Continuing Tales

Most Prized Possession

A Labyrinth Story
by Jester3

Part 28 of 42

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Most Prized Possession

Jareth tore off his gloves and stormed across his bedchamber, his collared tunic suddenly feeling warm and oppressive. He walked purposefully towards the crystal snifter of amber liquid that sat on his mantle as he discarded his magnificent cape on the floor.

He poured himself a generous portion of the liquor as he impatiently shrugged out of his silver doublet. He wasn't one to frequently use alcohol as a distraction, but tonight was an exception. If he didn't do something to try and take his mind off the girl in the next room, his frustration would surely drive him mad. As it was, it took all his willpower to keep him from storming over there right now.

He swilled half the glass's contents, taking comfort in the burning sensation that seared his throat. Feeling uncomfortably warm, he set down his glass and quickly tackled the fastenings on his billowy white tunic, wanting to be free of the garment. Once the shirt hung open at the front, he quickly slid it off his shoulders and it fell, forgotten with his cape and doublet in a heap on the floor.

He drained the remaining contents of his glass and quickly proceeded to pour himself another. Clad in only his black breeches and leather boots he crossed the room in long strides, catching his reflection in the large floor-length gilded mirror. The alabaster flesh of his lithe pale torso contrasted sharply with his dark breeches. Only the crescent shaped gold pendant interrupted the fair marble-like skin of his upper body.

As he neared his magnificent bed he set down his drink and met the reflection of his stormy mismatched eyes in the enormous mirror. It mystified him how one mortal girl continued to cause him so much turmoil. Even now he yearned for her, his body still under her spell. It wore heavily on him that even when she wasn't present she still exerted such power over him. Well that would be rectified soon enough. His impatience prodded him, 'Why not right now?'

It was an excellent question. She had been only moments from surrendering when they were alone in the castle kitchens mere hours ago. He could push just a little farther. His eyes drifted to the wooden door to her chamber as he considered it. He snatched up his glass again as he paced the length of his room, back and forth before the door, as if contemplating what lay beyond it.

There was nothing stopping him from bursting into her room right now.

How he would savor that surprised look on her face. And after that...well, his mind imagined an endless barrage of delicious possibilities, all of them involved her begging before the end.

He paused, lost in deliberation as he took a long draught, which sent liquid fire racing through his veins. Intensely aware of his aroused state, he wondered, 'How was it that this one affected him so?' It had been hours since their little tryst in the kitchens and yet his body still throbbed for her. By the underground, he couldn't remember ever feeling this agitated.

He continued to nurse his drink, hoping it would dull the aching sensation that plagued his body and mind. Now that he was free of his heavy cape and oppressive doublet, he was cool and comfortable, however his pent up desire made him feel rigid with tension. The mind numbing drink dulled his racing thoughts, but did nothing to relieve his tense body. The only way to take the edge off that type of tension was to indulge in a hot bath. If he were lounging in his bath, at least he'd be less likely to recklessly barge into her chamber.

The ostentatious bath was a small pool cut right into the floor and was continuously supplied by a font of piping hot water. He hastily removed his boots and stripped off his breeches. He topped off his drink and eased himself into the steaming water. It was a reasonable way to keep him-self from going to her, but if she was foolish enough to disturb him, then God help her.

Meanwhile in the adjacent room...

Sarah slumped with her back pressed against the wood of her chamber door as she tried to quiet her shallow hitching breaths. Her pulse pounded. She was shaken, but exhilarated at the same time.

After finally catching her breath, she pushed off the door, starting on weakened legs towards her bed. She reached back, barely managing to reach the laces of her corset. After a few moments of struggling she managed to free herself of the garment and flopped backwards on her bed in exhaustion.

For a few moments she did nothing but stare at the high rafters of the ceiling as her mind continued to race. Jareth's poetic words turned over and over in her head. In an attempt to get her mind off the heavy meaning of those words, she reluctantly got up and undressed. Her gown had grown heavy and it left her feeling very warm and constricted. With a sigh of relief, she slipped on her thin linen nightdress.

After freshening up, she opted to go to sleep. Unfortunately, wanting to sleep and actually sleeping were two very different things. As she lay in the darkness, snuggled into her cozy little bed, her mind buzzed with a frenzy of thoughts, all of which were variations on the same theme...The Goblin King.

She was assaulted by the memory of his hands on her body, his smooth alluring voice, and his heart-stopping kisses. When she managed to clear her head of these things, the words of the sonnet echoed through her thoughts, plaguing her. Faster and faster the barrage of thoughts circulated, as her mind clawed desperately for an answer to what it all meant, making sleep utterly impossible.

