Continuing Tales

Most Prized Possession

A Labyrinth Story
by Jester3

Part 18 of 42

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Most Prized Possession

She noticed that his eyes momentarily roamed her body before he replied, "The stakes are...negotiable." Sarah swallowed. Why did that sound like an invitation? She took a moment to be sure her voice wouldn't waver before she demanded, "Alright...what do I get if I win?"

His eyes met hers they were full of heat and amusement as he drawled, "What do you want?"

Sarah swallowed hard. How did he make everything so suggestive? Lord have mercy, it was so distracting, the way he looked lounging there with his shirt open to his waist, and the breeches...well she wasn't even going there. Then there was the damn predatory smirk on his face and the way the fire literally danced in his eyes. She tried to resist the barrage of naughty thoughts, but damn him...he made her think it.

She struggled to keep her expression neutral as her mind echoed, I'd settle for you right now you arrogant ass. There was no way in hell she was about to voice that request, so instead she replied quite seriously, "To be released."

"You wish to be sent home if you win?" She nodded and he promptly replied "Those are high stakes..." She frowned as he continued, "But if you insist...I'll agree to that...BUT...If I win, you have to stay here in the castle...forever."

Sarah had half expected as much and snorted, "I don't think so."

Jareth tilted his head to the side and probed, "Why? Afraid you might lose?"

She shook her head and countered, "No, there's just no way I'm agreeing to that...I'm not that stupid."

Jareth met her eyes and asked seriously, "What would you settle for then?"

She ignored his question, seemingly lost in her own thoughts as she mused aloud, "Why would you want me to stay here anyway?"

He shrugged as if bored, "Does it really matter?"

She kept her face neutral as she countered, "It might...why?"

He seemed to carefully consider the question before he leaned forward and drawled, "Tell you what...if you win, I might tell you."

Sarah stared at him and remarked, "You are really do know that don't you?"

He simply smiled as she shook her head and added, "We need terms we can both agree on...there must be something. Oh! How about this? If I win, I get to see Kayla and spend time with her...and not for less than a full day, and I want to be able to get some of my stuff and bring it here."

Jareth carefully considered her request, "You want some time with your friend...and to fetch some of your belongings?" She nodded and he replied, "Very well...but that is two requests, if I win then you owe me TWO favors."

Her eyes locked with his as she demanded, "What kind of favors?"

He regarded her will cool consideration and replied, "I haven't quite decided."

She raised her brow and shrugged, "Well, I'm not playing unless I know what they are."

A faint smirk touched his lips as he quipped, "Why...don't trust me?"

She looked him over and retorted, "To be honest? No, not at all."

He looked down at the board and persuaded, "Come now Sarah, what are you so afraid of? You're already bound to stay here and obey me. How is promising to honor a couple of favors any different?"

She cocked her head to the side and remarked, "Maybe it's not, but then again maybe it is. Either way I'm sure I'll regret agreeing to something so vague."

He replied a little defensively, "How do you know that?"

She shrugged and informed him with finality, "I have to at least now the nature of these...favors before I agree to play."

He merely smiled and asked, "Why?"

God, it was like dealing with a child, she thought angrily.

Her eyes narrowed, settling on his face and she snapped, "I don't like your evasiveness, that's why. You might ask anything of me. They could be...inappropriate."

His gaze fell on her face, his amusement was evident as he casually replied, "Inappropriate? Sarah, you belong to me for the next year what could I possibly request that would be inappropriate?"

She looked away, for the heat in his gaze was unnerving and she quietly admitted, "I can think of plenty."

His voice turned silky but still retained that cool arrogance, "Really? I'm intrigued. What do these inappropriate requests involve?"

Sarah kept her eyes on the fire as she clenched her jaw. She could simply not look at him as she replied purposefully, "For starters...anything that involves being dragged or tricked into your bed."

She might not have been looking at him, but she could sense his smug smirk as he replied, "Ah amuse me. Are you still so afraid that I'm going to steal your virtue?"

