Continuing Tales

The Enticement

A Labyrinth Story
by Scattered Logic

Part 2 of 16

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When the Goblin King...Jareth, her mind whispered...retreated to the sofa, Sarah allowed herself to take a good look at him. Her eyebrows shot up as she realized that he was half-dressed. He wore only a pair of loose white pants with a drawstring waist and they were made of a soft looking material. His hands were devoid of his usual gloves and his feet were bare. Unconsciously, her eyes drifted over him slowly. She bit her lip as she glanced at his lightly muscled chest and shoulders.

His silky blond hair seemed longer than she remembered, but other than that, he hadn't changed. She'd had such an infatuation with him when she was younger. He'd been the most beautiful thing she had ever seen and for years she'd had girlish fantasies in which he danced with her, held her, loved her. And as much as she hated to admit it, when she had gotten a bit older, those fantasies had become much more erotic in nature.

Her eyes met his mismatched eyes and saw that he was glaring at her. She blushed bright red as she realized that she'd been caught blatantly looking him over.

Sarah cleared her throat and crossed her arms defensively. "To answer your questions, you're in my apartment and I have nothing to do with you being here." She frowned. "And don't call me names."

He remained silent and looked away from her, his eyes roaming around the room.

Sarah finally couldn't stand the silence any longer. "Since I didn't bring you here, and you don't know how you got here, then what's going on? And more importantly, why don't you just go home?"

"If I could," he bit out, "I most certainly would."

"What do you mean?" she asked, dread rising within her.

"I have no magic. My connection with the Underground has been obstructed," he said tonelessly. "The Labyrinth is blocking my magic."

"Why?" she cried. "And how is that even possible? It's just a maze."

He gave her a derisive glance. "The Labyrinth is a creature with a will and a mind of its own. A rather simple mind in some respects, but it is sentient."

"Okay," Sarah said slowly, trying to make sense of what he was saying. "Why is it blocking your magic?"

"If I knew that, do you think I would be sitting here?" he sneered. "I would correct the situation and we would be gone."

"We?" Sarah asked suspiciously. "What do you mean--we?"

Jareth sighed heavily. "Because you were the first to defeat the Labyrinth, you were given the gift of a small amount of magic to bond you with the Underground, to bond you with the Labyrinth itself. And now the Labyrinth wants you to return, to bring that magic back to it. It is incomplete without it."

We are incomplete.

"Oh, my god," Sarah murmured. Stunned, she sank into a nearby armchair and stared at her hands fidgeting in her lap. "That dream."

"What dream?" Jareth asked sharply.

"I was dreaming just before I came in here and found you. I was back in the Underground and there was a voice saying that it was incomplete. That I had to return. It said..." her voice trailed off.

We will give you what you desire most.

Sarah's breath left her lungs in a whoosh. Slowly, she looked over at the Goblin King. 'Oh, my god,' she thought, 'what I desire most.'

"Well?" he demanded impatiently. "It said what?"

Sarah swung violently between the urge giggle madly and the impulse to burst into tears. She dug her fingernails into her palms and fought to at least appear in control.

Jareth rose and stood in front of her. "What did it say?" His voice was cold.

'There's no way I'm telling him,' she thought as she looked up at him towering over her. 'First he'd laugh at me and then he'd kill me. Or maybe he'd just laugh while he killed me.'

"It said that I had to return and that I wasn't to defy it," she forced out. "That it was incomplete. I didn't know what it meant."

He shook his head. "You will have to return as soon as I can manage to transport us back to the Underground."

Before it occurred to her that yelling at the Goblin King was probably extremely high on the list of things that could be classified as very bad ideas, Sarah was on her feet and in his face.

"Why?" Her eyes narrowed. "Why do I have to go back? I won. When you showed up and did that whole "you have thirteen hours" thing, you didn't say one damn word about me having to go back if I won."

"You weren't supposed to leave," he snapped. "You were supposed to stay willingly. But you were far too immature to understand even that simple fact."

"What the hell is that supposed to mean?"

Jareth grimaced. "You were to stay and rule the Labyrinth. With me."


