Continuing Tales

Tokens of Affection

A Labyrinth Story
by Shinku

Part 6 of 15

<< Previous     Home     Next >>
Tokens of Affection

The ride home was… interesting, to say the least.

By the time the night had ended, Sarah had completely forgotten that she'd been forced to use up half the backseat for her purchases. Jareth, upon finding out the new seating arrangement, had been absolutely thrilled at the opportunity to have her on his lap.

For forty-five minutes, Jareth nipped, licked, and kissed where ever he could reach when her friends weren't looking. By the time the ride had ended, Sarah was ready to put some serious distance between them.

After all, a girl only had so much self-control, and they still had her parents to talk to.

"Are you ready?" Jareth asked, as the car pulled up to her house.

Sarah snorted. "Not by a long shot, but I'll live." And she knew she would.

Jareth hadn't shown her any more memories that night, but he had told her a little more about what had become of him and the other fae that had chosen to follow him. It had simply amazed her, at some of the ways they'd adapted to a nomadic life. Due to semi-frequent attacks sent by The Falls, they had never been able to stay in one area for too long, always forced to stay on the move. Jareth had said it had literally taken them centuries before they'd stumble across, and had been forced to hide in the Labyrinth.

Surely, if those people had been able to endure and be happy in their life, then Sarah could manage the same for herself. She just wished she could trust her parents to think the best of her, like Nina's mother did with her.

Between the four of them, they were able to collect all of Sarah things in one go, and take them to the front door.

However, as they neared the entrance, Sarah quickly took note of one thing.

Her parents were waiting for her.

Everyone froze at the steps.

"Hi, Dad." Sarah said, uneasily. "Hi, Karen, nice night?"

"Get inside, Sarah." Her father said, firmly. "We need to have a talk. The rest of you can set her things on the porch, we'll take them in in a minute."

Kevin and Nina glanced at each other, before offering Sarah an apologetic glance as they quickly set her things on the porch and backed away.

"Bye, Mr. Williams, Ms. Williams, thanks for letting Sarah come with us." Kevin offered.

Karen smiled and gave a slight wave toward the retreating teens. "Thank you for taking her, Kevin. Tell your mother I said, 'hello.'"

"Will do." The boy agreed.

Robert Williams turned his attention toward Jareth, his gaze cold. "That means you too, young man."

Jareth held his ground. "You'll have to forgive me, sir, but I have business with you tonight, and it will not wait."

"Jareth?" Kevin asked, from the curb.

The Goblin King didn't even turn. "I can find my way home from here, Kevin, thank you for the ride today."

There was a slight pause and then, "A-alright, see you later." moments after, the car started and the two teens were gone.

"Well, sir?" He asked.

Robert frowned, his words clipped. "This is a family affair, therefore whatever you feel you need to say, can and will wait. Right now, I need to speak with my daughter."

Sarah remained where she was, her face blank.

Jareth snuck a quick glanced at her before turning back to her father with cold eyes.

"How convenient, because she's the very thing I need to speak with you about." He replied evenly, keeping his tone polite for all it's inflexibility. "Would you prefer to have this discussion out here in the cold where your neighbors can watch, or would rather go inside where it's warm and we can have some privacy?"

Something flashed across Roberts face faster than Jareth could completely identify, but he was fairly sure he caught a hint of approval, even if it was followed by irritation.

"Well, help take in the bags then." The father sighed. "You can put everything down by the stairs, once we're in."

Jareth inclined his head. "Thank you, sir."

Robert snorted, as he and his wife got to their feet and began collecting bags. "Don't thank me, yet. If you're so eager to talk, then you and I will be talking at some point."

"Yes, sir." He agreed, motioning Sarah to lead.

She shot him a faintly disbelieving look as she passed him, and he smirked.

It was so nice when people were unconsciously cooperative; it made things so much easier.


"So, Jareth," Robert began after introductions had been made and everyone was seated "I assume you're ready to begin."

