Continuing Tales

Of Cupid and Psyche

A Labyrinth Story
by Chibi-no-oneesan

Part 10 of 16

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Sarah had been home for more than a week. A long, tiring ten days.

The hospital had been more than slightly reluctant to release her, claiming that her sight could go at any time, her memory might still be fluid and that she should stay awhile longer, 'just in case'. Her father had told them all to stuff it, since, in his own words, they'd been completely inept, neglectful, and never even figured out why her sight had left her in the first place. They'd simply run test after test, never even hinting they were any closer to an answer, but always swearing that the next test would 'help'. Her mother and step-mother both seconded that statement and Sarah herself explained that she'd be better off at home where they couldn't continue to stick her with pointy things.

So, despite their great reluctance, the hospital released her.

She'd have been lying if she said finding herself only moments further forward in time than the moment she'd been wished away wasn't something of a shock. Still, it was a relief, because she was able to slide back into her life with relative ease. No one besides Toby knew she'd been gone in the first place.

Only her baby brother knew she'd been a guest in another realm.

Yes, she slid back into her life easily, but now her mind drifted nearly constantly back to that month she'd spent in the Underground, under the protection of the Goblin King. She'd found that crystal necklace still around her neck when she'd been left alone for the first time and had clung to it for dear life, afraid that it might vanish. Whatever enchantment had been on it must have gone by now, because he didn't come to her side. She didn't call out to him, but simply having that pendant was like a constant reminder that for a little while she'd had something she never thought she would.

She'd had someone she found that she could love. She'd always loved Jareth, had always known he was the only man who could really be what she needed in a man. Knight and villain all in one. The first night in her home, she'd lay on her bed, staring at that figurine which so resembled the sovereign, trying to deny the tears on her cheeks, as she remembered the pain he'd felt as he'd let her go. She hadn't been able to demand it of him, had almost hoped he would turn villain and refuse to let her leave, but he'd simply held her and...let her go.

It wasn't a test, not really. She somehow knew that he would, but she'd hoped he would at least try to convince her to stay, or even ask her to come back. He didn't say anything. Not with his voice. But the feelings that had poured off of him...

Feeling his emotions had nearly killed her.

Since she'd been home, she gone to the library several times and when home, found herself on the end of curious glances. Her father often commented she seemed like she was in a different world. She kept staring into space, wondering if Jareth was alright, if he was thinking of her, and hoping that if he was that it was not with anger.

Her trips to the library had not been wasted. She scoured the books for anything she could find about people who disappeared 'beyond the veil'. Everything from goblins to will o' the wisps, any way she might bridge the gap between their worlds and go back. Her family, was fine after all. She couldn't just disappear on them, had to let them know where she was going so they wouldn't worry, but she couldn't live here for the rest of her life after having for a short, precious month at the side of the Goblin King.

Finally, she reached a decision and a short time later, she took her brother to that same park where she'd always play-acted as a girl. She put Toby in her lap and told him a new story, her story. The story of her most recent adventure. She kept it simple, appropriate for someone at the tender age of seven. Towards the end of the story, she drifted off, until Toby pulled away and turned towards her, a small frown pulling down his lips.

"Sarah," he asked, seeming confused and perhaps a bit uncomfortable. "Why did you come back? If you loved him, why would you leave him? And if you had to...why didn't you tell him you'd come back?"

She lowered her gaze, her heart aching a bit. She'd known the question would come, but she hadn't wanted to answer just yet. She was still building up the strength to say goodbye. Finally, she lifted her gaze, looking at the boy on her lap. "I came back because I love you, too. By his time, I'd been gone a full month. I don't know if he reordered time or something, but here it was only moments. I didn't know when I asked. I thought everyone here would be worried, wondering where I was."

She sighed when her brother frowned. Gently, she cupped his cheeks, looking down into his face. "I thought you might be in danger. He knew that and I...I hope he understands that I couldn't just leave you hanging. I wanted you to know I was okay, and see that you were okay as well. Your wish saved my eyes, my mind, and my live. If you hadn't wished me to him...I might have never had the courage to go back myself. Thank you, Toby."

His eyes turned thoughtful, then the deep pools of azure brightened. "You mean, you're going to go back?"

She gave him a smile. Even to her it felt wobbly and tremulous. "If he'll have me."

