a/n Warning! Warning! Severe Crack!fic ahead!
As the World Falls Down
"Soo hungryyy..." Ludo groaned, forcing one foot before the other as he shuffled through the forest.
Sarah Williams rested a hand on her own growling stomach, wincing at the wild sound it made.
"Maybe we can find some berries or something," she tried to keep her tone optimistic, but somehow she had a bad feeling she wasn't going to find anything – for either her or her friends.
Not in this labyrinth, where nothing was either fair, nor as it seemed.
Sarah shook herself from her thoughts as she heard her dwarf companion come into step beside her.
"Sarah...?" his voice was tentative, "Sarah, here,"
In his wrinkled, outstretched hand was a large, ripe peach.
Sarah's mouth immediately began to water as her fingers closed over the smooth and fuzzy skin of the fruit. She licked her suddenly dry lips and swallowed hard.
"Oh, Hoggle," she sighed out softly, "Thank you,"
Sarah ran her fingertips over the surface almost reverently, before she raised it to her mouth, prepared to take a bite and savour the juice that trickled from inside and ran down her chin.
It looked so ripe. So plump and juicy...
Her lips parted, feeling the slight prickle from the peach skin, her teeth grazed the surface...
...and Ludo whined, staring longingly at the peach.
His own stomach roared in what Sarah could only interpret as outrage that she was holding this back from her companions. And suddenly, Sarah's hunger didn't seem so urgent anymore as it was overshadowed by guilt. She sighed.
"Thank you, Hoggle, but I can't accept this. Not when Ludo's so much hungrier than I am," she turned to the salivating beast, "Here, Ludo. You need it more than I do,"
Hoggle watched in fascinated horror as Ludo took the peach and gobbled it down in one swift mouthful.
Oh dear. Jareth was not going to be happy.
There was no way that this was going to end well.
"Sawah fwend," Ludo sighed contentedly, before his eyes rolled back into his head and he fell over into what seemed a deep sleep.
Sarah's eyes widened in fear.
"Ludo?" she shook his arm gently as she knelt beside him, "Ludo? Ludo, are you alright?" Sir Didymus clambered up to Ludo's hulking stomach, "Ludo?"
"He is... sleeping, My Lady," the fox-knight sounded incredulous, "At a time like this, my brother sleeps…?"
"Oh dear, maybe he shouldn't have eaten the peach. Can Ludo eat peaches? What if it was poisoned?" she rounded on the dwarf, "Hoggle? Where did you get the peach?"
"It was a gift, Sarah," Hoggle responded with downcast eyes, "A gift for you,"
"From where, Hoggle?"
"Jareth," Sarah recoiled, alarmed.
"Hoggle," she tried so desperately to keep her voice calm, "Hoggle, what have you done?"
"Oh, damn you Jareth!" the dwarf hissed, backing away, "And damn me too," he bolted into the trees.
"Hoggle!" Sarah leapt to her feet and cried after him, but it was too late – he was gone.
Defeated, the girl slumped by Ludo's side.
"I killed him," she spoke flatly, staring at her knees.
"If I may disagree, my lady," Sir Didymus replied, an ear pressed to Ludo's chest, "My brother Ludo merely sleeps. He is in no danger," Sarah's head snapped up.
"Are you sure?"
"Positive, My Lady. My brother dreams,"
"I wonder what he's dreaming of…?"
When Ludo opened his eyes, he was confused to find himself in a crystal ballroom, surrounded by the Fae courtiers of the Goblin King.
Even more confusing was the fact he found his movement incredibly restricted.
Glancing down, the Yeti(1) found that most of this was due to his attire.
Considering Ludo had never worn clothing before in his life, he wasn't quite sure what to make of the white puff-ball gown of chiffon and silk that he had been squeezed into. So, he simply shifted his weight from one foot to another, testing what little he could move, before he glanced around again.
For some reason, he had this feeling he was supposed to find... someone.
Carefully, Ludo moved into the crowd of dancers, all of whom immediately decided to give him wide berth. As he moved, he peered around, before glimpsing his reflection in a looking glass.
The fur atop his head had been teased out and curled, whilst interwoven with ribbons and fragile strands of moonbeams. There were jewels delicately hung from some strands, and others that fell in a cascade of glitter down the dark surface of yeti fur.
Seeing this, Ludo did the only thing he could.
