Prompt: Sarah is being prepped on how to be queen of the goblins. She thinks it's only fair that Jareth learn what it is like to be a normal human guy. Thus she proposes a day Aboveground.
Plot Summary: Sarah has been training to be Jareth's queen for quite some time, and she's grown rather frustrated being a magic-less, or defenseless against her future mother-in-law. Also, the elegant clothes can't compare to her sexy boots. Really she just wants a break to be with her family without magic. Will Jareth be willing to give her twenty four hours of magic free twists?
Author's Notes:This is a fic I wrote for the Labyrinth Fic Exchange that dansemacabre organizes on livejournal. I do intend to continue with this story at some point, as I was under a time crunch and just spun it out without expanding on all my ideas. I make no promises as to when. If you're ever in need of a good Labyfic, check out my favorite stories, authors, or the link on my profile to the labyrinth exchange.
"Straighten your posture, Lady Sarah. Queens do not slouch." The voice of regal snobbery continued to drone on about what a queen does and doesn't do while I tried to recall which of the three forks I was supposed to use for salad. Ah-ha! That one. Who possesses the voice dripping with disdain about my body posture and proper dining etiquette? Well… The Goblin King's mother or more simply, my future mother-in-law. Carefully scooping up some lettuce and stabbing a carrot, I pretended to listen to the woman I had deemed the Dragon Lady. Along with her oh-so-helpful advice on what type of diet would slim my figure down to the "proper" silhouette.
Sitting at a long dining table in a great hall of ivory paneled walls, I endured many lessons of the Queen's in preparation for my marriage and coronation. The raised dais at the end of the hall held two empty thrones with curved backs draped in royal blue satin lined in silver embroidery and speckled with diamonds, each equally majestic. Though the walls were decorated with elegant moldings, the length of the room lined on both sides with faceted windows, and the floor was a glossy deep blue marble, the ceiling exhibited the most beauty. Perfectly round like a dome, the glow of golden light of a new sunrise was constantly reflecting on its surface. Its beauty could only be attributed to the magic of the Underground because the ceiling lacked the traditional clerestory windows of an Aboveground cathedral. Truly inspiring, if only I was alone. I sat at one end of the table spanning the length of the hall, the Dragon Lady directly across from me sipping her champagne.
"Mother," warned a cool voice. "Sarah's figure needs no alteration." The chair to my right slid out, and a tall, lean man in tight breeches and poet's shirt came into view, lounging against the cushioned back. His hair was white-gold and wildly unkempt, his clothing all black which contrasted with the paleness of his skin and exposed the royal pendant necklace resting on his lightly muscled chest, and the air about him hummed with authority. Looking in my direction, his eyes, a mismatched blue, roomed my body as if he could see through the lavender dress I wore, sending warmth to the pit of my stomach. Grinning, he flicked one wrist expertly and held out a peach in a gloved palm. "Do ignore her criticism, Precious." Moving closer and grazing his teeth on my earlobe, electricity through my body as he whispered loudly, "She's merely upset over no longer holding any power as the Goblin Queen," he continued as he bit into the peach when I refused the offer.
I giggled softly to myself as Dragon Lady's mouth thinned as she frowned and glared at my fiancé, who appeared quite content to rest his boots on the table, throw his arm around my shoulder, toss the peach in a random bowl, and whisper the many ways in which I possessed much more power as his Goblin Queen. Snapping her fingers, the Jareth's mother disposed of the peach via magic; a napkin took its place.
"Jareth, while I'm relieved you've chosen to marry at last, your mortal bride lacks the proper etiquette training of a Fae noblewoman," Jareth's mother said disdainfully, then rose elegantly to glide ("Queen's don't walk, Lady Sarah. They glide, as if a swan upon a calm lake") from the dining hall and out the doors, her long blue train of silk following in the hands of a trusty elven maid. Not wishing to draw her attention once more, I held my tongue, lest Her Majesty decide to zap me into a mannequin. With a reverberating, shuddering slam, the heavy black mahogany doors shut behind her and her servant with one last elegant wave of her hand, leaving Jareth and myself to our own devices. It was consistently the most generous gift she'd ever given me: her absence.
