Continuing Tales

Please Come Home

A Labyrinth Story
by Ying-Fa-dono

Part 9 of 20

<< Previous     Home     Next >>
Please Come Home

The Underground was still and calm in the darkness of night. Only a soft wind whispered through the trees, disturbing the silence. Some miles away from the labyrinth, stood a tower. This tower was avoided by all the creatures of the Underground, because of those who inhabited it. This tower, known as Silver Tower because of its shiny silver brilliance when the sun rose, was the home of two She-Faes. The younger of these two was standing out on a balcony that presented a beautiful view of the Underground.

She was a pretty thing. Her hair was such a light shade of red that it looked pink and was tied back in a ponytail. She had dark skin and large sapphire eyes. Her eyes were closed as she felt the wind pass by her. Apparently, she was listening very hard for something, her brow furrowed in concentration, trying to catch whatever it was she so needed to hear.

Her eyes suddenly snapped open as the wind died down. She turned around and hurried back into the tower. She walked swiftly through the black marble halls, hurrying through passages, up staircases, and through doors. Finally, she found the room she was looking for. The young Fae woman swallowed nervously. She would be punished for coming in here, uninvited and so late at night. Regardless, she needed to go inside for the greater good. She would be even more horribly punished if she waited until morning.

The younger Fae opened the door. "Limstella!" she called. "Limstella!"

The girl had walked into a vast bedroom. Most of it had been taken by an enormous black bed in which a figure was tangled up in the sea of blankets of fur and black velvet.

"Limstella!" the girl called again. "Lady Limstella, wake up!"

The figure groaned furiously and sat up. The blankets fell down to reveal a beautiful Fae woman. Her honey colored hair was wavy and strangely perfect for someone who had only just woken up. Her eyes were a wicked green and she was now eyeing the girl with cold fury.

"Ena, my dear," she hissed. "What have I told you about waking me? For heaven's sake, you miserable child, how useless are you?"

"Lady Limstella, I crave your pardon," said Ena. "I've been listening to the wind just now and . . ."

"The infernal secrets of the bloody wind can wait until dawn," shrieked Limstella, unraveling herself furiously from the depths of her bed. "What do I care what ridiculous riddles the wind fills your head with?"

"But Lady Limstella," Ena insisted. "It . . . it is about Jareth, my lady."

Limstella's anger seemed to fade rather quickly. "Jareth? Are you sure, Ena?"

"As sure as I am that I am standing here before you."

Limstella brightened at once. "Well then, come on girl," she said, pleasantly. "What has our little Jareth done this time? Has he added a nice moat to the labyrinth next? Or has he decided to come to his senses and return home to the Silver Tower?"

"Neither, my lady," replied Ena. "The wind has informed me that he has taken ill."

Limstella stared. "Ill? Come now, Ena. Don't be absurd. Jareth is probably the most powerful Fae in the Underground, apart from me, that is. He simply doesn't grow ill."

"He's not simply ill," said Ena, looking worried. "I have been informed that he has . . . my lady, I think his illness is that which destroys a Fae."

Limstella blinked. "What do you mean?"

Ena looked down at her feet. "I'm so sorry, Lady Limstella. I . . . I should have informed you sooner. This is all my doing."

"Ena, what have you done!" Limstella marched over to Ena and grabbed her shoulders. "What have you kept from me, you little fiend! What mistake has our Jareth made? What has he done to himself, Ena?"

Ena trembled. "Lady Limstella, please forgive me. J-Jareth has fallen in love with a human from the Aboveground . . . and has been rejected."

Limstella stared at Ena for a moment, then her grip on her shoulder's tightened painfully and she began to shake the poor girl as if she were a rag doll.

"TELL ME YOU LIE!" Limstella roared, continually shaking the helpless girl. "TELL ME THAT YOU'RE LYING, ENA, AND EVEN NOW YOU WILL BE FORGIVEN!"

"I . . . I'm so sorry," wailed Ena. "It is the truth! Forgive me, please! I beg of you!"

Limstella stopped shaking Ena, but slapped her across the face. She fell to the ground, whimpering in fear and pain.

"In love," hissed Limstella. "Rejected! Oh, the fool! Oh, Jareth! My poor Jareth! You fool! You cruel, cruel fool!" The Fae woman threw herself on her bed again, sobbing and pounding on the mattress in a fit of fury and despair. "You fool, Jareth! You utter and complete IDIOT!"

