Continuing Tales

A Necessary Deception

A Labyrinth Story
by Scattered Logic

Part 19 of 28

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A Necessary Deception

Dinner that night was a dismal affair, with only Breena, Ethain and Brennan in attendance. Jareth had left the castle and had yet to return, and Sarah had asked that her dinner be brought to her on a tray. The three who remained spent the meal trying to find anything to discuss other than the situation between Jareth and Sarah.

Finally, Brennan threw down his napkin in disgust and addressed the topic they had all been trying to avoid. "Jareth will be trapped into marrying Vivienne and Sarah will continue to be made miserable. And all we can do is sit around and wait for it come about."

"I don't see what else we can do," Breena said.

"Waiting is torture to a soldier. I'd much prefer to take action," Brennan replied impatiently.

"Perhaps there is some action you can take," Ethain said thoughtfully.

"Tell me," Brennan said eagerly. "Anything is better nothing."

"You've become very friendly with Lady Fiona, haven't you?" Ethain asked. "It would be interesting to know just what Vivienne is telling her friends of this matter. Knowledge is power and we have virtually none at the moment."

Brennan grinned, "Leave it to me. Do you think it might help?"

"It can't hurt. At least we would be making some effort." Ethain shrugged.

"Don't expect me back tonight," Brennan said with a sly smile. "It may take some time to find out everything Fiona knows." He winked at Breena, who blushed, and he left.

"I hope he can find out something that will help," Breena said. "Sarah is devastated and I'm certain the King must be torn between his duty and his..." she hesitated. Did Ethain know how the King truly felt about Sarah? "...his desires," Breena finished.

"It is a difficult situation for all concerned," Ethain agreed. "But, His Majesty has a responsibility to fulfill. He has never been a man to shirk his obligations."

"I understand that. However, I feel pity for that poor unborn child. A baby should be cause for rejoicing, rather than for so much sadness."

"Ah, and that reminds me," Ethain sighed. "The servants have been gossiping again. The latest speculation is that Sarah is unable to bear children and that Jareth has set her aside because of it."

"Why would they think that?" Breena said, appalled.

"Apparently, Sarah saw the healer yesterday morning and the timing was simply unfortunate. The servants put two and two together and came up with fourteen." Ethain shook his head.

"Why would she see the healer?" Breena asked. "I thought that her previous illness had been cured."

"It was but perhaps Dorenil wanted to check her for any signs of the malignancy returning."

Breena looked down at her plate and sighed. Suddenly, her thoughts began to fall into place, one interlocking with the next.

"Sarah saw the healer yesterday morning..."

"You gave me a different perspective and I needed that. Especially now."

"I have some good news to tell you. But you'll have to wait until tomorrow."

"I want to get the surprise ready for Jareth..."

"I'd say she's neatly rendered my surprise redundant."

"Oh, no," Breena breathed. "Oh, no."

"What's wrong?" Ethain asked, surprised.

Breena shook her head in disbelief. Could it be possible? There had to be some way to find out without asking Sarah directly. Right or wrong, she might only succeed in upsetting Sarah even more. Breena looked at Ethain pensively.

"Does the healer send a report to you concerning those he treats?" she asked.

"Not to me," Ethain said and Breena's hopes fell.

"But he does send a report to the King," he continued.

"Has the King seen it?" she asked, wide-eyed.

"I doubt it, he wasn't in the mood to do paperwork today. He spent most of the morning sparring with Brennan and then he visited Sarah. After speaking with you, he went to give the news to his parents. He hasn't returned to the castle." Ethain laid down his napkin, "What's this about? Do you think Sarah is ill?"

"Could we see the report?" Breena sidestepped his question. "Would it violate some rule for you and I to read it?"

"I don't know," Ethain said in surprise. "No one has ever asked to see it." He thought for a moment and then shrugged. "I don't see why we couldn't. Especially if you're concerned about Sarah."


"It should be here," Ethain said as he rifled through the stack of reports on Jareth's desk. Breena stood at his side, nervously wringing her hands.

"Do you really believe that Sarah may be ill again? Wouldn't she have told the King? Surely, she would have said something to someone," Ethain asked.

"I don't know," Breena said, "I'm not certain. I could be very wrong about all this."

"Ah, here it is," Ethain said, pulling the report out.

"May I ask what you're both doing in my office, rummaging through my desk?" Jareth asked from the doorway.

Breena jumped, startled, and she and Ethain looked at Jareth guiltily.

"Your Majesty," Ethain recovered smoothly, "have you had dinner?"

