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Menace

Chapter Text

"Get back here, you - you menace!"

The creature let out a high pitched chuckle as it scurried across the carpeted floor. A young woman growled in frustration, bending into a crouch and preparing to launch.

She pounced towards the mischievous creature, but not before it quickly dodged out of her way. The tiny, hairy beast dashed underneath a leather recliner. Once it was out of her range, it let out a loud chortle, taunting her with its celerity.

"Give it back!" She cried, standing before the chair and waiting for the perfect moment to snatch the fiend from its hiding place.

The old chair groaned as the somewhat intelligent critter snickered from underneath it with amusement. A furry limb fell out of concealment, and the young woman took quick action, stomping a foot upon it with no hesitation. It hollered in pain, but she did not relent. Instead, she got on her hands and knees and jerked the creature out from under the chair.

Holding it by its tail, her eyes bored down upon the tiny goblin as it squirmed and fought to break out of her iron grasp.

"Now will you listen?" Sarah mocked.

The goblin stopped its wriggling long enough to stick its green tongue out and unceremoniously blow a raspberry. She cringed in disgust and held the creature further out from her, but did not release it.

"You'll never find it!" The goblin wailed.

She narrowed her green eyes into slits while clenching her teeth, and the critter trembled before her.

"Give. It. Back."

"Never!" Its high-pitched voice maintained stubbornness, despite the non-subsiding shaking of terror.

The young woman shook the creature by his tail, wanting so desperately for the piece of evidence the goblin had stolen to fall out of his grasp. Though, it seemed as if fate was not on her side today, for the object she was so hopelessly seeking was no longer on the goblin's person.

"Where'd you put it?" She frowned.

The goblin stopped his quailing, becoming completely silent before his body began shaking once again, but these movements felt different than the ones before.

Sarah held the goblin up closer to her face. Was he - laughing?

Her face contorted in absolute fury.

"You…Will…" the beast said between a cruel, mocking guffaw, "Never… Get… It back… Nows… Hah!"

"You didn't…" Sarah gasped.

The goblin only responded with a loud cackle, pleased with itself and the situation.

"No, no, no, no, no!" She cried and dropped the goblin on its head without care, racing to the recliner on her knees.

Using her hands, she desperately clawed underneath the seat, hoping that the goblin had only been jesting.

She was wrong.

"How did you do it?" Sarah groaned.

"Magic!" The goblin cried with another loud and crude laugh. It held its sides, bending over as it continued to mock her with its mischievous roar.

"No…" She whispered to herself, her ears burning with humiliation. Sarah stared back at the couch, wishing with all her might that the goblin had left the object under it, but to no avail.

The goblin had sent it via magic, and there was nothing she could do now but wait.

Wait and know that the Goblin King now had the most embarrassing piece of information she owned.

A sketched picture of them smooching.

Chapter Text

"Oh dear God."

Sarah was hyperventilating and there was no one to help her. She could never tell her friends - if they knew what she had drawn in the first place she would have fallen over dead in mortification. No, she could never ask them to retrieve the piece of paper from the Goblin King. She would have to do it herself, but how?

She narrowed her eyes dangerously on the goblin that still stood before her, doubled over in laughter at the chaos he had unleashed.

"You." She glared and seized him by the tail, snatching him up in the air once again. Sarah hardly cared that he hit his head on the ground as she flipped him upside down. He deserved it in her opinion.

"Hey, now!" The goblin scowled.

"You're gonna bring back that piece of paper before he sees it, or so help me-"

"-I's not your servant," the goblin cried, kicking his legs and flailing in the air.

"Oh-" his furry foot made contact with her face and she stretched her arm further away, ignoring the pain, "You're about to be."

"Yous got nothin' on me!"

"Oh, really?" Sarah looked up in thought, debating the best tactic; bribe the goblin or scare him?

He continued kicking and squirming in anger for minutes, before stilling as he huffed and gave up in exhaustion.

"If you give me the picture back… I'll give you ten cartons of ice cream." Sarah decided the best way to go was bribery, that way he would have to come back.

"Hmmm…" The goblin pretended to ponder the mouth-watering bait, even going as far as to scratch his chin and raise a scraggly eyebrow. "Four cartons of ice cream and yous have yourself a deal."

Sarah was not sure how well his counting and bargaining skills were, but she was not about to argue.

"Four?" She gasped, glad for the years of acting classes she had taken in high school.

"Four is my finals offer! Takes it or leaves it, lady." The goblin declared with a stubborn pout.

"Alright, alright, I concede." She pretended to relent.

Sarah let him down gently to the floor, and he straightened himself and glared at her with contempt.

"Yous knows how hard it is ta get things back from Kingy?" He frowned at her.

"Oh, believe me. I surely do."

The goblin sighed and Sarah felt a little bad for him. Although, he had gotten into this situation himself.

"What's your name, anyways?" She asked.

"Gus."

"Alright, Gus. You and I have a deal." Sarah began, "You need to get that picture back before he sees it, or no ice cream for you." She finished sternly.

He grumbled.

"What was that?" She asked in a tone much like a scolding parent.

"I says, 'fine!" He stomped his foot.

Mumbling to himself once again, the goblin turned to leave. Sarah rolled her eyes in irritation at his ill-temper.

As he began to vanish before her eyes, she quickly called out for him to wait.

"And find out if he has any of my missing bras, too!"

Gus waved her off, grumpily, before he finally disappeared from sight with a loud 'pop'.


"Gives the picture back, finds my bras!" Gus mimicked in the ugliest voice he could make, "Or so help me's!" The goblin snarled.

That lady was nothing but trouble to please.

He scowled and made another turn in the long corridor. The labyrinth had been built to protect the goblin city, and the castle had been built to protect the king; therefore, it was not much different than navigating the labyrinth.

Gus froze as he heard voices coming from the end of the hall. Quickly, he hid in one of the many decorative, stone alcoves of the castle corridors.

He stayed silent as a few goblins quickly ran past him with frightened expressions, and after a few seconds a group of chickens hastily chased after them, clucking in anger.

Gus shook his head with pity.

"Not the Pin the Feather on the Chicken game." He muttered to himself, "Never that game - ends bad."

Eventually, Gus weaved his way through the long, empty and stony corridors to the towering doors of the king's chambers.

He gulped as he looked up at the wooden, large entrance. Nothing good ever happened to goblins that went in there.

Shaking, the goblin used his magic to transport himself into the Goblin King's room. He had been appointed to the position of a spy a few years ago. Nothing too serious, it was mostly following that stupid mortal girl around and reporting what he saw to the king, but because of this he had been granted certain abilities that some goblins lack. Such as transporting short distances and in-between realms.

Convenient, really.

He let out a relieved breath once he appeared inside the King's room. No one else was here and it looked as if the king would not be back for a couple of hours. He usually held his important meetings around this time.

The room was large and magnificent with dark hues of red strung throughout with excellent taste. Dark cherry wood made up the furniture, and torches poured light dimly into the air.

Gus ignored the large bed in the corner of the room out of jealousy. He slept on a stack of hay and the king had plush, red pillows and sheets layered on a bed that could hold ten goblins. The goblin shook his head, trying to focus his mind and remember why he was here.

His beady eyes narrowed on the King's cherry, wood desk that stood next to a couple bookshelves. He was sure he had sent the picture in this general direction, although it had been hard to focus at that time. Gus growled, remembering the stupid mortal that had stepped on his poor tail. Subconsciously, the goblin held onto his tail, giving it reassuring pets as he hobbled to the desk.

There the picture lay, and Gus could not help but feel pride at himself. In a time of panic he had still managed to focus enough to perfectly send the picture exactly where he wanted it with his magic.

Now perching upon the desk with the picture in hand, Gus froze as he felt the sign of magic in the air. Teleportation magic.

Gus leaped off of the desk and dove underneath one of the many luxurious, red velvet chairs in the king's chambers; this time remembering to keep his tail out of sight.

Clutching the picture desperately, Gus watched frightfully as the king manifested in his chambers with a wary expression on his face. With a certain exhaustion that the king only ever showed alone, he straightened his magnificent, intimidating cape and fixed his hair into top, poofy shape.

The Goblin King walked with confidence to his bookshelf and searched for a book, peevishly muttering to himself. His gloved hand traced the the titles of the books before stopping on one that Gus had been sure said, 'How to Please the Goblin Crowd'.

Jareth pulled out the book and flipped to a page that had a bookmark in it. He studied it for a few minutes before nodding to himself, unaware that Gus was uncomfortably stuck in hiding, and sticking it back into its original spot.

The king froze before he made his way to the chamber doors, no doubt sensing magic had recently been used. He looked around with a raised eyebrow, before growling the word, "Goblins," and turning to leave with distaste written on his face.

