Continuing Tales

Power Struggle

A Labyrinth Story
by bobmcbobbob1

Part 16 of 50

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Power Struggle Conspiring with Jareth at the expense of Marek provided not only a practical magic exercise but a time for Jareth and Sarah to get to know each other in pursuit of a common, albeit mischievous, goal and ultimately resulting in the beginnings of adjusting to the other's company. Sarah thought back to Karen's advice (after Karen had relaxed enough to drop her frying pan) and began making conscious steps to get to know her husband. When he took a break from matters that needed to be seen to, they reached a point where they could have a frank and lively conversation, politely skirting around a couple of subjects, their current sleeping arrangement one of them.

The first night Sarah had stayed in Jareth's room, or rather their room, they had argued for quite some time, long enough that they could hear quite a crowd of not-so-subtle eavesdroppers on the other side of the door. The conversation was settled quickly for the time with both parties slept on the floor—Jareth due to some gentlemanly upbringing and Sarah out of acknowledging the original ownership of the furniture in question and symbolically allowing Jareth the space after he flatly refused to magic in another bed. When they walked around with stiff necks the following morning, they agreed that another solution must be reached; Marek was too busy to keep count any longer, particularly as he was quite paranoid making his way through seemingly innocent halls of the castle, what few there were. Over breakfast, Sarah acknowledged that though they could obviously fight over the matter every night, perhaps they could alternate, the other sleeping on the couch. Jareth suggested a contest rather than a rotation, adding a further focus to Marek's torment in that the monarch who upset him the most throughout the course of the day would be allotted the space.

Five days later, Sarah had stayed in the bed twice and Marek was quite seriously threatening to leave. As she found a better understanding of the magic she'd been granted, each trick grew more extravagant, Jareth matching her step for step. When Marek had reached the end of his tolerance, so did Jareth. The conversation that evening was broached in a stilted manner but to the point.

Jareth stretched out on the bed, having already changed into his preferred sleepwear of loose black pants, and propped himself up on his elbows, watching as Sarah bustled about the room, readying herself. "I have given you time to adjust to the same room. We will share the same bed."

"I'm fine with the floor, thanks."

"There is no doubt you would have won this night, under our original agreement. Marek is thoroughly displeased with his new hair color, particularly how it reacts to his magic."

Sarah smiled to herself, remembering the particular look of horror on Marek's face when he tried to undo the damage and instead found his hair was now two colors instead of one shock of don't-shoot-me-orange. He was up to seven(a fluorescent rainbow), last either had heard, but stuffed under a hat. Sarah had felt bad initially but winning the bed was a good cause.

Jareth smiled as well at the memory but continued, "But we will share, Sarah. Do you not trust me?"

Sarah sighed. "I'd rather just avoid everyone's temptation."

"You find me tempting?" Jareth purred.

"Look, don't you even start," Sarah warned, her face flushing red all the same.

"You do find me tempting," Jareth repeated with a hint of surprise, rising to a sitting position. "Your face confirms as much, Sarah."

Sarah turned her head so that her hair covered her face as she dug through her drawer, silently cursing her genetics; ever since second grade, she'd hated how easily she blushed.

"I'm sure that's good news for your ego, Jareth, but that doesn't mean I'm going to start calling you Jare-Bear or that I'm ready."

"Jare-Bear?" Jareth parroted with obvious distaste.

"Marek suggested that one. Said that perhaps if I needed some sort of small edge one of these days, we should drum up a number of embarrassing endearments."

"You mean there are more?"

Sarah smiled a wicked grin which Jareth was not certain he liked…somewhat, anyway. "Perhaps," she stated flippantly.

"Back to the matter at hand, I will tell you what is in store for the next week if you indulge me."

"State your terms clearly, sir," Sarah replied with a raised eyebrow. "Indulge?"

"We will stay in the same bed, Sarah. Need I remind you again that we are indeed husband and wife?"


"We will stay in the same bed and I will tell you the events of the next week."

"You've already said you'd keep me in the loop, Jareth," Sarah pointed out.

"Yes, but I will also allow you some say in your wardrobe throughout the events."

"What's the alternative?" Sarah asked boldly, though Jareth could see by the quirking corners of her mouth that she didn't expect an earnest threat.

Jareth waved his hand, and Sarah's wardrobe flew open revealing all sorts of pink concoctions, some positively covered in bows and others revealing far too much skin.

"Alright, enough," Sarah cried out, laughing slightly. "I don't think anyone should have to see those again." She closed her eyes and formed a crystal.

Before she tossed it at the wardrobe, Jareth called out, "It's just an illusion. Don't waste the energy. It's been a long day already."

Sarah allowed the crystal to dissolve into the air. "Oh?"

"Solving minor situations that could easily escalate into a mini-goblin war that is far too messy than what I have patience for today, for starters. Managing all of our affairs so that we could leave in a week for a few weeks has taken up much of my attention as well."

"Where are we going?"

"Ah, do we have an agreement?"

Sarah bit her lip but nodded.

"Oh, come now, Sarah."

"I'll trust you until you give me a reason not to. You push anything too far and you're sleeping on the floor."

