Disclaimer: The only thing I claim to own is the insane idea that formed this story. Everything else is borrowed. (Except for the goblin foods that i made up out of thin air. and in all honesty… Jim henson can have that too.)
Summary: What if Jareth wasn't really the Goblin King? What if the real Goblin King didn't like the mess Sarah left behind? What if Sarah was forced to clean up her mess and make things right?
Taken For Granted
"What! In Fate's name have you done to my city?" Gorn, the Goblin King, bellowed gruffly as he entered his throne room upon his return. "I trusted you to keep order, not create mayhem!"
"Gorn," Jareth greeted lazily, slouched sideways upon the throne. "You've returned earlier than expected."
"And you haven't answered my question, Lord of the Labyrinth," Gorn replied angrily. "And, get out of my chair!"
Jareth lithely slid from the throne, relinquishing it to it's rightful owner. "Come, come, Gorn. It wasn't anything that can't be fixed," Jareth quipped nonchalantly.
"He let a girl into the city," a goblin informed his king before running off to hide. Jareth grimaced at the retreating creature with displeasure.
"He did what?" Gorn bellowed, then turned black eyes upon Jareth. "You didn't?" the Goblin King asked, aghast. "We specifically agreed that you would ignore all wishes in my absence!" He placed a hand to his horned forehead as he wearily staggered backwards towards his throne. "I was only gone for three days, three days!" He paused his ranting to look up at the other being. "Did you at least tell her that you weren't the Goblin King?" he demanded urgently.
"I introduced myself as Jareth," he replied haughtily. "It's not my fault she assumed I was the king of goblins."
The Goblin King sagged heavily upon his throne, wiping at his face with a thick palmed hand. "Why would you let this girl slip through the labyrinth?" he asked in a suddenly tired voice. "You've never allowed one to get so far as the city before."
"It wasn't my intention to allow this one to slip away, either," he replied, a little bitterness lacing his tone. "She simply proved to be a bit more than I had expected."
"She found the oubliette in four hours," a goblin announced, scurrying as far from Jareth as possible as the other king glared at him.
"She escaped the oubliette?" Gorn asked with disbelief, sitting upright in his chair, never hearing of anyone escaping the oubliette before.
"No, I had one of my subject's retrieve her from the hole she fell in," Jareth informed Gorn haughtily. "With the instructions to take her back to the beginning of my Labyrinth. But, she enchanted the little scab, and had him show her the way in instead of out."
Gorn stared at his neighbor and friend as realization sunk into his mind. "Was she old enough to keep, by any chance?"
"Not quite," Jareth replied in a disgruntled tone. "It doesn't matter," he added in an uplift tone. "She defeated my labyrinth, destroyed your city, and reached the castle despite my efforts to stop her."
"He cheated," another goblin informed Gorn as he skittered hurriedly past them.
"Cheated?" Gorn quipped in a raised voice, his black eyes landing on Jareth once more. "How so?"
Jareth gave a stern threatening look to the little goblin before answering their king. "I 'may' have been 'slightly' deceiving at certain times," Jareth admitted vaguely with a nonchalant shrug and wayward wave of his hand.
"How old is the girl, exactly, Lord of the Labyrinth?" Gorn asked, purposely using his title to obligate him to tell the truth.
"She is fifteen Aboveground years, though I suspect she will celebrate a birthday soon."
"You should have left her in the oubliette to age, then release her with no choice but to remain with you."
Jareth diverted his eyes briefly. "What's done is done," he remarked dejectedly, then turned to leave. "I'll send help to rebuild your city," he told Gorn in a controlled voice as he headed for the exit.
"That would be most generous, Lord of the Labyrinth," Gorn replied with respect, watching his friend leave the room. He'd been affiliated with his neighbor for many years and had rarely seen him appear so distraught. "Was the girl attractive?" Gorn asked his goblins after Jareth had left.
"Pretty girl," a goblin answered happily. "Had eyes like green gems. Jareth gave girl a dream and made her forget."
"They danced in fancy clothes," another goblin added dreamily, twirling around in a small space as though dancing. Another goblin joined in, and they wandered off twirling and sidestepping.
"But, she remembered and shattered the dream," the first goblin continued.
