Tick, tock, tick tock
The sound draws you from your slumber.
You open your eyes to find yourself standing in the Outskirts overlooking the labyrinth where your adventure had begun.
It looked to be early morning, the sky streaked in purples and pinks, in the anticipation for the sun to rise fully. It was eerily beautiful.
The wind was blowing right through you .
You shiver, holding your arms until you feel a rush of warmth melt over you. You look down at yourself, seeing you’re now wrapped in the blue cloak.
You turn to the loud ticking, overriding your thoughts.
Tick, tock, tick, tock
Jareth was leaning against a tree, one hand behind his back, the black antique clock he used to time your run was above his head. The thin hands on the clock face read 6:30. He was gazing over the Labyrinth .
“Good morning?” you raise an eyebrow, pulling the cloak further around you.
He inclined his head in acknowledgement in your direction with a quiet smile, still overlooking the labyrinth with distant eyes.
You yawn into the cloak.
“You could have just woken me up you know, no need for the theatrics” you mumble, finding yourself also starring sleepily over the labyrinth.
“Why am I here anyway?” you sit on a stone rock just in front of the tree.
He didn’t reply straight away.
“Sometimes I come here when I need to think,”
Jareth took his eyes away from the view to rest on you softly.
“I didn’t mean to summon you, I’m sorry, you can go back to bed if you wish” he raised his hand gently for a crystal.
“No, no, it’s ok, I’m here now i might as well stay, if you want me to?”
He smirked at your uncertainty, tilting his head back against the tree again, to lift his eyes to the Labyrinth “yes, I want you to”.
You sit in silence, not that you mind, in your sleepy state.
It was nice, peaceful.
There were birds calling in nearby trees, flowers blooming under the arriving sun, the labyrinth’s outer walls sparkled.
You don’t remember the Outskirts like this the last time you were here, but of course your mind was on other things at the time, like how on earth you were going to make it through the Labyrinth and getting home.
Now, it looked all the magical being it was, your heavy eyes stay resting on the view, just taking the time to drink it all in. Little by little. you unpick the small details you hadn’t noticed before against the orange streaked sky.
You give an involuntary content sigh as you curled your knees against your chest.
“Did you sleep well?” he asks softly
You shrug then shake your head.
“Not really, but I think I’ve had more than enough sleep already, I’ll be okay for now”
“You had a lot on your mind I imagine”
You lock your fingers over your knee cap “things have...been a lot to take in, yeah”
In truth, you were wide awake for most of the night, only dropping off occasionally to snap awake again.
The bed felt too strange for you to relax in, to the point where you found yourself missing your old knackered single in your bedroom. Whenever you shifted, you expected to hear the creaks and groans under the floorboards but faced silence.
Apart from that, your mind couldn’t switch off.
Every time your eyes closed you found yourself staring back at the high, crumbly walls of the Labyrinth..
How could anyone ever sleep in a place like the Underground?
There was so much you didn’t know or hadn’t seen, or wanted to see again, just to check this was indeed all happening, not just a fever dream. Even after everything you’d experienced , part of you still couldn’t believe it was quite real.
“What about you?” you swivel to face him.
“Similar to you, but most likely for different reasons” the Goblin King tugged the corner of his mouth up.
You gave a nod, not that you really understood
There was a pause. You didn’t really know what to say.
“And you’re alright?” he looks down his nose, awaiting your answer.
You gave another shrug. Alright . Were you alright?
“I’ve done my crying” you say definitely, but that’s all.
Not the answer he was looking for apparently.
You bite your lip looking at the dirt, rolling a stone under your shoe “so, what were you thinking about?”
“You said you come here to think, what does a Goblin King come all the way out here to think about this early in the morning”
“This and that” he pushed himself off the tree, sucking his teeth, “how about breakfast, since we’re already here, are you hungry?”
You felt your stomach gurgle, suddenly reminding you you hadn’t eaten since the night you ate the soup.
You gave a sheepish smile “I could eat”.
Jareth chuckled between stretching his arms out in front of him, allowing you to briefly see the pale skin and lean muscle under his leather layers.
He tugs you to your feet, indicating to follow behind him as he began to walk.
“Wait, where are we going?”
“Just looking for flat ground” he mumbled, scanning over the dusty earth.
He stopped short suddenly, making you bump into him, “ oof ”.
“Here should do it”.
Three blue and pink tinged bubbles expanded from his fingertips.
Jareth popped two of them, blowing the third in your direction to allow you to pop it curiously. It made a nice change to be outside the bubble for change.
You watch it burst into a chair to accompany another identical chair and a round table for two.
“Wait you meant we’re going to eat, here , here?”
“It’s a fine morning, I don’t see why not” Jareth shook out a checkered tablecloth gracefully sweeping it over the table and placed down two sets of cutlery glinting in the sun and a plate each.
You couldn’t argue you supposed, it was a good view after all.
The wind had since died down to only a soft breeze and the morning chill was wearing off, though you still kept the cloak over you, mostly because you forgot to ask for pyjamas last night, well aware you were still dressed in your days old clothing.
He pulls out one of the chairs, standing behind it, gesturing for you to sit.
“Ms. Hazel,“ the Goblin King bobbed his head, blonde strands of hair lightly shifting forward.
You roll your eyes, taking your seat while he tucked in your chair.
“Now then, what would Ms. Hazel like for breakfast?”
He took his own seat so you were facing each other with the labyrinth on your left.
“oh, um... cereal?”
Jareth began to laugh “of all the things in the world, Sloane Hazel would like her cereal”
your cheeks warmed “well...whatever” you mumbled.
What did you eat for breakfast in the underground? In fact, what did you eat at all, nevermind breakfast? You sorely hoped it wouldn’t be leaves and berries like in the fairy-tales.
“I tease, of course you can have whatever you wish”
“Well, what are you having?”
“Me? Well now, how abouuuut,”
He rested his chin on his gloved hand, elbow propped up on the table. His fingertips tapped against his cheek as he mulled over the idea like it was an important decision until he broke into a smirk.
