"Wha…wait…no…" Sarah stammered, trying to wrap her head around everything she'd just heard. "That…that can't be…how is this even possible?"
Jareth simply nodded his head gravely. "When I was very young a seer foretold that the Unseelie, the evil creatures that plagued our world would meet their demise at the hands of the Goblin King and his kingdom. Upon hearing this, they immediately started a war with my family and the inhabitants of the Labyrinth. My father was the Goblin King at the time and, since I was his only child, if anything were to happen to him in this war, I would be up to me to fulfill that destiny. When there came a failed assassination attempt on my life, my father decided that the Underground would not be safe until the war was over.
"In my land, children or those of great importance are sometimes sent to the Aboveground. It is a land that only has magic as long as the inhabitants allow it. Should an Undergrounder be sent there, the disbelief of the Abovegrounders acts as a kind of shield, protecting them until it is time for them to return. So, my father sent me to this world accompanied by our old butler."
"Quizzel…" said Sarah, starting to feel a little dizzy with all the information she was getting. Ludo sweetly picked up her whole couch, dropped it behind her and helped her sit down to absorb it all.
"Indeed," Jareth confirmed. "When I arrived, I was found by a wonderful and beautiful woman who called herself Sarah. She saved me from the Unseelie that had managed to follow me here. I expect Cormac had been expecting my father to pull this kind of stunt for my protection and was awaiting me. But Sarah drove them back and protected me, even though she had no idea who I was.
"She'd told me that she'd been to the Underground before and had had some kind of confrontation with my father. This made no sense to me, but I accepted it as any child would. The more she spoke of it, the more I found I resented what she'd told me. How could my father have wronged such a kind, lovely and strong person? It made no sense to me, for my father could do no wrong as far as I was concerned. Because of whatever it was that my father did, she had a very strong will in fighting against magic. Her strength and defense against the powers of the Unseelie and the Underground were very impressive to me. Before long I knew I half dreaded my return home for when I would have to leave, it would be forever.
"Then my mother appeared and informed me that the war was over and my father was dead. In that moment I knew I wanted Sarah to come to our home with us. I wanted her to be a part of my life forever to join us in the world I called my home. Yet, she refused me. Her heart had given up on magic and dreams. She said her world was here, but I couldn't bear it. I was determined to see her again."
Sarah's mind went back to the previous night when she'd thought she'd said farewell to the little boy she'd taken care of all this time. How he'd insisted that she come with them, that he'd make the Labyrinth better, just for her. How he'd said that he wouldn't give up on her…and all the while…she was talking to…
"I returned to the Labyrinth and took my place as King. The Unseelie had all been hunted down and defeated after the war. I rebuilt everything that was destroyed and made the kingdom my own. Yet, I was never completely happy. I was determined to see Sarah again. I knew that no matter how I tried to persuade her, she would not come with me. The Sarah I knew had given up on her dreams, had rejected the magic within her own heart.
"And so I came to the conclusion that, if Sarah was ever going to be with me and I could convince her to stay, I would have to see her at another time, before she rejected magic and miracles. So, I turned back the clock, journeyed back to what was her past and sought her out. I had goblins keep an eye on this younger Sarah to wait until she unleashed the magic in her heart."
Sarah's jaw dropped again. Things were starting to unravel, to make sense. She looked up at the Goblin King, paying close attention to his every word, but he was wrapped up in his story and did not seem to really notice how intently she was listening.
"When I finally met with the younger Sarah, I was stunned at what I saw. She was much different, than her older self. Nevertheless, I saw that she still had belief and dreams in her heart, and so I offered her her dreams right then and there. But what she truly wanted was for me to undo the only wish she'd ever allowed me to grant her. She'd wished her infant brother away and I'd taken him and now she wanted him back. So I let her run the Labyrinth to try and win him back. I thought the Labyrinth impossible to beat and figured, when she'd given up and realized that this world of magic was far better than the world she'd left behind; she'd want to stay with me.
