Disclaimer: This story is officially Disclaimed. I am writing fan fiction, after all.
I really shouldn't be starting another story that will probably become a huge project, but I couldn't resist. It was yelling at me to write it, and I needed to take a little break from the Naruto fandom, anyway.
So, without further ado, I give you:
"Hey, hey! You were Sarah!"
Sarah looked round at the girl. "Yes, I was. In fact, I still am."
The girl looked confused, and Sarah laughed. "Can you keep a secret?"
With a nod and a sparkle in her eye, the small blonde whispered, "Of course!"
"Well, my name is Sarah!"
"But…on the program it says your name is Edith! Is your last name Williams, too?"
Sarah hesitated, before shrugging. "Well, yes. I think the playwright decided to use my name as a joke…we know each other, and he's always telling me he'll use my name in a play. Finally, he did…so of course I had to use a stage name!"
"Well," Sarah said teasingly, "can you imagine reading a program and seeing that the role of 'Sarah Williams' will be played by 'Sarah Williams?' It seems kind of silly, to me."
Sarah declined to mention just how hard she'd fought to get Daniel to change the name, reminding him that the book had never even mentioned a 'Sarah.' It was all to no avail, of course; the name "just fitted the lead."
Sarah hadn't known whether to be pleased or insulted, though, and that hadn't been the point; she may have finally come out of her deluded fantasies, but she didn't fancy Daniel's warped sense of humor. She should never have told him about that particular fantasy.
The girl nodded importantly. "Well, will you sign my program, anyway? You can write Sarah Williams and Edith Hall both…and then, no one will ask who you are!"
Sarah's heart warmed at the girl's excited smile. She could remember being excited to meet her mother's friends, although they rarely agreed to autograph the small book she had always carried round with her.
"Sure thing. What's your name?"
"My name's Heather Jensen. I don't like it, though."
Sarah took the program and looked for a place to sign among the scribbles of crowns, faces, and hearts.
"Why don't you like it?"
Sarah listened with half an ear as Heather talked about wishing she was a princess, and the name 'Princess Heather' sounding stupid. With a small smile, Sarah signed the program:
You seem like a princess to me. Never stop believing!
Edith Hall (Sarah Williams)
P.S. Princess Heather sounds great.
Heather read over the message, and turned her face to grin cutely in Sarah's direction.
"Never stop believing in what?"
"Oh…you know. Yourself, your dreams…love. Those kinds of magic are the most powerful."
Heather looked doubtful.
"More powerful than the magic of the Goblin King?"
Sarah unintentionally backed away. "O-of course! That's just a story, after all!"
Heather looked a bit crestfallen. "Oh, well. I guess you're right about bigger magic. I mean…that king totally loved Sarah!"
Sarah laughed a bit, coming forward again. "How do you figure?"
Heather looked completely flabbergasted. "How did you act in the play and still not know it's a love story? Well…I mean…the guy didn't get the girl in the end. I was kind of mad at Sarah, because she had a chance to be with the guy of her dreams, and she hurt his feelings. I know if I was her, I'd totally say yes."
"I don't know," Sarah said doubtfully, but still feeling – somehow – slightly guilty. "Would you say yes even if it meant that your little brother might be turned into a goblin?"
"Well, of course not. But if he loved me, he wouldn't turn my brother into one. That would be rude, and a really bad wedding present. 'Oh, by the way, honey, I turned your brother into a goblin. Isn't it the best present ever?' No, I don't think that would've happened. She was just mad at him, and kind of mean."
Sarah stared, dumbfounded, at Heather. Sure, it had only been the workings of her deluded mind. But it still didn't make her feel any better to look at the old story in such a different light. What if that all had been real for someone?
Sarah shook her head, and breathed deeply. This was only a side-effect of submerging herself in her role in the play. Nothing to worry about.
Heather giggled. "Well, anyway, the 'Words' they used in the play were stupid. I mean…who would say stuff like that? If I wanted to get the goblins to take you away or something, I would say…"
Heather drifted off for a moment, before clapping happily.