“Hmmm, I know -“
A cloud of inky purple smoke and glitter flashed over the table.
Assorted china plates and silver dishes clunked onto it in unison, covering practically the every inch, all shapes and sizes- holding the most wonderful eye catching things. You could pick out the smell of eggs and bacon before anything else. Your mouth watered.
“-a bit of everything”
Not like the stories at all.
He had gloat on him, not under-passing an opportunity to show off his abilities. You let him, consumed with the food.
“How-” you go to ask but catch the words in your mouth. Nothing’s impossible.
Jareth stood to pluck a fluffy piece of toast from a silver tray “well, go on then, help yourself”
Your fingers hovered over the dishes, unsure where to start, and this was only breakfast!
You pluck a ration of bacon, scoop some scrambled egg and a piece of toast, pouring yourself tea into teacup- though you wish it was coffee instead.
Jareth began to cut into a tomato, flicking his eyes at your little plate momentarily.
“There’s no need for modesty here, Sloane, I mean it, have anything you want, I can’t imagine how hungry you must be by now, you’ll need the strength”
When you eye his plate you see he’s helped himself generously, a full English and a half even.
You shrugged, embarrassed.
"I can hear how hungry you are. The least I can do is feed you” Jareth pretended to find his food interesting, looking at his fork, “you’ve fed me enough times...”
You were hungry, more than you had been at the lake.
you don’t care if it’s poisoned or drugged or whatever. you help yourself to another ration, a buttered croissant.
You bite into a particularly appetising piece of toast with a fried egg on top that had the brightest yellow oke you’d ever seen.
“ oh my god ”
You begin to chew slowly, until you finish.
ugh so good , definitely a step up from CocoPops
You quickly dab your chin with the back of your hands at the grease sliding down, hoping he didn’t notice.
“I feel disgusting” you said with a happy sigh, sitting back.
The Goblin King laughed beside you “welcome to the Underground” you clinked teacups.
Jareth sliced into a delicately powdered pancake, how the hell he had room for that you didn’t know.
“Would you like some?” he waved a piece on his fork at you.
Your stomach heaves “no, stop, I’m going to burst” you giggle “you’re spoiling me”
“What’s wrong with being spoiled? “ Jareth says lightly, spreading jam over a hot-cross bun, “when was the last time somebody made you breakfast?” he bit into it, tilting his head.
The question catches you off guard.
You had to seriously think about it.
By the time you woke in the mornings Brian and Kari were already at work. You only had enough time before school for cereal, weekends were pretty much the same story, you had to rush off between rehearsals and studying or you just lazed in and missed breakfast altogether, you don’t even recall breakfast made for you at Christmas or your birthday, most likely because neither Kari or Brian were particularly good cooks anyway.
“Well…okay fair point” you reach for the teacup, having your third cup.
You didn’t want to spoil the moment or the effort that he was at least trying to make, but your inner voice can’t help but nag at you. And for once you listen to it.
“I know what you’re doing- thinking you can butter me up with breakfast”
“I have no idea know what you mean”
Jareth pretended to find his butter knife interesting, avoiding your eyes but he couldn’t help the smirk spread on his face
“ -that wasn’t the plan at all, but is it working anyway?”
“yeah” you nod.
You leave it at that, not being hostile, but still letting him know you’re not so easily fooled, he was right earlier, your run in the Labyrinth was over. You were finished dancing to his tune.
You couldn’t be bothered to start another argument, especially if you wanted answers out of him later, so for now, you let it lie.
You turn your head in time to catch a flock of birds cross the sky, you could see the hubbub of the Goblin City in full swing even from all the way up here.
It was something close to feeling as though you were watching the world wake up and begin the day, the pair of you admired the sun over the Labyrinth in content silence.
The sounds of the insects in the thin clumps of grass, like cicadas, filled your ears. The clock above chimed the hour.
“This is really nice”
“I’m glad” he teased
“No, I mean it, it’s lovely”
“So do I, I’m glad ”
Jareth had a lingering triumphant smile on his face, his bejewelled broach at the throat kept shining in your face under the light. In fact, all of him seemed to sparkle today, you had to keep forcing your eyes at the ground or just behind his ear to stop yourself being caught staring at him.
You arch your back, stretching, “do you come out here a lot? Eat as well?”
“Sometimes” the Goblin King considered the view for a moment, speaking in it’s direction rather than to your face.
“I’d rather be out here, in the open, than eat alone at a long dining table in a drafty castle, wouldn’t you?”.
“oh... yeah, probably”
You looked at your plate, embarrassed. That sounded quite sad.
You never considered the Goblin King would be lonely. Was he lonely? Weren’t there other people here? Just goblins? No there must be, I saw some, remember?
You rack your brains trying to picture their faces but everything you remember seeing- or thought you’d seen- in the ballroom was slightly blurred, plus they were wearing masks.
You scratched at your wrist where the seal was. It was angry red and irritating. You scratch it again, feeling as if it was burning into your skin.
Jareth rested his knife and fork on either side of his plate “is that hurting you?”
“No, it’s just itchy”
He wiped his mouth and hands with a napkin, beckoning for your hand “here”
You gave it, “can you stop it? it’s driving me nuts”
“i can but you won’t like it”
“just do whatever you have to do” you wince at the urge to grab his butter knife scratch your skin off.
You assume he’s going to pull out a crystal or whatever but unexpectedly, Jareth plucks off his gloves by the fingertips.
He opened his mouth, putting the pad of his thumb to the inside of his cheek. Jareth held it there, looking up, humming under his breath.
Jareth closed his mouth, pressing his thumb to the seal on your wrist.
“well that’s disgusting “ you shake your head looking away trying not to flinch at the fizzing sensation as he pressed the saliva into the wound.
“Would you have rather I’d have licked your wrist?”
Jareth bobbed his eyebrows suggestively making you blush deeply “n-no” as you try not to picture exactly how that would look and feel.
