Continuing Tales

Of Cupid and Psyche

A Labyrinth Story
by Chibi-no-oneesan

Part 4 of 16

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It was funny, how the first sound after near silence was always so incredibly loud.

That was the first thing Sarah noticed when the strange feeling of fluidity left her body. Wherever she'd appeared was loud. Incredibly loud. She was also getting jostled by small creatures, whom she assumed were singing some awful obscene song about chickens and socks and somethings that she was relatively certain were not something ladies were supposed to know about.

Slowly, that loud din grew quiet, and suddenly, she had the feeling of being crowded. Hands began tugging at her hair, her clothes. She pulled away, as the noise slowly grew with the whispers.

"The Sarah..."

"Labyrinth Champion..."

She tried to squirm away further, but just as she backed away, her hand slipped and she fell into a pit in the floor, landing hard on her back and wincing in pain.

"Must find King."

"Lady returns!"

"Lady magicked something bad!"

Finally, that noise rose to near painful levels once again. She curled up on the floor, mentally wishing for the peace and quiet of the hospital gardens. Just as she tried to curl further into herself, a loud voice spoke out.

"Quiet! What the devil is all that noise?"

As ordered, so it was. All she could hear in the room was the sound of boots on stone and her own ragged breaths. She remained curled up in the fetal position even as she felt the crowd back away from her. Those footsteps stopped right before her and she heard the faint rustle of fabric as whoever it was dropped down beside her.

She smelled the scent of leather and something spicy moments before fingers lightly brushed her hair from her face and she heard a sharp exhalation. "Sarah..." She kept her eyes squeezed shut, afraid to look in the direction of the man who leaned over her. She supposed it was a silly reaction, as she wouldn't be able to see him, even if she did open her eyes. Still, that scent wrapped tightly around her and she could feel the warmth of nearness as his hands took hers, helping her into a sitting position.

And that voice...It sounded like crushed velvet against skin felt. The man spoke her name as though he truly knew her. Like he might care for her. She didn't realize she'd opened her eyes until she heard a sharp intake of air and those leather wrapped fingers touched the skin at the corners of her eyes.

Flinching, she drew back, her eyes snapping shut protectively.

The voice came again. "You have nothing to fear, Sarah." He said quietly.

Tears filled her eyes and she lifted her face to the voice. "Who are you?"

Chaos erupted around her, cries of upset, as well as rapidly moving bodies. Those hands fell away from her and she suddenly felt as though she were alone once again. She wasn't certain why, but the touch of this man gave her comfort, much as the oddly familiar touch of the boy who had called himself her brother. Without the support of those hands holding her up, she began to collapse again.


Funny how a girl could destroy your world in a fraction of a moment. Those three little words had left her mouth and the goblins started being even more chaotic. They could tell as well as he that she had been cursed rather viciously. Jareths hands had dropped from her face as the shock of the words settled into his heart. He nearly backed away a step, but the moment after he stopped touching her, the girl began to fall.

With a soft curse, he caught her, lifting her into his arms. "Quite, damn you all!" He snarled to the room around him. The near deafening noise quieted quickly. Once he had his demanded quiet, he returned his face to this girl. Her brown hair hung a bit wildly around her, those milk-white eyes looked up in his direction from a face that was pale and tired. She was dressed in a horrid gown with little ties down the front and side. Gently, he rested a hand upon her head, trying to get a feel for the depth of the spell.

On the surface, he could see the obvious. Loss of sight, loss of mind. That wasn't all, he could feel a subtle final layer wrapped around her, ticking like a time bomb. He jerked back when he finally understood that final layer. He didn't speak, for fear that his voice would crack. "My name, Lady Sarah, is Jareth. I am the king of the goblins, and you are here under my protection."

"So're not going to have me tossed into an oubliette or something?"

The candid remark had him looking down at her in surprise. "What makes you..." He cleared his throat and saw goblins looking up at her in as much shock. "What makes you think I have something like an oubliette?"

Those full lips turned down into a frown and her brow furrowed. "I...I'm not really sure." She said after a moment, still looking quite puzzled.

Gently, he hugged her tighter for a moment, then turned towards the goblins. "I'm placing the lady in the chambers closest to mine. See to it that they are prepared." Toothy smiles and knowing grins answered him as they bustled, moving off to prepare things for the lady.

He gently carried her through the halls, kicking laughing goblins from his way, seeing her brow furrowed as though she had a headache. "For now, my dear, I'm taking you to my study. You and I must have a little discussion before I may get you settled in."

