Continuing Tales

Most Prized Possession

A Labyrinth Story
by Jester3

Part 41 of 42

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Most Prized Possession

Jareth slowly opened his eyes. The room was aglow with the pinkish light of dawn. A new day.

There was the subtle pressure of something resting against his arm. His hooded eyes shifted to the dark haired girl at his bedside. Her head was down, resting against his forearm. Her deep even breathing indicated that she was fast asleep. It was then he realized that her hand was holding his.

He had dreamt of unsettling things, great pain, and despair, but through it all he had felt as though she had been there too, holding his hand. As he glanced down at her small hand still clutching his, he knew, it hadn't been a dream. She had been with him the entire time. It was that comforting sensation along with her soothing caresses, and caring words, that had made his recovery possible.

He shifted slightly, taking a deep tentative breath. The pain was gone. He was out of danger. The power of the labyrinth had replenished his magic, and she, she had nurtured his spirit. His strength had returned. Of course, it would still be a while yet before his power was back to full capacity, but he felt well enough. He could feel the magic crackling through his veins.

Just then she shifted in her sleep, making a small noise, as she turned her head so that her cheek was resting on her forearm. Her face was now turned towards him in sleep. His eyes drifted over her peaceful face, beautiful in it's serene repose.

Her youthful skin was warm, radiant with a pinkish hue. Her chocolate colored hair cascaded down to form silky pools on the bed beside her, and her rich dark lashes rested against her rosy cheeks. Her coral lips were frozen in that willful childlike pout, practically begging to be kissed. The mere sight of her warmed his heart at the same time as it caused the deep well of sorrow and regret to steal his breath away. It was a longing so deep, it made his soul ache.

So warm and an angel.

She is an angel.

She saved my life, even after all I've done to her.

Why Sarah? I don't even deserve you."

As If from somewhere deep in the recesses of his subconscious, her lilting voice came floating back to taunt him, "...that's what you do when you love someone, Jareth, you make sacrifices." He stilled as the realization washed over him, his certainty clear as any crystal.

I have to let her go.

Though the longing he felt for her made him want to hold on to her forever. She was, afterall, the most exquisite treasure he had ever come across, and the desire to possess her for all eternity was overwhelming...but he realized it was wrong.

What beauty can be found in jewel whose luster has been worn out and can no longer sparkle.

Once upon a time he'd underestimated her and she wounded him. Fortune had awarded him another chance and through persistence he had acquired her and sought his revenge. But revenge hadn't been what he really wanted. He had heard it said that time heals all wounds, he just never believed it, not until recently.

He had to let go of the past. Letting her go would hurt, yes...but not nearly as much as watching her grow to hate him. Sarah was fierce and passionate, holding her in his castle after all he'd said and done would be a harsh imprisionment. He couldn't bear to snuff out all her vitality by forcing her to remain somewhere that she didn't want to be. From what he'd overheard her saying to Hoggle, she wanted to go home.

Sadly, he looked upon her sweet face and knew.

I will love her forever.

I cannot keep her here.

I don't even deserve to be in her presence.

She will haunt me for the rest of eternity...

He sighed wearily, pulling himself together. Everyone has ghosts to deal with, and so I must deal with mine and set her free. I will learn to live with long as wherever she is, whatever she does, she is happy. And should the day come that she needs me...I will be there. I will always be there for her. She's earned that much. I owe her my kingdom. The least I can do is give her back her freedom.

Closing his eyes he concentrated on the magic within him, gathering it to his center and chanelling it. His intent was pure and clear as he felt the crystal form in his hand. "Send her home...restore the time that she has lost."

Sarah stirred. The room was bright with natural light. It must be day. It hadn't been the light that woke her, rather the moving of Jareth's slender fingers against hers. She breathed deeply, lifting her head, as the familiar sensastion of being pulled in opposing directions washed over her. She knew instantly...she was being transported by magic.

