The Goblin Orchards

Disclaimer: I don't the Labyrinth, or the poem "Goblin Market" which is quoted in here. Yup. I really don't.
Rating: PG-13/K+
AN: I wrote this after reading the poem Goblin Market by Christina Rosetti, which was mentioned in my course at school (If you would like to read the poem, and I recommend it, you can google it since I can't put urls in here properly). As always, I've intended to be original and any similarities to other stories out there are unintentional.
Summary: The faire is in town and Sarah's reluctantly attending. But of course, the goblins are rising and bringing their fruit with them. Based on the poem "Goblin Market" J/S oneshot.

The Goblin Orchards

Goblin feet tramped through the stone halls of the Castle Beyond the Goblin City. They pummeled down the lanes and pathways of the city as a vivid Underground dusk fell.

Smiles curved and gleamed in the half light, assembled goblins twitched impatiently as they waited for their monarch to arrive. Hands fingered baskets and bowls of fruit nervously, caressingly, savouring in the imbued magic and temptation.

Bright cloaks gave glamour and goblins looked like little men, shuffling and stampinf their curled goblin feet. And then he came. Bright gossamer finery had been exchanged for merchant clothes and the only sign of royalty in him came from his stance, his haughty air, and the expensive leather gloves.

He smiled swift and feral as he surveyed his gathered goblins. "Well. To market we go."

The Goblins muttered excitedly and stirred at his smoothly promising words. Old memories of when they wandered up and down glens and valleys, hawking their drugging fruit to bright young girls buoyed them and caused their eyes to glitter. Goblin teeth snapped and mouths drooled.

Off they set, the Goblin King and his Goblin Men, to once more hawk their goblin fruit.

MORNING and evening
Maids heard the goblins cry:
"Come buy our orchard fruits,
Come buy, come buy:

"Come on Sarah." Her friend Leanne cajoled. "The renaissance faire comes here once in a blue moon and you're begging off because of a history assignment?"

Sarah wrinkled her nose. "Homework is worth marks. Going to a Faire is not. Homework is worth something in the long run. Going to the Faire… doesn't get me anything." Except an insane longing for a life I could've had…Sarah had given up her dreams of living in a fairytale long, long ago. She was focused in the here and now.

Attending a Renaissance Faire seemed silly - it did not play a part in her life right now. She had too much reality to indulge in such fancy. Too much homework to spend a day off work playing at a fair.

"Sarah… It's a Renaissance Faire. It's based on the time period you're studying right now!" Leanne strove to make her case.

Sarah leveled a gaze at her friend chidingly.

"Okay," Leanne amended, "well, at least they try to stay historically accurate."

"With bright blue outhouses…" Sarah said dryly. "With the cleanest peasants I ever did see."

Leanne scoffed. "You've never seen a real peasant a day in your life. So for all you know, the Faire could be accurate."

Sarah blinked at her friend (and she had so seen peasants - just of the goblin variety…) and raised an eyebrow. Leanne wilted. "Oh come on, so it's a stretch. But you're the only one of my friends who's free today – "

"Not so. I have homework." She cried laughingly. Leanne was nothing if not persistent, she had to give her that.

Leanne was still going, rambling to wear her recalcitrant friend down. " – And so I thought that for the sake of helping me out, helping me have a good time because even you know how rough I've had it since Kevin broke up with me, you'd come with me. I thought that just this once you'd like to hang out with me and – "

"If you cut it with the sob story I'll go." Sarah broke into the beginning of was proving to be a very dramatic and moving and entirely fake monologue of woe and self pity.

Gone were the distressed blue eyes, the mournful smile and quick tears. Leanne bounced instead. "Awesome! If you have problems finding a costume, I've got heaps and they wouldn't need a ton of alteration."

Sarah looked skeptically at the 5'1" frame of her blonde friend and indulged in Leanne's optimism; briefly. There was no way that the petite clothes of Leanne could be made to look even nice on the 5'8" brunette. "Not to worry, I have something from one of my plays in first year that will do for an afternoon."

Thank goodness she'd never thrown out that simple ivory and green gown. Her mother had gotten one of her own costumes altered for her daughter when she'd found out Sarah was starring in a play at her University.

Of course, that had been the last time Sarah had been in a production; she'd gotten no real joy out of pretending and acting. It had been after that year she'd switched her major to History with a focus on Pre-Reformation Civilizations.

And now here she was on her way to a Renaissance faire of all things.

MORNING and evening
Maids heard the goblins cry:
"Come buy our orchard fruits,
Come buy, come buy:

The faire was bright and busy. Aisles with wooden booths and bright tents had been set up in the large neighbourhood park. Music rang out from the minstrels playing on a low wooden platform. Everything as built to look as old and authentic, but still up to health and safety codes, as could be. It was captivating.

