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Rating: Story R/ Chapter - PG-13
Disclaimer: See first chapter
Beta: The very supportive Devil Girl
Previous Chapters: :Ch 1 - Coming Storms; Ch 2 - Nothing Is What It Seems; Ch 3 - Second Chances; Ch 4 - A New Beginning - Part I; Ch 4 - A New Beginning - Part II; Ch 5 - Numb - Part I; Ch 5 - Numb - Part II

For Love Of Sarah

by

Lattelady

Ch 6 - The Pain Seeps Through



“Thank the Seven Crystals, I’ve found you both!” The unusual dynamics of the Escher Room caused Galen’s words to rumble like thunder as he entered, though his excitement was dulled by the quiet intimacy that surrounded Jareth and Sarah. “I apologize for interrupting, Your Majesty, lady Sarah.” He bowed formally. It was evident he had interrupted. “I’ve received word from my wife that there is a problem at Ellanora’s cottage and the children, your brother, ma’am, and my daughter, are involved.” He’d been reluctant when Jareth had first suggested that Marilee befriend the human woman and more so when it became obvious that his child, Maia, and the boy, Toby, had become fast friends. This latest episode added to his feelings of misgiving.

“Details?” Jareth’s right eyebrow rose. It was most unusual for his advisor to be so laconic with information.

“She gave none, Sir. She merely asked that I request your assistance in finding Toby’s sister and returning her at once.”

“Sarah, your crystal,” the King commanded. His mind somewhat eased, because Merilee hadn’t asked that they bring a healer as well.

“Is he all right?” Sarah gripped Jareth’s shoulder and stood as close to him as possible, trying to see what he was seeing in his outstretched hand.

“It would appear there has been an altercation: fisticuffs,” he harrumphed and rotated the magical sphere counter clockwise causing the scene within to move quickly backward in time.

“But Toby doesn’t fight!” Sarah felt things slipping out of control as the crystal showed two boys scuffling on the ground. Her brother had been adjusting well to the changes in their lives. She was sure that the magic of the Underground played a huge part in it, but this latest episode made her doubt. Had it all been an illusion, false magic?

“Perhaps, but given enough provocation, anyone will fight.” Jareth turned the crystal further back in time and gave Sarah a smug look. They both remembered her temper and clenched fists from six years ago and knew that there had been a time or two that she’d had a very human urge to take a swing at him.

She glared, knowing he was teasing her, but was unable to refrain from responding. “Just because one is angered, it doesn’t necessarily follow that it must be settled with fists.”

“True, but Toby is a young lad and doesn’t have any bridges to knock down or a goblin city to leave in ruins, so he must settle for what he has on hand, in this case the young Lord Mortimer Dennimar.” He grinned and brought her attention back to the scene that was taking place in the crystal. With a heavy heart she observed friendly play become an argument.

“You approve!” Sarah was shocked, though why she should have been she was uncertain. Jareth was very male despite the glitter and glamour. She’d always known he had a streak of cruelty and strength. In some ways he was exactly like a human male, but with far more power.

“Hardly, a King can’t condone brawls, it’s unseemly, but we shall see,” Jareth muttered as he concentrated on the image in his hand. The boys’ tempers had flared causing their angry words to ring from the crystal and carry into the corners of the Escher Room.

“Why does she always have to come along?” young Mortimer Dennimar whined.

“Mort, we have the most fun when it’s the four of us.” Toby tied to reason with his friend, but his face was red with anger.

“Maybe you do, but that doesn’t mean Quentin and I do.” The Fae lordling complained. “’Sides, I’m tired ‘a always havin’ to drag little Ms Pointy-ears with us.”

A small moan was heard in the background and the distraught face of Galen’s daughter, Maia, filled the sphere in Jareth’s hand.

“Young man, that is no way to speak about a lady,” Sir Didymus called out. “You must apologize at once!”

“You take that back!” Toby yelled, not listening to the small knight. Maia was his friend and no one, not even another of his friends, could hurt her. He would see to that.

“Make me!” Mort challenged as both boys lunged at each other.

“Boys, boys, this is most unseemly.” Sir Didymus attempted to separate them but ended up ducking fists instead.


“As I stated, there may have been provocation.” The King cleared his throat as he handed Sarah’s crystal back to her and conjured one of his own. “The Underground has no place for racial prejudice. It undermines our entire way of life.”

“Your Highness, your coat,” Galen whispered through gritted teeth. He was trying to keep his mind on how inappropriate it would be for anyone to see Jareth’s soft black leather jacket wrapped around Sarah’s shoulders and not let his anger at the insult to his daughter take control of common sense.

