Continuing Tales

Most Prized Possession

A Labyrinth Story
by Jester3

Part 42 of 42

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Most Prized Possession

Sarah had been right. The cafeteria was nearly deserted. She chose a table in the far corner of the room and spread her books out. She could have chosen any number of the English literature books that covered the table to start with. Instead, she pulled the small red leather bound book from her pocket. The gold embossed letters shined under the bright overhead lights.

The Labyrinth.

For a moment she simply held the book in her hands, staring at the worn cover, and letting her fingertips graze over the tattered edges of the pages. Finally opening the book, she removed the folded letter that she had placed inside. She looked at the letter, admiring the elegant scrawl of the sharp black letters. She read through the letter, slowly and carefully, and when she finished, she read it again. She folded it neatly, placing it on the table, and then turned her attention to the leather bound book. She opened it to one of the few places where it would naturally fall open.

Her gaze drifted over the worn text. "Goblin king, Goblin King, wherever you may be, take this child of mine far away from me." She knew, better than anyone, that those weren't the real words. All she had to say was "I wish the goblins would come and take me away right now" and she knew they would come. Though as simple as it seemed, she knew there would be complications.

Now as far as she could tell, the Goblins were bound to come and take her, but it was Jareth who had the final say. He followed the rules, yes, but he was also the one that made them. He had already sent her back once, what was to say that he wouldn't simply do so again. Obviously, he didn't want to discuss the situation, as he easily could have, after he had recovered, but he didn't. He had chosen to send her home without so much as a single word.

Except for the letter, the voice in her head reminded. The letter was interesting. It said so little, yet so much at the same time. His message was polite and impersonal, yet the sonnet was startlingly personal. He had chosen her absolute favorite writer to convey the message, that in itself, was captivating. And then there was the message contained in the sonnet. It rang clearly; "I don't deserve you."

Strange last words for such a cold hearted, arrogant, villain. The Goblin King by reputation was devastatingly self-assured, selfish, and very used to getting his own way. The Jareth of old was a hedonist and wouldn't have given a moments thought to trouble himself over what was right or fair. The Goblin King of her stories and her adventure was possessive, not self-sacrificing.

The letter conveyed that he had given her up because he thought he didn't deserve her. What would influence him to make such a sacrifice? What had changed in him?

Suddenly, she remembered when they had been talking so freely the night of the masquerade, and her own words came back to haunt her "...that's what you do when you love someone, Jareth, you make sacrifices."

Maybe he did love her, and maybe he did feel that he didn't deserve her. But if that was the case, than why had he treated her so wretchedly the night before he was captured?

Sarah thought long and hard. She had suspected that it had always been Jareth's intention to lure her back into the Underground; that there had been unresolved business between them. She may have been only fifteen at the time, but even immediately after her return home, she felt that there was something left unfinished.

Thinking back to the nerve-wracking moments when she had traded her freedom for Kayla's, she remembered what her instincts had warned. He wants revenge. Now that she thought back on everything, her suspicions made sense. She had wounded his ego and his pride the first time she bested the labyrinth, and so he had set about getting retribution.

The only problem was that she must have thrown quite a wrench into his plans. Perhaps he hadn't counted on how happy her love could make him. More than once he had let his cool mask of indifference slip to reveal that he too was insecure. The night he had been so ruthlessly cold, there had been a few times when his regret had begun to bleed through. Though it was obvious that he was deliberately trying to hurt her, she wondered why he had waited so long. Her feelings for him must have been obvious for quite some time, so why did he keep prolonging breaking her heart?

Maybe he kept putting it off, because he didn't really want to. But then in the end, he did. What had changed?

She wondered what could've pushed him over the edge? Does he regret his decision now, if he feels he doesn't deserve me, or is he just afraid that it's too late to rectify things between us?

She knew that there was only one way to definitively answer all these questions. She'd have to confront Jareth. The only solution she could come up with was that she'd have to summon him. Even if he did come and take her, there was no guarantee that he'd listen to anything she had to say, no guarantee that he wouldn't just send her home again, and no guarantee that she wouldn't be trapping herself in the Underground.