"Then, she came to the city," a third goblin stated. "With Hoggle and the knight from the bog bridge."
"The bog?" Gorn interceded with surprise. "He sent her to the bog?" he asked, thinking that very strange indeed.
"Only if she kiss Hoggle," A goblin answered as he jiggled past his king with chicken feathers in his hands.
"Hoggle is now Prince of Eternal Stench," a blue horned goblin announced informatively, trying to aim a flapping chicken to fly into the dancing goblins.
"Interesting," Gorn murmured thoughtfully, piecing it all together in his mind. "Then what happened?"
"Big monster called the rocks, and girl got into the castle."
"And so, she took back the babe," Gorn surmised.
"Only after she say the right words," the first goblin informed his king. "King Jareth hid the babe, but the girl finds him."
"King Jareth offered the girl more dreams," the second goblin stated, still dancing with empty space between his outstretched arms, the other goblin being distracted by the flapping chicken. "But she tell him, 'you have no power over me!'" the goblin quoted in a high pitched, mimicking voice, making the others laugh and cackle uproariously.
"Did she now," Gorn assessed thoughtfully. "How long ago had all this occurred?"
"Three hours," The blue horned goblin answered. "We just came back from the party."
"Party? What party?" Gorn asked, confused again.
"Sarah had a big party after Jareth send her home."
"It was fun!"
"I jump up and down on soft bed!" the littlest goblin announced joyfully.
"Everyone was there!" a one eyed goblin said excitedly, then his smile faded. "Everyone except King Jareth."
"What a bitter pill that must be for him," Gorn stated quietly with empathy, then took a deep breath. "Bring the girl back to me," he commanded his horde decisively. "Be polite, and give her time to make herself presentable. She will most likely still be abed in her world."
Sarah was full of apprehension as she quickly slipped on her jeans. The goblins wouldn't tell her anything except that the Goblin King wanted to see her. She thought about rebelling, telling them she wouldn't go back. But, how do you rebel against magical creatures that simply appear in your room in the middle of the night? Besides, they were being very polite about the whole thing, if not a little pushy by telling her to hurry up.
She no sooner had her sneakers on when she found herself standing before a human sized, stout, horned goblin seated upon the throne within the castle beyond the goblin city. His fleshy round face had flabby cheeks, a second chin hung under the first, purple flappy lips made his mouth look bigger than it really was, and two short, blue, curved horns protruded upon his head. The small tuff of hair in the center of his horns was black, as were his close set, small eyes. He was frightening at first glance, until you looked into his eyes, and saw kindness there.
"You are Sarah Williams," Gorn stated matter of factly. "You 'are' very attractive, I can see why he had trouble deciding what to do with you."
"Who are you?" Sarah asked politely, if not a little fearfully.
"I am the Goblin King." He chuckled at her confused expression. "Jareth didn't correct your wrong assumption when he answered your wish," he informed her pleasantly.
"No, apparently he didn't," she replied, sounding slightly disgruntled at being misled. "But, I won his challenge fairly," she added with determination. "I made my way through the Labyrinth, through dangers untold and hardships un…"
"Yes," Gorn interrupted in a bored tone. "Yes, yes, yes. You did all those things, even more than most, and yet less than some."
"I don't understand," Sarah stated.
"He cheated, girl!" Gorn announced in a loud voice. "He trapped you, enchanted you, misled you, and made your journey much more challenging than I would have." He paused for a breath. "Of course, I would have simply left you in the oubliette. However, Jareth had his own reasons for letting you out."
"Are you saying that I didn't really win because 'he' cheated?" she asked challengingly. "I did what I had to do!" she declared, stepping closer. "I fought my way to the castle! I found my brother! I said my words! It's not my fault that 'he' cheated!"
Gorn chuckled with humor, liking the fire in this one, the determination, the defiance. It was no wonder Jareth was attracted to her. "It wasn't my challenge nor my rules, girl," Gorn stated pleasantly. "Jareth let you defeat him, and so you are deemed victorious."
"Then, why am I here?" she asked softly, confused all over again. "What do you want with me?"
"I want you to fix what you have broken," the Goblin King announced in a commanding voice. "And, I will keep you here until everything is made right."
