Continuing Tales

The Debt

A Labyrinth Story
by Corrie McDermott

Part 11 of 24

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The Debt


Sarah spent much of the night tossing and turning in bed. Part of her was confident that she could refuse the advances she knew Jareth would make at her. She could refuse him and block out her emotions to go home. The other part of her begged to know what was so great about home. There was nothing to look forward to there. Only crushed dreams and a life of loneliness. What if she learned that Jareth had good qualities? She didn't know him that well. She had presumed to believe that his he was evil, manipulative and down right dangerous. She knew he was still these things but he seemed to be more as well. He could be sweet and romantic. She knew this because of the way he spoke to Aiden about her. He would rather die then give her up. No one had ever cared that much about her. He had given her Velvet, whom she enjoyed tremendously. Taking care of the mare gave her something to look forward to. Velvet depended on her and that comforted her to know that she was needed. He had also taken her for a night ride to see the unicorns. She realized that he put forth a good amount of trust in her to bring her to see the creatures that others hunted. Jareth didn't hunt them and that surprised her. It seemed she had a lot to learn about the Goblin King. And he had been generous with her. She still didn't know how her debt to him came about, but he was willing to bend the rules for her happiness. He was putting his heart on the line for her. She had been surprised how he willingly admitted that she had won his heart. Perhaps it was a way to sucker her into falling for him. Yet in his conversation with Aiden, he obviously felt something for her. She didn't understand how but he did and he was willing to let her go if she didn't love him, even if that meant he would be hurt as a result.

She calmed the chaotic whirling thoughts in her mind by telling herself that only time would tell how things would turn out. Maybe she would stay here with Jareth or maybe she would go home. She refused to just fall head over heels for him. She was very picky about who she dated. She had only been with a hand full of men her whole life. She wasn't going down without a fight. She had banished the idea of fairy tale endings long ago. The Underground and the Labyrinth were not fairy tales any longer. They were reality.

She left for the stables early to take care of Velvet before breakfast. She refused to slack off in her duties to sit around with the Goblin King. She returned to her room and bathed and dressed before Metta had even arrived. Metta frowned seeing that Sarah had taken care of herself, but to Sarah it felt good to tend to her own needs. She expected to eat in the dinning hall but was pleasantly surprised when Metta brought her to an unknown section of the castle.

"Metta, where are we?" she asked as they walked deeper into unknown territory.

"Why the royal wing of course. His highness has his own section of the castle. Few ever see it, but he asked that I bring you through."

"Huh, he's trying to show off what he's got." She said to herself as she glanced at the scenic tapestries and beautiful sculpture that lined the halls. There were royal blue curtains with gold trim in all the windows and there was not a goblin to be seen. Metta stopped in front of two giant double doors.

"This is where we part Lady Sarah. His highness is inside." She bowed and walked back the way they had come.

The doors were huge. Both made out of dark wood and they were covered with carved scenes. Unicorns, dragons, mermaids, mountains. They were incredible. She finally pushed the doors open and was surprised to see that this was a library. She had never seen so many books in her life. She also didn't expect to see Jareth and Aiden standing by a table. She took a deep breath before letting them know her presence. She had to act as if she had never seen Aiden before.

"Ah, Sarah. I see Metta remembered the way to the library. I thought that she had forgotten when you didn't show right away. I'd like to introduce you to a close friend of mine, Aiden."

Aiden smiled sweetly and stepped close to Sarah, taking her hand in his. He placed a gentle kiss on her skin. "Just about his only friend. It's a pleasure to be in the presence of true beauty." Sarah blushed at his words and he winked at her.

"I thought perhaps things might get off to a good start if we didn't eat alone. I'm sure we could strike up a good conversation between the three of us, while all getting to know each other better and there would be no uneasiness." Jareth told her.

"Jareth, I don't believe I could know you any better then I do. If you need any dirt on this fellow, you're looking at the only man who can tell you all, besides Jareth himself." Aiden told Sarah with a grin.