She seemed to nod, and he blinked in surprised when she turned her face into his shirt and...sniffed him. A faint grin turned up the corners of his lips. Pointing out that she was sniffing him as though he were a baking pie would likely embarrass the poor girl, which would do little good for progress.

With a jerk of his head, the door to his study opened and he moved in, gently setting the girl upon a chair and crouching before her. Waving his hand vaguely, the door drifted shut, but he could hear the goblins gathering outside. "How much do you remember of your life? Anything at all?"

She seemed to withdraw, curling into a ball. "You're...not going to hurt me, are you? With the needles?"

He felt the blood drain from his face and took her hands gently. "No, darling, no. I would never cause you pain," he promised. A sigh escaped him. "How much to you remember?" There was pain on her face, tears standing in her eyes.

"I'm sorry..." She shook her head. "I...There's nothing there. Even...when people tell me something, it starts to fade away. The boy...I can't even..." Tears filled her eyes and began falling down her face. "I can't even remember his name now...I just saw him, I know I did, but...I can't..."

It hurt to see her like that. "What a number that woman did on you..." He brushed the tears away. "Come, now. None of this. You're not so weak that a little set back like this would make you cry." She gave something of a watery giggle.

"You're...nicer than the doctors."

"Yes, well, I've got a great deal more personal interest in you than these doctors." He saw a perplexed expression on her face and inclined his head. "What are you thinking?"

"You sound...nice. Your voice, I mean." She lowered her head, frowning a bit. "It' sitting with the boy. Like a memory I can't quite..." Her hands lifted towards his face.

His breath caught and he raised his own as well, guiding those trembling digits. Her first touch was butterfly soft on his cheekbones, smoothing down to his jawbone, sliding forward to his chin. She pulled away for just a moment, replacing her hands on his forehead, smoothing over his brows, her own shooting up into her hairline when she felt their upward slop. Her thumbs lightly stroked over his eyes, playing a curious amount of attention to the outside corners, where he knew they sloped upwards. Her fingers trailed over his nose and finally, with a brief hesitation, over his lips.

His already tenuous control nearly snapped at the feel of her curious fingers sliding over his lips. His breath raggedly escaped his lungs and he caught her hands gently pulling them away. "What are you doing?"

She inclined her head in confusion. "Obviously, I'm looking at you." She dropped her hands, seeming to stare at her lap. "My eyes...don't work. No one knows why. My...father said that one day they just turned milky, like there was a strange film over them."

She said father as though the word had little meaning to her, as if she didn't understand the relationship that the world implied. He scrubbed his face, sighing softly. "It's fine, Sarah. I understand, you needn't explain. I even know why this happened." Those milky eyes lifted to him.

"You do?"

He sat back on his heals. "Yes, precious, I do. You've been cursed, and from the feel of it, I know where it originated." A hand rubbed the back of his neck beneath his hair and he could feel a knot of tension forming. A moment of silence went by and he glanced up, finding a slight frown on her face.

"Then...there's nothing wrong with me? In my head?"

"Is that what the doctors said?"

She nodded. "They think I'm doing this to myself, since they can't find..."

He swore viciously. She shrank back from him and he grabbed her wrists. He took a long moment to calm the urge to swear and rage, something that would likely only frighten the girl. "Those men from your world are fools." He said quietly. "I am glad that I was able to get through to your brother before they did irreparable harm to you."

She looked at him, confused. "I have a brother?"

He sighed, brushing her hair back. "The boy. Toby." He was pleased when her brow furrowed as though she recognized the name. After a moment, it died. "We will discuss him in more detail later, my dear. For now, I must explain somethings to you." He released her hands, taking to pacing the floor. "There are many rules regarding bringing a mortal into the Underground."

"The Underground?"

That brow furrowed as if she recognized that as well. His heart pounded. "Yes, the realm which is my home. In years past, it was not uncommon for those here to go into the above to seek an...exotic slave, if you will. Slavery has been outlawed for several centuries, however, it is only obeyed due to several laws which heavily regulate mortals such as yourself being here."

She grew pale, shrinking back.

"Your brother wished you under my protection, which should cover most issues. However, I will be required to bring you before the courts of Avalon to prove you are not being mistreated or abused in any fashion during your time here. I also intend to put in for a full inquiry regarding what has befallen you," he said, turning towards her.

She nodded. "I see."

