Continuing Tales

Return to the Labyrinth

A Labyrinth Story
by ArtemisFallen

Part 24 of 24

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Leverage: A Christmas Tale

Sarah stared in disbelief at the captivating figure who stood before her, hardly able to register his words. She wondered if she'd truly lost her mind, having fallen down the rabbit hole with Alice and becoming as mad as the Hatter.

"It's you," she whispered numbly, her backpack sliding from her fingers. "Are you real?" Jareth chuckled, his grin growing broader at Sarah's query.

Before she would allow him to answer, Sarah flung herself into him, nearly knocking the unprepared Goblin King off balance. She wrapped her arms around him, burying her face into the crook of his neck, relishing in the warmth of his skin against her own.

"I don't care," she babbled, nuzzling him. "You're here. That's all that matters."

Jareth wrapped his arms around Sarah tightly, sighing contentedly at her closeness.

"Of course I'm here," he teased lightly. "You called for me, after all."

Sarah laughed happily, still gripping his shoulders tightly, making sure he remained solid beneath her touch. Jareth drew his lips through her hair until they rested near her ear.

"Did you mean it?" He asked softly.

Reluctantly, Sarah released her hold on him, drawing back and looking into his eyes. Jareth was no longer smiling. His gaze was so intense that it seemed to pierce the very veil of her soul. "Do you really wish for me to take you away?"

Sarah nodded vigorously, her stomach fluttering with a nervous tremor. "Yes," she answered emphatically. "Take me away. I want to be yours. Forever."

A slow smile crested over Jareth's face like the dawning of the sun. His smile was both beautiful and wicked, just as he was. Without warning, Jareth strode into the room, surprising Sarah enough to make her stagger a few clumsy steps back from him. Jareth kicked the door closed with his boot, his gaze never faltering from her face. He advanced upon her swiftly, sweeping her up in his arms. Sarah gasped in shock at the quick movements, her heart pounding anxiously in her chest. Jareth took her over to the bed and dropped her against the tangled mess of blankets. He fell with her, pinning her arms to her side and situating himself heavily on top of her. A feral hum of appreciation resonated deep within his throat as he gazed down at Sarah. He traced a gloved finger over the line of her jaw, sliding the soft leather over her parted lips. Sarah's breathing hitched as he leaned into her, the tip of his nose nuzzling her forehead, his lips tantalizingly close to her skin. Sarah's breaths became more insistent as her anticipation grew. She realized she was trapped beneath the Goblin King and at his complete and utter mercy. She feared what he would do to her, but also desired his very touch upon her. It made for a frightening concoction of emotions. Sarah reveled in the feel of his skin as he continued to tease her with his nose and mouth. His lips strayed ever so close to hers, but at the last second always denied her of their touch.

"Say it, Sarah," he commanded earnestly. His whisper was like a hungry growl of pure desire that made Sarah unravel under the pressure of his body and the intensity of his gaze. His lips continued to hover just above her own, promising her the world, but giving her nothing at the same time.

"Say it now," he insisted aggressively.

Sarah panted in tortured rapture. She had never wanted to kiss someone so direly in all her life. However, this was something different. It was not just a desire to kiss him. Sarah needed to kiss him. She needed it more than anything in the world.

She noted the expectant gaze of Jareth's eyes as he studied her face. She was surprised to realize that she wasn't the only one with a desperate need. Jareth needed her to say it, the words which truly were magic for him. Sarah knew she would say them this time without reluctance or doubt. She had already given herself to him and there was no going back ever again.

"Jareth," she began softly, willing her voice to be strong and steady. "I love you."

Jareth's eyes slid closed as an unmistakable wave of euphoria graced his features. He let out a contented moan, a small, pleased smile tugging at the side of his mouth. "I have waited such a long time to hear those words from your lips."

