The moment Sarah wished her brother away, Jareth knew his life was going to change.
During Sarah’s run, he thought that it would be a good change to have Sarah and Toby be a part of the Underground at long last (as of course Sarah would lose). At the end of Sarah’s run, Jareth’s feelings about the change became increasingly negative, until she finally said her right words, thus defeating him.
Then it was all bad.
Jareth was not accustomed to losing, and that it was to Sarah made it worse. He loved Sarah, had watched her for years, and had given her the book. To have it all come to this end was disheartening.
The goblins had been hoping for a new queen, so they did the next best thing: follow her around to see if she still remembered the Labyrinth. For several years, the goblins appeared in her home, wherever it happened to be, until sometime in college, when her room was too small to hide in. The goblins had been fond of coming whenever she cooked, as she made amazing chocolate chip cookies, but after a time, she did not cook.
Sarah’s friends saw a change, too. Sarah was so excited to talk to her new three friends, but after a few years, she worked so much that there was not enough time for her to see her friends, and then she never tried again. They knew she had to work to save up for college, and that she wanted to go into the arts. Later on, it seemed that Sarah had abandoned her dreams, as the goblins happened upon her as she worked as a store clerk.
Throughout all of this, Jareth held on to hope. Hope that she had just grown up, and was too busy for the Labyrinth. Hope that she had not forgotten about her dreams. Hope that she remembered all that she had learned, and not forgotten anything during her run. Hope that she remembered the Labyrinth, and most importantly, him.
Those hopes died when another wish came.
Once again, Sarah was the wisher, and Toby the wished-away. The only difference now was that both were thirteen years older. Sarah was twenty-eight, quite a woman, or so Jareth thought.
Jareth came in full Goblin King regalia, with as much black as he could wear, and glitter to make up for the lack of color. The conversation was similar.
“Goblin King, where is my brother?”
So she was using that name. Jareth’s shoulders dropped just a little at the thought of having to be the villain again.
“You know where he is. In my castle. Where he belongs.”
Jareth meant it, too. He crossed his arms as he heard the first question, but he was soon pointing toward himself, emphasizing where Toby belonged, just as Sarah did.
“Are you sure you will be able to handle him? There’s a reason I wished him away to you, you know.”
That unsettled Jareth just a little. What was Sarah trying to imply, about him and Toby? She underestimated him it seemed.
“I am the Goblin King. I fear no boy nor beast.”
Sarah’s small grin turned grimace did not seem to fit in with the courageous (in Jareth’s mind, a little wilful and obnoxious, but still endearing to a fault) tilt of her head as she faced Jareth head-on, now almost his height.
“You were warned.”
“Good. In that case, here is a crystal. Take it. It will show you your dreams.”
She was not fighting for her brother. Something was wrong. Jareth did not understand. The sooner this was done, the better, so he could figure things out.
Sarah chuckled before crossing her arms in defiance.
“You can’t possibly know what my dreams are.”
Jareth stiffened at her words. How dare she say that! After all this time!
“I beg to differ. I think I have a very good idea of what you want.”
“If that were the case, you wouldn’t be saying these sorts of things to me.”
Sarah looked so smug as she said that, and Jareth wanted to know why. Badly.
“Then do pray tell what I should be saying to you.”
“Not this. What if I don’t want the crystal?”
There’s the fight! Jareth was overly pleased that she was going to try after all. Then he would have a better chance at keeping her there.
“Then,” Jareth said, sweeping his cloak around himself and Sarah, using a little trickery on his part, “you shall have to solve my Labyrinth in thirteen hours, or else your dear Toby becomes mine forever.”
In an undertone, he added, “Such a pity. I thought you had learned better.”
Leaving Sarah to her fate, Jareth decided to see how dear Tobias was doing after all that time. He had always wondered if the boy would remember him, now was a good time to find out. Toward Sarah, it seemed that he was doomed to always be the villain: perhaps with Toby it would be different. His assumptions surprised him.
“So you’re the Goblin King. Man, I was hoping you didn’t exist. Sarah just likes to think of new ways to keep me in line, since my parents are too lazy and not around to do anything. Well, what are you supposed to do?”
Jareth was troubled. Toby would be around fourteen now, and it appeared that, with his strange haircut and dark clothes, he was being rebellious. That was a pity. That Sarah could not control him, nor his parents, was something he intended to ask Sarah about later. Jareth knew the period of life well from personal experience, so he was ready to deal with Toby.
