Continuing Tales


A Labyrinth Story
by Corrie McDermott

Part 23 of 40

<< Previous     Home     Next >>

Sarah tore through the garden as if her life depended on it. She pushed past the overgrown branches and plants that blocked her way. She could hear the sound of heavy breathing and of footfall as he rushed after her. She threw her head back in laughter and rushed around a corner..directly into Jareth's waiting arms.

"Thought that you could escape me, did you?" One brow arched delicately over his blue eye.

She pushed him playfully away from her. "You cheated! You used your magic to get in front of me."

He laughed, clearly out of breath after his run. "So, I did. What of it?" He grinned devilishly. "You know that I can't catch you. You're much too fast for me."

It was the truth and Sarah knew it. She would never have expected this playful side to Jareth, yet he had been chasing her around the garden like a child. She could never have imagined that their friendship could still grow from what it once had been. She had been content with walks through the garden under the moonlight, dinner together in the dining hall, but this. She had never felt more alive in her entire life. How could she ever return home, after living a life like this?

Sarah rested herself against Jareth. She could feel the pounding of his heart just beneath her ear.

Jareth pulled her closer to him, reveling in the feel of Sarah against him. He had expected for things to become strained after his admittance that he never wanted her to go, but things couldn't be farther from that expectation. He and Sarah had fallen into an incredible friendship that he had never shared with any other. This friendship made Jareth feel alive and he had not felt this way in centuries.

Sarah was nearly well again. Her strength rarely failed her any more. Jareth dreaded the day that she would return to the aboveground. His love for her had grown far beyond their friendship and he did not know how he could ever let her leave him. She had become his reason for living and without her his spirit, his will would surely perish. He still had not told her about her courtship with Dartaynian and what it entailed. He had meant to tell her, but as time passed he found it more difficult to approach her about it. She was too happy and he would not be the one to break that happiness.

Jareth sat himself on the corner of a stone wall and Sarah settled down beside him, her face still pressed to his chest. Sunlight filtered down through the leaves of the trees, bathing them in its warm light. It was moments like these that Jareth treasured. Moments like these that he willed to never end.

They sat in quietude with only the sound of their breathing reaching their ears.

Hoggle's voice could be heard in the distance as well as Lee's.

Jareth gazed down at Sarah who still rested against him with one hand beside her face. "They're calling to us." he whispered softly.

"Let them call." She nestled closer to him. She did not wish for this moment to end. They rarely had any time alone together and she treasured whatever she could get.

"It sounds urgent." He pushed.

Sarah sighed and lifted her head, gazing directly into Jareth's mismatched eyes. She felt her heart skip a beat as she looked at him. He was extraordinary. With that untamed hair that fell around his pale, sculptured face. His eyes that drew her in. Though they were supposed to be returning to the others they made no further move to stand up. One of Jareth's gloved hands found its way into Sarah's hair where it tangled itself. He was staring at her intently and very slowly he tilted his head. Sarah watched him curiously and she found herself doing the same. Jareth's face was suddenly mere inches from her own and Sarah instinctively closed her eyes and parted her lips. Jareth closed his own eyes, his heart thundering in his chest as he moved closer to her.

There was the sound of scattering leaves and of heavy breathing. Jareth and Sarah pulled back and away startled by the sudden sound. Lee stood out of breath in front of them.

"There you two are. Haven't you heard Hoggle and I calling for you?"

"We." Sarah started.

Lee glanced between the two, suddenly realizing what she had just stopped them from doing. It was a damn good thing that she had arrived when she had. She looked at them regretfully. "Dartaynian is here."

Jareth was on his feet in an instant. Panic filled his entire being. "What?"

"He just arrived. He's waiting at the castle and rather impatiently for Sarah."

"Does he think that he can just waltz in here and reclaim me after being away for so long?" Sarah asked.

"Apparently he does." Lee eyed Jareth wearily. They were both thinking of the same thing. Sarah knew nothing about the true nature of courtship. "He's come to announce something to you. He wouldn't tell me what it was."

Jareth panicked. He had nearly forgotten about Dartaynian and now he was given a shock of reality. The lord of Tabor Castle had returned and it was for Sarah. "We should not keep him waiting, Sarah." Jareth told her. His voice suddenly lacked it's usual emotion.

When Sarah looked into his eyes she saw arrogance gazing back at her. She felt her heart ache in her chest.

"There you three are. Seriously Jareth, where are your manners? You're starting to act like those goblins of yours."

Sarah cringed at the voice and turned slowly. Dartaynian had indeed returned. He stood behind the trio, dressed in a long cape, a blue poet's shirt and a pair of black tights. He had flowers in his hands and he presented them to Sarah. "For you, my dear." Sarah took them, even though something within her told her she shouldn't.

"My manners? It was nice of you to check up on Sarah when she was so sick." Jareth spat.

"It had nothing to do with manners, goblin breath. It had to do with business."

