Disclaimer: I am a goblin and stole these characters. JR, PJ, Mr. Henson, if you want them back you're gonna have to come get 'em in the castle at the center of the goblin city. Just kidding of course. All the usual disclaimers apply.
AN: So… one day my roommate and I were watching Labyrinth. Afterwards, my muse informed me that the goblins in the Labyrinth were much different than those in Middle Earth (duh), and pondered upon what Thranduil or Legolas would have to say about them. This comment was quickly followed by a rabid plot bunny in goblin armor shouting "Bite her in the Teriyaki!" which refused to leave me alone. When I informed my roommate of my plight, she aided me by helpfully suggesting several ideas for character interactions, and from this sprang the following story, written in conjunction with my roommate, The Jedi Wizard Hobbit.
It was tremendously fun to write. JWH has seen Labyrinth many times and on top of that is a David Bowie freak. Consequently, she knows Jareth's character very well AND does an excellent impression of him. The majority of the dialogue was written by her and me assuming the roles of the characters, she as Jareth and I as Thranduil or Legolas, and talking back and forth. (We did this a lot during dinner.) As it was originally my story, I wrote most of it, but she has several parts of her own which I will identify as such when they are posted and she had a hand in many of the other events as well and most of Jareth's good lines are hers. Credit for the title also goes to JWH.
Magic Dance in Middle Earth
Thranduil had a headache. It was one of those stress headaches that he had felt niggling around the bridge of his nose long before it had spread above his eyebrows and up into the center of his head in a piercing, throbbing pain like a dwarf trying to hack through his skull with a pickaxe. After a long day of dealing with matters of state and worrying over the growing threat of spiders in Mirkwood the last thing he wanted to do was put Legolas, his hyperactive youngest son, to bed.
Unfortunately for the woodland King, his wife and daughter had gone visiting his wife's mother on the outskirts of the elven city, and would not return for a few days yet, while his older son had been sent as an embassy to Imladris. The king could have asked Legolas's nurse to put him to bed, but the maid had been looking after the little prince all day and Thranduil felt a bit guilty, having spent little time with his son in the past few days.
But before he could give Legolas his bath and put him to bed, Thranduil had to find his son. This proved a difficult task; Legolas was not in his room, nor was he in the throne room or the kitchens, the elfling's favorite places. Frustrated, Thranduil tried his own room, and found Legolas perched on the top of his canopy bed.
"Father!" the little elf cried. "Look how high I am!"
Thranduil's eyes widened. "Legolas!" he exclaimed. "Come down from there!"
He had forgotten how literally five year olds often take things, and it was only the speed of elven reflexes that allowed Thranduil to catch his son as the elfling obeyed his father's instructions and leapt from his perch.
"Ai, Legolas!" Thranduil moaned. "One of these days you are going to hurt yourself, my son."
"Won't!" Legolas replied, squirming in his father's arms. "I'm brave and strong, like you!"
Normally Thranduil would have found this statement very endearing, but his recent fright and his piercing headache made him annoyed and cross.
"Not yet, you aren't," he said. "Right now you are a little elfling who is in need of a bath and a good night's sleep."
"I'm not little!" Legolas said petulantly. He hated being told he was young because everyone around him was older than he, and it bothered him. Thranduil knew this, but his headache had driven away some of his usual tact.
"Legolas, I don't have time to argue tonight," he said. "So please just cooperate."
"I'm not little," the elfling said again, crossing his arms and sticking out his lower lip in a pout.
Thranduil sighed and carried his sulking son down the hall to Legolas's own chambers where the servants had left a tub of steaming water for the prince's bath. Thranduil started to undress Legolas, but the little elf pulled away.
"I can do it!" he said excitedly, and set his small hands to work undoing the ties of his tunic. His five year old motor skills proved unequal to the task, however, and Thranduil did not have the patience to wait.
"Legolas," he said, reaching for the ties.
"No Father, I can do it!" the elfling said again, turning away. Thranduil ignored the statement, picking Legolas up and quickly undoing the ties, despite his son's wiggles.
"Father, no!" Legolas was not happy at being picked up and hauled around in what the little prince viewed as a very undignified manner. The fact remained, however, that his father was much bigger and much stronger than he was, and soon he was stripped and sitting in the bath.
So Legolas sulked as his father washed him, but, typically elven, his mood could not stay sour for long. He didn't want to be angry with his father, he wanted to play. When Thranduil turned around to get shampoo Legolas climbed out of the tub and disappeared out the slightly open door.
It took Thranduil only a moment to realize where his son had gone, for the elfling had left a dripping trail of water in his wake.
