Continuing Tales


A Labyrinth Story
by Corrie McDermott

Part 33 of 40

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Delphina opened the door and gazed into the determined face of the mortal woman, Sarah. The mortal was dressed in a dark blue dress, very simple in style. Her hair was messy as if she had not brushed it this morning. Her stance was intense, hands on hips, ready and alert.

"You're a member of the Seelie Court, how can we win?" Sarah blurted out.

Delphina's brows furrowed in confusion. "I beg your pardon."

"You belong to the court, how can Jareth and I win?"

"I'm afraid that it isn't that easy." Delphina gestured for Sarah to enter the room. Sarah was so flustered with Jareth receiving the summons and his reaction to it that she didn't even realize how early it was in the morning. Delphina was still dressed in her nightclothes. She had barely risen just 20 minutes earlier.

"There has to be a way for Jareth to get away from this without being destroyed." Sarah insisted.

Delphina sat down and poured a glass of water from a porcelain pitcher, offered it to Sarah and then poured herself one. "I'm sure that there is a way, but not one that I am aware of. I'm sorry for my bluntness, but Jareth has dug himself into a very deep hole and it was his own doing. He knew of the curse that was placed on him. He knew the consequences of opening his heart to a woman and the whole point of this all was so that he would learn to follow the rules. All he needed to do was follow the rules and he couldn't even do that."

"We all break the rules at times." Sarah shot back.

Delphina noticed that Sarah was suddenly very protective of Jareth. Last time they had spoken the mortal had said that she didn't want to see Jareth anymore. Yet now she was determined to see him win in court.

"Dartaynian certainly doesn't play by the rules. Are you going to tell me that he was justified in hitting me and trying to rape me?" Sarah asked, temper flaring.

"He had no right to do that and I'm certain that the court will punish him for such actions."

"What kind of punishment? A slap on the hand and a warning not to do it again? He'll just go back to the way he was before!" Sarah cried out.

Delphina looked at Sarah curiously. She was a mass of nerves on edge. An ancient volcano finally ready to blow. "You went to see Jareth, didn't you?" Delphina asked quietly.

"Yes, I did."

"And I take it that things didn't go well?"

"They went fine until a summons was sent to the castle. Dartaynian has already presented a bunch of crimes to the court and they think that Jareth kidnapped me!"

"Oh, dear."

"Oh, yeah. And I want to know how to fix this, right now." Sarah put her hands on her hips.

Delphina tilted her head. "Sarah, it isn't that simple. This is a very complicated matter. What did the summons say?"

"Jareth was charged with kidnapping, assault, dishonesty, betrayal. All the things that Dartaynian should be charged with. What can we do?"

"We?" Delphina questioned.

"Jareth and I." Sarah told her firmly.

"Ah, so you plan to accompany Jareth to court."

"For one, I was summoned with him. He was charged with kidnapping me and I want to set the record straight that he didn't kidnap me. Second, I want to see if I can help him get out of this stupid mess."

Delphina nodded and then folded her hands in her lap. Looking at Sarah intensely, she tilted her head to one side and asked, "Sarah, do you love Jareth?"

Sarah hesitated. "I."

"You do, don't you?" Sarah bit her lip and nodded. Delphina sat back. "So you also wish to go to court to fight to get away from Dartaynian and be with Jareth."

Sarah nodded again and Delphina sighed deeply. "What you wish for is nearly impossible, do you know that?"

"Nothing is impossible unless you believe it to be." Sarah retorted forcefully. The effort to stay strong and in control was getting the better of her and, with a sudden cry, she reached for her side. Her breathing suddenly sounded strained.

"Have you seen Galyon this morning?" Delphina asked with sudden concern. Sarah shook her head, coughing and trying to catch her breath. "Foolish, foolish girl. Lie down on my bed." Sarah did as she was told. She had caught her breath but she was wheezing terribly. As her head fell back on the soft pillow of the bed, the room began to spin and darkness and coldness surrounded her.

The voices were hushed, and all talking at once. She couldn't figure out what any of them were saying. She felt cold and wherever it was that she had gone, it was very dark.

One voice stood out above the rest and it grew louder and more clear. She would know that accented voice anywhere. She moaned softly. "Jareth.?"

