Disclaimer: I do not own the Labyrinth or its characters; they are property of Jim Henson, Lucas Films, and Dennis Lee. This fanfiction is not made for profit in anyway; it is only further proof of my love for the movie and that I have an overactive imagination.
The hour was past late and goblins and fireys slumped against each other at the foot of Sarah's bed. Ludo tried to sit down without hitting any of Sarah's furniture and only knocked over a few of her books off her book self.
"Sorry," he drawled, then suddenly yawned; he sat down with a soft thump as his eyes immediately drooped.
Sarah smiled and looked at the huge orangey brown furred monster with a soft look of affection. She turned with that same smile towards Hoggle and Sir Didymus as they wearily battled each other on her scrabble game. She draped a small blanket around Ludo's shoulders as she listened to her two friend's debate with half interest.
"Jzubler is not a word," Hoggle grumbled tiredly.
Sir Didymus crossed his arm over his chest still holding his riding crop making a half cross over his heart, "On my honor – it is!"
The small knight was about to launch into a lengthy explanation that a jzubler was a foot tall weed that secreted a yellow sap excellent for saddle polish when Sarah crouched near and stopped his tirade. Sleepy gazes turned to her with a strange mix of weariness and trepidation.
"It's late," Sarah whispered. It was later than late, she knew, their private party had started at midnight and it was past three. Thankfully it was Saturday and she didn't have to wake up early in the morning for school.
"Sarah…" Hoggle asked with a strange look of anxiety, "Could we stay here? Just until you fall asleep?"
Sarah smiled looking round, indicating that most of the inhabitants sleeping soundly near and even on her bed, gave her little choice. Sarah hugged Hoggle and kissed Sir Didymus on the top of his blue hat, saying, "Of course."
Sarah stood tall and stretched, throwing her arms over her head to get a crick out before exiting the door.
"I'm thirsty, want anything?"
Her two friends shook their heads as she walked out, quickly closing the door in case her dad or step mom might see into her room.
Hoggle sighed and pushed the game board to the side.
"What happened, Sir Didymus?"
Sir Didymus examined his paws as if seeing them with new eyes before he too sighed with something close to frustration.
"Verily…I know not. In all likelihood she was not supposed to need us anymore. I know not who to pray or thank for this…" he paused trying to think of the right word and finally settled on: "extension."
"My home," Hoggle whispered, suddenly fingering the trinkets at his side. One of his dearly beloved "properties" was a large grimy key, supposedly to unlock the front door of his cottage outside the labyrinth walls.
"Was it ever really ours to begin with?" Sir Didymus's question rankled something in Hoggle's gut but he remained passive, trying to continue the conversation quickly before Sarah returned.
"Do we tell her how…everything is uncertain?" Suddenly he was afraid. What would happen once Sarah fell asleep? Where would he go? Where would they all go? Did Sarah understand what happened? If she found out…would he…die?
Hoggle suddenly looked at Sarah's vanity mirror, wondering if there was anything for them to return to, or if touching its smooth surface was as futile gesture as he supposed. Maybe…just maybe…
Sir Didymus sadly saw the look of eager curiosity on his friend's face and lowered his gaze so as not to see that energy suddenly extinguished with his careful words.
"We are not real my friend. Staying here or returning there does not make any difference because in the end…"
Hoggle abruptly finished his friend's sentence before cupping his face with his gnarled hands in defeat, "The Labyrinth does not exist."
Sarah carefully rinsed out a glass (she had previously used earlier in the day) in the sink. It was dark as she had left off the lights so as not to disturb the household. Besides she found that on her return from the Labyrinth everything had a harsh shine that seemed to hurt her eyes. In other words, her life now seemed gaudy in comparison to magical forests and dark foreboding castles.
Even the window before her looked so surreal with thin yellow faded flower curtains narrowing the inky blackness. Her mind wandered even as the water still flowed from the over shiny faucet head.
She had just returned from a long, strange, and even beautiful adventure. The kind she had always longed for as a little girl. In its realms she had found everything she had ever dreamed of, and in doing so found a new inner strength she was not aware she was capable of.
She had rescued her brother from the Goblin King, the tall foreboding, evil King who would have surely done Toby harm. It was better this way than to have inadvertently hurt Toby herself. Wait, "herself," why did she think that?
Her brows furrowed as she tried to continue the insubstantial line of thought. The cup was held loosely in her hand under the warm spray as her mind seemed to tick backward.
She saw herself angrily
climbing the stairs to her room, her sanctuary, as she imagined her
step mom's angry perfectly made up face.
"Sarah you're an hour late."
"I said I'm sorry!"
"Please let me finish – you're father and I go out very rarely anymore –
"But every weekend!"
Her stepmother continued despite Sarah's rude interruption. "And I only ask you to baby sit only if it won't interfere with your plans."
Anger blazed in Sarah's gray eyes at her stepmother's words, "Well how would you know you never even ask me anymore!" Sarah turned to run up the stairs only to stop and glare at her stepmother's feeble attempt of an excuse.
"I assumed you would tell me if you had a date, you should have dates at your age."
