Continuing Tales

Tokens of Affection

A Labyrinth Story
by Shinku

Part 8 of 15

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Tokens of Affection

"Mr. Williams… I found your daughter. I just wanted to let you know she's safe… She's at my estate… The address is…"

Jareth sighed, as he got off the phone.

Robert Williams, he decided, was a remarkably practical man where the safety of his family was concerned. After nearly two hours of not knowing the whereabouts or welfare of his daughter, the Goblin King had expected a greater fuss than what he'd received.

Aside from updating him on the situation, and giving him a few firm instructions on his daughter's care, the man had only said one thing to him.

I'm leaving Sarah's well-being in your hands today. I'll be by later this evening to assess how well you did.

Jareth could honestly say that it was one of the most ominous things he'd ever heard.

Consideration for Sarah's parents, was one of the reasons why he'd chosen to take her to one of his Aboveground estates, rather than whisking her away to his castle Underground. That, and the fact that Jareth still wasn't sure what to do about the Ancient he'd left behind there.

Lord Cathal may have said he just wanted to talk, but Jareth had had far too many close calls with assassins sent from the Falls to be anything less than excessively cautious, especially now that he had Sarah to think about.

Making his way into the sitting room, Jareth flopped down onto one of the room's couches and sighed.

"I do believe your father was trying to intimidate me, Precious."

"Is that so?" Sarah asked, from the opposite couch, an open book lying in her lap. "Imagine that, a father threatening his daughter's fiancé. Whatever is the world coming too?"

Jareth gave her a faintly disgusted look. "My, you're mordant right now."

Sarah's return grin was a touch cheeky. "What can I say? You bring out the best in me."

The Goblin King snorted. "If only I didn't love you."

Sarah stilled briefly, before giving him a radiant smile. "So, what's next? Are we just going to hang out here all day, or what?"

"Or what, at the moment," Jareth sighed. "Your father wanted me to catch you up on what's been happening since I came to get you."

Her smiled faded. "It's not good, is it?"

"Yes and no." He answered. "The police have managed to apprehend Lacey, but at the moment, are unable to question her. Apparently, the Jeanes' attorney has acquired a physician's signature on a document stating that she is currently in shock, and that any further stress might be damaging on her already delicate health."

Sarah snorted. "Yeah, mental health. Do you know if the police are even doing anything in the meantime?"

"According to your father, they're mostly taking statements right now. Evidently, I wasn't the only one that thought having some concrete medical records on hand would be a good idea." Jareth stated knowingly.

"All the kids that were late." Sarah clarified.

The Goblin King nodded. "Yes, many were being examined by their own personal physicians earlier in day before coming to the school. In fact, your father told me that a few late risers were even still at the hospital when the girl was admitted."

"Did… did Dad say how many were like me?" She asked softly.

Jareth watched her closely for a moment before answering gently. "In total, yourself included, there were seven that were terrorized regularly. Three of which came close to, or matched, the severity of your case. The young man who was shot at your school was not the only one. There was another young girl, a year younger than you, that was shot in her front yard before Lacey ever made it to the school. Your father told me that the girl was gotten to in time, and that the doctors are expecting her to make a full recovery."

Sarah took in a sharp, shaky breath, and closed her eyes.

"If.. If I h-had said something sooner, i-if I had d-done something-"

The fae's eyes widened at her words, and he swiftly got up and took a solid grip of her shoulders. "Stop it, Sarah! Don't you dare think that way! This isn't something you could have prevented! There were seven other children that that girl was hurting, Sarah, seven. If you had come forward at any other time, without any backing, what do you think would have happened to you and all those others?"

Sarah's eyes were wide and bright as she looked him, and her words came out as a shaky whisper. "She would have changed how she did things, made them harder to notice."

Jareth never let her eyes leave his as he forced her to accept the truth. "And what could have happened then, Sarah? What could she have gotten away with then?"

She closed her eyes, horrible thoughts playing about her mind. "Too much," she whispered. "Far too much."

