Continuing Tales

Of Cupid and Psyche

A Labyrinth Story
by Chibi-no-oneesan

Part 6 of 16

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Sarah knew it was morning, because she could hear the sound of birds near her window, singing a cheerful little tune which made her groan and burrow farther into whatever delicious-smelling pillow was laying next to her. Still bleary with sleep, she nuzzled her face into said pillow, too sleepy to notice the sharp gasp that came from it. Smiling broadly, she breathed the smell deeply and wondered if Arty and Gwenny would mind terribly if she took this pillow home with her. It smelled just like-


Her eyes bugged and she lifted a hand, touching the face of her 'pillow', finding that slightly hooked nose, those high cheekbones, and finally, those lips, which were turned up into a faint smirk.

"Good morning, Sarah."

Several possible reactions ran through Sarah's mind. Literally everything from scrambling out of the bed backwards and as fast as she could, to pressing her blushing face back into his chest and sniffing him for a little bit longer. God, his scent was intoxicating. He smelled so good he almost seemed...edible. Wondering briefly how the Goblin King would respond to her nibbling on him a bit, she finally turned her face up to his.

"G'morning..." She mumbled. That was not what she wanted to say. She wanted to ask why he was in her bed, why he was holding her like she was going to disappear, and why oh why, he seemed to have stripped out of his velvet jacket, leaving him in that oh, so thin silk shirt.

"How do you feel?"

She put her face back into his shirt, sighing softly. There were several answers to that question. She felt warm, comfortable, safe, cherished. She felt as though she'd been wrapped in a blanket of peace and tranquility as surely as his arms were wrapped around her. There was a sensation of pleasant contentment radiating from the man who held her. "How d'ya mean?" She mumbled, her voice muffled slightly by his shirt.

Her head bounced slightly as he chuckled. "You fainted last eve when you ran into my cousin Mordred in the Sun Room. When you woke, you complained of a headache..." he paused for a moment. "Ergo, how do you feel?"

She huffed softly. "I don't faint." The complaint drew another chuckle from the man who held her. "I don't!"

"While I'm certain you normally do not faint, you did. You must have grabbed the pendant, because just as sure as I'm laying here now, I felt your pain and panic. You were frightened, precious. I'd go as far as to say you were terrified. You worried me greatly." His hand gently brushed her hair back and she sighed softly in contentment. "Can you recall what scared you so?"

She went silent for a moment, mentally looking back. She remembered entering the Sun Room, which had felt warm and wonderful, filled with bright feelings of youthful romance, but it was tainted faintly with bittersweetness. Then...she'd heard a voice. A male voice, and the woman – Gwenny, or Lady Guenevere, Jareth's aunt – had spoken to the man, called him Mordred...then fear had swept through her for a reason she could not remember.

"I...heard a voice. It was a man's voice, it was...familiar. I don't know how to explain it. I felt that he was startled to see me and for some reason, that voice and the name..." She shook her head, pressing her face into his chest, her head starting to ache again. "Dammit..."

His arms tightened around her and a gloved hand gently stroked the back of her head. "That's enough, darling." He sighed, and she felt her hair move from the wind it created. Then, there was a pressure at the crown of her head, and somehow, she knew he'd kissed her there. "It would appear that your sixth sense is sharpening as well. That is good."

Suddenly, sensation washed over her and she gasped in surprise, feeling warmth and affection pouring off of the man that held her. Beneath those gentle emotions, however was something dark and a little frightening. A bit nervous, she lifted her face, suddenly very nervous. "Jareth?"

His hand touched her chin, holding her face still. "Ah, love, it is so difficult to be your knight. Deep inside me there is a villain crying to be released. That dark piece of me wants nothing more than to take advantage of every situation your innocence puts you in..."

Her cheeks warmed and she realized with a bit of horror that she was blushing. "I..."

