An Illusion of Magic

Summary:(X-over with Hallmark Entertainment's Merlin) Jareth seizes Mordred and Arthur, forcing old enemies Mab, Merlin and Frik to join forces and save them.

Disclaimer: No, I don't own Labyrinth, no I don't own Merlin (more's the pity). Jim Henson owns Labyrinth, and Merlin is older than copyright. This version of Merlin belongs to Hallmark Entertainment. I do not intend to make money out of my use of elements from said films.

Notes from the author: This is mostly a Merlin story. The main characters are almost all from Merlin. But don't let that stop you from reading it if you've not seen Merlin. Better still, go out and watch it. BTW, for all those Labyrinth fans, may I just point one thing out before this story starts- Sarah is not in it, meaning no J/S pairing. Sorry.

One other thing you might do well to note- Although Labyrinth takes place in the modern day, and Merlin takes place in the 5th Century, time works strangely in the Labyrinth, and so this story starts quite a few years after the film ends. As far as the Merlin timeline goes, this story starts several years after the final battle between Mab and Merlin.

I know this part is short- sorry!- but they will be longer in the future. Please review. I welcome constructive comments, but not flames. If you really hate it, either review it and give me a way to improve it, or don't review it.

Prologue

Mab stared out across the barren land that stretched to either side of her, as far as the eye could see. The dull, depressing grass that was neither green nor brown, but instead at that stage just in between that managed to achieve the most nauseating shade of yellow imaginable. The path cutting through the middle, a dirt track riddled with rocks and ditches that more often than not were impossible to see, until you fell into them (which was inevitable). The dead and blackened trees that were dotted around in various places. The dense, thick fog that coated it all, that made the air damp and cold and depressing.

Mab detested the place. Her legs ached from the walking, her ankles hurt from where she had twisted them from falling into ditches and holes, her hands were covered in scrapes from where she had had to pull herself back up again, and the constantly swirling fog made her feel dizzy and sick. It was certainly a step down (more like a few flights of stairs down) from her days as the Queen of the Old Ways. She'd wielded vast amounts of power, been worshipped by many, been unaffected by illness and injury, and of course, she'd ruled over the Land of Magic. She didn't know if her former kingdom even existed any more. Even if it did, she could not have got to it. It could only be accessed through the Realm of Humans, and she could not enter there- they no longer believed in the magic of the Old Ways.

Merlin had done this to her. Him and her former servant, Frik, and her sister, the Lady of the Lake, and, of course, the brat king, Arthur. They had turned their backs on her, and forgotten her. Merlin had walked away from her, even as she had faded away, pleading with him not to forget her. And now she was stuck, travelling through this magic-less void, between realms where magic still existed, a guest in all of them, belonging in none of them, but anything to prevent herself from ceasing to exist completely. And she was running out of places to run.

There were many realms, but a number of them no longer believed in magic- Mab could not enter those- she was unwelcome in at least three others (through circumstances which, Mab insisted, were no fault of her own), and there were one or two places which she refused point-blank to go to. Added to this, an ever-increasing number of realms were ceasing to believe in magic, as the human realm had. More and more magical creatures, and powerful lores and legends- sometimes even entire races- were becoming, like Mab, homeless, trapped as travellers between realms. Walking tiredly along this path until they reached another realm. Being forced to leave after a while by the magical creatures that were native to that realm, and uneager to share space and power with these refugees from other worlds. Having to endure more travelling along this endless emptiness between realms. It was little wonder then, perhaps, that some creatures, at the prospect of merely prolonging their misery, often wondered off the path and curled up, just waiting to fade away. That was possibly the thing that sickened Mab the most. She had refused to accept death that easily. She was proud, stubborn, arrogant and determined, and perhaps it was these characteristics that had kept her going far longer than most. Even so, it was a pitiful and miserable existence.

"I wonder," Mab mused, "If Merlin could see me now, what would he think? Would he be sorry for what he's done to me?" She snorted, "More likely he'll be disappointed that I still exist anywhere at all."

It was while she was contemplating this happy topic that she tripped over and fell into yet another bloody hole. Cursing this place, Merlin, her sister, Frik, and anyone else she could think of, Mab pulled herself painfully to her feet and limped over to a tree close to the path. She sat down, leaning against it, and rubbed her ankle to try and prevent it from swelling up or bruising too badly. She didn't particularly want to walk all the way along this path, but she wanted to limp slowly and painfully along it even less. She felt tears sting the backs of her eyes- she couldn't help it, she was so thoroughly fed up- and wiped them away, concentrating instead on being angry. Crying led to melancholy and self pity, which was what caused those poor fools to just allow themselves to fade away forever. In Mab's experience, however, anger was wonderful for honing one's self- preservation instincts.

As Mab was busy rubbing her ankle and being angry, she heard a commotion from others travelling along the path. Evidently, someone was travelling along this path by their own volition. Someone who already had a realm to go to. As you may have guessed, this was an unusual occurrence.

"So, someone has chosen to journey along these roads," Mab thought bitterly, "Wouldn't it be nice to have that choice. How very brave and curious people can afford to be when they have somewhere pleasant and safe that they can call their own to go back to afterwards." Rolling her eyes at the others who parted ways for this strange visitor, and goggled and whispered behind their hands (or claws, or paws), Mab concentrated on trying to ease the pain in her ankle, which had now started to ache sharply. So determined was she to not engage in staring at, and gossiping about the stranger, she didn't notice him walking over to her until he stood directly over her. Looking up, she saw a tall, slim man with wild and uneven blond hair, mismatched eyes- one brown, one blue- and high cheekbones. He wore strange clothes- a ridiculously over the top shirt with lacy cuffs, under a black waistcoat, and very tight black trousers. He wore black leather gloves, tall, knee-high boots, an amulet around his neck, and, to complete the odd ensemble, a high- collared black cloak. Mab felt her insides freeze as she saw him.

"Oh, you have got to be joking."

"Hello, Mab," said Jareth. "It's been a long time."