My first Labyrinth fic, but not my first fanfic. I've been trying to write my own original stuff, but I keep getting bit by the fanfic bug, and this was the result. I've got three and a half chapters written in two hours. This one promises to be long... It's interrupting my original stuff! Damn it! It's no help that I've been bit by the Inuyasha bug again, that's not going to bode well with my writing schedule. I'm juggling two fics - an epic fantasy adventure novel, a romantic angst novel, and now this fanfiction. I hope I don't get any ideas for Inuyasha, or any other fandom that I know I'm going to wind up involved in... Fawk.
Go check me out on , as Devabbi. I've got a couple good things on there. I'm on deviantART by the same name.
Disclaimer: I do not own Labyrinth. Jim Henson does, technically... I'm sure David Bowie's got a share of it too. This will be my only disclaimer, but it applies to all chapters. I'm not making any money off of this anyways, so I don't really see the point of disclaimers. I know I'm not going to remember to put one in every single chapter either, so consider this my umbrella.
Sarah let out a sigh as she placed the last book back on the shelf, and turned around to look at her room. Instinctively, she stared at the window, to be sure that there was no one and no thing behind the glass panes. Ten years had gone by since that day that she met Jareth and explored the Labyrinth in the Underground. She shivered as she thought of her experience. Toby didn't remember, and every day, she thanked the Goblin King for allowing that much. He was nearly eleven now, and inching his way into puberty in the way that most shy little boys do. Three years after the venture into the Labyrinth, Karen had gotten pregnant again. She had a little girl, and Sarah was sure to treat little Sylvie with all the kindness of her heart. Her behavior towards Toby had changed when he was still very young, so he never remembered her cruelty to him. She began to think of her trip through the Labyrinth as a gift, something to teach her to be kind to her siblings, to cherish and teach them, and pull her head out of her fantasies often enough to give them some recognition and encouragement. She was teaching Sylvie how to ride a bicycle now, and she was almost ready to take off the training wheels.
Six years after the venture into the Labyrinth, Sarah had gotten married. She married a nice boy named Bryan, nothing like Jareth. He didn't even look like him. He had darkly tanned skin from working hard under the sun, as he was a construction worker. He didn't have anywhere near as much wit or cunning as Jareth did. He had dark hair and stunning honey eyes, and was thick and muscled rather than lithe like Jareth. She found herself constantly comparing him to the Goblin King, and as much as she hated to do so, she knew she had to in order to distance herself from the entire situation. While she could distance herself all she wanted from Jareth himself, she could not distance herself from her love of fantasy and storytelling. She had become a writer.
About a year before, Bryan began to argue with her about money. She had signed with a small-time publisher and wrote stories of all kinds of criminals, wrong-doers, and naughty children going through Jareth's Labyrinth for something important to them, and each one learned a different lesson. Her books became steadily more popular, and slowly, she began to make more money than he did in the construction business. Rather than try to work it out, go to counseling, or try to compromise, Bryan filed for a divorce. While Sarah was heartbroken that she couldn't keep a marriage together, she wasn't too heartbroken at losing Bryan. She had never really loved him. He was gorgeous, a provider, and a great catch. He was a good man. She just wasn't in love with him.
A few days ago, as she had finally moved out and back in with her father and stepmother, Bryan and she had said their civil goodbyes at the front door of the small house that they had bought together three years prior. She smiled at him, and admitted that she had never really been in love with him. She complimented him, saying that there was nothing wrong with him, she just couldn't love him. He said he knew.
And so here she was, unpacking her things into the basement. Sylvie had been given her old room when she married Bryan and moved out of the house. She didn't mind the basement. It was renovated to look like a regular room, with just less lighting. There were windows all along the edge of the ceiling, each one maybe eight inches high. She had to deal with the water heater and the water and gas pipes, but none of them made too much noise. She had good lighting and good furniture, carpet and light lavender paint. She, Toby, Sylvie, and Karen had worked on it for three days to make it into a passable bedroom. She pulled the box apart and folded it so that it lay flat, and tucked it behind the sofa. She flopped onto it tiredly, and surveyed her new bedroom silently.
Taking a deep breath, she sought out the universal remote and turned on the television that sat on top of a wide book shelf that held a fraction of her library. She had one corner of the basement devoted to only books, her own miniature library that lined against one wall for ten feet, and had another front-and-back shelf structure full of books, making a little library nook. She loved to read and couldn't help it. She peered at the news on the television, and frowned. She flipped through the cable channels to be sure that it worked and then turned it off.
Getting to her feet, she walked along the row of books, drawing a finger along the titles until she came across one that was foreign and familiar at the same time. Her eyes narrowed at the worn-out, leather-bound book. "I didn't put you on this shelf," she said flatly, and removed the offending item. She peered at it, and opened it to the page that the ribbon marked. She read a few lines, I move the stars for no one... Your eyes can be so cruel, before snapping it shut decidedly. She carried it to her desk, and placed it in the very back of the file drawer. "Get out of there, if you can," she said haughtily, and turned towards the stairs.
The book had always given her trouble since she left the Labyrinth. She had tried to throw it away, only to find it beneath her pillow the next morning. She had shredded each and every page at a friend's house, only to find it, intact, beneath her pillow the next morning. She had torn it to pieces and thrown the pieces into different trash cans along her street on the collection day, only to find it beneath her pillow the next morning. She had burned it, thrown it into the ocean, lost it in an amusement park, let Merlin bury it, donated it to a public library, sold it in a yard sale – every possible thing that she could think of! And still, every time, she would find the book beneath her pillow the next morning.
