Continuing Tales

Power Struggle

A Labyrinth Story
by bobmcbobbob1

Part 8 of 50

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Power Struggle

With such matters decided, Sarah had spent the rest of the afternoon with Toby, the Frosties, the Fireys and whatever other Labyrinth creature didn't feel much like working…essentially all but those under direct supervision from Jareth. Since her wedding was obviously being planned on its own, Sarah allowed herself to have some fun despite her situation—especially after a disastrous attempt to help found herself escorted out of the room with bits of confetti stuck in her hair and one of the smarter goblins commenting loudly about how much they now had to catch up on. She hadn't always kept to that philosophy but when her mother had died a couple of years after her Labyrinth experience; it was something she'd allowed Karen to teach her.

The rest of her day Sarah tossed around ideas of what she was going to tell Karen and her father, Jen, and all else. The truth would be so much easier (in a complicated sort of way) but Sarah had no idea how Jareth would react to that, let alone whoever she told. Certainly they wouldn't let her leave, establishing a strict guard (not that it'd do much good) or lock her up (which would do even less good). Perhaps, she reasoned, she could borrow just enough of Jareth's magic to have him come charging in and explain the situation for himself. Smirking to herself at the image of Jareth facing her parents, Sarah sat down and wrote a hasty to-do list.

On the off chance that she managed to leave the Underground, she needed to give her boss some explanation. Though she had to admit to herself that the real reason she wanted to stop by work was to firmly tell Derek to shove it and to say goodbye to Jen. Sarah set down her pen, throwing a quiet grateful thought that Jareth didn't stock her with some ostentatious feather pens, which seemed as though they'd be his style, and instead a couple of fountain pens even if they weren't ball-point. She was caught in the realization that she still honestly had no idea of what to tell her family, Jen, or anyone else…though she was strongly considering telling Derek, the imagination-deprived-wonder, everything just to laugh at his reaction.

There was a soft knock on the door and Sarah turned around.

"Come on in, Marek."

"How did you know it was me?" he asked with a perplexed look, shutting the solid door gently behind him.

Sarah counted off on her fingers, "Toby doesn't usually knock and when he does he bursts in anyway. Jareth doesn't even bother with doors. Hoggle's off on something errand for Jareth. Sir Didymus is still off on some errand for that matter. Ludo would have broken down the door. I don't think I have any visitors left in the castle. The goblins, maids or otherwise, knock as loud as they possibly can. Believe me, I've seen a couple broken fingers." Sarah grinned. "I was reasonably sure it was you."

"Ah hah, but now I know just how to confuse you."

Sarah sighed and rolled her eyes. "Great, more confusion. I certainly don't have enough of that."

"Oh?" Marek twitched a questioning eyebrow.

Sarah resisted the urge to roll her eyes again. "Do you know how much I'm actually allowed to say about all this?"

"Hmm." Marek's face contorted slightly in thought. "I don't know you well enough to say something sarcastic to that question. It requires a more serious answer. In the end, I think it's more up to your discretion."

"Best to keep your answer vague, huh?"

"To avoid conflict? I think so," Marek agreed with a rueful grin.

"That's probably not what Toby's been told, right?"

"What discretion would Toby have?"

"Not the right sort, unfortunately."

There was a thunderous knock on the door and Sarah bit off her laugh for a shout of "Come in!"

The goblin, with an already swelling hand, fumbled into the room. "His Majesty wants Her Majesty to be ready so that His Majesty can take Her Majesty and the Prince, er, Majesty to Her Majesty's destination so that His Majesty can say to Her Majesty that His Majesty held up His Majesty's side of His and Her Majesty's bargain." His green little face had turned slightly blue and he was breathing heavily, though he still looked quite pleased with himself.

"Thank you. I'll be ready soon. Why don't you find something to drink, Tiglaf?" Sarah mentioned with real concern and an honest hint of amusement.

The goblin Tiglaf grinned. "Thanky much, I's be doing just that." He scampered out on his irregular limbs, an overly large arm pushing off of the ground to gain some extra speed.

"You know he's heading right for the tankard, right?" Marek asked while shaking his head.

"I guessed as much. Owena will keep an eye on him though. He's her nephew. Now, do you have an idea how to work this thing?" Sarah gestured toward the closet.

"What's wrong with it?"

"How do I make it work? I just want a pair of jeans and a long sleeve shirt."

"Have you tried opening the door?"

Sure enough, Sarah pulled the closet door open to reveal a pair of jeans and grey shirt while Marek chuckled.

