Categories > Movies > Labyrinth > 3,564 Clappers Later

Closer, closer...

by shadowlurker13 0 reviews

Shared meditation, reality check, minor meltdown.

Category: Labyrinth - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Romance - Published: 2017-07-20 - 5142 words - Complete

Chapter 7 - Closer, closer…

If something else goes wrong I’m gonna eat somebody’s head! Sarah thought as she sped home down the highway towards home. It had been a particularly trying day at work, with one of the new panels getting shattered by accident and the same dumb old tired questions getting asked over and over and over. She was genuinely thankful it was over, but it had left her feeling like she was banging her head against a wall getting nowhere but behind, working for idiots and…she almost came out of her skin when that brand-new solar panel got dropped - she’d been building it for weeks and now she had to start all over again and it wasn’t even her fault!

I know life isn’t fair but that doesn’t make it suck any less. She knew she needed to calm down - she’d almost cut somebody off just now - but she just couldn’t stop thinking about it, like it kept playing on loop as she fumed. Somehow, the car happily knew the way to her apartment building and got her there in spite of herself. Jareth. Shiiiiiit. She was not ready to deal with him today. She trudged up the two flights of stairs, wearily unlocked the door and let herself in. Without even turning around, she could noticeably tell something felt different - it was then that she spotted him: he was sitting cross-legged on the floor, hands turned up and open, resting on his knees. His eyes were closed and there was a languid smile on his lips. What she took to be his third eye was glowing.

Whoa, weird………okay…she thought warily but it was hard to be too wary; the closer she got to him, the more her defenses came down, it was so strange. It actually felt calm in the room and it was painfully obvious that he was the source. Jareth sensed her presence and slowly opened his heavy-lidded eyes as the bindi went out. It gave Sarah goosebumps just seeing him like that.

“Hello, Sarah,” he breathed, sounding genuinely serene - she immediately envied him of it. “How was your day?”

“Don’t ask,” she replied annoyed, walking to the kitchen to get a seltzer water out of the fridge.

“That good, eh? I am sorry to hear it.” He could feel that she was all tension as she walked back into the room.

“It’s just that…do you ever have days where it feels like the entire universe is against you?!”

“All the time,” he sighed.

“Well, this was one of those days for me. Weeks-worth of construction under a microscope destroyed in seconds! I almost cracked myself! And then the reps keep breathing down our necks demanding simple, stupid answers for what’s holding up production and-”

Jareth held up his hand to stop her. “I get the picture. Come here; sit down.”

Curious but having a feeling where this was going, Sarah knelt in front of him - she wasn’t about to let him see up her skirt. Jareth never politely asked for anything unless he was truly desperate and Sarah had simply come to accept the fact that a calm command was about as close as he got under normal circumstances; it wasn’t meant to be rude, it was just the way he was.

Must be the royalty thing, she mused. “I never knew you meditated,” she said quietly.

He simply shrugged. “No need for you to. Although, seriously, how did you think I’ve managed to keep some semblance of sanity all these years?” That got an appreciative laugh. “If my goblins ever figure out what it is I actually do during ‘naptime’ it’s the end of the world.” He took a breath then closed his eyes for a moment and suddenly shook his head, opening them again. “Not close enough. Use me for a chair.”


“In order for this to work, you have to be completely within my energy field. Under normal conditions I project past ten feet. As it is I’m barely clearing three right now and you’re only doing about nine inches versus the standard human foot because you’re tired, angry and upset. You have to come closer.”

“Sounds like a sneaky way to get a woman to sit in your lap to me.”

He raised one eyebrow at the suggestive remark. “If you want to continue smoldering about something which you have absolutely no control over, I suppose that’s your own business. I just thought I’d be a gentleman and offer to help.” And with that he closed his eyes again.

Wave after wave of warmth passed over Sarah, deliciously weakening her will to fight him, it felt so good, so right…he was so beautiful like that…


Jareth opened one eye and quirked a smile.

