Continuing Tales

Tokens of Affection

A Labyrinth Story
by Shinku

Part 3 of 15

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Tokens of Affection

Jareth grinned as he watched Sarah fidget.

When she'd initially invited him to come along on an outing with her and a couple of her school friends, it hadn't crossed her mind that someone might balk at the apparent age difference.

Now, with him wearing a glamour to look like a young college student, she was just beginning to realize that she probably should be panicking. Jareth decided it was time to poke the proverbial dragon. "Eager to show me off?"

Sarah choked on the soda she'd been sipping.

"What?" She managed to wheeze out.

"Well, with as much as you're fidgeting you're either, very eager to show me off or your afraid of what your friends will think when they see I'm a bit older than you."

Sarah blinked and shot him a humoring look. A bit older? The man was nine hundred and twenty four. Saying he was a bit older was like saying the Titanic only sprang a small leak.

A sly look briefly flicked across Sarah's face as she watched him, and Jareth mentally kicked himself for giving her another idea.

"You know, I am a bit nervous." She confessed. "But I'm more nervous about what my parents will think. Why don't we wait to talk to them a few more days?"

Jareth grinned at her, the expression all teeth.

"Not a chance."

Sarah pouted.

She'd been trying this stunt ever since they'd talked a few days ago. While it'd taken a bit of needling on his part, he'd been able to convince her to see an acquaintance of his that had some skills in healing. While hardly a doctor, the prognosis hadn't been good.

Sarah had been urged to see a real doctor, and soon.

While most of the injuries weren't life threatening, there were a few that had caused his acquaintance serious concern. Her ribs, for example, were undeniably fractured. Sarah had been cautioned that any more stress on that area could cause them to completely break, and possibly puncture a lung.

Whether Sarah wanted to or not, Jareth had informed her they were going to have to speak to her parents. If a doctor was required, then she was going to need an Aboveground physician. An Underground healer simply wouldn't know how to completely treat someone that was still human.

Jareth smiled, as he watched her pout with faint amusement. She'd been so apprehensive about talking to her father and step-mother that he'd agreed to wait, and accompany her on this outing first.

Tonight, when they got back, they would be going together to speak with her parents. Privately, he was hoping for a chance to speak with them alone. He needed to understand what had distracted them to the point of neglect.


Jareth glanced up, and watched curiously as two teens crossed the bridge into Sarah's favored part of the park.

The first of the two was a young woman. Her skin was a uniquely dark brown and her hair done up in a multitude of braids. She stood with an air of gentle confidence, like a prized negotiator walking in to soothe ruffled feathers. She had a very free, genuine smile lighting her face and Jareth liked her immediately.

Behind her trailed a young man. His hair was dark and his clothes noticeably nicer than his companions. Jareth felt a pang of sympathy for the two as he took note of the boys obviously lighter skin tone. He was well aware of the prejudices that were common in the Above.

"Nina!" Sarah called back, quickly getting up to hug her friend.

Jareth stood and patiently waited as Sarah greeted her friend, wisely letting the two young women have their moment. After all, there was no sense in him getting dragged into their odd ritual of female bonding.

A quick glance at the unknown boy had them both sharing a brief but knowing look over their ladies heads.

Yes, it was best to stay out of it.

A minute later, Sarah was pulling Jareth over to meet the young couple.

"Jareth, these are my friends Nina Walker and Kevin Rochester. Say, 'Hi!' kids."

"Hi!" The two teens greeted, grinning.

The Goblin King politely inclined his head. "It's nice to finally meet you."

"Well?" Sarah asked, turning to her friends. "You wanted to meet him, what do you think? Isn't he pretty?"

Nina grinned and nodded mischievously. "Very pretty."

Jareth preened.

"So, Jareth," Kevin started, eyeing the fae king carefully. "What are your intentions toward our Sarah?"

The girl in question squawked indignantly at the inquiry and Jareth mentally took note of the boy.

"I plan to marry her when she comes of age." He stated smoothly but a touch playful. "Although, I'd ask you not say anything to her. She's not supposed to know yet."

Sarah was beginning to wonder if it was too late to send both of them home. Surely, she and Nina could hitch a ride with someone else?

