Continuing Tales

Most Prized Possession

A Labyrinth Story
by Jester3

Part 16 of 42

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Most Prized Possession

The next day was extraordinarily hot. It was late spring in the underground and although some warm weather was to be expected, this particular heat wave was uncharacteristically hot for the time of year. The morning wasn't too unpleasant, but as noon approached the castle began to get uncomfortably warm and humid.

Jareth had already finished the documents that remained from the day before, during the previous evening while Sarah was visiting the stables. With no documents left to draft or copy, Sarah found herself reorganizing the fictional volumes in the castle library. She was particularly grateful that aside from getting Jareth out of bed, she hadn't seen the slightest trace of glitter from his highness today.

She was still uneasy about all that had taken place the day before and her awareness of her growing attraction towards him, only made her more on edge. What worried her the most however, was the fact that she may well be dealing with spurned Goblin King, one that might well be particularly interested in stealing her heart, as well as her dignity. Once she added her attraction towards him into the equation, the result was bound to be disastrous. In light of the possibility, she resolved to be extremely cautious and guarded around him, and aside from the strain that caused, she was left feeling much nervous discomfort.

Although copying documents would have been less labor intensive, she actually preferred working in the library for several reasons. First, the castle library fortunately had several large windows that allowed in an occasional breeze to interrupt the stagnant humid air that seemed to settle throughout the castle. Secondly, Jareth was less likely to show up and bother her while she was in the library, as most days he was kept busy in either his private study or in the throne room.

Sarah reflected that she would be extremely thankful to get through the day without a chance encounter with the Goblin King, for it was certain that if they crossed paths today in this ruthless heat, something would unavoidably ensue. From just the scant amount of time she saw him that morning, she could tell that he was in no mood to be trifled with today, and Sarah was feeling irritable due to the heat and her self-induced anxiety.

She was tense with pent up energy, making her feel like a caged animal. She needed to stay out of his way today. She was in no way ready for another argument. Things were always so tricky when they argued. It was too easy for her emotions to get out of hand, and she always became dangerously careless when her passion took over.

She just didn't possess the confidence and the control that he did, so whenever their exchanges became heated, she would begin to feel as through she were treading on the edge of a great precipice, and one false step would send her careening into oblivion. After last night's examination of her feelings and the possible peril of her situation, she felt even more compelled to keep herself in check, and the easiest way to avoid a precarious situation was to avoid Jareth all together.

Now if only she could do something about this merciless heat! She had already propped open the doors to library to allow the air to circulate but it did little to alleviate the uncomfortably moist, hot air that had begun to accumulate as it neared mid-day. Sarah went back to her stack of books and grabbed the next three volumes that were to go on the topmost shelf of the bookcase she was currently reorganizing. As she reached up to shove the books in place, several nearby books toppled over, nearly missing her head as they all slammed to the floor.

The avalanche of books sapped her last shred of patience and she cried in frustration, "Ohhh! Shit!" With a huff, she stooped to gather the fallen books. As she crouched and started to pick them up, her eyes fell on a pair of black-gloved hands that had also started to gather the fallen books. She was momentarily startled, and her eyes darted up to meet those of a very amused Goblin King.

He was crouched down beside her, and as he handed the books back to her, his lips twisted into a devastating grin. She noticed that his light gray breeches made him look even more lithe and graceful as he rose out of his crouch to stand at his full height. As Sarah straightened, she noticed he was also wearing the ever-present pristine white poet's shirt, which as always, was slightly open at the top and was tucked neatly into his breeches. His outfit was completed by a brown leather vest, which hung loosely on his slender frame. Sarah averted her eyes from his form, quickly turning away to thrust the books back onto the shelf as she mumbled, "Thanks."