“Care to join me?”

Sarah crawled over and perched in his lap - it struck Jareth as almost comical how careful she was being just now. Her legs were folded but not as tightly as his so she could sit up straight. In doing so, she was still almost forced to lean against him for support. Almost. It was still unnerving for her to know that she was practically on top of his-


“I guess,” she replied but it sounded pretty non-committal.

He gave a deep, throaty chuckle. “Oh, Sarah, really,” he drawled, his velvet voice laced with mirth - alright, and just a little teasing - “where is thy faith?” He reached forward and carefully, deliberately removed both of her pumps simultaneously, putting them aside. The air about the way he did it made it seem almost an intimate gesture, the vague psychological shadow of undressing someone, and Sarah suddenly felt rather unsure of herself sitting in the proverbial spider’s lap. He continued on as if he didn’t notice. “Now, place your hands palm-side up on your knees like I was doing and just let your arms relax.” She did so and was surprised when he suddenly interlocked fingers with her with his hands on top. It was a simple clasp but it felt solid somehow. She lightly blushed.

Jeez, ‘I wanna hold your hand…’

“So you don’t float away,” he corrected her, “but it is a side benefit of having to do it this way,” he smiled. Sarah had to take a deep breath - he could be so annoying sometimes. “Ready?”


His voice went soft and deep. “Close your eyes.” She did so automatically without thinking. “In the words of the Great Wise Fool, ‘I shall hold your essence in the palm of my hand like a stone.’” He gave her hands a light squeeze and grinned. “Now hang on tight.”

The next thing she experienced was a falling sensation as she slowly got pulled along with him into his meditative state. She was no longer aware of her body and unsure of where she was but she was far from afraid: she was completely surrounded by a golden, glowing light; surrounded and swallowed up in love as if someone were embracing her in every sense of the word - heart, mind, and soul. If she had been aware of her eyes she would’ve cried for joy, the euphoria was overwhelming. She could begin to see through the golden haze that she was floating amongst dazzling stars and galaxies of every color and description, too numerous to count, too beautiful to behold. There was a pulsing sphere like a nucleus beside her in that ball of light and somehow she just knew that it was Jareth; it felt like him. She was inside him looking out into the middle of nowhere, held, completely safe, in the heart of the universe.

There was nothing in the world to do but to float effortlessly in perfect bliss.

What time is there in such a place? Sarah could’ve been there for minutes or days or years; she couldn’t honestly say and neither did she care. There was no room for any thought that was not peace, no room for any emotion but overflowing, all-encompassing love; all else had been shoved out by the sheer, raw force of it. After an impossible amount of time she began to be aware of movement once again and she was rising slowly like a bubble to the surface, it was getting brighter and brighter and lovelier every moment …

Sarah suddenly opened her eyes. She had slouched back into him she had been so relaxed; she had slid forward a bit, her cheek was currently resting against his bare chest. She noticed that her arms were on top now and his were twisted beneath, fingers still locked. He extricated his arms from hers and looked down at her expression of half-dazed afterglow with a small smile, tucking a bit of hair back behind her ear that had fallen in her face. He lightly grazed the edge of her ear in the process and Sarah was still unselfconsciously relaxed enough to openly shudder in pleasure.

“Now,” he sounded gently serene again but there was a hint of triumph in his tone, “what was troubling you?”

Sarah blinked. Everything even vaguely unpleasant that happened all day was just a blur - she couldn’t pin down anything! She was amazed.

“…I don’t remember…” Oddly enough, the information didn’t scare her. It was a relief, actually, like a great and unnecessary weight lifted from her shoulders. His closeness was no longer strange and intimidating, either: it seemed natural somehow - and it surprised her that she was in no hurry to leave. He felt safe, he was so warm… Jareth smiled down at her and began to idly stroke her hair.

Worked like a charm. “Good,” he crooned, “that was supposed to happen. Now that you’re in a bit better of a mood, what shall we do this evening, Miss Williams?”

