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The Goblin Queen

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Author's notes: Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author.  The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise.  No copyright infringement is intended.

Chapter Nine

                Sarah remained at the dining table for a few seconds; in the two years she had lived in the castle she had never heard someone wish a child away. She had never given it much thought, strange considering that was how she was in her predicament. Pushing her chair back she left the dining room to seek out Jareth’s throne room, it did not take her long to find and she guessed he wanted her there. The castle itself was just as confusing as the Labyrinth, what was a left turn one day would be a dead end the next. The throne room was empty of all life when she reached it, not even a stray chicken clucked along the floor. In the middle of the floor was a hole filled with blankets, cushions, plates and crumbs. Plonking herself down on the floor Sarah dangled her legs over the edge. She picked at a piece of straw on the floor and tore it in to thin strands.

                Jareth appeared standing beside her, he had changed from the white shirt and grey tights he’d worn at dinner into a more elaborate outfit. It was similar to the one he had worn when she’d first met him, although it seemed to hold more menace. A black cloak with a high collar, leather trousers and boots, a black shirt and waistcoat. Cradled in his arms, wrapped up beneath the cloak, was a small child barely a month old. Sarah looked up to see him gesturing for her to take the child but she shook her head, she could not face holding something so innocent. Had she really put Toby through this? This child had not had a chance at life, yet it would face life as a goblin. How could she have done that to her brother? A claw-shaped cot appeared beside Jareth’s throne and he gently settled the child on the bundle of blankets.

                “Toby would not have become a goblin, I would have struck a bargain for you.” Jareth tried to soothe her as he sat beside her, grimacing at the state of the floor. Sarah shuddered, he made it sound so sordid bargaining one life for another – but then was it anything else?

                “What about this child? Jareth it can barely be older than a month…how could anyone wish it away?”

                “Her mother is a child, younger than you were. She chose not to come to the Labyrinth.” Sarah shuddered at the thought.

                “Then what happens to the child?”

                “I must wait thirteen hours – she may change her mind. Although the time will be against her.”

                “You wanted here, I found your throne room too easily; why?” Jareth stood up and held out his hand for Sarah to take, grudgingly she took it and let him help her to her feet. She followed him to the window and leant her palms against the cold stone. Below she could see the Goblin City and beyond its walls the twisting Labyrinth.

                “I want you to understand what it means to be Queen.” Jareth finally broke the silence, “Sarah would you truly be happy going back to your mundane life?”

                “Yes,” Sarah cried but knew it was partly a lie. “Jareth I just want to see my family again – they must be so worried.”

                “Sarah, look.” She looked up to see Jareth holding one of his crystals, she forced herself to look at the images within. She saw Toby running towards her father, his arms outstretched and a ball clasped in his hands. He was taller and had grown, no longer a baby but a toddler. Sarah felt her throat constrict as her father picked up Toby and swung him about, just as he had done with her when she was three. She recognised her step-mother in a pair of smart black trousers and dark coat, in her arms was a small bundle. Seizing the crystal Sarah hurled it out the window and turned her back on Jareth.

                “You are showing me lies,” Sarah whispered; she had no doubt that her father and step-mother had another child. But that didn’t mean they did not miss Sarah; she knew her father at least cared for her.

                “Sarah remember the night you came to the Labyrinth? I destroyed their hallway – they believe you are dead. Do you think it is that simple for you to return?”

                “They think I a dead…if you send me home –”

                “When will you understand you cannot return Sarah? Not in this lifetime!” His raised voice disturbed the child and Sarah hurried over, hesitantly she looked down and picked up the child, rubbing her back and cooing to her gently. Tears of her own slipped down her cheeks and she rested her cheek against the squalling baby’s head. “Sarah I am not doing this to be cruel, you are bound to the Labyrinth. You can cross worlds but for short periods only, even I cannot leave this world for long periods of time. Do you think I have enjoyed millennia’s on my own? With only goblins for company?” Jareth reached out to stroke her hair but Sarah moved back from him. “Sarah please, understand that your destiny is here by my side, as the Goblin Queen.” The child quietened in her arms and began to snore softly, Jareth gestured for her to sit on the throne but Sarah shook her head. She had never sat on his throne, with all the trickery in the Labyrinth she was too afraid to do so; if sharing food and drink with him would marry what on earth would sitting on his throne do? “You are part-Fae Sarah, you have always been destined for this world.”

                “Just stop,” Sarah sighed. “Jareth why should I believe anything you say to me? All you have ever done is lie and deceive me…why should I believe you when you say this is my fate?” She wanted to yell at him but the sleeping babe in her arms kept her voice at bay. “If you will not let me go home then at least let me speak to my father…let me say goodbye.” She could see the pain in Jareth’s eyes and she felt her heart clench painfully. “What have you done?” She asked dreading the worst, he held out another crystal and she found herself too frightened to look at it. Steeling herself she looked into the small orb; her father was alone this time walking along a gravel path looking sombre. He wore a long dark winter’s coat, and a deep grey scarf. In his hands were a bunch of cellophane-wrapped flowers, roses as white as snow. Sarah’s mind begged her to turn away but she couldn’t force her eyes to obey the command. Her mouth was suddenly dry, her body hot and her stomach rolling sickeningly. Tears blurred her eyes blocking her vision, but she had seen enough already.