Disclaimer: This is just a work of fan fiction. I do not own the Labyrinth or the characters found within it's story. I do, however, claim to own the characters I have created along with the plot of this story. Thanks.

A/N: A forewarning of the chapter- I know the last chapter was lacking some exciting points- this one may be the same- we just need to know what everyone else is up to, don't you think?


Within

Chapter Sixteen: A Personal Invite

"My lady!" exclaimed the noble fox as he bowed politely. His faithful steed, Ambrosius was beside him, obviously uncomfortable in the presence of the Goblin King.

For a second, she froze, staring at the creatures before her. Her eyes widened with excitement as the small curve on her lips formed a large grin. "Sir Didymus, Hoggle, Ludo! Everyone…what are you doing he-"she began to ask.

"I asked to have them here," Jareth interrupted. "Will you be fine if I left you with them for an hour or so?" he asked already knowing the answer. His eyes made contact with hers and he knew from the smile she gave him that his brilliant idea was unfolding the greater plans he devised. Jareth excused himself as Sarah laughed and caught up with her friends. Part of him yearned to experience moments like that with her, but this was not the time to dwell on such things.

Now back in his study, Jareth stared at the calendar on his desk. 'Only a few days,' he told himself. By chance, his eyes caught a glimpse of the glass incased brass skeleton clock, whose hands were slowly counting down the time he had left with her. "Time is wasting away," he said, noticing that there were only three of the thirteen hours remaining. A sense of panic overcame him, until brilliance struck.

'Though, it seems as if she didn't even remember the little deal,' he thought as his frown evened out and eventually became a grin. "Just a little…" he said extending his gloved finger toward the face of the ticking clock. Slowly, he began to twirl his finger in one counter clockwise circle. 'An hour should surely be enough time to ensure things will swing my way,' he thought proudly.

The events to come would force her into the inevitable- she just wasn't aware of such things at the moment. The happiness she felt initially upon seeing her old friends faded as they questioned her.

"Why did you come back?" Hoggle asked with his bushy eyebrows furrowed together.

At first, she wondered if he didn't want to see her, but that would have been ridiculous. "What's wrong?" Sarah finally managed to say. It was only then that she noticed her friend's expressions. The worry in their eyes was unmistakable.

"Do ya really trust him?" Hoggle muttered.

She wanted to respond with a confident, "Yes," but her voice betrayed her. Sarah's meek response only fueled the concern her friends had for her. Clearing her throat, she attempted to explain, "Things are different now." She didn't expect them to understand, but it would have been a lot easier if they did. "We are different now. Well, let's forget about it, okay?" Sarah attempted to change the topic even though she knew her friends would never let it go.

Hoggle's eyebrows remained knitted together. He wanted to tell her all he could, but he didn't know how.


After opening the card, he read the silvery words etched on the coarse paper, "On the final day of the last spring month, we cordially invite you to join the celebration of all celebrations."

"I wonder which pompous ass wrote that," groaned another voice. "Anyway, Corliss- I mean…Connor, was it?" A sigh escaped his lips, "Brother, why do you insist upon that name?"

Connor's eyes shifted for a second to look at his younger brother. So many years had passed since they last saw each other, yet his brother remained the same. His slightly wavy, dirty blonde, hair was still long and his youth was preserved by his pale skin. Glancing back at the invitation and ignoring his brother's question, Connor continued to read, "After another five hundred years, the celebration you have been waiting for, the Masquerade de Lumière Brillante will being promptly at sunset, starting with the opening ceremo-"

"Blah, blah, blah, and so forth," interrupted his brother. "Must we celebrate your return by attending that?" As he spoke, his hands rapidly whirred in the air to help convey his disapproval.

"Damario!" The odd harshness of Connor's voice was followed by an obedient silence. "We are not celebrating!"

"So you say," Damario's lips began to curve into a grin, "but if you are winning the prize, then it will be a celebration of sorts, right? How will you complete this successfully unnoticed?"

'Excellent question,' thought Connor. He didn't know… yet- "It is a masquerade," he reasoned out loud. Both brothers nodded in agreement.

"But she doesn't know that you aren't human. And… well, if anyone finds out that you're back, you probably will be executed." Damario's tone was grave. "Is this human really worth all that?" he asked, knowing his brother's answer. "Taking yet another bit of the forbidden fruit?" he laughed sadly.