"I don't know…" Kevin trailed in growing humor. "Sarah isn't too keen on secrets. Perhaps, you should give her some hints."

Jareth cocked his head to one side in mock thought. "I suppose you're right. I'm told that women love the mystery. What do you think, my dear?" He asked, turning to Nina.

"Oh no you don't." She said, holding up her hands as if to ward off their insanity. "I'm not getting in the middle of this, not with Sarah giving you that look."

And sure enough, one look in Sarah's direction showed that she was eyeing the two males a little too thoughtfully. Jareth may have had centuries of experience on her, but even he wasn't fool enough to provoke a female with that expression. It was a look that promised retribution would be sought out at a later (and probably inconvenient) time.

"Perhaps, we should go?" Jareth offered quickly.

"Yeah, that sounds good." Kevin swiftly agreed.

Sarah smiled knowingly.


The actual trip itself was uneventful.

To avoid the possibility of someone seeing them and reporting back to Lacey, they'd decided to take the scenic route to Morrisville. It added a good fifteen minutes to the ride itself, but no one complained. A Lacey-free day was a good day.

The Morrisville Winter Renaissance Fayre was more of a commercial event than a reenactment of history. The small town playing host to craftsmen from all over the country, some of them renowned nationwide for their talent. Sarah and Nina had been saving for months for this one shopping trip, so there were no hard feelings when the girls split up early on, taking their dates with them.

While Sarah flitted about from stall to stall, Jareth couldn't help but be amused about her choice of event. In the Underground, festivals such as these were a normal occurrence. For someone like him, it was almost like being home.

"Jareth! Come look at these!" She called.

Smiling, Jareth made his way over to her, quietly glancing over her shoulder at her newest find. It was a small onyx colored pendant of a black cat, about a inch in length. While he couldn't identify the stone, it was obvious to see that it was professionally hand-crafted. The small cat's eerie gold eyes winked at any who passed. It was no wonder why she seemed so taken with it.

However, even as she gazed at the cat, he couldn't help but notice the way her gaze darted to another pendant, this one with a curiously familiar shape. Carefully pretending not to notice, he went back to observing the cat.

"The craftsmanship is excellent." He commented.

She nodded, smiling. "Yeah, it's why I love coming to this Fayre so much. The people that make these things really take their time. Nothing is mass produced to the point where they lose quality."

Jareth nodded.

"I think I'll get this one." She grinned. "Is there something you want?"

He briefly glanced around before shaking his head. While the designs where obviously well done, they were a bit too feminine for his tastes.

A few minutes later she was ready to go, a small bag looped around her wrist.

"Ready?" She asked.

"In just a minute." He answered. "I have some questions I'd like to ask."

She shrugged. "Alright, I'll be a couple stalls down at the loom, okay?"

Jareth nodded. "I'll be there shortly."

He waited until she was out of sight, before turning back to the owner. The old man was smiling at him knowingly. "Which one does she really want?" He asked.

Confidently making his way over to the right hand display, Jareth gently picked up the pendant of a white barn owl and handed it to the owner. The old man continued to smile as he rung it up and wrapped it. As Jareth reached out to take it, the old man swiftly grasped his wrist.

"Don't ever take that little girl for granted." He warned. "A creature that looks for you, even in meaningless little trinkets, is someone to treasure."

Jareth stilled, before really looking at the old man. His eyes suddenly widened and he bowed his head in respect.

"I will heed your words, Elder."

The ancient fae nodded, and for the first time, Jareth noticed the small ferret peeking out from the man's hood. He inclined his head at the small creature as well. "My lady."

Amusement twinkled in its small eyes as she bowed her head in return.

"She's meant to be with you, boy. Don't mess it up, her kind are too short lived for many chances."

Jareth swallowed and nodded. "I know, sir. I'm already on my second chance."

The Elder's eyes narrowed briefly before he nodded.

Inclining his head at the couple again, Jareth slid his purchase into his pocket and swiftly left the stall. As he headed to the looms, he couldn't help but glance over his shoulder, half expecting the stall to be gone. It was still there.

