Disclaimer: I do not own Labyrinth or any of the characters.
Summary: What if Sarah had gotten severely injured during the battle in the goblin city? Jareth never intended for any runner to be truly harmed when they ran his labyrinth, and Sarah he wouldn't see harmed at all. So, how would that change things? One-shot.
A Surprise Twist
Sarah dove down behind the fountain just in time to avoid a new round of enemy fire. For once, it wasn't cannon-fire, but something that sounded more like bullets from a Tommy-Gun. Not that she'd ever had any real experience with firearms in the first place.
What Sarah failed to consider in the next moments, after Ludo summoned a boulder and crushed the tank-like armor of the goblin shooting at them from the front, was the possibility of another tank coming up from behind.
Sarah rose to her feet, only to hear the discharge of bullets once again. And then something, she wasn't sure what, collided with her and sent her sprawling to the dusty ground.
And then she knew only pain, but couldn't make a sound. She could barely draw breath enough to register the fact that she'd been shot.
A cold horror spread throughout the Goblin King when he saw Sarah fall and not get up.
"No!" he raged as he leapt from the window of the castle, already in flight as an owl. No, NO, NO!
This was supposed to test Sarah, not kill her.
Screeching, he dove down into the fray, landing on booted feet just inside the protective circle Sarah's friends had formed around her.
Ludo, seeing him first, let out an angry roar. Sir Didymus raised his staff, and bared his teeth at Jareth. Ambrosias barked and growled, also threatening Jareth by showing off his sharp teeth.
"Stay away from her!" Hoggle shrieked, furiously charging the goblin king, his fear of losing his friend stronger than his fear of being tossed into the Bog or locked in an oubliette to die of starvation. "Damn you, Jareth! She's dyin', and yer the cause-"
But Jareth waved his hand absentmindedly, freezing the dwarf, the rock-caller, the knight, as well as everyone else in the goblin city. It was as if time stopped for everyone.
Except for Sarah and himself.
While he admired her friends' loyalty to her, and understood their anger at him, there was no time to deal with them. Not with Sarah so injured.
He knelt beside her, hearing her ragged, troubled breathing. He saw the blood seeping from her upper back, staining her clothes and spilling to the ground. Given how she struggled to breath, he suspected at least a punctured lung, along with other internal injuries.
She would die soon -unless he did something drastic. Something he had never done before, and felt certain no other king in the history of the Labyrinth had done, either.
He had to help Sarah, the runner, become victorious. Once she said the words, everything would be reset. Her injuries would be no more, existing only in memory, like a bad dream.
When Sarah saw him, her eyes, normally so very vibrant and defiant, were dull and fearful. Jareth found he did not like her eyes like this. He would see them sparkle again, clear and alert. But first, he had to save her life.
"I'm sorry. This was never meant to happen. I'm going to help you, Sarah," he promised her, weaving a spell that would put pressure on the wound even while his hands were busy lifting her up from the ground and into his arms. "You will not die today. Trust to me, if only this once."
She let out a strangled cry of pain, though whether it was from being moved, the pressure applied to the wound, or both, he couldn't tell. Whatever the cause, it spurred him to move faster than ever.
Without further words or delay, he ran towards the entrance to his castle.
He dropped to his knees just inside the doorway, still holding on to Sarah, who was barely conscious.
"You have to say the words," he begged her. "Just say I have no power over you, and you'll be fine."
She squinted at him, clearly confused from his actions as well as her blood loss.
"'You have no power over me.' Say those words. Or mouth them. That's all you have to do. Please, Sarah!" he beseeched, shaking her ever so slightly in desperation.
She was so pale…
"Dammit, girl!" he shouted. "I love you! I never meant for you to come to harm! Speak your right words and defeat me!"
And then, mercifully, Sarah began to mouth the words, despite the dark blood spilling from her lips.
Jareth's eyes never left hers, and his grip tightened as he willed her to speak faster.