Once he left, Gus let out a sigh of relief and began searching for the other objects Sarah had asked him for.

This stupid mortal girl was going to be the death of him.

Chapter Text

"I's got your stupid stuff." Gus called once he appeared into Sarah's living room.

Sarah looked up from the book she was reading, and set it aside on the coffee table in front of her leather couch.

Gus carried a whole bag of things and Sarah frowned; she did not remember that many bras going missing. First, he handed her the picture back, and with a scolding glare she quickly slipped it into the back pocket of her jeans.

Then she turned to the bag he held.

Gus held out a single, black lacy bra. One that Sarah's eyes recognized instantly as she snatched it out of his stubby hands.

"So that was where that sucker went. I can't believe it!"

Gus then pulled another bra out from the bag. Except, this one looked different. It looked almost medieval, and Sarah found she did not recognize it at all.

She cocked her head to the side, "That's not mine".

Gus shrugged and dropped it on the floor as he pulled out another, racier one.

Sarah's eyes widened at the suggestive corset.

"That's not mine either."

Gus frowned and they both peered in the bag.

"None of those bras are mine…" She breathed.

"Say, do yous think Kingy holds prisoners in his room?" Gus asked as he reached for a metal cuffed object.

Sarah slapped his hand away and he glared at her, affronted.

"Where did you get all these things?"

"In a box unders his bed," Gus said as he bent down and picked up the two bras he had left on the floor, stuffing them without care into the large bag.

"I think you should put these things back…"

He gave her an exaggerated sigh filled with exhaustion and irritation.

"First, it's ,'Gus, gimme!' Nows, it's 'Gus, give back!'." He cried.

"No, Gus. I don't think the king would be very…" she searched for the perfect word, "pleased if he saw these things missing."

Sarah smirked at her own joke.

Gus froze, his usually green face whitened in terror. "Yous think Kingy knows?"

"Not yet, if you put it back quick enough." Sarah hoped.

"I's go ands put them back, right now." He said, and promptly disappeared. He did not appear again for quite some time after that, and Sarah wondered why he had not come back for his ice cream, but she shrugged it off believing he had probably gotten sidetracked while chasing chickens and whatnot.

Sarah, remembering the picture, pulled it out from her back pocket and took the time to really study it. She had accidentally sketched it while listening to a love song.

Shaking her head she mumbled, "I'm such a hopeless romantic."

The picture was of him and her, enveloped in each other's arms as they shared a passionate kiss. Thank God he had never seen it; she closed her eyes in relief and wondered what she should do with the picture.

It was probably the best piece of art she had ever drawn, which was why she had kept it in the first place, but now she had an overwhelming temptation to burn it for safety reasons. Since the king had somehow attained her bra - which she was trying hard not to waste energy pondering - then he could easily get ahold of something like this.

Sarah shook her head and stuffed the drawing in her back pocket once again; she would sleep on it.


"Aha!" Gus cheered as he pushed the box full of objects back under the king's bed.

"And just what are you doing?" A stern, authoritative voice said from behind him.

The goblin did not have to look back to tremble in fear.
"Ugh," Gus froze on spot as the king behind him waited with impatience.

"Well?"

"I - uh - I's… Wells," Gus searched through his mind for anything that would save his pathetic life. "I's got this prisoner and I's need to gets information… and - ands I thoughts, 'Heys, Kingy has tort-"

"Enough." Jareth raised his voice. "Gus, you do know the consequences for breaking into my chambers, don't you?"

"No!" the tiny goblin cried, turning around and throwing himself at the King's nicely styled boots. "I's don't want to swims in the bog!"

Jareth bent down, picking Gus up by the tail with pity.

Gus snapped.

"Not the tail! Everyone's always picking me up by me's tail! First, the lady! Then the picture, then bras and ice cream and now - and now kingy!" He cried, his body shaking in sobs.

The Goblin King frowned, "What are you talking about?"

"Lady made me do it! She promised me ice cream." He bellowed.

"What lady?" Jareth piqued.

"Lady Sarah!"

The Goblin King raised a surprised eyebrow, dropping the snivelling goblin on its head.

"Ouch." Gus frowned and rubbed his head in irritation.

"So, sweet, little innocent Sarah has gotten curious, hasn't she?"

"Oh, dear." Gus's eyes widened. He knew that look upon the king's face, and he may not have liked Sarah very much, but concern boiled deep within himself for her.

Oh dear, indeed.


With her thumbnail between her gleaming white teeth, Sarah's eyes centered on a crinkly page of a book. Her dark eyebrows furrowing as she absorbed the words. After a moment, her green eyes widened in shock.

"No way." She gasped.

The young woman flipped through the pages with a pure anxious drive. Her eyes following her fingers quickly.

"Dangit, cliffhanger." Sarah cried.

She flung the now finished book from her bed and it landed across the room with a heavy thump.

"Humph." The young woman glared at it from a distance with crossed arms.

Sarah no longer lived with her parents; moving out as most children do into the real world. The real world where adults had no time to act out fantasy plays and live in Neverland. Where no one daydreamed or believed in monsters and other creatures.

Suffice it to say Sarah did not fit in.

Her bedroom no longer held as many childish qualities as it once did. Instead of posters there were bare walls; occasionally a picture of her half-brother and her. Instead of toys there were books, albeit fantasy and action books, but the toys were gone.

She had simple furniture. A queen-sized bed placed near a wide window, a dresser with a mirror hanging overtop and a nightstand where more books were placed. Sarah tried not to allow herself to gather too many knick knacks, but she could not help but keep a certain figurine on her dresser; the Goblin King.

The labyrinth held a special place in her heart, and she had desperately tried to retain the memories exactly as they had played out. Over the years some slipped away, but she never wanted to forget him, which was why she had kept the tiny statuette.

"Psst, Lady!" A not so subtle voice whispered.

Slipping out of her thoughts, Sarah frowned and looked around the empty room.

"Down here!" The voice cried.

Following the direction of the voice, Sarah bent her body in an awkward position over the side of the bed, peering underneath.

In the ebony shaded shadows, a small goblin crouched with a tense posture.

"Gus, what are you doing down there?"

"Me's hiding, and you should be too."

Sarah froze, "Why?"

"Kingy's coming…"

A clattering noise arised out of the silent room. Sarah took a second to pinpoint it, before she realized it was the visible shaking of the terrified goblin, shaking so hard his teeth clicked together.

"What do you mean he's coming?" Her voice nervously raised an octave higher.

"I's cracked. I tolds Kingy everything." Gus panicked.

"Wait, everything?"

"Everything." A slippery voice joined in from directly behind her.

The clattering of Gus's mouth stopped, and Sarah froze in shock.

"Quite an interesting dilemma you have found yourself in, Sarah." The accented voice observed.

Twisting her body so she could face her opponent, Sarah met eyes with the notorious Goblin King for the first time in years.

"-Wells, I's warned you. Bye lady!"

Gus squeezed his eyes tightly shut as he disappeared from sight, abandoning Sarah.

"Hey!" She cried.

He is no help at all, Sarah internally groaned to herself. Now she had to face the Goblin King…

Alone.

Chapter Text

"Goblin King." Sarah greeted, now standing before him.

She defiantly crossed her arms, hoping he could not see right through her fake wall of bravery.

To see him again, for the first time in years was shocking to her system. It was as if her eyes simply could not register the fact that he was standing before her. Him, the man - no, king - she thought she would never set eyes on again after running through his labyrinth.

He had not changed much, although she did not know what she expected; he was immortal, after all. Or so that was what she had been told by her frequently visiting friends.

The Goblin King smirked down at her with a wide, knowing smirk that promised her he knew all of her well-hidden secrets. The secrets she had never dared to even utter out loud in solitude. Sarah tried not to shudder at this invading thought.

He stood regally, a long flowing cape that somehow fluttered in the windless air around his knee-high, leather boots. His tight pants - Sarah gulped - fitting perfectly with a loose poets shirt that revealed his handsome, lean chest. The Goblin King's gloved hands clenched ever so slightly; the movement reminding Sarah of the very real and dangerous situation she was in.

She looked up at his aloof visage, taking in the sharp contours of his otherworldly face.

God, he was handsome.

Suddenly, Sarah felt rather insignificant with her oversized gray sweatshirt and blue jeans. She had not felt the need to dress up today, as it was a lazy Saturday.

"Hello, precious."

Sarah raised her eyebrows at this sudden nickname.

"What are you doing here?" She asked.

He sighed, as if preparing for a long and boring speech, "It has come to my attention that you have been… snooping."

"Snooping?"

"Did you know that it is against the law to steal and search through a king's things?" Jareth said with a calmness that contradicted the warning in his words.

"I didn't steal anything." Sarah corrected quickly, frowning.