He took a deep breath before letting it out. Who would have thought an Ancient Lord and his Lady would be here?

Keeping an eye out for the looms, he considered what flowers to give with his gift. After all, he wanted his own Lady to be happy.


"Are sure this is the right place?" Jareth asked.

Sarah frowned, as she glanced around. "We said we were going to meet up in the Community Center, and this is the Community Center."

Jareth looked back toward the building in question. "Perhaps they've already gone in? The weather isn't exactly ideal now that the sun is going down."

She nodded. "Yeah, I guess you're right. Maybe we should-"

"Hello, everyone!"

Turning toward the shout, both Sarah and Jareth stared.

Earlier, when they'd initially arrived, Nina had managed to surprise everyone by hauling a large gardener's wagon from the trunk of the car. At the time, it'd seemed a bit excessive. Now?

"So, what do you think?" She asked them. "Did I get a deal or what?"

"Or what." Jareth answered.

Sarah nodded in agreement.

Nina had bought a chest, and judging by the effort it was taking her to pull it, it was hardly empty.

"Did you leave the venders anything to sell?" Sarah asked.

Nina grinned and was about to answer when Kevin ran up carrying one last large bag.

"Please tell me we're done shopping for the day." He begged.

His date laughed. "Yes, Kevin, we're done. I just need to get these things back to the car before we can go in."

Kevin looked relieved.

Sarah smiled and decided to take pity on the poor boy. "Jareth, why don't you take Kevin and get us all something to eat and I'll help Nina unpack this thing and put it all in the trunk."

Jareth frowned as he glanced at her injured arm. "Do you think that's wise?"

Sarah smiled at his concern. "Don't worry, I'm not going to lift anything heavy, I'll be just fine."

Jareth nodded hesitantly. "If you're sure."

She nodded, still smiling. "I am. I'll call if I need you."

"Alright." He finally agreed, and watched as Sarah loaded her extra purchases into the wagon and helped steer it away.

He didn't want to let her go. It felt wrong to let her out of his sight when she wasn't in perfect health, but he wanted to do what was right by her and he knew how independent she was. He took in a deep breath and let it out. His goblins were there, and now that he knew what was going on, they had orders to properly protect their future Queen. She was safe; he just needed a little faith.

"They'll be fine." Kevin offered, and Jareth glanced back to him. "They're tougher than they look, don't worry too much."

But Jareth did worry. He knew from the memories he viewed that Sarah had been careful not to let anyone know exactly how far Lacey had gone in their confrontations. The boy meant well, but Jareth knew he didn't understand the full extent of it.

Sighing, the Goblin King gave a slight nod and motioned toward the doors. "Should we head in now or wait for them?"

"We better head in," the young man informed him. "I went with Nina and Sarah last year, and the lines were terrible. If they're the same way this year, they might even get done before we do."

Giving, a slight nod in understanding, Jareth and Kevin headed in.

One look into the cafeteria and the Goblin King quickly began to realize exactly why Sarah had chosen to go to the car with Nina rather than wait in line. When Kevin had said the lines would be terrible, Jareth had assumed there would be ten or fifteen people ahead of them. The reality was about forty or fifty people different.

"How long, exactly, did you stand here the last time?" Jareth asked, numbly.

Kevin grinned. "Not too long, but don't be surprised if we're here for ten or fifteen minutes."

Jareth had the sudden urge to just ditch the boy and go somewhere (anywhere) else.

"Come on." The teen coaxed, stepping into line. "It's best just to get it over with."

Giving the line a resigned look, Jareth quietly took his place.

"So, Jareth," the teen casually started, "I've been kind of wondering, how old exactly are you? I mean, you're obviously not in high school."

The Goblin King shot the boy an amused look out the corner of his eye. "A little over nine centuries." He answered honestly.

Kevin laughed. "Yeah, right. For real though, how old are you?"

"Twenty four." He lied.

"So, eight years then." The boy muttered.

Jareth shrugged and Kevin began to look a little uneasy.

"Listen I don't want to sound nosey, but how exactly did you meet Sarah?"

The Goblin King tilted his head to one side and turned to him fully. "Why do you ask?"

