Continuing Tales


A Labyrinth Story
by Corrie McDermott

Part 17 of 40

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Jareth carefully lowered Sarah onto the soft clean sheets of her own bed. She barely acknowledged the change in location. Jareth stared at her intently, not caring if his concern was written clearly all over his face. Ever since Dartaynian had left, Sarah had become withdrawn. She barely noticed him there beside her. And that worried him greatly.

He sighed loudly as he walked to one of Sarah's windows. Dark clouds were gathering in the distance and he could feel a storm brewing. His eyes fell upon Sarah's form again and he saw that she had curled up on her side into a protective ball. She looked like a lost child.

He didn't even remember crossing the room to stand beside her, yet there he was looking down at her. "Sarah, what's wrong?" He asked softly.

"Nothing, I'm fine." She snapped.

"You're clearly not fine."

"Yes I am, just. just leave me alone!" She shouted and she buried her face into her pillow

Jareth sighed and Sarah heard his footsteps as he moved away from her. She thought that he might leave, but she never heard the door to her room open and close. She lifted her head slightly and watched as he entered her bathroom. Moments later she heard the sound of water filling the tub. Jareth returned to the main part of her room and Sarah watched him curiously.

"What are you doing?"

"Filling a warm bath for you. Perhaps you will feel better once you have bathed and had time to think things over."

"I don't need to think things over." She spat back on him.

He didn't reply but instead pulled a fresh night gown from her drawer. He gathered a towel, some soap, and a pair of silk slippers that she had not seen before. He brought this all into the bathroom and then returned for her.

"The tub should be nearly finished filling now." He offered her his hand and she stared at it in confusion. After a moment of hesitation she placed her hand against the soft leather. His fingers closed over her own and he pulled the blankets away from her. Carefully he lifted her into his arms.

This was all so strange to her. She wondered if this was all some sort of a dream. The Goblin King just didn't do things like put socks on her feet, feed her soup and prepare a bath for her. What could he possibly hope to gain from being so caring and considerate to her?

Jareth had put a chair beside the tub and he sat Sarah in it as he reached for the gold handles to turn the water off. She had not remembered plumbing before, in fact she strictly remembered herself and Lee complaining about there being no plumbing. If she wanted a bath, she had to ask the goblins to bring buckets of water up for her. Yet now her tub had a faucet. She didn't question this, though she very much wanted to.

"Everything you need for your bath is here for you. If you need me, call me." And he was gone, just like that. No glance back at her, no fuss if she was all right. Just gone.

Sarah blinked and then noticed that her things had been set beside the tub. Including a pair of her undergarments that she had not remembered him gathering. She blushed when she saw them. She glanced around to make sure that he really was gone and then slowly undressed. Shakily she rose and stepped into the tub. The water was the perfect temperature. Not too hot and not too cold. She had not noticed the bubbles before and she sank into them, also surprised to find rose petals floating around her. She smiled when she saw them at first and then she felt miserable.

She had not told Jareth that she was depressed. She was confused and afraid and hurt. Dartaynian had seemed so concerned for her at first and then suddenly he seemed as if he did not care about her. His business seemed more important to him than she did. She didn't realize that she was crying until a few tears splashed and mixed with the bathwater.

Did Dartaynian even care for her? Or was he another David? She felt hurt and pain as she realized that she had allowed herself to become attracted to Dart. They were only supposed to be friends! She was the one who wanted to court as friends when he seemed as if he wanted more. Perhaps he did not know of her feelings for him. She shook her head, her wet hair not feeling as heavy as her heart. Dart had to have feelings for her. He had even tried to kiss her on several occasions. But she had been the one to not allow it.

'We're just friends', she would tell him and he would nod, but there was always something in his eyes that disturbed her when she denied him.

Perhaps she had pushed him too far away and now he felt his business was more important than she was. Maybe he was getting back at her in some way. With a sob she lowered her face into her hands and let the tears that stung her eyes flow.

