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For Love Of Sarah - Ch 5 - Numb - Part I

Disclaimer: See Chapter one
Rating Story R/Chapter - not quite an R
Thanks: Very special thanks to Devil Girl. Bex, I couldn’t do this without your beta work. Thanks to Scattered Logic who sets the bar of excellence in Labyrinth stories. Your advice and prodding kept me on my toes.
Chapter synopsis: This one is all Sarah and Jareth. I felt they deserved a chapter to themselves after all they’ve been through in the preceding ones.
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


For Love Of Sarah

By Phyllis Christie lattelady6

Ch 5 - Numb - Part I


Sarah was in a daze as she descended the hill with Jareth. Unconsciously, she gripped his arm to keep from trembling. The emotional rollercoaster that had left her drained and sobbing so often in the last three days was on another downward spiral. Below them, on the front lawn of Corramar Estate, her brother romped with Sir Didymus, Hoggle and Ludo. They played together as if they were old friends and it worried Sarah. She didn’t want Toby to have any contact with anyone who knew what she had done to him six years earlier.

“Occasionally, things are what they seem,” Jareth whispered to her as he drew himself up to his full height. His entire demeanor then changed to one of hauteur and intimidation. They would face this together. Sarah would not be hurt, when it was within his power to protect her.

She nodded and carefully matched her steps to his deliberately dignified gait. Unable to concentrate on anything but the easy camaraderie between the four rowdy playmates, she missed the gentle smile of approval that crossed Lydia, the Dowager Queen’s face as she watched the couple coming towards her.

“He wouldn’t appear so happy if he knew that I’d wished him away when he was a baby,” Sarah murmured, unsure if she was trying to convince herself or seeking the Goblin King’s opinion on the subject.

“Sarah, he loves you.” Jareth stopped and turned to face her.

“I know, but…”

“Hush,” he commanded. “When you love someone, you can forgive them anything.”

“Can you?” She looked up into his eyes and remembered a room crashing around them as she leapt from a high ledge and a lie she’d told that had made him vanish. ‘But surely he isn’t talking about himself?’ As the thought surfaced, her heart accelerated with hope. But just as quickly, she shook her head and brought herself back to the present and reality. ‘After all, he is a Fae King and I’m a…a…a…’ Her mind couldn’t complete the sentence. Three days ago she’d known exactly who she was, but now, in this strange magical place where nothing was as it seemed, she wasn’t sure of anything.

“Yes,” he sighed at the haunted look that flashed across her face. More was going on with her than he understood. For eons Fae, unlike Elves, had denied the feelings of their hearts. The old teachings had been all but set aside and the few who followed them were thought to be weak. Most had chosen to concentrate on all the many pleasures of the flesh, with the instant gratification and sating of desire that they brought. Jareth found it humbling to discover he had been among the many and was now at a decided disadvantage. In an attempt to lighten the mood he responded the only way he could. “Besides, Toby is a good-natured lad, not the sort to bear a grudge.”

“You’re right.” She gently nibbled on her lower lip as she felt his gloved-hand cover hers where it was resting on his arm. She knew if she were really brave, she’d ask him if he was as good-natured. Instead, she let his kind words and his touch help wipe away her anxiety about Toby as they continued down the hill.

“Your Majesty,” Didymus bowed in deference to his king, and then turned quickly to the woman who clung to the Fae’s arm. “My lady Sarah, it is good to see you again.” He bowed to her in turn.

“Your Highness,” Hoggle acknowledged the Goblin King and then turned to the girl who had become a woman in the years since he’d seen her last. “We was worried about you, ah…ah, lady Sarah,” he quickly added the title that Didymus had always used because now it seemed the correct thing to do. “Yous all grown up.”

“Yes, I am,” she let go of Jareth’s arm and hugged the little man. “I’m so glad to see you. How did you know where to find me?”

