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Disclaimer: See prologue
Rating: PG-13
Beta Reader: Devil Girl
Previous Chapter:Prologue - A Legend Is Born; Ch 1 - A Chance To Get It Right


Tears Of A Goblin King

by

Lattelady

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Ch 2 - Between The Darkness And The Light

Did they get you to trade
Your heroes for ghosts
Hot ashes for trees
Hot air for a cool breeze
Cold comfort for change
Did you exchange
A walk-on part in a war
For a lead role in a cage

~Wish You Were Here ~ Pink Floyd ~



Jareth spent the next few months researching all the information on the Curse that was to be had in the Underground. He tracked down every rumor and legend, no matter how obscure. Anyone who had talked to Sarah or interacted with her in any way was questioned in detail on the off-chance that something could be learned. The Goblin King knew he was overlooking an important piece of the puzzle, but no matter what he and Declan did, it still remained illusive.

Sarah spent the summer immediately following her trip through the Labyrinth convincing herself that it had all been a dream. Since a week didn’t go by during which she didn’t have recurring nightmares, it wasn’t all that easy to accomplish.

She packed away her toys and costumes in the attic. Her books were divided up, some packed away but a few of them remained on her shelves. Every time she walked into Toby’s room and saw Lancelet in his crib she knew she’d made the right choice in giving him the bear. It made her happy to see him playing with the stuffed animal, and loving it as much as she did. There was one item she couldn’t part with and that was her Labyrinth book. In desperation, she put it away in her nightstand where it would be nearby, but out of sight and hopefully out of mind.

As her dreams continued, she found solace in sketching the odd things she’d dreamt about, though she never showed her drawings to anyone, not even her father. Late at night she’d sit in her window seat and look through the pictures she’d created over the summer. There was a dwarf, a strange little Knight riding a dog, which looked suspiciously like Merlin, and a huge bear-like animal, with a sad face and horns. She drew pictures of strange forests and an odorous bog. There was even a landscape of a valley, orange in the afternoon sun. The valley encompassed a huge maze, leading to crumbling houses and finally a castle. But every time she tried to draw the occupant of that strange castle, her hand would falter and her fingers would be unable to hold her pencil. Her drawings gave her strength and were an outlet for her imagination. By the time autumn came, she was looking forward to going back to school.

Her high school years were good ones. She did well in school and took more and more art classes. To everyone around her it was a seamless transition from acting to art, but Sarah knew it was more than that. Sometime that summer she had come to understand that her mom and acting were synonymous in her mind. Once she realized that, she knew it was all right to let go of her mother’s dreams and live her own. She no longer looked in her mirror and saw her mother’s daughter, but instead, she saw Sarah Williams. When she made that discovery at 16, her life changed for the better.

She loved her brother dearly and though she couldn’t say that she loved Karen, she had learned to respect her. It was obvious that her father loved his second wife and she loved him in return. For that, Sarah was thankful. It gave her joy to see both her father and stepmother happy.

In all the years she lived at home she never called to her friends from the Underground. She would often find herself staring deeply into her mirror, even reaching for its surface, as if there was a hand reaching for hers on the other side, but instead of a warm gnarled palm, her fingertips were met by cool glass and nothing more. “It was only a dream,” she would mutter. She never saw the sad eyes of a Dwarf, a Rock Conjurer, or a Knight that often stared back at her.

“No it wasn’t, Sarah,” Hoggle would say, but his words went unheard, or if she did hear them she was too afraid to acknowledge them. It would have meant taking a hard look at the part of herself that she’d left behind in the twists and turns of the Labyrinth, and at other tiny pieces she’d lost when a Crystal Ballroom shattered and than a maze of rock stairs cracked around her.

Sarah was content. Gone was the passionate girl who would rail at the world, often shouting, “it isn’t fair”. In her place was a calm, studious young woman. She had a large number of acquaintances, but she wouldn’t ever let anyone in close enough to know who she really was. If she did that she’d have to explain the odd dreams and she wasn’t ready to share those.

Though she grew into the beauty that had been hinted at in her early teens, she was never able to form an attachment with males in her class. At first she didn’t miss it. Her grades were good enough to get her into the college of her choice and her art was very important to her. She always said that Toby was her favorite date. It made him smile, but Karen worried about her lack of a social life and hoped getting away from home would change that.

When she went off to college it didn’t seem odd that there were no men in her life, but late in her freshman year, as she watched all the other women pairing off, she began to wonder what was wrong with her. She went on dates, but they never led to anything. All the faceless young men meant nothing to her. She felt whole and complete without them and realized she was only going through the motions. None of them excited her and she couldn’t imagine going to bed with any of them.

It was about that time that her dreams began to change. In the past, she’d only been an observer, now she became a player in her almost nightly adventures.

The dream began with Sarah walking down the street next to the College campus. It was late at night and everything appeared deserted. In the distance she could hear a clock loudly ticking. She was looking for something that she had lost and time was running short. Suddenly there was a blast of noise and she turned. A neon sign flashed over a bar half-way down the street. Club Underground…it flashed and flashed, until its light drowned out the ticking of the clock.

She ran to the club and pushed open the great doors. They creaked loudly as she strained against them. The interior was strangely luminescent, but she couldn’t see where the odd light was coming from. The room felt familiar. There were undercurrents of fear in the air, though oddly enough they beckoned to her.

