make, but this is a special stew. This is the very stew you almost ended up in. Two Brown Things in a Brown Gravy with Another Brown Thing on Top –Twice. An exclusive dish to be tasted only on feast days."
She analyzed her spoon's contents. "It's impossible to make out any of the ingredients."
He placed a greasy kiss on her already red kissed neck, pushing the choker down. "What are those gooey lumps? Apples?"
Jareth smiled up at her. "No one knows."
He took the spoon from her hand, and took to feeding her with a smirk. Elspeth let him enjoy his little game in an endearingly uncooperative way.
"Jareth, why was there food everywhere in the Labyrinth?"
"My Labyrinth adjusts to the nature of the visitor. You, my dear, are very much a culinary person. A hungry and scrumptious queen. I am very lucky. " He pointed to a lump in the stew. "That looks like Stench's heart. How terribly sloppy of him to have left it in there." He stroked Elspeth's hair from her shoulder.
"It should have Snow White's heart in it."
"You can have that commissioned. By goblin hands and nightmares of old."
"Or do it myself."
"Correct." Her scoundrel king watched her a moment longer. "Your taste for cannibalism is very becoming."
"I wouldn't call it cannibalism exactly."
"Because you are goblin."
She cocked her head. "Only partly."
A hungry whisper in her neck: "A big yummy part."
Queen Elspeth reclaimed the spoon from him and put the tray away on the nightstand. Her enchanting blue eyes glistened.
"Have you lost your appetite?"
She brushed her head against his, shaking it softly. She had found her appetite.
Jareth grinned at his queen. He would surpass that mirror. He would show her so much better that she was the fairest of them all.
At his head being slammed onto the tin tray Le Spoon opened its weary eyes. This poor spoon had been banished to the Goblin Kingdom, under extensive swearing, chased away from Adinessa's queendom because of his inexorable crude behavior. Its silver face and leg had been bent, smashed, trotted and chewed upon by goblin monsters, now to finally have found decent employment in the castle. Elspeth gently leaned over to Jareth. His hands travelled through her hair. If he had any say in it she would never need consult that mirror on matters of beauty again.
Le Spoon's tired eyes set on Elspeth 's glowing hair. "Fire! Evacuate! Save yourself! Alarm! Get your asses out of here! Redhead! Alert! Hey! Redhead! Put the smootshing aaawaaaay." The couple would not hear him, nor did their fiery kisses dwindle. He would have to be witness to this? Was he to be condemned to this? He wailed excessively. Wait a minute… the biggest harm had already been done to him while he was napping. The proof of the half-eaten stew next to him, smudges of it remaining on his precious face, he could taste it, this indicated…. Its cries quadrupled. "The redhead, it raped me!"
It isn't perfect but at least it is over. Happy endings… they are difficult to write for me. I remember the first conclusion I wrote to this story as a well-balanced chapter, pleasant to write and containing a few spontaneous sentences I liked a lot. Those sentences of course I forgot soon after writing. Then the chapter went lost. This is the rewrite.
Jareth was going to be his charming self in this chapter and not have as many lines as he has now, then as I was typing it out he decided to go on overexcited ramblings. That was a bit of a surprise. I can't really blame him for doing so. If you win Elspeth I can see that happening.
Reviews are cookies, cookies write chapters, something like that. Cookies all around!
There is a folder in my drawer with parts of a sequel to this story. This jellie sequel will include Merlin (1998) and Legend characters. It won't be written any time soon for I want to focus more on my offline writing and finish "writing fairy stories". Yes, writing fairy stories is still on. I know you haven't seen evidence of that in ages but believe me the story is alive. There is a lot happening for the three chapter finale.
Again most of this does not belong to me but to Snow White fairest of them all, Labyrinth and the book "the Goblins of Labyrinth": the fashion goblins Nive and Forwke, the great cook Weech, the stew and more are all in there-.
Also I am convinced some of Jareth's chickens talk, exactly like the one in return of OZ incidentally she was voiced by Labyrinth's junk lady.
Replica is my own creation. I would like to dedicate her to Nyssa.
There are more rp references present: such as Queen Mab naturally- not mine either look for the film Merlin from 1998 and Le Spoooon thank you to the noble Miss Kayte for giving him life.
To finish with a bang I would like to thank BellatrixLepus for being the perfect Jareth to Ellie. I wouldn't be writing and enjoying fanfiction without you.