Categories > Movies > Labyrinth > 3,564 Clappers Later

Let's Dance

by shadowlurker13 0 reviews

a rueful look at the fandom, swing dancing, pondering

Category: Labyrinth - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Romance - Published: 2017-07-20 - 2780 words - Complete

Chapter 15 - Let’s Dance

Jareth wished he had never heard the term ‘listians,’ let alone never wanting to see it again. True, these maniacs had saved his life to some extent but having to actually deal with them…

These women are insane, he thought, scrolling through another forum topic. At first it had almost been flattering. He was beginning to feel defiled. Him! He had managed to find roughly half-a-dozen forum/chat spaces devoted to him that hadn’t been abandoned - apparently he was viewed as a sort of rite of passage for many and after a certain amount of time had passed the initiated moved on with their lives. Usually. The effect had been cyclical over time; rather than growing, the ‘active’ ‘fan base’ seemed to stay about the same size. New faces, same tired topics. Rehashing lines from the movie over and over and over. Psychoanalyzing the ‘characters’ (especially him.) Constant physical ‘praise’ and general obsession with the portrayed personality. There were even a few people who actually liked David Bowie.

He had made profiles under his own name on all of these sites and had been inciting quite a lot of wishing and daydreaming for what seemed like ages. It was actually helping but the going was slow and the conversations were really wearing on him. He had avoided discussing it too much with Sarah, just enough to state his progress, but from the physical shifting as he talked and how quickly he changed the subject she knew they were making him uncomfortable at the very least. At first it was hilarious; he was finally getting a taste of his own medicine. It was still mildly amusing but she knew she had to figure out some way of helping him; at the rate the fans were going he would be stuck here for years and she didn’t know how much more of this degradation he would be willing to put himself through. So here she was, dressed in the corset top he had coerced her into buying, along with a decent pair of black jeans and ballet flats, trying to screw up the courage to get him to turn around from the computer. She had to ruefully admit it did look good without looking risqué.


He sighed heavily. “Yes?”

“I thought of something else to try.”

“What’s that, dear?”

“Turn around.”

He swiveled around in the computer chair and looked pleasantly surprised as he approvingly appraised her. “You have my undivided attention,” he smiled, reaching down and hitting the power strip to the computer.

The butterflies in Sarah’s stomach felt ridiculous but she couldn’t help his effect on her in moments like this. As his eyes had flitted over her briefly before resting on hers, she knew he’d meant it. Well, she’d worn this for a reason. She started awkwardly, her eyes dropping to the floor.

“Okay, so you know when I told you I can only two-step a little…that was sort of a lie.”

One of his elegant eyebrows arched up with a growing devious smile.

“I mean I haven’t had to do this since high school. I don’t even know why our old gym instructor thought he had to teach us this, it wasn’t even popular at the time. Stand up.”

Just about holding his breath, hoping she wouldn’t lose her nerve, he got up and walked over.

“So I did a little research and found out that the type of Swing dancing he taught us is called Lindy Hop. There are at least a dozen different variations on this style of dancing.”

“Swing, you said this was?”

“Yeah. Okay, so you start just holding hands like this.” As she took his hands she looked up into his face. He was practically beaming at her. “And you start on your…my right so your left foot. It’s one, two-three, one, two-three, back and; left travel, right travel, back rock. You can pull away your arm on the back step like this,” and she showed him.


“That’s all I remember,” she laughed a little embarrassedly. “I was just thinking that they do this upstairs at the Gem sometimes and with this version there’s a lot of acrobatic tricks for the more advanced and I think we’ve proven by now that you can successfully throw me around. That would probably be the easy part. What do you think?”

His eyes simply held her there for a moment like he could; he was still smiling softly.

“It’s a start,” he said gently, releasing her and turning on the computer again, getting into the dance site and querying the style she had just told him.

“You’ve probably seen it before on your dancing program and just didn’t know what it was.”

“Alright, we’ll look there first.” An internet video search came up with an example right away but upon playing it Jareth was instantly taken aback. “These people look ridiculous! I’ve seen Fireys dance more civilly than this! Are you sure…”

She nodded. True to her word, the man was throwing his partner around in an incredible display of acrobatic skill but they were kicking their legs out all over the place and making the goofiest happy expressions imaginable.