"It appears my timing is impeccable as ever. Shall I collect my token prize for your swift rescue now?" asked a slightly amused Jareth, one brow quirked tauntingly. "Or perhaps later this evening?" He smiled a toothy smile, one full of dark and sinful promises.
Pushing my fiancé away a few inches with one hand, I dropped my fork, letting it clatter on the table as I relaxed against his arm with a deep exhale. He frowned, clearly put out by my non-verbal reaction.
"Sarah…" said a concerned Jareth. I glanced at him briefly, uncomfortable with disclosing my true worries. Wrapping his arms about me, a sympathetic groan flowed from him. "What troubles you, love?" he murmured, nose burrowing into my hair.
I considered his question. What was troubling me? I was engaged to the sexiest man alive, mortal or otherwise. Said man was a witty immortal king. My new home consisted of a fairytale world, a castle, riches galore… And everywhere I wandered, magical beings crossed my path.
Wait. That was my problem. Magic.
"Jareth? You remember when I said your mother reminded me of Snow White's evil stepmother?" I asked, unsure of how to approach the topic.
"Are you referring to that ghastly old hag with the apple from the magic picture box in your old apartment?" Jareth leaned back, seeking confirmation. Finding it, he continued. "Because I do believe they share a fascination with their vanity mirrors and condescending remarks. But that's hardly an issue for you, love." Smirk. "What's really bothering that pretty head of yours?"
"I think.." I started. Deep breathe. I spoke quickly. "I'm slightly terrified that your mother will use her magic to turn me into a mannequin. Or a bug, to crush under her shoe. Mostly it's all the magic around here. I miss some of the normal world. I just need a break. Non-magical ceilings, cooking meals, and non-flying horses."
Arching a brow at my sudden confession, Jareth considered my words carefully. "You're tired of magic already, Sarah-mine?" Eyes hardening minutely, his body seemingly tenser, the question hung in the air between us, expression chilly.
"No, Jareth." I spoke slowly this time, enunciating my words for maximum clarity and understanding. "Consider how much time I've been in this world compared to my home world. I'm not accustomed to all of this," I waved my hand about in front of him and out to a broom that had just begun sweeping the floor behind the throne. Attempting to soothe his pride, I added, "I miss my family, too. I've never been separated for so long, even if it is just on our end of the time scale."
Jareth's expression quickly melted. Smiling softly, "Ah yes, the winter holiday is upon us. Have no fear. I have not forgotten. Twenty four hours of magic free time in your world while visiting for this Christmas holiday."
Unannounced, the heavy doors burst open, revealing a very pissed off elven maid. In a huff, the maid bustled her way down the hall, her bare feet slapping against the floor as she approached us. In one hand she held what appeared to be a corset. Tossing the garment onto my lap, the maid scurried back towards the doorway. Hair whipping around her face, skirts rustling, she turned to spit out, "Her Majesty desires the Lady Sarah to wear a corset and other proper undergarments befitting of a queen. Wear it or risk her wrath," before storming out at last.
Enfolding me in his arms once more, Jareth kissed my temple, reassuringly. "Mother forgets her wishes no longer carry weight here. It is merely out of my generous nature that she has not been so disillusioned as of yet. You have no need to satisfy her, precious." Kiss on the jawline. "We'll leave for the Aboveground soon, and your lessons with my mother are hereby over. You do, however," he continued suggestively, "need to satisfy your king."
"Your mother will drive me mad before you do, Jareth." I said in defeat.
"Oh, are so certain of that, Sarah-mine?" One gloved hand tilted my chin to force me to look into his hawkish eyes. Filled with love and a teasing glint in his eyes, my irritable mood evaporated and I could feel myself turning to jelly as his hungry gaze swept over me again. Releasing my chin, he tore the glove off with his teeth. Placing his bare hand against my cheek, he whispered huskily into my ear. "I may yet send you into a madness borne of passions unknown. Shall we practice?"
Already pinned in place by the zipping electric shocks racing over me from his caressing hand, I felt very much the mouse pursued; a willing mouse to be sure. I tried to swallow.
Hell yeah! said my libido. Make him stop teasing and pounce! He can poof us to his chambers. Or better yet, he can poof himself naked here. Your choice.
