...Though We're Strangers Till Now

by Jacqui
Note - All the original characters do NOT belong to me, although the rest of them do. Last names of those characters who didn't or don't have them are entirely fictional. This is my first attempt at Labyrinth fan fiction, so reviews would be really nice and appreciated. This story is mostly based on the movie, but there's a few elements from the book thrown in here and there. I read Labyrinth analyses, various fan fiction, and also came up with my own conclusions and ideas. So, this entire story will entail all three of those sources of information. It may be weird, it may be good, either way, as I mentioned before...feedback is always appreciated and adored. :) Oh yeah, Jim Henson, Brian Froud, and everyone who had a hand in creating this movie are geniuses.

Chapter 1: Turbulence

Sarah had just recently turned 22, which for her, was an awkward age. Sure, 21 was great, but now she was 22. It felt like 30 to her. She had recently been accepted to an acting school in California, and she planned on telling her father when he and her stepmother came back from his business trip next week. She wanted it to be a surprise, along with her recent visitations to a rehab center. At age 22 she was still living in a house where she and her stepmother just didn't get along. Their verbal fights came closer and closer to breaking out into physical abuse every time they occurred. Sarah tried many ways of absolution; talking to her father, a therapist, her counselors at school, she even confided in Toby once or twice. Nothing seemed to help her, and since the day she turned 21, she had used alcohol as a temporary companion. That wasn't actually the reason, it was in part, but it wasn't the complete story. Nevertheless, she tried to blame it on her stepmother, she didn't want to deal with the real reason if she had a way around it. But she was going to try and make it work this time, she had simply wanted the life of a normal girl for so long. Maybe she just had to get out of that house, there were still so many memories there, too many which attacked her instead of making her smile or laugh. She loved her father and Toby, but she wasn't sure if she could come to love her stepmother. She needed time away from them in order to get her life back together. Then maybe, just maybe, she could try and make it work with her stepmother. She was seriously looking forward to her new life in California.

As Sarah was preparing dinner, she heard the phone ring. Before she could turn around to answer it, Toby had already beaten her to it. She smiled slightly, noticing that he hadn't changed out of his pajamas all day. He was such a lazy boy, and a brat, but he was the one who convinced her to go to rehab. She was grateful to him for that, she might have never done it if he hadn't told her how it was tearing him apart to see her and 'momma' fighting all the time. She realized that she did it mostly for him, not just for herself. She shook her head as she looked him over, still smiling. His hair was a darker shade of blonde now, which complimented his pale features and his large inquisitive eyes. He was slightly of tall for an 8 year old, but that apparently showed how dominate the tall gene was in the Williams family. She was just turning around to get back to making dinner when Toby called for her.

"Hey sis, dad's on the phone...he wants to talk to you," Toby said, yawning.

"Alright," Sarah said as she quickly crossed the room, simultaneously drying her hands. She took the phone from Toby and shooed him away, "Hello? Dad?" Sarah smiled as she watched Toby run back up to his room.

"Sarah? Sweetie we have to talk, it's very important," Robert said calmly, almost too calm.

"Important? Dad, what's wrong?" Suspicion was evident in Sarah's reply.

"Well, I guess there's no easy way to tell you..." came her father's voice, slow and drawn out as if he was distracted by something. Of course, she could faintly hear her stepmother crying in the background.

"What's wrong with her? Dad, what's going on?" Sarah was getting impatient.

"Do you remember my business trip? ...Oh sweetie I'm so sorry..." his voice made him sound emotionally wounded.

"Yeah, I remember. And why is she crying?" Sarah asked, the last question hinting towards sarcasm.

"She's upset, honey. She has every right to be. Anyway, that trip Sarah..."

"Why? What's the problem?"

"Me and your stepmother aren't on a business trip. We took a weekend vacation to try and work things out between us...I'm so sorry I lied to you honey, but..." his voice was breaking. Sarah knew that tone, she was going to receive some depressing news. "We've decided this is the best decision that can be made."

"What decision?" Sarah was trying to push the conversation along now, she just wanted it to be out and over with.

"Divorce, Sarah. We're getting a divorce. But..." he trailed off as if he was trying to think of what to say.

"D-Divorce? Daddy, oh my god...I'm so sorry..." Sarah whispered, shocked. Then, in a split second of hearing that news, another problem presented itself to her. "Wait, Toby. What about Toby?" Her voice was demanding as she held the phone with both hands clenched tightly around it.

"Toby...Sarah...I thought it was only fair for his mother to take custody of him. I'm not prepared to fight her over this. We'll have visitation rights...we've already talked this over, and we've agreed on it." Now he just sounded cold, and detached as if he were a machine.

