Continuing Tales

Most Prized Possession

A Labyrinth Story
by Jester3

Part 20 of 42

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Most Prized Possession

Both Sarah and Kayla turned slowly to see the Goblin King standing imperiously behind them, an arrogant smirk forming on his pallid face. Sarah's heart raced as her mind frantically wondered how much he had heard. No doubt, he overheard their wager, but hopefully he had just missed what they were wagering about.

Sarah glanced nervously at Kayla who was blatantly gawking in disbelief at the Goblin King. Great, Sarah thought as she elbowed her friend and mentally stewed, Could it be anymore obvious that we were just talking about him?

Kayla collected herself and pretended to act glad that he had joined them just as Sarah cleared her throat and stammered, "Ah, no...not at all. We were just...catching up with one another." Kayla nodded to confirm what Sarah had said and she noticed that the Goblin King's posture was that of a very proud self-assured individual. Now that she had effectively woken up, she couldn't help quickly looking him over. Sarah had been saying something about his pants...


Kayla nearly flushed the same shade as Sarah as she noticed that his breeches really didn't leave much to the imagination. Kayla tore her eyes away as she reminded herself that there was an overabundance of packages for her to inspect back at school and that this particular one was out of bounds, and well within Sarah's playing field. Sarah wanted to know how this curious monarch felt about her, and when it came to men, Kayla was a master of gathering intelligence. She had a job to do.

Kayla smiled sweetly as she looked up at the Goblin King and replied, "Why don't you join us. We were just having a little fun, weren't we Sarah?"

Sarah nodded uneasily as she watched her roommate actually attempting to flirt with the Goblin King, "Uh...yeah." Sarah glanced warily at Kayla and wondered what the hell she was up to.

Jareth returned a polite but cool smile and suggested, "I've arranged for dinner to be served, perhaps you both would care to join me in the dining room."

Sarah hesitated, but before she could come up with a reasonable excuse Kayla blurted, "Sure we will, won't we Sar?"

Sarah rolled her eyes, it looked as though she had little choice. She just hoped Kayla knew what she was doing.

A little while later all three of them entered the opulent dining room of the castle. It did not go unnoticed by Kayla that Jareth had chosen to sit directly across from Sarah. Kayla was seated to Sarah's immediate right. Two very nervous Goblins were presently scurrying to set the table and Kayla watched them with curiosity.

Sarah was rather used to being in the company of goblins by now, so she only kept her eyes on the goblins to keep her from staring at the Goblin King.

Jareth noticed Kayla's curious inspection of his goblins and enquired, "I take it Sarah has already explained to you who I am?" Kayla looked at him and smiled secretively, "Oh yeah. She told me all about you."

Amusement registered on his haughty face as he smugly replied, "I see. Tell me, how much of a monster would she have you believe that I am?"

Sarah stared at her plate and flinched inwardly. Why did he always have to be so difficult? Apparently the fact that she had a guest made absolutely no difference to him, he was determined to test her patience at every turn. Well, at least now she had Kayla to back her up, no doubt this was about to get interesting.

Kayla smiled politely as if considering the notion before she retorted, "Well, no more than what you probably deserve. You don't give Sarah enough credit you know, she is nothing, if not fair."

Jareth resisted the urge to smile as the memory of Sarah's previous frequent protests echoed through his mind, "that's not fair." Instead, he pondered the forward girl that now addressed him. No wonder she and Sarah were companions, as they appeared to both be made out of the same brazen metal. He wondered if this little chit possessed a scorching inferno of a temper too.

Jareth smiled, and it was a somewhat sinister expression as it showed the tiny points of his teeth. His reply was half sneer - half amusement, "Is that so?" His haughty gaze momentarily darted to Sarah before he added, "Enlighten me then, since you speak for Sarah and you are her living companion...What is Sarah like, really?"

Kayla smiled and coyly replied, "I guess I should tell you since you are going to be stuck with her for the next year." Sarah looked up, suddenly horrified by the idea of Kayla telling Jareth anything about her.

Jareth poured the wine and drawled, "Yes, you're quite right."

Kayla smirked at him over her wine glass and grabbed a bit of bread as she began, "Well, Sarah isn't much of a morning person,'ve probably already figured that out."

Jareth gave Sarah a sideways glance and mused, "Hmm, yes."

Kayla smiled around a mouthful of bread before she swallowed and went on, "Aside from her occasional moods, she can be a lot of fun. The operative word being, 'can'"

Sarah inwardly braced herself as Jareth arched an eyebrow and asked, "How do you mean?"