"Kiss me, Sarah-mine," his voice begged. Her heart lodged in her throat. He sounded so wistful, so hopeful, that she couldn't deny him. Her hands came to rest on his chest, right at the edge where the silk of his shirt met his smooth skin. She swallowed hard, licking her lips, leaning slowly towards him, guided gently by his hands.

Her lips were a hair's breath away from his when there was a knock at the door and it popped open. Her face jerked up and she stared in the direction of the sound.

"Oh. Oooooh..." A male voice came from the door. "Well, I was coming to say breakfast was ready, but I suppose you'll be down when you're done. Try to keep the noise down, Jareth."


Jareth stared in disbelief at his uncle, mentally cursing his poor timing in every language he knew well and a few he only knew enough of to swear in. Once the door was closed behind the rather amused, smug older man, the Goblin King let his head fall back onto the pillow. "Damn, lousy timing..."

Sarah's face turned towards him, and a strangled giggle left her lips, her hands flying up to cover her mouth and nose as a snort left her.

He blinked, looking down at the girl who was laughing and trembling, still leaning over him. His heart warmed and a wry chuckle escaped him. It sounded more like a huff than a laugh, but it seemed to cause the girl to start laughing harder. Seeing her laugh like that, he couldn't help himself. He wrapped his arms around her, rolling her giggling form to the mattress and staring down at her, smiling wildly. "Ah, you're beautiful when you're laughing..." He permitted himself a brief moment of melancholy, remembering that her happiness was with him.

Hands lifted and her fingertips were dusting over his cheeks, towards his mouth. As they skimmed across there, he kissed them gently, nipping the skin between his sharp teeth. "You feel...sad?"

He lowered his head, he felt her hands dance through the wild strands upon it. "I've no greater fear than you losing the memories of our time together here." He kept his voice quiet, so he would not frighten her. "It could happen. I've no idea of the penalty for wiping the spell from your eyes..." He rested his ear over her heart, listening to it beat beneath his ear. "Would that you would never forget this time..."

Her hands tightened their grip in his hair. "I would never-"

"A price must always be paid, love. The price for your old life might be this one you are forging now. I hate to tell you, you cannot have both."

She went quiet and he wanted to swear. He lifted himself onto his arms, staring down at her, brushing her hair from her face. "Come along, my precious one. My uncle says there is a table of food awaiting us. We must go eat, before Gwenny comes up to tease me." He sat, helping her upright and walking towards the wardrobe along one wall. He pulled it open, finding a lovely gown of lavender linen and took it down, laying it on the bed beside her. "Would you like me to call a maid to assist you?"

She shook her head, her face perplexed. "Thank you, Jareth."

He trailed his gloved fingers over her cheek, staring down at her lovingly. "I'll be just one room over, so if you should need me..."

"I'll call." She nodded, her face suddenly adorably shy. As he pulled away, she gripped his hand for one moment before releasing it.

Quickly, he left her alone, closing the door between their rooms and leaning against it. Damn. It was difficult to enjoy being at her side when the knowledge that she would likely leave him once more came to mind. She had a family back home. Family who loved her. A brother who probably missed her. To ask her to stay would be asking her to give up everything.

And what could he give her for her trouble?

All he had to give her was his heart and a crown she'd probably not want. He had everything to gain and she had everything to lose.

He dug through his own wardrobe, finding something to remind himself that he was supposed to play her hero, not take advantage of the fact that she was here and do everything in his power to keep her there. To do so was to grossly betray the trust his heir had placed in him. It was his duty to protect Sarah. Had he, however, known how difficult protecting her from himself would be, he would have let her stay with Hoggle.

He would have choked on doing so, but he would have done it.

As much as Sarah's presence made him wish to be villainous, as much as he longed for her and loved her, as the Goblin King, his duty to her brother came first. Besides, should those memories return without his knowledge during a compromising situation, anything he managed to build with this Sarah, who remembered nothing of his cruelty, would be compromised.

Better to wait until she came to herself, better to show her that he was more than the man who had taken her brother at her behest. If she retained even a fraction of the memories from her time in the Underground, he prayed that she remembered that he was kind to her.

