Continuing Tales


A Labyrinth Story
by Corrie McDermott

Part 22 of 40

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Sarah turned over in her bed with a deep sigh. Sleep eluded her once again. Nightmares early in the night had driven any chance of sleep away. She had been staring at the ceiling for hours, lost in deep thought. She thought that she heard something, and as she turned, a movement caught her eyes. Something stood in the shadows and it looked like a figure. She sat up quickly, her heart racing in her chest.

"Lee? Hoggle?" She asked shakily. There was no immediate answer and Sarah became afraid of what could be lurking in the darkness. *Please don't let it be a goblin or a thief.or who knows what.*

The figure shook it's head. "No, Sarah."

That voice. She knew that voice. It usually sounded commanding, dominating, yet now. "Jareth?"

She watched as the Goblin King stepped out of the shadows and into the light. His blond hair looked silver in the moonlight. He had not meant for Sarah to see him. He had not even meant to go to her, but after his talk with Lee, he felt that the need to see her was too strong to resist.

His eyes were filled with regret as they fell upon her. She did look thin. Bags under her eyes confirmed that tonight had not been the only night without sleep. He noticed that the walking stick he had given her still laid across the room. He had seen her throw it away from herself when Lee and Hoggle had tried to get her to walk just the other day. He had watched through the crystal as it hit the floor with a thud. And there it sat, in the same place.

Sarah didn't know what to say or do as she stared up at him. He looked as miserable as she felt. He had brushed out his long blond hair and had changed into different clothes after his conversation with Lee. Of course Sarah didn't know this. She could only see the same things that Jareth saw with her. The fatigue that lined his face, the air of defeat around him, that he looked thinner than usual.

They stared at each other for a long time before anything was said.

"Why have you stopped walking?" He asked her quietly. His eyes roamed once again to the walking stick thrown carelessly on the floor. He had flown high over the labyrinth, spending hours looking for the perfect walking stick, and she had thrown it away from her as if it meant nothing to her.

"I didn't feel like it." She turned her face away from him.

Jareth frowned at her. "Sarah, you need to begin walking again or there will be damage."

"I don't care." She told him, crossing her arms over her chest.

"I think you do care. I think you care very much about what happens, otherwise you would not have done this to yourself to gain attention." Her eyes widened at his comment and she opened her mouth to protest. "Sarah, I've not come here to argue."

"Then why did you come at all?" She cried out at him. "To insult me, when you finally do show up? To watch my reaction, because it amuses you?! Go away, I don't need you! I never needed you!" She turned away from him and buried her face into her pillow. It was the only way she could hide the tears that wanted to fall.

Her words hurt Jareth beyond belief, but he stood his ground. "You asked why I have come. I've come to apologize for my absence. I did not know that it would cause you so much grief." His voice was gentle, still regretful, and Sarah found herself turning to face him.

She felt her remaining anger flee. He was staring at her with such a look of regret. He was blaming himself for what had happened and that wasn't like Jareth. Not once had she ever heard him say he wished that things could be different. He just accepted them and made the best of any situation. She was too tired to fight him, too emotionally drained. She felt unwanted by not only him but by Dartaynian, by David, by her everyone. Her lack of strength didn't help her feel any better.

"Why did you stay away?" Her eyes were wide and full of tears. She reminded Jareth of their first meeting 9 years ago when she had asked whom he was. Her eyes had been wide when they fell upon him and they were full of tears. "Are you angry with me? Did I do something wrong?" Her brows furrowed.

Jareth sighed. "It was *I* who did something wrong, Sarah. I stayed away, not knowing that it would do this to you." *that it would do this to myself..* He fought the urge to sit beside her, to run his fingers through her long dark hair. He had to stop longing for her in any other way than friendship. Only when he accepted that they could just be friends would things become easier for him and for them both.

"Why did you stay away?" She asked softly.

He lowered his head, the strands of his hair, covering his eyes. "Because of things that should not be." He told her softly.

She frowned. "I don't understand."

Jareth shifted uneasily. How could he tell her? He tugged absentmindedly on the curtains beside him. Sarah watched him curiously. It wasn't very often that Jareth let his guard down. He always had to be in charge, and did not like to show his vulnerabilities. Yet she realized that quite often, he showed the side of himself, that he would not show others, to her. He showed her when he was vulnerable.


He shook his head, his thoughts a whirl in his mind. He couldn't do it. He couldn't give up her friendship, no matter how much not having her by his side would hurt him. By the underground, he was weak. Weak and unable to resist his need, his desire for her.

Sarah watched the turmoil play across his features. He was fighting something within himself.

Jareth didn't know what to do. If he pulled away from her friendship he would hurt her. Yet if he let on that he needed her, they might grow too close. It was a losing battle.

