Disclaimer: I do not own Jim Henson's Labyrinth.

AN: updated 6/13/13

With The Best Intentions

Chapter 2

"Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible."

-Saint Francis of Assisi

He was only a boy; small and ignorant. He could not vote or drive a car. It shouldn't matter. His opinion should not intimidate her in the slightest. Sarah's impending reunion with her eight year-old step-brother should theoretically not faze her. A young boy wasn't exactly someone's worst nightmare. Sarah lightly closed her eyes and took a deep breathe in through her nose and slowly exhaled through her mouth attempting to calm her pounding heartbeat. She had spent a majority of the last four years disassociating from the world and those around her. It was easier that way; easier to believe that no one cared about you. It was easier because it hurt too much to fabricate that those who had loved her, who had raised her, could betray her like they had.

So why was it, that she thought of Toby when they arrived in the airport and picked up Irene and Robert's (he hadn't been her Father for a long while now) luggage from baggage claim? And when they hailed a taxi at the crowded side curbs outside the terminal? Why was the very thought of seeing Toby sending her psyche into chaos and constitution in a panic?

Maybe it was because he was the last one. The last one who had truly smiled at her; who had trusted and put so much faith in her person-in her tales of the Labyrinth. Toby told Sarah that he loved her, and she believed him. He wrote her letters twice a month, or as much of a letter as a child could. They started out as drawings, or scribbles more accurately, but they were filled with warmth. Those letters had convinced her to hold on and ultimately to give up and let go of the Labyrinth, and it's King. Because if she didn't, Toby would forever be lost to her. Toby was the reason her mind had devised and conquered the fictional Labyrinth in the first place.

If there was anything Sarah wanted in life, it was Toby. The boy that in her insanity, she had fabricated another world in which she could be his hero. Sarah had battled goblins, faced the Bog of Eternal Stench, and raced against time in order to save him. She had created a controlled world where Toby played as the innocent victim of an evil plot from her Step-Mother. Irene, the evil Step-Mother who wanted nothing more than to permanently create a rift between siblings and cast the step-daughter out. In the end it had been Sarah who had stood triumphant and learned to love her brother unconditionally. She had grown into a young woman during her trials and was no longer a whining and self-centered girl. Even if Sarah had created the Labyrinth and its inhabitants, she had not fabricated her love for her step-brother, nor the deep affection and affinity he had for her.

And it was this familial bond of love that had been her down fall. At least, Sarah was pretty sure it was.

Sarah couldn't imagine how well Irene was taking her homecoming. Robert, Dad, she reminded herself to call him, apparently still had some affection towards her. Sarah thought it was more guilt than anything really. Guilt from sending her away. Sarah did not have the mind to care; she was more interested to how she could use his feelings of remorse to her advantage. She had learned not to trust over the last few years after the many disappointments and heartbreak. But Sarah had to be thankful to the man. He was the one who had ultimately wanted her to come home. And while Irene seemed happy as well, Sarah knew that Irene's jealousy and envy had still been present when she had gazed upon Sarah's gaunt face at Danver's. Sarah might have felt the same in her place, but she sure wouldn't have tried to get her step-daughter committed and shipped off. The catalyst for which still caused Sarah to smile to herself in secret pride. Toby's first words had been to call Sarah "Mama." As an infant Toby had always called their father "Lm" and Irene "Ween."

In Toby's infant eyes, Sarah was his Mother. Just who she thought was his father was beyond her as he had always been reluctant to call Robert Dad.

Reflecting on this, perhaps it made sense why Sarah was apprehensive about returning home. She was afraid things had changed. That he would look at her differently. The one human being that had really mattered to her, who she had risked life and limb for, even if had been hallucinated, would have lost his love for her. Sarah, his deranged step-sister who had been absent for nearly five years. In that time he had only seen her for a few brief visits.

Sarah felt as if she might be sick. With every familiar house they passed Sarah's nausea increased.

Perhaps sensing her unease, or even noticing her ashen pallor in the rearview mirror, Robert attempted to ease the tense atmosphere in the car. "Toby will be excited to see you Sarah. Our nanny Danielle is watching him now. She's fixing dinner and making your favorite dessert, peach cobbler."

Wonderful, Sarah hoped she could force herself to eat and hold it down. The first momentous thing she could do upon returning would be spewing on the dinner table.

The car pulled up in the driveway and her...Dad shouldered her duffle bag. Sarah followed them through the front door. "Toby, kido, we're back."

The house was as pristine as she remembered. A few things had changed, paintings, a new mirror, nothing that held any significance for her at least. Unfamiliar noises and smells were coming from the kitchen. But some of the most prominent noises were coming from the living room.

"Toby, you better get off that XBox right now, I mean it young man!" Irene called out.

