Continuing Tales

Of Cupid and Psyche

A Labyrinth Story
by Chibi-no-oneesan

Part 5 of 16

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If anything could be said about the Underground, it was that rumors spread quicker than wild fire in southern California.

Eyes were drawn to the strange palanquin which was pulled through the streets of Avalon. Whispers went up as people gathered and tried to peer into the carriage as it passed. Words were spoken in hushed voices about a mortal girl who was under the protection of the Goblin King.

The identity of the girl was a closely guarded secret. The few times she'd been taken outside of the Castle Beyond the Goblin City, it was in the company of a small guard of creatures. Suspicions were high that the girl was the intended bride of Jareth, the Goblin King, the narcissistic youngest son of Lady Morgaine. No one had spoken to the woman, who displayed a intense level of over-protectiveness and a downright creepy level of territoriality regarding the man.

Everyone in the realm had a respect and healthy fear of the man, which of course led everyone to wonder what manner of mortal he might find suitable as a companion. Everyone presumed she must be a fearful sort of person, to catch the attention of the Goblin King. After all, how would he respect her if she did not have as much power as him?

Naturally, the speculation led to an uproar when the palanquin entered the city rolled down the bustling streets, on it's way to the castle at it's center. Everyone was trying to steal a glimpse of the mortal who had plopped down into the Goblin King's life.

"I do wish they'd quit staring..." Sarah mumbled in discomfort.

There was a chuckle across from the man beside her. "They cannot help themselves," he said quietly. "They are curious about you. It would seem that the rumor mill in the Underground is working swimmingly well." He arched an eyebrow, patting her hand gently in an attempt to comfort her.

It had been a full week since she'd arrived in the Underground, and it was taking a great deal of effort on his part to take things easy with the girl. He'd managed for the most part to treat her with care, to not grow frustrated at the lack of progress. He no longer had to remind her of his name first thing in the morning, but he feared the ramifications of growing too close to her while she lacked her memories. It would undoubtedly cause him even more mental and emotional anguish should she abandon him once again.

He didn't like that he had to take her from the castle, but he had to present her before the court and inform them of the circumstances of her visit to the Underground. He'd already received several carefully worded inquiries regarding the girl. She'd finally begun to find her way around on her own a bit, navigating her room and the main halls of the castle with a shocking ease. He often watched her do it, dragging her fingers lightly along the wall, counting stones and steps.

She was amazingly relaxed in his presence. He had never imagined that she would be so at ease at his side, especially after their volatile relationship the last time she was in the Underground.

She squirmed a bit. "You're staring," she mumbled again, her cheeks turning faintly pink.

He smiled faintly. He loved the subtleties of her expressions. "I can't help but want to watch you, Sarah. Your features are delightfully expressive, and you're quite lovely. Even if my favorite features have a veil pulled over them."

He was delighted by the blush which colored her cheeks as she lowered her head. "A-ah..." She lowered her gaze. "Why do we have to come here again?" She asked, her voice holding an edge of nervousness. A hand swept her hair behind her ear, a nervous habit that must be rather old, since her body still did it without thinking.

"Because they know you're here, and they wish to make certain you are not being mistreated by me and mine." The cart slowed to a stop at the base of the castle steps. He stood, stepped down and slipped a hand beneath Sarah's to assist her as she came down as well. He heard gasps and whispers when she stepped into view, but kept his face schooled in an expression of calm. He could see the embarrassment on Sarah's face and knew she could tell they were whispering about her eyes. She descended the steps, keeping her head lowered to hide the blush of shame on her face.

Once she'd descended, he pulled her close, putting his lips near her ear. "You have no cause to be ashamed, Precious. Hold your head high and walk with pride. You stand at the side of the Goblin King as my equal." He murmured softly. He drew back, still holding her hands gently in his own and he caught the defiant expression on her face. "For your will is strong, and your kingdom as great." He said softly, then gently rested her hand upon the top of his own, walking forward.

She walked beside him, her back straight, her face forward, eyes unseeing. Yes, this is who he wanted to introduce to them, this Sarah. The Sarah who had fought against him six years ago, the Sarah who had earned his respect and love. The Sarah who was showing herself more and more in front of him, even though her memories seemed no closer to returning than when she'd first appeared in his throne room. At the entrance to the castle, they were met by several guards and the butler, who looked Sarah over, frowning.

