Continuing Tales

A Necessary Deception

A Labyrinth Story
by Scattered Logic

Part 20 of 28

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A Necessary Deception

Jareth continued to rock Sarah gently back and forth in his arms until she couldn't seem to cry anymore. He attempted to guide her back down onto the bed, but she pulled away from him.

"You can't stay here tonight," her voice was hoarse and she wouldn't look at him. "I need some time to be able to see what can be again instead of only seeing what can't be. All I see right now are the things that I can't have. You'll never be my husband, and our child and I will never be free of Vivienne."

He rubbed his eyes and nodded slowly. 'Had it started already?' he wondered. 'Was his presence already unbearable to her?'

"But... But would you stay with me? Just until I fall asleep?" Her tone was uncertain.

Relief swept through him. "Of course," he said quietly.

He sat next to Sarah while she lay down and closed her eyes. Stroking her hair gently, he hummed a lullaby until she relaxed and fell into an exhausted sleep.

He leaned over and pressed a soft kiss onto her lips, preparing to leave. As he looked at her, he remembered what she had said earlier.

"You offered me my dreams once. Let me have one now."

Jareth hesitated and then, closing his eyes in concentration, he brushed his fingers over her forehead and whispered, "Whatever you want most."

With a last sad look at her, he vanished from the room.

And for the remainder of the night, in Sarah's dreams, she and Jareth happily cuddled a fair-haired baby with dual-colored eyes.


After breakfast the next morning, Breena knocked briskly on Sarah's door and was surprised when she answered promptly.

"I... I wasn't certain you'd be awake yet," Breena stammered, her determination to roust Sarah out of her room undermined by Sarah's neat and tidy appearance.

"I'm awake," Sarah said. "Come in."

"Actually, I was hoping that you'd come down to the gardens with me. It's such a lovely morning and..." Breena looked at Sarah closely. "You seem to be feeling much better."

"I had a really good night's sleep," Sarah said, smiling slightly. "And when I awakened this morning, I decided that moping around isn't going to solve my problems."

"At the risk of upsetting you, may I ask what is going to solve your problems?"

"I don't know," Sarah's smile faltered then firmed. "But being depressed isn't good for me or for my baby."

"Your baby," Breena smiled, "I suspected as much. You had left clues, you know."

Comprehension dawned in Sarah's eyes. "You're the one who told Jareth?"

"Dorenil makes a report to the King of the people he treats," Breena said gently. "Ethain and I wanted to look at it and His Majesty came in while we were reading it."

"So, that's how he found out. Then Ethain knows, too?" Sarah asked.

"He knows that I suspected you were going to have a baby."

"Well, it's not like I can hide it for long," Sarah shrugged. "But I don't want Vivienne finding out, not as long as I can keep it from her. I don't trust that woman."

Breena smiled sympathetically and took Sarah's arm, leading her into the hallway, "Well, she shan't hear it from me."

Sarah suddenly stopped in mid-step. "Ethain. Oh, Breena, I've been such a bad friend. I've never even asked how your date went."

Breena smiled and said, "You have had quite a lot on your mind, but you're not the only one who has news."

In the garden, they settled onto a bench and Breena told Sarah about Ethain's request for a formal courtship. Sarah wasn't suitably impressed until Breena explained the ramifications and then Sarah gasped in delight and hugged Breena.

"I'm so pleased for you. I knew you'd make a wonderful couple." Sarah beamed.

"I hope that we will. We are learning about each other. I am still not certain why he has chosen me," Breena looked down. "My family's ranking is so much lower than his. He could have a woman who would benefit him politically instead of one who will not."

Sarah touched her friend's shoulder. "He chose you because of you. And that's a lot better than being chosen because you can offer him some political gain."

Breena gave a pleased smiled and blushed. "He did choose me because of me, didn't he?"

Sarah smiled widely back at her, "Yes, he did."

"And how are things between you and His Majesty?" Breena asked tentatively.

Sarah looked down at her hands. "I feel like I'm lost. I know that he wants me to accept all this. And I'm trying. But when he marries her... Oh, Breena, how am I ever supposed to accept that?"


Vivienne's arrival at the castle caused an uproar among the goblin servants. They rushed madly about as she swept through the main doors.

"Please, my lady, allow me to announce you," the herald said anxiously, scrambling to find his trumpet.

"No need," Vivienne waved a hand blithely and never broke stride. "This will be my home soon enough. I intend to take a look at the..." her voice trailed off as she peeked into the throne room. "...decor before going to see His Majesty."