As she turned away from him, Jareth took advantage of the opportunity to admire her figure. She was dressed in slightly finer garments than her usual scribe's attire. As she stretched to reach the shelf, the Goblin King's eyes trailed hungrily over the front of her white peasant blouse, his gaze lingering on the swell of her bust. She was wearing the brown leather waist cincher, which enhanced her curves in the most sublime fashion. She wore a full red skirt today, and the outfit contrasted nicely with her thick dark hair, which due to the excessive heat, she had chosen to confine with pins. The blouse was worn slightly off the shoulder and Jareth was delighted at the opportunity to once again feast his eyes on such smooth skin.

Sarah was trying to calm her frazzled nerves at his unexpected appearance, when his cultured voice broke her train of thought, "My pleasure. Have you been slaving away in here all morning in this blazing heat?"

She turned to face him, suddenly unsure of her own voice, and merely nodded before she clasped her hands behind her back, as she realized that they were trembling slightly. Jareth regarded her for a moment before he inclined his head and admitted, "It's far too hot for this kind of work. Why don't you spend the rest of the day outdoors?"

Sarah could scarcely believe her ears, was he suggesting that she take the rest of the day off? In her disbelief Sarah blinked uncertainly at him as she repeated, "...Outdoors?" The Goblin King smirked and replied, "You can reorganize this section another day. Why not take your lunch and perhaps a book outside and enjoy the weather?"

That actually sounded like a pretty damn good idea to her and she hastily replied, "I'd like that." Jareth seeming rather proud of his suggestion added, "The gardens are quite pleasant this time of year...and of course you may venture out as far as the Goblin City."

Sarah felt as though she were in a haze, it hadn't even occurred to her that she might go exploring in the Goblin City, and the garden would be a delightful place to relax and do a little reading. She shook herself out of her reverie as he added with a feral grin, "Of course you may want to walk through the labyrinth, but I wouldn't advise wandering around alone. I was planning on venturing outside as myself, so if you wish to take a walk, I wouldn't mind accompanying you."

Well, now he had her full attention. What was the point of going outside to relax if he was going to be there? She could do without the added anxiety that his presence caused. Sarah glanced about uncomfortably before she hurriedly replied, "That's really not necessary...I'd rather just read in the garden or perhaps spend some time with Tempest."

Something about her answer piqued his interest and he stepped closer, his eyes questioning hers as he replied, "Oh? Well perhaps another time then?"

Sarah nodded hastily as she nervously wrung her hands behind her back. She offered him a forced smile as she backed away muttering, "I ah...I'll just go see about lunch..."

Jareth arched an eyebrow as his question halted her, "Sarah, are you alright?"

She nodded, "Yeah, I'm fine. Why?"

He stepped closer to her, regarding her with an amused expression, as he drawled, "Nothing. For one moment, I thought that you were trying to run away from me."

Sarah's eyes fell to the floor. Why did it suddenly seem like it had gotten much hotter in the library? She struggled to find her voice and a shred of composure as she weakly replied, "Not at just..."

His handsome smirk was devastatingly predatory as he interrupted, "I what Sarah? Make you nervous?"

It was impossible to tear her eyes away from his mouth as she stammered unconvincingly, "No you just...surprised me...that's all."

As her eyes finally lifted to meet his, she realized she was drowning. She needed to get the hell out of this hot library and away from him before she did something stupid. Correction, before she did something else stupid. His lips twisted into a knowing grin as he replied, "Ah. I see. Well, don't let me keep you. Go and enjoy your lunch." He crossed his arms over his chest and watched her hurry away with a smug expression playing over his face.

Sarah hurried down the castle halls with her arms crossed over her chest to stop her hands from trembling. As she strode down the hall she whispered, "Shit! Shit, shit, shit!" She reached the kitchen she mentally chastised herself, "Oh that was real swift Sarah! Could you have been anymore obvious? Why didn't you just announce that whenever he's near you, you just fall to pieces? Oh wait...You just fucking did! Good job dip shit!"

