Author: Kat Lee
Character/Pairing: Sarah, Toby, Ensemble
Challenge/Prompt: fan_flashworks 195: Amnesty: Ball
Warning(s): AU Future Fic
Word Count: 1,099
Date Written: 1 July 2017
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to Henson, not the author, and are used without permission.
"You should go," he says, stepping through her open door and watching his sister staring out into nothing again.
She blinks, clearing her vision from the tears that are never far away. "What?" she asks, frowning in puzzlement.
"You should go," Toby repeats. "To the dance," he adds as though the destination should be obvious. He shouldn't be the one having to say this -- she's older than him by several years, but if he doesn't take care of her, if he doesn't try to reach her when she's like this, no one else will. "It'll help you. Get your mind off of things."
He looks at her with pity, but she doesn't see it. She doesn't see why everybody's always so worried about her, why they've all worried about her ever since Toby was a baby and she had her "episode", as his mother calls whatever happened that night so long ago when Sarah was babysitting him against her will. It's funny, he thinks, how she never wanted to care for and protect him, and now all he really wants to do is to be there for her, to help her overcome this . . . whatever it is. Now that she's an adult, their parents can't force her to continue seeking help, but none of that long string of doctors they sent her to ever helped any way.
"Sarah?" he calls. She's gazing off into space again.
She blinks once more and zeroes her gaze in on him again for another second. "Yeah?"
He stifles a sigh. "You should go," he repeats, "to the dance."
"It's for students."
"You could chaperone. That new Phys Ed teacher is really into you."
She makes a face, and he can't help laughing. "And I'm sure he's not the only one who would be willing to go with you."
"I have papers to grade," she murmurs, and he wonders how on Earth it is that she ever became entrusted with an entire class of children when she seems, to him, so much like a child herself. "And lessons to plan," she adds. "I don't have time."
"Sarah, if you don't take some time for yourself -- "
"I. Don't. Have. Time," she repeats and reaches for her satchel. "Now unless there's something I can do to help you, Toby -- "
He sighs. "Nope. Not a thing." Shaking his head, he walks away. He hears the door shut behind him but has no idea his sister still hasn't moved from her window seat.
Sarah barely glances up at the Dwarf that pushes the door shut. "Kid means well." Hoggle sniffs. "But who wants to go to a dance?"
Sir Didymus smiles from her bed, a fake crown on top of his furry head. "It could be fun!" he yips. "Parties are always fun!"
"We don't have time for parties," Sarah murmurs, "or for dances."
"Dances . . . bad," Ludo moans.
"Yes, Ludo," Sarah agrees, barely glancing at the beast. "Dances can be loads of trouble." She shivers, remembering the one that almost cost her her life, the one she never would have left if she hadn't had to save Toby, although the boy will never understand what she endured to save him. Nobody will just as nobody will look at the drawings she holds now in her hands and be able to decipher them as she can and does at least once a week every week.
She pauses at one of the papers. It's a poor drawing, but she can see the handsome man with the owl face that the child tried to depict. She can see him, because she has seen him before. She sees him still every night she shuts her eyes, every time she tries to dream. He's always there, reaching her, calling for her, the croon of his very voice seeming to caress her flesh. He's always there, and he still hasn't stopped trying to come into this world.
If only Toby knew . . . She pushes the thought aside. It doesn't matter what her baby brother knows or doesn't know. In fact, he's better off not knowing all the truths she knows and faces every day. He's better off not knowing what he almost became, what he would have became if she had not stopped the King of the Goblins.
"Sarah . . . " the wind whispers into her room. The hairs on the back of her neck stand up at full alert. She raises big eyes to her window, but he's not there -- not yet.
But she can feel him. She feels him constantly as though he's right there beside her. Her skin tingles with the memory of his touch. Sir Didymus, her faithful Knight, leaps through the air, lands on the seat beside her, and shuts the window, but he can't shut off her thoughts as easily. She pets him, murmurs her thanks, and he closes his eyes with relish as she strokes his fur.
Toby doesn't understand. No one does, and no one can. No one will ever believe what she endured as a teenager. No one who has not seen the King will ever believe in him. But she knows he's real, just as she knows the girl who drew the picture now in her hand has seen him too. She will find the child and help her confront her Demons. Jareth will not take another innocent while she still lives, but . . .
But there is always a part of her who wants to go back to the Labyrinth. There is always a part of her that yearns for his touch, for his kiss, for the way he made her feel like she was all that mattered as they whirled together in that ballroom. And a part of her never left that room. A part of her will always be dancing with him, will always love him, but the logical part knows what must happen. He has to be stopped, and she's the only one who can do it, even if the rest of the town thinks she's crazy. Even if the rest of her world thinks she's crazy.
She looks up through the tears that glitter in her dark eyes and shows the others the drawing. "Here we go again," she says, and she swears she can practically hear him laughing as her nerves become raw again and her hairs stand on end. They'll stop him again. They'll always stop him and save every child they can from him. She lifts her chin stubbornly. "Piece of cake."