"Yes, sir." Jareth agreed. "However, I'd like to ask you and your wife a question."

The father nodded.

"Are you aware of a girl named Lacey Jeanes?"

Robert frowned before turning to his wife. "Neil and Anne's daughter?"

Karen nodded "You remember her, don't you? Tall, blonde, about Sarah's age?"

"At the last event Mark threw, right?" He turned back to Jareth. "I met her briefly, she was a polite girl, if a bit shy around all the crowds. My firm does business with her parents, why?"

Jareth glanced over at Sarah, and had to quickly bite his tongue at the almost lost look on her face. He could see now, why she'd been so wary about speaking to her parents, this girl had obviously planned ahead.

"Sarah." He commanded, softly.

She looked at him with pleading eyes, silently begging him not to make her go through with this, but he gave a slight shake of his head as he held out his hand.

Placing her injured arm in his grasp, Sarah turned her head and refused to watch.

"You tell me that she's a polite girl, that she's shy?" Jareth asked, gently pushing back Sarah's sleeve. "I think you need to look more carefully."

There was a sharp intake of breath from Sarah's step-mother, as the outer bandages were revealed, however Jareth didn't stop there. Keeping a gentle but firm grip on her arm, he carefully unwrapped the first set of bandages until he came to the inner set that was protecting her stitches. Deftly peeling those away, Karen gave a small shriek at the sight

A little over six inches of Sarah's arm was being meticulously held together by medical thread.

Her father was out of his chair faster than Jareth would have accredited him.

"When did this happen?" He demanded.

"Three days ago." Jareth answered, frankly.

"Three days-" The man started, before being cut off.

"Oh Sarah," Her step-mother breathed, hovering over her arm. "What did you do to the girl?"

Despite his gloves, Jareth felt the brief flash of anguish at the woman's words.

"I told her I wasn't going to be another one of her flunkies just so she could claim to have connections to my mother." Sarah answered flatly, refusing to look at the older woman.

Karen flinched at her step-daughter's the dead tone, and Jareth felt a brief streak of satisfaction at her discomfort. While he was sure she'd meant her earlier questions as rhetorical, the woman should have known better than to speak so carelessly.

Her father sighed. "She isn't even here, and Linda's still causing trouble."

Jareth frowned, that wasn't the problem the man should be focusing on.

"This seems a bit extreme for telling her off." Karen offered tentatively, silently trying to apologize for her earlier slip.

Sarah turned to her step-mother hopefully as she answered. "That was a few months ago, at the beginning of the school year. She's been getting worse for a while now."

"If it's been going on so long, then why have you waited until now to say something? This whole incident could have been avoided, if you'd just said something!" Her father yelled, incensed at the whole situation.

Sarah flinched, and said nothing.

"Are you trying to be like your mother?" He accused. "Do you think you can handle everything like she did? Look at where she is, now, Sarah. Is that what you want? Is-"

"Enough!" Jareth growled, standing sharply to his feet. "I did not convince your daughter to speak with you so that you could lecture her on her mother's sins!"

Robert froze.

Quickly gathering up the bandages, Jareth handed them off to Sarah's step-mother. "Could you please take Sarah upstairs and help her rewrap her arm?"

Karen took the offered wrappings carefully, glancing briefly at her husband before nodding sharply and guiding Sarah up the steps.

"Now, sir," Jareth said, sardonically. "I believe you and I have some things to discuss."


Sarah was seated on the edge of the bathtub as her step-mother diligently finished rewrapping her arm. The motions were kind and gentle, so very much a mother's that Sarah didn't know how to react, so she stayed silent.

"Your father's just scared." Karen finally spoke. "That was quite the presentation your friend put on, and I think you both really terrified him."

"Terrified him?" Sarah asked, softly. "I guess the cut does look bad."

Karen smiled wanly at her step-daughter. "It's more than that…" She sighed. "Your father hasn't wanted me to say anything, but I think that, especially now, you deserve to know. Do you know why your father has been spending so much time working?"

