Disclaimer: I own nothing, this story is just for fun.
This story is intended as a sequel to the movie, with a slight change to the end of the original to make it work. S/J all the way, with a Hoggle side story and plenty of old friends thrown in for good measure. Reviews are always appreciated! xx
'For my will is as strong as yours, and my kingdom as great...'
Sarah, her mind as confused and misty as the swirling chaos around her, tore her eyes from the razor sharp gaze of the Goblin King to cast about in frustration.
'Damn,' she murmured. 'I can never remember that line.'
He seized upon her confusion to take another lithe step forward, crystal held high to tempt her.
'Just fear me, love me, do as I say and I will be your slave...' he offered her. A double edged sword, that offer. Like a beautiful flower with poisoned thorns.
Sarah looked up at him and her mind was as blank as his carefully neutral expression. She couldn't remember. She couldn't remember the words and the clock was about to strike. For Toby! Her mind screamed and she found herself speaking, without making a conscious decision to do so.
'Take me in his place!'
The expressions flickered across Jareths harsh features too quickly for her to read them, settling on a predatory smile as he realised he had won. He was suddenly close to her. He was all around her. The air was thick with swirling feathers and glitter as he growled into her ear.
'It's a deal.'
Her breath caught as he stepped back and tossed the crystal into the air. As it rose unnaturally slowly, Sarah's eyes were drawn to it and she gazed into the depths of the shimmering crystal until the maelstrom of swirling feathers and glitter engulfed her and bore her away.
The air whispered in the Goblin Kings voice. Sarah...
Sarah stumbled as she found herself suddenly back in her hallway. The clock struck twelve and a barn owl swept silently past her and out through the open patio doors into the night. She dashed up the stairs to her parents room to check on Toby.
He was sleeping soundly in his cot. The rush of warmth and genuine love she felt for the him was worth every moment of her time in the labyrinth. With tears pricking her eyes she picked up the teddy bear from where it lay forlornly on the floor and tucked it in beside her brother.
'I want Lancelot to belong to you now.' She murmured quietly and left him to sleep.
Sarah went back downstairs and closed and locked the patio doors. She straightened the curtains. She did the dishes which she had been determined to ignore earlier. Then she went to her room and stood in the centre, looking around at the 'junk' which was suddenly so much less important to her than it had been.
She carefully didn't think about what she had just done. She put the Goblin King from her mind, began to tidy her room, and didn't stop sorting her things into 'keep' and 'chuck' piles until the front door slammed and her father called to her that he and Irene were home. She called down that she was home and repeated it quietly to herself.
He's got you now Sarah, her subconscious whispered to her. You don't really think he'll just let you go now do you?
Sarah finally let herself think about the agreement she had made. To exchange her life and freedom for Toby's. To remain with Him as he had asked her to, but only if he released the child. At least... that had been her understanding of it. So why was she home? Was he letting her to say goodbye, or was forcing her to say the words enough for him? Was the whole adventure just a game he played with her as an opponent? Would he find another stubborn girl tomorrow and start over again?
Her heart did a strange little flip-flop at the thought of another girl running her Labyrinth...
'How you turn my world you precious thing, you starve and near exhaust me.' Did he sing like that to each and every one?
Hot tears filled her eyes, leaking out to trail silently down her cheeks. She swiped at them angrily.
'Damn him.' She cursed quietly, suddenly sure that he had been toying with her.
It was then that Hoggle appeared in her mirror to remind her that he was still her friend, and the party that followed drove all the confusion, fear and frustration from her young mind. When the party was over, and the many creatures disappeared in a flash of magic which also cleaned her room, only her three steadfast companions remained.
Sir Diddymus was a little disgruntled after having lost three straight matches of scrabble to a small goblin, a fiery and then Ludo. However he perked his ears and smiled when Sarah bent to give him a hug goodbye.
'My lady, you are welcome to visit my home at any time!' He announced graciously. 'The bridge will have to be rebuilt of course, stronger and more handsome than before. And I shall guard it as I always have, so you know where to find me.'
Hoggle looked a little put out by this and looked at Sarah with sad eyes.
'I don't 'ave no house to invite you to visit.' he said gruffly. 'I is 'ere and there, you know, pottering about. But if you ever need me, just you call out and I'll hear you, and I'll be there.'
Ludo jostled closer as she hugged Hoggle and she reached up to kiss his leathery face.
'Sawah, gone.' he rumbled mournfully.
