Author's Note: This is my first fan fiction, and I would therefore love to receive reviews on it. (Reviews which go beyond "nice story" or "I like it" to give an articulated reason for liking/disliking it are especially welcomed because those tells me why I'm getting that reaction, not merely what the reaction is.) I also have a plethora of ideas for this story, but unfortunately they refuse to appear in chronological order. Jareth is a very...temperamental...muse.
Random fact: This entire story began because he kidnapped my brain for several hours one evening (immediately following my second-ever viewing of Labyrinth) and refused to release it until I had written this chapter and the next. In any case, I hope you enjoy reading my story as much as I have imagining it into creation.
Disclaimer: I do not own Labyrinth or any other published work which I may quote or reference. This work is purely for the enjoyment of myself and others, not monetary gain.
PATIENCE IS NOT A VIRTUE
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I will be your slave.
Jareth stormed back into his castle and flung himself into his chair. Of course she would prefer that irritating little creep to him! Yes, she would call on the huge, hulking monster with red fuzz and the irritating little "knight" with his moronic pup, and...him.
His useless, disloyal retainer. That wretch who spent all his time shooting fairies outside the Labyrinth—his Labyrinth—and did nothing useful. The only thing he'd done right the entire time had been to give the girl his peach, and even that had backfired! As soon as she saw the clock—why had he placed it so prominently?—she had bolted, and as soon as she'd seen that sickening little dwarf, she'd fawned on him like he'd never betrayed her! She certainly hadn't done that to him.
Jareth fumed, watching the girl and her little "friends" party in her bedroom...celebrating her escape from his castle, no doubt.
The few goblins who had not fled by now went running for cover as his wing-tipped eyebrows drew together in a pronounced scowl.
"Why can she not see?" he snarled to himself, thrusting his lean body from the leather-draped throne. "I love her! I want her! What can that midget offer her that I do not have already—that I do not have in excess? And yet she goes for him!"
The final word was pure venom as he stalked out of his throne room and down the corridor to his suite. It was one of the few places that he never allowed his goblins, and none of them followed him. They would not dare, when he was in this mood.
He lay back on his bed, the coverlet of dark, rich velvet a brilliant ruby—the same tint as almost-dried blood. A crystal spun on his fingertips, and he was watching it idly.
Sarah again. Always Sarah. He had been sure that her calls to his realm would slack off, yet they didn't...she didn't seem happy in her world, and he wondered how he could help, what he could use as an opening.
He would get her back. Sooner or later...she would realize that he was the only one for her. The only one. And then she would return.
He watched the spinning crystal more closely now, breathing deeply through his nose, mouth slightly opened as he watched his love. Her name slipped between his lips unconsciously, still staring into the glassy depths of his glittering creation.
He watched her closely through the end of her freshman year, all through sophomore, and into junior, but she never let herself slip. She never said his name, never called on him. Never mentioned him to that dwarf and her other friends, the few times that he permitted her call to go through.
She noticed when it didn't work, and she always looked depressed afterward. He knew he could not hurt her, and slowly stopped.
But him! She was to love him, not that—that disgusting little creature! He gnashed his teeth, angry that she seemed to be forgetting him. She had had a doll once, a figurine by her mirror. It had almost been him—not as handsome, of course; plastic couldn't do him justice—but there. And she had gotten rid of it! He had simply looked in on her one day, and the thing was gone.
That had caused another rage. His goblins had not shown their faces for days afterward, though he hardly noticed. He was too busy wondering if he should replace it, give her a better one, perhaps. Perhaps...one of both of them, dancing at the ball.
He smiled at the recollection, but the figurine never made it past his thoughts. She would probably only have gotten rid of it like the other, and that would not be something he could tolerate watching.
He sighed and returned to his viewing, determined to wait for her, for his chance, no matter how long it was in coming. He would not lose her again.