Jareth shot him an annoyed look and Sarah giggled. She liked Aiden already. "Let us eat before the food gets cold."

Jareth pulled a seat out for Sarah and pushed it in for her before taking his own seat. As they reached for fruits, drinks, breads, cheeses, muffins and other goodies Aiden started their conversation.

"Lady Sarah, how are you enjoying your stay in the underground?"

"I didn't enjoy it very much at first." She told him truthfully as she poured herself some kind of fruit juice. "In fact I hated it, but it's growing on me."

"Nothing like aboveground is it?" Aiden replied flashing a grin.

"Have you been aboveground before?" she asked as she reached for an apple.

"Yes, I've been quite a few times, although not recently so I am out of touch with your time."

"Well maybe I could help you catch up. When did you last visit?"

Aiden scratched his chin. "Hmm, I believe it was just after America was discovered by the Spaniards. Have you ever been to America? It must have a small population by now."

Sarah laughed. "I'm from America. If you visited now, I'm sure you would find the world quite changed. Most of us don't ride horses any longer, but have cars." Aiden gave her a blank stare. "They are machines with wheels that don't need animals to pull them. They power themselves and take you great distances in a short period of time. We have planes that can fly over oceans and mountains. There is so much to see."

"I will have to see these wonders for myself. Cars sound interesting as well as planes. Have you seen these things Jareth?"

The Goblin King looked up from spreading butter over a muffin. "I have seen these things and more. But I don't pay much attention to machinery and such."

"Ah yes. You see, Jareth doesn't like machines. He believes that they are the reason humans no longer believe in magic. He's afraid that if the Fae decide to experiment with machinery that we will forget our magic and become lazy, mindless individuals."

"It's certainly something to be concerned about." She admitted. "It's already happened with some of us aboveground."

"But not you." Jareth told her with a lop sided grin. "You still believe in magic and do things for yourself."

'Sometimes, not always. I can be just as lazy as the next person. So how do you two know each other?"

"It's a long story but we grew up together. I'm fifty years older then Jareth, but we're still close enough in age that we have things in common. We even were part of the court together. Of course that was quite a while ago from now, but those were the days. Do you ever miss them Jareth?"

"No. I do not." Jareth's voice was as cold as ice.

"Ah yes. I sometimes forget what a touchy subject the past can be."

"Are you still acting Sarah?" Jareth asked her.

She shook her head. "No I gave it up about 8 years ago."

"Such a pity. Why did you stop? You were so good at it."

'I had my reasons."

"And they were?"

"I don't think she wants to tell us." Aiden admitted with a raised brow.

"No it's all right. I'm ok with my decision. Truth is I didn't want to be like my mother. She became an actress and it became so important to her that she abandoned her family for it. I don't want to be like that."

"I see. You don't wish to make the selfish mistakes your mother did to your own family." Aiden said understanding.

"Exactly. I mean I don't have my own family yet, but someday I will and I won't put them through what my mom did to my father and I."

"Thoughtful girl." Aiden smiled. The doors to the library opened and a tall goblin came rushing in. He shuffled quickly to Jareth and whispered something in his ear.

"I'm afraid that something begs my attentions. Aiden, would you mind keeping Sarah company while I'm gone? I shalln't be too long."

"Of course. Take your time." Jareth nodded his thanks and he and the goblin left the room. "His goblins, always getting into trouble." Aiden said with a grin.

"Aiden, I never did get the chance to thank you for what you did the other day."

"It was no problem. I won't lie to you my lady, I didn't like fibbing to Jareth, but it was for his own good. If he found out that you were listening in the hall he would have been outraged." He took a deep breath and leaned over the table. "Jareth is very fond of you, as I'm sure you heard. In fact he's begun to act like his old self again since he met you. He was angry with you after you defeated his Labyrinth, which was quite an accomplishment. But he got over it and realized that he really cared for you. Jareth hasn't cared about anyone for nearly 400 years."