"The book didn't say anything about me having to fix things," Sarah argued, her hands resting on her hips.
"The book is ever changing, just as the labyrinth itself, girl," Gorn stated, leaning slightly forward in the chair.
"Will I have help?" she asked, letting her hands fall to her sides, assuming the Goblin King was referring to his city to be repaired.
"Did you have help destroying everything?" he asked pointedly.
"She did have help!" a goblin exclaimed with excitement. "We helped!"
"She is very quick," another goblin continued. "We missed a lot!"
"I blew a hole in my house!" yet another exclaimed with misplaced excitement.
"And she had Hoggle."
"And the knight."
"And a monster who calls rocks."
"You are 'not' helping!" Gorn roared at his goblins with irritation, reducing the noise in the room to a minimal din. Sarah couldn't help but snicker behind a hand.
Suddenly, Jareth was standing in the space between Sarah and Gorn, facing the Goblin King. "Here are the drafts to rebuild your city, Gorn," Jareth announced, holding out parchments for the Goblin King to take.
"I am conducting business, Lord of the Labyrinth," Gorn informed Jareth regally, noticing how uneasy the girl became at Jareth's appearance. She stepped further back from them while bowing her head to the side, as though looking for a crack to fall into. He also noticed the flush that filled the girl's cheeks as she stole a glance toward his old friend. "But, I'll take these to look over later."
Jareth turned his head to look behind himself with curiosity when his eyes fell on Sarah. He dramatically moved his body to the side, facing her directly with shocked surprise. "What is she doing here, Gorn?" he demanded to know in an accusing tone.
"Interestingly enough, she called upon the Goblin King shortly after you left," Gorn told Jareth deceitfully. Sarah lowered her face to hide her dismay of being accused of something she didn't do, but figured if Jareth could lie to her, then it served him right to be lied to in turn.
Jareth, on the other hand, mistakenly took her demeanor as embarrassment for making an obvious mistake. "Oh, dear," Jareth stated patronizingly, stepping closer to her with haughty confidence. "Was there something you forgot during your visit?"
Sarah raised her eyes to lock her gaze with Jareth's. Her defiance and ire made them seem darker than usual. Gorn's skin prickled at the cold expression the girl bestowed his friend, while Jareth merely chuckled at her without humor.
"Perhaps, you returned to ask for this?" Jareth suggested, holding her mother's ring between two fingers in front of Sarah's face "Or, perhaps you miss this little trinket?" he taunted, showing her the bracelet she had given to Hoggle.
A pained expression flitted over her features before her eyes hardened once more. "Unlike some people, Jareth," she accused in an icy tone. "I don't take back gifts once they are given."
"You didn't want them!" he argued heatedly. "You refused everything I offered you, why not take back my gifts?"
"You let me believe that you were the king of goblins!" she countered heatedly, matching his tone perfectly. "I'm glad I didn't take anything from you!"
Jareth took a dramatic step back, arrogantly peering down his nose at her. "Yes, well, you were warned not to take anything for granted." He turned to pace slightly before returning his gaze towards her. "You had it all figured out, remember? It was a piece of cake."
"Yea, just like the slice you sent after us in a dark tunnel!" she accused. "So, what are you then?" she threw at him suddenly, arrogantly crossing her arms in front of her. "A messenger? A Mage? Or maybe your simply the court jester."
"You would be wise to hold your tongue for things you know nothing about," Jareth growled threateningly, stepping up close to her.
"And how am I supposed to know anything when all I get from you are lies?" she returned, meeting his icy gaze with her own.
"Lies! I have not spoken one untruth to you!" Jareth exclaimed, then added in an arrogant tone. "You simply assume things incorrectly."
"Really?" she challenged, stepping up closer to him, their bodies nearly touching. "I know of at least one lie you've spoken to me."
"Is that so?" he chuckled doubtfully. "And what would that be?"
"You told me that I was no match for you," she replied arrogantly. "Or were you simply taking things for granted, and assumed that I would have failed?"
His eyes flashed dangerously with his anger before gaining control of himself. "You still understand nothing!" he hissed at her, turning to put some distance between then. "Is that why you called me? To gloat? To remind me of how you defeated the great and powerful king?"
