Continuing Tales


A Labyrinth Story
by Corrie McDermott

Part 28 of 40

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The Goblin King and Hoggle materialized just outside of Hoggle's small stone cottage on the outskirts of the Labyrinth. Hoggle hesitated before letting the King enter. He didn't care so much about the mess in his house, Jareth wasn't known for his house keeping skill either, but Hoggle was unsure what the King's reaction would be to a different discovery.

Because the house was built for a dwarf, Jareth had to duck down considerably to enter. The King of the Goblins glanced around the noticing the house was comprised of two rooms. The front room that had the kitchen and living quarters made as one and a back room that was hidden behind a dark curtain. Obviously Hoggle's sleeping quarters.

Jareth felt himself growing impatient. He saw nothing out of the ordinary. "Well? Why did you want me to come here?" He snapped viciously.

Hoggle swallowed nervously. "You best brace yourself.It ain't a pretty sight."

"What are you talking about?"

Hoggle didn't say another word, he merely led the King toward the back room and handed him a lit candle. Jareth stared at Hoggle curiously, his face a mask of arrogance and coldness as he reached for the candle. Hoggle nodded for him to enter and then took a few steps backward.

Jareth pushed aside the dark blue curtain that hung in the arched doorway and separated the sleeping quarters from the rest of the cottage. Despite his own brave façade, Jareth felt his heart pound in his chest and his breathing quickened. He ducked inside while the curtain swung closed behind him, keeping Hoggle from seeing his reaction.

Jareth crept quietly through the room. It was small, a few pieces of furniture and a bed in total darkness on the opposite side. Jareth's hands shook as he neared the bed. He could barely make out the silhouetted form of a person lying motionless on the small bed. He inched closer his heart racing faster with each step.

Hoggle didn't move as he stood in the other room. He had gone through his own shock and pitied what his King would go through. Hoggle knew that the Goblin King held a special place for Sarah in his heart.

The light of the candle reached the bottom of the bed, and as Jareth inched closer the light moved closer as well. The hem of a familiar silver gown, the jewels of it glistening and sparkling in the candle light met his eyes. Jareth's breath caught in his throat. He frowned when he saw the dirt stains, then rips and tears. He gasped as his eyes fell upon bruised skin showing through holes that were torn in the fabric. The candle fell from his shaking hand as he looked over the battered and bruised body that lay unconscious before him. The candle sputtered and went out as it hit the floor, leaving the room in complete darkness.

Jareth squeezed his eyes shut and a lone tear managed to escape without his permission. He trembled with anger and with despair. He didn't need to ask Hoggle who had done this to her, for he already knew.

Hoggle was getting worried. The Goblin King was being far too quiet for his liking. Surely he had seen her lying on the bed? After a few hesitations, Hoggle moved to the curtain and pushed it aside. Even in the darkness he could feel the emptiness. There was a good reason that it was so quiet. Jareth was gone..and so was Sarah.

* * *

Jareth placed the full blame on himself. If only he had tried harder to return, if only, if only. There must have been something that he could have done instead of pacing and trying the same magic over and over again, that he knew wouldn't work.

He was shaking like a leaf as he carried Sarah to his large comfortable bed. Her lip was split open and bleeding, her face was beginning to bruise and he could still see the shape of a handprint on one cheek. Her hair was wild and looked tangled despite having being gathered and arranged with jewels just a few short hours earlier. Her beautiful dress was torn and tattered, looking like the rags of a peasant instead of the garb of a woman who should be a queen. Jareth could make out dark, ugly bruises all over her body and it made him sick to his stomach not to mention angrier than he had ever been.

'No man should ever hit a woman.' Hadn't he said that to Lee? As he gazed down at Sarah's form in his arms he almost felt as if he were the one to have inflicted this pain upon her.

Sarah's eyes fluttered open and all she could feel was hands on her, warmth, realization that a body was pressed to hers. Her mind whirled. Dartaynian.he was going to rape her.She screamed and struggled wildly with a new sense of strength that gave way quickly as pain ripped through her entire body. She remembered how he had hit her over and over again. He had been without mercy, without compassion. Her cries and struggling had only given him more reason to hit her. She waited for a hand or a fist to bury into her flesh, to do more damage than what had already have been done, but the harsh contact never came.

Instead soft warm lips pressed to her forehead and Jareth's frantic voice tried to soothe her and tell her that she was safe now. She felt shock and relief as her eyes opened and in the darkness she could make out Jareth's fair features. She began to cry, unable to stop herself from appearing weak. Was she dreaming? Oh god she hoped that she wasn't, because if she was and she was still at Tabor Castle, she just wanted to die.

