...Though We're Strangers Till Now

by Jacqui

- All the original characters do NOT belong to me, although the rest of them do. Last names of those characters who didn't or don't have them are entirely fictional. This is my first attempt at Labyrinth fan fiction, so reviews would be really nice and appreciated. This story is mostly based on the movie, but there's a few elements from the book thrown in here and there. I read Labyrinth analyses, various fan fiction, and also came up with my own conclusions and ideas. So, this entire story will entail all three of those sources of information. It may be weird, it may be good, either way, as I mentioned before...feedback is always appreciated and adored. :) Oh yeah, Jim Henson, Brian Froud, and everyone who had a hand in creating this movie are geniuses.

!!!!! - I realize that that last chapter was probably kinda sappy. And as I read it over, Jareth didn't seem right...but...well, I stuck that sap in there because that's the last you're gonna see of it for awhile. I love sap, but if there's too much of it the story gets...well...too sappy. And I can't have that.

Chapter 15: The Trial

The moment Jareth and Sarah had returned to his castle, the first place they visited was Sarah's room. It took the both of them nearly two days of non-stop moving just to get all of Sarah's belongings into Jareth's chambers. Sarah suggested that the servants help them to get the work done faster, but Jareth ignored her. Although, when they were finally finished, they stood by Jareth's bed and gazed around the room.

"I never imagined that Helori had made me so many dresses," Sarah whispered to herself, as she looked at the many piles of clothing by the bed. Then an unhappy thought occurred to her as she placed her hands over her stomach. Very soon, she would be too big to fit into any of those dresses. If it were Jareth's doing, she would have been more than overjoyed to think as she was, but it was not because of him. It was because of Saerin's hatred, greed, and jealousy. Sarah's eyes dropped to her hands as she willed away some oncoming tears.

"Sarah," Jareth whispered, breaking her thought pattern.

"What?" she replied, keeping her eyes where they were.

"Come with me," he said, holding out his hand for her to take. Sarah sighed, looked at his hand, then slipped her fingers into his grasp. Quickly, Jareth led her out of his chambers.

"Where are we going?" she said, hurrying along with him.

"You'll see," he answered. As they both continued walking, Sarah noticed Helori coming toward them at a fast pace.

"Your Majesty!" Helori cried out as the three of them stopped in front of one another.

"Helori?" Sarah whispered. "What's wrong? You look like you've just had a nightmare..."

"Oh, Your Majesty..." Helori exclaimed in between heavy puffs of air, "...the Seelie Court...has sent a messenger!"

"What is this regarding, Helori?" Jareth said impatiently, his thoughts now running wild.

"I do not believe it, Your Majesty! It is being heard everywhere! Adultery!? I simply can not believe--"

"Adultery?" Sarah interrupted, looking at Jareth with both fear and shock.

"Adultery..." Jareth whispered to himself, letting go of Sarah's hand. Then, he automatically remembered Phaedra's last words to him. 'Adultery against treason.'

"The messenger has just departed and he left this, Your Majesty!" Helori squeaked, handing Jareth an envelope with the official Seelie Court seal on the front. Jareth quickly snatched the envelope from Helori as Sarah watched, still trying to make sense of what she had just heard. The little goblin woman jumped in fright, then scurried off as Jareth tore through the seal and revealed the document inside. Sarah watched his facial expression grow cold and hard as he read each line.

"Jareth?" Sarah said, grabbing his arm gently. "You...haven't..." Jareth looked at Sarah with icy eyes.

"Yes, Sarah. According to Lady Phaedra L'Cathasaigh, I have. It appears she has reached the Seelie Court before us. The court wishes our audience immediately..." Jareth pursed his lips together as if in deep thought. Sarah simply backed away from him until she hit a wall, then her body slowly sank to the floor.

"What are we going to do, Jareth?" she whispered softly, covering her face with her hands. Jareth looked over at her, slumped against the wall.

