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Disclaimer: See chapter 1
Rating: Chapter GP-13/ Story R
Beta Reader: Devil Girl, who has held my hand and read countless odds and ends as I moved through this chapter.
Previous chapters: Ch 1 - Coming Storms; Ch 2 - Nothing Is What It Seems


For Love Of Sarah

By
lattelady6 Phyllis Christie

Ch 3 - Second Chances


Jareth arrived at Corramar Manor House in a flurry of stardust and magic, moments after receiving the message from his mother that Sarah Williams was alive.

“Where is she? I must see her.” He swept into Livia’s drawing room, but she was immune to his imperious manner.

“Sit, and have a cup of tea,” Livia looked her son in the eyes. She needed a few answers before she was letting him anywhere near the human girl. “There are things we must discuss first.”

“What could there possibly be to discuss? Sarah is alive and here in the Underground. I must see her.”

“Aren’t you interested in what Echelon, my healer, had to say after examining her?” She wisely added a generous splash of Elvish Whisky to Jareth’s tea before handing him the delicate porcelain cup.

“Healer? Why was she in need of a healer?” He shuddered, remembering the blackened room the girl must have escaped from, and quickly gulped the fortified hot tea he’d been given. “Was she injured?”

“Not badly, but what caused her to faint goes much deeper than what can be seen on the outside.”

“Sarah fainted?” That didn’t sound like the stubborn girl who had challenged him and his Labyrinth years ago. “What aren’t you telling me, mother?”

“Echelon confirmed what you suspected. She had been in her bedroom when it caught fire. She has a burn on her neck and a number of them that were hidden below the left sleeve of her gown. He reported they will heal with proper care. Ellamora had already begun the treatment he would have prescribed, and he’s instructed her to continue as she was doing.”

“Is she suffering?” The Goblin King headed for the door, determined to find Sarah. “I can use the magic of the Kings to repair the damage. If necessary, I can even draw extra power from the depths of the Labyrinth.” He knew that the giving of life was reserved for the creator of all things and not even his magic could change that, but he could, with the help of the powers passed down to him through his title, make small changes that would cause healing to progress much faster.

“The healing potion they’re using has relieved most of the pain and is helping her injuries heal. But there is more. The girl is undernourished, and exhausted. From what little she’d tell us it was her own doing, something about…finals, whatever Aboveground thing they are. But what has me worried is that she is suffering from a broken heart. It’s an old break, and scarred deeply. Only the one who broke it can do anything about it, and she refused to discuss it.” She looked pointedly at her son, sure he was the cause. “The only thing she would speak of was the fire, and the fact that she and Toby had somehow fallen into the Underground. There was sorrow and pain in her eyes though when she talked about her father and stepmother. They were in the house at the time of the blaze and she is unsure as to their fate. Both she and her brother are mourning them as if they know their parents were unable to escape.”

“I picked up no emanations from the children’s parents when I searched for Sarah. At the time I believed the entire Williams family had been killed. Now it would appear it was only the parents.” Jareth spoke with difficulty past the lump in his throat as his world shook and turned on its axis for the second time in twenty-six hours. “Is the boy all right?” It was hard for him to take in the miracle that was presented to him.

“He’s safe and well, Sarah saw to that. From what little we can piece together from talking to both of them, the child passed out when the blaze first started. If it hadn’t been for his sister he would be dead. This is not a woman who would have wished him away, even six years ago. She bears the scars of her loyalty and love and deserved better treatment than to be allowed to think she killed a Goblin King to win her brother back.”

“Pardon me?” He was unsure which feeling was stronger: relief in knowing that the reason Sarah had never called to him was because she thought him dead; or sorrow because of the pain he must have caused her.

“She believed she killed you in your final confrontations with her.” Livia shook her head at her son, unhappy that he would treat a being so badly, especially when he’d admitted the night before that the only reason Sarah was in the Underground was because of his interest in her. Making her run the Labyrinth had been for his sake, not Toby’s. The girl had only been playing a game when she wished her brother away and the King had known that, but he’d used it as an excuse to try to get something he’d been wanting for a long time. “When I finally convinced her you were alive, she cried in relief, but soon the tears were replaced by panic. She fears you and that you will turn her brother into a goblin.” Even as she said it, Livia doubted she had understood Sarah correctly.

“The book indicates that is the fate of the one who is wished away.” Jareth shrugged. It was something beyond his control. The Goblin Kings hadn’t written the Labyrinth story, but had used it as a tool to protect human children. “It is an indicator that has been used over the centuries to tell if someone really does not care what happens to a child. With some it is easy to know, all I have to do is look at the babe. With others it is not so easy.”

“But that doesn’t explain why she thought you were dead!” Livia frowned not wanting to look too closely at the implications of what Jareth had just said. It would mean accepting that her own gentle Mesmer had used the same threat on many an unsuspecting human.