"This isn't your fault, Precious." He said almost kindly, but firmly. "Things happened the way they did for a reason. You couldn't have changed that."

When Sarah opened her eyes again, she immediately threw her arms around his neck, her body shaking for a terror that had already passed.

The fae sighed, and placed his arms around her, once again holding her and being her strength. In a strange way, it frightened him to see her like this. Sarah was always so stubborn and strong-willed, that he regularly forgot that by her people's standards, she was barely an adult.

Letting her keep her hold on him, Jareth adjusted his grip, sliding his arm under her knees as he picked her up and turned around, setting them both back down on the couch, this time with her seated comfortably across his lap.

"I remember the day my father told me I was to go to war with the rest of the soldiers." He told her softly. "I'd been so terrified at the news, that as soon as I'd gotten to my room I had just started crying. Aidan had found me some time later, curled up in my wardrobe like a child many years younger than I was. He held me that night, much like I'm holding you now and let me cry and shake until there was nothing left. It's alright to cry, Sarah. I'm here."

That was all it took.

Within moments, Sarah's breath hitched, and she sobbed.

Closing his eyes, and willing his gloves away, Jareth rocked her back and forth like a small child, and subtly began to leach away some of her fear.

As soon as he'd gotten her into the house, Jareth had quickly gathered some of his own Aboveground clothes, and had drawn her a bath. She'd been in the cold so long, that by the time he'd gotten her to the estate, her lips had begun to turn a worrying shade of blue, and Jareth had been concerned that he would need to summon his healer again.

However, with a bit of coaching through the bathroom door (and a lot of worried pacing on Jareth's part), Sarah had easily taken care of herself.

Now though, holding her as closely as he was, the Goblin King was reminded of exactly how frail the human body was. Shock had started to set in, and it was apparently affecting her immune system. Even now, he could feel it flagging under all the stress she'd put herself through, both physically and emotionally.

"Oh, Sarah…" He muttered softly, magically trying to prod her internal defense back to where it should be. Jareth was hardly a proper healer, let alone capable enough to repair her as a mortal, but the fae and human immune systems were remarkably similar.

With an odd, flopping leap of a feeling, he felt her body begin to respond, her natural defenses beginning to rise up and seek out any foreign contagions.

Jareth heaved a relieved sigh.


They sat like that for some time, Sarah crying out her fears, while Jareth gently softened some of the more raw edges of her emotions. Before long, her sobs slowed and then stopped all together.

"Feeling better?" He asked.

Sarah sniffled, but nodded. "Yeah. I'm sorry I got you all wet."

Jareth gave a faint laugh. "It's nothing to worry over. I dare say my shirts get a great deal more wet when they get washed."

A soft, shy giggle met him, and the fae king felt her mood lighten.

"So, where are we, exactly?" Sarah asked. "You weren't exactly forthcoming when you were trying to toss me into the bathtub."

The Goblin King's lips twitched at the description.

Alright, so perhaps he'd been a bit… overzealous, in his haste to make sure she didn't slip into hypothermia. Could he really be blamed for nearly "tossing" her, as she so eloquently put it, into the bathtub, clothes and all? He didn't think so, but judging by the half amused, half chastising look she was giving him, he very well could be.

"Your lips were blue," he defended. "I was concerned."

"And I was being your common sense." She agreed with him. "So, where are we?"

"Goblin's Nook." He answered. "Once of the few areas of the Labyrinth that extend Aboveground."

"Aboveground?" She asked, "but I thought-"

"The Labyrinth is a Border kingdom." He told her. "As Goblin King, I ensure that no one crosses through the Mists into the Underground that isn't supposed to. If they do, areas like this make it easier to return those who have gone astray."

"So I'm in the Labyrinth," she muttered. "How far am I from home?"

"About a forty minute drive." He answered. "The estate itself covers about a hundred and eighty acres of land."

"Wow." Sarah said softly, looking around herself with new eyes.

"Now, that you have an idea about where you are," Jareth began gently, "I have a couple of questions of my own. To begin with, how were you able to hold off that other girl for so long? Those crystals I gave you were primarily for distraction purposes, not defensive."