She came into the kitchen to find to her relief that their were no goblins about. She dropped her forehead so it came to rest on the preparation table as she sighed, "I am in so much trouble."

A little while later Sarah strolled into the castle garden with a thick book in one hand and kerchief full of fruit in the other. She walked around the perimeter of the garden occasionally stopping to examine an unknown variety of flower. As she passed a bush laden with large peach colored roses she couldn't resist inhaling their sweet and heady scent.

Jareth was in a particularly good mood as he left the library. Something had changed in Sarah, he was sure of it. It was almost as if she had been going out of her way to avoid an argument with him. It also hadn't escaped his attention that she had been quite nervous, anxious even.

He had come to expect her trepidation when he stood close to her, when he invaded her personal space, but this time it was different. He had shown up in the library unexpectedly, that much was true, but in his opinion he hadn't overstepped her usual boundaries. No, it was as though she tensed the moment she noticed that he was there, as if his very presence made her uneasy.

Jareth leaned out over the balcony of his bedchamber. As his dual colored eyes turned to the horizon, he wondered, Had Sarah begun to realize the attraction that lie between them? It would certainly explain her sudden anxiety and her attempt to distance herself. He recalled the she had seemed rather distant and lost in her thoughts as she helped him dress that very morning.

As he gazed down into the garden he noticed Sarah meandering through the rose bushes. As he watched her lower her face to one of the blossoms to inhale its sweet scent he breathed, "Ah Sarah, so determined to keep your distance...But I'm afraid you've already given yourself away...Resist if you must...but like the struggling fly caught in the web, you only bind yourself tighter." With that Jareth transformed into a white barn owl and swooped down in the direction of the garden.

Sarah wandered through the garden in part to find a comfortable place to read. The other reason being that she wanted to make sure that Jareth was nowhere in sight. She found a breezy spot in the shade of a squat apple tree and to her satisfaction, there was no sign of certain goblin King.

As the white owl landed on a low branch of the willow tree in the garden, it spotted the dark haired girl standing at the base of a nearby apple tree. Upon careful inspection Jareth noticed that from this angle Sarah wouldn't be able to spot him through the dense foliage of the willow even if he were to assume his true form.

When it came to keeping tabs on Sarah, he usually resorted to the less risky method of using his crystals to see her, but on this occasion he felt compelled to watch her with his own eyes, in his Fae form. So with as much discretion as he could manage, Jareth shifted back, and being careful not to disturb any small branches, he settled into a comfortable position in the willow tree to watch Sarah.

As Sarah glanced up at the apple tree, she noticed a thick low branch that would be a perfect place to sit and read. With a bright smile she hastily removed her black leather boots and stockings. She tied the kerchief of fruit to her waist cincher and with the book set firmly between her teeth she scaled the broad trunk in her bare feet. There were several knobs bulging out that made perfect hand holds, and in a matter of moments she had settled on the wide branch with her back comfortably nestled against the trunk.

It was almost as if this tree were just meant to be the perfect perch. She wondered if Jareth himself had ever sat here. No sooner had the thought crossed her mind did she shake her head and scolded herself for even thinking about him. She had come out here to forget about him, not to dwell on the feelings he invoked, nor to consider the intricacies of his life.

With a sigh Sarah pulled the kerchief from her waist. As a cool breeze drifted under the tree's canopy Sarah reached one hand back to free her hair from the pins that kept it restrained. Once she had managed to remove all the pins she shook her head and her hair fell freely about her shoulders. She ran her hands through the silky strands a few times just to smooth out the wild locks. It felt good to let her hair down, as it felt nice to be free of those uncomfortable boots.

Taking another cursory glance around, Sarah hitched her skirt up a bit before she let her left leg dangle freely from the branch. She settled with her other leg stretched out along the branch she was sitting on. She let her leg swing slightly back and forth carelessly as she examined the fruit she had placed in her kerchief. Two plump strawberries, a perfect golden banana, and fat pear that was perfectly ripe. Sarah set the kerchief of fruit on her right thigh as she opened the bound blue book to the first page and began reading.

