Continuing Tales

The Enticement

A Labyrinth Story
by Scattered Logic

Part 10 of 16

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The kiss lasted only a few seconds before Sarah's mind began asking her frantically just what the hell she thought she was doing? She was kissing Jareth.

She pulled away and ducked her head, blushing furiously.

"I'm, uh, I'm really tired and I'm going to bed now," Sarah said softly. Without looking at him, she turned and walked away. At the door of the storeroom, she paused briefly. She glanced back at him, refusing to make eye contact.

"Thanks for..." Her voice trailed off and she simply turned and left him standing there.

Once inside her bedroom, she sat on the edge of her bed and brought her fingertips to trace lightly over her lips. It hadn't been a passionate kiss, but it had been sweet and almost...caring.

Sarah recalled the playful look in Jareth's eyes as he had pushed her over into the snow. The soft tones in his voice as he told her that she didn't have to hide from him. How he'd held her as she'd cried. Was it possible that he might actually care for her?

Her eyes widened at the sudden warmth that spread through her at that thought.

"Oh, shit," she whispered. "Oh, shit, I am in so much trouble."


After Sarah had left the storeroom, Jareth had returned to his bed and lay there, silently berating himself. In retrospect, it had been the perfect opportunity. Sarah had been vulnerable. All that would have been necessary was to deepen the kiss, pick her up and carry her to bed. A few more kisses, some murmured words of reassurance, and she would have surrendered easily.

It disturbed him greatly that he hadn't even considered it. He'd concentrated totally on comforting her, not seducing her. In the face of her grief, he had lost his focus and he could not afford to do so.

He had been far too lax and he resolved to redouble his efforts. He had to return to the Underground. He had a kingdom to rule and subjects who needed his guidance.

Sentimentality was a luxury that he could not afford.


The next morning when Jareth came out of the bathroom, dressed and freshly showered, he was greeted by the sight of Sarah setting the small table.

"Breakfast is almost ready," she said, glancing up at him.

"Good morning," he said. "Did you sleep well?"

"Fine, thanks." She tilted her head toward the cabin's front door. "It's snowing hard again."

He nodded and smiled at her. Sarah smiled back tentatively, then went back into the kitchen, removing a pan from the oven.

Jareth went to her side, standing close to her. "What are these?" He gestured toward the pan.

Sarah tried to step away, but she was caught between the counter at her back and Jareth in front of her. "Um, muffins," she said, refusing to look at him. "Blueberry muffins."

"They smell wonderful," he said. He reached out and brushed a strand of hair away from her eyes.

She jumped slightly and her eyes flew up to meet his for a moment before she pressed against the counter and slipped around him, barely brushing against him.

"Is something wrong, Sarah?" he asked, careful to keep his tone merely quizzical.

"N... No," she stammered. "I just, um, need to get a plate to put these on."

He watched as she selected a plate and, as she removed the muffins from their pan, he retook his earlier position. She placed the pan in the sink and lifted the plate.

"Excuse me," she said pointedly and took a half step forward, almost bumping into him.

He smiled and stepped back, allowing her access to the dining table.

She set the plate on the table and moved to sit down. Jareth was behind her in an instant, holding her chair.

"Uh, thank you," she said, swallowing hard. "Are you hungry this morning?"

As he pushed the chair under her, he leaned down.

"I'm starving," he purred into her ear.

Sarah froze for a moment. Her breath hitched in her throat and then he watched her lift her head in a clearly defiant gesture.

"Well, then, you'd better eat your breakfast," she admonished.

"Ah, If you insist," he said, allowing disappointment to creep into his tone as he took his seat.

She blinked at him uncertainly and then lowered her head, concentrating on her food.

"What shall we do today?" he asked.

She suddenly looked surer of herself. "I have laundry to do. That's the last clean suit you have. And then I'm going to clean."

"Clean?" he asked, pausing as he broke a steaming muffin into pieces. "Clean what?"

"This place. Dust, sweep, mop, you know--clean."

