Wrapping up loose ends

The goblins in charge of bringing the woman before the King had their work cut out for them. She wasn't cooperating, and was not about to 'hop to' on the commands of the King. She bit, she kicked, she clawed and she received no less than six marriage proposals from enamored goblins.

Jareth could hear them long before they came into the circular chamber. Other goblins upon hearing the cries of pain and anguish took to hiding. The King sat upon his throne, one leg hooked lazily over the side rail. His face was amused as he watched and waited for the inevitable. It was not long before the first of the guards he'd sent to collect the woman came flying across the room landing in a heap over the ale keg. The next sailed past the keg and out the window. The third was running with his hands covering his head, and his helmet was missing. The fourth and fifth came rushing in and ran to hide behind the King's throne.

"Stop her," they begged, "She's a mad woman."

Jareth yawned and covered his mouth with a gloved hand. The next three goblins came in holding a woman who was thrashing a fourth who was begging her to have mercy. Jareth sighed, "Ah, there you are." He looked at his guest, dressed in a long red robe with sandals upon her feet, and the look of one who had been getting ready to go to bed. "I was beginning to worry about you."

Dropping the goblin from the half nelson she'd had him in, the woman turned on the man in the throne and glared. "What is your problem now," she demanded. "And what's the idea of sending this second rate hit squad to my house to apprehend me?"

Jareth looked at the goblins that were beaten, scratched, bleeding and bruised. "It was supposed to be an honor escort," he mused.

"I'll assume you forgot to mention that little fact to them," the woman in the robe huffed.

Jareth unhooked his heel from the rail, lowered his feet and smiled. "I may have," he admitted. "Come, do be social."

"I was getting ready for bed, Jareth, not a visit." She shoved the guard who was still standing beside her out of her way. After marching up the steps she crossed her arms and demanded. "What's this about?"

Snapping his fingers, he held out his hand to receive a scroll. He opened it and then looked over it at the Scribe. "You made me look like a wimp." He stated coolly.

"I did not," she denied.

Crooking his finger he called her to come closer and he handed her the scroll. "Read that and tell me it's not… wimpish."

"I," she cleared her throat. "I showed your more sensitive side…" she suggested. When the king frowned she barked. "What do you want from me? Last time out you said was too violent and boorish…"

"You made me look like a barbarian, Paisley!" He barked back.

Goblins hearing the barking from both parties moved discreetly away.

"Oh for heaven's sake," she huffed. "You're not always Prince Charming you know;" Tossing the scroll back to its owner.

"Prince Charming was a pretty boy who was at his father's beck and call," argued Jareth darkly. "He would have much rather gone fishing than to that sorted ball…"

"I'll take your word for it," Paisley conceded holding up her hands.

Rolling up the scroll, and making a face, the King sighed. "I just don't want to look too weak or too mean… I'm not a villain you know."

"There are some who paint you as one," she reminded him quickly. "A baby stealing…" she got no further.

"I didn't steal anyone or anything!" he protested with hurt painted on his face and in his eyes. "I can't it's against canon!"

Ashamed for having caused him this distress, Paisley clasped her hands behind her. "I know, I've been doing all I can to point that out…"

"It's not…"

"Don't say it," warned the woman. "That's her line, not yours." The scribe reached up and scratched her head. "It was better than the last one, wasn't it? Happy ending you get all snuggy wuggy with Sarah… you get the girl, and the heir, and her parents… everybody lives… happily ever after."

"It was… contrite," he complained bitterly. "I know you can do better."

"It took the course it was headed on," Paisley defended her work.

Jareth tossed the scroll over his shoulder, it was caught by one of the goblins hiding behind the throne. "I want better next time out, now… this is what I have in mind," he smiled at her.

"Hold it, tall blond and goblin," she held up her hand. "I have a prior engagement."

"You what," Jareth stared at her in utter disbelieve. "Come again."

"I have a prior engagement," she said with a wistful smile; "Someone who's been waiting patiently while I worked on your story."

A frown replaced the smile as his brow furrowed, "If my father wants a scribe…" he complained.

"No, not Oberon… although I could do some for him, but no…" she teased.

Jareth crossed his arms, "Who else has your attention?"

"Oh just a sailor I've known for years…" she teased with a giggle.

"A sailor," he asked incredulously. "I'm a King!" He thought about it for a moment, "Jack," he asked lightly.

Paisley shook her head, "No, not Jack…" she smiled at the thought, but dismissed it.

"What other sailor is there?" The Goblin King returned to his throne, "Oh I know it's that Nemo fellow… well he can wait.."

"It's not Captain Nemo… I don't even know him," Paisley scoffed. "He's Jules Verne's worry… and he's welcome to him." She had followed the king to the throne and now sat on one step and looked up at him. "There are other Captains out there you know."

"None that I can think of that should take you away from your duties to me," sulked the King. "Who is it?"

"James," she said softly.

"Norrington," he growled.

"Hook," Paisley interjected.

"Hook," Jareth repeated quizzically.

"Yes, Jareth, James Hook… he's been waiting very patiently for me to finish his story…" Paisley explained. "I have after all done nearly thirty stories on Labyrinth…"

"Closer to twenty five," corrected the King. "Too many one shots, and that first one was broken down into three volumes…" he snorted.

"Okay," she sighed. "So I didn't know anything about the chapter feature when I first posted. Sue me."

Jareth smiled at her, "I liked that first story…"

"I did too," she smiled back.

"Fine," sighed the king reluctantly. "Go write about James Hook; get him out of your system so you can tell another Labyrinth tale…. I doubt you've come to the end of them…" He tapped her brow. "I'm sure there's more in there."

"I'm glad we understand each other," she said as she stood up.

"Oh we understand each other," Jareth purred. "Next time, I want more cunning," he called as she headed out of the chamber. "I don't want to look a wimp again!" He paused, "Did you hear me?" he called. "I said… blast her hide," he laughed. "What a woman…"

"What a woman," repeated a goblin holding a raw stake to his eye.