Chapter 10: Impulse and Forethought
"You can do this, Sarah," the young collegiate woman whispered to herself as she stood in front of the full-length mirror in the back of the theatre department. Everyone who was leaving for spring break had already left earlier that day, even Vivienne, and campus was silent. However the quiet was allowing for her brain to re-think her mission. Despite the fact that she'd been looking forward to this for the past two weeks, now that she was on the verge of doing it, her heart was pounding and her hands were shaking as she stood fidgeting in the long regency style dress she'd borrowed from the costume department. Thoughts kept running through her head like what if she couldn't get back? What if Jareth wasn't happy to see her at all? What if those problems he kept talking about had escalated and now the Underground was at war? It would explain why he hadn't been able to visit her.
She took a shaky breath and tried to calm her nerves. She'd prepared. She'd packed enough dresses from the theatre wardrobe to last for a week as well as a few pairs of her regular jeans and sweater. The duffel bag with her clothes and toiletries sat at her feet. All she had to do was grab it and call for Hoggle. That's it
Why was it so difficult then?
"God, Sarah, just get over yourself and do it!" she berated herself and picked up her duffle. "Hoggle, I need you," she said firmly into the mirror.
A moment later the reflective surface rippled and her friend stood framed by the mirror's fake gilded edges. Without a second thought, Sarah quickly walked forward and through the mirror, the surface passing over her as though she had just stepped through a cool shower of water. "Whoa! Sarah!" Hoggle exclaimed as he clamored out of her way. "What do ya think yer doin'?"
Once she was standing firmly in Hoggle's cabin, she turned to the dwarf and smiled. "It's good to see you too, Hoggle."
His expression did not change. "What have ya done, Sarah?"
Sarah remained firm in her resolution. "Since he can't see me, I've come to see him." The explanation sounded good to her
that was until Hoggle spoke next.
"You've trapped yerself here, ya know that, right?"
Sarah's face fell. "What?"
Hoggle sighed and placed his face in his hand as he slowly shook it back and forth. Finally he stood straight and limped over to a small fireplace where a teakettle was sitting on a hook over the flames. "Come sit at the table, I think we're gonna need some tea fer this," muttered reaching up to take down two tea cups and two saucers from a cupboard.
Sarah dropped her duffle on the hard wood floor and moved to sit in one of the low roughly hewn chairs that stood on either side of a matching table. Her dress dragged slightly on the floor as she moved. "What did you mean when you said
trapped?" she asked after settling herself.
Hoggle sighed as he poured the tea. "It's an old law of the Underground," he began as he set a cup in front of Sarah. "A mortal can visit the Underground once and once only and still be allowed to go back to the Above." He took a sip of tea as though trying to work himself up for what he had to say next. "After that, if the mortal comes back, they have to stay."
"What kind of law is that? Why can't I just go back the same way Jareth goes back? Or why couldn't he take me back?" Sarah asked in a rush as panic started to settle in.
"It has ter do with the magic that's absorbed inter yer body. I ain't no expert, but from what I've been told, magic is like a drug to mortals. One hit of it can get you addicted, which is why only one visit is permitted. Most don't become addicted with the first visit because it's usually a short visit. You however spent thirteen whole hours down here."
"Ten," Sarah interrupted.
"In the tunnels, remember? He took away three hours because I called his labyrinth a piece of cake."
"It don't matter
you spent a significant amount of time here and now you've come back."
"What was I suppose to do? Leave Toby here?" Sarah's annoyance with the situation was becoming apparent.
"No, but you should've asked before jumping through the mirror," Hoggle said remaining calm.
Sarah ducked her head. She didn't mean to get mad at her friend. This wasn't his fault. "What if I went back right now?" she asked in a pleading tone, looking towards the mirror.
"How would ya? The mirror portal closed the second you went through it cuz you weren't there on the other side to keep it open."
"Well then what about Jareth? Couldn't he take me back?"
Hoggle seemed to consider this. "I suppose he could try, but I don't know if he can transport more than himself through the boundary between worlds."
"Where is he? How can we get a hold of him?"
"Probably in the castle. And I have a way of getting' 'hold of him, but we'll need to act quickly," the dwarf said as he rose and limped as fast he could over to another cupboard. He opened it and drew out a crystal sphere that seemed to be glowing slightly. "We's can call him with this. He gave it ter me seein' as me cabin is on the edge of the labyrinth and I's can see if any trouble's comin'."
Sarah rose from her seat and came to kneel before Hoggle and the sphere. "Call for him, please."
