"I can too!"
The ringing cries of the two children echoed throughout the length and breadth of the Labyrinth sending all of those creatures with weaker and more fragile constitutions in search of cover.
"Yes I CAN!" Sarah shrieked, stamping her foot furiously and clenching her tiny fists.
Jareth scowled darkly in return but the expression didn't quite have the desired effect as he had yet to master it completely. Instead he crossed his arms and tried to stare down his nose at the small girl, tried being the operative word as he and Sarah were almost exactly the same height. "Well I say you can't and I'm prince of the Goblins so I know best," he boasted. "You're just a stupid mortal and you don't know anything!" The young Fae then poked out his tongue in a gesture that was most unbecoming of royalty but at that moment he didn't really care. There was no one other than Sarah around to see and he had just won the argument...or so he thought.
Sarah didn't reply. Her eyes went impossibly wide and an ocean of tears began to form, quivering on her lower lid. She was biting her lip and pulling repeatedly at the ends of her hair in a well recognised fashion.
"Oh no Sarah," Jareth practically wailed. He dropped his arms and his attempt at haughty composure and stepped forward, approaching the girl like one would a hungry lion or a caffeinated firey. "Sarah please don't cry! Please." He was begging her now, watching as the first droplet spilled over onto her cheek.
Frantically Jareth started wracking his brain for something he could do to make her stop. "If you stop I'll take you up on the wall and we can go and throw peach stones at Hoggle." A second tear fell. "Or-or..," Jareth was desperately clutching at straws. "Or we could play Goblin piñata over the Bog. No? Erm...what about hide and seek with the fire gang? I've thought of a great place we can hide their heads, somewhere they'll never find them." By now Sarah had two waterfalls cascading down her face and she had started hiccupping uncontrollably.
"Oh come on Sarah!" the young prince yelled, angry now rather than concerned. "Stop being so stupid. You always do this. Everytime I win an argument you start crying and then I feel bad and then I try and make you stop and then you always get your way. You make me say I'm sorry but I'm not. I meant what I said and I won't take it back!" He crossed his arms again and this time screwed his eyes shut, wanting the sound of her snivels to go away. And it did.
When Jareth opened his eyes he was alone. Sarah was nowhere to be seen, as if the Labyrinth had been sick of her silly crying as well and had swallowed her up to make her be quite.
"Well...good!" Jareth said, sounding only slightly uncertain. "I'm glad she's gone. I hope she NEVER COMES BACK!" She was probably just hiding around the corner, he thought, trying to make him worry. He'd show her.
Casting another quick glance around the pint sized Fae turned on his heels and stalked off, intent on finding as many peach stones as possible.
"Stupid bloody plant," Hoggle muttered to himself for the umpteenth time that day, having tried to sneak up on an overgrown patch of eye-moss only to have been caught in the act. The damn plant ALWAYS saw him coming. He'd already spent a good part of the morning trapped in a staring contest with it and didn't have any more time to waste.
Not only that but he knew that he now wasn't alone. He'd felt something hit him on the head not all that long ago and after it had happened a few more times he had discovered a peach stone, or in truth several peach stones, to be the culprit. Sighing and rubbing his head Hoggle knew that this was no freak peach hail storm (although that HAD happened once or twice) and looked up just in time to spot a shock of blonde hair disappearing over the top of the wall.
"Alrights you two that's enough!" he growled, hefting a stone in the air and grunting in satisfaction when he heard a surprised yelp. "Gets down from there. Ain't you got anything better to do than pester a guy who's trying to do 'is job?"
"Nope. Sorry Hogwart," the prince said swinging his legs over the wall and smirking down at the grumpy dwarf.
"My name's Hoggle 'n' you knows it," the gardener grumbled, glaring at the Fae boy disdainfully. "What would your parents say if I told them what you were up to?"
Jareth shrugged casually lying down on his side with his head propped up on his hand. "Why don't you go and find out? Oh wait you can't because you're not allowed in the Goblin City after what you did in that guard." His smile turned malicious, or at least as malicious as a child's smile could turn.
"That weren't my fault! He started it," Hoggle retorted hotly before realising what the boy was doing. Instead he changed the subject. "You got Sarah 'idden up there on that wall or is she off somewhere ready to attack me when I ain't looking?"
