The contents of this fan fiction is written with a mature audience in mind.
Note: Part of the story idea was inspired by the comedy ⌠All of Me■ starring Steve Martin and Lily Tomlin. I am no way affiliated with the author, director, producers, etc. of this movie.
O O O
Chapter One: The Bet
⌠You▓re kidding me. Where did you get your ideas, the creator of Harry Potter??■ Stephanie gave Jareth a strange look. She took off her headphones and let them drape over her shoulders and sat down.
⌠Harry Potter?■ The Goblin King repeated confused, an eyebrow raised.
⌠This school of magyk business.■ Stephanie then briefly explained. It did occur to her that it had some similarity to the Labyrinth; it could be the owls and crystals, her mind laughed.
⌠I▓m not certain I follow what you have explained to me about this school of≈Hogwarts▓,■ his features gave a strange look at the mention of one of Hoggle▓s mispronounced names. ⌠The academy you will be attending,■ he continued. ⌠is not only for those who have difficulties with their powers, their calling, as we call it.■ He placed his arms onto of the seats. ⌠But I assure you, it has been running for...a long time,■ He was sitting across from Stephanie, at the back of the nearly empty bus; not many took the bus this late in the evening, even in the large busy city the girl had moved to. To blend into the night, he wore a black thick jacket that fell to his ankles, a dark shirt and black jeans.
⌠But I haven▓t lost control since then.■ Stephanie informed. Almost a year ago, her ⌠calling■ had awaken and was quickly possessed by a darker force. ⌠Since then I haven▓t been able to reawaken my powers.■ Beneath her own coat, she wore a dark gray sweater that was so worn that it threaten to fall apart, starting at the sleeves, and dark jeans.
⌠True. It lies dormant, which is rare but not uncommon.■ the Goblin King said as he leaned back in his seat. ⌠I▓m not quite certain that you▓ll have a reawakening; it might just appear normally as a sneeze or completely vanish altogether. It got confused so to speak.■ He paused. ⌠Just like the bearer.■ he added with a smirk.
⌠Feh.■ She did a face but laughed.
⌠Seriously,■ Jareth said after a moment. ⌠I▓d rather that you attend a least a few lessons Stephanie.■
⌠Now?? I mean, can▓t you wait until I finish my semester??■ The look he gave her told his answer. Stephanie sighed. She looked out the window and Jareth let her gather her thoughts. ⌠All right.■ She finally replied, not turning her gaze away. ⌠But if things get too much out of hand, I can quit when I want.■
⌠Done.■ Jareth nodded. ⌠One condition,■
⌠Try for a full semester and with extra lesson from me, Kolbl and Teh▓re.■
⌠A week of two of classes will not convince you nor Kolbl.■
⌠Well obviously I knew that.■ Stephanie rolled her eyes. ⌠As long as you don▓t go overboard with homework, if there▓s some, and lessons.■ She said. ⌠Remember; I▓m not used to this and I▓m not like one of you.■ She finished with a shake of her head, the dark loose strands moved from her two messy carefree buns; they were tied with medium size teeth clips.
⌠I▓ll try not to.■ He looked innocently after mentioning he▓ll advice Teh▓re. Obviously she meant him. He smirked.
⌠You won▓t stop me if decided to quit; halfway, close to the end, doesn▓t matter, right??■ She looked up at him. He remained quiet, looking back at her. He took too long to reply.
⌠Agreed,■ he replied slowly. He hoped the girl wouldn▓t give up, otherwise he would have to find another way to convince her somehow. It was rare to have this kind of power, others had similar strength but he also hated the idea that the Elders made her pursue these ⌠lessons■ in order to help him and his realm. He felt the foreboding evil and he was certain it was not Stephanie this time.
⌠This better not be like high school,■ Stephanie muttered, sinking a bit lower in her seat; her expression actually looked miserable. She was thrilled to learn magyk of course, something you can▓t take in her realm; but the memories of the experience she had of high school were morbid, mundane and something that would never leave her; it sunk in hard. However, it hadn▓t been all bad, but certain scenes she hoped would never be repeated. She frowned bitterly. At the time, she couldn▓t wait when she reached college. Along with college would come excitement, fun, intrigue and a new way of life and fresh new faces. Anything had to be better. She was glad that the past two years she had met new people at the college and was free from ridiculous rules and stupid cliques.