"Cyla." Sarah let out in a whisper.

"Ah so you heard."

"I heard the name and I heard Jareth's tone. Something terrible happened."

"Yes. Something terrible indeed. Something that changed Jareth forever."

"Tell me."

"I..I don't think that I should. It's not my business to say." Sarah nodded feeling disappointed. "I will tell you that he loved Cyla very much and she betrayed him to his own friends as well as the Fae court. He was never the same after that. When he's ready he will tell you all. It's a difficult subject for him, but he knows he can't keep his past from you." He looked at her thoughtfully, taking in her beauty. She really was lovely. "Jareth will be in a lot of trouble if anyone finds out that you are here. He risks much."

"Then why does he bother? He could send me home and he would have no problems."

"I suppose that he believes that dealing with the court, and the past is easier then letting you go. He was devastated when he lost you. He was prepared to give you everything if you stayed with him. He realized that you were a child though and he let you go. He knew that the debt would allow him to claim you again. And he didn't wish to confront you until you were older and more mature." He rested his elbows on the table and talked softly. "I'm sure he's hinted at how he feels about you and you must have heard what he told me the other day. The debt allows him to keep you here, but he doesn't want to keep you here against your will. He wants you to stay because you want to and because you love him by your own accord and not because you are forced to."

"But I don't love him Aiden. I might someday, but I don't right now and I don't know if I ever will."

Aiden smiled. "I know. He pulled you away from your life and brought you here and that must have angered you. And you have every right to be upset about that, but I beg you to give Jareth a chance. Please don't judge him until you get to know him. His old self is resurfacing everyday because you are here. He has a kind heart despite how he sometimes acts. He protects his own and he has many good qualities. You'll see them for yourself with time."

She nodded and let her eyes fall to the table. "He..He made a deal with me. We would spend time getting to know each other. 3 months. If at the end of those 3 months I don't love him then he will send me home. If I do love him then I will stay with him, forever."



"He's offered you immortality. Ingenious I must say."

"I don't understand." She flashed him a confused look.

"It solves many problems. If he gives you immortality then he doesn't have to worry about losing you because of the short life span you humans have and at the same time he would solve some of the problem with the court."

"I'm still confused."

The doors to the library opened and Jareth stepped through them.

"I will explain at a later time." Aiden whispered and Sarah nodded. "The castle still in one piece?" Aiden asked Jareth.

'Barely. Some of the younger goblins decided to use my throne as a playground and one of them got stuck. And others decided it was a good time to have a food fight. I swear, sometimes I wonder if these creatures have a brain."

"Ah the joys of being the Goblin King." Aiden flashed a devious smile and Sarah giggled. "Well I thank you for your hospitality Jareth, but I must be going. Very good food and good company as well." Aiden stood and bowed before them both. " Lady Sarah it was a pleasure and I hope to see you again very soon."

"I'd like that." She replied nodding. She believed Aiden to believe a good man and if he was friends with Jareth then that must mean something.

"Then it shall be so. Enjoy the day." He smiled and disappeared in a cloud of smoke.

"That's one way to make an exit." Sarah commented with a grin.

"I hope he didn't talk your ear off. He has the tendency to do that. And of course I hope he didn't feel the need to begin telling you dirty little secrets of mine."

"The Goblin King has dirty little secrets?" She teased smiling at him.

"I'm positive that you dear Sarah have a few of your own. Little secrets that you wish no one to discover."

She shrugged. "I'm curious, did you ever tell anyone of my Labyrinth and your time here?" He snapped his fingers and a high footstool appeared. He propped his legs upon it, crossing them at the ankles. She shook her head. "Really? You told no one?" His voice seemed almost hurt as if she had insulted him.

"Come on Jareth, who would believed me? My step mother, who thinks I'm insane as it is for worshipping fairy tales, or perhaps I should have told Toby so he could have hated me for the rest of his life. Maybe I should have told my friend Aimee who would have proceeded to tell the entire campus that I'm crazy."

