Disclaimer: I in no way hold rights to the characters here in and mentioned and no profit will be made from this story.

"'Tis the Season"

It had happened the same way every year. Fall had past and winter was upon the Labyrinth once more. Jareth sat gazing into a roaring fire. The windows had been covered, extra tapestries hung on the walls and all the little goblin huts were aglow with festive Solstice decorations. It was a time to be happy, a time to be with loved ones. And poor Jareth sat alone. It had been like this since he had first been placed on the goblin throne, so long ago that no human could still remember it. But Jareth did; his fae memory as clear as the crystal that played in his palm.

He could recount every lonely day of his existence. It seemed, though he was a highly attractive monarch, no Lady would be content to live in a kingdom of goblins. Over the centuries Jareth had grown to resent his charges, goblin and baby alike. Then there had come a time when he had thought to keep one of the babes, to raise it as his own. But that too had passed. It seemed that everything had passed in one short moment. The moment in which a young girl, no more then a child herself, had caught his eye. Sarah. She was not the first human to beat the Labyrinth, nor the last, but hers was the only name that he cared to remember.

At first he had not known why, had not even cared. She had come and gone through the Underground like a breath of fresh air, and he had enjoyed every moment of their game. He was more a tragic hero then her villain, but he had played the role she had given him just to make her happy. If he had known that she would then cast him from her life so quickly, perhaps he would not have given her the power that he had. The fire flickered from the breath of his deep sigh. He had spent many nights contemplating these things. Before she had gone, he had seen her dreams, and somewhere through her plight in the Underground, he had begun to rule them. She would have stayed, he knew, and been happy. Her dreams had always been strong, enough even to rebuild the lost beauty of the Labyrinth. If her choices had not been her brother or her dreams, if she had been old enough to realize what the ache in her chest had been, he knew that she would have stayed. But he could not change the choices she had and he had loved her enough to let her leave when the time had come.

When she had spoken those cursed words and freed herself from his world, how could either of them have known what would happen. She had spent such a small amount of time running the Labyrinth, and Jareth had never considered taking into account the time she had spent there in her dreams, as all children are free to do. Far too much time to not be changed by it, for one can spend only so much time in Tir Na Nog, before it marks you as its own. And her mark was a bond, to Jareth, the King of the Goblins, and the ruler of her dreams. Though he could no longer watch over her or see her dreams, he could feel her thoughts and emotions as if they were his own; every joy, every pain, everything. And it tore at him to not laugh with her joy or to catch her tears as they fell. It was a pain he had lived with for two decades now, and he tried to comfort himself with the knowledge that her life would be over in a whisper compared to his. The life of a human is no time at all to that of a fae. The thought had never brought him comfort and this time was no different. In this season, when joy surrounds everyone, he felt her remorse stronger then ever. Felt it, and shared in it.

Jareth gazed once more into the crystal playing along his hand and called to him an image. A young man grown, little Toby, not so little anymore. Though he could not watch Sarah, Jareth had made it his sworn duty to protect young Tobias. It was all that he could do for the one that he had lost. He could feel the urge to see her, and it grew with a frightening intensity. He had not seen a clear image of Sarah since she had left all those years ago. Though on occasion, when he called to her the crystal would bring forth a vague image of her a split second before bursting. It was the best that he could hope for and in this season of giving, perhaps the gods would allow him a blessing.

The urge grew beyond control and he poured all his power into this one wish, to see her, really see her as the woman she had grown into. The image in the crystal clouded, shifted, and he could see green eyes; warmed from a kind heart, and tearstained by remorse. And in the second before his crystal shattered, he could see himself reflected in her eyes.

A small smile played against the tragic kings lips. Perhaps she had not cast him away completely along with her toys and her costumes. Perhaps, in all this time, she had been waiting for him. Did she not understand that he had no power over her, and it was she that had to come to him? Perhaps. Maybe it was time for the sleeping king to wake from the trance that he had placed himself in all those years ago. Jareth stood, with hope in his heart for the first time since she had abandoned him. Power and malice, mystery and desire swirled around him. He was the Goblin King once more, and the time had come for him to act like it. He would find a way to make this season unforgettable for them both, or he would die trying.