"The Labyrinth is fairly simple-minded but it is very powerful. And it is intelligent enough to know that it needs someone who can focus that power and care for it and its inhabitants. For millennia my family has been linked to the Labyrinth, the eldest son taking on the position of King when he reaches the age of ascension. However, I have no queen. No son. The Labyrinth sought to correct that situation by selecting a queen for me."

"And it picked me?" Sarah squeaked and sank back down into the chair.

"As I said, you were the first to win," Jareth said evenly. "The first to pass the Labyrinth's test."

"You mean all that hell I went through was an audition?" Sarah was stunned. "But why can't you just find your own wife? There have to be other... other whatever you are. Surely one of them would marry you."

"The Goblin Kingdom is not prestigious enough to satisfy any of the other fae royalty," Jareth said. The faintest note of bitterness crept into this voice as he spoke.

Something occurred to Sarah. "But I thought I won by refusing my dreams. How could I have stayed and won?"

Jareth shook his head and threw up his hands. "When I told you how to retrieve the child, what exactly did I tell you?"

"You have thirteen hours in which to solve the labyrinth before your baby brother becomes one of us forever," Sarah recited, unconsciously mimicking his accent.

Jareth rolled his eyes. "And you solved it. You reached your brother when you took that final leap."

"And so the rest of it, all that stuff at the end, that "Fear me, love me, do as I say," was...what? Your attempt at proposing to me?" Sarah was incredulous.

"As I said," Jareth gritted out, "you were far too immature to realize what was being offered."

"Well, you weren't very clear," Sarah snapped. "I can understand why you've got a maze fixing you up with women. You obviously don't know how to go about it."

A cold smile appeared on his face and he leaned down, resting his hands on the arms of her chair, and looked into her eyes. "I see that you still take everything at face value. I have no difficulty in finding women, little girl," he taunted. "And I know quite a lot about "going about it" as you so charmingly put it."

Sarah flushed and then mentally kicked herself for reacting. Jareth's eyes gleamed in triumph and he laughed softly before moving away from her.

"There has to be some way out of this," she muttered.

"Your enthusiasm is so flattering," he said, sarcasm dripping from his voice.

She glanced up at him and choked down a nasty reply. He had to be just as confused about all this as she was. 'More confused,' her mind scolded, 'he doesn't know the truth about your dream.'

"I'm sorry," she said, her voice softening. "I didn't mean to sound offensive. But what I don't understand is why now? It's been eight years..." her voice trailed off.

"For a being that was ancient long before your ancestors decided that perhaps their world wasn't flat," Jareth sneered, "eight years is the equivalent of eight minutes."

Sarah's eyes narrowed. "I wouldn't climb up so far up on that high horse, if I were you. I notice that you're stuck here with no way to get back. What did you do to piss it off?"

"It wanted you back immediately." Jareth glanced away from her. "I refrained from removing you from this world. Apparently, the Labyrinth became impatient."

"Refrained," she echoed. She'd seen him look away. "You mean you didn't want me there," she said flatly.

His cold eyes locked with hers. "Why would I have wanted you there?"

She blinked at the surprising amount of pain his question caused. So much for her girlish fantasies, she thought.

"If the Labyrinth wants me back so badly, then why won't it let you take me back?" she asked wearily. "Why is it blocking your magic?"

He hesitated; he loathed being forced to acknowledge this particular truth. Finally he admitted softly, "I do not know."


In the extended silence that followed his admission, Sarah finally rose and said, "Wait here."

Jareth glanced up as she left the room and was treated to a glimpse of her rounded bottom covered by a pair of plain white underpants. Even as he watched, she reached back and firmly tugged her shirt down.

He smirked briefly. As angry and bewildered as he was by the current situation, it hadn't escaped his notice that Sarah had grown to be a beautiful woman. He might have appreciated the view more if he wasn't so baffled over why he was trapped here.

The Labyrinth had never rebelled against him before. He went over the dream in his mind, searching for clues as to why it would do so now.

You will bring her to us when you have--

"When I have done what?" he asked aloud. "What is it that you want of me?"

He waited a moment and concentrated, searching for the link to the Underground. He growled in frustration when once again he was thwarted.

In a few minutes, Sarah returned wearing a long pale pink robe and slippers. She tossed a shirt at him and he caught it, looking at it in surprise.

