Continuing Tales

The Enticement

A Labyrinth Story
by Scattered Logic

Part 14 of 16

<< Previous     Home     Next >>
Untitled Document

Jareth awoke with a start, sitting up abruptly. Had it merely been a dream or was it possible that the Labyrinth...

"We remain incomplete," the Labyrinth reproached.

Jareth immediately reached out with his mind. The link to the Underground was almost within his grasp, but remained frustratingly elusive.

"Return my magic," Jareth demanded.

"You must fulfill our bargain," the Labyrinth replied.

"What bargain?" Jareth asked irritably. "Return my magic."

"We offered the girl what she desires most in exchange for her willing return to us. She accepted," the Labyrinth's voice had taken on an almost singsong quality in his mind. "You must fulfill our bargain."

"What she desires most?" Jareth repeated slowly. Bitter comprehension followed closely on the heels of confusion. "And so you sent me here. You trapped me in a world in which I almost died because of a bargain you made with Sarah? Is that correct?" His voice had gone flat.

"You must fulfill our bargain and return the girl to us. We remain incomplete."

Jareth clenched his jaw, anger sweeping through him. There was a deeper, more painful emotion underlying his fury, but he deliberately pushed it away, concentrating solely on his ire.

He pushed the bedcovers back and turned on the bedside lamp. As he rose from the bed, his eyes fell on the drawing Sarah had given him as a gift. He picked it up and looked at it blankly for a moment.

Gift. He snorted derisively. Bribe was more accurate. Again, that hurtful emotion reared up and he choked slightly as a bitter taste flooded the back of his throat. With a vicious gesture, he threw the sketch across the room. It struck the wall with a crash, gouging a jagged scar in the paneling before falling to the floor, the glass shattering in the frame.

At that destructive act, an unnatural calm settled over him. He glanced at Sarah's closed bedroom door. So, for all her pretensions, all her gifts, she was no different than the others.

A cruel smile suddenly forming on his lips, Jareth walked toward her bedroom door.

It seemed that he had a job to do.


Sarah groggily raised her head. Had she been dreaming or had she heard something break? She listened for a bit and, hearing nothing, sank back down into the pillow with a sigh. She had just drifted into that pleasantly detached place between sleep and consciousness when she felt the bed dip on one side.

She looked up to see Jareth sitting on the edge of her bed.

"Is something wrong?" she asked.

When he didn't answer, she reached out to turn on the lamp beside her bed. He grasped her hand, stilling her movements.

"Are you sick?" she asked, confused.

Jareth still didn't reply; he simply shifted further onto the bed and lifted her wrist to his lips.

Sarah blinked in surprise as he pressed an open-mouthed kiss against the inside of her wrist, his tongue darting out to delicately lick the skin there.

"Ja--Jareth?" she stammered.

"Shh," he admonished, leaning over her and then his lips were on hers. She gasped and his tongue slipped into her mouth to deliberately brush against hers and the kiss quickly deepened.

It vaguely occurred to her that Jareth shouldn't be in her room like this, but her head was fuzzy from the wine and she just couldn't seem to make herself care. What he was doing felt too wonderful.

During the kiss, Jareth moved completely onto the bed to lie beside her and that first kiss quickly blended into another and another and another until Sarah's heart was pounding and a dull ache was moving through her body.

By the time his mouth lowered to her neck, her breath was coming in shallow pants. Jareth's hand cupped her breast through her T-shirt, his thumb lazily circling the taut peak before sweeping over it with delicious friction. The ache she felt quickly became a sharp throbbing.

She knew she should stop him, but her body was screaming with need and she was so tired of fighting this. What did it matter, really? They were going to be married. Sleeping with Jareth was inevitable, wasn't it?

But she had to tell him the truth before anything else happened between them. He deserved the truth.

"Jareth, I need to..." Sarah paused, trying to get her breathing under some semblance of control. "There's something you should know." She gave a shaky little laugh. "Actually, there are two things you should know."