“I am unsure about that myself.” Jareth thought back to the last moments in the Escher Room with Sarah, six years ago. “It took all my strength to keep the magic in place as the rocks shifted and fell beneath our feet. I tried to convince her to stay, to love me, fear me and I would be her slave. I realize now she was too young to understand what I was asking of her, but at the time I thought she knew I loved her. When she denied me by saying the words it bound my magic. The only way I could take her safely to the Aboveworld was by the Ancient Portal. The one that can only be traveled in owl form to retrieve or return wished-aways or those who wish them away.” As he spoke of his last meeting with Sarah, Jareth began to doubt.

He was a Fae who had learned that if something was too good to be true, it was probably an illusion. It was a skill he’d excelled at over his long lifetime. His heart wanted to believe that Sarah was alive and in the Underground, but logic made him question it. He’d seen the blackened remains of her bedroom, he’d found her book, which she carried everywhere with her, buried under her charred and still smoking bed. But it was the damaged melted portal that made him doubt that Sarah had made it out alive. She hadn’t realized it had existed nor had she realized she had the ability to use it.

He slowly pulled from the air the crystal that held Sarah’s dreams. If his mother was incorrect about the identity of the human who rested in one of her guest chambers, he would see only gray shadows, the shattered remains of dreams that would never be fulfilled because the person to whom they belonged had died. He steeled himself and looked deep into the magic held in his hand.

What he saw took his breath away. Sarah’s dreams remained unchanged. They were still of the two of them together, despite the fact that she had thought he was dead or that she now feared his power to take Toby. These were the dreams of her heart, not her sleeping mind and they didn’t lie. Locked in the crystal he saw them caught in a passionate embrace. He had to smile, because he was almost always pictured the same, wearing the blue frockcoat from the Ballroom years ago; it was only Sarah who changed. She was crushed against him as he kissed his way up her chest and neck. Her hair flowed in long waves over his arm that supported her neck. Her head was thrown back to allow him better access to her creamy skin and the look on her face was pure ecstasy.

“The clues were there all along,” he muttered, remembering looking into that very crystal twice since he’d awakened from a dream of fire and fear. He didn’t want to examine too closely why he’d missed the evidence that she still lived. It was unlike him to be careless about something that important.

“Jareth,” Livia called to him from across the room, but he hardly heard her.

“Enough of waiting,” he spoke to the crystal, barely aware he was standing in his mother’s drawing room. “It’s time to act.” As quickly as he made the crystal vanish, he transported himself to stand outside the chamber where Sarah was resting. Raising one gloved hand he knocked soundly on the door.
……………….
Livia blinked at the empty space where a moment earlier her son had been standing. In the last fifty-two hours she’d seen a side to Jareth she’d thought he’d left behind in his youth. There was something about the human girl who brought out all the impulsiveness that had got him into so many scrapes when growing-up. Livia could only hope that he had better control over his emotions than he appeared to, or he would lose any chance he had with the young human.
…………………….

“Come in,” Sarah called out, but was unprepared for the being that stood framed in her doorway. “Jareth,” his name caught in her throat. Livia had assured her that he was alive, but part of her had begun to doubt he’d ever existed. Now he was standing twenty feet away. His long shaggy blonde hair was just as wild and untamed as she remembered it. Tall leather boots, tight fitting black breeches and a soft loose-fitting white shirt covered by a snug black vest made him look impossibly handsome.

“Sarah,” he said, almost inaudibly, and moved slowly across the room. His heart skipped a beat at seeing her alive and finally in his realm. She’d come back to him, even if it hadn’t been of her own free will; she was back. His eyes drank in the sight of her, propped against the pillows. Her long dark hair spilled wild and free over her shoulders and the covers she held tightly to her breasts. On a chair beside the bed was a light blue Elf-style dress and a pair of odd-looking boots.

“You really are alive.” She felt tears begin to fill her eyes and blinked quickly to stop them falling.

“Very much so,” his words came out unevenly as his eyes traveled over what he could see of her body. This was not the girl from six years ago, but a woman and she was in pain.

“What are you doing here?” Sarah moved deeper into the pillows that supported her as Jareth came closer with each beat of her heart. By the time he sat on the bed beside her, she was crouched against the headboard, holding the blanket over the thin white undershift she knew was practically transparent from too many washings and keeping her burned left arm hidden from mismatched eyes that saw too much.

“This is my Kingdom, I go where I please.” He watched her odd behavior. Her hand trembled. It was evident that she wanted space between them, even if it was only an extra inch. The panic he read in her eyes cooled the flare of desire that had ignited when he looked into the crystal moments earlier. “I find it strange that you would fear me. The last time you paid me a visit you defied me at every turn.”

“Toby, where’s Toby?” Sarah’s frightened gaze darted past him as she carefully approximated the distance between the bed and door.

“The boy is with Ellamora.”

“You can’t have him!” She shook her head and lurched past his shoulder in an attempt to scramble across the bed and get out of the room, but her coordination wasn’t what it usually was and he was much quicker than she’d anticipated. “I won’t let you turn him into a goblin.”

