Continuing Tales

The Way Back

A Labyrinth Story
by atsuibelulah

Part 14 of 24

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The Way Back

After dinner, Sarah sat with Jareth in a companionable silence on one of the comfy leather sofas before the fire. He had his arm wrapped around her, almost protectively, and Sarah felt wonderfully safe and comfortable. She felt her eyelids begin to droop and looked for something to focus on, not wanting to fall asleep so early in the evening. Sarah's eyes wandered over the room and came to rest on the thick wooden mantelpiece.

It was a dark wood that she could not identify, illuminated a burnt orange color from the light of the rapidly flickering fire. There were small carvings protruding from either end, animal-like visages facing out into the room. At first, Sarah thought the two creatures were goblins, but on closer inspection they possessed the drooping ears and lips and the pointed horns of Ludo. Sarah wondered what role such creatures really played in the Labyrinth, now that she understood that most of what she thought she knew was wrong.

She snuggled in closer to Jareth to contemplate the things she did not understand about the Labyrinth and her eyes rose above the curious piece of sculpture to a painting. It was a map, of sorts, depicting the different areas of the Labyrinth. One could hardly call it detailed but the artist had incorporated flourishes and small likenesses of the various creatures found in each area.

Sarah took the painting in, noting the layout of the gigantic maze, mentally mapping her own journey through Jareth's domain. When she was finished she turned her attention to the outside borders of the Labyrinth, noting the names of the surrounding lands. The lands to the east were titled the Kingdom of Light and the lands to the north were called the Kingdom of Dark. A chord was struck in Sarah's mind, reverberating through all of the legends she had studied, the underground kingdoms of faerie; The Underground.

Sarah's mind was racing now with random memories and facts and she was left struggling to hide her dawning realization from Jareth. She thought of the bronze doors outside of the ballroom. She thought of him, his light hair and complexion, his innate elegance and grace. She thought of the dark places in the Queen's dungeons. He said he was an exile, he said he worked for her.

She looked back up at the map and saw something else. There were also lands to the southwest, called Independent and Mortal Territories. But he said there was no other choice, Sarah's brows furrowed in confusion.


His eyes had been closed and his voice was thick with fatigue, "Yes, love?"

She loosed her arm from where it was pinned between their bodies and pointed to the painting, "If there are independent territories in the Underground, why didn't you flee to one of them instead of the Shadow Court?"

He sat up swiftly, surprising her to the opposite side of the couch. Jareth raked his eyes over the map and turned to her, wide-eyed. His movements reminded her somewhat of a spooked horse, all power and fear bottled up, ready to lash out.

When she had asked the question, Sarah was expecting some sort of explanation. He was not an irrational or illogical person, but his answer was both and he continued to stare at her as if he had never seen her before. He spoke, slowly and deliberately, "There was no where else for me to go."

Sarah felt herself go cold with fear for him as his hands began to shake. "Yes, Jareth, you've already told me. But why? Why couldn't you go anywhere else?"

He practically scrambled off the sofa and began backing up, away from her, towards the windows. His expression was torn between knowledge that her question was valid and desperate belief in the truth of the words that were coming from his mouth, "There was nowhere else to go. There was nowhere else to go. There was nowhere else to go."

"Jareth... Jareth, please," she began to repeat his name, frantic to get his attention before something really frightening happened. Sarah wanted to go to him, to wrap her arms around him, but she was frozen in place, stuck in the corner of the sofa. She wondered if it was his doing, if he wanted to keep her away, consciously or unconsciously.

Jareth finally backed all the way into the windows and almost fell on top of the cushioned seat built in underneath. He froze completely for a moment and Sarah hoped he had regained control. Jareth seemed to awaken to himself once more and really looked at her, his expression full of terror as he whispered, "What else has she taken from me?"

The world seemed to come crashing down around Sarah, but then she realized that Jareth had thrown a crystal, shattering the window, and flew into the night before she could speak or even think.

A gust of cold night air blew through the opened chamber as Sarah wept, this time for her love.

Nadia watched her brother attempting to wear a trench in the floor from his relentless steps at her small writing desk in the heart of the House of Those Wished. She was attempting to peruse the letters that some of the grown Wished had sent them. He had been pacing nonstop for most of the day and she had gotten nothing done. She knew what was on his mind but refused to broach the subject with him. It was something they did not talk about often.

"What do you suppose they are doing?" Aidan's question had been building for a long time.

Nadia gave him a long look and spoke carefully, "It is not for you or I to say, Aidan."

He turned away and began pacing again, his agitation rising. Nadia was beginning to become worried, she usually knew how to calm her high strung brother when he was in this state. She would remind him of his place and he would leave it, but now things were different. She had never expected Sarah to return, never expected matters to change so drastically.

