Never in my wildest, Goblin King-encrusted dreams did I plan on writing a Christmas fic, especially not a sequel to 'My Fine Feathered Friend'; that is, of course, until I saw Pika-la-Cynique's mega squee-inducing pic of Skeep entitled 'Christmas Pretty'. Behold it (and Skeep's shiny toes) in all its glory at deviantart (or check out the link on my profile page).
DISCLAIMER: I do not own the Labyrinth, Christmas, kicking boots, or jewel-y, jewel-y, black armor. All I want for Christmas is the Goblin King in my Christmas stocking. How he chooses to wear the aforementioned Christmas stocking is entirely up to him...
Chapter 1: The Perils of Peach Lipgloss (or "Oh Goblin King/Oh Goblin King/Your boots are oh-so pointy")
It has often been said that there were dangers untold in the Goblin Kingdom.
Those who had never ventured through the Kingdom's borders thought that these dangers referred to the fearsome beasts and devilishly clever traps that were scattered across the land as liberally as signposts were scattered across other kingdoms.
Those who had visited the Goblin Kingdom knew that these dangers often took the form of everyday objects that looked quite harmless—until they struck with deadly force. In fact, even a throwaway comment had the potential to cause certain death and dismemberment. For instance, it was quite probable that a certain small goblin would try to poke out your internal organs with a piece of cutlery if you pointed out that his red tea cosy hat clashed terribly with his pink stilettos. Or a perfectly normal-looking, yet highly vindictive, black chicken would most likely go for your jugular if you happened to speculate out loud about the probable succulence of her drumsticks.
Yet the inhabitants of the Goblin Kingdom who themselves were the fearsome beasts that lived amongst the cunning traps—and who had learnt the hard way not to criticize anyone's wardrobe or speculate on anyone's potential tastiness—knew that the true danger in the kingdom was actually a rather slender man with wild, star-kissed hair and a penchant for kinky, equestrian-themed accessories. Everyone knew that there was nothing to fear in the kingdom but the King himself; after all, he had set the cunning traps, he had unleashed the monsters, he had created the foulest of foul punishments, most notable being the 'Bog of Eternal Stench', the 'Swamp of Perpetual Suffering', and 'Mandatory Bath Day' (which fell on the first Thursday of every month).
Hence, in the name of survival, most of the citizens of the Goblin Kingdom had learnt to watch for certain signs that their notoriously bipolar monarch was in a Bad Mood. In fact, one citizen had compiled these signs into a wildly successful pamphlet entitled: 'Yer Probably Gonna Be Bogged: Twenty Signs That The King Ain't Pleased With Yer.' This pamphlet—stealthily distributed in the back rooms of The Feisty Chicken Tavern until that noble establishment burnt to the ground during an illegal gnome wrestling tournament—claimed that a surefire way of discerning the King's mood was by observing his choice of wardrobe. Specifically, it warned citizens to avoid the King when he was wearing armor, black, the boots with the pointy toes that had been custom-built for kicking, and anything that was excessively glittery, jewel-encrusted, or sparkly (more so than usual). Woe betide anyone foolish enough to garner the King's notice when he was wearing glittered-up black armor and kicking boots, particularly if he chose to accessorize it with peach lipgloss.
The pamphlet also stated that the King's song choices could often give a clear indication of his intentions toward his unlucky subjects. Songs that began with the lyrics "You remind me of the babe" were deemed safe; songs that began with the lyrics "You remind me of something that should to be bogged" were typically deemed not quite as safe and were generally not as catchy. The pamphlet recommended running away as quickly as possible if the King spontaneously burst into a song that contained the lyrics "dismemberment," "I will swamp you," "Certain Death," and "feed you to the freezer alligator. "
Given the contents of the pamphlet, it was not surprising that the goblins standing around the chicken-littered throne room of the Castle Beyond The Goblin City were immediately on guard when their King made his entrance.
"Oh no. Is that armor?" whispered the goblin with the blue horns as the King walked determinedly toward the throne.
There was a decidedly loud clatter as the King attempted his customary sprawl on the uncomfortable chair.
The goblin with the blue tusks looked up from his game of dice. "Sounds like it."