Gauzy curtains covered the walls and hung from the chandeliers. The décor was an opulent dingy splendor that had seen better days. Tables and chairs were crowded around a dance floor. Each table was overflowing with goblets, candelabras, and knick-knacks, which gave the place a sadly used appearance. In the corners of the room there were stacks of soft plush pillows. Sarah longed to go over to the nearest one to rest, but as she drew closer, she saw the bodice of a woman’s dress and one dainty silk stocking trailing between the soft cushions.

“No,” Sarah called out when it became apparent what that area had last been used for. She turned quickly and wove between the tables, back towards an area that contained settees and plush couches. Suddenly she was at the edge of the highly polished marble dance floor. The only part of the room that looked as if was taken care of.

“I’ve been here before,” she muttered, but couldn’t make herself step out onto the marble floor. “This is wrong, something is missing.” When her heart stopped pounding in her ears, and her breathing returned to normal Sarah heard something that locked her in place. Someone was singing, but she could hardly make out the words. Grabbing all her courage she stepped onto the dance floor and dashed across it to the tables beyond.

“Wasting away again in Margaritaville, Searching for my lost shaker of salt.”

“That’s not right,” Sarah called out. She associated the room she was in with a song and a voice, but the voice was too ragged and the song was all wrong.

“Some people claim that there’s a woman to blame, but I know it’s nobody’s fault.”

Then she saw it. A bottle of Tequila was lying on its side on the table in front of her. That’s where the little voice was coming from, along with a distinct ‘splish-splash’, followed by a very large belch.

“Hey, you in there, are you all right?” She called out to a deep blue shape swimming in the golden liquid.

“’ello,” a familiar worm grinned up at Sarah as he worked his way to the mouth of the bottle. “’Course I am. Just ‘aving me one for the road,” he hiccupped and grinned even wider. “Oops, sorry there, Miss.”

“I know you!” Sarah stared back in astonishment. The little worm hung over the lip of the bottle and gazed up at her. “You’re…you’re…the worm from the Labyrinth. You invited me to have tea with you and your wife.” All the while she talked he nodded his little blue head, as if he remembered her too.

“Shhh, not the Missus, please, she don’t know I came to the party.” He blinked slowly and kept right on grinning.

“But what am I doing here?” Sarah looked around in confusion. “And where is here?”

“If you don’t know where you are, than any place should do.” He stuck out his tongue, licked up a grain of salt and a few drops of Tequila from the table beside his bottle. “That’s what was missing,” he smacked his lips. “I don’t suppose you have any limes with you?”

“No, I’m very sorry, I don’t.”

“Oh well,” he sighed. “It doesn’t really matter. But as I was saying, everybody else is gone, now. You’re too late, you missed it.”

“Was that what I was looking for?” Sarah remembered that she’d been running down the street looking for something, but she didn’t think it was a party.

“Don’t know, Miss.” The worm began to scuttle backward into his bottle.

“Wait please,” she called out. “I need to find my way.”

The worm stopped and thought for a moment. “Well I heard tell once, that the way forward is sometimes the way back.”

“That sounds very familiar,” Sarah whispered as she looked around to get her bearings, but the door to the room had disappeared. “But which way do I go, how do I get back?”

“It’s right there, in front of you, Miss.” He pointed with his little nose just before he crawled back into his bottle and began to sing and drink his way to the bottom. “Don’t know the reason…slurp, slurp, slurp…that I stayed here all season, With nothing to show but this brand new tattoo…slurp, slurp, slurp…But it’s a real beauty…slurp, slurp, slurp…a Mexican cutie…

“Thank you,” Sarah said softly as she walked away from the table, over to the wall that the worm had pointed to. She turned back one last time, but she couldn’t hear his drinking song anymore. The bottle was still there though and beside it was a red mask, made of bone. It had horns and a handle so its wearer could hold it in place. “Nooooo,” she gasped and closed her eyes tightly. For a split second her mind had been filled with the picture of the most beautiful man she’d ever seen. The harder she tried to hold onto the memory, the faster it disappeared, until all that was left was the deep rumble of a laugh that caressed her skin and made her catch her breath.

In desperation she ran to the wall and pulled aside gauzy material that blocked her way. She was brought up short when she found her nose pressed against a curved crystal wall that extended forever. Suddenly the wall cracked and Sarah pulled back to cover her face as it exploded outward, pulling her with it. Then she was falling, and landed softly on her bed.

She woke up and gasped. Her body was shaking and she could hardly catch her breath. For the first time in a long time she was afraid. The dream was as clear as if it had really happened. She got up on shaky legs and that night added two drawings to her growing collection. The first was of a once opulent Ballroom, the morning after a large party and the second was of a smiling Blue Worm.


……………………..

We got eyes that see in the dark
And the power of love lives for making you mine
And in the light of close investigation
Is it only my imagination
I got you.

~Eyes That See In The Dark ~ Kenny Rogers



It had been almost six years since Sarah was in the Underground and Jareth was beginning to give up hope. He concentrated on running his kingdom and searching the Labyrinth for Caliban’s hidden spell. He allowed himself to visit Sarah, and the Aboveground, two or three times a month. But there were some nights when sleep evaded him and he felt her dreams, as they increased in frequency and intensity. On those nights, he couldn’t leave her alone, even if he’d been there the night before. It galled him that he was so helpless, stuck in owl form while in her world, unable to enter her dreams and bring her a peaceful sleep.

“Jareth….Jareth…” Someone called his name and it brought him quickly out of a dreamless sleep. A moment later he was a huge white barn owl winging his way to the Aboveground. Sarah was finally calling to him. She was finally calling him by name. Her voice guided him to her side, but what he found was totally unexpected.