"I had forgotten her strength, her ability to fight for what she believed in, and how far she would go to protect what was important to her. I'd forgotten just who it was I was dealing with. No matter how hard I tried, she managed to best the Labyrinth and refused her dreams. It was then that I realized, truly, what I had done. It wasn't my father that had done Sarah wrong. My father didn't lead her to give up on her dreams. I had."
Sarah shook her head, wrapping her head around all this information. So the Goblin King, both the man and the child, had been the same person the whole time? A dark thought crossed Sarah's mind: How horrible Jareth must have felt when he realized that he'd been the one to make her give up on magic? He'd gone back in time hoping that she'd embrace magic, embrace him, but he'd been the very reason that she'd given it up in the first place.
"After she'd gone and all my glorious plans had failed, I continued to simply watch from afar. I saw her develop into the woman I'd known so long ago, had admired so much. I saw the life she'd made for herself, the hardships that she'd face and the loneliness she'd endured. Then I received another reminder of the prophecy of old, concerning the end of all the Unseelie. For me, the Unseelie had been extinct for years, but I'd been warned that one of the generals was still alive and realized that one Unseelie still remained in the confines of the Aboveground. I never realized as a child that I'd left the adult Sarah in the Aboveground with Cormac still with her, so I went back and watched over the time she's spent with me in my youth, in my owl form so she would be alarmed. And as I watched my young self depart over again, I realized that Cormac was closing in on her, so I fetched the only faces that she knew from the Underground that she would trust and to battle with Cormac so…we have arrived at the present."
Sarah let out a long, slow breath as she processed everything he'd told her. His father sent him to her as a child in what was his past but her future…then Jareth came to her in his future but her past…and he'd come back now after all this time in what was both their present.
"You've been here…the entire time…" Sarah murmured. "Because of something that I didn't even know I did because…I hadn't done it yet."
Jareth nodded. "It can be difficult to understand the flow of time, but ultimately it all ends up in the same place. Now, we are both here today because of the actions of our pasts that affected our futures and yet brings us to the present."
"Can we move this conversation forward?" grumbled Hoggle. Sarah jumped, having temporarily forgotten that her friends were in the room. "All this past and present stuff is givin' me a headache."
"Sorry," Sarah said, looking around at her friends and the king. "I'm just…a little confused right now." Sarah took a deep breath and faced Jareth. "You're telling me that I've been taking care of you these past few days?"
"You have been," Jareth said, nodding.
"And…because I took care of you…that's why you took Toby?" she asked.
"That and because you asked me to," Jareth reminded her.
"And you've been here again at the same time as when you were little?"
"So both your past and present selves have been here the whole time."
Jareth simply gave her a sad look, one that was vaguely reminiscent of the one that she saw him give her just after she'd defeated him in the Labyrinth. "Simply because…in my mind…you're still…my favorite."
Sarah froze. Jareth's explanations so far had boggled her mind and made things even harder to understand in her current state of mind but somehow those words explained everything. How could this man have known the words that the Prince had murmured so sweetly to her unless he'd been there to. They were the same person, the Goblin Prince had grown up to be the Goblin King…and he was standing right in front of her.
This was the point where Sarah fainted.
When Sarah fully regained consciousness, she wished she hadn't. All of her realizations came rushing back to her tired mind, the knowledge that she'd met a little boy from the Underground, took care of him, got attacked by Unseelie, sent the boy back home, got fired, her former boss who was actually a puppet controlled by an Unseelie and had tried to kill her, she'd been reunited with her old friends from her childhood who happened to be magical creatures, and the little boy she'd been taking care of was actually her arch nemesis.
Couldn't she just faint again and forget it ever happened?
Unfortunately, fainting didn't seem to work more than once for her, so she opened her eyes and looked around. It seemed that Ludo had carried her up to her parent's bedroom and had laid her out on her bed (she could tell it was Ludo because her sweatshirt was covered in orange-red hair) and someone had put a damp cloth over her forehead. She sat up and took off the cloth as she tried to pull herself together.
"Woah, woah, woah! Look who's up!"
The presence of an another person snapped Sarah back to reality. She turned to see that another one of Jareth's minions seemed to have followed him here from his kingdom. The old Wise Man sat in the corner of her room by the door, fast asleep, while his Hat had noticed her get up and started squawking loudly.
