Continuing Tales

The Enticement

A Labyrinth Story
by Scattered Logic

Part 6 of 16

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The Enticement

Sarah started the furnace and a fire in the fireplace. She quickly pulled her grandmother's rocking chair close to the fire. Sarah then began unloading supplies from the car. She lost track of how many trips it took. Each time she brought an armful of bags into the cabin, it grew more and more difficult to go back out into the howling snowstorm. The fact that she was damp with perspiration only made her that much colder, but she forced herself to continue unloading the car. By the time she'd carried in the last load, her hands and feet were numb and her lungs ached from breathing the freezing air. Finally, she trudged wearily back to the car to retrieve Jareth.

She opened the car door and shut off the engine, stuffing the keys in her coat pocket.

"Are you ready?" she asked.

Jareth nodded.

"The snow's starting to get deep and it's a little slippery out here. If you'll slide over as close to the door as possible, I'll open it and then you can lean on me until we get inside."

"I do not believe that will be necessary," he said coolly.

She bit back the instinctive urge to tell him to fall on his face in the snow for all she cared. She wasn't blind, after all. She could see that he was still weak. For god's sake, he almost died just a few hours ago.

Again tears sprang to her eyes and, surprised, she blinked them back. What was wrong with her? She gave her head a little shake. She was just overly tired, she thought, and it was making her too emotional.

"Please," she said quietly. "It would make me feel better if you would do this."

"As a courtesy to you?" he asked, arching an eyebrow.

"Yes," she nodded. "A courtesy."

He hesitated and then inclined his head. "Then I will grant your request."

Sarah shut the driver's door and moved back to the passenger door. She pulled it open and stepped back just enough so that he could exit the car. As he began to stand, she had already slipped her arm around his waist and so she felt, rather than heard, his quick intake of breath as the freezing wind slammed into him forcefully.

For a moment, he teetered unsteadily and Sarah was afraid that they would both fall and then he gained his footing. As they slowly made their way to the cabin, she felt his arm come to rest across her shoulders.

As soon as they entered the cabin and closed the door, Jareth pulled away from her.

"Sit down in front of the fire. It will be warmest there," she said as she went into the kitchen area. "I'll make tea."


As Jareth sat shivering in the chair nearest the fire, he looked around the room. He had a clear view of Sarah as she bustled about the kitchen. The kitchen and dining area were simply an extension of the living room. As he watched, Sarah opened a closed door at the rear of the kitchen and carried supplies into what seemed to be some sort of storeroom.

Two open doors to his left went into what he presumed was a bathing area and a bedroom. Between those doors was shelving that contained a small selection of books, some art supplies, and what he now recognized as a radio.

Beige curtains covered windows on either side of the fireplace in front of him. Beneath one of the windows was a box filled with firewood. A poker, tongs and small shovel stood in a stand next to it. Against the far wall, directly across from the fireplace, was a large sofa and an armchair positioned at right angles to one another. A low table stood in front of the sofa and a smaller table was beside the chair.

Jareth heard a beeping noise and glanced over. Sarah came back into the kitchen and removed steaming mugs from yet another metal box. Bags and sacks covered the kitchen counters, the small dining table, filled the dining chairs and were stacked on the floor.

In a moment, Sarah brought over a mug of tea and handed it to him.

"You're still shivering but not nearly as much. Are you feeling better?" she asked as she sank down onto the floor beside him.

He took a careful sip of the hot liquid and nodded. "I believe now that I am cold only because of the weather."

"It will warm up in here soon." She stretched her legs out in front of her and cautiously tilted her head from side to side. He saw her wince at the movement. "I'm sure you're still tired. The sofa folds down into a bed. I'll make it up for you."

"There is only one bedroom?" he asked, nodding toward the open doors.

"Yes," she said sharply, looking up at him, "and that's mine."

"I was merely inquiring," he said mildly.

He saw guilt flash through her eyes. Ah, so she was susceptible to believing herself at fault. That could be used to manipulate her. He stored that bit of information away.

She slowly got to her feet. "I'll make up your bed. I've put the perishables away already and I'll put that stuff up in the morning." She waved toward the supplies and went into one of the open doors. When she returned, she carried bed linens, a pillow and a quilt.

He watched curiously as she removed the cushions from the sofa and then pulled up on the bottom. It lifted out and began to extend. In a moment, it had transformed into a bed. Sarah quickly put the linens on the bed, and then spread the quilt over the top.