The room was suddenly quiet as Sarah's eyes fluttered open. It took a few moments for the haze to go away, but she looked up into 6 concerned faces. Jareth was sitting directly beside her, holding her hand. She could feel the soft leather of his gloved fingers caressing her. Delphina and Galyon stood beside him and on the other side of the bed stood Lee, her friend from the ball, and Hoggle.

"What.happened?" Her voiced cracked as she spoke.

Jareth opened his mouth to speak, but no words fell forth. Sarah had never seen him look so worried.

"You nearly died, young lady." Galyon's voice filled the quiet room.

"Died?" Sarah asked.

The older Fae nodded and folded his hands behind his back. "You should have spent the night resting in bed, but instead you were told stories and you barely slept. You have allowed fatigue to settle over you and you have re-injured what I had healed last night." He sent harsh looks to both Delphina and Jareth. "I've managed to heal you some, but you will be forced to rest for 2 days."

Sarah sat up quickly. "Two days, but I can't! The court."

"Sarah, you will do as he says." It was Jareth's voice and he didn't sound broken down any longer. He was back in control of things. She could see it in his stance and could hear it in his voice. The Goblin King was back.

"But I have to help you figure out a way to win.I-"

"You should let us figure that you, while you rest." Lee's friend told her.

"I don't want to rest, I feel fine!" Sarah cried out.

"You only feel fine because Galyon exhausted himself trying to save your life. In a short time, some of the pain will return. You are not healed. You will stay in this bed, if I have to tie you down to it." Jareth was more forceful than he had ever been.

Sarah sank down into the sheets at his tone. She realized that she had been brought back to her own room as Jareth pulled the blankets over her. She felt a cool hand brush her cheek and she saw Lee try to smile at her. Her friend looked like hell.

"You all should let her sleep. If she is to face the court in two days time, she needs as much rest as she can get. I will retire to my own room to rest, so that I may help her again tonight." Galyon said and he left the room without another word.

Delphina gently touched Jareth's arm. "We should go."

He nodded and bent over. The coldness left him for a moment as he gently kissed Sarah's forehead, no longer caring that everyone watched him do it. It mattered little for they all knew what he felt for her. "I'll be back to check on you later." he whispered softly.

Sarah nodded and squeezed his hand as he pulled away. She watched him and Delphina leave the room.

"We should go as well." Loryian told Lee.

Lee shook her head. "I want to sit with her, just for a little while. I promise not to stay too long."

"Very well." Loryian's voice was crisp and not sweet as it had been earlier that night. He and Hoggle left the room and closed the door behind them.

Sarah reached toward her friend and Lee suddenly began to cry. Sarah frowned. "Lee, what's happened?"

"Oh, Sarah, we almost lost you again!" She sniffled and wiped at her eyes. "And we found your horse in the woods. I didn't know what to think! I was hoping that you made it to the castle, but I didn't know for sure until we found Hoggle and even then I didn't know if you were ok."

Sarah held out her hand and Lee clasped it and began to sob. "And the stupid curse and." She buried her face into the bed beside Sarah and let all her anguish out into the open.

Sarah ran her hand over Lee's back to try to calm her. "But I'm all right now. Jareth brought me back to the castle and I'm ok."

Lee lifted her head, tears streaming down her face. There were scratches on her cheeks from the thorn bushes in the labyrinth and her hair was a snarled mess. "But what about you and Jareth? It's not fair, Sarah. You two deserve to be together. They told me that you have to go to court now. They told me about the summons and the things that Dartaynian has charged Jareth with. It's not fair."

Sarah remembered that phrase quite well. She had used it many times herself. "No, it isn't fair. Life isn't fair, but we have to make the best of it."

Lee looked up at her and wiped her face and nose with her sleeve.

"Everyone is acting like this is so hopeless. I mean is it just me?" Sarah asked. "Am I being naive in believing that Jareth and I have a chance of being together?"

Lee brightened. " want to be with Jareth?"

Sarah smiled sadly. "Of course I do."

Lee laughed, tears still trailing down her cheek. "When did this happen?"

"Last night, last night and again last night. It was a long and eventful evening."

Lee chuckled, still wiping her tears. "I'd say so! And it never wanted to end!" Lee smiled her eyes still filled with tears. " So what happened? Aren't you going to fill me in?"

Sarah laughed. This was like college all over again. Talking about which boys they were interested in, who was cute and worth dating, etc. "After we left the ball, I told him that I thought that nobody wanted me. Jareth showed me that wasn't the case."