Shut up! I'm not going to let him just poof something every time he's in the mood for some action. He uses his magic enough as it is. I grumbled internally.
Meanwhile a deep flush colored my face as I imagined what passions I would experience if I allowed Jareth to poof away everything whenever he wanted. A chuckle escaped his lips, his warm breath tickling, raising goosebumps on my skin as if he could read my mind. Despite my earlier argument, a sigh escaped my lips, a clear sign that yet again, Jareth's influence proved too strong for me to argue with.
Closing my eyes, I let Jareth rub circles on my shoulder. Tension slowly seeped from my body as his experienced lips began trailing kisses along my throat, breaking through my remaining resistance. Peering through my lashes, I spotted the bookcase of Jareth's bedchamber, a clear indication that I had absolutely no control over my soon-to-be-husband and his magic. But at the moment, I didn't care.
Three days later, I stood at the foot of the porch steps of a modest two story home, Jareth at my side dressed in dark jeans and leather jacket, his hair secured in a ponytail. A glamour toned down his ethereal appearance of his eyes, but even his magic couldn't disguise their piercing allure. Blanketing every available surface was a thick layer of powdery snow, providing a strong contrast to the holly on the door, the green pine tree decorated on the lawn, and the hot red Lamborghini parked along the sidewalk. Engine still running, traveling from the Underground to the Above required an illusion of our arrival, therefore Jareth provided an assortment of sound effects to account for our arrival and prevent suspicions. That would be the last use of his magic for the next twenty-four hours.
Home. Well… My old home. My hand twitched in anticipation, reaching for Jareth as I tried to steady myself. I wore jeans as well, a plum knit sweater, and a white fur lined coat to keep out the winter chill. Wearing my knee high boots probably hadn't been the wisest decision I'd made that morning, but as Jareth advised, "Boots boast." Whether he was referring to my confidence or my butt, I wasn't sure. Either way. I heard a series of noises from within; dishes clattering, a cat shrieking, and a stampede of feet. I froze mid-step, suddenly unsure of what awaited us.
Sliding his arm about my waist, Jareth guided me up the snow covered steps to the door, muttering to himself, "Wasting our bloody time in the cold." Facing the opening door, a rush of heat escaped, bringing a smile to my lips as I caught the scent of Irene's baking. Someone behind the door seemed to be struggling with the locks. Taking advantage of the moment, I shot Jareth a look, a look that clearly said, "No backing out of the agreement and no funny business. Or else." In return, Jareth grinned wolfishly, obviously unfazed by the my eyes.
Ignoring the slap to my rump Jareth gave me, I turned my attention to the shaggy blond haired teenager swinging the door open and barreling in my direction.
"Toby!" I exclaimed excitedly.
Gangly limbs embraced me in a bone-crushing hug, cutting off much needed oxygen. Toby had grown immensely since my last visit, the muscles in his arms and legs deceptively lean due to constant swimming practices, and his naturally lanky body helped him shoot through water like a fish.
Noticing my lack of response, and probably increasingly blue complexion, Jareth pried Toby off, chuckling as he chastised gently, "Come now, young man. Let your sister breathe." Backing up, Toby released his hold, grinning broadly at both of us.
"Sorry, Sarah. Hi, Jareth."
"Hello, Tobias. My, you've grown." Patting the teen on his shoulder, I noticed Jareth had mere inches on Toby in height. Despite all the years since my Labyrinth adventure, Toby still possessed a child-like faith and hope, which is why only he was privy to the knowledge of the Underground and Jareth's true nature.
"Yeah. Maybe I'll make the basketball team this year." Toby babbled excitedly.
Pulling on my hand, Toby dragged me into the entryway of the house.
Following close behind, Jareth clasped my trailing hand as we entered the living room. Modestly furnished, the room was gaily decorated for Christmas. A finely ornamented tree sat in the corner, garland wove around the stair-rail headed upstairs, holly printed table runners lined the coffee tables, and snow globes crowded every available surface of the mantle over the fireplace. I inhaled, welcoming the scents I so loved.
