Sarah sat, sunk deeply within a soft, tan armchair, staring out into the night and thinking of the Labyrinth. Thinking of Jareth. It had been only three months since she had defeated the Goblin King at his own game. Since that moment, he, and his Maze have burned an eternal place in her memory.
Of course, Sarah saw her friends often; Ludo, Hoggle, Sir Didymus, and the others, but for some reason, buried deep inside her very soul, she longed to see Jareth again. She feared him still, but it was more than that now. His song played forever in her inner mind and the words she had ignored in the end, so preoccupied with Toby. "I can’t live without you..." She still felt the ache in those words. So, he was capable of something other than hate and anger.
Things had pretty much gone back to the way they were after her journey, though she didn’t mind taking care of her little brother anymore. Yet, she was restless and longed for the danger of “him” and the Underground.
Sarah wondered, as she sat there quietly with the moonlight streaming through the window, if he felt the same and was thinking of her now.
“Probably not,” she sighed heavily, “I don’t think he’d come even if I dared to call him again. He looked so angry and despaired when the end came...he hates me.”
Sarah shivered as a cooling breeze ruffled her long, dark hair. She stood up slowly, as if physically tired, and walked across the room toward the open window. She looked out, gazing at the crystal moon, and in a moment of wishful thinking, she whispered, “I wish I could see you again Jareth.” Then, Sarah hung her head slightly, soft hair framing her face, and a single tear rolled down her cheek.
It was then she felt something. It was nearly too faint to be noticed, yet caused goosebumps to momentarily appear upon her slender arms. A tingle ran up her spine as she heard a familiar, yet different voice.
“Hello, Sarah,” Jareth said from behind her. He vainly tried to hide any emotion from his words, and, in a moment of weakness, wondered if he had the power to keep from breaking. What could this girl possibly want from him now? He knew she missed her friends terribly. That would explain her sadness the past few months.
Sarah turned slowly, in disbelief and fear. When her eyes finally locked with his, her heart leapt and she brought her hand up quickly to hide the tear.
He looked more handsome than she remembered. His wild hair whisping softly in the breeze from the forgotten window, tinted silver and blue. His cape billowing lightly behind his slender, yet strong frame. His eyes held that same intensity as they seemed to gaze beyond to her very soul...to her dreams and wishes. A mixture of good and evil; light and dark embracing.
She stood there, in awe and fear of him, not sure what to say.
“You...came,” was all she could manage.
“When I am called, I come,” Jareth said simply. “What do you want of me this time, Sarah,” his eyes never revealing his true thoughts.
Troubled by his seemingly cold stare, Sarah stammered, “I....I...I’m not sure. I guess I just wanted to see you again,” She became flustered and finished quickly, “It’s stupid anyway...I’m sorry to have bothered you again. You can leave if you like.”
He took a step forward and arched an eyebrow, his eyes blazing like the heart of a blue flame. “I am a very busy man, Sarah. I do not have time for your childish games any longer. Ever since you managed to solve my Labyrinth, I have been exhausting myself trying to build my reputation back up.”
Sarah backed away, trembling, as he said this, never lessening his hard gaze, afraid she might lose her balance.
“I’m sorry, but I had to save Toby,” she replied, shakily, but regaining some courage hoping he would leave without her having to pay a price. “Don’t you understand? It was my fault you took him; it was my foolishness; my responsibility. I couldn’t allow any other feelings I was having get in the way of what I had to do,” she finished.
Jareth’s breath momentarily caught in his throat as these words were spoken. His mind began to reel; could it be she felt for him too after what he had put her through? He fought to keep his face and voice devoid of emotion as he inquired, “What other feelings, Sarah?”
She had been careless with her words and let that slip. Scolding herself, she tried to answer.
“Nothing,” she said, her tone revealing pain, “Please, leave. I apologize for disturbing you. It won’t happen again.”
He stared at her, intently, for what seemed an eternity and then backed away slowly.
“So be it,” he said, “goodbye, forever.”
Those last words stung both to the point of tears. Sarah’s heart beat rapidly in her chest and her better judgment told her to just let him leave her life for good. But she thought of the anguish she faced with each passing day. He haunted her; the anticipation of ever seeing him again and what would become of them. The question of true feelings. With every ounce of courage Sarah could gather at that single moment, she stepped forward, raised her hand slightly, and called to him, saying what was in her heart.
She was surprised how study and loud these words had come out; how easily they were said. Jareth stopped, keeping his back to her, and made no move to leave. Finally, with forced control he asked, “What is it, Sarah.”
She began to tremble again and second-guessed her decision to end this all, no matter how it would turn out.
“Well, Sarah,” he said, impatiently, “time grows short.”
Then, softly, so he almost didn’t hear, she whispered, “I love you.”
Jareth felt his heart rise and stood in silent shock for so long, Sarah thought he might not have heard her confession. He turned slowly in her direction, probing eyes searching for clarification of those words just spoken so freely. When his eyes met hers, he had his proof. Those beautiful, sparkling orbs were filled with love....and fear. She had a right to be afraid. After all, he was The Goblin King. Maybe, with time, things would change between them. This admission on her part was a start. The truth was, he feared her also. She was powerful; and stubborn. She had defeated him once and he was sure she could do it again if she had reason to. Things would certainly be more interesting in the Labyrinth with her there; even if for a short while at a time.
