Hearing the lock on the front door turning, Jareth grabbed Sarah and instantly they vanished in a cloud of glitter. They reappeared in her room and Sarah pulled away from him. "Jareth what are you doing?"
"I thought it best we avoid being seen."
"Irene or Daddy can see me. It's you that needs to stay out of sight." She shook her head. "I really hope that was Daddy."
"Yeah, he won't freak out about all the glitter."
Jareth sat on her bed laughing. "Precious, neither would see the glitter. Only those that believe in magic or have magic themselves will see it. I can assure you that neither of your parents will see it."
"I give you my word, Sarah," Jareth said as he reached out and took her hand, pulling her towards him. "Now come over here and relax." He wrapped his arms around her. "Or do you need to go check on Toby?"
"I should, especially if the goblins are with him."
Nodding, Jareth stood and kissed her softly. "Go see to your brother. I shall return to the castle."
"Come by after dinner?" Sarah asked.
"If that is what you wish, Precious." He smiled. "Perhaps I can carry you off for a while."
"Sounds good to me." Sarah wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him soundly. "I'll see you tonight."
"I'll be waiting patiently for your call." Jareth pulled away and exited the room in his usual way.
Sarah watched him leave and then headed to Toby's room. In the hall, she passed her stepmother, who said nothing to her. Shrugging, she continued down the hall. The door to Toby's room was closed and she could hear him playing inside. Knocking on the door, she called out to him. "Tobes, I'm coming in."
When she walked in, the goblins were nowhere to be seen. "Hi, Sarah." He brother grinned. "Did you come to play?"
"Sure, bud." Sarah closed the door behind her and sat on the floor with her baby brother and soon they were playing a very difficult game of monopoly.
Back at the Castle beyond the Goblin City, Jareth found his unwanted castle guests were lounging in his private gardens. "I hope you were not informed by any of my subjects that this is my private garden, otherwise I may have to break my promise to my sweet Sarah."
"And just what did you promise the Lady Sarah, cousin?" Alastair asked.
"That I wouldn't bog any of you," Jareth responded with a glare.
"Come now, little brother." Jaxel chuckled. "That threat will only work so many times."
"Shall I drop you in it and leave you there?" The Goblin King asked as he summoned a crystal.
"Jareth, you wouldn't!" Heidi protested.
"You three are trying my patience," Jareth stated as he juggled the crystal. "Now why are you in my garden?"
"I simply wanted to show Heidi the roses you have here," Alastair admitted. "You've never had an issue with my being here before."
"Its one thing if I bring you here, it's another to just walk in here without my permission." Jareth circled the three of them. "I have this area tended to night and day. I only allow a few select people to even see this garden. Do you know what this garden is called?"
Heidi shook her head while the other two avoided making contact with Jareth. "This is the Queen's garden. Those roses are for my Sarah and her alone. Now I ask that you leave this area and not return."
Without hesitation or a single word, Alastair and Jaxel returned to the castle. Heidi watched Jareth for a moment and then walked by him, whispering a quiet, "I'm sorry."
Jareth lingered in the garden after the others left. The garden was one of his places of solitude. He would have to make sure it was harder to get to and warn the goblins not to simply let anyone out there. Brushing his hand over one of the roses, he sighed. "At least I was able to show it to Sarah before they came tramping through here." He turned and went back inside, heading straight for his study.
At the High Queen's palace, Ta'leena was in the throne room, pacing by the window. The healers were in with her husband, the High King, and it didn't sound good. Ta'leena stopped pacing when she heard Bardo, the top healer, enter the room. "How is he?"
"It's not good your majesty. His condition is deteriorating. I'm afraid he doesn't have a lot of time left." Bardo responded sadly.
"Is there nothing you can do?" Ta'leena pleaded.
"The only thing that will help is removing the iron, but I fear only a human can do that."
"No," She shook her head. "No filthy human is ever getting near him ever again."
Bardo bowed his head. "Understood majesty. I would call for your sons. He should see them before its too late."
Ta'leena dismissed the healer and returned to pacing the room. Sighing she walked to the room she used to share with the High King. Since he was poisoned, Ta'leena had only entered the room a handful of times. She couldn't bring herself to see him in such a hopeless state. When she entered, the healers bowed and left the room. The High King looked up and gave her a smile. "Ta'leena, my dove, I had hoped you would visit me."
