Continuing Tales

Power Struggle

A Labyrinth Story
by bobmcbobbob1

Part 47 of 50

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Power Struggle

Sarah scribbled a few more notes in her journal:


It's been about three months now since Ack stopped by for a visit. I keep checking the beds, making sure that Toby hasn't stuffed anything under his, just in case. Three ridiculous months.

What. The. Hell.

I think the world hates me or you or us because this is BEYOND ridiculous. Today, it just pisses me off. I cleaned the house today just to get rid of that energy. Didn't work. I'm going to call Jen. I need to rant. And she'll make me relax and go to the mall and we'll argue about Star Wars or one of the books she's been recommending to me.


Okay, I'm feeling better now, even if this whole thing is unfair, uncool and everything in between. To hell with whatever's against us: we're stubborn enough to get through this.

I was running the figures in my head and I'm now in the 30th month. Wow. Understandably, it's getting a little harder to move around. The thing is, I don't know if it's fitting my assumed timeline anymore. The Doc has been keeping track of size with each check-up and agrees with me. (Take a look at the picture and see for yourself.) Neither of us really knows what this actually means, however. Maybe the Fae timeline is supposed to speed up at this point for all I know. It just makes me wish that you'd get here sooner. Yes, even faster than 'why aren't you here this instant, dammit?' I fully intend to go back and give the veil a piece of my mind, let me tell you. …And I know that didn't make much sense, but I think it'll make me feel loads better.

I'll still be hoping that you pop up underneath the bed at some point, weird as it sounds. Or at least Ack to take the next journal; it's something at least. Oh, rest assured that if I find out he kept them for any reason at all, I will hang him by the ears and tongue over the Bog of Eternal Stench before feeding him said substance, let him recover in the Marsh of Invisible Hands then on to the Canyon of the Goblin Orchestra. After which, it'll be your turn to invent something. Apparently, I'm still feeling pretty violent. I'm going to stick in a Disney movie.

Missing you. Still love you.


Sarah closed the journal and wandered downstairs. Her notes had been running a similar trend recently, announcing her sheer frustration with the world as it currently was. Still, she was determined to have as few down days as possible, just to spite it all. The satisfaction was fleeting, but it helped her though those moments.

Jareth gazed at the section of Labyrinth wall with an unreadable expression as evening steadily fell. It was the portrait he had made with Sarah where they stood in—he chuckled to himself—their formal child stealing clothes. The whole Labyrinth had an odd weight to its structure and a grey cast, Jareth noted. It was probably as close as the entity could come to moping.

He ran his hand along Sarah's tiled face. Nearly four months gone since he had heard from her, since Ack had brought her message, fifteen months that she had been gone. Ack had been unsuccessful in returning, partly (in Jareth's opinion) because he lacked personal motivation, and after one night where he singed his fur in his attempt, Jareth and Marek regretfully agreed that it wasn't safe to continue. Movement caught Jareth's eye and he turned to see the mosaic girl, setting a hand on the image of the Goblin King. She patted the figure on the head before looking directly at Jareth.

"Am I so obvious?"

The girl shrugged with a small smile. She moved to wrap her arms around the figure of Sarah.

"You miss her, too?"

The girl nodded, placing her arms around both of the figures now, pretending to wipe just under their eyes. She gestured to Sarah and pointed violently to the ground.

"I'm working on it," he assured her. "Between you and I, we might be getting closer."

The mosaic girl grinned.

He felt himself return her smile. "Little signs here and there. From what Marek has found, the veil is mostly going to fix itself all at once, but we've made some kind of an impact in giving it some of the necessary momentum."

The mosaic girl wore a confused expression and gestured for him to continue.

"What are the signs?" Jareth asked, clarifying her question.

She nodded.

"More spells seem to be working as they were intended to. I transported myself here without any difficulty. The color in the sky has changed again to something a little less sickly, not much but some. All the spirits in tune with the land agree that the soil is beginning to respond again. The consensus is that everyone is sleeping a little better. Would you like to hear the best indicator in my opinion?"

She nodded again with a small grin.

"I heard her. She said my name and I could hear her. I've heard whispers before, but this was definitely her. I could even pick up a few other words she was saying."