Ignor adjusted the rusty sieve on his head and peered at the King. "It looks and sounds like black armor."
At that precise moment, a shaft of sunlight filtered through one of the round tower windows and gently flirted with the jewel-encrusted ornamentation scattered along the King's costume.
"AHHHHHHHH!!!" yelled the goblins, desperately trying to shield their eyes.
"Blinded by the armor!" yelled the goblin with the frypan on his head.
"The jewel-y, jewel-y armor!" wailed Squibble.
"That's the worst kind!" groaned the goblin with the blue horns.
"Pretty…deadly," Skeep winced, covering his rubber duck's eyes.
Beep buried his face in his hands. "Please don't tell me he's wearing the kicking boots. Please don't tell me…."
Skeep carefully pried opened one of his eyelids and looked at the King's legs.
"Yep!" he said cheerfully. He looked at the boots and sighed. "Pointy."
"This is bad," muttered Ignor.
"It might be okay," said the goblin with the blue horns with a shaky smile.
"Oh no!" wailed Beep.
"What?" asked the goblin with the frypan hat.
Beep pointed a trembling finger toward the King's head. "Peach lipgloss"
"Two coats," Skeep said, nodding authoritatively.
Ignor shook his head. "We're doomed."
"I'm too sober for peach lipgloss," said that frypan goblin. "If you need me, I'll be in the ale keg nearest to the door."
The goblins watched as the frypan goblin ran across the throne room and launched himself headfirst into the half-empty keg of ale.
"Remind me not to drink from that one," Squibble said, looking down at the empty tankard in his hand.
Skeep shook his little tea-cosy-covered head. "Not delicious."
They all turned their attention back to the King, who was now tapping his riding crop impatiently on his armored thigh.
"It might still be ok," said the goblin with the blue horns with desperate optimism. "As long as he doesn't sing."
At that moment, seemingly out of the ether, an electric guitar struck up a few mournful, emo-esque chords. The King stood up from the throne and struck a melodramatic pose, his long cloak fluttering around him like a hyperactive shadow.
"Oh no! Song coming!" yelled Skeep.
"Maybe it's a happy song," said the blue-horned goblin, still in denial about the hopelessness of the situation.
"Something about chickens would be nice," suggested Squibble.
It wasn't about chickens.
It was about defenestration.
And it was accompanied by demonstrations.
Beep buried his face in his hands again as yet another goblin was punted out the tower window. "This is a bad song."
"Though it's got a good beat," said Squibble, humming along.
Skeep nodded. "Catchy." He swayed his rubber duck along to the music.
It also had an impressive finale. The goblins who hadn't been tossed out of the tower window clapped enthusiastically as their King held a high note for fifteen bars whilst kicking three goblins, a chicken, and a potted plant out the window in quick succession.
Ignor shook his head in wonder. "You gotta hand it to the King—those are some excellent kicking boots."
Skeep looked down at his grubby pink stilettos wistfully. He scrunched up his little face in determination and turned to the nearest potted plant. Raising his skinny little leg, he kicked the plant as hard has he could.
The plant didn't even have the grace to wobble.
Skeep sighed and then gently patted one of the plant's wilted leaves. "Sorry."
Beep snickered. "I guess those aren't kicking heels."
Skeep turned to Beep and delicately stabbed him in the leg with his stiletto.
"Agh! My shin!" Beep wailed, clutching his leg.
"Stabby," Skeep said, patting his heels in satisfaction.
"Well," said Squibble, ignoring Beep, who was now rolling around the floor in agony. "There's been singing and blinding so the worst is probably over."
The King settled back onto his throne and, with a flick of his black-gloved wrist, conjured a crystal. His gaze softened for a moment as he peered in its depths, the tip of his index finger caressing the surface with intense adoration.
But then his jaw hardened.
"Disturb me at your peril," he said, grimly.
At that precise moment, the frypan goblin stood up inside his ale keg, swaying gently from side-to-side.
"Whad I missh?" he slurred.
"Bog," Jareth said dispassionately without even looking up.
"AHHHHHHHHH—" yelled the frypan goblin and then abruptly disappeared with an audible 'pop'.
There was complete silence as the other goblins looked at each other in terror.
