Did Jennifer Connelly have a nose job? Even if you said no, you had to think about it. I can't remember whether she admitted to it, it's been that long; however, like a true nerd and hopeless romantic, I always wondered how said nose job would fit into the Labyrinth universe. The scene I imagined was… well, less than flattering. But I decided to write said scene out anyway.
I'm just odd like that.
Linda Williams, Broadway diva turned silver screen siren, had acted out many hospital scenes. She'd played doctors, nurses, patients, grieving relatives, and even assassins equipped with vials of arsenic. But sound stages and movie sets were remarkably quiet places. There were no beeping heart monitors or whirring oxygen tanks. That racket was added later during editing. She responded to off-screen cues from her director. It was fake, all of it, from the equipment to the emotion.
But the noisy machines keeping her daughter alive were all too real. The needles piercing Sarah's wrists were pumping actual saline and morphine into her veins. There was no stage make-up staining her eyes black and blue. Her hair was crusted with blood, not raspberry flavored corn syrup.
The girl lying motionless in that itchy cotton gown looked nothing like her daughter. She didn't even look human. There were so many tubes and wires supporting her vital body organs that she looked like some extra from some B-list horror flick. Sarah was unnaturally still, as still as a mannequin, but the doctor had insisted it was for the best. If she even twitched, she could accidentally tear her stitches and bleed out. And her face…
"Thankfully most of the bruising is superficial, but she has corneal abrasions on both eyes. Her face was most likely pressed into the dirt during the attack. They'll heal on their own, but we'll still prescribe a topical antibiotic to prevent infection, as well as a topical cycloplegic to make her more comfortable."
Behind her, the doctor in his pristine white coat rattled off Sarah's laundry list of injuries, his voice cold, sharp and unfeeling. It was nothing like the movies, where the doctor was either utterly sympathetic or overly gung-ho.
"I recommend going ahead with labiaplasty to remove what's left of her hymen. Most of it was torn clean off, but there are some remnants of it. Hymenal tags cause pain during intercourse and birth, so it's better to remove them in the long run."
Swallowing past the lump in her throat, Linda nodded in agreement, blinding signing the form allowing the surgery as it was handed to her.
"Once the stitches have been taken out, her vulva will look and feel natural. However, there will be some nerve loss, but that depends on how much scar tissue there is. However, we have some of the best surgeons in the country, so I can assure that there will be minimum scarring. There was no damage to her clitoris, which is good," the doctor continued with some sympathy. It was disturbing to be talking about her daughter's broken femininity in such clinical terms. He used such ugly words, and he used them so casually. Didn't he know whose daughter he was speaking about? Maybe he wasn't a fan…
"Unfortunately, her nose is completely destroyed. The skin remains unbroken, but one of her nasal passages was crushed, and nearly all of the cartilage is loose or gone. Her anterior nasal spine, the little piece of bone that holds the cartilaginous center of the nose, has snapped off. She's looking at complete nasal reconstructive surgery."
Tears sprung to Linda's eyes as she looked at her daughter. Once she had thought Sarah pretty, but plain. Now, seeing her ruined face, Linda could only remember a devastatingly beautiful girl with flawless, innocent features.
"Our cosmetic surgery department is one of the best in the country, she'll be –"
"I keep Dr. Rey Nolan on retainer, he'll perform the surgery," Linda interrupted abruptly, her tone tense, curt. "He's in Malibu right now. Call him and tell him Linda Williams wants his ass on the next flight to JFK, or else."
She heard the doctor scribble something on his notepad, and then retreating footsteps as he left the room. It was more than uncomfortable, being alone with her broken ragdoll of a daughter. The girl on the bed, covered in bandages from head to toe, was a miracle. The man (or men) who'd raped her had very little knowledge of human anatomy. When they'd went to slit her throat, they'd cut directly under her chin, slicing her skin from ear to ear; they'd missed her arteries and trachea by mere centimeters. The scar would be long, but thin, and if her existing scars were anything to go by, it would be shiny, but pale and practically invisible. But it would be there, and she would have to deal with it every time she looked in the mirror.