"Is that so?" He raised a sarcastic eyebrow, "I seem to recall discovering a small, dim-witted goblin placing my possessions back in their original spots, after taking them without my consent."

Sarah stayed quiet.

"Did you have anything to do with that, Sarah?"

"I wasn't searching through your things, nor was I stealing them. I was liberating my bra from your perverted hands!"

Now it was the Goblin King's turn to look ashamed, but he did not. He would not humble his pride enough to show such an emotion. Instead, a calm and collected mask schooled his features.

"I see… and just who told you that your brassiere was in my possession?" He inquired.

He got her there.

There was no way she was going to tell him about the picture she drew. Even if he already knew; she was not going to let it become a topic in the conversation.

"Listen, it doesn't matter. You can go on with your life and I won't bother you again." Sarah shook her head.

"No," Jareth said after a minute of silence, "I don't believe I will."

Sarah did not like that devious grin that stretched upon his thin lips.

"Tell me, precious… Have you been inquiring about me?"

"It's not like that - It's a long story."

"Do tell, I have all the time in the world," Jareth smirked.

"Don't you have a job? You know, like ruling a kingdom?" She raised a dark eyebrow.

His smug smirk promptly fell.

Sarah let a proud smile pull at her lips. It was a small victory, but she would relish every one she got.

"Perhaps another time then?" Jareth stepped closer to her, stretching a gloved hand so near her face that she could almost smell the leather.

He looked as if he wanted to collect her cheeks in his palms, but he refrained from doing so. Instead, just as his hand barely pressed against her face; just as she was beginning to close her eyes and savor the feeling, he pulled away with a haughty smirk.

Sarah felt relieved at the distance, though. Scolding herself for almost falling for his flirty tricks.

That is all they have ever been, flirty tricks.

"Bye, Goblin King." Sarah recovered her pride, setting up a charade of nonchalance and an indifference.

"Goodbye, precious," Jareth emphasized her new nickname.

Blood flowed straight to her cheeks, warming them in such a way that Sarah knew he could see her blushing, but before she could comment he was gone.

Vanished into thin air. The only sign that he had ever been there was the slight stirring of the room's atmosphere, and tiny particles of sparkling glitter; shining and reflecting light as they slowly drifted down.

"Ugh," Sarah cried, humiliated at herself.


 

The King of the Goblins sauntered proudly to his throne. His lithe body stretching so perfectly across it in a way only he could do comfortably. Once he got comfortable, an imposing smirk touched his lips.

He had found his way into Sarah's life.

Jareth had not been sure what to expect when preparing to visit Sarah for the first time in years, but he was not disappointed. In fact, quite the opposite.

She had not outright rejected his presence, though she had shown some defiance, but no opposition against him seeing her again.

The Goblin King summoned his riding crop with the flick of his wrist just for the sake of tapping it out of anxiousness. Jareth felt… well, he could not really describe it other than…

Not bored.

"Kingy," A small voice asked through the ruckus of the throne room, "Can I's leave the corner nows?"

Jareth sighed, "Yes, Gus. You've taken your punishment quite well."

"Yipee!"

Gus cheered, running from the dark recess that had a sign over it saying, 'Punishment Corner: Abandon all hope, ye who enter here,' and joined in the chaos of the rest of the goblins.

But before poor Gus could join in on the fun of 'Tug of War' with the other goblins, Jareth snapped his riding crop out, grabbing his attention with the sharp sound of the crop slicing through the air.

"And Gus…" He warned the startled goblin, " Do not defy me again."

The goblin gulped at the scolding tone, nodding with wide eyes.

Shaking his head, Jareth shooed the goblin off with pity.

Relaxing back on his throne, he tried to block out the commotion of the room. Pots and pans clanked together, pounding in his head. Goblins yelled nonsense, and Jareth could hardly make out anything but, "Yous smells like Bog," and, "Yous throw like an elf," and other petty insults.

He rubbed at his temples, fighting off a soon-to-be migraine.

A chicken flew overhead, clucking as it flapped its wings, then remembering mid-flight that it could not actually fly, it let out a terrified squawk and fell to the floor with a plunk.

A loud chortle burst through the mouth of a large, chunky goblin. The laugh resembling the sound of a duck quacking. The clock hanging adjacent from Jareth's throne ticked onward, as it had for hundreds of years without complication. It must have been as old as the labyrinth itself, seeing and knowing all as the years repeated themselves.

Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock.

A never-ending reminder of the incessant days of his life.

"Quiet!" Jareth yelled.

Every being froze, obeying their king instantly. At least he still managed to maintain his respect and power over them through the years.

Silence.

"I cannot even hear myself think." He narrowed his eyes at the crowd of messy, cluttered goblins, tapping his riding crop once again with haste against his booted leg.

A goblin he identified as Wiznic leaned over and whispered not so subtly to another goblin:

"Kingy needs hearing aids?" He inquired.

"What'sa 'hearing aids'?" The dense goblin replied.

"I dunno, it's just something humans says." Wiznic shrugged.

Jareth glared, irritation and anger brewing in his eyes. The temperature of the room increasing several degrees.

"Get out! Get out now!"

He stood and pointed to the door with force, motioning for all the goblins to leave.

They grumbled with reluctance, not willing to part with their ale and toys, but at one look of the furious king they left without argument.

"Kingy grumpy," Gus muttered to himself, as the heavy doors to the castle forced shut behind him and the horde of goblins.

They nodded and murmured in agreement.

"Whaddo we do's now?" Wiznic, a small goblin that looked somewhat intelligent with tiny spectacles placed crookedly over his eyes, asked.

The other goblins shrugged, not quite knowing what to do. They had never been kicked from the throne room before. Sure, one or two of them had been tossed out the window or teleported to the bog by the king, but the king had never made everyone leave before. The goblins hung their heads dejectedly.

Gus stepped forward, deciding now was his chance to impress the group.

"Wells, we go to Lady's house," Gus declared proudly, "She's more fun than kingy!"

Their ears perked up at this suggestion.

Lady was more fun than Kingy?

Chapter Text


"Whoohoo!"

"Wowza!"

"Ohs, yous lookin fines in that hats."

"What does this do?"

"Ouch! Don't touch that!"

Sarah opened the front door of her house to find the entire goblin kingdom taking refuge inside.

"Oh. My. God." She gasped in horror.

Her living room was trashed. Absolutely ruined.

And that was an understatement.

The once beautiful and rustic leather chairs were scratched and stained beyond recognition. The wooden furniture was scuffed and chipped, her television had food slipping down the sides as if a goblin had thrown a rotten tomato in a fit of anger towards it, and broken pieces of chinaware laid strewn, abandoned across the floor carelessly. Sarah shook in fury; her grandmother had given her those.

And this was just her living room, she realized. What about the other rooms in the house?

Just then a horrible scent assaulted her nose.

Sarah followed the smell of burning hair down the hallway to the tiny bathroom. There a few goblins sat on the counter with her hair straightener, attempting to style their dry, brittle hair. One lifted the heated object, clamping down on a strand of its friend's furry hair. Smoke arose from the head of the goblin, who sat completely unaware, and the putrid burning smell invaded Sarah's nostrils.

"No, stop!" She yelled, pushing into the simple tiled room and unplugging the straightener with haste.

"Not for play." She warned.

"No play?" The goblin asked with big eyes, still holding the object that was burning its friend's hair out on the other end.

"No - no play."

A crash startled Sarah, forcing her to abandon the lecture she had began to start. With a rush of adrenaline, she walked urgently back into the living room, still shocked to the core at the complete chaos that greeted her.

From the corner of the room sat a group of goblins, watching Sarah's terrified mask as they rolled on their backs laughing.

"Sees, I tolds you Lady's house more fun!" Gus declared.

"Yous right! Lady has more stuff!"

"And she's not mean like kingy," another one cheered.

Sarah's eyes scanned the room for faces she recognized. When they caught sight of Gus the goblin, they narrowed in anger.

"You." She stormed up to the tiny creature, fists clenched and eyes flashing.

Then, like a volcano suddenly erupting, Sarah snatched Gus up by the collar (which was usually quite difficult to do because of the tattered condition his shirt was in) and raised him to eye level.

"Why did you do this?" Sarah demanded.

"I's was bored." He shrugged, unsympathetically.

"No - that is not an excuse. My house is trashed!" Sarah glared, "You're going to stop this party, right now-"

Gus scowled.

"-And clean this mess up with your friends." Sarah finished.

"Nawh, I'm good."

Sarah flinched, "Or else."

She made sure to lace her voice with evil intentions, like she had seen in gut-wrenching horror films. Her cruel glare had been practiced so much due to being casted in high school as the Wicked Stepmother (which was ironic that she had began calling Karen that soon after) and practicing (though she would never admit) the treacherous look the Goblin King had given Hoggle in warning before he promised to tip him into the bog for betrayal.

