Continuing Tales

Tokens of Affection

A Labyrinth Story
by Shinku

Part 4 of 15

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Tokens of Affection

Dinner was a curious affair for Sarah.

Sometime, while she and Nina had been organizing their things in the car, Jareth and Kevin had apparently come to some kind of accord. While she was aware that it wasn't really a bad thing, she just couldn't shake the feeling that Jareth was plotting.

She eyed him out the corner of her eye as they walked to a secluded part of the town's park. In another hour, a bonfire would be lit in the center and some of the day's performers would come out and tell stories around the light. While Sarah wouldn't have minded listening to them, she had another storyteller in mind for the evening.

"This looks far enough." Jareth announced.

Sarah's breath caught, as she gazed at the large weeping willow in front of her. It was beautiful, its branches long and sweeping as it swayed in the faint breeze. The branches parting just enough to reveal a carefully kept sanctuary inside.

Sarah blushed as Jareth calmly took her hand and led her inside.

Beyond the first layer of branches, the inner area was dark, but Jareth never faltered as he guided them both to the base of the tree.

"I know you can't see well in here, Sarah, so I'm going to sit down first and then I want you to come and sit between my legs, alright?"

"Sure." She said, and hoped he couldn't see how red she was.

After a bit of shuffling about, Sarah was situated where she was supposed to be and was resolutely trying to ignore the absolute amusement that was rolling off of him.

"Honestly, Sarah, don't you think it's past the time for you to be embarrassed about me holding you in public?" Jareth asked, his arms carefully tucked around her.

Sarah snorted. "If you think the goblins are public than you haven't spent nearly as much time with them as I thought."

He hummed in thought. The vibrations sending a faint shiver down her spine.

"You know, I don't think the goblins would appreciate not being seen as 'public', don't you?"

"Jareth, the goblins think whatever is going on around them is entertainment. It's not like they're going to spontaneously send word back to my parents." She returned.

Resting his head atop hers he asked easily, "And you think someone here might?"

"Half of the people sponsoring this event know my family through my dad's work. Trust me when I say that my dad has absolutely no problem with me going to this event alone."

He sighed. "Which means you have more minders here than your own home, I take it."

"Right in one."

Jareth grumbled. "I suppose I'll just have to work around it."

Sarah frowned. "You're not going to get us in trouble are you?"

He smirked. "Hardly. I was, however, hoping to keep your father off balance by simply showing up on his doorstep."

"But you didn't count on the family spies, poor baby." She cooed.

He frowned, giving her thigh a retaliating pinch. Sarah yelped, and swatted him in return as she tried to shift her leg away from him.

"I noticed you and Kevin seemed to be getting along well." She pointed out, trying to focus his attention on something less irritating.

Jareth sighed and leaned back against the trunk of the tree, carelessly taking her with him. "It's nothing you need to be concerned with, I merely explained the difference between dating and courting to him."

Sarah stilled. "And?"

"And," he said, nuzzling playfully at her neck. "he is quite thrilled with your courting status. Apparently, the boy was worried I was trying to take advantage of you."

She snorted. "As if."

"You know," he commented, pulling back a bit. "as interesting as this conversation is, I do believe you had other questions in mind for tonight."

Sarah briefly closed her eyes and took a breath.

"I want… I want to know more about you. I want to know what shaped you into who you are." She smiled faintly. "In fact, if you think about it, you have quite the head start on me."

Jareth sighed, brushing his cheek against the top of her head as he thought.

"That's… not as easy a request as you might think."

Sarah closed her eyes and knowingly relaxed against him. She could feel how nervous he was, how his very heart ached. "Then start with something easy. What's your favorite color?"

Jareth felt his lips twitch. "Green."

"I like Blue." She offered in return. "How about… your favorite food?"


She huffed. "You are such a male. Tamales."

He hummed thoughtfully. "I would have thought you more of a pasta person."

She grinned. "You learn something new everyday."

There was an almost unfelt swirl of mischief before, "I have one. Favorite animal."

