Continuing Tales


A Labyrinth Story
by Corrie McDermott

Part 20 of 40

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The following morning Sarah awakened to find the sun warm on her face. Rolling over she saw something sparkle and it caught her attention. Reaching for the object she found that it was a walking stick. It was tall and slender and made from some sort of old wood that must have come from the Labyrinth. A crystal ball glistened atop it, a sign of who the gift was from. Sarah searched the room wondering if Jareth was still there but she was disappointed to find that the room was empty, other than herself. She felt refreshed again this morning but she didn't want to use all of her energy. She wanted to walk in the gardens with Jareth tonight as he had promised her.

The morning and afternoon came and went. Lee seemed to be preoccupied, always looking over her shoulder. Glancing at the door every few moments as if expecting someone. Hoggle had joined them for a short time in Sarah's room. They all had lunch together and talked to pass the time by. A goblin had appeared at the door sometime in the afternoon to inform the small group that Jareth was held up with castle business and that he would arrive at Sarah's room to help escort her to dinner later in the evening. Hoggle left before dinner time insistent that he leave before Jareth made an appearance.

Sarah stood up and stretched. Her legs felt like Jell-O as she stood, but she tried hard not to let Lee notice that.

"Would you help me find something to wear?" She asked Lee.

"Why?" Lee asked eyeing her jeans and t-shirt. "You look fine in what you have on and it's way too early to change for bed."

"I want to wear a dress to dinner." Sarah walked to the closet, the walking stick from Jareth in one hand. She had not parted with it all day and Lee had often caught her staring off into the crystal ball that sat atop the stick.

"A dress?" Lee was confused but then it hit her. Sarah wanted to dress up for Jareth. That had to be it. Why else would she suddenly want to change? Lee smiled, perhaps she would not have to do much after all to get the two of them together.

An hour later Lee had helped Sarah bathe and dress. Sarah had chosen a simple dress, sleeveless and cool, not too revealing but not something that covered her up either. She brushed out her hair and after some fussing managed to convince Sarah to wear some make-up. Lee had just put the finishing touches to her make-up when there was a knock at the door.

"I'll get it." Lee told Sarah. She noticed that Sarah suddenly looked nervous and she stood swishing her gown from side to side. Lee whispered to her that she looked fine and that Jareth would love the dress before she proceeded opened the door. She was quite pleased to see that it was Jareth who stood on the other side. The man kept his promises, that was for sure.

"I've come to escort you both to dinner." He said softly. Lee nodded and stepped aside and the moment that she did Jareth's breath caught in his throat.

Sarah blushed and smiled shyly when she saw the look on his face. Perhaps dressing up hadn't been a good idea. She felt overdressed. Jareth looked very casual in a white poet's shirt and black tights, no doubt to make her more comfortable and Lee was in jeans and a t-shirt.

Jareth found that he couldn't talk. He tried to pull his eyes away from Sarah but he found that he couldn't. She blushed at his intense gaze. "You.look extraordinary." He finally told her.

"I'm overdressed." She told him.

He shook his head, his spiky blond hair dancing around his pale face. "No, not at all." He forced himself to breathe. If seeing her in a dress made him feel such emotions he feared what a friendship with her might do to him. He forced himself to think. He refused to be reduced to a blabbering idiot. "How are you feeling today?"

Sarah smiled at his concern. "Much better."

"Good." He found his eyes couldn't leave her form. He spotted the walking stick in her hand and noticed how she balanced herself on it. His lips twitched into a smile. The stick fit perfectly into her small hand and he was glad to know that forfeiting a night of sleep to find the perfect walking stick had not been in vain.

Lee cleared her throat and brought Jareth back to the land of the living.

"Shall we?" Jareth asked. It amazed Lee how he could find such control when he was obviously flustered and excited about Sarah's appearance.

Both women nodded to his question and Jareth offered Sarah his arm. She stepped forward and took it eagerly.

"Here let me help." Lee said and she came around to Sarah's other side to offer herself as support.