"Ai, Legolas!" he groaned, rinsing his soapy hands in the water and setting out after him.
Legolas crouched in the shadows, completely uncaring that he was stark naked and dripping wet, and waited for his father to come looking for him. Hide and seek was a game they often played together, and Legolas was getting very good at eluding his father.
The trail of water had lessened, and looking for a few droplets of water on the dark stone floor of the wide hallway was a daunting task, even for an elf, and Thranduil's patience was wearing thin.
"Legolas, if you don't come out right now, the goblins are going to come to get you," he said, something that his father, Oropher, had often told Thranduil when he was child.
Legolas came running out of the shadows and threw himself at his father.
"No they won't, father," he said, clinging to Thranduil's leg and dampening the King's robes. "You'll protect me." He looked up at his father, wide-eyed. "Right?"
Thranduil sighed and picked his son up.
"Yes, I will protect you," he sighed. "Now will you please come back and take your bath?"
"Uh-huh," Legolas put his arms around Thranduil's neck and pressed his wet head against the older elf's cheek. Cold water dripped down Thranduil's collar as he carried Legolas back to his room.
The water had grown cool during their absence, and Legolas protested vehemently as he was put back into the bath. Thranduil managed to get him clean, but not without getting almost as wet as Legolas. As he dried the little elf off and slipped his wiggling form into a pair of soft green pajamas he turned weary eyes to the heavens.
Valar, why? he asked silently. His brother and sister were so easy…
There was a barn owl perched in Legolas's window. The little prince loved animals, and animals loved him, so Thranduil wasn't surprised to see the bird there.
"Oh shoo!" he said crossly. 'Go on, get out of here!"
The owl regarded him silently and didn't move.
"Very well, then stay," Thranduil snapped, resisting the very un-kingly urge to throw something. He set Legolas down on the bed.
"No, father, I don't want to sleep!" Legolas said as Thranduil pulled the covers up over his chest. "Can we play a game?"
Thranduil massaged his forehead, trying to will the headache away.
"Legolas, it's very late, and you need to sleep."
"I'm not tired," Legolas said, bouncing. "I want to play!"
"Legolas, no," Thranduil said firmly. "You have to go to sleep now."
"What are you going to do?" Legolas asked, tangling his fingers in Thranduil's hair.
"Legolas, stop that!" Thranduil caught his little son's wrist and liberated his golden tresses. "As soon as you go to bed, I am going to bed as well."
"Can I sleep in your bed with you?" Legolas asked.
As Thranduil's plans actually included a long soak in a hot tub and a generous amount of wine, he shook his head.
"No, little one. You must go to sleep in your own bed."
Legolas frowned. "You never want to be with me!" he pouted. "You don't love me anymore!" With these words the little elf dropped his face into the pillow and dragged the blanket over his head. Only a little golden hair peaked out.
"Legolas," Thranduil tried to pull the cloth down again, but Legolas held on tightly.
"Go away!" came a muffled voice from under the blanket.
Thranduil sighed. He didn't have the patience to deal with this tonight. Tomorrow he would spend time with Legolas, reassure the little prince that he did love him. But not tonight.
He placed a hand on Legolas shoulder.
"Goodnight, little leaf," he said softly.
Legolas didn't reply, so Thranduil doused the lights and went to the door. He looked back into the darkness of the room, the silhouette of the owl visible against the starlit window. Legolas hadn't moved from under the blankets.
"Ai, Legolas," he sighed to himself. "Sometimes I almost wish the goblins would come take you away. At this very moment, for instance."
He shut the door wearily.
Far away, deep under the gray mountains, several pairs of beady eyes opened and looked at each other.
"Did you hear that?" one of them asked in a high, squeaky voice.
"Did he say it?" another inquired.
"He's supposed to say 'I wish the goblins would come and take you away right now."
"That's not what he said."
"He said 'at this very moment.'"
"Well, it means the same thing."
"What do we do?"
"I say go for it."
"Yeah, it's close enough."
No sooner had Thranduil shut the door than he heard a soft scrabbling noise issue from inside the room. He opened it again and looked inside.
"Legolas?" he said softly.
There was no reply. He stood peering into the darkness for a moment when his delicate ears caught the soft scrabbling sounds again, and he caught sight in the corner of his eye of a small shape moving across the floor. His hand reached for the dagger he always carried in the folds of his robe.
Another shaped moved and there was the sound of high pitched laughter. Quick as a striking snake, Thranduil threw the knife, and there was the sound of the blade hitting flesh. The laughter was cut off by a shriek.