Sarah tensed. "A cat." She said quickly.

"Ah ah, Sarah. You've already let me into you're heart once, you can't lie to me."

"If you know," she said, tartly. "then I don't need to tell you."

He grinned, and she felt his breath ghost against her ear. "But I want to hear you say it." He whispered.

She shivered and bit her lip before muttering, "A barn owl."

He darted a quick kiss to the skin just beneath her ear and asked, "Any particular color?"

Her breath hitched and she lightly smacked his leg. "White, and stop being distracting."

"But, Sarah," He mock whined. "You like it."

She pulled back enough to shoot him a look and growled, "Just answer the question, Jareth."

He gave a teasing sigh. "A blue jay."

Sarah blinked. "Why a blue jay?"

"Why else, my dear?" He asked as he wiggled gloveless fingers against her stomach.

"You mean…" She breathed.

"Yes," he confirmed. "With the right training, that's the animal you will become."

A spark of amusement slid through her before, "But aren't blue jays known for chasing owls from their-"

"Yes!" He snapped, incensed.

She laughed.

"Oh yes, laugh at the poor owl that's going to wed the creature known for chasing him from his roost."

She laughed harder.

He pouted.

"I'm sorry," she giggled after a few minutes, her laughter finally dying down. "but the irony is just too great."

"I'm sure." He said stiffly.

Grinning, she ventured to change the subject. "Alright, no more bird talk, how about… where you were born? I was born in California."

Jareth hesitated briefly and Sarah paused at the sharp thrill of unease.

"If it bothers you, you don't have to-"

"No." Jareth cut off. "I have to do this. It's just…"

"It's just hard." She finished for him. "You know, you can always…" And she held out a hand invitingly.

He hesitated again. "Sarah, what you're offering, do you understand how intimate it is?"

She frowned and he could feel her confusion. "It didn't bother you last time."

He curled around her a bit, holding her a bit tighter. "Someone was hurting you, Sarah. If the situation hadn't been so dire, I would have wronged you terribly by reading you without your permission."

She tilted her head to one side in an amusingly familiar position. "I understand what you're telling me, but even if the situation hadn't been what it was, I don't think I would have minded so much, so long as it was you."

Jareth felt a shudder run through him at her admission. It was both humbling and terrifying to realize how much power she was willing to let him have over her. A person's past, no matter what their station, was a powerful weapon.

"Sarah, I-"

"Jareth," She breathed. "You showed me I don't have to hide around you, that you'll accept me, even when I've done something wrong. I want to give that back to you. I want to help you the way you helped me. Please, Jareth? Please?"

He swallowed thickly, touched by her generosity and gratefully took her hand.

It was a valley, larger than any she'd ever seen. It was surrounded by mountains on all sides, with breathtaking waterfalls spilling into large basins below. A quick glance around showed many rivers and lakes helping to feed lush farmlands and sprawling forests.

Among all the greenery she could easily make out the odd smatterings of towns and villages laid out around a central castle. The single structure was unlike anything she'd ever imagined, it's tall, glass-like appearance lending it a distinctly delicate look.

However, there was no mistaking that it was indeed a fortress, it's very foundations resting inside a medium sized island in the center of a spectacular lake, it's only connection to the outside world a single, thread-like bridge.

The whole land was truly a paradise unto itself.


Sarah took in a sharp breath as she blinked back into the waking world. When she'd shared her own memories with Jareth, the experience hadn't been nearly so intense.

"Was that where you were born?" She managed to rasp out.

"Yes." He answered, his cheek once again resting on her head. "It's a small nation quite far to the north of the Labyrinth. It's called The Land of the Great Falls, but more commonly just called The Falls."

She smiled. "It looks like a thrill-seekers paradise."

"It is," he agreed. "you would probably be surprised with how often I got in trouble for jumping off of those waterfalls."

Her smile turned into a grin. "Had a bit of goblin in you then, I take it."