"It is rather delicious," Connor smiled briefly.

"Are you certain both of them will be there?" asked Damario.

Connor raised his eyebrows, "That's where you come in."


After what felt like just a short time, her friends took their leave. As they left one by one, they exchanged their goodbyes and promises to meet again.

"Excuse me," came a low, unfamiliar voice. "I wish to speak with Jareth, the Goblin King. Do you know his whereabouts?"

Sarah's eyes widened. 'Connor?' she thought initially, but upon seeing his long hair she knew it couldn't be him. 'We're in the Underground too,' her mind added, making the idea of Connor existing here improbable. "Who are you?" she asked, trying to hide the suspicion in her voice.

"Forgive my rudeness," his tone sounded genuine, but the smile on his face seemed a little off. "My name is Damario." he said, bowing his head politely. "And who might you be?" The truth of the matter was that he knew who she was, even before his older brother mentioned her. Everyone knew of the woman who defeated the Goblin King's Labyrinth.

Sarah hesitated to answer the unfamiliar man. His deep hazel eyes were captivating and his voice was like velvet. He dressed differently compared to Jareth; he wore a loose long-sleeved red shirt. The cuffs of his sleeves were short and fluffy. His pants were black and not too tight at all, which was a relief. Something about him made her uneasy. Perhaps it was because he reminded her of Connor or maybe it was because of his dangerously gorgeous appearance. In a way, he was like an exotic fish- pleasing to the eyes and deadly to the touch. "My name is Sarah," she finally managed to say..

"Sarah?" repeated Damario nodding his head as if to say, 'That name suits you.' 'I suppose I can see why Corliss is so interested in you,' he thought. "Is Jareth busy?" Damario asked, intentionally diverting the subject.

"I don't know," she wanted to say, but she pushed herself to give a strong " Yes," in response. "He'll be here soon," Sarah said hoping that she spoke the truth. Part of her wanted to know more about this familiar stranger, while the other wished for Jareth to magically to appear.

As luck would have it, she heard footsteps descending the stairway. "Jareth?" she called out, but no sooner than a second later, the Goblin King appeared to answer her prayers. His upward curved lips soon straightened upon seeing his guest. "And to what do I owe this visit, Damario?" he asked raising a brow.

"Is an old friend forbidden to visit another?" Damario asked with a grin. "Are you that upset with me because its been so long?"

Jareth sighed. "You haven't changed."


Now in the dining room, Jareth sat at the head of the table while Sarah and Damario were seated on both sides of him, facing each other. Neither of the men touched their food while Sarah quietly listened to their conversation and pretended to focus on the soup in front of her.

"Well, at least you have a title. Jareth, the Goblin King," Damario laughed.

Jareth raised an eyebrow, "True, but you have the freedom to do as you wish."

All of this was new to her, Jareth was being nice to someone else. 'He and Damario are old friends,' she marveled while relishing the sensation of the warm soup slipping down her throat. "How long have you known each other?" she asked, wanting to be filled in.

"Quite some time… many centuries, I believe," Damario answered with a smile on his face. "We've been acquainted since we were much younger." he continued.

Sarah wasn't sure what to make of him. Initially, he seemed like a suspicious character, but as she watched Jareth and Damario interact with each other, he didn't seem so bad. 'Centuries,' she thought, imagining what they were like so many years ago.

"So this is the girl?" Damario finally said, turning his gaze to her and then to Jareth, whose expression was everything but pleased.

'Thegirl?' she thought to herself. "What does that mean?" she asked, looking Jareth in the eye. When he said nothing, she raised an eyebrow and turned to the man across the table from her, "Well?"

Damario raised an eyebrow, 'Jareth, speechless? Now I have to laugh.' A smile crept on his face, "News trave-"

"So what brings you here? I imagine its something of great importance seeing as how you haven't graced me with your presence since this castle became mine." Jareth interrupted, changing the subject.

"Not exactly," Damario answered while using a gloved hand to move a few stray strands of hair from his face. "I was wondering if you would be attending the celebration coming up? I've been curious as to what happens there, but I was hoping someone I know- a friend would be there." Jareth's suspicious expression led Damario to continue, "To kill two birds with one stone."

