Continuing Tales

As Easy Mayst Thou Fall

A Labyrinth Story
by kzal

Part 19 of 24

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As Easy Mayst Thou Fall

They appeared, as usual, at her threshold, still holding each other. Sarah had closed her eyes for the transport, but now she opened them, looking up into his face. She felt suddenly very shy. She stepped closer, holding him tighter, and he responded, his arms tightening from his so-gentle hold as he looked down into her face, curious and a bit wary. She took a deep breath, and bit her lip; her tongue traced out to moisten lips that had gone abruptly dry. She opened her mouth to speak, but could say nothing. How could she put into words what he needed to hear? What she needed to hear? She'd thought she had a plan, but it now seemed painfully inadequate. He was so beautiful, so powerful, so self-sacrificing, so worthy of every good thing. And everything in her screamed that he was all those wonderful things, and he wanted her. She had the power to hurt him. She had the power to heal him. If she rejected him, if she threw him away, what would become of him then? After having her, could he give her up? Did she want him to? A voice whispered that she needed his love, as much as he needed hers. Her breathing picked up, her heart hammering in her chest; surely he could feel it. Now was the time to ask him, now was the time to tell him, but her voice caught in her throat as her mind pressed ahead into what would follow his admission, the admission she was sure was coming. He would press her back to the door and hold her wrists and his mouth would come down and….

She blinked, a quick fluttering of eyelids, and at that break in eye contact his eyes moved to search her face, lingering on her lips. She knew he could sense how nervous she was, and most likely her desire as well. She had made it clear, she thought, on that sandy hill, that tonight was not a night for teasing to go unfulfilled. And much as she'd wanted reassurance of his love, as well as acceptance of his work, it seemed her body was leaps and bounds ahead of her mind, willing to take his caring actions as proof that his heart was with her.

She had things to ask him, and perhaps to tell him, about her first time in the Labyrinth and all the years since. But now, standing so intimately close, so very ready to give in, she wasn't thinking of the things she should be saying to him. While one part of her mind played the fantasy, the part that was present and still searching for words was thinking, instead, of his warm chest, partly bare, pressed against hers, the planes of his back where she held him, the softness of his shirt a perfect complement to the smooth muscles beneath. Her fingers moved, without her command, pressing into his back below his shoulder blades. Thinking also of his sacrifice, his pride, his gift of himself.

This was that spark, just like in her fantasies. The longer she stayed silent, not moving, the tension mounting between them, the more his expression changed. Wary curiosity gave way to a flash of wonder; wonder turned dark as he searched her face, taking in her reactions, the arousal she was just now giving herself permission to feel completely. She'd touched him so many times, and pushed it away; now it seemed all that repressed desire was cresting in her, drawing her forward with all the unavoidable power of a tidal wave—and all its potential for destruction. If they—and then—and he didn't—then she would regret—but she didn't know how to stop.

This was that look, the look she'd seen at the concert, the one she had wanted from him, all those days ago. He was drinking her in, openly: attraction, need, sensual appreciation, lust. Power. And something else, too, something that kept him from just pushing, now; something that was waiting for her okay. She could feel his heart pounding, too, in time with her own. She knew he'd been patient, so very long, lying beside her and not truly touching her, not pressuring her, even when she'd teased him in the Field of Doors. Now his hands were moving, stroking up and down her back, pressing her close: not overtly sexual, but neither was it the gesture of a friend: it was repressed desire, seeking outlet. Passion and need and loneliness and maybe a bit of lingering hurt anger, in need of healing. And on her side, passion as well; and trust and selflessness and bone-deep need to grab her dreams in both hands and make them real.

His head lowered, just a fraction. Maybe he was staring at her breasts, maybe the wait was too much for him; she didn't know. She didn't care. He was in reach. She pressed up on her toes and caught his lips with hers and he must have been going in for a kiss after all because he didn't start in surprise or pull away. His fingers dug into her back as she opened her mouth and welcomed him in, their first kiss in brutal variation, bruising instead of gentle, his tongue demanding, his teeth on the point of drawing blood.

