Author Note: This is plot bunny that would not go away until I finished it. Enjoy.
Disclaimer: I do not own Labyrinth.
When she had let herself imagine meeting Jareth again, the scene in her head had been quite different. She would be in one of her work outfits—a professional blazer and pencil skirt with her hair tied back. She would be sophisticated and intimidating. Not in a rose and cream gown that resembled the dress she had worn nine years before while reciting book passages in the park. Not with her hair, still styled but curling about her shoulders with the ribbons and flowers threaded through.
She did manage to lift her chin and meet his gaze even if he wasn't as awe-stricken as she would have liked. His face was suffering from split personality; his mouth grim and agitated, his eyes smirking and amused. She wanted to fold her arms but settled for leaving her hands unclenched at her side, giving no clue of the panic within her gut.
No fear. She needed a clear mind to watch her words and reclaim what was supposed to be a happy event. Of course, if she really wanted to be a stickler about words then she should have never uttered "I wish…" in the first place.
Cathy came from an Irish family and had an affinity for fairy tales, renaissance fairs and everything Sarah had put away nine years prior. Glen was Scottish, Russian, German and Swedish with a closet comic book habit, owned a bookstore/coffee shop and had met Cathy at a Renaissance fair; she dressed as a tavern wench and he in a shirt that said "Mr. Darcy is My Homeboy". It was the only case of love at first sight Sarah thought valid.
The wedding was so hodgepodge that no one theme could be tacked onto it. In her mind, Sarah had titled it the "Festival of Geek Love" in her head. The men would be in kilts, the women in renaissance-inspired dresses, the flower girls would wear Sailor Moon-esque dresses and at the end they would blow bubbles and throw rose petals like a shoujo manga. The reception would be in a hotel ballroom and the wedding cake would have figures of the bride and groom in capes and spandex, posed to fly into the sky together.
Surprisingly, nothing had gone wrong yet. Cathy had gone through her ritual of puking when nervous before she changed into her elaborate corseted wedding dress and her mother was too preoccupied with the bridal party to make her daughter anxious. The only thing that stood out was when the photographer had come early and asked Sarah if she were going to change into the wedding dress soon. But that was a mistake usually made—the two friends had the same pale skin and dark hair and were roughly the same height. It made Sarah wonder if the photographer was that good if she couldn't recognize her client's prominent freckles, dark eyes or long, long hair. Too late now. The important thing was making sure nothing went wrong with the bride.
"I can't believe it," Cathy whispered as she fiddled with her billowing sleeves. Sarah watched critically as the hairdresser friend of Mrs. O'Dell (Cathy's mother) twisted Cathy's hair into an elegant knot. "I feel like I should wake up, you know? This is-is-it's a storybook wedding, Glen is my Prince and…Sarah?"
"Are the flowers and ribbons in the veil already? Because we don't have time to do it now."
"Sarah!" Cathy flailed her arms like a flustered hen, nearly disturbing the precarious operation of dressing such thick hair. "I know you're the most unromantic person in the free world but please try to listen."
"Just the free world?"
Cathy rolled her eyes and sat still again as the hairdresser continued. "I wouldn't feel so sappy if you would listen and nod encouragingly."
"You are sappy." Sarah stepped over and fixed the folds of the sleeve. "Glen isn't much of a Prince but I think you'll live."
"You never read fairy tales when you were a kid, did you?"
"No," Sarah repeated the lie of her new life. "Never was much for them."
For a second, the barest second, she sword she heard a muffled chorus of snickers. She chewed her lips, avoided looking in the mirror and spoke as if she weren't crazy.
"And Glen's much better than a prince. Because he's real and he's going to make you happy. And I bet he's much more nervous right now then you are."
"Because he has no idea if you're coming out in a period dress or spandex." This finally coaxed a smile onto the woman's face. She threw her arms around Sarah and hugged tightly, succeeding at undoing all that the hairdresser had done. The older woman pursed her lips and stabbed a carmine fingernail towards Sarah. "Go get into your dress, I'll be doing your hair next."
