Continuing Tales


A Labyrinth Story
by Corrie McDermott

Part 24 of 40

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"No way!" Hoggle backed away from the King, his bushy brows lowered over his eyes. "I ain't goin!"

Jareth ground his teeth together and leaned over to point a finger at the troublesome dwarf. "You WILL go Hogbrain!"

Hoggle shook his head. "You can't make me! I ain't goin' ta some ball where I have to get dressed up. I especially ain't goin' to HIS ball!"

"I don't like the idea of attending any more than you do. But you will attend this farce for-"

"I ain't doin' nuthin' for you!" He pointed a finger at Jareth, surprised at his own unusual boldness.

"-Sarah." Jareth finished.

Hoggle gave him a surprised expression. For one, calling him by his real name and two because Jareth was not trying to force him into going for himself, but for Sarah. "Sarah?" He inquired.

Jareth pulled away and paced to the other side of his throne room where he stopped by a window and gazed out over his kingdom. "Yes. You will attend the ball for Sarah. She has asked specifically for you to go, along with myself and Lee." He turned and faced the dwarf, his eyes slanted. "If you are truly her friend, as you claim to be, then you will go."

"Course I'm hers friend!" Hoggle sounded quite offended.

"Then it's settled."

"And just what am I supposed to go in? Me dirty clothes that I wears gallivanting all over the Labyrinth? Hardly appropriate."

"One of the goblins will fit you for a frock coat and a pair of pants. I trust it you can go into goblin city and find yourself a new shirt?"

"Yeah, I can do that."

"Good. Then go see Oreek. He will bring you to the seamstress who can get your measurements. As soon as she has them, go find a shirt."

"What's the big rush?" Hoggle asked putting his hands on his hips. He hated being bossed around by the Goblin King.

"The ball is TONIGHT, bog for brains. You must be ready before sundown."

"Su-Sundown? But that's."

"Yes, 4 hours away. You'd better hurry along."

Hoggle nodded and started for the door.

"Oh and Hoggle?" The dwarf turned.

"Yes, yer majesty?"

"If you are not done in time to leave with us, the bog of eternal stench will be the least of your concerns."

Hoggle gulped and rushed out the door. Jareth sighed and threw himself into his throne. One leg dangled lazily over the arm of the throne while the other was bent in front of him. He sighed heavily. He was probably the only one of his kind who didn't enjoy to attend such events. Balls did not excite him as they did the rest of his kind. Men talking business over brandy, women gossiping and trying to marry themselves off to anyone with power. There had only been one ball that he had ever enjoyed and it had not even been real. It had been a dream.. This ball would be real and Sarah would not be searching for him or waiting for him to take her into his arms. Jareth frowned. She would be with Dartaynian.

Little did Sarah know that inviting Jareth and wanting him to be there was going to crush his heart. To see her, dressed in such finery, to watch her dance and laugh and know that she could not be his. He knew it was going to be devastating to him. Perhaps he would only stay a short while. As long as his heart could bear the pain. Sarah did not know of his feelings, the very ones that should never have existed. But they did exist and he could not take things out on her by not attending.

"You didn't have to be so nasty to Hoggle. I would have talked to him."

Jareth's head shot up at the unexpected voice. Normally he would have groaned at the sight of Lee standing there with her hands on her hips. But he did not mind her company anymore.

"It was the only way to make him hurry. He can be rather lazy at times. Especially when I've asked something of him."

Lee shook her head. The castle was exceptionally quiet today. The throne room was devoid of its usual messy occupants. No goblins could be heard laughing. Even the Goblin City was quiet. It was as if the whole kingdom knew of the King's grieving. No one had approached him except Hoggle, who he had sent for and Lee who had appeared on her own.

Lee sat herself down on a nearby windowsill and sighed heavily. "I am NOT looking forward to this ball."

"We are in agreement." Jareth told her.

She made a sound as if she was disgusted. "And I can't believe Sarah agreed to go. She fell for that whole charade! What the hell is wrong with her?"

"She has been hurt badly in the past and she no doubt yearns to trust again. I know how she feels. Unfortunately, she has chosen the wrong man to trust." He added softly.

Lee shook her head. "We should have told her about the courtship. She's going to have a cow when she finds out what Dart has done."

Jareth glanced toward the doorway, his gaze faraway. "I should have told her. I just didn't want to hurt her."

Lee gave him a lopsided grin. Sarah was so lucky to have the love of someone so caring and considerate, not to mention gorgeous. If Lee wasn't her friend she would have snatched the Goblin King for herself long ago. "I know. It's just she might have been less hurt hearing it from you."

"But would she have believed me? She might have thought that I was trying to deceive her."

Lee shook her head. " Perhaps long ago, but not anymore. She trusts you more than you know. And do you have any idea how much she talks about you?"

Jareth's brows rose. "What do you mean?" He was silently delighted that Sarah spoke of him. He wondered what she had to say about him.

