Continuing Tales

Of Cupid and Psyche

A Labyrinth Story
by Chibi-no-oneesan

Part 11 of 16

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Jareth could have quite happily tossed his meddling mother into the nearest oubliette. Not a nice pleasant one like Sarah fell in, either. One of the dangerous ones that had really big spikes at the bottom. He took several calming breaths to keep from lunging over the railing that 'protected' the court and choking his mother until she either tapped out or passed out.

Arthur on the other hand, looked much more calm. "Morgaine," his tone was firm, yet kindly. "This is a closed session and you were not invited." His eyes held something akin to pity. "And as for her kind, sister, the Underground is not a closed society, often people immigrate here, as well as from here to the Above."

"Those who immigrate here don't usually have two kings wrapped 'round their fingers!" She moved forward, her face calm and she stood within arms reach of Sarah, who was being oddly quiet. Jareth glanced towards the young woman, noting she looked a little pale and was trembling worse. He didn't doubt she could feel the undisguised malevolence that Morgaine felt for her. "For a mortal to come to the Underground and receive permission, she must prove herself before the court! This is law that you, Arthur, wrote yourself in order to protect these...creatures. I demand she undergo her five tests!"

Jareth rubbed his mouth and stood, staring down into the circle. "That would be four test, Lady Morgaine, not five."

Blue eyes and green snapped towards him but he looked down at his mother, a frown playing on his lips. "Did you forget who you speak of? Sarah Williams has already completed one of the most difficult tests the Underground has to offer. That of defeating my Labyrinth, not in thirteen, but eleven hours." He glanced towards Sarah, who was looking up at him and their eyes made contact for the first time since she entered the room.

There was a possessive look aimed at him from those defiant eyes. He met that gaze for a long moment, keeping his face schooled into a neutral expression. "I highly doubt...that a more difficult challenge can be thought of. Four tests should, in fact, be sufficient. She has already succeeded where most mortals have failed."

Arthur watched him, glanced at Morgaine, then Sarah, then leaned over, listening to something his wife whispered into his ear. His expression softened. "It would seem I have no choice. You understand, Lady Sarah, that if you fail in any of these challenges, you forfeit your right to remain in the Underground? You will be returned to the Above, and will live out your days there?"

Her throat bobbed as she swallowed hard, her eyes leaving Jareth's face and returning to Arthur's. "Yes, your Majesty." Her lips turned up into a faint smile. "However, no one will know if I'm...worthy until I give it my best, and I'd like to say..." She turned towards Lady Morgaine, the smile falling off her face. "No one here save the Goblin King has ever seen my best. If you think I'll fail because I was born in the Above, I guess I'll just have to prove you wrong, Lady. The title was spat out with undisguised malevolence.

Morgaine went for her, her hands curled into claws, and Jareth would have been up and over the rail, had a hand not shoved him back down into his seat. He glanced back, finding Caledonensis with a frail looking hand holding him down with a surprising amount of force. "For once, boy, let the Lady fight for herself."

Jareth turned, finding Sarah still upright, both of his mother's wrists pinned behind her back. His breath sighed out of him and he huffed, a petulant frown turning down his lips. She didn't need her protection after all...

"You know, Morgaine, I want to like you. I really do, but you're making that really difficult," Sarah grumbled, releasing the woman and glaring at her. "If Arthur had accepted my petition, I would have demanded following the laws and taking these tests, regardless." Sarah said, her voice tight. "Not for you, not for the court, but for the person I have to prove my will to. He's done everything to prove himself to me, and I've done nothing for him, nothing. These tests are to prove to him that I want to be here."

Morgaine stared at her, struck dumb, even as guards pulled her back.

Arthur cleared his throat, as if to remind them that they were still in the presence of the court. Once attention had been returned to him from the drama unfolding in the center of the room, he spoke. "Very well. You will receive your first task on the morrow. You may depart, as well as those who vouch for you." He stood, assisting Guenevere to her feet. "Rest well, Lady Sarah. These will not be simply tasks. They will be dangerous."

