And So She Flees

The faint glow of colored lights filtered through the tinted windows of the dark grey sedan as it cruised through the streets of LA heading toward the university campus. In the back seat, a blonde head rested back against the set, the hint of steep eyebrows framing the shut eyes of the Goblin King. Reaching into the breast pocket of his suit jacket, he pulled out a small crystal vial and looked at it, contemplating his next move.

Sarah… Sarah Jane….

In his mind it was becoming more and more difficult to separate the way the witch intrigued him, from his feelings for Sarah. He knew they were different, but being unable to see Sarah since she left his kingdom, were they really that different? 'It would be so easy to simply treat her as I would Sarah,' he sighed, rolling the crystal vial across his gloved fingers with practiced ease. 'To have a Sarah…feisty and firey… even if she is not the right Sarah.'

Holding the crystal up to the light, he tilted it, watching the pale pink liquid slide down the carved inside of the vial. Verata. Truth. Over the years he had learned a fair bit about human witch magic, their potions, poppets and spells, but there was one question he had now, that he had no answer for. "Will a spell created by a witch and used upon them by another, work?"he mused, tilting the crystal vial and watching the pale lights of the streets reflect upon the shimmering surface.

Balen looked up from the road, catching his king's eye in the rear view mirror, his silver eyes flashing with the colored lights of the LA street. "What was that Your Majesty?"

"Nothing to concern yourself with, Balen," Jareth replied, rolling the vial across his fingers once more. 'Nothing…nothing tra-la-la…'

It was a point of honour with Jareth that unlike his cousin, and in fact many of their kind, he had never enthralled or enchanted anyone of any race – male or female – into his bed. And he wasn't about to start now, no matter how much Lucifer tried to convince him that it was justified. Reaching into his pocket, Jareth pulled out a second vial with purple liquid shimmering inside it. Passionis. Passion. He couldn't deny that he wanted her; the thought of having her spread naked on his bed, her purple hair cascading over the black silk sheets was an image he wanted to savor in the flesh. And he could feel the desire on her when they sparred verbally, but something was holding her back.

"Perhaps just a little…nudge is all she needs?" he mused, pausing once more to look at the shimmering pink oil in the other vial. Looking at the fine script of the label, he ran his finger over the pink wax holding the stopper in the vial. While he could not and would not take the unwilling, she was already willing, even if she was not yet ready to act on her desires. "A little nudge…surely that wouldn't be so wrong? But how to give it to her? The oils must be ingested." Smiling, he pulled a glove from his hand then popped the cork from the vial. Covering the opening with his finger, he tilted the liquid against the pad of his finger, then ran the shimmering oil over his lips, the smell of roses and vanilla wafting around him.

"If a kiss worked for Prince Charming, then a kiss should work for the Goblin King – in theory at least," he chuckled, looking at the CalTech Physics lab building as the car pulled to a stop. "And there is nothing a theoretical physicist loves more than testing theories."

*~J/S~*~J/S~*~J/S~*~J/S~*~J/S~*~J/S~*~ J/S~*~J/S~*~J/S~*~J/S~*~J/S~*

Click…click…click…click…stomp…. Sarah sighed, before turning and starting back toward the other side of the lab. "It's bad enough that I've got to go on this farce of a date. I can't believe I had to deal with Lucifer and his under-handed scheme as well," she muttered.

Click…click…click…click…stomp…. "He's an ass…they both are." Click…click…click…click… Turning once more, she caught a glimpse of her reflection in the window. With a frown she stopped, adjusting one of the tendrils of carefully sprayed and pinned curls that now cascaded over her bare shoulders. "I don't even look like myself. Ugh… I hate feeling like I'm playing dress up, just to get money. I'm just another academic whore." Stomp…stomp…click-click-click-click-click-click…STOMP-STOMP. "It's not fair!"

"Oh really? I wonder what your basis for comparison is?"

