Continuing Tales

The Enticement

A Labyrinth Story
by Scattered Logic

Part 3 of 16

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"What?" Sarah gasped. "That's not possible. Maybe there's a resemblance but that's not your bedroom."

"I know my own bedchamber," he insisted, "and this is it in every detail. The furnishings, the landscape on the wall, that's even my dressing gown."

"It can't be. How could that happen?"

"I do not know," Jareth snapped. "How did you come to draw this?"

Stunned, Sarah sank down on the sofa beside him.

"I told you, a man wanted a solar for an illustration," she answered slowly.

"No, why did you draw this specific room?" Jareth asked again. "What did you think while you drew this?"

Sarah shrugged, confused. "I didn't really think about anything at all. I just wondered what a solar would look like and that's what I drew."

Jareth handed her the portfolio. "Show me the other drawings, the ones that are things you made up."

Sarah flipped through the book until she found a sketch she'd done of a garden. Tiny pixies made their homes among exotic flowers and plants. A clear stream that bubbled over amethyst, sapphire and ruby crystals fed a small pond containing small gold and silver fish.

"This is one of them," she said as she showed him the drawing.

"That is my private garden." Jareth clenched his jaw. "Although, it is certainly not infested with pixies," he continued with distaste.

Sarah shook her head, stunned. "No, that can't be," she whispered, "I made that up. I don't understand any of this."

"Apparently the Labyrinth has been communicating with you on some level," he bit out. "It has obviously been giving you images to use in your drawings." He looked furious. "Are there more?"

Sarah stared at him for a long moment, a small crease appearing between her eyes.

"Just a minute," she said slowly.

Sarah left the room and returned with smaller binder. "This was my first major commission. They're illustrations for a fantasy calendar about faeries." There was a sinking feeling in her stomach as she handed him the book.

Jareth quickly looked through it. The binder contained drawings for each month of the year. The twelve illustrations were of beautiful fae women in a variety of poses ranging from the pastoral to the sensual.

"These women are..." Jareth hesitated, "acquaintances of mine."

Sarah stared at him.

"Acquaintances," she repeated.

"Yes," Jareth gave the faintest smirk.

Sarah took one look at his face and understood very quickly.

"All of them?" she asked in disbelief. "Some of those illustrations have three or four women in them."

Jareth shrugged. "They enjoy my company."

"Yeah, I'll bet," Sarah said sarcastically.

Jareth gave her a contemptuous glance. "I fail to see how it is any of your concern."

Irrationally, fury swept through her and before she could stop herself, Sarah had snatched the binder from his hands and slammed it closed.

"You're right. It's none of my business. I'll put this away," she snapped. "Your breakfast is getting cold. Eat it or throw it out, I don't really care."

She jumped up and went toward her studio without a backward glance. Once there, she closed the door carefully, placed the binder on a shelf and then slumped wearily against the wall.

Sarah knew exactly why she was so upset. It might have been aggravated by the fact that her original drawings were apparently not very original, but what had truly angered her was the sudden and illogical jealousy that she'd felt over those women. It had only been a flash, but it had been so strong that it made her sick to her stomach. In that instant, she had been forced to admit to herself that Gary had been right all along. She did have a crush on Jareth.

However, she thought, the operative word in that sentence was the past tense "did." Jareth was arrogant, surly and apparently promiscuous, and he'd managed to shatter every last one of her romantic illusions in the span of a few hours.

Jareth could not know that she had ever harbored such feelings for him. She wouldn't go through that embarrassment. The truth of the matter was that she had never really known Jareth at all and everything she had felt had been totally and completely unrealistic.

Hot tears filled her eyes but she quickly blinked them away.

"I was an idiotic little girl who projected her fantasies onto him because he's so beautiful," she whispered to herself as she shook her head. "How stupid is that?"

She took a deep breath and walked back into the living room. She was surprised to see Jareth still sitting there. She had expected him to go into the kitchen to eat.

"Don't you want your breakfast?" she asked coolly.

He fixed her with a curious gaze. "Why are you angry?"

Sarah looked away from him. "I'm just having a really, really bad day," she finally said.


They'd moved into the kitchen and Jareth began eating the breakfast that Sarah had made. She sat across from him, her head ducked down, staring pensively into her tea. She had prepared no food for herself he noted and then shrugged slightly. It was of no consequence to him whether the woman ate or not. However, he supposed that he should make an effort at civility. He laid aside his silverware.

"I can understand that this situation is upsetting to you..." he began.