“That any better?”
You take it back, the redness all gone, just leaving the skin glittery like his own “yeah actually”.
He waves his hand, and you watched as the plates and dishes slowly faded in front of your eyes.
The Goblin King held a crystal by his fingertips, elongating it until it stretched to form a yellowed newspaper.
Jareth sat back in his chair, crossing one leg over the other.
The Goblin King reading a newspaper. Well how about that.
You giggled, earning you a look from over the paper’s rim “am i amusing you?”
“No it’s just-” you gesture to the paper and then shake your head “you’re being so usual”
The Goblin King smirked, continuing to read, pretending to be unfazed as he scanned the paper “am I normally unusual?”
You bit your lip thoughtfully, how could he be so unaware of how ‘Other’ he was, in his get-up and looks down to the way he moved?
On the other hand, you suppose he was considered normal in the Underground, meaning you were the ‘Other’ one in this scenario.
“You’re the most unusual usual person I’ve ever met” you said confidently
“Congratulations to me then” Jareth shuffled the paper, going back to reading.
You rest your head in your hand, staring at the view. How could anyone grow tired of seeing this?
You wish you had something of your own to read, one of your mum’s faded paperbacks or something it would be so perfect right now.
At least reading would be something to look forward to now that you had “ forever ”. You could read all you wanted without being interrupted by essays. The thought gave you a warm feeling in your stomach.
You settle to watching the world go by for a while and pretend not to notice him sneaking looks at you, he may as well have cut two eye holes in the paper like in the films. Honestly .
In this moment, sitting on top of a hill peering over the kingdom, under the sun, you were quite sure you could get used to this.
Jareth sighs, folding the paper twice and making it vanish.
“I can’t read like this, too many distractions” his eyes dance at you.
You give him a sideways glance.
“Sooo…” he says in a sing song voice “so, first day in the Underground. Well, first day free and conscious anyway”
“If you’re trying to soothe me over you’re going to have to stop saying things like that”
Jareth continues without changing his tone.
“What do you want to do first? I was thinking about a tour today, you’ve already had the full experience of the Labyrinth . Or would you like to see your room before?”
Your ears prick up, “ my room?”.
Maybe he was trying to divert from the inevitable that he promised , or make you forget but the idea.
You never even considered having a place of your own. A whole bedroom in a castle just for you.
My room .
“The tower room’s served its purpose, I’m sure you’d want your own space anyway, give you a chance to settle in”
“Right then” he slapped his thighs, jumping up.
You stood, accepting the arm he offered you.
“Oh wait, do you want this back?” You pull the cloak off your shoulder but he stops you, tugging it back up again.
“No, no, you keep it, I rather think it suits you”
Jareth gave an approving nod even though you knew you probably looked like a mess right now. Actually, the idea of washing properly sounded promising
“My room it is then” you nod, picturing what it would look like.
You think he’s about to pull out a crystal and poof you there but instead the pair of you stride over to a large slate boulder nearby. Jareth nudges it aside with his foot, revealing a trapdoor underneath.
The Goblin King looks from the trapdoor in the earth to you, with a wicked beam “after you”.
The trapdoor opens and you could see the beginning of a slide. Oh no .
“You have these things everywhere?”
“A whole network tangled under the labyrinth”
“well that’s...good to know”
“It’s the quickest and most fun way to travel”
You begin to back off, remembering the last time you were down one of these.
“ Fun ”, was not the right word at all.
“I think I’ll throw up” you said in a small voice.
He threw his head back laughing “nonsense you’ll be sound” Jareth grabs a nearby mat, setting it down at the mouth of the slide. “Now, i’m certain the Above are familiar with how this works”
“Yeah, you sit on the mat and slide down, hardly rocket science”
“Hmmm” Jareth looks under another rock, “it appears I only have
mat -you don’t mind sharing do you?” his teeth gleamed predatory like.
“Can’t we just use one of your crystals” you fold your arms, knowing exactly what he was up to.
Jareth folded his arms leaning an elbow on the rock, “Mmm you said you wanted to “see Underground properly”, and this is the most ‘proper’ you can get” he crossed one foot over the other.
You stare at the slide, disappearing into the darkness.
“Now, now I think someone's coming down with a case of Scaredy Cat”
That did it. Your shoulders immediately square, whatever effect he was looking to have it worked, you would not show vulnerability in front of the Goblin King. You knew it was a ploy but you went along with it anyway.
It’s just a slide, you went through a whole labyrinth and you’re scared of a slide?
Jareth winked, as if able read to your thoughts “now- are you in, or are you out?”
You sighed, caving in “not like I have much choice”.
“That’s the spirit” Jareth takes your hand, helping you to crouch without toppling over to seat yourself on the mat.
“I’ll get you back for this you know” you mumble under your breath.
You sit with your knees up, stomach doing flips at what’s about to happen. You inch forward, trying to give him as much space as possible so he doesn’t have to be so close to you in already a small proximity.
You try not to jump when you feel either side of his legs slip around yours as he shifts to get comfortable. Looks like your efforts were wasted.
Oh god .
You felt yourself flush, the warmth rushing through you, that same buzz you felt whenever he was close, just like when you were in the ballroom.
“You do trust me, don’t you?” he murmurs by your ear suddenly, hot breath making your hairs stand on end . You felt a pool of warmth in the pit of your stomach.
You nod, although you want to say “ no, you’re a reptile and I definitely don’t trust you” , but the words die in your throat. You nod, and try not to think about his body heat near you .
“Good” he tucks a strand of hair behind your ear, making your heartbeat speed up. Before you can register anything else he’s already pushed off from the mouth of the slide, hurtling the pair of you forwards.
The speed automatically reels you backwards, you find yourself pressing into him.
The darkness unsettles you at first but you remind yourself you’re with the Goblin King this time, you’re quite safe.
You turn a sharp corner, making you yelp and clap your hands over your eyes. You are scared, fuck your pride you should have just said no.