He suddenly bit down on her neck while his hand continued its pleasurable stroking of her breast. Surprised, she hissed both at the tiny pain and at the shocking heat that it caused to flash through her. His tongue immediately flicked out to soothe the sting away.

"I know everything that I need to know," Jareth said.

His voice sounds so odd, she thought. So remote.

"No, actually, you don't," Sarah said. She forced herself to concentrate on what she had to say, and pushed slightly against his shoulders to get his attention.

In one swift motion, Jareth grasped her wrists and pressed them over her head against the headboard. Holding them in place with one hand, his free hand returned to her breast.

"I know that you desire me," he said, tweaking her nipple gently.

She inhaled sharply.

"But..." she tried to say.

"You think you know about desire? You know nothing. But I will teach you. I promise that you will learn." Jareth's voice grew progressively colder and by the time he spoke the last sentence, it sounded nothing like an assurance and everything like a threat.

That's when she realized that he was angry.

"What's wrong?" she demanded. "Why are you mad?"

"It's time to stop pretending, Sarah. Stop pretending that you don't want this," he breathed into her ear.

She shook her head, frowning. "Not like this, not with you so angry. Are you mad at me?"

He acted as if he didn't hear her, his mouth moving lower, sending trails of fire along her skin and, involuntarily, she shivered. At that, he lifted his head and raked her with a predatory glance before covering her mouth with his.

This kiss was different than any other he had given her. It was punishing, almost brutal, and she turned her head to the side, breaking the kiss abruptly. She tried to pull her hands free, but he wouldn't release her.

"Let me go," she demanded. He hesitated for a split second, but then loosened his grip on her hands and she wrenched them free, scrambling off the other side of the bed. She fought to stop trembling and placed her hands on her hips, glaring at Jareth.

"What is wrong with you? What do you think you're doing?" she cried. He'd never treated her like this before, what was going on?

Jareth rose to face her, the bed stretching out between them.

Seeing the icy expression on his face, her confusion increased. Jareth wasn't just angry, he was furious.

"I am merely doing what I have to do in order that I may go home," he sneered. "That was the price you agreed upon, wasn't it, Sarah? What you desire most?"

She froze at his words and her mouth went dry.

"Wh--what?" she stuttered.

"Don't bother trying to play the innocent." His voice lashed out like a whip. "It is far too late."

"Jareth, please," she implored, "I was going to tell you in the morning. I just wanted one last Christmas here before I had to go back. I swear I didn't even know that it was real. I thought it was all a dream. It was just a voice in a dream. It never even said what it was that I..."

Her voice trailed away at his unyielding expression and her heart sank. He obviously didn’t believe her.

"Desired, Sarah?" he finished her sentence, his tone mocking. "After painting my portrait time and time again, do you expect me to believe that you were so naïve that you had no idea what it was that you were bargaining with the Labyrinth for?"

"I didn't know," she insisted. "I told you, it was just a voice in a dream. It said it would give me..." She closed her eyes briefly, she couldn't bring herself to say it. "I didn't know what that was, but the voice said that it knew. I thought it was just my subconscious playing games. I swear I didn't know that it was real. And until I went into the living room and found you there, I had no idea that you were... That you were..."

She twisted her fingers together and then lifted her hands slightly in a beseeching gesture. "I didn't know it would send you here," she said softly.

"I almost died, Sarah." His eyes were blazing but his voice had gone dangerously quiet. He stalked toward her.

She dropped her hands and forced herself not to back away from him.

"I almost died," he repeated relentlessly, "because you were too childish to admit what it was that you wanted from me. If you had simply told me the truth from the beginning, I would not have suffered as I did. We could have had this over with days ago."

She flinched at his words.

"You think I don't know that?" Her voice broke and tears filled her eyes. "I'm so sorry. I never wanted you to be hurt."

Jareth stopped directly in front of her.

"But I was hurt. It may not have been your intent, but it was surely the result of your actions. Why did you not tell me the truth?" he demanded.