He rose and examined the place where he was to sleep. The mattress was a bit thin, but it would suffice.

Sarah looked over at him and hesitated. "I'm going to take a shower before I go to bed. I'll try to be quick so that the sound of the water doesn't disturb you. I put the boxes with your clothes in the corner by the dining table. The pants you were wearing when you... arrived are in there."

He looked at her closely. There were dark smudges under her eyes, her face was pale and she had begun to sway slightly on her feet. It was apparent that she was exhausted.

"Perhaps," he said, "it would be more beneficial if you were to simply go to sleep. You could bathe in the morning."

She gave him a surprised look. "My neck and shoulders are so tense they hurt. The hot water will help with that."

She went back into the room where she had retrieved the linens and came out carrying the same black shirt, pink robe and slippers that she had worn earlier. She went into the bathroom and closed the door.

Sarah had been right, the room was much warmer now and when Jareth heard the sound of running water coming from the bathroom, he located his sleeping attire and changed into it. He laid the clothes that he had been wearing on the chair that was beside his bed.

He examined the lamp on the table between his bed and the chair, looking for a way to extinguish the light. He finally found a knob on the side and turned it. The lamp went off, leaving the room bathed in firelight.

He lay down and tried to relax. Once again, he reached out to the Underground and once again the magic remained elusive.

He turned his mind to the question of his presence in this world. What was it the Labyrinth wanted him to do? What was so vitally important that he must remain powerless here in order to achieve it? The Labyrinth obviously wanted Sarah to return and yet it had eliminated his ability to take her. He was convinced that learning about Sarah was part of it, but was it the only reason?

He thought back to what the Labyrinth had told him.

"She is a woman now. With a woman's dreams."

Her dreams.

Look what I'm offering you...

He grimaced. Surely it wasn't her dreams that he was expected to fulfill. He had already tried giving those to her once before only to have them thrown back in his face.

However, he mused, there was one vital difference between the past and the present. Even the Labyrinth had commented upon it.

Sarah was a woman now. With a woman's dreams.

Jareth gave a predatory smile. He knew all about women's dreams.

And how to fulfill them.


When Sarah exited the bathroom, Jareth was sitting on the edge of the bed, waiting.

"Um, goodnight," she said. She reached back and turned off the bathroom light. As she lifted her arm, he saw her wince again.

"The hot water alone did not stop the pain," he observed.

"I'll take an aspirin. It will be better tomorrow," she answered and began to walk toward her bedroom.

"I can relieve the discomfort now, if you will allow it," he told her.

She hesitated and then turned back to him.


"I can massage the muscles until they are no longer tense," he said.

Her eyebrows shot up and she looked at him suspiciously.

"I'll be fine," she answered.

He snorted. "You think that I have carnal intentions toward you? Your faith in my stamina is flattering, particularly considering that we are both exhausted."

"Why else would you offer?" Her voice was flat.

"I am aware that I owe you my life. Easing your pain would allow me to begin to repay my debt to you." He paused for a long moment. "I dislike being indebted." He was careful to remain expressionless as he saw the indecision on her face. Her wish to escape her suffering warred openly with her distrust.

It was time to push her a bit.

He shrugged. "If you want to remain in pain, then do so."

"And this would be the perfect opportunity for you to make it a little worse, wouldn't it?" she shot back.

"First you believe that I intend to seduce you and moments later you believe that I intend to harm you." Jareth allowed his voice to become derisive. "You should settle on one belief or the other, Sarah. Even I am not that fickle."

She looked abashed and then raised her head defiantly. "It's just that you haven't been very nice to me. What am I supposed to believe?"

"Perhaps this has not been my finest hour," Jareth admitted. "Recent events have been...disorienting. I am offering my assistance. But you may believe what you like."

She swallowed hard. "My neck does hurt," she said softly.

He nodded slightly and moved further onto the bed, then carefully tugged her down to sit with her back to him in the V made by his outspread legs. She held herself rigid and leaned forward, keeping as much space as possible between them.

"I am trying to help you," he said quietly.

After a moment, she moved back to sit straight up. She was not leaning against him, but she was not leaning away from him. Jareth smiled--she was willing to compromise.

It was a beginning.

He swept her hair away from her neck and began massaging the knotted muscles. As his fingers firmly stroked against her neck, her head slowly fell forward. She gave a breathless whimper as he found a particularly sore spot and he circled it lightly until the muscle had relaxed enough to endure greater pressure.