You instinctively press further against him, as if trying to escape the whole ordeal altogether, feeling his own chest vibrate with chuckling. Jareth crosses his arms further around your own.
“Look up, Sloane”
You shake your head, feeling sick.
“Look up, you’ll love it I promise”
You cautiously squint open an eye above you, seeing little purple and white lights whizz overhead.
You blink, trying to focus on them, immediately forgetting your fears.
“What are they?” you say loudly into his ear against the rushing wind.
“Roots. Of the trees in the Labyrinth, look-” he momentarily takes his arm off yours but you yelp, pulling it back in case you fall forward.
Jareth’s other arm stretches across you further so he can free the other, pointing to the roots
“touch them” .
You shakily reach a hand out, grazing your fingers along the tree roots that rush past you, at your touch, they spark a rainbow glow that makes you shiver and tingle at the fingertips.
“Woahhh” you gasp, giggling. You turn your hand over as if expecting it to glow itself.
“Magic. Pure magic” Jareth trails his own hand across the roots, causing the dark to light up with colour and spark.
You do it again, pressing your palm against the roots further, revelling in the tingling feeling.
Actually, this was kind of fun. You felt light, like you were flying, you laugh tilting your head back so it echoes all around you as you zip through the darkness. He joins in.
Man, this felt amazing! Why didn’t he just give you this earlier?
“not too much!” Jareth takes your hand off rapidly
You hear him say something only the lines of “ dangerous ” and “ imbalance ” but it sounds as if he’s underwater.
You giggle and touch it one more time daringly with the tip of your finger to irk him, earning your shoulders to be pulled back roughly against him.
“ minx ” he says, humming in your ear heavily “you better be good, you know” you can feel Jareth’s lips on the very tip of your ear, long strands of hair teasing your cheek.
You’re immediately pulled back into focus, your entire face ignites and you’re extremely glad neither of you are touching the roots or you’d be bright red for all the world to see.
Suddenly Jareth holds you by the shoulders tighter, voice returning to usual pitch.
“Here we go, sit tight”
You go rigid, ready for impact.
Ahead of you, a trap door swings open, evading light into the darkness.
The mat flies off, the pair of you land on cushions as you had before.
The trapdoor behind you swings shut.
This time, instead of a dark cave, you’re in a large circular stone room. You’re in the castle, you must be.
You blink, standing and realising little over 50 pairs of eyes on you, gawping.
A guard, who you mistook for an old man at first -had it not been for his long ears and snout-nose- pushed his way through the mob, to bow to Jareth, panting.
“Sire! The girl ! She’s escaped! From the tower!”
“Hello” you poke your head around Jareth’s tall figure, causing the little creatures to step back in unison with a hushed gasp.
The guards’ ears flap up like a dog’s, scratching his head in confusion.
Jareth exhaled, putting a hand to his temple patiently, indicating these kinds of incidents happened all too often.
“I know, Candlewick, I let her out”
You side-eye him. He coughed, correcting himself “I mean invited”.
The Goblins didn’t try and hide their curiosity, gawping at you and pointing.
You stare back just as much, but not for too long, some were quite unsettling to look at.
So this is what goblins look like. Well, they weren’t far off the fairytales. You were grateful Jareth looked nothing like them at least.
One prodded your elbow making you swat it away
They just grinned, delighted by your reaction, edging each other on, pushing one another towards you.
In a way they were like small children, really , really ugly children.
Unexpectedly, one small one pinched the back of your ankle, making you yelp. Their yapping peals of laughter echoed around you.
“Ow!” you grasp your ankle, “what was that for!” you hopped on one foot, only amusing them further.
Jareth threw his head back laughing, putting his hands on his hips, “oh yes, I think you’ll do just fine here”
You gave daggers at the goblin laughing behind its paw at you.
Jareth leaves your side to shuck his cape and fold it over a circular seat of some kind.
He motions for you to follow him out of the room and you don’t hesitate, well aware of the beady red eyes boring into your backs.
“is it always like this?”
You walk down a dimly lit corridor that stretched out before you .
“Nevermind them, outsiders are few and far between here, they’ll get used to you”
The pair of you stride in unison along a hallway.
You felt awkward in the silence apart from your patter of footsteps, the sound of his boots drowning out your trainers.
You peak at them. Look at that heal! No wonder he always towered over you!
You should probably say something.
Ugh small talk .
Jareth exhaled air from his nose “this the first I’ve seen you so quiet. I got more out of you in the Labyrinth”
“i was just thinking”
He sucked his teeth “sounds dangerous”
You nudged him in the ribs with your elbow “only because you know I’m smarter than you”
“Not smart enough to solve a labyrinth apparently”
That earned him a forceful shoulder shove.
Jareth, only too delighted, shoved you back, just as hard, with a daring twinkle in his eye again .
You bite the bait, pushing him again.
Jareth gets carried away, giving full force with both hands unexpectedly so that you miss your footing and clang against the stone wall, hitting your head with a comical donk
“Oh shit ” you clutch your head, crouching from the stinging “oh fuckkk that hurts”
“sorryareyoualright ” Jareth garbles, crouching beside you, looking genuinely frightened.
There’s a pause. You stare at each other for a second too long until you both burst out laughing -you between the wincing.
Jareth pulls you to your feet carefully while you rub your head .
“I’ll go easier on you next time” he mimes a shoulder punch teasingly to mask his doubts.
You feign rolling your eyes, the pain in your crown ebbing away, “I let you have that one”
“I should be careful then next time ” Jareth plays along
“you may not be so lucky”
“could be absolutely fatal” he agrees
“I’ll let it slide for now”
“Very generous of you”
He holds out an arm for you to take. Well there was the awkwardness taken care of .
Maybe he should slam me into walls more often
You bite down on your cheek to stop a giggle at that thought.
You realise you’ve passed through multiple corridors, all with the same high ceilings, under hung candelabras and torches fitted to the walls.
“I don’t know how I’m going to find my way around this place “
You crane your neck looking for little unique points in every corridor to remember each by but they looked exactly the same, maybe that was the point.