She was willing to take those risks, if it meant that she'd have even the smallest chance to resolve things with him. Still, it would take much careful thought and preparation. It could very well be her last chance to ever speak with him, and she knew she may not get much time to speak her mind. She would have to carefully figure out how to best plead her case to Jareth, and tie up all her loose ends Aboveground, should she not be able to return.

At the earliest that would take days. Spring break was less than forty-eight hours away, but there was still the unpleasant business of her midterms. The thought occurred to her that she could just skip them. In fact, she was seriously considering it, when something occurred to her.

What if things don't work out?

What if he won't take me back?

Or what if things do work out, but he wants me to go on with my life here?

He gave me that clock, so I could stop time, so I'd have time to study.

I may still be able to finish my education.

I only have one more year of school, I shouldn't just piss that all away.

Besides, if I prolong summoning him for a little while, it will give me time to think.

Putting down the labyrinth book, Sarah took the small watch out of her pocket, and glanced over her English books. She decided that as soon as she finished her last few exams, she leave school to tie up the loose ends at home.

Tomorrow exams, then home...Then I confront Jareth. Her eyes drifted from her English Lit book to the large book titled, "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare."

Holding up the clock, she forced the hands backwards. She then glanced up at the huge cafeteria clock high on the wall, and she saw the second hand freeze. She carefully placed the small gothic looking clock on the table, and began rummaging through her book. She had an idea.

Sarah looked up at the utilitarian classroom clock and put down her number two pencil. There were still four minutes left until the end of the exam period, but she was satisfied in her answers. She quietly closed the light blue exam booklet and massaged her wrist. Writing nonstop for such long period did a number on her joints, but she breathed a sigh of relief. Her last exam was now over.

She stood quietly, rolling her shoulder a bit. The wound in her shoulder had healed extraordinarily fast, thanks to the solution that Lord Taibarr had given her. All that was left was a slight scar and some residual stiffness. She slung her backpack over her other shoulder. She placed the exam inside the answer booklet and brought it up to the desk at the front of the room. She smiled at the professor who smiled back and whispered, "Have a great break."

Leaving the classroom, she exhaled deeply. Wish I could... She knew she had done well. In fact, she felt good about all her exams. The trouble was that she had much more than tests on her mind. Her uneasiness over the situation with Jareth left her feeling far more unsettled than any exam ever had. The weight of it clouded her thoughts every waking moment and the fear that it may never be resolved, the idea that she may never see him again, made even breathing difficult.

As she walked down the hall, her mind buzzed with all the things she wanted to say to him. She was so absorbed in her thoughts that she was oblivious to the other students who trickled out of the other classrooms, all hurrying to begin their spring break.

As Sarah pushed open the double doors that lead out onto the quad, she was surprised to see that the grass was already covered in snow. Large downy flakes drifted down, obscuring the sky and the buildings across the quad. It was rather heavy snow for late March, and it had accumulated fast. It must have started sometime during her first exam and continued on through her last. That was New England weather, clear skies one minute, and a blizzard the next.

She picked up the pace, luckily she had already packed her things for the break and most likely Kayla had already left. She wanted to start heading home as soon as possible before the snow really started affecting the roads.

By the time Sarah had left the quad and crossed the campus there wasn't a student in sight. Her dormitory was one of the older smaller buildings on the edge of the campus. Zipping her jacket up to cover her chin, she left the road and headed up the wooded path that lead to the top of the hill where her dorm was located.

Sarah looked up, blinking the snow from her eyes. There were several enormous pines on either side and they were quite beautiful, frosted entirely in snow. Large feathery clumps of snowflakes drifted down, almost floating in their graceful decent.

Sarah closed her eyes and listened to the almost inaudible hiss as the flakes made contact with the branches above. She appreciated the way the snow seemed to purify everything. It gave everything a fresh start, perfect in its pristine whiteness. She wished that it could do the same for her. She inhaled deeply. There was something clean and nostalgic in the smell.

Crisp and pure and inviting, yet this time there was something else...something very familiar.


