Categories > Movies > Labyrinth > 3,564 Clappers Later

The Whole Truth

by shadowlurker13 0 reviews

In which cover is blown and a vague night out turns into an informative night in.

Category: Labyrinth - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Romance - Published: 2017-07-20 - 4675 words - Complete

Chapter 16: The Whole Truth

On all counts, Sarah Williams was neck-deep in trouble but only she seemed to think so.
She had been practicing East Coast swing with Jareth in the privacy of her own living room for a couple of weeks now but she wasn’t so sure about doing it in public and he was insisting that they do it soon. Unbeknownst to her, he had obtained Irina’s home phone number and leaked the information to her so they could both gang up on Sarah to keep her from chickening out. Irina was thrilled about this development, giving her mounting suspicion seeming solidity, and between the two of them they managed to coerce Sarah into ‘going public with it’ on a Saturday night at the Gem. The café had regular lessons and dances in the upstairs room but she had never been to a one of them. Irina was going along for moral support, promising to make an idiot of herself on the dance floor by the end of the night. She was going to go to Sarah’s apartment first and then they would all drive to the Gem together. Or, at least, that had been the plan. Sarah and ‘her guy,’ as Irina loved to refer to Jareth at this point, had been preparing for the evening out, but much more in rehearsing how to act in front of their guest than in dressing up.

“J, do we really have to delude my best friend for this?” Sarah asked annoyed, unlocking the front door.

“She must believe us a couple or this will never work. A strange jobless man whom you have no feelings for, living with you and not even paying for the privilege of sleeping in your living room? Highly unlikely and very suspicious.” A slow, wicked smile spread across his face. “We could make this very realistic,” he said huskily, a pink crystal forming on his fingertips. It levitated out of his hand and headed for Sarah! Her eyes went wide, fairly guessing what it was - some sort of temporary love spell probably - and on instinct she found that she could mentally bat it away. He laughed at her reaction as it floated toward him again. “Playing hard to get, are we?” He mentally gave it a shove himself and in no time they were playing this crazy game of psychic ping-pong right in her living room!

Irina heard their shouts and laughter as she came up to the landing, smiling herself - their merriment was infectious. She listened at the door for a moment, almost hating to interrupt, but it was time to go and they showed no sign of abating whatever it was. She knocked twice and opened the door - Sarah said it would be unlocked. What happened next happened so fast that it was over in under a second but to Sarah it felt like years: from Irina’s shocked, wide-eyed gasp Sarah instantly knew that she had not only seen Jareth with his real hair and eye markings (it was always the very last thing he did before going out just to make sure he kept remembering to do it) but she had also seen the shining, glinting crystal being flung back and forth in midair with no physical form of propulsion!!! Jareth noticed a split second before she did and it broke his concentration: instead of hitting him, the crystal lightly exploded in pink glitter and silently disintegrated into the floor. Before Sarah could see what was happening, the door was closed and Jareth teleported across the room and grabbed Irina before she could bolt back out; his left hand holding her wrists behind her back and his right hand over her mouth in case she cried out and the look in her brown eyes went from shock to abject terror. Sarah was seething.

“Jareth if you harm one hair on her had I swear-”

“Quiet!” he snapped rather rudely. “I have no intention of harming her; she merely caught me unawares and I reacted instinctively. I fear she knows too much.” He looked down at his captive, who had ceased to struggle; his grip, while not painful, was as strong as iron. “Now then,” he said in a gentle tone of voice, addressing Irina, “if you were only a stranger there would be but one course of action but since you are Sarah’s friend I shall give you a choice. You can remain with us and learn the truth from Sarah if you think you can handle it - what you saw just now only grazes the surface. I will be neither angry nor disappointed should you feel that you can’t - most mortals have a hard time dealing with the concept of magic, it’s almost a little too alien to comprehend with any sense of comfort and I am of the opinion that troubling and useless knowledge is by its own definition evil. The second choice is most assuredly the easier and what I would have done instantly had I not known you: you would simply fall asleep right here in my arms and I would transport you back to your car in the blink of an eye. You would wake up almost instantaneously behind the wheel with absolutely no recollection of what has happened here, nor indeed that you were even asleep. You would only think that you had just put the key in your purse and would re-enter the building and come up to us just as you did right now and in a few minutes we would all go out for a nice evening. Yes, you’re staying or no, you’re not. Just shake your head in response.” He leaned in closer to her left ear. “All you have to do is one little ‘no’ and this will all have been only a bad dream,” he crooned temptingly.

