Disclaimer: I do not own sexy, sexy, sexy, Jareth, Sarah or anything else amazing that is associated with Jim Henson or the film of Labyrinth. (But hell, I wish I did.) Or the Poem 'Stolen Child' by William Butler Yeats. A great amount of thanks to Litrouke, for being my Beta, you make commas beautiful.
She packed away her things, the remnants of childhood, feeling more and more grown up as she filed herself away in cardboard boxes and duct tape. Toby now played with her toys; a neighbourhood girl with a flair for dramatics received her dress up clothes. Sitting in the maelstrom of self-renovation, Sarah felt nostalgia creep upon her.
'Just once more,' She thought, a hand idly brushing the spine of a book of fairy tales. Moving to stand she wound the dancing music box, and luxuriated in the sweet melody. The notes hung golden in the air, sweeping along the room and joining with the dusty sunlight which filtered through her window. She swayed along to the tune, eyes slipping closed, and dancing by herself. Then the sound took on a fractured quality, the notes splitting and echoing until they crowded upon her mind. They forced her to stop and open her eyes, and see the sun had vanished by some hand. The cold feeling that crept up her spine brought her back to earth completely, and a word – no, not a word. A name slipped past her lips. A chill wind picked up, the high whistling cries screeching past her window. Terror, she knew it then; adrenaline and excitement ricocheted around her ribcage.
'Fight or flight, fight or flight,' She repeated in her head like a mantra. The music slowed and then stopped; the wind died down and the sun evaded the lonely cloud. She sagged with relief and an emotion she could only call disappointment. Sarah slowly uncurled her fists. Greedily she sucked in air and did the only thing she would let herself do. With a proud toss of her hair, she finished packing up her things and fled the room in what she would continue to reassure herself was a ladylike fashion. Reality would have it otherwise with her white face and trembling limbs as she stumbled over boxes and out the door. Heart racing, she had an errant though and dashed to Toby's room. The child was safe, napping in his bed, the window valence shading his serene face. Breathing a sigh of relief Sarah moved to a wooden rocking char and fell asleep watching Toby. She did not dream.
Some have stated that humans would go mad if they did not dream. It was a method for people to store and retain information that had overwhelmed the senses during the day. Sarah did not doubt that she was crazier than she would like to admit. Nineteen and sharing a dorm room with an uninteresting girl, she drifted more and more into apathy. For hours, she could stare at the ceiling, creating worlds that never existed-- friends she never made.
Shaking the oppression of boredom and cobwebs of laziness, the girl forced herself to pull on a jacket and leave the room. A purse slung over her shoulder, she ferreted about for a moment before retrieving a sleek black cell phone. Entering a number by heart, she listened with impatience to a dial tone before a sleepy "Hello," made her smile.
"I'm going stir crazy. If I listen to the florescent lights any longer, I think ritually sacrificing my roommate will constitute for an evening's entertainment." A beat passed before the voice on the other end replied in an amused but we'll-talk-about-sacrifice-later manner.
"I'll meet you at The Den in five-minutes. I have to put some clothes on," the voice was low and decidedly male. Raising an eyebrow invisible to the receiver of the call, Sarah smiled to herself.
"It's only nine o'clock on a Saturday night and you are honestly asleep," she teased lightly.
"I didn't say I was sleeping." Rolling her eyes, Sarah hung up the phone and altered course.
The campus was a fairly large place and The Den, as it was so aptly named, was nestled in MacKimmie Hall. Residence was a five minute walk from there and offered something bars and pubs could not; the comfort of familiarity. Her shadow flitted between the lights, and each time darkness claimed it, Sarah felt relief to stand once more beneath the brilliance of electricity. The cold slid its way along her hands. The warm atmosphere of her destination, and the lack thereof in her current position, brought her sharply back to the present. Was it supernatural, or just bad weather? Were those footsteps behind her? A quick glance told her no, but for all she tried, she could not shake the feeling of being followed.
The constant disappearance of her shadow made her feel uncomfortable, disliking the illusion it gave of her own non-existence. Inceasing her pace, Sarah tried to calm her irrational heart which began to speed up. Clutching her purse close to her, she resolved to bludgeon any attacker to death with its contents. She had not thought a scientific calculator would come in handy once she had passed the introductory finances course as was required for her degree. Now, the heavy piece of mathematical wonder served as her number one instrument of doom.
"Come and get me you sonovabitch, make my app function," she joked weakly to herself, her breath streaming behind her like a visible soul. Her dark hair swayed; a scythe in the gloom, and taking comfort from this rhythmic motion, she let her steps slow. In the distance, she could see the lights of Mac Hall. Feeling the same as she imagined a disheartened sailor feels upon discovering the lighthouse her shoulders began to loosen.
The tension eased as she grew closer to her perceived safety. 'I feel as if I've awoken from a terrible dream,' she thought, recalling those juvenile delusions of being chased. Time had seemed slow as she had followed the pavement to Machall, and the absurd fear which had slammed into her felt nostalgic. Her actions had the character of the Actress she had once longed to become. Years of subduing the burgeoning diva had done her well. In its place were patience, a quickness to accept, and a solemnity with which she viewed the world. Her temporary moment of insanity was only a flash of the person she had been.
