A brief note: This is a fic written for the end of the year … and for Winterfest (up at www. labyfic . livejournal . com).

Though it's finished (pending any last-minute plot changes), the rest of it will be posted starting 12/23, in accordance w/ the fic Fest rules.

Disclaimer: I own nothing of Labyrinth, Toby, Sarah, Jareth, and/or anything else belonging to Jim Henson.

Rating: K+ here, for angst & childhood injury. Rating will increase in later chapters.



I have always kept certain old traditions on Christmas Eve. Hospitality is one of them. If you were to travel through the wind and snow on December twenty-four, and knock on the door, I would welcome you. Of course, I hope that you would not mind if I have other, more homely traditions to keep as well. For instance – you might smile to see me preparing a plate of cookies and a glass of milk. Then you might rush to help me carry the rocking chair. I'm getting old, you see. Older every year.

But then, if you are observant, you might wonder why you're helping carry the rocking chair upstairs, far from the fireplace, far from the tree with its sparkling lights. You might wonder why I've set down the cookies and milk on a rickety old table, in a child's room – and why I sit my own old self down in the rocking chair there, of all places. Why I give all the signs of being settled for the night, rocking back and forth, looking at a blank white wall.

You might think that I've gone a bit senile, and tiptoe out to let me sleep.

Or you might take a cookie for yourself, sit down across from me, and ask me why I sit in this room of all rooms, on this night, of all nights.

I used to be a storyteller – probably the best, in my muddle of a family. But I'll let someone else tell you this story. He was a little boy – perhaps just like your own younger brother, if you have one. Blond and blue-eyed, with a fine mind and a sense of fun, and more mischief in him than manners.

His family loved him and he loved them. This room, once upon a time, was his.