"She rambles on and on about you. Jareth this and Jareth that. She loves when we spend time with you. She can't wait for the whole day to pass by just so she can see you at dinner. She cares a great deal for you and I wouldn't be surprised if she felt more than friendship for you."

Jareth's eyes widened. One half of him wanted to sing with joy, the other half filled with dread. "Do.." He licked his lips and tried again. "Do you know if she loves me?" His heart pounded in his chest.

Lee knew that she had to tread carefully. "She loves you as a friend. She hasn't told me if she loves you in a romantic way, but then again Sarah can be secretive about things like that. She's not always obvious. Hell, she didn't tell me she had a crush on David until months and months later."

Jareth sighed deeply, his heart ached with this knowledge. He loved Sarah and to learn that she possibly felt the same way about him was torture. Jareth closed his eyes and Lee saw that he looked pained. "She can not feel anything other than friendship for me. It's far too dangerous." He opened his eyes and shook his head.

"And how are you going to stop her if she does feel more? And are you going to lie and tell me that you don't feel more than friendship for her?"

Jareth said nothing and turned his face away from her.

"Yeah, that's what I thought. Look, I don't know what she feels for you other than friendship. Maybe that's all she feels or maybe she is madly in love with you. I don't know, because she hasn't told me. But I will say that in my personal opinion, I think she feels more than friendship for you."

Jareth turned to regard her again. "What makes you think that?"

"You can call it a hunch or a gut feeling, but I think she does. And given the fact that I stopped you both from kissing earlier this afternoon, I'd say my gut feeling is right."

Jareth's eyes widened and his heart raced at the mere thought of kissing Sarah. He shook his head. "We weren't going to."

"Pfft! Pul-ease! Don't tell that to anyone, Jareth! I saw the two of you. You were going to kiss her and she was going to allow it."

"And your point?" He snapped.

"Sarah doesn't let just anyone attempt to kiss her or hold her or chase her around a garden. She hasn't even kissed Dartaynian though she said he's tried to kiss her so many times she's lost count."

Jareth drew back for a moment in surprise. "She has not kissed Dartaynian?"

"Hell, no! She finds him charming and handsome and all that, but she's not ready to hop into his bed or anything. *HE's* the one she only feels friendship for." Lee noticed Jareth's gaze and how he hung on her every word. She shrugged nonchalantly. "Of course, these are my personal opinions, but I'd say my guesses are fairly accurate. I've known Sarah for quite a while."

Jareth didn't reply. So Sarah would have allowed him to kiss her. And what would have happened had they kissed? He sometimes found it hard to release her whenever he held her in his arms. He would never have been able to pull away had they kissed. His pendant glowed brightly every time that he was near her. It even glowed when he merely thought of her. It was supposed to discourage him, to remind him of times past. Yet he found its warmth against his chest less of a burden as time passed. Its warmth made him feel alive.

What would their kiss have been like? Soft and gentle or rough and bruising? He'd imagined kissing her often as he sat alone, his mind wandering while he was in his study or his throne room. He found himself dreaming of what their first kiss would be like even more often. Her soft full lips against his, her long hair tickling his face, her body pressed to his as her fingers sought his golden hair. He hated when he would awaken in the morning to find that it had all been a dream and she was not there beside him.

He shook his head, trying to get the images of his dreams from his mind. Things would be no different now than they were then. Sarah would never be his and it was better if he just got that into his head.

Lee frowned as she watched Jareth struggle. She knew damn well that he was thinking about Sarah. She wanted to do something, but she felt helpless. She didn't know the rules of this world well enough and she was afraid if she interfered that she would do more harm than good. She sighed.

"I'm going to change and get ready for the ball. The seamstress has been taking in a dress for me, that I liked." She told Jareth.

Jareth nodded but did not watch as she walked away. He was too busy wallowing in his grief. He blamed the pendant that burned against his pale skin, he blamed the curse, the Seelie Court, Dartaynian and he blamed himself. Sarah had the right idea when she claimed that things were not fair..

* * *

Sarah stared with wide eyed wonder at the grand ballroom in Tabor Castle. Dartaynian had outdone himself.

"You like it my dear?" He smiled devilishly as he watched her reaction.

"Yes, it's lovely!" Of course even it's all it's splendor Dart's ballroom could never compete with the crystal ballroom from her dreams. Even with all the tables, the decorations, the chandeliers, the candles. It just couldn't compete. She stepped further into the large room, her hands clasped together in front of her as she walked.

Dartaynian watched her. She was beautiful that much was certain, even if she was mortal. He could definitely see what Jareth saw in her. He watched as her skirt moved around her, as her long hair bounced in curls on her shoulders and down her back. Yet at the same time, he didn't understand Jareth's fascination with her. While she was a pretty thing and she was sweet, she wanted to do nothing, but read books and walk through the gardens or his castle.