“I appreciate your concern, but I’m not the least bit chilled.” Jareth gazed steadily at his friend over the top of Sarah’s head. He knew that if there were other than family or close friends present at the cottage when they arrived, the young human wearing an article of his clothing would cause gossip and speculation that had heretofore been avoided. It was time his subjects began to understand how things were.

“I should have been there when he needed me,” Sarah muttered, not paying attention to the quiet interaction between the two Fae. Toby’s sad face filled the sphere in her hand and it tore at her heart to think that she’d been too busy enjoying Jareth’s company to watch the time. “Would you help me get to him, please, Your Highness,” she almost whispered Jareth’s title.

“Was there ever any doubt?” He smiled gently at her. “Take my arm and mind the first step. Arriving on a country road can be bumpy at the best of times.”

“I’ll be fine. Can we just get going? Toby needs me.” She chewed on her lower lip as she gripped his arm.

“I would like to come as well, Sir.” Galen moved to Sarah’s other side and offered her his arm.

“I would expect nothing less, but both of you must let me handle this.” The King warned fully aware of the political problems that might arise from this incident.

“He’s my brother. It’s my job to see to his safety.”

“Do not interrupt. I see to the safety of all my subjects.”

“You make me feel powerless.” Sarah blinked away tears that were forming as it was brought home to her again just how dependent she was on Jareth’s goodwill. She hated it and longed to be the strong independent woman she had grown into over the last few years, though at this point she’d settle for the headstrong girl she’d been on her last visit.

“You’re hardly that, though at times it may seem that way.” He grinned, realizing she still didn’t understand the power she had over him. As his eyes shifted to meet his aide’s steady gaze, his features changed into those of the Goblin King at his most authoritative. “I must have your word as well.”

“Of course, Sir,” Galen sighed knowing it was best to let his King deal with Lord Dennimar, but it went against his grain. It was his family that had been insulted and he should be the one to set it to rights.

Sarah felt dizzy as the Escher Room disappeared. She was glad for the strength of Jareth pressed against her side as a huge gust of wind gripped them and carried them along. She clung to his arm as they landed seconds later. He had been correct: it was disconcerting to suddenly find oneself standing on an uneven dirt road when rock had been beneath her feet moments earlier.

“He’s all right,” she whispered as relief washed over her when she took in the scene from the far side of Ellamora’s gate.

Toby was sitting on the front steps of the cottage. His elbows rested on his knees as he glared daggers at Mortimer Dennimar who sat two feet away from him on the same step. Both boys were dusty and had grass stains on their clothes. Toby had a swollen lip and Mortimer the beginnings of a black eye. Ellamora was coming out of the cottage with a basin of water. Marilee sat on the porch swing with an unusually subdued Maia in her arms. It was obvious the child had been crying and didn’t want anyone but her mother to know.

Sarah, Jareth and Galen had just opened the front gate when Lord and Lady Dennimar materialized in a huff and flurry ten feet from the seated boys. “What is the meaning of this!” demanded the newly arrived Fae lord.

“I was about to ask the same question,” Jareth’s voice carried with it the cool authority of his title. It had been the height of rudeness to arrive on Ellamora’s private property the way the couple had. The King hoped it was due to worry for their son and not a carefully planned snub of the elderly elf.

“Your Highness,” both Dennimars echoed as they bowed and curtsied accordingly. Though they could trace their linage back to the beings that made the original crossing with Oberon, and were highly thought of among those who lived on and around their estate, they had chosen to not be an active part of the royal court. Many believed it was due to the animosity that had existed between the present Lord Dennimar’s father and Jareth’s.

The king only acknowledged them with the slightest nod of his head and held tightly to Sarah’s arm, preventing her from curtsying to them. His mis-matched eyes danced as they met her questioning glance upward. Whoever had been teaching her the complicated etiquette of greetings in Underground society had neglected to mention that when a woman was on the king’s arm, she received the same respect he did. By keeping her tightly in place it was another subtle sign that she was exactly where he wanted her to be.

“Lord and Lady Dennimar,” Sarah acknowledged in a strained voice. She didn’t know what Jareth thought he was doing, but the last thing she wanted was to alienate the parents of one of Toby’s best friends. “All four children have been getting along so well.” Her green eyes swept Toby and Mortimer sitting on the steps and then took in Maia in her mother’s arms and finally Quentin Annalow and Sir Didymus, who were trying to make themselves almost non-existent beside the big tree in the middle of the front yard.

“The other children should join Toby and Mortimer.” Though the king’s words were warm and friendly it was understood that it was an order not a suggestion. “That includes you too, Didymus.”

“Of course, Your Highness.” The small fox bowed to his king and the inevitable as he and Quentin sat with the others. Maia had placed herself on Toby’s left so Quent slipped into the slot on the boy’s right, forcing the little knight to sit on the next step down.