Her lips turned up into a snarky little grin that reminded Jareth once more why he'd fallen in love with this defiant woman-child. "I tend to do best when facing dangers untold ad hardships unnumbered..." Her voice was cocky, and her smile became more like a smirk as her eyes darted towards him.

Jareth's lips curled to give her an answering smirk.

"Then by your leave, your highness." She bowed at the waist, which drew scandalized gasps and objections from the peanut gallery before she made her way to the door, Ludo, Sir Didymus, and Hoggle at her side, head held high as when she first came through the door.

Jareth threw a wild grin towards his aunt and uncle, preparing to steal out of his seat ahdn head towards the door, but a firm grip on his shoulder and his uncle's voice stopped him.

"Jareth, I must bid you to wait. I'm afraid that this session of the court has not come to a close." Arthur stood, looking down into the pit, drawing Jareth's gaze to the other woman who stood there, pale and shaken.

Ah, yes. This unfinished business...Jareth felt an odd sadness claw at his chest. Though unstable, there was no denying the fact that she was his mother. She'd always known when he was hurt or unhappy, which is what caused this whole mess to begin with. Up until recently, she had always tried to do what was best for him, and he hoped that in deciding her punishment, his uncle took that into account.

"Lady Morgaine..." Arthur stared down at her, his gaze unwavering, but thick with pity. "It would appear that in becoming King, I have been remiss at making sure that my family keeps it's ducks in a row..." He sighed, shaking his head. "How many death curses have you cast, Morgaine? I already know how many you forced Mordred to hand out, so don't try to gloss this over."

"They wronged me! All of them wronged me! You wronged me! Now my own son wrongs me!" She was rambling out against anyone might have stood for her. Jareth lowered his heads. There were easier ways to kill oneself than to speak out against the whole of the court or blame those she'd murdered. "I never cursed the undeserving!"

Arthur closed his eyes and Jareth saw his hand was tight on Guenevere's. This was as difficult for his uncle as it was for him. Jareth closed his eyes and stood. "My lord, if I may speak." He said quietly. "This matter which has been placed before the court by her own hand takes more time and attention than anyone here currently has." He kept his voice calm and even, his expression neutral. "I know not for the others here, but I am weary. I have spent the whole of the day traveling and I would rather approach this matter fresh and well rested. Might I recommend that Lady Morgaine be taken into custody and that this matter be reviewed at a later date in time?"

Arthur looked relieved at his intervention. "Yes, are right." He lowered his gaze to Morgaine's wild-eyed one and sighed. "Take this woman into custody. Treat her as we would any other woman of her station."

The guards led Morgaine away, and the woman shrieked and screamed, thrashing about in anger.

Jareth felt raw, scrubbed out. His temper was on edge already and now, it seemed as though the slightest touch might set it off. Quietly, he moved towards Arthur and Guenevere as the rest of the court began filing out, whispering amongst themselves. " has been more difficult than I thought it would. I am actually relieved to see Sarah's...self-imposed personal guard here..." His voice held a note of dry amusement.

Arthur looked at him, his face looking as exhausted as Jareth felt. "That child should not have to even do these tests. She belongs here. I can feel it when I look at her. I've known since you first brought her here that she would eventually stand before the courts to make her place in this realm, and if Morgaine had not arrived to object, I would have dashed the courts concerns. However, when the law is directly laid at my feet-"

"It's alright Arty." Jareth smirked when fire flashed in his uncle's eyes. "Besides, you heard her. She wanted to take the tests regardless...but for Morgaine to demand them...that woman is up to something and it troubles me to consider what her newest plot against Sarah might be."

"Newest? What else besides curse her has she done?"

Jareth gave him a wicked grin. "She cast an illusion of me to tell Sarah to enter my chambers at the Castle beyond the Goblin City. I think she supposed I would heave Sarah out of my castle like I did others who made such a foolish mistake."

"But you didn't, and obviously whatever you did broke that curse..." Guenevere said quietly.

"I have a fair guess as to what happened, Guenevere-darling." Arthur said wryly. "I've had her put in the room beside yours. I thought that would please you, however...Jareth, you must not interfere with her tasks after they are put before her. You cannot help, you cannot guide. You are a member of the courts. You cannot let your partiality color this contest for her. It would dissatisfy both her and the other members of the court."