Something about the way he said it, the tone of confidence perhaps, struck her and it was just enough to let the familiar anger flare within her. She turned towards him, recklessly advancing on him as she spat, "No not really, seeing that I already lost my virtue...I just don't like being any manner."

He watched her bold advance with surprise, and for one moment something unrecognizable flickered in his eyes. Was it disappointment, anger perhaps? She wasn't sure, for it was quickly replaced with that damned cool indifferent mask as he softly countered, "Is that so? How can you be so sure that I would wish to use you?"

She regained control of her temper and evenly replied, "I'm not, but I'm not about to take that risk."

His eyes took the liberty of wandering over her body again and he couldn't resist baiting her just a little more. His voice was soft, dangerously seductive as he drawled, "Sarah, what makes you think that I can't lure you into my bed at any time I choose?"

She froze as she seemed to consider the idea, but she was quick to regain her nerve and replied, "I haven't found myself there yet, and you don't strike me as someone with a lot of patience."

He smirked, "You raise a good point, but then again, perhaps I might prefer to have such companions come to my bed willingly..."

Sarah looked at the ground trying not to let her voice waver as she answered, "Jareth, I'm not about to even pretend that I have the first clue about what goes on in that head of yours. All I know is one thing...I don't know what to make of any of this...and the smartest thing I can do for the time being is to avoid getting myself into any situations that could make my time here any more unpleasant than it already is."

Boldly she raised her eyes to meet his and he smoothly replied, "How can you be so sure that such a situation would be objectionable? On the contrary you might find yourself quite pleasantly surprised. Wouldn't it be wiser to at least find out what you might be missing?"

She winced as if the very words stung and she spat in retaliation, "How did we end up even talking about this? I think you've taken this conversation far enough, so you can stop wasting your breath...I'm not a foolish little girl any more and like I said...I've already lost my I'm well aware of what I'd be missing."

He tsked, "Such hostility...I detect some hard feelings. Could it be that some past lover left you so unsatisfied?"

Her eyes flashed with anger and she hissed, "That's quite enough...this has NOTHING to do with us playing have gotten us so far off topic..."

He smiled and held up his hands in a gesture of peace to keep her from storming out as he coaxed, "You are quite right...I, where were we?"

"Your requests. If you win...what are they?"

He seemed to consider the question before he explained, "Very well. If you insist I shall tell you. Some important guests will be in attendance at a ball hosted by my kingdom. You will willingly be my escort." Sarah stared unblinking as he elaborated, "You will dress accordingly, as I see fit, and you will be every bit the civil, well mannered lady that I know you can be."

Sarah pondered the idea. Of course he could have just politely asked her to be his escort for the evening, but this was the Goblin King after all, so the fact that he would more or less demand she be his well mannered date wasn't all that surprising.

She looked at him quizzically, "Your...escort? To a...ball?" He nodded and she continued, "Does that mean I have to dance with you?"

He smirked, "It IS a ball...that's the idea...people do usually tend to dance with their escort."

She frowned, "Well, that could be a bit of a problem."

He looked at her and quipped, "Why? Is expecting you to be well mannered for a few hours too much to ask?"

She fidgeted and snapped, "No. It's just that...I ...don't dance."

He regarded her with a stern expression as he demanded, "Can't or won't?"

She admitted, "I won't...because I can't. I don't know how."

He smirked smugly and mused, "Well that makes the second request that much easier doesn't it? Before the ball you will learn."

She snorted in disbelief, "Oh, Right. And who's going to teach me...your Underground Goblin ballet troop?"

He regarded her coolly and finished with certainty, "No. I shall teach you."

She scoffed, "Yeah right. Like you've got the patience for that."

He protested, "I'm sure I can manage it quite easily."

She shrugged, "Well good luck to you...I have no rhythm..." She seemed to reconsider a moment before she added, "Not that it matters...since you aren't going to win anyway."

He grinned, "Does that mean you're finally agreeing to play?"

She shrugged and sighed, "Why not...let's play."