He smiled in fond exasperation. "No, my dear, you don't. Would that I knew what must be done to fix it. There is one who would know, and I will bleed her dry if I must in order to get answers."

She lowered her gaze from his face, as though considering something. "You...know me, don't you." She asked after a long moment. "I feel like I know you, but every time I try to remember-"

He set his fingers against her lips. "You needn't push yourself, my dear. You will remember in time. It could cause more harm than good." He sighed, taking to pacing the floor again. "It is not as though we were good friends, Lady Sarah." He smiled in a self-mocking manner which made it more of a grimace. "Forcing yourself to remember may create false memories, which could prevent the return of your real memories."

She lowered her head, then gave a slight nod. "Okay." She inclined her head, those milky eyes staring up at him as though she could actually see him. "Jareth? If we...weren't friends, why are you helping me?"

He smiled sadly. "Because it is likely to have ultimately been my own fault you are in this condition. However, I cannot know for sure until I question that woman." He gave a soft sigh and took her hand in his. "I've no idea how long you will remain here. For your stay, I will be your eyes." He pulled her to a standing position. "Those cretins have had enough time to make your room satisfactory."

She gave a faint grin that was a shadow of the girl he remembered and his heart warmed in the face of that smile. Gently, he led her into the halls again, amused when the goblins scrambled to hide when the door opened. It was not long before he reached the chambers attached to his own. He led her within, pleased that they'd open the windows to let the room breath a bit.

She lifted her face towards the light, moving towards the window. He led her towards it, resting her hands upon the rail and standing behind her with his hands upon her shoulders. "You must be careful, even within your room. Always feel everything with your hands before you trust anything. Things are not always as they seem here."

He felt the quiver that worked through her body and closed his eyes, breathing her scent deeply. He reached into his pocket, pulling out a small crystal pendant. It was more, of course. He carefully placed it around her neck, latching the back beneath her hair. "Keep this on you always. If you wrap your hand around it, I will know you need me and I will be at your side in a moment. You will not need to remember my name, my face, or anything else."

She wrapped her hand around it and he felt as though her hand were on him. A breath rushed from him and he squeezed her shoulders. "I will close the window. Learn your room with your hands." Gently he turned her towards the room and stepped within. "On the left wall from this window there is a door. That door leads to my rooms. Do not enter them, dear one. It is forbidden." He watched her feel blindly along the walls, her fingers caressing shelf and books until she reached that door.

"This one?" She asked quietly.

He smiled faintly. "Yes, Sarah. Memorize the way it feels and do not forget my warning. There are...dire consequences for walking into that room." He moved swiftly towards her bedroom door. "Any other door is fine, although, be careful. If you decide to venture forth into the main castle, give that pendant a squeeze and wait for me. I do not wish you to wander accidentally into the Escher room and break your adorable little neck."

She graced him with that smile once again, while feeling her way towards her bed. "Thank you, Jareth. I'll try to remember."

He wanted to take her into his arms and kiss her. This girl who had bewitched him so long ago. However, she would not understand, and even if she regained her memories, she would not be happy with him taking advantage. "I will go so you may learn your quarters. I have much I must do and not much time to complete these tasks in."

She nodded, turning her face towards him.

He closed the door on her face, pacing down the hall to his study. Once within, he pulled out a crystal, and gave it a hard squeeze. "Show me my mother." Even to his own ears, his voice was cold. The woman was looking into a mirror, brushing her long, pale hair. He took a steady breath and spoke to her. "Mother."

Delight and surprise lit her face and she turned towards him, blue eyes shining. "My dear boy! It's so unexpected to hear from you."

He stared at her face in disdain. "What have you done to Sarah?" He kept his tone cold. He saw surprise light the woman's features and perhaps a flicker of unease.

"Who?" She asked, as though trying to play the fool.

"You know very well who!" His fury was on the verge of breaking free of his tenuous control. "I know the feel of your spells, woman! What manner of curse have you cast upon her?"

She blinked innocently, frowning. "Now, darling, perhaps you're mistaking-"

"No, if anyone has made a mistake, it's you!" He saw surprise flicker briefly into her eyes before it was hidden behind a cool exterior. "Did you think I wouldn't notice? I've watched for five years! Wanted her for longer! Why, woman? Why would you do this to her?"

"Because you're too good for a foolish mortal who can't see beyond a screaming brat which is someone equally mortal!"

His jaw snapped shut. "No, mother. Don't lay the blame for this upon my shoulders. I never said I wanted her in pain." Pain welled. "Say that you did not do this because she said what she did! I beg you!"