"No, I'm fine." Sarah told her. She gripped the walking stick in her hand and held onto Jareth with her other hand.

'Second choice to a walking stick!' Lee grinned. She felt an odd sensation and suddenly Sarah's room disappeared and the dining room came into view.

Sarah looked confused and she gripped Jareth's arm tightly. He quickly explained his actions to her. "I thought it best to save your strength for a walk through the gardens. You've been inside for days, surely you wish to see the outdoors?"

Sarah nodded. "Oh yes. I'd very much like to go outside."

Jareth helped seat her at the table and then pulled out a chair for Lee. When both ladies were comfortably seated he sat himself and ordered the food to be brought in.

Jareth was fairly quiet at dinner. He only talked if spoken to. He preferred to listen to Sarah and Lee talk. Lee watched him throughout the entire dinner. The Goblin King's eyes fell upon Sarah much more than just once. And she had seen Sarah glance his way on more than one occasion.

"Can we walk now?" Sarah asked Jareth eagerly when dinner was finally finished.

He nodded. "If you think you are ready." Sarah's reply was an eager nod.

"Yeah, about the whole walk thing." Lee injected. She rubbed her stomach and gave an expression of disgust. "I think I had some bad beef or something. I'm feeling a little sick to my stomach. Maybe you two should walk without me."

"Are you sure?" Jareth asked her. Something seemed wrong with the situation. The beef tasted just fine. He and his guests ate only the finest foods in the underground.

"Yeah, you two go on. It will be good for Sarah. I don't want to spoil the fun. I'll see you two in the morning." Without giving either Sarah or Jareth time to respond, she high tailed it out of the room.

"Well for someone who feels ill, she sure moved quickly." Jareth commented and Sarah laughed. "I have the underlying suspicion that she is trying to get us alone together." He told her honestly.

Sarah chuckled. "Whatever gave you that idea?"

Jareth flashed her a warm smile. "Just a hunch." He stood and moved to Sarah once again offering his arm to her. She accepted it and once again the room disappeared from view. This time Jareth transported them to the gardens.

Sarah took a deep breath of fresh air. The air smelled of fragrant wildflowers. It was dark now and the stars and the moon were shining brightly in the midnight blue sky. Jareth took small tentative steps and Sarah followed.

They walked in silence, slowly stepping further and further away from the castle. Crickets and strange creatures made noises and fireflies twinkled like stars. This place was so magical. Sarah could nearly feel the energy crackling around her. She had never felt so at peace in a place before. This night felt perfect and she didn't wish for it to end.

However her perfection faded when she tripped and nearly fell. Jareth caught her easily in his arms. "Perhaps I should bring you back to your room." He suggested.

Sarah shook her head. She didn't want to go inside. She was enjoying herself far too much. "No. I just need to sit and rest, that's all." Jareth nodded and walked to a stone bench where he placed her down. He sat beside her and they sat in companionable silence.

"It's such a beautiful night. I'm lucky to be enjoying it." She said finally. She smiled sweetly as she gazed at Jareth. He smiled knowing full well that she was thanking him again for saving her life. "The sky is so much clearer here. The stars are so vibrant, but different."

"The Underground exists on a plane parallel to your own but not completely the same. We have our own stars here."

"I see that. There's no little and big dipper, no north star." She turned to him and grinned. "You have all sorts of magical powers, and you can even reorder time, right?" He nodded, wondering where this was going. "Could you do things like move stars and planets at your will?"

His smile faded at the question and he was reminded of years past. His expression turned serious. "The stars are out of my reach now. But long ago....I would have tried to move them.. Had you asked me." He whispered softly.

Sarah watched him in the darkness. He had turned his face from her and she had no idea what emotions flit across his features. She felt an emotion stir in her stomach. She hesitated twice before opening her mouth and even then, no words came. She felt Jareth shift uneasily beside her. Sarah had been far too quiet for his liking.

"I." A soft word in the darkness. He turned to gaze at her. She seemed almost as uneasy as he felt. He had told her too much too soon. They had been friends for a day and already he gave away too much.

