Disclaimer: If you saw it in the movie, I don't own it.

Jareth was tired. The daily drudgery of running the Goblin Kingdom was taking it's toll on him. How long had he been at this job? A century? A millenium? Longer? At times it felt as if an eternity had already passed, with infinity looming ahead of him. An eternity of petty goblin complaints, of taking children wished away by family or friends and bringing them here. An eternity of dealing with foolish mortals from the Aboveground, watching them fail his Labyrinth.

-All but one. Sarah surprised you, didn't she?

-She certainly did that. I never expected the chit to beat me. Wonderful, now I'm talking to myself.

It was true that Sarah had surprised him. The first person to solve the Labyrinth, she had far exceeded Jareth's expectations. So much so that he had offered her a place at his side, as queen. She'd refused, and he'd returned her home with her baby brother.

On reflection, Jareth was rather glad that she'd refused him. She'd been so young, barely more than a child. If she'd stayed, she would have done so without any real understanding of what he offered, and what she agreed to. In the end, it wouldn't have worked; they would have made each other miserable.

-She's not a child anymore, you know.

No, she was no longer a child. It was twenty years since that night, she was most definitely a woman grown. But she had a family of her own. He'd checked on her, off and on, through the years: she was married with two children. I wouldn't interfere in her life again.

-Whose fault is that? If you wanted her, you could have brought her back, as soon as she reached adulthood.

-And keep her here against her will? She would have hated me.

-She would have gotten over it. Eternity is a long time to hold a grudge. Or you could find another from Aboveground, if none of your own kind appeals to you.

That was the problem, of course. There were any number of Fae women who would be happy to become Goblin Queen, lords only knew his sister had introduced him to enough, but he didn't want any of them. He found them annoying, at best. He knew that Saiorse was getting tired of his always insulting her friends. Thankfully, she'd stopped bringing them around. He honestly preferred the company of the goblins to Fae women.

-So go topside and find a human girl. You need the interaction.

He couldn't argue with that. It had been months since he'd spoken with another person.


He looked up at the goblin who stood in the doorway, looking half afraid.

"What is it?" Jareth all but snapped. The goblin shrank back even further, and he was almost sorry for his tone.

"Sire, your brother is here."

"Tell him I'm away."

He was in no mood to deal with Melot. His brother had to be the most annoying creature in the Underground.

"I'm shocked brother. Hardly the hospitality you should extend to your family."

Melot's mocking voice grated on Jareth's nerves. The younger man had simply appeared in the throne room, and was leaning on Jareth's throne.

"That you are my brother is the sole reason I haven't dropped you head first into the Bog of Eternal Stench. Don't tempt me Melot."

"That won't do. What would father say if he could see and hear his precious firstborn now?"

"He would no doubt wonder that my restraint has lasted so long. Why are you here?"

"Why, I've come to visit my dear older brother for awhile. I've missed your company."

Jareth merely raised an eyebrow. Melot never visited for the pleasure of seeing his brother. In three thousand years, they'd never gotten along. For some reason, Melot had always envied Jareth his position as king. The throne of the Goblin Kingdom was a constant source of fighting between them; Melot felt that he would be the better ruler, never mind that Jareth was a millennia older. Jareth's mother had been a minor member of the Fae nobility, while Melot and Saiorse's mother was sister to the High King himself. Melot thought he should rule for that reason alonse. He would never visit Jareth willingly.

"You were banished from Court, weren't you?"

The look of anger on Melot's face told Jareth that he was right on target. Melot had angered the High King, or someone close to him, enough to get himself banished. Having nowhere else to go, he's come to the Goblin Kingdom. Jareth laughed.

"Whose wife did you try to seduce?"

Melot was rumored to have been sleeping his way through the Court. Jareth stayed away as much as possible, so he didn't know just how many of Melot's supposed conquests were real, but he knew his brother enough to know that there was a basis in fact for those claims.

"It's none of your concern, brother."

"Oh but it is," Jareth smirked. "You came to me for accommodation, that makes it my concern. I need to know if some angry Fae nobleman is going to come looking for you."

"Oh, shut up, Jareth."

Jareth laughed, looking at his brother, watching his eyes grow stormy and troubled.

"No matter. So long as you stay out of my way, you can stay here. Just stay out of the Labyrinth. It's been fussy lately, with so few runners. You wouldn't want to be mistaken for a new toy."

Melot shuddered at that, sparking more laughter from Jareth.

"Laugh all you want, brother. It's never tried to destroy YOU."

No, the Labyrinth had never destroyed him. A human teenager had almost done what the most feared part of the Underground couldn't do.

-You didn't really love her, you know. She was just a surprising distraction, after millennia of sameness. The only thing she destroyed was your pride.

-True. She never would have lasted here, anyway. But she was entertaining.

"Just remember my warning. And stay out of my way. I do still have a kingdom to run."

He didn't miss the hardening of Melot's expression at that barb. The younger man stalked off without a word, viciously kicking one of the guards as he left. Jareth watched him leave and sighed. He was very tired indeed.