The mosaic girl clasped her hands together.

"Yes, it is good news. It lacks the completeness of her journals, but hearing her voice for myself after so long was indescribable."

The mosaic girl cocked her head to the side and held her palms open and together.

"The journals? Ack managed to make it up there and she gave them to him. Apparently, Sarah's been keeping a record of her adventures and her thoughts. By now, I have them nearly memorized."

She nodded her understanding and patted the shoulder of the Goblin King figure to convey her sympathy.

"I could use your help," Jareth said after a moment of mutual quiet.

She wordlessly bade him to continue.

"I'm looking for more ways to help heal the veil, and I need to ask the Spirit of the Moon. Do you know where he will appear tonight?"

Excitedly, the mosaic girl nodded and took off along the wall, leading Jareth through the turns of his Labyrinth. He ran to keep up with her. She halted abruptly and pointed into a nook, rays of light casting shadows around them. Jareth produced a crystal and pressed it to the girl's flat hand.

"Thank you."

He watched as the "You're welcome, your majesty" appeared next to her head as she mouthed the words, staring at them in wonder before grinning at him. With another curtsy, she dashed off, tossing her newfound words along the stone behind her.

Jareth squinted as he walked toward the light. The figure there glowed from his skin, surveying his surroundings with a discerning eye yet was oblivious of his companion until Jareth sat down on the bench next to him. He looked just the same as Jareth had last seen him, when he had performed the marriage ceremony.

"It's been a long while," Jareth began. "I need your advice."

The man turned to Jareth, startling blue eyes scanning his face.

"King of the Goblins, you ask favors, yet you seldom come to just talk. Why?"

Jareth blinked then looked away. "I would rather not say."

The Spirit frowned but did not press the issue. "What would you ask?"

"How else can we help the veil heal?"

"It's best you let these things take their course," the Spirit recommended, patting Jarth's leg gently. "It will finish in time."

"My wife is trapped on the other side."

He appeared to mull over that detail. "That does make things unpleasant, but it is still best to wait. She is from the Aboveground, yes? The Queen of the Goblins will manage."

Jareth sighed deeply. "For the sake of the unborn heir of the Goblin Kingdom, would you give me any further advice?"

Taken aback, the Spirit looked at Jareth with white brows drawn in confusion. "How did you allow this to happen?"

"A little bit at a time."

With a long glance at Jareth then at the skies around him for what signs he read there, he turned back to Jareth. "I suppose there are a few paths I could recommend to you."

-Dear One

I found something in the bottom of my pack (that you sent with me on the way to veil) that I hadn't noticed before. Maybe that had something to do with the fact that it was between a couple layers of cloth and I was trying to take whatever the bottom of the bag was out so I could wash it. I think it was a dragon scale. It shimmers and looks like a giant thumbnail. It's sitting next to my bedside now, though I think it's going to go under my pillow. It's nice just to have a connection to something from home.

I was wondering if it was actually one of the scales that lined the walk where we were married. I don't remember much about the ceremony, but I think I walked on some of these. It sounds like an extra touch of personal of protection and it made me feel warm inside. Even if it's not what it's from, I'm to a point where I'm going to believe it anyway.

God, I miss you.

There's little question about it now. I've had another appointment with the Doc today, and LT has officially grown more in the last month than the previous two. By the numbers, it's been about five months since Ack stopped by, and I'm about thirty-two months along. Less than a year left at any rate. Thank God.

You'll find a way. Or I'll find a way. Or maybe, on a stretch, Marek will and Ack will probably have known all along (if he's smart, he won't tell you he knew). I'd say the clock is ticking, but you don't need any additional pressure. Barring any massive personality shift, I'm pretty certain that you're already on your way.

I thought I could feel you in the back of my mind the yesterday. It was faint and by the time I realized what was going on it had stopped. We have to be getting closer, right? Either that or someone else has been infiltrating my thoughts and we need to bust them down.

I was talking to Amber the other day about her husband. He's been sent overseas, details of his mission pending and otherwise secret, some kind of technical engineer. It's nice to have someone who can kind of understand the whole being away thing. I asked her what it was like delivering Tyler without her husband with her (Tyler's getting on four months, and he's adorable). She didn't have much to say there, and I didn't blame her. This is not something I would like to empathize with, all the same. I'm still praying and waiting for the day I'll see you again.