When his eyes opened again, he gazed down at Sarah with predatory triumph and desire. He had finally caught his prey. His gloved finger and thumb captured her chin firmly, the soft fingered tip of his thumb grazing her bottom lip as he did so, pulling it down ever so slightly. Sarah swallowed hard, enthralled by his movements. She squirmed beneath him, a fiery bundle of raw and impatient nerves. He held her down with little effort, delighting in her eagerness to surrender to him.

Jareth leaned down into her parted lips, the featherlight touch of his mouth barely detectable as he traced her lips with his own. She strained to meet his touch, but he forced her back, her chin still captured in his firm, but gentle grasp. Sarah groaned with an unsatisfied yearning and Jareth's lips curled into a fiendish smile.

"Savor this sweetness," he whispered, his breath cresting over her skin, his mouth so painfully close to hers. "This taste of love."

Finally, he sank his lips softly into hers, meeting them with a tenderness Sarah had never known was possible. His tongue slid over her eager, parted lips, intimately seeking her own for only a fleeting moment before departing and leaving her wanting more.

Sarah writhed ecstatically under him, finally freeing her arms and wrapping them around his neck, striving to keep the ghostly tenderness of the kiss, but desperately wanting to give into her ravenous desire.

Just as the kiss had begun, so it ended, leaving Sarah feeling deflated and unfulfilled. She glared at Jareth as he parted from her. A serene contentment settled on his face and Sarah wondered how something so simple could have satiated him so thoroughly as it had only served to further ignite her craving for him.

"Now that I've savored the sweet," he remarked lowly. "It is time to bow to desire."

Sarah's brow came together in confusion. Before she could question the nature of his riddle, Jareth's mouth was upon hers again, eliciting a moan of surprise from her throat. Where his initial kiss had been sweet and tender, this one was the opposite in every conceivable way. This kiss carried with it a fiery passion, a thing of rapt and voracious hunger.

Sarah moaned again at the harshness and violence of his kiss, wrapping her arms tightly around him and weaving her fingers through his silken hair. Her response and acceptance of his passion only fueled his desire. His breath hastened and his moan resounded throughout her body in the most beautiful, fulfilling way.

Gradually, the passionate kiss waned and Jareth pulled away, his teeth lightly tugging at her bottom lip. Sarah panted, her lips tingling from the wonderful fury of the kiss. A wicked grin wove across his mouth as he lifted himself off her and the bed. He offered her his hand and she took it. He drew her to him tightly, holding her close. Sarah's entire body pulsed electrically, her nerves raw from anxious desire. She leaned against Jareth heavily, settling her head against his chest. A small smile drew over her lips. She could hear his heart beating thunderously within his chest. Its rhythm matched her own.

"Close your eyes, sweet Sarah," Jareth whispered, placing a hand against her face while his cheek languished against the top of her head. "I'm going to take you home."

Sarah closed her eyes, excitement stirring wildly within her. The air around them suddenly began to churn and howl, making her feel as if she were trapped inside a rampaging tornado. She snuggled against Jareth, devoid of any fear or questions. She was finally with her Goblin King and she knew he would protect her. For the first time in a very long time she was truly and incandescently happy.

Once the wind died down and all was still, Sarah opened her eyes and looked up to see Jareth gazing serenely down at her.

"Is this real?" Sarah asked, fearing the answer as it seemed she was incapable of accepting such happiness. "Or this a dream?"

"What do you think?" Jareth asked, a mischievous twinkle in his eyes.

"I think that if this is a dream, Heaven help the person who wakes me," she said pointedly.

Jareth threw back his head, a throaty laugh escaping his lips. His reaction caused Sarah to chuckle as well. He gazed down at her with a small smirk. "This is not a dream. This is real."

Sarah turned from him, taking in their surroundings. A beautiful grove of shrubs rose up around them, adorned by purple and white flowers and incredibly bright red berries. Vines hung with mossy growth above them while butterflies and other strange insects floated lazily through the air. Sarah's heart leapt into her throat.

"We're in the garden," she gasped. "How did we get here?"

"The garden?" Jareth asked, clearly confused. "What garden?"

