Chapter 1

The Competition

"Lady Hashish, Champion of the Harpy women, His Majesty High King Jareth formally invites you to attend a Battle competition to be held at the palace. The title to be won is Lord or Lady of the Labyrinth. Please instruct me as to your answer."

Lady Hashish ruffled her dark purple wings in thought, and studied the little man in front of her. Little taller then a goblin he had a bulbous nose and crafty eyes. His skin was weathered and as rough as leather, he would be stringy to eat; Dwarves did not make good meals. A harpy lady as the Lady of the Labyrinth, she would have great power and influence, not to mention the creatures in the Labyrinth were especially delicious. The tip of her red tongue slipped up and licked the corner of her full blue lips. Decision made she turned her yellow eyes to the dwarf again.

"Tell His Majesty I accept." The Dwarf took out a crystal bowed slightly not taking his eyes off the carnivore and smashed it transporting himself to the throne room of the High King's palace. The High King was lounging on the throne. He squinted with boredom when he saw the dwarf.

"Well, Hogsbreath?"

"Hoggle." The Dwarf said inwardly sighing, Jareth forgot his name on purpose just to nettle him. "She accepts, Your Majesty, there is none left but the Lady Sarah."

"Excellent, Hoghead, I will go and get her myself. You are dismissed."

"Yes, Majesty." Hoggle bowed shortly at the waist and hurried out the room.

"I wonder, Sarah, how you will fare in this Battle. Now that you have matured I think it just might be worth your defiance. You beat my harmless Labyrinth, can you beat my new deadly game?"

The former Goblin King put a hand over his eyes and smirked in anticipation. This would be so much fun.

#

"Ki ai!" 19 year-old Sarah screamed as she struck the punching bag with a resounding force from her roundhouse. The chain shuddered and the bag swayed as far as it could before it lost its momentum and returned stationary again. "Ki ai!" A face punch sent it rocking again. The score music of the motion picture Saw pounded through the room. A driving beat that made excitement leap up and down her arms spurring them on to punish the punching bag. Working up a sweat while punching the crap out of the bag was as satisfying as slapping her stepmother's smug face even though she had never done the latter. It was at times like these she could replay being kicked out of home and workout her frustration.

The moment she had turned 18 her Karen, her father's second wife had not even taken a week to send her packing. They had bought her an apartment near her collage to give her 'independence' but really it was an excuse to keep her far away from Toby. She hardly ever saw him anymore, Karen was so obsessed that Sarah might give him weird ideas she had forbidden her from seeing him. Of course that had happened when her father wasn't there and couldn't step in. Not that he would anyway, Karen was his entire world, what ever she said was law.

Her punching bag took on a different face, her mother Linda. She had taken off when Sarah was around 9 or 10, though she had not completely abandoned her, she had still had some contact on an odd birthday or Christmas but she hadn't heard from her mother in nearly three years. The last time she had seen her or her co-star/boyfriend Jeremy was on her 15 birthday when she had gotten the figurine that played 'Greensleeves' and wore the dress in Jareth's illusion. Gods there she was again thinking of the past and of the arrogant Goblin king, may the bastard burn in hell, she thought as her mother beautiful features became Jareth's angler autocrat face. Pale hair fell unevenly around his shoulders in awesome rock-star gravity his smirking mouth turned down in disappointment and his odd eyes saddened. No! I won't think about it, never again. That part of my life is over forever, I have to concentrate on the now. She hit the bag with a fierce blow. It shook on its chain again, the join letting out a slight groan of protest, Jareth's tormented face vanished and she breathed hard and backed away from the bag to the table behind her. Taking a drink of water she changed the current track to the 'final' and moved to the center of the room to do her warming-down kata. The music started and she relaxed and focused inward. Doing a slower kicking kata she kept in time with the music exhaling on every kick. Then it got faster and more exhilarating she included punching in her the beautiful dance and the she and the music moved in perfect sync. Around and around the room in a perfect square breathing in even breaths and feeling all the tension drain from her body. As it got to the end she brought her to her sides and feet together and bowed exactly a step from where she had begun. She stayed in that position just breathing in the stillness around her then shrugging she walked to the table and took off her Gi and got into her running gear, grabbed her keys and headed out into the warm night air.

Sarah had taken up Karate almost as soon as she had come back from the Labyrinth. She didn't like feeling defenseless and unable to protect the ones she loved. If only I had learnt karate before I summoned Jareth then I could have smacked him before he stole Toby and made me fall in love with him.