Whipping around, Sarah felt her face flush at sight of the Goblin King leaning casually in the doorway of her lab, a supercilious smirk curling the corners of his mouth. As much as she'd like to deny the allure of him, it was impossible to ignore it, especially when he was the dressed like the epitome of suit porn - his body encased in a perfectly tailored, double-breasted black suit, which had a faint sheen to it hinting of silk. His hair was carefully styled, short and spiked across the top, but somehow elegant to suit his bearing. 'Damn him… Why must he be a walking porn ad?' Tossing her head, she picked up the beaded purse from her desk and looked at the clock on the wall. "You're late."

"I do so beg your pardon, Sarah Jane," Jareth purred, giving a brief, but graceful bow. His pale eyes glittered slyly, as he regarded her appearance – and found himself to be pleasantly surprised. Gone were the corsets, and lashings of lace or velvet, replaced with an elegant black sequined sheath dress which gave her a mystique that would have been appropriate for the Goblin Queen at any Underground function. 'Where the seven Hells did that come from?!' he thought irritably, even as his smile broadened and he purred to the stunning witch, "And really, it isn't fair that you should look so lovely and here I am, woefully underdressed to be accompanying you."

Sarah snorted and rolled her eyes as she stalked across the lab. "Underdressed? Maybe according to your usual frilly and far too tight fashion, but for your information, Armani suits are perfectly acceptable for most charity functions in L.A." – 'And you look damn find in it too, bastard,' she added inwardly. It was true. Most other men would have looked like the suit was wearing them, Jareth however looked and moved as if the suit was merely an extension of his already intense sensuality.

Arching an eyebrow, Jareth tilted his head and looked at her, his tone quiet, but the demand evident in his voice. "And just how would you know what my usual fashion would be, hmm?"

Sarah shrugged and fiddled with the catch on her bag. "Undergrounders talk and your wardrobe is a favourite topic of derision and ridicule."

Placing a gloved hand placed upon his heart, Jareth gave a mock gasp. "Oh, Precious…how you wound me with your harsh words." Just as quickly his demeanor changed. He stepped toward her, his pale eyes shining wickedly. "I suppose I could comment on your usual mode of dress – geek t-shirts, jeans and rumbled men's shirts, but that would be rude."

Sarah glared at him, then sighed. "Touche`. Look…since you roped me into this farce of a…date…" she paused and took a breath, as if trying to rid herself of bitter taste that word had left in her mouth. "We should at least try to get along to keep up appearances."

"Agreed. Although to be honest, it is you who is being waspish and cruel, little witch. I merely complimented you on how lovely you are this evening. Although, I admit to being surprised. I did not think being a postdoctoral researcher paid well enough to afford a designer dress and shoes."

Blushing a bit, Sarah glanced down at the red sole of her shoes, then shrugged. "Apparently, to be successful as an academic and financial pimp, the Dean felt it was worth giving me enough money to dress the part."

"Academic whoring?" Jareth chuckled, tapping a finger upon his lower lip as he grinned hungrily at her. "I've not had that experience yet. I've had monarchs attempt to pimp out their daughters, courtesans…and even a few wives to try and secure an alliance with me, but this… this is new."

Sarah stood up straighter, her violet eyes narrowing on the smug smirk on Jareth's face, her fingers curling against her thigh in an attempt to resist the urge to smack it off. "Don't get any ideas, Goblin King! This is all for show."

Laughing softly, Jareth cocked his head and smiled. "Why must you insist upon forgetting what I have already told you – if you come to my bed, it will be willingly, witch. Unlike Lucifer, I have no desire to enthrall my conquests and I never pay for intimate company. There is no need, I have plenty of willing conquests."

"Conquests?!" Sarah spluttered, stabbing a glittery purple fingernail into the middle of Jareth's chest. "I'll have you know that I will not be one of your many 'conquests! So you can just forget about that right now. This is purely a business arrangement. I am going on this ridiculous 'date' so that the Dean thinks I'm doing my job and trying to part you from your money. AND…I expect you to keep your word and discuss your promise to fund my lab. THAT. IS. ALL!"