"Your highness..." The butler bowed. "Lady."

Jareth smirked. "Hiya, Timm. Where can I find Gwenny and Arty?"

"It's Thomas, Sir." The butler corrected respectfully, before pushing the door open. "The King is in the War room, and the Lady is in the gardens."

"Uh-oh. Marital strife on the horizon. They're rarely separate," Jareth explained as he led her within the castle. "No, no, John, we can find them ourselves."

"It's Thomas, Sir."

When they were alone, Sarah gave him a funny look. "What?" He asked, smirking. Even to him, his voice sounded a tad too amused.

"Did you honestly forget his name or were you just trying to piss him off?"

He couldn't suppress the grin which turned up his lips. "That will have to remain a secret of mine for a while, love. Though truth be told, I never was very good with names."

"Too self-absorbed?"

He smirked at her snarky response. "Something like that." He leaned close and noticed she sniffed the air and got an almost nervous look on her face. It reminded him of how she looked when he leaned over her in the tunnels below the Labyrinth, only her eyes...He lifted his free hand, gently touching the corner of her eyes. How he missed them.

"Jareth? Is that you?"

The soft, feminine voice caused him to drop his hand and turn towards the woman it belonged to. "Ah, Gwenny, dear, how are you doing!" He led Sarah forward, pretending he hadn't been lost in his own little world and moments away from leaning down to kiss those eyes.

The woman had incredibly long hair, twisted into a thick, disobedient braid. Around her head was a small band of gold, the symbol of her station. She offered her hands and he stepped forward, kissing both in a kind manner before pulling Sarah forward. "This is Sarah Williams, visiting...temporarily from the Above." The word 'temporarily' stuck in his throat.

He watched the woman examine the one beside him. Then, she stepped forward, cupping Sarah's face and turning her head from side to side. "You are a lovely one, aren't you." She smiled. "What color are your eyes usually?"

"I...I don't remember-"

"Green." Jareth said calmly. He gave the queen the faintest shake of his head. "She is why I am here, Gwenny. I must speak to Arty-"

"I hope you're not going to call him that in public. He hates that nickname."

He winked at her, then turned towards Sarah. "Sarah, I must ask that you accompany Gwenny. Fear not, she wont let harm befall you." He pressed a habitual kiss against her forehead before releasing her. He gave the queen a look before he walked away. Before he got too far, he glanced back, seeing blond leading brunette to the sun room.

He took a steadying breath before seeking out the war room.


Guenevere looked the young lady before her and took her hands in her own. "Come along, Lady Sarah. Let us take you to the sun room. It has many flowers blooming inside of it. My husband is rather enamored of Aboveland flowers."

"I'd like that."

She watched the blind girl as they walked, examining her features. In the Underground, brown hair was not uncommon, however, it was usually paired with a swarthy tone of skin, rather than this pale, freckled variety. Her facial features were not individually exceptionally beautiful, however, the combination seemed to be more attractive. She truly wished she could see the girls natural eye color, since one like green was incredibly uncommon in the Underground.

More interesting than the features was the way the girl responded to stimuli. She would incline her head as though she heard something that was below average level of hearing. Her nose flared periodically, picking up lingering scents. Now and then she'd pause, seeming to hesitate, her brow wrinkling.

"You are coping with your curse very well." The queen said quietly.

Sarah lowered her eyes, seeming uncertain for a moment. "It's probably because I...don't remember not having it. I'm pilot I suppose." She lowered her head. "Jareth has been making it easier. He's been very kind."

Guenevere smiled wryly. He's been very in love, she corrected mentally, remembering the gentle kiss he'd placed upon the girl's forehead before he'd wandered off to find her husband. "Has he? It is odd to think of him as kind. He's been a little terror since he was very young."

There was a perplexed look on the girl's face. The woman smiled faintly. "Obviously he hasn't failed at being vague when it suits him. "I am his aunt by marriage." She said softly. "Arthur and his mother Morgaine are half-siblings."

Her brow wrinkled. "He calls his uncle Arty?"