"Get up, lazy bones!" the Hat snapped. "Wake up! The lady's awake!"
"Zzzzzz…hmm…eh? What?" the Wise Man awoke slowly. "Oh, yes, um…Ah! Madam…I see that you're awake."
"As are you, you lazy old thing," grumbled the Hat.
Sarah regarded the strange figure before her. "You…what are you doing here? Where's…my friends and…and him…?"
"Downstairs, I believe," said the Wise Man. "His Majesty the King seemed…eh…well, wanted to give you some space, it seems."
"How…considerate of him," Sarah groaned.
"Are you alright, Madam?" the Wise Man asked.
"I think so," said Sarah, though she felt exhausted. "It's just been…a very crazy twenty-four hours is all."
"Oh, yes, um…" the Wise Man. "Sometimes, my dear, we must be tried so that we can be taught."
"Pfft! As if she needs to hear this crap right now," snapped the Hat.
"Be quiet!" grumbled the Wise Man. He groaned and gave Sarah a very kind smile. "I do hope that you will not judge His Majesty the King too harshly. He has been waiting to see you a very long time."
"Really?" said Sarah, agitated. "By the sounds of it, he's never left! He's been following me since he was young…or since I was young…or both…urgh!" Sarah clutched her head. "I don't know what I'm supposed to do."
"We must all make our own choices, Madam," said the Wise Man. "You have been in His Majesty the King's heart for a very long time and he has so longed to see you again….as have I."
Sarah's head snapped up. "You? Why have you…?"
The Wise Man simply smiled and pulled out what looked like a very dirty mop head and handed it to Sarah. She took it gingerly between her fingers and realized that it was actual an ancient, dirty, almost completely worn out book. On the title she could just barely make out the remains of the title.
Fae Rearing for Dummies.
If Sarah thought her brain couldn't handle another surprise, it turned out that there was room for one more. "Quizzel!" she gasped. "Is that you!?"
The Wise Man smiled and nodded. "Indeed, Madam, it is I."
"Don't forget me!" piped up the Hat.
"Oh, yes, um…and this thing," the Wise Man grumbled, looking up at the Hat.
"But…how…what happened…?" Sarah asked.
"Upon returning to the Labyrinth after our stay with you, Her Majesty the Queen rewarded me with wisdom and the ability to recall past events better than any other Goblin," the Wise Man informed her. "And, as I started to grow old and my memories started to fade, I was given this Hat to remind me in case I forgot anything…although I'm not sure it's really a reward…" he glanced up at the Hat and gave it a withering look.
"You're no prize yourself," said the Hat.
"When I was at the Labyrinth…did you know who I was?" Sarah asked.
"I could guess," said the Wise Man. "Though my ability to help you was limited by His Majesty the King's orders that no one could help you through the Labyrinth, I couldn't help but offer you advice."
"Advice!? Ha!" said the Hat.
"Be quiet!" growled the Wise Man.
"But Quizzel," Sarah protested. "Couldn't you have helped me at all? You knew Jareth and I had a history…you were THERE for heaven's sake! Why couldn't you tell me? Why couldn't you warn me about what was going on, what Jareth was doing?"
The Wise Man closed his eyes and took several deep breaths. Sarah was afraid that, for a moment, he'd gone back to sleep, but he opened his eyes and looked at her dolefully.
"Would it have changed anything? Would it have stopped you trying to win back your brother? Would it have made you change your mind? What would telling you have done?"
"I…it…it would have been nice to know," Sarah grumbled.
"Madam," said the Wise Man. "I have known His Majesty the King longer than any other, longer even than his own dear mother, may she rest in peace. As I watched him grow, I could see that he was no longer complete. The death of his father shook him badly but he'd already tried to fill the void in his heart with the hopes and dreams of being reunited with you."
"But what do I have to do with anything?" Sarah asked, sadly. "What makes me so important?"
"Has His Majesty the King ever told you how important to him you are?" the Wise Man asked.
