Continuing Tales

Power Struggle

A Labyrinth Story
by bobmcbobbob1

Part 42 of 50

<< Previous     Home     Next >>
Power Struggle

Sarah could hear the voices in the kitchen. Her reappearance, particularly with the screaming and crying, certainly shook up her family's morning routine. Toby had finally left for school after a lot of arguing and a few angry tears, only agreeing when his father promised to pick him up early, after the math test. Laying her head back on the couch, Sarah took a deep breath and closed her eyes. Brow-beating for answers would come later, once everyone had calmed down and after her parents finished arguing about what to do.

A swell of determination soon outweighed her panic and homesickness. Jareth would come for her. Either that or Sarah would find a way back. The magic needed time to regenerate. She would think through the rest later.

She opened her eyes. In the meanwhile, there were a few things that needed to be seen to. After the most pressing errand was addressed, Sarah reasoned that she might as well tie up another few ends in the Aboveground to make future visits less difficult. Keeping busy, Sarah felt, would keep her focused and help her ride through any residual panic.

Karen and Robert Williams emerged from the kitchen, her stepmother in a robe but her father already mostly dressed. Taking a seat down next to her, Karen passed Sarah a can of 7up and some crackers.

"Since you've already had your water, I figured you might want something else in your stomach. Are you still feeling nauseous?" she inquired gently.

Sarah gave her a small smile. "It's better now. Thanks." She nibbled a cracker or two before taking a deep breath. "I know you guys are aching to ask some questions but there are a couple things that I'm going to need to take care of first."

Her parents frowned. "Like what?" her father asked.

"Like the missing persons report for example. I might as well clear that up during this sojourn, seeing as I have no idea how long I'm going to be here." Sarah focused her attention to Karen. "There's something much more pressing, however. Alain's the one who has been handling my case and all, but I think going to him right now is unfortunately a little impossible. Mom, can you get me the number of your OB/GYN and mine for that matter?" She rested hand on her stomach, such a natural gesture.

Understandably, Mr. and Mrs. Williams were momentarily stunned. Her father sat down heavily on the easy chair.

Karen's face grew into a wide grin. "Oh, there were just a few things you said when I talked to you and little things and I thought you'd put on a bit of weight even in the middle of war that I was beginning to wonder, but, oh Sarah, this is great news!"

"Before we get too excited," Sarah broke in, though warmed by Karen's reaction, "I need to make sure the baby's okay. I've just been tossed around in a war."

Karen nodded. "I'll hunt through the address book. We'll go for the first appointment we can. They do have emergency spots just in case."

"You can tell them I fell and have been feeling lightheaded, if that'll help," Sarah supplied.

"I'll tell them you have been having pains after falling down the stairs if that will get us in." She kissed Sarah's head and ran off the kitchen.

Sarah raised her gaze to her father, feeling somewhat nervous for reasons she didn't want to think about.

"That man—or whatever he is—let you fight a war while you were pregnant?" he growled after a moment's silence.

Sarah nodded.

"I'll kill him."

"Dad, no, it's not like he forced me to do it. You know me. I couldn't let everyone else protect the kingdom while I hid somewhere."

Her father flexed a fist. "Still going to kill him, Sarah."

"You will not make LT grow up without a father, Dad, let alone make me a widow."


"Little Terror. It's just our gender neutral way of referring to the heir of the Goblin Kingdom."

He leaned back in his chair again, speaking wistfully. "This could be your chance to get away from all this mess, Sarah. People can help you see if this marriage even needs to be annulled and do it, put you into protective custody, and you can give up the baby to adoption or whatever."

Sarah blanched, horrified at the notion, and she could tell by her father's nod and expression that he caught it. "I figured as much, Sarah. From what I've heard through Karen and through your infrequent messages, it sounds as though, circumstances aside, you're happy. We'll get everything sorted out, no matter how long we get to keep you for." He took another deep breath. "My son-in-law is a psycho, but I'm going to be a grandfather," he announced to the room.

Sarah beamed. If her father could take the news without flipping out (though more was certainly to come later), she wasn't too worried about the rest of the world. "He's not a psycho, Dad."