"Don't change the subject, Ethain." Jareth said darkly.

Ethain looked at Breena and shook his head slightly. He had to tell Jareth. He watched as her face fell.

"Breena is concerned that perhaps Sarah is ill again." Ethain said quietly. "We wanted to look at Dorenil's report."

"Why do you think this?" Jareth was at their side in an instant.

"She saw the healer yesterday morning..." Breena began and Jareth snatched the report from Ethain's hand and began to read Dorenil's report of the two people he treated within the castle the previous day.

"Examined one goblin male, approximately 11 years of age, for broken leg. Leg injured when goblin fell from upper level of the south tower whilst trying to fly. This is the second occasion that this particular goblin has been treated for an injury sustained during an attempt to take flight. Goblin was reminded that he does not have wings, that he cannot fly, and was warned not to go into south tower again. Leg healed and goblin released from care.

"Examined one human female, approximately 24 years of age, for suspected reoccurrence of cancerous malignancy. Human had several recent headaches, causing her to suspect the cancer had returned. No sign of malignancy was detected. It was determined that failure to eat regular meals was the cause of the headaches. During examination of human, it was discovered that she is approximately three weeks pregnant with a Leanan Sidhe child. Human was told that failure to eat properly could harm her baby. Follow up appointment is scheduled for next week."


Jareth sank into his chair. His vision narrowed until all he could see was a fragment of the medical report. "...she is approximately three weeks pregnant with a Leanan Sidhe child."

Breena and Ethain stood silently, watching him with worried eyes until finally Ethain said, "Is Sarah all right?"

Jareth never looked up from the paper in his hand. "Get out," he snapped.

Ethain opened his mouth to speak, but Breena shook her head and took his hand, tugging him insistently toward the door.

Once outside, Ethain said, "She must be ill again. His reaction..."

Breena shook her head. "I don't believe that she is ill at all."

"Then what?" Ethain asked, puzzled.

"I believe that Sarah is going to have a baby," Breena said quietly.


As soon as he heard the door close, Jareth slammed the paper down on the desk. Sarah was pregnant with his child. She had known last night and she hadn't told him. She had known all day and she hadn't told him. She had known and she hadn't told him.

Was she so angry that she would punish him this way? He felt sick at the thought of Sarah denying him knowledge of his own child. His eyes narrowed and with an icy look, he suddenly vanished to reappear in Sarah's room standing over her bed.

She was asleep, lying on her back. As he looked down at her, he shook his head slowly. He never would have believed that Sarah would be heartless enough to hide the knowledge that she carried his child.

His lips thinned into a harsh line and he angrily reached out to shake her awake. But as his fingers grazed her shoulder, he took a good look at her. There were shadows under her eyes and her forehead was creased in a frown even in slumber.

As he watched, Sarah shifted in her sleep and breathlessly sighed his name. Her right hand slid out across the bed as if searching for him. His expression softened slightly and he pulled the gloves from his hands and stroked across her forehead and down her cheek. The frown smoothed from her face and her searching hand stilled.

"Why didn't you tell me?" he asked quietly. "Did you want to hurt me so badly?"

Images flickered through his mind of Sarah's self-satisfied smile as he'd gazed at her through the crystal. Of candles and flowers in his chambers, of an intimately arranged dining table and her chagrined smile as she said, "You've spoiled part of the surprise."

And then of her wounded eyes as she'd sneered, "There's nothing special about that at all."

Nothing special.

Shocked, he understood. Sarah hadn't told him because she wanted their child to be special, not relegated to an afterthought by the day's events.

Their child, he thought, their child.

His face suddenly alight with wonder, Jareth gently placed his hand on her abdomen. Their child was growing, just there under his fingertips, becoming strong and healthy. A son, he thought, a son with Sarah's imagination and courage, and with his will and abilities.

He sank to his knees at her bedside, his hand stroking tenderly over her stomach. His son who, with those attributes, would surely grow to be the greatest High King the Underground had ever known.

'Not this child,' his mind coldly reminded him. 'Never an illegitimate child."

Jareth swallowed hard against the sudden tightness in his throat. The Seelie Court would consider his son with Sarah a bastard. Their child would never rule, never inherit his kingdom, would never be formally acknowledged by the court as his son. All because of a careless mistake he made seven weeks ago.

He gave a tired sigh. A mistake--that was what he considered the baby Vivienne carried. He felt nothing for that child except a horrible sense of regret. There was none of the instinctive sense of awe or miracle that he already associated with the baby he had created with Sarah.