She glanced around the room once more and then shuddered. "Perhaps I'd better start with the grounds and work my way in," she said to herself and whirled and started toward the gardens.

As she walked the paths, she began making mental notes. The gardens were in desperate need of organization, she decided. Grouping the flowers by color rather than variety would have a much more dramatic impact.

Vivienne rounded a corner and there, not six feet away, sat Sarah and Breena. For a moment, the three women simply stared at one another. Then Breena rose and curtsied slightly to Vivienne. Sarah stood beside her friend, but rolled her eyes and didn't otherwise move.

Vivienne frowned at the sight of Sarah. "Oh, this is simply intolerable. I'll obviously have to speak to Jareth. I don't intend to have my husband's mistress freely wandering about my home." She examined Sarah critically and sneered, "Whatever does he see in you? You dress abominably and you apparently have no manners."

"Contrary to the evidence he's given over the past couple of years, Jareth does prefer substance over style in his women." Sarah's eyes narrowed, mentally preparing for battle.

But Vivienne had already turned her attention elsewhere. "And you, Lady...Breena, is it? It seems to me that you've aligned yourself with the wrong party. This could have serious repercussions for your career in court."

Sarah's eyes narrowed and she moved between Breena and Vivienne. "You don't like me? No problem. I don't like you, either. But leave Breena out of it. This is between you and me."

"Fine," Vivienne's voice was clipped. "Then let's get down to it, shall we? I want you out of here."

"That's too bad," Sarah said, stepping closer to Vivienne. "Jareth wants me here."

"For how long? What do you offer him? Your love? Your body? Mortals age, Sarah," Vivienne said contemptuously. "My appearance will change little over the next several centuries. You will simply grow old and die. How long before he returns to me? Truly, what is there here for you? Or for your children?"

Sarah froze in fear for a moment, but when Vivienne continued, she relaxed.

"And be realistic, if you were to have children with Jareth they would be illegitimate, not recognized by the court or the nobility. That's no life for a child."

"You're not my friend. You're not concerned for my welfare. Don't pretend that you are." Sarah frowned.

"Very well," Vivienne continued briskly, "Tell Jareth you want to go to someone else. There are others who would have you. Others who would marry you. You could have a respectable life elsewhere, but you must tell Jareth that you want to leave him."

"And what makes you think I would agree to such a demand?" Jareth's silky voice sliced the air like a knife.

The three women turned, startled, to see the King standing a few feet away from them. Ethain stood just behind Jareth, watching them all with a guarded expression.

"Your Majesty," Breena said and dropped into a curtsy, as did Vivienne. Breena's hand suddenly reached up and tugged at Sarah's arm. Sarah shot her a surprised look, and then glanced down at her jeans. Shrugging, she pulled at an imaginary skirt and curtsied to Jareth also.

Per protocol, Sarah kept her head down but stole a quick look through her lashes to see a fleeting amusement pass through Jareth's eyes as he watched her performance and then his expression settled into stony indifference.

"Come, come, ladies, no such formality is needed," he said. The mocking edge to his voice and the fact that he waited several long seconds before allowing them to rise caused Sarah to glare up at him. That's when she saw that Jareth was watching Vivienne and she understood that he was making a point.

He was the King and he didn't intend for Vivienne to lose sight of that fact.

"Jareth, how wonderful to see you," Vivienne cooed and moved toward him. As she reached out, obviously intending to place her hands on his shoulders and kiss him, he caught her right hand in his and raised it to his lips briefly.

"I didn't realize you intended to visit this morning," he said coolly. "Had I known, I would have welcomed you myself."

"Since I wanted to take a look around the castle and familiarize myself with my new home, I thought I'd just drop by and return the matrimonial contracts. I received them first thing this morning." Vivienne made an elegant gesture and a parchment scroll bound with a purple silk ribbon appeared in her hand.

"Here you are. Signed, witnessed, and sealed." She held them out to him.

Jareth looked at them stoically and before he could move, Ethain stepped forward to take them from Vivienne.

"I'll place these on your desk, Your Majesty," he said quietly.

Jareth nodded briefly. "Ethain, please escort Sarah and Lady Breena back into the castle."

Sarah looked as if she was going to protest but Breena grasped her firmly by the wrist and shook her head.

"Vivienne, perhaps you would walk with me?" Jareth held his arm out and Vivienne stepped forward.

"Of course, Jareth. It's always a pleasure to spend time with you," Vivienne said sweetly as she shot a triumphant glance toward Sarah.