Her feet pounded on the sidewalk in the darkness, it was hardly safe but she felt she could handle most things that came her way. Stopping by the town clock she pressed a hand to the stones, this place had become a refuge to her since she had moved, whenever she felt she needed stability she would come here and touch the stones that had been there for over 100 hundred years. She lifted her head and took in a deep breath. It was going to rain soon, she could feel the moisture in the air and it clung doggedly to her body and made her hair stand on end. No wait, it wasn't the moisture that was making her hair stand on end it was the slow stealthy footsteps she heard behind her. Hmm there was only one that she could hear, with no martial arts training, if he had then he would know how to breathe and walk without making a sound. She whirled around and her 'would be attacker' halted as she surveyed him. Knowing he had been caught his face twisted in a sneer of confidence, and intent. He started to laugh quietly trying to intimidate, Sarah didn't let it ruffle her. She felt her muscles tense for the fight, forcing herself to relax she centered herself and went into the fight stance. The man hesitated for a second, then probably decided she was bluffing because he kept walking towards her not bothering to hide his footsteps.

Come on, just a little closer.

He got in range and she swung round and hit him in the stomach with a perfect roundhouse then bringing her arm around she broke his nose with a swift jab at the face. The man howled and lurched back.

"Not so tough now, hey?" Sarah couldn't help but crow this was the perfect ending to her night. A good fight always placed her in a good mood. The man lost his rational mind to blind rage, he leapt at her and Sarah caught unguarded went down with him on top. As she hit the floor she remembered enough to roll him over her head and when he was down on his back deliver a hard elbow to his solar plexus. The man's breath expelled in one frantic burst and his face turned red in effort to get air. Sarah stood up and surveyed him with hate filled eyes.

"Pathetic asshole. You want to get laid pay a prostitute. Don't you ever follow me again, or I swear you will lose all ability to ever get it up again. Do you understand?" Not wasting time to see his nod she ran off back home, the joy of battle singing in her veins. She had almost forgotten what it felt like to be in real danger and get out of it. She hadn't felt so alive since being with Jareth. Jareth… the thought went through her heart with a wish. Shaking herself out of the nostalgia she narrowed her eyes, that asshole had destroyed her ability to be happy because she was forever comparing every guy she met to him and big surprise they never even came close to the arrogant albeit beautiful king. How was it possible to love someone so completely but to hate them with the same passion?

Getting home she took a quick shower washing her hair and the blood that had gotten onto her clothes from the attacker's broken nose. Putting the shirt over the clotheshorse she dried her hair and put it up in a loose ponytail. Getting into bed she didn't even pick up a book but put out her light immediately. As she drifted off she only had one unconscious thought, please be in my dreams tonight.

#

The next morning she went to collage and there she worked hard. She was doing a joint degree acting and creative writing. She thrived on her creativity and usually felt at peace after her day, but today she was plagued with the dream she had the night before. Even though she had wished for him to be there, the pain she felt when she woke up the next morning was excruciating. Cursing herself and cursing him she arrived at the Dojo for her training. She walked into the calming training room and bowed to Sensei Kusanaki he waved her over.

"Yes Sensei?"

"Sarah you will train with me today. Take your place for the Junbi undo."

"Yes Sensei." Sarah bowed again and took her place. Outwardly she was calm but inwardly she seethed with anger and humiliation. The reason she was training with the Sensei was because no one would spar with her. Some of the reason was because she was female and the boys saw her as too easy a challenge so they didn't bother, the other reason was because she was just too good. The boys were afraid that they would lose their credibility if beaten by a girl. It had happened several times, Sarah never lost a fight. It was do with her calm and coldness, it was scary how she would assess you in a few short moves and then crucify you without breaking a sweat.

"Hajime" the sensei called out, and every single person in the dojo dropped into stretches. Sarah loved this part as much as the sparing and the kata, this was the time she could push her body against herself, and she usually won.

"Ichi, Ni, San, Shi, Go Roku, Shichi, Hachi, Ku, Ju"

Every one changed position and the counting began again. Concentrating on her stretches and her breathing, she felt happy. Here Jareth couldn't touch her, she was safe in her discipline. It seemed that no time passed at all until the Sensei called out to stop. They got into their kata positions and Sensei began to count again, the 20 plus people moved in unison perfectly aliened and graceful, every tenth stance they yelled out "Ki ai!" unanimously it was a beautiful sight really. Jareth was enjoying watching it through his crystal, he had often watched Sarah do this dance. She was so graceful and had become very deadly. She would be so much fun in his competition. It was almost time for him to make his entrance, he would wait until they were sparring that was always fun to watch.

