As usual, Sarah stumbled home alone. It was late and the April winds were chilly, but she had gotten most of her work caught up. Now all she wanted was a bath, some tea and to go to bed. Tomorrow was Saturday and she had full intentions of sleeping in until about noon the next day before working more on the new material.

As she was nearly to her apartment, the wind picked up. It was normal wind for April, but then a chill started from her head and went to her toes and her heart slammed painfully into her ribs.

Something was wrong.

There were things dancing at the edges of her vision, shrouded by the deep shadows all around her. She hunched her shoulders and attempted to walk faster, but the world seemed to have slowed down. The air whistled through her lungs as her panic got the best of her and her throat closed off.

Damn anxiety attacks. Chill out Sarah, there's nothing there. Calm the hell down.

Suddenly, Sarah stopped moving as her ears strained to pick up any sound. The things in the shadows were pressing closer . . . and now they were laughing.

Evil, malicious giggles, words and bits of sentences swirled around her, taunting her and frightening her more than just their presence ever could.

She clapped her hands over her ears in an attempt to drown out the noise, but the words and laughter were inside her head. And they were burning her from the inside out. With every half-caught phrase or vile declamation, Sarah could FEEL her sanity being pummeled. She sank to her knees on the hard concrete and clutched at her head in agony, her breath wheezing loudly through her throat.

Abruptly, the encroaching shadows ceased dancing and talking as a tall, ethereal figure stepped from them.

"Well then, you aren't at all as I pictured you. Quite small for the bane of a kingdom, aren't you?"

The voice was smooth and aristocratic, with a heavy but strange accent. However, it wasn't the voice that caused Sarah to quit breathing altogether, but the figure itself. It was a tall, sleek male with pale skin and long, dark hair. . . and pointed ears. And upswept eyebrows. And silver eyes.

" . . . oh . . .no." Sarah wheezed as she dropped her gaze to look at the rest of him. Her heart was hammering painfully in her throat as she struggled to put things together in her mind.

He was beautiful, but not in the 'I'm-going-to-sit-here-and-drool-over-you' sort of way, but rather like some exotic cat at a zoo. Despite being impeccably dressed in formal attire, his movements screamed dangerous predator.

He didn't walk, but glided over the ground to where she knelt. For her part, she was unable to do anything but listen to her rasping breath and watch him warily. He reached out slowly with a gloved hand and tangled it in her hair to tilt her head back. The shock of meeting his gaze was like a physical blow. The cold, silver orbs looked deep into hers and his mouth moved over strange words. Up close, he was even more intimidating. A cruel smirk lifted one corner of his mouth a second before Sarah felt it.

The figure smashed into her mind like a freight train. He didn't ask or warn her- he simply plowed through Sarah's mind, thoughts and memories.

The violation was excruciating. He was literally tearing things apart in her mind that she didn't even know could be reached. It felt like he was pulling things apart in a room full of books, tossing things over his shoulder and ripping through pages. But it was HER, dammit! Every bit of knowledge, every memory, every feeling was examined and summarily tossed aside. The pain kept going and she vaguely wondered if the whimpering she heard was her in the real world or if it was still contained in her head.

Suddenly, with one last violent jerk, she felt him find and dislodge what he'd come for. The memories of what she termed her 'episode' were replayed in an instant that left her reeling.

"Jareth…" she mumbled numbly as she remembered the look on his face when she denied him.

"Filthy Human!" the sneered words were punctuated by a kick to her ribs. "Though he may be the disgrace of our race, he's still Fae. It's Lord D'Anth to you!" Abruptly the anger changed to a purring tone of consideration, at which point Sarah, holding her aching side, promptly determined that otherworldly beings were prone to schizophrenia.

"What I wonder, my pet, is why he neglected to wipe you clean. I should have had to have ripped your entire psyche apart to get what I needed."

Sarah tried not to shudder, but it was impossible. The thought of his violation continuing until she was insane filled her with horror. She ignored the twinge in her ribs and got to her feet. Now that the pain had subsided, she was rapidly thinking of a way out.

Oh well, when in doubt, piss 'em off 'till they can't see straight. It was a bad idea, but it was the only one she had.

"Listen, you arrogant excuse for a fairy, I'm not entirely sure what you want with me, but I have a fair guess. You can forget trying something like that again. I'm not weak, nor am I frightened. I've dealt with your kind before." The arrogant ass actually looked at a loss for words. She looked into his stunned face and gave her best Jareth smirk. "And I won."

The Fae blinked and tossed his head back, laughter erupting in the cold air. As the laughter died away, he looked at Sarah, silver eyes sparking with amusement… and something less friendly. His voice still held the edge of his amusement, but there was a biting quality to it that had her stepping away.

"I have missed the Mortal realm. I have missed you mortals and your ignorance." He paused and cocked his head to the side as he looked her over slowly from head to toe as she backed away. "But perhaps most of all," he said softly, "I've missed breaking you mortals like so many twigs."

He moved faster than she could ever hope to see, and her vision doubled as he backhanded her to the concrete. She could hear him speaking, but it was far away, through layers of shadow and cotton.

"I am Lord F'arnir, and you are the instrument that I need to bring one of our own to justice. You will tell all before I am done with you, and I will enjoy the way you will scream your confessions."