“His Majesty was good enough, despite his many engagements, to inform us of your whereabouts,” Sir Didymus nodded and tried not to laugh as Hoggle struggled to get out of Sarah’s enthusiastic embrace. “We were all very relieved to know that you were safe, my lady.”

“Umm, lady Sarah, I don’t thinks this is such a good idea,” the dwarf whispered and pulled free as he eyed the odd expression on Jareth’s face. He could almost smell the Bog of Eternal Stench in his future.

“Sawah…” Ludo came lumbering over with a laughing Toby perched precariously on his back. “Sawah friend, Toby friend,” he beamed joyously. Tipping his head to the side and looking in his odd cross-eyed manner at Jareth he took a deep breath before pronouncing, “King friend, too.” With no more to say, he turned and took Toby for another ride around the extensive lawn.

“How do you know Toby?” Sarah was glad for the hidden touch of Jareth’s hand on the small of her back. It gave her balance as her emotions swung in all directions at once. “And how does he know about you?”

“You never invited us back after that first time.” Sir Didymus stepped forward to tell the story. “Even when we called very loudly, you wouldn’t look at us in the mirror. We thought you’d stopped believing, though we still believed in you.” He sighed at the memory. “So we were caught on our side and you on yours. We tried calling to you again and again, but nothing worked.” They had known that Jareth had watched in his owl form as well, but unless the King wanted Sarah to know about that, they would say nothing. “Then one day, you weren’t there any longer, but master Toby was. We didn’t mean for it to happen. We don’t know how he was able to hear or see us.”

“Sarah, we’s didn’t mean to do it,” Hoggle continued with the story. “But the poor lad was crying. He missed you as much as we did. We was talking, trying to figure out how to help him when he looked up at your mirror and right through it. He was able to see us standing on our side just as if we was in the room with him.”

“I think, my lady, that you had passed on your beliefs in us and the Labyrinth to the young master. You’d read him the story until he knew it by heart.” The knight shrugged, unable to think of any other explanation for what had happened. “You no longer needed us, but he did.”

“But I did need you, all of you,” Sarah blinked away tears. She had needed them desperately. Not acknowledging their presence and spending time with them had been her penance for killing their king. To be around them had made her feel closer to Jareth’s memory and she refused to allow herself the luxury. “Thank you for watching over Toby while I was away at school.” Suddenly she knew without being told that her friends were the primary reason her brother liked to sleep in her room. If it hadn’t been for them, Toby would have been down the hall and out of her reach the night of the fire.

“We didn’t say nothing to him about, well you know…” Hoggle shrugged and nodded towards Jareth and then the boy.

Sir Didymus gave her a reassuring pat. “Master Toby knows nothing of his previous visit; you may be reassured on that account.” No one in the Underground ever spoke of the wished-away children, but this was an unusual case and the Knight was doubtful where it stood under the law. But the three friends knew that it would hurt Sarah if they told her brother the truth, so they had made a pact to say nothing on the night they met the boy.

“Thank you,” Sarah closed her eyes and leaned against Jareth’s arm, barely conscious of his hand, which covered hers or that she’d reached for him to draw support from his touch.

“You have done exceedingly well in keeping watch over the lady Sarah and master Toby,” the King cleared his throat. “You have my thanks, and my permission to continue your visits once they return to Ellamora Kilhaggen’s cottage.” He gently disentangled his hand from Sarah’s, to take formal leave of his mother who had been watching the proceedings from a discreet distance.

One last look into the human’s sad eyes and he knew he couldn’t leave her standing alone among her friends. “I must excuse myself, my lady,” he bowed slightly and his lips twitched with humor at the formality of their parting. “I am needed elsewhere, but I shall look forward to seeing you again soon.” Giving in to an impulse, he gently gripped her right hand and kissed the tips of her fingers. Before she could draw a breath he vanished leaving a hushed chuckle behind him.