"More than a bit." He chuckled. "I once decide to put the old proverb to 'not poke a sleeping dragon' to the test."

Sarah's eyes went wide. "You didn't."

"I did," he grinned. "and I feel you should know that the proverb is very true. You really shouldn't poke a sleeping dragon. They aren't fond of it."

Sarah laughed, the sound free and untamed, and Jareth felt himself relax.

"Your next question?" He offered.

She hummed in thought before, "Can you show me a memory of you when you were small?"

"Small?" He asked.

"Yeah," She chirped. "I want to see what you looked like when you were a kid."

Jareth fell silent for a moment before nodding to himself and once again taking hold of her hand.

He was up a tree, eyes closed and ears pricked, listening. His seeker was close by, diligently trying to find him before the timer ran out. Jareth grinned to himself. Dreail could look all he wanted, but Jareth wasn't going to let him win this time. The prize was just too sweet for that.

A few more minutes passed and the timer sounded. Jareth knew better than to move, Master Aidan was known for playing tricks on those that didn't wait for the 'safe call'.

There was a sudden sharp twang followed by an indignant yelp, and Jareth's grin grew devious. Of course, just because Master Aidan held the proclivity for playing tricks, didn't mean someone else couldn't get in on the fun. His poor brother just hadn't seemed to have learned that.

There was sigh from under his branch and Jareth cracked open his eyes to glance down.

"Again, Jareth?" Master Aidan asked exasperatedly. "You realize Dreail is bound to eventually figure out that I only trap the perimeter of the forest, right?"

"He hasn't yet, and it's been how long?" The small boy questioned back.

The Master sighed as he looked up at mismatched blue eyes set in a deceivingly innocent face. Many were often taken in by the child's harmless appearance, but Aidan was no fool. Those eyes were far too intelligent for that kind of thought.

The older fae sighed. "Lets just cut your brother down before he throws a fit."

The young boy rolled his eyes and leaped down, the action all too graceful for a child that, by all rights, should still be clumsy and unsure of himself.

Aidan smiled and ruffled wild blonde hair. The boy's poor mother never could seem to get it to lay the way she wanted.

"Alright then," The fae started, steering the both of them toward the sounds of fruitless thrashing. "Since I know you've been cheating and reading ahead on our lessons, what is your animal shape, so we can jump to where we need to be?"

Jareth smiled smugly. "A barn owl."


"What did you do to your brother?" Sarah asked with a wide grin.

"I set a tripwire that, when triggered, would spring a net up and leave him hanging from a tree." He answered with mild amusement. "Dreail had a good mind for politics, but little for tactics. Which was one of the things Master Aidan was tutoring us for."

"So, this Dreail was your older brother?" She asked.

He nodded. "Yes. He was… I suppose the equivalent would be about seven years older than me."

She blinked in faint surprise. "But you only looked a little older than seven yourself when I saw you."

Jareth grinned. "And I would wager you can now understand why Dreail was often so irritated with me."

Sarah opened her mouth to answer, when she felt a distinct curl of grief at the older boys name.

"It didn't end well, did it?" She asked softly.

Jareth briefly closed his eyes and tried to will away the pain. "No, it didn't." He admitted. "When I was born, my family saw me as a blessing. Having a second child is a true gift among my kind but… as I grew, my parents slowly stopped seeing it that way."

"So, you were a prince then?" She asked, trying to shift the subject to something a little easier. "A prince of The Land of the Great Falls?"

He nodded. "A second prince, and to a land as small as The Falls, I was even more a blessing to the people, in that I was near a guarantee that they would never be without a ruler."

Sarah's eyes widened in understanding.

"Through your bloodline, right? Even if something happened to the main family, your children would still have right of claim."

He smiled and nodded. "Yes."

She shook her head then, a small frown sliding across her face. "I don't understand, then. How could-"

"I became a threat." He cut off quickly. "When fae are able to conceive a second time that child is usually equal to or weaker than the first, physically, mentally, and magically. I didn't follow these norms. While physically, I was progressing equally to my brother, mentally and magically I had exceeded him."