If this hadn’t concerned Sarah she would have given in in an instant - she had never been so scared in her life and desperately wished it hadn’t happened at all. Jeremy X. Did Sarah say his name was Jareth? The whole time she had been watching Sarah and had seen her anger melt into concern.

“Let her make her own decision, J,” she now said, a little irritated that he was trying to influence her besides. “Irina, I’m am so sorry this happened and I know this is crazy but I promise that whatever you choose you’re going to be okay. I promise.”

But what about you, Sarah, Irina thought, more than a little troubled at her friend’s calm reaction. Are you okay? Who the hell is this guy?! She knew she was probably going to regret this but Sarah might be in incredibly big trouble if this man had worked any of his freaky mojo on her. She might need someone to call the police. Irina took a deep breath and nodded ‘yes’. Jareth heaved a great sigh.

“Very well. I am going to release you now. Do not scream.” He carefully let go of her wrists and mouth. Irina slowly turned around and was face-to-face with a very otherworldly-looking man. His skin was pale as ever but his facial features were sharper, harsher than when she had seen him as Jeremy Xavier. His long hair stood up mostly like a cross between a bad case of static electricity and a mullet. But it was his eyes that were most striking - he had markings on them that swept up past his eyebrows, the color was just under the skin. As Jeremy they had been rather attractive eyes; as Jareth they were downright compelling, she couldn’t look away. He calmly watched her take in what his face looked like without the glamour but when she started looking into his eyes he held hers for a brief second because she had been staring - and when she kept looking anyway he lightly smirked.

Nope, Sarah’s not going to like this one bit, he thought amusedly. The smirk broke the spell and Irina suddenly remembered herself and started slowly backing away from him.

“Sarah… who is this man?” Sarah went quickly to the stunned woman and led her to the couch, sitting with her.

“Iri…do you remember back when we first met, when we mutually agreed to not talk about our pasts when we were young because they were way too crazy?”

Irina glanced at Jareth, who was still standing by the door and looking decidedly uncomfortable, fidgeting absently with the hem of his right glove. Sarah continued.

“I know you had a hard time coming to this country and I don’t blame you for not wanting to relive the horror. Oh, how to say this!”

“I am her past,” Jareth chimed in. “Or at least the part she would have never told you about. You see, when her parents got divorced Sarah began to retreat into her own fantasy worlds-”

“Hey, let me tell my own embarrassing story. You can incriminate yourself later.” She would’ve continued but Irina looked incredibly dubious of Jareth. I don’t blame her, she thought irritated and suddenly grabbed Irina’s hand. “We’re going to my bedroom to talk and you’re staying out here,” she said pointedly to Jareth. After all that had just happened he actually had the gall to look taken aback at being excluded.

“I was only trying to help.”

“You’ve done quite enough,” Sarah answered levelly. “Come on, Irina.” The two women made their way down the hall to the closed door at the end and entered. Irina looked back just in time to see Jareth watching them go with genuine concern in his strange, wild eyes. Sarah locked the door. Irina looked very concerned herself.

“Sarah, if you cannot give me a sane, reasonable explanation for the mayhem that’s going on here, I am calling 911 right now - for your sake as much as mine,” she said, getting out her cellphone.

“No, don’t. I can explain everything. Please sit.” They sat together on the side of the bed. Sarah took a deep breath. “What J said out there was true, I’m just not comfortable hearing other people say it. After the my parents’ divorce I was a wreck. I became this whiny little bitch and lost most of my friends. If my father or stepmother had had any sense they would’ve gotten me to a therapist but they just thought I’d out grow it so nothing was ever done. And to make matters even worse they had a baby. I know that sounds like a terrible thing to say but it took away the little attention that I got from my father; my mom stopped coming to visit but I felt like I could identify with her more. We were both big dreamers and she was off chasing hers. I could almost forgive her for that but I still missed her terribly. I felt like I was all alone and it didn’t take too long for me to feel more at home in worlds I made up than in the one I was living in. I was always the heroine, the princess who was being wrongly treated. I had costumes and everything, I was sort of live-action role-playing before it existed,” she laughed momentarily.

