Continuing Tales

The Way Back

A Labyrinth Story
by atsuibelulah

Part 4 of 24

<< Previous     Home     Next >>
The Way Back

She awoke to muffled snatches of conversation, flowing in and out of her head like an ocean tide.

"...could find nothing?"

"Not much...somewhere darkhidden mem...ories..."

"From my examination...her wounds...extensive torture"

"...could looking at her. You could...nothing to suggest...did this to her?"

"...blocking me out..."

The voices were indiscernible from each other until one rose above the others, low and insistent, commanding, "I need to know what happened." Her mind snapped to attention, what had happened?

She had been looking for something. That was all she could remember. It seemed to her that it had been a long time since she had not been searching...

She opened her eyes. The morning light, while soft on her face, still blinded eyes that had been in darkness for so long...her thoughts sharply turned, she would, could not think of that...sleep, eyes that had been in sleep for so long.

She sat up slightly, muscles stiff. As her vision sharpened, a face swam before her eyes, a, her mind swerved again and she felt as though needles were being pushed through her skull. The face blurred and she swayed backwards as a strong, gloved hand swiftly, but gently, grabbed her arm, keeping her steady. The low commanding voice, now faintly tight with concern, came out of the haze, "Sarah?" Her eyes snapped open.

A pair of mismatched eyes engulfed her vision. She leaned back slightly in order to see his whole face. He waited patiently as her eyes moved across his countenance, taking in the exotically swept up eyebrows, the nobly high cheekbones, the long straight nose, and the thin lips, encircled by deep frown lines. She thought he looked to be the type who scowled quite often, or smirked, frown lines could also be caused by smirking.

She shook her mind from that strange tangent and found that her gaze had traveled back to his eyes. They were odd, she could not tell if his left iris was brown or green and the pupil seemed to be too large, she half wondered if he was on drugs, or maybe she was. His right eye was ice blue, the pupil narrow and calculating. Her mind flashed eyes of a similar color and a slow red smile. The needles returned and she focused on his left eye, thrusting aside the pain to leave it forgotten, she decided she liked that one better anyway.

She shifted her gaze behind him, almost gratefully realizing his companions had quietly slipped out of the room. The chamber itself was quite large and, as she had discovered earlier, well lit from the large French doors, opening into a small balcony. The bed she had been put in, for she certainly did not remember climbing into it herself, or really anything else for that matter, was immense and covered in fine linen sheets that kept in the warmth, but felt cool against her skin. Also wrapped around her was a quilted comforter of a creamy white color, white and tawny gold feathers were sewn into the quilting and seemed to be sticking out of the fabric as well. It was very warm, and it seemed to her she felt more comfortable than she had in a long time.

She wondered why she was not more surprised by her surroundings. Was this her home? Was this man someone dear to her? He seemed so worried about her. He had called her "Sarah". The name fit somehow, felt right. Should she remember him? Sarah did not even try to search her mind as she met those fascinating eyes once more, knowing she remembered nothing.

Jareth saw no recognition on Sarah's face as she looked at him, surveying, assessing, he did not know what for. He tried again, "Sarah?" She looked quizzically, almost irritably, at him, as if asking, "What?"

"Sarah, what happened?" He asked almost tiredly, it seemed to be the only thing he had said in the past few hours. She mutely shook her head at him and he wondered if she had lost the ability to speak, or if she just didn't want to. Jareth realized they had been in the same position for some minutes and reluctantly let go of her arm, noticing Nadia's ministrations had not rid Sarah of all the bruises, or the scarring. She took back her arm, pulling herself slowly to a sitting position. "I will return momentarily," he said and stood, walking to the door. He looked over his shoulder to see her gaze had wandered back to the open balcony doors.

He stepped into the hallway to find the twins unashamedly loitering. Jareth almost ventured a smile, it was a wonder he had not slammed the great wooden door into their eavesdropping faces. He shut the door quietly and asked without preamble, "Was there anything to suggest that she can no longer speak?"

Nadia looked surprised, "You mean lost the ability?"


"When I examined her, her throat was raw from, I can only assume, screaming. But I was able to heal it, along with the rest of her internal injuries and the hedge scratches. I did not have enough energy to treat all of the bruises, but she should be able to speak," she told him decisively.

Aidan had begun pacing once again, "It could be psychological," he paused when Jareth gave him a quizzical look, fumbling to find the best explanation "Umm, she could have...while resisting the torture...trained her body to silence and now...especially if she has repressed memories...has to regain the ability."

