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Title: What's in a Shirt?
Rating: E for Everyone
Summary: Sarah comes to a disturbing and perplexing realization about her sleepwear.
Author's Notes: My first foray into the world of writing Labyrinth fiction. This is brought about by the abundance of awesome pictures I've seen of Sarah lounging around in those huge, flowing poet's shirts of Jareth's. And then I realized that, given Sarah's dressing habits, and the 80's, she's probably got a stash of her own.

She didn't remember when she stopped wearing those loose, comfy poet's shirts that had adorned a third of her closet (and more often parts of her floor and bed). The change wasn't swift, or at least, didn't seem so to her. They just ceased being something that she wore around, and instead became something that she wore to bed.

Her father didn't take much notice one way or another. As long as his little girl was leaving the house clothed sufficiently, he didn't much care what was doing the clothing. Toby had been too young to remember Sarah wearing them regularly, though when he saw her in the mornings wearing one, he always got the faint urge to smile and clap his hands together.

Her stepmother noticed first, and was delighted by the change, although after the first time, she took care to not mention it with too much enthusiasm. She saw it as a sign that Sarah had finally started to give up clinging so fiercely to her childhood.

When Karen had first mentioned it, her eyes dancing with visions of makeup and shopping trips, and maybe even some step-mother/daughter bonding time, Sarah had looked up from her cereal, mouth hanging a little agape. She looked down at her faded t-shirt and jeans, and at the mismatched socks she was hiding under the cuffs until she could shove them into her sneakers, and wondered for a moment why and when this had happened.

It plagued her throughout the day. Her brain danced around the problem in World History, wondering just when she had stopped. In her math course, she determined a point at which things might have changed. In English, she refused to contemplate further that particular point because to think of it gave it power, and to give it power, she would have to acknowledge quite a few things. Like why half of her sock pairs kept going missing, and why she still poured her heart out in the depth of the night to friends who should have been, by all rights, imaginary.

By the time that she arrived home, Sarah was in turmoil. She didn't like looking back at the last few years and realizing that every single night she'd slept, it had been cocooned in a large, loose poet's shirt. Dinner was eaten brooding, and Karen had the decency to not mention any of her plans for stepmother/daughter bonding time. Homework was done with a scowl on the couch before Sarah headed up to her room for the night.

There, she stared down the shirt she'd thrown off that very morning. So soft, so comfortable. She scowled and resisted, barely, the urge to stomp her foot. She wouldn't do it. Sarah tossed the shirt off her bed, and grabbed instead a pair of old pajamas that she changed into. The flannel was soft against her skin, but felt wrong somehow.

Ignoring the sensation, she brushed her teeth, washed her face, and settled into bed with this week's book she'd liberated from the school library. She'd read until she felt sleepy, just like every night. 11:00. 11:30. Sarah turned restlessly, trying to find a more comfortable position to prop the book up. Midnight.

She whimpered. Her eyes were heavy, but sleep still eluded her. She stared at the ceiling, after setting her book to the side, drifting in and out. 3:00. 4:47. 5:32. When her eyes opened to 6:13, Sarah gave a frustrated little scream. Her eyes were gritty, lids heavy. It felt like she'd not slept a wink. But, she noted with a small sense of triumph, her night shirt—former night shirt, was still crumpled on the floor.

Sarah went another week, each night going to bed after having a small staring contest with shirt, but it lay abandoned each night. And each morning she woke far earlier than she would have normally, and barely rested. By the end of her school week, Sarah was barely awake in the vast majority of her classes, and her father and Karen had been shooting each other worried looks over dinner for the past several days.

She staggered up the stairs, leaving her homework and bookbag by the couch, and entered her room. The poet shirt was spread out across her bed, creamy and inviting. Something nearing a whine escaped her throat. Her shoes were off and the shirt was in her hands before she even registered what she was doing.

She stopped, looking between the familiar shirt in her hands and the flannel pj set she'd been wearing for the last week. Well, she reasoned. I did prove that I don't have to sleep in it. The loose sleeves, the cotton so thin it was like silk across her skin beckoned to her.

Sarah was settled into bed with her third book of the week in record time, the poet shirt wrapping her in warmth and familiarity. Her flannel pjs lay forgotten in the corner. At 9:30, Sarah's eyes began to drift shut, and she resolved to spend sometime this weekend talking to her friends, and perhaps making the attempt to recover some of those missing socks. She was asleep moments later, book fallen in her lap and still propped up against her pillows.

Her light snores permeated the room, a small smile on her face. There was a movement outside her window, and if she'd been awake, Sarah would have caught a glimpse of white wings. And a grin. If owls could grin.
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August 2011

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