"I've turned the heat back up but I thought you might be cold. This is the only thing I have that should fit you," she said.

He held up the oversized long-sleeved garment and looked at it. It was blue and gray and made of a soft material with a fleecy underside. The words Columbia University were emblazoned across the front.

He raised an eyebrow at her. "Your alma mater?" he drawled as he pulled the shirt over his head.

She nodded and then tossed a balled up pair of socks to him.

"These are Gary's," she said. "They got mixed in with my laundry."

"Gary?" Jareth asked. "Is he a suitor?"

Sarah shook her head and smiled the first genuine smile that Jareth had ever seen her give. She was really quite lovely when she wasn't scowling or pouting.

"Gary's my friend," she said simply. Sarah gestured toward the kitchen. "I doubt that either of us can go back to sleep. So, I'm going to make tea. Unless you'd rather have coffee."

Jareth frowned. "Coffee? I've heard of it, but I have never tasted it."

"If you've never had it, you probably wouldn't like it," she said. "It's an acquired taste. I don't care for it myself but I keep it for Gary."

"Tea, then. I take it plain," Jareth said and began pulling the socks onto his feet.

Sarah shook her head slightly and murmured, "You're welcome," before going into the kitchen.

While Sarah was making the tea, Jareth rose and began looking around her living room. The furnishings were comfortable but sparse. A bookshelf drew his attention and he examined her collection of books. Most had titles that didn't interest him, but he found a small selection on a lower shelf very intriguing. A small battered red book entitled "The Labyrinth" was there, pushed almost to the back of the shelf as if to hide it. Jareth didn't need to look at that book; he knew its contents and he had absolutely no wish to read about a heroine conquering a king. However, beside it were a few other books bearing such titles as "Fantasy in Art," "Legendary Celtic Creatures," and "The World of Irish Mythology."

Out of idle curiosity, he opened "Dwarves, Trolls and Goblins: An Illustrated History" and flipped to the section on goblins. His eyebrows shot up in surprise at the large illustration that fronted that segment of the book. There, rendered in exquisite detail, were several of his subjects. A small notation at the bottom of the page indicated that the illustration was the work of Sarah Williams. Jareth quickly flipped back to the section on dwarves and there was Hoggle, complete with cap, vest and pouch of jewels. Again, credit for the illustration was given to Sarah Williams.

He heard Sarah return to the room. Without turning, he said, "I thought you were going to be an actress."

She walked over to him and held out a mug of tea. He placed the book back upon the shelf and took the tea from her. Returning to the sofa, he took a sip and cradled the mug in his hands, savoring the warmth. He refused to admit it to her but he was very cold.

She sat in the armchair across from him, watching him warily. "I intended to be an actress, but it turned out that I was much better at art than at acting."

"Your drawings are adequate," he said at last.

"Thank you," she said, frowning. "I think."

"I assume that your artwork would explain the odor that permeates this place?" he asked with lifted brows.

Sarah nodded. "It's the turpentine. I'm sorry, but the smell tends to linger."

Once again, silence descended upon the room.

Finally, Sarah asked softly, "I have a life here. My career is starting to take off. Isn't there some way that I can stay?" She swallowed hard and continued. "Since you don't want me there, couldn't you just leave me behind?"

Jareth shook his head. "No. If the Labyrinth is determined to have you there, what I want will make no difference. If I leave you, it will simply take you on its own."

Her hands were shaking, he noted. Her calm exterior might be only a superficial pretense but she was endeavoring to hold it in place. Jareth had expected a temper tantrum complete with smashed crockery or tearful pleading followed by the detested, "It's not fair," so he was surprised when she merely nodded and looked down into her tea. Sarah had grown to be far stronger than he'd realized, he grudgingly admitted.

"What are you going to do?" she asked softly. "Have you figured out why the Labyrinth won't let you go back?"

"No," he said sharply. "In my dream, the Labyrinth said that it wanted me to bring you back after I'd done something. But your infernal shrieking awakened me before it could tell me what task I am expected to perform."

Her eyes widened and then she looked away from him. Again, he was astonished. Where was her defense? Her acrimonious retort?

"You said that the Labyrinth gave me a small amount of magic," Sarah said. "But I don't have any kind of magic."

