This is going to be awkward, but I cannot put it off any longer. Five years is enough...
Just As I Can Be So Cruel by Chemical-Love aka Irishgrlnextdoor (originally posted in 2010 and finished/self-removed in 2012) will begin the process of reposting.
I owe everyone an explanation, I mean it when I say it was self-removed, along with any and all my other works. I saw that there were a lot of guesses as to why this happened at the time, but the fact of the matter is that I removed everything because I felt at the time and for a long time after that it was holding me back as a writer. Let me explain that; I am proud of the work I did, I was never ashamed of it and although some people misunderstood it I never felt bad about the story or felt it needed to be pulled or changed for any nae-sayers or anti-fans. I still don't. I was deep into the world of Labyrinth and the success and popularity of all my works in this field were thrilling and deeply humbling, but I was just having fun writing it. I wasn't taking it as seriously as the work might have suggested and I knew all along that I could do better both in plot and overall story telling. It was easy and addicting, however, and took my focus away from feeling as though I had to work on my own stuff or my skill sets. It became a distraction for me.
Everyone's support was wonderful and encouraging, but I was addicted to the instant gratification of writing up a chapter and lapping up that response I would get from it and that was entirely my own fault. It became more important to me to focus on the fanfictions than it was my original work. By taking away the distraction and taking a hiatus, I was able to truly focus, perfect and complete that original work -more information to follow on that at a later time as well- and I feel I have grown substantially since my time spent on JAICBSC.
That being said, I will be reposting this story because I feel I have grown past the addiction and distraction I mentioned above and I felt I unfairly managed to jade a few of you in the process, which was never my intent. I apologize to those of you and hope that you are forgiving as fellow Labyrinth fans. I did see that some were able to save and even share this story illegally and without permission, to keep some fans tide over, but I feel the need to repost at the original and true source anyway.
I will not be retracting in the future. Ever. I will not be altering the original content very much, but I do want to improve the spelling and grammar a bit as I repost chapters and on that note I am looking for a beta reader whom can assist. If you think seeing these chapters a few days before others to smooth it out may be something that appeals to you, and you know the differences between there their and they're and then and than, then please PM me.
For those of you that have questions or wish to give me a piece of your mind you may PM me as well, I have enabled it once more. I look forward to reposting.
[Disclaimer: I don't own the Labyrinth or the characters that dwell there and am not getting paid for any of this. I do it purely for pleasure ;).
FYI in this story I will tweak the ending of the movie (the tiniest bit) and as a further FYI Jareth is DARK in this story. Yay for dark Jareth ;).
Last FYI I also write all my stories as though Sarah was eighteen.]
"Fair well my lady, and remember… should you need us…" Sir Didymus gently reminded her before his kind and furry image faded from the mirror's reflection. Sarah stared back at the mirror like it was the only thing in the world that mattered as the wrinkled image of her friend Hoggle replaced the brave fox knight. "Yeah," he continued, his wrinkled and weathered face taking away none of the tenderness and caring that filled his eyes, "Should you need us, for any reason…"
Sarah couldn't help the tightening in her chest that came from the love she felt for her friends and that she knew they felt for her. It was so surreal, she had run the labyrinth, taken on the goblin city, faced off with the Goblin King and rescued her baby brother… and now it was all over and she was supposed to leave it all behind.
She fought herself to keep from making a scene with her sobs but couldn't keep the tears from slipping down her cheeks. She did need her friends, that much she was sure of. They had been what made Toby's rescue possible. She loved them like they were her real family.
"But I do need you Hoggle," she confessed in barely more than a whisper.
The image on the mirror smiled at her lovingly before dissipating. She placed her hand against the cool glass of the mirror, as if testing if it was still solid. It held firm underneath her skin. She had no idea how she would be able to contact her friends again if she needed to, but she believed fully and honestly that Hoggle would be there for her when she truly needed his help, just like he had been in the labyrinth. She got up from her vanity and went over to her bed, sitting down on the side as she gazed at her print of the Escher room; so much like where she had had her final showdown with the goblin king.
It was all over now, and she felt equal amounts of regret and relief inside her.
Sarah suddenly heard the sound of a door opening and closing down the hall and turned her head toward her own door to listen better.