"But you still believed it was real." He took a sip of his drink and peered at her over the rim of the crystal glass.

She lowered her eyes from him, almost ashamed. "I did for a little while. But then I grew up Jareth. I still love my fairy tales but the Labyrinth became nothing more then a realistic dream. I have a vivid imagination, everyone has always told me so."

He inhaled sharply." You believed that you dreamed everything up?" She nodded.

" As I got older I did. I felt everything was a dream but at the same time I wasn't so sure." She looked at him wearily. "I have this sketchbook and I've drawn some pictures in it. Pictures so real and life like that I could not have possibly come up with these characters myself." She closed her eyes remembering the incredible drawing that she had done of him. It had looked exactly like him, especially his eyes.

He took a deep breath and let it out sharply. "Did you ever forget me?" his voice was thick with emotion.

She wanted to tell him yes, that she had forgotten him and banished him from her mind, but she had agreed to be truthful with him. "No. I didn't forget you. Of all that I met within the Labyrinth, I remembered you the most vividly."

He grinned at this but the grin faded quickly. "Why would you remember me better then your friends?" She refused to look at him and let a silence fall between them. "Sarah.." he called softly.

She finally looked up at him and met his mismatched eyes that were begging for her to answer him. "Because I feared you."

"You feared me?" he echoed. There was no arrogance in his voice, but instead surprise.

"Oh yes. I feared that you would come back to take Toby from me, I feared you would just show up unexpected at the house just like you had the night we met. That you would try to manipulate me with your magic or your words." * I feared what would have happened if I had accepted that crystal... *

"I would never do such things. I may be a being of great power but even I am bound to certain rules. Interfering directly in human affairs is a rule that is not to be broken. Unless that human calls me and asks that I interfere as you did when you asked me to take the baby."

"And I was so stupid for saying the words!" she cried out.

The outburst startled him. "Sarah, " he started in a near whisper. "Do you regret what happened? That you sent the baby to me, that you had to solve my Labyrinth?" He held his breath as he waited for her to answer.

She lowered her head. "I.. I don't know. Sometimes I want to regret it so that I could stop feeling guilty about wishing Toby away and so I could forget the things about that night that bothered me. And other times I realized how lucky I was to experience the Labyrinth even if I believed it to be a dream as I got older. I..I can't give you a truthful answer, because I don't even have one for myself."

He watched as she began to withdraw from him and he cursed himself for pushing her and asking too much of her this soon. He rose from his seat and walked to a nearby window. "It is a beautiful day, cooler then yesterday. Velvet must be wondering where you are. You should attend her."

Sarah looked up at him. He stood gazing out the window, his hands entwined together behind his back. Distancing herself from him was a good idea. It had been the first day of their 3 months and she was already having problems with her emotions. They were talking about too much too quickly.

She stood. "Thank you for breakfast.. and for having Aiden here. It made things..easier."

He merely nodded, his blond hair falling down his shoulders and he didn't look at her. She watched him a moment more and then exited the room. As she made her way down the hall, she heard something shatter from within the library. She was fearful and curious to know what he had broken but she kept walking.

The Goblin King was bent over, resting his arms on the back of a chair; his face buried within them, glass scattered at his feet. Throwing the crystal and watching it shatter did nothing to comfort him and he felt more misery at seeing the broken pieces. How was he going to survive these next 3 months, and how would he deal with eternity if she denied him?

Disclaimers: I got this fortune from a cookie that says " If your desires are not extravagant they will be granted." Is wanting the Goblin King all for myself too extravagant? It is?..damn. The lyrics found in this chapter are from the song "Night Ride across the Caucasus" sung by Loreena McKennitt. Also the song that Sarah danced to alone, I had Loreena's song " Marco Polo" in mind. Both of her songs come from her album "the Book of secrets" if it's possible, go to and listen to clips of these songs. They make this chapter interesting.

The Debt

A Labyrinth Story
by Corrie McDermott

Part 11 of 24

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