“I’m not supposed to do anything to you, at least not until Sarah gives up or loses.”
Toby laughed outright.
“You could be a comedian; you know that, right? The idea of Sarah, with all her stubborn will and “kingdom as great” talk, actually giving up is hilarious. She would never do that. Why else do you think I’m here? For my health, or hers? Oh, she will come and solve your Labyrinth in no time at all. She is just so determined.”
“Really. I am surprised she still says things like that.”
Truly, he was surprised. So she forgot about the Labyrinth, and yet still knew the words. She must have found the book again.
“All the time. Mom and Dad told her if she wanted to be a painter, then she would have to earn her way to art school, and then she goes and does it. For two years in high school, she worked two different jobs and never came home so that she could go to school. That was her mantra when up late doing homework.”
Jareth was pleased to hear that, for several reasons. Clearly, despite the distaste Toby felt for his parents, he was still in awe of Sarah and her ability to face any challenge. That, and, she remembered that phrase and went to art school of all things. But why a painter?
“So, Sarah is an artist now?”
Since he did not seem to know Sarah as well now, perhaps it was best to get as much information from Toby as possible, seeing as he loved his sister, if his look of pride was any indication.
“Not just any artist. A painter. Oh shoot, I wasn’t supposed to tell you that. Don’t tell her that I told you, ok?”
“Of course. It’ll be our little secret. Now, shall we check on Sarah to see how far she has progressed?”
“How do you do that? Wait, do you have this place rigged with security cameras somehow? I knew it was too good to be true.”
“No, Toby, there are no cameras. Just my crystals. See here,” he said, as he pointed to the crystal.
“So how are you making these, exactly?” Toby’s disbelief was apparent.
“Naturally, through my magic. As Goblin King, I can do that. And now that Sarah has wished you away, I can check in and watch you any time I like.”
“Wait, like spying on me? That’s weird and creepy. Are you Sarah’s stalker?”
Jareth did not in any way stalk Sarah. He simply looked in from time to time on the family to make sure all was well. Stalk her indeed. How could he if he did not have power over her, let alone know she was a painter?
“No, not really for either. I just want to make sure that you are staying good and not causing trouble for Sarah. I worry about her. She works hard, and she shouldn’t have been forced to do this, it seems. I’m just going to help.”
“Help how? What can you do?”
“What can’t I do? See, look at Sarah and that dwarf there, Hogbrain. With magic, I can do this,” Jareth said smugly as he snapped his fingers and a branch suddenly appeared in the path, causing Hoggle to trip.
“You actually did that? That is so cool! Can you show me how to do that? I can think of several guys at school that I would love to do that to.”
“Do they bully you, Toby?” Jareth looked at Toby seriously. “If so, just tell me their names, and I promise to make their lives miserable.”
“You would do that? For me?” Toby’s astonishment was great.
“Of course. I feel as though we’re going to be great friends. Now, were those boys bullying you, and do you want me to arrange something?”
Toby got quiet. Finally, he said, “Can we go somewhere more private?”
“Yes. We shall go to my planning room so that we can plot this properly. And then, I will take you with me to a meeting with my War Council, as I think you’ll like them.”
“Cool! I always wanted to lead people and fight battles. Let’s go.”
After some time plotting the bullies’ demise, Jareth decided it best to go check on Sarah. She had already been in the oubliette, and was now visiting the false alarms, so it was time to bring back his favorite outfit with the tight gray pants.
This conversation between him and Sarah was much more unexpected.
“Nothing? Nothing, tra la la?”
Jareth was ready to go and scare Hogwart until Sarah interrupted him unceremoniously.
“Jareth, really. Can you be any more childish using that phrase? Speaking of children, how is Toby?”
Sarah’s concern for Toby showed easily through her brave façade.
“He is fine. Very safe with my War Council, helping them plot how to take on the trolls. He has some excellent knowledge of guerilla tactics.”
“Of course, he does. How else would he manage to go to detention at least once a week?”
“He just needs a proper outlet.”
“Plotting wars was not what I had in mind. But, it’s you, so I shouldn’t be surprised.”
“I’m just that good at surprising you. How are you enjoying my Labyrinth?”