But Jareth felt so real. He couldn't be a dream. She vaguely remembered escaping on a horse when Lee and her friend had come. She remembered how hard the ride had been and she must have fallen from the horse.

Jareth was trembling as he cradled her in his arms. He touched her gently and felt his heart tighten in his chest as he watched her cry. He was angry and in anguish, the emotions fighting each other for dominance. It was only the fact that Sarah was in pain and needed comfort that kept him from finding a way to Dartaynian to show the man what he thought of him. But no, Dartaynian wasn't a man, he was a monster. Only a monster would have done something like this. Jareth wasn't by nature a violent Fae, but at this moment he wanted nothing more than to beat the bastard that had done this to her to a bloody pulp. His beautiful Sarah had been beaten and he swore by all the magic in the underground that he would see his want, his need for revenge become reality.

He placed Sarah down carefully on the mattress of his bed, mindful of the bruises and the pain that she was in. Every movement made her cry out in agony, no matter how slight. Jareth noticed that her breathing had become ragged and she was having trouble catching her breath. Without a second thought he went to his desk and scribbled a quick letter. He tucked it into an envelope, sealed it with a wax from a candle and stamped the wax with his emblem. He bellowed for a goblin and then sent the creature away with the letter and orders to have cold water, towels and a fresh nightgown sent to the room immediately.

He returned to Sarah's side moments later. She was still sobbing even though the movement in doing so was hurting her. He was certain that merely breathing was hurting her. Carefully he inspected the bruises all over her fair skin. They were on her face, her chest, her arms and he could imagine that they were elsewhere as well. It was obvious to him that Sarah was favoring her left side and he wanted to see the damage that Dartaynian had caused.

Goblins returned with towels and water, ointments and medicines as well as soft cotton bandages and a nightgown for Sarah.

With a flick of his wrist, Sarah was changed into the nightgown. Jareth destroyed the tattered dress with his magic unable to deal with seeing it. It would forever remind him that he had failed to protect Sarah. Carefully he dabbed Sarah's mouth with a cool cloth. The bleeding stopped quickly and he set his attentions to the larger bruises and cuts. He ripped the towels into smaller pieces and after dipping them in the cool water, laid them over the ugly purple marks. Sarah was still favoring her left side and Jareth feared the injury he might find there. He carefully and nervously reached for the hem of her night gown.

"Sarah, I need to attend the rest of your bruises." He told her softly. He wanted her permission before he allowed his eyes to reach places that he had only dreamed of. There would be no pleasure in his eyes as he finally saw these places. There would only be pain, that she was hurting and that only in these circumstances was he allowed to gaze over her. Sarah knew what Jareth wanted to do and she nodded slowly, her eyes closing as tears leaked from the corners. Carefully Jareth started to slip the nightgown up her legs, finding more bruises, though they were not as bad as the ones on her face and arms. He inched the nightgown up further, and he felt himself shaking.

A knock at the door made him jump and he dropped the hem of the gown quickly as if he were doing something forbidden. He moved away just slightly from the bed and bid the visitor to enter. He didn't attempt to hide his relief when he saw who stood on the other side of the door.

A woman pulled back the long hood that hid her face. She quickly ushered in a short older man who took a place beside her.

"Delphina." Jareth let out in a hurried breath.

"We came as quickly as we could. Your letter sounded most urgent. Is she here?" She peered past Jareth to see the mortal girl lying on the King's bed and then she nodded to the man beside her. "Galyon will heal her if it is within in power to do so."

Jareth nodded numbly as the man came beside the bed and then shushed the Goblin King away from Sarah as if he were a child who refused to leave his mother's side.

Before Sarah could make an reaction to the sudden visitors, Galyon waved his hands and her eyes closed, a deep sleep claiming her and putting her pain to rest so that he could work.

Delphina stepped closer to Jareth. He didn't even realize that he was trembling until she took one of his hands into her own. "We should give him the space he needs to heal her. We have much to catch up on." She told him.

Jareth hesitated and realizing that he was looking like a lost, confused child, barely was able to hide his feelings behind a mask of coolness. He followed Delphina out of the room and into the hall.

Delphina frowned as she looked over Jareth lithe form. The King of the Goblins had always been a slender man, but he looked thinner than usual. His eyes had a tired look to them and he appeared to be fighting something.

"Merciful heavens, Jareth. You look so awful.."

"I have not been well. Times have been difficult." He answered honestly.

"Why did you not call for me? I would have come."

"You have your own duties to attend."

Delphina frowned when she saw the bright glow emanating from Jareth's pendant. She suddenly knew why he had not called for her. The mortal on the bed, the rumors.he had not wanted anyone to know. She let out a quick breath. "It's true then." She said softly. Not a question, but a statement. Jareth followed her gaze to his pendant, but made no reply. "I didn't believe the rumors, but when I received your letter and saw her there on the bed I was forced to...She is the one?"