Hoggle nodded and stared into the crystal. "Yer needed here, yer Majesty," he said simply.
There was a moment of silence then a familiar voice echoed in the cabin. "I'll be there shortly, Hogwart."
Hoggle rolled his eyes at his monarch's sense of humor and set the crystal down on the table carefully so that it wouldn't roll off. Sarah rose from her knees and moved to sit back down on her chair. Her hands were shaking again as well as her legs and she thought they might not hold her should she try to stay standing. A moment later, a firm knocking could be heard on Hoggle's front door. The dwarf quickly moved to open it. "What's the meaning of this, Hoghead?"
"Yer Majesty had best come in and see."
Sarah heard Jareth scoff followed by his heeled boots against the hardwood floor. She looked up to see him as he walked into he cabin. He looked resplendent in his familiar reddish brown leather jacket and dove grey leggings with knee high boots. "Sarah
" her name came from his lips in a soft whisper.
She stood hesitantly and walked closer to him. He met her half way and pulled her into a tight embrace. She let out a long breath at feeling his body pressed against hers once more. Her arms wrapped around his lean frame and her face buried itself in his shoulder. "What are you doing here?" he asked pulling away slightly so he could see her face, which now had tears slipping down it.
"I missed you. I needed to see you, so I stepped through the mirror when I called Hoggle."
He smiled and let out a low chuckle. "Oh, my precious Sarah. How little you know of our world."
Sarah ducked her head again. "Hoggle's already told me a bit, and I thought that if you took me back now, I wouldn't be addicted to the magic yet."
Jareth pulled her face back up and kissed her chastely. "How I wish I could simply keep you here."
She smiled. "You might get your wish if this doesn't work."
Jareth pulled her even tighter against him. "Hold on tightly now. I've never done this before."
Sarah clung to him; she could get Hoggle to give her her duffle bag back through the mirror if this worked. If it didn't, she might need it back here anyway. A strong sensation of being tugged in several directions at once as butterflies swooped in her stomach filled her senses for a moment then she felt her feet land on solid ground again. She didn't loosen her grip on Jareth though, not wanting him to leave her again. "Sarah, love, I've brought you back to your dorm room. How do you feel?"
She felt him pull back slightly, but still kept a firm hold on her. At his question, she began taking mental inventory. All of her limbs were in place, she felt whole physically. There was a slight dizzy headache forming in the back of her head, but she figured that was just from the strange sensation of moving between worlds. All seemed well, and she couldn't decide if that was a good thing or a bad thing. Slowly, she opened her eyes and nodded her head. "Everything feels okay," she said not meeting his eyes.
He remedied the situation though by pulling up on her chin with one gloved hand. "Precious?" he asked sensing the turmoil running through her mind.
She looked up into his eyes searching for the anger she knew must be there. She'd put herself into danger and had crossed over the boundary between worlds without consulting him first. However, he showed nothing but concern for her. Her brow furrowed. "You aren't mad at me?"
Jareth smiled. "No, love, I'm not mad. I have I feeling I should be what with you just waltzing into the Underground, but I find myself too happy to see you to be mad." He leaned down and kissed her brow.
Sarah's face relaxed and she hugged the blond monarch close. "I'm sorry," she said into his shoulder. "I didn't know what would happen and I didn't bother to ask. I just figured that since you go back and forth so much that it wouldn't matter."
A low chuckle filled the room and his chest shook slightly. "Darling, I can go back and forth because I am a magical being. I have my own magic and I don't depend on the Underground to support me. Whereas you don't have any magic and should you absorb too much of the Underground's magic, you'll become addicted and should you return to the Aboveground, you'll get
" he paused thinking for the word. "Ah yes, the DT's."
Sarah laughed openly now. "But that's for alcoholics!"
Jareth shrugged. "The symptoms for withdrawal for alcoholics and magic addicts are much the same. Only you won't recover and you'll fade away into an empty shell."
"Yes, and I should hate for it to happen to you. I've found myself quite addicted to you, my dear."
Silence filled the room as they took comfort in each other's arms until Jareth spoke again. "I have to leave."
"I don't want you to."
"Do you think I want to?"
" she snuggled closer to him.
He squeezed his arms tighter around her and rested his chin on her head. "Soon, Sarah
Soon I'll be able to stay with you without worry of consequences."
Sarah steadied herself and pulled back to look up at him. "I can wait."
Jareth raised an eyebrow as though to say 'really?'. She punched his arm playfully. "I can too do it!" she insisted.
