DISCLAIMER: If it's a character, scene, idea, setting, etc, from the Labyrinth, it's (c) Henson, Lucas, Froud, etc, and NOT MINE.

A/N: Parts of this story have been circling around for WEEKS, and finally demanded to be let out to play, so I started writing. Because of course it makes sense to start another multi-chapter fic when you've already got a couple going, and one more that is on the back burner.

Anyway, please comment, give feedback, let me know what you think (and of any typos you find)!

At first, she lived in dread of coming across one, and so she was jumpy, paranoid, and prone to drop fragile, breakable, and precious objects. Except for her brother. Him, she always held closer, tighter, with a defiant lift of her chin to announce to Whoever Dared that THEY would NEVER succeed in taking him away from her; that she had kicked over the kingdom of a more powerful (and more (attractive) charismatic) Being than THEY could ever imagine; that she had the patent-pending World's most Painful Pepper Spray concealed in her not visible hand; and so THEY had best leave while she allowed it.

Fortunately, Sarah became less jumpy after several weeks. If the unease returned while she babysat alone during a stormy evening, no one need be the wiser.

And then, three months later, there it was.

It's just a crystal

Somehow, it gave the impression that it was simply rolling along, minding its own business, even though it was giving a grand impression of a paperweight, there next to her Dad's briefcase. On top of a stack of junk mail and order-in fliers. Karen was in the room when Sarah first noticed it. In fact, her stepmother commented on it: "Huh. What an unusual thing! I don't remember having this before. Sarah, here, take a look at this –"

Sarah lunged out, and grabbed it before Karen could touch it, certain that she had just saved Karen from a very strange adventure. Mumbling something about thinking that it was rolling off the edge, and wanting to catch it before it broke all over the floor, Sarah gave a half-smile, and escaped to her room, Karen shaking her head in what might have been fond exasperation.

After attaining the calm of her own private sanctuary, Sarah made sure that the door was firmly closed (Toby could push open doors that were only mostly shut these days, and was getting pretty good at doorknobs.) before sitting at her vanity.

Having by now taken a couple of slow, deep breaths, she looked at the crystal, in the crystal, through the crystal, and saw –

A crystal, nothing more

"That's strange. A crystal just appears, and I snatch it up, and make sure to examine it alone…" Sarah swallowed quickly, expecting to already be materializing somewhere in the Goblin Kingdom.

Nope. She was still there, in her room, pondering a sphere of solid glass. Frankly, she wondered if she looked kind of silly, and was glad that there was probably no hidden camera crew staking out her home.

She didn't notice the owl in the tree outside her window. But then, she never had.