Summary: Perspective… Sarah gains a bit of it.
A/N: Hey all. It's been a while since I posted in this category, so I'm a little shaky. But ease in with something small, that's what I always say. Well no, actually, what I usually say is, "Canonball!" But alas, that is not a statement that is applies with universal relevance in all circumstances.
A/N2: Being the review junkie that I am, I'm not usually one to use the line "I found this on my harddrive but I never posted it"…because if I wrote it, I'd sure as hell post it. Yet somehow, this one slipped by. I think it was because I intended to make it part of a larger something…but what that something was, I have no idea now.
When Sarah awoke the morning after her adventure, most signs of the celebrations she had enjoyed with her new friends were gone.
Sunlight streamed in through her open curtains and she rolled away to bury her head in her pillow. But comfort was not to be found, as the new position reminded her of the fact that she had not bothered to change into her pajamas before falling asleep. And jeans did not make for good substitutes.
She emitted a single groan of resignation before lifting her head and opening tired eyes to face the world that awaited her. Using her balled fists, she rubbed away the bleariness in her vision and turned once more onto her back.
Musing upon the adventures of the previous night, her expression turned loosely dreamy and wondering. All her secret hopes and fancies had proven true. Despite what anyone else told her, despite what anyone else tried to make her believe, she knew that there was a world out there beyond her own. A world of the fantastic and the incredible, where the musings of dreamers like her belonged.
She could take her head out of the clouds now, for her dreams were to be found within the Underground. A place where people like her stepmother, her father, and all those people who had ever criticized her dreamer's nature did not belong.
A place she had walked away from.
Sarah frowned as the last thought entered her head, a sharp reminder that burst the bubbles that had been floating about.
She had walked away from her dreams when they were offered to her in the form of a single crystal ball in an outstretched gloved hand. Was it really a blessing to know that the place of her dreams existed if she could never go back there? Had it truly been worth it?
Sarah let out a heavy sigh at the same time a high cry cut into her musings. Knowing what was already coming, she pulled herself out of bed and trudged toward the door just in time to hear her stepmother's voice call out from the bottom of the stairs. "Sarah, could you please see to your brother?"
"I'm on it," Sarah replied, heading into her parents' room, where Toby's crib lay. She was surprised that he was only waking now, at late morning. Usually, her brother was up early and compensated with several naps throughout the day. But then, she supposed, his own adventure of the previous night had worn him out as well. She had only a vague idea of what he must have endured during the hours in which she ran the Labyrinth, sleep probably not rating among the list.
A blond head appeared over the edge of the crib and the crying stopped as soon as the toddler spotted her. He held out his arms expectantly and with a bemused grin she reached down and picked him up.
"If I didn't know any better, I'd swear that was your way of calling me."
Toby settled comfortably on her hip, his round face staring back at hers, an innocent smile on his lips.
Sarah sighed, placing a gentle kiss on the baby's cheek. "Oh, Toby. Will you remember any of this? Will you ever understand what I did for you last night?" Another soft breath of air was released before she shook head to clear it of her melancholy thoughts. With Toby in her arms, she headed toward the door. "Come on, let's get some breakfast in us."
Just as she reached the threshold and was about to enter the hallway that would take her to the stairway, a small voice stopped her in place.
Slowly Sarah turned her head, eyes brimmed with awe and cautious joy. "What did you say, Toby?"
The toddler merely stared back at her, eyes big, blue and innocent.
In a voice soft and wondering, she inquired, "Did you say 'Sarah,' Toby?"
"Sawah." Surer this time as she saw the word form on his lips and escape his mouth with determined purpose.
Sarah let out a breathy laugh, watching as the cherubic face lit up in response to her own happiness. Toby made a gurgling sound in his throat and clapped his hands together. "Sawah!"
Eyes dancing, Sarah swung about in a circle, Toby's body clutched firmly in her arms. As they came to a stop, she brushed her lips across the cap of gold on his head, inhaling in that distinctly baby smell.
"Yes," she whispered fiercely, answering her own unvoiced question of earlier. "It was worth it."
And as she bowed her head forward, allowing Toby to revel in the moment as he playfully grabbed handfuls of long chestnut strands, a single tear burned a path down her cheek. Whether it was from joy, or something else, she couldn't say.