He changed out of the garments he'd worn the evening before, then gently tapped on Sarah's door. "Precious? Are you dressed?"

There was no answer.

He frowned deeply, pushing the door open, peering into the room. What he found had panic shooting into his heart. Sarah lay back on her bed, eyes staring unblinking at the ceiling. Her hand was just a hair away from the crystal, clenching desperately. He swore, rushing towards her. Putting a little extra volume in his voice care of his magic, he called out to his aunt and uncle, while climbing onto the bed over her. There was an answering call, and he felt more than heard them heading towards the room.

Gently, he pushed her wild hair from her face, searching her gaze. "Sarah, precious one..." He called softly, trying to draw her back from where ever she was. He was actually afraid to touch her, for fear that she would be harmed. Her body bowed, arched, and a scream of pain left her throat, her hands flying to her head.

He swore viciously, waiting until her body collapsed and he pulled her now slack form to his chest, cradling her now frighteningly still form to him. He could tell what it was. That last damn hook of his mother's damnable curse trying to sink into her, to tear her life away from her. "Fight it, darling. Fight it for me, for your family, for yourself. Don't..." His voice broke and he hated it. "Don't die, Sarah. Don't die, my love, for I might die right along with you."

The door burst open and Guenevere rushed in. Two servants were in attendance, and were setting up a minute altar. "What are you-"

"Your father went to get him..."

Jareth nearly collapsed in relief. "It's that damnable curse...I can't do anything. I don't have this manner of knowledge...I just..." He swore viciously, simply cradling Sarah to his chest, rocking her gently. "Damn that woman, I'll kill her myself."

"I'm afraid she is not yours to punish, Jareth." There was a firm warning in his aunts voice and he looked up, seeing the firm warning on her face.

He sighed, pressing his face back into the girl's hair. There was movement by the door and Jareth looked up, finding his cousin standing there, a look of concern on his face. Quietly, nervously, Mordred entered the room, moving towards the girl. "I...have the knowledge, but I lack the power. I'm not that strong. I received the powers from mother's side, but theirs were always weaker. Father's powers within me didn't flourish."

Jareth's eyes sharpened. "What must be done?" He asked quietly.

"Oh, no, boyo." Guenevere lightly cuffed the side of his head with her hand. "You may love the girl, but you're not going to experiment to break this curse."

"She is right."

The aged, wizened voice came from the doorway. Jareth looked up and saw a tall, willowy man with a long white beard enter the room. His hair was close cropped to his head, his silvery-white brows and lashes hung over startlingly blue eyes. Jareth's grip around the girl tightened slightly, protectively. "Caledonensis-"

"Boy, set your mate down and breath easy." As Jareth did as he was told, the moved forward, peering down at the girl in interest. "Lovely eyes, she has. Green is a rare color here..."

"Yes." Jareth agreed sadly. "You can see them?"

"Foolish question, boy, of course I can see through the veil placed over them." The man set an aged hand upon the girl's forehead, and Jareth opened his mouth to object, upset that the man touched her so intimately. "Boy, if you cannot conduct yourself properly in this sick room, you will be removed from it," Caledonensis warned. Those nearly electric blue eyes fell closed and the man turned inward, tasting the flavor of the spell which had been placed upon the girl.

Jareth could scarcely stand there, waiting. Mordred stood at his back with Guenevere and Arthur, all three of them offering silent support. Closing his eyes tightly, he broke away from them, striding towards the door. "Call me when she wakens. I...have never been fond of bedside vigils..." He strode from the room, seeking out a way to take his mind away from the knowledge that the girl lay upon that bed, likely dying, and he, her protector, her knight, could no naught to help her.


Caledonensis frowned as the boy left, then returned his gaze to the girl who lay stretched out on the bed. The curse was quite a nasty piece of work. He knew, from what Arthur had told him on the way here, that Morgaine, Arthur's half-sister, had cast the spell. She was quite the witch, despite never being granted title. He had seen over her instruction in magic himself, making certain she understood the consequences tied to using a spell such as this.