Jareth gave a small, wry smile and nodded. "I know, Arty. I know." He headed towards the door. "And for god's sake, man. Get that woman off her feet, before she faints. Women with child shouldn't be standing for such long periods of time."

Guenevere shot him a dirty look, which told him that Arthur had been doing a great deal of what she termed 'unnecessary fussing' since he'd learned the good news. He smirked back at her, slipping out of the room, and heading towards his own quarters. He was more than half-way there when he felt her through the crystal and there was something between pain, unease, and serious upset surging into him.

"Sarah..." he whispered, and before he realized what he was doing, he was moving through the castle at a full run, stopping before the door he knew was hers. He rapped on it once and entered long before there was an answer. He found the entrance to the bathroom crowded by Ludo's huge frame and could hear Hoggle and Sir Didymus's concerned voices. He rested his gloved hand on the beast, using just enough pressure to ease the creature out of his way and entered the bathroom.

Sir Didymus was holding Sarah's long hair back and Hoggle was stroking her back, wearing an expression of concern. As if they felt his eyes on them, they looked back, their eyes bright with concern. He moved forward, frowning when Hoggle stepped between him and Sarah.

She was leaning over the commode, her body trembling, her skin pale and her clothing damp with sweat. She looked weak, sick, and from the smell, had been several times before he entered. "My lady." He said softly. She went still, glancing back at him, and then rested her forehead on the cool porcelain.

"Jareth..." She whispered.

He gave the dwarf a patient look that usually preceded sending someone flying out of a castle window care of his foot and Hoggle grudgingly moved aside. He moved towards her, and knelt, slipping an arm around her shoulders. "You ought be in bed, darling. A basin can be brought to you should you feel you need one. You should have never come before the court if you've been ill."

"I'm not sick, Jareth." Her tone was stubborn, defiant, and sent equal surges of admiration and irritation through him.

"Tell that to the bile you left in the toilet, Precious." He glanced back at the creatures who were looking a bit despondent. "Turn down her covers, find a basin for her and let the kitchen know the lady will be dining in her own room this evening." They shuffled to obey him, looking rather annoyed that they were being sent away.

"They shouldn't even be here..." she murmured. "I told them I could do this on my own, that they shouldn't trouble themselves-"

"Never tell one of your knights that they shouldn't trouble themselves not to worry for you." He could hear the amusement in his own voice and knew she would as well. She glared towards him. "Not even the one who is more villain than knight. It is our privilege and pleasure to fuss over you, Sarah."

She kept that glare leveled at him, even as he leaned forward, brushing his lips against her forehead. "You're enjoying this."

He gave her a wry smile, tightening the arm around her shoulders and sliding the other beneath her knees. "You should hold on tight, love." He teased lightly, then stood, holding her to his chest. She swore viciously, hiding her face into his shoulder. He grinned broadly, carrying her into her room. Hoggle was fidgeting by the bed, looking uncomfortable.

"We can watch over the little lady." Hoggle murmured, his eyes lowered, his face looking torn. There had never been a fondness between himself and the king, but unfortunately they both held this woman in an extremely high esteem. "It's what we came here for..."

Jareth gave the dwarf a look of near amusement. "I am aware of your ability to take care of Sarah. Sometimes I think she means more to you than your own family." That leathery face turned red from embarrassment, and the Goblin King found he liked the creature more for it. "However, you and the others give in to her wishes too easily. To take proper care of someone ill, you must be prepared to butt stubbornness against stubbornness." He smirked. "And none of you can do that better than I." He kept his tone light as he settled Sarah onto the bed.

Sarah swung at him, half-heartedly, flailed, lost her balance and almost wound up spilling onto the floor. Jareth caught her before she could and grinned at the dwarf. "Besides, there's no reason that only you three should be on the receiving end of the short side of her temper."

Hoggle gave a grudging grin and headed for the door. "I'll see about getting her that basin..."


