The Goblin King was bouncing off the walls.

No, really. He had retired to the Escher room some time ago and his goblins were to the point of selling tickets (subtly) to see their amazing bouncing king.

Why, one might ask? Because she'd kissed him. She'd kissed him!

Or… well, rather he'd kissed her, but she obviously wasn't completely averse to the idea. She had started kissing back.

It was then that he had used his inexhaustible self-control (it would have to be, with her around) and let her get to her exam.

But he had felt it! Her hand had twitched on his thigh and her lips had softened seductively!

He had been right! For all these years he had been right! He let out a wild cackle as he hurtled sideways through an arch.

But suddenly, mid-swoop through a tunnel, Jareth stopped dead.

Unbeknownst to him, a crowd of Goblin spectators became disappointed.

But even if he had known they were there, it was doubtful he would have cared. His mood and the subject of his thoughts had put him in mind of their date. What had she said, then? It was something innocent, just before they had been interrupted by Christine with her conspicuous spying eyes.

What was it?

"Did it ever occur to you to just ask?"

Well, it was more evidence in his favor, at the very least, but… he was the Goblin King! Goblin Kings don't just ask for dates. They choose their mates and carry them off to the castle. Most of them didn't even date at all, and he'd already stooped to that level for the girl… that precious, precious little girl.

What else would he do for her?

Well, it wasn't as if she'd done anything for him. Why should he?

But… it would be interesting. Jareth recognized his curiosity getting the better of him. That's all it was, of course. Curiosity. It wasn't like he felt any obligation to oblige the Champion, or anything. It was her turn to do something for him.

But… she had gotten rid of his mother, and he had to admit, a mere 3 hours of spelled time was not nearly enough payment for that great help.

He absently hopped up to a nearby staircase and hung, or rather sat, staring at the rest of the Escher room, completely ignoring the scrambling goblins who were afraid he would glance their way.

And what if he did ask her? She had said herself that she wouldn't necessarily say yes, but… at the same time, the suggestion at all pointed towards a positive answer.

Besides, she couldn't say no to him.

Of course. That was right, wasn't it? He would sweep her off her feet with his smooth entrance and quick and eloquent question. There wasn't any possible way she could refuse.

Ego sufficiently boosted and confidence restored, Jareth poofed himself to test his (surely accurate) theory, materializing at her door and knocking quickly, striking a pose in preparation for when she opened the door.

"Yes?"

The voice was unexpectedly high and exotic, meaning that it would be Christine.

"Ah," he said, returning to a normal stance as quickly as possible, "Miss Daaé, would it be possible for me to speak to Sarah?"

Christine frowned in suspicion, though her voice was merely sarcastic, "I'm afraid she's out, Your Majesty. Can I take a message?"

"Um…" Yes? No? Bad idea, he decided. "No thank you, Christine. I'll come back later. What time do you expect her in?"

"She took Toby to the museum. They said they'd be back around dinnertime…" she paused, considering, for a moment, then added, "May I ask, for the safety of my roommate and her little brother, just what you want with Sarah?"

"That is a private matter," he said through gritted teeth, "I shall call again later tonight."

Christine shrugged, seeing no harm, and closed the door again.

In the meantime, Jareth poofed downstairs to his room, not batting an eye at the terrible chords which resulted from the room down the hall when Erik no doubt heard his arrival.

"Back again, you egotistical waste of space?" came Erik's voice from the door, obviously displeased, catching Jareth rifling through his drawers for a clean shirt.

"I pay my bills on time," Jareth reminded him without deigning to look at the masked man, "And, having heard your latest compositions, I am fairly certain you depend on that fact."

With a snort, Erik vacated the area, stomping all the way, and Jareth allowed himself a smirk as he pulled out his most blindingly-white romantic shirt and pulled it over his head. A slight touch-up to the hair, and he was ready, leaving him only to flop on his bed, conjure a crystal, and be amused by the trip Sarah and Toby were making through the museum, Toby complaining more than once that there were no goblins anywhere, leaving his sister to shush him and glance around nervously.

A few mortal hours later, Toby and Sarah had returned home, Christine had sent Toby off to the bath, and Sarah was wandering through to talk to Christine in the kitchen.

Now was the time to act.

In a poof of glitter again he was at the door, and repeated his earlier procedure.

This time it was Sarah who opened the door.

Her expression immediately darkened, and Jareth retreated a bit from his commanding posture.

"What do you want, Goblin King?" she snarled, "I'd heard you were gone."

"Only a temporary vacation, Sarah Dearest," he replied, then, "I… I, um…"

Her eyebrows were raising.

"I wanted to ask you… something."

All right, how ridiculous was being nervous!

"Ask away," she prompted reluctantly, though he could hear curiosity in her voice.

"Would you…?" Tongue-tied! Just like any one of her mortal suitors! How humiliating!

"Would you like to go to dinner with me, sometime?" he forced himself to say coherently.

Sarah froze, her eyes growing to the size of saucers.

"What?" she asked dumbly. Oh, great. Now he really respects your intelligence, she thought to herself ruefully.

"I asked you to dinner. Perhaps Thursday?"

"I… I think I could… I mean… erm… That would be…" Sarah gulped and took a moment to think of a witty, coherent answer.

"Sure," she said.

"Well," Jareth seemed relieved, "I shall see you on Thursday, then. I'll pick you up around 7:00?"

"Sure."

"Where would you like to go?"

Uh oh. Out of "sure" answers. She shrugged and made noncommittal sounds for a moment before deciding on, "Surprise me."

This seemed to bring back the smirk in the Goblin King, for as she blushingly closed the door behind her, she thought she heard him call softly, "Oh, I will, Dearest. I will."

Jareth returned downstairs strutting like a peacock. Perhaps the mortal way was not so bad, after all. It had been quick, relatively painless… and she was just so cute when she was nervous.

Yes, the exercise had indeed been a success! For a moment, he smirked at his reflection in the mirror, and then all of a sudden he was in the Escher room again, bouncing like there was no tomorrow. But of course there had to be, if there was ever going to be a Thursday.


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