Sarah winked at Cathy and retreated to the living room where the dresses were hanging and Mrs. O'Dell was fluffing the flower girls' pleated skirts. Glad for the diversion she snatched her gown and sought out a place to change. Mrs. O'Dell was an eternal mother who would spend a long time fussing over Sarah when she needed to be commandeering the bridesmaids and making sure Cathy did not eat until she was nerve-free. She changed quickly, glancing at the mirror in the tiny room only after she was done.
The woman in the reflection was not her. Maybe it was because she avoided mirrors in general for fear of seeing what she had sworn was not real. Or it could have been as simple as the dress that was just a fancy, adult version of childhood costumes. She smoothed her hands over the pink folds, tracing where the sweet color met with the white fabric. She liked how the bell sleeves swung with her movements and how the matching flats didn't have uncomfortable heels and made her feet delicate like a ballerina's. The woman in the mirror seemed to like it all too but did that necessarily make them the same?
Staring at her fantasy self, Sarah got a bad feeling. It wasn't hair standing on the back of her neck or her gut twisting or any related symptom. It was just that—a bad feeling. Nerves, she told herself. And her biological clock. She was twenty-five, her friends were getting married, she was single…yes, that was it. She peered closer into the mirror to prove she wasn't insane and studied her face. Well this was more like her. Her eyes were the same color as the girl staring back.
And out of the corner of these eyes…there was a glimmer and the sound of the wind in her ears but no windows. Of course. The moment she put this dress on she began the breakdown that had been coming for years. It just wasn't fai-no, she wouldn't say it. She turned away from the mirror as if spurning a lover and marched back to the hairdresser. She missed the pairs of silver eyes whispering out of the walls.
If anything was going to go wrong then it would have happened during the ceremony. As it was, the worst thing that happened was one of the flower girls had forgotten that she wasn't supposed to throw her flowers, just carry them. Halfway through she took her sister's whispers for her to stop as cue to dump the lot of them in a pile and keep walking. Thankfully no one tripped on it and the guests just chuckled and looked on adoringly. Glen was shifting awkwardly when Sarah walked down the aisle but he stopped completely as soon as his bride appeared.
Cathy was beautiful and there was no other way to describe it. No other sight could diminish her. Emotion welled up into Sarah's throat and she had to fight to keep a straight face. Her hands were shaking slightly when she took the bride's bouquet and repeated the motion later on when she handed off the ring. And when Glen swept her into his kiss, she couldn't hold back the sniff. Even she could be melted by, dare she admit it, a fairy tale wedding.
The guests blew bubbles and threw flower petals while the Superman theme blared from the speakers as the couple ran down the aisle, laughing and stealing quick kisses. The wedding party followed and they gathered in a massive hug outside the church. Sarah got an unfortunate view of the Best Man's kilt fluttering a little too high in the wind but forgot about it by focusing on the couple's happy faces and helping Mrs. O'Dell arrange everyone into a receiving line.
Friends, families and strangers flooded through until the handshake or hug with the "Thank you for coming how are you oh yes it was beautiful" became an involuntary response. Sarah only knew Cathy's family and the mutual friends they shared so really, there wasn't much else to say to everyone but the usual and then hand them over to the two bridesmaids. She glanced at the nearest one, a petite blonde named Jenny who Cathy had roomed with college. She was making eyes at an attractive man shaking Glen's hand.
Jenny caught her looking and waggled her eyebrows in the man's direction. Sarah rolled her eyes but couldn't help but smile back—he was exceptionally handsome even if a little too dark-haired for Sarah's taste. The man made their way over to her and offered a hand, his smile obscenely dazzling and almost assaulting.
"Thank you for coming," she said as they shook hands. His fingers weren't exactly icy but they were cool to the touch.
"It was a beautiful wedding," he replied. "I-" His eyes slightly widened and he looked down. "Did you just step on my foot?"
"No—I don't think so." Odd. She glanced down quickly and for a second thought she was tiny feet dashing away and a helmet with horns-
"Must be a twitch, It was nice meeting you," and the man moved on to Jenny who looked ready to scream and jump around excitedly like a groupie at a rock concert. Sarah peeked back down at the ground, reasoning that the sun was playing with the shadows and her mind. And no other tricks occurred as the guests finished their felicitations and began to pile into cars to go to the reception. Glen scooped his bride into his arms and carried her to the horse drawn carriage waiting. The horses, appropriately white and black, stomped their hooves and swished their tails. Sarah turned from the sight to usher the rest of the party to the limo, missing the tiny bodies slipping into the back of the carriage.
