Continuing Tales

The Debt

A Labyrinth Story
by Corrie McDermott

Part 15 of 24

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The Debt

Disclaimers: Jim Henson owns the Labyrinth and characters. I own those not in the movie. I also own the lyrics at the end of this chapter. They're from a song I wrote called "Empty".

Almost Human...

Sarah slept most of the ride to Noross the following day. Spilling her feelings to Jareth had been emotionally overwhelming for her and he was glad that she slept. The day felt like it would never end as he rode and watched over her. He couldn't stop thinking about what she had told him. She had been through a lot in her life, nearly as much as he had and she was a lot younger then he. She felt unwanted, and he couldn't get angry with her for feeling that way. He desperately wanted her to see that she was wanted and she was someone incredible.

Her mother had left her when she was 6 years old to pursue her acting career. That must have been traumatic for her, especially if she idolized her mother. Her father had remarried and she gained a step mother, whom she didn't get along with. Her father and new mother had a child together who she obviously began to despise right away. Why else would she have wished the baby to him unless she had been jealous of him? She beat his Labyrinth and regained her brother only to lose him to her step mother. That must have been a horrible blow to her. She moved away and no one seemed to care. She met someone she fell in love with and he hurt her. Life had indeed been unfair to her.

He gazed down at her sleeping form beside him. Her long dark hair fell over her like black silk as she slept on. She looked so peaceful. He sighed and hoped that her thoughts were as peaceful.

Sarah didn't awaken until they had already arrived at the gates of Noross. The giant golden gates were opened almost ceremoniously for her and Jareth. The land was green and flowering with life. It was a stark contrast to Jareth's Labyrinth. As they rode to the entrance of a large castle, Aiden was there to greet them.

"Ah, Jareth, Sarah, so glad that you could both make it. I hope the ride here was not too long. Elbon here will drive the wagon to the stable and feed and water the horses and Larin will see to it that your things are brought to your room." It was two humanoids that took to the tasks and Aiden, the true gentleman he was, thanked them for their efforts.

"Come I will take you on a tour of the castle." He helped Sarah down from the wagon and Jareth jumped down behind her following both her and Aiden into the castle. Aiden's castle was beautiful. He too seemed to enjoy sculpture and fine tapestries. There were no goblins running about and no noise. The floors were marble and they were so clean you could see your reflection as you walked. There were many potted plants and some hallways opened up at the sides with sitting rooms. These rooms had trees and beautiful flowers and small bubbling fountains.

"Your castle is beautiful." Sarah let out softly as she walked beside Aiden. Jareth walked slowly behind them. Aiden noticed that he didn't seem to be his usual self, but didn't ask what was wrong. He hoped that nothing bad had happened on their journey to his kingdom.

"Thank you. I hope that you will both dine with me this evening. It's a fair night and dinner on the balconies might be in order."

"Sounds wonderful." Sarah told him. Jareth nodded quietly.

"Splendid. I shall show you to your rooms so that you may get ready for this evening. I'm sure you'd both like to rest as well. Riding in a wagon isn't exactly the most comfortable way to travel." He grinned and Sarah smiled at his warmth.

They walked a short ways and Aiden showed Sarah her room. It was enormous with a large canopy bed, tall windows that let so much light in, beautiful bureaus, a vanity and a table and chairs. The chest with her things was already waiting for her at the end of the bed. Aiden smiled at her satisfaction and told her he would see her at dinner. Then he and Jareth began to walk away.

"Jareth." She called softly. The Goblin King stopped and walked to her slowly. Aiden kept on walking as if he had not noticed Jareth missing along his side.

She walked to him nervously as she played with the ends of her hair. "I... I wanted to thank you for last night."

'Don't thank me. I was foolish to force you to speak of things you obviously wanted to forget." He said shaking his head.

"Maybe I did want to forget them, but I feel better now that I talked about them to someone." She paused and looked up at him with a shy smile. " It meant a lot to me for you to be the one I finally talked everything out with."

His brows rose in surprise. She leaned toward him and placed a light kiss on his cheek before quickly escaping to her room. Jareth stood in the hall, in shock and his hand rose to where she had kissed him. A grin appeared on his face and there was a spring in his step as he caught up with Aiden.

Dinner was incredible. Aiden had balconies that overlooked a sparkling lake. They sat at a large table with paper lanterns glowing around the balcony and the gardens. The night was warm, the food and company were wonderful. The sound of something resembling crickets put Sarah at ease. Aiden retired early claiming that he had a meeting with a few of his subjects early in the morning. This left Jareth and Sarah alone together under the canopy of stars. Sarah sat on a small marble wall that overlooked the lake and Jareth stood not far from her, lost in his thoughts.

"Aiden has a beautiful castle. So much marble." She commented after a short while.

Jareth let out a chuckle. "Where do you think most of this marble came from?"

"I don't- you?" She asked as his eyes sparkled. He smiled devilishly. "Get out. You're kidding me."

