by Heather M
Sarah fell down into the circle: trembling, sweating, and yet calm all the same. The world surrounding her was like a broken water glob-shattered and the pieces scattered. The mysterious stairs defied gravity and floated amongst each other. Their formation resembled a broken jigsaw puzzle.
Sarah studied them, not at all shocked at the scene. Her experiences in the Labyrinth had numbed her to being at nothing. Moving to the side she felt a hard surface beneath her. Sarah found that she was standing on a bit of stair that hadn't crumbled. The brick surface stretched out in a square formation: one end a cliff that could send you off into a never-ending abyss; the other half an archway that opened up into darkness.
Sarah felt compelled to look into this archway. A from shifted and outlined itself in the shadows. Two white eyes with dark irises appeared, hanging on invisible strings. The eyes demanded Sarah's attention. Slowly they came near, pealing the shadows away to reveal their master. A silk face draped in soft blonde hair came out from hiding, exposing a body of dull blues and grays. Sarah stood before him. Jareth moved in slow, seducing steps. He put each foot down as if following a dance. " Give me the child," Sarah demanded, hardly shaken by his expression. Jareth knew his part all too well. He was prompt with a reply.
"Sarah beware. I have been generous up until now, but I can be cruel."
His eyes backed up this threat. They sent a chill through Sarah. She looked deep into them, trying to intimidate Jareth. She knew that she could be just as stubborn as he could; she knew that he was her equal. The deeper she looked though the more aware she became of an alternative feeling, something that was causing her to be weak. Deeper she looked into them. They penetrated her irises and moved into her brain where they began to mingle in with her thoughts. For a split second they had her thoughts and she was controlled. For a split second Sarah's inward countenance faltered, and in that time she felt like she could have done anything that Jareth had asked her to. A second passed and Sarah remembered herself. She focused in on her adversary.
"Generous? What have you done that's generous?" She spoke with calmness, remembering her equality.
"Everything! Everything that you have wanted, I have done. You asked the child be taken, I took him. You cowered before me, I was frightening. I have re-order time, I have turned the world upside down, and I have done it all for you!" He had paced menacingly around her during this speech. His tone proved his frustrations and he was glad that his feelings were beginning to be allowed to break loose.
Jareth had held them in for far too long. He stressed every word; every syllable came out crystal clear. He wanted to have it all out. He wanted Sarah to know just how irritating her stubbornness was. He was at the end of all his possibilities. Jareth wanted her to know that he truly wanted her to stay with him.
"I am exhausted from living up to your expectations," he concluded.
Sarah looked at him: his facial color was dull and dark circles stained the skin below his eyes. Sarah once more found herself looking into his eyes. There seemed to be a soundless message coming from them:
"I am tired of all the games Sarah, can we end this please!"
She blinked and looked deeper.
"What do you want from me?' she asked in the midst of her thoughts.
"You know that it's not your brother that I want."
Deeper and deeper she traveled into those dark eyes. What did he mean? Deeper and deeper she looked, her vision blurring with his.
"You! It's you Sarah!"
The only change in both of their features was that Sarah's eye widened. She understood; for some reason she understood what Jareth was pouring out to her through his eyes. It had all been about her. She blinked with the realization.
"Do you think," Jareth began trying hard to contain himself. "that your brother was so important that I would do all this? That I so desperately needed a new goblin to gravel before me?"
Sarah felt confused. Why her? What did he see in her?
"I am nothing," she said. "Why me?"
Jareth's features softened as his emotions came up through his throat and out in his voice.
"You're young and innocent; as stubborn and real as myself. You struck me and I knew that you were my equal."
He let his guard down and fell out of his hard covering as he stood there confessing. Sarah looked at him. What hard feelings did she rightfully have toward him? What had he done that had not been self-inflicted by her own doings? She had been the one who had wished her baby brother away; she had been the one who had challenged Jareth; she had started it all. What Jareth had done had only been in reaction. In a sense Sarah had asked for all that had happened. Slowly she lowered her eyes from Jareth's. She still felt confused. The last twenty-four hours seemed like such a dream, a fantasy that didn't seem to fit.
"Not to mention," Jareth continued. "you are beautiful."
"Jareth, you don't want me," she told him. "What am I to you? A young, stubborn girl who is completely messed up in life. What good would I ever do to you?"
Jareth took one little step toward her. An alive wind swept through the scene-Sarah saw one of the stair bits turn adurptly. Jareth's over-sized wrappings fluttered in the wind and slapped Sarah's body. The ragged cloth moved over her, feeling her, and working around to her back. Little fingers wrapped around her and soon she was surrounded in the material.
"You would love me."
The words had come out, mingling in with the wind. The sounds caressed Sarah's ears, ran through to her brain, and took hold of her emotions. A sharp breath escaped from her lips.
"I-You-Umm-what?" Sarah stuttered.
"You would love me."
Jareth reached out and touched Sarah's face. Her skin tingled under his touch. He liked the feel of her skin: it was soft and smooth. The texture reminded him of just how young she was; just how pure her soul was; just how beautiful she was. How he wanted to kiss her skin and taste that purity.
"Love you?" Sarah thought. "I can't love you and yet, yet, yet..."
