Disclaimer: I do not own the Labyrinth or its characters; 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.
A/N: Wow…I haven't written anything for quite a while. I apologize and blame that on work and real life – which seems to just stick a giant straw into me and suck the will to write right out sometimes. I had to get this one out quick before I fell asleep on the keyboard. If you think it's weird, just know – I was striving for irony here. Actually I was trying to make this funny, and now that I have reread it, it seems to come off angsty – so we'll pretend that I knew what I was doing and say that this is ironically angsty – ok? Deal! Now go read and tell me how much sleep I should have gotten before writing this!
She wasn't sure when it happened or how…only that it came upon her unobtrusively. They were sitting across from each other in a casual diner meant to instill happy 1950's nostalgia; Elvis singing rocky, sharp hip snapping notes as they methodically ate their salads in quiet contemplation.
What happened she wondered, almost as an afterthought? He delicately pricked a black olive with the end of his fork and brought up to his mouth, caught her watching him, and gave her a gentle smile. She politely smiled back, saying with it, "How was your day?"
They were polite. And Sarah had to stop her fingers which were itching to drum themselves on the table's smooth surface. She was starting to worry, but was it really worth worrying about? She schooled her features to not betray her as she tried, frantically, to put her mind around the feeling.
He chewed slowly in thought before answering, looking at her so mildly, with not even a hint of calculation, not a tiny indication of irritation or arrogance, that she coughed back the scream in miniscule bits into her napkin.
The neon sign above him, a swirl of colors that brightly beamed "Giant Burgers" shone over his light colored hair, cut short but styled, and made it all an ordinary dull brown somehow.
A gray serious business suit replaced the cherished memory of dark leather, and there on top his nose sat surprisingly a pair of moderate but well, in their own way, tasteful maroon rimmed glasses.
She hid her displeasure behind a bite of salad, encumbered by a large slice of red onion. She hated onions, but she was grown up, and isn't it expected of well mannered adults to eat their vegetables?
How could she fault him, the man she fell in love with in the center of a large maze? The man, who had scoffed at title and girlish whims, whose very hand that once held her dreams, how could she tell him she no longer…?
Her chest began to ache so she took another long sip of ice water.
It was very handsome on him, the suit, the glasses, even the short hair, and he looked like an impeccable well mannered Clark Kent at this little table, eating his salad and side of fries. A woman now and then would even look up from her food or newspaper and give a three second stare before returning to their own world and cacophony. Three seconds, just one second long enough to give the impression that they had thought, "hm, not bad."
Sarah bared her teeth at them mentally and thought in bold capital letters, "You don't know, if you could see him as I have – hair long and golden, eyes dark and menacing, a mantle of black snapping in the wind - you would never look away again!"
"Is something on your mind?"
His voice brought her back to the table and away from the image of something she longed for, his eyes narrowed in calculation as he looked upon the whole world with contempt – the whole of human kind, except when he looked upon her face.
And there on features made harsh but beautiful she would see it soften, and know that he deigned this privilege, to have her acknowledge that she was the only exception.
So moved by the idea, buoyed by all the past feelings that had risen in her at the image, she made to reach his hand. A second of hesitation for she realized his hands were gloveless, caused her instead to snatch one of his fries. He showed not even a flicker of anger or disappointment, merely followed the movement with a mild glance.
She spoke of work, of coworkers and mundane trivialities such as overtime and long hours, and family conversations over the week. He listened attentively as if they were the most interesting and important words in the world and she wondered what was wrong with her? Didn't she want this? Didn't she want him normal and in her world and most importantly at her side?
He was pushing himself up, making a quiet apology, saying he needed to wash the salt off his fingers. Out of nowhere Sarah wanted to break…break whatever this was – and said in a whisper, "I could help." And she looked at him, looked in such a way that she knew he could see her thoughts: her hands reaching out, taking his hand forward, toward her mouth and her pink tongue, delicately licking his fingers clean.
But he just shook his head as if in amusement.