The connection struck her just as the cultured accented voice cut through the stillness of the snow, "Sarah..."

She whirled around, her eyes wide with surprise. Standing on the path just behind her was Jareth. The snowflakes swirled around him, stirred up by his sudden appearance.

His attire was all too appropriate for the surroundings. He was dressed head to toe in white. His hair was soft and wild, almost as white as the long white fur that adorned his cloak. The heavy garment looked warm, though his chest was slightly exposed under the open cravat of his gauzy poet's shirt. White velvet gloves encased his hands, perfectly matching his white form fitting breeches. His boots were also trimmed in fine white fur.

There was something hauntingly familiar about his attire. She looked him over. His face was set in a serious expression, just as it had been all those years ago. He looked so much the same as he had back then, just after she had beaten the labyrinth, right before she said the words. He looked so otherworldly that it made her heart ache.

His eyes darted over her, and for the moment he was speechless. For once his expression was not unfeeling. He looked forlorn...almost lost in the way that he looked at her. Long lost words echoed in her head, "Fear me, love me, do as I say and I will be your slave."

Remembering those words, her eyes met his. He implored her again, "Sarah..." his eyes and voice speaking volumes in that single moment. His mismatched eyes were fathomless, ageless, now like two wells of sorrow and regret. She swallowed, struggling to suppress the urge to run to him and throw her arms around him. Not yet, not so easily...after everything he's done.

Slowly the fiery outrage crept back in. He had been so cruel, so insensitive...what he'd done was inexcusable, and she deserved an explanation...a proper one. Amazingly the anger rushed back, almost making her forget that she needed to make amends with him. Funny, how he had that affect on her.

Her emotions collided and the mixture was becoming intolerably volatile. She blinked a few times, keeping the tears that threatened to well up, at bay. Her voice was cold and raw and full of strain, "What do you want Jareth?"

"Sarah..." He carefully entreated, "I have to talk to you..."

She inhaled sharply, accusing, "Oh, so now you want to talk? What's the matter? Were you worried your little note wasn't cryptic enough? Thought you'd come here and try to confuse me some more?"

He glanced at the snow-covered ground. He might have guessed that she wouldn't appreciate his rather impersonal farewell. He supposed he deserved her sarcasm. He'd have to be more persuasive if he was going to stand a chance. He looked her in the eye and earnestly replied, "Sarah, I realize you are upset. You have every right to be. I...made a terrible mistake."

"Upset? Jareth, upset doesn't even cover it..."

Whoa, did he just admit he made a mistake?

"Sarah, if you'll just hear me out...I will explain."

She crossed her arms over her chest, suppressing a shiver as her subconscious taunted, This ought to be good...

"Alright, I'm listening."

He noticed the way she hugged herself and saw the tremble in her frame. He gestured to the falling snow and ventured, "You're freezing. We should get indoors. Perhaps your residence will be a more suitable place to talk."

She glanced left and right to make sure that no one was around. "Fine, but we'd better hurry before someone comes."

He moved closer to her, extending his hand, like he did when he meant to transport them somewhere by magic. She glanced at his hand, hesitating a moment before she tentatively placed her hand in his.

In an instant they were standing at the door to Sarah's room. Sarah looked down the hall. No one around.

He watched silently as she unraveled her scarf and unzipped her jacket. Pulling off her mittens, she fumbled with her keys. Shoving the key in the lock, she warned, "This is it. Before you start explaining; spare me the bullshit. Just give me the truth Jareth, no lies this..."

Her mouth froze, hanging open as she looked into the room. For a second she wondered if it even was her room. White pillar candles burned from atop just about every surface, transforming the ambiance of the usually plain dorm room.

She stepped into the room with wide eyes, leaving the key just dangling from the lock. Jareth took the liberty of removing it as he closed the door behind them.

Her eyes darted to her side, where rich satiny fabrics and silky white furs draped everything. An enormous crystal vase glittered on her desk displaying the most brilliant spray of sparkling silver flowers that she had ever seen. Her bed, which was literally dripping with white satin and fur was also covered in silver and opalescent rose petals. The smell was nothing short of heavenly, pure and sweet floral bliss.