"I wish the goblins would come and take you away, right now!"
When Sarah saw Heather's horrified face, she knew she didn't want to turn round to see what was behind her. But she found that she didn't need to; a voice which she remembered so well, despite convincing herself she only imagined it, rang out in amusement.
"Well, well. Isn't this a rather ironic turn of events?"
"You're him, aren't you? You're the goblin king!"
Sarah nearly laughed at the familiarity of the situation.
"So…are you really Sarah, then? The one they wrote the play about? Are you going to be kidnapped?"
"Er…Heather, I'm pretty sure that we'll both be fine-"
"Come, now, Sarah. This little girl has wished you away to me."
A bit of her old defiance popped up. "No, she wished me away to the goblins."
"Of whom I am king."
Sarah had no answer to that one.
"I…didn't mean to actually wish her away, though. I didn't know it was all real."
"Oh, you didn't?"
Sarah was seized by a childish urge to slap him for being so cliché. But she refrained, for Heather's sake.
"Well…I thought it was probably fake," Heather amended, looking somewhat curious and excited. "So, if you're real, and this is the real Sarah, then…ooh! You can both fall in love and live happily ever after! This is so cool, I might know a princess!"
Sarah shook her head despairingly. "Heather…this isn't a fairy tale. I don't want to be a princess. Not any more. Besides…I've been wished away."
Jareth had been silent throughout this whole discussion, but even without looking Sarah could tell that he was more than a little amused and slightly put out. Sarah was betting on the fact that his little show didn't quite go over as planned.
"Then, what am I going to do," Heather wailed. "I don't want you to be a goblin, cos you're nice, and I really didn't mean it!"
Sarah winced. She knew exactly what Heather could do, and she didn't like it.
"Mister Goblin King, sir? Can I go through your maze to get Sarah back? I really didn't mean it."
Jareth looked way too amused to be good. "Oh, most certainly."
Heather looked delighted, but then frowned. "What if I get lost?"
Sarah could tell there were many unpleasant scenarios (which could likely come true) running through Heather's head. "Don't worry, Heather, I'll-"
"Then, I'll have to find friends, just like you did! And one of them can be my knight in shining armor! It's just like a fairy tale!"
Before Sarah could reply, she was suddenly in the throne room of a castle, surrounded by curious-looking goblins.
Heather had looked so sure…she hoped that Heather didn't really expect to find a knight in shining armor. They just didn't make them any more.
All right, Sarah, don't panic. Heather seems a lot like you, so…
Sarah wanted to cry. That was the problem. Heather seemed too much like Sarah, and if Toby's…humanity…hadn't been at stake, Sarah probably would've loved to get lost in the labyrinth. Sarah meant next to nothing to Heather, and if Jareth offered her something fantastic…
She realized that she must be making a spectacle of herself to the goblins, who were strangely quiet.
Oh shit, the goblins.
This was all real.
The reality of her situation set in – and not just the part about being held hostage by the Goblin King. Her time in the labyrinth hadn't just been fantasy. She hadn't just lost her ring and her bracelet. She'd actually met Hoggle and Ludo and Sir Didymus…
And, speaking of them, they were bound to be hurt. After all, she hadn't called to check if they were real. Her pride wouldn't let her. After nearly being admitted to a psych hospital in order to get help, she had sworn off believing in otherworldly magic.
Boy, had she been wrong.
She became dimly aware of a furry finger poking at her shoulder, and looked up from the odd crouching position she'd somehow wound up in. A goblin was looking at her through curious and confused eyes. Despite being just as confused, Sarah decided to detach.
When in doubt, act!
"I'm very sorry," she said. "I haven't introduced myself. My name is Sarah Williams. And what is your name?"
"Dek," the goblin said, almost apprehensively, quickly retreating. Sarah found this a little strange, but shrugged it off.
"Oh? That's a…nice name," Sarah said lamely.
