Continuing Tales

The Enticement

A Labyrinth Story
by Scattered Logic

Part 4 of 16

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Jareth quickly walked to one of the two rooms in Sarah's home that he hadn't already seen--her bedchamber.

As with the rest of the abode, it was sparsely furnished. There was only a small bed, a night table, chest of drawers and a chair. The bed appeared to have been hastily spread up, the pale green coverlet thrown haphazardly over the pillows. The robe that she had been wearing earlier was draped over the chair and one of her slippers was turned upside down next to its mate on the floor.

A sliding door across the room led into a closet that contained Sarah's clothing. Her taste in garments ran to the blue denim pants and simple shirts similar to the ones she had been wearing earlier. A suitcase sat on the floor beneath her clothes but it was empty.

A shelf at the top of the closet held three promising boxes. As he lifted the top from the first of them, he felt a slight twinge of remorse at invading her privacy this way. He knew that, should the situation be reversed, he would be livid at someone inspecting his personal items. However, he quickly pushed that thought away. It was imperative that he learn about Sarah so that he could return home as soon as possible.

This box contained various legal and financial papers. The figures listed on bank statements and savings accounts meant nothing to him, he paid little attention to these and returned this box to the shelf. The second box was full of loose photographs. Sifting through them, he saw that they were older pictures of what he assumed were family and friends. In all of these photographs, Sarah was a small child. He didn't have time to look through them now and he preferred to concentrate on learning about her life since her return from the Labyrinth. Once again, he closed the lid and placed the box back on the shelf.

The third box was much more promising. It contained two photographic albums with recent entries. He opened the first and found several pictures of Sarah with a stocky brown-haired man.

They were obviously comfortable with one another. In one pose, Sarah was sitting in a chair, the man perched on the overstuffed arm leaning companionably against her. This man had a mischievous smile and had playfully forked his fingers up behind Sarah's head, giving her the appearance of horns. In another pose, they had their arms looped around each other's shoulders. Both wore wide smiles and were waving at the photographer. However, none of the pictures that Jareth examined demonstrated any type of passion, only friendship.

Jareth was somewhat puzzled. While her temperament left much to be desired, Sarah was a beautiful woman. These two were plainly affectionate, so why was there no spark between them?

The mystery was solved with the next series of photographs. These pictures depicted Sarah's friend with a tall black-haired man. Their intertwined arms and their expressions as they gazed at one another bespoke an obvious attraction.

Sarah's friend preferred the company of other men.

Jareth gave a mental shrug. Although he predominately desired women, he had, upon occasion, indulged in the some of the more beautiful of the fae males. He held no inhibitions or prejudices in the matter. Pleasure was pleasure, after all.

The second photographic album contained pictures of Sarah with a man, woman and small boy. He gave a faint smile as he recognized that the boy was her brother, Toby. The man and woman would be her father and stepmother. Jareth examined a photograph of Sarah with Toby on her shoulders. Both were grinning as Sarah held onto the boy's legs, while he was covering her eyes with his hands.

Jareth gave an amused smirk at another obviously candid photograph. Sarah was seated, glaring at the camera, one held hand out as if to push the photographer away. Sarah's stepmother stood behind her, apparently wrapping sections of Sarah's hair around small cylindrical objects and then piling them on top of Sarah's head. Sarah's face was covered in what seemed to be green goo, leaving only her eyes and mouth uncovered. A long blue dress that Jareth assumed was this world's version of a ball gown could be seen hanging on a doorframe behind the women.

Jareth quickly looked through the rest of the album. Every photograph indicated that Sarah had a good relationship with the members of her family. At the very back of this album, however, were two loose photographs. Both depicted Sarah with a slender blond man. In the first, the man had a smug expression, his arm wrapped tightly around Sarah's waist. In the second, the same man stood next to Sarah. He was turned away from her slightly, apparently speaking to someone not shown in the photograph. The blond man's hand was placed casually on Sarah's neck, fingers curled around the back of her neck, thumb resting at the hollow of her throat.

These photographs interested Jareth very much. The blond man's stance and attitude were disdainfully possessive. It was obvious that he believed Sarah belonged to him and each photograph openly displayed that belief. In both scenes, however, Sarah gazed out at the viewer with a haunted look. Her face was pale and she had dark shadows under her eyes.

Jareth replaced the photographs, returned the albums to the box and put it back on the closet shelf.