“Oh, no you don’t.” He reached out and grabbed her. With a quick turn of his shoulders, they were stretched out across the bed. Her soft body pressed against his as he pinned her in place. He had to fight not to smile, since he had her in precisely the position he’d longed for, though he doubted the outcome would be as he hoped. “What makes you think….”

“Ohhh…” she cried out as his leather-covered hand tightened around her left arm and broke through scabs that were finally beginning to form.

“Oh, my dear,” Jareth pulled the blanket away and saw the numerous areas of burned and blistered skin that were evidence of her struggle to escape the fire. “I didn’t mean to cause you more pain.” His mother had made light of her physical injuries, but it was apparent she had been hurt far worse than he had been led to believe.

“It doesn’t matter. Let me go. Forget that Toby and I ever came back.” Her eyes were closed and her breath whistled as she fought to keep from curling against his warmth. For too many years his memory had been her refuge in times of sorrow or pain. It was hard to remember that his cruel streak didn’t allow for human errors. “I’ll do anything you ask, if you set Toby free.”

Jareth doubted she realized that she’d just offered him her life and her body carte blanche. Sarah might have a woman’s shapely curves and a woman’s needs, but her aura of innocence was as strong as ever. If he loved her a little less he might have lied to her and left the consequences for the future. He’d made that mistake with her once before and he wasn’t repeating it. If they were truly fated, as he believed, coercing her into a union was not the answer. She must come to the decision on her own. But first she needed to heal in body and spirit.

“Toby is safe, I promise you.” He lifted her easily to straighten her body and laid her head back against the pillows. He carefully covered her with the blanket, and he pulled back until he was sitting with his hip tucked securely against her side. “And so are you.”

“Are we really?” Her eyes fluttered open and she studied the sincere expression on his beautiful face. As much as she wanted to believe him she couldn’t take a chance with Toby’s fate.

“Yes, you are.” With a flick of his wrist Jareth pulled a crystal from the air. “If you don’t believe me, look for yourself.” He let it roll off his hand and into hers. “Hold this in the palm of your hand.” He instructed. “Then tell it you want to see Toby, right now. A crystal cannot lie.”

Sarah’s hand shook as she held the bubble of magic. It felt cool and smooth against her skin. “Ohhh,” she sighed as the power that was contained within it radiated outwards to tickle her palm and send a shiver down her spine. “I don’t have to ‘wish’ it, do I?” Her green eyes looked up at him with doubts. The last time she’d used the words ‘I wish’, her wish had been granted and she’d almost lost her brother. Since then she’d cut the phrase from her vocabulary.

“No, of course not,” he shook his head. He’d done more damage to her than he’d imagined when he’d attempted to win her as his Queen all those years ago. “You’ll only be giving it instructions. The crystals are a tool, a way of channeling my magic. Since you’re the one holding it, you will be the one who controls it.”

“All right,” she nodded. As much as she needed to see her brother, it was hard for her to say the words. Magic and wishes were too closely tied in her mind with nightmares of her brother being tuned into a goblin and Jareth dying. “I want…” she began hesitantly. “I want to see Toby, right now.”

The second she’d spoken the last word, the sphere in her palm began to pulse and glow. Shapes began to form until she was able to see the boy. He was sitting at a large wooden table. Behind him was a huge brick oven that was surrounded by racks of hooks where pots, pans and cooking utensils of all kinds hung within easy reach. Livia, Dowager Queen of the Goblins, and Ellamora were keeping him company as he ate a huge slice of pie.

“They’re in my mother’s kitchen.” Jareth placed his hand under Sarah’s and guided it so he could see what she was seeing. The three beings they were watching were laughing and talking as if they were the oldest of friends. “Even if you hadn’t won him back, do you think I’d want to take a chance on incurring the wrath of those two ladies? It would be all my life was worth.” As much as he wanted to tell her the whole truth, that Toby was never in any danger of being turned into a goblin, he knew that at the moment it would only anger her and cause more resentment. If he was going to be able to do anything to heal her injuries tonight, he needed her trust.

“I don’t understand any of this, how we got here, why you’d even care about our needs. I thought you were dead and the Underground forever out of my reach.” Sarah sighed softly and handed back the crystal. It had been too enticing to hold power like that in her hand. She realized she could easily become as enchanted as she’d ever been with the ideas of magic, unbelievable things, and the Goblin King himself.

“Hardly. All that died that night was the image of me that you had created, nothing more.” He smiled and out of habit, slowly rolled the crystal from one hand to the other.

“You mean all that time, the thirteen hours I thought I spent here, was just my imagination?” She hated to believe it. Though her trip through the Labyrinth had ended in as much sorrow as joy, it had had a major impact on her life. She had no desire to discover it had all been a dream. “You created all of that and I never left the safety of my home?”

“No, my dear, you were here, just as you are here now.” This was getting too close to a subject he didn’t want to discuss with her until she was feeling stronger. “But I was forced to act in a way that was in keeping with the Goblin King you expected to see. That is the way the magic works.” He hoped she still had enough belief in her to take his answer at face value and not ask any more questions, especially about wished-away children.