It was like something out of a lush a dream. The room had been transformed into an ethereal place of beauty and solitude; a refuge fit for royalty.

She stood, simply gawking as she took it all in. Crystal bubbles floated gracefully suspended in midair, as sweet enchanting music could be faintly heard. There was even a crystal decanter of something resembling champagne and a silver swan shaped basket brimming with delectable white sweets.

Obviously Jareth had gone through a lot of trouble to set all this up, or at the very least he had thrown a fair amount of glitter around.

He watched her reaction and supplied, "I took the liberty of changing the room a bit. I thought it may help...relax the mood."

She half turned her head, wrinkling her forehead, "Impressive. Normal boyfriends usually just leave a longstem rose or two...or maybe a dozen if they've really screwed up."

His mouth twisted as he ventured, "I take it that means you are pleased?"

She turned to face him admitting, "It's all very pretty Jareth, but I haven't forgotten the real reason we are here. You have some explaining to do."

"Ah...then I shall get right to the point. Where shall I begin?"

"How about the beginning?"

He didn't miss her sharp sarcasm. Deftly, he removed his cloak as he conceded, "Very well, but I advise you to sit down, there's much I have to explain."

Sarah sighed as she removed her jacket and plopped down on the ornate bed, discovering that it was even more comfortable than it looked.

He began, "First, let me say that what I have to tell you doesn't begin the night you invoked my goblins." She gave him a confused look and he admitted, "It goes back a bit further than that. Do you remember where you found that little red leather bound book...the one you recited so diligently?"

She knew he meant her labyrinth book and she replied, "Yes, I remember. It was an outdoor flea market at the edge of the park. I was probably thirteen at the time."

He nodded and went on, "Yes, and what about some other items from your room at home, you picked some of those up at the very same market didn't you?"

She nodded, recalling that those items happened to match quite closely some of the creatures she encountered during her journey to the Underground. The bookends with the dwarf that looked like Hoggle, the stuffed fox; even the statuette that bore a striking resemblance to Jareth. "You mean..."

"That was no accident Sarah. Those things came to you on purpose. You were meant to find them. Just as you were meant to find that book."

"But how? Wait! left those things there for me to find?!"

"Remember the park Sarah. Think back to all the times you acted out your stories there. Do you remember seeing an owl? Didn't it strike you as odd to see an owl perched so near, and during the day?"

"You! That was you?! What were you doing...spying on me?"

"Not spying...watching. I sometimes flew there to get away, when the goblins were driving me mad. One day, I saw you. I liked listening to your stories. I liked watching you play them out...I liked watching you."

She didn't know whether to be touched or horrified.

"You needn't give me that look Sarah, my intentions were innocent. At least they were up to that point. Then one day I saw you, and you weren't acting out your dramas like you usually did. You were sitting by yourself and you looked so sad, so lost. I overheard you talking to your dog. You did that often. That was how I learned that your mother left, and of your stepmother and Toby. I could see how unhappy you were. Over time I had become fond of you. Then one day it occurred to me. I could intervene. I knew that jealousy would eventually drive you to wish away Toby, had you been given the means. I couldn't be certain of the outcome, but I could see the possibilities. I knew of your love of books, and knew of the types of stories that compelled you. So, using magic, I concocted the story and left the book where you were sure to find it. I did the same with those other trinkets. I wanted to be sure that the Underground would truly capture your imagination. When I saw you acting out the story in the park, I knew I had succeeded. You read those lines with such conviction. Of course, I'm sure you've realized that the story wasn't an exact match. The words that summon the Goblins are different, but I couldn't make it that easy on you. And the girl in the story was a princess, not really you...but I thought it would appeal to your senses. When you embraced the story, I knew it was only a matter of time before you called on my goblins for help."

Sarah suddenly realized she had been holding her breath, "But why, why would you do such a thing?"

His eyes settled on hers and this time they hid nothing, "Because I was bored, unspeakably bored. And I was lonely and I was...fascinated by you. You don't know how rare it is to come by a human with such imagination. Children don't believe in such things as magic anymore, but you did."