"We shall see," he replied with a smirk. "Now, I really must go. I'll try not to make it so long till we see each other."
"Maybe we could have mirror dates?" she suggested.
"Yeah, you know
I call you through the mirror like I do with Hoggle."
Jareth smiled, "I think I'd like that very much."
This time, Sarah initiated the kiss, and she wasn't keeping it chaste. Her lips molded against his, her tongue seeking entrance, which he allowed after a moment, a groan of gratification escaping him as she pressed her hips against his. "Sarah
" he ground out before swooping down and nipping at her neck.
She let out a throaty moan and threw her head back as he traced her throat with his lips and teeth. "Oh god, Jareth
I don't ever want this to stop."
Despite her proclamation, Jareth did stop. He pulled away and knelt before her, not looking away from her eyes as he said his next words. "Sarah, I want to be with you so badly. There are no words to describe my desire to keep you close. However I know that there isn't a way just now for that to happen. You have school and I have a kingdom, but someday soon, I would very much like to claim you as my own so that we would never have to be separated again for such long periods of time."
"Jareth," Sarah breathed. "Are you
are you asking me to marry you?"
He smiled a true smile that reached his eyes. "Sarah Anne Williams, I find myself a slave to your every whim. I have re-ordered time and moved the stars for you and I would do it all again should you ask it of me. If you would have me, I should very much like to spend the rest of eternity with you. I cannot promise an easy life with me at all times, but I can promise that I will never stop loving you or cast you aside. You have become my life; I live for you. You are the only star I see in the sky and I would pay you homage, my Queen."
Sarah stared in wide-eyed wonder at the fae before her. His words had been moving and expressed every emotion that she shared for him. There was no question in her mind that she would never find someone she desired as much as she did this fae not only physically, but emotionally as well. "Yes," she whispered.
Jareth's eyes widened and his mouth fell open slightly in surprise. "What did you just say, my dear?"
Sarah would've normally hit him and said that he'd heard her the first time, but he honestly looked like he didn't believe what she'd just said. So she knelt with him and looked him in the eyes as she repeated herself. "Yes, my love, I will marry you."
Jareth wasted no more time staring in wonder and pulled her forward into a toe curling, spine tingling kiss. His hands wandered over the costume she'd worn, sliding along her ribs and over her breasts as he pushed her back. Sarah gasped and tried to keep up with the intensity of the kiss as she leaned back on her knees, her shoulder blades eventually pressing against the floor and her legs doubled painfully under her. She tried to ignore the pain though as pleasure also swept through her at Jareth's caresses.
However with the combined weight of both herself and Jareth, her legs screamed for mercy and she pushed at his chest. He drew back unwillingly and she gratefully straightened her legs, kneeling in front of Jareth once again. "I need to go," he said unconvincingly.
Sarah nodded and kissed him again. Jareth pulled back after a minute. "No really
I left my scribe in the middle of a letter."
"Yes, you should go then," she replied, but her actions belayed her words as she pulled him back in for another kiss.
He moaned against her as she nibbled at his lower lip. "Saraaaahhh
She pulled back. "If you don't leave now, I don't think I'll be able to let you go."
Jareth nodded and rose with a sigh, pulling Sarah up with him. "I will call on you tomorrow through the mirror, my love."
Sarah nodded, "I love you."
"I love you too, precious," he replied running his gloved fingers along her jaw. "Until tomorrow night then." He started to fade from sight, but suddenly he was back in full clarity. "I almost forgot," he said twirling a hand at the wrist and producing a crystal that turned into a small black velvet box. "I understand that humans present a ring as a symbol of their commitment when asking one to marry another."
"Jareth, you don't have to
"But I do, Sarah," he interrupted. He opened the box on its hinge to reveal an elaborate silver band with a beautifully cut oval sapphire in between two smaller diamonds. "Will you accept my ring?"
"Yes," she breathed, in awe of the sparkling gem and precious metal work that twined around the sapphire to hold it in place.
Jareth pulled the ring from its box and gently took hold of Sarah's left hand, placing the band on her second to last finger. "There, now it is official in both our worlds," he smiled.
Sarah looked back up at him and reached forward to kiss him once more. "Thank you."
"No, Sarah. I should be thanking you."
He continued to grin. "I shall take my leave now. Until tomorrow night, my dear."
Sarah watched as faded from view until he'd completely disappeared. Once he was gone, she looked back down at the ring on her finger. A smile that she thought would soon become permanent fixed itself on her face. She was engaged.