Sarah glanced around the little shop, half curiously, half dubiously. It was only a tiny hole in the wall, but...that was sometimes where she found the best books, the ones that no one else carried anymore. An over-eager shop boy came over, face lighting up as he saw the female, and Sarah had to hide the expression that threatened to become hopeless and depressed.
She still didn't like talking to strangers.
She brushed him off quickly and hid in the back of the dusty little store, perusing the stacks with half an eye out for the boy again.
Jareth smiled at her obvious discomfort, still watching through his crystals. She hadn't yet found another like him, another to try to take his place. That was good.
Perhaps she never would. Perhaps she would eventually realize that her place was here, by his side. He almost patted the burgundy coverlet in anticipation; he couldn't wait to have her here, in his kingdom...in his bed.
His eyelids lowered slightly, smokily, as he contemplated his prey, lips slightly open in anticipation. It couldn't be much longer now; she was getting more and more restless in her world...
"Frank," Sarah called suddenly, now at the front of the store again. There was a bulletin board with flyers tacked on it, and she was looking at one.
The boy hurried up behind her, panting slightly at the exertion. Jareth sneered at the overweight boy. He couldn't hope to win his Sarah.
"Frederick," the boy stressed, before shaking his head suddenly at how pretentious that sounded. "Fred. But you can call me Fred."
Sarah didn't seem to hear him. "Can I have this?" she asked, tugging at one of the posters.
He glanced at the poster. One of the advertisements for a con—a science fiction convention in a city not too far away. Their only one, but no one had seemed interested, and she was pretty...
"Of course. I can even make you a copy, if you'd like," he added helpfully, almost bursting with ineffective eagerness.
"Oh no, that's fine," she answered distantly, tugging the flyer a bit harder so that it came free from the wall. She began folding it in half when he interrupted her again, anxious to keep her there a little longer.
"Is there anything else I can help you with? Anything at all?"
Sarah had almost forgotten, but—
"Yes. Will you ring these up for me?" She handed him a small pile of books, dusty treasures she'd found hidden on the farthest shelves.
The boy took them almost eagerly, scurrying to the counter with the register. "Would you like a member card?" he asked hopefully. "You can get newsletters, and flyers, and discounts..." He petered off when he realized that she wasn't listening.
The ancient register tinged! when he finished the sale, and she handed him her money, not paying attention as he made the change.
"Thank you, Frank," she said distantly, clutching the coins in her hand as she slid the bag off the counter and disappeared through the door.
He sighed and slumped against the counter. He still didn't know her name.
Jareth gloated at the idiot boy's disappointment, his complete failure to make his precious Sarah even look at him. She'd been too distracted, first by those books—he made a note to look through them later; they might help him—and then by that poster. But what poster could interest her? Books he understood; books were familiar territory for him. She had always read books. But posters...
He looked back in on the shop, glancing at the board through his crystal. Just...silly little announcements. Costume plays, reenactments, parties for hopeless, pathetic nerds and their hopeless, pathetic games...what of this would interest her?
He switched back to his true quarry quickly, unwilling to miss an instant of her life, mundane though it now seemed. She was returning to her house, the bag from the bookstore lying in the seat of the car beside her. He was restless to know of its contents, but he would wait. He could wait.
"I'm home!" she called out as she burst through the door, bag swinging from one hand.
"Oh, there you are!" her stepmother cried from the other room. Sarah scowled and tried not to roll her eyes as she came into the room. "Have you given any more thought to your dress?"
Sarah froze suddenly, suspiciously. "What dress?" she asked slowly.
"The one for your junior prom, of course!" came the unwelcome answer.
Sarah scowled more noticeably now and flung herself at the stairs. "I'm not going!" she snarled at her stepmother, the woman who kept trying to force herself into her life, unwelcome. "How many times do I have to tell you that?"
