THIS is a complicated chain of fanworks. I'll let someone who knows a bit about that introduce the paradox…

[Leo DiCaprio] This is Inception. A dream within a dr- what? Oh, no dreams. Are you sure? [incoherent mumbling off-screen] Fine. There are four levels to this not-Inception. George Lucas, Jim Henson, and Brian Froud created the movie Labyrinth in the mid 80's. Yes, the one with David Bowie and the pants. From there came the fan-comic titled "Roomates", by a lovely artist named AsheRhyder (http: / asherhyder. deviantart. com). To go along with that wonderful creation, another artist created "Girls Next Door", and that artist goes by Pika-La-Cynique. (http: / pika-la-cynique. deviantart. com) This, the astounding fourth level, is a fan-fiction, based on Girls Next Door, which explores a possible next sequence of events. [more mumbling] Oh, and please do take a look at these wonderful artists. They do it, like fan fiction writers, for passion, not profit. Thank you. [bows and exits, leaving spinning top on ground]

[This is what might be going on after Pika's GND Pg 138.]

Sarah turned around to face the apartment, leaving him to stand awkwardly just inside the room. He was accustomed to dominating the room in any situation; unfortunately, the room was already occupied by the walloping great elephant of tension.

It wasn't exactly unusual for her to insult him, and Circe knows she's the only person who gets away with that sort of thing on a regular basis, but for some reason her barbs were striking him a bit harder. She'd never been this cold to him before. Even (or especially) when she was ready to physically throttle him, he'd only ever gotten her warmth, her fire. He was making an effort, she could see that, right?

He couldn't see her face, but when she spoke next, he imagined he knew exactly what it looked like.

"Did you ever take a moment, even one, to consider the possibility that I really don't have feelings to deny?"

For a moment of time (he wasn't sure if he had slowed it or if it just felt that way) he looked through her, passed her sharp green eyes and the carefully blank expression she was sure to have, and saw something he hadn't before. He saw it, and he hated it, but it made things that much more simple. And complex.



That sour feeling deep inside turned to something that resembled shame, an emotion not especially familiar to him. He felt cut apart, adrift and strangely floating while still standing upright. His amulet felt like stone, pressing heavily against his skin and keeping him anchored in this half-way state. The thoughts flew through his mind, each one quicker than the last, until he was left at some gaping chasm hitherto unexplored.

Maybe… maybe all this time, all their fights hadn't been about her stubbornness or his, well, immaturity. Maybe she really was just a young human who still saw him as the Goblin King who menacingly dogged her every move. Maybe she wasn't being coy, or playing hard-to-get, or any of the excuses he'd obviously dreamed significance into.

Maybe he was still the villain in her story.

Where before he was lightened, now he was lead. Arms and legs suddenly didn't want to move; they just hung there helplessly. Before, he hadn't known where to go, but now he realized there was only one place left. Because if she really, truly, didn't want him around, his path was clear.

Back to a cold throne, surrounded by followers and subjects who didn't see, didn't understand. Where everyone alternately adored and feared him, and nobody ever got very close. Back to that unfulfilling existence he only now realized lacked so much he'd come to want. Back to hiding children and trying to find some little bit of joy in the gray walls of his castle.

He didn't want to be the villain again. Not to her; never to her. The whole of both worlds could rise up against him, declare themselves his enemy, but he couldn't stand that from her. Not his Champion, the only mortal who ever saw the Labyrinth and understood it. He'd rather not be in her story than play the antagonist once more.

She still faced the couch, in any general direction except at him, and that made it just that much harder, because for once he would have liked for her to see the sincerity in his eyes.

"I'm- I'm sorry, Sarah. I'm so very sorry."

Her shoulder might have twitched, and her hand might have curled into a tight fist, but she didn't move.

The door behind him was still open, and thinking to at least give her the space he owes her, he walked towards it. Before he got close enough to touch the handle, her voice filled the flat.

"It was a rhetorical question, Jareth."

When he turned around in confusion, he came face to face with her deep eyes and open face and another emotion that wasn't quite expected. The warmth from her eyes let a tender spark of hope blossom a little, all at once feeling fragile and indestructible. There was relief somewhere in there, and doubt, and joy, and panic. Maybe she only hated him a little. Maybe not at all?

Human emotions were a jumbled tangle of contradictions. It was twisted and intricate; one minute you were winning, the next you'd already lost, and then you weren't even in the game. There were no rules, no thirteen hours in which to figure it all out. He wasn't even completely sure what the goal was.

He could live with that as long as they could play on the same side this time.