A/N) So this is a new chapter and I'm gonna go ahead and upload the next chapter so that if you want to REVIEW and/or have something to say but you already did you'll have the opportunity. Plus after all these years I'm just gonna give you two chapters and hope that there's enough interest to keep my nose to the grinding board. ;)
"Fruit of the Tree"
Jareth wrapped his arms around Jessie, never taking his gaze off of the broken woman who stared into his eyes with dawning horror. Dismissing Sarah, he spoke to the girl in his arms.
"Angel, what has Daddy said about talking to strangers?"
Jessie leaned back in his embrace, pouting prettily. "I didn't want to talk to her, Daddy. But she was squeezing me and I didn't like it. Besides, I'm a princess! She shouldn't even touch me unless I say she can!"
Jareth tapped the impetuous child on the tip of the nose. "Still. And you mustn't ever summon when I'm not here to watch you. Off to the kitchen. I'll skip the lashings for now, but you can tell Cook that there's to be no desert for you tonight."
Jessie's eyes, which had begun to sparkle with humor at his false threats began to immediately spill over at his proclamation of no desert. "But Daddy!" Her lips trembled as crocodile tears began to splash down her cheeks.
Jareth merely quirked his eyebrow at her and gave her a swat towards the door. "And you'll walk the entire way, or your punishment will be far worse than not having a sweet."
Jessie straightened her spine and swiped the tears from her cheeks before striding out the doorway with mockingly militant precision.
Jareth tried not to laugh. His little Princess had such a temper!
He glanced back to the silent, shivering woman standing in front of him and spelled a crystal to return Sarah's voice to her. She had opened her mouth to cause a scene the moment he had threatened Jessie with lashings so he had used his magic to keep her from interfering.
When she finally spoke, her words were shredded with grief and hysteria, "What have you done? She looked at me. Right at me, and she didn't even know me."
Sarah charged him, clutching and clawing at him in wild rage. "She didn't know me! What have you DONE?!"
His arms wrapped around her, a parody of comfort, as she struggled. "You have a choice, Sarah. All of this, every moment of the last seven years has led to this one choice…."
Sarah's entire world was falling. Her own daughter had looked at her like she was a stranger. Less than a stranger even. Jessie had been as dismissive as a queen shooing away beggars from the castle gate. Her own daughter. Sarah felt like howling; her pain had surpassed her humanity. She was lost to her fury, her agony, her loss. The world was unspun in the chaos of the emotions that swamped her.
She had snapped. Her only goal was to hurt him, to kill him if she could. She had shrieked at him, words that barely held any meaning to her now as she sliced at him with a body that felt leaden and unreal. And somehow, now the hands that had blocked her had... changed. They held her tight, presumably to keep her from hurting him, yet there was something...different now.
And he was talking, in that crisp way. Talking. She struggled for the words to make sense. And there was scorn and the razor-blade edge of triumph that she always heard when he spoke to her. But there was something else. Something...desperate.
And she knew. She knew what he would say, the same way that the sky is blue, and water is wet. And the monster unleashed inside of her smiled.
"She's my daughter, now. Truly mine. Blood of my blood. It's not something that can be undone. It's not something that can be wished away. I've tied her very spirit with mine. She can never escape me. But you; You have a choice. You can leave, Sarah. You can go back to that house and that empty life. But you'll do it alone."
Sarah had gone still beneath his hands. Silent and still. Her words twisted with contempt, "That's not exactly a choice, Jareth. You really must say your right words."
Jareth pulled back, pushing her away; looking into the face of his creation. There was nothing left of the girl who had traveled his Labyrinth. Of the woman who had married a mortal soldier named Ryan. A mocking sneer hardened her lips, a taunting tilt to her head altered her posture from devastated to predatory.
Jareth took another step back, "You must choose to stay here with me, forever, or leave precious Jessie and return to your world. That is your choice, Sarah."
Her eyes mocked him, "Fine. I choose... You."
Jareth's confusion was palpable. Sarah could feel it battering up against her, strong as touch. She reached out and brushed her hand against his cheek and he jerked as though stung. She felt a delighted laugh tumble from her throat and forced herself to drop her arm. Too soon. One must be as careful as the spider to the fly.
Jareth had given her the tools to defeat him, and he didn't even realize it. Sarah Williams Olsen wasn't home anymore. But the monster inside? She was awake. And she was hungry.
His heartbeat skipped. She had chosen. With no further prodding or manipulations, without voicing a single complaint of unfairness or anger, she had chosen.
"You can never leave." He kept his voice harsh, and tried to mask his unholy satisfaction with biting scorn.
"'Stay here with me, forever.' definitely doesn't imply anything otherwise."
"You'll be mine."
"You'll be mine."
Jareth's last word rang out with finality. And beneath that, a raw desperate hunger.
Sarah lowered her gaze to hide her triumph as one side of her mouth whispered up in a ghost of a smile: there and gone in the blink of an eye.
And you, Jareth, the Goblin King. You're mine. And by God, you'll pay before I'm through.
Everything inside of him had come to stillness. She was his. She was admitting it. He had won. And yet...To have taken the victory so easily—too easily. He drank her in, the puzzle piece that had finally been pushed into place, the jagged edge of his soul finally returned to him.
He would have her love. For what was time to a Goblin King? And she had just given him forever to win her heart. He pushed his doubts away. Even if there was something hidden beneath her acquiescence, even if there was some way that she could retaliate, some plot that she could undertake, she had literally signed herself over to him with her words. They couldn't be unsaid.
Sarah's voice interrupted his thoughts, "What's said, is said."
Jareth felt his lips curl into a cold smile, "You took the words from my lips, my dear."
He summoned a crystal and threw it at her feet. When the flash of power cleared into an eddy of crystal-dust, Sarah was gone and Jareth was left alone in Jessie's chambers.
He had won. His laughter rose high above the winds of the castle and echoed throughout the underground, and everyone who heard it knew what it meant: Sarah Williams was there to stay.
Sarah found herself in a sumptuous room; fit for a queen. The bed was on a raised platform that lay beneath a huge crystal clear ceiling letting in the night sky. She sat at a vanity fashioned from a stone that shimmered like black pearl and looked into the eyes of her reflection. The Goblin King's power had changed her appearance once more.
The woman in the glass was lovely. Her hair was twisted up in intricate knots and anchored with diamond pins that flashed like white fire in her dark hair. Her makeup was impeccable; her lips the color of pomegranate seeds.
Slowly, she began to recite the phrase that she knew would lead to her deliverance:
"The king had fallen in love with the girl, and he had given her certain powers."
The woman in the glass smiled.