Her father and stepmother had already gone to bed, having made it back from dinner and the play. She could have sworn that she had heard their door though. The fact that it was her baby brother's door too since he slept in the same room was what made her spring to her feet and go to her door as goosebumps popped up all over her arms and legs. After what she had just gone through she wasn't about to assume it was nothing and go to bed.
She looked down the hall, hoping to see her dad going to the bathroom or something. There was nothing, but her father and stepmother's door was certainly cracked open and they always slept with it closed. Karen always hated to leave it opened at night.
Sarah crept down the hall towards the door, intent on just taking a quick peek to make sure everything was alright and then go back to bed. There were noises starting to filter out from just inside her parent's and Toby's room though, the sounds of cloth shuffling and the faint creaking of floor boards as something moved across them.
'Goblins!' her paranoid mind shouted at her.
Sarah reached out to push the door wide open when it suddenly did so of its own accord and a tall slim figure appeared in the door frame. Sarah let out a startled scream despite herself and flung herself back from the door, only to blush red like a tomato when she registered that Karen was in her night robe looking down at Sarah with a startled expression on her face. "Sarah?"
"What is it?" came her father's tired voice from deeper inside the room. No doubt he was already in bed and trying to sleep for the night.
"It's just Sarah honey, I was going to get a drink of water and I spooked her when I opened the door is all," Karen answered.
Sarah felt very foolish as she pulled herself to her feet, Karen offered her a hand but she didn't accept it.
Her stepmother came out into the hall and pulled the door closed behind her so as to not disturb Richard and Toby further. Sarah pretended to be smoothing imaginary wrinkles out of her shirt as Karen turned back to her. "Sarah what were you doing out here? Why aren't you in bed?"
"I had heard your door open and-"
Sarah stopped right there. What was she supposed to say, 'I thought that the Goblin King I had wished Toby away to while you were out had come back to reclaim him'? Cause that wouldn't go over well whether Karen believed her or not.
"Sarah," Karen continued, bringing the girl out of her thoughts and back into the hall. "I wanted to ask you something about Toby actually, about while we were gone…"
Sarah tensed up all over as she waited for Karen to somehow magically piece together that Toby had just spent hours in the castle at the center of the goblin city.
Her stepmother was also tense, her arms wrapped around her chest and her eyes holding some kind of deep emotion that Sarah couldn't guess at. "Did you- that is, did you have any boys over here while your father and I were out?" Karen asked, keeping her voice down and her features schooled as best she could.
Sarah hadn't expected that. "No, why?"
Karen raised an eyebrow like she didn't entirely believe her, but her eyes were un accusing for a change as she continued. "It's just that when I kissed Toby good night he smelled… different. Like a man's cologne or something."
Sarah thought back to when she had been standing there with the king on the hill before entering his labyrinth. The wind had been blowing and he had been directly upwind, saying something about how time was short. He had smelled wonderful and despite herself she had noticed. It was like he had bottled everything he represented, raw power wrapped in sophistication with hints of cunning and danger. It had entered her senses as smoothly as a seduction and she had remembered being floored by the smell for a second or two before she had realized he had just given her thirteen hours to solve the labyrinth and save her brother. "I didn't have any boys over," she said honestly again.
Karen nodded in agreement like she wanted to believe it enough to not really question it. "I was just making sure. Did you hear anything weird at all? It was just you and Toby in this house all night right?"
Karen was acting strange, but Sarah couldn't blame her. She had just smelled an unfamiliar cologne on her baby; any mother worth her spit would be concerned over that.
"It was just us," Sarah lied this time. She held the gaze of her step mother because she knew she had to. Lucky for her she was a good enough actress to also be a decent liar. Karen turned away first in defeat. "I was just making sure is all," she muttered as she descended the stairs to the living room. Her eyes remained a thousand miles away though and Sarah was sure she was trying to still piece it together in her head. Let her wonder, Toby was safe now and that was the important thing.
"You have it ready?" Jareth demanded more than questioned as he entered the room.
The medic that Jareth kept at his castle jumped slightly at his kings approach but steadied himself before turning back to his work. "Your majesty is impatient."