Sarah smiled as she stepped onto the area which was to be the dance floor. The white marble had been polished until you could see your reflection, like a mirror, as you walked over it. A large piano was set in the corner along with chairs for the musicians that would play that night. She closed her eyes and pictured how devastating he would look. She sighed thinking of how it would feel to be in his arms again as he twirled her out onto the floor and then pulled her close to him. She wondered if it would be similar to her dream. The other women would look on with curiosity and jealousy as she, Sarah Williams, danced with the Goblin King.


Dartaynian's voice shattered her thoughts and she spun to face him, her skirt swirling around her. Dart stepped up to her and smiled and lifted a hand to caress her hair. "You looked so faraway. Lost in thought?"

Sarah smiled. "Just thinking of how wonderful tonight will be." Her smiled faded as he advanced toward her. It was wrong to keep things from him when he had been so wonderful to her. She would be just as deceiving as David had been with her, if she didn't tell him.

"Yes, tonight will be quite the occasion." Dartaynian noticed her tense as he tried to put his arm around her. She drew back from him and he frowned at her. How was he ever to bed her if she kept distancing herself from him? He would hate to retort to forcefulness.

Sarah looked down at her feet and nervously kicked at her skirt. Dartaynian smiled. So she was nervous of getting close to him. He'd have to be very gentle with her. Oh yes, tonight his waiting would end. After the ball he would take her and it would be something to look forward to. He couldn't wait to escort her away from the crowds to his chambers while the Goblin King would watch. Oh yes, tonight, Jareth would know how it felt to be the other man.

"Dart." She started.

He shushed her with a finger and stepped closer to her. He ran one hand along her arm.

She stepped away again and frowned at him. "Dart, please. There is something very important that I have to tell you."

"Oh hush now. I'm sure it can wait until later. In fact I was hoping that you would stay the night. We can talk then, as I have things that I wish to talk with you about as well, my dear."

Sarah shook her head. "I don't think that would be a very good idea."

"For us to talk? We've talked before."

"For me to stay here tonight, I'll be going home soon and." she hated making excuses.

"Ah." He smiled. "I see. You do not wish to become too attached to me before you leave."

"Not only that-" He shushed her again with a finger to her lips.

"If you do not feel comfortable staying the night, then perhaps we can just talk after the ball."

"We can talk right now." She told him. She didn't want to hurt him, but to tell him now would be better.

"I don't have the luxury of time right now, love." He watched Sarah wince as he called her that, but he ignored the reaction. "I have business to attend." He nodded across the room. "Kyerian will help you with preparations for the ball. She's quite good with decorating."

Sarah glanced at the tall blond woman who had suddenly appeared in the room. She smiled sweetly at Sarah. She was stunning and Sarah suddenly felt like an ugly duckling in her presence.

"Ky, do whatever Sarah wishes." Kyerian nodded. Dart gave Sarah a wink and disappeared into thin air before Sarah even had a chance to protest.

Sarah stomped one foot angrily on the ground. "I hate it when he does that! He leaves when it benefits him!"

Ky smiled. "The lord can do as he sees fit. This is his castle. You'd better get used to that."

Sarah gave the woman a harsh look and then glanced around the ballroom. She couldn't wait for sundown. She couldn't wait to see Jareth again.

* * *

It was nearly sundown and Jareth paced in front of the doors to his throne room. Lee and Hoggle had not appeared and he was getting rather impatient. The sooner that this was all over the better, or so he believed.

He heard the sound of footfall and turned to see Lee. He hardly recognized her in a dress, with her short hair pulled up. He smiled slightly when he saw her. "You look lovely." He told her softly.

She smiled shyly and she was surprised to feel her cheeks warm. Jareth was devastating. He wore a midnight blue frock coat over a silver silk shirt. He wore black tights and his knee high black boots. His hair had been trimmed just slightly and it was highlighted with dark blue streaks and glitter. She felt her breath catch in her throat. "You don't look so bad yourself."

He did not smile at her remark and she knew that he was nervous and thinking of Sarah. Even though he seemed calm and cool on the outside, she knew that he was a nervous wreck on the inside. Neither of them knew exactly what to expect at this ball, though she believed Jareth expected the worst to happen.

"Where is Hogbrain?" He glanced at the clock on a nearby mantle and then started pacing. His steps were heavy and angry. "If he doesn't show for this, I'll have him mounted on my trophy wall."

"You won't do nuthin' of the sort. I's here."

Jareth and Lee spun around. Jareth ignored the fact that the dwarf looked much improved in a frock coat, shirt, gloves and pants.

"You're not wearing that ridicules hat." Jareth spat at him, eyeing the red leather cap that clashed horribly with his coat.

"It's me hat and I'ms wearing it cuz it pleases me."

Lee smirked. Hoggle had become more and more out spoken with the king. She wondered if her hanging around with him had changed him. She certainly wasn't known for being shy.

"We don't have time for this. The sun is setting." Jareth turned one palm up and a crystal appeared in his fingers. "Let's get this over with." He tossed the crystal at the ground where it exploded. Seconds later the trio had disappeared from the hall in the castle beyond the Goblin city.


A Labyrinth Story
by Corrie McDermott

Part 24 of 40

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