::This takes place in between chapters 19-20, for clarification::
Jareth paced back and forth in front of the closed door to Hoggle's cottage. Nervous, hands clasped behind his back.
"What is taking so long?" He demanded.
"These things take time, Your Majesty," Sir Didymus replied. "Or so I am told."
Jareth stopped and stared down at the little fox knight."How did this happen? Never mind. I know how this happened. Sarah warned me. You should have known, fox!"
"I had no cause for concern until My Lady and her loyal beast returned to live here, Sire. How was I to know my steed, Ambrosius, was not a sir, but a madam!"
"Speaking of that creature.." Jareth growled, turning to look at the large dog laying on the ground softly whining. "Could you not control yourself? You did this beast!"
Scar stood up and snuffled at Jareth, barked softly, and wagged his tail.
Pinching the bridge of his nose and sighing, Jareth paced the other way.
The door opened and Sarah appeared, smiling.
"Well?" Jareth and Sir Didymus said in unison, Scar giving a questioning whine.
"Five. Five adorable little bundles of fur. They are so cute! You can go in Didymus, and take Scar with you to see his progeny." She answered.
"Thank you My Lady! Is my loyal friend well?" the little fox asked, concerned.
"She is fine, a happy mama." Sarah hugged him. "Now go."
She opened the door and Scar dashed in, followed by Sir Didymus.
After the door was closed she faced her husband. "It will be okay, Jareth. Besides they really are cute. What until you see."
He eyed her warily."Really Sarah, what are we going to do with 7 dogs running amok in my kingdom! Chaos! I've lost control! Are you certain the issue is taken care of now? I do not want to do this again."
Sarah put an arm around her husband's waist, her bulging belly pressing against him. "Yes. I told you. I got him fixed the last time I spend the night with my family. This is it. Come on, come see."
She grinned and pulled him with her back into the room and over to where the sheepdog lay on a soft blanket, feeding her newborn pups.
She reached down and carefully picked up a fluffy brown and white puppy, holding him up so Jareth could see. "Look at him. Isn't he the cutest thing ever? It won't be so bad. Kids like dogs."
Jareth crossed his arms. "So you say."
"Come on, just hold him." Sarah urged.
Jareth reluctantly took the small creature, who immediately snuggled into the monarch's arms and made himself comfortable.
Sarha watched as Jareth's eyes softened and he stroked the pup's head. "Well...this one isn't completely disgusting, but still yet.."
"He likes you, Jareth." Sarah observed. "Look at him."
"Sarah..." Jareth started.
"Please Jareth, for me? Your pregnant, emotional wife? Give it a chance." Sarah rubbed her belly and gave her husband a pleading look.
He sighed. "Alright. There is no use arguing about it, they are here now. Just...keep them out of the castle, and control them when we have runners. The last thing we need is someone thinking running The Labyrinth is..fun."
He turned to leave, still cradling the puppy.
"Your Majesty?" Sarah said. He turned back.
She held out her arms. "The puppy? He needs to eat."
Jareth looked down. "Ah yes. Here." He handed the newborn dog back to Sarah. "But careful. This one, he seems much more handsome than the rest. More suited to royal service. I may...be able to put him into service as my personal dog...for protection."
Sarah tried to keep from laughing. "Of course. May I suggest a name?"
Jareth watched her as she paid a hand over her mouth to keep from laughing at him. "What?"
She removed her hand. "Cuddles." She started to laugh, unable to control herself any longer.
Jareth frowned at her. "How undignified. No royal dog will be called...Cuddles."
Sarah lost it, she had to sit in a chair as the mirth overtook her. Didymus, Hoggle, and a few goblins who have come to see the puppies followed suit.
"You did this." Jareth said to Sarah, acting hurt. "You've turned my kingdom against me."
"Oh Jareth." She held her hands out and he took them, pulling her up. She hugged him again. "I love you. The whole kingdom loves you, lighten up. It was a joke."
"I love you too. But I still say you've usurped my subjects." Jareth answered. "I have to reluctantly admit.." He paused, looking at the little puppies nursing. "They are rather...not horrible."
"I agree my love. They are definitely not horrible." She stood on her tiptoes and kissed his cheek.
Jareth looked over at the large dog sitting loyally by his family, proud, then back to his wife looking up at him. "You seem to know just how to not only turn my world, but flip it upside down, and inside out."
"Would you want it any other way?" She asked, batting her large green eyes at him.
"No..no I wouldn't." He replied slowly.
Sarah pivoted them both towards the door. "Good. Let's leave them to themselves. I have something I want to do."
"Oh?" Jareth asked, raising a brow. "What is it?"
"You." she answered.
"Cheeky woman." Jareth said as she led him out of the cottage to transport back to the castle.
"Mmm..and you like it like that." She answered, slapping him on the backside.
"Sarah!" He admonished, looking around to see if anyone saw.
"You like it and you know it," She said. "Let's go home."
"Yes, let's. I owe you a spanking now." He answered.
They disappeared back to the castle, to continue their bickering in private.
In the end, they called it a draw.
HCJ was marked as complete, but this is one loose end I wanted to tie up. Something fun for my readers. I know I need to clean up the last chapter of HCJ a bit still, and I will over time.
I wanted to take the opportunity to thank all my new readers and followers! So many people have said such nice, sweet, kind things about this and all my other stories! I am very very touched and I read them all! They keep me going! You are all awesome and I am grateful and very humbled at some of the comments. It is a big comfort that some are finding solace in my scribbles. Trust me, I understand.
It is also wonderful to see so many new and returning authors, and that most are still creating or planning to continue once things settle a bit.
Now, with all my determination and encouraging of others, which still stands, I have to admit a couple of days after I wrote "Greatly Exaggerated" I crashed and burned. Everything overwhelmed me and the last week has been horrid for me emotionally. I've been pretty much a complete mess. Delayed reaction I guess. No small reason being that even with our dear David leaving us, this is also the anniversary of my dad's passing this week and David has always gotten me through that, and now...well I've been at a loss. I've been trying to finish the next chapter of "In A Time of Winter" but it's been difficult to focus. Tiny Jareth is subdued. Present, but quiet. I think he is a little dazed and confused. Most of what I did write was Sarah centric because she has no problem coming through strong as ever.
So I stepped back and wrote this. Jareth seemed to awaken a bit, amused by my idea. I'm hoping it helps.
I promise and swear I am NOT abandoning or quitting, but it may take a bit to get back on track. My anxiety/depression cycle is very high at this time and I'm working through it. When it normalizes this will be much easier.