"Exceeded?" She questioned.

Jareth gave an odd chuckle. "As a young man, Dreail could single handedly translocate an entire legion of men in any direction for up to a hundred miles. A fantastic feat in and of itself. However," he countered. "I, on the other hand, could literally move entire mountains while preserving the life already on it."

Sarah blinked in stunned suprise before, "Why the heck would you need to move a mountain?"

Jareth gave her a wry grin, before quickly snatching up her hand and pulling her into another memory.

"It's no use, sire." Aidan spoke to his king. "They've completely blocked all the passages off this mountain. The only way out is through one of their perimeters."

"What if Dreail were too translocate us?" The older fae asked, glancing toward his oldest son.

"I'm sorry, my king," his commander apologized. "but they've set down boundary-holders around the mountains base. The High Prince would likely be killed if he were to attempt it."

The King swore, bringing his fists harshly down onto the small table in front of him, causing several small items to jump and fall.

Jareth flinched from where he was spying.

"We'd best start rallying the troops, then." The older fae sighed. "It looks like we have no choice. We're going to have to go through one of their lines."

Aidan bowed at the command. "As you wish, sire."

Nodding back tiredly, the King left the tent, taking his eldest with him.

The commander straighten and sighed, before turning toward a barely seen ripple in the tent's back right corner.

"You shouldn't be eavesdropping, Jareth. This isn't news you need to take back to the men."

The ripple suddenly shimmered and a young man, barely more than a boy, appeared. "I know, but everyone is nervous and the last few bits of news were positive. I thought today's might be as well."

Aidan sighed and motioned the tents flaps closed. Candles automatically lit themselves and the commander waved the boy over. "Tell me what you think of this, Jareth. Tell me what you see."

Jareth cautiously walked over to the table and looked over the map provided. It wasn't hard to see which markers meant what and their meaning as a whole.

"It's a good strategy," the boy admitted. "however, there are a few ways around it."

Aidan perked up. Perhaps the young prince had spotted something he hadn't.

"Father is right, one way is to break through one of their lines, but I'm sure they're prepared for that and I'd estimate a sixty percent loss to your current force in such an event."

The commander frowned. "So many? I'd estimated less."

"Most of the men are magically exhausted, but are trying to hide it so as not to bring down morale."

Aidan sighed. "Next option?"

"You could send men to break these three boundary-holders," Jareth explained, pointing to each. "Their destruction would cause an imbalance in the circuit and destroy the foundation of the barrier. Dreail, could do the rest from there."

"But?" The fae asked, already aware there had to be catch.

"But the men you would need for this job are the ones that are shot. You'll need three days for them to be back to full capacity and I doubt-"

"That our enemy is going to give us that much time." Aidan finished, looking exhausted. "Next?"

Jareth shrugged. "Move the mountain."

The commander blinked in faint surprise and gave the boy an amused look. "Even if we had the power to do such a thing, the boundary-holders would prevent it. Nothing on or off the mountain, remember?"

"Exactly," The boy said. "Boundary-holders are to prevent something from leaving or entering the marked land, but they're more akin to filters than actual barriers. They were originally designed to protect endangered land and species from the encroachment of some cities. However, if the land moves?"

Aidan took in a sharp breath. "They would shut down, rendered without a purpose."

Jareth grinned.

"But we still don't have the power to pull off such a strategy." The fae sighed. "You said it yourself, the men are magically exhausted."

The boy shifted.

Aidan narrowed his eyes. "You know of a power source." He stated. "Jareth, everyone here could die if we stay too long! You have to tell me what it is!"

The boy shifted again and looked up at him with pleading eyes. However, the commander was in no mood for games.

"Now, Jareth, or I get your father."

Jareth paled. "You… You can't! You can't tell him! Please! Please, don't tell him, Master Aidan, please!"

The older fae froze.

When he'd threatened to tell the boy's father, he'd expected Jareth to balk and to be difficult, he hadn't expected fear.