Melot was bored. It had taken only one day with Jareth to remind him why he came to the Goblin Kingdom so rarely. Now three weeks had passed, and he thought he might go mad.

There was so little to do here. The goblins, while for the most part harmless, were also incredibly brainless. It was truly like being surrounded by children. The only person around to talk to was Jareth, and that was a bad idea. They always seemed to end up fighting. If Jareth would only see that he had no business as king. His mother Isolde had been a daughter of one of the lesser nobles in the Fae Court. Blood like that should never be allowed to rule. The Goblin Kingdom deserved a better ruler than that.

His own blood was far better. Sylvan was a sister to Marek, High King of the Fae. A throne was his birthright, and instead, simply because he was not first born, he had to make his way in the Court. It was so unfair. And now, because he'd almost succeeded in convincing Arionne to run away with him, he was banished even from the Court, to this forsaken place, with no one to amuse him. He didn't handle boredom well.

If only there was another person here, someone he could talk to. They needed fresh blood around here. If Saiorse would visit, and bring some of her friends, the place would be much livelier. He might even be able to bear his exile. Yes, he would make his sister come. She always managed to get along with both of them; surely, with Saoirse there they could keep the peace for the duration of his exile.

His mind made up, he conjured up a crystal, and held it at eye level.


"Melot? Where are you?"

The crystal was too small for either of them to have a good view through it, only their faces were distinct.

"I'm in the Goblin Kingdom. You have to come—"

His twin was in the room standing beside him before he finished the sentence.

"Whatever are you doing here? Don't tell me that the rumors are true. Have you actually been banished?"

"Temporarily. Just until Tallis returns to his home."

"You were cuckolding Tallis?"

Saoirse smacked her brother in the head. He yelped, and rubbed the now throbbing spot.

"What was that for?"

"For getting yourself exiled from Court over someone as empty headed as Arionne. Tallis, of all husbands, will never just let this go. You know that."

"Enough with the lectures, Saoirse. You have to come stay with me."

"Stay with you?"

She raised one eyebrow at him in a gesture so typical of Jareth that Melot winced.

"Yes. You have to stay. I'm losing my mind here Saoirse. It's so boring!"

Saoirse looked at her brother in disbelief. He really expected her to drop everything, including her husband and duties, to keep him company? She shook her head.

"Melot, you know very well that the demands on the kingdom leave me no time to visit."

"Surely you can stay for awhile—" he began in his most wheedling tone. Saoirse ignored it.

"Not just now, Melot. Haldrin is extremely busy. I can't leave him. You'll just have to entertain yourself for awhile. And try to stay out of trouble."

"Saoirse, you can't just leave me here with Jareth. I've already had three weeks of it!"

"You brought this on yourself, Melot. I can't fix this for you. Now, strange as it may sound, why don't you try getting alone with Jareth?"

"Get along with that low bred—"

He was cut off by another smack to the head. There were times when Saoirse could cheerfully kill her twin. No wonder he and Jareth were always fighting. Melot was so arrogant, even worse than their older borther.

"I'm surprised he hasn't already tossed you into the Bog of Eternal Stench. You're three thousand, four hundred, and seventy-eight years old, Melot! Stop acting like a child of two hundred!"

She disappeared in a huff, and transported herself to the study. She wouldn't waste a trip out here without stopping to see Jareth. He looked up from his papers, a glare on his face for whoever had dared to disturb him. He broke into a smile when he saw his younger sister.

"Saoirse! What brings you out here? Tired of the Elves, are you?"

"Not at all. I was called by Melot, and since Haldrin was in a Council meeting, I came by."

Jareth stood, walked around his desk, and embraced his sister. He hadn't seen her in almost a year. The Elven lands were far from the Goblin Kingdom; nearly the only time he saw Saoirse was at the formal gathering called by Marek.

"Melot called you? "

"Unfortunately yes. He's bored."

Jareth snorted. Leave it to Melot to expect everyone to drop everything to entertain him. It was hard to believe that he and Saoirse were related. Where his sister actually had a head on her shoulders, and showed concern for the affairs of the Underground, his brother only cared for himself.

"Can you stay for dinner at least?"

He rather enjoyed the prospect of an intelligent dinner partner. The goblins, when he mingled with them, were more like children. He couldn't really discuss anything with them.

"I wish I could, but we're meeting with the Dwarf ambassador. Politics."

They shared a smile at their mutual distaste for politics, and Jareth hid his disappointment that her stay was so short. He knew as well as she that there was no getting around the obligations that came with the office of ruler.

"Well, Haldrin is having a ball in three weeks' time. You received an invitation."

"Did I?"

He tried to recall the invitation, but with the mountain of paperwork on his desk, he knew it was likely that it had been lost. Of course, knowing the goblins, it could just have easily been destroyed.

"I will make a point of coming."

He would have to rearrange his schedule a bit, in order to be out of the kingdom for more than a day. Saoirse gave Jareth a quick farewell hug before disappearing. Jareth watched after her for a minute before returning to the work of running the kingdom. If only Melot was as easy a problem to solve.