Jareth felt a hand touch his arm and his eyes widened when he saw that Sarah had risen from the bed and had walked the few short steps to his side. He was so involved in his thoughts that he had not even noticed.

She reached up to touch his face, her fingers stroking the soft skin of his cheek. "What is it?" She asked quietly.

He froze, unsure of what to do. Her touch was like magic, easing his pain with a single stroke. Yet at the same time, it burned him. Her eyes bore into his. They were filled with concern. He didn't know what to say to her. He had been so sure of how things would go when he had entered the room, but she had to merely look at him and everything changed.

She moved closer to him and she rested her head against his chest. She wrapped her arms around his back and she just held him.

He realized that she sought comfort, and needing it himself, he gladly gave into her. He realized that words were not necessary and he held her quietly in his arms. Jareth decided that fate would determine how things would go. No longer would he torment himself with what he should and should not do.

* * *

Lee yawned and stretched as she stepped from her room and into the hall.

"Just another step, you're doing fine."

Lee glanced down the hall upon hearing the voice, and her eyes widened when she saw Sarah taking an unsteady step toward Jareth. She smiled at seeing this. Part of her was upset that she had missed whatever events had brought Jareth and Sarah back together, but she realized she was just happy to see them together at all.

Sarah took a few small steps and she leapt into Jareth's arms.

"See, you did just fine. We'll try again after breakfast." Jareth smiled.

"Well, this is a pleasant surprise." Lee said, announcing her presence. Jareth and Sarah turned to look at her.

"Good morning!" Sarah called to her.

Lee smiled and walked toward her. "Good morning. It's nice to see you up and about."

"It's nice to be up and about. It's a lovely day."

Lee smiled sweetly at the pair just a short way from her. "Yes it is." Lee's eyes fell upon Jareth, who just nodded in greeting to her. She felt a little strange being around him, now that he knew so much about her. She usually didn't tell just anyone about her past, yet she had let almost everything out in front of Jareth and it had felt good to tell someone. Lee realized that she trusted him, and it was rare for her to trust a man.

"Lee? Are you all right?" Sarah asked.

Lee blinked. "Huh?"

"I asked if you were going to join us for breakfast and you didn't answer. You looked a million miles away."

Lee smiled and shrugged. "Nah, not nearly that far. Maybe just 999 thousand 9 hundred and 99 miles away." Sarah laughed lightly. "Breakfast sounds wonderful. I'm starved."

"What a surprise." Lee and Sarah shared the laugh and Jareth and Lee helped Sarah walk to the dining hall.

* * *

The days began to pass by quickly. Too quickly for everyone's liking. Although Jareth was unable to spend the entire day with Sarah and Lee, he did spend a good deal of time with them. Sarah steadily became stronger and she was walking farther and without help. Jareth's friendship with Sarah blossomed and he enjoyed every moment he spent with her and Lee.

Lee had kept her word and had not allowed he and Sarah to spend much alone time together, though the little they spent together was not uncomfortable. Lee stayed with Sarah around the clock and Jareth was impressed by her. She may project that she was a trouble maker due to her past, but Jareth knew there was more to her. She was a devoted friend to Sarah, and in being such, she had become a friend to Jareth as well.

* * *

Jareth rubbed at his eyes and stared at the parchment in front of him again. It was well after midnight and he wanted to sleep, but he had so much work to do. Not many realized that being a King was not an easy job. The paperwork he had neglected from helping Sarah when she was ill and the paperwork that continued to pile up while he spent time with her was doing him in.

He let out a deep sigh and focused his attention back on the parchment directly in front of him. Lord Ellon wanted permission to use the south bridge again for transportation of his cattle. With a grunt, he reached for a quill, dipped it in ink and signed his name. He should start charging the lord a tax every year. He didn't see Ellon pitching in to help with the upkeep of the bridge. He just used it and let his cattle trample over it while Jareth had to have his goblins repair it.

A hand slid down his shoulder and Jareth jumped, dropping the quill and nearly knocking over the jar of ink.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to frighten you."

Jareth turned to see that Sarah was standing beside him. Where had she come from? She had appeared out of thin air.

"You didn't frighten me..I.just didn't expect you to be here." He gazed at her warmly. "What are you doing up at this ungodly hour? Trying to frighten the Goblin King? Frightening people is my job, you know, and the position is not open."

Sarah chuckled. "I wasn't trying to frighten you. I just saw the door ajar and the candle lit and you leaning over your desk working."

He swiveled himself in his chair to face her better and he gently touched her face. It wasn't an odd gesture on his part at all. He touched her often, caressing her face, stroking her hair. He allowed her to sit directly beside him, sometimes she even leaned against him. He no longer feared that he would lose control of himself in her presence. He had finally accepted that they could be nothing more than friends, and he found that he enjoyed their friendship, wholeheartedly.