She didn't have the luxury of free time on her own very often, and there was no way she was going to take it for granted. To her relief the garden was empty of goblins and, more importantly, Jareth was nowhere to be found. All that could be heard was the occasional twittering of sparrows that darted about overhead and the buzz of busy insects. It was moments like these that made Sarah forget her worries, and suddenly all seemed right with the world again.

The young woman would certainly stand corrected if she had been aware of the mismatched pair of eyes that watched from the cover of the nearby willow. Jareth watched with interest and genuine curiosity as the girl had removed her boots and stocking scaled the apple tree's trunk with the greatest of ease. His breath had caught in his throat as she freed her dark hair and it spilled about her creamy pale shoulders. Then he watched, captivated as she raised her skirts to let her bare leg hang from the branch in the lazy afternoon breeze.

Jareth had never been one to be plagued by guilt, nor did he feel held to some strict code of virtue by some invisible higher power. As the high ruler of his domain, he had always done exactly as he had pleased, and took whatever pleasures he saw fit. This was not to say that Jareth was a bad King, for despite the cold exterior, he did truly care for his subjects and though he ruled with a firm hand, it was only because the nature of his subjects demanded stern leadership.

So it was no wonder that the Goblin King was suddenly confused by the strange and sudden tug of his conscience. For the first time ever, he felt slightly wicked for indulging in the desire to watch Sarah, when she was so unaware of his presence. He didn't understand why he felt this way, as he had watched her reflection in his crystals unbeknownst to her countless times without the slightest protest from his conscience.

Perhaps it was the fact that for the first time he was watching her directly with his own eyes? No that was unlikely, he thought. He was also surprised to find that the sensation wasn't entirely unpleasant, in fact it only seemed to make the excitement of indulging in the act that much more acute and potent. Guilty or not, Jareth couldn't bring himself to take his eyes off the girl.

As Sarah progressed into her reading she found to her surprise that the book was a love story. It appeared to be a work of fiction but it also had a mythological flavor to it. She half wondered what such a book would be doing in the castle library, but then the sheer number of volumes would suggest that it would be entirely possible to find just about any sort of book in such a vast collection. The story was eloquently written and she found herself being drawn in by the substance and depth of passion between the lifelike main characters. It was only when Sarah's stomach rumbled slightly that she turned her attention back to her lunch.

She picked up a plump strawberry between her two fingers as she read on. She brought the red berry to her mouth and paused as something dawned on her. She suddenly knew why she had become so easily engrossed in the story...the would be lovers bore a distinct resemblance to herself and Jareth. Even the nature of their relationship was mirrored by her relationship with the powerful Goblin King. As she read the next scene, which described in great detail, the passion of the lovers' first kiss, she felt a rather shocking flutter in her stomach, as she couldn't help but imagine sharing such a kiss with Jareth.

Sarah paused in her reading for a moment and pondered the ripe fruit in front of her. It was probably not a good idea to be imagining things like kissing the Goblin King, but she was all alone, and it was just a story. What harm had ever come from simply reading a book? Well, a particular red leather bound book came to mind, but that was different, and besides she wasn't reading THIS STORY aloud.

Rather proud of her mental argument, Sarah smirked deviously at the plump berry that she held before her face. She was so curious to know what it would feel like to kiss him...just once. She slowly slid the tip of the strawberry past her lips before she sunk her teeth into the fruit, causing red tinted juice to run down her fingers. She quickly and deftly maneuvered her fingers to prevent the liquid from dripping onto her clothes, as she ran the tip of her tongue along her own skin, so not a single drop of the sweet juice would be wasted.

