When I was nine I learned survival
Taught myself not to care
I was my single good companion
Taking my comfort there
Up in my room I planned my conquests
On my own -- never asked for a helping hand
No one would understand
I never asked the pair who fought below
Just in case they said no
Toby sat on his bed, humming a tune he barely remembered in an attempt to drown out the sound of the fighting going on downstairs. In his hands, he held a worn book, the golden lettering of the title barely visible now. If one looked closely, they might be able to make out the word Labyrinth on the cover. He studied the book intently, even though he already knew it by heart. He was searching for any detail he might have missed, any word he could have left unread by mistake, but there was none. Sighing softly, he gently put the book in its place on his desk and turned his gaze to the window. It was times like this that he wished Sarah had never rescued him, that she had left him there or, perhaps, taken him with her when she had moved out-far, far away. As he opened his mouth to say the words he knew would take him away, silence reigned downstairs and his mouth closed softly, no word uttered. Not now, maybe later. Maybe in a few years, if things didn't get any better. As he turned to go to bed, he never saw the owl that was watching his every move. The owl that always watched him although he never saw it. The bird almost fell out of the tree when the only words the boy had uttered all night reached him.
"Dance magic, dance."
Pity the child who has ambition
Knows what he wants to do
Knows that he'll never fit the system
Others expect him to
Pity the child who knew his parents
Saw their faults
Saw their love die before his eyes
Pity the child that wise
He never asked "Did I cause your distress?"
Just in case they said yes
Toby walked home from school as slowly as he could, no one would notice if he didn't show up at all-though he liked to pretend otherwise. If he got along with the other kids his age, maybe it wouldn't be so bad, he could just stay at school later with them or, maybe, even go over to one of their houses. But he didn't fit in with them, they thought he was strange and avoided him whenever they could. As it was, he would usually go to the park after school, the same one Sarah used to go to. Looking up briefly, he wondered whether or not his parents would remember his birthday. He was turning eleven in a few days but doubted that anything special would happen, it hadn't been celebrated for a few years now. Not since the fighting started. Although they didn't fight now, it was just a tense silence that permeated every nook and cranny of the house so the whole place was saturated with it. They steadfastly ignored each other and, as a result, him. Though they didn't notice that they ignored him, they didn't notice him at all. He blinked in surprise as he felt a drop of water hit his cheek. With a soft groan, he began to walk faster, hoping to get home before it began to pour. In his haste, he once again failed to notice the white owl that hooted sadly at him as he passed.
When I was twelve my father moved out
Left with a whimper -- not with a shout
I didn't miss him -- he made it perfectly clear
I was a fool and probably queer
Fool that I was I thought this would bring
Those he had left closer together
She made her move the moment he crawled away
I was the last the woman told
She never let her bed get cold
Someone moved in -- I shut my door
Someone to treat her just the same way as before
Toby didn't flinch as the door clicked shut quietly. He stole a quick glance as his mother and her face looked as though it was set in stone. Then, suddenly, a smile broke out on her face. He felt hope blossom in his chest, maybe it would get better, maybe it could go back to the way it used to be, before the arguing. They would just be missing one member, but after what his fa-….that man….had said to him, he didn't mind. As he opened his mouth, his mom snatched the phone off the hook. Dialing a number, she began chatting eagerly to the person on the other end. Dimly he heard the words "come over" and "he's gone." Once she hung up, she turned and went into her room only to come out about fifteen minutes later, all dolled up. Not even a few minutes later, the door bell rang and she rushed to answer it letting in a man Toby disliked on sight. He had a mean look in his eyes and a cruel set to his jaw. When the eyes settled on him, he turned around and went up to his room, ignoring the disappointment welling up inside him. As he glanced in a mirror on his way up, he paused and gently touched the bruise forming on his cheek already. That and the angry, vicious words his father had spat out earlier were the only presents he'd gotten on his birthday. He continued on to his room and fell face first on his bed ignoring the white owl he had seen on the tree outside his window and the strange feeling that came with the sight.
I took the road of least resistance
I had my game to play
I had the skill, and more -- the hunger
Easy to get away
Pity the child with no such weapons
No defense, no escape from the ties that bind
Always a step behind
I never called to tell her all I'd done
I was only her son!
Toby had his knees pulled up to his chest, curled up in a corner of his room, crying silently. It was his sixteenth birthday, it was his worst one yet, and it had everything to do with his mother's latest lover. Though that wasn't the proper word for what he was he didn't know what was. As it stood, he would prefer his father or his mother's first lover, or, really, any of the other ones in between. Even though he didn't remember any of them very well they had to be better than the current one. He had tried to….tried to….he couldn't even think it, it was too horrible. A soft hoot reached his ears and his eyes snapped open, focusing on the white owl perched on the tree outside of his room. Slowly standing, he went and opened the window allowing the bird inside. There was a sudden flash and cloud of smoke and then there was a man where the owl had been just seconds before.
The man crossed the distance between them and whispered, "Say the words, I can do nothing unless you say the words."
Toby stared at him for a second before nodding and saying, "Alright." As he stole one last glance at his door, he uttered the words that would seal his fate. The man then wrapped his arms around Toby and, in another flash, they and Toby's few prized possessions were gone.
Pity the child but not forever
Not if he stays that way
He can get all he ever wanted
If he's prepared to pay
Pity instead the careless mother
What she missed
What she lost when she let me go
And I wonder does she know
I wouldn't call -- a crazy thing to do
Just in case she said who?
Jareth wound his arms around Toby's waist, he was roughly eighteen now and he would never appear any older.
As he looked over Toby's shoulder he asked, "Do you want to go there and talk to her?" He peered into the crystal encased in Toby's hands and saw his mother quite clearly. She looked older than the last time he had seen her, but time moved differently in the two worlds. Toby hesitated before shaking his head negatively.
"Why?" breathed Jareth.
"Because I don't know if she'd recognize me. She got rid of everything remotely related to me. She didn't even notice I was gone until my school called!" Toby exclaimed. He paused for a second before continuing in a pain filled voice, "What if…..what if she doesn't remember she had a son."
"Then she doesn't deserve you, Toby." Jareth tightened his hold and Toby let the crystal go before turning around and flinging his arms around Jareth. As he began to soothe Toby, his mind wandered. This was where Toby belonged, all he'd done was push things along a little. He had amplified desires his family had already had, Sarah's longing to leave and his parent's wish to separate, things like that. Jareth had been furious with some of the men Toby's mother had brought home though. Especially that last one. With a slight frown, he tightened his arms even more. While he couldn't directly interfere in the lives of mortals unless he had been called, he could influence the world they lived in. It was just good for him that no one looked twice if someone's car went out of control if there was alcohol involved; he had just….helped it along. After all, this was where Toby belonged, right here, in his arms. And no one could take him away ever again, Toby belonged to him, so, in the end, he did get the child.
A/N: The song is Pity the Child by Murray Head. Please r&r! I'm trying to make myself actually begin and finish a short story that will be a Labyrinth and Harry Potter crossover. If someone wants to be my beta that would be awesome.