"I thought it was because he was upset about the divorce for a while, then I thought it was just my mother harassing him," she answered honestly.

"Yes," the older woman agreed, "it is that, but it's also something your mother did before the divorce."

Sarah tilted her head slightly to one side in inquiry.

"I don't suppose you can remember how much your mother used to spend on various things."

The teen frowned. "Not in terms of numbers, but I do recall how she always seemed to have something new around."

Karen nodded. "Your mother didn't like her life, and tried to make up for that by buying things. When she didn't have the money for something she wanted she would use one of her credit cards. It eventually, came to the point that, when one reached it's limit she would go out and apply for another one. By the time the divorce came, your mother had racked up quite a debt."

"So, then…"

"Your father's been working to pay off that debt." Her step-mother finished.

"But it wasn't his debt." Sarah stated. "Why didn't my mother pay for it?"

The older woman hesitated.


"Your father saw how thin and ill you were getting the longer Linda was drawing out the divorce, so he went in one day, said enough was enough, and signed whatever papers her lawyers drew up. She allowed your father everything of real value, so long as he took her debts. He didn't even realize what she'd done until several weeks later when her collectors started calling."

Sarah looked faintly ill. "So, then… it's my fault?"

"No!" Karen said sharply. "If your mother had acted like an adult, rather than a spoiled child you and your father would have been fine. You forget, Sarah, that even though I wasn't dating your father at that time, I was still his paralegal and his friend. I was there through that entire divorce. By the time your father had had enough, your mother had managed to drag that divorce out for over a year. From his perspective, he was already losing a wife, he didn't want to lose his only daughter too."

Karen watched as her step-daughter closed her eyes, relief evident in her posture.

"I wish he'd told me that sooner, but I guess if he did, I wouldn't have met Jareth."

Something knowing, and a bit sly slid across the older woman's face. "I didn't know you had a thing for blondes."

Sarah went bright red. "Yeah, well, it was news to me, too."

Karen laughed.


Robert had taken them both to the room he used as an office just off the front hall. Seated behind his desk, he tried to maintain a air of authority.

He and Jareth both knew he was fooling no one.

"I believe it's your turn to go first, sir." Jareth offered.

Sarah's father looked worn, his earlier anger having swiftly fled.

"I should apologize to Sarah," he sighed.

"You should speak to me." Jareth disagreed firmly.

Robert frowned as he finally took stock of the Goblin King.

"And just who exactly are you to my daughter?" He asked just as firmly. "I don't appreciate having to learn about Sarah having an older acquaintance from an outside source."

"I'm courting your daughter, sir." Jareth stated, bluntly. "I believe calling me an acquaintance, at this point, is rather inaccurate."

Robert tensed, as his eyes narrowed.

Jareth watched the older man shrewdly, as he subtly provoked the man's temper.

While Sarah was easily as stubborn as any mule, she was also very much like his goblins when it came to self-preservation. The irritating little beasts always knew when they'd crossed a line, and were quick to either clear out or play dead.

Sarah had worried over her step-mother's reaction, but in reality it was her father's that she had subconsciously been concerned with.

At the moment, Robert Williams was a man teetering on the edge of what he could handle, and Jareth was determined to push him over it.

"I don't recall approving such a relationship." The man stated, his words hard and clipped.

"Funny thing," Jareth stated, carelessly. "I don't recall asking."

The keg lit, and the explosion was spectacular.

"Just who do you think you are?" Robert thundered, shooting up from his seat. "You walk in here, and think you can make demands without consequence? Well, I have news for you, buddy! You are going to leave this property immediately, and you will not return, nor will you ever approach my daughter again! Do you understand me?"

Jareth was nonplussed.

"You're angry." He stated.

"You're damn right I'm angry! You're just some self-righteous hotshot that thinks he can get away with anything!"

The Goblin King was faintly amused. That last statement had actually been kind of true, although he would never say so.