He sighed. "You are determined to turn me into a servant."

She laughed softly and glanced at him. "No, you can sit on your royal behind if you want. You don't have to help. It won't take me very long."

"It will take less time if we do it together," he said firmly. "And then we can play."

"All right," she agreed, nodding slightly.


After breakfast, Sarah gave Jareth a cloth and a can of Pledge. After a brief demonstration, he began cleaning the furniture. Sarah watched him for a moment, bemused. Who would have thought that she would ever see the Goblin King dusting? Sarah stifled a grin; she had the feeling that there were servants who would pay good money to see this.

She gathered up Jareth's suits and shirts and looked at the tags, cringing at the 'dry clean only' labels. She just hoped that she didn't ruin them by putting them in the washing machine.

Sarah picked up his extra pair of sneakers, while she was at it she'd wash those, too. Now, where was his underwear? She suddenly chuckled softly to herself. Why was it that so many of her mental conversations boiled down to the topic of his underwear?

'You know why,' her mind mocked.

Sarah sobered quickly and shook her head firmly. Definitely no thinking about that.

She had an idea and peeked into the bag that had contained the underwear she'd bought him. Sure enough, pairs of used socks and--ah ha! briefs!--were neatly tucked away alongside the clean pairs still in their wrappers.

Sarah picked up the entire bag; she'd just wash everything.

She started the first load of laundry and then made short work of sweeping and mopping the cabin. She had just finished mopping when Jareth announced that everything was dusted.

"What must be done now?" he asked.

"I need to clean the bathroom and do the rest of the laundry. I guess that's it," Sarah replied.

"What do you wish me to do?"

Sarah smiled slightly. As much as the idea of the Goblin King scrubbing the toilet appealed to her, she just couldn't bring herself to suggest it.

"You're in charge of making tea," she said. "It won't take me long to finish."

She showed Jareth how to work the microwave and went into the bathroom to clean. When she was done, she found that Jareth had set up the backgammon board and had a steaming cup of tea waiting for her.

Once again, they played most of the day away, with Sarah finishing the laundry between games. They took a short break for lunch and continued playing. Today, however, unlike previous days, cautious conversation began between the opponents that had nothing to do with the game.

"How did your family come to rule the goblins?" Sarah asked.

Jareth raised an eyebrow. "Actually, it was because of a woman. Originally, the goblin territory had no ruler and the goblins continually ventured into the neighboring kingdoms. The goblins had no sense of boundaries and they were simply coming and going as they pleased, causing a great deal of damage in the process. It was obvious to the High King that something must be done, but none of the fae wished to rule them."

"But how did your family end up with the job? And what does that have to do with a woman?"

Jareth hesitated for a moment. "Apparently my great-great grandfather and the High King were both pursuing the same woman..." his voice trailed off.

"Oh, I see," Sarah said. "In order to get rid of the competition, the High King made your great-great grandfather the King of the Goblins."

"Precisely." Jareth nodded.

Sarah grinned. "The High King must have been getting his tail kicked to pull a dirty trick like that."

"The woman involved did eventually become my great-great grandmother," Jareth said smugly.

"Oh, that's sweet," Sarah said with a pleased smile.

"Sweet?" Jareth echoed, puzzled.

"Well, yeah. She gave up being High Queen for your great-great grandfather. She obviously loved him very much."

For a split second, Jareth looked surprised and then appeared indifferent, giving a slight shrug, but it was too late, Sarah had already seen his reaction.

"Ah, that kind of puts a dent in your theory that love doesn't exist," she smiled.

"For all I know of the situation, Sarah, she simply chose the better lover," Jareth said sharply. "That is as likely the basis for selecting between the two as your belief."

She frowned at his change in tone and then sighed. For a few minutes, he'd been willing to talk and then he'd shut down again.

"Okay. Well, then, it's your turn. You should make your move," she said, gesturing toward the backgammon board.

For a moment, Jareth said nothing and when he replied, his voice had gone silky. "Yes, you are quite right about that."