"So thought it would be fun to make me run your labyrinth, for your...entertainment?"

"You know that's not why."

"Well enlighten me then."

"Because every outcome that I imagined seemed an improvement. I was fond of you. I offered you your dreams because I thought you deserved better. I never dreamed that you would be so stubborn. As you fought your way through the labyrinth, I started to realize that you might actually make it to the end. You were far more resourceful than any human who tried before you. I watched your progress at every turn. My fascination with you turned to infatuation somewhere along the line. I decided to intervene again. And so Hoggle gave you that peach. I tried to distract you, to make you see that there were things you could have for yourself. I used romance to tempt you, but still you resisted. Headstrong like a child, but you had me fooled. You seemed so much older physically at least. Your eyes, they were so cruel. You may have only been on the verge of womanhood, but you made me feel a longing that no other woman had ever stirred in me. At the end, I faced you again. I knew it was my last chance, so my offer was blunt. But still you refused. To this day I'm not even sure that you heard me, I don't think you fully understood what I was offering."

"I was fifteen Jareth..."

"I'm not blaming you for what you least I don't anymore. I just want you to understand why there were repercussions."

She nodded and he went on, "I would have returned Toby Sarah, if that was what you wanted. All you had to do was accept my offer. Your brother would have been safe, and you would have had everything that you wanted; love, made to feel that you are the center of someone's else's universe."

Sarah's eyes glazed over with tears as she breathed, "Fear me, love me, do as I say and you can have everything that you want. So that's what you meant..."

"Yes, you would have had me. At that moment in time, I was your dream. But it could have only been if you had given yourself in Toby's stead, if you had given up your power, and let me rule you."

Sarah stood up, suddenly feeling the need to explain, to make it clear to him. "Jareth...I was just a kid then, a bratty spoiled kid who couldn't stand not getting her own way. You have to understand, I was scared. Not getting Toby back wasn't even an option, and scared me in ways I couldn't even comprehend. All those words came at a time when all I could think about was finishing the lines. I...I thought you were just trying to stall me. The thought that you were sincere in all that you said was frightening because the idea of someone like you wanting someone as pathetic as me was preposterous, so naturally I figured that you had some ulterior motive."

"So you said the words."

"So I said the words. Not because I didn't have feelings for you, but because I thought it was what I had to do in order to get Toby back."

"You mean, it never occurred to you to simply ask for me to give him back...or to ask if something else might be offered in his stead?"

"Yeah, like the idea of asking you what you'd like in return wouldn't be at all terrifying to a fifteen year old girl. You were talking about love for Gods sake! Jareth, all I knew of romance and love back then was that it was linked to sex...and all I knew about sex at that age, was that it was a three letter word that my family didn't talk about. Sex lead to babies, and all I was to understand about sex through my father's careful advice was, "Don't...Don't ever". Keep in mind that my mother wasn't exactly around to give the softer less scary version of that talk."

"I should have known that you were too young to really understand. I never dreamed that you would actually win, and defeat me at my own game. Up until then I had never actually lost anything before. Losing both you and the game was...more than I could stomach. Rejection was foreign to me, and I'll be honest...I didn't much like it."

"No one does Jareth."

"Well, unlike everyone else, I am very used to getting what I want. When things aren't going my way, I have a tendency to force them to. But in your case I had no recourse...or so it seemed."

"Kayla's wish wasn't an accident, was it?"

"No. It wasn't. Nor was the fact that you couldn't bring yourself to throw away that book. I placed a very compelling attraction charm on it. I looked and looked for a solution that would bring you and I face to face again, and for a long while it eluded me...but then I remembered, you still had the book. Even if you were too smart to say those words again, I knew eventually someone close to you would, either wishing themselves or someone else you cared about away. I even contemplated the idea that someone, like your younger brother might wish you away to me, but that would have simply been too good to be true. When I saw your precious roommate taking an interest in your book collection, I knew I had my chance. I knew that you still felt guilty about your brother, and since then you've been plagued with a strong sense of duty. I just had to hope that you cared enough about your friend to make the switch. When I saw how desperate you were, that you were willing to negotiate, I knew it would just be a matter of haggling over the price. All I had to do was appeal to your sense of fairness."

