Disclaimer: I still don't own the Labyrinth. However, I do claim Rose.
He was somewhere very strange, somewhere that tugged at the farthest reaches of his memory. All around him, he was surrounded by dancing, playful creatures the likes of which would never be seen on Animal Planet..
Far from fearful, he was filled with a childish joy he could barely remember. He had had this dream before, and he knew that if he turned around, he would come face to face with a pair of laughing mismatched eyes and a reassuring smile.
It was an old dream, one that predated all of the pain and heartache that had since become the theme of his relatively young life. He had had it often when he was a child, several times after Sarah's death, here and there while he was growing up. If he really stopped to think about it, he would say the dream had come to him every time life became more than he could bear, though why he could not say.
Even in his dream state, he was lucid enough to realized that the day's events had likely brought the dream on, and he was aware that if he was dreaming he must surely be asleep, and he could not afford to sleep now. With an effort he pulled away from the mysterious but calming presence of the man with the mismatched eyes. The voice of the creatures cried out in protest as he drew himself from their circle. They wanted him to stay. Truthfully, he wanted to stay too.
He was happy here.
Reality was harsh and cruel. With a gasp, Toby's eyes opened and he found himself huddled on the floor outside of Sarah's room. It was pitch black, and he wondered how long he had been asleep. The unearthly quiet on the other side of the door unnerved him, and he stood to find the light switch. Despite the darkness and twenty years away, his hand found the switch with practiced ease, yet when he flipped it there was no response. He tried again, with the same result, and panic overtook him.
He turned quickly, blood rushing in his ears, and took hold of the doorknob that would take him into Sarah's room. Before he could turn it, the soft sound of voices came to him from the other side. As he listened, he realized that one was male, one was female, and neither of them was Rose's. Something about this unnerved him more than anything else he had seen tonight, and goose flesh crept over his arms and back. He hesitated only briefly, remembering the last time he had entered this room uninvited, but he pushed away the thought and threw the door open quickly, his heart pounding.
For a split second, less than a heartbeat really, his worried eyes saw that which he most feared. A body lay still on the floor, its lifeless form soaked in blood. Hair cascaded over its pale shoulders, but instead of ebony the locks were purest auburn. He took a faltering step into the room and the nightmare vision faded. He closed his eyes against the darkness that threatened to overtake him, and when he opened them again three figures stood before him, one flesh and blood, one ghostly, and one frighteningly pale form that seemed to be caught somewhere between.
He walked determinedly towards the figures, but Rose met him, smiling at him gently, her eyes wet with tears. She put a finger to her lips then, and gestured toward the other two. His eyes followed the gesture, falling on Sarah's ethereal form. He felt tears rising in his own eyes. Her beautiful face, a face that had always been sad, even when she smiled, now wore a look of purest joy. He wanted to go to her, but Rose shook her head.
His gaze then moved to Sarah's companion, and he truly saw him for the first time. The stranger's eyes never left Sarah's face, but even so there was no mistaking them. A memory made its way to the surface of his mind, mixed with flashes of his dream and…something else:
He's a lively little chap; I think I'll call him Jareth.
"Jareth…" Toby whispered, as the name dredged up long buried memories of childish happiness. At the sound of his name, the Goblin King looked up, acknowledging Toby with a warm smile tinged with sadness.
"Ah, little Toby, is it? I should say thank you while I have this chance." The Goblin King said cryptically.
"For what?" Toby asked, wondering if he had gone insane. Was he really standing in his parent's house, seeing the ghost of his dead sister, and holding a conversation with the mystical dream of childhood legends?
"For being what I could not." Jareth answered, giving a slight inclination of his head.
Toby would have asked for further explanation, but Jareth had turned away, his attention now completely focused on Sarah, whose unearthly eyes had never strayed from the Goblin King's face. "My Sarah…" Jareth whispered, his voice a prayer. "Together at last.
Sarah met his gaze with sparkling eyes. "Are you sure this is what you truly want, my heart?" She asked him.