"Well…n-not really," Sarah hesitated. "He just wanted to rule me…he wanted me to fear him and…and…other…stuff…"
"I meant when he was young," the Wise Man clarified patiently.
"Well, he said I was his "favorite" whatever that means," said Sarah, shrugging.
"That's just it, Madam," said the Wise Man, softly. "In his youth, His Majesty the King rarely ever used the word "favorite" to describe anything. He only ever used it when he found the one thing, above all else, that he really truly loved."
Sarah sat there, stunned. "No…It can't be…after all this time…since he was a child…he's loved me?"
The Wise Man nodded. "Above all else."
Sarah put her head in her hands. "All this time…the whole time…he just wanted to be with me. That's why he listened to my wish…why he offered me my dreams…he just…he just wanted to be with me…all this time…"
"Well, well, then," said the Hat. "How's that for a wake up call, eh? Now, please, leave a contribution in the little box," he added as the Wise Man took out his collecting box and shook it eagerly in front of Sarah.
Sarah found Jareth later that evening in her old bedroom where he'd stayed as a child. Sarah hadn't cleaned it up yet so the make-shift bed was still there. The Goblin King was looking around with a look of sad nostalgia on his face. He and saw her as she walked in the room.
"I see you talked to Quizzel," he said, softly.
"Yeah, I did," said Sarah.
"I had hoped that one more revelation wouldn't be too much for you," said Jareth, looking a little worried.
"No, it's alright," said Sarah. "I, um, well I've had my fill of surprises for awhile but…I think everything is starting to make sense now."
"Now that it is," said Jareth, stepping cautiously closer. "What will you do?"
Sarah shuffled uncomfortably. "I'm…not sure what comes next."
Jareth hesitated. "I…I would like to see you around the Labyrinth…even if it is only upon occasion to meet with your friends. And…if possible…I would like it if…I could continue to see you as well."
"Jareth," Sarah said, hesitantly. "I…I'm not gonna lie. This is all really confusing for me. There's a lot that I have to come to terms to and…a lot that I have to decided for myself. There are things here that…I need to sort out and I can't just…disappear off to the Labyrinth with you and the others."
"Of course, I didn't think you'd want to," said Jareth, hastily, his voice suddenly turning regal and standoffish, rather like when Sarah had seen him on the night he took Toby. "That's fine, I was merely offering the chance in case you were to take it. It matters not to me, not anymore anyway. I just thought that seeing your friends upon occasion might spark a bit of life back into your dull routine…that is if it is as dull as I remember."
He was trying to hide his disappointment behind quips and jibes and Sarah could see right through it. She smiled as she stepped forward and took his hand in both of hers. Jareth stopped suddenly and glanced down at their hands, looking stunned.
"However," she said, slowly. "If I had your permission…I would like to go back every now and then…spend time with my friends…and you. If that's alright."
Jareth stared at her as though hardly daring to believe what he was hearing. Then, slowly, he smiled. "I would like that…very much indeed."
The past and the present was a long and complicated jumble between the two of them, however as they grasped each other's hands and looked into each other's eyes, it seemed the beginning of a bright and glorious future.
Ying-fa: There you have it people! That's the end! I'm so glad I could write this fic with cmsully and I'm so glad you could enjoy it, too.