She was in her old room, in the home she’d grown up in. The house was dark and he could sense that no one else was there. It was summer. The air was heavy with rain and the smell of green growing things, but Sarah had left her window open despite the dampness. He flew in and before he touched the ground resumed his human form.

“You,” Sarah whispered as she looked with wide bright eyes at the tall man dressed in black, his flowing cape lined with midnight blue glittering and billowing around him.

“Me,” Jareth’s brows rose and he smiled at her look of confused surprise. With a wave of his hand he clouded and closed the portal in Sarah’s mirror. Since Hoggle, Didymus and Ludo kept a close watch on her, it was likely one or all three of them were there. He had no desire to have his first encounter with the human in six years to be common knowledge.

When she shook her head and blinked at him as if she hadn’t heard him, he stepped closer while casually straightening his gloves. “Sarah, you called for me.”

“But you’re not real,” she rocked slightly on bare feet. She was dressed in blue draw-string pajama bottoms and a white tank top. Her hair flowed down her back in wild, damp abandon as if she’d just come in from the rain.

“Come, come, Sarah, I expected something more original from you.” The Goblin King narrowed his eyes and walked around the surprised young woman. This wasn’t going as he’d thought it would.

“But…” She stepped closer to him, her eyes glittering as she tried to make sense out of what was happening, but all she could do was stare at him. “You’re more beautiful than I remembered,” she whispered as she caressed his cheek and took a deep breath. “And you smell like moonbeams and magic,” she smiled gently at a long ago memory. Enjoying the fragrance and the memories it triggered she leaned her nose against his shoulder.

“Sarah,” he whispered and reached for her face, with every intention of kissing her. But as his gloved hands came in contact with her skin, he was alarmed at how hot and feverish she felt. “You’re ill! Why has your healer done nothing for you?”

“What…oh…” she smiled up at him and pointed toward a small bottle of medication on her nightstand. “I’ll be fine in the morning, took the medicine. I’m just so hot and your cape feels so cool against my face.” Sarah leaned against his shoulder.

“Sarah, you’ve got to say the words, so I can take you back to the Underground with me. My healer will take care of you.” As her legs gave way he swung her up in his arms and hers tightened around his neck. “Sarah, say the words.”

“But it’s not real, none of this is real.” She smiled sadly her words slow and carefully chosen, as if she were speaking to a very young child. “You’re not real, not any more, I killed you.” She couldn’t pretend to smile any longer, as her eyes filled with tears and she buried her face against his neck and cried.

“Shhh, don’t cry, I’m here, right here,” he whispered in her ear, as he sat them on the bed, with his back against her headboard and pulled her body against his side. In that moment Jareth knew for certain that he loved her. He had a beautiful, desirable woman in his arms, and they were on a bed. She was wearing almost no clothes, but all he could think about was her safety. There was no other explanation for it: the emotions that rose up and filled his chest as he held her against his heart left no room for selfish or prurient desires. It was so out of character for him that he would have laughed if it hadn’t been so tragic. At times in the last six years, when it had all seemed hopeless, he’d tried to convince himself that maybe he was wrong. Now he had the proof he was looking for. The Curse was real and Sarah was the human girl who would be his making or breaking.

“Jareth,” Sarah’s head fell back against the arm he had wrapped around her. She wanted to look at him before he disappeared, before she woke from this dream.

“I’m right here,” he pulled his glove off and carefully wiped away the tears that ran down her cheeks. Once he held the droplets firmly in his grasp, he worked them with his fingers until they hardened into a tiny crystal.

“You can’t have Toby. I won’t let you have him.” She frowned. “He isn’t here, none of them are. They’re gone for the summer.”

“I came because you called me, don’t you remember?” He ran his bare hand over her flushed face again, and whispered a spell to bring down her fever.

“No, but I remember needing you.” Her eyes filled again. “I’m not afraid of you this time. I should be, but I’m not.” She squinted in confusion as her eyes grew heavy and she fell asleep in the arms of the Goblin King.

Once again Jareth gently wiped away her tears and once again he rolled them into a crystal. When he was sure she had cried all she was going to, he gathered them up and put them in the pocket of his vest for safekeeping.

He held her until he felt her illness retreat. It was evident the potion her healer had given her was strong enough to cure her, though he’d never seen anything that came in a plastic bottle before. He shrugged away his doubts. The Aboveworld was a strange place: who was he to question it, as long as Sarah was getting better.

As much as he would have liked to stay with her, he knew he couldn’t. Dawn was fast approaching and Sarah was in no condition to say the words and mean them.
………………………..

Sometimes the truth just ain’t enough
Or it’s too much in times like this
Let’s throw the truth away, we’ll find it in a kiss
In your skin upon my skin. In the beating of our hearts
May the living let us in, before the dead tear us apart

~World Apart ~ Bruce Springsteen~


“Sarah, are you doing all right?” Robert Williams looked across the table at his 23-year-old daughter. She’d taken her mother’s death, a year ago, in an auto accident, hard but in typical Sarah fashion had rebounded quickly.

“Sure, Dad. Why do you ask?” Since Sarah had graduated college and moved out on her own, she always met her dad for lunch whenever she had business in New York City.

“I worry about you, that’s all.” He rubbed his chest and knew he shouldn’t have let Sarah pick the restaurant. Her love of spicy foods always gave him heartburn.

“I’m doing just fine. I enjoy living in the old farmhouse mom left me. I’ve been working with the Audubon Society to turn the woods on the property into a reserve, for the Barn Owl that lives there.” She sighed, thinking about the lovely bird that she’d sketched hundreds of times. “In the last year I’ve had more offers of work than hours in the day. You may not know it, but your little girl is in demand as a children’s book illustrator. Besides, you know that mom left me everything. I wouldn’t have to work a day in my life if I didn’t want to.”