"Why are you angry?" He asked calmly.

"Why? Didn't I just-"

Jareth quickly cut him off. "Surely your own children have back talked worse than that? Do you loose your temper so quickly with them?"

That brought Robert up short.

"You'll have to forgive my rudeness," Jareth said. "but if I could provoke you with so little, then you're obviously not in the proper state of mind to completely understand the severity of your daughter's situation."

Sarah's father sat down heavily.

"You mean…"

"Mr. Williams, just a short time ago, you yelled at your daughter for coming to you with a problem that she couldn't handle. You are not aware of it, but she's been handling things on her own because she's been afraid of causing trouble for your family."

Robert swallowed thickly. "She's never been trouble. Sure, we've all had our arguments, but she's never been trouble."

Jareth said nothing.

"I thought she knew that." The father shook his head. "I don't understand why she would think she needs to go to someone else for help."

"It's because she can see you're stressed."

Robert looked up with wide eyes. "What?"

Jareth gave his future father-in-law a bland look, as he leaned back comfortably in his chair.

"There's an issue that's causing you trouble, and while she isn't aware of what it is, she isn't blind to its effects."

There was a sigh. "I thought I'd hidden it well enough. I didn't want her to worry."

Jareth snorted. "You've obviously passed that point, care to share?"

Robert looked defeated. "It's my first wife. When we divorced, I signed settlement papers that passed over all her debts to me. Recently I just found out that she's been using my name and social security number to add to that debt." He rubbed his temples despairingly. "I hired a private investigator to find hard evidence about what she's been doing, but it's slow going."

"And finding that evidence would get rid of the debt?" The king asked.

"It would get rid of what I didn't sign for." The man sighed. "Which at this point is about sixty percent of it."

Jareth was stunned. The amount he was suggesting…

"I almost feel guilty asking this of you, but are you ready to hear what's been happening to your daughter?"

Sarah's father looked up at him with new determination. "How long has this been going on?"

Jareth answered, frankly. "From what little Sarah was willing to tell me, around four months."

Her father's eyes were like steel. "Long enough then. What can you tell me?"

Jareth reached into his coat and pulled out a carefully folded stack of papers.

"When I saw Sarah's arm, I took her to my estate's private physician. She wrote up these reports for me to give to you."

Robert reached into a side drawer and pulled out a pair of glasses, quickly slipping them on. "You've seen these?"

"Yes, sir." Jareth confirmed.

Nothing else was said, as Sarah's father began to scan through the documents detailing his daughter's current state of health. The lawyer's face darkened with each word. "Do you have proof that I can take to her school against this girl? I might believe my own daughter, but I know others won't."

Jareth nodded in understanding. "I spoke with the boy we rode with earlier. He confided that he could get others to come forward, if they knew that they wouldn't be going alone."

"Do you know how many?" Robert asked.

The Goblin King's eyes glinted sharply in the dim light of the room. "He implied around a ten, however, from the way he spoke, I would bet there to be a great deal more."

The father frowned. "Your doctor strongly suggests we see our own physician as soon as possible. Why? From this report, I assumed the exam was quite thorough."

Jareth sighed. "Our physician does not have access to an x-ray machine or any other means to diagnose something like this with perfect accuracy. Most of what was done, was with the, as she put it, "Does it hurt when I poke here?" method.

Robert winced, as he shifted the subject. "I would have thought the school nurse would have at least picked up on some of this."

The fae sighed. "Sarah's been avoiding the school nurse. She knew that once the nurse saw some of those injuries there would be questions, and then you would have been called in."

"And she wanted to spare us all that?" The man sighed, pulling off his glasses and rubbing the bridge of his nose. "I really do need to apologize to her."

Jareth nodded in understanding. "But what are you going to do about the other girl? Sarah won't be safe if this isn't resolved quickly."

"I'm going to do the only thing I know how to do." This time, when Robert Williams stood from his desk, he looked every bit the prosecuting attorney that he was.