⌠So,■ Stephanie finally said, she didn▓t want to linger on the morbid thought. She toyed with one of her pendants, one was an Ankh and the other was a tablet with hieroglyphics. ⌠Explain how this schooling works.■
⌠Well, you have classes, or lessons, whichever you prefer to call them, where they teach you how to control your powers or harbor them and use them successfully. I believe that is divided into two main classes. A few lessons are a general aid with use of herbs, some basics and perhaps a few casting words to help out, if I remember correctly.■ Jareth said, placing his fingers together in thought. ⌠I▓m not quite sure if they do give you...homework or not. It▓s been a while,■ he added almost embarrassed. ⌠A long while,■ he chuckled.
⌠You had this too??■ the girl asked, slightly relieved and amused.
⌠Indeed.■ The Goblin King replied with a nod. ⌠Not only was I part of the Royal Family which all of us had to attend, but my own calling was┘difficult.■ He seemed lost in his own memories. If the Goblin King, the ruler of the Underground had taken this course and had difficulties in the past, then there wouldn▓t be any reason for her to feel intimidated. ⌠However, I won▓t tell you ▒it▓s worth it▓ or some other nonsense like that. You must see it for yourself. But if you wish is so, I shall abide by your decision and I shan▓t meddle with this again.■
⌠Promise??■ Stephanie asked hopefully.
⌠Yes.■ Jareth replied. ⌠Only consider before quitting so hastily.■
Stephanie nodded, satisfied with his answer. ⌠How long did you stay in your lessons or did you end up in some sort of detention??■ Stephanie grinned.
⌠Well, most of my time was in dete≈hey now!■ Jareth sat up straight, caught clearly off guard. Stephanie laughed at this new discovery about the seemingly perfect Goblin King. He slumped in his seat with a fake pout. ⌠Do I really look like a troublemaker?■
⌠Stephanie!■ Jareth protested loudly and pouted, which made Stephanie laugh more.
She got up and neared the pouting Goblin King. ⌠We all love you anyways,■ she ruffled his already carefree hair.
⌠So when do I start??■
Jareth fixed his mane of wild hair. ⌠Well, it is too late for this semester, but I can always try to find a way to squeeze you in. They would understand that it would be important for you to start as soon as possible, however they▓re not going to be happy about it. We mustn▓t dawdle and we must be aware for when you do get another chance at your calling, we can prevent what happened last time.■
Stephanie▓s face shadowed a bit at that mention of a certain series of event. She knew he had not meant it to spite her, but she still felt guilty. She paused before replying. ⌠'Kay,■
To lighten the mood, they talked about other things, mostly Jareth informing the girl about events that are happening within the Underground. Then it moved to how Stephanie was doing, the second year of her move to the big city; well as big a city can be in Northern Ontario. One topic made him start.
⌠Surely you are not serious.■ the Goblin King objected.
⌠Why not??■ Stephanie said, looking up from the tangled mess of headphone cord.
⌠Because it is absurd.■ he replied. He glanced out the large window. The orange lights blurred as the bus moved swiftly down the highway. The bus hummed and bounced as it rode along the main highway, stopping once or twice to pick up a passenger or to drop them off.
⌠Why is it absurd??■ she asked, finally giving up on the task at hand; a large tight knot.
⌠Really Stephanie, it's much too late to be repeating what I say in the form of questions. Ask me differently.■ Jareth snapped.
⌠All right.■ she replied and took an air of elegance. ⌠Why is it absurd dear King??■ she said in her best, exaggerated actress voice.
⌠Now you're mocking me,■ Jareth frowned.
⌠I'm sorry. It's late and I'm overtired. But you're still avoiding my question.■ Stephanie laughed. She stretched out, placing her feet on the seat across from her, next to Jareth.
⌠How did this conversation start again?■ he asked, running a hand through his hair, now short because of his disguise.
⌠See??■ Stephanie said, sitting up straight in her seat. ⌠Stop avoiding!!■ The girl glanced at her watch, her hand rested upon her large portfolio bag and almost frowned. ⌠Two already.■ she muttered. She knew that if her uncle, or ⌠unka■ as she called him, knew that she was traveling this late within the city; he would be beyond worried. Even the nicest cities have its dark side after hours. But it couldn't be helped. She had lost track of time doing her assignment at the college, along with half the class. She was glad that there was no class the next day; due to the teacher who couldn't find a substitute to take over. She was exhausted. Another week of being overtired and drained.
⌠I am not avoiding anything!■ Jareth said innocently.
⌠I'm tired not stupid Jareth.■ Stephanie yawned. ⌠So let me refresh that memory of yours; I was telling you≈■
⌠Fine, complaining, about how life here is not easy or something rather and you were snorting about something that I should be able to do anything more easily with my powers; which are dormant by the way and impossible in my world.■
⌠Something like that or another.■ he nodded.