“Sarah, I’m not talking about that. I worry because…because…” He grimaced not sure how to broach the subject. “You live such a solitary life.”

“Karen put you up to this, didn’t she?” Sarah shook her head. “I’m fine, really I am. I’m not the least bit lonely; if I was I’d come and visit you guys.”

Robert watched his daughter carefully. She was hiding something from him and he didn’t like it. “What about your own talent, your own imagination, Sarah?”

“What do you mean?” She looked up at her father with guarded eyes.

“I’ve seen the drawings….wait a sec before you blow up. I wasn’t prying, you left them out on your window seat one night and I saw them.” He gripped her hand and smiled at her. “You’ve got a wonderful imagination of your own. You can’t tell me you haven’t already built a story around that dwarf, and knight, in that wild strange kingdom you draw so well. What are you waiting for? Why settle for drawing pretty pictures for other people’s ideas when yours are so much better.”

“It’s not like that, Daddy,” she whispered.

Robert was surprised. It had been years since she’d called him Daddy. “Then what is it like?”

“I don’t know.” Sarah frowned and blinked away tears. “It’s not a story I can tell, those pictures are just for me.”

“Sarah, sometimes it looks to me as if you’re just marking time. I want so much more for you than that.”

“I used to think I was waiting until I grew up,” she shrugged and wiped her damp cheeks with a tissue. “I used to think I’d feel different then, but I’m all grown up. I’ll be 24 in a month, and it isn’t any different. I guess it never will be.”

“At the time your mom left us, I didn’t understand it, but I do now. It was something she had to do, or she would have regretted it all her life. I just don’t want you to have regrets when you get older, that’s all.”

“I won’t, I promise.” She smiled and quickly changed the subject. “If you don’t want to finish your ‘hot and sour’ soup, I’ll finish it for you.”

“Here you go, kiddo,” Robert pushed the bowl over to his daughter, and reached for another antacid.
………….
One week later Robert Williams was dead. He died of a massive heart attack, leaving behind a young widow, a 23-year-old daughter and a 10-year-old son.
…………..

As the pain sweeps through
Makes no sense for you
Every thrill has gone
Wasn’t too much fun at all
But I’ll be there for you
As the world falls down
As the world falls down, falling in love

~As The World Falls Down ~ David Bowie


“Jareth.” He was taking a moonlit flight over the Labyrinth, checking on his subjects that lived within the maze, as his name was whispered in misery. The sound echoed from across worlds and pierced his heart. Moments later he flapped his great wings and headed to the Aboveground. She had called to him, again. In the 9 years since she had succeeded in finding her way through the Labyrinth she had only called to him twice before. The first time had been three years ago. She’d been out of her head with fever. He’d stayed with her through the night until he was sure that her fever had broken. Then he’d left.
~~~~~~~
The other time had been a year ago. She had wept his name with such bitter loneliness that he had wondered how a human could survive such sorrow. When he’d flown to her, he’d discovered her living in a small one-room apartment near the institute of higher learning she was attending. Sarah had cried herself to sleep. Her body was stretched across her bed, with a telegram clutched in her hand. The Goblin King had picked her up to settle her more comfortably, and then had wrapped his body around hers. Once he’d whispered a soothing spell to send her into a deep sleep, he’d carefully dealt with her tears as he had the last time he’d held her. Then he’d had no qualms about reading the message that had caused her such sorrow. It was apparent her mother had died while riding in a conveyance of some kind.

He had quietly whispered a spell to ease her pain and had sealed it deep in her mind with a kiss. Though she’d slipped into a natural sleep, he’d remained with her until first light, watching over her and holding her close.
~~~~~~
Now she was calling him again. “Jareth,” Sarah whimpered as she tossed and turned. Her words caught on the wind and were carried to the owl that was moving from one world to the next.

His wings flapped against the window of the bedroom where she was trying to sleep, but it was locked against the icy breeze that blew across her world. He flapped harder, whipping the wind into a frenzy that caused the branches of an old tree to scratch and bang against the glass that blocked his way. Finally she turned over in bed and stared unseeingly at the window.

“Did you come back to me?” Sarah wondered drowsily as she pulled herself up in bed. With unsteady feet she moved to the window and tried to pull it open. It took two tries but she finally succeeded.

Silently he flew past her and circled her head, then came to land two feet away.

“It’s you.” Sarah stared at him, with eyes red from crying. She was dreaming, she knew she had to be, but her soul was steeped in misery and she didn’t care. Anything or anyone who would help her through the next few days was necessary, even if it was only a being from her imagination. She remembered dreaming about Jareth twice before, once she’d been sick and then after her mother had died. Fleetingly, she wondered why it was always the Goblin King she called to when she was in the most need.

“Sarah,” his voice was deep and vibrated across her skin. He stood strong with his chin raised in defiance as the wind whipped through the room, causing the girl to shiver in her tank top and draw-string pajama bottoms.

She stepped closer and took a deep breath. Her nostrils filled with the scent of the wind and magic as stardust swirled around her. Tears ran freely down her face and she was suddenly dizzy at how familiar it felt. “Everything’s dancing,” she whispered as she reached for him, the only support in her spinning world.

Toby woke with a start. He heard a strange noise coming from the guest room, where Sarah was supposed to be sleeping and he was worried about her. Their father’s funeral had been that morning and it had been hard on all of them, but Sarah had held strong like she always did. Toby knew it had been Sarah who had put his mom to bed and called the doctor when the older woman’s grief had been overwhelming. It had been Sarah who had fixed his dinner and held him as he had cried himself to sleep. He remembered wondering guiltily, as he finally gave-in to exhaustion and let his eyes close, ‘who held Sarah when she cried?’