"Are you going to wish yourself to him?" Now, her brother looked downright excited.

She gave a small smile and shook her head. "No. I...I want to surprise him. When I asked to leave I was too preoccupied with worrying about you and I think I proved his worst fear without meaning to." She bit her lip, hugging the boy close to her chest and resting her chin on his head. "Toby, let's go home. We can go home and eat with the family and...I'll tell everyone that I'm going away for awhile at least." She released him and stood, offering her hand to the boy, her eyes warm. "Let's go home."

He smiled up at her, taking her hand, letting her pull him to his feet. "Okay, Sarah. But that overgrown git better at least let you come to visit now and then!"


Morgaine tapped her long fingernails impatiently on the armrest of the chair. It had been almost two weeks since she'd left her son's home last. Now, she sat in a safe-house that was on the other side of the realm, hidden from her half-brother's foolish guards.

They'd thought to take her unawares. Those foolish creatures had less magic in their blood than her fool of a nephew Mordred. He was useless, absolutely useless. It had taken him six years to find the girl who'd broken her son's heart and even then, for whatever reason, the death curse inside that sphere hadn't taken her at the expected time.

From what she'd gleaned, Jareth had taken Sarah to Avalon, meaning that Caledonensis had no doubt had a hand in saving her. Jareth had never needed that knowledge, so she'd known it would not be taught to him. No doubt, however, her son had told the High King that she'd cursed that wretched female. Frustrated, she lifted a hand, chewing lightly on her thumbnail. Her other hand continued to tap the chair in agitation.

He'd betrayed her. Her own son. He didn't seem to understand she was only doing this for his own good. The girl had it coming. Well, regardless. The girl would have obeyed the illusion of Jareth, wouldn't have known to question the orders given to her, and so by now, she was roaming the dangerous Underground, blind, memories continuing to fade. Her son was paying for his betrayal by experiencing the second betrayal by that blasted female.

She called in a mirror, peering into it. It hadn't surprised her when the rage had washed over her, only moments before reaching the heavily shielded safe-house. Once she'd entered, however, she'd been cut off. She wanted to watch the boy languish a bit before she went to him, offered him her help, her hand, once more. Offered him that awful wretch Alura, only because the girl would never dare to defy him. He would forget that awful child Sarah, and-

She stared, stunned, noting that her son looked remarkably placid. Calm even. The fury she'd felt eating him when no doubt, he'd found the girl in his room, seemed a vague memory. He lounged in his throne, surrounding by goblins which seemed torn between having a party and preparing one. There was even a faint smile playing around his lips as he sat there in that boneless manner. One goblin ran past her view, wearing a floral crown around it's ears and her heart stopped.

That was the design commonly used for a hand-fasting. She'd used a similar design for her own so long ago!

Horror filled her and she broke the contact before her son could notice he was being watched. She snapped the girl's name towards the glass and found herself staring at a warm family dinner, with several adults, two children and that Sarah. Her eyes were green, glittering, defiant. She was speaking to her family softly, but Morgaine could not tell what she was saying.

How was it possible? How had this girl managed to break the curse? The wretch was no longer with her son, but what had happened between that impassable rage that Jareth had felt and now? Love was supposedly the only way to break the spell, but she refused to believe that those two even knew what love was. It simply wasn't possible.

Suddenly, green eyes lifted, looked at her, echoed by a blue pair, and she found the girl and her brother both staring at her. Morgaine felt a surge of fear and quite suddenly, her mirror shattered in her hand.


Sarah relaxed slightly when the sensation of being watched ended. She there was a flash of fear she felt through that hold in the veil and then it was abruptly cut off. She glanced around the table to see if anyone had noticed her staring seemingly into space, and found her brother staring into the same direction, wearing an expression of undisguised malevolence.

She reached over, gently resting a hand on her brother's shoulder and caught something sharper than the feelings she'd gotten while in the Underground. She heard him. He was agitated, angry, and when he looked towards her, she saw a feral expression in his eyes that reminded her of Jareth when he was feeling protective of something.

She's not the Goblin King. She's the one that doesn't like us.

Sarah swallowed hard, moving her hand to his, gently holding her brother's small hand. Remembering what Calendonensis had taught her about channeling, she tried to send a feeling of peace to her brother. His eyes grew sad and he squeezed her hand. She felt him growing calmer and leaned over, gently kissing her brother on the forehead.