"I see," he responded trying to mask the displeasure in his tone.

"Jareth, you're like a brother to me," Damario said softly. 'Even though my real brother has returned.'

Jareth sighed, "We'll see you there."


Once Damario left, there were some questions waiting to be answered. 'First off,' she thought, "So, how do you know each other?" came Sarah's voice. 'He seemed out of sorts since Damario's arrival,' she noted. Her eyes captured his image- his slight frown and focused eyes. One of his hands held his chin while his foot tapped to a silent beat. "We've known each other since we were children. We grew up together. He hasn't changed one bit." Jareth sighed.

"I bet you haven't either," Sarah wondered out loud. 'This probably isn't helping.'

"I know you have more to ask." he said, turning his head to look into her eyes.

His voice stung her with its emotionless tone. She didn't know what to do. Sarah sighed. "Maybe later." 'He's worse than a girl on her period.' her mind grumbled. Sarah made her way out of the chair and to his side. "You're so …" she began. 'Damn. What's the word?'

"Child…ish. You're like a child." Sarah continued, for lack of a better word.

"Oh am I?" Jareth asked, clearly intrigued by her change in attitude. "Well, then. Shall I just throw a tantrum?" He didn't expect her to laugh. He was being serious, why couldn't she see that?

The way his lips curved into a pout was actually adorable, there was no denying it. As impulse would have its way, Sarah's lips soon made contact with the smooth skin of his cheek. "There, all better?" she asked as if speaking to a child. Soon after, a small laugh surfaced from within her.

In swift motions, Jareth was out of his chair and next to Sarah. Taking her hand in his, the Goblin King pulled the surprised woman closer to him before he spoke, "Come with me."

She didn't quite understand what he meant. All she knew was that they were heading upstairs and she would soon find out what awaited. Upon setting foot on the next floor, Sarah felt her skin prickle with anticipation. 'Something is different,' she told herself, 'The air is lighter, if such a thing could happen.' "Jareth, what are you up to?" the words slipped out of her mouth. She tilted her head to get a better look of the tall blond beside her.

No words escaped his lips. Instead a seductive smile crept its way onto his face. They were just a few feet from her room when in less than a blink of an eye, Sarah somehow found herself up against the wall. Jareth leaned on his arm, which supported him beside her. His body drew closer as he tilted his gaze downward to meet her. "Sarah," his voice was soft and soothing. "You're running out of time, love." 'I cant help but remember what this reminds me of,' she told herself. He was in the same pose as before, only this time it seemed like he didn't want time to progress either. As her memory replayed, she could hear his voice, "And you Sarah, how are you enjoying my labyrinth."

"For?" she finally said, still confused from his sentence.

"If I am correct, we have about one hour until you must return to your world." his voice was nonchalant and had a tinge of coldness. 'Self control, Jareth,' he warned himself not to get too carried away with his actions. 'Chose your words carefully,' his conscience warned. "I realize this may be something 'unfair,' but would you consider staying even after our deal is done?" He could hear his voice in his mind. 'Selfish!' it scolded while his lips curved into a brief smirk.

"For how long?" she asked, half hoping he would say something like "forever."

"The Masquerade de Lumière Brillante will be held in three days," his voice was calm, but little did she know how fast his heart raced. "Once you have made up your mind, please let me know. I'll be in my study." With those words, he was gone.

Sarah sighed. 'Men,' she thought, 'or more like Jareth. He's so confusing.'

'Knowing her, this should be perfect,' he silently congratulated as he turned the corner to his study.


A/N: Yes, sorry I've been so slow thanks to my exams and being preoccupied by mangas and videogames. Hm… I do hope this chapter is to your liking, however it may seem a bit boring since I was just filling you in. Also, I bet it opens up a lot of different questions. I've been busy, finals are coming up soon so I have a feeling I'll continue to be slow on updates, but don't let that stop you from reviewing! (Please do review!)

Always a big thanksto those who have previously reviewed: L.T. Freak, Rinny, not written, hazlgrnLizzy, LydiaLovegood, bra4goten, TinkLuvr16,Irene Sharda, HappyDepressive, Farongazie, Cat O' Connor, bored teen, GoblinQueenSarah, mimosa, and lovely666.