Kayla bit her lip and replied, "Well, she's great company at a party for example. She not afraid to get a little liberal with the cocktails and she can't dance for shit, but it's funny as hell watching her try, specially after she's had a few drinks."

Jareth grinned at this, having Sarah as his escort to the upcoming ball was going to be interesting to say the very least.

Sarah rolled her eyes dramatically as she drained her wine glass. Just whose side was Kayla on? Did she really have to sit here and listen to this? What the HELL was she doing? This was her best friend after all, she was supposed to be backing her up, not getting all chummy with Jareth.

Kayla was indeed well aware of Sarah's discomfort, but she chose to ignore it as she continued, "And the best part is with Sarah around, there's no shortage of male attention...IF you know what I mean."

Kayla pretended not to notice as Sarah nearly choked on her wine. Instead, it was Jareth's reaction she was waiting for, and it came just as she suspected. Jareth had been grinning, but her last statement wiped the smug smile right off his face. But, he was quick. In the next instant his disturbed expression became a mask of unfathomable indifference. Kayla wasn't retreating though, not just yet.

She artfully bit her lip as if thinking before she continued, "You see, Sarah is one of those beautiful girls who is unaware or her worth. She is not phony nor is she egotistical. And well, the guys at school just LOVE that."

Kayla noticed that Jareth still wasn't smiling, but neither was he displaying any readable emotion. Looked as though it would take just one extra push.

Kayla dismissed Sarah's look that promised a slow painful death and added, " might think with that being the case, that I'd be spending many nights on the common room couch...but no, Sarah is a very good and considerate roommate like that."

Kayla glanced up to see the flash of relief in Jareth's eyes and she knew it was time to go in for the kill. She chose her next words carefully, "Actually, I only remember one night that Sarah didn't come home. I think that was the time she stayed out all night with her friend Ben. Right Sar? He's a real nice guy, I bet he showed her a REAL good time. He seemed to care a lot about her..."

And there it was. Kayla clearly saw the tension building in the Goblin King's frame, and my, he was holding his wine stem rather tightly. With a sense of satisfaction Kayla finished, "Honestly though, I don't know what happened to Ben, he stopped coming around after that. Sarah must've broken his heart."

Sarah slammed her fork down in embarrassment and ground out, "Alright, Kayla, let's not bore Jareth to death."

Jareth was quick to protest and ground out, "Nonsense..."

Kayla held up her hand and interrupted, "No, she's right. It's not really relevant. Let's change the subject. I'm curious about this place and...about you Jareth."

Sarah nearly dropped her forkful of peas as Jareth drawled slowly, "Really? Curious about what?"

Kayla swallowed. Sarah was right, there was something unnerving in that gaze of his. She took a badly needed sip of wine and politely replied, "Well, lots of things. For instance, I was wondering, Is there a Goblin...Queen?"

Sarah had been about to drink her wine, but she quickly put it back down for fear she would spill it all over herself. Jareth arched an eyebrow and his voice was full of mischief, as he replied, "No. There would be if it were up to the Northern Kingdoms, but as it is up to, there is not."

Kayla coyly replied, "How come? You're a good looking guy."

Sarah gaped at her friend in disbelief and suppressed the childish urge to gag.

Jareth grinned wickedly, looking from one girl to the other. He would enjoy taking this chance to unnerve Sarah a bit. He silkily replied, "Why? Did you have someone in mind?" His eyes settled on Kayla as he finished, "Yourself perhaps?"

Kayla nearly lost her concentration at his directness, but she was no amateur when it came down to cat and mouse games. She met the Goblin King's gaze head on and replied definitively, "No, I didn't mean me. That...wouldn't work."

Jareth sized up the female who bravely returned his gaze and had just flat out denied him. Her and Sarah must have been destined to be friends, they both seemed to live and breathe defiance. Still, he found the conversation extremely amusing, and the fact that it was making Sarah obviously uncomfortable was simply an added bonus that was nearly too good to be true. With a feral smile he purred, "Why not?" He loved the fact that this literally made Sarah squirm in her chair.

Kayla sipped her wine coolly and admitted, "Because, you aren't my type."

Jareth's grin only grew wider as he mercilessly taunted, "And WHY aren't I?"

Sarah, unable to stomach the conversation for a moment longer blurted, rather rudely, "Read her lips Jareth. Not. Her. Type."

Jareth now turned to regard Sarah, his amusement danced in his eyes like fire as he retorted, "Ah. Well, You are her companion. I suppose you ought to know her best. Tell me...What is her type then?"