She battled back, within the kiss, seeking some measure of control; he pushed her, bodily, backing her into the door as she'd imagined him doing just moments—or was it minutes?—ago. Her hands were clutching at his shirt, at his shoulders; one leg wrapped, of its own accord, around his calf. Time stopped; there was nothing but him, against her, his pleasant assault, her equal response. He pulled away, finally, gasping, drawing in deep, ragged breaths as he trailed kisses along her jaw, down her neck. She arched into him, letting her head fall back.

"Do not tease me, Sarah," he growled against her throat, nipping, sucking. She'd have a mark. There was no one here to see. His hands slammed into the door on either side of her head and she jumped, her body pressing closer to him; he brought his leg forward and pushed her back, pinning her against the wood. "Not now; not tonight." He nibbled his way up her throat, making her gasp; it turned to a moan when he sucked her earlobe into his mouth, biting so hard it almost hurt.

"I… I… I…." She couldn't even get the sentence started; her mind was too taken up with what he was doing to her body. His hands ran down her arms, circled her hips, digging in. Summoning up her resolve, she pushed against his chest to make him back up, meeting his eyes and trying to catch her breath. "I don't mean to tease," she said swiftly. "No more." He kissed her again, hungrily, desperately, closing the gap she'd created, but ended it quickly, pulling back, breathing hard, as he, too, sought to form words. His forehead pressed to hers, as though he couldn't stand to be too far away.

"This is not all I—" he began, but she cut him off when he stopped to breathe.

"I know." This isn't all I want from you, either. She leaned in, kissing the corner of his mouth, across to his jawline, down the side of his neck.

"You were going to tell me—" he tried again.

"Later." My story can wait. Maybe it's better I show you. Her hands found the hem of his shirt, pulling it free so she could reach the bare skin beneath.

"Sarah, no more, or I—" She could hear the edge of his control.

"Don't stop." I'm sure.

He picked her up, then, wrapping her legs around his waist, holding her tightly by her thighs, pressing her back into the door. Her arms wrapped around his neck, her ankles crossed behind his back, pressing them closer, and she could feel him, finally, gloriously, as he thrust against her through their clothing. He pressed his mouth to hers, a messy kiss, his tongue flicking out to dominate hers, destroying their power of speech. Her head banged painfully against the wood as he thrust again, and she dropped one hand from his neck, reaching for the doorknob. Her door.

"Not here," she gasped, tearing her lips from his. He stared at her, incredulous, until she managed to add, "inside;" he grabbed her fumbling hand and helped her turn the knob. They pushed the door as one and he didn't let her go, just carried her in. He strode quickly to her chaise and they fell onto it; she yelped as his weight came down a bit too hard, crushing the breath from her lungs.

"Sorry," he breathed, kissing down her neckline.

"Don't," she answered, meaning don't worry, and then his hands—bare hands, when had he done that?—were sliding under the edge of her shirt and lifting it up over her head, flinging it away over his shoulder. His hands slid back down her arms, wrapping around behind her shoulders; she fisted both hands in his flowing collar and pulled him down for another kiss. Under her back, he flicked open the clasp of her bra and she spared a moment to wonder where he'd learned to do that so expertly. Maybe he'd studied modern clothing.

That answer was coming later, though, because he'd got her out of it and he had one breast in either hand, the rough pressure tearing another groan from her throat. She ran her hands up his back, and the loose material of his shirt fell across her breasts and his hands, wonderfully cool against heated skin. She'd never get tired of silk.

He'd had enough, though; he reached back and pulled it off in one smooth motion. She stared at his chest as she reached for his pants; she'd seen hints, of course, with the open shirts he favored, but the whole expanse of toned muscle was quite the view. But appreciation was quickly abandoned for annoyance.

"Do you paint these on?" She tugged at his waistband, but nothing happened. There were no fastenings. Giving up, she grabbed him through the cloth, and shivered at his readiness; oh yes, he wanted this, and now.

