Continuing Tales

A Necessary Deception

A Labyrinth Story
by Scattered Logic

Part 23 of 28

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A Necessary Deception

Dorenil was sitting at his desk when the King and Sarah suddenly materialized before him. His astonishment quickly turned to concern as he took in Jareth's bloody appearance and the fact that Sarah was dressed in a set of fencing whites. The way Sarah clung to him indicated that something terrible had happened.

Jumping up, he rushed to his monarch's side.

"Your Majesty, please sit down. Let me examine you."

Jareth winced at the pain still throbbing through his head, but he waved the healer off. "Sarah first," he commanded.

"No, Jareth," Sarah said anxiously, releasing Jareth and pulling a chair over to him. "You're hurt."

"The baby," he insisted. "I want to know that the baby is fine."

Dorenil frowned, but nodded and looked Sarah over. "The child is well, Your Majesty." The healer reached out and examined Sarah's scraped wrist and hand.

He glanced at her, confused. "There is salt in these wounds."

She jerked her shaking hand away from Dorenil. "This will wait," she said. "He's still bleeding. Jareth, please, let him look at you."

Sighing, the Elf turned back to the King. "Your Majesty, she is quite right."

"Please, Jareth," Sarah's voice broke.

Jareth saw that her control was hanging by a thread. He nodded slightly and sank into the chair she had provided. He allowed Dorenil to examine the gash in his head, all the while watching Sarah carefully. The healer quickly conjured two basins of water and instructed Sarah to begin washing her wrist and hand in one of them.

"I can't heal either of you until I get all of this salt out of the way," Dorenil muttered. A flick of his wrist produced a soft cloth. He dipped it into the second basin of water and began to carefully clean Jareth's injuries.

Once he had washed away the salt, the healer quickly breathed a few words in a sing-song voice. The gash in Jareth's head vanished. Dorenil placed his hand on Jareth's forehead and continued chanting the spell. The healer watched in satisfaction as the King relaxed when the headache receded.

He turned his attention to Jareth's wrists. They were rubbed raw and bleeding in places. He cleaned these wounds and, with a few more words, the injuries were healed. He then repeated the procedure on Sarah's wrist and hand until her injuries vanished.

By this time, Jareth was standing at Dorenil's elbow, watching while the Elf attended Sarah. When Jareth saw that her physical wounds were healed, he quietly thanked the healer and took Sarah by the hand. He looked into her eyes and smiled reassuringly.

He murmured, "Close your eyes."

As her eyes slipped shut, a solitary tear traced a path down her cheek and he transported them to his chambers.

As soon as they arrived, he pulled her into a tight embrace.

She tilted her head back slightly and looked up at him. "Why were you there? I thought you were in your office. How did all this happen?"

"Vivienne sent me a message. She claimed that she was ill and feared..." he hesitated.

Had Marcan been telling the truth? Was Vivienne truly feigning her pregnancy? What if that had been nothing more than a lie designed by Marcan to torture him during his last few moments? He would say nothing to Sarah until he knew the truth. He refused to raise her hopes, only to dash them again.

"Vivienne came to get help for you," Sarah said, her voice shaking. "She sent me to you."

"Let's not talk of her now," he said soothingly. "Later, I promise, we will talk of that later. You and our child are the only things that concern me now."

He steered her gently to the sofa in front of the fireplace and sat her down. He sat next to her and held her close. She leaned into him and gave a shuddering sigh.

"I don't understand, why did he want to hurt us?"

"He was jealous and he had hated me for years," Jareth said softly. Marcan was always resentful of my position. And he wanted me to suffer; he knew he could accomplish that by killing you and with my death, he thought he would eventually become High King."

"I've never even hurt anyone before. Have you... Have you ever killed anybody?" she asked haltingly.

"Yes," he said quietly.

"Did it make you feel sick inside?"

He hesitated. "The first time is the worst experience," he said slowly. "No matter how necessary it is, killing is never pleasant. But should you have to kill again, this is the worst it will ever be for you." He tilted her head up to look at him. "Sarah, your only other choice was to allow him to kill you and our child. You must not begin second-guessing your actions. It will accomplish nothing."

