A Necessary Deception
by Scattered Logic
Disclaimer: Jareth and Sarah belong to Jim Henson. Everyone else is mine.
Author's Notes: A very special thank you goes to my beta, Cormak, for all her patience, suggestions and hard work. And thank you to The Hooded Crow and Lady Jamie for their encouragement, suggestions and support.
The biggest thank you, however, must go to the readers who have given me feedback on this story. Your encouragement and support have been deeply appreciated. For those of you who have expressed an interest, yes, I do plan a sequel to this story.
And for anyone who is curious about Sarah's wedding dress, Cormak was gracious enough to provide a photo manipulation that can be viewed at http://www.geocities.com/scattered_logic/anddress.html
Sarah awakened the next morning to the familiar smell of the ginger tea. Twylla saw her open her eyes and the maid quickly produced tea and toast.
"How did you know I'd be here?" Sarah asked in surprise, sipping the tea.
"His Majesty sent me here. He said to give you this," Twylla held up a piece of paper but snatched it back before Sarah could reach for it. "But I'm not to give it to you until you've drank your tea and eaten your toast."
Sarah drained the cup quickly, swallowed the toast in three bites and held out her hand for the paper, still chewing.
Twylla frowned but handed the paper over. "If you're sick in a few minutes, you've only got yourself to blame."
Sarah nodded and anxiously opened the note.
You are the most stubborn woman that I have ever encountered. Therefore, I cannot say that I was surprised to find you gone when I awoke. Never again do I want to wake without finding you by my side. You shall consider that a demand from your husband. Jareth
Sarah smiled. He was upset with her, but not so much that he had appeared in person or transported her out of her room. He might not like being kept from seeing her until the ceremony but he was going along with it.
"Lady Breena has already looked in once to see if you were awake yet," Twylla said as she poured Sarah another cup of tea. "She said she'd be back in a bit. She's gone to check on the feast preparations." The maid handed Sarah the cup. "Now drink this. The way you choked that toast down, I'm surprised you haven't started throwing up already."
Sarah took the cup gratefully. She'd felt a slight roiling in her stomach when Twylla had mentioned the feast. Maybe another cup of tea was a good idea.
Breena stood with her hands on her hips, surveying the tables being moved into the courtyard by the servants.
"No," she said suddenly, pointing at a long table that a group of goblins were wrestling across the cobblestones. "That one goes crossways to the others. That is where the King and the Queen Consort will sit."
At her words, the servants glanced glumly at one another and began inching the table in the opposite direction.
"You seem to have things well in hand," Ethain said as he crossed the courtyard.
Breena rolled her eyes. "I'm not certain of that, these tables should have been moved last night. But, at least this is the last of them."
Ethain stood beside Breena and looked at her closely. "You're tired." He delicately traced a finger over the hint of a shadow under her eyes.
She sighed and nodded. "As soon as the festivities are over, I intend to sleep for the next three days."
"Hmm, perhaps I can convince you to awaken a bit early and have dinner with me tomorrow night, just you and I," Ethain said softly. "We've both been so busy during the last few weeks that we've spent little time together. I've missed you."
"I might be persuaded," she teased. "I've missed you, too.
He took her hand and lifted it to his lips. "I look forward to it. Now I shall let you get back to your supervisory duties."
She smiled and a crash across the courtyard drew her attention. She frowned and whirled toward the goblins that were now guiltily looking up from the fallen table. "Be careful," she cried and hurried toward them.
Ethain shook his head and grinned. If Breena ended the day without tossing a servant out a tower window, it would be a wonder.
The morning rushed by at breakneck speed for Breena, but dragged on interminably for Sarah. After lunch, Breena had finally conceded that whatever hadn't been completed would simply have to remain undone. She rushed back to her room to bathe and change into the rose and gold gown she was wearing to the ceremony, and then it was time to go to Sarah's room to help the bride prepare for the wedding. She found that Sarah had already bathed and applied her make up, and was now seated in front of the mirror, pulling her hair back into a bun.