Gus instantly took a step off of his high pedestal, allowing fear and obedience to trickle into his features and cause a rippling effect downwards through his now shaking body.

The glower Sarah had let overtake her pretty features somehow reminded him of - gulp - the King.

"I, uh, sure things Lady." He cleared his throat, announcing to the whole room while still in the grasp of Sarah's fist, "Yous heard the lady; party over!"

"Awh, rats."

"Wha?"

"But - but we's just got started."

"Not again." The goblins groaned.

Sarah raised a suspicious eyebrow.

"Gus, what do they mean by, 'Not again'?"

The goblin only sighed, hanging his head.

"Kingy kicked us out of the castle for the first times ever." Gus sniffed.

Her anger receded at the dejected and disappointed look the goblin had over his face. Looking around the overturned room she noticed Gus was not the only one. The other goblins were hanging their heads, too. Snivelling and sniffing with sorrow. Apparently, the king must have gotten really fed up to kick them out of the throne room for the first time.

Although, Sarah had to give the guy credit. She would not have lasted as long as he had.

Lowering Gus to the floor with pity, Sarah shook her head.

"Gus," She kneeled down, hoping she was not going to regret this. Sarah took a deep breath and said, "You guys can stay..."

"Really?" His beaming beady eyes lit up.

"-If you restore my house to its original condition and keep it that way." Sarah quickly added.

The goblins became completely silent, now looking at her with reverence and awe. She decided it must not have been too hard to earn their respect, and she certainly deserved it for what she had just endured.

"Thank yous, Lady!" Gus smiled a toothy, dumb grin.

Wiznic bowed, his glasses clumsily slipping off of his narrow, long nose. The other goblins followed suit, bowing in excitement, and Sarah felt heat rush to her cheeks in embarrassment.

"Well, alright. Let's get cleaning first before you guys cause anymore problems." Sarah said, her ears burning and her face blushing.


Finally, some peace in quiet.

Jareth leaned back on his throne with a blissful smile on his face. The room was silent for the first time in centuries.

Why had he not done this sooner?

The king let out a relieved sigh, the lingering headache he had for decades finally fading from his mind. Gazing around the now vacated throne room, he cringed. Pots and pans scattered about, along with puddles of ale, discarded trash, clothes and broken plates. The smell of rotting food invaded his nostrils and he wrinkled his nose in disgust.

Focusing his mind and gathering magic at the tip of his gloved fingers, he sent it throughout the room. As the magic swept over the mess of junk, one by one, pots and trash vanished from sight and were sent to the bog.

Once the throne room was finally spotless, Jareth looked around with surprise etched on his handsome face. He could actually see the floor for the first time in forever. Why had he not done this before?

In fact, he looked up in thought, he might even ban the goblins from stepping foot in his throne room.

But something tried to make itself known from the back of his mind, a nagging thought or memory. Something telling Jareth that an empty throne room was a very bad idea. He had no idea why and chose to ignore this unwanted thought. Surely there was no reason why he could not have an empty throne room? Most kings did not let their subjects enter unless they were holding court, he reasoned.

Most kings did not rule over goblins, the thought persistently broke through his barriers.

Jareth's eyes widened; he remembered why he had endured long days in the infuriating and grating presence of goblins, because if they were not trashing his throne room, then what were they trashing?

His graceful fae mind could never comprehend the complex, chaotic mind of goblins. They had some sort of compulsion to destroy something, it did not matter what. Jareth remembered his early days as a king when he was still learning, when he did not realize that banishing goblins from his sight was dangerous. He had made that mistake once, and he had just made it again.

Summoning a round, clear crystal sphere in his elegant gloved hand, Jareth sought the location of his goblin subjects with his magic. They could not have gone far, he hoped to no avail. He knew they did not have to travel far or be left alone for a long period of time in order to cause trouble. No doubt they were off terrorizing chickens or - he scowled - other kingdoms.

"Good-for-nothing peace treaty," the king muttered.

The image in the crystal focused to-

Peacefulness?

What in the Underground were the goblins doing? Nothing was the surprising answer. They sat still, intently staring at something with pleasant grins on their faces.

Why were they so… Complacent?

Jareth turned the crystal with practiced ease in order to view more of the room the goblins had recently vacated. It was not trashed, unlike his throne room had been, and they seemed to be listening to some random human. He bristled at the obedience they practiced. Why had they not trashed the mortal's house?

Then Jareth got a full view of the mortal that was hosting the goblin party.

Sarah.

It all made sense at that moment, and Jareth felt an overwhelming sense of pride. The goblins had been forbidden from seeing the king, so the first thing they had done was visit his queen-to-be, although she was rather unaware of the secret title the goblin king held for her in his head.

Jareth shook off his dreamy smile at the thought of the possibilities they could have.

"Sarah, Sarah, Sarah… Entertaining the Goblin crowd now, are you?" He smirked.

Then the smirk took a large dive off of his lips as a sudden, jealous thought burned through his mind, making him bristle with heat and anger.

Jareth made a strange envious growl in the back of his throat, albeit a little similar to one of his owl hunting screeches, but he chose to ignore that fact and focus on the real problem.

Why had he not been invited to the party?

Chapter Text

One might think it was odd that a young woman sat in a circle of goblins, calmly dishing out cards to the ugly, green creatures. The young woman herself was not too bothered by the circumstances, in fact, she was quite grateful the repulsive group of goblins was no longer trashing her house.

Besides, Sarah reasoned, once you got over the looks and smell of the bunch, they were actually quite charming little things.

"Here's yous go, Lady." A small goblin said, offering her one of the many mini-muffins she had salvaged from her pantry. Not that she was a big fan of mini-muffins, but her step-mother bought them for her every year on her birthday. Not sure what else to do with fifty mini-muffins, Sarah usually stuffed them inside her cramped kitchen pantry or handed them out to greedy coworkers.

"Thank you, Yousif." Sarah smiled down at the goblin that sat beaming up at her. His big eyes shined up at hers as a child would to an idolized parent.

A goblin snickered then spoke up mockingly, "Whys don't yous tell her what your whole names is?"

Yousif frowned and looked down at his chubby, exposed feet.

"Go on!" Another goblin chimed in, covering its mouth with a green, porky hand.

"I's dunno…" Yousif said hesitantly.

Sarah frowned.

"Yeahs, tells her!" They giggled.

The small goblin sighed, still looking down at his feet, he muttered his full name.

"Yousif Urpants…"

The room cackled with outrageous laughter.

Yousif scowled, and sharply turned his head to the other goblins in the circle, "Heys, what's so funny?"

They laughed harder, rolling onto their backs and holding their stomachs. "His - his name is - is 'Yousif Urpants' hah!" A goblin gasped out between its chortling.

Sarah sighed and shook her head.

"Well, I don't think it's funny," She reassured Yousif, putting a comforting hand on his shoulder.

When the goblins continued to laugh harder, Sarah spoke up in a scolding tone, "I think it's a great name."

The volume of the room decreased significantly, eyes watching Sarah carefully.

"You do?" Yousif said, once again beaming at her with reverence.

"Of course I do. It's - it's a very…" Sarah searched for the right words, "strong name."

The rest of the goblins were silent. They had never seen someone stick up for another goblin like that. The king would have laughed along with them instead of caring about the small goblin's feelings.

"Really?" Yousif asked.

"Yes," Sarah turned her head towards the others and continued with a scolding tone, "and it is very rude to make fun of it."

The circle bowed their heads silently.

"My, my, Sarah. Making perfect examples out of my subjects, already." The air behind Sarah stirred, blowing a few of her straight strands of hair out of place.

Abandoning the cards and the circle of goblins, Sarah stood up and turned towards the mockingly impressed goblin king behind her.

He stood before her with a brilliant smirk on his face, tilting his head to the side.

"Goblin King," Sarah acknowledged, "It's nice to see you again."

"Not really," A goblin named Ishairy murmured, resulting in a few snickers throughout the room.

Jareth ignored them, accustomed to a life with goblins.

"And you as well," he replied to Sarah, the corner of his mouth turned up. "However," the Goblin King sobered slightly, turning to the goblin portion of the crowd. "I do not recall giving the lot of you permission to wreak havoc upon the Lady Sarah's home."

The goblins shivered, bowing their heads in shame.

Sarah instantly felt sympathy for these odd little creatures. Remembering how shaken they had been that their king had banned them from the throne room. They obviously ran on approval from their superiors and are quite despondent when yelled at.

"It's okay, really." Sarah turned to reassure the Goblin King. Unconsciously, she reached out a hand to grab his attention. She quickly pulled away when she felt the cool, smooth leather on his gloved hand.

He raised an eyebrow at the sudden contact, surprised that Sarah had initiated it, and was pleased to see a warm blush appear on Sarah's cheeks.