And it was Sarah who would bear the weight of his mistake. He loved her and only wanted her to be happy but what kind of life was he condemning her to live? She could not be his wife. At best, she would be considered his mistress, at worst, his whore. She and their children would live their lives essentially invisible to everyone except a few select friends.

How long before she grew to hate him for forcing her into that life? For what it would do to their children? How long before she demanded to be free of him? It was no longer within his power to send her to the Aboveworld, but there were other places. To even contemplate being without her was like the slash of a sabre. Could he truly compel himself to let her go?

He closed his eyes against the bitter sting of tears, willing them away. When he opened his eyes, Sarah was awake and looking up at him.

"We're going to have a baby," he said softly, his hand still gently rubbing her stomach. "You didn't tell me," his voice fell to a whisper, "but I know why. I'm sorry, Sarah. I'm so sorry." To his shame, his eyes filled with tears and he quickly turned his head away from her. He moved his hands to the edge of the bed, pushed back onto his heels and prepared to rise.

She had made it clear that she didn't want to talk to him. He had to honor her wish. That was all he could do for her now.


Sarah was dreaming; she knew it but she couldn't seem to wake up. Once again she found herself back in that long-ago ballroom, dressed in that same frivolous gown, ribbons bound into her hair and heavy jewelry sparkling in the candlelight.

And once again she was searching for Jareth.

She caught glimpses of him--a flash of a shimmering blue coat seen between two dancers, a glimmer of blond hair as he disappeared behind a marble column. But each time she drew close to him, a laughing Vivienne would step out and block her path. Over and over, Sarah would almost reach Jareth, only to be thwarted by Vivienne.

Finally, in desperation, Sarah stretched out her hand, brushing against his coat and abruptly the other dancers and Vivienne vanished. She and Jareth were alone. He stood before her, gently tracing his fingers over her face. He whispered to her, but she couldn't hear what he was saying.

Then he placed his hand on her stomach and she awoke to find Jareth actually there in her room, kneeling beside her bed with his eyes closed. His hand rested on her stomach and he wore a look of absolute misery. When he opened his eyes and saw that she was awake, his expression softened and his hand brushed soothingly over her abdomen.

"We're going to have a baby," he began softly and she was stunned. How did he know? And then it didn't matter how he knew, because as he continued to speak, as he apologized to her, tears filled his eyes. He turned away quickly, but she had already seen.

For a moment, she thought she must still have been dreaming. Tears? From Jareth? He was so strong, so invincible. An icy trickle of fear slipped down her spine. Nothing could harm him, could it? And yet he was in so much pain.

"And you, Sarah, are not the only one who is in pain. He simply hides it better."

Seeing Jareth in such anguish finally ripped a gash in the haze of numbness surrounding her and her heart clenched. Impulsively, she reached out and touched his face; her need to comfort overwhelming everything else. 'A maternal instinct so soon?' she vaguely wondered.

Jareth stopped moving away but refused to look at her, and she gently trailed her fingers along his cheek. Why wasn't anything easy for them? They deserved to be happy, to celebrate their baby. Weren't they allowed to have that happiness? Why wasn't she allowed to have her dreams, even if only for a little while?

But maybe she could. Maybe they could.

Just for a little while.

Her decision made, she shifted onto her side to face Jareth. She took his hand, moving it back onto her abdomen. "I used to dream about how I would tell my husb..." her voice failed and then strengthened, "...about how I'd tell the man that I was involved with that we were going to have a baby. I always wanted it to be perfect," she said softly. "That's why I didn't tell you last night."

His jaw tightened and he bowed his head but didn't speak. For a split second, she thought that he was angry and then realized that he was close to losing control and he didn't want to appear weak in front of her.

She grasped his arms and tugged gently. "You offered me my dreams once. Let me have one now. Lie down with me?" she asked softly.

Surprised, his head shot up and his reddened eyes met hers. She looked at him calmly and he moved cautiously onto the bed to lie beside her. Jareth started to reach for her but hesitated. She moved close to him and slid her arm around his waist.

"This doesn't mean that everything's okay between us, because it isn't," she explained quietly. "We still have a lot of things to work out. But we deserve that 'we're having a baby, isn't it amazing' feeling, don't we?" Her voice trembled, "Can't we pretend for a little while that nothing else has happened and that we've just found out?"

His voice was a bare whisper, "If that's what you want."

"That's what I want." Sarah was adamant. "We're going to have a baby," she smiled. Her smile faltered for a moment and she tensed slightly, watching his face closely. "Are you glad?"

