Author: Kat Lee
Character/Pairing: Jareth/Sarah, Sir Didymus, Hoggle, Toby
Challenge/Prompt: 1_million_words: Weekend Challenge: “She never wanted it to end like this.”
Warning(s): Future Fic
Word Count: 2,607
Date Written: 18 July 2018
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to Henson, not the author, and are used without permission.
She never wanted it to end like this. She had kept hoping to find some other way to earn Toby’s freedom the entire time she’d been in the labyrinth. Even at the end of her journey there, she had hoped a way out of having to defeat the Goblin King. To this day, she couldn’t explain, but there had been something about him since the very moment their eyes had first met. It felt like he was the only one in the world who knew her, in his or hers really, like they were meant to be together, like they had already been together before and he was a part of her she’d never known was missing until she’d met him.
But in the end, she had had no choice. She had either had to defeat him or lose Toby, and she couldn’t let her baby brother become a Goblin. What would that have said of her really? She couldn’t sacrifice his entire being for her own greedy needs. So she had said the words, she had defeated the one man she’d ever come close to loving in her entire life, and she had never seen him again.
Now she stared into a face so full of wrinkles and hard lines that it barely even resembled the girl she had been then. Indeed, had she been a stranger looking at herself now and then, she never would have guessed the two were two parts of the same coin. She never would have thought that this was how she would grow up to be, but it wasn’t the looks that bothered her, not really. It was the fact that, after all this time, she was still alone. Toby was gone to God knew where, probably partying somewhere; her father was long dead; and her only friends were creatures in whose existence the rest of the world did not even believe.
She sighed, putting down her lipstick, and eyed her reflection. “What have I done?” she whispered. It felt like she had wasted her whole life. In a way, she had. She’d tried to move on. She’d tried to form a life for herself. She was known for acting abilities across the globe, but no one on this side of the mirror knew the greatest performance she’d ever given. Jareth had had power over her since that very first moment she’d met him. She’d never been able to move on, never been able to forget him, never been able to create or even truly desire a life without his influence.
And now, as death drew ever nearer, her only regret was that she had never gotten to tell or show him the truth. She had never gotten to love him. Her heart broke again every time she thought of him and the lies she’d had to tell to free her brother. There should have been another way out, another way around giving up her future for Toby’s, but there had not been.
“Did she say it?” a voice asked, unheard by Sarah as she stared into her own eyes.
“No. She never says it.”
“She will say it.”
“No, she won’t.”
“Yes, she will. You’ll see.”
“She never has.”
“First time for everything.”
“No, there isn’t. Don’t you pay attention when the King talks? There’s nothing new.”
“Yes, there is. Her love for him is new.”
“No, it isn’t. It’s old,” an elderly, female Goblin spoke up for the first time that entire century. Her broken silence immediately hushed the other Goblins. “It is older than they are this time around, older than this very land.” She looked sadly at Sarah. “It’s an ancient as time itself.”
Sarah leaned forward and pressed a hand against the glass of her mirror. She hadn’t heard the Goblins whispering, but she felt a presence nonetheless. “Is anyone there? Anyone? Anyone at all?”
“Why, yes, milady.” Sir Didymus immediately appeared. “I told you we would always be here if you needed us.”
“And I told you I would never stop needing you.” Her voice broke. A tear slid down her face. She had always needed them all. She had needed the labyrinth; that was her true home, not this place around her or these four walls that seemed constantly to pin her down. She needed him most of all, but she would never be able to tell him.
Suddenly there was a furry hand on her shoulder, and another, old, hard, but furless, upon her knee. “You know you need only speak our names, milady, and we will come.”
“I know.” She smiled at her loyal Knight through her tears. Sir Didymus patted her shoulder while Hoggle gently squeezed her knee. “I only wish -- “
“You only wish what, milady?” Didymus asked, leaning forward. “If it is within my power to grant -- “
“It is no one’s power to grant, I’m afraid,” Sarah said sadly.