Then, she straightened, finding her families eyes upon her suddenly. She looked at them, taking a deep breath. "I've been doing a lot of thinking this week." She wasn't certain how she managed to speak with the intensity of the stares she was receiving from her four parental figures. "I'm twenty one now, and most women my age have seen something of this world. I'm not like other women, and I...I know that. I'm awkward here. It's almost like I don't belong here."

Startled expressions. Worry on Karen's face. Understanding on her mother's. Robert and Jeremy had that same sharp intensity. Sarah swallowed, lowering her gaze and played with her fingers, breaking the gaze. "I know you all probably wont believe me, but...I want to tell you a story."

Toby gave her hand a reassuring squeeze and she glanced towards him. He gave her a toothy smile and nodded. She smiled back and took a deep breath.

"The story starts six years ago..." Haltingly, Sarah told her family the story, unable to look them in the eyes until she was about midway through her story. Karen looked officially lost, but the others...There was knowledge on those faces. Understanding that went above and beyond belief. They didn't simply believe her, they knew she was telling the truth. Her father had a slight tightening around his mouth, betraying restrained emotion. Her mother was gripping Jeremy's hand, tears in her eyes. Jeremy most of all, however. Jeremy, who had features that were a startling amount like the Goblin King's.

She slowly trailed off around the time her brother wished her into the protection of the Goblin King and stared at them. She heard Karen questioning her further, but the sound of her voice had faded into the background as she stared down the table at her parents and Jeremy. "You...know about the Underground."

Jeremy's brow shot up into his hair line. With a sigh, he leaned back, rubbing the back of his neck. "I told you that you should have told her ages ago, Linda." He said quietly. "I seem to recall telling you that, as well, Robert..." He leaned forward, resting his chin onto his hand, elbow on the arm of the chair. "What would you say if I told you that it is not uncommon for people born on one side of the veil to make a choice and cross to the other side?"

Her jaw dropped and she stared at him. "Well, Jareth said something about immigration laws, but...You're telling me people from the-" She stopped, looking at him, noticing for the first time that in this room of people whose emotions were so intense, Jeremy felt muted, much like those in the Underground had. "You're...You came from the Underground."

He gave a half-smile. "It is not as uncommon as you may think. Many residents of the Underground cannot find what they seek there and come here in hopes that they will. I'd seen you mother many times in that very park you favor. The veil is very thin there, and it's easy to sense the humans that are there. Your mother had her own magic, a magic that is rare even in the Underground. It's called imagination, and it's a gift she passed on to you."

Her eyes moved towards her father. "That's not the only magic I seem to have. I seem to be empathic. Very empathic. It's getting stronger, and with...others here it's almost like I'm hearing thoughts."

"Not surprising." Jeremy smirked, a look that made him look even more like the Goblin King. "Your father has some Underground lineage as well. On his mother's side. She was a cousin of mine, a few times removed."

She lowered her gaze, sighing softly. Her brother patted her hand gently. "I'm going to the Underground. I'll find out what I have to do to formally immigrate there. I...I love Jareth, and if he'll have me, I'm going to marry him."

Robert stood abruptly, beginning to pace. "Sarah, you don't understand what you're doing. The Underground will change you. You'll...stop aging. Everyone here, we'll fade away. We'll die, and you'll keep going forever. Do you understand what you're sacrificing for this man you barely know?"

Sarah lifted her face, her lips turning up into a sad smile. "I understand, dad. But can you understand what I'll be sacrificing if I don't go?"

He slumped and put his hands on the table. "Karen, some sense into her-"

Karen, who was obviously having difficulty swallowing all of this knowledge all at once took an unsteady breath. "If what I've just heard is true, Robert...I can't. Sarah is an adult, capable of making her own choices. I can't see the harm in her making this one. You...haven't seen how unhappy she is with boys from this town. She's gone through every extreme, trying to find this one type that doesn't seem to be here."

Robert paced away. "And what if you can't come back and visit, Sarah? What if something happens and you die, and we never know? Or we die? Or Toby?"