"Much to the displeasure of my husband." She laughed softly. "Jareth is more like his uncle than he may realize. They both became king at a very young age, and when it was decided that Jareth, out of all of Morgaine's sons, would rule, he was brought here to learn from he who is often considered the 'best'." Guenevere pushed open the door to the Sun Room and watched the girl walk within, pause and lift her face to the glass ceiling.

Sarah, meanwhile, was taking in the feel of the place, breathing the scent in the air, feeling the warmth upon her face. She breathed in deeply, enjoying the sweet smells. The room had a calming feel, something that she'd found in a few of the gardens around Jareth's castle, but there was something else...something a little bittersweet-

"Ah, Lady Guenevere, I didn't realize you had a guest-"

The whole atmosphere changed in that instant. She turned towards the voice and frowned at the strange sensation it caused to race through her. Unease, discomfort. The room swelled with fear, pain, and other distinctly uncomfortable emotions.

"Mordred, dear, whatever are you doing at the castle!" Sarah heard soft foot falls and reached out, gripping the queen's arm. "Sarah, whatever is wrong?"

Sarah felt her breaths grow quick, her hands trembling. Her knees felt weak. She scrambled a hand up, gripping the pendant which hung, cool against her skin. Slowly, she backed away from the source of that discomfort, taking her companion with her.

Her head grew light and her weakening knees finally gave up. She barely heard two voices call out to her as the ground came up to meet her.


Jareth's knees almost gave out when he felt a wave of Sarah's feelings wash over him. They were colored with panic and fear. He'd been discussing her curse with his uncle when it happened. He gripped the table roughly to keep himself on his feet before moved towards the door with as much speed and purpose as he could manage. He ignored the inquiry from the man, his only thought was go get to Sarah's side.

He heard his uncle striding behind him as he moved, but didn't turn to speak. His feet, instead, pulled him unerringly towards where the initial feeling had come from. His palm hit the door to the Sun Room and he walked in to find Sarah laying, unconscious on one of the loungers, Gwenny lightly dabbing her face with a cool cloth. "What happened?" He snarled as he walked in. "I was gone for twenty minutes! What happened, Gwenny?"

"Don't raise your voice to your aunt." Arthur said crossly, then turned, looking for and finding another occupant in the room. "Mordred, what a pleasant surprise. Whatever are you doing here?"

Jareth's eyes snapped towards the other man, who was sitting, head lowered, a great deal of pain on his face. "Morty-"

"I'm so sorry, Jareth." The man said, lifting his face. Since he'd last seen his cousin, the man had appeared to have aged several decades. "I...I had no idea who she was."

There were several ways to interpret that sentence and her reaction. He could have grabbed her. They could have encountered each other when Sarah became separated from his aunt. Neither of these were likely. He took a deep breath, pinning his cousin. "Why are you apologizing to me, Morty. You should be clear and precise, if you please."

Mordred lowered his head once again. "You remember when Ailith took sick? She...Your mother arrived later and healed her. She said a price must be paid and...since then has been using me to deliver her carefully crafted death curses in the guise of gifts."

Jareth moved towards Sarah and looked down at her, unable to look at his cousin's head. "Then you're the one who gave the curse which took her sight and mind?"

"I didn't realize. I...didn't like doing it, but Morgaine...she said she would take my wife away if I didn't do as she asked! I had to! I...I can't live without Ailith. I didn't know she meant anything to you until Hoggle came. I swear it, Jareth." He stood, pacing restlessly. "I was bored, entertaining children in the park with the crystals, juggling them like you taught me. She...was crying. I engaged her in conversation, but I swear, I did not even know it was her. After I spoke to her and learned her name, I tried to hurry to leave. The crystal fell, she picked it up and handed it to me. I'm..."

Arthur put a hand on his shoulder. "How long?"

"It's been fifty years...they'd been growing more frequent until this girl. It took six years to find her." He laughed weakly. "Lucky for her that Sarah is such a common name in the Above. Not so lucky for Morgaine. She was furious with how long it was taking..."

"That woman..." Jareth took several calming breath. "Was under the incorrect misconception that I wished Sarah to come to harm after she defeated the Labyrinth. When I found out, I enlisted the aid of her brother to bring her here. He wished her into my protection. Once she is no longer in need of it...I suppose she'll wish to return home." The knowledge left a bitter taste in his mouth. " should have contacted me as soon as she begun using you. She is the reason your wife took ill to begin with."