⌠If it was so easy, I said, why couldn't you go without?? In fact, I had bet that you couldn▓t survive more than a day.■
⌠Ah yes. That bet.■ He folded his arms and raised an elegant eyebrow. ⌠You don't really expect me to take this bet seriously do you?■
⌠Of course I do.■ she smiled. ⌠So put your feet where your mouth is and accept the challenge. Unless you're chicken...■ she trailed off.
Jareth snorted. ⌠That is one thing I am not.■ He leaned closer to Stephanie, intrigued, arms resting upon his legs. ⌠Let's say I accept this challenge, what are the stakes and rewards?■
⌠Well, since it can't be money cause it's worth nothing to each other's realm.■ she stated. ⌠How about if I win, I get two weeks free of constant lessons and brutal exams.■ She could have asked for something else but she really needed the break.
The Goblin King smirked intrigued. ⌠Sounds like a reasonable price. And if I win?■
⌠I finish the semester without complaining.■
⌠Hmm, interesting.■ Jareth said rubbing his chin in thought. He paused for a moment. Someone rang the bell for the next stop. ⌠That's a pretty high price if I win; the semester is barely half started.■
⌠I know.■ Stephanie sighed almost wearily.
⌠Deal. I suppose there's no harm in this asinine bet.■ he chuckled and sat back in his seat.
⌠Do we have to shake on it or something?■ she asked, stifling another yawn.
⌠No. I'll take your word for it, as you take mine.■ he replied.
⌠Fair enough. Just let me know when you want to start and I want to make sure that you can't really use your magyk when I'm not around or busy.■
⌠All right. How about it starts the occasion when you have that week off afterwards?■
⌠After the weekend?? Sounds good to me.■ Stephanie nodded.
Her sides hurt and began to cramp up; she couldn▓t run anymore. Her breath came out in short pants, soon she would have to stop before the dizzy spells of lack of oxygen to her lungs make her stop.
⌠Only a little further,■ she urged her legs. Her boots made a terrible racket upon the marble flooring. She fumbled and almost landed roughly on her face. This was her second week and already she was late for a forth time to attend class; luckily today was only by twenty minutes.
Up ahead, the door to her class was open. The sunlight seeped into the hall. It was some good luck, unfortunately she▓ll need more to make it to her seat. The idea of sneaking into class was silly and juvenile, but half the time she, as the clichИ goes, ⌠acted her shoe size■. All she needed was to get her spiel from Magnus as she sat down; although she knew better; in front of the whole class no doubt and as soon as she walked into the doorway.
▒Damn doorway should be at the back instead.▓ She rolled her eyes already at the thought of what Magnus, the mentor, would be saying and how he would deliberately mispronounce her last name; she wondered why she even had to give out her last name, not only to prove that he was in charge, but to spite her as well. According to one of her classmates, it was rare for the professors to use family names to call on a student.
She slid on her feet to a stop when she reached the doorway, making heads and glances turn in her direction. She then took a moment to compose herself and walked calmly into the classroom. A few murmurs and snickers was heard, they stopped suddenly as Magnus gave the section a glare.
▒Time to face the music,▓ she thought. She was actually debating to rush to her seat before he started. Her bag was heavy with books and scrolls, and standing at the front was no picnic. She picked up her pace and made her way to the other side of the class. A sharp voice cut through the air like a knife. Stephanie actually winced and stopped in her tracks.
⌠Stef' hanee!■ repeated Magnus. Stephanie mouthed the yell in time. She rolled her eyes and got an ⌠almost-made-it-this-time■ look from a pretty, blond spryte who usually sat in front of her. Magnus repeated more shrilly this time. ⌠Stef' hanee!■
⌠Yes.■ Stephanie said annoyed and turned around. He gestured for her to come down. She descended the steps; her seat was two seats away; she had almost made it this time. It wasn▓t all her fault; it was difficult to leave her realm and make it in time, even with both realms configuring on the same time line. Not only that, she also had the Goblin King on her back already with extra lessons, not to mention her other life with work, problems and school. No one knew that she came from the other realm. She sighed. ⌠Here we go,■ she muttered.
She stood in front of Magnus, and put her weight to left side and waited. Magnus was fairly tall, about a foot or so taller than she, maybe talker than Jareth. The tips of his light brown hair curled a little past his shoulders. His dark blue eyes flashed annoyed at her as he spoke. She was trying hard to drown out his odd voice. She was getting an earful just as often as most delinquent students, most of them were males; for being late if not for not working hard enough in order to catch up on the lessons.