The Goblin King was utterly engrossed in the scene that played out before him. It was a sweet agony, witnessing the way Sarah had savored the plump berry. Just the sight of the fruit against her ripe full lips was enough to send him into a state of arousal, but when she ran her pink little tongue over her own fingers, only to conclude by bringing the weeping half devoured berry back to her impatient lips to suckle its sweetness...Well that had nearly sent him over the edge. Oh, to feel that mouth against his own, devouring him with the same hunger. By the Undergound! He could almost taste the berry's lingering sweetness on her lips, just by merely thinking about it. He was granted the blessed torture a second time as Sarah continued to devour another strawberry in much the same fashion.

Jareth quietly shifted, very aware of his painful state of arousal. He nearly released a sigh of relief when Sarah suddenly gathered up her book and satchel of fruit and climbed down from the apple tree.

He froze as she wandered closer to his hiding place. She chose a spot in the sun where the grass was a bit high. Jareth could not have hoped for a better view, he only hoped that his close proximity did not give him away. He held his breath as Sarah gathered up her skirts, lifting them high about her thighs as she knelt in the soft grass. After a cursory glance around, she dropped the little sack of fruit beside her and stretched.

Jareth watched, spellbound as she moved to lie on her stomach. Jareth inched forward stealthily as he realized from his vantage point he was looking straight down the front of her blouse. The neckline of the garment was low and hung off her shoulders, and with her body pressed so intimately to the ground, her breasts were nearly spilling out of the top.

Sarah held the book up in front of her, propping up her hands by resting her elbows in the fragrant grass. She continued her reading in this more comfortable position, occasionally twirling a bit of her dark hair around her finger as she plunged back into the story.

In Sarah's book, the story had progressed to the point where passion could no longer be restrained by the main characters. Although she tried to refrain from doing it, she couldn't help but fantasize that it were Jareth and herself engaging in such acts of passion. She was wildly curious to know what his touch would feel like, for instance would he be gentle or rough? Would he possess the slow and deliberate hands of a skilled and patient lover, or would he be fierce and passionate, and make love with a sense of urgency? The prospect of either, only further fuelled her growing interest and sent a tremor of heat coursing through her body.

She knew so little about him, and although she knew it was completely reckless to be having such thoughts, she was powerless to stop her mind's insatiable curiosity. She was also aware that her present train of thinking was only driving her restlessness into full blown arousal.

Jareth watched longingly, savoring each lazy movement that she made. He noticed that Sarah did not like to remain still. Her inquisitive fingers were constantly moving, either toying with a lock of her hair or the long blades of grass as she continued to read. He was fascinated at the way she would suddenly bite her lower lip as if deeply contemplating what was on the page. Suddenly, she bent her legs up behind her and Jareth relished the opportunity to study her pretty calves. She hooked one foot about her other ankle and proceeded to trail her delicate toes along her other leg, causing her legs to sway slightly.

The erotic content of her book was becoming extremely heated, which was only adding fuel to the fire. She needed a distraction to stop the flow of reckless and passionate thoughts she was having about the Goblin King. It was then she remembered the fruit.

Jareth watched as Sarah looked up from her reading. She seemed to stare off into space as she bit at her lower lip, shifting uneasily as she twisted a lock of hair between her fingers. He wondered, was she normally this restless? Or was something particular plaguing her mind?

She suddenly turned her attention back to her satchel of fruit as if she had abruptly she abandoned whatever thoughts she had just been having. As Jareth realized she was reaching for the fruit again, he silently hoped it wasn't more strawberries, he wasn't sure if he could handle another display like that without losing his self-control.

She picked up a fruit. It was yellow. Most certainly not a strawberry. It was a...banana. Jareth swallowed, realizing that the limits of his self-restraint were about to be tested.

Sarah peeled back the skin from her banana, so that four neat strips of the golden skin hung off the middle portion of the fruit. The sugary fragrance reminded Sarah that these were undoubtedly her favorite fruit. Once upon a time she had actually preferred peaches, but since her last trip to the underground, she no longer had a taste for them.