In response, there was a sharp sound of something shattering, and its fragments dancing over the crystal floor. All movement stopped and the crowds parted.
In the wake upon the dance floor stood the Goblin Monarch, staring in open-mouthed horror at the sight before him.
Only Moments Prior...
Jareth had been ever-so-gracefully slipping through the gathered Fae in his crystal ballroom, flashing smiles at the gathered nobles and desperately attempting to settle the flutter in his stomach.
This was it. He was finally going to claim his intended mate before the High courtiers.
Over by the refreshments, Jareth's mismatched eyes caught on the form of his younger sister, and he immediately suppressed a groan. Where that blasted Nymph Queen was, his two youngest brothers promised to follow. And, to be quite honest, the last thing he needed or wanted was the interference of the twin demons Faeryn and Taelyn, who would, without a doubt, claim they were "helping".
Forcing himself to move on from those thoughts, Jareth's mind turned to the young mortal, Sarah Williams, who was soon to join them.
The butterflies fluttered a little harder.
Would Sarah like the ball he'd created for her? Would her gown be to her liking? He'd designed everything to suit her dreams -- he hoped she'd see that.
On the other side of the hall, Jareth noted a magical fluctuation, indicative of someone new joining them -- but not just anyone.
It was her. It had to be. His nose was tickled by the faint scent of peaches, drifting in the air.
He took a deep breath and prepared to start their dance. But first, to steal a glance at his beloved...
Jareth's first thought was that perhaps he'd had a grave oversight (or undersight, as the case may be) in terms of Sarah's wardrobe. Not to mention the fact she was a whole lot hairier than he'd expected.
Of course, these thoughts immediately disappeared as soon as what should have been Sarah howled.
The Goblin King's mask slipped from his grasp and the broken fragments skittered over the ballroom floor.
'Oh Hogwart,' Jareth thought with a growl, 'That was a most unwise mistake to make with the peach,'
The courtiers didn't know whether to laugh or cry. (Though Jareth swore he heard one mutter "I knew it,". He also had the sneaking suspicion that it was his sister who said it.)
After all was said and done, and Sarah had been returned to her home, Jareth strode through the hallways of the Castle Beyond the Goblin City towards his throne room. As he entered, the first thing the monarch notice was the suspicious absence of goblins from the hall. The second, of course, was the blonde figure, lounging in his throne, experimentally whipping his riding crop against the backing of the chair.
Jareth arched a swooping eyebrow.
"Selindé, don't you have your own kingdom to rule?" the woman grinned.
"Thank the Underground yes. But I thought before I left I'd just stop in for a word with my favourite brother,"
"Considering our siblings, Selindé, that's much like saying you'd prefer to hug a goblin rather than take a dip in the bog of eternal stench." she considered this.
"Perhaps, but considering what your bloody goblins did to me last time I visited, neither scenario is likely, Jareth. I think I'd rather just dump the goblin in the bog and be done with it,"
The Goblin King pinched the bridge of his nose.
"Is there a reason for this extended stay, sister, or is sadistic Fate just deciding to torment me a little bit more?"
"Now Jareth!" Selindé sat up, grinning, "That's no way to talk about Grandmother!" Jareth shot her a dark look.
"Selindé..." his tone was warning.
The Fae queen's fingers toyed with the top of the crop.
"Well, Jareth, you couldn't expect me just to leave, could you? I mean, consider things from my perspective. There you are, resting, exhausted, in the arms of your lifemate—"
"I don't want to know what you and Haldir do in your spare time," she continued as though he hadn't spoken, nor ground the palms of his hands into his eyes.
"—when, suddenly, a message comes that your eldest brother, Mr. "I-don't-believe-in-intended-mates-my-hair's-too-puffy-to-be-tied-down-to-one-woman" himself has not only found his intended, but also plans on wooing her in a ball. A ball in which he requires high-placed courtiers in attendance to witness him singing his Fae song to the girl. Now, imagine immediately racing to travel to attend this ball, with full intentions of meeting this lucky young woman who has, so wonderfully, cured your favourite brother of his jaded view on love, when instead," she held a hand to her heart, "You find that your brother has developed a fixation on a yeti. A male yeti. Understandably, you're going to want to speak to him about this before the story gets back to mother and father,"
Jareth dragged a hand down the side of his face.
"Selindé, you know as well as I that what happened in the crystal ballroom was a mistake. My intended must have accidentally given her means of transportation to that beast,"
The blonde queen's lips twitched.