Sitting in the armchair by the fire, a newspaper folded on his lap, spectacles on his greying head, was my father. He appeared much older than last I remembered, yet he had been an older father to both his children. Perhaps the red glow from the fire pronounced the wrinkles around his eyes. Perhaps it was the silver in his hair. Maybe it was the arthritis in his hand from all the hard years of work. Or maybe it was really that he was getting older, and I'd refused to see it until now.
One look at our approach was all it took for me to release my hold on both Jareth and Toby to quickly kneel at my father's side across the room. His eyes crinkled and he smiled softly.
"Sarah. You came," he said delightedly.
"Of course, Daddy. It's tradition. Merry Christmas" I hugged him gently and kissed his cheek. He really did age; I felt the thinness of his frame.
"Robert, Merry Christmas" said Jareth. Behind me, he acknowledged my father with a curt nod. Somehow, while Jareth never showed uneasiness with anyone, in my father's presence he transformed into a formal, and somewhat stiff, suitor. He moved to shake my father's hand, but the older man rose and hugged him. I managed to hide my snigger. Rarely did I see Jareth out of his comfort zone.
"None of that now." The men separated, my father's hands gripping Jareth's shoulder and pointing a finger. He commanded sternly. "You're family, or soon-to-be. Call me dad, son. Merry Christmas!" Smirking in that only-dads-with-engaged-daughters manner, he reclaimed his seat, satisfied with the lack of argument from Jareth's end, resuming his perusal of the periodical in hand. Glancing at me, "Irene's in the kitchen. She's been anxious for your visit, too." A glance at Toby, who had been content watching our exchange from the couch, he urged, "Tobes, why don't you help Jareth with their luggage? You can put it in the guest room."
Bouncing up at once, "Okay, Dad. Come on, Jareth!" Toby threw his coat on while he waited for my fiancé. Always reluctant to leave my side for anything, he left with a chaste kiss on the cheek, following the exuberant boy into the cold.
Patting his shoulder, I moved a step from my father's seat, then asked, "Do you want anything from the kitchen, Dad?"
"Oh, some cider would be nice. Thanks, Sarah. It's nice to have you back.," smiling genuinely.
A pair of doors led to the dining room, and just off to the left I entered the kitchen. Each step brought me closer to the warm, inviting scents I'd come to associate with my stepmother. I saw her bustling about, stirring pots, mixing bowls, and checking the stove through the window of the attached bar table joining the two rooms.
"Mom?" I called. Sometime after winning Toby back from the Labyrinth, Irene and I had finally bonded.
Startled, and turning on a heel, I caught her before she fell. Good thing, too. In her hands was a tray of ginger bread cookies. The scent rising told me they had just come from the oven, fresh, warm, and soft. My favorite. Once assured she had regained her footing, I released her wrists.
She smiled gratefully, then recognition shone in her eyes. "Sarah! Oh! You're here!" Looking all over the kitchen, she found a spot to put down her load, and embraced me warmly. Hugging her back, I felt the last niggling worry ebb away. Pushing me back suddenly, she wiped away tears which had sprung in her eyes with the corner of her apron, laughing happily. Eyeing me eyeing the cookies, she swatted my hands playfully. "Oh, no you don't! Those need to cool off still. You can have one of these, though." Walking away to the opposite side of the island table, she picked up a tray laden with chocolate covered pretzel sticks, and offered up one covered in dark chocolate.
Laughing, tears threatening to spring out, I took the sugary treat. "Thank you. It's so good to be home. Well, at least for a visit." I began nibbling. "How have…you…been?...You…look exhausted…" I leaned on the island as Irene commenced stirring a batter.
"Oh, I'm doing fine. You know how busy I get during the holidays. But it's all worth it." She grinned warmly, the color in her cheeks and happiness in her eyes confirming her words.
We talked for a bit, discussing her gardening plans for the spring, my father's declining health, my brother's various exploits. "He'll be a heartbreaker, Sarah. And he doesn't even know it! I've seen all the girls eyeing him at the swimming meets. He wants to try basketball. I'm positive the cheerleading squad will double if he makes the team." She rattled on about the various gossip. I nodded at the appropriate moments, enjoying our easy conversation. We really had formed a mother-daughter relationship, one that every girl ought to have in her life.