As soon as Sarah finished the sentence, the world around them fell away, and Jareth could have cried out in relief as he watched Sarah's injuries heal and vanish completely. Color came back to her skin. She no longer had trouble breathing. She raised her head and looked up at him, meeting his gaze, her eyes sparkling.
Jareth never thought he'd be so happy to have been defeated.
Sarah blinked as Jareth disappeared from view, and found herself standing upright in her own house, just at the bottom of the staircase.
What had just happened? One moment, she'd been in awful pain, and the next, she was all better, and home once again.
"Toby!" she cried out her baby brother's name as she remembered.
Was he home, too?
She turned and ran up the stairs, going straight for her parent's bedroom, which doubled as a nursery for Toby.
"Toby?" she called out, though not quite as loudly as before, as she flipped the lights on.
Sarah all but melted in relief as she saw him lying in the crib, rubbing one eye drowsily before going back to sleep.
Only after giving him Lancelot and exiting the room did she remember exactly what happened those last few moments in the Labyrinth.
She'd been shot. Jareth came to her, brought her the rest of the way to his castle, and begged her to say those six words that would lead to her victory.
She remembered his words to her: I love you! I never meant for you to come to harm!
"Speak your right words," Sarah murmured in shock. "and defeat me."
She felt the sudden need to speak to him again, though she wasn't sure what she'd say if she had the chance.
She also needed to talk to her friends, she realized as she shut her bedroom door behind her. But how to do so? And who should she speak to, first? Her friends, or Jareth?
"Oh, I wish I could just call them all at once!" she said out loud, resting her forehead against the door, realizing too late that she'd said the magic words. She clasped a hand over her mouth in horror- more at her repeat mistake (or something similar) than fear of Jareth or being returned to the Labyrinth.
"Sarah! You're alive!" Hoggle's voice, joyous, broke the silence, making her whirl around to take in the sight of her bedroom. "You beat Jareth! Ye had to have!"
All her friends were there: Hoggle, Sir Didymus, Ludo, as well as Ambrosias… even the little blue worm and the old sage with the snide bird-hat.
"Sarah all better!" Ludo agreed, beaming.
"Thank the heavens!" Sir Didymus cried. "We feared you lost, fair maiden. Please, forgive me for failing to protect you!"
He bowed low to her, doffing his hat. He only rose once she began to speak.
"There's nothing to forgive, Sir Didymus," she assured him, bending down to his level and embracing him. "You were so brave. All of you were. Thank you. I can't say that enough."
"Ack! Group hug, already!" she heard the bird-hat chime in, and Sarah soon found herself smack in the center of one such thing.
"Aw! You guys," she laughed, and did her very best to hug them back.
Sarah realized something as they finally let go of her. She had asked for all of them. So, where was Jareth?
"Wait," she said before anyone else could speak. "Jareth?" she called out, looking around. "Last time I checked, you were included in the word "all." Where are you, Goblin King?"
Ding-dong, came the chime of the doorbell.
Sarah exchanged glances with her friends, then.
"You guys think that's…" she asked, glancing at the window. If it was Jareth, why wouldn't he come in through the window, like last time?
Maybe he was trying to be polite, she mused, as opposed to scaring the daylights out of her again.
"'Ang on," the blue worm said from his place on the windowsill. "Don't move. Let me look an' see what's what down below."
"Yep, it's 'im, alright," he confirmed after quickly inching to peer out of the darkened window. "Looks a bit o' a mess, though."
Sarah exhaled, partly in relief that he'd come, and partly due to nervousness.
"Don't let him in, Sarah," Hoggle advised, still as suspicious as ever of the Labyrinth's king. "I know you beat him-though I don't know how-, but I reckon he's angry as a kicked hornets' nest."
"No," Sarah disagreed. "I don't believe he'll try and hurt me. He saved me, Hoggle. And if he did mean to hurt me, I don't think he'd announce himself by ringing the doorbell."
She gave her friends a reassuring smile, while they stared in shock at her revelation of Jareth's help to her. The last thing they could remember was Jareth arriving before them in the city, and then he and Sarah had disappeared.