His thumbs slid down toward her back, pressing and releasing in an effort to loosen the knots he found there. Her robe began to restrict his movements and he was surprised when, after only a slight hesitation, she reached up and spread her collar open to allow him to reach the longer muscles running down her neck into her back.

He heard her make a slight humming sound in her throat, and he grinned to himself but said nothing. He continued massaging until her muscles seemed relaxed and she was swaying slightly at his touch.

"Lean back," he whispered and was pleased that she did so without question. He reached up, gently rubbing her temples with a circular motion. With a soft sigh, Sarah's head fell back against his shoulder.

After a moment, he realized that she had gone to sleep leaning against him. Momentarily perplexed, he decided against waking her. Moving slowly, he shifted her and slid one arm along her back and the other under her knees. Rising smoothly, he picked her up and settled her on the bed. He pulled the sheet and quilt up over her.

He had not expected her to fall asleep, but it could work in his favor. He wondered what her reaction would be when she awoke in his bed.

He lay down beside her and closed his eyes.


Sarah was vaguely aware that she might be awake but her pillow was warm and it smelled good. She snuggled against the pillow and sighed contently. But there was also a vague impression that all was not quite right with the world. Her mattress was lumpy and it was poking into her leg, and her pillow wasn't as soft as it should be. But she was far too sleepy to worry about these things now. The pillow smelled really good and she was warm. That was enough of a trade off.

She began to sink back into sleep when her pillow spoke, its voice a low rumbling in her ear.

"Unless you are attempting to gain more of my attention than you already have, you should refrain from wiggling."

Sarah's eyes shot open and she realized that her head was resting on Jareth's shoulder. Worse, one arm was lying across his waist and one of her legs was between his thighs.

So that would mean that the thing currently poking her was...

"Oh, my god." Sarah gasped abruptly and flung herself back from him, scrambling to get away. "What the hell are you doing in my bed?"

"Your bed?" He sat up and arched an eyebrow. "You are in my bed."

Looking around frantically, Sarah realized that he was right. The light filtering through the curtains told her that it was morning.

"How did I get here?" she asked, confused. She looked over at the open door to her bedroom and then glanced down and saw that she was still wearing her robe.

"You fell asleep," he said. "I did not wish to wake you, and so I allowed you to stay here. Although, you moved closer to me during the night."

She remembered how wonderful it had felt when he'd rubbed her neck, but she didn't remember anything past that point.

"I'm sorry," she stammered. "I guess I was more tired than I realized." She swung her legs over the side of the sofa-sleeper.

She turned to go to her room when his words made her freeze.

"I had thought you'd moved closer to me for a particular purpose," he said softly.

"Yeah, I could tell," she said dryly. She didn't look back at him. "I'm going to get dressed." --------------------------------

Once in her room, Sarah sat on the edge of her bed and dropped her head into her hands. How humiliating. Jareth had thought that she was coming on to him. She couldn't blame him for thinking it. The way she'd been draped over him, what other impression could he have gotten? Although, he certainly hadn't seemed adverse to the idea. Her breath caught in her throat as she remembered the feeling of Jareth's arousal pressed firmly against her leg. Some distinctly feminine part of her nature gave a pleased sigh that she'd been able to cause him to react in that manner.

Sarah quickly shoved that thought away. She could not let Jareth know that she found him appealing. No matter how physically attracted she was to him, there were two important reasons that she couldn't have sex with him. The most obvious was that she didn't want to leave her life here behind and go back to the Underground.

She quickly gave herself another mental kick for making that deal. She should have known better than to trust anything to do with the Underground even in a dream.

But there was a less obvious reason for not being intimate with Jareth. The truth of the matter was that while she wasn't a complete innocent, she was still a virgin. She'd always wanted her first time to be with a man she loved and who loved her in return. She and Jareth certainly didn't love each other. Her romantic, starry-eyed fantasies about him had proved to be just so much unrealistic nonsense.

Sarah knew that she'd never actually been in love. Not even with Mark. How she could have ever trusted... No, her mind said as it shied away from that subject, no thinking about Mark. She had enough to deal with right now without adding that distasteful subject to the mix.

Her mind turned back to Jareth. Why had he offered to rub her neck? Was it only because he didn't like being indebted to her? The more Sarah thought about it, the more logical it seemed. Jareth was obviously extremely proud and she could believe that he would view her help as an obligation that he needed to repay.