"We are going to fight this, Sarah. That is what we are going do. I had a feeling Phaedra would do something this sneaky, and I should have acted faster than she did. Since this is a charge of adultry, then that means that Saerin is probably aware of his unborn child. That will make our case extremely difficult to present." Jareth laughed slightly to himself, as if he had hundreds of other negatives running through his mind. "I can only hope that this entire situation is only half as difficult as I expect it to be." He sighed, then walked over to where Sarah was still sitting against the wall. He kneeled down in front of her, and she removed her hands from her face so that they were looking directly at one another. "You should make yourself presentable, and I will do the same. The Seelie Court is expecting us, and we do not have time on our side at the moment. The longer we take, the worse our situation will become." Sarah nodded slowly, then Jareth stood, and helped her to her feet. As they both went their separate ways to doctor up their appearances, they couldn't help but wonder if they really stood a chance at all.

Precisely an hour later, Jareth and Sarah both stood outside of the same two gigantic doors that Jareth had passed through to request Sarah's status change. He was giving Sarah a rundown on how to act and speak when in the presence of the Seelie Court. That they did not allow back talk, outbursts, or outrages of any kind. She was strictly to speak only when spoken to.

"I-I don't know if I can--"

"You have to, Sarah. It is the only way we can come back out of that room together." Sarah nodded, and inhaled deeply. Jareth placed his hand on the small of her back and they began walking toward the two looming doors ahead. Sarah exhaled finally, jumping slightly as the doors creaked open before them.

"Jareth Laoire D'Airdsgainne, and Countess Sarah Williams, we have been expecting you..." came a loud voice that Sarah heard as having many feelings mixed within it. She looked over at Jareth as his complete name was spoken, never having heard or known any more than just 'Jareth.' Then, as she began to look around the room, she noticed not only Phaedra, but Saerin as well. The both of them were standing side by side, a few feet away from the gigantic podium that held the Seelie Court's members and advisors. They did not look back, but kept their attention ahead of them. As Jareth and Sarah finally came to a stop on the opposite side of the room from Phaedra and Saerin, they both went down on one knee before the podium. Then, a second voice came as they both waited.

"You may rise, Jareth Laoire D'Airdsgainne. I do hope you understand why you have been summoned?"

"I do, Your Grace," Jareth replied, rising slowly.

"You may rise, Countess Sarah Williams. Do you understand why you have been summoned?"

"I-I do, Your Grace," she replied, following Jareth's actions as she rose to her feet. Finally, she was able to see whom was speaking as she lifted her head to face the voice.

"I sincerely hope, not only on my part, but for all of you, that these allegations are, in fact, false. Lady Phaedra L'Cathasaigh, and Lord Saerin Dálaigh, have come to the Seelie Court claiming that Jareth Laoire D'Airdsgainne, and Countess Sarah Williams have engaged in an act of adultery. I see no reason to believe these claims without substantial proof. The four of you have been quite upstanding members of the Royal Court for many years. But, until now, I have never heard of such distasteful remarks. Especially when they are made against anyone with ranks as high as yours." As Sarah studied the looks of the elders above her, she noticed that most of them looked quite similar. They each had long hair, either turning gray or completely gray. The thin skin around their eyes had creases from the many years they apparently spent going over documents, and in general just looking all over the place. They each wore beautiful white robes, with bright red sashes which came over their shoulders, but disappeared behind the podium. Each member's sash bore a different embroidered golden symbol which Sarah understood as markings of each member's rank, and symbols of the Seelie Court. Sarah was snapped back to reality when a third member of the court spoke.

"Lady Phaedra L'Cathasaigh. You may come forth and state your claim," the third elder said, motioning with his hand for Phaedra to move forward. As Phaedra did as she was asked, she curtsied slightly, and gradually looked toward Jareth and Sarah. She grinned evilly before turning back to face the elders.