Sarah glared petulantly at the man who was acting every ounce the over-bearing jerk at the moment. He even had the gall to tease her as he set her back on the bed. Deep down she knew he was simply relieved. She'd probably given him quite a scare, grabbing the crystal like she had. Still, she couldn't help pouting a bit. This was not how she'd wanted her reunion with the Goblin King to go this time. "Why is it whenever we see each other, I'm always at a huge disadvantage?" she muttered.

He smirked at her, settling himself on the bed next to her, leaning against the headboard. "Maybe, Precious, it's because you don't know how to stay out of trouble." He divested himself of his gloves and one hand immediately found hers, fingers lacing through her own. He was looking at her and grinning, looking a bit like a giddy fool.

She swallowed hard, glancing away from him, squeezing his hand gently. She'd almost forgotten how soft they were. She could hear the questions in the air between them, but was afraid to ask as much as to answer. So she kept her silence, feeling some mild irritation swell in the man. Fear, unfortunately, caused her nausea to sharpen and she pressed her free hand against her belly, swallowing hard.

"Sarah, why didn't you tell me you were coming back?" His voice was calm, yet a bit cold and she felt herself twitch in anger.

Naturally, that anger made her lash out in ways she didn't really want to. She glared at him and said as bitingly as she could manage, "Why didn't you ask me to stay?"

His eyes flashed with anger and fire and suddenly he was off the bed and pacing, as though trying to burn off his frustration. "I'm not a fool. You never would have agreed in the first place. Your mind was wrapped up worrying about Toby, and let's face it, Precious-" He stopped pacing, turning towards her, his eyes dark, upset. "When pitting your brother against the Goblin King, I'm afraid you tend to go with him."

His anger fed the flames of her own and she threw back the blankets, getting out of the bed and heading towards her lover, not sure she meant to console him or beam him upside the head with a bludgeon. "Now listen here, Mister! Six years ago, I didn't have a choice! I'd made a stupid mistake and I had to fix it. Besides, I was just a child of fifteen years. You know that, Jareth!" She stomped her foot, unable to express her anger in a different way.

"Get back in bed, Sarah, you should be resting!" he snapped at her.

"I'm not some wilting Violet that's going to fall over if it's not being babied!" She swung at him and he caught her wrist, using it to haul her against him, his hands holding her still. "Let me go, Jareth, let me go!"

"No." His voice was a fierce, furious rasp against her ear and it caused delightful little flutters in her stomach. A breath rushed over her ear, stirring her hair and then his hands were on her face, guiding it so they could look at each other. She found herself staring up into his eyes and her breath left her. So many emotions mixed up in those wonderful mis-matched orbs.

"Wh...What?" She wasn't sure how she managed to say that, especially standing as close to him as she was.

"I let you go twice, Precious. Once because I had no choice, a second time because you asked it of me. Don't tell me to let you go one more time. I'm not that noble." The last word left his lips and then they were on hers and his arms were crushing her against him, hands sliding over her back, clutching her through cotton and leather and she felt the fight leave her, her arms coming up to wind around his neck. His tongue demanded entrance, pushing past her lips and doing battle with her own.

Sarah tightened her arms, pulling herself up onto the tips of her toes, responding quite happily to the near-violent kiss he was giving her. His hands were roughly sliding over her, slipping up the back of her shirt, to kneed her flesh. One slipped around, finding the flesh of her breast and caressing it through the bra she wore beneath her shirt.

"What the devil is this?" he muttered, quite annoyed by the contraption containing her bosom.

Sarah snorted in an unladylike manner and he gave her a dirty look. "It's underwear. It's called a brassiere. Like a corset, only smaller." She couldn't help but giggle at the sheer annoyance on his face and when he lifted his hands to the collar of her shirt, she grabbed his wrists. "If you're going to start destroying my clothing again, my lover, I'm going to have to object." She said, her tone tart, but amused.


Sassy was good; sassy was wonderful. Then his brain caught up with her words and he stared at her for a long moment, too stunned for words. "Say that again, precious." He saw shyness in her gaze, uncertainty. He wanted to wipe all of them away.

"I said I'm going to object if you start destroying my clothes." She didn't say the words again, too afraid, too worried that he would take exception to being called her lover.

"That's not what I meant and you know that, love." He said softly.