Jareth's smirk disappeared. "Sarah isn't here," he said, looking suddenly sullen.
Hoggle frowned. "Why not?" he asked suspiciously. "You two is always together 'n' I know she's 'ere today 'cause I 'eard you both earlier." He paused for a moment. What did you do to 'er?"
"Me?" Jareth exclaimed, looking both angry and guilty at the same time. "I didn't do anything," he said sitting up. "She just disappeared. I think the Labyrinth swallowed her."
"Oh yeah?" the dwarf replied, crossing his arms and staring at the small prince meaningfully. "'N' why would it do that?"
Jareth looked positively sulky when he finally answered. "Because she was crying –" he hurriedly continued when he saw Hoggle about to say something. "I didn't do anything but she was crying and she wouldn't stop and she was making so much noise. I bet the Labyrinth just got mad at her for being so stupid and swallowed her up." His bottom lip was out and the boy refused to meet Hoggle's eyes.
"So where is she?"
"I DON'T KNOW" Jareth yelled, throwing his hands up and bringing his brows down in a furious frown. "I haven't seen her since she disappeared."
"'N' when was that?"
"This morning." His words were no more than a mumble and he was staring at his feet.
"You ain't seen Sarah since this morning! You can't let 'er wander around the Labyrinth on 'er own. She's a mortal! She's only safe when she's with you. What would your parents say if they found out you lost 'er?"
Jareth looked up, an easy note of fear detectable in his eyes. "You can't say anything. I forbid it. Plus can't go anywhere near the Castle, you were banished."
"Banished or not I'm not gonna let that little girl get 'urt 'cause you couldn't be trusted to look after 'er. When your parents find out –"
"Don't tell them please," Jareth begged, now standing on the wall and shifting nervously from foot to foot. "Don't tell them. I'll go and look for her I promise. She's fine, she just got lost. It won't take long to find her and then I'll bring her back here to prove it." And with that he took off. Jareth jumped down onto the other side of the wall and Hoggle listened to the scurry of small booted feet as they hurried away.
Alone once again Hoggle allowed a small smile to creep onto his withered face. "Kids," he muttered, returning to the task of culling the pesky all seeing eye-moss.
"Stupid Sarah," Jareth whispered dismally, kicking viciously at the stone path below his feet. "How could she go and get lost? It's only a labyrinth, it's not hard." Shoving his hands in his pockets he struck out again with his leather clad foot. "She only got lost because she's so stupid. If she were clever like me she would have been fine. If I get in trouble I'll NEVER speak to her again!"
Now really angry he stamped down heavily on one particularly large flag stone only to have it move under his foot a second later and send him sprawling to the floor.
"Hey!" Jareth yelled huffily, rubbing his backside with a gloved hand. "Who dares trip the Goblin prince?"
"Fragging walka walka!" cried a small voice indignantly and Jareth looked down, although not too far down, to see a Pathdweller glaring up at him balefully.
"Oh right," Jareth said, seeming rather bashfully as he realised that the tiny creatures who lived under the path probably hadn't appreciated the tantrum he had been throwing. "Sorry."
"Fragging walka walka," the tiny man grumbled, sounding only slightly appeased as he shifted the stone once more and disappeared.
Guiltily Jareth clambered to his feet. He considered knocking on the path again and asking the Pathdweller if he or any of his friends knew where Sarah was but decided against it. Instead he resumed his search alone, walking on tip toe until he reached the hedge maze.
"Sarah?" Jareth shouted, having given up on a quiet search long ago. "Sarah? Where are you?" He had searched the hedge maze and firey forest. He had walked around the Goblin city and stopped in at the Castle although when his parent asked he said he was looking for a Goblin, not Sarah. He had even gone to the Bog although he doubted Sarah would be there. She wasn't.
Jareth was actually starting to believe that maybe the Labyrinth did swallow her up. "Sarah? This isn't funny anymore Sarah. It'll be dark soon. Mummy says I'm not allowed in the Labyrinth where it gets dark and that means you're not allowed either." He listened but heard nothing. "You're going to get into trouble."
He was back in the stone maze now and although he would never admit it he was starting to worry. What if she really did get hurt? He wondered. Would it be my fault? Thoroughly miserable and bordering on tears Jareth was about to go and ask Hoggle for help when a tiny figure appeared, floating delicately in front of his face. With a jerk Jareth backed up hastily and batted ineffectually at the air, hoping to make it go away.