Sarah quickly tired of her friend's hyperactivity and claiming a sudden headache, retreated to a shady booth that offered cold meat pies and cool beer. In pewter mugs and on wooden slab tables, but it was a drink and a sit down regardless. Besides, she hadn't been lying about the headache. If she'd stayed with Leanne for just a couple more minutes of bouncing around here and there she would have had a headache. She was partaking in preventative medicine, that's all.

Her vantage point was good and Sarah enjoying the Faire quite nicely. She saw the meticulous costumes, the shops across the turfed aisle that were selling corsets and period dress. For exboritant, un-period prices and coinage. But nevertheless, people were enjoying themselves and the actors at the Faire were good.

Most of the people in the tavern tent she'd placed herself in, were men. And judging from the overheard conversations, men who'd accompanied the significant women in their lives but who had no real wish of their own to participate. Thus they were sitting in here drinking beer, while the women were out traipsing up and down the Faire Aisles.

"…heard from her friend there was a good fruit stand." One man nearby said to his table companion.

"Ah. I saw that, run by a bunch of midgets. Very funny ones too. Do a bit of a clowning about routine, play up the fruit to the women. I couldn't handle it. Helen wanted to stay though…"

Sarah had perked up at the mention of fruit. She'd found the meat pie a little dry, and the beer not as refreshing as she'd been anticipating. At the mention of fruit, she suddenly wanted nothing more.

"Pardon me," She turned with an open smile to the men she'd overheard. "Could you tell me where the fruit stall is?"

Lemons and oranges,
Plump unpecked cherries-
Melons and raspberries,
Bloom-down-cheeked peaches

It was near the fruit stand that she smelled it. Something familiar and tugging at her memory. It teased the edges of her mind until her focus was shifted to the steady stream of people making their way to what must be the fruit stand.

She joined the small crowd and for a moment all she could see was the fruit all displayed on golden plates and temptingly arranged in baskets and barrels. Then she saw the small men she'd heard about.

Soon after, the familiar dry and dirty smell of Goblin wafted to her nose and her face went white. Sarah edged nearer to the fruit, compelled by now a strange fascination to find out what Goblins were doing here, and why with fruit. With a determined scowl she knew that at that moment nothing in the world could have induced her to eat the peaches or pears or berries or apples all displayed so welcomingly.

She rested a finely trembling hand on a piece of fruit, hiding in the crowd a little. A small shudder ran through her body, a slight gasp exited through parted lips. "Magic." She murmured under her breath. "Bad magic."

Sarah Williams cast now open eyes at the fruit sellers. She saw a tail whisk by, saw pointed, leathery ears and bulbous eyes. Sharp canine teeth grinned at the people who were buying their fruit. Goblins.

The word was involuntary and she didn't even know she'd spoke it aloud. Except that every one of the goblins paused for a moment, their fingers hovered over ripe fruits. One cast a sidelong glance at her and grinned.

"Pretty lady, have some fruit." Two Goblins tugged on the hem of her skirt.

"No. No thankyou…" She tried to edge away politely, only to find their hands were firm, wrapped tightly in her dress.

"But such fruit you've never tasted. Come buy, come buy."

"Taste them and try." Another goblin joined them, his voice hoarse and wheedling.

And another came from behind Sarah, "Bright-fire-like barberries, figs to fill your mouth." A cadence had begun and more goblins surrounded her and took up the refrain. Eyes bright and sly, one snapped at her skirt and she jumped.

Sarah tried to edge away and pry their hands loose. But she'd been pushed back and into the fruit stand tent, into the shadows. Despairingly she looked at the hordes of women buying fruit. But the other Faire goers were busy buying their magic laced fruit, absorbed and entranced. Unaware of the scene going on before them they were only focused on the fruit, the fruit, the tempting fruit.

The whisk-tailed merchant bade her taste
In tones as smooth as honey,
The cat-faced purr'd,
The rat-paced spoke a word
Of welcome, and the snail-paced even was heard

Sarah's hair had come loose and tumbled down in her efforts to free herself from the sharp claws and tight grasp of the goblins. They heckled and pushed her, shoved fruit at her. They'd brought her down to her knees and had tried to make her eat.

Sarah had closed her mouth tight and then shut her horrified eyes. Juice ran down her chin, raspberries crushed on her dress, a peach held to her cheek.

And then and only then, into this scene did the Goblin King step.

Clawed with their nails,
Barking, mewing, hissing, mocking,
Tore her gown and soiled her stocking,
Twitched her hair out by the roots,
Stamped upon her tender feet,
Held her hands and squeezed their fruits
Against her mouth to make her eat

"Desist." He spoke a quiet word and the goblins stopped their noise. "Your name girl." His smooth tones demanded. Sarah lifted her head from behind her curtain of hair and opened green eyes to look in defiance at the King of the Goblins.

Recognition dawned. "Well, well. If it isn't you."

Sarah refused to speak lest drops of goblin peach drop into her mouth. Not being able to answer back, rudely and quickly made her seethe and so Sarah settled for pursing her lips in frustration and narrowing her eyes at the tall blonde haired monarch. He quickly comprehended the situation and with a flourish withdrew a hankerchief.

