A/N: I own nothing here; it's all from the Labyrinth. This is my first draft, so reviews are highly appreciated. Line breaks signify a scene change and 's mean a change in perspective simply because I hate those giant white gaps.
Such a Fooled Heart
Her dark black hair fell over her shoulder as she turned in her sleep, the gentle moonlight playing over her pale skin and illuminating her. The owl sat unblinking outside her window, its eyes burning intensely in, staring at the young girl. It knew exactly what she was dreaming; it had, after all, placed those dreams there itself. As the girl turned again and mumbled something in her sleep, the owl knew what she said even though he couldn't hear through the cool, clear glass.
"Jareth," she mumbled, softly at first, then louder. Her body writhed on the bed now as the dream quickly grew more intense. As she was very clearly mimicking the throes of sex, the owl still sat unblinkingly by her window. It almost seemed as if it was laughing at her.
A light shone beneath her door and then the door opened, throwing in beams of hard yellow light on her sleeping face. The owl's yellow eyes followed the very sleepy man as he stumbled into the room, slowing growing more awake as he first became afraid of someone raping his young daughter, and then angry that she was having such dreams. The man sat and shook his daughter's shoulders. The girl screamed and sat up, staring wildly around her room, her eyes unfocused and scared. The owl turned and flew away, and it again seemed to be laughing though it emitted no noise except for the gentle swishing of its wings in the air.
Sarah sat down gloomily in her seat at the breakfast table. She could hardly dare to bring her eyes up to meet her father's. This was the third night in a row that he had caught her having one of those…dreams. The thought made her blush every time it graced her mind, and not because she was ashamed—well, mostly not. No, they made her so angry. The thought of the Goblin King invading her dreams and her most private places was something she most certainly did not want…usually.
Angrily she picked up her spoon and took a forceful bite of her cereal. The quiet crunching was all that filled the room, except for the occasional rustle of her father's paper. Her stepmother had taken Toby out to some preschool…thing. Sarah was enjoying her summer before college began in the fall, so she didn't have a job to go to, despite her parents' urgings. No, she instead auditioned for the local theater's summer production and was waiting to hear word from them about her part.
She picked at her cereal and finally gave up, her stomach turning as the scent of milk drifted up to her nose. Standing up, she went over to the sink and poured it out, watching as the milk dribbled into the garbage disposal. So creamy pale, so light…
"Aren't you hungry?"
Her father's accusing voice snapped at her senses and she jumped, dropping the bowl into the sink. She looked over her shoulder at him and found merely a hateful glance, as if she actually had been having sex last night and not just having a dream.
"Not really," she replied, her voice small in the kitchen. She pushed the pieces of cereal down the drain, hoping her father would resume reading his paper and she could resume…whatever it was she was going to do that day. After a few moments of awkward silence, Sarah decided she had had enough and turned to leave the kitchen.
"Where are you going?" he demanded.
"Oh, Daddy, I don't know," Sarah shortly cut back, exasperated by the silence and the feelings these…dreams were leaving her with. Uncomfortable feelings about a man who had nearly scared her to death—but now he was having quite a different reaction on her, and she didn't really know what to do about it.
"Don't use that tone with me," her father snapped without really noticing that his daughter just called him "daddy" for the first time in three years. He was getting worried about this Jared person she kept mumbling about in her sleep. Sometimes he wished she'd go back to being that girl all tied up in dolls and books so he wouldn't have to worry about—he shuddered at the thought—boys dating his daughter.
Before he could get another word out, he heard the door bang shut. Merlin came whimpering in from the hall and placed his furry head on the worried man's leg.
"I'm with you, Merlin," he muttered down into the shaggy face. "She's changing, isn't she, boy?" Setting his paper down, he affectionately ruffled the familiar dog's hair. "Well, at least you've got another kid to fall back on. I only had one daughter though," he said sadly and looked back toward the door.
Jareth too was sitting sadly in a chair, but he had no affectionate shaggy head to rest on his knee to keep him company. Instead he fitfully tapped his riding crop against his boot and vaguely wondered why he even had a riding crop—did he even have a horse?—and stared into the crystal in his other hand. Sarah's face filled the rounded surface, and he felt a smirk tug at the edges of his mouth.
Three years he had waited, and three years had come. He had delivered her from childhood; now he would deliver her to womanhood.