"" Sarah stuttered. A cool leather finger pressed against her lips.

"Sshhh." He told her. "Let it lie."

She shook her head slightly and pulled back from him. Her brows furrowed. Looking at the expression on his face it all came together and she found a shocking discovery. " loved me once, didn't you?"

Jareth looked away from her, refusing to meet her intense gaze, afraid of revealing his longing for her. Sarah felt a feeling very much like being kicked in the gut. Good lord! He had loved her back when she was a spoiled, bratty teenager and she'd had no idea. Absolutely no idea. Everything had been a game then, he couldn't possibly have cared for her. Her eyes flashed with this new revelation and she realized that he was slowly nodding his head.

She let out a shuddering breath. "God Jareth, I had no idea.."

He turned to gaze at her and in the pale moonlight she could see the sadness in his eyes. He smiled wearily. "You were too young.."

She licked her lips, her mouth suddenly dry. He had loved her. The insolent, proud, stubborn Goblin King had loved her. He had seen something in her when she was an arrogant child. Did he still see something in her or had he moved on? She hesitated but forced the words to fall from her lips. She had to know. "And what do you feel. now..?"

The question hung in the air and Jareth froze. Any reaction, even a small one could alert her to his feelings and he could not let her know. Yet if he rejected her, he could hurt her and in turn ruin their delicate friendship.

Loud laughter shattered the silence of the night and Sarah jumped. Jareth's hand rested upon her arm. "It's only the goblins." For once he was thankful for their intrusion. A pair of goblins were rushing off in the opposite direction, but their laughter had been enough to break the awkward moment. "It's late, let me bring you to your room." Jareth offered.

Sarah nodded slowly suddenly feeling tired and confused. Jareth offered his arm and she gently accepted it. Moments later they materialized outside of Sarah's door.

"Will you be all right?" He asked quietly as she reached for the doorknob. His voice was low, almost seductive.

She nodded, her lower lip trembling. "Yes, thank you."

He nodded in reply and started to step away, but she stopped him. Her hand was unwilling to detach from it's place on his arm. Jareth stared down at her in confusion, his heart thundering his chest. He looked into her face, hoping to find an answer, but he found none.

She gazed at him in the candle light that illuminated the hall. A warmth filled her as she looked over him. He was beautiful, with his tall slender form, his pale skin, his long golden hair, his sculptured face and his mismatched eyes that seemed to see right to her soul. As she gazed at him the confusion in her life seemed to fade away.

He looked like a lost child as he stood there. It was obvious he didn't know what to do or what to say. They had been alone together for one night and already he found himself wanting her, needing her. To be without her after nearly losing her to her illness was like being without air. He needed her to survive and it pained him that he could never tell her so.

Sarah found herself trembling. The physical attraction that existed the morning before was back and she found that she couldn't pull away from it. It drew her in like a moth to a flame. She leaned closer to Jareth and she heard him exhale. He couldn't escape it either.

One of his hands stroked the skin of her arm and she closed her eyes, savoring his touch. She slowly lifted one hand to his face, her thumb smoothing over his soft skin. His eyes fluttered closed at the touch and he felt her body move closer to his. Her fingers slid over his cheek and traced his jaw, then his lips. Her touch was soft and so gentle upon him. The world felt hazy around him, as if he was in a dream.

Her fingers slid down his neck and the front of his chest, slipping beneath the silky fabric of his shirt. A low quiet groan escaped his throat and his head fell forward as his lips sought out the flesh of her neck. Her fingers buried themselves in his soft hair and she lifted her head to allow him to kiss her. She wished that he would kiss her mouth. She wished he would pull her to him and hold her in his arms with the intention of never letting go. She gasped as he nipped the side of her neck with his sharp teeth.

Jareth jerked back at the sound, startling her and himself in the process. He was breathing heavily and he found her to be doing the same. He had lost control for a moment and had he kept going he could only have imagined the consequences of his actions. She would have hated him and herself has things continued and in turn he would have hated himself.