Until someone sneezed.
"Swamp," Jareth noted absentmindedly, twisting the crystal a little to the right.
"AHHHHHHHHH—," yelled the sneezy goblin, until he, too, disappeared—this time with a rather moist sucking sound.
All was quiet again…until one goblin had the supreme misfortune of inhaling a little too loudly. A chicken shook its head at him and began to cluck disapprovingly.
"Oubliette for you…and your little chicken, too," the King muttered, frowning at the crystal.
The goblin clutched the chicken to his chest. "At least we'll be together."
The irate chicken pecked him on the nose.
"Gah!" yelled the goblin, and both he and his pet disappeared.
This continued for some time until Jareth finally looked up from the crystal. He blinked and turned to Squeak, who was carefully polishing the back of his throne with a rather soiled red rag.
"Where the devil is everyone?" he asked. Unlike this morning, the throne room was now only sparsely decorated with goblins; the few that remained were standing as still as statues, only in odder positions. Jareth raised an exquisitely arched eyebrow at one goblin who had frozen in the act of arm-wrestling a chicken.
Squeak cleared his throat. "If your Majesty would be so good as to check your crystal, you will see that most of your subjects are in the Bog. Or the Swamp. Or hanging upside down in the oubliettes. I believe the others are hiding in the pantry."
"Traitor!" whispered a goblin who was hiding behind a chicken.
Jareth opened his mouth to bog the chicken-sheltered goblin but stopped himself and frowned. "Surely you exaggerate."
With a flick of his wrist, the crystal in his palm shifted so that the King was treated to a view of the Bog of Eternal Stench. To his surprise, a rather large number of goblins were gamely performing what looked like a poorly-choreographed synchronized swimming routine—one that consisted primarily of flailing and swearing and sinking into the Bog's murky depths.
"Hmm, there does appear to be a few more than usual in there," the King conceded.
Squeak cleared his throat. "Ahh, that's only the lot from the last hour, your Majesty."
Jareth's eyes widened. "It seems as though I have bogged my quota for this month."
Squeak cleared his throat again. "Actually, you've bogged your quota for the next decade, Your Majesty." He shrugged. "Just think of it as one less thing on your 'To Do' list."
Jareth nodded. "Quite right; it will leave me more time to pursue other, more pleasurable pursuits." He gave a rather expressive smirk. "Sarah will—." The smirk rapidly gave way to a scowl. Clenching his fist, the King stood up and began to pace the length of the room, his kicking boots making a rather menacing sound on the stone floor. He then stopped abruptly and threw himself back onto his throne, his armor making a spectacular clatter as it hit the crescent bone frame.
Squeak waited until the King had rearranged himself into a pose of regal indolence and then spoke up. "If I may be so bold as to ask, what seems to be the problem, Sire?"
For a moment, Jareth hesitated but then sighed in defeat. "This," he said, holding out the crystal.
The remaining goblins quickly huddled around the throne to get a glimpse of what the King had been watching for hours without pause. Inside the crystal, a woman in a red velvet gown was sitting dejectedly on a stone bench in the middle of a garden. A breeze moved through her long dark hair and teased the silk sash of her gown. As they watched, she listlessly kicked a pebble across the grass.
"Oh! I know her!" Squibble said, excitedly. "It's the Queen!"
Jareth rolled his eyes. "Excellent deduction, you imbecile."
Squibble puffed out his chest proudly.
Skeep shook his head at Squibble in disgust. "Stupid," he said. He then looked back at the crystal. "Queen sad," he noted.
Jareth's expression became grim. "You think so?"
"Oh yes, definitely!" said the goblin with the blue horns.
"She's obviously definitely sad," noted Squibble.
Jareth's expression became even grimmer. "And what, pray tell, do you think is the cause of her distress?" he asked in a deceptively nonchalant tone.
Ignor stroked his chin. "Well, it could be almost anything. She might be hungry."
"Or thirsty," suggested another goblin.
"She might need a song."
"Or a chicken."
"Or a kiss," said Squibble.
All of the goblins looked at Squibble in horror.
Squibble backed up defensively. "It's just that in the soap show that the Queen watches, the ladies are always happier when they have been kissed."