“I wish…” she gasped as she stopped herself. She had been in the Underground for only two days and already she was falling back into habits that had caused her so much trouble as a fifteen-year-old. “I’d have liked to have known that you were all right.” She carefully amended.

“The means was always at your disposal. There was a portal left open through your mirror. It was for your friends to visit you. If you’d wanted it badly enough you would have discovered it was also your escape to this world. I can only assume that the night of the fire you were able to do just that.”

“You knew about the fire, but didn’t help us?” Her voice rose as she began to panic at the memory of flames and smoke. She remembered needing Jareth badly while trying to escape, but he apparently hadn’t cared enough to respond to that need. The thought cut deeply and she didn’t want to think about it now.

“Shhh, you’re safe.” He reached for her left hand and began to stroke the back of it. “I dreamt of it, but didn’t know where it was coming from. Years ago, when you told me I had no power over you, it bound my magic. I couldn’t hear you unless you called to me by name. By rights I shouldn’t have been able to feel your fear.” He watched her eyes as she looked everywhere but in his direction. He knew she had lied that night, but wasn’t able to tell him. He would give her time. Once she felt safe enough with him to be able to do that, he would know that they were going to be all right.

“So you would have helped if you’d known?” Part of her still doubted him, telling herself that it was her need for him that was making her want to believe he was telling the truth. The being that was sitting beside her calming her fears was so different from the one who had hounded her through the Labyrinth. It was hard to reconcile the two images. This one was acting too much like the Goblin King she had dreamt about over the years as loneliness and memories had been her only company in her solitary bed.

“I would have used all the power available to me and any that I could have borrowed or stolen to be sure that you and your brother were safe.”

“Can you help us now, by sending us home?” When Jareth spoke to her like that she wasn’t sure she really wanted to go home, but there was nothing else left for her to do. She had no place in the Labyrinth or the King’s life and there was Toby’s safety to be considered.

“No--”

“You can’t or you won’t?” She cut in and tried to pull her hand free, but he only held on tighter.

“I can’t. There is a small possibility Toby would make it through the ancient portal alive, due to his youth, but you would not.” In his temper after discovering the fire he’d destroyed all the portals between the Underground and the above world, except one and it was beyond his power to control. It could only be traversed by a white owl, wished away children and, for the short space of thirteen hours, those who wished-away. “Even if I was willing to take the chance with your brother’s life, it would be for nothing. There is no one left for him to return home to.”

“Ohhh,” her eyes grew very big and she gripped his hand that was holding hers. “Daddy and Karen didn’t make it out of the fire?”

“No, I’m sorry, Sarah,” Jareth said with utmost gentleness. He’d restrained himself for as long as he could. As Sarah slowly fell apart before his eyes, he pulled her close and held her in his arms. It was something he needed as much as she did.

For a moment she stiffened, and then her body relaxed against his and she accepted the comfort he offered. Her fingers dug into his vest as she cried. With her face buried against his neck, she felt soft blonde hair caress her cheek. Hands that she’d only dreamt about rubbed away sore, stiff spots in the muscles of her back and neck. With a moan she wrapped her arms around his waist and burrowed closer against his body.

They sat like that for a long time, each drawing comfort from the other, each finally secure that the other was alive.

“Sarah,” Jareth shifted her slightly so he could see her face. She was exhausted and needed a night of calming sleep. It was something he could give her, but he knew that if he ever used magic on her without her permission, he would likely lose her. “Look at me, Sarah.”

“I’m a mess and I’ve got you all soggy,” she tried to smile as she wiped her wet cheeks and rubbed at a damp spot on his shirt.

“You need rest.” He cupped her chin with one gloved hand while still holding her close. “When was the last time you were able to sleep through the night?” The dark circles under her eyes told their own story, but Jareth needed to hear it from her.

“It’s been a while, but I’ll be fine.” She dreaded falling asleep. The last two nights her dreams had been filled with billowing smoke and flames.

“Do you trust me, Sarah?” Mismatched eyes looked deeply into green ones.

“I…” She thought of all she knew about the Goblin King. He’d kept his word and sent both Toby and her home at the end of their last encounter. He’d left an escape route open through her bedroom mirror that had saved their lives. He was here now giving her strength and support when he had no reason to; after all, she was just one in a long line of girls who had wished away a sibling. Logic told her that he might have a hidden agenda, but stronger than all the logic in the world was how he made her feel. “I…yes…I want to,” she whispered.

“That will have to do for now,” he smiled. “I can help you if you’ll let me, but it involves magic.”

“What kind of…magic.” She bit her lower lip not sure she wanted to know. It was unlike him to ask before he used his powers; in the past he did as he pleased. “How can you help me?”

“First, by giving you this,” the crystal he’d recently made sat on outstretched fingertips. “Take it. It is yours, so you will always know that Toby is safe.” He dropped the sphere into her cupped hands and though he didn’t add the words, ‘and has not been turned into a goblin’, they hung in the air between them as if he had.