It was all just a part of the job, he kept telling himself. There was really nothing behind it, no feelings. She had solved his Labyrinth; now she would receive the follow-up treatment that came with it. It took him a few days—well, it felt like days; could it have been months?—to figure out just exactly what that was. It wasn't very often someone solved the Labyrinth. But he remembered. He had delivered her from childhood; now he would deliver her from adulthood and return her sense of wonder.
No law really bound him to this little clause, but as he was a Goblin King, he had selective memory, and he didn't let that little meddlesome detail get in his way.
This is strictly business, he promised himself as he watched her from the Underground. Nothing to do at all with any feelings.
He tossed the crystal into the air where it disappeared and rose from his seat, pacing a few feet in front of his throne. The noise of the goblins was becoming deafening and if he had to trip over a chicken one more time…
A loud smashing noise echoed throughout the chamber as a goblin crashed into a pot or two; laughter ensued, which didn't really help the headache Jareth was developing, though the kick had helped Jareth immensely. Sighing he stalked out of the room, his boots clicking on the stone floor, and in the wake of their path, silence flowered.
He stalked into his private study, which was thankfully empty. Over to his window, he stared down at the other part of his kingdom, the part few ever really got to see. A forest spread out from the edge of the Labyrinth, and only the part fringing the high walls of his little game were filled with dangers; the rest were fairly empty, save for an occasional lake. That was the part of his kingdom he preferred to the stone twists and turns of the maze he had spent so much energy on.
Here he could think clearly; here no one could disturb his thoughts.
No one except—
He cut off his thoughts. He could never escape. For three years, he had not been able to escape her. Even before she came to him for her Trial, her passage, when he had been waiting by her window, he had put off his obsession with her simply with the excuse that he was getting to know his competition. After that, it was his rage that she had won. Now he had no other emotion left except the one he would not name, the one he would never, ever say.
It's time to end this spell she's cast for good, he thought firmly, his eyes gazing out over the landscape of his home. Yes, it's time. And then, Jareth was gone.
Sarah walked back up the sidewalk to her house. The sky was beginning to darken, and the summer sun was just starting to turn from yellow to gold, resembling half of an egg yolk. Her feet made very little noise as she aimlessly strolled down the sidewalk. She wasn't really in a hurry to get home. She had spent the afternoon with her friends—the human ones, she mused to herself—but now they were all getting ready to go to some community dance thing that Sarah hadn't gotten asked to. She was getting tired of the pitying stares so she had decided to head home, and now with the setting sun in her eyes, she made her way there.
There was no real desire in her to go home. During the summer, her appetite usually ebbed and she often skipped meals, though her stomach was beginning to growl a bit. As she walked, she knew why she didn't want to go home. There were a dozen reasons to want to stay away, and most of them started with "K" and ended with "aren." She hated her stepmother more than anything—until lately. Now he hated the tension with her father and she dreaded crawling into bed at night.
She trudged up the steps and shut the door behind her. Her eyes traveled up the staircase to her door, and, sighing, she started making her way up it to change into her pajamas.
Well, she started to, at least.
"Sarah Williams, where have you been all day?"
The voice was enough to make her throw up.
"With Sandy and Jan," Sarah replied as she turned around on the stairs to stare down into the face of reasons four through 100 of why she didn't like being at home. (Number one was, of course, the dreams; two was the tension with her father. Three was the fact that the septic tank often overflowed, but that's a different story.)
"Do you expect your father and me to believe that?" Karen snapped back, her eyes glaring up at Sarah. From the kitchen came the sheepish face of her father, an apologetic but firm look in his eyes.
So she had forced it all from him, Sarah deduced. And now I'll "get it." Oh boy.
"Uh, yeah, because it's the truth. Call up Sandy and Jan. They'll tell you."
"Of course they would cover for you. Don't play me for a fool."
"So call their mothers! I came in with Jan to pick up Sandy and then we spent the rest of the day at Jan's house. Both of their mothers can vouch for me." Sarah was rather fond of rubbing in that word, "mother," into Karen as much as possible, since she was only Sarah's stepmother, and an evil one at that. Sarah was often very grateful that Karen had no daughters, or else Sarah would be out of luck.