"I ran, mostly." She confided softly. "I couldn't really use the crystals until I was out of sight, and even then, Lacey could fire her gun faster than I could throw them. I really had to look for opportunities."

Jareth sighed, and tightened his hold on her. "I'm sorry I didn't give you something better. I just never thought she would be able to acquire such a weapon so easily."

Sarah rested her head on his shoulder and shrugged as best she could. "It was probably her Dad's. Just about everyone in town knew that he kept a gun around to defend his family with. Besides, your friend helped me."

The fae tilted his head back enough to stare curiously at the top of her head. "Sarah, I left before I could even think of sending anyone ahead of me. What friend are you talking about?"

The girl pulled back and sighed, glancing around. "Over there," she said, pointing to the middle of the other couch. "The ferret reminded me to call you, and then helped create an illusion of me that could sit on the bench while I waited with the goblins to confront Lacey."

Jareth grew still. "Sarah, animals, even faerie animals, can't create illusions without outside aide."

Sarah began to look nervous. "But if that's true, then how did-"

However, before she could finish, the small ferret seated comfortably in the middle of the second couch shifted. Growing and changing, until within a few moments, a slender and slightly older-looking fae woman sat in place of the small weasel.

"Hello," she offered neutrally. "Is it safe to assume the crisis has passed?"

Jareth tensed, every line of him taut and wary, waiting for the first sign of trouble. "That would depend heavily on your reason for being here, ma'am."

The fae woman kept her posture relaxed and neutral, careful not to provoke him.

"I have need of your help in finding an extended part of my family, Lord of the Labyrinth. I had not meant to get involved in your affairs this morning, but I dare say that your intended needed some assistance."

"Yes," Jareth agreed, just as impartially, cautious of the woman's motives. "and I thank you for that aid. However, I'm not sure what help you can expect to find from me. If you have lost a family member to the Labyrinth, then even I as King cannot undo that."

The woman looked sad at the news, but nodded. "I was aware of that. I just… I just want to know it they are happy. As King, you can tell me if I was too late in finding them."

Cocking his head slightly to the side, Jareth gently slid Sarah from his lap, and motioned her to sit beside him. Once she was seated, he looked at the other fae frankly. "And why would you be too late, ma'am? If you'll forgive the sin of pointing out a woman's age, I would wager that you are Head of your family."

She inclined her head. "Yes, my husband and I hold that title. However, some years ago, due to the political climate Underground, we were forced to disappear into the Above to help preserve our family's rank. Recently, we came across an emissary of the land's Guardians, and were informed that a Son of the Line was being mistreated. We have been told that the Lord of the Labyrinth could help us find this lost child."

Jareth frowned, "No child of Noble descent has been Wished Away since I came into power. I'm still unsure of how I can aid you in finding this lost scion of your line."

The woman looked crestfallen at the news.

"Are you sure you're looking for a kid?" Sarah piped up unexpectedly.

The two fae turned to her sharply, one with curiosity, the other with barely restrained hope.

"What do you mean, child?" The woman asked softly.

Sarah blushed a bit under the scrutiny, but plowed on anyway. There was just something uncanny about the woman's appearance, something that couldn't be ignored.

"It's only a thought, but wouldn't you be like this person's grandparent?"

The fae gave an amused nod of confirmation. "After a fashion, yes. I would dare say I'm a bit further down the Line than that," she smiled, "but yes, we are direct descendants."

"Then if you'll pardon me for being so forward, if you're so old, how do you know the child you're looking for isn't already an adult?" Sarah stated boldly.

The woman's eyes widened briefly at the idea before a voice commented ironically from behind Jareth and Sarah.

"The young-one brings forward a good point, Fionn. One she happens to be right about, in fact."

Jareth tensed and immediately grabbed Sarah's shoulder, just in case he needed to translocate them quickly. Twisting in his seat, he turned and scowled at the Lord standing behind them.

Sarah only grinned. "So, how did you find out?" She asked frankly.

