Disclaimer: Henson, Lucas, and Froud, oh my! Again, wonderful movie, but not mine.

Chapter 3: Memories

Sarah murmured and stirred slightly, unwilling to wake and reveling in the feeling of some phantom warmth against her lips and cheek. What a nice dream…

At that thought, she bolted upright, breathing hard. Shaking off a sense of déjà vu, Sarah glanced wildly around her room, then stopped dead, heart racing, as her gaze came to rest on the white dress draped over her desk chair. No…it can't be

She whirled to look behind her, lips parted in either revulsion or anticipation of what she would find – only to find that there was nothing there.

For a moment, Sarah's brain and heart both came to a dead stop.

Slowly she reached out in pure confusion, as if expecting to touch something invisible as opposed to what simply wasn't there, and collapsed in sheer relief as the only thing her fingers felt was her sheets. Looking down at the hand not currently resting on her pillow, her relief deepened at the sight of her fourth finger bare of any flash of gold.

Sarah pushed her hair out of her face from where it had been disheveled from her frantic searching. "It must have really just been a dream," she murmured, her voice sounding almost slightly wistful, and strange in the quiet room. A quiet snicker sounded from beneath the dresser, but was shushed before it could be noticed by the bemused girl still staring at her bed.

Sarah shook her head. "I've heard people talk about dreams they couldn't believe weren't real on waking, but I never thought it was possible…" A small voice interrupted from the back of her mind. Maybe it was real…What about the dress?

The girl echoed the thought softly. "I don't know… what about the dress?" Sarah whipped around to look at where the garment lay, still innocently hanging over the chair, and felt another brief flash of panic before she relaxed again.

Of course… the party she had come home from college to attend, her old school friend's commencement and "thank-god-it's-finally-over" party, where the younger girl had demanded that Sarah wear the long white "simply amazing dress that I found but that I could never wear," and where she had probably consumed more than enough (likely spiked) punch to account for some very odd dreams indeed…

Sarah sighed. In the few years since her little adventure to the realms of fantasy, she had vacillated between the certainty that yes, everything had actually happened, and the belief that after so many years of spending time alone reading odd books, she was finally going crazy. And the occasional late-night visits by her supernatural friends had done little to sway her one way over the other.

But once she had graduated from high school, with considerably more maturity, confidence and friends than she had entered it with, she had stopped calling. The mirror in her dorm room apparently had none of the supernatural powers of communication that the one in her old bedroom did, and she was home so little that calling on the beings she was more and more certain were either dreams or products of her imagination quickly became more trouble than it was worth.

Sarah sighed again as she slowly clambered out of bed. Creatures of her imagination or not, she did miss her friends. Though her little trip to the L – her trip outside the realm of normality had done wonders for her social life, leading her to pack up many of her more outlandish costumes in boxes and to treat other human beings with the same newfound appreciation she now had for her half brother, she sometimes found it hard to relate to people that knew nothing of the reason for her sudden maturity.

Dreams or no, her long talks through the mirror had helped assuage some of that tension, letting her vent to sympathetic ears the sheer stupidity of humans that knew nothing of magic, while being passed the latest events and gossip from the Labyrinth.

Damn. I said it. She had been trying to avoid the actual names of things for a while now, as even so much as thinking of them brought back the remembered pain. She slumped for a moment, thinking of all she had left behind her, ready to once again shove it to the back of her mind. Then Sarah straightened her back determinedly, looking boldly into the mirror that had once held faces not her own.

"No." Her face was defiant, if still a little flushed from her earlier panicking. "No, I won't push them away again. Dream or no, they deserve to be remembered." She leaned forward to touch the mirror softly. "Everyone from the Labyrinth… Hoggle, Sir Didymus, Ludo…" Her voice softened to little more than a whisper, unconsciously caressing. "Even him."

Sarah turned away from the mirror, a single tear trailing traitorously down her cheek. "I miss you all so much… Even you, Jareth." She gazed out the window, where an owl had sat watching so long ago. "Even you."

Then Sarah shivered in the cold breeze coming in through the window, the gust lifting a piece of paper from the sill. The girl reached forward automatically to catch it before it hit the ground, then froze. I didn't leave the window open…

Half in hope, half in despair, she sprinted forward to the open window and looked out, searching for some flash of feathers. The owl in the neighbor's tree held itself very still as the girl looked about wildly, a look of near-hope in her panicked eyes, but there was nothing to be found.

Coming down from her panicked high, Sarah shook her head. "Don't be silly," she scolded herself. "If it was him, he'd be long gone by now…" She looked down at the note in her hand, starting to unfold it, when her attention was caught by something sparkling on the window sill.

Her mouth opened, but no sound came out, so it was with lips parted softly and silently that she reached out with trembling hands to touch the crystal that lay shining innocently in a ray of sunlight. The note fell from her hand to the sill, coming open just enough so that she could see the first line, in beautifully ornate writing she had never seen before in her life.

Hello, precious. I've brought you a gift.

Dun dun dun... Relax, folks, the next chapter is on its way. Yes, Jareth is being a bit evil here, but hey, Sarah did shake up his kingdom quite a bit... And as to the champion herself fainting so much... honestly, if you were confronted with the man who was at once your best dream and worst nightmare, and you thought you had just unwittingly married him, what would you do?

For anyone who's curious, Sarah is about 18 or so here and in her freshman year of college. She hasn't talked to anyone from the Labyrinth for over a year... Wouldn't you be desperate for a little bit of magic in your life too?

Thanks to everybody who reassured me that my writing isn't crap... The more you review, the more motivated I am to finish editing the next and last chapter! (Shameless? Who, me? Naw...)