"Did you discover a new ability when you returned from the Underground?" Jareth asked impatiently. "Something that you weren't able to do previously?"

Sarah began to shake her head and then stopped. "My artwork," she said. "I always liked art but was never very good at it. And then all of the sudden, it was like someone flipped a switch and I could draw."

"Well, there it is, then," Jareth said.

"When you said magic, I thought you meant something like transporting from place to place like you do or turning invisible."

"It wouldn't have given you anything powerful," he said disdainfully. "Even the Labyrinth has better sense than to give potent magic to a human."

Sarah gritted her teeth. "Well, apparently it has better sense than to give potent magic to a Goblin King, too."

He gave a self-satisfied smirk. There was the Sarah that he remembered. He'd known that if he goaded her long enough, her childish nature would surface. However, before he could reply, her shoulders slumped and she rubbed at her eyes.

"Look, I'm sorry," she said. "All we seem to be doing is sniping at one another and it's not helping. Why don't we try being civil for a while?"

He arched an eyebrow in surprise. Was it possible that she had actually matured during the past years? After a long pause, he gave an abrupt nod. He would be as polite as the girl was, he decided, but no more so.


"I'm going to make breakfast." Sarah gave a faint smile. "I'm not sure what to make for a Goblin King. Is bacon and eggs okay?"

"That will be acceptable," Jareth answered stiffly.

Sarah closed her eyes and sighed. The man obviously hated her. And she'd been silly enough to hope that he... Sarah forced that thought away. He wasn't really being rude but he certainly wasn't going out of his way to be pleasant, either. Oh well, she thought, two can play his game.

She opened her eyes and then said, "I'm sorry, but I don't remember your name and I can't just keep calling you the Goblin King."

"I am usually addressed as Your Majesty," he said in a cool voice.

Sarah shook her head and said evenly, "Not in my home. Surely you have a name."

For a moment, Jareth frowned but then looked slightly puzzled. "Hoggle told you my name."

"He mentioned it, but I don't remember what it is," Sarah lied sweetly. "Sorry."

He looked somewhat insulted but Sarah was careful to keep her expression only politely inquisitive.

"Jareth," he said, his tone clipped. "My name is Jareth."

Sarah snapped her fingers. "That's right. Jareth. Well, since we don't know how long you're going to be here, I suppose we should think about getting you something more to wear than my old sweatshirt." She looked at him dubiously. "You wouldn't happen to know your sizes, would you?"

He arched an eyebrow and she shook her head.

"Of course you wouldn't," she sighed. "After breakfast, I'll run up to Gary's and borrow something of his until we can figure out what to do. He's out of town, he won't mind." Sarah looked Jareth over thoughtfully. "He's not as tall as you and he's a little heavier, but it will have to do for now."

"Borrowed clothing?" Jareth burst out, looking horrified.

"Right now, you don't have a choice," Sarah said with forced cheerfulness. "I have some errands to run later and I'll see about buying you some clothes of your own while I'm out."

Without giving him a chance to answer, she stood and went into the kitchen to make breakfast.


As Sarah left the room, she hesitated and then touched a metal box sitting on a nearby table. In a moment, the sound of a Chopin prelude filled the air.

Jareth rose and examined the box. Several small lights glowed on the front of it and the music seemed to be coming from two black fabric-covered boxes sitting beside the larger metal box.

Sarah stuck her head back into the room. "Are scrambled eggs okay?"

He nodded and gestured toward the boxes. "This is a radio?"

"Yes," Sarah said. "I can turn it off if it bothers you." She reached out toward the box and he waved her hand away.

"It does not distress me. I was merely curious," he said.

"You've heard of coffee and radios," Sarah said slowly. "You knew that the bracelet I gave Hoggle was plastic. Do you have those things in the Underground?"

"No," Jareth said, "but my duties bring me into contact with humans. I have learned something of your world."

"Your duties," Sarah said softly. "You mean taking children."

"I take those who are wished away," Jareth said, his tone flat. "I do not take children at random."

"I think it might be better if we left this conversation for another time," Sarah replied, her tone matching his.

"Why? Because you still blame me for your words? Your actions?" Jareth pushed.