"Well, she's right about one thing," Sarah said quietly as she watched Jareth and Vivienne walk away. "This is becoming intolerable."


Vivienne glanced at Jareth and said, "I'm glad we're alone, there are a few things I would like to discuss with you."

He stopped and turned toward her, his expression unreadable. "I wish to talk to you, also. What is it that you want to discuss?" he asked.

"A wedding date is the most urgent matter. Then there are guest lists to consider. I have a number of preparations to make and I've no idea of your preferences."

"You said you'd like to marry within the month. I would prefer the date to be set at the end of that month." His voice was remote. "That will give you more time to prepare, will it not? As for guests, I think that under the circumstances, a cleric and the required witnesses will be sufficient."

"A King having such a small ceremony?" Vivienne was disbelieving. "Your status demands..."

He cut her off. "You asked my preferences and I am giving them to you. I prefer that we marry quietly."

Vivienne's mouth tightened. "Very well, once again I will acquiesce. However, I think it only fair that you concede to one of my preferences."

"And that is?"

"If you will not have her removed, I want that woman's movements throughout the castle and the grounds restricted. I do not wish to encounter her nor do I want our guests coming across her. You assured me that you would be discreet, therefore I assume she has a room of her own. Let her stay in it."

"Sarah has no more desire to be in your company than you have to be in hers. I will not order her to remain in her room. However, as a courtesy, I will endeavor to insure that you do not meet."

"That isn't good enough," she said sharply. "As your future wife and queen, I demand more respect than having your whore flaunted in my face and given free run of the castle."

Jareth tensed slightly and his eyes went cold. His mouth curved into a cruel smile and he reached out and tapped one gloved finger under Vivienne's chin, locking her eyes with his. "You will never refer to Sarah in that fashion again. In fact, you will never speak of her again. She is not your concern. You forget yourself, Vivienne. You may be my future wife but you are not my sovereign. Do not make demands of me," he said icily.

Her eyes flared bright with anger but she merely nodded and bit out, "Yes, Your Majesty."

Jareth stepped away from her, his demeanor instantly dispassionate. He politely offered her his arm. "Shall we go back?"

He escorted her through the gardens and to the castle in strained silence. When they reached the main doors, Jareth turned to face her.

"You should go home, I'm sure you need your rest. When you visit next, it would be best if you notified me prior to your arrival. I will arrange to meet you personally," he said.

Vivienne looked suddenly weary. "We were friends once," she said quietly. "Do you hate me so much now?"

He shook his head and his expression softened slightly. "I don't hate you. This is simply not how I had envisioned my future." At his gesture, the servants opened the great doors.

Vivienne glanced at the doors that had been opened wide for her departure and her mouth twisted into a bitter smile. "If it's any consolation to you, Jareth, this is not how I had envisioned my future, either."


Ethain went with Breena and Sarah into the library to wait out Vivienne's visit. Sarah's mood had grown steadily more angry since they'd arrived until finally she was pacing the floor like a caged animal.

"I'm going to ask Jareth if I can move into a house," Sarah said abruptly. "Maybe in the Goblin City. It wouldn't have to be very big, just enough for the baby and me. I don't want to stay here after he and Vivienne are married."

Ethain and Breena exchanged dubious glances.

"Do you think His Majesty will agree?" Breena asked cautiously.

"Maybe not at first," Sarah said, "but I have a feeling that a few days of living with Vivienne and I under one roof will convince him. She obviously isn't any happier about the prospect than I am."

"Please sit down, Sarah, you're making me nervous with all this pacing back and forth," Breena pleaded.

Sarah dropped into a chair next to her friend. "I don't know what he ever saw in that woman," she sighed.

Ethain shot Breena a look that obviously begged a change of subject.

"Sarah, have you begun considering names for your baby?" Breena asked brightly.

"It's a little early for that," Sarah said. She smiled slightly. "Although, I guess I should start thinking about it. I certainly don't want my kid to end up with a funny name. I had a friend in grade school whose name was Teresa Perry. Of course, everybody called her Terry Perry. Why her parents didn't think about that, I'll never know."

Suddenly Sarah looked horrified and she gasped, "Oh, no."

"What's wrong?" Ethain asked.

Sarah jumped to her feet, agitated. "I need to talk to Jareth."

Ethain rose, his eyes concerned, "What's wrong?"

"I just... I just need to talk to Jareth as soon as possible," Sarah was insistent and had begun twisting her fingers together in distress.

"I'll see if he has returned," Ethain said and left the room.

