All characters contained herein which were formerly introduced in either the novel, Labyrinth, written by A.C. H. Smith or the movie of the same name as created by Jim Henson and produced by George Lucas remain the sole property of the aforementioned. All newly developed characters, as well as the plot line, remain the sole property of the writer and may not be used without her permission, in any way, in any other work of fiction. Much appreciation is given to the aforementioned for allowing the idea of their characters to be "borrowed" and embellished.
No offense is intended to any nationality, religion, sex, creed, race or sexual preference.
While it is not necessary to be as addicted to the Labyrinth as the writer has been, a general knowledge of either the book or the movie would be extremely helpful to those reading this novel.
The following is a complete work of fan fiction written as a tribute to what has been one of my favorite films since my formative preteen years. No profit is being made from this endeavor nor is any copyright infringement intended.
Fantasy/Danger/Romance rated adult for language, sensuality, adult topics and subject matter including mild slash content.
Bitter as a child left unselected whilst forming teams, the snowy white barn owl perched outside the window, his dirty blonde back feathers turned to the moon as he watched everyone who'd rejected him play on, ignorant to his stare. It was one thing to be bested at your own game, but it was quite another to be excluded, the only one of her new company not included in the litany of those she needed. Insolent child! Foolish mortal girl! Spreading wide, his wings, driven by his fury, cut violently into the night air, every slice bleeding ebony on the edges of his feathers. Home, what was left of it, was beckoning him. In the Underground, Jareth was king; there he could not be excluded from the smallest of things, for he was master of all. Being chosen meant nothing to he who held the sole power to choose. Yes, the throne constantly welcomed him.
"It is not a word," she shouted with all the indignance of youth. Still only fifteen, Sarah Williams's outburst proved how little she retained from her journey to other realms.
"Is so," Hoggle argued her.
Already thumbing through the word book, triumphant tones rang out as she pointed and confirmed, "There's no such word as arak."
"Is so a word," he continued. "What do you think I'm too dumb to know a word you don't?"
Emphatically she begged of him, "Pray tell kind sir, what might be the definition of this rare word?"
"I wouldn't tell you on penalty of the bog," the dwarf huffed stubbornly.
Didymus weakened in Sarah's presence as always he did, "'Tis a rum like cordial milady, made from malted rice and molasses, popular among the less affluent in our world."
Humbled, Sarah shuffled her tiles mumbling something about the fairness of using words which are not familiar to residents of both worlds. Fairness being the ambiguous craft it so often is, for in being fair to one you are undoubtedly unfair to another, thus it is an almost always unattainable whole. This concept made them no less interested in their weekly collaborations to extend all their vocabularies. Quite the contrary. Didymus made talk of doubling their engagements, but Sarah stuck firm to offering her hospitality no more frequently than when her parents took their leave of the house.
While typically jovial occasions, there came an evening upon the spring of Sarah's eighteenth year when their party ended on a very serious note. The young woman announced when none but those with whom she'd grown the closest remained, "I'm going away. Going away to school where, with any luck, I shall remain indefinitely."
"Are you not happy here at home?" Didymus asked.
Sarah forced a smile. To say that she was not happy was a gross understatement. Karen's hospitality only continued to decline as Sarah stood by her notions of fantasy. At first it seemed she'd tucked them away, but in truth she had only grown wise to how carefully such things must be hidden from those who could not be troubled to believe in anything not laminated by fact. It was true she had greatly reduced the quantity of items which she held dear, the junk lady had taught her that, but the purge of substance ended at her soul. Inside, Sarah took more to her flights of fancy than ever before. At school, she took to the arts only to be scorned at home for not taking valuable courses which would better her. After school she volunteered at the children's center reading and playing games, thinking her parents might be proud when she declared her intentions to study teaching at the university.
"I'll not hear of it," Karen went on as if it were her place to object to this sort of thing.
Alas Robert Williams was no longer capable of thinking for himself and readily agreed. Gradually over the years he'd come to complacently agree with his new wife, offering no more condolence to his first born child's consternation than to rely heavily upon the phrase, "I'm sure she has your best interests at heart." So it would seem Sarah had heard those dreadful words no fewer than three times daily since Karen first talked of taking her to a psychiatrist for the ailment she suffered in sustaining a world of make believe.