He smiled, the points of his teeth barely visible behind his thin lips as he indicated her side of the board, "I believe white goes first." She surveyed the board for a moment before she asked, "What happens if it's a draw?"

Jareth thought and replied, "Well, in that unlikely event, I suppose we both win and we both shall be held to fulfill each others requests."

Before long they were both engrossed in the game. Sarah surveyed the board carefully contemplating the position of each of her white pieces in correlation with Jareth's black pieces. So far they had each only lost a pawn, and as far as she could tell neither had an advantage over the other, as of yet. She took her time considering her next move. It was important to develop her defense strategy before Jareth began to go on the offensive. She had to be sure that her next few moves were flawless.

Jareth watched her careful scrutiny of the board and remarked, "I see that you prefer to take your time before you go on the offensive."

She was hardly listening as she was trying to decide where to place her knight. She absently murmured, "Mmm-hmm."

Jareth looked at her over the board and asked, "Can I ask you a question?"

Again she was hardly listening to him as she replied, "...yeah."

He gestured to her careful maneuvering, "You seem to prefer a rigid, premeditated attack strategy...Why are you so reluctant to follow your instincts?"

The last thing she needed was him trying to give her his almighty advice. Her eyes darted up to meet his as she protested, "Jareth, I'm trying to think..."

There was an amused smirk on his face as he remarked, "I can see that...I was merely curious."

Sarah finally moved her knight with certainty and admitted, "Following my instincts usually gets me into trouble...I don't like being impulsive during conflict."

He couldn't suppress a throaty chuckle as he replied, "Oh really? You seem rather impulsive when you are brazenly defying I'm afraid I don't follow you ..."

He didn't hesitate making his next move and she chose to ignore the first part of his statement. After a good calming deep breath she explained, "Well, if you want a reason...I'll give you an example...I was being impulsive when I wished Toby away.

He was quiet for a moment before he replied, "That was one incident...and you took responsibility for your actions. No harm came to him and you got him back safe and sound."

She chanced a glance at him and continued, "Yeah well...I must not have learned my lesson, because on occasion I still can't help being impulsive..."

He smiled, knowing full well that it was their heated exchanges that she was referring to. He contemplated her and quietly mused, "Is that really so bad?"

She looked at the board finding her next move as she answered, "Well's caused me to wind up doing some pretty stupid things."

He seemed oddly distant as he absently replied, "Everyone makes mistakes Sarah."

Her eyes were glued to the board as she admitted, "Yeah well, sometimes mistakes can't be taken back, and people get hurt."

He looked at her, genuinely curious about what she was getting at. He boldly ventured, "Sound as though you are speaking from experience...I may be mistaken but are you talking about some romantic attachment?"

She stole a glance at him before she quickly looked away, shrugging as she stated, "I don't have any romantic attachments." He didn't miss the fact that she wasn't looking at him and he further probed, "Are you sure?"

This time she met his gaze and her rising temper was evident in her voice as she demanded, "What's that supposed to mean...?"

He was disturbingly calm as he replied, "Surely you've had them in the past at were the one who admitted that you lost your virtue."

Her tone was absent as she ruthlessly reaffirmed, "Yes I did."

He expectantly probed, "So...?"

She looked at him incredulously as she retorted "So...what?"

Jareth could sense her growing discomfort, but he was way too curious to stop now, "What happened?"

She seemed at a loss for words as she finally stammered, "I..,ah...don't know if I should talk about this...with you."

He acted as though his question were innocent and the most natural thing in the world as he pushed, "Why not?"

She looked at the board finding it easier to think when she wasn't looking into that penetrating gaze, "It's sort of personal...and well...painful."

She heard rather than saw his smug amusement when he coolly enquired, "Why was your delicate little heart broken?"

She became defensive instead of cautious and blurted, "Hardly...It's not like I loved them or anything..."

Jareth wasn't sure what he had been expecting, but it wasn't what she'd said. He failed miserably at keeping the surprise from his voice as he retorted, "Them?1? I don't understand."