“Jareth….I… I can’t take it, it’s too much,” she stammered. “I can’t take part of your magic.” The offer was seductive and frightening at the same time. As much as she wanted to have a means to always watch over Toby, the idea of using magic to do so made her dizzy. It was too much like something she would have done as a fifteen-year old.

“Sarah, there is very little power involved in that crystal.” He watched her and could read in her eyes that she was thinking about another crystal that he’d offered her six years ago, one that had held a great deal of power and that, unknown to her, still did. “This is a gift, Sarah, so you won’t have to fear for Toby. Since I’m the reason you worry about him so badly, it is the least I can do.”

“Thank you,” she blinked away tears and clutched the magical sphere. “That is very kind of you.”

“You’re very welcome.” He smiled and tapped her nose with an index finger. “But don’t let it get around. I’m the Goblin King and have a reputation to uphold, you know.”

“I’m sure you do.” Sarah looked at him under her lashes and had to fight to suppress a grin.

“That’s more like the Sarah Williams I remember,” his eyes twinkled as he gently brushed a lock of hair behind her ear. The vivid red blister on her neck had been hidden beneath it. He winced and carefully covered it with his gloved hand. “Does it give you much pain?”

“The medication Ellamora is putting on it helps a lot.” She was suddenly very aware of how close they were sitting. The longer she was in his presence, the more she realized how wrong she’d been about him six years ago.

“I can heal it for you.” He gently outlined the burned skin that ran from her chin to her collarbone and pock-marked her left arm. “It takes great power to heal living cells. Only those with the magic of the Kings can do so. I can also give you one night of sleep that will not be interrupted by nightmares. Will you let me help you?”

“I…” She almost turned him down, and then she thought of the crystal that she clutched in her right hand. He’d given it to her not just as a way to check on Toby’s whereabouts, but so she had visual proof any time she chose that Jareth had kept his word and not turned her brother into a goblin. She couldn’t say she trusted him completely, but she wanted to. If she let him help her, he would know she was trying to believe in him. “I would appreciate it very much.”

Jareth slipped his gloves off and gently placed Sarah’s head on his left shoulder. “Put your left arm around my neck,” he whispered as he covered the nasty-looking blister with his bare hand. His other arm was around her shoulders so she was surrounded by his magic as he softly spoke in a language that sounded musical and strange.

“Ohhh,” she sighed. The cool feel of his skin against her burned flesh made her tingle. He was all around her, making her light-headed and dizzy. In an attempt to regain her equilibrium she buried her face against his neck and breathed in the smell of moonbeams and magic. She remembered it from six years ago, but this time it didn’t frighten her. This time it made her feel relaxed and safe.

“Stay awake a bit longer.” He felt her breathing even out but kept his eyes on the angry blister as it began to fade under his touch. At precisely the right moment, he muttered the same spell a second time to deepen it. “There, that’s much better.” Jareth examined the newly healed area. “It’s still a bit red, but that should fade by morning. How does it feel?”

“I can move my neck without it hurting. Thank you,” she smiled, having trouble keeping her eyes open. She realized he must have begun the spell to make her sleep at the same time as he began the one that would cure her burns.

“Now the arm, you have to lie back for this.” He lowered her gently to the bed, hating to separate her body from his.

“Jareth, you promised, no dreams,” she said drowsily as she felt him clasp her left hand in his and begin to run the other over her arm from elbow to shoulder. The soft words of his magic and the touch of his skin against hers made her smile. For the first time since the fire, she began to think that maybe things would be all right.

“No dreams for you tonight, my dear.”

Sarah’s only answer was a contented sigh as her fingers tightened momentarily between his. Then dreamless lethargy seeped through her conscious mind until she lay in a soothing fog, which carried with it the secure presence of the Goblin King.

Jareth sat and watched Sarah sleep. Her hand trustingly held his. He’d healed her burns and given her one night of dreamless slumber as promised. He only wished he could do more for her. He knew his magic could create the illusion of happiness, but if Sarah was to truly be happy she needed to do it herself. By relieving her pain and giving her rest he’d given her weapons that should help her; for now that was all he could do. Tomorrow when she woke, she would be well rested and free of physical discomfort. He planned on keeping an eye on her and being there for her when ever she needed him.

After blowing out the candle beside her bed he took one selfish moment and leaned over and kissed her forehead. “Sleep well, my love.”

“Jareth,” she murmured, at the sound of his voice.

“Sleep,” he whispered and put the final words on his spell. With a smile he picked up the crystal that was buried beside her. It had been a very small gesture on his part that had meant a lot to Sarah. Maybe he was finally learning how to deal with her. Jareth carefully placed the magic sphere beside her dress on the chair. Then he pulled another crystal out of the air to transport himself to the hall outside his mother’s kitchen.
………………………..

“Mother,” Jareth called out as he entered the warm friendly room. “Ahhh I see you have company.” He smiled in Toby’s direction.

“Your Highness,” Ellamora moved quickly to her feet and swept into a deep curtsy.

“Mistress Kilhaggen,” he bowed his head slightly and nodded for her to return to her seat.