She broke free of his grip, moving to the window, looking anywhere but him. "You heard me, or you wouldn't be asking me to say it again." There was that tart sound in her voice. His hands gripped her elbows, turning her towards him and she flinched.

"Contrary to what I said six years ago, darling, I don't want your fear." He said softly. "Now, perhaps I did hear you say it, but perhaps I'd have you humor me regardless. I'm not certain I can trust my ears."

She lifted her face, looking up into his haunted gaze. "You shared your bed with me," she said, her voice defensive. "I'd say that makes us lovers." She saw the way his eyes warmed and her heart stumbled a bit. "I'm sorry, Jareth. I didn't think to reassure you until it was too late. I felt how badly I hurt you as I left you. I...I can understand if you can't forgive me."

He cupped her face. "My dear one, it is my understanding that to love is to forgive. Since I'm quite hopelessly in love with you, how could I not?"

She stared up at him and felt tears standing in her eyes. She was about to throw her arms around him and give him the best manner of answer she could give him, when the door opened and Arthur entered, Guenevere in tow and a rather irritated looking Hoggle.

"The people in your family are pushy bastards." The dwarf muttered, passing them.

Jareth gave a faint snort, turning away from her, leaving the words unspoken on her part. "What are you two doing here?"

"When we heard that Sarah was dining in her room this evening, we thought we'd check and be certain she was alright." Arthur looked amused, as though he knew he was interrupting something. He simply didn't know for certain what he was interrupting.

Guenevere moved towards Sarah. "You look flushed, Sarah. Are you alright?"

"She was very ill not long ago."

"She puked her guts up awhile ago."

Sarah huffed, glaring at Jareth and Hoggle, who'd spoken in unison, even if they hadn't spoken the same words. "I'm fine. I've just been a tad nauseous. It's nothing big. I swear."

Arthur frowned deeply. "This is not small, Lady. If you undergo those challenges, you must be at your peek, mentally and physically. If you're not, then you could fail where otherwise you'd succeed." He glanced towards Jareth, then Guenevere. "I'm going to call on a healer."

He was out the door before she could object.

Groaning, Sarah flopped down on her bed, and immediately wished she hadn't. "Ugh..." She closed her eyes, pressing her fist against her stomach.


"It'll pass...just don't touch me for a second..." She ground her teeth together, trying to calm her breaths. "This timing sucks big time. Why couldn't I have gotten sick a week ago, when I was still trying to find out what the immigration requirements were..." She felt a cold cloth touch her head and saw Jareth kneeling before her, gently wiping her face and cooling her skin. She sighed at the sensation. "Thanks."

Guenevere was hovering nearby, her lips turned into a worried frown, and Hoggle was pacing the room a bit restlessly. As they waited, Jareth moved from he floor in front of her to the bed beside her, putting an arm around her shoulders and gently petting her hair. They didn't have to wait long. Caledonensis entered the room with Arthur as well as a diminutive man with wild silver hair who sort of reminded her of Albert Einstein.

The physician gave her a brief once over, and then went outside to speak with the old magician, then reentered, Caledonensis wearing a neutral expression, but she could have sworn she saw mischief sparkling in those eyes. "I think we need to clear the room. Everyone out, we'll speak alone with the Lady." His eyes flickered towards Jareth as the man stood, obviously about to object.

Guenevere grabbed Jareth by the ear and drug him by the ear. "Don't argue, boyo. You may be grown, but that doesn't mean I wont do what I did when you smaller than me and wallop you."

Sarah felt her lips twitch and when Hoggle closed he door behind him, she pursed her lips and looked at Caledonensis. "I think I'd pay to see that."

The old man chuckled, then sighed. "Young one, there are many who are of the same mind regarding that. I must, however, ask you a rather uncomfortable question rather than debating the merits of watching Arthur's young queen wallop on the Goblin King."

She frowned. "Alright."

He tugged at his beard, glancing towards the healer. "When did you allow Jareth into your bed?"

She felt her cheeks warm. How to answer that..."We had sex first about a month ago." She suddenly realized why they would be asking and her jaw hung loose. " can't be serious! We only...we only...It was only twice."