She nodded.

"I want you to lie down now and rest for a bit," he said, brushing his hand tenderly over her forehead.

"I'm not sure that I can," Sarah said. "I don't want to go to sleep... I don't want to dream about it."

"I will send Breena to you sit with you."

"Can't you stay?" Her voice quivered.

"There is something that I must do," he said gently. "I will be back as soon as I have finished."


When Ethain arrived at the castle, he immediately went in search of Breena. He found her pacing the hallway outside the King's office.

As she turned and saw him, he was astonished when she broke into a run and flung herself into his arms.

"I was so worried about you," she cried. "What happened?"

"Everything is fine now," he said softly. "Marcan is dead and His Majesty and Sarah are safe."

She looked into his eyes and he was surprised to see a fierce expression cross her face. "I'm glad, but I'm even happier that you're all right."

He gave a delighted smile. "I'm sorry if I worried you."

"I'll forgive you this time," she said with a shaky laugh. "Just don't do it again."

"Breena," he said, his smiled fading, "perhaps it would be a good idea for you to take fencing lessons after all. And there are other combat techniques that it might be useful for you to know. A woman should learn to protect herself."

Her eyebrows shot up in surprise. "Why did you change your mind? I know that you didn't care for the idea earlier."

"I was wrong earlier," he said softly.

She gave a small smirk. "I'm pleased to learn that you will admit when you're wrong."

"Well, you'll find that I'm not wrong very often." His expression was serious, but mischief danced through his eyes.

She smiled and gestured down to the jeans and t-shirt that she still wore. " really don't the clothes, do you?"

He ruefully shook his head. "I'm sorry. I really don't like the clothes."


As Jareth strode down the hallway, he found Ethain and Lady Breena just outside his office door, locked in an embrace. His eyebrows shot up as he took in Breena's appearance. A bemused smile tugged at his mouth. Obviously Sarah was influencing Breena more than he had realized.

The couple hastily jumped apart as he approached. Ethain gave a slight bow and Breena looked confused for just a moment before curtsying as best she could in jeans. Jareth noticed that both were blushing slightly.

"Where is Vivienne?" Jareth looked at Ethain.

"I do not know," Ethain replied. "Shall I locate her for you?"

Before Jareth could answer, Breena spoke up. "Forgive me, Your Majesty, but I believe that Lady Vivienne is in the garden. She said that she wanted to wait for any news of..." Breena's voice trailed off.

Jareth nodded his thanks. "Lady Breena, Sarah is in my chambers. Would you be kind enough to stay with her until I am able to return?"

"Of course, I'll go to her now," Breena said. She bobbled another curtsy to Jareth and gave Ethain a warm glance before leaving.

Jareth told Ethain, "Have Lady Vivienne and Dorenil sent to me in the throne room at once."

Ethain met Jareth's eyes and grinned. "Of course, Your Majesty."


When someone knocked on the door of Jareth's chambers, Sarah opened the door expecting to find Breena and was surprised to see Brennan instead.

"Jareth isn't here right now but he should be back shortly," Sarah said. "Or Ethain can probably tell you where to find him."

"Actually, I want to speak with you," Brennan said. He looked past her into Jareth's chambers and a wry smile crossed his face. "It would not be proper for me to enter. Perhaps you would come out into the hallway?"

Sarah nodded and stepped outside. "I'm glad you're here. I'd like to thank you for what you said this morning. Um, when we were in that place..." She made a vague gesture.

Brennan shook his head. "That's what I've come to talk to you about." He hesitated. "Marcan is dead but you did not kill him. I did."

She looked shocked. "But I... I saw him fall and..."

"You wounded him seriously but he wasn't dead. I knew that it would weigh heavily upon your mind to think that you had taken a life, even if the reason was completely justified and so I wanted you to know the truth."

"Did he attack you after we left?"

"No," Brennan said evenly. "I executed him."

Sarah blinked, stunned. "I... I see."

