DISCLAIMER: I own nothing, not the Labyrinth, nor Jareth (bugger), nor Sarah nor... anything really. This entire fic is inspired by the brilliant picture "Sure did treat me nice" by Saniika on deviantart.
NOTES OF AN AUTHORESS: This is written because the picture is brilliant and very, very cute. Pure, twee, fluffy, sugary mush.
The house was Victorian, an old country house surrounded by woodland and meadows in the heart of Northumberland. It was the sort of house that you read about in books, not a fairytale house but definitely the sort of house where magic might take place. The sort of house where you might find fairies lurking at the bottom of the garden or another world in a wardrobe. It was, in short, sheer paradise for a little girl who adored fairy stories.
It was winter, a few days off Christmas and the ground was covered in a blanket of snow. The sky was covered in grey cloud that promised more blizzards and the wind was bitterly cold as it swept through the leafless trees and danced through the fields smothered in snow.
The house had a vast garden, most of which was ornamental flowerbeds and finely-pruned shrubs that, in spring, would fill the air with the heady scent of roses and other exotic flowers. Now though all the plants were hidden away in greenhouses, carefully tended by the elderly gardener to ensure that they would last til the weather warmed. The only plant life left were a few leafless apple trees and the evergreen pine trees, strung with fairy lights that would switch on when dark fell. The paths were neatly cleared but the little girl, dressed in her red woollen coat and hat, a splash of colour in the monochrome landscape, ignored them preferring to wade through the ankle deep snow.
Her face was flushed red from the cold and her coat was covered in snow from making snow angels where her disapproving grandmother couldn't see her. She skipped through the snow, enjoying the satisfying crunch her wellies made as they sank through the frozen crust and every now and then she turned to look at the footprints she had left.Christmas! She felt like she could burst from the excitement, only a few more days! A few more days and she could be tearing the wrapping paper from gifts bought by her doting father and mother, stuffing her face with chocolate and seeing her mother!
The simple joy of seeing her mother was something that happened only rarely; since her parents separation her mother traveled far and wide following her work. It was a brilliant treat to not only see her mother but to spend Christmas in the glorious house owned by her paternal grandparents. She was too young to see the friction between her fathers side of the family; well off, prim and proper and her mother whom they all saw as flighty and irresponsible.
No, all that would come later; for now the child was ecstatic and innocent, playing her imaginary games in a world of magic and make-believe where anything can happen and nothing is as it seems.
Her father leaned out of the door and called her inside, luring her in from the cold with promises of hot-chocolate and marshmallows. Willingly she scampered into the warmth but something made her turn and look behind her.
For in the skeletal branches of the apple tree perched a snow-white barn owl.
"Sarah honey," Sarah looked up from her hot chocolate as her father put the phone down and looked at her with worried eyes. Sarah met his disturbed, grey gaze with her own sparkling green one and smiled.
"How's Mummy?"She enquired, all bright-eyed and Bambi like. "When'll she be here?"
"Sarah," her father said again, the word a sigh as he pulled out the chair next to Sarah and sat down, putting a comforting hand on her knee. "Your Mummy can't be here.Her job's taking longer than she thought and she can't fly here. She says she's very sorry but..."
He never finished the sentence as Sarah pushed him away, tears brimming in her eyes.Jumping off the chair she sobbed in seven-year-old-frustration. "I don't care! She's never here! Why did she even leave? It's not fair! It's not fair!"
Her voice broke and fled in tears, bolting up the stairs to her room where she slammed the door behind her and slid down in it, crying her eyes out. She hugged her knees to her chest and buried her head in her arms as she rocked back and forth. After a little while there was a knock at the door followed by her father's tentative voice. "Sarah, we can still have a nice Christmas with Grandma and Grandad."
"No!"Sarah screamed as she stood up and wheeled around, facing the closed door. "Just go away! I hate you! Go away!" She waited until she heard his footsteps on the stairs before hurling herself on the bed and burying her face in the pillow. "Someone save me! Someone take me away from this awful place," she wept.
Finally, when her throat was raw from crying and her tears soaked the pillow she wiped her nose on the back of her hand and opened the door. Miserably, dragging her feet and still sniffling she made her way back down the stairs and into the hallway. She was about to push open the door to the sitting room when she heard her father's laugh and granddad's chuckle. She could hear the TV blaring and lowered her hand as fresh tears welled up. They were having fun without her! They didn't care!
With a strangled sob she turned away and sat down by the under-the-stairs cupboard, closing her eyes as she got ready to cry again. Suddenly there was a swirl of wind and a tinkle, like little silver bells before a concerned voice asked.
