Continuing Tales


A Labyrinth Story
by Corrie McDermott

Part 14 of 40

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Jareth steeled himself for the harsh string of words he knew would come forth from the mortal in his arms. The moments dragged by feeling like hours yet Sarah did not cry out at him. She didn't slap him, didn't do anything other than stare up at him with confusion drawn all over her beautiful face. What came next threw the Goblin King's world into a tailspin.

A timid pale hand reached up and gently traced the contour of his face. Jareth let out a shuddering breath and closed his eyes as her fingers traced his jaw line and her thumb smoothed over his cheek. He felt as if he was in a dream and he didn't want to awaken from it.

"Jareth.?" she whispered softly. Her frail voice was enough to bring him back to reality, that combined with the fact that she had lowered her hand and she no longer caressed his cheek. He opened his eyes and found her staring up at him in confusion again. He opened his mouth to reply but found he had no voice so he nodded instead. He licked his lips and swallowed, his lips turning up into a slight grin.

Sarah's eyes left his face and gazed around the room. "What.what happened? Where is Lee? Did she go home? How could she have left without saying goodbye?" There was panic in her voice and he stilled her by placing a gloved finger over her lips. She stopped her rambling and looked up at him again with the same confusion.

"You were very sick, Sarah. I,..I mean, *we * could have lost you. You are still not well." He noticed the slight trembling that shook her body and frowned. She was awake, but not yet well. The fever still stole energy from her already weak form. "Lee is in her room." He nodded toward the door that separated Sarah's room from her friend's.

"Why isn't she here with me? If I was so sick, why isn't she here? She didn't care, did she?" She let out bitterly.

Jareth shook his head. "She did care and that is why she has not yet gone home. She is not here with you now because you are still sick, Sarah. What you have is contagious to all but my kind and it is best if you don't see her until you are well again."

The room became silent as Sarah processed the information. It was true that she didn't feel well. She was cold and hot at the same time. Her head was still pounding and for reasons unknown she was nestled comfortably in the Goblin King's arms. She had been surprised upon awakening in his arms. She believed it had been a dream, a continuation of the chaos she had lived while she slept. But she had reached up and touched his face, learning that he was indeed real and she was in his arms.

Jareth frowned as he watched her brows furrow. She was thinking, probably plotting how to get rid of him, what words would insult him the most. Her eyes met his once again. There was no confusion this time, only coldness. Jareth prepared for the worst.

She was about to open her mouth when a soft grumble filled the silence. Her mouth opened into an O when she saw the look of embarrassment on Jareth's face. If she didn't know any better, she could have sworn the King's pale face had just turned 5 shades of red. Any coldness in her eyes was gone and they sparkled with amusement. The Goblin King never seemed real. He was some sort of magical being who defied all she knew, the ways of her world. He was a fairytale. Yet her fairytale's stomach was grumbling before her. Her lips twitched and a laugh fell forth from them.

Jareth frowned and his eyes grew cold. "You find it amusing that I haven't eaten in nearly 3 days?" his voice was as cold as ice. He didn't mean to snap at her, but he was exhausted as well as starving and she was laughing at him! Laughing at him, the Goblin King!

Her eyes widened. Did he say almost 3 days? She gasped as he lowered her onto her bed, not bothering to cover her shivering form with blankets. Sarah watched him go, amazed at how the smallest thing could set him off. As she watched him move toward the door she noticed that his hair lacked its usual untamed glory. It looked dull and limp. She suddenly remembered the slight bags under his eyes, making him look as if he had not slept in days. She remembered gentle hands, soft leather caressing her face and her arms as she relived parts of her past she would rather have never seen again. Leather hands, gentle and caressing. Soft words, tired eyes.

"Jareth! Jareth, wait please!" She cried, rising to a sitting position. The outburst cost her much of the small amount of energy she had left and she fell back upon the bed. "Please don't go..I'm sorry."

Jareth froze, his feet feeling as if they were made of heavy stone again. His instincts told him to leave right now, she was awake and she would be okay once he left. She could sleep and she would be fine. But his conscience would not allow it and neither would his heart. He cursed under his breath and turned to face her. Turned to face the mortal that would no doubt be the death of him yet.

His face was hidden behind the mask of coldness and cruelty that he flaunted quite often. He couldn't afford to let his heart rule him. It would only destroy him if it had its way. Sarah had fallen back onto the sheets of the bed and tears were streaming down her face. The mask stayed firmly in place as he watched her.

