Continuing Tales


A Labyrinth Story
by Corrie McDermott

Part 12 of 40

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Her brain was pounding in her skull as she awakened. Gripping her head she sat up and opened her eyes.

'Good morning sleepy head!" Lee shouted. She opened the curtains and sunlight filtered harshly into the dim room. Sarah groaned and fell back onto her pillow. "C'mon Sar. It's my last day here and I don't want to spend it in bed. I can do that when I get back home." Sarah didn't move. "Sar?" Lee poked her.

Sarah groaned again. "Ok, ok. I'm getting up." She sat up too quickly and nearly fell back again.

Lee suddenly seemed concerned. "Hey, are you ok?"

"Yeah.I..I just have a bad headache, that's all." She got up slowly and moved to her closet where she grabbed a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. 'Just give me a minute to change." Lee nodded. Sarah seemed to be ok now and she shrugged the behavior off as Sarah being tired.

A few moments later Sarah emerged from the bathroom, fully dressed. She smiled weakly and Lee rushed at her linking her arm through Sarah's. "Let's go! Food's getting cold silly!"

"You're sure in a hurry to rush the day and get home." Sarah admitted sadly.

Lee stopped and frowned. "That's not true. You just know how I am about breakfast. My favorite meal of the day!" Sarah nodded slowly and she and Lee made their way down the hall.

* * *

Jareth watched it hover in front of him and his eyes followed it as it landed on the arm of his chair. Grabbing a rolled parchment from his desk, he raised his arm and struck. Splat! He sighed and flicked the dead insect to the floor. It was bad enough that his goblins didn't clean up after themselves, but for their mess to attract flies and for those flies to bother him. That was another matter completely. He settled back to the task of reading now that the annoyance had been dealt with.

As he began to read, he heard what sounded like running in his hallways. If any goblins, other than those who had his permission, were wandering in his wing of the castle, he would toss them straight into the bog! The sound of footfall grew nearer and before he knew it there was an urgent knocking on his door.

"I'm busy! Go back to the basements where you belong!" he called out. He wanted nothing to do with his stupid goblins. He went back to his book, reclining in his chair, his feet propped up and crossed at the ankles on his desk.

The door creaked open despite his command. "Excuse me? Go back to the basements? What do I look like to you? A goblin?"

Jareth sighed and peered over the edge of his book. "Miss Matthews, my private study is called private for a very good reason. If this is about going home early, I don't have the time right now."

"This isn't about going home. I need your help."

"I haven't got the time." His eyes left her form, ignoring the fact that she was terribly out of breath and that she looked panicked.

"Well you had better make some! This is urgent!" She shouted angrily.

Jareth growled and slammed his book shut, realizing that he would not be able to read if he didn't at least listen to her. "What is so urgent?"

"It's about Sarah." She told him breathlessly.

Jareth quickly picked up his book and reopened it, acting uninterested. "She's not my concern." He said coldly.

"Just shut up and listen will you!? For god sakes, you're worse than my step father!"

Jareth was about to slam his book on his desk and remind her whom she was talking to when he saw the look on her face. She was panicked. Something was very wrong. Her eyes darted back and forth now with the growing silence. It was unlike her to be nervous and this unnerved him.

"I should have noticed that something was odd this morning when she picked at her breakfast and barely ate a thing. I should have realized that she was pale for a reason.. And then..then we went for a walk and she couldn't keep up with me. She kept stumbling and tripping. I thought that she was just being a klutz or that she didn't get enough sleep." She paused and noticed that Jareth was staring at her intently. "She collapsed."

"Is she.. all right?" Jareth's voice was cold, but the look in his eyes betrayed his real emotions. Time seemed to stand still as he waited for her to reply.

Lee shook her head and he felt a lump develop in his throat. "She is really sick. She's burning up. I didn't know who to turn to." she looked apologetic. " Sarah said that Dart's away." she didn't finish the sentence.

"So you came to me." There was hurt in his deep, accented voice. He was hurt that he was thought of as a second choice just as he was no doubt hurt over Sarah's refusal to accept him into her life. Lee suddenly felt bad for him as he looked away from her. "Sarah has made it perfectly clear that she wants nothing to do with me. My help will be no different. You will have to find help elsewhere." His voice was quiet and calm but still broken. It pained him to deny helping.

"Jareth, please. " Lee stepped forward bringing her directly in front of Jareth's desk. "This is different and you know it. She is really ill and I have no idea what is wrong with her. She needs help."

'I'm not a healer. I don't even have a healer to call upon." He tried to brush the conversation away, though the guilt of doing such was like a sharp kick in his guts.

"Healer or not, this is your world and I'm sure you would know what is wrong with her better than I would. Please Jareth. Even the smallest amount of help right now."

Jareth gazed at her. This was not the flirtatious, annoying young woman that stood before him. This was a woman afraid for her friend's life. That was not something to be ignored.

He sighed deeply. "Very well. Take me to her."