“Well!” the King demanded. “You heard Lord Dennimar. What is the meaning of this?” He looked at each child as he spoke slowly. Though he knew what had happened, he wanted to hear what the children had to say for themselves.

“It was nothing, Sir.” Toby responded. “We was…were playin’ and things kinda got outta hand.”

“’Nothing’, you say, young lad?” Dennimar stood with his hands behind his back glaring between Toby and his son. “Mortimer, which one of you threw the first punch?” Though he was asking his son, his eyes had slid accusingly toward the human boy.

“It was an accident.” Quentin called out. His stomach was doing flip-flops. He didn’t like the dark looks the Fae lord was sending Toby’s way.

“Yeah, an accident, King Jareth.” Maia joined in. “They were rolling around on the ground and Toby bumped his lip and Mort his eye. That’s all.”

“It’s like she said,” Mortimer’s voice quivered with relief. He knew he’d let his family name down by engaging in physical combat, but he didn’t understand his father’s sudden anger. “I’m sorry, we will be more careful in the future.”

“We’re all sorry,” each child whispered in turn.

“Maia, honey,” Galen knelt before her. He’d seen the proof in Sarah’s crystal that there was much more to the argument than the children were letting on. It went against his grain to let his daughter be hurt and not take a stand on it.

“Papa, please, it isn’t what it seems.” The little girl’s lip began to quiver. She loved her father dearly and had never hidden anything from him before, but it made her stomach hurt to think of Toby getting into trouble because he’d been defending her.

“Lord Galen, Sir,” Toby leaned forward and situated his shoulder between father and daughter. “Maia wasn’t in on it. She shouldn’t be here.” He indicated the others on the step.

“Toby,” the girl whispered and touched the boy’s arm. “It’s okay. Papa isn’t angry at us. He just gets protective, is all.

Galen watched the odd interaction between the two children and it was like looking into the past, his past with Marilee. He remembered the early morning sun had been in his eyes as he and Jareth had rode into the courtyard at Corramar. Both Fae males had been in their late teens, home from some all-night escapade. As they’d stabled their horses they’d discovered two young boys taunting an even younger Marilee about being half-elf. It had made the anger boil-up in him and he’d jumped to her defense. Later he’d realized that that was the moment he knew Marilee was the other half of him, though he’d had to wait six years before he began to court her.

“Papa?” Maia called. “You don’t got to worry – we’re fine.” The little girl smiled and patted her father’s cheek as she had often seen her mother do.

“I’m not worried, honey, just…ahh.” He was at a loss for words as he realized everything was happening as it should. Fate had taken control and set to right the error that had occurred when the Williams children had returned home six years earlier. It was as Jareth believed; Sarah and most likely Toby had been destined for the Underground from the beginning.

“Well, I am worried!” Dennimar cut in. “Those two boys were fighting and I want to know what happened!” he blustered. “I’ve heard stories about the Aboveground, so I know that these things are tolerated in your realm, but not here!” He glared at Sarah. It was obvious the young woman had wasted no time in currying favor with the king. The obstinate creature had the nerve to stand before them wearing His Highness’s coat.

“Sedgwick,” Jareth murmured Lord Dennimar’s given name. “I believe the children have given us their account of what happened.”

“Your Majesty, I beg your indulgence, but I’d like to learn the facts of this case. My boy has befriended this Aboveworlder and…ah…ah…” the Fae lord’s throat suddenly dried up as he watched his King’s face become rigid and remote.

“Be very careful,” Jareth whispered. “Things may not be as you believe them to be.” The King of the Goblins tossed a crystal lightly in his hand. “Are you sure enough of the answers to your questions to press further?” Knowledge was power and it was never more evident who was in possession of that power in the Underground. “It would serve you well to remember that young Master Williams and his sister are citizens of my realm with all the rights, privileges and responsibilities the designation carries. They no longer belong to the world above.”

“I…ah…Your Highness is most correct. I bow to your superior intelligence and beg your forgiveness.” He dipped his head to his king in sincere apology. “If I was too forward, please understand that I was doing so as a father concerned for his only child.” Dennimar felt sick as fear sliced through him. He had questioned his monarch’s authority. Jareth, King of the Goblins, was not a Fae to be trifled with. He was known to be fair in his rulings, but could act swiftly and ruthlessly when it was needed.

Sarah stood back in shock. She was seeing a new side to Jareth. This was not the being who had teased and tormented her six years earlier, but one who could have easily crushed a teenage girl. It made her catch her breath as she realized again just how far apart they really were. For a short time that afternoon she’d let it slip her mind. Now she knew she couldn’t ever let that happen again or she’d end up with a broken heart and a sullied reputation. He was well and truly a king who ruled absolutely and expected absolute obedience; not some fantasy Prince Charming she’d made up, and she was only a human woman who worked in his mother’s stables.