Her entire being thrummed with the need to know. How did he really feel? She wouldn't have a moment's peace until she knew the answer. She needed to find out. She had to know.

It might have been a foolish thing to want, but the damage was already done. Whether she kept her feelings buried deep inside, or came clean, it no longer mattered. Either Jareth would break her heart or he wouldn't. What did it matter anyway if she gave into her feelings? She was already suffering. She might as well confront him and get it over with. At the very least she would find out the truth of his intentions, and if they weren't so honorable, she would face the pain, deal with her grief, and get on with her life.

She wrung her hands fretfully, all this uncertainty was killing her. She tossed and turned restlessly, nearly out of her mind with longing for him, her body now ruthlessly awakened. A thought surfaced, a delicious possibility, both terrifying and exciting her.

She could go to him and get her answers by being brutally honest with him. She could just ask him, point blank, what he felt for her. He had been very up front and honest with her this evening, and she felt that she had a fair chance of learning the truth if she went about it diplomatically. At the very least he might be merciful (or cruel) enough to force himself on her and put her out of her misery. The idea muddled her mind as she recalled the sweetness of the kisses that still lingered on her lips.

With a huff of frustration she finally flung her covers aside with the utmost impatience, and muttered "Awwww...Damn it!". Dressed in nothing but her short sleeved linen chemise, she padded across the cold stone floor in her bare feet, only stopping when she stood face to face with the heavy oak door that lead to the Goblin King's bedchamber.

Nervously biting her lower lip in a moment of hesitation, she tentatively brought her fist up to knock. And just as before, the door slowly swung open of it's own accord; a silent, and ominous invitation to enter.

Having already made up her mind, she swallowed her pride, ducking her head as she purposefully charged inside. Knowing full well that her courage was hanging by a thread, she decided that firm directness was the only way to proceed. The room was fairly darkened, a few wall sconces still burned casting the room in subtle firelight, but the dimness didn't deter her, she knew where she was going and what she had to say.

Prefacing her announcement with a deep breath, she gushed in an urgent tone, "Jareth, we have to talk...I..."

As her eyes left the floor a soft gasp escaped from between her petal soft lips and her carefully chosen words died in her throat.

She had been so preoccupied during her hasty advance that she had failed to notice that Jareth wasn't simply standing in his room, awaiting her intrusion, and that he was, in fact, lounging in his bath.

His posture was that of casual relaxation interrupted by a sudden piqued interest at her bold entrance. He had been leaning back against the edge of the tub relaxation, but at the sound of her entry he stirred and straightened. His arms rested comfortably along the edge of the stone. In one hand he held a glass of amber liquor.

For one startled instant Sarah was helpless to do nothing but stare, her traitorous eyes quickly appraising his glistening pale chest and his lithe willowy arms. He was lean, but not without definition. In fact, he seemed a work of art, his pale body reminding her of a marble statue like that of David or Adonis.

She had been in Jareth's chamber before, so that was not what rendered her speechless. She had on several mornings even been present as the Goblin King bathed, however, she had come to know his morning routine, and she always managed to carefully busy herself and keep her eyes elsewhere while he was bathing.

This was a very different scenario. She hadn't been prepared. She had burst headlong into the room, looked up, and quite a sight awaited her. She was eternally grateful that the water at least came up to his torso, hiding the rest in its darkened depths.

The enormous basin, that was his bath, was cut directly into the floor near the foot of his bed, and he was at the far end, facing the door she had just come through. Steam was rising from the surface of the water, and the foreboding effect was only heightened by the orange light cast by the fire raging in the yawning mouth of the black marble hearth. In the midst of all the dark ambiance was Jareth, quietly waiting like a seasoned predator.

For a split second a satisfied smirk tugged at the corner of his mouth. He had hoped she would be foolish enough to bother him here and now, but in truth he hadn't expected her to. Talk about the epitome of pleasant surprises.

It appeared fate was on his side tonight after all.

It seemed she stopped breathing as she took him in. His wild platinum hair was made gold in the firelight, the very ends of it damp and clinging to his skin. She noticed the amulet that hung over his chest, just barely out of the water. He exuded a sort of lazy, confident power, coolly regal even in his state of undress.

Still agape in shock, she finally raised her eyes to find that he was watching her. His eyes locked with hers, drinking in the startled surprise on her face, making her look like such an innocent. She could do nothing but gawk at him as her mind completely shut down, his intense heated gaze causing a sort of sensory overload. The only thought that seemed to weakly trickle through the blockage in her muddled brain was, "Jareth...naked...and...very wet."