Her expression remained cool and aloof. "You'll be better off when she's dead."

The connection went dark and Jareth sank into his chair, staring into the crystal. Closing his eyes, he pressed the crystal to his forehead, swearing viciously. He should never have told her about Sarah, he realized. He had believed her more sound than this.

Since the death of his father, he'd noticed she was slipping. She'd begun wearing more and more beauty spells to hide her aging. She'd ramble about being slighted by courtiers, spurned by lovers that he knew to be involved with women in other courts long before his mother set eyes upon them. How long had she been cursing those to get what she wanted?

He knew the answer.

Fifty years ago, he'd sat with his cousin's ailing wife and caught the faint scent of his mother's magic hanging around her. As soon as he'd left, he'd gone to her and ordered her to fix it. She'd silently mixed up a vial and headed off to their home.

Who else had she hurt like this? It would take some quiet inquiries. He sighed, letting his head fall back on the chair and he set the crystal down on his desk, staring at it, his face sad as he accepted the fact that his mother was mad.


It had been hours since he'd left her. She'd long since learned the layout of the massive room he'd given her. She'd discovered a wardrobe full of dresses, and immediately pulled down one that was soft and simple in design, replacing her horrid hospital gown with that.

It seemed rather strange that she was able to remember him even after he'd left. Even more strange was the knowledge that his voice created a stirring inside her. It was like memories floating just a hair from her grasp. She reached towards them, but they were always just out of reach, as though someone had pulled a veil over her mind as they had over her sight.

She sat in a chair by the window, letting the sun beat down on her face. She knew she often sat like this in the hospital, just staring out the window, not seeing anything. All was darkness. Still, the warmth on her face felt nice. Her hands were learning the textures of the chair, running across the woods ridges and valleys, caressing the cushions she rested upon.

It was odd, how quickly she must have adapted to this new strangeness in her life. Roughly a week since she'd gone blind. A few days in the hospital. Now her fingers were her eyes, learning the tactile sensations of the world around her. Her ears picked up things she'd never have heard before, like the soft sound of song in the distance. She could smell...

Leather and spices. Her lips turned up into a small smile. "It's not nice to sneak up on a blind girl." She teased lightly. "Jareth."

There was a rough chuckle near her. "So you noticed?"

"I suppose my other senses are trying to make up for the missing one." She passed a hand over her face. "I thought that this sort of compensation took years to develop."

"Perhaps being in the Underground is causing them to hasten their development?"

She shook her head. "No, it started at the hospital, I think..." She turned her face towards the man. "Is the boy alright?"

"Toby is fine, my dear. He is, however, wondering the same thing about you." There was a long moment of silence and she felt leather clad fingers wrap around hers and something cool and round pressed into her hand. "I cannot help you see him, not yet, however this should help you speak to him if you'd like."

"I..." She clutched the crystal to her chest, nodding. "Thanks."

He chuckled softly and suddenly, she felt hands holding hers, helping her stand. "You're most welcome. Now, let's get you fed. The goblins have likely seen to some manner of dinner by now."

She nodded, finding herself smiling at this man. His touch was unfamiliar, it didn't cause the same stirring of memories that those of her brother did, however, it did cause a different kind of stirring. It made her knees weak, her throat dry. Her heart pounded, her breath quickened. When she'd touched his face, it had caused a tingle in her flesh, a strange quiver. Whenever he stood close to her, and she could smell leather and spices, it caused a strange pang inside her.

Where were these feelings coming from? She didn't even know the man, yet she felt as though he had been an important part of her life, possibly for a very long time. Maybe he was, she thought, suddenly surprised. It made sense. Just because she couldn't remember him didn't mean he hadn't been there. She could scarce remember the boy, even less other members of her family. Yet somehow, being here at this man's side, she thought she might begin to remember somethings.

She was led through the halls, feeling the stone beneath her feet until something caused her to pause and she looked towards her right. The air had changed. It was laced with tension, desperation, and something else.

Jareth had attempted to continue walking, however was pulled to a stop when she refused to move. "What is there?" She pointed in the direction she could feel that confused tangle of emotions issuing from. It was so strong it actually made her nauseous.

There was quiet for a long moment, and only the smell of him and the leather hand in hers told her he remained. "That is the Escher room." His voice was quiet, filled with melancholy. "It is where the runners that make it this far make their final stand. You...have stood there before."