"Oh?" Jareth asked with a raised eyebrow, certainly looking as though he was far from intimidated.

"Jareth, humor me or something here."

Jareth smirked. "'Or something?' That could work."

"Seriously, Jareth, please."

"Oh, I will allow you just this once," Jareth drew out.

"I suppose that will have to be good enough," Sarah muttered as she closed the bathroom door behind her and changed into some pajamas. When she came out, Jareth flipped back the covers and grinned at her again, already on his chosen side of the bed.

Sarah scowled for a moment before standing in front of her respective side.

"Are you going to go through with your part of the bargain?"

"Why Sarah, I am insulted," Jareth replied as petulantly as possible.

Since he looked positively miffed, Sarah clambered in.

"Of course," Jareth added, pulling the burgundy covers over them both, "We did not officially agree—"

Sarah immediately untangled herself and stood next to the bed with her arms crossed.

Jareth laughed and shook a finger. "So suspicious, Sarah?"

"Are we agreed?" Sarah replied curtly.

"If we must be so formal, yes, indeed."

"You're the one who brought it up," Sarah retorted.

"Yes, but you did not allow me to finish."

"You did that on purpose."

"Well, I admit it is quite entertaining to watch you squirm," Jareth stated with a smirk.

Rolling her eyes for the umpteenth time, Sarah took a breath and resumed her place. Jareth raised an eyebrow, noting that she situated herself as close to the edge as possible which left a considerable gap in between them; for now, he counted it a compromise, however tempting it was to give her a tiny nudge and send her sprawling to the floor.

"I won't even bother to explore the possibility that since you did not specify when I would be to relate this information to you that I could easily push it back until past the specific event."

"Your charity is overwhelming," Sarah drawled.

"This time, I will allot that the timing was implied, especially since you are obviously not in the mood for much more of our usual means of discussion."

Sarah snorted. "At least you picked up on that."

"As to what I was referring to, we will be taking a trip. I had initially canceled the visit due to circumstances…just you, really. We will be visiting some of the darker lands."

Sarah propped herself up on one elbow, mirroring Jareth. "There isn't a cool name for them?"

"Not in any language that will be uttered in this castle. The name itself might make you violently ill."

"So we'll be going somewhere where casual conversation is in a language that can make me ill just by listening?" Sarah threw up her hands. "Oh, goody."

"Actually, they're very polite to strangers."

"Well that's a relief," Sarah bit out tiredly, lying on her back to stare at the overhead canopy.

"It's too late in the evening for sarcasm, Sarah."

"Isn't time all relative here?"

"When it suits my purpose, yes." Jareth yawned. "Continue this impertinence and your rights to choose your dress for this event will be revoked."

"So we'll cause an international stir, then."

"And how do you propose this?"

"I'm sure I can think of some dreadful taboo."

"If you start a war, Sarah, I will need to have an heir much sooner than you seem willing. They would not kill you if you were pregnant at any rate."

"Safe for nine months and then what?"

Jareth gave her a quizzical look. "Nine months?"

Sarah met his gaze. "Yes, the normal human gestation period…" She stopped for a moment and thought aloud, "But I'm sure that this wouldn't exactly be normal by my standards because that would be far too easy." She sighed and continued, "Given that the general biological trend follows that animals that live longer have longer gestation periods and that you live pretty much forever, I have a feeling I'm not going to like to hear this."

"Paid attention in school, I see."

"Looks that way. Care to break the bad news?"

"It's probably not as bad as you think it is."

"Let's have it, Jareth."

"A Fae child will take three and a half years in the womb to reach readiness."

Sarah ran her hands down her face but wisely chose not to say anything (though the phrase "forty-two months" kept repeating in her mind to form a dull roar between her ears).

"You did wish to know," Jareth reminded her, most unhelpfully.

"This is just going to have to fall into the category of 'I'm sorry I asked.' Say something more about what we'll do over wherever the hell we're going."

"Perhaps it is better to form a rough itinerary of how we intend to spend the next week before we leave."

"In other words, you'd rather not tell me what we're going to do on this diplomatic visit."

Jareth shrugged.

"Oh, this is going to be fun," Sarah mumbled pulling a pillow over her head. "Okay, all I'm contributing right now is that we sleep in tomorrow and decide the rest later."

Jareth nodded. "Alright, but you've still lost your privileges regarding your choices of clothing."

"We had a deal, Jareth," Sarah warned. "Please, let's just get some sleep."

"I'm far too patient with you, Sarah," Jareth mentioned. "If I did not have to live with you for all of eternity, I don't think I would put up with you."

Sarah found herself caught between wanting to hit her husband or start laughing. She ended up giggling uncontrollably.

Jareth grinned; his words did hold a bit of irony. He reached over and turned off the lamp so that the room was ablaze with the flashing shadows cast from the fireplace. Sarah eventually calmed and began to breathe deeply.

Smiling to himself, Jareth had to admit that he was growing accustomed to her company. Still, he'd have to knock her off at some point if she was stubbornly going to shuffle to the edges of the bed.

Power Struggle

A Labyrinth Story
by bobmcbobbob1

Part 16 of 50

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