Sarah looked at the fire, realizing that her carelessness had gotten her into a yet another precarious conversation, and she quietly asked, "Are you sure you want to?"

It was his turn to go on the defensive as he asked, "Why wouldn't I?"

Sarah sounded distant as she mused, "I have no idea..."

He softly replied, "Sarah, obviously you don't have to tell me anything if you don't wish to. But I can't deny that you have piqued my curiousity brought it up."

He was right, she had brought up the subject, but that didn't mean that she had to tell him a damn thing. But still...she was curious to see how he would react to the truth. If he did harbor feelings toward her...Well there was only one way to find out. She decided she had nothing to lose. A little embarrassment was a small price to pay if his reaction would bring her closer to finding out the truth.

She hesitated for only a moment before she decided to go for broke. "Let's just say that the independence and casual attitudes I encountered at school made my poor impulsive decisions that much easier..." She noticed he was looking intently at her now, as if hanging on her every word...oh yes...he was definitely interested in what she had to say.

She looked at the fire as she continued, "On occasion I indulged in drinking and found the mind numbing effects addicting. It made being social a whole lot easier. It made me bolder and I was fascinated by the idea that my male peers were suddenly finding me desirable...and so...I got...curious."

She stole a glance at his face. His expression was unreadable but then when he spoke she detected a change in his voice as he asked, "Sarah what are you getting at?"

She could have been mistaken but it almost sounded as though he had been holding his breath...perhaps that was something after all. She felt compelled to continue to forge ahead, "I'm saying, I allowed myself to be used...I was curious. I sort of wanted it to happen...just not necessarily with the guy it happened with and not in that particular way."

She looked up at him and was startled to see something that resembled disappointment in his eyes...but it was fleeting and he quickly collected himself.

She continued and her tone was laced with a tinge of regret, "Everyone hopes that their first time will be some miraculous experience, but more than not, it's a let down...that's what I've been told anyway."

His voice was soft and for once not arrogant or smug as he mused, "I was under the impression that you humans regard intimacy as something to be cherished, something not unlike magic." She was quick to contradict him, "There was nothing magical about it...not for me...not in the two minutes that it lasted."

He seemed to have steeled himself, and his casual arrogance was back in full force, "Perhaps not...but perhaps your lover was unadept." She muttered under her breath, "Yeah...unadept and ill-equipped..."

"What was that?" She looked up feigning innocence as she was reminded that his hearing was exceptionally good. She ignored her slip and replied, "Nothing. It was not at all the earth shattering experience I was anticipating...but then again I didn't have any feelings for him and wasn't even attracted to him, so why should it have been?"

He regarded her carefully and began, "Let me get this were intimate with someone whom you had no feelings for? Someone you didn't even find attractive?"

Her eyes did not leave his face as she added, "Pretty pathetic huh...hey and what's worse is that I let it happen more than once."

She watched in bewilderment as his demeanor changed instantly, there was a sense of urgency in his voice and if he would have been any less guarded she might have sworn he was angry. She noticed that he clenched his jaw before he demanded, "How many Sarah?"

Her attempt had not been in vain, and she grew rather elated at the realization. She suppressed the urge to grin, again feigning innocence, baiting him as she remarked, "How many what?"

He heatedly demanded "How many lovers...How many times?"

Sarah did her best not to look smug. Now THIS was an interesting development, he nearly sounded jealous. She looked up at him and replied hotly, "How many lovers have YOU had?"

She nearly smacked herself as soon as she said it. What the hell was she doing? Flirting with him? If it wasn't so dangerous, she would have almost sworn that it was fun.

His tone had a definite warning to it as he fired back, "Stop trying to change the subject..."

She gave him her best wide eyed innocent look and protested, "I'm not..." Yep, she was definitely flirting, she had to be out of her mind.

He didn't seem to fully catch on as he was rather abrupt with her and by the gods he was nearly shouting, "Sarah, you started this, we are talking about how many lovers have you had?!?"