Sarah got up and went to her closet and pulled down a small box from the top shelf and took something out. “And then the red book showed up.” She tossed it to Irina, who caught it and read the title. The Labyrinth. Upon further inspection there was no author or, indeed, any publication information at all. The paper was yellowed with age but it was unusually thick - a very expensive weight for a young adult novel - and the binding looked hand-sewn. “To this day I can’t remember when I got it. It wasn’t a present and I didn’t find it anywhere. I think I just woke up one morning and it was there. And from that moment on it never left me. The story became my story. I had this whole thing memorized at one point in time and I used to act out scenes from it in the park. And that’s when Jareth started coming to watch me. I think he planted the book, too.”

Irina went cold thinking of Sarah being stalked like that she suddenly put two-and-two together. “That’s him?! The man you have been afraid of all these years - and he’s in your living room?! Why is on earth is he here?!”

“Because he doesn’t have much of a choice - no, wait, hold your horses, this episode of Springer isn’t over yet, it gets better. I think he calculated that sooner or later my temper would get the better of me and I would use the book on Toby. Now, I’ve had to give this a lot of thought since he’s been here and I’ve come to the conclusion, knowing what I know now, that in his own bizarre way he was actually trying to help me. He saw the distress my little brother was causing me and knew that it was the one thing in his power that he could do something about. Human logic doesn’t come easily to Jareth sometimes.”

Irina forgot to breathe for a moment. “What happened?” she whispered.

Sarah took the book from her and flipped to a dog-eared page toward the front and pointed to the dialogue about halfway down.

“And don’t you dare read it aloud - I don’t know what would even happen anymore since he isn’t there to supervise.” The infamous incantation was underlined, highlighted, and circled in red ink with a warning scrawled in the margin: DO NOT READ OUT LOUD!!! Irina read the simple sentence to herself and went white as a sheet, staring at it in dawning horror.

“…you wished him away…”

“The last thing I expected was for it to be real.” Sarah paused for a moment, seeming to remember as she stared at the floor. “The whole thing is real, Iri. I mean, some parts were embellished to make the story more exciting and palatable but all the major points are real. The next thing I knew all the lights in the neighborhood went out and Toby was gone and my parents’ room was just crawling with these dark, hairy little creatures and Mr. Drama himself appeared in plate armor and offered me everything I’d ever wanted in exchange for the child. He’d never even dreamed that I might say no.”

She turned to look at Irina. “I had to go through a lot. The world of Faerie has it’s own rules and I think it’s death for anyone from there who breaks them - but I got Toby back. The whole experience sort of terrorized me back into reality but it was a heavy price to pay. I felt like I couldn’t relate to anyone until I met you. You know what it’s like to be running from…” Sarah trailed off but Irina hugged her tight for a moment. She had known that despite how different they were in personality that there was a kind of elusive bond between them that she could never really put her finger on before but she understood it now. When she pulled away there were little tears in her eyes. “I still haven’t told you the weirdest part.”

Eyebrows went up. “Weirder than that?”

“Totally unbeknownst to me, I also won all his magic. I didn’t even know until he told me a few months ago. He’s been stuck in our world for over two decades; it’s taken him this long just to find me! He literally can’t go home without it!”

Irina looked very incredulous. “And you are…helping him?”

“Amazingly, yes.”


Sarah closed her eyes and smiled a little private smile.

“I don’t know.” She opened them again and looked at the other woman with this playful glint and Irina instantly knew what her best friend wasn’t about to admit, not even to herself: she was falling for him! The idea of them together had thrilled her once but now she felt that the match bordered on clinical insanity. How could she?! After all that! Irina’s expression was imminently readable. “Because he actually isn’t all that bad, he’s just a little kooky. And he’s made me an oath not to lie to me that he can’t break on pain of instantaneous death. He’s teaching me, too. Watch this.”