Sarah fisted her hands into the tablecloth. "I knew you'd take this the hardest," she said, keeping her voice soft. "You were the only one who has always been there. Mom...made her choices when she was young, and Jeremy barely knows me. Karen has been here for half my life, but've always been there. But you can't change my mind Dad. You ask me what happens? If any of you die, I'll know it. I'll...I'll feel it. And visitation laws be damned, I'll pull every string I've got and I'll be there with you all for the end." She saw him open his mouth to object and smiled. "Trust me, dad. I've got some pretty heavy duty strings over on that side."

Jeremy's eyes brightened in interest. "Heavy duty, eh? How heavy duty, young one?"

Her back straightened. "The Goblin King, The High King and his Queen, and...Caledonensis..."

Brown eyes widened and the man sagged back into his chair. "Those are some impressive Underground connections."

Robert stared at her.

She stood. "I'm going up to my room. I'm going to call my friend, Hoggle. He'll help. He wont like it, but he'll help me." She dusted off her jeans, looking towards her brother. "You gonna come wish me good luck, squirt?"

He smiled up at her, grabbing her hand and dragging her up the stairs.

The others followed, curious, confused. Sarah's half-sister followed close behind, eyes shining in mischief. She heard questions and mostly ignored them, stepping past her brother and into her room. She slipped on her most comfortable hiking boots and stood before her mirror, hands trembling in anticipation. "Hoggle. I need you."

His leathery face appeared in her mirror and cries of shock went up when he crawled through the glass and spilled half of what rested on her desk to the floor. He approached her, his pale blue eyes looking up at her with a critical look. "You look a damn sight better than when I saw ya last." He walked around her, frowning a bit. "It looks like that arrogant jerk did you some kinda good, at least..."

She knelt, hugging her friend. "Jareth was very good to me." She pushed him away a bit, searching his eyes. "He's sort of why I called you..." She saw understanding in his eyes, and remembered he didn't particularly care for the monarch. "He mentioned something about tests that immigrants have to take to remain in the Underground, to prove that they're not their involuntarily..."

The dwarf's eyes grew until they were as big as dinner plates. "Immigrants – Sarah, are you askin' what I think you're askin'? Why I think you're askin'?"

She nodded, smiling at him. "I'm planning on going to the Underground to stay." She lifted a finger when he opened his mouth to object. "I know, Hoggle. There are other things I have to do, too, but for now, I need to find out what I might be facing in these tests." She stood, turning, hugging each relative in turn. When she reached her father, she hugged him especially tightly. "It'll be okay, dad."

"You shouldn't do this, Sarah." He whispered back, his voice fierce.

"Stop it, Dad." Toby's voice came from below them. "She wants to go. Really, you're lucky she told you at all!"

Everyone stared at Toby, startled. Sarah merely pulled from her father and knelt, hugging her brother tightly. "Thanks, Toby. I'll miss you."

"Try to visit soon."

"Of course." She kissed his forehead and released him, turning towards her friend. "Hoggle, I want to go back, to be with Jareth. I know you don't care for him, but will you please help me?"

The dwarf gave a sigh that matched the resigned expression on his face. "Only because it's for you, little lady. The goblins been acting especially wild these past few days. Like they's plannin' for something big. Guess they were..." He offered his hand and a weak smile. "Come on, let's go through the mirror."

She set her hand in his, smiling brilliantly at him, then let him lead her through the mirror. Just before she disappeared completely, she turned back one last time and smiled wildly. "Goodbye." She whispered, and was gone.

Robert felt Karen's hand slip into his own and clung to it desperately. "I just hope she's not making a potentially bad decision..." He whispered, pressing his face into his wife's hair.


It had been more than a month now he'd returned to his own castle, Sarah at his side, and around three weeks since Sarah had left to return to the Above. She had not called upon him, but now and then, he could feel her, knew she was holding onto the crystal pendant he'd given to her. It was a pleasantly maddening sensation, because it felt like she was right beside him. Yet she was not. Her warmth was not there.

It was the worst when he woke to that sensation in the middle of the night or morning, thinking that she truly was at his side, only to find her gone. Twice after that, he'd destroyed a room in the castle. His housekeeper finally showed up one day to chastise him for undoing all her hard work and threatened that if he tore up one more room beside his own, she was going to make him use his own damn magic to fix it.