“I wouldn’t be so sure about that.” Hoggle grunted. “Tell us what’s on your mind, Sarah. Maybe we can find a way to make that rat, Jareth, grant it.”
Sarah laughed as tears slipped down her cheeks. She wiped them away; crying would do no good now. She was more than old enough to understand that tears were as useless as wishes that were impossible to be granted.
“Milady?” Sir Didymus asked, looking at her. His good eye widened in surprise and question.
“Sarah?” Hoggle asked. He patted her knee. “Whatever it is, just tell us. We’ll help if we can. You’ve saved us so many times.”
She had saved them all, and she had saved her own brother. That’s what had put her in this mess to begin with. “There’s nothing anyone can do,” she said softly. “I just . . . “ She closed her eyes against the increasing flood of tears.
Sir Didymus moved to stand before her on her dresser, the same dresser she’d had all those years ago and had kept ever since. He wrapped his little arms around her neck and held her close, hugging her and doing his very best to reassure her.
“Tell us,” Hoggle asked again, and she could hear his voice cracking again.
She sighed into Sir Didymus’ soft fur. “If there is anything I regret in this life,” she confessed to her dearest and oldest friends, “it is that I shall never have the chance to tell him I love him.”
“WHAT?!” Hoggle demanded. His hand jumped from her knee as though he’d been scalded. “YOU LOVE THAT BASTARD?!”
“Yes!” Sarah lifted her head from Sir Didymus’ embrace and laughed through her tears. “Yes, I love him! I always did! If there’d been any other way to free Toby -- “ She shook her head. “But there wasn’t, and I had to do what had to be done. I’m getting older every day,” she told them. “I barely even recognize my reflection now. One day my life is going to be over, and my one big regret is that I never told him I love him.”
“It’s not too late, milady,” Sir Didymus yipped.
“What?” Sarah asked, looking down at him. “How can that be?”
“Don’t you dare tell her!” Hoggle demanded. “She’s better off without that bastard!”
“I shall pretend I did not hear such language coming from your mouth, my brother. Regardless the lady wishes to speak to our King, and she should know every avenue possible to her.” He peered at Hoggle. “Or would you have her carry this regret with her to her grave, Sir Hoggle? She will not live as we do. I fear she will not even see the end of this century.”
“Shut your mouth!”
Sir Didymus glowered at Hoggle.
“Sir Didymus, if there is a way I may speak to him, please tell me what it is?”
“It is simple, milady,” the dog Knight replied, turning back to face his Queen. “You may reach him the same way you reach us. You have but to call his name. Although -- “ He glanced at her closed window. “ -- it may help to open your window.” He alone, other than the King himself, knew how many nights Jareth had spent perched in the boughs of the tree just beyond Sarah’s closed window, yearning for her to call out to him.
She eyed Sir Didymus as though he was the crazy one instead of she, as her whole world thought her to be. But then, still believing anything worth a chance after all her years, she crossed over to her window and threw it wide open. “Jareth?”
She had but to speak his name a single time before the same snowy white owl, looking as elegant and massive as it had that first night it had entered her room in her teenage years, swept back into her bedroom. She had never let her father sell the house, because she’d always secretly hoped that keeping the same place would somehow help Jareth to find her again. She’d long ago given up those hopes -- until now as the owl turned into the very King who had haunted her every dream since she had been a mere fourteen years of age. “Jareth!” she breathed his name shakily, barely daring to believe she was not dreaming this time.
He smiled at her, that same coy smile that hovered so close to a smirk and made her both want to smack and kiss it off of his regal, luscious lips. “You called?” he replied.
“I -- I -- There’s something I’ve always wanted to tell you,” she blurted out.
“Yes?” he asked with rare patience. He had waited a long time for her to call upon him again, and he wasn’t about to move swiftly into being hurt again by this mortal girl, even if she was so much more than she’d ever known.