Goblins still held her hands in tight, dry fists and so the Goblin King leaned over and wiped her chin and cheek and lips. His touch was firm and gentle, but that was neither here nor there! Sarah reprimanded herself, it didn't matter. She was now able to talk.

But her comeback had fled and the Goblin King merely raised a quizzical eyebrow at her, a bemused smile on his arrogant features.

The dark haired girl scowled.

"Sarah Williams. What to do with you now." One finger tapped his chin thoughtfully.

She wrinkled her nose at the cliché. "Never mind me. What are you doing here selling your poison fruit to people?"

He snapped cold eyes at her. "It's not your place to question. Nor do I or my goblins answer to you. You are the one at a disadvantage."

"If you are playing with these people like you played with me, then I'm making it my place." The brunette jutted her chin out stubbornly.

He smiled condescendingly. "A pretty sentiment. But this isn't a game you and I are playing. There are no rules for you to follow, nothing for you to win or lose. I don't have to listen to you in the slightest because I gain no matter what."

Sarah chewed her lip at his logic and stewed. It was, dare she think it, unfair. "What are you doing to them at least?" she finally questioned.

His smile was dark and quick. "Nothing too horrible. I'm fulfilling their desire for the most tempting fruit, and teaching them a lesson in indulgence.

The enigmatic face of the Goblin King drew closer. "For once you've tasted goblin fruit, nothing in this world satisfies. Soon they will wither away and come to my kingdom."

Sarah puzzled it for a moment. "But what about the wished away?"

"What about them? It's irrelevant. There are more ways for me to steal dreams and people than just waiting for silly girls to wish away crying babies." His tone was matter of fact.

Sarah gaped. "You steal them all away?"

His smile turned feral. "It's been a long time since the Goblins have come to the Market. They may be indulging overmuch. But they get such pleasure I can't seem to bring myself to stop them." He chuckled as if at endearingly errant children.

Sarah cried out and struggled against the hands of the goblins. "You can't do that to them!"

"Can't I? Do you see them paying attention to anything but their own greedy desires? They don't care about you back here, why should you care about them?"

Sarah felt a tear slip down her cheek. "You just… can't!"

He looked at her thoughtfully. "I can."

Lizzie uttered not a word;
Would not open lip from lip
Lest they should cram a mouthful in;
But laughed in heart to feel the drip
Of juice that syruped all her face,
And lodged in dimples of her chin,
And streaked her neck which quaked like curd
.

And there she was. The mortal girl from years ago who'd strolled into his labyrinth and defied him. Who'd declared her will as strong as his, destroyed his castle and usurped his loyal servants. At his mercy and crying for people she didn't know.

A compassion he could use to his advantage, he swiftly realized. For fruit had already been eaten, the goblins had done their work at the Faire today. What harm in letting her save some few people from the fruits?

Sarah closed her eyes at the sight of greedy women buying the precious fruit, too impatient to eat it further away and biting into crisp apples and dripping plums right at the stand. If only she could do something.

"Girl, I have an offer for you." His eyes were black, he seemed displeased and so Sarah took heart. "If you consent to eat of the goblin fruit yourself tonight, no more of them," he twisted his head back at the crowding people "will I tempt. I'll close my stall and leave. With you as my final prize."

Sarah flinched at his proposal. She turned steady green eyes to the women at the fruit boxes and then looked back at the goblin king. He was watching her with hooded eyes, disinterest placed carefully on his face. Sarah Williams measured the option in her mind. Could she? Was she a hero? She wasn't, not really.

But to live when she knew that her actions could have prevented tearing a mother away from her children, wife from a husband, and lover from a lover…

The girl who stood up to a king long ago squared her shoulders. "I accept your offer."

The goblins around crowed in delight, and scurried to close the tent and shoo the crowds away. And left alone were Sarah on the ground and the watching Goblin King.

With a familiar twist of his wrist he offered her his hand and in it sat a peach. Perfect and ripe, a true "bloom-down cheeked peach." He murmured softly at her.

Sarah took the proffered fruit from his hands and rising to her feet, brought the fruit to her mouth and slowly ate. The Goblin King watched from dark and shuttered eyes as his revenge was created and fulfilled with every delicate mouthful.

A pit dropped from now nerveless fingers and Sarah shuddered where she stood. "I'm done." She announced.

"Yes. You are. And you're mine." The Goblin King pulled the mortal woman into his arms and with goblin men following chaotically behind, they swiftly spun to the Underground.

MORNING and evening
Maids heard the goblins cry:
"Come buy our orchard fruits,
Come buy, come buy:

AN2: Well, I hope you enjoyed. Leave a review if you would of what you thought, the writing style, the flow, the concept etc. Please do not reveiw asking for more. It is a oneshot as stated up top and in the summary. And oh how it feels good to write in the Labyrinth fandom again after a 3 month break from computers and everything.