"Forgive me, my love," she said as she walked over and took his hand in hers. He felt colder than normal and it was all she could do to not let go and leave the room. "Things have been chaotic."
"So I hear." He chuckled lightly and it turned into a full-blown coughing fit. Ta'leena helped him sit up a bit and placed a pillow behind him. "I hear Jareth is engaged at last."
"Yes, but I fear it won't last."
"Because she's human?" Seeing the shocked look on his wife's face, Talonas smirked. "My healers do keep me updated on what's going on in my Kingdom."
"What else have they told you?"
"That you tried to kill the poor girl. Ta'leena, you must let your hatred go. Not all humans are evil." He patted her hand. "I'm certain Bardo has given you the bad news." Ta'leena nodded. "I have a request to ask of you."
"Anything. All you have to do is ask it, my love." Ta'leena told him as she lifted his hand to her lips and kissed it softly.
"Call for my sons. I want to see them." Talonas stated.
"Of course." Ta'leena started to leave but he grabbed her arm.
"I'd also like to meet my future daughter in law."
Later that night, after Sarah's father returned home and they had eaten dinner, Sarah went up to her room and locked the door. Opening the window she called for Jareth. Almost as she as she said his name, the barn owl flew in and Sarah felt strong arms wrap around her. "Hi." She smiled as she leaned into his embrace.
"Hello, Precious," Jareth replied before kissing her neck. "Are you ready for me to whisk you away for a night of romance?"
"Remember I do have to be home before morning."
Kissing along her neck, Jareth chuckled. "Fear not, I shall have you home long before anyone can miss you." He pulled her closer and kissed her cheek. "Close your eyes."
Sarah did as he asked and soon felt the familiar swirl of magic around her as he transported them to the castle. When he released her, Sarah opened her eyes and couldn't believe what she was seeing. Jareth had transported them to the gardens and it was filled with fireflies. Everywhere she looked the tiny bugs were flying around and lighting up the area. It was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen. As she took it all in, Jareth took a step back to watch her. The awe in her eyes along with the soft glow the fireflies created on her face made his heart melt. She was so beautiful and perfect, and having her with him made him happier than words could describe. Sarah looked over and saw him starring. "What is it?" She asked as she tucked her hair behind her ear.
"I was just admiring you," Jareth answered as he reached out and took her hands. "My lovely, Sarah."
Sarah wrapped her arms around his neck and smiled. "So what did you have in mind for our romantic night?"
Smirking, he wrapped his arms around her waist. "Well I thought we could enjoy the garden a while, perhaps some dancing, I've got a nice selection of wines…"
"I'm not old enough to drink yet," Sarah told him as he swayed back and forth softly. "I'll stick to juice or water."
"Very well." He kissed her forehead. "We could sit by the fire and enjoy one another's company. Or perhaps you'd like another bath and massage?" He suggested before kissing her softly.
Sarah returned his kiss and ran her fingers through his hair, her nails gently scraping his scalp. "Sitting by the fire sounds nice." She stated when they separated.
Jareth nodded and before Sarah could react, she felt the world shift around her as Jareth took them to his chambers. He swept her off her feet and carried her to the fireplace. "Would you like a blanket or is the rug good enough?"
Sarah traced his jaw with her finger. "The floor is fine by me as long as you're with me."
"Oh Precious thing…" He placed her softly on the rug by the fireplace and quickly joined her there.
He reached for her hands, but she stopped him. "Gloves." She said plainly.
"Ah, yes I have forgotten once again, haven't I." Jareth nodded as he removed his gloves and sat them on the floor. "Better?" He asked as he reached for her once again.
"Much better." She took his hands in hers and caressed them gently. "Now how about we pick up where we left off when we were in my room earlier."
"Sounds like a splendid idea," Jareth replied as he moved closer, his hands snaking around her. As their lips met for a passionate kiss, there was a knock on the door. Jareth groaned but pulled Sarah closer and hoped whoever it was would go away.
The second knock earned a groan from Sarah. "I won't say a word if you bog them." She said when Jareth pulled away.
Laughing lightly, Jareth brushed her hair from her face. "I was actually debating giving them to the dragon." He kissed her softly.
"We always seem to get interrupted." Sarah sighed when there was a third knock. "You better see who it is."