Giving a slight bow, his hand upon his heart, Jareth purred, "Your terms are acceptable, Sarah Jane." When he rose, a shimmering crystal was resting lightly on his palm, the surface seeming to swirl with faint shadows of pink and purple. Smiling, he offered it to her.

"Oh, what? Going to show me my dreams now?" she snapped, her lips pulling into a terse line. "I'm not some gullible girl running your Labyrinth, Goblin King. I'm not going to fall for it." … 'Or you,' she added inwardly.

"First, there is nothing to fall for. When used in the Labyrinth, it is no trick, witch. It is a legitimate offer for the runner. An exchange, if you will. They leave the child and get their dreams. Quite simple really. It is just the completion of the exchange that began when they wished that the child be taken in the first place – but I digress." Nodding at the crystal in his hand, he continued. "This, is merely… a gift. As I recall, Aboveground it is customary to bring one's female companion for the evening a gift, is it not?"

Sarah's purple eyes narrowed suspiciously. "I know better than to accept gifts from the Fae, Goblin King. What's the catch?"

Rolling his eyes, Jareth twirled the crystal from sitting in his palm to balancing lightly upon two gloved fingertips. "No catch. No strings. And, as I've stated before… no lies. This is merely a simple gift, for a lovely woman."

Still uneasy about the thought of accepting anything from the Goblin King, Sarah weighed her options. "And I suppose it would be rude to refuse a gift offered freely?"

Jareth's pale eyes sparkled as he nodded. "Most assuredly. Wars have been fought over such offenses. And surely you know that to refuse a freely offered gift from a Fae can lead to all kinds of misfortune."

Frowning again, Sarah glared at him. "Is that a threat, Goblin King?!"

"Oh just take the gift already, woman! You are far too easy to tease," he laughed, holding the crystal toward her once more.

Reluctantly she reached out, hesitating briefly, before she shut her eyes tight and grasped the crystal. Hearing his amused chuckle she opened her eyes.

Tilting his head and watching her, Jareth smirked. "What were you expecting?"

"I don't know, Goblin King. A one-way trip to the Bog or an oubliette. Being dropped into the lower tunnels with the Cleaners. It's really hard to say with you."

Jareth growled inwardly, his patience wearing thin at her refusal to believe his words. "It's Jareth. And I have told you repeatedly, Sarah…Jane, I am not the villain here. I have assured you that I cannot lie to you, yet you insist upon believing the worst of me. It's…"

"…not fair," Sarah muttered, an odd pang of regret lancing through her at his words. "I'm…I'm sorry about that…Jareth."

Hearing those words from her lips, Jareth felt a disconcerting wave of déjà` vu wash over him. "Wait a moment… how do you know of the Cleaners?"

Shrugging, Sarah looked at shifting skin of the crystal. "Goblins talk…." Slowly turning her hand over to hold the delicate crystal on her palm, Sarah gasped as it transformed into a deep purple rose. Looking up at him, she smiled. "Wow…it's beautiful. I've never seen one that color."

His feeling of unease at her words forgotten, Jareth gave a pleased nod. "Of course you wouldn't. It's from my private garden. My gardener, Hoggle is actually quite gifted with cultivating roses. This is one of his most lovely creations."

Sarah gently ran her fingers over the velvety softness of the purple petals, then lifted the rose to her nose, inhaling the sweet and slightly spicy scent. "It's gorgeous. What is it called?"

Ignoring the sharp sense of loss and longing the name of the rose always evoked for him, Jareth locked his smile in place and answered. "He named it 'Sarah's Smile'. While you are not the Sarah it was created in honor of, I thought that the color made it an appropriate choice for you."

It was all Sarah could do not to cry knowing that her friend had created a rose and named it after her. Gulping, she forced down the lump in her throat and smiled at Jareth. "I love it…Than…."