“You will. The trick is not to look too hard”
“That doesn’t make sense at all”
“Sometimes we find the things when we don’t go looking for them”
Suddenly remembering what the Wise Man said you blurt “sometimes the way forward is the way back”
Jareth side-eyed you at that unexpected response, “exactly” .
You still didn’t understand but maybe Underground logic was no logic, just spontaneous, it seemed to be how things were around here.
You climb a flight of steps, coming to a corridor.
It’s funny, the castle never looked this big from all the way in the Labyrinth, but then neither did the Labyrinth itself at first glance and oh boy how wrong you were about that.
Through the centre of the corridor was a red rug like a river covering the flagstone floor.
“And here we are” Jareth stops short at a large round door.
He smiles “I don’t see any other doors” turning the large doorknob, creaking it open.
He lets you slip inside first and you gasp.
It’s not the stiff, medieval drafty room you expected at all, it’s much cosier.
You blink a few times as your eyes adjust in the difference in light.
Your mouth parts in astonishment.
“wow” you say softly.
The room isn’t huge but roughly the size of your living room at home , definitely bigger than what you were used to.
“You are my guest, you didn’t think I’d stuff you any old place did you?” Jareth tsked but you could tell he was awaiting your appraisal.
He had an arm crossed over his chest, elbow resting on it and tapping his cheek with his finger expectantly.
You pivot on the spot to see everything.
In front of you was a small grid window with what you assumed to be your bed situated in front of it, a little larger than a single, covered in assorted pillows, floral sheets and knit throws.
On the thin bookshelf was a few dusty hardbacks that you would definitely be investigating soon.
Candles tall and short sat everywhere , some new, some ancient, judging by the wax dripping.
The few paintings hung on the walls were slanted at an angle.
Overall, it gave a chaotic feeling but in a strange way it was also calming, your own little hide-away. It was perfect.
By the ribbons, bells and pearls hung from the candleholders and draped across the furniture, it was as if a slice of the ballroom had been cut and squashed into the room.
“Do you like it?” he breaks off your thoughts “if not there are oth-”
“no, no its fine”
He was trying after all you supposed, probably going off a generic girl’s interests. You could hardly blame him for not knowing what a modern teenage girl’s bedroom looked like, your previous was hardly a model.
“It’s lovely” you say with a genuine smile.
Judging by the clean and fresh smell, the room was most likely unattended for sometime and then suddenly upheaved.
“You haven’t seen the best bit yet” The Goblin King tugged at the curtains you hadn’t immediately noticed, peeling them back to let in more light and reveal another window.
Your eyes widen.
“oh wow !” you join his side.
From here you have an amazing view of the Goblin City as well as the Labyrinth and in the distance fields and hills with what looked like cattle grazing in them.
It was a pretty place, you could see that much.
The orange and black streak sky you had grown used to seeing in the Labyrinth was replaced by light blue against purple and pink clouds.
It looked like something from a painting but it was here, it was real. You realised suddenly how close the city was to the castle when you had mistaken it for much further away when you were standing on the Labyrinth’s walls.
It also made you realise, with a pang in the stomach, exactly how close you had been to winning, since you could see the very Junk Yard you had been standing in days ago before you fell into the Oubliette.
The city was so close, you could smell the tell-tale chimney smoke, even with the closed windows.
You can hardly take your eyes off the view.
A wooden desk , doubling as a vanity, sat strategically in front of it. Your mind ran wild just imagine the inspiration you’d have sitting here.
“this is amazing”
You turn, catching your own shocked expression in the mirror of the dark wardrobe. Beside it, stood a thin coat rack, hanging up dad’s jacket that someone had thankfully collected.
You shuffle your feet, remembering why you were desperate to be here in the first place.
“So um, about settling in...” you trail off sheepishly.
Jareth nods, understanding without embarrassing you, “of course, I’ll leave you to it”
He moved to the door to leave when you peeped inside the wardrobe curiously, to find nothing in it.
“uh wait a second, do you have any clothes for me?”
Jareth clapped his forehead “oh right. I forgot” .
He tossed a crystal until it popped and sprang into various items of clothes, landing neatly folded on your bed.
“I hope you don’t mind, but I had to guess your sizes” .
You’d make do.
“...and the uh, is there a bathroom around here ? I could use a shower or something” you gesture to your dishevelled state, you hadn’t washed properly since before you arrived.
The idea of a hot shower sounded amazing, unlikely, but amazing.
“It’s waiting for you” he pointed at the opposite end of the room, “behind the door”
“I have my own?” your eyes follow his finger, noticing the wooden door tucked away. How can such a cosy little place fit so much?
“that wasn’t there just a sec-”
“Things aren’t always what they seem”
The Goblin King tossed a crystal at you which you instinctively caught, and he vanished.
“why didn’t I think of that?” you mumbled with a yawn, ditching the crystal on the bed and pulling the curtains together again.
You shuck off the cloak, hanging it up next to dad’s jacket.
When you enter the ‘bathroom’, you expect to find a dismal bucket of cold water tied to a string to douse yourself with, but to your surprise, it’s close enough to something you would expect to find in the modern houses back home.
A free standing bath stood in the middle, with a shower behind it and on the left a mirror and sink with assorted brushes and cosmetics.
A crystal bulb hung from the ceiling, though you guessed it was magic illuminating it , not electricity.
Bath or shower?
You undress and hop in, turning the tap and adjusting the temperature accordingly.
You notice various soaps awaiting you and pick one, reading ‘ ginger spices ’ using it to scrub profusely, almost feeling every bit of grim and dirt from the labyrinth wash away.
There was a twinning pair of shampoo and conditioner bottles that you each squeezed into your hands and lavished in your hair one after the other, filling your nose strongly of something unidentifiable but sweet.
You take your time until you feel properly cleansed.
The seal on your wrist still glowers white but the pain is completely gone.
Oh god , you let out a giggle, bouncing around the bathroom, remembering Jareth’s saliva on your skin. Did that really happen?