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry," cried Ena, still clutching her face where Limstella had slapped it. "It is my entire fault. I should have recognized the signs sooner. I could have prevented this."

"Yes, you could have," roared Limstella, standing up so that she could bend down and slap Ena again. "You have the power of hearing the voice of the wind. Why did you not tell me of this venture BEFORE he fell ill?"

"You know the wind speaks to me only in riddles," Ena protested. "I thought it was the Aboveground itself that he'd fallen in love with. But, if he has fallen ill, then it can only mean that his heart mourns for a human."

"Do you have ANY idea what that means?" Limstella hissed, her eyes flashing.

"Yes," said Ena, miserably. "I know all too well."


"Hey, Ugly, get away from there!"

"I'm just going to fix the blankets.

"I wouldn't do that if I were you."

"You know the rules."

"I know the rules."

"So, get down from there."

"What do you think he'll be angrier about? Being cold or being woken up?"

"He'll be mad about both!"

The high pitched voices echoed dully in Jareth's mind. He could only just make out what they were saying. His body felt very heavy and his chest ached with every beat of his heart.

"So, would he rather be cold or woken up?"

"You decide. Do you wanna get locked in an oubliette for the rest of your days or get tipped into the Bog of Eternal Stench?"

"Careful, if you wake him up while he's cold he'll do both. I've seen it."

"No, you haven't."

"Yeah, you're right. I haven't. Still, I bet he would."

"Really? How much?

"Two chickens."


Jareth forced himself into a sitting position. He heard frightened squawks from the goblins that had surrounded his bed and heard them scamper into whatever hiding places they could find. Jareth ignored them. He rubbed his chest, trying desperately to soothe the pain and quietly suppressing a cough.

"Who is it?" he said, groggily, addressing the hidden goblins. "Who is here?"

One of the goblins peeked over the foot of his bed. Jareth tried to remember his name, gave up fairly quickly, and then asked, "Who are you? What are you doing in my chambers? What's happened?"

The goblin stepped bravely onto the bed next to Jareth's foot and bowed deeply. "Diggle's the name, Your Highness. Diggle noticed that Your Highness came back from his trip looking a little tired. Diggle wondered if he could do anything for Your Highness, but couldn't think of anything. So, Diggle goes to ask Your Highness if he is in need of anything from him, but Diggle finds Your Highness asleep in the Escher room. So Diggle went and got help so that he could get Your Highness to his chambers so that he could sleep better. Diggle doesn't know about Your Highness, but Diggle would much rather take a nap in his bed rather than on the stone steps in the Escher room."

Jareth took a moment to marvel at the courage of this little goblin and then smiled. "I see. That was very much appreciated, Diggle. You have my thanks."

"Diggle is very happy to help Your Highness," said Diggle, grinning stupidly.

"Ah, Diggle," said Jareth, remembering something and turning his eyes sharply at the goblin. "You said you got help. From where?"

"From the city," replied Diggle. "Diggle went all over the city and called a whole bunch of people that Your Highness needed help. Forgive Diggle, Your Highness, but Your Highness is much too big for Diggle to carry by himself."

Jareth's eyes suddenly flashed. "You mentioned my collapsing outside the walls of the castle!"

"Yes," said Diggle.

Jareth cursed loudly and pounded his forehead with his fist. Diggle jumped about a foot in the air and nearly fell off the bed.

"Get out," said Jareth. His tone wasn't harsh, but there could be no denying that it was an order to be done at once. "Out. All of you out! I need time by myself. Out. Go on! Out."

The goblins obeyed quickly. When Jareth stopped clutching his chest and rubbed his temples instead. The pain in his chest had eased somewhat now, but he had a fresh new headache to deal with. This is exactly why he had to get do things such as collapsing within the sanctuary of his chambers. Goblins had big mouths. But the wind's was even bigger.

Jareth rose from his bed and walked over to the balcony. From this balcony, he had a perfect view of the labyrinth, from the gates to the city. He let his breath out slowly. Diggle, helpful though he had been, had just caused a very big problem for him. He hoped it would all be over when news of his condition reached the Silver Tower. The last thing he needed was her on his case. He already had his hands full with another. Jareth closed his eyes, enraged with himself with the disaster he'd set up for himself.