"A very convenient tale, Jareth darling, but you don't need to lie to me," she sighed, "I'm a fairly open minded sister – you have to be to last as the Nymph Queen – so I can deal with your preferences," a wicked smile danced across her delicate features, "Besides, I'm sure he's a real beast in the bedroom," the Goblin monarch pulled a face at his sister's pun and implications. He groaned.
"OUT!" Selindé's musical laughter tinkled all the way out of the castle. Jareth sank heavily into his throne and cradled his head in his hands.
Damn it all.
First, that mortal chit defies and denies him, and now he was going to have to deal with his younger sister's infernal teasing for the rest of his long, long existence.
And those courtiers he'd invited were sure to spread this tale back to his parents – it would just be too juicy to keep to themselves.
"Oh, High King Oberon! Haven't you heard? Your High Prince Regent is a raging homosexual who fancies a bit of bestiality on the side!"
(The saddest part was, of course, that his father would probably believe them. Jareth's public condemnation on the notion of life-mates just made it too easily believable that he was overcompensating for something.)
Not to mention, what would happen if the Goblin King's younger brothers ever caught wind of this situation.
Faeryn and Taelyn, the original twins from hell, would never let him live it down.
Damn it all.
Several days later, Jareth sat (most certainly not sulking, nor pouting) in his throne, staring out over his empty throne room (he wasn't exactly sure what Selindé had said to scare his goblins so silly from entering the throne room, but he was grateful for the peace). In one hand, he nursed a pint of the strongest Goblin ale he could find (which was commonly named "fally-down-sleepy-drink" by the more loquacious goblins, and "SMASH" by the others), and with the other, he toyed with his badge of office.
Sighing heavily, he took a long swig of the ale, before glancing around the room and wiping his mouth on the back of his sleeve. (If anyone asked, the stain came from the Goblins.)
He grimaced at the sensations of the ale pooling in his stomach.
It was then, quite suddenly, that he felt a familiar tugging at his navel and glared.
Right now, all he wanted to do was sit down and get rightly drunk to forget all his problems.
But, no. Of course, Fate (his overly sadistic Grandmother) had to intervene and some other mortal brat had to wish away another screaming baby which he was honour bound to attend to.
He closed his eyes, already feeling the shift happen in his wardrobe to his full Goblin King regalia, and he let out a low oath.
That's it. Whoever this was could start their run from the deepest, darkest, dankest oubliette he could find.
Downing the last of his drink, he tossed the flagon over his shoulder and summoned a crystal, abruptly appearing in a park in the aboveground.
Imagine his surprise when, seated across from him was not a fearful teenager with a screaming baby, but rather a composed and confident Sarah Williams.
(Jareth didn't know whether to laugh or cry).
"What is it now, Sarah? Care for me to remove your algebra homework for you? Or is it that you just wanted to torment me for defeating my Labyrinth?"
Surprisingly, she didn't rise to his baiting.
"Actually, Goblin King, I wanted to talk to you about something I seemed to have missed during my run," she crossed her legs upon the stone bench, leaning forward on her elbows which rested upon her knees, "You see, Ludo tells me that when he ate that peach, he ended up in a rather interesting ball, complete with a ball gown and courtiers," her eyebrows arched, "and he also tells me that it was, it seems, made especially for me,"
Jareth stared incredulously.
"You got all that from the Yeti?"
"The Yeti who can barely string together two words told you that whole story," Sarah shot him a dark look.
"Hoggle mostly interpreted, but the point still stands. Why would you organise something like that? Just to slow me down?"
Jareth carefully avoided saying anything. So Sarah continued.
"And, when coupled with everything you were offering me at the end, I have to wonder – Why, Goblin King?"
Still, he said nothing.
Sarah made a frustrated noise.
"I wish you would tell me why," mismatched eyes snapped to hazel orbs. Jareth growled.
"Now that, Sarah dear, is playing dirty," he paused, "Not that I'd ordinarily mind you playing dirty, as it were, but I'd rather prefer it somewhere more comfortable," he sniffed, "and less clothed,"
"Jareth, I'm sixteen at a coeducational school. You're going to have to do better than that if you want to phase me. Now I do wish you'd tell me – Why?"
There were a few beats of silence whilst he grappled with the limitations of the wish, before he finally sighed.
"Because I love you," he shrugged, "Can't really offer any other explanation than that,"
Sarah was dumbstruck.
