Disclaimer: The Labyrinth does not belong to me, and I am not making any money off this story.
I've loved The Labyrinth ever since I was a little girl, and after reading everyone else's wonderful fanfiction, I decided I should write my own. Grin. -Coffee
Sarah rolled her chair back, away from the computer's glowing screen. It was late and she was tired, but if she didn't finish this chapter of her new book her publisher would be most displeased. Books, books, books, writting and more writting. Sarah smirked as she remembered a time when she'd thought acting was the only thing for her. Of course that had been before HIM...
After that, acting had seemed a little too bland. No part could ever measure up to the fantastic adventures she'd had in the Labyrinth with Hoggle, Sir Didymus, Ludo...and of course Jareth.... She'd tried it for awhile, with some success. Directors loved her fair skin and dark hair, so perfect for the role of the innocent maiden, and as she got older, the seductive temptress. But it wasn't the same. The roles were sadly flat. Not once did she feel the emotions her characters required her to portray, and after a few years, she stopped trying.
What she discovered instead was that she could write fantastic characters in stories so unique and thrilling her first book reached the number one slot on the bestseller list, and stayed there for months.... Sarah found writting so much more satisfying than acting for two reasons: First, a story by Sarah Williams never had a shallow character or a boring plotline. Her works were as twisted and satisfying as the Labyrinth itself, and secondly, she enjoyed the control she had over what happened in her stories.
Since the brush with the all-consuming helplessness she'd briefly felt during her visit to the Labyrinth, Sarah had become something of a control freak. Now, she carefully measured, mixed, and rationed all aspects of her life, doing nothing she would regret later. Any risks she took were highly calculated, and her willful stubbornness was at times difficult for others to deal with. This older, wiser and more mature Sarah did things her way, and anyone who did not go along was immediately dispatched from her ranks. However, Sarah made it a point to be fair without fail, and while many found her tough, she was also pleasantly charming and highly intelligent.
Sarah knew she was difficult at times, but it was the only defense her mortal mind had against her previous brush with a certain wildly chaotic and unstable Goblin King.
Halting her unproductive daydreaming, Sarah quickly finished her chapter with a draining burst of inspiration and energy. When she was finished, she dragged her exhausted body into her bedroom, and prepared herself for some very welcome sleep. As she slipped between the sheets and reached to turn out the light, a large black and white cat jumped up on the end of her mattress, purring loudly and affectionately as he made his way to his customary position on Sarah's stomach.
Sarah emitted a small ooof! as the animal curled up on top of her, but could not help smiling at the comforting feel of two tons of kitty lard sinking into her torso. Doing her best to shift as little as possible, Sarah reached up, turned off the light, and promptly fell asleep.
"Leave my brother ALONE!"
Jareth was having a rather difficult time acquiring his most recent goblin prospect. The two boys before him were siblings, prone to fighting, and in a fit of rage, the eldest had wished the youngest away. However, upon his arrival the eldest had taken up a defensive stance, and was putting up a rather impressive fight for one who only a few minutes ago had wanted his brother turned to a goblin...
"What's said is said," The Goblin King explained with a touch of impatience. He took a step closer to the young boy, intimidating him with his height. "You wished that the child be taken away..."
"I DIDN'T MEAN IT!" The boy yelled. His small brother crouched behind him, holding on to the hem of the older boy's shirt. The oldest reached down and picked up a thick hardcover book. Holding over his head like a weapon, he cried, "Go away before I beat you up!!!"
Jareth smirked at the thought of this slip of a boy attempting to do him bodily harm. He took another step closer, carefully calculating the best way to take the youngest brother and retreat. The eldest brandished his book higher, and something caught Jareth's eye....It was a name. A name he'd done his best to forget in the past decade, and hadn't entirely succeeded. Sarah Williams...
The Goblin King straightened; taking a moment to ponder the ironic twist Sarah's book had brought to the situation. There was no doubt in his mind that the name on the book was his Sarah Williams. Sarah, Sarah, Sarah, became a writer did we? A gloved hand tapped a purposeful rhythm on his cheek, and after a moment he came to a decision.
"Give me the book, and I shall release your brother," he commanded the oldest, reaching out to receive the tome. The boy relinquished the book without hesitation.
"It's not the newest one anyway," he grumbled under his breath. Jareth glanced up sharply at hearing this.
