Title: Not Over
Author: Vesper (Regina)
Keywords: Jareth/Sarah, Munk and Mambo
Summary: A story isn't over until the happily ever after. 2457 words.
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Archival: If you wish to archive, please link to my website. Please keep all my headers intact.
Notes: Ficlet #3 for Lyl. This is a crossover with Happily N'ever After, simply because we watched it and I thought the universe in that movie meshed fairly well with Labyrinth. Surprise, Lyl! It also makes use of some of the canon from Return to Labyrinth but is AU from volume one, I guess.
"Oh, oh, no," Munk mutters.
This is so not what he needs, not with the Wizard sick to his stomach. Munk told him he shouldn't have eaten the shrimp, but he wouldn't listen, oh, no. Up all night, he was, Munk and Mambo running to and fro, in the topmost castle tower, with cold compresses and buckets and--
"What is it?" Munk hears from behind, and he turns to see Mambo, rubbing at his eyes sleepily, still in his pyjamas and stocking cap, wearing one sock, and that halfway off his foot. Of course, Munk never had a chance to change or go to sleep the night before, so he's still wearing his plaid pants and red tunic. And, of course, this all combines to make Munk lose his cool.
"The scales! They're unbalanced again! Did you have something to do with this?! Because if you did, I'm gonna wring your scrawny--"
Mambo shuffles over and twaps him on the head. "Shut up, Munk, before you loosen those lovely tusks of yours with all your yelling. I had nothing to do with that." He points at the Scales of Good and Evil, above a large empty crystal globe. "I learned my lesson the last time."
Munk has the grace to look ashamed. He mumbles, "Well, if you didn't..."
"Did you look in the Book yet?"
"No, uh, no, I didn't."
"Come on, then, let's see what's up."
Mambo scratches at his rear as they walk to the Book of Tales, on its stand next to the Scales, and yawns so widely that Munk hears an audible pop. A waft of halitosis intersects the air in front of him and he stops moving. "Ew, Mambo. What did you eat last night?" he asks.
"What? Oh." He smirks and then says, "Sorry."
The book is open, they see, near the end...and it has a picture of a dark-haired woman, standing on a hill, a sand-colored maze in front of her, stretching to the horizon, with a squat castle there.
"Hey, I thought this story came to its happy ending." Mambo asks.
"I thought so, too. Sarah conquered the labyrinth and got her baby brother back."
Mambo turns a page, looking for the "and they all lived happily ever after" at the end of the story. "Um, Munk, it's not over."
Munk crowds in, pushing Mambo aside. "What? That can't be. Oh, the Wizard's gonna have a fit if he sees that we let something slip while he was up-chucking his guts."
Mambo pats Munk reassuringly on the back. "Don't worry, Munk. We can set this right. Let's check the FTF."
Munk sighs. "I wish you wouldn't call it by that annoying acronym."
"Come on. It fits so well. Fairy Tale Feed. FTF. It's got a ring to it."
"Yeah, yeah, so you've told me a hundred times. Turn it on, already."
Mambo grabs the arrow-shaped remote from next to the Book and presses the button. A click later and they're both looking into the crystal globe from where real-time feed of the tales in kingdoms far and wide streams. The image swirls and then resolves into a man, slouching in a black carven throne, holding a similar crystal globe in black-gloved fingers. His blond hair is tousled and wild and his facial features are vaguely elfin. The look on his face is melancholy.
Munk snatches the remote from Mambo, ("Hey!") and rapidly clicks over to another channel, where a woman with cropped brown hair is trying to spoon-feed a squalling baby.
"Aw," Mambo says, "Ella's feeding Rick Jr. So sweet." Then, like flipping a switch from 'calm' to 'infuriated'--"What's wrong with you!"
Munk looks deeply shaken, inasmuch as a boarish creature can. "That was Jareth. He rules the Labyrinth."
"This we know."
"Yeah, well, I've managed to escape his notice for three hundred years. I don't want to be hauled back to the Goblin City and Jareth's the only one who's ever been able to spy back."
Mambo stares at him, eyes narrowed in his ratty face.
Munk gets defensive--"What? What?"
"You think you know a guy. Sheesh."
"Whatever. Let's check on Sarah."
"Give it to me."
"Nuh-uh. You'll flip it over to Jareth again."
A brief struggle over the remote ensues as Mambo tries to take it. Munk holds onto it with a death grip, and Mambo finally throws his hands up.