Her head shot up and her eyes locked with his. "Can you?" Her tone was bitter. "Out of the clear blue, I wake up and find you asleep on my sofa. Then I find out that I'm supposed to leave my entire life behind and go back to the Underground with a man who, at best, dislikes me and, at worst, hates me. Next, I find out that my entire career is a lie. My talent and the work that I've been doing all belong to the Labyrinth. They're not mine at all."

Sarah dropped her eyes and went back to staring at her tea. "And we don't really know why you're here or why you can't get back home."

"Your sense of self-importance is too great," he said coolly. "I certainly do not hate you. I neither like nor dislike you. I do not know enough about you to make either choice."

Even as he spoke, an idea occurred to him. Perhaps that was why the Labyrinth had left him in this awful place. The more he thought about it, the more sense the supposition made. In many ways, the Labyrinth had the mind of a child. If it perceived that their unfamiliarity with each other was an obstacle to its needs, then it might seek to remedy the situation by compelling them to learn about one another. All of Sarah's original drawings had been glimpses into his life, even into his relationships. Had the Labyrinth been attempting to teach her about him?

Jareth carefully studied the woman sitting across the table from him. If the Labyrinth required that he learn about Sarah in order to return home, then he would do so. But there was no need for her to discover anything more about him than was absolutely necessary. His life had already been violated far more than he could abide.

Sarah glanced up from her tea and caught his eyes.

"What?" she asked.

He simply shook his head and returned to eating his meal. He heard her sigh, but he didn't look up.

"I'll go up to Gary's apartment and get you something to wear," Sarah said.

"I usually bathe before I dress," he said. He was irritated at already being forced to tell her something so personal.

"Fine," she said, frowning at his tone. "I'll change while you finish eating and then I'll give you a tour of the bathroom. You can take a shower or have a bath while I go to Gary's."


Sarah set out fresh towels and a washcloth and tried to give Jareth a quick overview of the bathroom plumbing.

"This building was originally a house that was divided up into apartments. When they did that, they installed individual hot water tanks. The water can get hot very quickly, so be careful not to burn yourself," she warned.

"I am not a child," he said testily. "I am capable of bathing without injuring myself."

Sarah forced herself to remain calm and continued as if he hadn't spoken.

"If you decide to take a shower, you can adjust the showerhead by turning the ring on the outside of it. There's shampoo, conditioner and soap in the shower caddy." She pointed to the rack hanging from the shower pipe.

"Your bathing area is quite small, isn't it?" His tone was imperious as he looked around the room. "It's really very cramped."

Sarah gritted her teeth and took a deep breath. She tugged on the shower curtain and when the rings jangled harshly against the shower rod, she hastily loosened her grip before she pulled it off the rod.

"If you take a shower, put this inside the tub. Even if you take a bath, you should close the curtain. When I get back from Gary's, I'll knock and then put the clothes on the counter by the sink."

"You will not enter this room until I have left it," he said sharply. "I will have my privacy."

At that, her tenuous grasp on self-restraint snapped.

"Fine. I was trying to be nice but it doesn't matter to me," she spat out. "Just put on the same clothes after you've had a bath or stay in here and drown for all I care. You may be lord and master of all you survey in the Underground but this is my home and I don't have to put up with a lot of crap from you. I didn't bring you here and I don't like this any more than you do. This is not my fault, so stop taking it out on me."

Sarah whirled and slammed the bathroom door closed behind her. She stomped into the living room and stood with her hands on her hips waiting for Jareth to either come out to argue or try to throttle her. To her amazement, neither occurred and all she heard was the sound of water beginning to run in the bathroom.

She huffed out a surprised breath and then realized that this was her opportunity. She stuffed the extra keys to Gary's apartment into her pocket and raced into her studio. Grasping Jareth's portrait by the edges of the canvas, Sarah carefully lifted it from the easel. Holding the wet canvas stiffly away from her body, she carried it upstairs as quickly as possible.

She leaned it against the wall while she wrestled Gary's door open and then took the painting inside. She flipped on the light and breathed a sigh of relief when she saw the empty easel in the corner. Gary dabbled in painting as a creative outlet and she had been afraid that his easel would already be occupied with one of his wildly colorful and surrealistic canvases.

Sarah settled the portrait on the easel and went into Gary's bedroom. They had long ago become comfortable enough to share duties on laundry day, so she knew that all his sweat suits were kept folded in the top drawer of his dresser. Grabbing a matching dark navy set, Sarah hesitated as the thought of underwear occurred to her.

