Author's Notes: I make no excuses for myself. I'm completely insane.
This is in response to a challenge posted on the labyfic LiveJournal community.
Challenge #10: Drunk! Jareth
The Goblin King is plastered. Write a scene that includes an explanation of why he went on a royal bender, what he's drinking and a conversation with another character who may or may not actually be present because... well, he's really, really drunk.
I wish the goblins would come and take me away right now!
Jareth poured himself another shot. He had no idea what the goblin brew was or how they made it and he didn't care; the important part was that it would get him drunk more quickly than anything else. He knocked back the liquid, gagged, and smashed the glass on the floor. It felt good to do that.
Picking up the bottle, he staggered back to his throne. He missed the chair the first time. Then it took him three tries after he finally found his seat to pull up a crystal without dropping it. The goblins thought it was a riot, especially since he didn't seem to notice their howling laughter.
Sarah was stalking through the Labyrinth with a determined expression. She looked grumpy, he decided. Pretty, but grumpy. Pretty grumpy, yes that was it. "Dammit Jareth, where are you?!" she yelled, beating her fist on the wall when her path reached a dead-end, before turning to stalk back the way she came.
Jareth tossed the crystal over his shoulder lackadaisically. "Oh Gods, don't make me do this again," he groaned. He stared at the bottle in other hand as if he'd completely forgotten it was there.
He took a long drink, gagged again, and wondered what the goblins put in the drink to give it such an...unusual flavor. Curdled goat's milk? No no, too ordinary. Bat guano? Maybe, but he doubted there were enough bats in the entire kingdom to keep the goblins in their happy state of perpetual drunkenness. Perhaps some kind of mold...
He had almost decided it was the mushrooms that grew near the Bog when a goblin guard came rushing in and made him completely forget what he'd been pondering for the past half hour. He brandished the bottle at the out of breath guard.
Unsure of whether he was being threatened or offered a drink, the guard hopped from one foot to the other anxiously. The movement made Jareth's vision swim. "Stop...bouncing...all of you!!" he roared.
The goblin fell down with a squeak. "Sir!" he managed. "We have a problem!"
The king blinked a few times. "If it's about the girl," he slurred, "I'm not nearly drunk enough yet."
Jareth found himself walking down a long, dark tunnel. How had he ended up there? He frowned. Oh. Right.
"The False Alarms need a pep talk," he said in a high-pitched voice, mimicking the guard. "How the bloody hell can a bunch of stones need a pep talk?" he muttered.
A sloshing sound reminded him that, yes, he was still holding the ale bottle. He smirked. At least there was that.
And that was how the King of the Goblins came to be sprawled across a flat rock, sipping booze and nodding sympathetically as deep, rumbling voices expounded on the psychological traumas that came with their position.
"So, you see," the largest of the False Alarms concluded in a voice that sounded vaguely like thunder, "we're really under a lot of stress here and we've discussed it for some time now and, well, we think we deserve a vacation."
"Yes," added another, "we'd really like to take a few weeks off and go to Tahiti."
"I want to learn how to surf!" chimed in a third.
Jareth sat up. "Tahiti?" he asked in disbelief. "Surfing? You're a bunch of giant talking rocks that live to convince people that everything they know is wrong! You can't go surfing!"
"...surfing...surfing...surfing.." His voice echoed through the caverns and into silence.
"Well, I never," one of them sniffed.
Jareth sighed and set down his bottle regretfully. "Look, all you need is some new lines. Everyone knows better than to listen to those old ones. And booming voices? Startling maybe, but not very ominous."
He had their attention now. "What do you suggest then? That's how we've always done it."
"Be a little creative!" Jareth scoffed. "Doing it the same way all the time is exactly why no one listens to you."
There was some whispering amongst them, which sounded rather like an avalanche. At last the largest False Alarm spoke again. "We...don't know how to be creative?" it said somewhat timidly.
"Now that," Jareth said, "is something I can help you with." He stumbled around looking for his bottle (it was not right where he left it!) and took a long drink before striking a dramatic and hopefully menacing pose. "Beware," he hissed, letting the words roll from his lips in a tone that was both seductive and menacing, "I have been generous but I can be cruel."
There was a chorus of 'ooohs' from the False Alarms. One of them picked up his words and began repeating them trying to mimic the tone. "Do another!" one of them yelled.
Swaying slightly, Jareth held up one hand pleadingly. "Turn back," he ordered, then more quietly, "turn back before it's too late." His hand trailed to the side, as if the one he had been speaking to had moved onward. "Such a pity," he whispered.
Several of the False Alarms immediately began to discuss the best way to implement that when they had no arms. A heated debate about eye rolling sprung up.
"Another, do another," the largest of the False Alarms begged. "It needs to be something really terrifying."
"Hmmm," Jareth mused. It was difficult to think. He wondered what was wrong with him. And where did he leave his bottle this time? He bent over to look for it but all he saw was a pair of sneakered feet.
Feet? False Alarms?
"They don't have them," he told the feet blandly.
"Jareth?" the feet asked. They sounded apprehensive.
"How delightful!" he exclaimed, hunkering down beside them. "Did the False Alarms teach you to talk?" Then he fell over.
Hmm. Balancing in heeled boots is apparently a lot harder when you've been drinking.
Rocks, however, are hard whether you're drunk or not. They seem especially so when one bangs one's head against them.
One of the sneakers nudged the unconscious king timidly.
"Um...what's going on here?" Sarah asked.
The muttering amongst the False Alarms hushed immediately. "You!" the largest exclaimed.
Sarah lifted her chin stubbornly. "What about me?"
"Oh, um," there was a brief hesitation. "Do you find us...frightening?"
"Of course not!" She rolled her eyes. The rumbling, wistful sigh she got in response was enough to make her pause. "What's going on around here?"
"Well, it's like this," the largest rock began.
Jareth woke up to the sound of a long, unending roll of booming thunder. His head was pounding in time with its song.
Song? Wait, what?
He sat up too fast and the cavern seemed to spin, causing him to groan aloud. The noise stopped abruptly.
"Stop stop STOP!" A gravely voice ordered. "That's not right at all. Who made that-- Oh, Your Majesty, forgive me." Jareth had staggered to his feet and was trying desperately to get his bearings. He recognized the speaker as the largest of the False Alarms.
"Right...what the devil is going on?" he managed weakly.
"Oh! We're feeling much better, Your Majesty! We've got some delightfully frightening lines now. Would you like to hear?"
Jareth made a vague sort of gesture and, as one, all the rocks in the area broke into song. They had the beat down pat but they were horribly off-pitch and loud to boot.
"IIIIIT'S A SMAAALL WORLD AAAAAFTER AAAALL! IIIIIT'S A SMAAALL WORLD AAAAAFTER AAAALL! IIIIIT'S A SMAAALL WORLD AAAAAFTER AAAALL! IT'S A SMAAAALL SMAAAALL WOOOOOORLD!"
A high-pitched scream followed by what sounded like terrified gibbering echoed through the kingdom.
From the Goblin King's throne, where she'd been lounging comfortably for the past few hours, Sarah smiled.
"Oh yes, I can be cruel."