She gave him a confused glance and found him openly looking her over. Her eyes widened and she shifted uneasily. Jareth merely smiled briefly before picking up the dice.

The rest of the game was played in silence.


Sarah won the last game by a small margin, winning one question to his two. She glanced toward the clock and saw that it was later than she had realized.

"What would you like for dinner?" she asked. "I'll make whatever you want, but I'm not particularly hungry."

"If you are not eating, then there is no point in preparing a separate meal," Jareth said.

She smiled slightly. "Well, I was thinking of having a cookie. Would you like one?"

He nodded and Sarah grinned.

"I'll get them," she said. "I found them when I was putting up the supplies."

She went into the storage room and located the cookie tin. When she turned, she found Jareth standing directly behind her. She jumped slightly, startled.

"I didn't hear you," she said. She took a step back, trying to put a bit more distance between them but her back was against the shelves.

"Why do I make you nervous when I am close to you?" Jareth asked, his eyes gleaming.

For a moment, Sarah's heart stuttered in her chest until she realized that he wasn't asking in the capacity of one of his "complete answer and total honesty" questions.

"You don't make me nervous," Sarah protested, taking a small sidestep. Why was he looking at her like that?

He reached out and casually rested a hand on a shelf beside her head, effectively cutting off her escape.

"I believe that I do." He smiled. "Is it because I kissed you?"

"No," Sarah said firmly, disregarding the fluttering that had started in her stomach. "Like I said, you don't make me nervous."

Jareth ignored her words and tilted his head. "Or is it because you are attracted to me?"

Sarah forced a laugh. "You certainly think highly of yourself, don't you? I might have had a crush on you once, but I was a child then. I'm not anymore. I'm sorry if this comes as a blow to your ego, but I'm not attracted to you."

Jareth's smile widened and he leaned closer to look into her eyes. For a disorienting second, Sarah felt as if she were back in tunnels underneath the Labyrinth, his posture so closely mirrored that earlier encounter.

"Now I know that you are lying," he said softly. "You may not want to acknowledge it, but I know the truth."

Sarah tensed. Oh, god, what truth? She wondered frantically. Was the Labyrinth communicating with him again? She took a deep breath and decided to brazen her way through.

"Other than your amazing arrogance, just what makes you think that I'm attracted to you?"

"I can see the truth in the way you look at me," Jareth said, his voice soft. He reached out with his free hand and pushed her hair away from her face in caressing gesture. "From your actions when I am close to you."

Her eyes narrowed. "You mean like right now?" Sarah knocked his arm aside and pushed past him. She left the storeroom without a backward glance and with his delighted laughter in her ears.

She stopped at the kitchen counter and struggled to open the cookie tin, furious that her hands were shaking. She wrenched the top off the container and then went completely still in shock as Jareth stepped close behind her and slid his hands around her waist to smooth gently over her stomach. The impulse to simply lean back into him was almost overwhelming.

He didn't speak but lowered his head to brush his lips lightly over her throat. A tremor ran through her and she felt him smile against her skin. One hand moved higher to skim over her ribcage. That movement snapped Sarah out of her frozen state and she grasped his wrist firmly.

"You're about to lose a hand," she warned.

Jareth chuckled softly, and then sighed, his breath warm against her ear. "Ah, Sarah, I could seduce you without even touching you."

Her anger flared and she jerked away from him. She whirled to face him, eyes flashing.

"You're so sure of yourself," she spat out. "But you're so wrong."

"Wrong?" His eyes narrowed slightly. "I am not wrong, and I am certain enough that I am willing to make a wager." His tone turned smug. "We will need more wood brought inside tomorrow. If I cannot seduce you without touching you, then I will bring in the firewood alone."

"Are you crazy? You expect me to bet on something like that?" she asked incredulously.

"I will even be generous and impose no penalty when I prove to be correct." He lifted an eyebrow and smirked. "If you are right and I am wrong, then you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. But we both know the truth of the matter, Sarah."

She planted her hands on her hips, eyes flashing. "Okay, that's it. You're on."

