Continuing Tales

The Way Back

A Labyrinth Story
by atsuibelulah

Part 18 of 24

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The Way Back

Sarah listened to Jareth's haunting story. She became enraptured as he told it first rigidly calm and then increasingly broken and haltingly as it became clear to them both how much he really didn't know or couldn't remember. Sarah's mind was whirling with Jareth's succinct but powerful descriptions of the downfall of his mother, of the ritual of the Teind, of the vague reasoning behind his refusal, of his hazy memories on the road, his jumbled experiences with the Queen.

He finished with a heavy sigh, masking what she knew to be despair, "It...I wouldn't hate it so much...if only the dreams hadn't deserted me...if I had them...if I could know what I knew so clearly. There used to be days when I could almost grasp it, but recently it's like I'd never had them at all...but I know that I did. And I can't help but think...what if this sorry situation is nothing but my fault, my cowardice, my failure." He lifted his gaze to hers, his pain open and exposed, gaping at her.

He seemed to think she could help him piece together his fractured past. Sarah was at a loss, how could she do anything to help this utterly broken man? She, who had only recently been a helpless prisoner of his greatest tormenter, how could she do anything?

Jareth's hands had began to shake with rising frustration and Sarah instinctively moved a hand across his cheek, a quietly desperate attempt to soothe him, "Jareth, don't fight it like this. If you can't remember, you can't remember. You'll only hurt yourself this way."

"No, love," he shook his head, "I need to know what she's taken from me. She's got me in the palm of her hand. I...I can't be there anymore. She has changed things about me and I don't remember...I can barely recall how I used to be, who I used to be. I need to find out what really happened. I need to break free and you are the only one who can help me..." He grasped her hand fiercely, a silent plea in his mismatched eyes.

You's have to help 'im, Sarah...She shook her head mutely, she wanted to help, but she wasn't out of the woods yet either. Sarah felt sick, who had she been kidding? Everyone in the world was as messed up as everyone else. Who was she to think that Jareth or anyone else would ride in on a white horse and save her from herself? He had enough to deal with.

His voice broke into her thoughts with another soft plea, "We're going to get through this together, right?"

At that she felt a wave of self-loathing come over her. How could she let herself get scared off like that? She moaned miserably and tried to turn away, "Oh God, Jareth, you don't want my help! I can't even get out of bed in the morning without a fit of hysterics! How the hell can I help you?"

Jareth had wrapped his arms tighter around her as she attempted to turn away. But, now he paused, swept an examining eye over her and loosened his hold. He must have realized she was a tad overwhelmed as he gave her a crooked smile, "Step by step, love."

Sarah snorted, "Throw my own words back at me, will you?"

His roguish smile only widened and he planted a soft kiss on the crown of her hair, "I'll tell you what, how about we take a break? Let's get up and out a little...I'll show you the gardens or something, ok?"

She smiled slightly, "That would be nice...but, do you think I could shower first? I feel dreadfully gross."

He looked long at her and said flatly, "No, Sarah, you can't take a shower. I'm going to let you rot."

Sarah grinned as she ran away with his joke, "But then I'd get so smelly even you wouldn't want to come near me. I'd be worse than the bog!"

"You do remember what the bog smells like, don't you?" He spoke with a laugh as he pointed towards one of the three dark wood doors in the room.

Sarah extricated herself from his arms and crossed to the door, opening it to see a clean and thoroughly modern bathroom. She felt another smile forming at the fact that he had put such an effort out for her comfort and, feeling a lot more optimistic, turned back to show it to him.

He was still leaning against the foot of her bed like it was the most comfortable place in the world, gazing at her thoughtfully, "One more thing, love." She tilted her head in inquiry and he spoke softly and resolutely, "There is nothing that would keep me from being near you."

Sarah met his eyes and bit her lip through her smile, seeing the truth in them as she felt a slight blush rise to her face. She closed the door of the bathroom and, leaning against it, tried unsuccessfully to restrain a blissful giggle.

They walked through along the path, arm in arm. The early afternoon sun steamed through the foliage, warming certain sections of the forest. Sarah had come out of the shower looking refreshed, her face free of the tear-stains that had been there for what seemed to him an eternity. He had offered to take her through his gardens, but she shyly expressed her desire to see the Labyrinth again. Jareth had happily obliged and now they were strolling through the immense trees and exposed roots of the Labyrinth's ancient forest.

She had changed her dress from the one Nadia had loaned her to something he had conjured into the bathroom while she was still in the shower. He had put her in green again, he couldn't help it, she looked lovely in green. It was another simply cut dress, of a slightly darker and earthier hue, that fell to mid-calf with sleeves that ended just below her elbows and buttons all down the front. She was barefoot, her hair still a little damp and her free hand trailed repeatedly through it, trying to get the strands completely dry. The sunlight played across each lock as they danced across her fingers. He couldn't look away from it.