Sarah glanced away from him. "At first, I wasn't sure that you being here was really connected to my dream. And when I figured out that it was, I was... I was embarrassed," she whispered.

"That was the reason I almost died? You were embarrassed?" he asked, incredulous.

"There's another reason that we couldn't just..." She gestured mutely toward the bed. She glanced up at him and when she saw the disdain on his face, she shook her head. She wasn't going to tell him that. Not now.

He crossed his arms and arched an eyebrow, waiting.

She shook her head again. "It doesn't matter. What matters is that I'm sorry I didn't tell you sooner. But I had already decided to tell you in the morning. And I'm so sorry that you got sick. I never meant for any of this to happen."

Tears slipped down her cheeks and she brushed them away quickly.

"Oh, are the tears intended to convince me that you are sincere? How typical," he said contemptuously. "I expected more originality from you. Something less melodramatic. But then, you always wanted to be an actress. I see now why you were unsuccessful at it."

At that, her temper began to rise. "I have explained what happened and I have apologized." She struggled to remain calm. "If you don't want to forgive me, then that's one thing, but you don't have to insult me. I'm not one of your goblins."

"No, you are not." He gave a cold smile. "They are much better liars."

Her anger flared out of control. "Fuck you," she spat out.

His smile turned insolent. "I would choose my insults more carefully, Sarah. Particularly considering what it is that you want from me."

She stiffened and then pushed past him.

Jareth had expected her to slap him. He had even braced himself for it. So when she merely walked away, he was surprised. But what was more surprising was the raw pain he saw in her eyes. He expected humiliation or rage, perhaps, but not misery.

She grabbed her jeans from the chair where they were laying, pulling them on, careless of whether or not he watched, and slipped her bare feet into the flat shoes she wore and walked out the door.

"Where do you think you're going?" he asked, surprised.

"I'm leaving," she said sharply over her shoulder.

He followed her into the living room and watched as she yanked on her coat.

"There is nowhere for you to go. We are trapped here," he reminded her coolly.

"I'll dig the car out with my bare hands if I have to." She grabbed her purse from the shelves.

"Even if you manage to clear the snow from the conveyance, it is doubtful that you will be able to negotiate the roadways." Jareth frowned.

"Then I'll sleep in the car but I'm not staying here," she snapped.

"And we agreed to stay and talk out any argument that we might have," Jareth said mockingly. "How soon you forget."

"That was when we were married." Sarah's lips trembled and then firmed. "Obviously, that's not happening."

With that, she wrenched open the door and went out into the freezing night, slamming the door shut behind her.


A fresh surge of anger carried Sarah through the snow and around the house to the shed to retrieve the shovel.

"That overbearing jerk," she said loudly. "It wasn't like I wanted this to happen. Does he think that I called up the Labyrinth and said, 'Hey, I'd like to trade the rest of my life for a roll in the hay with the Goblin King?' He's insane if he thinks that."

Wounded pride drove her from the shed back to the front of the cabin.

"I knew that I wasn't a good actress. Nobody had to tell me," she muttered. "I was the one who gave it up. It was my choice."

Outraged indignation took her the remaining distance to the car.

'I don't care who he is, he's got no right to talk to me like that,' she thought. 'I wasn't lying and he didn't have to be insulting.'

Shaking those thoughts away, Sarah carefully used the metal shovel to clear the windshield. Once that was accomplished, she began to dig the snow away from the driver's door. It was harder than she had anticipated, but adrenaline overruled her tired muscles.

The edge of the shovel struck the car door more than once, but Sarah never even flinched. Chipped paint was trivial compared to getting out of here. Finally, after what seemed to be an eternity, Sarah had moved enough snow to get the car door open.

Sighing with relief, she slid into the driver's seat and pulled the door closed behind her. She placed the key in the ignition and switched it on. Sarah sent up a silent prayer of thanks when the engine turned over promptly, and she turned on the defroster to finish clearing the windshield.