Jareth stood and made his way to the door. As he opened the door, he made his displeasure known. "This had better be important or someone is going to find themselves swimming in the bog and them playing tag with a dragon."
"It's of the utmost importance, brother," Jaxel said as he held a letter out to Jareth. "A messenger arrived with letters for both of us. It's about father."
Jareth snatched the letter from Jaxel's hand and opened it quickly. Seeing his reaction, Sarah got up and made her way over to the door. "Is everything alright?"
"Lady Sarah," Jaxel bowed to her. "Its a pleasure to see you again."
"Pleasure to see you as well, majesty," Sarah replied as she bowed.
"Oh, please. No need to bow, my Lady." Jaxel assured her. "We are family. You're free to call me Jaxel."
"I take it you've read this?" Jareth said as he balled up the letter and tossed it aside.
"I read my letter, which I assume was the same as yours," Jaxel stated. "You'll go with me in the morning, correct?"
"No, I won't go." Jareth turned his back on his brother.
"What?!" Jaxel couldn't believe what he was hearing. "Why?"
"Jareth, what's going on?" Sarah asked as she placed a hand on his shoulder.
Jareth placed a hand over hers and gave it a gentle squeeze. "It's our father. He's getting worse and he's asked to see us."
"I don't understand. If your father is asking for you, why won't you go?" Sarah questioned.
"Yes, brother, why won't you?" Jaxel pushed.
"Because he doesn't want me to come alone," Jareth replied.
"Well of course not, we'd be going…"
"I'm not talking about you!" Jareth shouted interrupting what his brother was saying.
"He wants to meet Sarah." Jareth ran his fingers through his hair. "I can't take her there. I can't protect her at Ta'leena's palace."
Jaxel covered his eyes with his hand. Shaking his head he walked inside the room and paced. "Are you thinking this is a trick? Mother trying to lure us all there?"
"I don't know," Jareth answered.
"Would she do something like that? Use your father's condition to lure us into a trap?" Sarah couldn't believe anyone would do such a thing.
"I honestly don't know, Precious." Jareth wrapped his arms around her. "I honestly don't know." He kissed her forehead. "But no matter what, I will keep you safe. I promise."
"But what if it's not a trick?" Jaxel inquired. "Father could be dying."
"He is dying," Jareth argued. "We've known that for centuries. Nothing can be done to change that."
"There is. If Mother would just.."
"She won't." Jareth walked to the window and looked out at the night sky. "She would never agree to letting a human near our father, that's why I can't believe this is anything but a trap."
"I don't understand. You told me she hates humans but you never explained why." Sarah went to sit on the couch and looked back and forth between the two brothers.
"You haven't told her?" Jaxel was astounded.
"No, I wasn't concerned with giving her a detailed history of our family," Jareth stated.
"Or telling me who your family even is," Sarah commented. "I found out right before the New Year's ball that the High Queen is your mother."
"Jareth, are you ashamed of being part of our family?" Jaxel sounded hurt.
"Do I have reason to celebrate being in this family?" Jareth argued. "Mother treated me like a half breed even though she gave birth to me. I rarely saw Father, even before he was poisoned. You were busy being groomed to be High King and I was supposed to just sit back and do as I was told. Even when I beat the Labyrinth and gained my own Kingdom, Mother had reasons to be unhappy. She claimed I shouldn't do such things without her permission. I remained in the court to appease her but still, she wasn't happy. I'm forced to attend those pointless meetings and now that I've found the love of my life, she wants to kill her!"
Sarah stood and went to his side. "Jareth." She hugged him and laid her head on his shoulder.
"Jaxel, would you excuse us. I'd like to speak with Sarah alone." Jareth requested.
Nodding, Jaxel headed for the door. "Very well brother. We'll speak later."
He watched his brother leave, and then Jareth turned his attention to Sarah. Kissing her cheek, Jareth held her close. "Forgive me, Precious."
"Not telling you about my past and family. I'm asking you to become the most important part of my life and family, yet I've kept my actually family away from you as much as I could." Jareth explained.
"With good reason, from what I've seen." She kissed his cheek. "You just wanted to keep me safe."
Jareth walked her back to the couch and sat down with her. "I think its time I told you everything. Why my mother hates humans, why my father is dying, and why I have such a strong dislike of most of my family."