At the sound of the words about to fall from her lips, Jareth's hand shot out, his gloved fingertips pressing firmly against the dark purple-red pout. "Don't. Say. Those. Words." Sarah's eyes widened at the sudden stern tone of his words. "You know words have power in my world and for my people, witch," he continued, his words clearly an order, yet oddly gentle.

Reaching up, Sarah lightly grasped his wrist, shivering slightly at the strange feel of touching him in such a way. She pulled his fingers from her lips and nodded, still surprised by the oddly stern, yet caring action. "I…forgot that warning. Ho… a hobgoblin told me that once, " she stammered, nearly giving away her association with Hoggle. "But I always wondered, why it was so bad?"

"When one of my ilk gives a gift freely, it is just that… free. You accept the gift and that is the end of the transaction. However the minute you say… those words… you reframe the gift as an 'exchange' which sets up the expectation of…."

"Repayment," Sarah gasped, gripping the rose tightly, then wincing as an errant thorn pricked her finger.

Jareth watched her, his eyes darkening as she brought the finger to her lips and sucked on it. Shaking his head, he nodded. "Yes, reciprocation. And in my world, once those words are said, you initiate a magical contract that must be fulfilled. Should I ask you for anything you would be compelled to give it to me. It could be something as simple as a request for you to pass the salt at a meal, or… well… I'll leave other options to your imagination." Seeing the crimson stain spread from her cheeks to the gentle swell of her breasts, Jareth was quite sure that her imagination was more than willing to run with the little prompt he had given her.

Caressing the velvety petals of the rose, Sarah looked at it a moment, then peered at him, her expression thoughtful. "You could have taken advantage of my carelessness and let me initiate the contract, then you could have asked for… anything you wanted." Silently, Jareth nodded, watching her with interest, as if he could see the threads she was pulling together inside her mind. "Why? Why would you give up a loophole like that? I mean, Fae are known for twisting things to their advantage. And that would've been a Helluva advantage."

No sound came from Jareth as he pulled the grey glove from his right hand, then reached out and took her hand in his. Without a word, he ran his bare fingertip over the small wound from the thorn. A faint glow illuminated their fingers, sending a pulsing tingle through Sarah's finger and up her arm. Releasing her hand, he replaced his glove, smoothing the fabric over his slender fingers. "I may be cruel, but I can be generous, Sarah. Do not paint me as a fairytale villain."

Sarah glanced from Jareth, to the otherworldly rose in her hand. "Things aren't always as they seem," she murmured.

"So, shall we make an accord?" he asked, offering her his arm.

"I'm listening."

"I won't treat you like an academic whore this evening, and you… you will stop treating me as if I am some fairy tale villain. Would that be fair?"

Fine pearl teeth nibbled at her lower lip, as Sarah considered the implication of what he was offering. Words had power, he had already reminded her of that. And while his suggestion seemed straight-forward enough, but there was always the risk of a loophole. The Fae were notorious for them. Worrying her lip a moment longer, Sarah finally nodded laying her hand in the crook of his elbow. "Agreed…Jareth."

An odd thrill went through Jareth at the sound of his name rolling from her tongue. Even as she bristled easily at his jibes, the purple-haired witch seemed to be thawing toward him, which he found strangely satisfying. 'If only the real Sarah would warm up to me as the witch is,' he mused, while escorting Sarah Jane out of the lab to the dark grey sedan parked in front of the building. It had been years since he had escorted a female who intrigued him as much as this one. 'Too bad this isn't an Underground ball, she would put the usual courtesans and throne-seekers to shame with her beauty and feisty nature. If I can't have my Sarah perhaps Sarah Jane would….' he thought, then shook his head, an irritated growl building inside him until he pushed it down. 'I must stop thinking that way about either of them. Sarah Williams is not 'mine' and Sara Jane Walsh isn't either."