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to upset you." She told him.

"You enjoy hurting others, don't you, Sarah? You enjoy teasing them with your cruelty."

"And you don't?" she tried to sit up, only to fail miserably. She took a deep breath and allowed her eyes to focus on him. There he stood in all of his insolent glory, yet he didn't frighten her or intimidate her. Not anymore. She had seen a different side to him. She knew more existed than the arrogant, cruel Goblin King. "I'm trying to apologize for acting like a complete jerk to you. The very least you can do is listen."

Jareth's brows furrowed in confusion. She wanted to apologize to him?

"I'm sure you've figured out on your own that I don't like you very much." He opened his mouth to speak and she cut him off. "-But.that was before."

"And why should things suddenly be any different now?" He snapped at her.

"Because things have changed. I'm not 15 anymore. I'm 24, and it's time for me to stop blaming *you * for things that *I * did." Jareth said nothing and she could see the mask slipping from his face. He looked confused.

"*I * wished Toby away, * I * was spoiled and selfish and cruel. " She pulled her eyes away from his and Jareth watched her expression change. "It's time for me to take the full blame for what happened 9 years ago. You only did what I asked." She sighed and looked away, clearly flustered. "You're still doing what I've asked. I see that now." She finished softly. She looked up slowly, her eyes meeting his. "I'm sorry for being so rude to you and I'm sorry for teasing you. "

Sarah watched him think over her words. She didn't deserve his forgiveness if he even gave it.

His cold eyes searched hers and he was surprised to find that her words were genuine. He licked his lips, his eyes not once leaving hers. "You are forgiven." He told her softly. He dropped his cold façade after the words had been said, leaving behind the tired man Sarah had seen when she had awakened.

"How do you feel?" He moved to her bedside, slowly pulling one glove from his hand and brushing her forehead with his fingertips. His touch was soft, gentle, caring, and it sent warm tingles through Sarah's body.

She swallowed and forced the tension from her body. Her body sank further into the mattress. "Awful." She managed softly.

His hand left her forehead. "You still have a slight fever." He reached for something in a small bowl and sat on the edge of her bed. He squeezed the water from a cloth and dabbed it gently on her skin.

She watched him as he did this, still in disbelief that it was the Goblin King who was caring for her. She frowned as she remembered his words. 'It is contagious to all but my kind.' He was caring for her, but he was most likely doing it because no one else could. She didn't know why, but that revelation hurt her. It really hurt her. Did Dart know that she was sick? She was about to open her mouth and ask where Dart was when Jareth spoke again.

"Are you hungry?" He asked. She nodded slowly. "Will you eat some soup, if I bring it to you?"

"Only if you eat with me." the words escaped her lips before she could stop them. They were said so softly that Jareth nearly missed them. He stared at her dumbfounded. She wanted him to eat with her? Now that didn't make sense.


She watched his confusion, she could get out of this if she wanted to, but she found that she didn't want to. She truly did desire his company. "I won't eat, if you won't eat." She told him, raising a brow.

His facial expression changed to concern. "That would not be wise in your condition."

"Yours either." She reached up and fingered his long blond hair, not sure why it fascinated her. She was unsure why the idea of eating alone with Jareth suddenly thrilled her.

He was confused by her actions, but he allowed her to touch his hair. He cleared his throat. "Very well then. I shall have food sent for two." She nodded and let her hand fall back to her side. Jareth stood and put the cloth back in its bowl on the table beside the bed. He then reached for the blankets of her bed and pulled them over her body. She smiled her thanks, weakly.

"I shall be back in a short while." He told her. "Rest until I return." Sarah nodded and Jareth moved to the door. He opened it and stepped into the hall, but did not shut the door right away. He turned and gazed at her. "Rest means in bed, not walking around the room. You're in no condition to be walking about."

"I know."

He nodded, seeming satisfied and closed the door behind him. Sarah smiled as she heard his heels click on the stone floor of the hallway. If she didn't know any better, she would have sworn that Jareth, the high and almighty King of the Goblins, actually cared about her.

Lee nearly laughed out loud at the situation that had shockingly played out before her. She fell back against the door and sighed happily. She had much planning to do!

Further down the hall the steps of a certain Goblin King were a little more energetic than usual..


A Labyrinth Story
by Corrie McDermott

Part 14 of 40

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