Yesterday morning was interesting, coming back from Amber's house. I opted to drive since it was only a few blocks and accidently cut this guy off, because I was thinking about that last little bit there and a little distracted, I guess. The guy followed me until I was stopped in a turn lane and got out of his car. He started to yell something, but since I already had tear stains running down my cheeks and had a hard time reaching the wheel for LT, he stopped instantly and kept apologizing, wanting to know if he could call someone for me or if he could drop me somewhere. It turned out he was a pretty nice guy just having a bad day, but since it looked mine was trending worse, he was incredibly sweet. I think I just have a tendency to attract the bizarre. Extremes, actually.

I don't like to do things halfway. We don't like to do things halfway. So what if it leads to some unnecessary arguments. It also means we don't ignore the important ones. I thought at the beginning that this'd be an everlasting power struggle between us, but because we respect each other, we're all the stronger because of it.

Oh, Toby wants me to remind you that he thinks you owe him a birthday present, you being his brother-in-law and all. Strange to believe that at one time you could have easily seen him turned into a goblin or insta-adult or whatever. I mean, if things had worked out differently, thinking of explaining that one to my parents; you would have gotten more than a frying pan, Buster.

With all our love,

-Precious One (and P2)

Sarah looked down at her entry, rereading and scratching out a spelling mistake or two. She felt like she had something to write today at least.

The days merely continued as they were, simply to spite her, and into more entries.

-Jare-Bear (Again, just to annoy you, love.)

Ugh. I'm officially tired of carrying your kid around, by the way. My ankles, my back, UGH.

Oh, and I got a call from Mr. Arnolds. It was a few months back when I saw him, the guy who claimed that my death would heal the veil. Yeah, psycho guy. My first thought was that he called me so he knows where I live: hang up and hide!

But he was nice, by contrast anyway, apologizing politely. He reports that the veil is healing. It was great to have that confirmed. I thanked him for the information and hung up as quickly as I could all the same. Even with the phone line between us, I didn't want to risk him turning, ahem, assertive.


Going to sit in a bathtub until Karen comes home to help pry me out. Take a look at the latest picture. Officially the size of a blimp. It's like LT is forgetting the whole fetal position thing and reclining instead.

With love,

-Wuvykins (which makes me twitch so we're even)

So close. So damn close, Jareth could tell. More and more spells were working as they ought. The Underground was setting itself back together, waiting for that final and full push from the veil, when the world would be able to grow again. The goblins moved about with a new optimism, sticking flowers (mostly dried and dead) in their hair, freshly muddied from a new puddle that the entire cluster needed to test out.

Jareth encouraged it. The land was reciprocating to the care given to it and the delight was mutual. The veil seemed to approve, if it could be called that. When, after reviewing what information and strategies he had, Jareth had almost refrained from the "think happy thoughts" tactic, though it at least passed the time better from the goblins standpoint, particularly when it was pointed out that this would be helping their King and kingdom. That had been a risky maneuver, sitting the goblins down to explain in a way that wouldn't create a wave of panic. It seemed, however, that he was the only one willing to trust them. Even Marek had thought it was a bad idea, swinging around once Jareth reminded him that it had been quite a long time since anyone had tried it so who could know for sure? That, and he didn't have much of a choice. Given the opportunity, they took to it, particularly as it would make the king happy, and the king had been sad recently.

As part of the new policy, one afternoon Jareth had them root out all of the informers (which lead to a lot of pointing of fingers, averaging that if a goblin or creature earned roughly eighteen points or so, he was a spy or highly unfortunate) from the other kingdoms because Sarah had been right: it was wortheless to keep them around. Understandably, a few of his spies, though certainly not all, returned home a few days later. Political intrigue in the Underground was going to change. It was about time.

It was one of the many things he would tell her once she was home. Soon. Then this ridiculous isolation would be done with and he would never let her out of reach again. Sarah would only protest half-heartedly, Jareth was fairly certain (given the tone of her entries), but she would be annoyed with its continuation after a month or so. He meant it. Seventeen months, rounding up, she had been gone now. They had officially spent more time apart in their marriage than together. Unacceptable.

