I do not own Labyrinth.

The Chase

It was only September, and yet the temperature was rapidly decreasing. The sky was a milky gray, and the winds were picking up with such force that the still-green leaves were practically ripped from their branches; listening closely, one could almost hear their cries of anguish.

And it had been so sunny this morning, Sarah thought.

Still, she sat on the edge of her bed, pulling and tying the blue laces on her running shoes. If she thought back long enough, she was almost positive she had taken her evening run in much worse conditions. A few clouds and some wind were not going to stop her.

And sure, her navy racer back tank top and black running shorts weren't going to protect her much from the weather, but a sweatshirt would just end up making her sweat more than she wanted to and the length of her sweatpants was just restricting.

Hollering a goodbye to her stepmother, Sarah yanked open the back door and ran into the evening.

She hadn't been running for more than five minutes when she felt a fat rain drop smack against her left shoulder. There was another, then another, and then it was raining so hard she wouldn't have been surprised if Merlin didn't fall from the sky and into her arms.

Her usually dainty feet were smacking fiercely against the pavement, matching the time of the rain drops. She was somewhat shocked to feel that small burning sensation in her legs already, but she realized that, for some reason, she was running harder and faster than usual.

It wasn't until she turned the corner of Green and Chelston that the reason came into view.

Roughly twenty-five feet above her head, a cluster of brown and white feathers was following her. And she knew her body had only been acting on instinct.

Instinct that knew when to kick in to overdrive when she was still oblivious.

So, he wanted a chase? Be my guest. What's a chase between two old friends?

She increased her pace, ignoring that small, scared voice in the back of her mind telling her to turn around, to go home, to forget all about this.

Sarah was running so fast and so hard that the sound of her feet hitting against the ground was becoming louder. Her hair was whipping against her face and smacking her eyes, and when she remembered that she had put it up before leaving the house, it dawned on her that she had been running so fast, the elastic had fallen out. She had an almost sad feeling in the pit of her stomach, thinking about the poor abandoned elastic, laying in a muddy puddle at the side of the road somewhere.

She wiped the hair away from her eyes fast enough to look back at her feathery opponent. Her gray-green eyes widened; he was gaining on her. Those mismatched eyes locked on hers, and with a confident smirk and a shake of her head, she picked up the pace, running faster still.

She heard a soft hoot from behind her, and she realized that this was too easy. The ruler of the Labyrinth running around in a mix of circles and squares? Child's play.

With a chuckle, she immediately veered off of the cracked sidewalk, cutting through the Feltis' backyard. The flapping of wings and ruffling of feathers showed the he was surprised by her change of direction but up for the challenge.

She led him on a chase through parking lots, backyards, and school playgrounds. A few times he slowed down, but never did he give up. She was amazed, encouraged, and somewhere in her heart, she was proud.

Thinking quickly, Sarah decided the best challenge would be a chase through the neighborhood woods. Sure, it was getting darker by the minute and the rain was coming down loudly, getting into her eyes and making it hard to see, but what gain came without pain? It was the perfect challenge not only for him but for her.

She made a right, and was almost instantly running in the woods. Another hoot came from behind, reassuring her that he was still there.

She had to push several long, skinny twigs out of her way, but despite her efforts, three managed to catch, one ripping the side of her top and another making a small slash on her right forearm. She tried as hard as she could to ignore the stinging pain, the mixture of rain and sweat on the wound not making it very easy, until she heard a small thud.

Fearing the worst, she turned her torso, looking around frantically. It was only until she saw him flying towards her that she realized the thud came from her foot snagging on a loose tree root and before she knew it, she was lying face up, her foot in pain from the fall and the blood from her wounds flowing freely.

And then all at once he was on top of her, beside her, surrounding her. Not as bird but as man. Wiping the sweat and rain and mud from her face, kissing away the pain, closing her wounds. Her rain-drenched arms came to snake around his neck, and then she was returning his kiss, her body on fire and her heart beating in time with the rain against his back.

I love you.

They both stopped, neither being sure who said what. It was barely above a whisper, and while she couldn't be positive who had uttered them, she knew those three words explained what she was feeling at that moment. And so she kissed him again, ferociously and wildly and passionately and with need and want and love.

He deepened the kiss, and she rolled on top of him, not caring who or what saw, though she doubted anyone was still roaming the neighborhood in this weather and at this hour.

She smiled into the kiss, only imagining what the future held.

..::xXx::..

Bud Simmons walked slowly, his fingers clinging to the rifle in his hand. It had been a while since he had hunted a good game and maybe, just maybe, tonight would end his losing streak.

He had heard the rustling when he was letting the dog out, and with glee had grabbed his run, put on his rain coat and stepped out into the night. The rustling had been loud, and he could only imagine the size of the deer. Boy, would it look good next to Old Major, the very first deer he got.

When he arrived at the spot of the rustling, he released a heavy, disappointed sigh. His streak would continue, as he saw nothing of interest, save for a loose tree root and the smallest bit of shimmer.

Returning to his modest house just outside the woods, he opened the back door and stepped into the warm glow of the kitchen.

"Shoot that deer you were so eager about?" His wife of forty-nine years stood at the counter, her gray hair in curlers, ready to serve her husband a heaping plate of homemade blueberry pie. Accepting the plate, Bud sat down, piercing the pie with his fork.

"Ain't no deer," He grumbled, taking a sip of milk, "Likely just some teenagers having a little too much fun."

"Probably a good thing you didn't shoot then," Edie said with a chuckle, taking her place at the table and eating her pie.

"Probably," Bud agreed, rubbing his hands together, "Probably."