"Do not ask me to show patience in this matter as it is far too important," Jareth hissed at the shorter male. He stepped around the table piled high with utensils and tools for the healer, his patience gone and his temper rising. He was already in a frenzy and it was just getting worse and worse.
"I am done and the results are back. It is exactly what you believed, your majesty," the male confirmed.
Jareth's heart leapt at the news, doing little for his anger but causing him to smile slightly none the less. "And now there is nothing to stop me," Jareth said to himself more than the medic as he turned and left the room. He had much to do.
Karen leaned against the counter of her kitchen and sipped at her glass of water slowly. She lifted her free hand up to inspect it again. It was still trembling slightly. Outside she could hear the sound of a light rain picking up again. It was probably going to be showering on and off again all night.
She took another sip. Sarah had said it had just been her and Toby all night, but that smell…
Funny how such a familiar smell could cause her such instant grief and dread, and after so long too. Karen was trying her best to convince herself that she was wrong, that it wasn't that, but her common sense refused to let her lie to herself. Perhaps it was possible Sarah had known nothing of anyone coming into the house. No, she would have known at some point. Karen poured herself another glass and forced herself to remember that there was no way it was possible in any case. There were rules that had to be followed and those rules were protecting them all. They had for the better part of two years now.
Karen let out a yelp of her own and spun around, nearly dropping her glass as she steadied herself on the counter. Sarah stared back at her in surprise. "Oh for crying out loud Sarah you scared me half to death!" Karen gasped, her tone a little harsher than she had meant for it to be.
Outside a flash of lightning lit up the sky, followed seconds later by a low rumble of rolling thunder that Sarah would have said any other night was the sound of dragons growling as they flew across the sky.
Sarah stayed where she was near the door way. "I just wanted you to know that you don't need to worry Karen, about Toby and all. He's safe with me." There was a soft sincerity to the words the girl had spoken. Karen wasn't sure how to respond to it. She wished it was true, but Sarah was just a child. If real danger ever came to her son what would Sarah be able to do? She would only get hurt if she did try to protect him. Rather than saying so Karen simply smiled and nodded her head. "Thank you Sarah, I know."
Let the child delude herself. She seemed to live in delusions everyday. She'd grow up yet, but for now Karen simply tolerated the girl's healthy imagination. There was no doubt though that, for a girl who was going to be 18 in just a couple of months, she was overly prone to imagination and fairytales. Karen looked down at her water and smiled wistfully. How she could relate to the girl. She had learned her own lessons though growing up that fairytales are nothing more than fairytales.
"Would you like a glass of water?" Karen asked Sarah.
She hesitated, but nodded her head and stepped further into the room. The lights went off at that second and Sarah cursed.
"Sarah, language!" Karen scolded through the darkness. The storm had knocked out the power. Karen looked out the window to see how bad the storm was, only to frown when she saw that the streetlight across the road was still on. She could see lights on in a house down the road too.
"What is it Karen?" Sarah asked, moving slowly through the kitchen so she wouldn't bump into anything.
The sound of a tiny creature's laughter caused the blood to drain from both the women's faces and the hairs to stand up on the backs of their necks. Karen could feel her heart skip a beat, only to then fill with a dread and fear so deep it made her heart pound so hard it could have flown out of her chest at any minute. She turned toward the kitchen doorway but it was too late, Sarah was already running out and towards the stairs. "Sarah!" Karen called out frantically, racing after her stepdaughter in the dark. She almost smacked right into the girl just inside the living room door.
Sarah had stopped abruptly in her tracks, staring up at the top of the staircase with a dread that most people reserved for when they see hell's gates in front of them. Karen felt as if that would have been preferable though as her eyes climbed the stairs up to the very tall and slim figure of a man dressed in what she knew was formfitting black armor underneath the blue-speckled black cape he had wrapped around his body. Most of him hidden in shadows of the darkness the house was now plunged into. He stared back down at Karen with his intense mismatched eyes.
Karen felt her hand go over her chest like her body really did believe she was in danger of her heart exploding with how fast and hard it was pounding out blood. She would have expected to see loathing on the man's face, or at least some form of intense hatred. Instead he looked triumphant, an expression that rocked her to her core. She had all but forgotten about her stepdaughter when Sarah broke the silence.