Jareth lowered his head and nodded before lifting it and gazing into Delphina's blue green eyes. She had not changed over the years. She was still as beautiful as ever and still held so much power, but also compassion. He could imagine that she was still a force to be reckoned with in the Seelie Court. His voice cracked as he spoke. "Yes, she is the. one."

Delphina's brows furrowed. "Then she must have denied you.for you to look so retched. My goodness Jareth, I have caused you so much pain."

"Do not blame yourself for this. Were it not for you, I would be dead. She has not denied me, at least not yet." He added.

"You believe that she will?"

"I will make sure that she will." Jareth told her.

"What? You want her to deny you? You want her to leave you to a life of-"

"I know damn well what will happen if she denies me!" Jareth cried out in sudden anger. "You don't need to remind me!"

The woman who stood beside him was taken back by his tone, but she continued on with what was on her mind. "Why would you ever want her to deny you? The pendant glows, it shows your honest love of her. It shows-"

"You tell me things that I already know." Jareth quieted, turning his back on her. "It shows the world, the universe, that my heart has chosen, Sarah. And it allows Sarah to know the depth of my feelings by merely touching it. You were there the day they placed the spell on the symbol of my power. You know that I can not hide what I feel for her away from anyone."

Delphina knew very well what the glowing pendant meant and a small history lesson from Jareth was not what interested her. No, a name had caught her attention. "Sarah? The same Sarah that defeated your labyrinth a few months ago?"

"It's been 9 years, Delphi, not a few months." Jareth corrected.

"9 years, a few months, same difference. When did a near immortal creature start to notice and feel the effects of time?"

"The moment Sarah left me. I just did not let myself realize that, until she had returned." Jareth admitted softly.

"You fell for the child who defeated your labyrinth? Jareth.."

Jareth chuckled bitterly. "I thought you had heard the rumors, Delphi? Surely you as well as the entire Underground knows of my feelings for her. There are probably rumors of the day of our wedding. A glorious day that will never come to pass." He turned away from her again in fear that she would see the tears forming in his eyes.

He felt her hands rest on his shoulders. "There are always rumors. I did not believe that you would allow yourself to feel this way, Jareth. You have been alone for so long and I know how you have feared what the future would bring. After the curse was placed on you, you swore you wouldn't love so that you could protect yourself. And no one has ever returned to the Underground from Above. I simply did not believe that the mortal, Sarah, could have returned. And I nearly laughed when I heard she was being labeled as being the *one*. I guess I got it in my head that there would never be anyone."

"Well your proof that states otherwise is here." He told her, holding up his glowing pendant. Delphina could feel the heat of it from where she stood behind him. "And further proof lies in pain on my bed." The anguish in his voice was almost unbearable to hear.

Delphina sighed heavily. The weight of her decision nearly 400 years ago was suddenly weighing on her shoulders again. She had feared this day as much as Jareth had. As much as she cared for Jareth, she had hoped that he would never look for love, that he would remain alone. She did not want him to suffer any more than he had. "What happened to her?"

"Dartaynian beat her." He spat with disgust.

Delphina frowned at the name. "He's causing trouble again? Doesn't he ever learn? You could bring him to court for what he did to her."

"It's more like the other way around."


"My feelings for her do not matter to anyone other than myself. She does not belong to me."

Delphina's eyes widened. "Oh no, Jareth you didn't..You know the rules. Please don't tell me that you stole her from her world, that you brought her here and she fell for Dartaynian because she was angry. Please don't tell me that you fell for her after he had claimed her." She let all the rumors she had heard babble from her mouth and prayed to whatever great being that was listening to let it all be false.

"I didn't steal her. She summoned me and I was within the rules to bring her back with me."

"If she summoned you how did she get mixed up with Dartaynian?"

"She summoned me, but we did not meet on friendly terms. In my own anger to keep her away from me I didn't think and told Dartaynian that I didn't care if he sought her permission to court her. I had all but convinced myself that I would never feel anything for her." Jareth sighed. "Apparently she agreed to court Dartaynian, not knowing what a courtship truly meant. I had not even thought of how he could keep a hold over her. I honestly thought that she might be a passing fancy of his. My relationship with her continued to grow strained as did her relationship with her own friends. She spent a great deal of time with Dartaynian. One day she fell very ill. Her friend, who I also brought along, begged me to please help her. Dartaynian was away on business." Jareth watched as Delphina's expression turn angry.

"Didn't anyone think to tell her what he was really like?"