"I'm thinking of wearing my hair up in a chignon," Sarah said. "You know, just a really simple style. What do you think?"
Breena frowned and shook her head. "It is traditional in the Underground for a bride to wear her hair down as a symbol of purity."
"I'm pregnant, Breena," Sarah smirked. "It's a little late to worry about my purity."
"The guests do not know that you are having a baby," Breena smiled. "You shall marry with your hair down as befitting the King's fiancée."
Sarah raised an eyebrow in a wry expression. "Twylla knows. Therefore, I can guarantee that they all know I'm pregnant. But if it's tradition, I'll leave my hair down."
Sarah's hair had been brushed to a dazzling shine by the time Paslia arrived with the wedding gown. Under the seamstress' watchful eye, Breena helped Sarah into the dress, smoothing out the brocade skirt and lacing up the bodice.
Sarah tucked the crystal pendant into the neckline of the dress and stepped into her shoes. She slowly twirled in a circle while Paslia examined the gown closely. The seamstress reached out and plucked a stray snippet of thread from one sleeve and then pronounced the gown complete.
"It's time to leave for the ceremony, Sarah," Breena said. "His Majesty wanted you meet him in the throne room."
Sarah nodded and took a deep breath. "I guess this is it." She checked her appearance one last time and then turned back to her friend.
"Oh, Breena," Sarah said, hugging her friend. "Thank you so much for everything that you've done for me," she said quietly. "I've never had a sister, but if I did, I'd want her to be just like you."
Breena hugged Sarah back and quickly blinked away the tears that had suddenly formed in her eyes.
They drew apart at a firm knock on the door. Breena opened the door to find Ethain and Brennan standing there. Both men were dressed formally, Ethain in dark blue and Brennan in charcoal gray.
"Gentlemen," she said, surprised, "what are you doing here?"
Brennan spoke up, "Lady Breena, I've come to ask for the pleasure of escorting you downstairs."
Breena shot a puzzled look at Ethain. There had been no mention of this earlier.
Ethain smiled and said, "May we speak with Sarah?"
Breena looked past them suspiciously and Ethain laughed.
"No, he's not with us," Ethain said. "His Majesty is waiting impatiently in the throne room."
Breena nodded and moved back to allow them to enter the small room.
As they stepped inside, both men looked at Sarah in amazement.
Brennan smiled widely and kissed Sarah's hand. "You are, without a doubt, the most beautiful bride that I have ever seen. If it were not so obvious that you are completely smitten with Jareth, I would steal you away. He is a lucky man."
Sarah blushed. "Thank you, Brennan, but I think that I'm the lucky one."
He bowed and turned back to Breena and offered her his arm. "Lady Breena, shall we go?"
Breena glanced at Sarah and gave a slight shrug of her shoulders. She smiled as she took Brennan's arm and he escorted her from the room.
Ethain tilted his head and smiled at Sarah. "Brennan is right, you look radiant. Jareth is very fortunate."
"Thank you," she said. "Now, what's going on? I thought we were supposed to meet all of you downstairs."
"Queen Caoilinn requested that I escort you to Jareth," Ethain replied. "She has informed me that in the Aboveworld it is tradition that a father escort his daughter to her wedding. While I understand that I could never be a replacement for your father, I would be honored to stand in for him on this occasion."
Sarah's lips trembled and she fought the sudden desire to burst into tears. "I'd like that," she whispered, opening her eyes wide and tipping her head back in an effort not to cry.
Ethain waited patiently until Sarah had regained control and then he held his arm out to her. She took a deep breath and placed her hand on his arm.
"Well, then," she said with a shaky smile. "I guess I should go get married."
As Brennan led Breena into the throne room, she could see that the King was pacing, hands clasped behind his back. As Breena took a good look at him, she blinked. While she had always been aware that the King was an attractive man, the sight of him dressed in his wedding attire was quite impressive. He had chosen the traditional wedding colors of black, white and red. The impeccably fitted jacket and pants were black, the color symbolizing wisdom. His silky shirt was white to denote fidelity, while the dark red of his vest represented passion.
