He found her sitting on the hill.
She was almost always on the hill during these times.
He approached her quietly but not too quietly. She hated being startled. “Good evening, Precious.”
Even with being deliberately noisy in his footsteps, she still jumped. She was clearly so deep in her thoughts that she didn’t even realize that he was behind her. “Hey,” she called out, not turning around.
Her arms were hugging her legs close to her body. After years of marriage, he came to understand that it meant that she craved physical affection. Sarah wasn’t the kind of person to ask for such a thing, even though she gave it freely herself.
Jareth stood directly behind her. Out of courtesy, he asked her anyway. “May I sit next to you?”
She didn’t speak but patted the patch of grass next to her.
Jareth sat comfortably next to his queen, legs sprawled out at first. Then bringing one close so his knee was pointed up and the other still stretched out, his arm resting on the pointed knee. “Beautiful sunset,” he casually commented.
Sarah finally turned to him, a small smile on her face. “Yes, it is.”
Glad that he could finally get a smile out of her, Jareth asked slowly “do you want to be alone but together, or fully together today?”
Sometimes, they needed to be left alone, completely in separate rooms to think or to calm down after an argument. Sometimes, they wanted to be alone together, in the same room but not having contact so that they could still have space. Just a comfortable presence.
Other times, they needed to hold each other tightly to the point it felt like they would never let go and only found that they did because their bodies naturally shifted after they’ve fallen asleep.
Sarah hesitated a little, wanting to wallow in sadness for a while longer, but his opened arms brought lifted so much sadness from her already. She climbed into his lap and settled in his chest, smiling at the smell of peaches and cinnamon that was so distinctly him.
Jareth kissed the top of his wife’s head and rubbed her back, soothing her just as she had often soothed him. She was his safe haven and he was hers.
They sat that way for a while, the sky turning from pink to a darker blue, twilight approaching. He felt his shirt growing wet, but he didn’t comment on her tears. It was something he was working on, asking someone about why they were crying. His kind did not cry much except to be dramatic or on occasions like death or a happy wedding. This was because if one cried, it was usually happening when someone just needed to express their feelings without having to feel like they had to explain it.
Still, he wanted her to know that he cared, that he saw her pain. That her pain hurt him as much as it hurt her. He kissed her forehead again and wiped her tears away.
He spoke again once she stopped crying for a while.
“What colors do you feel today?” He mumbled in her hair.
It was their way of communicating. Sometimes it wasn’t easy to just say how one felt, so they resorted to analogies. Color and music seemed to work the best with them.
“Bog green,” she sighed into him, tangling her fingers in the chain of his amulet.
“Sounds rather lovely,” Jareth dryly responded.
“After what’s been going on lately, and then what happened today, can you blame me for that?” She looked up, raising an eyebrow.
“Of course not.” He pulled her closer to reassure her of his agreement. “I just didn’t realize how bad it was. Bog green. Ghastly.” He shuddered at the thought of the Bog of Eternal Stench.
There was something endearing about him when he said that. It made Sarah giggle even through her now-dried tears. She snuggled closer. “I also feel foggy-gray today.”
“The kind where you can’t see anything past your nose? The kind where you feel lost? The kind where you feel like nature has abandoned you to the unknown?”
“All of the above.” She let go of him and laid beside him, propped up on arm on her side. “And the kind where you just feel suffocated.”
He followed suit. “Would you like to discuss it?”
How kind he was. It was against his nature to ask such a question, for her to elaborate on such negative emotions, but he did it anyway. He learned to be more thoughtful and gentle throughout the years.
Because he loved her.
She shook her head. “No, thank you. This is not one of those days.”
She moved closer to him. Jareth rolled so that he was on his back. Sarah laid in his chest and kissed the exposed skin. “I want to tell you another color I feel.”
“Tell away.” He played with a strand of her hair, curling it with his finger.
“I feel golden. Not a lot of it, kind of like the specks of gold in an otherwise dark sky.”
Her voice faded as she said it. As if her mind was trillions of miles away with the stars above them.
Jareth held her once more, combing her hair with his fingers, feeling her heartbeat speed then slow at his touch. “I’m sorry, Love.”
He was sorry for the pain she was feeling. Sorry that as a result of their marriage and love, she made sacrifices and put herself under intense scrutiny. Sorry that things weren’t as beautiful and rosy as he wanted it to be for her.
“Don’t be,” she said, turning so that her chin resting on his chest. She looked at him with adoring green eyes.
The same eyes that he had found generous and cruel. The same eyes that he fell in love with so long ago.
“I’ll get better,” she said with hope. She was always hopeful, even at the darkest of times. “The little golden specks are getting brighter as we speak. Tonight, they’ll grow so large that they’ll merge together.”
“Is that so?” Jareth bopped her nose. “Why is that?”
She scooted higher now, their noses rubbing. Sarah paused to look into his eyes, admiring his feathery hair fanning around his body. It was a rare sight, the Goblin King relaxing enough and feeling safe enough to offer glimpses of vulnerability and true smiles.
Well, rare to most people. He showed Sarah his true emotions all the time.
“Because of you.” She kissed his nose. “Always you.”
Jareth tilted her chin to just the right angle and kissed her deeply. All his love poured deeply, his hands coming to rest on her lower back as she cradled his head, their lips moving in synch. He groaned when he felt her tongue lightly brushing against the roof of his mouth, pulling her even closer to him.
He grunted in disappointment when they pulled apart, his wife very amused at his grumpy frown at wanting more kisses. She kissed his cheek and then on the tip of his ear, the frown fading away.
“What are you thinking in that marvelous mind of yours, Precious?” Jareth asked. “Is it my dashing good looks?” He grinned mischievously.
Sarah laughed. Normally, she would be sarcastic and say that she thought he was downright hideous, but not today. “No. I was thinking more of... of...”
Jareth nodded, encouraging her to keep going.
She couldn’t meet his eyes, focusing on the horned medallion instead. “I was thinking of how lucky I am to have you. Thank you.”
“For what, Love?”
She teared up again, but this time they were tears of happiness. “For being so good to me. For loving me. For keeping your marriage vows in being there for me as the world falls down.”
“Oh Sarah.” Jareth looked up at the now dark sky, overwhelmed by her appreciation and love. “You are too good for me.”
“Won’t you tell me what color you feel today?” she massaged the tips of his pointy ears, the way that she knew he liked.
He had been waiting for her to ask, a big smile breaking out. “Red. Red as in the color of passion, of anger at, well, the incident from today.”
She knew what he meant. Being king and queen brought up a lot of those “incidents” that could make one passionately angry.
“But also, red as in the color of blood, of life. Of love. Love for you, Sarah. No matter how you feel about yourself, no matter how bog-green, foggy-gray, or pitch black you may feel, I will always love you. You are my dream, the love that will last.”
They kissed again, the earth and the sky being the only witnesses to their expressions of love to each other that night.