She could hardly believe she was going through with this, but the elation was intoxicating and she replied nonchalantly, "I guess that depends on how you define a lover. If you are strictly referring to sex, than the answer is one. But if you mean other types of intimacy, then that would be three."

His tone was harsh as he demanded, "Three more or three total? And what do you mean...other types of intimacy?"

She fired back, "Three total. I only slept with one, and the others...I just...fooled around with."

His tone was now a bit softer as he asked, "Fooled around with? How do you kissing?"

She looked away sheepishly, "Well...sorta."

His eyes were locked on her face as he stated resolutely, "You've lost me...There's only one way you kiss someone Sarah, either you do or you don't, now what in blazes are you talking about?!?"

Oh God he was going to make her say it. Nothing like discussing the intricacies of sex with the Goblin King. "I uh...went down on them."

He stammered, "Went down on? What? ...Oh." He may not have been down with the lingo, but he was smart enough to figure it out.

Her face was scarlet as she turned to look at the fire. Jareth went silent for a moment as if coming to terms with what she had just told him. He looked at her face, the way she blushed. Remarkable, that she still blushed like such an innocent. Anger flared within him, not really at her, but at the situation. He had waited too long and now she had already learned what it meant to lose her innocence in the arms of another.

The very thought of some foolish young idiot pawing at Sarah made his blood simmer. It was lucky for her, and for her foolish lover that he had not been watching at the time, as he was fairly certain the mortal world would be short one more young fool...make that three young fools, he thought ruefully. Still, she admitted that she felt nothing for these young men, and that was something. In a way that should have delighted him, but it didn't, rather it bothered him that she had let herself be so used.

Perhaps he was the foolish one for having believed that the last time, despite his failure, he had still managed to capture some part of her imagination that would leave her wondering. Well maybe she did wonder, but apparently not enough to wait. It was ridiculous to think that she had been pining for him all this time, but no matter...she would soon enough. He had already read her signs, and most of them were loud and clear. She was attracted to him and it was to the point that it made her vastly uncomfortable.

By this time Sarah had regained some of her composure and she breathed deeply admitting, "They were mistakes...all of them..."

Jareth still felt outrage at the injustice of it, and he failed to keep his mouth shut, "Sarah...Why? let them use you!"

Suddenly, without warning her eyes boldly met his and her look was fierce as she resolved, "Yes, I did. But at the same time I was using them to satisfy my own curiosity and the answer I found happened to be a let down. So now you see why I'm not about to make the same mistake again, especially not after the last time."

She noticed that his face had paled considerably and his tone was icy as he demanded, "The last time? Why did someone hurt you?"

She shook her head, "No, he was a friend of mine and I hurt him. What's worse is that he actually cared for me and I...didn't return those feelings. I used him. I acted out of curiosity thinking that things might be different, since I knew he cared, but they weren't. Not only did I lose my self-respect, I lost a friend too."

Jareth listened intently as she went on, "It would have turned out to be a very bad year, but then I met Kayla and things have been better since then. She's been a true friend."

Jareth was truly curious and he asked, "Is that why you were so willing to take her place?"

Sarah nodded, "She's my best friend Jareth, I couldn't let anything happen to her."

He noted the sadness in her eyes and ventured, "She's been a positive influence in your life then?" Sarah nodded smiling a little, "Yeah, she has. I think she's the only person who has ever actually understood me, I mean really understood me. She's not false and she doesn't play games. With Kayla, what you see is what you get. She...she is exactly what she seems. She's thoughtful and not at all judgmental."

He quietly regarded her for a moment and she could not decipher his expression, which reminded her how much Jareth contrasted with Kayla. He was impossibly unreadable, and she was beginning to find out that at times he was not at all what he seemed. With Kayla things were simple, and tension was never an issue. Jareth was the opposite. Everything about him seemed complex and between them, there was always tension of some kind. She wondered what he was thinking, perhaps he was considering the same thing, but she'd never really know.