"I'm going to use the law against her."


Jareth tried not to focus on the front door as he sat, once again, in the Williams' family's living room, waiting for Sarah and her father to finish their talking on the front porch.

"You don't have to worry." Karen spoke up, softly. "They don't always act it, but they're very close."

Jareth glanced over to the woman, as she sat in one of the chairs across from the couch.

"I gathered that." He said flatly. "She seemed quite upset when he turned on her earlier."

Karen frowned. "I've been warning Robert that he needs to take a day or two and just clear his head, that nothing good would come of trying to shoulder it all himself."

No, Jareth silently agreed, nothing good did come of it. If Sarah had been a lesser creature, he had little doubt that it wouldn't have been so easily forgiven.

"So, how, exactly did you meet, Sarah?"

The Goblin King glanced up, surprised. "Excuse me?"

"How did you meet her?" She asked again, smiling.

He'd avoided this question the whole night, and she wanted to know, now. Oh, this woman was smart.

"I met her about a year ago." He started off. "We'd had a bit of a competition for an evening, and she won."

Karen raised an eyebrow in silent inquiry.

Jareth actually blushed. "She was the first person to beat me at anything in a very long while. I… wasn't very gracious about my defeat."

The step-mother's lips twitched in amusement. "Had a spat?"

The Goblin King gave her a rather wan look. "In a matter of speaking. We didn't talk to each other after that night until a little over four months ago, mostly through letters."

Karen nodded. "Yes, letters and flowers, if I'm not mistaken."

Jareth gave her an impressed look. So, she noticed details, that explained a few things, like why Sarah was always concerned about what her step-mother thought. The woman was aware of more than she let on… so, why then?

"That's very observant of you, but if you knew that Sarah was writing to me, then why didn't you know about-"

"That other girl?" She finished. her expression showed old regret. "About three years ago, Sarah and I got along wonderfully, but I started to notice that she lacked friends her own age. I thought that this was my fault, that I was keeping her too close, so I started going with Robert to more of his work events, hoping that Sarah would take the initiative and get some friends her own age."

Her eyes were so sad. "It didn't work out like I'd hoped."

"You had your first child."

Karen nodded. "I was only going to stand back for a few months, let her try some things on her own, but then I found out I was pregnant, and when Toby was born..." She shrugged. "I'd never had children before Sarah, and I was the youngest in my family."

Jareth nodded. "It couldn't have been easy-"

The door clicked as it opened, and the fae swiftly looked up.

Sarah came in first, smiling as she glanced back occasionally at something her father said. Immediately, as she stepped into the room, her eyes met his, and Jareth felt himself smile.

She looked back to her father. "I have something I need to give Jareth before he goes, can I…?" She trailed off, glancing to her room.

Robert eyed the fae with a father's caution, before turning back to his daughter. "Leave the door open." He agreed.

Grinning, Sarah swiftly went to the couch and took both of Jareth's hands, tugging him toward the stairs. "Come on." She urged.

Getting to his feet, he allowed her to pull him to her room.

In the past, Jareth had only ever seen the space through a crystal, and in the last year, not even that. Looking at it now, it amazed him how much it had changed. Many of the stuffed toys were gone, along with anything else that had been too heavily attached to her childhood. The few things that had managed to weather the changes, Jareth noticed with some amount of pride, were all the things the Labyrinth had drawn her to.

As Sarah rummaged around her new purchases, the Goblin King picked up the stuffed toy that appeared to be modeled after a Firey.

"And here I thought you didn't like them." He commented.

Sarah glanced up, and then snorted, before looking once again through her purchases. "They are a fire hazard." She said, flatly. "They tried to start a fire in this very room, when I explained the concept of s'mores to them. They've been banned to the backyard for any further visits."

Jareth grinned. "Poor things."

Sarah didn't dignify that with a response, as she pulled a bag from the back of the pile.

"Here," she said, handing to him. "this is for you."

