Author: Lasski

Title: Courtesan

Disclaimer: Some mine - what isn't this is the disclaimer for it. Am making no money from this.

Rating: R (Warning! While I've highly edited this for it is still very sexual in nature.)

Prologue - Dreams and Wishes

Through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered she had fought her way through the labyrinth and yet the pull of the Underground remained strong. Since being surrounding by the living, tangible magic of the labyrinth, Earth's air seemed stifling and stuffy... dull. Once when she found the colours of sunrise and sunset brilliant and beautiful, she now saw it as drab in comparison to the blazing orange that had swept with majestic glory across an unfamiliar sky. Now she knew what the human world was missing rather than just imagining it - and the longing for fantasy was hasher than before.

Sarah sighed. She couldn't live like this, couldn't live in this world now that she had travelled the Underground. It was like having a glimpse of heaven before being yanked back down to cold reality. It sucked majorly. It was so damn unfair! She flopped backwards onto her bed. She was going to drive herself mad if she kept up this line of thinking. 'Right,' she told herself, 'think of the solution not the problem.' One thing the labyrinth had taught her was that you didn't get anywhere by sitting on your arse.

She knew what the solution involved - getting back to the Underground. The only way she knew how to get to the Underground was to wish to the goblins. She had tried wishing herself away to the goblins, to the Labyrinth, to the Underground, to the Goblin King, to Jareth. Nothing, absolutely nothing had happened. It was down right frustrating.

She dragged herself off the bed and over to the windows to fling open the shutters. Staring up at the night sky she tried to breathe in deeply, but the air was too thick and stuck horrible in her lungs. The stars twinkled down on her mockingly and her frustration built until tears gathered, but did not fall.

Suddenly a shooting star shot across the sky startling Sarah out of her contemplation until she remembered the nightly news foretelling of a meteor shower for that night. It was bound to create a spectacular light show for at least half an hour. As she watched the phenomena she felt a feeling faintly like magic sweep through the wind and breeze around her. Sarah closed her eyes and concentrated on the sensation, willing it to become stronger. "I wish I could go back to the Underground" she whispered and the breeze swept up her words and carried them out into the darkness. As the minutes passed by the shooting stars increased then decreased in number until the last of the moving lights had faded. The night became still once again, and the air just as heavy.

Sarah turned back towards her room and gasped in surprise at the man who was standing next to her bed openly watching her. His black hair was tied back resting at the base of the neck. His facial features were sharply defined letting the cheekbones and chin make the man. He was dressed in clothes that belonged in a century long passed but did nothing to distract from the strength of the body beneath them. His height made him a foot taller than Sarah herself and she had to look up at him. But it was his eyes that were his greatest feature, his most captivating. Eyes that were so dark that they almost looked black except for the glint of green that flickered when the light hit the right angle. All in all, he was a sight to behold - tall, dark and handsome. Utterly handsome.

He bowed slightly at the waist, never taking those eyes off her. "My sweet lady Sarah, I have come at your request."

"M-my request?" she stuttered, not quite understanding what was going on here.

His eyes sparkled with something suspiciously like amusement. "Yes, your request to come back to the Underground."

Sarah was still playing catch up. "I thought Jareth was meant to come. Isn't that the way it works."

"Nothing is ever what it seems my lady. But forgive me, I have confused you. Allow me to explain what is going on." At her slow nod he continued. "My name is Lord Zekial, Master of the Laninal Mountains and High Duke of the Royal Court. I have come to fulfil your request of wanting to return to the Underground. King Jareth of the Labyrinth has not - or more to the truth, cannot - come to fulfill your wish. He has no power over you. That means no power to hear your wish, no power to enter your home and no power to grant your wish."

His explanation had given Sarah time to think and her mind was working over time. "But you can grant my wish." It was a statement, not a question and Lord Zekial did not bother to answer. Sarah took a step towards him to show she was not afraid of him, "but at what cost I wonder. After all nothing is what it seems, and nothing comes for free." One more step took her within arms reach.

Lord Zekial smiled and began to circle around her, stepping into her personal space but never touching her. "I had heard you were beautiful for you had captured the Goblin King's heart, and your mind sharp for you had bested his labyrinth - but to witness both for myself... I am honored and pleased that you live up to my expectations."

Sarah felt a thrill dance up her spine at the game they seemed to be playing and reveled in the magic that flowed from the man and filled the room. Such a feeling could become addicting. "What need do I have to please you my lord. I am my own person and do not need to live up to any expectations other than my own." She felt his eyes roam over her and she watched him until they locked gazes.

He let one hand drift along the bare skin of her arm and she shivered, not unpleasantly, as it passed along the sensitive flesh of her inner elbow. He smiled at her reaction. "And if returning to the Underground meant giving up that?" At her confusion he elaborated. "I will bring you back to the Underground but only on these terms. Your life will belong to me. You will live under my roof and for the next three years will be trained in all manner of subjects that I see fit. When you reach the age of eighteen you will work as a spy in the royal court under the guise of a courtesan."

Sarah took a sharp intake of breath and stepped back, breaking contact. "A courtesan... a whore?" Her own disgust was instant and expected, the curiosity was not.

Lord Zekial chuckled. "Courtesans are not considered prostitutes by Underground standards. Any whore can fuck," Sarah gasped at his words, "but a courtesan is educated, refined - both in worldly matters and in bed. They are the envy of other woman because courtesans have the freedom of men, and men value them because of their absolutely high quality of training. Courtesans are not simply there to take to bed, but it is seen a high asset even to be accompanied by one. Depending on the courtesan, it can show a man's wealth and taste and status."

He closed the distance between them once more. "Think very carefully on this Sarah. I can make you the greatest courtesan ever seen, and train you to be the perfect spy. You will never want for anything in your life; you will be surrounded by all that you have ever thought of. Jareth may have offered you your dreams but I offer something more. Haven't you ever entertained the idea that what you really yearn for cannot be satisfied by anything that you know of, by something beyond dreams?"

Sarah looked at him, having quickly recovered from her shock. "Your name will rise as possessing the woman who defeated the labyrinth."

He nodded. "On the other hand though, you can stay here. In this drab, mortal world that holds no magic..." He let it hang in the air and Sarah knew he was baiting her. She also knew it was working, but she wasn't going to give in that easily. She didn't survive the labyrinth by rolling over and playing dead.

"Why have you answered my call, why not someone else? And, for that matter, why shouldn't I wait until someone offers me a better deal." This time it was Sarah who circled around him, stopping when she was behind him and leaning up to speak in his ear. "With my beauty and sharp mind I'm sure I could do better."

"I've no doubt that you could, my dear" Lord Zekial replied. "The answer to your questions is this: the Laninal Mountains are the gateway between the Aboveground and the Underground, and since I am Master there I control who goes through the gateway. The hill on which you stood to oversee the labyrinth was at the furthest reaches of my kingdom. King Jareth and I have an agreement in which he can bring babes and challengers into the labyrinth. Only I can grant your wish, and I will only offer it this once."

Sarah stepped the rest of the way around him and looked into his eyes. The playful banter left her face and she raised a hand to palm his cheek, barely understanding her own actions. "This is not easy."

Lord Zekial took her hand in his own and rubbed the skin sending a tingling sensation up her arm. "Nothing worth fighting for ever is."

Sarah thought carefully about it.

'To breathe freely once more...'