Moving to the drawer in the nightstand, he opened it. Inside, he found only an address book, a notepad and pencil, and a small tube of ointment that was labeled as "lip balm."

He began opening drawers in the chest, but found nothing more than blankets in one drawer, and clothing and undergarments in the rest. A small mirrored tray on top of the chest held a few decorative candles and a single bottle of perfume.

Back at the doorway, Jareth scanned the room again. Two things perplexed him. The first was why there were no very recent photographs of Sarah's family. While the pictures in the album were by no means old, there was nothing to indicate that she'd had any contact with them in the past few years. The second was the identity of the blond man. There was no sign that Sarah had a lover. While Jareth had certainly not examined them closely, her undergarments had appeared to be of the plain, serviceable variety--nothing like the type of trifle worn to entice. Nor were there any oils or sexual toys that one would associate with a lover's presence in her life.

Jareth suddenly smirked. The man had probably been driven away by the girl's odious disposition.


Since Steve had only lived three blocks away, Sarah walked to his apartment. She turned the collar of her coat up and shivered. It wasn't supposed to get colder as the day wore on. There was something fundamentally wrong with that, she thought. It should get warmer when the sun came up, not colder.

Fundamentally wrong, she mused. What was fundamentally wrong was how her life had spun so completely out of control in just a few hours. Suddenly, Sarah began laughing softly. She'd always wanted to be special, she thought wryly. She was willing to bet all she owned that, in a city of millions of people, she was the only one with a fae king as a houseguest.

She pulled the keys from her pocket as she ran lightly up the steps and then let herself into Steve's building. She found his apartment and unlocked the door. The boxes that Gary wanted her to get were sitting in the floor of the empty living room.

Although Sarah had only met Steve a few times, she'd always liked the man. He'd had a quietly generous manner and a self-depreciating humor that had contrasted sharply with some of his more outgoing friends. While he had been dark instead of fair, Steve's almost fragile beauty had sometimes reminded her of... Jareth, her mind whispered.

Sarah bit her lip and looked thoughtfully at the boxes. Hadn't Steve been about Jareth's height and build?

"...he said to give his clothes to somebody who needed them."

It wouldn't hurt to look, she thought. Sarah opened the first box and found three folded suits along with six corresponding shirts. Sarah pulled out a dark navy jacket and looked for a label or tag to indicate the size. What she saw distracted her completely.

She gasped in surprise and double-checked the label.

"My god, this is Armani," she murmured as she lightly ran her fingers over the beautiful fabric.

Sarah quickly looked at the size and then lifted out a pair of pants. Her eyebrows shot up and she set the slacks aside. Holding her breath, she checked the label on one of the shirts.

"Oh, thank you," she sighed. It was a financial miracle; they were all Jareth's size.

Sarah carefully refolded the clothing and turned her attention to the remaining box. Inside, she found a long black all-weather trench coat and another complete suit. Hugo Boss this time, she noted. She'd never seen Steve wear anything like this, but she remembered that Gary had said the clothing in the boxes had been a gift.

"You definitely had at least one very wealthy friend," Sarah said aloud. "Steve, where ever you are, I hope you understand what I'm about to do."


Jareth opened the door to the room Sarah used as her workroom. The smell of paint and turpentine was much stronger here and he grimaced slightly. Looking around, he noted that she kept her supplies in neat order. One rack contained brushes of various sizes and shapes, another held tubes of paint, while still another held colored pencils.

An empty easel was in the middle of the room. A bookcase containing sketchpads and reference books stood along one wall. On top of the bookcase was a smaller version of the radio she kept in the living room. Across from the bookcase stood a long table with metal legs. A large roll of canvas was on the floor under the table. On the wall above was a long corkboard overflowing with the various sketches and pictures pinned to it. Some of these appeared to be Sarah's work and others were obviously reproductions of paintings and sketches done by other artists.

He saw a glass palette with a piece of white paper attached to the bottom lying on the table. She had used the palette recently, he noticed. There was a large sketchpad lying next to it and he flipped through the pad quickly. Various rough sketches of Hoggle, Sir Didymus, Ludo and the Fireys filled many of the pages. The stairway room he had created from a picture he had seen on her bedroom wall took up one page. His throne room filled another.

Had she never sketched him? Jareth wondered. He felt insulted that he had made such a negligible impression on the girl that she had never drawn his likeness, nor had she even remembered his name.

He found the portfolio that he had looked at earlier and glanced through it again, but saw nothing useful.

