This is an amateur, non-commercial story, which is not produced, approved of, or in any way sponsored by the holders of the trademarks/copyrights from which this work is derived, nor is it intended to infringe on the rights of these holders. And so it goes.
Jareth leaned back in his raggedy-draped throne and stared despondently at the motley crew he ruled. Ages ago, the goblins had been a force to be reckoned with, a clan of power and cunning second to none. Now... the Goblin King sighed as he watched two so-called jesters pummel each other into goblinburgers for his pleasure. It was so hard stealing good help these days...
No one ever called upon him to steal children these days. Especially not since that damnable movie and book had come out in the Real World. Jareth often wondered if it had been a good idea, seeing that therapist about his troubles. The rotten, two-faced little git had run fast as he could to a movie studio, packaged a deal, and suddenly Jareth's fife was up on the silver screen for everyone to see.
And to make matters worse, there were the summonings. Thanks to that book, he often heard people say the words that brought him forth, but when he appeared with great pomp and melodrama, did they offer him their children? NO! They asked him for an autograph, thanked him, and then added off-handedly, "You have no power over me," and he'd have to leave empty-handed.
This was no way to run a kingdom. Something was needed to shape things up. Something like... something like...
Abruptly one of the many crystal globes that floated about him flickered into life. Jareth stared intently at it, knowing he would soon be summoned to the Real World once more. Perhaps his answer would appear as well?
* * * * *
"What's that you're reading?" asked Tegan Jovanka as she pulled her bedcovers back.
Her friend and roommate, Nyssa of Traken, glanced up and smiled. "It's some sort of odd fairy tale," she replied, flashing the cover at Tegan. "Rather quaint, in its own way, but incredibly childish, to be honest."
"I've never seen that before," Tegan shrugged. "Must be in my future. " She slipped into bed and pulled the covers up. "What's it about?"
"Some sort of goblin king who steals a baby, and makes the child's sister go through a labyrinth to rescue him." She tossed the book over to Tegan, who thumbed through it casually until she got to the photo section. "Something catch your eye?"
"You bet," Tegan drooled, holding up the page where the actor portraying the king posed dramatically. "If that's a goblin king, I want to be his queen!"
Jareth's eyes widened, and a slow, sensual smile slipped into place across his lips. "A queen," he mused to himself. "A queen."
"It's not too bad a book," Nyssa continued as Tegan flipped the book back to her, "but some of the dialogue is truly atrocious! Here, for instance." She turned to a particular page and cleared her throat. “ ‘Goblin King! Goblin King, wherever you may be, Come and take this child of mine far away from me!' You see? Utter nonsense!" She giggled and pulled the covers up closer. "But oddly enough, that's not the phrase that lures the goblins in -- it's something like 'I wish the goblins would come and take you away right now!'" Nyssa laughed again. "Isn't that... terrible...."
Her voice trailed off as the lighting in the room was obscured by an eerie darkness that flowed from nowhere and everywhere at once. The familiar, comforting hum of the TARDIS seemed to be swallowed by the ominous silence that swam through the air and brought chills to the two women.
"Uh, Nyssa," Tegan stammered uneasily. "This ever happen to you before?"
"No," the curly-haired princess shivered. "Has the Doctor ever said anything about this?"
"Not to me..."
They gasped as one as a tall, slender figure stepped out of the blackness and walked towards them. "Doctor?" Nyssa squeaked.
There came from the stranger a melodious tune of laughter. "Not quite," the figure replied. "You called me. I am here to claim what's mine by word."
"Give me a break," Tegan growled with a roll of her eyes. "Adric, Doctor -- this isn't funny anymore. Cut it out and let us get some sleep."
Jareth stepped into full view, drawing a pair of frightened and admiring sighs. "This is no jest, no dream, my beautiful one," he whispered to Tegan. "She spoke the Words of Summoning. I've come to claim you and make you my Queen." As he spoke, a shimmering crystal globe hovered before Tegan's face, rotating slowly and mesmerizing her utterly. "It's time now, Tegan."
"Okay..." the entranced woman smiled, rising from her bed and taking the goblin's hand. Nyssa watched in horror as her friend moved into Jareth's embrace, then an idea came to her. "The words... where are the words to cast him away... somewhere in the back..." She grabbed the book and started flipping wildly through the book in search of the phrase to end this dilemma.