Sarah, feeling quite pushed to the end of her rope and dangerously bold at this particular moment, leaned forward and leered at him as she flatly admitted, "Strong. QUIET. And BLACK."

Jareth watched as she annunciated the words with certainty. He smiled at her anger, which only pissed her off more, so she added with a snort, "Fair-skinned, arrogant, and opinionated Goblin Kings need not apply."

Kayla bit back a surprised laugh, but failed as it erupted in an unladylike snort before she broke into uncontrollable laughter. She had never seen Sarah bristle like that. Hoo-boy, did he know how to push her buttons.

Sarah crossed her arms defensively as Kayla recovered, catching her breath as she panted, "Oh. Good one Sar. She's right though, she knows me well. Actually, If you ask me...I'd say you and Sarah are more suited for each other. Christ, you already sound like a married couple..."

In the petrified instant that Sarah realized where the conversation was headed she made a rash decision.

Before Kayla could say another word Sarah had leapt to her feet, and her voice was laced with a deadly tone of warning, "That's enough, Kay! I really don't think Jareth needs or cares about our opinion on this particular subject."

Upon seeing Sarah's reaction, Jareth's lips twisted into a cruel smile. Watching her growing discomfort had been more pleasing than drop kicking the most disobedient goblin into the heart of the bog of eternal stench.

Sarah noticed the pleased expression on the Goblin King's face but was in no mood to jest, and seeing that there was no way she could stomach eating any more, she rose and gave Kayla's arm a squeeze as she addressed Jareth. "Well, I'm done here. Thanks for dinner, Kayla and I will just be retiring to my room." Her voice turned to a low hiss as she turned to glare at her friend, "We have lots to discuss. Don't we Kayla?"

Jareth didn't miss the threatening look Sarah shot at her friend. He nodded unaffectedly as Sarah practically dragged Kayla out of the dining room by her arm. When they reached the doorway he distinctly heard Kayla squeal, "Owwww. What'd ya do that for?!?"

Sarah slammed her bedroom door closed and snapped, "Would you mind telling me just what the HELL you were doing back there?!?"

Kayla plopped down on Sarah's bed and rolled her eyes, "Will you relax already? I'm just doing what you asked me to do."

Sarah crossed her arms and barked, "Really? I don't recall asking you to flirt with him, nor do I remember telling you to embarrass the crap out of me."

Kayla stared at the ceiling in annoyance and scoffed, "Sarah, do you want to know how he feels or not?"

Sarah dropped her eyes and huffed, "Yeah, but, Jesus Kayla!"

Kayla held up her hand and interrupted, "But...nothing. Trust me. I know what I'm doing and I almost know everything I need to."

Sarah shot Kayla a doubtful glance and goaded, "Then how 'bout sharing, because I have no idea what that charade was all about down there. And c'mon, what's with all the flirting?"

Kayla grinned knowingly and cooed, "Aww, relax babe. That wasn't flirting. That was strategic gathering of intelligence, pure brilliance if I do say so."

Sarah widened her eyes, she couldn't wait to hear this nutty piece of rationale.

Kayla smirked and explained, "I was playing to his ego. If he views the situation as confrontational, we aren't going to get anywhere. I played the gushing little groupie so that he would think he had the upper hand and wouldn't perceive me as a threat. It was the surest way to get him to let his guard down. Remember, that's one proud King we're dealing with. I wasn't really flirting though, like you said, he's so not my type, and besides, I would never pursue my best friend's game."

Sarah crossed her arms and spat, "He's not my game."

Kayla snorted, "Coulda fooled me. Come off it Sarah! I'm not that stupid! I can plainly see that there is something going on with you two. Christ, the chemistry in there was more suffocating than the smell of weed at a Grateful Dead concert."

Sarah tried to protest, "But..."

Kayla stopped her with a glare as she finished, "Save it Sarah. I've seen enough to know that he has a serious thing for you and I can plainly see that you are terrified by the fact that you want him."

Sarah sighed as she crossed her arms and sheepishly muttered, "I..."

Kayla held up a hand, stopping her, "Sar, I know you. You're my roomie, my best friend. I can read you like a book. I can tell when something is eating at you and this clearly is."

Sarah flinched and began to pace nervously. Kayla's eyes followed Sarah's rushed movements and she observed, "Look at you! You're a wreck. Now seriously, cut the bullshit and tell me the truth."

Sarah dropped onto the bed as she sighed wearily, and replied in a hushed whisper, "I can't...not here..."

Kayla immediately retorted, "Why not?"

Sarah lowered her voice further and hissed, "He might be watching or listening...and the fact that you have the biggest mouth this side of the galaxy is not helping us."

