The door to the police precinct opened and Serena Wilson rushed in. Her brown hair was pulled back in a ponytail that was threaded through the back of the New York Mets baseball cap that she wore pulled down over her forehead. Half her face was covered by a pair of black Jackie O style sunglasses. She smiled at the sergeant manning the desk and placed the square white box she was carrying on it in front of him.
The uniformed man smiled back at her as he lifted the lid and looked inside. He took one of the macrons out of the box and popped the whole thing into his mouth. “Go on around you know where he is,” he said with a mouthful of cookie as he chewed. “I’m warning you though neither one of them is in a good mood.”
Serena made her way through the maze of desks, why did she always think of things like that, to a familiar one toward the back of the large room. Halfway there, she caught sight of her goal and saw the tall blond man behind it, and the back of a teenager slouched in the chair in front of it. She recognized the clothing that the teen wore and sighed.
As she approached the desk, the older blond of the pair looked up and a grin took the place of the grim expression he wore before. He stood and walked around the desk, meeting her before she reached it. He was good looking, if ordinary. The suit he wore was slightly worn, but he wore it well. When he reached her, he took both of her hands in his and leaned down to give her a quick kiss.
“Uh please, I’d rather be in the slammer,” said the still slouching boy.
This drew the two adult’s attention to the matter at hand. Serena sighed again and walked to stand next to the desk. The man brought a second chair over to the desk and set it down for her. Serena gratefully sank into it and placed her small backpack on the desk, and the man slid back into his chair behind it.
"Tony what did you do this time,” the woman asked, turning her attention to the surly-looking teen.
“I didn’t do anything.” The towheaded boy kept his arms crossed and his body slouched.
“Brad?” Serena asked, sliding her sunglasses on top of her head.
“He was with another boy who was caught shoplifting on 4th avenue. The uniform happens to be a friend of mine, and he recognized Tony’s name. He called me, and I picked him up and brought him here, and then I called you,” he said, linking his hands behind his head.
“So, he didn’t take anything, he was just there when another boy was stealing? So, wrong place at the wrong time?” Serena visibly relaxed.
“No, not this time Ser. Not that we can prove, but he does have a record and a reputation.” The boy snorted, which caused Serena to grab his shoulder. He went back to sullen silence.
“Brad, he is a kid. He hasn’t been convicted of anything except choosing the wrong friends. He has been around when other kids have done something stupid and, yes, sometimes some illegal crap. As far as I know, guilt by association isn’t a jailable offense.” The woman crossed her arms and looked remarkably like the boy next to her.
“Ser, I know you both have been through a lot. I know Tony has dealt with more than any fourteen-year-old should. But he has been picked up more times than he is years old, that is far too many for it to be a coincidence. People know he is connected to me through you, it doesn’t look good for any of us, Ser,” Brad insisted.
“All I can see is you, and cops like you, keep bringing my brother in when he is doing nothing but hanging out with friends. And his big crime is being a teenager out in public places when something might have happened. This is starting to look like harassment to me Brad,” Serena’s green eyes were flashing fire.
The blond man behind the desk sighed. “Ser, I love you, and Tony too, though he doesn’t believe it. I have cop instincts, and Tony is setting them off. He needs to be careful. That is all I am saying. If he does get caught doing something illegal, even something small, I won’t be able to fix it.” Then, knowing that there is nothing he could do to convince her that her brother was trouble, changed the subject. Are we still on for dinner tomorrow?” he asked her.
Serena, knowing what he was doing, decided to let it go for now. “Yeah, I have to get back to the restaurant. Can you take Tony home?” she asked. She waited for him to nod. Then, she turned to the boy before he could say anything. “I want you home and Brad taking you is one way I am assured of it. Do your homework, order pizza or Chinese delivery for dinner, and STAY HOME. I will be late but I am off tomorrow. We will talk while I take you to school.”
“Really, I’m in high school I don’t need to be taken to school like a baby,” the boy finally sat up outraged.
“I don’t care how you feel about it. You will do what I tell you. Got it?” Brad kept silent. He had not often heard her use that no-nonsense voice, but when she did, he knew better than to interrupt. Mostly because he did not want her ire turned on him.
The trio stood up and Brad walked around the desk and took the woman’s hand and led her out of the station. Tony shuffled petulantly behind them. Serena turned to head for the subway to take her uptown, and Brad stopped her by tightening his grip on her hand. She turned toward him, and he gave her a soft, long loving kiss much to the disgust of the boy standing beside them. When he released her, she smiled up at him. Squeezing the hand that he still held, she let go, pulled her sunglasses back down, and hurried down the street.
“Come on kid,” he said to the boy and led him around the back of the building to a small parking area. He unlocked a nondescript dark four-door sedan and watched as Tony slumped into the back seat.