For Sarah, being on Jareth's arm once again gave her an oddly pleasant sense of déjà`vu. The last time she was on his arm, she was too naïve to understand the sensuality of his very presence, this time she was aware of it, even though the amulets secreted on her body kept her from being overpowered by it. Gripping her handbag, she could feel the crystal vial secreted within. She wasn't sure what his motives were, but she was going to make sure she found out before she agreed to anything regarding the donation to her lab. 'Still… it's been years since I've had the chance to dress up and go out. Maybe tonight won't be so bad after all.'

*~J/S~*~J/S~*~J/S~*~J/S~*~J/S~*~J/S~*~ J/S~*~J/S~*~J/S~*~J/S~*~J/S~*

Pulling up to the Disney Concert Hall, Sarah blinked in awe at the line of limousines, armored SUVs, and Hum-vee's that slowly pulled up to a stop at the red carpet leading to the main entrance. "Wow. When you said it was a charity event, I probably should have asked what kind."

Chuckling quietly, Jareth watched his companion's reaction. "Yes, you should have. For all you knew, it could have been a fundraiser in the Underground." He laughed outright as her head whipped toward him, her eyes darkly suspicious. "Relax, while you are clearly connected to the Underground in some way, I have no intention to take you there by coercion or force – I couldn't even if I wanted to. Unless you' care to wish yourself away to me?"

Sarah sat back in her seat, turning toward the window as the car crept forward. "Not on your life, Goblin King." Outside the safety of the grey sedan, the glitterati of Hollywood stepped from their cars in sparkling dresses and sleek suits, hulking bodyguards flanking them as they began their way up the red carpet. Shaking her head in, she watched as stars of movies and television got out of their cars amidst the retina searing flashes of the paparazzi, then cringed a wave of misery rushing through her at the thought of having to trapse up the long scarlet carpet. Jareth's darkly erotic scene surrounded her as he leaned forward, the heat of his chest pressed against her back making her heart thunder in her chest.

"Why the look of sheer terror, Precious?" he purred, his warm breath sending a shiver down her spine, and goosebumps racing up and down her arms.

Gulping, Sarah's mind raced trying sort out her feelings about the red carpet they would soon be stepping out onto, and the very masculine and sensual specimen of Fae sexuality now pressed against her bare back. "I… I didn't know there'd be a… red carpet." Giving voice to the reality somehow made it all the more intimidating. Sarah felt her heart start to thud wildly in her breast, the sensation intensified by the feel of Jareth's breath once more brushing against her ear. For a brief second she could have sworn his lips lightly caressed her ear. 'No way. Jareth wouldn't do that. Don't be ridiculous!' she scolded herself as he murmured softly in her ear.

"Relax, you'll be fine little witch. You look lovely, like you are born to walk the red-carpet on my arm. In fact, I can't remember the last time I was escorting such a beautiful creature."

Sarah felt another shiver run down her spine at the reassuringly gentle, but undeniably sensual tone of his voice, then nodded as the sedan pulled up at the carpet. "Our turn," he said, gracefully stepping out the moment his driver Balen opened the door. Reaching back toward her, Jareth offered her a gloved hand. "Trust me, Sarah…Jane…." He said, cursing himself for wanting to call her simply 'Sarah'.

Taking a deep breath, Sarah picked up her handbag and placed her hand in his, a small gasp sliding past her lips at the feel of magic that slid up her arm at the touch. The moment her foot met the red carpet at the curb, she heard the rapid fire 'pops' of the camera flashes, and had to focus on Jareth's steadying hand not to be blinded by the bright lights surrounding them. Feeling his fingers gently squeeze hers and guide her from the safe confines of the car, she felt her breath catch in her throat at the intense look he gave her as he lifted her hand to his lips. His lips brushed softly across her knuckles, before tucking her hand into crook of his arm and leading her up the red carpet. Once they were up the steps and away from the paparazzi that lined the lower pathway, Sarah finally released the breath she had been holding. "Running the gauntlet of photographers is really rather… disturbing," she muttered, her words greeted with a gentle pat of her hand by Jareth.