The ten-year-old wiped the sleep from his eyes and slid out of bed. ‘Poor Sarah,’ he thought as he opened the door to her old room, which was now his, and headed down the hall to the guest room. Toby opened Sarah’s door and stood stock still as he looked into cool mismatched eyes. An odd looking man was sitting on the guest bed, holding his sister as she slept.

“Well, either come in or get out,” accented words slithered past Toby’s ears. “But whatever you do, close the door.” As the boy heard the words, the door was pulled from his fingers and closed quietly behind him.

“Whooo,” the ten-year-old gasped. He wasn’t sure what do to or say.

A man with spiky blonde hair, dressed in midnight black and blue sat leaning against Sarah’s headboard. There was something about Sarah and the unusual man that looked completely natural to Toby. His sister was lying on her stomach with her body pressed tightly against the stranger’s side. Her cheek was resting on his abdomen above his ornate belt. One of her arms was wrapped around his waist and her fingers clutched the material of his shirt, next to her face.

The masculine arm that held her in place was covered with a flowing cape. All that was visible was his gloved hand caressing her shoulder and absent-mindedly fingering the lacy strap of Sarah’s tank top. His free hand slowly massaged her scalp and neck. Then it ran through her hair as it cascaded over his legs. The gesture was oddly soothing. All Toby could do was stand and stare as peace flooded him.

“Shhh…” The man holding Sarah stopped the hypnotic hand movement and raised a gloved finger to his lips. “It wouldn’t do to waken your sister.”

“You’re him, aren’t you?” Toby whispered as he shook himself and moved closer to the bed. “You’re the Goblin King.” He looked towards his sleeping sister. One of her shoulders was hidden beneath the man’s sparkling black cape and her body was pressed against his long legs that were stretched out on the bed. Where his booted feet crossed at the ankles one of Sarah’s pink-toenailed bare feet rested easily on the supple dark leather of his boots. In her sleep, she looked at peace, for the first time since the news of their father’s heart attack three days ago.

The stranger smiled softly at the child and nodded his head. “Yes, I’m, Jareth, King of the Goblins. You’ll excuse me if I don’t rise on introduction, but we’ve met before, or at least I think we have. You’re him,” he grinned wickedly, using the boy’s own words. “You’re the child who got away.”

“I’m Toby, but I never seem to be able to get away with anything, so you must have me confused with someone else.”

“Possibly,” Jareth nodded, he knew the child should have no memory of his time in the Underground and doubted Sarah had told him about being wished away.

“Sarah’s going to be mad when she wakes up and finds you sitting on her bed with your clothes on.” It was one of Sarah’s rules. No sitting on her bed unless you were dressed for bed.

“Well, it would be hardly appropriate for me to be sitting here without them.” Jareth’s eyes sparkled with mischief. The babe that he’d known nine years ago had grown into an intelligent, pleasant child.

“I guess you didn’t bring your robe from the Underground?” Toby’s face scrunched up as he realized that there was something more to the King’s comments. Something that was just out of his reach. It was times like this he wished he were a bit older because he was sure he would have understood it.

“The Underground, how do you know about me and where I come from?” The King resumed easing Sarah’s pain by running his hand through her long brown hair and working his fingers against the tight muscles of her neck and scalp.

“I know all about you, and your Kingdom. My sister likes to read to me from your book.”

“My book?” Jareth’s eyebrows rose in question and doubt. From all the information he’d gathered about the Curse, the book was never left behind, to give the girl a second chance. After Sarah broke the spell nine years earlier, he’d assumed her book had been broken as well. It was obvious she’d had dreams and some memories about him. It was the only thing that had given him hope.

“Yeah, the Labyrinth book.” The boy reached into the nightstand beside the bed and pulled out the worn red copy that Sarah took with her everywhere.

The King carefully schooled his features to show nothing of what he was feeling. “Explain,” he commanded.

“This one,” he held it out to the King. “Sarah has had it since she was a child.” Very young blue eyes met much older ones and Jareth carefully plucked pictures from Toby’s memory. In that moment he saw clearly what the child had been thinking about. There were multiple images of Sarah as she had grown and changed over the last nine years, but each time she was sitting next to Toby’s bed reading to him from the book the child now held in his hand. In the dark, Jareth clearly saw the title Labyrinth etched in gold on the binding.

It was impossible. Though its existence explained how Sarah was able to remember him well enough to call him by name. So much that concerned her did not follow what was known about the Curse. The jagged remains of the Escher Room still hung in place, as solid and indestructible as magic could make them. They were exactly as they had been on that fateful night after Sarah had uttered the words that should have spelled disaster for him. But the magic had remained, and it had wrapped itself around the Goblin King until there was no escaping it.

“Your Majesty?” Toby stepped closer to the bed, the book forgotten and put back in the nightstand.

“Yes, child,” Jareth looked down his perfect nose at the child’s worried face.

“Is she going to be all right?” In the dark he could see tears still caught in Sarah’s eyelashes and it worried him. “Daddy died three days ago, and she’s all alone now.” He was young and he loved her dearly, but he didn’t know how to help her.

“She isn’t alone. She has you.” Deep mismatched eyes looked into Toby’s.

“But I’m just a kid.” The boy frowned. His own pain was still too new. His breath caught and he tried not to cry as he wondered how to help his sister. “Wait, she has you too!”

“No, boy,” Jareth shook his head in sorrow.