“Gosh…you’re…you’re…the Goblin King!” All Toby could do was stare. The being that had just come through the door looked exactly the way Sarah had drawn him on the inner leaf of her Labyrinth book. The boy blinked to be sure his eyes weren’t playing tricks on him, but when he opened them, the King was still standing there, tall, and straight with wild blonde hair that reached to his shoulders. It was uncanny; even the Fae’s unusual mismatched eyes had been captured in Sarah’s drawings, though she’d been unable to do them justice.

“Yes, I am,” he smiled. “I am Jareth, fourth King of the Goblin Territories. You must be Toby.”

“Yes, sir….aaaaa…Your Highness.” There was something about Jareth’s voice that shivered through Toby’s memory, but he couldn’t place it. It was almost as if he’d heard it in a dream, very long ago. The boy told himself it was only his imagination playing tricks on him. It must have been from all the times Sarah would read to him from her book and imitate what she thought the voices of the characters should sound like. It was strange how well she’d been able to approximate the almost English-sounding accent of the Fae Lord.

“Either will do.” He would have offered to let the child call him by his given name, but doubted Toby would understand that it was only to be done among family. “Would you like to come with me and meet my unicorn, Moonbeam?”

“Ahhh…..” Toby wanted desperately to see the unicorn, but he didn’t like the doubts he was feeling regarding Jareth. “Is it all right, Ellamora?” Toby looked to her for guidance. Sarah had instructed him to stay close to the Elf when she wasn’t around.

“Yes, my boy, the King will keep you safe.” She glanced at the tall Fae as she spoke. Since he interacted with human children on a regular basis, he was well acquainted with the oddities associated with the Aboveground species, but they were usually of a much younger age. “Now off with you and mind His Highness, his word is law.”

“Jareth, you’re not going to try and ride that wild beast of yours are you?” Livia looked from him to the boy. She was curious to know what had happened between Sarah and her son, but it didn’t look as if he was going to give her a chance to find out.

“Not tonight and you needn’t worry. I’m capable of taking care of a child.” He grinned wickedly at the irony of his statement.

“Jareth…” Livia headed for door to join them. She didn’t know what her son was up to, but she knew Sarah feared for Toby’s safety when Jareth was around. It was ridicules, but she felt a need to care for the boy as she knew his sister would if she were standing there with them.

“I’ll bring him back shortly.” He stepped between his mother and the door since he wanted to talk to Toby in private.

“But…” The Dowager Queen tried one last time to join them as they headed for the door.

“Oh, one other thing, mother. You might like to arrange a pallet for Toby beside Sarah’s bed.” He looked at the boy to be sure he was reading him correctly. “I think he’ll sleep better knowing his sister is in the same room. I know she will be relieved to find him there in the morning.” Then he turned his back on the women and held out his hand for the child. “Well, come along, young man, it’s not everyday you get to meet a real, live unicorn.”

“Thank you, Your Majesty,” Toby’s eyes kept darting to the King as they went out the door that led to the kitchen garden and walked along the side of the fenced-in field to the stable that was across from the main manor house. “I didn’t want to say anything ‘cause Ellamora has been so kind to us, and I didn’t want to hurt her feelings, but I…I…need to stay with Sarah.” It was hard for him to admit it, because he was a big boy of almost eight and it didn’t seem right that he’d be homesick without his sister, but he knew he would be.

“She needs you, as well.”

“But she’s a grown-up, and has lived on her own.” It was nice to think that there was someone who needed him, but he couldn’t help questioning it. “I’m just a kid.”

“There are times when even grown-ups need other people.” Jareth knew Toby was studying him as they entered the stable and he could feel that the child didn’t quite trust him. It was an odd feeling since he was used to the unconditional trust of children who had been wished-away.

“Not Sarah----wooh,” Toby gasped as the stable door opened. “This place is huge.” Suddenly his mind wasn’t on Sarah, the Goblin King or the Underground. He could see the white head of the unicorn and hear him snort as Jareth waved his hand and lanterns lining the passageway filled with light.

“Take my hand,” Jareth reached behind him and felt Toby grip his gloved hand. “And stay behind me until Moonbeam is sure of my scent. My mother likes to call him a wild beast. His reputation is well earned.”

“Yes, sir.” Toby gripped his hand tighter as they walked the length of the stable. On one side there was a large empty stall with fresh hay on the ground. On the other side there were two separate stalls; one housed a small sable-coated horse and the other a tall white unicorn. The animals may have been separated by a four-foot divider, but the huge white unicorn had been nuzzling the cheek of the small brown mare.

Jareth moved forward and carefully took off his gloves. He kept one eye on Toby and the other on Moonbeam’s almost two-foot long horn. He knew that it wasn’t there for show. When male unicorns fought, they used their horns with deadly accuracy. “Good evening, Moonbeam,” he purred and slowly reached out to caress the animal’s velvety cheek. “That’s it, keep up the illusion. A good king always makes others think he had the upper hand.” Jareth grinned at his favorite stallion. “Just remember who you’re dealing with. You can’t fool me. You sniffed out my magic when I first arrived. Be as piqued as you like, but you were not the first one I visited tonight.” The animal rubbed against the Goblin King’s outstretched palm and sniffed at his shoulder. “Now stop showing off for your lady. I’ve a young friend for you to meet.”