He shouldn't have gone Aboveground. He shouldn't have gone to see Sarah. He knew he shouldn't have, but he was also glad that he had. If he hadn't, he might have been in a much less difficult situation, but then who knew what would have happened to Sarah. Jareth felt a stab of rage. That slime that had dared to touch his Sarah would never earn his forgiveness. Never. Not even if he threw himself in the way of the Cleaners to save Sarah's and Jareth's lives, he would still never be forgiven.

Filth like that deserves worse than nightmares, Jareth thought, bitterly. But I'm not really up for dragging humans Underground and throwing them into the Bog of Eternal Stench, now am I? Not that it hadn't been tempting after what Dirt or whatever his name had been had tried to do to Sarah. For that, he'll not be forgiven.

And then there was Sarah herself. Jareth let out another sigh. How beautiful she had been. There must have been some kind of festivity going on in the Aboveground because he'd never seen her dress like that. With her face painted and her wrists bejeweled, she'd been a vision. He'd been surprised at how she'd reacted to seeing him again. He thought she would attack him, accuse him of being back only for malicious reasons, or scold him for helping her in case she didn't really want it. But she had wanted his help, apparently. He'd been watching her for just a short time. He'd watched from his crystals, thinking that to be the safest way to see her without alarming her. Then he saw that Dirt person come on to her, strike her, and Jareth had had enough. He couldn't not have intervened.

Jareth's chest gave a warning throb at this point and he raised his hand to it again. Jareth scowled. He shouldn't have gone to her, but he just couldn't help it. He wanted, needed, to see her again. Once, just once, even if she didn't know he was there. Just like how he used to watch her. Quietly, from the shadows, giving no hint that he was present. That had been his intention, nothing more.

"I shouldn't have tried to kiss her," he said, bitterly to himself.

"You wanted to go see her," a voice suddenly said. "It was a good thing you did, wasn't it? You're glad, aren't you? Aren't you?"

Jareth rolled his eyes. "You aren't helping matters, Rin," he said, turning to see the slightly glowing figure of a little girl standing with him on the balcony. "I don't want Sarah involved in anything that is going on down here."

"Why not!" protested Rin. "You never accept it when I try to help you. You wanted to see Sarah again, so I showed you the best time it was to go."

"Yes, and that was a very nice gesture on your part," said Jareth. "But there are a great many things that you do not, can not, understand."

"I would if you just tell me," complained Rin. "You don't talk to me so much anymore. I don't like it. You-you're mad at me, aren't you?" Rin's eyes, so like his, watered with tears. "You're angry because Sarah got to the castle, aren't you? You don't like me anymore!"

Jareth sighed yet again. He walked over to the figure, knelt down beside her and cupped her face in his hands. "Don't be ridiculous, Rin," he said, looking right into her face. "How could I not like you anymore? Sarah reaching the castle was her being very determined and persistent. You had nothing to do with it. Quite the contrary, you did very well."

Rin sniffed. "Then why don't you talk to me so much anymore," she asked. "I wish you would talk to me again. I don't like it when you don't." she reached out her small hands and placed them on Jareth's cheeks, just like he was doing to her. "Rin loves Jareth."

"And Jareth loves Rin," said Jareth, stroking her cheeks with his thumbs. "I didn't realize I was making you so sad, Rin. I'm sorry. There are things going on right now that you wouldn't be able to understand."

"Like what?" Rin asked, letting go. "I bet if you explained it to me, then I'd feel better. I wouldn't mind so much."

Jareth sighed. He wished he didn't have to do this, but he knew he needed to soon anyway. He took his hands off of Rin's face and lowered his gaze. "Rin," he said, slowly. "You know what dying is, don't you?"

Rin lowered her gaze too, apparently thinking hard. "Isn't it . . . isn't it where life is leaving a living thing?"

"That's right, Rin," said Jareth. "Did the Prophet tell you that?"

"No," said Rin. "I've seen it. It happens occasionally and I see it."

"I see," said Jareth. "Do you know what happens when the dying process is complete?"

"Yes," said Rin, slowly. "When your life is all gone, you are dead and can no longer participate in life. You pass. Why are you asking me this, Jareth?"

Jareth forced a bitter smile. "Because it is happening as we speak. I'm dying, Rin."

