Disclaimer- Jim Henson etc own Labyrinth I am but a humble puppet, or mumbling muppet—not sure which. Blame this on not enough reviews for the last chapter of Pressing Onwards.

I didn't stand a chance by Fayth.

I didn't stand a chance.

I was just a girl; a child. I was innocence and purity itself, having little knowledge and even less concern about things that girls my age had begun to ponder on.

My classmates chatted about boys and make-up when I dreamed of castles and monsters. They wanted kisses and caresses when I wanted Kings and carousels. I ignored their giggles as I read Grimm and buried myself in fairy tales as they fluttered their eyes. I really had no idea about romance, other than there was supposed to be a happily ever after in there somewhere.

I was totally unprepared for him.

He was the ultimate fantasy male; a king.

His regal bearing was obvious and the way he moved with such grace proclaimed him the heir to all that he surveyed.

But he was no Prince Charming, no plastic portrait of a man that only Barbie would be satisfied with.

He was the consummate bad boy.

His knowing look and lifted brow did things to me that I had no idea about. His stance was a perfect blend of assurance and arrogance and the way those mismatched eyes could burn right through you, stripping away all of the lies and pretence, sent shivers down my spine that had everything to do with secrets I was too young to understand.

His frock coat and ice-blond hair could have been changed for biker jacket and punk rock and he still would have had the same ethereal elegance that proclaimed his status.

He was royalty.

And he noticed me.

I had no idea. To me, he was just 'the villain' put there to stop the heroine reaching her goal. I didn't hate him, nor did I like him particularly.

He unsettled me somewhat more than he was supposed to, especially when he stood close, but I never gave that a second thought. He was the villain, he was supposed to upset me, he was supposed to make my stomach turn in knots, and he was supposed to send a shiver down my spine. I was supposed to fear him, cower before him. I wasn't supposed to want to see him unless it was to gloat that I had gone that far.

It wasn't until the ball that things changed. It wasn't until the ball that I realised how wrong I was.

I didn't want to gloat; I wanted to dance with him. I searched him out in the crowd, telling myself that all I wanted was to see a familiar face, that it didn't matter that it was him and that he wasn't having any affect on me at all.

But the feelings of loss as he vanished into the glittering crowds sent a pang of hurt through me that was as unsettling as the idea that he was avoiding me. When he took me into his arms there was such a feeling of joy running through my bones that it took several moments before I realised that he couldn't take his eyes off me.

The twin brown and blue as they stared at me like I was something precious did more to inform me of the precariousness of my ignorance than any proclamation he might have made. If he leaned down he would do more than steal a kiss, he would steal that purity that I had. He would break the fragile bubble of childhood, one which I wasn't sure I was prepared to have broken.

I frantically started searching for an exit, feeling his hands pull at me, plead with me, beg me.

He was a king and yet he promised to be a slave for me if only I would give in.

As I ran away I couldn't look back, knowing full well that I would see a devastated look on his face as he acknowledged that I wasn't ready.

I was still a child and didn't understand what his eyes promised.

Even his last ditch effort to persuade me to stay, to give up on Toby and live my dreams with him had no effect on me.

He had frightened me with his eagerness, eagerness for a child who resented him tearing her childhood apart.

So he sent me home and I laid Toby to sleep and put away my books and costumes, knowing that they wouldn't hold the same appeal.

When I awoke the next morning it was to a black rose and a silver teardrop on my pillow.

Have you ever been courted by a boy? Have you ever been courted by a man? Have you ever been courted by royalty who has had thousands of years to get it right.

I didn't stand a chance.

No more passionate declarations and pleas for adoration, nothing ostentatious that would send me running for Daddy; just careful, sweet, innocent seductions more in keeping with the Princess I had believed myself to be.

A rose and a teardrop on my pillow once a week, a soft brush of lips against my cheek before I succumbed to sleep, a stuffed owl to keep company in my bed.

Six months of innocent wooing before the next step; two roses on my pillow and a charm bracelet with various charms once a week, a lingering kiss on the corner of my mouth before I succumbed to sleep and a crystal figurine of two people dancing to adorn my, now-bare, dresser.

Another six months and there were three flowers, several gifts and kisses that almost shocked me back to wakefulness with their sweetness.

A further six months drifted by and my joy was in getting those flowers, seeing those charms dangle on my wrist and waiting for those tentative kisses before I slept.

Two years after I left the Labyrinth, I received a bouquet of flowers delivered to my classroom.

My teacher had never looked as shocked as he did when the delivery man walked in with this bunch of exotic blooms and handed them to me.

The coos and catcalls were lost on me as I accepted them and delved for the note inscribed with a flourished 'J'.

The card simply read;


And it did.

The kisses changed to caresses, leaving me aching at night and my dreams filled with things that I had once been afraid of, but now delighted and enraptured me.

The courting became more public, bouquets of flowers no matter where I was, at work, at home or at school. It became something of a game for my classmates to guess where they came from; I think the reality would have scared them.

It no longer scared me.

In two years I had come to terms with the fact that the Goblin King wanted me, for whatever reason, he was prepared to go slow. Even Karen lay off as she realised that I might not date but I had a devoted someone out there waiting for me.

My father behaved like any anxious parent and demanded to know who was sending me these things, why he didn't show himself and date me properly. I rolled my eyes and fingered the latest charm on my bracelet, ignoring his ranting.

My eighteenth birthday was celebrated with the sensation of being held all night in loving arms and the whisper of affection.

It was the first time since I left the Labyrinth that I heard his voice and I was floating on cloud 9 all day long.

That night he came to me and I saw him in all his glory. He hadn't changed in appearance and only the look in his eyes gave any indication that time had passed.

His eyes held sorrow and hope, pain and promises.

I wanted so much to fall to my knees and beg the way that he had, beg for forgiveness for ruining his world, for not accepting what he had offered and for running away. But he hushed me with his gloved finger against my lips and shook his head, telling me that I was a Queen and Queens didn't kneel.

My eyes held my apology even as he smiled; a smile of understanding and forgiving and suddenly, as if he had told me, I knew.

Once I had accused him of being cruel and he had been. He had been trying to force me to grow up before I was ready; he had been trying to bend me to his will. I had not been willing and I would not let myself be another conquest to be forgotten with the morning light, and that, more than anything, had settled his mind.

He didn't want some promiscuous wanton as his Queen, his bride. My purity was what had attracted him and that was what he wanted for life.

When he let me go it was his one chivalrous gift, his sacrifice. He had allowed me time to mature. He had allowed me to make the choice on my own terms and showed me with his gifts what the right choice was.

I made the choice.

I was a Princess no more, I was a Queen and my place was by his side.

As he brought me home, I was glad that he had waited for me, pleased that I had waited for the marriage bed. I truly was a virgin bride and that gift was his to cherish.

We lay abed after the ceremony, entwined, content and ecstatic and I thought about our history.

Had he taken me as a child, I would have hated him. He opened my eyes and expanded my horizons. He introduced me to love in a way that was pure and joyful rather than dishonest and hurtful and he had gained not only my heart, but my trust. I would move the earth for him. He asked for so little, just to fear him, love him, do as he bid.

And I did.

I feared him a little, I loved him with all my heart, I was obedient… within reason, and he was my slave, bending to my desires and satisfying my every wish, my every dream.

I had gone from innocence to experience and I had done it all for him.

He had turned my world upside down.

And I—

I didn't stand a chance.

Not my usual fare, i'll grant you. Blame it on my sister and, of course Scattered Logic whose fic led me to the Laybyrinth stories. Cheers for that.