"I'm not certain that you do," Brennan hesitated. "When I agreed to take the assignment as garrison commander, I swore to protect His Majesty and his children. If Marcan had survived, it would have sent a dangerous message throughout the Underground. I cannot afford to allow anyone to believe that they may survive an attempt on the life of the King or his child. Do you understand?"

She thought for a moment and then said, "Yes, I guess I do. I was willing to kill Marcan to protect my baby and Jareth." She looked down for a moment and then glanced back up at him. "But does it make me a coward if I admit that I'm glad I wasn't the one who killed him?"

Brennan smiled slightly. "No, not at all. I would never call you a coward, Sarah. Foolhardy, perhaps. You should have allowed Ethain and myself to handle the situation," he chided gently.

"I couldn't risk waiting," she said. "Not with Jareth's life at stake."

Brennan nodded. "I understand. You did what you felt you had to do. As did I." Before he could continue, he saw Breena walking down the hallway. "Lady Breena is here, I'm sure she wishes to speak with you. We will talk again later."

He started to turn away and Sarah reached out and impulsively took his hand, giving it a gentle squeeze.

"Thank you, Brennan," she said quietly. "My child is very lucky to have you for an uncle. I know you'll do whatever it takes to protect my baby and his father."

He looked down in surprise at her hand in his and then he smiled and briefly squeezed her hand in return. Without another word, he turned and walked away.


When Vivienne arrived in the throne room, she found Jareth seated on the throne with Dorenil standing beside him. Jareth watched impassively as she curtsied and then rose, looking at the two of them anxiously.

"I assume," Jareth drawled, "that you will not mind if my healer examines you."

"Is there really any point?" she asked quietly.

"Apparently not, but you will indulge me, won't you?" Jareth's voice was like ice.

The healer looked at her carefully, his eyes emitting a soft glow. After a moment, he glanced at the King and shook his head.

"Thank you, Dorenil. You may go."

After Dorenil had gone, Vivienne said softly, "I'm glad to see that you are well." When Jareth said nothing, she continued, "And Marcan? Was he as fortunate?" "He is dead," Jareth said flatly.

"My mother will be devastated," she murmured. "She favored him, you know."

The silence stretched out between them, Vivienne shifted uneasily not quite meeting his eyes, and finally Jareth spoke.

"Why, Vivienne?" he said quietly.

"Which part?" she asked calmly. "I assume Marcan told you everything. He could never resist the urge to gloat.

"Let us begin with why you pretended to carry my child."

"I should think that was apparent." She gave a bitter smile. "I wanted to be High Queen. It was the most expedient way. And Marcan was very convincing."

"Do not blame this on him. I will not accept that excuse," Jareth warned coldly. "You made your own decisions."

She bowed her head briefly and then looked up at him. "If it makes any difference to you, I never knew that Marcan intended to harm you. And I did truly believe that you and I would make a good match. We always did before that girl arrived."

"And so you planned to have her killed?" His voice lowered dangerously.

He vanished from the throne and reappeared standing in front of Vivienne, the soft leather of his gloves tightening as his hands clenched into fists at his side.

"I have never struck a woman. Until this particular moment in time, I have never had the desire to do so, but the thought of snapping your neck has an almost irresistible appeal."

She flinched slightly and he gave a faint smile, then began to circle her slowly. "I could almost forgive the feigned pregnancy. After all, trickery and illusion are second nature to us. But murder for political gain is not something that I am willing to ignore."

"What did Marcan tell you?" Vivienne tried to stall for time.

"Do you deny that you plotted to have Sarah murdered?" Jareth asked coldly. He was behind her and she was forced to look over her shoulder.

"I don't know what..." Vivienne began but before she could continue, he moved around to face her, cutting off her reply.

Jareth's eyes gleamed and he suddenly had an anticipatory smile. He reached out and traced one finger over her bruised cheek. Slowly, he leaned close to her and his voice was like velvet in her ear when he spoke, his tone low and intimate.

"I can force the truth from your mind. The spell is effective but horribly painful. I've heard it likened to having someone reach inside your body and rip out organs. It's such a pity that the damage it does is permanent."