There it was, back through an invisible distance. Jareth closed his eyes and focused on her voice: "…ish that Jareth would ta…" She'd been trying to wish herself home again, clever woman. Her voice filtered through some sort of haze. It was like tuning a radio to where she was to a station not quite clear. But she was out there somewhere. A little more pressing, a few new options, anything to encourage the veil to right itself. Soon.

Jareth opened his eyes at the knock on the door, picking up his posture to stand erect and haughty. "Enter."

Jan nearly stormed in, Elizabeth lagging behind her daintily carrying a try. She surveyed the room—a catastrophe of books, papers, and all else—and whipped toward Jareth. "You need your rest, your majesty."

Jareth sighed. Jan and Elizabeth had stayed at the castle for the last three months, their most recent endeavor as part of the rebuilding and bettering effort was to mother him excessively.

"If you say you don't have time, Jareth, I will sit on you until reinforcements arrive. Victoria—yes, the Queen of the Dragons—said she would help if necessary."

"We're close to bringing her home, Jan."

"If Sarah comes home to find you half dead, she will not be happy about it," Elizabeth pointed out, crossing her arms.

Jareth knew she was right. It was essentially the same argument that won each time, worded differently. Sarah would want him to take care of himself, too. She understood that he needed to recharge his magic. She would know that he would only come when it was safe and they could all come home.

But he didn't want to give them the satisfaction. Frowning, Jareth picked up another sheet of paper.

Jan sighed, aware that he was going to be especially obstinate today. "Please, just eat, Jareth. It's miracle broth. You need your strength. There are dark splotches around your eyes. No one would think to accuse you of giving up on her."

He gave a small grimace. "I will take the broth. We are too close to stop now."

Jan sat heavily in a chair, her skirt billowing softly down. She reached over and grasped Marek's pinky, raising his arm a few inches off of the massive book he had been using as a pillow and a bed. She eyed Jareth and dropped Marek's hand. As his palm thumped against the book, Marek's head snapped up. He blinked blearily.

"Elizabeth, please escort Marek to his room," Jan asked detachedly.

"Mmkay," Marek slurred as Elizabeth took his arm with a sympathetic smile. The door closed behind them.

It had gradually built to this level, where Jan switched directly into a particular tone and authority that denied rank. Jareth sat down at his desk, propping up his feet and meeting her stare.

"Not leaving until I eat? Again?" he asked eventually.

"Yes," Jan declared, though a weariness entered her voice. "I don't understand why you insist on making this such a battle, Jareth. Is it because you miss squabbling with Sarah or because you hate to take orders? I'm not sure whether you know."

"Does it matter? You wanted this to happen," Jareth accused.

"Wanted what to happen?" Jan asked, shocked.

"You wanted us to be attached, told both of us to give it a chance because it might work out wondrously. Here it is." He closed his eyes as his words registered in his own thoughts. "I can live without her, and she can live without me. Sarah's strong. But I have no desire to attempt such a thing."

"Please, rest this afternoon, Jareth," Jan whispered, now beside him. "It is possible to die of exhaustion, and that will accomplish nothing. Let your child meet a clear-minded father instead of an undead monstrosity. First impressions are important."

Jareth gave a small chuckle.

"If I must play your game," Jan continued, "I will offer you this situation. Should Elizabeth and I see that you are sufficiently taking care of yourself—meaning that you are eating and sleeping reasonably—then we will be able to redirect some of our energies to other tasks. The Queen of the Goblins deserves a proper welcome home. And the child—what was that temporary name?"

"LT," Jareth supplied, the barest hint of a smirk tugging.

"Yes, LT deserves all the aplomb we can work together. There hasn't been a royal birth in quite some time, and we must certainly make it memorable."

Jareth settled a hand on hers in silent gratitude. Jan knew Sarah was coming home, too, and would thereby encourage others to think similarly. Jareth was certain Sarah would just be glad to be home, though she would be truly touched to see all her friends and subjects celebrating her return.