On the other side of the bathroom door Jareth heard her sobs and it tore at his heart. He knew that she was crying about Dartaynian. He wanted to go to her and ease her pain, to offer himself instead of Dartaynian, but he couldn't do that. She needed to let her feelings out and he needed to let her go. He was growing too close to her as it was.

He closed his eyes and ran his hand along the wall outside the bathroom. He loathed feeling helpless.

It was much later that the door to the bathroom opened and Sarah slowly stumbled out. Jareth was there in an instant to steady her and help her back to her bed. He helped dress her in a robe to keep her warm and once again put stockings on her feet. As she sat on the bed staring off into space she felt her hair being touched.

Jareth had found her brush and was carefully brushing out her long dark hair. She barely noticed that he had dried her dark locks and was brushing out the silky strands. He feared that allowing her to think had been a bad idea. Sarah seemed less responsive than before.

It had grown late and Jareth helped her prepare for bed. His concern grew as she barely acknowledged him as he placed her down on the mattress, pulled the sheets over her and then left the room. With a heavy heart he stumbled wearily toward his own chambers, looking like a tired old man instead of a powerful Goblin King.

Sleep eluded him and he decided to wander around his castle. Without even thinking he stopped in front of Sarah's door. The hall was quiet. Even the Goblins had gone to sleep at this late hour. All that could be heard was the distant rumble of thunder.

He was just about to leave when a startled cry was heard. In seconds he disappeared from the hall in a cloud of glitter and reappeared in Sarah's room. She was tossing and turning, trapped in some hellish nightmare. He was at her side instantly and he shook her gently trying to wake her.

She jumped and her eyes flew open. Her breathing was ragged and sweat trickled down her face. She looked lost and confused as she realized it had been a dream. She felt she was being watched and she looked to the side to see Jareth standing beside her bed.

The concern in his eyes overwhelmed her and her breath caught in her throat. "Jareth?" Her voice shook as she called to him.

He lowered himself to sit beside her and he reached out to tenderly stroke her face with the back of his fingers. "Ssssh. It was only a bad dream. It's over now." His voice was soft, soothing and so comforting. Sarah nodded, her lip trembling as she did so. Jareth slid his hand down her shoulder and arm to comfort her and she startled him by rushing into his arms. She buried her face into the warmth of his chest and Jareth wrapped his arms around her.

"It was so real." she sobbed. "I've had nightmare after nightmare since you left." She pushed herself closer to him afraid that he was some part of a dream too and that he would fade away. "Please don't go."she pleaded.

Jareth stroked her hair tenderly. "I'm not going anywhere.I promise." He was surprised that she accepted his embrace so willingly, but he had to remember that she had been dreaming and she needed some comfort. He didn't know whether to be glad that he was thought of as comfort or not. Be fore he had time to think about it further, something suddenly burned against his chest and Sarah drew back with a startled cry.

'There it was again..those feelings that are not mine'. Sarah thought. She felt pain, hope, despair, concern, and that. warmth.

Jareth nearly grunted when he saw his pendant glowing brightly. Sarah did not attempt to touch it this time. Instead she settled back against him as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. Her cheek rested against his warm pale chest and the pendant glowed inches from her face.

Jareth sighed deeply and Sarah could hear his heart pounding in his chest. Something worried him or concerned him or maybe even frightened him for his heart to be racing so quickly. Sarah gripped the black silk fabric of his shirt into her hands. She felt warmth and comfort in his arms. The soft warm glow of the pendant soothed her and sent her nightmares packing. She let her eyes close for only a moment and sleep claimed her.

Jareth leaned against the head board and peered down at the sleeping woman in his arms. He brushed back stray hair from her face and let out an anguished sigh. How was he going to let her go when he felt such concern for her.such a need to protect her.such an overwhelming desire to have her as his own?

He shook his head and forced himself to push the troubling thoughts to the back of his mind. He draped his cape around Sarah for extra warmth and pulled her closer to him.

The nightmares did not return that night..


A Labyrinth Story
by Corrie McDermott

Part 17 of 40

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