"Your Grace, I discovered this note in my chambers before I had the chance of retiring to bed last night." She held a piece of paper up before the elders, letting each of them see that it was not blank. Then, as they nodded for her to go on, she began to read the note. "Lady Phaedra, I have written this letter in hopes of revealing some very helpful news. It appears, from what I have gathered while being out and about, that His Majesty, Jareth the Goblin King, is having intimate relations with Countess Sarah Williams. Mind you, she is with child. Although, not His Majesty's child. This unborn babe belongs to none other than Lord Saerin Dálaigh. I do believe you will find this quite informative, as it seems that both His Majesty and the Countess are engaging in adultery. This would not be so if she were not with Lord Saerin's child, but being that as it may, this will force serious punishment onto the both of them if these words ever reach the eyes and ears of the public. I should end this letter here, for I believe I have fulfilled my purpose. I bid you good day Lady Phaedra. Please do not attempt to find out who I am, for you should never bite the hand that feeds you. Signed, a concerned friend." When Phaedra was done reading, Sarah's face had gone ghostly white. She felt sick to her stomach, and if it weren't for Jareth's hand tightly squeezing hers to keep her standing, she would have fallen to the floor. Jareth did nothing but glare in Phaedra's direction as she curtsied once more, then retook her place next to Saerin. Then, as the elders cleared their throats, their eyes shifted from Phaedra, to Jareth.

"Do you have any rebuttals, Jareth Laoire D'Airdsgainne?"

"I do, Your Grace," Jareth said through clenched teeth. He stepped forward, then bowed. The first elder waved his hand for Jareth to continue, then Jareth pulled himself upright and began to speak. "This note was beyond my knowledge, as was the Countess's pregnancy. She did not make me aware of it until after I had returned from signing treaties with the elf kingdom. I also did not have any know--"

"That is a direct lie, Your Grace!" Phaedra blurted out, catching the attention of everyone in the room. Phaedra, then realizing her error, dropped down to one knee and made her apologies for interrupting and insisted that Jareth go on. Saerin yanked Phaedra to her feet, quietly berating her for her stupidity, while Jareth continued.

"I did not have knowledge of Countess Sarah's relationship with Lord Saerin. Although, regarding their relationship, Sarah has informed me that it was not mutual. Lord Saerin had forced himself upon her, thus, impregnating her. Whether or not Lord Saerin himself knew of his unborn child, or whether anyone had known about the child, is irrelevant. The fact that Lord Saerin had, indeed, forced himself upon my servant against her will, is grounds enough for further investigation on my behalf. I will not deny that I have had intimate relations with the Countess, in fact, I am freely admitting to it. But, the only reason I ever engaged in any sort of relationship with this woman, is because I planned to marry her. Not only is Lord Saerin guilty of adultery himself, but he is guilty of conspiring with Lady Phaedra to commit treason!" Jareth was now looking directly at Phaedra and Saerin, anger and disgust burning in his eyes. Sarah's heart was pounding in her ears. Phaedra, as well as Saerin, both stood frozen as they looked back at Jareth.

"Countess Sarah Williams, do you have any rebuttals?" Sarah looked at Jareth, but he was still busy staring Phaedra and Saerin down. She bit the inside of her mouth, nodded, and stepped forward. She curtsied, then stood up straight, and began her speech.

"Your Grace, I..." she looked down at the floor momentarily, then back toward the elders. "I did not know of my pregnancy. I was taken against my will by Lord Saerin, and he took advantage of my body without my consent to do so. When His Majesty and I continued having intimate relations, I still did not know of the pregnancy until after we had become intimate for the first time after his return. Lady Phaedra, had apparently conspired with Lord Saerin in setting up the scheduled time for my rape." Sarah looked away from the council, and turned her gaze toward Jareth. "I am in the same position in admitting my love for this man. We did plan to marry, and this was planned long before Saerin and I..." she sighed, looking away from Jareth and back toward the elders. "Jareth and I had a fairly steady relationship, be it emotional, intimate, however you can imagine it. Saerin and I had no plans to be more than friends. But something snapped inside of him, I suppose it was jealousy, and he took that feeling and used it against both me and Jareth." When Sarah had finished speaking, she curtsied once more, then reclaimed her place next to Jareth. Sarah felt a few tears slip down her cheeks as Jareth's hand closed around hers.