A silent member in all this debate was Linda Williams, Sarah's absentee mother who did her level best to communicate her agreements and disagreements by post whenever Sarah requested, but even her level best was considered, by comparison, to be far poorer than any child should expect from their parent. She'd saved Sarah the indignance of being sent to a psychiatrist at least, claiming to question her daughter's sanity over a trifling misconception about one's overactive imagination was tyrannical at best and she must object most vehemently. Linda had even gone so far to as to threaten her husband and his new wife by adding "to neglect my opposition, would give me no other choice but to break my numerous upcoming engagements with the theater's management and more personally object with the understanding, of course, Robert and Karen, you will be subject to a law suit for the losses I suffer by breaking my contract." God forbid she should take an active hand in raising her teenage daughter. Still that time the threat seemed enough to get Sarah what she wanted.
When it came to higher education, Linda's contributions were of little good to Sarah, in fact, they worked against her. "Sarah, darling," she said. "What would you have me do? I could offer you my loft to share, but there is so little space as it is. Surely I could use my connections to get you into an acting school, but, my sweet, I've not the funds to pay tuition and any job you might get would scarcely cover the extra food and utilities we'd need to house you. I have always taken your side, Sarah, but be wise here. Take the money your father is offering you and get the education they are prescribing, if for nothing else than as your ticket out. This may be your only chance to escape her." Her. Not the woman who had given Sarah life, but the woman who seemed happy only when she was controlling it. As Linda so often managed, she made Sarah's leaving the house as melodramatic as her own plight seemed, fleeing Robert to pursue the route destiny had chosen for her.
With no warm goodbye, Linda disconnected their call. Sarah stared into the receiver. "Take what you can from whoever offers it with no consideration for how you're misleading them, without any regret at not having been true to yourself." It had been a theme for her mother. Weeping into her open hands, fate was now Karen's to decide and it seemed as if she were determined to keep her stepdaughter as far removed from fantasy as possible.
If she were to be completely honest with herself, Sarah had done little to aid her argument by constantly reinforcing the story of the Labyrinth on Toby. At three, he could scarcely be expected to keep to himself when Sarah allowed him to see her Scrabble partners, but she thought his being with her a more responsible choice than pinning up the toddler for several hours while she played. Good judgment perhaps, but Karen was significantly displeased by her son's spouting about great beasts and sarcastic dwarves.
"I'm going to the University of Chicago's School of Law," she told her friends when she was able to break free of the reverie which brought them to this point.
"School of Law," Hoggle grumped, "sounds pretty stuck up to me."
"It is," she kidded. "Unfortunately, they're paying the tuition and Karen has pulled some strings with a few of the right people to get me in. I've little to say about it."
"No...more...Scrabble," Ludo growled from the corner.
Sarah flung herself into his warm, furry embrace. "I'm afraid not. Karen's insisted that I move into a furnished apartment and means to have all my childhood things, as she calls them, destroyed."
Didymus came close to hold her hand, "And you assume without the mirror to bridge the gap between our worlds you shall never see us again?"
"Well I won't, will I?" Her tears had already begun to mat the beast's fur.
Hoggle came to join them. "Of course you will Sarah. It's not the mirror what matters. It's that you need us."
"'Tis true fair maiden. We could as easily enter through a closet or from beneath a bed. 'Twas just when you called us, you were already gazing into your mirror, we assumed, why frighten you?"
"Really?" Sarah was suddenly filled with relief at the prospect of having her old friends to make a new city seem like a less scary place to be. She felt Ludo's big head gently nod above her own. "Because I do need you all you know, now more than ever."