There was some shuffling heard, and a bit of grumbling and a boy walked out from around the corner. Sarah swore her heart stopped for a moment. He was beautiful. He had dirty blond locks, and her eye color of hazel green. She took a much needed shaky breathe.

Irene walked over to Toby and bent down to give him a kiss on his head. He gave her a disgusted face and she just chuckled at him while running a hand through his hair. Sarah desperately wanted to do the same. Their words were coming in and out, as was her vision. She dully noted that she must be having some form of anxiety or panic attack. Sarah was making an effort to hold it together, but needed to take her emergency medication as soon as possible if she didn't want to make a fool of herself. They were speaking now, and there was another woman with them. She was pretty with blue green eyes and lengthy brown hair. Sarah noted she might have been taller than her by an inch or two, or maybe it just seemed that way because the room was spinning slightly?

Shaking her head, she realized her Dad had been saying something to her. "Sorry, what?" It came out somewhat normal sounding.

"This is our nanny Danielle."

Sarah managed to successfully exchange pleasantries with the young woman whose name she had already forgotten. "Toby say hello to your sister."

Toby looked her straight in the eye and said, "Hey." Quickly dismissing Sarah, he turned his gaze to Irene, "Can I go back to my game now? I'm online with Brian and he has to go soon."

Irene sighed and nodded. Toby rushed back to the living room soon after and Sarah made her excuses for the restroom. She turned the facet on a washed her face and stared at her reflection in the mirror, realizing her worst fears had come to pass. Toby had been her last connection to the world. Sarah turned on the faucet and shakily opened two different prescribed medications and swallowed a few pills. She sipped water from the faucet to ease their passage down her throat but kept the faucet running. Her eyes squeezed shut and a few tears rolled down her prominent cheek bones. Slowly her eyebrows turned inwards and she scrubbed her face and looked in the mirror. One deep breathe followed another.

I can do this. Just don't show them you're affected, that you're weak. All I need to do is establish myself as a responsible adult in their eyes and eventually I can move out. That should only take a few years at most. Sarah groaned and pulled her hair while leaning into the sink. She took a deep breath, washed her face once more and did her best to compose herself.

Walking out of the bathroom, Sarah swore the final pieces of her heart had finally broken beyond repair. And this time, she wasn't going to bother picking up the pieces.

Dinner was incredibly awkward. Toby may have been in the second grade, but he was proud of his accomplishments and the fact that he was the best in his reading and math groups, respectively. His teacher even complimented on his creative writing skills, not that Toby was especially creative or imaginative. He couldn't afford to be with Irene around and he desperately wanted to keep Sarah this time. If his parents knew, well if they knew him at all, Sarah would never have been allowed to come home. Thus, Toby was able to decipher the tense atmosphere and control for it appropriately. He spoke of his video games, and his friends. Video games were tolerated unlike fairy tales. It was strange how easily his parents accepted him playing violent war games like Battlestations Pacific in comparison to anything resembling fantasy like Final Fantasy. It did score him some major points at school with the older kids since he was allowed to play more mature games, although he hadn't convinced his parents to allow him to buy Brothers in Arms: Hell's Highway. It was a game that was rated "M," and he was only allowed games rated up to "T." It wasn't like Toby really wanted the games, but it was a way to test the limits of his parents. How far could he go and get his way? Besides, it was one way he could play with all of his friends and even his Dad.

Despite his covert operation of "Diffusing the Situation" at dinner, it was obvious that the affair was tense and conversation strained between the adults in the room. Sarah, he noted, was overly composed. Her face was set in such hard lines that Toby wondered if her skin was permanently stretched that way. He was sure it was acceptable to his parents, who didn't know her as he did, but he could tell. Toby had been told that it would take time to win Sarah back. To really bring her home for good. She had been gone for so long that she would have to learn to trust all over again. How long could that take? Toby was a child, he figured a few days, and maybe a week would be acceptable. Then once phase one of the mission was complete they could proceed to phase two.

"So, tomorrow is Saturday," Robert folded his napkin over his finished dinner. "I know we talked about you starting online GED course and working in the used bookstore on the weekends, but there was also an art class at the local community college I thought you might like. We thought it might be a good idea for you to meet your employer tomorrow so that you feel more comfortable when you start next weekend."

Sarah looked back and forth between her Dad and Irene.

Irene cleared her throat and smiled. "Mr. and Mrs. O'Brien are a lovely older couple who have owned the book store for over 30 years. They're looking forward to having the extra help." She looked over at Robert her eyes encouraging him to continue the conversation.

"Yes, well, we figured that would be a great start. You know, not waste any time getting right into the routine. Best to always stay busy, I say. We've scheduled a meeting with the community college academic counselor since you'll be enrolling there after your GED is finished. We were thinking you could major in history when you go into university later."