"Stay away from me fairy!" he ordered, unable to mask the high pitched note that crept into his voice. "Touch me and you'll be sorry."
The fairy said nothing, only smiled at the young prince sweetly.
"Don't give me that. I know what you lot are like," the boy warned, still backing away.
The fairy shook her head. Then she beckoned at him to follow her.
"No way!" Jareth said. "I'm not stupid like Sarah. You're trying to trick me aren't you?"
Another shake of the head and a wave of the hand.
"I'm leaving." He turned away but cast a wary glance back when he heard a shrill squeaking noise coming from behind him.
The fairy hadn't moved but was waving at him frantically, a piercing keening sound coming out of her mouth. Jareth frowned, confused but curious at the same time. He knew fairies were no good. They acted all nice and friendly but as soon as you turned your back you'd get a sharp bite on the ear. He'd been tricked by the fairies before and his father had banished them all to the stone maze, as far away from the Castle as one could get without leaving the outer wall.
The tiny winged girl was still gesturing wildly when Jareth decided it was best not to risk it. Fairy bites were nasty and stung like the blazes. "You can't fool me little fairy," Jareth announce, imitating his father by placing his hands on his hips. "Like I said I'm not stupid like Sarah is so –"
Jareth stopped. The fairy was gesturing manically and had starting nodding and shrieking at something he had said. It took him a while but finally he clicked.
"Wait...Sarah..." He thought about. Yes Sarah would be just the kind of person to fall into a fairy trap. Maybe she was hurt. "Do you know where Sarah is?" The fairy smiled again and nodded. Jareth scowled. If they had hurt her..."Show me Sarah," he demanded.
The fairy nodded and a strange expression crossed her tiny face before she fluttered away, Jareth running close behind.
"Sarah?" Jareth had started yelling again and he was bravely trying to ignore the slow increase in the number of fairies that were surrounding him. "Sarah it's Jareth!" Nervously he eyed a small cluster of winged girls who had appeared from somewhere behind him. All were watching the boy Fae and all were flying in the same direction. Hopefully towards Sarah.
Finally they rounded a corner and Jareth stopped, hesitating. The air in front of him was full of fairies. It looked like a strange storm of silvery feathers had burst over just this part of the Labyrinth (another weather phenomenon that was not unknown to happen on occasion). Jareth didn't want to walk into that kind of trouble. He wasn't an idiot.
"Sarah?" he called tentatively, determined to turn on his tail and run if he got no response.
All was silent, well almost if you exclude the sound of hundreds of miniature wings fluttering together, and Jareth shifted his weight to the balls of his booted feet, ready to run.
"What?" came a petulant voice that emerged out of the glittering throng.
Jareth stumbled. "Sarah? "he asked hesitantly again. "Is that you? It's me, Jareth."
"What do you want?" was the sulky disembodied reply.
Jareth peered into the mass of fairies, still skirting the edges warily, trying to catch a glimpse of his friend. "I came looking for you. You disappeared and then you didn't come back." He paused, then added reluctantly. "I was worried."
"No you weren't," Sarah's voice accused. "You said you hoped I never came back."
Jareth winced. He had been hoping she hadn't heard that part. "Yeah..." he mumbled looking down at his feet and scuffing them in the dirt. "I'm sorry about that. I didn't mean it."
Suddenly the veil of fairies parted and Jareth could see Sarah, hunched on the ground with her knees drawn up to her chest and her face buried in her arms. He had wondered why she sounded a bit muffled.
"Do you really mean that?" Sarah asked, not moving, not looking up.
Jareth sighed; he hated it when he had to do things like this. "Yes," he huffed. "I don't want to you to never come back. If you didn't come back then there would be no one to play with me."
There was a not so silent silence once again and even the fairies seemed to be holding their breath.
"Ok," Sarah said, face STILL hidden. "Apology accepted."
Jareth smiled in relief. "Good let's get out of here," he suggested, still watching the fairies uncertainly.
"What about the other thing though?"the girl asked.
"What other thing?" Jareth wanted to know.
"The thing you said before. Did you mean that or not?"
Before? The boy's mind backtracked, trying to work out what she was talking about. The fairies hadn't left yet; Sarah didn't look like she was hurt but something about the whole scene was making him nervous.