Jareth watched helplessly as Sarah took the tip of the elongated fruit into her mouth. The sight of her blushing lips closing over the end of the banana caused a jolt of desire to tear through his loins. Now it wasn't just the though of Sarah's mouth against his that enhanced his desire, but the knowledge of what that sweet mouth of hers could do to other parts of his anatomy. His state of arousal had gone from slightly uncomfortable to downright urgent in the sheer moment it had taken Sarah to put the elongated fruit into her mouth.

It was then that Jareth noticed that his gloved hands were gripping the branch he was stretched out on, very, very tightly. He knew what would happen if he lingered any longer.

He would storm out of his hiding spot, which alone would probably be enough to startle Sarah senseless. It would only be a moment before he would reach her. No doubt she would rise up to kneel defensively when she saw him approach, and then he would swiftly drop to his knees before her and kiss her thoroughly and senseless, just like he'd been dying to from the moment she had summoned him with her careless plea. If she responded like he suspected she would, he would take great pleasure in forcing her onto her back and claiming her right there in the garden. There was only one thing that was stopping him from doing exactly that.

His plan.

He knew that if Sarah was ever to love him, she'd have to come to trust him first. The idea of seducing Sarah right here and now was awfully tempting, but somehow he doubted that taking advantage of her was the best way to earn her trust. In fact, he suspected that even if she were to give into the temptation of the gratuitous pleasures he could offer, he had a feeling she would be rather furious once the encounter was over. No, he couldn't afford to jeopardize the progress he was making for such basal gratification...there would be plenty of time for that later. Although the Goblin King had made up his mind, it wasn't so easy to make his body obey. He looked longingly at Sarah one more time before he clenched his jaw shut and shifted back into his owl form as noiselessly as possible.

Sarah had just moved to take another bite of her banana when she noticed something large and white moving in the nearby willow tree. She suddenly was overcome by the horrible sensation of being watched, and she nervously clamored to her feet. She took a few tentative steps toward the willow before she heard the frantic beating of wings.

She looked up to see a large white bird flying away in haste. The bird was already a fair distance away, so she couldn't be certain, but it looked like it might have been a white owl. Sarah stared dumbly at the now empty sky that was beginning to grow more orange by the moment. She couldn't shake the feeling that someone or something had been watching, and it was very curious that a large white bird had taken off at precisely the same moment. Could it have been the Goblin King? It was certainly possible, but why would he be watching her?

Suddenly something dawned on her. The very same day she had wished Toby away she had seen the white owl earlier when she was rehearsing the lines from the labyrinth in the park. Now that she thought about it, the owl had looked quite similar to the one that had flown through her parent's bedroom window right before Jareth appeared...the same owl that he had transformed into when she had finished the last line during their confrontation.

So...he probably had been watching, way back then and quite possibly just now. The very thought of him secretly watching her sent a barrage of goose bumps crawling over her skin. In Sarah's mind there was only a few reasons why you would watch someone secretly...either you didn't trust them, (which didn't make a whole lot of sense in this situation, since Jareth knew she was simply going out to read and enjoy the weather) or because you are infatuated, or you are a stalker by nature.

The idea of Jareth being a bit of a stalker wasn't all that surprising since he was quite devious and seemed to have quite a flair for playing the villain. But was he really infatuated or obsessed with her? That would indicate that his feelings were quite strong. Oh God, what if it was true, just like in the story? What if he actually loved her? What if he truly did, and she rejected him. Sarah suddenly felt nauseas. She simply could not stomach the implications.

Sarah tied up the remaining fruit and put her stockings and boots back on before she headed out of the garden towards the stables, the only place that gave her some piece of mind. Once she had reached the stable, it was easier to forget the worries that clouded her troubled mind. She cleaned Tempest's stall until it was totally immaculate, and then she gave him his supper.

Most Prized Possession

A Labyrinth Story
by Jester3

Part 16 of 42

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