"To be with you for eternity?" he countered. "Sarah, that is all I've ever wanted." He told her sincerely. He stretched out his hand again toward her cheek, but this time as he did so his fingers began to sparkle. A shimmering force took hold of him, starting at his fingertips and working its way down his arms, while a beam of pure light shone from the place it had just left. The shimmer became brighter, faster, accompanied by the faint sound of a thousand children whispering at once. Soon the light enveloped the whole of his body, whipping around him at whirlwind speed. It was so bright that Toby and Rose had to shield their mortal eyes or be blinded. As the glare began to fade Rose dared a glimpse in time to see the shimmering lights disappear into the heavens, leaving behind a pale vision where the Goblin King had stood. As the light faded completely, Rose heard the chink of something metallic hitting the floor, but paid no mind.
Before her stood a ghostly replica of the Goblin King she had seen in her visions. The age and sadness had been washed away, replaced by the strength and vitality of days gone by. He stretched out his ghostly arm and this time was able to touch Sarah as though both of them were solid. With a triumphant and somewhat arrogant smile, he captured her lips with his own. Taking no heed of the observers in the room, he bathed her mouth with long denied passion.
Rose felt her heart swell with joy for Sarah and Jareth, who were finally together after so many years of lonliness. Yet she could not deny the overwhelming sadness at knowing such a majestic being had passed from the world. She felt the tears raining from her cheeks as she both celebrated a love that had survived so much, and mourned for all that should have been.
A sob escaped her lips, and was joined by the sound of a hundred keening wails. The goblins, sensing the sudden passage of their master from the world of the living, had returned to join Rose in her mourning. She looked around her, as dozens of little armored bodies filled the room, each of them sobbing and clutching at each other for comfort.
With obvious regret, Jareth's ghostly form tore himself from Sarah's embrace. "What's this?" he asked, hands on hips, addressing his former subjects. "Goblins do not cry." He reprimanded.
Despite his assurances to the contrary, the goblins continued to wail, and Rose found them both humorous and heartbreaking. One of the taller goblins bent to pick up a metal object that lay glistening on the floor, and Rose recognized it as the half moon medallion that had been around the Goblin King's neck. The little goblin held it out before him, offering it up to Jareth like a sacrificial object.
"Please, sire." The little goblin begged. "Who will take care of us now?"
Jareth frowned, and ran his fingers over his chin as though deep in thought. Then he squatted among the goblins, his mismatched eyes twinkling fiercely. "Do you see that lovely young lady there?" he said, gesturing toward Rose, a half grin on his face. "That trinket belongs to her now, and she will take care of you."
Rose's eyes grew wide. "What? Me?" she said, shaking her head in disbelief as the medallion was pressed into her trembling hand. "I'm no queen!" She protested. "I'm only seventeen, for heaven's sake!"
"Nevertheless, Rose." Sarah said, moving toward her niece and stroking her face lovingly. "You are the heir to the Goblin Kingdom. It is your destiny to sit upon the throne. Weather you choose to follow that destiny is up to you."
Understanding of all that Sarah had been trying to tell her finally set in, and for a moment she felt lightheaded. She glanced at the father, who seemed oddly at ease with the situation. He shrugged his shoulders; no help there.
Then she looked back to Sarah, and to Jareth who had taken his place behind her, his arms wrapped around her possessively. "Whatever you choose, Rose, know that we will forever be grateful to you. You have saved us both. I only wish things could have been different." Sarah said, a touch of sadness in her voice.
Rose smiled, her thoughts running wildly. "If things had been different, if they had been the way they were meant to be, you wouldn't have been my aunt, would you?" she asked.
Sarah glanced at Toby and then back to Rose, regarding her curiously before she spoke. "No, I wouldn't." she confirmed.
Rose nodded. "Then I should thank you." She stated. "I loved my mother very much."
Sarah smiled, taking Jareth's hand. "Then perhaps some good did come from my foolishness after all." She said, laying a kiss on Rose's cheek that left it tingling in her wake.
Jareth stepped forward, placing a ghostly hand on each of her shoulders. "You may choose to wear the amulet or not, little one. But do not throw away your destiny lightly." He said, placing a gentle kiss on her forehead. Turning to Toby he said "Whatever she chooses, please continue to watch out for her as well as you have thus far."
Toby smiled, confused but flattered. "What are fathers for?" he said brightly, putting his arm around Rose's shoulders. Jareth looked at them for a long moment, and though Toby's words had brought a touch of sadness back to Jareth's eyes, it disappeared instantly when he faced Sarah once more.