The Ancient fae snorted as he looked down at the tiny creature seated in front of him. "I went to the source, where else? My, you're a cheeky little thing. How did you find out?"

"My mother had always told me that I'd inherited my grandmother's eyes." She answered vaguely.

The Lord laughed heartily at the reply before bowing formally. "High Lord Cathal," he intoned regally. "High King of the Land of the Great Falls. I look forward to your addition to our family." He grinned.

Jareth, and the now identified High Queen Fionn, looked lost at the by-play.

"Cathal…?" Fionn asked, bewilderedly.

"Look closely, Dearest," the Lord coaxed. "The lines are a bit sharper, but can't you see it?" He asked, laying a hand on the Goblin King's shoulder.

Jareth started, as he looked sharply between the two fae. "What are you-"

"I see it!" She exclaimed suddenly. "It's right there! But the unicorns said-"

"Exactly what they could say." Cathal finished.

"What…?" Jareth said, utterly lost.

Sarah gently laid a hand on his knee, drawing his attention to her. "They're your grandparents, Jareth. You're the child they came to find."

The Goblin King went utterly still, his expression shuttering off. "I'm afraid you're mistaken," he said coldly, refusing to look at the two older fae as he stood. "As I've said before, no child of noble descent as been Wished to the goblins. I'm sorry you've wasted your time."

The monarchs looked stunned.

"I.. I don't under-"

"There was a mistake, ma'am." Jareth said stiffly. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have other matters to attend too." And before either fae could say another word, the Goblin King once again laid a hand on Sarah's shoulder and with a brief curl of power, they both disappeared.

Fionn stared, heartbroken, at the empty space in which her grandson and his intended once sat, and Cathal found himself sighing.

"That could have gone better."


Sarah gave a sharp, pained gasp as they reappeared, Jareth inadvertently hitting her ribs as he tried to catch her from her awkward position.

The fae hissed in sympathy as he quickly adjusted his hold and lowered them both to the ground, wrapping his arms around her loosely.

"I'm sorry," he muttered into her hair. "I should have thought that through better."

Sarah nodded soundlessly, trying to focus past the pain.

They sat like that for a short time, Jareth slowly rocking Sarah back and forth until the pain had lessened. "Would you like to tell me why we needed to jump ship so fast?" The young woman finally wheezed a few minutes later.

Jareth hesitated, unsure of how he could explain things to her.

It turned out he didn't need to.

"Are you that disappointed in them?" She asked, frankly.

The fae felt himself droop a bit. "I just… all this time, I could have had some kind of family besides Aidan, and once I'm finally making one for myself, they're trying to turn up, now? Why weren't they there when I needed them, then."

That wasn't the whole problem, Sarah knew, not by a long shot.

Gently wrapping her arms around him, Sarah ran her fingers through his hair, seeing flickers of memories of all the fae that followed him from The Falls into exile. A feeling ran through her then, of what could have been for those families, had these Ancient monarchs interceded sooner.

"It's not your fault that they were late in doing their job." She soothed him. "You've done the best you can with what was given to you. No one can ask more of you."

"I just wanted to take Aidan and leave," he confessed. "I never thought all those fae would follow me."

"But they did," she gently pushed, "and now their lives are better."

He gave a short derisive laugh. "Yes, better, helping me tend goblins in this mad-house of a kingdom."

Sarah tugged sharply at his hair. "This mad-house isn't at war, Jareth. I know what I saw in those memories you showed me. How soon do you think it would have been before those men and their families were dead, that war tearing through their lives faster than they could run from it?"

Her words sent ice sliding through his veins.

It was a terrible truth to consider, and one that Jareth could easily imagine with the way his father was using the war to his own advantage.

Taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly, the Goblin King determinedly put his depressing thoughts to the side, and focused his attention on where he needed to go next.

As much as he wanted to keep Sarah by his side, where he could keep an eye on her, he needed to sort out his own emotions without risking her getting entangled in them. At the present, he could physically feel her body gradually tensing as she unknowingly empathized with his own, personal, resentment for the situation.