Toby gasped as Jareth leaned down and picked him up until he was at eye level with the huge white animal. “Toby, say hello to Moonbeam,” the King’s voice was soothing and low and all the time he spoke, he kept running one ungloved hand on the unicorn’s muzzle.

“Hi there, Moonbeam,” the boy reached out to imitate Jareth’s hand movements. When his fingers came in contact with the soft white coat, Moonbeam flicked his long tail, snorted and turned blue eyes on the small being that dared touch him. “That tickles,” Toby giggled and jumped slightly in Jareth’s arms, but kept right on patting the amazing animal.

“I think he likes you, my lad.”

“I hope so, ‘cause I like him. Can I meet his wife?” Toby could almost see a smirk on the small horse’s face as she’d stood back and watched the posturing and prancing of her soon-to-be-mate as he greeted their visitors.

“I believe it would be most acceptable,” the King grinned at the boy’s choice of words. “Magic,” he called. “Come and meet our guest, your betrothed has been getting all the attention for long enough.”

Jareth put Toby down and leaned back against Moonbeam’s stall with one arm around the neck of the tall white animal while Magic leaned her head out and butted the child’s hand. “She wants you to scratch her forehead.”

“She’s beautiful,” Toby sighed and stroked the long silky hair of her mane and ran his fingers down her warm soft head. “I wish…” he stuttered to a stop remembering his sister’s warning from the first day. He was never to start a sentence with ‘I wish’. “I mean...I’d really like Sarah to see them. She’d think they’re great. She used to really love magical things.”

“Doesn’t she anymore?” The boy caught Jareth’s attention immediately. This was something important about Sarah and he’d hoped to gain any information he could from Toby.

“Not really, it’s almost as if she’s afraid of them. She never even visits with…” he stopped. He’d almost let slip that Sarah didn’t talk to her friends in her mirror anymore, hadn’t for a very long time. “She never told me anything about it.” He nodded, hoping he covered his tracks. “Maybe if she lets us stay in the Underground long enough, things will change. This place just breathes magic, it’s gotta affect her and make her believe again.”

“Toby, come here. We need to talk about some things.” Jareth held out his hand and together the tall Fae King and the small human boy walked over to a bale of hay in the large empty stall on the other side of the stable. “Sit here next to me.” Together they sat, the boy with his legs crossed Indian-style, facing the being that radiated power as if it were a tangible thing. The Goblin King had one booted foot on the floor and had turned his body towards the child, so one knee hooked onto the bale allowing his other foot to swing free.

“Is Sarah all right?” Toby suddenly had a very bad feeling in the pit of his stomach.

“She’s going to be.” Jareth closed his eyes and tried to find a way to tell the boy his parents were dead. He knew that was why he’d brought him out here alone; it wasn’t something he wanted Sarah to have to go through so it was his responsibility. “You know she had some burns and was very tired.”

“She hasn’t slept well the last two nights. She doesn’t think I know, but I do. She kept waking up. I think she was having nightmares about the fire.” Toby bit his lip, feeling guilty. “She saved my life, by getting me out of there. If it had just been her alone, I don’t think she’d have got burned the way she did.”

“She loves you and would never have left you behind.” Jareth had trouble speaking as images of the blackened, fire-destroyed room filled his mind.

“I know, that’s why I won’t leave her.” He looked out the open door of the stable toward the manor house. “And no matter what…even if there’s nobody waiting for us…” Toby’s lips quivered and he took a deep breath to go on. “I’ll leave the Underground when she wants to go…even if….even if…”

“Even if your parents didn’t make it out of the fire?” He said the words he knew the child was unable to say, but needed to hear.

“Yeah,” Toby sniffed and reached for Jareth, needing someone to hold on to.

“I’m sorry, Toby, I wish I could know it for you, for both of you, and save you the pain.” He held the boy and let him cry. “But it is not within the realm of my magic to do such things.” All his life he’d taken his powers for granted. He seldom ran into anything that was beyond his abilities. It galled him that, too often, where Sarah was concerned he was left helpless.

“Can you do anything to help my sister? I think she’s hurting a lot more than she wants me to know, ‘cause when she doesn’t know I’m looking, her face gets all sad and she keeps having to blink away tears.” Sarah was always so strong, it was unsettling to see her cry.

“I’ve done as much for her as I can.” He tucked the boy’s head under his chin and they sat together watching Moonbeam and Magic snoozing in their stalls across the passageway. “She allowed me to use magic to heal her burns and to give her a night of sleep without dreams or nightmares. Tomorrow she should wake up free of pain from her injuries and well rested.”