“Why did he…? Oh, my,” she was dizzy and had trouble catching her breath. Her face was flushed and she blinked at her hand, wondering why it appeared normal when she could still feel the brush of his lips against her skin. Then his words sank in and she became livid. “How dare he…permission…he gives his permission!”

“My lady, he is the king and can decree anything he chooses.” Didymus tried to explain.

“But…but…you’re my friends.”

“That is true, my lady, but you are no longer the child you were.” The faithful old knight doubted Sarah understood the importance of Jareth’s attentions toward her, and it was not his place to enlighten her. “If you doubt him, remember that if His Highness had not wanted us to visit you, we would have had no knowledge of the portal left open through your mirror, or been able to step though it.”

Once again it was brought home to Sarah how truly powerful Jareth was. He was a Fae King, and she a human woman. It made her heart ache to think of the huge gulf that lay between them.
……………………….

Sarah and Toby settled in at Ellamora’s. The double bed in the loft where they slept was exchanged for two single ones and a second dresser added. In the evening, while Toby did his homework or played, the two women sat and sewed. Sarah’s efforts were clumsy, but she was determined. Toby needed clothes for school and she needed some for work. With the help of the Elf who had opened her home to them, they were being made.

It had been a relief to Sarah when she discovered that many of the villagers used barter to provide for goods and services. She’d hated the thought of having to depend on the Goblin King’s charity to survive until she collected her first salary.

At the small general store, she exchanged drawings for the materials necessary for their nightly sewing. The boot maker was happy to provide a pair of sturdy boots for Toby and another pair for her in exchange for a charcoal rendering of his wife and child.

After working with Magic for three days, Sarah was as at home with the horse as if she’d worked in a stable all her life. She needed guidance on some tasks, but the small brown animal was becoming a friend. The hours spent with her were soothing and kept Sarah too busy to think about all that had been lost the night of the fire. She felt secure in the knowledge that while she was earning their keep, Toby was well cared for and thanks to the crystal Jareth had given her, never out of sight. She didn’t admit, even to herself that working at Corramar allowed her to see the Goblin King on an almost daily basis. He didn’t come to see her, but she could see him, even if it was only from a distance.

“Stop that, Moonbeam,” Sarah reached behind her and pulled her hat out of the mouth of the unicorn in the next stall. He’d gently taken it from her head and was holding it almost out of her reach. It had become a game. While she brushed Magic, Moonbeam would stand and watch. When he became impatient to get outside, he began grabbing at her hat. “Don’t you want your lady’s coat to be nice and shiny before you two go out to run in the pasture?” When he finally gave her back the hat, she returned to her work knowing that she had better hurry. It seemed to Sarah that the more magic a creature possessed, there was a corresponding diminution of patience.

“I said, ‘stop that’!” Her temper flared as she twisted around to once again retrieve the stolen object, but instead of the playful unicorn she’d expected to find, Jareth was inches away, blocking the entrance to Magic’s stall, calmly twirling her hat around one long, slim, leather-clad finger. He’d caught her completely unawares. Her mouth went dry in that odd way it had been doing when she’d suddenly catch sight of him and she hadn’t had time to mentally prepare herself. “I thought you said I was supposed to wear that to protect my healing skin.” Her words sounded raspy to her ears and she cleared her throat.

“I believe I did, but it’s not necessary when you’re in the stables.” He tossed the hat in the air before setting it at a jaunty angle on her head. “And your burns are almost healed.” His eyes followed the graceful curve of her neck where a large blister had been until he’d used his magic to take away the outward damage from the fire.

“You’re not being much help this morning.” Sarah grumbled. She’d been caught staring at him and much to her surprise, he stared back. All business again, she straightened her hat and gave Magic’s mane one last brush. “What are you doing here, anyway?”

He raised his finely arched brows and leaned indolently against the doorframe with his arms crossed. He didn’t have to say the words, ‘I’m king. I go where I please’. His body language did it for him.