Kayla nodded, "You know I can't help it. Alright. Where can we go then?"

Sarah bit her lip and admitted, "I...I don't know. He uses crystals to see things..."

Kayla considered this and replied, "Fine, then we go somewhere where we can keep him in plain sight. That way, if he starts with the crystal thing, we'll know." Sarah stared at Kayla as if she completely lost her mind. Undaunted, Kayla asked, "Where did he go? I mean where do you think he is right now?"

Sarah shrugged, "I don't know...the library maybe?"

Kayla grabbed Sarah by the hand and pulled her to her feet, "Is there a window that we can see into the library from the outside?"

Sarah nodded, "Yeah, actually there's a very large window in the library and it's not too high up, we can probably see inside from the gardens."

Kayla dragged Sarah from the room as she barked, "Right. Lead the way."

To Sarah's dismay, Kayla was absolutely right. From the darkened garden they could see right into the library, and sure enough, Jareth was there, pouring over a pile of parchments.

Kayla crouched behind a rosebush and remarked, "He's up there all right. No way he's in earshot, but from here we can plainly see him." She giggled, "I feel so...James Bond. He doesn't even know we are out here! Hee-hee, well, start spillin' girlfriend."

Sarah drew a deep breath, "Fine. What do you want to know?"

Kayla shot Sarah an annoyed look and hissed, "Everything. Just tell me the truth." Kayla noticed how Sarah's eyes were drawn to the distant figure in the window and she quickly added, "You really have feelings for him don't you?"

Sarah lowered her eyes and swallowed her pride. It was no use trying to hide it any longer, not from Kayla. She knew her too well. Sarah winced as she glanced at her friend and shamefully admitted, "I...uh...think I might."

Kayla gave Sarah a condescending look and Sarah finally hissed, "Alright. Fine. Yes. I do...but what does it matter if he only wants revenge?"

Kayla held up a hand and warned, "Alright, one thing at a time...don't get your panties in a bunch. First...what do you feel? Are you just like lusting here or are we talking major crush? Or god forbid, are we entering full-blown four letter "L" word territory?"

Sarah pulled Kayla down to the ground so they were both kneeling behind the rosebush, facing each other as she whispered, "I...don't really know. I've tried to tell myself that it's just an attraction, but it seems more complicated than that. I can't get over the compulsion to hate him...I'm supposed to hate him. He is the villain here right?"

Kayla looked pointedly at Sarah and asked, "I don't know, is he?'

Sarah swallowed and admitted, "At first...yeah, that's exactly what I considered him, but now, sometimes I think I'm starting to like him. Sometimes he can be so charming...but then he does something to remind me how cruel he can be...and at times I can barely refrain from slugging him, but then whenever he comes near me I can barely keep myself together. Aaarghhhh!!! I'm so confused!"

Kayla watched as Sarah's cautious exterior fell away. She was clearly shaken by what was happening to her. She was usually so brave and strong, that Kayla found her sudden display of vulnerability upsetting. Kayla placed a supportive hand on Sarah's shoulder and gently asked, "Sarah, has anything happened since you came back here?"

Sarah was obviously aggravated by her weakness as she blinked back the tears, commanding them that they had better not dare fall. She inhaled sharply, raggedly, as she demanded, "Like what?"

Kayla shot a cautious glance at the window and ventured, "Well, has he kissed you...or tried to?"

Sarah froze and stammered, "Well...he almost did, but it didn't actually happen."

Kayla stiffened and asked, "Well, what DID actually happen?"

Sarah began, "Well, right after I got here, I was in my room, er...taking a bath and he sort of just appeared."

Kayla's eyes widened at the seemingly scandalous scenario but Sarah quickly reassured her, "He didn't see anything, and I was being insolent, as I was rightly pissed that he had barged in. Well, that didn't go over so well, and he came closer. He said something threatening and leaned over me. I was afraid he was going to kiss me, but he stopped at the last second. I think he was like testing me. I must've failed, since I uh...didn't turn away. "

Kayla looked thoughtful and replied, "Anything else happen?"

Sarah nodded, "Well yeah, one night we were arguing in his room. I was pissed because he made me dress up as his page boy and then his little tart couldn't keep her hands off me..."

Kayla shook her head, "WHAT?!?"

Sarah flushed and replied, "Kind of a long story, not important really. The point IS...he was making light of the situation, which only made me angrier, so I started fighting with him. He kept advancing, and next thing I knew, I was backed up against his bed. He told me that I amused him. I should have just smacked him and walked away, but...I didn't. I couldn't bring myself to leave. I guess maybe deep down I wanted him to kiss me. For one moment I was sure he was going to, and then we were disturbed. I took the interruption as an opportunity to bail."

