A/N: While not the first Labyrinth fic that I've written, this is the first that I will post. I hope it makes sense and I hope you like it. A prequel to the movie.

He held her as she cried to sleep the night that her mother died. That night her father was able to spare no thought for his grieving thirteen-year-old daughter. He had only thought of himself and his dead wife, not the girl who had also lost her mother. He hated him for that - for making her feel unloved and unwanted in that night that was the hardest of her young life.

So he took the pain away.

She had left her window open because it was a warm autumn day and her room was stuffy with dust and the smell of sickness even though she had not been the one to be sick. Her mother's illness had crept into the very pores of the walls that surrounded the brightly painted fantasy bedroom. The window was open to let out the feeling of death, and through that window came her salvation.

She knew who he was from all the stories her mother had told her about him. Her mother had always made him seem gentle and kind beneath his hard exterior. Mother had said he needed to appear cruel and uncaring because love was seen as a sign of weakness by his peers. She knew better. Mother had also told her that it took a very strong man to love a woman unconditionally and expect nothing in return.

Neither of them knew how long he had stood before her as she sat on her bed, just watching as she took in his presence. He wanted to see what she would do, and he was not disappointed when she flung herself into his arms and sobbed helplessly into his shoulder.

He knew that he would have to take away her knowledge of his visit, so that the magic would not be affected, but for the moment he just focused on comforting his little princess; his love. It was the only thing he was allowed by the magic that surrounded him.

Oh, how he yearned to just take her away from the awful place she called home and surround her with love, affection and safety from the cruel, dark world at large!

But the magic wouldn't let him. Softly a tendril of magic reminded him that if he wanted to keep on seeing her and be allowed to comfort her, he would have to accept the limitations placed upon him. His arms tightened instinctively around her as he settled down with her on her bed and just held her close as she mourned the loss of her mother.

He would do nothing to jeopardize this time he was allowed with her. This was the only time he had to implant himself into her subconscious so that she would one day call on him and fulfill her destiny. It was all he had to keep him going through the mundane cycles that made up his daily life.

The promise that one day this child would grow and take her place at his side, as his wife.

Her breathing changed, evening out as she snuggled closer to him and fell into the deep sleep of the emotionally exhausted and physically drained. He carefully set her down on her back before removing the shoes she had not taken off since returning from her mother's death bed and hospital room. With a bit of magic he changed her clothes into a nightgown spun from storm clouds to reflect her mood before he manually tucked her beneath the covers on the (highly inadequate for a future queen) bed.

With a chaste kiss to her forehead he replaced her memories with ones that said she had changed before breaking down in tears and crying herself to sleep. He also left her with a sense of peace regarding her mother's death. She would still mourn the passing, but he gave her acceptance and knowledge that it had not been the end.

Soon her life would be filled with different kinds of hardships, some more commonly faced by teenagers and others thrust upon her by fate. But she would weather them all and come out stronger because of them. He just hoped she could forgive him for the role he would be forced to play on the way to prepare her for the crown.


A/N: So? Thoughts? Criticisms? Questions? All are welcome, just don't tell me that it sucks without giving me feedback so that I can improve as a writer.