When you climb out your clothes are gone, replaced by two fluffy towels awaiting you, still warm as you envelope yourself in them and step out of the room feeling practically brand new.
For a minute you forget where you are and almost go to switch on your radio like you would at home when you stop yourself.
You tied the towels around you further to inspect the clothes on the bed and pick out an outfit.
You shift among the shirts and long skirts you finally find a blouse and to your relief some trousers. At least Jareth had decent taste you had to give him that. No jeans though. Sigh.
You collect the rest to put away in the wardrobe when you notice the underwear lying beside them.
They hadn’t been there earlier. He must have slipped them in.
Oh for the love of-!
You hold them distastefully by the tips of your fingers, pinkish white, lacy compared to your usual get up.
You shake the crystal, hissing into it “you’re taking the piss” as if he could hear you. You toss it back onto the bed.
You grit your teeth and slip them on anyway, cursing him under your breath, “ prick prick prick ”
They fit well. Almost too well.
You dress in the trousers and blouse , inspecting yourself in the wardrobe’s mirror.
You turn side on and lift your arms up and down. The trousers are tight like Jareth’s but not uncomfortable, you could see why he wore them so often.
You leave your hair to dry naturally.
You sit on the corner of your new bed, instantly relaxing into it and lying on your stomach.
So this was it, your bedroom, in the castle, your new home. You re-take it all in again.
Your eyes rest on the large metallic gold clock on the wall opposite with two daggers for hands. You notice the addition of the 13th hour rather than your regular clocks at home. So strange
How long was forever?
What were you going to do all day now that there was no school, or responsibilities or friends...or family.
No. Stop it. Can’t think like that.
How boring would eternity get?
You rolled over your back.
Just the concept was boggling.
What if Jareth got bored of you decided he didn't want your company anymore and cast you away?
What the hell am I even doing here?
You unhooked the window, flopping down to inhale the fresh air while marvelling at the view .
You weren’t thrilled by the circumstances of your situation, but you weren’t about to bawl your eyes out over the loss of your aunt and uncle, come on, don’t kid yourself.
You take a frilly white pillow from under your head and hold it to your chest, staring up at the ribbons and pearls hanging from the ceiling.
Your fingers dig into the pillow and you sigh. You felt guilty for not feeling guilty. Not in the slightest. This was your adventure. Yours.
Jan would know what to do in a situation like this.
What would she make of Jareth?
At least she’d approve of the idea that you had some sort of spark with someone of the opposite sex for the first time in forever, even if he was a little older than the boys she’d tried to push you towards.
You smiled to yourself.
Oh yes, you definitely knew what Jan would say about Jareth, things that you would never ever repeat aloud. You shook your head and tutted. You found yourself agreeing with her.
You could almost hear Jan’s tinkling laughter
“enjoy it girly!”
You were attracted to Jareth, any person with two eyes in their head would be attracted to Jareth, he only needed to smirk or make eye contact or flaunt that smarm but that didn’t mean you automatically trusted him. You barely knew him after all. Well, kind of.
Yeah, and ?
You sighed, back at square one with the way you felt all over again.
If only you could phone her. But the lack of electricity had already won that battle. No more conversations with Jan, ever again.
No, nope, no more tears, you can’t change things so get on with it for god’s sake.
That’s what Jan would say, she’d take you by the shoulders and shake you:
“What’s wrong with you? You live in a castle, Slo, with a devastatingly handsome man and living in your literal dreams, you want to throw that away?”
You shake your head to yourself “thanks, Jan” you mumble .
A knock at the door interrupts you
“Sloane?” Jareth pokes his head around the circular door, “did you slip down the plughole?”
you roll your eyes, locking the window again “I’m ready if that’s what you’re asking”, you ignore the sarcasm.
You see he’s changed clothing again, dressed in black and blue like the night you first met him, the tall collar emphasises his height as well as the hair.
The expression on his face was something you couldn’t quite read, but it had lightened.
You slip on dad's jacket "let's go".
Thankfully he uses a crystal rather than traipsing all the way back through the castle.
You blink then turn in the rising wind, finding yourself on the drawbridge outside the castle.
You crane your neck, able to see your own room’s window from here that you had been standing in moments ago.
“There’s not much of the castle to see”
Jareth admitted throwing and catching a crystal absent minded
“-so I thought we’d start here, who knows where the wind will take us”
The pair of you crossed over the bridge to potter down some steps and into the city.
You decided the Goblin City was a place you wouldn’t be frequenting often, you could see why Jareth stuck to the castle.
It was a dirty place, hardly a ‘city’, run ragged, but it was unusual, and therefore in that respect captivated your attention.
Sometimes you spotted the tail end of a creature but mostly the place was deserted.
You’d passed the odd palace guard, but apart from that, there seemed to be hardly anyone around.
Was it always this quiet? You initially got the feeling it would be a more chaotic place.
You couldn’t tell how long you’d milled around but evening looked to be approaching soon. You shoved your hands in your pockets, as Jareth filled you in on where everything was bakeries, taverns and the like.
Having felt you'd seen pretty much everything in the city, t he pair of you began to circle back towards the castle, narrowly avoiding the awkwardness of seeing the ending of the Labyrinth at the gates of the Goblin City.
The castle’s windows were lit up in yellow torchlight.
You reach the drawbridge, making your way inside again, approaching the hubbub from inside.
“It must be rammed in there” you say more to yourself as the noise of voices and cries grow louder with every step.
“Goblins” Jareth bobbed his head nonplussed at the calamity.
" goblins ?" you repeat dryly following behind uncertainly “what are they still doing here?”
The door swings open inviting an uproar of noises.
You clap your hands over your ears “ jesus god”
but it did nothing to muffle the whoops of laughter and racket of things either being dropped or launched into the walls.
The goblins were chasing round the room, singing out of unison or irritating chickens. Chickens?
Jareth did nothing to stop them as you had initially thought he would. Rather in fact, than thundering and silencing the room, he seemed entertained by the ruckus.