He reached out to stroke her hair gently. "I'm very happy. I love you, Sarah, and to know that you're carrying my son... That seems the most amazing thing in the world."

She relaxed and smirked slightly, "Your son? Maybe it's a girl."

He shook his head slowly. "My son." He looked down and his fingers brushed against her stomach. "My son's in there," he smiled and his tone was marveling.

"What makes you so certain it's a boy?" she said, sudden amusement coloring her voice. "Even Dorenil can't tell yet."

"I know," he said firmly. "You carry my son."

"Wishful thinking," Sarah scoffed gently. "When your son is born missing certain accessories, I hope you'll be just as happy with a daughter."

Jareth laughed softly and shook his head again. "My son, Sarah," he insisted. "But, in the unlikely event that I am wrong, I'll be as delighted with my daughter."

"I wonder who he'll look like?" She'd already unconsciously accepted Jareth's belief that the child was a boy. "Will he be blond like you or dark-haired like me? Oh, I hope he has your eyes."

"Children born of these unions usually resemble their Fae parent most strongly," Jareth answered carefully. "He will very likely be fair-haired and, yes, he will probably have my eyes."

Sarah snorted indelicately and asked dryly, "Why am I not surprised that you have dominant genes?" At his puzzled look, she smiled wryly and shook her head. "Never mind. So, he'll look like you. I guess that's not so bad," she teased.

Jareth arched an eyebrow and a smile tugged at his mouth. "Then he's certain to be a very handsome boy."

"Oh, and modest. I'm sure he'll be very modest," she grinned.

His eyes gleamed for a moment and then his expression grew tender. He sat up and reached for the button on her jeans. Sarah's eyes widened in alarm. She sat up beside him and grabbed his hand, shaking her head.

"I can't do that, Jareth," her voice was sharp. "Not right now."

"I'm not trying to seduce you," he said softly. "Will you trust me?"

She looked at him and then nodded silently.

He gently pushed her back down onto the bed and quickly unfastened and unzipped her jeans. He spread them open and pulled down the waistband of her panties slightly. Leaning over, he placed a soft kiss on her abdomen.

"Your mother is insulting us, son," he whispered against her exposed tummy. "Don't listen to her. You'll be the most attractive and self-effacing boy that ever lived. Just like your father."

Sarah laughed. She looked down at Jareth, still whispering encouragement to their unborn child, and suddenly the thoughts that she'd attempted to ignore flooded through her mind.

What would happen after Jareth married Vivienne? What would their son's life be like compared to that of the other child--the legitimate child? Were she and her son doomed to be second best for the rest of their lives? Sarah felt as if she couldn't breathe. She gave one long hitching sigh and then she was sobbing.

Jareth raised his head and his eyes went bleak. He gathered her into his arms and slowly rocked her back and forth, "Shhh," he murmured. "Hush, Sarah, it will be all right. Everything will be all right."

"No, it won't," her voice was thick with tears. "It's never going to be all right for us again, is it?"


Marcan leaned against the doorway and crossed his arms as he watched Vivienne making notes on various pieces of paper scattered across her writing desk.

"Wedding plans?" he asked.

"In a manner of speaking. I'm making lists for my engagement party," Vivienne said absently. "There's so much to be done and very little time to accomplish it all."

He shook his head, "You'd do far better to concentrate on the wedding, my dear. Leave the celebrating until after the fact."

"Jareth is a King and High Prince. An engagement party is expected," Vivienne said petulantly and gestured toward a stack of paper. "And I have begun making lists for the wedding. I've already decided on a design for my wedding gown and the seamstress assures me that it will be ready in time. I have to select my ladies in waiting."

"Oh, yes," she delicately nibbled on the end of the pen, "And I must visit the castle, I doubt that anything there has been decorated to suit my tastes."

Marcan rolled his eyes. "When are the matrimonial contracts to arrive?"

"In the morning, I expect."

"Sign them and send them back immediately. Time is against us."

Vivienne tossed her pen on the table. "I still do not understand Jareth's demands. The fact that he prefers the mortal's attentions to mine is insulting. While he claims discretion, you know as well as I that the news will travel throughout the Underground."

"While it may be an irritant, it is a trivial matter," Marcan said dismissively. "I've no doubt that you can lure Jareth back to your bed after you are married. If you are wise, you'll do so as soon as possible after your "miscarriage." The sooner you produce an actual heir, the stronger your position. As for the mortal, that matter is already decided. You'll be rid of her soon enough."

A Necessary Deception

A Labyrinth Story
by Scattered Logic

Part 19 of 28

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