'That's right Ludo,' she agreed quietly. 'But I'll call you all again soon, so that you can come visit me.' She stepped back and the three best friends she had ever had lifted their hands in a goodbye wave and were gone.
Sarah never called on them again.
Three years later...
'Happy birthday Sawah!'
Sarah smiled crookedly at Toby across the small pile of gifts on the floor in front of her and took from him the home-made birthday card he was waving at her. He had scrawled a wobbly 18 on the front along with a picture of her which reminded her a little of a frog wearing a wig.
Or a goblin...
She shook her head and banished the thought. The usual unease whispered through her but she shooed that away too. That old nightmare had no place in her life now.
'Thank you Toby.' she said brightly, ruffling his baby-soft blonde hair.
'And now, young man, it is definitely past your bed time...' Irene said swooping down to pick him up.
'But Mom! Sawah hasn't opened all the pwesents yet!' he mourned, wriggling in her grasp.
Sarah smiled and tickled his foot, making him gasp and laugh. 'Sorry Toby, I'll show you everything tomorrow 'kay?' Toby grinned and snuggled sleepily into his mothers shoulder.
'Okay. Night night Sawah...'
'Goodnight Toby,' she said. 'Don't let the bedbugs bite.'
As Irene wished her a soft goodnight and padded up the stairs, Sarah sighed and began opening the remaining gifts. A watch from her Father and Irene. A lovely hard back edition of 'Romeo and Juliet' from her mother, who was not so subtle about trying to kindle her interest in romance. A silky forest green blouse from her best friend Charlotte, also a not so subtle hint at getting her out of her T-shirts and sneakers. Sarah sighed heavily. She wished they would quit it. She just didn't find the boys at school interesting that was all. Besides, she would be going to college soon. Wasn't that where her parents met?
Under these larger presents, she found a small unmarked gift. Its wrapping was a dark shimmering gold and it was tied with a soft black ribbon which glittered as she ran the end through her fingers. It felt almost warm in her hands. Inviting. She decided, quite abruptly, to open this last gift in her room.
After tidying up she gathered the gifts in her arms and headed upstairs, passing Irene as she left Toby's room.
'Going to bed?' she asked, looking a little relieved. They had been waiting up for her father to get home from work before opening her presents, but he had called thirty minutes ago to say he wouldn't be back until after midnight. He apologised and wished her happy birthday over the phone. He promised to take her out for dinner to her favourite restaurant, just the two of them, to make it up to her.
'Yeah, I'm beat. Thank you for the watch, it's great.'
'Well,' Irene flushed with pleasure. 'Thank you sweetheart. Goodnight.'
Once in her room, Sarah lost momentum. She perched on the edge of her bed, laying her gifts onto the bed-covers beside her and clutching the unopened gift on her lap. Something made her draw the shimmering bow of ribbon open very slowly, and as it fell away she set it aside. It was far too pretty to be thrown away. The golden paper wrapping was more like linen when she tried to tear it, so instead she carefully unwrapped it and placed it with the ribbon. The revealed fist sized box was a black velvet jewellery presentation box and again the gift grew warm and unnaturally soft under her fingertips.
Sarah opened the box with a muffled snap and after glimpsing the contents promptly dropped it. She raised a shaking hand to cover her mouth and closed her eyes as she drew a deep steadying breath. The contents of the box had spilled free as it tumbled and now lay innocently on the floorboards. A pendant, threaded onto a black thong necklace. A pendant that reminded her of another world, of another time.
Give it a rest Sarah, she told herself harshly. You're eighteen now. Too old to believe in fairy-tales and the monsters that live under the bed. Too old to believe in Goblin Kings and Labyrinths.
She picked up the pendant and peered at it. It was silver and roughly triangular, but the two dangling points were curved inwards and elongated. A golden circular symbol in the centre with swirling details seemed to squirm before her tired eyes. For a moment the pendant pulsed against her palm but the next instant it was just a cool piece of worked metal again.
I need to get more sleep and drink less coffee, she thought as she automatically tied the thong around her neck and moved to look at herself in the mirror. The pendant hung low, almost between her breasts, and glimmered darkly, as though it belonged there. The dark green top she was wearing set off the green in her eyes to make them sparkle and her long, dark hair was down for once rather than swept up in the artless ponytail she usually wore. Granted, she was wearing jeans, but at least they were the dark, well-fitting jeans she bought on her shopping trip with Charlotte last weekend and not her worn ones with holes in the knees and frayed cuffs. Two glittering golden hairpins held her hair back from her face where it fell in loosely styled waves. I look nice, she decided. Like Charlotte looks when she goes on a date.