“I hope she doesn’t want to go back right away.” Toby looked around, knowing there was a lot to see and do in this strange new land. Since his mom and dad were gone, and Sarah was here with him, he couldn’t think of a single reason for returning Aboveground. “I’d really like us to stay, if it’s all right with you, Goblin King?” He rested his head on the shoulder of one of the most powerful beings in the Underground and didn’t realize there might be anything unusual about it. His lack of trust from earlier was forgotten.

“I’m afraid there is no choice in the matter.” He pulled back far enough so he could see the child’s eyes as he told him the truth. “The portals between your world and mine have been sealed, with the exception of one which you could not travel through and live to see the other side.”

“Oh…” Toby croaked. The finality of it took his breath away at the same time it excited him. “Does Sarah know?”

“Yes. I told her about your parents as well.”

Suddenly Toby was exhausted. There was so much more he wanted to ask the King, but he couldn’t form the words. It took all the effort an eight-year old could muster to keep the lump in his throat from giving way to tears again.

“Young man, I think it is long past your bedtime.” Jareth picked the child up and turned toward the passageway. As they passed Moonbeam the unicorn snorted out a warning.

“He protects her even while she sleeps,” Toby muttered with a tired grin on his face. It was nicer to think about the two animals than all that he’d lost in the fire two days ago.

“It would be unwise to sneak up on them while they sleep or if you had not been properly introduced.” He warned. “I can not vouch for Moonbeam’s good behavior if he is caught unawares.”

“Ellamora says he loves her,” the grimace on the child’s face and the tone of his voice said clearly what he thought of that concept.

“I see you don’t think much of the idea,” Jareth laughed softly. “But in this case I believe Mistress Kilhaggen may be right.”

Toby rolled his eyes still not convinced that love like that was anything but a girly fantasy. He could understand loving his family, but a girl? The idea made him shake his head. “Besides, he’s a creature with magical powers and Magic is just an ordinary horse, no matter what her name is!”

“You’re young yet, but someday you’ll understand. The thing to remember is that though that mare may look ordinary to us, she is extraordinary to Moonbeam. His powers are nothing compared to the important place she has in his life. She is his and he will do anything necessary to keep her safe and beside him.” Jareth suddenly realized he was no longer talking about the animals in the stable, but about how he felt about Sarah.

The Goblin King quickly pulled a crystal out of the air and looked Toby in the eyes. “Would you like to see one of the many unusual ways I travel?” The boy nodded, completely forgetting their conversation of a moment ago. “Alright then, hold on tight.” Jareth tossed the crystal in the air and when it burst around them they disappeared.
…………………….

“Whooo,” Toby gasped as they reappeared outside the door to the room where Sarah lay sleeping. “That was…Wow!”

“I gather you liked that mode of transportation?” Jareth grinned down at the boy in his arms.

“It was great…but it felt…I don’t know…almost familiar?”

“Now I know you’re exhausted, because you’re not making any sense.” He frowned at the child and carried him into the bedroom. Twice before Toby had been transported that way, once when he was taken from his parents’ bedroom six years ago and then when he was returned. But he should have no memory of it happening. Children who were wished away never retained memories of their former lives or how they got to the Underground. It was a part of life in the Goblin Territories that was never talked about, even in rumor.

“Goblin King?” Toby sat on a chair untying the shoes Ellamora had found for him. His eyes were on the nest of blankets that had been made up for him to sleep in beside Sarah’s bed. He could see his sister sleeping restfully a few feet away. “Would it be all right if I…well…if I shared the bed with…” he hated to ask. It made him sound like a baby to be afraid to sleep alone.

“Sarah would find it a comfort if she woke in the night and didn’t have to look around to find you.” By making it sound as if it was only for Sarah’s needs, Jareth made it easy for the child to climb into bed beside his sister.

“Thanks,” very young blue eyes looked up at much older mismatched ones. “It’s just that…”

“What is it, Toby?” The King stooped down beside the bed.

“It’s silly. I lost so much in the fire, I shouldn’t need anything else.” He unconsciously patted Sarah’s arm. She was his rock and all he had left in the worlds.

“There are no ‘shoulds’, only what is.”

“You sound like Sarah, sometimes. She says that a lot, but she usually adds, ‘and what is, isn’t always what it seems’.” Toby slid down in bed and leaned against his sister’s back. “It’s just that at night…well…I miss…I’m used to sleeping…I used to have Lancelot to keep me company when I slept, that’s all.”

“Ahh, I see.” Jareth stood back and watched as the child’s breathing evened out and he fell asleep next to his sister. It was obvious Toby missed the small stuffed animal that had been lost to him in the fire. At least, that was something that could be remedied. But it could wait until tomorrow. Now, Jareth had more important things to do, like basking in the simple joy he felt from Sarah’s presence three feet away.

The Goblin King couldn’t tear his eyes off her as she lay deeply asleep. His own words from just before he’d left the stable echoed through his mind. ‘His powers are nothing compared to the important place she has in his life. She is his and he will do anything necessary to keep her safe and beside him’ Now all he had to do was convince Sarah of that. Somehow he knew he was going to have a harder time of it than Moonbeam had had with Magic.

To Ch 4 - New Beginnings - Part I

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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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