Two quick notes:
The characters of Labyrinth belong to Jim Henson, as you probably already know if you like reading Labyrinth fan fiction.
This story is presented with thanks to my beta readers (illaona, pixxistixx4me, and the very talented Ashira) and all those who left such supportive reviews for "Mistletoe," to which this story is the sequel.
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Hoggle glanced anxiously at the crystal the Queen put on the shelf behind her, out of his line of view. "So what happens now, m'lady?" He hesitated to express the worry building in his system each second Sarah was out of his sight. The rat Jareth was the Queen's son and telling His Highness' mother that he feared for Sarah's safety at Jareth's hands would likely not go over well.
She glanced over at him and smiled indulgently. "We wait, Hoggle. They do not need our supervision now."
Mildly irritated, she interrupted him. "Adores her, Hoggle, as I've said before. There is no way this can go awry, I assure you. He's sulked and brooded over that girl for a dozen years now, and now that we've given him the opportunity, I'm sure he will be putting an end to this silliness. You saw how quick he was to go after her when she left the ball. He may be proud, but my son is also quite determined to have his own way."
"He didn't get his way when she beat the Labyrinth," Hoggle couldn't help pointing out.
The Queen shot him a warning look. "He let her win, Hoggle. You know as well as I do what he could have done to change the outcome of that little adventure." She smiled with sudden optimism. "But Sarah was just a child then and she did not understand what was being offered to her." Hoggle grunted doubtfully and she frowned at him again. "This was meant to be, as we both know. You've watched her all these years; you know she has not forgotten him." Hoggle stared at the floor, nodding slowly. He had guessed, from passing comments of Sarah's over the years, that she was secretly a bit sweet on the Goblin King. She'd never said as much directly to Hoggle on the subject, but he figured she hadn't even known it herself. Beyond that, Hoggle hadn't thought much more about her interest in Jareth, since most womenfolk reacted pretty much the same to the Goblin King (though why, Hoggle couldn't fathom). But despite his misgivings about the High Prince, when Hoggle had confided his suspicions to the Queen, she had reacted with such joy that he'd fallen under the spell of her enthusiasm and together they had set up this matchmaking plot. Now, knowing Jareth had gone storming after the girl and nothing else, Hoggle worried desperately about whether he'd been right to mention Sarah's fancy for the Goblin King at all.
"Don't worry, Hoggle my dear!" The Queen hugged his shoulders lightly. "Why, I'm sure they will both return here, perfectly delighted with what we have done for them," she finished serenely. "What a lovely Christmas gift for all of us!"
"If he doesn't screw it all up," Hoggle muttered darkly, eyeing the shelf above the Queen's head yet again.
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This is not happening.
Sarah walked to her kitchen, carefully glancing at every shadowy corner for certain Goblin Kings, her mind racing. It was nearly midnight, she had just awakened in her normal bed, clad in quite normal pajamas of a normal T-shirt and normal shorts, with a very abnormal holly bracelet around her wrist—a holly bracelet that brought her to the horrifying conclusion that her dream of being at an Underground Christmas ball, sharing the kiss of her life with the object of her fantasies and nightmares both, was real.
She tried not to think about that solitary glass slipper she'd found on her bedroom floor. And failed miserably.
"I'm going crazy, that has to be it," she muttered to herself, pouring herself a glass of water. "I'm just going to have a drink, calm down, go back to bed, and when I wake up, I'll call a shrink."
Or kill Hoggle, her mind added silently.
Still flustered, she snatched up her glass and headed into the living room. Her hand paused en route to a nearby lamp; she did not need a light, as there were candles already glowing around the room.
Candles. She blinked. Even the Christmas tree was aglow. Oh, shit. She felt his gaze like a caress, and turned, scarcely breathing, towards the fireplace. He leaned against it as she'd expected, his smile deliciously wicked. "Good evening, Sarah."
She dropped the glass.
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