Disclaimer: Lucasfilms, Henson studios, etc. own The Labyrinth and its effects. I play with this for fun.

By the way, "this" is a challenge from Pika-la-Cynique. I'll leave a link on the profile. Enjoy.


Once, a long time ago, it seemed, several individuals had once told Sarah, "If you need me, call."

Her father had said it for years, in as many words, and through oblique fatherly actions. A calling card when she'd gone to Edinburgh for Spring Break. A mix tape of bad songs from the very early eighties in a positively ancient tape deck provided for her first dorm room.

Karen, in her own way, had done so, too. After four years of trying to get past Sarah's defenses and be this generation's Maria Von Trapp, Karen had finally given up. The only thing she'd given as a high school graduation gift was a cell phone. "We've paid for a full year, so you don't have to worry about bills till then," she'd said primly. "You have the eight hundred minute plan, so you'll have to pay if you go over." And Sarah, being a mature woman on the way to college, actually managed to call her family once a week; she made a point of staying on the phone with Karen for at least five minutes, whether or not it was an argument.

Toby, fourteen years her junior and currently terrorizing a sweet kindergarten teacher named Miss Tomlinson, had once solemnly informed her that he would 'kick any guy's butt' if one of them made her cry.

And there is no way that she could forget them. A dwarf with knobbly hands, kind blue eyes, and tremendous eyebrows. A gentle red monster who could commune with rocks. A bipedal Quixotic fox.

And him.

He hadn't exactly said that he'd be there if she called him. He'd in fact made pretty clear the fact that he'd done with fulfilling her needs; she'd worn him out by endlessly calling on him – subconsciously though it had been.

But then he'd offered to be her slave if she would only do the same for him. Sarah hadn't understood at the time, though she did now. It didn't matter, however, that she understood, because Toby had been her goal – he' needed her, and she would not fail him.

Did that offer still stand? Did she want it to?

"Does any of that matter?" she demanded aloud, almost startling herself with the sound. Sarah's warm alto voice was nearly unrecognizable to her own ears, twisted with fear. She lifted her eyes to her mirror and saw her face, pale and drawn, with her dark eyes made darker by the soft glow coming from below.

There, sitting naked on the far-too-neat university desk was one of his crystals. It looked almost more otherworldly sitting idle than it would have dancing over the backs of a pair of nimble hands. At least then, the semblance of life, of expectation would have had a reason to be there. As it was, the little globe lay there, emitting a pale, steady light.

And although Sarah had never said to the Goblin King, "Should you need me…", her habit of helping anyone and everyone who crossed her path as good as made the promise for her.

"Does he need me?" This time, though the tone was still full of fear, the words were whispered. "Why would he need me? What does he want?"

The crystal unequivocally refused to respond in any way.

"Where are the strings?" Whyever would there be strings attached to one of his gifts?

Again, no answer was forthcoming.

And with a sharp breath, a trembling hand, and a deep sense of impending disaster, Sarah reached out, grabbed the crystal, and disappeared.