Jareth was tired of standing at a distance, and so he began his predatory strutting toward Sarah. Sarah seemed surprised, and even gave him an appreciative once-over before staring him down with a smug smile on her face. Her only response: “It’s a piece of cake.”
Jareth really had hoped that she would have forgotten that phrase over time. Some things never change. Perhaps the only saving grace was that she had not said “It’s not fair!” yet, which was an improvement. Still, he wanted to strange Sarah for saying that, and then kiss her until she agreed to stay and marry him.
But, just as before, he did what he had to, so he took away some time, for which he only received another smug grin and a hand on his arm, which was promptly moved away as soon as she realized what she had done.
Jareth laughed at Sarah’s smugness, and sent the cleaners after her and Hoggle, enjoying the conversation. He was unsure how to take the once-over and hand on his arm, but it had to be good, right?
When Jareth came back, Toby was in the throne room with a crystal watching Sarah, smiling to himself.
“Are you really allowed to do that, Jareth?”
“Yes. I’m the King. My Labyrinth, my rules. If she insists on using such silly phrases, she gets what she deserves.”
“Such as saying, ‘Nothing, tra la la?’”
The boy certainly knew how to use sarcasm, if nothing else. They were going to get along just fine. The moment he was introduced to the goblins, he would understand Jareth’s plight immediately.
“I’m the King. I do as I like.”
“It still doesn’t matter. She’s going to win,” Toby replied matter-of-factly.
Jareth smiled to himself. “You have a lot of faith in Sarah.”
“Yep, always have, and always will. So, will you show me how to make those crystals?”
“Let’s start with the basics, and then we’ll work up to creating them.”
The teaching continued until Sarah bit the peach, and Jareth began to smile uncontrollably before changing into a proper outfit..
“Excuse me, Toby, but Sarah needs me right now. I’ll be back soon. Here is a crystal to watch.”
“Be nice to her. Make her feel special.”
Toby was dead serious, and so was Jareth.
“I will; I promise.”
And with that, Jareth left to enjoy another waltz with Sarah. The fact that Sarah’s search for him was less frantic and scared from the first time was good, and even better once he got a better look at the new, emerald dress Sarah was wearing that hugged her feminine curves so well. She actually looked happy to be there.
It was another silent dance, but this time, Sarah knew all the moves, and Jareth took advantage of it to move closer to her while dancing. Sarah blushed more as she tried to look away from him momentarily, but she turned back to him and his blue eyes quickly, unable to stay away.
Finally, Sarah seemed to look sad as she started to pull away. This was not a frantic push, so Jareth tried to hold onto her just a little longer, enjoying her warmth and smell. Sarah looked surprised, so she stayed for a moment longer, staring intently at him as she gripped his hands.
Finally, he let go as Sarah began to pull away more firmly. Sarah broke the mirror to escape. Jareth was very frustrated when he finally came back to the throne room.
“She took longer than usual there. She might not win.”
It was unlikely, but he could always hope. He wanted to keep her there so much.
“Doubtful. She is more clever than you give her credit for. She is going to finish, probably even early, and then she is going to take me back home. Am I going to miss school this way?”
“No. Time does not work here the same way as it does Aboveground. She hasn’t won yet.”
Toby looked momentarily sad at the thought of going back to school, but his smile came back fully as he answered.
“She will. Once she gets here, will you send me back immediately to home, or do I get to stay longer?”
“Sadly, you’re going home. I’ll have to speak to Sarah briefly first, and then she’ll be home soon after you.”
Jareth was trying not to think about that possibility very much at all, and he was failing.
“Sure, that is what you say now.”
Toby winked at Jareth, then nudged him with his elbow, which threw Jareth off entirely.
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“I saw the way you were looking at her through the crystal. I can see that you like her. And you’re a whole lot better than the other jerks she has dated. She could do worse.”
Was Toby really saying what he hoped he was saying?
“Does this mean that I have your blessing?”
“Definitely. Then I might be able to come back, too,” Toby said grinning.
“You need only call for me, and I will be there.”
If he had Toby on his side, perhaps there was still hope. Maybe Toby could stay a little longer, to help convince Sarah.
“Thanks, Jareth. I really appreciate it.”
“I care about you, Toby. I only want what is best for you and Sarah.”
“Clearly, with regard to Sarah,” Toby added with another wink.