"Yes," Irene nodded. "You always were a talented writer and interested in the lives of historical figures. I hear you write a lot as a history major."

Sarah refrained from mentioning that she had nearly failed her U.S. history class and had to do a make-up paper for extra credit. Her history teacher had not been amused with the conjectures Sarah had presented in a few of her papers. Her teacher had only been interested in numbers and dates, whereas Sarah had always been interested in the people that lived through the events. What could have been, or might have happened in the past always fascinated her. Frankly put, they had little tolerance for her fictional surmises.

Toby quietly watched Sarah under the veil of eating his dinner. He watched her smile and nod and finally give a quiet but verbal agreement. Toby internally winced at the smile she gave their parents. He excused himself from the dinner table after given permission by Irene. As he entered the kitchen and placed his dinner plate in the dishwasher he gave a heavy sigh. The refined sound of flapping wings caught his attention from the kitchen window. He looked up and gave the creature a disgruntled face.

"I hate it when you're right," he said to the animal. "Fine, a month or whatever. You win. But I don't care what you say; I'm still talking to her later." Toby grumbled all the way up to his room and slammed the door.

"Toby, don't you slam that door!"

"Sorry Mom!"

It was late, well after midnight. Sarah stared at her reflection in the mirror. The very same mirror and vanity that had been hers as a girl. It was different now, the clippings of her Mother were obviously long gone and it had been refurnished in a more mature style. She ran her hands over the darker cherry wood finish. It was nice, she supposed. Just different, everything was different. Different, she told herself, was a good thing. Sarah outstretched her fingers and touched the cool glass of the mirror. Her eyes softened as she remembered a time when she was surrounded by fictional friends, or perhaps creatures were a better description.

They had been precious to her. Recalling the memories was almost as difficult as matching the emotions that accompanied them. But they were there. At one time, those figments of her imagination were dear to her, almost as dear as Toby. And Sarah remembered a face; a face that used to plague her dreams with eyes that stared into her very soul promising to rearrange time and space if she would only…

Her hand shot back from the mirror as if burned.

Shakily, Sarah picked up her brush and began to run it through her short hair. She ached for the long silky locks she used to braid as a girl. Sarah arranged the brush on top of the vanity and turned off the lights. Walking over to the bed, she pulled back the covers. The comforter was a sensible color and pattern that matched the rooms decor. It made her throat contract and it was difficult to breathe for a moment. Everything was so different. Different from before, and from the hospital.

Once she laid in bed her toes uncurled and her shoulders sagged into the soft bed. And for once, she was grateful to be in an actual home with people who weren't doctors, or psychologists. No one was screaming in the next room, or stomping down the hallway. There were no sounds outside the door.

And suddenly it was too quiet.

Hesitating she got out of bed and dug through her pack and sighed gratefully finding her small portable radio. She set the station to a nonsensical late night talk show and finally relaxed into her luxurious new bed. This was one comfort she wouldn't take for granted. No matter what happened, Sarah would go to school, to work, get up and repeat until she could do it without wanting to scream. Maybe when she could do that she'd be ready to leave this house and the strangers she was now living with. Her eyes finally closed and her breathing fell into a deep rhythm.

A few hours later Sarah's eyes snapped open. Someone was in her room. Her breathing quickly increased and she tried to keep from panicking. Her eyes squeezed shut and then eased when she heard the soft footsteps. It wasn't a guard coming in to her quarters to discipline her or a nurse checking on her condition. These footsteps were different. They stopped and then determinedly started again. When she realized who was in her room, her eyes filled with tears and she couldn't control her sobs when the small body slipped under the covers and cuddled close. Sarah turned and wrapped her arms around Toby, hugging him to her chest with a ferocity that scared her. It scared her because she didn't want it to be a dream.

"It's okay." Toby whispered as he returned her embrace. "I have to pretend, or they'll send you away again. You can't leave me, Sarah. I need you."

"I need you too Toby." Sarah sighed in relief and understanding.

"I love you, Mom." He murmured into the collar of her shirt.

It was then she finally realized that Toby was her greatest strength. Sarah was a survivor, but knowing that Toby loved and needed her, gave her a greater determination to make this new life work. Maybe there was still hope that they could still be a family.

"I love you." Her eyes burned with a steely determination and her heart clenched painfully in her chest. Yes, this new life was going to work. It had to. She was not going to screw this up.

A few songs for this chapter/story: "Lights" by Ellie Goulding, Demi Lovato's "Fix A Heart," and Katy Perry's "Part of Me."

Please send me reviews! I would love to hear your thoughts and get input for the future of this story. It will be finished not to worry. This story is on my 30 by 30 list, so it will be completed. Lol I am not sure how long this will be, but expect at least the length of a short novel. I have a general idea where this is going but I am always open to input.

I am still looking for a beta, so please PM me if you are interested.