He'd gone still under her hand, holding himself up, his hands even with her waist, his head lowered. But after a moment he moved, quick as a snake, and grabbed her wrists, pushing her back to pin them over her head. His hands were shaking, and he leaned down, resting a moment in the hollow of her neck, his breath coming in short pants.

"Stop—Sarah I—" He breathed deeply, deliberately, and lifted to look down at her, speaking between kisses along her jaw, up to her temple. "Later. All you want. I promise. But for now—it has been too long—I—"

Ohh, so she was straining his control. She quirked an eyebrow: been too long?

"How long, then?" She shifted, deliberately, beneath him, her whole body a caress. His chest was wonderfully warm, against her breasts.

"Four hundred years? Perhaps longer." He ghosted kisses across her brow, not meeting her eyes. "And never someone who mattered."

"Jareth, I—"

"Hush, dear one. Ask me later. All you want, later, please." She almost laughed at the need in his voice; almost, but it was too flattering, too perfect, too exactly what she wanted to hear.

"Alright." She leaned back, and didn't touch him. Someone who mattered.

"To answer your other question, it is magic, not paint," he laughed, low, kneeling back to kiss her stomach as he reached for her more mundane clothing. She lifted her hips to help him along. "More comfortable that way."

"Oh." With this slight respite she was thinking maybe they really should talk first, but then he had her naked—where had her shoes gone?—and his tongue flicked out between her legs and she hooked one leg over the back of the chaise to give him space and oh, that was the end of rational thought for a little while.

His hands were everywhere, her thigh, her breast; hers were in his hair, holding him down, pulling back, adjusting the pressure. It was wonderful, more than wonderful, but she wanted—she wanted—

And then he was there, leaning over her, her hands still in his hair, his leg bare against her inner thigh. He lowered his hips and she could feel him, so close, hot, ready, hard. He lifted her, just slightly, positioning himself, and leaned forward to kiss her, reverent and slow.

"Jareth, please," she whispered, against his lips. "Don't stop."

He pressed into her, steady and complete, his head falling against her collarbone, and moaned, softly, a sound so faint it was almost a whimper. And then he moved, again, and harder, and so this is what people wrote stories about, this was that soaring height, the fulfillment of that glorious promise. She arched upwards, kissing his shoulder, his neck, her hands running up and down his back, his holding her hips, holding her steady. He raised his head and kissed her, and she let him carry her away.

"That... was not quite how I'd planned this to go," she said, laughing, some time later, her hands drawing lazy patterns on his back as he lay across her. He stirred, looking up at her curiously.

"What did you plan, my dear?" He'd called her that frequently, but her breath caught at the endearment as it hadn't before. It felt different, now. "Something about a story?"

"Yes..." she trailed off, "and I had another question... it was all sort of tied together." She ran a hand through his hair and he positively purred, twisting against her shoulder as her fingertips scrubbed across his scalp. She smiled, and kissed his forehead. They should be talking now, but somehow it seemed less important. She found she liked this new side of him; he'd been mischievous, before, but not playful. She'd never seen him quite so content.

As she came back to her body, fully, she shivered; she was naked and sweaty, the room was chilly, and suddenly she felt the day in the Labyrinth, dirt and sore muscles. A bath. A bath would be heaven. And they could talk.

"Get up," she said, poking him in the shoulder. He sat, as she requested, freeing her, watching her carefully.


She shook her head, and leaned in to kiss him, gently. "I just want to wash, Jareth. I was walking all day. And I think…" she stood, and reached both hands for him. "Come with me." She'd lost him when she stood, she saw, looking down to try to catch his eye. He was staring at her like a man dying of thirst. "Jareth?"

He grabbed her then, pulling her near, his head against her stomach. He held her tightly, as she hesitantly stroked his hair, for nearly a minute before he let go.

"My Sarah," he said softly, stroking a hand across her belly, down her hip. Then he shook himself, dislodging his mood. "Yes. I will go with you." She only meant the bath, but he said it like a promise for eternity.