"I jest you not. Much of this marble came from the mountains on the outskirts of my kingdom. Aiden has a weakness for it. Wanted a castle made of the stuff and he has it. We trade often. He takes the marble and in return I get many fine foods that aren't found in my own kingdom."

"Sounds fair."

"Yes, it's a fair deal." Jareth moved closer to her to stare out at the lake and clasped his hands behind his back. "Aiden is a good friend. I don't know where I would be without him." He smiled at her warmly.

"You've been friends a long time, haven't you?"

"873 years."

Her eyes widened. "Are you serious?"

He let out a chuckle. "Quite serious. We're Fae, Sarah. We are long lived."


"Yes, immortal." He nodded.

"The wisdom, you both must have..." she trailed off.

"Age and wisdom don't always go hand and hand. I'm nearly 900 years old and I still don't know how to properly court a lady." He smiled at her with warmth in his eyes.

She blushed and recovered with a grin. "Ok so you're lacking in the relationship department. But what else you must know..."

"We do know a great deal. It's amazing to think how much the aboveground can change in the lifetime of a Fae."

She smiled and looked out over the lake. As a silence settled and in the distance she heard the whinny of a horse, most likely one at Aiden's stable. It made her think of Velvet. She missed her horse. She knew if she left the Underground, her horse would not be all that she would miss. Day by day, the Goblin King she once feared and loathed was becoming more and more dear to her. But she wasn't ready to give herself up to him just yet. She still wished to learn about him and his past.

She shivered when a slight breeze swept across the balcony and an instant later Jareth draped his black cape around her. "It's ok. I'm fine."

"You're cold. Maybe we should go inside." He offered.

"No, no I'm fine. It's such a beautiful night." She smiled at his concern for her. He nodded. "Would you sit with me?" she asked quietly. Jareth hesitated for a moment and then dropped slowly to sit beside her on the fine white marble.

She looked nervous suddenly. "Jareth I have to tell you something and I know you're going to be mad at me but I have to be honest with you." Jareth swallowed, his breath catching in his throat. Had she made an early decision? Did she plan on leaving? He nodded and forced himself to deal with what ever she said.

"A few weeks ago, when we were both avoiding each other, I came in from riding and I heard the sound of your voice. I hadn't seen you in a whole week and I had to see you. I peeked into the room I heard your voice come from and I saw you and Aiden. I didn't mean to stay as long as I did, but I heard everything."

"You were eavesdropping?" The brow above his blue eye arched up.

She swallowed. "Yes. I didn't mean to but you were talking about me and I heard everything. Aiden's pleas telling you to send me go home, you refusing, you admitting what you felt, among other things." She lowered her eyes from him, ashamed.

"The sound I heard. It was you out in the hall?"

"Yes." She said lowering her head.

'So you knew of my feelings for you and yet you still felt they were not genuine?" his voice was full of pain.

She chanced a look at him and wanted to cry when she saw the hurt in the depth of his mismatched eyes. "Jareth I didn't know you, I still don't completely. Everything I ever learned about the Goblin King told me that he didn't love and he certainly wouldn't love me. It wasn't just me thinking you were incapable of the emotion without a hidden agenda, it was my own way of guarding myself. I told you last night what I've been through not only with Wesley, but with my own family. I put up a wall around myself. I have to or the army comes marching in and they leave a lot of wounded. I've been hurt too much to just let someone in without a fight. And I'm sorry. I didn't mean to eavesdrop, I didn't mean to put us both through all of this. I'm really sorry."

"So Aiden lied to me." His voice was suddenly cold, dripping with ice.

'He told a fib, yes. Please don't be angry with him. What's done is done, right? Let it go. Isn't that what you told me? Aiden is very loyal to you. He didn't want you to be upset."

Jareth let out a sigh. "He was right with what he did. I would have exploded if I knew you were there."

She nodded and bit her lower lip. Her voice became soft. "You asked about my past, Jareth and if we are ever going to move forward or backward or anywhere, I need to know about yours. I need to know about the court and about Cyla."

Jareth winced visibly as if someone had poked him with a sharp object. "Sarah, please, anything but that."

"We have to be honest with each other. I need to know what you've been through, just as you needed to know what I went through. Love is about honesty, trust and forgiveness. We have the forgiveness down pact. Now we need the first two."

"Sarah I don't know if I can." He pulled away from her, standing and turning away. She stood and walked to him, placing a hand on his shoulder.

"You're Jareth and you can do anything. You even made a spoiled little 15 year old feel special when no one else could." His head turned to look at her and he gave her a sad smile. "If we're going to move forward, we have to go back, remember?"

Jareth sighed and sat, gesturing for Sarah to do the same. She did so and he reached over and took her hands into his, drawing comfort from her. "Cyla was the first woman I ever loved." His voice cracked and he took a moment to recompose himself before continuing.