She suddenly smirked to herself. If the fastidious Goblin King had disliked the idea of wearing borrowed clothing, he would have a fit over being told to wear borrowed underwear. She bit her lip and her eyes widened as she realized that he probably hadn't been wearing anything under those loose pants he'd shown up wearing.

"Oh, for pity's sake," she suddenly muttered to herself. "My life has turned completely upside down, I have a jerk in my bathtub, and I'm standing here thinking about his underwear."

While the thought of Jareth sans underwear was disquieting on a level that she didn't even want to contemplate, Sarah decided to just let that issue go for the moment.

She grabbed an extra pair of socks and carried the sweat suit back into the living room. As she was walking toward the door, the painting caught her attention once more. She crossed the room to stand before it.

She fixed a baleful glare at Jareth's portrait. "You know, considering your less-than-pleasant personality, it's entirely possible that the Labyrinth was just tired of your ass and got rid of you. And there is no way in hell that I'm telling you about that dream."

She gave a humorless laugh and then said in an exaggerated, sultry voice, "The Labyrinth offered me what I desire most in exchange for agreeing to go back to the Underground. Guess what, cutie? Three minutes later, you're on my sofa. You want to go home, Jareth? Just fulfill my sordid little fantasies and the Labyrinth will take you right back."

Sarah choked slightly. "I cannot ever tell him that. It's too mortifying. Besides, it's not just him that goes back. I go back, too."

Her eyes narrowed. "And I'm talking to a painting. You've only been here a few hours and you're already driving me crazy."


Jareth's hand had been on the doorknob before he decided that he should calm down before speaking to that infuriating girl. It would not help him learn about her if they continually disagreed. But she would have to be taught to never again speak to him in that manner. When he had finished bathing, he would instruct her in the proper way to address a king.

After examining the woefully limited bathing area, Jareth decided to try showering instead of a bath. He would be unable to become comfortable in this miniscule tub in any case. He adjusted the water temperature and undressed quickly. Pulling the shower curtain into the tub, he lifted a small lever and hot water began to stream over him.

The penetrating cold that had settled into his bones since he'd arrived in this place abated slightly. Curious, he twisted the ring on the showerhead and the gentle spray became a pounding pulse of water. He quickly stepped back and then experimentally turned around. He sighed as hot water massaged his back and shoulders. Humans were a backward race when it came to magic, he decided, but they did have some wonderful inventions.

Picking up the soap, he sniffed at it inquisitively. It had an agreeably fresh scent and he lathered the washcloth. After taking a leisurely shower, he adjusted the water back to a spray and washed his hair.

When the water began to cool, he shut off the taps and stepped from the tub. Using the towels Sarah had laid out for him, he dried his hair as best he could and then looked at the rumpled apparel he had been wearing. He was accustomed to changing into fresh clothing whenever the mood struck him. The thought of redressing in these garments was repugnant.

Listening carefully, he could hear movement outside the door and heard the faint clink of metal against metal. He shivered slightly as the cold began to seep over him again. Deciding that Sarah had returned with clothing for him, he considered how best to obtain it. After her outburst, he refused to have her actually enter this room until he had left it.


Sarah finished scrubbing the skillet with a scouring pad and rinsed it off before placing it on the drain rack. She wondered how long Jareth would stay in the bathroom. She still needed to shower so that she could go to Steve's apartment and take the boxes to the homeless shelter.

Maybe Jareth was waiting for her to bring his clothes. Well, she thought, he could just stay in the bathroom until hell froze over.

She was drying her hands when a soft sound behind her caught her attention. Turning, she found Jareth standing there in nothing but a towel. His hair was damp and hung down in wispy strands, almost touching the towel wrapped around his waist. Before she could catch herself, her mouth dropped open and then she quickly averted her eyes.

"You have brought clean clothing?" he asked, arching an eyebrow and crossing his arms over his bare chest.

Sarah nodded quickly and went into the living room with Jareth following her. She handed him the sweat suit and socks, gazing at a point over his shoulder as she spoke to him. He'd actually been wearing little more than this when he'd arrived, but there was something disturbingly...intimate...about talking to him while he was wearing only a towel.

"After you get dressed, we'll try to judge your sizes. I found a men's clothing catalog at Gary's, so that might help us figure them out."

He took the garments from her without a word and walked back to the bathroom, closing the door behind him.

"We're obviously going to have to work on the phrases "please" and "thank you," Sarah said loudly.

She didn't get a reply; not that she truly expected one. His Majesty seemed to believe that manners didn't apply to him. Sighing, she picked up the catalog and began looking through it with interest.