“Do we have to look this idiotic?”

Sarah laughed. “They get extra points for being in character like that but smiling would be nice.”

He had wanted so much for this to work when she instigated it but his pride could only take so much. “I refuse to look like that much of a fool, and in public no less. I am sorry, Sarah,” he stated with finality, shutting the site.

“Oh come on! I’m trying my hardest to come up with something here-”

“And I appreciate it, but-”

“But what? You’d rather sit here for the next five to seven years making degrading small talk with a bunch of horny women than take a little blow to your projection of yourself? If it was just you I’d say fine, waste your life, but there’s more at stake than just you here. I’m willing to look a little silly if you are.”

Jareth was shocked at Sarah’s sudden harsh attitude but had to wearily concede that she was right. Unless he could get back, he wasn’t king of anything and certainly didn’t have any right to act like one, but nevertheless it cut against the grain. He suddenly realized that he had been behaving like a coward, which certainly wasn’t worthy of his title. He sighed, defeated.

“Alright, we’ll try it, but if this works and I go back I don’t want you breathing a word of this to a soul, do you understand?”

“Absolutely,” she smiled. I’ll only leak it to Irina. Accidentally.

“He isn’t…”
“He is!”

Practice had been running smoothly for a week now, or at least as smoothly as it could run in Sarah’s small apartment. There was plenty of room for the basic dancing but she needed a running start for some of the tricks and there simply wasn’t enough space.

“No, I don’t want you to make the room larger,” she laughed, “we just have to find somewhere else to practice the tricks. Maybe a park…”

“Heaven forbid.”

“Well, you’re going to have to do this publicly sometime J, that was the whole point of this exercise.”

It had not escaped Jareth’s notice that Sarah was growing not only increasingly comfortable around him but also comfortable and confident expressing herself in the dance. She was really genuinely enjoying this, sometimes to the point that it seemed that she had forgotten that this was a test, a means to an ends. And it was working beautifully. He wished he could say the same of himself. This sort of dancing was fine for a human but he was sidhe; he was too preternaturally graceful for the crazy jerky movement necessary for the look of the thing and he knew in spite of his best efforts that no matter how well he knew his steps and got all the beats right it was never going to look totally natural and it was making him annoyingly self-conscious.

Wait… He stepped behind her suddenly and locked his arms over her stomach.

“Jareth, what are you-”

“Just hold on tight and close your eyes.” That now-familiar, mischievously playful smile was dancing about his lips once more. Sarah smirked with a quiet laugh, shaking her head, closing her eyes. There was an immediate whoosh of air coming from everywhere at once and she suddenly couldn’t feel the floor! Having absolutely no idea what he was doing, she clung to him, hoping whatever it was would be over quickly. The next second there was solid ground beneath her feet again. “You can open your eyes now,” his rich, playful voice sounded from behind her. She opened one eye -

And found herself on the green in the middle of the driving course on south Table Mountain in Golden! Sarah stepped out of his embrace and did a full 360° turn, taking in their surroundings. Jareth looked more than a little pleased with himself.

“There. Plenty of room and no-one about for miles.”

“As long as the police don’t mind us being here. How on earth did you know about this place?”


“J, this is a police driving practice range,” Sarah answered calmly. “I guess I’m lucky it’s not the shooting area,” she laughed. “Granted they do rent it out for special events and weddings but still…”

Worry clouded Jareth’s face, holding out one hand to her. “We should leave.”

“Oh, no,” Sarah teased him, taking him by surprise, “you brought us here, you’re gonna practice. Just…ah…clear the area of snakes first.”

Jareth sent out feelers and, yes, there were a few rattlesnakes on that lawn. A thought sent seven hurrying into the brush on the other side of the track. Sarah did a quick full-body shiver watching it. “All safe. Ready when you are.”

Sarah swallowed. This was it. She walked a fair distance from Jareth and turned to face him. Getting a running start, she came straight at him and leaped. He caught her just under her arms and Sarah straightened her legs at a loose 90° angle and swung left of him, right side, and one dip through his open-stance legs and back up. This was the hard bit. The world went upside-down as she was somersaulted over his right shoulder. Sarah suddenly got dizzy and accidentally went off the side of his shoulder instead of going all the way over and landing on her feet; he hung on to her and carefully brought her back to earth.