"She's only a mortal," Vivienne said quickly. "She isn't even a free woman. Her rights are nonexistent. I don't think the Seelie Court will punish me for any plot that I had against an enslaved mortal."

Jareth smiled grimly and retook his throne.

"But I have no intention of bringing charges through the Seelie Court. You live in my kingdom and that makes you subject to my laws and to my punishment. The Court will not interfere in what they perceive to be a local matter." Jareth arched an eyebrow. "Sarah is my property. Did you not realize that there is a penalty for attempting to deprive the King of his rightful property?"

Vivienne went white.

"I could bind your magic and banish you to the Labyrinth. Imagine, Vivienne, an eternity spent wandering through that place," Jareth mused. "The last woman who stole from me now lives beside the scrap heap there. She was a countess once." He shook his head in mock sympathy. "The Labyrinth hasn't been particularly kind to her. It has a way of...changing its inhabitants. I am told she has gone quite mad and now resembles the goblins who live there."

"Is that what you intend to do to me?" Vivienne whispered.

"Perhaps," he shrugged. "Perhaps not. I haven't decided. Until I make my decision, you will remain confined to your estate." Jareth said with a dismissive gesture.

"But..." she began and stopped as he fixed her with a cold look.

"Do not try my patience," he said softly. "It would not be wise."

Vivienne nodded jerkily.


Jareth found Brennan waiting for him just outside the throne room. The garrison commander quickly apprised his king of the situation with Marcan. Jareth briefly looked startled and then nodded solemnly as he thanked him.

He arrived back at his chambers to find Sarah now dressed in her customary jeans and t-shirt, while Lady Breena had also changed into her normal attire. It was apparent from their reddened eyes that both women had been crying. Before leaving, Breena impulsively embraced Sarah.

"Everything will be all right," she assured Sarah. With another brief curtsy to Jareth, Breena left.

"You didn't rest," Jareth observed. He led Sarah back to the sofa and the fireplace and pulled her into his arms.

"I couldn't," Sarah said, resting her head against his chest. "First Brennan came by and..."

"He told me about Marcan," Jareth said quietly.

"I would have killed him," Sarah said. "You know that, don't you?" she pulled back and looked up into Jareth's face. "I would have killed him to protect you and to protect our child. I thought I had. But I'm glad I wasn't the one who did it. You can understand that, right?"

Jareth nodded and stroked his fingers down her cheek. "Yes, I can understand. And I, too, am glad that you do not have to bear that particular burden."

"Does... does Vivienne know that her brother is dead?" Sarah asked softly.

"Yes," Jareth frowned slightly.

"She looked terrible when she got here. Her face was bruised. I think he hit her." Sarah met Jareth's eyes. "She helped save you. If she hadn't come here for help..." Sarah viciously blinked back tears. She'd cried far too much today.

"Vivienne does not deserve your sympathy." Jareth's voice was suddenly harsh. "It seems that she is not pregnant, after all."

Sarah's heart began to pound. She was afraid to hope. She didn't want to have this snatched away from her again. Her eyes locked with his. "Are you sure?"

"Yes," Jareth nodded. "I am certain. I had Dorenil examine her."

"Was it a mistake on her part, or did her doctor make a mistake?" Sarah asked carefully.

"No," Jareth said quietly. "There was no mistake."

"Was that what Marcan meant when he said, "You mean this one really is pregnant?" Was it supposed to be some sort of a joke?" Sarah asked, confused.

"Vivienne claimed that she was pregnant so that she and I would be forced to marry," Jareth said. "She wanted to be High Queen. She couldn't accomplish that unless she and I were wed."

"All the hell that you and I went through during the past few days was for nothing?" Sarah's voice began to rise and she jumped up from the sofa. "We should have been happy. We should have been celebrating and instead we were both heartbroken just because she wanted to be a queen?"

Sarah had begun to pace back and forth in front of the sofa, making sharp, angry gestures with her hands as she spoke. Jareth rose to face her, placing his hands on her shoulders to still her movements.

"There is more," Jareth said quietly. "Vivienne was apparently plotting your death."