Sarah saw the triumphant look in his eyes, and inside her a shrill voice was suddenly shrieking that she was making a horrible mistake, but she ignored it with a toss of her head. She'd just sing the national anthem in her head or silently recite poetry in order to ignore him.

"You can't touch me at all," she clarified. "And you can't touch me with anything."

"Agreed." He nodded once.

"You can't do anything vulgar." She pointedly looked him up and down.

A smile tugged at his mouth. "Of course not."

"And there has to be a time limit. I'll give you two minutes. I don't want this to drag on and on." Sarah gave her own smirk. "I wouldn't want you to embarrass yourself."

Jareth's smile widened. "Five minutes."

"Not a chance," she protested. "Three."

"Four," he countered quickly.

"Three and a half," she shot back.

He grinned. "Done."

"I'll get the kitchen timer," Sarah said, "We can use that as a stopwatch." She turned to look for it.

"Just a moment," Jareth said. "I have conditions of my own."

She turned back to him and frowned. "Such as?"

"You will sit on the sofa, not the floor," he said.

She shrugged. "Okay."

"During that time you will not speak or interrupt me, and if I tell you to close or open your eyes, you will do so without question or hesitation," Jareth continued.

She nodded. "All right. Is that it?"

"No, I have one last condition."

"Well?" Sarah crossed her arms.

"You will give me your word that you will not try to distract yourself by thinking of other things. You will pay complete attention to what I am saying."

He had her trapped, she realized with a sickening jolt. If she didn't agree, it would be tantamount to admitting that he was right all along. If she did give her word, then she was honor bound to actually listen to what he said to her.

Jareth saw her falter and his eyes gleamed.

"Perhaps you would like to forfeit now?" he asked softly. "Why waste time that could be spent so much more... productively?"

She lifted her head high. "I agree to your terms. Let's just get this over with," she said flatly.

She found the timer and set it for three and a half minutes while Jareth waited, watching her with a slight smile playing on his lips.

He made a courtly gesture toward the sofa and she sat down as close to the arm of the sofa as possible. When he sat next to her, the alarm she was feeling wrenched up to new heights but she forced herself to appear unconcerned.

"Close your eyes," Jareth directed.

She looked at him suspiciously and then gave an abrupt nod. "Okay, but I start the timer as soon as I shut my eyes."

He inclined his head.

Sarah simultaneously closed her eyes and clicked the button on the timer.

She felt Jareth move closer and she stiffened.

When he spoke, his voice was low and intimate in her ear, and his breath warm against her cheek.

"Why do you fear me so? I gave you my word that I wouldn't touch you. You're perfectly safe. But, then, it isn't me that you fear, is it? It is your reaction to me..."

There was a pause and she felt his weight shift. With her eyes closed, her senses seemed hyper alert and she felt the slightest stir of air against her mouth. In her mind's eye, she could see Jareth tracing his finger over her lips from a scant millimeter away.

"Haven't you wondered how it would feel if I kissed you with passion rather than sympathy? I've wondered. Would you be shy and hesitant, refusing to part your lips until I coaxed you? Or would your mouth open eagerly under mine?"

Sarah was horrified at her instinctive urge to lick her lips.

"Don't you want me to touch you? I have imagined how soft your skin would be under my hands as I undress you. Do you have any idea of the things that I can do, Sarah? The different ways that I can please you? I know you've thought of it. What would you like first? My mouth on your body? The soft touch of my tongue against you as I discover your taste?"

As that vividly erotic image bloomed in her mind, she struggled to keep her breathing even, but failed.

His weight shifted, and his voice was once again murmuring wicked temptation into her ear.

"Or would you be too aroused to wait? Would you rather that I was inside you? Don't you want to know how that feels? I want to know, Sarah. I want to be surrounded by you, moving hard and fast while you moan in pleasure. I want to hear you scream out my name. I want to hear you beg me for more."

Sarah clenched her fists and deliberately dug her fingernails into her palms. The sharp bite of pain did little to drive away the need that was beginning to dance through her veins.