"So you traded Kayla for me, her eternity, exchanged for one year of my life."

"Precisely, but I would have settled for far less than a year. I would have gone so far as to accept for just a few days with you. I just would have been much more ruthless in my quest..."

"Your quest? Let me guess...revenge."

"You always were perceptive Sarah, however my plan was far more specific."

"How do you mean?"

"You wounded me Sarah. You injured my pride as well as my heart. You made me love you and then with all the whimsy and cruelty of a child you turned your back on me. You banished me from you. In my mind you deserved the same. The way I saw it was, that if we were to be on even footing, I'd have to do the same to you. Make you love me, and turn my back on you."

"Well Congratulations. You succeeded, you managed to hurt me more than anyone else ever had, and believe me, I've had my share of disappointments."

Gravely he admitted, "I know."

Angrily she admitted, "I fell hard for you Jareth. I loved you more than anything I've ever cared about, what's worse is I still do. God, when I thought I'd never see you again, after you were captured, that hurt in a way that I can't even describe. My own mother left me when I was just a child, yet I knew somehow, someday I'd get over that...but you, I'm afraid I'll never get over you."

"That was my intention. But, something happened that I hadn't counted on. You made me happy Sarah. For the first time ever in my life I felt it. True contentment. The loneliness had been chased away, and the boredom was replaced with endless possibility. It made me rethink my plans. The way you made me feel even changed my mind and I had come to the conclusion that I didn't want to hurt you."

"What? Then why the hell did you?"

"I...overheard you talking to Hoggle. You said something that hurt me...deeply."

"What are you talking about?"

"I've only recently just realized that I had misunderstood. I had taken what you were saying out of context. If I had listened to everything, I would have realized my error, but being my impulsive self, I stormed off in a rage. The next time that I saw you was when I treated you so miserably."

"What did you hear me say?"

"That my love didn't matter to you...that you still wanted to go home."

Sarah thought back, remembering the conversation.

Jareth went on, "It was Hoggle that pointed out to me that what you meant was that you still needed to go back to tie up all your loose ends."

She nodded, "That's right I..."

She was totally unprepared for what happened next. Jareth stared at her with a strange intensity and suddenly kneeled down on the floor in front of her.

"Jareth, what are you..."

"Sarah..." His eyes burned into hers, with savage urgency. "I can't tell you how much I regret everything I said...everything I did. It was wrong of me to manipulate you like that. I should have known that revenge wasn't the answer. I treated you so awfully, and yet risked your life for me anyway. Nyx might have killed you, or far worse. Yet, you fought for me. I owe you my saved me, and my entire kingdom from ruin."

"If you feel this way, than why did you send me home? We could have talked, we could have worked this out sooner."

"When I awoke in my chamber, I saw you there, sleeping at my side. While I dreamt, I knew you were with me. You faithfully kept your vigil over me, to make sure I was alright, even after I had broken your heart. If that's not true devotion, than I don't know what is. It was then I realized that you had given me yet another chance. Since you came here, you've been giving me plenty of opportunities to redeem myself, one after another. You've made sacrifices. You are a good person Sarah, you are kind, compassionate, and trusting. I don't deserve someone like you. Not once did I give you the benefit of the doubt. I sacrificed nothing, and always just expected in return. I've never had anyone to refuse me before, and none of my subjects would dare tell me I'm wrong. I'm a selfish, possessive, manipulative, arrogant, and bitter old monarch. You deserve better than're too good for me."

"Oh give me a break Jareth..."

"Maybe that's why all along I've found it hard to believe that you could truly care for me. What could you possibly see in me? You were right the first time Sarah; I am a villain. That's why I decided to let you go. That's why I sent you home."

Her brilliant green eyes sparkled, her features softening as she breathed, "You're not a villain Jareth. Everyone is selfish at times, and everyone makes mistakes..."