"She was older then I, and powerful. I was young and I wanted power. I wanted a kingdom, I wanted children, I wanted a queen. She could give me all that for she was the daughter of King Graycis. An older Fae who was very well known and popular within the Fae court. He had an incredible Kingdom and his daughter was to inherit it. Aiden warned me to stay away from her, that I was young and she would use me until she grew bored of me and found someone else. I was a fool for not listening to him. I became so in love with her, willing to do anything, even be her slave. She knew this and used it to her advantage."

Jareth paused and moved his leather encased fingers gently over Sarah's hands. "One night an arrogant Lord, Lord Farris captured two mortal women. Many Fae do not like mortals and they torture them and use them as slaves. Farris was one who did such things and he went beyond being cruel. Cyla and I were staying at his estate for business when I heard screaming. I learned that he had brutally raped the two mortal women. I was horrified. I couldn't believe that anyone would be so cruel. I saw these women the next day. It was if he had taken the life out of them. They were battered and bruised and worthless for slaves in his eyes, so he killed them in cold blood. Others who were members of the court watched him kill the women as if it was a sport. I was sick. Cyla didn't understand my sympathy and concern for the treatment of the women and I should have noticed them that something wasn't right between us. But love is blind."

He glanced away from Sarah out over the lake, still gently caressing her hands. "She proceeded to tell every Fae with an influence in the court about my concern. Soon those who I thought were friends were laughing at me, telling me if I loved mortals so much I should live among them." He turned back to Sarah and shook his head. " Thankfully, with time, everything died down. The incident passed on and no one brought any mortals into the Underground for years. I believed everything to be all right. Word came that a King had died and he had no heir. They were looking for a King to take his place and they offered the kingdom to me. I accepted eagerly for I was still wishing for a kingdom of my own. Aiden ruled Noross by now and I envied him. He had a beautiful kingdom and an enchanting wife by his side. And oh how I longed for the same."

He paused and looked at Sarah with sadness in his eyes. "It turns out that the joke was on me. The Fae court had managed to trick me, rather reluctantly into becoming the Goblin King. A position no one would touch with a ten foot pole and for good reason. The goblins were uncontrollable, and the land even more uncontrollable. The Labyrinth. No one could control the legendary Labyrinth. I'd been tricked by friends in the court. Friends I had served 50 years with. I thought everything was going well and then they tricked me. It was all a setup. A setup planned skillfully by the woman I loved and wanted to marry." Jareth closed his eyes and held Sarah's hands tightly within his own.

" Cyla announced at my inauguation as King of the goblins that she was seeing Lord Farris and that she loved him. Not only did she betray me in court she betrayed me by loving the very man I completely despised. I was banished from the court forever and a stipulation was added to me ruling over the castle beyond the Goblin City. Every time a child was wished away I had to take it and make the one who wished the child away, run my Labyrinth."

'I hated taking away innocent children and being forced to keep them if their brother, sister, mother , babysitter, or cousin could not beat me. I became bitter, cruel and arrogant over time. I forgot who I once was and turned into what you saw 10 years ago. Aiden was the only one of my original friends that stuck by my side. Had he not been around I fear to think what I would have become or what I would have done." Jareth's eyes were filled with pain and Sarah wanted to cry after hearing his story.

"Where is she now?" she choked out.

"She still lives with Farris, so Aiden has heard. He doesn't mingle with the court much either or anyone outside his Kingdom, save me. She supposedly married Farris and had a child."

'My god Jareth. I am so sorry." A tear streamed down her face.

He stroked her hands with his gloved fingers. "It's the past." He looked up at her and saw the tear rolling down her cheek and he nearly lost it. He reached up and lightly touched her face, wiping the tear from her soft skin. "I'm over her. I've had 400 years to get over her. I still hurt when I think of her, but you never fully heal and I've accepted that. But you Sarah, you brought me hope by defeating my labyrinth. You brought me the first hope in 400 years."

"400 years is a long time to be alone."

"Yes. It was eternity as far as I was concerned."

She felt him shiver beside her and she draped half of his cape around him. His eyes were full of pain and sorrow and she reached over gently pulling him against her. He let his head fall into her neck and shoulder and she leaned her head upon his. He was trembling and she moved closer to him. He let out a soft sob as she let her hand fall into his hair. She pushed back the wild, blond locks and smoothed them with her gentle touch, trying to comfort him. She pulled him closer and he sobbed softly against her. Aiden had been so very right. They were two sides of the same coin. And they had more in common then she would have thought. She had just learned everything she needed to know. Tears trickled down her cheeks as she held him to her. The Goblin King could love and he could hurt...And he had been hurt badly. He was almost human...

I feel the pressure, as it grips my mind.
The pain I feel, gets harder to hide

No one understands, what it's like
To feel this way.
And to be empty...

Acting strong, is such a lie.
I'm really crying inside.

No one understands, what it's like
To live my life
And to feel so empty

No one understands, it doesn't disappear
The sting of first love, never fades away.
It'll come to you, when you are vulnerable
And it'll bring you down, on your knees.
Oh It'll bring you down, on your knees....

The Debt

A Labyrinth Story
by Corrie McDermott

Part 15 of 24

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