He sent her a smug grin.

"Really, it is." Sarah cleared her throat, "They're not bothering me."

Jareth leaned closer to her.

"And am bothering you, precious?" He whispered with a hint of something else. Letting Sarah know that his words had a double meaning. His breath tickled her neck, and Sarah's heart jumped at how close this man was to her. She could not believe that he was having this effect on her.

Get a hold of yourself, scolded her mind.

"Not yet…" Sarah tried to retort, but it came out as a whisper.

Jareth leaned closer to her if it was possible. She could feel his body heat on the exposed skin of her neck and hands. His very presence was overwhelming, and he knew it, too. "Very well," He promptly pulled away, his tone becoming indifferent as if he had not been whispering in her ear seductively the second before.

The sudden space between them caused Sarah to blink, then she remembered she hadn't been breathing, and quickly took note of how lightheaded she felt.

"I shall stay then… To ensure your safety, of course."


He had stayed, though Sarah was not sure how much he had enjoyed it. The party was uneventful and full of immature jokes and games. Sarah found it a nice break from her adult life and her very opinionated co-workers.

Jareth had seemed to linger longer than the others at the end of the night, which surprised her, given the fact that he had frequently made disgusted faces at the antics of the goblins. Although Sarah supposed he was used to their behavior.

She tried not to blush and swoon at the charming way he had talked to her. What was it he had said? Sarah wondered. He had motioned to the goblins when they had been in the apex of chaos and said something along the lines of, You make their presence all the more tolerable.

Of course, she had stuttered out a mess of gibberish in response, and the goblins replied in some foreign language they had thought she was speaking.

"Psst, lady." A voice whispered into Sarah's ear.

She practically jumped out of the living room chair she had been sleepily slumping in a second before.

"Gus," She sighed at the guilty face he made for startling her. "I thought you went home?" Sarah rubbed her forehead with the palm of her hand, exhaustion finally taking over.

"I's came back. I's wait, you see, until kingy leave." He motioned proudly to himself, and Sarah simply shook her head. "I's wanted to tell you that I didn't tell him everything."

"What do you mean?"

"I's didn't tell him about the picture," Gus said, oblivious to the relief that winded itself through Sarah's body.

"You - You didn't?" Sarah frowned. Then why had the goblin king acted like he had something over her?

"Nope!" He puffed his chest out proudly, "You're secret is safe with me! And…" Gus turned sober, "Thank yous for letting us stay, lady. You make us happy again." With those last words, the goblin quietly patted Sarah's hand before disappearing in an unnecessary cloud of smoke that had Sarah coughing out her lungs.

"Thanks… for… that." Sarah said between coughs, and she could have sworn she heard a goblin chuckle.

Chapter Text

"Why you dirty, bog-trotting profligate!" An irate high-pitched voice cursed, "You've tricked me, you blackguard, you fiend, you-"

A stubby dwarf raised his rather large and puffy nose. "Well, don't say I didn't warn you." He sniffed.

The tiny hobgoblin growled and his pointed shoes danced on the stone ground as he threw quite a fearsome fit for such a tiny creature. Hoggle, having faced much more than an obnoxious common hobgoblin, was not impressed. Besides, he had acquired a new addition to his plastic collection - what did it matter that he had tricked a simple-minded goblin in the process?

"Oh, you've done it now," the frazzled creature shrieked, "I'm ruined. You've ruined me, you- you- you pipsqueak!"

Hoggle raised his brows. "Pipsqueak? I ain't no pipsqueak."

The goblin, please to see that his insult had hit a soft spot, hopped once in triumph before piping, "Oh, yes you are!"

"Nu-uh, you're-"

"Pipsqueak," it raised itself on its toes, trying to intimidate the dwarf with its impressive stature. The only problem was they were both rather disappointingly and non threateningly short.

Hoggle's wrinkled hands clenched.

"Pipsqueak," the goblin continued, "Pipsqueak, pipsqueak, pipsqu-"

"You're the pipsqueak," Hoggle snapped. "I ain't no pipsqueak. You're the pipsqueak." He cried.

"Pipsqueak," the goblin chimed on in a sing-song voice.

Hoggle growled, stalking forward towards the green creature.

"I'll show you a pipsqueak."

A breeze drifted in between the two pipsqueaks and cleared their minds with the promise of a third and more intimidating presence.

"Glad to see you're still making friends, Hedgewart." A more charming voice quipped from behind the two.

Hoggle froze and the hobgoblin gave a gleeful smile, sure that the king had seen the atrocities that the dwarf had committed and had appeared to conduct justice. The dwarf anxiously tugged on his leather vest and turned to face the king, "Er, uh, what brings you here, Jareth?"

The Goblin King raised a regal eyebrow.

"Guh, I mean Your Majesty," he gulped.

The hobgoblin snickered and twirled with a single foot to the opposite direction, humming whilst he skipped away from the party, sure that Hoggle was about to meet his maker and pleased with himself.


Sarah sighed. A day of hard work and only a few hours of sunlight left for hobbies. Such a pity.

Originally, she hadn't wanted to do it, but it was her younger brother's idea, and her friends had convinced her to go through with it.

She picked through the pictures. Often making a face of disgust, and then a smug smirk when a rather flattering image of herself would appear. Separating these into two piles, Sarah began placing the pictures into a scrapbook.

Toby had asked her to make a booklet of their lives, including mementos from family trips and inside jokes, and had sent her many pictures to pick through. Her stepmother had told her to personalize it, so that's exactly what Sarah was doing.

This is a terrible idea, she thought. Then, To glue or not to glue? That is the question. She tapped a finger on her chin in thought.

Sarah stared at the drawing before her. The edges of the page were crinkled from rough handling. The sketch had been smeared a bit, which was disappointing, but to be expected as it had survived multiple realm travels by the hands of a goblin.

She realized that she really shouldn't hold on to this picture for so long. Her actions towards the drawing had been not unlike an infatuated schoolgirl. Though she found solace in the fact that she had no intention of anyone else finding out about this crush that had gotten out of hand - nor had she had a history of drawing hearts next to a crush's name in her notebooks or diaries. It's not as if she acted like this all the time.

And still, who would be interested in going through someone's family scrapbook? She'd never given two rips when presented with someone's baby photos. Sometimes the best place to hide something was in plain sight. And sometimes it is okay to allow yourself to sketch out your feelings and place them in a scrapbook. It was just an idea brought to life on a paper. Nothing more...

It's decided, then. She thought, and promptly - before she could change her mind - smeared the end of a glue stick on the back of the sketch. Now she had to stick it in the scrapbook or the paper would dirty. If her family asked, she'd say that it was a drawing she did in high school of a boy she had liked. It wouldn't be too dishonest, would it? She was indeed acting like a high-schooler… And she had developed certain feelings towards this 'boy' while she was in high school.

"I'm pitiful." She said and stuck the paper on a blank page of the scrapbook.

It is done. Sarah thought. There is no turning back now. The sketch would forever be in the scrapbook until she ripped it from its pages.


"Heggle-"

"-Hoggle."

"Yes." Jareth said with an entirely impatient tone in his voice, "I was thinking…"

Oh, boy. Hoggle thought with trepidation. "Yes, yur majesty?"

The goblin king inhaled through his nose. His gloved hands clasped behind his back as he looked up in thought. By the unpleasant downward curl of his lips and the furrow of his brow, it seemed as if he was deeply bothered by something, and Hoggle could not help but feel a bit pleased along with an anxious flutter in his stomach. As Hoggle's internal battle persisted, between feeling quite buoyant at Jareth's discomposure or nervous as to whether this would cause the Goblin King to lash out, the fae before him began to pace. His heeled boots practically corroding the stone beneath him as he stalked in a pattern around the dwarf.

"It has been quite some time since I had seen Sarah," the king began, "I had wondered at how much she had changed."

Hoggle had not expected the Goblin King to speak of Sarah, as it had been a topic that was widely avoided around the king up until now. "Well, uh," he scratched the back of his head, mindful of the cap upon it. "She's grown up ta be a very nice lady…" He searched for something else to add. Something that would appease Jareth, as the king did not look very satisfied with his answer. "Likes her family. Nice ta Toby… Got, uh, got one of 'em collage-"

"-College."

"Uh, yeah, college degrees. Sumthing like bossing others around or sumthin'."

That seemed to please Jareth. His eyes sparkled at Hoggle's word in some hidden amusement. "Well, then," Jareth said, straightening up regally. His posture became strangely energetic. "I shall have to spend more time with this 'grown up' Sarah…"

"What?! Er, I mean, I don't think that's such a good idea, your majesty." Hoggle let out a forced laugh, "She's worse than before. Always yelling about it not 'being fair' 'n all." The dwarf shook his head. "'Fraid that one will never learn."