There was something more. She could feel it, but the man did not seem inclined to answer more questions regarding it, so she let him pull her forward as they continued to the dining room. She quickened her steps and shyly put her other hand around the one which held her own.


Morgaine raged as she paced her now mostly destroyed study. After ending the conversation with her son, she'd unleashed her rage on her surroundings, smashing cauldrons, spell bottles, as well as several priceless ingredients.

Why could her son not see she was trying to do what was best for him?

He needed to forget that mortal girl if he was to have a chance at any life. The best hope for him forgetting the girl was her death. At least his communication had told her that Mordred's mission had been accomplished. She didn't understand why her nephew had not come to tell her of his success. He shouldn't have cared for the death curse she'd placed upon the girl.

Within days of the curse being administered, the girl would die. The child did not love her son, she'd left him for a brat, had spurned his affections for a mortal child. That curse would destroy every fiber of her being. A harsh laugh left the woman and she called her mirror, looking upon it. "Show me that wretched girl!"

What she saw shocked her. The girl was not wasting away. In fact, she appeared to be thriving. She sat beside Jareth, who was smiling and chatting with her about things Morgaine could not hear. Now and then he'd gently guide her hand to a utensil. Fury gripped her. How dare he try to mess up all of her hard work! And more importantly, why wasn't the girl dead? Why did she appear to be happy?

The woman began pacing, resisting the urge to throw the mirror as she cut off the communication. Most importantly, why was she here? There were laws regarding bringing a mortal into the Underground, and her son was not foolish enough to go against those laws. Immigration rules required several tests.

That thought sparked an idea. It was possible her son had used the assistance of a Dream Weaver to contact the above and get a family member to wish her away. If that was the case, she was an immigrant, and should be held to the codes. However, what was the wish? How soon would the contract to serve the Goblin Kingdom negate itself.

She would go to the hall of wishes. All wishes made in the Above and granted were recorded there. She could find the wish which brought the wretch into the Underground. Even if it was a temporary wish, which would lead to her eventually being returned to the Above, her stubborn boy would not let the girl go now that he had her. Eventually, she would have to face the trials and at that point...

At that point, she could strike against her.


Sarah sipped her water, keeping her face down, even as she felt herself being watched. She tried to act normal, tried to pretend she didn't notice. The man beside her had not spoken of it, was merely eating his food as though nothing were wrong, carrying on a light, amicable conversation. For someone who had not been her friend, he treated her remarkably well. After a long moment, she felt the sensation of being stared at ease. "We are being watched, aren't we?"

"Yes, dear girl. We are." He reached towards her hand, resting his own on it. "You did well to pretend you did not notice. You always could tell when you were being watched. Even when..." He seemed to cut himself off and chuckled. "How do you feel? Are you full? It's getting quite late and you should get some rest."

She nodded. "Would you show me the rest of the castle tomorrow?" She felt silly asking like that. It wasn't as though she could see it. Yet, she found she could feel the changes in the air, environment, mood, and moving through the castle, she could feel it imprinting those sensations on her mind, like a map.

He seemed bemused by the question. "Yes, I suppose. Perhaps you'd like to take a walk in some of the gardens as well. I know a gardener who has been worried sick about you." He guided her back to her room and she gratefully clung to his hand, even as she trailed her other one along the stone, learning the measure of paces, the number of stones. He opened her door and seemed to pause. "Do you need my assistance?"

"Um..." She lowered her gaze. "Can I have something to sleep in? I don't want to put that hospital gown back on."

She heard him pass into the room and the soft creak of the wardrobe as he opened it. "Ah, here we are. A chemise should do the trick. I'll lay it on your bed, precious." She heard the hanger hit the top of the wardrobe as he pulled the dress down and then his footfalls as he moved across the room. His voice took on a teasing air. "Do you need my help putting it on?"

A dark flush lit her face and she shook her head, waving her hands. "No, I think I can manage." She lowered her head as his foot fall drifted towards her and that enchanting scent drifted under her nose again.

"Then I shall bid you good night, Sarah." He said softly, and she felt his lips press a gentle kiss against her brow.

Her heart nearly stopped and didn't seem to function properly until the door had been shut behind him as he left. She lay a hand upon her fluttering heart and felt a twinge of confusion. Trying to ignore it, she stripped out of the dress and moved towards her bed, pulling on the chemise, and flopping exhausted upon the mattress. Sleep came slowly, as her mind lingered over the fleeting kiss.

Of Cupid and Psyche

A Labyrinth Story
by Chibi-no-oneesan

Part 4 of 16

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