Sarah looked up at him. “Go back.”

He laughed and caught her hands again, forcing her to sit back up. “As you wish,” he deeply intoned as he closed his eyes again with a smile.


It was so strange, to lose yourself to become a part of someone else. He was to later explain to her that this glowing light was the true faery state and that his humanoid shape was but one of many possibilities. But for now, all that mattered was that she was enfolded in him, feeling more safe than she ever had in her entire life. Other painful memories had begun to melt away and fade at the edges and all she wanted to do was to be a part of him, to melt into him, to never let go. His voice seemed to be calling her gently from far away.


It took her a while to find her voice.


“It is time to go back.”

“No,” she whimpered.

The voice was gentle but insistent. “You have to take care of your body now. We can always come back…”

“I don’t wanna leave,” she pouted.

“Sarah,” his voice took a playful yet authoritative edge. She can still be such a child. “You are taking me with you. You are not alone.”

And with that she stopped resisting as the orb seemed to spin in all directions at once, the love just pouring through her now; she couldn’t take much more of it - she would die of love - and her eyes suddenly shot open -

He was hugging her, his head bent over her right shoulder, his soft, feathery hair falling against her face. She lightly gasped. He glanced at her and saw that she had come to.

“Hello, there,” he whispered.

“Hello,” she whispered back. She couldn’t make heads or tails of what she was feeling. Part of her wanted to throw all caution to the wind and trust him completely, stop their silly games and just bask in the euphoria she was currently drowning in from his different, calmer energy and the proximity thereof . And that cautious little voice that was screaming ‘watch out!’…yeah, that was there too.

Jareth let go of her, sliding out from underneath and standing up in one fluid motion, saving Sarah from a rather awkward deliberation. He carefully gave her a hand up.

“How do you feel?”

Sarah took a step and almost stumbled; he had to steady her by the waist.

“Kinda dizzy,” she had to admit, trying to shake her head of it.

He nodded. “It will pass; common problem for first-timers. Try walking around a bit. I’ll make us some tea.” While Jareth got two mugs of water in the microwave, Sarah was busy clinging to the walls and her scant furniture for badly-needed support.

What a head-trip! “Jareth?”


“What was that place, anyway?”

“It is taboo for my kind to even speak of - far too powerful.”

“Really?” She was surprised.

“Truly. We all have our limitations, dear - some of them are deliberately forced upon us.” The microwave went off and he retrieved the glasses, putting a teabag in each from the box on the counter, then bringing them both to the living room and handing Sarah hers. “Powerful things are often destroyed in their defining. What any of us knows of that place from experience is good enough.” He clinked her glass.

Starting to feel a bit better, walking and taking intermittent sips of tea, Sarah finally screwed up the courage to ask him something that had been itching at the back of her mind her for quite some time now.

“Jareth, can I ask you a question?”

“I cannot promise that I will always be able to answer you but you are always free to ask,” he said, sitting down on the couch. Sarah tended to ask questions that required long-winded answers; he actually felt ready for her for a change. She stopped across the coffee table from him and fixed him with her gaze as he took a sip himself. She narrowed her eyes.

“Which is the real Jareth?”

Jareth nearly choked and looked up at her, genuinely shocked.

“I beg your pardon?”

“Because I’ve seen two extremely different versions of you now and I have to admit I’m having a hard time believing that they’re both really you.”

Jareth regarded her and let out a long sigh. “I swore upon my life that I would never lie to you - is that worth nothing?”

“You swore that you would act toward me as you felt, not that you would act as you are.”

Her accurate perception of the situation made him pause.

“…clever girl,” he admitted quietly with a small wry smile. “I said you were smart. So you actually want to know the King of the Goblins, warts and all? Promise not to turn me out on my ear? I didn’t know how tolerant you would be so I was being as much of a gentleman as I ever am - that is, at least until I got a better feel for you,” he raised his eyebrows pointedly, putting his mug down on a coaster on the coffee table.