“It is most understandable, Sedgwick.” The king looked down his nose at the shorter lord. “Though, your point is well taken, brawling between school children sets a poor example.”

“Your Highness,” Toby’s voice practically squeaked as he spoke. “We wasn’t brawling, just sorta roughhousing.”

“Appearances can be deceiving, young man.” The king nodded to the damage the boys had inflicted upon each other. “Keep in mind that there are times when it is necessary to fight, but all diplomatic avenues should be exhausted first. If violence does become necessary, those involved must be willing to pay the consequences.”

“Yes, Sir,” Toby nodded, realizing that somehow King Jareth knew exactly what had happened.

“Good, then we understand each other.” He smiled at the young human. “Now for those consequences, all four children will meet back here at eight o’clock this Week-end’s-day and spend the morning following behind the cleaners in the tunnels. You will be issued brooms to remove any cobwebs that are missed by the machine.”

“Your Majesty,” Sir Didymus rose and bowed. “I would like the honor of accompanying the children. The…ah…ah…roughhousing happened on my watch, it would be proper that I should be included in the…ahem…consequences.”

“Very well, Didymus. You and Ambrosius are assigned to see to their safety. This time I expect no harm to come to any of them.”

“I will guard them with my very life, Sir.” The small knight bent into a deep bow.

“Boys and Maia, your friendship is an important one. It is an example of the way life should be. A Fae lord,” he nodded toward Mortimer, “a child of the Labyrinth”, the king eyed Quentin; “a newly-arrived human from the Aboveground”, he smiled at Toby; “and a girl-child who has the blood of two of the oldest races running in her veins. If all beings could form such attachments it could go a long way toward ending distrust and strife throughout the land. Be proud of your friendship and fight for its survival rather than its demise. The relationships you form in childhood are the groundwork for the alliances of your future.” Jareth took a moment of silence to let his words sink-in, to children and adults alike, before he relaxed his expression. “I declare this matter concluded. You are all dismissed.”

Moments later, Lord and Lady Dennimar left, taking Mortimer with them. Sir Didymus accompanied Quentin home with a missive from the king explaining why their son would be spending the morning of Week-end’s-day in the tunnels of the Labyrinth.

“Let me get a look at you, Big Guy.” Sarah knelt in front of her brother, checking out his injuries. She settled for holding his hand in hers instead of the hug she would have loved and he would have hated.

“I’m okay, Sis.” Toby shrugged off his sister’s worry.

“I know. I just….well, I worry about you is all.”

“Adults do that about us kids.” Maia chimed in from beside Toby.

“We sure do.” Sarah smiled and brushed a strand of blonde hair off the little girl’s forehead. “How about you? Are you all right, too?”

“’Course, why wouldn’t I be?” Maia’s chin stuck out, still refusing to divulge any of what had happened earlier.

“Honey,” Marilee called out to her daughter, saving Sarah from having to think of a response that wouldn’t embarrass the child. “You and Toby should go inside. Ellamora is getting supper ready.”

“I’m starved.” Toby stood and waited for Maia. “Your grandma’s the best cook ever.”

“My mom’s pretty good, too.” The little girl said as she went inside. “Though our cook doesn’t like her in the kitchen.”

“Well you’re lucky, ‘cause my sister can’t boil water without burning it.” The boy’s words echoed behind him making both his sister and Marilee laugh.

“I guess he really is all right.” Sarah sighed and looked around uncertainly.

“They’re both fine, now.” Marilee looked at her friend curiously. “You know what really happened and so does His Majesty, don’t’ you?”

“Please, I can’t talk about it. If you want to know more, you’ll have to ask Lord Galen.” She was determined that there would be no further hurt from this incident.

“I already know. I was standing in the door when the boys began to argue. Then when I was comforting Maia, she said something that confirmed what I’d heard.” She reached for Sarah’s hand and squeezed it. “It was very brave of Toby to do what he did and he has my everlasting gratitude.” Marilee remembered taunts when she was a child but never thought her daughter would be subjected to them.

“Maia was his first friend in the Underground.” Sarah shrugged. “And they have the common bond of your mother. I keep expecting him to start calling Ellamora grandmamma the way she does.” The woman walked slowly over to the king and Galen who were in deep conversation.

“As much as I hate to admit it, you handled it that the only way possible.” Galen frowned.

“Sedgwick Dennimar’s family pride is strong, but he is a reasonable being. It was only necessary to make him understand that it was more important for him to think about the actions of his son, than dwell on the mistakes of his grandfather.”