Kayla nodded slowly, "Anything else?"

Sarah nodded and choked out, "Last night. We were playing chess...and talking. Actually, we talked alot. Eventually he broke out the brandy and I figured it might take the edge off. We drank until the game was over and when I got up, I stumbled. So he carried me to my room."

Kayla reiterated in surprise, "He carried you to your room?!?"

Sarah nodded and looked away as she finished, "Yeah. He put me down on the bed. I must have been pretty buzzed. I couldn't help noticing how amazing he looked in the firelight. And God Kay, he smelled so nice. I knew I was being stupid, I should have told him to leave, but I didn't. I just sat there staring at him. I was both terrified and elated that he might kiss me, that it might even go beyond a kiss. I knew it was a foolish thing to want, but at the same time I almost didn't care. God, I wanted him so bad. I've never wanted anyone like that...and to be honest it scared the hell out of me."

Kayla nodded and finished for her, "...because you don't know if you can trust him. You don't know what it is he wants, or what he truly feels."

Sarah nodded and wondered how Kayla could understand her so perfectly. She shuddered as a cool breeze whipped around them and tried to reign in her growing despair at the hopelessness of her situation.

Kayla slowly tipped Sarah face up and asked gently, "Sarah, I know you're not a virgin, that you've been with other guys, but are you saying that you never wanted any of them the way you wanted Jareth?"

Sarah sniffed, the added burden of her past only making the bleakness of her situation more poignant. She bit out, "Kayla, I told you that I regretted hooking up with those guys..."

Kayla whispered incredulously, "You weren't even attracted to any of them...were you?"

Sarah shook her head, "No. Not even Ben."

Kayla gave Sarah a knowing smile and slyly remarked, "Sarah, are you telling me that a guy has never really rocked your world?"

Sarah couldn't help but laugh through her misery at her friend's unique way of putting things. "No, not as of yet."

Kayla replied, "Ok, I know what happened with Ben and Jeff, but what about Kyle, I though that you two..." Sarah shook her head and corrected, "I slept with him, yes...but it was my first time and it was a total disaster."

Kayla looked surprised, "Really, so he didn't make you..."

Sarah shook her head, "Not even close."

Kayla looked at her and replied, "But you have had one, on your own at least?"

Sarah sighed, "Yeah, I'm not that defective."

Kayla smiled and teased, "Nothin' wrong with being self-sufficient. In any case, we're getting off the subject here. Where were we? Jareth. Right." Kayla glanced up at the window and added, "Do you want to know what I think?"

Sarah nodded, "You know I do."

Kayla grinned and replied, "Well, I think it's perfectly obvious."

Sarah furrowed her brow, "What is?"

Kayla's smirk was sinister as she whispered, "Well, he wants a piece of you, no doubt about that, but I think there's more to it. I think he does have feelings for you...genuine ones."

Sarah looked at her friend with disbelief and stuttered, "H...How do you know?"

Kayla elaborated, "The signs are obvious. First off, he can barely take his eyes off you. Do you know how many times I noticed him checking you out at dinner? Lots. Then there's the whole almost kissing you thing, and conveniently showing up while you are in the bath...Hello, obvious. But it goes deeper than that. If he just wanted to get you in bed, why would he have stopped night? He's a clever bastard, I'll give him that. I don't doubt that he has been testing you, and not once have you refused his advances. I'm guessing he already knows you are attracted to him."

Sarah considered this and replied, "But if he knows then why hasn't he acted?"

Kayla replied, "That's the question, and I think I know why. He wants more than just sex. I think he's waiting to be sure you feel something for him in return. He likes you Sarah, and I think his feelings run deep. Did you see the look on his face when I mentioned Ben? Wiped the smile right off his face, that did. I think...and I can't be a hundred percent on this, but I'm pretty confident that he started having feelings for you the last time you were here. And he's had a long time to stew in those feelings. I think you must have dealt his ego a serious blow when you kicked his ass last time. If there's one thing a guy can't stomach, it's being beaten by a girl."

Kayla paused for a moment before she went on, "But what you told me about what he said, right before you defeated him...that he could have just been trying to stall you, well I suppose he could have, but my instincts tell me different. I think he may have more than half meant what he said, even if he didn't fully realize it at the time. I think you being back here is no accident. In fact, I think he was counting on you not being able to toss that book, and he probably knew it was only a matter of time before you or someone else in your life said those words again."

