Warnings are self-harm, character death, drug use, and drinking. Sheesh! Read at your own risk.

When it is clear that he has, in fact, left her for good, Sarah begins to look for him in others, to break them like he's broken her. The first one after she leaves the Labyrinth has hair like his, not as preciously golden, of course, like the flames from the sun on the early spring morning that she notices him, Ted, he tells her, with a precocious smirk, and he is clasping her hand like he already knows he's won.

He has won, though, or at least Sarah lets him think that. Why bother telling him the truth? That he was a useless pawn in a vendetta greater than this world, greater than he, Ted (she thinks his name with idiotic nostalgia. The first of many, and that means something, even if that in itself is means nothing), and she leaves him after six weeks. They only have sex once, but it is enough, and Ted is as good as her slave, and when she walks out the door, she does not even wince as he falls to her feet and begs her to stay. He has given her his heart, he claims, and she replies, with cold and bitter and unmoving eyes, "Good." And leaves him on his stomach, draped over the threshold.

The second one, or was it the third or sixth or tenth? She's lost count, by now, but it doesn't really matter. This one, well...she was beautiful. Yes, she. There was something ornately beautiful about Jareth, something in the way he moved and talked and stared, and she has never been able to find that in a male, but when this one, when Reese walks by her in the pub, she can't help but follow. There was something about her that was entrapping, just like with Jareth, but this only makes the proposition more enthralling, and Sarah is so bloody thirsty, and looking at Reese and fucking Reese in the bathroom stall and up against brick walls in dark alleys is like drinking cold, fresh water; utterly satisfying. And when Sarah, with a regal wave, dismisses Reese from her life, Reese begs. They all beg, in the end, and Sarah wonders if she tried that, would Jareth come back to her?

But it doesn't matter anyway, because even though she loves him, loves him with more passion that one person should ever be allowed to hold, her heart is sharp and bitter and she doesn't allow thoughts like anymore. To hope would be disastrous, she is sure. So she continues to hurt others, to break them and hate them and make them wish they were dead, because she is dead, and she has been since her love, her true love, didn't come after her and lets her live in this heinous world of rules and lines and lies and dashed fantasies.

She wonders if he did love her, like he said, or if she was just one of a million girls that ran his Labyrinth, that he promised the world and the stars and his heart to. But that would be too close to thinking of him, and she only does that when she is looking to mangle somebody, to tear their heart and fuck up their head and make them bleed, like her.

Because misery loves company and if she can spread around the dull ache that constantly rings through her, she will take the chance and exploit the same emotions that got her into this ridiculous mess in the first place. She could blame, blame Toby for forcing her to call on the Goblin King, blame her dad for choosing another woman and never giving her the attention she needed, or blame the cursed writer who came up with the Labyrinth in the first place. But she doesn't, because she knows that it's her own fault she is this way, so broken and tormented and missing and, despite everything, wishing. It is by her own hand that she suffers, but if this is the only way that her memories of Jareth can exist, she will, not happily, but willingly, accept this fate.

Because needing him is better than forgetting him, and forgetting him is the worst possible thing that could happen. This she knows, and so she continues in the life of whirled sex and false gestures and cold, bitterly cold, goodbyes. But breaking somebody, a million somebodies, doesn't soften the sharp edges of her shattered heart, and truth be told, she's just so tired. Just soso tired of waking up, of breathing and living and searching.

She can't do anything else, though, because every time she tries, every time the razor is pressed to her pale wrist, every time the lines of white powder are neatly aligned, every time the bullets are in the shiny gun, there is a voice, a firm and sharp and majestic voice, that tells her no. That tells her, if she dies by her own hand, he will not be there to grasp her soul in his strong hands. So she stops, and though her wrists beg her, and though her finger aches for the trigger, and though the white powder makes brilliant colors dance before her eyes, she stops.

That voice never fades, because it isn't a memory. It is him, it is her beloved, her treasured, her longed for king, and though it is few and far between when she hears it, it is enough to give her hope, to pump into her a new kind of blood that renews her. It gives her, usually, a new outlook on her life, and she tries, for a time, to be the old Sarah. To dream and read books and stay away from the bars and to throw out the bottles of whiskey stashed in seemingly every nook and cranny of her apartment. She cleans, straightens, buys new sweaters and finds a new job.

But not this time. No, not this time. She has tried, she has toiled and bled and cried and hoped long enough, and she is truly at the end of her rope. She chooses the razor, because for some reason the glint it has reminds her of Jareth's eyes, and she is going to defy the voice, the hard voice that can break her and has broken her and will always break her (like she has broken them...so many of them, so very many) and it would be nice to have some other reminder of him while she dies. If that voice keeps to its word, and he is not here, well, it wouldn't be any different than now, because he is not here, and why should she be if he is not?

Her attempts at normalcy, at forgetting, failed, and in this life, you have to cut your losses. But without Jareth, her own existence was in itself a loss, so it was time to let go, to dig in deep to the blue and green veins under her translucent skin, and to die.

Dying. A concept she really enjoys contemplating, because there was nothing worse than this, this moment right now, and every moment before it, and every moment after she'd left the Labyrinth. It was better this way, she reasons, better to just disappear.

Better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all. What a load of fucking crap. Who ever had come up with that bull shit was selling something. Selling something...yes, that line was more realistic...life is pain, anyone who tells you differently is selling something. She wasn't buying, not anymore.

But this time, the voice does not come. The bathroom is quiet and still and the only thing she can hear is the vague sounds of cars. The razor really doesn't hurt that much, maybe she's grown tougher than she'd realized in these past years, and her blood is warm as it drip drip drips down her arms and onto the white tile. Toby will be sad, maybe, but she doesn't know for sure because she can't remember how long it's been since she last talked to him. Her dad and stepmother, would they care that she was gone? Possibly. They'd washed her hands of her when she failed to show up consecutively at family gatherings, and she never answers the phone when they call. It wasn't personal, though, she reflects, she never answers the phone when anybody calls.

She stops herself abruptly, and forces herself (it isn't that hard, truth be told) to think of Jareth. Of his songs and of his boots and his lips and just what it feels like to dance with him. And for once, it doesn't hurt to remember. Her vision is starting to get fuzzy, and she is slipping away, so close to dying but not quite there yet, and she sees the black beginning to engulf her, and there is nothing she can do now to stop it, not that she wants to.

When she knows she has merely seconds, she conjures up her favorite memory of him. It is right before she leaves the Labyrinth, when in that final moment their eyes locked and he was full of misery, and she realizes with a jolt that along with her love, she has grown to hate him, and that she is hoping he is watching her now, and he is suffering, just as he did on that day when she told him he had no power over her, and her last thought is that love and hate are very nearly the same thing, because passionate love is crippling; passionate hate also, in the end, is there really a difference? Both leave you gasping for breath, and desperate for more.

But, she thinks, if I had to do it again...I'd choose you, Jareth. She hears herself sigh his name, and all is black now, but she tries, and she dies with his face before her own, and just as she hoped, his eyes are contorted with misery and he is broken.

Ashes, ashes, we all fall down.