"What are you doing here? I beat you!" the girl practically wailed.
Jareth turned his gaze on the girl and gave her such a disdainful look that Karen instinctively pulled Sarah into her arms to try to protect her from whatever was about to happen. Her words had not been lost on Karen though, sinking into the very pit of her soul. "Sarah what have you done?" Karen cried out, only to find she had barely whispered it as it left her lips.
"Do keep your voices down," Jareth drawled in a very calm and low voice from atop the stairs, "We wouldn't want… Roger," he said the man's name like it was a foul word, "To wake up and try anything heroic while my goblins are in the room with him now would we."
Karen felt like she was going to curl up into a ball and start weeping hysterically at any moment in light of her deepest fears becoming reality. The only thing keeping her up was the girl she had her arms wrapped around.
Jareth swept back his cloak and revealed that he was holding a sleeping Toby between the crook of his arm and his body. "Such a charming boy really, despite his surroundings and ill upbringing thus far."
Sarah sagged a little under her own pressing grief and Karen no longer had the strength of body to stand, falling to the ground like a worthless doll as her eyes stayed glued on her son in the goblin king's arms, tears pooling on the floor beneath her head. This couldn't be happening, it just couldn't.
"No," Sarah insisted, clearly having no clue as to what was really going on here. "I ran your labyrinth and beat you at your own game. You can't do this!"
Jareth raised an amused eyebrow and started to slowly make his way down the staircase, watching the two of them from over the railing. "Oh really?"
Karen could hear so many things screaming around inside her head, but her mouth was useless, just a part of her body she had no function for like her underarm or the left side of her waist, it was just there as another part of a whole mass holding organs. She forced herself to swallow past the lump in her throat that was threatening to suffocate her, barely able to choke out a coherent word. "Y-you can't t-t-t-take my son… n-not my son."
He smirked down at her before looking down at the babe in his arms. "Actually I can, I already did so once tonight with Sarah's help."
Karen looked over at Sarah, seeking answers as to why her world was crumbling before her very eyes.
Sarah continued to glare defiantly at the powerful man before them.
"Don't blame her too much for the loss of your son," Jareth continued as he reached the landing at the turn of the staircase. "After all, she never expected the goblins to really come and take the child away. You should be pleased to know that she fought to get him back most splendidly." There was a slight bitterness to his tone. "In the end though he is mine to keep."
"No he's not!" Karen found herself crying out, only to then remember that if Roger woke up he would be killed. She forced herself to grab the last bit of her control and lower her voice. "He's my son, mine and Roger's and you can't take him away from me."
The hatred was starting to seep into Jareth's eyes now. He clutched Toby a little tighter against his body and Karen could see the futility of her pleas. "Jareth no!" she cried out, beyond the point of reason or reserve, lounging forward mere inches from her spot on the floor.
Sarah whirled around to face Karen in surprise as the woman addressed the male by name, turning her back on the goblin king, "Jareth?"
At the same time the goblin king sprang down the last three stairs to the ground floor right next to Sarah with as much grace as a large cat would hold, wrapping his free arm around Sarah's arms and waist in a steel grip and easily pulling her back out of Karen's reach in the confusion. "That man up there and you both dealt me a very great insult. I have my revenge at last and now it will be the both of you that will wake up to find that the most precious things in your world are now lost to you forever."
"You can't take them!" Karen screeched, past reason now to try keeping her voice down. "This will never be allowed, they have nothing to do with you! You have no power over them any more than you do over me!"
Toby had woken up at the sound of his mother's cries and Sarah, as confused as the poor girl was, was struggling for everything she was worth in the Goblin King's grip. "Actually it is allowed, and I have Sarah to thank for the power she has given me over herself and Toby. I intend to give her a fitting reward for it," he grinned horrendously just before the three of them disappeared, leaving behind only a cloud of sparkling magic dust that turned dull the moment it hit the floor.
It was less than a minute later that Roger, who had woken up alone in bed to the sound of his wife's shouting was racing down the stairs, only to find his wife laying on the ground shaking and trembling with the force of her cries of pure anguish that filled the whole house with sound.