“Are you all right?”

She shook it off. “Just got dizzy; sorry. Again?”

And again
And again
And again
And again

Until it felt so natural that Sarah felt she could do the move in her sleep. They did a few other acrobatic stunts while they were out there; the over-the-back roll was easy in comparison, although Jareth lost his center of balance the first time she came over and nearly toppled himself. On the whole it went well, however, and after about an hour or so they were totally exhausted, lying head-by-head on the lawn staring up at the blue sky. It was a gorgeous day. Only when a golden eagle started to circle above them did Sarah suggest it was probably time to go.

“You know,” she said getting up, brushing the grass off her clothing, “it’s something of a joke out here that the eagles circle the football fields during practice waiting for someone to drop.”

The eagle did dive a short distance away - and carried away a big, writhing rattlesnake in it’s talons, bearing it away high up.

“Definitely time to leave. That spell doesn’t last forever,” Jareth said, glancing at the periphery of the oval lawn they were in. A couple snakes were beginning to cross the blacktop road back in. Sarah allowed him to sort of hug her again and before she knew it they were back in her apartment. She collapsed on the sofa and Jareth went to get them both tall glasses of water. Sarah accepted hers, looking thoughtful.

“You know, it’s almost kind of weird. I mean, I work in this huge complex where those mesas are practically in the backyard - we even own part of that facing slope - but I’m almost never up there. I’ve been hiking on a couple of occasions and been to the top of Table Mountain once but most of the time I just don’t really think about them at all. They’re just sort of … there. Do you know what I’m talking about?”

He nodded, seating himself beside her.

“I believe this is a casual case of the everyday being taken for granted. While it is not a good habit on the whole, there is so much that your brain has to process every day with your work that a little bit is understandable. You usually have other priorities. How is it going, by-the-way?”

Sarah just shook her head.

“I don’t think it’s going anywhere but we’ve got a couple weeks left. Maybe some miracle will happen between now and the deadline but I’m not holding my breath.”

“What happens should you fail?”

“Not much, actually. We just get patted on the back for knocking ourselves out over nothing and get shuffled off to the next project. And they never mention it again.”

He glanced at her. “Saving face?”

“Something like that.”

He nodded.

They sat in silence for a moment, taking turns draining their glasses. He set his on the table and crossed his legs, leaning into the couch with his arms over the back, looking at her, seeming to be considering something. They had been living together for months now and Sarah still couldn’t shake how his attention affected her. Under normal circumstances she might be tempted to call it attraction - ‘normal’ being the operative word here, which was strictly not the case. He had flirted with her in the past - and even kissed her once - but, studying him back, she found that she wasn’t ever totally sure whether he was serious or not. The fact of what he was complicated the matter even further. Faery creatures were notoriously fickle from what she knew, loving some poor mortal on a whim and then leaving them to rot. She had gotten to know Jareth and trusted him to an amazing degree but she still didn’t know. He seemed to mean well and wanted to do well by her but how far could he deny his own nature? Jareth broke the silence.

“Penny for your thoughts, love.”

“You first.”

He smirked and she belatedly realized that he had chosen not to read her.

“I was just thinking that perhaps it’s a good thing that I’m here. You seem to need a good uninvolved third party with which to air your grievances about your job. It’s irritating to be upset because you actually care. That and the fact that your ‘mountains’, as people around here call your mesas, are particularly pretty in their own way this time of year with the scrub oak changing colors and that I need to think up an excuse to get you back up there sometime, perhaps for a small daytrip?”

“That would be great! Do you want me to get the trail maps so you can figure out how you want to go?”

“I’ll make my own path.”

“Figures,” Sarah rolled her eyes.

He paused a moment. “And what about you?”


He smiled. “What were you pondering just there when you were casually scrutinizing me?”

Sarah faintly blushed at the accusation. “I was just wondering about you.”

Jareth shifted slightly so that he was partially turned in her direction and the attention did not go unnoticed.

“Wondering what?”

Sarah looked down at her hands. “Just wondering,” she said quietly and made a vague excuse to get up, bringing the empty glasses back into the kitchen.

Jareth knew he needed to find a way to end this soon. He couldn’t afford to give her any more time to wonder about him.

He was beginning to wonder himself.
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