"I won't." He hurriedly assured the boy. "I won't."

Aidan didn't even pause as he took the shaking child into his arms, instinctively cradling the boy's head against his chest. The moment his skin touched Jareth's, however, he knew he'd been too impulsive.

Memories ripped through him almost faster than he could comprehend them.

The boy's pleasure at learning how to change into his animal shape, and his anguish at his brother's refusal to learn from someone that had "cheated" their way to victory. His fear at suddenly being able to read someone with barely a brush of skin, and the absolute depression that followed when his family would no longer touch him. He watched as Jareth's brother gradually began getting more violent, and his father colder, his mother having long since started to avoid him.

Then he saw himself, healing the boy when his brother had gotten too rough in their sparring, and then the gratitude that followed when he'd given the child his first pair of gloves to help him try and control his wayward ability. The absolute relief Jareth felt when he'd hugged him without reserve.

Then he saw the crystal.

For a instance the sheer fear was so strong the memory went white. After a time, the recollection slid back into focus, and he was able to see the blackened smoking crater in the ground, where Jareth had thrown it, desperate to just get it away. He watched the boy shake his head, muttered denials falling from his lips as tears slid down his face.

And then Jareth roughly pulled out of his arms, his eyes wide and his stance terrified.

"Jareth?" The fae asked.

"You weren't supposed to know." He whispered, anguished. "You weren't supposed know!"

Power coiled around him and Aidan knew what he was going to do. Before Jareth could translocate, Aidan leapt - barely managing to wrap his arms around the boy as the power snapped, and they disappeared from the tent.

The air was unexpectedly thinner and the wind howled as they appeared just outside of a cave on one of the upper cliffs. Aidan held fast as Jareth fought to get out of his hold, knowing that if the boy still had his wits about him, Jareth would have already translocated him back to the camp. However, fear drove his actions and Jareth struggled and thrashed like a wild animal.

Despite this the commander refused to relent. If he let go now, he knew he would lose him forever and he wasn't about to let that happen.

"Jareth!" He called to the panicked teen. "Jareth, you need to stop! I'm not going to say anything to your father!"

The older fae felt the power begin to coil again and felt his desperation rise.

"Have I ever hurt you, Jareth! Have I ever gone back on my word!" He asked over the wind.

Jareth flinched and the coiling power abated, but his struggles didn't lessen.

Aidan felt a thrill of hope lance through him, and quickly pressed forward, praying his honesty would be enough.

"You know me, Jareth! You know I'm not lying! Look inside me! Look for yourself and see how I see you!" He offered through the wind's howl. "You're my family, Jareth! You've always been!"

Abruptly the struggles ceased, and Aidan felt Jareth shudder as he began to sob. Adjusting his grip to better support the boy, the elder fae carefully walked them both into the cave.

The Master sighed in relief as the wind's scream died down to a low moan.

Finding a relatively clean place to sit, the older fae sunk down, gently taking Jareth with him. The boy was making odd whimpering sounds as he tried to choke back his sobs and the commander frowned to himself.

Boldly reaching up, he skillfully began combing his fingers through the child's hair, silently trying to reassure him of his presence. It wasn't long before the whimpers once again became honest sobs.

With each pass of his fingertips across Jareth's scalp, Aidan saw more memories.

They were so cold, so resentful of their own son. He couldn't comprehend it, couldn't understand what the child could have possibly done.

"It's because they're afraid of me." He heard distantly. "They're afraid of what I'll become."

"Afraid?" The commander asked, severely. Taking his hand from the child's head. "You're their son, do they truly have so little faith in how they raised you?"

There was a slight hesitation and then, "I'm not natural, Aidan. They think-"

"Never." The Master commanded suddenly, catching Jareth firmly by the shoulders and forcing him to listen. "Never, say that again. You are as natural as any fae. Do you understand me?"

The boy nodded, clumsily, shaken by Aidan's sudden anger.

Taking in a deep, steadying breath, the fae prompted, "Now… 'they think' what?"