She smiled as she recognized the gold design heavily embroidered on his vest. It matched the design embroidered on Sarah's wedding gown.
At the sound of their footsteps, he had turned toward them. Breena caught the split second of disappointment that flashed through his eyes at the sight of them.
"Lady Breena," he said politely, "you look lovely."
Breena curtsied. "Thank you, Your Majesty," she said as she rose. "And you're very handsome."
He smiled his thanks and turned his attention to Brennan as the garrison commander spoke.
"Yes, Jareth, you look simply ravishing," Brennan teased. "All the women in attendance will be wailing and gnashing their teeth at the loss of you. Are you certain that you want to tie yourself down to just one woman? I would be more than happy to take Sarah off your hands." Brennan winked. "Just to help you out. After all, what are friends for?"
Jareth arched an eyebrow and smiled. "And you only make this offer because you have my best interests at heart?"
"Of course," Brennan laughed. "The fact that I've seen how beautiful she is in her gown has absolutely nothing to do with it."
"Careful, Brennan," Jareth warned with a smile, "or I shan't allow you to continue giving fencing lessons to my wife for fear that you will try to seduce her away from me."
Brennan shook his head and grinned. "Once you're married, she'll be perfectly safe. I make it a practice never to dally with another man's wife. There are far too many exquisite unattached ladies to resort to taking what isn't mine." His eyes suddenly gleamed and he turned to Breena with a sly smile.
"Ah, Lady Breena, I don't believe I've told you today how enchanting you look. I do not understand how you could possibly choose to be courted by Ethain when you could have me."
Jareth laughed aloud and Breena shook her head.
"Lord Brennan, you are a hopeless flirt," she scolded playfully.
Brennan sighed dramatically. "You wound me, Lady Breena. I assure you that I am most sincere."
The sound of footsteps interrupted them as Ethain escorted Sarah into the throne room.
Jareth turned and saw Sarah. He felt his heart stutter in his chest and suddenly no one else was important. He was aware that Ethain slowly led Sarah to him and that his friend kissed her hand and bowed. He knew the exact moment that Ethain, Breena and Brennan departed the throne room. But all he could see was Sarah.
He took her hands in his and raised them to his lips.
"You look like something that should be worshipped," he said softly. "Or the high priestess of an ancient religion that idolizes beauty." Suddenly there was a wicked glint in his eyes and he leaned close to her and whispered, "And I shall enjoy worshiping you thoroughly when our guests have gone."
Sarah raised her eyebrows and smiled slowly. She looked him over with the obvious intention of making a risqué remark in return. But he saw her gaze linger on his vest and then her eyes widened.
"It matches my dress," she said, drawing a fingertip slowly over the embroidery on the dark red cloth. "Paslia said that you gave her the design. This was your surprise."
"I have another surprise for you." Jareth touched her chin to raise her eyes to his. "I would delight in doing this at the ceremony but you are aware that there are things I cannot say to you in public. Therefore, I must do this in private."
"I understand," Sarah gave a wistful smile.
Jareth reached into his jacket pocket and removed a gold ring with an ornate design. Taking her left hand in his, he slipped the ring on the tip of her third finger.
She gasped. "Oh, Jareth, it's beautiful."
"I know that humans have marriage rings and I wanted you to have one. The design embroidered on your gown and my vest, the one inscribed on this ring, is the insignia at the center of my medallion. The heart of my family crest. I love you, Sarah. I want you to be my wife and the mother of my children. I want to go to sleep every night with you at my side." He arched an eyebrow and his mouth quirked. "And I want to wake with you beside me each morning."
Sarah smiled wryly.
"Will you agree to these things, Sarah? Will you marry me?" he asked softly.