"Oh, child, she's made a mess of you..." he said quietly. "Arthur, clear the room, my boy. This will not be pretty and I'd prefer that Jareth did not learn of what must be done."

"What...must be done?" The king asked quietly. "Merlin?"

The old man sighed, turning at his given name. "I must sever the piece which is trying to latch on. If it succeeds in sinking it's teeth in further, the child will die."

Arthur paled, and with a wave of his hand, summoned the others from within the room. Once the door was shut, he waved a hand, sealing the room from intrusion from any direction. "Morgaine, you always were a clever little witch." The old man murmured softly, brushing the girl's hair back from her face once more.

Then, he used his magic to reach within her and sever the magic which had not already sunk it's fangs into her.


He'd wandered the castle for hours. He knew from experience that something like this could be a long and arduous process. He'd briefly stopped in the kitchens for a nibble, however, he felt too ill to eat anything. Several times, he could feel her pain through the crystal necklace he'd given her, and it almost brought him to his knees.

Eventually, however, those feelings ebbed, leaving a wary confusion, exhaustion, and eventually, he could feel her drift off to her dreams.

At that point, he headed back to their rooms, finding everyone else waiting outside. " she?" Jareth asked quietly upon stopping. "She feels..."

"Caledonensis says he was able to break the magic which had not already gained hold." Arthur looked concerned. "Jareth-"

"The boy returns."

Jareth looked up as the old man stepped from the room. Immediately, concern gripped him. The man looked as though he'd aged several decades attempting to free Sarah of the magic. He knew that the man was old, but he'd never seemed truly old, until now. "It appears to have taken some time..."

Mordred jumped up, offering the ancient man his seat. As the man sat, Jareth could hear his bones creak and pop and winced faintly. "Your mother...was a clever witch. She always has been. It is made very obvious by her curse on that girl." The man shook his head. "Three levels, three spells, each of which takes a bit longer to reach maturity than the last. The best I can guess was her sight went first."

Jareth closed his eyes. "That was my guess as well. Hoggle, my gardener and a friend of Lady Sarah's, saw her shortly after the curse had begun to take her. He said she was already blind and could not remember much of anything. By the time I saw her, even things she was relearning slipped away like water. It's scarce been two weeks since it all began..."

He nodded, frowning deeply, those lines which cut across his face deepening. "It is very fortunate you were here in Avalon when the final piece of the spell began to take hold. It was viciously quick, and had I not gotten here so quickly, the girl would have died." The man shook his head. "There is nothing I can do for her sight or mind. I do not hold the key to return what was lost. I believe that key rests in your hands, Jareth."

The Goblin King lowered his gaze, moving towards the room.

"She is very weak at present, boy. Do not let her sense disgust at her current appearance. Her body burned a great deal of itself in combating the curse, much as mine did."

He swallowed hard, pushing the door open. He entered silently, then closed the door behind him. Moving towards the bed, he saw what his mentor meant. In mere hours, her body had consumed a large amount of muscle, as well as most of her excess fat, leaving her painfully thin. He bit his lip hard, sitting on the bed. Her milk-white eyes opened, turning towards him.

Her brow furrowed faintly, and her lips turned into a faint frown. "Jareth...?"

He took her frail hand, lifting it and pressing his lips against the flesh. "I'm with you, darling." He promised, ignoring the others who were gathered at the door. "I'm here..."


They remained in Avalon a great deal longer than originally planned. It was nearly another full week before she was able to consume food more solid than soft cheeses and bits of bread soaked in broth. Caledonensis periodically took Sarah from Jareth's care, for check-ups, and – Jareth suspected – teaching her how to harness the magic that was part of the Underground.

Once she was up to traveling outside the castle, he took her around Avalon, to the city gardens, so she could feel the sun on her face. Sometimes, they went to the city's vast public library, where he would find a quiet corner and read her literature in some of the Underground languages that were pleasing to the ear. Other times, he would guide her on meandering walks around the market section of town.