Rin's eyes widened. She backed away, looking scared and hurt. "Why?" she asked. It was a simple question, asked very simply, but it still pained him a great deal to hear it.

"It is happening because it is happening," said Jareth, with a slight shrug. "I could be on this balcony for years trying to explain it to you and I doubt you'd be able to digest it. You are such a difficult being, Rin. There are some things you can understand, but some that you just can't. This is one of the things you can't."

There's part of me, you'll never know

The only thing I'll never show

"Why?" There it was again. So simple. So painful.

"It has to do with what I am," said Jareth. "I am the only Fae you have ever known, Rin, so the concept is hard for you to grasp."

Rin's eyes were watering again, her shoulders shook and her lips trembled. "C-can I h-help?"

"No, my precious thing. You can't."

"C-can S-Sarah h-he-help?"

"Don't start that," said Jareth, flatly. "Rin, I beg of you, leave Sarah out of this. I know you've been tampering with her dreams and I don't appreciate it. Let her be. I won't be seeing her again and now you know why. Let her go, Rin."

"I DON'T WANNA!" Rin sobbed. "I like Sarah! You like Sarah, too! Why can't you just like each other? I want you to stay and I want Sarah to come back. I . . . I . . . I choose you!" Rin threw herself at Jareth's feet, crying uncontrollably. All around them, dark clouds swirled around the labyrinth, the hedges and trees rustling in a fast wind. "You remember my wish, right Jareth! Well, I choose Jareth and Sarah. I want you to be Rin's King and Queen, just like you should be. Th-that's what I want."

Jareth had covered his face with his hands as Rin spoke. He looked up at the girl, feeling miserable. "I'm so sorry, Rin. I can't give you what you want. I can't bear to deny you. It is such a humble request on your part, but I can't do it. Forgive me."

Rin cried and cried. The storm billowing around them grew worse and worse as she sobbed. "Y-you know I do," she hiccupped, looking up at him with streaming eyes. "R-Rin l-l-loves J-J-Ja-Jareth."


I'll love you endlessly.

"Hush, now," said Jareth, looking around at the threatening storm. "Calm yourself, Rin. You'll scare everyone."

Rin, eyes still streaming furiously, chocked back her sobs and hiccupped quietly. The wind abated somewhat and the clouds turned from almost black to light gray.

"That's better," said Jareth. "Now, Rin, I can't give you what you want myself, but I will try to give you what you want."


I'll give you everything.

"Really? H-how?" Rin asked.

"There is someone I know," said Jareth. "I've known her a very long time. I've been thinking of having her come here and taking my place."

Rin frowned. "I don't know about that."

"At least try," insisted Jareth. "She may not be Sarah, but she is very nice. I think you'll like her. Listen, Rin. There is somewhere I need to go before I die. I'll be leaving shortly before dawn to go there and I will not return. When my friend comes, I expect you to be a good girl and let her in."

Rin rubbed her eyes. "If it's what Jareth wants, Rin will do it."

But I won't give you up, I won't let you down

And I won't leave you fallen, if the moment ever comes.

"Thank you, Rin" said Jareth, taking hold of her face again. "I'll miss you dreadfully, Rin." Jareth saw fresh tears in Rin's eyes and planted a little kiss on her forehead. Rin gave a little sob and then vanished from between his cupped hands. Jareth heard a rumble of thunder above him.

Jareth stood up. Rin had taken the news just as he thought she would. Weither no not she'd keep her word about doing as he told her, he wasn't sure. But she needed to know what was happening to him, and he had to tell her. But he wouldn't tell the goblins anything. The fact that their king was dying would be far too much for their witless brains to cope with. Still, there was work to be done and he had to do it quickly. He'd start on his pilgrimage before she tried to do anything to stop him. This was his choice. He felt no remorse.

Jareth left the balcony and left his room. He walked more carefully through the Escher room this time and entered his throne room. Most of the goblins who had been in his chambers had taken refuge in here and watched him carefully as he walked by.

"What are you all staring at?" Jareth snapped. "Don't just sit there gawking like some gaggle of gargoyles. I need some of you to go out and fetch me the dwarf that works for me. Tell him he is to come to the castle as fast as his pathetic feet can carry him or he'll suffer my . . . displeasure."