Sarah regarded him with a healthy amount of caution. “…so you really are that cruel?”

“When the situation demands it, yes,” he said frankly. “Mine isn’t the easiest of countries to rule. Most of the ‘citizens’ - and I use the term loosely - honestly don’t give a damn for authority or law. Now, fear they pay heed to. I’ve had to put down more petty rebellions and civil wars since my coronation than even I like to think about. And it isn’t just me; the problem is historically inherent to the province of the Labyrinth. Anarchy seems to be in the blood so-to-speak and always has been as far back as the records go. There was a reason people were shocked when it was my father’s death wish that I step up and take the province - the only rule that has ever held sway in that region is force.”

“…I thought you said something about it being a prison, too…” She walked over to the recliner and sat down.

“It is, although it isn’t something that we talk about much for reasons of society. While there is a dungeon underneath the castle proper for petty criminals - there are carvings of mine in the wall of cell number fifteen,” he ruefully smiled for a moment, “most of the convicts sent to me are meant to be kept in the solitary confinement pods that are scattered randomly throughout the underbelly of the Labyrinth itself. Only the worst crimes - murder, rape, and high treason - are ever dealt with there. The goblins…well let’s just say that they can come in handy; that’s why they are there.”

The skeleton in the oubliette, Sarah suddenly thought with a light shudder.

“A rather hardened murderer,” Jareth intercepted her train of thought as she slowly sat down in the recliner, “it took a while for the authorities to catch up with that one; I remember… multiple charges, including the death of an entire sidhe family with young children for the purposes of black magic. I left him to rot.” His voice practically dripped with venom at the memory.

My god. “Was there…”

“While you were there?” He thought for a moment. “One, but he was on the opposite side of the castle; you never would’ve run into him.” The thought of Jareth torturing prisoners suddenly made Sarah very uneasy. She stared down at her lap. When she spoke again her voice had gone very soft.

“Do you anger easily?” His expression immediately melted into one of concern.

“No, I can assure you that I do not. One has to be pushing the right buttons for quite some time before I even raise my voice. Either that or be a goblin. The place wears on my nerves at times.” He winced his eyes shut and massaged his temples for a moment.

No wonder! “But sometimes you seemed threatening while I was there.”

“Intimidation is part and parcel of the game, dear. You’ll notice that no matter how I acted around you I wasn’t angry and all-in-all no real harm came to you by my hand. I never even laid a finger on you - except to dance, and I consider that rather respectful holding.”

“What would’ve happened if I had lost at the end?”

“Ah, but you didn’t,” he pointed at her with a sly little smile.

“What would’ve happened?!” she pressed.

He looked thoughtful. “I hadn’t entirely decided, really; yours was a unique situation. I most likely would’ve sent your little brother on to the human colony as the treaty requires of me since he was the one wished away but you would’ve been under no such obligation since you had come to my realm of your own free will. But you could never have gone home again - normal time would’ve resumed immediately and ten earth years would’ve passed in the first five minutes. Please don’t be frightened, Sarah - I would’ve taken good care of you. You would have most likely become my ward under the inter-kingdom laws until you came of age in a couple of years - yes, it is sixteen for a human where I come from - at which point you would have been free to choose who you owed fealty, either to stay under my jurisdiction or move on to another Underground kingdom. If you had chosen the latter I would’ve strongly advised that you join the human colony and live amongst your own kind - there are few provinces that would truly welcome a human with open arms. But I would have more strongly hoped that you chose to stay, whether I openly said it or no. I know it’s a bit selfish but you were young and smart and vital - you made me feel alive again.”

Sarah was looking down again, self-consciously figiting when an idea suddenly struck her and it was all she could do to keep from laughing.


“I’m your midlife crisis aren’t I?!” Sarah laughed.

“Next question,” he chewed out, looking playfully annoyed.