Kayla smiled then and continued, "He also knows that you are selfless. You risked your dreams to save Toby, so why wouldn't you trade your freedom to save a friend? Now I'm not saying that you burning him last time won't have its repercussions. Maybe he was plotting to seduce you and hurt you for what you did to him, but from the sounds of it, I'd wager he didn't know you very well, and I think, that the more he does get to know you, the more he will like you. God knows, he may already be in love with you, but whether revenge is his motive or not...He won't go through with it. I already detect a bit of a soft spot, otherwise he could have already seduced you and hurt you."

Sarah absorbed every word and thought on Kayla's appraisal of the situation. After a moment she swallowed and replied, "I admit, what you're saying is making a lot of sense." Kayla shrugged and nodded as Sarah added, "So, if that IS what is going on...What am I supposed to do about it?"

Kayla met Sarah's gaze and asked, "Why not take advantage of the situation? You can be cautious and still explore your feelings. See what develops. You're a smart girl Sarah, and if you are observant, I see no reason that you won't be able to decipher his true intentions. He may be Fae Sar, but he's still a guy, and I'd wager under all that cold glittery exterior he has a heart too."

Sarah swallowed and replied, "But what if I end up really falling for him? Don't you think that could be more than a little dangerous?"

Kayla smiled sadly and admitted, "Sarah, falling in love is always risky, no matter who it's with. But think on this...what's worse? Falling in love and getting hurt, or never knowing what love is, because you were too afraid to fall in the first place?"

Sarah looked at the ground for a long time. When she finally looked up at her friend, she smiled and replied, "You know, I should be committed for taking love life advice from a Chemistry major."

Kayla cooed, "Does that mean you are going to consider what I said?"

Sarah sighed and nodded, "Fraid so."

Kayla looked at her friend with genuine concern and asked, "Do you think you are going to be OK here?"

Sarah shrugged, "Well, it's very different from home, and from school, but I'll manage." Sarah's expression became slightly sad and she added, "I'll miss you though. I...I just wish we had more time. Tomorrow is going to come so fast."

Kayla looked touched, "Awww, you're gonna miss me? Really?"

Sarah nodded, "Course I will. I love having you around. Why do you think I stay to hang out on the weekends so often? It's not the parties Kay, and the caf food isn't that good...It's because we have so much fun together."

Kayla sighed, "Yeah, it stinks that I have to go back so soon, this place is kinda neat, in a freaky sorta way, and I really do wish I could help you through this."

Sarah nodded, "You and me both. It's makes it so much easier, being able to talk about things. It would be nice to have your opinion from time to time, to be able to get advice that I trust. I am so not looking forward to this ball either..."

Kayla furrowed her brow, "Ball?'

Sarah sighed suddenly realizing there was still so much she hadn't explained, "Yeah, when Jareth and I were playing chess last night we weren't just playing for fun. I wagered that if I won I get to see you and get some of my stuff. His terms were that I'd have to escort him to a ball that's going to happen here. Well, it was a draw, so now we both have to honor each others terms. What am I going to do? I can't dance, I'll make a total fool of myself."

Kayla looked surprised, "That's for sure...wait...he expects you to dance?"

Sarah nodded, "Yeah. He claims he's going to teach me and that I'll learn before the time comes, but I don't think he knows what he's getting into."

Kayla laughed, "Apparently not...But hey, he made the deal, so it's his problem now. What kind of dancing is it anyway?"

Sarah shrugged, "Well if that crazy peach induced masquerade hallucination meant anything, then it's probably going to be like waltzing. You know, kind of slow, kind of formal."

Kayla smirked wickedly "Uh-oh. Slow dancing with Jareth in formal attire, I don't know if you'll be able to last."

Sarah jumped as Kayla poked her in the side and stammered, "What do you mean?"

Kayla elaborated, "Well, that kind of dancing involves lots of touching and intimacy. Think you can handle Jareth showing you those kind of moves?"

Sarah huffed, "Well, I'd better, since it's not like I have a choice."

Kayla grinned and mused, "You know what I think?"

Sarah rolled her eyes, "What?"

Kayla giggled and purred in response, "I think he's going to have to give you lots and lots of practice before the ball and I think you are definitely going to wind up owing me ten bucks."

Sarah shook her head and sarcastically replied, "Thanks for the vote of confidence...ugh...this is going to be bad."

Kayla smirked and replied, "Well, I can teach you the basics of the waltz if you think it'll help, maybe it'll give you a little head start."

Sarah shrugged, "Couldn't hurt. I might feel a little easier going into this if I at least knew what to expect. Can you really teach me?"