Sarah's temper flared. "No," she said hotly. "You only did what I asked you to do. But you knew I didn't really mean it."

"I had no choice," Jareth's voice went cold.

"Oh, right," Sarah spat out. "The mighty Goblin King had no choice except to take my baby brother. You couldn't have shown a little compassion."

"Not if I wanted to return to the Underground," Jareth snapped.

"What?" Sarah asked, suddenly confused.

"After the words are spoken, after a child is wished away, I cannot return to my world empty-handed. And no human is worth remaining in this place," he sneered.

"I... I didn't know," Sarah stammered.

"There is a great deal that you do not know," he said sharply.

She stared at him for a moment and then simply turned and went back into the kitchen.


Sarah slammed the package of bacon down on the counter and ripped it open.

How was it possible, she wondered, that he could be such an ass and still make her feel bad? She'd defeated him. She'd won. So why did he always seem to have the upper hand?

She reached out to put the skillet on the burner and stopped abruptly as she looked at the cast iron pan. He'd said he was fae. She wasn't certain, but wasn't iron supposed to be deadly to the fae? Sarah put the pan away and pulled out her porcelain-enameled skillet. Jareth might be a first class jerk, but it wasn't reason enough to kill him.

'Not yet, anyway,' she muttered as she threw the bacon into the skillet.

Sarah cracked eggs into a bowl and began to beat them viciously. Sighing, her thoughts turned to what Jareth had told her. In the years following her return from the Underground, Sarah had come to realize that the Goblin King had only done what she asked of him. But she hadn't been able to forgive him for taking Toby even when she had explained that she hadn't meant it, especially since she had begged Jareth not to do so.

Now, however, she learned that he didn't have a choice. Once summoned, his only options were to take the child or be exiled from his home. So, Sarah wondered, why was Jareth stuck here now? Did it actually have anything to do with her dream? And if it did, then when Jareth had another dream conversation with the Labyrinth, would that damn maze tell on her?

Sarah shook her head as she placed a slice of bread in the toaster. This wasn't the time to think of all this. She had more pressing concerns. Like just how the hell was she going to get that painting out of the apartment without Jareth seeing it? After she'd lied about not remembering his name, the last thing she needed was for Jareth to see that she had painted his portrait.

Sarah spooned the cooked eggs onto a plate and added the bacon as the toast popped up. She placed the plate and silverware on the kitchen table and laid out a paper napkin.

She went back to the living room and saw that Jareth had found her portfolio and was flipping through the photos of her illustrations with an expression of surprise. She tensed instinctively and then forced herself to relax. There was nothing in it that wasn't safe for him to see.

"Your breakfast is ready," she said quietly.

Jareth glanced up at her and gestured toward the drawings. "These are from the Underground."

She nodded. "Most of them are, yes. Some of them are just things I made up."

"No," Jareth said, still flipping through the pages. "I have recognized all of these creatures and locations."

"You just haven't gotten to the others, yet." Sarah shrugged.

"Perhaps, but it seems odd that..." Jareth's voice trailed off and he stared at the drawing in front of him with a shocked expression.

Sarah went over to the sofa and craned her neck to see what had startled him. It was a view of a large castle bedchamber complete with huge fireplace, a sitting area and lavish four-poster bed. The dark blue coverlet was folded back revealing rich cream colored linens. A black dressing gown with silver embroidery was thrown carelessly across the foot of the bed and a large painting depicting a moonlit mountainside hung on the stone wall to the right.

"I did that for a man who wanted to commission a castle solar to illustrate a fantasy novel," Sarah said. "He kept telling me that it wasn't what he wanted and I kept insisting that it didn't need to be changed." Sarah grimaced at the memory. "I lost that commission. That was an expensive lesson in just how much artistic integrity can cost you."

She waited for him to reply, but he said nothing. Finally, he looked up at her.

"No, it doesn't need to be changed." His eyes narrowed. "Each detail is absolutely correct."

"That's an odd way to put it." A small crease appeared between Sarah's eyebrows. "How do you know it's correct?"

"Because that is my bedchamber," Jareth snarled.

The Enticement

A Labyrinth Story
by Scattered Logic

Part 2 of 16

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