“If you’d been dealing with his father, things would have turned ugly, no matter what damage it might have caused the child.” Galen was still angry and frustrated at what had happened. As much as he wanted to protect his daughter, he was forced to look beyond the immediate situation and how the Goblin Kingdom was affected.

“If I’d been dealing with the father, none of this would have happened, because Harlan Dennimar never would have permitted his son to be friends with a human child.” Jareth sighed, not liking where the conversation was going. He had a bad feeling he was going to end up explaining a few truths to Sarah and it was something he was trying to avoid until she was more comfortable living in the Underground.

“Why?” Sarah knew something was going on and she wanted to know what it was. “What piece of history am I missing? I realized there was some reason it was necessary for the Dennimars to save face, but I didn’t understand it.”

“Your Highness, with your permission, Marilee and I should help Ellamora with the children.” Galen looked from the human woman’s stubborn face to his friend’s resigned one.

“By all means,” Jareth nodded toward his friend and only waited until they were headed indoors to take Sarah’s arm. “Come, we shall sit under the tree and have the history lesson you believe you want so badly.”

All was quiet in Ellamora’s front yard as the King of the Goblins helped settle the lovely dark haired woman beside him on the soft grass. The wind was slight, and the setting sun turned the sky deep shades of orange and pink that bled into purple above the far off hills.

“You must remember that what I am about to tell you took place in a different time. Even though it was only two generations ago, the inhabitants of the Underground were harder, more ruthless and demanding. There was a small group of lords who were the worst offenders. They took what they wanted and did as they pleased unless there was direct intervention from the king of the territory where their lands were located. Your people, of the Aboveground, were also different. They were more violent and in some cases could be as ruthless as any of our lords.”

“This has to do with a wished away child, doesn’t it?” Sarah asked slowly almost afraid to hear the answer.

“Yes,” Jareth nodded and took her hand. “Are you sure you want to hear it?”

“Yes, I must. If I am going to live here I need as much knowledge as possible.” She’d known since her first encounter with Ellamora that the citizens of the Underground had a passionate dislike of any human who wished away a child. It made her feel guilty of a far greater crime than the game she’d been playing six years earlier.

“Very well, but remember you asked.” He held her hand gently and stroked his gloved thumb over her palm in an attempt to give reassurance as he began to speak. “It was five hours into the woman’s allotted thirteen. She had only made it as far as the stone maze inside the wall when she met old Lord Dennimar. He agreed to help her in her quest, if she would bed him.”

“No!” Sarah’s eyes filled with tears as she remembered her own time in the Labyrinth. She’d been desperate to reach her brother, but had she been that desperate? Would she have even understood the consequences? “What happened?”

“A bargain was struck. When she had fulfilled her end of it, he reneged on his. So she killed him.”

“My God!” Sarah shuddered. What Jareth was describing made her adventure through the maze seem like a game in comparison. “But he had powers. How could she have killed him?” She wanted to fight, argue, shout at him that Fae were indestructible. She’d only recently discovered that Jareth hadn’t died when she won Toby back. It was too soon to learn that it might have been a possibility.

“She stabbed him with a dirk she’d had hidden in the bodice of her gown. Its blade was iron. Even a small wound from that metal will kill most beings of magic. She used it with deadly accuracy, burying it deep in his shoulder. He died before he could retaliate.”

“What happened to the girl?” She wasn’t sure she wanted to know the answer, but couldn’t stop herself from asking.

“Her thirteen hours were deemed up and she was sent back without her daughter.” The King shrugged. “She was lucky, her punishment could have been much worse.”

Sarah was chilled through and through. As she pulled the warmth of the king’s jacket closer around her shoulders, she thanked her lucky stars that the most dangerous things she’d run into had been the fireys. Then her eyes slowly met Jareth’s and she remembered their conversation from a few hours earlier. “It could have been me, couldn’t it?” Looking back on her experience from the viewpoint of an adult she understood all the sexual tensions that had been between them, though she’d been too young to recognize them six years earlier.

“No, my dear, it could never have been you. You were, and are, nothing like that woman!” his words came from deep within him.

“But…”

“Sarah, believe and understand.” Jareth would brook no arguments. “If you refuse to believe in yourself, than believe in me. I have always been very careful not to make my grandfather’s mistake. No human shall bring iron into the Underground. The only metal you had on was a small silver ring. Also believe that things have changed. New laws were passed. The most important being, no creature of magic is allowed to interfere with a Wisher-away. The contest is between the King of the Goblins and the human. No others may intervene.”