Suddenly she broke away from him and practically skipped to one of the larger spots of sunlight a short distance ahead of them. She lifted her head to the sky and basked in its warmth, a contented smile lingering on her face. He stopped in his tracks and stared at the, the wood nymph before him.

She opened her eyes and smiled at him only a little sadly, "Come on Jareth, let's just enjoy the day."

Jareth smiled back at her, but felt something pull in the back of his mind and he became disoriented for a moment. He shook it off quickly and reached a hand out to her, she clasped it and he pulled her into a tight embrace. He somehow needed her to be close to him as he felt himself become enveloped in something so intensely familiar.

Jareth pulled her into an almost crushing embrace and Sarah easily reciprocated, she never felt the need to shy away from his touch. She lifted her face slightly, Jareth's lips brushed against hers and they opened, letting their tongues free to explore. Their previous kiss had been all him, but now Sarah put all the force of her feelings into this one and Jareth rose to meet her demand. Sarah felt pleasure run through her entire body. Who knew someone could do that with a single kiss? After an immeasurable amount of time, they parted as Sarah said breathlessly, "What was that for?"

Inexplicably he buried his face in her shoulder, wrapping his arms even more tightly around her. His voice took on a strangely desperate edge, as if in the last few moments he had become lost, "Where did you come from? Where could I have found you?"

Sarah felt her heart constrict in concern for him, but she had no idea how to respond. He knew where she had come from. He knew so much about her. What did he mean?

Suddenly he pulled away from her, tentatively raising a hand to his forehead. She looked at him wide-eyed, "Jareth?"

"Hmmm?" He didn't look up.

"What did you mean just now?"

Now he did look up, but she saw that his eyes were slightly unfocused, "What?"

"What did you mean before? When you asked me where I came from?" She was really worried and moved a hand to his cheek. He only looked at her blankly, his eyes distant, "What's wrong, Jareth?"

He looked at her, fear and uncertainty was hiding behind his eyes "I...think I blacked out..."

She couldn't hide her surprise, "But you didn't! Y-you held me and then you kissed me then you asked me where you found me."

His face became blank again and she could tell he had no memory of it, "I did?"

She felt her fear for him rise exponentially. She had never seen him like this, yet he seemed only detachedly concerned and that only scared her even more, "Jareth..." she trailed off as her began to speak.

His voice was soft, as though he were speaking from a great distance away from her, "I...had this feeling...that I'd been here this exact time and place with...with you, and then...nothing."

Sarah knew he was trying to puzzle through the confusion of his mind, and despite her earlier misgivings, she knew she needed to aid him, "You a memory?"

Instantly his brows furrowed and he shook his head, "No, it wasn't a memory. You were in it...exactly as you are now. How can that be a memory?"

She swallowed the huge lump in her throat, "Are you sure it was me?" Sarah thought her insecurity was palpable.

Jareth only shook his head again, "Who else would it be?" He spoke as though there were no other women in all the worlds, and she wasn't sure whether she should be flattered or concerned for his sanity. She really wasn't sure if she should be concerned for it anyway.

"No..." he was beginning to mutter and she did not take that as a good sign, "It wasn't a memory...but it was becoming so clear...and then...nothing."

A thought came to her, "Like déjà vu..." and Sarah gasped as the words of the little goblin and then Jareth himself echoed in her mind...

The dream. She made him forget the dream. She made him forget you.

...if only the dreams hadn't deserted me.

Could Jareth have dreamed of her? Centuries before her birth, before either of them would have ever met? Is that what he couldn't remember? Could the Queen have stolen the dreams from him? Is that how she bound him to the Labyrinth...she used it to steal a dream...she robbed him of his dreams of her?

Sarah felt her knees grow weak and tears welled up as she began to comprehend the horrible wrongs done to him, the immense tragedy of her love's life. "Oh, God no," she moaned sinking to the ground and pressing a hand to her mouth. She found herself once more at the edge of was just too much. She had thought this would be a break. They had been going on a frigging walk. The tears flowed once again and she pressed her other hand to the damp forest floor for support.

She heard his voice, "Sarah?" And then he was there, her tears bringing him back from wherever his stolen dream had taken him, "Sarah, love, what's the matter?" His arms encircled her and she began sobbing into his shoulder. She clung to him with all of her strength as the sorrow wracked her body, trying not to repeat the words "I'm sorry" over and over again. How the hell was she going to tell him?

The Way Back

A Labyrinth Story
by atsuibelulah

Part 18 of 24

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