The feeling halted abruptly, leaving her wide awake. She sat bolt upright in alarm, finding herself in her bed in her familiar dorm room. The only problem was she wasn't supposed to be in her dorm room, she was supposed to be in Jareth's chamber in the castle beyond the goblin city. Her eyes darted about wildly and upon seeing that Jareth was nowhere in sight she jumped up from her bed.

Kayla who had been reclining on the bed on the opposite side of the room was also startled. The red leather bound book fell forgotten from her hand onto the floor as she jumped up.

"Sarah! You're back!"

Sarah was hardly listening. Instead she dashed to the bathroom door throwing it open. Upon seeing no one inside she swatted open the closet.

"What the hell just happened?! Where is he?!"

Kayla's blue eyes were wide with apprehension as she came to stand by Sarah at the closet. Her roommate's behavior had her worried.

"He? You mean Jareth?"

Sarah spun to face her, catching her by the shoulders. Searching her roommate's eyes she cried, "Please, tell me you remember..."

"Of course I remember...I was there..."

Sarah exhaled in relief but it was short lived "It was real...all of it. But why now? Why am I back now? The year wasn't up!"

Kayla's eyes widened in surprise, "He sent you back early?"

Sarah's brows furrowed as she tried desperately to make sense of what had just happened, "I don't know...he...he must have."

Now it was Kayla's turn to grab Sarah by the shoulders, "Oh my god...What happened...tell me everything..." She trailed off as she saw the hurt and disappointment in Sarah's eyes.

"I don't know what happened. Everything just sort of fell apart. Jareth was in danger, he was hurt, but I got him back...he seemed to be getting better...and I am. I don't know what happened...I don't even know if he's alright."

Suddenly Kayla's eyes drifted over to Sarah's bed as she stammered, "This is just a wild guess...but maybe that will tell you."

Sarah turned quickly and saw it. A perfect crystal sphere glinted innocently from atop Sarah's pillow.

"It's a crystal. Jareth's calling card."

Slowly she reached out her fingertips grazing the cold surface. In a flash the crystal doubled in size and burst like a soap bubble, leaving in it's place a neatly folded piece of parchment and a tiny clock.

Sarah quickly snatched up the parchment. She turned it over in her hands, it was sealed with red wax, an ornate letter J stamped into the center. Hastily, she opened it and read...


I can no longer hold you in the Underground. You've been released from the bonds of our agreement. You saved my life and for that, I thank you. Know that I am well and on the mend. I have no explanation for you, save this...It was written by a mutual poet friend of ours.



Farewell! Thou art too dear for my possessing,

And like enough thou know'st thy estimate:

The charter of thy worth gives thee releasing;

My bonds in thee are all determinate.

For how do I hold thee but by thy granting?

And for that riches where is my deserving?

The cause of this fair gift in me is wanting,

And so my patent back again is swerving.

Thyself thou gavest, thy own worth then not knowing,

Or me, to whom thou gavest it, else mistaking;

So thy great gift, upon misprison growing,

Comes home again, on better judgement making.

Thus have I had thee, as a dream doth flatter,

In sleep a king, but waking no such matter.

P.S. The clock is for you. You have examinations, I believe, and you've probably long since forgotten your studies. Simply turn the hands backwards to stop time. Once you have caught up in your studies, force the hands forward and time will resume again.

Sarah's eyes scanned the sonnet, not once but twice, and then a third time to be sure.

Meanwhile Kayla could no longer stand the suspense. "Well, what does it say?"

Sarah wanted nothing more than to retreat to a quiet place where she could be alone and think, but knew that her friend would never let her leave without some explanation.

"It's from Jareth. He has released me from the agreement. He says he's alright...and thanks me for saving his life."

"Thanked you? That doesn't sound like his style..."

"There's more. Poetry...a sonnet, one of Shakespeare's."

"Uh-oh, he knows your weakness. What does it say?"

"Here, read it for yourself. See what you make of it."

Sarah handed her the letter as she sat on the edge of the bed, waiting for her to read.