"Lord Saerin Dálaigh. You may now state your claim." At that moment, Saerin silently cracked his knuckles and stepped forward with a bow. Then, as if he knew that he had been signaled by the elders, he spoke.

"Your Grace, I was also unaware of certain elements in this story. I was in no way informed of the Countess Sarah's relationship with His Majesty. As a matter of fact, when I did question the Countess that night about her relations with him, she denied it. She then proceeded to make her advances on me, until I finally confessed my feelings toward her. I was interested in courting her from day one, Your Grace. She had expressed to me her fear of His Majesty's tyranny over her, and how she longed to be free of it." The moment Saerin began speaking, Sarah's heart sank to the very pit of her stomach. She knew from the first word he spoke, he was lying through his teeth. Jareth could do nothing but clench his jaw shut and squeeze Sarah's hand as if to reassure her that everything would be fine. "The Countess and I had an intimate relationship of mutual standings, Your Grace. As for treason, I have not been aware of any acts of treason on my part. I have been spending the past several months engaged in either paperwork or legal activities while assisting King Braedon in his duties. I have only recently come into knowledge of my unborn child, and I am ready to submit myself to that child and be responsible for my actions. I do not regret my relationship with the Countess Sarah, although I do regret allowing Jareth to continue controlling her for as long he has. I wish only the best for the Countess, and I see no further reason why she should remain in the care of a man who treats her so cruelly. I wish to motion further that these claims of 'rape,'" Saerin said angrily through tightly clenched teeth, looking from the elders, to Sarah, then back to the elders. "These claims are false. I have shown neither the Countess, nor His Majesty, any reason in which to force myself upon another woman if she does not accept me. I believe that is how terrified the Countess Sarah truly is of His Majesty, that she would see it fit to lie and deny everything that has actually happened. Between all of us." When Saerin was finished speaking, Sarah had literally lost the feeling in her legs, she wanted to fall to the floor and cry until she was so empty she couldn't cry anymore. Why was this happening to her? Why Jareth? Why couldn't they have acted faster? As Saerin bowed, and stepped backward next to Phaedra, the council looked each party over.

"This will be very difficult. Each one of you has their own account of what has happened, but there has been no proof provided," said the third elder, as his other comrades nodded in agreement. "Lady Phaedra L'Cathasaigh," said the first elder, speaking up as he cleared his throat and smoothed his beard. "Do you have proof to support your claim that Countess Sarah Williams is indeed carrying Lord Saerin Dálaigh's unborn child?"

"I do, Your Grace. If you would be so kind, Your Grace, to call upon the Seelie Court's honorable physician, he will inform you himself..." Phaedra said coyly as she bowed quickly, then straightened herself once more. The elders talked amongst themselves for a moment, they all nodded together in what appeared to be agreement on something, then the third elder made his leave from the room. A few minutes later, the elder returned with the Seelie Court's physician waddling behind. Sarah's eyes grew wide as she inched closer to Jareth, as if he could protect her. She whispered as quietly as she possibly could, trying to delay the moment.

"Jareth...he can't...they'll all know it's true..."

"Sarah...you can not go against royal authority," Jareth whispered back. Then he released her hand as the elder motioned for Sarah to come forward. Sarah didn't want to go, but Jareth was definitely right. If she went against the authority before her now, she would most likely be punished for being uncooperative. Sarah clasped her now clammy hands in front of her, and walked slowly toward both the elder and the physician. She stopped just short of a few inches from the both of them, and the physician began looking her over. Sarah noticed that the physician was not a goblin at all. He was more like Jareth in physical appearance and stature, only he retained the age of a much older fae. His hair was black, but his work was definitely evident in the wrinkles and occasional creases across his face. His eyes and expression seemed gentle, almost as if he did not want to reveal the truth himself.