“But what of the King?” Sarah whispered. “He could…you could have…”

“But I didn’t, Sarah, and I never would.” He reached up and tangled his gloved fingers gently in her hair. “The Goblin King must follow the ancient laws set down at the beginning of time or the child isn’t accepted by the Labyrinth. That acceptance is necessary for the magic that sustains us to become part of the new inhabitant. I may use trickery and charm, but seduction is expressly forbidden.”

“So you’ve never…?”

“No, never. No monarch would.”

“You were certainly charming to me…at times.” Sarah remembered being held in sure, steady arms as she was guided through intricate steps in his ballroom.

“It was hard not to be. You were refreshingly innocent.” He wanted to tell her all of it, that he’d loved her for decades before she’d been born, but she wasn’t ready to hear it yet.

“When you’re a fifteen year-old girl it is hard to tell the difference between seduction and charm.” She sighed realizing she had misread much of what had happened back then.

“Charm can be part of seduction, but rest assured I am very adept at making my intentions known.” The air sizzled between them as he leaned closer. His hand slid through her hair until he cupped the nape of her neck.

“I’m beginning to understand that.” Something about old Lord Dennimar’s story nibbled at the back of her mind, but it was hard to concentrate with Jareth’s lips inches away from hers. Then suddenly she was struck by a strong memory. She and Toby were sitting by the sundial in the Labyrinth and they used the tweezers from her Swiss Army knife to remove the splinters from her left arm. “My God, I may have…!”

“What is it, Sarah?” He saw fear and doubt fill her eyes.

“I brought a knife with me when I fell through my mirror. It was in my backpack, where I always kept it.” She was having trouble catching her breath at the implications. “I don’t know what the blade is made of, but most have some iron in them.”

“Where is it now?” Jareth words rumbled so close she could feel his breath on her face.

“Ellamora put my old things in the storage shed. I didn’t want them thrown out, but no matter how many times I’ve washed my clothes I couldn’t get rid of the smell of the fire.”

“You’d better show me.” He stood and helped her to her feet. Together they walked around the cottage to a tidy stone outbuilding on the far side of the kitchen garden.

“It’s in there in the back, below the work table.” Sarah pulled open the door in the last of the fading light. The soothing fragrance of drying herbs, which hung in bundles from the thatched roof, filled the room, but couldn’t completely mask a darker tang that haunted her nightmares and made her nose itch. “There’s a pocket on the side of my haversack.”

“This?” Jareth strode past the woman who was frozen in the doorway and picked up the green canvas bag.

“Yes…” She held her hand lightly against her nose and mouth in hopes the slight scent of flowers that lingered on her skin would keep the smell of smoke away. As much as she wanted to turn and run away from the last tangible proof of the nightmare she’d lived through, she was rooted to the ground.

“How odd,” he exclaimed. “Something is blocking the searcher spell. No wonder Ellamora wasn’t aware of the danger you carried.” The Goblin King drew deeper on his magic and again ran his free hand over the unusual material. “Ahhh, there it is. If I didn’t know what to look for, I would have missed it entirely.”

“Wait!” Sarah called out as his gloved fingers disappeared into the pocket that contained the knife, “Stop! Are you crazy?” In three strides she’d eaten up the distance between them. It was her first truly spontaneous action in weeks. “There may be iron in the blade and you’re gonna just reach blindly for it?” Her voice shook as she gripped his wrist. “I spent too many years thinking I killed you to have…to have…to have you do something that foolish.” Her jaw tightened in determination as she grasped the soot-darkened bag in her free hand. “Now let me do this. I always closed the knife when I put it away, but if I didn’t, just this once, you would’ve cut yourself.”

Jareth watched as fierce concern filled her eyes. He was shocked and pleased at her reaction; shocked because he was king and wasn’t used to anyone speaking to him like that; and pleased because he knew she was horrified by the memories of what the bag represented, but her worry for him was greater than her fears. “All right, Sarah, if you insist.” He could already tell that the small amount of iron that was present was incased in some material which was exclusive to the world of men. He had never been in any danger, but it warmed his heart that she would try to protect him.

“I insist.” She glared over her shoulder at him as she pulled the Swiss Army knife from its hiding place and tossed her backpack on the table. She smiled in relief when she saw that even as tired and distraught as she’d been, that first morning in the Labyrinth, she’d stowed it away properly.

“What an odd looking weapon?” Jareth had never seen the likes before. All it appeared to be was a red plastic handle with metal grooves in the side. “How does it work?”

“It isn’t a weapon. It’s just a handy way to carry a number of small tools.” She proceeded to show him the items the knife contained, all except the actual blade. That she refused to open.

“Ingenious. It has all those devices as well as a hidden cutting edge.” His brows quirked upward, when she opened the corkscrew followed by the scissors. “But even in its protective covering you can’t keep it.”