"The only man I would allow to kidnap and impregnate my daughter had to be the one she was entirely smitten with. Guess I was right though. No one in this world was deserving of you."

Sarah smiled at his bluntness, recalling their old joke (he claimed it was a father's prerogative, Sarah found it just plain weird) and knowing he was still trying to cope with it all. Otherwise she would have glared. "And he's as excited and, though he wouldn't admit it without a fight, terrified as I am."

"Grandpa. Christ, I'm old."

A part of what her father had said struck her: "Dad, where is that crystal I gave you?"

"Upstairs, why?" he replied, still dazed.

Sarah immediately moved to bound off of the couch though she was stayed by her father. "I'll get it," he assured her. "You take another cracker or two, until you're feeling better."

Nodding her thanks, Sarah did as she was bid, finding herself ridiculously hungry though that combated with anxiety. Karen poked her head into the room, one hand over the receiver. "They'd like to know how far along you are."

"With time and everything, it translates to a little over four months." So it was actually a lot over four months, but Sarah was going to wait for doctor-patient confidentiality to kick in for some of that discussion.

Karen nodded and went back to bulldogging; she was a good ally to have when dealing with the medical field, shortening "nurses' minutes" to something more resembling real minutes. Really, if Sarah was too sick to argue for herself, her parents had the good cop, bad cop routine figured out.

Her father returned with the crystal and a frown. "I've never seen it look like this," he reported.

Sarah took the item in question eagerly. Even though Jareth couldn't transport himself or his thoughts through their connection, this should still work.

The whole sphere was black. Sarah shook it, calling into it. Part of the sphere turned brown, otherwise there was nothing. Squeezing her eyes shut and quelling the urge to chuck the crystal across the room, Sarah allowed her head to flump back against the couch.

"Sarah, what's wrong?" her father asked, taking her hand with one of his, the crystal in his other.

"He hasn't come for me yet because he can't," Sarah murmured. "If you guys are right in that I didn't miss a huge chunk of time, then his magic's so depleted right now—and he needs some small amount to stay alive and immortal—that he can't risk the spell. But, even when that recoups some, he might not be able to make it here."

Sarah took a few short breaths, grateful that her father allowed her to continue at her own pace.

"Dad, when I left the Underground, I might have locked the door behind me."

Fighting the urge to cry as she was enveloped by her father's arms, Sarah snuggled into his shirt like she hadn't since she was eight. He would ask for an explanation later, Sarah was certain. But now he was content to let her collect herself and pull away in silence when she was ready.

Karen returned from the kitchen. "Either 1:30 in the city or 3:45 in town are our best options."

Trading her fears off again, Sarah nodded. She had to make sure LT was safe first. Once that was reassured, Sarah would be free to focus on planning and worrying about her return. All disparaging thoughts would also be displaced until such a time because these last few hours had been emotionally taxing enough. At least she hadn't missed more than a few hours hovering in the veil; that might have pushed her a little too far at the moment. She would have flat-out refused to believe it had she landed in some alternative dimension.

"Where did Jen put in the missing person report?"

"Possibly both precincts, but if you go to one they should inform the other."

Sarah weighed the two hour drive with the two hour wait. "I'll take the appointment in the city. My doc is going to have all my information anyway. I'll ask him if there is anyone he'd recommend closer to here."

Karen nodded. "In the meanwhile, I think it would be best if we got some food in you and you got some sleep. You look exhausted, honey."

"Food would probably be a good idea in another half hour. Some orange juice if we have it. I haven't had proper out-of-an-honest-to-God-carton orange juice for way too long."

"Later. Work on that first," Karen directed, gesturing toward the 7up and crackers.

"That nap doesn't sound like such a bad idea either." Sarah leaned back against the cushions. "I don't even want to tromp back upstairs."

"Then don't. We'll bring you whatever you need."

Already feeling herself dozing off, Sarah yawned and said, "Obviously details are pending, but there are a couple things you guys should know."

"It's not twins, is it?"

Sarah gave a small half-smile. "No, nothing like that, though that wouldn't surprise me given everything else. Just this: the war is over and we won."