"Vanity, thy name is Hollywood," he chuckled.

"Oh really? And here I thought your picture illustrated vanity in the dictionary."

Smirking, Jareth winked at her. "Clearly it is not just your eyes that can be cruel, but your sharp tongue as well."

Sarah tossed her head, giving Jareth a wicked smile. "Oh, my tongue can be remarkably gentle…when properly motivated."

Without warning Jareth's arm slid around her back, pulling her tight against his side and posing while a group of photographers near the entrance snapped photos. As he leaned toward her ear, several of them called out, the quick flashes popping faster still – but all Sarah was aware of was the heat of Jareth's body and his purred words echoing in her ear, "In that case, I look forward to finding out how to motivate you, Precious."

To Jareth's surprise, the witch let him spin her around, so that the several sets of photographers at the last section of paparazzi before the entry doors could get shots of the two of them. It had been years since he had bothered to attend a red carpet function, and having a beautiful woman such as Sarah Jane on his arm made it far more compelling. 'No sense wasting the chance,' he mused, then leaned in close to her once more, his eyes dark upon hers, while she looked up at him, her expression every bit the naïve awe one would expect from a dramatic ingénue. 'Just like…Sarah,' he thought, as he fought down the desire to kiss her.

When the final cluster of photographers finished their visual assault with the flashes, Sarah blinked several times to clear her vision from the blinding spots, before she was able to focus on the charity logo on the long signs lining the entry-way. A sudden burst of anger racing through her at the sight. "You have got to be kidding me, Goblin King!" Ignoring the continued pops and flashes of cameras, Sarah let go of his arm and stalked toward the door, hissing, "The charity you are support is the L.A. County chapter of 'Save the Children'?! Is this some sort of cruel joke?"

With a purring laugh, Jareth slid his arm around her back and pulled her close, unable to stop himself from kissing the luscious pout of the feisty witch. Much to his surprise and the pleasure of the photographers gathered near the entrance, she didn't pull away from him, instead she leaned into his embrace, her hand coming up to cup his cheek.

'Who knew he'd taste like rose syrup and vanilla,' she wondered to herself, his tongue teasing the seam of her lips to part for him, which she found herself doing willingly. A sudden rush of heat coursed through her as his tongue glided along hers, the taste of vanilla and spices threatening to overwhelm her senses. Just as she was preparing to give into her libido's howls to give in to him, Jareth broke the kiss, giving her a wicked grin.

"No joke, darling. If you knew anything of my position, you'd know that I have a sacred duty to protect children from those that would do them harm," he purred, whisking her through the double-doors and into the building.

As much as Sarah hated to admit it… he was right. Her memories of him from her time in the Labyrinth screamed 'villain', but the truth of the matter was that he was bound by the laws and magic of the Underground to protect those who are wished away from those would do them harm – most often the person who wished them away in the first place.

"Now then, if you are done besmirching my good name, let me remind you that we had an accord, Precious – one that you willingly accepted. Do you really want to break your word, hmmm?" Jareth murmured quietly as they entered the expansive entry gallery of the theatre, the vaulted ceiling ringing with the sound of voices and muted music from the main ballroom. He felt the witch shiver a bit at his words, and was pleased to know his meaning was made crystal clear to her.

"You're the Goblin King, it's kind of hard not to paint you as a fairy tale villain when you are, basically, the epitome of one," she protested, her fingers clutching her handbag as if it were a life preserver.

"Well do try, little witch. It will make this evening far more enjoyable for both of us. I really don't want to have to deal with the consequences of a broken magical contract."