"Aaah! I'm hit," a shrill voice squealed. "He got me! Oh, I'm dying, dying! Oh, the pain! I'm dying, oh, oh…"
There was the sound of gagging, and then silence. Thranduil darted to the bed and threw back the covers, and a small, green little face stared up at him. The creature hissed and Thranduil grabbed it by the throat.
"Where is my son?" he hollered.
Before the creature could reply a shadow fell across the bed, and Thranduil whirled around and looked at the figure standing in the moonlight window.
He couldn't believe his eyes as he stared at the man standing before him. Thranduil was greatly surprised to see a man in his realm at all, but what really astounded him was the man's dress. He was all in black, dressed in a leather shirt with a huge collar fanning up in the back. He wore black tights and leather boots as well, and a thin, glittery black cape billowed about him. His hands were on his hips and a thin, mocking smile graced his lips. The whole affect was supposed to be imposing, Thranduil guessed, but the elf just found it amusing, especially since the man's long, white-blond hair was standing straight up on end, giving him the appearance of an enormous black-and-white dandelion.
"Now really," the man said silkily. "Must you be so rough with my minions?"
Thranduil looked down at the little creature in his hand, which was twitching oddly, its mouth opening and closing in a vain attempt to breathe. Thranduil dropped it and it lay gasping on the floor.
"Who are you?" he asked, looking back to the man.
"Who am I?" the man asked, as if surprised by the question. "Who am I? Why, I am the Goblin King, of course." He waited expectantly for a reaction.
Thranduil crossed his arms impatiently over his chest. "And I am Queen of the Dwarves," he sneered, unamused by what he perceived as a rather foolish joke. "Who are you?"
The man stared back at him.
"No, I really am the Goblin King."
Thranduil arched an eyebrow.
"The Goblin King."
"You are a man."
"You are not a goblin."
"But you are the King of the Goblins."
"You know," the man remarked, pulling off one of his black leather gloves one finger at a time. "I had heard that elves were supposed to be clever. Now, do you want your bloody son back or not?"
That caught Thranduil's attention.
"What have you done to him?" he asked, taking a menacing step forward. The Goblin King took a step back and raised his hand.
"Nothing?" Thranduil roared. "He is gone! I know you and your little creatures took him, and all you can say is nothing?" The elven King was incensed. "Nothing?" he repeated. "Nothing, tra la la!"
The man frowned. "That's my line," he said peevishly.
Thranduil blinked. "What?"
"Never mind. What I meant to say was; I haven't done anything to him… yet." The Goblin King turned and gestured with one arm. "He's there, in my castle."
Suddenly they were no longer in Legolas's room in Thranduil's palace, but instead outside, on a hilltop underneath an odd, dusty red sky. Streaky purplish clouds stretched across the horizon and the ground was covered with dry, dead flowers. Utterly perplexed by this strange turn of events, the elven king could only stare where the black-clad arm pointed.
A twisting, turning labyrinth stretched out below them. In the center Thranduil's sharp eyes could see a city and a castle rising toward the sky.
"You dishonorable villain!" Thranduil sneered, rounding on the man. "Kidnapping a child!"
The man only shrugged, unperturbed.
"I only did what you wanted," he said.
"I want no such thing."
"Oh, but you did." The man smiled, delighted with himself. "I believe your words were; 'I wish the goblins would come take you away at this very moment.'"
Thranduil stared at him. "My words," he said slowly, "were 'Sometimes I almost wish the goblins would come take you away.'"
The man looked suddenly uncomfortable. "Yes, well, it isn't easy finding people who actually wish their children would be taken away by goblins. I have to take what I can get." He straightened, and a clock with thirteen hours on its face suddenly appeared to his left. "You have thirteen hours to get through the labyrinth and to the castle, or I shall turn your baby brother... er," he turned red, "son into a goblin and he will be one of us forever. Have fun!"
And with those words and a finger wave he faded away.
Thranduil stared at the spot for a long moment. Clearly he was dealing with a very powerful wizard, Goblin King or no, someone whose power rivaled even that of Mithrandir. Thranduil had no choice but to play the man's game, at least for now.
He pulled off his heavy green robes and left them lying on the grass. Beneath them he wore a mail shirt of mithril and plain dark green leggings, for he had been hunting spiders earlier that day and had not had time to change his clothes. His bare arms were adorned with silver and mithril bands and rings glittered on his fingers, making him an impressive figure as he strode down the hill. His light shoes made no impressions on the dusty ground. He wished he hadn't wasted his dagger on that little imp in Legolas's room, as he would probably need it before he was through. At least his headache seemed to be abating.