She closed her eyes and brought her right hand up to face-level with all the fingers together up. There was a brief shimmering and in the next moment a small clear crystal ball was perched on her fingertips - Irina gasped as it appeared and Sarah smiled. “Let’s see what he’s up to out there.” She closed her eyes and concentrated again and in moments the inside of the crystal flared to life and they could both see what was within like a hologram: Jareth was lounging in the recliner with one leg dangled over an arm, as he was fond of doing, watching them with a crystal of his own - there they were, tiny but clear as day! He looked up and smiled a cocky smile at them and waved. “You realize, of course, that this defeats the purpose of a closed door,” she mouthed very distinctly at him. He rolled his eyes and tossed his crystal in the air and it popped like a bubble. He made a gesture like ‘it’s your turn’ and Sarah did the same - hers popped a lot more forcefully but it didn’t explode like a bomb like they used to, either. Progress. “And we’ve been able to discuss the whole thing in depth and fairly clear the air. Although we still have a few basic issues like privacy!” she yelled at the door and Jareth simply opened it as if it had never been locked.

“I like knowing what’s being said about me, don’t you? You make it sound like I spy on you naked!”

“Okay, so granted you don’t do that but you still read my mind almost constantly unless you’re trying to make a good impression for some reason!”

He simply shrugged. “I take it we’re not going out tonight?”

“Yeah, probably not. I know you had your heart set on showing me off. We can do it next Saturday. Can you still come, Iri?”

“I wish I could - I am going to have family in town that I will have to entertain.”

“Ah well,” said Jareth, “I’ll just have to call you and tell you how splendid Sarah was because I know she won’t tell you herself,” he smirked pointedly at Sarah, making her blush in embarrassment. “Where are my manners? If we’re going to totally blow my cover we should go about it correctly. Allow me to introduce myself, I am Jareth Ravensong, second son of the late High King, current Goblin King and Lord of the Labyrinth,” he said, bowing quickly with a flourish, “and you would be?”

Irina looked confused. “But you already know me!”

“You know Jeremy Xavier. We’ve never been properly introduced,” he smiled broadly, lifting up her right hand and lightly kissing the back of it. Sarah sighed, running a hand over her face.

“He also has an ego the size of the sun.”

He looked slightly miffed at the jab as he let go of Irina. “If you’re just going to keep insulting me I shall step back out.”

“That’s a threat?” Sarah laughed. “As long as you’re retreating to save face, would you mind picking up dinner?”

The comment was presumptuous but he had to admire her audacity. “What did you have in mind?” he asked, amused.

“Is Suzy’s okay with everybody?” There were nods of assent. “And we’re not using your play money, J, I’m paying. You might’ve acted like a lunatic back there but I’m the one who had to unlock the stupid door ahead of time.”

“She owns up - will wonders never cease?” That got a look but it failed to wipe the smug smile off his face. “So that’s your regular, my regular, and a chicken mandarin salad, a medium unsweetened iced tea and a small…no…child-size frozen chocolate dessert.”

Irina’s jaw dropped involuntarily. He smiled.

“Be right back.” Jareth ducked back out, quietly closed the door. Irina looked at Sarah, still stunned but Sarah merely looked begrudgingly amused.



The rest of the evening went a lot more smoothly. Irina grilled Jareth some over dinner but it wasn’t anything Sarah’s parents wouldn’t have done if they’d known she was spending a lot of time with a man from another planet. After a while she conversationally stepped back so she could watch them interact. It was so strange, she could see why Sarah was conflicted about the situation. They were both strong-willed and stubborn to a fault but, oddly enough, rather than just exploding they seemed to help even each other out. And whenever Jareth started getting a little mighty and aloof, Sarah calmly popped his bubble - and within seconds they were laughing. They teased each other like children, it was really something to see, but it was obvious to her that the feelings ran deeper than that; each was always careful of the other’s boundaries and on the one occasion that Sarah jabbed him a little too hard apology was swift and it was instantly forgotten.