Through the first dance, speeches told and hugs unnumbered the reception was just as smooth. Now Cathy was trying to convince Glen to eat something, revealing a matriarchal streak inherited from her mother. Glen professed to being too excited to eat and Sarah wondered if it was anything like what she was feeling. Eating right then just didn't seem appetizing.
She pushed the salad around her plate, jumping when a cell phone ring cut through. Jerry, Glen's best friend, best man and business partner fished his thin phone out of his sporran. He smiled apologetically at her and it was admittedly adorable. She was about to smile back but his face darkened at whatever he was hearing on the phone, a nerve appearing in his jaw and thrumming wildly.
"Glen," he said, fingers white around the phone
The groom turned just as Cathy was about to feed him a spoonful of mashed red potatoes, getting some into his red-gold beard. "What's up?"
"Someone broke into the shop."
Glen swore but didn't immediately bolt out of his seat like Sarah expected him to. He was looking between his friend and his wife and then shook his head. "I can't go I-"
"Glen, go." Cathy ordered, wiping the potatoes molecules out of his hair.
"Cathy it's our reception-"
"Glen it's okay. Really. I know you want to stay and that's enough."
He pulled her to him and kissed her softly then darted away with Jerry. Sarah took Glen's seat and hugged her friend tightly. "Bet you he's back within the hour."
She smiled. "You know, you've been very optimistic today. Careful, you'll ruin your reputation."
"I think I'll salvage it. Besides, it's the atmosphere, not anything personal."
"Frick. For a second I thought I might have you believing in a Prince just for you."
"I can't say I'm into the Prince type."
"I don't even know what your type is. Now if you'll excuse me, I want some more food." She stood up, the giant skirt swirling around and nearly knocking her maid of honor out of her chair. Sarah scraped her plate again, contemplating the food but felt like she had indigestion even though the day's diet had consisted of toast in the morning and a few glasses of water.
Maybe she had just known instinctively that something bad was going to happen. Just like Glen had. Not that she could explain exactly why but there was surely a psychological explanation about collective memory. Or just one of those random freak events. Surely she could believe in those because she didn't have to explain them. And the only reason the feeling remained was her shock that such a thing could have happened.
The DJ put on music that was probably from one of the Renaissance fairs. Something with a lute and strings that was dreamy and soft. Most of the guests were getting up to dance, their expressions just as soft as the song. The quiet was a tad eerie however—everyone was gazing into their partner's eyes. But they were good dancers and…
Her touchy stomach felt as if she had swallowed a cement block. She looked down at the salad and fruit mixed about the white china and could only see green maggots writhing across the platter. She shoved it away, not meaning for it to fall but it did and shattered across the floor. The food rolled everywhere and the dancers stepped onto them and over it. No one had turned at the noise. Jenny had taken off her shoes and now stepped onto the shards but did not flinch.
"…No…" She stood, slowly, hands shaking and backed away from the table and into the hallway leading out of the ballroom, then into the room on the side, slamming the door behind her. She was having a psychotic breakdown. Yes. She was going to wake up in a hospital bed and be told that she had passed out right after the ceremony. Hopefully she would just wake up on the floor of this tiny chamber before anyone discovered her.
The curtains in the room fluttered and she saw tiny feet sticking out at the bottom. Hands trembling and not at all showing the control she wanted them to, she reached for the curtain and yanked it back.
A tiny creature with a pug face and horned helmet blinked beady red eyes at her, offering a gap-toothed smile. She stumbled back. No. None of that had been real—but now there was an enchanted ballroom and a goblin staring up at her whose brethren had flickered throughout the day and all of this could only be the work of one person. Why he was doing this—if he did in fact exist—she did not know but she would find out.
And if she was right and he did not have responsibility or exist, then she had nothing to lose except her sanity.
"I wish…" She looked up and closed her eyes. "I wish the Goblin King would come and help me fix this."
She opened her eyes slowly and saw floating curtains. Nothing more. She was certifiable. Flexing her hands to relax them, she reached for the door and opened it-
-and met with a figure in a billowing gray shirt and black leather pants, blue eyes smirking and mouth rigid.