And nothing else mattered at that moment except for the anger coiled within Sarah and the embarrassment of being scolded, especially when she deserved it. She was late. Her stepmother was justified in scolding her…and she hated it.
Sarah blinked and turned off the tap, but she still stood there, like a perplexed sleepwalker. Why was that moment important? The anger…she remembered, was very potent. Was it because she was chastised like a little girl? No, there was something more. She had wished she had a date, anything, an excuse to show up her step mom. But no boy was interested her at the time. She had wanted a date, a sudden impulse to show that she wasn't in anyway of lesser esteem to this woman. This… intruder.
Suddenly in her mind she was holding Toby, rocking him in exaggerated pain. I hate you, her mind screamed. You don't even look like my dad, you look just like her! It's her blond hair and her blue eyes. And she put you in this ghastly red and white pajama, so stop crying at me! My mother would have chosen something nicer, blue or green. If she were here, Karen wouldn't be here and neither would you! Yes, you shouldn't be here! It should only be me! Just me and dad and…and… Her mind whirled in anger. It was her mother who had left but she was talented and she was beautiful and most importantly, she was Sarah's mother.
That's when the pain and anger had bubbled up and reached a boiling point and a plan, a silly wistful longing grew and bloomed in her young mind. Someone evil to take away her problems so she would never have to resort to villainy; someone attractive, who would pay attention to her, to make her feel wanted…
"Once upon a time…" she whispered as the wind howled outside Toby's window and lightning cracked a few miles away.
The wind howled again as if in tribute to that moment only hours ago, as Sarah stood before the kitchen window with a growing sense of unease. She looked up into her faint reflection, the words whispered past her pink lips lost and dying even though its meaning blazed, "But what no one knew was that the king of the goblins had fallen in love with the girl and gave her certain powers…"
Oh, god, understanding hit her like a bolt of lightning. It was all for her. Everything she wanted he HAD done, and in repayment she rejected him, she hurt him. If it weren't for Jareth she would have grown up, containing but continuing the hostility she felt for her step mom and her stepbrother. What kind of life would that have created for her innocent little brother? But Jareth…poor Jareth, he became the interceder, the recipient of her pent up frustrations and hostility. He took the child, he became the villain, and then he was thrown down amidst broken castle walls at her words… the price for living up to her expectations.
Closing her eyes, her head bowed with the pain of knowledge. "I'm so sorry," she whispered, suddenly wishing he could hear her apology.
"Sarah." It was a soft caress of a word that snapped her head up.
Her heart stopped as she saw the dark glass reflect the Goblin King right behind her.
Sarah whipped around, dropping her glass in the process, its crystal sound boomed across the empty room overtaking the loud rapid beat of her heart.
Alone. She was alone. She turned toward the window and again nothing graced its panes but her own panicked expression. But I saw him! He was there!
The kitchen light snapped on and Sarah looked up from the pile of wet broken glass to the puzzled face of her dad. So much for being discreet.
Sarah's hand trembled as she opened her bedroom door. She had just apologized to her father about the glass which had "slipped" out of her hand. She didn't mean to make so much noise at this hour. Her father had only smiled and thanked her again for babysitting Toby tonight. They both poured each other a cup of root beer (their secret favorite) and bid each other good night. It was too weird for Sarah, to have to act so normal right after her scare with Jareth.
Sarah stifled a yawn, and headed straight for her bed, that is after she carefully removed a small goblin from her covers. The soft give of her pillow made her groan in sleepy contentment. Her mind felt fuzzy and sleep deprived and after such a long day of running through a giant maze, Sarah knew she would be asleep in seconds. She was starting to drift when she heard the barest sound of movement. Her eyes opened slightly and the bleary image of Hoggle neared her.
Hoggle gently took her hand, "Shh, go to sleep dear. Everything will be all right now. We all love you."
A small smile graced Sarah's lips as she sleepily mumbled how she loved them too. She could tell him about Jareth tomorrow. Right now, she was so tired.
Hoggle waited a moment, to make sure Sarah was more asleep. He could feel himself starting to fade and knew that Sir Didymus and Ludo also would be slowly hazing into nothingness. He looked down at their joined hands, feeling a sensation he never felt before, a feeling of inevitability.
"Sarah…" he said, and when she didn't answer, he knew she was just about asleep and his words couldn't be heard.
"Sarah, I just wanted to say, I never had a friend before…I never had a home before, and everything we went through…it's more than I ever deserved. It means so much to me that we met. That you chose to forgive me…I'd give all my trinkets to you if it made you happy. I'd give my life for you…
When he couldn't see his legs a shaky hitch of breath escaped his thin lips. He was so afraid, absolutely terrified but he wouldn't cry out. He tried to still his trembling gnarled hand; he didn't want to wake her…Sarah, his only friend.
"I – I just wanted to say, that we do love you. And that there are no hard feelings – in- in case I don't return." He was nearly gone; all that remained of him as Sarah's consciousness faded was his arms and his head. Hoggle looked around and saw that everyone else had disappeared, only he fought to remain just a second longer.
What if he could never come back? What if this was it? She didn't need them anymore and they would just dissolve into cherished memories.
"Sarah," he quietly sobbed, "Sarah" –
Her hand dropped to her side and Sarah slept peacefully.