He had no problem acting as her escort, had grown quite adept at reading how much she could stand before she needed to return to the castle. He ignored the speculative looks from the people in whatever section of town they were wandering that day. Yes, the rumor mill was up and in fine working order in the Underground. Word was already spreading that she was warming his bed, which was not entirely untrue, as he spent more nights laying beside her than was probably safe for his heart.

He was tired of resisting what his heart demanded of him. He loved this woman, the defiant heart hidden behind a quiet calm she'd not possessed when he'd first met her. Now and then, when he wasn't looking directly at her, he almost thought he saw her lovely eyes glittering with that defiance, but when he turned he simply found those milky white eyes looking at him.

Since she'd come into his life once again, he'd known that she would leave him and he'd tried damn hard to make sure that when they parted this time, he would remain intact, not fall to pieces as he'd done before. Now, he was a hair away from saying he didn't care about any of it anymore. Let her shatter him. At least for the rest of his lonely existence he would have the memory of this time, when he played knight and mentor and friend to the girl who had turned his world end over end so many times he'd lost count.

"Guenevere said she was holding a ball."

His attention turned to the girl who was cupping one of the exotic flowers in this particular garden to smell it. Her eyes were closed and her expression was serene. "Is she? She has not mentioned it to me."

Sarah nodded, drawing the flower gently along the skin of her cheek. "She says you should formally introduce me to society or something like that. I don't understand what she means, but it sounds...interesting." Her brow wrinkled a bit. "Although I doubt I have anything to wear..."

He smiled fondly. "If you wish to attend, arrangements can be made, love." Her face turned towards him at that word. He didn't apologize for calling her that, as he never had. "Do you like to dance?"

Her brow furrowed. "I...don't know. I think I might, with the right partner."

He moved towards her, watching her eyes widen a bit as he approached. "Then, pray, will you dance with me, Sarah?" He slipped his hand beneath hers, lifting it to his lips and skimming them gently over her knuckles. "Right here, right now?"

The blush which swept over her cheeks was endearing. "But there's no music-"

He drew her close, setting a hand upon her waist, hearing her breath hitch in her throat. "Of course there is," he teased playfully. "Just be quiet a moment and listen." He watched her eyes fall closed and leaned close, whispering against her ear. "The rustle of the leaves, the pulse of the earth beneath your feet, the call of the birds – Oh, yes, darling. My precious thing, there is music..."

Her breath sighed out against his cheek and he breathed her scent deeply. "I lead, you follow..." he said softly, before he began turning her slowly and gently through the garden. As they danced, there was a reconnection that he could almost feel with his whole body. The thunderstruck look on her face said she felt it as well. Her lips were parted innocently, as they'd been in the ballroom so long ago. As they danced, he felt himself pulled further and more assuredly under the spell that was Sarah. "My dear one." He nearly winced at the longing in his voice.

That sweetly innocent expression, those softly parted lips, eyes that had shown curiosity and confusion. What would they show now? Love? Hatred? He desperately wanted to know that she held a fraction of the longing that he'd held in his heart for her. "Jareth?"

They'd stopped dancing, and he merely held her gently against his chest, tucking his cheek against the top of her hair. "It is nothing, dearest one. Worry not. I am simply...remembering." He sighed, stroking her hair gently. "So, then, Precious. Do you wish to attend this ball my aunt is determined to throw at my side? Am I a...suitable partner?"

She gave him a mysterious smile. "I think you'll do quite nicely."

He chuckled, pulling back and looking down into that smile. Slipping a gloved hand carefully against her jaw, he pulled her close and gently kissed her mouth, proud of the restraint he managed to show. When he pulled back, her breath sighed out of her and put a smile on his face. "I think you'd be perfect as well."

Of Cupid and Psyche

A Labyrinth Story
by Chibi-no-oneesan

Part 6 of 16

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