Our Broken World
Disclaimer: Labyrinth is property of A.C.H. Smith, Jim Henson and others; I don't own it or the characters.
"As the pain sweeps through
Makes no sense for you
Every thrill has gone
Wasn't too much fun at all
But Ill be there for you-oo-oo
As the world falls down"
As the World Falls Down By David Bowie
Ch1. Broken World
"Just fear and love me," he moved closer to her, and she admired his beauty…but, her attraction to him would not stop her from attaining her purpose, "And do as I say, and I…I will be your slave," he was begging, and his fingers, so close to her mouth, were distracting her. She stuttered…her mind still on the same train of thought, while her heart was beating too rapidly for the man before her.
"You have no power over me," she blurted; surprised she'd remembered the line for once. She was thrilled for a moment ten she realized that the handsome man before her was disappearing and she lov-
The alarm clock next to her bed began clanging. Damn. She swatted the defenseless clock to the floor and snuggled back under her covers.
"Sarah Williams, what did that clock ever do to you?" a feminine voice asked from outside of her warm protective blanket bubble.
"It killed a beautiful dream, and I'll be damned if it survives to tell the other clocks about it," Sarah replied, burrowing deeper into the covers.
"Well, about damn time you felt that way about mornings, but, today is a special day. And since I myself have risen at this godforsaken hour, I believe that, for my troubles, you should get up too." Sarah grunted and slithered deeper into the warmth. Her friend sighed; she'd had enough, and walked to the head of the bed, carefully stepping over the clock fragments littering the floor. "Alright Sarah, you asked for it; times like this require the big guns." She cleared her throat and leaned over Sarah's head, and began to whisper.
"Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the Goblin City - -"
"Leah!" Sarah cried indignantly, flinging back the covers. Leah smiled and continued with more confidence.
"- - to take back the child you have stolen. For my will is as great as yours - -" she dodged as Sarah chased her around the room, swinging her arms wildly. "- - and my kingdom is as great - -" she howled out, holding back laughter. She jumped on a chair and took a heroic, if silly pose, "You have no power over me!" Sarah caught her and swung the pillow in her hands into her friend's gut with a woomf.
"Ah!" Leah cried dramatically, "You wound me my lady," she fell from the chair and feigned great belly pain. "I-I don't believe I will survive much longer." Clasped one of Sarah's hands in her own and pulled her onto the floor. "Tell…tell my mum I love her…and-and Sir Didymus that I hid his nuts the fourth tree from the right…please dearest maiden tell them for me!" with that she flopped back down and lay still.
"Leah…you stupid goose, what did you want? You didn't have to go through all the theatrics, that story is so embarrassing!"
"Sarah…" Leah sat up, "It's a beautiful story, though I will take the fact that you thought the Goblin King was-…er…never mind. Um… yeah…your wedding… it's kinda tomorrow and some of the girls are taking you out for the bachelorette party tonight."
"Leah, you say it as if you're not going." Leah sheepishly scratched the back of her head and gave a tight smile.
"Your mom kinda asked me to watch your little brother tonight- but it's for a good cause, she's going out to make sure everything's ready for tomorrow. Don't get mad, I love Toby, we get along like peanut butter and jelly on a slice of Wonder Bread." Sarah gave an angry sigh.
"You're weird Leah; I don't know how you put up with that woman as your aunt. But, I know that Toby likes you better than me so…have fun with that." Leah grabbed the pillow Sarah had clobbered her with earlier and tossed it into Sarah's face.
"Yeah, right! Every time I'm there that little brat tries to wish me away! I wouldn't be so afraid if I wasn't just as crazy as you are and believed that you'd actually been to the 'Underworld'." Sarah glared at her. "Alright, alright, I'll drop it, sheesh, it's not like the important people like Matt and I don't already know about it." Sarah rolled her eyes and fell back from her sitting position and stared and that ceiling.
"Hey," Leah poked Sarah's shoulder, "The girls are borrowing my van for you today…by now they're probably hiring a stripper, so…could you give me a lift over to your mum's house?"
"Yeah…sure, I guess…you did wake me up…-wait, how the hell did you get in anyway?!?"
"Yes, how did you get in my house?!?" Sarah sat up and glared down at the girl lying on the floor beside her.