"But— You— Toby—"
"You asked for him to be taken – who am I to deny you? You asked for a chance to get him back – I obliged. I re-ordered time. I played the villain. I moved the stars. And I did it all for you. I would have given you mornings of gold and valentine evenings, Sarah,"
Again, there was silence.
"And now…?" she managed to squeak.
The Goblin King knelt before the girl, a leather clad hand reaching to cup her rosy cheek.
"The offer still stands, if you want it,"
Hazel eyes bored into mismatched ones, searching for a trace of a lie.
When she found none, the girl spoke again, her voice barely more than a whisper.
"I would love nothing more than to accept it, Jareth, but I'm sixteen. I still haven't finished growing here – There's still so much for me to do," He made to withdraw his hand, but her own snapped up to hold it there, fingers lacing with his, "Just give me time – four, maybe five years – let me finish what I must here first,"
His thumb brushed over her cheekbone.
"If you accept me, Sarah Williams, I will wait,"
Tears trailed slowly down her cheeks.
"Thank you, Jareth," she lunged forward to wrap her arms around his shoulders, embracing him. Slowly his hands rested around her waist to hold her close, "Thank you. For everything,"
He pressed a kiss to the top of her head.
"It was my pleasure, precious,"
Five Years Later
Sarah Williams surveyed her room with a sigh. Most of her gear had been packed away into suitcases and sent through the looking glass to the Labyrinth.
She had lost most contact with her stepmother and father about a year ago, so things were safe on that frontier, and her mother was too wrapped up in her career to notice if Sarah disappeared.
The only one, it seemed, who might actually miss her was Toby, and she'd completely explained the situation to him as soon as she could. Though, as far as Toby's young mind was concerned, Sarah was going to live with Harry Potter in a world of magic and, hey, if that helped the kid sleep at night, she was fine with it.
She breathed out a long, slow and deep breath, before turning back to her mirror.
"Jareth, I think I'm ready..."
"I'm glad," his voice was a warm, teasing whisper in her ear and she span around to find the ma—Fae of her dreams less than an arms length away. She arched an eyebrow at him.
In response, he flicked his wrist to form a crystal – a crystal which he then span in his hand to become a peach.
She eyed it warily.
"Dare I ask?" the Goblin King laughed.
"Procedure, my love. Before you become a permanent resident, I must introduce you to the Underground properly," he placed the fruit into her hand, pressing a chaste kiss to her frowning lips, "Take one bite and before you know it, I can whisk you away to my kingdom,"
"To have your wicked way with me?" Sarah's tone was wry as she turned the peach over in her hands. Jareth laughed.
"I count on it," There was a moment of comfortable silence before Jareth spoke again.
"I must return underground before you take a bite, my love, but I will see you again momentarily," once more, he kissed her gently, "And darling, do me a favour?"
"Try not to hand this peach over to another travelling companion. I dread to think what would happen to my reputation at court if the fox-knight Didymus or the gardener Hedgewart appeared in your place," he snatched another kiss, before breathing against her lips, "and I doubt either would appreciate the wardrobe I've chosen for you," he disappeared in a wisp of glitter.
After steadying herself, Sarah giggled, raising the peach to her lips and taking a bite. She savoured the sweetness of the fruit as it rolled over her tongue, before swallowing and closing her eyes, letting the magic take her.
Inside the crystal ballroom, Jareth immediately gathered the soon-to-be-once-mortal woman into his arms and sang her his song, waltzing her around the dancefloor in an intricate and careful dance.
The moment the last note hung in the air, their movements ceased and the two turned to the gathered courtiers.
There, in the crowd of Fae, they became Their Royal Highnesses Jareth and Sarah – King and Queen of the Goblin Kingdom.
a/n Jareth took great pleasure in pointing out to his courtiers that he was not, in fact, a raging bestiality-loving homosexual, but rather that his queen had been generous.
... his family weren't so sure...
I warned you all – This was doomed to be a crackfic from the minute my twisted brain concocted the "Ludo-in-the-ball-gown" idea.
Reviews are much appreciated!
xx The Flame Faerie
(1) I've seen Ludo described as both a "yeti" and a "minotaur" before. Seeing as I'm a classics student and my teacher once spent an entire lesson ridiculing the minotaur and Roman/Grecian mythology, I picked this as my species for Ludo – because he doesn't look like a "semihominis, semibovis" to me...