"True," said Skeep. "Happy music plays."
The other goblins nodded at that.
"Or the sexy music," noted the goblin with the blue tusks.
Jareth looked at his subjects in shock. "Sexy music? What the devil do you fellows know about sexy music?"
"Saxophones," Skeep clarified.
The rest of the goblins nodded their agreement.
Jareth tapped his lip in thought. "Saxophones, hey? Well, it's worth a shot. Here," he said, handing the crystal to Squeak. "Hold this."
The King promptly disappeared in a moderate shower of glitter.
"YEAHHHYY!!" the goblins cheered and then huddled around Squeak to watch the show.
Within the crystal, the King suddenly appeared beside the Queen in all his armored glory and promptly swept her into a passionate embrace.
"EEEEEWWWWW!!!" wailed the goblins.
"Romantic," Skeep said, nodding at the royal couple approvingly.
"It's disgusting!" said the goblin with the blue tusks.
"ROMANTIC!" yelled Skeep, removing his buffed kidney-fork from the waistband of his hula skirt. He began to wave it around menacingly.
The goblin with the blue tusks held up his hands in surrender. "How about 'disgustingly romantic'?"
Skeep tilted his head for a moment. "Acceptable," he said, and put his fork away.
The goblins went back to watching the couple.
"Can you hear any saxophones?" asked the goblin with the blue horns, worriedly.
A few of the goblins tried to press their ears against the crystal.
The goblin with the blue tusks lifted his head and sighed. "I can't hear anything."
"I can only hear crystal!" wailed Squibble, rubbing his ear. "That can't be good."
The goblins muttered nervously.
"Do you think she's happier?" asked the goblin with the blue horns.
Squibble shrugged. "It's hard to tell if she's smiling when her mouth is stuck to the King's."
The royal couple finally disengaged from the kiss, both of them swaying ever so slightly.
"Quick," said Ignor. "Can you tell if she's smiling?"
The goblin with the blue horns frowned. "She looks drunk."
Skeep nodded in satisfaction. "Good."
The goblins watched as the King first gently traced the Queen's cheek with his fingertips, then dipped his head toward her, seeming to whisper something in her ear.
Then he disappeared.
In a second, he was back in the throne room.
"YEAHHHHYYY!" the goblins cheered.
Jareth gave his subjects a devilish smirk and took the crystal back from Squeak. "Let's see if the Queen is sad now, shall we?"
The goblins huddled around their King and looked into the crystal once more. Inside, the Queen was now sitting on the stone bench looking rather dazed, her fingertips idly tracing her kiss-bruised lips.
"Queen not sad!" Skeep announced.
"She looks sleepy, but in a good way," Squibble noted.
Jareth settled back on his throne. "For once, you idiots were right. All she needed was—"
He stopped abruptly as his Queen' shoulder's slumped, her passion-daze clearly over. After a few moments, she placed her hands over her ears and began to yell.
"That was odd," noted Ignor.
Skeep nodded. "Weird."
The goblin with the blue tusks frowned at the crystal. "Hmm, are you sure you kissed her properly?"
Jareth gave the goblin a look of utmost horror.
"Saxophones play if you do it properly," Ignor noted. "Did you hear any saxophones?"
The King's face began to turn a remarkable shade of red.
Squibble patted the King consolingly on the arm. "It's ok. Not everyone can get kissing right the first time. Do you want us to help? "
Jareth threw off Squibble's hand. "The day that I require seduction advice from my idiotic subjects is the day that I move into a love shack in the middle of the Bog with Hogwort. And for the record—yes, I did it properly, and I assure you that a veritable orchestra was playing when I kissed my Queen."
Ignor stroked his chin. "You can't argue with an orchestra. That's pretty convincing."
Skeep nodded. "Loud."
The goblin with the blue tusks peered closely at the crystal. "Maybe she ate something that didn't agree with her."
Squibble slapped his forehead. "Of course! Remember what happened when Rosalinda made Waffle eat the statue of the King out in the courtyard? He looked pretty sad after that, too."
Waffle looked up at the King. Although freezer alligators are not known for the mobility of their facial muscles, the expression on Waffle's face was quite clearly one of guilt mixed with a hint of nostalgic indigestion.