Jareth jerked a finger in her direction; the pages erupted into flames, evoking a panicked squeal from Nyssa. "I get rather fired of that little routine," he commented. "This time we play by my rules, in my domain. Should you wish to reclaim your friend, you will have thirteen hours to unriddle the mysteries of my Labyrinth. Succeed, and I will free your friend. Fail, and she will remain my queen forever." He turned with a flourish, Tegan still in his arms. "Have a nice day." And with that the shadows fled, leaving Nyssa quite alone in her room.
* * * * *
She raced through the TARDIS corridors in her nightclothes until the door to the console room was in sight. Slamming it open, she gasped for breath, not quite aware of the interested glances of the Doctor and Adric. "We... we have a problem," she blurted out.
"So it would seem," the Doctor dryly noted. "Adric, eyes elsewhere." The puckish mathematical wizard sighed and turned his back while the Time Lord wrapped his cricket jacket around his companion. "In any case, Nyssa, you're quite right. The TARDIS has just materialized on its own accord; Adric and I have been attempting to figure out just when and where we are."
She smiled weakly at her mentor. "I'm afraid I know. Doctor, I don't know where to begin..."
* * * * *
They stood just outside the TARDIS, staring incredulously at the seemingly infinite array of walls twisting and turning before them. The goblin keep, their ultimate goal, sat gloating at them from far off in the distance. Despair flowed onto the faces of Adric and a now-dressed Nyssa.
"Well," the Doctor sighed cheerily, as if he were about to embark on his morning constitutional, "the sooner we get started, the sooner we get Tegan back. Shall we?”
"How are we going to get through this... this maze?" Nyssa cried.
"Rather quickly, if I'm correct," the Time Lord breezily replied. "Most labyrinths are rather simple to traverse, once you know how."
"I don't know," she said uneasily. "This feels... odd, somehow."
"It's all a question of mathematics and geometry," Adric informed her. "For example, I've calculated that the best route to take is... that way," he pointed to the left.
"I fear you're incorrect, Adric." The Doctor motioned to the right. "This is the best way to get to the castle in the shortest time frame."
"Doctor, I'm positive that this way's the one to go!" The young Alzarian's face tightened noticeably. Nyssa watched the two males argue about the correct path, fretting all the while that precious time was being lost -- just as Jareth no doubt was hoping. Finally she screamed at the top of her lungs, "THAT IS ENOUGH!!!!!"
Silence fell for a moment as they stared at her curiously. Then the Doctor smiled and motioned -to the right. "Shall we be off?" he ordered politely. Relieved, Nyssa nodded and set off behind him. Adric followed a few paces behind, grumbling about arrogant Time Lords who thought they knew bloody everything about the universe.
* * * * *
"Incredible," Jareth remarked, watching the entire scene through a crystal. "Simply incredible."
Tegan moved in closer, partly to see what was going on, partly to get a better look at this attractive prince. "What's incredible?" she asked, accidentally placing a hand on his arm. "That they picked the right direction?"
"Quite the contrary, my dear," he laughed, waving the globe away. "Your 'Doctor' should have listened to the boy. They're headed in the wrong direction. They've added several hours to their journey!" He rose gracefully and stared down into her eyes. "You shall be a most excellent queen, my dear. Shall we dance?"
Music welled up from nowhere; Tegan found herself in the midst of a complex minuet that her feet instinctively knew, and wondered how bad it would be, being his queen?
* * * * *
The Doctor continued the brisk trek through the Labyrinth, holding one hand against the wall at all times. "I told you we were going the wrong way," Adric complained, panting slightly at the rigorous pace the Time Lord was setting.
"What can't be cured must be endured," the Doctor reminded him, then stopped to tam and look at the boy blankly. "Haven't I told you that once before?"
"On Traken," Adric reminded him. "Doctor, I think Nyssa's right. There's something odd going on here. A strange feeling in the air."
"We mustn't stop now, nor can we turn back," the blond Gallifreyan commented. "You're both quite right, however. Something is amiss in our friend's little maze."