A creeping feeling walked icy fingers down her spine.
A whisper, no more than the rustling on dry leaves tickled her ears. 'Sa-rah...'
And just like that, she turned and looked up into the mismatched eyes of her own private nightmare. The man who provided her with a basis for comparison. The man who's presence made the air sizzle against her skin.
His clothes were on the tamer end of the Goblin Kings extravagant scale but still impressive and provocative. He wore a black poet shirt, gaping enough to show a good slice of hairless and leanly muscular chest and with a black leather waistcoat, coupled with soft grey leggings, and knee high black boots. There was surprisingly little glitter. He wore a pendant identical to the one she now wore. His platinum blonde hair wasn't as wispy as she remembered, the overall effect being somehow more feral and raptor-like than before.
'You're here...' she stated breathlessly. 'You're real.'
'Bravo Sarah, well spotted,' he replied sarcastically, smirking.
'You look different...'
A leer. 'So do you.'
He sobered and spoke seriously, eyes on hers burning a hole in the back of her skull. 'Because we made a deal. You in exchange for Toby. I've come to collect.'
'But you let me go home!' Sarah objected desperately. 'If you wanted me to take his place, why didn't you just turn me into a goblin right there and keep me?'
'You were too old to turn into a Goblin,' he said, 'But too young to keep. At the time.'
Sarah looked into the eyes of the man who haunted her nightmares, and her dreams, and an irrational anger flooded her.
'So you always planned to collect on our agreement when I turned eighteen?' she demanded hotly.
'Yes,' he replied, cocking his head.
'You couldn't have warned me at the time?'
'Why should I?' He was beginning to look irritated.
'Because... Just because!' she spluttered indignantly. How could she put into words the painful suspense of waiting for him to swoop down and carry her off? She had waited for weeks, then months, before deciding that he wasn't coming. It had taken another year or so before she was completely convinced that the entire Labyrinth and everything that had happened that night was all in her head. Just another of her wild fantasies. A year and an awful lot of tears.
'Well it's too late now!' she said, improvising wildly. 'My boyfriend and I are engaged and I'm going to college next year. So I really don't have the time to be toddling around your castle.'
Abruptly, he clasped her jaw in an iron-hard grip. Not hurting. Not quite. But as inescapable as iron manacles. His face was suddenly very close and his expression was fierce and arrogant. 'Do not lie to me Sarah.' he told her harshly. 'You have never known the touch of a man. You have never allowed anyone to court you.'
Sarah flushed with deep discomfort. 'We must not look at Goblin men, We must not buy their fruits. Who knows upon what soil they fed, their hungry thirsty roots?' She whispered the words like a prayer. The lines from 'Goblin Market', her favourite poem, bursting from her.
Jareth laughed menacingly as he released her face. 'Yes, that is rather appropriate to your predicament, isn't it. After all, you have already tasted goblin fruit thanks to Hogget.'
'Hoggle,' Sarah corrected automatically.
'And you have certainly looked at Goblin men, now haven't you Sarah?' he shot her a cruel pointy toothed smile. Sarah's blush flared hotter.
'You wish,' she countered. He only grinned wider, in a way that made her heart shudder for a second.
She thought about the poem and the girl in it who ate goblin fruit and then pined away for lack of it. No longer enjoying any of the things that used to make her happy, loosing her 'fire'. In a less dramatic way, was that why she had never fallen in love? Was it why she had given up on her dream to be an actress like her mother and started being so 'sensible'?
As if he had read her thoughts Jareth spoke. 'You can never find contentment in this world now Sarah,' he held out his hand. 'Come. Return to the Labyrinth with me.'
'If I say no?' she asked, trembling.
'I wish you wouldn't.' he replied, stone faced. 'We have a deal, and I would much rather have a pretty thing like you in my castle than another irritating whiny goblin.'
Toby. Of course, that was the deal.
She placed her hand in his black gloved one, lightly. His fingers closed over hers.
'There, that wasn't so hard, was it?' he asked her.
'Ask me when I've had time to think it over...' she muttered bitterly.
A dark chuckle enveloped her as he drew her close and the world fell away into a glittering void. Goodbye Toby, she thought. Be good.