"Are you all right?" Shocked, Sarah leapt to her feet as she saw a boy, a boy who hadn't been there two seconds before. He looked about her age but taller, with a mop of blonde hair and mis-matched eyes. He was dressed really strangely, like someone going to a fancy dress party. He was wearing a lacy white shirt and a midnight-blue jacket with a red sash and purple trousers. Leather boots up to his knees and grey gloves completed the ensemble. He looked so ridiculous Sarah almost giggled.
At her amused expression the boy tipped his head on one side quizzically and Sarah saw that he was wearing make up.This pushed her over the edge and she lifted a hand to her mouth to hide her trill of laughter.
"Who are you?" asked Sarah, her fear and her sadness forgotten.
He seemed annoyed that she was laughing at him. "Who are you?" he shot back.
"Sarah," she replied, a broad grin now stretched across her face."What's your name?"
"Jareth." He replied, narrowing his eyes at her. "What's so funny?"
"Nothing," she replied before dissolving into a fit of giggles. His eyes narrowed to slits which had the unfortunate effect of making him look like an angry clown. This, of course made Sarah laugh even harder.
"Stop that!" He snapped. With some difficulty Sarah got a hold on herself and although the smile remained on her face she no longer laughed. "Jareth," she mused. "Strange name." There was a pause and the sounds of the television and the burble of adult conversation drifted in from the sitting room.
"No it's not," he replied, pouting like a spoiled child. "It's a good name. I like it."
Sarah waved a hand dismissively. "How'd you get in here anyway?" She asked.
The other child grinned broadly, almost wolfishly. "Magic," he said as if he were stating a simple fact.
Sarah's eyes widened but she hid her astonishment with a snort of disbelief. "No such thing as magic." She said with as much cynicism as she could muster but unable to hide the wonder in her eyes.
"Yes there is," replied Jareth irritably.
"Fine." He lifted a gloved hand and clenched his fist. Sarah waited for the flash of light or the sparkly bits or anything. But nothing happened. Jareth examined his fist with great interest before looking at Sarah.
"I'm the King of the Goblin's, y'know," he said conversationally.
"Yeah right,"snorted Sarah. "You're not even a goblin. And you're too young."
Jareth looked shocked and very offended. "Am not!"
"Am not! I'm older than you!"
Sarah folded her arms and gave him a scathing look. "I'm seven-and-a-half," she said and poked her toungue out at him.
Jareth tutted and folded his arms as well. "Yeah, you're so mature."
"How old are you then?" asked Sarah.
Jareth shrugged and extended his arm, opening his fist. "Thought you wanted to see some magic?"
Forgetting all about the age debate, Sarah nodded eagerly. "Yes please!" Jareth grinned and snapped his fingers. Out of nowhere a red-and-white striped candycane appeared which he then offered to her.
"What is it?" Sarah whispered as shegazed at the candycane, a sparkly sweet that seemed a lot more magical than the dull ones her father bought her.
Jareth idly tossed it from hand to hand watching with amusement as Sarah's eyes followed it. "It's a candycane," he said as he caught it and held itout to her again. "Nothing more. Do you want it?"
Dumb with excitment and shock, forgetting about the "don't take sweets from strangersespecially if they claim to be the Goblin King" rule, Sarah nodded and reached out for it but Jareth snatched it away. "Hey!" She said, affronted.
"You don't expect meto just give it away now, do you?"he taunted, holding the candycane just out of her reach. "I want something in return."
"What?" Sarah said angrily.
Sarah's eyes widened so far she thought they might pop out of her head. "A kiss?" She echoed. He merely nodded. "No way."
"Fine then." He started to put the candycane in his pocket when Sarah said: "Wait"
He paused and looked at her expectantly. Sarah turned her head and presented her cheek, furrowing her brow angrily. "Make it quick."
Jareth grinned and stepped forwards. Sarah closed her eyes as she felt his finger lift her chin slightly and then his lips brush her cheek just below her eye. Hemoved away andheld out the candycane. "Here you go," he said,a bright smile blazing across his face. Sarah took the sweet and looked at him, uncertain of what to do next.
"Bye," he said.
"Bye,"she replied. He started tofade but then she called: "Wait!"
He came back into view and patiently waited for her to speak. She fidgeted for a while, twisting the candycane in her hands before she stepped forwards and pecked him on the cheek. "Bye Jareth," she said.
He smiled and this time he really diddisappear, leaving Sarah clutching a candycane wondering what had just happened. Finally shelicked the candycane, wanting to make it last as long as possible as she went into the sitting room to spend Christmas with her family.