"You mean Sarah has written other books?" he asked the child, who nodded vigorously, eager to share, now that his brother was out of danger.
"Lots!" he said. "They're better than Yu-gui-oh cards!"
Jareth sniffed at that, having not the slightest idea what Yu-gui-oh cards were, and at the same time not caring because he was certain that anything written by Sarah would undoubtedly be better than everything... He moved his hands over the book as though trying to remember every inch of it, looked at it from several different angles. It was Perfect.
With a twist of his hands, he vanished the book to the underground, and looked the two boys in the eyes.
"I will never hear from either of you again. Is that understood?"
They both nodded, looking properly chagrined. With a quirk of his eyebrow and a sigh of exasperation, Jareth wrapped his black cloak around his body and disappeared. ''
Sarah spent the next morning in ballet class, one of the few things she'd retained from her childhood. It was a good workout, kept her flexible and graceful. It was also something that fed her need to be in control. In ballet, not one part of her body moved without her permission, and when it did have her permission, it did exactly what she wanted it to. Sarah liked that.
After her class, Sarah drove back to her apartment to shower and change. She had a book signing that afternoon and a meeting with her publisher afterwards to submit the most recent section of her latest work. A busy day.
Long shower and then a good ten minutes in front of her closet trying to decide what to wear. Given the genre of her work, her readers usually expected her to wear something bohemian. Today she was certain to be seeing young children and their parents. She decided to compromise. Sleek black trousers for the adults, White tissue-linen peasants blouse for the kids. A light touch of make-up and she found herself scrutinizing her appearance in the mirror. Her eyes, hazel in her youth, now clear green like a cats. They were her favorite feature, followed closely by her long dark hair, and creamy white skin. Satisfied she looked good, Sarah grabbed her keys and purse. She paused before leaving to fill her kitty's food and water dish. Italics came running on padded feet at the sound of Meow Mix in his bowl. Sarah stroked him for a minute, then left, locking the door behind her.
The next day found Jareth in his throne room, on his throne, completely absorbed in Sarah's book. His feelings as he read were bittersweet. The book was filled with Sarah's essence, it was almost as if she were reading it to him. It made him think of her face, her eyes, the way she felt in his arms when they'd danced....all the reasons he'd fallen in love with her in the first place. However, it also reminded him of his defeat, his rejection at the hands of a girl who didn't fully understand the depths of what he'd offered her. Him. He'd offered himself to her, and she'd refused him.
Jareth finished the book, and somewhat reluctantly put it aside. His mind was already at work. He needed to face her again, to plead his case once more. Their last collaboration had ended so abruptly...He couldn't help but hope that maybe, just maybe, she'd change her mind.
Summoning a crystal, Jareth looked in on Sarah for the first time in years. She was surrounded by people, writting her name in books Jareth could only assume were her own. He could even see that some of the children were dressed like characters from the story. He smiled, amused.
Sarah herself was lovely to behold. Older, no doubt, and beautiful in a womanly way that hadn't been there when she'd made her way through the Labyrinth. Jareth couldn't look away, and he watched her for several minutes, taking in every detail. He was startled when she suddenly raised her head, looking alert and wary, like a hound that'd picked up on a faint scent. Somehow, Jareth knew instantly that she could feel him watching her. With a flick of his wrist, the crystal vanished, leaving the Goblin King alone with his thoughts, feeling sadly bereft.
For awhile, he wondered just how he'd get Sarah to come back to the underground. His eyes moved languidly around the room. They came to rest on her book....
Suddenly, Jareth had an idea....
Sarah was exhausted when she came barreling through the door that night. The book signing had run over by two hours, which was partially her fault, since she always felt guilty turning people away. She'd stayed and signed every copy, answered every child's question, spoken with nearly every parent, and when she was done, there was an hour long meeting with her publisher, who felt the need to chat about how much he enjoyed her work.
Throwing her jacket, purse, and a stack of mail on the table in the hallway, Sarah nearly ran to the kitchen in search of food. Not able to wait long enough for a regular meal, she yanked a Lean Cuisine out of the freezer, removed it from its cardboard box and threw it in the microwave. It was done and bubbling by the time she came back to it, having changed into more comfortable clothing. She wolfed the dinner down.