Aidan continued speaking as he began pacing again, "But do you suppose he will tell her what he has learned? Do you think she will trust him? Will he tell her-" She crumpled up an envelope and chucked it at him. He turned sharply and glared at her. She wanted to rush over and shake him, but she saw the desperation behind his flash of anger.

She sighed heavily, "Oh, Aidan, you only make it harder on yourself." She stood and walked over to him, clutching his shoulders, willing her words to reach him, "You know, Aidan, that even if he knew, even if Sarah had not returned, nothing would have come of it."

Pain twisted his features, she hated to hurt him but he needed to know. He had lived too long like this. Aidan's voice sounded as if it was wrenched from his throat, "How do you know that?"

"Oh, my dear, he had centuries to act and yet he did not. You and I both know that Jareth is blind to what he does not wish to see, and he never wished to see you in that way."

Suddenly a screech tore through the darkness. They both instinctively knew what it was. Aidan rushed to the small window, pushing it swiftly open without a thought and sticking his head far into the night.

Nadia's voice trembled behind him, "Is it Jareth?"

"Yes, I see him."

The owl cried again, tormented and anguished as they had never heard before. He circled once around the whole of the Labyrinth before the sound and the owl faded into the night.

Nadia's confusion almost outweighed her concern for Jareth, "Where could he be going?"

Aidan was still staring out the window. His voice was soft, but filled with distrust that his sister knew was unwarranted, "What has happened?" He turned towards the door.

"Aidan, where are you going?"

He did not stop, crossing the room with heavy, resolute steps, "To speak with Sarah."

Nadia knew she had to follow him.

Sarah didn't know what to do. She wasn't even sure what exactly had just happened. Jareth's horror-filled words seemed to echo around her, saturated into the very walls.

What else has she taken from me?

The room was inexplicably darker and more forbidding and Sarah felt her panic rising once again. The tears had not yet dried on her cheeks as she fought to keep herself calm. Where had the determined girl who won back her brother gone?

Buried in the dungeons and shadows of the Queen's dark court, Sarah thought bitterly. But when had she become one who just rolled over in the face of defeat? All those years ago, she hadn't allowed Jareth to exert power over her, why should the Queen be any different?

Because she tortured and broke you, her mind answered. But she was no longer in the presence of the Queen, why should she still have any power over her?

"She shouldn't," Sarah spoke aloud to emphasize her resolution, "She doesn't."

Sarah looked up from where she had laid her head to loose her tears and bit back a scream of alarm. A goblin sat on the cushion directly underneath the shattered window, among the splintered wood and broken glass. The creature was on the small side with the large bug-eyes that Sarah found to be characteristic of the goblins she had seen. Actually, the goblin looked more like a human child than any Sarah had seen before. It was only the green swarthy complexion and minute animal attributes that marked the creature as such.

He, it looked to her to be a he, pulled nervously at the small fang protruding from his lower jaw, "Hello, Sawah." His voice was juvenile and high, reminding Sarah of her brother not too many years before.

She was surprised to hear the goblin speak her name, for some reason she hadn't thought they were very smart. Jareth seemed to hate them; she remembered the contempt in his voice when she had asked about the glass. Sarah couldn't bring herself to be rude to the little guy, even if Jareth probably would have. After all, he had already greeted her nicely.

"Hi," she returned warmly, "What's your name?"

He gave her a strange look, as if he had never thought about it, before mumbling, "Not 'mportant."

He didn't say anything after that and began looking idly around the library. Sarah was at a loss, "Can I help you with something?"

The goblin turned his attention back to her and his eyebrows rose and wrinkled like he was caught at something, "I's worried about Jareth. Jareth's scared, 'e ran away. She hurt 'im."

Sarah's eyes widened. Who was this creature? How could he know about the Queen?

Before she could get her thoughts together, the goblin spoke again, "She's got us both, she does. I's not likin' it neither."

"Us both?" she had to interrupt him.

He looked confused for a moment, "No, no, she had you. Jareth 'n me, that's who she's got."

Sarah's mind turned again, all those years of critical analysis, she thought. If the creature knew so much about the Queen, what else would it know? She asked her question slowly, the goblin had become distracted by the room again, "What else has she taken from him?"

His eyes looked straight into hers, and she felt almost as if something else, something ancient looked into her soul, his expression mingled sorrow and guilt, "The dream. She made him forget the dream. She made him forget you."

"What?" Sarah was baffled, "But...I don't understand...I was the one who forgot him!"

The little goblin looked uncertain again, but a sound erupted from the hallway outside and someone muttered, "Where is she?"

Sarah turned towards the door as the creature spoke again, "You's have to help 'im, Sarah."

She spun her vision back towards the creature and nearly fell from the sofa. He was gone. She really did fall when an irate golden-haired man burst through the door.

The Way Back

A Labyrinth Story
by atsuibelulah

Part 14 of 24

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