He refused to meet her eyes. He knew that they were burning into him, demanding an answer of some sort and he had none to offer her. He was suddenly shaken. He bowed before her quickly, still refusing eye contact. "Good night Sarah." He didn't wait for her response as he rushed hurriedly down the hall.

Sarah watched him go. He seemed rattled and unsure of himself. She glanced at her hand which still hovered in mid air from being buried in his hair and she snatched it to her side. What could have made her touch him like that, and so intimately? Her own actions frightened her. She had wanted him to kiss her, she had wanted him to hold her and that frightened her terribly. She had never desired that from a man, save one, and she would rather not think about him.

Jareth was her friend and had only been her friend for a day. How was she going to resist him? How was she going to resist the attraction that loomed between them? She trembled as a cool breeze swept through the hallway. She entered her room swiftly and dressed for bed. As sleep claimed her, thoughts of Jareth and his touch filled her mind.

Jareth's steps were quick and heavy as he moved away. He sought the privacy of his study and once inside the doors he pressed his back to the wall. He let out a shuddering breath. His heart was pounding so loudly in his chest, he was certain that Sarah could hear it all the way in her room. He ran a desperate hand through his unruly golden hair and then staggered to the nearest chair to collapse in it. He tried to still his racing heart, but he couldn't. All he could think about was her touch.her gasp of pleasure as he had kissed her neck.the feelings that had swept over him as he kissed her flesh.He had never experienced anything like it in his life.

Gods, she was beautiful and gentle, kind, sweet and honest. He wanted nothing more than to show her how much he loved her. Love? Where had that come from? With an anguished sigh he realized that it was true. He did love her and he always had. He had hidden that love well in the deepest reaches of his heart, 9 years prior. That love had grown and blossomed now that she was in his life again and he had not even realized it. She was a grown woman and she was much more desirable than she had been as an adolescent. He wanted nothing more than to sweep her off her feet and claim her as his queen, promising to love her until the end of time.

But he couldn't. He could not claim her as his own, because she was already claimed. She belonged to Dartaynian. He pounded his fist angrily against a nearby table, splintering it with the force. She was just out of his reach once again and it had been his own fault. His foolish pride and his fear had led him to be so cold, so arrogant in her presence and it had cost him dearly. She had gone to Dartaynian, had accepted his proposal to be courted and had left Jareth behind empty handed.

Jareth knew the law and there was nothing he could do to change it. Sarah had agreed to court Dartaynian, even if she didn't know the rules that went with such a commitment. She belonged to Dartaynian unless there was a mutual agreement to part and Jareth knew that would never happen. Dartaynian saw Sarah as a trophy, a boost to his ego, a hold over the Goblin King. He would never let her go.

Jareth knew his old friend well enough to know that Dart did not love Sarah and he probably never would. Sarah would be forced to stay by Dartaynian's side until he released her, if he ever did. She would wither beside him, begging and gasping for her freedom never understanding how Dartaynian had cleverly trapped her. She would probably be unaware that Dartaynian ran around behind her back taking mistresses as he pleased. The thought of that pulled at Jareth's heart, in fact it tore him to pieces. He didn't wish to see Sarah unhappy and that was what she would become should she be forced to remain by Dartaynian's side.

But he was helpless.. More helpless than he had been begging for Sarah to live her dreams and stay with him 9 years ago. More helpless than he had been begging her to live when she had been so sick.

He had promised himself that he wouldn't feel anything for her, never mind fall in love with her! A light attracted his attention and he cursed loudly. His pendant glowed fiercely against his chest as his thoughts and emotions broke through the barrier that he was attempting to hold them back with. It was a useless and pointless fight. He could not fight love, no matter how hard he tried. He had gotten himself into a terrible position and he had no idea how to break free from it.

"Makes no sense at all... Makes no sense to fall... Falling..Falling in love." He sang the words of the song softly. With an anguished sigh he lowered his head into his hands and wept.


A Labyrinth Story
by Corrie McDermott

Part 20 of 40

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