She slumped back against the seat, shivering. She stared blindly ahead for a few seconds, listening to the rush of the air through the defroster and the soft hum of the engine.

'He thinks I'm one of those women," she thought. The words became an unwanted chorus chanted to the rhythm of her heartbeat. Jareth believed that she was like the fae women who only wanted to use him.

'Well, wasn't that exactly what you were about to do just a few minutes ago?' her mind taunted.

"No," she whispered aloud, shaking her head. She wanted him, yes, but she loved him, too. However, she certainly couldn't admit that to him. He wouldn't believe her anyway. She'd be lucky if he ever again believed anything she said.

"We could have had this over with days ago."

Sarah bowed her head and pain slashed through her heart. Was that how Jareth viewed the prospect of being intimate with her? As a distasteful chore to be gotten out of the way? She suddenly felt sick at her stomach.

Her throat tightened as another horrifying realization slipped into her mind. Jareth knew the truth and yet he still didn't have his magic back. Apparently, then, Labyrinth wouldn't consider that it had lived up to its part of their bargain until she and Jareth had actually had sex.

The irony of the situation was almost laughable. Almost. Instead, Sarah buried her face in her hands and sobbed.

When her tears had finally tapered off into sniffling hiccups, Sarah took a deep breath. No matter how much she wanted to, she couldn't run away from this and she couldn't simply leave Jareth here alone. While she hadn't meant to, she had caused this mess and she had to try to fix it.

She had to go inside and face him. But she'd leave the car running. If Jareth just wanted to argue, she'd come back and spend the rest of the night in the car. She could try to talk with him again tomorrow.

Besides, now that he knew the truth, maybe he would help her figure a way out of this awful situation.

Sarah flung the door open and held onto it for balance. She'd trampled the area near the driver's door heavily and it was very slick. She maneuvered herself out of the car and took two cautious steps toward the cabin before releasing the driver's door and reaching back to push it shut.

As she leaned back, she felt an unseen force push hard against her chest. She stumbled, muttering, "What the hell?" as she awkwardly tried to remain upright on the slippery ground. Another hard shove caused her to teeter wildly before completely losing her balance. Her feet flew out from under her and Sarah fell backward. The base of her head slammed into the top edge of the car door with a sickening crack.

A bright, searing pain exploded in her head and then there was nothing.


Jareth pulled back the curtain and looked out into the moonlit night, watching as Sarah trudged through the snow toward the vehicle. He recognized the shovel in her hand. It seemed that she was serious about attempting to leave.

"We are incomplete," the Labyrinth reminded Jareth.

The curtain dropped from his hand, covering the window.

"And you will quite likely remain incomplete," Jareth snapped.

For a moment, the Labyrinth seemed disconcerted.

"The girl is displeasing to you?" Its tone was puzzled.

"She is duplicitous," Jareth said dismissively.

The Labyrinth weighed Jareth's words before speaking. "If you find her so displeasing, we will seek a different girl."

"You were the one who insisted upon her in the first place," Jareth pointed out coldly.

"We will seek a different girl," the Labyrinth repeated.

Jareth snorted. "Your meddling has insured that I must coax Sarah back inside in order to fulfill your bargain with her--a prospect that I find rather unappealing at the moment."

Shaking his head wearily, Jareth sat on the edge of his bed and began putting on his shoes.

"We will seek a different girl." The Labyrinth repeated firmly.

"Must I remind you that you are already bound to an agreement with this girl?" Jareth spat out.

The Labyrinth hesitated a long moment before answering. "Soon there will be no binding."

"What do you mean?" Jareth tilted his head, curious. "How have you resolved your agreement with her?"

The Labyrinth was silent.

"If you have come to some sort of arrangement with Sarah, then return my magic and I shall leave this place," Jareth said irritably.

"Soon," the Labyrinth soothed.

"Why must I wait?" Jareth demanded imperiously.