“No, I think that’s it,” Sarah smiled. “For now.” She took another sip.

“May I ask you a question?”

“It all depends on what it is,” she raised her eyebrows at the mug she held in both hands in her lap.

“Why is it so difficult for you to get emotionally close to a man? Do you secretly prefer women?”

WHAT?!” Her extreme reaction caught him off guard and he almost winced.

His manner was guardedly apologetic when he spoke again, carefully choosing his words. “Irina all but begged me to ask you if there was a problem since I seemed to have miraculously made it passed the ‘no conversation’ barrier.”

Sarah quietly exhaled and levelly put down her mug on the coffee table, repressed fire behind her eyes.

“…no,” was all she said as she got up and started to walk away, her expression devoid of all emotion, cold, harsh.

“But Sarah-”

“Don’t ‘but’ me!” she whirled to face him, “It’s none of her damn business! She needs to learn to keep her mouth shut!”

“It is her business,” he replied indignant, his voice becoming hotly impassioned, “She is your friend and she is concerned about you, as am I!”

Sarah stopped for a moment, slowly shaking her head, openly glaring daggers at him, fists clenched at her sides. “You actually need me to tell you why?!”

“I think I know but I’d love to be wrong at this point - just name the bastard and in 24 hours I can assure you he will wish that he had never been born, let alone allowed to grow up and mistreat you!”

His declaration knocked some of the wind out of her sails. Her hands went limp. When she spoke again her voice was just a whisper.

“It was you.”

He nodded, sighing and looked down and away. “…I thought so,” he said, sounding spent.

Sarah was almost moved seeing him feel that genuinely guilty but her anger wasn’t quite spent yet.

“I mean, how could you do all that to someone that young?! I was barely fourteen, I hadn’t even started menstruating, for god’s sakes! Think about it - how interested was I in guys?”

He thought back for a moment and shook his head, looking lost, not even meeting her eyes.

“Barely at all,” he had to confess.

“And yet here you go, promising me the entire universe, threatening me within inches of my life, and that’s not supposed to leave a crater-sized impact how?!”

Jareth sat there with his arms crossed over his knees, head bowed, feeling extremely low, wondering what on earth had possessed her to take him in in the first place after all that. He had no idea that he had hurt her so deeply. She clearly had huge amounts of psychological baggage and emotional trauma and it wouldn’t be easy to help her. He ran a hand through his long, crazy hair.

“I don’t even know where to begin,” he said quietly.

“An apology would be a good place to start,” she answered him. Her tone was clipped and brittle but not anywhere near as hostile as it had been only moments ago. He nodded and sat back up.

“Sarah, come here,” he patted the seat next to him. She didn’t budge. “Please?” His face was an echo of the word.

She momentarily closed her eyes, forcing herself to take a deep breath. She awkwardly walked over and took the proffered seat - to his left - without making eye contact, hands figiting in her lap in extreme discomfort. Memories were welling to the surface, not just of him but of the horrific fiascoes since: nearly all of her relationships had ended because she was too antsy and couldn’t really bring herself to trust anyone deeply, mentally wincing, waiting for the other shoe to drop. She was trying to remain composed but it felt like it wasn’t going to last long - she was going to end up crying right in front of him. Jareth could sense that she was right on her breaking point and knew that he had to be infinitely careful with her now. Unfortunately his voice was so gentle and caring that it was the only touchstone necessary.


“oh god,” she raggedly whispered and turned away, clutching the back of the sofa as tears began to steal slowly down her face. She heard him lightly gasp before he continued. His left hand unconsciously found its way to her thick, smooth hair and gave it a slow, gentle stroke. She closed her eyes, openly crying.

“Sarah…I’m so sorry. I had no idea that this would happen to you. It had never happened to anyone before…no, that’s a sorry excuse, most runners only last three hours - they are sent home the moment they give up. By the end I was running out of ideas and I made some very bad decisions, I was panicking. I willingly own up to it - mea culpa as humans used to say. Sarah, please look at me.”