"And then we shall start anew. Slower this time, savoring each kiss, each caress. We'll take the time to explore, to try different positions, to learn what we like best. Until we find just the right combination to satisfy you. I can be a patient man and there will be no need to rush."

Sarah fought to keep from trembling as a deep ache settled into her body, throbbing in time to her heartbeat.

"Are there things that you dream of doing, Sarah? Secret things? Things you've never admitted to anyone? I will not be shocked by anything you might want. And I will refuse you nothing."

His weight left the sofa. "Open your eyes," Jareth said.

Sarah reluctantly opened her eyes to find him kneeling on the floor before her, his hands resting lightly on either side of her legs. As she met his mismatched eyes, she knew what he was seeing--a woman with a flushed face, ragged breathing, and whose eyes were already clouded with desire. She felt drugged with it, the lassitude a counterpoint to her pounding heart.

"You would like to pretend that you feel nothing, but it is too late for that. We both know it isn't true. Even now your body readies itself for me. It aches, doesn't it? I can make it stop, Sarah. I can make that ache become pleasure over and over again."

His gaze lowered to her lips and then back to her eyes.

"Lean forward." His tone was encouraging. "All you have to do is lean forward just a bit and everything I have told you will become a reality."

Sarah couldn't seem to think clearly. Oh god, he was so beautiful, and the things he said... Why was she pretending that she didn't want him? There was a reason, wasn't there? An important reason? But all she knew was that she'd never wanted anyone so much in her life. Her eyes focused on that delicious mouth. And all she had to do to have him was to just lean forward...

The sudden ringing of the timer caused her to jump and the piercing sound cut through the languid haze that had enveloped Sarah. Her eyes widened at the realization of what she had been about to do. Humiliation burned through her and she threw herself back on the sofa, drawing her legs up and swinging them around him. She was on her feet and walking away from him in an instant.

"Sarah," he said quietly.

She paused at the doorway to her bedroom and looked back at Jareth. He had risen and was watching her.

"Don't say anything," she said, her voice shaking. "Don't say one damn word. All you've proven is that I'm human and that I have weaknesses. You didn't win."

She turned away from him and opened the bedroom door, then stopped in mid-step as she heard his soft reply.

"Nor did I lose."

Without looking back, Sarah went into her bedroom and closed the door firmly behind her.


She shivered as she remembered his soft voice describing the things he'd wanted to do with her. Just last night she had wondered if he might care for her and tonight he had described making love with her.

But at that thought, her mind stumbled and a sick feeling suddenly gathering in her stomach. Jareth had never said that he cared for her--not last night, not a few minutes ago. There had been no mention of any emotion. All he had spoken of was physical gratification.


So that was it.

His Majesty had so many "acquaintances" that he probably slept with a different woman every night. And now he was trapped here alone with her. She was his only alternative and he'd obviously decided to make the best of it.

Well, why wouldn't he? Sarah thought bitterly. He'd recognized that she was attracted to him. She'd been foolish to think that she had ever hidden it from him at all. He probably thought it would take very little effort to get her into bed, and Sarah knew that if she was completely honest, he'd been right. If that timer hadn't gone off, she had no doubt that she would have leaned forward and kissed Jareth. And it wouldn't have stopped at a kiss.

She'd almost given in; she'd almost ended up back in the Underground simply because Jareth wanted to have sex and had turned his attention to her because there wasn't anyone better available.

The worst of it though--the very worst of it--was the amount of pain that insight caused her. She blinked back tears as she realized that she'd wanted Jareth to care for her.

But he didn't.

'Tell the whole truth,' her mind mocked. 'You didn't just want him to care about you. You wanted him to care about you as much as you...'

"Shut up," Sarah whispered viciously. "Just shut up."

Sarah lowered her head to her knees and rocked silently back and forth, trying to ignore the tears that slipped slowly down her face.


After Sarah left the room, Jareth had read for a bit, trying to take his mind off what had transpired earlier that evening. Finally, he tossed the book aside in irritation.

