Old Times

Chapter 2

Sarah stared at him in disbelief "I'm seventy six!" he cried. "How am I supposed to do that?"

Jareth frowned "Well you weren't supposed to be old!" he retorted.

Sarah rolled her eyes "And that's my fault? You're the one who messed up!"

Jareth sat down on a near overly soft chair, he spent an almost embarrassing moment flailing about until he saved himself from folding in two, and once in dignified position he cleared his throat "Time doesn't run the same here and the Underground. When you are immortal, forever isn't that long at all."

Sarah smiled sadly "Well, I'm only mortal as you can see."

Jareth inclined his head "You ruined it now." He said softly. "I can't, not now."

Sarah's eyes flashed "Don't you dare pity me." She hissed. "That's the last thing I want."

Gawain whined and the tense atmosphere was broken, she absently scratched behind his ears. Jareth was still looking vaguely shocked.

She appeared to be thinking, staring at the TV screen "I could do it." She announced suddenly.

Jareth, who had been watching her, snapped his attention to her words "Its impossible." He replied shortly.

She turned her green eyes on him "Why?"

He took refuge in what he knew, his lip curled in a sneer "Well, you said yourself, you are only mortal."

It took her a minute, but she managed it anyway, she stood indignantly. "Well, I'll just have to show what this old timer can do! Take me there! I'll beat your stupid Labyrinth! Again!"

Jareth took a lot less time getting up "In thirteen hours? I don't think so." he smirked. "But very well, it may be amusing to see you fail."

Sarah gave him the evils and turned her (lot less evil) attention to Gawain "Fetch! Go on boy, fetch my stick."

Gawain sat down heavily, panting at her. "Idiotic dog." Muttered Sarah and turned to get the goddamn stick herself. She was stopped by Jareth silently offering it in front of her.

She smiled one of her little smiles and took it from him with quiet thanks.

Looking reluctant, he swept an arm in front of the French windows. The Labyrinth lay at her feet.

Sarah paused. Jareth looked at her "Second thoughts?" he questioned.

"Better go to the toilet before I go. You know, answering the call of nature in the middle of the Labyrinth isn't easy when you're my age…"

Jareth cut her off by holding up his hand "I get it."

She began to shuffle towards the door (presumably the bathroom), suddenly she stopped "Am I at least older than you?"

Jareth turned his head to look at her "No."

She began to walk again "Damn."

She returned presently after a few minutes, during which Jareth had felt very confused watching a program on the magic box about gardening.

"Right, I'm good to go. Come Gawain!" she said cheerfully.

And they stepped into the Labyrinth.

Sarah studied the dusky landscape "Its different." She said, almost in a whisper.

Jareth stood beside her, dressed to match the shadowy half-light. The light was golden but without warmth, the light of a setting sun.

"Its hard to explain. The Labyrinth…is a kind of reflection of the Aboveground, of the beliefs, hopes and fears of mortals. Mostly of children, but some of adults too." He said quietly. "It changes, just like people."

She looked up at his profile as he stared out over his domain. "And you?" she asked in a whisper.

He turned to look back at her "I am dreams, and I am nightmares." He said shortly. "I am the Goblin King."

Sarah was silent but spoke after a moment "Thirteen hours, then." She said awkwardly.

Jareth nodded, he seemed to be feeling thoughtful "Starts now. You know the story…Good luck."

He disappeared.

Sarah sighed heavily and looked down at Gawain, who was snuffling the green grass that blew in the slight breeze. "Gawain. I am stupid. I'm seventy odd, what was I thinking?" she groaned. Her bloody temper, that, and an inability to keep her mouth shut.

"Ah well," still speaking to the dog, who was in no danger of answering anytime soon. "I'd better get started."

She stepped briskly with the support of her stick down to the walls. They were covered in some sort of ivy, however most ivy didn't have feline eyes. Sarah approached it cautiously and reached out a hand towards it. A tendril of ivy lashed out and swiped at her hand, the thorns left four thin scratches on her hand. "Ouch!" she cried and snatched her hand back. She glared at the cat-ivy thing, it promptly began to shift smugly.

Gawain rushed up to his mistress and began to bark at the wall energetically in a winded sort of way.

"Shut up Gawain. Hush, damn it dog!" Sarah said, annoyed.

The ivy hissed and suddenly retreated to the top of the wall, revealing a small door. "Oh." Said Sarah, surprised. "Good dog."

He sat down on his haunches and panted in satisfaction at a job well done.

She entered the door and entered what seemed to be a forest clearing. A tranquil pool lay at the centre. Old trees stood in the quiet stillness, surrounding them.

Sarah looked around her warily, Gawain whined at her feet. "I am not going to trust that pool…So…I should go into the forest, I guess." She said, half to herself.

She set off hesitantly, skirting the sides of the clearing, not daring to go near the centre. She slipped through a gap between the large trees, treading on the soft moss underfoot.

Only to appear back in the clearing, although the wall had gone.

"Ah." She murmured succinctly. She began to take small steps towards the pool "It's the same one…" She stood by the edge and dipped the stick in it with trepidation. She took it out just as a thin dead hand reached out of the water. It grabbed at empty air and then slid beneath the water with hardly a ripple.

Sarah screeched and stumbled backwards, never taking her eyes off the pool. Gawain whined louder and still moving backwards, Sarah tumbled out of the forest into some gardens.

She gasped and landed on her rear, her heart still pounding at the encounter. She clutched her stick and stood up slowly, muttering to herself "Get up, get up!"

"Ooof!" Finally she stood up again. "That, my canine friend, is a sight I would never like to see again." She remarked, as she began to calm down. Gawain wheezed.

"Changed your mind yet?" a disinterested voice sounded.

Sarah looked round at the man behind her "Not yet."

Jareth stood a few metres away, arms folded. "I see you just met The Witch's Pool."

She sighed heavily "Nice name for a nice place."

This story is odd, it just keeps switching genres dammit…And Sarah keeps talking to a dog!

Anyway thanks to Kadasa-Mori, Jedi-Ashes1021, Arin Ross (10 times over ;p), Lady of the Labyrinth, Solea, DemonicSymphony, Dark Angels and Ash Phox!

Anyway please be so good as to review (and have patience with the weird style!)

Sheep the adventurer