Kayla nodded, "I can try. I had to take lessons for my cousin's wedding last summer..." Kayla suddenly trailed off as she stared into the library window.

Sarah strained to see in, "What is it?"

Kayla replied, "Jareth just sort of disappeared. I can't see him anymore."

Sarah waved her hand and insisted, "Doesn't really matter now, just don't talk about him and we have nothing to worry about."

Kayla circled the rosebush and asked, "So do you want me to show you right here?"

Sarah looked around noticing that the moon was casting enough light so that they could clearly watch their footing, "Might as well. My room is sort of cramped for dancing."

Kayla stepped closer and began, "Alright, well the first thing you have to learn is the proper stance. Jareth will probably lead so, I'll be the guy. You just"

Sarah scoffed, "OK."

Kayla positioned Sarah's shoulders and explained, "Ok, stand up straight. Feet a little wider apart. Good. Now put this hand on my shoulder...right here. Now his arm goes under yours, just like this, and his hand will"

Sarah stiffened as she looked down and remarked, "Um Kayla, your hand is like, right near my boob...are you sure this is right?"

Kayla smugly reassured her, "Yup. This is how I was taught. Hand goes there, and this is why...feel that?"

Sarah nodded as Kayla applied gentle pressure causing Sarah to step back and with a slight nudge Sarah could tell she was supposed to step forward.

Kayla explained, "The guy puts his hand here to help lead you, so that the slightest nudge will tell you whether you are supposed to step forward or back."

Sarah nodded, "Ok, I see, but why does it have to go right here, I thought it usually went on the waist."

Kayla smiled, "You're really worried about this aren't you?"

Sarah sighed, "I just don't get why..."

Kayla shook her head and cut her off, "Hey, this is how they taught me. I'm sure some people have slightly different styles, maybe Jareth will do it a little won't know until you try it with him."

Kayla suddenly laughed as mischief sparkled in her eyes, "What's the matter you likin' my hand there?"

Sarah snorted, "It's not YOUR hands I'm worried about."

Kayla informed her, "Well I got news for you're gonna have a lot more than his hands to be worried about, especially if he has a pair of formal breeches. I have a feeling he's going to be a much closer dancer than me, especially when it's you he's going to be dancing with."

Sarah groaned and Kayla suddenly turned her, quickly lowering her into a low dip. Kayla couldn't help laughing at Sarah's startled expression as she chuckled, "At least that'll put me closer to my ten bucks."

Suddenly, a crisp British accent broke through their laughter, "Just WHAT are you two doing?" Kayla froze, still holding Sarah in the incriminatingly romantic low dip position.

An inverted and rather mocking Goblin king stepped into Sarah's line of sight. Kayla expertly pulled Sarah up and coolly admitted, "Oh you know, nothing much...Just showing Sarah a few of my moves."

Jareth took a step forward and that signature arrogant smirk formed on his face as he began, "I can see that. You know, intimate dancing such as that, at least here in the underground, is normally reserved for partners of the OPPOSITE sex."

Kayla shrugged, not much liking his arrogant tone, as she retorted, "Well, Sarah and I are trend setters, what can I say?"

Sarah elbowed her and replied, "Aboveground we're not bound to such traditional any case, we were just fooling around."

Jareth regarded the girls as he crossed his arms and drawled, "Fooling around? Yes, well, you certainly have a knack for that Sarah, as you never cease to amuse."

His grin turned wicked as he mused, "Come to think of it...there's an old proverb we have in the underground, 'Only a true fool can ensnare the wisest and coldest of the fairer sex.'" His smile then turned mocking as he purred,

"...So it is no wonder you are so popular with the ladies down here."

Sarah felt the heat rush to her cheeks at his jest. The familiar fire of anger gathered to be thrown as a scorching come-back from the tip of her tongue, but as he winked and flashed her that sultry smile, her belligerent protest died in her throat.

This type of arguing was treacherous as it only seemed to get her needlessly excited and it only intensified the already present sexual tension. Sarah wrestled with her anger and forced it back down. She would keep her mouth shut if only for now. She had little time left with her friend and she wasn't about to waste it by arguing with Jareth.

Sarah tolerated the remark, but it was an effort to keep her expression civil as she ground out, "So it seems. Well, It is getting rather late, Kayla and I should retire."

Jareth was rather taken aback by her reluctance to argue and it took him a moment to respond, "Shall I have some goblins make up a room for Kayla?"

Sarah shook her head, "That's not necessary. You don't mind crashing in my room do you Kayla?"