'Business more important than Sarah?" The jealousy dripped from the Goblin King's voice.

Dartaynian's eyes slanted. "My business is helping to keep my kingdom flourishing, which is more than I can say for your Kingdom."

"Stop it! Stop this childish bickering!" Sarah cried out. She surprised both Jareth and Dartaynian with her outburst. "You can't just barge in here, Dart and start insulting people."

Dart chuckled. "I can do as I wish, love." Sarah cringed when he said that. He didn't have a right to call her that. Only Jareth could call her 'love'. "I've come here because most of my business is now finished and I'm ready to take you home." Sarah opened her mouth to protest and Dart continued to speak. "Your presence is required at the castle."

"For what?" She asked angrily.

"Why the ball of course."

"What ball?"

"Why the ball that I've been preparing in honor of your full recovery." Dartaynian smiled sweetly.

Sarah suddenly felt guilty. He'd been preparing a ball for her. She'd been so wrong to think that he didn't care about her and that he had forgotten her. "Dart."

Jareth shifted uneasily beside her. She was going to fall for such a lie. He couldn't believe it. Lee was equally upset, but she held her tongue.

"Now that you are fully recovered, I was hoping that you could help me with the final arrangements."

"I.I don't know." She hesitated. She wasn't ready to leave the wonderful friendship she had with Jareth. She had nearly forgotten about Dartaynian.

*Say no, Sarah! He's lying through his teeth!* Lee thought angrily.

Sarah turned to Jareth, looking to him for an answer. Jareth hid his emotions well. He appeared cool and calm and in complete control. He knew that she wanted to go and who was he to stop her? No matter how much he loved her, she still was not his. He refused to start trouble. Sarah would only get hurt. "Go on, if it pleases you." He told her.

Sarah turned back to Dart. The thought of a ball excited her and perhaps she could even dance with Jareth. "I'd like to go, but I'll only go on one condition."

"You have but to name it."

"Jareth and Lee as well as Hoggle are to be invited."

"Jareth and Lee would have been invited anyway." Dart lied. Now he had to find a way to make sure the two did not come and spoil his plans. "But the dwarf..I don't think he will fit in with such a crowd. It might be better for him to stay home."

'If this is a ball in my honor, shouldn't I be allowed to invite some guests?" Sarah smiled sweetly.

"Well of course.but."

"Then it's settled. Jareth, Lee and Hoggle will attend and I will help you prepare." Dartaynian nodded to this though both Jareth and Lee realized that he wasn't happy about such an arrangement. Sarah was delighted. She would dance with Jareth and perhaps she would be able to tell him how she felt about him. She'd been so close this afternoon. Dart would most likely be disappointed that she had chosen Jareth, but he would get over it. He was a lord and an attractive man. He would find himself a lady.

"Very well, but we must hurry as this ball shall be tonight."

"Tonight?" Sarah asked him.

"Yes, my dear. Tonight will be the perfect night. Why today there is not a cloud in the sky, which means that tonight will be equally as wonderful. I've already sent the invitations and we just need the final touches." Before Sarah could say another thing or try to object, Dart took her hand and bowed before Jareth and Lee. "Till tonight." He bid them and he and Sarah disappeared.

"That jerk!" Lee cried out when he was gone.

"That isn't the word for him." Jareth growled. "He just outright lied to her. He's deceived her once again."

Lee frowned. "What do you mean?"

"Today marks the beginning of the last week of summer in the Underground. That ball is not to be held in honor of Sarah's recovery, but in honor of the prosperity of Dartaynian's Kingdom. He has this ball every year."

"That bastard! He lied to her! I knew it! He was lying through his teeth with all the charm and nice ness! What could he possibly hope to achieve by doing such a thing?"

"He wanted to take her away from me, I'm certain of it. No doubt the rumors of Sarah's recovery and of our close friendship have escaped the boundaries of my kingdom. She'll learn tonight that Dartaynian is not whom he feigns to be. She'll learn that she is bound to his side with no hope of escaping."

"Aw shit! This isn't the way it's supposed to go Jareth! You and Sarah are supposed to be together!" Lee cried out. "Can't we just kill him? Slash his throat, push him off a cliff, poison his drink? You don't even have to hire anyone to do it. I'll do it!"

Jareth stepped away from her and gazed out over his kingdom. "No. Fate will decide what will happen. This is out of my hands now. Perhaps it has always been out of my hands. If I interfere I will be breaking laws and I can't afford to break anymore laws."

He lowered his head and as Lee watched him, she wondered what other laws he had broken.

"The only thing I can do is go to the ball and pray that he doesn't hurt her." He turned to look sadly at Lee. She had never seen him look so vulnerable. He gave her a sad smile. "And together, we can pray for a miracle."


A Labyrinth Story
by Corrie McDermott

Part 23 of 40

<< Previous     Home     Next >>