"Káthaél, tell us who the child belongs to," the elder said quietly, holding his hand out toward Sarah as if she were the supreme target for a firing squad.

"Yes, Your Grace," Káthaél nodded. Then Káthaél stepped forward, and Sarah hesitantly let her hands fall to her side as she looked away. Káthaél put his right hand over Sarah's stomach, and Sarah closed her eyes. Káthaél stood there for no more than a minute, then removed his hand and turned to face the elder.

"It is indeed Lord Saerin Dálaigh's child, Your Grace. There is no doubt about that."

"Thank you, Káthaél," the third elder sighed, shaking his head. As Káthaél bowed, the elders dismissed him, and the physician promptly left the room. Sarah remained where she was, scared to move. Jareth wanted so much to prove that Saerin had really taken Sarah against her will, but he had no proof of that.

"Jareth Laoire D'Airdsgainne," the second elder spoke up, sounding quite disappointed. "Lady Phaedra L'Cathasaigh's claim has been proven. Do you have any logical proof of your claim?" Jareth's hands tightened into fists at his side. He knew the time would come when he would have to prove his claim, but he was hoping it wouldn't come crashing down on him with a completely hopeless feeling. He had no proof. He knew he had no proof. He could have mentioned Saerin's friend, Lord Caolán D'Harleigh. But, the poor man had been imprisoned with the help of both Saerin and King Braedon. He also knew that Sarah could not provide any proof of her claims against Saerin. Jareth had to say something before the elders became disoriented.

"I...I regret that I do not, Your Grace..." Jareth said, just loud enough for the elders to hear. The third elder then motioned for Sarah to return to her place, as he returned to the top of the podium. Sarah did as she was told immediately, already feeling the pangs of failure. She walked slowly back to Jareth's side, her hands now clasped so tightly in front of her, her skin was turning a bright red despite its former pallid color. The second elder then nodded, and turned his eyes to Sarah.

"Countess Sarah Williams, do you have any proof as to the truth of your claim?" At that moment, Sarah wanted to cry out that she did have proof. There were several bruises on her body when Saerin was through with her, but she knew those bruises had long since healed. She knew that if this situation happened in her world, there would be several kinds of proof. Her world used modern methods to find the answers unattainable without technology. This thought upset her even more, as she let her head slowly move back and forth.

"I am afraid I do not, Your Grace." The elder nodded, then turned finally, to Saerin.

"Lord Saerin Dálaigh. Before we make our final decision, do you have any proof of what you claim?" Saerin mentally grinned, realizing that he needed no proof, for Phaedra's proof was more than enough to win him at least control over Sarah. He shook his head briefly, tilting his head to the side as if to dismiss them so that they could talk amongst themselves.

"I do apologize, Your Grace, but I do not."

"So be it. As of now, all defending arguments and or rebuttals have been closed. Please excuse us while we retire to our chambers, and therein we will make our final decision on the outcome of this matter." Then, the elders gracefully filed out of the room, one by one, leaving the plaintiffs and the defendants alone together. The four of them sat there for a little over an hour without saying a word to one another. Then, Phaedra nonchalantly turned her attention to the both of them.

"I warned you Jareth...never to underestimate me. It is a real pity it had to come down to this..." she grinned. "And you poor Countess! You just may lose your title if Lord Saerin here does not find it necessary to jump in and save you at the last minute because he truly loves you so much!" She then turned to Saerin, and the both of them shared their own little fit of enjoyment in Phaedra's comment. Sarah's legs finally gave out on her, but Jareth grabbed her arm before she could fall.

"Sarah..." he whispered, gently keeping his grip on Sarah's arm. "This is not over yet..." She looked at him with liquid doubt swirling in her eyes. "Do not show this kind of weakness to the Seelie Court. It is not a good idea." Sarah nodded very slowly, willing her legs to plant themselves beneath her body and support her own weight. She kept a firm grasp on Jareth's arm to steady herself further, but she didn't know how much longer she could keep it up.