Sitting down along the edge off her bed, he calmly set the bag beside him and pulled out the gift.

His breath caught.

"Sarah…" He breathed. "Where did you…?"

She grinned. "So, I take it you like it?"

His gloved hands traced the stylized combination lock with reverence. "Where did you find a puzzle box?"

She bounced lightly on the balls of her feet as she answered. "One of the carpenters was selling it. It was the only one he brought with him."

Jareth glanced up sharply. "What did you pay for it?"

She waved him off. "Not as much as I could have. In fact, I got a discount." She told him, with the pride that only a woman who caught a deal could manage. "The combination is based on a fairytale."

The Goblin King eyed her with knowing amusement. "So, you got a discount for solving it?"

Sarah grinned with pride.

Jareth looked down at the beautifully carved box with perceptive eyes. Even with a discount, boxes like these weren't cheap, even here, in the Above.

"'The Water Sprite', right?" He asked, without looking up.

Sarah came up beside him. "You've heard of it?"

"It's a legend in the Underground," He answered. "and though the story is a bit different…" He expertly moved the little pictures until a hair brush, a comb and mirror were aligned together. With a soft click the lid popped open.

"Wait!" Sarah stopped him, as he made to open the lid. "Not until you get home."

Jareth turned to her curiously. "Another surprise, Precious?"

She blushed. "Just wait, I'm sure you'll like it."

He smiled. "Then a second gift deserves another." And flicked his wrist.

Sarah's eyes widened. In his outstretched hand was a thick white-gold bracelet, its every other link holding odd charm-like claws.

"What are they?" Sarah asked, just barely able to see small red-orange flowers resting inside the tiny crystals the claws were holding.

"Pyrus Japonica." Jareth answered.

"Fairies Fire," she breathed.

He grinned. "You've been studying."

She pointedly didn't look at him. "I've had a good reason to."

Jareth turned back to the bracelet, expertly releasing one of the seven tiny spheres. "Did you see what I just did?"

Sarah nodded. "You rubbed all three claws simultaneously."

"Good," he confirmed. "now, listen carefully. These are not toys like what the goblins typically sneak to you."

She grinned, cheekily.

"When these crystals are thrown, they emit a bright burst of light and a brief flash of fire. You can start a fire if you're not careful, so be sure to be so." He commanded, replacing the crystal and handing Sarah the chain.

She took it gently, not sure what to make of the gift. "It's beautiful, Jareth, but why do I need it?" She briefly touched the owl at her throat. "It's not a symbol of some kind, is it?"

He quickly glanced to the door, making sure her parents weren't spying before pulling her close.

"It doesn't feel done, yet." He confided. "If all your parents needed to do was call a few people for this to end, then it would feel done."

"But it doesn't."

"No," Jareth agreed. "it doesn't, so I'm going to take my own precautions."

She squeezed him tightly in understanding, silently trying to reassure him of her presence. "I'll be careful, Jareth, I'll look out for myself, and if I need you, I'll call. I promise."

He held her as if she was his world. "That's all I can ask for, Precious."


Later that night, Jareth sat in the middle of his bed, staring into the opened puzzle box with awe.

Already curling around his arm affectionately, was the beginnings of a peach tree, the tiny blossom it had once been having quickly grown beyond the small plastic vial it'd been sealed in.

A peach blossom, typically meant, 'I am your captive' or in some circles, 'a captive heart.' Jareth, however, saw the subtle meaning within the obvious message. The folded note resting in the puzzle box only confirming what he already knew.

"Truly precious, Sarah. You are truly precious."

I'm giving back what I took a year ago, if I ever really had it in the first place. I never knew it, but you've always had some kind of power over me, no words could ever truly take that. The love you've shown me has captured me, and I'm never going to try to escape it again.

You have power over me, Jareth, you've always had.

I love you. -S

Tokens of Affection

A Labyrinth Story
by Shinku

Part 6 of 15

<< Previous     Home     Next >>