"What makes you say that?" asked Nyssa. She glanced around warily, wondering what unspeakable horrors waited to devour them.
"This," the Doctor tilted his head towards his hand on the wall, "is a proven method to crack a labyrinth. It is time consuming but quite reliable. The problem is that sooner or later, one should run into a dead end or few."
"We haven't," Adric quickly responded, then paled slightly.
"Exactly," the Doctor nodded grimly. "However, our best bet is to keep moving onward. Who knows what might happen if we were to stand still for very long."
"Well, my feet are simply killing me," Nyssa commented, removing her shoes and throwing them to the ground. "I'll do much better barefoot."
Twenty minutes later, they discovered the shoes lying before them. "Oh dear," the Doctor sighed.
* * * * *
"Hopeless," Jareth laughed as he gazed once more into the hovering crystal orb. "Utterly hopeless. I'd hoped for more of a challenge from your friends, my dear."
"I should have warned you about the Doctor," Tegan giggled. She was thoroughly enjoying herself, oddly uncaring about her friends' efforts to save her. Jareth was handsome, suave, and utterly, completely charming. She could do far worse, she told herself, then smiled. "You know... Jareth," she murmured, sliding up closer to him, "I really wouldn't mind being your queen, even if they somehow manage to get here in time."
"But the deal was cast," he replied with a sensual smile. "I am obligated to release you, should they arrive within the appointed time. But at the moment, I shouldn't worry much about that, were I you."
"Jareth," she smiled winningly, "if you were to... you know, take your kingly prerogatives, I wouldn't object... too much." Her fingers danced through his soft, silken hair.
He gazed at her blankly. "I beg your pardon, Tegan?"
She cocked her head, irritation replacing seduction. "You know... I mean, how do you make little goblins?"
He took a step back, clearly mystified. "Why, we steal human infants, of course."
Tegan took this in and pondered upon it for a long moment.
The Doctor looked up with a smile as a familiar shriek echoed through the Labyrinth. "Ah. Reliable as always, our Tegan. This way." He popped through a gateway, followed by an amused Adric and harried Nyssa.
They blinked in confusion at the sudden bright lights; Nyssa could have sworn that the other side of the gateway had been dark. A short, pudgy fellow grabbed their arms and pulled at them. "Come on, come on! The autograph session is starting, and you're going to be disappointing all those poor fans! This way!"
"I beg your pardon?" the Doctor asked dazedly, allowing himself to be seated in a chair. Nyssa and Adric were similarly plopped down on either side of him. "What on earth is going on here?"
"I told you, an autograph session!" the bushy-eyebrowed fellow blustered. "Now, be sure to smile and talk to them, but don't take too long, because we got a real long line waiting. If you need anything to drink, just give old Hoggle here a whistle. " He moved away, and at that moment a small, blobby goblin appeared before the table with a book.
"Could you please sip this 'to Orson'?"
Nyssa shook her head slightly, then remembered to smile. "Of course," she replied, taking pen in hand. "Doctor?"
"Oh yes, quite," the Time Lord replied, quite at a loss to determine what was going on, but there was no time to lose, it appeared that there was quite a long line waiting. "Adric?"
As the Alzarian scribbled a signature, a second goblin now appeared before Nyssa. "Could you make it out to 'Jeff’?" it asked, appearing to be utterly besotted with the Traken princess.
"Certainly," she smiled, then paused. "Is that a 'G' or a 'J'?"
"Huh?" the goblin asked.
"A 'G' or a 'J'?" she repeated.
"Does your name start with a 'G' or a 'J'?" she asked, gritting her teeth and struggling to keep her smile on.
"Oh. No, an 'H', It's silent."
Three hours later, the line showed no sign of abating; the three signers could feel their hands shriveling into gnarled, withered stumps. But they continued to sign as best they could, since it was after all the reason they were there. Wasn't it?
"Oh pleeeeeeze!" one tall, scrawny goblin begged the Doctor, "pleeez read my story about you, I've done eighty-nine drafts on it just to make it perfect! Sign this, too, won’t you?"
"Very well," the Doctor sighed with a thin smile. "But wouldn't you like all my companions to sign as well?"
"Well," the goblin scratched its head with a talon, "maybe Tegan. She's okay."
