Disclaimer: I do not now, nor ever did, nor ever shall own Labyrinth or any part of Jim Henson's company. All characters are under previous claim by them, and all the dialogue in this fic is originally from the movie--not mine.

"Ludo!" Hoggle heard Sarah's voice echo through the labyrinth, and it caused his gobblin heart—a smaller, more twisted thing than a humans—to race. But King Jareth stood not five steps away from the little goblin, and he would crush Hoggle. No mistake about that. He had to find away to leave the Goblin King and find it quick.

"I'd better find them," he sputtered. "First, I'm off to take the lady to the beginning of the Labyrinth—"

"Wait!" Jareth exclaimed as if he'd just had a marvelous idea. Hoggle had been around the Underground long enough to know that when the King had a marvelous idea, people got hurt.

"I've got a much better plan," he continued. He reached into his long cape and pulled out a ripe peach. "Give her this."

"W-what is it?" Hoggle asked. Nothing in the Labyrinth could ever be taken at face value. He'd told Sarah as much when she first arrived, and he wasn't stupid enough to go believing that something that looked harmless actually was. Especially not when it came from Jareth.

"It's a present."

"Will it hurt her?"

The King cocked his head suspiciously, and asked, "Now why the concern?"

Hoggle set his jaw and tried to stand firm. "I won't harm her."

Jareth nearly laughed at him; Hoggle could see it in his face. "Come, Hogbrain! I'm surprised at you, losing your head over a girl."

"I ain't lost my head," Hoggle refuted though a flutter deep in his chest said maybe it was true.

The King bent towards him, and Hoggle fought not to back away. "You don't think a young girl could like a repulsive little scab like you, do you?"

"Well…" Hoggle muttered thinking over what Sarah had said, and the soft sparkle in her blue eyes, "she said we was—"

"What?" Jareth erupted with a chuckle in his voice. "Bosom companions? Friends?"

The derision in his King's voice brought Hoggle low. It was true, he had begun to think of himself as something better because Sarah seemed to think he might be. He started to think they were friends, that she liked him, that he was worthy of being liked. Maybe he even…. "Ahh. Don't matter."

Jareth held out the fruit again, and with only a raise of his angular brow dared Hoggle not to take it. Hoggle was no fool. When your King commanded you, you obayed, or you suffered for it. He took the peach.

"You'll give her that, Hoggle," he said in a low, slithering voice so serious the shorter goblin knew his monarch had known his name all along and simply called him those names to play with him; "or I'll tip you straight into the Bog of Eternal Stench."

"Yes." Hoggle gulped and pulled the peach toward himself right to the spot over his traitorous heart. "Right."

He quickly turned to go. He didn't want to be near Jareth any longer, but the King's voice drew him back.

"And Hoggle? If she ever kisses you, I'll turn you into a prince."

Hoggle's heart rose in his chest up the short distance to his throat. He was almost embarrassed to hear how hopeful his voice sounded when he asked, "Y-you will?"

Jareth's sharp face fractured into a grin and he swept his hands wide. "Prince of the Land of Stench!"

Hoggle flinched at the Goblin King's laughter and ran. He just ran. He could hear Sarah calling, in trouble again. For now, that was all that mattered. He stuffed the peach into his vest; that part would come later.