Continuing Tales

Power Struggle

A Labyrinth Story
by bobmcbobbob1

Part 10 of 50

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Power Struggle

After they had moved Jareth to the couch and cleaned up his wound best they could, Sarah faced her parents.

"Honey, are you sure that we shouldn't get him to the hospital?" Bob asked warily.

"I keep telling you, Dad. He's not human. That he bleeds is news to me. I mean, if iron is poisonous to him, what's his blood based on? The best thing we can do is wait until he regains consciousness and go from there."

"If you're sure, Sarah," he replied slowly, taking a seat on the chair facing the prone Goblin King, his unconscious face with an odd greenish pallor.

"He'd better wake up."

"Toby, you're not helping," Sarah muttered shaking her head.

Toby tried a new angle, in an actual attempt to be helpful: "Maybe Hoggle'd know what to do."

"I think Jareth'd prefer we not drag anyone into this more than necessary. The fact that he's gone this long anyway probably already has all the goblins talking, and if I call Hoggle away, then it's more than speculation."

Toby blinked, not entirely following, and Sarah rubbed her temples. "Long story short, Toby, it might ruin his image and Jareth likes his image."

"Since we have some more time, are you going to start explaining whatever it is that you keep insisting I don't understand?" Karen asked with her arms crossed and her weapon of choice still dangling from one hand.

"Yeah, I suppose I do owe you an explanation."

"With a capital 'E,'" Toby added with a grin. Sarah shot him a glare and he wisely returned his attention back to his video game, still listening all the same.

"Can I ask why you felt the need to involve a frying pan, first?" Sarah asked. "A cast iron skillet? I thought that was something that only happened in cartoons."

"It was the best solution I could come up with at the moment," Karen defended. "He had Bob pinned to the wall until you stopped him and was obviously ready to whisk you off without so much as a word, forwarding address, anything. That's not the sort of man I wanted to see you with, Sarah."

"And he's not even human," Bob added offhandedly.

Despite herself, Sarah chuckled. "Unfortunately, as I was telling you before, you chose your weapon well."

"I'll remember that," Karen stated with a grin.

Sarah rolled her eyes. "I suppose it's my turn."

"Right," her father agreed curtly, still eyeing Jareth warily.

"I'm still not sure if you guys understand what I mean by magic. I don't even know what's really happening there except that somehow I've been able to borrow Jareth's and he's not happy about it. It apparently manifested after I defeated the Labyrinth and didn't show any major signs until a couple of months ago. From what I actually do understand he either needs to marry me or kill me in order to retain enough control of his magic to rule his kingdom which protects the boarders of the rest of the Underground. He was nice enough to lean toward the first option. I know that's a lot to absorb at once but that's really as clear as I can put it."

The room was silent except for a few assorted beeps as Toby's video game character died again.

"Sarah, if he's forcing you into this…there's got to be another way," Karen said as she laid a gentle hand on her stepdaughter's arm.

"I've sort of already agreed to marry him."

"Sarah…" her father started but faltered. "We want you to be happy."

"I know, Dad. But I really don't have much of a choice here. I have a lot of friends in the Labyrinth who would inevitably be in danger if I don't do this, plus several other species that'll…actually I don't know how often the Labyrinth is attacked by invaders but watching this land crumble wasn't a great prospect either. I've always loved my fairy tales and I can sort of understand where he's coming from, even if I still don't like it."

"But will he make you happy, Sarah?" Bob asked, turning to face his daughter for the first time. His eyes were glimmering with unshed tears.

"Oh, Dad," Sarah stood and wrapped her arms around his shoulders. "I don't know."

"You'll always be my little girl," he choked out.

"And you'll always be my Dad. I'm going to miss all of you. I'll find some way to visit. Even if you have to wish Toby away every other week."

Bob chuckled. "Maybe not that far. This Labyrinth doesn't sound very safe."

Sarah nodded, with her eyes still misty. "If I'm running it, maybe I can help you cheat. A worm and his lovely wife gave me some fantastic shortcuts. At least one of those'll work on any given day."