She heard another goblin make a noise akin to a snort, but she ignored it. "How old are you, Dek?"
Dek seemed to consider her question, and though it (was it a he or a she?) was a goblin, Sarah found it a bit cute.
"I don't know," Dek said finally, shrugging.
"You don't know?"
"Nope. Can't remember bein' born."
Sarah chuckled. "Well, neither can I, but I can tell you with certainty that I am twenty-one years old."
The goblin frowned – or at least, she thought it did. "How do you know?"
Sarah opened her mouth to answer, but promptly closed it again. How did she know? Sure, her birth certificate said she had been born twenty-one years ago. But how did she know for sure that she had been?
"I guess you're right, then. I don't know for sure. That's…something to think about. You're very smart, Dek."
Dek nodded importantly, reminding Sarah of Heather. Another goblin made its way forward. "He's not," it said. "He's my stupid little brother, who's ten."
Sarah frowned at this, but refrained from commenting. She didn't remember the goblins talking this way, but…perhaps the goblins in the City had just been of a different variety? Like, speaking a different dialect?
"Oh, and what's your name?"
"I'm Tern, and I'm Dek's older sister. Smarter older sister."
With a smile, Sarah asked, "Oh? And how old are you?"
Tern frowned. "I don't know."
"Well, then, you and he are not so very different, are you?"
"But I was there when he came here. That was eighteen years ago, and he was a baby then. So I remember when he was made, and I've told him."
Sarah frowned. "Made? I thought you said he came here eighteen years ago. Why is he only ten?"
Tern rolled her eyes. "Well, duh. He was wished away when he was a baby. You have to grow up a little before you decide what to do here. By the way, what are you doing here?"
Sarah was a little startled. "What do you mean, decide what you want to do?"
Tern shrugged. "Well, we all come here because we've been wished away, and usually no one tries to get us back. No one's ever actually done it before. Well, there was this one time that a girl did, which was kind of sad, cos her little brother was really cute. He laughed when I made faces at him."
Sarah couldn't muster up a smile. "You were telling me about deciding what you want to do."
"Oh, right. Well, anyway, we're all wished away, so we have to stay here, and some of us don't become goblins. Actually, most of us don't."
"Oh…and so, is Dek your brother by choice, or…"
Tern made an irritated sound. "No, he's not. My 'mother' wished me away before I was even born – one of the older goblins told me that always causes a lot of trouble, since His Majesty has to get us, even though we didn't really have bodies yet. That's why I'm a goblin…I had to get a goblin body or die."
Tern sighed, and then continued, "Then, about sixteen years later, she got pregnant again, and wished him away, but he was actually born. But he met me, and decided he wanted to be a goblin, because I'm his older sister. That's why he's stupid."
"I'm not quite sure I understand."
"Well, the kids who get wished away before they're born don't have bodies that can survive, so we become goblins. But Dek had a chance, and he wanted to be a goblin! What an idiot!"
"Well," Sarah said, confused, "there seem to be a lot of goblins here. Are there really that many mothers who wish their unborn babies away?"
"Of course not! The kids who grow up to be spoiled and rude get made into goblins to teach them lessons. It's always really funny to watch them get kicked around."
Sarah didn't know whether to be amused or not. But then, she heard something that made her realize just how deep her troubles were.
"This is an interesting turn of events," came Jareth's voice in a slightly cold tone. "How is it to be talking to someone who's been wished away out of spite?"
Sarah stood up and whipped around to face him. She couldn't help being frightened; the harsh truth that she was now very much under the control of the King of the Goblins hit her full force, and she had been knocked out of her acting daze. Her stomach wanted to push itself out of her mouth, and her lungs didn't want to work properly. Panic had finally set in.
Jareth took in her frightened face, and smirked in a very discomforting way.
"Well, Sarah, it seems that this time, I do have power over you."
Sarah decided it was a good idea to take her mind off the hook for a moment, but before she fully slipped into unconsciousness, she heard Jareth's mocking voice once more.
"Such a pity."