She watched as he resumed his concentration on the game at hand. He pondered only a moment before he made a fairly aggressive move with his rook.

Sarah looked at him as he made the move with finality and she boldly asked, "So why are you so interested?"

He calmly replied, "I was merely curious as to why you would trade a year of your life away for the sake of another."

She glanced at the board before she retorted, "That's not what I meant...I mean you seem rather curious about my love life."

He perused the board as he coolly remarked, "Love was hardly a part of anything you just described."

Sarah scoffed, "You know what I mean. Why are you so interested in my past?"

He glanced at her, smirking slightly as he commented, "I believe it's your move."

She didn't miss the fact that he was trying to change the subject. She began to consider her options for her next move as she mused, "Fine, don't answer if you don't want to...I'm just a little surprised by your interest...I mean it's none of your concern..."

His eyes darted up to meet hers and the look in them made her shiver as he harshly interrupted, "Sarah, you ARE my concern...You always have been and you always will be."

Sarah froze, her mouth hung slightly open in startled surprise as she stared at him dumbstruck.

Whoa, what the Hell was going on here?

His fierceness made her think that it might be a good time to change the subject, but his audacity rekindled that little flame of anger and before she could stop herself, she spat back defiantly, "And how exactly, am I your concern?"

His eyes locked with hers as he sneered, "For the next year, you are quite entirely my concern as you belong wholly to me, and as for your past and the made yourself my concern the night you summoned my Goblins."

Her mind wandered back to that night and all that she had said and done. Her own words echoed in her mind, "...The King of the Goblins had fallen in love with the girl and he had given her certain powers."

The blood drained from her face as her mind reeled, "He can't be referring to that... could he?" She pushed the idea from her mind as the mere implication made her stomach flutter. The conversation had begun to turn treacherous and she came to the realization that she was in no way ready to handle the truth, regardless of the answer. It seemed like a good time to back down.

He was still staring at her waiting for her next outburst of defiance. She hesitated, finally turning her attention to the game as she mumbled, "Let's just drop it."

He stood up and walked over to the mantle as he remarked, "A very wise idea...I could use a drink. Would you care for some wine?"

She looked over to see him pouring brown liquor from a snifter into his glass. She forgot about her move for a moment as she mused, "That's not it?"

Jareth raised the glass and remarked, "No, it's brandy." He sipped the liquid and added, "But it's hardly customary to offer brandy to a I thought I'd do the civil thing and offer you wine instead."

Sarah looked at the chessboard realizing that Jareth's attack position was better then she had originally thought. She turned back to him and simply stated, "I'll take the brandy..."

He arched a delicate eyebrow and smirked dangerously as he purred, "So you'd prefer to be unlady-like..." The suggestiveness of his comment was plainly obvious and Sarah mentally berated herself for finding him enticing as he said it. That damned seductiveness was always a part of him.

She glanced again at the board seeing an opportunity that she had previously missed. Maybe she could beat him after all. She merely smiled and warned, "That's nothing. Have a seat your majesty, and I'll show you how un-lady like I can be."

He was still smirking as he sat and offered the glass of brandy to her, "This will add some fire to your veins..." and then he added under his breath, "Not that you need any more..."

She looked over her glass at him as she took a generous sip. He might have been beautiful and she might not have been able to stop herself from desiring him, but she wasn't going to just sit back and let him win.

Jareth noticed the way Sarah let her eyes stray over his body. It might not have been the first time she had done it, but it was the first time she had done it without trying to hide it. Her eyes met his as she nursed her drink and what he saw made him shiver in anticipation. There was the slightest hint of a demure smirk as the glass touched her lips.

She was teasing him.

She set her drink down with purpose, a seductive smile forming on her delicate face, as she picked up her knight and slammed it down into its new position.

Only then did he bother to look at the board. He struggled to keep his expression neutral as he noticed his error. She had managed to put his Queen in jeopardy, if he didn't move it, she would take it with no risk to herself, but by moving the Queen he left his rook unprotected.