Why had Sarah resisted him? Why was she refusing to admit the obvious? She'd wanted him and yet she had chosen to deny them both. Her behavior was completely beyond his comprehension. He had once again offered her dreams and once again she had thrown them it back in his face.

The only logical explanation was that he had been mistaken. He had made the assumption that Sarah's dreams would be the same as the women he was accustomed to knowing--libidinous adventures generously interspersed with extravagant presents. However, Sarah was different from those women in so many ways. Perhaps her dreams were different, too.

But she had almost surrendered, he reflected thoughtfully. She had been so very close...

He sighed to himself.

You will bring her to us when you have--

"What?" Jareth whispered, frustrated. "What is it you want me to do?"

He could not stay in this world forever, he needed to return to his home, to his duties and to his life.

He had to discover Sarah's dreams. He had observed her for days; the clues were there. He simply needed to put them into a logical order.


After she'd stopped crying, Sarah sat in the dark for hours, turning the events of the past few days over and over in her mind. How was she supposed to face Jareth in the morning? The more she thought about that, the angrier she became. Jareth was the one who should be sitting up worrying about how he was going to face her. He was the one who'd tried to use her.

She jumped up and opened her bedroom door, stepping into the living room even as that small voice in her mind tried to call her back, to warn her that there was something she hadn't completely thought out.

The lights were turned off, leaving the living room illuminated only by the low-burning fireplace. Jareth had gone to bed and seemed to be asleep.

Sarah turned on the lamp. "Wake up," she said, her voice flat. "I want to talk to you."

"I am awake," Jareth answered softly. He sat up, the sheet and quilt sliding down to pool at his waist. He smiled slowly at her. "Did you change your mind?"

"Don't flatter yourself," Sarah snapped. "I just want to get a few things straight. Contrary to what you seem to think, I am not one of your acquaintances and I don't appreciate being treated like one. Don't ever do that to me again. You had an itch and because I'm the only woman around for miles, you wanted to use me to scratch it."

She tilted her head and she smiled coldly. "The next time you have that particular urge, Jareth, take care of it yourself."

She turned on her heel, intending to go back to her room when Jareth flung back the linens and rose from his bed.

"I treated you as I would any desirable woman with whom I share a mutual attraction," his tone was cold.

She clenched her teeth and whirled around to face him, but Jareth continued before she could speak.

"Yet you were stubbornly determined to lie to me, to deny that this attraction exists. If I caught you out in that lie, Sarah, you have no one to blame but yourself."

Jareth's voice suddenly had an underlying tone of weariness that caught her completely off guard and as she regarded him standing there, arms angrily crossed over his bare chest, she choked off her harsh reply.

He was right, she realized. She had lied about being attracted to him. And as for using her, which one of them was really using the other? The Labyrinth had promised to give her what she desired most.

Well, there he stood.

Sarah bowed her head. Maybe she should admit to some of the truth. Not all of it--she wasn't ready to face that particular mortification--but some of the truth.

When she looked up, she wouldn't quite meet Jareth's eyes.

"Just because I find you attractive doesn't mean that we're going to sleep together. It was all just a game to you. Maybe that's the way it is for the fae, but that's not the way it is for me," she said quietly. "You didn't win, but you're right, you didn't really lose either. So, let's just call it even."

She started to turn back toward her bedroom when he spoke.

"You owe me two answers from earlier today," he said. "I will settle for one."

She steeled herself.

"If there had been no wager," he asked quietly, "no "game," as you put it, how would you have reacted?"

Sarah met his eyes and looked at him silently for a long moment.

"I would have kissed you," she admitted softly and then dropped her eyes again, suddenly blushing. "How far it would have gone from there, I honestly don't know. But we'll never know now, will we? And I really don't think there's any point in talking about this again."

With that, she went back into her bedroom and closed the door, leaving him standing beside his bed alone.

The Enticement

A Labyrinth Story
by Scattered Logic

Part 10 of 16

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