Jareth gave a short nod of assent, what Aidan said made sense. He knew Sarah remembered little, if anything of what had happened to her. He needed to find out more, there should be some retribution, some justice given for what Sarah went through.

Jareth went back into the room, not bothering to knock, it was his chamber. Sarah was gone from the bed, looking over he saw her stepping out, onto the balcony. She was so thin, he did not understand how her legs were holding her upright. He followed, watching her at the open doors. No trace of the dirt and blood from Sarah's unknown experience remained and she wore a sheer cotton nightgown with a plunging neckline, capped sleeves, and lace trimmings. Nadia must have pulled it from her own wardrobe after she bathed and healed the battered woman. The garment hung on Sarah's frail body and Jareth thought she must be cold after leaving the warmth of the bed.

Her eyes swept over the vast expanse that was the Labyrinth as if she had never seen it before, the same expression on her face as when he had taken the young girl from her room. Voices of a decade past echoed in Jareth's head.

Turn back before it's too late...

It doesn't look that far.

It's further than you think...

He almost wished she had turned back. She would have lost the power to dream, but she would have been spared such pain. Even if she did not remember it now, what she had gone through was plain on her face. Sarah looked ancient, ethereal. Jareth stepped forward to stand next to her, speaking quietly as she stared over his realm, "You are looking at the Labyrinth, Sarah. I am Jareth, the Goblin King. I rule this realm of the Underground and I promise I will not allow any more harm to come to you,"

She had turned to face him, keeping one slightly trembling hand on the balustrade. He let her keep her pride, refraining from offering much needed support until she allowed him to give it. Sarah lifted her hazel eyes, more green in the light of day, to Jareth's own and gave him a slight nod and a hesitant bow. He was relieved that she did not attempt a curtsey, for he was sure she would have toppled. Jareth held out an arm, turning to go back into the chamber and she, not too gratefully, took it and let him help her back to the bed. He looked down at her arm and saw the scars on her wrist again. He realized they would probably never fade completely. Nadia could not have healed them. She did not have the power and not even all the bruises riddled up and down her arms and legs were gone.

As Jareth helped Sarah climb silently back into his bed, he noticed her hair was still a matted, tangled mess, despite being clean. He pulled a crystal and dropped it. Sarah watched his movements with a guarded interest, but raised her eyebrows when a brush and a comb appeared in his hand. The Goblin King sat on the edge of his bed and motioned to her to turn around, not wanting to break the silence of the room. She reluctantly complied, but not without first giving him a definite, "What the hell are you doing that for?" look. Jareth paused a moment before slowly taking off his grey kidskin gloves and Aidan's eye at the keyhole widened in surprise as the King began gently combing out Sarah's long dark locks.

Sarah had pulled one of the large and fluffy pillows onto her lap and now found herself leaning into it as Jareth continued to brush her hair. She thought it was quite a nice gesture, because she felt sure she did not have the strength to do it herself. It seemed so personal though. She wondered who this Goblin King had been to her. Should she be offended? Was he taking liberties? Somehow Sarah could not bring herself to make him stop.

She had to repress a shiver of pleasure every time his fingers brushed her shoulders through the sheer nightgown and actually did tremble when he grazed her bare neck. He asked her if she was cold and she shook her head.

Soon the comfortable monotony of his movements, gently pulling at her scalp and brushing across her back, began to make her drowsy and she fell farther forward into the soft but firm pillow. Sarah did not remember closing her eyes, but she opened them instantly when she could no longer feel his presence behind her.

The woman shifted languidly, trying to search him out through bleary eyes. The room became darker and she realized he had gone to shut the doors. Light still came in through the sheer curtains, casting a faint glow onto Jareth's form. He looked at her, a deep but quiet sadness on his beautifully noble features and Sarah thought he looked tired. She smiled sleepily at him and he walked back over, sitting on the edge of the bed and brushing back a few strands of clean and untangled hair that had already fallen across her face.

His low voice softly broke the silence, "Go back to sleep, Sarah. You have so much more strength left to regain."

Sarah felt herself being pulled back into the dreamlike haze of slumber, but staved it off a moment longer, reaching out in an attempt to tug Jareth onto the bed next to her. He was tired too.

It was the King's turn to smile before reluctantly acquiescing. "I can only stay a little," he murmured and pulled the comforter around them both. She kept her hand on his arm and a minute later, while deeply dreaming, curled herself against him. Jareth automatically raised his free hand to run through her soft hair.

The Way Back

A Labyrinth Story
by atsuibelulah

Part 4 of 24

<< Previous     Home     Next >>