"My death?" Sarah repeated hotly. "She wanted to kill me?" Sarah took a quick step back, breaking free from his grasp. "Didn't Vivienne think it was enough to make my life miserable? She wanted to kill me, too?"

Sarah's eyes flashed with fury and her mouth thinned into a tight line. She whirled and stalked toward the door.

In an instant, Jareth was standing in front of her, barring her exit. "Where do you think you're going?" he asked.

"I'm going to kick her ass," Sarah said flatly. "Get out of my way, Jareth."

When he didn't move, she took a step to go around him and he quickly pulled her into his arms. She began struggling to break free and glared up him.

"Be still," he said sharply. "I promise you that Vivienne will regret what she has done."

"What are you going to do to her?" Sarah demanded.

"I haven't decided. I want to consider the matter before I make my decision. Her punishment must be...appropriate," he said.

Sarah pushed against his arms. "That's your punishment, not mine."

"What I inflict upon Vivienne will be far more effective than a simple thrashing and it will be permanent." Amusement suddenly colored Jareth's voice. "Besides, I'll not have you brawling. It isn't dignified. I can't have my future wife behaving as if she was raised by a clan of ogres, now can I?'

The true significance of his words finally began to filter into her consciousness. Vivienne wasn't pregnant. She was a calculating, manipulative, vicious bitch but she wasn't pregnant.

That meant that Jareth didn't have to marry Vivienne.

Sarah relaxed slowly, leaning forward and resting her forehead on his chest. His arms tightened around her and she felt him rest his chin on the top of her head.

" future wife..."

Jareth was free to marry her now, Sarah realized. Their child would be his recognized heir. Everything was going to be fine.

'You lose, Vivienne,' Sarah thought. 'After everything you did and all the trouble caused, you still lose. Jareth is mine.'

Joyful laughter silently bubbled through her and her shoulders began to shake.

Jareth said, concern apparent in his voice, "Sarah, are you all right?"

'He thinks I'm crying,' she thought. She lifted her head and the sight of her sparkling eyes caused his eyebrows to shoot up in surprise.

"So," Sarah said dryly, "if I agree not to kick Vivienne's ass, does that mean that you'll consider proposing to me?"

"As I recall, you wanted your offer of marriage to be a surprise," Jareth said with a smile.

"Yes, I do. You have to surprise me." Sarah said, nodding firmly. "And I don't want anything that Vivienne has done to spoil another moment for us."

"I'm pleased that you feel that way. Since you will not allow me to offer you marriage at the moment, may I at least have a romantic evening with you tonight?" Jareth asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Yes," she agreed. "I'd like that very much."


After lunch, Jareth had sent Sarah back to her room with instructions to take a nap claiming that he needed time to prepare for their "romantic evening." She had asked what these preparations would entail but he refused to answer, saying only that he wanted everything to be special.

Twylla helped Sarah dress for the evening and the goblin maid was almost bursting with curiosity. Gossip was flying through the castle. It was being whispered that the mortal had killed a Fae Lord in order to protect the King from an assassination attempt. While the girl seemed to be back in the King's good graces, surely that rumor false. Who would be foolish enough to attempt to assassinate the Goblin King?

And more ridiculous rumors were beginning to emerge. There were claims that Lady Vivienne had been sent from the castle in disgrace and that, even now, the announcement of the impending marriage between the King and Lady Vivienne was being discreetly withdrawn. Twylla surreptitiously glanced at Sarah while she arranged the girl's hair and frowned in speculation. What was the truth of all these rumors? And what part did the poor little barren mortal play in all of it? No matter how many subtle, or even not so subtle, questions Twylla asked, Sarah wouldn't answer.


Sarah stood in front of Jareth's bedroom door and knocked. As she waited for him to open it, she idly wondered how long it would take to get him out of his clothes. She had heard that survivors of life-threatening situations experienced an elevated libido and now she certainly knew it to be true.

After the shock of learning the truth about Marcan and Vivienne had worn off, and then learning that she actually hadn't killed anyone, Sarah wanted nothing more than to throw Jareth down onto the bed and fling herself on top of him.