Now, for reasons unknown to him, he was in his palanquin, on his way back into Avalon. Two day ago, he'd received a notice that there was to be a gathering of the court. The whole court. He hoped that this meant that his mother had finally been apprehended, however, he knew it was likely too good to be true. There were really too many reasons to call a full court together.

He stared out across the city as he approached it, tapping his boot restlessly with that crop-like scepter, a hand hiding his frown from everyone else. The city was a reminder of the sweeter times with Sarah, they'd spent much of that month she'd been here in his brother's castle. Here, the memories were not colored by her former experience in the Labyrinth, by her rejection of him.

His goblins had been very upset that he'd been called away again, so soon after his last absence. He knew that at least in part, it was because Morgaine had seen fit to come into the castle while he'd been away in Avalon last month. Since then, he'd often caught the sensation of being watched and knew that only his mother dared to do something like spy on him.

He was agitated by being called away. For the past few weeks, there had been an impression of the whole of the Underground holding it's breath. The air had blossomed with a strange tension, which reminded him of a tidal wave, growing ever taller, waiting to finally crest, likely taking the realm by storm in the process. Mixed in the tension was a sensation of discomfort, that something was on the verge of going horribly and completely wrong.

He realized after a moment, the tapping had increased in speed with his growing unease. It was an old habit, something he did unconsciously when he was thinking about something. He could not break the habit, although he'd tried frequently at his mother's prompting. She'd often told him that it was befitting for a king to look so agitated.

A knot of tension was beginning to form between his shoulder blades as he grew closer to the castle at the center of the city. He sighed, looking up at it. His heart had begun to tremble with anticipation, a sensation he understood no better than the strange finger-snap summons he'd received from his uncle. As the palanquin began to stop, he left it, striding up the steps, already agitated from the feelings he was feeling. He tore off his traveling cloak, tossing it at the butler, whatever his name was. He didn't even cast the man a second glance. "Gwenny! Arty!"

Arthur appeared at the top of the steps, obviously dressed for a day in court. "You've arrived. I'm relieved." He moved towards him, falling waving a hand to a few of the servants, indicating that they should move his luggage into a room.

Jareth almost snarled at his uncle in upset. "What the devil is this finger-snap summons for? Why is the court gathering? My goblins were most annoyed by my abrupt departure. Who knows what manner of mischief they'll get into as a result!" He ran a hand through his hair in frustration, realizing that while he was also a king, he was yelling at a man who outranked him, putting being family and a friend aside. "Forgive me, I'm tense."

Arthur gave him a look of amused sympathy. "I'm afraid that a request has been placed before the court." There was a look of restrained amusement on his uncles face. "The full court. Meaning every member of the court must be there, even a minor king. I'm sorry to pull you away so soon after your return to your kingdom."

Jareth gave a soft sigh. "Very well. I must go bathe and change. I am not adequately presentable to be at court. Give me an hour." He walked past his uncle, stopped only when a hand wrapped gently around his bicep. "What now, Arthur?"

The older king had a sly look about him. "Take an hour and a half. You'll be glad you did."

Jareth rolled his eyes, walking down the hall. He pulled down his formalwear, laying it out on his bed and staring down at it, without seeing it. The last time he'd worn this, it was when Sarah had been here. He lifted it to his nose, breathing in deeply, finding the scent of her perfume still lingered where her skin had touched. He shook his head, setting it down and looked around the room they'd placed him in. There was a door, which implied another room connected to this one, and he decided to investigate it later. Right now, he was so weary, he could scarcely think straight.

He moved towards the connecting bathroom, taking a long soak, followed by a short shower, relieved when his own scent did not offend him. For some reason, he was taking the advice his uncle had given him, lingering at his vanity, making sure his appearance was just so, before he left his room.

Wait staff whispered as he passed, quiet little whispers, mixed with knowing smiles. He was not certain he approved of being further food for the rumors here, and wondered what on earth was going on.

He finally reached the entrance to the room where the court took petitions, and rolled his shoulders. "Bloody hell, let's get this mess over with..." he muttered, pushing the doors open with his hands, using a little magic to aid muscle, sending them crashing back against the walls so hard that those in the room jumped, startled. He strode in, the knee-length cloak flowing behind him as he moved forward. It was held closed by the emblem of his station.