"How long has it been," she mused out loud, speaking to a nearby light post for companionship, "since I have dreamt?" The last dream she could recall was as fragmented as the music that still haunted her waking hours. Then with a frivolity that did not fit her mood, she announced, "sometimes," affecting a conspiratorial whisper she leaned towards the lamppost. "I wish I could still dream."
Sick realization grew; the pit of her stomach churned as the snowbound earth began to feel warm in comparison to the wind. The giddiness that she likened to being intoxication disappeared.
"No." She croaked mouth dry. "That wasn't fair." Her mind clamoured against animal instincts that told her that she had been taken for a fool. That someone was truly stalking her and even as helplessness clawed at her mind it warred with anger. "You took away my barriers…" The wind had died down, and for a moment she relaxed again. 'You're overreacting. The air is suddenly colder, and in winter might I add, and you are accusing a lamppost. Glad to see you made it to university.' Wryly, she mocked.
"Oh, life is not always fair, Sarah." Clipped and cultured the smooth voice rolled over her. It stripped her bare and exposed her as a coward. Her legs refused to answer to her demands, and she stood rooted to the ground. Cursing under her breath she waited for a long minute before forcing herself to take a step forward. The sound of drums pushed against her common sense and she had to clamp down in order to not run screaming into the darkness. Surveying the area around her cautiously, Sarah spun about many times before she felt reassured of her psychosis.
"I need to get out more," she told herself moodily, still feeling ill from fear. Blaming insanity she began to wobble on her way again. She fixed her gaze straight ahead and instantly her liver became acquainted with her lungs.
He was directly in front, one eye darker than her terror, the other blue and innocent as a summer sky. Taking a stumbling step back, she slowly coaxed air back into her chest. Summoning a false bravado she utilized her acting skills to appear entirely at ease. The physical change was instantaneous although the queasiness did not dissipate.
"What the hell are you doing here?" She asked, acidly sweet, fighting to contain the shock and panic that his appearence had caused.. Her hand inched its way towards her purse, fingers wrapping one by one around the T1-84 calculator. Tsking, the imposing figure bent towards her, condescension written in every line of his face.
"Come now, Sarah. Is that how you would greet an old friend with a gift?" His hair was shorter than she remembered; he had evidently changed with the times as well. The long tendrils that accompanied a larger amount of fluffed and spiked hair had evolved to a closer cropped (and be damned if she would admit it to herself) sex-in-every-imaginable-place-style.
"You've been neither friend nor the best gift giver, so excuse my doubt and reluctance,"she retorted, withdrawing the calculator and whipping it hard at his head. She did not wait to see if it met its mark, though a satisfying thud sent a thrill of victory through her as she fled towards the bright lights. She was brought up short by a very sharp tug on her wrist.
"Now what did you hope to accomplish with that ill-fated attempt to escape?" He questioned, anger rising like steam from his form.
"Well it sounded like it hurt, and it sure as hell made me feel better." She told him, before falling silent. The minutes passed by, the stony facade revealed no sign of intention. Frowning, Sarah checked her fear enough to break the stillness.
"I uh…I have a hot date tonight, so I would love to stay and chat, but I really must be off." Cutting herself of, she silently forbade her tongue to ever move again. Despite her babbling, her words managed to grab the man's attention. Sneering, his grip tightened on her wrist elevating discomfort to a level of pain.
"I am afraid that you will be absent from your social outing. We have matters of business to discuss, you and I." Swallowing the lump in her throat, she tugged fiercely on her arm until he let it go with a raised brow.
"I didn't think we had unsettled accounts…" She started, unsure.
I owe you a large debt, little girl; one that must be repaid in full." The predatory look was more than she could process at once: horror, rage, and what she blamed as excess estrogen, raced through her trembling state. His eyes narrowed, directing a strong unnameable emotion right at her. The jagged half grin switched unceasingly between terrifying and sexy. "It is not every day that a teenage girl destroys my kingdom and unmans the king."
'I don't like the way this is going….' Sarah thought. "Goblin King, I…I didn't mean any harm. Well, that much harm," she admitted with trepidation.
"Neither do I, sweet Sarah. Let us see what comes of this." A hand pressed against her mouth, the smell of a summer orchard overwhelming her. She struggled vainly, her knees becoming gelatinous. Then her traitorous vocal chords uttered the one thing she had kept locked away in her heart, deeper than regret and despair.
Long after Sarah had succumbed to unconsciousness, the Goblin King stood over her figure, eyes moving with unabashed interest over her changed shape. Then, with a feeling of tenderness and perhaps pity, or simple mockery, he lifted her into his arms. Absentmindedly brushing the snow from her hair, his hands trailed in the strands as if feeling fine silk. "You will be made to bleed, my love," he murmured his voice a lover's caress.
How Jareth is an insufferable bastard
He makes her have all the dreams she missed out on since she returned from the labyrinth. (How many nightmares does the average person have?)
With a feeling of grudging resentment, Sarah found herself being pulled into awareness. Memories flooded back to her one by one until going back to sleep and waking up in a world that made sense was vastly appealing. Accepting defeat and opening her eyes a feeling of nausea swept over her. Swallowing the urge to vomit, she pressed her eyes tightly shut and vowed to never move again.