⌠≈and I insist you to not only pay more attention, but to wake up earlier in order to attend this class. I do not care that you▓ve recently started here, you should be more responsible. You are fortunate that we have not yet assigned mentors for the next assignment but I can tell you they would not be amused by this attitude of yours,■
▒Gods, just as bad as High school,▓ Stephanie thought and sighed. Her eyes widened. ▒Crap!!▓
⌠And I do not appreciate you rolling your eyes at my reprimands nor at my lectures. If I bore you, I suggest you do us all a favor and leave. It▓s rude and it▓s another thing I despise about your attitude.■ He was wasting another five minutes. She kept her mouth shut at this finding, lest that he keeps babbling about her for being a smart ass. She could▓ve swore that the veins on his neck and forehead were ready to burst. She tried not to stare.
A sound made him stop and glare over her shoulder. A look back made her almost sigh in relief. She was saved today by Kyou, who himself was late, a rare thing actually. Magnus turned to give the girl a last glare before turning to Kyou and starting over his late speech. Instead of the ones that are late and missing out in the lecture with their lost, he was wasting more time with these speeches of his. Forgotten, Stephanie started towards her seat. She sat next to a water element spryte named Leadra.
The Goblin King sighed and leaned back upon his ram horned throne. The drapes around the seat and foot were new; not to mention the whole throne room, since Stephanie had destroyed; the faded bluish purple was now a midnight blue with a few marking of Royal colors. He had woken way too early. The goblins were still sleeping and he had nothing to do, even his Kingly duties were completed. The day had barely started and he was...bored.
Usually he amused himself with the goblins by picking on one, and he did have the fair amount of wishes to the Labyrinth; all thanks to Sarah for making the legend come alive again, brought to life in the movies. Things became less dull around the Labyrinth since then, that was for certain.
Long ago, the other realm had been superstitious, but as time changed and as their world became more and more modernized, they lost their belief. What had once been fact had now been reduced to legends in their world. Fairy tales they called them, he remembered a conversation he had with his father, he was young and had called mortals fools; however, a few still believed. He had met many interesting mortals, some more strange or obsessed than others. He shook his head at the thought. Then of course he thought of Chantal and Stephanie. These two individual mortals came to the Underground by means of a crystal, that was his conclusion; he was certain that he hadn't become careless with keeping items. In any case, it was a series of events that had changed his life≈again≈forever.
He shook his head again, his eyes closed for a moment. Not just anyone appeared, those who have some belief in fantasy, more or less. Out of the two girls, one of them willed to be in the Underground, perhaps not aloud. Stephanie was the one. She had knowledge of what others like her knew of the Labyrinth and as the others, longed to be there even for the consequences at the end of the thirteen hour limit. What surprised him was the girl's determination, not to mention how stubborn the girl can be, the same that Sarah had, maybe more. Yet she was completely not like Sarah at all, which prove to be rather interesting.
Jareth smirked, remembering how he had made Stephanie lose her patience with him, which was difficult to do. He rubbed his jaw as though the memory brought back the sensation of the punch. "Bloody good arm," he muttered with a nod. His thoughts wandered to the other one, Chantal. That one had been stubborn as well, though not as much as her friend; he had known not to trifle or annoy this one as well. He slumped lower in his seat. Those two prove to be different than the rest. He remembered their first encounter. How different indeed; other travelers of the Labyrinth would just traverse the maze once, if they made it, to prove they were like Sarah, another annoyance; rarely had he seen a person more than twice. He did see those girls again, which he had not minded actually, he was rather fond of the odd two girls. For now, he was keeping an eye on Stephanie for a bit and Chantal had returned home, not wanting to participate in the future exploits. Recently, they found something intriguing; who knew how Stephanie had possessed powers? She was strong in the ability. 'She needs to work on her control skills.' he thought. There were no answers to the questions on how it was so; a mortal from the other realm possessing Underground magyks.
The Goblin King shifted in his seat.
"It was never a dull moment especially with those two," he said under his breath. He glanced at the large clock, at least the sharp sword hands had moved; he looked at the few goblins around the room. A couple of adventures happened since then, his castle had almost been taken over twice, and the Labyrinth had a close call of merging with the other realm.
And now this bet.
