Summary: Sara didn't accept Jareth's bargain, but she didn't leave the Labyrinth unmarked. A story of consequences, and two lonely, stubborn people learning to live with each other.

Disclaimer: I do not own Labyrinth; the premise and characters belong to Jim Henson's estate and some movie studio/s. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

Author's Note: This story (or really, these linked stories, because they weren't originally written as a unit) were inspired by words #50, #65, and #66 on the 15minuteficlets livejournal community. You may notice a style change between the first two chapters and the final three -- that's because the last three were a single story that I split up in order to keep the word counts and pacing more even.

Any canon goofs, grammar mistakes, continuity errors, implausible characterizations, bad dialogue, and boring passages are entirely my fault.

Running From Her Shadow

As the years went by, Sara began to realize that something was missing from her life. Her dreams were still the dreams of a young girl, dreams of fame and beauty -- airy, insubstantial fantasies. While other girls began to flirt and talk of sex, Sara couldn't get over her discomfort at the very idea of looking at boys.

Somehow they all reminded her of Jareth. Oh, they couldn't match his unnatural beauty, or the intangible danger that shimmered around him, but something about their maleness repulsed her.

For a time she wondered if she might be a lesbian, and agreed to a few experiments with one of her friends. But as their hands fumbled over faces and buttons, the light in the other girl's eyes darkened and sparked and Sara found herself frozen, her mind locked on the hypnotic shards of light that flashed from Jareth's crystals as they danced to his whims. Her stiff, mindless reactions finally drove that friend, and Sara's hope of an alternate normality, away.

She simply couldn't react to anything vaguely approaching sexual, or to any of the other prosaic mysteries of adulthood. They froze her mind, repulsed her body, and drove her to huddle in her room and call her childhood friends through her mirror. But she buried her doubts and fears and pushed on through all the detritus of a normal teenage life, until the chasm between her inner self and the smiling face she showed the world seemed infinite. Sara couldn't belong in Jareth's world, but she didn't belong to her own anymore either.

She dreamed, sometimes, of her fantasy dance with Jareth and their final confrontation in the Escher room. He had almost seemed sincere at the end, she thought, almost seemed to really care about her decision, and for more than just his reluctance to lose a game.

It was as if he wanted her to like him, she realized one morning. As if he saw her as herself, as Sara, not just another girl caught up in his twisted kingdom and convoluted games.

And she had rejected him.

"You have no power over me," she'd told him, and now he didn't. Neither did anyone or anything that reminded her of him. All the pieces of her life, the parts that should have let her become a woman, were gone, missing. She had left them with Jareth in the Labyrinth, and not even her magical friends could retrieve what she had willingly abandoned.

Sara closed her eyes and refused to cry. She had made her choice, made an utterly wrong choice, but she still had one chance. Maybe this time she wouldn't even mind losing the game; at least then she wouldn't have to live as half a person.

"I wish the goblins would take me away," she whispered, and waited for the owl to fly in her window.


AN: Please note that "Running From Her Shadow" was previously posted on this site as a standalone one-shot. That version was an argument against the subtextual rejection of female sexuality that I saw in Labyrinth. This version of "Running From Her Shadow" has been slightly altered to fit better with the following chapters.