He needed to get her somewhere safe, so that he could sort out his own thoughts without causing her further damage.

"Can you walk, now?" He asked.

Sarah nodded, as she gingerly got her feet under her and stood. "Well enough, I think, so long as we don't need to run anywhere."

Jareth nodded with an odd smile playing about his lips. "Since we're here, I have someone that I would like you to meet. Care for a visit?"

Sarah stared at him in faint confusion before shrugging, "Sure, I guess."


The walk to where they were going was fairly short. In fact, it was short enough that Sarah began to get slightly suspicious about what Jareth was planning on doing next.

"So, when you're done dropping me off," she asked, almost nonchalantly, "where do you plan on going next?"

Jareth started, not having expected her to have anticipated him so quickly.

"I…" He hesitated, very nearly denying her claim, despite the subtle edge in her tone, before thinking better of it. "I'm projecting on to you, again," he stated honestly. "I know it doesn't feel like it now, but you aren't ready for the added stress of my emotions on top of what you already went through today. I just need a little time to get myself together, so that I don't hurt you further. Can you give me that time, without being angry with me for it?"

Sarah briefly closed her eyes as they walked, and Jareth felt a sharp stab of unease slice through him as she tightened her grip on his hand.

"If that's what you need." She spoke softly, pointedly keeping her eyes on the ground.

Gently drawing them to a stop, Jareth swiftly drew her into his arms and held her.

"I'm not going to be far." He promised. "I'm going to stay within this valley, so if you need me for anything, I'll be within literal yelling distance."

The tension within her eased greatly at his reassurance, her voiceless fear being eliminated before it even had a chance to properly manifest.

"Thank you." She whispered into his chest, and he sighed as he ran a hand through her hair.

"I'll never leave you when you need me Sarah, but right now, I can't risk hurting you."

"So long as you're not far," she agreed softly. "I don't mind too much."

Smiling and giving her a gentle squeeze, Jareth pulled back and grinned at her.

"I think we've dawdled enough, don't you? Now, let's go meet the poor soul I'm going to leave you with."

Sarah grinned right back him, the expression playful. "Will I like this new babysitter?"

Jareth's return expression was full of wry humor as he gently began to tug her down a thin path. "I dare say that I might even come to regret the choice of introducing you at all, Precious."


Sarah stood off to the side as Jareth knocked at the door of a small cottage, pointedly trying to resist the temptation of getting lost in the garden that surrounded it.

It wasn't like the gardens that were common back where she lived, with their tiny neat little flowers all delicately planted in a row. This was a garden, the kind of thing you typically only found in fairy tales or the occasional landscaping magazine. I was the kind of sanctuary that only the rich or the dedicated ever really took the time to create.

It was the kind of place that, even at sixteen, Sarah itched to run around and play heroine in.

Glancing briefly at Jareth, the brunette stealthily inched herself away from the fae and quietly made her way over to the nearest flowerbed, which stood a good thirty feet from the door.

Coming to stand before it, Sarah quickly realized that it was a rather large raised bed, the hill-like structure standing nearly five feet tall and acting much like a three layered planter. Glancing inquisitively at its peak, the young woman was quickly able to take note of the peculiar glass dome that seemed to proudly crown the whole thing.

Watching the sun glint enticingly off the curious half sphere, Sarah found herself ignoring the flowers so meticulously planted around the bed, and instead staring at the odd dome with an insatiable curiosity.

What was under that glass? Was it just decoration or were there more flowers in it?

Quickly circling the hill-like flowerbed, Sarah searched for a way up, and, sure enough, nearly hidden amidst the flowers themselves was a small set of steps, and a tiny perch near the base of the dome.

The teen grinned at the find, and without another thought, hoisted herself up and carefully crawled her way up to the perch.

Taking care not to sit on any of the flowers that were growing around it, the teenager sat herself down and peeked into the dome.

It wasn't for decoration.

And it wasn't more flowers that was underneath it.

In fact, if Sarah wasn't mistaken, then she was actually looking into someone's kitchen.