He laughed throwing back his head, then ducking without blinking as a rock was launched in the air.
He flopped onto the round seat you’d seen earlier, throwing a leg over the side and just laughed more though you didn’t get the joke.
“you don’t mind?” you cried to be heard over the noise, sitting on the steps leading up to be what you imagined what his throne, since they didn’t look too dirty.
He shrugged, watching them, tapping a staff against his boot “it’s fun”
clearly you both had different ideas of fun .
How he put up with this you did not know.
The mess they’d surely make...you’d taken Jareth for a spick-and-span, silent, strict guy.
A merry goblin whizzed past with a red flag bobbing up and down, attached to its little helmet that covered its face.
Jareth had a drink in his hand that you hadn’t spotted until a second ago.
He caught your glance “like to try some?” he held out his own cup to you
“what is it?” you take a sip
Jareth rolled his eyes “apple juice”
You swallowed and then shuddered at the foul taste, pushing the cup away “ugh that’s disgusting”
“it’s not for it’s pleasantness believe me”
“I’ll stick to the water, thanks” the glass appeared in your hand.
“to the latest Underground citizen” he raised his cup at you in a toasting fashion
The one thing you noticed was that the singing didn’t stop. Jareth even left the throne and began merrily clapping his hands to a tune or two making you giggle. Maybe he wasn’t such the stoic character you’d taken him for in the Labyrinth.
Although it was total and utter chaos , you found yourself fascinated even if the goblins were obviously stupid.
Real life goblins.
That part still you couldn’t get over.
Strange, they seemed totally juvenile, not cunning and devious, not likely to eat children or guard bridges like the books said. Or was that trolls? More or less the same thing, right?
You sighed, realising this was the kind of thing you’d have to get used to thinking through. And I thought talking to a bird was crazy
Another thing you noticed was the odd amount of clocks all shapes and sizes dotted around the throne room, all reading different times. Every now and then one or two hands would creep forwards or even backwards .
Would it be the same time at home? Was the Underground like Australia or something, different time zones? Or would it be the same as it was in England but like an alternative universe whatnot?
You’d already yawned into your elbow twice and was ready to call it a night, enough education for one day.
You sneakily creep out of the throne room without interrupting the “fun” . Jareth would have probably convinced you to stay longer anyway and you could barely keep your eyes open to continue to watch the charade as it is.
Besides, the new bed’s call was strong.
The aimless wandering of the Goblin City had worn you down thoroughly, it was a wonder how you managed a whole day of classes once upon a time.
At least tonight you’d sleep well.
Your footsteps echo down the corridor. By some miracle, you began to recall your steps from earlier this morning. Not so difficult after all.
You pass a black clock, telling you it was almost midnight.
You climb the stairs, trailing your hand up the banister sleepily. You pad along to the hallway coming to rest at your round door, closing it behind you softly.
With a low groan, you flop onto the chair at the desk. You prise off your shoes and gazing out the grand window at the rising smoke from the chimneys in the Goblin City.
Further beyond that you could see tiny lights in the Labyrinth, candles perhaps? Though who could be lighting them though, or what rather.
You shivered and swiftly closed the curtains, grabbing what you assumed were your pyjamas from the drawers.
You crack your back, loosening your trousers .
The door swings open, bumping against the wall, making you jump out of your skin
“what the-” You hurriedly yanked your trousers up .
Jareth staggered in, singing under his breath, he moved to the coat rack to lean against it, giggling slightly. His eyes fell on you , unfocused, and grinned.
“Good evening Ms. Hay…Hazel…well this is a nice turn of events” he giggled again.
“Jareth? What are you talking about” you sigh, buttoning your trousers discreetly, “look I had a nice day and it was cool to see the goblins but I’m shattered, okay?”
“You…in my chamber no less” he waggled his eyebrows suggestively and you folded your arms, not in the mood for his games again.
“you’re in my room actually” you gestured to the walls around you “remember?”
“Oh” the goblin king nodded to himself and then squinted around in the lack of light.
“ah. I thought…the colours were different”. he frowned, rubbing his temple “I must’ve spelled m’yself to the wrong chamber”
"Well you can just spell yourself out again. Wait, are you…” you notice that he seemed to sway backwards and forwards on his feet.
“...are you drunk ?" you ask, but you were not, in fact, surprised to say the least.
His hand slips from his hold on the coat rack and you automatically stepped up to catch him in time from falling flat on his face “woah, careful!”
He laughs over you and you catch the strong sense of alcohol on his breath, face inches from yours.
you pull back wrinkling your nose “you are drunk”
He gave you cheeky, hazy smile. He looked up at you under his lashes “merely had a cup or two…”
“I doubt that “
You struggle in his sloppiness to keep him upright.
You sigh, maneuvering him so that his arm was slung over your shoulder whilst you kept your own around his waist.
This was the first time you’d held him so close since the ballroom.
Jareth looked down at you with a conflicted expression, trying to clear something in his mind or making up his mind whether to say it.
“My rose,” he lamented, “do you forgive me?” he couldn’t look you in the eye partly because he couldn’t focus properly or most likely the guilt that was scrawled across his face.
“Forgive you” you say drily “for what?”
“For everything…thi-this whole, wretch…wre...wretched business” he slurs hiding his face in his elbow miserably.
Despite the awkwardness of trying to keep him upright in his theatrics, you smile at the irony of it all, if only he was sober enough to hear himself.
You give a chuckle at the thought , would sober Jareth be horrified with his inebriated softie self?
“You’re laughing at me!” he says, hurt. “Are my feelings funny to you? My sincerity a joke?” he sneered
“No! I was- look , I forgive you okay? Now will you just sit down ” you helped him to sit on the chair with a thud.
You assess the situation, wanting desperately to kick him out and crawl into bed but the way he kept slipping from being upright without your support ate at your morals.