"Well, that may be, but I intend to right some of mine right now." With a gesture a crystal formed on his fingertips. He balanced it there for a moment before he expertly juggled it to and fro. Her eyes followed the movement, mesmerizing her.

Like a whisper out of her past he breathed, "I've brought you a gift." Suddenly his hand stilled and a red velvet box sat where the crystal had just been.

The corner of her mouth tugged upward in a wry grin, and she just couldn't resist, "What is it?"

His eyes held hers as he replied rather seriously, "Something I should have given you a long time ago." He held the box toward her and urged, "Open it."

Sarah held her breath, her hands shaking slightly as she lifted off the top. She peered inside to see a circlet of interwoven gold and silver wires. At the front was a smaller version of his pendant. She looked at the object carefully, realizing what it was. A delicate crown, made especially for her. Her breath caught in her throat, and it took a great deal of effort for her to stammer, "It's, It's"

"You can't rightfully rule the Goblin Kingdom without it."

"Rule? Jareth, what are you saying..."

"You've showed your worth, Sarah. You saved my kingdom and you are the only one I know that is clever enough to not get lost in my labyrinth, so whether you want it or not, you have earned a share in my rule. What's mine, is yours, you can have anything that you want. I am your servant, whether you choose to love me or not."

Her eyes widened, "Jareth, are you proposing..."

"Yes. That you be my queen, yes."

"I was going to say marriage."

"Well, that would be the natural course of action, but I realize the circumstances are quite unnatural. So, I will leave that up to you. If you think you can come to forgive me, and if you think that one day I will aspire to be worthy of you, then it shall be done. But I want you to understand, you are the rightful queen, regardless of whether we marry. You already have your own brand of magic Sarah. This crown will allow you to bend it to your will. You have tremendous power Sarah, much more potent than my own. It sleeps in your imagination, but with this, you can unleash it, whenever and wherever you choose. You won't be bound to remain in the Underground or Aboveground, you will be free to come and go whenever you wish. Should you choose a place at my side, it will always be there for you, because my love will forever, belong to you. It is a prize you will always possess."

He stared at her intently, surprised to see the tear roll off her cheek. Offering the crown he gently added, "Can you accept my offer?"

She sniffed, as another tear fell, "Of course I can."

"Do you think you could ever forgive me?"

"I already do, Jareth." She smiled through her tears, realizing that so much of what she had been hoping to tell him, was needless. He had come to her all on his own for reconciliation. There was only one thing that she still wanted to tell him.

"I want to say something. I have something for you too. It's not much, just a bit of poetry that I wanted to share with you. I think it describes my feelings better than I'd be able to put into words...especially now that I'm an emotional mess."

Taking a deep breath, she steadily began,

"Let me not to the marriage of true minds

Admit impediments. Love is not love

Which alters, when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove:"

He smiled warmly, looking deep into her eyes as he interrupted,

"O, no! it is an ever fixed mark

That looks on tempests and is never shaken;

It is the star to every wandering bark,

Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken

Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks

Within his bending sickle's compass come"

Her fingers intertwined with his as she boldly carried on,

"Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,

But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

If this be error and upon me proved,

I never writ, nor no man ever loved."

His face was wrought with emotion, the brunt of his love burning in his eyes as he stood facing her. His usual air of confidence crumbled, and he actually seemed to be trembling as he entreated her.

"Sarah, I know I am far from perfect. I can guarantee that there will surly be rough times ahead. I will test your patience time and again, and as I'm sure you know, arguments will be unavoidable, but I want to please you. I want to make you happy. Please know, I have no expectations. We will start simply, take things slow; get to know each other properly...and your studies, you should certainly complete your education."

Her trembling hands came up to touch his face as she leaned forward and uttered, "Jareth..."

His eyes darted to her mouth as she leaned closer, "Yes, Sarah..."

"Shut up."

Jareth inhaled sharply as he felt her lips close over his. The feel of her mouth melding with his electrified him. He had forgotten how mind numbingly erotic her mouth felt upon his. The sudden spark of desire took him by surprise and he was defenseless against it.