His gaze was smoldering, as his alluring mouth curved into a lazy and satisfied smirk. His words were thick and seductive, velvety, and tangible as they hung in the air, "Sarah, do come in. By all means, why don't you join me."

It was as if his words shocked her body back into action. Red-faced and flustered she frantically averted her eyes, stammering, "Oh...sorry. I...Uh...It can wait...I...I'll just go..."

She turned around to find that the door had already closed behind her and to her horror the handle had mysteriously vanished. He sounded amused, his voice teasing as it assaulted her back, "Don't be ridiculous. It must be rather important for you to come storming in here like that."

Realizing she wasn't getting out the way she came in, she turned slowly, carefully averting her eyes as she protested, "No really, I...It can wait...I shouldn't have disturbed you."

It occurred to her that she was totally losing her nerve, but she hadn't anticipated walking in him while he was naked and bathing. In truth, his state of undress alone had totally shattered her delicate concentration to pieces.

He swirled the contents of his glass, taking a generous sip of the potent liquor, his eyes raking hungrily over her form as if savoring her appearance along with the taste of his drink. His tone was commanding, "Nonsense. You haven't disturbed me. Join a drink."

She made the mistake of looking at him, as she breathlessly repeated, "A drink?" Once she met his smoldering gaze, she couldn't tear her eyes away. He was so good at making her feel unsure of herself.

His eyes held hers, his expression was deliciously sinister as he roguishly taunted, a little drunkenly, "Yes. Have a drink...and join me." He rested his arms on the edge of the tub in an open gesture of invitation that was startlingly casual.

Her eyes betrayed her command to not move, and they dropped to peruse his wet torso. Sweet Jesus, he was the very personification of temptation and she swore there were flames dancing in his eyes. He had to be the devil, or a demon far worse. Even as she was protesting, she felt the pull of her desire to give in, "I...I...don't think that's such a good idea..."

His gaze settled on hers as he absently swirled his drink and taunted, "Sarah...what is that you wanted? Obviously something prompted you to come rushing into my chamber."

His cool, self-assured mocking tone suddenly made her feel fifteen again, as if he had just come to inform her that he had taken her brother and that she would have to run the labyrinth. He was every inch that same King who had terrified and thrilled her way back then, only now something had changed.

Of course there was the obvious difference that he was leisurely bathing in a state of undress, but there was more to it than that. His tone wasn't threatening as it had been back then. No, it was playful, almost recklessly casual, and his smile was every bit as teasing as it was smug.

Her eyes darted to the nearly empty glass in his hand and suddenly she understood. He had been drinking; quite heavily, by the looks of it. Her brow shot up in surprise as she stammered, "'re drunk...I mean, you've been drinking."

He arched one fine eyebrow, "How very astute of you. I have been drinking, but no, I'm not drunk. Mildly intoxicated maybe..." His eyes gave her body a cursory glance as he smiled wickedly and purred, "...but I assure you I am still in full possession of my faculties."

She was scarcely able to deal with him when he was fully dressed and entirely sober, and now he was bathing nude and acting drunkenly forward, she was, to put it lightly, quite in over her head. It hadn't escaped her attention that he was looking at her as though she were his next meal.

Suddenly feeling intensely vulnerable, she crossed her arms defensively over her chest sharply replying, "That's all well and good and all, but really, it's late. I ah guess I'll just be going..."

With that, she made for the other side of the room, heading towards the other door that lead out to the hall, when his commanding voice halted her, "Wait. You didn't answer my question."

She turned suddenly upon seeing that once again there was no door handle. Whirling to face him she snapped, "I said it could wait. Now, if you'd please let me out..."

Abruptly, he pushed himself off the side, making his way to the other side of the bath. Crossing his arms on the edge of the tub, he rested his chin on top, smiling flirtatiously as he continued to stare at her with his penetrating gaze.

Playfully he remarked, "Tell you what. I'll let you out on one condition..."

Her eyes didn't leave his as she probed, "What condition?"

He flashed her a teasing smile and replied a little drunkenly, "On the condition that you tell me what you really came in here to tell me..."

She had already begun to nod when he added, "...and that you join me in a drink..."

Realizing that there was no sense in arguing, she sighed and replied in defeat, "Alright...fine." She couldn't help looking down at him and her heart felt as though it were melting as he cracked a wide grin.