The Labyrinth said nothing.

Silence stretched out within the cabin, broken only by the muted crackle of the fire. Finally, Jareth could stand it no longer.

"What, exactly, was your initial bargain with Sarah?" he asked.

"She agreed to return to us in exchange for what she desires most," the Labyrinth answered.

"She claims that she did not know what it was that she desired," Jareth said, his tone noncommittal.

"We know what she desires most," the Labyrinth replied. "We know her dreams."

Anger flared brightly within Jareth again. "Ah, yes," he said derisively, "her little erotic fantasies."

Jareth crossed back to the window. He pulled back the curtain and looked out into the night again. His view of the car was partially obstructed by trees, but he could see that Sarah had managed to clear the snow away from the driver's door and the windshield. The door was standing open, the headlights were on and the car's interior was bathed in light. Jareth could see into the vehicle quite clearly, but it appeared empty. He looked around, but could not see Sarah anywhere.

Jareth shifted at the window, unease beginning to prickle in the back of his mind.

There were only three ways in which the Labyrinth could be released from its bargain with her...

The night seemed eerily still.

...fulfill it completely...

Why was nothing moving?

...offer her an acceptable alternative...

Where was Sarah?


Icy understanding suddenly washed over him. He knew the Labyrinth could be ruthless but surely it would not go so far.

Jareth snatched up his coat and shrugged into it even as he opened the cabin door. Once outside, the snow immediately soaked through his sleeping attire, but he ignored the sodden fabric and moved resolutely toward the car. The closer he drew to the vehicle, the greater his apprehension grew and the slower it seemed that he was moving.

When he finally arrived at the car, there was a painful tightening in his chest as his fears were confirmed.

Sarah lay on the ground, unconscious. The moonlight leached the color from the scene, rendering her in stark black and white. Her face was as pale as the snow surrounding her and the blood pooling beneath her head blended into the outspread darkness of her hair.

Biting back a curse, Jareth carefully picked her up, cradling her in his arms, and turned back toward the cabin. His journey was hampered by the awkward gait necessary to navigate the deep snow and by Sarah's weight in his arms.

Once inside the cabin, he laid her gently on his bed and sat beside her. His arms, chest and hands were sticky with her blood and he lifted her head slightly, seeking the wound. His jaw clenched when he felt the ragged tear in her scalp, but worse, he felt a depression in the bone where none should have been.

"Restore my magic so that I may heal her," Jareth demanded. He brushed Sarah's hair away from her face and shuddered as the blood staining his hands smeared across her cheek.

He could feel the Labyrinth within his mind, but it refused to answer.

"I cannot heal her without magic," Jareth's voice began to rise.

The Labyrinth hesitated.

Sarah's lips were now tinged blue and the blood that had been gushing from her injured head was slowing to a trickle. Her chest rose and fell in gasping breaths and Jareth pressed his fingers to her throat. Her pulse was weak and uneven, barely fluttering against his fingertips.

"I must have my magic," he snarled through gritted teeth.

Sarah abruptly stiffened on the bed, her body going into convulsions. Jareth gathered her into his arms, attempting to hold her still. Her eyes opened, but immediately rolled back in her head and her breath became a harsh rattle deep in her throat.

"She is dying." Desperation crept into Jareth's voice. "Return my magic."

"Soon," the Labyrinth whispered.

"Not soon, now," Jareth's voice rose higher.

"We will seek a different girl." The Labyrinth's voice had taken on a consoling tone.

"I do not want a different girl," Jareth shouted. "I want this girl. I love her."

The words burst out before he even knew what he was going to say. But some shocked part of his mind marveled that they were true.

He did love her.

With the sound of the last syllables of his admission still hanging in the air, Jareth felt the Labyrinth preen.

"The bargain is complete," it said, self-satisfaction flooding its voice.

Jareth stiffened slightly as magic flowed back into his body and he closed his eyes briefly and relaxed as he felt his power restored. His eyes flew open with a smile and he laid his hand upon Sarah's forehead.