Every conscious person in the room turned to look at him, stunned. "What?" Guenevere hissed, aghast.

He sighed, focusing on Sarah. Gently, he brushed her hair from her brow before looking up at them. "I went to sit with Ailith when she was dying. I...recognized the feel of her magic. She did most of my training when I was young, so I'm familiar with it. It's distinct. When I felt it, I went to her and demanded she remove the curse from Lady Ailith. I had no idea she would do something like this..."

"She goes too far!" Arthur said quietly. "She was always...darker, but when your father was here, there was more good than evil in her."

Gently, Jareth lifted Sarah. "There are rooms in the family wing? She will have one adjoining my own. It's easier to look after her if I don't have to look far."

"Jareth..." Gwenny said, resting a hand upon his shoulder. "How long have you..."

He lowered his gaze. "Since she conquered my Labyrinth." He said quietly. Then, he left them, holding his precious bundle against his chest. It was a grim reality, knowing that once Sarah remembered how much she had in the Above that she would abandon him once again. He wasn't certain he could bear to let her go.

The room he typically used was already set up and he checked the adjoining room, finding it immaculate as well. He moved inside, gently setting her on the bed. As he straightened, he found milky-white eyes open and aimed in his general direction. "Hello, precious..."

She relaxed. "Jareth..."

"You gave me quite a fright." He said quietly. "Mordred is sorry. He did not mean to cause you harm." He saw her brow crease in confusion and frowned deeply. "You do remember what happened, don't you?"

"I..." After a moment, she shook her head. "Where are we?"

He sighed softly, brushing her hair back. "We're in Avalon, remember? At court?"

Slowly, she nodded. Her brow was creased as she pondered this. "What...happened?"

He smirked a bit. "You fainted. Pity I arrived so late. It would have been fun to tease you about falling into my arms."

Her cheeks brightened with a flush and he gently eased her into a sitting position and put his arms around her, hugging her gently to his chest. "Ah, Sarah...Try not to scare me like that anymore. It is quite unsettling to come upon you in such a state."

He felt more than saw her head bob in agreement. "I have a headache..." She mumbled softly.

He eased her face up, looking down at her. "I should be able to help with that..." Gently, he leaned forward, considering a kiss upon her forehead once again. However, the way her lips parted innocently and her brow furrowed in what seemed to be discontent, changed his mind. His breath left him raggedly and he brushed his lips across hers softly, just once.

Her breath sucked in sharply, and her eyes widened. She backed away a bit, setting her fingers on her lips, as though pondering the sensation.

"Better?" He teased lightly.

Her flushed face lifted and after a long moment, she nodded shyly before lowering her face once again.

Her reaction was only mildly encouraging. "Sarah?" He gently coaxed her face up and looking down at her in concern. Her lips were trembling with her obviously frayed nerves and he felt like a cad. He shouldn't have done that when she was already off kilter. "Why do you look like you're about to cry, precious?"

She looked so uncertain. "I...I don't know. I just...can't remember..." She lifted her face. "But I remember more when I'm with you." She said softly, before tucking her head beneath his chin, effectively hiding in his shirt.

He smiled faintly, tucking his arms comfortably around her. "Then pray, stay with me until you are yourself once more." He stroked her hair, closing his eyes and enjoying her smell. He rocked her gently, even as he heard her begin to softly hum. It took him a moment to recognize the melody, but when he did, his heart nearly stopped beating in his chest. He took several calming breaths to keep from frightening her. "Sarah, darling? Where did you hear that song?"

There was no response. He tried to ease back, but her hand was fisted tightly in his shirt. Gently, he hooked a finger beneath her chin, easing her face up, only to find her eyes closed, her lips smiling peacefully. She was sleeping. He sighed in exasperation, slowly laying her back on the bed. Once she was settled, he tried to stand, but her hand was still fisted into the fabric of his shirt and seemed quite reluctant to let go. With an exasperated chuckle, he settled onto the bed beside her, pressing his nose to the crown of her head.

"Such a sad love, indeed." He murmured, stroking her hair gently. "Goodnight, precious one."

Of Cupid and Psyche

A Labyrinth Story
by Chibi-no-oneesan

Part 5 of 16

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