Wordlessly, he pointed to the snifter on the mantle as an extra glass materialized beside it. Sarah reluctantly went to the mantle and poured herself a glass of brandy. With shaky fingers she brought the glass to her lips and took a sip of the burning liquid as she heard him drawl from behind, "Now get in the bath."

She choked as she turned to face him. She coughed a few times, the fiery draught burning her throat as she forced her reply, "Excuse me!?"

His eyes settled resolutely on hers as he countered, "You heard what I said. If you want to leave, you answer my question, over a drink." Silkily he finished, " my bath."

She slowly clarified in a shocked voice that was little more than a whisper, "You want me to get in the bath with you?"

His eyes never left hers.


Her body was practically jumping at the chance, but her mind however, remained terrified. This was not at all how this was supposed to go, but then, she hadn't counted on him being in his bath.

He continued to watch her expectantly, and her insides lurched at the idea that he was waiting for her to undress. He may have been comfortable with his nudity, but she had always been self-conscious of her body, and her inexperience certainly didn't help. Not to misunderstand. She had had a few limited sexual encounters, but as far as she was concerned, not even a million lovers could have prepared her for this.

There was no way she was going strip down in front of him, she had to draw the line somewhere. Tentatively she stammered, "I'm not taking off my clothes, if that's what you're thinking."

A slight smile graced his fair face as he backed away, reaching the far end of the bath to give her some space, as he casually replied, "Suit yourself."

Suddenly feeling the need to take the edge off the nagging anxiety, she tilted her head back and drained the brandy from her glass. Jareth regarded her silently as she refilled her glass and approached the edge of the bath.

Steam was rising from the surface of the water, making the room feel even more stifling than the blood-warming liquor that she had just consumed. As she stepped into the bath, onto the first stone step beneath the surface of water she thought, "I can't believe I'm actually doing this..."

Though one part of her was intensely apprehensive, she couldn't help but be slightly proud of herself for not running away. She would get her answers, one way or another, and if that meant bathing with Jareth, then so be it.

Her eyes flickered up to regard him as she descended down into the bath. The steaming water enveloped her calves. It's warmth a blessing on her tense muscles, for she felt as though she were strung tighter than a bowstring.

The water crept up her thighs, and she ventured deeper into the pool. The water was now lapping at her backside as she moved. Higher and higher it climbed, sending a shiver of pleasure through her as it crept like liquid fire between her legs. The warmth of it engulfed her as she sank up to her chest, leaning against the edge of the bathing pool opposite Jareth.

The wet fabric of her chemise, made translucent by the water, clung to her moist skin and she sunk lower in the water, as she was quite sure that her breasts must have been quite visible through the wet material.

What had she been thinking wading into his bath with nothing on but a white linen nightgown? Who was she kidding...what was she thinking coming here in the first place?

He was in complete control of the situation, and the realization made her very nervous.

Jareth watched with quiet interest as she anxiously sipped her drink, his eyes momentarily dropping to skim over her wet chest, before they darted back to her face. Pensively, he drained his glass, as if contemplating its contents, then setting it aside, he pursed his lips and smoothly began, "Now...what was it you wanted to say?"

Sarah swallowed in trepidation, trying to suppress her nervousness, hoping that her voice didn't sound as frightened as she felt, "I...errr...Well...there's something I think we ought to discuss..."

He regarded her expectantly and she continued without stopping for a breath, "Obviously there is an...attraction that lies between us, and...well, to be honest, it...concerns me."

His expression was one of intrigue as he replied silkily, "Oh? Why should it concern you? As I believe, it is"

"Um, well, yeah, it is...but for one, our past concerns me." She gushed.

There was a hint of mocking amusement in his tone as he retorted, "Why, because once upon a time we were adversaries?"

She found his penetrating gaze unnerving, so she looked away as she replied, "Partly."

She could practically feel the weight of his gaze as he demanded, "And what's the other part?"

She risked a glance at him as she stammered, "Well, I'm not really sure of your intentions, I mean...I'm not sure why you even want me here."

He was silent for a moment, and then he thoughtfully replied, matter-of-factly, "Sarah, have I ever lied to you?"

"I..." she began weakly, the words dying in her throat before she finally admitted, "I suppose not."

His eyes locked with hers as he supplied, "And I see no reason to start now. So if there is something you wish to know, all you need do is ask."

She took a deep breath and exhaled in a rush of tumbling words "How do you feel about me?"

He seemed to consider the question carefully. Finally he pursed his lips and drawled, "I might be inclined to ask the same of you."

Shyly she protested, "I asked you first."