She again offered him that flirtatious smile and taunted, "Move it, or lose it..."

He had no choice but to move his Queen and he sacrificed his rook in doing so.

Sarah took the black rook, a smug smile playing on her lips as she gladly gave up her pawn. Jareth ruefully took a draught of his brandy as he resolved not to underestimate her again. He had already done it once and it had cost him dearly.

Sarah undoubtedly had the upper hand for a good part of the game. It had been utterly priceless to take piece after piece from Jareth, but she was not without error as well. She had matched Jareth in her brandy consumption, as it was much easier to drink with him then talk with him, and that had its drawbacks. They had polished off three generous glasses each by the time she started to feel the effects.

Just as Jareth expected, the liquor affected her judgment and her defenses suffered as a result, however so did his, though perhaps not quite as much. Eventually the Goblin King caught up with her, and before long Sarah found herself staring at a chessboard devoid of all pieces save one black king and one white king.

Sarah squinted at the board with disbelief as she remarked a bit drunkenly, "Wha...what the?"

Jareth grinned at her and replied, "A draw. We both win. You should be pleased."

Sarah raised her brow and sarcastically remarked, "Oh...I'm just thrilled! Can't you tell? I'm friggin' ecstatic." Batting the pieces off the board, she downed the rest of her drink and muttered under her breath, "How the hell did that happen...I sooo had you by the balls..."

Jareth looked up as if he had heard her. She had again forgotten how good his hearing was. Oops.

He shook his head, smirking as he replied, "Pardon?"

Sarah lowered her eyes and sheepishly muttered, "Never mind..." She started to rise from her seat, adding in a drunkenly yet condescending tone, "Well, yep it's a draw alright...and you didn't even have to cheat." She hiccoughed and added "...How about that."

He simply stared and smirked, thoroughly amused by the effect the drink had on her. He was feeling rather pleasant as well, but he wasn't sure if it was from the brandy or from the lovely view her nightgown provided as she stood up in front of the fire.

She leaned forward over the table and slurred, "Well, Jareth it's been fun...but I really ought to get to bed..."

He looked at her intently before his eyes dropped. Apparently she was oblivious to the view she was offering him, he could almost see right down...

Suddenly, she straightened as she noticed he was not looking at her face. His gaze lingered south of her neckline even as he got to his feet.

Deciding to ignore his blatant appraisal, she stammered, "Right...well...see you tomorrow..."

He grinned and replied, "Are you sure you can make it back to your room by yourself?"

Sarah may have been drunk, but she wasn't so wasted that she didn't see right through that one. She hiccoughed softly and retorted, "Yes...I'll be fine...thanks." She turned abruptly, starting for the door, but unfortunately the floor seemed to be moving slightly, at least to her it appeared to, and she nearly lost her balance.

Jareth expected her to stumble, and was at her side before she even knew what was going on. Without so much as a word he scooped her up, lifting her into his arms, with one arm under her knees and the other supporting her shoulders. He immediately started walking, carrying her.

Struggling, she protested vociferously, "Wha...what are you doing? Jareth! Put me down!"

His strides were long and before she knew it he was taking her down the long darkened corridor.

She struggled harder, and his voice interrupted the perfect darkness. She stilled, losing herself in the velvety sound of it, "Just relax Sarah. I won't have you getting lost in the castle at night or falling down the stairs." She remained still long enough to notice that his face was close to hers and she could feel his warm breath on her cheek as he spoke. She felt the cool leather of his glove on her skin where he supported her under her knees. She glanced down and realized that her nightgown only came to about her knee and it did not come between his hand and her skin.

Oh dear.

She swallowed as the realization sent a tremor of nervous excitement through her. She looked up, barely making out his face in the darkness and asked in a shaky voice that hardly sounded like her own, "Where are you taking me?" He looked down at her and her heart began to pound as she realized his lips were mere inches from hers.

Softly he replied in a voice richer than velvet, "To your chamber."

Most Prized Possession

A Labyrinth Story
by Jester3

Part 18 of 42

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