"call fondly upon this nightmare"
Genre: Drama, Romance
Time Frame: Pre-post Film
Summary: She hovers with wishes on her lips, and memories as dreams and nightmares against her waking mind – after all, she reminds herself, this had never been a fairytale.
Notes: This year I am playing around with the 50 sentence challenge over at another site - which prompts one to write four stories a month based on a set of fifty prompts. The fifty prompts result in one sentence each, and then a whole story is formed from the snapshots provided in those sentences. Obviously, this challenge will slaughter grammar, and bring out the seldom seen fandom from the muse - but is a fun and curious thing that has already been incredibly interesting. If you wish to, you can track my progress in my profile.
For Table IV of March, I brought out a very nostalgic fandom from the muse. (Hush, all of you who are trying not to snicker.) And, in the end, I had a ridiculous amount of fun playing with these two – after all, what teenager didn't try wishing away their little siblings to the Goblin King after seeing how Jareth sparkled? Exactly. These sentences jump everywhere in the timestream, and quite a few are snippets of stories and ideas that I never fully developed – so, let your imagination run rampant. And enjoy.
As always, thank-you for reading.
Disclaimer: Nothing is mine, but for the words.
Years later, she would pull a red bound book from the attic and feel the familiar taste of magic flood her mouth as she blew dust from the cover, remembering the fantastical world she had braved when still loitering on the cusp of adulthood – her right words remembered as she battled dangers untold, until she had even a King bowing in supplication before her.
It was easiest to observe her like this, avian talons strong against the bark of the branch, and the night air a magical thing to his senses as he trained otherworldly gold eyes on the girl child, content to merely watch until the time was right.
"I don't understand why its so hard to peel that girl away from her books – what's so interesting there, that she doesn't already have here?"
Sarah watched her Father and Karen (she could never call the other woman mother, and yet stepmother seemed to hold too many unfair connotations) together, and felt a pang as she missed her own mother, still as tangible as it was the day Linda Williams had first left.
"Just because I am the most logical answer for a babysiter doesn't mean I want to spend every Friday night with you," Sarah muttered as she bounced Toby in her arms, the child's eyes clear and mischievous as he grinned at her.
Before her, Merlin and the ever constant white owl watched her memorize her lines, clearly unimpressed, and Sarah had to fight back a sigh of frustration at her difficulty in handling the words correctly.
"At least Dorothy had her way marked for her," Sarah lamented bitterly as she took in the russet colored world around her; a fantastical place streaked with autumn, skies stained a perpetual twilight beyond the imposing height of the walls.
Her skin tingled with an ancient awareness of power before the Goblin King, her eyes wide as she took in the whole of him – delicate but strong fae features, and skin seemingly spun of the moonlight seeping through the window beyond - pale and shadowcast with the glittering whisper of stars teasing her eyes with his every move.
Her father hated that she tried so much with the dramatic arts – her mother had left them all for fame and glittering lights, and all Sarah had from her (past the phone call every other Saturday, and the odd Christmas vacation spent with her mother) were her love of fairytales and her flair for the dramatic.
His voice was like a smirk, and his eyes were both arrogant and curious in turns as he offered his challenge to her – time to right the wrong she had wished, if she was to navigate his kingdom successfully.
The Labyrinth was an exercise in optical illusions (floating stairs and double doors and trick passages), and she tried not to scowl at the thought of that rat of a King seeing her growing penchant for trying to walk through walls that weren't really illusions at all (some things were simply what they seemed, plain and simple).
Over the centuries he had become adapt at tuning out the chaotic din of his subjects (King of an unwanted Kingdom, peeling dreams to fuel the magic of all of his kind), and the talent served him well as he rolled the crystal back and forth in his hands, paying close attention to the girl as she made it past the outer walls and into the twisting maze beyond.
"We must not look at Goblin men, we must not buy their fruits," Sarah mocked in a sing-song voice, brave and vocal on the heady rise of power that his narrowed eyes were instilling in her (as if he knew something she didn't know, all over again).