"Shall we, love?" he asked, offering her his arm.
Sarah smiled contentedly as she linked her arm in his. A bright light appeared, enveloping the windows and then the whole of the far wall. "Is that where we're going?" she asked.
Jareth pulled her to face him and touched his forehead to hers, a playful smile at his lips. "First star to the right, and straight on 'til morning." He whispered.
Sarah glanced over her shoulder one more time. "Goodbye, Rose. Goodbye Toby." She called. "Don't forget us, okay? And Rose? Whatever happens, don't let anything take away your fire." With that she and Jareth stepped into the light, which disappeared behind them leaving the room in darkness. There was a momentary silence, followed by the wailing cries of dozens of mournful goblins. And in the middle of them all, Rose collapsed to the floor and wept, clutching the silver amulet to her chest. Every loss, every heartbreak, every pain she had ever suffered came back to her in that one searing moment. She had never felt so utterly alone in all her life.
Then her father was there, gathering her into his arms like a child, as she cried the way only a child can. He held her, stroking her hear and whispering soothing words until her grief subsided, and she looked up at him with tearful, questioning eyes. "I don't know what to do, Daddy." She said, wiping her face with her fingers.
"Sweetheart." He told her, "I don't pretend to understand what happened here tonight. But I do know that I believe in destiny, and I always knew you were destined for great things." He lifted the medallion that was twined in her fingers. "Though I guess I never knew how great." He smiled.
"I'm afraid." She admitted softly, not wanting the goblins to hear her.
Toby gestured around her. "And so are they, pumpkin. But they have no one to comfort them. They need you."
"And I need you." She said, clutching him tighter.
"And I'll always be here for you, Rosey, no matter what you decide." She nodded as he said these words, wiping the last of the tears away as she stood up tall and proud. For the fourth time that night she had the feeling of being pulled by an unseen force, guided down a dimly lit path towards an uncertain future. With trembling fingers she lifted the medallion, pausing to admire the glint of the moonlight against the metal, then slipped it unceremoniously over her head. At first nothing happened, only a deafening quiet as all of the goblins stopped their crying to stare at her. Then the whispers began anew, just as when Jareth had relinquished his flesh and blood body. Suddenly afraid, she reached for her father, but met instead dozens of tiny hands reaching to steady her.
Her vision was filled with blinding light, and she was overcome by the sensation of being set ablaze with cold fire. Her feet were lifted from the ground, as she hovered momentarily between time and space as her mortality was ripped away.
She was becoming the Goblin Queen.
She was surrounded by light and peace. As her vision cleared, she saw Jareth and Sarah once again, smiling warmly in their approval. Her grandparents were there as well, their faces warm and loving. Between them stood her mother, who simply radiated her love in a wave of warmth that enveloped her daughter. In her arms she held a tiny baby, and the sight of them this way brought a sense of peace to Rose she had never hoped to find. She longed to reach for them, but Jareth shook his head. "Not yet, Rosebud. You still have much to do."
As quickly as the vision came it disappeared, the light faded to a luminous glow that Rose realized was coming from her own body. The goblins fell to their knees, bowing low before their new queen. Rose turned toward the mirror, hoping to see herself there, to put a face on the changes she felt. Instead, the image was of an unending maze, winding across the horizon, and rising from its center a castle of unmatched beauty.
"What is this place?" She sighed.
"The Labyrinth." Toby breathed. Even after everything he had seen, everything that had just happened, he still couldn't believe it was real.
"The Labyrinth." Rose repeated reverently, as the visions Sarah had given her came flashing back to her mind. "Of course. My home." And without hesitation she stepped forward through the mirror, into her destiny.
Toby followed quickly behind her, as the goblins disappeared to welcome their Queen to the Castle Beyond the Goblin City. As the last of them disappeared, the room was left still and quiet, and the old house was finally, completely empty as the last of its occupants found their way home.
A/N: Well, that's it. I really hope you enjoyed it. Kind of bittersweet, but how happily could this have really ended? A cookie to anyone who can tell me where the title of this story came from. (It has nothing to do with David Bowie, alas, though it is a musical reference.) Please let me know what you thought of my little fic, your reviews make my life worth living.
Thank you all for reading.