In a moment, she heard the bathroom door open and Jareth came back into the living room. The suit was extremely baggy and the pants were a bit short, but it would do until she could get something that would fit him.

Sarah mentally reviewed her bank balance and winced. She'd have to buy Jareth's clothes at the Goodwill. Even if she put it on a credit card and paid it out monthly, there was no way that she could afford a new wardrobe for him. She glanced down at the socks on his feet. She'd need to get him a couple of pairs of shoes, too.

She frowned. If she traced an outline of his foot on a piece of paper could a salesperson tell her what size he wore? She glanced up at his face and was surprised at what she saw.

"You're shivering," she exclaimed.

"It is cold in this room," he said, obviously trying to control the slight tremors.

"It doesn't seem that cold to me," she said, puzzled. "But your hair is wet, that's probably causing it. Come back into the bathroom and I'll show you how to blow it dry."

Jareth looked briefly perplexed at her words but then shook his head. "It will dry on its own." Another chill swept over him and Sarah frowned.

"Not before you catch your death of pneumonia," she said. "If you won't go into the bathroom, then just sit down in here."

She went to the bathroom and brought back her blow dryer and a brush. She was relieved to find that he was sitting in the armchair. She'd been afraid that he'd still be defiantly standing in the middle of the room. She plugged the dryer into an outlet and started to hand him the brush and blow dryer when his trembling seemed to increase. As she watched, he gripped the arms of the chair so tightly that his knuckles had gone white in an effort to stop shaking.

She looked into his face, concerned. His teeth were clenched to keep them from chattering. She was about to offer to bring him a blanket when, with a flash of insight, she realized that Jareth was struggling as hard against revealing any weakness as he was fighting against the shivering.

"I'm going to brush your hair to get the tangles out and then I'm going to use this to dry it," she said, forcing her manner to remain businesslike. "It will make a lot of noise, but it won't hurt."

He nodded once and she stood behind him, gently brushing his hair free of snarls, murmuring apologies under her breath whenever the brush caught on a tangle. She understood that the fact that he was even allowing her to do this was a clear indication of just how intensely he wanted relief from the cold.

When his fine hair was smooth, she flipped the blow dryer on, setting it to low. Running the brush through his hair, she dried each section, careful not to focus the hot air too near his skin. When the majority of his hair was dry, she laid the brush aside and slipped her free hand into his hair, close to his scalp.

Jareth started and she said quickly, "I'm sorry, but I don't want to burn you with this. I have to feel what I'm doing."

He said nothing, but relaxed slightly and she began drying the hair closest to his skin, using her hand to judge the amount of heat that he was feeling. When the remainder of his hair was dry, the chills seemed to pass.

She ran her fingers through the silky strands and Sarah gave a bemused smile as his hair fluffed into the wild style she was accustomed to seeing him wear. She'd been convinced that it was something he affected but apparently it was his natural appearance.

Abruptly, Jareth pulled away from her and stood, crossing the room to the window. He looked out onto the street below and spoke over his shoulder.

"I am much warmer now." His tone was arrogant.

Sarah turned off the blow drier and gave a mental shrug. Obviously the fae didn't tolerate the cold very well. But there didn't seem to be any permanent damage done and he certainly seemed to fall right back into his usual insolent demeanor. He still hadn't bothered to say thank you and Sarah considered pointing out his lack of gratitude but something about the set of his shoulders told her to just let it go for the moment. She was starting to get a headache and arguing with him wasn't something she wanted to do right now, anyway.

"All right," she said briskly. "Then I'm going to take a shower. I won't be long."

Sarah unplugged the blow dryer and grabbed the brush. She took a change of clothes from her bedroom and went back into the bathroom, turning on the shower to let it warm up while she undressed. When she stuck her hand under the water, she yanked it back with a surprised hiss.

It was like ice.

She turned the cold water tap completely off, waited a few seconds, and tentatively ran a finger through the water still coming from the faucet. Still cold. Dammit, she thought, of all the inconsiderate things to do. That royal pain-in-the-ass had used up all the hot water. Fuming, Sarah jerked on the clothing she had just removed and flung the bathroom door open, intending to give him a piece of her mind.

As she stalked into the living room, she saw that Jareth was still standing at the window looking out at the city the surrounded them. From this vantage point, she could clearly see his face.

He looked utterly lost.

It suddenly struck her how the tables had turned. Jareth was now the one trapped in an unfamiliar world. He had no power, no knowledge of where the pitfalls and dangers lay and no real idea of what he was expected to do. She vividly remembered what that was like and he didn't even have the perverse comfort of a 13-hour time limit.

