Sarah never really put the Labyrinth behind her. When she was returned to her home that fateful night, and after she had celebrated her victory with her friends, she told herself that she was going to try to leave her childhood in the past. She put away her toys, redecorated her room, and started going out on dates with the boys from her school. She did everything a normal teenager should, but during the night, when she was alone with her thoughts and no one would judge her or call her childish, she would think about all that had happened during those thirteen hours. She never did call on her friends like she promised, but she would think about what they could be doing, and she would also think about the Goblin King. She wondered if his offer had been real, and she also thought about what would have happened if she would have made a different choice. Sure, she loved her brother very much, and had become much closer to him since the events of that night, but in her heart of hearts, she sometimes wished she had taken the King's offer.
High school passed quickly, and before she knew it, Sarah was off at college. She chose to go to college out of state, since she wanted to know what life was like away from her overly protective parents. While she had never been a wild child, she still wanted to know that she could do crazy things every once and a while and not have to worry about facing a lecture or disappointed looks. She majored in literature with the aim of becoming a professor someday, and she had a small but close group of friends to support her throughout her college career. Her love life wasn't quite what she had expected, since every guy she met was either only interested in one thing (how quickly they could get her into bed), or was intimidated by her intellect. Truth be told though, she wasn't disappointed in how things had turned out in the romance department; a first crush is a very powerful thing, and when it happens to be a magical creature who offers you the world, anyone else who comes along is bound to pale in comparison.
Sarah graduated from college with honors, and was in the middle of working on her Master's degree when she first saw him. She was walking home on a cool day in late September when she noticed a thin blond man standing on the street corner and looking into the window of a jewelry store. At first she thought nothing of him, but the more she looked at him, the more he looked familiar. Her steps slowed, and she studied the part of his face that she could see, which was only his right profile. He had sharp cheekbones, a long, straight nose, and thin, delicate lips. His hair was short and pale blond, and the eye she could see was pale blue. A wave of recognition swept over her, and the shock she felt was so strong that she stopped right in front of him and stared without saying a word.
"It can't be him!" she thought to herself, barely believing her eyes. When he turned to face her and smiled, however, she knew that she wasn't imagining things.
"Why hello Sarah, fancy meeting you here!" he said, smiling like they were old friends who were having a chance meeting after years of no communication.
Her surprise at his greeting made her mind go blank for a moment, but Sarah quickly regained her speech and stammered out, "Wha-what do you mean, 'fancy meeting you here'? This is my world; what are YOU doing here?" Sarah wasn't normally rude to people, but she could never be accused of saying the right thing when caught off guard, and his presence in her town after 10 years of being absent had definitely caught her off guard. The Goblin King didn't seem to notice, however, and he continued to smile in a friendly way.
"I suppose it is rather odd to see me standing on the street like some common person, but I happen to like coming here, especially when there's someone I want to see."
At this Sarah caught her breath, and she wondered if she should feel excited or scared. She knew that the Goblin King could not be trusted, but she also still harbored feelings for him that she never fully explored. She decided to play it cool and see where the conversation would go.
"Really? You came here to see someone? I didn't know you knew very many people from here." She tried to make her voice sound light and conversational, but she knew there was a bit of strain in it.
"Oh, I know a lot of people", he replied, "but very few merit a personal visit." He looked her up and down with an appreciative look and then said, "You look like you're doing well. What have you been up to these past few years?"
"I graduated high school and college, and now I'm getting my Master's in English Literature", Sarah answered proudly, hoping he would be impressed by how mature she had gotten since they had last met. She was pleased to see that he seemed interested in her answer, but not wanting to seem self-centered she asked, "So what have you been up to?"
The Goblin King laughed at this and replied, "Oh, just claiming wished away children and ruling the Labyrinth. You know, the usual." Sarah blushed a little at the mention of wished away children, but she focused on finding out why he wanted to see her today.
"So, is today a vacation from 'the usual', or are you here on business?" she asked, hoping that she sounded playful.
"As a matter of fact, it's a little of both", he answered, and he turned back to the jewelry store window. "I'm here because I'm going to propose to a very special woman whom I've known for a few years, and I hope she is going to say 'yes'."
Sarah's mouth went dry and she felt a little light headed. He was going to propose to her? After being gone for 10 years and not having any contact whatsoever? He just expected her to fall all over him simply because he showed up with a ring? Despite the excited feeling she was starting to get, indignation won out.
"What do you mean, you're going to propose? Do you really think I'm going to say 'yes'?" she exclaimed. A look of confusion swept his face, and after looking at her for a few seconds he said, "I don't understand."
Sarah rolled her eyes. "That's just like you! You think you can show up after 10 years and give me a ring, and I'm just going to fall into your arms and run away with you to your castle! Well guess what? It's not that easy, and I don't even know what I feel for you! We haven't even spoken since the night I beat the Labyrinth, and while I admit I feel some attraction toward you, I don't know you well enough to get married!" She was breathing hard by the time she finished her speech, and if she would have been paying attention, she would have seen that his expression had changed from confusion to amusement.
"Is that so?" he asked, starting to grin from ear to ear. "I guess I'll just have to ask Colleen to marry me instead."
Now she was the one to look confused. "Huh? Who's Colleen?" Sarah asked, starting to feel the hot flash of embarrassment creep into her face.
"Colleen is the woman I'm here to see. As I said, I like coming here and I do, often. We met at the theater a few years back, and we've been seeing each other ever since."
Sarah now wished the pavement would open up and swallow her whole. "Why, oh why did I have to make such a fool of myself?" she thought, berating herself for jumping to conclusions.
The Goblin King could see her inner conflict, and he gallantly refrained from laughing at her. "Sarah, why would you think I would show up out of the blue and propose to you after not seeing you for so long?"
"I-I don't know" Sarah stuttered, looking at the ground. "I guess I've never forgotten the offer you made me when I won Toby back."
"Oh, that. Well, I have to say that it hurt when you rejected me and all I had to offer, but I knew that life goes on. I couldn't pine away forever wishing you would change your mind, so I moved on with my life. Colleen is a good woman who knows who I am and what I do, and she will make a very good queen. If you knew her, you would like her."
His words cut her to the quick. While what he said made sense, it still hurt to know that he had moved on to someone else while she still clung to that night long ago. "I guess I haven't grown up as much as I thought I had", she sighed to herself. Sarah finally looked up from the pavement and gave him a small smile. "I'm sorry for assuming you were here for me. I bet I look pretty conceited", she said with a weak laugh.
"Not at all. Your experience in the Labyrinth was a powerful one, and it's only understandable that it would leave a lasting impression. I'm glad that you are doing well, and I wish you continued success in the future." With that, he held out his hand, and when she put her hand in his, he pressed it warmly and turned to leave.
"Oh, hey, uh, Jareth?" Sarah said quickly, before he could walk away. "Congratulations."
"Thank you", he replied, and walked out of her life.
A/N: Okay, I know this isn't in keeping with the normal themes found here, but I haven't read any fanfics where Jareth has moved on from Sarah, and I wanted to have at least one out there in case there weren't any. I hope you enjoyed this little one-shot, and I thank you for reading!