Not for the first time did he wish he could get the boy to give him a chance and trust him. He loved Tony’s sister and wanted to have a life with her, with both of them. He knew that without Tony’s blessing, Serena would never allow herself a life with him. He didn’t know what he could do to earn the boy’s trust and acceptance that he hadn’t done already.
The ride to the Watson’s apartment in Brooklyn was tense. Brad tried to talk to Tony and he just sat in stony silence. After a while, Brad gave up and turned on the radio. After pulling to the curb, he put up the indicator that he was on duty and got out.
Tony scowled at the larger man, “I don’t need a babysitter. You could have just dropped me off. Serena and I have been taking care of ourselves long before she met you.”
As they climbed the stairs, Brad tried one more time. “I know you see me as the enemy. I’m not sure why you feel that way, but I care about both you and your sister. I just want you to give me a chance. I am not trying to take the place of anyone in your family, but I would like to be your friend.” He looked at the boy hopefully. The boy just scowled, unlocked the door, walked in, and closed it in Brad’s face without saying a word.
The blond man sighed and shook his head. Looking for another minute at the closed apartment door, his shoulders slumped. He turned and walked slowly down the stairs and back to his car. All the way back to the station, his mind was on his girlfriend and her brother, wanting to know why he couldn’t get either to completely trust him.
Serena was distracted all night and it showed. She was messing up dishes that she could make in her sleep. If it wasn’t for the rest of her kitchen staff, the night would have been a complete disaster. The end of the night was a blessed relief to her, and she was never happier than when the final ticket was finished and tear down could begin.
She usually left a lot of the clean-up to the chefs under her; they knew she often was anxious to get home to her brother. Tonight, however, Serena worked through the cleaning checklist and put her all into washing and scrubbing everything in the kitchen. Everyone knew something was wrong with their head chef, but they all knew her well enough not to mention it. They just stayed out of her way and did the best they could as not to call her attention and her annoyance to them.
When Serena finally left the kitchen, she relished the walk and late-night subway ride home. She needed to think and prayed that her brother was asleep when she got there. She walked into their basic no-frills walk up. Small and simple it was but it was also in a safe neighborhood with good schools nearby. She was proud that for the last eleven years she was not only able to take care of them both, but she was able to keep them safe. As far as she knew, they had always been and were still now hidden from anyone who might be looking for them both in this world and any other.
Walking into the small kitchen area, she opened a lower cabinet and took out a bottle of tequila while she grabbed a lime from the refrigerator. Carrying them both to the small dining table, she grabbed a glass from the dish drainer not caring which one it was.
She poured some amber liquid in the glass and cut the lime into wedges. Serena took a big swallow from the glass and bit into the lime afterward. She picked up the glass and turned it in her hand. She tried so damn hard, she did so much to get to where she was, why did it feel like the more she tried to succeed for them the more her brother tried to ruin it.
As she drank, her mind went into two completely different directions. First, she thought about the accident and the tragedy that happened that night. She second-guessed every decision that she made that night and since. She had done everything she could and knew, though it was hard, she had done her best.
She refilled her glass. Then she thought about the life she never got to live. The life that she tried to give her brother, but one that she knew she fell short on giving him. A chance to grow up in a normal, safe, suburban neighborhood like his parents had wanted for him. She dropped her head to her arms, lying on the table. She knew she failed him, but he was not innocent in this either.
Taking a last drink, she closed her eyes as the citrus hit her lips. “Oh Toby, why are you doing this to me…to us?” she whispered, tears welling in her eyes.
That night she had the dream. She thought she might, but she had hoped she wouldn’t. The dream had been the same one that she had for the last twelve years. It had been the same since before the accident. It haunted her, invading her nights uninvited. She just could not make it stop.
There was a circular room, everything was draped in white. Soft lighting caused everything to glow. She walked around in awe, even when she knew she had seen it all before. Even in the dream, she knew what was going to happen.
The people in the dream still scared her. She didn’t know why she felt such fear. Maybe it was their masks. Everyone except her was wearing a mask, covering half their face. Hearing them laugh, seeing their mouths smiling, teeth flashing but not seeing what they looked like, caused her equal parts fascination and fear. She wanted to run, every time she wanted to run, but something always caused her to stay.
She made her way around the ballroom. Some of the other guests shied away from her as if she were the one that scared them. Others acted like the catty teenagers that she went to school with, whispering and pointing behind their fans.
Turning around, she knew just where to look, because she knew he would be there, he was always there. Through the crowd she saw him. He looked so different from the others. First of all, he was the only other one unmasked. Second, while everyone else wore beautiful but muted colors, he was resplendent in a midnight blue coat that was encrusted with crystals all over it.
His wild blond hair should have looked out of place with his formal attire, but it didn’t. He looked alluring, sexy, dangerous, and perfect. She also knew exactly who he was. He was the Goblin King, and her heart skipped a beat at the sight.