The older woman's eyes blazed. "And how many times do I have to tell you that you need to get out more?" she snapped back. "You lock yourself up in your room with your toys and your dolls and your silly books... You don't know how to live anymore; you're just trying to dream yourself away into a fantasy land!"
Jareth's and Sarah's thoughts suddenly matched, angrily full of vitriol at the narrow-sighted woman. It worked once!
Sarah contained her anger from lashing out verbally until she was in her room, but couldn't resist slamming the door loudly against the faux-maternal intruder.
Jareth pushed himself up, watching his sweet Sarah in agony, in rage against her stepmother. Perhaps now...perhaps, at last, she will call on me to take her away... he thought hopefully.
But she only slung her bag onto her bed and then threw herself after it, burying her face in her arms in frustration. The muffled shriek of suppressed rage wouldn't escape her room, he knew, but he still wanted to stand beside her, to steal her away from that wretch of a woman.
She finally rolled over on her bed, reaching up into the bag to pull out the mysterious flyer and look at it, finally giving him his chance for examination. It was...
...a con? What did that mean? He filed away the information for future investigations, once his precious was asleep, but she did the research for him.
She sighed and pushed herself off the bed and sank into the chair in front of her computer. She had finally convinced her father that she needed her own for "schoolwork," but she rarely used it for that. She pulled up a browser and began typing in the information, scrolling through the listings until she found the one she wanted.
"The same weekend...of course. Shit! She'd never let me go," Sarah huffed dejectedly, hitting Alt+F4 to close the window.
Jareth watched with empty eyes, mind racing. She wanted this, this con? Some sort of meeting...he thought it might be of other fantasy people, like her. But her stepmother wouldn't let her go; the foolish woman somehow thought that prom and a boyfriend were more important.
Boyfriend. Prom. Dancing. And fantasy, where he would fit in. His two-toned eyes glittered as he smiled devilishly.
This might be exactly the opportunity that he had been waiting for...
It was only a week later, but her petition to her father hadn't helped. If anything, it had only hurt her case.
"Your mother is right, dear. You should be going to your junior prom, not to some strange...gathering...in another city. It would take hours to drive there and back anyway! And this is your prom. Surely you don't want to miss it...it's such an important part of high school..."
"But I don't care about prom!" she'd wailed. "And she isn't my mother anyway! This is what I want to do—and it's only two and a half hours, Dad. I can make it, easily. Why can't I go?"
"You waste too much time on your fantasy life as it is, Sarah. You need friends, real people around you."
"Who do you think goes to these things?" she snapped. "Fantasy goblins and—" She had been about to say "kings," but stopped herself. "It's only for one night, and I might meet someone there. At least people there would have the same interests as me. You know there's no one else here who can understand me. They're all too busy being jocks and airheads; fighting for superficial power."
Her father had sighed. "No. I'm standing by her in this. You need a boyfriend. You need friends. You need to fit in here."
And that had been the end of that conversation. Jareth gloated at her almost-slip, but then busied himself in his preparations. He was almost ready for his grand re-entry, and she...she was almost desperate enough to agree.
Sarah snarled at the plastic-sheeted dress that her mother had forced her to buy. It hung on her closet door, a product of the sales at Christmas, and she hated it. It was pink, and too frilly. She didn't like frills, or pink; she didn't like the modern style. She wanted something older, classic...something in cream and gold, perhaps, like that night...
She snarled and buried her face in her pillow, determined to ignore the dress and the memory, but the latter was harder to shake. She could suddenly remember that night with perfect clarity—the way she had looked in the elegant, styled ball gown, the music floating on the air around him...him, in his dark blue coat with the blue highlights in his hair...
Music suddenly floated in her room too, and she glanced up, confused. An old music box had begun to play, the dark-haired figure spinning in its golden dress.
But it wasn't alone.
Suddenly a small figure of a man twirled with the little figurine, who looked much more like her than it ever had, and that song—it was the song he had sung that night, the night that she had almost believed, almost forgotten. The male figurine was—