“But you’re here.” Toby’s voice was hoarse with tears. “You gotta help her.”

“There is nothing I can do, but what I am doing now.” He sighed. “In the morning it will be only a dream and by afternoon she will forget it entirely.

“If you’re who you say you are, then you’ve got magic!” The child declared. Sarah had read him the story in her Labyrinth book many times. “Use your magic and make her remember.”

“There is nothing I can do, unless she remembers on her own.”

“But she’s so alone. I’ve still got my mom, but hers died in a car crash over a year ago.”

“I know,” the Goblin King nodded.

“Were you there for her then too?” Toby asked in a quiet voice.

“Yes, I was.” Jareth pulled Sarah closer to him and removed one of his gloves. He ran a finger over her face, collecting her tears. With a quick motion he rubbed the moisture he’d gathered from her cheeks between his thumb and fingers. He worked it over and over again until it became a tiny crystal. “Don’t you humans know how dangerous it is to leave tears where others can find them? They contain potent magic that can be used against you if you’re not careful.”

“You won’t let that happen to her will you?”

“Of course not, boy,” the Goblin King arched an eyebrow as he looked down his nose at the curly-haired blonde child standing so close to him. With a flick of his wrist, a velvet pouch appeared. “Open the sack, Toby.”

“Yes sir,” the child reached and pulled the drawstrings open and Jareth carefully slid the crystal tears into it. Toby heard them plop against the soft black material. “Will they be safe there?”

“I guard them with my life, all of them.”

“Are all of those Sarah’s?” The young boy peered into the sack at the small collection of crystals.

“That is a very personal question.” Jareth snipped and flicked his wrist. The velvet pouch disappeared from view, but he felt the slight weight of it against his hip in the hidden pocket of his cape.

“But you said you’d protect her.”

“And I shall.” Jareth moved his hand over Sarah, casting a spell to deepen her sleep. The child needed tending to. His lips quivered at the irony, that he was the one who would be doing the tending. “Climb up here.” He patted the far side of the bed. “Crawl in next to your sister.”

Toby did as he was told and shivered as he snuggled against her warm back. Once the child was asleep, Jareth reached into Sarah’s nightstand and pulled out the worn red book. He smiled thinking that it must mean a lot to her if she kept it so close all the time. He would have liked to take it back with him to study it, but there was a reason it was still in Sarah’s possession, so it would remain so.

He opened the book and began to commit the story to memory as he read; with any luck he’d find the missing piece of the puzzle. A cruel smile played over his lips when he realized the irony of a Goblin King finally getting to read the words that had destroyed so many in the past, but might just save him.
…………………………

All the people, tell me what would they say
If they knew her, how she hides it away
Locked inside, there’s the start of a flame
And the feelings that she never will tame…
Thrills in the night, far from the light, passion taking over
Prices she pays, all through the days. No one really knows her.

~Thrills in The Night – Kiss~


Sarah’s 24th birthday marked a change in her life. Over the last 9 years her dreams had increased in frequency and intensity. She remembered clearly when she had become a participant in the dreams, not just an observer. Now, at 24, her dreams took an erotic turn.

At first she thought this was a sign. Maybe she was finally getting back some of the passion that had disappeared the summer she was 15. Much to her dismay, she discovered that the passion was there, but only at night, when she slept and it was a passion that offered no release.

Sarah turned over in her sleep. Her heart rate began to increase and her body tingled. She moaned as hands only her dreaming mind could see caressed her, driving her to the edge, but no further. It was happening again. It had been three nights since she’d gotten much sleep and she didn’t know if she could take much more.

Somehow she was stripped of her tank top and panties. She knew with a certainty that she would find them cast haphazardly across her floor, but she was never sure in the morning how or when she’d taken them off.

“Please, please,” her sleeping lips formed the words as her back arched and her thighs trembled. Her skin was hypersensitive, as air currents danced over it, teasing her into a frenzy. The slightest touch set her on fire and she burned, oh how she burned!

“Yes….” She urged and gripped the sheet on either side of her. Her hips rocked invitingly, as long-fingered pale hands cupped her breasts and teased her nipples. “Harder….” She gasped as the tension rose from her core. “I need….I need….” Her breath came in gasps and her body thrashed.

Sarah writhed and whimpered. All she could do was hang on and go where the dream drove her. Higher and higher she went until she was dizzy and panting with need. Her hard nipples throbbed and she was wet and ready for a man, but no one was there to fill her and relieve her misery. She bucked and shook until she was poised on the edge looking out over eternity. She would have sold her soul to have been able to leap off, but tonight, like all the other nights, she didn’t leap, she fell, and the dream dissolved around her leaving her unfulfilled. As always, her eyes opened and she sat straight up in bed. Her body still quivered with desire and all that was left was the echo of a voice from long ago, whispering, “what a pity.”

Tears of frustration streamed down Sarah’s face as she shook with unanswered need. She knew from experience that anything she attempted to do to resolve the problem herself would only prolong it. There was no blinding light of passion, no sweet moment of completion, in Sarah’s future. There never was and unless something changed, there never would be.

“Oh help me,” she cried as she rolled out of bed and scooped up a running bra and shorts. Thunder echoed in her ears as rain pounded on her window. She looked over in desperation and knew that no matter how badly she needed to get out and run, the weather outside wouldn’t allow it. She turned and took the steps two at a time until she was on the top floor of the old farmhouse her mother, Linda. had left her when she’d died.