"Hmm," Jareth stewed over that for a second. "What if I told you that I've already had the pleasure of meeting with Sarah? Twice, in fact." He said, "Hottle-"

"-Hoggle."

Jareth pursed his lips, appearing as if he was restraining himself. "Yes," he said, "I would like you to do something for me."

"Uh, I's just remembered that there is somewhere I haf ta be." Hoggle looked around nervously.

"Oh, it is not negotiable, dwarf." Jareth narrowed his eyes. "Deliver this to your dear friend." A gloved hand appeared from behind his back. It held up a cream colored envelope to the dwarf. The crease upon the opening was pressed down with a royal seal, and the front of the envelope had the word 'Sarah' written in loopy handwriting.

Hoggle shuffled in place, knowing this tactic that the king was using quite well.

Often the king would send letters to kingdoms, and usually, instead of receiving a letter back, a woman would arrive instead. Together, the king and her would disappear for days until she'd resurface just to go back to where she came from. She'd never visit again, and the king would meet someone else at the latest ball, charm them, send out another witty letter and she too would disappear with the king for a time. The problem was that they never stayed. They lived a fairy tale for a short time - be charmed off their toes by affection and gifts - and then the King would kiss them on the cheek and send them off. The stars in their eyes would shield them from the fact that their rendezvous was nothing more to the king.

That was, at least, how Hoggle saw it. Though he was sure the women would argue against his views - he would not be budged.

So, realizing that Jareth most likely intended to do the same with Sarah, Hoggle did the only thing he could do. The very thing that he was good at doing.

He ran.

"Urgh, uh, goodbye," he cried and threw his stubby figure to a hidden turn in the labyrinth walls just behind him.

He didn't look back to see if the king had followed. If there was a sound of a glass ball rolling upon the stone ground, Hoggle's ears had tuned it out. He ran until his little legs burned and could carry him no further and then collapsed against a wall. Panting, he tried to catch his breath, knowing that no one ever truly outran the Goblin King. It was just a matter of time. He just had to get to Sarah first - warn her, maybe. But what would he say? That the Goblin King was trying to seduce her? That was no good. Likely, she wouldn't take it seriously. He'd have to lie, tell her to stay away from Jareth, but what would be his reasoning?

"What am I gonna tell Sarah?" He wiped his forehead anxiously.

 

Chapter Text

She was babysitting Toby. Her parents rarely got out as much as they had when Sarah was a teen. They didn't ask much of her. So, when their monthly date night came up on the calendar Sarah volunteered. She had needed to get out of the house and her parents trusted her much more than just any teenaged girl. So thankful they were, they even offered to pay.

Which surprised her, because they had never paid her when she was fifteen. She had run a labyrinth and recused Toby from the Goblins when she was fifteen. What did she get from them? Not a single dime.

Sarah shook her head. Then again, perhaps she didn't deserve a dime for wishing her brother away in the first place.

Entering her parent's pristine kitchen, she popped a couple slices of bread in the toaster and stood near it in thought. She waited and remembered the unexpected visit Hoggle had given her just a few hours ago. It had shaken her.


 

"Sarah." A wrinkled face appeared in her mirror.

She jumped with the sudden intrusion. A book slipping from her fingers. "Hoggle?" She cried in a surprised voice.

"I ain't gots much time," he spoke with a rushed whisper. His posture was tense and his eyes wide. He was out of breath and on-edge.

"What's going on?" Sarah asked.

"Ya needs to get out of ur house. Yous gotta run, Sarah."

"Run? Why?" She stood from her bed, her legs wobbling. The fear in the pit of her stomach was strong enough to practically paralyze her. Sarah wasn't sure if she should immediately adhere to his words or if she should stay and seek out reason.

"The rat. He's coming. Whatever ya do, don't take the letter from him, Sarah."

"Why? What's in the letter."

"I's don't know, and I'm betting yous don't wanna know, either." He said, looking both ways. His eyes widened on something to his left. Something that Sarah couldn't see through her mirror's view.

"Hoggle - What is it?"

"Runs, Sarah. Oooh, he's coming. I's done it now." He growled in self-pity and looked back at Sarah. His blue eyes were wide, mouth agape. His next words were a rush. "Sarah. Leave ur house. Go to your parents or something. Yous already invited him in your home, so nows he can enter."

"What is he a vampire, or something?" Sarah frowned.

"Remember your words," He looked back to his left. Shuffling his feet as if he was ready to flee, Hoggle turned to her and said, "Your words 'No power over me'. He can't get close to you anywhere else that ya hasn't invited him in since you said those words. Yous already invited him to your house. Yous needs to leave." He glanced back to his left.

"Okay, I'm leav-"

"Gahh," Hoggle cried.

"-Hoggle!" Sarah lept forward.

Then it seemed as if the ground beneath the dwarf opened up and swallowed him whole. The only thing that Sarah saw in her mirror was the walls of the labyrinth that had been behind Hoggle before his disappearance. She heard birds chirping in the background.

"Hoggle?" Sarah placed her palm on the surface of the cold mirror.

From some far distance, she heard the dwarfs rough voice call out, "I's okay, Sarah." His muffled voice echoed a few times.

Then the mirror that her hand was placed upon darkened. Sarah pulled her hand away with a gasp as the surface turned black and white with static. She frowned. The screen shook and let out the most ear-grating noise. Sarah was left with the words 'Weak or no signal. Please stand by'. The mirror surface shook once more then returned to her reflection.


 

So, now she was babysitting Toby and hoping that the Goblin King didn't have access to this house. He had been here before. She remembered him appearing before her with terrifying cruelty and amusement. He'd frightened her and she had cowered before him. Yet she had even paused, just for a moment, to take in the otherworldly beauty of this man. She hadn't expected the Goblin King to be time resumed, he stole Toby and she went through hell.

Sarah only hoped that the words 'You have no power over me' held up. Hoggle had told her to go somewhere she hadn't invited him since she'd spoken those words. So she'd listened.

Still, she wondered what the Goblin King was plotting. She knew she had to save Hoggle. He must've been stuck into an oubliette. Or a well.

The toaster chimed. Warm bread popped up and filled the kitchen with its scent. She loved the smell of toast. Trying not to burn her fingers, she placed the slices onto a plate and made her way to her parent's living room.

She'd eat and regroup. Think of a way to have some sort of power over the Goblin King so he wouldn't trick her.

Sarah sat on the pristine couch, minding that the toast did not slide off her plate as she adjusted. Karen was a clean freak. If she saw any evidence of Sarah eating on her couch she'd go berserk

. Sarah was glad Toby was giving her a run for her money with his messiness.

Toby was a kid. He could be a slob sometimes. It drove Karen nuts. Thankfully, she understood when to take a step back thanks to Sarah and her father's prodding. Toby was a good kid. Much less spoiled than Sarah had been. He was thoughtful, compassionate, and way too altruistic for his own good.

Sarah smiled at her thoughts. She was proud of him.

Suddenly, she heard her little brother's footsteps pounding down the stairs. He came around the corner, his hair tousled from sleep, and greeted her with a cheeky smile.

"Hey Sar," He said.

"Hey Toby." She greeted, still cheerfully thinking about how good of a kid he'd turned out to be. She bit off a piece of her toast.

He took a deep breath and, still smiling, said, "I wish the Goblins will come and take you away."

The piece of toast in Sarah's mouth plopped to the plate. "Wha- Toby?" She sat forward.

"'Night Sar." He said and skipped back upstairs.

Alright, perhaps she had been a little biased in her thoughts towards him.

The world - or should she say worlds - spun around her. Sarah felt herself transfer between realms. Felt the touch of magic prickle her exposed skin. It felt nice, but invading, and entirely wrong.

"Oh, no no no no no…" She said as the colors around her halted. A pungent odor of vinegar and rotting food invaded her nostrils. The sight of goblins surrounding her was overwhelming, as was the sight of dirty clothes and broken dinner plates with half-eaten food still on top of them.

"Heya, Lady." A goblin cried out.

Well, at least they were happy she was here.

Sarah released her strong grip on the plate she was holding. Only half-aware that she had taken her toast to another realm with her. She sighed, trying to calm her nerves. Anxiety bubbled in her stomach. Her eyes tried to get their bearings.

What terrible luck she had, she thought. She was sitting on the edge of a pit in the center of the Goblin King's throne room. Her brother had wished her way for no sort of logical reason. And she had carried her toast with her - actually, that last part was actually good, she relented. At least she still had her snack.

Plus, she didn't trust any of the food that was offered down in this realm. So really, this was probably the only good thing that has happened to her today.

Millions of eyes blinked at her. The goblin's wrinkled faces waited for her reaction with bated breath. She wasn't sure how they expected her to react.