“I can’t let you leave like this , knowing you you’d probably spell yourself into the Bog and drown or break your neck down the stairs”
Jareth giggles, slumping across the desk and you ran a hand down your face . “fine. fine you can stay, you absolute mess”
In the light spilling in through the curtain’s crack you can see he looks like a wreck, hair matted, make-up smudged across his face.
You dash to the bathroom picking up your brush and returning.
You pull him up again to his confusion and begin to drag the brush through the long knotted mess “jesus what did you do?” you mumble. You hold it by the ends so it wouldn’t pull on him.
“i would give you coffee, or something to sober you up with, but I doubt you have that lying around here”
He watched you intensely in the mirror on the desk, never blinking or taking his eyes from you.
“you always take care of me” he says quietly, in a half confused, half statemented tone.
You tip up a smile “did I have a choice in either situation? The Goblin King isn’t so high and mighty after all” you bring the brush up again then sweeping it down.
“you take care of me” he repeated “always”.
Your eyes met in the mirror and you stop brushing.
You hum under your breath, shaking off the stare
“you have nice hair”
You ran a hand through it experimentally, making him shiver violently .
Jareth pushed himself up, or tried to, clumsy and uncoordinated under the influence of the alcohol.
Despite your weak attempts to keep him in place he was stronger than he looked and managed to stand momentarily before sprawling forward over you again.
"Why do you hate me Sloane?" He asked, his face within inches of yours. "I only wanted to make you happy."
“I don’t hate you” you huff under his pressing weight to seat him on the foot of the bed
“you just-“ you huff “-have a funny way of doing things”
You lean him up against the post of the bed but he loses balance and instead falls flat on his back onto the bed.
You try to pull him up again but you’re not strong enough and just leave him.
So much for sleeping. Your legs were killing you after all the walking
“Scooch over” you motion, and plopped yourself down on your bed that he was currently hogging
“that's more like it," Jareth giggled.
On his back, looking so vulnerable and exposed, he looks angelic, hair spread out around him. His eyes slide open catching your staring and smirks. Of course he smirks.
“Won’t you kiss me goodnight?” he said, playful look in his eye “just a little one”
You didn’t mean to keep appealing to his ego and inwardly cursed yourself.
“I don’t think so” you raise your eyebrows “just because you’re drunk and helpless doesn’t mean I have amnesia”
“Ah ha! What a little liar!” he whoops “I think someone’s just a chicken” Jareth teases making clucking noises
“Oh really, you’re going with that one”
“Chicken it is then,” He says provokingly in a sing song voice.
Jareth continues to make the stupid noises and even the wing movement, still lying on his back, staring up at the ceiling.
“ wrong ” You protest, voice wavering but it only amuses him further “that’s- that's just cheap.”
“Chicken, cheap,” he giggles like a child.
The Goblin King manages to lie on his side, resting his head on a pillow he had his arm looped around, facing you.
You subconsciously hugged your arms more tightly to yourself, as if doing so could fend off his brazen gaze. A gaze that kept shamelessly lowering and making your heart speed.
“You know, it is high treason to refuse your king” he winks .
The smooth fucker, even when drunk he manages to be flawless in a kind of rough around the edges way.
You threw back your head laughing at his typical self, flopping against the pillows on your back beside him.
Jareth suddenly rolls over on you in a flash, as he slid an arm around your waist catching you off guard. His body pinning you down having you completely cornered.
“What are you-“
“I can see you want it,” his hand cupping your cheek, you flush deeply having nowhere else to look or escape.
“that tell-tale breathing, that flush on your chest, the shifting-” he pushes the tip of his nose into your throat making your breath hitch, trailing down to the base .
“No” you breathe but your mind had other ideas, clouding your judgement Yes! Yes! apparently so did your own body by its burning response down there.
“ No ,” you repeat more forcefully liar liar .
You push him off gently but you still can't shake the intensity of that look “You’re-I’m- you’re drunk”
The Goblin King gave a lopsided grin “very well” and removed his hands immediately and rolling back over to put them behind his head, nestling his face sleepily in the crook of his elbow.
What the hell was that.
You’re not sure who the question is aimed at.
You part your mouth to say something then close it, and then part it again.
You sit up , leaning on your elbow to stare at him. Jareth hummed under his breath, blinking a few times at the ceiling hazily.
You sigh. oh what the hell
“It’s not like you’ll remember it anyway”
Before you even know what you’re doing or change your mind, you lean in, heart thudding and pull him in by the jacket lapels.
Jareth seems to spring out of his drunken state, suddenly fully awake and eagerly aims for your mouth, but you turn your head so he only snags your cheek.
You still manage to catch the warmth of his breath and the tip of his soft lips.
You draw away, but he removes his hands from behind his head to cling to your forearms pulling you in closer for more.
“ohhhh no, uh-uh!” you laughed wriggling away from his wandering hands. You push his head back onto the pillows.
Jareth can’t fight back, too inebriated and pouts against the plush cushion with his arms folded “ ’snot fair” he mumbles.
You can’t help but giggle at his sulky state “good night you royal pain in the arse”. You pull the cover over him.
“Mmmf” he rubs his eyes and turns over.
You shake your head and it’s not long before he’s snoring.
You sigh, no bed for you tonight.
You manage to whip off a blanket from under his leg and tug one of the pillows out from underneath him forcefully.
He’s spread himself diagonally, giving you little to no room left so you settle for the floor. At least the rug is thick.
It’s not ideal, but did you have much choice?
You close your eyes, begging for sleep after an exhausting day.
The noise startles you.
What in the hell
It was Jareth’s snores. Oh for the love of-
You clap your hands over your ears. This couldn’t be happening. Why is it so loud!
You lie on your side, firmly closing your eyes hoping to just drift off but the snoring is relentless.
“ Jareth for fuck’s sake ” you say aloud
you imagine stuffing one of the pillows in his mouth. Ugh! Would it be wrong to shove him off and pretend he rolled over too far in his sleep? No you couldn’t, that would be so mean, those stones would hurt.
Cosmic! Just cosmic!