As he moved through the room, his head held high, he heard the same general comments he always heard at court. The single queens, princesses, and ladies of the court murmured approval, which was common. The younger kings, princes and gentlemen of the court, however...

"I don't see why we had to invite the king of such a backwater nation as the Goblin Kingdom..." Lance muttered as he passed him. Jareth paused, turning towards him and sent him a look of amusement.

He never got a chance to return fire. Arthur entered, Guenevere at his arm, her other hand resting lightly upon her stomach. Arthur gave Lance a slashing look. "Jareth was invited because he is a member of this court, and a king. By the way, you should watch how you speak to those who out-rank you." He led his queen towards Jareth.

Politely, he bowed before his aunt, taken by surprise when the woman threw her arms around him. He gave Lance a look of further amusement, gently patting his aunts back. "You look pale, Gwenny," he said quietly, returning his attention back to his aunt.

"I've been throwing up all morning. The doctor says it's normal." She gave a weak shrug.

"Well, if you decide you need to in the presence of the court, I can make sure that it lands on Lance, over there." He smirked, leading her towards the front, behind his uncle.

She gave him a look of amusement. "That's what your uncle said."

They separated at the thrones, and Jareth went off to the side to take his own seat. Mentally, he reminded himself to let Sarah know that her suspicion was correct. He smiled at the pair, but his happiness was twinged with sadness for himself. If he ever saw her again. Why hadn't she called on him yet?

He was so torn up thinking about it, he didn't even notice the next group that entered until they stopped, in the center of the room, obviously those who would vouch for the presence of the petitioner in the Underground. His eyes flickered over them, completely struck mute.

Hoggle stood at the front of the group, shaking, obviously petrified from fear, but his back was straight. His lips were firmed, likely from suppressing his emotions. Sir Didymus stood behind and beside the dwarf, looking ever the part of the knight. Ludo lumbered behind Hoggle, making the smaller creatures look even smaller still.

Jareth licked his lips, his eyes shooting towards Arthur and Guenevere, his heart already hammering in his chest.

Arthur stood. "A petition has been placed before the court. Let the petitioner enter." His command echoed faintly in the room, no doubt enhanced by magic.

Jareth felt that feeling of anticipation swell, heard confused murmurs around the room, even as the opened, revealing the figure of a young lady, cast mostly in shadow. She was wearing denim pants, a white poets shirt and a dark brown vest. Jareth saw nearly black brown hair hanging over one of those shoulders. Before she fully entered, he knew who he was looking at. Disbelief and hope warred inside of him as he stared at her, each step bringing her further into this circle of people.

"Sarah..." he whispered when her glittering green, defiant eyes dared anyone to object to her presence in that court. She didn't glance towards him, kept her eyes resolutely forward as she stepped into the center of that circle. Her back was straight, her head held high. He watched her come to a full stop, and rather than curtsy – which was customary for women – she knelt before the High King, her head lowering.

"Rise, Lady Sarah of the Above."

She did as she was told, and when she was completely still, he detected the faintest trembling in her hands before she fisted them and fully lifted her gaze to Arthur's. "I, Sarah Williams, respectfully request permission to immigrate to the Underground permanently.

Just like that, Jareth felt his world turn fully upside down, inside out and decided that the whole situation was painfully similar to being kicked forcefully in the gut by a mountain troll. He exhaled slowly, relieved that the world righted itself, and clung to the armrests on the chair in an effort to keep him himself from jumping up and rushing to her side. His eyes flickered towards Arthur, who was regarding the girl with a twinkle in his eyes that no matter how stoic his expression, he could not hide.

Arthur, please...he mentally begged.

After an intentionally drawn out silence, Arthur spoke, his voice kindly. "I see no reason you should not be given permission to come into this realm, Lady Sarah. Permission-"

"I object."

The voice by the entrance was calm, but Jareth heard the underlying fury in the painfully familiar voice. Jareth swore viciously as his eyes snapped towards the door.

Pale hands lifted, brushing back the hood of the cloak. There stood Lady Morgaine, her blue eyes deep wells of anger and rage, although her face looked placid enough. "I object to the presence of this girl in the Underground. She has no right to be here. She had no right to cross the veil. She went home. In the Above she should have remained. We do not need her kind here!"

Of Cupid and Psyche

A Labyrinth Story
by Chibi-no-oneesan

Part 10 of 16

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