Jareth briefly hesitated before, "They think I'll grow into some kind of curse against the kingdom. They think that's the reason I'm so much stronger than, Dreail."

The fae sighed.


He should have known it would cycle back to, Dreail. Heavens forbid anyone out-class the brat in any way. The king and queen were very proud of their eldest. Proud, to the point of conceit. Aidan was beginning to understand why they were seeing their youngest as a future blight.

Although, it was sad to admit, in their own twisted way, they were probably right.

While the king and queen might be arrogant in their assumptions, they were hardly stupid. Dreail was shaping up to be a poor ruler, despite his talent for politics. The commander had little doubt that if the boy did poorly enough, the people would revolt and try to install Jareth as king.

Aidan snorted at the absurdity of it all.

Rather than admit their eldest was morally faltering, and trying to fix these lapses of character, they were instead planning to soften the blow of his inevitable failure by ensuring that Jareth would never have the will to lead.

Except that was the crux of their problem. Jareth wasn't breaking and…

Aidan suddenly felt ill.

That was why… That was why the King had insisted on bringing Jareth along when he had came to inspect the progress of the men. He was hoping the odds against taking an untrained child into a war zone would take care of his problem for him.

For one instant, Aidan had the terrible desire to just take Jareth and run, damn, the consequences. However, when he felt the sharp thrill of alarm, that wasn't his own, he knew it would be impossible. Even if they managed to get out of the kingdom, the King would never stop seeking them, not until the loose end they represented was tied off.

As the moment passed, the commander tried to think of what could be done, now.

The fact was, that without Jareth's help, they were all still stuck on this mountain, and with the way things were progressing it wasn't likely any of them would make it off.

"Don't worry," Jareth said softly. "I'll help. I just… I just know this isn't going turn out well for me and…"

He could feel it, feel the way the child wanted to cry again.

Aidan wished, with all his heart, he could tell him it would be alright, that he really didn't have to do it, but he couldn't. He was responsible for the men that had been guarding this mountain, and those men relied on him to make decisions that would allow them to see their families again.

So, finally, as the Master's heart broke, he asked, "What did you have in mind?"


Jareth looked like hell. His eyes were dark and his skin almost unnaturally pale.

Aidan glanced around at the handful of men that were going to be standing guard. For everything to work the way it needed to, there couldn't be any interruptions.

"Alright, men, are we ready?"

There were choruses of "Yes, sir!" and Jareth gave him a rather dry, brittle look.

Everyone save the King and the High Prince were in place. As soon as Jareth had begun the process, a runner had been given orders to get the High Prince and have him evacuate the men from the mountain. Fortunately, the enemy had begun closing in on them in the night, so there would be no questions about why they hadn't gone immediately to the King with the new information.

"Ready, Jareth?" Aidan asked, as he came to stand beside the boy.

The boy in question snorted. "No, but now there's really no choice, so it doesn't matter."

Aidan frowned at Jareth's manner, but chose not to say anything. The boy had earned a bit of leeway with what he was about to do.

"Just remember that I'm here. I won't be leaving you until you're ready to go."

Jareth nodded and calmly took a seat where he'd been standing. With a few flicks of his wrist, he began summoning crystals and arranging them around where he sat. There were startled gasps as he worked, but he ignored them in favor of completing the task given to him. Within seconds his focuses were arranged and he began channeling power into them.

"Here we go." He muttered, and with a deep rumbling boom, a shockwave of power exploded outward to the edges of the mountain.

Closing his eyes to the world around him, Jareth immersed himself into the magic.

Meanwhile, with the young prince beginning the task of raising the mountain, the commander was trying to placate his king.

"Why was I not informed of the situation before any action was taken!" The fae snarled.

"With all due respect, my king." The commander tried to soothe. "Our enemy is less than twenty minutes away, immediate action had to be taken before they were upon us."

"So, you draft my son to move a mountain?" The king hissed.