She blinked back tears and when she spoke, her voice was soft with emotion. "I love you, Jareth. And I want you to be my husband and the father of my children. I will go to sleep with you each night and wake up with you each morning. And, yes, I will marry you."
He slipped the ring onto her finger and kissed her gently.
"Then we should go and make this official," he smiled.
She stroked her fingers over his cheek. "As far as I'm concerned, we just did," she said seriously. Then her mouth lifted in a wide smile. "But I guess it would be rude to tell the guests to go home, that we've already had our wedding."
He nodded. "Yes, it would be very rude."
"Although," Sarah said, "if they were insulted, they might take back some of those silver platters."
Jareth looked baffled.
"Thirty-eight," Sarah said, smiling ruefully. "We ended up with thirty-eight silver platters."
Jareth grinned. "I promise to have them melted down and made into anything you want. Now, may we go?"
She nodded and he took her hand and tucked it into the crook of his arm.
"Close your eyes," he said.
When Sarah opened her eyes again, they were standing on slope of a lush green hillside.
Before them, the ground gently sloped down to form a large natural basin in the earth. At the leveled area in the center of this basin stood a ring of towering rectangular stones spaced at wide intervals. Precisely within the median of the circle was a single waist high stone that served as an altar. Behind this altar waited the black-robed cleric.
The guests had already gathered and stood shoulder to shoulder between the spaces of the circled stones, completing but not entering the circle.
Jareth led Sarah slowly down the hillside toward the assembled guests. As they approached the gathering, the people who closed off the section of the circle in front of them broke ranks. Silently stepping aside, they allowed Sarah and Jareth to enter the circle, then moved back into place and completed the circle once again.
Sarah resisted the urge to look around for their friends or for Jareth's parents. She had been instructed to look only at the cleric or Jareth until after the ceremony was complete.
When they finally stood before the altar, Sarah released Jareth's arm and he stepped to her right, keeping her to his left side.
She looked at the cleric, a slight man with silver hair that flowed to his shoulders, and as his emerald green eyes regarded her solemnly, Sarah was struck by the sense of absolute serenity that flowed from this man.
Lying on the altar stone were two cords formed by braiding together bands of black, red and white silk. The cleric lifted these cords and held them high.
In a clear voice, he intoned, "Blessed be this union with the gifts of communication of mind and body, warmth of hearth and home, the heat of passion, and light to brighten the darkest of times."
Placing the cords on the stone again, the cleric looked at Sarah, smiled encouragingly and nodded.
Sarah turned to Jareth and held out her left hand, palm up. Her hand was faintly trembling and she took a deep breath to try to steady her nerves. She looked into Jareth's eyes and smiled.
"I give you my hand in marriage," she said. "With this hand, I promise to care for you, cherish you, and honor you throughout our life together."
Jareth smiled and placed his left hand on hers, palm down. He squeezed her hand gently and said, "I give you my hand in marriage. With this hand, I promise to care for you, provide for you, and honor you throughout our life together."
Sarah reached with her free hand and picked up one of the silk cords from the altar. Draping it loosely over their wrists, she said, "I freely bind myself to you as your wife."
Jareth took the remaining cord and repeated the procedure, saying, "I freely bind myself to you as your husband."
The cleric took the ends of the cords and looped them into a loose knot.
"With the pledging of your vows in the sight of this company, I bind you, Jareth, and you, Sarah, together as one. With this knot you are joined in marriage."
The cleric pulled the knot closed around their wrists and said, "Destiny has brought you together and a new path lies before you. You are now husband and wife. What fate has joined, no one shall divide."
He gave a slight bow and looked at Jareth. "You may kiss your wife."
Jareth leaned forward and placed a gentle kiss on her lips. As he pulled back, he whispered, "My wife."
Sarah grinned and answered, "My husband."
The guests were now free to enter the circle but held back as they watched the High King and Queen approach the newly married couple.
"Father, I would like you to meet Sarah," Jareth said.
