VERY IMPORTANT AUTHOR'S NOTES
Firstly: I'm not dead! I've just been keeping a promise to myself that I would only write one piece of fanfiction for every two chapters of my novel that I complete. Originally this also meant I could only write oneshots, but it's been a very long time since I wrote any fanfiction, and I've also written several short stories, so I felt I could cheat a little (a big short story contest I entered gets drawn on Saturday; wish me luck!). So, yes, if you've been missing me terribly, which I know you all have, then never fear, for I have returned! Well, until this story is done, anyway. Also, if you've read 'Into My Arms', you will recognise Meg. This is because I am lazy. This story does not, however, bear any connection to my previous works.
So, the story.
This is kind of the culmination of several separate ideas that have been floating around in my head. HOWEVER, unlike my other stories (with the exception of that one chapter in 'Sad Love'), it is not complete! Thus, it is likely to be chaotic, nonsensical and be uploaded at irregular intervals. Yay!
And that's where you come in.
AUNTY BAZZA NEEDS YOU. *points* Please tell me, in a review, your guilty musical pleasure. I want one song from each of you which is absolutely terrible, but you love anyway. I'll try and use as many of them as possible. In particular, I am looking for something about sparkles and glitter. This is a story with a soundtrack. Interactive, yay!
If you are a super-massive Twilight fan, or 'twihard' (which i think sounds like 'tryhard'), then this story is not for you. If you are crazy-defensive about your love for romance novels, this story is not for you.
Don't you just love the image of Jareth in a dressing gown (bathrobe to you Yanks) and fuzzy bunny slippers? So snuggly. Also, Google marmosets when you get to Meg's description. I think it's the third image. If anyone wants to buy/ smuggle me a marmoset, I will be eternally grateful.
I promise the giggles shall abound in later chapters.
Disclaimer: I do not own Labyrinth or any related wotsits. A portune is a creature in Irish/ English mythy wotsits that may grant wishes if captured. I have never been to Ireland, and therefore have a somewhat romanticised view of it. I've done my best not to move into cliches, so hopefully I haven't offended anyone. Do, however, have fun with the accents.
SOUNDTRACK FOR THIS CHAPTER: 'Leaving on a Jetplane' by John Denver and 'A Pistol for Paddy Garcia' by The Pogues. You should be able to find them on Youtube, iTunes, etc.
I'm pretty sure that's everything, so I'll stop this infernally long author's not and leave you to the story. Enjoy!
It was raining when the plane landed.
It was almost tropical, this lushness, this green. Tropical without the heat, and the sweat, and the danger. It was a melancholy wetness, like running through the rain to escape, not running into a Hollywood kiss. Like Wuthering Heights, not Pride and Prejudice. Like the start of a shower, not the end of it. It was sad, and it was beautiful, and it was green.
The town Sarah's mother lived in was tiny, more like a village, with one inn and one corner shop and not much else. It was an hour's drive to anywhere larger, down narrow roads with emerald hills on either side. The only thing which stopped the village from being anything more than a pile of stones in a valley was the manor house, left over from another time, big and sprawling and possessing of a sort of homely neglect rarely found in large houses. It sat above the village like a beloved and slightly mad aunt or an older brother, warm and protective.
For Sarah, the town inexplicably felt like home.
She had moved to Ireland with her mother, away from the home she had always known. She didn't belong there; Karen and Toby and her father were the perfect nuclear family, and although she had stopped being a brat and grown up years ago, she still didn't really fit. So now she was here, in a tiny Irish town with her mother the retired actress, sitting at a desk in a tiny attic room, writing stories and gazing out at impossibly green hills.
She had made a friend quickly, the only other eighteen-year-old girl for miles, and she lived right next door. Her name was Meg, and she was petite, with large, unblinking eyes and frizzy blonde hair. She was cheerful, enthusiastic almost to a fault, and reminded Sarah of nothing other than a marmoset. Together, they talked about movies and popular music and the things Sarah had left behind in the suburbs of England. They went for walks on the hills surrounding the town, sometimes pretending to look for fairy rings and leprechaun gold and all the things Sarah had believed in as a child.
They were on one of their walks, wandering down an overgrown road where bracken poked up from ancient cobblestones, when they met an old woman going in the opposite direction. She was riding a bicycle laden about with packages, and had a shock of steely grey, flyaway hair. There was nothing out of the ordinary in her immediate appearance, though she had an air of being not entirely who she appeared to be. She waved as she came towards the girls, braking gently as they stopped to greet her.
"Lovely day for it!" She commented brightly, indicating the beautiful landscape with a sweeping gesture, lit by a few golden rays of light. Her accent was so strong Sarah almost had trouble understanding her.
"It surely is!" Meg replied cheerily, grinning widely.
"And what are you young ladies up to?" The woman asked them with a conspiratorial wink.