She pulled herself together and drew every bit of her courage to her. She raised her head, squared her shoulders, and leveled her gaze with his. She would have wondered why it was so difficult to speak just a few, simple words if she had not already recognized her fear for what it was. He’d claimed to love her back then, but there was no reason at all for him to still want a woman who had turned him away as a girl, who had defeated him, and who had lost all her beauty. But at least if she said the words, if she told him how she truly felt and always had, she would not go to her grave still regretting that she had not done so when she’d had the opportunity. “I love you!” she gasped out.
The smile that filled his face seemed to make the entire part of her room in which he stood shine brilliantly. “Oh, Sarah,” he breathed. “I have waited so long for you to say that!” He was before her in an instant. One gloved hand cupped her chin while the other tenderly caressed her cheek. “So very, very long.” Jareth ignored Hoggle’s disturbed grunt while Sarah altogether did not hear it. “But do you mean it?”
“Yes!” she cried. “I would have told you then if I could have, but -- but I had to save Toby! There was no other way -- “
“There was,” he said. “You could have offered to be my Queen as long as I let him return to your land.”
“Then why the Hell didn’t you tell me?!” she demanded.
“Because the rules of the game stated that I could not, and even I had to adhere to the rules.”
“But you changed them so often!”
“Not that one. That was one of the three rules to which even I was forced to abide.”
“And the others?” she wondered aloud.
He continued to stroke her cheek with his long, elegant fingers; each touch swept red-hot passion through her. “I could not make you fall in love with me, and I could not interfere with your free will or the boy’s.”
“Well, how about my free will to love you now, to come with you while I still can?!”
“There is but one thing we must do first,” he said, beaming down at her.
“Anything,” she breathed, gazing into his beautiful eyes and wondering why on Earth it had taken her so long to simply call upon him again. There was no wonder he’d always said he could give her the stars; his eyes seemed to be filled with them. But she didn’t want the stars. She only wanted him; she always had.
He grinned, and his smile literally stretched from one pointed ear to the next. “We must seal it with a kiss.” He touched her lips gently with his own, but though the kiss was gentle, it flooded Sarah’s very soul with more burning passion than she’d ever known or imagined could exist. She moaned softly against him, and Jareth slipped his tongue into her mouth, wrapped it around hers, and shared his power with her. Her wrinkles faded, and with them went her exhaustion, her pains, her grey hairs . . . When, several minutes later, he finally lifted his head again, he was still smiling down at her. “There. Feel better now?” His eyes twinkled mischievously.
“What . . . What did you do?” she whispered, feeling a strange tingling all over her.
“I told you I could do anything for you, Sarah, if you would only love me.” He lifted a hand, palm up to her. “Come with me now,” he pleaded softly. “Come rule beside me for the rest of eternity.”
She didn’t have to glance in her mirror to understand what he had done. She could feel it all over her body and down into her very soul. He had made her young again; he had made her once more the girl she had been when they’d first fallen in love in this lifetime, but with all the knowledge she’d already been in possession of. There was no doubt in her at all as she took his hand and entwined their fingers together. “I’ll never leave your side again!” she vowed, and true to her word, she has not.
That, you see, is why I have not seen my sister now in twenty years. It is why the whole world wonders about the seemingly complete disappearance of the actress Sarah Williams. She did leave this world, but she did not die. She’s finally living happily ever after in the kingdom that was always meant to be hers and her husband’s. I only hope I’m that lucky before I die. I’m still waiting for my chance, you see, to be called back home to the labyrinth.
Don’t look at me like that. Everybody thinks I’m crazy, just as they all thought she was crazy, but that’s because you all can not understand. You can not understand what we have experienced, the world with which we fell in love, the world where we belong if you have not been there. And if you had been there, you would understand, and you’d be waiting your chance too.
Nobody wants to live in this world anymore. We just want to go home. We want to go home to where we belong, to the Underground and the King and Queen waiting for us there. We want to go home. I hope one day to be back there with my sister, but even if I never make it, I’m glad she did. She never wanted to leave there; she did so for me. She sacrificed everything for me, and I’m thankful she’s finally back where she belongs, back home, living with her soul mate, our King, happily ever after.