"Sarah," Meilseoir said, his tone formal, "Welcome to our family. I am pleased to meet you. My wife has told me a great deal about you; she seems to have already grown rather fond of you."
Sarah shot Caoilinn a grateful glance. "Thank you, Your Majesty and I'm honored to meet you. And I'm also very fond of the High Queen."
"Are things well with the little one?" Meilseoir lowered his voice slightly.
"Very well, Your Majesty," Sarah said. "Dorenil says that he'll be able to determine the child's gender any day now."
Caoilinn was very aware of the many pairs of eyes watching them from the circle of stones. She hugged Jareth briefly and then turned and hugged Sarah as well. "I am so pleased for you both. I wish you great happiness and good fortune."
Meilseoir nodded his agreement while Jareth and Sarah murmured their thanks.
"My dear," Meilseoir looked at his wife, "we should allow the others to congratulate Jareth and Sarah. We shall return to Jareth's castle to await the wedding feast."
Caoilinn placed in hand on Meilseoir's arm and they walked out of the circle of stones and then vanished.
As soon as the High King and Queen had left, the other guests began coming forward. As the dignitaries were introduced to her, Sarah was grateful that she managed to remember all the various greetings that Ethain had drummed into her head the previous afternoon. But she had bitten her tongue to keep from bursting into laugher the first time that she was addressed as "Your Majesty." While she would not be allowed to actually rule, Sarah would still be addressed as a queen and this was something she found especially comical.
"It wasn't very long ago that I was a junior editor whose main title was, 'Hey, you,' and now I'm 'Your Majesty.' It's a little hard to believe," she whispered to Jareth.
Finally, all the guests had departed for the castle except for three. Ethain, Breena and Brennan came over to the newlyweds. For the first time, Breena curtsied to Sarah.
"Congratulations on your marriage, Your Majesty," Breena said with a smile.
"Don't do that," Sarah said hastily, tugging Breena to her feet. "Jareth, tell her not to do that."
"Lady Breena, it seems that my wife wishes to remain on informal terms with you," Jareth said.
Ethain and Brennan kissed Sarah's hand and then clapped Jareth on the back with large smiles and their best wishes and congratulations. While the men were talking, Sarah showed Breena her wedding ring.
Jareth glanced over at Sarah, her head bowed next to Breena's as the two women smiled and examined the ring. His gaze drifted over to Ethain and Brennan who were laughing over Brennan's latest flirtation and he realized that he was completely content for the first time in his life.
If it were within his power, he thought, he would hold this moment in the palm of his hand forever.
"Jareth," Sarah's voice broke his reverie, "don't you think it's time we went back to the castle? The guests can't begin eating until we arrive."
"Yes," he said, taking her hand. "Let's go home."
Jareth and Sarah arrived in the castle courtyard to bows, curtsies and polite applause. They made their way to the head table, taking their place beside King Meilseoir, Queen Caoilinn and several of the rulers of the various Underground kingdoms.
After they were seated, various dignitaries began proposing toasts to the newlyweds to wish them well. It was customary in these situations for the couple being saluted to take a sip of wine after each toast and Sarah had been concerned over the fact that she could not drink alcohol. Jareth had assured her that he would take care of everything and after her goblet was filled, Jareth glanced at her wine and then nodded to her. As Sarah raised the wine to her lips, she realized it was now ginger tea and she smiled.
When the toasts had been completed, guests who had not had an earlier opportunity to congratulate the couple began approaching the table. Sarah was surprised when Dorenil stepped forward.
The Elf bowed to both of them and said, "Best wishes on your marriage." He lowered his voice and said, "I've seen something that you might like to know." He handed a folded piece of parchment to Jareth, bowed again and left.
Jareth frowned slightly and opened the paper. He glanced at it quickly and suddenly grinned. At Sarah's inquisitive expression, he handed her the paper. She looked down at the two hastily scrawled words written there and then looked back up at Jareth, tears forming in her eyes.
"A boy," she whispered. "You were right all along."