“No,” she sobbed.

“There is no need to be embarrassed or ashamed,” he said gently. “Look at me…please.” As she reluctantly straightened back up he gently caught her chin and guided her to meet his eyes. Hers were red and there were tear stains down her face. His were haunted with the unutterable look of ‘what have I done?’

“I’m sorry,” he could barely get out, it was almost a whisper. “Gods, I’m so sorry,” he shook his head. His concern started a fresh trickle of tears. He reached over and caught one with his fingertip. She began to crunch forward, sobbing, and he embraced her shaking form, lightly rocking her. “It’s all right, Sarah,” he murmured reassuringly against her hair. “Let it all out.”

He sat with her for fifteen minutes as all the pain and frustration poured out of her, wracking her body in waves. Sarah was no longer aware of even where she was, let alone who was holding her. She was too caught up in her own memories; too many should-haves, too many ifs, too many chances and beginnings rent asunder by her underlying fears and insecurities. It hurt even more because most of the resulting damage had been her own fault, running from well-meaning men as if they were the devil himself. She never let the feelings see the light of day for fear of what lay behind them. Him.

He had haunted her dreams and nightmares for quite some time after ‘The Incident’, and while the dreams finally went away, the gnawing distrust lingered and grew - at first partially because she literally couldn’t tell anyone what had happened to her: she had a secret that she had to keep at all costs. She told the story to Toby numerous times but never was he lead to believe that it was real. As she got older it got more and more apparent that she couldn’t be totally honest with anyone, and, coupled with her initial interactions with Jareth, the writing was on the wall: she especially didn’t trust men. Life was one great masquerade - who knew what anyone was like behind their social facades? People who seemed surly or intimidating could turn out to be the sweetest person you ever met and handsome, charming strangers could turn out to be monsters in disguise. The paradox had haunted her throughout her life and her social life suffered for it. As did she. It was raw inside there from being locked up too long; she felt wretched but it felt good to finally give it much-needed vent. Sarah started to calm down again and finally realized that she’d gotten his shirt front all wet but he didn’t seem to mind. When she was all but spent he finally spoke again, lightly stroking her cheek with the side of his fingers.

“There, now. Feeling any better?”

She sniffled, nodding. “Mm-hmm.”

He looked back and down, reaching into a side pocket of his trousers that she hadn’t even noticed and produced a bright red handkerchief - it was oddly reminiscent of a magician’s trick. To her surprise he gently dried her tears himself before handing it over so she could blow her nose; she turned away and did what she had to.

“Do you do any magic tricks?” she asked him once she was finished; he had piqued her curiosity.

He surrendered a smile. “I was beginning to think you would never ask. Hand that back and I’ll show you one,” he roughly gestured at the material in her hand.

Sarah looked from the dirty hankie to him. “Are you sure?”

He rolled his eyes. “Oh, please - I live with goblins, remember?”

She gingerly gave it back to him. A crystal formed in his free hand and quickly melted into pure flame cupped in his palm. He held the handkerchief over it, making it catch fire before closing his ignited hand to quench the eerie blaze. The handkerchief changed form and color before her very eyes and within moments had become a perfect red rose; he offered it to her.

“An old trick. Usually the flaming material is stuffed into the magician’s pocket and the rose produced from the same place faster than the human eye can blink; I just skip the middle step,” he shrugged.

She accepted the new rose and sniffed it - the perfume was heady.

“It’s a start,” she said quietly with just a wisp of good-humored sarcasm.

“Good, because if all that hadn’t been enough of a start, goodness knows to what lengths I would have allowed myself to become ingratiated!” he teased her.

She smirked and playfully slugged him in the arm. He blinked in surprise and had to read her mental context. To his amazement it was a good-humored gesture only used amongst human friends! But it would be in bad taste to hit her back - it might reflect badly in light of their past. But he would remember it. For later.
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