"We'll do it, Your Highness," said a few goblins, jumping up and down with their hands in the air. They hurried out the door, cackling darkly.

Jareth took his usual, lazy position in his throne and waited for Hoggle to come. How long had it been since he'd so much as looked at that dwarf? Not since right after Sarah left, he concluded. At that moment, his chest contracted very painfully and he screwed up his face against the terrible urge to cough. He couldn't go on like this, he knew it.

A few minutes later, the goblins returned with Hoggle in tow. Jareth eyed the little dwarf. He looked exactly the same. Same grubby brown skin, same overlarge nose, same clothes even. Nothing had changed in the dwarf.

"You, er, wanted to see me, Your Majesty?" Hoggle said very carefully, taking only brief, fleeting looks at Jareth.

"Yes," said Jareth. "Do you remember about that promise I made you, the monster, and Sir Didymus make to me, three years ago?"

"Y-yes," mumbled Hoggle.

"Have you kept to it?"

"Well, yes," said Hoggle. "To the best of my knowledge, yes."

"I'm glad to hear that," said Jareth. "Higgle . . ."

"Hoggle," Hoggle corrected him, quietly.

"Yes," Jareth waved his hand, impatiently. "I'm going to leave the labyrinth shortly before dawn. While I am away, I expect you to keep to the word you gave me. Understand?"

"Yes," said Hoggle.

"And will you pass that to the monster and Sir Didymus as well?"

"Uh, sure. Yeah, I can do that."

"Very good," said Jareth, tapping his riding crop against his boot. "Now, Hogsworth, while I am away there is a chance that your friend from three years ago might return to the labyrinth."

Hoggle looked up in surprise. "S-Sarah? She's coming back?"

"I said there was a chance she might," said Jareth, coolly. "You and she seem pretty close, so I leave a special job for you while I'm gone. If Sarah does come, you must do anything and everything in your power to make her go back to the Aboveground."


"Tell her any story, feed her any lie, do whatever it takes," Jareth went on. "Just make sure she goes back home and stays there. Even if you have to chain her to her bedroom floor, do it."

Hoggle waited for Jareth to say something else, but he didn't. He simply put his hand over his face again. Just when Hoggle thought it safe to get up and start heading toward the door, Jareth called out, "Oh, yes, and Hoggle."

Hoggle turned around, looking warily at Jareth.

"If you do not do what I have said," said Jareth, now looking Hoggle right in the eye. "And if Sarah comes back to the Underground or worse if she goes looking for me . . ." Hoggle braced himself. "I will not throw you into the Bog of Eternal Stench."

It seemed to take Hoggle a few minutes to figure out what Jareth had said. "You," he stammered. "You won't?"

"No," said Jareth, simply. "Nor will I lock you into an oubliette for the rest of your days."

"You won't?" Hoggle said again. "Well then, um, what will you do?"

"To you? Nothing whatever," said Jareth, with a slight shrug. "I just want you to know that if she does come looking for me while I am away, any and all harm that befalls her while she is here will be utterly, completely, entirely," Jareth got up at this point and leered down at the cowering dwarf. "Absolutely, totally, and in all other ways possible, your fault."

Hoggle flinched at these last two words. Satisfied, Jareth sat back down in his throne. "That should be punishment enough for you, I think. Now, you can go."

Hoggle nearly fell over in his hast to obey.


A few hours later, Jareth stepped out of the Goblin City. He took a moment to admire it before turning away. He'd miss the goblins and being their king. They might have not been the best company and were desperately dim, but he'd never failed to be amused by them. He knew they wouldn't take well to the idea of him dying. They'd probably kill themselves thinking about it too much. Jareth allowed himself a smile. Goblins where the only creatures he knew of that were in danger of dying from thinking too hard.

Jareth left the gates and navigated through the Yard of Shattered Dreams. He could feel the eyes of several Junk Ladies watching him as he trespassed on their lands. Junk Ladies were very, very possessive beings, but they knew better than to try anything on him. He was the one who gave them their home after all. He'd made a habit of collecting the remains of shattered dreams from the Aboveground simply as a hobby and set the Junk Ladies to live their so as to distract anyone who dared try to get to the Goblin City when they were not invited.

Jareth got through the Yard fairly quickly and headed right into the forest. This he'd planted himself and had given it to the then homeless Fiery race. As he marched through the woods, he thought he saw the glow of a bonfire in the distance and their voice's chanting happily.