“Riiiggghhhttt,” She nodded and then a new thought made her voice catch in her throat. “Is it time? Is she…?” Sarah quickly turned to run her hand over the mare’s back and side looking for any clue that things had changed in the last few minutes. Since she’d started work, she’d been vacillating between feeling like the doting mother of a virgin bride and the most visible madam in the Underground.

“Almost,” he studied her with concerned eyes. “Jayord has been overseeing Mother’s Monoceros breeding program for centuries. He is keeping careful watch over the mare and predicts it will happen sometime within the next three weeks.”

“Oh,” she sighed and reached, with a not quite steady hand, to pat Magic once more. “I’ll be glad when it’s over.”

“Sarah,” Jareth gently turned her towards him, but she was unable to meet his eyes. “She’ll be all right. Moonbeam won’t hurt her, you know.”

Suddenly, the air between Fae and human was so charged it almost crackled with feelings Sarah didn’t want to recognize. “It’s just that she’s never….and he can have such a fierce determined nature when there is something he wants.” Her eyes looked a long way up to finally rest on Jareth’s beautiful face.

“Keep in mind that he isn’t just any stallion, he’s a unicorn, with great magic.” Jareth spoke barely above a whisper. It was so quiet in the stable they could hear the two animals breathing. “Things may get a bit…ah…rambunctious,” he looked off into the distance, seeing a vision he was not about to share with her, yet. “But she will come to no harm. His actions won’t be driven by instinct alone; he loves her.”

Sarah nodded as if in a trance. Jayord had explained to her, the day before, the difference between when mortal horses mated and when one of the animals involved had power, but she needed to hear it from Jareth. “Does he really?”

“Yes,” he knew he was no longer talking about Magic and Moonbeam and hoped she did too. “Though she isn’t one of his kind, she loves him in return. It is one of the reasons he’s waited so patiently for her.” He wished he could be as sure about Sarah’s affections as his unicorn was of his chosen mate’s.

“Oh,” Sarah squeaked. She blinked and forced herself to turn away from his magnetic presence. “That’s good to know.”

“If this were a normal mating, between two unicorns, she would transport herself to the Valley of the Moon at the first hint that her body was beginning to change. The male would follow as soon as he caught her scent. There, in the ancient mating place, he would often have to fight off other, younger, rogue males for the honor.”

“Ellamora told me that unicorns mated for life. Why would it be necessary for Moonbeam to fight for her?”

“Foreplay,” Jareth dropped the word into the silence of the stables. It sent out ripples that lapped at Sarah until she shivered.

“Foreplay?” she cleared her throat and tried to wipe away pictures that filled her mind; pictures of long, slim white hands moving over her body as she arched against them.

“Yes,” he smiled. “Though I’m sure the Dowager Queen could give you a long, involved answer, which included survival of the fittest and its impact on the gene pool.” His voice carried a tone of indolent disregard, but Sarah had no doubt that he had as thorough an understanding of the biology behind the urges that drove his animals, as his mother.

“But…but…what if he were to lose?”

“He would not.” Jareth pinned her with a look. She needed to start realizing the way things were between them and now was as good a time as any to begin the lesson. “Make no mistake about it. Nothing would stand between him and his Chosen One. She will be his. It was decided long before they met, before she was even born. It is why he has guarded her so carefully all this while.” He stepped back, breaking the tension that his words had caused. He was determined to give Sarah the space she required. Like his unicorn, he knew that the rewards would be worth the wait. “But it is a moot point. Magic is unable to transport anywhere. The plan is for me to take Moonbeam with me at the first sign that she is coming into season. It is necessary to separate them until she is ready to receive him.”

“He’ll let you do that?” She knew that if Moonbeam chose, he was capable of transporting himself anywhere, including into the stall with Magic.

“Of course,” his tone clearly implied that there was nothing he could not do. “I imagine the time alone will be harder on the horse. She is the one who lacks experience.”