She understood that this was an after-effect of the traumatic situation at the salt caverns and she knew that it was a sort of 'survival of the species' mechanism. It didn't seem to matter that she was already pregnant--her hormones had gone into overdrive.

When Jareth opened the door, she looked him over and smiled widely. He'd certainly gone all out, she thought. The dark maroon jacket and black pants were beautifully cut and fit him perfectly.

He gave a courtly bow as she walked inside, and when she caught sight of the room, she stopped in her tracks. The room was decorated almost exactly as it had been the night she'd first planned to tell Jareth that she was pregnant.

Vases of flowers were arranged around the room and the lighted candles gave off a soft glow. The small linen-covered table set with crystal and china, the soft music that filled the air, and the flickering firelight made the room feel cozy.

"Lady Breena was gracious enough to help me duplicate the decorations," Jareth said, raising Sarah's hand to his lips.

"It's perfect," she smiled.

He escorted her to the table and seated her.

"You look particularly beautiful tonight," he purred into her ear.

She shivered slightly and smiled. "And you look very handsome."

He inclined his head at the compliment and lifted the wine decanter. He moved to fill her wineglass, but Sarah shook her head.

"None for me, thank you," she said.

"No?" Jareth looked puzzled. "It's an excellent vintage."

"I'm sure it would be great, but I can't drink it. I don't know how it is with the Fae, but if human women drink alcohol while they're pregnant, it can be bad for the baby," she explained.

Jareth placed the stopper firmly back in the wine decanter. "Then you are correct, you shouldn't drink wine." He tilted his head and a filled water goblet appeared next to her plate.

During their meal, Jareth kept up with a steady stream of charming and sometimes slightly risqué remarks. Sarah recognized that he was making a concerted effort to keep her mind off the earlier events of the day and she was grateful to him for it.

After dessert, Jareth stood held out his hand to her with a smile.

"Would you care to dance?"

Sarah took his hand and he pulled her into a waltz. They danced around the room gracefully, one song smoothly blending into another until she was giddy with the combination of music, dancing and Jareth's presence.

Laughing, she stopped and hugged him tightly. "Thank you for all of this," she said softly. Pulling back slightly, she looked up into his eyes. "I'm having a wonderful time," her gaze dropped to his lips, "but I can suggest one improvement." Sliding her hands to the back of his neck, she deliberately pressed her body tightly against his and kissed him. To her surprise, when she tried to deepen the kiss, he pulled back.

"Why, Sarah," he admonished, his voice teasing. "Are you attempting to seduce me?"

"If you have to ask, then I'm obviously not doing it right," she said, chagrined.

He laughed and leaned down to whisper in her ear. "I promise to make the rest of the evening very satisfying. But now I have something to show you."

He quickly transported them. Sarah first didn't know where Jareth had taken them. Hedges surrounded them on all sides, but they were covered in large white flowers and glimmering jewels.

After a moment, she recognized the location.

"The hedge maze," she exclaimed. "But there weren't any flowers before and they didn't have decorations. It's so pretty."

"The hedges weren't in bloom when you were here the first time. And look closer," he smiled, "they're not decorations."

"What are they?" Sarah stepped close to one of the hedges and said, astonished, "Oh, they're butterflies."

The insects had iridescent wings with a gentle luminescence, making each one appear as if a glowing sapphire, emerald or ruby had been placed among the leaves.

"They migrate through the Labyrinth at this time of year. They drink the nectar from the flowers." He stepped to her side. "Hold out your hand."

Sarah raised her hand and Jareth plucked one of the flowers from the hedges. He crushed the fragrant bloom against her palm.

"Now place your hand close to the hedge," he said.

She followed his instructions and laughed as a few of the beautiful butterflies moved onto her palm, their wings gently brushing against her skin.

"They tickle," she giggled in delight.

Jareth gently stroked her hand and Sarah's palm was cleaned of the crushed flower. The butterflies fluttered lightly in the air and came to rest on the hedges once again.

Sarah leaned into Jareth and twined her arms around his neck. She tilted her head up and said, "This is so lovely, thank you for showing it to me. You've made it such a wonderful night."