Karen stared up at Sarah, anger floating about her now like a visible veil. "You have to stop speaking to me like that, young lady. How many times have I told you—"
"Mommy? Sawah?" The small, young voice at the top of the stairs made both women look toward it. Toby's small pajama-clad form stood in the light of the hallway, Lancelot dangling from his hand. Sarah hadn't realized that it was already past 8:00 and Toby's bedtime. She shot a glance over her shoulder at Karen before walking up the steps to Toby. She took his small hand and guided him away, back to his room.
Sure, she still hated him a lot of the time, but every time she wanted to yell at him, Jareth's cruel smirk and his self-satisfied laugh echoed in her eyes and ears and she restrained her anger. She scooped up his small form and put him into his bed, pulling the covers up to his chin and kissing his forehead.
"Why do you yell at Mommy?" he asked, one small fist rubbing his eyes.
"I don't know," Sarah replied tiredly as she kissed his forehead. "Go to sleep, little one. Good night."
"Night-night," the little voice said softly into the darkness. Sarah switched out his light and hurried into her room, shutting the door behind her to escape any more of her stepmother's wrath. The posters that had littered her walls only those three years ago were now gone, replaced with books and pictures of her friends; a life, a real life, the kind she had lacked.
The trinkets of her friends are gone, and even their visits have wound down through the years. She had slowly been growing older, and though she missed her friends, most of her was content as she was. Most, anyway. Sitting before her vanity, she thought back to that night so long ago, and she opened up the drawer in her desk. There the worn Labyrinth book stared back up at her. She always kept that near, no matter what. As she looked at it, she felt the part of her that quieted down through the years murmur and then speak and then yell in desperation to be noticed, not to be ignored.
"Sarah, come down here!"
She jumped so high she nearly fell out of her chair. As it was, she only banged her knee roughly against the desk and knocked over the pencil cup on her desk. She groaned and rolled her eyes.
"I'm going to bed!" she called back.
The thought actually scared her. She didn't want to think about Jareth like that anymore. It was weird. "How can I think about him like that?" she asked herself aloud. "It's creepy, and it's gross, and I'm not going to anymore," she told herself in the mirror, hoping it would do something to stop the dreams, but knowing it wouldn't work.
"Come now, Sarah, I'm not all that bad, am I?"
The silky, mocking voice came from her window, and it crept up her skin until she felt bound by it, unable to breathe. She couldn't bear to turn and look at him, and she furiously hoped that it was just another dream, that she really had gone to bed and now she was sleeping on her bed.
Now muffled footsteps, like boots on plush carpet, came across her room until he was there, his presence suffocating her with his magnetism, leaning on the edge of her vanity. Her eyes immediately flicked to his feet, not wanting to look up into that face, afraid of what she—and he—would see. His feet were in his black boots, not a big surprise to Sarah, and she found her eyes drifting up to the top of them, where the gray tights she remembered so clearly began.
"Not even a hello? This isn't quite the welcome I expected, Sarah." His voice, so alluring and repulsive, pulled at her in two different directions until she thought she would throw up. Maybe it would scare him off, she mused.
"What did you expect?" she bit. "You waltz into my room uninvited after you put me through the hardest thing I've ever faced in my life. Did you want me to throw my arms around you in glee?"
"Oh Sarah, can't you put the past behind you?" was all he said as he slid off the edge of the dresser. She heard him move around behind her and then he appeared in the mirror, sinking to his knees behind her chair. She had nowhere to look now except at the face of the Goblin King, his blonde hair all around his face and shoulders, white shirt with wide sleeves coming around, capped with black gloved-hands. She winced as the hands found her hair and gently ran through it. His face was right next to hers in the mirror; she could feel his breath, the tickle of his hair against her ear, the smell of…of…sex, she realized with an unpleasant surprise, not that she really knew what sex smelled like. Not until her dreams.
One blue eye and one green eye stared at her shocked and—she hated to admit it—helpless reflection. A smile played at the corner of his lips, a mirthful yet dangerous smile.
"My Sarah, how you have grown."
In a minute he was gone, and she felt as if that, instead of speaking merely about her reflection, he had been talking about her body, and it made her blush furiously. She thought that his sudden departure from her back had meant that he had left, but as she turned around, she saw him standing before her bookshelf, glancing around at her room. Quickly she tried to hide her blush, covering it with anger.