"I do believe I can handle it myself," he said, as if they were exchanging tawdry wry humor. He even chuckled. Sarah was blinking, practically stunned. Never, ever, would she have imagined the Goblin king chuckling – he might as well have giggled! She summoned up a smile even her mother, actress Linda Williams would have been proud of, and tilted her head in such a way as if she too were sharing in the joke –
"Ok," she said as if in amusement, "but if you need help just give a shout" - cry havoc and release the dogs of war!
She watched him leave the table and speculated on that horrible feeling that had been sneaking into her heart body and soul. They treated each other like…like wonderful, good friends…as if they - he were normal…as if she were normal. And there lay the rub. She was not, no matter how well she acted around other people she felt that in all the important ways, she did not belong. And now Jareth – oh god Jareth – somehow for the past week they had been seeing each other, he had become normal too – leaving her behind.
Sarah stared at her hands in her lap, just holding her limp napkin, and wished for the millionth time, she had never picked up that crystal orb found on her dresser and wished she could see him.
v v v
As soon as Jareth stepped into the horrible bright tiled men's room – he made a wide arc with his arm and a blinding flash brought him on his knees upon cold stone floors.
"Water! Hot water and soap! Lots of it!" he bellowed and goblins ran over and into each other bringing him in round wooden bowels, water so hot it turned his hands red. Giant pristine white cakes of soap were carried in and one tiny sharp beaked goblin tripped and carried, tripped and carried and again, tripped and carried a long black fluffy towel.
He was shaking.
After scrubbing them raw, he dried his hands on the towel on the clean side and not able to help himself, he brought the thick, rich cloth up to his face and just breathed in it. It smelled of crushed dried rose petals and spice.
"Humans…so many stupid, ugly humans," he murmured into the fabric. So many people who saw him as a triviality; they were blind to his power. If they knew what he could do to them, they would bow their acquiescence! But as for now, it was good – no, necessary – to wash away the feel of their world from his unprotected hands. He had dared not use their horrible pink mush which they labeled soap, that shot out like a blast of snot from a gray metal box.
The goblins all gathered round in awe, looking at him in fear, wonder and in their own way adoration. The king was in the human realm, talking to and living among humans, what a horrible undertaking – and in the name of love! Their admiration made him feel normal, at home.
He looked up and wondered how many minutes had passed. He had to get back to Sarah; he was making progress with her. She had almost taken his hand. Surely this was what she wanted? Him to be normal.
"What is that you is wearing majesty sir?" piped one of the stupid but more behaved than the rest goblins.
Jareth grimaced, imaging what he looked like in the cotton monstrosity to his short audience. He hated the scratchy feel of it all, the socks and shoes, and worse of all the feel of air on his naked neck where his long tresses used to be.
"It is a business suit," he answered, rising to his feet in a familiar manner that spoke of arrogance and power. "This, along with other…nuisances, shall be over soon."
He wondered how fashion taboo it would be to wear gloves with a business suit.
"Will the queen be coming in today?" another goblin asked in between bows.
Jareth frowned but looked thoughtful. How wonderful it would be to just snatch her away, this lovely wild flower growing among weeds.
She did not belong there, he was sure of it, she was too exciting, too full of ideas, and love, and –
I could help…
Oh yes, how wonderful to take what was freely given, to push and be pushed back, to give and take from an equal. She was the only one on her realm worthy of such attention. Sarah was worth the torture of being "normal" if the end result was her possession.
He could see her dressed in splendor, a long gown of red silk to match her passion, trailing behind her footsteps, as she, with white gloves took his hand. She would kneel before him, her green eyes dark and intense, and her mannerisms a shadow of delicate awe as she looked up to him, her mouth whispering in reverence, "Milord."
"Soon," he sighed. "She will come here of her own will."
He breathed in deeply, the dark air of the castle, took comfort in its dry splendor before rallying himself to return to her world.
"She is mine," the goblins heard him vow as he faded away like smoke.