"I take it you never told the closet what you wanted?"

Sarah sighed. "I suppose not. I was getting tired of dresses, pretty as they've been, but I guess I was trying to will it too hard. Would you mind leaving so that I can change? Tell Jareth I'll be ready in a few minutes."

"As you wish." Marek gave a bow and closed the door behind him. Sarah shook her head, not sure when she'd get used to that sort of response.

Jareth was apparently so busy that he couldn't even spend a moment to give many instructions, much to Sarah's delight and simultaneous worry.

"You will arrive late the evening you left so it's best the two of you confirm your story of where you've been all day. I will come to pick you up tomorrow afternoon, Sarah." Then he returned his attention to muttering over some list or another.

He'd given her one crystal to store all her material possessions to be moved to the Underground that she nestled gently in her bag. Toby was officially pouting, but stood next to his sister obediently. Sarah was about to screw up the gall to ask him how much of the Underground she could expose but he'd already vanished them to their respective places.

Sarah was relieved to find herself in her own apartment but instantly depressed all the same to think it was probably one of the last times she'd be there. She picked up the phone and dialed.

"Hey, Sarah," Toby's voice greeted her.

"Hey, Toby. Caller ID again?"


"I was just checking to make sure you made it back to the right place."

"Jeeze, Sarah. I'm fine. Your car's still here. How am I supposed to explain all this?"

Sarah sighed, assured that she hadn't really thought this mess through quite as thoroughly as she'd hoped. Coming to her apartment first and saying goodbye to Jen seemed the most logical, as she really wanted to end her time in the Aboveground with her family but there were more complications. "I'm not sure yet, Toby. But for now, tell the folks that I'll be back tomorrow. Just tell them that I had to take care of something back at work. Real emergency. As for where we've been…"

"I'll say that you've been showing me around a few places and that we had an awesome time," he added dryly. "I still wanna see what they'd say if I told them everything."

"Is anyone else there with you?"

"Nope, looks like the house is empty."

"Alright, call Mrs. Anderson and she'll be happy to stay with you until they get back."

"Sarah, I'm not a baby. I can totally—"

Toby's reassurances were cut off by Karen and Bob arguing through the front door. Sarah listened to their muted voices grow louder as they came closer.

"Toby! We were just about to call the police. Where have you been? We've been looking everywhere for you," Karen's voice half-shouted in a frantic voice.

"I'm fine, Mom," came Toby's voice, someone muffled by what Sarah assumed was a bone-crushing hug.

"Where's your sister?"

"She's on the phone, Dad."

Sarah could still hear Karen frantically checking over Toby in the background (despite his affirmations that he was indeed unharmed) and chuckled to herself as her father came on the line.


"Yeah, Dad?"

"Thank God you're alright. Where are you?"

"I'm back at my apartment. There was an emergency that came up. Sorry my cell died. I left Toby with the strict instructions that he go to a friend's house or the Andersons until you got back but I guess he didn't leave a note?" It was all relatively true, especially since her cell phone didn't get a great signal in the Underground (nor appreciated the whole reordering of time mess), but Sarah still chafed. "I'll be back tomorrow as soon as I can."

"Well as long as everything's alright…"

"I can explain a little more tomorrow, Dad. I'll see you then."

"Love you, Sarah. See you then."

"Love you, too, Dad."

Sarah hung up the phone and glanced at her apartment. She'd taken about a year to scrape and square everything away just so and now she had to dismantle it all. The phone, no one to call in the Underground. A beautiful floor lamp, not much use in the Underground without electricity. Much of what she needed was already supplied to her. Sighing, she tossed her books, a couple of sketchbooks, and all her clothes at the crystal which absorbed everything it touched (save Sarah's skin and the floor) with an odd ripple. There was still a lot of furniture. Sarah yanked a pad of paper from next to the phone into her lap and started writing instructions. Her landlady could keep the rent for the rest of the month if she could take Sarah's things to the Salvation Army or Goodwill or wherever she knew folk who could use it. Her parent's had co-signed for the car a few years ago and could probably take care of that issue. Her savings, she could transfer that to Toby's college fund so he wouldn't waste it on something ridiculous.

Sarah sighed. It was funny, she noted, what really seemed important when you were about to be essentially rubbed out. She wouldn't have died because there'd be no closure, but she'd just be gone while those who knew her were left to wonder. Sarah rested her head on her hands. It was going to be a long night.

Power Struggle

A Labyrinth Story
by bobmcbobbob1

Part 8 of 50

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