Kayla read the sonnet, her eyes darting over the page as she finished. "He thinks he doesn't deserve you."

Softly Sarah admitted, "Yeah, that's what I got from it too."

"Yeah, well he probably doesn't deserve're the heroine remember, he's the bad guy."

"This is serious Kayla. God, is that what he really thinks?! I mean yeah, he said some awful things...but there had to be a reason!"

Kayla shrugged, "This is just a wild guess, but maybe he's scared. According to this poem, the guy has got some serious insecurities. If he doesn't even think he deserves you, than why should you. Maybe he's pushing you away so he won't get hurt. Guys do stupid shit like that."

"Get hurt...or get hurt again. God, I can't believe it never occurred to me...I hurt him once. He was afraid it would happen again, so he sabotaged was his way of evening the score."

Sarah opened her drawer and began tugging on a pair of jeans. Kayla furrowed her brow, "Where are you going?" Sarah shoved the letter in her pocket along with the tiny clock, "Cafeteria. I've got thinking to do. I need some time alone... I've got to figure out a way to talk to him."


Sarah looked her friend in the eye and resolutely replied, "I love him...and I'm not giving up. I have to make things right between us. I have to think of something...I need quiet."

"Why not the library?"

"Library is bound to be packed just before midterms, and it's never quiet in there. The caf is open all night, less people, more there's food."

"You can't just tell me that you love him, and leave! You have to tell me what happened...I need the juicy details! Besides maybe I can help you figure everything out."

Sarah opened another draw and took a ten dollar bill out of her wallet. She slapped the money in to Kayla's hand, "Fine you win, but you are getting the short, short version."

"Ten bucks? What's this for..." Kayla's eyes widened, "You didn' mean you slept with him!?"

Pressed for time Sarah admitted, "I certainly did."

Kayla was practically salivating. "Details...I want details."

She shook her head, "No time for details, besides...I don't kiss and tell. That's your gig."

"Fine. Just the basics then...since you're in such a hurry."

As soon as Jareth was feeling himself again, he visited to the stables to find that Tempest had been returned to his stall and was being well taken care of. He was about to leave when the stallion spoke directly to him.

Poking his head out of his stall Tempest knickered, "The lass really loves you, you know. Don't think she woulda stuck her neck out for you like that if she didn't."

The Goblin King turned, stunned to find his mount talking to him. "How long have you been able to..."


Jareth nodded. The stallion shook out his mane and replied, "Quite a while. Sorry I kept it from you...but I haven't really had anything important to say 'til now."

Jareth nodded, "I see. Well since you are in such a talkative mood, anything else you'd like to share."

Tempest pawed the ground and replied, "Yes. Please give my thanks to Hoggle the dwarf, Ludo, and Sir Didymus for saving my life. They valiantly led the Goblins against my attackers. They made the capture of the rest of the Horde members possible."

Jareth had suspected as much and promised, "They will be commended, I will see to that."

Tempest munched his hay and added, "I know Sarah is no longer here, I can feel that she is gone."

Stiffly he admitted, "I've sent her home."

Tempest lowered his head, "Please do try and make amends with the lass. I miss her terribly, and I would be delighted if she could come back to visit me every now and again."

Jareth felt a stab of longing at those words and explained, "I cannot promise that she will return...but maybe over time, maybe there will be a way."

Tempest looked intently at the Goblin King, "I understand."

They simply stared at each other and then bid each other goodnight. Just as Jareth was about to leave he heard the stallion whisper, "It must have been very hard to let her go." Jareth didn't reply, but hurried from the stable.

When he was alone in the cool night air when he breathed, "You have no idea."

From there Jareth retuned to the castle. There was business to be taken care of. He walked purposefully towards the door to his throne room. With a mere thought, the door opened widely to admit him. The room was a flurry of goblin activity. He was about to yell at them all to shut up, but as soon as he entered, they all fell silent.