Nothing in this room revealed anything more about Sarah than that she was an artist and was reasonably organized, he thought.

He idly glanced over the illustrations on the corkboard and began to turn away when one drawing caught his eye. There in the corner of the board was a small card depicting a painting of a barn owl, its wings outstretched as it landed on a bare tree branch. He looked closer and saw that the artist was listed as John Cooksley. He lifted an eyebrow. Was the owl merely a coincidence? Or could it be that he had not been forgotten, after all?


Sarah left the boxes at Steve's and took a cab to a local department store. In the clothing section, she chose several pairs of men's socks and then took a deep breath and approached the next aisle.

Stretched out before her were neat packages of men's underwear in a dizzying selection of colors, sizes and styles. She located the section with Jareth's size and then frowned.

The eternal question--boxers or briefs? Sarah thought. After puzzling over the matter for a few moments, she finally picked up a package of each. She would keep the receipt and return what he didn't want.

She took the paper with the tracing of Jareth's foot to the shoe salesman. After blinking in surprise at her request, he used it to take measurements and then translated it into a shoe size. After warning that he couldn't guarantee a perfect fit from a piece of paper, he helped Sarah select two pairs of black sneakers.

As she was leaving the shoe department, she saw a display of men's leather gloves and paused. She and Jareth were going to have to start getting along and she had already saved so much money by not having to purchase his clothing. Maybe she should make a little extra effort.

"Excuse me," Sarah said, calling to the salesman. She held up the boxes of shoes. "If you wore this size shoe, what size glove would you wear?"

The salesman shook his head, clearly exasperated. "Lady, it doesn't work that way. The size of a man's feet has nothing to do with anything else. That's just an old wives tale."

Sarah snapped, "I'm talking about his hands, not any other portion of his anatomy. I don't need to guess the size of that."

The salesman smirked.

Sarah flushed. "That didn't come out right," she muttered.

Laughing out loud, the salesman took pity on her. He looked through the gloves and then held out a pair.

"Try these," he said. "But it's just a guess."

Sarah brushed her fingers over the supple leather and examined the soft lining. She winced slightly at the price, but nodded. "Fine. I'll take these."

The salesman nodded and then another thought occurred to Sarah. If she was going to make the effort, why not go all out? "Do you do gift wrapping?" she asked.


After leaving the workroom, Jareth turned his attention to the bathroom. He opened a drawer in the cabinet by the sink and found a small supply of cosmetics. He remembered the solitary perfume he had found in Sarah's bedroom. The fae women he knew kept several varieties of perfumes, and those who chose not to use a glamour always seemed to have an endless supply of concoctions intended to artfully enhance their appearance. Did Sarah have no knowledge of how to attract the attention of a male? Or did she simply refuse to try?

He could find nothing of interest in the living room and the kitchen revealed nothing except food and cooking utensils. Jareth had drawn his hand back with a hiss of pain when he had accidentally encountered an iron skillet as he'd reached into a cabinet. Even that brief touch had burned his fingers and left them reddened and sore.

The unease he had been feeling since he'd found that he was stranded in this world returned full force. Iron was deadly to his kind and he was trapped in a city where he was surrounded by it. While he had been trying to ignore it, there was a very real possibility that the chills that he had been experiencing were symptoms of iron poisoning. With no magic to keep it at bay. Jareth shook his head. There was no point in dwelling on that now but it was imperative that he learn more about Sarah and quickly.

He had found no diaries or journals, nothing that would give him clear insight into her life or her mind. It was obvious that Sarah did not want to return to the Underground. If she could obstruct that return, he knew she would do so.

It was increasingly apparent that he was going to be forced to engage the girl in conversation, although she seemed to be as wary of him as he was of her. Ah, well, he thought, he would make an effort at being charming.

Jareth resolved to observe Sarah more carefully. Perhaps the girl had a weakness he could use to his advantage.


After Sarah retrieved the boxes from Steve's, she dropped the keys through the slot in the apartment manager's door and trudged home with the boxes of clothing and her purchases. When she opened her door, she found Jareth sitting in the living room looking through the men's wear catalog she'd borrowed from Gary.

"I'm back," Sarah said, "and I've brought you something to wear." Jareth rose and, to her complete surprise, took the boxes from her.

"Thanks," she said uncertainly.

"You are welcome," he said. "Where do you want these placed?"

"Um, the sofa is fine," Sarah said. Her eyes narrowed suspiciously and she frowned as she watched Jareth put the boxes on the sofa. Why was he being nice?