"You know," a voice said dryly from behind her, "it's rude to start snooping around someone's property without asking permission first."

Sarah tensed, but didn't dare turn, instead she asked, "Is this your house?"

"It is." The voice agreed.

She snorted derisively, "Then you should know better than to keep guests waiting. You never know what they might get into."

The voice suddenly laughed, the sound rich and vibrant.

Finally gaining the courage to turn around, Sarah was unexpectedly faced with someone she'd only seen in memories.

"My, you are a cheeky thing." He grinned. "I don't suppose whoever brought you here is still waiting at my door?"

"Not any more." Jareth said wryly, before turning to Sarah. "You couldn't wait a few more minutes?"

She shrugged, "I was curious."

"She's not the only one that's curious, Jareth." The other fae said amusedly. "I don't suppose you're going to explain to me why you let this attractive creature loose in my garden?"

"Flattery will win you nothing," Sarah called from her seat, grinning.

The other fae grinned right back, sneaking a glance at the Goblin King. "Well, Jareth?"

The blonde's lips twitched. His poor friend just didn't understand what he was setting himself up for. "Aidan I'd like you to meet, Sarah Williams, Champion of the Labyrinth and my intended."

The now identified Aidan froze. "Your what?" He asked hoarsely.

"Intended." Jareth repeated, grinning. "Meet your future queen, my friend."

Sarah smiled and gave a slight wave before turning her attention back to what was in the dome.

Honestly, she'd never seen anything like it…

"Jareth, when…?" Aidan tried to ask, as the fae in question stepped forward and gently steered his dumbfounded friend back toward the cottage.

"A few days ago," he answered frankly, "and we corresponded for a few months before hand."

"That's not…a.. a lot to.. To… base a… relationship-" The other fae tried to choke out.

"We'll be courting another two years until she's of age as it is." Jareth disagreed, "Plenty of time to get to know each other."

Never mind that he probably knew more about her than her own parents just by touching her.

"I… see…" Not really. "So why then are you-"

"Here?" Jareth finished for him. "I need you to watch her for me for a few hours."

"Shouldn't that be-"

"My job?" He finished yet again.

"You really need to stop that." Aidan quipped flatly as they finally came to a stop in front of his home. "You know how much it irritates me."

Jareth shrugged. "So can you watch her?"

"Maybe…" Aidan delayed. "Is there any particular reason as to why she can't watch herself? Or better yet, her own family watch her?"

The Goblin King went very quiet, his expression going unusually solemn. "A girl at her school tried to kill her today." Aidan looked up at him sharply. "I very nearly didn't make it in time to get to her side, and I don't want to leave her alone while I work through my own feelings on everything."

"You're projecting," The other fae clarified frankly. "and you're afraid of the effect that will have on her own stability right now."

"Yes, and…" Jareth hesitated, uncertain of how he should phrase what he wanted to say.

"And what? Did something else happen?" Aidan pressed gently.

"An Ancient Lord and Lady have seen fit to place themselves within my life." He started slowly, "They say they are my ancestors."

"Ancestors? Is that even possible?" The old Master whispered fiercely. "Surely it's just another trick of The Falls, another way to lure us into a false sense of security."

"That's what I thought, but…"

"Jareth?" Aidan asked softly.

"The Lord could have killed me today, Aidan. I had my own power turned against me, and I had no time to counter it." The younger fae's smile was a brittle, sardonic thing. "Have you ever been slammed against a stone wall so hard that you couldn't see straight, Aidan? I know I haven't."

No, the old teacher reasoned, Jareth wouldn't have. Nothing had ever had the sheer raw power to truly go against him before.

"What happened?" The older fae asked earnestly.

"I was at someone else's mercy, Aidan and if that had actually been another attempt on my life…" The blonde trailed off meaningfully.

"The girl." Aidan clarified.

Jareth nodded sadly. "Sarah came very close to dying today, because I still don't know how to properly control my own abilities. I had a premonition that something was wrong today, and mistakenly thought it was in the Labyrinth. If the Lord hadn't intervened-"

"Wait… The Lord intervened?" Aidan was baffled.