Sarah met his enraged gaze with her own leveled one. "The reason I'm here obviously has nothing to do with you at all, 'Lord of the Labyrinth'."
"Why has she summoned the Goblin King, Gorn?" Jareth demanded of his friend questioningly, spinning around to face the oversized goblin.
Gorn chuckled openly, completely amused at what he witnessed between the two before him. "It was a summons, Jareth, not a wish. You needn't concern yourself in my affairs."
Once again Jareth's eyes flashed dangerously. He took a threatening step towards Gorn before catching himself and halted all movement. "Suit yourself, old friend," Jareth stated in a feigned calm tone. "But, don't call me when she destroys what's left of your castle." With that said he vanished into a cloud of glitter.
"Why did you lie to him?" Sarah accused Gorn as soon as Jareth was gone. "Why did you tell him that I summoned the Goblin King, when I didn't?"
He gazed down at the girl with eyes full of amusement. "Why didn't 'you' tell him that you 'didn't' summon the goblin king?" Gorn countered.
Sarah looked away, flustered and embarrassed. "Because he just gets me so… augh! I can't 'think' with him around!"
"You were able to think clearly enough to take back the child he had stolen," Gorn reminded her in a patient tone.
"That was different," she explained, calming down. "I had to save my brother. Don't you understand? I 'couldn't' let him win."
Gorn leaned forward in his chair, his eyes looking upon her with empathy. "Sarah, it's you who doesn't understand. He won the moment you stepped into his labyrinth."
"No," she shook her head in denial. "I fought my way through the labyrinth. Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, I …"
"Asked for help," Gorn interrupted evenly. Sarah froze and stared at the Goblin King with wide eyes, finally starting to see his point. "And, Jareth gave it to you." Gorn leaned back in upon his cushions. "As I've told you before, I would have simply left you in the oubliette."
"No," she denied again. "That's not right. No one told me that I couldn't ask for help!" She paced in a tight circle, holding her head with confusion while some goblins followed her playfully. "I won his challenge, I did!" Her mind worked overtime, recounting everything she'd gone through while in the labyrinth, then lifted her eyes with sudden realization to meet Gorn's calm, patient gaze. The goblins following behind her slammed into her back in a domino effect. "In fact, I didn't ask for help the first time, it was given. That worm told me how to find doorways without my asking him!"
"You asked the gatekeeper which way to go," Gorn reminded her, having all the information of her journey in his mind, given to him by the magic of the Labyrinth itself.
"Hoggle wasn't any help in the beginning," she snorted. "All he told me was that he wouldn't go either way." Sarah's eyes suddenly filled with realization as she looked up at Gorn. "He told me which way to go, didn't he?" she asked. "I was supposed to go straight, wasn't I? There was a doorway there, wasn't there?"
"Jareth won the moment you stepped into his labyrinth," Gorn repeated steadily.
"But… but, I didn't listen to Hoggle, I turned. I ran down corridor after corridor."
"Only to have the same creature show you the way later in your journey. When you were trapped within the oubliette."
Sarah wanted to crumple into a heap on the floor. She wanted to run away where no one could find her, and cry at how stupid she was. How brave she thought she had been. She wanted to scream about how unfair it was. But, all she ended up doing was meeting Gorn's waiting gaze.
"Then it was all for nothing," she stated, tears threatening to spill over brimmed eyes.
"I have no claim over you, girl, I've told you this. I do, however, hold claim over the damage you had caused here, and would have you heal what has been broken."
Feeling completely dejected, Sarah nodded in agreement to help fix the damage she had caused. "Am I to remain here forever?" she asked fearfully, not looking up at the Goblin King.
"Only if that is how long it takes you to make things right."
"I suggest you take advantage of the opportunity before you, Jareth." Gorn was telling his friend a few weeks after Sarah had been returned to the Underground. "Sarah is definitely headstrong and defiant, I give you that much. Already she commands most of my goblins in assisting her."
"What makes you think I want anything to do with the mortal, Gorn?" he asked in a bored, guarded tone.
