Perfect Day

By

PaisleyRose

Disclaimer

You know the drill…

Not mine,

Belongs to

Henson and company.

Theory of Relativity belongs

To Einstein.

Goblins and other mystical creatures

Belong to

The High King

I'm just the Goblin King's scribe

I don't get paid

I don't get…oops

End of silly disclaimer

If you want the legal jargon

You must visit the Goblin Legal Department…

*I wouldn't do that if I were you.*

I mean it, don't go there!

#*#

Prologue

(Words by A.C. Smith from his novel Labyrinth)

Modifications by moi)

Nobody saw the owl, white in the moonlight, black against the stars, nobody heard him as he glided over on silent wings of velvet. The owl saw and heard everything.

He settled on an obelisk, his claws hooked on a ridge, and he stared at the girl in the glade below. The wind moaned, rocking the branches of nearby trees, scudding low clouds across the evening sky. It lifted the hair of the girl. The owl was watching her, with his round, dark eyes.

The girl moved slowly from the trees toward the middle of the glade, where a pool glimmered and swans swam in peace. She was concentrating. Each deliberate step took her nearer to her purpose. Her hands were open, and held slightly in front of her. Some would see the gesture as one of submission, he did not. He saw it for what it was; a masterful power play. The wind sighed again in the trees. It blew her gown tightly against her slender figure, and rustled her hair around her wide-eyed face. Her lips were parted.

"Give me the child," Sarah said, in a voice that was low, but firm with the courage her quest needed. She halted, her hands still held out. "Give me the child," she repeated. "Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the Goblin City, to take back the child you have stolen." She bit her lip and continued, "For my will is as strong as yours ... and my kingdom as great ..."

Jareth held the orb up, watching again as he had for countless times. Where had he gone wrong, where had he underestimated her? Surely not at this moment, no in owl form he knew he was witnessing a creature he should never take for granted. Why he had faltered in his own Labyrinth was still beyond his grasp.

Jareth lowered the crystal orb; he could have ended the game any number of times. He had warned her upon the windswept him, had begged her to go back before it was too late. Stubborn creature that she was, is, Sarah Williams had defied him. He had to admit even if it were only to himself that he was glad she had blithely wandered down the hill. He could have ended it before she stepped through the gate, when the Swam Fairy had taken a bite of her, but he allowed her to go on. He could have and should have left her in the oubliette until the time had run out. He could have and should have flirted it up a bit more in the tunnel, distracting her with the promise of untold pleasures.

Jareth remembered the moment with a crooked smile, both he and the girl had misspoken the name of that accursed dwarf gardener. The moment was etched in his memory, and savoring it prevented him for a moment from recalling her insult. "Piece of cake my ass," he grumbled darkly. If only he hadn't asked how she was enjoying his Labyrinth… if only he had engaged her in conversation, he could have taken her mind of the task… but no… he had to go and get insulted….It was a stupid amateurish mistake.

Had it not been for him he told himself she would have died any number of times on the path he'd set her upon. Even with being mislead she had made much too good time. He had not intended upon playing dirty, not really. But her insult and her defiance had led him to desperation.

The peach, he mused.

Sarah had spent so much time concentrating on her goal she'd forgotten everything she'd ever learned about the rules of the game. The moment she'd taken the bite he could have ended it, he should have ended it. It was vanity really, the use of his crystals to entice her into a dream of her own making. He had never intended to be dragged in, but when he'd seen the crystal ballroom pulled into her dream he couldn't resist.

She had been the most interesting opponent he'd ever played. Skilled at twisting and turning others to her will, and stubborn with a fiery temper. He had witnessed her tantrum just after she'd entered the outer passages where his guard the worm had sent her down the wrong path, magnificent. Little did he suspect the depth of her passions, or her deep desire. Playing the game of hide and seek among his courtiers had been a most pleasant diversion. The moment the game ended and he had swept her into his arms to dance was the moment he had lost the game.

Pale jewels, those haunting eyes… from that moment on it had all gone downhill. He had lost touch with his own reality, and she had broken his defenses down one by one. Like a moth drawn to a flame. Jareth closed his eyes and remembered the dance, he had let his own pride go to his head and had become haughty and proud… had he remained the suitor, had he but kissed the girl…

He lowered the crystal and watched as goblins put the façade of his castle away for the next game, the next runner. The Gods alone knew when that would be; Sarah had been the only one in nearly two decades. Still it had been a game he would never forget.

"Son," a strong voice called to him from the edge of the goblin reality, "Time to come in, put your kingdom away."

Jareth nodded, "Picking up right now," he called back. "I'll be right there, Father."

Oberon waited patiently for his son, "How was your day?" he asked when the younger Fae joined him.

"It was a perfect day." Jareth said with a crooked smile. "Just a perfect day."