"Chilly down with the fire gang! Think small with the fire gang! Bang heads with the fire gang!"

Jareth allowed himself a laugh. Apart from the goblins, the Fierys where truly the most entertaining creatures that dwelt in the labyrinth. He resisted the temptation to see what they were up to. He needed to leave quietly and quickly. He didn't want to answer any questions from any of the creatures. He found one of the doors and walked through.

"Where are you going so early in the day?" asked the Deaf Doorknocker as Jareth stepped through to the hedges. Jareth didn't answer him.

"If's nudda berry goob thyme fo a wok," commented the Dumb Doorknocker.

"What?" asked the Deaf Doorknocker.

"I shed dat e waven't a goob thyme fo a wok," repeated the Dumb Doorknocker.

"Don't talk with your mouth full."


Jareth ignored the Doorknockers and proceeded through the hedges. He was vaguely aware that it seemed harder than usual to navigate through the maze. Nevertheless, he managed to find the passage to the tunnels, past the false alarms and through one of the two doors.

"You're up early, Majesty," said one of the guards as Jareth entered the sandstone passage.

"Ralph, Alph," said Jareth, nodding to the two guards. "Been keeping well, I hope."

"Well as can be expected," replied Alph's bottom head. All four of the heads laughed. "Just standing here and all."

"Well, keep up the good work," said Jareth lightly before heading out into the passages.

This took even longer than the hedges. Once, to Jareth's surprise, he found himself facing a dead end. He grinned at the stone wall before him. He knew what was going on.

It's plain to see, it's trying to speak

Jareth reached for one of the bricks and pulled. The wall swung forward like a door.

"Nice try, Rin."

Jareth made his way into the Endless Corridor and started looking for the door that would lead him outside. As he walked, his mind turned to Sarah. In that one moment when he was about to cover her lips with his, he'd felt the pain that had been nagging in his chest subside. But he wouldn't allow it. Sarah had only allowed him to touch her out of gratitude for saving her from that Dirt character. If he'd kissed her, then he might not have been able to stop himself from doing more. From getting on his knees and begging her outright to love him back, to spear him. He was afraid of dying. He didn't want to. He didn't want to leave the labyrinth, and Sarah, behind. But he knew it would be no good. Sarah didn't love him back and that was that. He would bury his love for her in the back of his mind as he died. He'd put away all images and fantasies of a life with her.

Cherished dreams, forever asleep

Jareth found the gate and walked through. Hoggle wasn't anywhere to be seen. He was probably still asleep. Jareth was glad that there weren't any fairies there to bother him. His mind was still on the girl who'd single-handedly defeated him and yet he still loved her.


I'll love you endlessly.

Sarah wouldn't miss him. Only the Underground would miss him. Only Rin would know what really became of him. The goblins and other creatures would simply think he'd left and didn't come back. Only Rin would have to mourn. Sarah had a chance to move on, to love another, to be free. If he still had time to live, he'd have hated the idea of Sarah falling in love with another, but now he didn't mind. He wouldn't have to think about her in the arms of another man while he was dead. He wouldn't have to think of anything anymore.


I'll give you everything.

He would have given her whatever she wanted. Her smile, her laugh, was all he needed in return. He walked up the hill and gazed at his beloved creation. How he would miss it in the short time he had left. Jareth's chest suddenly pulsed, causing him to writhe slightly in pain. He coughed heavily into his gloved hand, feeling warm blood spraying into it.

By the heavens, Sarah, Jareth thought, fighting to keep hold of himself. I'm afraid.

But I won't give you up,

I won't let you down,

And I won't leave you fallen

Jareth tried to push through the pain. He had to start moving. The sun was rising and he needed to get going. He thought about Sarah to help him escape his agony. How beautiful she had been. How much she'd grown in only three years. Wondering how she might have reacted if he really had kissed her.

The ache subsided. Jareth was able to move again, he hurried onward, cleaning off his bloody glove with a sample of magic. He walked on toward the end of his life, his only regret was that he hadn't shown Sarah just how much she meant to him.

But the moment never comes

Please Come Home

A Labyrinth Story
by Ying-Fa-dono

Part 9 of 20

<< Previous     Home     Next >>