"I promise baby, you'll be so beautiful after this," Linda whispered to a girl who had once been her spitting image. "Everything will be okay. You'll be prettier than you ever were."
Sarah didn't, couldn't respond. But when she woke up, she'd have a new nose – a prettier nose! One of those nice, straight ones, the kind a proper movie starlet had. Sarah was always complaining about her nose, so she'd be thrilled, just thrilled!
For years, Linda had felt utter apathy about her relationship with her former husband. Sarah, her near clone, was just an accessory. Something pretty and complimentary, but as easily abandoned as an out of season pocket book. It was only when she was going for a vintage look that she brought out her daughter. When she needed to look mature and adult, she'd parade Sarah around like a show dog.
But now, with her daughter battered and nearly dead, she realized that everything was her fault. She felt no regrets about leaving Robert, Jeremy was the better man, but Sarah deserved far more than child support payments, the first thing being an apology. It was Linda's fault for letting Sarah walk back to the penthouse, for not insisting that she take the car. It was she that put glass after glass of champagne into Sarah's hands, thinking the seventeen-year-old could handle it.
"Oh Sarah," she sobbed. "Please don't hate me. I couldn't bear it if you hated me."
"You'll have to bear it, you bitch," an irate female voice echoed through the room as the door slammed open. "Now get the hell away from my daughter!"
Ever the ballet-trained actress, Linda spun on her heel gracefully, her satin, flouncy skirt swishing around her knees. She gasped theatrically, one hand flying to her throat in shock at the unexpected interruption.
Irene Williams, in all her bland, housewife glory was standing in the doorway of the hospital room, her usually coiffed blond hair falling in short, limp hanks around her plain face. But her eyes were hot, all molten blue fire and absolute fury. She was livid, a she-dragon in a wet trench coat. It must've been raining outside.
"What do you mean, your daughter?" Linda drawled, her hands gripping her hips in a show of false bravado. Inside, she was trembling. Irene looked ready to kill her, but Linda was nothing if not a good actress. "The last time I checked, I was the one who carried her, who birthed her. You're nothing but a stand-in." She scoffed, her green eyes raking over Irene's sodden form. The woman was such a peasant. She kept her hair short because it was sensible. Her clothes were rarely anything more than utilitarian. Irene wasn't even a Stepford wife. She was just dull, as dull as the muddy white tennis shoes she was wearing. But not at that moment. At that moment, she was a bright spike of sheer rage.
"Listen to me, you ham-fisted cunt," Irene hissed through sharp, clenched teeth. "If she dies, I will feel no compunction about ramming an ice pick through that empty cavern where your heart should be."
A small whimper of fear escaped Linda's throat before she could smother it.
"I have never been thus treated in my entire life!" Linda gasped in mock outrage. With a flourish and a flip of her long, gleaming locks, she stormed out of the room and into the hallway – anything to get away from the venomous soccer mom, and her daughter's failing body.
Her breasts heaving from the energy it takes to be angry, Irene glared at Linda's retreating figure. Even in defeat, the actress was utterly beautiful and poised in her red cocktail dress. As soon as she disappeared around a corner, Irene flew to Sarah's bedside, tears streaming down her cheeks even as she cooed lovingly to her stepdaughter. She smoothed her fingertips over Sarah's bloody brow, brushing away strands of hair made crispy by drying blood. Sarah's eyelashes, spiked with tears and dirt, fluttered lightly against her cheeks, like the wings of a dying butterfly.
"Don't you worry Sarah," Irene cooed as she brushed her knuckles over the teenager's bruised cheeks. While not as liquidly graceful as Linda, Irene was infinitely more loving and motherly. She knew how to touch the daughter who'd only started calling her 'Mom' just over a year earlier. Sarah didn't even call Linda 'Mom', always mother or mama (pronounced mu-mah, with that cheap French accent Linda preferred). "Everything will be okay. Your father's on his way home from London. He'll be here any minute now. We'll take you away, I promise."