He'd laughed, at her bathroom, and sounded a bit more like himself as he told her that it had arranged itself to suit her expectations and that faucets and drains were completely unnecessary; the tub filled and emptied magically. The fixtures merely worked as she expected them to. He waved a hand, and they were gone; the tub filled with steaming water. When she protested that she couldn't do it that way he shrugged and said he'd put it back later if the room didn't fix itself. And now they were relaxing together in the tub, Sarah leaning back on his chest, between his legs, his arm loose at her waist, occasionally caressing. He was hard again, against her back, but seemed content to leave it for now, taking pleasure instead in their close contact, in gentle caresses. They'd washed, and kissed, and she was thinking clearly again. It was time, and past time.


"Yes, my Sarah?"

"I was going to…."

"A story; I remember."

"I feel a little silly, now. But I think—"

"Just tell me." He pushed her hair away from her face, kissed her temple. She took a deep breath.

"Once upon a time," she began, "there was a beautiful young girl whose stepmother always made her stay home with the baby." She could feel his chuckle, more than hear it; his chest vibrated against hers. "And the baby was a spoiled child, and he wanted everything for himself, and the young girl was practically a slave." He tensed, inhaled, ready to interrupt; she stilled him. "More than anything else, the young girl loved fairy tales, and other stories of the fantastic, of worlds beyond her sad, lonely town." She sensed a change in him, a tension, as she broke from the standard tale. "And one of her favorite stories was the story of the Goblin King. In her favorite book, it said, 'But what no one knew, was that the King of the Goblins had fallen in love with the girl, and he had given her certain powers.' But in all the rest of the book, those 'certain powers' were never described. She wondered what they might be, and what they might mean, if the story had gone differently."

Here he stopped her. "But what the young girl did not know, was that the King of the Goblins was real. He could find those who read the tale, and he had been watching her. Every time he could, he watched her, as she practiced the heroine's lines in the park, and dreamed of making them real. And he was enchanted by her childlike innocence, still present on the cusp of adulthood." She stilled at his words; she'd always wondered, never known; it had seemed that he already knew her, when he'd stepped into Toby's room so long ago. She was grateful, also, that he was following her formula, now; she'd needed a way to get started, rather than just blurting out her question.

"But the girl did a foolish thing," she said, taking the story threads again. "Because, in her youth, she was spoiled, and selfish, and lonely."

"And the burden placed on her shoulders was great." He reached for her hand, where it rested on his knee, and interlaced his fingers with hers. She wanted to argue, but he didn't lie, and other things were more important. Besides, it was nice to hear that she hadn't just been a spoiled brat.

"She said the words from the book, to make the Goblins take him away, but nothing happened. She was almost disappointed. And then she made a wish."

"She used different words?"

"No. She said, 'I wish I did know what to say to make the goblins take you away.' In that moment, she thought she heard a whisper, but it was just on the edge of her hearing. Thinking her wish unfulfilled, and unable to quiet the child, who lacked for nothing, she turned to let him simply cry it out. Just as she turned out the lights, she said, 'I wish the goblins would come and take you away right now.' And the crying stopped, as quickly as her flick of the switch."

"The goblins are tied to the magic of the Wish," he said. "It is not unusual that they would hint at the right words."

"I wondered if you had done it."

"No," he said softly. She was quiet for a moment, then went on.

"The goblins did come, then, and their King. And she knew that everything about the story was real, and that no matter how she asked, he would not give her brother back unless she completed the Labyrinth. And in spite of everything, she loved the baby boy, and she wanted him back; she would run. But this is not the story of the girl's quest for her brother."


"No. That story has been told, more than once. This is the story of the Girl and the Goblin King." She took an unsteady breath. "Before she wished away her brother…. Every young girl imagines herself the heroine. The girl the Goblin King loved. She might have been an easy mark for the man who wrote the book." She shrugged, but his arms and legs tightened, possessively, around her, and he hissed in her ear, a wordless denial. "I'm here," she soothed. "Jareth."