"Damn," she said.

"Articulate as ever," a haughty voice spoke out from behind her. It certainly was not a goblin that spoke. This voice was too proud, too cultured and knowing to be a goblin's.

She closed her eyes. Sarah knew he sat perched behind her on his throne. His nose was probably in the air and his piercing eyes most likely were glinting in amusement at his own joke.

"I don't want to accuse you of anything just yet…" Sarah spoke slowly, not turning to meet him. "But… did you tell my brother to wish me away?"

"Me?" He asked with mock-outrage. "Sarah, you think that I would do something so terrible to you?"

Sarah wasn't going to fall for his trap. She opened her eyes and turned around. He was on his throne, his face pretending to appear innocent, a graceful hand laid on his chest as if he had been hurt.

Sarah cocked her head and said, "So, you admit it? You admit that it is a terrible thing to do?"

He narrowed his eyes and smiled with his mouth closed. The Goblin King leaned forward on his horned throne and his pendant fell out of the loose folds of his black poet's shirt. The front of his chest was almost completely exposed to her from his position.

Jareth's face became stoic for a moment, then he covered it with a mask of interest. "How have you been, Sarah?" His eyes studied her intensely.

She stood from the edge of the pit. "You dumped my friend in an oubliette."

He raised an eyebrow. "Did I? Is it possible your friend just stumbled upon one themselves?"

"No." She crossed her arms and waited for his admission.

"Well, I suppose I shall be generous and free your friend from this oubliette. You'll have to warn them to be more careful in the future, Sarah."

She tried not to glare at him. "You also need to send me back-"

"-But, not before you take this letter. I only ask you to read it." She watched as he made a swirling hand gesture and a cream colored envelope appeared in his gloved hands. Sarah could see her name written in it in beautiful cursive. Handwriting like that was art.

She took a few steps forward to retrieve it but paused just shy of grabbing it. "So, when I read this letter you'll send me home and free Hoggle from the oubliette he's in?"

Jareth's eyes roamed her face for a second. It seemed as if he was playing with an idea in his mind. Then he said, "When you read this letter I will release your friend Hedgille-"

"-Hoggle."

"-Yes. I will release him from the oubliette. You will stay here for a full thirteen hours and determine your response to this letter. Once your time is up, you will tell me what you have decided and I will send you home whenever you choose."

"Thirteen hours?" She cried. "Is it such a big decision that I have to stay here for thirteen hours for?"

"No, Sarah. I can send you back - as your brother truly did not mean it when he wished you away, but the rules forbid me to send you back any sooner than thirteen hours. As for the letter, it is not as big as Heggle made it out to be. A simple yes or no question, really." He shrugged.

She thought about it for a moment. Then determined that it was really the only way out. "Alright," she reached for it, "Deal."

Sarah took the letter from him and turned away to open it. Once the envelope had been torn open she turned back to glance at him - only to find him not there. The air shimmered with the recent use of magic, but the throne was completely empty. Looking around she realized that she was the only one in the throne room. Not a goblin stood by. They'd all left her presumably to give her some space. She wondered why this letter was such a big deal to everyone.

A big deal enough for Hoggle to warn her, then be stuck into an oubliette, and for Jareth to influence Toby to wish her away for the sake of accepting the letter. She wouldn't have taken the letter if there had been no ultimatums, and Jareth knew this, which is why he had acted in such an extreme way.

Sarah hoped, turning back to the cream envelope, that it wasn't too life-changing. Or, perhaps, maybe a little life-changing was nice once in a while. She glanced back longingly at the throne.

 

Chapter Text

Sarah pondered the letter in her hand. She was a bit reluctant to open it, seeing as Jareth had gone to such extreme lengths to give it to her.

She frowned and a spark of irritation flared through her.

One thing was for sure, Toby would only receive coal for Christmas this year. That little sucker had wished her away and then gone back to bed as if nothing happened.

Sarah made herself take a deep breath in and out.

The room was silent.

Sarah had presumed herself alone until she turned to see thirty unblinking eyes staring back at her. The goblins had stealthily been creeping towards her. Their heads peeked out of the holes in the stone walls and beady eyes eagerly watched for her reaction.

"Did she open it yet?" A jarring voice broke the silence.

"Shut up," the room hollered at the oblivious goblin.

Sarah rolled her eyes and ignored them. She was already annoyed by their unhelpful antics tonight.

Steeling her nerves, she opened the envelope with a swift tear.

It was an invitation.

She blinked. Sarah felt anxiety arise in her chest - and, if she was completely honest with herself, a thrilled flutter.

A ball. He'd invited her to another ball.

Something rippled behind her. She could feel cool waves press against her back. The hairs on the back of her neck stood. Sarah swung her head towards the presence.

There, on the masculine throne, sat the Goblin King. His body relaxed and cat-like, limbs splayed comfortably with hooded eyes. He watched her with aloof confidence. His mouth pressed into a thin line.

The Goblin King radiated coquettishness, knowledge, and self-assurance that no amount of self-help books could teach a mortal.

Sarah couldn't decide if she liked the attention or not.

"What's this?" Sarah said, turning to him.

He raised a brow. "Did you not read it?"

Sarah refrained from rolling her eyes. Right, in the labyrinth one has to ask the right questions.

"I did. I was hoping you'd explain it."

"It is simple, really. I am hosting the annual ball to celebrate the labyrinth. I thought it only right that you be there - as you are the labyrinth's first and only champion. Nothing more, other than your presence, is expected."

His voice was strictly formal and refined.

"Oh," she said reticently. She had thought that he was inviting her. Not out of necessity but out of… Sarah broke out of her thoughts, rather tired of being a hopeless romantic, and remembered how well the last ball she'd attended with him had gone.

The way his amatory advances still held a detached air, the mocking laughs of the nobility around her, and her naïve innocence. She had thought he'd been on her side until his grip had tightened - wanting her to only look at him - and he pulled her closer when she struggled.

The Goblin King was flaunting his prey before the court.

And they crowded around her and laughed.

Sarah schooled her features. "I'm not obligated to go, am I?"

Jareth seemed to sense her change in demeanor and hid his frustration well, but Sarah glimpsed the tensing of his shoulders. "I have already stated that I am giving you your own choice. Think about it. You have thirteen hours before you return home. Unless…" His voice carried off.

"Unless what?"

"Unless you would like to stay longer." His suddenly seemed as if they were burning into hers, a teasing smirk playing on his face.

She caught the seductive inflection in his voice. It had been easy to miss when she had first run the labyrinth, but now the suggestion was painfully blatant.

"Honestly," she began.

He quirked his head as if telling her to go on.

"I'll have to decline both offers. I'd rather go home and babysit my brother. Thanks for the invitation, though." His seductive smirk fell. Sarah tried to hide a smug smile, but the corners of her mouth lifted slightly. She felt like twisting the knife. "It's too bad you went through all this trouble just for me to say no."

Jareth's eyes narrowed at her lips, then flickered back up to her eyes. He gave her one last burning stare. "Thirteen hours, Sarah. Then I will come and hear your final decision." Before she knew it, he had disappeared in a cloud of multicolored glitter.

Which she and five other goblins promptly inhaled.

They all let out choking coughs and Sarah fanned the air with her invitation.

"Always does that," a goblin complained.

When Sarah finally cleared her throat she glared at the throne.


Jareth dusted off invisible specks of dirt from his poet's shirt. He inspected his image in the mirror, frowning at a stray hair. The Goblin King sighed and then fluffed his feathery locks back into perfect disarray.

A small goblin beside him pretended to brush off his own tattered shirt, mimicking the movements of the Goblin King. Jareth took notice of him and frowned.

"Shouldn't you be guarding the door?"

A polite knock turned his attention away from the mirror.

"Enter," the chubby goblin next to him yelled.

Jareth glowered at the botch of proper etiquette. The castle guards never seemed to do what he wanted them to.

A young woman entered. Her hair piled hair atop her head in an elegant updo and her dress exaggerated her hourglass shape, hugging her waist tightly then letting go to flow out at an impossible width from her hips down. In her hand, she clutched a thin folder with a feeble amount of samples sticking out.

"Your majesty, the portrait painter is here," the short goblin whispered redundantly.

Jareth's elegant gloved hand waved over the goblin. "Bog," he stated, and the chubby short creature disappeared with a cut-off yelp.

Jareth turned and watched coolly as the young woman curtsied before him.

"Your majesty," she said.

Her small brown eyes inspected the walls of the study. Clearly impressed. While the goblin kingdom was perhaps not the most prestigious of the kingdoms she'd visited before, the Goblin King himself was perhaps one of the most grandiloquent of them all. And there was no debate that the labyrinth he created is a historic masterpiece.

His sharp features were politely reserved. "My dear Louise, I regret that I have not sent my condolences. Your father was a talented man."