"Give me a minute to think up a proper lie."
"You picked the freaking lock again, didn't you!?!" Sarah yelled; face turning a light shade of red.
"Chill Sarah, I got the key from your dad, god. Like I would break in after the last time, I still have scars Sarah, scars, as if I'd make the same mistake twice." Sarah calmed down quickly and got up.
"I'm still mad about last time…get out so I can change."
"Aw, but Sarah, I like you the way you are. Don't go changin', tah tryin' please me," She sang, squirming about in an awkward dance.
"And I'd like to be wearing more than boy shorts and a sports bra when I go to see my impressionable little brother." Leah rolled her eyes and slowly stood.
"Suit yourself; I think that Matt would like it though." She smirked as she pulled the door behind her and heard a hard thump against the solid wood. "Too predictable Sarah, too predictable," she chuckled to herself.
Leah shuffled down the stairs to the small kitchen and started making the two of them coffee. Half an hour later, Sarah flounced down the stairs, showered and dressed in a simple lavender peasant top and straight leg Jeans.
"Looking ravishing as usual, love," Leah and Sarah looked over at the front door as Sarah's fiancé waltzed in.
"Matt! What are you doing here? You're supposed to be in Chicago for another couple of hours!" Matt, a handsome blond with gray eyes, smiled at his dark haired fiancée.
"I came back early, I couldn't wait to see you, and I wanted to remind you that I loved you before you went to your ladies' night."
"I love you too, Matt," Sarah smiled back at him.
"Leah, how yah doin' Squirt?" he ruffled her short mouse colored hair and smirked at her.
"Matt," she replied in a clipped tone, and turned away from him, something about him never sat well with her.
"As charming as ever," he continued, and placed his hand on her back, Leah smacked his hand away.
"I don't like to be touched, Matt, you know that." She got up from her seat at the bar and stretched. She watched Matt and Sarah kiss out of the corner of her eye. "Ew, gross, human interaction," she rolled her eyes at them.
"Leah, there's no need for sarcasm," Sarah replied, wrapping an arm around Matt's middle. He happily slung an arm around her shoulders and pulled her closer.
"You're just jealous of what we have," Matt remarked, kissing the top of Sarah's head.
"Naw, it's just I don't trust you, and, as every best friend should say, if you hurt her, I will kill you with a blunt object and throw your mangled body in the sea. Am I clear?" she quirked an eyebrow at him.
"Crystal, now turn your back so I can snog this perfect woman," Leah rolled her eyes again, but obliged. The doorbell rang and the kissing sounds stopped, Sarah went to go answer the door. Leah turned back and gave him a look of distaste. "What? Something on my face? In my teeth?" He stepped closer to her, making faces.
"You really should stop leading her on, it's killing me inside, knowing, that you go home to another woman every night and Sarah is none the wiser." His smile stayed plastered on his face.
"I don't know what you're talking about. Sarah's the only woman in my life." Leah opened her mouth to reply when Sarah came back, followed by a hoard of girls.
"Leah! What are you doing here?" Leah grimaced at him once more and turned towards the voice.
"Joy, how are you?" she cried back, voice equally cheerful, "I was just on my way to Sarah's parent's house, I was hoping to get a lift before you guys got here."
"I'm great, I wish you could come tonight, but Toby's only good when you're there."
"Good, huh? That kid tried to kill me with a blender." Joy laughed and turned toward Matt.
"Ah, the groom's here girls," she cried over her shoulder and every one of them looked in his direction and pounced. Soon they were surrounding him, asking him questions, tugging at his sleeves, and generally gesticulating in his direction. Sarah and Leah stood outside of the mob, Sarah gave a dry chuckle.
"Well…he always was the ladies' man, and that probably won't change much even though he's getting married."
"Sarah…" Leah started hesitantly, Sarah looked over at her.
"I still need a ride; since your party is kinda stalled for the moment, think you could give me one?" Sarah gave a short laugh and relaxed her stance; she nodded, glancing at the clutter of girls.
"We'd better go quickly though, one of them might try to convince him to marry her instead, and I'm not so sure if he's in the mood to tell them 'no'." Leah nodded slightly and the two walked out to Sarah's car. Matt watched them go and a sly smirk spread across his face.