"He volunteered, sire. We both know I could not have stopped him." Aidan informed him.

The king growled low in his throat, before turning to his eldest. "Dreail! Get into position to translocate these men back to the castle. Your brother is trying to raise the mountain."

The commander refrained from frowning as he watched something dark flash across the young mans face. "Yes, sir."

The mountain suddenly rumbled and lurched.

The king's eyes widened. "Move!" He snarled after his heir, and the young man bolted.

"I don't believe that I need to order you to watch over, Jareth?" The king asked.

"No, sire." The fae confirmed.

With a snort of contempt, the king turned and took his place among the men.

Taking a deep breath, Aidan returned to Jareth's side and watched as the mountain slowly lifted into the sky.


Sarah felt like her world was coming undone.

Every fear, every hope, every moment of despair, he'd experienced, she'd felt it like her own.

Hot tears slid down her face and the very depths of her cried out and railed against the injustice, against the unfairness of it all. Why? Why did they do that?

An ungloved hand gently wiped the tears from her face, and she suddenly realized that Jareth had been whispering softly in her ear. Tenderly coaxing her out of the despair the memory had left her in.

"Don't cry, Sarah." He whispered. "Don't cry."

A sob tore from her throat and she choked out, "They hurt you… they hurt you…"

Jareth sighed, and gently rocked them both back and forth, holding her tightly.

"Yes," he admitted. "they did, but it was a long time ago. They can't hurt me, now. Please, don't cry."

He could feel the way she was trying to gather herself, to do as he asked, but the sheer pain she was feeling on his behalf…

He had known she would react to the memory, but he hadn't anticipated the extent.

"If you stop crying," he tried to distract her. "I'll give you a gift."

She gave an odd watery laugh. "A strange time for gifts, don't you think?"

"On the contrary," he disagreed, purposely keeping his voice light. "It's the perfect time."

She sniffled pitifully, but he could feel her thoughts turning to focus on the new subject, and her emotions beginning to settle.

"And why is that?" Sarah countered, her voice hoarse but level.

He flicked his wrist, summoning a crystal. "Because, you needed a distraction."

Sarah laughed again, as she gingerly took the offered crystal. The orb barely brushed her hand before it dissolved in a shower of glitter.

She gasped.

"I thought it was gone." She said in awe. "Nina and I went back when we were on our way to the car, and the vender told me it had sold earlier in the day. How did you…?"

Jareth smiled. "You kept staring at it when you thought I wasn't looking, so I purchased it when you left for the looms."

Sarah swallowed thickly. She hadn't seen it when she'd first dragged Jareth into the tent, and when she had, she'd been too embarrassed to buy it. Turning where she sat she laid her head against his chest and hugged him.

"Thank you."

He closed his eyes and sighed in peace, giving her a light squeeze in return.

"You know," he said, gently taking the pendant from her hands. "I know that this isn't probably the right time, but I don't really feel like waiting."

She pulled back a bit, glancing up. "Jareth?"

He flicked his wrist and a Rose of Sharon appeared.

Her eyes widened, as she took it gingerly.

"I'm aware that it's common in the Above to give rings," He started, and her head jerked up. "but in the Underground, we merely give tokens. Typically, a bracelet or a necklace."

"What are you saying?" She asked.

Jareth said nothing, as he slid a pale white ribbon through the loop along the back of the owl's head, skillfully tying it off. Tenderly, he slid it over her head. Sarah barely felt its weight before the ribbon gradually began to shorten itself.

She felt her lips twitch. "Possessive much?"

His return grin was a tad feral, as he watched the pendant come to rest at the hollow of her throat.

"We are courting, and don't forget that you picked the token."

Sarah laughed. "Yeah, I guess you're right."

Smiling, she gazed at her latest bloom with warmth. It hurt, knowing that Jareth's family hadn't accepted him, but at least she now understood why Jareth felt she was something precious, something worth holding on too.

I am consumed by love.

Tokens of Affection

A Labyrinth Story
by Shinku

Part 4 of 15

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