A/N: So...Labyrinth fic. Not what I expected to write, lol.


Jareth was a fool.

Jiann swept away from the castle of the High King in a flurry of feathers and magic. Perhaps it was not so strange, she thought, as she winged toward the setting sun. The children of the Tuatha de Danann were ever fools when it came to the mortal realm. Witness her own foolishness with his father.

There was little that was not Sidhe about her son. If his magic manifested in strange ways, and his beauty was not quite all that was to be expected, his heart was pure, and he had broken it with typical De Danann thoroughness. Jiann knew she was to blame. If she had not been of high birth, the mismatched eyes that shouted his mortal heritage would never have mattered. She had thought she could protect him.

She could not be his Champion.

His goblins had offered. Ignoring the watching court, Jareth had slouched back into his chair and smirked at the bumbling idiots as they pushed and stumbled their way to the High King and thrust out their ridiculous chests as they declared they would fight for their King. The astonishment in her father's eyes had been plain, and if they had not just humiliated her son before the court of his birth, she could have wept for the heart that had won such loyalty from creatures who generally showed none.

Not that many in the court cared to see the truth.

Jareth was part-blood in a court that had not interbred with mortals for centuries. He ruled a kingdom of the unwanted, yet those unwanted who wanted nothing to do with the High Court had braved its ballrooms and scorn for his sake. He lacked all but the simplest of Sidhe glamour, yet his music cried with magic and his crystal dreams were those most dangerous and painful of illusions. The truths of the hidden heart.

When her father had more or less exiled Jareth to the Goblin Kingdom, she had agreed. His fascination with the mortal realm had become unwise, and the rumors had undermined his already unsteady position in the court. That he had never cared for the ballrooms of the Seelie Court made it worse. By giving him kingship over the goblins, her father had hoped to prove his worth to the others. Jiann had never expected it to become a living tomb.

Her son should have been a bard. Yet his human heritage had betrayed him in this as well. The mortal realm had moved beyond the Sidhe. They no longer looked to Danann's children for wisdom, and even had they been willing to hear the truth in his music, the cold iron of their world would have eventually killed him. He was as out of time as the child that had fascinated him. Perhaps the passion that had singed him, would now be his salvation.

Jiann was not comfortable trusting a crystal dream sent to a child barely on the cusp of womanhood. Yet that had been the problem, had it not? Old enough to see the truth in the crystal, not old enough to understand there had been a third option. And Jareth, her poor son, too terrified to tell her. Too easy to hide behind the rejection of the child, to tell himself she was still not old enough to understand. To wary to risk the rejection of the woman grown.

She would be grown and dead, scattered like the autumn leaves if he hesitated much longer. These mortals led such mayfly lives. He had known the child would reject him. That had been her part to play after all. Yet in the midst of heartache and unexpected longings, her son had found a way to open a door to the future. A hint to her that maybe he was not what he seemed, and an offer that was staggering in its foolishness. Her father had been as impressed and he had been appalled. Whatever Jareth's original intentions, that daring, careless trickery might yet be his salvation.

Jiann challenged the sky with the powerful strokes of her wings. She would observe, then she would decide. If necessary, she would awaken the magic sleeping in the woman's body, an unknown legacy of her time in the Labyrinth. A gift her son had not had the courage to kindle. Jiann set her feathers and spiraled out of the sky, diving toward an endless sea of lights those Above called New York.

Sarah Williams would stand as Champion to the Goblin King.

Even if Jiann had to drag her screaming into Underground to do it.