Sarah had turned her mom’s rehearsal hall into a gym. With a flip of the switch, lights brightened the room and loud music bounced off the floor to ceiling mirrors. Sarah headed for her treadmill and began to run. On nights like this when she was driven from sleep by odd dreams and her body screamed for release, she set her pace to the rhythm that poured from her stereo. If she ran fast enough and long enough she might be able to convince herself that it was the pounding of the music that filled her veins and the heat from her body was only due to over-exertion.

She was well into her run when her right calf pulled and knotted, making her stumble. “Noooo,” she gasped as she hobbled over to the ballet barre that ran the length of one mirrored wall. With tight-lipped determination she attempted to stretch out her muscle, only to end up crashing to the floor in a heap of tears and frustration.

When her calf finally stopped cramping, she clung to the barre and pulled herself up to a sitting position. Her forehead leaning against the cool mirror, she reached around and tried one final stretch to relieve the last of the pain that had shot up and down her leg. “Please help me,” she cried out as she beat her fist against her exhausted reflection. “Why do I burn with desire in my dreams, but in my waking life am unable to find anything even closely resembling passion?”

It was as if she were two different women. One staid and proper, always polite and cool, the other wild and passionate, but balanced on the edge. Never once, even in her most erotic dreams had she been able to find fulfillment. When the dreams had first started, she’d experimented with ‘women’s toys’ to take her to completion, but no matter what she’d done, her body couldn’t relax enough to give her release.

“Help me Jar…” Sarah stopped herself before the forbidden name slipped from her lips. “No, he was only a dream from long ago.” She whimpered, afraid to admit even to herself, in the dark of night, the power his name possessed.

On the other side of the mirror, a little Knight stared back at Sarah’s misery. “Oh, my Lady,” he sighed. He was glad he’d taken this watch alone. It would have been unseemly for the others to see her shivering and shaking in most unladylike distress.

When Sarah got up and left, and the room was filled with darkness, Sir Didymus turned with grim determination and headed to the Castle Beyond the Goblin City. He was not surprised to find his King awake, pacing in agitation.

“Your Majesty?” The Knight knocked timidly on the open door of Jareth’s study.

“Well?” The King turned and scowled at his small subject. The last thing he needed was a visit from Didymus. With luck it would be one of the old Knight’s odd requests and Jareth could get back to his brooding.

“It was my watch at the mirror tonight,” he whispered. When Sarah had moved out of her parent’s home, Jareth had adjusted his spell. Now any looking glass that contained Sarah’s reflection was an avenue for her friends to get to her, but never in nine years had she called to them. So they had taken up watch and sent reports to their King.

“If it was another night of watching films about knights, quests, and impossible dreams, I’ve already told you that I will not build you a windmill.” He arched his brow and stared at his small subject, daring him to speak of anything more serious. “And the dragons are off limits unless you want to start a war that they will surely finish!”

“Ahhh no, Your Majesty that is not what this is about, but…since you mention it…if you could see your way to build one small wind….”

“Didymus!” Jareth’s voice carried all the menace he felt. The intense erotic dream he’d awakened from had left his heart throbbing and his blood pounding, but he had no desire for any woman within his reach. The only one who would be able to cool his blood was worlds away and could do nothing for him, since he could only be with her in bird form unless she called to him.

“Yes…aheam…well…as I was saying I was on watch at the mirror and…well…The Lady Sarah had a most…unusual dream.”

“What kind of dream?” The King’s face showed no emotion but the little Knight could tell it was costing the Fae to maintain his composure.

“Your Majesty, you may be assured that I didn’t see the actual dream, just the after effects. I believe it is…well…the kind she’s been having lately.”

“I was afraid of that,” Jareth sighed and sat stiffly in the wing-backed chair in front of the fireplace. “Do the others know?”

“No, Sir. When these dreams started we decided it would be better…if…well…if we divided up the guard duty.” Sir Didymus flushed under his fur. “Tonight, was…different she…well, she cried, and then I believed…it seemed as if she started to call out your name,” he whispered. “She only stopped herself by insisting that…it was all a dream.”

“I see.” He sat straighter and dug deep for his kingly demeanor. It was what he feared, but he couldn’t let anyone know what he was feeling. “That will be all.”

“But Your Highness, we can’t leave her like this.” Sir Didymus stepped closer to his king. Though Jareth didn’t know it, the Knight could see the signs that his Monarch was suffering almost as much as Sarah was. “My Lady Sarah is a definitely in distress, this time. We have to help her.”

“I said, that will be all.” Jareth’s quiet rumble shook the windows. Didymus sighed to himself and walked slowly out of the room, his heart heavy for both the King and Sarah.

After the little dog left, Jareth let his head fall back and tried to release the tight grip he was holding on his muscles. There had to be something he could do. Last week he and Declan had come across something very interesting. At the time Caliban cast the original spell, his human wife had been 24 years old. Jareth remembered that Cormac had met his human girl when she was 24. Most telling of all was that in May, Sarah had turned 24, and in the months since, she’d been having wild erotic dreams, which had sung to him across worlds and made his blood burn.

He had thought that the worst the Curse had to offer him was loneliness, but that had all changed. He finally understood the full weight of the spell that had been cast. It was especially cruel to know that Sarah was going through the same torments and he couldn’t go to her. No wonder past Goblin Kings had aged and died before their time. No wonder the Goblin Kingdom had become a shadow of its former glory, when all its creatures felt pain and longing, or were too slow witted to understand what was going on around them.

“There has to be a way,” Jareth muttered as he leafed through his notes for the hundredth time that night.
………….
He spent hours going over everything he’d accumulated in the last nine years on Caliban’s curse and Sarah. For the 10th time that night his eyes tracked down the page he’d written after Sarah’s father had died. Suddenly a slow smile spread across his face. “Yes, why didn’t I see it before?”

