Author's Note: So...happy All Saints' Day? *goes back into hiding* ("Hiding" being code for "doing the studying I should have done hours ago".)

Random Fact: While listening to the soundtrack of Disney's Beauty and the Beast, I had a thought...I know that there are loads of Labyrinth/Beauty and the Beast crossovers with Jareth as the Beast/prince...but has anyone considered writing him as Gaston? Particularly during his song in the tavern? (Perhaps the other townspeople could be his goblins?) If anyone HAS written it, I'd love to see the results. You are, of course, free to reform the villain and rewrite the ending.

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

* * * 11 * * *

Every thrill has gone...

Sarah stood in the corner of the primped ballroom, fuming. She had, as expected, gone to the manicure appointment that Karen had made for her after speaking to Fred's mom. Her nails had been examined, pronounced deficient, and then covered by fake nails painted a hideous fuchsia color—her stepmother's work, again.

"To match the dress—won't that look lovely?"

What would have been lovely, she thought venomously, would have been to sleep in on a Saturday morning, rather than being yanked out of bed to prepare for a hair appointment that I didn't even WANT. Followed by an appointment with a makeup specialist. Followed by being laced into this ATROCITY of a dress and then whisked off for photos.

Having her hair alternately fried, painted, refried, curled, yanked, and teased into shape was not what she'd dreamed of her prom being like as a little girl, but she wasn't sure that it wasn't overshadowed by the makeup appointment.

At least then she hadn't been constantly stabbed in with the stylist's stupid idea of "fashion tools—aren't they wonderful? All that separates us from those trolls in Africa, really..."

She tried to shake her head in frustration and winced. Correction: bobby pins were also a form of torture.

The DJ put on another dreadful, preppy, "pop culture" song, and Sarah decided to go find a seat—and hopefully somewhere to take off her shoes. She wasn't sure what was the most painful part of her prom getup, but it was looking to be a close three-way battle between the three-inch heels, the foul dress's corset, and the bobby pins.

And, worst of all, she should have had a date—in fact, she should have been able to decide to go to Chris's party, where she and Fred would've been able to really enjoy themselves, rather than pretending!

She slid into an empty seat and rested her head in her hands, managing to find a position that wouldn't aggravate the bobby pins her hair. Had the stylist placed them specifically to be as painful as possible? It certainly felt that way...

Sarah gazed distantly at her peers on the floor, bumping and grinding against each other in a parody of real dancing. The sight made her almost wistful for her one dance at a real ball, and she missed the pair of girls walking toward her.

"Oh, look who decided to come to prom after all!" a voice sneered, almost cheery in its invitation to mock the common victim.

Sarah resisted the urge to close her eyes and ignore them. Knowing this crowd, it would only make them mock her more.

"Look how lonely she is, girls! Don't you think we should help poor Susan find a date?" Melissa's smile wouldn't have fooled Toby, even if he was only three.

"Actually, Melinda," Sarah took pleasure in getting the arrogant girl's name wrong, just as she habitually mistook hers. "I already have a date; he's just—"

"—late. And I am terribly sorry about that, precious."

Sarah froze. The aristocratic, British accent coming from behind her chair was decidedly not that of her sweet, if naïve, boyfriend.

Melissa's eyebrow climbed almost to her hairline as she looked Sarah's self-proclaimed "date" up and down pointedly. "Ah...and who would you be?" she purred, her tone entirely changed. Sarah didn't miss that she laid one hand delicately on the table and tilted her hips as she spoke to him.

Slut, she thought. Just like you, to try to prey on any attractive man you see.

Jareth smiled condescendingly in return. "An old friend of Sarah's," he purred, picking up Sarah's hand and kissing the back of it. "One who owes her a dance, I believe." He pulled back Sarah's chair and led her smoothly to the dance floor, leaving the stunned popularity queen behind them.

"I'm only putting up with this," Sarah said stiffly, refusing to look at him, "because I currently hate her more than I do you."

Jareth chuckled softly. "I know," he purred. "But I do hope you'll reconsider. After all, the poor girl and her boyfriend are going to discover that she has a rather nasty, very personal illness quite soon."

Sarah jerked her head up to look at him, barely noticing that he wore an expensive tuxedo and had pulled his long hair back with a leather thong. "What? Soon—like tonight?"

Jareth smirked at her. "They'll wish it had been tonight," he promised.

"Jareth, that's cruel!" she gasped.

He laughed again, pulled her closer, and spun them around. "Why, who said I would have anything to do with it? For all you know, she already has it."