She was slowly losing faith, minute by minute. She didn't expect to win, but somewhere deep inside of her, she refused to give up. There was still that little bit of hope she had left. Whatever the elders would decide, that was what would come to pass. Then there would be nothing she, or Jareth, could do about it. Sarah leaned against Jareth's shoulder, closing her eyes. Saerin glanced over toward Jareth and Sarah, scoffed, then looked back at Phaedra as she was playing with her hair. Sarah felt so safe with Jareth, and at that moment, she almost felt as if nothing could touch her. Then, Sarah abruptly jumped as she heard a door slam. She forced her eyes to refocus on the three moving figures at her left. The Seelie Court council had returned. They had spent nearly 2 hours debating. Jareth forced Sarah to stand straight, then he stepped away from her slightly. The four of them bowed as the elders reclaimed their seats behind the large podium. The three elders cleared their throats as a signal for them to rise and stay quiet. The first elder then began his speech.

"Based upon the claims, evidence, and proof that we have been given here today, we have finally made our decision." The elder then looked toward Jareth. "Jareth Laoire D'Airdsgainne, there is no proof in which to conlcude that you have been cruel to the Countess Sarah Williams. As well, there is no evidence in which to support the Countess's claim that Lord Saerin Dálaigh had force himself upon her. There is also no evidence to support the claim of either party engaging in treason. All that we have heard from everyone here today, except Lady Phaedra L'Cathasaigh," the elder motioned toward Phaedra as if his words were not enough. "It has all been here say. Jareth Laoire D'Airdsgainne, you may return to your kingdom, and go about your duties as normal. We understand, and therefore let it pass, that you were unaware of the Countess's pregnancy. Although, we do hope in the future, that you do not engage in this sort of activity again, or we may be forced to lay down harsh punishment." Jareth nodded, bowed, and then the elder turned his attention to Saerin. "As for you Lord Saerin Dálaigh, you proposed to take charge of your unborn child?" Saerin then went down on one knee.

"Yes, Your Grace. I have every intention of upholding my responsibilities." Sarah's body began to feel terribly weak. She knew what was coming, and she knew she wasn't going to be able to handle it when the final judgement was given. She felt her legs shake, and she threw out her arm to grab Jareth's in order to keep herself from falling. She closed her eyes, wet with tears that she had not even felt due to the numbness of her skin. The elder nodded, then proceeded.

"Then, according to the Seelie Court's bylaws of marriage, we have decided that it is only fitting--foremost for the sake of the unborn child--that the two parents are joined. As you all should know, love does not serve such a high regard as a secure future and or status At least, and especially when a marriage is being arranged." Jareth began to feel Sarah's weight more and more as she kept leaning on him for support. He was already aware of her future, but he was trying desperately not to show that awareness to Sarah. "Lord Saerin Dálaigh and the Countess Sarah Williams will wed. This is not strictly in order to retain a secure future for their child, but for their own status in the Royal Court. Lady Phaedra L'Cathasaigh..."

Suddenly, the elder's words became muffled as Sarah's vision went black, and her body finally collapsed to the floor.

When Sarah finally awoke, she was terrified to realize that she was not in Jareth's castle. She sat up quickly, looking around a strange new room she had never seen before. But all too soon, her memories came rushing back to her. The trial. She fainted just after she had heard Saerin's sentence. Her hands flew up to cover her mouth as she gasped in horror. Was she in Saerin's castle? No, it couldn't be. Not this soon. She noticed that none of her belongings were in the room with her. She felt her body begin to shake. Then, she slowly pushed herself out of the small and very unfamiliar bed she had been sleeping in. She noticed that she was now wearing only a very thin nightgown, and her feet were bare. Who had dressed her? Saerin? Or one of his maids if he had any? She stood on the cold stone floor, staring around the room. It felt so cold and lifeless. She didn't want to be there, and she wished that she were back in Jareth's castle where she was safe. She wanted to see Jareth more than ever at that moment, as she felt her heart truly breaking. As she continued to look around the room, she noticed that the walls were completely bare. The only window she saw was one that was so high above the bed, it seemed pointless that it was there at all. Her bed was made of what seemed to be very thick, but brittle wood. The legs of the bed were splintered, as was the top of the headboard. Although, the coverings and pillows were very beautiful. They were of a dark forest green silk, and were very soft to the touch. Other than the bed and one window, she saw nothing else in the room. Not even a small table in which to place a book, or a small vase of flowers. The room was more or less barren. Just as she was about to walk toward the door, she heard a light knock.