He must be terrified, she thought and the cutting words she'd intended to say died in her throat.

In the next instant Jareth realized that she had entered the room and his cold mask fell into place.

"When you claim that you will not be long, you truly mean your words," he drawled.

Sarah bit her lip and stifled the automatic response that sprang to her lips.

"I've decided to shower later," she said instead. "After I run errands."

He shrugged slightly and glanced back out the window.

"Is it like this everywhere?" he asked.

"Like what?"

"Choked with buildings," he said. He made a sweeping gesture with his hand toward the window.

"This is New York," she said with a wry smile. "Choked with buildings is a pretty apt description."

"Are there are no wild areas left in this world?" His tone was remote. "No forests? No meadows?"

"Sure, there are," Sarah answered. "Just not right here."

He glanced back out the window, his expression unreadable.

As the silence stretched out between them, Sarah shook her head. Pulling open a drawer in a nearby desk, she rummaged around until she found her faded cloth measuring tape, a pen and a piece of notebook paper.

"I found a section in the catalog that gives directions on converting measurements to sizes," Sarah told Jareth. "All I'll have to do is take your measurements and then look on the chart." She deliberately ignored the catalog's statement that measurements should be taken while undressed or over undergarments.

She tilted her head and crooked her finger at him.

Jareth frowned and glared at her, but he finally crossed the room to stand before her.

She opened the catalog and looked at the instructions. "Okay, first, we need your collar measurement." She held up the measuring tape.

Jareth looked at her suspiciously.

At his expression, she burst out laughing.

"As great as the temptation is, I'm not going to strangle you." Sarah grinned as she wrapped the cloth around his neck.

She made a note of the measurement and looked back at the catalog. "Okay, now sleeve length."

"Are you going to be all day doing this?" Jareth complained, holding his arm up.

"If I need to take all day, then that's exactly how long I'll take. It's not like you're on a schedule." Her eyes narrowed and she scowled at him. "I'm doing this for you, so just hold still."

She slowly took the rest of the measurements, carefully listing each one on the paper and taking particular delight in irritating him by rechecking her figures. When she had accumulated the necessary dimensions, she used the chart to determine his shirt size.

"Okay," she said, turning the page. "Now for the pants."

She scanned through the directions and her eyes widened. She glanced at Jareth and said quickly, "Um, I've already taken your waist measurement. We're through."

He crossed his arms and smirked at her. "I wondered how long it would take you to get to the section regarding the inseam."

"You knew?" she asked, surprised.

"My clothing is tailored." Jareth arched an eyebrow. "Of course I knew."

"Well, then, what is the measurement?" she demanded.

"I have no idea," he drawled. "My tailor keeps up with such things. At any rate, I sincerely doubt that he uses the same sort of increments."

"We could just guess," Sarah said hopefully.

"Oh, no, you are the one who insisted upon this procedure," Jareth said, his expression plainly telling her that he expected her to back down.

She shot him a poisoned look and her lips thinned into a tight line.

"Fine," she snapped. "You need to stand up straight."

Sarah dropped into a crouch and took the end of the tape in her hand. She lifted the end of the measuring tape, preparing to place it high against the inside of his leg but then drew back before she moved her hand toward him. She didn't have to look up to know that he was wearing a triumphant smile.

She gritted her teeth and lifted the end of the tape again. Reaching out toward him, she jumped when his hand closed firmly over hers.

"I will take this end of the measuring device," Jareth said flatly. "You may take the other."

Sarah grinned at her small victory.

She took the inseam measurement and jotted it down on the notebook paper.

"One more thing" she said, turning the paper over and placing it on the floor. "Put your foot on this."

"Why?" Jareth demanded, placing his hands on his hips.

"I want to trace around your foot," Sarah explained.

"That is ludicrous," he snapped.

"Do you want shoes or not?" she snapped back.

Sighing, he stepped on the paper and rolled his eyes as she outlined the shape of his foot.

When Sarah finished, she rose and folded the paper, placing it in the back pocket of her jeans. She took her coat out of the tiny closet and began pulling it on.

"Okay, just stay in the apartment and I'll be back as soon as I can," she said as she opened the door.

Jareth waited until she had engaged the door locks from the outside. He moved to stand beside the door, listening closely. When the sound of Sarah's footsteps had faded away completely, he turned and regarded her apartment and its contents thoughtfully.

Now he would see what he could learn about the girl.

The Enticement

A Labyrinth Story
by Scattered Logic

Part 3 of 16

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