“I know.” Sarah nodded but pulled her hand back when he would have taken it from her. “Please don’t handle it. I don’t want you hurt. I’ll bury it somewhere far away.”

“I can’t let you do that.”

“Don’t you trust me?”

“It’s not a matter of trust.” Jareth assured her. “But the same law that protects humans, who run the Labyrinth, forbids beings without magic from possessing iron.” Even as he said the words, he formed a crystal and guided it over Sarah’s open palm. The folded knife was surrounded and carried upward in the magic orb. The king spread his hands and flexed his fingers as he muttered words in a language she had never heard. In the blink of an eye the knife and crystal disappeared.

A small sigh escaped Sarah’s lips as another piece of her above world life vanished. “My father gave that to me when I left for college. At the time I thought he was being silly, but I’ve used it often over the years.”

“What in the world for? Your people aren’t susceptible to iron poisoning.”

“The only thing I’ve ever used the blade for was to cut through packing tape or break down boxes.” She pronounced each word separately as if she were talking to a very young child. “I keep telling you, it-is-not-a-weapon.”

“Perhaps not where you come from, but here it can cause death with the smallest scratch from any of those tools. As such it shall reside in my armory along side my personal accoutrements of battle.”

“I understand, but it’ll look pretty silly sitting next to the real thing. It is really just a compact set of everyday gadgets. You’d be surprised how often a screwdriver or corkscrew is needed.” Then she grinned at the mental picture of the Goblin King doing his own repairs or opening his own wine. “Well, maybe you wouldn’t, but your servants probably have a use for those items on a regular basis.”

“Humph, I am adept at opening wine bottles.” He looked down his nose at the woman who was standing so close to him.

“I just bet you are.” She lips twitched as she fought a smile. “Now we know two things you’re skilled at.” The words slipped out before she thought them through. Maybe kidding about his seduction abilities wasn’t in her best interest.

“Oh, my dear, there are many more than two.” He stepped into her personal space and ran his hands up the collar of his jacket that she was still wearing.

“I’m sure…” she tried to backpedal but lost the ability to speak coherently when her eyes met his.

“Sarah,” he whispered and gently kissed her left temple. He’d almost kissed her twice that day. Fate was giving him another chance. He wasn’t going to pass it up.

A quiet moan escaped her lips as his mouth moved over her forehead. Under her palms she could feel the warmth of his skin radiating through his silk shirt. Somewhere in the back of her mind she wondered when she’d reached for him. The though was lost as she felt him wrap one arm around her neck and the other held her snugly around the waist. Even as she was telling herself it was a bad idea, her head fell back on his arm and her body leaned against his as she gave into the luxury of his mouth seeking hers.

Jareth pulled her closer and for the moment forgot everything but the fact that she was finally where he wanted her to be. He deepened the kiss while feeling the warmth of her soft curves and strong lean muscles pressed against him at shoulder, waist and hips. His tongue flicked gently against her lips and she whimpered slightly as she granted him entrance. It took all his will power not to sweep ahead letting his mouth imitate what other parts of his body longed to do. Instead he let her shyly taste him and had to fight to keep from groaning in pleasure at her innocence.

Sarah was lost in sensation. The reality of being kissed by the Goblin King was so much better than any of her childhood fantasies or dreams. She was wrapped in his scent. The hard sure lines of his body were a stark contrast to the warm softness she was discovering as her tongue danced with his. She could hear his heartbeat and the rattle of soft breathing as they both tried to catch their breath without setting the other’s mouth free. Adrenaline surged through her bloodstream making her muscles quiver and her body ache. From one second to the next she’d slipped from wanting to wanton.

It wasn’t until his hand moved down her back, to cup her bottom, and press her hips tighter against his that reality began to reassert itself. He was an extremely virile, experienced male and she had never been with a man before. He was a Fae king with powers she was only beginning to understand, and she was a human who had lost her way in his kingdom. Though she was sure he’d never do anything to hurt her on purpose she also knew that if this continued she would be badly hurt. It was inevitable. It was as much in his nature to seek new pleasures wherever he could find them as it was in hers to only find true pleasure with one everlasting love. Unfortunately, she was afraid that he was that love and they would be forever at cross purposes.

“You’re trembling,” he whispered as he felt her begin to pull back.

“I know.” She looked up into his passion-filled eyes and had the satisfaction of knowing that he had been affected too. “I can’t seem to stop. It’s…it’s been a long day.”

“There’s that too.” He nodded slightly and wondered if she realized what she did to him.

“I should go in.” She tried to sound forceful and turn toward the cottage, but she could only stand with her arms around him staring into his beautiful face.