“And he doesn’t?” Sarah’s brows rose along with her voice. She had assumed that there had been no other mare in the unicorn’s life.

“Hardly,” Jareth smiled gently. “Moonbeam is an 18-year-old male unicorn. While that isn’t old for his species, it is past the time when he should have taken a permanent mate. Every spring since he turned two, he has disappeared into the wild country, and come home smelling of musk…and well…let’s just say it was obvious he’d been taking care of his baser needs with an unattached female. He will welcome the heating of his blood that her scent will cause, because finally he will be joined as he was meant to be. I am unsure how he restrained himself last year. He had just chosen her when spring came, but she was far too young to receive him. He stayed by her side, and guarded her jealously, rather than going to seek comfort elsewhere.”

As Jareth spoke, Sarah felt an ache growing deep in her abdomen. Her eyes darted to the pile of fresh hay in the large empty stall across the corridor and she longed to pull him down beside her and feel his body pressed into hers, as it had when he’d pushed her to the ground to protect her from Moonbeam. There was a loud buzzing in her ears that she couldn’t shake.

She licked her lips and attempted to divert her thoughts from an old fantasy, one she was very glad she hadn’t drawn on the missing page from her Labyrinth book. In it she was wearing the lovely ball gown from long ago, but they were no longer dancing. Instead, they were alone in his bedchamber and he was slowly sliding the bodice off her shoulders. White, ungloved hands reached to cup her breasts and her knees went weak. The old memory almost caused her to groan; instead she said the first words that came to mind. “You’re right, it will be harder for Magic, not knowing, not understanding.” She gripped her hands together tightly and remembered what she’d felt during the six years she’d believed that Jareth had died when the Escher Room had been destroyed. “She’ll miss him terribly and it’ll only get worse when her hormones kick in. She’ll know he is the only one who can help her, but all she’ll see when she looks into his stall is an empty place where he should be.”

“That’s why I’m so glad she chose you to be her friend. You’ll be there to reassure her until he is back.” Jareth took her hand and led Sarah out of the depths of the isolated stable. In a few short sentences she’d revealed too much about what it had been like for her during the last six years. If he didn’t get her moving and surrounded by other people, Magic wasn’t going to be the only one who would lose her virginity in the very near future.

“Your Highness…” Sarah took a deep breath, relieved when she stepped into the sunlight and the busy sounds of the morning’s activity on Corramar Estate. Magic followed at her shoulder and Moonbeam was close behind.

“Sarah, what have I said about that?” He knew he’d used the correct amount of magisterial gravitas when she rolled her eyes at him. For the moment, they’d succeeded in lightening the mood and pulled away from the dangerous path they’d been treading.

“Jareth,” she whispered. Sarah needed to leave their discussion about Moonbeam and Magic behind, it was too sexually charged to be comfortable. She saw the way his eyes had touched her skin, as if it were a caress, and it was almost her undoing. She wanted him and had since before she met him, but she wasn’t foolish enough to believe that the feelings were returned. There could be no future between them. The best she could hope for was a brief interlude. Then, when she no longer enlivened his boredom, he’d move on to the next female who caught his eye. Sarah was determined to be different, even if she was only different because she would not succumb to his considerable charm. “It was a pleasure to have you drop by and check on our progress.” She smiled tightly and held out her hand. “We will send notice when things change.”

“It was my pleasure, lady Sarah.” His eyes twinkled as he took her hand and instead of shaking it as she’d expected, he raised it to his lips to kiss her fingers. “I look forward with anticipation to the lady’s change in…temperament.”

To Ch 5 - Numb - Part II

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Jun. 14th, 2007 05:22 am (UTC)
Hey..its Caitlin...your story is sooooo good. I am officially addicted..lol..Keep up the good work.
lattelady6
Jun. 14th, 2007 10:49 pm (UTC)
Caitlin, I'm glad you're enjoying this story. I haven't answered your email because I've been writing like a crazy person when not a work.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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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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