Her parents started to say something, but Sarah immediately stopped paying attention as her vision began to tilt and sway. She took several deep breaths to keep from vomiting. Randomly transporting had been the apparent exchange for morning sickness, but on the rare instances it struck, it hit with a vengeance. All the transporting and moving today probably wasn't helping. Thankfully, she mused from a stable part of the back of her mind, she should be essentially finished with that symptom (the cynical portion of her mind, unfortunately not currently caught in her vertigo, reminded her that all pregnancies were different and it could only be the beginning). She felt her mother place a bowl in her lap, saying…something.

While the vertigo was highly unpleasant, the part that truly scared Sarah was the sudden contraction of what seemed all her core muscles at once. That was something new. It wasn't enough to cause her to throw up (nearly), but it was enough to double her over as she prayed for it to pass without damaging her child. Forget what Jareth would do, Sarah wasn't certain what she would do if she miscarried.

Once she could focus her horizon again, she realized her parents had left the room. She took several more deep breaths and her muscles clenched again. Sarah curled up and heard the sound of the car being pulled out of the garage. Karen came down the stairs slightly more dressed and stuffing a set of Sarah's clothes into a small bag. Her muscles relaxed again, but Sarah was trembling and now officially panicking.

"Sarah, can you stand up?" Karen demanded in a soft voice. "We're going to take you to the Emergency room, alright?"

"Let's go, please," Sarah whispered, eyes wide. Karen helped her off of the couch, as gingerly and quickly as possible.

Her father pulled the car up as close to the house as he could, throwing his door open to run around and yank the door to the backseat open for his daughter. Sarah coiled in back, her head on her stepmother's lap as her father buckled himself again. The heads of the Williams family were grave but confident during the quiet ride, even as Sarah felt her body wring together once more. Indoctrinated in the ways of holding up appearances, Sarah fed off of that energy, realized why she was doing it and that the goblins weren't around to see, and broke down into tears anyway. This was too much, really. But her head felt strangely disconnected from her body, and Sarah found herself instead focusing on all the queer spots of color floating through her field of vision.

Once she was in an examination room, there were questions asked by men and women in blue scrubs, hands gently prodding her abdomen with latex incased fingers. As Sarah began to regain her mind again, she was surprised to realize that many of those questions revolved around drugs. The obstetrician came in and warned her quite sternly, but to her immense relief announced that they would be doing a full checkup shortly.

The rest of Sarah's treatment ran under the assumption that she was going through withdrawal of some sort. When her parents had informed her of all the questions they received and thoughts from the doctor, it was either that or some heavy metal poisoning. Regardless, the IV gave Sarah some much needed hydration and her parents gave her some much needed comfort. Of course, then she laughed quite thoroughly that she was being helped through withdrawal, especially when her parents showed her a handful of pamphlets they had been given. There was no way to really refute it either. All she could do was deny any and all interaction with drugs until the blood test came back. Jareth would have found it amusing. Magic withdrawal wouldn't show up on any test she would undergo here.

The whole mess had been a wretched haze, from waiting room to examination room A then G, after she was wheeled down to maternity. Except for one shining moment, despite the unpleasantness of the goop on her skin: Sarah saw LT for the first time. The Ultrasound picture naturally wasn't one for amazing detail and the technician reported that LT was not turned in such a way she could immediately tell the gender, but Sarah could not take her eyes of the screen. LT was still there, the heartbeat going strong though the world seemed to slow. Sarah only regretted that her hand was not held by a certain gloved palm.

The doctor spoke with her one last time, privately, before she was allowed to leave: "Sarah, you've obviously been through something. I'm bound to keep everything between us confidential if there's anything more you can tell me."

The tears of relief were still wet on Sarah's cheeks, unabashed. "Is everything alright with LT?"

"I've told you twice now, Sarah," he replied gently.

"I know, but I just need to hear it again."

"I would call it a high risk pregnancy—" Sarah nearly snorted, "—but, yes, right now your child is relatively healthy."

Sarah smiled, no longer looking at him.

"You need to be taking better care of yourself, Sarah. You're a little anemic and we'll get you some iron supplements for that with some prenatal vitamins and all sorts of information you should have seen some time ago." He sighed. "Is there anything you wish to tell me?"