“Alright, enough out of you. We have more troll hunting to plan. Will you join me?”
“Gladly. This beats history class any day.”
After more time passed, Sarah finally made it to the Goblin City, and once she was inside the castle, she looked so relieved to see Toby.
“Toby! There you are, thank goodness! I was worried you would’ve been kicked out already.”
“Nah, Jareth is a cool guy; I like him. He can do some pretty neat stuff, and he said he would teach me magic one day.”
Toby smiled at Sarah before rubbing her upper arm slowly. Then, he elbowed his sister good-naturedly.
“Oh, did he now? Oh dear. I’ll just have to go over there and have a few words with him about this first.”
“See you at home, Sarah,” said Toby as he winked to Jareth, giving him a thumbs up. To Jareth, he said, “Thanks.”
Toby disappeared, leaving Sarah and Jareth alone again. This was his final chance, and he intended to try as hard as he could.
“So, it seems that you’ve beaten my Labyrinth.”
Sarah looked thrilled to be able to say that. A true Cheshire cat grin was now on her face, and Jareth was momentarily taken back.
“Something wrong, Jareth? Or just surprised at me saying that?”
Sarah had been waiting a long time for this moment.
“Yes, I’m a little surprised. I thought that you’d forgotten about the Labyrinth.”
What Jareth wanted to add on at the end of that sentence was “and me”. But, he decided it best not to.
“How could I do that, if I was able to wish Toby away?”
“Wishing away someone is not uncommon, assuming you had heard the story, or still own the book I gave you.”
“But I’ve done more than that. I’ve lived through it, and conquered it. Twice. I wonder if that is saying something about me or your lack of creativity in creating something hard.” Her smile got larger.
“It certainly says something about you, not me. You are still the only human to beat the Labyrinth.”
Sarah looked inordinately pleased to hear that. Sarah’s hope was increasing.
“Then why did you wish your brother away? Why did you neglect your friends and the Labyrinth? Why did you make it seem like you forgot?”
“Because I had no choice. I had to grow up and live my own life. Just because you made me an offer once did not mean it was real or ever going to happen again. After learning so many lessons during my first run, I wanted to put them into practice and become a better person. I had to fight for what I believed in and follow my dreams, and I have done just that.”
“How? By neglecting your family and Toby, allowing him to become unhappy and bullied?”
“No. My family didn’t support my dreams, and so I moved out. It was only ten minutes away, but my family didn’t want my “wayward tendencies” to affect how Toby chose his career in life.”
“And that is why you are ashamed to be called a painter?”
Sarah paused before adding, “Did he tell you that? I told him not to tell you!”
There was another phrase that Sarah wanted to add, but did not. She was no longer fifteen years old, but in fact, a young woman of twenty-eight. Jareth needed to see that, if he somehow did not realize that from her dress in the waltz. The bigger problem was that Jareth knew somehow.
“Why? Just because everyone else can’t know?”
Jareth looked haughty, and Sarah was staring daggers at Jareth.
“No, because I wanted to surprise you!” At this, Sarah turned away to lean against a wall. “This was supposed to turn out differently.”
Jareth was not sure how any of this could come out right, even with her remembering now. She must think awful things of him still.
“How, pray tell?”
“Look, I know you are hurt-“
“Hurt? You are accusing me of that weakness? Next you will be telling me that I feel something much stronger toward you.”
That got Sarah going.
“Aren’t you supposed to be trying to distract me from finishing my run right now?”
“Why do you think we’re still talking?”
Because Toby is already gone. Also because you enjoy hearing your own voice and making me feel bad about not being able to help Toby when I did everything I could.”
Sarah looked like she was ready to fight, with her balled up fists and determined expression in her face. Jareth was not afraid.
“I don’t appreciate your tone.”
“And I don’t appreciate your tactics! Just let me go if you are going to already! You already sent Toby back, showing that I won, so why am I still here? I won. Or do I have to say my words again to be done with this already?”
If there was anything that Jareth did not want, that was what he wanted least. He could not handle that again.
“Why did you even want to be a painter to begin with?” Jareth practically shouted in frustration. “What happened to costumes and acting? Why the change?”
“Because it wasn’t realistic, and my heart just wasn’t in it. I saw so much more beauty in life and in the world around me as I appreciated it more, and so I wanted to be able to bring out that beauty by painting it. Your Labyrinth helped me do that.”