He shook his head, where he'd brought it down next to hers, and loosened his grip. "I do not like the thought of him touching you. But he is gone. And I think also you were stronger and more stubborn than you give yourself credit for."

"Why?" She twisted, a little, to look at him.

He smiled, mysteriously. "I have had many challengers, over the years. Some who did quite well, even. But only you ever broke the Enchanted Dream."

She didn't like that, not at all. Had he taken others to that same ballroom? Had he sung, for others, that same song? "Do you dance with everyone, then?"

"No," he said, forcefully, and then, more quietly, "no. Neither is the dream the same for each dreamer. I am always present; dream manipulation on that scale is dangerous and if a dreamer went mad they would be no use to me when sent back Above." Ruthless. Practical. I can't ever forget that. "You were not the first I danced with, thanks to that little red book; you were not the first to imagine herself in the heroine's role."

Not the first to imagine that the Goblin King might love the girl. Her heart twisted.

"But you were the first I sang to," he went on. "The song—that was only for you." His arms were tight as iron bands, his lips against her cheek, her ear, her neck, kissing, biting; his whole body willing her to trust him. "And," he went on, "later… you are the only one I ever asked to stay." His hands were roaming now, caressing. She swallowed, believing him, and arched into his touch.

"After I left," she said, almost breathless, "I saw you. Sometimes. Was that real?"

"Yes. So brief. You were thinking of me. I can sense you wishing for me, even unconsciously, when you are Above." He had her breasts, now, and she pressed into his chest, moaning, as he twisted a nipple. "Hard to play a god, otherwise. But you had to say it, for me to stay. Because of…."

"Right." Was he distracting her on purpose? He must be. She took both his hands and lowered them, placing them on her stomach, trying for a bit of mental space. He started kissing the outside of her shoulder, working in towards her neck.

"Jareth... what I was saying before... I think I know, already, but I need to hear..."

"Ask, dear one," he mumbled, into her hair, his hand tracing patterns on her stomach, down her thighs.

"I know you said it was just the story… that you didn't even write the original tale. But Jareth, I have to know… Is it true, this time?" She paused, took a steadying breath; his hands stilled. "Did the Goblin King…" she trailed off; that was too impersonal. "Do you love me?"

He wrapped her tightly in his arms, his mouth behind her ear. "Since the first time ever I saw you." She could feel him swallow; he kissed her, where his mouth rested. "My Sarah." She closed her eyes, pleasure stabbing through her heart like pain, then twisted in his arms, not caring if she splashed, to kiss him fiercely. At her response he stood, lifting her bodily out of the tub; placing his hands at her waist he walked her quickly backwards until her knees hit the bed and bent of their own accord.

"More talking, after," he said, his hands running up and down her sides, over her rear. He was kissing her dry, his lips picking up bits of moisture that clung still to her cheeks, her brows, her eyelashes, and she was reaching to cup him, again; he growled when she grabbed him, and lifted her slightly to throw her into the middle of the bed, and she was lost, again, in his arms.

Spent from their second bout, they lay close together, recovering. She had ended up on her stomach, Jareth behind; now he was sprawled across her back, half his weight on the bed and half on her, a comfortable pressure. His head rested on her shoulder blade, his hair tickling her nose as she turned her face in his direction.

"More talking," she said softly, trying to get him to look at her. "About… me."

He had been completely limp, over her; now he tensed, a single trembling shiver rippling through him as he shifted to press his face into her neck.

"Please, Sarah…."

She pushed up, dislodging him slightly to turn in his arms. She needed to look him full in the face.

"Jareth. Look at me." He met her eyes. "I'll stay."

His eyes closed again, and he pulled her close; though she'd felt his earlier tremor, she was astonished to note that now he was shaking, so hard that she vibrated with it as well. She cuddled close, soothing him with her hands and hooking one leg behind his knees, so that they lay aligned. He kissed her, gently, like a promise, then simply held her, bringing his mouth to her ear.

"My Sarah; my beloved."

As Easy Mayst Thou Fall

A Labyrinth Story
by kzal

Part 19 of 24

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