"My husband and I saw an alternative healer," Sarah offered, hoping not to seem like an entirely incompetent mother.

He pulled out his pen and began to write a few things down. "Good, what sort of healer?"

"When should I schedule another appointment?"

Her doctor frowned as she avoided his question. "Given all that's occurred, two weeks at the latest."

"I will tell you more then," Sarah promised, hoping that LT would have shown a lack in growth at the "normal" rate that he might be more willing to believe her. Starting that conversation when he might still suspect her to be an addict would not help her case at any rate. "Anything else?"

He put away his pen. "Keep in mind, your child is lucky this time, Sarah. Do not engage in anything that might jeopardize that again."

"Thank you Doctor…?"


Sarah gave a small start. "Not related to a Jen Yeardly, are you?"

"I have a cousin named Jen Yeardly who has recently been searching for a Sarah Williams, if that's what you're after," he replied with a stare of stern inquiry. "I know you've been missing."

"It's a long story. I promised to tell you more next time. You're not going to mention this to your cousin, are you?"

"Legally, I can't. But you should."

Sarah nodded. "I will. I just need to get myself together again. It'd be better if she heard it from me anyway."

"With all the work she's put in to finding you, you'd better believe it," he said rather pointedly. "Show this to the nurse on your way out," he instructed, holding out a few pieces of paper, one being a prescription, "and make an appointment with her there as well."

Then Sarah had to restrain herself from laughing, mentally comparing all the do's and don'ts given to her in one list compared with the one Alain had given her. She could technically now participate in the goblin chicken toss should she so choose. Not that she would, really. Underground chickens that managed to survive more than a year and a half were something to behold, certainly one of the more frightening and clever creatures in the Labyrinth. When Sarah was greeted again by her stepmother, she numbly handed her the stacks of information save for the picture in her hands. Evidence that her child was alive. Evidence that LT was actually there.

Karen stood next to Sarah, looking down at the sonogram and altering the angle Sarah had it only slightly for the glare on its surface. She pulled Sarah into a hug, resting one hand over her mouth though Sarah could see her deep grin by the crinkles and crows feet that only deepened at the corners of her eyes when she was smiling hard enough not to know what to say.

"Everything's okay," Sarah announced quietly. "My doctor thinks I'm an idiot, but LT's okay."

Karen gave her another gentle squeeze. "Your father went to pick Toby up, since we forgot about him for an hour. He won't be happy, but he will understand later."

"He's a smart kid," Sarah agreed, eyes still focused on the image in front of her. With one hand, Sarah wrapped her fingers around the necklace Jareth had given her, eyes filling with tears for the umpteenth time. Not having him here to share that feeling of the first sonogram, something Alain couldn't even do, was harder than she could have imagined. If only there was a way to send even this to him, probably with a short explanation scribbled on back with pen, then he wouldn't worry about either of them. Something just to show him they were alive so he could work on a solution without driving himself insane.

Sarah took the tissue Karen offered. "You wish he had been here," she said, not really asking.

Sarah nodded mutely. She put both hands over her necklace, gently crinkling the sonogram.

Karen hugged her once more, rubbing her arms soothingly. "Your father left us money for a cab. Let's get you home to rest."

"For a little while," Sarah agreed. "I really should go to the police station as soon as possible. My OB recognized me, though I'm wondering why the emergency department didn't clue in."

"Well, I'm fairly certain there are a few 'Sarah Williams' in this county alone."

"None of them are queens, I bet," Sarah pointed out absurdly. Her brain and body felt entirely fried. "Ask for a non-crazy cab driver, please. Or offer the driver a bonus if I feel secure enough to fall asleep on the way home."

Karen snorted. "I've got a feeling it wouldn't be a problem at any rate."

Sarah yawned. "Perhaps."

Sarah was asleep before the cab arrived. She woke up long enough to move from bench to vehicle then vehicle to couch. Just before she fell asleep in earnest, an object on the coffee table caught her eye. She wrapped her fingers around the communication crystal and brought it closer to her face for inspection. The crystal sphere was still an opaque mass, black and empty, empty, empty.

Power Struggle

A Labyrinth Story
by bobmcbobbob1

Part 42 of 50

<< Previous     Home     Next >>