"You look tired, love."

She smiled at the last word. He called her that often and she enjoyed it when he did. She never realized a friendship with the Goblin King could be so rewarding. At first she thought it might all be a plot of his, but that faded with time. Beneath his cold exterior was someone she had grown to care for deeply.

Gazing at him in the candlelight, observing his strangely handsome features, she wished that they could be more than friends. The first time she had thought that, it had frightened her. But now she thought about it often. She would never say anything to anyone about her thoughts, of course. She was still supposedly courting Dartaynian, who had yet to show himself. Yet Jareth was always here for her, whenever she needed him. He was kind and caring, and she found herself overlooking her distaste of how he sometimes kicked his goblins or barked orders at them. She no longer saw him as the villainous Goblin King who stole babies and turned them into goblins. She saw him as Jareth, a gentle, caring man.whom she cared for and trusted.

She felt his hand sweep back her long hair. "What is it?" He asked her quietly. He frowned at her, and appeared concerned. "Why are you awake at such an hour?"

She shrugged. "Just couldn't sleep, that's all." Jareth opened his mouth to reply and she moved away and sat herself in a chair across from his desk. "Doing work?" She asked.

He nodded. "Yes. I had things to sign, to read over."

She smiled. "Not in that order, I hope? It's better to read before you sign."

Jareth blinked. "Yes.of course. That's what I meant."

She smiled at him and noticed his exhaustion. "You're tired too."

He nodded. "Yes, I'm very tired." He glanced down at the enormous pile of papers. At the rate he was going, he would be here until the following night.

"Then why don't you go to bed?" She crossed her arms on the oak desk in front of her and then rested her cheek on one arm.

Jareth lifted the paper he had signed for Lord Ellon and placed it in a different pile of papers. "If I go to bed, how would this paper work get done, hmm?"

"Maybe the paperwork faeries would take care of it for you."

He shook his head. She always had answers for everything, even if they were sometimes silly answers. He gazed up at her for the first time in a few moments and he felt his heart began to pound fiercely in his chest. She was staring at him intently.almost longingly. *Don't look at me like that, Sarah.I might drown.*

He let out a breath he didn't know that he was holding and quickly began to move a few papers around in front of him. "Eh, you walked all the way here, by yourself?" He wouldn't look at her, but instead tried to busy himself with his papers. He was failing miserably.

She nodded, though Jareth did not see her. "Yes. I walked here by myself. I feel much stronger."

"That's good." Jareth told her. He tried to read the parchment in front of him, but he found that he couldn't. Why had she looked at him like that? He sighed softly. "Before you know it, you will be back to normal and then you'll be home." He wished that he could have taken those words back the moment they fell from his lips.

Sarah frowned and picked her head up from the desk. That was the third time that he mentioned her going home. Was that why he didn't hold her like she wanted him to? He didn't want to get close to her because he knew she was going to leave? Or maybe he wanted to get rid of her? "What if I don't want to go home?" She told him defiantly.

Jareth frowned inwardly. He needed to convince her that she had to go home before she found out that she was bound to Dartaynian's side. She would wither there, and he would die before he saw that happen. "Sarah, we've been over this before. And don't you miss your family, your life aboveground?" He added lamely.

She shook her head and Jareth felt worry in the pit of his stomach.

"Are you trying to get rid of me? Is that why you keep bringing up my leaving?"

"Of course I don't want you to go. I wish you could stay here with me forever." Jareth snapped his jaw shut as the last words spilled forth. He had spoken without thinking. He had most likely just ruined everything by admitting that to her. He felt dread grip him.

Sarah seemed to swell with joy at his words. So he did care about her. She dropped the subject and watched as he once again tried unsuccessfully to busy himself in his work. She watched him for quite a while, keeping silent.

Jareth risked a glance up at her a bit later, and was relieved to see that she had fallen asleep. Sarah had rested her arms on his large desk and her cheek was pressed up against them. Jareth sighed and rose slowly. He moved beside her and gently pulled her into his arms. He walked to the large bench that was covered with pillows on the other side of his study. Gently he set her down and covered her with blankets. She stirred slightly, but didn't wake and instead buried her face into the soft pillows.

Jareth sighed as he stepped away from her. He feared that things between them would become strained. She now knew that he didn't want her to go. By the Underground, but he had been foolish letting that information slip. She would never want to leave and she would learn that his world was unforgiving. Especially when she found out that Dartaynian had a powerful hold over her. Jareth sighed again, and tore his eyes away from Sarah. He sat uncomfortably at his desk to finish his work.

Unknown to him across the room, the mortal woman he loved dreamt of a handsome Goblin King that would take her into his arms and never let her go.


A Labyrinth Story
by Corrie McDermott

Part 22 of 40

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