She observed that the height of the room seemed to stretch on forever. Louise felt a sense of foreboding. The walls were lined with deeply embedded bookshelves that were outlined with beautiful woodwork. Deep cherry leaves and flowers held the books up and lined the edges of the shelves up until they reached the domed ceiling of the room.

She nodded. In fae culture, it is rude to respond with 'thank you'. "My father spoke highly of you," she returned.

Jareth walked over to his desk and motioned her to follow.

He held out his hand and she silently gave him a copy of all the commissions she had done within the last couple years. Jareth sat and began to examine her work.

Her eyes nervously trailed along the cherry wood of his desk. It was dark and framed with the same florid woodwork that outlined the striking bookshelves. Couches and chairs filled the rest of the room, some angled before his desk, and others before a coffee table that sat in front of a grand fireplace. A matching red carpet rolled out from the structure and it complimented the richness of the room.

Seeing his eye for detail, the girl began to fidget.

His calm, collected composure did little to stifle her nerves. She hoped that her painting would live up to his expectations.

Louise stood before him meekly. She fixed her stance and posture so that she appeared as proper as possible. She resisted the urge to excuse herself as his piercing eyes ate up every single detail on the pages. They paid special attention to the flaws, even the ones that no one else noticed.

Jareth looked up at her after a moment.

"The Troll King," Jareth stated. He raised an eyebrow, "A wedding commission?"

"Yes." Her thin lips pursed in indecision. She waited a moment to see if he would elaborate. When he said nothing she hesitantly added, "I can have your portrait finished within three days." Louise felt the need to validate herself, "I am adaptable - so I can make any last-minute changes if you need."

Jareth nodded, not looking up. "I shall have to keep that in mind." She waited for another minute as he flipped through the file. Then, the Goblin King set the papers down in front of him and turned to her. "I would like to start right away. The portrait shall be finished before the annual ball. Can you do that?"

"Yes, your majesty."

Louise began to curtsy, taking his silence as a queue to go and gather her supplies, but he held up a gloved hand.

"Wait," he paused, remembering his plan on having Sarah see the portrait. Jareth glanced down at the outfit he was wearing. "I believe a change is due."

He stood and his hand that was in the air made a quick twisting motion. The clothes on his body transformed.

Louise blinked and, within that second, he was suddenly wearing a suit of imposing goblin-like armor. She had seen portraits of the goblin king before, but those were often paintings of him dressing in royal finery, never the sort of formidable regalia that he was wearing before her now.

A dark, leathery cloak surrounded him. The material that covered his shoulders looked like that of a bat's wings and was heavy. It billowed out into a lighter fabric that was black with a shiny cerulean hue once the light caught it. The cape came up around his neck and flared out, framing his feathery hair.

His chest was plated. The Goblin Kingdom insignia no longer hung from his neck as a shining pendant, but a darkened piece of metal built into his breast. Yellowed bones stuck out and weaved themselves through the fabric and armor.

The outfit was imposing. It terrified and coerced. If she hadn't been intimidated by him before, she sure was now.

"Uh," she stuttered.

Jareth caught a glimpse of his skintight leggings in the mirror.

"I would like the painting to capture every detail," he said.

The skin around his eyes crinkled with a wicked gleam and he turned his gaze back to her.

She blinked and nodded. "O - Of course, your majesty."

Jareth's thin lips stretched into a roguish smirk. Yes, this outfit would do nicely.


At this moment Sarah believed that one could define 'torture' in many ways. Back in the throne room, Sarah contemplated the idea of her younger brother wishing her away. She was not sure whether he was under some sort of compulsion spell or he'd done this on his own.

Sarah thought that this behavior was unlike her happy little brother. She wondered how the Goblin King could have coerced him into the wish. The idea that he could've been so angry with her as to wish her away tortured her mind.

That was when a heavy weight struck her suddenly in the chest. She stumbled back in surprise.

"Sorry, Lady," an unexpectedly deep voice said from the floor beneath her. Sarah blinked at the portly goblin that was now laying on the ground flat on his face.

The goblins in the room let out a series of frenetic laughs.

Sarah swung her head towards the center of the throne room and the activity that was taking place there.

"We's playing Hopscotch," Wiznic crowed.

The goblins raised their arms in agreement and cheered enthusiastically.

"That's great," Sarah said facetiously.

"Play with us, Lady." A goblin grabbed her hand. His green skin was wet and sticky. Sarah quickly tugged her arm free and shook her head.

"Puh-leasee lady," they whined.

She glanced at the clock. There were twelve hours left until she'd be sent home. She sighed. "I suppose it wouldn't hurt."

The goblins beamed up at her and cheered once again.


They were terrible at playing hopscotch. Sarah reasoned that she should have known, seeing as their legs were short and stubby, but what they lacked in height they made up with cheating.

No matter how many times Sarah lectured them, they still seemed to think that it was 'fair' to launch themselves across the chalk squares with the help of several other goblins. A goblin would pick up another by his feet and swing him across the chalked outline. Once the victim landed in a square, the perpetrator would then go and stand in it. This resulted in 'teams', much to Sarah's consternation, and hopscotch quickly evolved into seeing which team was best at launching each other the farthest.

Sarah was just finishing up her fifth lecture on how they can't throw their teammates across the chalk squares when Team Bog Squatters burst into the throne room with a catapult.

Their defense was that she had said they can't throw each other, so they thought of other means to get the same result.

Sarah blinked, closed her mouth, and sat down on the dirty stone floor silently. She resigned herself to the fact that she would not be playing a true game of hopscotch with the goblins tonight. If ever.

A small figure sat down next to her and she turned to see Gus munching on a piece of toast that she had brought with her from the Aboveground.

She frowned and almost argued that it belonged to her, but paused when she saw the amount of slobber that covered the now soggy bread.

He can have it, she decided courteously.

"'is majesty let urs dwarf friend outta the oubliette," Gus said with a muffled voice.

He started to smack his lips loudly and the goblins playing 'Hopscotch' turned to shush him. Gus glared back and rebelliously bit off a rather large piece of bread.

"Good. Poor Hoggle. Only trying to warn me."

"Had it comin'," Gus said unsympathetically.

Sarah sighed in response.

She eyed the clock hanging on the wall across from them. She had eleven hours left to kill. Eleven. What did Jareth expect her to do with all this time? Run his labyrinth again? Take a nap? Deeply consider his offer?

No, she'd already made up her mind. She wasn't going to change it. Sarah did not want Jareth getting any ideas, and if he thought that coercing her brother into wishing her away and trapping her down here for thirteen hours was a good way to get her to agree to anything, he wouldn't hesitate to use the idea again.

She felt peeved that he had somehow coerced her little brother into wishing her away.

"The gall of that man," she scoffed to herself.

Gus just ignored her. He bit off an entirely too large piece of bread and was chewing it with half of it hanging from his mouth.

So much for having her 'human food'. Maybe she could get Gus to travel back home and pick her up some dinner...

A brilliant idea lit Sarah's eyes up in bright defiance.

She turned to Gus who was still happily munching away.

"Hey, you like toast, don't you?" Sarah drawled curiously. Gus nervously peered up at the young woman.

"Uhm, yeahs?" His eyes bounced frantically from her hand to the plate of bread he held.

"I'm not going to take it from you. In fact, what if I promise to let you have as much toast as you want? What do you think?"

He paused and looked as if he was seriously considering the offer. He scratched the hairs on his head and his furry tail thumped on the floor in kindled interest. "I's... thinks that wouldn't be's so bad."

Bribery always worked with the goblin lot.

"Then I've got a plan…" Sarah stood and held out her hand.

"Okey dokey," Gus stood and reached for her hand, unceremoniously letting go of the plate to do so. He calmly watched as Karen's china fell to the floor. It shattered. Sarah hurriedly covered her ears from the sharp sound. The remaining pieces of toast scattered, along with shards of the plate, across the stained stone floor. Chickens curiously crept up to pick at the bread with their beaks.

Gus, unperturbed by the mess he had just made, turned to her expectantly.

"Okay, set that down right there, I guess." She frowned and dropped her hands from her head. Now she owed Karen a plate.

Sarah sighed. "We'll discuss your destructive tendencies later… First, let's check on Hoggle and make sure he made it out of the oubliette alright. Then we'll make sure you can have all the toast you want. Do you know what the king's doing?"

"Kingy has kingy appo-appointment."

"What kind of appointment?"

"Uh, he's gettin' his portraitz taken."

Sarah rolled her eyes. "So, I'm stuck in the Underground for thirteen hours while the King is off getting a portrait painted?"

"He's a wery busy man," Gus shrugged.

"Typical." Sarah shook her head and then eyed the clock. "Hopefully that'll buy us some time to get out of here, at least."