Mouths and beaks opened in astonishment. For a second Jareth wondered if he was dreaming, and then, one by one, they all bent down on one knee. As he neared the throne, one small goblin gushed in a mere whisper, "Thank the powers you are back your majesty."

Sitting on his throne, Jareth leaned down, "Beg your pardon? I didn't catch that."

The Goblin sniffed, sounding though he was holding back an emotional outburst, "We thought somethin' awful had happened to you...we're just glad your back is all."

Jareth looked up to see them all nodding in unison. Goblins were funny creatures. He had always suspected that they needed his stern discipline. Without him to keep them in line there would be chaos, and eventually their ale would run out. His fine eyebrows rose, "Ah. How touching...but do not thank the owe your thanks to a human. It was Sarah that saved my life."

He noticed the dwarf making his way nearer with wide concerned eyes. His voice rang out above the crowd, "Your majesty...about Sarah..."

Jareth knew where the conversation was about to go, so he cut the dwarf off by announcing, "Yes, well onto the next order of business. Out! All of you." He then looked to the dwarf, "But not you stay. I have a bone to pick with you."

Hoggle swallowed, looking uneasy as the goblins filed out of the room. When they were at last alone, Hoggle cleared his throat, "About Sarah, your majesty...I was wonderin'...I mean, I heard she was alright an all, but I uh thought I might come 'ere see her."

Jareth merely looked at him for moment, as if deep in thought. Finally he soberly replied, "How very thoughtful of you Hoggle, but I'm afraid she's not here."

"Not here? Well...where is she then? Hey! You got my name right!"

Jareth grinned solemnly, "It was very brave...what you and Ludo and Didymus did. Tempest is safe, and none of my goblins were harmed. You have my thanks for that. You're not a coward Hoggle, and I will never forget your name least, when no one else is around."

Hoggle was aghast and mumbled, "Uh...thank you're your majesty." He blinked then and ventured, "If Sarah isn't here, then where is she?"

Jareth's expression changed. Suddenly he seemed weary, "I sent her home."

Hoggle's mouth dropped, "You sent her home?! Why?"

Jareth eyed the dwarf, "Not that it's any of your concern, but I thought that's what she go home."

Hoggle shuffled, suddenly finding his feet very interesting, "Then, I suppose you've uhhh...set things right with her."

Jareth shot him a disapproving look.

"I know it ain't any of my business your majesty, but Sarah told me about it...and well, I care about her. She's my friend and I don't like seein' her hurt."

Looking away Jareth remarked, "I know. And that is why I'm going to send you aboveground to keep an eye on her."

The dwarf was astounded.

Jareth elaborated, "Things haven't been set right. I'm not sure they ever can be, but I have to know that she's alright. You must go, be a friend to her, and be sure that she is happy."

"I don't understand?"

Jareth looked at him, surprised to see that the dwarf was quite agitated.

Gritting his teeth, Hoggle growled, "Rowrr, how am I supposed to make her happy?! You're the one that she's in love with! And her!"

Jareth was stunned by the outburst, but still the dwarf went on, "You're right...I'm not a are. Tuck tail and run, just like the creepy rat that you are! You hurt her, and she saves your life. And how do you thank her? Send her home, without so much as a word! The least you can do is give her an explanation, she deserves that much!"

Jareth looked into the crystal that he was now balancing on his fingertips. He seemed lost in thought as he answered, "You're right Hoggle. She does." He frowned sourly, "She deserves more than I can ever give her." Suddenly Jareth stood and angrily sneered, "She's too good for me! Surely, you can see that. The stories are right...I am a villain and the villain never gets the heroine." Crossly, he lobbed the crystal across the room. It struck the far wall, shattering into a billion delicate fragments. He sighed wearily, suddenly seeming old to the dwarf, "I can't be what she deserves. She wanted to go back to her life...that I can give her. That's all I can give her."

Hoggle's eyes widened, "Yeah but...wait...what did you say?"

"She wanted to get back to her life. I gave her that."