"Her friends did, but she didn't listen. She spent time with him and must have picked up an illness from Tabor Castle. She became very sick. I did what I could to help her." Jareth tried to push the memories of that time away. It was still painful to realize that Sarah could have died.

"You helped her recover without calling a healer? Why didn't you call for me? I would have brought Galyon in an instant."

"The illness she had was an ancient one, that no one has been able to heal with magic. A healer might have done more harm than good. I had to risk looking after her myself. She was very sick, we nearly lost her, but she did pull through. I stayed with her until she awakened and I thought for sure that things would go back to the way they were before. She would continue to hate me. But that didn't happen. She did not turn out to hate me. We became friends and I..I let myself fall for her, again."

"Again? Jareth surely you had not.?"

"Oh yes. I denied it back then, danced around it with fancy words that she would not understand, but I can't deny it now. I felt something for her when she ran my labyrinth and for the first time in all of my years, I did not wish to see an opponent leave. Even though she had defeated me and had wounded my pride, I wanted her to stay. I was lonely and oh how I sought her companionship. But she was too young and although the heart ache was great, I let her go and managed to move on. I never expected to see her again."

"Yet she is here now."

"Yes, she is. And I've realized that there is no chance for us, even though I wish for one with all my heart. Fate has decided that we simply can not be and although I don't want to, I must accept that. But I will not see her forced to remain with Dartaynian. She will deny me before the court protecting herself from accusations of treason as well as the death sentence. I will send her and her friend home."

"The court would never allow their return to the world above. That woman and her friend know too much about us. You would have to break every rule there is to send them home and just to spite us both the rest of the court would allow you to live to watch you suffer without her. And what if she doesn't want to deny you? Are you so certain that she doesn't love you?"

Jareth closed his eyes to try to block out the pain. He thought of their first kiss and knew Sarah felt something for him. He would have to find a way to discourage those feelings. "It does not matter what she feels. I won't see them kill her if she admits that she feels something for me. I won't allow it. She *will* deny me."

Delphina frowned again. "Oh Jareth. What have you gotten yourself into? What have I done to you?"

"You didn't do this to me, Delphi. I did this to myself, just as I did so many years ago. "

"But you didn't love that girl back then and look at all the trouble she caused you. What will happen to you now that you love this one? Jareth, I don't want to see you destroyed and that is what will happen. You will destroy yourself over the loss of this girl."

"I chose this fate, I will deal with it."

Delphina felt tears form in her eyes. "How can you act so strong? I see the torment in your eyes, I know how greatly this all hurts you."

"I have to be strong and for one reason alone, Sarah. I can't and won't let her see me weak and pathetic. I will not allow her to watch my downfall. I will be strong so that she may be strong. She will move on from what has happened here and will return home."

Jareth lowered his head, barely aware that Delphina was gently rubbing his shoulder. " I have never felt such feelings for anyone other than her and because of the curse I never will love another. But I'd rather have lived and loved her then to have not loved her at all."

Delphina brushed his cheek her hand before returning her hand to his shoulder. "Oh Jareth, you say that now, but when the curse takes it's hold on you, when she's told you that she doesn't love you, your world will collapse in on you. Does she know how you feel? Have you told her?"

"She knows I feel something for her. We've shared a kiss, but I have not said the words."

"You tread on such dangerous ground, Jareth. But there is still hope to pull away from her. You've not said the words. You could walk away from her here and now."

Jareth shook his head. "I could never walk away from her. My heart has chosen her and even though I have not said the actual words that would bind myself to her, I realize now that I could never resist her."

"You say that because you *think* that you love her. If you let her go, you could love again. You could save yourself from such a terrible future. You could find yourself a queen elsewhere."

"I don't want to love someone else. I want Sarah."

"But you can't have her! You told me that she is Dartaynian's." Delphina bit her lip in frustration. This conversation was going no where.

"There has to be a way." Jareth told her.

Delphina realized that the pendant and the curse were confusing him. He loved Sarah and had no desire to break free from her. He honestly believed he could be with her in some way. Yet at the same time, He contradicted those feelings by saying that he would see her deny him, therefore risking his future, his sanity to protect her from death and Dartaynian.

Delphina stepped forward and pulled Jareth into her arms. She had done her old friend such a horrible deed. Her youth, her compassion had done this to him. She should have let them sentence him to death all those centuries ago. It would have been much easier than seeing him lose the woman his heart had chosen and watching him suffer because of his loss.

She knew Dartaynian and that he was relentless. The chances of Jareth coming out of this with Sarah as his own were so minimal if not nearly non-existent. Jareth's future was looking very bleak.


A Labyrinth Story
by Corrie McDermott

Part 28 of 40

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