After three months of that, she had given up, and just set it on her book shelf. She had tried one last time to get rid of it, and had left it at Bryan's house. Now it was on her shelf, because she did not yet have a bed here, she supposed. She stopped on her way up the stairs into the kitchen, and pondered that. No matter how many different ways she had tried to rid herself of the book, it had always reappeared beneath her pillow. She chewed on her lip. "Maybe Toby put it there," she offered herself. "Or Sylvie or Karen..." She continued up the stairs, and pushed the matter out of her mind altogether.
That afternoon, she and her father went to a furniture shop and bought her a bed that would fit in the already stuffed basement. The room was large, but her miniature library took up a lot of room, as did her workspace. She decided on a loft bed, to be placed above her sofa. They spent the rest of the evening setting up the bed. Karen brought down sheets that looked like the night sky, "Sorry, Sarah. We'll get you something that matches your paint in a few days, but these are all we have. They were Toby's."
Sarah smiled at her, and accepted them. They reminded her of Jareth's starry cloak, but she ignored it and pretended that I reminded her of Van Gogh's Starry Night instead. She set up her bed, including three cozy pillows, a comforter and an extra blanket, and climbed down to survey her work. "Still a little bare," she murmured, gazing around. She didn't have very many trinkets, knick-knacks, or other collectible things. She had left Bryan with most of everything. Remembering that, she smacked her forehead, remembering that she had left her music box. She frowned, thinking about if she really wanted it back. She had always kept it because it had been a gift from her mother, but...
"Screw it," she murmured, and sat down on her couch again.
The book lay on one of the throw pillows, looking innocent as it could be. She stared at it, and her eyes narrowed. "None of your games, Jareth," she said decidedly, and picked up the book. "I'll burn it again. I know it hurt you." She had seen that in her dreams. She didn't wish him any pain, but she did wish for him to leave her alone. She never uttered those two words though, she was very careful not to, knowing the power that her words had over the Goblin King. She knew he was probably listening at that moment. She placed the book on the top-most shelf of the miniature library, in the corner, and went back to her sofa.
As she sat down, she felt a lump beneath her. She knew what it was before she lifted herself to the side to retrieve it. She glared at the book. "What do you want me to do?" she demanded of nothing.
She jumped and looked at the stairs. She smiled and relaxed to see Toby, and put the book down on her coffee table. "Hey Toby," she greeted. He was holding something behind his back. "What have you got there?"
He fiddled with something, and chewed on his lip. "Well..." He showed her Lancelot, and picked at the bear's button eye for a moment. "I heard you say that your room was bare, so I thought maybe you'd like Lancelot back now. I'm getting too old for stuffed animals anyways." He held the bear out to her, not looking at it or her.
Sarah clucked her tongue. "Too old for stuffed animals?" she echoed, and accepted the bear. She ran her hands over the worn fur of the bear. Lancelot had been Toby's hip attachment for many years, and had gone through many things with him. She knew how much he meant to Toby, regardless of what he said. "Nonsense. You do realize that I'm 25, and you're giving him to me?" she said coyly.
He sighed and sat heavily on her sofa. "Well, you're a girl. That's different."
"I suppose... Why not give him to Sylvie?" she offered.
Toby gave her a flat look that only children can accomplish, the 'are you kidding me?' sort of look that doesn't quite fit their countenances. "She'd ruin him in a day... Besides, she's already got enough dolls and stuffed animals and toys..."
She lifted her eyebrows. "Do I hear a bit of jealousy, Toby?" she teased.
"No!" he protested. She had always stressed the importance of being an older sibling, he didn't want to disappoint her. "It's just... I think he... it would be safer with you." His voice grew softer as he went, almost breaking as he said it.
It broke Sarah's heart to hear those words coming from him. He sounded so grown-up and so mature, especially for an almost-eleven-year-old. She hugged him all of a sudden, Lancelot still in one hand, and pressed him to her. "You will never be too old for anything that you enjoy," she told him sternly, and pushed him to arm's length to look at him seriously. "Everyone said I was too old for fairy tales, but I stayed with it, and look where it got me. Now I'm a big-shot writer with lots of money... Maybe if you keep Lancelot, you'll become a famous bear trainer. Doesn't that sound like fun?"
His look was skeptical. He shrugged his shoulders. "I guess," he said after awhile.
She sighed. It was no use. He had his father's practicality, with no sense of nonsense or silliness like Sarah had. Sylvie was somewhere in-between. She loved to play dress-up and act out scenes with her dolls with Sarah, but she was far more interested in her budding sports career than that these days.
Sarah hugged her brother again, giving him a tight squeeze. "Don't grow up too fast, kiddo," she encouraged him. "You'll miss these days when you don't have to worry about too much." She let him go, and gave him a nudge towards the door.
He got to his feet, and turned towards her. "Mom says dinner will be ready soon. Are you gonna eat with us?" The subject had changed quickly away from his growing up. He didn't like talking about it either.
"Sure," she said, and nodded her head.
Toby turned to leave, but then paused, looking at the book. Sarah's eyes darted towards it and prayed he wouldn't ask about it. He picked it up from the table and turned it over, and frowned. "I've never seen this book before," he said softly. He looked up at Sarah. "Where'd you get it? It looks old."
She smiled at him, and leaned forward to retrieve it. "I borrowed it from a friend. She said that I'd like it." She took the book from his hands, and tossed it on top of the nearest book shelf. "Don't worry about it." She smiled at him reassuringly, hoping that he would just take her words at face-value like an ignorant ten-year-old should.
He gave her a long, suspicious look, as if he knew she was lying, but accepted her story. "See you in a few," he said, and took the stairs two at a time, coming out into the kitchen and asking if his mother if she wanted any help.
Sarah let out a breath she didn't know she'd been holding. She picked up the book and scowled at it. "You will not touch him again, Jareth," she whispered harshly at the red cover. "You will not."