"Hmph," Gorn huffed. "You can't even bear to say her name, and you ask me why you should go after her." He stepped forward to lean on the window sill to oversee the city below from the throne room. "Are you aware that she can sense when you are nearby?"
"Really?" Jareth questioned, trying to sound impartial, but failing. Clearing his throat he continued, accomplishing a neutral tone. "What would make you believe that?"
"She's glanced up at the castle four times since your arrival, Jareth." He turned his gaze towards his friend. "She hasn't glanced this way at all in almost a week and a half."
"I'm sure a goblin told her of my being here," Jareth surmised aloud with reason. "She's simply paranoid that I would challenge her."
"Why don't you?" Gorn suggested innocently.
"What for?" Jareth returned, then glanced out the window himself, his eyes automatically landing upon Sarah. "She's refused me once. I won't subject myself to her whims again."
"She doesn't know you, Jareth. She's only seen the fearful, commanding side of you, not the being who desperately needs companionship." He glanced out the window as Jareth frowned at him. "Ah, I knew that wouldn't hold," Gorn remarked casually. "She didn't let the mud dry enough before adding more stone."
Jareth casually peered out the window to see what Gorn was referring to. The wall Sarah was adding stones to was starting to capsize, threatening to topple down upon her completely. Within the blink of an eye Jareth was gone from the throne room only to reappear at Sarah's back. Wrapping an arm around her waist, they both disappeared just as the wall of stone crumbled to the ground where Sarah had been standing.
Gorn chuckled to himself slyly. "I clearly see how you will not subject yourself to the girl, my old friend."
"Get off of me!" Sarah complained, struggling from Jareth's embrace. He let her go, allowing her to stumble forward a couple of steps before gaining her feet and turning back to glare at him. "Keep your hands off of me!" she ranted at him, then began to walk away.
He was going to simply let her go until he heard her mumble under her breath. 'Overgrown ape.' He was in front of her in an instant, causing her to gasp in surprise, and stumble backwards so she didn't slam into his chest.
"Is that really what you think of me?" he asked with mild curiosity, a snide smile on his lips.
"I don't know what you're talking about," she denied, and tried to push past him. He took her firmly by the arm near her elbow and maneuvered her back against the stone house they were standing near.
"I have superb hearing," he informed her, leaning close to her while she pressed back further against the wall, her breaths suddenly uneven. "Why would you consider me an overgrown ape, I wonder? Do you honestly compare me to mortal men?"
"I don't compare you to anyone, or anything," she retorted, collecting her inner courage. "Just leave me alone!" She moved to push past him only for him to stop her once again with a firm hand on her arm.
"I want to know what you summoned me for," he told her, taking advantage of the situation. "What reason had you given Gorn to bring you back?"
Sarah met his eyes with hers, feeling that captivating pull that had almost lured her to him before. 'He won the moment you stepped into his labyrinth,' she heard Gorn say in the back of her mind. 'Jareth let you defeat him.' "It doesn't matter," she whispered choppily, suddenly refusing to look up at him. "Nothing is as it seems here. Nothing." She shoved at him hard, forcibly pushing him back to get past.
Jareth let her go, looking after her as she briskly made her way through the city back to where she had been working. 'She actually trembled,' Jareth thought with confusion, then magically rejoined Gorn in the throne room by the window. "What have you filled her head with, Gorn?" he questioned his friend in a casual tone. "That would make her fear me more now than ever before?"
"Mortals," Gorn scoffed off-handedly. "One never knows what their heads are full of."
"You told her, didn't you?" he accused lightly. "You told her that I let her defeat me."
"Perhaps," he allotted with a nonchalant wave of his hand. "It might have come up in conversation."
"Then, I'd be wasting my time bothering with her," Jareth stated evenly. "Her mild fear has turned to terror. I have no chance of getting close to her now." Jareth slowly faded from Gorn's sights.
Gorn turned his attention back out his window and watched as Sarah rejoined the goblins around the fallen structure below. He observed how she stared up at this very window, despite not being able to see within it. The moment Jareth had left the girl bowed her head dejectedly, wiping at her face with the back of her hand before focusing once more on her task. "Such stubbornness," Gorn reflected with a deep sigh, thinking of both the girl, and his friend.