He kissed her back, slowly at first. He'd meant what he'd said, that he was willing to take things slow. He didn't want to press things too quickly. He returned her kiss carefully, fully meaning to pull back before he lost control. He eased up a bit, but Sarah wouldn't have it. He felt her arms tighten about his neck as she deepened the kiss. His hands closed, grasping her green sweater when he felt her tongue slip past his lips.

She would surely be his undoing. He groaned against her mouth, kissing her with all the savage longing that had been pent up inside him. Before he even knew what he was doing, he had pitched forward, his hand closing on her upper arm as he forced her back onto the bed. His hips landed appropriately between her thighs and no sooner had she landed on her back before she shifted beneath him, forcing her body up against his.

He was thankful that she was wearing her denim trousers, because had she been wearing something less obtrusive and more removable, he was certain he would have taken advantage. Blindly, he tore off his gloves, thrusting his hand up her sweater. Greedily he cupped her breast, gladly imagining what the lacy undergarment that barely contained her breasts might look like. Too bad he didn't have the first idea how to remove it with one hand.

Way ahead of him, Sarah pushed against his chest, so that he would lift off her. He pulled back from her kiss, though she seemed reluctant to let him. He stared into her darkened eyes, expecting to see disapproval. Her eyes burned into his as she suddenly pulled her sweater over her head. Faced with the sight of her ample breasts swelling from the black lace garment, he realized his imagination couldn't have done the thing justice. Good God...

He couldn't tear his eyes from the glorious sight. That was until he heard her voice, husky in her state of arousal, "I want you Jareth."

He could see the need in her eyes and knew that she too was struggling to keep it together. He took a deep sobering breath, knowing that he'd have to be the stronger of the two if he was going to keep his promise. "Sarah..." He pulled back a little "We shouldn't...not just yet at least. We should take it slow, we have all of..."

Not surprisingly, she wasn't listening. She grabbed him by the front of his shirt and forcefully insisted, "Yes, we should. I want to...right here..." She pushed him onto his back, quickly straddling his hips, "Right now..."

He had to admit, she was very persuasive when she wanted to be. He swallowed, closing his eyes for a moment in hopes that not seeing her on top of him might quiet his need of her long enough to think clearly.

He sighed, "Sarah, I am trying to do right by you, but you are making it very difficult for me to redeem myself."

He felt her fingertips tracing lightly over the newly healed scar on his chest. Shifting against him slightly, she murmured, "Mmmmm, what do you mean?"

He opened his eyes, which was a huge mistake, as she was looking down at him playfully; biting her lip as a teasing smile began to form. He wondered how she could be both a blushing innocent and a smoldering temptress at the same time.

His eyes locked with hers as he seductively drawled, "I mean...the things you make me want to do to you border on villainy."

"Oh." She looked thoughtful for a moment before her hands came up to grasp her bra, in the middle, right between her breasts. "Only border on villainy? C'mon Jareth, I know you can do better than that." Deftly, she unhooked the clasps, revealing her breasts to him.

The seductive timbre of her voice and the sight of her so unclothed knocked the air from his lungs. He closed his eyes as her fingers played over his chest. It was becoming frighteningly apparent that he was completely at her mercy.

Tearing his eyes from her chest he gasped, "I'm a long way off from becoming Prince Charming, Sarah, but I've got to start somewhere."

"Prince Charming?" She leaned down, her fingers tracing up his throat and along his jaw, as her mouth hovered just over his, "Whoever said anything about Prince charming?"

He could only stare at her, captivated.

"Bad men are far more interesting. Who needs some goody two shoes? I've got something far better than some fairy tale prince."

"Oh, and what might that be?"

"My very own Goblin King. If you ask me, that's a much more pleasing possession."

He grinned at the thought.

He was hers, for all eternity.

She grinned too, placing a soft kiss on his mouth. Then she straightened, and looking him in the eyes she unbuttoned the fastening of her jeans.

"Now, by all means...dazzle me with your wicked magic."

He reached up, cupping the back of her neck as he pulled her down for another kiss, "As you wish, your majesty."

Most Prized Possession

A Labyrinth Story
by Jester3

Part 42 of 42

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