"The Keeper garden!" Sarah insisted, wondering how Jareth had been able to gain direct access to it and bypass the Minotaur. Sarah knew the Guardian would surely be displeased by this turn of events.

"Don't you recognize your Labyrinth, Sarah?" Jareth asked playfully.

Sarah gawked at the Goblin King. "But this isn't the Labyrinth!" She contested.

Jareth shook his head. "Look closely," he advised, pointing to a row of pillars.

Sarah followed his hand and was shocked to discover that they stood just outside of the Goblin City. The stone walls of the city had been covered by thick, dense growth, hiding the buildings and castle which lay beyond.

"I can't believe this," Sarah muttered, dumbstruck. "It doesn't even look the same!"

"This is what the Labyrinth looks like under our combined powers," Jareth explained, flourishing his hands and turning in a wide circle. "The Labyrinth will only continue to thrive and prosper with your presence. It is alive once again."

"We're doing this?" Sarah asked, rampant disbelief in her tone.

Jareth stepped over to her, grasping her hand and pushing her palm against his exposed chest. Sarah noticed that his scars from Euryale were almost undetectable now. "You're doing this," he said emphatically. "Now that you have my heart, your powers are limitless."

"And your powers?" Sarah inquired. "What of them?"

"They have been restored," Jareth answered, studying Sarah closely.

She shook her head. "That's not what I mean."

"I know," Jareth replied, surprising her. He reached out to her, his hand pressing against her cheek while his other kept her palm firmly against his chest.

"My powers have grown, I won't deny that," Jareth confessed. "However, they are merely instruments for serving you. I am but a slave to your love." He leaned into her, his teeth gently nipping her earlobe, causing a shiver of desire to roll through her body. "As I promised I would be."

Sarah felt her cheeks grow hot as a blush of embarrassment rose against them. Jareth stepped back, pulling his gloves off and discarding them. He languished his somehow cool fingers against the growing hotness of her cheek.

Sarah held his hand against her face. "You're the reason for this. You gave me this magic."

"No," Jareth contended. "I gave you my heart."

"And I broke it," Sarah murmured sadly, her lips nuzzling against the palm of his hand. "Twice."

"I forgive you," Jareth whispered, watching Sarah keenly.

"How can this be possible?" She asked, shaking her head. Questions began to arise within Sarah and she cursed herself for being incapable of enjoying anything. She had wished so ardently for a moment of peace and here it was. Instead of reveling in it, her psyche plagued her with relentless questions.

Jareth cocked his head, studying her. "What do you mean? What is it, Sarah?"

She bit her tender lip. It was still swollen from their kiss. "I just...there are so many questions," she confessed.

"Ask them," Jareth encouraged.

"How are you here?" Sarah finally spouted. "How are you even alive?"

"I am here because of you," Jareth answered doggedly.

"But how?" Sarah pressed. "How are you here? I saw you turn to stone."

Jareth lost his trademark smirk as he considered her question. "The last thing I recall is reaching for you, seeing your face. Then in a blink, you were gone and everything was cold." Jareth's face contorted painfully at the memory. "There wasn't even dark. It was just a void, endless and...empty."

Sarah shuddered at the thought of an existence so totally lacking in anything. Jareth shook himself, as if trying to escape from the void once again. "When I became aware, you were gone," he continued flatly. "I heard you call to me. So, I searched for you, only to find your friends and my goblins celebrating outside in the ruined city." Jareth sneered slightly. "Those goblins, the blithering imbeciles, could hardly contain themselves at my presence. One of the blighters kept saying you had rallied them to storm the castle. He seemed quite fond of you."

"That must've been Grub," Sarah offered thoughtfully.

Jareth gawked at her. "They have names?"

"What?!" Sarah shot back, amazed. "You didn't know they have names?"

Jareth shrugged. "Well, I never had a reason to think otherwise."

Sarah shook her head, both amused and appalled by the Goblin King's behavior. "We're going to have to work on that," she muttered.

"Work on what exactly?" Jareth inquired.