"Lady Sarah?" came Saerin's voice from outside. She really was in Saerin's castle. Immediate terror struck her entire body as she stood frozen and unable to speak. Sheer reality hit her as she realized that he could now do to her whatever he wanted to. Then, as if Sarah had already asked him to come in, the door flew open. Sarah covered herself as if she were completely naked and backed up toward the bed.

"Saerin...please go away...don't--"

"I suppose you have already forgotten where you are, my dear? Well, let me refresh your memory. Jareth has been sent back to his own castle, Phaedra has been sent back to her mother, and...well...you know what has happened to you and I." Saerin laughed deeply, stepping into her room and closing the door behind him. "You are mine, Sarah. You no longer belong to your beloved Goblin King. What is even better, I no longer have to listen to him say that you belong to him! Because it is no longer true, my darling Sarah Williams." He then walked over to where she stood next to the bed. Sarah quickly crawled onto the bed and backed herself up against the headboard.

"You have what you want, Saerin...don't torture me anymore...please..." she pleaded, pulling her knees to her chest. Saerin stared at her for a few moments. Sarah felt as if he were stabbing her over and over with a shard of glass. Then, he abruptly reached over and grabbed Sarah's arm tightly. Sarah cried out as she was ripped from the bed. Saerin twisted her arm behind her back, forcing her to bend backward slightly as she winced in pain. Then he spun her around so that her back was against his chest.

"I will only tell you this once, Sarah. Never disobey me. You should know by now that if I want something, I shall take it." He grinned, then let his free hand slide down to rest against her hip.

"Saerin...just leave me alone..." she whispered, clenching her teeth. He bent her arm a little further behind her back, and she gasped as she couldn't help but arch her back against him in pain. She felt his fingers grabbing her gown, slowly inching it up to reveal her bare legs. She made a tiny sound as she felt his hand slip in between her legs and roughly caress her inner thigh. Sarah's anger toward Saerin had built up so much, she was surprised at her own actions when she used her free arm to elbow him directly in the stomach. "I told you just to leave me alone!" she screamed, as he suddenly let her go. She ran to the other side of the bed and stood behind it, as if it were going to protect her. Saerin's hand covered his stomach as he kneeled over momentarily to catch his breath.

"You...you really are very good...Sarah..." he said in between breaths. "That is twice...you have...caught me off guard...I congratulate you..." he laughed huskily through his breathing. Then, as if Sarah had not even harmed him, he grabbed one of the bed posts and pulled the bed out of his way. Sarah's eyes widened as he arrogantly crossed the distance between them, and grabbed her by the hair.

"Aahh!! Sae--"

"Shut up!" he yelled, turning her around as his fist tightened within her hair. He grabbed her arm with his free hand and forced her against the icy stone wall. "I meant what I said when I asked you never to disobey me. If you do not want to be tortured, do as you are told. I never wanted any of this for you Sarah, but you brought it upon yourself." He shoved her harder against the wall as she felt his body press against hers. She cried out when she felt him harden against her back. The more he twisted her arm, the more it began to throb. She had to obey him, at least until he finally left her alone. She blinked back tears as she felt his hand leave her hair and begin clearing it away from her neck. As Saerin twisted her hair and pushed it over her shoulder, the right side of her neck was then exposed.