Nibbling her lower lip, Sarah nodded, her over-active imagination immediately offering a variety of suggestions as to just what might happen should she break the magical contract she had so foolishly entered into. A moment later she felt a gentle pressure on her lower back, glancing at Jareth, her cheeks flushed hotly at the realization that his gloved fingers where caressing the bare flesh of her back, as he guided her further into the building. All around them were the cream of Hollywood; the rich and the famous with money to spend. Glittering dresses, upswept hairdos, sparkling jewelry intermixed with sleek, designer suits and copious quantities expensive champagne. Swallowing heavily, Sarah felt her heart race as a wave of memory sensation rushed through her. The whole decadent scene was just a mask for debauchery that ran just under the surface - a scene she had witnessed just once before. In the crystal dream.

The hum of voices seemed to rise to a roaring buzz in her head, as she looked frantically around, seeing glimpses of masks and ball gowns swirling through the crowd. 'It's not real…this isn't the ballroom…it's not real!' Around her, the room began to swim and swirl around her. 'Don't faint….don't faint. Please Gods…don't faint!'

Feeling Amethyst pause then wobble, Jareth immediately slid his arm further around her back to steady her, only to frown slightly when he glanced at her ashen face. Her violet eyes were wide – too wide. The pupils were dilated and glassy, as she peered around her. He could see her heartbeat fluttering wildly at the base of her throat, the pulse so strong he was sure if he tried, he would be able to hear it as well.

With a move so quick she barely noticed it, Jareth snatched a glass of champagne from a passing waiter and handed it to her. "Here, drink this. Gods know you need to relax a bit, you look as edgy as a pixie in a room full of mountain trolls."

Sarah took the glass, absently sipping it as he moved the two of them through the crowd toward some chairs near a small waterfall. It took her that long to register just what he had said. Once he had her seated upon one of the chairs, she looked at him, wide-eyed fear clearing from the violet orbs as she frowned at him. "Why would a pixie be edgy in a room full of mountain trolls?"

"Welcome back, Precious." Chuckling quietly, Jareth stretched out and snatched a canape` from the tray of another waiter, then placed it into her free hand. "Although, I'm not sure you really want the answer to that question."

The vacant haze cleared further from her eyes as she scowled at him, sipping her champagne. "Oh come on now, what could possibly be that bad."

Shrugging Jareth snatched another glass of champagne for himself, casually leaning against the pillar beside her chair as he surveyed the crowd or philanthropists and those hoping to be mistaken as such. "You'll just have to trust me when I say you do not want full disclosure on this one. Suffice it to say that mountain trolls are a particularly randy bunch and have a fetish for pixies. The full details I'll leave to your imagination, knowing full well that whatever you come up with won't actually be as graphic or horrific as what they do."

Sure enough, Sarah Jane began to splutter and cough, choking on her sip of champagne.

Shaking his head,, Jareth patted her back gently. "I did warn you, witch. You must remember, when it comes to the Underground, things are rarely as they seem. Even matters of fetishes."

"That's…that's…horrible!" she muttered, then fell silent, sipping her champagne and nibbling on the bacon-wrapped shrimp skewer he had handed her.

Jareth leaned more comfortably against the organza gauze wrapped column. Twinkling golden fairy lights hidden within the folds of the silver and ice blue gauze cast a shimmering glow over the crowd of mingling party-goers. He had not planned to attend the fundraiser, but it provided an excellent chance to spend more time with the intriguing witch – time that he viewed as anything but wasted. Glancing down at her, he smiled quietly seeing her creased forehead and the pensive way she was sucking on her lower lip. In that moment he was torn between a desire to nibble the succulent blackberry-colored lip himself, and wondering what it was she was thinking – although given the juicy tidbit he'd just left her with, he was reasonably sure he knew what was on her mind. "Go on then," he chuckled.

Blinking she looked up at him, the half-eaten shrimp pausing mid-flight to her mouth. "Um…say what now?"

"Go on and ask."

"Ask what?" she grumbled and bit into the last half of the shrimp with more viciousness than the already dead and grilled crustacean really required.

