Old Times

Chapter One

It had been two years. Or six years, or eight…? It had been long enough, decided Jareth irritably, and that was that.

He had plotted, he had schemed, he had conspired, he had connived, and he had looked in the thesaurus for more dastardly planning words. It was finally ready, his Revenge. It wasn't just plain old best-served-cold revenge, it was bona fide Revenge, that even deserved its own certificate.

Now Jareth didn't take being beaten lightly. In fact, as a child he had even sent one of his cousins to Outer Mongolia, when it had seemed they had come close to winning a game of scrabble. While he had pleaded that he had many cousins and one little one wasn't important, his parent hadn't been best pleased. Therefore, the point is Jareth is a sore loser. Some people sulk, and then get over it, maybe train to be better. Jareth had plotted/schemed/conspired/connived Revenge.

That whining little upstart, he thought viciously, calling his Labyrinth a piece of cake. Beating his elite Goblin fighting force (Jareth was somewhat blind to the failings of anything to do with him), and surviving the cleaners by destroying his masonry? It was time he took her down.

So, that's how it was, Jareth was chuckling to himself darkly, and the goblins were playing some variant of volleyball, without a ball (which entirely destroyed the menacing feeling, but as previously mentioned, Jareth didn't notice this).The throne room was its usual disordered self, with the obligatory presence of chickens and goblins (there was a wished away child, but seemed to permanently stubbornly remain asleep despite the persistent poking from the curious goblins therefore was boring).

Taking a break from his sadistic musings, he briefly conjured a crystal to check on the challenger running the Labyrinth. He was stolid man called Bill Parker, and Jareth believed him to be the least intellectual being he had ever met, not including the goblins.

The image in the crystal was showing Bill jumping up vainly to trying to get a hold on the tall walls around the Labyrinth. He was managing to ignore the fact there was a large door next to him. He stopped, and Jareth was almost relieved. Bill furrowed his brow, and stared at the wall for a good few moments. Then he began grimly jogging in the opposite direction from the door. Jareth's eye twitched. Alright, Bill Parker was the least intelligent being he had ever met, including goblins. He pondered if he should include moss.

Shaking his head clear of those thoughts, he banished the crystal. He stood up magnificently; the goblins looked up in mild interest, expecting maybe a song. But they were disappointed when he merely smiled belligerently, and transformed into an owl. The barn owl swooped out of the window and into the starry sky.

It was time to take his Revenge.

As he crossed the boundary between the Underground and the Aboveground, he scanned for Sarah's consciousness. A fiery and stubborn yet dreamy sort of feeling with a certain unique edge. He would have grinned if his beak allowed him to, which…it didn't. That was why you don't see many smiling owls. However, anyone who saw him and was sensitive to the Underground wondered at the extraordinarily happy owl, and then shuddered for no particular reason.

He glided down into being over a quiet suburban street, lined with small bungalows. Dusk was silently being draped with the darkness of the night. Speck of stars were beginning show and a ghostly full moon rose over All Hallow's Eve.

He alighted on a nearby tree and searched for her aura. He found it, in a cosy looking house across the street. He mentally looked satisfied (owls can't look satisfied either, that's why they would be good at poker) and in the blink of an eye, he stood as himself in a dark hallway.

The silver moonlight cast shadows in his eyes. He moved with silent grace as the blue light from a room down the hallway shone weakly on the carpet, he moved closer.

He walked into the doorway without a sound. The sight that greeted him wasn't a shocked Sarah, it really rather banal, all evil plots considered.

A thin old woman sat dozing in a chair, while the television chattered lightly to itself and lit the woman's face with myriad colours, flickering with the seconds.

The ancient clock on the fireplace ticked sleepily and an aged dog regarded him wearily from a sprawl on the floor.

No sign of Sarah.

He searched mentally again, and he was sure, she was in this room.

The elderly dog wheezed and tottered over to him, the hairy specimen snuffled the bottom of his boots. It barked quietly. Everything seemed muffled.

The old woman awoke with a start, her skewed glasses hanging off her nose. "Gawain?" she muttered, clearly annoyed. She held out a withered hand and beckoned "Gawain?" she called in a sing song voice, not seeing the man in the doorway. The dog shuffled over to his mistress and she patted him absently "Good Gawain." She yawned "Oh dear, must have dozed off again. Not as if there's anything good on the television anyway. Damn, its dark." she clapped her hands. The lights flooded on and her glasses fell off

Jareth was in full view, she blinked at the figure blearily. "Who's there?" she questioned sharply, her body stiffening with tension. She clumsily slipped on her glasses and then stared.

"I'm not dead am I?" she asked candidly, after a moment. "Or hallucinating? You aren't supposed to be real."

He stepped forward cautiously, confused that she could see him. A dawning fear was beginning to grow in him.

She sighed and relaxed "I'm a crazy old woman Gawain. Just a crazy old woman." The dog yawned and lay down at her gentle tone. Her sad expression was etched with lines.

Her gnarled fingers twisted together in her lap.

Jareth came to stand near her. "Are you Sarah?" he asked softly.

She smiled a bitter half smile "Why yes, I am, Goblin King. Long time no see."

He frowned "How long…?" His chest suddenly felt heavy.

She answered without him having to complete his question "About sixty years."

It was official. Jareth, King of Goblins was very very bad at maths, or at the very least, forgetful.

He drew himself up to his full height, quashed all his tumultuous feelings with effort, deciding to stick to his original plan. "No matter. Sarah Williams I hereby challenge you to the Labyrinth…"

God KNOWS why I am starting yet another story. However, here I am with another one. An odd concept that my muse offered today...

Comments welcome (Read: Review. Now. Pretty please?)