Grinning a magpie grin, Jareth blew the crystals gently from his hand, and watched as they flew like bubbles amongst the clouds to fall like pebbles in the current of her dreams, the small distortions growing to something truly influencing as she smiled gently in her sleep.
"Show off," she muttered, waking to glitter on her pillow, and the telling sound of an owl's cries against the full moon beyond.
He could most certainly tell that it was Sarah's peach inspired dream that he was drawn into (curse the bloody sarcastic little girl) when the Fae courtier he was dancing with noticed his straying gaze (spun sugar and clouds and blinking eyes entrancing him just beyond) and whispered gleefully in his ear, "Up Aboveground, they call her jailbait, sire."
She took the owl feather from the windowsill and kept it under her pillow at night, certain that she could wait as long as he could – and he had already waited for such a very long time.
Beneath her hands, the Land pulsed as something living, binding itself to the intricacies of her, even though she would not feel the effects of the wild strands of magic for years and years to come.
Jareth had heard her practice the lines time and time again (had heard his defeat spelled, his fascination named) and it wasn't (only) for the now that he planted the seeds in the girl's mind – but for the potential of what she still could be, someday.
She had never seen his hands without his gloves, she thought rather dumbly in that moment; her wide eyes watching the way the leather peeled away from his skin, graceful and feline in movement, even though the curl of his hands strangely reminded her of a hunting bird's talons, lethal and strong.
Oddly, she was never able to keep a boy past a date – or two, if the young man was particularly brave – and each and every time they stuttered as if they had seen goblins and ghosts, mumbling about how they were sure she was nice and all, but they wished for no more visitors in their dreams.
On the same page, she always seemed to be unable to find her left sock before each date, her brother reasoning, "I told you goblins steal socks," as she glared at her mirror and the man no doubt watching her from behind it.
"Before you unleash your marvelously flattering ire on me," and Lord, but how come her dreams didn't properly remember that even his accent sounded like a smirk, "may I remind you that I am chained to my realm – only wishes and summons may let me away from it."
"A piece of cake," he muttered in disgust, his sharp avian eyes on the girl child who navigated his Labyrinth as easily as if scribbling a pencil over a paltry puzzle on paper.
Hoggle blinked and muttered to himself as he tried to put a name to the rather silly feeling coursing through him, inspired by the slip of a mortal girl simply calling him her friend.
She studied him as they danced, seeing up close that the glittering shades on his skin were not a glamour as she had first thought – the exotic colors were all his own, the mismatched eyes, the blue slightly larger than the other, were natural upon him, and the shades danced shamelessly with her gaze until she lost the flair of him to the swirl of color that was the ballroom around them.
"You have no power over me," she whispered, her voice awed as she breathed her right words; defeat hard in the eyes of the mythical ruler before her as his world shattered like glass.
They made an odd team – a determined human girl, her moody dwarf, a fox-terrier that fancied himself a Knight, and a vaguely Wookiee resembling creature who had the gentle disposition of a sloth past his more feral appearance.
Sometimes she wished that Jareth would sentence her stepmother to an eternity of cleaning up the Bog of Eternal Stench, but she remembered how well it had went the last time she wished for the Goblin King to aid her petty annoyances, and instead bears Karen's remarks on her lovelife with silence.
He was not a stranger to the concept of revenge – the High Courts could be petty at best, and the immortal and mischievous of his kind could go quite a ways to see a grudge set to rights; in the end though, revenge and conquest would be one and the same.
"The most interesting thing about my Labyrinth is that it constantly changes," Jareth told her, gloved hands sensually gentle as he traced them over the ever shifting map before him, "one fights their own dreams and perceptions until you literally trap yourself in a maze of your own mind – there is no help to be found from my subjects, only harm; and yet, you both twisted your way through my game, and my own even saw something in you but they could not help but aid."
If a slip of a girl could defeat the Labyrinth, then the King himself must have no control over his kingdom; and it was this commonly held belief that kept him quite (blissfully; needfully) busy defending his borders in the years after Sarah left his world.