Jareth did a bit of investigating himself and found out more about Irina in the course of an evening than Sarah had learned from the woman over the course of a decade! Sarah watched in baffled silence as her best friend talked about the little village where she grew up and being forced to go to the state-run schools and what the fall of the Communist Party in Russia was like on the inside. She still carefully omitted the part where she had to run away but from the sudden sympathy in his eyes Sarah knew that Jareth had seen it anyway (she asked him the next day what it was like but he refused to tell her. “Some memories are better left behind. I faded it a bit at the edges for her; it won’t be so vivid now.”) She had even briefly been engaged once, which was total news to Sarah.

“You were engaged?! Why didn’t you ever tell me?”

“There was no reason to - it was ancient history by the time I met you.”

It’s because he turned out to be …oh, how do you put it? In the closet, Sarah heard Jareth say in her head and quickly covered her surprise by taking another sip of her chocolate shake. That explains why she had suspected Jareth so quickly!

“And those marks on your eyes do not look a bit like makeup. If anything, it looks tattooed on,” Irina lightly joked for the first time all night. Jareth had to smirk. It seemed to be a universal conclusion.

“I for one am really looking forward to going back where this is not considered effeminate. I’ve seen women with dark markings on their chins before. Does that look masculine?”

Irina considered it. “I don’t know. I suppose not. It is just common for your people to have different colors on their faces?”

“These are elemental markings. I experience most affinity with air. My mother and sister Morgan are both fire and Sylvanius is earth. We aren’t sure about Kavin; his seems to be metal which is almost unheard of. His mark isn’t on his face, either; it’s on one of his hands, I forget which one. It’s been a long time,” he said quietly, looking down.

“Well, I sincerely hope that you get back safe and sound and soon.” She yawned and looked at the clock in the kitchen. “I hate to break up this little party but I have to supervise another mechanic fix on the car tomorrow morning. It was good finally getting to know you, Jareth,” she said, getting up and grabbing her purse as they all walked to the door.

“Wait,” Jareth said. “Irina, you have been privy to a large amount of highly sensitive confidential information this evening and I would not have told you one word had I not felt that you were trustworthy but do remember my position. I must act to protect myself here and while I know you mean me no harm, I also appreciate the fact that you are human and mistakes can occur. Therefore, I desire to place a very light geis upon you; I assure you it will not interfere with your normal life at all.”

Irina went to object but suddenly, she couldn’t explain it, but she just knew in her gut that she could trust him once more and, to Sarah’s amazement, she nodded assent. Jareth stood in front of her and raised his right hand in a strange sign.

“Irina Tereshkova, I place this geis upon you: that you cannot communicate any information about who I truly am or where I am truly from to any mortal but Sarah Williams, and if you ever try to you will be physically unable to do so.” He lowered his hand. “That’s all. It simply negates any personal responsibility you could ever have from being a part of this affair. And if you are ever dying to speak to someone about this or anything else for that matter, as long as I am on earth you can talk to me. We’ve spoken on the phone before and I am almost always here.”

“I’m holding you to that,” Irina half-joked, opening the door. She suddenly stopped and turned to face him. Concentrating a bit (unsure of how this worked) she deliberately shot him a mental message.

You’d better take good care of Sarah.

She was smiling a little but the concern was serious. He simply nodded in acknowledgement.

I will do whatever I can for her, whatever she allows. I understand, she heard his voice clearly in her own head. There were goodbyes all around and then she walked out, closing the door. Sarah was eying Jareth a bit suspiciously.

“Okay, what was that that happened just now?”

He looked down with a bittersweet half-smile. “It was private. I think she still has her reservations about me.”

“I can’t imagine why!” Sarah shot back sarcastically, walking over to the couch and collapsing into it. “Look, I don’t know how these things are done in your world, J, but taking an evening on the town and making it into a vague almost hostage-like situation isn’t going to win you a lot of trust here.”

“I suppose you’re right,” he sighed, walking over to the couch himself and sitting down alongside. “But after that it was fun,” he said, pointedly looking at her with a teasing lip smile. She just shook her head with a rueful smirk. He was such an outrageous brat that she found herself oddly drawn to him.

“Just don’t do that to anyone else. I’ll have to think of an appropriate punishment if you do.”

He was still smiling and the effect was making butterflies in her stomach.

“Can’t wait, love.”
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