"There is one more thing," Jareth said, resting his hands on her waist.

"I know," Sarah said with a smirk. "I was trying earlier but you stopped me."

"Not that," Jareth laughed. "Well, not yet anyway."

"Then what else?" Sarah said with a puzzled smile. "You've already outdone yourself."

Jareth's expression grew serious. "I love you, Sarah Catherine Williams. Will you do me the honor of becoming my wife?"

Sarah's breath caught in her throat. She blinked back tears and she blurted out the first thing that came to mind. "I love you, too. And you weren't supposed to ask me tonight."

He arched an eyebrow. "But how else was I to surprise you? This is the only day that you wouldn't be expecting a proposal. And I thought it particularly appropriate to ask you this question here in the Labyrinth. However, I notice you haven't answered me. Will you marry me, Sarah?"

"Oh, Jareth, yes," she breathed. "Yes, I'll marry you."

He smiled and kissed her gently. "I have something for you," he said. He turned his hand in a familiar gesture and a small rosewood box appeared.

The lid was intricately carved. Sarah looked at it closely and saw that the carving was an endless repetition of the circular design in the center of Jareth's pendant.

Sarah opened the box and nestled within the dark velvet lining was a necklace. A length of delicate silver chain glittered in the firelight. She picked it up reverently and found that at the end of the chain hung a small crystal ball, seemingly as fragile as a soap bubble.

"It is a token of betrothal," Jareth explained. "The Fae do not exchange rings as mortals do. However, I will have a ring prepared for you. When we marry, I would like to honor your customs as well as mine."

"It's beautiful," she exclaimed. She held it out to him. "Would you put it on for me?" she asked as she turned her back to him.

He affixed the pendant around her neck and whispered into her ear, "It has a bit of magic in it."

"Magic?" She turned back to him. "What does it do?"

His eyes suddenly gleamed knowingly. He picked up the miniature crystal and held it before her eyes.

"It's a crystal," he smirked. "Nothing more. But if you turn it this way and look into it, it will show you your dreams."

She gave him a mock glare. "That's not funny."

He laughed. "I tried to give you a version of that crystal many years ago. It will show you your dreams, Sarah."

"Really?" She took it from his hand and looked at it curiously. "How does it work?"

"Think of something, or someone, and look into it," he instructed.

Her brow furrowed in concentration.

"Now turn it over," he said.

She turned the miniature crystal in her hand and gasped.

Inside, she could clearly see an image of a child. The boy appeared to be about two years old, his wispy blond hair a wild halo around his head. He was running through Jareth's bedchamber as fast as his plump little legs would carry him with Jareth in hot pursuit. Suddenly Jareth pounced and scooped the child into his arms, both of them laughing uproariously.

Again tears filled Sarah's eyes and she looked up at Jareth. His expression had become one of concern.

"What's wrong?" he asked. "It isn't supposed to reveal an unpleasant dream." He reached for the clasp as if to remove it and she pulled away.

"Don't you dare. It's wonderful and I love it. Thank you so much." She threw her arms around his neck and hugged him tightly.

"There is also a protection spell bound into it," he murmured. "Don't ever take the pendant off."

"I won't," she promised. She pressed a kiss onto his neck and moved up to nibble on his earlobe. "Now, what was that you said earlier about making the rest of the evening satisfying?" she whispered into his ear.

He laughed and kissed her. As he deepened the kiss, she felt the whirl of being transported. Suddenly, she felt a soft mattress against her back. She broke the kiss in surprise and found that they were now lying on Jareth's bed. And at some point during the magical trip back to his chambers, their clothes had vanished. She looked up at him and raised an eyebrow in question.

"Well, I certainly wouldn't want you to think that your attempt at seducing me was unsuccessful," he smirked. He kissed her neck and as his mouth moved lower, she gasped.

"I knew it would work," she said with breathless laugh. "You're so easy."

He smiled against her skin. "Only for you, Sarah. Only for you."

A Necessary Deception

A Labyrinth Story
by Scattered Logic

Part 23 of 28

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