Sarah's stomach gave a low growl and she glanced over at the clock and saw that it was almost 10:00 a.m. She needed to make something to eat and she still had all the supplies to put away. Sighing, she pulled on jeans and a sweater. She ran a brush through her hair and opened her bedroom door.

She didn't see Jareth but heard the shower running. She rebuilt the fire in the fireplace and went into the kitchen to put the kettle on for tea. Even though she'd complained to Gary about the price, she was now very glad she'd had the propane tank filled last month.

She picked up a couple of bags containing canned goods and carried them into the storage room. The generator was in there, along with an upright freezer, washer and dryer, and boxes of odds and ends that she'd never managed to make herself throw away after her family had died.

Well, she thought, not all of her family. Her mother was still alive but stayed so busy with her acting career that there was very little contact between them. Sarah remembered her mother's presence at the funeral as nothing more than a whirlwind of black silk crepe and bright red lipstick. Linda had flown in for the funeral and flown out three hours later after posing for pictures in which she'd appeared appropriately grief stricken.

Grief stricken. Saran shook her head. Linda's presence might have been a blur, but her last words to Sarah before driving back to the airport rang out vividly in Sarah's mind.

Her mother had wished her a merry Christmas.


Rest had done wonders for Jareth. His strength had returned, and the chills and nausea he'd been experiencing were gone. Unfortunately, his magic was also still gone. Without it he felt incomplete, as if he were only a shadow, something insubstantial. He had no place in this world full of iron and disbelief. He had to return to the Underground and Sarah's dreams were the key to that return.

While he showered, Jareth contemplated the best way to seduce her.

He hadn't been surprised when Sarah had moved toward him during the night, and so he had pulled her to him. He had no doubt that she was attracted to him. He clearly remembered the way she had looked at him when he'd first arrived in her home and her occasional blushes and stammers were equally as telling.

What had confounded him was that Sarah had made no advances. The women who turned to him in the night always wanted more than simple physical contact and yet Sarah had merely sighed softly against his neck and slipped back into sleep. He wasn't certain now that she'd truly been awake.

When she had started to stir, his body had reacted instinctively to having a warm, pliant woman wriggling against him and he had waited for Sarah to understand that he was responding and to escalate the encounter. But, again, she had not reacted as he'd expected. There had been no hesitant kisses or caresses, no whispered declarations of ardor.

In fact, after her initial confusion over her location had been dispelled, she had simply apologized to him and left the bed. She had not even made any outraged accusations of ulterior motives or demanded to know why he had not awakened her.

Sarah's actions were not those of the women to which he was accustomed. Seducing her might be a more delicate process than he had originally thought. He would have to obtain additional information in order to determine the best way to proceed. However, in order to do that, he would need to overcome Sarah's inherent suspicion of him.

He turned off the shower, and as he picked up a towel, he decided upon the most expedient way to accomplish his goal.


Sarah was arranging the cans on the shelves along the wall when Jareth came to the door. She took in the dark blue suit he wore and saw that he was wearing the gloves she had given him. It was a bit odd to see someone dressed so formally in a place she associated with casual vacations and relaxation. But, she thought, it was appropriate for him. Somehow, she just couldn't imagine him wearing faded jeans and a T-shirt.

She dropped her eyes as she remembered their earlier encounter and felt herself blushing. Damn, she had to stop doing that.

"I had thought this was a storeroom," he said.

"Yes, I'm just putting these things away," she replied. "How are you feeling?"

Jareth walked further into the room and looked around curiously.

"I am much improved," he said. "Have you looked outside this morning?"

"No." Sarah glanced at him. "Is it still snowing?"

"Yes," he nodded. He stepped closer to her and gestured toward the canned goods. "Would you like me to help you?"

"Look," Sarah said abruptly, turning to face him, "let's just call it even, okay? I feel better and you feel better. You don't owe me anything."

"Not even an apology?" he asked softly.

"An apology? From you?" she sounded incredulous.

Jareth looked at her thoughtfully. "Do you believe me incapable of it?"

Sarah nodded. "Well, yes, actually, I do. What exactly would you be apologizing for?"

He hesitated. "When I was ill, I made an inappropriate comment regarding your life."

"My "pathetic little life," you mean?" Sarah crossed her arms over her chest.

Jareth grimaced. "My comment was unkind and unfair. I know nothing of your life and you have my apology."

