Sometimes, Sarah dreamed of the labyrinth.
She would close here eyes and be there and each visit was never the same. Once she was sitting in a dark throne room with the goblins around her, dancing and singing and carrying on. Another time she was in the gardens (something she knew she oversaw - how she knew, she wasn't sure), jeans and cotton shirt traded for a pair of leather pants near as snug as the ones on the man at her elbow, top a material that almost felt like fur but looked like dark green velvet.
Her favorite to date was of the ballroom. The white dress was so light it felt like she was wearing clouds, hair pinned up into a delicate style that made her feel like a princess. She was following him, allowing him glimpses of her from across the floor before slipping out of sight, making him think he saw her chatting with the Duke, in the reflection of the duchess ' crown, right behind him. The game came to an end when she finally paused in the center of the room and allowed herself to be caught, lips turned upwards at the corners. "Ah, Sarah," the goblin king sighed, fingers ghosting over her shoulders before selling at her waist. "Your little game is over. I've caught you."
She had smiled. "Oh, no. It is you who has been captured."
His gaze was amused and intense and full of promise as he raised a hand from her waist to grasp her palm. Sarah's other hand rose on its own to settle on his shoulder, fingers curling lightly as he guided them into the twirling dance. The goblins, royalty and all else faded until it was just the two of them swirling among the clouds, Jareth's alluring voice singing along to music played by unseen musicians.
Then she woke up.
Startled from her thoughts the dark haired girl looked at her brother. He was nearly 4 and adored her in the way only a child could. "Hey Toby."
He padded into her room, used only by her even with being away for college, small arms rising in silent demand. She complied easily enough, picking him up to set on her lap. Rather than resting his head by her shoulder as he usually did he peered up into her face, his small one so serious it nearly made her smile. "Why are you sad? "
Sarah couldn't help but blink. "I'm not sad. "
"You are," the boy insisted, a hand pressing to either of her cheeks. " You're always sad. Why?"
"I..." Mouth suddenly dry Sarah shook her head. "I'm sorry. I don't mean to be. "
it wasn't an answer and Toby didn't look satisfied but wasn't able to articulate why. "You shouldn't be sad. You should be happy," he insisted with toddler stubbornness. "Do things to make you happy. "
Sarah did smile then. "Okay. "
"I promise. "
Heh brother squirmed, seemingly satisfied. "Play with me!"
Glad to drop the subject she set him down, willing to play whatever made up game he had in mind. The request stuck in her mind, along with deep eyes and smirking lips.
The dreams grew more frequent.
Before she would have a dream of the life she could of had once, maybe twice a month. It was closer to being once a week, an underlying sense of urgency in each. Sarah wasn't sure what it meant.
/I'm dreaming again./ she had been sitting in class, trying to take notes on a lecture but really starting out the window beside her, thoughts drifting. The window seemed to get wider and wider, panes drifting apart until she was standing outside, hair being tugged by the wind.
The girl frowned, turning in the direction of the voice ands brows rising in surprise. Jareth was there as was the rest of her class, sitting in desks made from tree roots while the teacher wrote with soft looking moss. There was something different about him, the mirth that usually resides in his face absent. He wore much the same thing as always save for the addition of his dark coat, feathered at the collar. Even those seemed to droop, rustled half-heartedly by the wind.
"Your time is nearly up, Sarah. "
/This - this isn't right. / "What do you mean?"
"Your time." He voice was quiet, tone resigned. "You
His voice was quiet, tone pained. " You have to choose. Will you continue the life that you've lived by day or join me in the labyrinth and become my queen?"
It hit her then. "You. It's been you the whole time. "
"Now now, Sarah. I could hear your cries for me, even if you never said the words aloud. If it weren't for your determination to go, I wouldn't have ever been able to pull you back to the labyrinth." He fixed her with a rather serious expression. "But we've reached the end of the road. Your magic is weakening."
"But I have no magic in me-"
" You do,"he said firmly. "Both your own inherent one and that which the labyrinth fed you. Both are dangerously low. "
Heart pounding in her chest Sarah shook her head, the vision of the class that was both real and in the half-reality they were in flickering. "So I have to choose?"
"If you will come with me or be unable to visit ever again. You need to be there in body in order to replenish the magic you have been gifted. I'm sorry to say that your magic may never recover. Being here drains them both," he said, raising a gloved hand that, too her horror, Sarah could see through. "Do not fear for me, sweet Sarah. This is nor my real body, any more than this is your own. "
Sarah licked her lips, palms damp. "Jareth, you know I can't just leave my life behind. "
" Oh? You don't seem so certain. "
"I-" She could hear how wreak her voice sounded, back straightening. "I am. I have my parents and Toby and school. "
"And will they and this future you're working towards make you as happy as being in the labyrinth with me has? "
She couldn't respond. He could see the answer on her face, never mind hearing it in her voice.
The grass and sky begin to brighten and Jareth stepped back, one booted for following the other. "You have until dusk, Sarah, " he said, the air around him growing so bright it was painful to continue looking at him. "Once the sun sets the magic will be depleted and this world will be closed to you forever. "
A panic she couldn't name built in Sarah's chest, an arm rising to shade her eyes. "Wait! Won't you be able to visit me again?"
"Oh, Sarah. " She could only make out his outline, tall and proud and heartbreakingly handsome. "Weren't you listening? It was your magic which called for me."
Jolting in her seat as the bell went off Sarah sat, blinking as the students packed their bags around her. Looking down at her notebook she was surprised to see she had taken notes, her own cursive staring back at her.
/I can't just give this life up./ Taking up her bag Sarah started to pack her things. /It isn't realistic. I have to be responsible.
"Sarah? Is everything alright? "
"Uh - yeah..." Taking up her fork to take a pointed bite Sarah found her gaze drawn back to the window, watching as the sky turned from yellow to pink. She couldn't see the sun with the trees in the way but she knew it was low. "Just a little distracted. "
"So I see," Hey stepmother said and the tone made Sarah look up in time to see a look exchange between the two parents. "This wouldn't have something to do with school, would it? Someone you've met, perhaps?"
It took a few moments for Sarah to realize what she meant. "I don't have a boyfriend. "
"It's fine if toy have someone you like," her father said, expression earnest. "I wad only joking when I said you weren't allowed to date until you were 40. Mostly. " At the small to the arm his wife gave him he relented. "Really, it's fine. Invite him over for dinner. I promise not to be to embarrassing. "
"Weekday we're trying to say is that we'll support you no matter what you decide," her stepmother said. "Just follow your heart. "
Sarah rose suddenly, plate mostly untouched. "Weekdays with everyone wanting me to make decisions? Just-" Shaking her head at the Startled look both parents were giving her Sarah shook her head. "I'm sorry. I'm tired. I think I'll go lay down."
By the time she got to her room the sky was awash with red. Sarah threw herself onto her bed, head turned to
Sarah threw herself onto the bed, her head turned towards the window to watch the progression of color. /If only they knew. They wouldn't be so keen on me doing so if they knew what it was I had to decide between./ Darkness begun to creep is way from the top of her window. /It's not like I really have a choice. I can't disappoint everyone./
She lay there as the sky slowly grew darker, heart thumping heavily in her chest. /Do what makes me happy. I'm happy here./ She coulis hear the doubt in her own thoughts. The happiest moments that she could recall were in the labyrinth.
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