Licking the last of the chocolate from my fingers, I moved to one of the cabinets, snatching a mug off the middle shelf, and poured some cider from the crock pot by the fridge.
"Sarah?" Irene said, questioningly as if a thought had just occurred to her. I faced her, steam rising from the mug and quirked my brow. "Where is Jareth? I thought you said he was coming."
"He is here." Stepping into the kitchen fully, Irene and I let our jaws drop as a snow covered Jareth's boots slapped on the linoleum. Water dripping from the melting snow in his hair, teeth chattering, and cheeks rosy from exertion, the child in him smiled broadly. Peeking out from behind was Toby, smiling sheepishly, also snow laden.
"Toby!" shouted Irene.
"Jareth!" I exclaimed.
Each of rushed to peel off their wet layers until both men were only wearing their underwear. I detected my stepmother's blush as she tried not look in Jareth's direction. I possessed no such strength. The slightly loose boxers managed to hide little. Running out for a second, Irene came back bearing a stack of towels to dry them off, mumbling about mischievous boys while shoving part of the pile to me. I felt partly embarrassed, not for Jareth's sake, but for my own. I knew Jareth had a wild streak to him, one that allowed him to be comfortable at the center of attention, one that both aggravated me, but also entertained me to no end. Certainly made for a great sex life. But I didn't want my family to know about that.
Thank God I remembered to convince Jareth to wear some underwear, I thought. I can only imagine what would've happened if he had dressed without them. Irene would have had a heart attack. Picturing Jareth strutting around commando in the kitchen, a shocked Irene present, I let out an involuntary laugh, interrupting Toby's animated retelling of The Epic Snow Ball Battle. No one seemed to notice except Jareth, who leered at me as I wrapped a towel around him, drying his hair with another.
Hissing into his ear, so that he alone heard my words, "You are in so much trouble, you know that, Jaaareth?" I blew gently, and a shudder racked his body. I smirked.
"Well, I'll take these to the washing machine. Toby, take this cider to your father. I can't believe you did this to your new shirt…" Irene prattled on, chiding an oblivious Toby as he took the drink out of the kitchen, his mother not far behind.
"Come on. Let's get you some clothes," I said. Seizing his hand, I dragged Jareth up to the guest bedroom. Laid out upon the green flannel covered bed were three suitcases. The larger one belonged to Jareth, which was also distinguishable by the tiny tooth marks visible on the handle and chicken feather shaped burn on the side.
"Wear something nice, Jareth. It's Christmas. No magic conjurations of clothes." On tip toes, I pecked his lips and turned to leave. "If you're lucky, I'll forget about your magic snowball maker and his almost appearance today."
Suddenly, Jareth's hand caught my wrist, Hot damn! How his mere touch makes me tingle!, whipping be back to face him. Leaning close, his teeth grazed my lips, reminding me of how little he was wearing. Somehow I managed to escape his hold.
"Punishment later. Clothes now." I said curtly
"I'm to be punished am I, Sarah?" asked a smug Jareth.
Rolling my eyes at his suggestive tone, I pointed firmly at his suitcase with a manicured nail, walked out of the room, and shut the door behind.
I descended the stairs two at a time, determined to enjoy the day, free of goblin/fae/elven/king/dragon lady problems.
Later that evening, I found myself curled up in Jareth's arms on the floor fireside. Toby sat in his new game chair, head bent down, snoring softly amidst the litter of wrapping paper on the floor. Jareth had given him a crystal ball to practice juggling, a skill somehow innate in the boy. The sweaters Irene gifted each of us lay folded neatly in our separate piles; thankfully my stepmother's sense of style dictated that none of the items matched in a corny 1950's way. Unaware that Jareth has no idea how to operate a car, let alone fix one, his gift from my parents was a tire pump and tool set, to which he responded with a confident grin and convincing statement about needing "devices to silence the neighbors' chickens," which in a way is true because only the goblins living in one of Jareth's cities revere the bird for its clucking noise. The occasional duties he must execute bring him to the Goblin City reluctantly and the chickens are barely tolerated as food anywhere else Underground. Yet the tool set will likely end up buried in the Bog of Eternal Stench.