"Hah!" Munk exults.
Munk points the remote and the image of a woman with thick brownish-black hair comes into focus. She's sitting in a restaurant, a laptop in front of her, and a glass of water and ice beside it. She has a pair of glasses pushed up into her hair and is wearing a gray sweatshirt.
A man walks into view, obscuring it with his back, and sits down across from Sarah. She doesn't notice him.
"Sarah," he says.
She jumps and the glass of water goes flying off the table as her hand sweeps across the keyboard of the laptop in reaction. A collective gasp from the people around comes through loud and clear as the glass shatters.
Munk and Mambo both say, "Oh, crap."
The man turns around, peering directly out from the globe, over a pair of narrow glasses. It's Jareth, looking oddly human, tie and suit, hair pulled back into a sleek queue.
"Ah, Murk, there you are," he says. "Come here."
He holds his hand up and Munk starts come up off the floor. Mambo leaps up, grabbing Munk by the legs. "No way," he says, "You are not taking my friend from me."
Munk looks down. "I'm your friend?"
"How very sweet," Jareth says. "I hope your friend realizes you are both suffering a stay in an oubliette for interrupting my very important business."
A sound like a snap, a quick tug, and they are both in the Real World. Jareth does not look happy.
Munk and Mambo sneak a look around. Despite the bewildered look on Sarah's face, nobody else seems to have noticed anything more unusual than the glass shattering. A waiter rushes over with a broom and dustpan, efficiently sweeping the shards up. Sarah doesn't respond to his, "Are you all right, ma'am?", until he repeats it a second time.
"I--I--I," she stammers.
She closes her mouth, shuts her eyes for a brief second, and swallows. She opens her eyes and says, "I'm fine. I'm sorry about the glass."
"Oh, that's fine. Accidents happen. Will you and your friend be needing anything?"
"My friend? Oh, no. No, thank you, no," she says, speaking so fast she's almost unintelligible.
The server looks at her strangely, but scurries away. Munk and Mambo chime in unison, "You know this is a serious breach of protocol."
Jareth says, "Oh, relax. They can't see you."
Sarah snaps her laptop shut. "Jareth."
"Hello, my dear."
"I thought I told you to never bother me again."
"I don't recall any such words."
Munk says, "I apologize sincerely for quitting your kingdom, sir. I just wanted to--"
Sarah says, "At it again, Jareth? You were never very kind."
Mambo puts a paw to his head and mutters, "This is all a bad dream, right? Tell me this is just a bad dream."
Sarah takes her laptop and stuffs it into its case, which she picks up from the floor. "I'm leaving. Don't you even think about following me."
Munk says, "Please, madam, please, you have to protect me from him."
She looks down at him. "You know, my therapist said that this was all in my head, that I created a fantasy world to help deal with the pressures of puberty. I was never quite convinced. I think you owe me for the waste of time that was."
She stands and heads out the door, not looking back.
Jareth, Munk, and Mambo all look at each other.
Mambo says, "This is your story, sir. Aren't you going to go after her?"
"You are not one of my subjects, are you?"
"M-me?" Mambo points at himself. "No, uh, not that I know of."
"Well, then, what makes you think you can offer me advice?"
"Well, I, uh..."
Munk says, "Now you know why I left." Then, to Jareth, he says, "You know what will happen...unless you go after her, your tale will not end happily."
Jareth says, "Happiness is overrated."
Mambo says, "And you need a swift kick where the sun doesn't shine. Get moving, Your Majesty."
"Both of you," Jareth says, pointing at each of them, "are coming with me."
Mambo asks, "Where, exactly?"
Munk says, "Shut up, Mambo, if you know what your life is worth."
Jareth sweeps past them, motioning to them to follow. They fall in place behind him, like they're connected to him by a string. Maybe it's invisible, because when Munk tries to stop, he can't.
They exit the restaurant, and Sarah is nowhere to be found.
Jareth swears. A girl with a nose-ring and a pink streak in her hair, entering the restaurant, gives him an exasperated look. Mambo and Munk are directly in her path and barely skip out of the way in time.
Munk says, "Not that I wish to offend Your Majesty in any way, but do you think that you could get a move on? I don't think the Wizard is going to be pleased to find us gone."
"The Wizard can shave a goat, for all I care."
"Maybe we can work out terms of release," Munk suggests.