And, now, a few words from my co-conspirator I MEAN co-writer, cmsully:
"Hello, fellow Ying-Fa fans, cmsully here! As the little story idea that I just could not write myself was shared with the world, I was ecstatic by the overwhelmingly positive response it received. Reading the various reviews, I'll admit that I laughed, I squeed, and I was SO excited by how much people were anticipating the rest of the story. You would not BELIEVE at how hard it was for me to refrain from confirming some of your guesses on the big plot twist... but alas, I am as guilty of enjoying the evil cliffie as any other author. Anyway, I just wanted to use this opportunity to say a few words: First, to Ying-Fa-dono- thank you SO MUCH for agreeing to take on this idea. I admit, when I first approached you I was VERY nervous at how you'd receive it. However, as we've worked together and you've helped make that little idea into this amazing story, I've come to realize just how awesome of a person you are. If you're ever in need of another story idea, I'm ALWAYS up for another collaboration! Now, to all of you fans- thank you SO, SO MUCH for loving this story! Every day, I always check the review section just to see the awesome responses to this little idea that I had but could never write myself. Chapter 11's reviews especially were enjoyable, for I'm totally a Whovian myself (although I haven't gotten through that many of the Matt Smith episodes yet... which WILL be changed soon, though, thanks to Netflix). I especially giggled when a review by DragonRose4 seemed to have the perfect title for a Doctor Who/Labyrinth crossover. Oh, and the offer for collaborations is totally open to you guys too, for I get WAY too many plot-bunnies than I can handle myself. Even now, I have a great HP/Labyrinth crossover idea... however, I'm getting ahead of myself. Finally, if you have any questions regarding this story (like who came up with various ideas), feel free to PM me! I'd be happy to answer them! And remember- no matter where life may take you, never give up on magic for it can be found anywhere... as long as you know where to look!"
As the little story idea that I just could not write myself was shared with the world, I was ecstatic by the overwhelmingly positive response it received. Reading the various reviews, I'll admit that I laughed, I squeed, and I was SO excited by how much people were anticipating the rest of the story. You would not BELIEVE at how hard it was for me to refrain from confirming some of your guesses on the big plot twist... but alas, I am as guilty of enjoying the evil cliffie as any other author.
Anyway, I just wanted to use this opportunity to say a few words:
First, to Ying-Fa-dono- thank you SO MUCH for agreeing to take on this idea. I admit, when I first approached you I was VERY nervous at how you'd receive it. However, as we've worked together and you've helped make that little idea into this amazing story, I've come to realize just how awesome of a person you are. If you're ever in need of another story idea, I'm ALWAYS up for another collaboration!
Now, to all of you fans- thank you SO, SO MUCH for loving this story! Every day, I always check the review section just to see the awesome responses to this little idea that I had but could never write myself. Chapter 11's reviews especially were enjoyable, for I'm totally a Whovian myself (although I haven't gotten through that many of the Matt Smith episodes yet... which WILL be changed soon, though, thanks to Netflix). I especially giggled when a review by DragonRose4 seemed to have the perfect title for a Doctor Who/Labyrinth crossover. Oh, and the offer for collaborations is totally open to you guys too, for I get WAY too many plot-bunnies than I can handle myself. Even now, I have a great HP/Labyrinth crossover idea... however, I'm getting ahead of myself.
Finally, if you have any questions regarding this story (like who came up with various ideas), feel free to PM me! I'd be happy to answer them! And remember- no matter where life may take you, never give up on magic for it can be found anywhere... as long as you know where to look!"
We are so grateful! Thank you:
cmsully, TailzTheGreat, serena221, thequietcorner, Fantasymyownworldofhearts, Dark Angel Millenia, black-heart-green-eyes, J Luc Pitard, PleaseContinue, Kitten4, Hello Dear, Yautja321, The Queen of Water, spartiechic, Sarah Rose 29, Kypriothe, DragonRose4, , PinkutoMomo, Niamh, Lylabeth1, samuraistar, hungrypiranha, Honoria Granger, Dede42, Jetredgirl, Guest, sheniyag, Kitty-ryn, JessOvergon, helikesitheymikey, Joesette, Fairyfinder, etcetera nine, mearra, Karmira, Larissa-Hunter, Loryluv777, vampsydney, fre2beme78, Zwart Wit, Goblin Girl, auctavia1228, mynagoldenwings, Lucy, amba gurl, Aoichibi, GhibliGirl91, avulgarism, ChucklingDevil, jeannie kaulitz, kenilyn, MiaRia1832, Goblin Girl's Cast Members, ForeverAGnome, qiana, Yaya Relos, , artseblis, Animegal809, Griffinesque, FireShifter, DragonShifter, Jill, Georgie, sarahlee301, Morning and Evening Star, Kaytori, Aleta Wolff, and everyone who Followed/Favorited me and/or this story! This has been Ying-Fa-Dono. Goodnight and Good luck!