"I'm afraid that's not happening." Linda was back, her tone sure and acerbic. Irene glared at her through narrowed eyes, her hands still gently caressing Sarah's cheeks. Standing beside the low-life actress was a tall, dreary man in a wool suit. He carried a briefcase in one hand, and a set of papers in the other.
"Before Mr. Robert Williams left for England, he signed over power of attorney to Linda, as she is Sarah's biological mother," the man intoned with an aristocratic English accent. It went well with his graying mustache and droopy eyes. "Now, if you please, Sarah is due for surgery."
The self-satisfied smirk on Linda's face was so disgusting that Irene wanted to beat it off of her with a snow shovel. But, realizing her defeat, she closed her eyes and pressed a fleeting kiss to Sarah's forehead. The girl seemed to recognize the feel of her stepmother's chapped lips, a soft sigh wheezing through her split lips.
"There's no one in the universe as magical and wondrous as you," she whispered, thinking that's what Sarah would want to hear. And then several doctors in white coats came in and carted Sarah away, dragging with them those raucous life machines. Linda lifted her chin victoriously, leaving Irene to weep in the empty room.
As the metal hospital bed was wheeled down to the OR, Irene's words drifted through Sarah's drug-addled mind. But one thing was certain. She wasn't the most magical and wondrous person in the universe. Those words belonged to another.
"Jareth," she mouthed, even though her lips could barely form the name. Then more anesthetics were fed into her system, and everything went blissfully black.
Staring into a crystal balanced precariously on his index finger, Jareth sighed at the sweaty, frightened face of the Labyrinth's latest runner. The fat British boy had wished away his nanny in a fit of immature petulance, and then promptly realized how much trouble he'd be in once his parents found out. So he accepted the Goblin King's challenge, and after six hours, he had yet to figure out that solely making left turns was not a sensible strategy. Even the Labyrinth couldn't muster up the energy to change itself, instead letting the boy run in circles over and over again. Both the maze and its master were utterly bored with the chubby Londoner and his plump, rosy cheeks. The boy was so intolerable that Jareth made sure that anyone who could help him navigate the many walls and hedges were otherwise occupied. Even the worm was inside, probably enjoying a thimble of brandy with his wife.
And then there was the nanny, who shrieked so much that within minutes of her arrival, she was locked in an oubliette far away from the castle. Like all nannies, she was dour and frightfully sensible, all buttons, tweed and austerity. She made him wish for a hundred screaming babies. At least babies took naps.
He was about to shatter the crystal in a tight grip, when a voice so achingly familiar drifted in on the wind, carrying his name. For a minute, his heart came to a complete stop, the cacophony of goblin voices and squealing livestock fading away until all he heard was her. But nothing followed, not even her breath. She went disturbingly quiet. Even her heartbeat was hushed, and worse than that, uncertain.
Jareth sat up in his odd, misshapen throne, waiting for her to say something, anything, but she remained quiet.
"Sarah," came his weary yet loving response. He caressed the plain syllables with his tongue, turning that average, boring name in a term of endearment. She was such a precious thing, after all.
So precious, that he could sense something dreadful had happened to her, something life-shattering.
And then the obese English schoolboy started crying for his mummy, falling on his well-cushioned ass as he kicked and screamed like a toddler. Really, the English were supposed to be the most prudish and well-to-do people on the planet, and somehow they birthed this… this… appetite.
"I think it's time to open a new oubliette," he complained to the crystal, knowing that the Labyrinth was listening. He had a brief moment of glee as the ground split underneath the runner, swallowing him with a hearty belch before closing up again. He smirked, but in his heart, he could only hear someone speaking his name with Sarah's voice.
This is un-beta'ed, and most likely a one-shot, but it wouldn't leave me alone. So… yeah.
Oh yeah, and the title of the story comes from the song 'Iris', by the Goo Goo Dolls.