Twenty First

A Labyrinth Tale

Disclaimer: Echo the Insane in no way, shape, or form owns the film "The Labyrinth". Nor does Echo the Insane own the wonderful characters, music, or plot in said film. Echo the Insane does not own the awesome medicine known as Tylenol, either. Echo the Insane does, however, own a bottle of Tylenol and a large amount of rum...

Sarah Williams' frowned, deciding that her twenty-first birthday was by far the worst birthday of her life. Her boyfriend of two years, Eric, decided to pick this day to declare they were best as just friends. Her father and step-mother were off on some business trip in the Andes, Toby was staying with their Aunt in Maine, and all of Sarah's friends had made plans since Sarah had planned to spend the day with her now ex-boyfriend.

By far, the worst day ever. She could spend this awful day in her college dorm room that smelt worst than the Bog of Eternal Stench due to a prank involving the sewage line and a horde of dirty socks, or go to her childhood home in the next town. At least she'd have the place to herself...and not have to smell that awful stink.

So, alone, bored, and with no plan what-so-ever, Sarah made her way back to her home. Perhaps she'd order pizza and watches films all day. Maybe even go to the convenience store down the road and pick up a drink of some sort – she was twenty-one now. The idea sounded better with every mile.

She stopped at the mart on her way, finally arriving home a quarter past ten in the morning. She went inside, watered Karen's plants (something she had done every other day since her folks went off on the trip), dialed the pizza place, and went about lazing on the couch with all the enthusiasm of a wet noodle.

She watched a bit of a chick flick, was immediately irritated at the hero of the story (he looked a bit too much like Eric), and changed it to a good old action film. The multiple explosions and car crashes soothed her irked soul a bit, so by the time the pizza arrived, she was in a pretty decent mood. She paid the delivery guy, ignored his teenage attempt at flirting, slammed the door in his pimply face, then went about making herself...a drink. She poured the vodka based, rather fruity drink in a mug, giggling in anticipation.

Sure, she'd had a drink or two at college (even gotten stone drunk once or twice), but the fact she had bought this drink, that she was legal to drink it, gave her a bit of a thrill. She sipped it, enjoyed the cool, sweet flavor, and went back to her carnage filled film and pizza.

She somehow managed to be both surprised and not surprised to find the Goblin King sitting on the arm of her couch. The fact that he was there did not surprise (he had dropped in on her off and on over the years), the fact he was eating a slice of pepperoni pizza and watching the movie with seeming interest, did surprise her.

"'Lo Sarah," he said around a mouthful of pizza, turning away from the movie to glance at her.

"Hi Jareth," she sighed, sipping her drink again as she plopped down on the couch, leaving the pizza between the two of them. She took a slice, bit into it viciously. He would come to torment her on her birthday of all days.

"What on earth are you drinking?" he asked, swallowing a big bite of pizza. He grabbed the mug, sniffed the drink, and made a horrible face. "What the devil do you call this?"

Sarah raised her eyebrow. "A Smirnoff. Watermelon flavored."

Jareth looked from the mug to her, a look of sheer disgust on his face. "Your twenty-first and you're drinking this...syrup?"

"It's vodka based," she said, snatching back her mug, shooting him a glare as she took another sip.

Jareth snorted, rolled his eyes, then went back to his pizza. Sarah grumbled under her breath, snuggling back into the couch.

They watched the movie for awhile, Jareth commenting here and there on things he found enjoyable. He did love the explosions nearly as much as she did. When he moved the now empty box to the floor and slid into the spot beside her, Sarah didn't mind. She was on Smirnoff number two and was feeling more relaxed than she had in months.

Jareth took her mug again. Sarah sighed, rolled her eyes, and let him sniff it, even sip it. He made a face, put his hand over the opening as he passed it back to her. "Simply awful," he groused.

Sarah rolled her eyes, took a sip, and froze. "You switched my drink!" she accused, looking down into the mug. The formerly clear liquid was now a honey gold. It smelt of honey, it tasted of tasted really good, actually. Better than her Smirnoff. "Oh, that's nice," she said, taking a slightly larger sip.

"Elvish wine," he said proudly, turning her whole body to look at her better. He leaned his arm against the back of the couch, propping his chin his hand. "Very old. Some of the best in the Labyrinth."

"Oh. Thank you," Sarah said, taking what she was sure was more a gulp than a sip. "It's very, very good." Funny thing, the mug was still rather full.

"Glad you like it," Jareth said, clearly amused. He tucked some hair behind her ear, and for once, she didn't mind his attention. Normally him touching her made her uncomfortable. Now it just felt nice. "Want to tell me why you're so sour today pet?"

Sarah drained the mug, squinted down into it, her eyebrows shooting up. It was full again, as if she'd never had a sip. She sloshed the contents around, watching the golden liquid swirl. "Just a bad day," she replied at last, taking another, deep drink.

"Birthday's are supposed to be fun, Sarah," he admonished.

"Not this one," she grumbled, taking a bigger gulp. The liquid was so warm, so sweet...and neverending. "I really like this stuff," she said, wondering why her voice sounded so...funny.

Jareth reached out, took the mug, and sat it on the coffee table. "Enough of that, pet. Let's get you upstairs."

Sarah squinted suspiciously at him. "You aren't getting any."

Jareth looked genuinely horrified, then busted into laughter. "I wasn't planning on it, love. You're drunk. You need sleep."

"I am not!" she protested, letting him pull her to her feet. The fact she fell into his chest and nearly slipped down the length of him didn't mean a thing. The fact the world was suddenly very fuzzy and she was barely aware of her feet underneath her was just trivial fact. She was not, in anyway, drunk.

Jareth chuckled again, lifting her off her feet. "Up to bed, pet."

"Not your pet," she grumbled, squinting at him again.

"No, no, no, of course not," he chuckled, carrying her up the stairs.

She was in her bed, tucked in and oh so warm within seconds. Jareth sat down on the edge of her bed, brushing the hair from her face. "Why are you so...pretty?" she asked him, staring at him in confusion.

Jareth looked mildly surprised, then laughed under his breath. "I'm the Goblin King, my dear. I'm not pretty; I'm handsome."

"That too," she agreed, feeling ever-so sleepy. Her eyes drooped, her breathing slowed. "Oh dear," she yawned.

Jareth tucked her blankets around her a bit better, resting something on the bed beside her. She was so tired she didn't look to see what it was. "Happy Birthday, sweet Sarah." He kissed her forehead, smiling as she fell into a deep, drunken slumber.

When Sarah woke the next morning, she found a dark blue box with a white ribbon around it on the bed beside her. It was long and thin, and inside of it was a crystal rose. It was a soft, baby pink, and seemed to glow from the inside outward. There was a card wishing her a happy birthday, signed, "Love, Jareth."

Beside her beautiful gift was a bottle of Tylenol, for which she was extremely grateful.

Sarah Williams' smiled despite her headache, deciding that her twenty-first was by far the best birthday of her life.