"A worm?" Karen asked, wiping her own eyes.

"Toby could tell you. It'd make a great kids movie. I'm going to find a way to give you a tour someday or maybe just a crystal that'll show you everything. I'd try to ask him now but I daresay he's probably not in the best of moods to oblige anything."

"That and he's not awake."

"Toby, you're still not helping."

Toby shrugged but put his game down. "Jareth said I could visit sometime. Maybe I could ask him to bring Mom and Dad, too."

Sarah fought the urge to ruffle his hair, then remembering that she wouldn't have the opportunity to do so for a while did it anyway. "It's worth a shot."

She glanced over at Jareth. "We really should try to wake him up. There weren't any chunks of iron, or skull for that matter, that we missed were there?"

"He was bleeding. I can't say that my first priority in helping the man who was stealing my daughter away, whom I'd just efficiently declared my resolution to—"

"Is that what you call it? I didn't know you often walloped peopled you didn't like with skillets."

"There aren't many people I dislike that much." Karen waved it off. "Anyway, it still wasn't my top priority. We needed to slow the bleeding first anyway, assuming his anatomy isn't that different, and, between the two of us, we cleaned him up best we could."

Sarah bit her lip. Karen headed toward the kitchen and came back with a small bowl of water. Sarah was half surprised that she didn't just dump it on his face but instead flecked small droplets. Jareth didn't respond.

"He's still breathing. I think that's a good sign."

"Toby! Still not helping."

"I say we should call the police," Bob mentioned.

"And it would just make matters more complicated. Do you want to try to explain this mess?"

"It wouldn't be too hard. This strange man is harassing my daughter. When we caught him in the house, we took necessary action. That'd probably be enough for them."

"Until both him and I disappear and no manhunt will ever find us. It would just give him more of an excuse to keep me there. Not to mention make trips here that much more difficult if there's enough people constantly on the lookout."

Karen broke into the conversation. "See there's one thing I don't understand. Why do you have to be there?"

Sarah thought for a moment. "I'm not entirely sure."

"Because it's easier to rule in the kingdom in which you're ruling," came a gruff voice from the couch.

Karen abruptly dropped the bowl on Jareth's chest as she backed away. He groaned as he sat up, brushing the water off his clothes with a scowl.

"I'm not even sure that really made sense, Jareth."

"I've just suffered a blow to the head, Sarah. Do forgive me," he muttered darkly.

Bob stood in front of his daughter with Karen at his side. Even Toby took a stubborn stance in front until his father pushed him a little more to the side. "I don't think we're finished here."

"I think we are," Jareth disagreed, wearing a vicious smirk in his annoyance. With a small gesture, Karen and Bob were flung apart with startled yelps. They both scrambled back to their feet, trying to stand in front of Sarah again.

"Mom, Dad, stop. It'll be alright," Sarah promised, gently stepping in between them before Jareth took any further measures.

"Don't try that again," Jareth cut in sharply, as Karen reached for her skillet. His threat was implied in his glare, the room suddenly much darker. Karen wisely relaxed her grip and set the frying pan down.

Sarah hugged her family, blinking back tears and wiping away those that managed to escape.

"There will be more time to get to know each other after the wedding," Jareth stated coldly with a calculating stare at the Williams. "Perhaps long after."

Sarah shot him a nasty look but for the sake of her family nodded and stood next to him. On a whim, Sarah twirled her fingers and a crystal formed in her hand. Next to her, Jareth gave a tiny lurch that Sarah pretended not to notice; being unconscious probably hadn't helped him much. She set the crystal in Toby's hand.

"If any of you need to talk to me, you should be able to call on me through this. It's probably best if you wait for a couple days," she added, glancing back at Jareth's stony face.

Toby nodded and cradled it gently in his palms.

"I'll come to see you as soon as I figure out how," Sarah promised. She waved to her family as with a flick of Jareth's wrist, they disappeared from the Williams living room.

Power Struggle

A Labyrinth Story
by bobmcbobbob1

Part 10 of 50

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