Kayla smirked and replied, "Long as I don't have to sleep on a cold stone floor." Sarah looked at her friend before she intentionally answered, "I think the bed is big enough for the both of us, don't you?"

It took all of Kayla's willpower not to laugh as Sarah's eyes briefly darted to Jareth. Apparently, she wanted to keep him guessing.

Kayla didn't trust herself to speak, so she merely nodded as Sarah turned to Jareth and said, "G'night Jareth." With that, she turned on her heel and started back toward the castle at such a pace that Kayla had to nearly run to keep up with her.

As they reached the castle Kayla could no longer keep quiet, and she asked in a mock-serious voice, "So does this mean that you want to snuggle?"

Sarah bit her lip to stifle her laughter and Kayla added, "Ok, I'll sleep with you, but there better be spooning." As soon as the door closed, leaving them inside the castle Sarah snorted and burst into a fit of hysterics with Kayla soon joining her.

Once Kayla was able to breathe again she remarked, "You know...I bet he's real pissed you didn't include him in our little slumber party."

Sarah started for her room as she arched an eyebrow and replied, "Oh well, he'll just have to get used to it. Serves him right for picking on me...I don't care if he does think I'm gay."

Kayla furrowed her brow and replied, "He doesn't think you're gay! He just enjoys making you squirm."

Sarah replied defensively, "I wasn't squirming."

Kayla rolled her eyes, "Right. I have a newsflash for you...You were sooo squirming."

Sarah shook her head, "Nuh-uh."

Kayla then burst into mock coughing fit, which incidentally sounded a lot like, "cough, ten bucks, cough."

In actuality their evening did end up being a lot like a slumber party. They talked until the late hours of the night, and there was at least one pillow fight when Kayla tried to bring up the topic of Jareth's anatomy again. Sarah had slugged Kayla right in the face with her pillow as she reminded Kayla that they weren't supposed to be talking about "him" like that. Especially, not while he was in the next room.

Sarah managed to keep Kayla in line by telling her the details of what life had been like since she came to live at the castle. She told her all about her duties as Jareth's scribe and as Tempest's new caretaker. She also told Kayla a great deal about her friends who had helped her through the labyrinth on her first trip to the underground.

It was in the wee hours of the morning that Sarah, with her judgment being slightly affected by her exhaustion, told Kayla all about her experience as Jareth's page-boy and about their conversation during their chess match the previous night.

Kayla was rather intrigued by Sarah's tales of pagedom and found Sarah's version of the encounter with the infamous Desdemonna very hilarious. In retelling the story Sarah also couldn't help finding it rather comical as well. She recounted everything for Kayla, right down to the part where Desdemonna had boldly grabbed her by her unsuspecting potato.

Upon thinking about the situation Sarah actually began to feel a little bad. Though the girl had seemed a bit of a tarty little strumpet, Sarah felt slightly guilty for misleading her.

Kayla assured her she did nothing wrong, especially since at no point did she even speak to the girl. In Kayla's opinion, Jareth was responsible, not her. Finally Kayla laughed and mused, "My God Sar, sounds like she had it pretty bad for know you'd better..."

Suddenly Kayla stopped and Sarah prodded her, "No, what? I'd better what?"

Kayla thought a moment and replied, "Well, I was just sounds as though she took a real liking to you and that would be forbidden for her wouldn't it?"

Sarah shrugged, "Yeah, probably."

Kayla went on, "Well, if she really is that into you, you know she might, ya know...try and see you again."

Sarah laughed, "Oh yeah right, what's she going to do? Knock on the front door and ask Jareth if I can come out to play?"

Kayla arched an eyebrow, "No, but she might storm the castle and try to see you again in secret."

Sarah shook her head before she suddenly paused. Was that even possible? No, not with the labyrinth surrounding the castle and all the goblins crawling around this place. She was pretty certain that Jareth would be aware of it if someone tried to infiltrate his domain, nevertheless she made a mental note to ask Jareth about this. It was probably a good idea to also make certain that Desdemonna would not be receiving an invitation to the upcoming ball, since if she were to figure out the truth, she would probably be less than pleased, and Sarah did not want an angry Fae woman out to get her, no matter how harmless she may seem. Having Jareth to deal with was already more than she could handle.

It wasn't long after their conversation that Sarah and Kayla dozed off on Sarah's bed. Before totally zonking out, Sarah woke Kayla and offered her a nightshirt to sleep in. After changing in haste and snuggling down into the soft covers of the bed, both girls drifted into a peaceful and dreamless sleep.

Most Prized Possession

A Labyrinth Story
by Jester3

Part 20 of 42

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