"Stop..." she whispered, but he didn't listen to her. She tightly closed her eyes as she felt his hot lips touch the sensitive skin of her neck. He ran his mouth over her shoulder, then returned to her neck. She felt his breath against her skin, but she blocked off all feeling and emotion she would have felt if she were with Jareth. Suddenly, he released her arm and turned her around to face him.

"Why is it so impossible for you to fall in love with me, Sarah?" he asked, bringing his hands up to rest softly against either side of her face. As Sarah began to answer, Saerin's mouth covered hers hungrily. Once again, he forced her to kiss him back or she would not be able to breath. Sarah's eyes remained open the entire time. For she felt nothing for this man that was now taking advantage of her once again, against her will. Sarah was finally able to turn her head to the side and break their kiss.

"You honestly want to know why I can never love you, Saerin?" Sarah said, turning back to face him with dark eyes that mirrored hatred.

"I asked you, did I not?" Saerin said, as if he were now being serious with her.

"Because I detest you, Saerin. I detest everything you are. You ruined me, and you ruined Jareth. All because you wanted what you couldn't have. You decided to do the worst thing possible to get what you wanted. Although, now you think you have what you want, you don't really have it do you? I can never love you. Not after what you've done to me. So you can do whatever you want to me, rape me, beat me, keep me away from Jareth, or the rest of the Underworld for all I care...but that will never make me love you. Love isn't something you can force someone to feel. It has to come naturally and without persuasion. You, Saerin, threw your chance away to even have my friendship. I love Jareth. Plain and simple. That is definitely something you can never take away from me. So, my lord, I have ans--" Sarah was interrupted as Saerin's hand came in contact with the side of her face so hard, it knocked her to the ground. She managed to pull herself to her hands and knees, blood slowly seeping from the corner of her mouth.

"I just may take you up on all four of those offers, Sarah. But right at this moment, I must do what I came here to do in the first place..." he said angrily. Then he pulled his foot back, then forward with all the power he had. The entire top of Saerin's boot met with Sarah's stomach at full force. Sarah's hands grabbed her stomach, and then she keeled over as the wind was knocked completely out of her. Saerin knelt down beside her as she lay there on the floor gasping for air, her body tense and in agonizing pain. He lightly brushed the hair from her face, then gently caressed her cheek, now cold and covered in a thin layer of perspiration. Sarah's breathing gradually went from harsh and raspy, to a labored sigh. "I have a new rule, my dear," he whispered, still caressing her face, "you will always tell me what I want to hear. Not what you want to say, or what others expect you to say. If you do not obey that rule, well...you may see yourself in this exact same position again." Then he chuckled to himself, and finally pulled himself to a stand. Sarah's eyes followed him as he slowly walked to the door. "Oh yes," he said turning back to face her, "I will be back soon to fetch you. It appears that Jareth's father wishes my audience to help him with some legal documents." He laughed, then continued. "It has to do with Lord Caolán D'Harleigh--or should I say the lowly D'Harleigh's imprisonment! My best friend...locked away and taking all the blame for the both of us..." he laughed to himself for a moment, then revived his serious tone of voice. "I expect you to be ready when I return. If you are not, well, let us just say that you do not want to disappoint me." And with that, he finally turned and left the room.

Sarah listened as the door clicked shut. Then, as if she had been waiting a lifetime, she let her body go limp. She closed her eyes, and tried as hard as she could to pace her own breathing, all the while slipping into a daze that freed her from reality. She licked the corner of her mouth, tasting the metallic flavor of her own blood, then she scoffed at herself for being so stupid as to match wits with Saerin. She then began to literally haul her body up so that she was back on her hands and knees. It took her nearly fifteen minutes to steady her breathing so that she was able to finally stand up straight. Her hands still against her stomach, which was still in enormous amounts of pain, she took small steps toward the bed. When she reached the bed, which was now in the middle of the room, she let herself fall backwards onto it. As she lie there, letting her mind and body regroup themselves, she wondered if her life was finally over.