"Besides," she added confidently. "He has no power over me."
"Yeah, well…" Hoggle went to argue, but then the doorbell sounded again.
"Do what you want," he told her. "But, should you need us… for any reason…"
"Yes," Sir Didymus agreed. "Should you need us…"
Ludo nodded in support of their idea.
"I'll call," Sarah promised. "You guys stay here, okay? This shouldn't take too long."
I hope, she thought as she slipped out the room and back downstairs to open the door.
She took a deep breath to keep herself calm and collected before opening the door.
"Hello again, Sarah." Jareth greeted her as she pulled open the door. His posture was ramrod straight and tense, despite his polite tone.
She couldn't help but notice that the little blue worm had been correct. Jareth looked a mess. His hair was disheveled, his clothes stained with dust from the battlefield, and he had bags under his eyes that betrayed his tiredness.
"Hello," Sarah returned politely. "Thank you for coming."
Jareth appeared to be studying her, top to bottom and back again.
"How are you feeling?" he asked, and Sarah realized that, last time he'd seen her, she had been on death's doorstep.
"I'm alive and well, thanks to you," she let him know, giving him a shy smile. He seemed to relax just a little at that.
"I'm glad to hear it. And I had no choice, besides," he replied, and Sarah raised her eyebrows in confusion.
"Having to lose to you, or win by allowing you to die… there was and is no contest," he explained. "Nor will there ever be. I'd choose the same thing every time. You, Sarah."
Jareth took a single step closer, then.
"Do you remember what I said to you? Before you said the words?"
"I…Yes," Sarah admitted. "I remember."
"I meant it," he said firmly. "Everything I did, I did for you -because you wanted it, even if it made me your adversary. You asked the child be taken. I took him. You cowered before me -I was frightening. I have re-ordered time. I have turned the world upside down, and I have done it all. For. You! In truth, I am exhausted from living up to your expectations of me."
Before Sarah could begin to wonder if this was some kind of lecture or rebuke, he added, much more softly:
"And, do you know what, Sarah?" he smiled. "It was worthwhile. I was able to speak with you, able to stand before you as a man, demonstrate what I could do, and show you my kingdom- my world. I was even, however briefly, able to dance with you, and have you close to me."
But then sadness marred his face.
"The only thing I regret is sending the guards after you. They were not supposed to harm you, not really. They weren't even supposed to have bullets- only blanks."
He knelt down on both knees before her, then, surprising her more than ever before.
"I have no right to ask for your forgiveness, so I will not. Instead, I give you my word, Sarah Williams, that I am your willing servant -slave, even- for as long as you live. Whenever you call for me, I will answer. Whatever you ask, I will do."
"No!" Sarah protested, horrified at the idea of controlling another person in such a way. "I don't want a slave! Slavery's wrong! Besides, if anybody owes anyone anything in this situation, it's me who owes you. You saved my life."
"Can't we be friends?" she added more quietly.
Jareth stared at her for a long, long moment, his eyes so wide she wondered how they still fit in their sockets.
"You… You would call me friend? And have me say the same of you?" he asked, as if he hadn't heard her correctly. "After this whole disaster?"
"Yes," Sarah affirmed. "Especially "after this whole disaster". Please?"
She smiled. A real and true smile just for him.
"Don't you know, Sarah, that I can deny you nothing? For us to be friends, after what happened earlier, is more than I could or should have hoped," he answered, standing up.
He gave her a smile to match her own.
"Yes, we can be friends. We are friends," he confirmed.
"And, perhaps," he added softly, even shyly. "Perhaps, one day, you would consider letting us become something else? Something… more?"
His eyes pleaded with her, and he took one of her hands, brought it to his lips, and kissed it lightly.
Sarah nodded, and closed the distance between them. Reaching up, she embraced him warmly.
He froze at her touch, and only when she began to pull back in order to look at him did he move. His arms wound around her, pulling her back to him. One hand came up and cupped the back of her head, guiding it back down and against his heart. His pulse roared in her ear.