There was a hint of amusement in his voice as he retorted, "Ah yes. Your precious fairness, I might have known." He carefully considered her question and he came to a simple conclusion. She was ready. Her longing had prompted her to come to him. She wanted answers, and he would give them. There was no reason to hold back, for at that moment he was certain that brutal honesty in the admission of his feelings would be the certain route to swift victory. She had been moments from surrender earlier, but they had been interrupted and she had slipped through his fingers. Now they were alone, there was no escape, he would be relentless and she would succumb. She would be his.

With a confident grin he drawled, "Very well then, I propose an agreement. I'll answer your question truthfully in exchange for the same courtesy from you."

Her eyes boldly met his as she nodded, "Fair enough."

He pushed off from the side, slowly coming towards her as he thickly replied, "Are you certain you're ready for my answer?" His intense gaze held her still as he approached, a slight nod being all she could manage.

Victory was imminent. He felt it. The feeling was so tangible that it tingled and surged like magical energy, crackling through his veins.

He stalked closer, like a very graceful and wet work of art, his mouth twisting into a devastatingly seductive smirk, as he droned, "When you first invoked my goblins, I thought you a petulant brat..."

His eyes strayed to her lips as he added, "...Yet something about you captured my interest."

He leaned in as he went on, "When you started off through the labyrinth, I was sure you would soon give up, but you were persistent. Then you landed in the oubliette, and I was certain that you would quit when the dwarf informed you that you'd have to start all over again, but no. No, you were still far too determined to give up that easily."

His eyes perused the surface of the water, just over her breasts as he viciously slurred, "It is beyond me how you managed to persuade that dwarf to disobey my direct orders by helping you, for he is, without a doubt, the most cowardly wretch in my entire kingdom..." His gaze rose and locked with hers. The ferocity in his eyes was startling.

Sarah swallowed the fear that started to well up within her. She had no idea where this was going, and she was more than a little scared. He was so unpredictable. Was he really angry, or was he just toying with her? Her mind suddenly felt very fuzzy, and her face felt as though it were on fire.

She couldn't be sure if it was the overabundance of alcohol, or the fact that Jareth had her trapped in his tub. Her ears burned at the realization, as her subconscious reminded her that he was most assuredly naked under that dark water.

More than a little rattled, she slid off the underwater stone perch that she had settled on. She fought the dizziness as she stood, and retreated to the side of the pool trying to escape his advance.

It was to no avail.

He moved closer still, trapping her between himself and the edge of the bath. She flattened her back against the edge of the tub as he stalked closer, desperately trying to widen the distance between them. She tried to quiet the frantic mantra in her head that kept repeating, he's naked and he's coming closer.

His tone was chastising, yet unspeakably enticing, as it interrupted her thoughts, "You managed to overcome every obstacle in your path, and it tested my patience, so much so that I decided to personally intervene." Harshly he finished, "I made your dream a reality, but that still wasn't good enough for you..."

Suddenly his voice took on a dangerous tone, and she shuddered involuntarily, as he leaned forward closing the distance between them, and breathed close to her skin, "I underestimated you Sarah. Only when our time was up did I realize how strong-willed you were."

She savored the heady scent of brandy as his warm breath drifted over her cheek.

He leaned a little closer and whispered in a voice laced with regret, "Barely more than a child, and yet you still boldly defied me."

His hushed voice was an intimate accusation, meant only for her, "Cruelly you denied all I offered, and refused to see me as anything but a villain."

Suddenly he drew back, and as his darkened eyes met hers. They seemed bitter, wounded somehow, and the sight made her heart ache, just as it made her body tremble.

Softly he continued, "...When all I had done was exactly what you asked me to do. I took the child because you asked. When that was no longer what you wanted, I engaged you in the game. Our time ran out and I finally realized how worthy an opponent I was facing."

He looked away for a second, his tone suddenly wistful and disbelieving as he breathed, "So much power at my fingertips, and it was entirely useless, because the realization had come too late."

His eyes returned to meet hers and his tone was resolute as he went on, "Finally I knew what I wanted, but there wasn't time to stake my claim. You were incapable of hearing me, as you had already made up your mind. You distrusted me. It was too late to make you understand. You said the words, and so it ended."

Again his voice seemed to hold a tinge of regret, "You won back your brother, and vanished from this world. The fairy tale was over for you, life went on...but the story didn't end for me...not there."

Harshly, he sneered, "Oh no. Since that moment, I have lived in exile. Banished from your world, finally graced with the knowledge of what it was I wanted, but cursed, in that it was the one thing that was completely beyond my reach."