"Tegan?" the Doctor echoed. "But Tegan... isn't here... good heavens!" He rose to his feet abruptly, sending the thin goblin careening backwards in surprise and startling Nyssa and Adric. "Quickly, you two, up and let's be gone. We've been tricked!"
"Tegan!" Nyssa gasped. "We may be too late!" She and Adric rose to leave, but Hoggle appeared out of nowhere, blocking their way and looking quite put out. "Just where do you three think you're goin'?" he demanded angrily. "We've still got a lot of fans out there, just waiting for a chance to see you three! Are you going to let them down?"
"Not at all," the Doctor crisply replied, gently but firmly moving the flustered Hoggle aside. "But surely you'd allow us a brief respite, to stretch our legs and fingers?"
"What's left of them," Adric noted, wincing as he attempted to unknot his hand.
"You can take a break when you've finished up here," Hoggle insisted, planting himself back in their path.
Nyssa's eyes narrowed in frustration, then her face brightened. "Doctor," she piped up, "I need to... use the facilities. Badly," she added with a slightly higher voice.
"So do I," Adric joined in, though in his case it was true.
"I could also stand a brief sojourn," the Doctor concluded. "Now, Hoggle, you have a decision to make. Either let us take a rest break, or our fans are going to witness an entirely unique side of us. Hmmmm?"
The poor creature eyed the trio suspiciously; Nyssa had her legs twisted, and Adric was all but hopping in agony. "Well, all right," the fellow finally decided. "But you get right back here, or I'll sue for violation of contract."
"Very good." The Doctor bustled his two charges out the side door, then slammed the door shut quite solidly. "Now then, I've had quite enough of this little game, haven't you as well?"
"Quite," Nyssa agreed. Adric nodded as he returned from a quick 'scouting assignment.' "But we're running out of time to save Tegan, Doctor. How can we ever traverse the Labyrinth in time? "
"Simple." The Doctor smiled as he gazed skyward. "We cheat." Moving quickly, the Time Lord moved a nearby bench over to the wall, then grabbed a water barrel, emptied it, and placed it atop the bench. Clambering up the makeshift ladder, he pulled himself up to the wall ledge, then motioned for Nyssa and Adric to follow.
"Now then," he noted with satisfaction after they'd all reached the top. From their vantage the castle could be seen quite plainly and well within reach. "Mind your steps, and let's be off."
* * * * *
Jareth was sprawled languidly upon his throne as the three adventurers stepped into the main room. Tegan stood behind him, looking both apprehensive and excited. The Doctor smiled grimly and doffed his hat. "The Goblin King, I presume."
"Quite so." Jareth flowed from his chair and bowed deeply. "I commend you on solving the Labyrinth in such a unique fashion. A classic example of non-linear thinking, I admit. Also a fine example of breaking the rules."
"And the obstacles you put in our way weren't?" Adric demanded hotly before the Doctor motioned him to stay quiet.
"They are part of the mystery, the challenge, of the Labyrinth," Jareth calmly replied. Behind him the giant clock showed three hours before thirteen o'clock. "But you did cheat, did you not, Doctor?'
"It would depend on your point of view."
"Exactly." Jareth spun around and smiled at the clock. "As this would be cheating, by your point of view." The clock hands whirled wildly until they rested on a setting just after the deadline. "But this is my domain, my friends, my rules are in effect. And you've lost."
"But we arrived within the time limit!" Nyssa protested. Jareth smiled at her, turned to consider the clock, then returned his gaze to her and shrugged as if to say "I'm sorry, but. . . "
"I will not permit this, you understand," the Doctor mentioned casually, but he rocked back and forth on his heels rapidly.
"I fear you have no choice." Jareth motioned at them nonchalantly; a crystal globe dove from the ceiling at the time travelers. Before they could react, there was a brilliant flash of light. When it had faded, they found themselves inside the globe -- quite helpless.
"My lady?" Jareth held out his hand, and Tegan stepped hesitantly to take it. But as she reached out, she found a second crystal ball in her grasp. The sphere exploded in a radiant, prismatic effect, bathing her in its aura. Seconds later, the ball resumed its normal shape, but its bearer was quite altered.