"Wait...who said she wanted to go back to her life? Did she tell you that?"

"No, she told you that. A few days ago, you two were talking. I overheard her say that."

Hoggle thought hard, the conversation coming back to him.

"Hang on...just how much did you hear?"

"Well not everything. I left after hearing her say that not going home wasn't an option, that she didn't know what she'd do if I didn't send her back..."

Hoggle covered his mouth, shaking his head wildly, "No, That ain't right..."

"It was very clear Hoggle, I heard what she said."

"You didn't hear what she said after that."

Jareth crossed his arms over his chest growing impatient, "Well, tell me then Hoggle, pray tell...what did she say."

"She said she wasn't against coming back! She just didn't wanna stay, without saying goodbye...without tying up all 'er loose ends."

Jareth was stunned. How could he have been so wrong?

Hoggle went on, "She even asked me if I thought you'd be able to go visit her!"

Jareth's expression changed to one of disbelief as he interrupted, "You mean, she wanted things to work out? She wants to be with me?"

Hoggle's mouth hung open limply before he replied, "Obviously."

The dwarf shook his head, "You mean all this time you thought Sarah wanted to go home...that she would just forget about you!?"

Jareth suddenly seemed a million miles away as he breathed, "Something like that."

Hoggle shook his head, "Boy, did you ever screw up..."

Jareth was pulled from his thoughts suddenly. The unavoidable urge to change to his owl form, told him what was happening. He'd just been summoned. He couldn't be sure, but he sensed that it was no child.

Maybe it's Sarah.

"Excuse me, Hoggle, duty calls."

Hoggle stared gaping as Jareth promptly changed into his owl form, and flew towards the window. Limping from the room the dwarf called, "This ain't over, Jareth! You'd better make things right..."

Jareth went where his instincts led him, and needless to say the dormitory where he ended up was certainly familiar. He transformed as he flew in the open window, gusts of wind making the sheer curtains flap wildly, as thunder rolled ominously in the distance. He stood imperiously facing...

Not quite whom he'd expected.

The curly haired blond did not look amused. Her head cocked to one side, her hand resting impatiently on her hip, as her stormy blue eyes locked with his. All in all he had to say her stance was nearly as imposing as his own.

Intrigued, he took as step closer, "You? You summoned me here?"

She bit her lip and boldly admitted, "Damn right I did, Peter Pan!"

Jareth, now more aware of the summons, remarked, "You didn't wish yourself away this time, nor did you wish away anyone else. You simply demanded my presence...clever. Now, what is it I can do for you?"

She looked thoughtful for a moment, taking a few steps closer as she brazenly looked him over, "You can start by explaining yourself."

Pressing his lips together he confidently replied, "I don't believe I owe you any explanation."

She nodded and her eyes held his, "You're right. But you do owe Sarah one."

It was all very nice that the girl was involving herself, but frankly Jareth wasn't in the mood for games. "I don't see how this is any of your business..."

"Ah. Well, let me put it this way. Sarah is my best friend. You hurt her. Deeply. And since I really don't like seeing my best friend in pain...I'm afraid it is my business."

Needless to say, he was impressed by her gall.

Cooly she went on, "Now, I'm a pretty perceptive person, and a very good judge of character, and I have to say I'm not really getting the creepy bad guy vibe from you. In fact, I have a strong feeling that somewhere under all those iridescent threads and glitter, you really care about my bosom buddy. I'd even go so far as to say that I think you actually love her, so you tell me, what the hell is really going on?"

He couldn't help but smirk at her bravado, "You're really persistent."

She nodded her head, "And I really am a good listener, baby, all you gotta do is spill. So c'mon tell me what's really up..."

Jareth sighed, hardly believing the bizarre situation he found himself in.

She warmed slightly and taunted, "C'mon I know Sarah. I know everything that makes that girl tick. If you let me, I can probably help you fix this."

Most Prized Possession

A Labyrinth Story
by Jester3

Part 41 of 42

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