A few moments later, Jareth quickly entered the library. "Sarah, what's wrong?" Concern was apparent on his face.

"Breena, could I speak to Jareth alone?" Sarah asked.

"Of course." Breena rose with a worried look and left the room.

"What is it?" Jareth asked again, his brow furrowed.

Sarah looked at him, her eyes wide. "I'm pregnant. You and I are going to have a baby."

"I know this, Sarah. I'm very pleased about it. Is this what you wanted to speak with me about?" Jareth said, puzzled.

"No," she said, "I need to ask you something important."

"What is it?" He knelt beside her chair and took her hand.

She looked at him intently. "What is your last name?"

"Last name?" he repeated blankly.

Sarah pulled her hand from his and crumpled the lapels of his jacket in her fists. "Do you have one?"

"Do you mean my family name?" Jareth said, still confused.

"Yes," she hissed.

"This is what you thought so urgent?" he laughed lightly in relief. "I thought something was wrong."

Her fingers tightened on his jacket and she leaned in until their noses were almost touching. "We have been having sex. I am pregnant with your baby. I do not know your name. There are words for women who can make those statements, so this is not funny."

He sobered quickly. "We do not use surnames in the same manner that mortals use them. However, if it is important to you, my family name is Rí de Aislinge."

"Rí de Aislinge," she breathed and carefully smoothed down his crushed lapels. "Okay. I just needed to know."

"Those 'words' do not apply to you simply because you did not know my family name. Very few know it," he said gently. "The Fae rarely give their true names to anyone. We believe that true names can give the wielder power over us and we guard them closely."

Sarah frowned slightly, "And yet you told me. Just because I asked."

"I love you and I trust you," he said simply. "It was important to you. So you now know my true name. Keep it safe, Sarah."

When Sarah said nothing, he sighed deeply and rose. As he turned to leave, he heard her quietly say, "Catherine."

He looked back to her, "What?"

"Sarah Catherine Williams. It's my true name. Nobody here knows that except you."

He arched an eyebrow and regarded her gravely. "Sarah Catherine Williams, you do realize that we now hold equal power over each other."

"Jareth Rí de Aislinge," she said, "I certainly hope so."


After telling Jareth that Sarah was upset and needed to speak with him, Ethain returned to the King's office to gather the paperwork needed for the hearing of grievances later that afternoon. When he walked into the office, he found Brennan waiting there for him.

"I had thought to see you much earlier this morning," Ethain said sharply.

"I've been conducting reconnaissance." Brennan lounged casually in Ethain's chair with his feet propped up on Jareth's desk.

"And what did you learn?" Ethain pointedly tapped Brennan's feet and he dropped them back to the floor with a sigh.

"As we expected, Vivienne announced to Fiona that she and Jareth were to marry. Fiona expressed some curiosity over the suddenness of this announcement and Vivienne confided that it was because she was to have a baby."

"Yes," Ethain said wearily, "just we expected."

"Now, now, you get discouraged too easily," Brennan grinned. "I found out quite a few other interesting little tidbits." "Such as?" Ethain raised an eyebrow.

"Such as the fact that Vivienne tends to go on and on about herself in excruciating detail and yet had made no mention to Fiona of being ill prior to announcing she was pregnant."

"Really?" Ethain's eyes narrowed.

"And such as the fact that her healer is some minor noble, Lord Carden. I've never met the man and neither has Fiona."

Ethain shook his head and said, "No, I don't believe I've met him either."

"Well, I took it upon myself to make a few discreet inquiries about this mysterious Lord Carden. Actually, he's not very mysterious at all. He's simply an incompetent gambler who amassed some extremely large debts."

"And this is of interest because." Ethain prompted.

"Would it surprise you to learn that all of his gambling debts were recently, and quite unexpectedly, paid off?" Brennan's eyes gleamed.

Ethain looked at him sharply. "How recently?"

"Two days ago," Brennan said with a self-satisfied smirk.

Comprehension lighted Ethain's face and he nodded slowly. "So, that's it."

"I believe so," Brennan said. "If I were a gambling man, I'd certainly wager on it." He rubbed his hands together briskly. "So, do we tell Jareth?"

"Not just yet," Ethain said slowly. "I don't want to raise his hopes in case we're mistaken. But I do think it's time I paid a visit to this Lord Carden."

Brennan gave a wolfish grin, "We, Ethain. I think it's time that we paid a visit to Lord Carden."

A Necessary Deception

A Labyrinth Story
by Scattered Logic

Part 20 of 28

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