"What?! No! Dad, no! What do you mean it's only fair? It's not fair! I won't ever see him again, and you know it! I knew this would happen, I...she's just going to walk out on us, isn't she?!" Sarah's voice was rising with each word, but before she could finish her father interrupted. She's going to walk out on us and take Toby with her! I knew this would happen again! Dad, tell her that--"

"Sarah, please...it's already been discussed, and we've decided on how things are going to work." Robert was pleading with her to let the matter go, but instead she found a point to cut him off. "Now...please, don't make this any harder--"

"Don't make what any harder? You act as if you don't even care! Toby is your son and he's my brother! Where the hell does this divorce leave us?" Sarah was almost screaming into the phone, she hadn't noticed that Toby had heard her and come to sit on the stairs and listen.

"Sarah, please. We can talk about this more when I get home. But you should have Toby's things packed before I get there. Please, Sarah. Honey, I know this is a lot for you to take in right now, but I will explain it later, please, just listen to what I tell you until this is over." Her father had lost it. She was on the verge of losing it. What was she going to do now? She just stood there with the phone in her hands, not knowing what to do or say. Should she just go get his things ready? Should she still try and fight this? If you do try and fight this, you'll only end up losing because he'll take her side. You'll be hurt all over again by your own father and along with that, you'll have to watch Toby leave. Sarah immediately shook that thought from her mind, but she felt hopeless. What could she do to keep Toby from leaving? Nothing. Just let him go, Sarah. Her father's words came back to her, "...we'll have visitation rights..." There really was nothing she could do, her stepmother had finally won. "Sarah? Hello? Honey, are you still there?" Her father's voice broke her concentration and snapped her back to reality.

"Yeah..." she choked, it was the only thing she could say.

"Okay, um, we're going to be heading home soon, so remember to have Toby's things uh...packed and um..." She knew her father wasn't trying to be cold, but that's just how he was coming through on the phone, cold and without feeling.

"What?" She asked in a monotone voice, her eyes staring straight ahead. Her mind was clouded by a myriad of thoughts and her heart felt as if it had been ripped out and shoved down her throat. She was finding it hard to breathe.

"Um...she wants to take him to her mother's house tonight. Just to get him used to being away from his first home. Just until she can find a suitable place to stay...so uh...Sarah have his things packed, we'll talk about this when I get home. I'll say my good byes to Toby when I get there...we should be home by 1 or 2..." He sounded tired. Like he just wanted it to be over. Like he had lost every bit of tenacity. He seemed lost, whether it was to her, to the world, to himself, or all three; he sounded spiritless.

"Okay, dad. Bye." She hung up the phone before he had a chance to respond. She just stood there for several minutes, clasping a dishtowel in her hands, her eyes glassy and unmoving. Dad had every right to feel the way he did, he was losing his wife and his son, but that didn't mean he had to be so coarse with her in breaking the news the way he did. She even believed that he should have gone to court to keep Toby, he was, after all, equally theirs. Now she had to get her own brother ready so that he could leave her. She hated that woman now more than ever. If her father couldn't make things work with his own wife, who the hell was she fooling into thinking she could? She just didn't understand. His first wife left, and now his second was leaving. Both wives taking something of extreme importance to her. She had to get away from this. She made a mental note of it and blinked herself out of her statuesque composure.

"Toby?" She turned around just in time to see Toby running back up the stairs to his room. He'd heard everything. "Toby!" She raced up after him, and before he could lock her out, she jammed her foot in the door and forced it back open.

"I heard it, I'm going to have to leave!" Toby yelled, tears welling up in his troubled eyes.

"Oh Toby...I wish there was something...we have no choice. Just because you're leaving..." she was racking her mind to find something to say to comfort him. "It doesn't mean we don't love you." She didn't know what to tell him. She was at a very unfortunate loss for words. "Dad asked me to get your things together. Your mom is taking you to grandma's tonight..." Sarah just stared at him, lying on his bed, his face buried in his pillow as he cried. She felt so guilty. She didn't do a damn thing wrong here, but why did she feel so guilty? Just then, an idea came to her. She smiled slightly at this idea, for she knew it would work, it always had.

She ran across the hall and went to her room, retrieving her play book for "The Labyrinth." Toby had always loved to listen to her read from that book. He felt a certain comfort and happiness when she spoke of the goblins and the Goblin King, although they weren't the typical good guys. She placed her hand lightly on his back, patting him gently.

"Hey, Toby...if you promise to stop crying, I'll read from the little red book again." She waited for a moment, and, just as she expected, Toby's head rose from the pillow and he wiped his reddened eyes as he nodded in agreement. They had a few hours before she even had to think about packing Toby's things. She wanted to spend as much time with him as she could before he was taken away from her. After all, he loved this story, after tonight it might be a long time before he ever heard of it again.

"Are you going to start where we left off?" Toby asked, sniffling lightly.

"Of course, silly," Sarah replied as she sat down on his bed and watched him scoot up next to her. "Ready?"

"Uh huh," Toby nodded, wiping his eyes once more.

"Okay, here we go."

And with that, Sarah began to read.