Disclaimer: I own nothing but the clothes on my back!
A/N: This is a little plot bunny started kicking through my mind after recently rewatching the Labyrinth at a friend's birthday party. I pinned it down, and this is what emerged. This is just a little preview of what will become a longer story eventually, but I thought it works as a decent glimpse into the kind of Labyrinth I am building. This is my second work of FF, and first Laby-fic. I am interested in what people have to say about it. Thanks!
Summary: When Sarah beat the Labyrinth and earned the Goblin King's love, she unknowingly gained the title of Heart of the Labyrinth, as well as a hefty dose of magic. It's been six years since she refused the Goblin King, and now the Labyrinth is being threatened. Jareth is able to hold back the Troll army, though he is missing a strong part of the Labyrinth's magic, until something happens to tear his heart in two. Sarah has betrayed him to the Trolls, and unless he can stop her, the Trolls will gain access to a powerful source of magic that will destroy the Underground. Jareth/Sarah, HEA, T
Windows to the Soul
Prologue: The Goblin King
The Goblin King's lungs were full of blood and phlegm. Each breath was a sharp knife in his diaphragm, a harsh rasp in his dry throat. His feet were nothing more than jagged shards of pain that barely held his weight. His hands were gnarled beyond all recognition, no longer able to grasp a pen for writing—or a sword for fighting. But that was what the goblins were for. They might not be poets, but they could usually distinguish the pointy end of the sword from the handle.
It would not be long before he was called to his eternal rest now. Even the immortal Fey reluctantly faded to time.
His eyes were filmed with grey. He could not see to the end of the room, but he could clearly see the Fae boy struggling in the Labyrinth. The boy was young, scarcely sixty years old, but the Goblin King had long suspected that he would attempt the Trial of the Labyrinth. The child's bright blond hair was a beacon that helped the Goblin King track his progress.
Currently, the lad was fighting against a pair of marsh-feelers. Their thorny vines were wrapped around his whip-cord body, lifting him into the air and threatening to tear him apart. The Goblin King reached out the Labyrinth. He felt it responding to him, just as it had for centuries. Do not make it too easy for him, he whispered to the Labyrinth. The marsh-feelers tightened around the lad, making him cry out in pain.
That's it, tighter, the Goblin King urged. Taste his blood.
The Labyrinth surged against his mind, gently protesting the harsh treatment. The Labyrinth had no hesitation to soak up hot blood and steal life away—but only when it was necessary. The youth did not deserve to die.
Very well, allow him to breathe. But do not release him. He must get out on his own— He broke off and smiled, seeing that the boy had wrenched an arm free—causing a deep wound near his shoulder that bled freely—and managed to seize his sword. The child hacked at the marsh-feelers, until they suddenly threw him down with a bone-jarring thud.
The Goblin King sat forward sharply, ignoring the lance of pain down his spine. Was the boy dead? The Labyrinth admonished him silently. Why save the boy from the marsh-feelers only to have him perish from a simple fall?
Breathing harshly, the youth forced himself to his feet. He leaned on his sword and swayed precariously, clearly dazed. He shook his head sharply, and continued deeper into the Labyrinth. The Goblin King sighed with resignation. He would have rather that this lad did not make it to the center of the Labyrinth. Out of spite, he opened a pit to the Leech Swamp under the boy's feet. The boy leapt away from the collapsing ground with an agility the Goblin King frankly envied. The Labyrinth laughed at him, causing a rockslide that the boy was not so lucky to avoid.
The youth danced among the rolling stones—some of them nearly half his height—before he slipped. The Goblin King's breath caught in his throat as the child went down. That boulder there was certain to crush his leg to pulp—but the Labyrinth shifted slightly, cradling the boy's leg between two other rocks so he would only feel a deep bruise from the encounter. You are growing soft, the Goblin King sneered at the Labyrinth. The only response was a shrug which made a shower of smaller stones—only fist and skull size—rain down on the youth.
He tried to shelter his head, but a rock the size of two fists crashed toward his face. The boy jerked. Instead of taking off his face, the rock struck his scalp and painted half of his hair red with blood. The Goblin King breathed out slowly as the youth stirred and pushed himself up again. The Labyrinth sent a smug wave toward the Goblin King. Alright, he admitted, I don't want to kill him either. Just—discourage him from finishing.
The Labyrinth did not comment. The evening was very late as the boy struggled onward. His sword was broken, but he clung to it stubbornly. Always so stubborn, that one. He had until nightfall to reach the Castle beyond the Goblin City. There was little hope of getting the boy lost within the city, and even the worst antics of the goblins only caused him a couple minor detours.
The top edge of the sun was less than a finger-width in the sky when the boy broke free from a goblin dog-pile and sprinted for the Castle doors. He dove for the walls, slapping a bloody hand print on the warm stone before falling to his knees. Two fast heartbeats later, the sun was gone. The Goblin King frowned. The lad had cut it close, but he had reached the Castle before the deadline. It was time to grant a boon.
The Goblin King rose stiffly, and took his walking stick as he hobbled to the Castle door. The Labyrinth took pity on him and shortened the distance between the door and his chambers. He reached out and stroked a wall gratefully. With a gesture, the Goblin King caused the doors to swing inward.
The boy was there, on his knees, filthy, bleeding, and panting from his exertions. But his eyes, when he looked up at the Goblin King, were bright with the fervor of youth. The Goblin King closed his own eyes with a feeling of regret. Was there any question what the boy would ask for? A Fae youngling only pushed himself so hard for power. He would ask to become the King. And the Labyrinth had tested him hard, giving no quarter to the boy. He was worthy of the favor he would ask. Still, the Goblin King wished there was another way. The best kings were the ones that did not ask for the crown.
"You have passed the Trial of the Labyrinth," the Goblin King spoke in his croaking voice. "What boon would you ask of me?"
The boy took a moment to gulp air, something like pity passing into his eyes as he surveyed the old Goblin King. "I would ask a boon, but not for myself," he spoke clearly. "I would ask that my boon pass to my uncle, that he might wish himself healed."
A feeling of warmth swelled in the Goblin King's chest and spread outward to his limbs. He blinked in surprise, and then blinked again as tears threatened. The Labyrinth hummed proudly against his mind.
"Jareth, what are you doing?" the Goblin King asked. "You could have asked for anything. You could have wished yourself to be King in my place."
Jareth shook his head, still not rising from the ground. His slight body trembled with exhaustion. "I don't want it, Uncle. I only want you to be better. Please, use my boon to heal yourself."
The old Goblin King shook his head slowly. "No, Jareth, I am beyond healing now. You gave your boon to me, and I use it now to declare you my heir and successor as the Goblin King." The magic surged and circled them. The Labyrinth sighed in pleasure at the successor they had chosen together.
Jareth's mismatched eyes widened in utter shock. The Goblin King knew he had chosen well, for it had never even crossed his nephew's mind to take the power for himself. He was certain Jareth would make an excellent Goblin King.