Sarah opened her mouth to argue again, but he leaned in to kiss her, slipping his tongue past her lips and pulling her flush against him. He kept them swaying gently to the music, hips locked together, until Sarah found the presence of mind to pull away.

"Stop that!" she hissed. "You're not my boyfriend!"

Jareth shrugged fluidly, noting that she had only pulled away from his lips, not his body. "Did I say I was?" he asked easily.

"You shouldn't kiss someone you aren't dating," she snapped, leaning back to glare at him. "Especially when that person is dating someone else."

He shrugged again, unimpressed. "I believe that a woman as beautiful as you should be kissed at every opportunity."

"So you're constantly making out with women?" Sarah scorned.

Jareth laughed delightedly, his amusement almost infectious—almost. "Sarah, precious, you forget what sort of kingdom I rule over," he teased lightheartedly. "Where am I to find any women, let alone beautiful ones? Your wish two years ago was a lovely surprise."

"Flattery won't work on me."

"Such a pity."

Sarah rolled her eyes.

He twirled her one last time as the song ended, then asked mischievously, "So, shall I whisk Cinderella away from the ball?"

"Cinderella can make her own way home from the ball," Sarah reminded him, mildly amused. "And you'd be lucky to get a shoe left behind."

Jareth glanced down at her shoes appraisingly. "I don't see why," he said, playing along. "Those look like an accident waiting to happen. I would think you'd be glad to be rid of them."

"I never said I wouldn't. I just said I wouldn't leave them for you."

Jareth laid a hand on his chest dramatically. "Sarah, you wound me," he mourned.

She snorted. "It's not like you stay that way," she retorted.

"So I heal quickly. It's a useful trait when beautiful young maids invade your country, incite your citizens to rebellion, and destroy your castle." He winked dashingly at her, but she wasn't amused.

"You stole him in the first place!" she hissed.

"...after you made the wish, yes, I know," he sighed. "Can we ignore that? At least for tonight? Toby is safe at home; I have no plans for mischief on your family's behalf; it's a beautiful evening; and we're dancing together at a ball."

Sarah sniffed arrogantly. "This is hardly what I'd call a ball," she said, echoing Jareth's thoughts.

"I know it isn't," he agreed, "but as you won't allow me to take you to the Labyrinth to attend a real one, all I can offer is a dance and a ride home."

Sarah shot him a suspicious look.

"No tricks," he promised. "You have my word as a trickster." He smirked at her before his expression changed to something softer. "I'll be the perfect gentleman, if that's what it takes for you to allow me this one small boon. No stolen kisses, no unwelcome touching, no kidnapping you to the Underground...as much as I would like to," he admitted.

Sarah...hesitated. He does seem earnest...

Jareth caught sight of the foul girl-woman who'd been tormenting his beloved earlier. "If it makes any difference," he murmured, leaning intimately toward her and whispering in her ear, "you could let that girl—Melinka?—be jealous as you leave with the man that she wishes she were leaving with."

Sarah blinked in surprise. "You don't know that," she accused.

He shrugged. "So she wasn't attempting to flirt with me when I asked you to dance, nor has she been glaring at you throughout our whole dance, nor is she still sulking against the wall over there."

Sarah shot him a flat look.

"Besides, blonds aren't really my type. Nor are women who immediately resort to fawning. I much prefer brunettes...and a challenge," Jareth told her airily.

"Really."

"Truly. Would you like that ride?"

"You are not allowed to poof me anywhere."

"Sarah, you wound me. I have a car outside already."

Sarah looked at him skeptically. "And you know how to drive it."

Jareth smirked. "Magic has to be good for something, my dear. Shall we?"

Much against her better sense, Sarah allowed him to tuck her hand into his elbow. At least I'll get the better of Melissa ONCE before we graduate.


"Turn here, Ja—Jareth, you missed the turn, but you can take the next right..."

Sarah watched the next right disappear in the rearview mirror with mounting frustration. "Are you purposefully trying not to take me home?" she snapped.

Beside her, Jareth grinned. (Thankfully, he was still watching the road.) "I will take you home, as I promised, but I never said that we wouldn't stop somewhere else on the way."

Sarah clamped her jaw closed, reminding herself that yelling at the obnoxious Goblin King had yet to get her anywhere. "And why shouldn't I get out now and walk home?" she asked tersely.

"The car is travelling too fast, it's quite a long walk, and the only shoes that you have are those ridiculous stilettos."

He was smirking again, damn him!

"So where exactly are you planning to stop?"

Jareth's smirk only grew. "I believe you had hoped to attend a...con?"