"Alright, who wants to give me a proper send off from bachelordom?" the girls cried out in approval and one of them, Joy, tackled him.
"Just lie still, we'll do everything we can to give you a…proper send off." She whispered huskily in his ear, as hands began tugging at his clothes. He smiled up at the blond bombshell and pulled her down closer to himself. Lips and hands ghosted over him and his hands randomly reached out to clasp the enticing flesh of the women surrounding him.
"Oh, I forgot my keys," Sarah cried in surprise as she checked her pockets over again. "Lemme get 'em really quickly," she turned and raced back into the house. Leah idled against the side of Sarah's car, her eyes closed and a deep frown cut across her pretty features.
"Sorry Sarah…you would never have believed me if I told you." Leah spun the keys she had pilfered from Sarah's pocket around her finger, and waited for Sarah's reaction.
"WHAT THE HELL IS THIS!?!" Leah winced as Sarah's voice sounded shrilly from inside the house.
"It's not what it looks like!? Leah rolled her eyes at Matt and the other girls' voices. Sarah came running out of her house, tears held at bay by her anger. A half-dressed Matt came stumbled after her as he tried to pull his pants back on and catch his fiancée. "Sarah, come back!" Leah stepped into his path and tossed the car keys Sarah.
"Matt, I don't think she wants to talk right now," Leah's voice was calm as Sarah pulled the car out of the driveway and sent it screeching down the street. Matt, a good six inches taller than Leah, stared down at her. His eyes suddenly lit with realization.
"You b*tch, you knew this would happen!" his hand shot up from his side and he backhanded her; Leah's eyes widened in surprise and pain. "You knew that this would happen!" he screamed at her again and this time his fist connected to her cheek. Leah cried out and threw herself away from another blow. Unfortunately, she lost her balance and fell; Matt loomed over her and kicked her in the side and legs. "How does it feel you b*tch, you b*tch," he screamed at her as his legs caught her in the areas she couldn't block fast enough. Leah bit her lip to so that he wouldn't hear her sobs; she wouldn't let him get any satisfaction…not again, and not ever…not from her. He kept kicking her until the cops came and pulled him away.
Leah sat up slowly, hissing in pain, and watched as the police placed an enraged Matt into the back of one of their cars. She wiped at her teary face and looked at the girls standing in the doorway. Joy stood there; she held a phone loosely in her hand.
"Thanks…" Leah wheezed, Joy looked taken aback, but gave her a soft smile.
"Sorry," she whispered back, "Tell Sarah…we're so sorry."
"I will, if she'll talk to me," one of the cops came back and crouched down beside her.
"You shouldn't move, he might have broken a few of your ribs," Leah gave a wheezing laugh.
"Wouldn't be the first time I had them," the officer raised an eyebrow at her. "Abusive step-father, eh, I'll be fine…nothing broken. I'll be bruised as hell in a minute, but that's about it." The officer chuckled lightly at her nonchalance and helped her stand. Another officer walked up, he was much older than the first.
"Leah, it's been awhile, although this is the first time that you weren't the one being taken away in the back of the car."
"What can I say, Officer Slater, I've turned over a new leaf."
"And got the sh*t beat out of you, nice one." He gave her a toothy grin and Leah rolled her eyes at him.
"Don't be a bastard sir, it's not becoming."
"Watch your tone, or I'll have you spend the night in county."
"Sorry…uh, could you give me a ride somewhere? My friend needs a bruised shoulder to cry on." Slater nodded and led her to his patrol car. The other officer drove away with Matt, while Slater took her to Sarah's parent's house.
She pushed open the front door and it creaked open ominously. "Sarah?" she called softly. She wandered into the kitchen and found the note Karen, Sarah's stepmother had left. She frowned at it and headed up the stairs to Sarah's room. "Sarah…? Are you here?" She knocked softly and pushed the half closed door open. Sarah was lying face down on her childhood bed, weeping. Toby stood over her, a look of concern on his seven year old face. "Toby, come here," she waved him over to herself and he snuggled into her leg.
"Is Sarah okay?"
"No love, Sarah's broken…something bad happened today… now, let's goes down and get you some lunch. Your mum been gone long?" she asked him as she took his little hand in her own, and pulled his after her.