“Not yet. You need a moment.” His studied her huge eyes, disheveled hair and swollen lips. She had the look of a woman who had been well and truly kissed.

“You may be right. I think we’ve found a third thing you’re adept at.” She tried to laugh it off, but discovered she was serious. “I’m not sure my legs will hold me.”

“I shall not let you fall.” He gave her one of his slow devilish smiles as he rested her head on his shoulder.

“I don’t think that’s going to help.” The intimate touch of his body against hers made her very aware of the differences between a man and a woman and how well they might fit together. It took all her will power not to rock her hips against his hardness that was firmly pressed against her belly.

“Hush.” He buried his nose in her hair and held her close. “Just take deep even breaths until the shivering stops.” He held her as close as he could. It was a poor substitute for where they had been heading, but would have to do. He didn’t want to make love to her when she still had shadows of fear and confusion in her eyes that had been her constant companions since she’d tumbled back into his life.

Sarah was unsure how long they remained wrapped around one another. It was long enough for her muscles begin to relax and her blood cool as she tried not to think about how close she’d come to fulfilling some of her wilder fantasies with this man.

“Better?” he finally asked.

“Yes, thank you,” she murmured, more aware of her body than she’d ever been.

“You’re most welcome.” Jareth was still grinning as he ran a hand through her hair making each strand magically fall into place. “Come.” He offered his arm and she was relieved that her hand only shook slightly as she placed it carefully in the crook of his elbow

“Wait.” She tried to stop him as they left the shed, but he only slowed their pace. It was full night. Stars were out and an almost full moon was rising in the distance. “Take your jacket. I don’t want to forget it again. I can only imagine what Lord and Lady Dennimar must have thought when we arrived and it was still draped over my shoulders.”

“They thought exactly what I wanted them to think.” He remarked cryptically. “The night air is chilled. You continue wearing it until we’ve reached the warmth of the cottage.”

Sarah rolled her eyes at his imperious nature but kept on walking since he wasn’t going to stop.

They only made it as far as the front porch when their steps were halted by the sound of hoof beats coming rapidly up the road.

“Your Highness!” a lone rider called out as he jumped from the saddle of his horse and moved quickly though the gate. “Her Ladyship sent me. It is time. Magic has finally come into season.”

To Ch 7 - Out Of Control

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Quotes

The moving finger writes: and having writ Moves on. nor all your piety nor wit Shall lure it back to cancal half a line, Nor all your tears wash out a word of it...The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam

If I quiet the voices in my head, I would face the day with nothing to write. - Unknown

I must go down to the seas again the lonely sea and sky...J Masefield

Cinderella walked on broken glass,
Sleeping beauty let a whole lifetime pass.
Belle fell in love with a hideous beast,
Jasmine married a common thief.
Ariel walked on land for love and life,
Snow white barely escaped a knife.
It was all about blood, sweat, and tears.
Because love means facing your biggest fears


The heart has its reasons that reason knows nothing of...French Proverb

I have drempt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after. They've gone through me like wine through water and altered the colour of my mind ...E. Bronte

To love someone deeply gives you strength. Being loved by someone deeply gives you courage...Lao Tzu

It takes chaos to give birth to a dancing star ..F. Nietzsche

How many loved your moments of glad grace, and loved your beauty with love false or true? But one man loved the pilgrim Soul in you, and loved the sorrows of your changing face...Yeats

Let us go, you and I, when the evening is spread out against the sky...T. S. Eliot

In that book which is my memory, on the first page of the chapter, that is the day when I first met you, appears the words, "here begins a new life".
La Vita Nuova

Midnight courage of the heart...Jen Kirkwood

The three o-clock in the morning courage which Bonaparte thought was the rarest...Thoreau

Did you say it? I love you; I don't ever want to live without you; you changed my life. Did you say it?
Make a plan, set a goal, work toward it, but every now and then, look around, drink it in, 'cause this is it. It might all be gone tomorrow. - Meredith Grey

Shakespeare is easy, life is hard...Wheels

Don't try to be a great man, just be a man. Let history make up its own mind...Z.Cochron

I had a job to do and I was unafraid...Jack to John Creighton

For I dipt into the future, as far as the human eye could see. Saw the vision of the world, and the wonders that can be...RWW Hipwell

Without diviation from the norm, progress is impossible...F. Zappa

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea, In a beautiful pea-green boat: They took some honey and plenty of money, Wrapped up in a five-pound note. The Owl looked up to the stars above, and sang to a small guitar...E Lear

Sweet and low, sweet and low, Wind of the western sea, Low, low, breathe and blow, Wind of the western sea! Over the rolling waters go, Come from the dying moon and blow, Blow him again to me;... Tennison

Charmed magic casements, opening on the foam
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn... Keats

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