"Looking for a pot of gold." Meg replied, smirking.
"Ah, well, if it's faery magic you're after, I have just the thing…" The woman began rummaging through her many bags, eventually pulling out a fat medallion on a leather cord, decorated with knot work and bearing an image of an old man's wizened face. "This will grant you any wish. It's yours for a euro."
"Not a silver thruppence?" Sarah asked sarcastically, before Meg elbowed her painfully in the ribs.
"You got any coins, Sarah?" Meg was rummaging in her pockets.
"Yeah, hold on…" Together, they managed to scrounge a euro, and Meg hung the medallion triumphantly around her neck.
"You ladies be careful now." The woman told them warmly, though with a note of sternness in her tone. "Since you paid for it together, the wish will work for both of you, but you can only make the one."
"How does it work?" Meg asked, holding it up to her face, eyes wider than ever.
"It binds you to a magical creature with wish-granting abilities. A portune, or something like that." The woman settled herself onto her bike, getting ready to push off. "Whichever creature's nearest will be bound to grant the wish and protect you for the wish's duration."
"Um, I'm not sure about this…" Sarah hissed urgently to Meg. She remembered all too well what it was like to be bound in a contract with a magical being, and it wasn't something she wished to repeat.
"Well, good luck!" The woman waved to them, then pushed off and began pedalling away from them.
"Bye!" Meg waved back, then turned to Sarah. "Come on, Sarah. We're just helping her make a little money. Don't tell me you think it'll actually work?"
"You're the Irish one; aren't you supposed to be telling me stories about brownies and banshees and whatever?" Sarah glanced back at the woman on the bicycle; the road stretched straight behind them, but she was nowhere to be seen.
"I do believe that is racial stereotyping." Meg sniffed, stroking the medallion distractedly with her thumb. "Now, what should we wish for?"
"I thought you said you didn't believe in magic?" Sarah sneered.
"That… is next to the point." She twisted up her face in an expression which only through careful study had Sarah learnt meant she was concentrating, and not, whatever it may appear, experiencing stomach pains. "We paid for it, we may as well see if it works."
"Oh, alright." Sarah sighed. "But trust me, making wishes is a dangerous business."
"Stuff and nonsense." Meg's face brightened. "Aha!"
"I wish we could live in our favourite novels!" Meg said excitedly.
"Aren't you supposed to consult me first?" Sarah said grumpily as her friend looked around eagerly.
"Ooh, the sky is melting…"
"I beg your pardon?"
Sarah looked up and let out a gasp; the clouds did indeed look as though they were melting, running together into long, dripping rivulets of black ink, which swirled and ran together and stretched into words. All around them, the green hills were melting away, turning into words which swirled around them like a spidery tornado. Then the black ink separated into a flurry of colours, all of which flew outwards and began merging into new shapes, a new landscape, a new sky.
In the barest of breaths, the thrum of a hummingbird's heart, Ireland was gone, and Meg and Sarah stood somewhere entirely new.
In the manor house which overlooked the tiny Irish village where Sarah and Meg lived, there was a man, or close enough. He was reclining upon a chaise in the only way he knew, which was elegantly. There was a roaring fire in front of him, a Persian rug on the floor beneath him and a mahogany bookshelf filled with beautifully leather-bound tomes behind him. He was clad in a quilted dressing gown or finest burgundy velvet, his name monogrammed in the finest gold thread on the breast. He was wildly handsome, with meticulously untamed hair and a predatory smile, possessive of a grace even the finest of mortal men could never even dream of.
The human world suited Jareth.
Despite his crushing defeat and the loss of his kingdom at the hands of an annoyingly pretty child, he was feeling good about himself. Ireland was one of the few places in the world which still held magic, and he was able to enjoy the full extent of his magical powers here without the pesky addition of governing a kingdom full of half-wits. There were no chickens, no saucepan hats and no screaming children in his new home. The hills were green and the soil was rich and the few women he met appreciated a man in leather trousers. Unlike some.
He had even almost succeeded in forgetting about that impudent brat with the beguiling eyes who had lost him his Kingship. Indeed, on the few occasions he did think about her (read: on the few occasions he thought about her without feeling the need to watch The Notebook and eat copious amounts of chocolate ice-cream), he was of half a mind that he should thank her, Heaven forbid they ever cross paths again. After all, now he had no responsibilities other than to himself, which was the way he had always wanted it, really.
He was just settling in for another night of dozing peacefully by the fire with a book of human folktales (read: history books), a pair of fuzzy slippers on his feet which were most certainly not bunny rabbits, thankyou very much, and his dressing gown wrapped snugly around him. He had had a glass of rather excellent brandy and a fine supper cooked by entirely non-goblin hands, and was feeling very pleased with himself. He felt he could even have maintained a conversation with Sarah without having a tantrum and demanding she give him his dignity back.
And then the Binding came.