Her thoughts trailed off as Sarah realized that Jareth's face was closer. Jareth yearned to touch her skin with his lips. Even if she didn't love him, Jareth could not contain his own feelings any longer. Before he could rethink his actions, Jareth found that both of his hands were holding Sarah's face, yet he could not see her. His eyes were closed tight. His lips were pressed against hers. Sarah felt a warmth run throughout her entire body. It was an explosion of an un-nameable feeling. Jareth kissed her again. He took advantage of her state of shock and proceeded to enclose Sarah in his arms. He wanted her near his heart. Sarah felt that her heart was going to explode and that she would die of shock in Jareth's arms. Not that, that would be an unhappy ending. Sarah felt strangely secure in his presence. She welcomed the touch of his arms around her back and the feel of his clothing pressing against her.
Once again her stubbornness felt vulnerable; her free-will felt compelled to yell and scream. Sarah ignored her inward struggle. She indulged herself in the possibility of loving the man who held her. Jareth, as well, was relishing the moment. Everything he had expected was multiplied into a greater texture, taste, and feeling. For the first time in years he felt his mind was at peace. For the first time in his life he could have relinquished all of his powers just to live this moment for the rest of forever.
"That wouldn't be long, not at all," he thought.
Sarah's sub-conscience was on a rampage inside her. It was as if some creature was trying to break through her-it wanted to be out, to be heard, to be seen. The thing clawed at her insides. Sarah couldn't let it loose though. She didn't want it out. Ignoring the creature's wails of despair Sarah touched Jareth's face and kissed him back. The thing cried fiercely on its last breath. Sarah felt her studdorness shrivel, melt, and disappear. A feeling ran through her as if she had been emancipated from some bondage.
...Something happened. Through her eye lids Sarah could sense a bright light; a glowing warmth. It startled her and she pulled away from Jareth. Her eyes were met with a blinding whiteness. The jigsaw-stairs were gone; the broken pieces had vanished. One bright light surrounded them. Sarah looked around in surprise.
"W-w-w-what happened?" she asked blinking repetitively.
Jareth smiled and looked up with an air of disbelief. Taking a step away from Sarah, he said,
"I'm not all too sure."
He stared at the light that had so suddenly appeared. The light was not menacing nor frightening-it was welcoming. What had happened? He hadn't done this. Jareth let go his hold on Sarah and took several steps into the light. Something marvelous was taking place, he could feel it. Something that would benefit both himself and Sarah. Sarah was the starting point of the transfiguration. He knew that for certain.
"Something has happened," he said staring into the brightness.
Sarah rubbed her arms, awkwardly. She didn't understand.
"Jareth," she called, as he began to walk further away.
He turned toward her.
"Don't leave me here," she said.
Sarah surprised herself at those words. It wasn't that she felt vulnerable or frightened, but at the thought Jareth walking away from her, she felt alone. Jareth softened at the sight of her standing there. He couldn't leave her. Jareth knew that she had to be with him, and that Sarah wanted to be with him. He stretched his hand out to her. Sarah took it.
At their touch a light, brighter than the first, shot out from their grasp. It blinded their eyes and engulfed both of them. They held tight to the other's hand. Within seconds the light began to faid-pealing away to reveal walls, wallpaper, shelves, decorations, a bed, a cluttered dresser, and finally a floor. They were no longer in the castle or for that matter in any goblin cottage or a place in the surrounding area. Sarah knew where they were. The familiar sight of her bedroom brought on even more confusion. What had happened? She looked at Jareth and stared. The insane look of a goblin ruler had disappeared, leaving behind a plain, healthy, smooth face. His eyes were soft and appealing, not hard and demanding.
"What has happened?" she asked. "You've changed and for some reason, I'm home."
Jareth didn't answer. Instead he smiled and quietly began to chuckle, then to laugh, and finally he let an exclamation of joy.
"Oh thank you Sarah!" he said running to her and throwing his arms around her. "You beautiful, wonderful girl!" He held her face and kissed her.
"Jareth, what has happened?"
"I'm free." Was all he said. "I'm free. And you Sarah, you Sarah are the one who has freed me!"
"I've freed you? From what? Free? I don't understand what you mean. Were you a slave?"
Jareth took a deep breath. He glanced at his surroundings.
"Yes, Sarah, in a way I was. It was not my choice to be the Goblin King. Who knows how long I have dreaded waking up every morning and ruling those I hate. Oh, Sarah it is a long and detailed story. To sum up it though I will tell you that once I was a man; a free man. As real and alive as you are. As free as I was, I was just as much stupid. I made a mistake, fooled around with some black magic, and one day awoke to find myself possessed by a magic, no rather some form of being, that had complete control over what I did. The only thing it did not control were my feelings. The deal that was made, was that if I ever loved and was loved in return, no matter how small the emotion may be, I would be set free. If no such love ever happened though I would be ruler of the goblins for all of eternity." He brushed the side of her face. " Tell me honestly Sarah, do you love me?"
Sarah swallowed hard. On one hand it seemed unbelievable, and on the other it made perfect sense. She wanted him around, to stay with her. With a little modernization, he could be a well dressed, handsome man, who would without a doubt be appealing. If she did not love Jareth, at least she had a very uncontrollable interest in him. Jareth smiled and brushed the side of her face again. Sarah blinked and found that she had been staring at him. Without saying a word, they had once more communicated everything.