"Everyone pair off into sparing positions. Ready? Shizen dachi no kamae!" The students took fighting stances. Hajime!" there were sounds of flesh hitting flesh everywhere. Students were attacking and blocking trying to get the upper hand. Sarah noticed none of this, her eyes were fixed between Sensei's chin and belly button, keeping a keen eye on his arms and feet. He feigned and she moved out of the way. he switched stances and she had just enough time to change stances before he attacked her, she blocked and brought her fist leg around for a roundhouse he moved to catch her foot and she jumped back. They circled each other for a moment, pride shining in the Sensei's eyes. Sarah was definitely his star pupil she would go far and get her 2nd Dan black belt. She only had 2 months to go. She was on her black belt, rank 1st Dan. It wouldn't be hard, she improved everyday. Most of the other students had forgotten their fighting to watch the only female student in the dojo take on the Sensei.

"Watch her assess him," one whispered to his friend, "she's as cold as ice, I wonder if she ever gets angry."

"Yeah I know, remember when Joe sparred her? He pulled her hair really hard and she didn't scream at him or hit out in anger she just calmly swept him and after getting her hair back she finished the match in less then 1 minute. I don't think she has any emotions. None."

The other kid nodded and watched critically the two intent fighters. He could see nothing wrong, both were so perfect in technique. Then something happened.

Jareth appeared right smack in the middle of the spar. Neither fighter moved they still stared at each other intently. Then slowly Sarah relaxed and bowed to her Sensei, "thank you, Sensei." Then she turned to Jareth. Without any warning she reached up and slapped him really hard. Jareth hissed out in pain, his gloved hand flying to his cheek and started to laugh.

"Well Sarah, I would have thought that you would be happy to see me."

"Jareth, what are you doing here!" there was no question in her tone it was trembling with anger and reaction from his presence.

"Woah," the student whispered to his friend, "did that guy just appear out of thin air, and did Sarah just slap him?"

"Yeah," his friend replied slowly in awe of the anger of the usually calm girl.

Sarah was caught in a staring match of wills with Jareth, what was he doing here? In the middle of her training? In the Aboveground? No one had said the words had they?

Suddenly a small beginner student squeaked in fear and everyone turned in his direction.

"You're him, aren't you? Jareth the Goblin King, from the Labyrinth."

"Correct." Jareth bowed with a flourish and Sarah scowled in annoyance at his flippancy.

"Yes Goblin King, what are you doing here?" Sarah hissed anger straining to be released.

"I have come to issue an invitation, my Lady Sarah." He bowed mockingly and Sarah clenched her teeth to restrain from smashing his smirking face and to hide the shaking of her hands. He was here, he was so close.

"I am not yours Jareth and I will never be." She felt the crowd at her back draw back slightly with fear as Jareth's face tightened with anger. Good she needed him to be as angry as she felt.

Sarah got into an attack stance and Jareth held up a hand to forestall her, "I do not intend for you to go into attack mode and try unsuccessfully to tear me apart. You would never succeed."

"Why you arrogant bastard." Sarah hissed and launched a frontal kick aimed for his middle, Jareth flicked his fingers and she was frozen in time and couldn't move. The crowd hissed with fear and moved even further back. Jareth just smirked in amusement.

"I told you so Sarah, you may have beaten me once but you are still no match for me in terms of magic and determination." He moved forward so he was standing close into her body and lifting a gloved hand he ran it down her cheek. "Still so beautiful, in four years you have grown into a woman but still as strong and willful as you were when you were 15." He moved away ignoring the people watching and clicked his fingers. Sarah unfroze and finished the kick into air and landed in perfect balance her back to Jareth. She turned slowly, eyes narrowed in anger and hate.

"What are you here for, Goblin King?" Her ice had returned and with it her control and rational thought.

"I told you Sarah, I'm here to issue and invitation. It is a battle royal to be held in the underground for honour and title. As you are the reigning champion of the Labyrinth you are required to be there."

Sarah's eyebrow lifted at his arrogance, "and if I don't want to go back?"

"Well Sarah you know I always have my way." he brought out the crystal he had hidden behind his back. There was only time for Sarah's eyes to widen slightly before Jareth popped it and they disappeared.

A/n: Ok I know nothing of karate or Japanese I looked it up on the internet.

The updates will come regularly as I have about 5 chapters already done. After that however, it will be left up to how much time I have.

I really hope you guys enjoy it and please let me know what you thing.

Hugs

Cassee