Why he bothered to fly in through the window of his throne room that first night after he'd watched them carry on without him, Jareth hadn't a clue. The whole place was one big window now. Sarah Williams had brought his world, quite literally, crumbling down around him. The king stood before his throne, all sorts of bits of stone, earth and crystal lie in his seat. His majesty's gloved hand reached down to sweep it free of the debris before flinging himself into the throne, draped over it with all the easiness he had while the mortal girl was busily attempting to solve the Labyrinth. His crop switched against the sole of his knee high black leather boot. "So," Jareth said through his bared uneven teeth, "this is how you mean it to be then? I have given you everything, been more generous with you than I have been with any other mortal to wish away children in the past. How am I repaid? Spat at, ruined, and all at the hands of a child!" The crop snapped just then, but the king continued to switch it regardless of what he felt, or didn't feel as it were. "I underestimated you and for that I fault myself, but more than this, I was too kind, too obliging, and that is a mistake I surely won't make a second time."
Tossing the broken crop into the pile of refuse all around him, Jareth called on his goblins. The first and second of his cries were issued without response, but as his hand crashed down upon the arm of his throne, it was his howl of pain which brought the meager assistants teeming in by the dozens, lining up to serve their master. "We will rebuild this castle," he said in a deep commanding voice. "We will rebuild the Goblin City," he continued each authoritative statement met with cheers by those within the sound of his voice. "And when we have done this much, we will upgrade the Labyrinth from difficult to deadly." Here Jareth fisted his hand, streams of hot, scarlet blood poured from the wound in his palm. It would seem he'd slammed his hand down on to some rather large crystal shards earlier. Ignorant of the pain he'd felt during the initial puncture, Jareth now slid the shards out from between his crevassed flesh, flicking them aside as one would an annoying pest. Curling into a sneer, the right side of his mouth began to ripple as he very nearly laughed. Like a wounded animal, the king slipped his tongue between his lips and bathed his injury. Blood stained his mouth and chin making his orders seem more like a pact.
While Jareth spouted commands at his servants Sarah took orders from her professors. Many of them set out to humble her, even humiliate her, but part of being an attorney was holding an air of confidence and quite often such attributes needed to be built into an otherwise mediocre character. Old school professors loved to spend the freshmen year tearing down mild mannered, shy students and then force them to become eloquent public speakers and master debaters.
Returning to her humble apartment filled Sarah with relief. There she could surround herself with familiar things including the few items she'd managed to smuggle to Chicago with her, the most important of which was the red leather bound copy of the Labyrinth.
Sarah called on her friends many nights her first year at university. Never did they speak of the king, for he had made it abundantly clear that if ever they were to discuss his world with her, their visitation privileges would be revoked; however, he did not abide by his own rules. Placating a fiery or lower goblin enough to have them share information was not a difficult task.
As her second and third years came and went, Sarah called less frequently upon her friends. Little surprise really. Karen's plan had gone precisely according to her vision. She had succeeded in forcing Sarah to give away her fantasy and accept the maturity imposed on her by attending a prestigious law school. All without Sarah's knowledge. It was not in the young woman's nature to fail and so she worked hard at her classes, made the best impressions, worked for the school legal journal, participated in extracurricular activities, including debate where she met a political science major by the name of Timothy McKnight.
Karen couldn't have crafted a more perfect distraction from fantasy lands if she'd practiced voodoo. Timothy was tall, his head filled with tight sandy curls and his eyes alive. Sarah was immediately taken to him and he became equally smitten with her. They began to date during opening term her junior year. Something about him made her want to be more mature, more sophisticated. Maybe she thought it was what he wanted, that he couldn't be interested in her otherwise. Maybe on a subconscious level, she'd decided to beat Karen at her own game by not only become what she wanted, but succeeding, nay excelling at it, bettering herself to the point she surpassed her step mother as a socialite.
Naturally, upon the eve of Sarah's twenty-first birthday the group of girls with whom she had chosen to associate, among them Laney Cass being her closest companion, wanted to take Sarah on the traditional pub crawl. Consisting of no fewer than a dozen establishments, including a joint which featured a wet t-shirt contest, two strip clubs and a dance hall which offered free body shots to the birthday girl (That is to say free shots off the birthday girl's body). This gauntlet had been run by each of the girls upon their respective turnings. Since many had attended junior university or switched to law, their birthdays had come and gone. All but Laney's. She was somewhat of a savant when it came to academics, graduating at fifteen and entering into university the following year. You'd never guess it by her social calendar and study habits though. Where Sarah spent five hours studying and one hour with friends, Laney spent the inverse. Nothing to do with her program of studies either. Laney was on her way to the first of what Sarah thought would be many degrees of various levels and fields of engineering. It was Laney's brother; however, that secured her place with them on weekend evenings. A graphic artist, he easily managed a state identification card and Laney's staunch rule of having but one drink a night kept her from getting into any real trouble with it.