"Maybe you can be quiet, while I think."
"Yes, Your Majesty."
Mambo says, sotto voce, "I don't think this story's going to have a happy ending."
Munk tries again, "Please just let us go."
"No. Come with me."
They are pulled into Jareth's wake as he starts off down the sidewalk. They don't get far before Jareth stops, causing Munk and Mambo to run into each other and fall to the ground. "Ow," they say, and then just sit there.
Jareth sighs heavily. "What's the use?" he asks, voice low. "The girl won't listen to reason."
Munk and Mambo don't know what to say, so they just look at each other and then up at Jareth, who is staring down the walk, as if by just looking he can will her back.
It's Mambo who notices her, coming from the opposite direction. "Hey, hey, look, she's coming back!"
She is. Striding down the sidewalk, laptop bag bouncing against her leg, hair bouncing against her shoulders, and her glasses on her nose. She looks like a strict schoolteacher, an enforcer of proper studying habits. She moves right up to Jareth and pokes him in the chest, saying, "You--let them go, and then we can talk."
He actually sways back under the pressure of her finger. "Sarah," he says, and his tone is just short of wheedling.
"Don't you 'Sarah' me like that. It didn't work the first time, and it won't work now. Let. Them. Go."
He snaps his fingers and Munk and Mambo immediately scamper behind Sarah.
"Now, Jareth," she says, "What do you want?"
"Want, my dear Sarah? What makes you think I want anything?"
"Let's see." She tilts her head, gives him an appraising look. "The last time we spoke you said, 'Fear me, love me, and do as I say.' Sounds like you wanted something from me then."
"You remember that."
"Of course, I remember that! I spent years trying to forget that, and while we're on the topic of years, answer one thing for me, Jareth...do you ever age? Because I look at you and you don't look one iota older than you did when I was fifteen. I'm not fifteen any more. I've had time to think about things."
Munk hangs his head and mutters, "Oh dear, this is not going well."
"I'll not be ruled, Jareth. So whatever affirmation you're looking for from me, well, go find it someplace else."
"Have you said your piece?"
"I look forward to hearing more."
Munk and Mambo look up, mouths wide open.
He sighs. "Obviously, I'll need to make this very clear, so I'll say this once; listen closely. I...am...renouncing...the...throne."
Munk says, "But...but--"
Mambo reaches over and claps a hand over Munk's snout. He says, "Don't ruin it, Munk, this is the happy ending."
Sarah says, "But what does that mean? I mean, if you're not the Goblin King anymore, who is?"
"It means, Sarah, that I am remaining here. And as for the kingdom, well, that's in good hands. Very good hands." He smiles.
"I see," Sarah says.
"I do not want anything from you, Sarah, nor will I demand anything. What about you?"
"I...have to think about this."
Mambo says, "I hate to interrupt this touching moment, but do you think you could send us back now?"
"Fine," Jareth says, holds up a hand, and flicks it, as if shooing a fly away. Another snap and tug, and Mambo and Munk are back in the castle tower.
"Oh, thank Marchen!" Mambo says and skips over to the couch in front of the FTF. "Home again!"
Munk finds the remote where it'd fallen on the floor when they were yanked through and clicks through a few scenes to check on Jareth and Sarah.
They are walking along the sidewalk. Jareth looks over his shoulder and winks.
Munk says, "I do not know what she sees in him."
"Ah, well, do we really need to know? The scales are balanced, all's right with the world and like Ella says, 'it's a beginning'." Mambo leans back, paws behind his head.
Munk says, "Uh, Mambo, you're still wearing your pyjamas."
"And, boy, am I comfy."
Munk tosses the remote at Mambo, and it lands on his head, making a solid thump when it does.
"Ow!" Mambo sits up and rubs his head. "What did you do that for?"
"To get your attention. I'm going to take a nap. Wake me if you need anything."
"Oh, boy, I get to watch the scales all by myself!" The sarcasm is almost completely feigned. Mambo leaps off the couch and starts tossing the remote up and down.
Munk reaches out and catches it on the downswing. "Don't you dare think of messing anything up. I'm waking up the Wizard on my way to bed. By the way, you lost your sock."
Mambo looks down. "Aw, that was my favorite sock, too." He looks back up and then salutes, saying, "I'll be as good as chocolate pudding."
Munk rolls his eyes.
Mambo sits back. "'Night, Munk."
And they all lived Happily Ever After.
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