"Your empathy!" Sarah nearly shouted.

"You're going to have to use a different word because I don't understand," Jareth mocked. Sarah gave him a bewildered look before she saw a sinister smile break out across his face. He was teasing her. She growled in frustration. She didn't know if she wanted to hit him or kiss him.

"That still doesn't explain how you're here," Sarah continued, changing the subject back to her original query. "Euryale cursed you."

Jareth leaned into Sarah, chastely kissing her lips. "And you broke that curse."

Sarah blinked in confusion. "How? How could I have possibly done that?"

"You gave yourself to me," he explained patiently, caressing her face once again. "You allowed yourself to love me without hindrance. Then you called for me. You wished for me."

"What? A wish broke the curse? How can that be?" Sarah asked, unconvinced. "Titania said some magicks simply can't be broken," she argued.

"Some can't," Jareth agreed. "But you broke them anyway." He gave her a smile that made her want to kiss him again. "It is never wise to underestimate the power of love. Or a wish at that."

Sarah chuckled, amazed at the turn of events which had led up to this point. "I doubted everything," she said distractedly. "I doubted your love for me and the love I had for you. I questioned my very sanity." She sighed. "I have never in my life doubted myself or anything I thought I knew more than I have in these last few days."

"And do you still have questions?" Jareth inquired. Sarah gazed at him, nodding slightly.

"I will tell you all you wish to know and assuage any further doubts you may possess," Jareth promised. "I will not keep anything from you. You may judge me as you see fit for I know I have committed loathsome acts you will no doubt find despicable. However, I wish for you to know me as I am." He took her hand once again. "I am not without flaw, but my love is true. So ask me anything and I will answer truthfully."

Sarah gasped. She wondered if some part of him had heard her in while he existed in the void. Her mind spun with several questions. She wondered if he had truly tried to trick Euryale into loving him so that he could regain his diminished powers. Had Jareth taken Sarah as a child in order to supplement his own powers and gain dominion over the Labyrinth? When had he known he loved her, why had he fallen in love with her, and would that love always remain?

"No," Sarah said, shaking her head. Her questions suddenly vanished, falling from her in a tangle and banished to the void Jareth had briefly inhabited. In that instant, Sarah realized her questions didn't matter. All her doubts had evaporated with the swing of Jareth's sword. She already knew him for who he was deep inside and that was what truly mattered. He was a man who was willing to sacrifice everything for her and he had already proven that he would do just that. As Jareth had forgiven her past tresspasses, so shall she forgive his and begin anew.

"No?" Jareth repeated, unsure of her declaration.

Sarah smiled. "You love me. That's all I need to know."

Jareth's eyes danced magnanimously over her. "Dear Sarah," he whispered, cradling her face in his smooth, ungloved hands. "If I can assure you of anything, it is this; all the love you've experienced in your short life combined will never even glimpse the love I hold for you in a single beat of your precious heart."

Sarah stood silently, struck speechless by the endearing sentiment, her heart swelling with newfound depths of love she never knew existed.

Jareth snickered at her stunned silence, reaching behind his head and removing his pendant. He brandished it for Sarah to behold.

"This belongs to you now," he said slowly, delicately slipping it over Sarah's head, his fingers trailing lightly through her hair. "It is my gift to you, my tribute, a symbol of my most amorous affections. You gave me your heart, now allow me to properly give you mine."

"Jareth," Sarah muttered in astonishment, finally able to break the silence which had held her. Jareth raised a finger to his lips, motioning for her to be silent once more.

"I want nothing of your power," he continued. "I wish only to be forever yours, to be your companion and your lover for the rest of our lives."

"And how long will that be?" Sarah inquired, playing with the pendant.

Jareth grinned widely. "You have the love of a Fae creature and you possess within you the bloodline of the Keepers. We are not immortal, but we are long lived. We shall be together for a very, very long time."

"That's not long enough," Sarah said smugly, giving Jareth a sly smile. "But I guess it'll have to do."