"Sarah," she whined, showing her real age, "you've got to come out with us. We never see you anymore. You're always at Tim's or he's at your place. It's no good, you two acting like an old married couple already."
Legitimately, she had a point, but Sarah found an unexplainable comfort in Tim. "I know, but I think he had something special planned."
"The girls have been planning this for over a year!"
So she decided to play the seniority card. There was no resisting Laney when brown eyes filled with desperation sunk in her youthful face and began to plead with you. "Alright, alright, I'll ask him if we can celebrate Sunday night."
Gathering up both Sarah's hands, the barely seventeen year old smiled triumphantly. "You'll see, we're going to have a fabulous time."
Though she smiled back, Sarah doubted the validity of her friend's claim, but at heart, she hoped for it. Hoped that a night out with her girl friends would bring back the luster in her life after feeling so even keeled of late, so without variance, so lacking in excitement. 'It will be good,' she promised herself. 'I'll force it to be if necessary,' she thought, 'for fear that I have lost my ability to have fun."
By the fourth stop, Sarah realized attending a strip club was far more fun when one had ingested a fair amount of liquor. The men grew more attractive and the immodesty of stuffing small bills into the tiny band of elastic which kept her from knowing them in a more intimate nature seemed to fade. Too intoxicated to drink another drop, she was happy when the last bar invited her to lie a top their main table and offered up body shots for those in the immediate area. Sarah was hysterical with giggles and squeals, not thinking once what Tim would say. Maybe that was for the best, maybe she was too serious about him?
Laney under Sarah's left arm and another mutual friend beneath her right, the thoroughly intoxicated girl was escorted to her apartment. The doormen were accommodating, smiling with knowing as they staggered through the main doors. The make up of the city made driving impractical and in their current condition, it was for the best. "I love you," Sarah slurred inside the elevators just before she slid from their shoulders and sat on the floor.
"We love you, too," Laney reassured her trying to hoist her back up.
Sarah didn't budge. "Just let me sit for a minute," she pleaded. "Just till we get there." There were only a few floors, but it was enough time for her eyes to close and her head to rock. The quick stop and melodic ding of the elevator jarred her awake. "Fourth floor, bath towels, ladies lingerie." The two hoisted the dead weight and heaved it down the hall to the correct door. Once inside, Sarah put up little resistance to being changed and tucked into bed.
Round about three in the morning, the nearly lifeless mortal stirred, head spinning, stomach in knots she dragged herself to the kitchen for a large glass of ice water. There she sat, relying heavily upon table and chairs she'd found at Room and Board for support. Any question she'd had about Tim's place in her life had been answered. If having fun meant feeling like this, if this was what being a single woman was going to be like then she hoped he'd ask for her hand at dawn and put an end to the suffering which seemed to plague even her hair. When she stood, she would have sworn her toenails hurt.
Tears wet her eyes as Sarah took in just how alone she felt, awake before the sun with no face to smile at her with reassurance, no hand to soothe her. Where were the friends who had encouraged her to get to this point? Gone. Deserted her! She had no one and at this hour she could call upon no one.
Glass half empty, she realized how wrong she was. Stumbling to the bedroom, she lie back down, her face on the foot end of the bed. Shaking fingers worked her tangled locks into a lopsided bun. Pulling the curtains and looking around first, she concentrated on the door, her head formed the words. If only her tongue had put forth as much effort. "I hog you needle." 'Damn,' she thought hearing this. Regardless of the water, her mouth still felt like it had been lined with down. "I mean, you need me Higgle...Hoggle...Hoggle. You need me Hoggle, you need me." The room spun a few times. Everything began to dance. It was not the first time Sarah had felt this way. Sweet slumber claimed her in its cool darkness. From a far corner of the room she thought she heard music.