He turned and lifted an eyebrow at her expression. Chagrined, Sarah knew that she'd been caught.

"I have given the matter careful consideration and I have decided that you are correct. It would be beneficial if we were pleasant to one another," he said quietly.

Sarah's mouth dropped open in surprise and she nodded.

A little flustered, Sarah began removing the clothing from the boxes and stacking it neatly on the sofa.

"I got you two pairs of sneakers. I know they aren't the right shoes for these suits, but shoes are so expensive and without you trying them on..." she said, gesturing toward the shoeboxes.

"They will be fine," Jareth said.

"And I wasn't certain if... I wasn't sure what kind..." Sarah stammered for a moment and then gave up. "Here," she said and thrust the sack containing the socks and underwear at Jareth.

He took the sack from her and looked inside, expressionless.

"I'll heat up some soup for lunch," Sarah said. "If you want to try on the suits, feel free to change in the bedroom. It's right through there." She pointed toward the door.

Jareth nodded, picked up the first stack of clothing and went into her bedroom and closed the door.

Sarah began to reheat the leftover vegetable soup. She set the table, made tea, ladled soup into the bowls and was just beginning to wonder if Jareth was having problems with the clothing when he cleared his throat behind her.

Sarah turned and her mouth went dry.

Jareth stood there wearing a black Armani suit with a white shirt. The only indication that the suit hadn't been tailored for him was that the jacket was perhaps a quarter of an inch too long in the sleeves.

"You..." Sarah began and then blushed slightly. "Uh, I mean, the suit looks great."

"Yes, the garments are quite well made," he said.

Sarah smiled wryly. "The company that makes the suit is known for that." She glanced down at the sneakers he was wearing. "Are the shoes okay?"

"They are very comfortable," Jareth said.

Sarah suddenly snapped her fingers. "Oh, I almost forgot. Wait just a minute."

She went into the living room and returned with a long, flat package wrapped in blue paper with a silver ribbon and bow. She held the package out to Jareth.

"What is this?" he asked as he took the package. His expression was one of surprise.

"It's a peace offering," Sarah said, smiling faintly.

He tilted his head and gave her a puzzled look.

"Well, go ahead and open it," Sarah said.

Jareth tore off the wrapping paper and his eyebrows shot up in surprise as he lifted the gloves from the tissue paper lining the box.

"You always wore them before," Sarah said in explanation. "I didn't know if you still did or not."

"Yes," Jareth said softly. "I still wear them."

He pulled the gloves onto his hands.

"Oh," Sarah gave a slight sound of dismay as he tugged and smoothed them over his fingers. "Are they too tight?"

"Not so much as to be uncomfortable," Jareth assured her. He hesitated for a moment. "Thank you."

"You're welcome," she said with a pleased smile. Maybe his earlier rude behavior had only been because of the shock of the situation.

She gestured toward the table. "If you're hungry, lunch is ready."

Jareth nodded and they sat down to dine.


An awkward silence stretched between them. After mentally reviewing the list of questions that he wanted to ask Sarah, Jareth reminded himself that he must remain polite. Alienating her would not serve his purpose.

"This soup is very good," he said with a slight smile. "Did you prepare it yourself?"

"No, Gary made this. It was his turn to cook," Sarah said, smiling in return. "We switch so that neither of us gets stuck cooking all the time."

"You are good friends?" Jareth asked.

"Yes," Sarah replied quietly. "We're very good friends. I met Gary the first week I moved into the building and we hit it off right away."

Jareth intended to ask how long she had lived in this place when he was swept with a wave of dizziness and the cold suddenly intensified. He carefully put his spoon down and gripped the edges of the table. He vaguely heard Sarah ask if something was wrong but he ignored her, focusing on trying to stop the room from spinning in sickening loops.

After several long moments, the room finally stopped whirling. Sarah had moved from her seat and had dropped to one knee beside him, looking up at him anxiously.

"What is it?" she demanded.

There was a surprising amount of concern in her eyes, he thought. He glanced away from her and gritted his teeth to keep from snapping at her. There could be no doubt of it now; he was suffering the effects of iron poisoning.

"Jareth, what's wrong?" Sarah's voice rose.

He shook his head slightly. What could the girl do? Revealing the truth would be pointless.

"I am merely tired," he said, forcing his voice to remain even. "I have had little sleep."

While her concern didn't disappear completely, it seemed to lessen somewhat.