"Sarah I think we should go," Jareth suggested. Whirling around as one fairy came too close for comfort.
"Not until you say you're sorry," Sarah said.
The young prince was about to blurt out the apology just so they could leave when he realized what she was talking about. Moodily he folded his arms and glared down at the stooped figure, forgetting about the imminent danger. "I won't say it," he said firmly, the argument returning fresh to his mind. "You always make me say I'm sorry and I won't this time." He stamped his foot to emphasise the point and only regretted it slightly when he realised he was standing on the stone path once more.
"So you're not sorry?" He had expected her to sound tearful again but she didn't. This made him more confident.
"Nope. Not one bit."
Quiet. "You will be," Sarah murmured knowingly, causing Jareth to whip around and see her staring at him with a wide grin on face, her knees still tucked up and her hair falling across her eyes.
It was only then that Jareth remembered the fairies and realised that Sarah's eyes weren't the only ones watching him closely.
The young Fae prince gulped. "Sarah..." he begged, comprehension dawning too late.
"Get him!" Sarah said and the horde descended.
Jareth disappeared, swallowed up by a cloud a silver wings and Sarah laughed delightedly as she skipped away. "Who's stupid now Jareth?" she called. Then she left, humming to herself as the repeated cries of "I'm sorry. I'm sorry." echoed throughout the length and breadth of the Labyrinth.
"Stupid bloody plant," Hoggle said YET again as he grumbled to himself while rubbing his eyes tiredly. The eye-moss had managed to capture him in another staring match and Hoggle felt as if his eyelids were made of sand paper. All he wanted to do now was go home and sleep, perhaps for the next few days.
A pleasant humming noise reached his ears and the old dwarf looked up only to find Sarah walking along the wall above his head, arms spread out for balance.
"Hi Hoggle," she said, flashing him a brief smile before turning back so as to concentrate on where she was putting her feet.
"'ello Sarah," Hoggle replied absently, looking around expecting to see another figure following along behind her. "Where's Master Jareth? 'e was looking for you earlier, said you was crying 'n' that the Labyrinth had swallowed you up."
"The Labyrinth didn't swallow me up Hoggle," Sarah assured him. "I was angry with Jareth so I went away for a little bit." A peculiar smile, not unlike Jareth's smirk spread across her face. "I made some new friends," she remarked.
"I see," Hoggle said, thinking perhaps there was more going on than he realised. "Did Master Jareth find you in the end then?"
"Oh yes, he found me." The smirk widened.
"Did 'e say 'e was sorry for whatever 'e did?"
"Yep," Sarah was practically beaming now and Hoggle raised an eyebrow. "He said it lots of times."
"Did 'e? That was nice of 'im." He paused for a moment. "What was it 'e did to upset you Sarah?"
The girl stopped and looked down at Hoggle for the first time. He had been wrong, Sarah's smirk wasn't like Jareth's, it was better. "He said I couldn't act."
Oh dear, Hoggle thought.
Gracefully Sarah jumped down off the wall and waved to the stumpy Gardener. "Bye Hoggle. I think it's time for me to go home now." Then she flounced away, humming to herself once more.
"Bye Sarah," Hoggle muttered, slightly perplexed as to what had happened today between those two. He didn't have long to wonder.
Rounding a stone corner of the Labyrinth Hoggle stopped short as he nearly tripped over a figure crouched against the wall. It was Jareth. That hair was unmistakable.
The boy looked up at the sound of footsteps and his face was a picture of pure misery, covered in thousands of tiny pink pock marks that Hoggle recognised immediately. Both shared a moment of complete and open understanding.
"Fairies?" Hoggle asked, already knowing the answer. Sarah's new friends.
"Fairies," Jareth confirmed darkly.
Well what do you think? It was a bit of a weird idea I came up with that I adapted for Labyrinth but I think it works...sort of. I might actually turn this into series 'The Mini Adventures of the Labyrinth'. How cute would that be?? Lol.
Anyway I have a challenge for all of you...I'm looking for inspiration for another story like this so if you've got an idea – let me know :)
I'd really love to hear of ANYTHING you can up with. Thanks for reading – review if you feel like it.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own Labyrinth or any of the characters or features that were mentioned in the film.