The boy shifted.

"I want to know that she's alright with you. She's done a lot for Nina and I and… well… I don't want to see her get hurt. If this is just some game or conquest, then I think it would be best if you ended things now, before she gets too attached."

Jareth stilled, quickly taking a firm rein on his reflexive anger.

"You must really think little of Sarah, to think she'd fall for such a ruse."

"What?" Kevin yelped. "No, I just-"

"Haven't used your head." Jareth finished for him. "Think boy, do you really believe I would be dim enough to fool around with a girl that wasn't even legal?"

The young man's eyes widened, and he abruptly fell silent, embarrassed at his own ignorance.

A part of Jareth wanted to lash out at the boy. Good intentions or not, his comments had stung. It reminded him far too much of the games he had played with Sarah as her opponent in the Labyrinth. A woman's heart was a fickle thing, and a young girls' even more so. He'd forgotten that fact when he'd chosen his traps for her and had paid the price for it, in her disbelief of his proposal.

Although they were trying again now, that lost time was still a sore point for him.

"Tell me, boy. Do you know the difference between dating and courting?"

"Not exactly." Kevin answered honestly.

"Tell me what you think it is." Jareth asked patiently. He had a point to make and he wanted this child to understand it completely.

"I was told that it was basically medieval dating. Only a bit more… ah, proper."

"Proper, yes, I suppose it would be when compared to today's dating." Jareth commented. "However, the main difference is in its intent."

"Intent?" The teen asked.

"Yes," The Goblin King answered. "Dating is were two individuals come together to see if they get along well in a romantic relationship. Courting is were two individuals come together to see if they are well-suited for marriage. I'm not dating Sarah, Mr. Rochester. I'm courting her."

Kevin's mouth dropped open and Jareth grinned.

"Courting?" The teen whispered hoarsely.

"Yes," Jareth agreed again, "courting, and would you look at that, we're almost to the front of the line."

Quickly turning back around, Kevin mentally shook himself and began to browse through the overhead menu.

The Goblin King merely smiled, offering up his choice of order when it was asked of him. The teen had to put aside what he'd said for now, but he wouldn't be able to do so for long, and when it had completely sunk in, Jareth knew he would have quite the ally.


Watching Nina shut the trunk, Sarah breathed a sigh of relief. When she'd asked the other girl if she'd left anything for the vender's to sell, she hadn't realized exactly how true the statement had actually been. The chest, Sarah found out, had actually been purchased more out of necessity than the desire to have one.

At the moment, Sarah was just thankful that everything fit into the trunk. Between Nina's wagon and her new chest of goodies it'd been a really tight fit.

Sarah glanced into the backseat, where all her purchases took up half the space. She hoped Jareth didn't mind her sitting in his lap on the ride home, because there was no way any of that was fitting in the trunk.

"You know, that was really nice of him." Nina commented, coming around to Sarah's side of the car.

She glanced up. "What?"

Nina smiled, pointing to the makeshift pack resting in the backseat.

Sarah blushed and nodded. "Yeah, it really was."

When they'd all come to the Fayre, Sarah hadn't thought too much about bringing a bag. Personal experience from the previous year left her with little doubt that she would have plenty provided. However, one thing she hadn't counted on was Lacey's little stunt in the Art Room coming back to haunt her. A couple hours in, and Sarah was quickly reminded that her new stitches (courtesy of Jareth's acquaintance) could only do so much. By the third time she'd been forced to shuffle her heavier purchases to her good arm, Jareth had quietly stepped in.

Leaving her at a bench to sort through her new treasures, he'd had left and returned with a small quilt and a few long scarves. Taking a few moments to unfold it, he then proceeded to show her how to properly tuck her purchases away in its folds. By the time his lesson had ended, not only had he managed to fashion her a rough traveling pack, but he'd also managed to teach a small crowd of people how to do the same thing.

Almost needless to say, Jareth received a lot of free things from some very grateful quilt and cloth venders.

"So, I take it you were the one that started this trend?" Nina asked.

Sarah grinned, "Jareth saw I was having some trouble with my arm."

The girl blinked. "You told him?"

