Disclaimer: Neither the labyrinth nor any of its inhabitants belong to me.

A/N My first laby fic. Please be kind. This could be a one shot, or maybe only a prologue. I haven't decided yet.

Inner Strength

Her adventure had ended successfully, and the after party had long since finished. Sarah Williams lay now in her familiar bed, wondering if it had all been just a dream. She had taken a shower, washed away the remaining grime from her journey, and with it, all physical proof that the journey had ever really taken place to begin with. Now in the dark, the trappings of her childhood surrounding her, she couldn't quite imagine that it had really happened. Her new friends seemed like far away memories. And the Goblin King? What of him? Was he just a character in a story, or had he really been there? Had he been in her home as she remembered, or only in her head? It was hard even to remember what he looked like. No, that was a lie. She was fooling herself if she thought she could forget his eyes. Even through the ever thickening fog of her memory she could still feel them watching her, taunting her, challenging her. It was not altogether a bad feeling.

Her reverie was halted abruptly by the dreaded tap tapping at her door. Without waiting for an answer, her father silently opened the door and crept inside. It was not unexpected, her father had been sneaking into her bedroom for as long as she could remember. His slithering hands and dreadful caresses were part of her earliest memories. What was unexpected was this new feeling of anger and loathing. She had long since resigned herself to her father's unwanted attentions. She even told herself she should be grateful. It was only touching, after all, he had never taken it any farther than that. Not yet.

Tonight, though, she was not resigned. She found there was a new determination within her. He had no right! How dare he take such liberties with his own child! He was a disgusting pervert and she would suffer him no longer! Even as she knew these thoughts were her own, that she had thought them in her deepest self a million times before, she had the feeling that tonight they were being drawn to the surface by unknown hands. She reached out for those hands and held them, felt their strength pouring through her. And then she did what she had never had the courage to do before.

Richard Williams gasped and recoiled, the reddened shape of his daughters palm stinging across his face. "Sarah!" he cried, "What the hell are you doing?"

Sarah's eyes burned with her new determination. "Something I should have done a long time ago, Daddy." She said coldly.

Her father reached out suddenly and grasped her upper arms. "Now you listen to me, little girl," he said through clinched teeth. "Until now I've always been good to you. But that can change, oh yes, that can change."

The words brought a memory to Sarah, flitting by like an insect to distract her, before receding back into the murky depths of what was becoming a faded past. The words did not deter her. She pushed back with her imprisoned arms, sending her father backwards off the edge of her bed. "You call this being good to me? I'm your child, how dare you do these things to me? But I tell you now, you will never touch me again, as long as I live. If you ever come near my room I will tell everyone I know what you've been doing to me. I'll make sure there's no one left in the world who doesn't know what a creep you are!" Sarah had stood up, and was now leaning over her father like an owl above its prey.

"Sarah," her father sputtered, stunned at the ferocity in his daughter's eyes. "Sarah, I'm sorry, I.."

"Shut up!" Sarah hissed. "Keep your worthless apologies. I don't want anything from you except that you leave my room."

Richard backed up, still on the floor, wanting nothing but to escape his daughter's iron gaze, sighing in relief when she turned away from him. He had never seen her like this, she had new power, some new strength that he could almost feel in the air. He was stunned to realize he was afraid of her. He had almost made it to the door and was standing up, about to leave, when she turned those horrible eyes back to him. For a split second, one of them seemed to flash the most brilliant shade of light blue.

"Oh, and Daddy?" His skin crawled at the saccharine sweetness with which she said the word. "If you ever so much as lay a finger on Toby, I'll kill you where you stand."

Richard fumbled behind him to turn the doorknob, and fell backwards through the doorway when it finally opened. He stumbled to his feet and almost ran down the hallway, his only thought was getting away from those terrible eyes. Anger and indignation tried to push through to his conscious mind. I should punish her, I should bring her in line. I should show her who's the boss in this house. But he knew he would do none of those things. He was terrified of her, terrified of his own daughter. And with good reason.

Sarah climbed back into bed, the rage seeping out of her and leaving her drained. But she felt good, and freer than she could ever remember feeling. She felt strong, and in control of her own life for the first time in her life. No, not the first timeā€¦there was something she was forgetting.

And then she remembered the hands, the hands she was holding in her mind. She let go of them, but though she expected the strength to leave her it stayed. She realized it was her strength, her power, and always had been. The hands just helped her find it and use it. The hands and the eyes. Suddenly, it all came back to her, all of the events of earlier that night. It was not a dream, it was not a fantasy, it had been real. But not really real, there was something about it, something she couldn't put a finger on. But she was too tired to think about it tonight. Tomorrow would start a whole new chapter of her life, and she couldn't wait. She whispered a silent thank you to whatever power had helped her find the strength to stand up to her father, and drifted into her first peaceful sleep in years.

She didn't hear the soft, accented voice that answered "You shall ever be welcome, young Sarah".