Jareth turned away, refusing to look at the only man that had ever treated him as family. Instead, watching Sarah as she appeared to be making a concentrated effort to peek into all the domes that were littered around the cottage while they were both distracted.

"I worry I won't be able to care for her or a family when the time comes." He confided softly. "If I had been any later, if the goblins hadn't intervened…"

"Jareth…" Aidan tried to console. "It's alright, it turned out-"

The younger fae closed his eyes and took a deep breath. "Can you watch her for me Aidan," he asked abruptly, "or do I have to entrust her to one of her friends here?"

The older fae sighed, and fell silent. As much as he wanted to try and console him, Aidan knew that there were just some times when Jareth felt the need to work things out for himself.

"I'll watch her. Are you going to be staying within the valley?"

Jareth nodded. "Yes, I told her I would."

"Alright, then I suppose… I… should..." Aidan began to feel a little uneasy. "Jareth, where did she go?"

The Goblin King grinned mischievously. "Yes, did I neglect to mention that she can be quite difficult to keep track of if the mood strikes her?"

That rather unique talent of hers had been hell to deal with when she'd Run through his Labyrinth. Between trying to keep track of her and the young Toby, Jareth had been nearly positive that the siblings were tag teaming him.

"You might have forgotten to say something, yes." The older fae commented flatly.

Deciding to take pity on his poor friend, Jareth immediately pointed to an area towards the edge of the garden. There, seated almost behind a group of tall irises was Sarah, laughing with a few of the resident goblins.

"Amazing. She just makes herself right at home, like she's always been here." Aidan commented.

Jareth shrugged. "The Labyrinth has always welcomed her, even when she was a Runner."

The older fae said nothing for a few minutes, just watching as his old student's future wife played with the goblins.

"How long are you going to be gone, again?"

"Just a few hours. Are you going to be alright with her? I'm not keen on it, but I could leave her with one of her friends if this is too much of an imposition," Jareth offered.

Aidan shook his head. "She can't be worse than you to keep an eye on, and just looking at her now, I'd be willing to bet she has more sense than you did at such an age."

The Goblin King snorted and pointedly didn't look at his old teacher. "I get it, 'get lost Jareth'. You're such a caring person Aidan. See you in few hours." And without another word, the blonde made his way over to where Sarah had seated herself.

"Having fun?" He asked, once he'd reached her.

She turned and smiled, the goblins immediately giggling and disappearing back into the greenery.

"After a fashion." Sarah partially agreed. "Are you heading out now?"

Jareth nodded, and held out a hand for her to take. "Yes. Are you going to be alright?"

Letting him pull her up, she shrugged. "So, long as you're not gone too long, I'll manage."

It wasn't quite the answer he was looking for, but he knew it was the best he would get if he didn't want her to outright lie.

"I'll be within calling distance," he reminded her softly, brushing a gloved hand along the side of her cheek. "If you need me, I'll be wherever you are."

She closed her eyes briefly at the touch, her smile turning tender and gentle. "Just take care of yourself Jareth, that's all I want."

The Goblin King swallowed, and found himself nodding like a shy boy. It was instances such as these that reminded him just exactly why he loved Sarah the way he did. Her capacity for love was truly beyond anything he'd known.

Standing on her tip-toes, Sarah quickly brushed her lips across his cheek and slipped something into his hand. "See you in a few hours, Jareth." And swiftly trotted off.

The Goblin King watched her go to Aidan's side before turning, and slipping out into the fields surrounding the gardens. He had a lot to think about and very little time to do it.

Glancing down to Sarah's latest gift, he faltered and then stopped.

It was a red rose in full bloom, the thorns carefully picked off. Jareth found himself smiling at the dual meaning as he clutched the flower tenderly and continued on his way, his heart a bit lighter.

"Thank you, Sarah."

I've loved you since I first saw you, and I love you even now.

Tokens of Affection

A Labyrinth Story
by Shinku

Part 8 of 15

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