She stood there, terrible and beautiful all at once. A silver and blue silk evening gown clung tightly to her ample, slender body. Her hair was a brilliant red, wild and breathtaking as it cascaded around her finely sculpted face. Only the lobes of her pointed ears could be seen, supporting the crystal earrings that dangled from them. As she stood there in all her radiant majesty, from every nook and cranny emerged her people, all shapes, sizes and colors.
Jareth smiled with satisfaction. "I give you... our Goblin Queen." The cheers and gasps of adoration were deafening, even to the Doctor and his companions, still trapped within the giant sphere.
"We've failed," Nyssa cried mournfully.
"Not quite yet," the Doctor said quietly. "There's still a chance."
"How?" Adric demanded. "We can't do anything from in here..."
"There's another old saying I'm fond of," the Time Lord murmured softly. "It goes 'be careful what you wish for'..."
Jareth was escorting his Queen down the steps of the throne. Suddenly a rat darted out across her path, making her scream with outrage. "What was that?" she demanded archly.
"Pay it no mind," Jareth smiled in an attempt to quell her anger.
"Bloody right I'll pay it mind! I want every rat given the boot from this castle by tonight!" Her face was contorted with sheer rage. "And while we're at it, this so-called castle is an absolute dump! I want a team of subjects at work tomorrow to clean it out and repair every nook and cranny! And while we're at it ... "
As she spoke, the goblins in attendance were watching wide-eyed as their Queen verbally abused their King. Jareth's face was priceless; one couldn't decide whether he was in shock or terror. "ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME, JARETH?" she concluded loudly.
"Ah... my lady, might I remind you that I rule this realm," he began, his words and tone hardening as he spoke.
"And we can bloody well see what a muck you've made of it, haven't you?" she retorted waving her arm around. "Well, I'm going to put this place to rights, I assure you!"
"My Queen," Jareth's voice tightened with rising anger. "I made you what you are. I can destroy you just as easily as I wave my hand. " He started to gesture, only to be stopped by a vise-tight grip.
The Goblin Queen moved so that her face was directly before Jareth's. "Make... my... day," she whispered, teeth bared.
"I have had enough of you," he warned, straining to free himself. "You are subject to my authority, my power..."
"HAH! My dear Jareth, you have no power over me!"
Suddenly the universe exploded.
When reality settled back down, the Doctor noted that they were still, in the throne room, but the TARDIS was now sitting in one corner. Tegan stood on the steps, once more the feisty Australian stewardess; she looked around blankly, blinking as though coming out of a dream. Jareth was on his hands and knees nearby, looking as though someone had knocked the stuffing out of him.
"What happened?" Adric asked as he rose shakily to his feet. He offered a hand to Nyssa, who gratefully accepted it.
"She spoke the words," the girl from Traken answered. "She shattered Jareth's hold over her in the established way -- even though she had no idea of what she was doing." The two companions watched as the Doctor stepped over to where Tegan still stood.
"Are you all right?" he asked gently.
"I think so." She shook her head and smiled. "I can't seem to recall everything, though sort of like it was all a dream. " Moving to join the Doctor, she glanced over at Jareth, who was now sitting on the steps. "What about him, Doctor? Will he be all right?"
"I... daresay he will be, now, " the Doctor carefully replied. "His reality construct took a great deal of mental energy to create and maintain. Your sudden denial shattered it rather abruptly. He'll be quite himself before long... which I believe is the finest reason to be leaving." He motioned towards the TARDIS. "After you... my queen."
Tegan glared at him briefly but scampered over to join her friends beside the battered blue call box. As they hastened inside, she paused in the doorway, gazing at the forlorn figure who sat alone in the echoing chamber. "Ah well," she sighed and closed the door behind her.
Jareth watched as the blue box wheezed and groaned into nothingness, then smiled slightly. "It's safe," he called out. "She's gone."
"Whew!" "Not a moment too soon!" "Good riddance!" came various voices as the multitude of goblins emerged from an infinite number of biding places. They stood before Jareth, who still lounged along the stairway, and gazed expectantly at him.
His smile brightened. "Well, it was a good idea at the time," he laughed. "God save the Queen!"
"And us from her!" came the raucous reply, and the never-ending party started anew.