"Tell me, tell me!" Lee shrieked.

Sarah blushed. "He kissed me and.I kissed him back." Lee clapped her hands together and laughed. "And then later tonight, I learned that he is in love with me." Sarah frowned, the smile fading from her face. "But the curse.the courtship.Dartaynian. I'm sure they told you the story."

Lee nodded and gave Sarah a sympathetic expression. "I want to help you Sarah. I want to find a way for you and Jareth to be together."

"I want that too, but I don't know how. Everyone thinks it can't be done."

"I think it can. We just need to find a loophole."

'It's sort of late for that. Court is in two days." Sarah reminded her.

"Perhaps, if I ask Hoggle. Maybe he can think of something." Lee offered.

"And what about your handsome friend? Perhaps he has a few ideas?" Sarah suggested with a knowing smile. God, it felt wonderful to talk with Lee again. Lee looked away and Sarah felt her heart sink. "What's wrong? Did he not turn out to be who you thought he was?" Sarah frowned. She hoped the dark haired man had not pulled anything remotely close to what Dartaynian had pulled with her.

Lee sighed. "No, he's wonderful.and that's the problem." She admitted softly.

"What do you mean?"

Lee shook her head. "Forget it, just forget it. It's not important. Finding a way to get you and Jareth together is much more important."

"You're just as important. You're obviously unhappy and I want to know why."

Lee looked up into Sarah's eyes. She sighed. "I can't believe I'm going to say this, but I'm scared of what I feel for him."

Sarah's eyes widened. "You? The queen of dating and relationships and men?"

"Yeah me." She sat beside Sarah on the bed. "Loryian is perfect Sarah, or at least what I know of him. He's been so sweet to me. Comforting me when I've been worried. Lending me his cape when I was cold. He actually told me that I was beautiful. No man has ever told me that unless they wanted to get laid! But he said it with meaning. And he told me that he was fond of me."

"Lee, this is so wonderful!" Sarah could hardly contain her joy for her friend.

"But it's not wonderful. Sarah, I'm not like other girls. You know what my past is like. I was wild; I've slept around. These people are different. Sex is like a sacred thing to them. Even though Lory is human, he was still raised in the tradition of the Fae."

"He's human?" Sarah eyes widened.

"Yeah, but so what? He was raised like a Fae, he thinks like a Fae, acts like one. He's looking for an innocent girl and I'm far from that." Lee turned away.

"How do you know what he is looking for? Have you asked him?"

Lee lowered her head. "No."

"Ok then, so you don't know for sure. If he is understanding then he will forgive you for your past. You've changed so much from the person that came here. If he can't forgive you, then he isn't worth having."

Lee turned to look at Sarah again. "Sarah, I like him so much and I hardly know him. I'm so afraid that he's going to find out what I was like and walk away. I don't know what love feels like and I'm not even sure the fluttering in my heart is it. No one has ever loved me before and I've never loved anyone. Every relationship I was in was for attention and sex. That isn't a good combination. That's why none of those relationships worked."

"Maybe that's why it's time for a new kind of relationship. And how can you say that no one loves you? You're my best friend and I love you."

Lee's brows furrowed. "You do?"

Sarah sat up slowly. Her side ached slightly, the pain beginning to reappear as she had been warned. "Of course I do. So you've been rotten to me a few times with comments about me being a bookworm, but I know you didn't really mean them. Because if you did, you wouldn't have helped take care of me when I was sick. You would have gone home. You wouldn't have dressed up for the ball and you wouldn't have tried to make Jareth and I see what we should have seen all along. That we love each other. You've been there for me whenever I needed you and it took this trip through hell to make me see that. You've shown me what true friendship is."

"I want you to be happy, Lee. You deserve to be happy. You've had a rough life. You need some happiness. If this guy is everything you honestly think and feel him to be, then he will forgive you and he'll love you if it's meant to be."

Lee rushed at Sarah and hugged her tightly. "I don't know what I would do without you. I'm going to find a way to get you and Jareth together, even if I have to die trying."

Tears formed in Sarah's eyes and she hugged her friend in return. The two friends held each other and cried for events in the past, for what they wished could be in the future, and what others thought was completely hopeless.


A Labyrinth Story
by Corrie McDermott

Part 33 of 40

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