As he watched, her face a mirror of his own heart that had been lost for so long, his mind wandered back to the ball when they had danced; been close for the first time. This was the moment he knew he could not live without her. He had also realized she couldn’t be forced to stay. Her will was too strong to be controlled for long. In a way, he was almost relieved she had escaped, for her sole purpose of living would have been destroyed had she lost. Jareth truly didn’t want her love to come from an enchantment or by force.
Life had been an endless Hell the moment she left the Underground. Jareth wasn’t able to eat, sleep, or keep his mind on Goblin affairs. All he thought about was Sarah. He obsessed over the girl and watched her constantly through his crystals. He frequently sat in the treetops, a majestic, white owl, and marveled over her as she read her books of ‘other worlds’. Worst of all, he found himself filled with jealousy when she called upon her friends. If he had had any indication that what she was feeling toward him was love, and not hate, he would have come to her sooner.
Having wasted enough time reminiscing, he stepped forward and stopped mere inches before Sarah’s frightened form. She backed away a few steps, on instinct, and gazed up at this great being towering above her. There was no where to run if she needed to. She was trapped. His face hid his feelings well and she was not sure if he was truly angry or if it was just another one of his acts.
Deciding his denial of his feelings was not to be, and the moment of truth was now or never, he let down his guard for the first time since his visit to her world. His eyes softened as he spoke and his voice was strong and thick with emotion.
“I had been watching you long before you called upon me to take Toby; and have been since you left with him. I am the one who gave you that power in order to force you to stay Underground and love me....but I failed somehow, and you defeated me; you won. You’re strong Sarah, stronger than me in many ways. I had hoped you realized my true feelings at the ball; now I know that was not the way to get you to care for me; through corruption and fear,” he paused and carefully chose his next words, “I have thought of you every moment since the strike of thirteen and longed to have you back; I did not think you felt the same way. I love you, Sarah.”
Jareth then held his hand out to Sarah, beckoning her to take it.
“Do not be afraid,” he said softly, warmly.
Through all this, Sarah had stood in complete disbelief. She was taken aback by his kind and honest demeanor. Could The Goblin King, who had put her through so much grief, now be saying these heartfelt things to her? She looked into his eyes once more and knew it to be the truth. Raising her unsteady arm up gently, tentatively, she placed her small hand into his strong gloved one. She felt a sudden warmness and relief wash over her, and impulsively ran forward and buried her face in his neck. Taken by surprise, Jareth stood, arms at his sides. As he realized his dream was finally coming true, however, he embraced her tightly and ran his fingers through her dark hair. They relished the touch of each other, not speaking with words, for each knew what the other was thinking.
It was then Jareth said softly in her ear, “Sarah, look at me.”
She raised her face to meet his and he caressed her soft cheek with his hand. She lightly twisted her fingers around the small strands of loose hair that framed around and fell into his structured face; something she had wanted to do for the longest time. He smiled down at her, and Sarah thought that was the first time it was free from all malice. She smiled back, brightly.
“I want to be with you, Sarah, but I won’t hurt you again as I already have in the past. I will not take you from your family; your world,” he said with concern.
Sarah began to say something, to argue the point, but Jareth raised a finger to her lips gently, to silence her.
“Let me finish,” he said kindly, “I have thought of this many times, and there is another way.”
Sarah answered, with tears in her eyes. “I understand, I’ve thought about it too. I’m yours Jareth, and it will remain that way no matter where we are; together or apart. I want to stay with you someday, but you’re right. Now is too soon.”
“And I can not wait for that day,” he said as he softly brushed his lips across her forehead, “But until then, I want you to keep this with you.” He pulled a shining crystal from his cloak and began to weave it over and about his dexterous hands.
“What is it?” Sarah asked curiously.
“This crystal will allow you to see me whenever you choose, as I can see you. And when you want to come to my Kingdom, just say the words and you will be there. If you need me to come here to you, just say the words,” he explained.
She took the crystal gingerly in her hands and felt its smoothness. The knowledge of having him as close as a call helped to dull the ache of being apart.
The antique, grandfather clock in the next room began to chime, and once again the stroke of midnight came between them.
“I must go now,” Jareth said reluctantly.
“I know, my parents will be home soon,” Sarah said as she stood before him, tightly grasping the crystal.
“Keep that safe near your heart, Sarah,” he said with a smile, “and use it whenever you need to...or want to,” he added lovingly.
“I will. Thank you,” she said quietly, suddenly becoming very shy again. Jareth’s eyes sparkled as he took her hand and kissed it gently. Before he turned to leave he said, “Remember, if you should ever need me--”
“Yes, I’ll call,” she smiled, remembering having said those words before to her dearest friends. As she spoke those last words, Jareth was gone in a cloud of glitter and white feathers.
Sarah crossed the room and sat back down in her soft chair. She stared deeply into the crystal and he was there, as he had promised.
A quarter past twelve, Sarah’s parents returned home. They noticed a change in her, but couldn’t place it. Her eyes didn’t seem so dark; so sad.
That night, Sarah slept peacefully in her bed, for the first time in three months. For her dreams of the Labyrinth and its King were finally kind to her.