Sarah never knew quite how much she really needed the Labyrinth until school started up again. She never did like school that much.
She never paid enough attention to the "now" to fit in with any particular clique. She wasn't crushing on anybody, so she couldn't gaze hopelessly at people with others. And all her favorite books were by authors nobody her age could pronounce, so she had nobody to really share interests with.
To say she felt lonely would be an understatement.
She returned home from the first day of the new school year utterly exhausted. The fact that the first day was it's usual "name, favorite color, favorite thing, what you did for summer" spiel that every teacher uses meant nothing.
As she flopped down onto her bed, she wished in her mind that she had a way to just get away from the world for a while.
Her mind answered back.
"Say it," her mind told her in a baritone voice.
"You just want me to say it so you can put me through hell again," she mumbled in response. She wasn't about to let her fantasies take her away again.
"Malicious wishes get malicious results. The same applies with the opposite."
"Promise there will be no danger," she said. She had been reading up on her magic folklore over the summer. She knew the loopholes, and would try her best to avoid them.
"So long as you and I inhabit the same world, no harm shall come your way."
Sarah took a few moments to wrap those words around her mind, to twist and stretch them in every possible direction, looking for ways they could be misconstrued or manipulated. She saw no ill intent.
But now came the most difficult part: saying the right words.
"I wish," she began hesitantly, the words slightly stinging her tongue with the memory of the last time she used them.
"I wish to speak with anyone who will seriously listen," she said, having no idea if the wish would work or not.
The lights flickered as a small wind came to life in her room. The current collected upon itself and began to take form at the other end of her room. Kinda tall, kinda fluffy, and very ominous. When the dust and papers settled, he was standing there, not moving an inch.
The Goblin King.
About half of Sarah's brain did not expect the Goblin King to actually show up, much less in her bedroom, and was trying to cope with the idea of him in her personal area. The other half was refusing to admit that he existed, trying to force memories of him out of her head and make her think he was nothing more than a scary dream. That half had shut down due to the contradictory evidence currently before Sarah's eyes.
Jareth took the hint immediately.
In an instant Sarah and Jareth were no longer in her bedroom. In fact, there was no bed at all in this room. There wasn't anything. Just a white floor, and more white as far as the eye could see. No discernible boundaries other than a flat surface to stand on. Jareth said nothing.
After several minutes of silence, Sarah finally spoke.
"Where are we?"
"This is your Comfort Zone," he explained. "Here, you, and only you can change things. Place anything you desire wherever you want it. Nothing can get closer than you allow it. Nothing can happen unless you say so." He gestured to Sarah, inviting her to try thinking of anything.
For a brief second, she thought of how tired she was.
And then there was a couch, and she was sitting on it. It appeared with neither subltety nor surprise. It was as if the couch had always been there, and she just hadn't realized it.
Still without moving a muscle, Jareth looked at Sarah.
"What did you want to talk about?"
And Sarah told him everything. Every detail that troubled her, every moment of self-doubt, every minutia that must seem trivial to an ancient being but means the world to a teenager.
And he listened to every word.
Over the years, Sarah would continue to visit her Comfort Zone and just get things off her chest. Sometimes she would talk about it, and other times she would go off to an unused area and create a new section of her Zone, just mentally venting and seeing what came out of it.
But each time she visited, Jareth would be there, in case she needed to talk.
Many years after her first visit to her Comfort Zone, Sarah would just sit on the first object that was ever there. She looked to the Goblin King as he sat in his chair many feet away, and asked him.
"What does your Comfort Zone look like?"
Jareth smiled and giggled a bit.
"You've already been there, years and years ago."