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The Way Forward is Sometimes the Way Back by quaintlullabies

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"And that's exactly how it happened, I swear," Sarah said on a sigh. "At least, that's what I think happened. It always seems to end up in a blur by the time I wake up."

Green eyes clenched tight, Sarah was tired of trying to explain to people that while they thought her stories were a dream, the fictional imaginings of an adult with an over-active imagination and a weird fear of owls, she knew them to be real. Not that she could ever really tell anyone they were real again, she didn't want a repeat of the last hospital admission.

“And you say it's the same dream every time,” came a stern voice, pulling her from her thoughts? “He offers you your dreams and you turn him down every time?”

“That's what happens,” Sarah murmured, a slight blush rising to the cream of her cheeks. Well, maybe not exactly that way each time, but those were the main points. “I mean, you're not the first doctor I've seen. They've told me that it means I was accepting growing up, that it was puberty and becoming an adult and all that jazz. The imagery represents letting go of childish things. I get it, but I still have that dream. Almost every night. I'm twenty-five; don't you think they should have stopped by now,” she asked, sitting up straighter in her chair, though never really looking up.

“Yes, I'm sure some people would have said that,” the voice answered back while his hand moved swiftly across the page. Great: more notes. “But I'd like it if you give our therapy sessions their own weight and not compare them to others. If we're going to get you better, we'll need to start at the beginning and make a fresh go. I think that's probably best in most aspects of one's life, wouldn't you agree?”

Sarah finally allowed herself a glance up at the man sitting across from her taking notes. He was young, she noted, far too young to be practicing any kind of medicine from the looks of it, though the diplomas on the wall in the simple office stated that he graduated from college in the late 90's. He had small, deep set hazel eyes and blond hair so light it was almost white, adding to the appearance that he wasn't much older that she was. Still, this being her third session with the man, he hadn't recommended that she be sent away to the loony bin after hearing her story. At least, not yet he hadn't. In fact, he seemed to be amused by it.

“So, Sarah,” he said, finally meeting her eyes for the first time that evening. “When you have the dream, does the man, uhm...” he trailed off, looking down at the scribbles on the paper. “This... Jareth... does he appear the same each time as well?”

“In various states of glitter-ness and varied outfits, but for the most part, yes. It's always regal and magical and ...” she trailed off. How did one accurately describe one Jareth, Goblin King to someone who'd never seen him? She shook her head. “Does that matter?”

“Everything matters, Sarah,” the man chastised. “I'm curious about the level of detail that goes into your dreams. It's interesting that you can describe your surroundings, the creatures you meet, the color of the highlights in this King's hair (though blue is a bit odd). You can describe what you wore, how your hair was... all of it, but you can never tell me how you feel about what's happening to you. Don't you find that odd?”

Sarah swallowed and thought about that for a moment. She had some theories about that, though she wasn't necessarily ready to share them with the good doctor at the moment. Maybe the reason she couldn't remember how she felt in her dreams about the whole things was because she didn't know how she felt about it when she was awake. Not that it mattered, really. It's not like she could ever get back to the Underground, or see her friends again. Her father and Karen made sure of that. In fact, if it wasn't for them, she'd still be having nightly conversations with Hoggle about the current state of the Goblin City, but her mirror was removed the moment she slipped and told Karen that she was holding real conversations with supposedly fictional characters. That had been the catalyst for all of this, really. And Sarah, being stubborn and unmoving, never once denied that the things she'd seen were real. That she really had fought her way to the castle beyond the Goblin City and defeated the King of Goblins by turning down her dreams. It was something she'd thought about frequently, playing different scenarios out in her mind – different outcomes, different endings – not that it mattered. As someone once told her: what's said is said.

“Well, according to your own account, Sarah,” Doctor Foster started, “you'll be having that dream again really soon, so I want you to do me a favor,” he said, reaching to the table beside him. “The first thing I want you to do when you wake up in the morning, is write down what you remember. Write down any thoughts or outcomes you wish had happened. It's very important. Write down as much detail as you can recall – even if it doesn't make any sense. Then maybe we can start breaking down what these dreams really mean,” he smiled. He handed over a small, brown, leather-bound book with intricate carvings around the border.

Sarah smiled as she took it, running her fingers across the etchings. “This is beautiful, but I can't accept it. I've got some old notebooks at home that I can use. This is entirely too beautiful for the ramblings of a crazy person,” she chuckled sadly, holding it back out to him to take.

“Nonsense,” he said, holding his hands up, refusing to take it back. “I insist. Maybe something so beautiful will entice you to keep up with your dream journal, and we can start getting to the heart of the matter.” He glanced down at his watch, noting the time. "And that's our hour this week. Don't forget, write down everything that you can remember."


Sarah smiled her thanks as she stood to leave. “I'll see you in a week,” she murmured, eyes still focused on the intricacies of the book as she left her therapists' office.


The moment the door was shut and Sarah out of ear and eye sight, the man stood from his chair and closed his eyes, muttering something so low under his breath that it was impossible to hear. The very fabric of the room bent to his will as he stepped through the freshly opened portal, back home, to the Ungerground. He knew Jareth wouldn't notice he was leaving or coming back, he was much too involved with his immediate surroundings. Not that it would matter for much longer, anyway. When he was was finished with this girl, Jareth was going to have a hell of a time keeping his life, let alone, his throne.