She winced. "He accidentally grabbed my wrist to help pull me up when I went to see him the other day."

Nina made a face. "Ouch."

"Like you wouldn't believe." Sarah agreed.

"So, he knows what's going on then?" She asked.

Sarah nodded.

"I take it he was pissed then." She stated.

The brunette winced. "You don't know the half of it. I thought I was going to have to find some way to tie him down when he got a good look at the damage Lacey had done."

Nina nodded knowingly. "Same thing happened to me last year when Kevin found out about all the trouble Anthony Smith was giving me."

"Yeah," Sarah countered. "but Kevin isn't as confrontational as Jareth is."

The other girl frowned as she glanced toward her friend.

"What are you saying?"

"I'm saying Jareth has both the will and the means to make Lacey's life a living hell for a very very long time." She quipped.

Nina frowned. "Why not let him have at her then? Why protect her?"

Sarah shrugged. "I wasn't trying to protect her so much as I was trying to protect Jareth."

"From what?" She asked, her tone incredulous.

"From me." Sarah answered softly.

Nina turned to her friend, lost.

"When I first met him I hurt him real bad, Nina. I couldn't do that to him again, so I thought it would be better if I didn't say anything at all."

"Sarah…" She trailed off.

"I found out a few months ago that I could contact him, so I sent an apology. Lacey hadn't been a big problem back then, so I thought it would be alright to try and get to know him. Then she got worse and…" Sarah glanced away, ashamed. "I didn't want him to think I'd contacted him just so he could help me out of a bad situation. I wanted it to be real."

Nina sighed as she turned her attention back to where she was walking. A year ago, Sarah Williams had been a block of ice. Cold and angry to the point that people just didn't want anything to do with her.

Then one day, out of the blue, she changed.

No one knew what happened, and quite frankly, no one wanted to jinx it by asking.

Nina was beginning to see a pattern.

"I see your point," Nina commented. "but how do you think he would have felt if Lacey put you in the hospital? I mean here he is, with a means to help you and you didn't trust him enough to say anything."

Sarah flinched.

"I know your mom hurt you when she left, Sarah, but you have to start trusting someone sometime. Whoever this Jareth is, he looks at you like you're everything. Maybe you should take a chance with him. From what little you've told me, it sounds like the man's earned it."

Sarah smiled ruefully as she took in her friend's words. She hadn't thought of it like that. All she'd seen was how it would look if she tried to ask for help so soon after trying to mend her mistake.

"I see what you mean." She offered.

Nina nodded. "I thought you might."

The walk into town was quiet after that, little needing to be said while the girls enjoyed their walk back to the community center. However, just as they were getting close to the meeting place, Sarah spotted a small flower shop.

She grinned. "Hey Nina, I need to stop in there for a second, alright?"

Her friend glanced up and shrugged. "Fine with me. If you're not going to take too long I'll wait outside. You know I'm not much for flowers."

"Yeah, yeah, I remember the Radio Shack incident."

Nina blushed. "I'm not talking to you anymore."

Laughing, Sarah entered the shop.

Earlier, while Jareth had been talking to the stonecutter that she'd purchased her cat pendant from, Sarah had spotted a small tent selling wooden puzzles. Intrigued, she'd slipped over for a quick look.

It was there, as she'd walked in, that Sarah had spotted it.

Beautifully crafted, it was a cherry stained mahogany puzzle box about eight inches wide and ten long, the lid of which boasted a skillfully crafted border with three separate rotatable circles in the center, each depicting various items from an assortment of fairy tales.

Sarah had been amused when she'd gotten a closer look at the carved border. The answer to the combination lock had been carefully carved inside the edging in the shape of tiny mermaid-like fairies.

Water Sprites.

Sarah sighed, as she looked among the current shop's blossoms. The puzzle box hadn't been cheap, even with the vender giving her a discount for solving it (which had amused him to no end). Still, if Jareth liked it…

She scanned the various tables and shelves, beginning to think the shop might not carry what she was looking for, and then she found it.

A peach blossom.

I am your captive.

Tokens of Affection

A Labyrinth Story
by Shinku

Part 3 of 15

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