Disclaimer: Jareth, Sarah, Hoggle, & the labyrinth belong to Jim Henson. The rest is my doing...

This story is for my little muse "Sharkdiver", who also happens to be my sister.

Chapter 1: Home again

The scent of dried leaves and chrysanthemums filled Sarah's nose as she walked out the front door of the town library. The cool wind whipped her hair as she crossed the street and headed home. She smiled as she trekked through the freshly fallen leaves and admired the pumpkins and Jack O' Lanterns that sat in silent vigil on many of the porches and steps of the cozy New England homes that she passed.

She pressed her books to her chest as she walked home, a walk she'd taken a million times before. She shivered in the cool autumn air, glad that she had worn her sweater. It was a lovely fall day and she couldn't remember more perfect weather for Halloween.

She had been overjoyed that her father had asked her to come watch the house while he, Karen, and Toby were away. She had just graduated from college a few months before and found a nice little apartment for herself in the city, but the two weeks at home would be a nice comforting change and give her the perfect chance to spend some time thinking about what she wanted to do with her life.

She had landed a part time job doing some writing for a women's magazine, which also gave her the time to be involved with a local theatre company where she volunteered her help in the wardrobe and occasionally took small roles. As much as she liked living in the city she had to admit that so far it was a bit lonely. She was thankful that between her job and the theatre she was able to keep herself busy.

Sarah rounded the corner and turned down her street thinking how nice it was going to be to see her old friends from high school. This Halloween party she hoped would be just what she needed to lift her spirits and get back in touch with old friends.

Speaking of old friends... she thought to herself. She wondered how her friends from the underground were doing. She hadn't seen them in well over 4 years. She had started to drift apart from them as she went through high school and made new friends and then lost touch with them completely after she went off to college.

She had tried in vain a few times to contact them but it never worked, in fact she remembered the last time she had spoken to Hoggle was as she was getting ready for her high school graduation. He had appeared in the mirror and told her that he was so proud of her and that he wanted her to enjoy college, and that they would never forget her and with that he was gone...that was the last time she had seen anyone from the underground.
As Sarah walked through the front yard enjoying the sound of the dried leaves crunching under her feet she remembered the large pumpkin she had left on the porch. She'd have plenty of time to carve and it and get ready for Trina's party. Sarah quickly let herself in and dumped her books on the coffee table. She grabbed a large knife, a trash bag and the pumpkin carving kit from the kitchen and headed back out to the porch.

Sarah sat on the steps and got to work on her Jack O' Lantern. She removed the top piece and started scooping out the insides when she heard an owl softly hooting in the tree above her. She thought nothing of it, and ignored the persistent sound. As she finished the pumpkin she set it down to admire her handiwork. The Jack O' lantern smiled back with a stupid toothy grin, and she couldn't help but think, It kind of reminds me of a goblin.

It was then she heard hooting of the owl this time louder and more persistent. Sarah looked up at the tree and after a few seconds she spotted it. It hooted again and she replied, "Well what do you want?" With that the owl swooped down and landed on the railing of the porch about two feet from her. Sarah stared wide-eyed and the white owl stared back at her. She felt her throat tighten in panic as one word echoed in her mind, Jareth.

Sarah swallowed and the owl held it's ground. Her mind was reeling in about a hundred different directions, Could it be him, what does he want, is he trapped in that form or is he just trying to torment me, or is it simply just an owl? She didn't know what to think. Feeling more than a little silly she addressed the bird "J...Jareth? Is that you?" The owl simply blinked twice and took off. Sarah sighed in relief, "I must be losing it..."

It was just starting to get dark so she brought the pumpkin inside and set it on the mantle. She glanced at the time and decided she'd take a hot bath and then get into her costume. Sarah lovingly looked around her room. It was still the safe haven and escape from reality that it had been all those years ago when she encountered the labyrinth. Most of her childish belongings had been carefully put into storage in the closet and posters of rock bands now adorned her walls instead of toys, but it still was a magic place all her own.

She carefully removed the black skirt and blouse from the closet and laid out a pair of back tights and a headband with two furry cat ears. Last she found the tail and got a safety pin to attach it to her skirt. It was a simple costume but it was cute and she'd be able to dance while wearing it. She pulled off her sweater, tossed it on the bed and headed to the bathroom.

As she was soaking in the steaming tub she pondered whom she might run into at the party. It would be nice to see all her girlfriends; no doubt many of them would come with dates. She wondered how she had managed to stay single. Sure she had dated a few guys but it never turned into anything serious. Somehow none of them seemed quite right and it wasn't like her to keep stringing them along.

She finally came to the conclusion that she was just too picky. She wondered, what do I really want? Hmmm...someone intelligent and wise, mature but fun, someone with confidence, and a sharp wit. Mmmm and handsome would be a plus. She let out a ragged sigh...someone like the goblin king maybe? She banished the thought as soon as it entered her mind. Better cool it, thoughts like that could get me in real trouble.

She remembered how the arrogant king had made her feel, small...terrified but strangely alive at the same time, she distinctly remembered how she lost her breath every time he appeared, and that no one had ever made her feel like that. She silently cursed herself for dwelling on such thoughts, but she couldn't help but be curious about what had happened to the goblin king.

Had she destroyed him? Deep down she hoped not, her anger at him had been very real but at the same time there was some truth to what he had said. She did after all ask that Toby be taken away. She also wondered if what he had said in the end had been true or some kind of trick to stall her. Well sadly she realized she'd never know because if even the Goblin King still existed there was no doubt in her mind that he would be angry about his defeat and would want nothing to do with her and somewhere inside herself she couldn't really blame him. She had been a spoiled, selfish, and cruel if what he had told her had been the truth and she had rejected him and defeated him in the same moment.

Sarah shook her head and realized she'd been in the tub far too long, her skin was getting pruney and the water was getting cold. She got out and dried off, threw on her terrycloth bathrobe and headed to her room. She dressed quickly in her costume and checked herself in the mirror. The black blouse and short back skirt complimented her figure and the ears added the right amount of cuteness, but something was missing.

As Sarah reached for her cosmetic bag she realized what she had forgotten. With her black eyeliner pen she drew a small triangle at the tip of her nose and added three whiskers to each cheek, and just for effect she applied some dark eye shadow, a little liner and mascara, and a hint of glossy lipstick and she was ready.

Suddenly she heard the doorbell, "Oh shit...the candy, I almost forgot", and with that she made a dash for the kitchen to get the bowl of mini candy bars and peanut butter cups. As she left her room she didn't notice that the white owl was perched in the tree just outside her window.

She opened the door to reveal a small witch, a tiny killer in a hockey mask, and a couple of assorted Pokemon. She offered them the candy as they shouted "Trick or Treat", and she wished them a happy Halloween. She handed out the candy until 8:00 and then left what was left on the porch beside the glowing Jack O' Lantern.

She decided to walk to Trina's house in case she decided to get a bit tipsy; why not after all ...it was less than a half a mile and it was a relatively safe neighborhood. She grabbed the bottle of merlot and was out the door.