Lee didn't have to be told twice and she was already rushing down the hallway. Jareth followed behind at a brisk pace. She him to the gardens and nothing prepared him for what he would see. He stopped dead in his tracks in the doorway. There was a body lying lifeless beside one of his fountains. He drew in a sharp breath, his feet suddenly feeling as if there were made of heavy stone.

Lee on the other hand had rushed to Sarah's side. After a moment of hesitation, Jareth moved slowly to stand beside Lee.

Sarah was lying on her back, her dark hair was sprawled around he and, sweat lined her pale face. She was much paler than she should have been. She was trembling, her eyes closed. Jareth took a sharp intake of breath as he lowered himself to kneel beside her. She was barely conscious.

"Sarah, can you hear me? Sar? I brought help." Lee tried desperately. She gripped her friend's hand, rubbing the cold fingers with her own.

Sarah moaned softly.

"She's way worse then when I left her. Oh god, what if she dies?" There was panic in Lee's voice, her eyes were wide with fear.

"Calm down." Jareth told her. Lee wasn't listening and he put a gloved hand on her shoulder. "Go to her room and pull back her bed sheets. Have the goblins draw a cool bath for her and have them fetch towels and a basin of cold water." Lee bit her lip and nodded, rising slowly to her feet. But her eyes were still focused on Sarah, who lay motionless. " And blankets." Jareth shook her shoulder. "Have them bring blankets." Lee nodded and after glancing at her friend, made a dead run for the castle.

Jareth glanced down at Sarah. She didn't look like the determined young woman who often fought to have the upper hand. He was afraid to move her, but he could not leave her out in the hot sun in her condition. Slowly he eased his gloved hands beneath her body. She didn't resist him as he lifted her carefully into his arms as if she weighed no more than a feather. She was shivering despite the hot sun that was beating down on her.

Slowly she lifted her head. Her eyes opened and they squinted to look up into the bright light. Jareth tried to smile at her to reassure her that she would be ok. But his smile was weak and unsure.

"Dart.?" Sarah asked quietly.

Jareth felt his heart shatter in his chest. Licking his dry lips, he shook his head. "No, Sarah. It's me."

Her eyes widened in surprise at the voice that spoke back to her. "Jare.Jareth?" She choked out.

He could tell that she was extremely weak. "Ssssh. Don't talk." He brushed back damp hair from her face.

Her eyes were sickly as they focused on him. He bent over slightly, blocking the sun from her eyes and she could see that it was indeed Jareth that held her in his arms and not Dart. The Goblin King's wild blond hair hung over his pale face as he gazed down at her.

Her eyes widened as she looked into his eyes. An emotion other then arrogance or mockery gazed back at her through eyes that were two different colors. He was worried. She had little time to think about this discovery as an uncontrollable shiver wracked her body. She closed her eyes tightly and her head rolled back onto Jareth's arm as she passed out.

Jareth tightened his grip on her and rushed into the castle.

The sheets were turned down, Lee was standing beside the bed biting her fingernails and the goblins were rushing about with towels and blankets when Jareth entered Sarah's room. The young woman was cradled carefully in his arms.

"Out! All of you!" The King commanded harshly the moment he entered. The goblins didn't have to be told twice and they scattered, bumping into each other and knocking things over as they went. Jareth paid little attention to them. "That includes you." He told Lee as he stepped further into the room.

She blinked. Perhaps she had heard him wrong. He wanted her to leave? She glanced at him and realized he had indeed meant her as well. "What? No way that I am leaving her."

"You wanted to go home, now is a perfect time."

"No! I'm not going home! I'm not leaving Sarah alone here like that!" She pointed to Sarah's still body in Jareth's arms.

"Then you will leave the room if you value your life." His tone was cold.

"Are you threatening me?" Lee clenched her fists angrily. " I'm not one of your stupid goblins to be ordered around!" She cried out at him.

"I'm trying to save your life, foolish girl." He spit at her. "Sarah is very ill and what she has is contagious. I won't be able to take care of both of you, should you fall ill as well." Lee glanced once again at Sarah's motionless body cradled in the Goblin King's arms. She looked like she was.

" she..?"

"No, she isn't dead. yet. What she has is very serious and can be fatal. She no doubt picked it up at Dartaynian's castle." He spit bitterly.

"How do you know that? Maybe she got sick because of your filthy goblins!"

Jareth shook his head and walked toward Sarah's small bathroom. "Goblins are mortal, like you and Sarah. Only Fae, like those who visit Tabor Castle from all reaches of the Underground can carry such a sickness and not be affected by it." He turned, but Lee persisted.

"But you're Fae, aren't you? Maybe you gave it to her."

"That would be highly unlikely since I do not spend any time with Sarah. Furthermore, She would have been sick much earlier then this, had the sickness been present in my realm. Please leave the room." Lee stood her ground and Jareth sighed. His patience was growing thin. If he didn't act quickly the stubborn, hot tempered mortal in his arms would die. "If you ever needed to trust me, now is the time to do so." He turned toward the bathroom.

"You're going to take care of her, all by yourself?" Lee put her hands on her hips.