Jareth chuckled wrapping his arms around Sarah's waist and swaying with her in a slow dance. "Perhaps we could steal time. You are, after all, ruler of the Labyrinth. Your wish is but my command," he said.

"If I am the ruler, then what will you be?" Sarah pondered. Jareth pretended to consider his position, leaning into her lips gently.

"I," he whispered tenderly against her mouth. "I will be king. And you," his lips trailed down her chin, coming to rest against the nape of her neck. "You will be queen."

Sarah shivered pleasurably under his touch, her stomach fluttering in anticipation.

"And since you are queen, I must inform you that your subjects anxiously await your return," Jareth mumbled against her neck, leaving a trail of kisses across her skin before pulling away from her. "We should go to the castle."

Sarah struggled against the insolent sulk which tugged at her mouth. "Do we have to go now?"

Jareth gave her a dark look. "Truthfully, I'd like to keep you all to myself for the time being." He sighed. "However, if we wait much longer, they are bound to come searching for us."

Sarah leaned into Jareth, treading her lips lightly over the smooth skin of his neck, sucking the delicate flesh softly. "I think they can wait just a little longer, don't you?" She inquired convincingly.

Jareth shivered under her touch, grasping her hand and squeezing it tightly. "Sarah, I am more than happy to make them wait for you." He gazed down at her, a smoldering desire blazing within the depths of his eyes. "I, on the other hand, cannot continue this little dance of ours without claiming you for my own."

Sarah felt a playful smirk pull at her lips. "What's stopping you?" She asked, kissing the flesh beneath his jaw.

Jareth sighed in frustration. "You know damn well what's stopping me. We are alone for the moment, but that is likely to change." His mood became dour. "Furthermore, it is doubtful that we shall find any time alone in the near future. I cannot contend with my desires and your duties at the same time. Not with you looking at me such as you are."

Sarah fluttered her eyelashes, enjoying the dangerous game she was playing. Her ability to sway him with her wiles excited her. She reached her arms around Jareth, placing her mouth firmly against his. She fused her body to his as tightly as she could. He responded swiftly, wrapping his arms tightly around her as he returned her wanton kiss. He moaned softly, spinning her around and pinning her against the wall surrounding the Goblin City. He pressed his body flush with hers, taking her face in his hands as he took control of the kiss.

He finally broke the passionate embrace, pressing his forehead against hers. "I warn you," he panted heavily. "Do not tempt me. I will not stop until I get what I desire."

"And what is it you desire?" Sarah teased.

"You, of course,"Jareth answered forcefully. "It has always been you."

Sarah understood now why Jareth had tormented her so relentlessly in the hotel room. She was delighting in his own impatience to be part of her.

"I know of a place where we can be alone," Sarah revealed. "A hidden place where our presence here will not be missed."

"Oh?" Jareth asked, intrigued. "And where might this hidden place be?"

"The garden just past the kingdom of the Keepers," Sarah replied.

Jareth stiffened slightly. "You mean the place past the great hulking beast who guards the kingdom?"

"The Minotaur?" Sarah asked, cocking an eyebrow. "The Guardian?"

"Yes," Jareth said, clearing his throat. "He is not fond of me. In fact, he may despise me."

Sarah laughed. "He'll learn to like you."

"As you say, but after my last encounter with the beast, I believe it would be wise for you to do all the talking," Jareth advised.

"Don't worry," Sarah assured him. "We won't need to go past him to get to the garden." She held out her hand. "Give me one of your crystals."

Jareth complied, fluidly rotating his hand and magically producing a crystal ball. He held it out to her.

Sarah took it, pursing her lips slyly. "Close your eyes."

"Why?" Jareth challenged, regarding her with feigned suspicion and distrust.

"Do as I command," Sarah retorted with a wink.

"As you wish," Jareth replied, smirking as he did. He closed his eyes. Sarah drew close to him, guiding his hands around her waist firmly. She lifted the crystal ball and dropped it to the ground. It shattered on impact, causing a portal to appear beneath them.