She looked at him silently for a long moment.

"I'd always heard that the fae were capricious, but you swing back and forth so fast that I can't keep up. Nice one minute, rude the next," she said finally. "I never know what to expect from you."

He arched an eyebrow. "And your attitude toward me has not fluctuated as well?" His tone was even.

Sarah started to deny his statement and then remembered her outburst after learning of his "acquaintances."

"All right. I accept your apology," she said slowly.

"Then might I suggest that we begin anew?"

"Anew?" Sarah asked. She frowned slightly. "What do you mean?"

He gave a slight smile and then said, "Allow me to introduce myself. I am Jareth, King of the Goblins."

Her mouth dropped open in surprise and she looked at him carefully. Was he making fun of her? He seemed sincere, but then, he usually did. That was his stock and trade, wasn't it? Even when that sincerity was false.

She bit her lip. Oh, well, she thought, if he gave her any more trouble, she'd just shove him out into the cold and lock the door. She grinned suddenly at the thought.

Lifting her head high, she pulled at an imaginary skirt and dipped into a curtsy. She watched a smile briefly tug at his mouth before he adopted a serious expression. When she rose, she held out her hand.

"I'm Sarah Williams. I'm pleased to meet you," she replied.

He took her hand, but instead of shaking it as she expected, he took her hand in his and bowed over it.

"It seems that you have a great number of filled bags in the next room and an equally great number of empty shelves in this one," he said. "May I assist you?"

"Yes, thank you," she replied with a shy smile.

"Where shall I begin?" Jareth asked. "Would you like me to carry the remaining bags into this room?"

"Are you sure you're feeling better? Some of them are heavy."

"I am quite well," he assured her.

Before she could answer, the teakettle began to shriek in the kitchen.

"Why don't we have breakfast first. Then we can sort out the supplies. Are you hungry?" she asked.

"Yes," Jareth said with a slight smile. "I seem to have missed dinner. Unconsciousness does make dining difficult."

Sarah blinked at him. "Did you just make a joke?"

His smile widened. "Did you think I have no sense of humor?"

"No, I knew you had a sense of humor. I just always though it was more..." her voice trailed off.

"Unorthodox?" he suggested.

"Vicious," she said slowly.

It was his turn to look surprised.

"Then it is a good thing that we have agreed to begin anew," Jareth said quietly. "Perhaps I can change your opinion of me."

"Maybe," Sarah met his eyes. "I guess we'll see."


After a quick breakfast, Sarah began arranging the supplies on the shelves while Jareth carried the rest of the bags into the storeroom.

"There," he said, as he placed an armful of sacks on top of the dryer. "This is the last."

Sarah nodded her thanks and then glanced around the room in dismay. The bags covered the tops of the appliances and almost all of the floor space.

"I didn't realize I'd bought so much," she sighed.

Jareth reached into a bag and pulled out a package of rice. "Shall I help you put these things on the shelves?"

Sarah smiled and said, "Not unless you want to do the cooking. I need to know where everything is and if we both put this stuff up, something's going to get misplaced. Thank you, though."

Sarah stood on tiptoes and reached up to put a box of laundry detergent on the topmost shelf.

"Allow me," Jareth said and he moved close to her, his body barely brushing hers and took the box and began to place it on the shelf.

She froze for a moment at the contact. Her heart was suddenly beating faster and it was difficult to catch her breath. She quickly lowered her arm and took a half-step back. Jareth didn't seem to notice her reaction; he merely put the detergent on a lower shelf and then reached back to the top shelf.

"There is something already here," he said and pulled down a small black and red case.

"Oh," Sarah exclaimed. "I haven't seen that in years. I'd wondered what happened to it."

Jareth held the case out to her.

"What is it?" he asked.

"It's my old backgammon set," she replied, brushing the dust off the case with her hand. "It's a game," she continued in explanation. "I used to be pretty good at it, too."

"I am familiar with the game of backgammon," he said. "However, when I learned it originally, it was called by a different name."

Sarah looked up Jareth and saw his intent expression as he regarded the case in her hands. The legends claimed that the fae loved games, she recalled.

She glanced quickly around the storage room. There wasn't anything in here that couldn't wait. She grinned at Jareth and held up the case.

"Want to play?" she asked.

Jareth gave a slow smile and his eyes suddenly gleamed. "I would be delighted."

The Enticement

A Labyrinth Story
by Scattered Logic

Part 6 of 16

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