Jareth gave the freezer alligator a hard stare. "I had wondered what had happened to that statue. One more stunt like that and I will be acquiring a lovely new pair of alligator-leather pants…"
The freezer alligator gulped.
"…and matching boots," the King finished with a smirk.
Waffle quickly shuffled to the back of the room and hid behind Rosalinda. The Chicken of Destiny looked up from where she had been pecking the earlobe of a sleeping goblin and shuffled over a little until she was standing protectively in front of the alligator. She then gave the King a filthy look and began to cluck rather menacingly.
Jareth tilted his head and gave the chicken a deliciously sinister smile. "And perhaps I'll gift my lovely wife with a black feathered cloak. What say you, fowl?"
Rosalinda flipped him the claw and began to sharpen her beak on the stone floor.
"Ooooh, she looks mad," Squibble said gleefully.
"It has been a while since her last assassination attempt," noted Ignor.
"She's about due for the next one," added the goblin with the blue tusks.
"Would it be too much to ask for you all to cease plotting my demise and return to the matter at hand?" Jareth said, dryly.
"Sorry King!" said Skeep.
The goblin with the blue tusks crossed his arms stubbornly. "I still think she has a stomach ache."
Jareth shook his head. "I doubt that this is a case of simple indigestion. She has been like this for the past two days, seven hours, and twenty-nine minutes."
Squibble scratched his pointed little chin. "In the soap show that the Queen likes to watch, Victoria looked sad because her evil twin locked her in a closet and took over her identity. Do you think the Queen has an evil twin?"
"The Queen does not have an evil twin," Jareth said, curtly. "She has an evil husband."
Squibble shrugged. "Maybe that's why she is sad."
As the King turned to face Squibble, the goblins could have sworn that his armor became blacker and his kicking boots even pointier. "What," he asked, in a frighteningly pleasant voice, "did you just say?"
"Oooooooooh," crooned the goblins.
Squibble looked around desperately. "It's hard to remember when your brain is scared."
The King gave Squibble a look that could have curdled milk. "You and your idiotic friends will find out why she is like this," he said in a deathly quiet voice.
Squibble nodded quickly.
Jareth's eyes narrowed. "And be subtle about it or there will be boggings for all."
"Ok King!" Skeep said cheerfully.
The goblins hurriedly said their goodbyes and ran out of the throne room as fast as their stubby little legs could carry them.
"No pressure," Jareth called out after them.
The little posse of goblins collectively shuddered—no easy feat whilst running—as the King's sinister laughter chased them from the room.
"This is so not good," panted the goblin with the blue horns as they ran down a long, twisty corridor.
"What happens if we don't find out why she's upset?" asked Squibble as he dodged a drunken goblin who was sprawled on the floor.
"We keep running," said Ignor. "As far away as possible."
"YEAHHHYYY!!! Tijuana!" yelled Skeep, his stilettos clanking loudly on the stone floor.
Oh whatever could be wrong with Sarah? Is it the plague? Indigestion? Glitter inhalation? Review (and tell me your theories)!
AN #1: Everyone, except Sir Didymus, knew that the author of the mysterious pamphlet was actually Hoggle—including his Majesty. Although writing such an inflammatory piece of propaganda would usually be a bogging offense, His Nibs was actually secretly pleased that his subjects were paying such close attention to his costume choices. However, the section of the pamphlet that speculated, somewhat whimsically, on the King's probable choice of underwear made Jareth feel just a little bit uncomfortable in Hoggle's presence for quite some time. Not to mention somewhat suspicious about Hoggle's sexuality. Very, very suspicious....
AN #2: This fic is a Christmas pressie to the crotch-lovin' gals of the Goblin Court (you know who you are, you deviants!). A special thanks to my awesome betas, KnifeEdge and PhurieDae, who literally beat the evil out of this fic, and to the grammar goddess herself, Kore-of-Myth (who is teaching me about the joys of punctuation. So far, it's a love-hate thing). A big Christmas shout-out to Jack Hawksmoor (put down the Star Trek, Jack, and come back to Laby!!) and FaeriesMidwife (get better soon!).