"My lady, I am an owl, and not a rooster – thus so, there will be bogs for all if your infernal poking at my shoulder whilst I try to sleep does not desist in the next thirteen seconds."
"Queen up high, you have three days to guess my name," the wickedly ghoulish creature chortled merrily, "or else, in my keep, your child shall remain."
Muttering under her breath, Sarah furiously scribbled down every single name she could think of while around her Hoggle corralled the Goblins into offering their less orthodox ideas – and far from his irate wife in the middle of the throne room, Jareth tried his best to remember the name of the viciously clever creature whom he had challenged five centuries ago (while the offering of a firstborn hadn't technically been the deal, Fae were remarkably adept at twisting words and memories, you see.).
"Rumpelstiltskin!" Imp (the Goblin with the green horns) exclaimed his idea, and the other Goblins snickered before patting him condescendingly on the back – there were much better names to be had than that, after all, like 'chicken' or 'plastic'.
Karen made peach pie the weekend after her adventure in the Labyrinth, and Sarah tried to hold down an odd bubble of feeling in her throat (triumph and memory and something more bitter than both) as she pushed the sweet and sticky fruit around with her fork without eating.
She had known, in the way that naivety knew, that he had been something dangerous to her then (careful distances and promises in magicked eyes), in the beginning; but now, with world wide eyes and blood beating a telling cadence through her veins, she wearily labels him as something potentially destructive to her senses (magpie eyes obsessively bright and not a space between them as her body read the secrets from his own as promises).
Sometimes she would dream (of ballrooms and the fluttering of lace and silver and the sensual laughter she did not yet understand), and awaken to the memory of not a prince on her arm, but a King.
"My, my, my Sarah – this is indeed a surprise; and if you were to stay long enough I will delight in provoking an explanation from you."
"Tell me once more, precious thing, that this is a wish you would see turned away," he bid her, one finger gently tilting up her chin until she was forced to meet his eyes or simply close her own (proof that she was still the child she had been, all those years ago.)
"Finally, a mortal with some creativity," Jareth muttered as he draped himself lazily over his throne, Sarah's copy of Lord of the Rings in his hands.
He transformed slowly for her, letting her see the moment where his eyes bled the color of tarnished gold and reflected moonlight (something ancient that she couldn't describe), until his body shifted and flowed on a river of Seelie power – and then there was the flutter of wings, soft against her skin, flyaway feathers floating playfully down to rest in her hair.
"The magic that created my world is neither light or dark – it's wild, and even few of my kind can control it; you, human boned and mortal blooded have no idea what you are weaving yourself into – this is not one of your games of pretend, nor will it ever be."
As she grew older, her room changed, toys receding and her library maturing, and yet, she still chose to be able to see the magical creatures who kept watch over her – the Goblins in her closest, and the monsters under her bed, unwilling to let go of that part of her childhood just yet.
At the age of five Toby pulled on a strand of her hair, drawing her down to his level, and whispered, "Can you see my friends too, Sarah?"
Perhaps his orders to 'keep an eye on the mortal girl' didn't exactly translate to the Goblins bringing back everything from books and old toys to lipstick and tweezers and at least five pairs of high heeled shoes that were used for the chicken races (and sweet Gods, but he refused to mention the aftereffects of the strangely clear bottles of fizzing nectar called soda pop, which had resulted in a teaming population for the Bog).
There was no illusion between them now, no glamour or stolen time or crystalline dreams; merely the scent of wild magic like lightening in her veins, and the sharp static of him still a midsummer's warm tingle against her lips as she held close to him, just hardly daring to breach the edge before her.
"Do you trust me?" he whispered hoarsely, acutely aware of her hand braced against his chest, her fingers brushing against the polished bronze of his pendent, and only when she shook her head, tightly shut eyes barely opening, did he let the ground fall away from them, and take to the sky.
Breathing a sigh of relief, she picked her baby brother up from the crib, and joyfully held him close, tears pricking her eyes as she thought about the storybook tale that she had just lived, the faint glow to her eyes and the magic loitering on her skin the only visable signs of a quest completed and a champion triumphant . . . but a story left incomplete.