"Mommy's been gone since yesterday, dad doesn't know where she went. She left you a note though." Leah looked down at him, concerned.
"Where's your dad?"
"Dunno, he hasn't come home since last night. Leah, I'm hungry, I want grilled cheese." Leah nodded and sat him down at the table. She gave him another concerned look and patted his head.
"Hold on a little longer little me, I'll get'cha your grilled cheese," she swept the dirty blond hair from his forehead. His hair was getting long, it felt neglected. "Afterwards let's get you a bath," He cringed and nodded slightly.
While Leah shuffled about the kitchen making Toby his lunch, Sarah dragged herself into the room and sat down next to her brother.
"You knew he was a bastard…didn't you?" Leah started slightly then schooled the shocked look as she turned towards her friend and gave a weak smile.
"I…had an inkling, I didn't think you'd believe me though." Sarah shifted uncomfortably.
"Its fine, I don't blame you."
"I'm sorry I didn't try to tell you sooner." Leah turned back to the stove and flipped one of the grilled cheese over. "Your…parents haven't been taking care of Toby again." She murmured quietly.
"I know, I can see it on him." Sarah reached over and stroked his cheek fondly.
"Sarah…are you still 'broken'?" Toby asked.
"I'm healing, don't worry Toby." He gave her a crooked smile and went back to twiddling his thumbs in childish impatience.
"She's been hitting him again, the marks on his face are almost gone…but…I'm sure there are others."
"I hope not."
"Sarah…would you be against my…adopting Toby?" Sarah's head whipped up.
"I…know how he feels…and I think that I'd be able to help him cope…not officially just when you can't find your parents. Maybe one day I will ask for him, but for now I'll just try to help the best that I can." She cut the grilled cheese in half and scooped it onto a plate. She set it in front of Toby as she sat down. "Please…say you'll support me in this."
"I…I almost regret to say this, but, I will. I'll support you if you adopt him." Leah nodded slightly and winced. "Hey, do you have a black eye?" Leah's eyes widened, she hadn't planned to tell Sarah about Matt's attack.
"Um…I- you know…when-if your….god, why is it so hard to lie when you really need to?" Sarah looked at her, and her puffy eyes glimmered with tears. Leah sighed and waved her hand as if to clear the air between them. "Don't worry about me, worrying is my job, I'll be fine."
"Leah…you-…never mind," Sarah sighed too and leaned back in her chair. "So…F*cking fantastic day huh?"
"Something like that," Leah gingerly rested her arms on the table and placed her throbbing head on them. Toby smacked happily away at his grill cheese, ignorant as any seven year old could be. "Best day ever," she closed her eyes and neither spoke for a long moment, "So…what are you going to do about…the wedding?" She glanced up at Sarah's horror stricken face. "Sarah, you're going to have to make a decision about it sooner or later, so…I'm asking you now, what do you think?"
"I think that I want you to tell everyone that it's off for me…including that troop of whores!" Sarah bit out.
"They said they were sorry if that's any consolation," Sarah gave her a look that said that the girls would never get her forgiveness. "Geez Sarah…this has to be the worst day in the history of worst days." Sarah nodded and looked like she was considering something. After a moment she spoke.
"Makes you wish it would all just be a horrible, horrible dream."
"Yeah," Leah replied half-heartedly.
"Like you could just disappear to somewhere else, where the trouble didn't exist anymore," she continued airily.
"Sarah?" Leah glanced over at her friend, and wondered if Sarah was losing it because of grief.
"Maybe…wish yourself to another world."
"Sarah!" Leah's head shot up from her arms and she stared at her friend in alarm. Her head was swimming for a moment, and then the fuzz around her eyes cleared and she saw Sarah for a moment with a heightened intensity.
"I wish that the goblins would come and take you away right now." Sarah murmured, a half crazed smile on her mouth.
"Sarah!" Toby cried out in surprise. Leah felt her poor head begin spinning faster and faster, the table before her and the chair under her began to dissipate. She was falling. A gruff, tepid voice came from nowhere and everywhere, as if a legion had proclaimed it and one voice was chosen to speak for them. It was the last thing she heard before her world went completely blank.
"She said the words."