"Weren't there a lot more little toys around here, Sarah? One like that Hogtoe—"
"—and one rather like that pestering fox?" He turned and looked toward her vanity again, pointing with a gloved hand, casually held into a point. "And if my memory serves me correctly, there was a glass figure of a rather handsome fey right there."
"I've grown up," Sarah put in, staring hard at him, her eyes narrowed with what she hoped was anger. "I put them away."
Jareth smirked and turned back to her, a hand reaching out to her face. She tried to duck it but found that under his gaze, she couldn't move. She knew he had no power of her, so was she letting him—but she had to stop thinking like that. No, his gaze held her, and when his hand caressed the bend of her cheek, and the smooth leather slid over it, he wouldn't let her move away.
"Have you, Sarah? Have you grown up?" His words were almost sad, apologetic, but then it was gone and she was staring into hard eyes again.
"What have you come here for?" Sarah demanded, a little less forcefully than she had intended.
"To take back the child that I have stolen," he said quietly.
Before Sarah had time to contemplate the meaning of those words or see the tender look in those lordly eyes, her room was gone and so was she.
Jareth stood in his throne room again, the sunken pit in the floor filled with goblins babbling incoherently and drinking. He sighed and rubbed his fingers across his forehead. He thought that maybe speaking with Sarah would help him to get over this…this…whatever it was that was affecting him. But ever since he had taken her to the palace, he couldn't get her out of his mind. Not that she was ever long out of his mind even when she wasn't unconscious and lying on a bed in his very home. A crystal appeared in his hand and he looked into it, seeing her sleeping face in a bedroom in one of the wings of the palace.
"Damn you!" he called into the crystal, and to make up for it, lobbed a goblin across the room with his foot. The laughter that broke out didn't help his headache much, and he threw the crystal too.
"Sire," came a fairly competent voice behind him. His head housekeeper was behind him, bowing low, a harried and scared expression on her—its? He was never sure—face.
"Yes, what is it?"
"Sire, she's awake."
Jareth quickly produced another crystal, feelings swirling in him that confused him. Anxiety, anticipation, and fear swirled around inside him, and he whisked himself away to her room. The goblin had lied. She was not quite awake yet, but she was stirring in her sleep. She mumbled a name and he grinned devilishly with glee. He had not given her any dreams in this sleep, but she mumbled his name all the same.
He strode over to her, staring down at her sleeping form, so peaceful, so delicate…her blue eyes opened, and he quickly wiped whatever emotion that was on his face, replacing it with scorn.
"Ah, Sarah, you're awake."
Sarah sat up with a start, staring into Jareth's face disbelievingly. It took her a while to remember where she was and what had happened, but when she did, she remembered her dream and hoped he hadn't been in the room to hear it. Quickly she swung her legs out of bed and stood up, facing him with steady, darkly sapphire eyes staring into his face.
His delicate, handsome…Stop it!
"What are you doing! I didn't make any wishes; I don't want to be here. Take me back home."
"Don't you see, Sarah? You've grown up now. I no longer need permission to take you anywhere."
Her eyes widened and she stared at him in horror, realization smacking her flat in the face. This was revenge on her. She had beaten him and now he would beat her. Her eyes lit to the door and then her feet followed, but his ringing laughter sucked out any feeble hope she had mustered. The door was locked tight, locking her in here with her captor.
"Please, Jareth, please, take me home." She stepped forward pleadingly, her eyes begging with him. "I'm sorry, just let me go home."
Her turned his back to her and walked to the window, leaning on the sill and staring out, almost dreamily. "For now, you'll have to make my labyrinth your home." He turned toward her and approached her, less haughtily than he had appeared when she woke. "Is it really all that bad? You had friends here, remember, truer friends than you may ever find there. And there are places in my labyrinth that aren't bad. I threw my worst at you. Now you can enjoy the best."
Sarah could hardly believe her ears at this speech by the Goblin King. The light from the room—which she hadn't been able to discover the source of—shone through his blonde mane, and she could almost see an eagerness in the fine sculpted lines of his perfect face. And then, just as quickly as it was there, it was gone, and he was walking to the door.
"Either way, Sarah, you're here." The door creaked with age and so Sarah couldn't hear the last part of what Jareth said. "Here to stay."