“If you’re going to talk to yourself, Jareth, you really should close your door.” Declan leaned against the doorframe with a grim expression on his face. It was evident the King had been up most of the night again. Declan had little doubt what had happened and was just as sure that his friend wouldn’t welcome any comment, no matter how kindly it was meant.

“The Goblin King has always been known to be a bit eccentric, are you suggesting I change the image after all these generations?” He grinned at his assistant for the first time since Sarah had turned 24.

“You found something!” Declan gasped at the change in Jareth’s demeanor from past mornings.

“I’ve been concentrating too much on the girl.”

“I don’t understand.” Declan took the breakfast tray from the Goblin servant who had brought it, and placed it on Jareth’s desk.

“Neither did I.” The King grinned as he took a swallow of hot morning brew. “The child is the key to getting Sarah back. Toby can see me and talk to me, why not use that to my advantage?”

“You can’t bring him back here. Sarah won his freedom.” Declan reached for his own cup of tea, a much less potent version of the brew Jareth favored. “And from what you tell me I doubt you can convince the child to wish his sister away.”

“Toby couldn’t do it, even if he wanted to, he doesn’t have the correct words.” The King nodded at the notes he held in his hand. “Here, read this. This is an exact duplicate of what was in Sarah’s book. The words were wrong.”

“Are you sure you remembered correctly?”

“When has my memory ever been in doubt?” Jareth’s chin rose and he looked down his nose at his friend.

“Never, when it was important to you, but you’ve told me yourself that you were holding Sarah as she slept.” Declan cleared his throat searching for a delicate way to say what needed to be said.

“Well, spit it out!” Though they were gentlemen and discreet in most matters, Jareth and Declan had never been shy when discussing their conquests with each other. It was the way the King knew his friend’s feelings for Merilee were deeper than carnal pleasures. Declan never shared the smallest detail about her. That was how Jareth felt about Sarah. He hated having to have his feelings for her on display and questioned, even by his most trusted friend.

“Are you sure your mind wasn’t on other matters?”

“Absolutely.” Jareth nodded and continued, as much as it pained him to do so. “My concern for her as I held her was to bring her peace and relief from the sorrow she was feeling. It has been like that the other times she’s called to me. Declan, it’s the reason I know that this damnable Curse has me in its grip and I have to win, or I’ll lose more than I ever realized it was possible to lose.”

“Well, in that case, what can I do to help?”

“Find the Goblins who were on watch that night, nine years ago, and question them. One of them had to have given her the correct words to say. There is no other explanation.” Jareth began making plans for the day, which included a visit to the Aboveground and a discussion with Toby.

“But the Goblins don’t know the words until they hear them, it’s been proven time and again.” Declan was unsure what his King wanted him to look for.

“We know that Sarah is my other half.” Jareth shrugged admitting out-loud something that until now he’d only admitted to himself. “If the Curse wanted to ruin things for me, it would have seen that she received the correct words when it wanted her to have them.”


To Chapter - 3 - Fumbling Toward Esctacy

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Quotes

The moving finger writes: and having writ Moves on. nor all your piety nor wit Shall lure it back to cancal half a line, Nor all your tears wash out a word of it...The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

If I quiet the voices in my head, I would face the day with nothing to write. - Unknown

I must go down to the seas again the lonely sea and sky...J Masefield

Cinderella walked on broken glass,
Sleeping beauty let a whole lifetime pass.
Belle fell in love with a hideous beast,
Jasmine married a common thief.
Ariel walked on land for love and life,
Snow white barely escaped a knife.
It was all about blood, sweat, and tears.
Because love means facing your biggest fears


The heart has its reasons that reason knows nothing of...French Proverb

I have drempt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after. They've gone through me like wine through water and altered the colour of my mind ...E. Bronte

To love someone deeply gives you strength. Being loved by someone deeply gives you courage...Lao Tzu

It takes chaos to give birth to a dancing star ..F. Nietzsche

How many loved your moments of glad grace, and loved your beauty with love false or true? But one man loved the pilgrim Soul in you, and loved the sorrows of your changing face...Yeats

Let us go, you and I, when the evening is spread out against the sky...T. S. Eliot

In that book which is my memory, on the first page of the chapter, that is the day when I first met you, appears the words, "here begins a new life".
La Vita Nuova

Midnight courage of the heart...Jen Kirkwood

The three o-clock in the morning courage which Bonaparte thought was the rarest...Thoreau

Did you say it? I love you; I don't ever want to live without you; you changed my life. Did you say it?
Make a plan, set a goal, work toward it, but every now and then, look around, drink it in, 'cause this is it. It might all be gone tomorrow. - Meredith Grey

Shakespeare is easy, life is hard...Wheels

Don't try to be a great man, just be a man. Let history make up its own mind...Z.Cochron

I had a job to do and I was unafraid...Jack to John Creighton

For I dipt into the future, as far as the human eye could see. Saw the vision of the world, and the wonders that can be...RWW Hipwell

Without diviation from the norm, progress is impossible...F. Zappa

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea, In a beautiful pea-green boat: They took some honey and plenty of money, Wrapped up in a five-pound note. The Owl looked up to the stars above, and sang to a small guitar...E Lear

Sweet and low, sweet and low, Wind of the western sea, Low, low, breathe and blow, Wind of the western sea! Over the rolling waters go, Come from the dying moon and blow, Blow him again to me;... Tennison

Charmed magic casements, opening on the foam
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn... Keats

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