They plunged through the earth, roots, rocks and vines passing about them in a blur of fading sunlight. Sarah held tightly to Jareth as the ground suddenly became sky and they were dropped through the open top of the gazebo which served as the heart of the Keeper garden. They landed delicately on the soft, cushioned seats within the structure.

Jareth's eyes snapped open instantly and he stood quickly, gazing at their surroundings in bewilderment.

"How did you do that?" He gaped in astonishment. It was the first time Sarah had ever seen him surprised. She hoped it wouldn't be the last.

"There are things I understand now that I didn't before," Sarah admitted. "Things about this place and the Labyrinth which were hidden behind a wall of mist, but I understand now and it's because of you. By allowing myself to love you, every wall and every obstacle came crashing down." She scoffed. "My doubt not only clouded my judgement about you, but it hindered me from seeing who I really was. Now there is nothing standing in my way." She gazed at him. "Now I can see you."

"Just me?" Jareth asked hopefully, sitting beside Sarah on the plush cushion.

"Yes," Sarah confirmed, pulling herself over to him. "There is no one else. There never will be. This place is ours. We can stay for as long as we like since time doesn't exist here."

Jareth grinned lasciviously. "Good, then I shall take a lifetime giving myself to you."

The notion caused Sarah to shiver with expectation. She wondered just how wonderful it would be to fully give herself over to him and how utterly delightful it would be to have him give himself to her.

She reached out to his chest, tracing her fingers delicately across the smooth, satin skin. His disfiguring marks, the last remnants of Euryale's rage, had disappeared before her very eyes. She trailed her fingers along his neck, sliding them up his chin and along his lips. He closed his eyes, sweetly kissing her fingertips.

"What are you doing?" Jareth asked.

"Memorizing you," Sarah whispered. She pushed against his shoulder, coaxing him down against the soft cushions. He obeyed her urging, lying out on his back. Sarah laid on top of him, kissing his chest tenderly, working her way up to his neck. Jareth moaned raptly under her touch, enjoying the weight of her body pressed against his own.

Jareth gripped her arms suddenly, bringing her face to his where his lips melded against hers, teasing her tongue with his own. She returned his kiss fiercely until the need to catch her breath forced her to reluctantly pull away.

"It's only forever," Sarah breathed against him, working her fingers underneath his vest and shirt. Jareth's hands slid under her own shirt, his fingers stroking her bare skin lovingly.

"Not long at all," he whispered.

"Do I remind you of the babe?" Sarah asked coyly.

Jareth's brow furrowed. "What babe?"

Sarah smirked wickedly. "The babe with the power."

Jareth's beautiful eyes registered with alarm. "You know about that?"

Sarah nodded, sliding her lips to his ear. "I was that babe." She kissed behind his ear, taking pleasure in the shiver which coursed through his body.

Sarah sat up, looking down at Jareth with a gentle smile. A look of pure amazement embodied his face. He reached up and stroked her cheek. "Then we were not by chance. This love was always meant to be."

Sarah kissed the inside of his wrist, falling slowly down to his awaiting lips. His arms encircled her and their attraction ignited, their clothes nothing more than mere obstacles that were discarded without thought. Their hands and mouths caught up in a flurry of passionate fumblings while their moans called out in immense pleasure to the very sky, echoing throughout the Heavens above.

After they had exhausted themselves and lay spent in one another's arms, Sarah found herself gazing at her sleeping Goblin King.

"Yes," she murmured softly, kissing his slumbering lips. He stirred, responding to her touch and returning the languid kiss. She savored the sweet tenderness of his mouth. "This love was meant to be. It was written in the stars themselves."

Sarah snuggled into the warmth of his chest and Jareth's arm, which was draped over her, pulled her closer to him still. She gradually began to drift off to sleep wondering of what things she might dream since all her dreams had already finally come true.

Return to the Labyrinth

A Labyrinth Story
by ArtemisFallen

Part 24 of 24

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