Jareth reached for her hand under the table and intertwined his fingers with hers. "Do not cry," he said softly and then teased, "You'll have our guests believing that I have already committed some matrimonial faux pas."
Sarah laughed and quickly brushed at her eyes. "Well, I'd say it's time we started thinking of names."
"Tiernan," Jareth said immediately.
Surprised, she said, "You seem very sure of that."
"It is my son's name," Jareth said adamantly.
"How do you know?" Sarah was curious.
"I simply know," Jareth smiled. "You doubted me before. Do you doubt me now?"
Sarah opened her mouth to speak and then shut it, shaking her head. Maybe Jareth's knowledge that their child was a boy had been a lucky guess, but she wasn't about to start their marriage by doubting him.
"Does the name have a meaning?" she asked.
"It means lordly," Jareth answered. "An appropriate name for a prince, don't you think?"
"Tiernan," she said slowly, trying it out. She nodded. "I like it."
Jareth smiled. He saw no reason to tell her that another meaning of Tiernan was "superior." Which, of course, his son would be in every way.
As the meal was served, Jareth noticed Sarah examining her wedding ring. She was wearing a faint smile and running her fingertip over the design.
"You are pleased with the ring?" he asked.
"Yes, it's beautiful," she said quietly. "I was just thinking that nine years ago, I would have never believed that I would be your wife." She looked at him and shook her head slightly, bemused. "I was afraid of you. But," she confessed, "even so, I still had such a crush on you."
"A crush?" he looked puzzled.
"An infatuation," she smiled. "I thought you were so beautiful." She touched his cheek softly. "I still do."
"You were infatuated with me?" He looked pleased.
She nodded and smiled impishly.
"Do you remember that I told you I had decided that you and the Underground were just a dream?" she whispered.
He nodded and leaned close to her.
"About a week after I came to that conclusion, I had my first erotic dream." She hesitated. "It was about you."
His eyes gleamed and he raised an eyebrow. "Oh, don't stop now," he drawled. "Tell me everything."
She glanced around and realized that she and Jareth had their heads close together and their whispering was drawing amused glances from some of the guests. She knew that while they might not know exactly what was being said, the guests were certainly assuming that she and Jareth were discussing intimate matters.
She blushed and said, "I'll give you the details later. After our guests leave."
"These people will be here for hours. At least give me some idea of the content of your dream," he coaxed, running his finger over the back of her hand lightly.
"We were in that room with all the stairs, the one that looked like that poster I used to have," she said. "And we were...alone. That's all I'm going to say right now."
At that, she leaned back in her chair, looked straight ahead and took a sip of tea.
Jareth followed her gaze and instantly realized the source of her sudden embarrassment. Many of the guests were smirking openly at them.
He picked up his wineglass and as he raised it to his lips, he said softly, "I could recreate that room if you like. After our guests leave."
At his words, Sarah faltered slightly in the process of setting her goblet down. She swallowed hard and then the tip of her tongue lightly touched her upper lip for a moment. She never looked at him, but she smiled slowly and nodded.
Jareth stifled a grin. He considered it fitting that on his first night as Sarah's husband he would once again turn the world upside down for her.
With a mischievous smile and a turn of his wrist, he produced a crystal and held it out.
She raised her eyebrows in question.
"Your dreams, Sarah," he purred, offering it to her.
Looking into his eyes, she reached out her hand. But instead of taking the crystal, she slipped her fingers around his wrist.
"I already have my dreams," Sarah smiled.
Additional Author's Notes: The idea for A Necessary Deception took shape while reading an analysis of Labyrinth that discussed the idea of Jareth being Sarah's creation and that everything had happened only in her imagination. The analysis continued by exploring the idea that Sarah had, in fact, been in complete control of Jareth all along.
I began to wonder what would happen if you turned that idea on its head. If everything that had happened had been real, but that Jareth had been controlling Sarah. From that idle speculation, A Necessary Deception was born.
Story began on 07/19/02 and was completed 02/01/03.