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Title: Knew you at all
Summary: Sarah Williams wants to be a wizard.
Author's Notes: Crossover between the movie Labyrinth and Diane Duane's Young Wizards series. Co-written between [livejournal.com profile] katarik and [livejournal.com profile] ilyena_sylph.
Word count: 1173



Sentience was such a fascinating thing, the Lone Power mused -- not for the first time in Its eons-old existence -- as It watched a truly excellent example of the point at work. Most sentient species preferred, for any number of reasons including cases of self-inflicted denial, to blame It for their woes... when few things could be farther from reality. At least, it wasn't typically true that their troubles were of Its design, once they made their Choice. While It was still tempting them, of course their trouble was Its fault. Once they made their Choice, however, they had Its gift of chaos and entropic death. What they did with it from then on was their business, and such intriguing business that could be, entirely without Its involvement: It far preferred to watch the things that the various species did to themselves without It helping in the slightest. Of course there were moments that It interfered, reached in and twisted to further Its ends... but mainly, It let things go as they pleased.

Humans, for example. Even this early in their existence, they possessed an uncanny skill for creating worse things for themselves than It ever would have. The young myth patiently building his kingdom out of human dreams was a classic example of their ability. When he finished, he would be King of a realm halfway in and halfway out of time; one built up entirely from their own fears, designed to be precisely what terrified them most at the moment -- a kingdom that stole their sons, and a king who stole their daughters, their wives.

This was an almost captivating piece of work, It thought as It observed the painstaking work the young myth was putting into this 'Labyrinth'. The Lone One watched, and It was amused, as It thought to Itself that It had seen legends born before. Most of them died before they became much of anything, though even the ones that died did tend to come back under other names... eventually. This one, though, held promise. Later, perhaps, It would return to this one, this Goblin King, and see what he was growing into.

***

What, as it turned out, the Goblin King had grown into was intriguing indeed, when the Lone One came back a millennium later.

It hadn't truly expected the young myth to still be there. Myths faded without belief, after all. That was something It had seen many times. But this one... this particular myth seemed to be doing an excellent job of surviving. Perhaps the secret of his resilience had something to do with just what was behind this myth's existence. The Labyrinth was something that shaped itself to each of the humans that touched it, became what they feared, just as Jareth was someone who could be precisely what they wanted... that gave him an adaptability few myths seemed to have. Really, It barely had to work at all to see ways in which Jareth could be very useful indeed.

Not least of which because It had had nothing to do with anything Jareth was, or did.

The Lone One smiled slightly as It manifested in the Labyrinth, tossing a perfect crystal ball back and forth in Its hands, light refracting from the gleaming thing in odd ways. "I've brought you a gift," It said to the empty air, as It placed the ball on rough, stony ground and watched it roll purposefully away.

Jareth was a mortal creation, though his kind had made the Choice as well. The Lone One had had no hand in him. Jareth would not be overshadowed by It, nor was he an avatar, nor anything else but human nightmares made manifest. Even the crystal was only a focus for the sort of power Jareth would have learned to wield as he matured further. This was just... speeding things up a bit.

Really, it was as though humans had made Jareth just for It. Such interesting things he could do...

The Lone One disappeared, and elsewhere in the Labyrinth a white owl fluttered its feathers as he watched a crystal roll towards him, glinting in the sunshine. As the crystal reached him, he shifted forms, taking two feet and hands, and dipped down to let it bounce up into one of them.

"What are you?" Jareth asked it quietly, turning the glittering ball over in his fingers.

***

"Another one lost," the woman said tiredly, leaning against a sun-warmed rock well away from the village. Her people knew well both what she was and what she did, but they preferred not to see the moments when she spoke to the old ones.

The wind moving among the savanna grasses spoke slowly with the voice of her grandfather, asking if this lost daughter had been lost in the same fashion as the other, years before.

The woman nodded, and the wind blew more strongly, brushing away the sweat beading on the bone in her nose. She tilted her head, baring more of her neck to the cooling breeze, but her words were bitter. "Her son is vanished, and she does nothing but sit on the floor staring into a glittering rock ball. Even when the rock is removed, she stares at her hands as though it is still there. Grandfather, can we not fight what does this?"

/No,/ the wind said, and someone listening closely might have caught old sorrow and anger in the wind's harsh gust as it scattered the birds in a distant baobab tree into a flight of whirring wings and raised cries. /What does this is not something we can fight the way you mean, granddaughter. This is not a wizard's task, or the Old Red One's work./

The wizard slumped back at the wind's reply, closing her eyes in exhausted grief for long moments. "Grandfather... how is this not Its work? The boy is gone, and she slips farther away day by day into nothing... this is entropy."

/Not entropy that was forced on her, or that she was tricked into taking.../ the wind said quietly, sadly, eddies of dust curling rust-red around her feet. /She made a choice, and now she reaps it, lost in her dreams./

"Her dreams? Wait... what offered her the choice?"

There was a long pause, before the wind answered her. /... myth. Old, and powerful, but not of the Old Red One's hand. She wanted this.../ Her grandfather's voice blew harder, then, all intent and demand whipping through the grasses. /If you want to fight this, granddaughter, learn why she wished her son away. Then, perhaps, you can keep another woman from making the same choice. That is wizard's work./

***



On to chapter one?

Crossposted to [livejournal.com profile] myriadwords

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