The healer and Caledonensis glanced at each other at her phrasing and disbelief. "He came to your bed-"

She blushed darkly, shaking her head. "Whoever said it was in my bed? I wound up in his room, now that I think about it 'tricked into his room' is more accurate. I think Morgaine tried to get him to throw me out of the castle..."

"Oh, dear." They said in unison.

She blushed darker. "Dammit, I should have known better. Daddy always told me to make sure my boyfriend wore a rubber...not that I had to worry about it until now!" She threw her hands up and took to pacing the room. After a moment, she turned towards them. "Don't tell him. Or Quenevere, or Arthur. Please."

The healer looked shocked, but Caledonensis wore an expression of understanding. "He's the father, he deserves to know."

"And if I fail? He's got a kingdom full of creatures that he can't just abandon. I'll be sent back and that will be difficult enough if it's just me. Imagine, if you will, if he has to let go of me and a child, his child." She shook her head, smiling but feeling sickly. "I'll tell him soon, but please...let me bear the news." She took a steadying breath and gave them both a brave smile. "Besides, if they know, they'll try to stop me. Just tell them that I'm fine. Please, Caledonensis, just tell them that I'm alright."

The old man examined her face for a long time, then nodded, heading out the door, taking the objecting, sputtering healer with him. Once they'd cleared out, Jareth entered, coming right towards her, his eyes bright with concern. She gave him her best smile and saw him relax a bit. His hands cupped her face, easing it upwards as he pressed a soft kiss on her lips. "You're alright?"

She pulled him closer, pressing her lips against his. "I'm fine." That kiss led to several more and Jareth swore viciously when there was a knock at the door.

A maid came in, paying them little attention and set a dinner tray down on the little table near the window. Both of them took note of the heaviness of the meal and Jareth glanced at her, a slight frown playing on his lips. "I believe cook thinks you're too slender. Why in the Underground are they filling your plate so much, darling?"

She moved to sit before the food and glanced at the maid. "Please make sure that the Goblin King has a plate brought up as well." She said, keeping her voice calm. She saw surprise in the maids eyes at the word please and at the implication that it was perfectly acceptable for him to dine in the bedroom of an unmarried woman.

Once she'd scurried away, Jareth sat down beside her, amused. "I think you've given that poor child a heart attack," he teased, taking her hand. She didn't pay much attention to that. Her stomach was telling her with no uncertain terms that she was very hungry.

She took several bites of the dinner before her and then looked at him. "Perhaps," she agreed, "but now everyone in the castle knows exactly which bed you're warming, so with any luck you'll have fewer girl's like Alura trying to snuggle their way into your bed."

He arched an eyebrow. "I'm warming your bed?"

A merry twinkle entered her eyes. "We'll discuss your place or mine later. Right now there's a different sort of hunger that needs fulfilled..."


The court reconvened the next morning at a rather early hour. Jareth had bathed with her and helped her dress, warming her with gentle kisses as he laced up the back of her dress. "Today is the easy challenge, darling. There will be a trick in it, but nothing life threatening. So just close your eyes and relax. The answer will be right in front of you."

She took those words to heart as she stood in the simple dress outside the court. Hoggle, Sir Didymus and Ludo were with her, but they were all agitated, worried. When they were summoned into the large room to stand before the High King, she gave herself a little pep talk, keeping her head held high as she approached the center of the circle. She ignored the speculative whispers, keeping her focus on the high king, not even looking towards her lover.

"Lady Sarah of the Above..." the High King began, his face serious. "The time has come for you to be tested by this court. You may not request assistance from any of the court, you are...on your own. Are you prepared to undertake this challenge?"

Sarah squared her shoulders, taking a deep breath. Those kindly blue eyes looked upon her in concern, a concern echoed in Guenevere's. Her eyes flickered towards Jareth, who was giving her a warm smile and it caused a fluttering in her heart. He believed in her.

A movement behind them caught her sight and she saw Caledonensis standing behind the king he gave her a slight nod.

Fixing her gaze upon the High King, she smiled. "I'm ready."

Of Cupid and Psyche

A Labyrinth Story
by Chibi-no-oneesan

Part 11 of 16

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