"Thank you, Sarah," he whispered. "Thank you for this chance. It is precious to me, much like you."
"And now," he added, releasing her and stepping back (though he still held her hand). He looked upward, and Sarah saw the faces of her friends peering out of her bedroom window at them. "I believe you have a victory revelry to attend.
So, for now, I bid you farewell."
He gave her a graceful bow, then, and kissed her hand a final time.
He smirked after he let go of her hand, though it was not mean-spirited.
"Though, when I return in a few days to visit you- if I may be so bold-, I would very much love for us to finally have our dance. Uninterrupted, this time, if you please."
Sarah's smile grew, and she blushed at the memory his words brought to mind.
"I'd love to, Jareth," she agreed. "Can't wait."
He nodded then, grinning like the Cheshire Cat. He turned away, and, in the time it took for Sarah to blink, he was an owl again.
Hooting twice, he circled above her head before darting up into the night sky, soon disappearing from sight.
Sarah, after watching him go, turned and went back inside the house, then, eager to rejoin her friends and celebrate their victory.
Jareth may have carried her through the final stretch, but without her other friends (and her own determination) she wouldn't have gotten far at all.
Heck, without Hoggle, she would never have gotten in the Labyrinth to start with. If she hadn't met the blue worm, she might still be trapped in the endless corridor. Without Ludo, she would have fallen into the Bog of Eternal Stench, as well as have been stopped by the goblin army. Without Sir Didymus, they wouldn't have had a guide to take them out of the forest, or had such a brave ally during the battle in the goblin city.
And, finally, without Jareth, she never would have survived, let alone won.
And that was just the tip of the iceberg of what her friends had done for her.
She owed them more than she could ever repay, she knew. But a party was certainly an excellent way to start.
Just as Hoggle, the last guest to leave after helping Sarah clean up, slipped away through the mirror, another, much smaller creature slipped out.
A goblin, Sarah realized, as it looked at her from where it stood on her vanity. While there had been a number of them in attendance to her party, this one had not been there. The goblin was very small compared to others she'd seen in the Labyrinth, only about the size of a squirrel.
It was almost… cute.
"Hello," Sarah greeted it.
It was then she saw it carried something in its little claws. An envelope.
"Message for you from King," it explained, holding out the letter for her to take. "You want?"
"Oh," Sarah stepped up to the vanity, reaching out and taking the letter. "Yes, thank you."
The goblin looked around the room, then, sniffing the air with interest. He spotted a bag of chips that had been left on her dresser from the party.
He pointed to it eagerly.
"Scrat can eat that?" he asked, his eyes big and pleading. "Pretty please?"
It took Sarah a moment to realize that Scrat was the goblin's name.
Sarah found herself grinning, then, he was so adorable.
"Go ahead, Scrat," she answered, nodding.
Immediately, Scrat ran to the edge of the vanity and leapt over to the dresser (which was quite a distance for such a small creature). He dove into the open bag, and Sarah heard crunching sounds come from within as he ate.
She giggled, then looked down at the letter.
Her first and last name were written in flowing calligraphy across the front.
She carefully tore the envelope open and took out the message.
Sitting down in her chair by the vanity, she began to read.
A thought occurred to me after I left you earlier this evening, and I thought it best to let you know of it, in case the same thought came to your mind.
I may have carried you over the finish line, so to speak, but the victory belongs to you. Even if you had not been injured, the victory would still be yours. I have seen it, an alternate reality, through my crystals.
And you did wondrously, both in the alternate situation and the real one.
For the record, I always knew you would make it, even if I said otherwise to you or others. The point of all that I did was for you- so you could taste what you were made of, see what you could accomplish when put to the test, as I knew you truly wanted- and needed. You are a hero. You're a hero to Toby, your friends, and myself.
Well done, Sarah, Champion of the Labyrinth.
Yours, as always,
To quote the bird-hat: "Please, leave a contribution in the little box."
Somebody better review, or else.
"Readers," *holds snake as if about to throw it* "Don't defy me."