Later, when she felt nearly human, Sarah pulled a half gallon of chocolate chunk ice cream out of the freezer. Grabbing a spoon, she plopped herself down in front of the TV and stayed there for the rest of the night. It was nearly eleven when she felt tired enough to go to bed. Shucking her sweatshirt, she climbed in wearing only her blue camisole and black dance pants. She was drifting off when she suddenly remembered the mail still sitting in the hallway. With a groan, she pulled herself away from her pillow and went to fetch it.
Climbing back into bed with the lamp on, Sarah quickly sorted through her mail. There was a large manila envelope in with her bills and correspondence. She saved it for last. She could tell it contained a book, but there was no return address. Sarah slit the seal with her letter-opener, and shook out the envelope's contents. It was a book. A strange book. It was covered in designs that looked like writting, but in no language that Sarah knew. It was black, hardcover, and the designs were in silver and gold.
There was no title.
Sarah opened it to see if the title was on the inside. It took her a few minutes to comprehend, but when she did, she laughed aloud. The title of this strange book was, The Labyrinth: A choose your own adventure story. Flipping through it, Sarah could see that someone had taken her first book, a narrative of her adventures in the Labyrinth, and turned it into an interactive story. Intrigued, she read the disclaimer:
This is not an ordinary book.
You are responsible and accountable for the choices you make within these pages.
If you win, you win.
If you die, you die,
If you succumb to the Goblin King, you will belong to him forever.
You have been warned.
What a strange way to start a book, Sarah thought. With a shrug, she turned the page and started her own adventure. Someone had done a good job of making her story fit this format. Sarah moved seamlessly between pages, making choices about which way to turn as she moved through the labyrinth. Each turn introduced her to new characters, and occasionally brought her in contact with the Goblin King, who was a little too realistic for her liking.
She knew she was reaching the end of her adventure when her choices lead her to a showdown with the Goblin King. Eagerly, Sarah started reading the last page, which to her surprise, was nearly word for word the dialogue that has transpired between herself and the real Goblin King. Sarah continued to read with growing unease. She got to the part where Jareth silenced her and offered her dreams in crystal form once more. Here, Sarah was presented with another set of choices, which to her dismay, all pointed to endings that hadn't occurred.
The first was, If you want to accept the offer of your dreams, turn to Pg. 56. Of course, that one was to be expected. The next one was a little more discerning. If you don't want your dreams, but wish to stay with Jareth, turn to Pg. 32. Who had thought of that? The next one was a little more reasonable, but it still didn't fit with the original story. If you wish to take you brother's place and send him home, turn to Pg. 43.
These choices were strange. Obviously whoever had written this wanted Sarah and the Goblin King to stay together. Strange! Sarah thought, feeling goose bumps rise on her arms. Who would wish to STAY in the Labyrinth? With Jareth? True, he did have a certain appeal, but Sarah had almost lost her brother to the pretentious bastard...
Clearing her mind, Sarah looked over her choices, trying to find the one that sounded most like her. It didn't take long for her to turn to page forty-three. She continued to read.
You tell Jareth that you're willing to take your brother's place, provided he is sent home safely. Jareth seems surprised by your decision.
"You do not have to stay, Sarah," he tells you. "You reached little Toby in time." The statement comes unwillingly, and Jareth will not look at you. You feel very sad. He seems to really like you.
"I want to stay. Real life will seem so boring after all this," you say to him, smiling shyly. He smiles back, and you blush.
"Very well," he says, and the next thing you know, you're in your house, standing next to Toby's crib, with the Goblin King beside you. Little Toby is asleep, safe and sound, just as Jareth promised.
"You're sure you wish to return?" he asks again, taking your hand.
"Yes," you reply, squeezing tightly. He smiles again.
"Sarah, I will make you happy. I promise," he says, kissing your hand while looking into your eyes. You blush again and smile. "Say the words," he says, still holding your hand. You take a deep breath, look around at what you're leaving behind, and whisper:
"I wish the Goblin King would take me away, right now!"
As soon as Sarah finished reading those words, every light went out. A clock began to chime for midnight, but with thirteen chimes instead of twelve. Her bedroom window flew open, and Sarah screamed when she saw a white owl fly inside. Leaping from her bed, Sarah ran towards her front door, only to be stopped by the shadowy figure standing in front of it. The lights suddenly came back on, causing her to shield her eyes. She quickly threw her arms down and looked to the front door. Standing before her was the Goblin King. He bowed gracefully, and then crossed his arms in front of his chest. A mocking grin graced his lips.