The Goblin King sipped his champagne and looked around again, before letting his gaze drop back to hers, pleased by the faint hint of pink in her cheeks. "You want to know about me…and whether I have any 'unusual' fetishes, like those of the mountain trolls." His suspicions were confirmed when she spluttered and the faint wisps of pink turned a more vibrant shade of crimson.

"…no…how did… um…" she stammered, dropping her eyes to look at the champagne in her hand. A moment later she looked back up at him, the frown tugging at her plump purple-red lips distracting him momentarily from her words. "I didn't know mind reading was one of your talents."

A deep rumbling laugh echoed in his chest as Jareth shook his head, then grabbed a bit of bruchetta from a passing tray, before deftly slipping it into her now empty hand. "It isn't. Nor does it have to be given the way you splutter and blush when I'm right. But…you'll only get the answer if you ask the right question. I have a reputation to maintain. I can't make this too easy for you."

Shrugging, the purple-haired witch turned away from him, her eyes idly wandering over the colorful patrons of the event as they milled about, doing their slow social dance of 'who knows who' and 'who do I need to know'. "Pompous Fae bastard…. What makes you think I'd want to know such a thing about you,' she grumbled, then bit into the bruschetta in her hand. Before Jareth could answer, her libido responded, flashing up the rather tasty and blush-inducing image of Jareth, his crop and her own bare bum wiggling with anticipation as he bent her over the front of his own throne. 'Because you DO want to know what fetishes he has…or more accurately, if the stories about him are true,' squealed her libido, with her inner-self nodding sagely in agreement.

Jareth gave a quiet laugh, the sound a soft, purr that seemed to wrap itself around her and tickle her ears, despite the fact that his lips were nowhere near her flesh. "Because you are naturally curious, little witch and you know that my kind have a predilection for sexual pleasures of all kinds. Naturally, after spending the night in my bed, it would make sense for you to wonder just what sorts of fetishes get me…hot."

'Told you so!' grumbled her libido. 'Now ask him!'

Studiously watching the glitterati of the Hollywood charity set mixing and mingling the foyer, Sarah pondered whether she really wanted to know just what Jareth's fetishes were. 'Just because I ask doesn't mean I have to sleep with him,' she reasoned. But the fact was, as much as she didn't want to admit it, the idea of Jareth and his fetishes was more than intriguing. Since she was a teen, Jareth and his crop had formed a large part of her own sexual fantasies. So the fact that she had spent the night in his bed, with him in an agonizingly delicious state of undress, was more than enough to have her stomach doing flips at the thought of actually getting to experience Jareth and his sensuality. In short...she wanted him. There was no escaping that fact.

"I...I...need to find a bathroom," she blurted out, as she launched herself to her feet. Without waiting for a response, she threw back the rest of her champagne and thrust the empty glass at him, her cheeks burning from the slightly startled and amused smirk he gave at her outburst. "Um...would you get me another?"

Accepting the glass, Jareth briefly nodded. "As my lady demands. I"ll meet you near the entrance to the main hall when you are finished."

Barely pausing to nod her agreement, Sarah darted off through the crowd, no longer overwhelmed by the crowd surrounding her - her thoughts were overwhelmed with only one thing.



Sorry for the delay everyone. Sadly, work has not let up (and has only gotten worse). By the time I get home after 14 hour days, I have about enough energy to eat a bowl of cereal and go to bed - not exactly conducive to being creative (much less self-care of any kind). I am still working on my WIPs when I find a spare 15 minutes or so during the day, but that is rare (most days I at breakfast around 5:30am and don't get to eat again until 7 at night). Unless I can learn to write in my sleep or find a job that doesn't demand ridiculously long hours, updates will continue to be slow.

To my readers who are understanding of this...THANK YOU and much love to you. You are why I keep plugging away when I have no energy or time.

As always, please review. They feed my muse (when I can wake him up from his 'work-daze' :) )