"Of course, that would be after the three of us have a long discussion on preventative measures and my extreme displeasure that Sarah was closely involved in the war while carrying this child." Jan shook her head. Jareth knew she wasn't about to let that one go any time soon.

She set her hands on his shoulders. "It's up to you where I direct my efforts, your majesty."

"And we're back to formalities?" Jareth noted with amusement.

"You among all should know that one must be willing to use all tactics available to achieve a worthwhile goal," she replied loftily. "You know Sarah will side with me later."

"I do not doubt it."

"All the more reason she will appreciate you coming to your senses now. She's been good for you." She kissed his forehead and set the bowl in front of him. "Take those slower moments to plan what your family will do when it's together again."

Jan left the room, closing the doors quietly behind her.

Jareth groped for the spoon. His family, what a wondrous thought. Taking a spoonful, he allowed his mind to wander.

She could feel him in the back of her mind again, whispers of reassurances Sarah could barely make out. Her thoughts were drawn away as LT kicked again.

"Honestly, LT, I'm thrilled you've figured it out, but please stop."

"What's that, Sarah?" Jen called from the kitchen.

"Just talking to my unborn child."

"Sarah, if LT doesn't listen to you now, what hope do you have later?"

"Gee, thanks Jen."

"I still think it's weird. I mean, my best friend is going to have a kid."

"Once you see the whole traumatic mess, I'm sure you'll want to follow with one of your own in no time. Nine months is totally do-able, Jen. Count yourself lucky."

"That's the other thing. My best friend is having a baby that is essentially another species."

Sarah thought for a moment. "Okay, I don't actually have an answer for that one."

Jen chuckled. "I think I might be more concerned if you did have an answer for it. I bet you and my cousin could come up with something. But anyway, I know what it means when you space out like that now. What about Jareth? Is he going to make it?"

Sarah sighed. "It's cutting it all pretty close." Really close, truth be told. Even the communication crystal had officially changed to a reddish brown, but still did not function. The days passed more and more slowly as Sarah waited. Jen, Amber, her family, even Derek had paid her special attention recently, distracting her as much as they could. It helped, but the nights were still Sarah's to dwell.

"Tell me about your date with Johnny," Sarah prompted, recovering her grin.

Jen gave a small smile. "We just sat and talked for hours. The serving staff kept checking in on us, but we were content to have eaten and to enjoy each other's company."

"And to think if I hadn't disappeared, you never would have met him," Sarah jibed.

"Just because that's how we met doesn't mean we never would have met," Jen defended.

Sarah just laughed. Johnny had gone to Sarah's high school and helped out with Jen's search campaign. He had enough sense to realize that searching for a lost mutual friend was probably not the best time to ask someone out. He had recently reestablished contact with both women.

"He was always a really nice guy. You have my blessing," Sarah announced with extra pomp.

"Jeeze, let a girl become queen and suddenly she thinks she's above everyone else," Jen teased.

"Well, you're in my house and when you visit the Underground you'll be in my kingdom…"

Sarah's breath hitched as the pain hit her.

"That doesn't look good," Jen said worriedly.

"I don't think it is," Sarah managed out, squeezing her eyes shut. "Your cousin doesn't think thirty-four months looked much different from nine months. And this is actually the second I've felt today."

Jen paled and Sarah slumped back into the couch as the pain subsided.

"Indigestion?" she squeaked hopefully.

"Don't think so," Sarah grunted. "Call Doc, call my folks, and let's get moving."

"Are you sure it's a contraction? Your water didn't break…"

"Jen! That doesn't always happen. Besides, look." Sarah pointed to the other side of the room. A book, a chair, the phone, and several assorted objects hovered in the air. "I think LT's up to something big, here."

Jen fell back into the couch for a split second before Sarah barked her name again. Then, Jen bolted from the couch, tentatively snatching the phone from the air.

"Right, Sarah, get in the car," she ordered, slipping into battle mode.

Snatching the bag near the door (packed for just such an occasion), Sarah paused only to grab the communication crystal as she waddled to Jen's car. Once seated, she grasped her necklace and held the crystal in front of her.

"Jareth," she enunciated through clenched teeth, "Get your arse over here."

Power Struggle

A Labyrinth Story
by bobmcbobbob1

Part 47 of 50

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