My father snoozed in his armchair, a fat orange cat sprawled on his lap. On the couch, Irene sat with a magazine, tearing out gardening tricks to try. All was quiet, as usual on Christmas night. The only sound that of crackling fire and snow bearing wind outside. Lingering aromas of the Christmas turkey and other goodies added to the cozy feeling growing inside my heart upon seeing my old home, and the soft croon of Bing Crosby complimented the atmosphere.
Fingers brushing my hair, Jareth kissed my temple. "Is that everything, Irene?" he inquired.
Observing my surroundings, I felt content and truly happy. I was with the people I loved most, and they loved me.
"No, I see one more, Jareth," she laughed, eyes lighting up knowingly.
"Ah, yes, this one." Revealing a small, red and green wrapped package from within his indigo shirt pocket, Jareth held it out for me to see, a rather satisfied look on his face. I didn't recognize it from the stack of gifts we'd brought.
Chuckling at my questioning look, "No, Sarah. Irene helped me hide this from you. I picked it out quite some time before our little holiday discussion." He gave my stepmother a thankful smile, then pushed the jewelry box sized gift into my hand.
Excitement filled me. Despite the common occurrence of Jareth bestowing a gift on me, rarely was it something so small, or tinkly as I heard when the box shifted in my palm. Gently unveiling the black box inside, I lifted the lid, and nearly dropped it in surprise.
"Oh, my…" I gasped.
Nestled in satin was a little silver bell engraved with the words Only Forever. Talons of an owl clutched it, while its wings and hung from a delicate silver chain long enough to worn around my neck. The owl itself wore an intricate crest of the moon and sun encircled by an ouroboros, which I recognized as the Royal Emblem of both the King and Queen of the Underground. One soft note of the bell rang, and my heart melted. Bringing it up close to inspect, I discovered something a bit off with the tail of the owl. A tiny key hid fit into the back of the owl, blending with the design of metal feathers, and with a single twist, familiar notes chimed sweetly. I turned it three times. Playing the melody, Jareth sang along with the musical bell.
A touching ballad of valentine evenings and pale jewels, I remembered the first time I felt vulnerable in his presence, partly afraid to search for what I desired but undeniably attracted and drawn to his powerfully mysterious nature; this was the song which broke through the room I'd locked myself in, letting me find love in my heart again. But I did think Jareth could love me at the time, so I had to break the dream bubble, and rescue my brother.
"Forged by the finest human craftsman, only the best for you, love. Forever," Jareth murmured, his free hand cupping my chin so he could look me in the eye lovingly, sincerity behind his words.
"It took him almost three months to find the right people, Sarah. Even after I'd found several well-qualified metalworkers, he kept searching. And almost a year to the day since he started looking," said a smiling and tearful Irene.
Tears streamed my cheeks as I realized what he was trying to convey. One year. Human craftsman. As in without magic. He had anticipated my little tiff with magic, and proved he could navigate my world without it.
"Oh, Jareth! It's beautiful!" I cried, hugging him tightly, and kissing him. Eagerly, he returned my kisses. Before a full on make-out session erupted, I pulled back. Smiling bashfully in my stepmother's direction I said, "I think I'm going to go to bed now, Mom."
"Yes, yes. Of course. It's very late," Jareth commented. "I believe I hear the clock ringing twelve."
"Actually, Jareth," I corrected, "those are the bells." My hand rubbed up his thigh, making him jerk slightly.
I stood up, cradling my necklace close. Jareth immediately sprang up after me, his skin flushed. I passed Irene, hugging her. "Merry Christmas, Mom." We exchanged knowing looks as Jareth also said goodnight and trailed up the stairs close behind me.
As soon as the door closed, I climbed onto the bed, taking off my sweater. I lay on my side, beckoning Jareth closer with a sultry look. Despite the cold draft in the old room, my skin felt hot under his predatory regard. Unfastening the buttons as he sat on the bed, Jareth let me take control willingly and straddle his hips. I leaned down and flicked my tongue teasingly. A groan escaped his lips.
With a grin, I whispered against his cheek, "Come, my king. Let me show you what magic I can make."