Jareth sighed and turned to face her again. "If I do not, she will die. Please go to your room. I will seal the doors with magic to insure that you do not get sick."

Lee finally gave in and she nodded slowly entering her room by the door that connected her room to Sarah's. Jareth watched her as she went and realized that it must have been difficult for her to leave her friend. Once the door was closed he hurled a crystal at it and sealed the door with a magical barrier.

He entered the bathroom and kneeled beside the large porcelain tub. He glanced into the tub to see it was prepared as he had asked. He balanced Sarah on one knee so that he could pull her socks and shoes from her feet. He lowered his lips to her forehead and nearly gasped at how hot her skin was. Lifting her carefully, he then lowered her into the tub, fully dressed.

The moment she came into contact with the cold water, she awakened and she began to thrash about. Jareth had to struggle to hold her in the water. She was fighting him with all her remaining strength.

"I know it feels very cold, but that's only because you're burning up." He told Sarah softly. She continued to thrash despite what he told her. Her strength began to fail her and soon she ceased her struggling all together.

Jareth was soaked. Water dripped down his face, his neck, his chest, but he hardly noticed. His eyes and mind were elsewhere..

He tried not to notice how Sarah's wet clothing clung to her body as she lay motionless in the tub. He tried not to notice how he could make out the perfect shape of her breasts and the slender curve of her feminine body. As he glanced over her, he realized it had been a long time since he had been intimate with a woman.

He pulled himself together quickly and cursed for forgetting what he was supposed to be doing. He had allowed Sarah to stay in the cool water for far too long. Her teeth were chattering and if he didn't get her warm and dry she could catch pneumonia.

He lifted her quickly from the tub, getting himself drenching wet in the process as he pulled her wet body to his. With a wave of one hand, they were both dry and Sarah was changed into one of her nightgowns. Jareth moved to the bed, placing her down on the silk sheets. He pulled her sheets and blankets around her, but she continued to shiver.

He cursed again. If he had been paying more attention he would not have let her stay in the tub for so long. He reached for blanket after blanket, wrapping them around her shivering form, but no matter how many he put on her, she continued to tremble. With a wave of his hand he created a crystal ball. He threw it at one wall and the wall warped and became a fireplace with a roaring fire. He lit candles in every available space, making her room look like some kind of sacred religious spot.

He ignored the hunger pains that plagued him as time passed and concentrated on the task at hand. Because of his foolishness, Sarah could die much quicker then the sickness may have taken her. He vowed not to eat nor sleep until she was well again, if she was well again.

Lee watched through the crack in the doorframe as Jareth rushed around trying to warm Sarah. She had heard him dunk Sarah in the tub and had heard her friend's frantic protests. Lee had watched as Jareth lowered Sarah gently onto her bed and as he piled blankets on her, created a fireplace and lit candles. She watched curiously as he knelt on the bed beside Sarah's shivering form. He pulled a few blankets off of her and took her into his arms. He cradled her against his chest, wrapping his arms and his cape around her. His magic had failed to warm the shivering woman so he offered himself. Lee realized that he was trying to keep Sarah warm, by offering her the heat of his own body.

There weren't many times when Lee felt scared about something. She could count on one hand how many times there had been. Other then the time her father had come home drunk and had beaten her as a child, she couldn't remember being so scared. To her horror, Lee realized that she could lose her best friend. She could lose the only person that ever understood and accepted her as she was.

As Lee watched Jareth, she saw that she was not the only one feeling frightened. The fear was all over The Goblin King's face as he cradled Sarah against him. He ran his hands over Sarah's face, through her hair and then lowered his head toward hers. He whispered things to Sarah that Lee couldn't make out. He didn't look like the arrogant, manipulative Goblin King that Sarah claimed him to be. He looked lost, afraid and broken.

As Lee watched him, she realized that Jareth must care a great deal for Sarah. Despite all that had passed between them. Lee didn't know if it was love, but it had to be close. Jareth and Sarah had reunited after 8 years away from each other and that reunion had been far from happy. Jareth had appeared cool and confident that entire time, but Lee wondered if that had only been an act, a clever disguise to hide his true feelings. What if he had fallen in love with Sarah the last time she had been in the Labyrinth and was afraid of being rejected again? Or what if he just cared for her but hadn't been given the chance to love her?

The way that he cradled Sarah's body as if it were the most precious thing in his existence only seemed to confirm the theories rushing through Lee's head. Jareth obviously felt *something * for Sarah.

Lee dragged one of the heavy wooden chairs across her room to the door and sat on it. She doubted that she would get much sleep tonight, if any. She watched Jareth rock Sarah in his arms, occasionally dabbing her forehead with a cool cloth. Every so often he would check her temperature by lowering his lips to her forehead. After doing such, he let his lips linger, placing soft kisses on her skin. Lee was envious of Sarah. Sarah had two men after her. But Lee believed that only one of them truly cared for Sarah.And he was proving his feelings, right now.


A Labyrinth Story
by Corrie McDermott

Part 12 of 40

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