At that touch, his smile faltered and then faded away.

"Sarah?" he whispered. He moved his hand to her shoulder and shook her gently. "Sarah?" he repeated a bit louder.

She didn't respond.

He'd known immediately that she wouldn't, it was too late.

Sarah was dead.

He softly stroked her blood soaked hair and wondered why all he felt was a curious numbness. All of this was wrong, he thought distantly. Sarah was not supposed to die. She was to return to the Underground. She was to be his wife. He loved her.

He could imagine the pleased expression on her face when he admitted that she had been right all along. He would not acknowledge that he was wrong, of course, even though she would tease him mercilessly. He would merely say that she was correct.

Love did exist, after all.

With that thought, the numbness that had momentarily overtaken him shattered, leaving only a terrible rage fueled by bone deep grief and pain. It was Jareth who tenderly laid Sarah back onto the bed but it was the Goblin King who rose to his feet and turned his full wrath on the Labyrinth.

"You have gone too far. Whether by design or not, you have killed and I will deal with your actions later," he growled. "Sarah was to be my wife, my queen. No one--not even you--takes what is mine."

He felt the Labyrinth recoil in confusion.

"I want complete access to all of your power," Jareth commanded coldly.

The Labyrinth hesitated.

"If you fail me, I will not return to the Underground." Jareth's voice turned deadly. "If you force me back, I will never cooperate. Without me, you will fall into ruin and decay, and I will take a great deal of pleasure in allowing that to happen. I am your king and I will have all of your power. Now."

He felt the Labyrinth brush through his mind. He could feel its bewilderment. It had considered them equals and now... After a moment, Jareth felt the Labyrinth make its decision. It submitted and, for the first time, it bowed before him.

Jareth had drawn upon the Labyrinth's power before, but never fully. Never with complete freedom. A thin barrier had always remained between them.

But no longer.

The Labyrinth threw open the ancient veil that had separated them and the enormity of power that slammed into Jareth knocked the breath from his lungs and sent him reeling. He staggered back a few steps and recovered, drawing himself up to his full height.

He felt as if he had splintered into a thousand pieces. He could feel the heartbeats of every inhabitant of the Labyrinth and the rhythm of their breathing thrummed in his ears.

With sheer strength of will, Jareth forced those distractions aside and concentrated solely on the task before him.

Sparks flew from his fingertips as he began crafting a spell and the air in the cabin grew heavy and thick.

Reordering time was an art, one at which he was particularly adept but he had never reversed it. Moving time forward was much simpler, everything that would occur did occur, merely at an accelerated rate for everyone outside the spell. But moving backward was perilous. Every action, every thought, every birth and death in every world in every realm held the potential for change.

But he only needed a few minutes.

With each passing second, with each word that fell from his murmuring lips, the spell took shape, forming within the crystal he now held in his hands. As the power grew, the sphere glowed brighter and when the spell within it threatened to burst forth, Jareth threw the crystal in the air. It hovered, weightless, for a split second and then exploded in an all-encompassing wave of white-hot magic.

And the earth trembled beneath his feet.

Jareth looked down at Sarah and watched as she took one hitching breath and then another. Relief swept through him so strongly that it left tears in his eyes.

He caressed the air above her and watched with satisfaction as her breathing eased, becoming even and regular, and healthy color flowed back into her body. He made a slight gesture and the blood that stained their skin and clothing vanished. He slipped a hand under her head and was pleased to find her wound completely gone.

He drew his fingers gently along her cheek and, at his touch, Sarah awoke.

Her confused eyes met his and then darted around the room, taking in her surroundings. Her eyebrows shot up and then lowered, her eyes narrowing as she regarded him suspiciously.

"What the hell just happened?" she demanded.

Jareth threw back his head and laughed.

The Enticement

A Labyrinth Story
by Scattered Logic

Part 14 of 16

<< Previous     Home     Next >>