She knew what would happen next as she was watching. He seemed to disappear. She thought that she saw wisps of glitter where he stood, but it was too far away for her to be sure. No matter how many times she saw it, she could never be sure.
Not wanting to continue, but she never seemed to have a choice, her feet took her on the same path that she traversed more time than she could count. Whenever she turned a corner, she saw him there. Sometimes standing seemingly alone, other times dancing or whispering with a woman or two. Whenever she saw him with another girl, wave after wave of what could only be called jealousy engulfed her. She did not want to feel jealous of those women. There was no reason for her to be jealous. Sarah kept telling herself that even though he was incredibly handsome she did not want him, and did not want any claim over him. She knew she was lying. She kept trying to remind herself of who he was and what he did, but it did not matter. It never did.
Finally, they were face to face. He was standing with a woman on either side of him, and they were leaning on him possessively. She wanted to turn on her heel and march out of there with her head held high. She wanted to tell him off. She found she could do neither.
Like every time she had the dream before, he moved away from the women and stepped towards her. Without a word, he took her in his arms and began to dance her around the dance floor. He never asked her to dance, no not him, he simply took her hand and led her into the dance.
She did not know how long they danced. It could have been mere moments or it could have been hours. Knowing that it was wrong, that he was dangerous, didn’t stop her. She felt safe in his arms. Even now she felt safe. How could she feel safe? How could she feel safe with him?
Then her brain registered the music as they twirled around the floor. The song seemed to be in the middle, so it must have been playing before. How did she not notice the music? She knew why, because of him. The sight, smell, and feel of him had blocked out everything else. Why did she only now notice the music, she knew the answer to that too, because he was now singing along with it.
She knew the song, every word was burned into her memory. He made promises as he held her close, mornings of gold, valentine evenings, that he would be there for her when the world falls down.
It had all been a lie. He never was there when the morning came, golden or otherwise. Not the first time, and never after any of the dreams. Her evenings were lonely even when she was with someone. None of them could be compared with a valentine. For a valentine implied a deep feeling of love. She knew that no one she had been with she loved. Not that she had a basis for comparison. It was important not to get close to anyone, and she had done that for years. Until Brad came into her life. She liked him, she could even say she cared about him. She could possibly see herself marrying Brad, but she could not honestly say she loved him. No, no more valentine evenings for her, not after this one twelve years ago.
And as for being there for her as the world fell down, that was a joke. Her world fell down all right. Eleven years ago, her life as she knew it ended. Her world did not just fall down, it imploded, crumbled into dust. Was he there? Oh, he was there, alright but he wasn’t there for her. She picked up the pieces, she grabbed the cards she was dealt, and ran with them.
She could feel tears stinging her eyes, because just like that night so long ago, she wanted to believe him. He looked so powerful, so sure of himself, and she wanted to believe that he meant what he said. It had all been a lie.
As the song was reaching the end, she also knew what would happen next. She spied the clock over his shoulder. She wrenched herself out of his arms and evaded his hands as he reached for her again. Running through the room, she reached the reflective wall. Taking a breath, she grabbed a white chair, picked it up, and swung. As the crystal wall shattered instead of falling through the hole she made, like she did that night, she would wake with a start.
When she finally awoke suddenly, just like every other time, she was sobbing softly. Looking around, she was in her bed on the couch wrapped in blankets like a mummy. The masked guests were gone. The ballroom had disappeared. She was alone again, just as she had been for the last eleven years. She also felt her heartache, just like it did every time she thought of him or saw him in her dreams.
And she hated herself for it. She hated herself for still loving him. How could she love him, the man that ruined her life? The man who killed her family? The man who tried to kill her brother? The man who had tried to kill her? But as much as she hated herself, she couldn’t stop the ache deep inside her, and she knew she would never stop loving him.
In his chambers in his castle, Jareth the Goblin King woke with a start. It took him a minute to realize where he was and that he was alone. He was dreaming again. He never dreamed unless it was of her. Why did he torture himself with dreams of the one he could never have, the one he would never see again? They were only with him a short time, but he had come to love them both. He wanted Toby for his heir, even rechristening him Jareth after himself. But the girl, she was the one he had been waiting for. She was the one to be his queen.
When he had heard of their deaths, he had mourned as much as he could. He had given them rights himself. Those that had known them had mourned them also, but none like him. He might have been able to get over her death and move on, to try to find another, if it wasn’t for those damn dreams. They made him remember the love that he had, the love that he had lost, and remind him that he would never feel love like that again.
Alone in the dark of his chambers, the Goblin King did what he could only remember doing when he was thinking, dreaming, and remembering her…he cried.
A/N: So I hope you get the idea of who Serena and Tony are...explanations are coming. There will be some flashbacks that will hopefully make things clear and answer the questions you have. Please let me know what you think with a comment. Kudos are always appreciated.