At the bottom of the hill lay the first wall of the labyrinth, and Thranduil walked along it for a time, looking for a door. There didn't seem to be one, all he could see was rough, blank stone. Odd-looking plants grew up the sides of the wall, and tiny little people fluttered about on delicate wings. Thranduil stopped to take a closer look at the fairies, and one small woman fluttered up to his face.
"Greetings," has said softly, wondering if the fairy could speak. It said nothing, just bit him on the nose.
"Ah!" Thranduil's hand came up of its own accord and swatted the fairy, which fell to the ground with a tiny shriek. The elven king glared down at it when a voice to his left startled him.
"What's your problem?"
Thranduil looked in the direction of the voice and spotted a small… person, sitting against the wall. His skin was so gnarled and wrinkled and weathered that Thranduil had mistaken him for another rock, but now he saw his mistake. A face looked up at him, a large mouth and a bulbous nose, two cloudy blue eyes set close together, and a stringy mass of grey-brown hair. Thranduil wondered what sort of creature it was, even as he raised his hand to dab at the bite on his nose.
"It bit me," he said, examining his fingers for blood.
"Well, what did you expect fairies to do?" the person asked.
"I'm sure I don't know." Thranduil wiped his fingers on his shirt. "And who might you be?"
The little man stood up, walking a few steps in an awkward, hobbling gait.
"I'm Hoggle," he said.
"Hoggle," he said again. "That's my name."
Thranduil arched an eyebrow. "Do you know how to get into this labyrinth, Master Hobble?"
"It's Hoggle!" the little person snapped. "And yes, I do."
Thranduil waited patiently. When no further information was forthcoming, he asked;
"Well, how does one go about it?"
Hobble pointed, and a door swung open with a great billowing of dust and smoke. Thranduil waved a hand before his face as he and Hoggle moved toward the opening.
"Rather dirty, isn't it?" he remarked. Stepping through the doorway, he found himself standing in a stone corridor. There was a wall before him, and the passageway stretched away on either side as far as he could see.
"Now, would you go left or right?"
"Right, I should think," Thranduil said, peering down through the gloom.
Hoggle looked surprised. "Why?" he asked.
Thranduil shrugged. "It looks as good a way as any."
Hoggle snorted. "You're weird," he proclaimed, turning and marching out of the labyrinth. The heavy doors swung shut behind him and the loud clang hurt Thranduil's ears.
"Well then," he said, and started to walk.
But there seemed to be no openings in the passage. It stretched on in front of him and behind him, seemingly endless, and Thranduil soon grew bored of walking down the dull stone passageway. He knew there must be openings somewhere, but he could not see them.
"I'm missing something," he murmured to himself, leaning against the stone wall.
"'Allo," a tiny voice said.
Thranduil looked down and saw a tiny blue worm wearing a red scarf and looking up at him.
"Did you just say 'allo?'" he asked, perplexed.
"Yes, I did, and you just ruined my line. Thanks a lot, pal."
"I am sorry," he said, unsure as to what he was actually talking to.
"S'all right," the worm answered. "No one ever really gets the joke. So, what'r you doin' in 'ere, anyway?"
"The goblin king has taken my son," Thranduil replied. "And I have been told that I must reach the castle at the center of the labyrinth within thirteen hours if I wish to retrieve him."
"Oh," the worm nodded knowingly. "That again."
"Again?" Thranduil asked, startled. "He has done this before?"
"Oh yeah. Used to be people runnin' all over this labyrinth. Never could find the entrances either."
"Where are the entrances?" Thranduil asked.
"Oh, there ain't any anymore. Used to be one right across there." The worm jerked its chin to indicate the wall opposite them. "But one day a couple 'a dwarves came and filled it in. Such a shame, no one ever comes by for tea anymore. Why don't you come inside and meet the missus?"
Thranduil looked down at the tiny figure and the equally tiny hole in which the worm lived.
"Thank you," he answered. "But I really don't think I would fit."
The worm considered this for a moment.
"Ah, I s'pose your right. Pity. Well, good luck finding your son." And with those words the worm disappeared into the crack in the wall.
Thranduil stared at the little hole for a long time, then straightened and looked at the wall across from him. It was about eight or nine feet high, and the spaces between the rocks would provide fair handholds. He reached out and placed his hand upon the wall and looked up sharply as a distant cry reached his ears.
"I'm coming Legolas," he whispered, beginning to climb. To his right he noted a vine that formed an outline suspiciously akin to the face of the goblin king.