A/N: This is my first attempt at Laby fan fic. It's not my greatest stuff, but I enjoyed writing it... not sure where this is going. I may just have it end here...Guess I'll see what you guys think.
The King of Goblins was lazily sprawled on his throne, with one leg hanging over the side, bored beyond reason, yet strangely hopeful. He had just returned from having an encouraging word with his cowering gardener, and it was just a matter of minutes now; the waiting would soon be over.
Indeed, patience was never his strongest trait; for the Fae, it was hardly a virtue. Eternity had a tendency to become boring, especially if nothing came in its due time but instead, everything and anything all at once and at a whim's desire.
In one upturned hand, three globes of crystal danced and swirled, twirling so fast that the image within them flowed into one – he gazed at it, watching his sweet Sarah, whose soft, rosy lips were parted in wonder to the sight of his magical forest of sparkling trunks.
Often, Jareth pondered how it was possible for an ordinary human to visually fit in so well in the world of his kind. She could have easily passed for a creature of his realm…the fire within her was a unique attribute in Humans, and those eyes that allowed him to gaze at her blazing soul and gentle heart.
Trailing the group of strange creatures and his Sarah was the troll with his present. Had Jareth not glanced at Hoggle at that exact moment, he would have missed the cowardly dwarf's tentative arm above the edge of the stinky bog, about to dispense of his present.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you."
Unseen by Jareth, a couple of goblins causing inconspicuous mischief with a soon-to-be battered wine-keg, winced in unison to this near-reprimand, and then gratefully disappeared from the throne room when they realized he wasn't addressing them. Many future occasions would allow them to continue at their task another time.
The admonishment was spoken aloud, but he knew that the little scab heard him as though his King were still in his midst. The fact that he was not physically nearby added just the right touch of echo of threat that sent him to scurry to catch up to the group he had been trailing.
In one fell swoop, Jareth knew he could provide Sarah with a distraction, to be with her, and to break her irritating and unfounded trust with Hogsbreath.
No, he couldn't afford for anything to go wrong when he was so close to reaching out to her, though he easily justified his motives by rationalizing the situation with simple reasoning – he wanted to keep the babe. After all, he did need an heir, did he not?
Sarah's new band of friends were with her at every turn; his irritation grew with each meeting, that he was never provided the opportunity he sought to confront her alone. Surely he could prove that he was no villain – and that he could stop playing the ridiculous role in which he had trapped himself rashly to please the human girl he loved. It was true, he refused to see himself as evil, though admitted that her fear of the terrible Goblin King brought him immense pleasure.
Just one bite…
Her hesitance was momentary, as she considered giving it to another, but upon closer inspection, its scent drew her in past the point of having a will to draw it away; it made her mouth water and she plunged into it, almost forcing her to take a satisfying, tangy, juicy bite.
It was almost as how she imagined it… it tasted like sunshine, its fuzzy skin caressing her tongue as she chewed; but there seemed to be some other taste, as though its sugar had vanished in an instant. All it was at that point was sour.
Strange, she thought.
A dizzy wave swept her mind suddenly and with effort she focused her eyes on the dwarf who was watching her. Through blurriness that came and went rapidly, she could see something distinct in his large eyes, set below his thicket of brows that furrowed with worry. No, not worry, but…guilt?
"Hoggle, what have you done?"
Jareth released a silent, amused chuckle, the smirk disappearing off his face as quickly as it had appeared. With elegance and grace of cat, he got to his feet, holding the crystals which continued to spin effortlessly. Setting himself on the window sill, he peered though a lock of platinum-shaded hair, beyond the city to the distance, where he knew Sarah was, and willed the final part of the spell to take effect – he needed to retrieve her. One by one, he enchanted his crystals, and set them afloat upon the breeze he had called upon.
The stout, wrinkly little man grumbled something and rushed away. She would have stopped to question him if her surroundings weren't bobbing the way they were.
Opening her mouth with the intention to yell for Sir Didymus and Ludo, her voice was nowhere to be found. She tried again, but this time, it was her motive that had vanished. What was she about to do? Who was she about to call for? The more she strained to remember, the harder it became to keep her balance.
On the ground, the lightheadedness dissipated somewhat, though she still couldn't focus her eyes. Something ahead, above her, round and bright was glowing as it floated toward her. It was a bubble! As she tried again to focus her vision, she could hear the melody of some distant but familiar music, and even though she found a source of energy to spring to her feet, she still couldn't place where she had heard those notes before…
…or how she found herself to be somewhere else, from wherever she had been but a moment earlier? Where had she been before? She was sure that the only place she had ever been was here, in the splendorous, gloriously decorated ballroom.
But wasn't she looking for something? Why had she been in a hurry? She had the distinct feeling that she should have been anxious though it appeared no one in the great ballroom noticed that she was late. Was she even late? It didn't look as though dinner had been served yet.
No, she was certain she was supposed to be anxious, but it didn't fit. Her dress was fitting well, and she was on time. Everything was fine. Yet…she was still certain that she was looking for something…or someone. They were bound to be close by, she thought, pushing her way through the crowd of loud jeerers and almost into a rambunctious, chubby redhead, who was insanely, jovially laughing.
Yes, yes she had been, up till now. Her neck prickled and the soft hair there stood on end, from the distinct sensation of being watched. It all became clear, the moment she turned and saw him; a man with a black goblin-like mask with a long, pointy nose – he was the one, she was sure, the one she was looking for.
The mask lowered, and their gazes locked.