He has been doing all right, it has been three days since then, it was a bit hard to get used to. He lightly chuckled. ⌠Let us see what that girl is up to, shall we?■ He asked to one in particular, he knew he would get no response from the sleeping goblins. He smirked. ⌠Still sleeping I'll bet,■
Stephanie finished brushing her long dark hair, during the winter even the start of it made her hair turn colors, and the static was almost unbearable; she settled to have it tied up into two messy buns held by teeth clamps, strands of hair hung down carefree. She quickly checked in the mirror that she had very subtle eyeliner; she added a bit more, looking a tad bit more dark today. Satisfied, she then moved to start packing her school things, placing her flip open pencil case into her fairly large backpack and adding a few last minute items.
Finally ready, she pushed down the sleeves of her black hooded sweatshirt which had an amusing Goth character on the front, and was about to reach for her coat. Normally she would hang her coat in the main closet but lately it seemed not to be wanted in the closet, always found on the floor, soaking up melted snow from the shoe rack placed neatly in there. So she kept it in her expensive room. It belonged to one of the landlady's daughters, a preteen, when they visited. Stephanie was grateful for her uncle to find her a place in such short notice, but she was charged way too much for the room. Sure, she had free access to the rest of the house but hardly any privacy at all, and lately she had been spending most of her days and evenings at school working on assignments.
She sighed and brushed as best she could of the cat hair that clung to her comfortable dark jeans.
⌠Boo.■ a voice said behind her.
Caught unaware, she spun around.
⌠Jareth!!■ Stephanie said, loud enough not to be heard by her landlady who was busily bringing a suitcase down the stairs just inches from her door. ⌠What are you doing here??■ it seemed she's been asking the clichИ question since the beginning of their adventures.
⌠I came to see if you were up and ready for your 'normal' classes.■ he replied in the same hushed tone.
⌠Well I am. Though I don't know why you'd even bother to≈hey!! You used magyk, so I win the bet!!■ she pointed to him, a grin started.
⌠We've already discussed and agreed that I was able to use teleportation.■ Jareth countered.
⌠Yes. Right.■ she sighed. ⌠Hard to keep track...■ she trailed off. ⌠And to know if you▓re keeping your word by not using any on the other side.■
⌠You have my word.■
⌠And so far I've believed it.■ she smiled. ⌠The word of a King is fine but with you...■ she teased.
Jareth frowned as he sat down on the bed. ⌠I'm hurt.■ he placed a hand over his heart dramatically. She laughed softly. She stopped suddenly. A noise sounding like a balloon being rubbed the wrong way traveled up the stairs.
⌠I'm being summoned.■ she turned around and opened the door. ⌠I'll be back in a minute.■ she quietly shut the door behind her. Jareth sat back, he was about to summon a crystal but stopped himself with a small chuckle, he dug in his pocket and pulled out a crystal and began to spin it around his fingers.
Cathy, Stephanie's landlady, was downstairs and was waiting patiently until the girl arrived. ⌠I'll need your rent, if possible, this morning.■ she said, adjusting her purse. By her feet stood two suitcases and a few smaller traveling bags, her lunch bag and three shopping bags. Stephanie knew why Cathy needed the money immediately; she was going on, as the fact pointed out, a week▓s trip or longer.
⌠I only have part of it. My sponsors haven't deposited this month's allowance yet.■ It was true and there wasn't much she could do about it either.
Cathy gave an annoyed sigh. ⌠Fine. I don't mind getting what you have now.■
Stephanie nodded and refrained from flaring her nostrils. Four hundred and fifty dollars for a bedroom was absurd, her mind grumbled, and it wasn't like Cathy desperately needed the money, she had a good job and her Mary Kay cosmetics sales, plus Stephanie's rent. Not only did Stephanie had to pay the large sum, she also had to pay for half the groceries; most of the time, she was at school till late in the evening, it was rare that she was even at the house.
A heavy thump above was heard. Both of them looked up. One was more startled than the other.
⌠What was that?■ Cathy asked. Stephanie was wondering what the Hell Jareth was doing up there.
⌠I think that was my portfolio.■ Stephanie replied. ⌠I'll be right back.■ She quickly left the living room in a half rush as not to draw too much attention, and rounded the corner and was up the stairs. When she opened the door, she froze, her deep brown eyes wide.
⌠Steph? Was that what it was?■ Cathy shouted from the living room. Normally the woman's voice put her teeth on edge but she was too dumbfounded to take notice.
Stephanie blinked. Her hand frozen on the door handle.
The Goblin King sat there in clothes that were way too big for him. His handsome sharp features were changed into a child▓s roundness.
⌠Yeah!!■ Stephanie managed to call back. She didn't take her eyes off the sight. ⌠Just my portfolio.■