He leaned in, his mouth hovering close to her cheek as he assured her in a sultry whisper, "But you see, I too am determined when it comes to getting what I want, and so I waited...biding my time, until the solution presented itself." He paused for a moment before he breathed, close to her ear so that she could barely hear him, "How ironic that the object that lead to my downfall, would also be my salvation."

The tip of his nose brushed teasingly against her cheek as he whispered, "The very story that supplied you with all you needed to succeed against the labyrinth, also prompted your precious Kayla to make that foolish wish, thrusting you back into my world."

Breathing deeply of her scent, he decided it was time to go in for the kill.

He moved to just barely brush his lips over hers in the most provoking manner, before he warmly chuckled, "Funny how instrumental that little red book has been...and how very predictive too."

Sarah's body had gone rigid at his intrusion and the implications of his words. She felt as though it had been an eternity since she had last drawn breath. Still, she steeled herself for what would come next, remaining frozen in place as he confessed throatily, "You see there is some truth to that little story you treasure so much. I HAVE fallen in love with the girl."

It seemed her heart had stopped there, and it took a great deal of effort for her to hear what he murmured into her hair.

His voice was thick with emotion as he admitted, "An entire kingdom at my disposal, centuries of wisdom...inexplicable power, yet the one thing I desired above all else continued to allude me."

Her eyes closed in slow agony as his lips found her ear and he breathed raggedly, "Well, no more. What I have been longing for, is finally within my grasp. You my worthy opponent, my most prized possession, you, for whom I would turn the world upside down, my one true rival, my one true love."

A torrent of emotion rose within her, and she screwed her eyes shut tighter, causing one hot tear to leak down her cheek. Rigidly, she clamped her mouth shut, barely stifling a tortured sob of relief behind her trembling lips. His mouth moved over her cheek, tasting her sweet exultant tears. His lips dropped to graze her jaw as finished silkily, "There is nothing I've wanted more, and I'll be damned before I let you go, this time around."

His hands were suddenly cradling her face, and she was unable to hold back any longer. She turned, parting her lips as she forcefully slid her mouth under his. There was nothing gentle or innocent about the way she kissed him. It was a kiss of utter desperation; long, fervent, and achingly deep, the act of one pushed well beyond her breaking point.

Her passion was startling, taking Jareth completely by surprise. He scarcely had time to react, when he felt her hands upon him. Her palms felt wondrously hot as they slid up, slowly over his wet chest. He sighed against her mouth at the blessed agony that was her delicate touch, and her passionate kiss. Her arms finally came to rest on his shoulders, and nothing in the world could have felt more right.

Incensed by her zealous response to his admission, he deepened the kiss, stirring his need further, his tongue stroking provocatively against hers. The kiss reached a frightening intensity, as his fingers buried themselves in her dark lustrous hair. It was the texture of the richest silk.

The power of that kiss was undeniable, and it shook both of them. Jareth's need for her was insatiable, the ache so acute, that it startled and disoriented him. He pulled back suddenly, as though she'd burned him, sudden tormented uncertainty apparent in his extraordinary eyes.

Raggedly he breathed in a stern warning, "This is not the time to tease, Sarah..."

The frightening intensity of his expression and the urgency with which he entreated her, made it clear that he was deadly serious as he breathlessly added, "If you aren't prepared to see these actions brought to'd better leave. Right now."

She stared at him in open astonishment as she witnessed his struggle to maintain his restraint. The revelation that he was in such turmoil over his desire for her, moved her like nothing ever had. To turn away from him at that moment would have been impossible. Her own heart overflowed with her yearning for him, as the realization sang through her entire being.

He loved her.

Suddenly, he no longer seemed the callous, all-powerful monarch she had once known. At that moment she saw something new in the Goblin King; an intense sort of desperation. For a moment she got a glimpse of what was lurking behind his mocking, self-assured exterior, and it startled her. She saw someone who had been tormented, someone who was suffering...Someone who was at the end of his rope.

He looked exhausted as he stared back at her, a tortured look in his eyes, like one who is starving, or dying of thirst. It became perfectly clear at that moment. This was no villain she was dealing with, for how could someone who looked at her with such intense longing ever be her enemy.

He had suffered every bit as much as she. He had been made prisoner by his own pride, his own scorn doing far more damage than she would have ever wished upon him. In truth, she was tired of fighting. And now there was no reason to.

Most Prized Possession

A Labyrinth Story
by Jester3

Part 28 of 42

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