Those cruelly beautiful pools of emerald-hazel peered back at him, and for the second time in his eternal existence, he felt at a loss for what to do. She was staring at him, as he stared plainly, openly back at her. She made him feel utterly vulnerable and it would not do.
When one of his noblemen moved in front of him, he took the opportunity to shift from his spot to somewhere else in the room, where he could continue to watch her without having to expose his presence again.
From another corner of the small hall, he caught her moving away from his unseen presence, and watched her move awkwardly, as though at a complete loss without him and he couldn't help but release a light laugh. Briefly he wondered, what effect it would have on her, if she saw him dancing with another? Could he hope to catch a glimpse of jealousy in her eyes? Yes, he that would prove to be entertaining, and he wouldn't appear vulnerable in those wide, innocent jewel-like eyes. Such a contradiction, cruel and innocent!
Amongst the dancing he continued to watch her, spellbound and entranced by her natural beauty only accentuated by the gown and decorative glitter of her fancies. Surely if she stayed, he would keep her!
He watched her walk by, beckoning her to turn around.
If she turns, I am through with denial…
As she did so, he made sure that the violent beating of his heart would not betray him by affecting the neutral expression he had taught himself so well. Without further hesitance, he approached as she appeared rooted to the ground, until the moment he possessively took her in his arms and they began to waltz to the beat of a piece he could hardly hear much less wished to. Perhaps if the music had been softer, the entire room would have heard her gasp.
Could that have been a gasp of delight or contrary?
"Do you like dancing, Sarah?"
Too dazed at first to realize that the beautiful man with soft silvery hair had asked her a question, she simply gawked until he smiled at her. There was something familiar about him, about everything, yet, the only thing she knew was her name and that he had addressed her by it.
"Do you like dancing, Sarah?" He repeated, but with more playfulness than she recalled his tone to be before.
Gently she nodded, unable to pull her gaze away.
"So much so, that you could do it forever?"
"I should think I would get tired from doing it forever." She replied simply, seeming to speak her thoughts rather than in reply to him.
"What if you never had to dance alone? Would that make it more appealing?"
"Dancing or Forever?" Confused, she asked, still unable to remove her eyes from his, even when his smile turned…darker.
"Both." His smile broadened, turning into a feral grin, revealing sharp teeth.
He felt her stiffen, but she kept moving with the music, allowing him to lead her, still securely in his arms.
Silence fell between them, overtaken by many simultaneous laughs of amusement, and after a long moment, Sarah looked away, managing to free herself from the spell of his eyes.
"I…feel as though I know you, and yet…I know I don't."
"What does your heart say?" He asked, without losing a beat, drawing her eyes back, no doubt caused by the forwardness of his question.
"Should my heart know? I mean…we…we are worlds apart, aren't we?"
"Such a boundary is only in your mind."
They stared at one another, again in silence that was eventually broken by the girl he wanted to make his Queen.
"Yes, I'm sure of it. I know you."
Could his power over her be fading?
Yet they continued to dance.
"I feel the same way." He added smoothly, without a single of hint of deceit and he knew that she could sense it.
"But we're strangers!"
"Deceiving, is it not?"
The late evening went like this – the King of Goblins dancing with Human girl – late into the night.
The clock stroke twelve, but Sarah was too lost in deep, riddle-ridden conversation to notice the time. Another half hour passed, tolled by a single strike, yet, she didn't even feel tired of dancing, even if it did feel like forever…
Yes another half hour went by, and still, she found herself in his arms, though the space between them had mysteriously faded. Only when she heard the clock strike once again, did she, for some unknown reason, begin to count the number of strikes.
The space between their faces had diminished, and he was quite close in the moment she heard the thirteenth strike. When she felt the softness of his lips grazing hers, she gasped, but did not pull away.
Something wasn't right
She tried to push away, but it was too late. Her dance partner seemed quite unwilling to allow her to.
"I'm sorry, Sarah." He whispered almost mournfully, tightening his grip around her waist, pulling her closer to wrap both of his arms around her.
"What…what's going on?" With clear, large innocent but equally cruel eyes, she looked up at him in confusion.
"I'm sorry, Sarah," He echoed, "You've lost."
Then they hit her. The memories. Her reason – her mission – to save Toby. She had managed to mess things up. Again.
"No!" Again she pushed, so abruptly and with such force that this time he released her. His cold eyes watched the solitary tear roll down one cheek, though he made a move to be close again.
"I have won, fair and square as they say." He should have sounded menacing, but he wasn't…
Enraged, she gestured at this surroundings, which had become deathly quiet, men and woman of his court staring is horror, "How is this fair?"
"I have never deceived you, Sarah." He said quietly but resolutely.
Her breath was audible and shaky, and she steeled herself even as she felt the colour drain from her face.
"I want to see Toby."
"The Goblin Prince is resting." He replied coolly, folding his arms.
What did he mean by that?
"You're not going to turn him into a goblin?"
He sighed, impatiently.
"I don't turn children into goblins, nor do I take them upon request."
"I don't under-"
"Everything I've done, I've done for you." He snapped at her, his icy-blue glare hardening on her, before moving to look around the ballroom.
Somehow it was now empty. When had everyone left?
Sarah shook her head, refusing to believe her ears, and the Goblin King reacted to something he saw on her face. Perhaps he caught a look of disdain that should have appeared as dismay.
"You ought to be grateful." He hissed in a whisper.
"I still want my brother back!"
From the corner of her eye, she saw him clench his fists.
Then, his lips thinned into a firm line, and the evil King of the Goblins spoke evenly, with a distant, harsh tone, "I'm afraid, Sarah, that only one of you will be leaving my Labyrinth."