A/N- Alright, just a quickie note here: Sorry to everyone that may have been reading YCtMiD, but I really just wasn't satisfied with my writing and the way the plot was heading, so I decided to start this, and hopefully I will be far more satisfied with this incarnation of it, which will differ in several ways from the original. Thanks to anyone who reads this!

Chapter One

It had been two years, Sarah thought with a strange delight as she walked up the stairs of her expensive apartment complex. There was something about this night that made her reflect, something that brought her back to her past and made her think about her future. It had been two years since she had graduated. Her name was already one of the most talked-of in the Broadway soirée of rising and falling actors and musicians. She wasn't famous, not exactly, but her name was becoming more and more familiar, people recognizing her on the street, ever since that the one performance into which she had thrown her heart and soul.

Sarah Williams, they would say, their whispers somehow managing to reach her ears, a small smile of satisfaction curling around her lips as she heard their praises, in rehearsal or walking down the streets to the hushed murmurings of pedestrians. She will go far.

She had transformed, leaving the world of fantasy and childish daydreams behind. She had purged Jareth from her system, slowly shutting out everything that reminded her of him until she had been reborn, reinventing herself into something new, something fit for the world that did not have time for fantasy and dreams. Life had sped up, it seemed, sped up until she was too caught up in the flow and swing of things to even think about the tales of fantasy that had seemed to be everything to her. It had changed her immensely, until the Sarah she had been would not have recognized herself today.

Karen was nicer, she mused with a laugh, entering her darkened New York apartment. The older woman was quite amicable towards Sarah, now that she was 'doing something,' in the words of her stepmother.

Sarah reached for the light switch, fingers groping in the dark. When she turned it on, she saw the room light up, and she smiled wider as she saw even more proof of her success.

Soft, muted light flooded across a large, plush living room, with black, chic leather couches and chairs, and a flat-screen television that she never watched, set against a red wall. A kitchen with expensive kitchenware- pointless because Sarah did not know how to cook- was on the other side of her home, and a polite veneer of white paint covered her walls, tying it all together.

She was exhausted, she thought, stifling a yawn as she threw her purse on the small coffee table in her living room and lounged over her furniture, arms and legs sprawling comfortably. It had been a long, full day, and she had hardly had a second to breathe.

In fact, she hardly ever had any time to herself. She had thrown herself into her work, learning everything she could, absorbing names and roles and lines like a sponge. There was hardly ever any time wasted for contemplation, and tonight was one of the rare times in which she was in a mood to review all that had happened.

She had not known what it was that had finally changed her, had made her grow up. She'd had dreams of Jareth for a long time, and she had become distant; removed. Detached from everything and everyone, until every thought had been of him, his presence never actually with her but always tormenting her mind. He had filled her life, the songs he sang coming back to haunt her, his eyes mocking her throughout the day every time she closed her eyes until she had thought she would go insane.

And then, she had somehow snapped. Everything had been too much for her, trying to balance remembering the powerful, compelling idol from her childhood with her adult life, trying to substitute one for the other, discovering that it never worked...

His name had become almost taboo to her, any thoughts of him near sacrilege. She had slowly driven him from her life, because she was tired of it all, tired of fighting him and giving in to him all at once. The only thing that had been present in her mind was the fact that he was destroying her, that she had to escape from his jealous, possessive grasp.

Sarah closed her eyes, suddenly overcome by a bout of weariness as a question rose to the forefront of her mind, unwelcome and unwanted. Was she happy? A small, bitter smile graced her lips as she reminded herself that happiness was a state of mind, nothing more.

She was better off then most people, that was for sure, she thought, surveying her possessions mentally She lived richly, and almost every extravagance was hers; if she wanted it. But was she happy?

She searched inside of herself, turning her mind inside out for any feelings or emotions she had, and there was...

Nothing. She did not feel anger or sorrow or joy; she found herself a blank, indifferent slate, on which things were imprinted but never really stayed. There was a void of feeling in her, a numbness into which she disappeared and there were only thoughts, no emotions.

She had to have felt something, once... She stirred, eyelids half-open, disturbed by this utter lack of passion, by her apathy.

But there was still nothing, even as she pried into all her memories. Anger and frustration had faded at Karen, even at her mother for leaving her. She loved her father and Toby, but even those emotions did not go further then the surface, glancing off a barrier that she had set up around her innermost self.

She searched herself until there was nothing left for her but memories of him, and that was the only place which she had not touched, the place that was forbidden to her. He was dangerous to her, to everything that her new-self stood for. Part of her was vaguely annoyed and frustrated with the fact that any emotion that she could remember herself feeling was directly tied to him; the rest of her did not care enough.

Sarah drifted between sleep and waking in a world of shadows, mind darting in and out of lucidness. She wandered, and wondered, and thought until her mind felt strained. And her thoughts were haunted, for the first time in years, of a cruel, cruel man who sang to her of love and betrayal...

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It was early in the morning, and that meant that Jareth was standing outside on a balcony that overlooked the entire Labyrinth, the sun rising to extend beams of golden light across the horizon, illuminating everything. The pale-gold strands of his hair were picked up by the slight breeze that skimmed across the land, and he ruminated, as was his habit before he took up the mantle of a ruler for the rest of the day. He was dressed in a cloak so black that it seemed to want to cling to the shielding darkness of night even when the rest of the world was embracing the day, forming a tearing contrast between darkness and light.

His thoughts were focused intently on one thing at that moment. The subject was obviously painful to him by the look in his eye as he leaned over a railing. His mind repeated the same circular thoughts over and over again...

Nails dug into his leather glove as he glared at nothing, and nothing seemed to glare back at him. He had offered her everything, and she had refused him, time and time again in his nightmares. Her name was a curse, a bitter reflection on everything that had happened, on everything that he had done, everything that she had done to him. He hated her, hated her with a passion that might only have been outdone by the force of his love, of the raging love that he was barely able to contain.

Raw, dizzying forces battered him from side to side as he stood, helpless, unable to do anything but watch as she destroyed him, time and time again. Even when she had purged him, erased him from her thoughts, he still watched. Her presence was too great of a temptation to stay away from, and he was too weak to resist. She seemed almost to burn to him, set aflame from some hidden light she kept within herself. It was present even when she drowned herself in the world's nonsense, and she still shone.

She loved him, he thought, suddenly in near-unbearable agony that coiled within him, the angry hissings of a serpent that threatened to loose itself upon his soul. A sneer came upon his face, a sneer that held back the pain, and he was torn again, the intense rawness of emotion greater this time. He hated her like he had hated no other. For those who had ran his Labyrinth before, there had always been contempt, but he absolutely loathed Sarah.

And she was so bitter towards him that she would not even say his name. He doubted she knew how often his thoughts were tormented by her, her eyes dancing with childish enthusiasm, burning him.

"Damn you, Sarah," he hissed to the wind, his voice low, rasping in the back of his throat. It threatened to evolve into a scream or a sob, but he curtailed his throbbing emotions before they could overcome him. With one last determined, bitter look at the horizon, he left the balcony.

His days always began like this.