“It’s nice to know that you can at least be grateful for what you received,” Jareth practically spat.
“Received? Hardly. More like fought for.”
Sarah tried to stare down Jareth, but Jareth was still taller, and had some high ground here.
“You wanted an adventure, and you got it. You asked for Toby to be taken away, and I took him. I gave you everything that you wanted. Isn’t that generous?”
“Generosity is giving without expecting to receive anything back.”
Jareth mentally prepared himself for whatever cutting words came next. Perhaps more of the childish ways had not been conquered after all.
“Such as the way in which you looked after Toby today, and even managed to make him smile. That was kind, and generous. Another was my attempt to always have or make cookies when I knew the goblins were around. I wanted them to be happy.”
This was not expected, but definitely more welcome. Perhaps there was hope for this mess after all.
Sarah finally approached Jareth, taking his hand. “For what you did for Toby, I will always be grateful. Thank you.”
Sarah was showing how she truly felt as she beamed up at him, squeezing his hand tightly. Good will surged through Jareth, and the desire to return the goodness in kind, on the off chance of running with his hope, was too strong to resist.
“It was my pleasure, truly. I see a little of me in him, so I know what he is going through.”
“Whatever it is, I’m glad he was finally able to meet you. You’ve cleared up some of my lingering doubts, and now I can return home.”
Sarah started to turn away, but Jareth was not finished.
“Only some, and not all? What else is there?”
“It is nothing, a silly girlish thought that I always imagined. It is nothing.”
Sarah tried to pull away again, but now Jareth was fixated, grabbing her wrists and pulling her closer than before.
“What is it, Sarah? Tell me. I am willing to answer any question you ask. I cannot deny you anything.”
“Are you quite sure? It’s a small doubt that I’ve had ever since I left last time.”
“I don’t care. Just ask me. Nothing you say is silly or unimportant.”
“Fine. But first, was there anything else that you wanted ask me? Anything at all?” There was an almost desperate gleam in her eyes that confused Jareth.
“What I have to say would most likely only annoy you in your current state of mind.” Jareth looked away momentarily before Sarah’s hand brought him back to face her. She was smiling.
“Are you absolutely sure that you know my state of mind right now? Considering your earlier wrong assumptions about me, are you absolutely sure about that?”
Now she was leaning in closer, not afraid of the contact being created between them. This was the change that Jareth had been secretly hoping for all along. He was no longer the villain. He could have shouted for joy.
“No, I’m not, Precious,” he almost purred as he leaned into her ear, “but perhaps you would like to enlighten me a little about it? I’m rather unused to acting as anything other than the villain around you.”
“Then this will be good practice for later,” she whispered back.
“So there will be a later then?”
“If you want it.”
“I do, but I don’t know if you want it.”
“Then perhaps you should ask me, Jareth. I’m not afraid of you. Nor will I ever be.”
“I could give you a good reason if you so desire,” he said seductively as he pulled her completely against him, making her shiver, “and I could give even more if you want it. Do you want it?”
Slowly and softly, Jareth touched Sarah’s face for the first time. He continued to lean in further until their noses touched.
“Isn’t there something else you wanted to ask me, or offer me, as the case so happens?” Sarah whispered.
Now Jareth could match Sarah’s Cheshire cat grin, tooth for tooth.
“Just let me rule you. Fear me, love me, do as I say, and I will be your slave.”
“I think we have already established that I will never fear you in that way. That is not what a true relationship is built on. How you would rule me, and yet at the same be my slave is something else that has always annoyed me because they are so contradictory, so they cancel one another out. Submissive out of love, perhaps. That just leaves one more.”
Jareth stopped stroking Sarah’s hair when she paused.
“Love, however, I can do. With all my heart. But can you?”
“With all my heart, yes. I love you, Sarah. I want nothing but your happiness.”
“Even if you’re not by my side?”
“It would hurt me, but yes, it can be done. Why? Is there someone else? I was so sure from what Toby said that there was no one.”
“He would mention that, wouldn’t he? No, there is no one else, only you. I realized that some years ago, though I was unwilling to admit it until recently. Love makes a person say and do crazy things sometimes, as well as make a person vulnerable.”
“Why do you say this, Sarah?”
Leaning in to kiss him, Sarah said, “Because, Jareth, you have power over me.”