"Why don't you lie down?" she suggested, rising. "You can take a nap in my room. I've got some work to do anyway."

Jareth started to refuse and the world gave a nauseating lurch before settling down again. If he were lying down, he thought, at least he would be spared the indignity of falling down.

"That might be best," he said quietly.

He concentrated on standing smoothly and went into her bedroom. Once inside, Jareth firmly closed the door and walked shakily over to the bed. He lay down on top of the coverlet and closed his eyes.

He reached out with his mind, seeking the link to the Underground and nearly howled in frustration as it continued to remain blocked. He took a deep breath and tried to relax. He needed to conserve his strength if he was to fight the poison.

Although, Jareth thought darkly, if the Labyrinth continued to obstruct his magic, it would make little difference.

He would die in this place.


Sarah cleared the table and cleaned the kitchen, trying to remain as quiet as possible. Jareth was obviously not feeling well, but he was trying very hard to conceal that from her. Though, perhaps he was telling the truth. Maybe he really was just tired. The extra rest would probably make him feel much better.

She went into her studio, intending to work on a sketch of Sir Didymus and Ambrocious but couldn't seem to work up enough enthusiasm to finish it. She finally put it away with a sigh. Why finish the sketch? If she were going to be forced to return to the Underground, she certainly didn't need to worry about her career any longer. The only career she would have there would be ruling over the goblins, she thought ruefully.

The Goblin Queen. Sarah turned the phrase over in her mind. 'Jareth, the Goblin King' had a certain flair. 'Sarah, the Goblin Queen,' however, just didn't have the same... oomph. Sarah rolled her eyes. She definitely needed a distraction.

She went back into the living room and turned the television on, keeping the volume low. Flipping through the channels, she found a rerun of Young Frankenstein already in progress. She smiled as the recognized the classic scene in the graveyard.

She smiled as Marty Feldman's character said, "Could be worse," and mouthed his next line along with him.

"Could be raining."

Sarah settled in to watch the rest of the movie.


As the movie credits began to roll across the screen, Sarah stretched and glanced at the clock. She frowned when she realized that Jareth had been asleep for over two hours. If he was truly tired, she didn't want to wake him, but what if something was wrong?

Uneasily, she went to the bedroom door and knocked softly. When she received no reply, she decided to just peek into the room. If he was asleep, she would turn around and he would be none the wiser.

"And if he's awake," she muttered to herself, "he'll be pissed." Her hand hovered on the doorknob indecisively and then she shrugged slightly. It wouldn't be the first time that she'd made him angry.

Opening the door quietly, she peered into the room. Jareth was lying on his back, his eyes closed tightly. Sarah started to close the door again when she realized that he was shaking slightly.

"Jareth?" she asked softly. "Are you okay?"

He didn't answer and she hesitantly entered the room.

"Jareth?" she repeated. As she walked closer to him, she gasped.

His normally pale complexion was chalk white. A fine film of sweat shone on his forehead and strands of his hair clung to his face. As she watched, a spasm of trembling went through him and he shook violently.

"Get out," he hissed through clenched teeth.

"No," she said as worry shot through her. "You're sick. What's wrong?"

"It's nothing," he said. The spasm passed and he relaxed, but his breathing was uneven.

"Don't lie to me," Sarah demanded. "Tell me what's going on."

His cold eyes locked with hers and she fought to keep from taking a step back. He looked absolutely furious.

"Iron," he said flatly. "The buildings here are filled with it and I am surrounded by it. I am being poisoned."

"I don't understand," she said, confused. "You've been in this world before. Why are you being affected by it now?"

"I've never stayed so long. And I've never been here without magic," he bit out. He gave a harsh laugh and he closed his eyes. "You should be pleased. If I die, there will be no need for you to return to the Underground. Your pathetic little life can continue on as if nothing happened at all."

Sarah flinched at the insult. Is that what he truly thought of her?

"You really are a bastard, you know that?" she said coldly.

She flung open the closet and pulled out her suitcase. She tossed it onto the bed beside him and wrenched open her dresser drawers. She began to toss clothes into suitcase.

His eyes had opened when he felt the impact on the bed and he watched as she turned back to the closet.

"What are you doing?" His tone was only mildly curious.

"Packing," she answered. She began to pull jeans from their hangers, fold them and put them into the case. "I'm getting you out of here."

The Enticement

A Labyrinth Story
by Scattered Logic

Part 4 of 16

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